Breathe For Me
by: a psycho chibi named Wendy
Disclaimer: Don't own anything except a chewed on pencil.
Warning: Lots and lots of foul language, violence, blood, and eventual Yaoi goodness
Pairing: Eventual Sanji x Zoro/Zoro x Sanji
Summary: They're Nakama. They're supposed to watch each other's back. But after one irritating blonde saves his life, Zoro realizes just how often Sanji is looking out for him. He decides to return the favor.
Author Rant: Yo! Just another idea that wandered into my head. I'm making this up as I go, so I have no idea how long it will take, or how long it will last. It should be interesting.
"Damn.. This storm is completely trashing everything..."
"Navigator-san, you shouldn't be close to the windows when a storm like this is happening."
"Yes, My darling Nami-swan~! Come over here next to me where it is much safer!"
"I'd rather take my chances with the storm."
"What did you say, Shitty Marimo?!"
"Haha! Zoro and Sanji are fighting again!"
"Why does that surprise you? They're always fighting."
"Yes, but we're in a different setting! This is cheap hotel fight!"
"I wonder if Merry will be alright where we left her..."
"I'm sure the ship will be fine, Longnose-kun."
"I don't like all the noise... My ears hurt..."
"Chopper, are you okay?"
"I don't like loud storms..."
"Don't worry, Chopper! You can hide with me and Luffy in our awesome pirate fort!"
"Usopp, that's the blanket draped over two chairs."
"Hey, it was made by pirates, so it's still a pirate fort!"
"Hahaha! He's right, Nami! Pirate fort! Come on, Chopper!"
"Get out of my face, Shit cook!"
"Make me, Moss head!"
"Will you two stop it, already?!"
"Yeah, tell your attack dog to roll over, Nami."
"You're pushing it, Asshole!"
"Hahaha! Cheap hotel fighting is funny!"
"I, the great captain Usopp, am king of this fort!"
"Yaaay King captain Usopp~!"
"King captain Longnose-kun, your fly is undone."
"Sanji-kun? What are you looking at?"
"Ah.. Nami-san.. This storm.. I don't think we're safe here... We should go to the..."
"... Oi, curly brow? Why did you trail off?"
An explosion of glass and splintered wood erupted into the small hotel room. A loud impact deafened everyone as a cloud of dust took over the air just as the power flickered out. Screams and yelps in the dark were drowned out by the howling winds raging outside. The chaos seemed to last forever, but within seconds it dwindled down to the rapid pelting of the rain that began pouring through the hole in the wall.
Disoriented from where he had fallen, Zoro groaned and tried to move. It was hard to breathe in the dust filled air, but he struggled through a choke to speak. "Shit.. What the hell happened..."
He received no answer, which worried him. His ears were ringing from the sudden impact, and a bump forming on the back of his head made him dizzy despite his closed eyes. It frustrated him how long it was taking for his senses to return to him, but soon his hearing steadily cleared. The rapid drops of rain blowing into the room made a dull roar, but there was another sound that confused him. It sounded like breathing. Harsh, desperate breathing like someone struggling for air.
'Wait.. I don't feel the rain... But the breathing...'
Zoro forced his eyes open and growled when a hazy blur greeted him. He narrowed his eyes and commanded them to focus, but he was alarmed to see twin orbs of blue framed by a curtain of blonde hair. "S.. Sanji...?"
Above him was the cook, braced on his hands and knees practically pinning him to the floor. The blue eyes were focused in an intense gaze, a look that Zoro had never seen before. Ragged gasps left the pale lips like he had just fought the most brutal fight of his life, but the lean frame was still. Rigid like iron bars caging Zoro in place.
The first thing Zoro wanted was to demand what the blonde was doing, but his eyes caught on something crimson rolling down the flushed cheek. It trailed down to the delicately pointed chin before a drop fell and landed on Zoro's face. There was a warmth in the red liquid that seemed to snap Zoro out of his daze.
Sanji was bleeding.
Seeming to return to his senses as well, the blue eyes blinked for a moment before they focused on the Swordsman. The dust in the air made his throat raw from his gasps, making Sanji strangle on a cough before he could use his voice. "You.. You okay, Zoro..?"
The question was the last thing Zoro expected, but it finally made the situation dawn on him. Other than the bump on the back of his head, he was fine. 'Why... Why didn't anything hit me...?'
The longer he looked into those steady blue eyes, the wider Zoro's became.
Sanji had pushed him down.
Sanji was braced over him, blocking the wind and the rain that came in unhindered.
"What.. What the fuck do you think you're doing?!"
The whispered outburst made a curled brow quirk upward, but Sanji still managed a smug smirk. He lifted his right hand and pointed towards the back of their hotel room. "I believe I just prevented you from being like that."
"What...?" Tilting his head back, Zoro nearly balked when he saw a wide piece of sheet metal embedded into the wall at the back of the room. 'That... that could have killed me...'
Before he could think of anything to say, the thin form above him started moving. He watched numbly as the blonde got to his feet. For some reason he couldn't seem to move, so was forced to observe the lanky man now towering above him.
The wind was whipping the wet sun colored hair around the pale face, effectively wiping away any blood that had been on his cheek. The rain was steadily soaking the red pinstripe shirt he wore, making it cling to his body like a second skin. Without pause, Sanji fished out his cigarettes from his pants pocket. His hands were rock steady as they smoothly began moving to light a cigarette. Miraculously, his matches decided to work and lit up the darkened room for a brief instant. The orange glow highlighted the water soaked hair and the damp face eerily before smoke scented the air.
The sight made Zoro swallow hard. 'W.. What the hell...'
Oblivious to the strange look he was earning, Sanji took a long drag and let it out slowly before his half lidded eyes surveyed the room. "Oi. Everyone okay?" he called out as he stepped over the figure still laying on the floor.
'He steps right over me like I'm not even here..' Zoro felt his eye twitch hard at the silent insult.
"We're okay! Luffy managed to shield us in time!" Chopper called out from the upturned mattress that had been added to the fort.
"Haha! The pirate fort held up! I think Usopp crapped his pants though!" Luffy cackled as he tossed the mattress off of where he hand managed to pull the rest of the crew in the nick of time.
"I did not!"
"Are you and Zoro okay?" Nami asked as Robin helped her off the floor.
Sanji glanced down at where Zoro had finally sat up on the floor. Their eyes met for a brief moment before Sanji had another smirk curling his lips. "Marimo's fine. A bit dazed, but that's normal." He calmly moved for where his jacket was still hanging on the bedpost. He took a moment to examine the glass shards sticking out of the post before retrieving his jacket. "I think we should find better shelter. Let's pack up our shit and get moving."
Annoyed at the snide comment, Zoro glared at the blonde. Whatever he had thought of shooting back at the cook died on his lips as Sanji turned around. The back of the red shirt was ripped open, and beneath was a long jagged scrape that went from the small of his back to his shoulder blades. The moment he identified the wound, that black suit jacket was pulled on to conceal it.
Zoro's brow furrowed deeply when the blonde made no move to mention it. "Wait a minu-"
A bright crash of lightning blinded all of them for a few seconds, but was all the prompting the others needed when the thunder literally shook the floor beneath them.
"Waah! Let's get out of here before we're fried!" Usopp cried as he grabbed Chopper and headed for the door.
"I believe Cook-san has the right idea. Let's retreat." Robin agreed as she and Nami snatched up their bags.
Finally standing, Zoro frowned, but went along with the rest of his nakama. He was about to go out the door when something caught the corner of his eye. On looking, he saw it was the sheet metal piercing the wall, but there was something moving stuck in the cracked plaster.
He took a step closer, and his eyes narrowed when he saw that it was a strip of red cloth snagged on the corner of the jagged metal. His fingers took hold of the cloth and pulled it free. Even in the dim light he could make out the familiar black pinstripes.
"Oi! Marimo! Hurry up!"
Broken from his thoughts, a low growl rumbled in his throat. "Curly bastard.."
His boots hit the wet floor heavily as he moved for the door.
His hands were strangely unsteady as he slipped the red cloth into his haramaki.
"Damn... This place was destroyed..."
Kicking a blown over tree out of the path, Sanji reached for his cigarettes as his visible eye scanned the area. "I heard from the locals that storms like that don't happen normally. They were totally unprepared for it." He reached for his matches, and his eye twitched when his fingers touched soggy cardboard. "Dammit..."
"The skies look so clear now." Chopper whispered as he stared up to the crystal blue above them.
"Do you think we should stick around to help with cleanup?" Luffy questioned from his perch atop a boulder that had recent fallen off a nearby cliff face.
"I wish we could, but the Marines are on our tail." Nami pointed out with a frown. "If we did, we'd only be bringing more trouble for these people."
"Hopefully the Marines will lend a hand to them." Robin noticed Zoro lagging behind them for some reason. She looked at the swordsman only to quirk up a brow at the strange conflicted look on his tan face. "Swordsman-san? Is something wrong?"
Ripped from his train of thought, Zoro blinked before shaking his head. "No... I think the change in the air pressure is messing with my head." He knew the comment was the perfect bait for some snide remark the blonde would be able to throw at him.
But it never came.
Sanji simply continued moving forward, seamlessly clearing anything that was blocking the path.
Seeing that thin body move like nothing way amiss made Zoro's eyes narrow. His hand absently rested on where he had stashed the strip of red cloth as his teeth gritted tightly. 'What the hell is with him.. I know what I saw... Is he really not going to tell the others he's hurt?'
The blonde may be a stubborn bastard, but he was always up front about any injuries he had. At least to Chopper. 'Maybe he's waiting for when we get back.'
He wasn't going to admit it, but the thing that grated on him the most was the fact Sanji had gotten hurt trying to protect him. Had gotten hurt while saving his life.
Now he owed the irritating chef.
Up ahead, Sanji was taking out his frustration on the hapless objects that dared obstruct his path. He wanted a cigarette, but he was having to hold off until he could get some manner of spark. His muscles were beginning to twitch uneasily at the lack of his fix that only grew when the persistent burn stretching across his back refused to go away.
'Probably need to get the lining replaced... or get a new jacket made.. Dammit, I really liked this one..' That only added to his increasingly bitter mood. Along with his best red shirt, he had ruined two of his favorite clothes in the span of five minutes. Then again, he was constantly ruining his good shirts with blood.
Blood blood blood.
It was always blood.
He had gotten the red shirt with the naive hope that any stains wouldn't be noticeable, but fate somehow decided to up it a notch. 'I suppose I should be grateful I wasn't filleted...'
That had been far too close of a call. Mere millimeters had separated him from having his spine carved out of his body. Just thinking of it made his back twinge painfully.
Gritting his teeth, Sanji forced his gait to continue normally. His hands shoved deeply into his pockets, the cook began mentally rambling off the only thing he knew he could distract himself with. 'Medium-low heat, melt butter in a large stockpot. Toss in two chopped onions, two minced garlic cloves, and fresh chopped parsley. Cook slowly until onions are soft, then add stewed tomatoes with a bottle of clam juice and one cup of chicken bro-'
Broken from his thoughts, Sanji glanced down to see Chopper looking up at him with a worried expression on his face. "What's up, Chopper?"
The little reindeer frowned slightly and pointed with his hoof. "Your.. Your lip is bleeding..."
Blue eyes blinked at the statement as Sanji reached up. He immediately felt a sting on his lower lip and saw crimson on his fingertips when he pulled his hand away. "Ah.. So it is."
"Are you okay?" Chopper questioned as his frown grew.
A smile readily curled the bleeding lips as Sanji nodded. "Yeah. I'm just craving a cigarette. My matches got wet, and I start chewing on my lip when I can't get a smoke."
Chopper tilted his head at the explanation. "Oh. Well, I don't think I should be encouraging that habit..." The doctor paused on the path and opened his ever present backpack. "But it's better than you hurting yourself." he stated as he held up a small box of matches.
Seeing the matches had a wide grin forming on Sanji's face. "I believe I love you, Chopper." He took the matches and instantly had a cigarette lit before the little doctor had time to put his arm back down.
Taking a deep drag, Sanji let out the smoke in a blissful sigh. A giddy expression was on his pale face as he patted the top of the pink hat. "You just earned yourself some fresh candy caramel apples."
Chopper's eyes were instantly wide and sparkly as he clapped his hooves in glee. "Really?! You mean it?!"
"I mean it. Come on. Once we've checked out Merry and get everything situated, I'll get started on them."
"Do I get one too, Sanji?!" Luffy asked eagerly, hopping down from the rock to bounce up to his cook.
Sanji gave a soft snort and blew smoke over his shoulder. "I don't think I have enough apples to satisfy you. Tell you what. Find me some more and I'll see what I can do."
"Yosh! Chopper! Usopp! Let's go apple hunting after we get back to Merry!"
"I, Captain Usopp, am the greatest apple hunter in the world!"
"Yaay! Apple hunting!"
Seeing her nakama so happy had Nami smiling. "It's been ages since I've had candied apples."
"I don't believe I've ever tried it." Robin commented lightly.
"Ah! Then I shall make the best candied apples ever to please the perfect pallets of my two precious ladies!" Sanji cooed happily, puffing out smoke hearts.
When the hearts started flying, Zoro rolled his eyes and continued up the path without his comrades. He could hear them carrying on as he walked, and, although he would never admit it, he did enjoy how everyone became so happy when Sanji decided to make something special. It always did the trick. No matter how hard things got, or how busted up everyone was, things immediately brightened when Sanji made the extra effort.
'But.. He was always injured then, too...'
A strange feeling started to wrap around Zoro's mind. It was heavy and annoying, but it led him to question himself. What was he usually doing when the chef was constantly busy?
"Dammit.. I feel guilty... Why do I feel guilty?" he grumbled to himself.
"Look! Merry's okay!"
Zoro was almost trampled when Luffy and Usopp ran by carrying a squealing reindeer.
Knocked off balance, he nearly ran into a tree, but something snagging his haramaki kept him from kissing the bark. He blinked in alarm at the up close view of the moss covered trunk, then glanced down.
A single pale finger was hooked around the green fabric. When he saw the black jacket cuff at the thin wrist, Zoro's gaze shot up. He felt his eye twitch when the blonde bastard was casually taking another long drag from his cigarette. So at ease and his hands were like rock. Those hands were always so still. So confident.
Sanji slowly blew the smoke into the air above him, but didn't meet the swordsman's gaze. "Looks like this is becoming a habit, Marimo." he stated while releasing the green fabric.
The way that hand smoothly slipped into the pocket of the black slacks simply rubbed Zoro the wrong way. He shot his best glare at the blonde, uncaring that the blue eyes were facing a different direction. "I didn't ask you to do anything." he shot back. He didn't know why this was pissing him off. It simply was.
Hearing that made a slow smirk curl the cook's lips. He didn't bother meeting the eyes drilling a hole through him. "I know."
Without another word, Sanji continued down the path to the cove where the others were already climbing aboard the ship. The growl he heard behind him made him chuckle, but he kept on his course.
He was beginning to like that growl.
I'll update as I write more.