It’s a classic, Usopp said. Any pirate worth their salt would play this at least once, he said.
Sanji would say he’s around eighty-percent sure Usopp just made this game up, but Sanji is always eighty-percent sure Usopp made something up just by principle alone. It certainly doesn’t help Usopp’s case that Nami is grinning wide beside him, notepad and quill in hands.
“So,” Nami echoes Usopp’s earlier question cheerfully, and her smile is way too beautiful and magnificent for the words that come out of her mouth next: “fuck, marry, kill. Who’s your pick?”
There are rules to this stupid game. Actual fucking rules. Not even the World Government kind, the ones they break on a daily basis anyways because, hey, pirates. These rules are the kind that forces you to pay Nami a hefty amount of Berries if you break them, which, on the deck of Sunny, means nothing short of Serious Business.
Nami had taken to the game with surprising interest as soon as Usopp told her about it, but then again, she talked about it with the same tone she uses whenever she’s going to swindle a lot of money from an unsuspecting poor fellow (read: Zoro), so maybe this isn’t much of a surprise at all.
The rules, pinned next to the spice cupboard and right under the dishwashing duty roster, are as follows:
A crew member must be picked whenever possible.
Only one name is to be given for each category.
If, and only if, one has come up with a legitimate reason not to pick a crew member, it has to be someone the crew has met, known, or at the very least, heard.
Choices are based on pure objective reasoning and any FUCK/MARRY shall not be interpreted as anything resembling interest or, worse, intention to pursue. This means you, Sanji.
The same applies to KILL. This means you, Zoro.
Individual answers are confidential and worth 500,000/answer, or 10% of your last loot, whichever is higher.*
*) Payments are to be made in cash to Nami.
Really, it shouldn’t have been a surprise at all. Sanji thinks he saw her eyes turn Berries-shaped. He personally thinks she still looks beautiful, and tells her as much.
She tells him this doesn’t excuse him from the game, and expects his answer by the end of the week.
Sanji is the first victim by elimination — Chopper is out of the game because he is young, innocent and, ultimately, not human, Zoro is sleeping like the oaf he is, Luffy doesn’t seem to have figured out that the thing below his belt is useful for something other than peeing, and the others have left the ship to explore the newest island they’ve just docked at.
Sanji silently wishes the marines would start attacking them just so they could distract Nami and Usopp from the shitty game.
It’s not that Sanji wants to ruin what is — Nami’s expensive fine notwithstanding — ultimately some harmless fun. Sanji has never had problems going along with the crew’s antics, and between declaring war on the World Government and punching a royalty so hard they call a marine admiral after you, this one is far from outrageous by any means. He doesn’t think it’s physically possible for him to give Nami a no for an answer, either.
It’s just that... he doesn’t actually have an answer.
He’s a romantic person by nature. He likes to make everyone happy, and when that doesn’t work out, he likes to make everyone he gives a shit about happy. He does preen from the more... feminine attention, but between the bustling customers of Baratie, entering and leaving as they please, he never learned how to pick favorites.
Nami points at rule number two.
Usopp suggests he should just pick Zoro for MARRY, because they already fight like an old married couple anyways.
Sanji threatens to put Usopp under KILL and break the fifth rule, exactly in that order. Usopp has enough self preservation instinct to shut up really fast after that.
Brook has never heard of the game, which gives more credibility to the Usopp-Made-This-Game-Up Theory, but it’s not like there’s stopping them at this point, so Sanji fumes and glares, but in silence. Usopp smartly stays quiet.
Brook asks if Nami would show him her panties if he puts her under MARRY. Nami clocks him in the skull.
He settles on Zoro for MARRY.
“What,” Sanji says, stunned.
“Well, Zoro-san is a disciplined, reputable swordsman,” Brook explains, “and any decent swordsman would make a responsible husband.”
That...probably makes sense in Swordsman-Speak, or whatever language people like Zoro, who substitutes normal greeting with stabbing and slashing, speak in. Whatever. Sanji is civilized, and will not bother to even try to understand.
Brook can’t name anyone under KILL. He is, however, curious if anyone wants to pick him, considering he’s already dead, yohoho, skull joke!
Nami groans and hits his skull, again.
Franky has heard of the game, but he can’t pinpoint where he’s exactly heard it from, and Sanji suspects it’s from Usopp.
Franky also puts Zoro under MARRY. Franky is so not on Sanji’s list of favorite people today.
“Not you too,” Sanji groans, scandalized, because Brook is approximately a billion years old and therefore would understandably consider Zoro’s neanderthal values desirable, but Franky is, like, the future. Cyborgs are essentially sentient robots.
Franky shrugs. “He’s a super dude, his fights make great shanties, he can help me carry the ship building materials —”
“I can help you carry the ship building materials,” Sanji interrupts, and wonders how his life has gotten to a point where he’s trying to compete with Zoro for Franky’s hand in marriage.
“And,” Franky presses, “he won’t chew me out for burping at the table after dinner.”
Sanji’s eyes twitch at that. Well. In sickness and health, sure, but that? That’s just barbaric.
“He’s a great dude who breaks the Sunny’s railings once a week,” Sanji points out, switching his strategy. If he can’t win, at least Zoro should lose, too.
His strategy backfires as Franky raises his eyebrow at him and asks, “Speaking of, didn’t you break the front railing yesterday?”
Franky puts Sanji on KILL for that.
Sanji considers smashing his feet through the railing again, just because he can.
Robin immediately picks Zoro for MARRY, because blah yadda blah bushido code, something something gentlemanly, yeah, yeah. Sanji mentally apologizes for tuning her out, but if he has to listen to beautiful Robin-chan talking about Zoro being a good husband, Sanji won’t be able to resist arguing, and that just won’t do. He isn’t about to question a lady’s decision, however irrational. Nobody’s perfect after all — not even Robin.
She also puts Zoro under KILL for ruining her flower bed last week when he accidentally dropped his oversized training weight (which is unnecessarily huge and totally an overcompensation for something), and he falls for her all over again. Robin really is perfect.
She then tries to clarify whether normal Franky and Cyborg Franky count as one.
“Uh,” Nami says, confused, “would it even make a difference?”
“Nami,” Robin says as she leans forward, chin in hand and a mysterious smile playing on her lips, “the hands make all the difference.”
Robin puts Cyborg Franky under FUCK.
Nami has a distant look on her face, the kind of expression that guys wear when they witness other guys get hit in the nuts.
They pointedly don’t ask, and back away from the room slowly.
The final tally is:
Sanji gets one flattering FUCK (he hasn’t found out from whom, and honestly, considering the available options of Usopp, Luffy and Nami, doesn’t want to take his chances), Robin gets two (Nami shiftily avoids everyone’s eyes for this one), Cyborg Franky gets one (Franky opens his mouth to question the specificity, turns beet red by his own realization, and promptly closes it), and Zoro gets one (ew, is what Sanji would like to say, but Sanji is man enough to admit that Zoro can get it, considering those abs and deltoids he keeps flashing due to his unexplainable aversions to clothing. Fucking caveman).
Zoro gets a whopping five for MARRY.
That’s literally all the strawhats, minus Luffy (who probably doesn’t even know what marriage is), Chopper, Zoro himself, and Sanji.
What the actual fuck.
Sanji succumbs to curiosity and pays Nami his ten percent.
Zoro put Sanji under KILL, he finds out.
It’s not a surprise. Hell, it’s the most predictable thing coming out of this game — the sky is blue, water is wet, and Zoro puts Sanji under KILL. Whatever. Sanji still hasn’t decided on his list quite yet, but he is certain he’d put Zoro under KILL, too.
Nami asks him if he wants to know what Zoro’s FUCK and MARRY are, and Sanji politely declines because he just doesn’t care which random chick Zoro wants to do the deed with and not because the way his stomach clenches oddly at the thought, really. It’s probably that beautiful marine lady that always tags along with Smoker — Tashigi-chan or something. Zoro always acts funny around her, even when the others never noticed. He’s an open book to Sanji like that.
Sanji walks away and doesn’t give it a second thought.
He gave it a second thought.
And a third. And a fourth. And damn his shitty traitorous brain to hell, a fifth.
By the time lunch rolls around Zoro and Tashigi are married with a quaint little dojo at the foot of a mountain and blessed with three bespectacled, green-haired children Sanji can’t even bring himself to hate because they’d smile just so when their Uncle Sanji makes their favorite apple pie.
Not that there’s anything to hate. About Zoro and Tashigi-chan, that is. Well, there’s always something to hate about Zoro because he’s Zoro, and Sanji would probably nag him a little for receiving the affections from such a beautiful lady like Tashigi, but there’s absolutely nothing deplorable about the idea in general. They’d get along swimmingly anyways, probably spending hours and hours just talking about shitty swords and other sharp, pointy things as their three children play in their backyard overlooking a beautiful deep blue sea, the setting sun painting a warm backdrop on the wooden walls of their dojo.
He blinks as his train of thought crashes and derails into a nearby mental chasm.
He blinks again, just for good measure.
Holy fucking shit, he has a problem.
“Marines!” Usopp yells from the crow’s nest, and Sanji wakes up, eyes still bleary, to three marine ships surrounding Sunny, cannons loaded and aimed towards the deck.
Be careful what you wish for, he feels like telling his past self.
He rushes to the deck to get a clearer view on their enemies, and hell, he’s convinced the universe finds pleasure in finding new ways to fuck him over because he sees Smoker on the helm of the largest marine ship.
And if there’s Smoker, there’s —
“Shit,” Zoro mutters from beside him, and Sanji only needs to follow his gaze to see Tashigi walk up towards the helm to stand beside Smoker. Because of course Zoro would notice her immediately. There are roughly a thousand marines across these three galleons and she’s the first person Zoro sees. Great. Awesome. That would make a romantic story to tell their three green-haired children.
God damn it. His brain really needs to stop with the children already. He considers going for a check up with Chopper just for this.
A thousand bloodthirsty marines prove to be a good enough distraction from Zoro and Tashigi’s imaginary children, and soon Sanji is lost in the rhythm of the fight, almost enjoying it. He kicks a marine on the back of the head, does a spinning kick to immobilize another ten, and jumps aside to avoid a gunshot —
Only to find himself face to face with Tashigi.
“Black Leg —” Tashigi says, immediately taking a fighting stance, but Sanji is faster.
Before he knows it, he finds himself kicking the two guys guarding her, lifts and drives his right leg on her sword and into the cabin wall right beside her head, effectively pinning her to the wall. Sanji doesn’t kick women, would never harm a woman, but anything around her is fair game and he feels almost guilty for trying to wrestle a loophole in his own principle.
He needs to do this, though. He has to. She’s a marine, their enemy, a threat. And… there’s something he needs to know.
He blurts without thinking, “fuck, marry, kill. Who would you pick?”
Tashigi starts. “What?”
He thinks he’s blushing, but he figures if he wants to avoid embarrassment the ship has sailed a long time ago so he says, “out of the strawhats. If you had to choose, who would you fuck, marry and kill?”
Tashigi narrows her eyes and pulls harder on her sword. “Are you joking, pirate?!”
Sanji is stronger, though. He pushes her sword deeper into the wall. “I’m sorry, mademoiselle, but I don’t joke about this.”
Tashigi wears the expression of someone who wonders what kind of life decisions she’s made that have led her into this situation, which is something Sanji can relate with. “Well, fuck you, pirate. I’d kill you.”
That’s fair, Sanji supposes. “And marry?”
She opens her mouth, stops herself from saying at least three other different curses before turning an interesting shade of red.
She mumbles her answer.
“Don’t call me Tashigi- chan,” she snarls, much louder, before muttering again, though Sanji can hear it this time, a low, shy, “well, that swordsman of yours did save my life back in Punk Hazard.”
Tashigi blushes brighter, and Sanji knows a lost cause when he sees one.
Zoro and Tashigi have four children this time in his head, three girls and one boy, and it sucks, so fucking unfair that everyone wants to marry Zoro, with his stupid hair and stupid face and stupid everything. What’s so good about him anyways? The moron doesn’t even have depth perception. He doesn’t deserve all these beautiful girls, wouldn’t even be able to cherish them and treat them with love like Sanji would.
Who’s to say that they would know him either? Zoro’s a moron, after all, and he probably only has, like, three sets of expressions. Sure, Sanji can read his tics, knows the way Zoro clenches and unclenches his left hand when he sees a potentially strong opponents, the way Zoro would rub the back of his neck when he’s embarrassed — but these girls don’t know that. He doesn’t think anyone knows that, and without knowing the real Zoro, how could they make him happy? Would they know how to find him when he gets lost? Would they cook him his favorite food every day? Would they love him as much Sanji does —
Tashigi has started protesting, demanding her sword to be returned now that she’s gone along with his ridiculous demands, but it all sounds so distant, because.
He loves. Zoro.
Sanji inhales. Then exhales.
He loves Zoro.
He sees it again, the dojo at the foot of a hill overlooking the beautiful blue sea, but this time the dojo belongs to Zoro and him, and two of the four children have blonde hair, and the sea outside is All Blue. The imagination seems so vivid because somewhere along the line that has become his dream, a future he envisioned as clearly as finding All Blue and witnessing Luffy become a Pirate King.
Fuck, he’s in love with Zoro.
“Shit,” he says heartily. “I’m in love with Zoro.”
“What?” Tashigi says, perplexed. Sanji hopes it’s because she can’t hear him amidst the cacophony of gunfire, swords, and bodies hitting the floor.
He lowers his leg and steps back, still in shock by the revelation.
Tashigi is looking at him in confusion, or at least he assumes she does, because he’s no longer paying much attention to his surroundings. How could he, when he’s just come to such a huge revelation about himself, holy fucking hell he’s in love with Zoro —
A passing marine takes the chance and stabs a sword through his lungs.
The last thing he remembers is choking on air, mentally laughing at the fucked up irony of living on a ship surrounded by endless seas just to meet his end by drowning on dry land. He thinks he saw flashes of metal, of Zoro’s stupid green hair and stupider face, torn apart between anger and concern, Sanji’s name for once stumbled out of his lips — but Sanji is pretty sure he imagined this last part up. He is a romantic fool like that.
He blinks himself awake to the familiar smell of Chopper’s infirmary, the oddly soothing mix of medicine and sweets. He tries to sit up as far as his bandaged torso would allow, and when he catches the orange of Nami’s hair his heart warms but doesn’t flutter. It hasn’t been, he realizes, for quite some time.
He really is in love with Zoro. God damn it.
“Sanji?” Nami says when their eyes finally meet, and she hurriedly stands up, “oh my god, you’re awake, I need to wake Chopper up, Chopper —”
“Don’t worry, Nami-san,” he says, catching her wrist just in time before she rushes out of his reach, “I’m fine. Let our doctor sleep for some time.”
“But,” she says, but it’s a token resistance at best, as she’s already sitting down again. She tugs his grip lightly at that — a small, playful movement — but he feels the pull reverberate through his arm and to his chest, jarring him into a coughing fit.
He thinks he’s coughed up both of his lungs before a glass of water touches his lips. It takes him a few gulps and a couple more deep breaths before he realizes Nami is rambling a guilty, “oh my god, Sanji-kun, oh my god, I’m so sorry.”
He clears his throat and tries to give her his best smile, “please don’t apologize, Nami-san! A beautiful face like yours shall not be marred with unnecessary worries.”
Nami sighs, but it’s fond. “You were unconscious for a whole week,” she says, squeezing his shoulder, “let me fuss over you for a while.”
Sanji whips his head towards her in shock, mouth hanging open
“A week,” he echoes. No wonder he feels so sluggish. He thought it might have been the medicine, but apparently he danced far too near to the grim reaper than he was comfortable with.
His gaze drifts to take in more of the infirmary, afraid that he’s missed more important details like not remembering an entire week of his life. For the most part everything seems to be in place, large shelves filled with Chopper’s neatly-arranged medical books beside his work table, with complicated looking medical appliances situated more at the corner of the room, near the door. His gaze eventually falls on the small bedside table and he does a double take.
Zoro’s katanas — all three of them — are leaning against the foot of the table. Sanji frowns; it’s rare to see them without their owner, and rarer still to see them being parted with so voluntarily, away from the swordsman's sight.
“Yeah, Zoro was here,” Nami answers the unvoiced question as she notices what he’s been staring at, “been by your bedside all week, actually. We had a roster, just in case you —” Nami pauses at that, looks away and — did her voice waver at the end there? “You know. Anyway, didn’t even need the whole roster thing in the end because Zoro just wouldn’t leave. Stubborn man. Just his luck you woke up when he took a bathroom break; serves him right for growling at me when I offered him to switch on the first day. He looked like he was ready to gouge his remaining eye out and leave it in the infirmary if it meant keeping an eye on you, science be damned.”
Sanji blinks, again, at the story. There’s a weird tug at this chest. He lifts his hand up to touch it, and it feels warm, from the inside.
“It’s frankly kind of cute, how he’s been acting like a mother hen,” Nami continues, and her smile gains a mischievous edge as she adds, “or, you know, like a worried husband.”
Sanji wants to say something to that, but Chopper probably gave him some strong stuff because his tongue feels heavy and he can feel the strong pull of sleep dragging him back to unconsciousness.
He sees darkness at the edges of his vision, and doesn’t think at all as he says, “yeah, he would make a good husband,” and eyes already closed, he sees the house at the foot of the hill and mumbles, “I’d marry him.”
Chopper’s medicine really is strong.
The next time Sanji opens his eyes, there’s a cottony rasp on the inside of his mouth and dread looming at the back of his mind. It’s reminiscent of days when they partied too hard and he drank one too many glasses of liquor, but worse, because he remembers every single word he said to Nami.
He considers asking Chopper on his stance on euthanasia.
It doesn’t help that the person sitting beside his bed is not the ever-beautiful, ever-wonderful Nami, but the last person he’d rather see after his accidental confession. He has no doubt that Nami has told Zoro everything — has told everyone everything — and while his body has mostly recovered from the injuries, he’s pretty sure he could still die from embarrassment.
He sits up on the bed, scrambling for an excuse, “Zoro —”
“You almost died,” Zoro interrupts before Sanji could even finish his sentence, and takes Sanji’s hand in his. “Don’t you dare do that again, Shit Cook.”
Sanji stares at their hands, and wonders if Chopper’s medicine is even stronger than he thought. “What does it mean to you?”
Zoro shrugs. “You know what,” he answers vaguely.
Sanji doesn’t, though. Zoro shifts in his seat, looking away, seemingly embarrassed by his own actions, and Sanji is left wondering what the fuck is happening. Zoro is the type of person who gives brutally honest and oftentimes insensitive answers. He doesn’t give cryptic, vague answers — that’s more of Sanji’s department. “What?”
Zoro pulls his hand away, and Sanji hates how his own hand feels very cold all of a sudden. “You know. Our answers for Usopp’s stupid game.”
Oh. Right. Sanji would rather take another sword to the chest than to continue with this conversation, so he does the cowardly thing and practically leaps out of the bed. “I’m not in the mood to talk about that.”
Zoro is faster, though — Sanji is blaming all the medicines in his bloodstream for his slow reaction — and manages to catch Sanji by the wrist. “Where are you going?”
“Away. Out.” He pats his pockets with his free hand, but doesn’t find his cigarettes, unsurprisingly. Fuck, he needs a smoke. “In case you forgot, I haven’t been out for a week from this shitty room.”
“Seriously?” Zoro growls in reply, tightening his grip. “That’s all you got to say? Didn’t you pay for my answers? Nami told me you — if that sea witch is lying again —”
“I told you not to call Nami-san like that,” he replies, almost instinctively, feeling more and more agitated by the turn of the conversation. “What the fuck are you talking about, brainless mosshead.”
Zoro glowers at him, face oddly serious. “Did you or did you not get my answers for the stupid game?”
Sanji is going to lose it. Is Zoro seriously trying to rub this whole thing in his face? Now? The fact that Sanji wants to marry him, even after knowing Zoro only puts him under kill? Knowing that Zoro doesn’t find him desirable in any way, that he’d prefer having four wonderful well-mannered kids with a beautiful marine lady?
“You put me under KILL!” He yells, unable to stop himself. “If this is your way of telling me you want to kill me, drop it. Way too roundabout for your style, Marimo. And just in case you’re wondering, no, I didn’t bother to find out who you want to fuck. Or marry.” He looks away, trying not to choke on his own heart. “Happy?”
Zoro’s eyes widen comically at that, and he loosens his grip on Sanj’s wrist in surprise; Sanji doesn’t miss the chance and kicks him on the chest.
Zoro flies out of the infirmary through the door with a satisfying bang, and Sanji relishes his victory for a moment before growing reluctantly concerned as Zoro doesn’t get up from that. Surely he didn’t kick him that hard, did he? He jogs towards the dust-covered body on the deck, and finds Zoro with his head in his hand, mouth twisting into a hysterical laughter.
“Stupid cook,” Zoro says as soon as Sanji’s close enough to hear him, “are you jealous?”
Sanji growls, and pointedly doesn’t blush. “I’m going to kill you.”
When Zoro drops his hand and looks up, he doesn’t look like he’s making fun of Sanji, though. He looks surprised, and even almost… hopeful? “You are jealous.”
Sanji has about a thousand retorts to that, but all of them die in his lips as Zoro tugs him down by the hand, pulling him to crouch right in front of Zoro. Their faces are really close like this, and Sanji can’t look away.
“Cook,” Zoro says when Sanji doesn’t say anything, “Nami said you put me under your MARRY. Is that true?”
Sanji refuses to answer, but the way he looks away and blushes like a fourteen-year-old is probably a good enough answer for Zoro. Zoro laughs, tightens his grip on Sanji’s wrist and pulls him into a kiss.
Sanji’s life needs to have fewer twists before he dies from heart attack at the tender age of twenty-one.
When they part, Zoro doesn’t lean away; presses their foreheads together instead, his hand large and warm on the nape of Sanji’s neck. There’s a big grin plastered across Zoro’s flushed face, the kind that Sanji only sees whenever the swordsman comes across an alcohol he likes, or wins a particularly hard fight, or — as Sanji begins to understand, heart hammering in his chest like it’s trying to escape — whenever Zoro is really, really happy, apparently. And to think that Sanji is the one who puts that smile on Zoro’s face —
“I put you under MARRY, you dumbass,” Zoro says, though his insult doesn’t carry much weight, considering the stupid grin still wouldn’t leave his face. “Put you under everything, Cook. Kill, fuck, marry — the whole deal. Because that’s how far you’ve messed me up — you idiot, stupid, annoying, oblivious Shit Cook,” he presses another kiss, chaste and light and all too quick, leaving tingling sensations on Sanji’s lips. “I am in love with you.”
The words rattle against Sanji’s ribcage, his heart threatening to burst from his chest. His face feels warm all over, and he’d look away, except for the fact that Zoro’s hands are gently cupping his face, thumb rubbing absentmindedly against Sanji’s cheek.
“You’d make the shittiest husband ever,” Sanji tells him, because Zoro might be the love of his life — and ain’t that a thought that could make his heart skip a couple of beats — but he still wouldn’t miss a chance to tease Zoro.
“Yeah.” Zoro simply agrees at that, laughing softly. “I’d be your shittiest husband, though.”
Sanji doesn’t find a reason to argue with that, heart jackrabbiting against his chest, and simply leans for another kiss.
By unanimous decision, and with some heavy censorship by replacing FUCK with SLEEP, they decided that Chopper is at least old and human enough to know what’s going on with the game.
“I’m not happy at all that you decided to finally include me in the game, bastard!” Chopper said with a happy wiggle, his hooves clapping together excitedly.
He puts Zoro under SLEEP. Literally. Chopper thinks Zoro makes a great pillow, and a great sleeping partner because he doesn’t move around.
Chopper purses his lips at MARRY.
“The idea of human marriage is still foreign to me,” he says, explaining his silence, “there are too many factors involved in human marriage. For us reindeers, all we look for in a mate is one who can provide us food.”
As if on cue, Zoro throws a large fish onto the deck. There are three large slashes on its belly, crossing through its gills.
Chopper picks Zoro for MARRY.
Sanji resists the urge to bash his head repeatedly on the ship mast, and doesn’t go through with it only because Zoro leans in and steals a kiss from him, effectively blocking his path.
Bastard. Shittiest husband ever.