A/N: And after eight chapters, it has finally come to an end. Thank you to everyone who has supported me throughout this story! Thanks for all the lovely reviews, comments, and favoriting. That is the reason I write: For wonderful fans like you!
To a sweet person and awesome friend … This story is dedicated to MaiAkemi.
Disclaimer: One Piece and its characters all belong to Eiichiro Oda.
Rating: M (For lots of delicious boy lovin')
The Going Merry hadn't seen such a commotion in a long while. And, usually, when the crew did experience something catastrophic, it was mainly due to a large enemy or seemingly unstoppable force that took all their will power and raw strength to beat. To think that that air now hung around them, and it was due to their own nakama, well … it was totally unforeseen.
When Zoro had stormed out of the galley after doing little more than telling Sanji straight out that he did, indeed, love him, the rest of the crew were left to tend to their emotionally confused chef.
And even after Nami had run to Sanji's side to try and help him up and say that everything was going to be alright, the cook merely curled up into a tighter ball and buried his face deeper into his arms, body shaking quite uncontrollably. This distressed Nami. Sanji would always accept her help and good graces, but this shook her slightly. To think that Sanji had been so hurt over all this …
"So … Sanji really does have feelings for Zoro too," Nami whispered, backing away from Sanji and letting Robin get close enough to cool Sanji's injured cheek.
But even when Robin tried to help, Sanji wouldn't budge. Fingers digging deeply into his coat, knuckles white and straining, Sanji's occasional hiccupping sob would escape him as he turned from all help to mull over whatever thoughts he happened to be thinking. Of course, Nami would never know if Sanji would accept anyone's help.
"Sanji," Nami cooed, stepping back over to Sanji and putting her hand over his, "Please, we want to help you." And when she got no response besides Sanji's quiet sniffling, Nami leaned in closer and commented, "It's ok to cry."
When Sanji finally lifted his head up, the remaining crew could see just how miserable he was. Face tear stained with new tears running down his cheeks every now and then, Sanji's eyes were puffy and swollen with redness. And Nami noticed that his lips were even bleeding a little, probably due to the fact that he was trying to keep himself from crying out-loud and, in the process, bit his lip just a bit too hard.
"Sanji," Chopper sniffled, crying along with Sanji. Wiping his eyes roughly, Sanji stood shakily and adjusted his coat. Galley filled with silence, waiting for what Sanji would say or do, the cook made no eye contact when he choked out, "Think I'll just go to bed."
"Not without telling us what's wrong!" Luffy demanded, pushing past Usopp and grabbing Sanji's shoulders for support. And when Sanji had tried to push Luffy away, much like he had done to Zoro earlier, Luffy pushed back much more aggressively. Slamming Sanji into the wall for the umpteenth time that day, Luffy held steady as Sanji struggled weakly against him.
"Let me go, Luffy," Sanji hissed, voice losing his bite as it began the familiar quiver of someone who was about to cry. "Please."
Luffy wasn't used to the male members of his crew, with Chopper as the exception, crying at the slightest bit of a struggle, so he released his grip on Sanji unsurely and looked to the other crew members for support. But it seemed as though the rest of the crew didn't know what to make of the situation as well. Everyone looked sad and uneasy. Of course, it wasn't like Sanji to break down and cry … it was unsettling. And, frankly, everyone was becoming more worried.
"I just want to sleep," Sanji's voice interrupted the tension as he pushed off the wall. Luffy stepped forward with resolve, determined to know what was wrong, but when he opened his mouth and tried for a rebuttal, he was found, surprisingly, speechless.
"Sanji," Nami ventured, finding herself in the same predicament as Luffy.
"You may sleep in our room tonight," Robin announced. Heads turned to her in slight confusion when she continued to say, "And Navigator-san and I will stay on watch for tonight."
Nami got the hint and led the boys down to a room they were rarely, if ever, supposed to enter. And after giving a lecture on how if anything was touched, broken, moved, or looked at wrong then she would personally maim them, she left the boys to get some sleep after ordering Luffy and Usopp to check on Zoro as well.
And as Nami walked across the deck, water lapping calmly on the sides of the ship, cool moon glowing, she thought if this had been the Sanji of only a few days ago, she might've have to order him to not touch anything. Sighing sadly as she started up the ladder, she hoped Zoro was alright too. But she doubted he would be crying; if anything he'd …
The blood from his knuckles dripped quickly to the wooden floor. Eyes squeezed shut, Zoro was breathing heavy and quite unevenly. After kicking a few chairs across the room, throwing forgotten clothes haphazardly, and smashing his fist continually into the wood floor, he had finally calmed down. Well, calmed to the point where breaking things seemed very cumbersome, at least.
Sitting heavily on the couch, Zoro thought about what had happened not even a half hour ago. Looking at the fist he had punched Sanji's face with, Zoro began to feel the sting of the contact. He was sure he hadn't punched him that hard, so there shouldn't be such a sensation in his hand. But what was even worse was the pain in his chest.
That was the one pain that wasn't going away.
And he knew it wasn't because he punched Sanji and felt bad about it. Oh no, Sanji had deserved that punch indefinitely. But Zoro wanted Sanji to say those words that would've made it all better. Hell, even if Sanji would kept his damn mouth shut he would've been more content. But no … he said he hated him. And even though Zoro truly believed that that was a lie, he couldn't be one-hundred percent sure. Maybe Sanji really didn't feel the same as Zoro did. Of course, how could Sanji explain all the crying? Surely that wasn't from his punch; Sanji was tougher than that.
And then Zoro had the suddenly annoying thought of, "Well, he would've never have acted this way if I was a woman." Gritting his teeth and gnashing angrily, Zoro fumed. He wasn't a woman and Sanji fucking knew that. Zoro hadn't asked Sanji to do all those things he had done this week; he was the servant, if Sanji could recall. Yet, there was still the nagging thought that if Sanji had made Zoro wear all those girl clothes in the first place, then maybe he really did want Zoro to be a girl. It was a rather sick thought, but Zoro wouldn't put it past Sanji.
Ignoring that, there was still the point of him and Sanji having sex. Surely the penis and lack of boobs was a clue into the fact that Zoro was not, in any way, a girl. And Sanji hadn't seemed to mind that too much.
Standing, Zoro made his way over to his hammock and laid in it silently, hands behind his head in a feigned sleep. What had happened between him and Sanji was unfortunate, Zoro thought, because somewhere down the line, he had actually developed real feelings for his annoyingly love struck rival. Like it or not, Zoro just couldn't stop hoping that Sanji would burst through those doors and apologize. Of course Zoro would act like he wouldn't care that much, but it was probably the only way to make this pain in his chest diminish.
But men didn't like to apologize. Or admit that they were even wrong in the first place, for that matter.
When the door opened and Zoro noticed two heads break the light shining from the behind the door, he knew Sanji wasn't one of them. Hell, it would never be Sanji. And when he heard one little voice squeak out a timid, "He-hey Zoro. You asleep, um, yet?" Zoro ignored them. He didn't want to get into any more fights tonight, and his nakama didn't deserve to be too deeply involved in the matter. So, Zoro continued to stare at the wall, ignoring his crew, and thinking about Sanji.
Luffy and Usopp knew that Zoro wasn't sleeping. After the night that he had, someone would have to be insane to be able to fall asleep so easily. And besides not being able to hear snoring or seeing a level motion of his chest as he slept, the two young men caught the glint of light on Zoro's opened eyes. They clicked the door closed quietly.
Before heading off to bed, Luffy and Usopp decided to visit the girls. All squeezing into the little look-out, they conversed silently, hoping that their voices wouldn't carry and upset either Sanji or Zoro all the more.
"This is terrible," Nami spoke up first, biting a thumb in frustration, "I've never seen them have such a terrible fight before."
"I've never seen Sanji cry like that before," Usopp also commented, shooting quick glances over his shoulders to make sure that no more commotion was taking place below.
"Yeah, and Zoro was still awake too," Luffy nodded, crossing his arms. "And you can tell he was angry," he continued, "because there was stuff thrown all over the place and broken."
Robin stood quietly, listening, as the other three continued to make observed points about both men. Nobody could come to a decent explanation on how to solve this matter, and it was infuriating.
"There's gotta be something we can do!" Luffy whined, turning to Usopp and shaking him.
"They have to do this on their own," Robin spoke up. All heads turned to her sadly; Luffy even stopped shaking Usopp to say, "But I wanna help them."
"I know, Captain," Robin said, closing her eyes, "But this isn't really our fight. Nor is it our place to step in on the matter. What has happened is unfortunate, true, but neither of them would really want us to get involved, moreover, want us to get involved. And because of that, we have to sit back and watch."
They all knew it was true. Robin was usually never wrong, and she was certainly making good points in this instance. And even though Luffy still tried to protest, whining and looking around frustrated, he knew she was right. He had to let them sort this out on their own. Luffy loved all of his nakama, and he hated to see any one of them in any sort of agony, so this was a harsh truth to deal with. Feeling a little helpless, Luffy made the final statement for the night: "Good night."
The crew had awoken uneasily. Nami and Robin were the first to enter the galley that day. And even thought they had the suspicion that Sanji wouldn't be there, they half hoped for the alternative that the whole event that had occurred last night had been some sort of messed up dream and that they would walk in to find Sanji floating around happily, tugging a sour Zoro, who was dressed in some idiotic outfit, behind him.
But when they entered the galley, they found it in the same state it had been left in last night. Sanji was nowhere to be found.
"He's not up yet," Usopp's voice interrupted the silence, startling both Nami and Robin, "I was going to try and see if he wanted to cook breakfast this morning, you know, maybe break him out of his mood, but he looked so uncomfortable."
"What? Like he didn't get enough sleep?" Nami asked, worried.
"That," Usopp agreed with a nod, "And lots of other things. You should really see him; he looks awful."
"Oh my God," Nami gasped bringing her hands together, "Well, let me see him."
"I doubt he'd want you to see him like that," Usopp said, stretching, "And, besides, you don't want to miss breakfast, do you?"
"Oh yeah? And who, pray tell, will be making us breakfast?" Nami asked, looking at Usopp skeptically.
"I will be making breakfast today," Usopp declared, pointing is nose in the air and pointing a thumb to his chest. "I am a gourmet chef, you know."
"Then why do you never help Sanji with the cooking?" Nami continued to prod, actually happy that some members of her crew were still themselves.
"Well, uh, he is a bit better than me … but only by a little bit."
"Well, I am hungry," Robin chuckled a little, "I didn't exactly get to eat my dinner last night."
And it was then that Usopp and Nami realized that they hadn't eaten dinner last night, either. Stomachs growling, faces flushed red, Usopp and Nami laughed sheepishly. "I'll go start that breakfast now," Usopp continued to laugh, making his way into the galley.
He was reaching out to him, so … why didn't he take his hand?
Sanji found himself running. Running through a fog that he couldn't escape from. And no matter how much he called, no one would answer. And when he had finally stopped calling and sat on the cold floor, he saw someone.
At once, he had leapt to his feet and began running towards the swordsman, arm outstretched. He had been so relived at first. He knew Zoro was there to save him. But he had seen Zoro mouth something to him angrily. Sanji couldn't hear what he was trying to say, but he saw the way his body tensed and his eyes narrowed.
That had stopped Sanji for only a moment, but, in that moment, Zoro had decided to take his leave. And no matter how much Sanji called for him, Zoro wouldn't turn around; wouldn't take his hand.
And then he was falling. Blackness around him, he found his voice no longer worked. And then the previous week flashed rapid images through his mind. Faster and faster until a hand reached out through the darkness and clutched his heart through his chest.
Sanji found himself screaming. Trying to struggle, he found himself in an unfamiliar bed. And, confused, he whipped his head hurriedly from side to side, realizing the darkness had vanished. And then he clutched his chest which had suddenly become very painful.
Feeling fresh tears stream down his already tear stained face, Sanji flung the covers off of him hastily and set his feet on the floor, hand still clutching his chest. Standing shakily, he looked over at a little, pink alarm clock and was shocked that it read twelve p.m. He had nearly slept half the day away! Not only that, but he had missed making breakfast AND lunch.
Walking for the door, Sanji turned when he caught his sudden reflection in the mirror. He was surprised at how disheveled he looked. Face tear stained, eyes red and puffy; even his usually well kept blond hair was a complete mess. Clothes were bunched in odd places and his tie hung loose around his neck.
Stepping back from the mirror, not wanting to believe he was looking at his own reflection, Sanji stumbled back onto the bed he had quickly removed himself from. Head tilted back, he noticed a lot of books and a closet full of clothes. Coming to the realization that he must be in the girl's room, Sanji felt confused.
But he wasn't confused for very long. Once he thought about it, the images and memories of last night flooded his mind fast. He remembered how everyone told him to sleep in here for the night, and he remembered wanting to protest. Sanji also recalled the looks on his crew mate's faces, the tears streaming down Chopper's face, and then the overwhelming sense of tiredness he experienced.
And then he remembered Zoro.
Sanji remembered how Zoro had asked why he hated him, when Zoro had slammed him into the wall, when he punched him …
But, more than that, Sanji remembered when Zoro said: "You know that I fucking care about you! And not just because you're my nakama!"
It was odd to hear Zoro say anything like that. While he didn't openly express how he felt about his crew, everyone knew that Zoro cared for them all. And, if they were ever in danger, Zoro would step up and put his life on the line. But when Sanji heard him say that last night, he was shocked. Zoro never said anything like that. To anyone.
So what happened? Was he scared to say anything in front of the crew, or was he nervous to actually admit his feelings. His true feelings. Sanji put his hand to his chin in thought and stroked his beard lightly.
Was it the fear of rejection that made him say what he said? Did he really not care for Zoro? No, that was most certainly not the truth. Sanji cared more for Zoro than he wanted to admit. Maybe it was the fear of just being with Zoro …
Sanji sighed heavily. They had never really had a fondness for each other for as long as Sanji had known him. And like he pointed out before, Zoro wasn't very openly expressive or romantic. And while they had a special bond as being rivals, and a respect that neither would admit even if they were being tortured, Sanji had never expected to feel anything else towards the man.
And it was strange.
All the women he had ever been with or claimed to love didn't even come close to the feelings he now held for the idiot marimo. Not that women were particularly boring or anything; quite the contrary. Woman showed a romantic side, a devious side, a playful side, and cute side … while Zoro was … Zoro.
He was gruff, hard headed, arrogant, sarcastic, and tough. Unlike women who cared about their appearance constantly, Zoro just threw on whatever happened to be lying around. And Sanji went on and on in his mind about the ever increasing differences between women and men.
But he didn't like men, he liked Zoro.
Lighting a cigarette in frustration, Sanji didn't even know where he was going with his current thought process. Ok, so he liked Zoro. Yes, he was not a woman, but, in obvious fact, a man. Yes, they had had sex, yes he enjoyed it, yes he had strong feelings for the swordsman, yes, yes, yes.
But he had already known all that last night.
The big problem was: He had to apologize. But it was so not like him to apology. Especially to Zoro. Sanji continued to smoke, breathing heavily. And as he smoked, he thought. Deeply. He had to make this right somehow. He knew that, but …
The only explanation that came to him was disappointing. He really wanted to think of some grand plan that could benefit both his and Zoro's feelings, but he already felt too far gone for that. Even if he did apologize, there was no guarantee that everything would work out between the two again. Sanji had already practically crushed Zoro's heart by saying that he hated him. And with such passion in his voice too. And then there was the way Zoro's face had contorted after he relayed the false information to him. It was the face of complete devastation.
Sanji had never seen that face on Zoro before, and he sure as Hell didn't want to see it again. And knowing that he caused that look in the first place, Sanji found no other way to apologize then the way he had planned already.
Stomping his cigarette out with his foot, Sanji prepped himself a little, making his appearance more presentable, and walked out of the room. It was time to make things right … even if it was going to hurt.
The pain in Sanji's chest increased as he closed the door behind him.
"So then I was all, "Hey, Buddy, I'm the great Captain Usopp!" and he was all, "Yeah, so?" So, I chuckled to myself and shot his eyes clean out of his face with my superior marksman skills! We never saw that Zombie-Pirate-Ghost ever again."
"Wai! So cool!!"
When Luffy and Chopper had eventually joined Nami, Usopp, and Robin in the galley, the tension was slightly thick at first. Luffy still looked angry about the fact that he couldn't do anything to help his nakama, and Chopper was still sniffling slightly, no doubt remembering how everything transpired the previous night.
Of course, Luffy was still Luffy and had mentioned rather sadly that Sanji didn't seem to want to wake up and make breakfast, and that he, Luffy, was going to die the slow, sad, painful death of starvation. But when Usopp mentioned that he was going to make breakfast instead, Luffy picked up slightly.
Complaining the whole time Usopp made breakfast, he eventually quieted when he realized that the food wasn't too awful terrible. But, still, no where as good as Sanji's.
And when Luffy cheered up, the rest of the crew followed. Currently, Usopp was regaling the crew's captain and doctor about one of his many adventures. Nami and Robin sat quietly, laughing occasionally at the idiocy of Chopper and Luffy … and even Usopp's lies, for that matter.
And while Sanji never came up for breakfast, Zoro happened to not show up as well. Chopper had suggested that they bring him something, but Nami told him that Zoro would come get food when he was ready. Not like he was going to starve himself or anything. At least, she sure hoped not, anyway.
"They came from the darkest, deepest, reaches of Hell … or so they said."
"So, then what did you do, Usopp?" Chopper squealed, stars in his eyes.
"Well," Usopp announced, crossing his legs high on the table, "I glared right at them, pointed my finger in their direction, drew my thumb across my neck, and gave a thumbs down."
"Awesome!! And then what?!" Luffy asked, just as excited as Chopper.
"They all dropped dead," Usopp smiled, giving a coy wink.
"AWESOME!!" Chopper and Luffy bellowed in unison.
And it was at that time that Zoro walked into the galley. The excitement quickly faded as the crew waited with baited breath, wondering if Zoro was going to say anything.
"Hey, Zoro," Luffy ventured, trying to gain a little more normality within his crew, "You want to have some breakfast? Usopp made it, and there's not much left, but it's almost as good as Sanji's."
Zoro clutched the door handle on the refrigerator a little harder than he had intended to. It's not like hearing Sanji's name said out loud was uncommon for this crew, but he was still pissed at Sanji and even hearing his name made him a little edgy. So, in a way, he was glad to be squeezing the door handle instead of, perhaps, his captain's throat … even though he knew Luffy meant no harm in it.
"No thanks, Luffy," Zoro spoke quietly, his voice a mere rumble. Grabbing a bottle of alcohol, he popped the top off and began to drink. It was nice to be able to taste the slight burning sting of alcohol again. Zoro realized that it had almost been a full week since he had any good rum or liquor last. It had almost been a full week since he had his swords sheathed to his haramaki, it had almost been a whole week since … the bet.
Taking another large swallow, Zoro heard Usopp tease, "Aw, Zoro. And I made it with all my heart and soul. Have a little bite, would ya?"
Zoro gave a small smirk. He was appreciative of his nakama. They were trying to make him feel better. But, still, he declined once more and began to make his way out of the galley. And when he almost had his hand on the handle, the door opened and Zoro found himself staring face to face with Sanji.
"Zo-Zoro," Sanji's breath caught in his throat. He had come to the galley to look for Zoro, but who knew he'd be standing right behind the door? And Zoro looked just as shocked as he had, which clued Sanji into the fact that Zoro hadn't been expecting him either.
Wide eyes, full of uncertainty and hurt, Zoro stared at Sanji. He knew Sanji would come to him in due time, but this was too soon. So soon, in fact, that Zoro was caught off guard and speechless.
The rest of the crew looked on uneasy. As soon as Sanji had opened the door, an unwanted tension seeped back into the room. And after about five minutes of breath holding, hand clasping, and lip biting, Sanji finally spoke up with a tired, "Zoro."
By this time, Zoro had regained his composure. Jaw set, eyes emotionless, he stood ready for whatever Sanji was about to say. Hoping for some sort of apology or repentance, Zoro's heart began beating fast, the lingering pain resurfacing.
"Zoro, I …," Sanji continued, looking down. And after he had planned the speech out in his head and everything, Sanji found himself nervous. He wanted to confront Zoro, but not yet. Emotionally, he wasn't ready. But it was now or never.
Looking up, Sanji saw the indifferent look in Zoro's eyes. This hardened Sanji a bit, and he cleared his throat. Well, if Zoro didn't give a fuck about how torn Sanji was about all this, then why should he?
Chest burning, mouth set in a line, Sanji stuck his hand out. "Sorry."
Zoro was shocked. This wasn't it, was it? Sanji couldn't possibly expect to just get a handshake and be done with this business. And as much as he tried to keep a level head, his hand clutched into a tight fist and began shaking.
Noticing that Zoro wasn't taking his hand, Sanji stuck his hand out further and continued, "I'm sorry, Zoro. I didn't mean for things to get so out of hand last night. I just want to set both of our feelings aside and ignore this whole week. Let's pretend it never happened, and we can both get on with our lives." As Sanji spoke, his body began to shake slightly. Eyes threatening to tear up, legs unsteady … even Sanji's ever so confident hand was trembling.
"Let's pretend it never happened?" Zoro repeated, anger growing, "You've got some nerve, Sanji." And after he spoke those words, Zoro lifted his hand and smacked Sanji's hand hard.
Sanji turned his attention back to the floor, his hair falling into his eyes as he did so. He knew that this was the stupidest way imaginable to apologize, but he didn't think Zoro would take as much offense to it as he did. Well … that was a lie. How else was Zoro supposed to act? First he hates him and now he wants him to forget a whole week because of an inconvenience? Sanji wanted to slap himself.
But Zoro couldn't read minds, and, thus, couldn't tell what Sanji was thinking at the moment. Silence unnerving him, Zoro growled in frustration. "Just tell me how you really feel, damn it!"
"I … I don't," Sanji stammered, not sure what to say. He was torn between telling Zoro to fuck off and just accept the damn apology or spilling his feelings. His true feelings. Still, Sanji wasn't ready for that. "I can't … I mean, I don't have the same feelings for you like you obviously have for me. I'm sorry for the way I treated you over the week, and I want things to go back to the way they were, but …"
Zoro stood motionless, waiting. He was already not liking this situation one bit, but he thought that by standing still, and not provoking Sanji just yet, he might unnerve him enough to get the truth.
"But," Sanji eventually spoke, "I don't love you, don't you get it? You think there's something when there's not. Why can't you understand that? We're crew mates and only crew mates. I have no desire to be with you, or to sleep with you. Can't you just accept my apology?"
"No." It was stated simply, but quite efficiently. Accented by Zoro shoving past Sanji and making his way out onto deck, the statement seemed to echo off the walls as the crew sat sadly. It seemed this fight was never going to be resolved.
Sanji's sadness quickly turned into defensiveness as he stormed out after Zoro. Catching the green haired man by the shoulder, Sanji spun him around fast and glared into his eyes. "You bastard, just accept my apology!" he shouted, fingers digging into Zoro's shirt collar, "We should both just forget about this and move on!"
"It's not that easy, Asshole!" Zoro spat, yanking Sanji's hands off his shirt and holding his wrists tightly.
"Yes it is! If we forget about this whole stupid week …"
"I don't want to forget it!" Zoro shouted loud enough to interrupt Sanji and silence him. The remaining crew members peeked their heads out of the galley just enough to get a grasp on the situation. "Even though I had my dignity lost, my virginity taken, and my pride wavered, I would never want to forget it!"
Sanji stopped struggling against Zoro's grip long enough to take in what the man was saying. Pain in his chest, eyes watering again, Sanji's lip began to quiver. "But … why?"
"Because it means something to me. Something important. This week showed me just how much I cared about you. And even though I can't stand to admit it or show it, when we had sex and you took control, I trusted my body to you, heart and soul. I've never ever let myself be so vulnerable to anyone!"
Sanji began to sink under the weight of Zoro's confession. It was too much. So, he really did care. Sanji just wasn't aware how much.
"I can't … just let me go … please," Sanji cried, still not wanting to let his feelings go. He didn't want to be in a relationship with Zoro … well, he did, but …
He didn't want to hurt him anymore.
Zoro let Sanji go silently and walked placidly down the stairs and into the inner workings of the ship. Sanji fell to his knees and scratched his nails across the wood of the deck. "Oh, Zoro."
It was agreed that Usopp would make dinner that night as well. And even though Sanji protested, Luffy demanded that he needed to talk to him. Urgently.
Out on deck, Luffy and Nami had gathered around Sanji to try and get him to open up. Yes, it was most certainly Zoro and Sanji's fight, but they were nakama, and Luffy just couldn't take his crew's suffering any longer. Robin stayed behind to help Usopp with dinner, and Chopper decided to go check up on Zoro and help maybe cheer him up.
"Oi, those two," Usopp remarked, pouring some sauce into a large saucer, "Why do they gotta make everything so damn complicated."
"It's just the way men are," Robin smiled, chopping up some vegetables.
"Yeah, men …," Usopp commented idly before realizing what Robin said. "Hey! Not all men are that stubborn!"
"I know, Longnose-kun," Robin laughed cooly, scooping up the vegetables and placing them into separate bowls, "I'm sorry."
Usopp merely gave a humpf as he continued to mix something into a large bowl. "Hey Robin? Did I ever tell you about the time I took down thirty thousand men with my eyes closed and my legs bound?"
"You're not leaving until we talk about this!" Luffy announced, arms crossed menacingly over his chest as he peered down at Sanji. Nami sat on the deck across from Sanji and looked at her captain skeptically.
Luffy stood, face serious, as Nami reached out and took hold of one of his legs. Yanking quickly, Luffy was sent careening to the deck, face first. "Oh, just sit down," Nami remarked, letting go of the rubber man's leg. And then, turning to Sanji, she smiled and said, "Now, talk to us, Sanji."
"Aye, Nami-san," Sanji responded sadly, his smile not holding its usual vibrancy. Nami thought that one thing that might be due to Sanji's hesitance was whether the crew was ok with this whole situation or not. And by the situation, she meant the thought of Sanji and Zoro being together as a couple.
"You know Sanji," Nami tried to open the conversation by starting it off herself, "We don't care if you like another man."
At this, Sanji looked straight into Nami's eyes, trying to read her motives for saying this. And Nami could tell, so, sighing, she laughed, "Really Sanji! Luffy, Usopp, Chopper, Robin, myself, and, yes, even Zoro. We won't think anything less of you."
"Yeah!" Luffy agreed, sitting up suddenly, "No matter what, you're all my nakama!"
Sanji smiled. He was glad to have such great friends who would stick by him through anything. And, deep in his heart, he knew he could trust what they were saying, but Sanji was still having a rough time admitting these feelings to himself.
"Well, I wouldn't say that I'm gay," Sanji began, not knowing where his sentence was going.
"So, you're … bi?" Nami tried, happy that Sanji was talking to them at least.
"Ah, well … no, I mean … I'm just …"
"Ah! You're Zoro-sexual!" Luffy chirped, nodding his head excitedly at his discovery.
Sanji was looking at Luffy like he had slightly lost his mind. "Um, I suppose …"
"Hm? So you really do like Zoro then?" Nami added, resting her on hands behind her on the deck.
Sanji was becoming slightly uncomfortable. He knew they wanted to help, but it seemed like his two nakama were merely prodding for information now. "Can we just change the subject?"
"But Zoro is the subject," Nami responding, sensing that Sanji was becoming uncomfortable. And as much as she didn't want to irritate him further, the best way for the crew to understand Sanji's feelings was to have him talk to them without the chance of going off on his own.
"Just tell us why you don't like Zoro back," Luffy stated simply, "I mean, obviously he likes you, so I don't get it?"
"It's a little more complicated than that," Sanji responded.
"Do tell," Nami continued to interrogate.
"It would never work out between us, ok?" Sanji answered flatly, undeniably hoping that this would be the end of the conversation.
No such luck.
"Well, for one, we're both men. And before you say anything, I know you don't have a problem with it, so let me just get out all my feelings before you try to rebut me."
And as Sanji was saying this, Luffy and Nami happened to be in mid-sentence. Stopping short at Sanji's request, both calmed down and waited for Sanji to continue.
"And I've already hurt him too much. I've already told him that I hate him, which obviously isn't true, but the way I said it must have crushed him especially after … he confessed. Who's to say I wouldn't do it again? I hurt him once, and all I had to say was three little words: I hate you. Imagine if we got in another fight? Imagine the things I'd say then. Zoro shouldn't have to be in a relationship like that …"
Luffy and Nami continued to sit silently, listening to Sanji's every word. And even though they both wanted to say something to change the cooks mind, both bit their tongues and let him continue.
"Moreover, I'm just confused. Zoro was able to tell me exactly how he felt so easily, without any hesitation. I don't know if I can commit my heart to him like that. Not that I … don't want to, but …," Sanji started to shake, gaze now focused solely on the deck, "This whole week just went so fast! At first, it was all just suppose to be one big joke. But, as time went on, I started to see a different side of Zoro. We weren't fighting as much, and … he isn't as big of an idiot as I thought he was."
Squeezing his eyes shut, face reddening, Sanji continued. "At first, I acted on impulse. Just seeing him so vulnerable was so exciting and new. And he was so easy to … take advantage of. The way his body responded to mine, the sounds he made … and they were all for me. And, you know, he could've denied me all of that! Sure, I was the "master" or whatever, but Zoro doesn't do something if he really doesn't want to."
"But I …," Sanji hiccupped, tears starting to form again, "I ruined that. He was ready to give himself to me, ready to really make something work, and I keep pushing him, and pushing him, and pushing him! And I don't know why. He should hate me; I hate me!!"
"Sanji," Luffy murmured, reaching a hand out and placing it on his. Nami did the same thing.
"I care for him, I do!" Sanji continued, hand curling around the hands of both Luffy and Nami, "But it just hurts too much. I just don't have the courage to tell Zoro that I love him back, but I … I … do though, I really do!"
Sanji felt warmth around him. Eyes opening suddenly, he realized that he was being embraced by his captain and navigator; his nakama. Leaning into them, Sanji sobbed miserably, letting all his pent up emotion free.
"Zoro? Are you alright?"
The small voice floated through the almost empty cabin. "I'm alright, Chopper," Zoro answered, angry, disheartened, but not wanting to take it out on the sensitive doctor, "Did you need something?"
"No, I just wanted to see if you're going to be alright," Chopper spoke louder, grateful that Zoro wasn't in a horrible mood.
"Oh, don't worry about me," Zoro commented idly, "I'm really not the one who needs cheering up."
Chopper hoped up on the couch in order to see Zoro better. Zoro, who was swinging slightly in his hammock, had a very uninviting air about him. "You need cheering up just as much as Sanji does," Chopper spoke.
"You think so?" Zoro asked, not looking at the small reindeer.
"Of course!" Chopper proclaimed loudly, causing Zoro to look at him in surprise, "I mean, why shouldn't you need comfort too? You're hurting just as bad!"
Zoro just smiled. He was grateful for Chopper's words and sincerity, but that wasn't going to help the situation. Sanji would never admit that he had feelings for him, and Zoro would just have to get over that. It was unfortunate … and heart wrenching.
"But, you know, I think Sanji does like you," Chopper piped in when he noticed Zoro wasn't responding to him any longer.
"Hmm," was the only response that Zoro granted the small doctor.
Irritated, and a little uneasy, Chopper got braver by saying, "I think you should both be happy! Together!!"
Zoro just laughed. Again, he was thankful for Chopper's help, but this was precisely not what he needed right now. Jumping down from the hammock, Zoro gave Chopper a pat on the head and walked out of the men's bunkroom.
"Zo-Zoro?" Chopper followed hurriedly after him, hoping against all hope that he hadn't offended him in some way.
And as Zoro walked on deck in order to get some last minute training in for the day, and help get his mind off this whole business, Zoro heard Sanji's voice.
" -- don't have the courage to tell Zoro that I love him back, but I … I … do though, I really do!"
Zoro's heart stopped. The pain in his chest was lifting and all other sound seemed to fade away. All he heard was the constant repeat of Sanji's confession.
And, for the first time all day, Zoro genuinely smiled.
Usopp's call that dinner was ready could be heard all through the ship. Luffy and Nami had managed to calm Sanji down enough to resume their conversation. It was rather fruitless in comparison to what Sanji had already said, but they wanted to keep him happy. Chopper, having successfully finished his chat with Zoro, went to go help in the kitchen some time ago.
"Why don't you go get cleaned up for dinner?" Nami suggested, ushering Sanji towards the men's bunk room. Luffy had long since rushed off to go eat his fill.
"That's a wonderful idea, Nami-san," Sanji smiled, his face still stained from tears slightly.
Nami watched him to make sure he would, indeed, go down the stairs. And, when he was out of sight, she sighed, shook her head, and chuckled to herself, "Men are such babies."
Sanji was feeling a bit better. After getting all that off his chest, a weight had seemingly lifted. But there was still the burden of actually confronting Zoro. After talking with Luffy and Nami, Sanji seemed a bit more confident in actually confronting Zoro about his feelings, but the big problem was …
"He'll never forgive me," Sanji sighed, stepping into the boy's cabin and closing the door behind him.
"Why wouldn't he?"
Sanji spun around on his heel, heart beating rapidly in his chest. To both his dismay and joy, Zoro was standing in the corner of the men's cabin. Arms crossed over his chest, the swordsman seemed stoic. So stoic, in fact, that Sanji was having a hard time reading his mood.
Sanji didn't say anything. What could he say? Standing still, he watched as Zoro made his way out of the corner and over to where he was standing. Again, he repeated, "Why wouldn't he, Sanji?"
"Because …," Sanji began, feeling vulnerable under Zoro's gaze, "Because I've hurt you."
Zoro didn't say anything to that. Instead, he chose to just wait and let Sanji continue.
Sanji was searching for the right the words to say, or any words to say, for that matter. But it was just like the galley, up on deck … all over again.
"Zoro, I …," Sanji tried, throat tightening, mouth quivering, "I don't want to hurt you anymore. I just want you to be happy."
"Well, you know what would make me happy, Sanji?"
Sanji looked harder into those eyes. Usually so full of concentration and ambition, now full of something Sanji had never seen before.
It was simply spoken, yet held so much. And Sanji couldn't take it. Zoro had confessed himself once again, and Sanji …
"Zo-Zoro, I …" Sanji began, tears rolling down his cheeks in steady streams, "How can you say that?" Sanji was so sick of crying. Angrily, he wiped the tears away gingerly. He was a man, damn it! And men don't cry. Trying to hide his emotion, Sanji continued by saying, "It's not that simple, you know."
"It is," Zoro stated, "And it's the truth. I've never regretted anything I've ever said or done, and I'm not about to start. Sure, it took this week to make me realize that I do have stronger feelings for you then I had originally thought, but what does it matter how I know. I just know."
Sanji searched Zoro's eyes for something anything to make him realize that this was all just some joke, but all they held was the drive and determination that made him believe everything that Zoro was telling him.
"You may not have the courage to tell me," Zoro continued, "But I can tell."
Sanji was startled slightly. Had Zoro heard him up on deck? But what Zoro said next pushed Sanji to his limit: "And I love you too."
Sanji didn't try to hide his tears this time. And he couldn't tell if they were happy tears, sad tears, whatever; he just felt very relived.
Throwing his arms around Zoro, Sanji was convinced that he did love him just like he'd said. As Sanji had told himself countless times already, whenever Zoro said something like that, or showed his feelings, he always meant it. Clutching to him tighter, Sanji felt Zoro's warm arms wrap around his back and pull him closer.
Crying into Zoro's shirt, Sanji clung desperately to the man, not wanting to let him go. And when he felt his face being titled up by those warm hands, Sanji let himself go; submitting his body to Zoro heart and soul.
At first, their lips touched softly and lightly. Neither wanted to take it too fast and ruin a good thing. Small kisses eventually became larger and a lot longer. Feeling brave, Zoro prodded his tongue slowly over Sanji's lips. Moaning slightly, Sanji opened his mouth and allowed Zoro's access. Expecting to take control, Sanji was pleasantly surprised when Zoro's tongue began to dominate.
Searching every area, battling against Sanji's tongue in the process, the kiss seemed to go on for hours until Zoro finally pulled away leaving both men gasping. A small trickle of saliva ran from the corner of Sanji's mouth. Lips red and puffy and used, Zoro admired the way Sanji was looking at him with such want in his bright blue eyes.
Diving in for another kiss, Zoro maneuvered the pair over to the couch and set Sanji on it gently, their kiss never breaking.
Hair sprawled in all direction, body heaving gently for air, Zoro found himself incredibly turned on by the whole display. Crawling over him, Zoro put one hand behind Sanji's head and lifted him back into another kiss. This time, however, Sanji's tongue fought Zoro's making it all the more exciting.
But when Zoro's free hand found its way beneath Sanji's shirt and started running his fingers lightly up and down, Sanji lost control and moaned deeply into Zoro's mouth. Encouraged, Zoro's hand traveled to a nipple and squeezed it. Receiving another moan, Zoro continued to play with the nipple why his free traveled down Sanji's back, feeling ever arch and curve.
Sanji, for his part, squirmed against the couch and the body that was currently pinning him to said couch. Getting a good friction down, Sanji placed his hips just so as to be able to run their erections together. And when he did, he saw whiteness shoot across his vision. The loud moan from Zoro alerted to him that he had found the perfect place. Bucking his hips up again, Sanji continued to dry hump Zoro as Zoro pushed down into Sanji's movements while caressing the man's hips with sharp movements of his hands.
"Hmf, your shirt," Zoro growled, fumbling clumsily with Sanji's buttons, coat, and tie.
Sitting up as best he could, Sanji removed everything with swift ease and tossed them off to the side. At the same time, Zoro was working with Sanji's belt and managed to get that off with no help. Sanji leaned forward to pull, first, Zoro's haramaki over his head followed closely by his shirt.
As soon as his shirt was removed, Zoro pushed Sanji back on the couch and started sucking on his neck hard. Sanji gasped loudly, fully enjoying the almost painful sensation. Trailing his tongue down Sanji's collar bone, across his chest, and over his stomach, Zoro took a moment to dip his tongue inside Sanji's bellybutton slightly.
Sanji's hands trailed down Zoro's back; feeling and memorizing every curve of muscle. When he felt a wet sensation on his chest, and realized that Zoro's was sucking on one of his nipples and teasing the other with one hand, Sanji gave a loud gasp, running his fingers up and down Zoro's back. As Zoro started to suck harder, Sanji pulled Zoro down desperately on top of him.
Freeing himself from Sanji's chest, Zoro breathed heavily as he worked his hand down to grab Sanji's erection. Although the pants were slightly confining, Zoro received the desired effect as Sanji rocked quickly into his hand.
Moaning, eyes squeezed together tightly, Sanji chanted in a breathy voice, "Zoro, Zoro." He wasn't sure if Zoro would catch his drift, but, thankfully, it seemed that he had been able to pick up on a few things from their previous encounters, and he slipped Sanji's pants off, underwear and all.
Zoro's hot breathe on his weeping erection nearly sent him over the edge, but, when that breath was replaced by an even hotter mouth, Sanji lost it.
Hands flailing, toes curling, Sanji moaned out Zoro's name as the green haired man silently went to work on his member. One hand massaging his sensitive balls and shaft, Zoro increased the sensation by running his tongue over every inch of Sanji's penis. Stroking, kneading, drawing him out.
One of Sanji's hands found Zoro's hair and yanked his head down sharply. He needed to feel more of that mouth. But Zoro's rough hands forced Sanji's hips in place. This only served to entice Sanji further.
"Hnn, Zoro. Ah! Fu-fuck!!" Sanji moaned, trying to buck his hips into the warmth of Zoro's mouth even though he knew it was useless. And Zoro knew it too. Moaning deeply around Sanji's cock, Sanji felt the vibrations run through his spine all over his body, causing him to shudder in ecstasy. He knew he couldn't take much more of this.
And, with one last hard suck and squeeze from Zoro, Sanji released his erection into Zoro's mouth.
Panting, his face flushed and sweating, Sanji opened his eyes slowly. Recovering from the experience, Sanji released his grip on Zoro's hair and fell back into the couch, watching as Zoro drank as much as he could of Sanji's cum.
Not even Zoro could lap it all up, however, and some managed to escape from the corners of mouth. Breathing heavily, Zoro leaned forward to capture Sanji's lips again. Sanji tasted his own essence and was surprised by the taste. He vaguely remembered wondering why Zoro had drank so much of it.
With Zoro as close as he was, Sanji could see the light blush that had spread across his features as well. It was extremely cute and an extremely huge turn-on. Bringing Zoro back down with his arms, the pair shared another deep kiss, although rather short lived.
Sanji gasped slightly when he felt Zoro's clothed erection pressed dangerously against his entrance. "My, my," he teased with a wink. Sliding his hands down Zoro's back, Sanji came to rest at his ass and gave it a quick, yet hard, squeeze. Zoro jumped slightly at the sensation.
Sanji laughed as best he could. Still recovering from the mind blowing blow job, he stuck to teasing Zoro with his facial features.
"Hmm, you think you're so funny," Zoro smirked, running a hand along Sanji's cheek.
Sanji continued to smile until Zoro slipped three fingers into his mouth. And when Sanji gave him a confused look, he said, "I don't want to hurt you, Idiot."
Realization hit Sanji's features, mixed with a slight hint of anger at the idiot comment. Never the less, Sanji sucked Zoro's fingers hard, holding his wrist lightly. Tongue twirling over the tips and in between, Sanji looked to see the lustful look in Zoro's eyes.
And Zoro, in turn, watched the needing, wanting look in Sanji's eyes. Turned on by the way Sanji's mouth worked his fingers, the position he was in, sprawled out on the couch, naked bodies touching, Zoro was doing all in his power not to ravish Sanji just yet.
Removing his fingers with a wet slurp, Zoro immediately pressed one against Sanji's entrance. Searching his face for approval, Zoro inserted the first digit as soon as Sanji gave him the go-ahead.
Almost instantly, Sanji began to squirm away. Giving a pained groan, Sanji closed his eyes tightly, concentrating on ending the pain. But when Zoro inserted a second finger, Sanji had about had it.
"Zo-Zoro … gah! Hnn, I can't … stop," Sanji pleaded, not enjoying the sensation. But Zoro, taking consideration for how much his ass had hurt the first time, grabbed one of Sanji's free hands and kissed it lightly. And Sanji smiled weakly.
"Wh-who knew you could … hn! … be so … so sweet?" Sanji questioned in a whisper.
"Learn something new every day," Zoro smiled around the kiss and took the momentary confusion to bend his fingers slowly.
And it worked.
Sanji moaned loudly. Whatever Zoro had brushed against really had an effect on him. Aching to feel that again, Sanji started trying to impale himself down further on Zoro's fingers, pain forgotten.
Zoro could feel his erection tense as he watched Sanji ride his fingers in pure bliss. And deciding that the preparation part was accomplished, Zoro retracted his fingers, left the couch, and slipped off his pants.
Sanji sat up in a daze. He was both pissed and confused … but mostly pissed. "Where the Hell are you going?!"
"I gotta get some lubrication," Zoro called, searching the corner of the room. Apparently finding what he was looking for, Zoro returned to the couch and laid Sanji back down on the comforter. "Just calm down."
Sanji pouted a little and turned to look at the wall absentmindedly. However, he spun his head back sharply when he heard Zoro moan a quiet moan. Looking to see what he was doing, Sanji saw him spread a lotion liberally over his cock. Encouraging.
Throwing the bottle off to the side, Zoro placed his hands above Sanji's head and quietly asked, "Ready?"
Sanji swallowed hard and nodded. And even thought he felt that he was ready, when Zoro's cock had entered his body, he was not aware that he could feel such a foreign, new level of pain.
Squirming with every intention of getting away, and moaning loudly, tears started flowing from Sanji's eyes. Arching his back, clawing the air … Sanji tried everything to make the pain stop. But when he felt Zoro's warm hand on his face again, and noticed him wipe the tears away, Sanji smiled happily.
Zoro smiled back down at Sanji and came in for a sweet kiss. Feeling Sanji grow accustomed to his size, Zoro pulled out just a little before slamming back in again.
The kiss was broken indefinitely. With a wet pop, both men moaned loudly at the burning sensation. Sanji, from the sheer pain of something as big as Zoro being slammed into his behind; and Zoro, from the fact that Sanji was incredibly, fucking tight.
However, pain soon turned to pleasure as both men found a rhythm in one another. Rocking their bodies together like they were made for each other, Sanji's erection trapped between the bodies and bobbing against Zoro's stomach, Zoro holding Sanji tightly as he hit that same spot Sanji had tried to make his fingers reach again earlier, Sanji's fingers scratching illegible patterns in his back … this was the definition of pleasure.
Sanji moaned without restraint as Zoro hit a particularly pleasurable spot deep inside him. He felt that he could only take this for so much longer.
Zoro. The man who, at the beginning of this week had been nothing more than his rival and nakama, was now about to become his lover. This man, who's muscles moved in delicate twists and curves even though he was powerfully strong; Zoro … the man Sanji knew he could trust his life with, his strength with, his heart with. They had taken a few bumps down the road … but Sanji knew this was where he belonged. In Zoro's arms.
Zoro pushed harder into Sanji with every thrust. Peeling his eyes open, he looked at the man beneath him.
Sanji. So strong and yet so fragile. Zoro had never even thought he could be with anyone until this week. For some reason, being with Sanji just seemed right. Like, when he was with him, everything was just perfect.
Running his hand once again along Sanji's face, Zoro's heart stopped when Sanji opened his eyes and they met. At that moment, everything else was lost.
His seed spilled into Sanji like an explosion. The pure effect of it all sent stars shooting into his vision and he barely heard his own moan over Sanji's explosive call.
Sanji felt his own cum spill over his stomach. But, more than that, he felt Zoro come deep inside him and he, truly, felt like he was floating. The experience, and the sex … had been amazing.
When Zoro fell on top of Sanji, he wrapped his arms around his green haired lover. Both breathing heavy, hearts beating in sync, Zoro leaned his head up and gave Sanji a soft kiss. Too tired to try for anything more, Zoro laid his down on Sanji's chest and closed his eyes.
Sanji let out a sigh and started petting Zoro's hair. If only he wouldn't have been such a tight ass and just admitted his feelings in the first place, then maybe they could've skipped all the dramatics and gotten right down to it.
Sanji smiled. He noticed the marks he had left on Zoro's back and felt the ones Zoro had left on his neck. They were officially each other's now. No more doubt, no more worry or self pity. This was what it meant to be in a relationship … This was what it meant to feel loved.
"And here I thought these boards were more sound proof," Usopp cried sadly, taking a bite of his salad.
"Wow! They were so loud!" Luffy laughed, "That means they made up, right?"
"Yes, Luffy," Nami said smiling, "It means they made up."
"Could've done it quieter," Usopp snarled, still chewing on his salad.
"I'm just glad that they're happy again!" Chopper piped in, thoroughly happy that his nakama were all better now.
Robin laughed. Glad that everything seemed to be back to normal, she took a sip of her drink and commented, "Dinner is quite good tonight, Longnose-kun."
"You're such a drama queen," Zoro yawned, his head still resting on Sanji's chest.
"Yeah, yeah," Sanji responded, embarrassed, "Shut up, Marimo."
Sanji could feel Zoro's chuckle emit through his body. The dull rumble made him laugh a little too.
"You know," Zoro began, stretching out a bit and resting his head on his hand to look at Sanji, "If you would've just admitted that you liked me in the first place, we called skipped all that crap."
"And if you didn't look so irresistible in woman's clothing, then I wouldn't have kept putting you in them."
"Heh, whatever Dork," Zoro responding, yawning again.
"Oh, is Zoro tired?" Sanji mocked, poking Zoro in the forehead with his finger. And when Zoro merely shut his eyes and smiled, Sanji smiled too. He had a great idea.
"I bet you can't go again," Sanji challenged, poking Zoro a little harder and smiling coyly. Zoro, with a wide grin on his face, opened his eyes and laughed, "You're on, Love Cook."
-End of Chapter Eight-
Xox - The End - xoX
A/N: I'm sorry this took me so much longer to get out, but I just didn't want it to end, and I made it especially long. Thank you so much for reading, and I sincerely hope you enjoyed it! As always, reviews are very much appreciated! I want to thank you all again. Thank you for sticking with this story to the very end.