Me: How many OP one-shots have I written? Is this the fifth or sixth? I can't remember. (Digi cackles in the background and rants about Wish finally turning to the dark side.) All I know is that these fics get more reviews then anything I've ever written so therefore, I shall write more. Zoro-centered fic ahead, enjoy!
A short boy with spiky green locks walked alone down the road to his dojo. It was lonely this late afternoon, the Sunday's weather beating down on his neck. The black suit he was wearing did nothing to improve the heat's brutal assault and it was starting to tick the little boy off.
"Damn, it's hot," Zoro murmured, wiping his arm across his face to get rid of the sweat that was starting to align itself over is brow.
Finally reaching his destination, bouquet of white roses in hand, Zoro knocked on the house next to the dojo. The man who opened it wore a sad expression behind his large, thing circular glasses, black hair tied neatly behind his head. "Zoro, what are you doing here?"
"Sensei, I've come to pay my respects, Zoro said, bowing low."
A moment's pause. "Come on in, then."
As soon as the green-haired fighter stepped inside the house he saw met with a strong breeze of incense. "Sensei, what's all the smelly stuff?"
"It's to ward off the evil spirits," he said with a small smile. "When a person dies, it's very easy for an evil spirit to wander into the body and stop them from passing on. The smelly stuff will be here until she in safely buried."
Zoro nodded, eyes looking around. He was at the dojo almost every day, but had never actually been inside the dojo master's house.
"Please make yourself as home, Zoro," he said. "I'm going to put on some tea." And he left the room.
Zoro stared at random photos on the wall, following them slowly down the hall. They held pictures of different members of the dojo, including little Zoro himself, the opening on the martial arts school, family photos...
They stopped at a door that stood slightly ajar from which most of the fumes seemed to be spreading from. Looking both ways to make sure his sensei was not there, he pushed the door open and stepped inside.
What was inside looked almost exactly like his room, only with a few feminine touches here and there. There was a plain wooden bureau in the corner with a vanity mirror, clothes lay crippled on the floor and slung over chairs. The walls, painted with off white, could have been black for all the paint that showed since almost every inch of it was covered in fighting posters.
There were also shelves that held fancy daggers and showy blades, those used for decoration and not fighting. Zoro thought of them a waste of time, but he still had one or two of them in his room.
Stepping further into the room, he was a black kimono hanging on the wall, one of the few things in the room that Zoro didn't have himself. It looked to be made of fine silk, a fiery red dragon curling along the back. He raised a hand to trail a finger down the lining; it was even softer then silk.
Nest to it was a highly polished stool on which just one thing rested upon, the only thing in the room that didn't appear to be messy. It was a picture of a woman with dark brown hair plaited along the back of her head. She had kind brown eyes that looked a lot like Kuina's, the girl to whom he was here to pay respects to.
Looking away from the picture at long last, his gaze fixed on the bed. Like the rest of the room, it was very messy. But on it was...
This was weird. Zoro had known Kuina, his one true rival, for years. She was a tom boy through and through. In fact, if her hair were a bit shorter and her voice more masculine, he would have mistaken her for a guy. She wasn't girly; she had even admitted to him that she wanted to be a guy. Right before she died...
That aside, why would such a brave fighter, one with no weaknesses, be keeping...
...a teddy bear?
"Ahh, Zoro, I though you'd be here."
Zoro jumped a foot in the air when his sensei walked in bearing a tree with two cups, grinning sheepishly and laughing a little.
"Damnit, Sensei, don't do that!" Zoro roared.
"Yes, yes, I'm sorry," the man apologized. He set the tray down on the desk in the corner and looked to see what Zoro had been staring so intently at. "Ahh, I see you've found Mr. Foo Foo."
"MR. WHAT?" Zoro screamed. "Why the hell would Kuina have a MR. FOO FOO BEAR?"
"Ha ha ha, calm down Zoro," the man ushered him, raising a calming hand.
"This can't be hers!" Zoro informed him. "She'd never have something so girly!"
"And why not?" he asked, blinking. "She's had it since she was a baby."
"But it doesn't make sense!" Zoro shouted, shaking his head. "A REAL fighter wouldn't have something so simple-minded like a teddy bear!"
Kuina's father sighed. "Zoro, I've told you before. Strength does not make the fighter; his spirit does. The strongest warrior in the world may be able to cut steel, but he may not even be able to cut paper. You have to have the skill, the heart to cut through and make your way. No matter how much you train, you must always remember your heart and spirit as well. Otherwise, your training will be meaningless."
"Stupid sensei!" Zoro said. "You just don't get it! When I train, I'll get stronger and show you! I will cut steel and paper!"
"You just don't get it, do you?" he asked, amused. "Here, let me show you."
Zoro waited as the dojo master rummaged through a closet int he hall and returned a few moments later carrying a wooden broom and piece of paper.
"Zoro, with your strength, you can easily chop this clean in half," he said, holding the broom steadily between his two hands. "Go ahead, try and break it."
And Zoro did. With a quick jab of his fist, the piece of wood snapped clear in half. "Ha, you see?" Zoro exclaimed triumphantly.
"Yes, yes, very good," the sensei commended. "Now try this."
Holding the sheet between his two hands, he waited for Zoro to punch it. Snorting, Zoro raised his fist and punched at the paper; only to have it crumble slightly and pop right out of the man's hands.
"Hey, what's going on?" Zoro snapped, staring as the paper drifted slightly bended, but still in one piece, to the floor. "You weren't holding it tight enough!"
"No, I was holding onto it just as I did with the wood," the sensei informed him. "You see? This is what I mean. It's not all in the strength. It's in the technique. You can't do it all the same way. Your spirit will do the same thing. Whenever you train, fight, you can't rely on strength. You must also use technique, which comes from the heart." He smiled. "This teddy bear was given by Kuina's mother."
mean the woman in that picture?" Zoro asked, jabbing his thumb
shoulder to the picture on the stool.
"Yes," he nodded. "Kuina's mother died a long time ago. But where Kuina's technique comes from is the strength her mother gave her, that encouragement. So when she fights, her spirit leads her. I guess she finds inspiration from that bear because her mother gave it to her."
Zoro shot a glare at the plush animal. "I still don't really believe you..."
"Oh yeah?" his sensei laughed. He reached over and plucked the bear from the sheets and handed it to the confused looking kid. "Here, take this. Maybe you'll understand one day."
"I don't need a stupid bear!"
"I know you don't," he said sadly. "But you may regret not taking it. Think of it as a gift from Kuina. She would want you to have it. Who knows, maybe it'll give you inspiration too..."
Many years later...
"You shitty chef!"
"Would you two cut it out?" Nami snapped, whacking both the swordsman and cook over the head. "You're giving me a head ache and I can't concentrate!"
"Look what you did!" Sanji snapped. "You gave my Nami-san a head ache!"
"Shut the hell up you bastard, you started it!" Zoro roared.
"I would never do anything to upset my Nami!" Sanji said, making googly eyes at the red-head who was rubbing her temples.
Zoro snorted. "Yeah, yeah, just do back to your damn kitchen."
"You think you're so tough!" Sanji spat. "I bet you're still just a little boy who cried to his mommy! Ha, I bet you have a teddy bear and everything!"
"You're the girly-man, you and your stupid cooking!" Zoro roared, face flushed. "Why don't you go bake some cookies?"
Sanji opened his mouth to retort, but Nami, tired of the bickering, intervened by saying, "You know, Sanji, I am in the mood for a snack..."
"COMING RIGHT UP, NAMI-SAN!" Sanji exclaimed, completely forgetting about Zoro. He fled to the door and ran through to the kitchens, undoubtedly going to make cookies.
"Hey Zoro?" Usopp asked, looking up form the new hot sauce pods he was making.
"... do you have a teddy bear?"
"NO I DON'T!" Zoro roared, slapping Usopp over the head.
"You are very touchy today," Robin said calmly, flipping to the next page of a book she was reading.
"And everyone is against me today!" Zoro roared. And with that, he stomped off to the men's quarters. Probably to take a nap.
"What's his problem today?' Luffy wondered aloud.
"Who knows with that idiot?" Sanji said as he carried to Nami a tray of fresh cookies and glass of fruit punch.
Zoro lay on his hammock, swaying back and forth absent-mindedly. He was still a bit ticked off; Sanji had hit a weak spot.
Finally realizing he wouldn't get to sleep without it, no matter how he tried to hide it, he reached into his pillow.
He smiled slightly at what he pulled out. It was slightly worn out, the brown fur missing a few clumps. The blue bow around his neck was frayed at the ends and the eye lost all its shine. But it was still Kuina's bear alright.
Sighing, Zoro laid back down, pulling the bear closer to his chest. So what if he had a teddy bear? What was wrong with that? He could be weak once in a while, couldn't he? As long an no one else (save maybe Luffy) found out, he'd keep the bear until his death day. When he was the worlds number one swordsman. Just as he had promised a friend a long time ago.
Me: Done. Sorry, had to make up personalities for the sensei and Kuina so I'm sorry if they don't fill your perspective. Reviews? Happiness? Discontent? Heavy flaming objects to be thrown? Tell me in a review!