The night was calm and still, nothing but the bright moon and the silent stars peering at their bobbing reflections in the darkness of their sea-mirror. If Zoro squinted slightly he could imagine that their little ship was trapped inside a giant dark marble made with specks of glitter, floating on an unseen eternity.

He rubbed his eyes with his palms and resolved not to have such thoughts ever again.

The breeze coming off the sea was making pleasant caresses up the sleeves of his shirt and through his unusual green hair, making his three earrings tinkle together like a delicate wind chime. He closed his eyes and breathed in the smell of the cool sea. The salty taste of it prompted his stomach to remind him he was hungry.

The lights were still on in the galley, so that possibly meant that the kitchen might still be open if its resident cook was in an amicable mood. Which was never.

Sanji hummed to himself as he prepared ingredients for the next day's stew, deftly peeling vegetables with quick, agile movements and encouraging marinade into fillets of meat by massaging them tenderly. As he was putting the meat away in the fridge the galley door opened, and from the heavy steps he knew it wasn't Nami.

"What do you want?" He enquired briskly from inside the appliance.

"What is there to eat?"

Sanji closed the fridge door emphatically after recognising the voice, and stared at its owner.

"For you, nothing." He said, rinsing his hands and resuming the vegetable peeling.

Zoro glared at Sanji's back as he peeled, and was about to launch into a tirade of abuse when he noticed some apples in a bowl on the table.

"These look good, I'll take one"

The cook glanced over his shoulder. "Like hell you will, I got those for Nami-san. Your ass is as good as minced if you so much as touch one, shitty marimo."

A crunch. Sanji's body stiffened.

"If I turn around," He began, slowly, "And you have your filthy mouth around one of those apples; those sweet, red, juice-filled rarities that I spent hours finding in the last port for exclusive consumption by my dearest Nami-san, your life won't be worth living, do you understand?"

He turned. Zoro was holding the half of the apple he hadn't eaten yet and staring back at him.

"What'd you say?" He said through a mouthful. "S'good."

Sanji grabbed the nearest cleaver and was across the room bearing down on Zoro before the other man had a chance to swallow. He parried the blow with a blade quickly drawn by his free hand, while the cook's other hand grabbed Zoro's face; palm over his mouth with fingers pushing at the forbidden fruit inside his cheeks. It made Zoro lose concentration only for a moment, but it was enough to give Sanji the opportunity to hook his foot under Zoro's ankles and force him to the floor. The impact made him drop the precious apple, which rolled away and came to a stop under the table having picked up whatever detritus was on the galley floor along its journey.

He looked cautiously from the wasted fruit up to the cook, and managed to roll out of the way just before the cleaver fell where his groin would have been. Standing quickly, he drew another blade and took a stance.

"What the hell's wrong with you, shitty cook?! You're the one who knocked it out of my hand!"

"I told you not to touch, bastard!"

Sanji brought the knife at Zoro again but he caught the strike on his swords in such a way that allowed him to push the weapon out of the cook's hand and fling it into the wall. A premature victorious grin earned him a hard kick to the gut. As he staggered backwards Sanji knocked the swords from his hands with a deft flying kick and span to follow it with another. Zoro caught his thigh and, curling his fingers into the cook's shirt for leverage, flung Sanji against the wall and pinned him there. With Zoro wedged between his legs, Sanji was unable to move.

Zoro smirked. "If I stay like this there's nothing you can do, is there? Looks like you'll just have to admit I'm the better fighter."

Sanji's lip curled in annoyance.

"You're just lucky this room's too small for me to get off any proper kicks! If we were outside I'd finish you easy."

Then it dawned on Zoro how close they were, pressed together into the wall. He could smell the heady mixture of cigarettes, coffee and aftershave-masked testosterone coming from the other man and became very aware that he and Sanji were groin-to-groin. The more he tried to push away the thought that he was in between the cook's legs the more it consumed his mind, mixing with the confusion of them keeping the position for nearly half a minute now (though for all Zoro knew it could have been hours, each precious second seeming to stretch out like dough worked by Sanji's talented fingers) with neither of them willing to break the moment. Was he to assume it was ok, then? Ok to be between his thighs, ok to be pressed against him and feeling the warmth from his body, ok to have his fingers tangled in his shirt, ok to be so close to his lips…

Zoro felt the powerful muscles in Sanji's thigh relax, but he made no attempt to move. He swallowed hard and released his grip on the cook's shirt, smoothing out the wrinkles he'd made in it and pushing his palm against the other man's chest. The racing heartbeat beneath it caused him to blush. They'd just had a fight, surely it was from that.

He slowly drew his eyes up to level with Sanji's, only to find that they were closed. His breathing was heavy between parted lips that were at once a million times more irresistible than the forgotten apple.

Nowhere to go then, but forward…it's too late for either of us to back down now.

Zoro leaned his head forward gently, cautiously brushing Sanji's lower lip with his and hesitating; no response, good or bad. He leaned in again, parting his lips and pressing his mouth to the other man's. To his amazement, Sanji kissed back.

Zoro moved the hand on Sanji's thigh from underneath it to on top, allowing the cook to drop his leg to the floor as it stroked up and came to rest on his hip. The softness of the kiss, the heat from the other man's body and the occasional brush of stubble was pushing Zoro close to breaking point.

He hinted to Sanji that he was to open his lips wider and he obliged, allowing Zoro to slip his tongue inside and gently stroke across his own. The swordsman tasted of sweet sake.

As the kiss deepened Zoro was sure that his heart was about to burst. He could feel his pulse all over; a rhythmic throbbing that begged his body to begin another pulsing, thrusting rhythm. He pushed his hand up over Sanji's chest until his fingers made contact with the delicious warm nape of his neck. They stroked upwards, finding themselves in the cook's soft curtained hair and behind his ear. Sanji brought an arm up and pushed Zoro's hand away. That was fine; too intimate a gesture, perhaps. The rejected hand joined the other, resting on the cook's hip instead.

With both of his hands on Sanji's hips Zoro's urges became overwhelmingly strong; the higher centres of his brain giving up and diverting all focus to raw, primal needs. He wanted Sanji naked and to be inside him, thrusting into that hot, tight space until rapturous orgasm took them both. It was unbearable. He slid his hands down over trouser-imprisoned buttocks, gripping tight and pressing his erection against the other man's groin. The sensation of Sanji's hard cock against his, separated only by a few layers of clothing was almost enough to push him over the edge. He could already feel that his shorts were wet and sticky from pre-come, but it wasn't enough to make him even think of holding back in the slightest. He ground his hips into Sanji's; glorious slow circular movements that forced the cook to draw in breath sharply, but without breaking his lips from Zoro's.

Finally Sanji gave in to the moment and raised his hands to Zoro's body, pushing away at his shoulder and pulling at his shirt in equal measure. This ambiguity would have confused the other man, had it not been for the feverish urgency and sudden forcefulness of Sanji's kiss. The swordsman's hands released his ass and moved round to the front, pulling frantically at his belt and then unzipping…a pause. Zoro's fingers rested just within the waistband of Sanji's underwear, refusing to go deeper.

This proposed a dilemma. For Sanji to tell Zoro it was ok to proceed down into his shorts would cause all kinds of problems, but to abandon this misadventure here was unthinkable. He couldn't admit that he wanted more from the stupid shitty bastard but he did, desperately. If he could just work it out by himself that Sanji wasn't explicitly going to tell him 'no' then everything would be fine…

The fingers pushed down a little deeper. Then a little more, down into the cook's warm curls. The cautious movements were making the man shudder under Zoro's touch, and he noticed that the hand pulling him in had become much stronger than that pushing him away.

Fine then. You had your chance for protest.

He pushed his hand inside the other man's shorts and felt his erection, tight and ready to burst. Zoro thought it might have been received with the faintest murmur, no sound betraying it only the slightest vibration against his lips. If Sanji did that again Zoro knew that would be the end for him. It was hard enough to distract himself from the tight, hard cock between his fingers and the prospect of Sanji coming against him. He quickened his movements and watched Sanji's face strain with increasing pleasure, curled brows knitting together as his head tilted back against the wall. The cook reached up and flicked off the light switch. Though Zoro was unsure why, he didn't ask and Sanji didn't tell him, neither of them making a sound as though to do so would break the spell of the shared moment, returning them to the reality of life aboard the Merry where no such things should happen between nakama.

In the darkness everything intensified. Every sensation that wasn't sight became cleaner. Zoro was more aware of the other man's shuddering breath, the fingers tightening in his shirt and the feeling as he moved his hand along Sanji's erection from curl-enveloped base to taut head. Never before had he experienced such burning want as that which was overtaking his senses in that moment.

As his eyes adjusted to the gloom he was able to make out the shape of Sanji's neck and jaw, picked out by fingers of silver moonlight flooding in through the porthole window. He traced his tongue up it and kissed just under his jaw below the ear, and Sanji came. Zoro felt hot pulsing fluid cover his hand and the inside of Sanji's shorts as the cook clenched his teeth and let shuddering spasms of ecstasy surge from his groin and flood his body. When he was finished, Zoro removed his hand and wiped it unthinkingly on his shirt. He leant against Sanji and was about to speak when the door opened.

Both men stiffened. Sanji peered over Zoro's shoulder at the intruder. From the silhouette and the way he was sniffing the air for food there was no one else it could possibly be. He pushed Zoro away and zipped himself back up silently before closing in.

"Luffy," He said menacingly from behind the captain.

Luffy turned around slowly and attempted an apologetic grin.

"Oh, Sanji! Ha ha! I thought you'd gone to bed…"

"What did I tell you about midnight raids on the fridge?"

Luffy thought for a second. "They are…good?" He replied. It earned him a swift heel to the head.

"I told you not to come in here after meals, idiot! Otherwise there's never food left for anyone else the next day! OUT!"

Luffy left the galley hastily and the door slammed shut behind him.

"That was a little close," Zoro said from the shadows.

Sanji placed a cigarette between his lips and lit it with a match, drawing in a deep breath and letting it billow out into the dark. He watched it rise, crossing the shafts of moonlight in glittered dancing swirls.

"What are you waiting for?" He asked, keeping his back to the other man.

Zoro felt the sharp feeling of rejection take hold in his gut. As if the interruption by Luffy hadn't killed the mood enough. Fine, he could take a hint. Zoro walked out of the galley and left Sanji alone in the darkness.

~*~

Things were exactly the same as they had always been. Sanji set the tone by treating Zoro with the same contempt as before, and the swordsman reciprocated duly with acidic remarks on the cook's sordid nature. Nothing had changed.

Zoro focussed his mind on lifting weights so he didn't dwell on their encounter. The simple, repetitive actions cleared his head of complicated notions and his thoughts could be still for a while, allowing him to know nothing except the breath in his chest and the ache in his arms as different muscles took responsibility for movement.

But like the ripples caused by a pebble thrown into a still, dark pond the effects were unavoidable. Questions that lurked beneath the surface of his consciousness would take this opportunity to surface and announce themselves without being drowned out by background noise. Questions that demanded answers he couldn't provide.

He gave in and lowered the dumbbells to the floor, accepting begrudgingly that it was obviously going to be too much to ask his thoughts to be quiet tonight. He stood for a while; eyes shut and letting the sea breeze dry the sweat on his naked chest before pulling on his shirt. Time to crawl into bed and hope that dreams were kinder than waking thoughts.

He paused at the top of the stairs leading from the upper to the lower deck, certain he recognised the lingering aroma of tobacco hanging in the air. He allowed himself the merest precious flash of memory from that night and then locked it away again, pushing it down deep below the surface.

The wooden stairs made gentle complaints under his footsteps, like sighs. The smell of tobacco became stronger. Zoro found the cook just round the corner, seated on the floor with elbows resting on his knees. Sanji watched Zoro pass from under a raised eyebrow, tilting his head back and letting smoke rise gently from between his parted lips.

"Oi," He said.

The swordsman stopped and turned to him, but said nothing. Sanji got to his feet, putting the cigarette between his teeth and straightening his clothes. They stared at one another. The cook slipped his hands into his pockets. Zoro began to walk off again.

"Oi." Sanji insisted.

"What?"

"Are you pissed?" Sanji mocked, taking a drag from the cigarette.

"About what?" Zoro grumbled.

"The other night." He said, regarding Zoro carefully. "That it was so, 'one-sided'."

"Whatever. I'm not." Zoro replied flatly.

Sanji looked up at the night sky and let out a soft laugh.

"So you are pissed." He grinned, flicking the cigarette away off the side of the boat. "I didn't know you were so sensitive."

"Fuck off, bastard."

"Wait, wait."

Sanji's fingers caught the back of Zoro's shirt and held him.

"I don't want any weird left-over shit like 'I owe you one'." He explained.

"Like I said, whatever, shitty cook."

Sanji sighed. "I guess it can't be helped. Unzip."

Zoro turned, not sure he'd heard right.

"What?"

The cook pushed him against the wall using only fingertips.

"I said 'unzip'." He repeated.

"What?"

"Does that green hair make you stupid as well as stupid-looking?" Sanji hissed. "Unzip. Your. Pants."

Zoro's mind was reeling. Another 'what' slipped out. Sanji set his jaw and leaned close to Zoro's face.

"I'm going to blow you." He whispered slowly. "Think of it as returning the favour you did for me the other night. This way we're square, right?"

Zoro felt the 'what' building on his tongue again. Sanji couldn't possibly mean what he understood by that term.

"Oh, and say 'what' again bastard and you can consider the favour null and void."

As Sanji had slipped to his knees Zoro's body had all but paralysed with the realisation of what he intended. What followed had become a hot, ecstatic blur of sensations indistinguishable in his memory; the actions of hands and mouth and tongue on his cock melting together until he could no longer tell one from the other.

He had tried to slide a hand into the cook's soft moon-lit hair but it had been batted away, like before. To touch was forbidden. Zoro had clasped his hands behind his back and held them there, away, knowing that the knuckles would be turning white from how hard he was clenching his fists. He'd tried his best to control his breathing, certain that the next breath to escape from between his lips would carry with it the moans of pleasure resting on his tongue and betray him to the man working him only as a repayment. These things had offered welcome distraction for a while, but the climax was inevitable and came more swiftly than Zoro had hoped.

Recognising the signs in him, Sanji had ceased his luxurious caress and removed his lips from Zoro's flushed and tight erection, standing and saying something about how the rest has up to him and as if he'd ever let him finish in his mouth, bastard. It had stung like a humiliating betrayal, though he didn't want to admit it.

~*~

The last cigarette before bed. Sanji always made it last as long as possible, savouring each drag in preparation for the long night ahead. A cool breeze was blowing out on the deck, tousling the cook's soft blonde hair and playing it into his eyes. He reached up and pushed back the untamed strands, breathing out and emptying his lungs as he did so. He drew in deeply through his nostrils, filling his chest with clean, fresh sea air. No comparison, really. He looked down at the cigarette stub held between his middle and fore-fingers.

Maybe I should quit one day. Maybe.

The last remnants of burnt tobacco blazed vibrant red and orange with the stiffening wind, which stole away glowing embers into the night sky. Sanji flicked the stub over the side of the ship, leaning over to watch the tiny light disappear as the sea extinguished it. Down below the waves were choppy, rising like dark slick oil and breaking against the Merry with ill omens for a good night's sleep. He never could sleep through stormy weather, unlike most of the others, especially-

He stared down at the dark waves, and wished he still had that cigarette. If ever there was reason to smoke, it was that. Fucking marimo bastard, taking advantage of people when it suited him.

Fingers and tongue

Nope.

Warm, hard

Not happening.

Tight grip

Not re-living it.

Don't stop don't stop don't stop oh FUCK

Sanji decided another cigarette was probably ok, at this point. He tapped one from the packet kept in his shirt pocket and drew it out with his teeth. The damn wind had gotten up, and he had difficulty lighting. He turned his back to it to shield his lighter, then drew in a wondrous deep nicotine-filled breath and waited for the thoughts to quiet. His hair was getting in his eyes, driven by the wind. He turned into it, squinting at the sudden forceful cold on his face. His shirt was flapping now. Time to go in.

As he flicked the cigarette over the side, an enormous gust rushed over the ship, almost knocking him off-balance and smacking into the sail with a huge noise. The Merry complained, deep, ominous creaks sounding from all around as the wood diffused the force. Sanji put his back to the side of the ship to steady himself, and watched the sail carefully. A drop in pressure, and the sail relaxed slightly. He put his arms out and gripped the rail with both hands. The force of the next gust was even stronger. Sanji felt the whole ship lurch in response to it catching the sail. He had to do something, or the whole mast might tear off and destroy the Merry entirely.

He fumbled with one of the ropes anchoring the sail beam to the bough, meaning to slacken it and let the sail fall to where it could do no damage to the mast. Another blast of wind caught the sail, tearing the rope from his hands and away, leaving it flapping in the wind like a captured bird and the rope floundering on the deck. There was a crunch from somewhere within the mast, the sound of tearing wood followed by a long, low creak that seemed to stretch the whole length of the ship's beam.

Sanji fell around after the loose rope, trying frantically to catch it and return it to its mooring. He felt the faint chill of moisture through his shirt. Rain.

He grasped the streaming rope and pulled hard on it, fighting against the wind, trying desperately to keep purchase on the deck and drag the stupid string to where it should be. He slipped, and fell to his knees. He'd managed to keep hold of the rope, but the rain had made the deck slick with wet. Sanji pushed himself up to his feet and tried again, pulling and pulling, backing slowly towards the mooring.

The wind was too strong. He couldn't pull it back far enough to tie it in a safe position. He yelled out to the others, screamed from the bottom of his lungs, but no one heard him, and no one came. The rope was biting into his fingers and hands, burning his skin. The rain had soaked both it and him, and he had to try even harder to maintain purchase. He tried again, easing his feet backwards, slowly, slowly, arms aching with the effort of it.

Sanji could barely see through his rain-drenched hair, plastered to his forehead like his shirt was plastered to his body, fighting the slippery surface of the deck and the powerful lurching of the boat on the waves. The mast creaked again. He yelled out, panting with exhaustion.

Two arms came from either side of him, hands gripping the rope. He recognised them. Sanji felt the warmth at his back that came from being close to someone. A welcome warmth to his chill body. The weight of an extra person added ballast to the rope, and it no longer felt as though it was about to whip out of his hands. The mast ceased its creaked protestations as they pulled the rope back, one tug at a time, their bodies moving together, brushing against one another. Finally, they anchored it to a safe mooring and the closeness dissolved. Sanji wound the rope so tight around the thing that it was unlikely to ever come off.

He suddenly remembered the heat of Zoro's body, and caught himself unawares. The cook turned to make a quip to the swordsman, to rebuke him and save face with his own mind, but Zoro was already moving off. Sanji watched him through the driving rain. Then he followed.

The inside of the ship's hold was warm and welcoming, lit only by a storm lantern in one corner which coloured everything but the shadows in a gentle orange hue. Zoro was drying his hair with rough towel scrubs, then his bare chest and back up to his neck. He looked over at Sanji, standing dripping wet in the doorway. Sanji stared back. Zoro threw him a fresh, dry towel and he caught it, covering his head with it and rubbing until his hair was mostly dry. He looked down, smoothing his tousled blond locks. There was still the matter of wet clothes. A swift glance up at the other man revealed Zoro to still be focussed on getting rid of the wet from his body.

Sanji placed the towel around his neck and reached down to unbutton his shirt. His injured hands complained at the effort, but he ignored them. For some reason he felt a faint hint of nervousness as he slipped the sodden thing off, leaving it dripping on top of the nearest crate. He gave Zoro a cautious glance, but he was still drying. He'd been drying for a long time. Sanji rubbed the towel over his chest, slowly, hoping the other man would finish and leave. He looked up again, and his eyes met the swordsman's. They held the gaze for a moment until the cook broke it, returning to the focussed task of drying himself. The low light concealed the flush in his cheeks.

He was concentrating so hard on not thinking about the situation that he hadn't noticed Zoro moving towards him. The next time he looked up, it was straight into the man's face. He started and opened his mouth to shout something, but Zoro took his hand and unfurled his fingers before he could do anything. He inspected the damage on Sanji's hands, testing the reddened skin gently with his thumb. His grip felt firm, but his caresses were tender. He made a small noise almost like a grunt as though he'd come to some sort of conclusion, and turned away.

Sanji caught him by the waist of his pants, on the hip. Zoro looked back at him with a puzzled expression. It had been some sort of instinctive reaction. The cook hadn't made the choice to do it, but his body had been overcome by some sort of compulsion. He could feel the heat of Zoro's skin against his fingertips, and the firmness of his muscle. He regained control of himself and removed them, clasping them instead into the towel hanging over his shoulder. The feeling of heat lingered in his mind. Zoro was watching him carefully, studying his facial expressions while keeping his own ambiguous.

Slowly, Zoro turned towards Sanji, lifting his hand and removing the soaked towel from the cook's shoulder. The other man didn't flinch. He lifted a hand to Sanji's face, catching a stray droplet of rain from his cheek with his thumb. His expression didn't falter. His eyes didn't avert from Zoro's, and he didn't turn away or push him back. He could see his own shadow thrown over the cook's body by the storm lantern. He reached over and touched Sanji's chest where the light was obscured, just by the very fingertips. He felt cold. Zoro wondered how long he'd been out there, in the now forgotten rain. Fingertips turned to fingers and palm. He stroked his hand slowly across the other man's chest, feeling the tight muscle and the rising breath beneath.

Zoro kissed him. It hadn't been unexpected, but the contact had still caused him to jolt. Zoro's lips broke from his for a moment, hovering only a slight distance away, their noses still brushing together. Sanji remained motionless, but at least he didn't run. Zoro's lips returned, more gently this time. One hand at his chest became two, moving over and down, brushing past his nipples and travelling down his sides, coming to rest tenderly on his hips. Thumbs applied gentle pressure to the groove between the muscles there, the ones leading to his groin.

Sanji felt Zoro's body press into his, pushing him back against the crate. The swordsman's hands travelled round to his back, fingertips gripping him as their half-naked bodies pressed together. There was no hiding his arousal now. The kiss deepened and Sanji relinquished, sliding his arms around Zoro's shoulders. His whole body was burning with heat. No one would know if they did it here. The other man had been discrete about all the other things that had passed between them. His fingers found themselves in Zoro's hair. The response in the other man was a short, guttural moan that Sanji felt in both his chest and lips.

The kiss was almost frantic now. Somehow, no matter how hard, it wasn't quite enough. When Zoro suddenly broke away, Sanji felt a sudden, heaving disappointment. His eyes snapped open to find Zoro looking at him again. His lips were full and parted, and Sanji wanted them back. He got his wish, but only momentarily before the other man broke off again, instead biting his bottom lip gently.

Then Zoro dropped to his knees, pushing Sanji's legs apart. He obliged. He made no protest as the other man unzipped him and brought down his pants and underwear. No hesitations like last time. Sanji felt another jolt as Zoro's mouth connected with his erection, except that this time it was from pleasure rather than surprise. As he worked, Zoro slowly eased down the cook's clothes until they were removed completely, then stood and removed his own so that they were naked together. Sanji watched him in the half-light of the hold as he leant back against the crate, fingernails digging into the wood. He watched the man's lips pass up and down his cock, head twisting this way and that to stimulate him. Occasionally Zoro would break off, licking him from base to head, lingering at the taut bridge between his head and foreskin, and again at his slit, testing his arousal from the taste of his pre-come. Sanji couldn't take any more. He warned Zoro by pushing away at his shoulder. Zoro paid no attention other than to slow his movements. Sanji shuddered as Zoro's fingers explored his groin, pressing behind his balls and slipping further down, down…the cook knew what he wanted, and he wanted it too. He opened his legs wider and Zoro entered him gently, first one finger then two. Sanji hit on Zoro's shoulder again. He was beginning to curl forwards. Zoro felt tightening fingers in his hair. He looked up into Sanji's face and almost came himself.

Zoro pressed somewhere inside and that was the end of it. The orgasm took his body in white streaks of hot pleasure, making him want to scream out. It felt as though every nerve-ending in his entire body was firing at once, and only from his groin. For the first couple of seconds after he came, he couldn't even see. When his eyes focussed, Zoro was standing between his legs, wiping his mouth off on the back of his hand.

He swallowed…

The swordsman stroked hands up his thighs, drawing delicious shudders. He gripped Sanji's hips and manoeuvred him so that he could support himself on the top of the crate. He felt Zoro's hard cock press against him, and slowly enter. He was bent forward so Sanji could only see the top of his head. He wondered what kind of expression he might be making. He reached down and lifted the swordsman's chin, raising his face. Zoro's expression was one of concentrated ecstacy, lips parted and eyebrows furrowed. Sanji could feel his warm, panting breath against his chest as he held back the urge to force himself into the cook's hot, tight space. Zoro lay his forehead against the other man's chest, and stopped. Then he withdrew, and stumbled to the bathroom.

Sanji heard the shower go on. For a moment he was confused, and stared after the other man. The sharp light from the bathroom flooded across the floor of the hold. Zoro wasn't coming back.

Is it because of what I said that time?

He looked down at his naked body, at all their discarded clothes, and felt an odd sense of disappointment.

~*~

"Ah Sanji! Your hands look much better!"

"All thanks to you." Sanji said, rubbing his palms and grinning at Chopper. "Can the bandages stay off now?"

"Sure, doesn't look like you need them any more."

He held his hands out in front of him, palms up. They were practically healed now, the only remnant of that night being a faint redness that came with new skin. Soon, the only thing left would be his memory of it. Sanji curled his fingers up.

"Everything ok?" Chopper asked.

"Yeah, just testing." He replied. "A cook without feeling in his hands is not a cook at all."

It finally felt good again. Sanji hummed to himself as he worked, chopping and peeling, scoring and searing his way through the lunch preparations. He had missed the sensation of the knife handle against his skin. Things were finally getting back to normal. Finally.

He laid the food out on the galley table, each dish pristine: gyoza, teriyaki and seafood salad. He called the rest of the crew in for lunch, knowing that it was about to become a battlefield.

The green one is missing.

Sanji got up from the table, unnoticed by the others who were too busy trying to defend their own plates from Luffy. Even Luffy was so engrossed he hadn't noticed that Sanji had taken a plate of teriyaki along with him.

He checked Zoro's usual sleeping spots, and finally found him on the deck behind the orange grove, snoring loudly with his arms behind his head.

"Oy." He announced. "Oy, bastard." Sanji gave Zoro's leg a tap to the shin with his heel.

"What, shitty cook?" He replied, one eye half open.

"Oh, don't suppose you'll want any of this then, shitty swordsman."

"What is it?" Zoro asked, sitting up.

"I don't think you deserve to know. I'll go give it to Nami-san instead." Sanji said, turning away.

"Hey, that's my food."

"Like hell it is! I made it, I'll give it to whoever I want!"

Zoro's gut made a low, slow growl. He looked away.

"You should have said something, if you were hungry." Sanji said, handing him the plate. Zoro took it from him and sat cross-legged on the deck.

"I'm not hungry," He managed, through a mouthful of food.

Sanji lit up and leaned over the side of the ship. Zoro finished the plate and lay his head back against the wooden railing.

"You have such an easy life, shithead. You do nothing but fucking eat and sleep."

"I do what I need to when I need to do it. Anything more is just wasted effort."

They were quiet for a while. The breeze shifted Sanji's hair across his other eye, and he pushed it away

"Anything more, you say…" He muttered.

Zoro was already asleep.

~*~

Everything was still. The jungle around him was so thick that even the air seemed viscous, stifled of any movement whatsoever by the densely overgrown trees and the leeching ferns that circled them. A faint dappling of sunlight on the undergrowth split the humid gloom, sparkling on the ferns where water from the previous night's rain had collected.

It was a waiting game; a trial of patience. Sanji knew it was there, hidden. All he had to do was be still and wait for the right time to move. A rivulet of sweat coursed down his spine to his lower back, and he was so alert that he could feel the sensation from each individual hair as the droplet passed. He fought the urge to scratch at it, and focussed his attention on the ferns in front of him. He stilled the breath in his chest, listening for the slightest sound. His eyes closed.

Suddenly, a movement from the side. By the time he'd turned, it was already too late. The boar he'd been stalking barrelled into him at full speed, lifting him off his feet and flinging him away. He felt the braches of the trees whip past his back as he flew through the air, but attempts at grabbing them proved useless. Then they were gone, and the sky opened up above him. He was falling.

A hard impact on his shoulder informed him that he'd made contact with the ground again, but that brought with it a different problem. Now he was rolling over and over through the undergrowth, unable to make sense of his direction or even which way was up any more. He readied his hands and shoved when they next made contact with anything, successfully righting himself. Unfortunately, the hill was too steep and he'd built up too much momentum to be able to stop without serious injury. It was then that he realised the boar was still chasing him, crashing through the steep jungle and roaring with rage. If Sanji could have stopped himself, it would have been an easy fight, but as it was he was running full-tilt down the side of a nearly-vertical slope, barely able to move his feet quickly enough to keep upright. He decided he'd have to sort it out at the bottom, which was already taking too damn long to find.

Zoro sighed. The island was pissing him off. Already he'd been awoken rudely three times in three different spots by carnivorous creatures eager to commit seppuku by disturbing his nap. At least he'd managed to find a trail of some sort, and he was hoping it might lead somewhere good.

It was irritating to have to follow Nami's every whim when it came to treasure-hunting. Of course the cook had thought it'd be a great idea, and of course Luffy had agreed. From his perspective there was fuck all here of interest, and he'd be back on the ship right now, having a good nap behind the tangerine grove after a delicious bottle of sake, if he hadn't gotten lost. Not that he'd ever admit that.

He stopped and turned up the hill. Something was coming. He drew his katana and grinned. About time something interesting happened. The foliage parted, and out of it flew a streak of black suit and blonde hair. Zoro had only a moment to register the sudden surprise on the cook's face before he piled into him, knocking him of the track. He felt the ground crumble beneath him, with a sickening feeling seizing his gut as he began to tumble backwards. Sanji was shouting something, but he didn't hear it. Zoro fell over the side of the steep path, pulling the cook with him by the leg. They slid down further, rolling and smashing through the undergrowth, tumbling over and over until finally they came to rest at the base of it.

"That was close." Muttered Zoro.

"That's why I told you to let go of me, asshole!" Sanji slapped the side of his palm into Zoro's forehead. Then he looked down. He had come to rest straddling Zoro. "What are you doing, shitty perverted marimo!?"

"The hell are you talking about?! You're the one on top!"

Sanji stood quickly and loped off, hands in his pockets. Then he came back, and raised a foot above Zoro's head. "Stop thinking about it!"

Zoro rolled out of the way and scrambled to his feet. "You're just pissed because you were thinking about it." He smirked, as Sanji brought his foot down.

"Like hell! Who'd think about that?"

Zoro grabbed him by the arms of his black jacket and shouldered him to the floor. "I dunno, what are you thinking about now?"

"Thinking about making you get the fuck off me!" Sanji yelled. Except it was a lie.

The jungle was much less oppressive at the foot of the slope. There was a light breeze and the floor of the clearing was carpeted by soft, lush grasses rather than choking ferns. Somehow circumstance had conspired to put Zoro between his legs again.

The other man moved so that his face was by Sanji's neck, and his weight was on Sanji's chest. He felt Zoro's lips at the very nape, slipping up to his ear.

"What are you thinking about now?" He whispered. Sanji remained silent, face turned away from Zoro.

I know you're stronger than this…if you don't want to then all you have to do is push me away…

He watched Sanji closely. His eyes closed. Zoro kissed him just under the chin then put a hand up to the cook's cheek, turning his head. Eyes still closed. Zoro watched the other man's face as his lips parted. He brushed his lips gently to Sanji's, then began to get up. Sanji's heels moved into the back of Zoro's knees, preventing his escape.

There's the strength I was expecting. If you want it, just say so…

The man beneath him was unmoving except for the breath in his chest. Zoro lay on top of him again and kissed him. He kissed back easily, slipping his hot tongue into Zoro's mouth.

I see…it's easier for you like this. This way you don't have to admit anything and you can allow me to bear all the responsibility for it. As long as I make all the moves you're satisfied with that...

He unbuttoned Sanji's black jacket and the shirt beneath it, and played his tongue slowly across the man's nipples. To his surprise, Sanji raised his hips fractionally, and rubbed his groin against Zoro's stomach. Zoro watched as he pushed his hand down into his own pants and beneath his underwear. His hand worked slowly beneath the clothes. Zoro unzipped Sanji's pants so he could move easier.

So I can see better.

Then he returned his attentions to Sanji's chest as he masturbated against him. It made Zoro so hard he could barely take it. He rolled Sanji over onto his stomach, then pulled him on top so that they were chest-to-back, with Zoro beneath. Sanji let his head fall back against Zoro's shoulder, his soft hair brushing the swordsman's cheek as his hands took over, moving slowly along Sanji's erection. Sanji opened his eyes a fraction, just enough to see Zoro's face. His eyes were tight shut and his cheeks were flushed. His lips were close. Sanji kissed them.

As their tongues melted together Zoro's other hand moved down to Sanji's thigh, applying an encouraging pressure that told the cook to spread his legs wider. Then the hand moved up with gentle caresses to his groin, slipping underneath his underwear to his balls. Sanji's hands clenched into fists, one in Zoro's shirt and the other in his hair. His breathing became laboured and his tongue slowed as his concentration navigated to the sensations at his groin. The building pleasure was becoming unbearable, and he willed Zoro to move his hand faster, but wouldn't tell him to do so. When the movements stopped, Sanji had to clench his teeth to stop from shouting out of frustration.

Zoro's hot tongue flirted with his earlobe, his firm hands at Sanji's groin pressing him down against the swordsman's grinding erection. At that point, he didn't care any more. He wanted to be naked and fucked, and now.

Almost as though Zoro had read his thoughts, he was flipped over with the other man on top of him, hands in the same position, except that Zoro's movements had become more thrusting than grinding, pressing Sanji hard into the grass with each motion. Zoro worked down Sanji's pants and underwear, and removed them together, flinging them off into the undergrowth somewhere. He grabbed Sanji's naked ass and shifted his hips so that they angled upwards and entered him, causing him to suck in air through clenched teeth. He felt a sudden surge of guilt and wished he'd gone slower, mistaking Sanji's expression for pain rather than the sudden wave of overwhelming pleasure he'd felt. He began to move, thrusting in and out, watching his erection disappear into that tight space.

Beneath him, Sanji had one hand clenched in the lush grasses and one beneath his head, obscuring his face. The hand in the scrub clenched harder as Zoro worked up a rhythm.

"Is this…is this ok?" Zoro asked. Sanji nodded without raising his head.

This wasn't like the times before, the snatched moments. This time, he could see everything. He could watch himself melting inside Sanji's tight, full ass, and admire the stiff muscles on his back that led up to the man's strong, broad shoulders. It all felt unbearably good. But not as good as when Sanji came. His body moved and muscles tightened around him, and it took all Zoro's willpower to delay his own orgasm. He stopped for a moment, stroking a hand over Sanji's buttocks and down his spine. The cook shuddered.

Fuck, if he does that again…

Zoro drank it all in. The quiet jungle with the light streaming through the trees, the soft grass under them and the look and feel of the man beneath him. Then he began to withdraw. Sanji's powerful legs tensed around him, locking him in.

"Come." He said simply. Zoro's body obliged his command before his mind could prevent it. They collapsed together, panting gently. Zoro watched quietly as gentle dappled light shifted over Sanji's nakedness.

Sanji and Zoro had finally returned, the former accompanied by the carcass of a huge boar. Luffy seemed suitably impressed, but the rest of the crew were waiting impatiently. It looked as though they'd been through a lot, grass stains on clothes and twigs in hair.

"Did you two get into a fight again?" Nami scolded.

"Of sorts." replied Zoro.

~*~

The light in the galley was growing faint. Only the last remnants of the ruddy sunset sky could be seen from behind drifting clouds, reflected in the gentle sea as dancing swirls of russet and gold. Sanji had forgotten how long he'd been sitting there, at the galley table, being slowly aware of the dimming sun. He was still handling the same unlit cigarette, tapping it against the wood and sliding his fingers down it, first from one end then the other. Everything seemed so still in the dying embers of the day that he felt out of place just for his faint movements.

As hard as he tried, he couldn't get his mind off it. The last time had been different, he was sure of it, though he couldn't pinpoint why. He grabbed the cigarette and slid it between his teeth, pushing his elbows together on the table and slipping his fingers into his hair. The fuck had been the same, but different. Zoro had been different. The same heat between them, the same want, but there was something else in there. He'd touched him in a certain way that made things feel as though they weren't quite so simple. Perhaps it was the excitement of doing it outside, in an unfamiliar place.

If he thought about it properly, it had felt the same as all the other times until the end, when they'd finished. He'd stood to collect himself and brush the foliage from his clothes, and Zoro had just laid there, pants around his ankles and arms behind his head. There was a look about him that Sanji had never seen before. A lightness to his expression, to his usually-furrowed brows. He'd ignored it at the time and put it down to simple satisfaction, focusing his efforts on dressing. Zoro had brought him his jacket and placed it on his shoulders as he was fixing his tie. But it was all out of place. Zoro's body had been closer than it needed to be for the task. Sanji had felt the warmth of him, the pressure of his hands lingering on his shoulders, the faintest sensation of Zoro's breath against the back of his neck.

He took the cigarette from his mouth, still unlit, and rolled it between his forefinger and thumb. It was nearly dark now. All sounds from out on the deck had faded as people retreated below, to bed. When the door opened, Sanji almost fell backwards off the bench. Zoro peered in at him.

"What?" Sanji said, emphatically. His heart was racing inside his chest. Zoro stared at him flatly.

"Not like I came in here for anything suspicious, shitty cook. I'm taking a beer."

"Fine, whatever."

There was the sound of bottles clinking as Zoro selected one and removed it. Sanji moved to the door to close it after him once he'd left. The last light from the dying sun was warm on his face. Zoro passed him, then turned back. A tension took hold in Sanji's gut.

"You've got something here." Zoro told him, pointing to his own cheek. Sanji rubbed his face on his shirt sleeve, then inspected it. "Still there." He rubbed harder. Zoro licked his thumb and put his hand up to the cook's face, fingertips gracing the line of his jaw and settling behind his ear, in his hair. The heat from the man's palm warmed his cheek beyond the abilities of the low sun. Zoro's thumb pressed gently along the contours of his cheekbone, slowly and deliberately, lingering not more than a second or two than was absolutely necessary. The palm stayed at his cheek. Zoro had that look. That same look, somewhere between satisfaction and happiness, caught up in something else. More subtle than a smile, more complex than the faint resolution suggested in his eyes.

Zoro pulled his hand away, his fingertips drifting along Sanji's jaw to his chin. He turned away into the sunset, and left the galley through the open door. He held up the beer over his shoulder.

"Thanks." He said, without turning round.

That look. That same look.

~*~

Zoro's body was hot. Sweat dripped from him, running over his muscles as they worked and tensed and pulled, wandering from his powerful shoulders down his flexing spine and soaking his haramaki. His mouth was open, his breath heavy and laboured and his cheeks flushed. His whole body ached from the effort of it, though he'd never admit it.

He laid his enormous weights on the deck and leant back against the ship's rail, panting, waiting to cool in the salty sea breeze. He looked down at his chest, at the deep scar that Mihawk had left him so long ago. He put a finger to it and pressed gently against the skin, feeling the gap in the tissue beneath left by the strike. It stood out on him all the more for all his work-outs in the sun, like a chalk streak through golden-brown earth.

Zoro decided he would need a drink before he could continue, and made off in the direction of the galley. On the deck at the front of the ship, Luffy, Usopp and Chopper were bothering seagulls while Robin slept under a book and Nami sunbathed. He watched them for a moment, then peered through a porthole into the kitchen. The cook was washing up after oyatsu with his back to the window.

He opened the galley door and then the fridge, saying nothing as though that would quell the weird feeling in his gut. The cool interior of the appliance felt good on his bare chest.

"Don't eat anything, shitty marimo," Sanji told him without turning round. "You'll spoil dinner."

"I wasn't going to, crappy cook." He responded. "What's good to drink?"

"There's fresh tangerine juice, check the back. You might be too late for it." The man told him, still concentrating on the items in the sink.

Zoro looked over at him. He still didn't turn around. Zoro's eyes wandered from Sanji's feet to his head and back again, suddenly imagining him standing there naked, up to his elbows in plates and soap suds.

"Find any?"

"Any what?"

"Juice, moron." He said, looking over his shoulder. His eyebrow was curved with irritation. He sighed and returned his attention to the dishes. The swordsman's hands appeared at his hips.

"What are you doing?"

"Nothing we haven't done before," Replied Zoro, nuzzling in Sanji's warm curtained hair. It got him a soapy elbow to the ribs, but he persisted. His hot, firm hands drifted up over the front of Sanji's shirt to his chest, and then skirted round to his shoulder blades. Zoro pushed there gently, causing him to lean forward slightly. He felt the swordsman press his groin against his ass, illustrating his erection. Sanji elbowed Zoro again and the contact ceased. He straightened up and slid a dish into the drying rack.

Zoro was still there, behind him, not moving or speaking. He refused to turn around, thinking that if he persisted with this act of non-committal that he could escape what the other man had on his mind. He hoped that he'd just give up and go away. But knowing that he was still there and not knowing either what he was planning to do next or when he would do it was arousing him.

A fingertip, at the top of his neck beneath his hair line. He kept his body unresponsive and was pleased at his self control. Then the fingertip started to move, tracing slowly down his neck, over his shirt collar and down his spine. Firm, determined, but gentle pressure, travelling patiently downwards. He'd all but forgotten the washing-up, focusing all his attention on not responding to Zoro's touch. But the focus meant that he knew and felt only that sensation, and allowed it to consume his mind. Zoro tripped nerve endings at his mid-back, and he shuddered. He could practically hear the man's grin.

Hands slowly relieved his shirt from his pants and slipped underneath it, searching for that magic spot. He shuddered again. The idea of exercising restraint was pushed further and further from his mind with each of Zoro's caresses. His hands were on Sanji's hips again, and the cook remembered his touch from the other day in the jungle, amongst the sweet-smelling trees and the warm, fragrant grasses. He remembered how hard he'd had to fight to keep back his voice at the ecstasy of Zoro's hard cock thrusting and pressing inside him, firing him over the edge. He remembered how he'd wanted the other man's orgasm, how much he'd wanted Zoro to come inside him, and how easy it had been to command.

Remembering made him wet.

"I can see you're busy now," Zoro whispered into Sanji's ear. His voice was rich and seductive. "how about you come find me when you want to continue this?"

Zoro waited, but Sanji never came.

~*~

It was a good day. The air in the port was rich with the wandering, beckoning scents of food and fish and livestock, and their captain had submitted to it immediately upon their mooring against the pontoon, racing off into the bustling crowd. Zoro had shouted after him, but to no avail. Usopp had tutted and cursed Luffy under his breath, then sloped off with Chopper in the direction of the port town's main street in search of medical and ammunition supplies.

Nami took Sanji's hand and pressed a large wad of notes into it. "Sanji-kun," She smiled. "Fetch me some of those delicious apples from last time, won't you?"

"Of course, Nami-san." He replied, pocketing the notes and kissing her lightly on the hand.

"We'll see you later, then." She said, waving and leading Robin with her. "Tomorrow at the latest." He waved after her.

That left him and Zoro. The swordsman walked past him and down the ramp to the pontoon, arm resting on his three katana.

"Where does that leave you, then?" Sanji asked him, drawing on his cigarette and leaning on the ship's banister. Zoro stopped and turned slightly. His expression was not a favourable one.

"I'm going to find a place to drink and find a place to sleep. Other than that I don't give a shit."

Sanji snorted, but Zoro didn't rise to it. He turned and left.

The last week had been somewhat difficult between them, ever since Sanji hadn't reciprocated Zoro's advances in the galley. Even the crew had noticed that something was weird between them. Or rather, that something was weird with Zoro. By now he'd disappeared into the thronging masses of people, and Sanji couldn't even make out a flash of green hair. He sighed and slid his hands into his pockets, joining the scrum.

The town had a great selection of fish and local delicacies, and a market that was refined enough to let him taste new ingredients before buying them. He could have spent an entire week there, much less a morning. With a sudden stab he realised that he'd spent almost all of Nami's precious money, and not yet bought her the one thing she desired. He wandered over to a fruit stall, heaving with ripe, juicy produce and bustling with bartering customers. He took one of the apples and handled it, weighing it in his palm. A sweet, plump red variety, like the sort he'd got last time. They'd be perfect.

He'd gotten a good price for them, too, even if all he was left with now was small change. It would be a waste and a crime to have such tremendous culinary opportunity and not seize it with both hands. He carried the now near-bursting bags back to the Merry, and stowed all the produce where it needed to be. Meat in the fridge and the freezer, fresh spices in the rack, dry products in the cupboards and apples in the bowl on the galley table.

He picked up one of the apples, rubbing it on his shirt to give it a nice shine. He'd meant to replace it, but instead he bit into it. He chewed and savoured the richness of it, and inspected the flesh of the apple where his bite-mark remained. It was sweet and juicy and firm. And it tasted like Zoro had, that first night.

He ate the rest of it and slid on his black jacket, then re-joined the crowds. He peered into every bar he came across, hoping to find one certain nakama and not the others. Soon it felt like he'd been looking for hours, and he started to think he'd probably been to every bar and watering hole in the whole damn town. Then a thought struck him, and he switched his attentions to the inns and hotels. It was surprising how many people other than Zoro had green hair. Perhaps they were all members of the marimo gene pool.

"Yeah, there's a guy in two-eleven." He was told. "Short green hair, moody fucker."

"Thanks."

The burly receptionist looked Sanji up and down. "You here to collect?"

Sanji thought about this. "Yeah." He replied, around his cigarette. It was time to finish things.

He climbed the stairs and walked along the corridor, counting the room numbers attached to each door. Room number two-eleven. But then, he'd been through this a lot today. He took a last drag and looked around for a place to extinguish his cigarette, settling for a nearby plant pot.

He knocked on the door.

Door number two-eleven opened, and behind it stood the man he'd been searching for. Zoro looked as though he'd just woken up, eyes half open and green hair flat on one side. He didn't seem impressed with Sanji appearing at his doorstep.

"What?" He said, flatly.

The cook placed a hand against the door and pushed it open a little further, not taking his eyes from Zoro's. The swordsman stepped back and allowed him in, closing the door behind.

"I want to finish it." He said, slipping his hands into his pockets. Zoro looked down and turned away, facing towards the bed. Sanji was puzzled to see the other man's disappointed reaction to what he'd said, then realised the ambiguity of his words. "What you started, the other day, in the kitchen." He clarified.

Zoro turned back around to find Sanji pulling off his tie, looking straight at him with deep conviction. The anxiousness and regret balled in his stomach melted away, and something else surfaced in its place. But he found he couldn't act on it, and instead stayed completely still, watching the other man step towards him. Sanji dropped the tie at Zoro's feet and kissed him, hard.

Touch me feel me hold me fuck me

Their hands slipped all over each other, catching in hair, grabbing and pulling at shirts and belts. Zoro felt Sanji's hands travel down over his buttocks to the back of his thighs, and he was hoisted into the air. He wrapped his legs around the other man's hips as they fell together onto the bed.

Sanji broke the kiss to look down at Zoro. His face was flushed and full of want, which he illustrated by pulling the cook back into the kiss by his shirt collar. Zoro's breathing was heavy already, and he was trembling with sensitivity. Sanji felt the man's thighs spread beneath him, urging him onwards.

You're like this already, from just a kiss…your body is so honest

Sanji kissed Zoro slowly, enjoying his taste and the feeling as their tongues stroked together. He felt the swordsman pulling at his shirt, trying to relieve him of it. He kneeled up and unbuttoned it as Zoro watched him. He felt a sudden surging want, watching the other man look at him with such need and impatience. It was so powerful that he couldn't even expend the time to remove the shirt before returning to Zoro's lips and tongue. He felt the man's hands at his shoulders, pushing the shirt down off his body to lay forgotten somewhere on the floor. Sanji reciprocated, tugging Zoro's shirt off over his head.

The feel of the swordsman's naked skin against his was driving him crazy. The touch of Zoro's hands all over his body was pushing him towards his limit. They were in his hair then sliding down his back, slipping under his pants. Zoro pressed down on Sanji's buttocks with both hands, once then twice then more, mimicking a thrusting rhythm. Sanji couldn't get his or Zoro's pants off fast enough. Then he stopped and looked down again. The man was deliciously erect, spread-eagled and naked except for his haramaki.

"What, shitty cook?" Zoro hissed through clenched teeth. Sanji didn't respond with words, but leaned over him, gripping the green and white waistband at Zoro's hips and pulling it off at his feet. Then he put his hand to Zoro's knee, moving up to his groin, pressing his thumb against the other man's inner thigh. He shuddered as Sanji lay between his legs, preparing for the sensation of him.

Sanji pressed against him and entered him, slowly. Zoro had both hands clenched in the bed covers above his head, and was gazing up at him with parted lips. He looked unreasonably hot. Sanji couldn't bear it any longer, and started to move, thrusting deep into him. Any self-control he had left evaporated when Zoro moaned against his lips, the deep voice that usually carried only sharp and sarcastic comments instead betraying the glorious pleasure he was feeling. Sanji wanted to hear more of his voice, wanted to make him moan and cry out until he couldn't take it any more, wanted to push him and fuck him and please him until they were both raw from it.

Sanji stopped, breathless. Zoro's hands slipped down his back. Their bodies were already slick with a faint covering of sweat. He felt Zoro press down at his lower back, urging him for more.

If I move I'll come, shithead.

He slipped his arm around the shoulders of the man beneath and brought him up, leaning back so that Zoro was straddling him. Sanji put an arm out behind him for support, and lay his other hand on Zoro's hip. He began to move, slowly rolling his hips as Sanji watched him. His eyes were closed from concentrating on the sensations of his body, taut muscles working in his stomach and groin and legs. Pre-come was dripping from his hard cock onto Sanji's stomach as he rode him.

Zoro's position shifted. He leant backwards, putting his hands on the cook's legs to support himself. He grunted as he moved, his expression shifting as he tried to both escape the pleasure he was feeling and embrace it. Then a soft moan drifted from between his lips, and Sanji felt him tense. After a moment's stillness he moved again, rocking his hips back and forward, letting his head drop back. He moaned again, with more urgency, and stopped. His eyes opened and he fixed Sanji's gaze.

"I don't wanna come yet." He said. Sanji's expression was indecipherable under the flush of his cheeks. Zoro watched his hands push up over his thighs and close in on his erection. Sanji pressed a thumb to the base of Zoro's cock, and he nearly came, dripping sticky pre-come. He pushed the cook's hand out of the way. "Oi, Sanji,"

Something tripped in Sanji's mind. He grabbed Zoro at the waist, rolling him backwards so that he was on top again.

More. Say it again.

He thrust hard into Zoro, watching his face intently.

Don't hold back your voice.

Zoro's hands pushed down at his back and pressed away at his shoulder, urging him on and fighting him off. Sanji slipped two fingers into Zoro's mouth, watching his lips. The swordsman's moans increased in pitch and his legs began to tremble.

"Stop, Sanji…bastard…" He managed around the fingers pressing at his tongue.

There. Again.

"Stop!"

"Why? Are you going to come?"

Zoro nodded. Sanji fucked him harder. If Zoro didn't come soon, he would. He removed his fingers from the swordsman's mouth. "Say my name."

"Huh?" Zoro managed, half-looking at him. "Hah…unh…"

Sanji pressed his lips to Zoro's. "Say it." He commanded.

Zoro moaned again, his head tilting backwards. His eyes screwed shut. He yelled out the cook's name, over and over and over until his body finally relaxed. It felt like he'd been coming for half an hour, and he'd ejaculated enough to match; he could feel the stickiness between them. He opened his eyes and looked into the face of the man lying on top of him. Sanji looked as exhausted as he felt. Zoro put a hand up to his cheek.

"I missed you coming."

"With all the noise you were making, you would have missed it if we'd collided with the sun, bastard."

Zoro laughed, and the tension around Sanji's satisfied erection make him jerk. "Maybe you should get out now." The swordsman told him, tugging gently at the strands of hair covering the man's eye.

"I don't want to." He had meant it to be an internal thought, but it slipped out through his mouth. He lay his face against Zoro's warm neck to hide his sudden blush. He felt a kiss on his forehead and was rolled to the side. He shuddered as Zoro slipped off him, and watched as the other man got off the bed and went into the bathroom. He heard the shower turn on, and he followed.

~*~

The morning air was crisp with promise. Seagulls and other seabirds darted about in the air, dark silhouettes swooping and diving against the backdrop of the waking sun, eager to steal morsels from returning fishing vessels. The entrance to the port was busy with them, and though Zoro could barely hear their excited cries, he could imagine the commotion out by the water as they mobbed and pillaged.

The morning's gathering warmth drew a breeze inland from the sea, carrying with it sounds of the activity far below; the shouts of men giving and taking orders, of crates being moved and bartered for, and the occasional braying of livestock. At dawn the hub of the port town had been quiet, save for the odd boat. Zoro had lost track of how long he'd been sitting there, watching the place come to life. The sweet melody of his earrings chiming together sang in his ear, borrowing breath from the sea-breeze.

He ought to have been cold, sitting there on the windowsill naked except for a shirt, but he wasn't. He closed his eyes and focused on the moment, catching whispered shouts carried upward, feeling the hairs on his body move under the caress of moving air as the sun warmed his face. Nor did he quite know why he was out of bed so early, when his lover was so fitfully asleep.

It had been an extraordinary night. Their appetites for one-another had been insatiable, and after the first time they'd done it again in the shower, and twice more under cover of darkness. Each encounter had been more incredible than the last, as the lust subsided enough for them to explore sensation and experiment with pleasure. If it never happened again Zoro imagined he'd take it with him to the grave as the most incredible night of his life. The very thought of it not happening again made him ache. Even as he was sitting there, not ten feet away from Sanji, he yearned for the other man so strongly he could hardly bear it. He wanted it all over again; the taste and the smell and the feel of him, and of both of them together. But he didn't know if Sanji felt the same. Perhaps that was why he was sitting alone on the windowsill.

In the bed, Sanji stirred amongst the warm, thick covers. He opened his eyes slowly, spending a confused moment staring at the unfamiliar ceiling light, then remembering. The space in the bed beside him was empty and he felt a sudden pang in his gut, propping himself up with his arms to see the room better. Zoro was sitting silently in the window, half-lit by gentle sunlight as the breeze ruffled his short green hair and disturbed his earrings. He hoped the other man hadn't seen his reaction to the empty bed.

"Oi." He said. His voice was hoarse from the previous night's shouting, and he cleared his throat.

"What?" Zoro said softly, looking over without turning his head from the sun's warmth.

Sanji leaned over to the bedside table and wrestled a cigarette free of its packet, lighting it and drawing on it deeply. Nicotine didn't seem strong enough any more. "Why are you wearing my shirt, shitty marimo?"

"First thing I grabbed." Zoro lied.

Sanji folded the covers off him and got out of bed. Zoro watched him stand and stretch, feeling an awakening arousal yet again. The cook reached down and picked up the swordsman's haramaki. Zoro stared at him as he put both legs through it and pulled it up to his waist. He shot the other man a triumphant cigarette-punctuated grin.

"Two can play at that game." He said. Zoro raised an eyebrow at him, nothing more. "But now I feel incomplete.." Sanji continued. "What could be missing…" He waved his hands in the air as though grasping for something that should have been obvious. "Aha!" He pulled two more cigarettes from the carton and held one in each hand between his fore- and middle-fingers, in addition to the one already in his mouth. "Now it's complete." He declared.

"Are you mocking me?"

"And here I had you down as a dumbass."

Zoro slid off the windowsill and stood before Sanji as though they were participants in some sort of duel. Sanji did his best to ignore the way his favourite blue-with-black-pinstripes shirt was draped, open, over Zoro's toned naked body. The swordsman smoothed the shirt down and squared his shoulders. He squinted off to the side. "Suddenly I feel…that I should be outside molesting innocent women…and burning something in a pan…" He said.

"Oi," Replied Sanji, looking annoyed. "You take that back!"

"What? You're a constant nuisance to them."

"I know that, I meant the bit about my cooking."

Zoro laughed and dropped his head slightly. Sanji couldn't tell quite what it was about the gesture, but it caused something inside him to stop, like clockwork missing a beat. The other man came over to him and pulled the lit cigarette from his lips, tossing it out of the open window. He dropped the other two himself. Zoro pushed him lightly against the chest and he fell back onto the warm bed.

"Well that was no fight at all," Zoro said, appearing disappointed.

"You caught me off-guard." Sanji told him. "My reflexes are off this morning."

"If it's reflexes I'm still waiting for the effects,"

"Shut up, shithead."

Zoro lay on top of him, pulling a thin cotton sheet over the two of them so that everything turned white, then kissed him. He stopped when he felt a finger pressing against his temple. "If we do it again we'll die of exhaustion." Sanji told him. He nodded in agreement, then decided on something else instead. Zoro disappeared as he slipped down Sanji's body, the sheet falling where he'd been and resting against the cook's face. He blew up at it, watching it rise gently and fall again. He breathed in sharply when Zoro's mouth slipped around his erection, and lifted the sheet to watch what the other man was doing. The swordsman's eyes were closed, his face a picture of studious concentration. His movements were slow, almost leisurely, as though he was enjoying it as much as Sanji was.

"Zoro," He said, blushing when the other man looked at him despite himself. "There's another way we can do this…"

Zoro climbed up under the sheet and on top of him. Sanji grabbed his hips and pulled them down, wrapping his lips and tongue around Zoro's hard cock. The man above him shuddered. They were both pretty sensitive. They took it slowly, bringing one-another gradually to mind-altering, surging climax. When they were both finished, Zoro sat up facing away and straddling Sanji's waist, tenting the sheet so that it lifted enough to let a draft in. Soft sunlight filtered in around his body, picking out his contours. Sanji ran a light-skinned hand up him from hip to shoulder, feeling the muscle beneath Zoro's gloriously tanned skin. Then the swordsman dropped back against him, allowing the sheets to fall again to that only Sanji's feet were outside it.

Zoro had fallen so that his hair was against the cook's cheek. He smelled of last-night's shower. Sanji wrapped his arms around Zoro's chest and waist.

"This isn't comfortable you know, unthoughtful bastard,"

He felt Zoro's chest heave as he snorted a laugh. "Well it's comfortable for me, shitty cook." Sanji looked down at the swordsman's legs, which were bent back with his feet effectively in Sanji's armpits, and figured that that couldn't possibly be true. Sure enough, Zoro moved, standing up off him and out of the sanctity of the warm sheet. He held it aloft so that he could see the cook beneath it, spread-eagled and satisfied.

My soul feels light

He wondered what to do next. To get up, or return to bed. Sanji just looked back at him, expectantly, offering him only one solution. Zoro climbed back into bed between his thighs, and lay against his toned chest. His legs were off the bed below the knee, but he didn't care. He closed his eyes and listened to the rhythm beneath. The other man felt so invitingly warm.

"Zoro." Sanji said, meaning to ask him when they should be leaving.

"Mmh." Zoro replied. As the cook was deciding how to phrase his query, he noticed that the other man's breathing had slowed and deepened. He tugged gently on Zoro's hair, but he'd already fallen asleep. He looked that the strands held between his fingers, then stroked them back into place. For some reason, he kept stroking. His blue eyes closed.

Another couple of hours won't matter, I guess…

~Fin~