For the most part, Count to Ten is pretty much any other day for the StrawHats, but there are definite hints of ZoroxSanji. I've rated it T for that and for iffy language. If you don't like it, don't read it. You have been warned.
Disclaimer: I don't own One Piece, its original characters, settings, ships, etc, etc… but oh, do I wish that I did. I make no profit whatsoever from this story, but I do enjoy making Sanji and Zoro do my bidding.
"It smells like you're boiling socks."
Sanji shifted the ladle to hook over the side of the stockpot and rolled his head back on his shoulders. Just ignore him, he coached himself. Again. Count to ten.
"Didn't you tell Luffy we're out of meat? So what kind of crap are you cooking? Termites?"
The cook turned to his knife block and took a few moments longer than he probably needed to select his tool… sparing consideration for weight, balance, and aerodynamics before making his choice.
"What the hell is that? And why does it look like a bonsai tree? You aren't really thinking about cooking that are you?"
With a small exhale, Sanji considered the brown-skinned root he had purchased in the market at the last island after sampling a sliver of its tangy meat. Somehow, as the root rested on his cutting board, all he could see was the tiny, green, moss-like top of the root… and with a tick of his jaw and a flash of his knife, the top was gone and flying toward the garbage.
There was a moment of silence that was like a gift from the heavens.
"Oh, that was mature, Curly-brow. Any time you want to fulfill that little death wish, come on over."
Sanji glared at the wall in front of him for a moment before he indulged in the urge to cast a glare back over his shoulder, actually finding himself considering it before he forced his attention back to the root and slicing it into paper-thin discs. Naw. Chopper would kill me.
"Are you actually wearing a purple shirt? A light purple freaking shirt. I used to think it was accidental, but you are actively trying to look girly, aren't you?"
The blonde smirked as he tipped the cutting board down into the boiling broth, sliding the root slivers off with the flat of the knife. The note of frustration in the insult made him want to laugh. Back to fashion insults? He's getting desperate.
"If that's what you're going for, I don't think the sea-bitch swings that way. Though it'd be a helluva lot more entertaining around here if she did…."
Sanji's eye twitched as it flashed back to the promising gleam of the silver knife on the counter – its well-honed edge whispering silently to his eager imagination of how true it would fly if he threw it just once… only once….
"You'd get off on it. You know you would."
The smug statement almost took him off guard enough to free a particularly sneaky groan of frustration. Sanji sighed and leaned his weight forward onto his hands where he gripped the edge of the counter. The only other female on board was Vivi-chan… of course he would… he wasn't made of damned stone!
"Maybe if you asked nice with that googly-assed look you always give them and make some stupid chocolate hearts or some cheesy crap, they'd let you watch."
Sanji's jaw actually popped at that one as his right hand reached for the knife… and bartered the last shred of his control to reach out with his other hand for the bundle of carrots that rested beside the sink.
"Carrots? Really? You try to make Luffy go vegetarian, I guarantee you'll be the first person he ever makes walk the plank… and I'm gonna laugh my ass off…."
The strokes of the knife came down hard on the cutting board, annoyance driving the edge deeper into the wood than even vaguely necessary as the cook's visible eye twitched. The drastic change in topic revealed the random nature of desperation in his tormentor… and as much as he wanted to scream… it only served to remind Sanji of his promise to chopper.
"You break that knife, I'm gonna laugh even harder."
"That's IT!" Sanji snarled and slammed the handle of his knife down to the cutting board, grabbed one of the half-chopped carrots, and spun on his heel to face that damned mocking grin that he had heard in every damned word for the last two damned hours. "What is WRONG with you? Just because you screwed up and got hurt, you have to make sure the rest of us – meaning me – are in pain, too?" He stomped over to the cot that Chopper had set up along the wall of the galley and glared down at the swordsman sporting matching casts on his left arm and right leg. "You are the worst… patient…EVER!"
Before Zoro's smirk could blossom into a full-blown grin, the cook stooped and sealed his lips over the pair that infuriated him as no other set of lips in the world ever could. The gasp that he swallowed as his tongue swept over those lips was as sweet a declaration of defeat as he could ask for, but the surprise in the swordsman's wide eyes was beyond simple triumph. While the ship's doctor knew more about the still-developing relationship between the cook and the first mate than Sanji was truly comfortable with, he couldn't bring himself to feel too exploited that he had been tapped to be sure Zoro wouldn't strain his mending –yet-still-cracked bones. When the blonde was honest with himself, he was the only one he trusted to keep an eye on the mule-stubborn swordsman other than Chopper himself… and the little reindeer would have his hooves beyond full trying to keep Luffy and Usopp in line in Zoro's place until the swordsman was back on his feet.
Okay, maybe he would be better keeping Zoro here and I would be better at handling our idiot captain and sharpshooter, but I like this better.
It was a difficult admission, but as he broke the kiss and found himself fixed by those dark, seething eyes, Sanji couldn't help but offer Zoro a smug grin of his own.
Oh, yeah. I'm such a sucker.
Zoro blinked in an obvious bid to gather his wits, but when his lips parted as if to complain – or at least comment – Sanji stood up and his hand flashed out to pop the half carrot into those sinful lips he had silenced just a moment before. "Eat a carrot and shut up. It'll help you heal faster and get you the hell out of my hair."
One wet crunch and a scowl later, Zoro lifted his unbound right hand to catch the remainder of his sudden snack as his narrowed gaze followed Sanji back to the stove. "Just give me my bottle of –"
"… rum –"
"… and I'll –"
"… stay out –"
"… of your –"
Sanji merely stirred the simmering soup he would serve for dinner, his smile set on his lips that still tingled from the stolen kiss. "It'll mess with the medicine Chopper gave you and you'll be an even bigger pain in my ass."
Zoro huffed and the galley fell silent once again.
The cook's smile remained in place as he reached for the chopped carrots….
"It smells like you're boiling socks."
Sanji froze in place, practically hearing the glare of challenge in Zoro's voice. He exhaled… hung his head… and….
A/N: Just a little one-shot to test the waters in the One Piece realm of . If you enjoy my little dabble here, the encouragement may convince me to try again, so please play nice and let me know what you think!
I thank my best friend for the inspiration for this story… and hope that it met most, if not all, of her expectations.
Thank you for reading!