Title: The Placing of Blame
Pairing: Eventual ZoSan
Rating: PG-13 so far ... for language mostly
Dislaimer: SO don't own. SO wish I did.
Warnings: None that I can think of.


There was a bump at his back that he wasn't expecting, but it caused him no great alarm. He could recognize the presence of each of his nakama blindfolded and half asleep by now, so the stupid love-cook's back meeting his in the middle of a battle was nothing new. The blonde seemed to almost sag for a minute, though, which wasn't a good sign. He was tiring. Zoro supposed he was beginning to feel the wear of the fight as well, after all, it had been like this for over two hours. Swarms and swarms of marines coming out of the woodwork like an angry hive of bees. They'd been lying in wait, he guessed, using this small winter island as a trap for pirates.

Behind him he heard, and felt, Sanji crack open a Marine's head with a kick. At least the pervert still had some bite to his bark, maybe they could actually get out of this mess. He'd lost sight of the rest of the crew ages ago. Couldn't even hear Luffy's battle cries any longer. This was either a good thing, and they'd all escaped, or a bad thing and they'd all been overwhelmed.

Stupid cook. He had TOLD the man to get the rest of them back to the ship. He'd TOLD him he would take care of things here and meet up with them later. What's a few thousand Marines, anyway? Sanji stumbled a bit behind him, only barely catching himself from being stabbed.


It had to be this day of all days, hadn't it? The Going Merry had come through a merciless storm the night before and none of its crew had slept a wink. They were overtired, underfed (except for Luffy) and not at their peak. Naturally, to Zoro, situations like this were his favorite… it was in near desperate times that he always managed to find the ability to step it up just one more notch and become more powerful. He thrived on these moments. The same could not be said of his nakama, however.

Sharp pain in his arm, and dammit, he needed to quit thinking and get back to surviving. Clean slice, barely a flesh wound, nothing big. He chanced a quick glance behind him. Marines as far as he could see. Wonderful. And a sweaty, bloody blonde head that was starting to droop.

Damn. Damn. Double damn.

Building his energy he performed the strongest slash he could muster and sent twenty or so Marines flying backwards. He was already in motion to turn and grab the cook, make a run for it, when the familiar sensation of sharp metal piercing his body struck like lightening. Zoro froze. There was nothing in front of him, so what…

He looked down. The bloody, business end of a long blade was protruding from his belly. His first thought was 'who's the damn coward that stabbed me from behind?' The next was '…and why didn't the cook stop them?' Then he had a realization. Sanji's warm back was still pressed against his own. Not good. Not good. He tried to turn, and sure enough the body behind him turned as well.


The marines around them had slowly stopped advancing.


A violent cough came out of nowhere and he watched in morbid fascination as his own blood flew out of his mouth and spattered on the ground before him.

Shit. Shit.

Sanji's knees apparently buckled and threatened to take him down as well.


The sword was painfully pulling at him as the man at his back began to collapse. A couple of marines moved in closer and regretted the action mere seconds later. That's right jerkoffs, a wounded tiger can still bite. He felt the cook tense slightly behind him and turned just in time to slash at the man attempting to grab Sanji.

An eerie silence filled the air. All he could hear was his own ragged breathing and Sanji's gurgling coughs behind him. Every once in a while the cook seemed to whisper something, but the new ringing in Zoro's ears prevented him from making it out. Warm lifeblood ran in rivers down his legs, and mixed with Sanji's to run down his back. The cook lost his battle to stay upright and dragged Zoro down to land painfully hard on his tailbone. The sword that pinned them together was jarred by the impact and he nearly passed out at the pain.

Another soldier tried to step forward and gained a new scar to impress the ladies. Despite all the bravado he was showing on the outside, however, Zoro was beginning to panic a little internally. He couldn't think of a way to get out of this. The cook was either dead or dying behind him, the others were nowhere to be seen, and his vision was steadily going dark.

Stupid blood loss. Always made the fight harder. The stillness was really starting to get to him, too. No one was moving now. He felt like part of some crazy sideshow act, all the people just milling around staring. He couldn't hear any other battles being fought nearby, which he hoped was a good sign.

Please have let them get away. Please say they got away.

He coughed again and realized that his hands had dropped to the ground. Well, damn, so much for the wounded tiger. Taking advantage of the slumped body behind him, Zoro allowed his head to fall back and rest on one of the cook's shoulders. He stared at the pretty azure sky above and smiled when tiny snow flakes began to fall.

Figures. Finally gonna get caught by the Marines and it's all the damn love-cook's fault. He cut his eyes to the side to stare at the man in question. Stupid pervert. We're sitting here like a friggin' pirate-kabob and it's all his fault. The blonde's visible eye was closed and there was a river of blood running from his mouth. His fault. A sudden irrational fear that he might actually be dead struck Zoro. He opened his mouth to speak around the thick, coppery syrup within.

"Ne, Sanji…"

There was a cough and the one blue eye opened a fraction to look at him. Zoro smiled. Still alive then.

" … you know this is all your fault right?"

And then the world went black.