Disclaimer: Everyone and everything you recognize is the intellectual property of Eiichiro Oda, with additional rights owned by Shonen Jump, Toei, and probably others. Dirk, Dagger, and Dart (an homage to "The Court Jester" which I also do not own) are mine, as is the Glue Glue Fruit. At least, as far as I know...
Spoilers: Through Arabasta, but they're pretty vague... (Technically through Skypiea, with regards to bounties.)
Warnings: Mostly just language in this part, but I suppose there's a bit of violence, too. I also employ a terribly cliche plot device. What can I say, it amuses me. I've used it before (but if you're not a PL&CKer you won't have read it) and will doubtless use it again. There will probably also be abundant OOC, but hey, it's fanfic. No one but Oda can truly write them IC.
Pairing: None, but there are definite hints of my favorite.
Dedications: To my Luffy-esque sister for knowing how to say "glue" in Japanese (even though I have since decided to go with "Glue Glue") and my Sanji-esque sister for answering random grammatical questions.
Summary: Four members of the Straw Hat crew are forced into a bonding experience. Pun totally intended!

Sticky Situation

Part 1- Stuck on You

The day began like any other day, with no indication of what was in store. Everyone woke up, ate breakfast, listened to Nami describe the next island with occasional insight from Robin, and prepared to face the day. Well, Zoro and Sanji had a mild skirmish, Usopp frightened Chopper by suffering a sudden bout of Can't-Possibly-Leave-The-Ship-Osis, and Luffy managed to eat most of the remainder of their current supplies, but for this crew, that wasn't all that unusual either.

The day started going south when one of the Grand Line's sudden squalls made an appearance just as the next island became visible on the horizon. Nami's uncanny weather sense had given them just enough warning to begin bringing in the sails. Robin's extra hands were proving invaluable until a stray wave swept across the deck and thoroughly soaked her in sea water. To make matters even worse, the same wave had knocked both Nami and Chopper over the side.

Zoro and Sanji promptly dove in after their crew mates. Zoro assumed, correctly as it turned out, that Sanji was going after the navigator and instead focused on retrieving their doctor. Nami was a capable swimmer in her own right, and with the assistance of Sanji's powerful legs, they soon made it to shore. Chopper was fortunately in his small form, so Zoro was not far behind with the waterlogged reindeer in tow.

"Did... did anyone see if Robin was all right?" Nami was still gasping for air.

"I think Usopp snagged her," Zoro replied absently as he checked to see if Chopper was breathing. He was.

"They're bound to stop at this island, right?" Sanji stumbled to his feet. "Let's find the nearest port."

As Zoro looked over to check on Chopper, the reindeer whimpered, started to sit up, and then collapsed back onto the sandy beach.

"Ooh... I don't feel well at all," he moaned.

Zoro sighed in extremely poorly feigned annoyance. "I guess I can carry you for a while, if you want. Just, you know, so you won't slow us down..."

"I don't need your help, you big jerk! Being so kind doesn't make me happy, asshole!" Chopper shouted even as he grinned widely and blushed as he was placed on Zoro's broad shoulders.

Nami rolled her eyes and translated the conversation in her head.

"I'm worried about you and I think of you like the little brother that I never had. I would be glad to carry you around if you're still tired after almost drowning, but my stupid machismo forces me to be gruff and rude."

"It's okay, I still hero-worship you, just like I do everyone else on the crew! Thank you so much for the offer! However, I too am socially stunted due to years of interacting with only a mean old lady, so I will now insult you while doing the exact opposite of my words."

"Oi! Nami! Quit daydreaming or we'll leave you behind." She blinked and glanced over in time to see Sanji kick the swordsman in the shin.

"Be nicer to Nami, shit head!" His scowl was gone in an instant as he turned toward the navigator, hands clasped next to his face and hearts in his eyes. "I, of course, would never leave you behind, my darling! Would you care for a piggyback ride of love?" Nami was fairly certain she would never fail to be impressed by the chef's ability to switch so rapidly between emotional states.

"No thank you, I can walk." She ignored Zoro's snort and mutter that sounded suspiciously like:

"Wish she'd said that in Alubarna..."

Chopper, meanwhile, had nodded off with his face nuzzled into Zoro's hair.

Nami closed her eyes and tried to visualize the map of this island she had only recently been poring over. It hadn't been a very good map, but anything was better than going in blind. Nami vowed to herself that her map of this island was going to be exquisite. "Let's see... This island is crescent-shaped, with one major port on the inside of the curve." She glanced to either side. "We seem to be nearer to one end of the crescent, so let's head that direction and follow the shore."

"Nami-swan is so captivating when she's logical!"

"I guess that makes sense..." Zoro started to walk off in the opposite direction. Nami hooked a finger in the back of his haramaki.

"This way, moron."

Their clothing began to dry as they walked along the beach, but the salt water made the material crusty and stiff, and the sand, as it is wont to do, had gotten everywhere. To add to the discomfort, the sun beat down on them relentlessly. A short while after they had rounded the point, Nami decided a break was in order.

"Let's rest for just a few minutes, okay?"

"Whatever you say! Your wish is my command!"

"Why stop now? We've got to be at least halfway there already, right?"

"Oh, shut up and take a break, you masochist..." Zoro stopped walking, but out of pure stubbornness, or maybe it was spite, he refused to sit down.

"Oi. I thought this place only had one town?" Zoro was making it very difficult for Nami to properly enjoy her moment of relaxation in the shade. Sanji had even found a large leaf and was obligingly fanning her.

"No," Nami corrected him, "I said there was one major port. Why?"

"There are some buildings over there." He pointed a short ways inland. Sure enough, several structures were visible, but there was no smoke, sound, or any other sign of life.

"Maybe they were abandoned?" Sanji must have been thinking the same thing.

Zoro raised one eyebrow and grinned. "Only one way to know for sure..."

Chopper whimpered in his sleep, one tiny hoofed leg twitching. Zoro absently reached a hand up to rub the reindeer's back, mumbling soothing noises until the small figure calmed down again. The swordsman wasn't even truly conscious of his actions until Sanji snickered and Nami said, "Aww..."

He quickly brought the arm back down to his side and glared at them, most certainly not blushing. "What?"

"You are so going to have kids someday," Nami chuckled.

"Am not," Zoro sulked. "Probably."

"Nami-san is delightfully insightful," Sanji was still smiling scornfully at Zoro, "but I have to agree with the marimo. That would require him finding a woman with shockingly low standards."


"Who said the kids would have to be his biologically?" Nami sniffed. Sanji bit his tongue from further comment, embarrassed that he had momentarily forgotten that Nami was adopted. Of course, he basically was too, but he was loath to trample on his angel's feelings.

Zoro felt a change of subject was definitely in order. "We gonna go check that place out or what?"

Nami could tell that Zoro was curious about the strange buildings, and when Sanji finally met her gaze again, his own interest was poorly concealed. Nami rolled her eyes again. "Boys. You're all so stupid. Fine! Let's go." Curiosity must be contagious.

Upon closer inspection, there were three buildings, all of which appeared to be in good repair. The center building seemed to be an office of some kind, with a residential area to the right and what was probably storage on the left. The group decided to split up. Nami called the storage shed, hoping there might be something worth "re-appropriating" inside. Sanji took the small dwelling for similar reasons: he was hoping to find some food. Of course, he would never, on principle, actually steal food. If he found anything worth taking, he fully intended to leave monetary compensation. This left Zoro and the still unconscious Chopper with the office.

Nami tapped her chin thoughtfully with a forefinger as she contemplated the space around her. Where to begin? After a cursory glance, she ignored several crates and barrels. Those were probably just dry goods. There was also a bench with various tools and random spare parts to heaven only knew what. Some more boxes were piled in the far corner, each hand labelled with titles such as "winter clothing" and "old books." Buried behind several other boxes, Nami caught a hint of brass.

The brass turned out to be the corner fitting on a medium sized chest. She was not surprised to see that it was secured with a padlock. The thief groaned and rolled her eyes. She was handy with a lock pick, but the time and effort involved was irritating. Nami removed her set of picks from a hidden pocket in her skirt and set to work. The lock released with a gratifying click a few minutes later.

"Let's see what lovely treasures are hidden away... in... here?" The trunk appeared to contain a rolled piece of parchment and a pile of dirty laundry. The paper turned out to be a map of some kind, so she tucked that away for further analysis later. Unable to completely quell her curiosity, Nami turned back to the clothing.

There were pieces in all colors, sizes, and styles. There didn't seem to be any common trend, except that all the pieces seemed to need varying levels of mending. In fact, the sash she was looking at right now almost looked like it had a bullet hole in it. Was that blood on that blue sweater? What was that suspicious dark stain around the tear in those black pants?

The sash slithered back into the trunk through her shaking fingers. These items weren't dirty laundry! They were trophies... Gnawing on her bottom lip, she turned back to the barrels. She pulled the top off of one to reveal dry goods of a sort: gunpowder.

"I'd better find the others. We need to get out of here!" She turned toward the door but froze when she heard unfamiliar voices outside.

"Don't forget to file those new wanted posters, Dirk."

"I know, I know... You just hurry up with your tinkering and go help Dart put away the provisions."

Nami heard a hand on the doorknob and frantically dove behind the gunpowder barrels. She held her breath as she heard someone enter and then stop suddenly. The stranger swore softly, and she heard the sound of rustling fabric. If he was occupied with the trunk, Nami might be able to make a shot for the door. She thought about assembling her Clima-Tact but decided it was better to just make a run for it and rushed for the rectangle of daylight. The navigator could hear the unknown man right behind her, but she didn't have time to deal with him. She needed to find her crew mates fast!

Sanji debated with himself for a few moments, then stubbed out his cigarette before entering the house. The less trace of themselves they left behind, the less likely they were to antagonize the people who lived here, and cigarette smoke tended to linger.

The small cottage was one large room with a single corner walled off for what he could only assume was the bathroom. There was a three-tiered bunk against the left wall, three small dressers, and three chairs at the table. In a drying rack next to the sink in the small kitchen were three plates, three glasses, and three sets of silverware. Unless he was sorely mistaken, Sanji had the strong impression that three people lived here.

"Huh," he mumbled aloud, "never figured myself for Goldilocks..."

In the kitchen cabinets he found some more dishes, various pots and cooking utensils, an armed mouse trap, a small spice rack, a can of peaches, and a partially empty box of crackers. The refrigerator was equally sparse, mostly containing partial jars of various condiments. He swung the door shut and studied the variety of papers hung on the front with magnets. There were an assortment of coupons and adds, a small calendar with landscape images, and a "To Do" list written in a flowing script. The first four entries were crossed out, but still legible.

To Do:

Inventory: Dart- home goods, Dirk- office supplies, Dagger- odds and ends
Make shopping list
Shopping trip into town
Pick up new wanted posters at marine outpost
Catch up on filing
Target practice

Wait a minute... Wanted posters? Target practice? Now that he looked closer, some of the fliers were for weaponry shops, and a few coupons had been clipped for a blacksmith. Just as he was making the connection that three bounty hunters lived here, he heard voices outside.

"Don't forget to file those new wanted posters, Dirk."

"I know, I know... You just hurry up with your tinkering and go help Dart put away the provisions."

Sanji slipped silently into the bathroom as the front door opened and prayed that there was a window...

Zoro gnawed absently on his lower lip as he scanned the office before him. There was a desk, two filing cabinets, a small safe, and some kind of closet. He felt Chopper stirring and lifted the reindeer down and set him on the ground.

"Feeling any better?"

"Yeah," the tiny doctor rubbed the sleep from his eyes and looked around in confusion. "Where are we?"

"I dunno," Zoro shrugged. "Just some buildings we came across. Wanna help me look for anything interesting?"

"Well... Okay," The doctor agreed, frowning, "but I know that if this were my office, I wouldn't want strangers poking around."

Zoro shrugged again. "Relax. We'll probably be long gone before the owners come back."

Chopper trotted over to the filing cabinet as Zoro perused the items on top of the desk. He tugged on the bottom drawer, but it was apparently locked. He was about to give up on the cabinet entirely when he noticed that the next drawer up from the bottom was stuck partly open, the top of a thick file wedged in the opening. The doctor gave the handle an experimental tug, and the drawer slid open.

The reindeer wrinkled his nose in confusion as he flipped through the files. Each one appeared to be labelled with a person's name. Was this a doctor's office, perhaps? He didn't want to look at confidential information! Then he spotted a name that he knew: Roronoa, Zoro.

With trembling hooves, he carefully slid the file out and opened it. It contained Zoro's wanted poster and several pages of notes describing his appearance and some sketchy information about his past. The words "very dangerous" were scrawled in the margins of the first page in red ink.

"Um, Zoro? You might want to come take a look at this."

"A file on me, huh?" Chopper jumped when Zoro's reply came from right behind him. "Guess that makes sense, since this is a bounty hunter's office."

"How did you know?"

"The planner on the desk has an appointment with a marine captain to pick up new wanted posters and an overdue bounty payment listed for today."

"What are we going to-" Zoro cut off Chopper's question with a sharp look and a finger held to his lips, cocking his head toward the door. A voice drifted in from outside.

"Don't forget to file those new wanted posters, Dirk."

The reply came from right outside the office door. "I know, I know... You just hurry up with your tinkering and go help Dart put away the provisions."

Chopper dove under the desk. Zoro simply turned to face the door, right hand resting lightly on the hilts of his swords. The former pirate hunter always presented an imposing picture, but if he expected the man who entered to cower in fear, he was sorely mistaken. Instead, the man gave a small start of surprise, but then grinned. He set the bag he was carrying down off to one side.

"I told Dagger a big bounty head would come wandering through here someday! I don't suppose your captain is here with you?"

Zoro blinked. "No."

"Too bad." The man shrugged. "That would have really made things interesting. Prepare to meet your match!"

"Seriously?" Zoro glanced over his opponent. The man was small, wiry, and appeared to be totally unarmed. He was either completely insane, or he had something up his sleeve.

"Seriously." The stranger's grin widened. "Everyone underestimates me, and that's a mistake. You see, I've eaten the Glue Glue Fruit! Glue glaze!" The man thrust his arms in front of himself and Zoro was doused with a wave of clear liquid.

Before Zoro could fully recover from his surprise and retaliate, several things happened in quick succession. First, the office door slammed open, knocking the stranger to the side as Nami rushed in and grabbed onto Zoro's right arm. Chopper was startled by the loud noise and scrambled out from under the desk. In a typical Chopper response to danger, he jumped up and latched onto the left side of Zoro's head.

"There are bounty hunters here," Nami panted. "We have to run! Ew... What's all over you?"

Sanji sprinted in next with two people, another man and a woman, hot on his heels. As the newcomers spread out to flank the pirates, Sanji stood with his back against Zoro's.

"Careful, Dagger," the woman cautioned as she pulled a throwing knife from a bandolier across her chest, "don't touch them. It looks like Dirk got the swordsman before they knocked him out."

"He'd better be okay," the man, Dagger apparently, growled. "I keep telling that idiot that his Devil Fruit power isn't enough to win a fight by itself." He pulled out two clubs, twirling the one in his right hand lazily. "The stickiness should wear off soon; then let's rush them."

Zoro pondered this for a moment. The first guy had said something about glue, and this other guy mentioned stickiness. Zoro could only hope that didn't mean what he thought it meant. He felt a tug against his back, followed by some very creative swearing on Sanji's part. Damn...

"What's wrong?" Nami asked.

"I'm stuck! What the hell did you do, muscle-head?"

"I didn't do anything! We're getting out of here." He leaned forward, pulling Sanji's feet off the ground, and barreled for the door, Nami scrambling to move her legs fast enough to avoid being dragged. The woman with the knife dove out of the way. Dagger cursed and gave chase.

Desperately hoping that the glue was no longer sticky, Zoro drew Yubashiri with his left hand. Spinning on his heel, he whipped the blade in a circular motion, blasting a gust of air back at their pursuer. The air raised a cloud of dust that provided a few moments of concealment. Zoro sheathed the blade, releasing a soundless sigh of relief when his hand came free from the hilt easily.

A knife flew out of the dust cloud, passing close enough to ruffle the fur on Chopper's back before sticking in a tree behind them. Zoro headed for the tree line before their enemy had a chance to take better aim.

"We need somewhere to hide," Nami gasped. All this running was wearing her out fast. "Does anybody see anything?"

"I think I can see a cave," Chopper replied, "but I don't think we want to be trapped somewhere like that, do we?"

"Trapped is better than dead." Sanji could see the underbrush rustling in the distance behind them. "Besides, I'm getting tired of being hauled around like a sack of potatoes!"

As the small group ran under the cave's entrance, Sanji aimed a kick at the apex of the entrance. The opening caved in behind them as Dagger and Dart ran out of the trees.

"Well, I guess that's that," Dagger scoffed.

"Don't be ridiculous." Dart rolled her eyes. "You know as well as I do that they're probably just fine. Regardless, we don't have time to dig them out right now. If they're here on the island, Straw Hat Luffy probably is, too. Let's go wake up Dirk."