Disclaimer: I do not own One Piece. Nor do I own a one-piece... you know like those granny swimsuits.
Chapter 1: Under Fire
I'm not all deep and emotional on the inside. I'm not a soft push over, my thoughts are pretty straight forward, and I'm not an idiot. So unlike Luffy I don't wind up in situations like this, and because of Luffy that is exactly what is happening. I'm in this situation.
I've been in it before, but it was a long time ago. Back then my ties to Luffy were strong, but now they are stronger. My fierce loyalty to him is because I love him. Not in the gay, homosexual way, but as a protective older brother way. Someone needs to watch that idiot, and for whatever reason I seem to be the one that understands him the most. Sure the others can relate, but I was the first one he dragged out to sea, the first one he shares his thoughts with on matters, the first one he comes to when he needs comfort, and the first one to tell him the things he needs to hear instead of the things he wants to hear. For that, we are both very close.
So despite the fact that I'm not overly emotional does not mean I don't have emotions. I'm not an unfeeling robot; I'm just very straight forward. There is no reason to worry if a situation can be handled easily, and no reason to worry when I'm stronger than most (and so is Luffy). But in this exact moment, right this second, I feel an emotion I haven't felt in almost two years and even during that time away from my captain I knew he would be alright. No, this is something that I haven't felt since I saw Buggy towering over Luffy with an axe. And now, it is amplified tenfold for everything we have been through since then, for all the late night talks and laughs we have shared, for all the times we have leaned on each other to be stronger, all the moments... and for a second I see them all flash before my eyes.
I am panicking.
Despite myself I hear my voice call out his name. It was almost mechanical, a natural reaction. But I haven't felt so helpless in such a long time. I trained to get stronger for him, dammit; I trained so I could help protect him. So nothing like this could ever happen. I hear the others join me in shouting. Nami's the loudest, her voice a shriek. Robin's the quietest, a stifled gasp of disbelief. But I heard it all, along with Luffy's goofy laugh as he shot me a sidewise glance.
"Take care of them Zoro," he shouted.
We were so close, why can't I move? I struggled a little harder. The substance on my feet barely gave way. One of my swords was stuck to my foot, in a vain attempt to pull it free earlier, the other two I held tightly in my hands. I gritted my teeth and nodded. Not because I wanted to accept his goodbye, but because I knew he had to hear that.
This all happened so fast.
To everyone else he shouted out a goodbye and an apology. It was eerily familiar and damn him for being so calm about this. Despite the fact that I would probably do the same thing, I hated to see that smile right now.
"I'm not going to kill you," the woman purred addressing Luffy; interrupting everyone's screams and shouts of frustration. We all became deathly silent, trying hard not to think of what would happen to us if she kept him alive. "I'm just going to make you my slave," she cackled. Luffy frowned at that, but he didn't try to move as the woman raised her hands.
Her black hair billowed behind her in long curly locks as the wind stirred and a strange purple light gathered around her hands. Her high cheek bones became more pronounced in the lighting, as the sun set behind her gave her a freakish glow. The red dress and cloak she wore seemed to dance around her as she took a few daunting steps towards Luffy.
I pulled harder against the goo against my legs, and glared at the pink like substance. It was almost like gum, and everyone was stuck in it. It was fused with seastone, making the devil fruit users weaker and unable to use their powers. But I'm not a devil fruit user. I struggled more as the woman crept closer to Luffy with an agonizing slowness. Every step she took made her look more and more like a wild cat about to jump upon its prey. I would not let her take him and enslave him with that weird magic of hers; like hell she could enslave the future King of the Pirates. I felt it then. There was a weird suction feeling and a sharp snap and suddenly my legs were free. Nami hissed discreetly at me, and I quickly kicked over her staff. It had been lying next to me, and far away from her grasp. For the moment I left my other sword trapped in the goo, I had to move quickly.
Without words we both knew what to do. We had to save our idiot captain that got himself into this mess, because like hell we would lose him this way to some crazed stalker like this witch.
I shot forward, my swords raised and a furious shout escaped me.
Two things seemed to happen at once. Just as I made it in front of Luffy, I heard him scream in panic as something warm hit me dead on in the chest. A soft purple light hit, but it didn't go straight in at first, just slowly embedded itself into my skin, as a clash of lightning fried the witch. The blinding light knocked me over into Luffy, freeing him, and causing us both to fall roughly to the ground.
My heart clenched painfully, and the stench of burnt flesh filled my senses. My ears rang, and my vision was blurred. My head was spinning as I tried to right myself. I blinked several times, trying to clear the white spots that started to fill my sight. I heard Luffy's angry shout. It was strangely muffled despite the fact that he was right next to me, and for a second I was confused.
He leapt forward and tackled someone to the ground. My sight seemed to blur even more. I shook my head trying to clear my vision again. I felt a warm hand rest on my shoulder, and I looked up to see Nami.
Only she looked different. While everything else was fuzzy she was bright, almost shinny. Her skin glowed, and her orange hair seemed almost like it was a soft fire burning on top of her head. She was saying something to me, but I couldn't quite make it out. I must've given her a rather blank stare because suddenly her hands were under my chin and forced me to look into her eyes.
It was like looking into two pools of molten chocolate. Her eyes were soft, and she looked worried, a crease formed on her brow. Damn. I knew she was attractive, but has she always been this beautiful? She was saying something again, but all I could think of at that moment was that I wanted to touch her. Her skin looked soft, and warm. I wanted to soothe her worries. Just as my hand reached out to her and grazed her cheek, my vision clouded over again… and I fell asleep.
I wanted to answer her and tell her I was alright. It would have been a lie, but it was one I told them often. I always lied about my health. That wasn't something they needed to worry about. Not when we had that idiot to look after. I tried to move my hand, but a hot pain laced up my side. The dull throb in my chest worried me. It was becoming hot there, like someone was burning me. It started to reach a level that was almost as painful as taking on Luffy's injuries. I wanted to scream but no voice would come. I wanted to bite something and pretend I was okay, that it would pass, but in that moment I have never felt such a weird emotion and I couldn't give myself the reassurance. I had to see Nami again. Seeing her… she looked like an angel or something, and I felt like she could take away this pain. I had to know that she was okay. I had to tell her that she shouldn't worry, but my eyes refused to open and my voice refused to work. I was dimly aware that she was shaking my shoulders roughly which caused the hot pain to grow in intensity, but I couldn't get her to stop. I wanted to tell her to stop, to just let me sleep and I would feel better, but I couldn't get the words out. My thoughts started to get fuzzy, and my mind went blank and dull as the darkness and sleep overcame me and thankfully the pain went with it.
Chopper's familiar sigh is what woke me. I couldn't tell you how long I had slept, but it felt like a few hours. A deep inhale and I could tell I was in the doctor's office. Without even opening my eyes, I knew I had several bandages wrapped around me, probably making me look like a mummy. As annoying as it was, I could also tell that no one else was in the room, so I would humor the doctor until I was at least out of his sight long enough to pry these stupid things off. If I'm awake I'm obviously better, no reason to sit around and baby me. A point I always try telling him, that if I rest too long my body will become soft, and like hell I'm losing all that training. As much as he understands my need to keep my body in tip top condition he also protests that it can't be that way if I don't rest every now and then.
"I know you're awake. Your breathing has sped up," Chopper growled.
Sighing, I sat up to glare at him. Propped against the pillows and wrapped tightly like a mummy probably did little to make me look that intimidating, but it was still worth the effort. Chopper however, has become immune to my glares, and is only scared by Nami's rages and death looks.
"Is all this really necessary? I was hit in the chest by …" I trailed off. Not really sure what I was hit by but it didn't hurt anymore. So why were my arms and legs bandaged up?
"You have cuts and bruises everywhere, Zoro!" Chopper squeaked. "So yes it is necessary," he grumbled the last part and hopped up to his stool beside my bed.
"You were hit by a love spell," Chopper started calmly. "Do you feel anything for Ariel?"
Oh that was the witch's name, not that I really care. People that weak aren't worth the effort to remember. His statement was a bit farfetched, and his question was even more ridiculous. I found myself scoffing before answering him.
"Nothing but strong hate," I growled, and I was relieved by the truth in that statement. I don't know what I would do if I felt something for that stupid witch other than wanting her dead. Her statements about enslaving Luffy made me even more enraged now. She was going to brainwash him as well, and make him love her. On so many levels that was such a wrong thing to do. Along with all the other crimes she committed she was officially on my shit list. "Is she at least dead?" I question hopefully. I would gladly go kill her myself. All the trouble that stupid bitch gave us would make it well worth it… and justified since she threatened Luffy.
"No," Chopper said cautiously. "We captured her and have her locked in one of the docks as a makeshift prison at the moment. We weren't sure what she did to you. She just kept cackling that we would find out when you woke up…"
Chopper's curious gaze was locked on me to the point where I felt uncomfortable. I almost wanted to check to see if I had sprouted horns or if my skin had turned green. I nervously scratched at one of the bandages on my arms.
"I feel fine," I grumbled as I threw off the covers and flung my legs to the edge of the bed. In fact, I feel fantastic. There is this weird bubbly feeling in the pit in my stomach, which I assume is probably hunger and I wanted to go outside to catch some fresh air. I feel like I maybe even want to sneak up and snatch one of Nami's precious tangerines...
Chopper's hoof caught my chest and shoved me roughly back into the bed.
"Like hell," he snapped.
And so began our age old argument of rest or activity. It was actually starting to get pretty ugly. I think I may have even bitten his leg and he was definitely hitting me with a blunt object of some sort, when Nami walked in.
Everything just sort of froze.
I found myself standing and making my way towards her. I felt like I had been in slow motion before that it took little more than a second to reach her. I couldn't control my body, but at that moment I didn't want to. I could only see her. In a tube top that barely covered her breasts and hiked up her stomach revealing her flat tummy, and shorts so tight and short they hardly left anything to the imagination. She was leaning against the frame, a tray in her hands full of something that looked like edible food and possibly a few drinks. I barely even glanced at it, only a second to see that it made her look like a very hot waitress or maybe even a maid. I don't think I've ever taken much of an interest in her like this. She wears stuff like this all the time, but before I can even process my thoughts as weird or being off I'm standing before her.
She lets out a sigh of relief. I know she is about to say something witty, or maybe even a stab about how she was worried I wouldn't be able to pay her back but I was the first to speak.
"So beautiful," I murmured as my lips crashed hard into hers making her spill the tray she had been carrying onto the floor with a loud clang.
A/N: I was tempted to put my author's note on the top of this story... I just hate doing that and try to refrain if I can. A few notes from me. This story... is a blast to write. I've been holding off in the posting process because I wanted to finish my other stories I have out... but I'm helpless xD. My first mate, Anonymous Being, was awesome and has beta'ed this story and this chapter. I'm making a list here... but I don't think I've mentioned every thing. In case I miss something I'll just post in the next chapter. Anyways... a shout out to my loyal readers and followers. You guys rock, and I hope this story is enjoyed by you guys (personally I'm having a blast writing it... I think I already mentioned that...)
Until next time,