Author's notes

This still isn't the next chapter for "Unripe", nor is it the continuation of "the right way to itch a scratch" (well, yeah, it's getting more chapters at some point), and I apologize for that. But inspiration is a whimsical thing, and I actually had to get out of bed at 5am to type this. Which is a nice change, because it usually happens when I'm in the shower.

So, this officially throws my drabble collection into M territory. It's pretty subtle for me, I guess, but there's stuff going on here. Also, it's a bit longer than my usual drabbles. It's technically more of a ficlet, but since it's so short, I didn't want to post it as a one-shot.

I'd like to dedicate this chapter to my wonderful friend, Aevium, who once again agreed to correct my awkward wording. I don't know what I'd do without her, and she deserves all the happiness in the world.

I don't own One Piece, but I know how to appreciate beautiful things. So does Zoro, I guess.

Enjoy~!

ooo

Zoro's never been one to talk much during sex. In fact, he's never been one to talk much, period. Moreover, his meager experience in that field is mostly made of brief encounters, short-timed agreements, contracted for both parties to obtain temporary relief. There's only so much you can tell someone who's scarcely more than a stranger, especially when you're too busy fucking them.

At first, he thought this strange, unexpected collusion with the cook was the same in that regard, aside from the fact they weren't exactly strangers to each other. And as a matter of fact, Zoro doesn't say much during their heated, secret meetings within the ship's depths either.

And yet, these encounters couldn't be any more different than everything he's known before then, when it comes to bodily entanglement.

It's not just about words, he realizes as he hovers above Sanji, who's starting to get seriously disheveled by now. His shirt is hanging open at his sides, revealing the skin of his abdominal muscles, rendered alabaster-white by the pale, diffuse moonlight seeping through small porthole in the room's wall. It's too dark to really see, but he looks at his face, into this one blue eye, as if to unveil unstated truths in the obscured night sky. He doesn't find any, but he reckons it's just another challenge. Sanji's always been a challenge to him, and Zoro's not one to turn it down. So, he closes his eyes and listens, as his mouth finds its way towards the cook's neck.

Because, unlike Zoro, Sanji talks a lot in bed. Insults and curses, more often than not, but also demanding injunctions, telling Zoro to stop being a lazy moron and if he could fucking stop taking his time, thank you very much, asshole. Almost every time, he'll open his mouth and utter such nonsense, while Zoro's busy trying to please him just the way he knows the cook likes, despite his protests and demands that Zoro better fucking hurry. And because he knows that Sanji will go on and on if he doesn't make him not-so-forcibly shut his trap – that foul mouth of his that never knows when to stop, because the cook's an idiot – Zoro has him use it for something else, something useful, that might even please the both of them. Which he achieves by kissing him and working his hands around him until Sanji's rendered speechless, unable to do more than pant harshly against his lips.

But Zoro doesn't dislike Sanji's bed talk, not really. He knows the cook speaks up to disguise some kind of vulnerability that somehow seems to surface whenever they fool around in the dark. Ultimately, he likes that, having Sanji in the crook of his hand, the strong man surrendering to Zoro's control over him, and more than anything else, knowing he's given in to it, even if he tries to hide it behind empty words. And to be completely honest, it's not like he can really complain, when he's no better, though in his case, it doesn't show.

The fact is that, as soon as they engage in such activities, Zoro's mind fills with thousands of words. Useless words that compliment his partner's strengths – and Zoro knows for a fact that Sanji's very strong, in more than one way. Words that gently underline his angular, masculine beauty, which he certainly finds enticing, despite the fact he's more used to feminine curves. Stupid words, which ultimately fail to describe his golden hair, his fair skin that looks so pale in the faint moonlight, or the intense blue of his eyes, vast and infinite like a sunny day's sky, clouded by want so obvious and raw that it makes Zoro's chest swell like the sea during perigean spring tides. Nonetheless, they keep rolling in his mouth, around his tongue, articulating the refined subtlety of his lover's bearing when he moves against him, seeking more of the delicious friction his body provides. They even wax silly poetry on the blissful frown slightly twisting Sanji's features as he obliges, eager to please – and protest deliriously at the not-so-subtle smirk on his face, when his hand sneaks into Zoro's pants and squeezes in retaliation.

But they never get past the tip of his tongue, for every time, Zoro is unable to utter any one of them.

It's not just about sex either, he thinks as he presses himself closer to the heat of Sanji's body, eliciting soft groans from the cook when he grazes against a particularly sensitive area. It's a lot more profound. He doesn't really understand, but he knows that, with Sanji, it's different. He doesn't know with much precision what's there, between them, but unlike what he's known before, with other people, it's something. Something good and precious, breathtaking and poignant. It's about emotions, and Zoro doesn't quite know what to do with these.

He knows that words are unnecessary in such situations, when their bodies entangle so tightly that he can't tell where the boundaries lie between them anymore. Actions often prove truer, more efficient to convey desire and – yeah, attachment.

That's what his heart tells him. But his head doesn't quite agree.

In the end, if he doesn't talk, it's not just because he thinks it's useless or silly. He actually feels an irresistible urge to say something, anything, as soon as his hands brush against that white skin, intertwine into the cook's blond, silky hair. But his words are much too unrefined, ultimately unworthy of being associated with Sanji. And besides, he finds that he really has no words to describe what he feels – but at the same time, his mind overflows with way, way too many of them. He fears he couldn't stop himself, if he ever managed to part his lips and start speaking. Maybe that's precisely because he wants to say them so badly that he can't even open his mouth, his control over himself crushed by this overwhelmingly intense wave of emotions, forced to surrender before even putting up a fight. And, while the words threaten to overflow, to breach the barrier of his lips – the urge so violent, despite the fact they're only words, mere sounds produced by the combined air against his vocal chords and motion of his tongue – so fervid that it makes him shudder helplessly under their tremendous weight, makes the whole world feel askew – they remain sadly unstated.

He rarely loses control, but when he does, it's generally in this state of expectant bliss, his arousal steadily growing but not at its peak, his body not quite there yet. When want turns into need and overturns his senses, making him feel like he's been stripped of everything but his skin, bared to the cook's piercing gaze. An intense gaze he knows can never be answered by mere words.

That's when these same words, however useless they might be, overwhelm him and prompt him to plunge forward and drown, instead of formulating his thoughts and telling Sanji that he's beautiful, that he loves him, loves him deeply and desperately and with everything he's ever had. It's beyond his reach, and he has trouble reconciling himself with these feelings for the time being. So, he relies on his touch to convey whatever it is that he feels.

He can only hope that Sanji understands.