“What is your name?” The slender Marine asked him.
“Get fucked,” Zoro answered.
The burley Marine standing behind the other one cracked his knuckles and stepped forward, but the slender one stopped him. They’d learned early on that there was no amount of pain they could inflict on him to get him to answer.
“Where are you from?” The slender one asked.
He pretended to think about it for a moment, then answered, “Get fucked.”
He frowned, but continued, “Where is Straw Hat Luffy?”
He tapped his foot on the ground, “What is Straw Hat Luffy doing now?”
A smirk slowly spread on his face, “Your mom.”
The burly one punched him hard in the stomach for that.
The slender one was unfazed, “What is Straw Hat Luffy planning?”
Zoro almost wanted to laugh, like Luffy bothered with plans, but instead answered with a toneless, “Get fucked.”
“What are the defense capabilities of the ship known as the Thousand Sunny?”
“What is Straw Hat Luffy’s biggest weakness?”
Zoro snarled, “Get. Fucked.”
He sighed and adjusted his glasses, “Please return Mr. Roronoa to his cell and inform the Rear Admiral that he is continuing to be uncooperative.”
The restraints on the chair were unlocked. The burly one grabbed Zoro by the chains binding his hands behind his back and dragged him roughly back to his cell.
It had been about a week since he’d first been captured and locked up on this prison ship. He figured he had about three days before they all agreed to meet up back at the Sunny. He’d planned on escaping before then, but then the stupid ship set sail, so now he figured he’d just wait it out. His crew would be here soon enough.
Every day he was dragged into that dark tiny room with the two Marines to ask him their stupid questions. At first they’d tried beating answers out of him, but stopped when that made him more angry than cooperative. Even with no real coercion and his continued uncooperation, they still dragged him out and interrogated him like clockwork.
The routine was getting boring.
Suddenly the cell door opened, and a blond someone wearing a petty officer’s uniform was tossed into the cell.
“Looks like we got rats on board,” the Marine said, spitting at the floor by the man’s feet.
Sanji sat up and snarled at him, springing to his feet to kick the cell door. The attack clanged uselessly on the seastone lock as the Marine sneered at him and left.
“Hey, shithead,” he rattled the bars to no effect, “I’m not done talking to you!”
“What the hell are you doing here?” Zoro asked, drawing Sanji’s attention to him.
“I heard a little lost marimo got captured,” he pat down his pockets as if looking for a cigarette and frowned when he came up empty, “I snuck on board to save him.”
“Oh, well, great job. I’m feeling saved already.”
He scoffed, “I’m not the one who got captured.”
“Says the idiot in jail.”
He scoffed and circled the cell, and Zoro noticed the blood leaking out of his shoes.
“You okay there?” he asked, nodding to his feet.
“Oh me? I’m fine,” he waved him off, “They just put spikes through my feet to keep me from running.”
“That, doesn’t sound fine,” he said, trying not to sound worried or upset about it.
Sanji turned to him, “Well, you don’t look all sunshine and roses yourself.”
He grimaced, knowing his face must still be bruised from his earlier beatings, but, really, “It’s nothing.”
“Uh huh,” he said as he sat down next to him with a sigh, “So what’s the plan now?”
He shrugged as best he could with his hands still bound, “Wait for the cavalry, I guess.”
Sanji sighed even deeper, not so subtly leaning against his side, “Fan-fucking-tastic.”
They were awoken by the clanking of the cell door opening. Zoro sat up, instantly on alert, while Sanji yawned as he lifted his head off his shoulder.
Five large Marines entered the cell. The one in the captain’s coat snapped his fingers and the other four moved forward, two yanking Zoro to his feet while the other two apprehended Sanji.
“Take him,” the captain said as they dragged Zoro out of the cell.
He caught sight of the other two roughly smacking cuffs onto Sanji’s wrists and ankles as the caption watched over them before he was hauled around the corner and out of sight.
They brought him to the same room as always, locked him to the chair, and left. After a few minutes the slender Marine came in and sat down in his usual chair.
“Where’s your pet?” Zoro asked, noticing the distinct lack of the burly Marine.
“Entertaining another of our guests,” he said without any inflection in his voice, “Now. What is your name?”
“Get fucked,” he answered automatically. It wasn’t a big ship, and while he’d only seen a small portion of it, he hadn’t seen any other cells. How many other prisoners could there possibly be?
“Where are you from?”
Marines arrested people all the time, so there may very well be other prisoners here. It didn’t mean he was with Sanji.
“Where is Straw Hat Luffy?”
Besides, Sanji was tough. Even if he was ‘entertaining’ Sanji, the cook could take it. It would take far more than a few beatings to crack him. He’d be fine.
Still, the thought of them hurting Sanji like they’d hurt him made something hot and angry seethe in his chest.
“What is Straw Hat Luffy doing now?”
Sanji would be fine, he told himself.
“What is Vinsmoke ‘Black Leg’ Sanji’s role on your crew?”
He froze, the new question throwing him for a loop as he felt his blood freeze, “What?”
“What Vinsmoke Sanji’s role on your crew?” He asked again, “What position does he fill, what duties does he have, how close is he to the captain?”
“He’s nothing,” Zoro answered, heart beating erratically in his chest, “He cooks for us, and that’s it. He’s barely part of the crew, doesn’t know shit.”
“I see.” His face remained as impassive as ever, but there was a glint in his cold eyes that set him on edge.
“What is Straw Hat Luffy planning?”
He fucked up somehow, he knew it. He didn’t know what yet, but the Marine got something out of his answer.
“What is Straw Hat Luffy planning?”
Then he realized, he answered the question. It may have been meaningless bullshit and lies, but by trying to downplay Sanji’s importance, he confirmed that he was. If not to the crew, then at least to him, but that was all these bastards needed.
A sharp slap came across his face, hard enough to blur his vision for a moment. The Marine grabbed his chin and forced turned his head towards him.
“What is Straw Hat Luffy planning?” he asked again, slowly and deliberate.
Zoro gathered up all the saliva in his mouth and spat it at the Marine’s eye. It slid down his glasses, and the man looked less than pleased. Good.
If he wanted to protect Sanji now, then he needed to be as uncooperative as possible, get them to focus all their anger and questioning on him in the hopes they’ll leave Sanji alone.
The Marine took off his glasses and pulled out a handkerchief, cleaning them efficiently before he returned to his seat.
“What are the defense capabilities of the ship known as the Thousand Sunny?”
He remained silent, glaring the Marine down, daring him to touch him again. He’d bite his hand off if he tried.
He seemed to sense this, and instead asked, “What is Straw Hat Luffy’s biggest weakness?”
Zoro snarled, imaging shoving the questions and his sword back down his throat.
“Very well,” he said after a while, standing up and going over to the door, “If you won’t answer my questions, perhaps Mr. Vinsmoke will.”
Zoro’s blood ran cold, the dread seeping into his every vein.
“He doesn’t know shit,” he growled out.
“We’ll see.” He knocked on the door and the two Marines from before entered, “Please return Mr. Roronoa to his cell and inform the Rear Admiral of his continued non-cooperation.”
They unlocked him from his chair and dragged him back to his cell.
It was empty when he got there. Zoro was left fretting and pacing as he waited, his mind running through all the terrible scenarios of what they could be doing to Sanji, knowing whatever it was it was his fault.
The cell door clanked open, and Zoro rushed forward as Sanji was tossed carelessly in the cell. The door shut and the Marines left without another word.
Sanji was a mess. His visible eye was swollen almost shut, his lip bleeding profusely as he spat out a wad of blood. He was shoeless, and Zoro could see the spikes were still in there and that his feet had been broken, smashed it looked like. Every visible part of his skin was covered in either cuts or bruises or both. His hands were uncuffed, one wrist swollen with at least three fingers on that hand mangled and broken. The other, which had deep serrated cuts across the back and palm, hand all the fingernails missing, small splinters on his fingertips letting him know just how they did it.
“Sanji,” he said weakly, the guilt driving him to his knees by his side.
He did this to him.
Sanji groaned and turned over on his back, coughing dryly as he looked up at him, “If you think this is bad, you should see the other guy.”
Zoro laughed, he couldn’t help it, and leaned his head on Sanji’s chest.
“You should have just answered their dumb questions,” he growled, “Make some shit up, you’re good at that.” He should have given them something to stop this.
“They didn’t ask me shit,” he replied, and Zoro’s heart stopped in his chest.
They didn’t do this to get information out of Sanji. They did this to get information out of him.
“I’m sorry,” he said, because he didn’t know what else to say.
“Hey, it’s not your fault.” Sanji’s broken, mangled hands went to his pockets again, but when he found nothing he buried them into Zoro’s hair, “You didn’t do this.”
But he did. He refused to answer their stupid questions, answers that wouldn’t have even hurt anyone in the end, except for the one that sent them after Sanji. He made them do this, and he could never forgive himself.
Sanji’s hands moved from his hair to his face, lifting it as much as they could so Zoro was looking right into his eyes.
“It’s not your fault,” he said again, wiping away a tear before it could fall with his good thumb, “I don’t blame you.”
Zoro nodded, not because he believed him, but because that’s what Sanji needed to see.
He turned so he could kiss his palm and felt his blood smear his cheek, “Your hands...”
Sanji’s face went blank, his grip slackening as that reality sunk in. Zoro was going to murder everyone who put that look on his face, slowly and painfully.
“They’re...” He paused, swallowed thickly, then forced a smile on his face and tried again, “They’ll be fine. I’ll be fine.”
Zoro didn’t know if Sanji was trying to convince him or himself, but he kissed his hand again to reassure him anyway.
They arranged themselves against the wall, with Zoro sitting against it, hands still bound behind his back, and Sanji’s head resting in his lap, as comfortable as he could get in his condition. He spent the night going in and out of fitful sleeps, but Zoro couldn’t catch a wink.
At some point during the night, canon fire sounded throughout the ship. Zoro listened hard, and sure enough he could hear the tell-tale signs of the Sunny landing out of a Coup-de-Burst.
The rest of the crew would be here soon, with either his swords or at least a way out of these cuffs.
Soon he’d be free.
Soon, he’d have his revenge on everyone who had laid a hand on Sanji.
A feral grin spread across his face.