I have no idea how this story will move and morph, but comments and suggestions are so welcome.


"In exchange for Luffy's life, I'll give mine," Zoro said indignantly and with conviction, "He's going to be the Pirate King!"

Zoro stared at the Shichibukai in front of him. He was afraid but it was not for himself. He was afraid for his crew mates. Hell, he was afraid for the people that he loved and cared about.

"Oi, wait shithead!" Sanji growled, walking towards him and Kuma. "What the fuck do you think you're doing, stupid?!"

The cook's eyes were shining with anger. Zoro could only stare at the form of the man as he walked near him. "What the-?"

Sanji put himself in between him and Kuma, and he could not even fucking stand up! His body was cursing him and Sanji tried to talk him and Kuma out of the mess that he had put himself into. The stupid cook was showing every ounce of stupidity. He was in here trying his best to save the entire crew - even this shitty cook - and he was going to sacrifice himself, too?!

Zoro didn't know why, but Sanji was shaking. Maybe it was fear. Or maybe it was about being tired since they had been fighting for so long. But he did not want to see Sanji hurt or any of their nakama for that matter. He glanced at Luffy's body laying on the ground and his mind was set. He'd sacrifice himself. No one, and he meant no one, would stand in his way.

Breaking his thoughts, he heard Sanji speak, "Take care of the others." Sanji had his back in front of him and was looking at the Shichibukai, or Pacifista, whatever the hell he wanted to call himself, "Sorry, I-,"

All Zoro could do was take one of his swords and jab its hilt on Sanji's side. The fuck was this cook thinking?! Zoro heard a small grunt from Sanji, catching him off guard.

"What the fuck?!" Sanji turned, holding Zoro's shoulder for support.

I'm sorry. I'm really sorry. I can't... I can't see anyone of you hurt. I don't want to see you hurt, Sanji.

Sanji fell to the ground, unconscious. Better than dying. Zoro huffed as he stood his ground and faced Kuma once more, determination painting his face. He grabbed his swords and tossed them aside as he gathered all his strength and will.

This was it. It's the end of him. All he had to think of was the safety of his crew mates. Luffy, with his bouncing energy; Usopp, with his hidden courage; Nami, with her knowledge in navigation, knowing that they would be able to leave this hell; Robin, with her immense knowledge in all things possible; Chopper, with his skills as a doctor; Franky, with his inventions and being one of the best shipwrights; Brook, well, he didn't know much about the skeleton yet, but his bet was that he can handle being one with the swords once he left; and Sanji. Sanji. Damn, I don't know how I can part with him, but... He's the only person that can and can't understand me.

The Shichibukai picked up Luffy then placed his palm on the rubber captain and pushed something like air out of their captain and a huge red paw balloon came out slowly. The balloon floated in front of Zoro as Kuma spoke, "I will spare him, but not before you take his place by experiencing all of the pain he has endured."

Swiping the air, a small red ball from the balloon that was conjured flew towards Zoro and entered his body. At first there was nothing, then there was everything. The pain was excruciating. It was nothing compared to the hurt that he got when Mihawk sliced him almost into two. It was nothing compared to all the kicks that he received from Sanji. It was all of the hurt and anguish that Luffy had received from Moriah.

It attacked Zoro from the inside and he pushed everything in his power to endure the pain. He grit his teeth as the waves of power pulsed inside him, breaking him into pieces inside and out. Finally, he could no longer hold his stance, he screamed his lungs out as he fell down on the pavement. Blood slowly trickled from his mouth, but he ignored it.

"Can you still handle it?" Kuma asked, his face passive.

Not one to back down, Zoro stood up, ignoring the ache that was welling in him. He huffed, his breathing getting faster as pain emancipated within him. He was ready. He was going to face the consequences.

Then at the speed of light, the balloon came and went.

TBC