Zoro watches carefully as Sanji pads barefoot out of the men's bunk room and stretches in the sun with a yawn. Sanji was still sleeping too much but at least he isn't numb anymore, he has moments of melancholy but equally he is starting to smile again in fleeting moments. His cooking still tastes strange though and he still isn't eating with any enthusiasm, Zoro can't help but be worried that Sanji is just going to slide back into that awful depression again.
"It's good to see Sanji all better again." Nami comments from her sun lounger on the lawn nearby.
"Don't be stupid." Zoro grumbles and watches Sanji move sleepily past the portholes in the galley. Nami glowers at him for that but doesn't threaten to raise his debt thankfully.
"Nami has a point, he's much better since you had that fight with him. Except for the crying." Usopp adds from his wooden platform of chemicals and tools where he does his sharpshooter work early before Luffy can charge through it and wreck everything.
"That's even dumber. He's not better, he's just improved a little." Zoro says dismissively and stares at Sanji rifling through the fridge. The cook pauses and leans on the counter and wipes at his eyes, Zoro glances away just in time to not be caught looking by Sanji, Sanji was having a hard enough time without knowing that there were spectators to his agony.
"Still," Nami muses with a thoughtful look on her face, "I'd never have thought Sanji to be the type to be interested in guys as well."
Zoro ignores the unsaid 'especially someone like you Zoro' hanging in the air between him and the navigator and goes back to surreptitiously watching the cook.
"Really? The perfect suits and flowery shirts didn't tip you off? Or the poetic language? You're lucky he's into women at all." Usopp snorts mixing two dangerous looking powders together.
Zoro shakes his head as Nami and Usopp bicker about whether Sanji was obvious about his sexual preferences. He tunes out a little because he's never understood anyone having any preferences at all.
"Anyway! I'm not being stupid Zoro, I know he's not completely better but he's getting there, baby steps." Usopp argues back. Zoro grunts noncommittally at that, he doubts it'll be that easy.
"I have to agree with Zoro. Depression isn't something that one fight can cure or something that you get better from in a linear way like flu." Chopper adds knowledgeably from near Nami's feet.
"See?" Zoro shoots back at Nami and Usopp who both pull displeased faces at him.
"Indeed for some depression once it's started can be a lifelong affliction. It's not well understood or easily cured." Chopper says quietly.
"Lifelong?" Zoro exclaims horrified. He knew that this wasn't going to be easy but he didn't expect that helping Sanji get better might be impossible!
Chopper nods at him seriously and Zoro feels ice run through his veins. If Sanji was going to be numb like that again could he fight properly? What if some suicidal impulse overtook him and he didn't fight back against some marine? Thankfully suicidal tendencies were the one symptom that Sanji hadn't shown so far, but it wasn't out of the question. What if Sanji found All Blue and couldn't bring himself to care? No, this couldn't be lifelong, Zoro wouldn't allow it! He needed to see Sanji's sparkle back, he needed to see the blonde smiling and full of life.
"No, there must be something that we can do to help." Zoro frowns unhappily.
"We can be there for him, try to be positive for him. But I think this is something he has to do himself, it's not like we can just wish his pain away because we don't like it." Usopp shrugs.
Zoro's eyes widen. How could he not see such an obvious solution? This stupid wishing business caused this supernatural problem that was hurting Sanji, so couldn't he wish to reverse it? He leaps up and runs down the gangplank of the ship that connects them to this cursed island.
"Oi Zoro! Where the hell are you going? We're supposed to be leaving this afternoon, I don't wanna spend more time here than we have to!" Nami yells after him over the railing of the ship.
"I'll be back by then!" he shouts back and hurtles down the path as fast as his feet will carry him. He rushes through the lotus fields and through the village until he skids through the archway of the temple that is wound tight with lotus flowers. He bumps into the archway scattering the sickly sweet pollen on himself. He glances about and catches a glimpse of the Oracle kneeling down by a pool of tranquil water tending to the lotuses.
"Well you got here fast." she says without looking up at him. He sucks in great breaths of air and opens his mouth to speak but she speaks again before he can.
"Think before you talk, hmm?" she sighs and stands up wiping her hands on a towel and fixing him a slow contemplative look.
Zoro does shut up then and thinks carefully. He wants Sanji's pain gone but he needs to think carefully about what he wants to wish for, he's already seen what she'll do with a vague wish. No, he needs to be smart about this. If he wishes for something stupid like Sanji's pain to be gone she could easily do something like make him permanently emotionally numb or kill him. No, he needs to think of a solution, something concrete that she can't ruin.
"Can you bring him back? The other Zoro I mean?" Zoro asks thoughtfully and careful not to say the w-word until he's certain. He's not sure how he'd feel seeing Sanji loved up with someone else who is for all intents and purposes, him. But it's Sanji's happiness that's important here, not how comfortable he is with something like that.
"No can do, when that world collapsed it took him with it. Even if I COULD re-create him he wouldn't share any of the memories that he and Sanji had together." She says lightly with a look that entreats him to try again.
Zoro scrunches his brow and thinks, his plan had been to bring the other Zoro back, even if it meant swapping places. But what could he do now? This would all have been so much simpler if he'd been able to accept Sanji's offer in the galley all those weeks ago. Then Sanji had just thought the other would had been some kind of lesson to bring them together. If he had just been able to feel something when Sanji had pressed their lips together then this whole problem could have been averted.
"Can you change me then? Can you make me feel for Sanji what that Zoro did? Can you make me attracted to him? Can you fix me?" Zoro asks wide eyed with the possibility.
"You don't need fixing, you're not broken. There's nothing wrong with being asexual." The oracle frowns rather defensively.
"Answer the question!" Zoro demands irritably, he's had enough of her side-stepping and scheming ways.
"I can make you attracted to people. But there's no certainty that you'll be attracted to him, or even that you being attracted to him will result in anything other than disaster. You already think that I twist people's wishes deliberately when they're not difficult to make, so why risk it all on this? And what if he doesn't want you? What if you're too similar to the other Zoro and Sanji can't handle it? Why would you wish for that?" She demands with a frown.
"I'm doing this for Sanji, so are you going to grant my wish or not?" Zoro answers, he doesn't need to justify himself to this meddling woman.
"What if you don't care about you dream anymore? What if it all becomes about him?" She presses him further.
"I know myself better than that." Zoro answers with certainty.
"And you're asking me to change you, you don't know who you'll become!" she points out irritably, stamping her foot on the ground.
"Why would you wish for this when there is such a small chance that it would work?" She yells like a petulant child.
"Because he deserves a chance! If I have the opportunity to take his pain away, even if the chance that it'll work is tiny then I have to do it!" Zoro argues. Sanji wasn't a man who lived for certainty, he'd risked his life and nearly died many times looking for an ocean that had only a slim chance of being real, but that was enough for him. And it was enough for Zoro too.
"You really don't care do you? You're willing to let me mess around with your brain, to change who you are forever, just so he has a chance of feeling better." The oracle says with her expression softening.
Suddenly her expression changes into a small catlike smirk and Zoro realizes that she was faking her reactions, although why eludes him.
"So, you're willing to do anything and risk anything to have even the smallest chance of making your Sanji's life better. That's pretty selfless stuff right there, it outghta do the trick." She grins at him and turns her back on him. She waves her hand above the pool of water and a flower rises up on its stem like a snake charmed from a basket. She flickers her fingers over it and the flower's petals take on a golden lustre. Seemingly satisfied she plucks it and turns back to him with it in her hand and a coy smile on her face.
"Wishing for love, selfish. Wishing for love to soothe the heart of someone you care about, selfless. It's a funny little system." She muses to herself, twirling the lotus in her fingers thoughtfully. Zoro reaches to take the lotus and his wish from her.
"Before I give you this…" she begins and pulls the flower back. Zoro groans, he should have known it wouldn't be that easy. He levels her his best 'this had better be good' look.
"Do you want to know what Sanji's wish actually was?" She asks with a smirk.
"What? I thought you said it was for us all to be safe, to be protected." Zoro says confused. They'd all heard about the detail of Sanji's wish. The way he was cruelly asked to choose between protecting the ones he loved and upholding his honour to his nakama and fighting with them to ensure their safety.
"Ah, it was. Sort of. This is the problem with vague, wishy-washy wishes. Sanji didn't have anything specific, he didn't have a fully formed idea in his head so I had a lot to choose from and play with." The oracle answers with a half shrug.
"And you chose to torture him." He growls in accusation. He might be here asking this woman for help now, but it doesn't mean that he's forgiven her for what she did to Sanji, he won't ever forgive her for that.
"If you want to see it that way then sure. His wish was so unspecific, if I was to be literal I would have put him on a calm island in the middle of a storm. He just wanted all the chaos of your adventures to stop, he wanted to keep you all safe but was well aware that doing so was impossible with your dreams. Still he wanted something that he didn't have to fight for, something that he could feel that was safe from being taken away from him, he wanted some respite. And, being the man he is, he wanted to be loved by someone as well and the man is remarkably picky when it comes to imagining his ideal partner, which happens to be someone like you when you stop being an ass to him." She answers giving Zoro an assessing look.
Zoro considers this carefully. He can see why Sanji wanted that, it felt sometimes like they all just bounced from one death defying situation to another. If he wasn't so eager to defeat Mihawk as soon as possible himself then he might feel like he just wanted the journey to stop or slow down at little to give them some breathing space. But if you couldn't have that then having something that would make surviving all those near deaths worth it would be a good alternative, and for Sanji that was someone who loved him. It was someone that he could come back to the ship with, someone that he could admit that he was scared for his nakama to, someone who loved him and perhaps, if this wish went right, then Sanji could maybe find that in him.
"So are you going to give me my very specific wish or not?" He asks impatiently holding his hand out.
"Sure. You know, this whole thing… this changing your brain all for his sake seems less like the actions of a man who wants to fall in love to save someone and more like the actions of someone who is already in love." She muses in an all too innocent voice as she drops the flower into Zoro's waiting hand.
"We're nakama, it's what we do." Zoro points out and brings the flower up to his eyes between his thumb and forefinger.
"I don't see the others rushing to get here to do that for him." The oracle points out correctly. Zoro ignores her, he knows his own mind, if the others aren't here it's because the idea didn't occur to them or they knew that it wouldn't work with them in his place. He's not in love with Sanji, not yet anyway.
Before the oracle girl can say another word or try to trick him he eats the flower whole, stem and all. After a few moments of chewing it goes down his throat just fine. He stands there expectantly with the oracle watching him in a slightly disinterested manner. There's no sudden rush of blood to his head, no loss of consciousness, no sudden and overwhelming feelings about Sanji.
A whole lot of nothing in total.
He gives the oracle an assessing look. Her dress, like before, is slightly see-through. He peers at her curiously but finds the glimpses of her body no more arousing than before, which is to say, not at all. He glances out across the temple courtyard and sees a man walking down the street with a large bag slung over his back. Again, Zoro assesses him and once again finds his lack of interest overwhelming.
"It didn't work." He says glowering at her.
"Hm, I thought as much. Here, look this up with your little doctor friend when you get back to your ship." The oracle muses and scribbles something down on a lotus leaf. She folds it quickly in half and hands it to Zoro. He opens it and glances at it but it seems to be some medical term that he knows nothing about.
"Well, that's your lot. Don't you have a ship to catch or something?" The oracle asks raising a dark eyebrow at him and shooing him away with her hands.
Zoro glowers at the oracle for a few seconds before flipping her off and stomping away back through the town. So the stupid wish did nothing then? There goes his chance at helping Sanji. At least he tried though, and it's not as if he can't still be there for the cook and help him get better the old fashioned non-magical-flower way. And he supposes that at least he isn't having some god-awful side effect from the wish, a null outcome isn't the worst that could have happened here. Sanji is more than warning of that.
Still, he keeps his eyes on any townspeople that he passes in case a sudden wave of lust hits him. Nothing does of course so by the time he makes it back to the ship he's thoroughly unhappy.
"Oi, Zoro! Where the hell have you been? What were you up to out there?" Nami demands in her irritating squawk. Zoro looks up at her and is relieved to find himself as apathetic about her feminine form as he ever was, thank goodness.
"Nothing, as it turns out." He grumbles and noisily thunks his way up the gangplank to the ship in his heavy boots. He grabs the gangplank and hauls it up behind him, depositing it through the hatch to the store room below. Nami and the others are making preparations to leave as they were talking about when he left. He could have saved them all a lot of time and just-
His thoughts are cut short when the galley door swings open and Sanji emerges. Zoro doesn't know what he was expecting, a choir of angels or something, but he certainly wasn't expecting this. His stomach feels like he's just leapt off of something suicidally high and he can feel his heart kicking into higher gear. Sanji looks, well, beautiful isn't the word. It wouldn't be with that silly almost-facial-hair and that dumb eyebrow. But, well, Sanji has just the right amount of shimmy in his hips when he walks and Zoro is struck by the revelation that Sanji's legs seem to go on forever.
Sanji's blonde hair swings forward fluidly as the man leans over the railing to ask Nami if they're going yet. Zoro swallows a lump in his throat as his eyes land on Sanji's hands. His fingers are long and dexterous, oh the things that Sanji can do with those talented hands, things that he might do to him. Or… might have already done to him, the other version of him that is. Just how far did the two of them get? Did the other Zoro perhaps get to see Sanji… naked?
Zoro's seen Sanji naked before now but now that he's remembering it the idea of it Sanji naked seems an awful lot different. He knows that Sanji is long and lean with powerful but compact muscles wrapping around his long frame and that Sanji has abs so hard that you could bounce pennies off of them. He can just imagine what it might be like to actually touch Sanji's body like that.
Sanji, apparently satisfied with whatever it is that Nami had said to him turns to head back to the galley. Zoro feels his jaw actually drop a little at that because Sanji's backside is… is just… wow. He's never felt the urge to grope anyone or anything in his entire life until now, he's never even really understood the point of it but he knows deep down in every fibre of his being that he really REALLY wants to grope Sanji's butt.
"What the hell kind of look is that Zoro?" Usopp's voice cuts sharply through his thoughts and Zoro snaps to attention and sees Usopp giving him the most dangerously curious look the swordsman has ever seen from where he's sitting on the stairs up to the galley. The sharpshooter has had a front row seat to Zoro's staring at Sanji this whole time!
"What look? I don't know what you're talking about!" Zoro answers perhaps a little too quickly and tries to do his best to will the redness in his face away.
"That look, the one that makes you look like a thirteen year old that's just discovered porn." Usopp says loudly, giving him an incredulous look.
Zoro's peripheral vision quite clearly clocks Sanji's sudden stop and his now frozen posture. Panic fills Zoro, Sanji is going to know and why on earth did he ever think that this was a good idea?
"I- uh, have to- ah… bye!" He stammers out and leaps down the hatch into the men's bunkroom. He panics desperately trying to find somewhere to hide, but shy of locking himself in the bathroom there's nowhere to go! He's considering climbing out of one of the portholes when Sanji lands with a thud on the floor underneath the hatch to the men's bunkroom having completely bypassed the stairs.
Sanji straightens up slowly and gives him a slow suspicious look. He holds his breath and stands his ground hoping that he'll pass Sanji's suspicious look and the cook will go away. Sanji walks towards him slowly with a little bit of that hypnotising sway in his hips, it's not a womanly hip jiggle by any means, but Sanji has long legs and narrow hips that Zoro would very much like to wrap his hands around.
His eyes widen as he tries to snap his mind away from those kind of thoughts and tries to keep a neutral expression on his face. It's obvious that by now the lotus did what he wished for, he clearly should have had the forethought to wish for a little self-control with his new emotions and thoughts too.
"What the hell was that?" Sanji asks carefully, his one blue eye narrowing at him.
"What was what?" Zoro replies innocently. Focus,focus,hecanmanagethis.He keeps his eyes firmly locked onto Sanji's and stands his ground.
"That panicked look, you're bright red. And what was Usopp talking about?" Sanji presses. That's not fair, Sanji shouldn't be allowed to be so clever when Zoro feels like his brains have been replaced by pudding.
"Uhm…" Zoro hedges trying to buy his brain more time to come up with a coherent lie.
Sanji's lips press together in a tight irritated line and Zoro's eyes drop to his mouth. Sanji has kissed him already, he didn't have the sense to react properly, he certainly would now. In fact those lips look-
Zoro snaps his eyes back up to Sanji's hoping that the cook hasn't noticed his distraction but he's clearly shit out of luck right now.
"What?" Sanji says slowly. Zoro's pretty sure that Sanji's not actually talking to him, just thinking out loud. Zoro takes a hesitant step back and bangs his heels into the wall behind him, when did that happen? He was standing his ground a moment ago, several feet away in fact, surely he's not been backing away from Sanji this whole time without realising it?
Sanji steps forward again into Zoro's personal space and his hand lands threateningly by Zoro's head. Sanji leans in, probably to shout at him, or to level him with the full force of his glare up close. Sanji doesn't glare though, instead his eyes are shockingly wide. Zoro doesn't understand Sanji's sudden frozen posture until he hears the cook inhale deeply.
"What have you done?" Sanji gasps stumbling back away from him with horror decorating his fine features.
"I- I don't-" Zoro stammers, reaching for Sanji out of instinct.
"You smell like those damn flowers! There's even pollen on your shirt!" Sanji spits angrily and walks in tight angry circles. Zoro glances at his shoulder and spies a blush of golden pollen from where he bumped into the flowers at the temple earlier.
"What did you do?" Sanji demands again fiercely, his fists balled angrily at his sides.
"I was just trying to help, I wanted to fix things!" Zoro exclaims desperately. He realises that his mistake was stupid, this isn't going to help Sanji at all, and it'll probably traumatise him further. And he'll be lonely now without Sanji, now that he understands what he could have, now that he can really imagine how good it could be because Sanji isn't going to want him. Aside from the consideration of what a man like Sanji would want with someone like him there's the question of how he thought walking around with Sanji's dead lover's face on and professing his affections for the cook was a good idea.
"What did you DO?" Sanji yells again barrelling forward and seizing Zoro's shirt in his fists and shoving Zoro hard up against the wall of the bunkroom and actually lifting him off of the floor a little. He should be scared or angry at Sanji's treatment. Instead his reaction is something quite different. Even before he ate that stupid flower and made his stupid wish he thought that righteous fury was a good look on Sanji. Now though with Sanji's long lean body pressed against him and his face a picture of anger Zoro wants to do nothing else but bat the man's hands away and tumble Sanji to the floor.
Clearly his expression is obvious because Sanji stumbles backwards with wide shocked eyes. He shakes his head rapidly.
"No, no. I'm losing it, you don't feel anything for me. You made that much clear!" the cook snaps shaking his head again and looking disbelievingly at him. He's always been a poor liar and an open book to any who want to read him, so Sanji is clearly seeing his every desire spelled out on his face right now.
"I wanted- I hoped I could help. So… I made a wish." Zoro explains quietly feeling foolish.
"You wished for her to turn you on or something?" Sanji yells, out of shock or anger Zoro can't tell.
"No! You were just in so much pain I couldn't stand it! And I thought that maybe if I could feel for you what he did then I might make it better, even just a little bit." He explains quickly. Sanji looks at him with comically wide eyes and his jaw hanging open, if Zoro wasn't in so much shit he might have laughed at that.
"Not that I can recall why the hell I thought that! How is me pining after you for forever going to help anyone at all? I mean, what would someone like you want with someone like me? Even if you weren't heartbroken I doubt that-" Zoro babbles in horror at what he's done.
"How- how dare you? You're not him!" Sanji screams furiously at him.
"I don't want to be him! I wanted to be me, I just wanted to be enough for you! I wanted you to be okay again!" Zoro snaps feeling an irrational wave of jealousy run through him. Suddenly he wants to hunt down and kill anyone else who has ever so much as touched the cook, he wants to gather Sanji up and press them together and selfishly keep him all to himself.
He gasps stumbling backwards into one of the supporting beams of the men's bunkroom that the hammocks are slung from. He's breathing like he's just run a marathon and his skin is itching to touch Sanji.
"God, do you feel like this allthetime?" He gasps in horror, clutching a hand to his hammering heart.
Sanji advances forward, catching his arm. The contact of bare skin sends a delicious wave of want through Zoro's nervous system.
"Tell me what you feel, what else has that bitch done to you? I swear if you die I'll murder every person on this fucking island." Sanji growls deeply. Zoro's hips twitch slightly at that note in Sanji's voice and from the surprised and dazed expression on Sanji's face Zoro can guess that he felt it.
"I feel…" He pants breathlessly as his head lolls forward onto Sanji's shoulder, "I feel dizzy, my heart's beating like mad, I feel like I can't breathe and all I can think about is…" He trails off as his hand hovers treacherously a few centimetres from Sanji's hip, it takes all his willpower to keep it there and not touch the cook.
Sanji glances down between them and then back up at Zoro's flushed face.
"I don't feel like that, not all of the time, no." Sanji answers a little reluctantly. He looks to the side and closes his eyes clearly trying to think. He bites his bottom lip nervously and lets it slowly escape his mouth shiny and tempting. Zoro has only a limited amount of restraint and it's all gone now.
He surges forward and captures Sanji's mouth against his own. He's new to this but he knows what he wants, even if he's not quite sure how to get it. Sanji's mouth opens to let a needy little sound out and Zoro takes the opportunity to bite his lip and then lick along the mark that he left. Then Sanji leans back into him and kisses him properly, the cook's tongue dances in his mouth and Zoro is happy to let him lead because following him is bliss. After what feels perplexingly like forever and not long enough Sanji pulls himself away with a gasp.
The cook's face is red and his visible eye is big and dark, he's breathing noticeably heavier now as well.
"This… this is a terrible idea. This is not the right way to get over this." Sanji pants, backing up until he's leaning against the wall opposite Zoro. Zoro would chase him over there but he's not sure that his legs will support him, that kiss from Sanji left his knees feeling like jelly.
"You… you need to be checked over by Chopper." Sanji states and dashes off out of the room.
As it turns out there's nothing medically wrong with him, which is as Zoro suspected. Chopper mentions something about a hormone spike but nothing much else. Chopper does his best to assure everyone that the ship's resident swordsman isn't about to drop down dead from a heart attack any time soon, though he does mention that if Zoro should feel anything strange he should still report straight to him.
Just as Zoro is about to leave Chopper's medical office he remembers the note scrawled on the leaf with the incomprehensible medical mumbo jumbo on it. He's entirely happy to just leave now as Chopper has taken more blood from him for tests than Zoro is strictly comfortable with but his curiosity is overpowering.
"Chopper, what does this mean?" He asks, handing the folded leaf to the tiny reindeer.
The doctor looks at him oddly but takes the leaf nonetheless and opens it. It takes him no time at all to read the two weird words on there and looks up at him with a curious frown.
"It says 'placebo effect'. It's a medical term, it means when someone is given something, usually a pill or a treatment of some kind and told that it will have a certain effect on them. The patient takes the remedy and feels the effect, but the pill itself is nothing more than sugar and has no medicinal value of its own. The power of the treatment comes from the patient's belief in the effectiveness of the drug. It's a very powerful effect. Why do you have this written down?" Chopper asks raising a furry eyebrow.
Zoro blinks in shock at the doctor. He realises what the oracle was getting at. She means to suggest that he felt the way he does for Sanji now all along but was just too stupid or in denial to realise it. She thinks that he'll believe that she just told him that he wasn't asexual any longer, gave him a fake flower and he decided not to be.
"It's nothing Chopper. It's just that stupid woman trying to play mind games with me, I'm not listening." Zoro answers with a scowl. That magical bitch really is a sadist.
About three months after they left that island that is referred to crew wide as "that fucking island" it happens. It doesn't happen with music in the background or soft lighting, it doesn't happen expectedly or after some big event.
Zoro is just in the kitchen with him drying up plates without protest, he does a lot without protest now. He's a lot nicer to Sanji now that he's had his brain changed, Sanji supposes that Zoro is a little too smitten with him to be mean for no good reason. Not that Zoro doesn't still argue and fight with him of course, because he does, but only for fun.
Sanji's plate clanks against the one that Zoro should have finished drying by now. But instead of drying the previous one or accepting Sanji's current plate Zoro is staring blankly at the wall.
"Oi, I'm getting water running up my sleeve here." He prompts, startling Zoro out of his thoughts.
"Sorry, I was just thinking." Zoro shrugs and quickly swipes his current plate dry and accepts Sanji's new one.
"I thought that was an unfamiliar expression on you." Sanji teases.
"Fuck you." Zoro snorts mildly.
"I was thinking that we would have been screwed if you had stayed in that other world." Zoro explains.
Sanji only winces an teensy bit at that inside, the others are mostly able to mention his time spent 'elsewhere' without problems now. He'd still rather not talk about it though.
"I mean, aside from the obvious, we'd probably all have starved or died of food poisoning by now." The swordsman continues.
"I mean, I know you like Nami and everything, but you didn't have to live with her cooking before we met you." The man says with a shudder.
"Since when are you a connoisseur? You and Luffy would eat fried rocks." Sanji retorts feeling a little defensive about his poor Nami's culinary honour and making a tiny mental note not to let her cook just in case Zoro is right.
"I would rather do that than eat her food again." Zoro retorts.
For a few moments they go back to washing and drying respectively.
"You know, you should probably write down some of the stuff that you cook, just in case you get sick or something. That way we wouldn't have to suffer Nami's uneducated cooking. And hey, you could probably sell it or something- oi! Watch it!" Zoro yelps suddenly because Sanji has just lost his grip on the plate that was in his hands and splashed them both.
He stares wide eyed at Zoro. This is the Zoro that let a crazy magic woman mess around in his brain for his sake, who's been patient and understanding for his sake. He looks at the man who is braver and stronger than almost anyone that Sanji knows and is loyal to a goddamned fault.
His heart hammers and he throws himself at Zoro crushing their mouths together. After a startled yelp from Zoro the other man's mouth is moving in perfect harmony to his own. He pulls away happily and breathes a pleasant sigh of relief, he's missed this more than he thought possible.
"Go out with me." He breathes with a smile. Finally this feels right, it's the perfect moment pressed up against Zoro here in his kitchen where it's warm and smells of home.
"Go where with you? We're in the middle of the Grand Line." Zoro questions stupidly.
"Agh! You- you ruined it! The moment was so perfect and you ruined it, AGAIN." He snaps thumping Zoro on the chest with his fist.
"At least you're not bleeding this time." He mutters under his breath.
Zoro looks at him in a bewildered and stupid way. Sanji should really find that annoying but it's somehow… endearing.
"Just kiss me, you're good at that much at least." He sighs, wrapping his arms around Zoro's neck.
"That much I can do." Zoro answers with a quirked smile and a flash of sharp teeth. He leans in close and kisses Sanji happily.