Here it is, chapter 11. Sorry for the horrible cliffhanger last time! Hopefully, this will make up for it. Big thank you to SinisterBug for writing a great Zoro, and well, just being generally awesome.

Chapter 11

Sanji sat in the dark. His hands were trembling. His fucking hands were actually shaking. What was he doing here? What was he really doing sitting in a brothel waiting for a guy that he was just going to pretend was—

No. He wasn't going to do that. He might have chosen Trope because he had Zoro's basic physical build, and his hair, and maybe some other stuff, but he wasn't going to stoop so low as to actually—

The door opened and Trope stepped softly inside. Sanji's heart crawled up into his throat. His fingers gripped the soft wool of his trousers and his teeth clamped down on the cigarette that hung from his lips.

Shit, this was happening.

The man closed the door behind him but stayed in the doorway unmoving. Sanji tried to play it cool, tried to sprawl himself slightly in the chair, lay a hand nonchalantly over the armrest. He let a finger slide slowly around the rim of the glass that had been offered to him a few minutes before. He had instructed Trope not to talk, so Sanji knew he was going to have to give the commands, but did he even have a voice? Would he be able to speak?

Sanji was about to lift a hand to beckon for the companion to come closer, but then he realized the lights were off—at his request—and Trope might not be able to see him. That would be almost as smooth as nodding over the den den mushi.

Stupid. Get it together.

"Come here," Sanji said, surprising himself with how steady his voice sounded.

Trope came forward slowly, the outline of his body just barely visible. He moved with that same careful grace that Zoro used when he was being cautious, when he was stalking a predator. Facing a challenge.

Shit, that was hot. He really did have Zoro's basic outline, but the fact that he also kind of moved like Zoro too was incredible. Sanji shivered as Trope's thigh brushed his knee. He was sure the next time he tried to speak his voice really would be gone.

But it was not.

"Get on your knees."

Trope obeyed. He lowered himself to the floor between Sanji's legs and slowly ran his hands up the cook's thighs. Sanji shifted in his seat, sliding down to accommodate the larger man's torso. He took a drag from his cigarette and let the smoke waft out of his mouth slowly.

Oh, Trope was a good actor. He trembled ever so slightly as Sanji touched his wrist and ran his fingers over thick, beaded bracelets. The cook could hear the man's breath catch as Sanji's leg rubbed against his side.

Maybe this wouldn't be so hard.

"I think you can figure out what to do next," Sanji whispered, slipping the cigarette back between his lips.

Trope hesitated for only a moment and then slid his hands up to Sanji's belt. He pulled the leather from the buckle and pulled the piece apart expertly. But instead of going for what would normally be the goal anywhere else, Trope moved to Sanji's shirt, pushing the fabric up to the cook's chest. Sanji made a noise, started to tell him to stop, just get to it, but the command died in his throat. Trope's hands were burning, and his lips as they came down on Sanji's skin lit a fire.

Sanji hissed. This was... kind of amazing. The feel of calloused palms on his sides made him dizzy. The idea that the one touching him was larger, maybe stronger, might be capable of doing things to him that no woman ever could, was exhilarating. Was it always like this with another man? Or was this a male prostitute thing? Was it always so desperate?

Trope's rough lips seemed too big, moving over Sanji's stomach with an intoxicating combination of confidence and hesitation. The cook slid a hand through the short hairs at the back of Trope's neck and he let his fingers play with the large, jeweled earring dangling from the man's ear. The metal was a cold, sharp contrast to the heat of Trope's skin and Sanji couldn't stop the soft sound that escaped the back of his throat as he felt his trousers being undone.

Lifting his hips, Sanji sank even further in the chair and huffed softly as Trope freed his erection from his boxers. Sanji's trembling increased. He fumbled to find his glass and drop the cigarette in the dredges of his whiskey with a hiss. He barely had enough time for his hands to clutch at the rough fabric of the cushions before a hot tongue ran slowly from the base of his cock to the tip.

"S…shit…" he growled.

A warm mouth wrapped around him and Sanji bucked. Trope's lips slid all the way to his base. He took Sanji's length like no woman had ever done before. The back of the man's throat was wide and inviting, his tongue slid along his skin. It was hot inside and wet and oh god it was good! So fucking good! Trope didn't even use his hands, he just ran his lips back and then down, back and then down. He knew just how much pressure, just how and where to place his tongue as he moved. His palm went to Sanji's sack and the cook arched his back.

"Naaagh, God damnit," Sanji groaned.

His fingers went back to Trope's hair, and he twisted his grip into the short strands. Sanji's other hand found the back of the prostitute's neck and urged him forward. Not roughly, but definitely harder than he ever would have with a woman. Trope increased his pace, seemingly pleased with Sanji's participation.

Those rough hands slid back up Sanji's thighs and the cook shuddered as Trope's strong thumbs caressed the skin over his hips. Sanji felt the pressure building, tension coiling in his balls and his gut. His breath caught in his throat as he felt his orgasm coming fast and hard. He gripped soft, short hair and groaned, his cock pulsing and spilling into the back of Trope's throat. The man drank him down like he needed it, sucking him eagerly, perfectly.

Oh wow, that was great… That was really, really good…

That was what Sanji was thinking, but "fuck… fuck…" was the only thing he could get past his lips.

He might never ask a woman for a blow job ever again.

Zoro slowly pulled back, shock starting to set in. He ran his tongue along the insides of his mouth, over his teeth, savoring every last drop of flavor.

And now...? His hands remained on Sanji's thighs, still massaging, kneading like a contented cat, despite the fact that he felt anything but. Sanji's breathing would even out quickly, then he'd want to sit up, and possibly his eyes had adjusted to the darkness by now—

Zoro looked up sharply as Sanji exhaled, sounding well pleased.

Well, he could be content with that, at least.

The swordsman finally released his hold on the chef and stood. He moved to the other side of the room as the blond sat up.

"Don't go yet," was Sanji's command, his voice thick.

Zoro didn't move, grateful to be out of Sanji's line of sight for the moment. Should he just fucking run for it? The pervert chef was still languishing in the afterglow, his guard was down. Zoro would be able to fly out the door, dodge around a corner and into an empty (he hoped) room before Sanji knew what was happening.

If he could run with this raging boner that was screaming at him from his pants.

Zoro could see through the darkness the other man's outline as Sanji lifted a hand to his head and ran it through his hair. He could hear the sounds of him patting the front of his shirt for his cigarettes and a light. "...There's more money in it for you if you stay."

Zoro's eyes bulged. What exactly was this idiot chef doing? It's not like Zoro's first had been any classier, but at least... he hadn't...

The swordsman's sense of shock began to fade, quickly. It didn't matter what Sanji thought he was doing. The truth was probably closer to the notion that Sanji had no god damn clue what he was doing, but did Zoro?

The evidence before the swordsman very clearly told him that he did not. Here he was, privy to this incredibly private and life-changing experience without Sanji's knowledge. He was too cowardly to show himself, he had no idea what he expected to come of this, and worst of all, it was all poisoned by deceit.

"So are you staying or not?"

Zoro's heart thumped loudly against his chest. He needed a way out of this.

"I don't bottom," he lied, his voice barely a whisper.

But thankfully, Sanji only chuckled and struck a match, his back still turned to Zoro. The swordsman's throat closed for a moment as the flame momentarily illuminated the room and the occupants therein. It went out just as quickly, and Zoro breathed.

"Not asking you to bottom," the chef puffed on his cigarette, and Zoro's nostrils were overwhelmed with that familiar smell of high quality tobacco. "There isn't a fucking dignified way to say this, but I need your help."

"My help?" Zoro muttered, trying not to say much now that the gag order had apparently been lifted. It wouldn't take much for Sanji to recognize his voice–Zoro could pinpoint the chef's in a crowded bar.

The sound of Sanji exhaling raked over Zoro's nerves. "Look..." Sanji stood, facing his stand-in companion. "I got nothin'."

Zoro blinked in confusion, but stood still and rigid, his muscles ready to spring him into action—defense, offense, fight or flight. "What?"

He heard Sanji growl in exasperation. "I got... nothing. No experience, no god damn frame of reference, I've never fucking touched a man before this –well, except Saul, but anyway—just... I need..." Sanji stalled, and the silence began to stretch.

Trying to process what he was hearing while also trying to keep the situation from blowing sky high was difficult for Zoro, but thankfully something in him told him this was not a good time to be silent. Trope would not be silent. What the fuck would Christian say to a client that dumped all this on him?

"Practice," Zoro finished for him. Sanji wouldn't have been able to say it, because Zoro wouldn't have either.

So why did he just say that? Just a moment ago he was already planning his escape route, and now he was back to playing prostitute and asking himself what would Christian do?

Sanji took another drag off his cig and put a nonchalant hand on his hips. "Yeah, I guess. And you're here, I need the practice, I can pay you... What do you got to lose?"

Zoro almost reacted to that, but he was paranoid that any of his typical behavior would reveal himself.

"So," he kept his voice hushed, "you want to pay a whore to pop your cherry?"

He said it that way on purpose, as a sort of last ditch attempt to wake Sanji up to what he was doing. The chef could do whatever he wanted and whatever decision the love-cook made would be the right one because Sanji had made the call for himself.

But Zoro also knew that he could have taken care of this for Sanji in another place, at another time, in the daylight or in the soft glow of an inn lantern. And then he could look Zoro in the eye, and Zoro would make sure Sanji didn't regret giving him that privilege.

"No," Sanji said flatly, surprising Zoro yet again. "You're clumsy at this stuff aren't you? Are you new or something?"

"Sort of," he muttered quickly. Think, you dumb fucker!

Sanji snorted and sat down the edge of the bed. "Well, whatever. I'm just gonna... return the favor."

Zoro's knees suddenly unlocked from the tight stance he was in and he took a small step forward to catch himself. Sanji wanted to blow him. He wanted to put that mouth on his very, very hard cock.

Sanji reached across and patted the chair as invitation. Zoro slowly approached and lowered himself where Sanji had been sitting before.

Sanji hesitated for just a moment before slid off the edge of the bed and onto his knees in front of Zoro. The swordsman's heart and breathing stopped when Sanji reached over him to put his cigarette in the ashtray next to the chair. He was so fucking close.

Don't start thinking, pervert chef, Zoro willed at the other man. Don't figure it out...

Zoro felt the other man's hands slide up his hips, resting just at the waistband of Trope's pants. He heard Sanji take a deep breath before he slid the fabric down to his knees.

Zoro almost came then. He could feel Sanji's hot breath ghosting over his length. The chef's calloused hands slid up his now bare thighs.

"Any advice?" Sanji laughed softly, one hand wasting no time in gripping Zoro's cock at the base.

Fuck, fuck, fuck, was everything that summed up Zoro's existence in that moment.

"Watch the teeth," he managed instead.


Was he really going to do this? Was this really happening?

Sanji slid his hands up Trope's thighs, letting his fingers feel the smooth skin, the heat at his hips, the first gentle swell of muscle on his lower abs.

Trope was shaking. Sanji could hear the trembling in his breath, feel it in the muscles of his thighs. It was more than just excitement. Even if Trope hadn't confessed to being knew, Sanji could sense it. Knowing this, the cook felt his confidence returning. He took a breath and wrapped his hand around the prostitute's rock-hard erection.

"Any advice?" he asked, unable to keep the gentle chuckle out of his words.

Trope shivered under his hands and it made Sanji feel very powerful.

"Watch the teeth."

Shivers rocketed down Sanji's spine. Trope's voice was so sexy. It kind of sounded like Zoro's when the swordsman was half asleep, or drunk. It had that gravelly, rough edge to it that Zoro's did. That quiet promise of something more powerful hidden behind blunt words and short phrases. Of course, Sanji knew it was just his mind playing tricks on him. He was enjoying the fact that this prostitute was a lot like Zoro physically, so his want for it to actually be Zoro was manifesting in this man's voice. He wanted to hear Zoro, so in a way, he sort of was hearing Zoro.

Sanji quickly considered telling Trope to turn on the light. Maybe he kind of looked like Zoro too?

No, that was doubtful. There was no way he looked like Zoro. If he turned on the light Sanji knew without a shadow of a doubt he would be disappointed. Best to leave Trope a mystery.

Sanji's hand gave Trope's cock a few slow strokes. He felt his confidence wavering at the thought of actually putting it in his mouth, but when the prostitute let out a quiet breath and arched, the cook's ego spiked a little. Sanji was good with his hands, he knew this, and he knew how this was supposed to feel. He could do this, he just had to do what he knew felt good. He just had to do what Trope just did to him.

I can do this…

Sanji leaned in and ran his tongue up the underside of Trope's erection. He didn't think about the texture or the taste, he just did it. He could think about that stuff later. He pumped the length again, faster this time, and slid his tongue up the underside again. He felt Trope's body tensing under him, and his confidence returned in full.

The prostitute's breathing hitched as Sanji put his lips over the tip and sucked softly. He ran his tongue around the bottom of the head like he knew felt amazing. He griped around the base and pumped as he licked and sucked, increasing the pressure, building up for what he planned to do next.

Trope groaned and Sanji was sure he heard the arm rests creak. The cook was going to laugh if the prostitute broke the chair. That was such a Zoro thing. He had actually seen the swordsman do that before when he was getting blown by an exceptionally attractive woman.

Stop thinking about Zoro!

Pulling back, Sanji pumped Trope's cock hard and fast a few times. He moved in closer, slid a hand to grip the man's hip. Sanji braced himself and ghosted his lips over where Trope was leaking out onto his hand.

"…Shit…" Sanji whispered.

He went for it.

He slid his mouth over Trope's length. He pressed himself down as far as he could go. It was easier than he had expected, just a little awkward. He made sure to put his lips over his teeth as he pulled back up. He sucked hard, just like how he would have liked it.

It wasn't so bad. It made sense. It was easier than pleasuring a woman because he knew exactly what to do, exactly how to do it. It was actually kind of empowering. He had Trope literally in the palm of his hand, writhing under his touch. Those sounds he was making were so amazing, so sexy. His body, tightening, tensing under his hands. The way—

The cock in his mouth pulsed once, hard. Sanji knew what that meant and quickly pulled off. He jerked Trope's length hard and fast, actually satisfied with the warm splash of cum over his hand. He wasn't ready to get it in his mouth yet, but it still felt good knowing he had done it. He had gotten the other man off with, well, basically nothing.

Sanji gave Trope a moment to catch his breath before he chuckled softly. He stood, pulling his cigarette pack from his pocket.

"That was kinda fast."

The sweet ache of orgasm hadn't fully left Zoro's loins by the time he began panicking. He was too vulnerable and if he gave the chef a moment longer to figure it out, he would.

Not being very graceful about it, the swordsman rearranged his trousers and nearly jumped over Sanji and the chair to get out of the room. He muttered a thanks as he left and dashed down the hallway. It didn't sound like Sanji was following him. He took a left, then a right, and fuck where the hell was he supposed to meet up with Lev again?

His mouth, Zoro's mind was spinning. Move, move, oh fuck his mouth…

Thankfully Lev was keeping an eye out and spotted Zoro before he spotted Lev. Drawing him into the room, he asked, "Well, how'd it go?"

Zoro had no words. He started stripping out of Trope's clothes as Lev handed him his own. He never should have gone in there. Even if Sanji never found out, Zoro felt wrong for doing it. He'd wanted it, he'd lusted after the experience, but now he wanted Sanji to know it had been him. But he knew deep down Sanji could never know. Being gay was one thing to find out about your crewmate, but if Sanji ever found out about this, the chef could very easily call it non-consensual.

Not that Sanji himself had better morals when it came to women. He'd seen the man weep in jealousy at a devil fruit user who could become invisible, because Sanji himself had always dreamt of the ability to be naked and unnoticed in a women's bathhouse.

"Fine," he answered instead. "Gotta get down there."

Sanji couldn't tell honestly if he felt more smug about his obvious natural talent, or ashamed that he'd obviously embarrassed the new guy. Trope had quickly rearranged himself and rushed out without another word except a small "thanks" as he flew out the door.

He smoked another cigarette before shrugging and deciding to leave. He'd more than compensated the companion that was for sure.

Rounding the corner back toward the staircase that would deposit him in the foyer leading to the bar, Sanji had been too immersed in his thoughts to notice there was a man standing at the bottom of the stairs until he got four or five steps away from him. The chef was busy arranging his cuff when he looked up, straight into a pair of black, unflinching eyes.

"You've been here too long to be looking for me," Zoro said, his voice low. "Find what you were lookin' for?"

Sanji's leg was in the air and ready to connect with Zoro's head before a resounding, clear "Ahem" interrupted them.

Standing calmly in the foyer was the manager.

"It has been a very enjoyable evening hosting you gentlemen. I had hoped that we would be able to extend our hospitality until the morning." He blinked, no tone of menace accompanying his words. Nonetheless, Sanji slowly lowered his leg, and Zoro stepped out of Sanji's way and let him through.

"Allow me to get you gentlemen a drink," he quipped, and Zoro followed Sanji into the lounge. The sharply dressed manager bowed and pointed the crewmates to a seat. "Sit."

The two did as they were told, and drinks were soon laid before them.

The manager hovered only a moment longer and said, "There you are gentlemen. Have a good evening."

Finally, Sanji and Zoro looked at each other again.

"Why'd you try to kick me you shitty—"

"Because you fucking followed me here—"

"I didn't fucking follow you and when the hell did you decide you were gay?"

There. He said it. The word hung in the air like the ding of a bell for too long.

Zoro picked up his drink and downed it. Sanji only continued to grip his glass, giving the swordsman a glowering stare.

Initial guilt and shock from the whole god damn night aside, Zoro knew what his game plan was now. Sanji needed to get comfortable with this situation quick, or Sanji would push him away.

"When you found out about me you kicked my ass all over the beach. Now look at us and you're still kicking my ass," Zoro griped, ignoring Sanji's desire to be too-serious.

The swordsman watched as the chef slowly eased his death grip on the drink. "I didn't exactly plan for you to be at the bottom of those stares. Needless to say I was a little shocked," he said through still-gritted teeth.

"So you're mad 'cuz you found me at exactly the place I'm most likely to be found," Zoro grunted, waving it off. "Or to be precise, I found you at the place I'm most likely to be found."

"It's none of your business—"

Zoro set his drink down hard and glared. "Not my business? Was it your fucking business when you stalked me outside the last brothel? Get the fuck over it, shit-cook. I had to."

Sanji's lips turned up in a snarl as he leaned in across the small space between them.

"You already knew what the fuck was going on with you! You already knew how you felt and what you wanted before I came along! Nothing I said or did or whatever was going to change anything!"

The cook stopped then and slid down into his seat. He seemed to realize he was making a small scene and he lowered his voice as he continued. "I waited outside that brothel because I was pissed you were hiding something so important from me, like you didn't trust me or something."

Zoro ground his teeth. "That's exactly what you were doing just now you hipp—"

Abruptly, Sanji sat back up and slammed his hand down on the table with enough force to jar the glasses and knock the vase filled with flowers off onto the floor.

"How could I have been hiding something from you when I didn't know anything!"

Zoro froze, his mouth clamping down on the words he had been about to say. Sanji seethed at him from across the table. His lips were still curled into a snarl, and his blue eyes were aflame, but the swordsman knew the cook well enough to know Sanji was feeling much more than just simple rage.

"Shit…" Sanji growled as he retrieved his pack from his shirt pocket and pulled out a cigarette. He took a few moments to light up and take a few long drags, leaning his body back against the cushions of the booth and closing his eyes. Several of the patrons and companions alike had paused in their conversations to glance over at the two pirates, but after a long beat of Sanji just smoking and Zoro giving them death glares, they resumed minding their own business.

Zoro turned back to Sanji and watched him in silence. The cook's outburst and not rendered him speechless by any means, but he knew better than to break Sanji's moment of self-composure.

When it appeared the cook had calmed down a little, Sanji opened his eyes and reached for his glass, downing two thirds of whatever was sloshing against the rim.

"I wanted…" Sanji began softly, "I wanted to know what was going on with me. I wanted to just… figure things out for myself without anyone giving me shit about it."

Zoro's hand tightened around his own glass. The cook's words cut him like a knife.

"I wouldn't have given you shit. What the hell kind of person do you think I am?"

Sanji closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. "That's not what I meant. I don't mean giving me shit about figuring stuff out, I meant…" The cook made a soft noise in the back of his throat and he leaned forward, resting his elbows on the table.

"I don't know. I don't know what I meant. Fuck." He took another deep drag. "But… what if I had told you, huh?"

Zoro's eyebrows rose. "What?"

"What if I had told you?" Sanji ran his fingers over his brow as though he might be able to smooth the wrinkles if he just pressed hard enough. "What if I had told you about Saul and everything that had happened and about being curious… and then I had come here and I'd hated it, or I had decided fuck no, I can't do this?"

Sanji started rubbing his eyelids. "I didn't want to do that to you…"

After a minute or so of silence, Zoro figured the cook was done talking. He relaxed back into his seat and watched Sanji smoke and finish off the last of his drink without pressing the other man. Zoro knew Sanji would continue if he wanted to, and if he didn't, there wasn't anything Zoro could do or say to make him.

Not that Zoro could have spoken if he had wanted to. His heart was beating so heard in his chest he could feel it in the back of his throat. If he opened his mouth now it was possible he would choke on it. Who the fuck was Saul? What the hell had happened at that last island? Had Christian done something? What was Sanji's talking about?

And, shit. Sanji hadn't said it explicitly, but he had definitely alluded to not hating it. He had seemed enthusiastic back in the room, and now he was sitting here, seemingly okay with sitting in a male brothel, having a drink and not saying he had hated it.

It took significant effort for Zoro to push the excitement and confusion about the whole thing down to where we could manage it. And even more to get past the hurt and jealousy that had boiled up over the things Sanji had just revealed. However, dangerous emotions aside, Zoro took comfort in the fact that he was the one that was here, with Sanji now. No one else, just him. Zoro. The swordsman decided right then that for now this whole thing might be easier if he just pushed his pride down too, along with everything else.

"I'm not angry…" Zoro murmured.

Sanji scoffed. "Oh good. My emotional and physical state at this moment in my life was heavily dependent on whether or not you were angry with me."

Instead of taking the bait and retaliating, Zoro kept his voice even, calm.

"I'm serious, I'm not mad. I'm just… here."

Finally, Sanji looked up. He opened his eyes and studied Zoro through the fingers that lazily held his cigarette. The silence stretched on for several minutes. The two men just sat, studying each other. Zoro waited as patiently as his training would let him.

When Sanji dropped his gaze, it was only then that Zoro realized he had been holding his breath.

"Get me another drink, will you?" Sanji growled.

Zoro felt as if a weight had lifted from his shoulders. He still felt a little raw inside, but at least Sanji was okay. Or on his way back to being okay, or something.

"That last one wasn't enough?"

"Oh, God no," Sanji made a face. "I plan on drinking until I black out."

Zoro made a noise. "Well, that won't be too hard. What do you need, like one more? Two maybe?"

"Shut the fuck up and get that waiter over here."

Later, when the number of empty glasses on the table had tripled, and Sanji's cheeks had turned the color of ripe tomatoes, the cook cocked his head to the side and said in a thick slur,

"Hey, Zoro, where the hell are your earrings?"

A month passed. The Strawhats sailed through friendly and not-so-friendly waters. They made port on several islands, and battled many strange and interesting… things. The crew members felt nothing was different than it had been weeks before, and if anyone thought it was weird that the cook and the swordsman were fighting less and sometimes even managed to speak a few civil words to each other, they weren't saying anything.

Zoro rested against the railing. The evening was brilliant. The sun was shining warmly even as it began to set, and the sea was friendly. The swordsman's belly was full and he had a bottle, half gone, sitting at his side. The cook had been more accommodating as of late with the alcohol, and Zoro had decided that no matter what kind of beating his feelings had taken over the last few weeks, it had been worth it. No more sneaking into storage. No more fighting tooth and finely-polished shoe just to get a drink. If he wanted one, now days, he just asked.

Of course, the beating on his feelings was significant. Every time they hit land and the crew split up to enjoy themselves, Zoro and Sanji magically ended up going somewhere together. Not brothels, they had not visited a brothel, female or male, since that fiasco with Trope, and the drinking, and Zoro having to break into a room and interrupt Lev and another client to get his earrings back. The two of them usually ended up at some bar, surrounded by women, and just drank until signing seemed like a good idea.

It would have been fine, except that Sanji was so good with people. He had always been good with women when he wasn't spewing hearts up into the sky and crying "Mellorine~!" to everything with breasts, but now he was also getting more comfortable with men as well. It was really difficult sometimes not to just crack open a skull or two. Sanji was exceptionally attractive, and when he made it apparent that he swung in more ways than just the ladies, certain types of men always started to move in. Zoro knew, and counted on, that Sanji could handle himself, but whenever some friendly guy started to get close and put his dirty, rotten hands on Sanji's arm or thighs, it was all Zoro could do to not just blow a fucking gasket.

It always ended the same way. They got drunk, had some fun, managed to not get in a fight (or if they did it was a small one), and then they would call it a night and go back to the ship. The two of them would make their way down the street, swaying from side to side, Sanji leaning heavily on Zoro for support. They never took anyone up on their offers, and they never left without each other. It worked out, it always did, but that didn't put any sort of balm to Zoro's emotional bruising.

Zoro knew that Sanji was okay with flirting, but he was uncomfortable picking anyone up. As to why, Zoro had no idea, but as long as Sanji was cool with just drinking and spending the night with him, Zoro was perfectly content and he wasn't going to complain.

Jerking off in the shower had become a thing, however. Not a normal, couple times a week thing. It was more like a twice a day thing.

This arrangement was becoming so routine, that Zoro was starting to let himself fantasize that Sanji didn't need anything else but him. Obviously, this was stupid and totally self-indulgent, but Zoro was a little pent up, and it was almost impossible not to think those things when a drunk, giggly, Sanji drapes himself over your shoulders and whispers "let's go home" in your ear.

Taking a long drink from the bottle, Zoro sighed. He listened to his crew shout excitedly as they neared the latest island that had some flowery name Zoro couldn't remember. It was supposedly a large merchant town with all kinds of food and wares and supplies that the crew could go nuts over. They had a big shopping excursion planned for the morning, but because it was so late, Nami had suggested they let loose for the night. Everyone could use a little downtime. The ship still hadn't been completely cleaned of the blood from their last run in with Marines.

"I can smell the meat from here!" Luffy exclaimed.

"Get yourself back on this deck you!" Nami chirped. "At least wait until we've reached the port before you go flying into a building!"

Zoro could hear Brook laugh. Chopper was talking to Robin in an excited tone, and Usopp was saying something about something that probably wasn't true, but Zoro just let it all fade into pleasant background as he started to drift off. They still had fifteen minutes at least before they would need him. Might as well nap.



"Oi, Marimo."

Zoro opened one eye and slid a half-glare up in the cook's direction.


Sanji puffed on his cigarette but said nothing. He merely jerked his head to the side, beckoning for Zoro to follow him before he turned and walked away.

Sighing, Zoro momentarily considered ignoring the cook, but then he thought better of it. Pulling himself to his feet, the swordsman grabbed his bottle and followed Sanji up the stairs. The cook leaned against the railing and slipped his hands into his pockets.

Zoro stood beside him, not knowing what exactly he was supposed to do.

"What?" he asked again, stifling a yawn.

Sanji didn't speak for a moment, didn't move, but when he did, his voice was low.

"Look out at the town, idiot."

Zoro suppressed the urge to just nock the cook over the head and go back to his nap, but he turned and surveyed the town. It was big, with tall buildings and long, wide streets housing booths upon booths, tents filled with all kinds of colorful things, and many different kinds of…


There it was. The emblem with the sun painted on the side of a wide, stone building. It could be seen, clear as day from the water. Obviously on purpose as it would be good for business. They hadn't seen a male brothel on their last couple stops, not that they had really been looking, but there it was now, calling out to them—to Sanji, apparently.

Zoro's heart started to pound and he looked over at the cook. He said nothing. He waited.

Sanji took a drag and lifted a hand to pluck the cigarette from his mouth.

"You wanna go?"

Zoro shrugged, not really trusting his voice. He needed it, he wanted it. But what the hell was he supposed to do once Sanji disappeared with another man? Could he handle it? Or was he just going to go insane and kill a bunch of expensive whores because he couldn't control his lust for a stupid bad-mouthed cook that would never look twice at him that way—

"I don't think I'll do anything," Sanji said quietly. "The companions we talked to before—Christian and Saul and them—they said that men came in all the time and just talked."

Okay, this was good. Maybe this would be okay.

Zoro nodded slowly.

Sanji took another drag. "We can rent a lounge or something. I'll hang out and you can go do your thing. Then we can get drunk."

Zoro didn't want to say yes. He wanted to just say fuck the island. Fuck the brothel. Fuck the bars and the dirty men. They could just stay on the ship. They could drink the wine in storage. They could talk about whatever Sanji wanted, and if the stupid cook felt like experimenting, Zoro was ready and willing to be his test subject.

But really now, how could he say that?

"I'll get my coin."