The very last chapter... the author's note is rather lengthy this time because I have to explain a lot about your treats, so I choose to put it at the end.
After that evil cliffhanger, you'll probably want to read right away, anyway ;)
Disclaimer: I don't own One Piece, neither the show nor the treasure.
Chapter 4: Big showdown in the hospital and... Sanji tests a theory?
With a loud bang, the door opened and Usopp came bursting into the room.
"Sanji! It's Zoro!" he panted. "Zoro is... Zoro-"
Sanji stared at him and held up his hands, his heart speeding up at his friend's panic and the mentioning of Zoro's name. "Woah, Usopp, calm down! What's wrong? What happened? What's with Zoro?"
Usopp looked as if he was about to cry. "He... Sanji, he fought against Mihawk and... it... it looks bad, Sanji. Really bad."
Silence fell and the raindrops' drumming seemed to be ten times louder as Sanji's mind processed Usopp's words.
And then he ran.
Sanji ran as fast as he could, rain soaking him to the bone as he crossed street after street. Horns honked when he was nearly run over by approaching cars but he barely heard them as his legs carried him closer and closer to the hospital. Sanji had been so desperate to get to Zoro that he hadn't even asked Usopp which hospital the swordsman had gotten submitted to, but somehow he knew it had to be the Water 7 General Hospital... he knew it had to be the place where Chopper was. Chopper had taken care of Zoro for years now and in Sanji's panicked mind, it made absolute sense that he had to be with him.
Rounding another corner and ignoring the angry screech of a drunkard, Sanji finally saw the familiar and high building of the hospital. Taking a few deep breaths, he sprinted towards the big doors, his heart thumping wildly in his chest with every step.
Several heads turned to him as Sanji entered the waiting room. Robin, Nami, Franky, Luffy and Ace all stared at his drenched and panting form.
"Wh-Where is he? I-Is he... will he be alright?" Sanji asked shakily, his voice not much more than raspy breaths. He hadn't even realised how cold he was until he had entered the warm building.
Ace walked up to him and put a burning hand on his shoulder. "He's undergoing surgery now. We don't know anything, yet... Chopper tries to find something out. Why don't you sit down? Did you run all the way here? Why didn't you come with Usopp in the car?"
Sanji shook his head. He hadn't even thought about that but even if he had, he still would have run through the rain. "Too long... would've taken too long..."
Ace nodded and led him to a chair but Sanji refused to sit down. "Chopper said the surgery could take hours..." the older man said urgently. "You should get some rest, Sanji."
Sanji shook his head again and looked at the clock, his eyes unblinking as they followed its fingers.
Ace sighed and stood up. With a quick tug on the blonde's elbow, he pulled Sanji in his arms. The chef stiffened at the sudden embrace. "It's gonna be alright. I know it will. Zoro is so strong... he won't be defeated by this."
Wrapping his arms around the other man, Sanji buried his head in Ace's shoulder and began to cry. Thick tears were soaked up by the fabric of Ace's shirt as Sanji shook and sobbed inside his arms.
The others watched them with sad smiles and as the hours went by, they were more and more certain that Zoro would pull through.
There was no way he would die just after Sanji had realised his feelings.
Zoro's eyes opened slowly. His vision blurry at first, he saw nothing but white until his eyes went back into focus and he recognised the familiar ceiling.
"Hospital... great," he muttered.
After frequent visits to this place, Zoro knew the interior too well... Every piece of furniture, every little detail of the room had been stared at for hours and hours already. Bored out of his mind whenever he had gotten hurt, the swordsman had done anything to pass the time... even playing 'I spy with my little eye' with Luffy.
Needless to say, he hated hospitals with a passion.
Zoro frowned when he suddenly realised the fingers on his right hand were trapped. Turning his head, he saw a blond mop of hair lying on the side of his bed. His heart throbbing violently, Zoro took in the warmth of Sanji's fingers around his own and stared.
The swordsman blushed as he realised how close the cook was. Did he... did he sat there the whole night, waiting for him to wake up? How long had he slept, anyway?
Tentatively, Zoro reached over with his free hand, winced slightly when the movement reminded him of his wound and touched a strand of blond hair.
"Angel..." Zoro whispered disbelievingly. His angel... Sanji was there! The cook was holding his hand!
Then the head moved, a blue eye, covered by a few strands of golden hair, looked at him and Zoro's heart skipped a beat.
"You're... awake," the cook said and looked up, his hair parting to reveal a near anguished look. "Chopper said you would be alright, but... I thought that..."
With a jolt, Zoro realised he had tears inside his eyes.
"Fuck, I feel so stupid..." the blonde said while hiding his face with his free hand. "Bawling like this when I should know that you wouldn't be killed so easily, but... but..." The cook rubbed his wet face angrily and groaned. "So stupid..."
The swordsman felt a bit at a loss. Not only was Sanji by his side but he also seemed to be really worried about him... not about how Robin and Nami would feel, but actually worried about him. Sanji cared... why... since when did he care?
"I... you're here," Zoro said rather stupidly. "You're actually here."
"Of course I'm here," Sanji returned. "Where else would I be?"
"Dunno... at home, out with... with someone or, or... anywhere but here!"
Sanji stared at him. "Are you really that much of an idiot? Like I could be out somewhere when you're lying here... That reminds me: I should really go and tell the others. Only one was allowed to stay in here with you. They're still waiting in the waiting room."
Zoro was beginning to get a bit scared. This had to be... an illusion or something, right? Did he get some strange painkillers and was hallucinating? Sanji shouldn't be there! Especially not... especially not when there were others who could have taken his place!
However, when Sanji wanted to stand up and his hand began to leave his fingers, Zoro couldn't help but hold on tight.
"Don't go," he whispered when Sanji looked down at him in surprise. Even to Zoro, his words sounded surprisingly young and childish. "Please stay for a bit."
The cook frowned but sat down again. Then he pressed a small button on the side of Zoro's bed and a bit later, a nurse came in.
"I'm really sorry for the inconvenience but would you be so kind to tell the doctor that my friend has woken up? And if it's not too much trouble... our friends are still waiting outside. Could you tell them as well?"
After she had left, Zoro looked at Sanji with disbelieving, tired eyes. "You're really staying..."
"Yes, I'll stay... and you should go back to sleep now. I'll be here when you wake up again," the cook said but Zoro was already drifting off.
He only felt long fingers caressing his hair and heard a few last, kind words before sleep claimed him again:
"Zoro, I don't hate you... you know that, don't you?"
The next time Zoro woke up, he felt hot breath tickling his neck and blushed when he saw the cook snoring next to him. With not less embarrassment and wonder, the swordsman noticed Sanji was still holding his hand.
"He has been here the whole night," a voice whispered to him and Zoro looked up to see the nurse from before standing next to his bed. She smiled kindly at him. "He was so worried... you really have a good friend there."
Zoro swallowed and looked at the snoring blonde. "Maybe... maybe I do."
After the nurse had excused herself, Zoro lightly tipped Sanji's head. "Sanji, you shouldn't sleep here... You'll catch a cold."
The blonde stirred and looked sleepily at him. "I... 've been sleep'n?" he asked, covered his mouth and yawned loudly. Zoro grinned when he noticed the imprint of his pillow on Sanji's cheek.
"Yeah... and you snored!"
The cook looked horrified. "I didn't!" he said and then looked around hectically. "Did that beautiful nurse see me?"
"Yeah, and she said you looked cute. Just like a baby."
Sanji groaned. "And there goes my reputation in the hospital... well, not that it matters any more."
Zoro raised his eyebrows. What was he meaning with- oh, yeah... that. Feeling his stomach sinking again, the swordsman asked, "Cook, shouldn't you be... somewhere else? Won't Kaku be angry if you're with me for such a long time?"
Sanji frowned. "Why should he be angry? What does that have to do with him?"
"Well, aren't you two... you know... together? He said that he confessed and-"
Sanji snorted. "Yeah, he confessed. But I rejected him just before Usopp came and told me about your... well, accident. Speaking of which: Smoker came sniffling around after he had heard about you being in the hospital. Iceburg-san took care of him, though... he said it was an accident while you trained."
Zoro tried hard to listen to the blonde but the first part had sent his mind reeling so much that the swordsman found it hard to concentrate. Sanji had rejected him... Sanji had rejected Kaku! And he was suddenly so nice to Zoro... Why? Why now?
"Why did you reject Kaku? He told me you didn't do it when he confessed. Why did you think about it if... if you didn't want to be with him?"
Sanji averted his eyes and... was he blushing?
"That was... well, I was a bit confused when he confessed to me, but then Luffy... Luffy told me something interesting."
Zoro frowned. "Interesting? What?"
"Luffy told me your secret, marimo."
Paling at Sanji's words, Zoro looked down at his duvet and gulped. He had only one secret from the cook and that was... "No... no way! I... I..."
A squeeze of his hand made Zoro look at the blonde again. "You don't have to be that shocked," Sanji said quietly. "As angry as I am that you didn't tell me something important like that for such a long time... I don't mind, Zoro. I don't mind that you like me. Actually, I want to apologise for being such an ass all this time. You didn't deserve to be treated like that... I'm sorry." His voice was honest and Sanji seemed to feel... embarrassed? Guilty?
"It... it's alright," Zoro said and closed his eyes, trying to calm his pounding heart. He felt like a heavy weight had been lifted off his shoulders. "I'm at fault as well... I've always liked to make you angry," he admitted, his cheeks warming up in embarrassment.
Sanji grinned. "You did? Why?"
Feeling his face flaring up even more, Zoro looked down. "Well, it's... it's kinda hot."
When Sanji neither said anything nor laughed at his confession, Zoro looked up and was startled to see Sanji hiding his face with his hand. His ears were beet red.
After an awkward silence in which neither of them knew what to say, Sanji coughed. "Well, I... I guess you... you want an answer?"
"Y-Your feelings," Sanji explained. "I mean... I didn't... answer you, yet."
"The truth is... I think we should take our time with everything and... and start out as friends?"
Zoro couldn't believe what he had heard. "You aren't rejecting me either?"
"Well, no. I still don't know what the hell I'm really feeling right now, but... I don't want to reject you. I think we should try a new start and leave this whole relationship thing until you're better?"
"I would like that, yeah," Zoro answered.
He couldn't believe it... he couldn't believe his luck. Even if Sanji was only saying all this because Zoro was wounded, it still meant that he cared... it meant that he, Zoro, was important to him and... and even if they were only friends after all of this, it would still be enough for him. The swordsman had been so sure, Sanji hated him before that anything other than that, even platonic friendship, would make him happy. Zoro only wanted to stay by his side.
After a while in which they didn't say anything and Zoro only enjoyed the warmth of Sanji's hand, the cook looked down at their entwined fingers and cocked his head. "Know what I don't get? I've been thinking a lot about it while you slept, but..." He looked up at Zoro. "Why do you like me so much? I've been a complete ass all this time, so... why?"
Zoro smiled. That had to be the most difficult questions he could ask... "You know, I don't have a clue..."
"...eh?" Sanji exclaimed and Zoro grinned.
"Well, you're annoying as hell, a total priss about your clothes and an idiot whenever a skirt comes your way..." he started and held up his free hand when Sanji opened his mouth to say something. "But you're also very passionate about everything you do. Be it cooking, fighting or flirting, you're always giving one hundred percent and you do it with pride, so... I guess I'm mostly attracted to your spirit."
Sanji averted his eyes and pursed his lips. "And I thought it was my awesome body..." he said in a mock disappointed way.
"Nah, that's just a nice side effect..."
The blonde blushed while Zoro grinned.
"But do you know what I don't get?" Zoro asked after the cook had regained a slightly more normal colour. "You've always been all over women, so why... why aren't you rejecting me?"
"I... well, I had a dream."
Zoro frowned. That was unexpected. "A dream?"
"Yeah, ever since Kalifa broke up with me, I dreamed about a night in the Baratie and... and there was a man... kissing and touching me."
Zoro's eyes widened. It couldn't be... it couldn't... "Wh... What did he do?"
"Well, he lay above me and... and I could feel him through my clothes. Well, as much as you can feel in a dream, anyway," Sanji mumbled. "We were on the ground and touched each other, but I never saw his face. I only heard him breathing my name."
Zoro felt like his heart was about to stop. That sounded like the beginning of the night after Ace's birthday party when he... when they... Did Sanji remember?
"I never knew who he was until... until I brought you lunch, yesterday," Sanji went on. "You... breathed my name in the exact same way and, well..."
"That's why you ran away?"
"Yeah... I wasn't sure what to think any more. I mean, I just realised I had sex dreams about my livelong rival for a whole year! Well... and that made me thinking. My body had reacted to the dream... to... to you and... and I guess I might not be as straight as I always thought," Sanji said, smirking.
Zoro looked down. His face was heating up. This all seemed too good to be true, but... but he still had a confession to make. "Sanji... that dream, that... maybe that wasn't really a dream."
Sanji frowned. "What do you mean?"
"Well, that night in the Baratie did actually happen. I... we slept together."
"We... what?" the blonde exclaimed and Zoro turned his head away from Sanji's disbelieving stare.
"That night after Ace's party when everyone had left and we stayed to keep drinking... you know, because you were so down and wanted to have this stupid contest. You drank too much and... and you came on to me."
"I... I did?" Sanji asked, shakily.
"Yeah. You said... you said you had heard Robin and Nami talking about me and that they thought, I was... well, attractive. And then you threw a fit, saying you were sick of women - just a sign of how drunk you really were, if you ask me - and you said you would just try to change to men and... well, you kissed me."
Sanji's heart threatened to burst out of his chest. While Zoro kept talking about that night, images were flooding his head... some of the dreams he kept having and others... others he hadn't dreamed of yet but which were apparently part of his cloudy memory.
"And we... slept together?" the cook asked slowly.
"Yeah, I... I tried to stop but you kept touching me and I couldn't resist! I... I'm sorry."
Sanji shook his head. It all made sense now. Now he knew why his back had hurt so much after that night. He had thought it was because he had slept on the floor, but apparently... Sanji blushed. Apparently, he had been the 'girl'.
And it explained why Zoro had been so angry at Sanji's lack of memory as well... when they had slept together, Zoro must have been hopeful but then... Sanji had just forgotten everything and was his normal, annoying self again. He must have been so hurt...
"It... It's not your fault," Sanji breathed out after he had collected his thoughts. "None of it is, so don't blame yourself. But damn! I can't believe I just forgot about my... well, my first time, I guess. But I think I remember a few things now..." He grinned. "You're rather good with your tongue, eh?"
The chef's grin widened when Zoro blushed at his words. "And you like to bite..." he went on. "I remember, I had bite marks on my neck after that day... I thought it was Luffy, though. You know how he gets when he is hungry."
Zoro hid his eyes with his hand. "Please stop talking about that..."
"Why? Didn't picture you to be the type to get embarrassed..."
"I'm not, but... if you keep reminding me of that night, I'll try to jump you and Chopper said he would kill me if I rip open my stitches again..."
Sanji swallowed. He could be such an idiot. "Sorry, I... I guess I should be more considerate."
Zoro shook his head. "Not really. I'm still surprised how well you're taking everything. I thought you would be disgusted or... or try to kick my ass once you found out."
"Oh, I will kick your ass once you're better, marimo. But not for liking me or even fucking me that night."
Zoro frowned. "Huh?"
"I'll kick your ass for getting hurt that badly in the first place!" the cook said angrily. "I didn't want to say anything yet, but... Damn, do you have any idea how worried I was? Fighting Mihawk in your current state... Just what the hell did you think you were doing? Were you suicidal or something?"
"Maybe I was..." Zoro said quietly and Sanji sucked in a breath.
"I thought... I had lost you to Kaku and... you going out with women I can take, but not... not with another man. I felt utterly defeated and then... then I met Mihawk in that alley."
Taking deep breaths, Sanji said, "Zoro, tell me what happened."
And then the swordsman began to talk.
Zoro smirked as he recognised the voice immediately... it was a voice that had haunted him ever since he had made a promise with Kuina... ever since he had found out who he had to beat to become the best: it was the voice of Juraquille Mihawk.
"I'm surprised... I've been hunting you for years and now you come out?" Zoro said before turning around and looking into a pair of piercing eyes. "What's the occasion? Did I mess with your business too much?"
"What those I train do at night is none of my concern... neither do I care if they get hurt because they're too weak," Mihawk replied coldly.
"Oh? Then you didn't tell them to rob innocent people?"
"That has nothing to do with me."
"And why are you here now if not for that?" Zoro asked.
"One of my students told me something disturbing... it seems you know my niece quite well."
Zoro raised an eyebrow. "Now you begin to care about her? Don't you know Perona has been attacked by your men before?"
Mihawk's eyes turned to slits. "What?"
"They wanted to rob her and do god knows what else... I saved her. That's why she even began to follow me around. We're friends at most, nothing more."
"Is that true?"
"You can ask her if you want... maybe it would be a good idea to spend time with your family once in a while."
"That's hardly any of your concern."
Zoro smirked. "Exactly. So, why don't we do what you came here for? I've waited ages to fight you."
"You'll die, boy."
"We won't know until we fight."
"Very well, if that's what you want."
"And then I lost..." Zoro finished.
"So he came after you because of his niece?" Sanji asked. "That Perona girl?"
"Yeah, but after our fight he said he believed me... He said that he felt my honesty in my swords and he would let me live because he thought I had potential..."
"Well, sounds like you'll get another fight once you're stronger."
Zoro smiled. "Yeah, that's what I hope. You wouldn't believe how strong he was..." he said excitedly. "There were worlds between us."
Sanji grinned. "You're happy," he stated.
"Well, it showed me just how far I can go... how far I have to go to reach his level! Isn't it great that I can still improve so much?"
The swordsman's joy was exhilarating and Sanji's face hurt from the big grin he was sporting by then. "That's just like you... being excited even though you almost died."
Zoro shook his head. "Don't act like you don't understand... My loss brought me closer to my goal. You know what I mean, don't you?"
Sanji did. It was the same for him whenever he fought Zoro. Whenever the cook thought he had finally found a way to defeat the swordsman or when he had found something that brought him closer to winning, he was indescribably happy.
"But you know what? Even though Mihawk said he would spare my life, it was a pretty close call..."
"Yeah, Chopper said you were pretty lucky."
Zoro shook his head. "No, it wasn't luck. I think... I had something of a guardian angel."
Sanji frowned and was about to ask what Zoro meant with that when the swordsman touched a strand of his blond hair and let it glide through his fingers. "An angel..." Zoro whispered and Sanji blushed.
"You... I think I've heard you say that before," Sanji said. "W-What's up with that?"
Zoro smiled. "It's something Koshiro-sensei told me when we visited my parents' grave. He said everyone has an angel protecting them and one would be out there for me as well... I met you only a few days later and... and I had seen pictures of blond angels before, so..."
"You mean... you thought I was..."
Zoro rubbed the back of his neck. "A bit sappy, isn't it?"
"Nah, but... unexpectedly cute," Sanji replied grinning and ruffled Zoro's hair.
"Oh, shut up!" the swordsman growled and pushed his hand away while Sanji laughed.
They continued talking like that for hours until Chopper came in and told the blonde that Zoro needed to sleep. Reluctantly, Sanji left the swordsman's side but not before promising he would be back as soon as he could.
Several days later, Ace sat next to Zoro's bed, a pile of casino chips lying on a makeshift table between them. They were playing poker.
"So, Sanji has come every day, huh?" Ace asked and sighed at yet another loss. Zoro's damn poker face gave nothing away...
"Yeah, we talked a lot. Made me realise that despite knowing each other for such a long time, we never really had a decent conversation before... we always ended up fighting and competing," the swordsman explained and then that damn bastard grinned as he pulled the whole pile of chips over to his side.
"And you're good now?" Ace asked with a sour look at his remaining three chips. "Isn't it... awkward? Now that he knows..."
"Well, it's a bit strange. Sometimes he looks so intensely at me as if he expects me to do something. But he said to wait until I'm getting discharged, so... did... did he say anything to you?"
Ace shook his head. "I've tried to pry a bit but he's like a closed book... I couldn't get anything out of him. Sorry, mate!"
"It's alright. I didn't expect you to... Damn, I'm just so nervous. What if I'm getting my hopes up for nothing again?"
"Well, at least he doesn't hurt you any more. And you should've seen him the night of your 'accident'. He had run the whole way here... even cried."
Zoro stared at him. "Seriously?"
"Yeah. I've never seen him like that... Whether he wants a relationship or not, I'm sure he cares a great deal for you. Would he keep coming here, otherwise?"
"I don't think so..." Zoro said slowly and then smiled brightly.
Ace had to grin at his friend's happiness. After so many years of neglect and sorrow, it felt like an oasis in the desert to see Zoro looking like that.
"Hey, I forgot to ask: What about Marco?" the swordsman suddenly said. "Did he win the tournament?"
Now it was Ace's turn to grin. "What do you think? 'Course he won! And you wouldn't believe the night we had afterwards... But you know Portgas D. Ace is not the kinda guy who kisses and tells."
Zoro snorted. "No, he's the sort who fucks and tells. And now spill the beans! I'm bored out of my mind here..."
"You know me too well... " Ace said, sighing.
He just wanted to start talking when a knock at the door made them turn their heads. Luffy came in, licking happily at a big lollipop.
Ace scowled at his brother. "Luffy, I told you to get something for Zoro and not you."
"Shishishi, I thought we could share... Wanna have a lick, Zoro?" Luffy asked, holding the spit coated sweet right in front of Zoro's face.
The swordsman grimaced. "No thanks, I'll pass."
"Oh, good! More for me then," Luffy said before his brother hit him on the head. "Ouch! Why did you hit me, Ace?"
"Because you're an idiot! You knew he wouldn't want anything like that!"
Luffy pouted. "It's his fault," he mumbled while rubbing his head. "Sanji always makes him delicious things to eat... and when I say I want something too, I only get kicked."
"Because you deserve it!" Ace said. Then he frowned and looked at Zoro who grinned sheepishly. "Wait... Really? Sanji brings you lunch?"
"And breakfast. And dinner," Luffy said before Zoro could say anything. "He even makes him love bentou!"
Zoro bristled. "He doesn't make me love bentou!"
"Oh, will you guys stop it? I feel like a responsible adult compared to you and it's making my head hurt..." Ace said.
Pouting, Luffy and Zoro looked in opposite directions while Ace made a mental note to tease Sanji about his 'love bentou' later...
That childish thought was enough to make his head better.
"For the last time: I might me injured, but you won't get me into one of your damn costumes! A no is a no, Perona!"
A bit more than a week after that terrible night, the crazy goth girl had come by to apologise for her uncle's overprotective behaviour... with a collection of countless embarrassing costumes.
"You're such a spoilsport!" Perona said. "What's wrong with a bit of cosplay? You are bored, aren't you?"
"I'll never be bored enough to wear a costume of Winnie the Pooh!" Zoro exclaimed while he stared disgustedly at the offending item in her hands.
"Alright, alright! Geez... I thought I finally got you. And what about Tigger? You really look a bit like a tiger..."
Zoro gritted his teeth and Perona, who had apparently sensed the danger, put away her costumes and changed the topic. "Oh, you know what? After he nearly cut you in two, uncle Mihawk called me and said he would take me to an amusement park! Isn't that great? I heard it even has a haunted house! Think there will be rotten corpses? I hope there will be rotten corpses!"
Knowing the girl quite well by then, Zoro asked, "Perona... you know they don't use real bodies, don't you?"
Perona stared at him. "But... where would be the fun in that?"
Zoro chose not to reply to that.
"Oh! And uncle Mihawk said he has punished those guys who have attacked me before... he apologised and even wants to spend more time with me now! The amusement park is just the beginning..."
"I feel bad for him..." Zoro muttered under his breath.
"What did you say?" Perona asked.
"By the way, I'm supposed to tell you that uncle gives us his blessings. I think he likes you... maybe he will even pay for our wedding..."
"I think I should wear black... I hate white. Do you think we can marry in a cemetery?"
"Zoro, why are you glaring like that?"
A few minutes later, Perona was thrown out of Zoro's room and the swordsman had to listen to Chopper's lecture because he had reopened a few of his stitches.
It had never been more worth it.
During his stay in the hospital, Zoro had had quite a few of these strange visitors... Iceburg-san and Kalifa had come by after a week and a half. That damn pet mouse Tyrannosaurus stole the cheese from his breakfast and the blond secretary accused him of sexual harassment when Zoro said they had to go out because Chopper wanted to change his bandages.
Then shortly after, he had been visited by Paulie, Lulu, Tyleston and Lucci. Tyleston had soon been thrown out by the head nurse (he was talking too loud) and Lucci... according to Paulie, Lucci had met up with Trafalgar Law and it seemed as if they had done some strange business.
Remembering his pink-haired stalker saying something about Law being involved with the Mafia, Zoro decided it was better not to pry and intended to let Chopper check if all of his organs were still in place before he got discharged.
But among all of those strange visits, the yet strangest one had to be Kaku...
"Hey, Zoro! How are you doing? Healing well?" the shipwright asked after he had closed the door behind him.
Zoro frowned. "I do, but I didn't expect you of all people to come here... Do I have to be worried?"
"Nah, I've stopped wanting to kill you two days ago... I'm okay now. Still hate you, though," Kaku said, grinning.
"Well, I don't think we'll ever be friends," Zoro replied, chuckling. "Koshiro-sensei told me something interesting, though. He said someone had replaced me one day after my 'accident' and taught the junior class in my stead. Among some curious sword moves, the kids ended up using kicks to fight... You don't happen to know anything about that, do you?"
"Not a thing," Kaku answered, smiling.
"And you're sure, you're fine with everything?" Zoro asked.
"Yeah. I mean, I still like Sanji and all, but... when he ran out after Usopp told him what had happened to you... well, I knew I had lost completely. I could never win against your love, Zoro."
Zoro blushed. "Damn... aren't you embarrassed to phrase it like that?"
Kaku shrugged. "I've always been told I was a bit... dramatic. Jabra is always going on about that..."
"Jabra, eh? You sure, you don't like him? You guys seem pretty close..."
The shipwright's eyes widened. "Don't be ridiculous! That guy is a complete ass! And we always fight all over the... hey, what are you grinning about?"
"Oh, nothing... I just thought I've heard that before..."
On the day of Zoro's discharge, Luffy and Ace decided to pay their friend one last visit to see if they could help him with anything. They weren't surprised to find Sanji by Zoro's side when they entered the room.
"That one counted! It was a clear hit!" Sanji said indignantly, pointing at the bin.
"It bounced off wall before it fell into the bin! That didn't count!" Zoro yelled back.
"What the hell, Zoro! Just admit that you lost!"
"I didn't lose, shitcook! We said it had to land into the bin!"
"And it did! You never said it couldn't bounce off of something!"
"Well, I meant it! Are you an idiot?"
"I only see one idiot here and that's not-"
Ace coughed and his friends' heads turned simultaneously to look at him. "Are we interrupting something?"
"Nah, this bastard here just thought he could cheat," Sanji said, pointing at Zoro.
"I didn't cheat! I would never cheat, you damn-"
Ace held up his hands. "Please stop fighting... What's wrong? You're back to screeching harpies again."
"We aren't harpies!" Sanji and Zoro yelled together.
Ace shook his head and smiled. "Some things never change, I guess..."
"Shishishi, they're funny, though," Luffy said. Then he took one of the paper balls, Sanji and Zoro had been throwing, and landed a clear hit. "I won!" he said and Sanji and Zoro turned angrily to him.
"You didn't! I did!" they yelled together and then turned to each other again. "What?"
Ace grinned and took a seat to enjoy the show. Those two were an idiot couple if there ever was one.
"I can carry that, you know?" Zoro said two hours later as they walked through the Sunny's entrance. Ace and Luffy had to visit their grandpa, so Zoro and Sanji were on their own again.
The cook shook his head and readjusted the bag on his shoulder. "Don't be stupid. Chopper said to take it easy for another week..."
"My wounds have closed ages ago, cook."
"Yeah, but you're still an invalid until Chopper says otherwise. Come on, now."
They entered the elevator and Sanji pressed the button to Zoro's floor.
As the elevator started to move, Sanji fumbled nervously with the handles of Zoro's bag. This was it... this was the moment, the cook had played over and over inside his mind. This was the moment he was finally going to answer Zoro's feelings.
Taking heart, the blonde set the bag down to the floor and slammed his hand on the red 'stop' button. The elevator stopped moving with a sudden jerk.
Zoro stared at him after he had regained his footing again. "What the hell are you doing, shitcook? If you want to fight now-"
Sanji snorted. "Don't be ridiculous. How can you even think about that now? I already told you, you're an invalid, didn't I? No, I'm planning to do something else..." he said. Then the chef strolled over to Zoro and noticed with glee how the swordsman backed away until his back was flush against the wall.
"If this is some sort of sick joke, then-"
"What do you take me for? I'm not that cruel..." Sanji said quietly. His face was now mere inches away from the marimo's and involuntarily, his eyes dropped down to the swordsman's lips. "No, I'm just proving a theory," he breathed and then Sanji closed the gap.
Pressing his lips to Zoro's, he used the swordsman's surprise to his advantage and took hold of his wrists, pushing them up against the wall on either side of his head, pressing his body against him and nipping at his lips.
It felt... God, it felt so good! Exactly like that one time when everything had started... and so, so much better! Zoro responded at once, his tongue seeking entrance to Sanji's mouth and soon beginning a fight with his own.
While Sanji had been sure that it was Zoro who had kissed him in the end, he still needed this for absolute proof.
His hold on Zoro loosened as the kiss went on and he soon let go of his wrists completely to throw his arms around the swordsman's neck. Zoro put his hands on Sanji's hips, fingers seeking a way under the blonde's shirt and Sanji moaned as they found bare skin and began to caress sensitive flesh.
"Damn you..." Sanji whispered against Zoro's lips and then kissed him again, his tongue pushing back inside. He was delighted to feel Zoro shiver as Sanji lightly bit his underlip.
The hand under Sanji's shirt left his hot skin and was suddenly pressing against his chest, gently pushing the cook away so their upper bodies were parted.
"W-What?" Sanji asked breathlessly.
"We... we have to stop, Sanji," Zoro replied. His face was flushed, his lips kept parting to let out shallow breaths.
The swordsman looked down and said quietly, "... can't you feel it?"
Sanji frowned, his mind not yet processing what Zoro meant. But then the swordsman moved and the cook felt something hard sliding against his thigh. "O-Oh..."
Zoro buried his head in the crook of Sanji's neck. "I don't know what brought this on, but... you're driving me crazy."
Sanji grinned. "Aren't I always?"
"Not like this... well, mostly not like this," Zoro returned.
After a short pause in which only their heavy breathing was heard, Sanji said absent-mindedly, "So, it really was you..."
"During the blackout, when the elevator stopped and the lights went out... you pushed me up against the wall and kissed me, exactly like I've done just now..."
Sanji sighed. "Do you have any idea what I went through after that? I racked my brain who it could have been... I didn't even consider you! I thought it was Kaku..."
Zoro looked up at him and frowned. "Kaku? Seriously?"
"Yeah, that's why I didn't reject him when he confessed. The kiss, it was... damn, I've never felt anything like that before. Well, I thought I didn't... turned out we've already done all of this, after all." Sanji chuckled. "I didn't even have the dream any more, until you kissed me... Seems like it worked like a jump-start. I guess my subconsciousness wanted to tell me, I forgot something really important..."
"Then... does that mean...?" Zoro stuttered.
"Yeah, this is my answer to you, marimo," Sanji said and then he kissed him again.
Sheets lay in disarray, half hiding the happy couple's panting forms. Zoro hadn't moved ever since they had come undone but his heart was beating fast enough that the cook could feel it against his chest while he was held close by the swordsman.
"What's wrong?" Sanji asked quietly when his lover made no sign of calming down. Zoro was still hurt... had it been too soon for them to do this?
Zoro buried his head in Sanji's blond hair and breathed in deeply. "Nothing is wrong..." he whispered, his lips brushing against the cook's neck with every word. "Everything is fine. I just... I just need a minute to calm down. I feel like my heart is about to explode."
Sanji blushed and looked up at the ceiling. Slowly, he closed his eyes, his own heart beating rapidly as he tried to catch his breath. "I know what you mean. I feel the same way."
After a while, Zoro began to kiss Sanji's shoulder lazily. "I never thought I would ever be this happy..." he said quietly. "This is like a dream."
Sanji chuckled. "You're surprisingly romantic."
"I've to be," Zoro replied. "How else am I supposed to date such a sap?"
"Oi!" Sanji exclaimed indignantly and turned his back to Zoro. The swordsman didn't lose any time and hugged him from behind.
Sanji grinned as he felt Zoro's hard body against his back. It should be forbidden to feel this right...
"There is only one thing missing for this to be perfect..." the cook said quietly.
"And that is?"
"Well, I wish I would remember everything from Ace's party... It was sort of my first time and all."
Zoro sighed, his hot breath tickling Sanji's neck. "If I had known how drunk you really were, then I never would've given in, but... I didn't think you would forget. It had never happened to me, so..."
"Well, marimo... you're a bit of a monster in that regard."
"It's true, isn't it? You can drink barrels of beer without even getting tipsy..."
"I've never done that!"
"Only because no one would ever pay for you."
"... true enough," Zoro said and Sanji swore the swordsman was pouting.
After a bit, Sanji covered the hand on his naked torso with his own and said, "But... you know what?"
"What?" Zoro asked.
"In matters of stamina, I've sort of beaten you today. You came first..." Sanji said grinning.
Zoro snorted. "I didn't know that was a contest. Although..." He pulled Sanji's body even closer against his chest. "... if that's what I get for losing against you, then I really don't mind." One of his hands wandered down and Sanji gasped as it found its goal. "Up for another round? I wanna lose again," Zoro said, grinning cheekily.
"Oh, shut up, you idiot," Sanji replied with no real malice.
"Why are you that obsessed with beating me, anyway?"
"Because you're my goal, Zoro..." Sanji said. Squeezing Zoro's hand, he smiled. " You're my goal and I've finally reached you."
The blonde turned around in Zoro's arms and the swordsman smiled gently as he leaned down.
For the hundredths time that night, their lips met and they kissed in the dark.
And with that it's finished... for now ;)
Now to your treats: I'm going to write more about this world.
There will be at least one smutty one-shot (that night after Ace's birthday party) and not only one but TWO sequels.
One is going to explore Sanji and Zoro's relationship some more as well as will be about Krieg wanting to get revenge from Iceburg and the other one will be some sort of special project... and I'll need your help for that.
I want you to give me prompts and with those prompts, I'm going to write chapters... one chapter for each prompt, but everyone is only allowed to post ONE prompt. In other words: You post a prompt and will get a chapter in return.
In the end we'll have a sort of compilation of One-Shots, all set in the Sunny apartment building. That means, of course, the more people post prompts, the more chapters there will be in the end.
The whole idea is about me getting some more writing experience and avoiding writer's block (prompts are wonderful for that!) and about you getting to know more about what happens in the Sunny behind closed doors.
Prompts can be anything, really... a list of persons you want to be in your chapter (you can choose anyone from the manga, even those who weren't in the story so far), a pairing (either the ones already mentioned: Zoro/Sanji (Duh!), Franky/Robin or Marco/Ace or other pairings who don't clash with the existing ones) or a prompt can be just some word like 'tree', 'book' or anything... you can also tell me the overall mood: happy, sad, funny...
The only restriction is that I don't want you to tell me exactly what's supposed to be in it, because that would just end up killing my imagination.
So, just pointers of what a direction your chapter is supposed to have :)
Oh, and you can tell me the rating as well! The whole thing will be M rated to be safe, but you can tell me if your chapter is supposed to be smutty or not.
Pairing / Characters: Zoro/Sanji
Overly mood / feeling: angry
Sex: HELL YES!
(As sexy as a bananaboat is... please don't choose this as your prompt! XDD)
Already existing pairings: Zoro/Sanji, Franky/Robin, Marco/Ace
You also don't have to fill every category... only the prompt is obligatory.
I have no idea how much of a response this will get, but I do hope to get a few prompts together. You can also post prompts if you aren't registered but please be honest and post only one! If there are many unregistered ones I might have to fulfil those of registered users and those who have reviewed before first, so if possible, please log in!
Deadline is the Tuesday after Easter, at midnight the 10th April 2012 CEST.
And now I'll hide in a corner, close my eyes and pray that there will be a few interested and I'm not making a complete ass out of myself right now :P
THE DEADLINE IS OVER. NO PROMPTS ARE GETTING ACCEPTED ANY MORE!
Thank you very much for reading, reviewing, faving and overall being awesome! I had a lot of fun writing this little story and hope to see you again in the future!