Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situation created and owned by Eiichiro Oda and various publishers including but not limited to, Shonen Jump and TV Tokyo. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended. Yet.
A/N: A longer Zoro x Nami piece. Well, somebody did ask for it. The actual scene in the manga happened in about…a minute or two. I took the liberty to expand it, as only a rabid fan sees fit. Happy Birthday, Nami-san!
Canon source: One Piece manga v.15, chp. 132.
Arc: Early Drum Kingdom
The captain was unable to hide his excitement once he'd heard that they were approaching an island. With his usual grin and enthusiasm, he told her that soon she would be okay, that once they landed they would find a doctor to cure her illness. He was concerned about her, she knew it well, but something else was distracting him—the scent of the unknown, the thrill of an adventure, and the lure of unveiling another of Grand Line mysteries.
He just had to see this island. Had to. Wanted to. Couldn't wait to. But Luffy stayed by her side because he hadn't had any permission to leave.
So he twitched madly, still grinning, while his eyes—darting back and forth from her lying form to Zoro's standing figure—pleaded silently to be excused. He continued twitching, his feet making impatient noises against the hardwood floor, and his jaw was opened with anticipation.
Luffy was sweating. She knew that he used every shred of self-control that he possessed not to jump outside her cabin, screaming a glad "ISLAND!" on top of his lungs. She wanted to wave him away, but the fever had drained her strength. Go, she wanted to tell him, go and see this island.
Fortunately, Zoro understood. He always did. She didn't know how but he always said the right thing at the right moment. Maybe he could read minds.
"Luffy," he addressed the captain. "Just go."
And Luffy needed no more permission than that. He zoomed out of her cabin, slamming the door on his way out and screaming. She could hear his faint shouts outside the room, mixed with Usopp's nasal voice and Sanji-kun's attempt to silent the captain.
"Going Merry was never quiet," she whispered to no one in particular, her voice croaking and her throat dry.
A deep baritone startled her. "Go to sleep."
That was right. He'd been standing at the head of her bed, not moving from the same spot since morning. Now there were only the two of them left in the cabin.
"Hey," she called him, gathering whatever left of her strength to make herself audible.
He moved closer. "Yeah?"
It hurt, it hurt to speak. But she needed to ask this one question.
"If I die now, do you think I'll go to hell?"
He paused before breaking into a knowing grin. "No."
"If you die just because of this stupid fever, even hell won't have you."
She chuckled weakly. "Then I'll go to heaven."
He took the vacant chair next to her bed and sat on it. "With your record? No way."
"I'm—" but before she could finish the sentence, she was attacked by a fit of cough.
"Go to sleep," he repeated, more firmly than before. "Sleep."
"I can't. I keep thinking of what'll happen to Vivi's country."
"Don't," he commanded. "And don't speak anymore. You sound like a horse."
She sighed. What a boost of confidence.
Then something unexpected happened. She felt his gloved hand brushing away clinging strands of hair from her face. And he was talking to her in a low voice, so low she could only imagine it.
"You will get past this, Nami. The only thing you need to do is to get well soon. Even if you have to die once, you'll recover."
She couldn't help but think how contradictory a man he was. So hard with his words, but painstakingly gentle when he spoke them. He knew that her head was pounding like mad and even a little noise made it worse.
"You will sleep, even if this fever is killing you."
Listen to him. How sure he was of his words. How he brushed away her fears so easily.
"You will breathe, even if your lungs are burning."
How those cocky words eased her doubt-ridden mind.
"You will be strong."
How they soothed her.
"You will come back."
With every assurance he made, she felt more relaxed and drowsier by the moment. She began to believe him despite her body's effort to negate everything he'd just said. Down and down she fell into slumber, lulled by a faithful droning of his monotone voice. The throbbing on the back of her head became faint, the aching on her joints became less pronounced, and her eyelids grew very heavy.
Soon, she entered a dreamless sleep. But before that she'd caught the last of his words.
"You belong here."
And that was enough.
She slept with a smile.