somewhere around the middle of this i was thinking "okay, thats nice, whatever". I didn't think it in a bad way, just that the story seemed like something i'd read many times before. The part where you noted Zoro laughing though, that changed something. Your story was better for it. thank you.
Yeah, I could have gone for the classic romance ploy, but I wanted it to dig a bit deeper and take a different route. I find a mutual recognition of skills and of caring to be more poignant than romance, sometimes ^_^