Mutual Insomnia

Zoro x Nami

Ugh. I really am not sure how this is going to go. It's my first fanfic from this fandom, and I'm not confident enough in the series to be writing about it yet. Still, though. This is my all-time favorite anime/manga coupling. If this stinks, though, I apologize. I feel like I've said that more than I should have – sorry! I know quality should be over quantity. But at least you're getting a lot of quantity lately. Review!

It's 10:00 PM. It's unusually early for me to be trying to get to sleep; usually I don't get into bed until around 10:30 or 11, but tonight I've been under the covers since 9:30. Normally, I'd be asleep fairly quickly after getting in bed. Some nights, if I'm stressed, I'll be up for a good ten minutes before drifting off, but never a half hour. But I'm not under any particular stress right now. We'd been extremely lucky when visiting the last island. I found lots of gold, and Zoro managed to pay off some debt. Everything's going about as well as it possibly could be going, so why can't I sleep?

The stars outside are kind of lifeless, and there's not a single source of light in my entire room. It's about as dark as dark gets, and it's quiet. If there's any noise or brightness at all, I can't get to sleep. Ever since I was a little girl, it's been that way. If Nojiko was screaming, or anything, it would be impossible for me to sleep. It has to be eerie. Well, right now, it's about as eerie as it'll get. The slow motion of the ship is calming me, but not enough to get me to sleep. The thing on my mind, the thing preventing me from sleeping, is stronger than the dark and the silence and the steady movements of the Going Merry.

Zoro hasn't left my head in awhile. That cold, stupid, ignorant swordsman has been on my mind for quite some time now, and not just tonight. He's been in my head more and more lately, but I'm usually able to kick him out of my brain quickly if his presence intrudes my thoughts. It's not like he's a big distraction, not at all. In moments of silence and pondering, he'll just show up there, stalking my head. But I always shake him off and think about more important matters, like where to find the treasure on whatever island we're on that day. Even at night, when my mind is at its most dormant, he never stays in my thoughts for very long. But there was no denying that Zoro's definitely been on my brain more than he should be. Why did what happened that day make me think of him so much more? After all, I still can't fathom that he could be anything but a jerk. Mysterious, bitter, violent, dumb. Right now, I'm still thinking that as I lie in bed, my eyes glaring absently at the ceiling. Mysterious, bitter, violent, dumb. Even though he is, I still can't focus, and he's even more active in my head now than he ever was before. Significantly.

I felt a drip of sweat cascade down my forehead. My orange hair clung to the pillow, splattered across it, messy and uneven. I didn't close my eyes because of that sight that would unavoidably pop up there in my mind. I didn't get it. It was like a rapid transition from him being on my mind a little, to his image completely preventing me from getting to sleep tonight. It wasn't even that I was thinking about anything in particular about him. Just him in general, stalking my head, as mysterious, bitter, violent, dumb as always. That typical Zoro was in my brain, and nothing more. The ceiling, though, seemed farther away, as strange as that probably seems. I felt like I was so far below the rest of the world, and I couldn't put a finger on why. I stared at it intently, still refusing to shut my eyes. Why did I feel so inferior at that moment, so insignificant and small? Finally, I tried to block out that thought. I gently closed my eyes, only to be greeted by that green-haired face as I anticipated.

This time, however, Zoro wasn't his normal, mysterious, bitter, violent, dumb self. He was, in my mind, smirking.

I hadn't seen that Zoro smirk very many times. Sure, when he'd saved me before and whenever he'd won a battle with his trusty katanas. But, other than that, when did he ever really give off that smug smile? More importantly, why was I seeing it? Maybe I'm just tired, and thus delusional. But Zoro looked a bit…nice; like I was finally seeing that smirk in a new light. Not a smug smirk, the smirk of a cocky jerk. The smirk I was seeing in my head was a sweet smirk, one of those smirks that most girls dream of having a guy flash them. I'm not most girls, though. And I still don't know why Zoro's been taking over my head. Since that day, I've just been thinking about him more and more. Tonight, it's more severe than ever.

Either way, I know that my opinion of him will never change. Even though something strange happened between us, the resulting awkwardness is only temporary. I know it. It's just a phase; and soon he'll be the same old mysterious, bitter, violent, dumb Zoro he's always been.

It's 10:00 PM. I'm not sure why I'm still awake. I mean, I do, but I don't.

I'm laying here, palms behind my head and legs crossed comfortably, on the deck of the ship. It's my common sleeping and relaxing place, from when I finish up training with my swords to when I go to sleep for the night. Everybody else is inside, sleeping soundly in their respective rooms. I'm the only one awake on the entire Going Merry, I bet. It's pretty dark out, which I'm well-adjusted to. Even though I prefer a bit of light or noise when I'm trying to get to sleep (to calm me down), it's generally dark a lot of the time on the ship's deck. The waves rolling underneath the ship are tranquilizing, usually enough to get me to somewhat drift off into sleep. Not this time, though. It's weird.

My katanas are shifting around the ship. When the ship rocks like this, they never stay perfectly stationary. This, though, like so many other things since my arrival as the master swordsman on the ship, was something I've grown to tolerate. However, they're currently being a huge distraction. I can't really focus on the katanas right now without something else drifting off into my mind. The same something that's been on my mind for a bit of time now, and getting out of hand tonight.

That vulgar little orange-haired Nami's in my head right now. She really doesn't want to get out, either. She hasn't in awhile, as a matter of fact. I know why she's in there, too. It was all due to a weird little occurrence a few weeks back, one that left me completely and utterly unable to get her off of my head. She never fully controlled it; she was never the only thing on my brain. Even so, she always managed to inhabit a little bit of my mind at all times. Take dinner, for instance. After Sanji prepared our supper each night and we all sat down to eat, the conversation was always lively. It was the usual dinner routine, except for one thing. Nami. She was in my head the entire time, and it didn't help that she was sitting at the same table as me. Despite this, she was never the sole thing on my mind. To clarify, she'd be thrown in my head in a mixture; I'd be thinking about her, my swordsman skills, the future, and many other things simultaneously. Even if she wasn't a notable thought, she was still an omnipresent one.

The only thing I can't seem to figure out is why the situation that happened between Nami and me was enough to make her linger in my head. As a pirate, I know that there are plenty of possibilities that could happen to make me feel such a feeling. Why this was one of them, I'm not sure; although, I am sure that she just won't get out of my head tonight. Nami's a stubborn girl, and even when it comes to being in my head right now, she's extremely persistent. It's no secret that I've never liked her very much, and right now's no different. Now haunting me with her image, I'm seeing that annoying little liar. She's always getting me to pay debts that I usually don't even owe her, plus that interest. Always scolding me, always with something negative to say. She's so irritating, and it's all I can see right now. Even though she's in my thoughts, it's not like she's changed in them. She's still the same old Nami that she always has been and always will be. Rude, obnoxious, demanding, stupid.

There've only been a few instances during our time on the Going Merry in which Nami and I had actually had positive contact. We've exchanged smiles and saved each other before; it's not like we completely detest each other. Those eyes of hers are powerful, as I've found out during these times. She can hide so much in them. No matter what mood she's in, it's almost as if you can't even tell through her eyes. But, during moments of extreme emotion, extreme weakness, it's as clear as day how she's feeling. I've always been somewhat wary of her eyes. She conceals everything behind them. You can never tell what she's plotting, or how she's scheming. Maybe there's nothing in her head. Just her. Rude, obnoxious, demanding, stupid. On those rare instances, though, in which there is emotion, there is tenderness, there is a side to her that people don't generally see, it's amazing. And unsettling. I know that something's most likely very wrong with her if something shows in her eyes. For that reason, her eyes bother me. When there's no emotion, I don't know what's going on in that head of hers. When there is, I know she's uncomfortable. And when she is, I can't help but be, too. After all, I do care about her, even if I don't particularly desire to admit that.

I also don't particularly desire to admit that, tonight, her eyes just look…radiant.

She's in my head and her eyes appear to be brighter, more cheerful, more special than I'd ever seen. It's almost pretty, in a weird way. But I have too many negative feelings about Nami to ever consider her to be attractive. In spite of this, the current image I have of her dancing, shining eyes is almost enough to convince me otherwise.

Almost. In fear of growing too attached to the relieving image, though, I opened my eyes and shut them again, attempting to block all thoughts of her. Through it all, Nami is still Nami. She's still that rude, obnoxious, demanding, stupid girl I met a few years ago. My opinion of her will never change, and once this little issue is all blown over, she will never inhibit my mind again, the way she has been for the past few weeks. I won't need to contemplate every little thing about her anymore, and I won't have any interaction with her except for the times we always have together; rude, obnoxious, demanding, stupid.

It's almost an hour after ten, and Zoro's still hanging around in my head. This is crazy! Zoro is nothing but a mysterious, bitter, violent, dumb swordsman with a terrible sense of direction. In that case, since he hasn't changed a bit from his old self, I can't understand why he's suddenly on my mind so often. What happened between us wasn't enough to make him intrude my thoughts the way he is right now.

Considering the circumstances, it wasn't even all that intimate. The reason why I can't get Zoro out of my head tonight, that day - it took place during a visit to an island a few weeks ago. As expected, since we're comrades and crew members together, we'll naturally have a sort of protection instinct towards each other. That same natural reaction applies to all members of the Going Merry, though. We all care about each other, even if we don't care to admit it in some implied cases. On that day, this natural protection instinct was evident in both of our behaviors, and it made somebody misunderstand the relationship, or lack thereof, that Zoro and I had.

Zoro and I were walking around, arguing as usual. He wanted to purchase some kind of thing for his katana. Frankly, I didn't know exactly what he wanted, but that was because I couldn't be bothered. No matter what it was, we weren't buying anything unless it was absolutely necessary. End of story. As I anticipated, though, Zoro was talking back at me, telling me that he needed his stupid little katana case, or whatever the heck it was. Another of our infamous verbal skirmishes resulted from the disagreement. I didn't even bother to listen to him as he stepped in front of me, right into a local store that sold exactly what he wanted.

"Zoro!" I reprimanded, as soon as I realized that I had followed him into the little store. "Get out of here! You know we're not spending anything."

"Shut up, woman! I need this! So shut up and let me buy this one thing!"

I kept moaning and groaning and arguing with him as I followed him into the store. He was so stupid! He knows that money's getting tight. Why does he need another katana, or a katana case, or whatever he even needed? Sometimes, it seems like he simply lives to annoy the daylights out of me. I didn't even pay any attention to him as I looked around the store, completely blocking out what he said. If he even tried to pull out some money in order to purchase an item, though, I wouldn't hesitate to physically hit him. For now, though, I just glanced around the store and ignored his mumbles about how stupid I was. I was surprised to see that, when I made eye contact with the store's owner, she was a small, happy, plump old lady who was looking at me with a sweet, almost dreamy look in her eyes.

"Oh, you two bicker like a-"

Zoro and I shot a simultaneous glare at the woman before she could say "married couple," as we both knew that those would inevitably be the succeeding two words.

Regardless of what she said, Zoro and I went back to our silent tension and anger. He browsed, I furrowed in anger and grief. Why did he make everything so complicated?

"Nami, I'm buying this. Whether you like it or not," Zoro snarled at me, holding a katana in his hands.

Before I could even react to Zoro's irritating claim, I heard the door slam open. I quickly jerked my head in that direction to see what was going on, only to see three beefy, hugely muscular men. One of them had kicked the door open, and the other two had been behind him. Zoro immediately shifted his eyes to their direction, and stood quizzically at them.

"You two again," one of them huffed under his breath, yet still loudly enough for me to hear.

"Who are you?" Zoro demanded, rather emotionlessly. The woman in the background simply stood, shaking in fright. This kind of surprised me; since she lived on such an island, I expected her to be more accustomed to this.

"Satoshi, Kage, and Yuugure," replied the one who had kicked the door open. "We couldn't help but see you walking around with this lovely young lady of yours. We've come for her, and also to fight you."

Zoro stared at them hardly. "Why do you wish to fight me?"

My blood began to race a bit. These three brothers, getting into battle in the middle of a small shop? They were insane. More importantly, what did they want with me? Where would they take me?

The man who'd kicked the door open smirked behind himself at the other two. "My brothers Satoshi and Kage are helping me with my plans on becoming a world-renowned swordsman. And we couldn't help but be intrigued not only by your lady friend, but also by those katana you carry around with you."

"What are you saying?"

The man who'd previously spoken, whom I figured out was Yuugure, slyly grinned. "Fight me. Right here, right now. And if I win, I believe we'll be taking your little girl along with us."

"Sorry to disappoint," Zoro growled, pulling out his katana, "but, to get to her, you have to defeat me. And I don't think that's going to happen."

When I heard him say this, I knew it wasn't intended in the way that it sounded. Still, though. He'd never sounded so defensive over me in the past. Inexplicably, it was kind of refreshing to hear him express aloud that cared about me, even if it was only to get these three ruffians to shut up. I went over next to the chubby woman who ran the store. I needed to make myself useful somehow right now, and protecting the clearly frightened woman seemed to be the best way to do so. The look of sheer panic on her face was unlike any I'd seen. She looked absolutely horrified; it was ironic that she'd sold katanas and seemed uneasy with violent threats. I turned my head towards the woman. I could almost see the shaking fear she'd had, fear that she'd get hurt. Even so, she forced a grin at me despite herself. "Protective friend you've got there, huh?"

I shrugged and rolled my eyes, aggravated at the woman. "He's just arrogant and he has to win every battle he fights."

The woman cocked a brow and simply nodded knowingly.

My eyes shifted from the wrinkled and emotion-filled eyes of the old woman, to Zoro and Yuugure, who'd evidently begun their battle. What was wrong with him? He knew better than to get into a fight like this in the middle of a small area! He could easily hurt himself, or me, or the old woman. I stayed next to the old woman and watched in awe as Zoro executed perfect swings and moves that only a real master could carry out. Yuugure, as skilled as he was, proved to be no match for Zoro. Even I'd admit that. For that reason, I felt confident that Zoro would emerge victorious. The only unsettling sensation I'd felt was the feeling of self-concern. I worried about my own safety. After all, Satoshi and Kage were staring at me suggestively. I could tell that they were about to make their way over towards me. Their grins were just too provocative.

I glared at them, hoping they'd catch on to the fact that I wasn't interested. Honestly, I was praying for Zoro to fatally harm Yuugure; then, his brothers would forget about me and rush to his aid. Despite my efforts, I knew that I was vulnerable. These two had me in their sight, and they didn't plan on looking away. I was behind the counter of the tiny shop. I looked at the woman next to me; she wasn't much help at all. She only ducked and hid under the counter. Coward. I didn't need her, though. I needed to get myself out of this. What would I do?

Think, Nami. Think. I didn't even have the opportunity to, though. In the blink of an eye, I felt two hands clasp my shoulders, pinning me against the wall. Truth be told, I was extremely scared at that moment. That stupid Zoro was too intent on fighting Yuugure to even look my way. As much as I hated to admit it, I needed him to help me right now. Dumb fool. As engrossed in his fighting as always!

The one who'd pinned me licked his lips and raised his eyebrows once, twice. He smirked at his partner. "Satoshi, she's a marvel." And then he looked me in the eye. "You're beautiful."

I stared down underneath the counter. It was all I could do. The woman seemed as scared as a lost child in the woods, screaming for their mother. Each time Zoro's and Yuugure's swords clinked against each other, she'd cringe in horror.

Trying to use my arms to push the man away, I unexpectedly felt a sharp, painful sensation on my leg. Without even thinking, I let out a high, shrill shriek.

The pain on my leg was due to the other brother, named Satoshi. He was the one who wasn't pinning me, and he poked me fiercely in one of my leg's pressure points. This enabled me to momentarily lose my balance, and then Kage, who'd pinned me earlier, took advantage of this and picked me up bridal style.

At the exact same time as my shriek, I saw Zoro immediately glare instinctively in my direction. The confident light that had been in his eyes earlier, when he was fighting Yuugure, seemed to disappear. A look of concern completely concealed it. He saw me and looked at my eyes, gently, and then swiftly glared ferociously at Kage, who was still holding me bridal style. Instantaneously, he performed a sharp turn and jabbed Yuugure in the rib with his katana. Yuugure fell to the ground in pain, and Zoro slid over towards me, Kage, and Satoshi.

Zoro…why did he stop the fight? I didn't get it. Zoro was never one to walk away from a fight. He liked to win honorably. It wasn't like him to end a fight to quickly. Not that I was complaining, though. I was inwardly grateful that he'd come to help me.

Kage and Satoshi heard the blood-curdling scream that emitted from their beloved brother. Kage immediately dropped me towards the ground as he and his brother ran to escort Yuugure to a hospital, and Zoro outstretched his arms to catch me.


I could feel my face getting hot. Never had I been in such close proximity to Roronoa Zoro. His left arm wrapped around me and rested itself on the left side of my waist as his right elbow rested on my upper back, his right hand perching my head up towards him.

"Are you all right?" he asked. The concern in his eyes was devastatingly clear.

"…Thank you."

My reply was firm. No answers to his questions, no overdramatic hugs and squeals. A firm but meaningful expression of my gratitude.

We couldn't even move from our position in time when the woman emerged from underneath her desk. Where'd she come from? I'd forgotten all about that woman.

"I can tell just by looking at you. You two are in love with each other."

Nami's still floating around in my mind like a cloud, and it's almost an hour after ten. God, what's wrong with me tonight? It's so sudden, considering I've never had any sleep deficiency like this due to her. What happened was so stupid, anyway! It was a simple little thing, and she was still the same violent and cranky woman she's been since the first day I met her. Nothing has changed about her since that day, and I still see her in that way.

Why, though, can't I stop thinking about that day? It was a day like any other, when we were at an island. Nami had needed particular help that day, which was where it all started. I've helped her before, though. She's helped me before, too. It's not really a big deal. We, after all, are friends, even if neither of us is willing to confess it to the other. Friends care about each other, and that's another thing that I'd rather not admit; I do care about her, which is how the situation got started up in the first place. Of course, though, somebody had to go and blow it way out of proportion, which was completely a misinterpretation of our actions.

I needed a katana. My two primary katanas were still intact and in good condition, but I felt that I needed a third. To do this, we stopped onto an island and I began strolling, searching for a shop that would sell katanas. Of course, I was oh so fortunate; I was stuck walking around with Nami, who was constantly nagging me about not spending any money. Too bad, though; I needed a katana. It would help us in the long run, and I was sure she'd thank me in the end for having a spare. Then again, she was Nami. She was never much for showing emotional responses.

We bickered and stepped around, irritated with each other, until I came across a store that had sold what I was looking for. I stepped inside, only to have Nami following me.

She shrieked the mere instant we walked into the kiosk. "Zoro! Get out of here! You know we're not spending anything!"

This had angered me, even though I'd seen it coming. Why did she insist on being so difficult? We couldn't go around not buying anything, and that seemed to be exactly what she wanted. "Shut up, woman! I need this! So shut up and let me buy this one thing!"

I didn't even bother to argue any further. All I did was try to berate her, curtly but not too strongly. I needed her to know my point without making a huge fuss over it, as she attempted to do. She's such a hypocrite. I've known that about her from early on. Trying to forget about how she'd be feeling about the situation, I could sense her ignoring me. Oh, well. All the better. Now I could look around for my katana in peace. I did huff under my breath about her stupidity quite a few times. I was surprised that she didn't seem to react to it. I didn't, either. I just allowed my eyes to scan the store as I mentally browsed for a perfect katana. There was a plump old woman sitting behind the counter. I glanced at her quickly before turning my head back to the katana. Was that a little smile on her face that I saw? What was she thinking? Regardless, I had eyed a katana that seemed promising, when I heard this lady's cheerful voice.

"Oh, you two bicker like a-"

I could sense Nami stare, irritated, at her. I had done the same thing. Before she could say "married couple," Nami and I cut her off without saying a word. The woman's smile diminished ever so slightly, but she still maintained a somewhat perky disposition as she watched me looking for my katana.

"Nami, I'm buying this. Whether you like it or not."

I shouldn't have even cared what she thought. As an older male who was in need of a weapon, I shouldn't have even needed to speak. Even if I'd wanted to, though, I couldn't have. Without being interrupted, anyway. The door to the shop immediately burst open. It had fallen down, as if someone had kicked it open. I stood still. My eyes diverted from the katanas in the store to the front door, to see what had happened. I was a bit humored to see three men standing there. The one who'd kicked the door open had possessed a katana in his hands.

I heard one of them creepily whisper, "You two again." Had they seen us before? I don't remember seeing these three men, and I probably would have remembered them if I'd seen them. They had very distinguished looks. I quickly shot a glance at Nami, to see her reaction. Her face was confused. The old woman's face mirrored hers, and I was confused, too. However, I was always ready for a challenge. Whatever they wanted, I would do it. Fighting, so be it.

"Who are you?" Confidence seeped in my tone. I immediately felt brave, provoked. This was how I'd always felt right before I knew something big was about to happen.

Satoshi, Kage, Yuugure. Those were their names, as the one who kicked open the door told me. He shot a vigorous, ardent look at Nami, and then commented on her beauty. He said he'd come to retrieve her for his own use, and he also wanted to fight me.

I was concerned for Nami. I'd never really been faced with enemies who obviously had amorous intentions and thoughts of me. Without her even noticing, my eyes went in her direction for the most miniscule of a second. I couldn't even read her eyes. Whatever these guys wanted, like I said, they'd get. In spite of that thought, I vowed to make sure that Nami didn't get hurt. We were pirates on the same ship, and even friends, in some cases. Even though we never really acted friendly towards each other, we did wish the best for each other. I wished the best for her, anyway. My mind was racing as I tried to figure out the best way to lure them away from the store. I am looking for a fight, but I also didn't want them to hurt her. Would they take her anywhere? Still, I needed to find out their motives before I could jump to conclusions.

"Why do you wish to fight me?"

I received a smirk from the man who'd kicked the door open. A world-renowned swordsman, he'd replied to me? That was the dream of the man who'd kicked the door down. I wondered if he had enough potential to fulfill his goal, even with his brothers by his side helping him. As I found out, his name was Yuugure, and his brothers were Satoshi and Kage. The fact that they said they'd be taking Nami wasn't much consolation, but I still felt much more strongly about winning the sword fight with this man who shared ambitions with me.

Yuugure smiled as he continued to speak. "Fight me. Right here, right now. And if I win, I believe we'll be taking your little girl along with us."

"Sorry to disappoint, but, to get to her, you have to defeat me. And I don't think that's going to happen."

And that was when I pulled out my katana. My words sounded harsh and protective, but I didn't have time to worry about the reactions I'd get for speaking them. After all, I only said them to get the three brothers to be quiet and fight me, already. They proved to be too much talk, in the end, though. It wasn't like Yuugure was a bad swordsman by any means. He did make me break a good sweat, but I knew that he lacked the true heart of sword-fighting that I had. He didn't seem to have a reason to be fighting; at least, not a strong one that I knew of. Often, my enemies would state their motives. He didn't, though. My motive was clear in my mind: to win another battle with an ignorant enemy. Throughout the fight, though, when I saw Nami hide away next to the old woman behind the counter, I realized that I'd needed to fight a bit more strongly, for a cause that was a bit different. I needed to protect Nami from these strangers that didn't know her and obviously had romantic desires for her. Nami was my teammate, and only my teammate, but the shy, frightened smile of the old woman indicated that she'd thought otherwise. I didn't care at the moment, though. I was aggravated enough by the thought of this buffoon trying to beat me, when he clearly didn't stand a chance. That was what had riled me up in the first place, and I was determined to finish and win the battle.

Satoshi and Kage watched in awe as they egged Yuugure on, encouraging him to win the fight. All the while, they were ogling at Nami. It honestly gave me an extremely unsettling feeling. I wondered at random points throughout the fight how Nami was feeling. I was sure that she was extremely uncomfortable as she hid behind that counter in the back of the store. I had to defeat this guy, whoever he really was. I didn't even have much time to wonder how he knew us, or anything like that. I just focused on trying to win and trying to make sure Nami wasn't too uncomfortable, as a good teammate would do.

Fight, fight, fight. Keep up fighting. That was all that was on my mind from that point on. My swords clashed with his a few times, but neither of us had any big scratches. I did manage to scrape him across his shoulder a bit with my katana, but it was honestly nothing major. He recovered instantly and started fighting back with triggered force.

Wait, though. Where did Satoshi and Kage go? At the same time as I pondered this, I gasped in shock, because I thought I knew where they'd gone. I heard a shriek soon after this realization.

I glared in the direction of the shriek. As I'd figured, it was Nami who'd emitted the piercing sound. She was loud, and with good reason. Kage was pinning her shoulders to the wall, and Satoshi was crouched down on the floor, a little pin in his hands, which he poked into Nami's leg. This, I inferred, was the cause of the scream. I was still staring at the scene when I saw Nami lose her balance and fall into Kage's arms.

My mind drifted instantaneously from the fight to Nami's pain. It unnerved me to see her in this sort of distress. My heart skipped a nervous beat – a sharp yet tiny pang. I didn't feel such a burning rush of angered adrenaline in my life, and I couldn't put my finger on why. All I knew was that I was annoyed, and I needed to get Nami away from Kage and Satoshi.

I felt a smooth transition in my eyes from gentle comfort, which was when I looked reassuringly at Nami, to complete rage at the whole situation. What had I gotten myself into, fighting in a little store and frightening everyone around me, including myself? My muscles trembled and pumped, and my eyes sharply stung Yuugure with a piercing glare that I'd never felt myself look at anyone with. As quickly as I'd gone through this transition, from comfort to rage, I turned. My katana followed in fluid precision, nailing him right in the rib where he deserved it. He fell, and I smirked quickly. I retained a stoic expression as I paced over towards Nami, Kage, and Satoshi. I didn't even care about the fight anymore, all of sudden, and I wondered why my sudden change of heart had taken place so strongly. Immediately upon hearing Yuugure scream bloody murder, Satoshi and Kage rushed over towards him, helped him up, and shot a fast stare at me before they darted off.

When Kage dropped her, I rushed to catch her. "Nami!"

She looked scared. Never had a moment between us been so close and caring, almost warm and heartfelt. We actually expressed a mutual care for each other, it seemed, even though it wasn't said aloud. My left arm wrapped around her and reclined on the left side of her waist; my left elbow was gently touching my upper back as I leaned her head towards me with my right hand. She looked timid and frightened, a state that I never saw her in much. It did make me feel a bit anxious, but at least she was okay.

"Are you all right?"

Nami's eyes seemed to shine a bit. As awkward as it was after the whole situation happened, it was still a caring, sweet moment in which two teammates who always fought seemed to express the hidden care and respect they had for each other. "…Thank you."

That woman who worked at the store looked into her eyes, and then into mine. She beamed. Did I truly appear so intense, so romantic? Her comment implied that I, indeed, did.

"I can tell just by looking at you. You two are in love with each other."

That smirk that I'd seen in my head tonight was evident that day, right after he'd defeated Yuugure. He'd smirked a victorious smirk before he'd come over to help me from Kage and Satoshi. However, the smirk that really stood out in my mind was the one when he told Yuugure, Satoshi, and Kage that they'd need to defeat him in order to get to me. I recall the feeling I'd had when I saw him give that smug smirk at them, confident that he'd win the fight. I'd seen it before, but never was I the subject or reason of one of those infamous Zoro smirks.

He really did help me that day. He always has, come to think of it. Zoro's been a good friend since I can remember, but I will say I'm too stubborn to admit that to him. I replayed the entire scenario in my head, and I really took the time to absorb every feeling I'd felt and every word I'd spoken. Why, though, did my entire outlook of Zoro seem to transform after I thought of him for so long? It was almost like he wasn't that mysterious, bitter, violent, dumb person he'd been since day one. He seemed to be different, but not in a bad way. I always have cared about him, but I've never been so honored to have him care about me. It almost felt like he was somebody truly important to live for. I've always respected him, but the feeling of him respecting me enough to fight for me was exhilarating. Zoro is, even though it feels weird to admit, not as mysterious, bitter, violent, and dumb as I thought he was. It's almost as if he'd gone through a metamorphosis. Mysterious changed to caring. Bitter to chivalrous, violent to determined.

Dumb to handsome.

That smirk, I realized, was the same handsome smirk that would make a teenage girl fall flat on her face. I'm not a typical teenage girl, and I know that. But that handsome smirk gives me butterflies, even though he'll never know. Will he ever know anything, actually? In his eyes, unless some other magical moment occurs, I'm still Nami. He probably thinks I'm some rude, obnoxious, demanding, stupid girl. In my eyes, though, he's a new person. Caring, chivalrous, determined, handsome. I do feel like, ever since that event, I've failed to figure out why he's been on my mind so often. Now, though, I believe I know, and all it took was one night of insomnia.

That old woman had a point.

Nami's eyes are still in my head. Those emotional eyes that were so rare to see. I had seen them again, though, when I'd rushed over to pick her up after Kage had dropped her like a hot potato. There was an unmistakable shine in them, and I never knew that I'd be the one to spark that gleam in her big brown eyes.

She'd brought out a side of me that day that I hadn't ever seen. In a short instant, I'd realized the concern for her that I'd developed over the years. She's a good person at heart, and she does possess emotion. Her snappy and snide nature does seem to get the better of her quite frequently, except in silent and remarkable moments such as the one that had happened that day. Moments such as that moment were what made my opinion of her change so strongly. Since that day, I've been unable to get her from my brain, but she hasn't exactly changed. The more I think about it, though, the more she seems to not be as rude, obnoxious, demanding, and stupid as I initially perceived. She's vulnerable, but I've always been fond of playing the role of the stronger person. Having someone to feel strongly about protecting is exhilarating to me. She seemed grateful to me for helping her out, which was something that I took huge pride in. Nami, although my stubborn self would never say so, is a wonderful young woman. Until I decided to call the day into my head again, she seemed rude, obnoxious, demanding, and stupid. But it took one more revival of the event to change all of that. Rude changed to loving, obnoxious to sweet, demanding to special.

Stupid to beautiful.

Her eyes are beautiful, and many men would probably kill to see those eyes so often, as I have the privilege of doing. I can't blame Yuugure, Satoshi, and Kage for their advances, even though my anger at them was way out of line. I wonder, though. Was it really just my duty to protect my teammate that made me feel so intent on defeating Yuugure? Or was it something more than that? Nami will never know, but it was possibly a bit of possessiveness. Since that day, it was almost like something was in the air. Somebody who wanted to take advantage of Nami? It was a terrible thought. Those beautiful eyes aren't, though, and I do think about them frequently. I'll never tell her, though. If fate is really on my side, though, and another equally heartfelt moment occurs between us, she might know how I feel at some point. As of now, though, I'm still Zoro. She probably calls my mysterious, bitter, violent, dumb. I think she's loving, sweet, special, and beautiful. Since that day, it's been so puzzling to me, why she's been on my mind. Now, though, I think I know. And the cost of knowing was a night of insomnia.

Maybe that old woman was right.

"Breakfast!" Sanji announced in his singsong voice the next morning. Naturally, Luffy was the first to emerge, gorging food in his face at an ungodly rate.

The rest of the crew slowly came in to eat, but two people were still missing.

"Where is my Nami-swan?" Sanji asked, concerned.

"And Zoro?" Luffy wondered aloud.

As if on cue, Nami came into the dining room in her pajamas, rubbing her eyes slightly as she tried to recover from her exhaustion. Following her a few seconds later was an equally tired Zoro.

"Ugh." Nami sighed, her head flopping back in the chair as if she was asleep. Zoro slowly rolled into his chair, as well. They both had fatigued looks plastered on their faces. Now that everybody was at the table, Sanji decided to speak.

"Nami-swan! You look exhausted! What is wrong, my beautiful?"

Zoro shot a sleepy glare at Sanji, and then closed his eyes again, his elbow on the table and his head in his hand.

This didn't go unnoticed by Usopp. "What was that for, Zoro?"

Zoro snarled slightly under his breath. "Nothing."

"You two look so tired!" Luffy interjected. "What's wrong with you? Anything on your mind?"

"Nnn," Zoro and Nami incoherently mumbled, almost simultaneously.

"You two sure aren't morning people!" Luffy gasped.

"Nami-swan, please, tell me! If you tell me what's wrong, I can help you get through it each and every night!"

"Sanji! Calm down. I couldn't sleep, okay?"

"Yeah, Sanji. Really. Shut up every so often, alright? I couldn't sleep, either."

Robin, who hadn't spoken until now, decided to comment. She didn't even lift her eyes from her food as she casually spoke. "You know, sometimes, if you can't sleep, it's because somebody else is thinking about you. That's what they say, anyway."

As quickly as a runner beginning a race, Nami and Zoro jerked their heads up from the table in unison, suddenly appearing awake, each of them sporting a red blush on their face.

"What're you talking about?" Nami asked hurriedly. "That's insane, isn't it?"

"Absolutely, absolutely," Zoro agreed as he fumbled for words. "I just couldn't sleep."

Nami nodded. "Same goes with me. Exactly."

Eyes widening, Robin found their defensive reactions to her statement comical and a bit suspicious. A light smile painted across her face as she looked back and forth from a flustered Zoro to a flustered Nami, each returning to their food and trying to abandon the conversation altogether. Robin chuckled a bit, and then rolled her eyes as she continued to eat.

"Whatever you say, you two. Whatever you say."

I'm really glad I wrote that! It took forever! You don't even know how stressful that was, considering schoolwork and friends and my after-school activities and my efforts to make it perfect. I'm really glad, though! It's the longest oneshot I've ever written. Thank you! Please review!