This is it. Last chapter. Only took me four years, lol. I have many people to thank, so pardon the long author's note. :D
First, to all the people who beta'd or read over chapters, wow, you're awesome. Liralen, Tres13, Aev, mysocalledhell, thank you so much for your help! To everyone who encouraged and gave me ideas, yeah, that's all of you who participated in the contest and submitted your ideas for where the story should go, you rock, thank you for being there for me! I still owe some people prizes and I promise I will get those to you before Christmas.
And of course, I just wanted to say thank you to anyone who read and reviewed. The good, the bad, the silly, the heart-felt, I appreciate it all, I really do. This was an extremely hard story to get through, but with your encouragement and love I finally did it. I finished it. I would like to say that I write for myself, 'cause that's the cool thing to do, but in reality, I do it for you guys. You readers.
Now, without further ado, here is the last chapter of The Roronoa Fruit. Hope you enjoy!
Two weeks passed quickly. The days were filled with the usual routine, disrupted only by the presence of The Rose's crew. They were a pleasant disruption, however. They were laid back and kind, all of them gifted musicians—much to Brook's delight—and not one of them ever hesitated to chip in with the cleaning or lifting or fishing or whatever else needed to be done. Franky appreciated the extra hands, and Sanji actually had a dish washing team ready when the cooking was finished.
Zoro spent the first few days of that first week in a strange sort of daze. He trained, he slept, he ate like normal, but he couldn't help feeling like everything was a little surreal. Sanji still treated him the same when the rest of the crew was around, and Zoro liked that. He still liked fighting the cook. He still liked making faces and grunting noncommittally when Sanji hurled insults at him. It was still funny to ruffle the cook's feathers.
Everything had a different kind of feel to it now, of course.
Sanji still gave him shit about everything, but instead of doing it with a sneer, now it was always with a grin. Zoro was used to Sanji cussing at him and then either coming at him with limbs flying, or giving him some sort of scathing glare before turning away. Sanji never turned away now, the cook's gaze would always linger and Zoro was always left feeling a little riled up. This was nothing new; Sanji had been riling Zoro up for almost a year, but now it was different. The way Sanji looked at Zoro made the swordsman hot in places he had never even realized were important.
Little by little, small things started to change with how Sanji treated him. When the cook set a plate down in front of him that had the same amount of care and attention put into it as Nami or Robin's, Zoro's stomach did a pleasant little flip flop. When the crew was dancing or playing games in the evenings, Sanji would come and stand close to him, or sometimes even sit next to him, and Zoro's chest would get uncomfortably tight. Hands would brush together, not by accident. Tastes of food that was being prepared were offered on the tips of spoons, and sometimes even the tips of fingers, and once again Zoro began to wonder if maybe he was dead.
Then there were those moments when the crew wasn't around.
Sanji liked to touch. He liked to smell and taste. If Zoro snuck into the galley while the cook was preparing a meal, the swordsman would usually find himself pushed against the counter with something delicious in his mouth and Sanji's tongue running up his neck. Zoro just figured it had something to do with how cooking had been such an enormous part of Sanji's life for so long. Maybe he couldn't process something unless he learned its flavor first.
Of course, Zoro was no prude. He dished it out the same as he took it. He quickly learned the cooking routines and judged when the best opportunities were to make his own moves. During preparation was obviously a no go, Sanji would no doubt have kicked him through the wall or cut him to ribbons if he had ever tried anything while the cook was slicing meat or chopping vegetables. Cleanup was usually a bad time as well. Sanji liked to have everything shining and back where it belonged quickly and without interruption.
Planning was another story. Zoro found that Sanji spent a good amount of time just thinking about meals. He would stand in the doorway to the pantry or the storage below deck and assemble meals in his head. This was a perfect opportunity to move in because it was something leisurely. Something that Sanji enjoyed doing slowly and informally. Zoro found that if he took this chance and gently pushed Sanji into the pantry, the cook would smile at him and close the door behind them. It never got too crazy, but those moments, those mostly unplanned meetings in the cramped spaces between bags of flower and rice, were some of the most enjoyable that Zoro had ever experienced.
And then there were the nights.
After the crews were in bed and Sunny rocked gently on dark waters, Sanji reminded Zoro that he was, indeed, not dead. There was no way his body could feel what it was feeling, no way his heart could beat so hard, and his breath be so fast and harsh, and not be alive. It was gentle and tentative at first. Sanji had invited him into the galley, set him down at the table and had just kissed him. He had let Zoro explore with his hands. They had whispered and laughed and made fun of each other and it had been amazing. The second and third nights had been the same, but the fourth Sanji had pulled Zoro into the makeshift room the crew had set up for him when he was recovering from surgery. He had pulled off his tie, slipped out of his jacket and asked if he could touch Zoro's scar.
Zoro had moaned when Sanji had lowered his head and touched it with his tongue.
They slept in that bed every night since. It was too small to fit them both, but they didn't care. They lay tangled together, hot and sweaty in the pants they were still too chicken to take off. Sanji had ventured once, his hand shaking. They had been lying on their sides facing each other and Sanji had whispered, "…this okay?"
Zoro had nodded. His eyes had never left Sanji's face. His heart had been thumping so hard against his ribcage the swordsman was afraid it was going to break through. When Sanji's fingers had slid over him, gripped him in a strong but unsure palm, Zoro had gasped. He had come hard with only a few strokes. Sanji had kissed him and held him like he was some girl, but Zoro had loved him for it.
It had taken another five days for Sanji to let Zoro touch him.
Everything was a lot easier from then on, a little more normal. This thing with Sanji was still exciting and it still made Zoro's heart race, but the two of them didn't have to ask before they did things to each other. This new kind of trust was growing stronger.
Zoro's hands didn't tremble anymore when he touched Sanji's skin.
Sanji stopped treating Zoro like he was made of glass.
Their fights became more intense. Sanji pushed Zoro to his limits and past. Swords and polished shoes clashed together for hours before either man slowed. The strain it put on their bodies, the ache it forced into their muscles, was almost as much of a turn-on for Zoro as the way Sanji licked his lips after they kissed.
Zoro had never imagined he would find someone that would be with him in a romantic sense and also be able to give him what he needed in combat and training. Not since Kuina anyway. Every day, every time the swordsman saw that gleam in Sanji's eye, every time he felt that the cook was baiting him, or trying to get him to fight, to train, or just hone his skills by dodging a few wild kicks, Zoro felt a new and even more powerful wave of affection wash over him.
Sanji was really all he had ever wanted.
Now, Zoro stood on deck, watching the sliver of island stretch and widen on the horizon. He was no longer living life in a daze. He woke in the mornings and ate and trained with a new kind of focus. Zoro still had his goals, he still had his dream, but now he had more than just a single motivation. He had Sanji, and that alone came with an entirely new set of goals and dreams.
They would reach the island sometime late the next morning, or so Nami had told them earlier that day, and both crews were tasked with immediately hopping ashore and assisting Sanji in finding food. Sunny's stores were almost completely gone and they needed fruits and greens desperately. Even if Sanji was capable of creating a feast out of nothing but a freshly caught fish and some dried mustard, it was still important that the crew have a well-rounded diet to keep up their energy and strength.
Zoro was perfectly fine with assisting in the foraging, but there was a tension in his mind and body that had nothing to do with the state of the ship's supply. At the moment, the swordsman could really care less about food. Currently, there was only one thing that was important to Zoro, and that was getting Sanji away from the ship and as far away from the crew as they could get. This sneaking around and having to wait until the others had gone to bed was starting to annoy Zoro in a very fundamental way. All Zoro wanted was just to get Sanji alone and have a little time to be together without interruptions.
Was it sentimental? Yes. Did it make him weak? Probably not. Did he care? No.
Besides, the cook had been acting funny the last few days. He still gave Zoro most of his time, and when they were together, Sanji was more than focused, but when he was cooking, or standing alone on the deck smoking, Sanji had a strange, faraway look in his eyes. It was a look Zoro was not familiar with and it unnerved him somehow.
Turning on his heel, Zoro made his way up the stairs and pulled open the door to the galley. Inside it was warm and still held the lingering aroma of the dinner Sanji had prepared and the crews had devoured so eagerly. The kitchen was currently spotless, and the dining area was back in order, but there was no sign of the cook. Zoro however, knew where this particular cook could be found.
Sure enough, Sanji stood leaning against the open door of the pantry, hands in his pockets, and an unlit cigarette hanging from his lips. Zoro still wasn't quite sure why planning took so long, especially now that there was hardly anything to choose from, but he figured it was just one of those routine things. Zoro had them in his training regiment, so why wouldn't Sanji have them for cooking?
Moving close, Zoro slid his fingers over Sanji's hip. The cook didn't turn around but he did pull a hand out of his pocket to lay over Zoro's. He might have even leaned back a little, but Zoro wasn't sure. Heart thumping harder and skin growing warmer just by being near Sanji, the swordsman lifted his other hand up to the door frame for balance. He brought his lips to the back of Sanji's neck and pressed them into soft, blond hair.
"Hey," he murmured.
Sanji's reply was quiet, "Hey."
There was worry in Sanji's voice and suddenly, Zoro knew what was on the cook's mind, what had been bothering him for the past few days. It was so obvious that the swordsman was a little annoyed with himself for not figuring it out earlier.
Knowing what was wrong didn't mean he could help though, all Zoro could do at that moment was reassure Sanji as best he could.
"You know we're going to hit that island tomorrow, right? The crew isn't going to starve if we don't have breakfast."
Sanji shook his head and slowly pushed off the door frame. "It's not that simple." He turned in Zoro's hold and ground his teeth down on the cigarette that was already coming apart. "If I send you guys out tomorrow hungry, I'll be sending you out into some unknown forest or jungle where I don't know anything about what grows or lives there. Luffy will immediately start shoving things in his mouth, and I won't be able to stop him. What if everything's poison? What if…" Sanji stopped for a moment and ran his hands over his face.
"What if the food on this next island is messed up like on the last one? What if we can't stop everyone because they're so hungry and instead of turning into zombies, they all end up dying?"
Zoro was taken aback, not just by how Sanji was acting, but by the underlying confession in the cook's words. He straightened and raised his hand to pull the destroyed cigarette from between Sanji's lips.
"Sanji… Sanji, that isn't going to happen, we'll be fine."
The cook sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "I know. I just can't stop thinking about it. I mean this island is so close to the last one, maybe chemicals seeped out into the ocean, maybe… I don't know…"
"But we ate fish from out of the ocean the last few days," Zoro argued. "Wouldn't we have noticed if that was the case?"
Sanji pressed his palms to his temples. "I don't fucking know, Zoro."
Zoro took Sanji's jaw in his hands and forced the cook's face up to look at him. "Oi, where is this coming from? What the hell is wrong with you?"
Sanji's eyes were pained, but he glared at Zoro with a familiar ferocity. "We have no meat. There are four potatoes in storage. Everything frozen has been used, and I'm actually almost out of dried spices. We don't even have any rice left!" The cook pulled away from Zoro and slammed the door to the pantry closed. "This is fucking ridiculous! How could I let this happen?! I'm in charge of feeding this crew! Keeping them healthy! If I hadn't… if I hadn't been…"
Zoro folded his arms across his chest. "Hadn't been what? Resting after major surgery? Recovering from Chopper cutting a hole in your side?"
"Yes!" Sanji rounded on him. "If I hadn't been sleeping it off, I might have noticed something! I should have been there to stop everyone from eating that shit and then we wouldn't have been there for weeks and let all the ship's stores rot! All of our food wouldn't have been wasted if I'd just done my job and I hadn't been fucking passed out from a stupid injury—"
Zoro's fist connected with Sanji's stomach and the cook let out a pained grunt. Zoro had held back, he hadn't punched as hard as he could. He didn't want Sanji passing out on him, no. He wanted a chance to set him straight.
"A stupid injury you got protecting the ship." Zoro's voice was low, challenging. "A stupid injury you got doing your job. What, you think what happened in the mountain was your fault, shit-cook?"
Sanji straightened, his eyes ablaze with fury and hurt. Zoro didn't like seeing him like this, and he wasn't sure if he had ever seen him like this, but the swordsman felt deep down that this was the way to get through to the stubborn cook.
"You think you're the only one that keeps the crew safe?"
Zoro was able to get his arms up just in time before a powerful kick sent him hurling violently across the galley. His back hit the door with a painful crash and he felt the breath leave his lungs.
"Shut the fuck up!" Sanji shouted. His body was trembling with anger; the tension in the air was hot as a furnace.
Zoro ignored the ache in his lungs and pulled Shusui from its saya. "If you screwed up so bad last time, what makes you think you can keep us from killing ourselves this time?"
Sanji was on him in a flash. Zoro had only enough time to defend as powerful and furious kicks rained down on him from all sides. He dodged and moved around the small space of the galley, two parts careful of Sanji's attacks, and one part wary of furniture and cooking supplies. It was hard because Sanji was serious, but the cook was also emotional, and Zoro had found emotional Sanji was predictable when regular fighting Sanji was not.
"You bastard!" Sanji roared. "Who the fuck do you think I am! I'll tie Luffy to the fucking mast! I'll burn down the entire jungle! Knock out the crew and feed them puréed fish through a straw!" With one swift roundhouse, Sanji sent Zoro sailing into the wall. Before the swordsman could recover, Sanji was there, his body pressed against Zoro's and his pale hands fisted in Zoro's shirt.
"I'll sail this ship all by my fucking self to the next island if I have to. Do you hear me!?"
Zoro stopped resisting. He breathed evenly, watched the cook's eyes as realization leaked in and snuffed out the burning rage. As Sanji's features began to soften, the corners of Zoro's mouth turned up in a small smile.
Fingers relaxed, and Sanji pulled away slowly. Zoro straightened and slid Shusui back home. The cook stared at the floor near Zoro's feet for a long moment, breath returning to normal, his body ceasing its violent shaking. He chuckled once, softly, and without a lot a real humor, and shook his head.
"You're an asshole," he said simply.
Zoro's smile widened to a grin as Sanji turned and pulled open the galley door. He left it open behind him, and Zoro took that as an invitation to follow.
For a while, they just stood on the deck. Sanji smoked slowly and watched the sun slip behind the horizon. Zoro leaned against the railing a few inches away, waiting for the right moment to say something. He wasn't sure how long Sanji wanted—needed—to recover, but he was willing to give him as much time as he was able.
Finally, after the sun was gone, and the stars shone brightly in the night sky above them, Sanji flicked his cigarette over the side of the ship and slipped his hands in his pockets.
Zoro looked at him, "Nothing to be sorry about."
"No," Sanji chuckled, "I mean I'm sorry for beating your ass."
"You didn't beat my ass," Zoro scoffed.
"Says the bruise on your arm and the blood on your lip."
The cook lifted a thumb to Zoro's lip and gently wiped away whatever blood had been there. Zoro felt his pulse rise as the touch sent electricity over his skin.
"But seriously," Sanji continued, his voice soft, "that was pretty shitty of me back there. I don't know what got into me. I saw the pantry and store rooms and just flipped."
Zoro decided to remain quiet. There was nothing to say anyway, Sanji understood what happened and Zoro didn't feel like rehashing through it. Might as well just let it slip away like the sun had moments before.
They stayed that way for a while longer, until Sanji yawned and Zoro finally noticed the weariness in the lines of the cook's shoulders.
"You don't have watch, do you?"
Sanji shook his head.
"You wanna go to bed?"
Sanji turned to him and nodded. "Yeah, let's go."
Zoro took the cook's hand and pulled him away from the railing. They made their way across the deck towards the room with the tiny bed they shared. Travelling the short distance only took a handful of seconds, but it seemed like hours to Zoro. Time seemed to slow and Zoro's heart started to pound in his chest as they neared that familiar door. He didn't really understand why until they were both inside and Sanji had turned him around and pressed him against the hard wood paneling.
The kiss was soft at first, just a press of lips and a gentle tongue exploring, sliding against Zoro's in slow, languid movements. Zoro relaxed into it, he found Sanji's hips and pulled the man against him. They stayed that way, just kissing, touching, exploring each other with a calm reverence until Sanji pulled back. He slid his thumb over Zoro's bottom lip again and smiled when Zoro reacted in the same as he had before on deck.
The cook stayed close as he shrugged out of his jacket and loosened his tie. Zoro chuckled and pulled his swords free and placed them against the wall in the corner. Then he reached up to slide the silky fabric from around Sanji's neck.
"I thought you were tired."
Sanji scoffed as he tossed his jacket over the back of a nearby chair. "Right now I'd have to be dead to not want in your pants."
Zoro threw the tie in the direction of the chair as Sanji got his hands under his haramaki. The piece clinked softly as the cook pulled it over his head and dropped it on the floor. His fingers were warm as he slid them underneath Zoro's shirt; his palms were soft as they ran up his torso. He kissed Zoro's chest as the shirt joined the haramaki. Fingers trailed over the line of Zoro's scar, and the swordsman let out a breath as a tongue flicked out to tease the gnarled flesh.
The buttons on Sanji's shirt were small and Zoro's hands were clumsy and awkward as he tried to undo them.
"Take this fucking thing off before I rip it apart," he growled.
Sanji laughed and stepped back to unbutton and shed the shirt. It joined the jacket on the back of the chair as he returned to touching Zoro's skin. His palms lay flat, fingers spread as he ran his touch over Zoro's abs. His thumbs massaged circles into muscle that turned out to be extremely sensitive. Zoro groaned softly and took the cook's face in his hands. He brought their lips back together as he reached up and raked his fingers through Sanji's soft hair.
He felt his pants being undone and Sanji's hands sliding past his waistband before Zoro could think of what to do. The cook gripped him in a hold that was no longer unsure, and stroked him with a confidence of a long-time lover. Zoro let his head fall back and just feel, his hands wandered over soft skin and hair as Sanji feasted on his throat. This was the way Sanji was, confident and sure of himself after a quick study. When he put his mind to something there was no stopping him, and in this he was calm and steady and forceful if Zoro let him. He had already learned many of Zoro's weaknesses in the last few weeks, and now he could reduce the swordsman to putty easily.
It was a good thing Zoro was also a fast learner.
Tilting his head, Zoro leaned in and ran his tongue over the shell of Sanji's ear. The cook gasped and faltered in his movements. When the swordsman grinned and replaced his tongue with his teeth, Sanji groaned into his neck and pressed the full line of his body against Zoro's. The hand on Zoro's length slowed, but the friction of their bodies rolling together was a delicious replacement.
Zoro's mouth moved to the corner of Sanji's jaw and he bit down gently. He was rewarded immediately with a harsh "ah… shit…" and the hand that had been pumping his shaft moved to slide over his balls.
Panting against Sanji's skin, Zoro growled into the cook's ear, "What would you do if I just started biting you everywhere?"
With a sound that was half laugh, half moan, Sanji pulled away. His hands left Zoro's pants and lifted to grip both the swordsman's arms. Before Zoro could protest or even think of what to do to counter, Sanji had turned him around and pushed him down to sit on the bed.
Sanji was breathing hard, his skin obviously flushed even in the dim lighting of the small room. He gazed down at Zoro from under heavy eyelids and brushed a lock of hair back into place.
"I don't know," he said, "You should try it sometime."
Zoro's mouth went dry at the breathless, almost animalistic growl in Sanji's voice. There was something so incredible, so profoundly sexy about the way Zoro could get Sanji to lose himself. It had been the basis for all of the swordsman's baiting and antagonizing when they had first met. He knew that now. It had nothing to do with dominance or power, only the simple fact that Zoro loved the way Sanji looked when he was out of control and focused wholly on him.
That was why, when Sanji lowered himself to his knees and ran his hands up the inside of Zoro's thighs, the swordsman made the most pathetic of sounds.
Sanji's mouth was only a hair's breadth from Zoro's jaw when he whispered hotly against his skin.
Zoro tried desperately to control his breathing as arousal seared through him, cut like a knife through his gut and tore into his loins. He leaned in to brush his lips over Sanji's and panted eagerly into the cook's mouth.
Zoro hadn't realized that Sanji had been holding his breath until the cook let it out in a choked gasp. He undid Zoro's pants with a quick flick of his wrist, and lowered his head to slide his lips over the tip of Zoro's cock.
It wasn't anything like what Zoro had imagined. It was better. The softness of Sanji's lips, the wetness of his mouth, the heat of his tongue, was dizzying. The swordsman's head fell back and his hands held the edge of the mattress in what could only be described as a death grip. Sanji's mouth slid over him again and again. He stroked the base with his hand and sucked on the tip. Zoro closed his eyes and clenched his jaw in concentration as pressure built. Tension coiled in his gut and down in his groin. Pleasure boiled and spread slowly through his body, down his thighs and up into his belly.
"Sanji…" was all he could get past his lips as pressure clouded his mind; pleasure dulled his senses.
Sanji didn't stop, he pumped harder and faster, his lips slid down low and the cook relaxed his throat to accommodate Zoro's full length. Zoro growled and arched his back, bucked his hips up into Sanji's hold. The pressure still mounted and it was almost too much for Zoro to handle. He felt something inside himself start to unravel and it startled him. He felt himself losing control and he tensed up.
But then Sanji's hand was over his. The cook slid his fingers between Zoro's, lacing them together. He hummed over Zoro's cock, rolled his balls in his other hand and that almost – almost made Zoro cry out. But oh, it was okay, he could lose control with Sanji. Sanji was there for him, Sanji wanted him like this. Just a little faster, just a little more… Just like that… just like that…
He hunched over, the electric pulse of orgasm racing through him like blood through his veins. It spread out though his limbs, seeming to leave him through his fingertips and toes because his body couldn't hold it all in. He growled, he panted and groaned into the top of Sanji's head, paying no mind when the cook straightened and wiped at his mouth with the heel of his hand.
"Zoro?" he said softly.
It was all Zoro could do just to breathe. He kept his eyes closed, stayed hunched over and gripped the mattress for support as the liquid pleasure in his veins started to thin.
Sanji's hands ran over him. They cupped his jaw as the cook kissed him on the corner of his mouth.
"You okay?" he whispered.
He heard Sanji's smile. "I blow your mind?"
Zoro smiled back. "Whatever. You wish, cook." He swallowed once, not only to try and wet his parched throat, but also to test and see if the muscles in his mouth would fail him or not.
"My turn?" he asked hoarsely.
Sanji chuckled and ran his hands over the back of Zoro's neck, kneading the muscles that were finally loose and relaxed. "You don't have to."
Zoro blinked once, long and hard before he took a breath and shifted his weight. "I think I need a drink, I can hardly swallow."
He started to push Sanji up but the cook refused, standing quickly and pressing his hands against Zoro's shoulders. "I got it," he said.
"No, it's okay, you don't have t—"
"No, really," Sanji ran a hand through his hair and trailed his thumb down Zoro's cheek, "It's fine, I'll get it. Stay right there."
With that, he grabbed his shirt from the back of the chair and slipped out the door.
Zoro sat for a minute trying to regain his composure. He was dizzy, lightheaded, and perhaps even a little giddy. It was kind of like the way he felt after a few bottles of wine. Not quite drunk yet, but definitely not sober anymore. It was kind of nice.
Slowly, he kicked off his shoes and started to pull himself up on the bed, but he stopped halfway. There was no reason to believe that he and Sanji would be going any farther tonight, but when the cook returned, Zoro wanted to reciprocate the amazing experience Sanji had just gifted him. Or at least try, or something. Maybe he should try a little something different? Sanji did seem to be in the mood for trying different things at the moment.
Without too much thought on the matter, Zoro pulled himself off the bed and slipped his trousers down over his hips. The heavy fabric landed on the floor with a thump, leaving Zoro completely nude. He left the pants where they were, climbed back up onto the bed, and slipped under the covers. He lay down and turned on his side. He rested his head on the pillow and pulled the blanket up and over his hips.
Just in time too. The door opened and Sanji slipped back inside. He pulled off his shirt and returned it to the back of the chair before he moved to the bed and handed Zoro a glass of water. "Here," he whispered.
The swordsman didn't miss the double take Sanji's eyes gave the crumpled pants on the floor, and Zoro couldn't help the smile that pulled at his mouth as he sat up and raised the glass to his lips.
He watched Sanji sit and watch him as he downed the water in a few deep swallows. Somewhere in the back of his mind, Zoro was truly grateful. The cool liquid soothed his dry throat and quenched an intense thirst he hadn't even known he had possessed. However, his throat was the last thing he was thinking about as he met Sanji's eyes and held his gaze.
There was something in the way the cook was looking at him that made Zoro feel warm inside, but at the same time, he was a little curious. Sanji's eyes were soft, gentle, something Zoro wasn't used to seeing directed at him. It was almost like Sanji wanted to say something, but didn't know how to start.
That was ridiculous though, if there was ever anything to say, Zoro was sure Sanji knew how to say it, and he always would. Damn cook talked too much sometimes.
Setting the glass on the bedside table, Zoro lay back and patted the bed beside him. Sanji eyed the empty spot and started to move in, but Zoro held up a finger.
"Not so fast, cook. Price is you gotta be naked."
Sanji hesitated for a moment, the possibilities and implications obviously churning in his head, but then he smiled and stood. He unbuttoned his slacks and slid them over his hips. Zoro watched with interest as the cook bared everything to him without shame or embarrassment. The swordsman's eyes trailed down lean muscle and lingered on Sanji's half-hard cock. He had seen it before of course, but not like this. This was nice. This way he could take his time and admire the shape of it, the size. Zoro liked how it felt in his palm, how it curved and how the skin of the head was smooth and soft.
When the slacks were hung over the back of the chair, Sanji returned to the bed and slid in underneath the blanket. He lay on his side, his head resting on his arm. The two of them were still for a few long moments, just watching each other closely, breathing in time, sharing the same air.
"What are you thinking about?" Zoro asked.
Sanji's shoulder went up in a small shrug. "A lot of things you probably don't want to hear."
Zoro's brow furrowed, even as his mouth turned up in a smile. "What do you mean?"
Sanji closed his eyes and sighed softly. "It's just dumb stuff. Just… things that I like about you or… things that I feel or whatever. You know, sappy shit."
The warm feeling inside Zoro intensified as Sanji's words settled over him. His skin tingled and a pleasant shiver rolled down his spine at their implied meaning. The thought of Sanji thinking about him, thinking about his feelings and particular things he liked about Zoro during the day, made the swordsman's heart beat faster. He swallowed slowly and reached out a hand to trail fingers down Sanji's arm.
"What kind of stuff?" he whispered.
"I told you it's stupid."
"I don't care," Zoro pressed, "Just tell me. I wanna hear."
Sanji opened his eyes and adjusted his position bringing himself closer to Zoro's warm and accepting body. They were tangled together, like they were almost every night, but this time it was so different. This time Zoro could feel the skin of Sanji's arousal against his own hardening flesh, he could feel the soft slide of Sanji's thigh on the inside of his leg, and the pads of Sanji's fingers were cool against Zoro's hip.
"Tonight at dinner," Sanji murmured, "you looked up at me when I put the plate down and I almost… almost kissed you right there, right in front of everyone. I didn't even care."
Zoro held his breath. "Why didn't you?"
Shrugging his shoulder again, Sanji continued in a softer voice. "There were a million reasons then, but none of them seem that important right now. I just…" The cook seemed to fight with himself over what he wanted to say for a moment, but then he let out a slow breath and continued again. "Sometimes I just want everyone to know. Sometimes I want the whole goddamn world to know. I want to brag to people. I want to scream about how I love you from the crow's nest…"
Zoro was sure Sanji's face reddened as he spoke and for some reason it was the most fascinating thing the swordsman had ever seen.
"And it's…" Sanji said, his eyes closing again; his voice dropping even lower, "It's hard for me sometimes to keep it all in. I know that you don't like all that sentimental stuff so I keep my mouth shut. I mean… whatever, I told you it was dumb. It's just… sorry. It's stupid."
Zoro's pulse quickened with every word out of Sanji's mouth until his heart was doing an excellent job of bruising his insides. He hadn't expected something like that, and now his want for Sanji, and the need to communicate to the cook that what he had just said was exactly how Zoro felt as well, overwhelmed him. He reached out a hand that was nearly shaking with excitement and slid it around the back of Sanji's neck. He pulled the cook's lips against his and kissed the man with a newfound kind of desperation. Sanji responded immediately and the kiss quickly turned hot and wet.
It wasn't enough though. Tonight, this wasn't going to be enough. Zoro wanted more than just hands and tongues and awkward positions that left cramps in his neck and back. No, tonight he wanted more, he needed much more.
Sliding a hand down to Sanji's hip, he pushed the cook into his back. Sanji's seemed surprised but he didn't object, especially when Zoro put a leg over his waist and rolled on top of him. Zoro rested his weight on his hands and leaned down, bringing his lips to Sanji's again. His breath came quickly and whispered in a voice he didn't recognize.
"That's not stupid… I don't think it's stupid."
Sanji looked at him for one long moment, his eyes wide, then every tense muscle in the cook's body all seemed to relax at once. His hands slid up Zoro's thighs and he lifted his head to cover Zoro's face in kisses. For a few minutes they stayed that way, just kissing each other, running their hands over each other's skin. But then when Zoro lowered his hard length to slide against Sanji's, both men froze. Sanji's mouth opened in a silent gasp.
"Oh… wow. Do that again…"
Zoro obeyed. He rolled his hips, creating friction like he had never before experienced. A pleasure he had never even though existed shot through him with every slow thrust, every slide against Sanji's body.
But then Sanji's hand was on his cock, and Zoro felt like he was going to lose his mind.
Raising a hand, Zoro gripped the headboard. Sanji's hips lifted to meet his thrusts and the swordsman knew he wasn't going to last. He wanted it to last though, he needed it to last.
"Sanji…" he panted.
"Yeah?" Sanji's voice was just as labored and the sound threw another pleasant shiver down Zoro's spine.
The swordsman slowed his movements and brought his forehead to rest against the cook's.
"Do you want to fuck me?"
Sanji's eyes widened. "F…uh… that's… isn't that kind of what we're doing now?"
Zoro shook his head. "No, I mean do you want to fuck. me."
Another long pause. Sanji's eyes searched his face and his throat seemed to catch on the breath that came hard and slow. Zoro was about to take it back; tell him never mind and continue with what they were doing, but then he felt the twitch against his cock. He felt the distinct pulse of Sanji's erection and he heard the almost inaudible moan come from deep in the cook's chest.
Sanji wanted him, Zoro knew it.
Without waiting for an answer, Zoro reached into the drawer of the bedside table and pulled out the bottle of lotion that Sanji had provided a few days before. The slickness it provided had felt amazing and now Zoro was relatively sure it was a necessity. He straightened up and threw off the blanket, opened the bottle, and poured some into his hand.
"Zoro, wait," Sanji panted as the swordsman ran the cool lotion over his dick. The cook's eyes slid shut for a moment, but he still tried to voice his protest. "Zoro… you don't have to."
Tossing the bottle on the table, Zoro climbed up the length of Sanji's body and pressed his lips firmly onto the other man's. His tongue swept out, catching Sanji's, and rolled hungrily as if to lap up every last bit of flavor from the cook's mouth.
When he pulled away, Sanji was holding his hips and panting softly beneath him. The sight quickly unraveled Zoro, and with the last bit of restraint he had, the swordsman breathed across Sanji's lips in a desperate plea.
Sanji's eyes seemed to clear at Zoro's words. The cook looked up at him, breathless and hesitant, but then his wits seemed to come back to him. His features changed from unsure and slipped into a smile. That hard-set and determined look that Zoro knew so well, and loved so much, spread over his face and he lifted his head to nip at Zoro's bottom lip.
Request made, and consent given, Zoro let out a breath he hadn't realized he had been holding. He reached down and took Sanji in his hand, guiding the cook to him with a sure hold. The first press of Sanji's tip against him was nothing, but as the full thickness of him began to push inside, Zoro felt the pain and the pressure begin to mount.
Sanji's hands rubbed soothing circles into his thighs as Zoro halted. "Are you okay?"
Zoro nodded. It was true, he had experienced pain that was more intense many times before, it was just this was new and much more emotionally fueled than he had expected.
"I'm fine," he growled, "shut your mouth."
He heard the cook chuckle underneath him and when he felt the press of Sanji's lips to his forehead, Zoro pushed his hips down until the entire length of Sanji's cock was inside him. It was strange and slightly uncomfortable, but the deep groan from the cook's throat was more than worth it. Zoro rolled his hips a little in a small experiment and watched Sanji's eyes slide closed.
"Feels good?" Zoro asked.
"Ah…" Sanji breathed, "Yes…"
Zoro lifted his hips this time instead of rolling them, and Sanji made a noise that went straight to Zoro's balls. His dick was soft, but if he could get the cook to make more noises like that, it wouldn't be soft for very long.
They found they moved together easily and Zoro had to return his hand to the headboard for leverage. The cook's hips and thighs were incredible in battle, but maybe what he was really built for was sex? Zoro tried to keep himself from moaning like some street whore, but every time Sanji lifted those amazing hips to meet his, he saw stars. It got even better when Sanji bent his legs and used the heels of his feet to push off the bed. It was still slow, still somewhat gentle and careful, but the power the two of them had together, the strength, the connection they had from all their months of fighting, all their training and being at odds with each other, finally found it's rhythm.
"Let me up," Sanji said suddenly.
Zoro faltered, "What?"
Sanji's hands squeezed Zoro's ass and he bit down on Zoro's neck. "Lie back, let me do it for a bit."
The thought of it had Zoro's cock throbbing. He pulled himself off of Sanji and maneuvered onto his back as the cook knelt in between his legs. When Sanji pressed in, the angle was different, the sensation was more intense.
"Shit…" Zoro grunted.
Sanji stopped and looked down at him. "I'm sorry, are you okay?"
Zoro was more than okay. His body was suddenly trembling with the pleasure of Sanji's cock inside him. Whatever was happening, it was good, don't stop. Don't fucking stop.
"Come on, cook," Zoro panted as he wrapped his legs around Sanji's thighs, "Let's see what you got."
Sanji apparently had whatever it took to reduce Zoro into a shaking, shuddering mess. Every thrust of Sanji's hips was like a bolt of pleasure straight into Zoro's core. Every pant against his lips was the most amazing sound the swordsman had ever heard. When he felt that pressure, that intense boiling building up again, Zoro reached up and pulled Sanji's face down to his.
"Ah… tomorrow, kiss me on front of everyone."
Sanji shuddered above him. His next thrust was hard, almost painful, but it only heightened the overall sensation. It only brought Zoro that much closer to his release.
"I'll do whatever you want, fucking Marimo…"
Zoro growled as his control started to slip.
"I love you, you damn shitty cook."
Sanji's eyes squeezed shut at that. He hunched over, and his movements became erratic. "Ah, fuck you… I can't… ah, shit…"
He felt the cook's tension peak and then break as Sanji came with a shudder and a groan into his throat. As the cook pulsed inside him, Zoro let go, stroking himself roughly as the last few hard thrusts of Sanji's hips sent him over the edge. Pleasure coursed through him once again, but this time, it was as if there really was no outlet. There was not enough space inside to hold it. The bloom of ecstasy spread out from deep inside of him and pulsed through every part of him over and over. Zoro gritted his teeth and arched, molded himself to the tense contours of Sanji's body. He cried out as he spilled over his hand, splattering up his chest and neck.
And then the tension flowed out of him. The sweet glow of release washed over Zoro and he felt every bone in his body turn to water. Sanji lay on top of him, breathing harsh against his neck, body as much dead weight as Zoro's.
They lay that way a long time, quiet, still, just breathing. Just feeling.
Zoro didn't remember falling asleep, but he woke when Sanji pulled the blanket over him. The cook was resting on an elbow, running his fingers through Zoro's hair. When Zoro looked up, he was smiling softly.
"What?" Zoro asked, his voice muffled.
Sanji's smile widened, "You're amazing."
Zoro smiled into Sanji's arm, that pleasant warmth washing over him once again.
He heard Sanji chuckle and then the cook shifted to lie down. He held Zoro gently, like he had that first time, with Zoro's face tucked into the his chest, one pale hand in his hair, and the other tracing the scars of the swordsman's back. Zoro slipped a hand over Sanji's waist and pulled the cook's body even closer.
Zoro was sure he could lie like this forever.
Zoro sighed, content.
Sanji woke to a dull ache in his lower back, but the rest of him was loose and relaxed. He lifted a hand to rub the last of his dreams from behind his eyelids and sat up. It took him a moment but then he realized he was alone. Zoro was gone.
A wave of affection and embarrassment and excitement washed over him and he grinned. He flopped back down onto the pillow and pulled the blanket up and over his head. Last night came rushing back to him in a flash of memories that had his cock half hard and his heart thumping.
God, he loved Zoro. Zoro was so sexy. What the hell was he going to do with himself? He felt like he was thirteen again!
He heard the door open and he pulled the blanket down. When Zoro slipped into the room, Sanji sat up, his heart beating even faster.
Zoro smiled at him and motioned with his head. "Come on, cook, get up. I wanna show you something."
Curious, Sanji slid out of bed and retrieved his slacks and shirt from the back of the chair. Slipping on his shoes, he followed Zoro out onto the deck. It was still dark, but the sky was patches of purples and pinks in the East. Zoro led Sanji to the railing facing the brightening sky and guided him to stand against the railing.
"What's up?" Sanji asked.
Zoro moved up behind him and put his arms around Sanji's waist.
"When you told me about what happened to you, and why you watch the sunset, you said the sunrise didn't matter to you because it just meant that it was another day to live through."
Sanji's insides tightened at memories and his hands ran over Zoro's gently.
"I wanted to show you this," Zoro continued in a whisper. "I wanted to show you this sunrise because I wanted to remind you that you have things to live for now. You have your crew, and your dream."
Sanji's heart swelled at Zoro's words. His hands tightened on the swordsman's and he leaned back into the man's warm and solid embrace.
Zoro brought his lips to Sanji's ear and he nuzzled against Sanji's hair as he spoke again, this time it was barely a whisper.
"And you have me… okay? You have me."
Sanji turned in Zoro's hold. He lifted a hand to run his thumb over Zoro's jaw and he smiled at the blush that had spread across the swordsman's face.
"You have me too, Zoro."
Zoro kissed him, and Sanji felt alive.
The sun shone down on the crews of the Sunny and Rose as they made their way up the beach towards the thick tangle of trees and colorful plants. Nami had sent Sanji and Chopper ahead to check out what grew in this strange place, just in case this island sported shrubs growing terrifying combinations of pineapple-eggplants or something.
There had been no word from the cook or the doctor for almost half an hour, so the navigator had assumed either the foliage was safe for certain excited captains to traipse through, or they had gotten themselves into some kind of trouble and needed the crew to come to their aid anyway.
She turned, noticing the look of apprehension on Zoro's face as he walked beside her, and she smiled inwardly. It was so cute how the two of them worried about each other when they were both so ridiculously strong.
"He's fine, Zoro," she said softly.
"I know," he muttered.
Just then, the branches parted and a red-faced and excited reindeer pushed out into the clearing.
"You guys!" he shouted, "You'll never believe what we found!"
Sanji appeared behind the little doctor then and held up a thick bundle of strange, green mutant grapes. The cook was grinning like a madman as he popped a few in his mouth and chewed happily.
"Zoro fruits!" Chopper squealed.
Nami covered a laugh as the swordsman growled beside her.
"Don't call them that, Chopper!"
But the crews didn't hear him over Luffy's cheering. They were all too excited and too busy running up the slope to get into the trees.
Only Nami saw the look that passed between the cook and the swordsman, and really, it was a sort of private look, so she pretended she hadn't seen it at all.