Chapter 1

*I edited this fanfic up to chapter 15 during my spring break in 2016 so I hope it is better. Anyways thank you very much for clicking on my fanfic. I really appreciate the fact that you took the time to at least try to read my fanfic. I would like to warn you that this is a boyxboy. Though, I am only writing fluff. I am not writing any smut or mature content involving romance. I rated this fanfic M because of the violence, blood and a bit of gore that this fanfic has.
Disclaimer: I do not own One Piece or any of its wonderful characters.
I would like to take the time to thank my beta-reader, HadenxCharm, for helping me with this fanfic. Without her, I am positive this fanfic wouldn't have turned out as good as it is.
Anyways, I hope you will enjoy reading my fanfic.*

"Zoro?"

"Hm?" The swordsman turned to the small concerned voice that beckoned him, dragging him out of his thoughts. Chopper stared at the green-haired man for moment or two; he noted that their swordsman was just staring blankly out to sea instead of training. He didn't even have a weight at an arms length.

"Chopper? Do you need something?" Zoro asked as he returned his gaze to the vast ocean before him. It was a nice day; the sun was out, but it wasn't scorching his skin, and the ocean was its deep blue, a blue so deep and striking that it reminded him of a certain someone.

The reindeer shuffled forward and hugged the swordsman's leg, reeling Zoro back in to reality once again.

"Are you okay?" Chopper asked into his pant leg. A moment of silence caused the little doctor to look up. All he saw was Zoro smiling down at him. The green-haired man patted Chopper's hat before he answered:

"Of course I'm okay. Why wouldn't I be?" Using that soft tone he always directed towards the little doctor.

But on the inside, Zoro hoped that this attentive little reindeer, or any of his nakama for that matter, have not picked up on his… ordeal. They shouldn't have, not after so long…Zoro was always like how he was, there really was no difference, besides, he knew how to act like himself…so then they wouldn't have to worry about him.

"Well, you don't seem quite like yourself lately. Um, I mean you are always like…well, you… but something just seems… off." Chopper explained slowly with obvious concern as he tightened his grip on the swordsman's leg. Zoro stayed quiet for a little longer than necessary; he had to come up with something smooth, nonchalant, and Zoro-like to say to reassure his little nakama. He had to throw Chopper off to keep him from finding out...Zoro had dealt with this problem for a while and managed, so there was no sense in worrying his nakama about it.

Zoro gave a short sign. "How do I seem 'off', Chopper? It's not like I'm injured or anything. Remember? Didn't you have everyone take a physical not too long ago? I'm fine," he reasoned, sounding dismissive and arrogant: completely Zoro-like. Scowling at the ocean, he peeked over to Chopper who was still looking up at him with big, dark, skeptical eyes.

After another moment of thought, Chopper decided to give Zoro the benefit of the doubt, smiled, and then bounded off to play with Luffy and Usopp, leaving the swordsman with his thoughts and the sea.

'Damn it. Seems like they are close to finding out. Shit. Even I don't know what the fuck is wrong with me. I've been like this for as long as I can remember, maybe, ever since that day... since my hardships first burdened me. But…why am I like this? I never once regretted a damn thing I've done, not a single choice I made, and never have I cared for what others did…or said… Damn it.

Zoro once again felt that dreaded wave of absolute despair crash over him and swallow him entirely; the wrenched ocean within him that never seemed to stop trying to drown him. The wrathful ocean welled up to the crown of his head once again; when will it stop? When will this ocean be satisfied with trying to make him suffer? As he felt his lungs tightened with the sheer amount of pressure within his wretched ocean, he could feel that damned knife - the same, exact one that was still lodged within his chest - twist guilt-filled emotions into him: the unraveling guilt slowly pulse thorough every vein, every artery.

Zoro knew what it was. He wasn't ignorant. He knew what he was feeling; about the war within himself, the war that he was slowly, but surely losing. Zoro was struggling with deep and etched memories within his heart, emotions that he would never be able to fully let go; he was never able to fully let out; he never let himself express.

There was only one way he knew how deal with the building pressure, without admitting to anything, without saying a damned word; and that was through fighting, through training.

"OI! YOU FUCKIN MARIMO!" That familiar, deep voice shouted at him. 'Speaking of a fight'. Zoro thought as he heard the cook stomp across the deck to reach the swordsman.

Zoro instinctively unsheathed Wadou and whipped around so he could block the kick that he knew was coming at him. The cook's shoe met with metal. Zoro's eyes narrowed as they met with that furious, yet beautiful, ocean-blue orb. The swordsman felt his heart do that damn thing it always did when he saw the chef; it fluttered in his chest. It. Fucking. Fluttered.

"I said 'Lunch is ready' Moss-head," Sanji snarled as he pressed his shoe into the katana. Zoro huffed as he glared at the fumed blonde. 'Was that really a reason to attack me?' The green-haired man sullenly thought, pushing his katana into then pulling away from the threatening shoe and sheathing it. He felt himself shrivel on the inside when he thought about how the cook just hated him; when he thought that that was the reason why the chef attacked him.

Don't get Zoro wrong - he loved the meaningless fights he had with the cook, the constant battles and challenges. He just didn't like how the cook treated him like shit all the time; being attacked for the simplest things, things that he didn't have to be attacked for. Fighting was fine. But, Sanji was just attacking him for the simplest things.

Just the thought...just the thought of Sanji being cruel to him, for things that almost amount to nothing; for things as simple as not hearing him say that lunch was ready, completely drained all the strength Zoro had for an angry reply.

"Okay. Geez, shit-cook, you could have just told me like a civilized human being," Zoro hissed as he walked past the cook and towards the galley. Zoro passed a somewhat shocked cook in his wake.

'Zoro didn't get as pissed like he usually would have… He would usually talk back and we would fight… Maybe I am looking too much into this. Besides it's not like I care… Right?' The cook reasoned with as he followed behind.

: -:

'Shit, shit, shit, what the fuck is wrong with me?' Zoro thought as he chatted happily away with Luffy and Usopp, laughing at another stupid joke.

'It's been getting harder to be normal; to act like myself. Why? I was 'fine' not too long ago. Is it now starting to wear me down? It can't be. I'm stronger than that… Damn it, I'm going to end up worrying them. I'm going to end up being seen as pitiable. I'm going to end up… Weak.' Hurt by his own thoughts, for what seemed to be the one hundred millionth time that week, Zoro took a long drink of sake.

Sake proved to be another way he stimulated himself.

'Damn. How could I let this go on for so long? How come I have yet to become better? The people I love surround me, I get to train and fight all I want, I get to drink all the booze I like, and I get to follow my dream. Why the hell am I...? Why the hell am I like this?…'

Though the swordsman knew why, but he couldn't understand why. Those things had happened so long ago. Why were they still affecting him? Or…was there something else he hadn't taken take into account yet, something he hadn't noticed that brought him to continue to feel the way he has been feeling, something that unknowingly kept him in the, what seemed to be an, eternal rut he has been damned with.

No, not something. Someone.

'Shit. Fuck emotions. Wish I nev'r had 'em. I just have to kill them, right? I've just gotta' get rid of the damned things…'

He took another lengthy draw of his sake, letting his mind go into a helpless and hopeless string of unanswered questions and worthless thoughts that consumed him as easily as he consumed the sake.

"Oi, Marimo… Marimo… Marimo!" Drawn out of his thoughts, Zoro turned to the owner of the voice. Sanji stood at the sink, hands on his slim hips and glare fixated on the swordsman.

"What are you spacing out for, Shit-head, it's your turn to help out with the dishes," the cook said in a heartless tone as he turned back to the dishes that needed to be tended to. Zoro stayed where he sat at the table, deciding to ignore what the cook had said for the common good. Realizing that everyone cleared the room, and that he was alone, with a fairly attractive chef, Zoro's gut clenched.

Shaking his head to clear the thought of the cook being attractive, Zoro stood, walked over to the sink, and grabbed a rag.

The two worked in a peaceful silence, the clinking of dishes and the slightest of splashes being the only things heard. The repeated motions of drying plates became a type of meditation for Zoro: it distracted him from the horrid emotions he harbored, and lit the way for others.

As Zoro dried the dishes handed to him and piled them neatly next to him, he stole sneaky several glances at the unsuspecting cook, causing his heart to pound in his chest. Sanji's expression was at peace. His visible eye was thoughtful as his skilled, elegant hands worked at the grime on the pan currently in his possession. A cigarette was placed between two pale pink lips with a trail of smoke in its wake. His golden hair was graced with the sunlight pouring in through the porthole, and his suit was neat and pressed, enhancing the elegance, grace, and desirability of the cook. Unbeknownst to Sanji, Zoro quietly admired him while they worked. Then, all too soon, the dishes were done.

The nice, warm, fluffy feeling Zoro had had as he watched the cook evaporated, leaving behind hopelessness and dejection as the thought of the cook being straight rang in his head and beat in his heart.

'The cook, Sanji, will never love a brute like you. You are a man: Sanji is utterly obsessed with women. You are practically scum to him, for being a man, and for being yourself. Besides, he hates you. He will never, ever love you,' that whisper in his head hissed.

Dejectedly, Zoro agreed with that whisper. Sanji would never return the feelings he had for him. Zoro was just a 'dumbass marimo with no merits,' as the shit-cook had put it once before. And, frankly, Zoro was a man. Sanji would never even consider Zoro as a potential lover since he was as straight as a fucking flagpole.

Just when the swordsman was about to leave with his wretched thoughts, and overwhelming melancholy, the cook spoke.

"What's up with you, Marimo? You've been spacing out more than usual."

Stunned at the question, Zoro stopped in his tracks and looked over his shoulder to the cook, trying to be as nonchalant as possible. He really, really hoped that it wasn't showing on his face that he was seized with panic. Sanji was onto him. Zoro sure as hell, didn't know how, but that didn't change the fact that Sanji was asking about it, about Zoro's behavior. Well, shit. How what the fuck is Zoro supposed to do?

Sanji returned his gaze with an expressionless countenance; he leaned back against the sink counter and folded his arms in expectancy, silently waiting for the marimo to turn on his brain to come up and with a remotely intelligent answer.

'What…? He's asking about me? Sanji is asking about me? I thought he would care more about grass growing or paint drying, than about how I'm doing.'

The swordsman hesitated in his answer, taking in the fact that Sanji was the one noticing and asking about him. After another moment, Zoro turned to the cook and smirked. He had to keep up his act.

He cannot let them - especially Sanji - find out about his ordeal. He would be looked down upon. Sanji would be disgusted. He would be pissed. He would be mortified. He might even feel...sorry...or bad for Zoro and his pathetic, insignificant feelings. They would no longer be equals. Something Zoro would certainly not be able to live through - which is saying something, because he's lived through a hell of a lot of shit.

"Eh? Are you worried about me, Shit-cook?" he countered with just the right amount of arrogance to him off and distract him from his objective of getting into Zoro's rather…personal…business.

Much to Zoro's disbelief, the cook didn't take the bait. Unchanging in his manner, Sanji just stared back in mute expectance, and when Zoro didn't explain himself, he walked towards the table that Zoro was standing next to, and leaned over the table, putting his weight on his hand only to look at the swordsman who was inwardly astonished. When Zoro still didn't reply, Sanji raised that damned, stupid, idiotically charming curly eyebrow and waited.

'Shit. He's serious. He seems determined to figure out what's up with me. Fuck. Not good. Gotta think of something to keep him from finding out…' When Sanji was unchanging in his expression, Zoro began to panic even more.

However, before the swordsman could even start to weave together another impeccable lie, Luffy's call erupted throughout the entire ship, completely saving Zoro from his unwanted situation.

"GUYS! I SEE AN ISLAND! LAAAAND-HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"

When Sanji was effectively distracted and looked up, completely forgetting their exchange, Zoro felt relief wash over him for a second before those miserable emotions replaced it. He didn't have to lie again.

Thank God! Just got away. Now, I have time to either cover my ass or, hopefully, the cook will forget about it when he becomes an idiotic maniac that will practically kill himself for that sadistic bitchy navigator. He frowned, a pang of guilt and sorrow rang throughout him for what seemed to be the one-hundredth time that day; but he quickly gathered himself before the cook saw his frown and began suspecting him again.

Too bad the chef had already noticed it.

"Let's go," Zoro grumbled, as he turned to leave the kitchen, hoping beyond hope that Sanji would just abandon his curiosity for the swordsman. "Nami is gonna have a horse if we don't go and help dock."

"Oi, don't talk about my mellorine like that you shithead! Hey! I will kick you senseless you shitty-swordsman!" Zoro heard behind him as he lazily roamed onto the deck. Sanji was pissed at him, per usual.

See? He will never have any feelings for you. He already loves someone else and besides…he's as straight as they come. The whisper cooed in the swordsman's head.

Another frown replaced the permanent scowl.

I already knew that. Ever since the moment I noticed that…I…I loved him. Zoro darkly told the whisper.

"Zoro! Sanji! Luffy! Usopp! Chopper! Franky! Brook! Get ready to land! You idiots! What the hell are you waiting for! Geez! It seems to be a summer island so this shouldn't be too much trouble. OI! LUFFY! STOP GOOFING AROUND AND LIFT THE DAMN SAILS!"

And with that from an outraged Nami, the crew flew into a frenzy getting the ship ready to dock. But, throughout the entire preparation of the ship to land, Zoro couldn't shake the uneasy feeling in his gut. Something was bothering him and he knew that that could only mean trouble.

*Again, thank you for reading, and please leave a review so I know how I'm doing. I am very curious as to what people think. But if you don't want to review, that's okay too. Favoriting and following helps me think that I am doing something right, and if you don't want to do that too, then again that's okay. I really appreciate the fact that you clicked on my fanfic. =)
Please have a good day!*