A/N: It's about time I did another one shot; they're surprisingly refreshing to write. I'd been thinking about what to do for a little when I finally decided to catch up again on the episodes (had fallen behind) and saw the new opening. Needless to say, the two playing a match of Othello refreshed me on why I enjoy the pairing so much. Such a simple scene, yet so much chemistry going on if you ask me; anyways decided to expand on the idea, so enjoy!
Flip. Flip. Flip.
Zoro scowled. This wasn't looking good for him. Despite his inhibitions that the next move would only make things worse, Zoro gritted his teeth and placed his next piece down, silently hoping it wouldn't turn out as he'd feared.
Flip. Flip. Flip. Flip.
Yep, it made things worse; much worse in fact. If the green haired swordsman felt he had any chance at winning before, it sure as hell had disappeared now. There was a depressingly large amount of black disks on the board and not many slots left to play. It was only a matter of time now until he lost.
Hell, even the dog that was idly watching the game grimaced at the outcome as it progressed. As if to confirm the swordsman's thoughts that he was screwed, the dog even glanced sympathetically to the strawhat.
After the last piece was put down onto the board, Zoro rubbed his hair in frustration as his opponent began to assemble the pieces by color to determine who had the most. The swordsman didn't even bother counting; he already knew that the woman sitting across from him had won… again.
"44 to 20, Kenshi-san" the voice cooed, "would you like to play again?"
Still rubbing his head, the swordsman drearily looked at the archeologist in front of him, her raven hair draping down slightly past her shoulders and a light smile bearing on her defined face. She was wearing a faded purple camp shirt with pale yellow polka dots, unbuttoned, and a light teal corset underneath. It was a pretty simple outfit, accompanied by a pair of blue jeans, which fit the mood of the relaxing, uninhabited spring island they were currently residing on.
Her smile had become much more warming and inviting over the time she had spent in the Straw Hat crew, something that certainly did not escape the attention of its first mate. Another thing that caught the swordsman's attention, somewhat surprisingly, was that he noticed the length of his companion's hair had grown a few inches.
Granted, that wasn't entirely surprising since they'd been out at sea for a while, and as he ruffled through his own hair the swordsman felt that it had lengthened as well, however what stuck out to him was that at the previous island Nami had forced most of the crew to get their hair cut. She'd tried to do the same for Zoro, but his apathetic nature towards appearances outlasted the navigator's vigorous determination. It just startled the swordsman that Robin, who he saw as the kind of person to at least care for her appearance, didn't take the opportunity to clean herself up. It had been quite some time between the two islands when they last docked as well, so the decision confused him.
"Kenshi-san?" the raven haired archeologist politely asked the younger man sitting across from her after his lack of a response.
"Huh?" Zoro was startled, not realizing he had been lost in thought. He'd completely missed what she had asked earlier.
Robin smiled a little bit wider than before, a glimpse of white teeth showing through her full lips. The raven haired archeologist tilted her head to the side and rested it lightly against the edges of her fingers. "Another game, would you like to play it?"
Zoro desperately wanted to refuse, already being four losses in since the two had started playing; however his stubborn nature wouldn't allow it until he had at least one victory under his belt. "Absolutely," he managed through grit teeth.
"Very well." Robin cleared off the pieces on the board before dividing them evenly and handing her opponent his share. "What color would you like to be this time?"
Zoro shuffled his weight to get more comfortable. "Doesn't really matter to me. Since you won, you go ahead and pick."
"Why don't you try out black this time? Maybe it will help." Robin placed the four beginning disks at the center of the board in a square to set up the game, each color alternating to make a diagonal pattern.
Zoro rolled up his sleeves. "Suits me just fine."
Robin snickered to herself at the swordsman's action.
"Huh, what is it?" Zoro asked peculiarly, confused by the woman's laughter.
"Cold?" she simply responded, teasing her opponent while looking at his clothing. The swordsman was wearing a darker grey, hooded long sleeve shirt with a deep brown line falling down the center. He also wore a pair of beige corduroy pants, a surprisingly stylish choice considering what the male usually donned and Robin couldn't help but note that he looked rather cute in the outfit.
"Cold?" he repeated, still not following her train of thought. "Not really, it's actually pretty nice out."
The archeologist stretched out her arms, looking innocently at the green haired swordsman. "You must be taking this game very seriously then to roll up your sleeves like that."
Zoro grunted at the comment, his face showing a tint of blushing under the archeologist's intense stare. The woman would often act coyly towards the swordsman, something that he could never get used to and always managed to make him uncomfortable, much to her pleasure.
"Whatever," he said quickly, dismissively, "let's just get started." Feeling confident that this game would be the one he turned the tides in, Zoro boisterously grinned at his opponent. "Ready to lose?"
Robin smirked, the swordsman's charismatic nature affecting her own. "You wish."
The thought of victory driving him on, Zoro made the first move and the game slowly progressed. Both players were taking their time before making a move, not wanting to give away any desirable choices to the other whilst trying to set up ones of their own. It was the swordsman who managed to grab the first corner slot, a smile of satisfaction crossing his features at the accomplishment.
"You're certainly on the offensive this game, Kenshi-san," Robin pointed out, breaking the silence that had overcome the pair once they had begun playing. After taking her turn, the raven haired archeologist looked up from the board at the swordsman.
"Well, I have to be. If I'm not, you're just going to catch me in a trap." Eyes never leaving the board as he calculated his next move, Zoro began tapping a finger on the ground in thought.
"Who's to say I already haven't?" the woman purred.
The comment broke the swordsman's attention and made him look up at the archeologist in mixed confusion. The raven haired woman looked back at him evenly for a moment before returning her gaze to the game board. Zoro scratched the back of his head in puzzlement before doing the same, reaching out with a disk in his hand to place it on the board.
The words Robin had just said were nagging in the back of his head and as a result Zoro hesitated in placing the piece in his hand down, re-examining the consequences of his move. The swordsman's eyes widened as he realized that the move he was going to make would have given his opponent a major advantage in placement for the rest of the game. Had she just… helped him?
Zoro shook his head and cast the thought away. Robin wasn't the kind of person who would let another win, at least that much he knew. If the two had only one thing in common, it was their distaste for losing at anything.
Then why? If it wasn't her helping the swordsman, then it must have been for some other reason. Now that he thought about it, Zoro noted that it felt like the raven haired archeologist was giving him hints, almost nudging him on. For what reason and to what end he couldn't decipher, but at the very least Zoro knew that Robin was after something.
As Zoro began contemplating his next move again, something caught his attention from the corner of his eye. Glancing at the source, Zoro saw the woman sitting across from him twirling her hair, her eyes resting on the pieces on the board. No matter how much he tried to ignore it, the green haired swordsman found himself completely distracted by the action.
It greatly puzzled the swordsman. In all the time the raven haired woman had been a part of the crew, he'd never seen her fiddle with her hair the way she was now, though why he noticed something like that was beyond him. Not only that, but the archeologist had a very peaceful look on her face as she did it, almost as if it had been something she'd done all her life.
It eventually became too much to bear.
"Is something wrong?" Zoro randomly interjected, his eyes fixated on the finger still tied up in the archeologist's hair.
"Wrong?" the woman echoed, "What do you mean?" She looked up to her companion and saw his gaze.
Zoro rubbed his neck in exasperation, not knowing how to ask the question without sounding like a fool. "Well… your…" Zoro hesitated, "Never mind." What was he doing? He was just about to ask Robin if something was wrong simply because she was toying with her hair. The whole thing was stupid and Zoro couldn't believe he even considered it to begin with.
Robin took the hand out of her hair and brought it to her lap, reveling at what she knew the swordsman was trying to bring up. "So you did notice…" she quietly whispered to herself.
"Huh?" Zoro looked up again, thinking that he'd just heard the archeologist say something.
"Oh, nothing." Robin brought her eyes to the swordsman, a small blush resting on her appearance.
Zoro was awestruck at the sight. Was Robin… blushing? Mesmerized by the sight, Zoro felt his chest tighten and breath shorten before he finally managed to tear his gaze away. Zoro felt he needed nothing more now than to get the game started up again to distract himself from the entire situation and get things back to normal.
The green haired swordsman furiously scanned the game board in a desperate attempt to find his next move. Without warning, the strawhat found the perfect and very dangerous move he'd been waiting for that could, should his opponent take the bait, give him advantageous placement for the rest of the match. It could also backfire and end up crippling him, basically guaranteeing another loss. Not even thinking twice about it, Zoro placed his piece down and awaited his opponent's move. He'd always liked placing everything on the line in a big gamble for his goals; he had to, otherwise his dreams could never come to fruition.
"Your move," Zoro uttered boisterously, a grin on his face.
"Feeling confident, are we?" Robin responded, taking a disk from her pile. "Strange, considering that you've hardly flipped any pieces." The raven haired woman placed her piece down and turned over all of the black disks that had been lined up.
Zoro laughed to himself, a minor celebration since the archeologist had gotten ahead of herself and fell right into his trap.
"Oh?" she hummed, curious at his high spirit.
"You forgot the corner piece." Zoro placed his disk down along the edge of the board, lining up most of the row with his disk lying in the corner. After flipping all of the pieces he captured, Zoro waited eagerly for his opponent to realize the fatal error she'd made. In her grandeur, the archeologist had failed to realize that the swordsman had been letting her get the upper hand throughout the whole match, filling the board with so many white pieces and so little black pieces that she wouldn't be able to capture any more after a while.
"Ahhhh, I see…" Robin finally realized the situation. "Your move still."
Though not quite the reaction he'd hoped for, Zoro gladly obliged the last statement and began to make his barrage of attacks, flipping over large amounts of disks while not allowing the archeologist to have a turn. Just when he was getting ready to place the remainder of his pieces down and emerge victorious over the woman across from him, Zoro felt the ground tremble under him. The trembling became so violent that the pieces on the board started shuffling around.
Looking up and around to discover the source of the shaking, Zoro saw the terrified looks among the rest of his crew, each member staring upwards and into the distance. Wondering what it was they were so fixated on, the green haired swordsman looked behind him and up towards the sky and nearly had to do a double take at what he saw. A guttural stammer escaped from the first mate's mouth as his face contorted into a mix of shock, awe, and horror.
Amidst the stuttering and yelping came the voice of the rubber captain, laughing and cheering on the sight before the crew.
"WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAHHH! COOL! A TURTLE!"
At the edge of the 'island' they were on was the head of a turtle towering over the creatures inhabiting it. It arched its neck backwards to inspect all of the commotion on its back which was covered with so much moss that it gave the appearance of grass. The strawhats all began sprinting as fast as they could back to their ship, leaving everything they had brought with them in a mad dash to safety. If the turtle should decide to go under the water, it would bring them with it into a watery grave.
Despite the pressing danger inherent in their situation, Luffy continued to laugh the entire way back to the Thousand Sunny, occasionally glancing back at the colossal turtle they were about to leave.
Back on the ship and after they got to a safe distance away, everyone aboard the Thousand Sunny gasped for breath as they collected their nerves. It wasn't long before everyone began talking about how crazy the event was and started noticing all of the things they had left behind. One thing in particular stuck out to Zoro.
"Ah crap!" he yelled out upon realization that the Othello board was still on the turtle, his game with the archeologist still unfinished. "Just when I was about to win, too."
"What makes you think that you were going to win?" the raven haired woman retorted, smiling at her companion's incredulous reaction.
"Did you not see the board or something? I totally had you!"
"Sure you did." Robin spread her arms out beside her, shaking her head to the side and enjoying watching the swordsman squirm at the idea that his moment of triumph was interrupted.
"You're damn right I did, woman!" Seeing that the archeologist continued to look unconvinced, Zoro threw his arm to the side and pointed at the female. "Fine then! We'll just have a rematch, I'll win again, no sweat!"
Robin chuckled to herself. "That would certainly be possible…" the archeologist pointed back to where the turtle was, "if we hadn't left our only board back on the sea turtle."
Zoro ran to the edge of the deck where Robin had pointed towards and leaned off, looking back to where they had just left the turtle from. The swordsman could see remnants of the camp that they had set up and knew that somewhere among it was the victorious match he had against the archeologist.
"You've got to be kidding me…" Zoro turned around and leaned against the railing of the ship, his shoulders slumped in defeat. "I was about to win!"
"But…" Robin began, coolly looking at the green haired swordsman standing across from her, "you've already won, Kenshi-san."
"Eh?" He looked up from the deck to the woman in puzzlement. Similar to when they were playing their match, the raven haired archeologist had an extremely amiable look on her face, enjoying every moment that was passing. "What do you mean I've already won?"
Robin shrugged. "It means what I said, you've won the game already."
"Game? What Game?"
Without answering the question, Robin gave Zoro one final, genuine smile before excusing herself to go to her room with a wave of her hand from the back.
"Oy, woman!" Zoro called out after her, waiting until she turned back around before continuing. "What's with you being so cryptic all a sudden? Start making some sense already!"
"Oh don't wory, Kenshi-san. I'm sure you'll understand eventually." Robin continued to walk back to her room before pausing for a moment, talking under her breath. "At least, I hope you will."
Zoro groaned to himself at the mysteriousness of his crewmate and walked off towards the front of the ship to take a well deserved nap. As he sat down and closed his eyes, Zoro reflected on what Robin had said before leaving his company. With that in mind, he thought back over the games of Othello and the mixed emotions he felt during them, unable to make sense of it.
"Hmm, it's like she said…" he said, beginning to drowse off, "I guess I'll just get it eventually."
Ending note: Glad to be done with this one, took much too long to write. A lot of what I wanted to go in didn't exactly get translated the way I wanted it to but I think I managed to get what I was overall going for. As always, I'm anxious to hear what you guys think of the story and how my abilities have progressed since I've started. Any words that you type are read over dozens of times and it makes my day. Hope you enjoyed the story and stick around for more!