Sab clicked her tongue while looking at the heavy traffic while on her way to the hospital. She’s running late for an important meeting and being stuck in traffic is nothing but irritating.
After getting past an intersection, she chose a different route, albeit the longer one, she figures there won’t be many cars passing by which could potentially save time.
While steadily keeping her speed, she noticed how the car right next to hers is driving past the speed limit. The driver keeps on pressing the car horn as if it’s in a hurry.
The doctor frowns, keeping up her stable speed, but she noticed how this particular car is swinging from left to right until it crashes on the railway about 150 meters from where she is.
As she drives closer to where the accident it, she noticed that no one bothered to stop their cars and checked on the driver and passengers.
All cars passing by just continued driving as if nothing happened, however, she’s different.
Worrying on the driver, she stopped her car and got out of her seat to check on the driver. The glasses are all tinted, she can’t see anything from the outside.
Knocking on the door repeatedly for a few minutes, she can’t feel any movement from the driver which leaves her no choice but to do something drastic. Looking closely at the outside, it seems the driver lost consciousness and that there is no one from the passenger seat right next to the driver.
Hurriedly, she got back to her car and took a wrench from the trunk. She walked back to the passenger seat and smashed the window glass. As soon as it was shattered, she can confirm her assumptions. The driver - someone who looks about 60 years old - lost consciousness and looking at the back passenger seats, she saw a toddler who seems to be shivering from a fever.
Sab did what she needs to do. She needs to get them out of there. After opening the passenger seat and getting into the car, she unfastened the seatbelt of the driver’s, and as soon as she saw him up close, she can vaguely tell why this man lost consciousness.
With no one to help her, it took a few minutes before she got the man out of the car and laid him on the floor. Taking her cellphone out, she instantly called her hospital to send an ambulance.
“Send them right now! The man is in cardiac arrest!”
After confirming the hospital that they will be sending an ambulance, Sab took the matters in her own hands. She can’t let this man die and immediately performed a hands-only CPR. Busy with reviving the man, she did not notice a certain someone approaching her.
Kidd’s on his way to meet Roger and Rayleigh again for this week. Due to the heavy traffic on the main roads, he decided to take a different route. On his way, he noticed two cars parked on the side. One of them is actually in a pretty bad state. It seems to be an accident while the other must have been someone who is trying to help.
In normal circumstances, he would have driven past the accident, but not this time. Not when his eyes caught a familiar figure kneeling in front of the injured driver.
Without hesitation, he parked his motorbike behind the woman’s car before taking off his helmet and approached them.
“Hey!” He greeted. She momentarily looked up to see who it was, surprised to see someone familiar. “Anything I can help?”
“There’s a child at the back. He seems to have a fever. Could you do me a favor and take get the child out?”
Kidd did not hesitate to follow her. As soon as he touches the child, he winced at how the child is burning.
“He has a fever.” He said while taking the child out of the car seat.
“There’s a first aid kit in my car. It’s in the compartment. Can you get it and measure the child’s temperature?” Sab continued to perform CPR hoping to get a response from the man.
As soon as she heard a groan, she almost breathes a sigh of relief, however, given the situation, she knows this is far from over. The man sustained a wound on his head. It must be due to the impact on the window glass.
Turning her attention to the red-haired man right beside her, she can’t help but smile. Never had she expected him to stop by and offer his help. He’s not a barbarian after all.
But enough about those thoughts.
Gaining her composure, she took a few things in her first aid kit to stop the bleeding in the older man’s head. Thank goodness it wasn’t as deep as she feared.
“Did you call an ambulance?”
“I did. They should be here any minute now.” She answered. “What’s the child’s temperature?”
“Alright. There’s a sheet of Koolfever in the box. Place one on the child’s forehead. That should at least be enough until the ambulance arrives.”
Kidd did as he was told. A few minutes passed and they can hear the ambulance coming their way.
When the nurses and the doctor arrived, they immediately received orders from Sab and a briefing on the situation.
“I don’t know the man’s identity, but make sure they get the treatment needed.”
“Yes, Director.” The hospital staff nodded before taking the old man and the toddler away to bring them to the hospital.
This leaves Sab and Kidd alone, a bit awkward on how to start a conversation.
Thank goodness that they didn’t have to as the police cars stopped to do an investigation.
It was Drake and his men who were patrolling the area.
“Kidd.” Drake greeted and so did Kidd. “What happened here?”
“The man was having a heart attack. He must be on his way to the hospital to get the toddler treated when it happened.” Sab answered the police’s question.
“Alright. Thank you for the quick response... Miss?”
“Sab. My name is Sab.”
“You mentioned the man had a heart attack causing the accident, which hospital they were brought into?”
“Revolutionary Grandline Hospital.”
“We may need to visit the hospital a bit later on to get our incident reports done and to get statements from you as you were the first one who made contact. Where could we contact you, Miss Sab?”
“Just go to the hospital and ask for me. The staff should know how to proceed.” Sab said.
“So, you work in RGH? Are you a doctor?” Drake asks.
“Thankfully, you were the one who helped them. Are you a cardiologist, Miss Sab? Or do you mind if I can call you Sab, instead?”
Kidd’s been there, silent while listening to Drake questioning Sab. Alright, he gets it. It’s part of the police report and whatnot, but his last questions are a bit unnecessary, making Kidd roll his eyes in annoyance.
“Doc Sab already answered the necessary questions you needed, Mr. Officer. Why not get back into dealing with the incident so we could all go now? We have meetings to attend to.” Kidd said in an annoyed voice, glaring at Drake.
“Right. Then - ”
“If you need my contact details for your report, you already know how to contact me. As for her, just go to the hospital and ask for her, simple enough don’t you think?” Kidd can’t help but be sarcastic.
His words made Drake silent for a while before nodding, dismissing the two of them.
Walking back to their vehicles, Sab can’t help but raise an eyebrow at Kidd’s last statement and tone. There is an underlying annoyance she can sense there - but regardless of the reasons she can assume he has for getting annoyed, she finds nothing solid or believable.
Any normal days, she would have told him how rude he sounds, but not today. Maybe they can go on one day of not arguing - at least once.
“Hey.” She called out making Kidd stopped right before his motorbike then turned around to look at her. “Thanks for today.”
“What was that again? I didn’t quite hear it.” There was a triumphant smirk on his face, making Sab irritated especially when he leaned over with a hand right next to his left ear as if Sab whispered. She didn’t whisper her thanks.
“I said, thank you.” Sab spoke a little louder this time, emphasizing her gratitude but with annoyance.
“Now, I hear it. This makes Four.”
“You owe me four times.”
“What are you even talking about?” Last time Sab checked, she does not owe him that many times. Did he multiply it by any chance? Isn’t that ridiculous?
“First incident - the coffee incident.”
“Now, I apologized and even compensated you - ”
“SECOND!” Kidd did not even let her finish her sentence before interrupting. “The one in grocery.”
“Look, that was your fault. I found that chips first!” Sab argued.
“THIRD! You know I helped your friend get out of that Orochi incident. I would have made things difficult for both of you, but did not.”
Sab couldn’t even retort anything because no matter how much she wants to reason out that she paid him, he still did something to make things easier for her and Koala.
“And this is the fourth. I believe I counted everything correct, didn’t I?”
“You’re being ridiculous. The first and second ones are faulty. I paid you for that stained shirt and that damn bag of chips is something I found first. Had you not been rude in the first incident, the second incident wouldn’t have happened and escalated like that.”
“Let’s just say you’re right with that. What about the third and fourth one?” Kidd’s smiled wider this time, very satisfied that he is winning in this argument. A lot of times, she usually wins, but not this time.
He can feel it in his bones. As soon as he heard her sigh in defeat, he feels so damn happy that it’s ridiculous.
“Fine. Fine. I owe you two. Only two! " The doctor said making Kidd smile wider than ever if that is possible.
“Nah, I’m being generous. Just one, this one doesn’t count since it is an emergency. You did a great job there.” The red-haired man may not know how the medical profession works, but he can vaguely tell that Sab did a wonderful job aiding the man.
“I am still a doctor after all, even though I don’t usually treat patients like most do.” She smiled while saying that. It took Kidd aback, surprised to see her smiling at him. Thump...
“I heard they called you Director.”
“Ugh, that reminds me I still have a meeting to attend to.” Sab groaned. They will understand why she was late anyway.
“You better get changed. You don’t want to go to your meeting looking like that, do you?” Kidd pointed at her dress which was stained with the patient’s blood. “I have to go as well. Damn, I’m late for my meeting too.”
As they bid farewell to each other, Sab realized that for the first time since they met, they had a decent conversation. Although it started with their usual banters, at the later part, they pretty much were able to talk to each other. And it was pretty nice.
Kidd, on the other hand, broke past speed limits to get to his meeting. He’s pretty sure Roger and Rayleigh won’t mind if he explains why he was late. And he was right.
They were pretty much easy-going and forgiving when they heard that he helped someone on the road.
“I didn’t expect you will know how to perform CPR.” It was Roger who said that.
“I don’t. It was not me. It’s someone I know.” Technically, Kidd doesn’t know Sab that much. They can’t even hold a conversation without arguing, except maybe earlier.
“Hoh~ Was it a woman, perhaps?” Roger wiggled his eyebrows at Kidd, suggesting something.
“Well, yes - and she owes me a lot after spilling that damn coffee on my suit. Though, she compensated me for it. Anyways - ” He stopped when he saw the teasing smile on Roger’s face. Even Rayleigh is smiling on the side. “What?”
“So, it’s the same woman who spilled coffee on you. Sounds like you are interested in her.”
“HUH???” Kidd can’t help but raise his voice at Roger’s words.
“Ah, young folks these days. Can’t you feel it? It’s destiny that you met her again! Tell me, tell me, is she a looker?” Here comes Roger’s wiggling eyebrows again, making him looked like a nosy old grandpa. Not that he looks like a grandpa, but he is nosy as hell.
“I bet she is.” Rayleigh commented.
“Why did our conversation turned out like this?”
“Hoh~ Someone refuses to answer the question.”
Kidd rolled his eyes at Roger, but deep down, his mind can’t help but answer the question internally.
Recalling the times he has seen her or interacted with her, even with just one glance, everyone can say that she’s not ugly . Ok, maybe that’s a bit underrated.
“Is she your type?” For god’s sake, why is this man so fucking nosy?
“She may look like a goddess but once she opens her mouth, all I can hear from her are nothing but insults.”
“So, she looks like a goddess! That’s quite a high rating for someone so picky.”
“Ugh, can we just get back to work?!” Kidd can’t take it anymore. Being questioned by something he is not expecting is getting into his nerves. Besides, he doesn’t want to think about it right now.
No, he’ll stick to his opinion of Doc. That’s it. She just owes him. Nothing more.
Meeting his brother has been tiring for Zoro. Not physically, but emotionally and mentally. Specifically, it was their conversation that made him feel tired.
More than being tired, it was the feeling of guilt that is wearing him down. Just thinking about it makes him want to groan. Often, he finds himself pinching the bridge of his nose.
Parking his motorbike in his garage, he noticed someone’s car parked there as well. He can’t help but groan upon realizing who the owner of the car is.
Facing her right now is bad. He doesn’t want to see Tashigi right now. It would just make him feel guilty all over again.
“You’re here. Welcome back.” Zoro did not notice that she was standing right behind him. As soon as he saw her, he can’t help but frown, dreaded in the situation that he is in.
“Yeah...” That’s what all he can answer.
“Let’s get inside. I cooked something delicious.”
Zoro just followed her inside his house. As soon as he stepped in, he can smell something delicious from the kitchen. It makes him guiltier.
“You didn’t answer my call earlier.” Tashigi said while they were eating dinner.
“I was meeting my brother. We were discussing something important.” Again, he was reminded of his conversation with his brother.
“What were you discussing?”
“It’s about the assets that my parents left. He’s handing them over to me.” Honestly, Zoro would like to be left alone now. Talking about anything right now is just making him cranky. He’s not in the mood to keep a conversation going and he’s not a good conversationalist either.
“I thought he already did.”
“No. He didn’t hand it over to me because I dropped out of college and did not meet the requirements he set before. Haven’t I told you that he almost disowned me?” Zoro dislikes repeating something he told before.
“No, you haven’t. This is the first time I’m hearing that he almost disowned you.” Her statement took Zoro aback. It made him realize something. He never told anyone about Mihawk almost disowning Zoro. No one knew except for Luffia.
“Right...” He sighs before turning his attention back to his meal.
“What is it about this disowning you? Why would he do that?”
“It’s in the past now. Let’s just forget about it.” Avoiding that subject is the best thing he can do for now. Telling Tashigi that the reason why he was almost disowned was that he followed Luffia will make her feel hurt. It just proves how much he will do anything for Luffia.
Thankfully, she let the topic go and they continued to eat in silence. While she was washing the dishes, Zoro decided to take a shower, calming his nerves.
He stayed under the cold shower for 15 minutes trying to wrap his head around the fact that he is stupid. Stupid for not realizing his feelings before. What Tashigi asked him before made sense.
Not because he dislikes her, no, it is far from that. He is not committed because his mind and heart belonged to someone else. He is subconsciously prioritizing someone else over Tashigi because that’s what he truly feels.
Sighing in defeat, he decided to get out of the shower and get his clothes. Sleeping right now seems to be a great idea. But Tashigi has something else in her mind.
As soon as he got out of the bathroom, dressed to call it a night, he saw her in his room, sitting on his bed as if waiting for him to arrive. She instantly stood up, walking to where he is and smiling. Wrapping her hands around his neck, she tried to tiptoe to kiss him.
Zoro let her be, but as soon as her lips touched his, he instantly feels wrong. Frowning, he gently pushes her back while looking away from her. He can’t do this.
Must he answer that question?
“Nothing? Then why?” Silence followed her question. Stepping back away from him so she can have a better look at his expression, Tashigi feels helpless again. “Why won’t you look at me, Zoro? Look at me!”
Closing his eyes as if to prepare himself, he slightly moved his head to face the inevitable. When they looked at each other, Tashigi can understand what’s going on now. Without him saying anything, she can understand what is going on in his mind. She knew all along but refused to acknowledge what she observed.
“I’m sorry.” That was Zoro can only say. He can’t find the right words to explain what he feels right now or what he wants to say.
“What were you sorry for, Zoro?” That question is difficult. What was he sorry for anyway?
“I’m sorry... For everything.”
As if realization dawned on Tashigi, she nodded, eyes moist as if she wants to cry right there and then. Looking at her hurts.
“Don’t worry. I understand. I should have brought this up when I noticed it months ago.”
He stood there, looking at her, feeling sorry for everything he did.
“I knew from the start that everything you do is for her. She is your everything. I didn’t bring it up in hopes that I could be wrong. That maybe, it was just me misunderstanding everything... Turns out I was right. You love her.”
Zoro can’t see the expression he has right now, but whatever it must be, it must have been an expression that confirms everything Tashigi is saying.
“I should have listened to myself when I saw how you looked at her. You never looked at me like that. Ever.”
Again, there’s another silence engulfing them. It hurts. It hurts to be standing there, not saying anything because he is afraid that whatever he will say will make her feel hurt more. Zoro wouldn’t do that. She is hurting because of him and adding more is not something he will want to do.
“Let’s end this.” She said after the heavy silence. “We should have done this a long time ago.”
“I didn’t mean to hurt you. I am sorry.” That was all Zoro can say. There is no meaning to saying anything more than that.
“Did you even love me?”
“I did...” Zoro truthfully answered. He loved her, but the love he felt for her is not the same love he thought it was.
“I want you to answer this Zoro. How much do you love Luffia?”
“More than my life.” It hasn’t been long since Zoro realized that he loves Luffia more than as a best friend, more than as a partner in business, but he knows the answer to that question. Maybe he knew this a long time ago but did not think much about it. He will give up everything for her.
Tashigi’s tears fell from her eyes as if letting go of everything she had been holding all these months.
Zoro wanted to turn his head away for he cannot bear seeing her like this, however, that would be disrespectful. The least he can do is face the guilt he has and suffer as well.
“Alright. That’s all I want to hear.”
“Tashigi - ”
“I don’t blame you. I’ll never blame you. This is out of our control. Knowing that you loved me is enough. Ending this now is for the better. You are a friend as well, Zoro. I would want you to be happy even if that happiness is not something I can provide to you.”
She walked out of the room after saying that. Zoro is left there not sure of what to do.