And yes, this is my another ZoNa oneshot. I'm trying to write something different here. Something that made me had to pull away from my comfort zone.
Thank you KimuraMinami, yuMeNami, Kawaii Neko Nami (aw, that rhymes), fmdevil, cy-grl, ul-him, Trishia, and LadySpring for the previous review and support in my Cheesecake fanfic. Yes, ZoNa is my current obsession... :)
This story might contain some OOC-ness, but you know, for genres like this OOC are most likely to happen, right? ^_~;
Disclaimer: if only I was Oda-sensei...
Shielding The Need
"Go away, Zoro." The red head navigator sighed as she talked to the green hair swordsman who was walking beside her. The swordsman opened his mouth for an excuse but was quickly cut sharp by the navigator's words again. "Seriously, Zoro...stop following me." She complained softly.
Wanting to cover up, the swordsman brought up his defense instantly. His voice was exasperated and a drop of sweat appeared from his forehead. "What? I'm not following you. You said you want to go for some shopping, and I just thought that you might need a hand to-" He paused for a second as his mind tried to arrange the most rational reason. The right words were figured out in seconds, but yet Zoro himself wasn't really sure of what he was going to say. His eyebrows twitched and his voice faded off. "-to carry your bags?"
She stopped for a moment and glared at him. "Really?" The way she squinted her eyes, observing him in the most suspicious way, had gotten Zoro really nervous. The swordsman stumbled for his words and Nami knew she was going to receive another lame excuse. "What has gotten into you till you're nice enough to carry my bags for nothing?" She asked as she continued to walk on again.
He followed her. Feeling uneasy, he rubbed the back of his head and his forehead frowned in dubiety. "Well, I need to buy a shirt. I've got no shirts left since the last one was ripped off during my last fight."
"You're so bad when it comes to lying..." She let out a breath. By this time, she had already started to accelerate her steps, trying to leave the swordsman behind. "Then how are you going to pay?"
Noticing the quickened pace of her, Zoro rushed up to equate hers. "I'll borrow money from you."
"The interest will be tripled." She quickened her steps even more. Her small steps grew faster until it made her like as if she was running a little.
"Well I don't care. Just add it on my debt list." He faltered as he quickened his pace even more, leveling her in the most possible way. She didn't react and remained silent, but her pace showed no signs of slowing down. Zoro chose to keep following her like a lost dog. He had no idea why he was so persistent in doing this. He felt stupid inside. Shadowing her along, Zoro felt like he was no different than that stupid love-cook. But he had pushed away his dignity since the beginning of the day. He was just protecting the crew, and she was part of the crew. It was his job anyway, right?
"ARGH!" The red head beauty stopped in all the sudden; an angry expression was written all over her face. "WHY DON'T YOU JUST FUCKIN' HONEST THAT YOU'RE HERE BECAUSE YOU THINK I MIGHT GET INTO TROUBLE WITH SOME RANDOM ENEMY?!" She yelled straight to Zoro face until he had to pull his head away from her.
Zoro gulped. Now that he knew his true purpose had been revealed, he decided to go blunt. "Nami, you're a woman! And you know how dangerous the people here!"
"Zoro, I've doubled my strength since the 2 years break and yet you still think I'm weak?" She felt offended.
"I'm not saying that you're weak. I just think that it's not right for a woman like you to go alone in the streets like this." He explained.
"What woman exactly do you think I am?"
His words came out haltingly, not knowing how to say it right. A warm sensation crept on both of his cheeks. "W-well you're pretty, you got nice body, you got lots of money, isn't that tempting enough...?"
She felt a warm sensation in both of her cheeks too as soon as he stopped talking, but quickly she shoved it away realizing that this was not the time to feel that kind of way. She shook her head in disbelief and turned around to start walking again. "Just leave me alone, Zoro. I can take care of myself."
"But Nami-" He whined.
"No buts! I said I can take care of myself!" She yelled once more before leaving him behind.
Damn witch! If something does happen to her, it's not my fault!
The green haired swordsman grumbled to himself. He had been wandering from one edge of the street to another, not knowing exactly where to go. He muttered inside and wished for the first time that he was Chopper. Sure if only he was that reindeer, Nami would accepted him differently. He realized, he couldn't do anything right by her, not a thing. And now, the thoughts of her had been consuming his mind, so bad that it made his brain wanting to explode. He needed to cool off, so when he found himself standing in front of the bar, he decided to enter inside.
"Looking a bit lousy, swords-bro. What's the matter?" It was Franky, calling him from the table in the left corner of the bar. Brook and Usopp were there too.
"Nah, just those normal arguments with that witch." He roughly said as he joined in. He shot a glance to the waitress who was standing not far away from their table and smugly requested. "Booze."
"You mean Nami?" Usopp asked.
"Yeah. Who else would I call witch?" He answered through clenched teeth, folded his arm in front of his chest and explained a bit more. "Just trying to warn her, but all I got was a pain kick in the ass."
"Ow, that's so suuuuperrrr bro!" Franky howled in excitement then stroke an over the top pose and out cried with his usual way. "A real man just gotta fight for his woman ya know!"
"My, my Zoro, if I were you I'd rather choose not to mess up with her." Usopp pointed out his opinion.
"Maybe, Zoro-san just wanted to see Nami-san panties..." Brook commented.
The absurd commentary made Franky and Usopp burst into laughter. It was obvious to the three crewmates that the swordsman had always been putting too much concern for the red head navigator. Each of them knew that Zoro had always treated her differently, but they kept it silent as they knew that one day the swordsman will face no choice other than being honest with his feeling. On the other hand, hearing the endless guffaws from his crewmates, Zoro felt like a total idiot. He lowered his head to hide his embarrassment. His was red all over the place. Though he could easily shout 'shut the hell up' to them, he chose to stay cool and chugged for his beer. "Shut up."
Being with Franky, Usopp, and Brook was quite entertaining, or to say the least the stupid romance topics that was brought by them could carry away the peeved feeling in his heart. However, soon after he realized that he had been spending hours inside the bar, his mind began to search for her again. He wasted no time leaving the bar earlier. It was getting late and outside the air had turned out to be very cold. Zoro buried his hands inside his coat and at that moment he started to remember about her again.
Where is she?
His eyes travelled around, watching the streets and seeing how the atmosphere had changed from what he had seen earlier at noon. The scene of warm merchants and friendly citizens was now a scene of thugs and drunkards. As much as he hated himself right now, he admitted that he was deeply worried about her. But who wouldn't? She was his crewmates, and she was a woman. Well, there was Robin, but that lady was mature enough to handle her own situation. And Nami was not.
Or is it? What is she to me?
That was the thing he couldn't figure out. From the first day they'd met he'd been screwing up. She was his match of insult for insult. And while she'd always played as the smart, sassy, and superior navigator, he'd chose to play as the one who'd give in. It always happened on normal days. And at the moment, this was the situation he chose to handle. But why he'd acted to do so, he had no idea.
Maybe it's because of those bright eyes that flash every time she scowls at me...
Zoro clenched his fists tighter beneath his coat, staring off into space. He sighed. And now...what were they now? Friends? Best friends? Not likely. A regular nakama? Not likely either. Well, they could exchange small talk, light joke, and talk like ordinary people once in a while. She could still smile genuinely to him, which would freeze him in his tracks.
And the hair...that long radiant locks of her. Those I'd probably never had the right to touch...
Zoro shook his head abruptly, trying to gust her image out of his mind. What was he thinking? Damn alcohol. Now he was beginning to think about her like she was some sort of addictive substances. He could just forget about her. Not like she was so special. She was just a regular girl of his age. The only difference was they both happened to be staying in the same ship. And circumstances had forced him to bump into her each and every day. At breakfast, at lunch, at dinner, and also...during those fighting with the enemies.
Damn her. Damn her and her deadly smack on the head. Now she's starting to make me crazy.
Zoro cursed inside. The more he tried to get rid of her image, the more he felt it stuck in his head. If only things had been different from the beginning. If only he hadn't been too harsh when she'd left the crew for Arlong. If only he could fix the things between them. And now here he was, trapped. Well, he could just go talk to her. Not like it was that hard.
Shit, it's going to be hard, idiot.
Zoro winced inwardly. The thought was painful to him. He breathed out a name that he wished dare to say it tenderly.
The swordsman finally reached to the shore and stopped in his track. Far away from his view, he saw crowds of people clustered around in the edge of the beach. It was too dark that he could not clearly see what had happened, but he heard them yelling in anxiety. He head towards the crowds and approached a middle aged woman who was standing between the crowds.
"What's going on?" He asked her.
The middle aged woman didn't turn her head to him. Her eyes were still fixated to the sea. Her voice was trembling with concern. "I-I don't know exactly...everything was normal before but suddenly a giant wave hit the shore and swept out everything nearby included three people, and a young woman was-"
"Nami?" He didn't have to wait the woman to finish her line as he recognized the slender figure who was drowned between the waves. His eyes widened in fear. "Nami!" He shouted, shocked and afraid. Her form was barely seen; the waves seemed to swallow her tiny figure. Zoro slammed past the crowds and rushed towards the ocean, racing after her. "No!"
But a strong hand grabbed his arm. Zoro glanced at the figure behind him and was surprised to see who it was. "Luffy?"
The straw hat captain remained flat and determined. His hand was still grabbing the first mate arm solidly. He stayed calm as he spoke "If there are things in this world that we cannot beat, it's nature."
"What?" The swordsman hissed. "Are you crazy?! It's Nami!"
"You're dealing with risk." The captain spoke darkly. Zoro tried as he might to let go his grip but he couldn't get free. Luffy might look smaller than him, but the strength in his arm was considerable. Zoro forgot that he was facing with the soon to be king of pirates.
"I'd rather die than watching her like this without trying to do anything, Luffy!" Zoro yelled furiously.
"Control your emotion first, Zoro. Think before you jump." Luffy held his eyes without wavering.
"Luffy! I know what it's like to lose someone who means so much to your life!" He was so frustrated that his words were slipping out unconsciously from his mouth, breaking his denial.
"So do I." The captain didn't even flinch. His grip remained firm.
The wave was still crashing the surface, tearing the dark blue layers into pieces. This was the longest seconds Zoro had ever been to. He couldn't tell how much time had gone by since she was swept away by the waves. Probably not more than a minute, but it seemed like forever. And she was still there. He could see her figure floating to the surface only then being washed away by the darkness again. He couldn't think. No, Nami.
But there was still a chance.
"Swords-bro! Help me with this!" It was Franky, calling him from a distance. He was holding some equipment which resembled a giant fishing tool made of iron. Luffy loosened his grip and Zoro instantly rushed to the front catching up his crewmate. Luffy stood still and forced himself not to interfere.
"I knew he had a thing for her." A voice broke in. It was Sanji, approaching his captain from behind. He blew a cigarette, watching the chaos beside the captain. By this time, the waves had begun to subside and Sanji knew Nami-san was going to be alright. And as much as he wanted to hold his hand out for her, he chose the same like his captain; stood back and let the swordsman be the hero.
"I always knew that too, Sanji." Luffy finally said. His eyes were staring blankly to the chaotic scene in front of him and his voice was even as he continued. "I didn't mean to let Nami die. But I always remember what Rayleigh told me during the 2 years of training. That we shouldn't be reckless of our own action. If you want to reach for your goals then you should be aware with each step you take, even if it means putting your life for the people you care about. But at this point, I can understand what Zoro is feeling-" The image of his late brother Ace came flashing through his mind. And without being told, Sanji knew Luffy was referring to his brother. Luffy lowered his head slightly to control the grief in his heart and cleared out. "I was trying to calm Zoro a bit, so that he would have a clearer state of mind. I don't want to lose two crews at the same time."
The cook nodded knowingly and puffed another smoke. "I understand what you're saying, captain."
The wave had almost gone. With the help of Franky's tool, Zoro assisted the cyborg to pull Nami's limp body out of the ocean, followed by the other two people who were suffocated beneath the blue surface. Robin caught the other two with the help of her devil fruit power, while Zoro was there to catch Nami and carrying her away from the sea. He placed her gently on the sandy ground and he reactively bent down - almost falling himself in exhaustion and the fear he had spent. Chopper came up later, bringing an oversize jacket, and wrapped it around Nami's body.
She was still lying there unconscious, but she's still breathing. There were no injuries, but her skin was pale blue.
"Nami." Zoro called out her name, hoping that she would open her eyes. A felt of guilt and anger tangled in his heart. Chopper examined her closer and pushed her chest with his hands, sending pulses to her brain. After four or five pushes, the navigator gasped for air.
"Zoro?" She croaked, coughing.
And giant feeling of relieve run through his entire body. Zoro grabbed her shoulders tightly. He covered his fear with fury. "What the hell you think you're doing?!You could have died foolishly into that ocean!"
Nami's eyes went large in surprise. She stammered, looking for her words. "W-well I had no idea it would ended up like that!" She spat. She was still her; that annoying stubborn red headed witch. She shrugged, the annoyance fading. "A wind blew off my things and I was just trying to pick it up, but suddenly that huge wave came out of nowhere and-"
"You stupid woman." He cut off. He couldn't believe it. He was so damn worried about her and she thought this as nothing? His large hands brought up to cup both of her cheeks. His face was full of agitation. Nami stared at the man and struggled to argue back. Yet even before she had the chance, the man had already reached forward and wrapped his arms around her protectively.
"You stupid woman..." He repeated, now in a softer tone. Nami went stiff at first, surprised by the sudden reaction, but relaxed as he spoke. "You're a strong woman, Nami. You're one of the strongest women I've ever met. But this is Grand Line. The farther our journeys are the more dangerous our situation gets" He closed his eyes and stroked her hair lightly, no longer caring who was watching or what she thought. He continued quietly. "You think I train hard every day to be the strongest swordsman in the world, just for nothing? Just for a self ambition? It's my job to protect the crew. So we will all fulfill our dreams. I don't want to lose any of you. I don't want to lose you..." His voice trailed off.
"Zoro..." Nami felt a sting in her eyes and all her barriers collapsed. Her eyes started to water, her hands gripping the sides of his coat and her head buried in his chest.
"I just can't lose you." He whispered, not even thinking about his words
"W-why?" She asked without even knowing the point.
He pulled away so that he was able to meet her eyes. "Don't want to get lost again." He mumbled and pulled her again to his embrace.
The answer was so straightforward yet so Zoro-way that she had to let out a small laugh. "Thank you..."
Both of them were still drawn to their embrace. And on the other side of the shore, Chopper was holding the injured resident's hand and looked concern. Robin was helping out too. The other crewmates had drifted away, back to the Sunny. The noises of the crowds were buzzing clearly behind them. Yet everything between them seemed so calm and quiet. Both of them intoxicated by each other skin. The only voice they could hear was their heartbeat. Soon after, Luffy came up to him, and Zoro had to pull apart from her. The captain looked restrained and his voice was full of understanding. "Hey Zoro, I'm heading back to the ship. I'm leaving Nami to you."
Zoro nodded and the captain walked away.
People were starting to leave the place for quite some time. And the scene gradually began to look normal and peaceful. Just then, he saw Sanji from a distance, looking the two of them analytically. Zoro flashed a nod as a sign that everything was under control. The cook looked relieve and gave the marimo a receptive nod also. And as soon as the cook left, Zoro's head was back to the woman in his arms. He bowed his head down so that he could look through her eyes, examining her. "You're ok?" He asked.
The way he was looking at her was making her somewhat red-faced. She responded awkwardly. "Y-yes."
Zoro knelt down, and before she had the time to protest he had lifted her swiftly to a piggy back ride. The action was so fast that she didn't even know how on earth he managed to do it.
"Z-Zoro!" She gasped. "What the hell you think you're doing?!"
"What? It's not like it's the first time." He replied calmly, referring to the occurrence back in the Arabasta.
She looked dumbfounded and her voice stumbled. "I-I know! But I can walk myself!"
Zoro lifted his head to look up to her and smirked playfully. "After what has gotten into you, you sure you can walk by yourself?" Nami opened her mouth to answer but he interrupted quickly. "Besides," He went on. "Do you know how long I've been waiting for an excuse to carry you around again like this?"
Was he flirting with her? Nami blushed. She muttered. "You...I'll make you pay for this."
"My pleasure." Yes, he definitely was flirting with her.
There was a long moment of silence as they left the place. Everything around them was dark, only casted by the clear lucent of the moon. Nami let herself live in the moment. The last time they were this intimate was when they were in Arabasta. Only this time it was different. He had now grown into a full man. This broad shoulders. This tensed muscles. She breathed the scent in him. He smelled something that was undeniably Zoro. Steel...
"Hey, Zoro..." She broke the silence.
"About what you said before..." Her voice faltered, trying to find words for seconds then decided to finish in a rush. "You didn't say that just for teasing me, right?"
Zoro was looking straight ahead at the shores, his face was flat and Nami realized she had just brought a lame question. He grunted quietly and simply asked back. "Did I sound like I was teasing you?"
"No...but..." Her voice trailed off.
"I never played with words." He cut off shortly.
"Thank you..." She spoke softly as she laid her head on his broad shoulder. His answer was more than enough for her.
They finally made it to her room. Zoro walked towards the bed and carefully dropped her body. They were both now standing next to the bed, face to face. The glow of the moonlight washed their faces softly. Zoro stared at the navigator deeply and it made her nervous. The handsome features of his were giving her that slight pink hue over her pale cheeks. Silence was drawn between them. Zoro stretched out his hand to cup her cheek but quickly pulled it back before doing so. He should go before he ruined everything. He shook his head slightly in an attempt to clear it.
"Good night, Nami." He whispered softly and walked away.
"Wait-" Nami stopped him in a sudden. Zoro felt a slight tug in the hem of his coat. He stood frozen in a second then turned around to meet her. There she was, lowering her head to face the ground. He swallowed his throat and waited.
"Please stay..." Her voice was barely audible.
His heart stopped and he was lost for words. Was he dreaming? This couldn't be possible. "I..."
"Robin is having her nightwatch tonight and I need a company..." She interrupted. Her hand was still gripping his coat.
He nodded under his conscience and had already taken her hands without even realizing it. His voice was husky "Yes..."
She raised her head and Zoro stared dumbstruck into her eyes. His entire body tensed. She smiled at him and tangled her fingers between his. She definitely was the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen. Zoro's heart was beating about ten times its normal pace until it hurt. He hesitated a moment longer before finally trusted his instinct.
If this is it...
Decision made. Zoro reached out and wrapped his arms securely by her waist, leaning his body forward and kissing her softly. And she didn't resist. This was it. The moment that would finally change their relationship forever. She returned the kiss with the same tenderness; her arms resting in front of his chest. Zoro wrapped her tighter and gave in entirely.
He broke apart and chuckled before their lips met again. "You're not going to kick me out this time, are you?"
The kiss was disturbed by her small laugh. She looked up to him as she circled her arms around his neck and smiled between the kisses "No."
Ta da da~~~!
And that was Zoro with teenage hormones (Ack! I just got a hit from Zoro in the head!)
God, I finally had the guts to write something like this.
If you have the time, please leave a review otherwise I may not know if the story is acceptable or not.
This was actually very hard for me to write since, well you know, genres like this were never a part of my specialty. And during the writings, I had to stop watching One Piece episodes for a moment, because I was afraid that the silly stupid scenes that were constantly in the anime would ruin my ideas and corrupted my inspiration. If you know what I mean :D
Last but not least, sorry for the grammar mistakes and spellings. If only english was my native language...