Title: In Dreams
Rating: PG-13 for yaoi-ish themes.
Feedback: Constructive criticism. I'm a wimp. And I cry.
Summary: AU... (XD Bwa ha ha), OOC, Zoro and Sanji are French courtiers. Love is complicated.
Dedication: To all those homies who write better ZoSan fiction than myself. Which there are many.
Disclaimer: I don't own nothin'
Count Sanji du Cuire (1) was a man of infinite grace, sophistication, and style. He was the most eligible bachelor in France and a man with an immaculate reputation. Though he was a wealthy man with far more land than he should boast and a home of his own in Limouges, he preferred to stay at Versailles for most of the year, trying to win over the affections of a one Mademoiselle(2) Nami du Diamanta(3). He had even been shameful enough to start his courtship before she announced her availability. Love had stricken him immune to the gossip of the courts and he was determined to win her heart.
Along with every other man at Versailles (4) who wasn't already married.
This included a man whose name would not be uttered from the Count's lips without a look of disgust gracing his normally refined features.
"Count Roronoa Zoro, you say? I beg your pardon sir, but that barbarian could never win over my Mademoiselle's delicate heart. And it is an absolute insult to hear you speak of that, Ace."
The man sitting across from Sanji, Ace D. Portgas, was another courtier of some repute. He had been a soldier during the war, but after his service was honored by the kingdom and given wealth and land beyond anything he asked for. The courtier life, however, seemed to bore the normally adventurous man. He often yawned when he spoke and was not stranger to falling asleep in the middle of conversation. The other courtiers humored him, as he had a cheerful and kind disposition and was (of course) a war hero.
"Ah, Monsieur (5) Cuire-"
"Please, call me Sanji. We have known each other that long, I should like to think."
Ace had the grace to smile. "Of course. But Sanji, it is not so much that Roronoa Zoro will win over Mademoiselle's heart, but that she is trying to win over his. "
This was not the first time the Count had heard such accusations, but he just could not confirm it in his view. Why would such a beautiful and refined woman desire such a lummox? Sanji could not bring this idea to conclusion, so he decided that the other courtiers must be mistaken. Gossip flew in all directions when there was nothing better in the kingdom to talk about. He was used to it.
"I refuse to believe that. Why would she want to marry him? Especially when she has someone like me?"
Ace laughed. "Indeed, that is the question, isn't it? But-..." Ace stopped mid sentence with his finger in the air. His head drooped suddenly and the other man began to snore.
It still always managed to surprise Sanji when this happened. But like the other courtiers, he would laugh it off and move on. So he did. Unfortunately, Ace was to be his only entertainment today, as Mademoiselle Nami was in Lyon visiting family. She would be back within a fortnight, or so he hoped. The rest of the courtiers, with a few exceptions, were dull, petty people trying to climb the hierarchy. Sanji had no interest in occurring favor. He simply wanted Nami. To marry her and bring her to his home in Limouges. He wanted a lot of children. He wanted to cook for Nami. He wanted to make her the happiest woman in the world-
"Monsieur Cuire should watch where he is going, instead of day dreaming in the corridors."
Sanji snapped out of his reverie to notice that he had bumped into the source of his only misery in life. That baboon swordsman, Roronoa Zoro. Sanji looked to his left, then his right. Then he looked at the green haired man in front of him. He scowled.
"Monsieur Zoro would do well to notice that this corridor is wide enough for ten men to walk abreast. If Monsieur Zoro bumped into me then it is his own damn fault."
Zoro smiled at the count. "Perhaps. Good day, Monsieur." The swordsman walked past Sanji, continuing down the corridor.
This is what Sanji despised about the other man. In every way Zoro was clearly mocking Sanji at every turn. But when confronted, the swordsman remained cool and aloof, always a little too polite. He never failed to come out looking like the good man, the honorable fencing master, the kind gentleman. He infuriated Sanji to the core.
Sanji shook off his anger and continued down the corridor. Maybe he would go stay in Limouges while Nami was gone. He could not afford to lose his temper in an altercation with Zoro. Because whether he liked it or not, he was the next most likely candidate for Nami's hand, and Sanji could not look like worse a man than Roronoa Zoro at this point.
Zoro had a smug smile on his face as he walked into the library where he assumed Sanji had been coming from. He found Ace asleep with one finger in the air on a chair by the fire place.
He approached the other man, and tapped him lightly on the head. Ace jerked slightly then lifted his head and resumed the conversation.
"But Sanji, I don't think Roronoa Zoro... where'd you-"
"Oi. I think your conversation partner left a while ago."
Ace looked up and saw Zoro standing next to him.
"I fell asleep again." He said, blinking. "I do hope Sanji wasn't angry..."
Zoro smiled. "Indeed. Mind if I take Sanji's place?"
Ace smiled and waved to the chair across from him. "Not at all. In fact we were just talking about you."
"So it would seem."
"Sanji still doesn't believe that Nami is the one after you."
"Hn. Do you think if he didn't believe I was a contender for Nami's hand, his opinion of me would change at all?"
Ace gave the swordsman a sympathetic look. "Something tells that your personalities clash, Zoro. I think he'd hate you if you were his brother."
Zoro cringed. "So honest, Ace. Brutal, really."
Ace rubbed the back of his head apologetically. "I'm sorry. But that's just how I see it. But you know, you're not really helping the situation. He never gets to see the side of you that I do, that Nami does. You're always making a fool out of him, making him look like less of a person compared to you. I don't see that there's any reason he should like you at all."
Zoro laughed. "I can't help it, Ace. It's fun. He always rises to the occasion. I love irritating him. It's the only attention I can get from him, so I suppose I'm going to make the most of it."
Ace chided Zoro. "You're acting like a child, you know."
"You said it yourself, Ace. Even if I was kinder to him, he still wouldn't like me."
"Well... how does he act in your dreams? Does he hate you there?"
Zoro's eyes softened. "No. I mean... sometimes we bicker, or we tease each other simply for the fun of seeing how someone else reacts... but he doesn't hate me as he does now."
"Ah... well, I think you're obsessed." Ace laughed. "Stop dreaming about the man. Find yourself a good wife, and move away from here. Then those dreams will go away, and so will your problems."
Zoro only sighed.
"Oh I know! How about a fencing match this evening, eh? We haven't a good match in weeks. We'll make a show out if it."
Zoro's spirits rose at the idea. Perhaps a good workout would keep his mind off the Count...
Mademoiselle Nami du Diamanta arrived back at the Palace of Versailles a day late. Bad weather had delayed their departure from Lyon. Her cousin would not hear of her traveling in such treacherous weather, so she and her companion, Mademoiselle Nico Robin were forced to stay another day. Nami, however, was very eager to return to Versailles. She had not wanted to leave in the first place, but she could not very well refuse yet another visit with her cousins without insulting them. So when the weather cleared up and she and Robin boarded her carriage, she could scarcely keep still. Robin suggested knitting, or perhaps reading the book she had bought about ocean navigation in the markets.
Of course both activities only lasted a few days. So by the last few days of the journey, Nami was positively ready to leave the horse and carriage behind and walk on foot. Being responsible for Mademoiselle Nami's welfare, Robin would not consent, of course.
Upon seeing the palace in the distance, Nami shouted with joy, surprising the coachman. His whip accidentally lashed the horse's flank, causing the horse to start into a run. The carriage sped out of control, flying over bumps and rocks before smashing back down onto the road, only to fly up after hitting another rock. Mademoiselle Robin sat calmly across from Nami, never looking up from her knitting, while Nami laughed and shouted the whole way. The coachman finally slowed the horse to a stop upon reaching the stables.
Count Roronoa Zoro watched the whole debacle unfold from the shade of a willow tree next to the royal pastures. He watched Nami, hair and dress askew, exit the carriage, the coachman nearly in tears with apologies. Robin was next, not a single hair of clothing article out of place. He decided to join them.
"I am so sorry, mademoiselles! I was not able to bring you around to the front, are you hurt, please don't move, sacre bleu-"
"No no monsieur! We are fine. Don't worry about bringing us up to the front ha ha! That was the most fun I've had in a long time!" Nami laughed as she brushed herself off.
"Bring the horse around for some water, Jacques, he looks like he needs it. Don't worry about the ladies, I will escort them inside."
Jacques the coachman relaxed upon seeing Zoro. "Of course, Monsieur."
"Monsieur Zoro! It is your face I have been pining to see since my departure! It is wonderful to see you again! I have missed you much..." Nami said enthusiastically as she curtsied. She held her hand out to Zoro, who took it and placed a chaste kiss upon her dainty fingers.
"Mademoiselle. You look... robust as ever. Though I must say, riding in the back of runaway carriages cannot be good for your long term health. Or anyone's, for that matter. Mademoiselle Robin, how fair you?"
Robin smiled at Zoro. "Well, thank you Monsieur."
"And... for Monsieur Jacques sake, let us not mention this incident in front of Monsieur Sanji. My favorite coachman might find himself in line for the guillotine if your beloved hears of it, Mademoiselle Nami."
Nami frowned, but wrapped her arm around Zoro's. "Monsieur Sanji is not my beloved, Zoro. But you are right. We'll not speak of this to anyone, right Robin?" Robin nodded gracefully, and took Zoro's other arm, which was being offered to her.
"Very well. Everyone is anxious to see Mademoiselles. Let us not keep them waiting any longer."
1. Cuire is a French verb for "cook". The noun was something like "cuisiner", but that just sounded too corny. And, well, they need last names dammit.
2. Mademoiselle Miss Pronounced "mad-mwah-zell".
3. Diamanta is the French word for "diamond" allegedly.
4. Versailles – Old Frenchy palace. Some Louis' stayed there. Like... Louis the 16th. Now it's a museum I believe. I'm not great on my French history, so I really shouldn't be writing a story with this theme, but I'll do the best I can. I took French for two years, so needless to say, my French is awful. If I've gotten something wrong as far as language and historical accuracy, please let me know.
6. Monsieur Mister Pronounced "mis-yeor".