I cannot say how excited I am to be posting this today. Sinisterbug, my favoritest fanfiction (and possibly just anything) writer in general came to me a few weeks ago and suggested we do a collaboration fic together. To put my reaction in laments terms, it would be like this:

*dies a happy death*

So, you can understand why I'm flipping out a little as I'm putting this up for you guys. It's been great in helping me get through this weird writer's block, or not block, as the case may be. It's been a challenge for me because I'm a yaoi writer and haven't done any kind of straight sex writing in a LONG time, but I love a challenge. And, yes, there is lots of het in this, but it's not graphic, and it's eventually going to be Zoro/Sanji, so just bear with us until we get to the man loving. xD

So I hope you all enjoy this first chapter that our dual pervert minds cooked up. xD

Betad by the awesome bronzetigress! xD Thank you!

The Nature Of Things

Sanji stepped onto the dock and pulled his lighter from his pocket. He struck the flint, lit the end of his cigarette, and breathed in deep. Pulling the smoke into his lungs, he turned to wave once more to Robin as she sunned herself on the deck of the Thousand Sunny. She smiled at him over her book and nodded in acknowledgment as he turned to leave. The rest of the crew had left the ship hours ago, but Sanji had decided to stay and organize the new supplies. He liked having his work done before he played, but more than that, he liked the peace of mind that came with the ship's food supply being stored and locked away so certain captains couldn't get at it in his absence.

The cook rubbed the muscles in the back of his neck and sighed softly. He was dead tired. All he wanted now was a good meal that he didn't have to cook, a massage, and a blow job before he passed out. Not necessarily in that order.

Sanji made his way through town passing fruit and vegetable vendors, silks traders, and other various booths that lined the cobblestone streets. This place was by far one of the finest Sanji had seen on his adventures as a Strawhat Pirate. The streets were clean, the people were friendly, and the supplies they had purchased earlier were of a quality Sanji rarely saw anywhere anymore. He was glad of the hefty bag of belli Nami had allowed him after their last big break, because he planned on spending it all in one place.

Sanji smiled as he spotted a flower stand and ducked under the colorful overhang.

"Evening, friend." He gave a pleasant smile, and the portly man behind a pile of lilies returned it in full.

"Evening, sir," he said cheerfully, "What can I do ya for?"

Sanji bent to inhale the scent of a few small, blue flowers. He instantly liked their clean, fresh smell and plucked one out of the bucket. He had never seen the like before, but the color matched his shirt perfectly.

"Just this and a little information." The cook snapped off the stem and slid the flower to the button hole of his suit jacket.

"Sure!" The round fellow wiped his hands on a small rag and leaned over the table. "What're ya lookin' for?"

"Entertainment for tonight," the cook said coolly, pulling a cigarette out of his pack and sliding it behind his ear. "Massage parlor or a bath house. Something clean, and I don't mind expensive."

"Ah, then ya wanna check out Sable. Those girls are classy, and they're trained to be real ladies. They walk down the street and you'd a never know what they be doin' at night, they look so nice."

"Sounds perfect." Sanji dropped a generous amount of belli in the man's hand. "Can you point me in the right direction?"

The flower vendor enthusiastically told Sanji where to find Sable and promised that after the cook experienced one of their 'jawbone massages', he would never want to leave. Sanji just smiled and thanked the man again, chuckling inside, knowing that as long as a certain redhead was sailing with the Thousand Sunny, he could never be tied down anywhere.

He found the place without much difficulty. The building sat between several other business establishments without seeming to be any different than a very nice hotel. Sanji ascended the steps and was about to pull open the door, when the knob turned, and the door was pushed open from the inside.

"Thank you very much, Sir," a sweet voice said from inside. "Please come again; you are welcome any time."

"No, no, thank you," a familiar voice said quietly. "I enjoyed myself very much. I apologize for not staying, but I need to get back to my ship."

What the hell? Sanji thought to himself. There is no way…

The cook stepped back as the door was opened fully and a small, beautiful girl with long, dark hair and pale skin stepped outside. She seemed star-struck and put a hand to her chest as she continued to speak to the man just inside the doorway.

A tall man with green hair and three swords hanging from his waist.

"You said you were going to be here for a few days," the girl said coyly. "Come and see me again?"

Zoro's voice was soft, unlike Sanji had ever heard, but his face was still set with hard lines and unfriendly scowl.

"If there's time after training and my captain doesn't get us into any trouble, then sure."

The girl beamed at the swordsman and Sanji rolled his eyes. He must have paid her really well if she was going this far with her little act.

The cook cleared his throat and both heads turned to look at him. Dark eyes met Sanji's and widened in surprise when the swordsman realized just who he was looking at.

The girl on the other hand, kept her smile and turned to face him fully.

"Good afternoon, Sir. Are you looking for companionship this evening?"

Sanji looked away from his ship's first mate and smiled sweetly at her. He took her hand and kissed her knuckles.

"Yes, love, I am. But could I be so rude as to ask if I may have a minute alone with your last patron? He is my shipmate and I need to give him a few instructions before he heads back."

The girl curtsied and nodded. "Of course, any friend of Mr. Roronoa's is a friend of mine. We'll look forward to your visit Mr-?"

"Sanji," the cook replied. "Just call me Sanji."

After another long look at Zoro, the girl waved and disappeared back inside. The moment the door was closed, Sanji rounded on Zoro and jabbed a finger into the other man's chest.

"What the hell are you doing here?"

Zoro smirked. "I'm guessing the same thing you're doing here."

"No," Sanji rolled his eyes. "What are you doing here. This is a nice place. The girls here don't drink whisky and probably have regular doctor visits."

"Lola drinks whisky," Zoro said. "Tossed it back like it was water."

"Who's Lola?" Sanji asked.

"The girl that was just out here. She can get both legs behind her head at the same time, too."

"Oh, really?" Sanji looked at the door as if he could see right through to the woman in question.

"Yeah, it was pretty cool."

Sanji blinked, realizing just how abnormal this conversation was. He turned back to Zoro's grinning face, trying to decide if he had hit his head and was hallucinating, or if he had finally just lost it.

"I don't know which is weirder," Sanji murmured. "The fact that you actually have sex, or the fact that we ended up at the same place."

It was Zoro's turn to roll his eyes. "I'm a guy too, same as you."

Sanji pulled the cigarette from behind his ear and placed it between his lips. "Well, I always thought you were either asexual, or you had some weird kinky thing going on with your swords."

"You're a retard," Zoro growled. "And what do you mean it's weird we would go to the same place? This place is great."

"Yeah, I know, that's just it," Sanji said. "This just doesn't seem like the kind of place you'd go, Marimo."

Zoro lost his smile then and moved closer to the cook. "Just because I don't speak a frilly language or wear prissy clothes, doesn't mean I bang back alley hookers. I have a healthy respect for women, just like you do, and I appreciate a girl who takes care of herself. I just don't make any moves on Robin or Nami because Robin would probably cut my dick off, and Nami's too much of a bitch."

"Hey," Sanji's anger flared. "Nami-san is not a bitch! Don't ever say that! And Robin-chwan is a lady, she would never… Wait, what the hell!? I don't wear prissy clothes! This is a suit, you moron!"

"Seriously," Zoro stepped back and folded his arms over his chest. "You could totally wear Robin's clothes one day, and I wouldn't be able to tell the difference."

Sanji crushed his cigarette between his teeth and reached for the door handle.

"Whatever, man. If anyone asks I'll be back on board to make breakfast in the morning."

Sanji closed the door behind him. He was angry as he crossed the foyer, but he calmed down significantly as the woman behind the desk called for Cat, the house mistress. By the time they had booked his room and sent Wendy, a redheaded beauty from West Blue, down to fetch him, he was back to his usual charming self. He forgot all about Zoro and his contortionist sex and his snide stupid comments as he was lead up the stairs for a very expensive night of wine and women.

~*~*~

The next morning found Sanji waking in a tangle of soft skinned limbs. He took the delicate hand that lay across his chest and brought the fingers to his lips. Beautifully manicured nails accented flawless, pale skin and the cook couldn't help himself from indulging in the treasure that cuddled next to him.

Wendy slept peacefully against his back as he rolled into the body on his other side. He kissed down the column of Angel's neck and licked gently along her collar bone. The blonde had slipped into Sanji's room late last night saying that she got lonely when her roommate wasn't there.

Sanji, of course, was very accommodating.

Now, Angel stirred beneath him, sighing prettily and raising her hands to rest on the back of his neck as he softly nibbled her flesh.

"Good morning, Sir," she said sweetly. "Did you sleep well?"

"How many times have I asked you to call me Sanji?" He breathed against her skin. "And of course I did. How could I not have with a beautiful flower such as yourself keeping me company?"

Angel giggled and Sanji raised himself to kiss her lips and roll off the bed.

"I'm sorry I have to leave so early, but I have a crew to feed."

"It's all right," Angel said, stretching and sitting up. She fluffed the comforter around her and turned to run her hands over the fiery ringlets of Wendy's hair. "Are you in town long?"

Sanji smiled. "A few days."

Angel tilted her head to the side and licked her bottom lip. "If you come back, I'll drop whatever I'm doing."

Sanji's smile widened as he pulled on his pants and plucked his shirt from a nearby chair.

"I can try, but my captain's a little nuts and sometimes things go a little crazy."

Angel sighed and stretched out on her side, the movement pulling the covers off her top half and exposing her naked body to Sanji's appreciative eyes. "I'm so going to brag about you today. Wendy will too. Lola will eat her words from last night."

Sanji froze, but quickly recovered and forced himself to smile and finish buttoning his shirt, in spite of how that name had thrown him off.

"L-Lola?" he rasped. "What was Lola saying last night?"

"Ugh, her client yesterday." Angel shook her head. "She was going on and on about how amazing he was, and how thoughtful and attentive... That's something that's hard to come by in this line of work: A man that takes a moment for the woman's needs. Lola was ecstatic about him. She's probably in love; she falls in love all the time."

Sanji slipped his feet into his shoes, trying not to throw up as he grabbed his jacket and moved back to the bed. He sat and leaned into Angel, his fingers taking a lock of her golden hair and bringing the softness to his lips.

"And what are you going to say about your client?"

Angel smiled and leaned forward to kiss him softly on the cheek.

"I'm going to tell her that he was like a prince and he made me feel like a princess…"

Sanji smiled and pressed his lips quickly to hers.

"Tell Wendy I had a wonderful time, and if I don't see you again, you take care."

She waved to him as he left. He descended the stairs two at a time, but stopped when he passed the desk. There was no one around, so he slipped behind the counter and grabbed an envelope from a drawer. He pulled out the same amount of belli Cat had charged him for a night with Wendy, and placed it into the envelope. He wrote Angel on the front and placed it on a stack of papers on the top shelf. Straightening, Sanji slipped outside without being seen and started to make his way back to the harbor.

He pulled out a cigarette and lit it as he walked. He sucked in the smoke and watched the sun rise over the tops of the water as he pondered this new side of Zoro he had just discovered. The thought of that stupid Marimo doing anything except training or fighting or eating… or sleeping, was just weird. Thoughtful and attentive? Were they talking about the same person? Zoro didn't seem like he could find a woman's pleasure spots with both hands and written instructions.

Sanji had to admit though, this put Zoro in an entirely different light than before. It made him out to be less of an untouchable, evil-fighting pirate typhoon, and more just a regular person with… weaknesses.

Back on the ship, Nami had made coffee and was sitting with Robin at the kitchen table when Sanji returned. The navigator looked up, surprised, and immediately started to drill him.

"Are you just now getting back, Sanji?"

Sanji turned to her, hearts in his eyes, but his enthusiasm was diminished after his wild night with Angel and Wendy.

"Yes, Nami-san! I knew you would need breakfast and so I couldn't stay out any longer!"

The redhead waved him away and took a sip of her coffee. "Where did you go last night?"

Sanji turned to the sink and started to wash his hands. He couldn't lie to Nami if he was facing her.

"I found a place that played good jazz and served some nice vintage wine. I had one too many though, so I stayed in one of the rooms upstairs."

Nami glared at him. "Why does that sound kind of rehearsed?"

"Because it was," Zoro said from the doorway. Sanji swirled around to meet the swordsman's eyes. He glared daggers at the other man, daring him to continue.

"Come on, shit cook," Zoro smiled cruelly as he leaned against the doorframe. "Tell them what really happened."

Sanji wanted to launch himself across the room and kick Zoro's teeth into his brain, but he stood his ground by the sink and fumed quietly, trying to think of something to say.

"Sanji?" Nami glared. "What did you do?"

"I can tell them if you don't want to." Zoro crossed his arms over his chest.

I am so gonna kill you, you son of a bitch, Sanji thought. You are so fucking dead...

"Okay, fine. I'll tell them." Zoro shrugged. "He got in a bar fight."

Sanji had already started to hurl himself across the kitchen when Zoro had started to speak, so when the swordsman's lie hit the cook's ears, he tried to stop himself and ended up just falling to the floor.

"What!?" Sanji and Nami said at the same time.

"Sanji! What happened!?" Nami demanded. "We've just recovered from another battle with Marines and you can't go one day without getting in a fight? What's wrong with you?"

Sanji glanced from Nami to Zoro and caught the look in the swordsman's eyes. He took the hint and stood up quickly.

"I'm sorry, Nami-san!" he cried. "I really did have too much to drink, and then I saw this guy," he pointed to Zoro angrily, "lost and wandering through the streets! I told him we should go back, but he was like 'Nooo, I need more to drink,' so we hit up another place, but they were rude and said we had to leave because we're pirates, so Genius here pulled his swords and then all hell broke loose!"

He stood still for several moments after his story finished, waiting to see what Nami would say. The redhead turned from him to glare at Zoro.

"That's what happened?"

"Yes," Zoro answered. "Except I'm pretty sure I didn't make the first move. Sanji cracked some guy over the head with his foot, and I drew to make sure no one killed us."

"Liar!" Sanji called from the sink.

Nami looked back and forth between the two men for a minute before she sighed and stood, taking her coffee mug with her towards the galley door.

"Whatever, just call when breakfast is ready."

Robin gave Sanji a sweet smile before she stood and followed Nami out onto the deck, pushing gently past Zoro on the way out. The second the door closed, Sanji threw up his arms and leaned back against the counter.

"What the fuck was that, asshole!?" he demanded, his voice barely above a whisper so as not to be heard if the girls were still around. "You almost blew everything, you fuck-tard!"

Zoro grinned and moved into the kitchen to pull out one of the chairs. "Just wanted to see you squirm." He turned the chair around backwards and straddled it, resting his arms on the back.

Sanji pulled a knife from the block and nonchalantly waved it in the swordsman's direction. "I should kick your ass."

Zoro shook his head. "Whatever."

Sanji grumbled under his breath and turned to the fridge to start pulling out ingredients for breakfast. It felt weird being backed up by Zoro in something other than a battle. It took all the fight right out of him, not that there had been much in the first place. He felt more relaxed than he had in months; the 'jawbone massage' really did the trick. He muttered under his breath as he pulled out leftover ham and started slicing it into thin strips.

"It's kind of nice not having to worry about Nami-san interrogating me for the rest of the day, so as much as I hate to say it…thanks."

Zoro scoffed behind him. "I didn't do it for you. I was dodging one of that witch's interest bullets."

"Knock it off," Sanji growled. "Stop talking about Nami-san like that. I'll fucking kill you. Get the hell out of my kitchen. I'll call when breakfast is ready." He listened for the galley door opening before he spoke up.

"Oh, and Marimo," Sanji smirked.

"Hm?"

"Lola says you suck at sex and she only told you to come back 'cause you pay well."

Zoro laughed and stepped out onto the deck. "Now who's the liar."

Sanji listened to the door close and finished his cooking with a smile on his face.

~*~*~

It was one of his better ideas, the swordsman had to admit. He hadn't planned it, but he couldn't pass up the opportunity when it came.

Lola, it seemed, had already been scheduled for a regular that she couldn't blow off that evening, and had asked the house mistress to inform Zoro, should he return, that she was very, very sorry indeed and that she would love to see him again the next night if he was still on the island.

Since his captain hadn't managed to turn the town upside down yet, and he still had enough money (that he ever had any was a surprise to him, with Nami's interest rates ever-climbing), he wasn't going to waste another opportunity for good sex. He made sure to slink away from the Sunny when the cook was preoccupied. He'd rather not risk another run in with him again, let alone showing up at the same time.

So, he grinned to himself (it must have been rather disconcerting to the house mistress) and asked for the young woman that had accompanied his blond shipmate the night before. The woman smiled at him and opened her appointment book. Her long, red, fake fingernail raked over the page and landed in a spot next to two names. She raised her thin eyebrow and said, "It appears that he began the night with Wendy… and ended it with Wendy and Angel. They are both currently available. Would you like to see them and decide, or shall I choose for you?"

Zoro snorted. That prissy love-cook would, he thought to himself. Well, he was always up for a challenge. "Show me a number for both," he said.

The house mistress plucked a pen from its stand, dipped it in an inkwell and scribbled a number on a scrap of paper, then handed it to him.

It wouldn't be the most he'd ever spent on sex, but it was slightly off-putting to know the impetus behind spending so much money on sex was the cook. But he never backed down from a challenge, so he emptied his pockets of belli and hoped it was going to be worth it.

He purposely did not think about how close this put him to sex and the cook at the same time, or that it wasn't necessarily the challenge of showing the cook up that thrilled him, but knowing the idiot chef had touched the very same women the night before. Nope. He wasn't thinking about that at all.

~*~*~

Angel arched her back and laughed slightly; it was one of those incredulous laughs that sounded just as though she couldn't believe what had just happened.

Zoro leaned over her lithe form and ran his hands up the sides of her smooth belly. He kissed her neck gently and murmured, "You okay?"

She laughed again, this time more pronounced. "Of course," she said, breathlessly. "I just wasn't expecting…" She trailed off and shared a knowing glance with Wendy, whose red ringlets shook as she giggled.

The swordsman wondered briefly if Sanji would have been able to decipher that, or not. He'd never quite understood what went on in a woman's head, even though he'd learned how to please their bodies adequately enough (or so it seemed).

Wendy seemed to sense his confusion. She crawled over to him and wrapped her arms around his neck as he sat up. "In man-speak, that means it was very good."

Angel 'hm-ed' in agreement as she collapsed on the bed, smiling.

~*~*~

It wasn't usually Zoro's 'thing' to sleep at a brothel. It sometimes resulted in theft, no matter how high class the place was, and he didn't feel comfortable taking his eyes off his swords long enough to sleep in a strange place. But Wendy and Angel had proven that Lola wasn't the only one who could hold her liquor and perform extreme contortionist acts. In the end, he was too tired to crawl out of the bed, go through the trouble of removing all the lipstick that had found its way onto his body, put on his clothes (his t-shirt also had lipstick on it, and he wondered when they'd had time to re-apply their makeup behind his back), and drag his sexed-up ass back to the Sunny. Then, of course, he'd have to deal with the interrogation, and really, it'd just be easier to claim he'd gotten lost once he got back in the morning.

Wendy and Angel both told him to come back any time, and thanked him enthusiastically for requesting them specifically.

As he made for the door to leave, Angel asked, "Why did you request us, if you don't mind me asking?" She smiled, and nudged Wendy with her elbow. "Are we infamous?"

Zoro gave them a charming grin (which he was completely unaware of, of course). "That sap-sucker cook that was here two nights ago is my ship mate."

"Oh!" they both exclaimed. Wendy stepped in close and ran her hand up Zoro's arm. "Any woman on your ship is profoundly lucky." She got on her tip toes and gave the swordsman one last kiss on his cheek.

"Please do let us know if you pass by this way again," Angel added, batting her eyes at the green-haired man.

After Zoro was gone, the girls ran downstairs to find the house mistress.

"Cat, you wouldn't believe-"

But the house mistress held up one bony hand and silenced them. "I heard enough from Lola, thank you very much. I'm sure you ladies had a lovely time. Now go shower and get your breakfast."

Wendy and Angel looked at each other. "What do you mean, you heard enough from Lola?"

The house mistress sighed. "The man you hosted last night was the same man Lola hosted two nights ago. You remember, of course, the gentleman she would not shut up about. Mr. Roronoa Zoro."

They both flushed, realizing that in the passion and flurry of the previous night's events, no one had even bothered to introduce themselves. They burst out into laughter and the house mistress, finally losing patience, shooed them away.

~*~*~

Luckily, no one was there to greet Zoro as he boarded the Sunny. Likely everyone was in the kitchen finishing breakfast, so he dashed in a rather un-manly way to the men's bunk for fresh clothes, then to the bathroom for a quick shower. He'd begun to think his absence would slip by unnoticed as he settled down in the grass for a nap, when something hit his face.

That something was last night's shirt with the tell-tale lipstick on the collar. He looked up to find the cook standing over him, his arms crossed and a scowl on his face.

"What," he grunted, before tossing the shirt aside and settling back down.

"Nice of you to slip away from the ship while I stayed behind to clean up Luffy's mess, asshole."

"There wasn't any mess when I left."

"No, you were probably only half way to Sable when Luffy decided to shatter the aquarium glass in an attempt to see how strong it was," Sanji spat. "It took everything Brook, Chopper and I could muster to keep Franky from killing him, and then we had to clean up all the fish, water and broken glass. Franky was up all night repairing it. You, on the other hand, were rutting like an animal while poor Lola had to pretend to like it, I'm sure."

Zoro snorted, not particularly caring. If it had happened while he was still around, of course he would have helped, and Sanji knew that. But it was just the type of opportunity that they both took to start shit with each other.

"Lola was busy. But the cute blonde and the hot redhead were enthusiastic to volunteer. They mentioned something about not getting any good customers in a while. Seems like they got stuck with some limp-dicked jerk the night before."

"Wendy and Angel have names, you shit-headed buffoon," Sanji said through gritted teeth.

Zoro had expected the attack, but he hadn't expected the cook to stomp straight on his solar plexus with that much force. He gasped and rolled over, ripping up the grass as he clenched his fists, trying to find air. He had enough wits about him to block the kick to his ribs, though not very well, and he knew his arm was going to be all the worse for it. He managed to scramble far enough away to dodge the kick after that.

He forced his solar plexus to stop seizing so he could breathe, but just as he was about to launch his counter, Nami burst out of the girl's bunk and stopped them in their tracks.

"No," Nami warned, her no-arguing face on. "Not today. I was up all night last night washing the stench of seafood out of my clothes and hair. We're not doing this today." She pointed at the swordsman. "Zoro, since you were so conveniently gone last night, you get to scrub the hull."

"What the hell?" Zoro coughed. "I didn't even know it'd happened-"

Nami's eye glinted dangerously. "Oh, yeah? Well, I didn't know it was going to happen, but I still got covered in seaweed and fish! So strap on the sling and go get Chopper to do the anchoring!" She turned to look at Sanji, who was making love-love eyes at her. "If it will keep you from arguing with him today, I'll give you another allowance. Just stay away from the Sunny until tonight!"

She stomped back into the girl's room as Sanji professed his undying devotion.

"This is bullshit," Zoro muttered. Now he was going to have to spend the rest of the day dangled over the side of the Sunny, suspended in a sling and scrubbing away layers of half-hardened sea-goo.

Sanji grinned and lit his cigarette. "Actually, it's called 'just desserts'. Not that Nami-swan needs to pay me to do her a favor, but I do believe I'll make my way over to Sable and pay sweet Lola a visit. Show her what a real man is like."

The only thing that kept Zoro from re-launching his interrupted attack was the thought that Nami might withhold his allowance at the next port. So he grudgingly found Chopper in the library and together they dragged out the sling, the long scrub brush, and the high-power cleaning chemicals.

~*~*~

After thanking Nami profusely for his additional allowance (he would have refused it, and almost did, if it hadn't been a means for him to show the Marimo up), Sanji tidied up his appearance from cooking breakfast and headed into town. He'd have to wait a few hours before Sable was open for business, but he was perfectly content to browse the market again. He'd seen a dusty bookstore that he hadn't had time to peruse in the midst of shopping and searching for nightly entertainment.

Content in knowing the swordsman was busting his ass scrubbing gunk off the hull of the Sunny, he leisurely passed his time with a nice cup of coffee at an outdoor café and dug into his acquisition from the bookstore, 'Essence of Gourmet Ingredients' until around midday. This didn't leave him with as much time as he would have liked; he'd have to be back by seven or so to start a late dinner. He was sure to get complaints about that from a certain rubbery captain, but he'd made sure to leave plenty of snacks (to be distributed only at Robin and Nami's discretion).

He was only slightly embarrassed about being the first customer of the day, but the house mistress somehow didn't seem surprised to see him.

"I assume you're going to ask for Lola," she prompted, pulling out her appointment book.

Sanji smiled self-deprecatingly. "Yes, how did you know?"

"This wouldn't be the first time we've had a show of one-upmanship like this." She sighed and raised an eyebrow at him. "I'm just glad you didn't ask for all three. The ladies did, however, express a desire to provide the next patron with a discount, if it was either of you gentlemen. It appears to be your lucky day."

"Oh, no, if it means that Miss Lola will receive less-"

"Not at all," she assured him, and nodded at another girl, who left to fetch Lola. "This is the first time we've ever felt inclined to give a patron a discount. It will be taken out of the house funds, not her personal earnings. They insisted that you accept."

"Well, if it's all the same then…" Sanji bowed his head gratefully and was led upstairs to his room. Wait until that moss-headed jerk found out about this…

~*~*~

The next few hours passed in a pleasant blur. After an amazing afternoon of mind-blowing sex with the lovely and talented Lola (he congratulated himself on not needing to provide her with massive amounts of alcohol to give her a good time, or get her to show him the legs-behind-the-head trick), there was an abrupt knock on their door. They were yanked out of their post-coital snuggling fuzz when the house mistress walked in.

"Excuse the interruption," she said brusquely, "but I think its best that you leave immediately, Mr. Sanji. It seems a member of your crew attracted the attention of the local Marines, and there is a rumor they've called for reinforcements." She left immediately, closing the door behind her.

"Oh no-" Lola gasped before Sanji cupped her face and kissed her thoroughly.

He broke away quickly and said, "My sincerest apologies, my lady."

The chef climbed out of bed, torn between saying goodbye properly and throwing his clothes on. He had one foot in his pants and his shirt half-way on when she wrapped the sheet around herself and helped him dress.

"I had a wonderful time, Sanji; thank you so much. Please tell Zoro I said hello, and that I wish we could have met again, too. Perhaps next time we can all arrange something together." She winked and did the last button on his shirt.

Sanji took her hand and kissed it again. "It was truly my pleasure. I simply regret having to leave your presence in such a rush."

She pushed him out the door, smiling. "Please don't get caught!" and she waved him off.

Mournfully, he dashed down the stairs and out of the building, wondering whose ass he was going to have to kick for causing a ruckus. His precious Nami-swan or Robin-chwan better not be hurt!

~*~*~

Sanji didn't have the heart to lecture Chopper about being spotted. It seemed, unfortunately, that a low-ranking Marine had spotted the reindeer at the apothecary and sounded the alarm. Besides, since the pose had set the day before, they were able to make quick time with the Coup de Burst, putting them too far ahead of the Marines for a potential pursuit. This did put Franky out even more than he already had been, since the Coup de Burst required massive amounts of cola, but thankfully they'd just stocked up.

He whistled as he prepared dinner – he'd chosen to prepare Franky's favorite - keeping the kitchen door and windows open as he cooked (partly because it was so nice out, and partly because things still smelled like dank fish and seaweed).

~*~*~

It was Nami standing over the swordsman this time, her expectant aura rousing him from his light sleep. If she was going to ask him to clean something else, he was going to tell her where she could shove it, dire consequences be damned. He'd had to take down the 20 or so Marines already on the island, and help lift the anchor when the shitty cook finally arrived, on top of already being exhausted from scrubbing the hull all day. Granted, he wouldn't have been so exhausted if he hadn't strapped his heaviest set of weights to his arms as he scrubbed, but still. He shouldn't have been punished with chores when the damn aquarium thing hadn't been his fault. Why hadn't she made Luffy do it, for that matter?

"I know you're awake, so just listen. If you and Sanji can get through dinner without killing each other, I'll give you the same amount I gave him earlier today."

"Interest free," the swordsman grunted, and rolled over.

Nami sighed heavily. "Fine. But it still counts as a loan."

He heard her leave and grinned. That may or may not have been her way of apologizing for being unfair. Whatever it was, he'd take it.

When Sanji called out for dinner, he steeled himself. He knew the chef was going to have a story to tell about his visit to Sable's, and he was going to have to ignore all the hints the aho-cook was likely to throw his way. It wasn't like it was something they could blatantly talk about.

But Sanji also seemed to sense that Nami's patience, not to mention Franky's, was wearing thin, and dinner went by uneventfully.

The swordsman was beginning to wonder if the chef was going to say anything at all, when the evil bastard climbed up into the crow's nest with a bottle of rum during his watch.

"What the fuck do you want?"

"Oh, nothing," the blond said, setting the bottle down at Zoro's feet. He pulled out a pack of cigarettes and started smacking the box. "I just felt sorry for you. Thought you could use some consolation."

Zoro knew that by taking the bottle, he'd be admitting to whatever Sanji had cooked up in his perverted mind. But if he didn't, he'd be wasting a good opportunity for booze. He had to decide what he wanted more; rum, or to piss the cook off.

Rum was good, but a pissed off Sanji was a hot Sanji. And a pissy, hot Sanji was good alone-time material when there wasn't a decent brothel to be had, or when they were broke, and all he had was his imagination and the chair shoved against the bathroom door. So the image was needed often enough that he ignored the bottle, and continued lifting weights. If he could manage to get physical with the cook, that'd be even better.

"At least women don't lie to me to make me feel better about the size of my dick."

Sanji sighed dramatically. "Oh, Zoro. So naïve." He opened the packet and pulled out a cigarette. "Bet they don't give you a discount at the door. Seems Lola specifically requested to be at my convenience. Oh," he added, "I didn't need to load her up with booze to get her to perform that little trick she showed you, either. Or, for that matter, the five other tricks she showed me."

Zoro shook his head and continued his regimen. "Deluded."

Sanji stopped in the middle of lighting his cigarette. "Deluded? Zoro… That's a three syllable word. And you used it properly – though, unfortunately, you're incorrect. I'm proud of you!"

The swordsman figured this was an appropriate moment to pretend he was mad. He stilled his weights half way, turned to the chef, and said, "Catch." He tossed the weights like they were nothing, and the last thing he saw before all hell broke loose was Sanji finally lighting his cigarette, and the way the light danced across Sanji's scowling features.

Nami revoked both of their allowances for the next two stops by the end of it, but Zoro didn't mind. He had plenty of material for the long haul now.

TBC