A note concerning my footnotes: Because this series has so many episodes, I'm including footnotes so that whoever reads this can grasp the full significance of what's written here without me just explicitly stating it right there in the text. I'm doing this because when I read One Piece fanfictions I'm always frustrated by allusions to characters and settings that I'm not yet familiar with, because I haven't watched that particular episode yet. Since this story is mostly based on the events that take place in episode two, it's unlikely that you'll have that problem here. However, there are still footnotes, just in case. Basically the foot notes assume that you haven't watched a single episode.

This story is rated M for the obvious physical problems that would go with being tied to a post for a month, and also for possible future chapters.

I have more chapters of this written and will post them when or if I get comments.


The Punishment of Roronoa Zoro

Zoro stood with his swords drawn, staring down the ridiculous marine captain's son; prepared to fight. The marine captain's son stared back, and grinned mockingly, his expression obnoxiously confident.

"-So how 'bout a deal between us men, I'll string you up in place of the girl and her mother and if you can survive for one month, I'll be so kind as to let you live two. Does that sound fair?" the Marine captain's son finished his pompous exuberant monologue, his grin broadening as he anticipated Zoro's reply.

Zoro glared at him, droplets of sweat prickling his furrowed brow. Damn it, the thought. Out smarted by an idiot. He loosened his grip on his sword and let it fall.

"Agreed" said Zoro. "One month it is."

...

Yukimi owned a small restaurant, located in the business district of the island. It wasn't terribly profitable these days, what with the spoiled Marine captain's son barging in every day and demanding a massive amount of free food, but damn it, she'd worked too hard and too long to let her hard-earned business go under just yet. To compensate for the money she lost every month, being forced to give away free food to a wealthy fool who could easily afford it anyway, she'd fired most of her staff. She did most of the cleaning, the cooking and the waitressing, these days leaving very little time fore sleep, and even less time for her young daughter, who was just six years old.

"Mommy, who was that man that tried to stop Helmeppo from stealing food from the restaurant?" he daughter asked. Veruna looked like a miniature version of herself, with short, brown hair and blue eyes.

"Honey, I don't know," Yukimi replied, not taking her eyes off of the vegetables she had cooking on the hibachi grill. She spritzed them with oil, and mixed them with her spatula.

"Mommy, will that man be ok? Veruna asked, tugging at the hem of her skirt.

"Honey, I don't think so," Yukimi replied. She chopped the onions and mixed them with the already chopped mushrooms; never stopping to look up from the grill.

"Will he be hurt?"

"I hope not."

"Will he escape?"

"I don't think so."

"Will he die?"

"Probably."

"Do you think he'll-"

"Veruna, Mommy's working now. Why don't you go outside and play?" Yukimi said as she finished chopping a slab of pork into strips, before spritzing it with oil and sprinkling it with the house blend of seasonings. These questions were troubling her, and she needed to focus on getting the orders filled as quickly as possible before her customers got impatient.

"But Mommy, that isn't fair! Helmeppo was going to arrest us and he took our place! That sword guy with the green hair didn't do anything wrong! It's not fair!"

"Sometimes life isn't fair, sweetie." said Yukimi, plating the onions and mushrooms next to the decoratively arranged strips of pork, before garnishing the dish with a spring of parsley. "Now go outside and play. Mommy has to work now."

...

Having ultimate power over the islanders was fun, and Helmeppo got off on the god-like supremacy he held over the restaurateurs and shop owners, who always gave him anything he wanted for free out of fear of his father. He had become so used to it, that to have that power resisted seemed unthinkable. The man with the three swords, had been the first person to stand up to him for as long as he could remember, yet he had crumbled easily enough as soon as Helmeppo had threatened the restaurateur and her daughter, and went peacefully, allowing himself to be restrained and taken into headquarters.

"My, you're Roronoa Zoro, aren't you. Your reputation precedes you." said Helmeppo.

Helmeppo was a short, skinny man with a cleft chin and a blond, Dutch-boy bob, who spoke effeminately and wore the same purple, three-piece purple suit every day. Currently he was flanked by a pair of large, muscular marines that stood on either side of him like body guards.

Zoro glared at Helmeppo and didn't respond. It was a frightening, violent expression; contorted with seething hatred. Zorro was, himself, a tall, muscular man with short, moss-colored hair, and a dark tan. He slumped forward in a manner that suggested that he found the situation aggravating. The marines escorting him, surprised by this unexpected movement, were jerked forward by the sudden jesture, and stumbled momentarily, tightening their grip on the ropes that bound his arms.

"Ooh, scary. That's quite a glare you've go there. I'm shakin' in my little 6,000 berry (1) endangered baby seal boots," lisped Helmeppo sarcastically.

This was certainly Roronoa Zoro; the same one that he had seen pictures of in newspapers countless times before; who captured and slaughtered some of the most feared men on the ocean; with a freakin' sword in his mouth, no less (2). The headlines often billed him as "the greatest swordsman in the East Blue (3)." God damn, Helmeppo was going to look like a cool guy dragging this mofo into headquarters.

Helmeppo laughed manically, enjoying the sense of invincibility he derived from this newly won mastery over Roronoa Zoro, a man rumored to be monstrously powerful; a brutal, fearless, heartless bounty hunter. Nobody stands up to me, Helmeppo thought proudly. Not even the Demon of the East Blue.

"I bet they think your hot shit in whatever rinky-dink village you come from," said Helmeppo to Zorro, as he strolled along, watching the other man be pulled by a pair of his cronies. "But this is my village, you hear? I own this village and everyone here has to answer to me. I am the master of this entire island."

"Really, because you look like a prissy faggot to me," said Zoro.

Helmeppo choked, not having anticipated this insult, and his face turned beat red. One of the marines escorting Zoro snickered.

"Shut up! Its not funny!" Helmeppo shouted at the marine, kicking him in the shin. "Laugh at something he says again and I'll have you executed for treason!"

The marine apologized, and Helmeppo told him he was not forgiven, warning him a second time to not upset him again.

"That little attitude problem of yours needs to change," said Helmeppo to Zoro. "But don't worry, before this is over, I'll have you groveling at my feet, begging for forgiveness."

Helmeppo laughed again, and Zoro noted with annoyance that Helmeppo laughed frequently and at an infuriatingly obnoxious pitch.

"I wouldn't bet on it," growled Zoro.

"Oh, I would," replied Helmeppo, confidently. "Starvation can break even the strongest will."

Zoro, Helmeppo, and the marines reached the Marine headquarters at the center of town, entering the crucifixion yard (4) which stood behind a high, brick fence.

"Your wrong," countered Zoro bluntly.

"Yea, except I'm right, you naive dipshit," spat Helmeppo in irritation. "Just because you believe you're invincible doesn't mean you are..." Helmeppo laughed his irritating, earsplitting cackle. "It might just be time for you to wake up to reality...the hard way."

Zoro, Helmeppo, and the Marines reached a wooden post at the center of the sand-covered crucifixion yard. A second post intersected the first post, forming a wooden post cross, a device for restraint and public exhibition of the accused. It was the reason why this was called "the crucifixion yard."

"String him up," Helmeppo instructed his cronies. "There's no need for a trial. My Daddy owns the courts."

The guards obeyed, securing Zoro's waste to the lateral post with a length of thick roap.

"Don't even think about resisting," said Helmeppo as his henchmen unbound Zoros arms and twisted them around the horizontal post, quickly re-securing them with more rope. "Because if you do that urchin woman and her little brat are gonna get it."

"I don't intend to break our agreement," stated Zorro soberly.

"How noble of you," replied Helmeppo dismissively. He turned to his cronies and gave them some quick instructions. "I want people to recognize him. Come out here once a day and give him a shave, so that people know that I've captured Roronoa Zoro and not some green-bearded nobody. Then give him some water, not a lot. Just enough to keep him alive and reeling. Do you think you can handle that?"

The marines assured him that they could handle that.

"Good," he said. "You are dismissed."

The marines left the crucifixion yard, and Helmeppo turned back to Zoro who was still glaring at him in an infuriatingly un-devastated way.

It made Helmeppo want to hurt him.

"Its time you learned some respect," Helmeppo snarled.

He pulled his fist back as far as he could, and punched Zoro in the face. Zoro felt the fist connect with his Jaw, and the back of his head smashed violently against the pole that he was tied to. A taunt soreness spread in the place were Helmeppo's fist had collided with his jaw, and a dull, pounding ache filled his damaged head. His hands closed into fists, his brows drawing together in a furious snarl, as Helmeppo stuck him again, this time in the stomach. Again, Zoro gritted his teeth against the pain, determined not to cry out. He would not give Helmeppo the satisfaction of showing weakness.

"...You hit like a girl," Zoro taunted.

Helmeppo screamed in frustration and kicked Zoro several times in the shin. It was painful, but Zoro was adept at enduring pain. He bit his lip to stop himself from crying out, deriving a vague sort of amusement from Helmeppo's comical anger at his stoic response.

"Yea, you're a big man now that I can't fight back," said Zoro stoically, and this made Helmeppo so mad that he punched him in the face again, blackening his eye.

"Oh, just shut the fuck up and take your pummeling," said Helmeppo and he began to drive his fists into Zoro's chest and stomach like he was a punching bag.

...

Zoro felt sick, hungry, bored, depressed and hopeless. His body felt bruised and painful from the brutal beating he had previously suffered at the hands of his captor, and already his arms were becoming chafed and raw against the ropes that bound them to the post. He wished he could sleep, but the hunger already gnawing at his aching stomach was making that impossible. It occurred to him that he should probably cry now, while the streets outside the crucifixion yard were dark and empty and no one would hear him. His tears would dry by morning and no one would be the wiser.

The grey eyes of a ghost (5) appeared to him from the darkness at the back of his mind. The memory of a shrill female voice taunted him for having so seriously considered this as an option.

You're weak, Zoro, the voice accused, its grey eyes staring him down defiantly. Nothing ever changes.

So instead Zoro closed his eyes and dreamt of the owner of that voice until morning, deriving a shameful comfort from this one precious, secret memory.

...

In the morning, a pair of marines came out and shaved the stubble on Zoro's face with a straight razor. Then they allowed him a sip of water. It did nothing to elevate his growing thirst.

The marines left and Zoro spent the rest of the day staring at the brick wall in front of him; bored out of his mind. He occupied himself for hours with one pressingly infuriating paradox: How could he be so thirsty and have to piss so bad simultaneously? It was a question for the great philosophers of yore.

He counted the bricks that made up the wall in front of him, and then counted them again. There were 47 in the wall directly in front of him, 204 if he turned his head. A little blue bird landed on the top of the wall and he watched it for a few hours, pecking around aimlessly. Then the bird flew away. He was almost sad to see it go.

The growing pressure in his bladder was vying for his attention. He tried to ignore it and began counting the bricks directly in front of him again. There were 58 this time. Was he really that bad at math? He counted them again. This time there were fifty seven. Maybe he was turning his head a little more than he had been that last time. Maybe he was just going to piss himself. Probably it was that second thing.

...

Zoro awoke the next morning, dripping with urine. Apparently he had wet himself in his sleep.

The marines came out to shave him and give him his daily sip of water. He stared them down as they approached, silently daring them to laugh at his moist crotch.

"He's staring at me," said one of the young marines to the other. "What should I do."

"Yea, so what," said the other marine.

"So its creeping me out. He looks like he wants to stab me."

"Just don't look at him. Avoid eye contact. That's what I do."

The blue and white marine uniforms had a dehumanizing standardizing quality, that made it somewhat difficult to tell one marine from an other, at least at first, but now Zoro was beginning learn the difference between these two men. They were the same ones that had come the previous day, one light skinned and clean shaven, and the other one dark skinned with a goatee.

"But what if he bites me?" said the light skinned, clean shaven one.

"What the hell are you talking about now?" replied the dark shinned one with the goatee incredulously.

"When I put my hand near his face to give him a drink of water, what if he bites my hand?"

"He's not going to bite your hand."

"But what if he does?"

The dark skinned one with the goatee paused for a moment, at a loss for words.

"Gad damn, you're such a wimp," he said to the other marine. "Ok, give me that glass of water, I'll do it."

The marine with the goatee took the glass of water from the other marine, and held the edge of it against Zoro's parted lips. He tipped the contents of the glass into Zoro's open mouth, and Zoro eagerly swallowed the small amount of cold water that he was allowed, then he dug his teeth into the marine's hand as hard as he could before he was able to withdraw the empty glass.

"Ow! Sun-of-a-bitch! He bit me!" the marine yelped, quickly withdrawing his injured hand.

Zoro didn't like the way these men talked around him, like he was some kind of a dumb animal that couldn't understand what they were saying.

"My hand is bleeding!" the marine said holding his hand up for the other marine to gawk at. "Would you look at that? My hand is bleeding."

The marine raised his uninjured hand, as though prepared to strike Zoro across the face with it, but then thought better of it and lowered the hand again.

"I told you." said the other marine.

"Oh, shut up."

...

Zoro spent another agonizingly boring day, staring at the brink wall in front of him. He was beginning to lose track of time, but if he had to guess, he'd probably say that he'd been without food for a little over three days. The pain in his empty stomach grew worse and worse with every passing hour. His thirst, also, was becoming an increasingly unbearable torture.

He counted the bricks on the wall in front of him again. It was the only thing that he had to distract himself from the increasing stench of his sweaty, unwashed body. Silently, he thanked the supreme being that he hadn't crapped his pants yet. He was constipated like nobody's business.

Helmeppo walked out to the crucifixion yard, flanked by a pair of his muscular cronies.

"You ready to beg yet, swordsman?" Helmeppo taunted.

"...Go to hell," said Zoro.

"No? Too bad," replied Helmeppo. He smiled evilly. "I guess I'll have to break you. Hanz, give me your nightstick."

The dark skinned marine with the goatee obediently handed Helmeppo the nightstick that had been hanging from his belt. Helmeppo took the nightstick, and lifted it up, prepared to swing it at Zoro's torso.

"...He's not going to..." the light skinned, clean shaven marine said quietly. "Oh, that's just mean."

"Shut up, Yonro," whispered Hanz very seriously, it was probably better not to find out how Helmeppo would respond to that comment.

Helmeppo swung the nightstick, striking Zoro in the chest with it. Zoro grimaced, and bit his lower lip to stop himself from crying out. The nightstick hit him again, this time in the stomach. A grunt of pain escaped Zoro's mouth, muffled slightly by his teeth, which were still clamped down tightly on his lower lip.

Don't show weakness, Zoro thought desperately to himself. Don't give up. Don't give in. Don't give him the satisfaction.

Zoro closed his eyes. The nightstick struck him across the thighs and then across the kneecaps. It hurt like a bitch. He knew he was failing miserably to stop the pain from showing on his face. Still, he would not give that bastard the satisfaction of crying out.

The nightstick hit his stomach again, and he felt some of his ribs crack with the force of the blow.

"Agh!" Zoro cried out. He squeezed his eyes shut, forcing back shameful tears. He bit down harder his lower lip and felt blood spill out from under his teeth and drip down his chin.

You're weak, Zoro, he heard the shrill female voice taunt, in his head. Nothing ever changes.

The nightstick hit one of his arms, bruising it down to the bone. Then the other arm. He felt the bone crack. The nightstick hit his stomach again, smacking against his already broken ribs.

"Ughh!"

You're weak-

Helmeppo's sadistic grin broadened, and proceed to hit him again and again in the same place, brutalizing his already broken ribs.

"Nnghh!"

Zoro.

"Aaaghhh!"

Nothing-

"Gnngh!"

Ever-

"Nnngh!"

Changes.

"Aaagh!"

"You had enough yet, Swordsman? You ready to beg for mercy?" Hemento taunted him, as he observed his captive's broaken trembling body grow limp against the post. "Apologise to me and I'll let you go free."

Zoro lifted his head and spat in Helmeppo's face.

"Fuck you!"

Helmeppo screamed, hastily wiping the spit out of his face with a handkerchief that he kept in the breast pocket of his purple suit.

"Ew, ew! Gross!...You'll pay for that, you stubborn fool!" he shouted raising the nightstick furiously. The marines standing behind him winced, as he brought the weapon down hard against the side of Zoro's face.

"Aaaaagghhh!" Zoro screamed, feeling a few molars in the back of his mouth become dislodged, blood ran from his parted lips and he choked, spitting teeth onto the ground.

Zoro clenched his fists tighter, digging his fingernails into the palms of his hands. Helmeppo struck his legs repeatedly, and he felt deep nightsticks shaped bruises blossom across his thighs. He bit his lip and tried to take it with a straight face. Helmeppo threw the nightstick to the ground, breathing heavily with anger and physical exhaustion.

"...Is that all you got?" Zoro groaned defiantly.

...

Zoro spent the rest of the day tormented by hunger, pain, humiliation, and the sweltering heat of the unbearable sun. It must have been at least 100 degrees that day. He thought he would go crazy from it, or at the very least keel over dead from heatstroke.

Night came, and again the temptation to cry himself to sleep presented itself in the seeming privacy of the darkened, quiet crucifixion yard.

"Happy place," he muttered to himself quietly. "Go to your happy place."

He closed his eyes, attempting to ease himself into the world of sleep. The girl with the short black hair appeared beneath a giant tree, sitting cross-legged in the grass. Her grim expression softened as she watched him approach, and she smiled welcomingly, calling out his name in greeting.

"Zoro!"

"Kuina...Hey!"

Zoro saw himself, as a young boy, walk over to her, grinning. He was carrying a pair of wooden kendo swords, and swinging them around childishly, as though perhaps to ward off a phantom opponent.

"You know," he heard himself say. "Someday, when I'm a man, I will be the greatest fighter that ever lived!"

"You know," Kuina replied in an identical tone. "Someday, when I'm a woman, I will be a flying elephant tuna (6)!"

"...Are you making fun of me?"

Kuina narrowed her eyes. "Yes Zoro," she confirmed. "Yes, I'm making fun of you."

"Do you doubt my ability to become the greatest swordsman in history, elephant tuna?"

"Do you doubt my ability to sprout and elephant trunk and wings, greatest fighter that ever lived?"

They stared at each other for a moment with expressions of mock aggression. A year ago a conversation like this between them might have ended in a fist fight, but things were different now and they understood each other. Their expressions softened and they both laughed.

Kuina laughed longer than Zoro, rolling around and around in the grass, clutching her stomach with one tiny hand.

"...That'll be the day!" she said.

"If you mean the day when you look like a fool for doubting me, than yes, it will be that day," said Zoro, still grinning.

He sat down in the grass next to her, and looked out at a field of yellow flowers, blowing in a cool breeze.

"...Zoro?" she said in a faraway voice.

"Yea?"

"Do you think we'll be friends forever?"

"Of course we will be," replied Zoro without hesitating.

Kuina laid down in the cool grass, and stared dreamily at the dew sprinkled branches above. Zoro laid down next to her and stared up at the branches as well, blushing as she reached out and clasped his hand in hers.

"...Promise me we'll be friends forever," she said.

"I promise," said Zoro, and he meant it.

...

Zoro awoke the next morning to the gnawing pain in his empty stomach, and the throbbing ache of his broken bones and bruised flesh. The heat was still unbearable. Today was hotter than yesterday and what was worse was he was too dehydrated to even sweat anymore.

The marine named Hanz approached him cautiously, and, without saying a word, he dumped a cold glass of water on Zoro's head, then turned and walked away, disappearing back into the main building.

Zoro was grateful for the relief from the heat, and subsequently pissed off that the asshole hadn't had the decency to at least let him drink the water. He hadn't liked the marine's expression either, or the stiff, reluctant way he had moved, as though perhaps, being compelled against his better judgment.

Hours passed. A bird landed on the top of the fence. Possibly the same one he had seen before. It hopped around, pecking at the crevices in the stone wall, and chirping happily. He felt like he wanted to bite the thing's head off and devour it raw.

Marines came and shaved the stubble on his face with a straight razor. The shaving cream they spread on his face was a temporary relief from the heat. The small amount of water they provided him was not cold, but he was too thirsty to be mad about it.

The marines left again.

Hours passed. Night came, and with it, the cool, quiet darkness that he had come to anticipate. Again, he managed to fall asleep without succumbing to tears.

He dreamed of a funeral. Kuina's funeral. It had been just like this, with the same rows of wooden chairs, and the same Buddhist priest giving the sermon. The only thing that was different here was Zoro, he was not a boy as he had been on the day of Kuina's actual funeral, but an adult man. He looked down at the closed coffin, stone-faced.

It was a black coffin, wreathed in white flowers. An odd thought crossed his mind. Was the coffin empty? No. Of course, it couldn't have been.

A tiny fist burst through the top of the coffin, splintering the polished black wood, and in the next instant Kuina's corpse had emerged, hideous and rotten. A spider scuttled across its vaugely recognizable face.

"Look what you did to me!" the corpse screamed, and she began to strike his face and body with a nightstick. "Look what you did to me! Murderer!"

"I...I'm sorry Kuina. I didn't mean for this to happen."

"Murderer! You don't even have the decency to cry for me on the day of my funeral!" the corps screamed as it continued to strike him.

Zoro stood there stoically and took it. He didn't run or back away, fight her, or even put up his hands to protect himself. He knew that he deserved to be punished.

He woke up, and, overwhelmed by the collective pain of his unbearable injuries, began to weep bitterly. Was it so wrong to want the pain to end? To wish that someone, anyone, would care about him? Was that so weak? He hung his head in shame as he continued to cry. Yea, he thought. That is pretty weak.

"...Mr. Swordsman?" a child's voice enquired.

Oh shit, Thought Zoro. Oh god, oh no. Please don't let there be a witness to this.

Zoro looked down and saw the little girl from the restaurant staring up at him with big, uncomprehending, blue eyes.

"Get outta here kid, go home," Zoro wept.

The child's head was only about as high as his knee. She wrapped her arms around the post and hugged his legs.

"Let go of me, kid. Go home and wash your hands with soap and water. I've been out here for at least a week-Do you have any idea how filthy I am?"

The child let go of his legs and looked back up at him, with an expression of concern.

"...Are you crying because your tummy hurts?" she asked him sympathetically.

"What? No! Sh-shut up! Didn't your mother ever tell you not to talk to strangers? Go home before someone sees you here!"

The child lifted the wooden container she was carrying and pointed to it. Then lifted the lid off of it to reveal strips of pork drizzled in barbeque sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds. It smelled wonderful.

"...I brought you some yummy food to eat," she said.

"I'm not hungry, kid. Go away."

"But you haven't eaten any food for a week!" the girl exclaimed in disbelief.

"I don't need to eat," Zoro said.

"Everyone needs to eat. If you don't eat you'll die!"

"Not me," said Zoro. "I won't die."

"Do you have devil fruit powers (7)?" The girl asked him curiously.

"No," said Zoro.

"Then you'll die. No one can go without food for one month and not die."

"You're a smart kid," said Zoro sarcastically. "Where'd you learn that? Science class?"

"It's common sense, Mr. Roronoa!"

"Yea, well, common sense is over rated. Now, get outta here! Scram! If Helmeppo see's you here he might try to hurt you."

"I'm not leaving until you eat all of it," said the girl, crossing her small arms in defiance.

"Kid, I'm not your baby sitter."

The child sat down Indian-style, in the sand, in front of him. "I can wait as long as you can," she said.

A few minutes passed and Zoro waited impatiently for the child to leave, hoping that that sadistic creep Helmeppo wouldn't spot her out here, sitting cross legged in the sand. The child stared back at him, a determined expression creasing her brow, and didn't move.

"Alright, goddamnit," said Zoro after a while.

The child stood up, smiling happily. She took a piece of pork from the box, stood on her toes and stretched her arms upward as far as she could, trying to reach Zoro's mouth, but Zoro was too tall, and she was too short.

"Oh no. I'm too short," she said.

The child paced back and forth several times, trying to think of a way to rectify this, then, spotted a sharp twig. She paused, kneelt down, and picked up the twig, using it to skewer a few pieces of the barbeque pork.

She lifted the twig to Zoro's mouth and he eagerly ripped off the pieces of meat with his teeth. After a week of being deprived food, it was the most delicious thing he'd ever tasted.

"Is it tasty?" the child asked him happily as he tore off the last piece of meat.

"It was delicious," said Zoro gratefully. "Thank you."

He looked down at the remainder of the food longingly.

"Can I um...can I have the rest?" he asked.

He paused and then added uncertainly:

"Please?"

The child nodded happily.

"Hey you! Who are you talking to out there!" shouted the voice of a marine from the main building.

"Go." Zoro whispered commandingly. "Get out of here, quick."

The child darted across the crucifixion yard and scaled the fence, quickly disappearing over the other side. The marines, Hanz and Yonro, came out of the main building, waving a pair of flashlights.

"Oh Christ, not you again," said Zoro when he saw them. "What is it like your permanent job to keep an eye on me or something?"

"Well, yea, sort of," said Yonro. He was about to add "Helmeppo is terrified you'll escape and try to kill him." but decided against it.

"Wow, can you say 'incredible waste of taxpayer money'?" grumbled Zoro sarcastically.

"Who were you talking to?" demanded Hanz, shining his flashlight in Zoro's face.

"I was talking to myself," said Zoro. "Because I'm losing my fucking mind out here. Now leave me the fuck alone."

Hanz decided that this was probably true and lowered his flashlight.

"You going nuts, Roronoa?"

"Yes, now get lost."

The marines returned to the building. Zoro closed his eyes and tried to sleep, but sleep never came. What came instead were tears for the ghost of Kuina, and for himself.


Footnotes (read if you have not watched a significant amount of One Piece):

1: Berry/ Berries: currency, equivalent of yen or dollars

2: Zorro fights with one sword in each hand and a third sword in his mouth. Which sounds dangerous and also sort of like an innuendo, but apparently he makes it work for him.

3: The fictional world in which this takes place is composed mostly of water. A cross section of land mass and ocean current divides a single ocean into four pieces referred to as the North, South, East, and West Blue. The main characters in this are from the East Blue.

4: Crucifixion yard: place were criminals are strung up and eventually executed

5: A reference to Kuina, Zoro's hated child hood rival who later becomes a beloved childhood friend and then "dies" (?) after she, as the man a the funeral put it so callously, "slipped in a puddle and broke her neck (?) while she was out buying a sword sharpener for her beloved Zoro." Because, you know, trying to make a little kid feel guilty about an accidental death is totally a cool thing to do. -_-

6: Elephant tuna: a fish that lives in their world. It resembles a giant, blue tuna fish with an elephant trunk and ears. They do not fly.

7: Devil fruit powers: Supernatural abilities obtained by people who eat the magical devil fruits. In this case the girl is assuming that Zoro's power is to go without food.