Title: Body Language
Theme: Mini challenge 2, #5: Ostrich
Pairing: Zoro x Nami (Though this one could easily be interpreted as close friends.)
Warnings: References to certain animal behavior. Some OOC behavior, also.
Continuity: Takes place during the Alabasta filler arc, in case anybody wonders, "Who the heck is Scorpion?"
Disclaimers: All characters herein are the intellectual property of Eiichiro Oda. Though Scorpion and company belong to whoever wrote that filler, I think. Still not me!
As Nami stood back to watch Scorpion's tearful reunion with his sons, she realized she was being watched herself. Popo the ostrich was staring at her intently. She was about to comment on it when the large bird suddenly lowered his head and began weaving from side to side, flapping each wing alternately. Afraid the bird might be preparing to attack her, Nami began edging away and backed into Zoro.
"Hey, watch where you're going!"
"That bird is freaking me out." Nami tugged on the sleeve of Zoro's robe. "Do something about it!"
"What exactly do you want me to do?" Zoro asked, putting his hands out to the side in a wide shrug. Popo's gaze snapped to him, then the ostrich turned back to Nami and began flapping again in earnest.
Nami tried to duck behind Zoro.
"What are you doing?" He demanded. "Stop it!" He kept turning to keep Nami in his line of sight, arms flailing. This resulted in Nami running in a small circle around him, hunched slightly.
"I'm trying to hide!" Nami snapped. "You hold still!"
Usopp cleared his throat loudly, and Nami and Zoro turned to see that everyone was now staring at them. Popo seemed a little dejected, Usopp, Vivi, and Ace were amused, Scorpion and his sons looked a little shocked, Luffy and Sanji were confused, and Chopper was covering his eyes with his front hooves. There was a long moment of silence.
"Are they done now?" Chopper asked, peeking with one eye.
"What are you talking about?" Nami and Zoro asked at the same time.
"You see, uh..." Scorpion cleared his throat. "Sometimes when an ostrich is raised around people, it expresses, er, 'interest' in people the same way it would another ostrich..."
"You mean..." Nami gasped, cheeks flushing, as she realized what Popo had been doing. He wasn't going to attack her--he'd been hitting on her, ostrich style.
"I'm mighty surprised you handled it the way you did, though," Scorpion added with a chuckle.
"By running away?" Zoro asked, slightly puzzled.
"No," Chopper corrected, "by showing interest in another male. You guys were just doing the ostrich mating dance." Chopper's eyes widened and he put a hoof to his mouth. "You mean you didn't know?"
"This is your fault!" Nami jabbed a finger at Zoro. "Flapping your arms like that! I should charge you for the humiliation incurred here!"
"Me?!" Zoro barked back. "You're the one who came to me! Why didn't you just ask Scorpion to call off his bird? If I'd known that was the equivalent of ostrich foreplay, I wouldn't have done it!"
"Should we leave you two love birds alone?" Usopp teased, grinning broadly.
"Shut up, Usopp!" Nami and Zoro chorused.
After a little more mostly good-natured ribbing, the subject was dropped after Nami threatened to institute a discussion fee. Scorpion and family left, Ace bade them farewell, and the rest decided to keep traveling until sunset.
Zoro approached Nami later, at that night's campsite.
"Just so you know," he mumbled, avoiding eye contact, "if I was interested in that sort of thing with you, I'd let you know like a man, not a bird."
"If?" Nami teased. She had meant it as a joke, but Zoro blushed. There was a moment of awkward silence. "I know you would," Nami finally stated.
During dinner, Nami waited until no one else was looking at her and Zoro was taking a drink before slightly flapping her arms and wiggling her eyebrows at the swordsman. He promptly choked, alarming Chopper.
He retaliated later by walking up behind Vivi as she was trying to talk to Nami, flapping his arms and looking at Nami out of one eye while bobbing his head, sending her into a fit of giggles.
She apologized profusely to Vivi, and shot him a glare. He stuck his tongue out at her, and just like that, the tension from earlier was gone.