Piece: Territorial Claim
"I don't like it."
"Huh?" was Roronoa Zoro's brilliant response to Sanji's statement.
"Something's wrong with Nami-san. She hasn't been herself lately, and everywhere we go, she starts getting oh so chummy with all the good-looking guys in sight."
"…What's your point, exactly?" Zoro grunted as he leaned back against the wall, losing interest in the subject since it seemed like nothing new.
"It's the look in her eyes. Nami-swan…she wants…well, you know…something special."
"NO, you MARIMO! I think Nami's finally hit her peak."
"What are you talking about?"
"Ugh, think about it, fish guts! Nami-san is now a nineteen year-old woman who has been on a boat with an all-men crew for a whole year! She must have many hidden desires by now."
"…Uh-huh. She's just lustin' after a mug like you." The swordsman's was coated in sarcasm.
"Seriously! Nami-san's been getting extremely close to guys in a physical way lately. The look in her eyes…you just know! Have you ever tried to look closely into Nami-swan's eyes?"
"Yeah, actually," Zoro answered, shifting his gaze up to Sanji's, "but then I jumped in a pool and she stepped on my injured back, punched me in the gut and threw me in jail."
"Arg, forget it!" the S.S. Merry Go's chef bellowed as he stormed off to the kitchen, "I'd have had better luck talking to Luffy!"
"I doubt it!" Zoro shouted after the blonde, making sure his voice sounded off before he heard the door slam. He sighed lifelessly and shifted his back against the boards of the Galley. Man, what an idiot! Nami was 'oh so chummy' with anyone she felt she could mooch off of, he knew it! She used her looks as a way to get in with you then made you want her, enough to waste your very being. It was how she was. It's her favorite pass-time, especially since she's on a boat with an all-men crew for a whole year. None of them ever offered to pleasure her, let alone asked her to marry them! They couldn't right now. Though Sanji would in a heartbeat, no questions.
However, Zoro already had dibs.
You see, Zoro met her first, so it was kind of as if fate played a role in their relationship. He was the one always saving her. He was the one who had to fight for her. He risked his life for her, just so she could see how un-'cold-blooded witch'-y-like she was. He didn't even know why she had been there; he just knew she wasn't as evil as the dumb-ass bastard made her sound. After all, people called him a demon and he still couldn't figure out how to make his eyes glow red.
True, Zoro didn't, or does not, fight for Nami like Sanji does, but that's because romance isn't his thing. He protects her, that's his way of showing he cares. And he takes care of her. After all, he carried her through Alabasta because 'she couldn't walk' when he should've been resting due to such severe wounds. It was obvious, no matter what he said, he cherished her very existence.
He had never admitted such a thing because Nami was…well, Nami. She can be very finicky. It's probably the biggest risk anyone could ever take asking Nami to be theirs because she gets bored easily. Nami is vibrant and, as she's been known as, spunky. That gives her a charm and makes her a challenge. Any proud man would be truly pleased to have her on their arm. Not as if she was merely a prize, but to truly win her heart. In order to do that, she needs to be deep in yours. And she knows if she is or not, so you need to be really sharp when you face up to your duel. If you lose, don't even try to redeem yourself; you've lost with no second chances.
That's why Zoro had sort of staked a claim on Nami in his heart. No matter how many times he obeyed her thanks to debt-threats or how many times they argued, Nami had never just hung him out to dry. With Sanji, she seduced him to a point where he could melt into butter. That was because Sanji's love for her is the kind of love you give to a famous person you admire of the opposite sex. When seduced, in Sanji's eyes, Nami is the exact type of girl he wants; innocent, sweet, adorable and needs him to be there for her. Ms. Navigator already knows Zoro is there for her, and has her way to make sure he knows it too, so she doesn't need to resort to such trickery, even if it is harmless. Even if, dare he say, he wouldn't mind.
No one knew of Zoro's little claim because he preferred not to act on it. If one day, Sanji every tried to go too far, or if she was in dire despair, then he would have to and it wouldn't be a problem. But only then would he show it. Only when he felt he had to in order to make things right. Besides, he didn't feel like gambling with Nami's trick poker. She was riskier then when he fought Mr.1.
Deciding after thinking a bit that Sanji may have been onto something, Zoro grumbled before shifting his position two more times, waiting ten seconds and growling as he stood up and marched toward the boat's side, about to run into town to find Nami.
"Eh? Ohh…hey there, Zoro-babe. What's u–(hiccup)-up?" the woman he knew as Nami, his Nami, splurged out with lightly reddened cheeks.
Yeah, she was on her way to getting drunk.
In a bar.
On a random island.
With…FIVE MUSCULAR GUYS IN NOTHING BUT BANADANAS, BOOTS AND CARGO SHORTS
Bzz! Bzz! BZZ! Oh, fuck NO!
"C'mon", he called in a fierce voice while he stood in between her and three of her 'friends', "Let's get you back."
"Naw, not now! We were just about to go to the bar three blocks down. They've got these orange coolers I gotta try! Ha-ha! Hey, why not come along, Zoro? You need to unwind a bit. You look…rough 'n' tough."
'Hell yeah I am! And I'm gonna be rough 'n' tough on her ass if she doesn't listen to me and get out of this fucking place! …Hey…that sounds—'
"Aw, no! These fellas were being so nice to me, I can't just leave. It'd be rude." She stumbled back on her bar stool and leaned against the counter side.
"Yeah, you heard the lady. So beat it," one guy who had blocked his view of Nami stated with a glare, "Or we'll beat you."
"Oh really? Judging by this town, I'd say you guys are poor wanna-be pirates, right?"
"WANNA-BE? Why you—!"
"Hey, Nami, tell them my name again. My full name."
"Heh, it's Roronoa Zoro-babe, ha-ha!" Nami amused herself with her answer.
All of the guys froze.
"Z-Zoro? No way! He's off in the Grand Line with the Straw Hat guy!"
"We had to make a quick pit-stop. Now, you may not be world-renowned, but you are pirates. I could turn you in for a small fee each."
"H-hey wait! You're a pirate now too! If you did that, you'd end up captured and locked up like any other!"
"Oh," he laughed maniacally as he sent them that terrifying hunter's glare of his, causing them to shudder visibly, "I'd be sure to get the dough and split. I'd make sure of it, right Nami?"
"Oh yeah! Bellis, bellis, bellis!" The red-head threw her hands in the air out of joy.
"No, Nami!" all five guys moaned with tears pouring out of their eyes like losing fan boys. 'She'd take cash over us? That easily?'
"Anyway," the growl of the infamous swordsman snapped all their attention to him, "I'd like to take the lady back home now, so if you'll all excuse me…"
"Yes, sir!" All stepped out of his way and saluted, quaking in their boots.
Zoro just smirked in their direction before turning to face the almost drunken wreck of the girl. She was sitting with one leg over the other, her skirt hiking up her thighs due to the motion. Her back was arched forward, making her chest impossible to ignore. And with her arms on the counter, supporting her action to add to the affect more so, it made things a lot harder. Especially for the one who had gone to retrieve her of his own accord. But her face was what caught him. Her eyes were a quarter closed, giving her a hypnotized look that she knew men found enticing. Her head was turned slightly to the right, half hovering over her shoulder. And her lips formed a small 'o' like shape that made her look as if she wanted something, to say something, to him. He found this rather…alluring, part of her charm.
He held out a hand to her, "Let's go, now."
"Hmph, you're no fun. Such an old stiff." She scrunched her nose in disgust at such a thing before taking his gesture and letting him lead her out of the bar, knowing if he let her go, she'd run right back in or fall flat on her face.
"Aw man! Zoro-ba-by! Why'd you gotta go and ruin my fun?" she whined with crocodile tears as they turned off the street of the bar and headed 'home'. He actually walked eight blocks to find her, having to search twenty-seven bars, knowing that's where she'd be.
An animé angry sign pulsed on his temple, grinding his teeth. "Don't. call. me. that."
"Okay…Zoro-babe." She whispered under her breath, though she knew he would hear it, and giggled.
"O-okay, okay, I'sw'y. Pwease don't be mad at me, Zowo." She begged with a pout, causing the changed lettering of her words.
"My name is Zoro, not Zowo!" He growled deeply in annoyance at the taste of nicknames she offered.
"Tee hee, all right." The way she spoke seemed to be a sign of her calming down. Zoro looked back at her to see her eyes cast down to their joined hands with a look of pure bliss. He was confused on what to do in this sort of situation, so he decided to just take advantage of her sobering-down-ness.
"So, what's up with the bars lately? Everywhere we go, you seem to need a beer or four to quench your thirst out in the city, even though we've got plenty of good rum on the Merry Go."
He felt her hand flinch in his and knew something was up. She sighed almost inaudibly, then responded.
"Sanji needs it for his recipes. Besides, I know that you enjoy it as much as I do, and you don't have the money to go out on the town like me, so I figured I'd let you enjoy that stuff while I splurge a little. Nothing wrong with that."
"Yeah, not really. Except every night when you get back you're incredibly smashed and you need Sanji or Robin to carry you to your bed because you'd crash into the ground if you walked another step. And they even have to meet you on shore! Then there's the other half of the problem, where the next morning, you're so hung-over, you don't even leave your room. You stay in there all day unless we hit an island, where you just go drink more. I'm just curious, are you trying to kill yourself on alcohol poisoning so you can die a painless death or are you just bored?" His grip on her hand had strengthen and weakened many a time throughout his little speech, but by the end, he held on even though she'd let go, knowing he needed to for her.
"…But…isn't it…better that way?" he heard a whisper from behind. He was about to turn around to question her when he felt they're locked fingers tugged around his back. Before a reaction could happen, the sound of her sandals on a different type of ground echoed in his ears and his hand was dropped. Not a moment later did he feel a weight suddenly drop on his back, or more like jump onto. So much for being sober.
"N-Nami? Wha-?" He squawked out as he gripped the under sides of her thighs, making sure she wouldn't fall. But definitely not for his own enjoyment, oh no.
"It's…here, isn't it?" she asked in what sounded as a pained voice while snaking her gentle fingers to the collar of his normal cream-colored shirt and dipping her tips inside. When he felt her find her desired destination, he gasped lightly. So, now he knew what was bothering her; she was bothered by his latest addition to his fascinating collection of scars.
"I got it, didn't I?" she asked while moving her fingers up and down so delicately, the feeling of delight spreading through his being like wildfire.
"I-is this what's been bothering you? Is this why you've been drinking?"
He felt her head rest on is shoulder, assuming that to be a sign he was right.
"Nami, it's okay, really. This is not--"
"It hurt though, right? When he…when y-you… ( sigh ) I-I'm ( sniff ) sorry."
"Oh please. Compared to Hawkeye's mark and Arlong's rip, it's nothing!"
"Are you trying to tell me the feel of cold hard steel piercing you just under your collar bone felt like a mosquito bite? When the blood came oozing out thanks to that thick blade, that was just--"
"Obviously it hurt! I got stabbed woma-" –he felt her stiffen- "-n…Oh, damn, why do you care?"
"Because…" she stopped to think.
"Because if I died, I wouldn't be able to work off my debt?"
"No, that's not it." She continued to speak in such a soft tone.
"Without me, you'd have no one to command to do your dirty work with one-hundred percent sure of success?"
"No, that's not it either."
"Then you've got me stumped." He replied with a light shrug and a toss of the head, continuing their walk for her.
He got mad. "You could at least try to come up with an answer!"
"…Yeah…I guess it's because…hmm…"
"…Yeah? WELL!" He wanted a solid answer, damn it!
"You should know, Zoro. I thought it was obvious." Was her 'solid' reply, not satisfying him at all.
He just grunted, "Sanji could always be your new guardian, you know. I'm not that special."
"No, he can't."
"I'm sure he'd work-out a bit for you. He'd even die his hair this creepy green if you asked."
"Good for him, I guess. Though he'd probably get tossed across the sea by Luffy and Usopp. They wouldn't like it."
"Neither would I."
"…Hmph, if you don't have a reason, you shouldn't be drinking like this. It's bad for your health, you know."
"Why do you care?"
"Huh?" he was shocked to hear the question thrown at himself.
"Would you care if I poisoned myself to death? Wouldn't you be relieved? You'd be fre—"
Nami was somehow then whirled around, increasing the small dizzy spell she'd been experiencing because of her drinking, and was now nose-to-nose with the swordsman who apparently liked giving her piggy-back rides. The closeness only made her swirl more and lose her breath.
"Only a damned jackass would enjoy the thought of a dead companion. And even though you think I am one, I would never find your death, or anyone else's on the boat's, as a good thing. Remember that!" his heated breath of rage smoothed over her tingling anxious lips. All she could do was nod her head down slowly, but brought it back as fast as possible so the heat she had just felt would return. Zoro didn't know that she found it to be a pleasure, so he just exhaled through his nose and began to turn her around so she could once again rest on their way back. Nami was indeed shocked by this, thinking he would probably drop her on the ground after that. But she was more consumed by her withdrawal of heat and gripped her fingers onto his shoulders, bringing her chest against his to stop him, wanting to stay this way with him. It was very hard to do anything about the situation, and after a few moments of pure-white mind space, figuring she was just still in her alcoholic trance, he let it slide and took another step forward. But he was still not enjoying touching Nami the way he was! No, he had to make sure she was safe and didn't fall, that's all…yeah, that was what he'd tell the others.
"Hmm?" he heard her mumble through the fabric of his casual shirt, moving her arms around him more comfortably.
"Can I ask you do something please?" his mind was affected by her sweet enchantress scent; vanilla and oranges. Sweet and spicy.
"What?" she asked so gentle, it almost was impossible to believe it was coming from her.
"Can you be honest, and tell me why you care? All we do is argue, so I'm not seeing it. I named all the reasons I could think of."
"I care…because its you, Zoro." Now she sounded sleepy.
"But why would it matter if it's me?" he asked as he jumped her body up lightly to situate her better against him.
"To me, you…are…"
"…Yeah?" he inwardly begged her to go on, hoping his claim would have a reason to be stated.
"My on…ly…" and that was when he heard her breathing even out.
Zoro sighed somewhat irritably at the woman in his arms. All he wanted was an answer, damn it! Was that so hard? Really? She was so close to it, but she just had to get comfortable on his upper body and fall asleep! Who else could possibly do that? Ninety-nine point six percent of the world's population found him to be a ferocious demon with an unquenchable blood lust. All those negatives would cower in fear of him, just like those guys in the bar. And yet this one woman found it so easy to fall asleep in his arms, against his chest, her head resting in his neck's crook. How she could do such a thing, he would most likely never know. But then again, as powerful as knowledge is, sometimes it disturbs you and smothers dreams. So, what would be so wrong with letting Zoro dream on?
No matter how cute and heart-warming that moment might have been between our story's two main focuses, nothing changed. Due to the crew's arrival upon the island at midnight the night before, knowing the only places open were the local pubs, the members of the Straw Hat Pirates knew they would have to wait until the following day to collect provisions. Doing so, Sanji and Robin were able to gather everything the crew would need for at least two weeks, thanks to Nami being generous and offering to help out with their financing. With the task of collecting that much cargo, and Sanji taking Robin for a somewhat date, they did not return until sunset. When arriving, the sound of a loud 'Bang!' greeted the two. Instantly, they were at the door of the Galley in fighting stances. However, said stances were dropped when they saw it was just the familiar sight of Nami releasing her anger when arguing with Zoro, though it was a surprise to see her left fist on the table a few times instead of his head, the reason behind the shaking ship.
"YOU are a damn MORON!"
"Oh, I'm a moron?"
"Hey Luffy, what's this about?" asked Sanji as he stepped inside.
"Yeah, you are!"
"I'unno," the captain said with a shrug,
"All I wanted was an explanation! I wanted a real answer that made actual sense! That's all! You just had to make it into a huge monster deal!"
in suddenly from the deck like this." "I see. Well, I
guess I'll start dinner." The Merry Go chef declared as he cuffed
up his sleeves.
"I see. Well, I guess I'll start dinner." The Merry Go chef declared as he cuffed up his sleeves.
"Arg, because you're an idiot!"
"OOH! OOH! DID YOU GET MEAT?" Luffy jumped up from his seated position and ran to look through the bags.
"I thought I was a moron?"
"Of course I did! Now get out of there!" A foot was delivered to the rubberman's face.
"But you just said I am now an idiot."
"T-that's 'cause you're a moronic idiot!"
"…But…I'm hungry!" the poor boy whined.
"Nami, I can't be three things at once."
"That's why I'm starting now. Go sit back down and wait."
"No, I know. You're a moronic idiot who is pissing me off!"
"Apparently, I'm a busy guy."
"Okay!" Luffy cheered happily.
"Oh, I don't even know why you're here! Are you just on this tub to drive me insane?"
"NOT WITH MY BAG OF GROCERIES, YOU DUMBASS!" Sanji yelled with dagger teeth.
"…Do you hear yourself talk? I've now said it twice that all I wanted was an. Answer! Then you had to flip out like an enraged bull!"
"Ehh…" Captain whined as he dropped his head on the table with fish lips.
"Well, you're bullshit!" Nami said the first thing that came to her mind, shocking Sanji enough to ignore the lit cigarette falling onto his shoe.
"NAMI-SAN! Please, don't sully your precious lips with such dirty talk! MARIMO! DON'T ANGER NAMI-SAN TO THE POINT OF SWEARING!"
"What's it matter? You say that and worse all the time. I even say it to you, and you don't complain." Zoro yawned with his hands behind his head, now bored since 'Dartboard eyebrow' interrupted their squabble. "Because I didn't realize we had such a strong influence on Nami-san!" Sanji contorted. Then he turned to face the girl he swooned for with a heart-y gaze, "Oh dear Nami-swan! I beg you, don't use such words again! They make you seem yucky--
"Heh." Was Zoro's reply, causing the blonde and red to growl.
"—and we know you aren't. And even if some are blind, I think you're beautiful in--"
"—bed. Others think so, too." Again, Nami's fury rose.
"SHUT UP, JACKASS! Anyway, such trashy words are sullying the purity of your lips!"
"What purity?" Zoro whispered drowsily as he sat down against the wall. He heard someone walk toward him and his instinct kicked ion. Right when he opened his eyes, he saw a line of cream wash over his sight and then everything went in slow motion.
Before Zoro could move, Nami back-handed him as hard as she could. But as her hand came in contact with his at such an enraged speed, the Log Pose she had on her wrist, the glass sphere, somehow broke on impact. Tiny glass shards scratched over his skin while the rest fell to the floor. Blood drizzled lightly down the front of his lower jaw after a few moments, causing everyone to snap out of it, including the injuree. As he went to touch the wound, he heard Luffy, Usopp and Chopper scream in fear. By the time he regained his cool and lifted his gaze, eyes glazed over in shock, Chopper and taken Nami's place in front of him. The only trace of her was the Galley door slamming shut and the sound of heels clicking swiftly over wooden boards.
"Zoro, are you okay?" Chopper asked as he grabbed the man's chin in his hoof and examined.
"What do you think?" he asked emotionlessly as his still widened eyes remained locked on the door.
"Oh…yeah. I wonder how that happened. Nami isn't that strong is she?" the reindeer man wondered aloud as he carefully picked up one of the smaller pieces of glass to find a clue.
"Let me see that, Chopper." Sanji stated more then anything as he held out his left hand to the doctor, his other hand holding onto his cigarette. Chopper just nodded and did what the blonde man asked. Somehow, through the smoke, Sanji was able to analyze the fragment carefully.
"Well?" Robin asked with her arms crossed over her chest a few moments later, knowing what he was trying to do.
"Well," Sanji began before exhaling the black fog from his mouth, "Apparently, it just cracked and a few pieces got loose. It must be from when she kept banging her fist on the table. The bracelet was turned on her wrist when she was hitting it, so the few bangs must've hit its breaking point. But, honestly," –he glared at Zoro at this point, though the swordsman took no notice- "Even if it hadn't and though it did, I say he deserved it. After all, it wouldn't have broken in the first place if they hadn't been fighting and she was trying to spare him another reason to be dense."
Zoro let the remark slide, not giving a damn anymore what this crackpot was saying. He couldn't believe Nami had smacked him across the face. Sure, she'd hit him. How else was she suppose to wake him up? And he knew sometimes he needed to be put back in line and being him, all he understood was violence. But never, that he could remember did she slap him across the face. Or use glass. But that really was just an accident. Actually, the little cuts were nothing. He didn't feel them and he knew it wouldn't cause a scar or barely a mark. His stinging cheek is all that was sinking in.
"…W-well, uh, Sanji! Why don't you…uh, get a move on with dinner?" Usopp asked with a shaky smile, trying to get out of the weird situation.
"Do you really thi--"
"Sanji, I'm hungry." Robin stated calmly as she flipped the page in her book.
"Then I shall make a grand feast for you, Robin-chan!" Mr. Prince cheered as he rolled up his sleeves, on his way over to the stove.
"I don't need that much, just a meal." The Hana-Hana Devil's fruit user said with a sigh.
"Anything, for you, Robin-c--"
"Huh?" All looked over to the door, then turned to each other to do a head count.
"Hey! Where's Zoro?" Luffy was the first to notice.
Other then Chopper, who tried to chase after the man, everyone else shrugged and went on with life, knowing there was nothing they could do.