It had been absolutely unavoidable, really. The second they'd seen the colourful streamers and tents of the island carnival, they'd started heading for it, because they knew their captain, and they knew that it would be an irresistible playground for him.
And sure enough…
"Carnival! They'll have lots of meat and games and rides and meat! And maybe they'll have lots of new food, and meat! And chocolate and candy and cakes made of meat and people in costumes and loud noises and meat and—"
It had gone on and on like that until they'd docked the Going Merry and Luffy had all but bolted from the ship, stopped only by Nami, who'd grabbed the nearest sharp object (her needle) and stabbed him in the ear with it.
"Listen," she'd snapped, waving her pin in an almost Zoro-esque manner, "You're going to meet us back here at dusk, got that? Dusk." Then, surprisingly, she'd given their captain a hundred beli – but spoiled her generosity by telling him that now he owed her at least four hundred beli in repayment.
Zoro had been trying to quietly slip off the ship, but a thief could not be out-snuck, and she'd grabbed him by the ear and charged him with making sure that Luffy returned on time.
He'd removed her hand from his ear and informed her that when hell froze over, maybe, he'd take orders from her – and then Sanji had kicked him overboard, where he'd landed in the water with a splash, yelling curses at the cook even before he'd surfaced.
That was when one rubbery hand, attached to an arm that was stretched almost ten feet, grabbed him by the wrist and hauled him out of the water.
"We're gonna go see a carnival!" Luffy had yelled cheerfully, and stretched his arm to grab onto a large tent pole in the distance, still gripping Zoro's wrist, and had catapulted them into the heart of the fair.
Zoro was fairly sure that they'd given the old man running the dunking booth a heart attack.
In any case, that was how he'd ended up wandering around a carnival with a Luffy whose attention span had shortened from that of a goldfish to that of a flea.
However, it appeared that the would-be pirate king had finally found something that could hold his interest for over a quarter of a second.
"Try one, Zoro!" Luffy insisted, shoving the second dripping cone at the green-haired swordsman. With a sigh, Zoro took the vanilla ice cream cone, figuring that if Luffy was actually being generous enough to share food, he might as well indulge.
Immediately, Luffy went back to licking at his own cold treat happily, not seeming to notice the mess that was all over his face, hands, and beginning to slowly run down his arms. Tentatively, Zoro took a lick of his own – and was surprised at the coolness of it, and the flavour. He took another lick, then a bite, enjoying the ice cream – but the not the way it was running down his hands in the summer heat despite his best efforts to lick up the droplets.
Finally he managed to work his ice cream down to the point where he could bite the wafer cone, which was plain but tasted good with the ice cream.
A pink tongue that was not his own flicked out, licking up a stream of melted vanilla ice cream off Zoro's finger.
The would-be pirate king, Zoro noticed, had licked up all of his own mess, even that on his face and arms, being probably the only person in the world who could lick his own elbow – and now he was eyeing Zoro's mess hungrily.
"Oi," Zoro said roughly, taking the second-last bite of his diminished cone, "Get another one if you're so hungry."
"I don't have any money left," Luffy whined, reaching out for Zoro's arm as the first mate finished off the last of his cone. Zoro tried to jump away, but Luffy stretched out his fingers, curling them around Zoro's biceps and dragging him closer. With a sigh, Zoro gave up, holding out his arms for Luffy to clean up.
"Tastes funny with your skin," Luffy mumbled around a mouthful of fingers, and Zoro simply closed his eyes and began to count to ten. No sense in getting annoyed, really; Luffy was Luffy, pretty much the same as water was wet, and nothing in the world could ever change either of those facts.
He'd reached six when he felt the tongue leave his fingers and swipe at his cheek. His eyes flew open, and he tried to pull back.
"Hold still," Luffy said, wrapping his arms – quite literally – completely around Zoro's arms and torso, pinning his limbs to the swordsman's sides and trying to get at the ice cream on his face.
No matter which way Zoro turned, Luffy's tongue, just as stretchable as the rest of him, managed to get at him, and soon his face was cleaner than it had been before the ice cream – if wetter. A final lick across Zoro's lips, and Luffy let his first mate go, satisfied that there was no more ice cream to devour.
Zoro stood there for a moment, apparently a bit stunned, then finally said, "You've still got some on your face, you know."
"Oh? Where?" Luffy's tongue was immediately out and searching again, but Zoro grabbed his chin in a calloused hand. Luffy blinked up at him, his tongue slipping back in his mouth.
"Let me," and Zoro kissed him, his own tongue pushing between Luffy's parted lips – and Luffy's tongue was still cold from the ice cream, and his mouth tasted faintly like the vanilla ice cream, and somehow Zoro's brain decided that it liked this flavour better.
"There was ice cream," Zoro explained quietly, when he'd pulled back, "on your tongue."
"Oh." Luffy paused to consider this. "But that was mine!" Zoro shrugged.
"You licked up mine, so it was only fair."
Luffy nodded, accepting this, then… "Do you have any money Zoro? Can we get some more ice cream?"
Zoro raised an eyebrow, wondering if this was Luffy's version of flirting, but Luffy was, per usual, all guilelessness and naivety. Zoro snorted inwardly; if Luffy knew how to flirt, or even what flirting was, he'd eat his own swords.
He checked his pockets. "Yeah, I've got enou—"
"And maybe another kiss?"
Zoro hid a satisfied smile. "That, too."