Title: Small Nothings
Pairing: ZoSan
Rating: eh... PG I guess, well... maybe PG-13, my Zoro tends to swear a lot. XD
Disclaimer: Don't own. But I'm asking Santa for Christmas!!
Warnings: None.
Summary: Zoro proves he can be all philosophical . . . and stuff.
Warning: PRE-SLASH - ZoroxSanji


He stuck his thumb in his mouth again and absently began to chew. It was ridiculous really, all the raw, gaping wounds inflicted upon him in the past and a simple little splinter was driving him to distraction. The ridges of skin on his fingertip grated over his teeth and he continued to nibble at the raw flesh.

It always seemed to be the little things, didn't it? The smaller things in life that caused the most pain … and maybe even the most pleasure. He didn't often have time to stop and think of simple nothings and contemplate life in general. Surely most of his nakama didn't regard him of much of a thinker at all. Not that it would bother him. He truly never cared about others opinions of him, well, perhaps now there was a handful that he desperately refused to let down … but nothing more than that.

Pulling his well-gnawed thumb out of his mouth he eyed it dubiously. The little embedded flint of wood taunted him from inside the finger. Damn thing, he never would have noticed it if it hadn't been such a calm, quiet day. Nothing to do but lay about, enjoying the swaying boat beneath him and the sparkling sky above. Sighing, he let his hand drop to his lap and returned to his inner thoughts.

Hadn't he been thinking of small things? Yes, most definitely. Small. Hmm… what other small things were going on at this moment that he had perhaps never taken into account before? Let's see. Robin was reading on the deck, nothing strange there, her foot tapping a beat on the wood beneath it. Had she always tapped her foot like then when reading? He thought back, yes … yes he was pretty sure she had. He wondered if perhaps she was reading the printed words along with that beat. Interesting.

A movement to his right caught his eye. Usopp was mixing his chemicals again, searching for some great new creation. A couple small explosions and fires, which appeared to be forthcoming, and it would be a day like any other. Telling himself to look closer he noticed that silent words were forming on the younger man's mouth as he worked. He seemed to be having an internal argument about what to do next. Funny.

Next to Usopp, Chopper had his little mortar and pestle out and was furiously grinding away at some root. The little reindeer-man always brought a secret smile to the swordsman's face. They had a different kind of connection than anyone else on the crew. Chopper could take care of himself, sure, but Zoro always felt more compelled to look after him than any of his other nakama. Maybe this is what it felt like to have a younger brother to protect? He wasn't sure, naturally, but it could be. Chopper stopped working long enough to wipe his little brow, and then he quickly scanned the deck of the ship with his gaze. When his eye's met the swordsman he stopped, then seemed to let out a breath and returned to his work. Did he always make sure that he was near by, like that? Curious.

A red blur shot across his vision and he turned to watch his Captain running circles around the little ship trying to escape what appeared to be a very irate Nami. A glint of bright orange could be seen in Luffy's hand. Ah. Got it. Tangerine. No wonder she was angry. So, what small thing was he missing here? They went past him again. Suddenly it struck him that Luffy wasn't really trying very hard to get away, and Nami wasn't really trying very hard to catch him. There was a strange glint in their eyes that spoke of something deeper than the situation called for. Like, this was simply a charade. Protocol. It was clearly Luffy's job to take and Nami's job to chase. Something that had to be done, because it bound them all together as nakama.

Luffy stole food. Nami gave orders. Usopp caused damage. Robin was their voice of reason. Chopper was their voice of wonder. And Zoro slept. All right then. His moment of great thought successfully completed. A small mental pat on his back and perhaps a nap to celebrate? A small internal voice niggled at his brain. So what about the silly love-cook?

He paused. What about him? He had no desire whatsoever to find any hidden, deeper meanings in anything THAT man did. Absently, his now bleeding thumb found his mouth again. As far as he could tell, there wasn't much to ponder about the pervert that did the cooking.

Almost as if his thoughts had conjured the man, Zoro realized that the blonde had just walked out onto the deck from the galley. The swordsman's gaze drifted the opposite direction. Nothing new to see really. The cook would come outside, light a cigarette, try in vain to flirt with the women, attempt to sway them with some kind of treat and then…

Dammit. He apparently already knew more than enough about the habits of the moron. Good thing he wasn't trying to observe anything more. Another vicious bite at his offending digit, and if he didn't get this damned splinter out soon he was going to have to slice something up in a violent, that-will-teach-you-to-breathe-in-my-vicinity type way.

He was so focused on the splinter, he almost missed when the stupid love-cook walked right up to him.

"Oi, meathead."

Just ignore him and he'll go away. Far more important to get this damn thing out of my finger before I 'accidentally' loose my mind in a fit of rage. There was a long suffering sigh from above him and suddenly his vision was filled with the cook as the man squatted down in front of him.

"It's not going to come out if you do that. You're only going to manage to chew your thumb off, you idiot."

Zoro froze and finally met Sanji's gaze. He felt his brows draw together, and must have made quite a face, because the cook rolled his eyes and snatched Zoro's hand with a speed that gave him no chance for defense. Sanji was now holding Zoro's hand between his own and staring, quite closely, at the raw thumb.

His brain fired back up to full speed and he tried to pull his hand back.

"Hey, pervert! What are you doing?"

In the blink of an eye, Sanji had freed one of his own hands and, using his forefinger and thumb, painfully flicked Zoro on the tip of his nose.

"Shut up, seaweed-head, I'm trying to see the splinter."

Zoro blinked.

"Did you just . . . flick my nose?"

Sanji ignored him completely, staring way too closely at his thumb instead. He tried to pull his hand away again.

"I KNOW you didn't just flick my-"

A quick motion and thwap he'd done it again.


"Keep. Your. Hand. Still."

Then the blonde dove in with his free (flicking) hand, pinched the splinter between two of his fingernails, and pulled it out in one quick movement. Zoro blinked. Sanji rubbed the thumb roughly with his own and turned it from side to side, as if to make sure the splinter was completely gone. Zoro blinked again. The cook finally stopped looking at the finger and met his gaze instead.

"You see, meathead? You were going about it all wrong."

For his part, Zoro was simply trying to fight back the intense wave of heat he could feel trying to make its way up his neck to his face. Not that he could help blushing, because … the damn cook was Holding. His. Hand.

He must have been failing, because the other man froze with the strangest look on his face. Like perhaps he'd just realized what he was doing. Zoro could feel the heat on his face, but took comfort in the fact that Sanji was now sporting a lovely strawberry hue as well. He couldn't tell how long they sat there like that. Wide-eyed. Red-faced. With the damn cook Holding. His. Hand. It was probably seconds. It seemed like hours.

Finally, Sanji appeared to pull himself together and opened this mouth to speak. Zoro felt himself start to relax. Oh good. Here will come an insult, that I can return, then we'll kick the crap out of each other and all will be normal again. But the quick, babbled words that rushed out of the blonde's mouth were not exactly what he had been expecting.

"Do you know you always, kinda, bite your bottom lip when you're nervous?"

Zoro's jaw fell open a bit, releasing the lip he'd subconsciously been holding between his teeth. He really didn't know how to respond to that one. Not that it mattered, because as soon as the words had been uttered, Sanji had shot to his feet and quickly made his way to the galley.

So the swordsman sat there, staring at nothing, and not-so-calmly waiting for his brain to come back to life. He didn't notice the thumps coming from the kitchen that sounded remarkably like someone banging their head against a wall. He didn't notice the smirking faces of his nakama all around him. He didn't notice that he had slowly brought his thumb back to his mouth to suck lightly at the tiny wound. But his thumb now had a slight taste of tobacco to it.

And that he did notice.

X fin X