Zoro's instantly awake when he realizes there's someone leaning over him, lashing out even before he bothers opening his eye, and when he blocks and counters the intruder's outstretched hand, a familiar voice utters a high-pitched shriek of dismay. It's followed by a clatter as the shower head spins across the floor, spraying water in all directions.
"Ow! Damn it, you jerk, that hurt!"
He ignores the bare toes jabbing him in the ribs because she doesn't kick near as hard as she punches. "Nami, what are you doing in here?"
"Turning off the water that you guys left running," the dripping navigator grumbles, flexing her wrist to see if it's actually broken or just sprained. She glares down at him, pulling her damp towel tighter around her as she stretches past him to twist off the faucets. "Jeez, I forget you're dangerous even when you're sleeping."
The swordsman yawns widely, blinking up at her from where he's slouched against the wall between the stack of shower benches and the shower knobs, their still-sleeping captain curled between his legs with his head pillowed on the older pirate's stomach and one hand draped across his own chest.
Zoro's hand - the one that didn't whack her hard enough to leave her whole arm tingling - rests over it, and Nami's mouth twitches when she notices that their fingers are laced together. If it were anyone else, she probably wouldn't give it a second thought, but the swordsman's always been the type more apt to break hands than hold them, so it's funny and bizarre at the same time.
Although, she's forced to admit as she ruefully wiggles her numb fingers, it's also kind of cute.
"What the hell do you want?" He demands irritably, but - to her surprise and continued amusement - he tightens his fingers around Luffy's instead of pushing the captain's hand away, even though his face is blazing so brilliantly that even his ears are turning pink.
"A few billion beli would be nice," she smirks. "But I know you don't have any, so I'll settle for having the bathhouse to myself for a while."
"Fine, fine. Just give me a second or two to get our illustrious captain here back on his feet."
They both glance down at Luffy just as he stirs briefly to scratch his balls before he resumes drooling on the swordsman's stomach, muttering sleepily for the dream dinosaur he's chasing to stop running away so he can catch and eat it.
Zoro snorts, Nami tries to scowl at him and fails, and then they're both snickering like little kids.
"Why do you- no, never mind, I don't want to know."
"Oh, I almost forgot. Usopp says that if you agreed to cover his next watch, he won't-" The navigator starts giggling again and has to take a few deep breaths before she continues; it's an ungodly hour of the morning and she's exhausted and slightly batty after hours of squinting at spidery lines on the old maps she's been re-inking. "He won't tell Sogeking that you stabbed him in the hand with a fork."
"Well, shit, I better tell him yes then, cause I don't want that crazy bastard chasing me down to kick my ass," Zoro mutters sarcastically, prompting another fit of giggles from the woman standing over him. He gives Luffy's shoulder a gentle shake. "Sencho?"
"Nrrrmph~" the younger pirate mumbles, face burrowing against his stomach.
"You gotta wake up-"
"Wanna sleeeeep. Zoro's comfy and I'm tired."
"I know, I am too." The swordsman shoots a cautious glance in their nakama's direction, but she's turned away and busied herself with readjusting the thermostat he turned down earlier. "C'mon, Luffy, you can go back to sleep in your bunk."
"No~" Luffy whines, "I wanna sleep with Zoro."
"Okay, okay, I know, I promised. But that means you need to come with me, cause Nami wants us out."
He struggles to his feet, wincing and eyeing the tub regretfully - the floor didn't seem quite so hard earlier, when he was dozing off - but the navigator is making shooing motions towards the door.
"Don't forget to tell Franky it's his watch when you get to the men's quarters, if you don't see him on the way, and make sure-"
"Yeah, yeah, make sure he's got fresh bottles, I know," Zoro groans, leaning down to peel their captain off the tiles, because he's still refusing to stand up. "Oi, Luffy, what's wrong with your legs?"
"They're asleep, like the rest of me should be," the rubber man mutters sulkily. "Carry me."
Grumbling quietly, the swordsman scoops the younger pirate into his arms, glowering at Nami when she hides the huge smile on her face with twitching fingers, looking remarkably like Robin, and god help him if the historian's really rubbing off on her that much, because one opportunistic voyeur in the crew is enough, thank you.
He stalks towards the doorway with Luffy cradled in his arms, feeling her eyes follow and convinced that she's staring at his bare ass again.
"What?" He growls, bristling as he spins on his heel to glare at the navigator. "If you've got something to say, just say it already so I can go get some sleep - I'm tired and my back is killing me, not to mention my ass, because our captain here thinks he's a goddamn porn star and- NOW WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU LAUGHING AT?"
Nami, giggling so hard that she's forced to yank a bench off the pile so she can sit down before she falls over laughing, covers her face with both hands. "I was going to tell you, welcome home."
The navigator wipes tears from her eyes, a stray snigger escaping her at the nonplussed swordsman's face. "Don't worry about it. Anyway, judging from the noises I could hear downstairs, you were giving as good as you got. You're just lucky I've got a steady hand or you'd also owe me for a new ream of parchment."
He grimaces - the woman really is a shrewd if rather underhanded entrepreneur - and then the bottom suddenly drops out of his stomach, leaving him alarmed and slightly nauseous.
"Fuck! Did you hear what-"
"-you were talking about? A little." Her smile dies, replaced with concern. "Enough."
Zoro's jaw clenches, and he looks down at Luffy, who's dozed off against his chest despite their noise, the fingers of one hand clinging stubbornly to the swordsman's scar where it spans over his heart. He only glances up when Nami joins him, her expression troubled as she reaches out to tuck their sleeping captain's hair behind his ear.
"Thriller Bark- you still haven't told him?" The navigator asks softly, and the older man's face darkens so abruptly at her words that she nearly takes a step backwards, aware that she's likely overstepped her bounds.
He doesn't demand to hear why she knows or who told her, just fixes her with one baleful eye, his heart thundering in his chest because if she's aware of the sacrifice he made, she's not the only one, not with this crew where secrets and personal agendas don't stay hidden for long. And Luffy's not ready, not after the deeply repressed vulnerability that he's just shown.
The swordsman's voice holds the threat of violence, but it's deceptively soft because he doesn't dare wake the smaller pirate curled in his arms. "Don't you dare say anything to-"
"I won't," she promises, offering him a sad smile as she pulls the door open and stands aside to let him pass. "That's between you and him, and it's no one else's business."
"Thanks," Zoro mutters gruffly as he shifts Luffy to his shoulder, where the younger pirate rouses enough to wrap both arms around his neck, registering a faint murmur of protest at being disturbed. The swordsman runs a gentle hand down his back, nosing against the captain's ear to whisper reassuringly to him, and Nami feels her throat tighten as Luffy's face breaks into a sleepy but sunny smile, because she knows they're both going to be alright.
"Zoro-?" She asks again quietly, touching his arm before he can duck through the doorway, because she feels there's one last thing that needs saying. "I know you guys are used to relying on each other when things get rough, but-"
He's exhausted, wants very badly to get back to the men's quarters so he can climb into bed and curl himself around his captain's body and sleep undisturbed for a week or two, but he doesn't push her away.
"You've got nakama, family, on this ship. Don't forget we're here for you when you need us."