-Playing In the Rain-

A One-shot by Digitaldreamer

Well, tonight kind of sucked. Stuff happened, my boyfriend dumped me, had to make some crappy decisions, computer's still dead, I've been stressed out all week…so to give myself a break, I just sat back and wrote some ZoLu fluff. It's not my best work, but it served its purpose to relax me so that's alright.

Feedback is greatly appreciated!

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This whole day was just turning into one huge mistake.

Roronoa Zoro had planned on spending their last day in port in a bar, but of course fate had to intervene. Of course Luffy would Gomu Gomu no Rocket himself away before anyone could say anything about it, and Usopp had wandered off to pick up a few more things for his stupid workshop. And of course the damn Love Cook had to be sick and Chopper was busy trying to force said cook to stay in bed, so Nami was left without anyone to carry her clothes when she went shopping. So naturally, Zoro was roped into doing this task.

He had spent the past few hours being carted around like some kind of work horse, being forced to watch the navigator try on every outfit in every damned store.

Of course, she only bought one or two things, so by the end of the day Zoro was quite angry as he'd been dragged around across the entire damn island for seemingly no reason at all. When he voiced his complaints, Nami merely waved him off and said he could leave.

As it was pouring rain, the kind old lady who owned the shop offered him an umbrella. A bright pink, frilly umbrella. Zoro had tried to decline, but then the navigator started yelling at him for being rude and the swordsman had heard enough of her voice for today, so he had snatched the umbrella and stalked off into the rain.

So here he was, shuffling along in the rain, getting completely soaked as he dragged along the damn pink umbrella at the end of what had proved to be a very long, horrible day.

He should have gone with his instincts and stayed in bed this morning. Maybe he'd just chuck the stupid thing, go to a bar and stay there for awhile.

Zoro's annoyed train of thought was quite suddenly derailed as his ears caught the sound of childish giggling. He paused, glancing up from the puddle-soaked ground and blinking.

There, in the middle of the abandoned street, was Luffy. He was doing some sort of strange dance, spinning round and round in the rain, splashing through puddles and completely soaking his sandles. His arms were spread out as he spun, rainwater-soaked hair plastered to his face, which was tilted to the heavens as he gave another jovial laugh.

The swordsman watched the boy for a few moments, his mind drawing up a blank. Finally, he spoke. "Luffy…what are you doing?"

His captain paused, glancing back at the swordsman. His face immediately broke into a wide, cheerful grin. "Oh, Zoro! Hi! I'm playing in the rain, wanna join?"

"Ah, so this is where you wandered off to." Zoro frowned as he walked closer, eyeing the boy's completely soaked clothes. "The Love Cook's sick and you're out here playing in the rain? Didn't Chopper already tell you not to do this yesterday?" He demanded, folding his arms.

Luffy pouted. "Awww, come on! It's fun! Besides, it's not like I'm gonna get…" He paused in his sentence as his face scrunched up. "Ah…ah…AH-CHOO!" He sneezed, then rubbed his nose. "…sick.."

The swordsman snorted. "Not going to get sick, huh?" He rolled his eyes. "You idiot. Come on, let's get you to Chopper."

"Fine…" Luffy pouted as he shuffled over to Zoro, looking like he didn't really want to leave. Oh well, that was his problem. The swordsman would rather the boy come with him and sulk now as opposed to sneezing all over him later.

But the boy didn't sulk for long, because of course, as luck would have it, there was a great big mud puddle sitting there right in front of Zoro.

Luffy let out a loud whoop and charged over the swordsman, whom barely managed a cry of "Luffy! No!" before the boy jumped into the puddle. Muddy water sprayed up from the puddle, completely drenching both of them.

Zoro stood there for a moment, twitching as muddy water dripped from his hair. And of course Luffy stood there, also drenched, laughing his head off. Zoro gave a low growl, his fist clenching around the handle of the pink umbrella at his side. The growl did little to intimidate the rubber pirate, however.

The boy just continued to laugh, his eyes barely cracking open to reveal dark chocolate orbs shimmering with mirth. Zoro scowled, looking away. But even as he did so, he felt a small smile coming to his face in spite of his now completely drenched clothes.

It wasn't so bad, he supposed.

"Oh, you think that's funny? Do you think this is funny too?" He asked, his face becoming a devilish grin as he spun around and kicked his boot through the puddle, sending a spray of water at Luffy.

The dark-haired boy yelped in surprise and jumped back, laughing as he kicked a bit of water back. "Yup! It's funny because you can't splash me!" He chirped.

"Oh? Well, if I can't do that…" The swordsman paused as he reached out to grab the boy and suddenly pull him close. "I'll just go with making you laugh even more!" He exclaimed as he began to tickle the younger pirate mercilessly.

Luffy let out a shriek of laughter. "Ah! Zoro, stop!" He cried, trying to squirm away from the tickle attack.

"I don't think so! This is what you get for mocking me!" The swordsman declared as he continued his relentless attack, ignoring the fact that Luffy's flailing was getting them both even wetter.

"Ahahaha! Zoro, please stop! Ahahaha…I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I won't splash you any more, I promise! Please stop!" Luffy yelped through peals of laughter.

Finally the swordsman did as the boy asked and stopped, chuckling. "Alright, alright, I'll stop." He said with a small smile. Though he had stopped his tickle assault, Luffy was still standing mere inches apart from him and he made no move to step back.

Luffy panted for breath, then glanced up at Zoro and simply smiled as well. The rain fell around them, softly pattering against the ground like some sort of music. The raindrops slid over their skin, dripping from the battered edges of Luffy's hat, trailing down Zoro's face.

Slowly they drew closer and closer, the space between them shrinking. Zoro stared at the boy before him, at his smiling face, a raindrop sticking to the boy's face, directly upon the thin scar beneath his left eye. His black bangs stuck to his forehead, the hair that was visible beneath that precious straw hat messy and wet. The swordsman watched, transfixed, as his calloused fingers reached up upon their own accord to run through those messy, soaked locks of ebony. The boy's wide, innocent eyes of dark brown met the swordsman's unusually warm gaze as their faces drew closer…

And then in a nearby alleyway a dog knocked over a garbage can with a resounding CLANG!

Zoro's eyes widened and he quickly moved back, realizing how close they had been. He felt his cheeks grow unpleasantly warm, fist clenching around the handle of the umbrella at his side. "Um, we should get back to the Going Merry." He declared, brushing past the boy and beginning to head down the road.

What was that all about?

Luffy frowned for a moment before laughing out loud again and jogging a bit to catch up with the swordsman. He finally slowed to a walk beside him as the two made their way to the ship in comfortable silence, the rain pattering around them.

As they walked, the boy cast a curious glance at Zoro. Zoro frowned, but said nothing of it. However, as Luffy continued to stare at him, the swordsman felt himself grow a bit uneasy. Was it about what had happened moments before?

"Why are you staring at me?" He finally asked after nearly half a minute of this curious staring.

"Because I want to know why you've got an umbrella and aren't using it." Luffy said simply, staring down at the frilly thing.

Zoro grunted as he glanced down at it. "This damn thing? This stupid old lady at the store made me take it."

"So why aren't you using it, then?" The boy asked innocently.

"Because we're already both soaked as it is, it's not like it would make much of a difference." Zoro replied. Well, there was that and the fact that the swordsman wouldn't be caught dead using something so frilly, pink and…so…so...unmanly. "Besides, it's not really raining that hard…"

And of course, the rain chose that moment to go from raining heavily to practically being so heavy it was like standing beneath a waterfall.

Luffy blinked, glancing up at the sky. He then burst into laughter once again while Zoro's eye twitched. Why was nature so against him today?

"Goddamnit…" He cursed, making as if to continue his brooding way towards the Going Merry.

Then Luffy chose that moment to sneeze loudly. Zoro paused, glancing back at the boy, whom was rubbing his nose and blinking back at Zoro.

"…Damn it all." The swordsman cursed yet again, stomping back over to the boy and holding up the umbrella. He pulled it open and help it above their heads, effectively preventing some of the downpour from hitting them.

Luffy laughed again, latching on to Zoro's arm as he watched the steady streams of rain water drizzle from the edges of the umbrella to the ground. "I like the rain, but it's more fun if you have someone to play in it with."

Zoro glanced down at the boy's innocent smile before sighing and shaking his head. "Yeah, whatever. Come on, let's get back to the ship." He grumbled.

And so as the two finally made their way to the Going Merry, with Luffy clinging to his arm to try and stay under the protection of the stupid frilly pink umbrella, Zoro decided today wasn't such a huge mistake after all.

He really did like rain.

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-Owari-