This is set just after Luffy and Zoro leave the Naval Base in chapter seven of the manga.  Apparently, for every angst-drabble I write, I have to write a bit of fluff, too.  It's like the universal scale of the balance of reality, only the church says I'm going to hell for it.

It's the first thing people notice about you, and the last thing they forget.
by Alena
April 21st, 2004

It had been the first thing Zoro had noticed about Luffy.

His smile.

The grin that never actually left his face, no matter what the situation was; even when he was somewhat serious, the grin was still there, although it was overshadowed by other emotions.

Maybe that was why Zoro had decided that he liked Luffy after he'd been set free; he was a man of his word, and would have gone with Luffy even if he hadn't liked the kid, but still…

That smile just… drew you in.  Made you want to like Luffy, want to trust him.  And because of that, it was a damn good thing that it turned out that he could.

If it wasn't so obviously genuine, Zoro would have thought it was an incredibly clever façade.

"I'm hungry," Luffy said, from the other side of the pitiful little rowboat that Luffy thought of as a pirate ship.

"Mm," Zoro answered.  So was he.  Again, Luffy grinned at him.

"We'll find food soon."

"How can you tell?" Zoro asked, raising an eyebrow.  Luffy shrugged, not particularly worried.

"Everything'll work out.  We'll find something."  He paused.  "Or we won't.  But we probably will."  All that said, while still smiling.

"If you say so," Zoro said finally, leaning back against the side and closing his eyes.  Might as well catch a nap.  It wasn't like they were actually heading for anyplace in particular.  Besides, he trusted his new captain, for whatever reason.  He trusted his instincts, and they almost always proved correct.

In his mind's eye, he could see Luffy's smile, and it assured him that yes, they would find food.

It had been the first thing he'd noticed, that smile.  And as he drifted off into a dreamless sleep, it was the last thing he forgot.