A loud honking from out on the street had Zoro cursing under his breath as he finished lacing up the dress shoes Mihawk had gotten him for the evening. Doing a hasty knot to make sure they wouldn’t come undone - ignoring the heavy sigh from the older man at his obvious distaste - and jumping to his feet to face his father and older sister. Arms spread wide as he declared, “Okay, ready.”
“You look like you’re going to ringmaster a circus,” Perona deadpanned.
Hands falling to his sides, Zoro glanced down at himself and the white button up he wore with matching black vest and slacks - all of it having been approved by Mihawk. That, and the bright tie he had picked out for himself with Sanji. “What the hell’s wrong?”
“Green is an interesting colour choice.” Mihawk broached delicately, before amending, “For one.”
Grabbing at the green and black striped tie he had picked out, Zoro fidgeted with the end before scowling up at the two, “And?”
“And it’s striped.” Perona added.
“Well, I like it.” Rolling his eyes at their behaviour, Zoro tucked the end of the tie into his vest and smoothed it out as the honking out front had died out and was now replaced with boisterous voices. Making for the door as he cast a final glance their way, “Thanks for the last minute hazing.”
“Any time.” Perona crooned with a playful smile, halting Zoro as he pulled open the front door, “Hold on, don’t you need to take a corsage?”
Zoro sent Perona a shrewd look, “If I showed up with flowers, he’d kick me in the face.”
That earned a small chuckle from Mihawk, and with that Zoro shut the door behind himself and ran out across the front yard to where the rest of his friends were chatting with Sanji by his front porch. Luffy and Usopp in respectable rented suits, with colours that were coordinated to match Nami and Kaya’s dresses. Nami’s a deep blood orange, and Kaya’s a dazzling, sunshine yellow.
They waved him over, but Zoro’s gaze was already on the blond that was looking his way and was an absolute vision. Blue button up bringing out the brightness of his eyes and his golden hair perfectly coiffed. A dorky pink bow tie with polka dots was the match to Zoro’s tie.
“Sweet!” Luffy crowed, bounding down the sidewalk towards the van parked on the street, “We’re all ready! Let’s go!”
“Calm down, Luffy.” Nami huffed, picking up the hem of her dress and carefully making her way down the steps as she, and Usopp and Kaya, all followed after the excitable boy, “We still have some time.”
“But I’m hungry!”
“There’s more to prom than a free meal.”
Stalking past the bickering teens, Zoro made a beeline for where Sanji had remained on the porch watching Zoro approach. A smile crooking Sanji’s face that caused a flutter in Zoro’s chest as he came to stop at the bottom of the steps and watched as Sanji’s gaze flickered over him.
“Perona!” Punching the hand wrapped firmly around his wrist, Zoro struggled to get away as Perona dragged him across their front lawn, “Lemme go!”
“No,” Perona huffed, refusing to release her young brother's wrist as she forced him along to the neighbouring yard, “We need to go say hi to the new kid. It's polite.”
"I don't wanna!"
Digging his heels in did nothing. With her being four years older than him, his struggle was absolutely futile as he was literally hauled into the other property where their new neighbour was currently lounging outside.
A young boy about Zoro's age sat on the ground near the front steps to his house, completely engrossed in the mud pie he was currently concocting in an old tin. A pile of dirt was to his right that he occasionally grabbed from to add to the mess he was making, and a garden hose curled around him which was shut off at the moment.
Upon their approach, the boy stilled and glanced up at the two, eyes falling on Perona as a dopey smile little up his face and Zoro immediately found himself annoyed. Remaining slightly behind Perona, he pouted as she introduced herself, “Hi, we live just next door. I'm Perona and this is my little brother, Zoro.”
Pausing, she turned to look at Zoro and jerked her head, “Stop being rude, say hi.”
Blond haired and blue eyed, the boy finally turned his gaze on Zoro and he was transfixed by the other as something fluttered in his chest he had never experienced before. It was an odd sensation that made it difficult to breath, caused his palms to become sweaty, and in general was very panic inducing; he wanted to do something, but he couldn't figure out what that was exactly.
All of it culminating in Zoro flatly declaring, “Your eyebrow looks funny.”
A scowl immediately dropped onto the sweet boy's face, and while it certainly wasn't the reaction Zoro wanted, it was a reaction nonetheless so he felt like he had somehow won. Acting out seemed to make the kid look at him, so it stood to reason that if he kept annoying the other he would be able to hold his attention.
Why he needed to in the first place was beyond him.
“Well,” the blond turned up his nose, “your hair looks stupid.”
Scathing insult combined with Zoro’s already flustered state left him reeling as his five year old mind didn’t give him many options to respond with; he decided to go with option one. Stepping forward, he wound up before kicking the mud pie the other was making with all his force and sent the muddy pail sailing across the yard. It didn’t even hit the ground before the blond had fire in his eyes.
Leaping off the ground, the other boy tackled Zoro to the ground as he attempted to get Zoro back for what he had done while Zoro simply fended the other off. Not entirely sure why he was angry, why he wanted to antagonize the other, or why it made him happy that the boy was only paying attention to him now and not Perona – even if 'paying attention' meant trying to make him eat dirt.
All in all, Zoro's actions led to a horrible fight that had Perona shrieking on the sidelines in a panic before both parents were drawn out to see what was going on. Each tearing their respective child off the other and reprimanding them before leveling on the other. Mihawk keeping a firm hand on Zoro's shoulder as he crossed his arms petulantly, while the other boy’s father held the blond by the collar as the boy was still attempting to launch himself at Zoro.
Pointedly looking at Zoro, Mihawk’s voice sent a cold chill of fear down Zoro’s spine, “What happened?”
“Zoro started it!” Perona declared loudly.
Zoro’s head snapped around to send Perona a look of betrayal which was returned with a sly smile.
Mihawk arched a brow at Zoro with an unimpressed look, “Is this true?”
Mouthing wordlessly, Zoro realized that there was no way he could talk himself out of it as he did in fact start the name calling in the first place. However, his explanation was taken from him as the other boy’s father spoke up and saved him.
“I'm sure Sanji wasn't entirely innocent.” He grunted, jerking his head towards the fiery blond currently still red in the face despite having stopped his struggling, “This one has quite the mouth on him.”
"This one's no better." Mihawk noted, hand tightening on Zoro's shoulder as he repeated, "Apologize, Zoro."
Turning an indignant scowl over to the blond who was still responsible for this weird fluttering feeling in his stomach, Zoro felt his throat seize up for a moment as Sanji’s heated glare was fixated on him. It made him want to smile. A tightening of Mihawk’s hand told him it was likely a bad idea, so instead Zoro pouted out a sullen, “Sorry.”
“C’mon.” Sanji’s father coaxed, “You too.”
Sanji’s jaw dropped as he looked up at his father, utter betrayal awash on his features. Zoro refrained from grinning, but a small smile crooked the corner of his mouth and when Sanji snapped his gaze on Zoro, his eyes narrowed angrily as he gritted out, “I’m. Sorry.”
“Good.” Sanji’s father intoned to the boy before glancing up at Mihawk and intoning much more pleasantly - the hidden humor not going unmissed by either boy, “I’m sure I’ll see you around. I’m Zeff.”
“Well, hopefully they’ll get along better in the future.”
“Agreed. C’mon you two.” Mihawk turned, and with a hand still placed on Zoro’s shoulder, he guided both of his children back towards their own house, “That’s enough socializing for today.”
As they were each led off in the directions of the respective houses, Zoro cast a final look back at the other boy – Sanji – and he couldn't stop himself from feeling like getting in trouble had all been worth it. Catching Sanji looking back just as he did, only for the blond to rudely stick out his tongue at Zoro before turning around to let his father pull him inside.
“You clean up pretty well, mosshead.” Sanji noted as he moved forward, stepping down to the second last step of the porch, remaining there to keep the height advantage. Reaching out and carding his hand through the other teen’s hair. “You actually used product?”
“Perona.” Zoro said in way of explanation as he batted Sanji’s hand away and grinned, “And imagine if I actually showered regularly?”
Sanji’s face pulled down, “Gross.”
“You two ready for your photo?”
Zoro glanced over his shoulder, eyebrow raised in question.
“We already got our photos taken when we got ready at Luffy’s.” Nami explained as she waved Sanji’s phone about, “we’re not leaving without getting yours too.”
Grimacing to himself, Zoro hopped up onto the stairs so he could stand next to Sanji. Wrapping an arm around Sanji’s waist, Zoro smiled awkwardly as he focused on the blond’s hip bone and the warmth he could feel radiating off the teen through his button up. The sensation softening his features remarkably as Nami raised her phone to get ready to take the photo.
“Wait. Wait. Wait.” Sanji held up his hands in a panicked wave, turning to Zoro and glancing down at the knotted green fabric Zoro had attempted to pass of as a tie. Grabbing the end that was tucked into Zoro’s vest and giving it a tug as he leveled Zoro with a raised brow, “Did you tie this yourself?”
“Dude,” Sanji implored, already reaching up to unknot the mess Zoro had made of it in his half-assed attempt to do it without any help. Once undone, Sanji lined up the tie correctly and began to retie it, “your tying abilities are atrocious."
Lifting his chin to allow Sanji better access, he slipped his hands into his pockets with a small shrug and grinned, “Hey, at least I didn't get a clip-on tie like Luffy.”
“Luffy's not my responsibility.” Sanji huffed far too dramatically, engrossed in his task as Zoro watched the blond fondly. Being fussed over like this felt intimate, right, it made him want to do other annoying things to make Sanji have to touch him. He contemplated mentioning the poor job he did on his shoe laces, but the odds of the blond bending down before Zoro in public were slim to none.
“Oh,” Zoro cocked a brow, “and I'm yours?”
“You've been mine ever since we met.”
“You have no idea...” Zoro drawled with a touch of derision. He had been hopelessly lost on the other boy since the day they first met - not that he had ever told Sanji. It was something meant for a later time, or perhaps never depending on how he was feeling - he certainly wasn’t going make it that easy on the blond.
Hands paused in their task, Sanji pulled back to look at Zoro with a suspicious eye. “What's that supposed to mean?”
“Don't worry 'bout it.”
“No,” Sanji scowled, “I--”
“Boys, are we taking this photo today?” Nami chimed in. Both of them paused in their conversation to turn and look at Nami who was holding up Sanji's phone while waving it impatiently.
Realizing he had a crush on Sanji had taken a little longer than it should have. For the next several years they were neighbours, and despite their rocky start, had become fast friends. They still fought regularly, but it was dispersed between Saturday mornings watching cartoons together, and sunny afternoons riding their bikes down the street or exploring the forest just beyond the neighbourhood.
Both Mihawk and Zeff had come to accept it, and it wasn’t uncommon that after a brawl in the yard the two boys would be sat down at the kitchen table of whichever house was closer and given a grilled cheese while they were patched up. Then they’d either take a nap on the couch together, or go back outside to cause more mayhem.
The odd feeling in Zoro’s chest never really went away, but it lessened when they were together and sometimes even felt nonexistent when Sanji was looking at him. He still started far too many fights when others were around, and would tease the blond mercilessly at school once he realized that that tactic made sure that Sanji’s attention would stay on him.
It wasn’t until grade three, that he finally learned that the reason he was so caught up on the blond, was because he had a crush on him.
Grabbing up a black crayon, Zoro put the finishing touches on the large sword he had drawn for the ultimate-samurai-pirate he was drawing for the class assignment. It was supposed to be a Father's Day gift card, so Zoro had decided to draw his dad as cool as possible.
“Hey, Zoro.” Usopp poked him in the arm to get his attention, offering Zoro a piece of paper which he took in confusion before the long-nosed kid mouthed quietly, “Pass it to Kaya.”
Zoro frowned but did as he was told. Reaching in front of himself, he poked the girl sitting in the desk in ahead of him, and when she turned around offered her the note with a soft, “It’s from Usopp.”
Curiosity piqued, Zoro watched as she opened the note and read whatever it was that Usopp had written for her. Shoulders rising and head ducking before she evenutally glanced back with a blush and gave a shy wave to the other boy. A sweet smile on her face.
Once she turned away and went back to her work, Zoro rounded on Usopp with a scowl and asked, “Why are you passing notes to Kaya?”
“Cause I have a crush on her.” Usopp looked bewildered as he explained to Zoro.
“What’s a crush?”
This was all very new to Zoro, and was also quite confusing. From his experience most girls didn’t like anything involving crushing; they didn’t like having their fingers crushed with rocks, they didn’t like crushing bugs with their bare feet, and they certainly didn’t like it when you crushed them by sitting on them. Whatever Usopp was talking about had to be another of the boy’s stupid lies...
“You know~,” Usopp prodded with happy sway, “when you like someone.”
Zoro’s eyes narrowed, and he asked skeptically, “Like?”
“Yeah,” Usopp looked at Zoro like he was stupid, and he had to refrain from decking the other kid in the nose. “C’mon, Zoro.”
“I like people.”
“No. No. No.” Usopp chidded, “When you ‘like’ like someone.”
Zoro remained silent in confusion.
“They make you happy.” Placing a hand to his chest, Usopp explained, “You get all butterflies in here when they’re around.”
Zoro glanced across the classroom to where Sanji sat several desks away, colouring studiously in his notebook with a cute look of concentration creasing his forehead. It was the same look the other kid got when they were drawing up their own cyborg creations at the kitchen table, or racing their bikes down the street. Zoro liked that look a lot because he liked Sanji a lot. He ‘like’ liked Sanji. A lot.
He wanted to crush Sanji-- had a crush on… Whatever it was that Usopp had said.
Standing on the front steps to Sanji’s house, Zoro had his arm wrapped around the blond’s waist and looked down at the camera currently pointed at them. Forcing out a crooked smile as Sanji was his normally dashing self - charismatic smirks and flirtatious winks - Zoro was just happy that it was all his now. It had been a blissful year of dating the blond and he’d never get tired of getting to have his arm around the lanky git.
“Okay, now one kissing! For prosperity.” At Zoro’s indignant look Nami rolled her eyes, “Please, like you have had any problems making out in front of us this past year.”
Rolling his eyes, Zoro removed his hand from Sanji’s waist as instead hooked it around the blond’s neck in a commanding grip to pull him in. Slipping past Sanji’s lips at the last second, he tilted the blond’s chin up with his thumb and placed a chaste kiss to his cheek. Nuzzling into the motion as he could feel Sanji’s shock fading away to be replaced by a warm smile.
“Perfect!” Nami declared with happy croon. Lowering the phone after snapping the photo as Zoro pulled back to flash Sanji timid look, a smile tugging at the corners of his lips. Thumb still resting on the blond's chin and fingers still affectionately curled around the other teen's neck as he couldn't quite believe he had managed to get him to agree to go to prom with him.
It had been a long, not quite perfect road that led to this moment, but if he had to go through it all over again; he would in a second. More than twelves years had been leading up to them finally getting together and it had been worth it - Sanji was worth it.
A blush that he was never going to get tired of seeing lit up Sanji’s cheeks, and he reluctantly pulled away to allow Sanji to head over to where everyone was congregating by the van. Sanji sprinting ahead to catch up with Nami to retrieve his phone and take a look at their photos.
Sanji flipped through several of the photos to appraise them. Zoro assessed from over his shoulder and was able to confirm he looked as stiff and awkward as he had assumed he would. Except for the last one where he had his face hidden by Sanji and the other teen’s face was practically glowing with how hard he was smiling.
“That’s a nice one.”
With an elbow to the side, Sanji chuckled, “Only ‘cause you can’t see your ugly mug.”
“You’re one to talk.” Zoro pinched Sanji’s arm through his shirt.
“C'mon, dudes!” An impatient yell had both turning to look at Luffy who hung from the passenger side open window while motioning towards the car impatiently, “There's all you can eat; and I’m starving!”
“Since when are you not?” Zoro heard Sanji mutter under his breath.
Love hit him smack in the face in sixth grade in the form of a well placed kick to a soccer ball by Sanji during a game at recess. It was more of a strike to the side of the head, but still it left half his face swollen and red, and an unapologetic Sanji had simply laughed it off and told Zoro rather snidely, “That's one way to get your head in the game; pay attention moss for brains.”
Zoro couldn't understand how that was the tipping point, but from then on it became a never ending competition with the other. As Zoro had so astutely learned years ago, if Sanji was focused on beating Zoro at something, then his attention would always remain on him. Which meant less time with Sanji looking at girls, and more time with him looking at Zoro.
A sharp strike to the head and suddenly all those confusing, sweaty feelings were crystal clear; it was so much more than just a crush.
After the ball pinged off his head, it went sailing down the field with all the other players racing after it, including Sanji who was at the front of the pack. Blond hair bouncing hypnotically with each stride, adorable face set in concentration as he got to the ball first and began handling it with ease. Kicking it around and through several players legs, clearly playing with them, before taking off towards the net.
Zoro was still awash in awe as he watched Sanji kicking the ball progressively further and further ahead of himself as he picked up his pace until he was meters from the goal. A final nudge and then he was darting forward, rearing back, and kicking the ball as hard as he could. Ball pinging expertly off the corner post and into the net before the goalie even had a chance to dive.
With a hoot of victory, Sanji lifted his shirt and pulled the hem up until he covered his face and then went running back down the field in with his arms raised in victory. All his teammates cheering and racing after him as Zoro finally got his faculties back and pushed himself to his feet. Watching with muted jealousy as Sanji finally let his shirt drop and several of his teammates started giving him pats on the back and high fives in celebration.
All at once Zoro had that urge again to make Sanji look at him.
Everyone was getting back into starting positions for next kick off, but instead of taking his position, he chased down the kid heading for center, “Hey Kaku. Let me take kick off.”
“Yeah,” Zoro nodded, “I need to get even.”
“Alright.” With a shrug, Kaku made his way over to Zoro’s old position and Zoro started towards the center ring where the teacher and Sanji were already waiting. A smug grin lighting up Sanji’s face as he watched Zoro approach and Zoro returned it with a flat, determined stare.
“Ready to get your butt kicked again?”
Shaking his head, Zoro finally allowed a grin to split his face as he had succeeded in getting all of the blond’s attention on him. After that, everything else felt like child’s play.
Arm thrown around Sanji's shoulders, Zoro idly allowed his fingers to play with the curling blond strands at the nape of the teen's neck as Usopp drove them all to prom. Mainly keeping his gaze out the window but every so often glancing at Sanji as he still couldn't believe he was actually taking him to prom. After all the yearning, and the heartache, and the uncertainty, now he could finally stop pretending.
Eyes drifting down to the phone in the blond's lap, he couldn't help but notice it was the picture Nami had taken of them. Zoro couldn’t pinpoint which of the myriad of apps Sanji was using, but he could at least tell that Sanji had uploaded it and his thumb was currently hovering over the button to officially post it.
“You not gonna post it?”
Jerking the phone down and out of sight, Sanji turned to look up at the other boy with a look of surprise as Zoro just watched him flatly. They had only ever came out as a couple to their friends, and while everyone had known for a while now which way Zoro swung, Sanji was a different story. This whole evening had been Sanji’s idea, his way of getting it all out in the open in one go.
Zoro couldn’t care less, but he was willing to support Sanji through whatever he wanted.
“Of course I am.” Sanji defended hotly, “I was just thinking that maybe we could just wait until after we get there, and you know, do the walk. Or whatever…”
“I guess? But wasn't that the whole reason you made me pose for a dumb photo in the first place?” Zoro waved an airy hand, “For your important online image.”
Sanji made a face.
Zoro only really had a phone to stay in touch with his friends - and even then it was a cheap one because he tended to lose and break his phone remarkably often - but Sanji and Nami practically lived online. Zoro wasn’t one to judge. But he loved how annoyed it made Sanji when he talked down to him about it.
That being said, he didn’t like teasing the blond about this. Hand giving a reassuring squeeze to the nape of Sanji’s neck as he shrug, “You don't have to post it if you don't want to.”
Eyes narrowing, Sanji's entire body hardened as he turned an indignant expression onto Zoro, “Who says I don't want to?!”
Arching a brow, Zoro refused to back down from Sanji's glare as he surmised, "You're hesitating."
Sanji looked affronted, but didn't deny it.
“Curly, you instagram literally everything; even your toast.” Zoro paused before huffing, hoping to lighten the mood and take Sanji’s mind off of what was clearly bothering him, “And the only reason I know that is because I get the updates and I can't figured out how to uninstall the stupid app from my phone.”
It seemed to work, because Sanji went from agitated to exasperated in record time, “It's not that hard.”
“No, it really is.”
“You're like an old man trapped in an eighteen year olds body,” Sanji sent Zoro a shrewd look, “why do I like you again?”
“I dunno.” Zoro shrugged with a roll of his eyes, feigning disinterest before turning to look at Sanji, “I'm the only one that doesn't put up with your shit?”
“Oh yeah.” Conceding the point with an air of condescension, Sanji pretended to mull over Zoro’s logic before casting the boy a sideways glance, “Why do you like me?”
A smile broke out across Zoro’s face, “You're cute when you're angry.”
“Well, that doesn't bode well for us.” Sanji snarked with a roll of his eyes, “I can't be angry all the time.”
“You certainly make an effort.”
“Oh, fuck you.”
“Can you both stop flirting back there.” Nami chimed in, turning in her seat to glare down the two boys in the far back of the vehicle, “I don’t consent to listening to your weird foreplay.”
Cheeks going a wonderful shade of red and his shoulders tensing under Zoro’s hold, Sanji stammered for several embarrassment fueled seconds before denying, “We're not flirting.”
“We're definitely flirting.” Zoro’s grin turning into laughter as Sanji elbowed him in the side in outrage. Still fighting down his laughter as he rounded on a fuming Sanji, “Oh c'mon, this is how you always start it; don't play coy.”
Sanji opened his mouth to refute it, but upon meeting Zoro’s pointed look backed down and snapped his mouth shut. Lips pressing together into a thin line. He looked away but Zoro could still see the traces of a blush on the other teen’s cheeks. Chuckling softly, Zoro leaned in and pressed his forehead against Sanji’s and nuzzled into his hair affectionately.
Heartbreak hadn't been nearly as easy on him as a soccer ball to the face. No, heartbreak had ripped open his rib cage, torn out his heart, and slap-shotted it across the room when Sanji and a girl named Voila in their seventh grade began dating. It was middle school dating which consisted of movie dates and hanging out at each other's houses, but that still didn't make it hurt any less.
It was a Saturday. Zoro was out in his yard shooting hoops in front of his garage when Viola's mother came to pick her up and Sanji saw her off. Standing out on the sidewalk and waving until the car had long since rounded the corner and was out of sight - hand falling to his side in a wistful sigh.
Zoro threw the ball a tad too aggressively at the thought that Sanji had certainly never said goodbye to him with such yearning. The ball pinged off the rim and went sailing towards the street. Bouncing away and rolling towards a nearby parked car, only to have an approaching Sanji retrieve it and bring it over.
Tossing the ball to Zoro's expectant hand, Sanji then shoved his free hands into his pockets and sighed happily as he made his way over. Zoro immediately turning so Sanji couldn't see the expression on his face as he dribbled the ball a few times before making another shot. This time getting it in perfectly.
Walking over to retrieve it as Sanji's second gleeful sigh had him regretfully asking, “Good date?”
“It was wonderful.” Sanji immediately gushed as Zoro bent down to pick up the ball, steeling himself before turning to look at the blond that was all a flutter, “We snuggled on the couch and watched a scary movie; she even held my hand during the scary parts.”
“Sounds like she's a wimp.” Zoro grunted.
“You're just jealous.”
Yeah, he was, but it wasn't like he could tell anyone why.
“No.” Zoro scoffed, propped the ball on his hip before sneering, “Girls are dumb.”
“Yeah, of course you'd think that.” Sanji smirked, causing a momentary chill to take over Zoro. No one knew yet that Zoro liked boys instead of girls, and every time the subject came up he feared he’d let something slip. Sanji rolled his eyes before he continued, “You just haven't hit puberty yet.”
“Shut up!” Zoro growled, “I have so; way before you!”
“Nuh-uh.” Sanji countered, “If you did, you'd want to kiss girls by now.”
“I never said I don't wanna kiss--” Zoro cut himself short lest he divulge more than he was ready to to the other boy. Turning away as he bit his tongue out of sheer teenage frustration; though it was getting harder and harder to differentiate between when he wanted to kiss Sanji and when he wanted to punch him.
And this teasing was making it really hard for him at the moment.
Instead, he focused some of his pent up frustration into dribbling the ball and made his way back down the driveway. Pointedly ignoring Sanji as he turned to face the garage and line up another shot. Once again getting it in the net with nothing but a soft brush of the ball on the netting - with Sanji spending so much time with his new girlfriend, Zoro had more and more alone time to get better at playing baskets.
Darting in front of Zoro, Sanji snatched up the ball before it could roll back. He held it out of reach, a playful smirk lighting his face, “C’mon, let’s play a game.”
“Oh, yeah?” Sanji dropped the ball and began dribbling it, “Prove it.”
And just like that all the jealousy faded from him.
This Sanji was just for him. Viola would never get to see Sanji’s competitive smirk or biting remarks, the way the blond got all fired up when he felt like there was something to be lost - coming at Zoro with all he had. No, this was all for him.
Racing after Sanji down the driveway, he managed to get the ball back with some fancy footwork to dodge around the blond and make for the hoop. Certain that he was on a breakaway as he jumped into a lay-up - feet from the hoop - ball just leaving his hands when a flash of blond hair interrupted him. Sanji jumping up to slap the ball out of Zoro’s hand at the last moment.
Sneakers skidding on asphalt as he landed, Zoro spun around to see a grinning Sanji standing by the garage door and the basketball bouncing away from them. That smirk had him breathless. Slowly, he turned to go pick up the ball from where it had rolled into the gutter at the end of the street - only turning to face Sanji once more when he had it in his hands.
“I’m still not impressed.” Sanji huffed dramatically.
Letting the ball fall, Zoro began a steady, harsh, dribble as he walked up the driveway. Gaze never leaving Sanji’s. Revelling in how it was all for him, and accepting how hopeless it all was - this stupid love for a boy that was never going to love him back.
“You got a block.” Zoro snorted, deciding to use derision to hide his sorrow, “You’ll still lose.”
“Bring it, mosshead.”
With a scoff and a smirk, Zoro lunged forward. They played late into the evening after the sun had set and the street lamps were beginning to flicker on in some places. A dim twilight as the hum of bugs died down and it was just the two of them laughing and playing in the driveway.
It patched up that broken spot inside.
Not perfectly, but enough that Zoro found it easy to hide the pain. He may not be able to have everything he wanted, but he was certain that the time he got to spend with Sanji was like nothing else. Nobody else got to have this but him.
Pulling the van around into the student parking lot, Usopp cut the engine and everyone began piling out. Zoro managed to hop out first before turning back around and offering his hand out to Sanji who was still clamouring out of the back.
With an arched brow and a smarmy expression, Sanji reached out and took Zoro's hand. Allowing the other to take some of his weight as he hopped out of the vehicle and skidded slightly across the asphalt as he landed at Zoro's feet. Sanji glanced down at their hands which were still clasped and noted, “It's going to take a while to get used to you being so cordial.”
“It's just for tonight." Zoro reassured the blond, lowering his hand to his side, but refusing to let go of the blond. Instead, threading their fingers together and pulling him along towards the school, "Afterwards all bets are off.”
"Good." Sanji huffed, "I don't think I could handle it."
They all began making their way around the school to where the prom had been set up. Luffy already way ahead of the pack despite Nami’s best efforts to keep him restrained. Usopp and Kaya following shortly after and giggling amoungst themselves as Luffy practically dragged Nami along with him.
Holding Zoro back, Sanji jerked his head towards a secluded part of the building out of sight of where everyone was gathering and entering near the gymnasium. Without a word Zoro allowed himself to be pulled along until they were hidden and Sanji fished a pack of smokes from his pocket and lit one up with an anxious flourish.
It was obvious what was bothering him.
While their friends knew, it wasn't something they had made public yet, and while Zoro had already been through all this already, Sanji was a bit more self-conscious about his self image. Zoro had known from the beginning that it wasn't going to be easy, but he had a suspicion that Sanji was going to make it harder than anyone else at their school.
"Getting cold feet, Curly?"
Sanji visibly jumped. Shoulders tensing and hand nearly dropping his cigarette as he rounded on Zoro with a sharp look. “What?!”
Shrugging, Zoro muttered casually, "We can just play it off; say we're both going stag."
"What the hell are you playing at?"
Casting a careful glance around to make sure no one was nearby, Zoro stepped closer and grabbed Sanji lightly at the waist as he looked at the other teen imploringly. A soft smile on his face, “We managed to keep everything on the downlow all year; you don’t have to change that now.”
“You don’t want to go with me now or something, shithead?!”
“You posting that photo?" Zoro countered, jerking his chin towards the phone in Sanji's other hand. He’d been thumbing the case in his agitation, though his motions stilled once Zoro brought attention to it. Watching wide eyed as Zoro smirked, "Or are you ashamed of me?”
“Is that a challenge?”
Zoro smirked, “Since when is it not?”
It wasn't until high school that Sanji had experienced his first real heartbreak. Some pretty girl had strung him along for a few weeks before ruthlessly dumping him for someone else; it was the first that begat many more horrible breakups afterwards.
And through it all Zoro watched from the sidelines.
He was there through every breakup. He was there through every messy aftermath. He was the constant that made sure Sanji got back on his feet afterwards and went right back out there to get himself crushed all over again.
It was infuriating.
Sprawled on his bed, hands behind his head, Zoro scowled up at the ceiling as the afternoon’s recent breakup played through his head with startling clarity. It had been several hours since they had both gotten home from school and Sanji had gone straight home to no doubt sulk, Zoro wouldn’t be surprised if Sanji had dramatically fallen to the floor once he got inside and started sobbing.
It wasn’t like this was anything new.
Launching himself out of bed, Zoro stalked over to his window only to find Sanji’s corresponding one completely dark. And would’ve assumed Sanji was simply curled up on the floor listening to sad music in the dark, if not for the light in the backyard that caught his eye. He glanced down to see the blond sitting on the edge of the patio, staring up at the sky while smoking.
Running an aggravated hand through his hair, Zoro let out a frustrated growl and pushed himself away from the sill to pace his room for several moments. Pausing more than once to look up at the light from Sanji’s backyard that illuminated the trees separating their properties. Eventually giving in, he stormed out of his room and slammed his door for good measure.
Stomping down the stairs, he ignored his sister’s annoyed scream, “Slamming doors is super uncute, you brute!”
Too bad he was already out the front door before he could discern Perona’s indignant response.
Just like always, Zoro made his way across his yard and over to Sanji’s. Hands in his pockets and a defeated sigh caught in his throat as he had to deal with this stupid fallout for the upteenth time. Sometimes he thought about just ignoring it when it happened, but it always seemed like the blond wouldn’t bounce back until after Zoro smacked him upside the head.
So Zoro knew it was his duty at this point to get the sulking blond back to his old self.
Making his way around the house and to the backyard, he found Sanji where he had spotted him from his window, still sitting on the patio while smoking. Zoro came to a stop several feet away and simply watched the other as his own anguish over seeing the blond so rejected glanced across his face. Sanji didn’t acknowledge his presence at first - taking a few languished puffs on his cigarette - before finally glancing over at Zoro.
“Oh jeez...” Sanji rolled his eyes, “I must really be pathetic if you're giving me that look.”
It set Zoro on edge whenever Sanji managed to read him better than he expected. Maybe it was because he didn’t like to think he was so easy to read, but it was more likely because he was worried that the blond might see something else within him and was simply ignoring it.
“That pity filled scowl.” Waving his cigarette in Zoro's general direction. “Whenever I get dumped, or I’m sad; you always look at me like that. All…”
Sanji trailed off with a huff. Placing his cigarette back between his lips and taking short drag before exhaling a cloud of smoke sharply into the cold evening air. Hand raised once more to gesture vaguely as he tried to let his actions finish his earlier statement.
“I don’t pity you.”
A loud snort met Zoro’s words, and Sanji proceeded to drop his head between his knees and chuckle to himself for several minutes. Eventually raising his head, slumping against his shoulder to look at Zoro with a crooked stare as he absently flicked some of the ash from his smoke, “What do you call it then?”
“Annoyance.” Taking a few steps forward, Zoro watched as Sanji’s gaze tracked his movements and his head tilted up ever-so-slightly to look at Zoro from a sharper angle. He didn’t say anything, but simply raised his cigarette back to his lips and continued to watch the other teen as Zoro added, “And confusion.”
Hand falling away, a frown now creased Sanji’s face as he took his time to blow out a long stream of smoke. Its tendrils curling in the night air to slowly disperse upwards towards the black sky. His tongue darted out to wet his dry lips before asking, “Care to enlighten me as to why?”
“You fall for these girls just because they’re pretty,” Zoro surmised, as it was something he had given a lot of thought to over the past couple years. Hands finding his jean’s pockets to hide the eventual need to curl them into fists as he continued, “and yet you’re always surprised when it goes poorly or you get your heart broken.”
Sanji hummed thoughtfully to that.
It was hard to tell whether the blond was actually agreeing with Zoro, or simply politely acknowledging that he had heard Zoro speak and was, at that very moment, now plotting Zoro’s murder for saying something that displeased him. Zoro would bet money on the latter.
“And the most annoying part is I don’t think it’s even real heartbreak.” Zoro decided to double down, if they were going to get into a fight, then he might as well say some of what he’d been biting his tongue on for so long, “I think you’ve fallen in love with the idea of loving somebody; and when it doesn’t work out you’re upset over this perfect relationship and person that you’ve completely made up in your head.”
Now, Sanji’s face was carefully blank, and as he puffed on his smoke Zoro was beginning to wonder if he’d taken a step too far.
“Then I’m always left to deal with the fall out.” Zoro finished with a gruff sigh, digging a hand from his pocket to gesture to his face, “Which is why I look like this. You’re exhausting.”
Zoro hadn’t even begun to touch on the fact that while watching Sanji go through all of this, and putting up with every horrible experience Sanji put himself through; Zoro had to wait on the sidelines and act like he didn’t have feelings for the damned idiot.
And not for a single moment did he ever wish he was in any of those girl’s shoes, because that wasn’t the version of Sanji that he wanted. He didn’t want to be with someone that was more in love with being with somebody than actually loving the person they were with. This was just the beginning of a large complicated mess that didn’t even touch on Zoro’s unrequited feelings or the fact that due to their gender Sanji would certainly never even look in his direction.
A smile broke out across Sanji’s face at Zoro’s final words, and Zoro was surprised to find Sanji laughing instead of attempting to put the heel of his foot through Zoro’s front teeth. Cigarette falling away from his lips, Sanji continued to chortle happily as he managed, “Screw you, mossman.”
Patting the edge of the porch beside himself, Sanji waited patiently as Zoro slowly made his way over before falling down to sit beside the still chuckling teen. A heavy sigh leaving Sanji as he flopped over to let his head fall to rest on Zoro’s shoulder and they sat quietly for several moments. This type of closeness between them nothing new, despite the wreckage it did to Zoro’s heart.
As the last embers of Sanji’s cigarette came to, he reached out and ground it out in the dirt of the back yard before fishing out a new one. Quietly rustling as he went through the motions to light it as the smell of gas reached Zoro’s nostrils before being swiftly followed by acrid smoke. A long drag and a huffed followed before Sanji finally spoke.
“You hit the nail on the head.” Another puff, “Though I loathe to admit you being right about anything.”
“You know,” Zoro’s voice had softened immensely, but he could hardly stop himself when he was this close and alone with Sanji, “those are bad for your health.”
“Yeah,” Sanji drawled without any gravity to his agreeance. Taking a long inhale to prove his point before muttering, “pop says that too.”
Zoro rolled his eyes through a fond smile.
“You’ll find someone someday, Curly.” Reaching out an awkward arm, Zoro tried to ignore the clamminess of his palm he rested it around the blond and gently pulled him into an extremely half-assed hug. Hand squeezing his friend’s shoulder in reassurance as he murmured, “You just need to stop being such a try-hard.”
“The day I take dating advice from a fungus is the day I drop dead,” Sanji snorted, but Zoro could hear in his tone he was smiling, “but I’ll take it under consideration.”
“Woah,” Zoro chuckled, casting a sideways glance at the other, “Agreeing with me? You really must have gotten messed up.”
With a reluctant sigh Sanji dropped his head back onto Zoro's shoulder as they sat in silence and stared out at the hillside visible from the back yard. Land shrouded in shadow but for a few spots where the moon illuminated the trees, and the stars behind the cresting mountain stretching up impossibly high. It made Zoro's silly crush seem so monumentally insignificant, and yet at the same time the weight of Sanji's head on his shoulder was heavier than an entire galaxy.
With a fiery scowl and several angry huffs, Sanji thumbed on his phone and pulled up the photo. Typing with far more vigor than was necessary - as though the phone had personally insulted him - before making an exaggerated show out of hitting the ‘post’ button. Following it up by shoving the phone in Zoro’s face to show his handy work. The photo of them with Zoro kissing his cheek and the caption;
This dork is taking me to prom...
Shoving the phone into his pocket, Sanji flicked the butt of his cigarette aside while grumbling, “Happy?”
“Yes.” Zoro grinned wide.
Surprisingly, his honesty caused Sanji’s face to glow an even brighter shade of red until he seemed to snap. Hand lashing out to grab Zoro’s again - in a near punishing grip - before dragging him out from the alcove, “C’mon, we’re gonna be late.”
Without giving Zoro any other explanation, Sanji hauled him along - hand in hand - towards the other end of the school where other classmates were hanging about. Some waiting for others to show, and some only just arriving. As they made their way inside Zoro noticed a few people staring at the deathgrip Sanji had on his hand, but Sanji was too blindsided to notice.
A few people were already speaking in hushed tones and pointing towards them as they walked in, but for the most part they were completely ignored in favour of excitement. As they waited in line to enter the newly transformed gym, Sanji stared ahead of himself like he had a mission while Zoro unabashedly held Sanji’s hand for the first time in their school.
Up at the weird alter thing, Zoro felt nearly as awkward as when Nami had forced him to take a photo earlier, but this time the feeling of elation won out. And after they posed for the obligatory professional photo, Zoro turned, grabbed Sanji by the lapels of his vest, and pulled him into a swooping kiss. He’d gladly take the ass kicking he might get later in favour of how liberating it felt to finally do that.
When Zoro pulled back - instead of the anger he had expected to see there - it was a rather dazed expression that had Zoro aching to lean back in and do it again… But the next people in line were giving them an expectant look, so Zoro took Sanji by the hand instead and lead them further inside where the dance was set up. Making it in without any fuss, or even a batted eye over what had just happened.
No one cared.
A few speeches were made and some awards given out, Luffy abused the catering tables set up all about the hall, and for the most part the evening began as normally as any prom. All the guys from the basketball team had casually stopped by - either solo or with a few friends - to congratulate Zoro and give the occasional high five on finally getting with Sanji after seeing him pine for years. Some fellow classmates also stopped him to mention their support, but that was about it.
It was as lackluster a response as he had been expecting.
Coming out hadn't really been a formal event for Zoro so much as a high school rumour that he failed to deny which then spread to eventually be accepted as fact. It hadn't really bothered him, and at this point his crush for Sanji had been going on for years so it seemed that there was no point denying it.
And at this point he had more than accepted it.
It all started with a girl in his History class named Hiyori, a ridiculous crush, and a lot of miscommunication; the end result was him standing in the hallway as she sobbed dramatically while classmates looked on. Adjusting his grip on his gym bag, Zoro attempted to take a step backwards that only ended in her throwing herself at him. She nearly knocked them both over in her attempt to cling to him.
“Just--” Zoro stammered through gritted teeth, eyes flashing up as he realized that their scuffle had drawn even more attention. Gaze finding Sanji amongst the crowd who watched Zoro with a look of stricken outrage - as if that wasn’t hard enough to deal with. Wrenching Hiyori’s hands off himself, Zoro shoved her off of him as gently as he could without knocking her over and immediately began backing away, “leave me alone!”
“What’s wrong with you?!” Hiyori demanded, “Are you gay or something?!”
“I-- I don’t--”
Catching a final glance from Sanji, Zoro turned and stormed off in a flustered rage leaving the entire hallway to burst out into murmurs. He got out of the school and nearly a block away before he heard hurried footsteps behind him. Glancing back, he found Sanji jogging to catch up with him. With an annoyed scowl, Zoro turned back forward and kept up his stride. Even after Sanji had caught up to him and fell instep beside him, Zoro refused to explain himself. Obviously, the annoying blond couldn’t take a hint.
“Sooo…” Sanji sung softly, “What was that all about?”
Zoro didn’t say anything.
“What’s wrong with you, man?” Sanji scowled, but his tone was light and it made the crushing feeling of dread in Zoro’s chest lighten substantially, “Hiyori’s like the hottest girl in our grade; are you actually out of your mind?”
“She’s not my type.”
It was a half-truth.
Not that Zoro couldn’t understand that she was objectively very beautiful, but he simply just didn’t have any feelings about it one way or another. Even if had been a boy asking him out so adamantly, he still would have turned them down. He was stupidly lost on a boy that was all lanky limbs and crooked smiles.
“Uh…” Sanji seemed unconvinced, “She’s everyone’s type.”
Zoro wondered what it would take to get Sanji to drop the subject right now… probably nothing less than a punch to the face; and unfortunately he had grown rather fond of that feature recently. Maybe if he just aimed for the eye that the blond normally hid behind his stupidly attractive bangs?
“Phhftt.” Sanji snorted with an exaggerated roll of his eyes as he finished fishing a cigarette from a pack. Pointing it at Zoro as he shoved the packaged in his back pocket, “Was she right; are you gay?”
“Yeah,” Keeping his stride steady, Zoro pushed past the blond who had skidded to a stunned halt on the sidewalk and didn’t bother to look back - nearly as stunned as Sanji was that the omission had fallen out of him so effortlessly, “I think I am.”
Rationally, it should’ve felt like a big deal, but once the words actually left his mouth he realized with a relaxed ease that it felt right. Like admitting he was hungry, or that he dyed his hair green; it was just a part of who he was.
“Wait.” Sanji snapped back into himself and ran to catch up with Zoro. Managing to get back in stride next to him and looking at Zoro with his full attention. He didn’t seem disgusted or snide, just genuinely curious, “Really?”
Stopping at an intersection, Zoro kept his gaze firmly ahead of himself as he waited for the light to change. Sanji remained right at his side, but seemed much more lost in his thoughts than Zoro was as his gaze was turned skyward and he was fiddling with his unlit cigarette. Eventually the light turned and they both continued to forward.
As they reached the sidewalk on the other side of the street, Sanji finally lit up his smoke and took a drag, exhaling a stream of smoke with a chuckle, “Guess that’s why you always thought kissing girls was dumb, huh?”
Zoro felt his shoulders visibly relax and he cast Sanji a sideways glance. Catching the blond watching him out of the corner of his eye with a shit-eating grin on his face. He couldn’t help but laugh as he admitted with a much more easy breath, “Yeah, kinda does.”
Sanji just nodded slowly, acceptingly.
Another drag before asking, “How long you know?”
“A while.” Zoro fought to keep the sardonic tone from affecting his voice too much.
“Pretty sure I heard some rumours starting when I left,” Sanji admitted, “Whole school’s gonna know by tomorrow if you don’t set the record straight.”
Zoro rolled his eyes at Sanji’s lame attempt at a pun. Shrugging, he hiked his gym bag further on his shoulder, “I don’t think I will; easier this way.”
“Well, let me know if any of the kiddies give you trouble.” Sanji’s voice adopted a coddling tone as he reached out to ruffle Zoro’s hair, “I’ll make sure to beat them up for ya.”
Smacking Sanji’s hand away before it had a chance to touch him - not needing the feeling of the blond’s hand in his hair to fuel any teenage fantasies - he sent the teen a shrewd glare, “Like I need you to fight my battles for me, Curly.”
By the end of the week the rumor had spread across the whole school, and Zoro decided to just roll with it. It was one less barrier he would have to deal with between himself and Sanji; and at least the blond would somewhat know where Zoro stood.
Despite the casualness of the evening, Zoro was able to tell from the tense line of Sanji’s shoulders that he wasn’t nearly as at ease as Zoro was. Likely, the blond was waiting for something horrible to happen at any moment, and was probably thinking about how the whole class was waiting to make him into a joke.
So, for the most part Zoro let Sanji conduct himself how he wanted. When he wanted to stand close to Zoro, or hold his hand, he did. And when the blond was obviously putting distance between them, or too agitated to have Zoro’s arm around him, then Zoro acted like he had the rest of the year. Zoro had been prepared for this ever since Sanji had suggested coming out at prom.
As the night went on Sanji did get progressively more relaxed and the blond was able to actually enjoy himself. With all the festivities of prom, they had gotten separated more than once. Chatting with old friends and just enjoying their last night in these halls with these people they had spent the last several years of their life with. When the music turned slow, Zoro finally decided he’d given the blond enough space and he was going to at least get the idiot to dance with him once.
It took a bit longer than he had expected - winding up at the cafeteria twice for some reason - before finally locating Sanji out in front of the school enjoying a cigarette with a few of the other habitual smokers in their class. Striding over to them as he noticed them turning in his direction and a couple of girls piping up.
“Ooohh! It’s Zoro.” One of them crooned.
Another giving a wink and a wave, “Hey, pretty boy.”
Ignoring all of them, he came to stop in front of Sanji and cut straight to the point as he held out his hand, “Wanna dance?”
It was met with some elated giggling as Sanji just blushed harder, looking away long enough to put out his cigarette and back up at Zoro with a shy nod. Stepping forward, but pausing as Zoro refused to move while pushing his hand more insistently towards the blond.
Lips squeezing into an embarrassed line, Sanji slowly raised his hand and allowed Zoro to clasp it before immediately dragging them off. Leaving the group outside to cheer and holler after them, Zoro not sure if Sanji’s ears could possibly get anymore red.
“You’re so embarrassing.”
Dragging Sanji back into the gym, Zoro had to shout above the music, “I don’t want to hear that from the prince of idiots.”
Taking a firm grip on Sanji’s shoulder, and another on his hand, Zoro then looked up expectantly at the blond as the melodic waltzing music swirled around them. Sanji arched a brow and snorted, “I thought you asked me to dance?”
“Perona taught me enough to not step on your toes,” Zoro explained, “but not enough to lead.”
Rolling his eyes affectionately, Sanji began guiding them into a simple waltz which Zoro carefully followed along with as he tried to remember the steps. Despite his awkward dancing abilities, it was really nice, and if someone had told him a few years ago he’d be dancing with the blond at prom - well, he’d probably have called them an idiot.
However, it was hard to ignore the way Sanji kept glancing around rather than look at Zoro. Asking despite knowing the answer, Zoro jerked the blond a little in his hold to get his attention, “What’s wrong?”
“I’m just… on edge.” Sanji continued to follow along with the steps, but his gaze was torn elsewhere. Darting amoungst the crowd warily, “I feel like at any minute something’s gonna go wrong.”
“No one cares, Curly.” Zoro snorted, “Maybe we’ve bothered a few teachers, but I guarantee no one in our grade is gonna look twice.”
Sanji still seemed highly skeptical, so Zoro curled the hand he had resting on Sanji’s shoulder to his neck instead and pulled him in for a kiss. His lips were still a little acrid from the earlier cigarette, but as he angled the blond’s head and licked deeper he found it easy to locate Sanji’s actual taste. Heady and addicting, the whole thing just starting to get good as Sanji relaxed into him, until they were interrupted by annoyed yelling.
“Oi! Oi! Oi!”
Both boys tore apart from each other - Sanji looking particularly more terrified than Zoro - as their gym teacher came stomping over towards them. Flustered and waving his hands about, “Alright, break it up, break it up. It’s prom, not a nightclub.”
“Don’t be a buzzkill, teach.” Zoro grinned, “It’s just a kiss.”
“I don’t care!” Mr. Paulie denied with a shake of his head, “You leave room between yourselves for-- Oh! Hey! Nonononono!”
Paulie took off across the dance floor at breakneck pace towards another couple that was getting way too frisky on the bleachers. Zoro bursting out into laughter as Sanji still had a hand placed to his chest and was as white as a sheet; clearly on the verge of a heart attack.
"C'mon." Zoro chortled, taking Sanji's - still rigid from panic - hand and dragged the blond off to a more secluded area of the gym - behind one of those obnoxious balloon decorations where not even an astute teacher could see them. Pulling a flask free from his pocket, he waved it in front of the blond, “Need to take some of the edge off, blondie?”
“You’re such a delinquent.”
“Fine,” Zoro shrugged, unscrewing the top and taking a long swig, “none for you then.”
“Gimme that!” Sanji snatched the flask from Zoro’s hand. Taking an extra large swallow with a spiteful look in his eye, before handing back to Zoro with a stern look and watery eyes as he refrained from coughing. The burn of the alcohol apparent.
Telling the truth hadn’t turned out like so many of the romantic comedies Sanji had made him watch over the years had promised it would. There was no perfect reciprocation on the other person’s part, no happily ever after, and if anything it ended up ruining everything between them. Three little words that he had been promised would fix everything, and instead did the opposite.
“I like you.”
And it was anti-climatic.
That was another thing Sanji’s endless repertoire of lovey-dovey indulgence films had also gotten wrong. Fireworks hadn’t lit up the sky at a convenient moment, birds didn’t take flight in a rustle of feathers the moment the words had left his lips, and there was definitely no swelling of heartwarming music as they stared at each other.
What had happened was silence…
Silence with a cold stare and colder eyes. Blue eyes that normally caught the sun and put the sky to shame had instead become an icy grey. Glaring at Zoro as the teen knew that this was the exact response he was expecting, yet unsure why he had chosen to tell Sanji anyway.
Which is why, as he finished packing for his trip to Japan, he looked up to glance at Sanji’s window visible across the way and wasn’t surprised to see the blinds closed. It had been two weeks since he had told Sanji, and ever since, the teen had kept his blinds down lest they accidentally catch each other’s eyes.
With a heavy heart, he finished zipping up his bag and grabbed his backpack off his bed, lugging both items downstairs and to the waiting car. Helping Mihawk load the luggage before making his way over to Sanji’s house with a nervous knot tying his stomach.
Despite all the time he had to think, he still wasn’t certain what to say...
Approaching the front door, Zoro knocked - a motion forgein to him as they usually came and went from each other’s properties like they were family - and waited until he heard the familiar clunk of Zeff’s prosthetic leg on the hardwood. Looking up just in time for the old man to pull the door open and look down at Zoro with a quizzical expression.
“Hello, sir.” Zoro inclined his head in a short bow as Zeff pulled open the door further. The man who had become like a second father over the years just snorted at the behaviour and looked at Zoro expectantly so the teen continued, “Is Sanji in?”
A sharp look flashed across Zeff’s face and Zoro wondered just how much Sanji may have let his old man know.
“It isn’t like you to knock, tomatillo.”
“Yeah…” Zoro had the grace to look a little guilty. Glancing back at the car waiting on the street with Mihawk waiting in it before back up at Zeff, “It’s just that I’m leaving today and I was hoping to say goodbye, but I kinda fuc-- messed things up between us.”
Zeff’s shoulders lifted in a heavy sigh, but he didn’t seem at all annoyed. If anything he seemed remorseful when he addressed Zoro, “I noticed he’s been a bit pissy recently, and he did tell me to tell you he wasn’t here if you stopped by.”
Zoro nodded, and began to step away.
“That being said, he hasn’t told me anything,” Zeff’s voice softened at that, and Zoro had to wonder if he had an inkling of what had happened, “and he certainly can’t stop me from leaving the door unlocked if you wish to go bother him in his room.”
That had a wry smile splitting his face and Zoro’s gaze turned to the staircase visible over Zeff’s shoulder - knowing Sanji’s bedroom was just out of sight. And for several seconds he was actually tempted to accept the old man’s offer, but there was nothing he had to say to the blond that he hadn’t already. Looking back up at Zeff, Zoro shook his head politely and shouldered his pack higher up on his shoulder, “Thank you for the offer, but I think I’ll leave it as is. Just let him know I said goodbye.”
“Will do,” Zeff nodded, “Have fun on your trip.”
“With Mihawk,” Zoro scoffed, “that’ll be a challenge.”
“Bye, green bean.”
Making his way back to the car, Zoro threw himself in the front seat and kept his face blank as he wondered if he had done the right thing, or if he was supposed to bust down the stubborn blond’s door and demand a farewell. Something told him he made the right choice, so he just sat quietly and waited for Mihawk to start the car.
The nice thing about Mihawk was he never pressed an issue.
Casting a final glance up at Sanji’s house, Zoro tried to remind himself that the ache in his chest was nothing he wasn’t used to. Turning forward in his seat, he did up his seatbelt while muttering, “Yeah, let’s go.”
At the time, Zoro had fooled himself into believing it was only fair to himself that he stop lying to the both of them. However, it was much later that he came to terms with the fact that he was just being petty. Saying whatever he wanted despite knowing the consequences.
In retrospect, it was incredibly selfish of him to put Sanji in that position. Where he not only had to bear the weight of Zoro’s feelings, but the burden of their entire friendship that Zoro had cast aside in favour of admitting his feelings. It was only after everything - after Sanji had shut him out entirely - that he realized how unfair he had been to the blond.
With a final, arduous grunt, Zoro managed to kick off the wall and pull himself the rest of the way up onto the roof. Making sure to land as flat footed as he could to ensure none of the rental clothes would get scuffed or damaged. Dusting himself off just to be on the safe side, he wandered over to the ledge and looked down on the blond who was still trapped on the fire escape below. Giving an expectant look and arching a brow, he called out "You comin', Curly?"
"Yeah, yeah. Don't rush me, you neanderthal." Waving Zoro off with an annoyed hand, Sanji’s gaze was more preoccupied with the structure and ladder above him, "I'm figuring out the best way to do this."
"Just climb it." Zoro rest his hands along the raised edge of the building and scoffed, "Stop over thinking everything."
"Unlike you, I actually like my clothes," Sanji huffed, "So shut it."
Zoro rolled his eyes, but stayed silent. Watching intently as the blond psyched himself up - for far too long in Zoro's opinion - before running at the wall below the ladder. Jumping and kicking off it, launching up more than high enough to grab the bottom rung of the ladder and begin pulling himself up.
"You know," Zoro mused as Sanji began the easier task of climbing up the ladder towards the top off the school, "It really is a shame you never joined the basketball team - with that vert."
"And fuck up my hands? No thanks." Sanji’s snide comment was slightly undercut by his grunting as he climbed, "I've seen how messed up your fingers have gotten."
Zoro just rolled his eyes.
Finally getting to the landing at the top of the ladder, it was easier from there as Sanji repeated what Zoro did, and hopped and pulled himself up onto the roof. Landing beside Zoro and turning to face the man with a pompous flourish of his hands and cocky little smirk.
They were alone, so Zoro decided to get rid of it the best way he knew how: hauling the blond forward and kissing it off his face. There were those three seconds where Sanji’s body went rigid, before he all but melted into Zoro’s arms, and it was a sensation he was never going to get sick of feeling. Giving a quick, chaste peck just before the blond could reciprocate and released him suddenly.
Leaving Sanji a ruffled mess, he made his way over to the edge of the building on the far side so they could get a good look down on the school courtyard below and dawdling students slowly making their way home. Hopping up onto the edge, he looked back at the blond expectantly.
Sanji’s face was still a little blank, and the right collar of his shirt had flipped up after Zoro’s manhandling.
Giving the ledge a smarmy pat, Zoro waited as Sanji snapped into himself and quickly straightened himself out before striding over to join Zoro. Looking a little peeved, but biting his tongue as he plopped down next to Zoro - legs hanging over the side of the building - as they sat in silence for several minutes.
At some point between people watching, star gazing, and fond bickering Sanji's head ended up on Zoro's shoulder. Except this time when he put his arm around the blond, it was with an ease that made him smile rather than put him on edge. Fingers toying with the hem of Sanji's vest before the blond final have in, tilted his head up, and locked his lips with Zoro.
It was a breathtaking kiss, mixed with mild feelings of vertigo from being up so high, and it was perfect. Sweet, and innocent, and just a little bit earnest.
Eventually Zoro let his mouth slide away to press kisses along Sanji's cheek until he reached the junction where neck met jaw and nipped. Curling into the blond as he inhaled the amazing scent of the teen's hair that had become somewhat addictive over the course of the year.
“I meant it…” Zoro murmured into Sanji’s neck, basking in the delightful shiver than ran through the lean blond. Pressing his lips to the line of his throat, “what I said earlier.”
“Re-- uh…” With a flustered cough, Sanji asked, “refresh my memory?”
“When I said I like you when you're giving me hell; I like the way you challenge me. I like that you don't take shit from anybody, not even me.” Zoro pressed a chaste kiss to the skin just behind the blond’s ear, “And I like how fiery you get over the littlest things.”
Another arousing shudder shook the blond as Zoro was certain he was never going to get tired of how easily affected Sanji was. Despite his flirtatious nature, the blond was easily brought to his knees by a few kisses and well placed caresses; it was almost too easy.
Pulling back so he could look Sanji in the eye, he met a quizzical, if not slightly embarrassed, gaze watching him warily. Leaning in, Zoro nudged his forehead against Sanji's, leaving just enough space between them that he could still make out the twinkling of the streetlights below reflected in the other boy's eyes. Smirking as he admitted, “But I like you when you're not even more.”
Sanji blinked once, brow drawing down in a clear request for an explanation.
“I like your soft smile and how it lights up a room. I like how passionate you are about, like, everything." Zoro hummed, "And I especially like how kind you are despite your efforts to hide it.”
An amazing mixture of emotions warped Sanji's face ultimately leaving him looking overly flustered. It seemed despite how flattered he was, his inherent nature to tease Zoro was at war with his desire to take the compliment; the result was well worth it.
God, when did Zoro turn into such a sap?
After several hopeless moments, Sanji seemed to go neutral even though his blush said everything about what he thought about Zoro's words, "You're awfully chatty this evening…"
With a shrug and a soft grunt Zoro leaned back, resting his weight on his hands and turning his gaze up to the sky, "I'm in a good mood."
"Yeah?" Zoro could hear the grin in Sanji's words, and could easily imagine the coy little smirk playing about on his lips. He listened as Sanji casually pulled out a cigarette before agreeing with a happy mumble, "Me too."
A stunned look had Sanji frozen to the spot as Zoro and Mihawk continued to make their way across the airport towards the waiting party. Perona already in motion, running over to throw herself into their father’s arms and wail about how arduous the summer was and how much she had missed them. But Zoro only had eyes for the blond.
Sanji was still looking at Zoro with an expression that he didn’t think he’d ever seen on the blond before. However, he would’ve had to be blind to miss the way Sanji’s gaze trailed up and down Zoro as though he was seeing the other teen for the first time. It caused the faintest of blushes to pinch Zoro’s ears.
All at once Sanji seemed to snap back into himself and he was lurching forward to sprint at Zoro and throw himself at the other teen. Zoro was forced to drop his bags as he suddenly had his arms full of a lanky blond that was squeezing the life out of him and he had no choice other than to hug back just as urgently. Sanji was warm and solid in his arms. And it suddenly felt like it had been an eternity since he had seen his best friend.
Warm spices, laundry detergent, and cigarette smoke leeched from Sanji as he buried his face in the blond's shoulder and inhaled happily. The intoxicating aroma wrapped around him and suffocated him for several long moments as the bustling airport fell away and it was just the two of them; it was like coming home.
With a jerk and an embarrassed cough Sanji pulled away, but his hands lingered as they slid from around Zoro’s neck to trail across his shoulders. Eventually his hands fell away entirely but not before Zoro had a chance to glance down at them and back up at Sanji with a look of surprise.
A blush lit up Sanji’s cheeks as his hands returned to his sides and he refused to meet Zoro’s gaze. Eyes widened further at the odd - and dare he say flirtatious - behaviour, he didn't get a chance to say anything before Perona was on him and the other adults crowded around to say their greetings. Only when he was being smothered by his sister did Zoro finally catch Sanji’s eye as the blond looked back up at him with a small smile.
And that was what he was left with until they arrived home.
Mihawk pulling the car into the driveway and heading inside as Zoro watched Zeff pull their bakery truck into their respective house and Sanji came clamouring out. Zoro carefully made his way over as he didn’t want to impose, but his worries were quickly put aside as Sanji approached with a shy smile.
“Wanna come hang out for a bit?” Sanji jerked his head towards the house, “Catch me up on your trip?”
“Yeah, sure.” Zoro agreed with an easy shrug, following after the blond as he lead the both of them up the porch stairs and into the house. He still was a little surprised at how willing Sanji was to continue their friendship as it had been before he had said anything about his feelings, but he definitely wasn’t going to complain. If things went back to normal then he was more than willing to join Sanji in ignoring the elephant in the room until it went away.
“The new Marines game came out while you were away.”
Zoro gave a crooked smirk, “Is that an invitation for me to kick your ass?”
“Please,” Sanji scoffed with an insufferable roll of his eyes, already leading them upstairs as he sneered, “I’ve had all summer to practice; we can team play until you can get on my level.”
“I could beat you without any practice.”
“Fine.” Sanji huffed, spinning on his heel once he reached the second floor landing and bore down on Zoro, “Don’t cry when you lose.”
Hand to the blond’s chest, Zoro shoved the other back playfully, “That’s my line.”
With a bit more choice trash talking, Sanji lead them into his room and set up the game. Getting Zoro familiar with the controls as they both lounged on Sanji’s bed, backs against the wall, and Zoro could feel everything returning to normal with each passing second.
They went through a few tutorial rounds before Zoro got the hang of it and then Sanji immediately switched over to team missions and they began playing in earnest. It was pretty similar to older versions of the Marines games, however the graphics were much more crisp, and the new nautical maps were far more tricky to navigate - which lead to his death more than once by drowning.
As Zoro waited for his character to respawn, he glanced sideways and properly took in the other teen since he had gotten back. Sanji still looked remarkably same, but a summer apart had changed a few things that Zoro couldn’t help but notice. Like the way his face was a bit sharper, how he had grown a couple inches, and the interesting bit of facial hair he had finally managed to grow.
Turning back to the screen, Zoro began hurriedly controlling his soldier as he absently commented, “You finally got some stubble.”
“Mhm,” Sanji hummed with a cocky smirk. Ducking his player into an alcove to reload, “The girl’s are gonna be all over it this year.”
“A bit of your pubes glued to your chin isn’t gonna suddenly make you a chick magnet,” Keeping his gaze firmly on the screen as he scoffed, controller buttons clicking wildly as he took out two approaching marines. Still able to take out two more even when Sanji squawked and leaned back so he could kick Zoro as hard as he could in the thigh.
“Fuck you!” In his effort to get Zoro back, Sanji looked away long enough for Zoro to headshot his character and was now faced with a loading screen as the blond fully rounded on the other, “At least I can grow pubes, you hairless child.”
All Zoro did was snort quietly and keep his eyes on the screen.
Once Sanji’s character revived, they continued playing for several more minutes without incident and managed to finish the level with Zoro's character ahead currently. Both setting their controllers down as a loading screen popped up and the game began preparing for the next arena. Zoro took the opportunity to actually look over at the blond - Sanji mimicking the motion - and gifting him with a soft smile as he admitted, “It suits you; you look good.”
“You--uh…” A bright flush started to climb up Sanji’s neck as he looked away, hand coming up to rub the back of his neck nervously as Zoro watched, mildly amused. It was interesting seeing such a bashful side of the blond, and he had to wonder what exactly was bringing this on. Still looking down at his crossed legs, Sanji finally managed, “you too. I mean, you look good too. You filled out. Finally.”
It seemed even when complimenting, Sanji couldn’t resist getting in a subtle jab and Zoro could only smile as he wouldn’t have it any other way. Though a small part of him was surprised that Sanji had even noticed at all. Training all summer with Mihawk had paid off.
“Oh-ho!” Zoro exclaimed with unbridled glee, “Is the skinny blond finally admitting I’m stronger than him?”
“Hell no!” Sanji threw himself against Zoro to slam his shoulder into the other, “I could still kick your ass.”
“Keep telling yourself that.”
With a final shove, Zoro snatched his controller up and they both turned back to the game. Still occasionally talking, but mostly just cursing the other out for killing their character.
It felt good.
It felt good to joke around and tease each other again, to hang out while playing video games and talk like nothing had come between them, to still be the only one the other felt like they could confide in. Zoro would never admit aloud how much it had eaten him this summer, but to come back and know him and Sanji were still friends was a huge relief.
After a few more rounds Zoro finally felt himself getting tired, and the sandy feeling behind his eyelids could no longer be ignored. Tossing his controller across the carpet towards the console, he finally conceded as he threw his arms over his head to stretch while speaking through a yawn, “I need to go. Jet lag is starting to kick my ass and I still have to unpack.”
“Oh yeah,” Sanji pulled out his phone to check the time, and Zoro wondered if it was just the fatigue that made him imagine Sanji sounding a little put out, “yeah, of course.”
Zoro pushed himself to his feet and waited as Sanji shut off the console before allowing the other to lead him back out of the house. Normally they wouldn’t so formally say goodbye - Sanji would usually just kick him out of his room and let Zoro show himself out - but it seemed that their separation this summer meant they weren’t back to all their old routines.
Out on the porch, Sanji was oddly stiff and silent, but Zoro knew better than to press the blond. For all he knew Sanji had been fighting the awkwardness he felt being around Zoro all night just to try and make amends. And Zoro would rather just be grateful and feign ignorance than call the blond out; if anything he was touched Sanji was making the effort.
“I’ll see ya tomorrow.” Zoro smiled, “We can go catch up with Lu, and the others.”
“Mh.” Sanji grunted in agreement, still watching Zoro with this weird look Zoro couldn’t quite place, “They’ve missed you; Luffy especially.”
“I look forward to it.”
Zoro gave a final wave and began to make his way down Sanji’s front steps. He made it about halfway across Sanji’s yard before a yell and a hand wrapped around his wrist hand him jerking to a stop.
Gaze darting down to Sanji’s hand at his wrist before up at the teen currently holding him back, he watched with muted trepidation as he wondered if maybe he had crossed a line at some point. It wouldn’t be entirely out of character for the two of them to spend an evening playing video games amicably and then end with them fist fighting in the front yard.
If anything, Zoro could count more than one occasion it had definitely happened.
However, this time there was something different in the blond’s expression and from the way things had been going all night it felt like Sanji had something else he wanted to say. And almost on cue Sanji opened his mouth and began stammering, “Look, I wanted to apologize for what happened before you left--”
“Don’t.” Zoro cut Sanji off quickly, causing the blond to look up at Zoro with a startled expression. It was a conversation he had played out in his head a million times this summer, and he knew if Sanji ever made him have it, that the blond’s kind nature would make him blame himself, “You don't owe me anything."
"I should never have put you in that position; it was selfish."
Sanji looked like he wanted to say something, but simply watched Zoro with his brow knitted and his jaw slack. Zoro took it as his cue to end the conversation now before it got any more awkward for either of them.
"This evening was great," Zoro voice was clipped despite his best efforts to smile through it. Turning away and intending to continue making his way home, "let's just leave it that way."
"What if I don't want just 'great'?"
Pausing half turned away from the other, Zoro felt his heart seize in his chest as Sanji's words couldn't possibly mean what he was thinking they did…
Zoro slowly turned his head back to look at the other boy only to find Sanji staring at him with steadfast resolution hardening those normally soft eyes. That confidence didn't spread to the rest of him, despite the squared nature of his shoulders, Sanji's hands clasped nervously in front of himself and he worried his lower lip with his teeth.
It was at this moment Zoro realized it had been nearly a full minute since he had taken a breath, and he sucked in a sharp gasp. Words feeling like they were spoken by someone else as he murmured, "What do you want?"
Zoro watched him expectantly.
“I want a smoke.”
Tension draining from him, Zoro refrained from rolling his eyes as he gave a vague gesture for the blond to invite him to light up. Sanji taking the offer immediately to dig a stick from his pocket and place it between his lips, lighting up and pocketing his lighter as Zoro watched Sanji’s fingers tremble nervously.
It seemed like Sanji had something important to tell him, and he had no problem waiting however long it took.
“Ok, look, it’s just…” Sanji floundered for several moments as he huffed on his cigarette, body jittery and eyes unable to meet Zoro’s until something seemed to snap. Suddenly the agitated blond was pacing in front of Zoro while he began to rant, “It’s just… you came out and it was no big deal, but it got me thinking, and it was about things I still didn’t even want to begin contemplating about myself. Like big, world altering things that I hadn’t even thought about until you made me think about them.”
Zoro tried to keep up with Sanji’s rambling, ever while the feeling of hope was growing in his chest as he wondered if Sanji was trying to explain what he thought he was.
“And then before I even had a chance to sort out what was going on in my head, you told me--” Sanji cut off abruptly, waving his hands about in agitation before giving Zoro a pointed look, “you know. And I just panicked.”
“Panicked?” Zoro echoed with a disbelieving laugh.
Zoro’s voice seemed to snap Sanji out of his cycle of self-beration and he stilled. Looking up at Zoro with nothing but raw emotion lancing across his face. It wasn’t something he had been expecting to see - not with how chipper the blond had been all evening - and it humbled Zoro into silence.
Looking down, Zoro could see Sanji’s knuckles had gone white from how tightly he was clenching his fists and the cigarette currently being crushed between his fingers. Eyes looking back up to Sanji where the blond was mouthing wordlessly before eventually choking out,
“I liked you back.”
The words were so soft - so hoarse - that Zoro could’ve sworn he had missed hearing them correctly, but the devastated look on Sanji’s face told him he hadn’t misheard. It was an expression of turmoiled emotions, of someone who was barring themselves despite being terrified, and the only reason Zoro knew this was because it was how he had felt.
“I should have said something, but I was scared and angry and…” Sanji implored, hands shaking at his sides now as he gritted out, “I spent all summer stuck in my head hating myself, hating you, and then hating myself more for blaming you for something that wasn’t even your fault. And I--”
Grabbing a handful of Sanji’s shirt - the blond's eyes going cartoonishly wide for a moment as he looked down at Zoro's hand in shock - Zoro hauled the rambling blond in a tight embrace and effectively shut him up. Tense for a few moments as though he had been expecting a hit rather than a hug. And then, all at once, Sanji melted into the hold and Zoro felt like his heart was going to burst out of his chest from how right it felt.
Slowly Sanji's hands came up to clutch desperately in the fabric on Zoro's back, and the breath caught in his throat. It was just as good as their hug in the airport, and Zoro never wanted to let the other go ever again.
Eventually, pulling his face from the crook of Zoro’s neck, Sanji murmured into Zoro’s shoulder, “I’m sorry."
“You’re a shit listener.” Zoro grumbled as he pulled back, but still kept a hand curled around Sanji’s neck. Holding the blond away so he could level a fond yet exasperated look on him, “I told you not to apologize.”
Bumping his forehead against Zoro’s, Sanji laughed nervously, “Since when have I ever listened to anything you told me to do.”
Zoro conceded the point without much of a fight. Far more intrigued with how close they currently were and how warm Sanji’s muted breaths were across his face. Blue eyes so bright despite the darkness around them. Now that he was allowed to stare without cause, he never wanted to stop, except maybe to….
Sanji broke their staring contest first, gaze falling to Zoro's lips before rising again, this time a blush dusting his cheeks. It was all the invitation Zoro needed to tug Sanji forward the last few inches and slant his lips over the blond's in a reverent kiss. Knees feeling as though they might buckle as Sanji tentatively kissed back, and he sighed happily into their perfect first kiss.
Streetlights cast radiant spotlights across the sidewalk as the two boys walked the familiar streets towards their homes. The evening was humid and it made Zoro think of all the numerous summers they spent out past their curfew getting into mischief. Zoro had given up on trying to undo the fancy knot on his tie and turned to look at the other.
Sanji looked utterly at peace. A blush reddened his cheeks from the alcohol he had nicked from Zoro, and his perfectly styled hair was more of a delightful mess - the way Zoro prefered it. His bowtie was now hanging from his neck undone and he puffed happily on a cigarette as Zoro kept in pace beside him.
Zoro wasn’t a romantic - not the way Sanji was - but he certainly felt something close to it as he couldn’t help but think how perfect the whole evening had been. Being out and with Sanji had made his chest swell nearly as bad as the first time they kissed. However, he didn't think he'd be dancing anytime in the future, but it was nice being able to get through a song without stepping on Sanji's toes.
They stopped at the border between their houses, Sanji still working on the last of his smoke as Zoro tried to find a way to politely thank the blond for the date that wouldn’t earn him a kick in the shins.
“You wann--” They both cut each other off, but Sanji took a quick puff on his smoke before flicking his hand at Zoro, “You go.”
Zoro just shook his head.
A twinge of annoyance tweaked Sanji’s brow, but the blond accepted with a heavy sigh and a final, arduous inhale on his now finished cigarette. Flicking the butt into the gutter, Sanji jerked his head over his shoulder at the currently dark house behind him and asked, “You wanna spend the night?”
Something caught painfully in Zoro’s throat, so he just nodded. Maybe a tad too eagerly judging from how Sanji smirked. Sanji didn’t say anything else, just turned and made his way up the walkway, leaving Zoro to stumble into motion to follow after him. They made it inside and started up the stairs before Zoro asked, “Where’s your dad?”
“Out.” Sanji explained shortly, “Some inventory thing at the bakery.”
Zoro grunted in understanding
Watching the line of Sanji's back, Zoro couldn’t help but love the sharp cut of the teen’s shoulders in the - no doubt - perfectly tailored shirt. That black vest slinking around his narrow frame and concealing a perfectly tapered waist that Zoro loved placing his hands on; holding just above his hips where he could feel and predict every movement from the feisty blond.
By the time his eyes were on Sanji’s ridiculously long legs, they were already on the landing of the second floor and Zoro almost tripped over the top step in his daze. Forcing his stare elsewhere as Sanji opened his bedroom door before looking up expectantly at the other.
Zoro stepped inside, immediately turning and crowding the other up against the door. Getting a brief image of Sanji’s surprised expression by a ray of light from the streetlight outside before it was covered by his own shadow. And then his lips were on Sanji.
A hitch of breath echoed in the dark bedroom, Sanji stiff against Zoro, before he all but melted into the other boy’s hold and began kissing back. Hands slinking around Zoro's shoulders to tangle in his hair and force Zoro to angle properly into the kiss.
Things quickly grew heated with anxious teenage hormones. Zoro grabbing eagerly at the other as he pulled Sanji in closer so he could properly feel the solid line of the other teen’s body against his own; each sharp line and hard muscle. Body already growing hot and flush under his collar as he was eager for what was to come.
His favourite thing was after the initial melting, Sanji would stiffen once more - like it was a challenge - and throw himself into Zoro with a renewed fervour. As though trying to beat Zoro at something that really didn't have a winner, but regardless, Zoro always kinda felt like he was the one who won something when Sanji threw himself into Zoro's arms, wrapped his arms around Zoro's shoulders, and attempted to kiss him senseless.
Hands springing into motion, Zoro began undressing as much of the blond as he could while still passionately lip locked with the other. The vest and bowtie were easy work, but when he quickly moved to remove his own he found that he wasn't nearly as smooth at the suave pull'n'jerk of the tie as Sanji was. Fingers fumbling on the knot uselessly, he grunted into the kiss in frustration for several moments before Sanji pulled back and looked down.
"Hmpf." Sanji chuckled softly, eyeing Zoro with a clearly superior look before stepping back and reaching out to Zoro's tie. An easy crook of the finger and a tug later, the tie pulled loose as Sanji smirked, "You're hopeless."
Pouting in the dark, Zoro ducked his head to allow Sanji to pull it off and toss it aside before grunting, "That's the last time you get me in one of those silk nooses."
A snort was all he got in response as Sanji returned his arms to Zoro's shoulders and began gently kissing him again, some of their earlier urgency thankfully broken by Zoro. Sighing as kisses strayed away till Sanji was nipping at his ear, and the green haired teen was able to finally turn his attention onto their annoying shirts.
"Hm?" Zoro hummed to show he was listening, fingers finding Sanji's shirt buttons and getting to work.
“I just wanted to say thank you for waiting." Sanji murmured into his ear, arms tightening their hold. Zoro was pretty sure he could hear the blush in the blond's tone, "I know keeping this a secret wasn’t entirely fair, but you did."
"Mm." Zoro agreed - admittedly a little distracted - but nonetheless listening. It was something Sanji had offhandedly mentioned to him on numerous occasions already. Waiting until he managed to get the button he was working on - seriously, did the blond pick the most ridiculously buttoned shirt in the whole store? - undone before responding offhandedly, "Yeah?"
“So, thanks, I guess,” Sanji muttered, “for putting up with my request to wait till now.”
“I’ve been putting up with you for years.” Zoro snorted, more focused on getting the rest of the buttons on Sanji’s shirt off, “It’s nothing I can’t handle.”
“You know…” Sanji trailed off and his gaze was pulled down. Watching Zoro struggle with his buttons for a few moments before reaching out shoving a finger against Zoro’s forehead to force him to look up, “I’m baring my soul here and you’re being a real jackass.”
There was no venom to his words.
Abandoning the frustrating buttons, Zoro opted for walking backwards and pulling the blond with him, plopping down on the bed and dragging the annoyed blond with him. After forcing Sanji to straddle his hips, he looked up pointedly at the other while keeping his hands respectfully clasped behind the blond’s narrow waist, “Ok, Curly. I’m listening.”
Emotions warped Sanji’s face for a moment - annoyance, exasperation, and frustration at the forefront - before settling on embarrassment. Reaching out and covering Zoro’s unwavering stare with his hand while looking away. Cheeks lighting up a glorious red.
“Stop staring, weirdo.”
Zoro just sat with his neck craned back, still looking up at the blond through the long fingers obscuring his vision, “What? I’m doing what you asked.”
"No," Sanji sneered, "you're making fun of me."
"Mm, true." Zoro conceded with an innocent tilt of his head. Eyes sharpening as he reached up and proceeded to drag Sanji down onto the bed with him, rolling them until he could pin the other to the bed and immediately followed the motion - and cut off any protests - with a quick kiss. When he pulled back Sanji was much less annoyed and Zoro grinned, "But you wouldn't like it any other way."
"Don't presume to tell me what I do or do not like, you walking vegetable." Sanji sniffed haughtily, staring down his nose at Zoro as the other began working at getting the blond's pants off.
Zoro managed to undo Sanji’s slacks - after struggling to get the belt off - and then finally slid his hand down the other teen's boxers before pointing out. "You like me."
Hand clasping the hard length there - smooth, hot, and hard under his palm - he began stroking lightly, Sanji's sassy quip effectively cut short as he gasped at the sudden touch and babbled through a breathy moan, "As if-- Oh my God, okay maybe a little!"
Zoro just smirked and decided to keep his goading to a minimum as he focused more intently on getting Sanji off. Stroking him just the way he had learned the blond liked it. Wrist working in practiced motion as he leaned down to kiss the now distracted teen, loving how he got to feel each moan and whimper against his lips as he did so.
He kept it up until Sanji had his hands tangled in the sheets and he was bucking his into each stroke. Earlier shyness all but abandoned as it was clear he was getting close, before his hand reached out to grab Zoro by the forearm.
“W-wait." The stutter didn't go unnoticed by either of them and it clearly pained Sanji a little as he coughed and tried again, "Wait."
“Mn?” Zoro paused mid-stroke, and looked up at Sanji, “What?”
“I… um…you...” Sanji looked like he wanted to die, “You wanna do it?”
Hand still frozen around Sanji’s dick, Zoro glanced down and back up again with a quizzical look, “I thought that’s what I am doing?”
“No, I mean like,” If Sanji looked like he wanted to die before, now he seemed ready to start digging his own grave as he looked to the side and grumbled, “ do it, do it.”
“Uuuhhh… oh?” Zoro felt like he was in grade three all over again being given a stupid lesson before it clicked and he practically shouted, “Oh!”
It had taken a couple months before Sanji had even gotten the courage up to let Zoro touch him. Despite admitting his feelings to Zoro, the past year had been a strange learning curve where Zoro and Sanji had to figure out where they stood. Their kiss had been amazing - Sanji had admitted later that while it had been really awesome, it was also very obvious that Zoro had never kissed anybody before - but beyond that, Zoro had to come to terms with the fact that as far as relationships go, he was hopeless.
Well, Sanji was touch and go for a while. Sometimes he’d be brazen and ready to give it a try, and sometimes Zoro would get a hand under the blond’s shirt and Sanji would kick Zoro off the bed out of pure terrified instinct. One time he had managed to get both hands under the blond’s shirt, but Mihawk had come home early, and long story short there was a broken coffee table and very stern lecture on why fights were conducted in the yard and not in the house.
Eventually, Sanji’s incessant, perverted nature won out. After getting a little sloshed at a house party and coming back to Sanji’s place, the blond had unceremoniously asked Zoro to blow him, and the rest was history. However, they still hadn’t done anything beyond getting each other off...
“Ugh.” Pulling away from Zoro, Sanji rolled away to hide his face in his hands while Zoro remained propped up with significantly less mental faculties. Everything else had evacuated his brain once it had made the connection between doing it and actually finally doing it with the blond currently dying of embarrassment under him. He was brought back to himself as Sanji muttered venomously, “Stop looking like that.”
Slumping down beside the blond, Zoro remained propped on an elbow as he rested his chin on the blond’s shoulder and asked, “Like what?”
Sanji was still for several moments, Zoro deciding to wait them out as Sanji was being particularly sharing this evening and he wasn’t about to miss out on it. Waiting until Sanji’s hands fell away and he turned to glare at Zoro out of the corner of his eye - if looks could kill, “Cute.”
Zoro scoffed, “I don’t think I’ve ever been called cute in my life.”
“No,” Sanji agreed, rolling a bit more over to face Zoro now as he explained, “but you get that stupid excited look on your face. And it’s…”
Sanji looked like he might vomit.
“So,” Sanji took a heavy breath before looking up again, “You wanna?”
“Well, yeah,” Zoro didn’t even try to hide his enthusiasm, but looked away as he had to admit, “but…”
“I don’t know how.”
They hadn’t even talked about it yet, and Zoro had definitely not prepared for it. With how slow they had been moving he had just assumed he would follow Sanji’s lead and let the blond show him how it was all supposed to go. If he had known it would have been this soon he would have searched it up, or something...
“You…” Sanji’s eyes narrowed shrewdly, “don’t know how?”
Zoro shook his head.
“H-How do you not know how?”
“I haven’t exactly done this before, Curly.” Zoro drawled with an exaggerated eye roll, a little amazed at how thick Sanji was being until a thought occurred. He had always assumed that Sanji had never had sex, but the blond had had quite a few girlfriends. Rounding on Sanji, Zoro frowned, “Have you?”
That earned Zoro a fabulous blush which both answered his question and also sent a flood of relief coursing through him. Not that he would have minded if Sanji had, but there was something possessive and rewarding about knowing that no one else was getting to experience what he was.
“No.” Sanji admitted - somewhat hotly - glaring up at Zoro as if it was his fault. Accusing childishly, “But you know what porn is, right?”
“Sure.” Zoro lifted a shoulder in a half shrug, “but I don’t watch any.”
“None?” Sanji asked in disbelief, shimming up onto his elbows to get a better look at Zoro as this conversation was now taking precedence over everything else. When Zoro shook his head once more, Sanji became incredulous, “Then what do you do when you need to get off?”
Another half-hearted shrug met with a hummed ‘I don’t know’ sound before Zoro grunted, “Usually I’d just think of you.”
It was probably a record for how fast all the blood in Sanji’s body had shot to his face, the blush managing to light up his face, ears, and neck in record time - Zoro hadn’t thought he’d get such an amazing reaction. A moment later Sanji’s arms were coming out from under him and he was falling back into his bed, arms over his face as he wailed, “OH. MY. Gooooooood.”
“What?” Zoro had the nerve to ask innocently.
“You.” Sanji snapped, “Just. You.”
After about a minute of Sanji just lamenting into his hands, Zoro started to get bored and let his gaze wander down to Sanji’s exposed body. Light from the street lamp outside was filtering in through the blinds and creating an interesting striped pattern, highlighting the blond in a tantalizing way. Shadows cresting and falling over the blond’s lean frame.
Leaning down, Zoro closed his mouth around an exposed nipple and gave a tentative suck. Sanji’s whining turning high pitched before clamping a hand over his mouth, the other coming to grip Zoro’s hair. It wasn’t clear if he was doing it to pull Zoro off of him, or keep him there, but Zoro kept up the teasing while he let Sanji decide.
Eventually, Sanji’s hand fell away long enough to hiss, “What are you doing?!”
“Doesn’t seem like we’re doing anything.” Another shrug, “I got bored.”
“You’re the worst.”
"So you say." Zoro muttered, more to himself than anything else, dropping lower this time to place a biting kiss to Sanji's taut stomach. Following it with a slow lick as Sanji seemed to be caught between wanting to arch into it and running away.
“So, uh,” A groan slipped past Sanji’s lips before he caught himself, “who’s doing what?”
"Well, I'm doing this." Zoro grunted, "I dunno what you are."
" No. " Sanji huffed, shuffling until he got his elbows under himself and he was able to prop himself up and look down at Zoro. Zoro gifting Sanji with barely a look before diving in to attack Sanji’s neck instead, "I mean, who's gonna do what?"
“I don’t care.” Zoro murmured into Sanji’s neck, finishing up kissing the skin there before pulling back, “Either way should feel good, right?”
“Um, yeah." Sanji sounded surprised. Zoro wasn't certain why the blond was being so weird about all this. "Yeah, I suppose so."
Deciding not to dwell on what myriad of inane things that were probably bothering the feisty blond, Zoro returned to Sanji's skin and relished the small groan he received from nipping at Sanji's collarbone. They had fooled around a lot at this point, and Zoro had a pretty good handle at which spots got the best reactions out of the blond. Neck and shoulders were high quality, so were the hands, and anything below the belt got a startled squawk and, occasionally, an unintentional kick to the face.
"I mean, you seem to know more about this than I do, you giant pervert," Zoro dipped his tongue into hollow of the blonds clavicle, following it with a blunt bite. Glancing up and muttering, "so you might as well do me and show me what to do."
That blush was never going to get tiresome. Sanji glanced away for several moments before looking back and adopting his normal bossy demeanour, "You probably shouldn't since I doubt you've ever practised before. We'll be here all night."
"I mean," Zoro shrugged, "we have all night."
"You know what I mean." Sanji sounded exasperated, "but I'm just saying that I should go first, since I've actually… you know…"
That on the other hand got Zoro's attention. On his hands and knees in an instant, looking down at the blond in surprise, he really couldn't believe what he was hearing. Looking Sanji dead in the eye as the blond couldn’t possibly be implying what he was, "What?"
"Oh, cmon!" Sanji defended hotly, "there's a pleasure button in me, you think I'm not gonna abuse it?!"
"Yes, well established," Sanji heaved a sigh as he pushed himself up, rolling over so he could reach the bedside table and pulling out lube and a condom. Falling back to glare up at Zoro while sneering, "thank you."
"You're prepared." Zoro meant for the comment to come out scathingly, but the catch in his breath belied it. Instead it came out sort of reverent and nervous, but he wasn’t too concerned about pretenses much anymore, considering they were both half naked and it was about to get a hell of a lot more intimate in a second.
"Course I am." Sanji snorted as he set the items aside and started taking the rest of his clothes off. Tossing his pants aside as he smirked. "You aren't. It's why you got kicked out of Scouts, you hopeless mosshead."
"I got kicked out for fighting," Zoro clarified with a pointed look, "with you. And you got kicked out too!"
"Toe-may-toe, tah-mah-toe." Sanji brushed it off, "Point is you were never ready for anything."
“Whatever.” Zoro had stopped caring about this argument before it had even started, eyes pinned to Sanji’s hands as the blond uncapped the bottle and squeeze out some lube onto his fingers. Zoro wasn’t stupid, he knew what was going to happen next, but he certainly wasn’t prepared for how hard it made him as he watched Sanji lower his hand and press into himself.
Sanji kept his eyes shut and slowly worked a finger into himself, a content huff coming from him as Zoro was completely mesmerized. At some point Zoro’s jaw fell open, and he was practically drooling as he watched the blond slowly prep himself.
At some point - probably when the zipper of his pants had started to hurt from how hard his dick was straining against it - Zoro realized he was still partially clothed, and he quickly fell back on the bed to shimmy out of the rest of his clothes. Back on his knees in front of Sanji moments later to find the blond had worked a second finger inside and Zoro was certain this was better than any fantasy he had come up with.
Hand pulling away and eyes sliding open, Sanji watched Zoro nervously before nodding.
Shuffling forward until he was kneeling as close to Sanji as possible - the blond legs draped over his thighs - Zoro stroked the creamy skin before picking up the discarded bottle of lube. Pouring some out onto his hand and warming it between his fingers like he had seen Sanji do before.
Then, with one hand braced on the bedding beside Sanji’s hip, Zoro slowly lowered his hand to push a finger inside the blond. He could feel his own cheeks flooding with heat and his cock jerking simply at the first press of tightness around his finger, jaw once again falling open as he watched Sanji’s face to gauge how fast he should be going.
Apprehension was obvious, especially since Sanji refused to open his eyes, but Zoro could also tell from the way he was biting his lip that he was eager. So he kept moving, slowly pushing his finger further inside until he got all the way to the knuckle and Sanji let out a small, needy whimper.
Emboldened, Zoro began to carefully thrust his finger in and out of the blond, and he was pretty sure he was going to come before he even got a chance to properly fuck the blond. Sanji reacted immediately to the motions. Back arching just enough to help thrust his hips down to meet Zoro’s hand, hands clenching in the sheets beside him and twisting the fabric about, heady hitches in his breathing as each of Zoro’s movements seemed to punch the air out of him.
“Fuck…” The word fell out of Zoro before he had a chance to catch it, and he could feel Sanji shiver around his hand when he said it. Looking down to see his hand disappearing into the needy blond before back up at Sanji’s gasping face, “That’s hot-- You’re hot.”
Sanji’s face twisted, and he cracked an eye open to glare at Zoro, “You’re so embarrassing.”
Zoro just grinned.
For the next few minutes Zoro studiously worked the other open, fighting a fine line between being completely absorbed in his task, and attempting to keep his brain from going completely blank at how insanely hot it was watching his fingers disappearing into the other. Not to mention, Sanji's moaning was not helping keep him focused at all.
“Okay… Okay. Stop.” Sanji propped himself up, and Zoro looked up, "I'm ready."
Zoro's mouth had stopped working, so he just nodded in understanding.
Pulling his hand free, Zoro felt himself shake at the whine that left Sanji at being suddenly empty, and found his actions becoming sloppy as he rushed. Fumbling with the condom several times before managing to get it on, and then repeating the clumsy process with the bottle of lube next.
“Put it in.” Sanji ordered, pausing before adding as an afterthought, “Carefully.”
“Uh-huh.” It was supposed to be an acknowledgement that he understood the blond, but it came out more as a feral growl. Choking around a cough before trying again, “Y-Yeah.”
Keeping a hold of his cock, Zoro lined himself up with Sanji’s quivering opening before pressing his hips forward as slowly as he could. At first Zoro thought it was going to be fairly easy, the head of his cock pressing past the first, loose ring of muscles with no resistance until it felt like he hit a wall. A second ring much harder to press against, and Sanji’s face visibly wincing as Zoro paused with barely his head inside.
Sanji nodded, choking back a gasp before adding, “But it’s good.”
“What should I do?”
“Just…” Pausing to swallow and let out a slow breath, Sanji reached up and wrapped his arms around Zoro’s shoulders and pulled him down. Holding tight and hands gripping Zoro’s back with vice like intensity, “just go slow.”
Nodding into Sanji’s shoulder, Zoro turned his head to keep his lips pressed to the line of Sanji’s throat to keep an eye on his pulse as he began to press in once more. It was unbelievably tight, and even after he had managed to get past the second ring of muscles, the slide was slow and Sanji’s keening whimpers were sharp in his ears. And then all at once it gave out.
Zoro’s hips buckled from under him as he suddenly slid all the way in and he was flush against the blond’s ass and a gasp was punched out of him. At the same time Sanji seemed to go limp in his arms as a hard and slow groan was forced out of him and thrummed through the blonds skin and into Zoro’s very being.
“Holy fuck.” Was the most intelligent thing Zoro managed to come up with. Still completely engrossed in Sanji after being connected in the most intimate of ways. Zoro could feel everything; every slight shudder, each tensing muscle, every goddamn breath. “Fuck.”
Zoro was pretty sure he was going to die.
“You have-- nngh.” The gravelly voice in his ear sent a whole new wave of arousal skittering across Zoro’s skin, and he couldn’t stop himself from opening his mouth and sucking at the blond’s neck. Feeling each choked breath and moan under his lips as Sanji panted, “no idea.”
Pulling away with a quick kiss to the skin, Zoro finally pulled back enough to look down at the frazzled blond. Cheeks a wonderful, rosy pink, eyes gorgeously dazed, and lips wet and swollen from being bitten, “Good?”
A choked kinda failed word came out, before Sanji decided against it and just nodded. Eyes skittering across Zoro’s face before asking, “You?”
“I think I'm gonna die.”
That caused a laugh to burst out of the blond, and a guttural groan was forced out of Zoro as he had to bite down on his cheek hard to keep from coming with how much Sanji was tightening around him. It was like nothing he had ever felt before.
Hands coming up to thread behind Zoro’s head, Sanji pulled the other teen down into a slow kiss that felt far too chaste for how fast Zoro’s heart was hammering in his chest. Lips suckling at his, the trembling seemed to slowly ease from Sanji as he relaxed and eased himself further into Zoro’s space - if that was even possible. Zoro getting a funny feeling that Sanji was more put together than he was now.
“Well, could you at least get me off before you do?” Sanji mumbled between kisses.
“Huh?” Zoro dumbly grunted into Sanji’s lips.
Sanji pulled back to catch Zoro’s eye, everything dim in the night lighting except for his blue, and he smirked, “You know, before you die and all.”
“Right.” Zoro agreed, still not sure what the blond was talking about before remembering his earlier comment and repeating much more convincingly, “Right!”
Adjusting himself so he had better purchase on the bed, Zoro braced himself once more by Sanji’s waist and then, finally, rolled his hips forward. Once again a gasp was forced out of him against his will, but Sanji seemed to embrace it.
It was slow and awkward at first as he tried to get the right rhythm, but it seemed that as long as he kept moving them, Sanji was in bliss. Squirming and gasping as he clutched to Zoro, each breathy moan urging him on to keep moving. It was sloppy, it was messy, and it was perfect.
As Zoro began to set a proper rhythm, Sanji released his hold on Zoro and flopped back onto the bed with a small bounce, pillows catching most of him in a haphazard mess. Zoro reached out to knock them aside but his hand was caught up by the blond’s and instead he found himself threading his fingers through Sanji’s and pinning the blond’s hand to the bed. Using it for purchase as he kept thrusting into the moaning blond.
Sanji was a sight.
Mouth agape as he cursed through each perfect gasp and pleasurable whine, lips a swollen red from their earlier kissing and his cheeks a beautiful pink. Hair splayed about him on the pillow in a glorious, silken halo, but for several strands that clung to his neck and face in a sweaty mess. Body twisting and tightening with each punctuated thrust.
Grabbing Sanji by the waist, he hiked the blonds hips higher and began rocking his whole body into the motion; leaning back to appreciate the view of himself sliding in and out of the teen. It was absolutely breathtaking to watch, and he was pretty sure he was drooling.
At this point his dick was impossibly swollen, and his balls ached, but he forced his orgasm at bay until he could make sure Sanji had gotten his first. Biting his cheek as he watched Sanji reach down to stroke himself and begin jerking his hips up into every motion.
Suddenly, Sanji stiffened around him, hot spurts of come splattering across the blond’s tight stomach, as his body convulsed around Zoro’s dick. Zoro practically screaming as he hunched forward and pressed his forehead into Sanji’s chest, his orgasm that was forced out of him practically painful. Sensitive beyond compare, the tightness around him was suddenly too much and Zoro quickly pulled out and flopped down on the bed beside Sanji and attempted to catch his breath. Body still singing.
They lay sprawled beside each other for several minutes, simply trying to catch their breath. Zoro’s own chest was heaving as his body tried to recover from - what had felt like - spilling half of his brain out, and Sanji wasn’t much better. He could feel one of the blond’s legs pressed under his still spasming with occasional little tremors.
It took the last of his willpower to reach down and pull off the condom, hucking it into the trash beside SAnji’s bed as he continued to catch his breath. Swallowing several times to wet his parched throat, still staring at the ceiling in shock, “Did we do that right?”
“Phft-- HAHAHAHAHA!” A snort was all the warning Zoro got before Sanji was in hysterics, clutching his stomach and howling with laughter as Zoro just got more indignant with each passing second. Watching as the blond worked it out of his system before his head lolled to the side and he looked at Zoro through watery eyes, “Yes, dumbass.”
“I don’t know!” Zoro grouched defensively, “You’re the one that watches all the porn.”
Sanji snorted much softer this time, rolling over and leaning down to place a quick kiss to Zoro’s slightly parted lips. Pulling back and musing through a fond smile, “Yes, mosshead, we did it right.”
"Hm. Good." It sounded more accomplished than it should have, but Zoro was nothing if not thorough in everything he did. Rolling over with a cocky grin to wrap his arms around the still recovering blond and pull him into a crushing hug - kissing his neck for good measure.
"Ugh, gross." Sanji's attempts to get away were half-hearted at best, and he seemed to just be whining to keep up appearances, "You're smearing it everywhere."
"It already is everywhere." Zoro's grunted response was muffled as he nuzzled into the blond's neck.
"Yeah, well," Sanji gave up on his struggles with a huff, "you're not helping it none."
Another grumble was all the response that Sanji got out of him, forcing the blond into a tight hold as they lay sprawled for several minutes. Both still gloriously brain dead. Until Zoro felt his mind wandering and a renewed interest sparking through him.
"Okay," Zoro grunted decisively. Pushing himself up and rolling over so he could bracket the blond between himself and the bed, looking down at the surprised blond with a grin, "Me next."
Sanji seemed skeptical, "Really?"
"Yeah," Zoro nodded, "you looked like you were having a good time."
"Don't say it like that," A harsh blush lit up Sanji's face and he put a hand in Zoro's face to push him away, "dumbass."
"So?" Zoro managed around Sanji's palm pressing into his mouth, "you wanna?"
Sanji's hand fell away and he stared up at Zoro for several long moments - as though he actually had to think it through - before that smarmy grin that Zoro loved so much fell into place and Sanji pushed himself up onto his elbows. Gifting Zoro with a cocky eyebrow waggle as he grinned, "Yeah, I suppose I could do you the favour."
"Phft." Zoro snorted so hard it nearly hurt, grabbing Sanji by the scruff of the neck and rolling them over. Dragging the blond on top of him as he muttered to himself indignantly, "' Favour'."
Laughter broke out through the bedroom which was quickly cut short as Zoro pulled the cackling blond in for a kiss and effectively ended their conversation. After another round, and a lengthy shower, they ended in the kitchen with Zoro watching happily from the table as Sanji made them both a grilled cheese. It wasn't exactly like their normal post-fight grilled cheese tradition, but it was definitely gonna be Zoro's new favourite.