24-hour Spell

After leaving Thriller Bark, the Mugiwara crew briefly made birth on a sparsely inhabited island in order to restock on water and cola. While Luffy and the other two hooligans went off to play on a pristine mountain, and most of the others went off to walk or explore, Sanji decided to wander the markets a bit to see if there were any unusual cooking ingredients to be had. What he did find was something he never would have expected

While walking the main street, he followed his nose to a very unusual but pleasant smell, emanating from a small alley. He turned to follow it, and was disappointed that it wasn't a food stall, but rather what seemed to be an old fortune teller in a small tent. But somehow, something made him draw nearer.

The gap-toothed old woman, who nevertheless had very kind eyes, smiled at him as he hesitantly approached. "I've been waiting for you," she said.

He let out a puff of smoke, dubiously. "Oh yeah? You must be a good fortune teller then."

She merely smiled, then held out a small, glass bottle, containing a liquid of a color Sanji had never seen before. At one angle, blue, another purple, another aquamarine. It held a strange attractiveness, which made it difficult to look away. "You've come for this, haven't you?" she asked him.

Sanji frowned at her, taking another drag. "Is that what I was smelling?" he asked, kneeling down in spite of himself.

"This is what you came for. The price is ten years."

His frown deepened. "Price? For what?"

Her eyes twinkled. "For twenty-four hours."

Sanji sighed, torn between boredom and curiosity. "I should just leave now, shouldn't I?" He sighed again. "All right then, I'll bite. Twenty-four hours of what?"

"Of true love."

His eyes flew open. He stared at her, feeling himself growing almost angry at the suggestion of being able to attain something he wanted so badly so easily. "What is that supposed to mean?"

She chuckled. "The price is ten years."

"Ten years of what?" he couldn't help asking.

She leaned in close, and suddenly her earlier casual tone slipped away. "Would you give ten years of your life for one day with your true love?"

Sanji was frozen, staring at her. She couldn't be serious. How could he believe her? Even if he could, what kind of bargain was that? Ten years for a single day? But slowly, a feeling began to bubble up inside him. Something he'd gallantly held back for almost a year. He didn't have to wonder to realize that this would be his only chance. But one day? Was it worth ten years?

"If I read you correctly…" he murmured softly. "That potion would make someone fall in love with me for one day. Is that right?"

She smiled again. "In exchange for ten years."

Sanji lapsed into silence. It took him a long time to admit it to himself, but once he thought about that person, and about what his life would be if he missed this chance, he realized he already knew his answer.

"Would you make that bargain?" she asked again.

Sanji closed his fists briefly. He met her eyes. Then he said, "I would."

All at once, the woman grabbed his hand and pressed into it the glass bottle. Sanji gritted his teeth, as suddenly his whole body was wracked with pain. Wind swirled around them and the old woman's white hair snapped and twisted in the wind.

"Ten years for twenty-four hours," she said, her voice suddenly booming in his ears.

"Agh," Sanji grunted, as her fingernails bit into his skin.

"And in exchange, for true love's kiss, all that's wagered will be won again."

Sanji wasn't thinking clearly enough to try to understand this last phrase, and even now he felt his consciousness slipping away. Then everything went black, and he slipped to the earth.

He had no idea how much time passed before he opened his eyes. In shock, he sat bolt upright to look for the woman. But the alley was empty. There was only he, and the small glass bottle in his hand. He stared at it, and couldn't say for sure how much of that had been real. But nevertheless, he clutched the bottle tightly. If it was true, he couldn't let the opportunity pass, he decided. So instead of looking for food, the only thing he bought was a small bottle of sake.

Everyone returned to Sunny, and they set off on their journey again. Sanji struggled with his feelings as they all ate dinner. The truth was, the person he was thinking of was not the one anyone might have assumed, from observing his behavior. He cared deeply for Nami, and for Robin too. But in spite of all his overt affections, there was someone who had held an unshakeable place in his heart for a long time. The incident at Thriller Bark had only strengthened his feelings, to a point where he was now helpless to deny them. So after dinner, when said person retired to the crow's nest for some evening exercises, Sanji followed.

He knocked briefly on the hatch, then entered without waiting for a reply. Zoro narrowed his eyes at him as he climbed up. "What?" he asked.

Sanji sighed, making a big show of it. He had the sake bottle tucked under his arm, so he lit up a cigarette casually before speaking again. "Someone gave me this as a bonus for buying a large amount of rice in the town. I don't really want it. I thought you might." He held out the bottle.

Zoro set down the impossibly large weight he had been holding. He accepted the bottle and looked it over. "It's been opened," he said immediately.

Sanji shrugged. "I thought it might be useful for cooking, so I tried it. I didn't care for it."

"Hmph," Zoro commented, but nevertheless he sat down and took a swig. He considered for a moment, but seemed satisfied. "Thanks," he said.

Sanji surreptitiously made note of the time. 4:45. But he was hesitant to leave. He was already feeling guilty, and kept trying to mollify himself by saying it was only twenty-four hours. It wouldn't hurt Zoro. Plus, he wanted to see if there would be any immediate effects. Or, more likely, to see if nothing would happen at all.

Zoro took another drink, and then glanced up at Sanji. Sanji's heart flew into his throat as their eyes met, half thrilled and half terrified about what might happen next. At length, Zoro asked bluntly, "Did you need something else?"

Sanji tried not to make his disappointed sigh too obvious. "No. But…you know…come and get me if you need anything."

He knew Zoro was frowning quizzically at him as he left down the ladder, but he tried to ignore him. Sanji trundled back into the kitchen, knowing already he'd been suckered. That old witch. He didn't know how he could ever tell if she had really taken ten years off his life, but he decided not to wonder about it. Even if she had, there was nothing he could do about it now. Except, of course, to remember her face and plot revenge.

But unexpectedly, as he started cleaning up the dining room, the kitchen door opened. He blinked. There was Zoro, still shirtless, wiping his hair with a towel. He was looking at Sanji with a strange quietness that Zoro rarely showed. It was true Zoro didn't speak much, but to Sanji he always seemed to have a dangerous atmosphere about him. In that sense he was rarely quiet. Zoro stepped inside and looked at the table.

"The sake was good," Zoro said. "But I don't like owing you a favor, so I thought I could help you clean up."

Sanji's jaw nearly unhinged, it dropped so far. "That's…well…sure. Thank you," he said eventually.

Had it worked? Had it worked after all? Well, he wasn't writing any love poems or anything, but for Zoro, this was practically his best behavior. Was he really just grateful for the sake, or had it worked after all?

In relative silence, they cleared the table and started washing dishes. It had been a long time since they'd done this together, since right after Sanji joined the crew in fact. Their animosity grew over time, to a point where it became more and more difficult to work together. For Sanji's part, he actually liked their bickering, and in reality there were parts of Zoro's personality that drove him crazy. But that didn't stop him feeling the way he did.

Sanji happened to glance up at Zoro at one point, and to his utter shock, the swordsman met his gaze. Sanji's fingers slipped on the glass he was holding, and it shattered into pieces on the floor.

Zoro sighed. "What are you doing, dumb cook?"

Sanji immediately knelt down to hide his embarrassment, and started collecting the pieces. But in his distraction, he cut his finger deeply on a shard. "Ouch," he muttered, examining it. Some blood dripped onto the floor.

Zoro grunted in annoyance and forced Sanji to stand and run his finger under the tap. "Don't start turning into Luffy," Zoro muttered.

Sanji prayed Zoro wouldn't look at him right now. He was blushing and he was sure his heart was about to leap from his chest. Zoro was so close to him, and still holding onto his wrist. Then Zoro took his hand from the water to look at it. The next thing he knew, Sanji's heart nearly stopped, as Zoro unhesitatingly took Sanji's finger into his mouth.

Sanji's mouth hung open, and a nearly silent, strangled noise came from his throat. Then, while he still had Sanji's finger in his mouth, Zoro's dark eyes flicked up to meet his again. Zoro watched him intently for a long time. Finally, he let Sanji's hand go. Then his gaze flicked downward.

Sanji couldn't move, realizing what Zoro was staring at. He was hard.

Zoro seemed to think about this for a moment, then he scratched the back of his neck. "You pent up a bit?" he asked.

Sanji didn't know how to respond, and in fact had no confidence whether he could string together a sentence right now. All he managed to say was, "Uh…"

He thought Zoro might have blushed a bit, and then he said, "Well, if it's like that, might as well deal with it."

He took Sanji by the wrist, and to Sanji's utter shock, led him to the bathroom. Sanji was too stunned to think much about this, and Zoro pulled him inside and shut and locked the door behind them. He stood for a moment, looking at the door in thought. Then he met Sanji's eyes again.

"You okay with this?" Zoro asked.

Sanji wasn't thinking straight, so he didn't think much about what Zoro meant, but before he could stop himself, he pulled Zoro closer. With trembling hands, he held Zoro's sturdy shoulders. Then he covered his lips with his own.

He felt a flinch of surprise go over Zoro's body. For a moment, Zoro didn't respond to his kiss. But slowly, his lips softened, and he accepted Sanji's affection. His arms crept around Sanji's waist, and gently pulled him closer.

And then Sanji finally let his passion free. He kissed Zoro deeply, his heart racing as he thought he was finally able to touch this man for whose love he had hidden for so long. He slipped his tongue inside Zoro's hot mouth, tangling it in the swordsman's larger and stronger one. He was amazed that Zoro was actually a good kisser, since at the back of his mind, Sanji had always assumed he was a virgin. Then, to his shock, Zoro's hold on him tightened, and he slammed him against the wall.

Sanji made a noise of shock, and then Zoro thrust his leg between Sanji's and started thrusting their hips together without breaking his kiss. Sanji moaned loudly, threading his fingers passionately in Zoro's hair. Zoro's hips thrusting against him like this was so far beyond what he'd imagined, he almost couldn't take it. And then, he couldn't. His lips opened wide as a strangled cry was swallowed up inside Zoro's mouth. He twitched several times and painted his boxers with cum.

He only had a moment to rest, and then Zoro grabbed Sanji's hand and shoved it down his own boxers. Sanji went bright red. He was touching Zoro's cock. Plus, it was bigger than he thought. Zoro moved his wrist until Sanji figured out what he wanted. He swallowed heavily and pumped Zoro's cock. Zoro grunted softly and gripped Sanji's shoulder and waist. He watched Sanji's hand for a time, as Sanji watched Zoro's face, mesmerized by the subtle pleasure touching his features. Then suddenly Zoro mauled his lips with kisses again, his hips thrusting involuntarily against Sanji's deft fingers. Within moments, with an animalistic grunt, Zoro came in Sanji's hand.

They panted together, lips still softly touching, as they came down and back to sanity. Zoro closed his eyes for a moment, then clasped Sanji's cheek in his hand. He met Sanji's eyes. "I never noticed," he murmured, absently. His hand reached up to stroke Sanji's hair, then run his fingers through it, causing Sanji to melt. "You're so…sweet."

Sanji lit up bright red, feeling almost tearful. Was this really Zoro? And did he want him if he wasn't himself?

"Considering you're such an ass most of the time," Zoro continued, though with no ill intent.

Sanji almost laughed. He tried not to smile as he scoffed. "That goes for both of us," he said, and caressed Zoro's rock hard arm briefly.

"Mm," Zoro grunted, watching Sanji's face. Then he said, "We're all dirty. Let's take a bath."

Sanji blushed. "What…together?"

"You don't want to?"

Sanji swallowed hard. He was nervous, or perhaps terrified would have been a better word. But he couldn't refuse such an offer. "…okay. I don't mind."

Zoro snarled a bit. "Don't make it sound like I'm the only one who wants this."

"Wouldn't matter if you were," Sanji replied glibly, not missing the opportunity to get in Zoro's face. "It's little more than charity on my part, anyway. Don't go getting a big head or anything."

Zoro's jaw tightened and his eyes narrowed. "You trying to pick a fight?"

"Why? You looking for one?"

Zoro growled again, but despite what any of Sanji's expectations might have been, suddenly Zoro snatched him up in his arms, deposited him in the tub and turned the showed on.

"Ah!" Sanji cried, now covered in tepid water. "What the hell?!"

Then Zoro deposited his swords on the ground and stepped in with him, and in the next moment Sanji was enveloped in Zoro's warm, solid embrace, his back bent backward with Zoro's passionate kiss.

"Mmm…!" Sanji moaned, hesitantly circling his arms around Zoro's neck. When Zoro finally let him breathe, he panted, "Great…now…our clothes are soaked…"

Zoro paid no attention. He began unbuttoning Sanji's jacket. Sanji blushed, but did not stop him in his task. With difficulty, Zoro removed Sanji's sopping jacket and his shirt. Then he seemed to run out of patience and started kissing Sanji again.

Sanji was tingling all over with sensation, his whole body feeling several degrees warmer than usual. It had never been like this with women before. He'd never felt such incredible life force in a kiss. Kissing Zoro felt like being connected to universal energy, he almost felt like he was floating. At one point Zoro stopped.

He looked in Sanji's eyes again. "Sanji…" he said, already making Sanji blush because he had said his name rather than a rude epithet. "You want me…don't you?"

Sanji cast his gaze away, hiding his blush. "What makes you think that?"

"Don't start that now. Listen…I know."

Sanji's eyes flew open. He could not help but stare at Zoro as he went on.

"Ever since Thriller Bark, I've felt you watching me. At the time I thought it was just guilt. I was wrong, wasn't I?" he asked softly.

Sanji's whole body was trembling. His heart was hammering in his ears, telling him it was too scary to admit to it. He wasn't sure he could take the rejection that might come afterward. Then again…judging from Zoro's behavior, the spell seemed to be working. If so, maybe he could be honest without fear. Just this once. Just today. He looked into Zoro's eyes again, then blinked rapidly and looked away. "Yes…" he said softly.

"Do you love me?"

Sanji bit his lip till it nearly bled. Hesitantly, he nodded.

Zoro was quiet for a moment, then he cupped Sanji's face in his hands, and bestowed the softest kiss on his forehead. "You're going to think I'm crazy…but I think I do too."

Guilt dropped like a stone in Sanji's stomach, along with a horrible pain in his chest that he hadn't anticipated. False words of devotion…were they really better than no words at all? He couldn't help himself, and let several tears flow down his cheeks. He was grateful for the water to cover them. Then he pulled Zoro close and kissed him again.

"Let's finish showering," Sanji murmured.

Zoro seemed somewhat concerned, but he nodded. But once they were clean, Zoro made them lay down in the bath, and he pulled Sanji's back against his chest. Though he did so silently, Sanji couldn't stop from crying again. It was such an agonizing mix of joy and bitter pain. But finally, he relaxed and let his head rest in the hollow of Zoro's neck. Zoro held him tighter.

Then Zoro asked him, "How long have you loved me?"

Sanji tried to hide his sob behind a laugh. "You loser. Is that you trying to stroke your own ego?"

Zoro made a noise of derision. "Bastard. I just wanted to know. Don't answer if you feel that way about it."

Sanji cast his gaze away, biting his lip. "A while," he answered eventually.

"How long is a while?"

"A while, okay? Leave it."

"Since before Thriller Bark?"

Sanji didn't answer.

"Before Enies Lobby?"

Sanji's eyes started to sting again, but he said nothing.

"Before we made the Grand Line?"

Sanji let out a shivering sigh. Finally he murmured, "Since you lost to Takanome, on Baratie."

Zoro's body stiffened with shock, and Sanji immediately regretted saying anything. After a while, Zoro said, "When I lost? That's when you fell in love with me?"

"If you didn't want to know, then don't ask," Sanji barked defensively.

"That incident was mortifying for me. What's to like about watching me nearly die?"

Sanji thought for a moment. "If you must know…" he muttered bitterly. "It was what you did, once you knew he had beaten you. You fought stupidly, arrogantly, but you knew when he was tired of playing with you. I think you knew he would have killed you. But you faced him, and sheathed your swords. Then you said that line, it was stupid but…even now, every time I think about it…"

"What?"

Sanji took a slow breath in and out. "My chest aches."

Zoro was silent for a moment. Then to Sanji's surprise, he held him even tighter and nuzzled his head against Sanji's neck. "It makes no sense, but I love you."

Sanji choked back another sob. "I wonder if you'll remember all this tomorrow."

Zoro frowned. "My memory's not that bad."

"That's not what I mean."

"What then?"

Sanji paused. Then he placed a hand on top of Zoro's, covering his chest. "Don't worry about it. Let's get out. I'm starting to get a chill."

Zoro seemed confused, but he complied.

Sanji was on watch that night. They briefly returned to the men's quarters to change into some fresh clothes, and then wordlessly went up to the crow's nest together. Thankfully, Sanji was fairly sure no one else saw them. He didn't want to have to explain. Once they were alone, with the hatch locked, Zoro hugged Sanji from behind again. Zoro seemed to like doing that. Sanji wasn't complaining; he didn't want Zoro to see his face when Zoro was being affectionate to him.

"You're more touchy feely than I would have expected," Sanji commented, trying cover his own embarrassment.

Zoro's grip loosened. "If you didn't like it, you should have said."

Sanji wanted to deny that, and say he loved it, but he couldn't. Zoro let him go, and Sanji silently sat down on the bench, looking out at the ocean. Zoro watched him for a time.

"Can I sit next to you then?" he asked.

Sanji blinked up at him, surprised by Zoro's unexpectedly considerate nature. He nodded, and Zoro sat beside him, watching the same view without touching him. Sanji nearly starting tearing up again. He wanted Zoro to touch him. Why couldn't he be honest about it?

"Okay," Sanji said, softly. "If you love me, what is it about me that you love?"

Zoro frowned, crossing his arms. "What is it…good question…"

Sanji's face fell. He was afraid of that. Of course when these feelings were forced upon him, Zoro wouldn't be able to answer a question like that.

"Actually there's a lot of things."

Sanji's eyes flew open. He stared at Zoro for a moment, unable to stop himself.

But Zoro went on, "I hate the way you act around women. I hate how frivolous you are. I hate how much you care about how much people enjoy your food, when you hardly ever talk about your dream, much less trying to achieve it. I hate the fact that you chain smoke despite being so concerned about nutritional health. I hate how vain you are. I hate the way you hide one side of your face because your eyebrows are asymmetrical. I hate the way you take on opponents you know are tougher than you just for the sake of your pride. I hate-"

"Is this going somewhere?!" Sanji cried in indignation.

Zoro considered. "But I love everything else."

Sanji's anger faded to a deep blush.

"I love how considerate you are, although you're only that way with women. I love how you stand up for your beliefs. I love how you insult your enemies, I always find it funny. I love that casual coolness about you, even though some of it is an act. I love how foul-mouthed you are in general. And though I don't like the fact that you chain smoke, I think you look really sexy doing it." Sanji couldn't help his cheeks, as well as other parts of his body, getting even hotter at that. "I love how strong you are despite having a narrow frame. And I love how you can fight on par with me even though you're weaker than me."

"Hey," Sanji barked.

"There's some more stuff, I can't remember. But now that I know how you feel, it's kind of like I love all that stuff even more," Zoro concluded.

The pain in Sanji's chest returned. He was quiet for a moment. Then he rested his head on Zoro's shoulder, and closed his eyes.

"I thought you didn't like touchy-feely stuff," Zoro grumbled.

"Shut up."

They spent the rest of the night in silence, and Sanji fell asleep with his head in Zoro's lap. To his amazement, Sanji woke up the next morning to Zoro stroking his hair. His cheeks went red, but unfortunately so did his eyes.

"There you go again," Zoro murmured.

Sanji blinked, but refused to meet his gaze.

"Half the time you're with me, you look like you're going to cry. What is it?"

Sanji closed his eyes, and several tears fell unwarranted down his cheeks. Zoro's calloused fingers gently brushed them away.

"Tell me."

Sanji merely took Zoro's hand in his, and held it to his chest. "I'll tell you. But wait until tomorrow." He added almost inaudibly, "Please."

From the corner of his eye, he almost thought Zoro looked a little shaken. But he said nothing. Eventually Sanji rose, wiping his eyes with his shirt sleeve. Zoro took his face in his hands, watching him for a moment. Sanji tried to avoid his gaze at first, but Zoro's eyes were gentle, and eventually he met them. Then Zoro did something that nearly broke Sanji's heart right in two. He drew Sanji closer, and kissed away the traces of his tears. Sanji couldn't stop himself and pulled Zoro tight against him in a loving hug. Zoro returned it, then drew back and kissed Sanji again.

Sanji had to leave to prepare breakfast, and Zoro stayed behind to do his morning exercises. When breakfast was ready, Zoro joined the rest of the crew in the bustling morning rush for food (rush, that is, so that they could get some food before Luffy arrived). Breakfast finished and everyone drifted off to their various daily activities. But Sanji was shocked again when Zoro began clearing plates and silverware.

Sanji was cleaning pots and pans at the time, but he had to stare as Zoro brought a stack of dishes over to the sink. Their eyes met, and he was almost certain he saw a blush on Zoro's cheeks.

"You don't have to stare. I just felt like helping out, that's all."

Sanji watched him in amazement. "You're full of surprises, marimo."

As Zoro left to get more plates, he knocked Sanji on the head with his knuckle. Sanji rubbed his head, but he didn't realize himself that he had a huge smile on his face. He and Zoro did the dishes together quietly. Then Sanji lit up and leaned against the sink.

"I don't know why," he said absently. "But I always assumed you were a virgin."

Zoro sighed, obviously uninterested in the topic. "Maybe because I am."

Sanji's heart leapt into his chest. "What?!" he asked in disbelief.

Zoro shrugged. Sanji was impressed that such a proud man could admit this honestly, but Zoro seemed very honest today. That, and Sanji got the impression that Zoro really didn't care. "I've fooled around before." Which explains how good he is at kissing, Sanji thought to himself. "Never gone all the way. Never really thought about it."

"Never thou-…" Sanji gave an exasperated sigh. "You're a healthy adult male. Not thinking about sex is not even possible. You're telling me there's no one you just yearned to fuck?"

"Apart from you, no."

Sanji went stiff as a board as he absorbed this information. He stared at Zoro. "Me," he repeated.

"Yeah."

"Me?"

Zoro narrowed his eyes. "What's the problem?"

"You think…I'm sexy?"

Zoro snorted with laughter. "Not sure. I sure think you're a pain in the ass. Once I realized I loved you, wanting to sleep with you just seemed to come along naturally. And not getting along with you just kind of makes that hotter, you know?"

Sanji felt conflicted again. Once again, this seemed to be the work of the spell. Even so…if this was his only chance, he wouldn't miss it. "Some time…before dinner tonight…" he murmured, hesitantly. "Do you want to meet me in the crow's nest?"

Now he was sure he saw Zoro blush. Zoro glanced away for a moment, and then he nodded.

They spent more of that day together. Sanji knew Zoro was neglecting most of his usual exercises, but he was too scared to comment on it, fearing Zoro would leave his side. It felt so good just to be with him, even when the air became tense with fighting occasionally. Zoro was just so unusual, so sweet, Sanji couldn't help wanting to spend every second with him. Then, after lunch, Sanji said he needed to get something and told Zoro to wait for him in the crow's nest. Sanji went to the bathroom to fetch one of Nami-san's lotions. Sorry, Nami-san! he cried internally. Then he went up to meet Zoro.

Zoro was sitting on the bench when he arrived. They stared at each other for a long time. Eventually, Sanji set the lotion on the bench, and in the next moment, Zoro attacked him with desperate kisses. Sanji's whole body alighted with desire, aided by the fact that Zoro's large hands were now roaming his body.

"Wa-…wait…" Sanji gasped, in between kisses, though he himself found it difficult to stop.

"What?" Zoro growled, refusing to stop for more than a moment.

"It's…sex…I…" Finally, Zoro released him a few inches so he could speak. Sanji panted. "I'm not a virgin, but I've never had gay sex before. I've had anal, so I know how it works, but I just wanted you to know that I don't really have a clue what I'm doing."

Zoro's thumb stroked his cheek briefly, though Zoro remained as usual almost expressionless. "That makes two of us, I guess." Then he promptly resumed ravaging Sanji's mouth with kisses. Sanji sank into it, nearly desperate with lust for this man.

They hastily removed each other's clothes, and Zoro set aside his swords. Zoro seemed enthralled by Sanji's naked body. For his part, Sanji didn't realize he himself was staring, especially at Zoro's chest, and later his cock. Zoro affectionately stroked Sanji's chest. Then he drew close, and placed a kiss on Sanji's neck. Sanji shivered, his fingers tightening over Zoro's strong shoulders.

Zoro kissed, licked and sucked Sanji's neck for a time, eventually venturing up to his ear, which made Sanji's knees go weak. Next, he moved downward, kissing Sanji's collarbone, his pectorals, and eventually his nipple. Sanji gasped, his fingernails almost certainly biting painfully into Zoro's flesh, though Zoro took no notice. Then gradually, Zoro got down to his knees. Sanji was too suffused in feeling to notice what he was doing until it was too late. His eyes widened.

"No…Zoro…you can't…I can't take it…"

But the next moment, Zoro's mouth enveloped Sanji's cock. Sanji cried out, gripping Zoro's shoulders to keep himself from collapsing. Heat rampaged over Sanji's body. He had never felt so much pleasure in his life. He almost thought he might pass out. He couldn't hold back his voice, much though he knew any crewmembers who approached the crow's nest would be able to hear. Zoro didn't seem too concerned either.

Zoro's dexterous tongue dragged pleasure out of Sanji as easily as anything. Sanji trembled and wove his hands in Zoro's hair. But eventually he knew he couldn't last much longer.

"Zoro…" he gasped. "Let's switch…"

Zoro glanced up at him. He seemed a bit annoyed, but he rose. Sanji ran his hands all over Zoro's hard body. He kissed him all over, and on his chest he bit down and sucked hard, causing Zoro to grunt in a mix of pleasure and pain. Sanji looked admiringly on the dark hickey he'd made, then continued downward and knelt on the floor. He gazed at Zoro's cock. It was tan, like his skin, and Sanji could already tell it was too big to fit even half of it in his mouth. He swallowed, feeling a sense of foreboding about fitting this inside him. But nevertheless, his mouth was watering. He tentatively licked the tip.

Zoro grunted again, grasping Sanji's shoulders, but made no further noise.

Sanji could taste precum leaking from the tip, which wasn't pleasant tasting but it still alighted his desire even further. Zoro's this turned on from me, Sanji thought. I'm the one who's making him feel like this. Thinking this, he unhesitatingly drew as much of Zoro's cock into his mouth as he could.

Zoro's fingers tightened over his skin. Sanji bobbed his head back and forth, seeing how deeply he could take him without gagging. But this only lasted a moment before Zoro pushed him back, lifted him up under his arms and laid him out on the bench. Once again, Zoro drowned him with kisses. Sanji gasped against Zoro's lips and let out more moans of pleasure.

Then Zoro surprised him by briefly disentangling his lips and saying, "What next?"

Sanji blushed heavily. He swallowed, then hesitantly pointed to the lotion. "You have to…use that. Men…don't get wet."

Zoro watched Sanji for a moment, and the slightest blush met his cheeks. He reached for the lotion, and poured some into his hand. After a moment's hesitation, he rubbed it against Sanji's asshole. Sanji flinched at the cold, causing Zoro to look up at him, but it soon warmed up.

"Use your fingers to…open me up slowly…" Sanji murmured.

Zoro glanced at him again, then began massaging Sanji's entrance with one finger. Sanji was already panting, though there was no reason he should be feeling good already. Zoro's fingers seemed to have a direct like to the erogenous part of his brain. Wherever they touched him felt hot and electric. Eventually, Zoro inserted the first finger.

Sanji bit back a trace of pain. He'd been expecting it though, and it soon faded into a mild numb and pleasurable sensation. He began panting again. Zoro's finger worked inside him, drawing out even more desire in him. He felt his hips weakening, and his hole softening. He wanted Zoro so badly. It was then that Zoro inserted a second finger. Slightly more pain this time, but it faded even faster. The mild discomfort was matched by overwhelming sweet sensations. He felt Zoro's fingers diving deeper inside him, then all of a sudden pleasure shot through his whole body.

"Ahh!" Sanji cried, arching his back.

Zoro's fingers stopped and he stared at Sanji. "Did I hit a sensitive spot?" Zoro asked him, clearly fascinated.

"Ah…I…think that was…my prostate…I forgot about that," Sanji panted. "But don't hit it too much, I'll…cum…"

He saw Zoro's jaw tighten. Then his fingers took up their work again, diving deep inside Sanji, and only just avoiding his prostate. Sanji's pleasure was building. He was afraid he wouldn't be able to last until Zoro was inside him. Then Zoro added a third finger. Sanji was feeling fairly numb now, so there was only mild discomfort this time, and it was not quite enough to calm him down. Instead, he raised his fist to his mouth and bit down hard on his knuckle, both to mask his cries and draw his mind away from the urge to cum.

Eventually he had to stop. "Zoro…!" he cried, clasping Zoro's face in his hands. "No more…come inside me…please!"

He saw Zoro's expression grew tight, and a moment later, he slowly removed his fingers, added some more lotion to his cock, and slid himself inside Sanji as deep as he would go.

"Aahhh!" Sanji cried, holding desperately onto the back of Zoro's neck. "So deep…" he moaned.

He heard a growl from Zoro, and then the swordsman began to move in him. There was discomfort at first, but Sanji hardly noticed. Zoro was inside him. They were joined together for this moment. Sanji didn't care any more about those ten years. He was so full of love and pleasure, he felt he might faint.

Zoro was not as gentle as he had been the past day and a half. He hardly spoke or made a sound, but drove himself deep inside Sanji like a drowning man, desperate for release. Sanji bore the vague pain from Zoro's huge cock, nearly as desperate himself. He wanted Zoro to cum inside him, wanted it so badly. Ten years was nothing. This feeling would be with him forever.

Zoro grasped Sanji's hips and deepened the angle, pounding into him. Sanji's voice filled the small room, and likely went out even to the ocean. Zoro seemed to want to say something but was unable to speak. So he slammed his lips against Sanji's again, probing his mouth impossibly deeply with his tongue. Sanji was a total slave to Zoro at this moment, and to his own desire.

"Zoro…" he gasped, when finally his lips were free. "Cum…inside me…I want you so badly…"

Finally Zoro managed, "Sanji…"

"I've wanted you for a year…" Sanji panted. "I love you so much…"

Zoro gritted his teeth and slammed into Sanji, changing the angle again, and this time hitting Sanji's prostate hard. Sanji cried out loudly, his whole body tensing as he threw back his head and arched his back. Then cum shot onto his chest. Zoro watched this in amazement and moments later filled up Sanji's belly with cum.

Their nearly simultaneous orgasm lasted for many long seconds. At last, Zoro's muscles relaxed, and he collapsed on top of Sanji. But Sanji didn't mind the weight. Zoro was heavy, but Sanji was so happy to be able to touch him, he couldn't have cared less. Then finally Zoro whispered in his ear, "I love you too."

Sanji's eyes stung, and soon filled with tears. He held onto Zoro tightly to prevent him from looking at his face. Zoro's arms wrapped around him as well, and he nuzzled Sanji's neck sweetly. Sanji had never felt so happy. However, this moment of extreme happiness lasted no more than thirty seconds.

Suddenly, Zoro's whole body went stiff. Slowly, he rose to look down at Sanji. Sanji frowned for a moment, confused by the shock in Zoro's expression. The quietness that had been in Zoro the last day was gone, replaced by his usual dangerous atmosphere. And in that atmosphere, Zoro was looking down at Sanji with wide eyes, as if he'd never seen him before.

Sanji's heart nearly snapped in two, as the shock and pain rolled over him. He looked at his watch. 4:46. The witch had not lied. 24 hours she promised, and that was what she gave, just to the minute. Sanji covered his face in his hands in terrible sadness.

"What…" Zoro murmured. "…am I doing?"

They both realized at the same time that he was still inside Sanji. Zoro at once pulled out and turned away, sitting on the bench and staring at the floor, trying to find reason in what had happened during the past 24 hours. Sanji realized he would have to come clean. He owed that much to Zoro.

"It's…my fault," he whispered.

Zoro rounded on him with a glare, confused but already angry. "What does that mean?"

Sanji did not want pity, but he could not stop the tears that rolled down past his hands. He knew he had to tell the truth, but he couldn't bear to look at Zoro. He remained on his back with hands over his face.

"I made a deal…with a…witch I guess. Or something I don't really know. In that last town we passed," Sanji said. "She gave me a potion."

Zoro thought back. "Yesterday," he muttered. "That sake you gave me."

Sanji's body shook with a silent sob. "She said it would only last 24 hours. She was right, I guess."

Zoro looked violent. "Why would you do that? Is this some kind of prank?"

Coldness frosted over Sanji's heart, and his tears faded. He removed his hands and stared at the ceiling for a moment.

"Yeah…" he said, slowly. "Sorry."

Then Sanji rose, rummaged around his clothes for his smokes, and lit up with a dead expression. "My bad. I thought it would be funny. Didn't think it would actually work." And then Sanji did something cruel. He laughed. "So the great swordsman is a virgin. Or was, before today. Thanks for that, I got to see something interesting."

Zoro's eyes widened and he had an expression that Sanji had only seen when Zoro was determined to kill someone. "You did this as a joke?"

"Yep."

Zoro was silent for a moment, staring at the floor once again. "I'm going to take a shower," he said in a low growl.

He got up and dressed within moments and didn't look back at Sanji as he went quickly down the ladder. Sanji was still for a long few moments, and was able to take several drags of his cigarette. Then, slowly, though he did not want it to, his body crumpled. He slid to the floor, curling into a ball. Only now did he start to feel the pain where he and Zoro had been connected. Now that was all that was left Silent tears dripped down without limit.

Another two days passed. Sanji tried his hardest to pretend like nothing was wrong. He didn't want anyone, especially Zoro, to know what had happened to him. He told himself, over and over, you can't help what's done. Think about the good things. Those 24 hours. You said it at the time, and it's still true that it was worth those ten years, or whatever the price might have been. Just think about that.

One day, Sanji prepared some desert for Nami and went to the stern, where he assumed she would be at this hour. Instead, he found Zoro, leaning against the rail and watching the waves. Sanji's poor heart panged badly. He turned around wordlessly, hoping Zoro hadn't noticed his presence.

"Hey," Zoro said, over his shoulder. "Dumb cook. Come here for a minute."

Sanji breathed in and out, then turned with a foul expression. "Why do I have to get ordered around by you?"

Zoro gave a withering expression. "Just come here."

Sanji sighed through his nose and walked a few paces closer. "What do you want? I have to get this to Nami-san," he indicated the desert he was holding.

Zoro turned to face him fully and folded his arms in thought for a moment. "I've had enough of you avoiding the topic. I want to talk about what happened."

Sanji balked but tried not to show it. He sighed heavily. "I already apologized. No more pranks like that, I promise. It was in bad taste I know but," he shrugged, "what can I say. You annoy the crap out of me."

"Enough. I'm not stupid."

"That's debatable."

"I want to hear from your own mouth why you did that," Zoro barked. "And don't give me this 'prank' crap. You didn't even think of it until I mentioned it, it was obvious."

"You noticing something subtle about human communication, hmm. That potion must still be affecting you."

Zoro's expression grew stormy with rage. "I'm giving you a chance to come clean. If you don't, we'll carry on like this and you'll never hear what I have to tell you."

Sanji blinked, suspicious. "What do you have to tell me?"

Zoro merely kept his arms folded stoically and waited for Sanji to speak while glaring at him.

Sanji wavered, not sure how to handle this. What could Zoro have to tell him? Was it worth ruining their relationship by telling him honestly how he felt? No. Perhaps the risk was too great. "Even…if I did…" Sanji murmured. "What good would it do you? Nothing but to make you uncomfortable, isn't that right?"

Zoro did not answer. He continued to stand there stiffly and stare at Sanji.

Sanji made a noise of exasperation. "It serves no purpose!" he shouted. "There's nothing in it for me if I'm honest about it-"

"How do you know that?"

Sanji blinked. Then coldness passed over his heart again. "I see…you're trying to get me back." Sanji laughed cruelly. "Pretty clumsy attempt, Zoro. I'd never tell you anyway."

Zoro narrowed his eyes. "If you don't tell me now, you won't get another chance. And I won't ever forgive you for what you've done."

"F-…" Sanji murmured, helplessly. "Forgive me?" Suddenly he grew angry. "Why should you forgive me?! I did something inexcusable, and I've already told you I won't do anything to make up for it. Why would you do that?!"

Again, Zoro said nothing.

Sanji's hands began to tremble, and he nearly dropped the desert. "I…can't…" he murmured eventually.

"You have to," Zoro said. "Or you won't get another chance."

Sanji's whole body started to shake. He lowered his gaze. "I…can't…" he said again.

Zoro was silent again, just waiting.

Tears began to drip unbidden from Sanji's cheeks. He pressed the heel of his hand to his eyes. "You bastard…" he whispered. "I did it…because…I love you." He sniffed and wiped his nose on his sleeve. "Is that what you wanted to hear?" he asked angrily.

To his surprise, when he looked up, although Zoro still had his dangerous air, he now looked somewhat perplexed, and had a subtle redness to his cheeks. "Really?" he asked.

Sanji sighed, wiping his eyes. "You think I would go this far for a prank? You said yourself I wouldn't."

Zoro was silent for a moment. Then he said, "Set down that plate."

"What?"

"Set down the plate," Zoro ordered, walking toward him.

Confused, Sanji set the desert down on the ship's rail. That was what he was looking at when Zoro approached him and gently took Sanji's face in his hands. Sanji was utterly taken aback and his knees nearly gave out.

Zoro looked in his eyes searchingly for a few moments. "I don't know what to think about you. Not yet anyway. But…being beside you…felt really good," Zoro muttered. "If it's true that you love me, then don't give up so easily."

Sanji couldn't believe what he was hearing. Without his knowledge, he had started crying again. Zoro sighed with a trace of annoyance and wiped the tears away with his thumbs. "What a pain in the ass you are." Then to Sanji's utter shock, he gently tilted up Sanji's chin, then touched his lips in the lightest of kisses.

Sanji's body was shot full of electricity. However he sensed that it was more than just the kiss. His body suddenly felt lighter and more energized. He hadn't even realized it, but he'd been feeling poorly this whole time. Now he felt great. But he didn't have the ability to worry about that right now. All he could do was sob into Zoro's chest, allowing Zoro to put his arms around him.

"Pain in the ass though you may be," Zoro said, softly. "You're awfully cute."

Sanji laughed through his tears. "That goes for both of us."

That night, Sanji had a dream. It was a short dream, but as with all dreams, time passed at a different rate inside. The whole expanse inside his head was dark. All he could see, apart from his own body, was the fortune-teller's tent. She smiled at him as soon as she saw him.

"Things went well for you. I knew they would."

Sanji chuckled. "Better than I expected, yeah. I have you to thank for that. Ten years was worth it after all."

She grinned at him. "You forgot what I said. True love's kiss returns everything that was wagered." She gestured for him to come closer. "I'll tell you something. That potion is a bet I sometimes make with young one-sided lovers." She chuckled darkly. "If I win, I get to keep the ten years off them. If they win, that is by getting true love's kiss, the deal is forfeit, and the contents of the wager returned to their owner. You've got those years back now."

He couldn't believe it. He murmured, "But in that case, I didn't pay you anything. Even though you helped me so much."

She smiled broadly again. "I don't know about that. When you're an immortal spirit, different things get you through the day. True love is one of my favorite delicacies."

"An immortal spirit, huh?"

She nodded.

Sanji smiled. "You know what? I believe you. And thank you."

"Thank you," she said, kindly. "And treat the big gorilla well."

Sanji laughed. "You bet."