Disclaimer: I do not own One Piece or any of its characters.
This one-shot is dedicated to twelvex. Thanx for your very kind words. :)
A rose. How could one little rose – a flower – get to her so much? Nami glared at it where it stood on the dressing table. It was red and it was Robin's. But that was only part of the problem. Where Robin had gotten if from was what really bothered Nami, even though the navigator was determined to not admit it.
The previous day, Sanji had lead Robin and Nami to a flower shop, insisting on buying them bouquets of roses. The cook had been in an extra romantic mood and red roses were all he had focused on. But Robin had declined and said that one rose would be enough. That was where the problem had started:
Robin's words left Sanji to stare at her with utter disappointment. The cook so badly wanted to see his two favourite females leave that shop with arms full of flowers that he had so lovingly bought for them. He had to change her mind. ThenZoro entered the flower shop, looking for them. "Oi, Franky said he heard some marines might show up on the island so he's gonna move the sunny from the port. You know the drill. We have to get back so we'll know where it'll be and just in case there's trouble," the wordsman informed them and expected them to follow but no one made a move to leave.
"Robin-chan, only one red rose?" Sanji asked with a wounded tone and Zoro rolled his one good eye.
With a smile, Robin nodded. "One is enough, Sanji-san," she said. Then an unhappy Sanji tried to change her mind with Nami standing in the background.
This went on too long for Zoro's tastes. He looked over at Nami and she only shrugged. Then, Nami was the only one to notice as he turned to the assistant. From there everything seemed to move in a blur as the navigator saw money exchanged and then Zoro had a rose in his hand – a red one. "Robin," he then said. The raven head turned to him and Zoro handed herthe rose. Nami and Sanji blinked with surprise, Nami's mind in shock as it still absorbed that Zoro's hand was empty now and the flower, the red rose – a symbol of romance and passion – that had just been in it was now resting in Robin's hand. A gift to her from Zoro.
"Thank you, Zoro," Robin said, accepting it with equal surprise but also lots of amusement. Nami watched as she brought the delicate flower to her nose and sniffed it's fragrance.
"Marimo!" Sanji hissed with clenched fists. Sort of echoing Nami's feelings. The need to cry out pushing at her chest.
"Oi, your nagging was getting on my nerves, nosebleed. She said she wanted one!" Zoro threw back then looked passed the raging Sanji. "Let's go already," he said to Nami in a softer tone.
Sanji backed off and hastily bought Nami her bouquet. "Here you are, Nami-san," he said, bowing his head and the navigator accepted the bouquet but couldn't keep her eyes off that one red rose resting between Robin's fingers. Robin and Zoro left together, walking side-by-side and Nami didn't know what to think. The beauty of her own bouquet lost on the navigator as she followed behind with Sanji at her side. They joined the rest of the crew. The sunny soon pulled out of port and was moved to a less conspicuous spot. They laid anchor again. Sanji put Nami's bouquet in a large vase and Robin's single rose in a slender vase. He gave the rose a glare, expressing his dissatisfaction at Zoro's blatant stepping in on his territory. Then the cook brought the roses to their room. Nami's was placed on the coffee table and Robin's on the dressing table.
And there it stood – the rose, a constant reminder to Nami that Zoro had bought Robin a rose, spent money on Robin, given Robin something, something he had bought for her, something he had spent money on so he could give to her. And worst of all, Nami didn't know why. Whether he did it just to irritate Sanji or whether...Zoro had feelings for Robin. "Are you alright, Nami-san?" Robin asked, over her book.
"...Yeah," Nami muttered but her eyes fell on that unwelcome presence in their room again. "Um,...Robin?" she then said.
"Yes?" the raven head asked.
"...Why do you think... Zoro...bought you that rose?" Nami asked, stumbling through the sentence.
Robin looked over at the rose as well. "I don't know. Maybe he has feelings for me?" she asked, as she turned to Nami again. Nami's lungs stopped taking in air. That was a question the navigator definitely did not want to answer. Robin only looked at her with that blank expression until suddenly, she chuckled. "Or maybe he did it to irritate cook-san. Who knows." She shrugged and returned to her book.
Nami tried to laugh with her but nothing came out. "...Do you...like him?" she then asked, her chest heavy, the words difficult to get out.
Robin's blue eyes lifted to meet her brown ones, the raven-head not moving her head or even lowering her book. "I like him, yes," she answered. Silence filled the room and Nami had a forced smile on her face as she tried to swallow the lump in her throat. "I like him just as much as I like all of you." Robin gave the navigator a very warm smile. "And no more," she added, in what was almost a reassuring tone before returning to her book.
Nami sighed, her body almost going limp after how tense that moment had been. That moment she had thought Robin was interested in Zoro. But now the navigator was satisfied that Robin only saw him as a friend. And she was very relieved to know that. But that didn't change what Zoro felt. Nami felt pressure building in her chest that made her want to scream and Robin's second guess didn't make her feel any better. She didn't want Zoro to have feelings for Robin. Not Robin and not anyone. Not anyone...but...her. The navigator needed air and fled the room. Outside, she looked around her. For some reason, everything looked different. Sure they were at an island and not out at sea but the ship seemed different. Colder. Nami felt like she had lost something. Something that had always been there but now had left her. Some reassurance that no longer existed. Then she saw him, Zoro walking over the lawn deck. Zoro, who never paid attention to women. Zoro, who had now bought Robin a rose. Zoro, who had feelings for Robin. Zoro, the traitor. Nami touched the railing with her hands. All she had ever gotten from him were rude words and criticism. Never would he care about her in that way. But she didn't care. She couldn't care. What did his opinion matter, anyway? Nami rested her elbows on the railing just as he was doing at that moment, looked at him as he looked at the island. "I don't care," she muttered.
Suddenly Zoro looked her way, finding her watching him. He turned his body to face her with a questioning expression on his features. Nami wanted to look away but she couldn't. She wanted to show her disappointment. She wanted him to know that...that he had hurt her. Nami feared she'd start crying and she escaped back into the torturous room she had just fled from. Zoro frowned, having noticed she was upset.
That night, at dinner, Zoro gulped down food along with the other strawhat savages but one moment when his mouth was just too full and he had to do some chewing, the swordsman looked over at Nami. He remembered the look she had given him that afternoon. He believed he had done something but for the life of him he didn't know what. By chance, their eyes met and there it was again, a look of utter disdain before she took her eyes from him. She definitely was mad with him over something. But Zoro couldn't help thinking he saw...hurt in her eyes too. When did he hurt her?
The swordsman couldn't take it and after dinner, he fell in line next to her as she walked to the women's-quarters. "Oi," he said.
"What do you want?" Nami hissed, quickly turning her face away so she didn't have to look at him.
"What's with the attitude?" he asked.
"What?" she threw back.
"What did I do to you? You've been giving me nothing but dirty looks."
"You didn't do anything," she said, wanting him gone. Not only was she having a hard time dealing with her jealousy but now she found herself feeling guilty about having feelings for him and being so possessive. How would he react if he knew? Talking to him felt very awkward.
"Then why're you mad?" Zoro pushed on.
"I'm not mad!" she yelled and desperately ran for her room, leaving Zoro behind. He didn't know what to think. Then Robin came by.
"Robin," he said.
"Yes, Zoro?" she asked, stopping.
"What's with her?" he asked with a frown, waving his hand in Nami's direction as she ran into her room.
"Nami? I don't know," Robin said without any expression. "Maybe she's a little jealous because you bought me a rose. I know why you bought it but she may have misunderstood your reasons." Zoro looked at her, stunned. And after some silence, Robin chuckled as if she had just been joking. "Or maybe she really wanted me to have a bouquet like hers. I really don't know." The raven head shrugged, a smile on her face as she walked away. Her second guess didn't take away the stunned look that her first guess had put on Zoro's face. Could that be it? Nami was jealous of the rose he bought Robin? But why? Was it because she and Robin always got gifts together and she was just being a brat, or was Robin right, and it was because she thought he...liked Robin? The swordsman was confused.
"Women," he growled.
Two days later, Nami, Luffy and Usopp were going into town, Nami to the boutiques, Usopp, off to the hardware store and Luffy, just looking for adventure, which could also be called 'trouble'. "Oi, you guys going to the island?" Zoro asked with an ungraceful yawn, coming over to them and slipping his swords on after a very relaxing nap.
"Yup, coming with, Zoro?" Luffy asked.
"I'll tag along," Zoro answered, lazily.
"Probably off to a bar, huh?" Usopp stated more than asked.
Nami flashed a glare at Zoro, then proceeded to leave the ship without looking back. Zoro noticed the glare and watched her as she left. Her attitude hadn't changed at all since that night. He, Usopp and Luffy caught up with her, and the four crew mates walked into town together. Luffy and Usopp chatting away, commenting on so many, if not too many things they found interesting in their surroundings. Zoro walked on their one end and Nami on the other. Her arms were folded, practically the whole time they walked and her face turned away. She was angry and not hiding it. It was obvious to Zoro and very distracting because it was aimed directly at him.
In the town square, Nami, Luffy and Usopp agreed to meet back there so the two youths could help carry Nami's bags to the ship. "Well, see you guys," Zoro said in his usual lazy tone and walked off.
Nami was finally able to relax even though with a pout. She went off in search of bargains and discounts. After a very productive shopping spree, the navigator lugged her bags to the square and thankfully found an empty bench to sit down on. Her bags were dropped beside her on the seat but then a paranoid Nami put them at her feet in case there were thieves around, who would want to steal women's clothing and underwear. She crossed one long jeans-covered leg over the other and waited for the captain and the sniper.
Nami sighed, her mind straying. Why did he buy Robin that rose? Zoro was always just Zoro. He never did anything like that. He never pursued women. Never even seemed to notice them. Well, he never seemed to notice her, at least. Even when he rescued her at times, he was always shoving her aside as if she was just a guy. Her feminine charms were usually wasted on him. Nami knew cause the navigator liked being admired by the opposite sex. It was a very important thing to her. And also, when she had first joined the crew, she had hoped to get him under her thumb the way Sanji had just put himself there. The way her other crew mates just naturally let her take the lead and make important decisions. She had hoped to have control over Zoro as well by maybe flirting with him or teasing him. But she had given up on that idea after just a few days of knowing him. He was like a brick wall and never showed any signs of finding her physically attractive. Obviously, he just didn't find her attractive. All he ever focused on was her personality and always had negative things to say about it. She, on the other hand had always found him very attractive although his personality could also do with some tweaking.
But as far as feelings were concerned, because Zoro never bothered with women, Nami had never known that she could be so jealous if he did. She realised that she had unconsciously appreciated his restraint and had just accepted it. Trusted in it. But now it felt as if she had been smacked in the face. And what made the shock so much more traumatic was that of all the women in the world, it had to be Robin – her one and only best friend. And also a crew mate. Nami wished it was all just a misunderstanding and she wished he would give her a rose too. Yes, she did want one from him. Just being unhappy about the one Zoro had bought Robin wasn't all that was getting to Nami anymore. If he came to her now and apologised for every insult or unkind word he had ever said to her, would it take away her desire for that gift? Nami didn't know. There was something about the gesture that just stuck with her. And if it came from Zoro it would be so significant. Nothing like all the flowers Sanji had ever bought her.
With her thoughts so far away, and her eyes staring at nothing at all, Nami's mind was awoken by something light suddenly falling into her lap. She looked down and found it to be a rose, a yellow rose. Nami picked up the delicate flower and looked over her shoulder. With surprise, she found Zoro standing behind her. He came around the other side of the bench. "What's this for?" Nami asked, confused.
"You wanted a rose, so there," he said with a shrug.
"I never said I want a rose," she mumbled, awkwardly. But unconsciously, Nami brought the rose to her nose to smell its delicate fragrance, to feel its softness against her face. The rose Zoro had given her.
Zoro sighed, choosing to not get upset. "If you want another one then here's another one." He brought another yellow rose from behind his back and held it out to her. Nami's lips parted. What was going on? Now he was standing and holding a rose out to her. Zoro felt very awkward in his current position with so many townsfolk moving around. "Just take it, will you?" he hissed.
Nami gladly took it. The picture she and Zoro made, not escaping her consciousness. Now there were two roses. All she had wanted was one and now there were two! Not only had Zoro given her one rose but two roses! "Is that enough?" he asked. "cause I can always give the rest to Robin. He revealed the rest of the one dozen bouquet of yellow roses, which he had kept hidden behind his back. Nami gasped.
"Give," she said, holding her arms out and Zoro shoved it into her greedy arms. Nami was like a little incoherent child as she held on to the bouquet. Zoro removed his swords and seated himself on the other end of the bench, eyeing her fascination with the roses. He couldn't have asked for a better reaction. "Did you really buy these?" she then asked, shocked that he would spend money on her. Zoro groaned at her nerve. But Nami already knew the answer. She touched the soft petals with admiration, but then she realised something. "They're yellow," she commented, her smile slipping from her face.
"Yeah, I can see that," Zoro responded, lazily.
"Why yellow?" she asked, not looking at him.
"Yellow means friendship, doesn't it?" he asked with a frown, knowing he had heard Sanji rattle off such nonsense once. Zoro noticed her mood change, and realised something himself. He wondered if calling her a friend was too much. When buying the roses, he had gone for the yellow ones because they just fit with his intentions. She was his friend and he was trying to make her feel better. They never really got along but still, he couldn't see her as just a crew mate. He might not openly call her his friend besides the obvious nakama bond that existed between the crew but deep down inside, she was. Especially after everything they had been through together since joining up with Luffy. She meant something to him and he had thought that at least she felt the same way.
"Yeah, it does mean friendship," Nami said, her mouth hanging in a bit of a pout and unsettling Zoro even further.
"So...what's wrong with it?" he asked.
"Nothing, but you bought Robin a red one," she then mentioned in a subtle way, to not sound extremely jealous – which she was. "Does that mean you..." Nami had to know so she had to ask.
Zoro's face lit up. She hadn't been offended by the gesture. But now she was asking if... He tensed. So she did think he liked Robin! And she was jealous about it? "That didn't mean anything," he quickly protested as if he owed her an explanation. He really didn't want her of all people to think he felt something for Robin. He had to convince her. "Nosebleed was gonna buy it any way so that's why I bought it. If he was just gonna buy her any flower then I would've grabbed any flower in that damn shop just to get that pushy jerk to shut up." Zoro waited to hear her reaction.
"...And to make his blood boil?" Nami asked, after some silence and Zoro smirked, relieved that his words had gotten through to her.
"Yeah, that too," he admitted with a cocky grin.
"That was a rather extreme way to get to him," she said and Zoro sighed.
"Yeah? Well it was worth it," he answered.
Nami bit on the inside of her bottom lip as her face lit up as well. "Okay," she answered, softly, holding the bouquet to her chest. Zoro folded his arms, trying to keep his eye off her. She looked so happy. He couldn't dare think it was because it was from him. But then, why did she ask that question, and why did he feel like he just proved his fidelity to her or something by explaining his reason for buying that colour? Zoro was confused again. Nami wondered if she had taken things too far with her questions. She had made it very clear to him that she didn't like the fact that he had bought Robin a red rose. They sat like that for a few minutes, trying to focus their attention on their surroundings and away from the awkwardness of the whole rose issue, but it was rather difficult with that bright, yellow roses sitting right under their noses, its wrapping rustling and distracting Zoro every time Nami but moved a finger, and there was that giddy smile on her face that she was just not able to fight.
"Oi, stop with the smiling already," Zoro protested again, really feeling awkward and afraid he'd start blushing at any second. He was aware of what they might look like to passers-by. Them sitting on the bench and her with a bouquet of roses in her arms. At least they weren't red and at least there was space between him and Nami for another person to sit on the bench. And his swords lay over his lap, covering that empty space between them. They did not look like a couple, definitely not!
Nami would have defended her smiling but by giving her the gift, he admitted to caring about her. As well as thinking of her as a friend. Nami was fine with that. Especially now that she knew he didn't have feelings for Robin. He was still Zoro and Nami didn't feel that feeling of loss anymore. Through all the animosity between them, they were friends and he cared about her enough to buy her roses he knew she wanted. All she muttered was: "Thanks." Zoro stared at her with silent surprise. For the first time, he had done something for her that didn't involve saving her life. All it was was a kind gesture, and yet it was so much more. She really loved it. He liked putting a smile on her face, for a change, instead of the usual anger and annoyance. It made the money he had spent on her very worth it. Half the time she was a brat and a pure pain to get along with and then there were moments like these when she was just a girl who could blush when embarrassed. Which she was doing now. He liked discovering that he could have that effect on her and he forgot about what passers-by might be thinking as he kept looking at her. Nami quickly turned her blushing face away, aware he was staring. "I...wonder where those idiots got to," she said and gulped. "Maybe we should go look for them."
Zoro's eye strayed over her form, starting at her orange head and ending with her long, jeans-covered legs. She was beautiful. Always had been. Even more so now, hugging his gift to her chest. "I guess," he said.
With surprise, Nami heard what could be reluctance in his voice and she wondered if he was fine with just sitting there...with her. First he had spent money on her and bought her roses of all things. And all that just to make her happy! And now he was waiting with her, when he could so easily have left and gone back to the ship. So many kind gestures. She didn't know what to think. "Or...we could just wait," she suggested with a little shrug but very eager to hear his response.
"Yeah, we could," Zoro said, quietly, and Nami smiled again. He was being just as vague as she was in deciding to stay exactly where they were, together. So they remained where they were, just sitting in silence, Zoro keeping her company and absently watching the passers-by. He did steal glances Nami's way as she sat, holding the bouquet in her arms. She also looked around her but every few seconds the navigator would push her nose into the soft yellow petals as if they were the most precious things in the world to her. Zoro smiled, softly.
Luffy and Usopp finally arrived, running towards them. "Oi, guys," they greeted.
"You didn't find any trouble?" Zoro asked, looking up at Luffy.
"Hehehehe," Luffy snickered.
Usopp groaned. "Our captain almost got himself caught by marines." Zoro frowned and Usopp gave Luffy a knock on his hat-covered head with his knuckles. "Don't worry, I, Captain Usopp was quick to notice them and dragged our captain out of their path before they could see him," he announced, proudly.
"Yeah, away from that hot-dog stand," Luffy whined.
"Luffy, your drooling was causing nothing but trouble!" Usopp chided. "You already spent all your money on hot-dogs and you just couldn't accept you couldn't have anymore!"
"I wanted more," Luffy moaned. "I'm still hungry." Then the captain spotted Nami's bouquet. "Is Sanji here?" he asked. Nami and Zoro were confused for a moment but then realised Luffy thought Sanji had bought her the roses.
"Um," Nami muttered.
"Where is he?" Luffy asked.
"Um, on the ship?" Nami asked more than stated but the captain sped off.
"I need food!" he cheered.
"Hey! Get back here!" Nami yelled, standing up and Luffy froze. She pointed to her bags at her feet and the captain remembered why he and Usopp had returned to the square.
"What about the marines?" Zoro asked Usopp, standing up as well and slipping his swords into his sash.
"Oh, with my excellent hearing and spying skills, I overheard them say they were on their way back to their ship," Usopp announced with double the pride of before. "They were done stocking up on supplies and will be gone soon." He and Luffy picked up Nami's bags and started the long journey out of town. Instead of Nami and Zoro walking in line with them, the navigator and the swordsman remained next to each other, comfortably trailing behind. They barely looked each other's way, just as when they came to town, but there was no animosity this time. Nami proudly carried his gift herself, not asking any one of her three crew mates to do so. And Zoro still couldn't get enough of admiring her beauty as she did.
When the four crew members returned to the ship. Luffy and Usopp went to put Nami's bags in the women's-quarters and Nami and Zoro were left behind on the lawn deck with her still holding on to the bouquet. "I should get a vase," she said, indicating she would be going to the galley. Zoro didn't move or say anything. Nami gulped. "On second thought, maybe I should wait till later, Sanji-kun's probably in there." She gnawed on her bottom lip. Luffy and Usopp already assumed Sanji had bought her the roses. She'd deal with the cook's questions later, when he'd eventually find out about them. She still had to think up a cover story but that wouldn't be a problem. Definitely not for her.
Still Zoro didn't move. Nami had to go to the women's-quarters, so she walked. But she had to pass Zoro, and as she passed him, suddenly the navigator grabbed on to the front of his yukata with her left hand and laid a kiss on his left cheek. It was so fast, maybe because she was embarrassed or maybe she was scared someone would see. And just like that, the swordsman stood stunned as she walked away. His mind still grasping what had just happened when she was already going up the stairs. A little grin then spread on his lips. Was he supposed to think something of that kiss, or not? As well as the navigator's supposed jealousy over one little red rose. Zoro wondered about that. As he left the lawn deck, the swordsman thought about the other roses out there with their different colours,...their different meanings. Meanings that he might just have to go find out about in the future.
A/N: Lol, '...bright yellow roses sitting under their noses...' There's another line in there somewhere also about noses and roses. I didn't mean for those lines to come out that way. Yes, laugh all you want, cause I sure am. :)