This one is dedicated to Aquilaa who is in love with Olivia and created Ryoki. I hope you like the name I gave him, sweetheart. This chapter is based on this picture here she drew http:// .us /img528/695/zosanlviaji. jpg (Aquilaa if you want I can take this down, sorry if this bothers you)
Zoro let himself be pulled through the jumbles of people a slight frown on his handsome face. There were people everywhere, out enjoying the festival that surged with life down the streets. Too many people in his opinion, he preferred smaller gatherings it was easier to keeps tabs on everyone that way. With the street full of hyper kids, anxious parents and other festival goers Zoro couldn't help but worry at what could happen. He knew what kind of people there were in this world, had sailed over many vast seas and experienced hundreds of variations of evil. Any one person in this crowd could without warning start a massacre or even worse try to take the one who pulled him onward.
Zoro remembered back several years to the Strawhats adventure on Water 7. He had heard the details from Chopper and how suddenly Robin hadn't been there anymore. One minute the beautiful archaeologist was on the way to a bookstore with the reindeer and the next she was gone, showing up again only to leave the crew. Those had been dark days for the swordsman and he didn't plan on going through anything like that again. Pain and loss were a part of life but losing her would be losing his life.
"Daddy, come on."
Zoro was dragged out of his painful reminiscing by the cause of his worry. The angelic face of his eight year old daughter stared back up at him. Dark green hair framing her pale face, big green-blue eyes showing hints of exasperation. The look on her face was clearly telling him he wasn't moving fast enough for her taste, having unknowingly slowed down for his journey to the past.
"I could carry you and we'd be there in no time." Zoro suggested to the little girl.
She let out an impatient huff, rolling her eyes in a way that made him think she was spending too much time at Nami's house.
"You know you'd just get lost daddy." She said slowly.
He couldn't believe his eight year old daughter was talking to him like he was the child but he shouldn't be surprised, she was mature beyond her years and had inherited her mother's thirst for knowledge. Olivia was no ordinary eight year old girl. Zoro growled playfully at her and with one quick motion scooped her up in his arms, bringing his free hand over to dance fingers over her sides. Olivia giggled and writhed in his strong embrace, trusting him completely to not let her fall.
"Daddy! Stop, no fair." She giggled between breaths.
Bending down Zoro brushed a kiss against her forehead before gently setting her back down on the ground. Olivia beamed up at her father while straightening out her kimono and readjusting the purple sash. Once she was satisfied she once again took Zoro's hand, ready to resume their wanderings. Zoro followed along dutifully, smiling fondly at his daughter. He cherished the moments he spent with her and dreaded the day she would no longer laugh when he scooped her up. The day she was no longer just his little girl.
They were walking towards one of the shops that were selling festival mementos when suddenly a young boy ran into Zoro's leg. The boy stumbled back a few steps and Zoro reached out to steady him, having a kid had instilled more compassion in the ornate swordsman. However compassion or not he was still cautious, even little boys could be thieves. The little boy brushed light orange hair out of his clear blue eyes only to have it fall down again. He smiled sheepishly up at Zoro and bowed in apology.
"I'm sorry sir, I wasn't paying attention." His voice was soft and innocent. "Sorry miss, I hope I didn't mess your bootiful dress."
The boy's blue eyes shone as he apologized to Olivia and there was something familiar about them. He examined the boy more carefully, Olivia didn't seem to recognize him so it couldn't be one of her friends but something about those eyes and delicate cheekbones were familiar.
"Ryoki! Don't run off like that."
The little boy looked behind him at the cry and Zoro could only assume he was Ryoki. What was more important to him in that moment was the voice. He should have known the second he laid eyes on the boy. It was a swordsman's duty to be observant, he was getting soft with age and fatherhood. In the back of his mind he started planning a stricter training regime.
"Sorry Dad, but there was this..." Ryoki started to explain but was cut off by his father.
"No excuses young man. And what have I told you about talking to strangers, who are... shit!"
Zoro smirked as the man appeared and noticed him standing there with Olivia. The oh so familiar expletive hissing past his thin lips as usual. Same old cook.
"Oi, don't be teaching my girl bad words, dartbrow."
"Shitty swordsman, what are you doing here?"
Zoro glared at the other man but inside he smiled at the easy familiarity of it all. It didn't matter if he was the world's greatest swordsman, to Sanji he was always going to be the "shitty swordsman" and Zoro found he liked it that way.
"Knitting a sweater." He replied sarcastically, enjoying the familiar twitch in Sanji's ridiculously curled eyebrow.
"No, you're not daddy." Olivia interrupted. "He's taking me to the festival." She answered Sanji sweetly.
Sanji's attention immediately shifted to the little girl, his attention as always diverted by a female whether they be 8, 18 or 80. His smile grew and his blue eyes sparkled. The cook handed a blue paper lantern to his son before bending down to be at eye-level with Olivia.
"Olivia-chan, haven't you grown into such a beautiful girl." Sanji crooned.
Zoro grunted at the usual scene from the cook but couldn't help but feel proud as Olivia smiled back and held out her small hand, letting go of his in the process.
"Hajimemashite*" Olivia inquired politely.
Sanji answered her warmly, his grin slightly amused as he shook her hand.
"The manners must come from Robin." He said to Zoro as he stood back up.
"You know mama?" Olivia asked, her fist closing around Zoro's pant leg.
Sanji seemed crushed that the little girl didn't seem to remember him and Zoro fought to keep from laughing at him. I mean Olivia was only a baby when Sanji had seen her last.
"This is Sanji-san, Olivia. He was the cook in Luffy's crew with mom and I."
"I was more than just a cook, baka."
"My daddy's not a baka Sanji-san."
This time Zoro did laugh as a light blush stained the cook's fair cheeks. That was his girl, alright. He just smirked as Sanji rushed to apologize to his daughter, offering up flowery excuses. Zoro took the opportunity to size up Sanji's son. He had heard that the cook had a kid, Robin kept in contact with everyone through letters and Ryoki had obviously been mentioned. It had been awhile since the last correspondence however and Zoro had no idea Sanji and his family was on this island. Ryoki's pale orange hair must have come from his mother but the way it fell over one eye was pure Sanji. However unlike Sanji, Ryoki didn't seem to be afraid to show both of his clear blue eyes and he was constantly brushing the hair away.
The little boy seemed to mirror Olivia, standing mutely by his father's side one small fist gripping the black dress pants. He held the pale blue lantern in his free hand but his attention was focused on Olivia. Watching her with awe and Zoro could decipher a yearning to get to know her. Ryoki was only seven or eight now so he shouldn't have to worry about any extra interest yet but then again he was Sanji's son. The yellow shirt he wore was loose but Zoro could see he didn't have quite any baby fat left to him, soft but thin like his father. Zoro's attention was broken away from the boy by a gentle tugging on his pant leg.
"Daddy, daddy! Who is he?" Olivia asked, pointing at Ryoki, her eyes sparkling green with curiosity.
Ryoki smiled shyly but released his grip on Sanji and took a tiny step forward.
"Hi. I'm Blackleg Ryoki. It's a pleasure to meet you Olivia-san."
Zoro watched as Ryoki bowed to Olivia, Sanji having clearly instilled his appreciation and respect for women in the kid. In his opinion however, the kid pulled it off smoother than Sanji ever did. Then again if those pretty blue eyes were still all over Olivia in ten years he might change his mind. Olivia seemed to be entranced by the boy in front of her, a small smile reminiscent of her mother's gracing her lips. He met the glance of Sanji and the cook shrugged as if to say it beats me. As Sanji brought an unlit cigarette to his lips Zoro reached down to tap Olivia on the shoulder. She reluctantly dragged her gaze away from Ryoki and looked up at him.
"We should probably get going Livy, your mom is expecting us home soon."
Olivia nodded and slipped her hand back into his.
"It was nice to meet you Sanji-san, Ryoki-kun." She said sweetly, ever the polite child.
The sentiment was exchanged and goodbyes were said before they went their separate ways. They had only taken a few steps before Sanji was calling out.
A muscle in Zoro's neck twitched and he clenched his jaw but he turned around without any complaints, settling for a deathly glare instead. Olivia really had softened him over the years.
"I'd like to invite Olivia-chan, Robin-chan and you over for dinner tomorrow night."
Olivia's hand tightened around his and Zoro knew he had no choice but to say yes. Olivia would be devastated if he said no and he didn't want to face Robin's disappointment if that were the case.
"Sure, I guess we could suffer through your cooking for one night."
"Fine. I'll ring Robin-chan later with the details."
Of course Sanji would jump on the chance to talk to Robin instead of him. It suited Zoro just fine, he'd much rather leave that stuff to Robin anyways. The swordsman grunted his acquiesce and started walking again.
"Are we really going to have dinner with them daddy?"
"Well I said we would didn't I?"
Olivia nodded solemnly before breaking into one her most beautiful smiles and pulling him into the nearest shop.
"We have to find the present for mama now."
"What did you want to get her?" Zoro asked eyeing the different merchandise and trying to remember how much money he had left on him.
"I don't know, maybe a lantern like Ryoki-kun had or a fan. It has to be purple though."
Zoro headed over to the shelves of fans with Olivia, there were dozens of fans in various colours and designs. To him they all looked about the same but Olivia examined each one carefully, immediately discarding any that didn't contain any traces of the cherished purple. It was Robin's favourite colour and Olivia liked to make sure presents for her contained the colour in some fashion.
Several minutes later the pair left the shop, Olivia carrying a small paper bag in her hand. After careful consideration she had chosen a pale lavender fan with vibrant purple and silver flowers painted on the delicate material. She had even managed to bargain down the price a few beli (more of Nami's influence). Zoro watched as her steps slowed slightly and she stumbled a bit, tired from the day's activities.
"Want a lift, Livy?" Zoro asked with a gentle squeeze to her hand.
Olivia looked up at him and he could see the indecision in her eyes. On one hand she was a proud girl and liked to walk on her own but on the other she was pretty tired. His baby girl won out on the internal battle and she nodded in agreement. Zoro smiled and lifted her effortlessly up on to his shoulder. Keeping her kimono in mind he settled her on one shoulder, one hand on her waist to keep her secure. He felt her small grip around his neck and let a content smile pull at his lips. Then Roronoa Zoro walked home with his daughter.
*How do you do