So finally, my first multi-chap. This one takes place sometime after the Fishman Arc assuming no new members join the crew.
For the record, I do not own One-Piece.
Dance the Night Away
Somewhere in the New World. The Straw-hat Pirates, along with their trusted ship The 1,000 Sunny, sail forward onto the next island, and with each new island they come to, new adventures await.
As they approach an island, they all gather on the deck next to the helm, waiting with anticipation of what they might find. At first their eyes are met with large cliffs surrounded by jagged rocks leaving no place for them to weigh anchor. On top of the cliffs sits a towering forest, with trees taller than the eye can see. They can hear the rumblings of the ground, and the roaring of what they can only guess as the enormous animals that inhabit the forest.
Now determined to step foot on the island, they circle the land mass looking for a possible entry point. As they come around a bend, they are astonished to see a large city just on the edge of the forest. The city is busy with music, bright lights, and very active people.
"So Cool!" Luffy, Usopp, and Chopper exclaim excitedly with stars replacing their eyes.
As a large port came into view, the Straw-hats were surprised to find its' docks filled with ships of all kinds. Commercial-Liners, Navy-Battleships, and Pirate-Ships all floated on the calm waters in harmony with one another.
They cautiously approached the dock. As they dropped their anchors, they noticed a man in a clean black suit with a white shirt and bow-tie approach their ship. "Hello Straw-hat Pirates!" The man yelled up from the dock. "Allow me to welcome you all to the island of Shaka! Home of New World's famous Las-Jaeger City!" The man finished his welcome with a polite bow.
Back on the ship the Straw-hats were huddled together discussing how they should proceed.
"Ah, Las-Jaeger is it?" Questioned the skeletal Brook. "I have heard manager-san speak of this place. He always wanted me to perform here, but besides that, I don't know anything about the place."
"Then let's go explore!" Shouted Luffy.
"Not yet baka!" Yelled Nami as she violently brought her fist down on top of her captain's head. "We can't just go exploring this place without any information. Can't you see all the Navy-Battleships docked here?"
"Nami-swan is so beautiful and smart," Sanji gushed with his visible eye turning into a heart, "she always knows the right thing to do before any of you other shit-heads, excluding Robin-chwan of course."
"Tch." Zoro responded to Sanji's confession of love.
"You say something, shitty-cyclops-marimo?"
"Only that your pathetic, retarded-love-cook."
Just before a fight broke out between the two, Nami intervened with a quick punch to both of their heads as well. "Would you two knock it off for 5-seconds?"
"I agree with Nami-san." Stated Robin. "We should find out some information about this island to ensure we are not in any serious danger. Maybe someone should go talk to the gentleman on the dock?"
"I'll do it." Luffy said excitedly raising his hand into the air.
"Like hell you will." Usopp said, joining in on the conversation.
"Because you won't pay any attention and will probably just run off."
"Robin and I will go." Nami stated. "The rest of you will stay on the ship until we give you the clear."
Robin and Nami exited the Sunny, and approached the man on the dock who had greeted them. "Hello sir." Robin spoke. "Would you mind if we asked you a few questions?"
"Not at all." The man responded with a slight nod of the head.
After several minutes of discussing with the man, the two female pirates made their way back onto the ship to convey their newfound knowledge with the rest of the crew. They all gathered in the Aquarium Bar to hear the findings. Luffy, Usopp, Chopper, and Brook all sat on the floor crossed legged eagerly awaiting to hear the information from Robin and Nami who sat next to each other on the curved couch that surrounded the room. Franky took a seat in one of the chairs around the mast directly facing the two women, while Sanji stood near the door to not bother others with his cigarette. Zoro had lain down on the opposite side of the room to take a nap.
They were told that the island was a safe-haven island that all were allowed to enter as long as no extreme acts of violence were committed. The occasional brawl was bound to happen, and would be tolerated as long as it didn't get out or control and no damage befell the city.
The city was surrounded by the huge forest that they had seen while circling the island and the forest was home to huge, dangerous creatures. The creatures would not venture into the city, but it was advised that no one should go into the forest either, because the animals were very territorial.
The log-pose took a full 10 days to set on the island (author note: not sure how the navigation works in the New World yet, so for now I'm going with the old way), but the greeter assured them it would only feel like 2 days because of the amount of entertainment in Las-Jaeger.
The city was home to many casinos and gambling establishments, as well as a large commercial area full of restaurants, nightclubs, hotels, and shops. It also was known for its' huge block parties that the casinos would put on hoping to fuel the public on free booze so they would gamble away their money. Las-Jaeger also liked to host several competitions for visitors and locals to showcase their talents. Prize money was given out to the winners of each of the competitions. This of course caught Nami's attention.
The man had given them a small map of the city which had a list of all the types of shops and restaurants, as well as their locations.
"Really? This place sounds so cool!" Luffy stated excitedly while uncrossing his legs and clapping his feet together, his trade mark grin plastered across his face. "I want to try all of the restaurants."
"Are there any books stores?" The young doctor inquired. "How about stores that specialize in medical equipment and supplies?"
"As a matter of fact, yes there are." Robin answered Chopper. "There are several book stores in the commercial area, as well as one large medical supply store. I would be happy to go with you if you like."
Soon the entire crew was bombarding the women with questions. Franky wanted to know if there were shops where he could get mechanical supplies, so he could improve on some of his weapon designs. Sanji wanted to know about the local markets, while Luffy wanted to know the best places to get meat.
"We have plenty of time for all of that later." Nami interrupted, wanting to get everyone back on the same page. "I think we should look into some of these competitions first. It will be a great chance to make some extra money. And since we are going to be here for ten days, we will need that money to stock up on supplies, and I wouldn't mind doing a little clothes shopping while we are here."
"Was there any competition you had in mind, Nami-sis?" Franky asked Nami.
"Yes, there was actually. There are three competitions going on tonight, but the one with the highest prize is a classical dance competition." Upon hearing the words 'classical dance' Zoro, who had been pretending to sleep, opened his one good eye so that he could pay closer attention the conversation. "The Bailey's Casino is putting it on, and the top prize is 500,000 beli."
"Sounds interesting." Robin stated. "But who will be participating?"
"Well," Nami placed her finger to her chin as she contemplated Robin's question, "since there is money on the line, I'll be participating for sure. I was hoping that you would like to participate as well, Robin. It would increase our chances of winning some of the prize money."
"I would love to Nami-san. It sounds fun. But who will our partners be?"
"Ohh, ohh, I'll do it if it's going to be fun!" Luffy exclaimed, while raising his hand and waving it in the air.
"Like hell, you shitty-rubber-bastard!" Sanji screamed. "If anyone is going to dance with Nami-swan or Robin-chwan it's going to be me. Besides, Nami-swan said it is a classical dance competition. The only dancing I've ever seen you do is when you stick chopsticks in your nose and jump around like an idiot."
"But that is a classical dance." Protested the young captain.
"That is not even dancing!" The cook was becoming infuriated with the young man before him. "Classical dance is ballroom dancing, the waltz, or the tango. It is something a gentleman participates in. Not something a classless monkey or an ugly brute like the marimo would know anything…"
"I'll do it." The entire crew turned their attention on to Zoro, who was no longer lying on the curved couch, but sitting in an upright position with a very serious look on his face.
"What was that kenshi-san?" Robin asked the swordsman with a bewildered look on her face.
"The competition. I'll compete in it." Zoro responded with a certainty to his voice.
"You do realize this is a dancing competition right, Zoro?" The navigator asked the first-mate with a slight mocking tone.
"I said I'd compete didn't I? What's the problem?"
"I think we should let kenshi-san compete. He seems quite confident." Robin didn't even try to hide the amused smile on her face.
"Fine by me. Zoro still owes me money anyway, so if he wins, his portion of the prize money goes to pay off part of his debt." Nami said smugly. "So, Zoro will partner with…"
"Robin." Zoro interrupted Nami.
"What?" The orange-haired girl asked, confused by firmness of his voice.
"I'll partner with Robin."
"Hey shit-head, don't go deciding things on your own!" Sanji yelled at Zoro, but the latter didn't even acknowledge the blonde.
Nami was taken aback by Zoro's firm statement. She wasn't sure why she felt this way; the truth is she was going to partner Zoro with Robin anyway, but the tone and certainty of his voice made it seem that it was obviously the only choice. Nami couldn't help but feel slightly pissed that Zoro wouldn't even consider pairing with her. 'What the hell would be so bad about partnering with me?' She thought to herself. "Fine, than I will partner with Sanji."
"It will be my pleasure Nami-swan!" Gushed the cook.
"You sure that's a good idea?" Zoro asked, while cocking his head to the side.
"What? Do you have a better suggestion?" Retorted the navigator.
"Well, you did say this was going to be classical dancing. Wouldn't it be smarter to partner with Brook?" Zoro responded. "He is older, and probably more familiar with the classical styles."
"Oi, you trying to start something marimo?"
Nami couldn't deny that there was some logic in Zoro's statement, but the thought of dancing with the skeleton sent shivers down her spine. While pointing a judging figure towards Brook, Nami stated firmly "There's no way I'm dancing with that thing. Sanji is fine."
"Nami-san, it breaks my heart that you feel that way towards me." Brook stated, seeming somewhat depressed. "But then again, I have no heart to break! Yohohoho!"
Sometime later that evening. The four participants had changed into more formal attire. Sanji had donned a white jacket and pants combo, with a black shirt, black shoes, and white tie to complete his outfit. Zoro had decided to go with a black jacket and pants combo, with a red shirt that he left the collar undone, no tie, a red handkerchief that he had placed it his front pocket, he wore his green haramaki under his jacket, and completed the look with his red sash around his waist and his swords tucked into the sash.
The two female members of the Straw-hats had chosen to go with evening dresses. Robin had chosen a Royale Purple Taffeta Halter Sleeveless Floor-length dress with a keyhole neckline and a wrap skirt which accented her curves very well. Nami decided to go with a Black Chiffon Sleeveless V-Neck Floor-length dress with a high side front slit and flowing train, she looked absolutely stunning.
After the four were dressed, the entire crew had made their way across town to the casino to sign up for the competition. After signing in, the five non-participants were shown the way to the seating area. Being quests of a participating party, they were allowed to sit in the front row. Nami, Sanji, Robin, and Zoro were all led to a backstage area, where they would wait until their numbers were called. Since they were the last participants to sign up, Sanji and Nami's duo would go second to last, while Zoro and Robin's would be the last performance of the night.
Once entering the backstage area, the four pirates noticed several other duos in the area. The others groups were stretching, rehearsing their performances, or just lounging about. Realizing none of them had had time to rehearse, or plan for a routine, the two groups separated to discuss a game plan. Sanji and Nami had decided to perform a tango, which Sanji was very pleased with, while Robin and Zoro discussed their own performance.
"Well, did you have anything particular in mind kenshi-san?" The raven-haired beauty asked Zoro as he lay down onto a nearby couch.
"You're familiar with a traditional waltz, right?" The green-haired man responded, showing little interest and no concern on his face.
"Why yes I am."
"Then we'll do that." Zoro stated. "Just let me lead and I'm sure we'll do fine." Zoro then closed his eye, and proceeded to try to go to sleep until it was their time to perform.
Robin couldn't help but feel intrigued by this version of Zoro in front of her. She had always known him to be confident, but there was no sign of hesitation nor doubt radiating from the young man at all. He was certain that they would win. He didn't even doubt Robin's abilities. "Well, since that's decided, I'm going to step out for a moment. I'll be back before it is our turn to go on stage." Her only response from the swordsmen was a simple grunt. With an amused smile, she exited the backstage area, and made her way towards the gambling floor.
Robin returned sometime later during the third performance of the night. She watched quietly from the curtain area alongside Nami and Sanji as each group would perform their dances. They were all good in their own rights, but none were overly exceptional. The thing that caught the three pirates' interest the most was the scoring system.
The system wasn't overly complicated: It consisted of three judges who would grade the duos with score cards ranging from 0 to 10, ten being the highest score. They would then take the three scores and combine them. The duo with the highest combined score won.
All of the groups had been scoring in the low twenties until the group who performed right in front of Sanji and Nami; they had scored a solid twenty-five. The crowd clapped as the duo exited the stage. It was now Sanji and Nami's turn. The crowd grew silent as the announcer introduced them.
"The next contestants hail from the world famous Straw-hat crew!" The announcer bellowed in a captivating voice. "Tonight they will be performing a tango! Let's hear it for Black Leg Sanji, and Cat Burglar Nami!"
As the two walked out on stage they were greeted by the crowd with applause, as well as a few cat calls. But the largest reactions were from Luffy and the rest of the guys. "Come on, Nami-sis! Show em what ya got! Make sure it's SUPER" Franky Screamed while striking his signature pose. "Let's go Sanji!" Luffy, Usopp, and Chopper all cheered in unison.
They took their places in the center of the stage, and Sanji got down on one knee, taking Nami's hand into his own so he could lay a kiss onto the back of it. As he looked up at her, she could see the heart clearly visible in his eye. As the music started to play, he stood up from his kneeling position taking Nami's, as well as his own hand, into the air high above their heads. He then let go her hand leaving it suspended in the air as he snapped his fingers and clicked his heals on the ground.
What he did next came as a surprise to Nami, as he started to twirl around in a circle. She thought that he might have just been improvising, so she held her pose, with her hand still in the air waiting for him to take it so they could begin their dance. But he didn't stop twirling. Instead he only begun to twirl faster, and then proceeded to circle around her in his twirling motion. She remained in her pose hoping that his twirling would end soon, but it didn't. Instead she could hear him saying something during his motions. "Mellorine. Mellorine. Mellorine." He kept repeating.
"Sanji." She said his name, trying to get him to stop. "Sanji." He continued twirling. "Damn it Sanji!" Finally she broke her pose to bring her fist down on top of the man's head with enough force to cause his face to smash against the stage. "You idiot. Do you realize how much money you're costing me?"
The music stopped, and the crowd broke into a large fit of laughter. Nami then grabbed the barely conscious man by one of his legs and threw him towards her crew-mates in the front row, stomping in anger after him. Leaving the poor man mumbling about "Nami-swan is so beautiful when she is angry."
After the laughter died down, the judges gave their score. The first two judges gave them zeros because they were not impressed by the shenanigans of the two, while the last judge gave them a ten because it was the most entertaining moment of the night for him.
As the crowd calmed down the announcer started to introduce the final participants for the night. "The final performance of the night will be from two more members of the Straw-hat crew! They have decided to perform a traditional waltz! They are Pirate Hunter Roronoa Zoro, and Devil Child Nico Robin!"
The crowd started to clap once again to welcome them. Robin was the first to come on stage, but had to pause beside the curtains to get Zoro's attention. "The stage is this way kenshi-san."
The rest of the crew couldn't help but chuckle at their first-mate's obvious lack of direction. "I knew that." He said exiting the backstage area. Upon entering the stage area, he made his way over to where the rest of the crew was sitting, and he then removed his swords from his sash. "Here Brook, hold on to these for me." He handed the skeleton his swords, knowing they would be in the good hands of another swordsman.
"It would be my honor Zoro-san." Brook responded politely while grabbing Zoro's swords.
Zoro then crossed to the center of the stage so he and Robin could take their positions. He extended his left hand out from his body taking hold of her right hand, and he then placed his right hand on her waist, while she placed her left on his shoulder. They held their pose patiently waiting for the music to start.
"Good luck Robin-chwan!" Sanji shouted over the crowd. "You better not screw up marimo!"
'You're one to talk.' The entire crew thought silently to themselves.
But Zoro did not respond to Sanji's taunt, instead his face took on a very serious demeanor. It was the face he made before going into battle. The crowd grew completely silent as a strange atmosphere surrounded the area. It was if they all knew that what would happen next was something they would all have to see.
When the music started, and the duo on stage started to move, all eyes widened. Forward 1-2-3, back 1-2-3, turn, repeat. The sight was truly amazing; Roronoa Zoro, the feared pirate swordsman, along with Nico Robin was dancing, and they were doing it with amazing grace and expertize.
As they were gliding across the dance floor, the expressions on the rest of the crew varied. Luffy, Usopp, and Chopper had stars in their eyes as they watched in amazement and awe. Franky had to lift his sunglasses from his eyes as he watched in pure disbelief. Sanji's expressions were the most comical as he went from love-struck because of Robin and her beauty, to fiery anger as he remembered who it was she was dancing with. No one could really tell what Brook's expression was; after all, he had no face to have expressions (Yohohoho).
Nami's expressions were the most surprising, even to her. She felt confused. Confused because of the jealousy she was feeling towards Robin. She found herself bringing her hand to up to her mouth so she could chew on her thumbnail as she watched her two nakama on the dance floor. 'What's going on? Why am I so jealous? Did I want to dance with Zoro? Or is it because Robin looks so beautiful out there?' Nami was ripped from her thought at the sound of Sanji's voice beside her.
"Robin-chwan is so amazing." Sanji gushed with a heart in his eye. "Her skill and beauty can even make the shitty-marimo look good."
"Actually Sanji-san…" Brook interrupted the cook. "…unless my eyes deceive me. I would say that it is Zoro-san's skills that are making them so good. In fact, he seems to be picking up some of the slack from Robin-san's end. Then again, I have no eyes to see with. Yohohoho!"
As the crew took a closer look, they could see Brook was right. Zoro was definitely the better dancer of the two. Not that it mattered, because it was obvious that the two's performance was stealing the night's show.
As Zoro led Robin into a twirl, the crew was surprised to see a genuine smile across Robin's face. She was enjoying herself. This only furthered Nami's conflicted emotions. Nami wanted to be happy for her friend, but couldn't help being jealous of that happy feeling. She wanted that happy feeling for herself.
She was once again removed from her thoughts though, when the music started to slow down, and Zoro led Robin into a final dip. They held their pose for several seconds until the music stopped completely. They then stood upright, side by side, to take a final bow towards the crowd.
The entire crowd remained silent for several seconds trying to comprehend what they had just witnessed. It was Luffy that broke the silence first as he let loose with an earth shaking cheer. "Yosh!" The rest of the crowd quickly followed suit with loud applause and cheers. The entire crew showed their approval with excessive clapping and hollering, even Sanji had forgotten his jealousy towards Zoro for a brief moment. The only member not clapping was Franky; for he was too busy covering his eyes with his oversized forearm, insisting that he was not crying.
The announcer returned to the stage to quiet the crowd so they could hear the judges' final scores. The first judge scored the performance with a 9, the second scored it with an 8, and the final judge gave them a 10, securing Zoro and Robin's place as the rightful winners.
"And there you have it folks!" The announcer called over the crowd. "Tonight's champions, and the winners of the 500,000 beli grand prize! Roronoa Zoro, and Nico Robin!" As the crowd resumed cheering, the rest of the Straw-hats jumped up onto the stage to celebrate with their friends.
After leaving the dance arena, the crew made their way to the casino's gambling floor, where they were told they could collect their prize.
After receiving an envelope from the claim window, Zoro returned to the crew, except an absent Robin, only to have the envelope stripped from his hands by Nami. "I'll be holding on to that, thank you." The orange-haired woman said while rubbing the envelope to her face, with beli signs appearing in her eyes.
"Oi! What's the big deal woman?" Zoro snapped at the navigator. "Robin and I earned that."
"The prize money was supposed to go to the entire crew for food and supplies, remember?" She scolded the swordsman. "If there is any left over, I'll divide it evenly amongst the entire crew. Then again, you still owe me money, so I'll just keep your cut as a payment."
"Oi! You watch your mouth when talking to Nami-swan, shitty marimo!"
"You want to start something, love cook!"
"Heh Zoro." Chopper spoke up, interrupting the two from their inevitable squabble. "None of us ever knew you could dance."
All eyes turned to Zoro with curiosity, waiting expectantly for a detailed explanation of how he had kept this secret from them. "No one ever asked." Was his simple response, causing them all to fall over comically.
As the crew started to stand, they noticed Robin approaching them with two envelopes in her hands. "Here you are kenshi-san. This is for you." She said while handing Zoro one of the envelopes.
Zoro peered inside the envelope to see it was filled with a large sum of money. "What is this?" He asked confused.
"Well, since you did most of the work, I decided I would split my winnings with you." Robin responded with a small smile on her face.
"Winnings? Winnings from what?" Nami asked.
"From the small wager I placed on kenshi-san and I to win." The archeologist responded as if was the most logical thing in the world. "After all, he seemed so confident that I couldn't help but feel like it was a sure bet."
"You can place bets on the competitions?" The orange-haired woman was stunned that she didn't know this information.
"Of course. This is a city known for gambling after all."
"So how much did you win?" Nami asked, dying to know how much was in the envelopes.
"Well…" Robin placed her hand under her chin while doing the math in her head. "… I placed a wager of 100,000 beli on kenshi-san and myself. And the payout was 32 to 1. So I won 3.2 million beli."
"And you gave half of it to Zoro?" Nami gasped, and Robin only nodded her head in response. "Zoro, give me that envelope."
Nami reached out to grab the envelope from Zoro's hands, but he was quicker to respond this time and was able to hold it out of her reach. "No chance." He stated firmly. "You heard Robin. I earned it."
"Yeah, but you still owe me money. So that envelope should belong to me." She tried arguing.
"Would you drop that already?" Zoro retorted back to the woman. "You know damn well that I don't owe you anything. I'm using this money to buy all the booze I can drink. If you're lucky, I might share."
"That gives me an idea." Luffy interrupted. "I say we have a party to celebrate. Captain's orders."
"That is a wonderful idea Luffy-san." Brook said approvingly. "As always, I'll provide the music."
"Sanji will cook the meat." Luffy said excitedly. "And since we know Zoro is an expert dancer now. He'll do the chopstick dance with us."
"Like hell!" Zoro yelled at his captain.
Back on the Thousand Sunny, the crew had partied into the early hours of the morning. It was nearing 3a.m., and most of the Straw-hats had retired for the evening, with only a few of them still remaining awake.
One of those still awake was Zoro, who had changed out of his formal attire immediately after returning to the ship, and was now wearing a comfortable pair of loose black pants and a simple white shirt. He had been given watch duty tonight, and was now making his way up the crows-nest with a bottle of Saki, hoping to get in a good workout and enjoy a quiet drink before his shift was over.
When he entered the crows-nest, he was surprised to see that he was not alone, as his eyes fell onto the navigator who was sitting on the bench that surrounded the room. She was absent mindedly staring out the window towards the town, with her chin resting in her hand. He couldn't help but notice how the moon light shining through the window accented her beautiful facial features, and her hair almost glowed in the dark room.
He stood quietly watching her for several moments, noticing for the first time that evening how truly beautiful she looked in her dress. Realizing he had been staring, and that he would have hell to pay if she caught him, he reluctantly decided to make his presence known by turning on the lamp.
The sudden light momentarily blinded her, bringing her from her thoughts, as she turned her head towards the scuttle-hole to see who had entered. But she didn't have to wait for her eyes to focus to know who it was as the unannounced guest broke the silence first. "Oi, woman, you know it's my night for watch right?" Zoro questioned her. "What are you still doing awake?"
"I was just thinking about some things." She responded after her vision had finally cleared.
Zoro simply shrugged and then proceeded to walk over to the bench, sitting down with a few feet between them. Then, bringing the bottle of Saki to his mouth, he removed the cork with his teeth before taking a big swig from it.
He couldn't help but notice that Nami was unusually silent. He turned to look at her, only to find her now staring in his direction. The look on her face was emotionless, similar to the one she had as she was staring out the window. Wanting to break the awkward silence, he found himself compelled to do something that would surprise the both of them. Reaching into his pocket, he removed the envelope that Robin had handed him earlier, and gently threw it into Nami's lap.
While picking up the envelope, Nami tilted her head to the side and gave the man an inquisitive look. "What's this?"
"It's the money Robin gave me. According to you, it's yours." Zoro stated nonchalantly while taking another swig from his bottle. "I just wanted enough to buy some booze."
She only responded with a simple "Oh, thanks."
Now Zoro was starting to get irritated. He had just thrown an envelope full of money at her, and her only reaction was to say 'thanks'. He was just about to yell at her, to snap her out of her melancholy trance when she interrupted him with a question.
"Heh Zoro? Why did you choose to dance with Robin?"
He was taken aback by the question. 'Where the hell did that come from?' He thought. "Cause I wanted to win." He answered flatly.
"Oh? And you couldn't have won with me as your partner!" Nami raised her voice offended.
Now this was the Nami Zoro knew. "Tch. Are you saying you wanted to partner with me?"
"No, I was going to have you partner with Robin anyway!"
"So what's the problem?" Zoro asked, not understanding why she was getting upset.
"The problem is you wanted to partner with her! What would have been wrong with partnering with me!" Nami questioned while crawling across the bench to get into the swordsman's face.
"I could ask you the same question." Zoro spat back at her.
"I didn't know you were a good dancer!" By this time their foreheads were nearly touching as the argument continued. "If I had known, I would have made you partner with me so we could've won the competition instead."
"Do you even know how to do a traditional waltz?"
"I… well no, but…" Realizing the flaw in her logic, Nami sat back on the bench in defeat with a saddened look on her face.
Seeing her slip back into her melancholy state, Zoro knew he had to elaborate on his earlier decision. Because one thing was certain, he didn't like seeing Nami like that, it did not suit her at all. "I chose Robin because she is a bit older, as well as more worldly than most of the crew. I knew we didn't have time to practice, and she was more likely to know more classical types of dance." He paused to see if his words were having any effect on her, to find that a confused look had taken place of the sad one. "I'm more familiar with much older styles, while you're probably familiar with modern styles. Our styles just wouldn't have fit on such short notice."
"So what you're saying is…" She brought her hand up to her chin as she pondered his response. "We couldn't partner together because of the timing issue?"
Glad to see that the sad look was no longer present on her face, he gave a simple grunt as a response before taking another swig from his bottle.
"And if we had more time to prepare, you would have no problem partnering with me?" She continued, getting another grunt as well as a nod from him in response. "Alright, then it's a deal."
"Eh?" Zoro was confused by her last statement. 'What's a deal?' He thought.
Seeing the confused look on his face, Nami decided to elaborate. "There is another dance competition on the same night the log-pose sets. It's a freestyle dance contest, and the pot is 2 million beli. You're going to participate with me as your partner." She said with a smug smile as Zoro could only stare blankly at her. "We have a total of eight nights to prepare. I'll make sure that both of us are scheduled for the watch sifts all week, and you will meet me here every night so we can practice. You will teach me traditional dancing, and I will teach you modern dancing. Is that understood?"
"And if I refuse?" He asked the orange-haired woman.
"With the size of your debt, I don't see how you could refuse. Or, do you not honor your debts?" She teased with a sly grin.
"I just handed you an envelope full of beli. You know damn well I don't owe you anything. Are you ever going to drop that crap?"
"Silly Zoro, do you really think this pocket change would pay off the amount of money you owe me?" She questioned him while waving the envelope in front of him. "After all, you went over two years without paying off a single beli of your debt. And with the amount of interest I charge, this isn't even a fraction of what you owe." She could see the anger starting to build up in his face; it was quite comical to her. "But I'll tell you what. If we win the competition, I'll erase your debt, free and clear."
Zoro grit his teeth together to not lose his cool and start screaming at the woman. "Completely clear?" He asked, realizing this was going to be his best chance at finally being free of her blackmail.
"Completely." She clarified. "Now, do we have a deal?" She asked as she extended her hand for him to shake it.
Zoro reluctantly extended his own hand. "Deal." Taking her hand into his own, he gave it a slight shake to confirm he was on board with her plans.
"Perfect." Nami stated as she stood from the bench and started to make her way to the scuttle-hole. "Now that we're at an understanding, you enjoy the rest of your watch. We start tomorrow night."
As Zoro watched Nami leave, he couldn't help but feel he had made a deal with the devil himself. Yet at the same time, there was something about the whole deal which excited him. He wasn't sure what it was, but the prospect of something good coming from this was already making him nervous with anticipation. 'If nothing else, this is going to be interesting.'
End Chapter 1
Author note: So there's the first chap. As always; I would love to hear what you all think about it, and constructive criticism is always welcome.
I also will have to apologize ahead of time, because I don't know how often I'll be able to update this, and some chapters might be much shorter than others. I'm still hella busy right now, but will try to update when I can. I promise I will finish this, it might just take me some time.
As always, thanks for reading. –fmdevil-