Disclaimer: Oda owns it all and that's okay with me. I just want to play with them
Pairing: ZoLu, Friendship or pre-slash, that's up to you...
A/N: My first story for this fandom. Hope you like it.
This story was beta'd by TheDoublemintTwins11! Go check out their stories... after you've read this one of course! :)
1. the impetus to go forward, develop, or get stronger
2. Philosophy An essential or constituent element; a moment
The first time Monkey D. Luffy smiled at him, shortly after the swordsman had agreed to become his first mate, in fact, Roronoa Zoro thought that it could have been a lot worse.
He had certainly never expected to become a pirate (as much as he had never expected to become a pirate hunter), but he thought that he'd made a pretty good deal. He would have agreed to anything in order to be able to fulfill his promise to Kuina, but he thought that he should be grateful that he didn't have to follow some bloodthirsty pillager, but a nice looking boy with black, shiny hair and glowing, innocent eyes, who seemed to be a pretty decent fighter as well.
"I'm Monkey D. Luffy and I'm going to be the pirate king!"
Certainly could have been worse...
The first time he set sail with Luffy, Zoro pretty much ignored the boys excited babbling... or rather, tried to.
His new captain went on and on about the Grand Line and One Piece and Meat and the Grand Line again and Zoro just wanted to take a nap.
"Can't you shut up already? I'm trying to sleep."
Luffy was silent for five seconds before he began to jump up and down (making the little boat wobble dangerously) and point to the sky. "Look Zoro, look! That cloud looks like a cat, doesn't it?"
Zoro seriously reconsidered that 'could be worse' attitude from just a few days ago but dutifully opened one eye to look at the damn cloud. Well, it kinda did look like a cat, although the swordsman really didn't understand what should be so exciting about that.
"Do you see it?"
They lapsed into silence again. But not for long. Soon Luffy began to hum a melody that Zoro didn't recognize. He was about to snap again, but he bit his tongue. The humming didn't bother him all that much. It was not louder than the waves crashing against the hull and he figured that he could live with that.
"Why do you want to sleep in the middle of the day? Isn't it boring?"
"No it's not."
"Oh. So it's fun?"
He could practically hear Luffy frown. "But if it's not boring or fun, why are you doing it?"
Zoro groaned and felt the sudden urge to bang his head against the railing. Hard.
Before he knew what he was doing, he beckoned Luffy over and ordered him to sit next to him. "Why don't you try it, and tell me if it's fun?"
The captain looked thoughtful for a moment before he grinned and pulled his strawhat over his eyes. "Okay!"
They both fell asleep, side by side, but when Zoro woke up a few hours later, Luffy was sprawled over his lap, snoring and blissfully unaware of the world around him. Zoro didn't throw him off, but nudged him lightly and watched how his captain opened bleary eyes.
The swordsman couldn't help the little smirk. "So? Fun?"
Luffy stared at him for a little while before he nodded enthusiastically. "Yup! But only when Zoro's doing it with me."
Zoro found that comment quite weird, but just grunted in reply. They stayed like that for a few more minutes before Luffy leaped up with an excited cry. His lap was suddenly oddly cold, but Zoro didn't think too much about it.
It wasn't that something like this would ever happen again anyway...
"Look Zoro, look! Doesn't that cloud look like a turtle?"
The first time Luffy recruited another crewmate, Nami, the money-loving thief, to be exact, Zoro felt something that he hadn't felt in a long time.
At first, he simply didn't trust her, and therefore didn't want his captain near the woman. Because Luffy was his captain.
Or rather, had been.
Because now, he was their captain, and that bothered Zoro, although he couldn't quite say why. He pondered it for a long time, and didn't even notice that he was avoiding Luffy until the rubber boy tackled him. Literally.
"Zoro!" he whined. "Come play with me!"
The swordsman sat up and rubbed his aching head. "Why don't you go ask Nami?" He growled.
He was pretty sure that his voice hadn't given anything away, but that was the thing with Luffy: he acted so goddamn stupid most of the time that you forgot how smart he could be when he wanted to.
Luffy's smile turned softer, a smile he didn't show everyone (or so Zoro would like to think) and said, "Silly Zoro. You're my first mate!"
And with that he broke into a fit of giggles and ran off, shouting 'Hide and Seek'. Zoro watched him go and repeated the words 'first mate' over and over, testing them, tasting them on his tongue. After a while he followed the rubber boy, feeling better than he had in a long time.
Because he was Luffy's first mate and Luffy was his captain, no matter what.
And when Usopp joined the strawhat crew a few days later, Zoro couldn't have cared less.
The first time Luffy snatched food from his plate, Zoro was surprised at how much he didn't mind.
The last one who had tried to steal his food had lost a finger, and no matter how much he had come to like the boy, he would have never imagined that he would just sit by and watch Luffy steal his food without even attempting to stop him.
But ever since he'd become Luffy's first mate he'd done many things that he would never have done a few weeks ago.
Was that boy making him soft? No, that couldn't be! He was the Demon Hunter, Roronoa Zoro. Feared all over East Blue. He refused to believe that one simple boy had gotten into his heart with that wide smile of his and that cute little pout...
"Zorooooo? Are you still eating that?"
The swordsman shook his head and pushed his plate across the table, ignoring his rumbling stomach and Nami's disapproving look.
And if he smiled while he watched how Luffy stuffed his mouth, he ignored that as well.
The first time Luffy climbed into his hammock during the night, the swordsman almost killed the poor boy. Accidentally of course.
Zoro hadn't shared a bed with someone else for a very long time, and when slim arms suddenly wrapped themselves around his waist he reacted purely on instinct. Only Luffy's quick reaction had prevented a worse outcome, but he didn't seem to hold it against his swordsman. He just laughed a little bit too loud, rubbed his head and actually apologized. After the initial shock was over, Zoro was oddly disappointed when Luffy wordlessly trotted to his own hammock, but he didn't allow himself to call the boy back.
Several weeks passed until the rubber boy tried again but this time he was smart enough to wake the swordsman beforehand and ask. Zoro was reluctant at first but one look into those chocolate brown eyes and he found himself scooting over to make room for his small captain.
Sometimes he wondered if he would be able to say no to him ever again.
Luffy's body was warm against his and the rubber boy snuggled against his side with a content sigh. He was asleep within seconds, so he didn't hear how Sanji snickered from the other side of the cabin.
But Zoro did.
"Shut up shitty cook."
"What was that, Marimo?"
Luffy mumbled and twitched in his sleep and both men fell silent.
The first time Luffy was severely hurt during a fight was also the first time that Roronoa Zoro was truly scared. Not scared for Luffy per se. Luffy was strong, maybe even stronger than the swordsman (although he would never admit that out loud) and he could take care of himself.
No, what had scared him had been his own rage and helplessness when he'd seen how his captain had hit the floor, how his blood had tainted the deck of the Going Merry.
The blood was gone by now, but Zoro could still see it now and again. Red stains all over the deck, taunting him, reminding him of his uselessness. Of the rage and anguish he'd felt when Luffy couldn't stand up for a few seconds after a particular nasty blow. Of the moment when he'd been sure that his heart would stop, just because, maybe, Luffy's had too.
They won the battle and it didn't even take an hour before their captain was up to mischief again, pale and bandaged but laughing and happy.
Zoro watched the rubber boy for a long time and couldn't help but feel resentful and even a little bit bitter.
How could Luffy play and laugh when Zoro was still unable to close his eyes without seeing his body lying on the deck, motionless and bleeding? Why couldn't Zoro shake off this irrational fear that he could still lose his captain?
And why was that thought scaring him in the first place?
Luffy was still playing, but Zoro could hear him panting and saw the little droplets of sweat on his forehead and he realized that the boy wasn't nearly as fit as he wanted them to believe. He took his seat by the mast and waited until the boy passed him so he could reach out and swiftly pull him into his lap, a move that he could pull off as well as Oni Giri or Tatsumaki.
Luffy whined and struggled against Zoro's grip for a few minutes before he sagged against his first mate's chest and finally allowed himself to relax. A few more minutes passed in which Luffy's breathing finally evened out.
A giggle. "Shishishi. Nothing."
Zoro groaned good-naturedly. Luffy could be such a child sometimes. Silly and random, but also trusting and full of life...
Zoro's hand moved on its own, placing itself over Luffy's chest. The swordsman could feel the beat of Luffy's heart through his vest and he silently counted them, like others might count sheep.
"What are you doing?"
"Just making sure you're still alive."
The strawhat captain was silent for a long time before he placed his hand over Zoro's and snuggled even deeper into the swordsman's chest. "Stupid Zoro. Of course I am!"
They stayed like that for the rest of the day, Luffy sleeping away his exhaustion and Zoro counting and counting and counting. . .
A/N: I guess this could go on and on and on, but I thought this was a good a place as any to end it. You know how to tell me what you thing folks *points to review button*