The people of Wano sure know how to celebrate. There are smiling faces everywhere, music, dancing and even friendly sparring in the streets. Zoro would’ve joined them, but after receiving multiple threats from Chopper and Torao, he decided to stay put and drink to his heart’s content. He had fought enough to last him for a while, Kaido had been no joke.
Everyone is in high spirits. Usopp is singing on top of a table. Franky is talking excitedly to other carpenters about the rebuilding of the wrecked Flower Capital. Luffy and Kid engage into some sort of eating contest, both still heavily bandaged from the battle. Kid’s blond first mate shakes his head at the sight from his place near Hiyori. Zoro is close enough to hear the words that they’d exchanged.
The apologies of a pirate, a man who’d been in a difficult position. Hiyori, who’d know better than anyone about what was like being under Orochi’s thumb, had forgiven him with the warning that if he ever attacked Toko again, she’d take him out herself. Done with the subject, he bowed slightly and dragged his captain to the place where the people were dancing. The redhead had followed him without much complaint and their arms were around each other in no time. Zoro almost grinned at the sight.
The cook wasn’t far from the pair, miraculously having found a woman willing to dance with him. Nami and Wanda were sitting together, sharing a drink with the rest of the musketeers and Carrot. Nekomamushi and Inuarashi were chatting with Kin’emon and Kiku, who hadn’t separated from her brother since their reunion.
The celebration went on forever. Toko had passed out on his knee shortly after midnight. Zoro himself was about to lean back and take a little nap until dawn. His eyes were closed already. He would’ve done it if it weren’t for Hiyori, who approached him cautiously.
“Zorojuro?” She whispered, though loudly enough that he could hear her through the ruckus that was the celebration. “Are you awake?”
“No.” She laughed.
“I think I’ve had enough for tonight,” she told him. She lifted Toko as if the little girl was as light as a feather. “I’m going back home, could you tell my brother for me?”
“Why don’t you tell him?” Ever since the victory, the brat had alterned between playing overprotective older brother by obnoxiusly threatening every man who came within six feet of her -which Zoro found pretty stupid, because she was a grown ass woman, and ironic, because his pervertness could match the cook’s- and dutiful lord by bossing around everyone.
She looked over her shoulder, where Momonosuke was sitting in Robin’s lap, talking with Otama who seemed to be staying awake on sheer will.
“He seems to be having fun. I don’t want him to think that because I’m going home he should come with me.”
Indeed. The brat seemed capable of sending a dozen men to guard her on her way home. Yet at the same time…
Zoro looked around. Every adult around them was at the very least mildly inebriated. Not everyone was an ally, there were plenty of deserters from Kaido’s crew present, along with most of the prisoners that Luffy had freed from Udon. She was easily recognizable as Komurasaki. Just because she had shed away her former identity, it didn’t mean that her looks had changed. Hiyori drew eyes everywhere she went.
And there was that incident at the bathhouse a few days ago, a peeping fool had tried to get a glimpse of her naked body and lost an eye to a hair pin instead.
“Want me to walk you two?”
“If it doesn’t bother you.” She smiled apologetically.
“If it did I wouldn’t offer,” he gruffed, gathering his swords.
As they walked away, Zoro met Franky’s gaze. The cyborg gaped for a moment, then winked at him and gave him a thumbs up with those tiny hands of his. For some reason, Zoro’s face felt hot and he scoffed, looking away.
“Are you alright, Zorojuro?” Of course, nothing ever went past her.
The crowd of joyous people was endless. The few that were sober enough to realize who she was bowed to Hiyori as she passed, but most were drunk and busy jumping around. For a city that had been almost fully crushed under Onigashima, the Flower Capital had held up well enough. Zoro hadn’t been conscious for the first days after the battle, but he was told that the rubble and debris had been a pain to clean.
“It makes me happy to see everyone like this…” She sighed.
“Shitfaced?” He deadpanned, then cringed at his words.
Hiyori didn’t seem to mind, slapping his shoulder. “I meant happy! The drinking will go away after a while, hopefully.”
She was walking straight, subtly guiding him into the right direction. As if she was perfectly sober. “You don’t drink?”
“I do, I just don’t get drunk.”
Like Nami. He never thought he’d meet a match for the witch. “Not at all?”
“Men at the pleasure house tried to get me drunk all the time, Orochi in particular. I guess they thought it’d make me more… welcoming of their affections. It never worked, but I built a good tolerance by the time I was seventeen.” There was no bitterness in her voice as she spoke, Hiyori didn’t even waver. Zoro however, felt like he had swallowed a stone. And she noticed. “You look terrifying, Zorojuro.”
He tried to ease his brow. “I don’t.”
“Don’t go glaring at the dead.” She said smoothly. “They are dead .” She emphasized. “Besides, they’ll be angrier if we don’t think them important enough to recall.”
They had finally reached the quiet part of the city, not a soul on sight, just the quiet of the night and the occasional firework. Hiyori was living in one of the few buildings that still stood strong after half of Onigashima fell on top of the Flower Capital. It was one of the less ostentatious mansions of the street, though that meant little. He’d bet she had chosen that one despite her brother and the Scabbards’ insistence.
He couldn’t sense anyone nearby, which meant that all of them were still at the party. Hiyori opened the door, holding Toko close with her free arm. Zoro wondered if he should return to where his crew was, and calculated the odds of making it before dawn in the confusing streets of the city.
She took one step inside before turning to look at him. She hesitated for a second before speaking, leaning against the doorframe.
“Would you like to stay for the night?” Hiyori asks, her voice barely above a whisper since Toko is asleep in her arms. “It might be a tight fit with the three of us, but we’ve managed before.” A teasing smile graced her lips. “And we do have comforters this time.”
Zoro thought about the room he was currently sharing with about twenty other people, including a snoring Luffy -who got grabby while sleeping- and a babbling Usopp. He purposefully doesn’t think about how there must be at least three rooms in this massive house but she clearly said that the three of them would share.
There are no Scabbards around, thankfully.
They leave their shoes outside and enter the place barefoot. There’s a fancy drawing room at their right and a table for tea at their left, but they walk past by it to the stairs. Zoro follows her. The night had turned silent and the only thing that could be heard was Toko's soft breathing.
Hiyori’s room was the first one in the corridor, making him right about there being other rooms in the house. She didn’t even glance their way before sliding the door open.
The futon was large, with a thick comforter on top of it and lots of pillows. Zoro left his haori at the end of it and pulled out the sleeves of his yukata. Despite what she’d said about the comforters, this wasn’t Hakumai or the cemetery. The nights in the Flower Capital were rather warm for Zoro’s taste, so shirtless was the way. She hadn’t been embarrassed to see him -and then sleep with him- like that before, he supposed she wouldn’t be now.
Toko was already laying on her stomach by the time he joined her, though on his back. Meanwhile, Hiyori was getting rid of her own attire.
Now free of the braids and hair pins, her mane fell down her back. It went right under her hips. Furisode kimono gone, now she only wore a light pink nadajuban that didn’t leave much to the imagination. Zoro stuck his eye to the roof.
She blew off the candles that kept the room illuminated and went to lie down, Toko in between them. Though the futon was spacious, the girl moved closer to him. And he could’ve spent the night like that, dead on his back. It was way quieter than the room he shared with the others and it didn't hurt that neither of them snored loudly or talked in their sleep. It was nice, he thought as he closed his eye.
At some point in the night, Toko woke up. She must have been trying to be quiet, trying to escape the tangle of limbs she was into, but in the process she stepped over Zoro's hand and Hiyori's hair. With a groan and a whine, both woke up.
“Sorry!” She giggled nervously. “I'm thirsty.”
“Do you want me to go with you?” Hiyori rubbed her eyes. Zoro tried to fall asleep again.
“It's fine!” She managed to slip from the covers. Light invaded the room for a moment when she slid the door.
Hiyori shivered a bit, apparently not sharing Zoro's natural heat. So she got close to the warmth, moving around beneath the sheets until she was by Zoro's side.
Now there was no ignoring her, warm, and the fabric of her nadajuban soft and silky against him. The air smelled like something subtle and pleasant. Flowers, maybe. He could’ve pulled her closer and buried his face in her hair if he’d wanted to. The thought comes suddenly, and he can’t explain from where.
“Zorojuro?” She whispered in the dark.
“Yes?” He whispered back.
“Why are you so tense?” Before he could deny it tensely, he felt her turning on her side. “Do you want me to spread the futon in the other room?”
“No.” Once more, he took a deep breath and kept his hands still, now behind his head.
Don’t be the cook, he told himself. Don’t be a creep.
It would’ve worked, if she hadn’t placed a hand over his chest and laid herself on top of him.
“You’re heavy,” he complains through gritted teeth, but his hands twitch.
She ignored him. “I shouldn’t have asked you to stay?” She seemed to know the answer to that and it occurred him that most of her demure behaviour was just for the show. She was bolder than she let on. Not that it was a problem. “I wasn't sure that you'd say yes.”
“Yes you were.” He says with unexpected certainty.
Her teeth shone in the dark. “Maybe.”
He huffed and finally pulled her down. He felt her smile against his skin. He kept his thoughts away from the feeling of the soft curves of her body, mindful that Toko would rejoin them soon.
At the end Zoro held her close, the fabric of the shift slipping through his fingers. By then she was already asleep, head in his chest and legs tangled with his. Neither of them noticed that Toko didn’t return.
She makes her way to the mansion before daylight hits the street.
Kiku can’t remember when was the last time she had such fun. Or when was the last time she had seen so many of her loved ones gathered and happy. Hopefully this will be the first night of many, she thinks as she takes off her sandals and wanders into the house.
“Hiyori-sama!” She called. As the only woman in the Scabbards, Momonosuke had trusted her to care for his sister where others might not be able to. Ever since the incident at the bathhouse, their lord was extra-careful when it came to Lady Hiyori. Kiku was still feeling guilty about not accompanying her home the night before, even if Lufytaro had assured her that Zorojuro had done it.
There was no answer, but she didn’t feel worried. It had been quite the celebration and maybe she was feeling tired. She was relieved when she saw the other pair of sandals at the door. And the other. Kiku frowned, did Zorojuro spend the night? She could imagine the stern warrior passed out in one of the guest rooms and the thought made her giggle.
She went upstairs, to check on her lady and get some sleep herself. Dancing so much had left her feet aching and tender, she was ready to lie down for a few hours.
She was interrupted before she could check on Hiyori.
“Kiku-nee!” Behind her was O-Toko, a cup of tea in her hands and hair still ruffled from bed.
“Toko-chan,” she smiled down at the little girl. “You and Hiyori-sama made it home together?”
She nodded. “Samurai-san walked us back.”
“I saw his sandals outside, in which room is he staying?” She wouldn’t want to disturb his much needed sleep.
“In none,” the girl answered. “He forgot them.” She giggled.
It didn’t sound like the man, but then again, Lufytaro had called him an idiot who always got lost so…
Kiku was too tired to look much into it. She yawned. “Oh well, you should bring them to him later.”
Kiku walked to her room. “Goodnight!”
Again, Toko giggled. “It’s morning, nee-san!”