A Mile in His Shoes

By Mr Khan

I guess my ambivalence regarding CP6 was real enough, since it received a rather tepid response, so I'm going to leave it aside. I wasn't too happy writing it, and apparently the community wasn't too thrilled with it either. So I'm going to jump to something more strictly about characterization, which seems to be my forte. It's an attempt to create a story that combines ZoSan (not yaoi), SanNa, and (of course), ZoRo. It turned out that the two rivals could provide invaluable help to the other's romantic frustrations.

Chapter 1: Curse.

"Take it! It's your problem now! Wahaha!" And with that, the man ran off down the pier. The strange, ragged looking man had run up to where the Thousand Sunny sat at anchor on the docks, and had tossed a circular object wrapped in brown paper that landed on the deck's lawn. At the time, Nami and Robin were the only two on deck. None of the others were around, or marked what happened.

"Oi! Don't just pitch trash on our deck!" Nami yelled, shaking her fist at the man's departing figure. "Geez!" She picked up the thing in its brown paper wrapping and peeled it off, carefully looking at it. Familiar Beli signs filled her eyes. "Hey, Robin, come take a look at this."

"Yes, Nami-san," Robin replied, getting up from her familiar lawn-chair to examine the object that Nami held. It was an odd thing, a disk made of stone, older than old, with a square hole in the middle, and odd markings etched in the stone that radiated outward from the middle. The markings were obscured with age, smoothed away with the years. Robin frowned, it wasn't in the best condition. She couldn't see anything specific, but the general pattern of the markings were familiar…

"Well?" Nami asked eagerly, wanting to know if she had her next million-beli payout in her hands.

"It's old," Robin said, "really old. The markings on it have been obscured. I'll need more time to find out if it's worth anything, or what its exact purpose was." Nami looked crestfallen. "There is one thing I can see." Nami perked up again. "Curse. That's the only thing I can really get out of it. The disk itself is cursed, or it brings a curse, or something. You should put it back in its wrapping and set it somewhere where our nakama can't get to it for now."

"Right," Nami said, cautiously wrapping the disk back in its paper. She could only imagine what sort of havoc someone like Luffy could wreak with a curse-stone. She took it then and chose the perfect place in which to store it: Sanji's fridge. It was a room he guarded jealously from the others (especially Luffy), but she could, of course, wheedle her way in there. His virtual enslavement to her was worth putting up with his insufferable advances, she thought, though he had been getting even more annoying of late. She went below deck and ran right into Zoro, who was heading up to the deck.

"Oi, what's that?" he asked, indicating the disk.

"Nothing!" she responded sharply. "You're not allowed to touch this! Nobody is!" She couldn't risk telling the truth, Zoro knowing it was cursed would just arouse his curiosity, considering that the sword he had used up through Enies Lobby was supposed to have been cursed. And him going around to touch it would bring around the others, like Luffy, which again would be disastrous. She was soon going to regret that she shouted at him.

"Oi, marimo! What are you doing to Nami-swan?" Sanji bulled his way into the conversation. "How did you upset her?" He stood in front of Zoro, scowling at him.

"I didn't do anything, ero cook! She just flew off the handle about that damn thing she's carrying!"

"She didn't want you getting your moss all over it!"

"Just shut up!" Nami interrupted them both. Of all the annoying things Sanji did, this incessant feuding with Zoro was probably the worst. "This is going in the fridge."

Sanji again launched into one of his idiotic transports, "yesss, Nami-swan! My door of love will guard the treasure of your heart!" His voice suddenly changed "and keep shitty marimos out of there."

Instead of rising to the bait, Zoro just spat, and clomped up to the deck.

Sanji followed Nami towards his own fridge, pink hearts throbbing in his eyes. "Oh Nami-swan, you're so radiant when you're keeping a secret! Mellorine, mellorine!"

A vein bulged in Nami's forehead. Dork. When is he going to get that I'm not interested? And if I were, he's too damn clingy. They finally reached the fridge, and Nami carefully set the stone on a shelf. "Just make sure no-one touches it."

"Yes, Nami-swan!"

Damn him.

Zoro stepped out onto the deck, the look on his face quite plainly said what he didn't care to: step off. Robin looked up from her book and saw him emerge. "Something wrong, Kenshi-san?" she asked, giving one of her winning smiles.

Zoro grunted, barely acknowledging her, and quickly zipped up the mast to the training room. Robin frowned again, and went back to her book. How was she supposed to respond to something like that? If Zoro wanted to keep secrets, that was fine, but it was nice to have someone sane to talk to aboard the Thousand Sunny. She didn't really have anyone to talk to when he was being so cold, though. Oh well.

Training was Zoro's solution to everything, train when he was bored, train when he was happy, or in this case, train when he was frustrated. But neither any amount of weight or any number of reps seemed to break him out of his irritation. He had to get back at that little tyrant. She was always bossing everyone around, and it grated on him more than the others. He had been there longer, he was older than she. I'm the damn first mate. I should get more respect then this. He wasn't consumed by any particular malice, he didn't hate her or anything, he really just wanted to prove to himself that she couldn't boss him around. The only way he could do that was by finding that thing she had been carrying, and inspecting it for himself. It was a foolish urge, he knew he had nothing to gain from doing this, but his pride compelled him to. After hours of intensive training, he finally resolved to do it, but he would have to be careful about it.

In the dark, hours before dawn, Zoro made his move. Stealth was by no means the swordsman's strong suit, but he applied it here. He applied his puzzle-solving capabilities, too, a faculty he never bothered to use. Of course he didn't know the code to get in, but he knew the people who did know, aside from Sanji: Nami and Nico Robin. There had to be a reason for that, he figured, so he tried a few combinations of the numbers that their names sounded like, and eventually came up with it. Na Mi Ni Ro, 7326! He stepped inside and found the object of his irrational desire: the thing in the brown-paper wrapping. He pulled it down off the shelf and was opening it cautiously when he was interrupted.

"Oi oi. What exactly are you doing in here?" Sanji had arrived, looking grimmer than death, furious that someone was violating Nami's wishes and the sanctity of his fridge. "Nami-swan's treasure! Put that down right now and get the hell out!"

"I'm allowed to look at this if I want to," Zoro said indignantly. "Nami's not going to stop me, and neither are you."

"Put it down! Don't touch it!"
"I'll touch it if I want to!" Zoro yelled, reaching out to touch the stone disk.

"Like hell you will!" Sanji reached out to grab the disk away from Zoro. Their hands met, touching the stone disk simultaneously. Both knew they had made a mistake when they felt something akin to an electric shock roll through their bodies, and saw the square hole in the middle of the stone glow brightly. But they didn't have long to ponder their mistake, as everything quickly went black for both of them.

Author's Note: The fridge code number, as well as the reasoning behind the number, are 100% canon, according to one of Oda's SBSes. The One Piece Wiki is very useful sometimes.