A.N: Um…I'm sorry guys…I can't increase the speed of my updating! I'M SORRY!

Disclaimer: I don't own One Piece, nor do I own this one tiny quote I used in the chapter from the One Piece anime- the episode when (Spoiler for people who haven't watched Water 7!) Luffy and Usopp have a duel. I used the quote because this story is my interpretation of what happened on the ship between the Ao Kiji confrontation and Water 7. In the episode, Zoro and Luffy sounded like they had already conspired beforehand, using the quote- which was why they seemed to have this tiny mutual understanding. So yeah…meh.

I have a challenge for you. The challenge is named:

'How big a One Piece fan are you?'

Can you spot the quote that I've used from the Luffy vs. Usopp episode? Copy it once you find it and stick it in a review!

Enjoy …please!

Chapter 8

It was early in the morning and Usopp was greeted with the familiar smell of delicious breakfast. His eyes snapped open and he blinked twice. This was odd, usually he awoke to an eyeful of Luffy's head dangling above his face. He twisted in his hammock as he ran his eyes around the room. He spotted Chopper sleeping at his desk. The poor little guy was surrounded by stacks of papers- he'd been working himself to sleep again.

The rest of the room was virtually empty; no Luffy, no Sanji and no Zoro. Great, he must have overslept.

He jumped down from his bed and landed gracefully on his feet- a performance fit for an audience. He jogged to the stairs and opened the flap before crawling out of the boy's room.

"Morning long nose-kun." Robin greeted from her deck chair.

"Hey Robin." He acknowledged, observing the weather around him in order to make small chitchat with the older woman. "Nice w-WOAH!" He was cut short by a hard body lying in his path. He fell to the ground awkwardly and rolled over in pain. He glanced upwards to see he had landed on-

"Zo-Zoro!" Usopp exclaimed. The man was giving him a dirty look. He hadn't flinched, he just waited patiently for Usopp to get off his lap. Usopp just lay there, knowing he had twisted something. "Stop sleeping in such ridiculous places!"

"Why don't you just look where you're going next time and get the hell off of me!" Zoro said angrily.

Usopp pushed himself off the ground and stomped towards the kitchen. Luffy would probably be there.

((oOo))

"What do you mean why do I hate Zoro? Well, isn't it obvious?" Sanji asked, taken aback by the random question.

"Just wondering." Luffy mumbled tiredly into his arms.

Sanji observed his lazy manner. Had he not gotten much sleep or something? But he was still sleeping when he got up…

"Luffy?" Sanji asked, turning around fully and completely stopping his actions. Luffy looked up at him lazily. "Haven't you had enough sleep? Go back to bed, you can eat later." Sanji offered.

"What?! No way! I'm just mega hungry." Luffy wined. Sanji smiled slightly and turned back to the stove.

"Suit yourself." he said, and placed a seafood dish marinated in tangerine sauce in front of him.

"I think I'll call it Swan delight." Sanji said with hearts in his eyes as he imagined Nami's joyful expression as she tasted her favorite fruit.

"It's gooood!" Luffy announced as he downed his third plate.

"Sanji! I knew I could count on you!" Usopp exclaimed, suddenly appearing by the door frame. He lunged for a plate, missing it by an inch as it flew towards Luffy's mouth. His attempts at eating the food was about forty percent successful.

"Oi! Shitheads! Your breakfast is disappearing!" Sanji yelled out to Zoro and Chopper, picking up two plates of rescued food in each hand. He made his way out of the kitchen so that he could serve Nami and Robin their breakfasts in bed.

As he passed the doorway he side stepped Zoro, pressing up against the wall behind him. The green oaf watched him pass and gave a nasty comment about his 'poor' choice of breakfast ingredients.

"I mean, I don't think I can stomach your seafood this morning. Isn't it English breakfast day?" Zoro grumbled, shaking his head.

Sanji saw only red when he placed the delicately arranged dishes on the counter next to him and served Zoro a fast kick in the stomach. Once again the shithead didn't flinch…well, he hadn't put much power into that, so he drove his knee towards his groin. He was surprised, for some reason, when the mans hand stopped it by grabbing his thigh. Shit! Marimo was squeezing the life out of it!

"Let go of me shitty Marimo!" Sanji almost wailed, but he somehow managed to tone it down to a harsh whisper.

"And why should I? You started it." Zoro smirked, his eyes daring him to try again.

Sanji was stupefied.

'Why do you hate Zoro?'

Sanji looked ahead of him. Well the answer really was obvious. It was because the stupid moss head was always looking for a fight. He always provoked him….everything he did was disgusting.

So why did his insides feel doubt caving in on them?

'Sanji…why do you hate Zoro?'

Sanji frowned at his current opponent and yanked his leg away from Zoro's grasp. He brought his other leg to kick the back of the swordsman's knees, but once again Zoro predicted his movements.

'Is it because he always knows what I'm going to do?' Sanji asked himself briefly as Zoro countered his attack by bending his knees. The man retaliated by swiping the side of his hand towards the blonde's face, but instinctively Sanji ducked.

'I guess I always get a kick out of fucking with him…'

Sanji jumped and threw his leg into the air, then commenced in slamming it down onto Zoro's neck at breakneck speed.

'I need…to hate him. I can't give him the satisfaction of my kindness.'

Shock paralyzed the cook for a quarter of a second, giving Zoro just enough time to get the better of him. A stray punch to Sanji's shoulder brought the cook to stumble backwards off his step and fall towards the ground. Under the unusual mental circumstances, Sanji couldn't discreetly recover from the blow.

He was falling off the staircase and would land on the ground and that was that- it would snap him out of his stupid thoughts…really…thinking about Luffy's words this much, was he ill?

He suddenly felt a pair of powerful arms wrap around his stomach and a big warm hand capture his own at the same time.

He looked up dumbly to see Luffy's concerned face staring down at him with an expression probably as confused as his own. It was his arms that were wrapped around his waist, his body that supported his own. He couldn't look away from those curious eyes…why was Luffy so serious all of a sudden? And since when did he get behind him?

He whipped his head around suddenly, bringing his eyes instantly to his own pale hand that was clasping Zoro's. He followed the man's tanned arm and met an expression akin to Luffy's. What the fuck? He was seeing clouds…

"I'm fine you guys, get the fuck off me." Sanji said, embarrassed. He yanked his hand out of Zoro's grasp and elbowed his rubber captain to get him away from him.

He retrieved the two plates from the counter and brushed heavily past Zoro. It wasn't like he had meant to, he just lost balance for a second. Still, it worked in his favour and he smiled bitterly when he saw the swordsman wince in frustration. He made his way to Nami and Robin, who were both talking to one another whilst sitting on their deck chairs.

"Your breakfasts, ladies." Sanji said, bowing after placing the dishes down onto the small table within arms reach of them.

"How thoughtful of you Sanji-kun." Nami smiled, running her eyes over the orange sauce. The usual routine.

"Thank you Cook-san, but may I ask a question?" Robin asked politely. Sanji felt his heart beat a little faster and a sincere smile grow on his face.

Was that relief he felt?

Relief from what?

Doubt? Doubt that he certainly did not feel something pull his heartstrings back in the kitchen?

Back there…all that contact… it made him feel sorta…happy…

Yet still…

He had always loved women!

He would always love women.

Women were his life.

Women. Women. Women. Chicks, ladies, girls and women.

"Hai, Robin-chwan." Sanji said, sweating lightly.

She rose an eyebrow at the sudden nervousness of the younger blonde, but carried on. "Seafood? Isn't today English breakfast day?" she asked sweetly, erasing any possible offence with her careful tone. "It was looking forward to it."

Sanji's eyes widened unnoticeably as he recalled the similar comment Zoro had made. But Robin wasn't like him…

Okay, now why was he comparing Robin to Zoro? His thoughts weren't making any sense.

Sanji laughed a bit and gave her a brief explanation about the situation in the kitchen with the empty fridge.

"And you ladies need your protein, so there is no other way." Sanji concluded and bowed once again to excuse himself. "I'm sorry if this is not up to your standards."

"Oh no Sanji-kun! This dish is amazing, as expected!" Nami said quickly, noticing the far away look in his eyes. He looked up at her and she flashed an encouraging smile. His heart rose to the heavens.

"Ah Nami-swan! Your smile refreshes my soul! Enjoy Nami-swan! Robin-chwan!"

The blonde disappeared and Nami turned to Robin with a light frown, questions racing out of her eyes.

"I know. What's happened to our cook?" Robin asked quietly, not expecting an answer.

"I thought you would know…," the navigator sighed.

(((oOo)))

"Oi Chopper!" Sanji called as he walked past the boys' dormitory.

He could hear a muffled groan and the shuffling of papers. The doctor's unique hoof steps approached the door before the little animal opened the flap and hauled himself out onto the deck. He looked up at Sanji tiredly and rubbed his eyes, which made Sanji smile at the adorable scene and crouch down to Choppers level.

"Slept well?" Sanji asked, knowing the answer was going to be along the lines of 'no'.

"Does it look like I've slept well?" Chopper replied grumpily and suddenly dashed towards the kitchen upon realizing his breakfast may have already been eaten by Luffy.

Sanji followed in after him, gulping when both Luffy and Zoro looked up from their plates, looked at each other and then continued to eat.

Sanji once again felt really really angry. Why? Who the fuck cared! Anyway, it was about time he kicked someone's ass and that ass belonged to Zoro.

Despite Sanji's burning will to fight, the cook couldn't move his damn feet! He knew he wanted to fight for the wrong reasons- letting off steam. Zoro…why did he always pick Zoro? Sure the guy's existence pissed him off…but was that all it was? Why the hell was he thinking about this again?

He watched the two eat and grew even more confused. Why on earth was he thinking about this so ferociously? Why had he recently been so worked up about the way Zoro had acted so differently around Luffy? Why! Why were there so many shitty questions and absolutely no simple answers?! Shit, now his hands were shaking. The cook instinctively reached for a new cigarette.

Sanji's eyes grew wide when he realized he was watching Zoro and Zoro had caught him and had been staring back for who knew how long.

They both paused, focusing on the others eyes and the competition commenced- challenging the other to look away. Suddenly noise and voices turned into a dull lull in the background. All that was left in the empty yet full room was Zoro, Luffy and himself. All he noticed was the way he had unintentionally slanted his body so he was half leaning on the counter. He slowly exhaled a cloud of smoke and narrowed his eyes even more.

A wave of heat suddenly shocked Sanji's system and his hand instinctively unbuttoned the first button on his shirt and loosened his tie a little for the same reason.

"What are you looking at aho-cook?" Zoro sneered, his eyebrows sinking lower into his crumpled glare.

The atmosphere was unmodified.

Sanji gritted his teeth around his cigarette. "Something disgusting. If only it were possible for you to see it without a mirror." Sanji rasped, his eyes piercing Zoro's as his pupils grew smaller and smaller with every agonizingly strong beat of his heart. It was like this every time. This was the only way he could act around Zoro and if he wanted to survive (i.e: live with himself) then he couldn't change that. Even if he tried to be nice to someone like Zoro…it would just end up being disgusting. For men who were so ironically alike…it wouldn't be right to be too friendly.

He could see the surprise wash over the mans face but he didn't care, because all he could care about was how harshly his heart was hammering against his chest.

Sanji started to feel something he had never felt before towards… Luffy: A degree of hatred. It didn't feel random but yet, in reason, it was. Why had Luffy suddenly been dragged into his frenzied brainwaves?

Sanji panted quietly; he was fuming. It turned audible when Zoro stood up and walked towards him. The rest of the crew turned to watch the swordsman approach their flustered chef with an expression that looked too scary to comprehend.

Sanji swallowed the whimper that was making it's way up his throat and bit his tongue when Zoro caught his arm. The electricity that was created during the contact made a small crackling noise and the sudden surge of sharpness startled Sanji into forgetting to slap the swordsman's hand away.

"Let's go." Zoro said loudly, snapping Sanji back into reality as he tugged him out of the room. Sanji's legs were determined to do a runner on him once they'd left the kitchen. Yes, that sounded like a good idea- he would just run to the cold comfort of an empty corner. That's exactly what he needed because he was feeling mad and inhuman.

((((((((oOo)))))))))

Five minutes later

There was an immensely strong force that managed to pull Luffy away from his food and make him stand. What were Zoro and Sanji doing? His legs moved one by one across the floor to the door and everyone looked up at him in shock. Luffy had stopped eating…

A duet of wild cheers echoed across the kitchen as Chopper and Usopp dived into the feast of food. Finally! They could eat until they were stuffed! Luffy wouldn't be there to decrease their portion.

They ate as fast as they could and the wild hiccups that sounded from the both of them were tragically neglected and deprived from water.

(((((((((((oOo))))))))))))

Sanji sat on the deck beside Zoro. He had been forced to the ground so quickly he didn't have time to protest. The two sat in silence as Sanji continued to smoke and Zoro continued to chain smoke. Zoro, for once, appreciated the way the thickly unhealthy substance filled the air.

Sanji finally found his voice when he had finished his cigarette. "What was that for Zoro?" he asked calmly, grinding the glowing butt with his fingers.

Zoro turned his head to get a slight view of him within his one-hundred-and-eighty degree span of vision, and smirked, "You tell me. All I knew back there was that you needed out."

Sanji frowned and looked away to exhale another cloud. "Oh really?"

"I didn't like the look you were giving Luffy," Zoro said, getting straight to the point.

Sanji cried instantly in embarrassment. "What the hell are you talking about, you shit?"

Zoro ignored him and scowled as he grew serious, "What's your problem?"

He grabbed the blonde's collar but the pained look in Sanji's eyes made Zoro rethink the notion. Instead he stood up, releasing the cook, refusing to start something that would make life shittier.

It wasn't like Sanji was the enemy…so who the fuck cared.

(((oOo)))

Luffy starred Zoro down and Zoro attempted to do the same. Sanji scoffed in the background, "You call this training?"

Seeing Luffy and Zoro sparring with each other was so rare, strange even. They didn't seem to mind him watching so there he was, sitting on the floor and smoking nicotine; wasting time he felt like wasting. He had seen them earlier and he had to admit that he was enthralled. At this moment in time he was using their activities to calm his inner turmoil. It was a great idea, observing the culprits responsible for him drowning in his thoughts.

"Come on Zoro. I know what I'm doing." Luffy grumbled.

"Luffy, I could squash you flat with this." Zoro protested half-heartedly, his metal weights wavering over Luffy's head.

"Yeah right. Come." Luffy insisted, stepping backwards with one foot to steady himself.

Nodding, the older teen gripped the huge bell tighter and inhaled deeply, before slamming the heavy metal (ImI) down at a dangerous speed towards Luffy's calm stance. A captains order was final, right?

Luffy brought his arms up and stopped the bell once again with his bare hands. Zoro raised the bell above his head once again and brought it back down even faster. Luffy stopped it. Zoro grunted in frustration, pushing the lethal mass harder against Luffy's tough hands. Still, Luffy didn't budge.

They continued like this and soon Zoro was seriously trying his best to crush Luffy flat into the ground. Zoro found it amazing, who knew his muscles could ache this much! Who knew he could sweat this much?

Sanji watched lazily as he relaxed against a wall, but soon began to sit up more and more when he acknowledged the gradually changing colour of Luffy's face. Sure, the guy was bound to get a little red and flustered…but now it looked as if he was about to explode.

"Oi Luffy!" Sanji yelled, startling the two as he abruptly jumped up between them.

"Watch it aho-cook! (3)" Zoro cried as he averted the direction of his swing and brought the bell back to his shoulder. He breathed harshly not understanding why Sanji had interrupted.

"S…Sanji." Zoro said helplessly. There must have been a good reason for this.

"Oi Luffy, can you hear me?" Sanji asked with his back turned to Zoro. He shook the boys shoulders and Luffy had his mouth wide open. The blonde soon began to wonder if he had been seeing things. He swore he had seen pink! He had seen steam pouring out of the guy- he could still feel the heat radiating off of him.

"What was that…just now?" Luffy whispered, feeling his mouth dry up. He had felt…incredible.

"Chopper!" Sanji shouted, knowing the doctor was just next door.

Meanwhile Luffy's head was spinning. He had felt the pressure. He had felt the weight of Zoro's thrusts. His blood pressure was unmistakably high and the concentration of adrenaline in his veins must have been off the charts. It made the temperature from his core being explode to the surface. It made him feel numb, invincible, untouchable!

Zoro stood there, confused. Had he just missed something? Sanji had just jumped out from nowhere and now Luffy was in shock. He took a step back as Sanji moved back into him, moving away from Luffy carefully like the kid was a live bomb.

"Out of my way Marimo," Sanji demanded, glaring back at the larger man.

Zoro didn't move, instead he grabbed Sanji's arm from behind, "What is this?!" Zoro half demanded and half complained, his head moving from Sanji to Luffy.

"You guys." Luffy said, bringing both of their attention towards him. The two of them moved away from each other and crossed their arms.

"I've got…a new strategy…so from now on…I'll be training on my own." Luffy panted, but then fell to his knees.

"Luffy?! What's wrong?!" Zoro and Sanji yelled in unison. They were by his side in an instant.

"I think I can use that now, with this form. If I could just maintain it…"

"Luffy, what are you talking about-" Zoro started, but was stopped when Luffy groaned and stood up suddenly, his head almost smashing against the man's chin. Luffy's eyes pinned Zoro's for a few seconds, before he demanded another fight.

"I'll fight you." Sanji offered and tossed his jacket to the floor. Zoro was about to protest because Luffy had said he wanted to fight him, not curly brow, but his mouth wouldn't obey him.

Probably because he felt a little disappointed…Luffy had said he wanted to train alone. Things would go back to the way they had always been. He would sleep, eat, train and argue with the cook from time to time. Then the sun would rise again and the day would be the same as the day before. No more games, no more steeling glances and no more embarrassment; maybe now Luffy would cease to intoxicate his senses and engulf his mind.

And that was a good thing.

(((((oOo)))))

Sanji lay on the floor helplessly. How did he get there anyway? Oh yes that's right: he was fighting Luffy and then WHAM, he was on the ground. He sat up, wincing in pain when his stomach muscles curled inwards- that one was definitely going to turn purple...

"You won't catch me out this time." Sanji announced, or rather reassured himself. After getting up and dusting himself off, he bent his knees as he prepared to spring forward. He flew towards Luffy and aimed a kick at the boy's head but the straw-hat wearer disappeared once again.

Sanjilanded lightly on his feet after he had kicked the empty air. Sensing a live presence a few metres behind him, he jumped back into action and swung his knee at the relocated fuzz of human. Luffy vanished again, and Sanji once more was sent crashing down to the ground by an immensley force on his stomach with crippling momentum.

The blonde groaned when he regained his senses and cracked an eye open when he heard muffled voices in the background. He saw Chopper walking out of the storage room followed by Marimo.

"Luffy, your body…" Chopper gasped and rushed over to observe his captain. He shoved a thermometer into the rubber boy's mouth and prodded his skin over and over. Luffy was annoyed but waited for a while, trying his best to maintain his control.

As soon as Chopper pulled the thermometer out of Luffy's mouth the animal smiled.

"37 degrees is okay, but your skin seems to be around the same temperature as that… and that's not normal."

"Nothings normal with this guy!" Zoro laughed, slapping Luffy's back. Luffy laughed because Zorowas laughing, and suddenly felt a cold wave of relief.

"Looks like you're back, Luffy." Sanji observed, acknowledging the tanned skin and lack of steam. He stood and stretched until the bruise on his stomach cried.

"Looks like you got your ass kicked." Zoro said, noticing Sanji's ruffed hair and clothes and Luffy sporting his usual appearance.

"You should have seen him." Sanji said, choosing to ignore the temptation of a colourful retaliation.

"I'm sure I could have held him off better than that." Zoro said with his nostrils flared and looked down upon him as if he were a piece of home-made blue cheese. Sanji growled and faced Zoro completely.

"Die bastard."

"No, you die." Zoro said, turning his back on him. Sanji's teeth were grinding against each other. He wanted to unleash hell upon the brute because everything was his damn fault!

He charged at the algae head without a second thought and kneed him the back. Zoro stumbled forward and then turned around and chopped the blonde's shoulder with the edge of his hand. Sanji grabbed his arm in pain but quickly raised his leg in the hope of inflicting some serious damage this time so that the idiot would have time to reflect over his wrong doings in the infirmary.

"Stop!" Chopper cried as he transformed into his human form and came between them both, holding them apart. His huge hands were plastered round their faces and both of them stopped and took a step back.

"Shitty kenshi."

"Shit cook."

Chopper sighed. "Why can't you just get al-"

"He started it." Sanji butted in. He turned around and returned to his kitchen. Nobody noticed how he grabbed his face in anguish when his back was turned to them.

((((oOo))))

"I still can't believe you're doing this." Zoro said, going against his own instructions of silence. It was evening time and even though Luffy had said he wasn't going to train with him anymore, Zoro was blessed with his captain's company as they meditated. Luffy had told him that this was going to be the last day they train together and Zoro had accepted it. There were things that he needed to seriously sort out on his own also, but he really didn't mind having Luffy around as long as he didn't disrupt him. Oh well, it didn't matter either way.

"Ssssh!"

Zoro glanced at Luffy one more time and continued with his own meditation.

Steel, blood, flesh, bone…what else did he need to cut through? Mihawk... even though he had seen so many openings on the guy he couldn't-

Speed. Mihawk had incredible speed and Zoro didn't. He was slow and weak. He yearned for more speed. He needed to be able to hit all of his enemy's openings in one go- that's how fast he wanted to be.

But he could only do that if he grew extra arms…which was impossible.

"Oi Zoro, I have a new idea."

The power hungry green head snapped out of his introspection. "Let's hear it then."

Luffy turned to look at him with his wide grin, his teeth were as white as ever.

"Watch this," the boy said before he sunk his teeth into his thumb and moved away to watch the blood fall down his palm. A small silence stretched for a while and soon Luffy pouted. "Well, this sucks."

"Yes it does Luffy. What on earth is going through your head!" came Zoro's outcry. "You have got to stop this idiocy before you kill yourself. Suck it or something!"

Luffy gave the killjoy a look and shook his head. "No way," Luffy said stubbornly and took a very very deep breath.

"What are you doing now baka?!" Zoro raised his voice in slight alarm.

"The opposite," Luffy answered, sticking his tongue out. As promised, the rubber boy blew into his wound and then…

…it actually inflated like he thought it would!

He wouldn't stop blowing, even though he could feel his bones crushing and blood whirling away in his arm, hitting the unexposed side of his skin that was enclosed in the rapidly swishing crimson liquid that felt like sea waves falling back and forth as they continuously collided with rocks in bad weather.

It didn't feel half bad actually.

He admired his new masterpiece because that was all he could look at- his arm was huge. It was gigantic!

"This, Zoro, is the arm of a giant." Luffy breathed, impressed.

"Luffy…you crazy bastard…" Zoro sweat dropped, "But it doesn't surprise me. You're made of rubber so naturally your related to balloons and what not." Zoro said, but his eyes were still very wide. "But…it really is the arm of a giant. I can't even see the sky. "

Luffy turned to him and laughed at the swordsman's disturbed expression.

Zoro gave him half a smile in return. "You think you could blow the rest of your body up and turn into a complete giant?"

"I'll have to work on that one." Luffy said, his mouth twisting into a sad face as he tried in vein to blow more air into himself. Giving up, Luffy got up and raised his huge arm into the air. He screamed for everyone to take a look at him and one by one each nakama appeared on the deck.

"Oh my goodness!" Nami gasped, smacking her hand over her mouth.

"Shit." Sanji all but stated.

"My my."Robin laughed.

"Aaaaaaarrrrggggggghhhhh!" Usopp had begun to scream, but then recovered and soon had stars in his eyes, "This is so cool!"

"You're so cool! Luffy!" Chopper's little brown eyes also glistened.

"Isn't it?!" Luffy laughed even more hysterically, despite there being huge discomfort in his arm.

Everyone gathered round the arm and prodded it with their fingers, chatting over it with their cups of tea and coffee. It was basically a tea party with Luffy's arm on display and it lasted for about three long minutes.

"Eh…eh…something's happening!" Luffy exclaimed as he felt himself shrink. He shook violently and closed his eyes, waiting for what was going to happen to happen.

He felt normal again, excluding the abnormal heaviness of his head- it felt larger than the rest of his body. The straw hat wearer opened his eyes slowly and looked around. He could see lots of feet, no faces; just feet.

He turned the other way and met Zoro's boots. He ran up to them thoughtlessly and looked up the green pants to meet his first mates huge dead face.

"Somebody pinch me." Zoro groaned. Things just kept on getting weirder and weirder.

Everyone stayed silent and still- excluding Luffy, who grabbed a hold of the green trousers in his tiny fists, and started to climb up it.

"Arrgghhhh! Get off me!" Zoro yelled and kicked his leg frantically.

"No!" Luffy's voice sounded electronically high…higher than Choppers.

Suddenly Sanji, Usopp and Zoro broke out into heavy fits of laughter. Robin even giggled.

"I think Sencho-san's very sweet." She smiled and Nami nodded in agreement with her mouth hanging wide open.

Chopper trotted slowly towards Luffy and plucked the smaller boy off Zoro's trousers so that he could then place his hands on his shoulders.

"It's okay Luffy, I'll help you." Chopper said, looking down at him like an older brother would. Luffy squeaked something in some sort of grateful and jolly response.

Sanji, Usopp and Zoro's laughing increased and was brought down to ground level- which was where they now were, holding their sides and rolling around or banging the deck with their fists.

"You've..haahahaha…always….hahaHAHAHa!" Usopp struggled between breaths to say something to the small reindeer he was currently pointing his finger at.

Chopper frowned and put his hoofs on his hips. "Always what?"

"HAHAHAAAA! You'vealwayswantedtodothathaventyou?!" Usopp breathed and burst into even madder laughing. Sanji could feel his stomach curl in agony, but he ignored it and settled with screaming in both pain and laughter.

Zoro wiped his eyes as tears bulged out from their corners. Man he loved his nakama! And good old Chopper had looked so pleased with himself for finally being taller than someone.

Chopper's face grew long as he took the butt end of the joke. He walked away from Luffy sadly and disapeared into the storage room.

The three recovered long after Luffy regained his height, and wheezed and coughed like old men.

"I'm hungry. Saaanjii! Dinner!" Luffy demanded.

"Yeah yeah, I'm on it." Sanji said and dragged his feet to the kitchen.

(((((oOo))))))

The rest of the crew had dispersed into the many rooms aboard the Going Merry, which left Luffy and Zoro to finally train in peace once again. There was a nice silence taking place because Luffy was in a terrible mood when he found that his body was way too exhausted to repeat the events of the day. He settled on shadow boxing for a while, brutally massacring his imaginary army of pirates and marines.

"Take that! And that!" Luffy chanted.

Zoro continued lifting his monstrous weights. He threw them up into the air with a dangerous force and jumped on his hands, catching the metal mass easily with his toes.

"1,958...1,959... 1,960." Ahh, now he could feel his muscles burning- finally. He settled on reaching 3,000, then he would finish up on the day.

"Gomu Gomu nooooo!" Luffy yelled, "Pistol! Bazuka! Gataligan!"

"1,971...1,972..."

"Oi Shit head, here's your energy booster. It looks like you're not the only one who needs it. Marimo's looks like he'll cave in soon." Sanji said coolly as he approached the two, arms filled with a tray stacking his requested handmade crackers- made with slow release carbohydrates, and also a couple of cold drinks- made with previously pasteurised fruits and a lump of heated glucose syrup. He had used his new blender for the first time and it worked marvellously. Since the results were better than he'd expected, he generously made an extra serving of everything just in case Zoro wanted some or if Luffy wanted another helping.

"Yey!" Luffy was at Sanji's side in less than a second. Zoro grunted upon hearing Sanji's previous comment.

"I don't want your stupid food. I don't need any artificial energy boosting, I won't get any of that shit in battle," the man puffed between each press up.

Sanji shrugged his shoulders and almost screamed when Luffy's huge mouth slid down his arms. Next thing he knew, the food was gone and so was the tray.

"Shitty gomu gomu! The next tray is coming out of your savings!" the cook yelled angrily. The stupid boy had surprised him so much that his newly lit cigarette fell out of his mouth.

"Thanks Sanji!" Luffy spluttered, laughing wildly.

The blonde stormed off to the kitchen, cursing Luffy along the way and planning to end his day in the kitchen after washing his hands from Luffy's horrible and excessive mouth liquid. He reached into his inside pocket and grabbed his box of luxuries, which felt worryingly light. Tipping it upside-down, he realised it was empty. Damn it! That was his last packet…

"Luffy." Sanji grumbled. Why on earth didn't he just stay back at the Baratie?

((((oOo)))))

"You did good." Zoro reassured, patting Luffy's back. He grabbed the white towel from the railings and slung it around his neck. Turning back to Luffy, he noticed the teen was serious about his lack of progress that day.

"Oh, Luffy…this is only your first day of training, yet you came up with a way to kick Sanji's butt like it belonged to Usopp." Zoro said, sitting down cross-legged on the deck as he waited for Luffy to collect himself together. Luffy's raven eyes slowly met with his and the boy frowned at him, watching him for a split second, before turning to the dark sky again and smirking proudly.

"I've had that one up my sleeve for a while, Zoro. Quite a while." Luffy said, but didn't except the silence that followed; he could sense the others silent confusion. The dark haired boy leant forward onto Merry's rails and sighed heavily, waiting for the question he knew was going to be asked, to be asked. When it wasn't he sighed again and rested his chin on his hand, focusing on one of the stars that were dotted across the sky.

He cleared his throat discreetly, "Zoro, you're thinking: so why haven't you used it yet?"

Zoro nodded, even though he knew Luffy wouldn't see it. He spoke up, "Never hold back in battle- it's not fair on a serious opponent. So yeah-"

"Of course there's a reason." Luffy interjected. The straw-hat boy removed himself from the rails and turned his body around so that his back was now resting on them. He met closed eyes but also Zoro's strong aura that calmness dominated. He continued, "Before, it hurt too much. Don't ask me how I came up with the technique, it's a long story."

"Don't worry, I wasn't going to ask anyway." Zoro opened an eye and smiled widely so his captain could see it through the night air.

"Good." Luffy chuckled, then looked down at his toes that were popping out of his sandals. "So yeah, after about one minute of using this technique the pain would get so bad that I'd collapse. No matter how hard I practised my body couldn't endure it and plus, it was really hard to get into that state so…I'd be-"

"Taking a huge risk trying it out in battle, right?" Zoro interrupted, finishing off Luffy's sentence for him.

Luffy nodded and kept his eyes at ground level when he saw Zoro's shadow move in front of him. He quietened his racing heart…or at least tried to. Why did his heart twist and turn whenever Zoro got close to him? It wasn't as if he minded or anything…it was just his heart that minded, that was all.

"Luffy, why did you ask me to do those things to you today?" Zoro asked, his voice overly smooth and gentle.

Before Luffy could even think, he found himself backing up on the rails when his stomach did a little flip-flop. He blushed wildly and he knew his reaction was obvious, so he didn't bother to hide his uneasiness. "Zoro!" the red faced captain exclaimed and brought his hands up to the rims of his hat to bend them down over his face.

Zoro suppressed the urge to utter his thoughts about how cute Luffy appeared at that moment, and tried to clear his mind. When his mind was clear, he abruptly jumped away from Luffy and quickly explained himself. "You asked me to try to destroy your hands with my weights earlier, why?"

Luffy raised his head, remembering the pressure he had felt when Zoro hit him with all he had. Every second was dangerous, but all he had felt was pressure, not pain. He had felt his entire skeleton threatening to shatter, but at the same time he felt like each hit was an addition to a rapidly growing energy store inside of him.

"Zoro…when we were on the lost Island…you remember the time we found that old lady in a treasure chest?" (4)

"I remember the one."

Luffy nodded, "When I destroyed the robot that her son made, my body felt amazing. It felt indestructible, and all I had to do to destroy the thing was push it. At first it felt heavy, then suddenly, as he pushed back harder, I grew stronger. It was like all of that pressure was giving me power. I haven't really thought back to that day until recently."

Zoro nodded, "Luffy…what if this new 'form' or state of mind -if it's just all in your head- will help you with that new technique you talked about earlier. 'cause you basically said that your pain turned into pressure, which became your power." Zoro said, feeling pleased with himself for coming up with such an imaginative idea. If he was right then Luffy would upgrade himself into a totally different gear!

"It all makes sense!" A small voice suddenly exclaimed, then Zoro and Luffy heard it scold itself. Chopper emerged out from behind the orange bushes and looked down at the ground guiltily. "Um…I'm sorry. I couldn't help overhearing. I was reading a book, but then I fell asleep and woke up to hear Luffy talking." Chopper apologised.

Zoro looked to Luffy to see his reaction, knowing it wasn't his place to tell Chopper that it was okay.

Luffy smiled at Chopper and nodded, not minding at all.

"Is it alright if I share my thoughts with you, Luffy?" Chopper asked, still looking a little frightened.

"Sure."

The little reindeer sighed in relief and proceeded in giving his analytical explanations.

"I didn't hear much but from what I heard it sounds as if the two different feelings you had are actually completely different Luffy, but, as Zoro said, you can use them both in sync."

"Oh… Dr Chopper's endorsement…I'm amazing!" Zoro cheered, laughing as Chopper commenced in his usual celebratory noodle dance while he shouted with a huge smile on his face: "Shut up stupid! Calling me a Doctor won't make me happy, idiot!"

Luffy and Zoro laughed, and Chopper calmed down to quickly finish what he'd started.

"Yeah, okay. There's that, and then there's more. Luffy, don't try to get into that state ever again, do you understand?" Chopper demanded suddenly, and he was serious. Luffy's eyes widened and Zoro turned to him indifferently.

"Yeah Chopper, we all know that it hurts him but he's a man." Zoro said, patting Luffy's back for the second time that day, "He can take a bit of pain."

"Yeah, it's the fact that he can take the pain that concerns me most, Zoro." Chopper said, hardly. He crossed his fury arms and angrily turned his attention on Luffy.

"Luffy! Your body is obviously telling you not to use that technique for longer than a few minutes…that's why you've slipped out of consciousness every time you've tried to use it. Then there's that horrifying possibility of you achieving a new body state that allows you to feel no pain. Luffy, if you really can do that then you will damage your body in unexplainable ways."

"Chopper…" Luffy said, approaching the little animal when he saw tears threatening to fall from his eyes.

"No Luffy, that's not why I'm upset. You never look after your body, I know that, but you're made of RUBBER Luffy! You may not feel much pain on the outside, but if it's the inside that's being damaged…"

"Yeah, sure a few muscles will be pulled…," Luffy said, his eyebrows knotting down towards his eyes when he saw Chopper rubbing his own fiercely. Once again, the animal stopped him from coming closer.

"NO Luffy! You obviously don't understand that you're made of RUBBER! You're like rubber! And everyone knows what happens when rubber stretches! It gains elastic potential energy! That's why your punches get stronger with every inch you stretch your arm back."

Luffy and Zoro nodded dismissively, still confused at what Chopper was getting at.

"Luffy!" Chopper sobbed, "You were talking about pressure right? You said pain, then pressure, then power- in that order, right? Well, it's obvious that every time you get into your new state your body must go numb and the pain dulls into just pressure. Imagine an elastic band Luffy! If a child stretches a new elastic really far it will try to recoil. Let's just say that your body's limit is the point the child gets to with the band just before it snaps."

"Yeah, I understand…but-"

"But nothing! To say this more bluntly, the elastic breaking is you dying, Luffy! Even your blood is involved in this. If the child pulls the elastic band to it's threshold point of snapping, it will get hot and will gain more elastic potential energy- that's the state you say your body was in earlier today, when your skin was the same temperature as your core body. You should be able to recoil faster and your punches may be quicker, but if you keep doing it you'll die. Every time you use it, your life span will shorten! I can't sit around whilst your doing lethal training." Chopper had stopped crying and was now glaring at Zoro. "And you shouldn't be encouraging him! If you do, all you will be doing is helping him kill himself! Do want that? Oi, Zoro!" Chopper screamed at the stoic swordsman, who just massaged his temple in response.

Zoro turned to Luffy and, seeing that his face was hidden in the shadow of his hat, turned back to Chopper. Kneeling down, he put a hand on his caring nakama's fuzzy little shoulder. "Off to bed now, Chopper. You don't want to be tired tomorrow because apparently we'll be stopping on an island to load up on food."

The blue nosed reindeer sniffled with teary eyes, and walked towards the dorms with his shoulders slouched and his head hung low.

"He may be stubborn but Luffy never makes bad decisions- he's our Captain. Don't think about it too much."

Chopper twirled around and met grey piercing, yet warm eyes. Zoro…he always knew he could rely on him. He was the guy who made everything seem alright- he always knew what to say, what to do…how to do it. Next to Luffy, he was the most admirable man he knew that was still alive.

"Zoro…," Chopper said, whipping his eyes. He nodded, looking at Luffy one more time, before disappearing down into the bedroom.

Zoro scratched his head…who knew what Luffy was thinking right now. He noticed the dark haired teen leaning on the rails and clutching the bars tightly with his back turned to him.

"It would be selfish of me." Luffy said airily.

Zoro grunted in response. Yes, it would be selfish of him if he continued with his suicidal training. It wasn't fair to leave his crew captain-less, especially when each member was only out at sea that day because of Luffy. Zoro knew that he may have been dead long ago if it wasn't for Luffy, although death only had a 90 percent chance of taking over him at the time. Sure, he was starving, weakened, his swords were out of the picture and he was tied up with a LOT of thick ropes when over a dozen marines surrounded him with guns to execute him. Sure…but he could have escaped, but death seemed to be more likely at the point. He needed his swords and Luffy was there to give them to him- what's why he was out at sea with the man today.

If it wasn't for Luffy, Robin would be dead to…and Usopp. Oh god, if Luffy hadn't made him a strawhat pirate on that day who knows how quickly that idiot would have gone down. It was the same story for Nami, she may have died along with the rest of the villagers in her town when they had tried to start a rebellion against Arlong park.

Basically, everyone owed their life to Luffy. Even Chopper may have died once Warpool would have come back into power. Finally, that stupid brow would have been killed by someone, or left to rot in that floating restaurant. So, yes, it would be selfish of Luffy to die on them. It wouldn't be fair; they would all have to return to the homes they didn't quite yet want to return to.

"Yes. It's a Captain's burden." Zoro said, after a short silence. Luffy still had his back turned to him and was therefore unreadable. Zoro walked up to his stiff frame and lent over him easily, seeing as the boy was about a good head and shoulder shorter than him.

"You have to do what's right- and that's something only you can decide." Zoro said, squeezing his captains bare shoulder with his outstretched hand. He felt the boy relax a little and saw him turn his whole body around to face him. Luffy's dark orbs captured his and his heart stopped.

What the hell was Luffy doing to him?

"You're right, I'll just have to stop my training," the raven haired teen said definitely. He didn't appear to be upset, it was like things had suddenly been made clear to him.

"But when the time comes to protect my nakama and the power I have now isn't enough, then I'm going to have to take that risk, Zoro. I don't want any of you putting your lives on the line when it's obviously my duty to do that for you. And you guys can't keep on saving me all the time."

"Ao Kiji." was all Zorohad to say against Luffy's claim of not wanting to be saved. "I bet you're glad you're still alive," the man chuckled, not noticing how closely he had approached Luffy.

Luffy unconsciously rested his head on the swordsman's chest to feel the comforting rumble of Zoro's laughter. His senses were then surrounded by ridiculous heat and metal; Zoro. The muscles belonging to the dark haired teen instantly relaxed and all he could hear was his swordsman's heartbeat and his own heart pounding heavily in his ears. The raven loved the way Zoro's warm skin pressed against his cheek and his ears, and the way Zoro's soft skin contrasted heavily with that hard muscled upper body. He knew it wasn't impossible to fall asleep standing up…and that was exactly what he was planning to do until he felt big arms wrap slowly and hesitantly around his lower back. He honestly didn't understand why his heart froze. Was he dying?! Why did he feel like his life was so accomplished right now? He wasn't Pirate king yet!

He didn't know what to do with his arms that hung beside him, so he curled the limbs inwards and pushed against the large body. He met grey eyes with a small hazy tint of sadness in them. The swordsman probably didn't like to be hugged…but Zoro was the one who had hugged him in the first place! All he did was rest Zoro because he was so close to him…he couldn't resist the magnetic force that seemed to urge them together.

"I don't need a hug Zoro. I'm not sad." Luffy said, tipping his strawhat back so it wasn't covering his face. With that, he hurried to the flap in the ground that led to the boys' bedroom. "You coming to bed?" Luffy asked, already making his way down.

"I would, but I'm on watch." Zoro replied, forcing a smile through the unusually heavy skin of his face.

"Night, Zoro." Luffy said, disappearing once Zoro wished him a good night too.

Once the door closed, both swordsman and captain clutched the patch over their heart. The young captain sank to the floor in confusion and surprise whilst Zoro grabbed his hair roughly.

'Why is this happening to me?'

----------------------------------------------- Their thoughts were unison.

'Why is this happening to me?'

Luffy jumped to his feet when he felt the flap open. He looked up in surprise to see Zoro looking down at him from above with an intense gaze. Luffy couldn't look away…

...What was he doing? Didn't he just say he was on night watch?

Slowly, Zoro turned his back to Luffy and made his way down. He was going to follow this through. He couldn't-. No, he wouldn't hide his feelings and he was certain Luffy would understand up to a certain degree.

Luffy grew nervous. Not liking that feeling, the strawhat boy stood his ground; he didn't move aside to give the man some room once he had planted his heavy boots on the wooden floor.

They starred into each others eyes for what seemed like an eternity.

"Luffy…come here." Zoro said rather airily.

Luffy set himself only inches away from Zoro's face, his eyes never abandoning their secured gaze. What was it that Zoro wanted…

…no, had wanted all this time?

There was a sudden shriek from above and the sound of breaking glass followed. Zoro winced.

"Where was Chopper when I needed him?!" Usopp's muffled cry came from the deck.

Realising how sensitive the situation he had been so determined to put himself through was, the swordsman stepped away from his captain and was about to make his way back up the ladder.

"Zoro. Do what you were going to do." Luffy whispered, and as soon as the words had fallen out of his mouth his breath caught in his throat- Zoro had spun around suddenly and grabbed his shoulders.

Without another thought the man dove down to catch Luffy's lips with his own. He didn't allow himself to realise how selfish and stupid he was being; he needed this and Luffy needed to know about the kind of feelings he had for him.

It would be worth every crack in his soon to be broken heart.

Zoro breathed in sharply when he felt the soft feathery lips move against his own, causing shaky shivers to rattle down his spine. In a desperate attempt to keep the captain there, the swordsman gently held Luffy's face.

Then came the second surprise.

Luffy poked at his lips with the tip of his tongue lightly, making his chest hurt. No, not because he was lacking air. It was because Luffy….

…his angel was trying to kiss him back.

Why?

He couldn't have feelings for him. So, was he just going with the flow?

Did he feel sorry for him?

Luffy moved away. Zoro waited for his life to shatter before his eyes.

"Gee…Zoro," Luffy said quietly, looking down at the floor.

There was a silence while Zoro caught his breath. The swordsman covered his face with his hands as he breathed in shakily.

…he was such an idiot.

But it wouldn't be right for him to be having his thoughts and dreams constantly filled with Luffy, and for Luffy to be totally unaware of it. His feelings may have been un-returnable but he …

He what?

He just needed Luffy to accept that his world evolved around him? What a stupid excuse!

Okay fine! The truth was that there was hope. Even if it was a minuscule feeling, Zoro hoped that Luffy felt a fraction of what he felt towards him.

Just a fraction.

Pitch black. He was in a warm room and had a warm face. He felt so happy it was pathetic. He was happy because he hadn't been pushed away, Luffyhad even seemed to try to give him what he wanted.

Cold fingers hooked themselves between his own and his hands were lured away from his face. Zoro looked up to see a sad smile.

"Why have you been looking so sad recently, Zoro?" Luffy asked. His hands were then clasped by larger ones and held right up to Zoro's face.

The swordsman knew had to do it and he had to do it now.

"I love you Luffy." Zoro swallowed visibly, "I love you. That's why I'm sad." He followed every aspect of Luffy's expression as he lightly kissed around the boy's scarred fingers.

The raven haired teen's eyes widened.

Love?

Zoro…had just said…

Zoro winced as his heart sunk further. There was no going back now. Besides, he probably wouldn't ever get the chance to express his feelings again. He was going to scare Luffy…but Luffy was the one responsible for making him feel this way.

The way the he walked. They way he talked. The way the boy trusted him like no other. The confidence he had always had in him…

The proud glint in Luffy's eyes when he watched him fight his battles.

The way he had always seen him as an equal.

The way he stood above others.

His straight forwardness, his simple mindedness.

His everything.

"You're sad because you love me?" Luffy's eyes were now warm and his voice was soothing. Zoro…was captivated.

"Sad, because it's not fair on you for you to have another man think that you're stunning." Zoro's voice was loosing the strength it had always had.

He turned Luffy's hand around and kissed the centre of his palm. "Do you mind me loving you Luffy?" Zoro asked as clearly as he could- trying to tune down the pressure of his words. He glanced up again-

Surprise number three: Luffy was smiling at him.

"Zoro." Luffy began, picking up the swordsman's lowered face between his hands. "You shouldn't underestimate yourself." Luffy whispered against his lips before diving forward for another kiss.

Zoro straightened up abruptly in shock but that only caused the younger teen to clamp his arms around his neck. When the green haired man was still, Luffy crushed his lips with his own again.

The swordsman snapped out of his stupor. If he didn't react quick enough it would soon be over. He grabbed the younger boy's hips with the palms of his hands, pulling the others body flush against his. This was the real Luffy- he could feel it. The one who was going to become Pirate King! And that very one was sliding his fingers into his hair. It was just... so utterly perfect. He could feel himself slipping in and out of consciousness.

It was almost like one of those typical love confessions, consisting of the girl's knees buckling after her first kiss with the guy she had always liked. Not that Zoro thought himself much of a girl, but when the tip of Luffy's tongue came out again and prodded his lips Zoro's knees buckled and he sank to the floor. He couldn't help it- Luffy was so intoxicating. His presence filled any empty compartments Zoro contained, but then filled his senses so much that he couldn't see or think or breath straight. He had lost control over his lungs, his face, his hands, his mind.

The strawhats' first mate's back slid down the wooden wall and his captain follwed him all the way to the ground. Zoro's legs lay sprawled out on the floor and he watched dazedly as Luffy approached him on all fours, grabbing his heated face between his hands once again. He could feel Luffy's steamy breath on his face when he spoke to him.

"You have no right to be feeling sorry for me Zoro. Not when I want you this much." Luffy stated, before plunging towards Zoro's rough warm lips. He loved the feel of them…but he wanted to taste him. He needed to.

Luffy guided their third kiss, pushing his tongue out further. Zoro's lips parted easily.

The raven haired captain moved in closer between Zoro's tucked in legs. He raised himself high on his two knees so that he could pull the green haired man's face up and have him from a better angle.

The swordsman allowed Luffy to reach over him, and raised his face as much as he could to meet Luffy's waiting mouth.

The raven head slid his tongue into Zoro's mouth and groaned as he began to explore the hot cavern. It was so hot, and wet. The taste- unexplainable. It was strangely sweet, but it had a tangy aftertaste. It was…

…addictive. Luffy couldn't hold back anymore, he grabbed the back of Zoro's head and tilted it to get better access. His tongue explored every corner and every inch of Zoro's mouth. He didn't know what he was doing anymore, he just needed Zoro's delicious mouth to stay there forever. He began to see stars behind his eyelids when he felt swordsman's strong tongue pushing his out and back into his own mouth. Soon it was the older teen who was roaming around in his mouth, sliding his tounge along his own every now and again to cause lovely friction.

Zoro was kissing the life out of him. Luffy's eyes opened slightly and he saw the swordsman frowning in concentration. It all felt too good. He could feel a rush heat fly up to his face.

His Zoro…felt this way about him. Luffy was on cloud nine when he snapped his eyes shut and started to push his tongue out again.

But Zoro wasn't having it. He firmly pushed down Luffy's shoulders so that he wasn't over him and gently placed the raven teen on the ground so that he could get on top of him.

However, Luffy held his own and managed to dominate Zoro's mouth during that kafuffle. It didn't last long though, and so it was there that the battle of tongues commenced.

When they parted for air, Zoro rolled off Luffy and sat up. He pinched his thigh a couple of times and he didn't wake up…

…therefore he wasn't dreaming!

Oh shit. This was really happening! It was really happening!

He glanced over to Luffy, who lay on his back, arms stretched out and starring wide eyed at the ceiling. He looked ravished; his hair was all ruffled and his cheeks held a faint tint of pink. Zoro rolled on his side to watch his mastrpiece. "What are you thinking?" he asked between pants, his eyes glued on Luffy's breathtaking appearance.

"About how cool you are." Luffy said, then covered his mouth, his cheeks burning an adorable shade of crimson. "I'm also wondering if you understand how good you make me feel?" he said, raising an eyebrow slightly. Zoro's breathing quickened. He could see a little smile growing behind his young captain's hand.

"Tell me how good." Zoro said in a low voice, scooting closer to his captain.

He draped an arm over the thin waist before him and breathed in Luffy's sent. He was so indulged in Luffy's incredible essence, that he couldn't hear the answer to his question. Zoro zoned out for a while, memorising the feel of that wonderful body against his own.

"Zoro." Luffy said in the most gentle voice, stroking one of Zoro's biceps.

"Mmm?" Zoro mumbled into Luffy's hair.

"Nothing." Luffy said hiding his face slightly. Zoro clutched the boy tighter and hugged him properly. He felt incredibly content when Luffy hugged him back with the same force.

Zoro laughed slightly, then closed his eyes as he allowed a wide smile to sit on his face for a long time.

"Come on Luffy." older teen said after a while. "We're falling asleep."

The strawhat boy mumbled grumpily. He didn't want to move…

…but he wouldn't want Usopp or anyone seeing them like this. Not yet. Tomorrow seemed to be a more suitable time.

"Okay." Luffy sighed. He kissed Zoro's neck breifly and wrapped his arms around the muscular torso.

Zoro stopped breathing. His innocent friend had just kissed his neck. It was too much- he couldn't even rework his lungs. He had managed to keep himself at bay until now. Now he was supporting an ever hardening hard on.

Zoro kissed Luffy briefly on the lips and got up. The young raven teen smiled at him tiredly and hauled himself onto his feet to move his weightless body over to the bunk hammock (not bunk bed, bunk hammock) he shared with Usopp.

"G'night Zoro." Luffy said, turning to wave at the swordsman. However, Zoro was no longer in the room.

"Maybe he was hungry..." Luffy said to himself, slightly shocked. He was tired, so he just shrugged it off.

"I don't know about that." Chopper said from his hammock.

"Well, what else could it be." Luffy said, pulling his pyjamas on. He picked up his hat from the ground and placed it on the hat stand that Usopp had made for him and Chopper.

"G'night Luffy." Chopper said, turning around in his hammock once Luffy had settled in his.

"Night, Chopper." Luffy yawned, and draped his thick cover over himself. A couple of seconds later had Luffy starring at the wall with bulging eyes, feeling cold and wet as cold sweat rolled down his bare back.

Chopper…had been in the room.

The captain sweat dropped and tried his best to fall asleep.

Which took a quite while.

((oOo))

TBC

(4) That happened in one of the movies.

AN: Um, guys? This chapter took me a LOT of courage to write. That first kiss Luffy and Zoro shared just now is the first I have ever written in my entire life.

So please…tell me if I did a good enough job.

Did any of you spot the quote I used from the anime? If you did, don't forget to stick it in a review. If you get it right you'll be rewarded.

Thanks for reading and keeping up with this story. I apologise for being a slug, but I am what I am.

I also apologise for having our innocent little Chopper witness all that ...hehe.

If there is anything about the making of Luffy's gears you are confused about, then feel free to ask questions. I will answer them. Please note that I have THOROUGHLY researched the way Luffy's gears work by observing all the relevant episodes and movies. If you think I've slipped up then tell me so, cause I really do think that I'm on track.