Omae O Mamoru : I Will Protect You
A One Piece Fanfiction by Aoikami Sarah
Note: This is the sequel to “Hitori Ja Nai” (Not Alone)
The sun set into the west washing reds and purples into the low-lying clouds. The crew of the Going Merry emerged after dinner and was awestruck by the beauty in the sky.
Nami leaned against a tangerine tree on the upper deck and folded her arms and watched the spectacle till night fell. With the sun gone, the air grew chilly. She heard laughter from below as her captain found something amusing in the shape of the colored clouds. She closed her eyes.
Only a week ago, a freak accident had marooned Luffy and Nami on a deserted island. They had been stranded for nearly a month, just the two of them. In that time, Nami had seen Luffy’s true self: a strong yet vulnerable young man who’s greatest treasure was his dear friends. Without them, he had come apart a little, but she reminded him how much he meant to them all and assured him that she would follow him wherever he went. Her heart fluttered remembering their first and only kiss, shared only moments before being rescued.
For a week after this event, she had strategically avoided Luffy. The way he regarded her with his soft caring smile and wistful eyes was almost too much to bear. When she had gotten close to him on the island, her only goal was to bring him out of his funk and make him happy. She didn’t intend for it to go so far. She didn’t plan for him to fall in love with her. Once they had been rescued, Nami hoped that life on the ship would quickly return to normal. She didn’t want anything to change in the relationships between everyone on the crew. In her mind, Nami was just trying to keep this so. Their time on the island was at last beginning to seem like nothing more than a dream.
Her heart fluttered again and a wave of sadness flowed over her. “Nope,” Nami said quietly to herself. “That was no dream.” She bit her lip and watched the last of the purple bleed from the clouds.
Luffy leaned over the side of the ship, his arms hanging and swaying with its movement. ‘”Pretty…” he ogled the sunset sleepily, full of good food. His eyes drooped and a contented smile graced his lips. He closed them for a second, then lifted his head and looked around. He stared up at the tangerine trees, spied Nami, pouted slightly and went back to watching the sinking sun.
“Nami-san?” Sanji asked for the third time.
“Oh! Sorry Sanji-kun,” she apologized. The ship’s five-star gourmet chef held a silver tray out for her. On it was a frilly dessert in a dainty crystal sundae dish. A fine, almost translucent wafer was perched at an angle in just the right amount of whip cream on top. He watched her carefully as she took it and played with the whip cream with the spoon.
“Are you feeling alright, Nami-san?” he asked. “Should I make something less rich perhaps?”
“Mm,” she hummed, shaking her head. “My stomach is fine. The dessert is lovely.” To reassure him, she took a bite of the delicacy and gave him a wan smile.
Zoro dozed, leaning against the main mast and missed the entire sunset. His brows knitted together and he muttered something unintelligible in his sleep. Slowly, he woke, looked around and not seeing a bottle of anything alcoholic nearby, stood up. He stretched his back and noticed someone else was also on deck. He walked over and stood next to Luffy’s left for a moment.
“You asleep?” he asked, nudging him with his boot.
“Nah,” Luffy muttered, his expression was hidden behind his hat.
Zoro raised a brow. “You wanna drink with me?”
“Sure,” he replied, not moving from his spot draped over the side of the ship. He looked out at the western horizon as if he were reading a good book. Zoro ducked into the galley and had words (loud enough to be heard around the ship) with Sanji about the two bottles of rum he was taking. He returned to Luffy’s side and handed his captain one of the bottles.
Finally, Luffy pushed away from the side, turned on his heels, put his back to the wall and slid down. He took a swig from the bottle and made a loud, appreciative sound. Zoro crossed his ankles and dropped down to his left. “So,” he said, taking a large draught from his own bottle. “What’s the deal?”
“Deal?” Luffy asked and laughed. “What are you talking about?”
“You know what I mean,” he grumbled. “You’re not your usual sickeningly cheerful self. I’m the resident crab on this ship, not you.”
“I thought you were the resident marimo?”
Zoro gritted his teeth but let the usual insult slide. “You know what I mean,” he insisted. “I’ve got plenty to think about to make my eyes do what yours are doing these days. What’s the deal?”
Luffy stopped laughing and took another shot of rum. “I promised I wouldn’t say anything about it.”
“Eh?” Zoro wondered, taking a swig himself. “What kinda crap is that? I take the time to see what crawled up your ass and died and I get a shitty answer like that?”
“Sorry, Zoro.” Luffy hunkered down, looked around, stretched his neck up to check the upper deck, decided no one was around and returned to normal. “Well… It’s not me. It’s my friend…”
“This friend of mine, see…”
“Dumbass, we’re your only friends.”
“This friend of mine…” he repeated and pointed to his chest.
Zoro grumbled a frustrated curse and drank some more. “Ok. Your friend. What’s his fucking problem?! He’s not usually depressed!”
“Well,” Luffy said with a sigh and rolled the bottle around idly. “He thought he’d never get anywhere… then something great and random happened! Things were going good… then they were the same as they had been. Then it seemed like things were really bad! And now he doesn’t know what’s going on.”
Zoro arched a brow and stared at him. “Forget I asked.”
“Sorry, sorry, Zoro. It’s nothing. I’ll try to be happier, ok?” Luffy tried to flash his signature grin, but it was sadly lacking.
“You need to drink more.”
“Ok!” he agreed and pounded the strong liquor.
“Not all at once…” Zoro rolled his eyes. Luffy laughed at his reaction.
It was getting late. The others had all gone to bed hours ago. Luffy sloshed the now half-empty bottle of run around. He looked up at the black expanse above him. The stars that blanketed the sky tucked into the sea.
“I dunno what I expected,” he whispered.
“Mm…” Zoro muttered.
“When we left the island, I knew that it wouldn’t be the same. I knew, but I didn’t know, you know? I didn’t know that was it. That it was over when it had just begun.” He closed his eyes. “I’ve never felt like that before. When we were close…”
Luffy looked over and saw that Zoro’s head was bowed to his chest and he snored lightly. Luffy smiled, got up, put his rum bottle next to the swordsman’s empty one and patted him on the head. “Thanks for listening, Zoro.”
The night they returned to the ship, Luffy stood outside Nami’s door for a few minutes, staring at it. The last thing he wanted to do was piss her off. Would it be ok to go into her room? It had been ok on the island, but there were no rooms outside. He didn’t wish he were back there because he had missed all his other nakama so badly, but the hard wooden door in front of him seemed cold and uninviting.
He knocked gently twice then turned the knob. It was dark inside, but the light from the hallway poured in and he could make out her shape on the bed.
“Nami?” he asked in a whisper.
“Yes, Luffy?” her voice replied from the shadows.
“I can’t sleep,” he admitted.
“Let me guess, you need my shoulder as a pillow?” He saw the covers being pushed back and her hand tap the mattress, beckoning him as she had done on the sand. Quietly, he clicked the door shut behind him, took off his sandals and vest and slipped into the bed.
It was warm. So nice and warm. Not like the cold sand at all. She gave him plenty of room and he stretched out on his side, resting his head as he was used to against her shoulder. In moments he drifted off to sleep, happy and warm.
In the wee hours of the morning, Luffy woke, confused for a moment by his surroundings. Quickly, he realized where he was and sighed. In the pale light coming through the port hole to their right, he could make out the contours of her face.
He propped himself up on his elbow and studied her face, watching her sleep. “This is what it’s like,” he whispered to himself. “This is the way it should be.” He pursed his lips remembering the kiss they shared on the beach the day before. Maybe when she woke she’d let him kiss her again. He contemplated waking her, but decided against it.
Her left arm was at her side, bent at the elbow and her wrist lay against her stomach. The covers were pushed down to compensate for the warm climate they were sailing through. Gingerly, Luffy reached his left hand out and covered hers. She breathed deeply, sound asleep. He leaned closer and whispered her name. Sound asleep. He moved his hand off of hers and across her belly. His heart beat faster. He nuzzled her shoulder and breathed in. The scent of perfumed soap was even better than the way she smelled on the beach, in his opinion. He wished she was awake. He wanted to tell her how good she smelled. How warm she was. He wanted to kiss her, but didn’t think he should when she was sleeping. He wanted to tell her how happy he was, he wanted to…
He blushed and hugged her waist. Nami whimpered in her sleep. It didn’t sound happy to him. Luffy lifted his head off of her shoulder and listened, holding his breath.
“No… don’t touch me…” she muttered.
“Nami?” he asked quietly.
Nami twitched, moaned. Her arm flinched and shoved his off of her stomach as if it were on fire. She curled up into the fetal position and shook with what seemed like fear. “Nami?” He gently shook her shoulder. “Nami?!” his voice cracked with worry. She stopped shaking and gasped in alarm. “You ok?”
“Un…” She stared at his silhouette in the pale light. “Y… yeah.”
“Were you having a bad dream? Seemed like you were scared of something.”
She shook her head. “I’m alright.”
Luffy pouted but getting no further explanation he relaxed and nestled back into position. He watched her carefully. Slowly, he passed his hand over her belly again and tried to get back to sleep.
A few minutes passed.
“I don’t think this is going to work out.”
He held his breath again. His heart rose into his throat. He was amazed he could still speak. “Wh… why not?”
She pushed his hand away slowly. “I just…” she started. “I don’t want things between us… between the rest of the crew and us to be any different than they were.”
“But…?” Luffy trembled slightly.
“I’m sorry.” The ship creaked in the silence that washed over them. “I think you should go.”
Luffy reeled. He felt as though he were going to be sick. He wanted to wake up from what must have been one of those dreams that only seems so real. His body wouldn’t move for a moment. He tried to read her eyes, but they were lost in the dark.
Finally, he exhaled. He needed fresh air. He swung his legs over the edge of the bed, walked into his sandals and picked his vest up off the floor on his way out. He stood and listened at the door for a minute, but only the silence and the groaning boards of the ship had anything to say to him.
A week later, fairly intoxicated and completely exhausted, Luffy crashed to the deck under the tangerine trees and watched the stars wink through their leaves. “You’re so close,” he whispered, falling to sleep at last. “But I miss you so much.”
Usually, in the dream, Zoro couldn’t speak. He stood mute, glued to the spot at the top of the stairs. She ran past him, a happy smile on her lips as she carried the cleaning supplies down to the place where her treasure rested. Or perhaps he could speak and she just couldn’t hear him, as if he was shouting at film footage of something already destined to happen. Inside his head, or perhaps from a seat in the theatre as the film was screened, Zoro screamed futilely. “Be careful! Don’t go down there!!!” Every time, despite already knowing the outcome, he tried to warn her.
Usually, he woke in a cold sweat just as she disappeared, or slept through into a second act in which she descended the stairs, swallowed by the blackness of the basement he stared into for what seemed like hours before a skeleton emerged, waking him in terror.
However, in the last few months, ever since they had entered the Grand Line the dream had changed. Now when Kuina disappeared down the stairs, Zoro cried out for her and she reemerged a grown woman, sheathing the Wado Ichimonji. His heart soared with relief, until she put her glasses on.
Zoro woke suddenly, splayed out on the deck and blinked at the early morning sunlight in his eyes. “Damnit,” he muttered. That Marine chick again. Sure she looked like Kuina; the hair, the sword, but that was about where the similarities ended. Kuina would never have become a Marine. At least, Zoro was pretty sure she wouldn’t have. And she never had her head stuck up her ass like that Marine chick did. Why wouldn’t she just listen to him? If he could have just explained why he couldn’t fight her…
“Saa…” he exhaled. The argument was too annoying to be continued when there was breakfast to be had.
As he flipped the hash browns (onion, chives, fresh cracked black pepper, sea salt, and potatoes, of course) Sanji was glad that he had something to do, something to keep his mind off of her. But when she shuffled into breakfast, tired, eyes heavy with exhaustion, trying so hard to make everyone believe nothing was wrong, he found it quite hard not to notice. Sanji wasn’t oblivious like Luffy and Zoro. He paid attention to people’s actions. He recognized signs. He watched Robin pour a cup of coffee and hand it to Nami, who usually didn’t drink it, but this morning, like the last few, she took it. He didn’t like that sign. Maybe he could talk to Robin about it. Sanji flipped the hash browns over one last time and plated them next to generous helpings of freshly made fish sausage, eggs over easy and sliced mangos.
Usopp and Chopper fought for seconds as Zoro finished his and looked to the chef. Sanji nodded his head toward the plate that remained. Zoro got up and took it outside.
“Oi,” he called, kicking the captain lightly in the ribs. “Breakfast, Baka.” Luffy sprung up into a sitting position and stuck his hands out. “Look,” Zoro said with a sigh. “Next time I’m not gonna bring it to you, I’m gonna eat it. Snap out of it, already!” he shouted and marched off to start his morning katas.
“Thanks, Zoro,” Luffy mumbled between bites.
Inside the galley Sanji cleared the dishes and listened as Nami read the headlines from the paper, delivered earlier that morning by seagull. He wasn’t paying attention to her words. He was watching the way she pushed her hair back behind her ear, the way she laughed at a silly story. His eyes closed and he remembered that night when she had first returned to the ship.
Sanji might have been a skirt chaser and love-a-holic, but he was also a gentleman. He would never try to slime his way into her room, only if she invited him. It had been a long night. The party on the beach was long awaited and lasted well into the morning. Shit-faced and stumbling, they took the supplies and their missing nakama back to the ship. Sanji tried to tell Nami how much he had missed her, but even in his plastered state, he was observant. Her eyes darted around in the torch-light. The only thing her eyes rested on was their captain. Someone who had been separated from her friends for a long time would stare at them, not the person she was marooned with, unless… He shook his head and laughed out loud, startling Chopper. Preposterous!
Later, when everyone had gone to bed, Sanji woke in his hammock, still a bit drunk and very thirsty. Being the only one with keys to the refrigerator, he slid down and went for a glass of iced sun tea he had made earlier that day. On his way back he passed Nami’s door as he did occasionally in the hopes that it would be open, inviting him in. It was closed. He shrugged, smiled to himself and was about to continue on to bed when he heard a giggle. He raised a curly brow and leaned against the door, pressing his ear to it to better hear. His silly smile fell and his heart sank. It wasn’t her voice. It wasn’t even Robin’s (which would also have been acceptable, to him). It was his.
Sanji’s blood boiled. His feet itched to kick the door down and punt Luffy off the ship. He clenched his fists and hung his head. He could hear Nami’s voice as well now. It lilted in a way he’d never heard it sound before. His hands relaxed, he turned and walked quietly back to the men’s bunks. The light from Robin’s room snapped him to attention as her door opened.
“Ara, Sanji-kun. I’m surprised you’re not asleep,” she drawled. He wagged the glass of tea to show her what he was up to and proceeded past her door. “Oh. I thought maybe there was something troubling you.”
“What makes you think that?”
“Saa,” she said and shrugged.
“What about you, then?” he asked with a sneer. “Something bothering you? Zoro maybe?”
“What?” she asked, innocently.
“Never mind. Good night, Robin-chan.”
She smiled that Mona Lisa smile at him. “If there’s ever anything you need to talk about, you’ll find I’m a pretty good listener.”
Sanji raised a brow, and if he hadn’t just had his heart smashed to pieces he would have taken her up on the offer. “Thanks,” he muttered and trudged back to the bunks. Luffy’s empty hammock mocked him as it swung slightly with the swaying of the ship.
He was lonely, lonelier than he had been since before meeting Zoro. Even surrounded by his friends, the emptiness was getting to be unbearable. The days were harder than the nights. During the day Luffy could see her. She would laugh at something, see him, stop and look away. Or she just avoided him altogether. At least at night, everything was still and quiet. Five days of this cycle was wearing on him. It was wearing on the crew. Even Zoro had noticed something was wrong the other night. There was something that was still bothering him about her decision, and there was only one way to get an answer.
He sat against the wall outside of Nami’s room and waited for her to come back from the washroom. Her footsteps slowed. He looked up. “Got a second?” he asked quietly, peeking up from under the brim of his straw hat.
“What is it?” she asked, coldly.
He got to his feet and stared her in the eyes, unblinking. “Are you embarrassed of me?” The shock registered in her eyes. ‘Good,’ he thought. ‘That’s not it.’
Nami shook her head and furrowed her brows. “It’s not that… I just can’t.”
“I love you,” he said carefully with a sad smile. “But if there’s no way by being with you that I can make you happy then I’m willing to give up. We’re just nakama from now on. Just like before. Just like you want.” Luffy didn’t try to read her eyes. He lowered his head, turned and walked down the hall. Only a few steps away, he jerked to a halt, his progress stopped by her clutching the back of his vest in her fist.
“Please…” she whispered. “Don’t give up on me…”
“But if I can’t do anything to make you happy...?”
She shook her head. “You can. I just… I can’t get close to anyone. Ever since we kissed... Anytime I even think about it I… I get terrified.” They heard voices coming down the stairs from the deck. Nami opened her door and took him by the hand. He followed her in.
Luffy stood like a statue and watched her. She hugged herself as if she were cold, dressed in her nightgown and a long robe, more than enough to keep her warm.
“Terrified?” he asked.
She nodded. “When you touch me, I remember something horrible. Before I met you, I was… hurt.” Her right hand rubbed her left shoulder, as if working out a cramp in the muscle. She stared at his left shoulder, specifically the jagged, slightly raised flesh of one of many scars Arlong gave him.
Luffy gasped. He remembered the unhappy sounds she made in her sleep when he put his hand on her belly. ‘No… don’t touch me…’ He remembered how many times she had stabbed her arm before he stopped her. He remembered the tears that poured down her face, tears like the ones she shed now.
She trembled and put her face in her hands. Luffy balled his fists. Rage ran his blood hot. If that freak of nature was nearby right now, Luffy would have ripped his heart out with his bare hands. But Arlong was back in East Blue, rotting in prison as far a he knew. He couldn’t avenge her. He had no words for the anguish he felt for her. He did the only thing that came to him.
She twitched slightly as his right hand covered her left against her cheek, but she didn’t pull away. He put his left on her shoulder and gently pulled her close. She took her hands off of her face and put them around him. He lowered his head and whispered in her ear. “I swear to you, Nami. I’m never gonna let anyone hurt you ever again.” She bawled into his chest, huge racking sobs shaking her slight frame. He held her tightly and let her get it out. After a few minutes, she looked up.
“Luffy… I love you so much…” she whispered. “Please. Save me one more time?”
Usually in the dream, Zoro woke before anything different happened. Kuina disappeared down the steps, Tashigi emerged (lately) with the tell-tale white hilt of the Wado Ichimonji in her hand. Tonight, she unsheathed it and attacked him. Not surprisingly, he was unable to move as she advanced. He was sure he was done for and closed his eyes. When he opened them, she was upon him, literally. He lay on the ground with the marine straddling him. She put the sword aside and took of her glasses then her shirt revealing what could only be described as magnificent breasts. Zoro could feel her weight against his pelvis as she sat down and just as he reached up to touch her, she opened her mouth and shrieked in alarm like a little girl.
Zoro jumped in his hammock, almost falling out onto the floor. “What?! What’s goin’ on?! What’s wrong?!” he barked, confused and still half-asleep. He had the nearest sword in hand.
“Chopper, it’s ok! Shhhhhhh!” Usopp urged. He was out of his hammock and had his hand clamped over the doctor’s mouth. Chopper flailed in a panic. To their left, Sanji remained unmoved, pretending to be asleep. Finally, Zoro heard the cause of the commotion.
“Oh God…” Nami’s muffled voice came through the walls from two rooms away. “Oh… Oh…! Oh yes! Ohhhhhhh!!!”
“It’s ok!” Usopp struggled with Chopper. “She’s alright!”
“But…!” Chopper’s little ears twitched as Nami moaned.
Zoro could feel the blood vessel in his forehead pulse above his right eye. “That little shit,” he hissed to himself, noticing Luffy’s hammock was empty. “Go back to bed, Chopper. They’re just fucking,” he grumbled and flopped back down.
“Asshole…” Sanji snarled. “Don’t use that kind of language.” Usopp stared at him. Zoro opened one eye and watched him carefully, but Sanji remained prone. “They’re making love.”
“Mei King Rabu? Fah King?” Chopper asked, bewildered.
All three men held their breath and turned at least one eye to the small, furry young man.
“Oh, no. Not again!” Usopp wailed. Zoro faked snoring. “Oi! Zoro, Sanji, I’m not doing this by myself! Giving Luffy ‘the talk’ took all three of us, remember?!”
“I’m sure you’ll do just fine,” Zoro muttered.
Nami cried out ‘Oh God’ again and Chopper cringed. “Are you sure she doesn’t need medical treatment?!”
Zoro laughed out loud.
“Chopper,” Usopp said, taking him by the shoulders. “Nami and Luffy are… having…” He swallowed hard. “Sexual intercourse.”
Chopper blinked a few times. “Oh, is that all?” Usopp practically fell over. “But why is she screaming? Is that normal?”
“It is if you’re any good at it,” Zoro quipped.
“Zoro!” Usopp cried and covered Chopper’s ears. “He’s just a kid!”
“No I’m not, I’m almost 16!” Chopper protested. “And I’m a doctor, remember?”
“Oh. So, you understand what they’re doing?” He nodded to Usopp who rubbed his chin. “Ah, that’s good. I didn’t want to give ‘the talk’ again. How many hours did it take with Luffy again?”
“Ten,” Zoro and Sanji chimed in unison.
Chopper giggled. Usopp nodded. “Oi, how come you two aren’t surprised at all that this is going on?” He pointed his thumb to the door, through which the moans were still emanating. “I would have at least thought that Sanji would have freaked out.”
“Why? Did you know about them, Usopp?” Zoro asked, sitting up, giving up on the idea of sleeping anytime soon.
“Yeah. I saw them through my goggles on the beach when we picked them up. They were kissing,” he said with a sheepish grin. “I decided to keep it to myself because it was really cute. You knew, Zoro?”
“Luffy was trying to tell me something last night. I didn’t know they were this close. I thought maybe they were fighting or something by the way he was acting.”
“She was struggling,” Sanji mumbled, righting himself and lighting a cigarette. His face was mostly hidden by his hair. “He was in love with her but she wasn’t sure how she felt about him. If they’re making love, they must have worked it out. I’m glad for her. She deserves to be happy. But if he hurts her, I’ll kill him,” he said plainly.
Zoro, Usopp and Chopper stared at him. They believed him.
The sounds from down the hall subsided. Chopper’s nose wriggled in confusion. “I still don’t quite understand the words you used and why Nami sounded like she was in pain.”
“Intercourse is a beautiful thing between a man and a woman,” Usopp tried to explain.
“When they care for each other, it’s called ‘love making’, Sanji said and crushed out his cigarette.
“And when they could care less about feelings it’s called ‘fucking’,” Zoro muttered. Sanji glared at him. “What? Alright! I’m sorry I referred to that,” he grumbled and hooked his thumb at the door, “as ‘fucking’.”
“Have you ever ‘made love’ Sanji?” Chopper asked straight forwardly.
“Yes… and no. I’ve loved quite a few girls. I’ve had girl friends. I’ve slept with a few of them. But I’ve always known that they didn’t return my feelings.” He dug around for another cigarette, but the pack by his hammock was empty. “I’ve never been loved before. Ridiculous, isn’t it?”
“Nah,” Zoro said with a shrug. “I’m the opposite. I’ve
never loved any of the women I’ve slept with.”
“Zoro the heart-breaker?” Usopp marveled.
“Hardly. I’m not ashamed. Most of them were paid for.” Usopp’s jaw dropped. “What? You’re in a bar, a woman sits in your lap and names her price, after a few beers you don’t mind so much…” He folded his arms.
“So, being in love makes the difference?” Chopper asked. “And you’ve never been in love?”
Sanji cocked his head to the side, interested in the swordsman’s response.
“Nah. The only girl I coulda ever loved died a long time ago.” Chopper apologized for bringing up a sore subject, but Zoro waved him off. “Shit happens,” he said with a grimace that could be construed as a smile.
“What about you, Usopp?” Chopper asked, trying to shift the attention away from him.
“Me?” he asked, astounded to be included in the conversation. “Well! I’ve got dozens of harems all up and down the Grand Line. Beauties from around the world fall at my feet, madly in love with me! But only one of them holds my heart, a woman so kind and pure she shines with a white light, almost too bright to look upon!” he cried with the back of his hand over his forehead for emphasis.
“Whoa! Really?!” Chopper exclaimed.
“Well, the last bit is true. Her name is Kaya and she’s a dream come true.” He stuck his chin out. “I’m saving myself for her.”
Zoro laughed so hard he nearly cried. The boys chatted and made fun of Usopp for a few more minutes before going back to sleep.
The sun went under the clouds and Zoro woke from his early-morning nap. Disjointed sleep was nothing new to the swordsman. He grabbed z’s where he could. He noted with some disappointment that his dream had not retained its recent turn of events from the night before. Tashigi walked past him as if he weren’t there, carrying the Wado Ichimonji with her. He was sure his being invisible to her had some deep psychological significance, but he didn’t care to think about it.
The sweet smell of breakfast lured him into the galley. Sanji took a French Toast soufflé that he had prepared the night before out of the oven. Looking around the table, Zoro noted Chopper, Usopp and Sanji had heavy dark circles under their eyes. They had never mastered the art of the nap, he reasoned. Despite their exhaustion, they had made it to breakfast. They were anxious to see what happened. Robin glided into the room, took a seat and thanked Sanji as he poured her a cup of coffee, his eyes were hearts and he wiggled slightly as she complimented him on the brew. The appearance of the chef’s usual ‘ero-cook’ self was reassuring to Zoro. He grinned and contemplated getting another five minutes of sleep in with his head on the table when the door opened and Nami entered.
Her eyes darted in turn to each face around the table. Good-mornings were muttered. Usopp crowed his greeting loudly, trying to seem oblivious but failing badly. Chopper stared hard, trying to see if she was in good health. Robin seemed to smile just a little wider behind her coffee mug. Nami thanked Sanji as he plated up a helping of his heavenly soufflé for her. Her eyes didn’t leave the plate and she ate slowly, her elbow perched on the table, playing with her hair with one hand. She tapped her foot. Everyone ate quietly, but kept one eye on her. She put her fork down.
“Guys,” she said clearly. “About last night…”
Zoro grit his teeth. What she would say next wouldn’t be any fun, he was sure. Before anyone could protest or gloss it over, the galley door flew open with a loud bang.
“Aaaahhh!!” Luffy shouted. “I’m starved!” The silence and stares that greeted him stopped him in his tracks. “Eh?” he wondered then noticed the dark circles under most of their eyes. He laughed. “You guys look so tired!”
Zoro put his chin in his hand. This game was growing tiresome. He decided it was time to wrap it up. “That’s cause you two woke us up!” he groaned. Usopp’s jaw hit the table. Chopper hid behind Sanji who calmly plated Luffy’s breakfast, trying to ignore what was going on.
Luffy put on a serious face. “Ah. So very sorry,” he said with a bow. “I’ll try to be more careful next time.”
Zoro laughed. Hard. Chopper backed away from Sanji as he started to twitch. Nami’s head bowed and she too seemed to twitch slightly. Quietly, Sanji counted to ten backwards. Zoro wasn’t sure if this was to calm himself or to give Luffy a chance to run before he kicked the crap out of him. Luffy lifted his head just in time to catch a large 10 pound bag of rice with his face, knocking him off his feet.
Everyone stared at the source. Nami’s fists were clenched and she glared at her captain and lover. “What did I just say?!” she barked.
“No PDA,” he answered simply. “But I didn’t D any A…”
“Luffy…” Nami growled.
As if on cue, the teapot on the stove came to a boil and screamed. To everyone’s surprise, Sanji laughed. Just a chuckle, a snort, but a laugh none the less. He cleared his finished plate, took the kettle off the burner and stepped over Luffy on his way out the door. He took out a cigarette. “You’re one lucky bastard, you know that?” he said calmly and clearly. “Try not to fuck this up.”
“I’ll try,” Luffy agreed with a nod. Sanji went outside and lit up.
Nami sighed and sat back down. “Luffy,” she said with a smile. “Your breakfast is getting cold.”
He grinned and joined the others at the table, nearly inhaling his helping then fighting the other guys for the rest of the dish, and much to the crew of the Going Merry’s relief, things quickly returned to normal.