Here is my fanfiction, it does not have a title yet, because I'm too stupid to think of a title. It is set sometime after the Fish-Man Island arc, I guess, somewhere in the New World. I don't know. I hope it's good, tell me what you think, though, I want to know.
Zoro woke up on the crow’s nest of the Thousand Sunny, still rather groggy. He was not even sure why he woke up, or what time it was. In any case, it was too early to get up, he knew that much, so he turned over and tried to go back to sleep. It did not work. He felt uncomfortable. He rolled over, and tried to sleep on his other side. Still no success, he still felt just as unsettled as he did before. He considered shifting positions a third time, but it was too much effort. He knew it would not do him any good. His scars ached, especially the one that went across his chest. It was not the standard itching, nor was it a general soreness. He had grown accustomed to those sorts of pains, but this one was different. It was a strange sort of ache, that Zoro couldn’t accurately describe. The pain was not intense, and in fact, it did not feel serious in the slightest, yet it bothered him immensely. There was no real reason for his scars to hurt, either, although Zoro would not know anything about that. Chopper might have known why, but Zoro did not want to wake the little doctor up at that hour, and in any case, such a minor ache was not worth mentioning, it would only get Chopper worried over nothing. Recognizing that sleep was not an option, Zoro remained still, staring upwards, thinking to himself. He was alone, all the other crewmembers were presumably in their quarters, and so he was left with nothing but his swords, which rested silently next to him, and his blasted aching scar. He was supposed to be watching out for ships or islands that night, but the night was still and quiet. He doubted there would be any trouble, and he wasn’t in the mood to watch out for anything. Somehow, the ceiling was much more interesting. It was those boring moments, those still, quiet, ordinary times, when he noticed just how much his perspective had changed after the loss of his eye. The world, even the empty ceiling, obscured by the dark of the night, looked different to him, when there was nothing else on his mind. He could not possibly have counted the nights he spent awake, gazing at nothingness, and now, even that was different. It was troublesome, to say the least, and he decided that he did not want to stay still any longer. All of a sudden, he felt the odd desire to train his swordsmanship. He was supposed to he on alert in any case, so he might as well have been doing something while he was awake. He reached for the Wado Ichimonji, and, with his most trusted weapon in hand, he stood up, grunting with a sore tiredness. He climbed down the ladder leading to the crow’s nest, and stepped onto the main deck. The grass felt soft and moist beneath his bare feet, and a chilly sea wind blew over his body. Standing in the center of the deck, he took a fighting stance, and held his sword like he had done so many times before. Focusing as hard as he could, he took a practice swing, that sent a small breeze ruffling through the blades of grass. “Not my best.” He thought to himself. For some reason, perhaps it was his troublesome scar, he could not put as much force or energy into the swing as he had wanted. His eyebrow twitching in slight irritation, he readied another slash, preparing to put more force into the swing.
“Zoro.” A familiar voice said flatly. The swordsman lowered his weapon, and looked for the source of the voice. In the darkness, it was hard to see properly, but the moon, which was high in the sky, and the stars provided enough illumination to look around. In not too much time at all, Zoro found the person speaking. The figure was on the starboard side of the deck, sitting over the railing, facing towards the ocean. Given the light, only a silhouette could be seen, but Zoro recognized it immediately, from the shape of the straw hat on his head.
“Hey, Luffy.” Zoro replied. “What are you doing out here so late?”
“I don’t know.” Luffy was still faced away, not even turning around when he spoke.
“Oh. Well, you should be asleep, then.”
“No, not really.” There was no hint of sarcasm in Luffy’s tone, it was said perfectly honest, with no hint of lightheartedness or his usual wild emotions. A tone that was quite rare for the captain, although certainly not unheard of. Zoro believed Luffy’s answer without further questioning, knowing that, much like himself, there was probably something unexplainable that was keeping the Captain up.
“Did you see anything out there?” Zoro asked instead. “I’m supposed to be on guard duty tonight, but I was asleep, so I didn’t notice anything.”
“I didn’t see nothin’. Lots of sea. Lots of stars. Nothing new. I don’t think there will be anything out there tonight.”
“Good.” Zoro smirked, taking Luffy’s guess completely seriously. “I’m not in the mood right now.”
“Me neither.” This was even more strange for Luffy to say, usually the young captain was always ready for fresh action. But he had said the opposite, and made it clear that he just wanted to look out to the lightly crashing waves. It was not the job of the First Mate to protest against that. The two did not say anything for at least seven minutes, as Luffy remained still and calm, and Zoro practiced his swing, wondering why he wasn’t able to do it as perfectly as he wanted.
“Hey, Zoro?” Said Luffy, breaking the elongated silence.
“We’re strong, aren’t we?”
Zoro sheathed his blade, walked over to where Luffy was, and stood next to him, knowing that he had trained enough for the night. Luffy was correct in choosing that spot to sit, the sight of the moon reflected on the moving water and the tranquil beauty of the darkness was a calming sight. “I’d say we are. After all, we have to be.”
“Yeah, we do.”
“And we trained hard for two years, didn’t we? That’s what why we put our adventure on hold for a while.”
“But, we didn’t even move forward at all at all during that time. We all just stayed still.”
“I guess you’re right about that. We only just now started going into the New World, after we said that’s where we were headed for such a long time.” He paused as he collected his thoughts, placing a single hand on the hilt of his sword. “But we are moving again. And I definitely feel stronger.”
“Well, I feel different, anyways.”
“You don’t, huh? But we are all more powerful.”
“We were so weak, before.”
“You could say that, but…”
Before he could finish his thought, a third person interrupted their conversation. “Luffy? Zoro? What’re you doing out here?” Said a female voice. From the tone, Zoro could tell it was Nami.
“We’re just talking.” Luffy replied.
“Is that so?” Said Nami. “Mind if I join you?”
“I don’t mind.”
“Okay, then.” She went over to her two crewmates, and stood by Luffy’s other side, with one hand on the railing. “Ugh, it’s so cold.” She remarked. “I don’t know how you guys can possibly stand to be out here, dressed like you are.” She was wearing a heavy coat, as opposed to Luffy and Zoro’s incredibly light clothing.
“Why are you up?” Zoro asked conversationally.
“Oh, I wanted to check our course.” She replied, looking at her Log Pose. “The weather can change at any time, you know. It’s easy to get lost out here, even in the New World.”
“You don’t usually get up to do that. You normally have the lookout check that sort of stuff.”
“True, but I was up anyways. Couldn’t sleep.”
“Let me guess. Your shoulder hurt?”
Nami looked over at Zoro, a perplexed expression on her face. “Eh? How’d you know?”
“I thought so. The scar on my chest has been annoying me, too.”
“That’s the one Mihawk gave you, right?” Luffy asked.
“That’s it.” That comment made Zoro think back to the past two years he spent with the world’s greatest swordsman, and how that scar was not the only injury caused by that man. “The bastard.”
“We sure came a long way, didn’t we?” Said Nami, changing the subject. “We all started out on the East Blue, on totally different paths. Now, we’re world famous pirates. Me, who hated pirates for so long, with the infamous ‘Pirate Hunter’ and the son of Dragon, the revolutionary. At this point, I keep forgetting that’s who we were. Things sure have changed, huh?”
“Uh-huh.” Luffy and Zoro agreed at the same time. Zoro looked down at his still aching scar. It was another mark of the adventure he had so far with Luffy and the rest. Not even considering the two year separation, their voyage had permanently changed them in so many ways.
“It was all for the better, though.” Nami added. “If it wasn’t for this crew of ours, I would never have been free.”
“I’ve gotta say, this crew has improved me as well.” Zoro remarked. “If I had stayed in the East Blue, I wouldn’t have gone anywhere. Wouldn’t even have been given the chance to one day seriously become the greatest. I probably would have been the pirate hunter forever. Don’t know if I was strong before, but I know I am now. So, well, thanks, Luffy.” Even after he said that, he found the words to be unusual. Under normal circumstances, he didn’t think he would ever have said something like that, not out loud in any case. He glanced over to Luffy, who had been rather quiet during that conversation, but before the captain could respond, another voice spoke first.
“Hey, guys!” Usopp exclaimed. “Need some company?” The long nosed marksman strode over to the three pirates, and promptly sat on the railing, letting his feet dangle over the waves. He was holding a fishing rod. “I went out for some fishing.” He explained. “Gotta make sure we don’t run out of food!” He cast a line into the water, and Zoro watched the ripples it caused in the waves. Usopp began to hum to himself softly, as he waited for the fish to come. Nobody said a word for a long time, as the marksman failed to get a single bite. Finally, Usopp stretched his arms, yawning contently. “Ah,” He said, “It sure is great, isn’t it?”
“What is?” Nami asked.
“Fishing. I had almost forgotten how much I missed it. I mean, sure, I got a few chances to fish where I was, but, well, it’s just not the same, you know. Fishing on the Sunny is a lot more fun. Especially with my friends. I think it’s those times like this, when we don’t have anything else to do, and we can sit back and do these fun little things, that’s what I missed the most. I mean, have fun, and connect with each other, and stuff like that. It gets lonely, when you don’t have a bunch of friends with you to hang out with, or tell stories to.” Zoro looked over at Usopp, and noticed that the marksman did not even bring bait with him, but he did not mention this. It was not important, and Usopp had his reasons. No further explanation was required.
“I missed that, too.” Luffy said. “I’m happy you’re still in my crew, Usopp.”
“Of course. I came back after two years, just like everyone else. It’s what shipmates do.”
“No, I’m really glad you joined my crew again. It’s a lot of fun having you around.”
“Oh.” Usopp replied, as he realized what his captain meant. “Well, we’re shipmates, after all. Hey, how could I miss out on such a great trip for too long? We still have lots of islands to stick around for! You don’t have to worry, I’ll be your friend, no matter what happens. Now, did I ever tell you guys about the time I caught a huge Kraken with one hand behind my back, using nothing but a piece of…” His voice trailed off in mid sentence. “Ah, I think I’ll tell you some other time.”
“Eh?” Said Sanji abruptly, from behind the main group. “Wasn’t expecting to see you guys here. And good evening, Nami, my sweet. It’s so lovely to see you tonight.” He stood beside Nami, and leaned against the railing, close to her, while still maintaining a respectful distance. He still had his usual suave nature around her, but he wasn’t the usual, overly-excited lovestruck fool that Zoro was used to hearing when the chef talked with the women of the crew. Nami, being used to his constant advances, did not take much notice to the cook beside her.
“So, Dartboard-brow,” Said Zoro, “What brings you here, huh?”
“None of your business.” Sanji sneered back. “But I’ll tell you anyways. I was only getting up to make breakfast.”
“Breakfast?” Usopp asked. “Isn’t it a bit early for that sort of thing?”
“Not with how this crew eats. I’ve got to get up early to make sure I have enough food prepared to satisfy Luffy’s ridiculous appetite. Not to mention the rest of you morons.” He lit up a cigarette, and the smell of the smoke filled the salty air. “My dear Nami, since you’re up, do you have anything special you would like me to prepare for you tomorrow?”
“I don’t have anything in particular I would like. Why don’t you surprise me?”
“That can easily be done, my sweet. I shall do my absolute best to serve you the best meal possible.”
“You had better not give me anything that’s gone bad, Sanji!” Said Usopp. “Us guys are people, too.”
“You’re gonna eat what I serve you without complaining, or else you can make your own food.” Sanji blew out a puff of smoke. “But, since we only got back together recently, do you have any requests?”
“Hm,” Usopp responded happily, “Now that you mention it, I haven’t had any pike for a long time. Can you give me any of that?”
“Pike, eh? I’m pretty sure we have some of that. Sure, I’ll see what I can do.” Said Sanji. Usopp gave a small cheer, happy that Sanji was going to make him his favorite meal.
“As long as you’re taking orders now,” Zoro jeered, “I think I’ll have some white rice, with a side of sea king meat.”
“Shut up, idiot.” Sanji jeered back, but his tone lacked the bite that normally came with his taunts and insults, suggesting that he did not wish to pursue the argument any further. Then, after a few moments, the chef finally asked, “Are you going to want some seasoning on that?”
Zoro nearly fell of the boat in surprise. Sanji had never seriously considered a request before. As he was still being taken aback by such a surprising question, he began to wonder if the separation had affected Sanji that much. Although, the display of kindness, though atypical, was appreciated. Zoro would not express that, though. He was still too proud for that.
“No, I like it plain.”
“Fine then, makes it easier for me. And just so you know, the rice is normally the side, not the main course. Uncultured Moss Head.” Even though neither of them showed it in words, Zoro somehow knew that Sanji could tell that the swordsman was thankful. Moments where the two crewmates acted civil around each other only came every once in a while. Zoro had no time to ponder it, though, as he heard the distinct sound of familiar footsteps approaching.
“Um, hello, everyone.” Chopper said. “I heard all you talking.”
“Hey, Chopper.” Said Luffy. “Is there something wrong?” Presumably, Luffy sensed the doctor’s wavering, almost sad tone.
“No. I was just thinking, and then I got scared.”
“Scared?” Nami asked. “Scared of what?”
“I’m not sure.” The small reindeer tried to hop up onto the railing, next to Usopp, but, given his size, found some trouble in attempting to climb up the whole way, so the marksman helped him up with one hand.
“If there’s something you’re concerned about,” Sanji remarked, “Then you should let us know.”
“Oh, it’s nothing, really. It’s just a silly reason.”
“Come on, Chopper, tell us.” Said Usopp, “We’re your crewmates, you should tell us anything you’re worried about. It’s okay, we’re all friends here, we look out for each other.”
“It’s about that. Ever since we got sent away, I’ve been afraid it’s going to happen again. What if we get sent apart, only we can’t ever get back together? I don’t know what I would do. And, also, what happened with Sanji on Fish-Man Island scared me, too. What if something bad happens, and I can’t save you guys? Luffy, what if somebody dies? When I think about that, I…” Chopper did not even finish. His voice became more shaky as he spoke, and tears began to form in his round, expressive eyes.
“I don’t think that’s silly at all.” Nami said compassionately. “It’s alright to be scared. I know that sometimes, I get worried, too. It’s perfectly normal.”
“But, you don’t have to be afraid!” Usopp explained cheerily. “’Cause no matter what, we’re all still a crew! Like family, I guess. When we’re apart, it’s okay, because no matter what, we’re going to get back together, even if it seems impossible. Do you honestly think our captain would leave any one of us behind? He’s never let that happen before! We’ve been through a lot, you know. More fights than I would care to remember, but look at us now! We’re all still here, aren’t we?”
“But, I’m still so helpless, compared to the rest of you. You’re all so brave and tough, and I’m always going to fall behind.”
“It’s like we always say, doctor.” Sanji interjected. “Do what you can do, and trust us to do all we can, too. If we are going to survive, we need to trust each other’s abilities. Don’t ever doubt what you can do.” He paused, and exhaled a puff of smoke. “You know, whenever I’m in a tough spot, I can keep going because I know that Doctor Chopper will know what to do. That allows me to fight as hard as I can. And don’t forget, you’ve done your fair share in battle, too.”
“If it wasn’t for you,” Zoro added, “We’d all be dead, probably. And the same goes for the rest of us. We all work as a team, and honestly, we don’t need much more than that.”
“Really?” Chopper asked, “But, I…”
“We’re strong.” Luffy stated. Zoro smiled. Nothing more needed to be said, and he was glad the youthful captain finally understood. Chopper wiped the tears out of his eyes, and smiled broadly, showing that he understood as well.
“I couldn’t have said it better, Captain.” Said Robin, as the archaeologist took a place beside the rest of the crew.
“Robin?” Usopp asked, slightly startled. “When did you get here?”
“Oh, I’ve been on deck the whole time.” She replied. Zoro rolled his eyes to himself. That woman always had to be sneaky and quiet.
“What brought you out into the cold, Robin, my dear?” Sanji asked.
“I was only doing some light reading outside. And then Luffy happened to arrive. We had quite the conversation, before Zoro woke up.”
“Is that so?” Said Nami. “And what were you talking about?”
“His family, among other things. I must say, our captain’s relations are rather complicated. Very interesting, too.”
“That’s for sure.” Zoro commented. “I can barely keep track of all of it myself.”
“And they’re all so famous.” Said Sanji. “I don’t think there’s a single member of his family that isn’t feared around the world. You come from a long line of monsters, Luffy.”
“Indeed.” Robin agreed. “But I never would have guessed it from meeting him. He’s so carefree and outgoing, not the sort of man you would expect from someone of his lineage. Although, I think I like it better that way.”
“Actually,” Said Chopper, “I almost forgot about who Luffy’s dad is, or anyone else in his family. I mean, before we met his grandpa, I never thought about who his family might be at all. I can’t even see him as the relative of some famous, scary guy. He’s just, um, Luffy. That’s all I care about, anyways.”
“That much is certain.” Said Robin. “Not once did I hear him brag about who he was related to, even after he learned about his father. Truly, he is the captain of his own wild adventure. And even so, he was always reliable. In harsh situations, he always looks out for us. More than fame or status, that’s the sort of captain I want.”
“Thanks, Robin.” Luffy said quietly. Zoro could barely see Luffy’s face in the darkness, and he could not tell if the captain’s expression had actually changed at all.
“Yeah, I agree with Robin.” Said Nami. “Frankly, if he wasn’t like that, I wouldn’t have him as a captain at all.”
“Did somebody say Franky?” Exclaimed a loud, boisterous voice. Zoro turned around, and saw a huge, bulky figure, obscured by the night. Even if he was used to seeing the cyborg shipwright, the size of the man’s body, coupled with how loudly he entered, startled the swordsman slightly. Usopp, on the other hand, not having been a seasoned warrior, was a little more taken back by his shipwright’s abrupt entrance. The marksman jumped backwards, sending him toppling off the railing, towards the ocean. Acting with his best reflexes, Zoro swiftly reached out with one hand, and caught Usopp by the ankle. He could feel the marksman quivering with fear, although he saw that Usopp, even when he was falling, was still careful to not let his fishing rod fall. With the help of Robin’s Devil Fruit powers, Zoro carefully hoisted his companion safely onto the ship.
“Thanks, you guys.” Usopp gasped, as he sat back onto the railing, albeit with one foot firmly planted onto the deck, and cast the fishing line out into the water a second time.
“Whoa there, Long Nose Bro, sorry I startled you. I was only up to check on some stuff on the Sunny, didn’t think I would have seen you all up here. Are you alright?” Franky apologized.
“Yeah. I’m fine. I guess I’m not entirely used to seeing you like that.”
“Huh? What do ya mean?”
“Well, after we got back together, you sort of changed.”
“Uh, yeah I did, but we all changed, didn’t we?”
“I think what Usopp’s trying to say is,” Robin explained, “You’re much larger now, Franky.”
“I have to admit,” Observed Nami, “It’s sort of intimidating.”
“It is, huh?” Asked Franky, with a confused tone. “Didn’t think it was that bad. Sorry, I guess I should’ve kept that in mind. I didn’t even think about that.”
“I don’t think it’s that bad at all!” Chopper exclaimed. “You look really cool, Franky!”
“Aw, super! Thanks a lot, Chopper!” He paused for a moment, before saying, “But I gotta say, it does feel strange, sometimes. I’m not used to being so high up all the time! You all seem so little now!”
“I don’t mind it, myself.” Said Zoro. “But it is a little weird, sometimes. Having to look up at you so much, I mean.”
“You look kinda scary yourself, now!” Franky joked. “With that one eye of yours, it’s a bit creepy.”
“It is, is it?” Zoro looked down, and could faintly see his reflection in the sea below. Once again, he was bothered by his missing eye. While he was training, away from his crew and the ship, did he really change all that much? He didn’t feel any differently from before, but then again…
“I don’t think it’s scary.” Sanji interjected. “Come to think of it, you only see me with one eye at a time, don’t you? I don’t know why Moss Head is all that different.” For some reason, hearing the cook say this made Zoro feel better somehow.
“Ha! That is true, huh?” Franky laughed. “Well then, sorry I called you scary, Zoro!”
“Don’t mention it.” Said the swordsman.
“You’re not different at all.” Said Luffy. “I mean, yeah, you all went away for a while, and you all look a little different now. But that doesn’t mean anything. You’re all still Zoro, Nami, Usopp, Sanji, Chopper, Robin, Franky, and Brook. You’re my crew, and nothing’s changed that at all, I think. I mean, we’re still going to find our dreams, right? And you’re not that much different than I remember. So yeah, you’re all my friends. And I don’t think that’ll ever change.”
A silence fell over the crew, for there was nothing left to be said. They all looked forward, towards the never-ending ocean, with the sound of the crashing waves and the brisk night wind. Then, the sounds of the ocean mixed with a piece of sad, familiar music. “Bink’s Sake” on the violin. Zoro did not even notice when Brook had joined in, but the skeletal musician had no problem with making his presence known. Brook provided no excuse for being up late at night, and at that point, it wasn’t required. Zoro was used to hearing Brook play music on that glitzy guitar of his. He had forgotten how peaceful that old violin was. The sound of the classic song brought back nostalgic feelings, feelings that Zoro was not aware he even had. Usopp reeled in the fishing line, and set the rod on the deck beside his feet, Sanji threw the remainder of his cigarette into the waves, and together, the Straw Hat Pirates quietly let Brook finish his song. The last notes of “Bink’s Sake” drifted into the wind, and silence once again fell over the ship. Suddenly, Luffy turned around abruptly, with a beaming grin on his face.
“Everyone!” He shouted, his voice echoing across the empty sea, “I’m so glad you’re all my crew! I can’t wait for more adventures!”
Zoro’s scar stopped aching. Nine pirates looked out towards the waves, the night, the horizon, and the star-filled sky, and knew for certain that the deck of the Thousand Sunny, on that chilly night, was where they belonged.