The day it began

Chapter 2

It's cold, almost bitterly so. He can feel his nose starting to leak from the effect of it. His cheeks feel rosy, however this time it's a different kind of flush. It's dark; there is plenty of room to move around as well. Thinking to himself 'That's not the best thing actually, there being a lot of room in here.' He can now hear the sound of a door opening then clicking shut, followed by soft footsteps. He opens his eyes.

"Sanji, what are you doing in there?" Nami asks him clearly confused as to why the heck Sanji is shoulder deep in the freezer.

'Guess it's about time I come out now anyways.' He thinks, sighing. Pulling himself back out and shutting the door, he turns and greets Nami with hearts in his eyes. "Hello Nami-San, don't worry I was just checking the, erm, stocks we have left in the freezer. We seem to be running a bit short actually, looks like I need to take inventory on everything." Pulling out a pen and paper from a drawer nearby he starts to jot down items from the freezer they appear to be low on, 'Guess it's a good thing we are actually low on frozen food, I don't really have a good reason as to why I stuck myself in there.'

Nami gives him a strange look; he can feel her eyes scanning over his nose and cheeks, no doubt noticing the effect of being in the freezer for longer than strictly necessary. "Right, well luckily we are coming up to an island here in a couple of days so we should be able to re-stock then. I was just coming to ask if you could get me a drink. It's a hot one outside today." Hand on hip, she eyes him expectantly.

Mentally slapping himself he quickly attends to Nami's request, "Oh right away Nami-San! Forgive me for being neglectful! Is there anything in particular you would like, I do have some fresh lemonade?" She smiles widely at him, so he proceeds to pull down a glass and fill it with ice, then opens the fridge to get out the pitcher of lemonade. Taking the glass Nami gives a small nod in thanks as she makes her way out of the galley shutting the door firmly behind her.

'Well I suppose I should start getting lunch together." Taking a deep breath, he pushes off the counter to make his way to the cabinets yet again, pulling down everything he needs to make a large batch of seafood pasta. Along with that he decides to make a side salad with freshly baked bread and herbed butter. While uncovering the dough that had been rising since earlier that day, his mind wanders back to a certain Swordsman. Ever since they all met back up, he and Zoro have been getting on a lot better than they ever used to. Sure they still argue and fight but they actually have civil conversations now and it's been really nice.

'But what is with me today, I feel so strange around him.' Looking down at his hand, he recalls the feel of Zoro's scar and the warmth of his skin under his finger tip, the way the sun shone on his sleeping face making him appear even younger than he already is. "Why did I feel so compelled to touch him like that? I just wanted to feel his skin, like I wanted to get closer to him." He says mumbling around his cigarette.

Focusing back on cooking, he puts the dough in the oven and starts chopping up ingredients for the sauce. Needing to wait a bit to start on anything else he decides to head into the pantry to start taking stock there. Immersing himself in his work, he fails to hear the galley door open and shut quietly behind him. Concentrating on his note pad while checking off items, he feels a breath ghost across his right ear and jawline, "Sanji."

Yelping, he spins around quickly eyes wide, finding himself now nose to nose with Zoro and looking directly into that deep forest green eye of his. Momentarily stunned, he can only stare, breath caught and heart stopping for a few beats. Seeing a glint of mirth shinning in Zoro's eye he quickly recovers, yelling at the now chuckling swordsman, "Don't do that you shitty bastard!" He drops down slightly to swing a leg out in a halfhearted attempt to trip the Marimo up. Zoro easily steps out of the way raising his hands up in mock surrender.

"Sorry, sorry I couldn't resist. That's what you get for dropping your guard Shit Cook." He says laughing deeply and clutching his chest, "You really should have seen your face, it was priceless. I don't think I've seen you look so shocked before!"

Calming himself and trying to contain his embarrassment he asks, "Yes very funny Marimo head, did you have an actual reason for coming in here to bug me? Lunch won't be ready for another 30 minutes or so." Sanji turns back to the jars of pickled vegetables to recount them, jotting down the count he looks back over his shoulder to Zoro, waiting for the man to respond.

He sees Zoro point behind him with his thumb, leaning out of the way to reveal the now empty tray from earlier sitting on the kitchen island counter. "Just bringing that back like you asked, thanks for the snack Cook. It was pretty good." Zoro says grinning.

Sanji can't help but grin back, curious at the odd warm feeling in his chest at the compliment, "Well I figured you actually deserved it for once. Thanks for bringing it back in here."

Sanji makes to leave the room to check on lunch. As Zoro allows him walk past, Sanji peeks up at him through his fringe, finding Zoro staring right back at him with a slight upturn to his lips and a soft look in his eye. Refusing to acknowledge the blush gracing his traitorous face, he snaps his gaze back in front of him and quickly walks towards the stove. He can hear Zoro walking behind him and expects to hear the galley door open and close, but when he's only met with silence, he turns around to see Zoro now sitting on the other side of the island with his elbow on the table and chin resting on his hand looking in his direction. Raising an eyebrow at this, he turns back around waiting to see what Zoro will do next.

Zoro eyes the various pots on the stove top with mild curiosity. Letting his gaze wonder he settles on watching Sanji cook. It's always entertaining to watch, in more ways than one. It's like a dance, the way he moves swiftly, delicately and with purpose. His eye settles on the Cooks narrow waist, seeing the small sways and shimmies as he stirs the contents of the pots, while grabbing for various spices and chopped ingredients with his long elegant fingers. Shifting in his seat he thinks it's probably best to tear his gaze away, opting to make small talk instead, "So what's for lunch Cook? Smells like fish."

Checking the pots once more Sanji determines he has a few minutes to spare, turning around to face Zoro he comes up to the counter and leans against it. Pulling out a cigarette and lighting it he answers, "Today I decided on seafood pasta along with some side dishes, so that would be the fish smell." He levels his gaze with Zoro's; noting the drop of sweat running down his temple he asks, "Would you like something to drink Zoro? It's a bit warm outside today." Smirking, Zoro nods once in confirmation. Sanji makes his way to the fridge and fetches out the pitcher of green tea. Filling a glass with ice he brings it to the counter and fills it up for Zoro, then slides the glass towards him and turns back to put the pitcher away. Swiveling back around to continue leaning against the counter, he freezes, cigarette halfway to his lips. He watches Zoro gulp down the large glass of tea, head tilted ever so slightly back. His eyes snap to a stray drop of tea that's escaped out the side of his mouth, following it as it slowly makes its way down his jawline, hovering there for a moment before sliding sinfully down his thickly muscled neck.

Zoro was enjoying the cold drink, eye closed as he guzzled it down. He cracks his eye open after a moment, noticing a strange silence in the room. He sees Sanji leaning against the counter, mouth agape and cigarette burning away in his hand. Raising an eyebrow, he clears his throat. Sanji jumps, prying his gaze away from where it had been fixated, directing it back up to Zoro's face. Wiping away a stray drop of tea from the base of his throat, he sets down the glass. 'Well that's certainly an interesting reaction', chuckling he asks, "You alright there Sanji? It looked like your brains oozed out of your ear for a second there." Smiling evilly he adds, "See something you like Ero Cook?"

Momentarily stunned, Sanji is at a loss for words while staring stupidly at Zoro. He promptly snaps his jaw closed with an audible clack of his teeth while blushing up to the tips of his ears. He then turns back to the stove to start stirring the contents of lunch. Not bothering to glance back he manages to sputter out, "Of course not, all I see is your ugly mug! Now get the hell out of my kitchen so I can cook in peace!" After a moment of silence, he hears the stool Zoro was occupying scrape slightly against the wood floor. Sighing with relief, he takes a deep breath to try to convince his heart to stop trying to kill him via heart attack.

Flinching, he feels something brush against his arm. He whips his head to the side to see Zoro placing his glass in the sink. Turning his gaze back to the pot he's stirring, he feels the warmth of Zoro's body envelope him. His breath catching in his throat, he glances down to see Zoro's hands resting on the counter on either side of him, effectively blocking him in. Time seems to slow down as he feels Zoro's lips rest just against his right ear, Zoro murmurs, "Thanks for the drink, Sanji." Zoro's nose brushes against the hair right above his ear as he slowly turns his head away. Sensing the heat of Zoro's body leave him, the breath caught in his throat escapes. He hears Zoro's footsteps recede and the door opening then closing shut, 'Finally'.

Sanji turns so his back is against the counter and slides down, his knees drawn up to his chest, eyes wide and mind racing. 'Ok, there's definitely something else going on here. I didn't want him to leave, he was warm and it made me excited. Do I really want this, does he actually want me?' Running his hand down his face Sanji stands back up determined to focus on lunch for now. If the Swordsman is really flirting with him, he needs just a bit more evidence, he has to be sure that's what this is.