Hello my lovely readers!

You thought I was dead, didn't you? Well, guess what – I'm not, and I'm still writing.

This baby took its sweet time to write itself – I am but an humble vessel. But here it is, the long awaited second chapter to my surprisingly most popular fic. Or something. It's the smut, isn't it? I know it's the smut. You know it's the smut. We all know it's the smut. \o/

I slightly edited the 1st chapter to match this one better. Nothing major. Try spotting the differences?

I don't own Zoro and Sanji, but I wish I did.

*floats away*

He'd have loved to pretend that he walked out of the kitchen cool and composed, but the truth is that he almost stumbled there. Mentally stumbled on the wooden floor, under the weight of a thousand conflicted emotions, twirling and making a mess of his mind. Under the weight of heavy arousal spreading through his entire body from between his legs. Stumbled on even ground, on thin air, unable to do anything about it.

He felt like he was in an altered state of consciousness. Everything seemed too bright and kind of fuzzy at the same time.

It was bad. It was all really, really bad, and he didn't know what to do with himself anymore.

He blinked and briefly shook his head, as if to clear his muddled thoughts, and absentmindedly surveyed the surrounding area.

He didn't know how long they were huddled down there, but it couldn't have been more than a few minutes. Maybe ten or fifteen – at most. Nami and Chopper were done fighting their opponents by now, and were walking towards Robin. She was silently watching Luffy administering what Sanji assumed to be the finishing blows to the opposite crew's captain, a small smile upturning the corner of her mouth and her arms elegantly crossed over her chest – she looked beautiful. On the upper deck, Franky was nearly done beating his bunch of ill-intentioned pirates, Usopp having his back from up the crow's nest. That coward hadn't even moved from his safer position since Sanji had dragged Zoro into the pantry, so it really couldn't have been that long, though it seemed like a lifetime to Sanji.

He would join them soon, but there was something he needed to attend before that. And if he didn't want to spend the remaining of the day feeling uncomfortably tight in his pants, courtesy of blue balls, he needed to be quick about it. It wouldn't be long before they started wondering where Zoro or himself had disappeared to.

Whatever Zoro was going to do or say when he'd recover and come out on deck didn't even cross his mind. He was too far gone for that.

Not losing a second, he walked, as quietly and inconspicuously as possible, down the stairs to the lawn deck, through the observation room, only removing his hands from his pockets to promptly climb the ladder to the bathroom area. Once there, he locked himself in the small toilet, shut the bowl closed and sat on it.

Slouching against the tiled wall behind him, he let out a faint sigh. He didn't wait much before proceeding to free his persistent erection from the confines of his dress pants, sighing again as he circled his hand around his cock. He closed his eyes and started stroking it in shallow, brisk moves. He knew it wouldn't take long – it had been a while since he'd felt this horny.

He was in a hurry, but he didn't try to think or draw helpful images from his memories, letting his mind wander instead. Which, in retrospect, might not have been a good idea – or maybe it had been, since it helped make things faster, but afterward, he wouldn't be able to decide.

It was hazy at first, lost as he was in heightened sensations. Sensations of his own cock in his hand, rock hard and slightly damp at the tip, which only served to prove further that the whole thing had stirred him more than he should have allowed.

It reminded him of how Zoro's had felt between his fingers.

He let out a faint moan as he remembered the shit-head's face : barely flushed enough for it to be noticeable ; his eyes closed tightly, as if to deny what Sanji was doing to him ; his brow, twisted in a somewhat strained frown that betrayed how much it was affecting him. His cock had felt hot and firm between his lips, proof that Zoro, despite the distant front he usually put up, was made of warm flesh and blood and emotions like everyone else. That he could be subjected to his own body's whims, even though he was so proud of his control over himself. Very much alive.

Sanji increased the rhythm in his movements. This wouldn't take long at all.

If Zoro had clearly been affected by his own physical reactions, he'd kept mostly unresponsive. He didn't kiss Sanji back when he had the occasion, and barely tried to return the favor when things started to escalate. And yet... When he'd grabbed Sanji's wrist, somewhere along the way, that faint, gentle motion of his thumb against his skin had felt soft and soothing, gentle in a fashion Sanji would never have thought Zoro was capable of. Even after he'd made him stop – even now – it had troubled him deeply.

It had felt intimate.

The thought of that unexpected gesture that had nearly made him come into his pants right there and then, even though he'd rejected it harshly, was what pushed him over the edge this time. His hand firm around the head of his cock to reduce the risk of stains, groaning softly through clenched teeth, Sanji came hard. His orgasm was unexpected and brutal, almost painful, and yet, he didn't think he'd ever felt this good in his whole life.

When it was over, feeling somewhat numb, he leaned against the wall and exhaled slowly.

This was so fucking bad he started wondering if there would ever be a way back from that fucked up fuckery he got himself into. But in his sated state, he couldn't really give a fucking damn about that.

Not yet, anyway.

He gave himself a few moments to come down from his afterglow-induced high, and then started leisurely tucking himself back into his pants. He felt more relaxed and satisfied than he'd felt for days, possibly weeks. He was absentmindedly washing his hands when it occurred to him.

He'd kissed Zoro.

Which was saying a lot more than he felt comfortable with about his unconscious motives. Because as far as Sanji was concerned, and even if he saw it as a prelude to more – among other interesting things – kissing was mostly serious business. To him, kissing implied feelings – which he'd always willingly expressed to the beautiful women who'd deemed him worth taking to their beds – there weren't many who had until now, but still. Every single one of them had deserved the best he had to offer.

And there he was – he'd fucking kissed a man. Not just any man – as if that wasn't bad enough, he'd kissed Zoro. He'd kissed his crew-mate. His crew-mate whom he was supposed to hate – he radically refused to start doubting that fact – and who hated him in return. Worse, he'd kissed a crew-mate who hadn't kissed him back – though honestly, who could blame him? – a crew-mate who probably thought his attentions were misplaced. Or worse, unwanted.

His heart jumped at that last thought, and it certainly didn't feel like the pleasant fluttery feeling he got when a pretty girl flirtatiously batted her eyelashes at him.


No, it wasn't like that. It couldn't be like that. It wasn't like that idiot couldn't have shoved him off. Sanji might not like it, but for all it was worth, Zoro did have more strength in his upper body, and blowing someone didn't exactly involve leg strength. Furthermore, Sanji was injured. Zoro could have stopped him anytime, and in the end, it seemed like he chose not to. So, in a way, the unusual lack of retaliation – though who knew what had been going on inside Zoro's mind – if there ever was anything there to begin with – it meant he'd wanted it too, right?

In the end Sanji couldn't be sure, but he firmly believed that there was no way Zoro would've let him do everything he did without wanting it, not without resisting.

Sanji sighed. This was fucked up. He was so, so fucked up.

So he'd pretty much molested Zoro in the boat's pantry. Zoro, who might or might not have agreed to that, and there was no way for Sanji to tell, because that idiot never let out much when it came to social interactions and emotions. Despite the fact Zoro didn't exactly try to stop him, the whole thing didn't sit too well with Sanji. He felt an unwelcome yet unsurprising anxiety, laced with guilt, gnaw at his gut.

Well done, Sanji. You got what you wanted, dumbass. And you royally fucked up. This is way too close to officially throwing you into the arse bandits' club, and anyway, you'll be lucky if Zoro ever wants to see you face again. Or doesn't kill you – or blab to everyone and gets your ass kicked off this ship for being an untrustworthy faggot.

He stopped his thoughts right in their tracks and faintly shook his head. He wasn't a fag, and he wasn't going to cry over losing Zoro's trust, because there hadn't been any between them to begin with – none of that sort, anyway. Sanji had never trusted Zoro much outside of their sole mutual area of expertise – fighting – and believed the reverse was true as well. Though, since Zoro seemed to love reminding him that he was the strongest, only second to Luffy, maybe it had all been in Sanji's mind. It was likely that Zoro had never trusted him at all to begin with.

Sanji doubted that Zoro would tell anyone, though. It would be very unlike him, so he wasn't too worried about that. Despite the fact that he now deserved all the shit that idiot swordsman would throw in his general direction, in all of its glory. Probably. Maybe.

As if.

But that was irrelevant.

He looked at his disheveled reflection in the mirror. Grooming his blond locks back into place over his left eye with slightly jerky fingers, he let out a disgusted sigh.

It's all his fault – nothing would've happened if he wasn't an insensitive jerk, Sanji told himself, though deep down, he knew better. He'd been the one to fuck up – the fact Zoro might have deserved it or not didn't diminished the fact that Sanji was a fucked up asshole. But he firmly shoved the thought away, because if he didn't, he thought he'd probably go insane over the matter.

Of course, it was easier said than done.

And how am I supposed to face him now?

He didn't have the answer to that question.

This was beyond fucked up.

And curiously, in comparison, the thought that he willingly put a guy's dick – Zoro's dick – in his mouth – seriously, what had possessed him to do such a thing? he had no idea, and it bothered him tremendously – didn't disgust him as much as it should.

After tucking himself back into his pants, without even closing the pantry's door, Zoro's first reaction had been to meditate. He didn't care that he was in the pantry, or that his nakama might need him outside, where the fight had been going on a moment earlier – though he doubted it. They had pretty much beaten those lame-ass pirates when he'd followed Sanji and left the deck, or he wouldn't have agreed to that altogether.

He needed to think. What had just happened and the resulting jumbled emotions he felt right now demanded it. But once he started, he realized he had no idea where to start. He didn't even have the faintest idea of what that whole thing had been about at all.

Think, dammit.

Sanji had been acting a little weird for some time, but he hadn't thought much of it at first. It was just the ero-cook being his usual self, although a little bit weirder – and shittier – than usual. And in all honesty, Zoro certainly didn't mind the fact the idiot cook seemed willing to whip up every single of his favorite dishes during the past few weeks. But something – something unknown and unnamed yet, that tickled at his instincts and told him to beware – unnerved him about the cook's weird behavior. Made him unusually curious.

Every once in a while, he could feel the man's gaze on him, usually when the other thought he wouldn't notice. Mostly when he was napping, or training. As if that would prevent him from noticing the cook staring. It was too peculiar to ignore completely, and it somewhat upset Zoro. Troubled him, actually. The cook's unusual attention towards him had felt irritating at first, though he'd soon found that he didn't really mind. But this was different from the nagging or bickering he was used to from that guy. And it wasn't exactly unpleasant, for once, not to be on the receiving end of kicks. He'd even started to think he liked it, in a weird kind of way. It felt almost flattering to know that he occupied such an important place in the cook's mind. Even though the idiot looked aggravated more than half the time he was watching him, anyway.

He'd ultimately dismissed it as another of the guy's silly whims, but his curiosity was stronger than ever, though he did his best not to let hit affect him. And after seeing that idiot getting injured because he was watching him – on his fucking arm, when the cook was so protective of his precious hands – had unnerved him more than he'd like to admit. If it put the safety of the crew on the line, as the first mate, he should have given it more attention, as his instincts were telling him to. It was his fault for not realizing earlier that this might be more important than it looked.

But Zoro didn't know how to handle the cook in such a situation. They didn't get along, and the guy had a roundabout way of expressing his deepest insecurities, especially around his male crew-mates. Zoro was pretty sure his usual straight-forward approach would fail, and he wasn't the type to tiptoe around the matter – this approach had never gotten him results. So, when the cook had offered to explain himself, despite the fact that the fight was still going on and that it had been weird to begin with, Zoro didn't want to miss the chance to hear him out. His curiosity, as well as that unease he'd felt since the cook had started acting strangely, had won over the need to protect the crew. Which was obviously a bad idea.

Still, how this ended up with his dick in Sanji's mouth, he didn't have the faintest idea.

Wasn't the cook supposed to be as straight as an arrow? He only ever went into doormat mode – an especially annoying and persistent doormat – around girls. Zoro had never witnessed him acting like that with men. The only things Sanji would grace you with, if you happened to be an adult male, were kicks and nasty epithets. And food, if you were lucky and the cook was having a good day.

Obviously, Zoro was mistaken, and the cook wasn't as straight as he used to think. But that was irrelevant, and didn't trouble him much.

Because Zoro couldn't understand why he didn't try to stop the cook, and that unnerved him more than anything else.

Sanji had always had some bite to him, in more than one way, whether with words or kicks or fury painting his expressive face in that funny crimson color. But Zoro had been so surprised that the guy would literally bite him that he didn't know how to react at all. It had happened that first time as well, when they were fighting.

It had felt foreign to him, for some reason, and very different from the kind of pain he was used to. Zoro was familiar with the bite of steel and violent impact from the idiotic cook's usual kicks. If he found the latter stimulating, in a way – because these powerful blows demanded his full attention and skill in return, and only served to help him get stronger – he wasn't overly fond of either. If anything, he associated pain with training and growth, which were good things, in the end. But taking a hit meant his technique wasn't perfect yet, and pain was a distraction from more important things, such as defeating his opponent. Which was why he'd learned long ago to endure, and ignore physical pain as a minor annoyance, easy to dismiss.

But that first harsh, slightly painful bite had troubled him. Very different from steel's cold, unwavering contact, it was warm, and slightly moist, the more delicate dive of teeth into flesh. Sanji's lips, subtly glazing against his skin at that moment, had felt soft, contrasting with the pain his teeth were inflicting, and certainly too real and close to what he was used to. And when his skin had given in, he had been unable to repress the unexpected, sharp bout of shivering from running like a lightning bolt along his spine.

This was something he'd never experienced before. Zoro wasn't totally unaware of the matters of life – and sexuality. But sex wasn't something he actively pursued. Pretending he wasn't interested in the least would be a lie, but just like pain, he saw sexual urges as passing distractions. Yes, it was supposed to be very enjoyable, if he decided to believe other guys' eagerness to put their dick to what they thought was "good use". But Zoro definitely didn't need that, did he? Besides, who knew how addictive sex could become? Not knowing whether wants would become needs if he addressed his occasional urges, he made it a point never to do so, steeling himself and thinking about something more relevant to his life, like training. He couldn't miss something he never experienced, he always told himself.

Until now, he'd never met anyone who'd made him reconsider his principles regarding sex. He saw himself as blissfully inexperienced, and didn't mind at all.

He'd never thought that his first encounter with sex would happen like this. That the cook would be the one to ruin years of resolute abstinence. Or that he would be unable to respond, in more than one way.

Despite the fact the ero-cook – who now rightfully deserved his monicker, he thought – hadn't exactly waited for his approval, Zoro could have shaken the guy off himself, at any time. And the fact was, he'd chosen not to. He couldn't pinpoint the exact moment when his resolve had faltered, when he'd not-so-unconsciously decided to go along with Sanji's actions, but if he had to guess, it probably had to do with the biting. And from the very second the cook's hand had grabbed his cock, the fact that idiot hadn't asked for consent, Zoro's resolve, logic, and reason all the same – it all went down the drain.

At that moment, Zoro had found that he didn't mind. He'd always been curious about sex, however unwilling to, and he now knew that he'd wanted this, definitely, even if he hadn't realized it clearly before. In particular, he'd have never thought he'd like being subjected to that kind of attention from the shit-cook, or from any guy, for that matter. Zoro's occasional sexual urges were usually stirred by women, though he wouldn't deny that he sometimes found other men good-looking. He guessed the cook didn't fare too bad in that regard, if he dismissed the foul mouth and generally annoying behavior.

But that was irrelevant, and that knowledge was a poor source of comfort. Giving into his urges couldn't be a good thing. Furthermore, his vague attempt to participate had been dryly rebuffed, and it had wounded his pride in a way that he shouldn't even allow to start with. He hadn't even tried to insist, for fuck's sake... It was unfair – though entirely his fault. He'd wanted to do something, anything – rather than letting it all happen and taking it like a boneless wimp. Which he did, in the end, and if he knew he could blame his hesitation on his lack of experience, it was no excuse. He now regretted not trying harder when he'd had the opportunity, though he knew he shouldn't even afford to do so. He worried that allowing himself to feel like this now would end up leaving him wanting for more, later. Besides, if he'd had enough resolve left at that moment to disregard the cook's clear-cut insistence that he let himself be handled without returning the favor, he should have used it to stop him. In the end, he couldn't decide which was worse.

It was too late for regrets, though.

At this moment, his bruised shoulder started stinging faintly. His lower lip felt slightly sore as well. Sanji had kissed him there. Bitten, too. Put his mouth, lips and tongue right against his skin in what was a surprisingly intimate act, an intrusion of his teeth into Zoro's own flesh.

If Zoro had always thought that kisses were inconsequential, merely the prelude to more intimate contact, what had just happened proved to him that he was naively mistaken. Because Sanji had kissed him, he found it hard not to question the cook's motives. Zoro couldn't be too sure about that, but if that idiot had actual feelings for him – not just pent up frustration that needed release, or whatever bullshit his peculiar, perverted mind could muster – he'd have trouble discarding this whole thing as a mere incident. Feelings weren't inconsequential. Feelings did have consequences – not to say sex didn't, but it generally wasn't as bad, from what he could tell.

And he knew for a fact that he couldn't return those.

He groaned faintly and shook his head. Even now, after it was over, he felt troubled by the surprising occurrence, the cook's touch – different from what he'd have expected, if he had ever expected anything like this – still fresh in his mind. This wouldn't do at all. He made it a point to steady his breathing as closely as possible to a perfect rhythm, emptying his mind to the best of his abilities.

He needed to think.

He should probably get back to the deck before someone started wondering where he was. He didn't want them to start questioning him on his whereabouts, because the incident and what it had stirred within him troubled him too much to share for now. Or ever. He wanted to keep it to himself until he could figure it out. Besides, he needed a change of clothes. His shirt was bloodied around the shoulder that the cook had attacked, and he didn't want Chopper to start asking embarrassing questions while examining him for potential injuries. He should probably skip that altogether and nap instead. He felt tired, for some reason.

After a while, feeling a little more composed, yet still uneasy because of his ambivalent feelings, he stood up and let out a short sigh.

Maybe he didn't fully understand why he'd ended up going along with the cook's whim, knowing how bad of an idea it was, but honestly, he didn't – shouldn't – care to understand. All he knew was that not preventing it from happening had made him unwillingly disclose more of himself that he was comfortable with.

He had to make sure it didn't happen again. He just hoped that Sanji wouldn't try that kind of thing anymore.

He wasn't sure how things would turn if he did.

Sanji silently fumed as he stacked up the inordinate amount of dishes that was the result of every meal on board of their ship. He was so fed up with the shit he'd had to go through for the past days that he felt like breaking something. Or like smoking a pack of cigarettes in one go, not even waiting for the previous one to go out to light the next. Knowing it was all his fault did nothing to alleviate his feeling of guilt, and only made him feel more aggravated at himself, as well as some green-haired simpleton that happened to live in his vicinity.

He was so done with this shit – that was something he'd have loved to tell himself days ago, but he found that he couldn't.

Tonight's dinner had gone on smoothly though – as much as was possible, with Luffy gulping down anything in his reach, and the other idiots being their idiotic selves. Preferably – to Sanji's humble opinion it was certainly not preferable – with chopsticks stuck up their noses, and dancing like morons on the table. Fortunately, the girls never subjected him to such absurd behavior. Nami and Robin were refined and well-behaved, unlike the others. They were grateful for his efforts, whether he exerted them in cooking or sweet attentions for his precious ladies, and rewarded him with smiles more often than not. They didn't skip dinner either, knowing how important it was for him to keep everyone well-fed. They didn't come last when he announced a meal was ready and get out as soon as they were finished either. And they certainly didn't sneak into the galley to steal his best alcohol bottles after he went to bed.

They didn't tense almost imperceptibly when he approached them. They didn't force themselves to stay put, a deep frown on their lovely faces, just so nobody would notice something was bothering them. They didn't flee either when it proved impossible.

They didn't avoid looking at him whenever he was around. They didn't avoid him, period.

Saying the past week had been far from easy for Sanji would be a dire understatement.

He'd seen the usually impassive swordsman steel himself whenever he was in his vicinity. It was barely noticeable, because Zoro was very level-headed most of the time, but Sanji noticed anyway. Probably because he was very much aware of Zoro's subtle reactions these days, for some reason. Nevertheless, that sight certainly didn't help his troubled mind – it actually made things worse. So, he'd tried to be considerate – though he refused to think of it in these terms, because the marimo didn't deserve any consideration – and made himself scarce around Zoro. But in all honesty, seeing that reaction to his presence made him feel anxious to make things better. And since he didn't even know where to start, he really didn't feel like being around Zoro more than was necessary.

At first, anyway.

Soon enough, he started to find the whole situation unbearably infuriating. They were nakama, and thus – trust issues aside – they had to spend their days aboard the same boat. They couldn't tip-toe around each other like that forever, because they inevitably ended up crossing paths multiple times every day. And yet, since it was mostly his fault – which he only admitted in the inmost depths of his mind – he didn't think there was really anything he could do about it, which aggravated him all the more.

If Zoro had been upset, if he'd shouted insults at him or tried to start a fight, Sanji would have faced it all without a second glance. He was really glad that Zoro hadn't told anyone about what had happened, though. He didn't think he'd be able to endure such a situation, and would probably end up leaving the crew, unable to bear his friends' disappointment – if they didn't throw him out first. But the current situation was barely better, and the fact he was in a dead end made it even worse.

But Zoro didn't seem upset at all. He merely seemed annoyed, and uneasy.

That shit-headed marimo...

Speaking of which, it was Zoro's turn to help with the dishes. As much as he didn't want to be around that idiot, Sanji was certainly not letting him run from his responsibilities, even if they were just about chores. Also, it'd look weird if, after pestering his other crew-mates – the ladies aside, of course – to help on a daily basis, he let Zoro get away with it.

Things were already as fucked up as he could deal with, and he didn't want to rouse his friends' suspicions.

He breathed in deeply, and feeling he would never be ready enough, he stomped towards the open door.

"Oi, Marimo! Come help me with the dishes if you don't want to fast for a week!"

The threat was as empty as could be, and everyone on board knew better. Sanji never deliberately neglected his crew's stomachs, even when he was grumpy or mad at someone, and they all knew that. But they also knew that when that threat was set forth, if the target didn't comply, shit was about to swoop down on them – through insults and kicks and overall shitty temper instead.

If someone had asked Sanji, he would've replied that Zoro knew that better than anyone else, being on the receiving end of anger-fueled kicks more often than not.

And yet, there he was, lying on the deck's grass, which made it hard to tell where it stopped and his hair began. As he approached the shit-headed swordsman, Sanji could hear a faint snoring sound coming from his general direction. He was asleep, his mouth stupidly relaxed but his eyes overcast by the usual frown, oblivious to the shit coming to him. Of course, that sight made Sanji's blood boil, though he would never admit that seeing Zoro so defenseless was part of the reasons it did.

Feeling the sudden urge to attack him in a way that he resolutely forbid himself to even think about, especially right in the open, Sanji had to remind himself that Zoro was never defenseless. Even when he was seemingly asleep.

And then, the irreverent asshole snorted in his sleep, as if to mock him.

That's it. I've had enough.

Launching his body in the air, he directed one of his most efficient kicks towards the dipshit's head.

"Shitty marimo!"

But of course, of course, as he was about to hit that dumbass and give him a more-than-beneficial facelift, Zoro simply rolled over, dodging the blow and denying Sanji the vengeful satisfaction he rightfully deserved. Sanji's foot hit the ground, small bits of grass floating leisurely in all directions. The cook clenched his teeth in anger and glanced at Zoro, whatever insult he was about to shout dying before even getting past his throat.

That idiot hadn't even woken up. He was still snoring as if everything was well in the world.

Sanji's feeling of helplessness threatened to overwhelm him for a second. He almost felt like curling into a ball and crying, but he knew it would solve nothing, and besides, he wasn't a wimp. He was better than that.

Insults and threats weren't efficient, and neither was physical violence. If he wanted to get out of this fucked up situation – whether it was about dishes or inappropriate behavior towards his male crew-mate was irrelevant to him, at that point – he needed to find another way.

He slowly retrieved his foot from the hole he'd carved in the grassy floor, brushing away any trace of dirt from his polished shoes with a swift motion of his hand. After reaching into his jacket for a cigarette, he proceeded to light up. He could already feel his blazing anger being replaced by a cold, merciless rage.

He crouched next to Zoro, and after dragging on his cigarette deeply, and resolutely blew a thick cloud of smoke into the guy's face. Finally, the swordsman's face crunched into a displeased expression, and letting out a lazy groan, he opened his eyes.

Sanji was feeling more than a little pleased at that reaction, and even managed to sneer.

"Oi, shit-head. Dishes are waiting."

Zoro blinked, and with a rather plaintive groan, rolled around, turning his back to Sanji, seemingly resuming his nap.

Not happening.

Sanji grabbed him by his shirt's collar, and started dragging him unceremoniously towards the galley. Until Zoro, finally waking up for good, batted his arm away and managed to stand up.

"What the hell, shit-cook?"

He raised his eyes to look at him with undisguised hostility, for the first time in what seemed like forever. Despite the fact he wasn't a coward, Sanji found he couldn't hold that antagonistic glare. He took a long drag on his cigarette and turned around.

"There's a huge pile of dirty dishes waiting for you, meat-head," he said, and he didn't sound nervous, nope, not at all. He snorted : "Does that scare you? They don't bite, you know."

The words were barely out of his mouth that he realized how poorly worded that taunt was.


But it was too late, and the words were out, whether he liked it or not. He didn't dare turn around to look at Zoro's face. Anything would be better than seeing that uneasy look that he seemed to sport whenever he was around, lately. Feeling mortified, he headed for the galley without further taunt or threat. He now hoped Zoro would ignore what had just happened and decide to sleep more instead. The dishes weren't going to wash themselves, though. He discarded his jacket, hanging it neatly on the back of a nearby chair, rolled his sleeves, and started scrubbing energetically.

The task proved to be a poor distraction. He was so used to doing it that his mind was free to wander in directions he'd rather avoid. Like the deck, where the current cause of all his woes was probably napping again, by now.

He nearly jumped in the air when the door suddenly opened in his back, and cringed internally when it was followed by the familiar stomping of boots. For all the lethal grace Zoro seemed to have in battle, his gait was strangely heavy, he mused, trying not to tense as the dumbass came near the sink and grabbed a dishcloth.

He cleared his throat to discretely dispel his nervousness, focusing his gaze on the plate he was washing.

"I wasn't expecting you," he said, before realizing he sounded like an idiot.

Yeah, it's not like you just asked him to help, asshole.

Since he wasn't able to open his mouth without making a fool out of himself, he resolutely decided to keep it shut.

Fortunately, Zoro didn't retaliate.

They started working in silence, Sanji briskly washing plates and pots and cutlery, passing them one after the other to Zoro, who quietly complied to the unstated order each time. But to Sanji, it was too quiet. They'd usually bicker not-so-amiably while doing dishes, and the silence was putting a strain on his already frazzled nerves. It felt very awkward, and he suddenly felt a raw, desperate need for normalcy that he knew wouldn't be fulfilled in such a situation. After a while, he discretely glanced at Zoro. His frown was as deep as ever, but Sanji was surprised – and a little aggravated – to find that he was staring at the tiled wall in front of him. Not to his hands, as he was supposed to. That idiot wasn't paying any attention to what he was doing, which Sanji knew spelled broken dishes.

"Oi," Sanji started, annoyed.

At this sudden interjection, Zoro didn't exactly startle. He did turn around abruptly, though, which was probably why he ended up letting go of the plate he was drying. And inevitably, it fell against the edge of the sink, and burst into several pieces of various sizes that flew in all directions.

"You idiot..." Sanji grumbled, teeth clenching around his cigarette and brushing away the few pieces that clung to his wet arm.

He turned to Zoro, ready to kick his ass – because he'd broken a plate and dear Nami-san would be angry because plates where expensive.

"What's wrong with you, asshole?" He started, but Zoro wasn't paying attention again.

"Your arm," he said in a deep yet unusually quiet voice.

Sanji was dumbfounded for a second, but after following Zoro's gaze, he realized that he'd gotten cut there. And he was immediately angry at him. It was the second time he'd hurt an arm because of that asshole. He'd been yelled at by Chopper, and had to be careful with the right one for the past week. It was barely starting to heal properly, and now, his other arm...

"Dammit, dumbass," he spit through clenched teeth. "Why do you have to be such a clumsy, shitty, stupid..."

He wasn't anywhere near done with the list of epithets that were pouring from his apparently inexhaustible mouth. He'd had more than enough of Zoro's bullshit, really, and –

– and suddenly, Zoro's hand was around his injured arm, slightly wet from the dishcloth, firm but steady. The words died on his lips, and his anger was replaced by something else, something he couldn't put words on.

Zoro's face was scrunched in a frown as he examined the cut, his thumb gently prodding at the wound. Sanji followed his gaze and glanced at his arm briefly, and fortunately, it didn't seem too deep, but his mind barely registered. He looked back at Zoro's face. His eyes, intent on the blood seeping from the cut in his arm, were lowered, and his eyelashes – Sanji had never noticed before, but Zoro's eyelashes were kinda long for a guy's, and not exactly green at all – cast a shadow on his eyes.

Finally, after what seemed like hours to Sanji, Zoro let go of his arm and raised his eyes to look at him in the eye.

"It's fine," he grunted, and Sanji might have imagined it, but his voice didn't sound as grumpy as usual.

Sanji couldn't take his eyes off Zoro, and he absentmindedly realized that he was faintly grinding on his cigarette with clenched teeth. He watched Zoro blink once, twice. When Zoro finally averted his gaze to stare at the nearby wall and raised an arm to scratch the back of his head, Sanji thought he looked slightly embarrassed, though it was hard to tell with that perpetual frown.

And suddenly, everything was crystal-clear to him. It was all so simple. Zoro, and that feeling. So, so simple.

It felt like hunger. And like hunger, Sanji knew that feeling would never be satiated for long.

Later, Zoro would pretend he didn't feel cornered when, after discarding his long gone out cigarette, Sanji unexpectedly grabbed his collar and pressed him somewhat menacingly against the sink.

"What the –" he started, but when he glanced at Sanji's face, suddenly very close, he forgot about protesting.

The cook's eye that wasn't hidden behind hair was blazing with rage, but he found there was also something else, something feverishly hot, shining in that ice-blue iris, that looked all but cold to Zoro.

"You..." Sanji started, and his voice was trembling with barely contained fury. "Why are you always like this?"

"Huh?" Zoro didn't understand a thing the cook was saying.

"Always hiding everything behind that stupid frown of yours as if we weren't able to tell the difference," Sanji answered. "As if you were better than us. You may think everyone's too stupid to notice, but you're wrong."

He smirked, and Zoro had to steel himself not to flinch. That smile was almost predatory. If Zoro wasn't mistaken, what was happening right now was precisely what he'd been trying to avoid for the past week.

"What the hell are you –"

"Shut up!" Sanji snapped, bringing his face even closer, and Zoro could almost taste the faint tobacco smell of his breath. "You can't hide from me anymore, because I can read you like a book."

Sanji pressed one of his immensely strong legs against his crotch, he knew his apprehension wasn't unfounded.

"What the hell are you doing?" He asked again, hoping the slight panic he was feeling inside didn't show in his voice.

Sanji pressed his body even closer, and brought his mouth to Zoro's ear.

"Just trying to prove a point, shithead," he said in a quieter, almost intimate tone.

His raspy voice grazed against Zoro's skin and made the short hair in the back of his head stand on ends.

Sanji lowered his mouth to Zoro's neck and started sucking hard on the sensitive skin there. That, with the combined circular motion of his thigh against his cock, almost made Zoro shudder. He could feel he was getting hard, and he didn't want that... Did he?

"Asshole," Sanji muttered against his skin. "Stop holding back." He nipped at Zoro's neck, making him briskly inhale through his nose. "Stop reigning everything in. And if you don't want this, then, stop me."

He sneaked a hand between them to jerk Zoro's haramaki upwards and started to rake his nails along his waist – sliding slender fingers into his pants, against the small of his back, eliciting shivers that he couldn't control this time. And when the cook reached back upfront to grab at his cock roughly through his pants and squeezed, Zoro decided that he wouldn't stop him. This was feeling way too good to pass and he didn't care anymore – besides, he owed the cook one.

"Your dick is more honest than you are," Sanji said, his words muffled against Zoro's neck, where his mouth was still at work.

"Confused," Zoro replied, trying to keep his voice steady and somewhat succeeding.

Sanji's ministrations stopped for a moment.


"Not honest – confused. It's a dick," Zoro stated, his voice just a bit firmer, as if Sanji was an idiot who didn't know that. "It doesn't think."

Grabbing the cook by his shoulders and using his superior upper body strength, he overturned him against the counter, and pressed himself against Sanji's slender hips. He found the cook was hard as well, just like the first time.

"Who's being honest here?" He asked, confident enough to let a faint smirk paint his features.

Sanji didn't seem fazed by the sudden change in their positions though. To Zoro's slight consternation, he looked rather smug.

"Who knows," he replied, and Zoro wanted to erase that infuriating smirk from his face.

With a frustrated grunt, and certainly without thinking, he grabbed the cook by the back of his neck and crushed* their mouths together.

There – that's better, he thought when he felt Sanji's moan more than he heard it, the sound muffled against his lips. He took the opportunity as it came to him, and aggressively invaded Sanji's mouth with his tongue.

Zoro's kiss was sloppy, with too much teeth for Sanji's liking, and he didn't seem to know, exactly, what to do with his tongue. The cook realized that he'd probably never kissed anyone before their one-sided confrontation in the pantry. He'd probably been his first. The thought made him feel somewhat exhilarated, and he couldn't refrain a slightly amused smile.

When Zoro released his lips a moment later, eyes closed and faintly panting for air – of course, that idiot didn't think of breathing while they were kissing – Sanji took advantage of the situation and overturned him against the counter again.

"Let me show you how it's done," he breathed against Zoro's mouth.

He pressed their lips together, gently at first, then firmly. And when Zoro obliged and opened his mouth, he kissed him with all he had, passionately, sneaking his tongue in and deftly sliding and pressing around it in turn. And, since he was good at multitasking – he was a goddamn cook, after all – he nimbly unfastened Zoro's pants and sneaked a hand inside. He grabbed his cock and resolutely proceeded to drive him crazy with perfect, regular jerking motions.

But Zoro wouldn't have any of this, despite the fact Sanji's ministrations were very efficient. If their previous encounter had taught him something, it was that he wanted to feel, to touch as well. If anything, this was only another competition between them. He wouldn't let Sanji have the upper hand, this time.

Taking advantage of the necessary distance between them for Sanji to jerk him off, he decided to return the favor and grabbed the cook's dick through his annoying dress pants. Sanji moaned against his mouth – which he definitely heard this time – and Zoro knew it was a good idea. He managed to open the stupid button and zipper, though he felt like he was nowhere nearly as dexterous as the cook about it, and took his cock into his hand. The skin felt eerily soft and warm against his palm, which was weird, but didn't prevent him from starting to move his hand.

Sanji didn't try to stop him, this time, and instead broke the kiss, letting his head fall on Zoro's shoulder, letting out a faint groan.

"Having fun, shitty marimo?" Sanji grunted irritatedly against his ear.

"Hnn," Zoro grunted in reply. "Dunno – you?"

"You wish."

After that, they both fell silent. They went on like that for a while, but soon, way too soon, Zoro felt himself slipping into it more than he thought he should. He didn't know about Sanji, but the cook was good with his hands and he wasn't going to last, he knew it. And yet, despite the fact that it felt so good he thought something would painfully burst if he didn't come soon, it was also not enough.

On a sudden impulse fueled by frustration, he removed his hand from Sanji's pants. The cook moaned at the loss – though it sounded more like a deep whine, to Zoro's immense satisfaction – but he didn't have time to linger on that. He pushed Sanji's hand away from his cock, and slid an arm around the cook's waist. He managed to switch their positions again without much resistance – though, seeing how disheveled and feverish Sanji looked by now, it was no surprise that he'd only comply – he brought their hips together and started grinding hard.

That was more like it.

Sanji vaguely tried to slow him down, or at least, that's how Zoro's brain registered the feeble push of hands against his hips, but he thought that if he stopped now, he'd probably die. So, he didn't let that happen. He grabbed the cook's hand, keeping it pinned it on the counter with his own. And when Sanji started clutching at the counter's edge strongly, it felt natural to him to intertwine their fingers.

Everything felt so good.

After only a few thrusts, Sanji suddenly disentangled his restrained hand from Zoro's grip, and he felt the cook grab at his collar and hip, pressing their bodies harder. Before he realized what was happening, he was being kissed thoroughly, swallowing Sanji's deep moan, and he felt a faint pulsing through the thin fabric of their underwear – pants had long gone down thighs from the repeated motions. He'd finally made Sanji come first. The thought that the cook was coming because of him, because of things that he did to him, was what pushed him over the edge.

He growled deeply, and letting his head fall on Sanji's shoulder, let himself go. He came so hard it almost hurt. After thrusting a final time, he finally stopped moving, feeling like he'd ran a fucking marathon, but more sated than he'd ever felt.

He could feel Sanji's hand on his waist, keeping him close. He felt so boneless, and he vaguely wondered why his weight, which he was mainly resting on the cook, wasn't bothering him. But after a while, when the hormone-induced blissfulness started receding, he found Sanji was actually stroking the skin on his hipbone. It was a little too intimate – too tender of a gesture – for comfort, maybe – definitely.

He leaned back, and found Sanji was looking at him with heavy-lidded eyes, panting faintly through parted lips. Zoro didn't know what to make of it.

He tried to reign his shaky breathing by inhaling deeply, and shook his head in an attempt to clear his muddled thoughts.

This seemed to send Sanji into motion again. Averting his eyes, he stood up and ran a hand through his hair, trying to put it back into place without much success. Avoiding any contact with Zoro, he gently pushed him away, took a step away from the counter, and after he finished buttoning his pants and tucking his shirt in them, he simply stood there, his back turned to him. He looked tense.

"Damn," he muttered. "I need to get changed."

Zoro didn't think he expected any reply, so he said nothing. Besides, he realized as he leaned against the counter, he didn't feel like he had the necessary strength to talk right now.

"I..." Sanji started. "I guess I proved my point."

And without further ado, he walked through the door, leaving Zoro slightly nonplussed at his enigmatic behavior.

*Following my own advice, huh... Nope.