This is a fic I wrote for ohsnap9292 because she figured out what the picture was in the black frame in Memories. Well... kinda. She was close enough. xD Anyway, I promised her a fic if she guessed it, so here it is. Hope you like! xD
Note: Mui Goohan, Santiago Check, and Rob Watanagi are all names of judo fighters in my district, not actual national fighters. They're cool with me using their names for the fic. Just in case you were wondering.
Zoro watched the trio of girls laughing hysterically, trying to fit on each other's laps as the photo booth camera clicked away. The tallest of the three was sitting on the smallest, and the little blonde was making feigned choking noises as she was 'crushed'. The third of their party was just drunk enough to think that straddling them both was a good idea, and climbed on top of her friends, eliciting screaming laughter from the other two.
Zoro figured this would have been kind of hot, if he was into girls.
He sat at the club's second floor bar. It was tucked back into one of the corners behind a balcony and gave him a good view of the first floor's bar and the club's front door. He swallowed the last of his beer and checked his watch for the tenth time. Where the hell was Bones? He should have been there over half an hour ago! Damn him for making Zoro come all this way out here to this stupid fucking place!
He was about to order another beer, when a warm body slid in next to him.
"Hey hottie, you here with anyone?"
Zoro glanced out the corner of his eye and cringed inwardly. It was the blond from the photo booth.
He motioned to the bar tender and answered as politely as he could, but keeping an air of disinterest in his voice.
"I'm meeting a friend."
"Oh! That's cool!" The blonde smiled lopsidedly. Damn, she was toasted. "I have a couple friends here too! You wanna party?"
Zoro shrugged and took his fresh Heineken from the bartender with a nod. "Depends on what my friend wants to do."
The girl stuck out her hand and swayed a little as she stood straight. Her hair was in two braids; a look that made her seem like a teenager, and turned Zoro off completely. "I'm Lindsay. What's your name?"
"Zoro," he replied crisply, not taking her hand.
"You should call your friend, Zoro, it's getting late. My friend Kat over there-"she motioned to her friends watching them from the pool tables- "turns into a pumpkin at two."
Zoro was reluctant to call Bones, because if he was late, it was probably because they had held him over at work. But Zoro was kind of desperate to get rid of the pushy Lindsay, so he pulled out his cell. His friend had written down the number for his new phone earlier that day on a napkin, and Zoro fished around in his pocket until he found the crumpled piece of cloth paper. This was a perfect display of how lazy Zoro could be at times, but he didn't care, he'd imput the number into his phone after he called.
"I'll just be a sec," he told the blonde and turned back to the bar.
After two rings, a muffled voice answered.
"What the hell, man," Zoro growled. "Where are you?"
Zoro heard chewing and a loud swallow before the voice continued. "What do you mean, where am I? I'm at home."
Zoro groaned, realizing suddenly that the voice on the other end was not his friend.
"Ah… sorry," he muttered. "I think I got the wrong number."
"Hey, no problem."
Zoro hung up, embarrassed, but only for a few seconds. He quickly dialed the number again and flattened his palm over his opposite ear to listen to the ringer.
The receiver picked up and the same voice as before answered.
"Sorry, bro. It's still me."
"God damnit!" Zoro cursed. "Fuckin'… gah, I'm sorry, man. My friend's a moron, he wrote his number down wrong."
"It's okay." Zoro heard the hiss of a can opening. "Hey, were are you? It sounds like world war nine in the background."
"It's just music," Zoro answered. "I'm at a club."
"Oh yeah? Purr? R Place?"
"Bleh!" The voice laughed. A nice rich laugh that caught Zoro's attention. "What the hell are you doing there? That place sucks balls!"
Zoro smiled and rested his elbows on the bar top. "Getting stood up. This is the fourth time they've played Rianna in the last forty-five minutes, and I got fucking Little Bo Peep trying to get me to have an orgy with her and her friends. I'm about ready to crack my beer over the bar and slit my wrists."
"Oh, and I'm the friend that stood you up."
"Well," the throaty baritone that was becoming more and more interesting by the second crooned in Zoro's ear, "just keep talking to me for a few minutes, maybe they'll get the hint."
"They're really drunk," Zoro mentioned.
"All the better, they might move on if they think you're too much trouble."
Zoro found he was a little disappointed as he asked, "You seem experienced in this kind of thing."
"What? Blowing girls off? Yeah, I'm pretty good at that."
Zoro smiled but faltered when he heard a crash in the background.
"What the hell was that?"
"T.V." The other answered. "I'm watching anime."
"Oh yeah?" Zoro's interest perked up even more; anime and Saturday morning cartoons where Zoro's guilty pleasure. "What anime?"
Another long swallow and Zoro heard the crush of the can. "Bleach. I just started watching it. My friend recommended it when she found out I liked Naruto."
"Where are you?" Zoro asked. "I mean like, what's happening?"
"Uh, Ichigo's fucking some shit up in Soul Society, and he just fought the bald guy."
"Oh, good," Zoro grinned. "You're almost to the Kenpachi fight. He's my favorite."
The voice laughed. "That eye patch guy? He's awesome! He's all crazy strong but no sense of direction. It's so funny!"
"I can relate." Zoro chuckled.
"You have a bad sense of direction too?"
"No," Zoro lied, "I'm awesome and crazy strong."
The other laughed again and, even over the loud bass of the club, Zoro heard the soft click of a Zippo lighter and the honk of a car horn in the background. He braced himself as he pressed the other guy for a little information. He couldn't help himself, the guy was easy to talk to, and that was a big deal in Zoro's book. He had trouble meeting and making friends with his rough personality and harsh looks.
Not to mention this guy sounded like he was probably painfully hot.
"So, where are you right now?" He asked carefully. "I hear cars."
"Home, actually. I just stepped onto the porch to have a smoke. My buddy owns a restaurant and he let me have the apartment upstairs. It's pretty cool, but the catch is it's on a real busy road."
"Ah, it's a small price to pay though. I live in a condo with two other guys. One's a physics major and has to have it totally freaking quiet all the time, and the other's like… I don't know; a damn rubber ball or something."
Laughter again filled Zoro's ear and he marveled at how quickly he was getting attached to that sound. "Well, that sounds like fun. I don't ever get to see my friends cause I'm working all the time."
"Oh, is that why you're at home watching anime on a Friday night?" Zoro teased.
"Yeah, I just got off shift. But actually, I'm just killing some time before the match starts."
Zoro's heart skipped. "Match?"
"Yeah, Mui Goohan is fighting Santiago Check in Thailand and they're broadcasting it live at two thirty."
"What!" Zoro choked. "That's tonight! I thought Check was fighting Watanagi tonight and then the Thailand match was tomorrow!"
"No, dude. Check killed Watanagi last night fourty-seven to like… eighteen or something! Watanagi's openings were fucking insane. Check I don't think even worked up a sweat."
"Goohan's gonna get it tonight too, he's slow on the uptake after his roundhouse."
"His footing just sucks all around. It always looks like he's gonna fall over."
"Yeah," Zoro sighed. "Damnit, I wanted to see that fight."
"It's not till two thirty, you have some time."
"I don't have cable. I was gonna borrow my friend's living room tomorrow night."
"Same friend that stood you up?"
"No," Zoro laughed. "My roommate's brother. He's gonna be at some chick's place tomorrow night."
"You need to get cable, bro."
"I know…" Zoro sighed and mentally went through the list of his friends, wondering who would let him break into their house to watch T.V. while they were out for the night. The possibilities were slim. Franky was probably having a party at his place, Robin was probably in bed already, and Kaku was no doubt already armpits deep in coke and raunchy girls… Nope, not gonna happen.
"Oh well… Hey, where do you work?"
"The restaurant downstairs."
"Oh, hey, that makes sense. You a cook?"
The voice chuckled softly. "Chef actually. Cooks flip burgers and hydrate premade mashed potatoes."
Zoro grinned. "You don't flip burgers?"
"Hell no. The cooks under me flip the burgers. I also don't rehydrate anything but milk, and that's only once in a while."
Zoro ran a hand over his face, he knew he should end the conversation and hang up before he started crushing on a guy he had never even seen. But as he looked around, surveying his general area, he spotted Lindsay pulling her two friends in his direction.
"Oh shit…" he breathed. "I think I'm in trouble."
"Bo Peep is coming back with the sheep."
"Oh." Zoro heard a door shut and there was quiet on the other end once again. "Well, just tell them you're gay or something. You're not interested."
Zoro stilled, not sure how to approach this particular topic.
"No. Hell no. I'm not… comfortable with that," he managed.
"Oh," Zoro was surprised to hear a little disappointment in the other's voice. "Sorry. I didn't mean to-"
"No no," Zoro interrupted. "I don't mean… It's uh…" Wow he sounded stupid. He glanced over at the girls, Lindsay waved to him as she drew closer.
"I can't um… they're almost on me."
"Tell them you gotta pee."
"Tell them you gotta pee and make a break for it."
"Uh, okay." Zoro stood, not sure why he was listening to a person he'd only known for ten minutes.
"Be nice though, if you're rude they might flip out or follow you bitching. Make it seem like you're coming back."
Zoro turned to the trio of drunken girls and smiled.
"Sorry, ladies. I need to use the restroom. Would you wait here for me for a minute?"
Lindsay giggled and put a hand on his chest. "Sure, we'll be right here. Can I get you another beer while we wait?"
Zoro shook his head. "No, thanks though. I need my head if I'm gonna be able to handle all three of you."
The girls laughed and Zoro moved to the stairway.
"That was smooth, man. I'm impressed."
"I feel like a fucking idiot."
Pushing through the crowd on the first floor, Zoro made it to the back and slipped into the bathroom. He closed the door behind him and leaned against the wall.
"Okay, now, why am I in the bathroom again?"
"Didn't you have to pee?" The voice snickered.
Zoro chuckled, "Come on man, why'd you have me come all the way down to the jon? It's fucking nasty in here!"
"I can hear you better. And maybe now you can convince me you're not a homophobe."
Zoro sighed. "No, it's not like that at all."
"Tell me what it's like then."
Zoro rubbed at his eyes. Why was he in a club bathroom, talking to someone he didn't know- didn't even know his name- about things he hadn't even been able to talk to his friends about yet? This was crazy! Was he seriously going to do this?
"I um…" he started. "I'm not out yet. To anyone, okay? I can't have my first verbal confession be to someone I don't know in a club."
The voice chuckled into his ear. "You do realize that you just did that, right?"
Zoro closed his eyes. Yeah, he was stupid. Silence waited on the other end, and a rock dropped in Zoro's gut as he figured the other guy had no doubt had enough of him.
"I just got hung up on, huh?" He said to no one in particular.
"No, why would I hang up on you? It's not like you're gonna rape me through the phone."
Zoro's pulse quickened. He thought back to things the other had said earlier in the conversation and felt butterflies replace the rock in his stomach.
"So… you're okay with it?" Zoro asked, not liking how vulnerable he sounded.
"Of course I'm okay with it."
"… How… okay with it?"
Zoro heard a soft sigh and a lot of shifting. "Okay, I'm putting some clothes on. If you're at Polyester's, then you're on Eighth. About five minutes down the road is a café called Iris. It's open twenty-four hours. I'll meet you there."
"I, um…" Zoro didn't know what to say. "Which way?"
"Just go down the hill. It's on the same side as the club."
Zoro nodded before he realized the other man couldn't see him.
"Okay… I'll be there. I'm Zoro… by the way."
"Sanji. I'll see you in fifteen."
X x X x X
After getting turned around and passing his destination twice, Zoro finally found Iris and slipped onto one of the bar stools that gave him a good view of the door. It was an easy atmosphere in the cafe, soft lighting, tasteful décor, and what looked like fantastic rhubarb pie. After waiting a few minutes, Zoro ordered a coffee and tried to calm his racing heart. He was meeting a guy. A guy that seemed like he was mildly interested. Okay, maybe a lot interested. He was leaving the comfort of his apartment after a long shift to meet him in the middle of the night after all.
The bells jingled at the door and Zoro's head shot up. A man with dark brown hair and a long, tan trench coat entered. He pulled out his wallet and ordered a latte without sitting down.
Zoro relaxed; the guy wasn't Sanji, his voice was too low. He was too old anyway. Grey was winning over the black of his hair, and there were heavy aging lines in his forehead and under his eyes.
Turning back to his cooling coffee, Zoro took a long swallow and thought about ordering some of the pie on display. The news was running on the T.V. overhead and Zoro zoned out for a few minutes. He watched the politics without really paying attention and glanced at his watch. Almost fifteen minutes exactly. Nervousness tightened in Zoro's stomach and he almost jumped as the bells on the door jingled again. He glanced up and caught his breath.
Damnit, if this was Sanji, he was a knockout. He had blond hair that fell softly into his eyes, really smooth-looking skin, a handsome face with just a little bit of stubble accenting his jaw, and beautiful blue eyes that caught his stare and held it with a soft smile.
"You look like you sound," Sanji said as he made his way over. His voice sounded different than it did on the phone, but there was no mistaking it.
The blond slid onto the stool next to him and Zoro couldn't stop his eyes from giving a once over. Sanji was skinny, but he obviously worked out. A torso that seemed to go on for days fit snugly into a leather jacket, and long, really long, muscled legs fit into slim blue jeans.
"Is that a bad thing?" Zoro asked.
Sanji shook his head. "I like your voice."
Zoro felt his cheeks start to burn and looked away. He hated how easily he could smile for this guy. It was like Sanji could break down all his defenses with just a few words; just one look.
"You nervous?" Sanji asked.
Sanji smiled and reached for Zoro's coffee. He took a small sip and grimaced. "Ah, needs crème."
"I don't like crème," Zoro rested his chin in his hand, loving the way Sanji's blond bangs were like a curtain framing just one of his expressive eyes.
"Okay, it needs vodka."
"That, I would like."
Sanji motioned to the door with his head. "Let's get out of here then. I have vodka at home. I'm not a big drinker, but I keep stock cause my friends are."
Zoro sat up and looked at his hands. He felt trepidation suddenly and mentally chided himself for not just going with the flow. He was going to screw a good thing up again, and couldn't stop himself.
"I'm… I'm not…" he cleared his throat and looked back at Sanji.
"Are you trying to pick me up? Cause I'm not… I don't really do that…"
Sanji chuckled and stood. "Yes, I am trying to pick you up, Zoro. But not for sex- that can come later. You're just the first person I've found interesting in the last few months and I don't wanna let you get away." He stood and placed a few dollars on the counter.
"Besides, don't you need a living room and cable to watch the match tonight?"
Zoro perked up, his heartbeat once again beginning to pump a little faster underneath his ribs. That strange tightening in his stomach returned as well, but it was manageable as Zoro now felt more excited than nervous.
"Yes. Yes I do."
Sanji motioned to the door again. "All right, then let's go."
X x X x X
The next day, Ace looked up from the pile of paperwork at his desk to see Bones stumble in through the office door with a pile of files. The dark haired man grinned and set down his pen.
"So, how'd it go?"
Bones set the files down and sat down heavily in his chair.
"I got a text from Zoro this morning telling me I was a jackass," the large man chuckled softly. "But he also told me that he met someone and they hit it off so it didn't matter."
Ace nodded, his grin reaching his ears. "Sanji texted me this morning. Said the hottest guy he's ever met called him last night on accident, but they ended up chilling and watching some fight at his place."
Bones put up his hands in surrender.
"You're a genius Ace, what can I say?"
Ace picked up his pen and turned back to his paperwork. "I told you they were so alike it's scary."
"You only met Zoro once. How can you know that?"
"He lives with my brother, dude. I know way more than I should about that guy."
Bones nodded, turning to his files. "I'm just happy it worked out. Zoro needs to get laid more than anyone I've ever know in my entire life."
"Well," Ace chuckled. "Knowing Sanji, that'll happen pretty quick. Over and over and over and over..."