Disclaimer: I do not own One Piece.
Warnings- mildly strong language (I say the 'f' word twice but I don't feel like the rest of the story is serious enough for M… so you've been warned.)
A/N: This broke the writer's block I was having! I am currently working on Darkest Kiss again for all of you guys that are reading that. I promise the next chapter will be posted within the next couple of days! So until then, enjoy this ZoNa. :p
It was just a normal argument between the two. It was nothing and so the rest of the crew ignored it. The only one that was paying close attention was distracted by the call of the archeologist in the other room. Torn between staying and keeping an eye on the brute and how he was talking to his navigator or leaving his other sweet angel was agonizing, and for a brief very brief moment, he almost chose a favorite. Although everyone would say the navigator was his favorite anyways he had to disagree. Both of the girls on this ship were his angels. But a quick reminding call from Robin rushed to his ears and he dashed off to find out what she needed; besides Nami could handle the swordsman. The only thing he was missing out on was her great insults and how she would humiliate him.
Then, quiet suddenly Chopper and Luffy rounded a corner giggling like mad, Usopp stormed off after them, Franky disappeared into the aquarium room with Brook hot on his heels yelling about inappropriate things, and it was just Nami and Zoro left on deck… glaring daggers at each other, refusing to back down. There was something different about this argument. It wasn't the repeated nonsense about debt or anything involving Nami charging money. It was surprisingly soft, for they weren't screaming at each other at full volume merely growling lowly in hushed tones, and there was a charge in the air that screamed 'back off'.
"I won't say it again," Nami growled lowly.
Zoro knew the others had run off seeing the shade in Nami's face turn. Normally when she hit magenta everyone scattered, right now she was bordering closer to purple. Clearly it was the sign that she would blow up like an atomic bomb at any given second.
"Good. Then you can shut up now," he said back coolly. He was done with this conversation. It was rather stupid, rather pointless, and a waste of time. It didn't do things that wasted his time. He grunted as he bent down to pick up his weights.
"This is different," she hissed. "I swear if you don't—"
"Threaten me all you want. It won't change my answer," he snapped cutting her off. He huffed in annoyance with the weight on his chest waiting for her to scream at him. When she was silent he started counting out as he pushed and pulled the weight from his body.
After several moments he could still feel her glare boring into his neck. It was uncomfortable but he didn't really care. It was annoying him but he refused to give her the attention she was trying to seek out of him. The wheels in his head started turning, slowly, as he mulled over her words. He couldn't leave her with such a short-tempered answer and she knew it. Things between them would be too strained if he didn't somehow lighten this situation.
"You know I should charge you for the free show," he said grinning at her slyly. Breaking the silence with subtle flirting probably wasn't the best way to go about this, but he really didn't have any other choice. They were still friends, although not by choice, and he did have to see her on a day-to-day basis. It wouldn't do well for Luffy to see them starting to fall apart at the seams all because of—
She sighed and slowly shook her head. Her hair fell into her face blocking his view of her expression as she spoke softly. "I thought you of all people would understand best," she whispered. Then she turned around and walked away.
Just like that. No more fussing, no more taunting or threatening, no more Nami. For a split second he thought of it as nice before he knew that he couldn't live on this ship without the bossy girl around. He was torn on watching her retreat wanting to stop her and finally winning a round in their never ending feud. In the end though he knew things would be different between them now forever, the line had been crossed and there was no going back. He just couldn't have her ignoring him like he knew she would do if he didn't reach out to her now.
"Dammit," he hissed under his breath as he dropped the weights to his feet. "Oi, Nami," he called out to her. He jogged to catch up just before she rounded the corner that led to the back of the ship.
She didn't turn, her head was still lowered and he could hear her rapid breathing.
"Are you actually crying?" he hissed as he neared her. He snorted in disbelief but half of it was due to he had no clue what to do with her. She was always so sneaky, and manipulative, he could never tell when she was being genuine or not. These could be fake tears to win her cause, but the thought was very faint in the back of his mind. It didn't matter; he was still the cause for them.
She hissed and whipped around to smack him.
"Shut up," she growled. "You turned it down. You turned me down. And now you act like I can't be upset over—"
"I changed my mind," he said quickly blinking off her anger. He felt his jaw lock as her face lit up in a smile. For once he was glad to see it wasn't as mischievous as it normally was. It was a lot softer looking and her eyes seemed to smile as well. It looked good… on her.
"Great then when can we—"
"I have a couple of conditions," he snapped hating himself a little more with each second. He wasn't the love cook, yet here he was bending to her will like a mindless puppet. Well he refused to be mindless and if he was going to be a puppet then there would be limited strings.
She nodded her head beckoning him to continue.
"First you can't tell your stupid boyfriend about this," he growled.
"He's not my boyfriend," she hissed.
"Whatever you can't tell Prince of Idiots anything."
"Wouldn't that make him your ruler?"
She giggled relaxing as she leaned against the railing on the ship. He took a couple of angry steps past her before mimicking her movements and glaring out to the ocean.
"I'm serious you can't tell that walking cancer stick," he growled.
"Okay, okay I won't tell Sanji."
"Good. Second you have to call me sensei—"
"Psh," she scoffed before falling into a fit of laughter. He let her calm down before turning to glare at her.
"You begged me for this Nami," he hissed. "Keep that in mind."
Her smile disappeared and she wearily nodded her head. She would respect him and show him the proper respect or he wouldn't do this. He did expect there to be a couple of bumps in the road with her hot temper and his mixing together but they would have to get past that.
"Okay," she said quietly. He nodded. It felt good to be in charge for once but he wouldn't abuse this newfound power over her. He quickly ticked off a few things from his hand, thinking mentally when the times would be proper. Suddenly he remembered he had one more rule to tell her. He grimaced before clearing his throat.
"Third and lastly you may not fall in love with me," he said the last part with a quick release of air.
His cheeks turned a slight red as he stared down at her, waiting for her response. He had his reasons for this rule; it wasn't heartless or inhuman of him to demand this. It just couldn't work, not aboard this ship, and not with the fragile state of how they all worked. He couldn't have her in love with him if anything ever happened to him when he placed his life on the line. He couldn't have anything holding him back from reaching his dream. This was a topic he'd rather not get into, especially with what they were doing. He loved his friends but he was not going to have to worry about hurting those types of feelings. It would be too much, and it would destroy their fragile friendship. He wouldn't be the cause of Luffy losing the navigator because of trivial emotion. She could have laughed, she looked like she really wanted to, but she merely nodded her head.
"Good. Then meet me an hour before dawn in the gym tomorrow," he said curtly before walking off. He rounded the ship on the other side and picked up his weights from where he had left them on deck. Mindless he carried them back to the gym. Sometimes he wasn't sure why he preferred to work out with everyone around.
"Wake up," a soft voice hissed in his ear. He jumped, hissing quietly as he grabbed the figure that was standing over him and locking his hand over their mouth to muffle their scream. It wasn't until the familiar scent of mikans wafted to his nose did he realize just who it was.
"Sorry," he whispered releasing her.
She glared but didn't answer as she quietly exited the room. She was rather stealthy, it was impressive at times. He stretched and grabbed a shirt that was tossed to the floor carelessly last night before tip toeing out the door behind her. As the door snapped shut behind him he glared at her.
"What the hell was that? I told you to meet me at the gym not come wake me up," he growled pushing past her to the ladder.
"You were late," she snapped back following him.
"Then learn some patience," he grumbled.
"Then learn to show up on time… senesi," she hissed the last part with disdain. He couldn't help but smirk. He was kind of glad that they were climbing and he was turned away from her so that she couldn't see his face.
"Good to not have to remind you your place," he said evenly as he opened the trap door and pulled himself inside, he patiently held his out for her and pulled her up as well. She fell into his chest clumsily, she looked up at him and he could feel his cheeks burning.
He might have told her to swear off love but that didn't mean he wasn't attracted to her. She did have a nice body, and he was a guy, and right now with her pressed against him…
He coughed before pushing himself away from her.
She righted herself, brushing imaginary dirt from her legs before facing him.
"Just show me some basics… you said yourself that I had a rough untrained edge and I was doing them wrong."
He nodded before turning to her and taking his shirt off. It was her turn to blush furiously.
"Is that really necessary?"
"You see me like this all the time. It's comfortable this way," he stated in a bored tone. He watched her reaction with curious eyes.
She nodded looking away before pulling off her own shirt. Underneath a tight sports bra kept her breasts perfectly in place. Unlike her he wasn't fazed by her lack of clothing. But he still couldn't help but arch his brow at her, she didn't have to take her clothes off and she knew it. He decided to not press the issue and get down to business.
"Now mimic my movements the best you can. Your body is going to flow through the movements swiftly once you condition yourself this may take some time so don't worry about how long it takes to get the movement down perfectly. Just focus," he said as he crouched down to show her a simple move.
She followed perfectly.
"Good," he praised. Again he didn't fail to notice the blush that stained her cheeks.
"We're going to do some warm ups and stretch and then I'll show you the rest," he told her.
It was obvious the first couple of days that she was exhausted afterwards and the rest of the day she would be more touchy than normal. He decided to give her a rest before anyone caught on and more importantly before anyone thought that he might be related in any way. The only difference for him was the small circles that formed under his eyes but he adjusted to take a few more naps during the day to make up for it.
"You're useless sometimes. You wave around your magic stick and shock people. Big fucking deal. You always need me to come save your ass because you suck at hand to hand or taking a hit. I'm tired of it."
"Then maybe you should train me so you don't have to worry," she hissed. She didn't shrink back from his anger and he was surprised that she didn't deny any of it. She seemed to be frustrated with her lack of skill as well.
"No," he growled out.
Maybe he shouldn't have been so harsh. He mused as he watched her strain to keep balance on the narrow rope with one leg and arm tied behind her. He shook his head. No he hadn't been too harsh. Nami was a big girl and she dealt out just as much as she got. He didn't really think that about her, and he had told her so once she started pestering him every few hours for him to train her. But she was stubborn and eventually he gave into her just like he always did.
The sun reflected off her hair making her normally orange hair seem to glow a brilliant red. The soft glow from the rising sun on her face and the red tint to her cheeks from their workout gave her an ethereal glow.
"Red in the morning," she muttered under her breath as she stared out the window and tugged her shirt on.
"Sailors warning," he finished for her. "I'll tie down the sails," he said rubbing the back of his neck. She nodded, smiling softly at him.
"Thank you sen- Zoro," she amended quickly. She never called him teacher after they finished training for a day. He nodded the corners of his lips tugging up against his will. He exited quickly and then he tried to remember the last time she had frowned at him or had called him an idiot. He would have to tell her next time that he preferred her smile.
It was one of the bad mornings. Nami's fluid stance was sloppy and her head was obviously full of crap. She kept mumbling under her breath, too quietly for him to make out. And it was reflecting in her choppy movements. She let out a frustrated grunt before falling to the floor. She hissed in anger and pounded her fist roughly against the wood.
"Stop it," he commanded. She narrowed her eyes up at him before angrily wiping away her frustrated tears. "You're obviously bothered by something…" he started squatting down next to her. She turned her face away.
"Don't lie," he growled. "You don't have to talk about it… but pushing yourself harder and using the moves incorrectly will only wind up with you getting yourself hurt."
"I know," she hissed. Her face was lit up in a blush as well.
"Then maybe we should take the day off?" he suggested looking down at her hopelessly.
She shook her head, frowning up at him. He offered his down to her to help her to her feet. She gently pushed his hand away. With a shaky breath she stood and made her way to the door.
"I'm done," she said curtly.
"You're going to give up just like that?" he called after her feeling and hearing the anger in his own voice. He was disappointed. To begin with he had always thought she would quit after she learned a little but for months now this routine of training her in the mornings had turned out nicer than he expected. He was used to her, and he was pretty damn proud to see how far she had come. She hadn't lost her gorgeous figure but there was a little more lean muscle added to her physic. She was learning advanced moves that had taken him years to master and yet she was turning her back on it.
"I am not going to give up. I'm going to keep practicing… I just can't… with you," she rasped refusing to turn around. He shook his head feeling confused.
"I broke one of your rules sensei," she said quietly before letting the door shut behind her.
He felt his stomach fall to the floor. He didn't want to deal with Sanji.
All day he waited for the angry cry of the love cook. All day he wearily poked at his food, sniffing it cautiously to see if he could sense any poison. All day he shot glances at Nami who was purposely staying out of his way and avoiding his gaze. All day he felt his gut clench uncomfortably. Until he realized that she hadn't told Sanji… and that she had broken his other rule. They were all in the middle of dinner. She was seated next to Chopper and Robin was locked firmly to her other side. She was as far as she could get on the other side of the table from him.
He suddenly lost the appetite he had been building. He stared down blankly at his food. His plate of course was magically vacuumed clean as Luffy's hands found their way to it. One by one his friends left the kitchen, Nami excusing herself early with Robin saying something about star-gazing. Soon it was just him, sitting there drinking a bottle of liquor that had found its way in front of him.
"Oi, broccoli brains."
Maybe she had told him. He sighed not even finding the will to growl out an insult back to the man.
"What?" he asked his tone flat.
"You've been acting funny all day…"
Sanji sighed before sitting next his rival.
"I saw you guys one morning…" he said quietly. "I haven't said anything until now because you both seemed happy but today you look like you're actually thinking and Nami looks like she's about ready to cry any second."
"That's her problem," he grumbled.
"Is it?" the blond asked. The swordsman didn't answer and after a few moments the cook sighed and pushed off the table. Zoro heard the flicker of a match against a box and Sanji's long inhale and exhale as smoke puffed into the room.
"She loves me…" he said quietly. The realization begged to be spoken out and it had won. He wondered what exactly death would strike him at the stupid love cook's reaction or when it would set in. He kept his eye trained forward and watched his drink with intense interest.
He winced as he heard the distinct sound of something breaking and a choking noise before Sanji quietly answered back, "I know."
"Is that why you haven't—"
"I've left you alone lately because she asked me too," he started sharply. "Don't you dare think for a second that my loyalty to her has dropped. The minute you fuck up your ass is mine."
"Wouldn't you consider this as 'screwing' up?" he asked feeling his head drop roughly against the table.
"Everyone has rough days… just… make sure she knows how you feel. You stupid ass green ape."
He snarled at the cook but he could feel a grin bubbling its way to the surface. His relationship with the cook would always be a strange one but in the end they were friends, barely, hanging on the thread by a string, but they were.
"Sometimes you aren't the biggest dick head alive," he mumbled as he made his way out of the kitchen. Sanji smiled after him shaking his head as he took a long drag from his smoke.
"Sometimes you aren't a complete dumb ass," he answered to the swinging door.
"Oi… oi. Nami," he called as he rounded the corner. He could barely make out her silhouette against the moon with Robin standing next to her in her mikan trees. He would just have to find a way to get her away from the older woman.
"Here he comes now," Robin giggled as Zoro stomped up the stairs. He was panting slightly and felt out of breath having checked the entire ship. The urgency to see her was great so he had wound up running. He didn't smile at Robin but looked past her to Nami.
"We need to talk," he managed to pant out.
"Why the hell do we need to talk?" she sniffed. He noticed then that her eyes refused to move away from the moon but he could see the faint glimmer of tears on her face. Damn her. Tears used to never work on him.
"I get it Zoro," she cut in. "Let me watch the sky with Robin in peace. There's going to be a meteor shower soon."
"I doubt you'll be able to see much of it with a full moon," he growled. "Besides this is important," he stressed.
Robin giggled before patting Nami lightly on the arm.
"I'll be back," she said calmly before making her way past Zoro.
Silence lapped between the swordsman and the navigator before he took a deep breath.
"You're such an idiot," she hissed cutting off whatever he had been about to say. He frowned before grinning at her as she turned to lightly punch him on the arm before gazing back up at the moon.
"At least I realized it," he admitted.
"A bit late."
His heart sank a little in his chest.
"I broke my rule too… a long time ago," he said quietly to her before turning and making his way down the stairs.
He suddenly felt a pair of arms encircle him and the smell of mikans enveloped his senses.
"You're such an idiot," she hissed again in his ear.
"I know," he turned around grinning to kiss the top of her head.
"See you in the morning," he told her, continuing on his way, a firm grin in place.
"See you then," she answered back quietly. He could hear the grin even without turning around.
Things would be different… and all that other bullshit, but he wouldn't have it any other way.