Luffy's Clothes Choice: Normal red vest with yellow buttons and blue shorts with white fur hemmed at the bottom.
Zoro's Clothes Choice: Unzipped, yellow and black jacket with two symbols of crossed swords on each side, light brown pants, and geta sandals. The jacket is yellow in the front and is divided by a white line over the shoulders, separating it from the back, which is black and has a orange-red spirals design, and it's from One Piece Opening 10 – We Are!.
Nami's Clothes Choice: Violet tank top with a imprinted white "3" in the center, a white pleated skirt with two cream-colored rings on the sides, and brown gladiator heels from the Water Seven Arc.
Usopp's Clothes Choice: Normal brown overalls with a white sash with no shirt underneath.
Sanji's Clothes Choice: Double-breasted black suit with a black tie and a blue long-sleeved, buttoned shirt with stripes underneath. In other words, the same outfit he wore during his first appearance from the Baratie Arc.
Chopper's Clothes Choice: A baby blue tank top with "SmiLe" in white on it and red shorts from One Piece Opening 5 – Bon Voyage and Opening 10 – We Are! .
Robin's Clothes Choice: Dark purple, leather corset with laces in the front, dark purple tight pants, shoes, and long-sleeved fuchsia pink cardigan with black, swirling lines from the end of the Skypiea Arcto G-8 Arc.
Franky's Clothes Choice: Purple shirt with green palm trees pattern from his first appearance in Water Seven Arc.
Brook's Clothes Choice: Normal black suit with a dark blue cravat tie and black top hat.
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ~ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ
"The fact that you're here means you must have run away. Sad, you really must have no idea how to accept love when it comes your way, do you?" – Episode 49
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ~ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ
Nami was beyond pissed.
She had enough of Zoro's insufferable attitude. She'd tolerated his need of isolation in the crow's nest for two weeks, but it was getting ridiculous now. Normally, the navigator couldn't care less if that workout fanatic spent his time training in his private haven, but everyone knew he was going in there for the wrong reason. It didn't take long for her to realize that the stupid swordsman was blockading himself from his friends; therefore, she called a meeting in the galley in the afternoon on the first day of the third week.
Planted in front of the her crew that sat before her, Nami stated, "All right, we all know why we're here. I hereby commence our intervention."
Luffy raised a hand in the air. "Uh, Nami?"
"What's an intervention?" he inquired dumbly.
A vein of annoyance started to pulse on the thief's forehead. "It's a meeting, Luffy."
"Oh. What for?"
"We're discussing how to get Zoro out of the crow's nest and figuring out his damn problem, you moron!" she exclaimed impatiently, her fist colliding on her captain's crown.
"Ow! Why'd you hit me?"
"Luffy, if you didn't know why we're here for, then why'd you come?" Usopp chimed flatly.
"I thought we were having lunch."
"We had lunch a hour ago," Sanji reminded, his seat next to the Devil Fruit user.
"In any case," Nami moved on, crossing her arms over her chest. "We're all sick and tired of Zoro's attitude for the last two weeks. It's obvious that jerk is hiding from us."
"I agree," Franky piped, stealing a fast glance at the raven-haired beauty to his right at the table. After Zoro walked away from her and left her in tears last night, Robin confided in him on what happened and made him promise to keep it a secret from the rest of the crew. The shipwright had to give her some credit for waking up in morning and putting on a brave front for the others, but she's quiet all day. Obviously, she was still numb inside. If it weren't for his promise, Franky would tell their comrades in a heartbeat, but the problem between Zoro and Robin can only be fix by them and no one else. "Zoro-bro's been acting super weird, and I don't like it."
"That moss-head's been nothing but an asshole for a while now. I say we should all gang up all on him, severely kick his lousy ass, and demand answers for his bizarre behavior," the chef suggested as he lit a cigarette in his mouth.
The mechanic grinned at this violent tactic. "That's a great idea! I can use my bazooka to blow him out the crow's nest, pin him down with his weights, and then we ca—"
"Wait, wait, wait!" the panicked long-nosed sniper interjected. There no way in freaking hell was he about to add fuel to the first mate's wrath. "Unlike you guys, I actually like living! Zoro will kill us if we try to do something like that!"
"Yeah, and he's still injured," Chopper added, although Zoro—like always—disregarded the good doctor's order to wait until his wound heal before he started training again.
"I don't care! That asshole deserves it!" the cartographer countered hotly. "What the hell is that jerk's problem, anyway?! Is he suddenly tired being around us? We should ambush him, gag him, and then toss him in the ocean so he can cool that attitude of his!"
Usopp sweat-dropped, dismissing that drastic and incredibly exaggerated idea with a wave of his palm. "Hey, hey, that's going a bit overboard, don't you think? Literally."
Ignoring him, Nami turned to her best friend. "Hey, Robin, do you have any ideas?"
At the sound of her name, the archeologist snapped out of her trance-like state. Since she's been recalling her confrontation with Zoro all day, she was only partially aware of what the crew was talking about. Faking a cheerful, polite smile, Robin replied, "Oh, I'm sorry. I wasn't paying attention on the subject, but I think it'd be better if we try something a little more...subtle."
Despite giving her an odd look, Nami pivoted to Brook next. "What about you, Brook? Got anything?"
"Perhaps a little music will try cheer Zoro up?" he proposed, brandishing his violin from his back.
"That's no good. He'll probably just break your bones."
"I'm still up for going with Curly Cook's plan," the carpenter chirped with his wild grin.
"Guys, I don't think any this is going to work," Luffy frowned. "Zoro won't like any of this, he'll just get mad at us."
"He doesn't have to like it," Nami retorted, gripping his vest and began shaking him vigorously. "What's wrong with you, Luffy?! You, of all people, should be the most pissed off at that jerk for avoiding us! C'mon, aren't you angry at Zoro?'
Grasping his navigator's wrists to halt her movements, the raven-haired boy averted his onyx irises sideways, affliction dancing in those dark depths. "I'm not angry at Zoro, Nami. I'm just...sad. I do miss him, but I don't think attacking him will make him want to be around us more. If Zoro's having a problem, then I want to help him, but I don't want him get mad at me for forcing him."
Touched by his words, Nami released him from her iron grip and sighed. "Well, we have to do something about this. He can't keep doing this forever."
"How about a party, then?" Luffy recommended with a board grin. "Zoro loves sake, he'll defiantly come."
Usopp rubbed his chin in contemplation. "True, but—hypothetically speaking—what if he doesn't want to come?"
"Don't worry, leave that part to me. Sanji, start cooking! We're going to have banquet tonight!"
"Sure thing, Captain," the blond-haired man complied and sauntered to the counter.
"I'm going to tell Zoro!"
"Wait, Stra—" Franky tried to stop him, but Luffy was already gone. "That moron, he should've listened to me before taking off. How's he going to get up there without a key? Zoro-bro's been keeping that crow's nest locked."
As if on cue, the sound of shattering glass was heard, which was followed by, "LUFFY, YOU ASSHOLE! WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING FLYING THROUGH THE WINDOW LIKE THAT?!"
"Uh, should we go check on them?" Chopper quizzed worriedly.
"No, no, let Luffy handle it like he said. I'm sure they're fine," Nami assured with a dismissive wave. "This had better work."
Wanting to make a hasty exit, the historian rose from her seat at the table. "If you'll excuse me, then. I'll be in the library if anyone needs me."
"Of course, Robin, my dear," Sanji swooned. "Your handsome prince will fetch you when dinner is prepare."
"Thank you." She smiled and climbed up the ladder to the upper deck.
"I'll go, too," the blue-haired man said, wanting to take this opportunity to have a talk with the raven-haired beauty. When Franky and Robin entered the Sunny's library and shut the door, the latter sat down on the green cushioned bench that circled the room as the former studied her with an impassive expression. "You ever going to tell me what really happened last night?"
"I did tell you, Franky," she muttered, leaning forward in her seat so that she could rest her elbows on her knees.
"You gave me the short version of it," he corrected matter-of-factly. "You said he lied a lot before he rejected you since he didn't feel the same way, but that was it. I'm here for you, Nico Robin, so it'd be super if you'll tell me the whole story so I can help."
"Thank you, Franky, I appreciate it," she replied with a sorrowful smile. "However, if you were to do anything rash on my behalf, it will make things worse between Zoro and I."
The shipwright inclined his head in understanding. "All right, if that's what you want. Are you gonna try and talk to him again?"
"I want to, but he won't give me the chance if he stays in the crow's nest. I'll speak to him tonight, because there's something I need to know." Her azure orbs hardened, a firm line settled on her features. "Somehow, I still think he's lying to me."
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ~ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ
Although Luffy's plan to get Zoro out of the crow's nest worked after many nonstop pleads from the Devil Fruit user, the latter chose to nestled himself at the furthest end of the aquarium to avoid being near from Robin, who sat uncomfortably with Nami by the table that was built around the dumbwaiter. In front of the women was the idiotic Sanji, who was currently entertaining them with poetic phrases and promises of delicious heart-shaped tarts that he baked for his angels. By the huge tank that circled the room was Franky and Brook, playing a joyous tune in sync with a guitar and piano while Luffy, Usopp, and Chopper danced to the music with food stuffed in their mouths.
"Zoro! Zoro! Look!" Luffy called, his mouth stuffed with food and chopsticks shoved up his nose. The corners of his Zoro's mouth curved into a small smirk at the sight of his captain's countenance.
The Gum-Gum Devil Fruit user laughed cheerily and pivoted back to the others. Zoro's smirk disappeared slowly, his irises examining his crewmates before they darted to the door. If everyone was distracted, he could sneak out from there and go the main deck. Luffy and the boys were wrapped in their weird dance while Sanji was drooling over Nami and Robin.
With one last glance, he rose from the floor and swiftly strode to the deck. The night air engulfed him in its cold embrace, the glittery stars illuminating the ink-black sky like diamonds. But what captivated him the most was the full moon that cast a voluminous glow upon everything.
The same moon on the night of his 2001st duel with Kuina.
Sure brings back memories... Nostalgia gripped his heart as he recalled that night in his mind. He and Kuina was fighting with his real swords for the first time, at his rash request in one of his many attempts to finally defeat her. The fought long and hard, both of them dripping with sweat until the very moment Kuina disarmed him and sent his blades flying through the air. Then, she'd implanted the Wadō Ichimonji inches from his head after he fell on his back.
That night, she confided in her fears of never becoming the world's greatest swordsman, due to the sole fact she was a girl.
That night, he berated her harshly for such thoughts, claiming that it didn't matter if she was a girl and he was a boy. He told her that it was willpower that mattered, not gender.
That night was the beginning of their promise and their competition to become to race to see who can become the world's greatest swordsman.
That night...was first time he'd seen her cry, and the last time he ever wanted to see someone close to him in despair.
"Zoro," a melodious voice rang in his ears.
Consumed from his previous musings of the past, Zoro twisted to the familiar presence. "Kuina!"
His blood froze when saw Robin, who stood a few feet from him with a faint, somber smile adorned on her lovely features. Damn it, she was the last person he wanted to see. Swiveling towards the ocean once more, he grumpily inquired, "What're you doing here?"
She didn't answer him, knowing full well that he knew why she was here with him. "Is it all right I stay out here with you?'
He scowled. "Do whatever the hell you want."
She slid closely to him, for a few moments, she just stood there and gazed at the calm ocean and the full moon. There was sense of delaying it any longer if he wasn't going to speak to her. To break the awkward silence, Robin softly whispered, "I envy her."
Zoro looked at her with immense shock. Why was she mentioning Kuina?
"This Kuina... I envy her. She's lucky, I wish I had someone like that to love me in that way. I never had that luxury, and I don't think I ever will," she continued, a forlorn smile etched on her visage.
"That isn't true," Zoro replied. "I know it isn't. You have us—Luffy and everyone else."
"Not in that way, though." Robin shook her head slowly, sadly. "I meant as a woman, not as a crewmate."
The guilt coiling within him tightened its grasp around his honorable conscious. "I'm sure you'll find someone sooner or later."
Her sorrow laugh reverberated like a bell. It was beautiful yet dejected. They swiveled to each other, the raven-haired beauty's azure irises swimming with emotions. "I did, but the person I like has his heart taken by another, because that woman is his dream."
On that note, Zoro's honor overwhelmed him. This was too much for him to handle. He needed to tell her the whole truth about Kuina. "I never loved Kuina like that."
Robin gasped slightly, her eyes widening in surprise and bewilderment. "You didn't? But..."
"I didn't tell you the entire truth about Kuina. She is my dream and always will be, but she and I were never like that."
A brief silence, and then, "Tell me about Kuina, Zoro. You owe me that much, at the very least."
Without missing a beat, he did just that. He revealed everything about his past about him and Kuina. How they were both students under his village's dojo, which was run by Kuina's father. How he was determined to beat Kuina and lost to her numerous times. His duel and promise to her the night before she died, and how he came to possessed her family's sword.
When the story was finished, Zoro's frown lingered and his jaw went rigid. It was evident that he was still hurting from an old wound that had cut him deeply. Even after all these years. His dark hues simmered with regret, permitting the female pirate to see the depths of pain for Kuina. Gently, she inquired, "Did you love her?"
The ex-bounty hunter nearly fell the ground at her question, a light crimson flush spreading to his cheeks. "What? No! I told you, Kuina and I were never like that!"
His fervent denial said otherwise. "I believe you when you said that you were never a couple, but that doesn't mean that you never had feelings for her, did you?"
"What the hell are you getting at, woman?! I never liked Kuina like that! Or at least, I don't think I did..." His fluster wearing down, he quizzed, "Why do you want to know?"
"It seems to me you fallen in love with her without ever realizing it." Her tone held a bit of bitterness in it, but also hurt. "I can tell by the way you speak about her, how much you think about her..."
"It doesn't matter, Robin," Zoro asserted firmly. "How I felt towards Kuina doesn't change the fact about you and me. I'm not the relationship type of guy, and I have to focus on my goal and this crew. I can't have distractions, I need to train and get stronger. If you and I were to be together in that way, I don't know if I can forgive myself if anything happens to you."
At this profession, realization dawned on her. This was it. This was the real reason why Zoro jilted her. It wasn't because he didn't have the time or the feelings, it was because afraid of losing someone close to him. A woman, like Kuina. If Zoro were to lose anyone he cared for, he won't be able to live with himself. He would do anything and everything for the sakes of his loved ones, even it means being killed in the end, physically or emotionally.
"I know what happened, Zoro, on Thriller Bark," she admitted, pausing for second so the words could sink into him. "I won't tell Luffy, I promise."
He was obviously startled by this revelation, but her vow seemed to have snapped him out of his shock. "Thanks."
"But, Zoro, please stop shouldering everything on yourself. You don't have to do things like that, you have comrades you can depend on."
His steady resolve did not waver as Zoro's eyes hardened. "I had no other choice back then, it couldn't be helped. I had the ability to stop that bear bastard, and I'll do it again if the situation calls for it."
"I understand, but you're being selfish," the Devil Fruit user pointed out. "You do things like that without considering how we would feel about it."
"It may be selfish, but I don't want to lose my friends, or anyone, ever again. If I had the ability to stop it and didn't do anything to stop it, then I'd rather die than live with that guilt. And Luffy can never find out about it. Ever. You know how he'll react if finds out."
"Being a martyr isn't heroic, it's tragic. You shouldn't push away your crew and put this burden on yourself for our sakes."
"If hiding and pushing away my friends is the only way to protect them, then so be it."
Robin felt the tension sparked between as they continue to bicker, however, she knew this was necessary. She understood where he was coming from, because she also did the same thing back at Water Seven with CP9.
Letting out a sigh to soothe her boiling emotions, Robin inched closer. "I understand where you're coming from, I really do. Back at Water Seven, I lied and left the crew to protect all of you. I was prepared to sacrifice anything for my wish in order to keep all of you safe. When you came for me at Enies Lobby, it was then I understood something. Running away and leaving behind the people you care about... That isn't love. Even though you just wanna protect them, shutting them out only hurts them more."
She halted her speech when she saw Zoro averting his face from her, so she shot her hands to his cheeks and forced him to look at her. Lips so close that they could kiss, they both had to fight the urge to smash them together in a passionate kiss.
"It's all right, we won't die. I won't die, Zoro," she added tenderly, her sweet breath puffing at his face. "Don't let what happened in the past affect you now."
Her presence, her words, and the heat of her hips pressed to his were overwhelming. As much as he liked to be with her, Zoro couldn't surrender to his desire for her. Although he knew it was already too late, he couldn't afford getting intimately attach to someone, due to the fear of losing that person. The torment after Kuina's death was enough, he never wanted go through something like that again. Removing her palms, he mumbled, "I'm sorry."
Robin pleaded him to stay, but he still left her there to shed tears.
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ~ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ
"Well, that was a waste," Nami remarked the next morning. "Zoro's still acting like a jackass, and now Robin's acting weird, too."
"Maybe they didn't like the party last night," Luffy perused. "Maybe we should try another on—OW!"
The cartographer withdrew her fist. "THAT ISN'T GOING TO HELP, MORON!"
Huffing in frustration, the orange-haired woman rose from her seat and exited the kitchen. She normally doesn't rush eating breakfast, but she wanted to take the chance to go speak to her best friend when the males were eating (minus Zoro, who was, of course currently in the crow's nest training).
Spotting Robin on the swing with her nose buried in a book, Nami walked over to her. "Hey, Ro—"
Before she could finish, Zoro jumped out of the crow's nest and down to the deck. Nami watched how Robin glanced at him, her cobalt irises locking onto Zoro's. The exchange was short, though, since he tore his gaze from Robin and sauntered into the kitchen.
Looking back at Robin, the younger woman saw the hint of sadness in those blue hues of hers. Did something happen between the first mate and archeologist? Now that she thought about, Nami did see Robin leave the party last night to go after Zoro. Something was up between them, and it could possibly explain their odd behavior.
The raven-haired beauty stood from the swing and treaded quickly into the women's quarters. Feeling the urge to comfort her, Nami followed Robin to their room. The historian lowered herself down one of the two red comfy sofas that were placed in the center of the room. Occupying the one across from her, Nami examined the older woman's visage before she spoke up.
"Robin, is everything all right? You've been acting strange since last night."
"I'm fine, Nami. Just a little tired from the party."
"Really? Then was that about with Zoro on the deck? When you saw him, it was like you couldn't wait to get away."
Robin hesitated, and bit lightly on her bottom lip. "Oh, that? It's nothing, really. Zoro and I just had a little disagreement, that's all."
"Really?" the navigator pressed, somewhat suspiciously. After considering the answer, Nami seemed to have fell for it by the way she stood up. "Well, if that's the case. I'm going to give that asshole a good talking to!"
"That's not nescess—"
The door to their room slammed shut before Robin could finish.
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ~ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ
"Zoro! Up this hatch right now or you're going to pay a 100, 000 Berries fine!"
Groaning in aggravation, the swordsman set his dumbbells down, toweled the sweat off his torso and used the key to unlock the hatch. Immediately, that devil woman surged from the hole, pushed his butt to the floor in outrage, and glowered with crossed arms.
"What the hell is your problem, you jerk?" she hissed. "Apologize to Robin, right now!"
"For the record, that's my line," Zoro retorted, clambering from the floor and mimicked her pose. "And apologize for what? I didn't do anything to her! Even if I did, there's no way in hell I'm going talk to her."
"If you don't, I'm going to hold debt to you!"
"Go ahead and do it, I'm not talking to Robin about whatever the heck you're so pissed off about."
"Don't play dumb. Robin told me you two had a fight about something, and that's why she's acting weird!" Nami jabbed an accusing finger at his chest. "What did you and Robin fought about, anyway?"
The green-haired man flinched slightly. Robin told Nami they got into a fight last night? Crap. That isn't good. If Robin didn't tell her what they were arguing about, then Nami drew her own conclusion about the whole affair. "It's none of you business."
"Right, sure it isn't," the thief drawled dryly. "The two of you have been acting strange for a while now. If you two got into a fight, then just fix it! I swear, it's almost you two are fighting like a married couple."
Ruffled by the last two words, Zoro embarrassedly shouted, "WE ARE NOT A COUPLE!"
Nami blinked, perplexed. No way... Was Zoro...blushing? If he was, then that could only mean one thing. A sly smirk blossomed on her features, a mischievous glint shining in her copper hues. "Zoro, you wouldn't happen to have a crush on Robin, would you?"
"What? No, of course not! What the hell made you th—" His denial was cut short by her unexpected shrieks of delight.
"Don't deny it, Zoro! It's written all over your face!" she babbled, positively giddy about the discovery. "Is that you've been avoiding us, because you like Robin? Actually, you two were alone for a long time when we went to get sapphire! Something must've happened between you, right?"
"I can't believe I didn't figure out sooner! I always thought you might have a thing for her since Skypiea when you caught after Eneru attacked her! And that time Aokiji, you were the first to protect her! It totally makes sense now!"
"Don't go jumping to conclu—"
"That's why you're in the crow's nest this time hiding! You were running from Robin, weren't you? All boys tend to avoid the girls they like because they're shy!"
"Who're you calling shy?! And I do not like—"
"Okay, I've decided! I'm going to help you!"
"Help me do what?!" Zoro was incredibly irritated now. "I don't need help doing anything! And if you think I'm going to get on my knees and profess some stupid, undying love for Robin like that stupid playboy, then you got another thi—"
"Don't call love 'stupid', you jerk!" Nami interrupted, wagging a finger in his face. "Listen, I'm going to help you and you're going to like it."
"Don't meddle into another people's business!"
"I have to, otherwise you're never going tell Robin, are you?" She didn't even give him a chance to respond. "No, I didn't think so!"
As Nami proceeded to prattle and squeal about how 'cute' the whole situation, Zoro slumped to the floor in defeat. There was no way he could win.
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ~ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ
"I find hard to believe you're attracted to Robin. I don't remember you ever having a crush on someone before. You really are the opposite of Sanji. I did always peg you an anti-playboy. When we go to islands, I see a lot of girls ogled at you from afar, and you never seemed to notice."
Zoro snorted at the girl who was like an bratty little sister to him. "Whatever, Nami. I'm warning you right now, don't go sticking your nose into this, got it?"
"Oh, sure. I understand perfectly," she replied in a voice that told him the complete opposite of what she'd just said. She exited the crow's nest after that, with Zoro in hot pursuit.
Throughout the entire day, he kept following her everyone she goes to make sure she wasn't going to tell Robin what happened in his gym. That conniving devil was going to make all hell break loose on their crazy ship soon enough. Damn her and her devious mind.
"All right, I guess we should decide who's doing what tomorrow since we're going to be at the next island by noon," Nami announced during dinner. Zoro toyed with his food on his plate, uninterested in the crew's plans for tomorrow.
When he shown up for dinner in the kitchen, Luffy and the crew was ecstatic, although Sanji made a snarky comment about him finally re-joining them at the table. Of course, he sat beside Nami to keep a keen eye on her and as far away from the Robin as possible. They were sitting at different sides of the table; she was at the very end with Chopper and Franky while he was at the top between Nami and Usopp.
"According to the map, the next island we're heading to is a Summer Island, and it's has really fashionable stores. And the best part is that we can dock the Sunny on the other end of the island so it won't be detected."
"Does that mean we can all go shopping?" Chopper questioned, thrilled to go find a bookstore.
"Yep!" Casting a sly look at the ex-bounty hunter, Nami whipped her head in Robin's direction. "Robin, you wanna go shopping with me?"
Robin nodded, itching to do anything to keep her mind off her confrontation with Zoro last night. It hurts to think about it over and over again. If she was busy, however, she might not have to. "Of course, Nami."
An audible clang caught the crew's attention as Zoro grasped the orange-haired woman's arm. "Hey, Nami. I dropped my fork, help me get it."
"Get it your—Hey!" With no room for protest, he yanked her underneath the table. Nami fixed Zoro with a glare as he released her arm. "What're you doing?"
"I should be asking you that!" he whispered furiously. "What the hell do you think you're doing?"
"Duh, what else? I'm going to ask Robin what she thinks of you tomorrow."
Zoro's next expression was one of panic. Hell no. "Cancel it, Nami. Your plan is idiotic!"
She gave him a clever wink. "Trust me, Zoro."
Trust her? Yeah, right...
He let out a breath of frustration as he and Nami popped out from under the table, only to find that all of their dumbfounded friends were staring them. Sensing the awkwardness, Nami broke it with a shrill laugh.
"Oh, I just remember!" she squawked. "I have something I need to do! Ahahaha, isn't that funny? I totally forgot! Zoro, come on! I need your help!"
She hauled him out of the kitchen hastily as the crew stared on. Once they were out of earshot, Usopp said, "Well, that was...odd."
Luffy and the others bobbled their heads in agreement, excluding Sanji, who was throwing a jealous fit for not being chosen to help his precious Nami, and Robin, who wore a pained expression as suspicion clouded her mind.
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ~ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ
Usopp yawned, rubbing one teary eye as he slouched back to the men's quarters after using the toilet that was located under the staircase that built next to their room. Just as he reached his outstretched hand to the door, the long-nosed teen flinched in surprise when he heard Nami's voice from above.
"Why the hell not, Zoro?" she demanded stridently.
"I'm not ready, I don't what to say!"
Quickly, Usopp rushed behind the foremast, silently thanking Franky for building it so close to their bedroom. Peeking one eye from behind the tree, he saw the Straw Hats' swordsman and navigator descending from the crow's nest.
At the dead of night.
Something's up, he mused, leaning backwards so the foremast could cover his entire being. He hoped that whatever he and Nami was discussing was distracting Zoro enough so he wouldn't sense the sharpshooter's presence. Trying to hide from Zoro was like trying to hide from a savage pack of wolves hunting for their next meal. If he got caught, he knew he's going to pay hell for it. It was the demonic Pirate Hunter Zoro, after all.
"But aren't you tired of lying to everyone?"
Zoro scowled. "Of course I am, but now isn't the right time."
Lying about what? Usopp's curiosity piqued. He knew Zoro wasn't the type to lie about anything. He was too honorable for that.
"We have to tell them, Zoro. The sooner we do, it'd be easier to settle things with the others. They may be shock at first, especially Sanji, but don't you want to make this work?"
The sharpshooter rubbed his chin in contemplation, inching farther from his hiding place to see the tormented expressions etched on his shipmates' faces. They looked...guilty over something.
After a moment of quietness, Nami softly questioned, "Are you ashamed?"
Zoro waited a few seconds before answering. "No, it's not that. I'm...not ashamed."
"Then, what is it?"
The sniper was astonished. He'd never thought to hear Nami speak in such a gentle tone towards Zoro. When the heck did that happened, anyway?
"I just need more time, okay?"
Nami giggled. "All right, shy boy, I'll give you more time. But don't expect me to wait to long, all right? I'm doing this for you."
Zoro laughed mildly. "Thanks."
The orange-haired woman dismissed this with a mild wave of her hand. "I'm sure I'll find a way for you to pay me back. But don't wait too long, and get your act together. The longer we wait, the worse the outcome will be for the others.
No freaking way. Usopp's jaw dropped. He couldn't believe what he just heard and witnessed. It was clear now. It explained what happened between them during tonight's dinner.
Zoro and Nami are lovers!
Still stunned from the revelation, he forgotten he was supposed to keep hidden. He leaned too far from the foremast during the whole conversation that he balanced himself on one foot, causing him to lose his posture and fall facedown on the grassy deck.
"Ow!" he yelped in pain, his nose bending from the impact. He was certain that Zoro and Nami heard him, too. Crap, I'm so dead!
Lucky for him, hands gripped him from the neck of his the scruff of his neck, pulling him behind him and held him to the foremast before either his friends could spot him.
Zoro's palm went to Shūsui's hilt in alarm. "What was that?"
"Probably just a crow or something. I'll talk to you tomorrow, Zoro. Good night." Nami bid him farewell and ran back to the women's quarters as Zoro climbed up to the crow's nest. When the coast was cleared, the phantom appendages dispersed and Usopp exhaled a relieved sigh.
"You all right?" The sniper didn't have to look to see whom it was, traveling from the kitchen and to where he was on the deck.
"Thanks for the save, Robin, but what are you doing out here so late?"
She shrugged her shoulders. "I was reading in the library and went down to the kitchen to brew a cup of coffee for myself. I heard voices outside, so I decided to look through the window and I saw you spying on Zoro and Nami."
"Oh, I see. I'm glad you showed up when you did, Zoro and Nami would've killed me if they found out I overheard their conversation."
"What were you doing out here?
"I had to use the toilet, but then I heard Zoro and Nami talking," he explained. "You can't believe what I heard! Robin, I think Zoro and Nami are seeing each other!"
Robin was taken aback at this. "What...? No, that wouldn't..."
Her words were uttered lowly that the sniper was unable to hear. "Robin, what did you say?"
Having no desire whatsoever to even admit such a thing was possible between her best friend and the man who she'd given her heart to were to be...involved with each other, the Devil Fruit user shook her head at the younger male. "I don't think that's the case, Usopp. Perhaps you might have misunderstood their discussion?"
"Well, maybe you're right..."
"Good night, then." Robin faked a smile as she swiveled her heel to the kitchen. No matter how much she wanted to discard such a notion about Zoro and Nami, her heart cracked from the simple thought that it might be true.
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ~ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ
"Morning, Zoro." Nami entered the crow's nest the morning as Zoro finished his training. The first mate put his weights down and toweled the sweat off his muscular frame as she took a seat on the bench. "Okay, we're reaching the next island in a few, so let's go over the plan."
"Nami, I might've agreed to go least try to go along with you plan last night for the sake of my own sanity, but don't go overboard," Zoro reminded sternly with folded arms.
The cartographer made an agitated face. "You're only going along with it because I threatened to tell the others your secret crush on Robin if you didn't, but whatever. I don't care how you do it, just as long as you tell Robin how you feel. Either way, if you and Robin get together after all this, you're going to tell everyone. The longer you hold it off, the bigger the impact it's going to make."
"I still believe this plan of yours is a waste of time and effort," he said, donning his yellow and black jacket on. "What happened between me and Robin that made me developed feelings for her is something I'd like to forget. Our relationship shouldn't mean anything more than crewmates."
Nami's brown irises became tender. "Is that what you think, Zoro? That falling in love with Robin was a mistake? That you should pretend that you never felt that way to her?"
"I can't feel anything for her."
"Is it really that bad if you do?"
"Yes." His tone was firm and serious. "I can't, Nami, not with Robin. Not with anyone, in fact."
The thief's smile was subtly compassionate. "I think you should least give it shot and tell her how you feel. The worst she can say is she doesn't feel the same way."
That's where you're wrong; she'll say the exact opposite. Zoro wanted to say it to Nami, but chained those words before they could slip past his lips. Nami knew enough as it is, so there was no way that he can tell her the rest of went on between him and Robin. That would lead into something more disastrous. He just needed to go along with Nami's little plan to keep the situation under control. "I don't know about this, Nami. Even if I want to tell Robin, I still can't. Being around her is too awkward."
"No, no! That's a good thing, Zoro." Nami beamed, her hands clasped together in enthusiasm. "Awkward. Girls like awkward, it makes them feel special."
"NAAAMIII!" Luffy called from above deck. "WE'RE AT THE ISLAND!"
"Okay, I'm coming," she hollered back, turning to Zoro as she drifted to the hatch. "Okay, I'll let you know what I find out! If she does like you, you're telling her how you feel! And even if she doesn't, you're still doing it!"
"Hey, wait a minute! That's no fa—"
"See you later, Zoro!" And she was gone. Terrific.
"That damn woman..."
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ~ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ
"Hey, Robin, what do think of this one?" Nami grasped a silky, strapless dress with silts on the sides that would show a woman's creamy thighs. It was decorated in glitter and the center was split so that the only that held it together was emerald broach shaped like a butterfly. "Wouldn't this look good on me?"
A smile played on the raven-haired beauty's countenance. "Yes. However, it's a bit pricey. Besides, this is the seventh store we came to today. It'd be best if we call if a day, for the sake of our little helper out there."
Nami exhaled a disappointed sigh, directing her gaze outside the fancy dress shop they were in. Like all clothing stores on the island, this one had see-through windows to display their trends, so it was easy to see an exhausted Chopper on the bench outside the shop with numerous bags. The poor thing was dragged along with the women to carry their things around town, and now he too tired to walk anymore.
"Yeah, I suppose you're right." The navigator placed the dress back on its rack "Besides, it's not my style. I prefer more casual clothes. The only time I wear something as elegant as that is when I find the perfect guy for me, although the chance of that ever happening looks extremely slim."
Robin chuckled lightly. "You shouldn't say such things. You're attractive and young, so there's no doubt that you'll find your soul mate one day."
"Yeah, but how? The only men I'm around are our idiot crewmates, and they're a hard bunch to pick from. Luffy's childish...but he is kind and strong; Usopp is too much of coward and a liar; Franky is too old and kinda perverted; Sanji and Brook are huge perverts; Chopper is too young and he's an animal, and Zoro does nothing but train and take care for his swords."
"My, that's rather harsh, Nami."
"But..." A sly smirk emerged on thief's visage, her plan springing into action. Time to see what Robin really thinks of Zoro, although I really don't wanna lie to her. "If I had to choose, then I guess it'd be that stupid swordsman. What about you? Who would you choose?"
The Devil Fruit user froze, her delicate figure stiffened and her nails involuntary dug into her palms. What Nami just said... Could it be true what Usopp told her last night, about Zoro and Nami being a couple? That wouldn't make any sense, since all they ever do were fight over financial matters. Right now, though, she had a hard time denying the notion any longer.
Instead of receiving the answer Nami wanted, her best friend suggested they should return to the Sunny, strolled out to fetch Chopper, who transformed back into his Walk Point. Nami frowned, her plan a failure. And why did Robin look so...hurt?
"Hey, isn't that...?" the reindeer began as Nami exited the store, the trio's irises locked on at a certain green-haired man.
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ~ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ
Damn, how hard is it to find a bar around here? Zoro scratched the back of his head in exasperation. He'd sworn that he went in the right direction that he got from one of the townsfolk to get to a local pub. What way was it again? North, and then take a left? South, maybe? Doesn't matter, he thought. Standing in the middle of town isn't going help find an establishment for rum.
"Hey, excuse me," the ex-bounty hunter halted a young, blond-haired woman before she went past him. The girl paused, her brown orbs landing on him as a coquettish smile crossed her lips.
Mistaking this as Zoro's way of coming on to her, she replied, "Yes?"
"Do you know where I can find a bar?"
Oblivious to how his guide was eyeing him like ravenous cat in heat, the first mate also failed to notice that Robin, Nami, and Chopper were right in front of him, observing him as he spoke with the pretty lady. Glancing sideways, the navigator saw an emotion burning in her best friend's hues. The archeologist was jealous and hurt, a frown plastered on her countenance as watched the scene before her.
Nami growled. What the hell is wrong with that idiot, flirting with that girl right in front of Robin?! That jackass!
"Robin, Chopper, take go back to the Sunny ahead of me," she said out loud, marching angrily to Zoro and the other woman. "I'm going to have a word with that imbecile."
"Robin, why is Nami so mad that Zoro's talking to girl?" the young doctor inquired when the orange-haired woman was out of earshot.
"She's jealous," she responded icily that caused shivers to coursed down Chopper's spine. He'd never heard Robin sound so...cold. Whirling around, the historian paced back to the Sunny with her head hung low to hide the anguish she felt. There was evident that what Usopp told her was true. There was use of denying it anymore, but...
It hurts more than I'd imagined...
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ~ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ
"Excuse me, I appreciate it if you would leave my friend alone and crawl back from whatever hole you came from," Nami told the girl snidely, her smile tight and sardonic. The blond-haired huffed in offense, sashaying away while Nami began continuously punching the swordsman's in the gut.
"WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU, YOU INSENSETIVE BASTARD?!" she shrieked wrathfully.
"Ow, ow, ow!" Zoro yelped, pushing Nami away with his left hand on her forehead. "What the hell's your problem, woman?"
"You were flirting with that girl right in front of Robin! Do you have any idea how that made her feel? You might as well stabbed her heart with your stupid swords!"
"I wasn't flirting with anybody, I was just asking for directions. And why should Robin care if I talk to someone?"
Nami gapped at him with disbelief. "Are you that stupid? It's obvious she's jealous, which means she has feelings for you! And now she thinks you like another girl! C'mon, we're going home and you're going to tell Robin how you feel about her, Zoro!"
"Screw that! No!" he shouted fervently as the petite female dragged him by the hand. "To hell with this plan of yours, I quit! Stop sticking your nose into other people's business, Nami! This has nothing to do with you!"
"Nothing to do with me?" she repeated dangerously, immensely pissed off now. How can he say that without considering how she and the rest of their crew felt? "You moron, of course it does! It was everything to do with me! Luffy and the others, too! We never get to see you anymore since you spend all your time in the crow's nest to avoid Robin! Luffy misses you, and so does everyone else! That's why you need to talk to Robin, pronto. The sooner you do, the sooner things can get back to normal."
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ~ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ
"Guys, we're back," Chopper proclaimed as he boarded the Sunny with a silent Robin.
"Welcome back, you two," Franky greeted them happily, rising from the deck where he sat with the Straw Hats' sniper. Brook was a few feet away from them, playing a cheery tune on his violin. Since their bouncy captain and lovesick cook was nowhere in sight, one can assumed that Luffy is bothering Sanji for food in the kitchen. "Did you have a super time?"
Noticing that one person was missing from their group, Usopp questioned, "Hey, where's Nami? Why isn't she with you?"
"Oh, she's yelling at Zoro because she was jealous that he was talking to a girl," the Zoan Devil Fruit user revealed innocently, not knowing that hell was about to break loose.
"So it's true, after all! Zoro and Nami are a couple!" the sharpshooter blurted, drawing all shocked eyes on him.
"WHAAAT?" the shipwright, doctor, and musician screamed in unison. Ironically, Nami and Zoro stepped on deck, their hands entwined together that ensued more chaos. While Franky and the boys started demanding answers from the pair, Robin merely stalked back to her room dejectedly, unable to stand the sight of her best friend and Zoro holding hands like a couple.
"Zoro-bro, what's the meaning of this?!" the carpenter bellowed, shaking the first mate vigorously. "Are you with Nami when you're supposed to be with—"
"Do not yell at me, Franky!" he cut him off. "What the hell are you blabbering about?"
"Zoro, did you see Nami's panties yet?" Brook laughed, only to earn him a smack on the head by Nami.
"Don't say such creepy things!" she howled, pivoting to the liar of the group. "As for you, Usopp, what are you lying about now? Zoro and I are not a couple!"
In the midst of the roaring, Zoro caught a glimpse of the raven-haired beauty walking to her room. When Nami started chasing the boys around the ship for their ridiculous accusations, the swordsman followed Robin. As she reached for the door, two strong arms pinned her against it.
"What exactly did you tell Nami about us?" he asked through gritted teeth.
Upset, she refused to answer him. Instead, she just opened the door to the room and entered, with Zoro right behind her.
"Damn it, Robin, what did you say to Nami yesterday? Answer me!" She could hear the frustration in his voice.
"Leave me alone," she ordered indignantly. "Go back to Nami."
"Oh, for crying out loud! Don't tell you're buying this crap me and that woman being a couple!" Zoro thundered, grabbing her shoulders and turning around to face him. "I know you had a part in this, Robin! Nami said you told her something about us getting into a fight! What exactly did you tell her about us?"
Robin squirmed in his iron grip, trying to break free. Of all the times he wanted to talk to her, it had to be now, and about Nami of all people. "Let go of me."
"What can you possibly want from me? You have Nami, don't you?"
"Nami and I are not a couple! There's no way in a million years that we would ever think of getting together!"
"How do I know you're not lying?" she spat. "About you and Nami when I saw you two holding ha—"
"Because I don't want Nami, I want you!" Zoro declared torridly. And it was then that heart of the matter lay bare; a pure and agonized truth that Zoro didn't mean to say.
Robin stood there, utterly speechless and stunned. As her heart swelled up with joy, Zoro released her shoulders and averted his gaze elsewhere, swallowing the urge to try and take it back.
Voice thick and strained, Zoro forced out, "What you saw with Nami and probably everything else today was a big misunderstanding. And what I just said doesn't change the fact that I can't be with you, Robin. Go find somewhere else to give your heart to, 'cause it's not gonna be me."
"Zoro, wait." Robin stretched her hand to stop him, but he was already out of the door. Exhaling, the swordsman stared at the floor with clutched fists, remorseful for saying such things to her. But it was for her own good, so he might as well learn to accept it. Lifting his head, he saw Franky and the other boys sitting in the middle of the deck, their bodies and faces covered with bruises, bumps, and swells created by an enraged Nami, who was engaging them in a long, threatening lecture.
"—and if you tell Luffy and Sanji—especially Luffy—what you saw, I'm going to butcher you in your sleep!" she snarled. "Understand? Zoro and I are not a couple, and I was only helping him with a problem."
Franky, Usopp, Chopper, and Brook bobbled their heads profusely, begging for forgiveness. Satisfied, she shooed Usopp, Chopper, and Brook off and spotted Zoro leaning on the railing on the second deck. "Hey, Zoro! Did you talk to Robin? What'd she say? Are you two okay now?"
"It didn't go as planned," he mumbled, treading to the deck and to the rope that leads to the crow's nest.
"What? Hey, Zoro, you didn't say anything you might've regret, did you? Hey, don't ignore me!" she called after him as he ascended to his haven. "Zoro, what did you say to Robin?"
"He jilted her again." Franky put his sunglasses on his forehead so Nami could see the stern expression on his face.
Nami's expression was one of astonishment. "Again? Franky, you knew what was going on with Zoro?"
"Yeah, for a while now."
"Tell me what you know," Nami commanded. "After you do, I'm going to—"
"Don't, Nami-sis," the mechanic inserted. "You did enough, and pressuring Zoro-bro isn't going to make a difference. I'll tell you what you want to know, but it's not going to change how that guy feels."
"But why not?" Nami cried, infuriated and confused. "That guy, he won't accept love when it comes his way unless someone makes him! I want to help, for Robin's sake as well for as for Luffy's. He's acting like a jerk and hurting our crew, why shouldn't I pressu—"
"Just stop and think of how this affects him." Franky's hard glare made Nami flinched in fright. "Right now, even if he doesn't show it, he's also suffering."
A lump formed in Nami's throat, her teeth biting down on her bottom lip as she digested the blue-haired man's words. She never once stopped and thought how Zoro was feeling about the situation, she'd only thought about her and the crew. Determination flooding within her, the navigator leveled her orbs with her friend. Before, she wanted to know the situation between Zoro and Robin so she could help them. Now, she needed to know. "I promise I won't butt in or tell anyone, so please tell me what you know."
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ~ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ
"Well, Zoro, go get her!"
"SCREW THAT! NO!" – Episode 66
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ~ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ
A/N: For some reason, I really don't like this chapter... Anyway, sorry for the long wait, but as always, I've kept my promise for this month. :) School's been crazy because I'm graduating in two months, so it's natural that my teachers are overloading the students with assignments. And thanks to school, editing my own chapters is exhausting, especially since I'm taking a lot of content and revising things in them. What a drag... As a side note, my birthday is on April 1! :) My sister and I will be turning eighteen years old.
For those folks who have not heard the news yet, Toonami has confirmed on March 10, 2013 at MomoCon that One Piece will be airing on Toonami later this year. Although no official release date has been announced, many are expecting it to come back in early spring. Also, One Piece Season Four Voyage Four DVDwas released on March 19, 2013 and is now available on local retailer stores and online. Remember to support the One Piece series by buying the DVDs and by watching episodes on OnePieceOfficial, Neon Alley, orToonami.