Chest heaving and a faint sheen of sweat coating his skin, Luffy slowly down as Nami’s classroom came into sight, now jogging and dodging people as he pulled out his phone to check the time. 12:52 Hopefully Nami hadn’t moved, he thought to himself, frown creasing his face, and he carefully peaked through the door of the lecture carefully. The teacher looked to be engrossed in their talk, and Luffy carefully scanned the room till he spotted both Nami and Zoro - the latter near the back of class and the former only a few rows away from him.
'You're late,' Nami mouthed at him, wearing a devilish grin that signaled she was likely going to do something he wasn't going to like.
'I'm not that late!' he said back frantically, glancing at the teacher furtively to make sure that they didn't turn around, and then shaking his head as he continued, 'Don't you dare!'
She grinned even wider, arching her eyebrow, and he almost panicked; checking again that the teacher wasn’t looking, he scurried into the class and ducked around the people till he grabbed the spot next to her. “I’m here.” He hissed, and Nami gave a tiny laugh before shoving his satchel into his chest.
"You left this here yesterday," she whispered, before quickly jotting down some notes. "Why’d you take off so fast? Hungry?"
Subconsciously, Luffy’s head turned so he could see Zoro from the corner of his eye, nervous about discussing any meals with Zoro close by. The fact that Nami was also a ghoul just made it worse; if he got wind of what they were talking about…
"You had a date?” Nami said, catching his look and jumping to the first conclusion she could think of, and Luffy felt his cheeks heat as he shook his head furiously.
"No!" he defended, voice rising, and people from the row in front cast him glares that he winced and smiled apologetically at them for. "Zoro was-"
"I knew it was going to be about Zoro," Nami muttered, rolling her eyes, and Luffy buried his face in one hand to try and stop the embarrassment that made him want to crawl under one of the desks.
"It wasn’t like that!" he said quietly, "He has this book he wants to write about ghouls-" Nami snapped to attention as soon as he said the word, giving him her full attention, and he continued, moving closer so that no-one would be able to hear their conversation. "And last night he went after one. He almost got eaten Nami.”
”Almost?” Nami demanded, tone dangerous, and Luffy fidgeted on the seat.
Nami’s mouth dropped open, and she stared at him in horror. “You didn’t. Did he see you?”“
"I dunno." Luffy said, shoulders dropping as he tried to plead with her to help. "And I can’t talk to him.”
Pinching the bridge of her nose, Nami heaved a deep breath, and then held it. Releasing it in a quiet rush, she opened her eyes and tapped her pen against her book. “This is what we’re going to do. You’re going to distract him and figure out if he saw anything, and I’m going to go check out the dorms and see if he stays here. If he does then I can probably get someone to let me in, and check if he has any pictures or notebooks.”
"What-!" Luffy protested, looking at her in horror as she began to pack up most of her books, "Nami, I can’t do that!"
"Either you do or we find out that he knows about you when the CCG smashes down your door," she growled, fastening him to the seat with a glare and standing up, "I can’t do it because he barely talks to me. At least with you he’s tried before.”
"Nami-" Luffy tried to protest again, but she’d already headed for the door and Luffy was left in the lecture room with only his bag and the looming realization that he was going to have to talk to Zoro. Swallowing, he slowly turned his head to look at Zoro, almost shaking, and then turned to face the front again. He could feel butterflies of both nervousness and fear erupt in his stomach, trying to escape his throat, and before he could overthink he forced himself out of the seat and into the aisle, carefully going up the last few steps to where Zoro sat. For a moment, he couldn’t speak, a bare fraction of a second when he felt as though he’d never be able to get the words out, and stared at Zoro, almost hoping to see a glint of fear; at least then he’d know that Zoro knew about him, and wouldn’t have to deal with the anxiety of trying to figure it out. “Can I sit here?”