intangibles - a post-series drabble, Zoro POV

—-follows up from the Luffy POV

Luffy's ending came at Raftel. His came sometime before it or did it happen after? He wasn't too sure on the specifics. To this day, he wasn't very sure when exactly it happened. It bothers him a little, that he doesn't know something so crucial as his own end, but he doesn't ponder on that thought for too long. Zoro was a simple sort of man which was just what he wanted. He didn't need to worry about intangible, useless things.

Even before his days with his eccentric mad monkey of a captain, his life had been simple. Back in the dojo, his days raced by in the familiar routines of: wake up, fight Kuina, lose to Kuina, scowl at Kuina, argue with Kuina, train to beat Kuina, meditate with Kuina, eat, spar again with Kuina, lose again to Kuina, and sleep - rinse, dry, repeat. That had suited him fine. And then Kuina died.

So he moved away from the village, taking her sword and their promise with him. But those days were set by a routine as well. Wander around, ask about Mihawk, train, beat up wanted criminals for a meal, and that was it. Be it by his own two feet or a ship, Zoro went where he wanted to (or where his feet led him, he still wasn't too sure about that either). But everything he did, it came right back to his sole purpose: his promise to Kuina.

Monkey D. Luffy's unexpected (but not unwelcome) appearance in his life changed all that. Soon, there was another facet for him to latch onto and focus on. As the first of his crew, Zoro had been tasked with the duty of captain-watching out of sheer lack of other candidates. It had been trying ordeal after ordeal: feed Luffy, catch Luffy, resuscitate Luffy, stop Luffy, protect Luffy - Luffy, Luffy, Luffy.

But Luffy wasn't satisfied with just the two of them. More faces, more voices, more people to look after soon arrived. Nami, the orange greedy harpy and Usopp, that cowardly warrior artist adventurer dreamer that does prove everyone wrong; Sanji, that shitty cook with his damn stupid rules and stupid weakness for women everywhere and Chopper, the least monstrous out of all of them yet the most misunderstood; and Robin, sad, dangerous, vulnerable Nico Robin, coupled with larger than life Franky and their Yohoho-ing musician, Brooke. There had been more after them, but Zoro didn't really like to complicate his life any more than it already had been complicated. So he had stopped counting after that.

There were times when he hadn't thought of Kuina in days. He was guilty and still is for this. It had happened slowly. He wakes up one day and he doesn't think of Kuina. Instead, he hears that shitty ero-cook calling for breakfast and the sounds of Nami shouting at the other boys on deck - Luffy, Chopper, Usopp - and Franky's already pounding away in his workshop to the rhythm of Brooke's boisterous laughter from the galley. Zoro doesn't hear the cyborg work so much as feel the faint vibrations beneath him. The only ones he doesn't hear is Nico Robin, but by that time, Zoro knows perfectly well where she is on the ship.

Yes, Zoro was a simple man who claimed that hadn't cared for intangible things. Yet he cared for a promise, and he cared for a title and then he cared for nakama.

Yes, it was surprising, but he was rather sentimental.

So when it all came to an end without him even realizing it had ended - something just broke.

He sees this brokenness reflected in his former captain's eyes sometimes, when it's just the two of them and Robin.

They had been fragments of something great but that was all over now.