Title: Everyone loves a Masochist
Pairings: Nakama-ish ... Zoro/everyone... if you squint
Rated: PG
Spoilers: eh... yeah, I guess... through the Davy Back Fight
A/N: This is me trying to kick-start my muse again ... hoping to get back into writing the story I posted on here AGES ago... but for now... a little ficlet ... beware ... I was in a bit of a melancholy mood. XD XD

XOXOXOXOXOX

When Luffy looks at Zoro, he sees a massive black sword splitting a strong chest open like it was nothing more than butter. He sees ruby droplets of blood sprayed in every direction like so many party favors falling into the sea. He sees a man he was just really starting to understand … but whom already had a firm grasp on his soul. When Luffy looks at Zoro, he can feel that moment all over again. The painful couple of seconds when he was sure, SURE that he'd lost the first real friend he had made since loosing Shanks. The first crewmate on his journey … and the second man he knew he'd give his life for. He was so positive that he would be pulling a lifeless, empty body out of the sea … somehow. He just knew that Zoro was dead.

And then he wasn't … and Luffy told himself that if there was ever a time that he couldn't pull his friend back from the void, a time when Zoro's steadfast support wasn't there … then the journey would be a little less meaningful and a lot less fun. A little less worth to chasing the dream. Luffy knows that if that day ever comes … he will always wonder what it would have been like, as King of the Pirates, to have the World's Greatest Swordsman beside him.

XOXOX

When Usopp looks at Zoro, he sees Arlong grasping the swordsman by the neck and ripping off the mangled bandage to reveal a gaping, seeping wound. He sees the giant puddle of blood on the ground slowly spreading like an ocean of crimson water. When Usopp looks at Zoro, he remembers all over again … the utter disbelief that this man was still alive. Still fighting with every ounce of his strength for people he barely knew. He realized at that moment that Zoro would always be the friend that he looked up to most. The only man, besides his father, that he most wanted to be. A man who could give his life for others without an ounce of fear, just because he knew it was the right thing to do. In that moment, he just knew that Zoro was about to die right in front of him.

And then he didn't … and Usopp worried that some day Zoro would be gone forever, and there wouldn't be that constant ideal to compare himself to. That perfect warrior he yearned to be more than anything. Usopp knows that if that day ever comes … he would stop striving to reach that level … because … if Zoro wasn't there to acknowledge him, the accomplishment would be worthless.

XOXOX

When Nami looks at Zoro, she sees his katana sweeping in a graceful arch towards his own ankles, and the resulting deep garnet waterfall drizzling down the side of a large wax candle cake. She remembers the resolve on his face, unflinching against the pain, just determined that his own limbs weren't as important as getting his nakama out of their melting prison. When Nami looks at Zoro, she can see it all over again … the deep understanding that he was stronger than they, and that it was therefore his duty to protect them from any danger. She sees someone that can always be counted on to protect those that need it, and back up those that do not. She was certain that day that he would bleed to death beside her.

But they got away … and Nami fears the day that Zoro won't be there to protect them from those that would do them harm. The day that Zoro will need their protection, and they won't be strong enough to give it. Nami knows that if the day ever comes when Zoro looses his life protecting her … she would never be able to forgive herself for not being strong enough to return the favor.

XOXOX

When Chopper looks at Zoro, he sees him falling in the sky above him … arms outstretched and beads of sweat and blood leaving a sparkling trail in his wake, falling slowly like some heavenly being. He sees him then hit the unforgiving ground with a resounding crack that rattles Chopper's own bones in sympathy. When Chopper looks at Zoro, he remembers how his gaze never wavered from Vivi's ascent to save her country … not once looking back to see what fate awaited him below. He understands that, to Zoro, the dreams and desires of those around him are just as important as his own … and he never backs down from helping them meet those dreams. He remembers being afraid to turn to, what he was sure, was the broken body on the ground beside him.

Then Zoro sat up … and Chopper fears the day that he won't. The day that Zoro's wounds will be too severe for him to fix … the day that Zoro and his dreams will fade away because Chopper wasn't a good enough doctor to save him. He knows if that day ever comes, he will loose his confidence as a physician … because what good would his skills be if he couldn't save someone as important to him as Zoro?

XOXOX

When Sanji looks at Zoro, he sees the idiot lying beside him in the grass, broken and bloody, during the Davy Back fight. He sees the stubborn and determined look in the other man's eyes, dulled a little by pain, but the refusal to loose still reflected clearly. He sees a man that can infuriate him more than any he has ever known … and yet always have his back during a battle with a loyalty that is beyond fierce. When Sanji looks at Zoro, he relives those moments when they came together to win for their nakama … against odds so heavily stacked against them it was ridiculous. He sees someone that can piss him off and make him loose his cool in an instant … but then always be there to fight beside him or to protect those they both hold dear in the next. He recalls wondering if the moronic fight would be the death of one, or both, of them.

And then they won … and Sanji contemplates the day they won't. The day the moss-headed fool will take too much upon himself, and finally let down everyone who counts on him to be invincible. The day his fearless actions will catch up with him and leave the cook without a punching bag, without a rival, without a warm back against his in a fight. Sanji knows if that day ever comes, he'll loose something more important to him than he will ever let on … and feel that much emptier because of its loss.

X fin X