They had been the only two not crying as Going Merry burned. It's not that they weren't sad, they were. For Sanji it was the third ship he had loved and left behind. For Zoro it was leaving the ship he had truly become a pirate on. But someone had to offer Nami and Robin a handkerchief and a reassuring smile (Sanji) and someone needed to carry Chopper back to Iceberg's boat while he sobbed into their shoulder (Zoro). They had been the men of that boat, keeping it together for everyone else was their final duty to her. And now they were the only two still sitting at the bar that Paulie had directed them to without needing to be asked. The glasses in front of them were far from the first drinks of the night and Sanji lay with his head on the table. Zoro sat upright, staring down at the beer cradled in his hands. No words had been spoken in quite a while.
"We had some good times on that ship. Remember when I kissed you in the hold for the first time and you kicked me through a spare mast pole?" Zoro ventured into the silence.
"Zoro, no. Not yet, just...please." Sanji stopped him, never lifting his head or eyes from the table.
Zoro sighed and drained his beer, returning it to the table. Making a decision, he looked in the pack of cigarettes sitting in the middle of the table. One left. He put it in his mouth and lit it.
"The fuck you doing?" Sanji slurred, raising his head upon hearing the click of his lighter.
"I'm smoking, what does it look like I'm doing Curly brow?" retorted Zoro.
"Everything else is burning today. I might as well too." Zoro exhaled on a smoky breath.
Sanji was silent for a moment, just watching Zoro smoke.
"That was my last cigarette dumbfuck."
"Then we'll share it."
They passed the cigarette between them, Zoro stealing sips from Sanji's still half full drink. He was too tired to order another drink himself, but still sober enough to be thinking and that was no good tonight.
Eventually the pointed looks from the bartender get through their drunken, somber haze and they settled their tab and left. Sanji led them the long way back to the inn, stopping once for a pack of cigarettes and a bottle of wine at a small store, miraculously still open.
Nami had booked all the "adults" their own rooms, for once unconcerned or just too damn worn out to care about the cost. But as they trudged up the stairs, going their separate ways wasn't on either of their minds. Sanji had a sneaking suspicion that if he checked, Nami's room would be empty just like his would be tonight. It was not a night to be alone.
Zoro had barely got the door to his room shut before Sanji was pushing him up against it, kissing him desperately. It wasn't lustful and hard like usual but it was thorough and all lips and tongue and hands on faces and sides, touching everywhere they could. We're still here, we're still alive, tomorrow will still come, their bodies trying to say what was still too raw for their throats to get out.
Shedding clothes as they walked backwards still kissing, the bed rose up to meet them. Sanji fumbled around in his jacket pocket for the tube of slick he knew was in there somewhere. Slapping it into Zoro's hand, he fell back onto the bed, pulling Zoro close over him. Zoro tried to prepare him slowly, touching him as if he was something precious, not even pretending to ignore the wetness on Sanji's face as he might have done on any other day. Zoro simply wiped it away and kissed Sanji harder.
"That's enough, just do it." Sanji breathed onto Zoro's lips.
"Don't be stupid." was his reply.
Two pleases in one day and using his name to boot, had to be a record, Zoro mused. It was a record he didn't like. But he gave in to the plea anyway, not a night to be alone and not a night to fight what they both needed. He pushed in and heard Sanji choke on a sob. Zoro stilled but when Sanji whispered for him to "move already shitty swordsman", he knew the sob hadn't been from pain, at least not the physical kind. He watched Sanji's eyes slip closed and heard his breathing speed up. Then hands were reaching up to his face, tender where they usually were grabbing and fierce.
"We're going to be okay, right?" Sanji spoke into the air between them, eyes still closed and Zoro knew he wasn't asking about this bizarre thing that had sprung up between the two of them while on this journey. He was thinking of Ussop, of getting another ship, of all the brutal fights and close calls and near misses. And Zoro also knew that it was only like this, in bed, drunk and half dead from exhaustion, that Sanji would ever allow himself to ask that question.
"Somehow we always are." was all Zoro had in the way of reassurance.
Afterward, Zoro slouched against the headboard, Sanji laying back between his legs, his back to Zoro's chest. Zoro reached around him to grab the ash tray and the bag from the store. Sanji fished out the cigarettes eagerly and lit one, taking a drag before hesitating and offering it over his shoulder to Zoro. After pulling the cork from the wine bottle with his teeth, Zoro traded Sanji the wine for the cigarette. Sanji lit himself a cigarette too and they smoked and drank in silence, the ashtray balancing on Zoro's bare knee and the wine resting against Sanji's thigh.
"You going to be stealing all my smokes from now on, Marimo?" Sanji teased.
Stubbing out his cigarette, Zoro paused.
"Just this once."