Disclaimer: I do not own the characters that I choose to use in this fan fiction…
This is a one shot that I got an idea for a while ago, but had yet to write it, and now I can! Yes, this may seem a tad OOC, but this I love Zoro and Sanji friendship fluff. This is NOT yaoi, this is strictly friendship/humor fluff.
"SANJI!" an obnoxious voice bellowed throughout the ship "I'm HUNGRY!"
"Yeah, yeah, yeah" the blond cook muttered, a fond smile quirking one side of his mouth as he walked across the deck lawn "I'm going, I'm going."
Grabbing the side railing, the chef prepared to jog up the steps leading to his kitchen, when an unexpected pair of legs stretched out in front, causing him to stumble. Catching himself on the stairs, Sanji turned to cast infuriated, but unsurprised eyes at the green haired swordsman, currently lounging across the lawn enjoying one of his many regular naps. One hand clenched in a fist, the cook slammed one foot down on Zoro's relaxed abdomen, a sadistic grin splitting his face as he relished the pained gasp come from his long time rival. In less time than it takes to blink, Zoro had already unsheathed his sword and attacked the blond, his gleaming blade held back by one equally shiny black leather shoe.
"What is your problem love cook?" Zoro snarled his one good eye narrowed with fury.
"You and your lazy butt is my problem!" Sanji bellowed in reply "Why can't you find a better place to slack off where people won't trip over you, idiot?"
Zoro opened his mouth to shoot back a smart aleck retort, but the mood was ruined by the enormous yawn that stretched his mouth. Shaking his head, the green haired swordsman merely glared at his rival and then removed the katana from where he had been holding it. Placing it back in its sheath, the young man walked away grumbling to himself about stupid love cooks disturbing a perfectly good nap. Sanji shook his head in wonder at the strange thought processes that drove his friend, and then finished his trek up to his personal sanctuary.
Sanji slammed open the door, and yanked open the fridge. His keen eyes taking in every inch of their supplies he calculated just what to make for lunch, and then pulled the ingredients from their chilly storage. With a dexterity only possessed by the truly great chefs, the blond deftly sliced, diced, and prepared the newest culinary masterpiece that he would present for his crew to eat for lunch. On the other side of the room, Robin sat at the large dinner table a book in hand and a half eaten parfait on the table. Looking up from the pages, she smiled in amusement at the cook's obvious frustration.
"Is something wrong Cook-san?" she asked gently.
"Nothing at all Robin-chwan" Sanji practically sang before returning to the food in front of him with a vengeance "I just don't understand how a certain marimo can be such a lazy idiot."
Robin gave a lighthearted chuckle before once again turning back to the book. Flipping to the next page, she murmured absently "That is Swordsman-san's secret, one that is revealed only when the lights are off."
Sanji looked up from the onion he was dicing to give the woman an uncharacteristically serious look. Zoro had a secret? But another bellow from the captain quickly made the blond return to making lunch, and all thoughts of the marimo and his secret were driven from the chef's head.
Later that night Sanji walked out of the kitchen after a long cleaning project with a cigarette hanging from his lips and breathed in a long draw of the fresh ocean air. Stretching his arms high above his head, the blond cracked his back, relieving the tension built up from what had been hours spent bent over counters and the floor as he made sure his sanctuary was left sparkling clean. His eyes traveled along the length of the ship, until it finally rested upon the crow's nest. His eyebrow arched in confusion when he saw the lights still on despite the late hour. The blond knew who had gone to bed already, and he knew that everyone except a certain marimo was already sound asleep. But that wasn't what was confusing. The crow's nest lights were on, and obviously the swordsman was up there judging by the dark shape he just saw move in front of the window, but he wasn't lifting weights. So what was he doing up there?
Sanji's eyes widened as he remembered Robin's words from before lunch "That is Swordsman-san's secret, one that is revealed only when the lights are off."
Sanji couldn't explain it, but suddenly a large and very insistent feeling burst inside his chest. He wanted to know just what it was that Zoro did all night every night that was such a big secret. Dashing forward, the cook climbed up to the crow's nest as quietly, but quickly as he could, until finally he burst through the door only to lay his eyes on the very last thing he ever expected to see.
It was the marimo alright, but he was surrounded by books and…wearing reading glasses!
Zoro's gaze shot up from the pages of his new book, only to gape in shock at the last person he expected to see this time of night. Quickly his eyes dropped to the mess around him, and he felt a blush stir across his face as he realized he was still wearing his glasses.
"S-Sanji!" the swordsman gasped hurriedly standing up and hiding his reading glasses in his back pocket.
"…Hey…" the blond replied weakly.
"I was just..uh…cleaning up the mess…um…that Robin made!" Zoro stuttered as he bent over picking up the various books littered across the floor.
Sanji was stunned. Kneeling down, he bent over and helped pick up books. Large volumes on mathematics, history, geography, and even more than a few fiction novels lay scattered around the area that the marimo had been sitting.
A startled cry made the blond glance up startled from his shocked stupor, only to see his rival clutching even more books from the other side of the room, and trying not to drop one particular novel that was slowly slipping off the top of the pile. Almost in slow motion, the slim volume fell, and Sanji dove forward, catching it just before it hit the floor. Bringing it up to his face, the chef couldn't help but smile at the title.
Finally finding his tongue, the blond chuckled as he placed the book back on its precarious place on top of the pile. "I…uh…" the chef stammered "Never took you for the reading type."
Zoro blushed as he rearranged the books into piles on the other side of the room "I used to love reading." He answered quietly.
"What happened?" Sanji asked, taking a seat on one of the many couches.
"Someone I cared a lot about died." The marimo sighed "and then my entire life became about training, and striving to be the strongest."
The blond grunted in reply, showing he understood the situation. Pursing his lips in thought, he finally asked "So what made you pick up the habit again?"
Zoro found himself gaping in amazement that his normally verbally abusive rival was being so understanding about his odd habit "Well…" he started slowly "Robin accidentally left a book up here when it was her shift to keep watch. I found it later, and decided to take a peek. Next thing I knew I was down in the library devouring any and all books I could find."
Sanji found himself laughing at the image, but not in his usual cruel way "Yeah" he nodded emphatically "I have the same problem when I found an old cookbook I haven't used in a while. Suddenly everything sounds so good, and I want to cook it all at once!"
"Right?" Zoro laughed "My first trip down to the library, I was trying to hide at least twenty books inside my haramaki!"
Both enjoyed a laugh, until Zoro found his smile diminishing into a worried frown. Looking over at the blond, he scratched the back of his head as he grimaced in discomfort.
"Look" he said hesitantly "Don't tell the crew. I mean, Robin knows, and she leaves books for me every once in a while, but I really don't want anyone to know that I am staying up all night reading instead of training."
Sanji gave his rival a soft smile, and then nodded his head signifying that he would indeed keep his silence. "So, have any recommendations?" the blond asked "It looks like you read pretty much everything."
"Uh…" Zoro's gaze shifted from Sanji to the books he had stacked in the corner "Well I like science, and reading biographies from old war generals are more my thing. But there are some good fiction books that are pretty interesting."
The blond couldn't help but smile at the shocking change that had taken place in his rival. One minute the chef couldn't imagine the young man as anything except as a muscle head with no sense of direction, but here he was, listening to said muscle head talk about how he enjoyed advanced science and biographies as light reading. A twinge of guilt pricked at Sanji's heart when he realized that he had cruelly misjudged a man who had laid his life on the line many times for the crew. Yeah, the blond knew that Zoro was tough, their adventure in Thriller Bark proved that, and Sanji had a lot of respect for Zoro for what he had done to protect the crew, and especially Luffy. But he never knew that the guy actually had brains beyond using his swords.
His steady gaze still on the green haired swordsman, the cook watched his friend pull out yet another book from inside his haramaki, and squint his eyes as he started reading. The blond couldn't hold back a chuckle when the young man heaved a reluctant sigh, and once again placed his reading glasses back onto his face, and used one index finger to shove them up the bridge of his nose. The sword master quickly darted a glare at his rival, his look clearly saying that the glasses were part of the secret, and death would surely follow should he ever mention their existence. Sanji raised his hands in mocks surrender, a mischievous smile on his face, before even he picked up a book that seemed interesting.
What felt like minutes, was actually hours as both young men read the entire night away. Neither spoke and no sounds were heard save the soft whisper of pages being turned. Until finally, light was beginning to brighten the horizon, and the soothing calm that had fallen around the two warriors was broken by a routine wake up call.
"SANJI! I'm HUNGRY!"
The blond jolted out of the book that had so completely absorbed him, and turned to see the swordsman lying on his stomach, his glasses slipping down his nose as his eyes devoured what was probably his fourth book that night. Jumping to his feet, the blond cook raced to a window, and then glanced down at his watch. It couldn't possibly be 8:30 in the morning!
"NO WAY!" Sanji screamed as he ran around searching for the shoes he had taken off in order to get more comfortable on the couch.
"What?" Zoro asked, his eyes never leaving the pages in front of him.
"It's 8:30!" Sanji shrieked "In the MORNING!"
"Huh?" The green haired swordsman pulled himself from the captivating tale in order to glance at a clock overhead "Aw crap, I forgot my morning katas!"
Soon both were running around picking up books, and generally freaking out. Eventually the both settled down, and were out on the deck, Zoro swinging his dumbbells around, and Sanji setting up a picnic on the lawn; neither spoke to the other and both acknowledged that no one must know of the night before. Eventually the day passed, and Sanji was in the kitchen cleaning up after dinner. Luffy was goofing off with Chopper and Usopp, while Brook played the piano with Franky playing guitar. The girls sat at the table, Robin reading, while Nami pored over various maps she had made of the new world. The only person missing was Zoro, but that changed soon enough.
The green haired swordsman walked into the mess hall, only nodding his head in response to the ecstatic cry of his captain, and promptly sat down on one of the barstools placed in front of the breakfast bar. Sanji turned around, hiding the smirk that was threatening to split his face, and responded in the way everyone expected him to.
"Oi marimo" Sanji ground out in a 'threatening' tone "What do you think you're doing, can't you see I'm cleaning this counter?"
"What?" Zoro replied with a sneer "You honestly think you can order me around, and tell me where I can and can't sit? First you get picky about where I sleep, and now I can't even sit down without you nagging me."
"I am not responsible for the fact that you are too stupid to pick a proper place to sleep, much less use your head to realize that this is not an ideal place to sit."
"For heaven's sake" Zoro growled "Whatever, I prefer drinking my booze outside anyway."
"Stupid moss head" Sanji snarled.
"Idiot love cook." Zoro replied.
Reaching over to scrub the section of countertop that the swordsman had been leaning against, the blond chef was surprised to see something left on the stool in the spot Zoro had vacated. Making sure no one saw, the young man picked up the volume and read the title.
"1001 Recipes for the Intrepid Food Artiste"
Sanji allowed a small chuckle to slip past his lips as he looked in the direction of the crow's nest. "That sly dog" he murmured.
Slipping the book alongside his other favorite cook books, the blond chef found himself humming happily. Yeah, Zoro was a pain, and more often than not he couldn't understand the guy to save his life. But they had somehow come to an understanding last night, and in those hours of reading, they had crossed the line from rivals to friends. Taking another quick glance towards the crow's nest, and another at the clock, Sanji considered whether or not he should go back up tonight, after all, he still had that book he was reading, and he really wanted to know the ending.
Heaving an amused sigh, Sanji shook his head at the current situation he now found himself in. Looks like they both had a secret now.
Thank you for reading! I know it is short, but I hope you liked it! Yes, it is purely friendship, and I prefer things that way thank you very much. 1001 Nights is my absolute favorite book, and I had to put it in here. No matter what version you read, the story of Shaharazad is a fantastic tale. My favorite version of it though is "The Storyteller's Daughter" and I highly recommend it to anyone who, like me, loves a good book.
This story is dedicated to my mother who taught me how to read at a very young age, and by fourth grade I was reading classics like Don Quixote, A Tale of Two Cities, and Moby Dick. I love reading, and the love of books is never generalized to any one specific group. Anyone can love to read, it just depends on your genre.