Disclaimer: I don't own One Piece or any characters pertaining to it. It all belongs to Eiichiro Oda. Isn't he great?

Summary: Usopp, uneasy with the idea of sailing with an infamous swordsman like Zoro, gets a surprise -- and some comfort -- when he walks in on something unexpected.

Warnings: None, 'cept maybe for light spoilers. :P

*Author's Notes: This takes place right after the Kuro story arc, so it might be good to know something about it.

- Quatrina Raberba

The Lion and the Lamb

It had been thrilling to him; all of his life, he had wanted nothing more than this. And for once in his life, "The Great Captain" Usopp had actually been able to fulfill his one dream to its fullest: sailing on the high seas on a real, true pirate ship. And to be sure, he was enjoying every second of it. Living on the edge like his father, staring out into the blue horizon everyday and wondering where life would take him next. This would never bore him, he was sureā€¦even if it was a bit scary. And unsafe. And scary.

But following his father's footsteps had always been Usopp's dream. And he was going to live up to his pirate heritage even if it turned out to be the scariest, most unsafe thing he would ever do. Which, he reminded himself uneasily, it probably would be. But he tried not to permit himself to think of the daring adventures that he, Captain Usopp, would embark upon. Even if he wasn't the Captain. And even if he had to put up with certain nut jobs in the process.

In honest truth, the aforementioned "nut jobs" of the ship really just consisted of one person. And "nut job" really translated into "demonic", "terrifying" and "menacing".

Three strikes for Roronoa Zoro.

Now, it wasn't as if the green haired Zoro had actually done anything to poor Usopp to warrant such anxious feelings. In fact, all he had actually done was help the long nosed fellow save his village and friends from an even more terrifying man -- Captain Kuro. But the rumors still existed, and Usopp had caught wind of stories concerning the deadly swordsman -- tales that were almost as fantastic as the lies he told. But after observing him in combat, Usopp was able to draw one conclusion: Roronoa Zoro was as ferocious as a lion.

So, Usopp's question was this: "why not be a little nervous?" And in his case of sailing on a confining ship with one of East Blue's terrors: "Why not be really nervous?"

Well, he tried to reassure himself for the 10th time that night, Luffy and Nami don't seem to be scared of him. Why should I?

It didn't matter right then, he told himself. He just wanted some shut-eye. It was late, after all, and as he looked up at the twinkling stars of the clear midnight sky, he noted that fretting over anything like that wasn't very conducive to sleeping anyway. Besides, he wasn't going to give himself an answer anytime soon. And it wasn't like Zoro was going to murder them in their sleep. Probably.

He was just an intimidating man who looked like he could murder everyone in their sleep, after all.

Glad to give himself a reason to put the matter at hand out of mind, he gave a stretch and a yawn as he made his way into their sleeping quarters. It was dark inside -- almost eerie-- even with the abundance of moonlight outside. The Going Merry was his new home, though, and he knew that he would need to find some way of putting his worries to rest before he became entirely comfortable with his new environment.

Sleep on it, he fruitlessly advised himself again. You'll feel loads better if you just get some sleep.

Thus, when he reached their sleeping quarters, he didn't take too much notice of the gently rocking hammocks that hung from the walls, and proceeded to climb into his own. It was then, with most of his body clambering noisily and two of his limbs flailing with effort, that he saw something he'd never forget.

Roronoa Zoro -- the strong man, the skilled warrior, the ferocious lion -- relaxed lazily in his own, softly swaying hammock. His intimidating eyes were closed, and his strong face was rested, though his dark eyebrows were slightly furrowed. An unapproachable air surrounded his still, muscular body.

But the most incredible thing was that he still maintained that aura even with Monkey D. Luffy -- the lanky boy, the stretchy fighter, the carefree captain -- resting against him, one scrawny arm tucked behind his own unkempt, black hair, while the other was wrapped firmly around the swordsman to keep himself from sliding off the hammock they shared. Soft snoring emitted from him, giving off a comfortable and soothing air.

Usopp gaped at the sight. Luffy muttered something about meat.

And Zoro's eyes suddenly snapped open and darted over to Usopp.

An awkward silence loomed over them, and suddenly the curly haired man wanted to be anywhere except under Zoro's frightening glare.

Their captain, unaware of what was transpiring, merely snorted in his sleep as he further buried himself against the swordsman. This actually would've been really funny to Usopp, had Zoro not been looking at him like he wanted to chop off his head.

But instead of doing something incredibly scary, the green haired man merely gave an irritated grunt and closed his eyes. It took a few moments for this to register in Usopp's mind; it took a few more for him to realize he was safe to go about his business.

When he was finally in his own hammock, however, he couldn't help but cautiously glance a peek at the two. And as he did so, he didn't know whether to be amused or amazed. Certainly seeing the demonic Roronoa Zoro in such a position would be deemed humorous. On the other hand, the trust openly extended by Luffy to this feared man was almost astonishing.

It was at this revelation that Usopp's mind was finally put to rest. A relieved sigh escaping his lips, he closed his eyes and breathed easy for the first time since he set out from his far away village.

"Tell anyone, and I'll kill you."

"Eeep!"

~*FIN*~