Standard Disclaimer; I don't own One Piece.

OOC and Nightmares: The Rudder and Anchor

Nami couldn't believe it. She didn't understand how any of this was happening. Yet here she was, along with the rest of her nakama, struggling to keep their very lives.

The crew had somehow stumbled upon the ruins of Thriller Bark, despite the fact that it was supposed to be on the other side of the Red Line and still in the first half of the Grand Line, it was right there, in the New World, and of course their captain had insisted on checking it out to see if there was any adventure left on the battered ship. And of all things to happen; they would have to run into him again, one of the Shichibukai, The Tyrant Bartholomew Kuma. But this wasn't the same Kuma that they had encountered the first time they had stepped foot on Thriller Bark, nor was it one of the copies that they had fought on Sabaody Archipelago, this one was something much worse all together. It pursued them all with no signs of any kind of emotion. It was completely merciless in its relentless attacks. And regardless of what the entire crew seemed to throw at it, this Kuma would just keep coming, completely unscathed of any type of physical damage. Even with all the strength that they had all earned during their two year separation, it was proving to be useless against the monster in front of them. To make matters worse; Luffy had been knocked unconscious during Kuma's pursuit, and the unstoppable cyborg had all but backed them into a corner.

"What the hell are we going to do guys?" Usopp asked aloud with panic in his voice. "Nothing is working on that monster."

Nami took a moment and assessed the entire crew: they were all beaten and battered, and all showing signs of fatigue. One of Franky's large mechanical arms was now missing as it had been lost in the fight, and he was carrying an incapacitated Brook over the shoulder of his remaining good arm. Robin had taken on the duty of carrying the small doctor after he became unable to move after using his giant monster form to try and slow Kuma down, but to no avail. And Usopp was struggling to carry their still unconscious captain over one of his shoulders. The only two who seemed capable of still putting up a fight were Zoro and Sanji, but despite how the two seemed, Nami knew that they were both in terrible shape themselves as they had taken more punishment than any other members of the crew; Sanji in particular had been trying for some time to hide the fact that he had been favoring one leg, as he had injured it while trying to perform an attack on The Tyrant.

Nami knew that there was only one option left if they wanted to survive. "We have to get the hell out of here. We have to run away."

Her nakama that were still conscious all looked at her with defeated faces. None of them would want to admit it aloud, but they all knew she was right. With a silent nod between all of them, they all turned and started sprinting towards where they had docked the 1000 Sunny… all except for one of them.

As they were running, Nami turned her head back into the direction that Kuma had been coming from to see if he was still pursuing them, but it wasn't Kuma that she saw, it was the familiar back of their marimo swordsman who hadn't moved from the spot she had last saw him in. Nami immediately stopped and turned around to address Zoro about his actions, causing Sanji to stop nearby as well.

"What the hell are you doing baka?" The mikan-head yelled at him, not understanding why he was just standing there instead of running for the Sunny like the rest of them. "We need to get the hell out of here! We need to retreat!"

Zoro remained in his spot, only looking back over his shoulder to answer her. "He'll just keep chasing us if we all run." He said to her with a deathly serious look in his one good eye. "Someone needs to stay behind to buy you all some time."

Nami stood frozen in shock after hearing the words he had just spoken. She watched as he simply turned his head back towards the direction that they had last seen Kuma in and continued to stand his ground. Before she knew what was happening, her feet had already moved her to close the distance between her and the swordsman. "What are you saying baka? You can't beat him alone; you have to come with us." Zoro didn't respond to her; he merely continued to look in the direction the enemy was coming from.

Nami's own eyes wandered into the same direction as Zoro's, where she saw the gigantic figure of the unstoppable cyborg slowly starting to make its way to them. Panic started to set in as she fully realized Zoro's intentions. "No!" She screamed at the man beside her, but still got no reaction from him. She desperately started to try and tug at his arm to drag him away from his spot and towards the Sunny. "You can't stay here! You need to come with us! You need to come with me!" She pleaded with him as she continued to try and pull him towards the area she deemed safest, but found that regardless of how much strength she used, that he wouldn't even budge. "We need you Zoro! I need you! Please!"

Suddenly Zoro ripped his arm away from her grasp before placing his hand on her shoulder. He looked down into her eyes as a sad smile formed on his face. "Goodbye Nami" He spoke softly to her before flinging her backwards through the air into the waiting arms of Sanji. "Get her the hell out of here cook! And get everyone to safety!"

Sanji said nothing as he hoisted Nami over his shoulder and started to sprint away from the swordsman. She started to struggle and try and break free from the cook's hold on her, but couldn't. "No Sanji! You can't leave him there! You have to go back! You have to bring him with us! Please stop!" But he didn't seem to be listening to her as he just kept running farther away from where Zoro was. She could feel the tears starting to well in her eyes as she began to violently thrash about on the blonde man's shoulder. She tried to continue to yell for the swordsman to reconsider and join them, but the words stopped coming out. The last thing she saw of Zoro before they were too far out of view was him drawing all three of his swords and lunging towards the large silhouette of Kuma. Despite no longer being able to see him, or yell out to him anymore, she continued to try anyway; growing more and more frustrated by her vocal cords no longer seeming to work, or not having the strength to separate herself from Sanji. All she could do was look on in pure horror as the location that the swordsman had been in was completely engulfed in a large explosion…


Nami shot up straight as she awoke in her bed; her entire body trembled as she was covered in a cold sweat, she could feel her heart racing and had trouble controlling her breathing, and had to force back the tears that had wanted to escape her eyes.

She looked around the woman's quarters and noticed that she was alone. She could tell that it was early morning by the small amounts of sun-light starting to appear through the window. She slowly swung her feet over the edge of her bed and placed her feet on the floor before standing on shaky legs. Not even bothering to change out of her pajamas; she gingerly made her way to the exit, before opening the door and stepping out onto the deck. She did a quick check around her in the open air, looking to see if any of her nakama were out on the deck. When she saw no one, she let her ears continue to do the search for her. At first all she could hear was the sound of the waves splashing on the side of the ship, and the wind blowing over her head, causing their flag to make smacking noises as it flapped in the wind, which brought her attention onto the crows-nest. She continued to listen intently; starting to become bothered by the lack of the sound that she was looking for… but then she heard it… she heard the familiar sound of large metal plates clanging together from the first-mate's normal early morning workout.

She let out a large sigh of relief that she hadn't realized she had been holding. She was genuinely relieved when the shaking of her limbs started to subside as she continued to listen to the sound of Zoro's plates clanging together; it was like music to her ears. Everything she had experienced only a few moments ago was just a dream… no; it was a nightmare. A nightmare that had plagued her before, several times in fact, but each time she had it; it just seemed to become more vivid and realistic. She couldn't help but wonder what it all meant.

Part of her wanted to climb the ropes nearby and ascend to the crows-nest to see the man that her dream had made her believe that she had lost only moments ago, but she also didn't want confuse or worry him. Instead she chose to make her way across the deck to go and see if any of her other nakama were already awake and in the kitchen. She found herself stopping at the door to the galley, and taking a final look up at the crows-nest, before shaking her head, letting out another sigh, and entering the kitchen.

Once inside she was met by the familiar faces of Brook, who had been calmly sitting at the table and enjoying a cup of tea, Robin, who already had her nose buried in a book, and Sanji, who seemed to already be busy preparing Robin some coffee. All of their heads turned towards the door to watch the navigator make her entrance. Robin greeted her with a quiet smile. While Brook greeted her with a… Nami couldn't really tell what the look on his face was, after all; he had no face to have a look on (Yohohoho). And then there was Sanji; who greeted her with…

"Good morning Nami-san! And what do I owe the honor of you gracing me with your beautiful presence so early on this morning?" The cook greeted her in a loud high pitched voice that caused Nami to wince from the sheer volume.

The mikan-head didn't respond to his greeting, she merely continued to walk into the room and towards the table. Once at the table; she sat down directly beside Robin and across from Brook, before placing her elbows on the table and letting her head rest in her hands.

Her three nakama looked on in question at the miserable state she seemed to be in, none sure of whether to address it or not. But Sanji being the gentleman that he was couldn't leave a lady in distress if he could help it.

"Is everything alright Nami-san? You don't seem to be quite your wonderful self this morning." Sanji patiently waited for a reply, but got none in return so he decided to continue. "You look tired. Would you like me to warm you some milk so you can try and get some more sleep?"

Nami shook her head from side to side to refuse the offer before finally raising her head from her hands to look at the blond man. "No thank you Sanji-kun." She said in a soft voice. "More sleep is the last thing I want right now. I'll take a cup of coffee if you don't mind?"

A bright smile formed on Sanji's face at the sound of Nami's voice. "It would be my honor Nami-san." He answered her with a polite bow. "While I'm at it; would you care for a refill Robin-chan?"

"Yes" Robin answered him while giving him a polite smile and handing him her cup. "That would be lovely. Thank you Cook-san."

"My pleasure Robin-chan." Sanji then proceeded to take her cup and head over to the stove where he had been brewing a fresh pot of coffee for Robin and anyone else who desired some.

Robin watched Sanji poor her and Nami some coffee for a moment before turning her attention back to the younger woman beside her. "Nami-san" The archeologist spoke to grab Nami's attention. "You seem very troubled, and you mentioned that you didn't want any more sleep. Did you have a bad dream?"

Nami let her face fall back into her hands. She didn't want the rest of the crew to see the look in her eyes after hearing Robin's question. But she did answer the other woman be nodding her head to confirm that Robin's suspicions were right.

"It might help if you talked about it." The older woman told her while putting a reassuring hand on Nami's shoulder. "What was it about?"

Nami let out a long sigh before telling them in a quiet voice. "It was about Zoro."

"You had a bad dream about the shitty-marimo?" Sanji began questioning her as he placed her cup of coffee in front of her. "Did he hurt you, or do something indecent to you? How dare that shitty-swordsman? Even if was just a dream; I'll kick his ass so hard for even daring to do something bad to my precious Nami-swan."

"No, no, Sanji-kun" Nami said as she removed one hand off her face to wave off his assumption in a dismissive matter. "The baka didn't do anything bad to me in my dream, at least not physically. In fact; he saved me. He saved us all." She told them before she stopped talking all together; choosing to wrap her hands around the warm coffee cup and stare into the dark-brown liquid instead.

"Go on Nami-san" Robin told her while giving her shoulder a small rub. "Tell us what was so bad about your dream then, and how it involved Kenshi-san."

Nami looked at the older woman beside her, and then across the table at Brook who had remained quiet the entire time, as well as Sanji who took a seat next to Brook to listen intently to what she was about to say. "We found Thriller Bark somewhere out here in the New World" She began to tell them before pausing for a moment and taking a drink of her coffee, hoping the warm liquid would cause the cold chill that was starting to run up her spine to stop as she started to recall the nightmare. "And we ran into Kuma again. But he was different this time. Regardless of how much we threw at him, we couldn't even scratch him, he was unstoppable. Luffy was knocked out cold, and the rest of us were all in terrible shape. We had to escape. And as we all started to run away; Zoro decided to stay behind to buy us all some time." Nami felt Robin's hand leave her shoulder, but paid it no mind and just continued with the details of her dream. "I tried to convince him to come with us; screamed at him, tried to plead with him, but he wouldn't listen. In the end of the dream he sacrificed himself to save me; to save all of us." Nami could feel the tears in her eyes starting to try and fight to the surface, but she fought them back. "The worst part was it all felt so damn real, and so familiar; like it had actually happened."

Her three nakama just sat in complete quiet after hearing her story, and all took notice of the apparent sadness written on the mikan-head's face. They all knew the silence was starting to grow awkward from none of them knowing what to do to comfort her. Finally; Brook broke his silence for the first time that day, in more ways than one.

"Ah yes, that must of have been quite the traumatic dream indeed." He paused to take a sip from his tea cup before placing it back down and continuing. "It reminds me so much of how Zoro-san offered to sacrifice himself for Luffy's sake the first time we met that monster Kuma."

All three sets of eyes quickly snapped towards the skeleton-musician as Sanji, Robin, and Nami could only stare at him in shock at the words he just blurted out. Brook took a moment to gauge each of their expressions as he wondered what he had just said to get that response from them. Sanji's expression was one of anger, while Nami's was one of horror; even Robin, who was an expert at not letting emotions show, looked at Brook in complete disbelief.

"Zoro did what?" Nami was finally able to choke out, hoping that she had just misheard him.

Finally realizing that he had just spoke aloud the big secret that he and Sanji had been keeping to themselves for more than two years, he quickly tried to find a way to talk himself out of the tense situation he was now in. "Oh my; I can't believe those words just escaped my lips. Even though I have no lips for them to…"

Brook wasn't able to finish the coming skull-joke that he was about to say; as Nami flung her hot cup of coffee to the side and off the table, causing it to break against the wood floor and its contents to spill out over it. She almost dove across the table; grabbing the skeleton's boa forcefully with both hands, and dragging him from his seat so that their faces were only inches apart. "Don't you dare try and change the subject with one of your stupid skull-jokes!" She screamed at him with her face no longer having an expression of horror, but an expression of pure fury instead. "When did Zoro try to sacrifice himself?"

"Aft… after Luffy-san de… defeated Moria on Thriller Bark and Kuma attacked everyone" Brook confessed in-between his teeth chattering out of fear from the violent intent written across Nami's face. "While everyone else was unconscious"

"If you knew about this than that means you weren't unconscious. Why didn't you do anything to try and stop him?" She angrily questioned him with a judgmental tone. But Brook couldn't find an answer for her; instead his eyes sockets ventured over to Sanji, silently pleading for him to help explain. The motion didn't go unnoticed by Nami, and soon her eyes fell on the cook as well. "Sanji-kun" She said with shock clearly audible in her voice. "You knew about this too?" Sanji said nothing; he could only look down towards the table in shame.

"Now, now, Nami-san" Robin said hoping to calm the navigator down. "Cook-san and Skeleton-san had their reasons, as did Kenshi-san."

This time it was Robin's turn to have all eyes on her in surprise. "You too Robin?" Nami asked as she finally let go of Brook, and slumped into her seat with a betrayed look on her face. "Am I the only one on the ship that didn't know?"

"No Nami-san; you're not the only person that didn't know." The older woman began to explain. "The only reason I know is because I eavesdropped on a conversation Cook-san was having with a couple of the other survivors on Thriller Bark. I'm not sure how Skeleton-san knew about what had happened, but I'm positive that the only members of the crew that know are sitting at this table, and then Kenshi-san himself."

Part of Nami was relieved that their captain didn't know. But the small part that was relieved didn't quell the tremendous amount of anger that was beginning to build inside of her. No longer being able to hold her emotions back; Nami slammed her fist onto the table before standing and turning to head towards the exit. But before she walked out of the exit, she turned to address her three nakama one last time. "This conversation isn't over." She told the three of them harshly before walking out of the galley and slamming the door shut behind her.

Sanji quickly stood from his seat and tried to go after her, but was stopped by one of Robin's phantom hands sprouting from the table and grabbing his wrist. "Let her go cook-san." She said in a low-understanding voice. "There are something's that you just have to let her get out of her system. Although I can't say that I envy kenshi-san right now."


As Zoro was diligently doing his early morning katas, replacing his sword with a large metal bar that was stacked to the top with heavy-metal plates, he could feel himself starting to work up a nice sweat. He had just passed 9000 repetitions and his plan for 10,000 repetitions was well within sight, and then it would be on to pushups. But his count faltered for a moment as the familiar site of orange hair popped up through the hatch before revealing the form of the navigator who now stood in the room. She stood there silent for a moment, with her face covered by her hair, but after not hearing her speak, he decided to try and ignore her presence and continued on his routine. He would continue on his workout, failing to notice her balled fists and trembling arms, but still feeling her presence. Finally feeling her silence was too much to bear, he voiced his irritation.

"Did you need something witch?"

Nami continued to stay silent, with the trembling in her arms continuing until it started to shake her entire body. Finally as Zoro would lift the bar completely over his head to continue his exercise; she would rush towards him, lifting her leg upwards to kick him directly in the groin.

As the air suddenly escaped from Zoro's lungs from the mikan-head's surprise attack; the swordsman was barely able to stop the heavy weights from falling on top of him as they fell to the floor in a large clatter of metal on metal on wood. He found himself falling to one knee as he tried to regain his breath, eventually looking up towards his attacker with a dangerous glare in his one visible eye. "You're going to pay for that wit…"

He was unable to finish his threat as the navigator's foot lifted from the floor again, this time to collide with the side of his face. She hovered over him for a moment as he now lay on his side, clutching the side of his face with the arm not under his body, but it was only for a moment because she was not finished with her attack.

Zoro felt her crouch down beside him before grabbing his shoulder and pushing him down to lay flat on the hard wood beneath him. She then proceeded to straddle over him, roughly sitting down onto his stomach and forcing more air from him. He soon felt an onslaught of hard punches to his face; first by her right fist, and then her left, and then her right again. These punches were different than her normal ones. Normally, though her punches were quite hard, he could usually feel some compassion in them, but not these ones. After receiving another two punches to the face, he finally tried to put a stop to it, and grabbed each of her wrists.

"What the hell is wrong with you woman?" Zoro screamed out from underneath her.

But Nami still didn't speak. She only tried to desperately pull her arms from his strong grip, to undoubtedly continue the beating she was giving him. During her violent thrashing to have him release her wrists; Zoro was taken aback as he felt something different than her fists have contact with his face. It was small and wet, if he was outside he would have sworn it was a rain drop, but he knew better, it was a tear. For the first time since she had entered the room Zoro actually took notice of her face. He was frozen solid from the shock of seeing her tear filled eyes, and the pure anguish and fury covering her face. He wasn't quite sure of what he had done to cause that reaction from her, but he had a feeling of sudden obligation to take responsibility for it. Releasing her wrists; he placed both of his arms at his sides, and readied himself for the beating he was now sure he deserved.

Nami continued to strike his unprotected face a few more times before switching to pound downwards on his chest with both fists. "Damn you!" She screamed as her fists made contact with his chest. "Damn You!" She repeated with another strike. "Damn you! Damn you! Damn you!" Her fists eventually came to a stop and rested on his now reddening chest; they trembled slightly as her head slumped downwards so that Zoro could only see the top of her head. But he didn't need to see her face to know that she was still crying, because he could still feel the tears falling on his chest in between her arms.

Neither of them made a move from their spots for several moments; both of them were wordless, with the only noises in the room coming from Nami's ragged breathing and muffled sobs. Finally Nami's head shot up so that her eyes could glare directly into his. Her eyes, though puffy and red, were angry and serious. She glared at him for what seemed like an eternity. Zoro could not avert his gaze from hers. He could only lay on the hard wood motionless and silent, waiting for her to speak.

"Now you listen to me baka." The navigator finally spoke in a firm threatening tone. "You. Owe. Me." She emphasized each word. "And until you pay me back every damn beli you owe me; you are not allowed to die without my permission. If you ever decide to sacrifice yourself again, you come to me first, so I can kill you myself. Because until you pay me back; your life belongs to me. Do you understand me baka?"

Zoro's good eye widened in realization of what her outburst of fury was about. He made no efforts to remove her from straddling over him, but his face did harden as he replaced the confused look he had had only moments before with a serious one. "Which one told you?" He questioned her while never adverting his gaze. "Was it the ero-cook, or the gloomy-woman?"

Zoro had known almost immediately after the incident at Thriller Bark that Sanji had full knowledge of what had happened after he had knocked the cook out cold do to Sanji's behavior towards him for the next few days. He also suspected that Robin had knowledge of it too, but only because she seemed to know everything that went on regarding the entire crew. He was still to this day unaware of Brook's knowledge of his actions, so he had little reason to suspect that is was actually the skeleton-musician that had ratted him out.

"It doesn't matter who told me!" She quickly spat at him, irritated because she thought he was trying to change the subject. "Just promise me you won't do it again."

"No" Zoro said flatly. "I won't make that promise."

Hearing Zoro's answer caused Nami's tears and the frustration to start to build once more. "Wh… why not?" She was able to choke out while continuing to fight the tears back.

"Because everyone else is a part of this ship, and I'm the only one who can afford to sacrifice myself." He spoke his answer softly, but with resolve; like it was the most natural answer in the world.

His answer only angered and frustrated Nami more; what made him think he wasn't a part of the ship? "How can you say that? You are just as much a part of this ship as anyone else. What makes you different, than any of us?"

"That's simple." He began to answer her. "Everyone has a job to do on this ship that makes them a part of it besides me. Brook is the musician; therefor he is the sound that the ship makes. Franky is the shipwright; he is the tools that keeps the ship in one piece. Robin is the historian; she is the ship's log that records our journey, so others will know how we lived. Chopper is the doctor; he is the sickbay that keeps the crew healthy. Sanji is the cook; he is kitchen that feeds the entire crew. Usopp is the marksman; he is the binoculars that see what's coming in front of us." Zoro paused for a moment and looked at the young woman still straddling over him thoughtfully before continuing. "You are the navigator; you are the rudder that keeps the ship pointed in the right direction. And then Luffy is the captain; he is both the wind and the sails that keeps pushing the ship forward. While I'm just a swordsman; I don't really have a place on the ship, therefor I'm expendable."

Hearing those last few words escape his mouth caused Nami's blood to begin to boil. 'How dare he think that?' She thought to herself right before her fist clenched tightly, her arm lifted from his chest, and her fist came crashing down onto the side of his jaw and cheek bone once again. "You're a baka!" She screamed at him again. "You're a damn baka!" She lifted her fist to hit him again… but this time she stopped her fist to hover over his face and her knuckles never made contact. Instead she opened her hand and lowered it slowly down to his face. She cupped Zoro's face in her hand softly and directed it so it was looking back at her. She caressed his cheek that was already starting to swell from the impact of her fists with her thumb to try and sooth it. Zoro could see the tears now freely flowing from her eyes, but without the hysterical sobbing. She leaned forward and placed her forehead to his before whispering softly. "Why can't you just understand? You're not just a baka; you're my baka, you're everyone's baka."

Zoro just lay frozen in place as her words set in, and her tears continued to fall on his face. He wanted to respond to her words, but just didn't know how, so he chose to remain silent and let her continue instead.

"You are just as much part of this ship as anyone." She told him as she let her face fall to the side of his, laying out flat over his body despite him still being a little sweaty from his workout only moments before, so she could continue whispering directly into his ear. "Even though it has never been made official; everyone knows that you are Luffy's first mate. You are our anchor, and even though you don't seem to be doing much; as our anchor you hold the ship in place and protect all of us from drifting off our course when we need you to the most. So please…" She whispered to him in an almost pleading voice. "I can't stand the thought of losing you, I feel like I'm drifting off course because of it. So I want you to be 'my' anchor right now, and hold me in place, and promise me that you won't ever sacrifice yourself ever again."

"Hold you in place?" He asked slightly confused at her choice of words.

She shook her head in slight amazement at just how dense he could be sometimes. "Wrap your arms around me and hold me in place baka, right now."

Zoro did as he was told without argument and wrapped his arms around her back and pulled her body a little closer into his. It wasn't the first time he had held her so close. It reminded him of when he had a nightmare of her falling victim to an attack, and him desperately searching the ship when he awoke. The memory of him finding her in the library and clutching her to his chest came flooding back to him. And how the feeling of them ending up sleeping in each other's arms after an impromptu bet was made was still very vivid in his memory, a bet that he had won but the mikan-head had never paid out, claiming that she would just remove some of his debt instead. But this embrace was different: it had a much more emotional connection than the previous embrace had only a short time ago.

Nami let a small sigh of relief escape her lips when she felt his arms tighten around her; her crying instantly stopped as she let herself relax in his strong arms. She nuzzled her face just a little closer to his, and with her lips almost making contact with his ear before whispering "Now… promise me."

Zoro sucked in a large breath of air, before letting it out in a deep sigh and answering her. "I can't promise that." He confessed to her quietly, feeling her body start to instantly go rigid and start to tremble again. On reflex he tightened his hold on her further to try and still her body, honestly fearing that she would go into another fit of hysterics. He knew that it was his turn to speak, and his words would have to be honest and heartfelt. "We both know that if it meant saving any member of the crew's life that I would not hesitate to trade my own, especially your life; that's just not going to change. But what I can promise you is this…" Her body became still again, as she held her breath and waited with a little hope at what his promise could bring. "I promise you that I'll do whatever it takes to grow strong enough that I can protect you, and everyone, without having to sacrifice myself, leaving that as only a last resort. Are you good with that?"

Nami let the breath she was holding out and didn't answer him with words, instead she wrapped her arms underneath his head to bring it closer to her own, and gave a simple nod in agreement. They sat there for several moments; just enjoying each other's silent embrace, but Zoro knew that breakfast would soon be ready and they would have to break away from this moment they were having eventually (plus he wanted to get a little more training in before breakfast was called anyway), so he reluctantly broke their calm silence.

"Now that you've calmed down; can I finish my morning training before the damn ero-cook calls everyone in for breakfast?"

"Nope" Nami answered flatly, making no effort to move from her comfortable position. "You're just going to have to lay there and deal with it. This is your punishment for acting so stupid and reckless at Thriller Bark, so no training until I feel like you've learned your lesson."

Zoro let a small smirk play across his face at her words. "If this is punishment, maybe I should be stupid and reckless more often?"

Nami said nothing as she quickly removed one arm from under his head; before hitting him upside his skull with a hard thud and placing her arm back where it had been.

Even though the quick punch to his head was painful; Zoro didn't wince or complain, instead he let out a soft chuckle, relieved that her fist had regained that affectionate passion that it normally had when she was striking him or another member of the crew. He lay there content to keep her in his arms, but knew that the dilemma of breakfast being called would still be coming soon.

"You know if we just stay like this we're both going to fall asleep and just get caught by the rest of the crew again?" He asked her. "Then what we are we going to tell them?"

Nami let out a disappointed sigh as she realized he had a point. "Well we can't let Luffy know that I found about what you did at Thriller Bark; he would feel completely betrayed." Suddenly the navigator's face broke into a huge smile as a mischievous idea came to mind. "So I guess we'll just have to tell them that we fell asleep after having sex." She answered the swordsman in a playful voice.

"What the hell woman?" Zoro yelled out as his entire body jolted from the surprise of her word. "How the hell would that be better?"

Nami let out a light giggle at his reaction before lifting her head to hover over his. "Well it might make things a little complicated with the rest of the crew at first" She began to answer him with her face only a couple centimeters from his. "But it might make for good practice when we actually do start having sex and get caught." Her face broke into a huge smile, and a light blush, as she finished her words.

"I…" Zoro was at a loss for words, he could only stare up at her in amazement by the boldness of her statement. "I… I don't understand." He was finally able to stammer out honestly.

"Ugh" Nami let out, still not understanding how he could be this dense. "Do I really have to spell it out to you right now baka?" She asked him with narrowed eyes. "Or would you rather just give me a kiss so we can take a nap, and I'll explain it to you later… in much better detail?" She had finished her question with certain suggestiveness to her tone.

A playful smirk crossed over Zoro's face as he took in her words. He wasn't quite sure how it had all come to this, but he knew that it wasn't something that just happened overnight. For some time he had had the feeling that the two of them would find themselves in each other's embrace again, and that it just wouldn't be to comfort one another, it would be something so much more. He didn't answer her with words, but with actions instead. He leaned his head upwards, closing the very small gap between their faces to plant a small peck on her lips before letting his head fall back down to use her arms that were still underneath it as a pillow and letting his good eye close so sleep could take over with smug smile on his face.

Nami continued to hover over him for a few moments as she watched him get comfortable to go to sleep. She reveled in the warm feeling that was left on her lips from his quick kiss, as well as the feeling of his arms still firmly wrapped around her. She leaned down and gave him a quick peck of her own on his lips before scooting her entire body down towards his toes so she could use his chest as a pillow, finding great comfort that he didn't remove his arms from around her at all, but only tightened his grip after she stopped moving. She listened to the sound of his strong heartbeat as she closed her eyes wondering how long it would take for sleep to take her.

She knew that the nightmare she had that led her to this moment wasn't going to be her last nightmare, but she took comfort in his promise, after all; he was a man who kept his promises. She also took comfort knowing that even when she did have another nightmare and that it would throw her rudder of course, he would weigh his anchor and keep her in place, keep her safe, until it was safe to continue on their journey… together. And with a serene smile on her face: she drifted off to sleep in his arms.

The End

Author Notes: So I decided to kick off the New Year by going back to my roots and writing another fluff piece. And this will conclude my OOC and Nightmares stories… I'm serious, I'm not going to write another one under the OOC and Nightmares title… unless I can think of another one ;p

For those of you who are wondering "when the hell is he going to start writing his next multi-chap story?" Well I still got a couple of one-shot ideas I'd like to get out of my head first, so you all still have time to go and vote on my poll which one you'd like to see me write afterwards, and if you have already voted in my poll, just be patient, I'll get to it ;}

Well… you all know the drill by now. Thanks for reading, and if you have time, please review.

Until next time –fmdevil-