Chapter 5

Promises for New Memories

Zoro nuzzled just below Sanji's chin. Tired, happy, protective while also wanting to be protected: this was a life worth the two-year wait.

"We're gonna die, ya know," Zoro mentioned casually.

Sanji hummed to himself. "Looks like it."

"You okay with that?"

"No. Can you think of any way to get us out of this?"

"Nope. We're pretty well fucked."

"In more ways than one," Sanji smirked. "You satisfied?"

"With you? Most definitely. With my life? Hell no! I didn't spend two years training just to die from a lack of oxygen."

"You want one final fight?" Sanji offered halfheartedly. "I wouldn't mind dying in battle, even if it's fighting you."

"It'd be a better way to go than just sitting here," Zoro agreed. "But honestly, I'm not sure I can hold my swords. My face is buzzing and I can't feel most of my arm."

"My left leg's numb and I can't feel my tongue," he agreed. "Just thought I'd offer."

They both began to pant at the stale air. Zoro heard Sanji's breath rattling in his lungs, gasping faster as the amount of oxygen in each breath became less and less. Then something came to the swordsman's mind. A darker, more serious twinkle shined in his eye as he stared into the impenetrable murkiness of this ocean that, in all likeliness, would be his and Sanji's grave. Maybe three more minutes of air. His mind was dipping toward unconsciousness already. Yet Sanji had asked him something earlier, and it was time for confession.

"Two."

The cook stopped panting and looked down to the man in his arms in confusion.

"You were about to ask how many people I had while we were apart. Two. Dracule Mihawk...I didn't have much of a choice with him," he gritted in residual fury. "And that ghost princess, Perona. Only a few times with her, and only because I was either drunk or depressed or both. It wasn't serious or anything, just...they were the only ones there. Just those two. You?"

Sanji looked aside. "Me?" Being in his arms, Zoro felt his lover shiver in some old horror. "None were...were my choice," he said delicately. "Just something I had to do, not what I...what I wanted to do." His throat clamped shut to stop a sob and choked his last word.

"I'm so sorry," Zoro whispered, petting the thicker goatee the cook sported. "How many?" His eyes narrowed dangerously, as if squinting could hold back the flames of jealousy and over-protectiveness. "How many men do I have to kill?"

Sanji had to laugh at his aggressive side. "To be honest, quite a few. I'd say around..." Suddenly his eyes caught something in the water. "Luffy!" he shouted.

Zoro looked behind him. There was not much to see, but that gangly silhouette with the ridiculous hat was unmistakable. "Oh shit, he's sinking fast. Get dressed, dartboard brow. Luffy!" He began to paddle the bubble hard. "Shit, I can't breathe!"

Sanji quietly moved out of the way, straightened his pants, and tucked his shirt back in. "Let me get him," he offered. "You get dressed." Sanji straightened his tie with a debonair flair and faced where their captain was plummeting without the strength to even flail about. "Blue Walk," he yelled, and bolted out of the bubble, looking like he was running underwater.

Zoro quickly yanked his pants up, fixed the dark green coat, took the bandanna off, and tied it back onto his arm. He watched Sanji grab up Luffy's sinking body, and in an afterthought, snatched up his iconic straw hat. Then, just as fast, he raced back to the protection of the bubble.

Luffy was awake and gasped for air. "Gee, thanks guys. Guess I shouldn't have made that last punch so hard. Popped the bubble. I thought for sure I was a goner." He grinned foolishly huge. Even death was something Luffy could laugh about. "It's sort of hot and sweaty in here. Smells funny, too."

Sanji looked over fast to Zoro, who had a faint blush on his cheeks.

"Wow, I really can't get any air," Luffy laughed. "Oh, hey, I tamed the squid."

"You mean the Kraken?" Zoro frowned, drawing his knees up to make room for the others. His ass was on fire, Sanji's cum threatened to drip out, but he strained not to make a face.

"Yeah, he's over there. Can I swim over to him? Pleeeease? Maybe we can hitch a ride."

Zoro glanced to Sanji, who shrugged tiredly.

"I'm pretty much out of breath," Sanji admitted.

"If you want him, Luffy, you do the swimming." Zoro moved his swords to lay across his lap and leaned his back against Sanji's. "I'm tired. I'm taking a nap."

Luffy happily swam forward, letting Zoro and Sanji lean against one another. Sanji slipped his hand backwards and locked his fingers around Zoro's. The swordsman glanced around with a small, secretive smile. Sanji thought he looked so wonderfully worn out, with his eyelid half closed and sweat still shining in his green hair, like dewdrops on spring grass. The taste still thick in his mouth was better than any feast.

"Maybe we'll find the Thousand Sunny after all," Zoro said softly, nearly unconscious from lack of air.

"Huh?" Luffy practically shouted. "Of course we will! I saw them not long ago. Surume can get us there in no time."

"Suru-...? You named that monster?" Sanji grimaced. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a cigarette. Before he could search for his lighter, Zoro pounded him on the back of the head.

"The hell ya think you're doing, shitty ero-cook! I can't breathe as it is. Light that up and you'll fill the bubble with your damn stinking smoke."

"Che! Fine." Sanji put the unused cigarette away. "I just like to light up after a good...uh, workout." He leaned his head back onto Zoro's shoulder and nuzzled slightly into him as Luffy reached the Kraken. "I can't wait to get back to my kitchen and that cutting board."

Zoro chuckled softly. "Me too," he sighed. "Hey Sanji, I'm...I'm about to...to pass out."

Then against his back, Sanji felt Zoro go suddenly limp.

"Marimo?" No answer. "Hey, muscle-head."

Luffy looked back in worry. "Is Zoro okay?"

Sanji cringed a little when he couldn't tell if Zoro was breathing or not. He wasn't dead already, was he? Instead of an answer, Sanji heard snoring. He sighed in relief.

"Damn idiot fell asleep."

Luffy laughed happily. "That's just like Zoro. Okay, Surume's gonna take us to the Sunny. Tally-ho!"

Sanji could barely pay attention to the Kraken or Luffy. He secretively reached back and held Zoro's hand. "When you wake up, wherever we end up, I'll be next to you."

Zoro mumbled in his sleep. "You better...ero-cook. I'll remember your promise today."

"Don't worry," Sanji whispered. "I won't forget, and I won't break my word."

The End


A/N: This was my first fanfic EVER! I just needed to move it over to "Wild Rhov" since it's rated M. I lost the comments and favs, which is a horrible shame. I did copy and save them in a file, because comments mean so much to me, they're precious. This began as an experiment to see if I could write slash, not mere wham-bam-thank-you-Dan, but something emotional, a little dark, something...therapeutic? I wanted to capture the emotional edge that is lacking in most slash. Sanji NEEDS to have sex to regain his masculinity. Hopefully this worked. So see, this isn't just me writing yaoi, it's an exercise to make me a better writer. XD

I'm sorry if you've read this in the past, please like it again and put it as a fav again. Also please leave a comment, even just "I came, I read, I liked." It really means a lot to me. I write to entertain others, so reading comments, no matter how brief, gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling! ^_^