Disclaimer: I do not own One Piece just the words below.
This little fic is, I guess you could say, is a snippet showing what might have happened when the Straw Hats first mate eventually woke up. Oda never showed us after all.
Pain. It was the first thing Zoro felt when he stirred.
It was not the pain one would feel after a previous night drinking which would never happen to him, he and the witch had practically outdrank a whole village one time and he was still able to wipe them out when they later attempted to take their Captain's head for the reward the navy was offering at the time. He did get one when said Captain attacked him for believing he had gone on a killing spree through an 'innocent' town that supplied him with free food. He was a demon, true, but not that kind of demon.
No, this pain was induced by taking in all the damage said Captain had accumulated over the course of their battle against one of the Seven Warlord's of the Sea that had been removed and transferred to himself by another Warlord as part of the deal he had struck up. He could barely remember seeing the giant bear walk away from him after the ordeal was finished but clearly remembered telling the perverted cook that nothing had happened. Here's hoping the other's believed him.
Attempting to take in a deep breath, Zoro hissed as he felt his side's spasm in a fresh wave of pain indicating that he was going to be having trouble breathing for a while. And that was without including how tight the bandages were wrapped around his torso courtesy of the Straw Hat's Doctor as well as every other bandage on his person from head to toe at this current moment. How the hell was he supposed to train when the very thing healing him was constricting him?
Squinting his eyes until they got used to the light, Zoro blinked owlishly before managing to muster up enough strength to pull himself into a sitting position ignoring the protests of his muscles. He barely made it halfway before a slender hand pressed down on his chest forcing him back into his previous position and sending a fresh wave of pain through his system.
"The hell?" He wheezed whilst glaring at the red haired navigator who had just forced him flat on his back again.
"What's wrong with you?" She yelled back at him catching him completely off guard.
Normally the only times she ever yelled at him was when she or the rest of the crew had gotten lost and would just blame it on him and make him look bad, not that he cared how poor her sense of direction was, or if he was not complying with something she wanted him to do but still got after waving his debt and about him breaking his word on repaying it-may she burn in the deepest pits of hell for that.
"You could have been killed! Are you trying to scare me to death?" She asked and Zoro could now see the cracks in her hardened façade that told him that she knew what really happened, so much for relying on the perverted cook with a coil of mosquito repellent for an eyebrow.
By now, Nami had collapsed down beside Zoro as she continued to berate the monster that could go toe to toe with the strongest of devil fruit users. That included their Captain.
"I was really scared until now, okay? Seriously, don't ever do anything like that again!" She practically begged him before pounding his chest calling him stupid with every hit.
"H-Hey!" Zoro groaned he was still tender from his last battle and she was the last person he expected to do something like this. Eventually, he had to grab the girl's wrists to stop her as her tempo suddenly increased dramatically. "Will you cut it out?"
"Stupid!" She hiccupped one last time as she vainly tried to hold back the waterworks the sight causing Zoro to drop his glare, for once.
"I have no idea what this is about, but sorry?" It was pretty pathetic on Zoro's part but there was no way she was acting like this over him, was she?
At his words, Nami could no longer hold it in and began bawling her eyes out as she collapsed against the surprised Zoro. She had rarely cried out loud only ever doing so a handful of times which, thankfully, none of her crew had ever witnessed until now minus the sea burial for the Going Merry.
"The hell?" Zoro muttered staring down at the now quiet girl who, if her steady breathing was any indication, was now sleeping peacefully against him. She did look cute when she was peaceful. "First she's all crazy waterworks and now snoring? I don't get this witch…"
"She has been at your side for three days without leave, Swordsman-san" Nico Robin noted walking up to where the pair were situated. "Even Doctor-san took a break from tending to you"
Zoro twisted his head round to see the archaeologist becoming slightly on guard in her presence. Even if she was nakama, that woman knew so much about what was going on both on and off the ship due to her devil fruit powers that he could not help but wonder what she had discovered about the rest of the crew. Including himself. There was definitely a good chance she knew what really happened to him.
"Don't worry, only the three of us and Cook-san know what really happened" She assured him knowing what he was thinking.
Zoro was sure that smile on her face was there because she knew she freaked him out when she did that, even if it was masked. Maybe she had a sadistic streak in her but there was no way he was going to ask that.
"How did she find out?" He asked knowing that Nami viewed Robin like an older sister and would have sooner or later confessed willingly if just to keep going a little longer. Anyone else, the witch would have blackmailed into silence.
"She was still conscious" Robin explained remembering when she sat beside Nami yesterday as the younger girl continued her watch over the formerly comatose swordsman and listened about how she had heard everything said between him and the Warlord unable to muster the strength to yell at him to not do it.
Zoro listened as the archaeologist told him about what she had heard as his eyes roamed wherever he was recuperating. It looked as if he was in some grand hall which meant they were still on Thriller Bark. Most likely so that their Captain could throw another Straw Hat victory party so he must have just missed it. They better have saved him at least one big keg of grog. That, and enough sleep, and he would be right as rain in no time.
"Captain-san almost fed you your share of drink while you slept" Robin added after finishing her tale indicating the barrel just behind him if he craned his neck to look. "Navigator-san and Doctor-san were quite adamant that you drink it after you awakened"
Yep, that sounded like his Captain: always making sure everyone, whether living or out cold, were enjoying themselves. That was providing of course that the rubber idiot was not swallowing enough meat to sink a battleship and still ask for more in the process. Speaking of whom…
"Hey, Zo-mmph!" The Captain attempted to yell out across the empty hall before a hand suddenly clamped his mouth shut.
"It would be best to keep quiet, Captain-san. Navigator-san has finally drifted off and I don't think she would appreciate being disturbed so soon" Robin advised before releasing her hold on the Captain's mouth.
"Finally!" Luffy sighed in relief once he got closer to the group. "Do you know how many times her and Chopper stopped me from giving you your booze, Zoro? I was beginning to think they were trying to starve you to death"
Robin chuckled quietly at the Captain's strange thought process before taking her leave wisely knowing that the Captain would wish to speak with his First Mate.
"So" Luffy began as he sat down Indian style on Zoro's right side seeing that Nami had claimed the swordsman's left in the literal sense. "Sanji told me that you fought off another of those Warlord guys who was after my head"
"More or less" Zoro replied relieved that the perverted cook made up something believable to tell the gullible fool in front of him. He was never much of a prayer, but he was almost thanking God that it was not Ussop who had witnessed it. Boy, would that have been a tale.
"Why did you fight him on your own?" Luffy asked sounding serious for once. "I haven't seen you look that bad since that fight you had with that black sword guy"
"Everyone else was too exhausted to fight" Zoro explained hoping Luffy would believe him. "They were wiped out in one blow"
That was true. That suppressed air bomb Kuma unleashed packed so much punch, even he was out of it for a few seconds. A second longer and the Straw Hats would have been down their Captain.
"Why didn't you just let him have me? You didn't have to go through all that for me" Luffy argued.
"Because…" Zoro growled as he reached up and grabbed the rubber boy by his lower jaw and pulled his head down to his level so that they were seeing eye to eye. "You're the reason we keep going"
Despite having his neck and jaw stretched by a man who should, by all accounts, be dead several times over since joining his crew, all Luffy could do was look at Zoro in confusion.
"We all have dreams that are nearly impossible to achieve yet you, despite having practically the most unattainable among us, believe you can accomplish your dream with such confidence and optimism that you're making us believe we can do the same. You encourage us to go the distance, even if you don't know it and without you, none of us would've had the courage or the heart to attempt carrying on. Got it, Captain?"
He let go of Luffy's jaw with his last part causing the rubber man's appendages to retract and bowl him over.
Zoro stared at Luffy in confusion. That sound he heard when the Captain landed on his back sounded strangely familiar.
"What the hell have you been eating this time?" He asked remembering that one time he caught the Captain chewing Sanji's frying pan when they were out of food one time. The cook sent the idiot a good thirty feet out to sea for ruining a chef's weapon of culinary warfare or whatever the pervert babbled-he had been too busy swimming out to where the anchor boy had landed to listen.
"Just some of those big doughnuts of yours. How can you eat those things, they're tough to chew?" Luffy asked as he sat up.
Zoro did not have any doughnuts. Anything edible outside the kitchen was likely to already be in the Captain's rubber maw. The closest thing resembling the food article in question he had were-
"YOU ATE MY WEIGHTS?-ARGH!" Zoro practically screamed as he convulsed under the pain he was in for making his blood flow too quickly.
It was unsure as to whether Luffy knew Zoro was in pain when he yelled as he had immediately scarpered off before his first mate did who knows what to punish him. He better not nap on his spot on the Thousand Sunny. Crippled first mate or not, there was no way he was giving that spot up.
Taking deep breaths to calm down before he changed the colour of his bandages, Zoro turned his attention to Nami who was still resting peacefully against him.
"How much longer are you gonna lie there pretending to sleep?"
Or not. Realising she had been found out, Nami lifted herself into a sitting position blinking owlishly several times before looking curiously at the injured swordsman.
"How did you know I was awake?" She asked although she still looked half asleep no matter how hard she tried to hide it.
"You'd have whacked us by now for disturbing your rest" Came the swordsman's answer clearly going from past encounters with the wicked witch of the ship. "How long have you been awake?"
"Put it this way: your speech needs editing"
"That long, huh? You should take naps more often, might stop you being so cranky"
"Maybe, if someone stopped taking too many naps and helped out more often!" Nami countered through gritted teeth clenching a now smouldering fist while Zoro bravely ignored the new lump on his head.
"At least one of us is back to normal" Zoro grumbled.
"YOU'VE NEVER BEEN NORMAL!" Nami snarled adding several more lumps to the one she had previously given him. Even before Thriller Bark, after first laying eyes on his wounded body in Arlong's grasp, Nami was both scared and amazed that Zoro could still be alive.
"Jeez" She sighed after calming down. "How can someone with enough brawn to sink a ship say something so intelligent, so inspiring? It's like you've got two different personalities"
"Luffy's the Captain, but that doesn't mean that he's the most experienced of us" Zoro pointed out despite it being rather moot as said Captain rarely did anything other than order them to set sail, order the love-cook to feed him and take down enemies who were supposedly impossible to defeat. "Sometimes, someone just has to point out that he cannot protect us from everything"
"Or just go about like everything's a game" Nami added remembering just last week when the moss haired moron berated Luffy, Chopper and even herself when they tried to bring Ussop back after hearing the sharpshooter was planning his return speech or just the other day when she got scolded for allowing Luffy to bring Brook into their crew.
Zoro just nodded. He was fond of his Captain, they all were, but there were times when they just could not help but wonder how such a rubber idiot could not only be a pirate, but truly believe he could become King of the Pirates. It was the confidence he had that made the rest of his crew believe in themselves that they could achieve their own nigh impossible goals something Zoro, as the very first of the rubber boy's crew, took notice of.
"Oh, that reminds me, Brook's now a full member of our crew" Nami told him remembering that Zoro had been unconscious when the musical skeleton pledged his life to the Straw Hats-even though he no longer had a life, just a soul with a bag of bones attached.
"So he finally gets a musician, huh?" Zoro grunted trying not to chuckle at the arguments they had had while still in the East Blue. "Maybe now he won't try to hire new people whenever we reach a new island"
Nami was smiling widely as she remembered the arguments herself. It was slightly strange as it was actually Zoro who had pointed out that Luffy needed to acquire people to fill the more important roles before obtaining a musician, even when he was being sewn up on Cocoa island, several days after getting nearly cut in two by Hawk-eye. She obviously knew it was Zoro because there was no way Luffy would have hired her otherwise.
"You're a strange one, Zoro" She whispered as she leaned closer to him. "But, I guess that's why I like you"
Zoro barely had time to register what Nami was talking about before the navigator's soft lips covered his own for a brief second before pulling away.
"And it's not going to stop me from tripling your debt for turning me into such a wreck" She added as she picked herself up and walked away. "And I'll triple it again if you talk about what we just did"
"YOU LITTLE WITCH! I'M GONNA DRAG YOU DOWN TO HELL MYSELF!" Zoro yelled after her retreating back before yelping in pain as he opened his wounds sitting up so suddenly. She was not cute at all.
Nami just smiled softly as she walked away from the injured swordsman. She knew she did not need the 'debt' to ensure he did not die on her too soon, not to mention leaving her when he got the chance, but she had a reputation to uphold. Perhaps, once their idiotic Captain achieved his goal, she would confess to him about making up the debt.
Finally calmed down and no longer aggravating his injuries, Zoro smiled to himself. Who did that woman think she was fooling? He was not going to point it out however. There was no way he was going to let the others believe he was some sappy, lovey-dovey person like their third-rate cook. Maybe once this was all over, perhaps, but no way before that. He would rather cut his own head off first.
You could actually link this to my first OP fic if you look at it right. Hope you enjoyed it & pat yourself on the back if you recognise the scene early on from something else.
Review if possible & until next time
Watch this space & peace out!