Hey, this is GeckoMoriaShadowLord and I say with great pride that today I begin writing with one of my favorite authors and most bombass people on the motherfucking planet when I say that I am writing this with the wonderful AllBlueChaser collab-style! I can feel you salivating at the dread combo right this minute. Hell, so am I. So, enjoy, hop on and straddle this machine and enjoy the mindblowing potency of AllBlueChaser and yours truly. Oh, and this is for a contest over on Lolly's Yaoi Supernova Guild. Hope we win, but not really caring since this was too fun to write. xD The theme is "Cheating misunderstanding."
~ABC & G~
The scent of ginger, of thyme, of ginseng. The scent of cook. The scent of a damn good cook. The man was a double edged sword. Excellent in the kitchen, phenomenal in the bed.
He leaned back, elbows cocked out on the marble counter, watching the bare-chested boyfriend mix what seemed to be around four thousand different ingredients into a bowl and dump clean, unmarked slices of bread into the mix. There was something wholesome and pleasant in his actions.
Breakfast for one. The single plate by the stove, the lonely glass of orange juice standing by it, he wouldn't be there to see Sanji cut his French toast with that refined air that so characterized him, wouldn't be there to see him wash the dishes, wouldn't be there to be yelled at to 'come help, damn idiot!'
"Shouldn't you be leaving now?" Cook asked, turning a bit to look at him, "Oh, damn. Look at you! All tricked out in a suit and shit. You still going to talk to me?"
Zoro pretended to look the other way and Sanji chuckled and threw a dish towel at him.
"Ah, just get out of here already, swordsman."
He slunk his way towards the turned back and placed a hand on the warm skin, rejoiced quietly at the feel of the muscles, toned and smooth. His fingers curved the hip, molded it.
"Jesus, you're cold," the cook murmured, "Icy fingers. Man, are you cold-blooded?" He didn't turn around as he dropped another slice of bread in the mixture and sopped it heavily with the sauce.
Zoro kissed Sanji's bare shoulder slowly, and then, "I have to go now, or I'm going to be late for my plane. I can't stay." He immediately made himself a liar by pressing his lips against the smooth, warm nudity and breathing in that scent luxuriously. Of thyme, of coconut, of wholesome wheat bread. Of cook.
"I'm telling you," Sanji answered and shoved his elbow back, but Zoro caught it, bent his head, and kissed it too, "Go on, I'll take care of your place."
Even that didn't stop him from placing his lips along the man's neck and tilting his head back and urging the other to let their lips meet.
"Get out of here," Sanji said, smiling, "Or you'll continue, then it'll get warm, then hot, then you'll never catch the plane."
"Yeah," Zoro walked out of the small kitchen and grabbed his carry-on in the living room and slung it over his shoulder. He grabbed his other case, the one with his swords and hefted it, pausing only to pop the buttons into their designated holes in his dark, formal suit. "All right, I'm good, looks like the Taxi's here—I'm off."
The cook followed him to the door and opened it for him. "Have a nice trip," he said perfunctorily, "Kick some ass." The cook motioned him through with a nonchalant gesture.
Zoro looked at the cook expectantly and Sanji frowned.
"What? Did you forget something?"
"Aren't you going to miss me?" Zoro asked, eyebrows raised as if this was a completely valid inquiry and that he was surprised that Sanji had not brought up the subject himself.
Sanji looked bored and his eyes flicked around, "Of course not. The second you're out the door I'm going to proclaim myself single and start calling up all my old flames. If I remember correctly, Gin was a damn good fuck—"
"Gin can go stuff some jalapenos up his—" Zoro began, annoyed that Sanji had ruined the spice of the moment.
Sanji's hand shot out, seized his tie and yanked it forward and before Zoro had a second to think, he was getting kissed like he was getting fucked. Sanji's finger's were digging into the sides of his head, gripping his hair, and forcing the last molecule of oxygen from his complaining lungs.
His hands fisted into the cases handle's, wishing they were free so that they could roam and grip where it was best.
Sanji broke it, and Zoro choked out a sound that sounded vaguely like a whimper.
"There—you still think I'm not going to miss you?" Sanji said softly, forehead resting against his, breathing softly. "Swordsman, I'm going to miss you so much that right now I'm debating whether I should say, 'fuck your tournament' and drag you into the bedroom and chain you to the bed so you can't leave. I'm going to miss—"
Sanji cut himself off and delved into the kiss again. They pressed against each other, hungry.
"Go, hurry up—" Sanji tore him off and shoved him out the doorway, "Get out before I change my mind and get my handcuffs and throw away the key. I wouldn't have let you go if your little tournament had gotten in the way of our first anniversary. "
"Yeah, I'll see you when I get back!" he said, walking backwards for a few steps and then turning around and walking off, hand subconsciously rubbing at his mouth. He didn't hear the door shut.
The yellow cab was parked a little farther along the street and he opened the door and tossed his carry-on in, following seconds after.
The taxi driver took one look at him and grinned, "Wife gave you a good goodbye, eh? Haven't I seen that before! Buddy, believe me!"
Zoro coughed and handed him the fare, "Yeah, I guess you can say that. I need to get to the Los Angeles Airport."
The taxi driver shifted into drive and rolled out, nodding happily, "Yeah. LAX? Got you. Well, as I was saying, as a taxi driver, I get to see a lot of interesting things, buddy. There are hundreds of guys that I pick up and they're all breathing hard and look like they just got slammed into a wall, all dazed and stuff, and it's always the same thing!"
"Really." Zoro said, not really questioning. Instead, he settled back into the seat and tried to ignore the taxi driver.
"True shit buddy," the guy chirped, "There's always some hot mama that they just left behind and that gave them a little something to let them get bye, am I right or am I right?"
"Look, It was a long night yesterday—I think I'm going to try to catch some sleep while we get to the airport," he said, closing his eyes and crossing his arms across his chest.
"No problem, bud!" the driver said, "I bet it was a long night! Hot mama probably didn't let you sleep none, am I right? She knew you were going to be gone the next who-knows how many days and so she had to stock up on you."
"I really want to sleep."
The driver laughed, "All right, all right. Not much of a talker, are you? A little close-mouthed, am I right? That's fine, though I'm impressed. You wonder—you know how many people I pick up that they can't keep their mouths shut about themselves? You ask them one question and off they go—Onetime—"
Zoro sighed but tuned out the taxi driver's ramblings. It was obvious that the man needed to talk, whether it be to someone who was listening or who just didn't give a flying fuck. Guy just needed to hear the sound of his own voice.
That was fine though since Zoro really was what the driver had said—closemouthed. He didn't really talk about his own personal life, didn't talk much period. Hell, he'd been going out with Sanji Allblue for almost a year and his own team didn't know the name of the guy that was banging him every night.
But he figured that it was this very closemouthed nature that had drawn the vibrant and charismatic personage of Sanji Allblue to him. The guy would probably be chatting up the taxi driver this very minute had their positions be switched. By the end of the ride, the two would have been soul mates, Sanji would have his phone number, his birthday, his fucking bloodtype—and the taxi driver would be left questioning his heterosexuality.
That's how good Sanji was.
Because that's how it had all gone down for him.
Of course, they'd met like any other couple. That is, strangely. Zoro had been in some Fitness World store at the mall, hefting some twenty-five pound weights, trying to decide if he should buy them or not. That's when a lithe, blond man had strode up next to him, muttered a smooth, 'excuse me' and had picked up the thirty-five pound weight with a little smile that had flared something deep and primal in his nature.
He could have just let the other go, could have snorted and turned away. But he just had to say, loud enough for the departing back to hear—
"Careful with those. You might strain your groin or something."
And they should have just stripped their clothes and fucked on the dirty, linoleum floor for all that was worth. It would have saved Zoro months and months of frustration, confusion, yearning, and a deep-rooted feeling that he was losing his mind. And later, as he learned, it would have saved Sanji nearly a year of frustration and fear that his instincts had been wrong.
But now, all that history had passed. Sanji was even house-sitting for him as he went to compete in a national swordsmanship competition that went under the cute acronym of NFSCA. National Fencing and Swordsmanship Competition of America. He'd meet his team at the airport and they'd all fly to New York City—where it was being hosted this year. Sanji would have come, but the cook had had to stay to oversee the annual birthday celebration of the Baratie—his restaurant.
Which meant that his teammates would have to wait even longer for a chance to actually meet Sanji in the flesh. Zoro didn't mind; a little, egotistical part of him wanted to keep Sanji away, hidden for his own pleasure.
And when he got back, they would celebrate their one-year like any other couple on the weekend. They had even set the date—Angel Beach in the evening. A beautiful slice of paradise on the coast. They'd spend the sunset and the evening there in one of those small beach houses with the seats so comfortable they felt like pieces of cloud, cut from the sky. Then, when everyone had left and they were alone, they would make love.
But that was later.
He shifted in his seat, trying to secure an angle which was most compatible with the slow throb of his ass. The taxi driver was right, in a weird way. The hot bastard had really tried to possess him in all ways possible last night to make up for his absence for the next couple days—which was would only be a week but would feel like months.
But he'd be a worse of a liar then Usopp, his team manager, if he had said he hadn't enjoyed it.
~ABC & G~
The taxi driver dropped him off at the airport with a smile and a wave and Zoro gave him a good tip before grabbing his luggage and striding off into the large building. It wasn't long before he spotted his team. They were all wearing suits and carrying long, deadly packages.
Usopp spotted him first, "Zoro! We were scared you'd get lost so we stayed right in the front. Good to see you made it." The afroed man marked something off on his clipboard and muttered something under his breath.
The others called out cheerful greetings and Zoro let them slap his back and rub his head. Law. Brooke. Cabaji. Das Bones. Gene. Hachi. He shook hands and nodded. "Good morning."
"Always so formal," Law drawled, rubbing his small beard with one tattooed hand, "We're on the verge on embarking on a team tournament that we've waited a year for and still you act like we're strangers on the bus."
" Wrong," Zoro said, shrugging, "I like you guys just fine—I just don't have anything to say."
"Well," Law said, hand playing with the case which held his enormous katana, "Believe me you when I say that I'm determined to get you to spill something about your personal life. We're all going to be in a hotel, drinking, hitting bars most nights. You'll be so comfortable that we won't be able to shut you up." He smiled warmly.
Zoro laughed, "Good luck with that."
Brooke yodeled laughter, "I find it tres amusing that for every five words that Law says, Zoro says one!"
"I don't care if Zoro had three testicles that talked!" Usopp butted in, "It's time to go check in our luggage. I hate this part—we're carrying enough weapons to arm a small army so security is always harsh on us. They're going to pat us down so thoroughly, it'll be a freaking rape. Let's go." The short manager stalked off in the direction of check-in, a wrinkle in his brow.
~ABC & G~
Zoro waited at the back of the line to check in, still a little too relaxed thinking of his morning and night before to get caught up in the infectious need to hurry up and wait that the airport seemed to incite.
The girl at the counter was all business but that didn't stop Law from trying get a complimentary upgrade with some rather smooth flirting. No dice though.
Zoro let his mind drift back to Sanji as Gene, who had been struggling to get his ID and ticket out of a tight side pocket of his luggage was forced to the counter in front of him. This would be the first time he had left Sanji for any real period of time since they had been together. Really the first time he had left anyone he was serious about.
"ID & ticket sir?"
Would his absence make Sanji's heart grow fonder?
"DAMN IT! All these pockets were supposed to make things easier." Gene struggled as he looked back at Zoro but mostly the rest of the line he was holding up.
That would be hilarious if the moment got back Sanji was there waiting for him like a dedicated housewife, a delicious meal ready. Oh man, there was a chance there really would be leftovers from the Baratie party. Zoro's mouth watered just thinking about it.
The woman at the counter sighed and clicked a few keys on her computer.
"I'll start looking you up. Please spell your first and last name."
Zoro would come in and his place would be spotless…there would be delicious food but Sanji would have missed him so much they end up fucking right there in the doorway.
"Last name Tonfa, T-O-N-F-A…"
Zoro grinned at the image of Sanji looking pissed but satisfied that the food had gone cold when it was his own fault. Heh. There was a chance such a fantasy could happen—they did have an anniversary of sorts when he got back. Like Sanji had said, Zoro too would have been annoyed if his tournament had gotten in the way of the day that marked the first year of his relationship. But fortunately, it was the first weekend that he got back to L.A. They had plenty of time.
"First name Gin. G-I-N. AH! There we go!" Gin pulled the ticket free as Zoro's attention snapped over the man's shoulder to reread the name—suddenly jarred out of his thoughts. Gin.
Zoro looked up surprised. Shit. Had he really been getting the guy's name wrong all this time? He'd never live that shit down with how his teammates already thought he was too standoffish. Suddenly he realized that the crowds that would cheer Gin on by singing lines from "Cold Gin" by Kiss weren't altering Gin to Gene as he had thought but just stretching out his name in fangirlish joy. He'd always thought that it had been Gene. The guy had never corrected him.
Gin? Gin? The way it sounded now with the soft "i" sound—why did it sound suddenly familiar? Gin Tonfa? He had always known that Gene's—Gin's—last name was Tonfa. But something was nagging at him, eating away his train of thought. He had seen that name before—Gin Tonfa. And not somewhere work-related. Where had it been? For some reason—it was brining to his dazed mind images of soft, sultry candlelight and the flat, muscled belly of the man he had left in his apartment. They were not unpleasant recollections, but confusing in light of the situation. They were recollections that had nothing to do with his olive-skinned teammate.
"Hurry up Sir, shoes off—all possessions in the trays on the conveyer belt," the security guard waved at him impatiently. He nodded and started unbuckling his belt. After Gin left the desk and Zoro checked in, the molestations at security (damn Usopp for being right), he didn't get his chance to follow this line of though until they were waiting at the gate though the nagging mosquito of the thought never was far from the front of his mind.
Zoro sat next to the man and reached back into his mind, trying to find the cause of the nagging sensation. More than a year ago Gene…no, Gin had been dating someone. Had been obsessed with them in fact, because he had been a mess after the break up for a long time. He had seemed better the last couple of months though.
He glanced over at the swarthy man and tried for the casual approach, but seeing as it was him, it came out blunt and to-the-fucking-point, "Uh. So…hey you seem better lately. You over your ex?" Only as soon as the words were out of his mouth did he realize that they had all the grace of a quadriplegic on the dance floor.
The terminal around him seemed to fall silent as his teammates stared at him in shock. Shit. They probably think they could get him drunk and share his private life with them now. They were good guys but sometimes Zoro liked to keep the size of his and his boyfriend's dick to himself, thank you very much.
He looked away, "Never mind." Maybe he would be lucky and a black hole in space would open up about now and suck him away into another dimension.
"No, no! I'm just surprised you even noticed. But—" Gin laughed, " …I figured out a long time ago that I'd never get over him. Not completely. I was a mess without him, but in a funny way fate sort of brought him back to me a few months ago. It's not quite the same, he doesn't believe in any kind of commitment for one…so our relationship is an open one." Gin confessed, his tone saying volumes on what he felt about that.
The man paused and threw a sly look Zoro's way. His voice was just short of boasting.
"But fuck, the sex is incredible, he lets me do whatever and he always makes a big show out of how much he enjoys it and how I'm the best. You wouldn't believe the shit he does with his body—and his legs." Gin rested his head back against the large duffle on the chair next to him. "It's worth it because even though it's not the same as back then, it's way better than nothing."
Zoro nodded and dug out his head phones before the rest of the team started wanting to over share with him. Gin was still with the old boyfriend, but he and his ex were in some sort of fucked up relationship now. A fake version of whatever they used to have while his boytoy went around screwing whoever these days. No respect or real love for Gin to speak of to be able to do that. Not that Zoro cared. It seemed too that Sanji was the furthest thing from that kind of man so why did his mind pull at the thought of the blond he'd left behind when he'd heard Gin's name?
The call for their plane came only a few minutes later. Zoro stuffed his Ipod back into his bag and followed his teammates to the plane exit, ticket out.
After they boarded the plane and found their seat, Zoro felt himself sinking into a nice nap and feeling better, yes, he felt a little pity at the fucked up relationship Gin was in, but it was something that the man himself had chosen to put up with. Zoro would never have done that. He was a man of unquestionable loyalty and demanded all or nothing from everything he did. Sanji was his. All of him. He would never share or give him up. As the plane lifted off the ground Zoro was quite certain Sanji was his…and always would be.
~ABC & G~
"Who was that?"
"God—I love it when you—do that"
Zoro woke with a start and Hachi glanced at him oddly from the seat next to him, "You okay?" From the looks of it, they had been in the air for a little over an hour. The small TV in front of him showed the plane to be currently flying over Wyoming. It barely registered.
He nodded, the sweat on his forehead declaring otherwise. From the flush he felt on his cheeks and the moisture in his armpits, he could have woken up from a nightmare. Well—it had sort of been one, in a way. Because, that's why it had sounded familiar. Gin T. Gin fucking T!
Could he be—Gin? Gin T? He knew he remembered it in relation to Sanji in an incident which had happened one day a few months back. He remembered it vividly because it had rubbed him the wrong way. They had been making out on the couch in the living room—it had been complete with candles and wine—when Sanji's phone had gone off somewhere and Zoro had dug it out from where it had fallen in between the seat cushions and glanced at the screen before passing it over to the blond.
Incoming Call: Gin T.
There had been no recognition at the moment. None. No suspicion, no nothing, nothing which would have connected the caller to his co-worker. He knew a Gene Tonfa. Not a Gin T.
Sanji hadn't even glanced at the screen and had flipped it open automatically, his face was flushed from their activities and his eyes all but snapping fire at the interruption, "Hello? What? Gin? I told you not to call me anymore—" Sanji's lips hadpulled down at the corner as he listened, "No—Are you drunk? You're drunk bastard. No—shut up. I'm hanging up—"
The blond had tossed the phone back and looked back at Zoro, smiling, "Now—where were we?"
"Who was that?" He has asked, feeling a little possessive. His hand traced up Sanji's jaw.
The blond grabbed it and licked it a little hungrily, "No one."
And that had been that.
Sanji had pronounced it differently too so there had been no connection. Gene was pronounced with a hard e and Gin was pronounced with a soft i. But were they the same person? How common a name was Gin T? And who was to say that the call had been anything over than a drunk prank? It could have been his friend. Just a friend. But then what had he said this morning? A causal slip of the tongue— Sanji had bragged (after fucking him all night) about what a good fuck Gin had been. He had thought it had been some random name pulled out of thin air. He hadn't actually thought that there was a real Gin.
No. That wasn't quite right. Sanji was just teasing him, not comparing him to some ex lover. That Gin T, had definitely been a lover. There was no mistake now.
Zoro took a small glance across the aisle.
This Gin was obsessed with an ex, was currently fucking that ex. There was no way that was connected to his blond cook, right?
Gin was still awake. He was staring straight ahead, head sort of tilted to the side. The little television screen was blank, and from what Zoro could see, the man's gaze was both intense and distant. As if he had withdrawn from the world and turned his eyes inward, watching scenes that only he could see and understand. Wrapping and unwrapping old memories and beloved fantasies and setting them out to play for his eyes only.
Distractedly, Zoro ran a hand through his short green spikes and wondered if Sanji was in there somewhere.
~ABC & G~
They landed in New York late in the night and the team groggily trudged off the Boeing and into the brightly lit JFK airport, and from there into the night. Sped away in four taxis between them by the typical New Yorkian taxi-cab drivers.
Zoro, maybe because he wanted to know more, maybe because he had a bee in his bonnet, maybe because he was a tireless bastard in the pursuit of information; managed to slip into the second yellow cab with Gin. The swordsman formerly known as Gene in some corners.
Gin didn't seem to realize that something was wrong, that Zoro had some nasty suspicions in the back of his head which even he didn't want to fully face; didn't realize that there was blood in the water and that Zoro had smelled it and was honing in inexorably.
They trundled their shit in the back seat and took their weapons with them in the back seat of the cab. The taxi-driver. A stout, bearded man with some impressive tattoos took one look at the tell tale sheaths and grinned in approval.
"Ah? Here in the Big Apple for the swordfighting competition? I'll be there to see ya fellows fight, never miss it, me."
Gin settled in the cab and crossed his arms, "Yeah, thanks man. We're off to the Florian Triangle Hotel. Know where that is?"
Zoro shut the door and the driver pulled out behind the cab with Usopp and Hachi. The driver glanced at them through the rear-view mirror, "Do I know? Of course I know? I know where everything is in this city, brother."
~ABC & G~
Gin glanced over at Zoro before pulling out his cell phone. The tips of his ears pinkened in a blush as he snickered over an apparently suggestive text and pushed a few buttons before holding the phone to his ear.
Zoro briefly considered looking over Gin's lap to check the name and message or ask about it but lost the opportunity as the man called his lover back. Besides seeing this triggered the thought that Sanji might have texted or left him a message and he shifted in his seat to pull out his phone.
New message: Love Cook-
Since I didn't hear of any plane disasters I'm going to assume you got there safe. I'm going to be busy doing someone tonight so don't be surprised if it goes to voicemail. Have fun. Don't get lost jackass. Remember your phone has GPS. Use it idiot. Will call tomorrow.
Zoro stared at the screen. The smile he had when he first began reading had faded into uncertainty.
Doing something…or doing someone? He'd notice an auto correct error that blatant for sure. Normally Zoro'd just chuckle and give the blond bastard shit for pulling a snarky joke like that, but now that he thought about it they never had discussed being exclusive and when he had brushed by the topic Sanji had joked with his sarcastic jabs that of course he wasn't.
He had said it in such a way that Zoro had felt like a dumbass.
Of course they were exclusive.
He had never before considered it could be taken another way. That his blond was serious and that maybe the sarcasm was from Zoro being such a naive idiot and not seeing how casual it all was.
If Sanji was that casual about intimacy then maybe this message wasn't a mistake. Maybe Gin calling was 'no one' because he figured Zoro didn't want to hear about the guy he was screwing on the side.
"Yeah babe, I'm taking a cab now. The flight was good! Heh…of course I was thinking about you. No, not that hard, that would be embarrassing! What are you doing?"
Gin's happy expression fell slightly.
"You're with him tonight again? Huh? I thought you said you were going to stay there while I was gone…Oh. You know that's not a great idea, what if he comes back and catches you with some waiter at his place? Oh. Well I guess if he knows…he what? Gross. What a closet pervert!"
Zoro realized his grip on his own phone was tightening painfully. His mind was spinning trying to calm himself, that this was some bizarre misunderstanding. He was just putting his own context on Gin's conversation because he had been just starting to consider it. But he couldn't drive his thoughts away from the insidious. A burning rage of anger and disappointment and suspicion was mounting and flashing images of all the cute waiters at Sanji's restaurant that in his mind would fall all over themselves to go home with their hot boss.
Zoro's fingers scrolled to Sanji's number and pressed the button.
"You spend a lot of time with this new one. You better not be falling in love with him. I'm still the best right? I'm the one you love right?"
Zoro watched as the answer to that question beamed off Gin's radiant smile to the soundtrack of Sanji's number giving a busy signal and going to voicemail.
"SHIT ZORO! You're bleeding! WHAT THE FUCK?"
Zoro looked down at the broken array of technology in his hand that had once been a cell phone. A large slice down the side of his hand was dripping blood on his pants.
"It's nothing. Just an accident."
There was no way his phone would be able to give him directions now. Or any answers. Sanji would be angry that he destroyed the phone. But then again, if his suspicions were right he didn't give a fuck.
But wait one fucking minute.
Did a few minutes of eavesdropped conversation, some vague comments about relationships and about boyfriends who could blow your mind away with the shit they were able to do with their bodies—did all that really provide solid, irrefutable proof that Sanji AllBlue; his boyfriend, lover, and soon to be domestic partner, was one irredeemable whore of Babylon?
But all the interlocking pieces! It was something which once seen, cannot be unseen no matter how much the viewer wishes to go blind. From Sanji's little phone call from the mysterious Gin T, to Gin's relationship with a man who slept around and kept it with no strings attached, to Sanji's failure to answer the goddamn phone when there was nothing else he could be doing except sleeping. It was nearly one in the morning here—Sanji should be sleeping on the otherside of the country at this moment. Sleeping in his bed, in his apartment, cooking in his kitchen, taking a shit in his toilet, taking a bath in his shower, maybe even wearing his clothes, using his lotion to jack off to thoughts of him.
But what if his apartment was empty, desolate? What if the blond had waited six seconds after he had departed in the taxi and proclaimed his availability; set out to frequent the bars and the clubs wearing those tight slacks of his and the satiny midnight blue shirt with the plunging neckline with the shark's tooth necklace resting on the muscular lift of his pectorals so that it made one wonder how it would feel to take it in one's mouth…
What if he was partying heavily right now, oblivious to the relationship they had constructed? What if he was fucking some cute, awestruck Baratie waiter on top of one of those very tables? Zoro knew how many times the chef had been flirted with even when they dined together. It could be happening this very minute! The mind boggled.
But Sanji wouldn't do that!
Zoro gritted his teeth and tried to ignore Gin's questioning glances. The husband was always the last to know, wasn't he? Had he been playing the lovestruck fool for a little under a year now? Had Sanji been off philandering with other men and women every time his back had been turned? Gin had resumed his relationship with the ex, hadn't he? Didn't that confirm that Sanji—was playing them both?
He coughed, "Gin."
The swordsman glanced at him, "You okay man? You've been acting weird ever since we got onto the plane? Nervous for the tournament?"
"That, and—personal problems, you understand," Zoro conceded, narrowing his eyes sharply, gauging Gin's face for any sign of dishonesty, "I'm sure you've been there before."
"The hell I've been," Gin grunted, settling back into the seat, "You know how fucked up I was over that man. He…really fucked me over. I mean, not that he did anything bad, but just the fact that it was over between us."
Zoro couldn't help the jolts of apprehension shooting through his nerves; it felt like someone had dumped cold water over his head and it was trickling along his warm flesh. He opened his mouth and then closed it, then opened it again, "Who—What was his name, do you remember?"
"Do I remember?" Gin repeated, a trace of a bittersweet smile on his lips, "Oh man, Zoro, there's some times in which I forget my own name and remember his. You don't understand, I loved this guy. I still love him. Enough that I put up with this thing I'm in right now—not sure if you can call it a relationship—just so I can have a taste of him."
The taxi cab slowed and jerked to a halt and Zoro glanced out the window, disbelieving. He hadn't even noticed that they had arrived at the gleaming Florian Triangle Hotel. Gin's words were mesmerizing—all he could think of was; if Sanji left him, he would probably sound and say the same.
Gin chuckled, though where the humor was in that sound, Zoro didn't know. "Hey, look it. Start me going on that man and I'll never stop. We're here; damn I need some shuteye."
The other man opened the door and started to slide out.
"Oye! Gin!" Zoro broke off and lowered his voice with an effort, "What was the guy's name again?"
Gin looked surprised, "Oh, I never did—Sanji, his name is Sanji. Sanji AllBlue" And the man must not have seen the blood drain out of Zoro's face and must not have heard the dry, stiff sound of his heart tearing asunder because he gave a small, awkward grin and closed the door in Zoro's face.
~ABC & G~
Years of training did nothing in the face of such a catastrophe, that or it was precisely the years of training which managed to check him from strangling Gin that very minute. If he had any doubts, those doubts were extinguished utterly. Gin and Sanji had been lovers; they were still lovers, Sanji had been a cheating, adulterous, conniving, manipulating motherfucker. Sanji AllBlue was the lowest of the low, a vile sewer rat that couldn't keep his dick in his pants.
The crumbling of his world was a loud roaring in his ears; even his skin seemed numb. He couldn't even answer Gin's questions and comments. All he could think of was the man that he had left back home, the man he had considered to be his better half, his significant other, his one and true love and all those labels which meant that he would have died for the other upon a moment's notice.
Gin and Sanji were still seeing each other; that much was obvious. Glaringly so. And he cursed Sanji for keeping it so brilliantly hidden. The man must have been cunning indeed to fuck not only another man on the sly—but fuck his own fucking teammate! He cursed the blond, but he cursed himself even more for having been the bigger idiot. How could he have been so blind as to the manipulation that Sanji had been concocting? How could he have just not seen?
As Zoro trudged his bag up the stairs after Gin to their room, he congratulated himself on not having plunged a foot up Gin's ass or drawn his sword and gutting the man thoroughly. It definitely was not Gin's fault. The man was as oblivious as to who Sanji was fucking behind his back as he had been. The only thing Gin knew—the only thing Sanji allowed him to know—was that there were other men and women. Gin certainly wouldn't have told him anything if the other had known that they were sharing the same man.
The thought caused him to see furious red. The moves that blew his mind away were not exclusive to his pleasure; Sanji probably had perfected them on other bodies, other people and laughed at him behind his back for all the times he thought that he was the only one.
The team trudged noisily through the hallway, bags bouncing off the walls and friendly insults rebounding from swordsman to swordsman. Zoro just walked, head down, brow thunderous, after Gin. As Gin swiped the card at the door to their room and opened the door to let them in, Zoro glanced up, and said, voice tight with restraint, "Hey, Gin—about this guy—this new relationship—"
"I know what you're going to ask—Night guys! Let's kick ass tomorrow!" Gin said, closing the door and turning back to him, "And no, not the same. I told you, remember? He just likes sex. He gets around; doesn't stay with anybody. Just tells you that you're the one so that you'll love him and fuck'm."
Zoro dropped his bag in the living room, and his hands bunched into fists. Now came the most important question, the crucial one—he needed to know, how long—The words struggled to form in his throat, "How long have you been with him?"
"Eh…eight months on and off, you know," Gin flicked on the lights to the bedroom, "I'll take the bed, you can crash on the sofa. Nice digs. He's always finding some new sucker, fucking their brains out, and leaving in a few months. Believe me, I know his pattern, his modus operandi. True blond slut."
True blond slut.
Zoro winced as if Gin had punched him low in the gut. But the way Gin said it, half in contempt, half in amusement; half in desire, half in hurt—it drove the point home. How many times had Sanji been inside his teammate? How many times had Gin been inside Sanji? When had they met? Where had they done it? Did Sanji compare them?
What was Sanji doing now?
"You okay Zoro? You've been all fidgety and shit; and you never ask about our personal issues, you know."
"I'm fine..." Zoro said shortly, "Just…curious and tired."
Gin headed off into the bedroom, "Whatev man. Crash and get it out of your system. Night."
Zoro didn't even hear him. He was looking stonily at the sterile hotel sofa. Picturesque, but absent, cold. Where were the comfy quilts, the pillows which had molded to shape his green head? Where was the lithe, tanned blond twisting and sweating; nude and beautiful in his bed? He would sleep alone tonight, and would sleep alone for the week—but Sanji, no doubt wouldn't sleep at all.
~ABC & G~
He gave the cook one last chance before the first battle of the tournament began. He woke up early—it wasn't hard, as he had spent a fitful night—and had taken the stairs down to the lobby and exited the hotel. He spent the morning and the early afternoon mulling over the catastrophe which had exploded in his life. Zoro examined every minuscule detail, every word that he remembered Gin saying last night and for the past eight months. But everything he came up seemed to point to the blond's betrayal.
The first fight began in the early afternoon; it was Hachi's, and as a rule, the whole team had to be there to support and to represent. For once, Zoro dreaded the meeting.
This last chance came in the form of a pay telephone on some New York street. He stepped into the old-fashioned booth and plugged in the quarters with a rock-steady hand which wished to tremble but didn't dare. He really didn't know what he would say when Sanji—that true blond slut—answered the phone. Didn't know whether he's demand an explanation or just pretend that nothing had happened and attempt to gauge Sanji.
Sanji didn't even give him a chance.
The phone rang forever and then right when Zoro was about to hang up and walk out to brood some more over the issue, Sanji picked up.
"Hello? Zoro?" His voice was out of breath, a gasp really. As if he had just been running…or fucking.
The blond's voice rushed on, "Hey, can't speak right now—shit!— trying to teach some new techniques to the new sous chef—shut up idiot! No, don't, God—he's destroying my kitchen! Good luck on your battle, you'll-win-I'm-sure-so-kick-ass-marimo-love-you-bye!"
The phone went dead in his hand and Zoro stared stupidly at it in his hand. Did Sanji really have the gall to flaunt his unfaithfulness in his face? Teaching the new sous chef how to stir a chowder soup right, or teaching him how to bend over and take it?
He hung the phone up slowly and walked out of the booth.
~ABC & G~
Sanji really was too skilled in bed not to have had a lot of practice.
The thought came into the front of his mind so suddenly and unwanted that he almost walked into the glass door of the hotel. The door man discreetly opened the door for him without acknowledging the fumble and the swordsman entered after a moment of embarrassment.
Sanji had never been far from his thoughts but now he was tainted. Everything about his life with Sanji had been tainted with the lie. All of Zoro's most precious memories were being painted over with an ugly oily film. It was as if he had wiped off the beautiful icing of some tempting cake and discovered rotting flesh beneath; a curdling sense of revulsion that something so dirty had been intimate with him. Like a tick, bloated with blood, discovered nestling sweetly in his hair.
The images shuffled through his mind relentlessly; a parade of infamy.
Sanji lying in bed with him that one lazy Sunday morning. The first time that the blond slut had decided Zoro would be fun for a while and said he loved him. Those three precious words had made his heart swell with love…and triumph.
The time Zoro had been wounded so horribly he almost died but woke up in the hospital; the blond slut holding his hand, looking concerned, but really only worried that one of his newest fucks and playthings was broken.
When coming out of that one stupid movie they had to run to the car in a torrential downpour, only for the car not to start. The blond slut grabbing his sleeve and suggesting they steam up the windows until the storm passed instead—but not out of any kind of playful, true affection but to get his fix. Get his practice, in.
Was Zoro actually just practice for Gin? Gin was given the whole picture at least. FUCK! Worst of all Gin had once had the relationship with Sanji he thought he had before their break up. Then he had changed into this bastard slut.
Women in the lobby backed away as a man with green hair and a terrifying aura circled the lobby twice before finding the elevator to return to his floor.
Gin. A waiter. And now a Sous Chef. Or maybe it was still the waiter but Sanji gave him a promotion in the lie. Sanji wouldn't hire a sous chef that inept that he'd need that much of Sanji's help or to even begin to wreck Sanji's kitchen. A true blond slut might though. Maybe he had fumbled in his fib in the heat of the moment and was right now cursing his slip but laughing that Zoro had swallowed it like a hot rush of semen.
Sanji was so good he didn't need other cooks. Cocks though?
Maybe he hired them based on fuckability and just the general need to have someone to fill him or fill in for him so he could be elsewhere fucking whoever with more flexibility. The cook probably had no limits to his blatant lust.
Everything was so fake now. That brush off 'love you' meant nothing, it was so obvious. He hadn't mentioned missing him because he hadn't. Was probably screwing that waiter or chef or god knows who on Zoro's bed right now. Maybe on the counter, bent over and rubbing his face in the flour.
The ding of the elevator doors opening on his floor brought his head up to be face to face with Gin and the rest of the team. He blanched, not wanting to meet their eyes, knowing that his anger and depression showed.
Brooke twirled his cane-sword, and yodeled, "Yohoho! There he is! We were worried you might have lost your way."
"There was no might actually, you got lost definitely didn't you Zoro?" Usopp nodded sagely. Zoro clenched his hand, ignoring the slight sting from under the bandage now covering the slice from the cell phone. He wasn't going to share his most recent phone call, he looked away as he settled for the half truth.
"The elevators in the lobby moved." He admitted stiffly, not prepared for the arm that Law slung around him as the whole crew piled in the elevator with him.
"Damn Zoro- what's going on? Don't be so damn tense! We're here for you, and we're going to win, right guys?" There was a loud, boisterous cheer as Usopp squeezed in and pushed the lobby button. "So let's have breakfast, kick those other teams asses, and come back here and drink!" Another loud cheer.
Even Zoro found himself smiling at that. He had been getting more and more pissed as he had been thinking about it. Pissed, yes at the blond slut, but also at his own heart that still somehow was holding on to hope that it wasn't true. It was a fucking traitor. His mind was nothing near stupid and knew that Sanji has fooled him and lied to him—it was irrefutable. But his heart kept on pining, offering fumbling, pathetic excuses for the real traitor, clamoring in his chest that it wasn't true, couldn't be true.
If he could just forget about Sanji and deal with this when he got home it would be better. He'd be damned if a blond harlot he shared his bed with a few times was going to take away the win he and his team had been going after for years! Long before he ever touched the man, or heard the name, Sanji AllBlue.
Of course even employing his iron will he couldn't be help but internally baulk at how the eggs he was eating in this fancy hotel restaurant couldn't hold a candle to the ones Sanji had cooked for him a mere two days ago with crispy bacon and green tea made the right way.
"If I'm going to watch your place, I'm going to need a key at some point, dumbass." His Sanji had said as he finished filling Zoro's tea cup again before topping off his own. Zoro looked at his tea as he fingered the key in his pocket, conflicted. This was the Sanji of before, the one who was loyal, faithful, the man of his life and all those clichés.
At the hesitation Sanji sighed.
"If you don't trust me enough to watch your place, just say so. Not like you have any damn pets or plants or anything. It'll be fine empty without me."
Zoro smirked and leaned over to pull the seemingly insecure bastard into a kiss on the side of his mouth. He placed the key on the table in front of the cook. A small simple key with a green cord. He had even been so idiotic to think that the man's mistaken disappointment had been secretly charming. The memory burned and writhed in his mind; the shame and humiliation was a living brand on his soul; literal pain once he revisited how fucking stupid he had been.
"I want you to be here when I get back. I was debating whether or not I going to tell you to just keep the key." Zoro had to chuckle as a slight pink on the tips of the blond's ears gave away the blushing as he looked away. He had blushed, blushed. How could he have been so blind to everything but Sanji!
"And what did you decide, asshole? Do I get to keep it or not?" Sanji huffed before picking the last piece of bacon off the plate and taking it into his mouth.
Zoro watched the meat slip past his lips distractedly and with a pang of envy.
"Hmm…" Zoro teased in fake consideration. "I guess that depends on how good you are tonight and while I'm gone."
The cook grinned as he stood and cleared the empty plates away. Zoro had just taken another sip of tea when Sanji moved behind him and bent over to breath huskily in his ear in such a way that made his cock throb and made it near impossible to swallow.
"I'm better than good Marimo~ I'm fucking amazing…but maybe that makes me a little bad too."
That night Sanji showed him just how good and bad he was. Fucking unbelievable. Of course it would have been mind-blowing.
Sluts have plenty of practice his brain reminded him as it snapped him out of his memory and back into pushing a pile of just okay eggs around his plate. He tossed his fork on to the plate, done.
It was disgusting. His good-bye fuck nothing more than just a good time and a play for his key before he left. Fuck.
He wasn't supposed to be thinking of flexible blond sluts. He scrubbed his hands over his face in aggravation. He was supposed to concentrate and focus on the tournament in front of him.
Several hours later he won his first match. A man with the bearings of a lithe aristocrat and golden blond hair that went by the name of Hawkins was unfortunate enough to be his first opponent. He thought he was fine…until he saw blond elegantly swishing toward him not unlike how he's seen Sanji fight and caught a glimpse of some sort of fucked up eyebrow tattoo or makeup that pushed him straight back into thinking about the slut that was probably fucking the neighbors on his sofa.
It was over in a second and ten minutes later Usopp was next to him on a bench handing him a bottle of water and looking at him like he knew that if the ref hadn't stopped him the man would be in the hospital now. Not that the team manager said that. Instead he sighed and mumbled something about how a good portion of the people slated to fight him had suddenly forfeit. Brooke commented about how his form seemed a tad more brutal and sloppy just then.
Zoro just wanted a drink.
~ABC & G~
The week passed in a whirlwind of fury and sickening rapidity. He had hoped that this, this, discovery, would not impact his performance or his ability to feel accomplished and proud of the team's victories, but he might as well have tried to empty the ocean with a spoon. The feat was that herculean, that impossible.
His fights were brutal, unforgiving conquests; he couldn't help the violence which corkscrewed throughout him when he felt the solid hilt in his tanned hands. It was the only way he even managed to stay sane, to not lose his logic and sense of reasoning and storm off to California on the first plane and murder the treacherous blond on sight.
It wasn't like he had ever lost a battle—so his victories did not raise any eyebrows on his team, but even Zoro realized that his form was slipping; his cuts more sloppy. They would not murder a man, but would leave him screaming and writhing on the floor, bleeding his life's blood onto the uncaring cement.
But the team—near and dear men who in any other time and place would have nagged him until he spilled it—was too caught up in the tournament for which they had been practicing for a little less than a year for. They sensed his instability but didn't press the issue, too caught up in their own tensions and excitement.
Hachi scored some amazing victories in the first half of the tournament; he set the stage for the team as he won the first opening duel to the triumphant roar of the spectators. Law also was a sensation; his dark, mottled skin, charcoaled eyes, and insidious appearance all but had the dark surgeon's opponents shaking in their boots and pissing their pants. Law also was a popular hit; he probably slept with a different women every night. That man had no shortage of sweet, supple flesh.
Brooke, ever the gentleman, showed his defeated rivals a generosity and good sportsmanship which was the envy of every man. The others were just as good and just as talented. It was a good team and though the fights were struggles; they managed to keep afloat and swim.
Gin was Zoro's only problem. The little cold sore at the tip of his lip which his tongue keeps running over and over as if it relished the nagging pain. Gin's wins were as talented and just as breathtaking as the others—he was undeniably talented with his use of two heavy, short swords, but Zoro found his throat clogged and his cheers weak and dispirited. Gin—how could he cheer lustily for the man who had even unintentionally brought this catastrophe into his life, unbidden, as sudden, as unexpected, as devastating as an earthquake?
He couldn't even stir some sort of euphoria when Usopp hoisted the large golden cup in front of the popping and flashing camera's and puffed out his small chest. His smile felt stretchy, fake, superficial, the kind of smile you take out of your wallet, unfold it, and place it carefully on your lips with the help of scotch tape—and then crumple it up and throw it away when no one is looking.
~ABC & G~
The team wanted to have a night on the town before they returned to the Golden State. Zoro didn't get it; they had already been having various nights on the town before this. New York was just too New Yorkian to not be hitting the bars and clubs.
But the team wanted to have the night on the town. The kind of night in where things got broken, women got pregnant, and the police ended up being called. They had won the NFSCA! They were the best of the best; the crème de la crème! They deserved a party.
Zoro declined. Just like he had every single night before that. He just wasn't in a mood to party. The drinks he could have used—nothing like the transparency of Vodka to keep one's mind light and free—but he didn't want to spoil the mood of the team.
The team insisted. Even Usopp nagged.
He deliberated on refusing and walking off so that they would just leave him the fuck alone, but he took a second glance at their eager, happy-drunk eyes and swallowed his words. This was their night. Zoro couldn't let his personal problems get in the way of his team's ecstasy, That would be tantamount to letting Sanji win.
"Fine. All right, but I'm turning in early."
"The man sees reason!" Law drawled, rubbing his tattooed hands gleefully, "Zoro, my friend, you've been missing out on our fun for the past week! I don't know what fly bit you, but even you can't be mad after we just won NFSCA, eh?"
They were walking through the hotel's lobby, just returned from dropping off their sweaty clothing and sheathed swords and showering and changing into clothes more suitable for the nighttime activities which awaited them. Brooke had produced a zoot suit from somewhere and was currently sporting it like the shnazzy man he was.
Zoro allowed a grin, "Best I've felt in my life." The lie curdled in his mouth.
"That's my man," Law agreed, thumping on the back, "We haven't been wanting to push it—you know, we'll keep our eyes on our dick in the urinal, but man, sometimes you need a friend to hold your hand if it's a really bad shit." Zoro could see the rest of the team nodding and gratitude mixed with shame welled in his spirit.
He shrugged, "I'm fine. Just tired."
"A load of bolsheviks!" Brooke trilled, twirling his top hat around a bone-thin finger as his other hand tapped a classy cane across the lobby floor, "Zoro, don't try to fool us, son. We've been your friends since Day One. Why don't you try to tell us what's wrong? It might ease your mind."
For the first time in what seemed forever, Zoro gave a genuine, if thread worn chuckle. It felt alien in his bleak heart, but the sound relaxed him, let his shoulders sag a little. He gave another unwilling smile and said, "Thanks guys. But it's nothing, really. Just bad problems...with someone back home."
They exited out into the cold night, filled with blaring engines and neon lights. Not a night at all, just a dark day. The party bus was waiting where it said it would be and Usopp hailed it. They piled in, Zoro last.
He hesitated as he put his foot on the landing. He just wasn't up for a night of debauchery; his heart was tired, his mind was tired, his soul wounded to the core. The wise thing would be to just back out and say, thanks guys, but I really don't want to do this.
He climbed up into the party's bus glittery interior with a sigh. It wasn't for him to spoil the mood. Hopefully this would be quick and painless.
~ABC & G~
The night was actually not as bad as he thought it would be—the team enveloped him, doing everything to crack through his stony exterior and bring a smile to his face; nothing worked, but just the fact that they cared enough to try, was salve on an open wound. It was fine, comforting even—until it turned into a macabre nightmare, straight out of a twisted Brothers Grimm fairy tale.
The shady club slash bar was called the Gold Roger and the waitresses had adopted this raunchy pirate theme—they were costumed as pirate wenches, sashes and fake swords swung at their curved hips and garish lipstick matched their faux gold hoops. There was an incredibly hot freckled man dancing on a pole over at another bar—much to the lady's delight. He was doing some flashy parlor tricks with fire and drawing cheers from the crowd.
Their group of six was occupying a booth near the back and the beer had flowed heavily the whole night. Zoro had just tucked away his seventh and was nursing his eighth. The others more or less followed him.
They had been jumping from topic to topic; from their spectacular win to the gorgeous size of the wench's breasts at yonder table to the state of the economy. Zoro had been listening and not listening, putting half an ear to the conversation and the other half to the welcoming fizz of the yeasty brew in front of him.
Then they were all staring at him and he grunted.
"Spill Zoro," Usopp said, affecting an aura of authority, though his long nose sort of spoiled his look. "You have this big, dark cloud over you."
"It's nothing…personal problems," he swigged beer and wiped his lips, signaling his unwillingness to continue down that particular road.
"I don't care! You tell me or I'll beat you to an inch of your life!" The manager snorted, "Don't make me come over there Zoro—you wouldn't last a second, a half-second against the great me."
"Aww, let the man rest," Gin said, clapping Zoro's shoulder, "He doesn't want to talk."
"No, he does, he just doesn't know it," Law interrupted smoothly, leaning forward. His eyeliner was a bit smeared and the man looked more than a little demonic, "Thing is, he's uncomfortable talking about that kind of shit when no one else is. We need to create a nice, therapeutic environment for the man to relax in. Trust me…I'm a doctor. We'll talk about our…personals. Go, Gin."
"Ay, fuck you Trafalgar! You want to start a little circle jerk, you start."
Law swirled the vodka in his shotglass, "I will. His name's Drake. Has a big tattoo on his chest; it's too damn erotic."
Hachi grunted, "Problems?"
"None," the dark man smiled, "He-"
Zoro laughed, "This is not going to get you guys anywhere. Talk all you want." He shook his head incuriously and knocked back another cool swallow. He was half aghast, half amused as hell. The guys were nosy, but their hearts were good. They could talk about their relationships all they wanted but he wouldn't breathe a word. He would have been insane to tell them what he was just barely starting to understand. But he envied them their freedom; the way they could talk freely about the men and women in their lives. None of them—except Gin—had felt betrayal so profound.
It was Hachi's turn now. The large man shyly stirred his martini, "I'm going to propose to Caimie before Christmas. I want to tie the knot with her…we're already business partners for the Takoyaki shop in Oakland."
The others clapped, and Brooke broke in, "I've actually began seeing someone for the past few months. I'm taking it slow—yohohoho—but I feel like it might be something greater!"
"Me and Kaya are still going strong—five years of marriage and not one argument!" Usopp boasted, "She's the only one for me."
"Everybody here knows the shit I'm going through," Gin remarked through the cheers raised for Usopp's happy union, "I don't need to expand."
Zoro stiffened and he almost knocked his mug over with the sudden movement of his hands; he had hoped that Gin wouldn't talk…and at the same time hoped that he would.
"Oh, come on!" Law smirked, "We don't need you to tell us about that rabid blond that'd hump a tree if it gave him a hard on. I have to admit though, he's gotten better since I last did him. Learned a few tricks." His tone was contemptuous—the voice of a man who praised a well-meaning fool.
Law was another one? Law had fucked Sanji? He was speechless, shocked to the marrow.
Gin's face flushed and he barked, "Shut up! He has a right to do what the fuck he wants!"
Cabaji interrupted, laughing, "Gin! Stop trying to defend him! He's exactly like Law says. We hooked up a bit when you two were 'off'. Man, I still haven't forgotten that curly eyebrow, so ridiculous. But, best blowjob I've ever gotten. Hands down."
"I'll drink to that," Das Bones rumbled and clicked glasses with the acrobat swordsman, "I remember him. Gin's off-and-on guy, right? Sweet ass, soft skin…blond hair…what a whore—if he was right here, right now, then I wouldn't wait a minute to bend him over on this damn table and fuck'm hard."
"Like hell you would!"
Das Bones lifted his eyebrow at Zoro's unexpected participation but gave an evil smirk.
"Why the hell not? If he doesn't recognize Gin as an exclusive boyfriend, why should I?"
"Thanks a lot asshole." Gin mumbled, disgruntled, as he yanked the bottle from Cabaji's hand to take a shot from a bottle.
"Don't worry about Gin!" Law slapped Zoro on the back, ignorant to the fact that in that moment the green haired swordsman wanted to reach for his swords and turn the room into a blood bath. It was only the pure ludicrousness of Sanji being this much of a slut and his own possessive outburst despite it that kept his white knuckles clenched around his drink. "We talked to Gin about it when it happened, Didn't we Gin? If you settle for sloppy seconds then you get what you get and have no right to complain."
"Besides Zoro! You're buddies with Johnny and Yosaku, right? How have you not heard about this guy yet? All of their fucked up sex stories are about HIM!" Usopp added with a chuckle as Zoro whipped around to look for the telltale lie in their manager's eyes. Not finding it his brain nearly imploded as he recalled each what he thought was bullshit story. There were tons.
A very recent one in particular featured a hot blonde blowing Johnny while being nailed by Yosaku from behind. In the middle of a crowded party. On film. It was supposed to be just a bullshit made up story and he had assumed it was about a girl anyway but now! OH GOD!
Those two dumbasses were his oldest friends and now he was envisioning the blond that had so captured his heart bending to their every whim. A 'please fuck me harder' look in his eyes as he moans out for more.
"He can't be!"
"Actually that's how I met him Zoro." Gin admitted. "I was at a club, feeling sorry for myself when I saw him…dancing between those two. For a moment I thought I fell in love all over again. But then he started grinding against all of us on the dance floor and I knew it wouldn't be the same. He told me he'd fuck me as hard as I wanted or let me ride him until he begged." He smiled, "Even if he's got a problem settling down with me, I know I'm his number one."
Law laughed and slung one leg over another.
"Maybe I'll look him up when we get back and really see how true that is after I let him have a few hours with me."
Zoro half expected Gin to tackle the man but instead a shit eating grin grew on those lips.
"Challenge accepted. I'm the best he's ever had and ever will in every fucking conceivable way. I've done things to and with him you can't imagine and he begs me with those beautiful pleading eyes." Gin's eyes grew wild and Law smirked slightly in return as if suddenly about to impart some words of wisdom.
"You fuck all the time right? Because that's the only thing he's good for. Because he can't give you what you REALLY want."
The tension in the room grew thick as everyone looked from Law to Gin. Finally Gin sighed and scrubbed his fingers through his hair with a half amused, half defeated sigh.
"FUCK. Yeah. Sanji. I want Sanji back."
Zoro wanted his Sanji back too. It was far too late for that. Sanji. Sanji the slut. The whore. The blond that fucked his friends behind his back and made him think it was something more.
Zoro was ready to accept it. All of it.
He loved Sanji.
He loved him but he the one he loved he wouldn't share and the slut he had he didn't want.
If Gin wanted Sanji back he could have him.
It was over.
Once he got back and told the slut in person- he'd feel better. For now he could only grind his teeth together and listen to his friend's good natured laughter and drink until he passed out. The others didn't even remember why they even started talking about their relationships in the first place—to draw his own story out. They were too busy swapping Sanji's fantastic sex stories like old baseball cards. I'll tell you about how I spanked him if you tell me how your threesome was. It was sickening how Sanji had made him believe that he had loved him.
~ABC & G~
He returned to California a changed man; perhaps not a broken man, perhaps not a defeated man, but a different man all the same. There was this large hole in his heart that burned when he shifted, that ached when he saw yellow hair, and that cried when he slept.
The world had lost is vibrancy; the lackluster images which surrounded him were dark forebodings. How could he believe in anything when the thing he had thought the most true, the most sacred, had proven as substantial as tracks drawn in the sand.
The team noted his need to be alone and to reflect and they let him be, only pausing once in a while to grip his shoulder and murmur something encouraging.
The seven hour flight back was sleepless; all Zoro could think about was that with every passing minute he was approaching Sanji again, the miles flying past as they neared. Should he march in and pummel the traitor to an inch of his life, should he call him out right there in the doorway so that the neighbors could see what kind of man he was, should he get Usopp to intervene and demand his keys back so that Zoro would never see that face again?
No. I want to tell him to his face how stupid I was, how I seriously thought we were something else. I want to look him in the eyes and tell him to get the fuck out of my life.
~ABC & G~
They said goodbye at the airport; Zoro thumped the guys' backs and crushed Usopp in a bear hug. The manager would take the large golden cup home and put it on his hearth or maybe in a special glass cabinet, who knew. Hell, he might eat his cereal out of the trophy—but everyone knew that the manager was the one who deserved to take it home.
Zoro had a fleeting urge to just turn back into the airport terminal and buy himself a one-way ticket to Bangkok, Jakarta, Paris—anywhere but here.
But he didn't. He trudged down the escalators and picked up his check out luggage and walked out of LAX into the dark night. He cast his eyes around the busy parking lot, half-expecting to see a cheerful Sanji waving a welcome home sign and holding a bouquet of flowers.
Yeah right. Guy's probably fitting in a last screw before he can freshen up to see me.
Sanji probably didn't even know that they had won—he had probably been busy frolicking in other beds and in other people to pay attention to the tournament. Zoro sure as hell hadn't told him.
He hailed a taxi and clambered in, tossing his shit in haphazardly.
"Hey; Take me to Rouge Boulevard, the apartment complex on the left side. Oda Street."
"Will do," the man said and taking one glance at his brooding figure, pressed the gas and sped off without a word.
~ABC & G~
The same urge struck him when they were ten minutes away from his apartment—as the buildings started to get familiar and even he knew the names of the streets; Zoro felt like leaning forward and tapping the driver on the shoulder, hey, buddy—I'll give you a hundred bucks if you just keep on driving into the sunset. Eat up the road, I don't ever want to get out.
And then he was passing into the little road in front of his complex and the taxi cab cruised to a stop.
"Home sweet home," the driver remarked.
"It used to be," he replied dryly and tugged the door open. He glanced at his windows and imagined he saw a small twitch of the curtains—Sanji peeking out? He had his answer almost immediately—the lights came on in the bedroom and the living room too. Fuck, they were seconds and feet away from coming face to face; Zoro didn't even know what he planned to say.
"Well, hope you enjoyed your trip Sir," the driver said noncommittally as Zoro handed him the cash.
He grabbed his luggage and walked off, not bothering to reply—he wasn't sure if he could have said anything intelligible at that point.
His feet were steady, the ground moved by him and then he was turning the small corner and there the bastard stood in all his glory.
Sanji had the gall to be grinning and to be topless. His own green sweatpants were wrapped around his lean hips and his hair was darker, the water clinging from it still had not evaporated.
Zoro kept on walking, not even glancing at the pariah. He concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other and not pulling out a sword and committing homicide.
"Zoro! You're back man! Shithead—missed you like hell! And you won! Hey—"
Sanji was almost babbling, his hands moving in grand gestures.
"Hey what's wrong—what happened?"
Zoro brushed past him and when he felt Sanji's hand grip his forearm he flung it off so hard that Sanji nearly stumbled off the small concrete path and into the bushes.
"Hey! The fuck's you're problem!"
He turned back at the door, the blood within him furious.
"I don't want to see your fucking face again, you hear me? Get the hell out of my house—"
"What the fuck!" Sanji's mouth gaped, "What the hell did I do bastard?"
"You know damn well what the fuck you did!" He roared, "How many men were there when I was gone? Five? Six?Twelve? How many guys did you fuck when I my back was turned! I loved you and you smeared shit all over it! You took a shit all over us!"
The blond stared at him soundlessly, "I—You're insane. I have no idea what you're—"
"Don't you fucking dare say that!" He snarled, "You thought I'd never find out! You'd thought that I'd be the stupid, lovesick fool that let you do anything to him! Well, fuck you! Grab your shit and get the hell out! The next time I see your face I'll murder you where you stand!"
He turned and walked in, not bothering to close the door. Zoro wanted Sanji to just grab his jacket, his coat, his shoes and leave forever. The blond followed.
"What the hell are you saying! You think I cheated on you while you're gone?"
Zoro dropped his stuff in the living room and stormed into the bedroom, shouting, "I don't think you did—I know you did. Just like you were cheating on me ever since we started going out! My own teammates!" He snatched up Sanji's coat and tossed it at the cook, grabbed a pair of shorts he didn't recognize and threw that too.
"Wait a minute—just wait a fucking minute! I haven't fucked anyone since we started going out—who the hell do you think I am! Wait—"
"I don't know who you are!" He yelled, snatching up a faded Nike sports bag and throwing it at the cook. There was nothing else and he almost collapsed on the bed and he sat down and covered his eyes. "You lied to me—for all this time, you were lying. I would have given you my life, I gave everything else, what more did you want?"
"I don't know who the hell told you this shit—but Zoro, it's not true," Sanji said slowly. The silence was thick and his words fought to cross the tremendous chasm which had opened up between them. "I love you. I've never cheated on you, ever."
Zoro ached; everything ached.
"I don't believe you."
How can I? They told me how much they liked to pull back your hair from your left eye when you sucked dick so they could see your other curly eyebrow.
Sanji's voice was desperate, "Zoro—don't so this to me—I've never fucked around behind your back; never! Man—I love you, only you!"
The words were a double-edged blade, and he made a small noise—almost a whimper.
I could forgive him. Isn't that the greatest act of love?
In the stillness, Sanji's phone started to ring and Zoro immediately killed the small thought that had slipped into his mind. The cook groaned and pulled out the cell, with a look of frustration.
"Answer it," he said dully, "Maybe it's your new boyfriend wanting to see if you're open."
"Shut up," Sanji snapped, and the cell turned off with a small beep, "Who the hell put this shit—"
"Get out! You're the worst thing to have ever fucking happened in my life; you're a fucking whore! And I loved you so get the hell out!"
There was another tense, earthquake between them and then Sanji snarled, "Fine. Fuck you, I don't need this from you! I don't need your shit."
He stormed off. Zoro's head hurt and the tears felt like they were hot enough to burn his face when they rolled down his cheeks. The door slammed seconds later and all was silent.
Earlier in the day Sanji had frowned as the hotel operator politely and firmly turned down his request, again.
"Unless you have the name the room's booked under or the team managers name, I can neither confirm or deny the team you're speaking of is here in order to protect the hotel guests privacy."
"Come on! He's a big muscled, directionless, scary looking, green haired idiot who has something wrong with his damn cell phone! Zoro! I know he's there! You've had to notice him! I just don't know his damn manager's name. Can't you connect me to the room or leave a message? Something? Please?"
There was a pause. The clerk on the other end of the line definitely knew who he was talking about.
"Sorry sir, it's against policy." Click.
"Damn! God damned procedure!" Sanji hissed as he placed another cigarette to his lips and lit it with minimal effort despite the frustration. Zoro was due for the airport sometime today and while he'd been trying to catch him at the hotel for days and given the same tired excuse, this was his last chance to figure out when the bastards flight was.
The fact he was aching to talk to the man played no small part too.
The big Baratie event and training extra staff had made the beginning of his week hellishly busy. From the day Zoro left he had been run ragged but still he made an effort to try and keep contact with his marimo. A text, basically wishing him a good trip in his own way was fired off hastily on his last smoke break. And when he got back to Zoro's place to sleep he practically passed out immediately but being alone with all the sights and smells of Zoro made him yearn for the man just then. At least to say goodnight before he passed out.
He dialed Zoro's number as he fought off unconsciousness. Busy. Who the hell was Zoro talking to at this hour? It had to be after one am on the east coast. Maybe he butt dialed or something? Zoro's ass did always seem to call out to him at least. Slightly disappointed but amused at the thought, Sanji fell asleep.
The next morning he skipped calling Zoro, figuring he needed to sleep in or fight off the jet lag before his big conference. Truth was he didn't have time to call him anyway. He had woken up with a nose full of Zoro scented pillow from a scorchingly erotic dream where Zoro had slowly let the back of his blade glide over Sanji's sensitive skin and cut away his clothes piece by piece and then traced the path of his blade with his hot, wet mouth.
The cook was rather annoyed how his whole day started off behind and frustrated, due to a prolonged and intense jack off session in the shower., which though was sweet satisfaction profound, caused him to be late to work Being around all of Zoro's things but not Zoro might be harder than he anticipated. If there was a hell for lovers, then he was in it.
Then Zoro had called at the worst possible moment, when the new Sous Chef was practically on a rampage of idiocy.
He didn't need a new chef in his opinion but there was a reason he had hired Nami as a general manager (her loveliness aside, the profit margin was always under her critical eye) and she insisted that if he intended to slip away for his and Zoro's Anniversary then he needed someone to fill in for him or had he forgotten they had a wedding reception that night on top of the usual Saturday night craziness?
He was glad he could to talk to Zoro for that quick little moment and wish him luck though since later on break when he tried calling Zoro's number he got a mysterious 'Your number can't be completed as dialed' and when he tried the unfamiliar number Zoro had called from he got a rather dim but charismatic, happy go lucky kid that that informed him he'd just called a phone booth and did he happen to know where he could get some meat since he was hungry.
Not being able to talk to Zoro had itched under his skin for days. He thought being so damn busy would make it easier having him gone. They were adults, Zoro would be okay without him for a week. And he could manage just fine on his own, thank you very much. But still even though he'd been coming back to Zoro's apartment each night exhausted, ready to pass out, only to be struck even more profoundly by the emptiness and lack of Zoro.
Calling the hotel again was his last ditch effort. He had wanted to meet Zoro at the airport but without knowing what flight or time, that wouldn't work. A quick look at the tournament website had proclaimed Zoro's team the winner in a nearly unheard of sweep and he swelled with pride. He wanted to greet Zoro at the airport even more now, with a sign, maybe confetti and a cake that wasn't too sweet.
Well he could make a meal and he could make sure he was showered and clean so if Zoro missed him like he had, he could ravage him and taste his skin until morning without worry. Actually he didn't have to be in till later tomorrow afternoon so he was free to show Zoro just how much he had missed him until then.
Then Zoro's cab pulled to the curb and the cook was so giddy he wanted to tackle him right then. Until he saw Zoro's face. Something was wrong. He didn't realize how wrong until Zoro ripped his hand away.
Some kind of nightmare unfolded around him. When all he wanted to do was hold Zoro, welcome him home, and fix whatever was upsetting him, he learned that he was apparently the cause. His heart was breaking a little more with each syllable of each poisoned accusation.
The man he loved looked at him with disgust. Wanted him gone from his house. From his life. Called him a whore. Didn't believe him. Didn't trust him. Didn't want him. Didn't love him?
What had changed in one fucking week to make Zoro regret being with him? Confusing questions swirled as he tried to hold on through the emotional onslaught.
Finally his pride couldn't take anymore. No matter what this man meant to him he couldn't be with someone who was so cruel. Someone who didn't even want to fucking listen. Someone who didn't want him.
He forgot about how much they had and the food in the fridge he had prepared. His feet were moving. His lips too.
"Fine. Fuck you, I don't need this from you! I don't need your shit."
He slammed down the key on the counter, not bothering to remove the little key chain he had added to it.
He needed to get the fuck out. Zoro didn't deserve to see him cry.
Three blocks away he got out of the car and kicked the shit out of a tree until both the tree and his foot looked as mangled as he felt on the inside. His face felt tight where salted moisture had dried and when he got to his apartment he needed to know why.
Fucked his teammates. That's what Zoro had said.
He went back to the website, found the footage of Zoro looking enraged and wailing into his first opponent before finding the team roster. The name hit him like a sucker punch to the gut. Gin. Gin was on his team. How could he have not known?
Still Gin wouldn't make up shit. Sanji knew that So Zoro had to have misunderstood something. Maybe Gin had bitched about his exes or something and Zoro had managed to get his name out of it? Maybe Zoro had thought that an ex hadn't been that long of an ex—that they had been seeing each the last few weeks when in reality, all that had happened years ago!
Sanji sat back numbly in the chair.
Knowing the why hadn't helped at all. If anything knowing it took so little to rip Zoro's trust away to the point he didn't even want to look at him hurt more. Fuck Zoro for not even being willing to listen to him.
It didn't matter. Zoro wasn't worth it. He'd be over him before their anniversary. It was such a bullshit lie Sanji sobbed and pulled out another cigarette.
The rest of the week went by with Sanji trying not to think about Zoro. Throwing himself into his work. His whole restaurant knew something was up though and Nami kicked him to the curb, saying he needed a break and to clear his head.
"This was the night you wanted off anyway. We can't have you and the Sous chef you trained both on the books on the same night."
Maybe it was fitting. To clear his head there was only one place he could go. A perfect place to say goodbye to what they had and really move on.
~ABC & G~
Zoro would have forgotten the days of the week if it hadn't been for the calendar on the fridge. Otherwise, everything was the same dreary, suffocating reality. There was only one thing he wanted to do; and that was to find Sanji and bring him back. And that was the one thing he couldn't do.
Instead, he lost himself with exercise, with running miles throughout the night, with the packed and noisy gym, lifting weights and using every machine in the place until his body screamed and begged for relief.
Work at the dojo was another way he could take his mind off of the empty bed at night. He taught his students faithfully, teaching them how to hold a sword and how to polish it and how to respect your opponent even if he had just schooled you.
But other than that, there was nothing to fight the darkness with. Day and night were the same; past, present, and future were all bleak landscapes with nothing which shined and gave him hope. Never had life seemed so desolate. Only Kuina's death had pushed him into this stoic silence.
The team hadn't forgotten him though; and Zoro found himself talking with Hachi on the phone the first weekend back, the first weekend not waking up slightly sore with a warm, lean body pressing into his side.
Hachi wanted him to join up with the team at some posh club for drinks; Usopp wanted to celebrate the win with the rest of their friends who had been cheering for them from across the continent.
He would have refused, not wanting to enmesh himself in the hell of hearing another twenty stories of what Sanji could do to a guy with his tongue. But Zoro knew that the team wouldn't dare to talk about such a raunchy subject with their friends and family—Kaya was going, and so was Drake apparently. Anyway, he missed his friends—without Sanji, he had become a little lonely. Anyway, it wasn't their fault that they had all fucked a guy that they knew was as easy to get into as a community college.
He drove down to the club; it was only an hour or so away and parked outside. There was a crowd of people milling outside the club, embracing and shaking hands. He saw Usopp's wife Kaya and Hachi's soon-to-be fiancé Caime. Zoro got out and grinned as they greeted him. All the team was there—Law, Cabaji, Brooke, even the sight of Gin did him some good. The team was like family. They would take care of him while he moved on.
"Zoro! Good to see you? Didn't bring someone? Some cutie?" Law asked, throwing an arm around his man, "This is Drake—I told you about him."
They moved to the club's double-wing doors, Zoro shook Drake's hand, "Pleasure—and nah, I came solo."
"That's good. Cleared up your issues then?" Law asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Sometimes an amputation is the best option," the man remarked, "If not, the diseased limb can spread to the rest of the body and to the vital organs. You did good, kid." He nodded wisely and then leaned in close to whisper in Zoro's ears, "But if you want a condolence fuck, Gin's guy came with him—he'd spread his ankles for you in a heartbeat; got a thing for swordsmen, that one."
Zoro's heart froze and he stopped in the middle of the crowd as they were making their way to a small alcove where the rest of the team had seated themselves.
The whore hadn't waited a day; he had crawled back to Gin probably the very night Zoro had come back. He almost walked back out—before he set his jaw and lifted his chin. Sanji wouldn't chase him out of a place where he had all the right to be like a whipped puppy with its sodden tail between his legs. If Sanji believed he could flaunt himself, then the fuck had another thing coming.
His eyes scoured the circular table where his group sat laughing and toasting. No Sanji. Law was already pushing some people aside and clearing a spot for the three of them. Maybe the cook was on the dance floor already, grinding on some poor sap. Zoro turned around and swept the part of the crowded place he could see. There were a lot of hot guys, a couple blonds, but no Sanji.
Maybe he was nailing someone in the men's room.
"Hey," he whispered to Law, "Where's Gin's guy?"
Law crooked his eyebrow and raised his voice, "Gin! Where's your guy?"
Gin shrugged, "He went to go get some guy's number. Idiot. He should be back by—oh hey, there he is," Gin waved.
Zoro turned, a lump in his throat, ready to say something short and acid to the cook. Something clever which would cut the cook open and flay his soul. Hey, Sanji—been busy lately? You look tired, Sanji, haven't been sleeping well? You should try sleeping in a bed for once.
But there was no Sanji. Zoro looked dumfounded as two guys approached. One was a brunette with a drink in his hand and a tattoo crawling up his neck—he was laughing and grinning at his partner. The other was a blond, but—
It was like looking at Sanji through a funhouse mirror, something's different, something's similar. The man was taller, broader, with hair a shade paler than Sanji's. His curly eyebrows were steeper, the curl more tight, smaller. Handsome in a peculiar way, but not as elegant, not as incredibly hot as Sanji. His hair hung over his left eye like the cook—but they were completely different people.
Gin got up, his lips drawn, "Found yourself another boytoy?"
The fake Sanji grinned broadly, "Ohhh, don't be like that Gin! We're getting along so well. It's the price of being so handsome."
Law held up a hand, "Hey, Zoro here wanted to meet you. Zoro—Duval, Duval—Zoro."
The blond turned to him and wiggled an eyebrow suggestively, "Are all swordsmen as hot as you? They all seem to be."
Sweet Jesus…what have I done? How bad did I fuck up? Who the hell is this bitch? Where's Sanji? What the fuck did I do?
He couldn't tear his eyes away from the face that was Sanji's face, but not Sanji's face.
The man smirked and leaned forward to him, "See something you like?"
Law was staring at Zoro curiously, Zoro barely noted. All he could think of was—wrong person, oh fuck, wrong person, they fucked this guy, this guy's the whore, Sanji is—
Zoro leaped up and struggled out of the booth and raced off, heedless of everybody shouting his name.
Gin caught him as he struggled to turn the key in the ignition, his hands shaky.
"What the hell's wrong with you!"
He stared wildly back, "Gin—tell me the truth—is that the guy everyone fucked—that you've been with all this time and who does everybody?"
Gin looked taken aback, "Uh—yes, he is?"
"What about Sanji? Sanji AllBlue? Weren't you dating him?"
The other man looked shocked, "I don't get why you're asking that, but me and Sanji finished a long time ago man. Years."
"You haven't been—together since then?"
Gin was looking baffled, but he answered readily enough,"—uh, we're still friends and we still talk and text sometimes, but—not like that—no inter—no sex. Why?"
"Because I'm an idiot!" Zoro growled and shifted the stick to drive.
"What the fuck are you going to do?"
"I don't know; but if I have to beg him on my knees to take me back, I'm going to."
Gin stepped back and watched him go, bemused and confused as hell.
~ABC & G~
Sanji didn't answer his phone. The messaging system was disabled and though Zoro texted him, he got nothing in reply. The man's apartment was deserted and even though he knew it, Zoro banged on the door with his fists and called Sanji's name. Nothing, no one home. Where would Sanji be? Where would he go—the Baratie? Some mall? Some bar to drown away his troubles? Los Angeles was a city of four million people. Did he really think he'd find one blond man in the course of a few hours?
"I mean to try."
Sanji wasn't at the Baratie. When he asked for the sous chef, the cooks calmly informed him that the blond chef had left a while ago, leaving the trainee sous chef in charge if he'd like to speak to him. Another knife twisting reminder of the wrong suspicions he'd had of the cook.
Zoro spent the next hellish hours checking the cook's favorite bars and strip clubs, fighting his way through people in each one to scour each corner. Nowhere did he find trace of the elusive cook. He asked the bartenders, the strippers, the regulars—none had seen him that day.
He needed to find that man and tell him how fucking sorry he was for having even thought that the other had been disloyal; needed to crush the other's body to his chest and hold him there forever. He had been stupid enough to throw away the thing that mattered most in his life—and was at the brink of losing it forever.
But—nothing! Sanji was nowhere—fucking nowhere! Zoro spat an f-bomb as he jogged out of another bar and swung back into his car. That had been the last place he could think of; he had checked every bar and club and mall and strip joint that was classy enough for Sanji to even think of walking in. Maybe the blond had left—gone to Big Bear or Sacramento for the weekend for some weird cooking thing.
He almost hit a small Nissan when he blew past a stop sign without slowing and the driver shot him the finger. Zoro grimaced and pulled to the side. He couldn't drive in this state of mind—he didn't even know where he was going. What he needed to do was stop and recollect his senses.
Zoro shifted the Dodge Ram to park and idled on the roadside, hands gripping the steering wheel.
But nothing came to mind—absolutely nothing that he hadn't already checked. Maybe he should just wait until Sanji deigned to read his texts and forgive him. If he did.
"No…I need to find him." He squeezed the wheel in his hands until his knuckles turned white and stared straight ahead, eyes narrowed in concentration, "Where—where would he go?"
And then it came to him.
~ABC & G~
Angel beach was deserted this time of day; the evening was almost gone and the light was dim. Only the foam on the sea was orange-red. He parked in the lot and jumped out. There were several milling forms on the sand, some lying down, others strolling, even a few couples holding hands and watching the sunset. But he recognized the tall form instantly. The collar ruffling in the breeze, the hair that was a little too long nowadays.
All he saw was the black form on against the dark orange backdrop, hands in pockets, just standing still and gazing out over the waves.
And now that he had found him, Zoro felt restraint. He stayed there, hovering near his car, just watching that still form on the rocks above the rest of the beach.
He forced his legs to move, his lungs to breathe.
Zoro stooped and peeled off his shoes and loosened the tie and the collar of his dress shirt—he had dressed nicely to go meet the team—and rolled up his sleeves. Then he was off, the form awaiting.
Each step brought him closer; the sand seeped through his toes and dirtied his feet but he didn't mind. The slow, subtle roar of the waves beat in time to his heart and before he knew it he was looking up at Sanji's back.
He debated calling the man's name, but quenched the desire. Started to climb up the rocky cliffs instead.
Zoro was only a few feet away from Sanji and still the other didn't hear him or sense his approach.
And because he couldn't think of anything to say that didn't sound stupid or cliché or completely idiotic—Zoro reached out and put his hands on those lean hips and put his forehead down on the man's muscled shoulder.
Sanji jumped and twisted and they might have fallen down, come tumbling down the jagged rocks and broken their heads on the boulders below, but Zoro snatched him in and held him tight.
"Don't move; if you do, we'll fall down," he nuzzled his head into Sanji's neck and clasped his hands in the front.
Sanji stiffened, "Why—"
The cook grunted in surprise, "What?"
"It was all—I was stupid. It was a misunderstanding; everything was a misunderstanding, I had it all wrong."
Sanji didn't say anything and Zoro felt his heart plunge. He tightened his hold on the man and considered briefly flinging them both off the cliff if Sanji told him that he would never forgive him.
The cook's voice was thick when he spoke again, "Do you know—Do you know what it feels like to be told by someone you love that you were the worst thing to happen to him?"
Zoro's throat tightened and he groaned against Sanji's shoulder, "I'm sorry Sanji…I'm so sorry."
The cook wasn't finished, and he said, voice choked with emotion, "Do you know what it feels like to be called a whore by the person you love? How it feels to know that the person you love—hates you for something you never did?"
"It was all a mistake—There was this guy who looked like you,"
"You could have trusted me."
"I know. I was wrong," Zoro whispered, "But please fucking forgive me. I know I pushed you away but don't leave me. Come back to me. Stay."
"You thought I would cheat on you; that I was cheating on you," the blond said, his voice wondrous. "After all the time we were together. Do you even know who I am? How can I trust you now?"
The words broke his soul in two and he would have cried if the tears hadn't been so painful that he couldn't spill them. He said simply, "I'll die if I don't have you, Sanji."
"Let me turn around. I want to see you."
"If you promise not to leave me."
Sanji didn't, but Zoro didn't resist when the blond carefully turned around; and finally he was looking into blue eyes. He held the gaze and kept his hands interlocked at the small of Zoro's back.
The wind whipped at their faces, stinging, bringing moisture to their eyes. It was clear to Zoro now how he had fallen to doubt Sanji so easily. His life had been so perfect and yet he had never shared it out loud. Never told his team mates just how good he had it. It made it seem too good to be true. Sanji wasn't perfect though. Just perfect for him. A fact he'd never take for granted again.
He wasn't even aware that they were moving toward each other because the space between them just seemed to seep out and dissipate. And those lips, faintly, faintly salty because of the foam, those lips were like coming home at last.
~ABC & G~
We end here except there's an epilogue coming soon filled with heated copulation.