Chapter 1: It hurts
The night Zoro saw Sanji, he knew it would become his undoing. The guy was full of life, dancing, singing, cooking, well dressed and loving with everyone. The dude was the soul of the party and Zoro couldn’t take his eyes off him, and he hated himself because of that, because he managed so well so far to hide that part of him, and this full of color man came in and it was so hard not to enjoy his presence, it was as if he was sent there just to torment him.
Luffy told him a couple of days that he had a new friend and he wanted Zoro to meet him also, but Zoro was the same “I don’t care” person as ever, another person added to the gang, he really didn’t mind, but neither was he glad. He would meet him, and that was it, you couldn’t say no to Luffy.
But that night, Nami’s birthday, was the night he was put to the challenge of not showing his true colors, of not showing the others his nasty side, the part of him that he tried so hard to hide or kill, the one that was laughing every time he couldn’t hold a relationship with a woman more than a few weeks, every time he wouldn’t get hard when he saw naked women bodies, but would slowly whisper in his ear every time a well-dressed man passed him, would make his skin tingle every time he smelled a combination of perfume and manliness, would make him swallow hard every time he saw a hard, supple muscle hitting another object.
When he first told his sensei the feeling he was having when he saw some men from his dojo fighting and winning, the man looked really confused and stern. He took Zoro away and commanded him never tell anyone else than he explained to his pupil that men like women, marry them and make children and this was the rule he should abide. Since then Zoro never told anyone else ever again what he was feeling, not even to Kuina. He thought that it would be easy to drown that sensation, it would be easy to like women because he liked Kuina a lot, she was a great fighter, she won every match but he promised himself that he would defeat her someday and then ask her to marry him and have children together, just like sensei said.
He wanted to be the best for her, they promised themselves they will try their best to be the best.
And then it happened…
A few stairs and a hit to the head and his best friend was gone, her life blown in the wind. Sensei was depressed a long period of time and he had to get through life by himself, no one to talk to, not one shoulder to cry on, so the anger got to him, made him close himself and fight everyone and everything, he had more bruises than skin, he was skin and bones because he was cooking for himself and that was not very edible, so many nights he would fall asleep with his stomach more empty than full. He would grow stronger, he would be the best and remember her forever.
His sensei had the mind to pay for his tuition to a boarding school. Highschool life was not easy but not hard also, the ones that picked on him would get a taste of his fists, he was not allowed to bring his swords to school. He trained night and day, he went to classes just to sleep and have his exams, he was average and that didn’t bother him at all.
Unfortunately, the grieving period never ended, and he wanted no help.
On his last year of high school, he met Luffy and things got better, but also worse. It was better because Luffy understood him, but also worse because Luffy came with people, a lot of people.
Luffy insisted to go double dating, to go to parties, and people started asking him why did he refuse, and when Luffy told him it was weird not to date and have fun, he never meant women, but people.
But Zoro got the message wrong, he understood that his friends thought he was weird because he didn’t date women, he remembered again his sensei’s words and forced himself to date women, to go out and talk about his dates with his friends because it seems this was normal and he wanted to be normal. The only problem was that they never lasted because they always wanted more after a while, more skin on skin, more touches, more intimacy, and even though Zoro had no problem kissing them, taking them in his arms and cuddling, he could not get in the mood, he could not get erect from their breasts, or even worse, he couldn’t like touching them on their sexes, for him it was just gross, so they usually left.
Zoro was horrified because the moment Sanji entered the room with Luffy, he got hard instantly, his mouth got dry and his brain sent him all the wrong signals. He was so upset that he immediately started a fight with the man, attacking his masculinity and eyebrows. The good thing is that it worked, he got his mind out of the gutter, or so he thought.
After yelling at each other and calling themselves names, the blond could not stand anymore and attacked him. Zoro reacted fast and unconsciously but the voice was back stronger than ever, whispering sweetly, making him notice how strong were his kicks and how much he would want to feel that power under his palms, the way he stopped his attacks and that he should try the blond with his swords, cut those clothes and enjoy his body as the freak he was. Zoro was shocked because it was the first time he defiled the image of his swords with his filthy, freak thoughts. It was just a second, a blip but it was enough for the other to pound him in the wall. Zoro yelled, came back and punched the blond hard and left without saying a word. Everyone was in shock, they never saw Zoro so angry and they didn’t understand why.
The man left the party and went home, or in the direction of his home, he didn't know where he was or how much time it has passed since he was walking but he was so lost in thought that it didn’t matter. He felt something was wrong with his body, he felt his shirt wetter but it was ok, it was his punishment for defiling the only thing he had from her with his freak thoughts. He never realized he fainted, but when he woke up he was not outside anymore. Trying to get up from the bed he was placed in, he felt his head explode from pain and nausea taking over him. He stopped and breathed for a while, groaning when it got worse and worse. And as if the world hated him, he heard the voice he loved and hated at the same time.
“Yes, Luffy, I found him in the park close to my house, fainted from the loss of blood. Yes, I am sorry I will apologize I hit him that hard. No, no it’s not necessary to come and take him, he’ll be fine here. Yes, yes I promise I will try to not fight with him anymore. I believe he just woke up so hear you later ok? Tell beautiful Nami-san not to worry anymore.”
The phone was closed and two blue eyes were looking at him. He was not a coward, he didn’t close his eyes because of the shiver he felt traveling through all his body, but because of the bloody headache and the dizziness. A cold hand touched his forehead and it felt so good he just let it there. He fell asleep and his dreams were clouded of blood, smoke, man’s perfume, and gold hair. When he woke up again he felt better, but he made no fast moves. He slowly opened his eyes and was shocked out to see the man sitting on a chair at his bedside, sleeping. Zoro felt like the biggest of fools, he verbally and physically attacked this man just because he could not control his body, and what does the other do? Takes care of him after he faints. Why? He was so perfect, why was it not allowed to fall for him?
Chapter 2: Break down
How could he make his feeling disappear?
Hey guys, I don't know if I will write another chapter or another 10, I'm still not sure what will this become, but the caterpillar is now in its cocoon, ready to grow so I hope you will have patience. Thank you for being here, luv u!
Sanji made breakfast for them and they ate in silence in his kitchen.
“Luffy and Chopper will be here in half an hour to take you home. Look I thought all night long how could I apologize, I know my blows are hard and … “
“It was not your fault, I asked for it. Just forget it.”
“How could I forget it? It is my fault you have almost broken your head and …”
“I said FORGET IT!”
Both men were on their feet and tense
“No buts, I’m fine. But we have to spar again, but this time with my swords.”
The wonder in the other’s eyes was clear.
“You fight with swords?”
“Yeah, so you had an advantage because I didn’t have my weapons with me.”
Zoro saw Sanji smiling softly and he thought that he would want a picture with that image. It was so soothing.
“So that’s what you’ll be telling yourself? I think I could beat you with or without your swords.”
Zoro was about to scream, to yell and hit the other, but then he saw the blond was still smiling and the words were not acid or vindictive but teasing. Oh, could he do it? Could he tease back?
“You talk now … when I don’t have them with me so I can’t prove it to you.”
Zoro looked anywhere but at Sanji. It wasn’t quite right, but he really didn’t know how to tease, he was an “on point” kind of man.
“Then we have to make it a date.”
If someone could die because he drowned with his own saliva, it would be Zoro. He coughed violently, he had no air, what did the other say?
Sanji was patting his back and laughing.
“Hey, didn’t you ever had a spar date?”
Ohhh, that’s what he meant.
“What did you think I was asking?”
“No, I just,,, it’s…”
“So, do you want to spar with me Zoro?”
The way the blond pronounced his name was funny, but also very attractive. He was never Zoró.
“Yeah, sure thing … curly.”
He couldn’t say it, he just couldn’t say the blonde’s name.
“What did you call me?”
The man had his eyes wide open and was clearly bothered. Zoro thought that he could take advantage of this.
“Oh, haven’t you look in a mirror today? Your brows are curly.”
“But how could I not notice when they are right there, on your face.”
“I said SHUT UP!”
The next second the blond was in his face, pushing him on the floor and holding his hands above his head. Thank God for Luffy and Chopper entering the room at that exact moment or else the blond would have felt/seen his boner. Oh, the blond was so hot when he was angry.
“Sanji, he was just hurt! How can you be so mean to him?”
“Sorry Chopper, he was just an ass and I reacted.”
“Are you OK Zoro?”
“Yeah, yeah, I’m fine. Let’s get out of here.”
“Don’t forget about our date mossy.”
“Date with Zoro? I want one too!”
“It’s just a spar Luffy.”
“Oh, not fun. I don’t want to fight you.”
Zoro didn’t sleep that night. He kept remembering the blonde’s smile, his wits, and posture, the moment he felt on the floor with the blond on him. Shivers kept passing through him every time he imagined that same scenario again and again.
But the guy was not only hot but also kind, he took care of him and slept on the chair near his bed, and he looked really worried when he wanted to apologize. And maybe he should have been worried because his kick hurt, like really bad. He was really strong, but also nice.
Zoro was on the verge of doing something really stupid when he noticed the sun was rising. He thought about the man all night long. The realization hit him like a hammer. He couldn’t, his sensei told him what was right, what he should do. So he got up and went to the dojo, and trained all day long. His body was tired but the longer he trained the longer he didn’t feel the attraction so bad. He then decided he would not go to the sparing date, and he would try to stay away from the man, and … he stopped the train of thoughts. Focus, meditation and training, these were all he needed.
The next day at school he stayed in the classroom, not looking for the gang. No one realized he was there, he had no friends in his own class, he had no one to talk so he put his head on the desk and slept through the launch break.
Meanwhile, in the canteen, everybody was wondering why Zoro didn’t show up. Sanji was the new addition to the gang and he fit perfectly there, even bringing the girls some sweets from his restaurant. He also noticed the missing green head and asked the others but no one knew what happened, and no one knew where he was. The guys joked about getting lost again and Luffy told Sanji that Zoro didn’t have the best direction.
The second day Zoro didn’t come to eat with them, Usopp and Luffy tried to call him but Zoro didn’t answer. He was once again sleeping on his desk trying to forget his torments. He missed the interaction a little, he missed the jokes and the goofing but until he was ready to see the blond and not feel anything, he would not go with his friends anymore. He would train out of it.
The third day they went to get him before the break. Luffy and Usopp met the day before with an ex of the guy and asked her if she knew where his class is, and she told them. Sanji wanted to go with them also, so all of them left their classes 10 minutes before the break so Zoro could not escape, met and found the class.
The teacher got out of the class, glared at them for being there too early definitely, and left. The guys entered the classroom and found their friend. Luffy yelled from the top of his lungs.
“Zoro! We found you!”
The guy lifted his head, with a haunted look in his eyes. Sanji wondered what was making the man so freaked out.
“What …? But … how did you? Why are you here?”
“To take you to lunch. You missed two days in a row and we were worried. Come on Zoro, food is waiting. Meeeeeeeat!”
He ran out of the classroom with great speed, Usopp following him. Sanji was blocked to move by girls who were swarming around him but managed to see the defeated look in the other’s eyes. He was sure that the man would get up and follow the others but the opposite happened. Zoro threw a sad look at him and then sat again with his head on his arms.
“Oh no you don’t, you stupid marimo.”
Sanji yell scared the girls around, and the boy could move to his target.
In the meantime, Zoro also raised his head when he heard the other scream, the voice he tried so hard to forget, the raspy baritone, because of course, the man smoked, and even though Zoro never smoked he thought it was hot as fuck. He saw just on time the leg that was approaching him fast. He blocked it with his arm, and because his muscles were drained from too much training, he hissed a bit.
“What the fuck dude why is your muscle so stiff? Are you all right? Let me see.”
Sanji was in his face, already lifting his sleeve. Zoro looked a little at the blond hair in his face, and then saw that everyone else was looking, and his fuse blew.
“What the fuck do you want? Why are you here? Go play with someone else!”
He ran, he ran as fast as he could and never looked back. By the time he got home he was all sweaty, his thoughts were muddled and he felt drained. He went straight to his room, threw himself on his bed and started crying. He felt so weak and beaten, he could do nothing to make it better. When he saw Luffy there, in his class, he was a bit glad, it meant his friends cared, and there was Usopp also, but then his eyes landed on the blond and his world started spinning. Why was the blond there? He was trying so hard to not think about him, to forget his voice and demeanor, the color of his eyes and that slick smile, and then out of nowhere not only he appears in his classroom but gets the eyes of all girls, girls who could talk to him, flirt with him, date him. The fact that he was not a girl, he could not do any of the things girls could just smack him in the face bad, so he put his head on his arms ready to sleep and forget with all his heart. And then the boy had to show him how strong he was again, had to yell at him with that voice that was giving him shivers and hit him. He really still had a thing for powerful men, he could never not see it, so when the other not only hit him hard, but then acted worried, realized that something was not right with his body, he was sore from all the fighting and training, but he was also hard from the pleasure he had from feeling the other’s strength, something in him snapped. He had to leave or he would get closer to the man, he would touch him or hug him or … the thought of a kiss brought Zoro yell-crying because he could never have something like that with the guy and the world was not fair.
He was scared out of his thoughts when he felt a hand on his shoulder slowly patting him. He turned his head fast and realized it was Luffy. He couldn’t do anything but hug the man and cry on his shoulder and his friend was there the whole time, not trying to stop him, just helping him with being there. Almost half an hour later, Zoro calmed a little and with the help of the other went to the bath to wash his face. Back in his room, he expected questions but Luffy said nothing, just waited.
“Aren’t you gonna ask me?”
“No! But if you want to tell me, I hope you know I am here for you. We are friends Zoro.”
Yes, they were friends but Zoro believed even Luffy would be shocked if he found out about him, about his weirdness.
“I … can’t tell you.”
“Then don’t. But remember that I am here WHATEVER you may do or say.”
“And if I told you that I killed someone?”
“I have some good places to hide the body.”
Zoro was shocked as to how honest and serious the guy seemed, as if he was totally thinking where it would be best to hide the corpse.
“What if I hurt a friend of yours?”
This was not too far from the truth, he might have just hurt Sanji with his negative behavior, and the guy didn’t deserve it at all.
“You probably have your reasons. You’re not a bad guy Zoro, you are straight forward and brutally honest, but you are also kind and caring, and nothing, and I mean NOTHING, you have done can scare me away. You can not tell me, and that would be ok, I will wait until you want to tell me, or you can never tell me and that would also be ok, but you can also tell me and I promise you I will help you as good as I can.”
What the fuck did he do to deserve such a good friend? Zoro felt like crying again, because of the shame, because of the position he was in, because of…
“How did you enter my house?”
“Oh, through the window. Sanji came to me with your backpack and told me you were in a hurry to get home and forgot it in the class. He also asked me to check your arm and assure you were well. Can I see?”
Zoro nodded because he could not talk again, he was weeping. Sanji has thought about him and his wellbeing and he has been just an ass to the guy.
“You’re just bruised a little, but why are your muscles so tense? Did you train till you fell again Zoro?”
It was the drop that filled the glass. The worry from his friend’s voice was the last push he needed.
“I think I like someone.”
“Oh, is she pretty?”
“Um, yes the person is very nice, was nothing but nice to me since we met and I was just an ass to … the person.”
“Why, if you like her?”
His friendship was going to end, Luffy will not be his friend anymore if he told him the truth, he was going to think he was a freak and not talk to him anymore. He couldn’t do it.
“Zoro breathe! You are scaring me. If you don’t want to talk don’t talk. Zoro, look at me!”
Zoro opened his eyes, not realizing he closed them, and the friendly face and warm smile did him in.
“Because he is a man.”
Chapter 3: Tum tum tum
Not a big chapter, but a lot of info :D
“Oh? Is that so?”
“Yeah, and I know it’s not normal and …”
“It’s not normal? Why is that?”
“Because men must marry women and have babies.”
“Oh, yeah. That’s what everyone thinks. But you see, I realized something, the heart and the brain are different, they don’t like each other sometimes. My brain tells me I could die someday because I eat so much meat, but I don’t listen to my brain because I go just with my heart.”
“But … what?”
“Look, you know I’m not really smart and all, but it’s because I never listen to my brain, I only listen to my heart. And my heart loves meat. So what if everyone says you should marry a woman if your heart tells you you love a man, then you love a man, and you will suffer if you listen to your brain and not your heart, or at least make peace between them. Come on Zoro I thought you knew this! Why would you meditate so much if you are in a storm daily?”
Zoro didn’t believe what his friend told him, didn’t believe it was possible to be as simple as the little man was saying but… what if it was? What if he was afraid for nothing all this time?
“You … don’t think it’s weird?”
“Well, no. But if you like a guy, why did you meet with all those girls? Was is your brain again? Zoro you are really heart stupid, but I am brain stupid so maybe we complement each other. Shishishi!”
“I am … stupid. But .. I thought that … my friends would … but you are not and … now I don’t know anymore.”
His head was a total whirlwind, his heart was beating fast and he had a hole the size of a country in his belly. He was totally in his head when Luffy answered the phone and didn’t even realize a conversation was over when Luffy starting dragging him out of his dormitory.
“Come on, Zoro! Nami said she will give me her sandwich if I bring you along.”
“Haven’t you heard me? We’re meeting at the Sunny.”
“Ummm… I don’t know if it is such a good idea, I have to … think … or no not to think but maybe think a little with my … heart? God, this sounds so stupid.”
“That’s what nights are for, the days are to play with your friends. I always think with my brain at night before sleep, and I feel better the day.”
“Luffy, you must promise me you won’t tell anyone about this!”
“Yeah, yeah, why would I say something? It’s your heart and your brain, you decide when we can hear your thoughts. But remember Zoro, we are nakama, we don’t hurt each other. Now come! Food awaits!”
Zoro couldn’t hold himself and started laughing and crying a little at the same time. He loved this little man, he loved him with all his heart and brain, God it sounded so stupid.
They made it at Sunny in record time and before they entered the booth that was reserved for them every day Sanji’s voice could be heard, along with Zoro’s name. Zoro caught Luffy, covered his mouth with his hand and signaled him to be silent.
“So what’s with the marimo? I mean he’s a little brutish and all but I believe there are a lot of girls that would want to be with him, but since I came here I never saw him with anyone.”
“Oh, Zoro had a lot of girls,” It was Robin’s voice. “ but you see they never last. His longest relationship was what, two months or something?”
“Yeah, I know that one. He was so angry all the time, and they fought a lot. What was her name?”
Nami was sticking her nose in other’s business as always.
“Oh yeah, I remembered, Tashigi! That girl was so shy in the beginning and the broke up so nasty, with yells and fights and …”
“What??? The marimo hit a woman?”
“No, he didn’t hit her they had a sword fight while yelling and screaming. Zoro never wanted to tell us why they broke up but I can bet that it was her fault.”
It was really quiet after that, no one saying a thing. Even Luffy was quiet, but he was looking at him with questioning eyes. He released the other’s mouth and entered the room slowly, he looked at everyone and just stopped thinking.
“It was not her fault, as it was not any of those women I dated fault, the break up’s were all my fault.”
Nami tried to say something but Robin gripped her hand and made her shut up. The woman had a smile on her lips that translated it I know your secret.
Zoro closed his eyes, sighed again, and released all his dark thoughts.
“It was never their fault they became jealous because I was not paying attention to them and seemed as if I was looking at other, it was never their fault that they had the impression they were not good enough, it was not their fault they felt their body was not enough to excite me, it was always my fault.”
Zoro opened his eyes and looked at the really curious, but confused faces. Luffy was ok, but what if the other weren’t? His friends have become a really important part of his life, and maybe they would not be ok with what he was about to say, what would he do next? Make other friends? He couldn’t, he was never good at that and he didn’t want other friends. He was so caught in his thoughts, he didn’t see his little friend Chopper, his almost little brother, coming close to him and taking his hand.
“What is wrong Zoro? Why do you think is your fault? Are you sick? Can I help you with something? Maybe a pill could help.”
Zoro smiled a sad smile, he knew what he had to do, he was no coward, but he knew that even one of his friends would abandon him, and their friendship, he would hurt really bad, so expecting at least a nasty reaction, best-case scenario, and all of them rejecting him, worst-case scenario, he opened his eyes. Tears spilled from them, but he didn’t bother hiding them or whipping them off. He saw Sanji get on his feet and preparing to come at him, but Luffy stopped him.
“Those girls had no fault I was born a little … strange. I … I always knew … I tried … but …. “
His thoughts were a mess, his feelings were fluctuating and his heart was beating hard. Could he do it? He didn’t think he could, he was no coward but … he already lost Kuina, could he lose someone close to him again? He was breathing on his mouth and he was scared, he heard Sanji screaming in the background, but he didn’t understand what the man was saying, he was really dizzy and felt like puking. He never realized he fell on the floor, but he was sitting and someone put a bag on his mouth, making it a little bit easier to breathe. He opened his eyes and saw Sanji, felt his arm holding him, and he was talking but he had no idea what, he couldn’t understand a word he was saying. The man took his hand and put it on his chest, inspiring and then letting it out, inspiring and then letting it out. He started copying the man without realizing, and after a few breaths he started hearing noises again, three breaths later he could understand.
“That’s right marimo, come on, again breathe and let it out, nice and easy.”
Chopper came back, ( when did he leave? ) and started talking to him.
“Zoro can you hear me? Blink once if yes, twice if no.”
He blinked once, almost hearing everyone from the room breathing relieved.
“Do you think you can breathe without a bag? Blink.”
He blinked again and Sanji, that never moved from his side, let the bag slowly down as if prepared for another attack.
“Zoro, I want you to take this pill and keep it under your tongue, ok?”
Chopper was fussing over him, taking his pressure and heart rate but Sanji was unmoving, even when he was asked to leave, he never did.
“Sanji I want to check something, you can leave him to me …”
“Sorry Chop buddy but I can’t.”
“Yes, you can I know what I am doing and …”
“Trust me I can’t, I know it will be very hurtful what I’m about to say but I think fussing over him will do no good. You gave him the pill, he is a little better but he can go back to that state in the blink of an eye.”
“Do you also want to become a doctor Sanji, or …?”
Robin let her question incomplete on purpose. Yeah, she also recognized the signs, she knew the man was right and yes Zoro didn’t need fussing and agitation right now but a calm hand, like the one Sanji was keeping on Zoro, slowly petting his back, and a calm voice to tell him everything will be alright.
“Yeah, I know the signs. He just had a panic attack, so please give him some space to breathe.”
“But how do you know Sanji?”
“Because when I was little I had panic disorder.”
Chapter 4: All Blue
Sanji smiled softly, looking at a point on the wall in front of him.
“And now mosshead and I are going shopping, we need ingredients for a Japanese dinner where you will all be invited.”
“Yes, you are! Let’s go!”
Chopper opened his mouth to say something, his eyes already weeping, but Robin was there to soothe the little man and stop him from protesting.
Sanji took Zoro’s hand and took him out. HE realized he was still out of it, but he knew he needed a distraction. He found his cigarettes in his front pocket, opened the lid, took one with his mouth, put the pack in its place and light it, not letting go to Zoro’s hand one second. The man was in thought as if he was not even there, but Sanji could handle this. He now understood his father, he understood all the times he lied they needed something from the market or invented a reason to leave town and travel somewhere, it was his way of bringing little Sanji back, back to the happy child he was, away from the scared little person that kept trying to invade his body, and he made it. His father might have not the best solutions all the time, screaming and throwing things, but it worked, he always brought him back, till the day he didn’t need to be brought back anymore. And now this strong, prideful, lost man needed the same treatment and Sanji was more than glad to do it.
They were walking for 5 minutes when people started looking at them, at their hands interlocked together. It took 10 minutes for Zoro to try to get away from his hand and touch, but Sanji wouldn’t have it. He let go of the hand just because it was too soon, the man was not even ready to … Well, it was not his job to make him be ready, his job was now to make the man forget, to come back and realize he was not alone in this. He moved it on the other’s back, not hugging or petting, just holding his palm on the middle of his back.
“I bet you can’t even tell the difference between wasabi from horseradish.”
“I … how could I not know you curly bastard? You forget I am Japanese or have you looked in a mirror and hypnotized yourself?”
If Sanji didn’t know his mission, making the man forget the place he entered, he would have been so mad. But he remembered, he had a distraction to make and he would be good at it.
“Did you know that 95% of the sushi restaurants give you the fake thing?”
“Well … yeah.”
He didn’t like that voice, it was far away and a little bit sad.
“How so? Spat fire because of it in the past?”
“Um, no. I’m pretty good with hot foods. My childhood friend and I would get in trouble lots of times when we were not training. And our punishment was planting in the garden and meditating while doing it. One of those times, Kuina seemed almost happy she had been punished and came from her room with a root-like plant. She asked me to help and we made a puddle like area where she put the green thing with roots. She was always looking after the thing, and after a while, maybe one year, maybe two I don’t know, she pulled it out and show it to me.”
“And? What did you do?”
“Nothing. She turned it into a paste and asked me to eat it with the onigiri. And it was really awesome, because it was hot but … not … just in your mouth, not when swallowing. And it felt really… plant-like, it also has a taste not just hot. I don’t know … I …”
“Yeah, you described it really well.”
“How do you know?”
“For me to learn a lot about the kitchen and cooking, my old man took me in a lot of places, farms included. In one of those farms I tasted real wasabi, and it was exactly as you described it. Shame you can’t find it around here. But sushi can be made with a lot of things and that’s what we’re doing.”
“Well yeah, we are going to a fish market right now and then to my place.”
He felt Zoro’s back muscles strain. Did he not want to go with him? No, the man was still walking, even though a bit stiff. So the fish was not the problem either, so that meant his house was the problem. But why …? Oh, the whole discussion thing.
“The guys will be there also after a while.”
The man relaxed a bit after hearing his words.
“Oh, we’re almost here.”
They entered Sanji’s favorite market, the one that brought fish in the morning and the evening, freshly fished that day. He took Zoro’s hand again and he felt the other try to get his hand away but he didn’t let go, the market was full and they could get lost easily, and Zoro’s sense of direction was legendary.
“DO you know what we’re looking for mosshead?”
“Nori, rice, fish?”
“Sooo, we’re looking for dried you?”
“HEY! I am no nori!”
“The seaweed on your head says otherwise.”
Sanji was laughing and observing. The man didn’t try to get his hand away anymore, even though they were fighting, he was really present and even a bit curious. They should have some fun.
“Do you like roe?”
“Yeah, but the good ones are pretty hard to find.”
“Marimo, you are here with a chef, don’t offend me.”
“Oh, so I came with a cook at the market and now I should feel honored?”
“Of course you should, and it’s chef not cook.”
For a minute Sanji really felt offended, but then he rose his head quickly hearing the other laugh. It made him smile, they will have so much fun. Insulting, shopping and explaining, Sanji was totally in his element and he felt the other following his example.
“Look there! Best roe in this market, fresh too. Gin my man, how are you?”
The mentioned man smiled and approached Sanji, but his smile was quickly turned into a frown when he saw their hands together. Sanji almost swore out loud, he tended to forget that Gin liked him. Zoro was panicking again, struggling to let go, and Sanji let him for only one second, putting his hand in the other’s back again, making a little pet like movement.
“Tell me you have some fresh roe, we need it badly!”
“For you? Even if I would not have it, I would personally go deep, catch some fish and find it.”
“I knew I could count on you.”
Zoro was looking at the man, a mix of disgust, wonder and something else, Sanji could not name it. He then looked at the fish and his eyes got big.
“Oh, he has fresh tuna also.”
“Oh, so the moss knows the fishes a bit. Yeah, that’s a big nice tuna. Gin put the tuna in the bag also. What would you like to eat? You never told me.”
“I like sashimi a lot, onigiri also.”
“Any kind of sushi?”
“Well, yeah. But I’m not picky. What’s that?”
“The gross thing on the left.”
Wanting to see what Zoro was referring to, Sanji got really close and looked on the table.
“Oh, you mean the hoya?”
He turned his head, and Zoro was right there, really close, wide-eyed, looking at him. Not displeased with their closure, Sanji smiled and answered.
“That’s sea pineapple.”
A noise came from their salesman. He was snarling and giving Zoro a nasty look. Sanji didn’t like it, not one bit, he wanted his trip with Zoro to be nice and relaxing. While he was thinking this he missed the look Zoro threw at the other, so the words that came from his mouth were such a big surprise.
“Is there a problem?”
His tone was cold and threatening.
“Yeah, there is. You’re too close to Sanji and …”
Sanji got back from his shock and reacted fast.
“Gin, what the fuck is wrong with you today?”
Shouting at the man, he got himself another cigarette and light it while looking him in the eyes.
“But Sanji, you never let me get this close to you and …”
Zoro tried to make some space between then, while still glaring at the other. Sanji had none of it. He moved his hand from Zoro’s back to his hip and made him get even closer.
“The partners I bring here are none of your business, now tell us how much do we owe you so you can get back to your job.”
Sanji realized he was being watched by both men. One look was shocked, angered and offended. The other was shocked, confused and maybe a bit happy. They left the man as soon as they paid, Sanji grabbing Zoro’s hand again going through people and stalls. He felt happy when the other stopped him and asked him questions, the shopping trip managed to be better than he believed it would be.
They were walking to Sanji’s house, that was above his father’s restaurant, they were play-fighting when Zoro stopped in the middle of the road.
“What’s wrong mosshead? Tired already?”
Sanji was worried, was it another panic attack? But from what? He had to stay calm and help the other get over it.
“What are you saying there marimo? Talk louder!”
“Why did you tell that guy I was your partner?”
Oh! So Zoro was bothered by that comment.
“I didn’t mean to make you feel …”
“Answer the question curly!”
“Because today you were my partner, you came with me to the market, you help me carry the bags and we’re going home cooking. Is there a problem?”
Zoro looked at him, trying to put his thoughts in words, but not managing it. He started trembling and Sanji realized that if he didn’t do anything, the man would get right back to his feeling from that morning. So he did what he knew best, pushed the other’s buttons.
“I understand you think I am too good looking for you…”
“Hey, shut it!”
“Or maybe you think I am too smart?”
“Oh, I know! Maybe you think that moss and human won’t get well together…”
Zoro pushed him really hard on a wall nearby, looking as if he was about to kill him. Good, anger meant no fear.
“I said shut it curly!”
Zoro shouted in rage, let his bags on the ground and tried to punch him, but Sanji was expecting it, and so he was faster. He evaded the punch last second, going under it and with his foot hit the man and blocked him on the wall.
“Now stay there and calm the fuck down. What’s the problem? Are you really so grossed out that you make all this ruckus?”
“You asshole, you don’t know!”
Zoro was struggling hard to get away from his leg, but Sanji knew he won’t be able, not now, when he was in this weak state of mind.
“I don’t know what?”
“You don’t have any idea and …”
“How do you know?”
“Because you don’t, you’ve not been there and …”
“Been there, done that, bought the shirt mossie, get with the program.”
“Huh…? No, you don’t know what you are talking about and they don’t either and I couldn’t tell them. I thought I was stronger, but I’m not, I’m gonna lose them and …”
Sanji felt the man was shaking, he had to do something before the fear entered the man’s mind again.
“Let’s go, we have just 10 minutes to walk and then we’ll talk. Not here.”
He took the other’s hand, but this time, instead of just taking his hand, he interlinked their fingers, knowing he would shock the man, knowing that he would be quiet and walk without asking questions. They got there in 8 minutes.
“Old man, please one bottle of sake upstairs. I will pay it from my wage.”
His father yelled from the kitchen
“Who do you think you’re ordering around, you little …?”
“Zeff, All Blue!”
It was always their signal word when he was little and had attacks. His father got out, his eyes got bigger.
So Sanji dragged Zoro in his room, let him fell on the bed, got both his hands in his and looked into his eyes.
“I told my father I liked men when I was 8.”
Chapter 5: What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger
A heart-whelming conversation
The moment the words got out, a hard knock was heard from the door. Sanji hurried to open it, his father entering the room with a tray with two chokos and one tokkuri.
Sanji’s father looked at him and then asked his son.
“Can you handle him?”
“Yeah, it’s fine.”
“He seems pretty out of it. You sure you’re ok?”
“Yeah, yeah, old man, I’m used to it.”
The man left the room muttering. Sanji opened the window, lit up his cigarette and poured some sake.
Zoro almost moaned at the smell of good quality sake. Sanji just smiled.
“If he brought good quality sake, it means he is really worried.”
Zoro looked at Sanji as he was pouring the drinks and felt as if he was watching a geisha, the way he was handling the bottle and the drink, it all enchanted him, and that feeling alone made him relax a little. He was still in the boy’s room, so he was kind of nervous, but it was less than before. He felt crushed when he tried to tell his friends the truth and couldn’t. He felt like a coward now, but the man in front of him made him curious about what he said before they were interrupted, so now he felt numb. He would patiently wait until the boy wanted to tell him the story. He was so encaged in his thoughts that he hadn’t realized the other was talking with him.
“Hey, mosshead! Still here with me?”
He was handled a choko with steaming sake.
“Really now, you ok?”
Zoro thought about it, and he didn’t think he was ok, he was still scared and afraid that his whole world will crumble again, and even though he never forgot the pain and it was still there, he never wanted to experience it on its true e force.
“I don’t know.”
Sanji looked at the boy in front of him. He looked so … small. Even though the guy was usually quiet, when he was needed he was the bravest of them all, he was transforming in this three-headed monster, with 6 arms and 9 swords, who would fight the whole world for his friends. The first time he saw that he was so amazed. He also helped in that fight, when a gang from the high school CP9 wanted to take beautiful Robin away. He had to fight a guy so hairy, and growling a lot, that you could almost think he was a dog, not to say that he had his nails painted black.
“Well, then let me tell you my story. My mom was strong and beautiful, and I can see why my father felt in love with her.”
Zoro didn’t understand why was the blond telling him this but he listened.
“She had my sister, and the doctor told her that she might be the first and the last child. My father was horrified to hear that, he wanted a big family for them to rule over the city, and my mom just wanted another brother or sister for her first child.”
“Let me finish, marimo. So when she could not maintain any pregnancy anymore, her body refusing another being, they tried vitro fertilization, and it worked. 9 months later my mom had quadruplets, all boys. One of them was I. My mom got really sick and stayed in bed all the time, and my father forgot about her and tried to train us military-style, because he believed that our genes were from him, so we should be strong. I had my mother's genes, and I was weak. My father resented me and asked my brothers to train on me.
I’m not sure how old I was when I discovered the kitchen, but I remember clearly I once cooked for mom and even though it was garbage she ate it all. That’s why I continued to do it, which brought my father’s anger that believed that cooking was for women.”
Sanji stopped and breathed. He lifted his head the first time from the moment he started the story and looked at the other and the look in the other’s eyes was neither mercy nor pity, but a shadow of the feeling he was trying to keep in his chest, trying to not let it drown him. The same feeling of loss.
“My mother died.”
He felt his eyes wetting, and then his cheeks, but he didn’t stop the liquid.
“That night my panic attacks started, and with them, the bullying from my brothers got worse. I couldn’t go to the kitchen anymore, and not too soon my father decided he didn’t need me, so he threw me in the basement of the house. I was afraid all the time, I was crying, I was pathetic …”
“No, you weren’t!”
“How can you say that? I was there crying and not being able to save myself, and then my brothers found me again and the beating got worse and … I would have died if my sister didn’t help me.”
“And that’s why I’m saying you were not, because you are still alive.”
Zoro looked at the other man, the man who spread joy and color around him, who laughed so easily and made the others laugh, the man who he felt in love and felt his pain. He wanted to go and hug him and hold him close, but he didn’t move. Maybe the other man wouldn’t have liked that, so he stayed at his place and listened, trying really hard to keep his tears in. The blond lifted his head again and smiled a little.
“Yeah, maybe you are right. My old man saved me, he adopted me and tried really hard to cure me of my panic, in every way possible. And day by day, along with the cooking, swearing, yelling and loving, he did it. And that’s why I took you here to talk, to listen because I know how it is.”
“And you telling him you like men …?”
“Oh, yeah. When he adopted me I was a little shit when I was not having my panic attacks, I didn’t trust him so I tried to make him go away. My father always said that cooking is for women and I screamed it in his face. He screamed back that if you do it with all your heart, it can be for anyone, even shitty brats like me. And women would be happy if someone cooked for them, I would make my wife happy someday. And here it gets hilarious. When you said woman I was always thinking of my mom, frail, beautiful, but I always admired the strength of a man, and even though women should be treasured, and loved, for me, it was always attractive when a man did all of the above. So I yelled that in his face, I asked him who decided in my place that I would have a wife? Maybe I wanted a husband, a strong one who could be by my side and protect each other. The look on his face was priceless. And then he answered me. He told me, if I wanted a husband, then I should cook because the way to a man’s heart is through his belly.”
Zoro was watching the cook slowly laughing, even though the tears from his checks didn’t dry yet. He was beautiful, he was so complex and loving and… Zoro could cry because he didn’t have the guts to tell him.
“Why did you tell me all of this cook? Do you pity me for being weak and not being able to talk?”
“Did you think I was weak because I cried when I told you my story?”
“No, but …”
“Then why should I think you are weak? You are not the first person I help, but you are the first person I tell all my story to.”
Zoro looked everywhere else but at Sanji, the sake was long gone and he didn’t know what to do, but maybe he could go at the middle and see what happens.
“I don’t know how you lived through that hell, my adoptive father was a good man and his daughter was my best friend. One day I told him that strong men make my blood boil and that I like to watch them fight. As a dojo master, he was a traditional person so the thought of his son being not normal didn’t suit him well. He took me in a corner and told me that I should find a woman, marry her and have children, that was the natural order and that I should aspire to it. Well the girl I liked, his daughter, was strong and I settled on her. I thought all the time that I will one day ask her to marry me. But a stupid accident happened, she fell on some stairs and she died. I … I … “
His friend was losing his words, tears strolling on his face. Sanji wanted to hug him badly, to tell him that everything will be alright but he didn’t know if he was allowed. Should he? He moved closer to the other, almost touching him, but not quite. They were both on the floor, looking at each other and Sanji tried to tell the boy without any words that he was there and he would listen.
“I lost myself a long period of time. I couldn’t accept it, so I stopped talking to people.”
Zoro’s weeping face transformed in a smile and Sanji was bemused.
“And then I met Luffy and my whole world turned upside down.”
Sanji started laughing silently, put his hand on the other’s and looked him in his eyes.
“Well, now you met me also. Everything is going to be alright.”
“Mmmm … maybe not if we don’t hurry in the kitchen.”
“Because then Luffy will come and there will be no food.”
Both started laughing and got up, ready to go to make some food. Zoro’s hand was still warm and for the first time ever he thought he will be fine.
Chapter 6: But maybe it is attraction
Just a few more chapters guys.
Thank you for being here with me!
Sanji got the tray with one hand and without thinking got the other’s hand with the other.
“You … you don’t have to do that. I won’t get lost following you.”
The man had a beautiful red shade on his face at the same time he was pouting, trying to appear mean-looking. Sanji laughed a little for himself but didn’t release the hold.
“No way marimo, if I let you go I might have to save you from the neighbors, and I don’t have time for that. The old man probably put the groceries away but now we must cook for the gang. Also, you tell them whatever you want, or don’t tell them at all, rest assured. Ok?”
“Ok, thank you! Where are we going?”
“Just crossing the road, the restaurant in front of the house belongs to my father.”
“He’ll let you cook there?”
“No, he’ll let US cook there.”
“Oh… but … I… kinda… don’t know how to cook.”
“Then you will be my Sous-Chef.”
“You know, the guy who cuts my onions and cries a river for me.”
“Hmpf… Onions are no problem for me. Maybe I should let you see how a rose petal can be cut in the air.”
Sanji stopped then and turned his head to the other. The proud smirk fits him so well.
“I would like to see that sometimes if you are being honest.”
The other’s ears got red and the smirk worsened, but it was like the boy’s eyes couldn’t keep his.
“Of course I am honest. Come on cook let’s go see what you can do with a knife.”
Zoro has crossed a lot of boundaries with his crush today but when the man smiled he couldn’t keep his eyes from his lips, the man helped him a lot and he felt he had to do the same someday, but now they were going through a restaurant full of people, holding hands. Sanji seemed unbothered by the looks, even saluting some of the clients he knew. They got in the kitchen and it was loud. Everyone screamed, orders were shouted, knives were moving with the speed of light and the loudest of them all was Sanji’s old man, who wasn’t just loud, he was a force in itself, cooking, shouting and even hitting the guys with his peg leg, not hard enough to leave a wound behind but hard enough to hurt. The man’s eyes stopped on them and watched like a hawk. Sanji was impassive and strolled through all of them to his place. It was a really small open spaced kitchen, with a small fridge, some cookers, and kitchen robots and a rack of knives. Zoro’s eyes stopped on one of them, really sharp, medium-sized. He could have used the bigger ones but those didn’t seem quite the same quality. He realized the knife was in his hand without asking the owner, already testing it. But when he turned to Sanji to ask, the blond smiled and just said he had good taste in blades.
He felt someone looking at him and when he turned his head, Sanji’s father was staring.
“Watch out with that knife.”
“Keep your pants on, old man. He is a kendo fighter.”
“Those wooden playthings can’t cut eggplant.”
“Actually, I’m a first-level black belt Gumdo, Kendo and Iaido.”
“Oh, do you go to competitions?”
“Well, yeah, I have to if I want to get Nidan next year.”
“So you’re a Shodan right now?”
“Yes, I am.”
“Did you hear that Sanji? Maybe you could learn a thing or two from him. What are you listening in, you lazy bastards? Back to work.”
“Zeff, it’s the first time Sanji has brought a boyfriend home, it’s normal to be curious!”
Sanji got all red to the face, ears, and neck also. For a second Zoro wondered if his chest was the same red, until realizing they were talking about him and got the same color as the blond.
“Nosy bastards, we’re not boyfriends, so get on with your work. Don’t mind them Zoro, just a gang of fools.”
Even though he said that his face was still red and Zoro wondered if he was feeling ashamed or disgusted with the idea. Even though he told him he liked men, that didn’t mean he liked him.
“Earth to marimo!”
Sanji smiled because even though the man stated that he didn’t like the nickname, he responded to it.
“The rice is ready, you can begin making the onigiri if you want, or you can help me with the fish.”
He gave the man a choice, he didn’t want to presume.
“I can help with the fish, I grew in a small town of fishermen, before we moved here, so I learned a few tricks.”
“Oh, is that so? Then let’s see it.”
They had all the fish they brought from the market, Sanji didn’t want to think about it. He liked Gin as a friend but the way he behaved today was no fine in his books. Zoro began to cut the fish, cutting the meat from the bone quite well.
“Yeah, marimo? You’re doing well, go on.”
“No, that’s not it. Ummm, what did your father mean when he said that you have to take a page from my book and learn?”
Oh, Sanji thought Zoro was not paying attention, but it seems he was wrong.
“I went to a few competitions myself, but then gave up.”
“What did you practice? Something with legs, most likely, I saw you fight and you are good.”
Sanji tried really hard not to be content with the praise, but couldn’t.
“Taekwondo and Capoeira, but I don’t do them anymore.”
Zoro was talking and working, Sanji realized that he hasn’t seen the man do that many things at the same time ever. It could be seen on his body that he was concentrating, but he was speaking casually.
“When my old man had to amputate his leg, it was my entire fault. He is my father, my savior and he sacrificed for me. I have to repay his deed, I don’t have time for anything else.”
“I don’t think he wants that.”
Sanji was angry already. What the fuck did the mosshead know? He had to!
“Well as it’s neither his nor your business, you can stick the idea where it came from and shut it.”
“I bet he doesn’t believe you’re so good at cooking either.”
Sanji caught fire, not realizing what he was doing anymore. He tried to hit the other with one of his feet, but the man blocked him with his forearm, and that’s the moment when Sanji held himself on the table and spin his other leg as to hit the guy on his head. He almost made it but Zoro caught the leg almost hitting his face, but lost his balance and dragged the other down with him. Sanji opened his eyes to realize they were both on the ground, his face almost on the other’s crotch, and Zoro was probably the same. Zeff was looking at them weirdly, Sanji got up and looked at the other. Zoro was red, really red, and lost, he opened his mouth to say something but no words came out. Sanji forgot about all and started laughing. The other man was so confused and puzzled that it was funny. Sanji extended his arm and Zoro looked at it funny, and then at him.
“Come on mossy, we still have to finish here, have you forgotten? Luffy is coming.”
Zoro got white and took the hand, got on his leg and went to the table to finish what he started.
“You fight good, it’s a shame you don’t compete anymore, we could have trained together.”
The words were said really in a really low voice, and Sanji wondered if he wanted him to hear it or not. He went to the table and started making the sushi with the pieces Zoro already cut from the tuna.
“I could train with you if you really have no one to train with. But I don’t have the time of anything more.”
Zoro looked at him curiously but didn’t say anything. After he finished cutting the fish, he cleaned the knife and almost put it to his place when Sanji called.
“Do you want to help me?”
“Um, yes? With what?”
“I want you to do some Temaki Sushi.”
“Huh? What’s that?”
“Just some hand-rolled sushi. Look like this.”
Sanji got to his back and showed him how to fill and roll the Nori sheet, what ingredients he could use and how much, and then went to his part of the table and started working like it was normal to almost take someone into your arms just to show the person how to make food. Sanji knew what he was doing, but he hoped he didn’t do too much. Zoro was still skittish and he wanted him to show him that there was no problem with liking men, touching and flirting, he was teaching the other right? He took a look at Zoro and wondered, he was intrigued by the man from the start, his lazy, almost bored way of being, but ready to fight for his friends always, his warrior-like body, his green hair and his way of talking, he was a mystery. But could he actually be attracted to the man? He was definitely not his type, even though he loved rough power, he never really had a boyfriend as powerful as him, and he also liked beauty, and Zoro was not that, but he certainly had dangerous electricity vibrating through his pores. While thinking all of this he was checking the man out, starting with the really steady feet, and not too thick, narrow waist, that was a surprise, defined chest, strong arms, thick neck, and green hair. Zoro turned his head right the moment Sanji was unintentionally licking his lips. His face got so red, that Sanji couldn’t stop himself and got close to the man.
“You have a little something here.”
Earlier he showed Zoro that he had to taste everything he was cooking with, so a small grain of rice stuck to the corner of his lips. Sanji took it on his finger the moment Zoro wanted to take it with his tongue, the touch sending a little electricity through their bodies. They stopped a moment right as they were, close and as in a trance, Sanji touched his face with his hand again and caressed Zoro’s cheek, while closing the distance a bit more.
Zoro didn’t know if he should close the distance totally or get back, but he couldn’t take his eyes from the other and couldn’t stop the little tremble he could feel in his body. Sanji smiled, so soft and warm, and his eyes moved to his lips and got stuck there. He never … should he …? When the loud noise was heard he jerked really hard and got a step away from the blond, hating the sigh that he elicited from the cook.
“Eggplant! Your friends are here!”
Chapter 7: One bit of everything
Sanji sighed but put on a professional smile on and pushed Zoro to take some plates and go to the group. They were out of place, really loud and everyone was looking at them but Sanji couldn’t care less since he met them it was like he met his lost family or something and he would bring them as often as possible. Plus, customers should be used with noises, because every time the kitchen door would open, a loud wave of noises, and screams could be heard from there. Sanji smiled at his friends, Nami was hitting Luffy on the head, Chopper was listening to Usopp, fanboying around him, Franky was talking with Brook while playing footsies with Robin under the table, Robin winning because sometimes it was like she could grow more members.
“Thank you for coming guys!”
“How could have we missed it?”
Even with his hands full, Sanji hit Luffy in the face and placed him on his chair without spilling anything.
“Wait for everyone to get their share, you overgrown monkey! There is enough for everyone since I had the aiding hands of my Sous-chef.”
Zoro seemed he wanted to say something more but he didn’t know what. Sanji tried to hide his smile.
“Oh, Zoro, I brought your swords.”
“You forgot them at my place?”
“No, I …”
“So Zoro which one did you make?”
Nami was definitely trying to distract his attention, but she smiled at him when he had the swords at their place, and a big pressure disappeared from his shoulders, visibly calming Zoro down.
“He did a bit of all actually, he helped with a lot of fish skinning and deboning …”
Sanji was looking at him and smiled.
“Hihihi, Zoro did the deboning!”
“Usopp I will debone you if you don’t finish right this instant!”
“Don’t kill me!”
Everyone looked at Sanji shocked, not understanding the level of protectiveness towards Zoro, but understanding at the same time. Everyone got scared when Zoro had that panic attack and everyone was still on their tiptoes around him. But Sanji also didn’t want to spook the man, knowing that he was skittish because the man-liking confession that would or wouldn’t come. Just when Nami opened her mouth to ask or say something a gang of mafia members entered the restaurant yelling and holding guns.
“On your hands and knees, all the valuables in the bag, if you care about your life!”
They were followed by a big, fat leader, with a hunting gun and two guards on his steps. One of them was Gin, and that was the moment Sanji saw red. He felt someone on his side and when he looked Zoro was there, his hands on his swords and an evil smile on his face.
“You don’t have to help marimo, it is my battle.”
“Oh, but it would be my pleasure to smash the fisherman’s face. He didn’t treat us as customers at all.”
The man’s smile was demonic, and Sanji felt his anger disappearing, a mean laugh exiting his mouth. Not realizing what was happening, Luffy jumped on the big mafia boss, his guards screaming “Don Krieg!” and wanting to intervene. Sanji jumped on Gin, and Zoro on the other guy, guarding each other’s back.
“How could you dare attack my restaurant? I thought we were friends, dude!”
“We were never friends, I just wanted to fuck you, and I thought you also wanted that, every time coming to buy from my place, strutting that tight ass and smiling all the time.”
“How dare you!? I was buying from your place because it’s good not because… not because …!”
From his back, he could hear a small voice, directed to him.
“Hey cook what was that sidestep? Did you trip?”
“What the fuck do you want, marimo?”
“You call that a hit? Come on you hit ME harder than that!”
“Because you deserve it!”
“Haha, do I? Watch out not to rip your pants, your precious ladies are here too.”
Sanji turned around at the same time with Zoro, hitting him in the head but getting just his swords. The man had the audacity to SMILE! Oh my God, was Zoro flirting with him? Yeah, Sanji thought he was, in his own way. Did he even realize he was doing it? His dark-green eyes were now almost gold, his body was relaxed and he had that sexy smile on his face.
“How much of a whore can you be? Distracting his attention even in battle!”
All the nice feelings were gone. Sanji was red from anger, hitting back with vengeance. Gin got up from a hit and held up a gun in the blonde’s face.
“Can you imagine how many times I held boss from coming to rob this place because I thought I had a chance at you? I held so much just for you to come to my place and be all lovey-dovey with that plant there, and even now, in a battle, you have eyes just for him! The fuck did he do, sucked you really well? I could have done that long time ago!”
He could feel on his back Zoro’s body temperature rising. He could bet the man’s face was really red and he had his mouth agape just thinking about sucking him.
“Hey, knock it off or I’ll be really mad and you won’t get away from here on your own legs! Only I am allowed to call him names.”
“Yeah? Then call THIS a name!”
Gin gets a double-barreled shotgun to his head. Sanji is stunned for just a second, enough for Zoro, who was paying attention all this time to just swirl the blond around and let him fight his former opponent while he ended face to face with Gin. The next second the man’s gun was cut in half, having time to shut just one round, just scraping Zoro’s shoulder a little.
“Hey, I can handle him, you big stupid oaf!”
“Metal goes better with metal curly, not with flesh.”
It’s was Luffy’s cry of victory, everyone else seemed to have beaten their counterpart, but somehow Gin got out of the sword’s man's eyes and ran through the door.
“I called the police, you should shoo. I will handle it from here. Oh, and eggplant?”
“What now old man?”
“Take care of your friend’s wound. He took it in your place.”
“Huh, what wound?”
Sanji looked around and everybody looked fine but then he realized Zoro was kinda hiding one part of his body.
“Oh, for crying out loud! You’re coming with me! Idiots and beautiful ladies, we will see each other at school on Monday!”
“But Sanjiiiii!!!! There are two more days and there is no more food!”
“Another time Luffy!”
“Sanji… Take care of Zoro! Shishishi… Nami wait for meeeeee!”
The sirens could be heard in the background, they had just enough time to run away. Sanji took Zoro’s hand again and dragged him to his house the second time that day. The other man said nothing and Sanji was scared that the wound was worse than he thought. He pulled the other on the couch and went into the bathroom for the med-pack. When he returned the man was in deep thought. Sanji took his chin in his hand and lifted his head. Those eyes were on his in a second, as if searching for something there. While disinfecting the little scratch, it really was tiny so the man was not in pain. Maybe he was scared? He had to know so he could help, the man will have a heart attack because of so many feelings in one day. It was almost dark outside, so he thought he will keep Zoro there and force him to talk.
“It’s dark outside marimo, you will stay here tonight, ok?”
The voice was small and so uncharacteristic for the demon fighter. They went upstairs to his room, where Sanji borrowed him some clothes and a towel and sent him to the bathroom. He had a queen bed so it was no problem there. He went downstairs to his father bathroom, he won’t be home for some good hours because the restaurant and the problem with the police so he could use the shower, when he got out he found Zoro in the DOWNSTAIRS kitchen, looking lost as fuck.
“Could you please tell me how can you miss a door RIGHT AHEAD but came DOWNSTAIRS?”
“Umm… I wasn’t thinking and … my feet got myself here?”
Sanji sighed and laughed at the same time.
“Well we have to eat anyway, so get yourself a chair and start talking while I heat something up.”
“Yeah, you know, the thing civilized humans do to communicate?”
“I know what talking is curly, what about?”
“I don’t know, maybe why are you looking at me as if I was the one hurt because of you, not the other way around?”
“Because you were.”
“Um, I’m not the one with a wound on my shoulder? So, what do you mean? And remember if it’s too much, or you feel again like this morning we could talk about something else.”
“Don’t coddle me cook I’m fine! The wound is nothing, it is just a scratch, don’t even feel it anymore. But you were hurt because of me, you took me with you to the market just to make me think about something else than my fear of telling the others that … telling the others. He was your friend and because of me you and your father got in this mess.”
“What do you mean that’s all? It’s enough as it is, stupid curly brow!”
“Well idiot marimo, maybe you start listening because he was not my friend!”
“What? But he said…?”
“The things others think about me is none of my business, keep this well in mind. Yeah, he was the place from where I was getting my fish, yeah I realized he liked me and so I just talked with him, but I never gave him any reason to think I want a relationship or sleep with him. So it could have been anyone, it could have been Luffy even. Do you realize if he saw the way Luffy clings to me and asks me to feed him?”
Zoro made a face of horror and then started laughing.
“It would have been a show worth watching! I wonder why he didn’t react to the way you swoon to girls.”
“Maybe because he wanted to fuck me, not be fucked by me so it didn’t matter … and I don’t even want to hear you about girls, you should learn to treat them better, you barbarian!”
Zoro was quiet and Sanji didn’t realize why until he looked at the man. He was really red-faced. But at the same time amazed, his mouth open as if wanting to say something but not knowing if he could.
“Out with it, what?”
“Well, … you’re clearly more strong than him.”
“Well yeah, so?”
“So why should he … be the one to … ?”
“I know many men, much stronger than me, that want to be the ones held and fucked, loved and pampered. There’s no rule that says that if you are stronger you have to be the one who sticks his penis in. Many gay relationships change once in a while, some don’t. Have you finished eating? I have to wash those.”
“Let me help.”
“OK, I wash, you dry. Take this towel.”
“So … there’s no rule?”
“No, both ways can be good.”
They clean the kitchen in silence and went to the bedroom, both tired of the day, too many things happened.
“You’ll sleep with me, the bed is large enough. My old man should be at home any minute, so don’t get scared. He is a little noisy after a day of work, drinking sometimes. I learned to not let it bother me anymore.”
“Is he violent?”
“Oh, noooooo! You might hear him sing sailor’s songs or laugh out loud, he is talking with his wife usually. He loved her really much but lost her, I never asked him what that meant.”
Zoro got in the bed, sitting as far away from Sanji as possible. Even though the blond thought the troubles that day were not his fault, he didn’t want to create others. He felt asleep thinking at the day and how weird it had been.
Zeff arrived home much later than he would have liked but at least the next day he didn’t have to open the restaurant because the police said they should check again in the daylight for clues of the men that got away. He got his rum from under the sink and poured himself a glass while talking to his dear. He loved her very much, but that was not enough. As glasses of alcohol were drank, his voice got louder. He never cried, but his tears always poured. He got up and headed to bed, but then remembering that the string bean had a guest, he just went to check if everything was fine. What he found in his son’s room made his tears flow again, but smiling he closed the door. Zoro’s head was on Sanji’s shoulder, his son holding the other on his chest with both arms, securely. They will be good for each other.