Zoro leaned against the railing as he listened to Alyce talk. The whole situation clearly had her in an internal struggle on what to do. After a few minutes in silence, and hearing her cry, he sat down next to her. "So, I'll help you collect a few bounties. If its to help out a friend, I don't think Luffy would mind if I leave for a bit."
He wanted to help her, and if it meant temporarily becoming a bounty hunger again, he'd do it.
After she finished eating Alyce sat in silence and everything came back to her thoughts about her gran and her eyes widened and tears rolled down her cheeks. She went back out on deck and saw Zoro. She walked over and sat beside him. "Zoro. I know I may have been a pain... but because you were with me all the time for a month so I feel the closest to you... We both know the sun didn't make me cry..." She pulled her knees to her chest and sighed. "I just don't know what to do...the price of the medicine keeps going up... and what I used to be able to afford with the bounties I got... I have to do three bounties at that price to afford... I just... I don't know what to do anymore. I hate being away for this long. But I don't have the money to afford the treatment yet. Sorry I know I shouldn't be whining to you about this but I have no one else to talk to..." She had tears rolling down her cheeks again as she looked down at her feet.
Zoro frowned at her response but didn't push it further. If she didn't want to talk, he wasn't going to make her. After she disappeared into the kitchen, he proceeded with his rounds on checking the ship. As usual, it was quiet and there weren't any looming threats. "Well this is boring."
Alyce nearly jumped out of her skin when she heard Zoro's voice and she sighed. "Well hello to you too." When he asked about why she was crying she scratched the back of her head. "Sun was in my eyes... I'm hungry." She headed up to the kitchen and hoped to avoid talking about the situation any further. She hadn't meant to burst about her problems to him earlier and she hoped he would allow her to leave it at that. She found some leftovers from dinner with her name on them and smiled. [i They set some aside for me...] She thought before heating up the food and sitting at the counter to eat.
Zoro had spent the day trying to figure out how to help Alyce so that she wouldn't have to be alone again. So that she wouldn't end up having to spend the rest of her life owing money she borrowed, if thats what ended up happening. Every idea that came to mind still ended the same way, with her leaving. He couldn't talk to anyone on the crew about it because it wasn't really his business in the first place.
"I'll just talk to her later."
When later came, he couldn't find her, only to be told by Nami that she was sleeping. She even slept through dinner. [i Did she burn through too much stamina earlier?] He hadn't known her prior to her injury so he didn't really know how much stamina she had.
That night, he was on watch though, so part of him hoped that she would wake up. When he heard the door to the lower deck open, and saw who emerged, he was surprised to see that it was her. "You want to tell me why you were crying earlier?"
Once Alyce got back to the ship Sanji had gotten back not long before. He noticed her red cheeks and her red eyes. "Miss Alyce, is everything alright?" When he noticed her wipe her face rather fast he grew curious.
"I'm fine, Sanji. Just the sun is bright is all. I'm going to go rest." She pointed towards the girls room then rushed there and instantly flopped on the bed as the door closed behind her. [i I don't want to leave... but what choice do I have..."
Without realizing it Alyce had fallen asleep lost in her worries. When people tried to wake her up for dinner she wouldn't budge.
When she finally woke up it was dark out and Nami and Robin were asleep. She carefully climbed out of the bed before heading out of the room to get some leftovers for food. "I wonder if I could get some training done tonight... If I tire myself out some more I could fall asleep again..."
Zoro remained quiet as he listened to Alyce's explanation. It was clear how much hey grandmother meant to her if she was willing to continue living the way she was. He knew what it was like to travel alone. To do off jobs. He was that way too before he met Luffy. They wouldn't admit it, but he knew that before Luffy, they were all alone in some way or another.
[I Alyce....] He saw the tears, and sighed at her lame excuse to get away. [I If she borrows from Nami she'll be paying for it the rest of her life.]
When he said her name it sent chills down her spine. But what he said next made her spin around. "H-How did you?" She looked down for a brief moment and shook her head. "I do though. Zoro I can't commit myself to a crew. Because I have to be able to go back home. My gran is sick. The truth is... I do odd jobs here and there, collect small bounties for easy criminals. I'm trying to get money to be able to afford her treatments..." She scratched the back of her head. "So as much fun as I've had on this ship. It can't be forever. But at least I'll be able to tell her stories of you guys." She felt something wet on her face and quickly brought her hand to her face and wiped away the tears. "A-Ah, the sun is really bright today. I'm going to head back." She gave a half wave before running back to the ship.
"You don't know that." Zoro was about to argue more until she said his name, causing him to fall silent. Though he expected her to say something else, it was silent, until she said she was going back to the ship. He saw the look on her face as she walked by, something was bothering her. "Alyce," he didn't move, "You don't have to be alone."
Alyce turned around and shook her head. "That's not something you can control. That wasn't anyone's fault except mine for losing my footing." She looked down for a moment and sighed. "Zoro... I..." She gently shook her head. "Forget about it. I'm going to head back. I've had enough exercise with this leg for today." She walked past the swordsman towards the ship in just her bikini top and shorts. [i I can't rely on them. I'll have to leave one day...]
Zoro tried to keep a straight face at what he assumed was supposed to be an insult but it came out as a compliment. The corner of his mouth twitched upwards a little. "Shirts get in the way," he shrugged. When she brought up how she knew it was a pain to look after her while she healed he frowned. "It was a pain because I couldn't always help you. Like the day Luffy watched you and you fell off the ship. That wouldn't have happened if I'd been there."
"Don't call me stupid Grumps!" Alyce had her hands on her hips. "I WAS WEARING RED! That irritates bulls or some shit! Look they stopped chasing us!" When he brought up when she flashed the men at the pub she sighed. "They kept calling me a he! It was pissing me off! Why are you yelling at me for this crap when you rarely wear a shirt yourself! Always showing off your chiseled body!" After the words left her mouth her face turned red as she turned around so her back was facing him. "We-Well regardless... they aren't following us. So if you're here to just scold me don't bother. I know it was a pain to have to look after me that month. I'll be out of your hair soon enough anyways." She muttered the last part before taking her hair down and fixing it into her usual pig tails.
"I don't believe it," Zoro groaned, "You really are a stupid as Luffy." When she fell he slowed his pace to help her up but it was soon obvious it wasn't needed. The moment she removed her shirt he stopped running, "What is wrong with you? Did your grandma teach you to strip to stop animals from following you? Come to think of it, didn't you flash a pub full of people too? Is that a habit of yours?"
"Oh, hey Grumps." Alyce responded calmly but then saw the bulls were still following her. "I just found a farm and jumped the fence to pet some baby pigs. Apparently the bulls didn't approve of that and now I don't know how to shake them off! I don't want to kill them!" She then got a charley horse in her leg causing her to stumble slightly but she regained her footing and kept running. "Why are they still chasing me?!" But then she noticed it. The shirt she was wearing was red. Without hesitation she pulled off her shirt and tossed it in the opposite direction. To her surprise the bulls actually went after the shirt. They sniffed it before grabbing it and heading back in the direction they came.
"Oh my god I cant believe that worked."
Zoro had lost track of Alyce not long after they arrived on the island. He wandered around trying to find her until he heard her yelling at someone to stop following her. Out of instinct he ran towards the sound of the yell and looked around. When he spotted her, he hadn't yet seen the three bulls chasing her.
When she ran by him, he turned to follow her with his gaze, a small smile on his face. However it was when he felt the ground moving below his feet, that he finally turned to see what she was running from. "What the hell did you do?!" He ran after her, easily matching her pace, "Why are they chasing you?"
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