I wasn't intending on writing this. I have a Cowboy Bebop story to finish, not to mention, plenty of talented OP fan fic writers to catch up on (Such as Rachel the Demon and X-Parrot) However, I've been surprised and disappointed to find a lack of stories that explore the relationship between Zoro and Nami. So...out came this one shot. It's not quite a pairing fic, but I will admit, despite the fact that it is widely hated, I DO like ZoroxNami, and should I ever do a follow up, it might include this pairing. If you feel that strongly against ZxN, I ask you to be mature enough not to flame me for it. Polite comments and criticisms on how I can improve my writing would be more then welcome!
Getting Back What Was Lost
by Seta Ginny
The tides change
The boys run
The oceans crash
The crowds roar
The days soar...Without you
The moon glows
The river flows
But I die without you."
- From RENT
Nami sat on the ledge where her precious mikans grew, peeling one hastily and pressing the first two slices into her mouth. It had been a long day, and while the dinner Sanji had made was delicious as always, she had not felt up to eating it. Only now, late at night, had hunger finally set in.
"You're gonna get fat, eating late at night like this." said a sarcastic voice, sitting on the deck below, arms behind his head, one eye cracked open. Nami hastily chewed and swallowed the fruit, before flashing him a dirty look.
"Who asked you?" she replied as she looked down at Zoro. "Not that you noticed, but I didn't eat dinner."
"Oh, I noticed all right. Only because the chef wouldn't shut up about it. Now be a pal and throw me down one of those, won't you?"
"Mmm...." Nami pressed another slice of the fruit into her mouth. "...I don't think so!" She giggled slightly, savoring the sweet juices that reminded her so much of home. Tasting a mikan was not just simply about having a snack for her. The scent, texture, stickiness, and sweetness were all memories to her, memories of a different time. One where she could afford to be niave. It was something she prefered to do alone, and she glanced down in annoyance at the drowsy swordsman.
He was obviously not surprised that she hadn't given him the fruit, and had already closed his eyes again. His arms were behind his head, his legs crossed, swords at his side. But one detail in particular stood out to Nami. There was a bandage around his neck, covering a wound he had received earlier in the day. Memories from the fight started to rush through her mind...
It was just past noon in a large farming village that Sanji had insisted they stop at in order to restock. Nami was sitting on a small wooden fence, munching away at an apple. There wasn't much in the way of wealth in this village, and thus nothing that really interested her. She had nothing better to do then watch the swordsman get into a scuff.
Zoro stood at attention, with a tall, skinny looking man clad in a dark blue hakama and haori several feet away. He had a black katana at his side, and fluttered a fan over his long, thin face.
"You really should just give up. You're young, you still have your life to live." said the haughty voice from behind a fan.
"In case you hadn't noticed...." Zoro grumbled as he unsheathed Wadou Ichimonji. "...I'm not all that younger then you." He looked down at the sword and gripped it tightly for a moment, staring at the blade. Nami had never seen him look so lost in thought before, in the middle of a fight. His opponent had already started moving, blade in hand.
Why isn't he moving? Nami thought to herself. Should I shout something...?
Finally Zoro snapped out of it, but he raised his eyes just a second too late. The man had already drawn his weapon and made an angry swipe at his neck. Zoro's eyes widened as he leaped backwards, the blade grazing his neck ever so slightly.
"Careless. I didn't think one of his students could be so careless...but it's not surprising, coming from sewer trash as yourself." The man said with a sly smirk. A sound came from Zoro's mouth that Nami was certain was a growl. She expected him to draw the other two blades and use one of his notorious Santouryuu techniques, but much to her surprise, he didn't. He took a step back, gripping the white tsukaito with both hands. He stared at the man, eyes burning with not only determination, but something else Nami just couldn't put her finger on. She didn't have time to examine him further, because in a blink of an eye, he had disappeared. He moved so quickly that her eyes almost couldn't keep up with him. All she could make out was a glint of his blade, as he stabbed the man in the gut, and then leaped back, flicking the blood off. Without another word the weapon was resheathed. Zoro turned his back on the bleeding man, giving him one short glance over his shoulder.
"...I may be sewer trash. But you'd never have her. She deserved so much more then you." Zoro walked past Nami, not giving her a second glance as he continued back towards the Going Merry.
"....Did you know that man you fought today?" Nami asked suddenly, pushing herself off the ledge and making her way towards the swordsman. Zoro tilted his head up, giving her a half surprised, half irritated glare. "...I mean...it's probably none of my business! It's just...well, I've seen you in quite a few fights by now, and in this fight....you just seemed different. At first distracted...and then...." Nami scratched the back of her head. "...It seemed personal to me."
"...Yeah. I suppose you could say it was personal." he said as his hands dropped from behind his head to his sides. "...I just had something I had to do. That's all."
"He seemed kind of....haughty and spoiled. I'm not surprised you finished him so fast, I was just surprised that...." She reached a hand out, as if to gently touch the bandage on his neck, but before her skin could make contact, Zoro's hand reached up and grabbed her by the wrist. He leered at her for a moment, clutching her wrist tightly. The expression on Nami's face changed to one of uncomfortable nervousness.
"It's not as bad as it looks, why is everyone making such a big deal out of it?" He released her wrist. "Chopper insisted on dressing it, even though it's just a scratch."
"Well..." started Nami uncertainly, before she finally slumped down into a sit next to him. "Chopper's the doctor. I guess he feels it's better to be safe then sorry. Had that slice gone a little further..."
"...It wouldn't have." There was an uncomfortable silence between them for a minute, before Zoro finally sighed, and started to speak.. "...A long time ago, I trained in a dojo. There was a girl, a bit older then me, who kicked my ass every day...She was really good...but she was afraid of growing up, and becoming a woman." He smirked slightly. "...She thought that women couldn't be swordsmen, too. But we made a promise...that one of us would become the world's greatest swordsman." Nami watched him curiously as he spoke.
"And that man you fought before?"
"Kuina...that was her name, you see...she had been born into a family of traditional sword masters. These people were very big on family ties and on blood. So almost from when she was born, she was engaged to be married. To some other dojo master's prissy son." Zoro grumbled once and folded his arms over his chest.
"...Eeehhh?" Nami looked at him surprised. "Betrothal and arranged marriages? I didn't realize people still did that sort of thing, outside maybe the odd island or two on the Grand Line. It's like something out of a fairy tale."
"Yeah, well...for Kuina it certainly wasn't a fairy tale. She didn't want to be anyone's wife. Ever. She swore should she ever meet the man she was supposed to marry, she would break his jaw so that he could never order her around." He smirked, glancing at Nami. "...I think that's why her father was hesitant to introduce him to her. In fact, he only showed up at the dojo once or twice when he was young, and her father had to promise to buy her some new training weapons she had wanted for the longest time to keep her in check."
"....She sounds like my kind of girl." Nami replied with a grin. "I'm guessing that this boy was the man who's ass you kicked today?"
"One and the same."
"It is kind of like something out of a fairy tale after all then...And now, with the evil fiancee defeated, Kuina is free to marry whomever she wants...let me guess...you, right?"
"....Would you want to marry Nojiko?" Zoro replied, raising an eyebrow at her. His expression then melted into a sly grin. "...As nice as it might be to see you two all over each other...I some how doubt it'll happen." Nami proceeded to wack him on the back of his head.
"Damn right it wouldn't happen...even if it's not by blood, she's my sister! I never thought you to be one to have a dirty mind...." She gave him another wack for good measure.
"I tend to keep it under lock and key. The cook is perverted enough for the whole ship if you ask me. But yeah...I wasn't in love with Kuina...she was a rival. We trained together. We helped each other get stronger."
"...Well...even if she isn't your girlfriend, I'm sure she'd be happy to hear what you've done. But...where is she now?" Zoro's eyes grew dark.
"She died. Many years ago." Nami's expression melted from a smile to a frown, her face turning ghost white.
"....I'm sorry, I didn't realize-...I know how hard it is to lose someone...." She turned her gaze up at the tangerine bushes. Zoro glanced over at her, giving her a sympathetic look
"...Yeah. It's terrible...And even all these years later, I still wake up sometimes, and can't believe that I'll never see her again" He looked down to the three swords at his side, running his fingers over the one with the white tsukaito. "But I'm getting closer every day to fulfilling my promise to her. And today I even got to kick the ass of a guy who's ass she would have kicked anyway." He said, managing to crack a small grin. "...I know that where ever she is now, that'd make her smile. And while that doesn't really change anything...it makes me feel like things are going to be okay after all."
Nami just stared at Zoro in disbelief for a moment or two. His words were so sadly familar to her, they brought back the memories and pain of her own grief. Who would have ever thought that Roronoa Zoro would be able to sum up her pain of losing Bellemere so well?
"...I'm...I'm sure she would be happy." Nami ran her fingers through her hair and turned to look at him. "...I know we tend to clash heads on most things...but on this...I do understand what you're saying. All too well. I...lost Bellemere when I was young, and even though she wasn't my blood...losing her was like losing a real mother. Since then...I've just wanted to make her proud..." Nami shook her head and stood up. "...I'm going to grab some rum. Want some?"
"Yeah, why not." And after making a trip into the kitchen, Nami came back with a bottle and two mugs. She began to fidget with the cork, when Zoro just grabbed the bottle from her hands, and yanked the cork off with his teeth, before taking a swig straight from the bottle. Nami took the bottle from him, pouring hers into a mug, before taking a long drink. They sat in silence, drinking and contemplating, every so often one stealing glances at the other.
"Nami..." Zoro finally started. "...I've seen you cry. Late at night..sitting in your tangerine patch." Nami dropped the mug to the ground, the liquid spilling out onto the deck. . "...It's okay." was all he said. It was all he needed to say. Her eyes filled with tears, and her face fell into her hands, crying out the pain and grief that would always be a part of her.
"I can't take it sometimes...I wish I could bring her back...and I'm just so afraid of losing someone else like that...I'm afraid to get too close, because then..." Sobbing too hard to finish her sentence, Nami slumped over against him, her eyes closed. Although Zoro's felt a bit awkward at first, he placed a hand on her back gently.
"Listen...It's okay. I've been there too. I've....been like that too sometimes." Comforting was not something that Zoro was used to doing...nor was letting another person know what he was really feeling. "...It's scary..caring about someone, and then realizing they could die at any given time...But it's life. And ya know..." He gave her shoulder a slight squeeze. "With everything we've been through...trying to keep their memory alive...They're really not lost, are they?"
"I...I know." she finally managed to say as the tears subsided. "...I know that everything will be all right. I just...every once in awhile..." She lifted her head from his chest and looked up at him, a few pieces of hair falling in front of her eyes.. "It's pretty embarassing...crying like a baby." She said, forcing a chuckle.
"You're lucky. I wish I could cry as easily as you do. I haven't cried like that in years...Sometimes I wish I could...just let it all out." he said as he brushed the stray pieces of hair from her eyes. Nami's eye's met his own, as she brought her own hand up to brush the hair away, and instead, found her hand touching his.
"NAAAAAAAAMI-SWAAAAAAAAAAN!" called a voice from across the deck. "I've made you your late night orange flavored tea of looooooooooove!" Zoro shook his head, smiling slightly as his arms slipped back behind his head. Nami sighed, raising a hand to her forehead.
"Sanji-kun....eh....thank you." Sanji took her by the hand and helped her up.
"You shouldn't sit so close to the swordsman. He might give you fleas."
"....Better then giving her herpes." And with that Nami stepped between the two, motioning with her hands for them to both calm down.
"...Let's just stop this right here, I don't want to be cleaning blood off the deck." Her tone of voice completely changed as she gave Sanji a sweet look. "Saaaanji-kuuuun....?" She coo'd gently. "Could you bring the tea to my room...? So I can have some before I go to sleep?"
"Hai, Nami-swaaaaaan!" was Sanji's usual response as he began to flutter towards the kitchen. Nami followed after, stopping to look over her shoulder and call out a few words.
It is good, thought Nami, as she made her way to her room, not to be alone.