Here is the epilogue I promised. xD Hope you all enjoy. Thanks again for all the reviews and comments! I can't believe this is finally done! Gyaaahhh! Thank you to Liralen for the beta! xD
Sanji leaned against the railing, his arms folded lazily across his chest and his hip cocked out to the side. He slid a hand into the inside pocket of his new Giorgio Armani, and pulled out a pack of his own, hand-rolled smokes. He wondered for the hundredth time if the jacket had been a little over the top, but then again he remembered that it was angle-zipped, made in Italy, and sexy.
Earlier that morning, Sanji had tried not to drool into the phone as he stared at the dark viscose still carefully packaged inside the shipping box. "Don't think me ungrateful or anything, but I thought we didn't have any money."
Zoro had just chuckled softly and yawned. "You have any idea how much we made on the Bones and Blackbeard fight?"
"I would if I knew what bank we used," Sanji muttered. "How'd you know I wanted this?"
Zoro chuckled again, and Sanji heard the sounds of shifting under sheets and pillows. "You left the window open on the laptop when you left last week. I thought you'd look a hell of a lot better in the jacket then the model did."
Sanji felt his insides go gooey. "Shut up, I do not."
"Oh, okay, Chopper," Zoro snickered. "Come over right now and parade around my hospital room."
"I don't parade around."
"Okay, strut," Zoro amended. "Whatever. You spend seventy dollars on choice meats, I get to buy you clothes, and sunglasses, and cars, and shit."
Sanji chuckled again. "You're just trying to score points."
"Damn straight." Zoro yawned and his voice muffled when he continued. "It's so fucking early. How do you get up when it's still dark? Are you coming by after work?"
The flip of conversation topics made Sanji want to laugh, but Zoro continued as if they had not just been discussing him spending fifteen hundred dollars on a piece of clothing. "If we can sign me out right at midnight, I can make Luffy's fight."
"Hell no!" Sanji stood, placing the box on the coffee table delicately. "You're coming straight home, eating some real food, and then going to bed! You haven't slept for more than an hour or two at a time in that fucking place!"
"But I wanted—"
Silence rang on the other end of the line, but Sanji could feel the swordsman's smile. "Okay."
The cook was jolted back into the present as Kaku slid up beside him. He placed his hands on the railing and watched the fight going on in the pit below. A small smile tugged at the corners of his mouth as he watched Jayabura slam his opponent to the floor. The crowd cheered around them, and the boss turned his gaze to Sanji.
"Zoro gets out tomorrow," he stated.
Sanji nodded. "He's up, packed, and ready to sign out one minute after midnight."
Kaku chuckled. "Three weeks in the hospital must have been hell for him. How'd you folks get him to stay? I 'spected him to bust out."
Sanji shrugged. "Chopper."
"Ah…" Kaku nodded, turning back to the fight. The long-nosed man rested his elbows on the railing and threaded his fingers together. "So, I have one question after all this..."
Taking a slow drag on the cigarette, Sanji waited patiently.
"Having been witness to Li'l Portgus and his… enthusiasm over fights… How'd ya get him to sit in his chair so quiet like? I mean, he watched this whole damn thing go down and never moved a muscle."
Sanji took another long drag and turned his body to lean back against the railing.
"Shanks," he said simply. "He got Luffy to back down completely. All he said was something about 'it's not your time' or some shit like that."
Kaku nodded; his features tight. The cook could tell that was not all his friend wanted to say. Kaku's manner was usually so relaxed it bordered on passivism. Sanji blew out another thin stream of smoke and waited for the other man to speak.
"So," Kaku sighed. "You guys heading back to Cali? 'Cause we'd like… I don't mind… if ya'll stay…"
Sanji smiled. He straightened and clapped Kaku on the shoulder.
"Kaku, I have a restaurant to reopen. We're not going anywhere."
The long-nosed man physically relaxed. He straightened as well, and pulled his cap down over his eyes. The whites of his teeth flashed as he turned towards the cook.
"Good, 'cause I'd hate to see Luffy lose and then have to go crawling back to L.A. Don't wanna see the poor kid's ego crushed like that."
Sanji grinned, and offered a hand to his friend. The cook placed his cigarette between his teeth as they shook.
"Eh, I'm not worried. Luffy won't lose."
X x X x X
Zoro dropped his bag in the entryway and shrugged out of his jacket. He tossed the leather over the back of a chair and inhaled deeply. No sterile smells of hospital disinfectants; no faded yellow walls; no goddamned nurses pinching and poking and prodding him every minute.
God, it was good to be home.
He turned to Sanji, who was leaning against the door in his new jacket, looking every bit the Armani cover model.
"What'd you make me?" Zoro grinned.
Sanji smiled back, slipping his hands into his jean pockets. "Just some zha jiang mian. I thought you might like some beef that was fresh and had some… flavor."
"Hell yeah, I would." Zoro pulled his sweater over his head and padded down the hallway towards the bedroom. "Lemme put some underwear on first, though."
He heard Sanji snicker behind him. "Who needs underwear?"
Zoro loosened his belt and pulled it free of the belt loops. The piece fell to the floor with a soft clang. Pulling the t-shirt over his head, he moved to the dresser and pulled open several drawers. He stopped when he heard the door shut, and turned to see Sanji, leaning against the door frame and watching him through a curtain of blond hair.
Feeling a familiar warmth in his stomach and a stirring in his loins, Zoro turned around fully and leaned against the dresser. Sanji had that look. His tongue wet his lips slowly, and his head tilted lazily as his eyes burned like cold fire. Zoro's mouth started to water as the cook reached up slowly to unzip his jacket.
Saying nothing, but pushing away from the door frame and moving slowly through the room, Sanji kicked his shoes off and stepped barefoot across the carpet. He let the jacket fall off his shoulders, catching it deftly with agile fingers. He reached around Zoro to lay it gently on the dresser and rested his hands on the polished wood on either side of the swordsman's hips. The cook's breath, a pleasant mixture of mint and the tobacco from his last cigarette, danced across Zoro's lips as Sanji invaded his space. The swordsman was hungrier now than before, but it was a different sort of craving. He smiled and murmured softly.
"I have this feeling that you want something."
Sanji returned the smile and ghosted his lips over Zoro's eyelids. "I have to reheat dinner. I thought you might like an appetizer while we waited."
Zoro hummed and leaned forward to press his lips softly against the edge of Sanji's jaw.
"Sounds good. What kind of appetizer?"
Sanji's hands left the dresser and moved up the swordsman's sides; slowly across his chest and over the gnarled flesh of his scar. The blond's capable fingers slid past Zoro's collar and jaw, slipping into the coarse, green hair at the back of his neck. He breathed in Zoro's scent and whispered almost inaudibly.
Zoro made a low noise in the back of his throat. He reached out and pulled Sanji's hips against his. He surged forward, aching for Sanji's lips and sliding his tongue into his lover's welcoming mouth. He felt the cook's arms wrap around his neck, and he wasted no time in finding Sanji's belt and fumbling the clasp open. The cook's jeans were tight, (there was really no need for a belt whatsoever) and it was quite a turn on for the swordsman to have to work at sliding the denim down muscled thighs. His fingers took in the exquisite sensation of Sanji's skin as it was revealed inch by glorious inch.
He felt himself being pulled across the carpet. The cook's hands turned him around and pushed him, not so gently, onto the bed. As Zoro started to regain some of his senses, he froze as Sanji climbed over him, and settled with a powerful leg on each side of Zoro's hips. Sanji arched, and his erection throbbed hot and hard against Zoro's stomach as he slid agonizingly slow onto the swordsman's lap. Zoro groaned and looked up into the cook's eyes. His lover was breathing heavily, and the swordsman could feel the blond's heart thumping in his chest. Zoro had no doubt his own heart was pounding just as hard, and just as fast.
He pulled the cook closer and kissed him deeply as Sanji's hands found his. Zoro's breath caught when Sanji guided his touch to his cock, wrapping the swordsman's fingers around the long shaft. Zoro pulled away slightly to watch their hands stroke the cook's length together. Sanji's breath came quicker; soft, short pants in time with Zoro's caresses. He let his head fall back as Zoro's thumb ran over the wet tip, smearing precum and mixing sweat with sweat.
"Oh God, Zoro…" Sanji panted. "Ah… Zoro, it feels so good…"
Zoro pulled Sanji back to him so he could again meet the cook's eyes. He felt heady, drunk on Sanji and his body; his smell; the feel of the blond's skin sliding over his. He grunted softly as a particularly hard thrust from Sanji's hips, ground against his member straining inside the confines of his jeans.
"Sanji…" he growled. "I want you so bad…"
Sanji's hands went to Zoro's cheeks. The cook's scorching lips found his and the swordsman groaned again, this time muffled by Sanji's frantic kisses.
"You have me," Sanji gasped. "You have me, Zoro… "
Zoro reached under the pillows, grabbing the nearly empty bottle of lotion as Sanji undid his button and fly. He lifted his hips so the cook could pull his jeans down far enough to free his cock. It throbbed in Sanji's hand. The blond's fingers showed no mercy as he stroked Zoro with quick, eager movements.
Zoro gasped, catching himself before he started to beg. "Wait… wait…" He removed Sanji's fingers and poured a few drops of the lotion into his hand. He slicked himself, looking up at Sanji's flushed face. Tossing the bottle away, he grabbed Sanji's hip with his free hand, and held his breath as the cook rose up on his knees.
Sanji's eyes never left his. They shared the most intimate of moments as Sanji lowered himself leisurely onto Zoro's length. Their breath, their heartbeats, their very souls were attuned. They were as one as any two beings could be as Sanji slid slowly down, his mouth falling open at the feeling of Zoro filling him completely. The swordsman shuddered as broken breath escaped his lungs.
Sanji's fingers returned to the hair at the back of Zoro's head. He twisted his grip, pulling gently, tilting Zoro's chin back as he leaned forward over the larger man.
"Ah…" The swordsman felt him shaking. "I love you Zoro… I love you…"
Zoro still could not speak, an impasse only exacerbated as Sanji lifted his hips and slid back down his length, so slow it was almost painful. Zoro was lost; bent to Sanji's will. The cook had him wrapped around his fingers and molded into submission with just the look in his eyes. Those words tumbling from his lips made the swordsman's heart beat for a single purpose, and that was Sanji. In this moment, there was no greatest swordsman. There were no tournaments. There was no world outside this room. Everything was Sanji, and Sanji was everything to Zoro.
"I love you too." Zoro choked out. "I love you so much, Sanji…"
Zoro could not tear his eyes from the muscles rolling through the cook's torso. Every bit of Sanji's body flexed and waned as the blond moved over him. His lover's hips pulled up and back, only to push back down with a force Zoro knew only he could take. He lost his words again, and Sanji rode him hard. The cook's voice was soft and breathless. Endearments artfully mixed with curses flowed from his lips, shattering Zoro's control, and sending shivers of white hot pleasure shooting down the swordsman's spine.
Tension coiled in Zoro's loins, and the swordsman knew he was close. He moved both hands to grip Sanji's muscled hips. The pleasure built and built, and the pressure became almost excruciating. Sanji's blunt nails dug into his neck and chest. The cook's cries punctuated every thrust, every slap of skin against skin. The swordsman could hold it in no longer and pulled his lover against him tightly as orgasm ripped through him. He pulsed inside Sanji's body as the cook continued to move. Zoro growled and cursed into Sanji's neck, unmindful of the skin between his teeth.
When his vision returned, Sanji was brushing sweat from the larger man's brow, and watching Zoro's eyes with a heavily-lidded gaze. The cook's fingers felt good across his forehead, and Zoro wanted to spend a moment in this haze of post-pleasure, but there were other—more important things to take care of.
Gripping Sanji's thighs, he flipped them over, and pulled his softening member carefully out of the cook. Sanji gasped, but seeming to know what was next, he fisted his hands in the comforter above his head, and hooked a long, supple leg around Zoro's shoulder.
Zoro kissed down Sanji's torso, licking a trail to the cook's swollen length. He took the cock in his hand, stroking hard and fast before taking it into his mouth.
Sanji made a choking noise, and arched off the bed.
"F-fuck!" he cried. "Shhh… shit… Shit!"
Zoro stroked with his hand, and slid his lips down until his nose was buried in coarse, blond curls. He ran his tongue over the tightly stretched skin, and felt the first tell-tale pulse. Sanji's fingers pulled ruthlessly at his hair, and Zoro hummed as he savored the warm splashes of cum at the back of his throat.
"Aahh, Zoro… Zoro… Zoro…" Sanji chanted breathlessly as the swordsman sucked him.
Zoro drank Sanji down, and kissed the sensitive flesh before crawling up the cook's body. He left kisses and short nibbles in all his favorite places. Zoro's arms shook as he pulled his jeans off and lowered himself to lie upon Sanji's heated skin. The cook held him tight, his breath puffing heavily against his cheek. His shoulders and arms trembled as they wrapped around Zoro's neck, and the swordsman kissed him wherever he could reach.
They lay quietly until their breath returned to normal. The sweat from their skin began to cool, leaving them pleasantly sticky, not unlike after a match. Zoro felt himself drifting off, never happier than he was at that moment, he was sure.
"Zoro…" Sanji whispered.
"Hm?" Zoro replied.
Sanji took a moment before continuing. "Is this it? Are we back to normal?"
Zoro smiled, bones like putty, and his mind set adrift. "Almost…"
Sanji shifted underneath him. "Almost?"
Zoro nodded. "Almost. There's one more thing before we're completely back to the way it was."
When Zoro didn't continue, Sanji ran his hands down the swordsman's back, and slid a leg along the larger man's thigh. "Well?"
Zoro shook his head.
"Trust me, just wait. It'll happen. I got it all planned out… again…"
If Sanji was curious about it, he didn't say anything, and for that Zoro was grateful. It was obvious the cook was either remembering more about him, or he was learning fast. At that moment, all that the swordsman wanted, was to hold his love, and fall away into a sleep not plagued by dreams of car crashes and beeping monitors. Here in Sanji's arms, he would dream of life, good food, love, and a future full of memories to make up for ones lost.
Three months later…
"Holy shit." Sanji grinned, his teeth clamped around a cigarette, "I'm actually shaking."
Nami smiled behind the rim of her Champaign glass. She moved close and ran her hand down his arm. "I can't even imagine what this moment is like for you, Sanji."
"I can't even imagine what this moment is like!" Sanji laughed, "I can't even think!"
Sanji's hair blew gently in the evening breeze. Associates, business partners, friends, family, (and even a few shady characters in beanie hats and fur coats) filled the first floor of the restaurant and front courtyard where he and Nami stood. A jazz trio, led by Brook, played inside and their melodic and upbeat tones danced over Sanji's skin, giving the air a sophisticated, yet relaxing atmosphere. Sanji sighed and gave the place another once over, loving the finished product from all of his hard work.
Sanji was dizzy. He had dreamed of this since he was seven, and now it was a reality. The cerulean carpeting, the pillars of marble, the expansive fish tanks filled with exotic fish and tropical plants in hues of green and blue. There was nothing else to be done. The menu was his, the staff was trained personally by none other than Sanji himself, and the money was already pouring in so fast that the Food Network was already talking to the cook about contracts.
Life was perfect…
Sanji startled as hands slid around his waist. Strong fingers pulled him close, and a hard body pressed up against his back. Warm breath caressed the back of his neck, and a deep voice purred in his ear.
"You're fucking glowing."
Sanji plucked the cigarette from his mouth, and turned his head to look into dark eyes. Zoro smiled at him softly from over his shoulder, and the cook tilted his head to press a soft kiss against the swordsman's lips.
"I still can't believe this is happening."
Zoro nuzzled against his jaw. "You're beautiful..."
Sanji's heart fluttered and he placed his hand over Zoro's. "Stop, or I'm gonna freak out for real."
Zoro chuckled, nuzzling again and kissing the cook's nose.
"We're dropping the curtain in a few minutes," Zoro whispered. "I gotta go upstairs."
Sanji nodded and slipped out from the swordsman's hold. "Love you. I'll see you in a bit."
Zoro kissed him quickly on the lips, and brushed the backs of his fingers against Sanji's cheek. "Love you too."
Sanji turned to watch him go, his black slacks fitting just right over the curves of his ass and thighs. He looked amazing, but as much as Sanji liked it when his lover dressed up, he couldn't wait to get him home, out of his button up and vest, and back into sweats and a t-shirt.
Or perhaps nothing at all…
Sanji turned, hoping he hadn't just been standing there with his mouth hanging open. "What's up, Ace?"
The older Portgus grinned and clapped him on the back. "Nervous?"
Sanji shook his head and took a long drag.
"Zoro just went upstairs with Luffy. Viv's gonna announce the unveiling in like, a minute."
Sanji chuckled, scratching at his chin. "Okay, I'm a little nervous."
Ace laughed and turned, as Vivi's voice called over the PA system for everyone to congregate outside. Sanji suddenly found himself surrounded by smiles and familiar, happy faces. Chopper slipped his arm through the cook's, looking like he was holding back tears. Kaya and Usopp stood on his other side, holding hands and smiling at him. Franky gave him a crushing hug from behind before he put an arm around Robin's shoulders and started to sob profusely.
Vivi stood on the steps of the restaurant's entrance with a beaming Nami at her side. She held a cordless mic, and held up her hand for the crowd to quiet down.
"Today," she began, her tone potent and regal, "we celebrate a new addition to the diverse and exciting culture of Seattle night life. Many years ago, a seven year old boy, working on the floating restaurant Baratie, had a dream that one day he would have a place of his own. He would follow in his father's footsteps, and carry a tradition of exquisite food with little or no waste." Cameras flashed, and TV reporters held their devices above the crowd, not wanting to miss even a moment of Vivi's speech.
"Now, twenty years later, that boy is a man… A very kind, generous, and amazing man, that has won the hearts and minds of people all over this city. His love for food, and his attention to the details of service have made this night possible. I am so happy, and privileged, to say that I am so proud of my friend, Sanji Black." Sanji's heart raced as Vivi smiled at him over the crowd. "May your success know no bounds, Sanji, and may you enjoy the fruits of your labor for the rest of your days… You deserve it."
Cheers and applause sounded as Vivi looked up towards the balcony. Nami signaled at her side, and Zoro and Luffy appeared. They pulled at the ties holding a large, light blue covering. When released, the silky fabric fell to reveal the new name of the restaurant. 'ALL BLUE' shone liquor black and dark blue in the light from the setting sun. Sanji's chest tightened at the sight. He blinked rapidly, running a hand over his mouth. He didn't want to break down while there were cameras around.
His friends clapped and cheered around him. Sanji lost himself in the hugs and congratulations. Interviews flew by as someone from every publication vied for his attention. Franky and Ace pushed the paparazzi back finally when Luffy slipped through the crowd and whispered that Zoro wanted to talk to Sanji on the balcony.
"Why?" Sanji asked, still dazed. "Can't he just come down here?"
Luffy shook his head.
"You should go, Sanji," Ace said, a strange grin pulling at his mouth.
Sanji looked at his friends. They all seemed to have that same knowing smirk tugging at their features. He rolled his eyes and slipped his hands in his pockets.
"Fine," he mumbled, fighting a smirk of his own. "What, am I gonna go up there and find him naked except for some whipped cream?"
Robin shrugged. "Maybe."
Sanji thought about that for a second, turned on his heel and headed toward the stairs.
The murmur of the crowd was less as he ascended. Brook's trio started up again, but it was only a faint afterthought as the cook neared the balcony doors. Seeing the setup on the other side, Sanji caught his breath and slowly turned the handles to let himself back out into the cool, evening air.
Stepping out onto the stone balcony, Sanji's eyes took in the table covered in an elaborate spread of china and silver. Candles burned and a large vase of white and red roses sat between the two place settings. Wine sat chilling in a bucket of ice, and two glasses sat on a cart.
Zoro stood leaning against the railing, his hands in his pockets. He smiled as Sanji closed the doors behind him.
"What's all this?" Sanji asked.
Zoro slowly held out his hand and beckoned Sanji closer. The cook complied and moved to stand with the swordsman. Zoro held him close, his eyes burning intensely in the light from the candles. "It's an anniversary… of sorts."
Sanji smiled. "Anniversary of what?"
Zoro reached behind him. "I'll get to that."
Sanji made a noise as Zoro brought out a large, blue rose. The swordsman lightly brushed it across Sanji's lips, and trailed the soft pedals down the cook's neck. "You told me a long time ago what blue roses mean."
Sanji nodded. "'Attaining the impossible'…"
Zoro nodded as well. "And you know what red means."
Sanji's voice softened as his chest tightened. He leaned into Zoro and kissed the corner of the swordsman's lips. "Love…"
"And white?" Zoro asked.
Sanji swallowed thickly, feeling like he knew where this was going, but didn't want to break the moment.
Zoro leaned forward to kiss Sanji's forehead. "And," he whispered, "When you mix red and white?"
Sanji glanced at the bouquet on the table. The red and white roses blurred as tears filled his eyes.
"'May we always be together as one'…"
Zoro smiled and ran his thumb over Sanji's cheek, catching a stray tear as it trailed slowly towards the cook's chin.
"I have something I want to show you."
Sanji nodded, and waited as Zoro reached to the cart holding the wine and glasses. He pulled out the picture in the black frame that Sanji had been so curious about. The cook's eyes widened as the swordsman held it out to him. Sanji took it, and looked at the picture with bated breath.
The sun was setting in the picture, and he was standing with Zoro in this exact spot. His hands cupped Zoro's face, the swordsman's arms held him possessively by his hips. They were locked in a timeless kiss, so soft and light that it made Sanji's heart skip.
Sanji trailed his fingers over the picture. "What is this? It's so beautiful…"
"That," Zoro said softly, "is us, right after saying our vows."
Sanji's head shot up. He looked at the swordsman, his heart pounding, his watery eyes finally releasing the tears freely onto his cheeks. He had known; somehow he had known Zoro was going to say that, but it still jolted the cook, breaking his heart and piecing it back together all at the same time.
"Oh… oh my God, Zoro…" Sanji gasped.
Zoro took the rose and the picture and set them to the side. He pulled Sanji back into his arms and breathed across the cook's lips.
"I can't live without you, Sanji. I know that for a fact because I did it for eleven months. But what I was doing while you slept wasn't living. I was just walking dead and pretending, and I'm not going to pretend anymore."
Sanji's shoulders started to shake as sobs took over. He clutched at Zoro's arms as the swordsman continued, his heart and his soul singing with joy so intense, it hurt.
"Marry me, Sanji," Zoro murmured so softly. "Marry me again. I won't let you say no…"
Sanji gasped, raising his hands to touch Zoro's cheeks. "Why the hell would I say no?" He sniffed once and kissed Zoro's lips.
"I love you, Zoro. Yes. Yes, of course I'll marry you."
Sanji's feet left the ground. Zoro held him tight, whirling him around in circles, kissing him all over. On his cheeks, his neck, his eyelids, his nose, his lips. Sanji laughed and held him back, crying and laughing at the same time. When Zoro put him back down, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a simple gold ring with two small diamonds incased in a titanium center band.
"This is yours," Zoro said, his smile splitting his face. "You picked it out when we went to France for a couple weeks."
Sanji's hands shook as Zoro slipped the ring on his finger. "Why wasn't I wearing it when I woke up?"
Zoro shook his head. "The weight you lost. It kept slipping off."
Sanji grasped Zoro's hand. "You're shaking, Zoro."
Zoro chuckled. "Yeah, well, so are you."
They kissed, and Zoro pulled the cook to the railing. The swordsman leaned over, raising his hand to the crowd below and calling out.
"He said yes! Again!"
Cheers, twice as loud as during the unveiling, erupted below, and Sanji hid face in his hands.
"Oh Christ…" the cook moaned. "How totally embarrassing…"
Zoro didn't give him time to think about it. He scooped the cook up in his arms, and kissed him once again on the lips.
"My bike's out back." He grinned. "Maybe we should blow this place."
Sanji wrapped his arms around Zoro's neck, pressing his nose into the swordsman's cheek playfully.
"I love you, Marimo," he whispered. "Take me away."
So, now that you've read the story, you should let the author know how you liked it. Leave a review and make a writer happy today! xD