Early birthday gift for Narcissistic Ninny. Enjoy getting that much closer to senility.


The look the bartender was wearing suggested she had dealt with too many guys hitting on her to pay any real attention to his affections towards her. The bartender was an older woman with dark curly hair, a trim figure, with an expression that told him to knock it off before she made him. He didn't let it bother him and complimented her on her beautiful green eyes. Sanji looked directly into her eyes when he paid her the compliment, never once did his eyes wander lower to the generous view of her cleavage. He knew women appreciated it when men didn't drool over their tits. Not that it mattered; she wasn't impressed either way. She huffed under her breath and walked off without answering his question when he asked what her name was.

He didn't get too depressed; he knew he was a nuisance to women when he acted the way he did. She came back to hand him his glass of pale ale, moving to distance herself from him like he was a leper and walked over to the other men at the end of the bar. There were two middle-aged men, drinking and talking quietly over their beers. Some seats away was a man, around his age, broad shouldered with oddly colored hair - it was fucking green.

Sanji sighed, taking out a cigarette. It was going to be a long night, and he dreaded the idea that his visit to the island would leave him horny and all alone when he finally made it to a hotel room. Well, if he settled for a woman, he would be alone and horny, seeing as how women hated him. Sanji looked over at the green haired guy again. He had been sitting there before Sanji showed up, and the bartender seemed hospitable to him, even if he paid her no mind, and was drinking like a man wanting to forget something, taking down bottle after bottle of hard liquor, looking sombre. Sanji stared at him, drawing up on his features; square jaw and dark eyes, large frame hidden under a white long sleeved shirt, much like the one Sanji was wearing.

Sanji found himself staring longer than he dared when he was completely sober. He had never admitted to anyone that he was gay. He had never even been with a man when he wasn't fantastically drunk. Sanji wasn't completely sure, but guessed it was the same case with the guy at the bar. Either that, or he was having a truly shitty day and his earrings were misfortunately and misleadingly placed.

While he was checking him out the other man looked up, staring directly into his eyes. Sanji then realized something about him, and the shock was almost enough to make him drop his cigarette. He turned his head quickly and looked ahead, back rigid and tense, visible blue eye wide and panic-stricken.

Holy shit.

Sanji sat there, not knowing how he hadn't been able to recognize him sooner. It was the pirate hunter known as a demon.

He relaxed, coming to his senses. Because Luffy was a pirate didn't mean the guy was after him. He wasn't going to attack Sanji either, he didn't even know who he was. Sanji didn't have a wanted poster yet, so the odds were in his favor. As far as that guy knew, he was just a regular guy looking to get laid before getting some liquid courage. So he sat there, still and stiff. He slowly brought his cigarette to his lips, taking a careful drag. He almost jumped when he saw the guy get up and head towards him. Sanji considered dashing for the door when the guy sat down right next to Sanji.

"You've been staring at me this entire time."

His voice was deep and gravely, no hint of emotion in his voice. His grumpy monotone was almost laughable; if Sanji weren't in the awkward position he was in. "Yeah, well, you've been drinking heavily. I was worried you were going to get violent. It doesn't help that you have three fucking swords."

The guy's expression didn't change. Sanji stayed silent, he didn't want to freak out just yet, even if the way the guy carried himself suggested he knew how to use those swords, and well. It wasn't a cocky sort of walk, not like the men who walked around with a puffed chest like a rooster on steroids, but with good posture like that of a marine, only, Sanji knew he wasn't.

"I noticed that, but a minute ago you looked at me like I was the grim reaper."

Sanji flicked the end of his cigarette on the ashtray, excess ash falling in a small grey heap. With calm steady hands he brought the cigarette to his lips again. "I just recognized you from the papers. You're that pirate hunter, right? They call you a demon," he said. He didn't want to upset the guy. At least, not before he knew how drunk he was, if he was even drunk. He had walked to him without swaying from side to side, or using something to balance him. And his speech wasn't slurred. Either he was an excellent actor or his alcohol tolerance was what was truly demonic about him.

The pirate hunter smirked. He called over the waitress and asked for another drink. "Don't believe everything the papers say."

When his drink came, Sanji lit another cigarette after crushing the butt in the tray. Zoro didn't ask him any more questions, so Sanji felt himself relaxing. After some silence, he felt he saw his eyes roam over his body, like he was searching for a weak spot, but that might have been Sanji's fear induced imagination. When their eyes met, the man held his gaze; then slowly looked away. "What are you doing here anyways?" he asked.


"You're not from around here."

Sanji took a drag from his cigarette. "What are you doing here?"

"I just ended up here."

"Okay." Sanji nodded. He didn't think he was lying; maybe he wasn't tracking down Luffy after all. "Well, my crew needed supplies. We're stopping here for a couple of days." When Zoro looked at him to elaborate, he added, "We're a travelling restaurant," he answered quickly. Not pirates, he wanted to add, but thought it was too suspicious.

Apparently satisfied with the answer, he nodded. "What's your name? Since you already know mine. I'm assuming you know mine."

"Roronoa Zoro, right?"

"Call me Zoro."

"I'm Sanji."

There was no way he could link him to the Straw Hats. The whole world didn't know how he was, so he was safe. If anything, he could always kick the guy's ass, he was sure of it. Just because he was a goddamn hunter didn't mean Sanji couldn't hold his own. He had heard stories of the guy, he was certainly famous around the Baratie, but Zeff had beaten him enough where he could take a few hits.

"Want another drink?" Zoro asked, jerking his head towards Sanji near empty glass, foam clinging to the sides of the glass and slowly trailing down where his beer was settled.

Sanji still doesn't know if the guy was trying to get him drunk and cause him some sort of damage later, so he refused. He wasn't going to get a drink from him until he figured it out. Zoro shrugged. "Suit yourself." He ordered more drinks for himself and drank in silence, leaving the talking to Sanji. After he had downed his seventh glass, he looked at Sanji. "So Sanji, do you like the sea?"

"I love it."

"Want to go to the beach with me?" he asked.

Sanji almost laughed at the request, but it would have killed the mood, now that he realized he was interested, and Sanji had gone too long without sex to kill the mood. And there was enough alcohol in his system to make it ok in his book. Sanji dug into his pocket and paid for his drinks. "Sure, let's get out of here."


The moon was out, giving the forest they were walking in a pale glow. Zoro walked ahead of him, crunching leaves and breaking twigs underneath the heavy step of his boots. Occasionally he would stop to look side to side and sigh before randomly heading in one direction. He walked on, then closed his eyes, face looking focused, like he was waiting for some divine intervention to give him directions.

Sanji laughed. "Are you lost?"

"Not lost," he grunted, walking past Sanji, sauntering between two trees. His hand rested on one of the trunks, and he squinted his eyes. "It's around here somewhere."

"You sure?"

"Of course I'm sure."


He turned and stared at Sanji, and it was that blank expression that had Sanji thinking either he was actually drunk or he was about as expressive as someone in a coma. Zoro pushed off the thick trunk and stepped closer to Sanji until he was inches away. "Close your eyes."

"What? Why?" he asked, rightfully nervous.

"Close them." He didn't give Sanji an answer, and he hesitated for a moment, but he sighed and he did close them. Everything became black behind his closed eyelids, and he stood there, arms limp at his side, waiting for instructions. "What do you hear?" Zoro asked.


"Besides my voice, smart ass."

Sanji fought the urge to smirk, then focused, taking in a deep breath, trying to listen in. He heard…"I hear shitty insects. Twigs breaking. Annoying fucking birds."

"Good. What else?" he urged him.

"The wind, it's blowing leaves off branches, and across the dirt."


Sanji focused harder, straining himself to listen in to whatever it was he was supposed to catch. Then there was something else he heard. He grinned when he figured out what the sound was. "I hear tides coming. I-it's the ocean. The beach is close."

He opened his eyes then, finding Zoro smiling at him. "Good, lead the way."

They made it to the beach with Sanji leading the way. The beach wasn't too far away from where they were in the middle of the forest. The trees opened up to reveal dark sand and an even darker ocean – to the point neither of them could tell where the ocean ended and the sky began. Waves were coming in, loud and powerful. Above the water, the moon was surrounded by millions of small twinkling stars, reflecting on the rippling waters. To the left, there were high levels of rock formations, tall rocky cliffs towering above the forest and the sand, high above the waters. The tides crashed against the side, whitecaps roaring when they hit.

Sanji stood there, grinning and smiling at the waves coming in. He bent at the knee and untied his shoes. He took them off, along with his socks, rolled his pants up and headed to the water. He stood there for a moment, laughing when the water touched his feet, the tide lapping against his toes, washing against his ankles before being dragged away, back to the dark pit ahead where the ocean was. Then he went in until he was knee deep in the ocean, the smell of salt much stronger where he was.

When he turned around, he saw Zoro standing there in the sand, watching him and he saw the familiarity in that look. Sanji felt nervous all of a sudden, and almost beckoned him to join but thought better of it. He headed towards him; surf crashing against the back of his legs as he walked unsteadily towards him, feet feeling frozen as soon as he was out of the water, grains of sand clinging to his legs and feet. When he was in front of Zoro, he knew all too well the feeling that came with that look. He felt he had had enough to drink to be able to do what he was about to do, and he raised himself on his toes the inch that it took to reach Zoro's lips and kissed him.

The kiss broke when Zoro pulled back, his right hand moving to the swords on his hip. Sanji froze for a moment. Was he going to hurt him?

Maybe he wasn't into men at all. Maybe he was one of those assholes that led gay guys into the middle of nowhere to beat the shit out of them simply for being a fag. It wasn't too much of an uncommon thing to happen, Sanji just hated to think of himself as that idiot that fell for men like him. He hated to think this guy was just like the other assholes Sanji had met.

Zoro eyed him, must have it read his eyes because he smiled smugly like it amused him, then unhooked the swords from his hip quickly, setting them on the ground. Sanji let out a sigh of relief. Zoro reached for his hips, pulling him into another kiss. They broke the kiss, and Zoro looked beyond Sanji's shoulder. "Let's go up there."

Turning, he saw Zoro meant the cliffs above the water. "What? Why?

Zoro shrugged. He didn't say anything as he took off his boots, setting them next to his swords and Sanji's shoes. When their eyes met, there was a challenge in Zoro's eyes. "Come on."

The jagged rocks hurt under Sanji's feet, he felt like it was going to pierce his skin, make him bleed. He almost wanted to turn around and get his shoes, but he saw Zoro continue the path, stepping over outcrops without flinching once. It was that bastard moving further ahead of him that filled Sanji with a sense that he needed to go all the way too.

He couldn't let Zoro think he was a sissy, so he sucked it up and walked on the sharp rocks. They had to climb the side of the cliff once there wasn't a path. The rocks were slippery, and the dry parts hurt Sanji's palm and feet. He looked for the wet rocks even if it meant he might slip. When they finished climbing the side, they found another path, and walked on more uneven rocks.

By the time they got to the top, Sanji's feet were so numb and cold he couldn't tell if they were bleeding or not. Zoro walked all the way to the very edge, and he looked down and smiled. Sanji met him by his side. Their toes hanged bare over the cliff, looking down at the water hitting the side, whitecaps erupting on impact. The wind made Zoro's earrings chime together, and Sanji's hair was getting blown across his face, covering both his eyes. The air was wet and cold, and their lack of shoes didn't help Sanji.

The time he had been stranded with the old man came to mind, and he wondered why that feeling of solitude came to him. He hated that he couldn't be on top of a fucking rock surrounded by the ocean without that depressing memory flashing before his eyes. "It's a nice sight," Sanji said, trying to get his mind off of things.

Zoro's arms suddenly went around his waist, kissing his neck. He didn't know when Zoro went behind him, but didn't care. He turned around in his arms and kissed his lips. Zoro kissed with enough force that he pushed into his body, making Sanji cautiously take a step back. His eyes flew open when his heels were touching nothing but air, only his toes on the rocks of the cliff and Zoro's arms around him kept him from falling off.

Sanji shoved him slightly. "Move." Zoro's arms around him became tighter. He kissed him slowly, ignoring Sanji. He shoved him harder, but the man didn't budge, only broke the kiss, black eyes staring at him. "Zoro, I'm on the edge."

Zoro didn't answer, didn't move back. Didn't stop staring.

Then a terrible idea filled his mind. Zoro was going to push him over the cliff. He was going to get thrown off. Zoro broke into a grin then, and Sanji wanted to kill himself for being so stupid. This man killed people for a living, why in fresh hell did he trust him? He broke eye contact. He needed to think. He needed to get out of this situation, and fast.

"What are you afraid of?" Zoro asked.

Sanji's eyes flew to his face, before he had been looking down, trying to think that maybe he could swim against the tides. There was a chance he could survive. He was a good swimmer; at least good enough that he had a chance of surviving. Even if he managed to get out of Zoro's grip by swooping his heel to Zoro's ankle, he still had to out run him, on a fucking slippery, sharp fucking cliff. But there were too many too many variables that could leave him dead, since the asshole had his arms around him.

"I'm at the edge here! Fucking move back!"

"Are you afraid of heights?"

"No! But I don't want to fall off, you fucking psycho!" he yelled, trying to push Zoro, but the fucking guy wouldn't budge, even if he was pushing him with all his strength.

"Then what are you afraid of?"


The smile Zoro broke into made Sanji's stomach drop.

Sanji was right. Zoro did plan on chucking him over the cliff. What he didn't expect was for Zoro to step closer, push all his weight forward and fall off with him.

They were falling, heading straight for the water. Sanji was too busy cussing him out to hear Zoro telling him to hold onto to him no matter what and to take a big swallow of air before they fell in.

When they hit the water, the ice-cold water hit Sanji like a shock wave. His mind went numb for a second. His heart felt like it was being stabbed and his lungs were being compressed, his chest tight. Not only that, but the tides were making them go under, trapping them in violent currents that sent them deeper and deeper into the dark pit of the water. Zoro's thick arms were still around him, holding him steady, then one of Zoro's arms slipped around him, holding his middle while he kicked his legs to get to the surface, his free arm above him cutting into the water, making a path for them.

The tides made it hard, but Zoro didn't quit until they broke the surface, and Zoro swam them to shore, Sanji clinging to him like a frightened cat, immobile from the shock and the cold. When they were on the sand, Sanji coughed, his entire body shaking violently with coughing fits, body in spasms as he panted on all fours. His damp hair clung to his face and his clothes felt much too heavy, weighing him down and clinging to him uncomfortably.

Next to him, Zoro was sitting on the sand, laughing in a rich baritone, annoying Sanji. He was fucking laughing while Sanji was fighting for air. He rolled onto his back, exhausted and spent. The tides had washed them diagonally, the cliffs now to his right. Zoro loomed over him, smiling. Sanji would have been beating the shit out of him but he was too tired for that shit.

"I haven't had that much fun in fucking years!" Zoro laughed, his entire body shaking from excitement.

"Fun? You almost fucking killed me!" Sanji yelled, chest still heaving, lungs craving more air.

"No you wouldn't have," Zoro said in that same calm monotone when he had asked Sanji if he was scared to fall off. It was starting to piss him off. "You were in good hands."

"Asshole, the waves could have drowned us."

Zoro leaned down, grabbing a single strand of hair from his face, and pushed it behind Sanji's ear. He continued to do so, grabbing thin strands of blond hair, moving it out of his face. "I grew up in a small village in East Blue. I spent almost all my life there. The place was surrounded by forest; there wasn't a town for miles. There was a creek nearby, about ankle deep. It was the only body of water around. You had to travel fifty miles to see a river about waist deep. I didn't see the ocean until I was sixteen. Before then, the water scared me, I was afraid of drowning," Zoro said.

When he moved all the strands of hair form Sanji's face, he grabbed the back of his neck in a firm grip, bringing their faces close enough that their noses smashed. "So, when I left my village, I would throw myself off cliffs like I just did with you, because I knew I had to throw myself in there to face my fear. I did that until I got over my fear of drowning. So believe me when I say, I wouldn't let you drown."

"You're crazy," Sanji whispered, brows furrowed in concern.

"Maybe," he said slowly, almost as if he considered the idea. "I don't really care."

The whole thing was fucking ridiculous. Sanji had been freaking the fuck out when he first met him; he had been scared the guy was going to kill him. Then, he decided to take a risk and kiss him, and when Zoro had placed his hands on his swords, Sanji thought he was going to slice his balls off. After the next kiss they shared, Zoro threw them both off a cliff. It was the most fucked up kind of first date he had ever been on, considering he had almost died after each time he kissed the fucking weirdo. And he didn't even apologize for it either. His shoulders shook, and Zoro looked concerned. Then Sanji laughed, and Zoro's face took on a confused expression, as if Sanji was the crazy one, not him.

"You're an idiot!" Sanji said hysterically. He pulled Zoro in close to knock their foreheads together. "You're the biggest idiot I've ever met, the craziest too."

They looked at each other, and Sanji thought Zoro was going to kiss him, but Zoro didn't. Zoro broke into laughter as well. "Let's get out of here." He stood up and grabbed Sanji, yanking him to his feet as if he weighed nothing. "We gotta find our stuff."

Sanji wasn't too disappointed. He didn't want to kiss him again if it meant another near death experience. Zoro led the way again, and it took an hour to find their shoes again. After another hour of letting Zoro trying to lead them back to town, Sanji sighed, tugging on his shirt. "You're getting us lost, idiot."

"Fine. Lead the way then," he said, looking back at Sanji, who was clinging to the back of his shirt, having walked behind him the entire time. His shoulders were hunched and he was shaking like a leaf from the cold.

Sanji shook his head. "No. You block the wind."

Zoro let out a chuckle, his breath forming wisps of white clouds in front of him. He looked around, and saw no twinkling light that would have guided him towards the town where he had planned on finding the inn. "Wanna stay here for the night? I can build a fire."

While the fire was being made, Sanji brought his knees to his chest, wrapping his arms around himself, shivering. It didn't take long to make it, and Sanji was glad his fire making skills were better than his navigational ones. He sat in front of the fire, sparks flying, and thankfully the wind blew the smoke away from him. Zoro lay on his back next to him, looking at the stars.

"You ruined my cigarettes."

Zoro smirked. "Sorry."

"You don't look sorry."

"That's because I'm not curly brow." He turned his head to the side, looking at him. "I'll buy you some cigarettes when we're in town tomorrow." A look came across his features. "You said you have a few days, right?"

Sanji nodded. Zoro nodded as well, apparently happy with his answer, and looked at the stars again.


Zoro sat up, eyeing him like he was crazy. "What?"

"Spiders. I'm afraid of spiders." When Zoro didn't say anything, he looked into his eyes. "You asked me before what my fear was."

He waited for an answer, maybe even laughter, but Zoro didn't laugh, just stared at him. The he said, "What a wuss."

Sanji extended his leg to kick him. "Shut it, asshole."

"I was expecting you to confess you're scared of being gay when you're sober." Sanji didn't say anything to that. "Are you warm now?" Zoro asked after some tense silence.

"Getting there."

"Come here."

"Don't order me around asshole." Sanji said, looking down, ears starting to get red. Sanji sat there, unmoving when Zoro went to him and kissed him. There wasn't any alcohol in his system anymore, but he didn't turn away from the kiss, didn't feel that fear and disgust sting him, his palms didn't sweat and he didn't push Zoro away. He gently kissed him back and pulled him closer.

They fell onto the dirt. When they hit release, they both groaned and their strangled breaths were subdued by the sound of the fire crackling. Tired and spent from a really eventful evening, they slept in front of the fire.


As promised, Zoro bought him a pack of cigarettes, and another one –probably an apology pack- and Sanji took them gratefully, lighting one after he opened the pack. They walked through the streets in silence, then Sanji threw the cigarette on the ground, crushing it under his shoe. "What are the plans for today?"

"Let's explore the town. Then we can get dinner. After that we can go out to a bar, then we'll find a hotel room and we can slip it into each other."

Sanji fought the urge to tell him not to say such things out loud, in public, where people could hear them. When no one threw them a look, he felt confident again, felt ok since Zoro had the balls to say such vulgar things out loud. "Sounds good to me."

"I knew you would like the idea."

"What about the day after?"

"I never plan that far ahead. It's pointless to do so."

"Let's go this way, I thought I saw a book store." Sanji turned and looked over his shoulder. "You can read, can't you?"

"I can read better than you can charm the bartender from last night."

"What did you say asshole?"

"I didn't say anything. Are you hearing things?"

"Keep it up moss ball and I'll donate you to the botanical garden we just walked past."

Zoro threw him the fakest smile he had ever seen and flicked him off. Sanji grinned and dragged him to the bookstore. It was an adult bookstore, but it counted.


After Sanji had flipped through dirty books and magazines, occasionally showing Zoro positions he wanted to try, Zoro shrugged and looked bored. How he managed to look bored in such a place, Sanji couldn't begin to understand. They left and Zoro somehow lead them to the countryside of the island, where there tall grass on either side of the gravel dirt road, cattle ignoring them as they walked by.

Sanji was busy kicking some pebbles as he walked. Zoro walked, a strange look on his face as they walked past some farmhouses, a few children playing in the fields, their laughter the only noise around them. Sanji lit a cigarette and asked Zoro a question that had been bothering him since the night before.

Zoro looked at Sanji. He had said something, but he hadn't caught it the first time around. "What?"

"What are you afraid of?"

Zoro frowned. "I'm not afraid of anything."

"Everyone's afraid of something," Sanji said, shrugging. "I already told you my fear."

Zoro seemed to think about it, then he looked down at his boots, then took off walking down the road again. Sanji followed him, and they walked until they reached a wheat field, the fields almost the same shade as Sanji's blond hair. Zoro stared at his face, and Sanji pushed Zoro's shoulder, smirking and trying to get a reaction out of him, to try to get him and stop staring like a creep, but Zoro grinned and tackled him.

They rolled in the fields, and Sanji should have been angry, but he wasn't. When they stopped wrestling, he lay on his back. He could feel the cracks of the earth beneath him, and his back went rigid from lying on the hard ground, the fuzz of the wheat he was haloed in tickled his ears. Zoro was leaning over him, just like he had done the night before at the beach. All he could see was sheets of gold around him, Zoro's face and the crystal blue sky behind his head.

He looked at Sanji's face, but he wasn't meeting his eyes. Zoro leaned in, whispering as if they were hiding from someone. "Before I found that village I told you about, I had lived in a farm, much like the ones we just walked past. One by one, I watched my family die from illness. First my father died, then my younger brother, then my mother. I left the village and I travelled alone." His pause made Sanji swallow the lump in his throat. "Then I made a friend. She was my best friend." He paused, then hurriedly he said; "She died."

Zoro met Sanji's eyes then. "For a long time I thought I was cursed. I thought death followed me wherever I went. So, I guess, a part of me is scared to be alone, scared that the ones I love will die and leave me alone again."

Sanji stayed silent, letting it sink in. Giving a moments silence, making sure Zoro was done talking before he spoke. "I'm sorry about your family, and your friend."

"I got over it."

"You don't have to act like a tough guy."

"You don't have to act like you know me."

"I'm trying to be nice," Sanji said, losing his patience with him.

"Who said you had to be nice to me?"

Sanji pushed him away, shoving Zoro off of him. He jumped to his feet like the ground was on fire and walked off, not caring if he was followed by Zoro or not. "Well fuck you very much," he snarled.

He continued to walk down the gravel road, even when he heard Zoro calling after him. He only stopped when he felt a hand on his forearm, keeping him there. He stood there, breathing through his nostrils, ready to turn and kick the asshole if needed. Zoro sighed, then silently said, "I'm not good at this."

"Fuck you." Sanji turned around, letting his temper get the best of him. "That's the shittiest excuse ever for acting like an asshole."

Zoro looked like he had expected his confession to go better than it did. As if Sanji would forgive him then and there for being a mannerless ape. "I'm not an asshole, ok? I just don't want your pity. I don't usually open up to people, and I didn't want you looking at me that way, like I'm weak."

"Are you so emotionally stunted you can't talk about the past?" Sanji asked. "Seriously. We all have our shit to deal with, don't take it out on me."

"I don't talk about myself because I'm shy," he said, looking ticked. "And I don't feel like burdening people with my problems."

"I offered to listen, you didn't have to be an asshole. Just because you're too afraid to cry or some shit, whatever the fuck your problem is," Sanji scoffed. "Just say what's on your mind, it's not that fucking hard."

Zoro's looked like he was really getting pissed. "That's rich coming from you. I'm not the one that's too afraid to admit being gay. At least I know who I am and I don't have to drink until I'm buzzed to be able to go out with a dude."

"Coming from the guy who was drinking way more than me."

"I like to drink, and I didn't have to be buzzed to ask you out or kiss you, did I?"

Sanji's entire body was shaking from anger. "Well fuck you! I'm not like you. I have a problem with it. Yeah, I may be a closet case, but don't walk around thinking you're better than me just because you're comfortable telling people you fuck around with guys. I'm not. I hate being gay sometimes because some assholes think I rape little church boys and knit dresses in my spare time. They think less of me, like it makes me less of a man. So fuck you, and fuck them."

"You don't have to be afraid of those assholes." Zoro said.

"But I am! Ok?" Sanji snapped. As soon as the words left his lips, he shut his mouth. His jaw went tight from the effort, and for the God knows what time since he met Zoro, he fought the urge to run away. It was a childish instinct, but he hated just how much of himself he had revealed to him since he had met him. He was acting retarded.

Zoro sighed, looking away from him to stare at the sky, running a hair through his hair, looking like he was searching for something to say. He looked at Sanji after some time. "I've told others about my friend dying, but you're the first person I've told about my family," he said. "I never even told her. Back when I first showed up in her village, I had told her I couldn't remember my family."

Sanji's expression fell, his anger leaving him. Zoro leaned in, kissing him softly. When Zoro pulled back; Zoro was looking at Sanji's lips, not his eyes. For all his bravado, he was fiercely introverted and slightly on the timid side, just like he said a few minutes ago. The realization would have been cuter minutes ago, before their fight.

"You're like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hide," Sanji chuckled.

"So are you."

They tumbled back into the fields again.


For dinner they had noodles and beef at a restaurant hidden in the corner of town. Candles and small dimmed lights hanging from the ceiling lighted up the place. It looked old, at least, older than they were, and the seats looked like it had seen better times, but the food was good, despite the shitty look of the place. The waitresses didn't appreciate Sanji's flirting, neither did their father, who was the owner apparently, so Sanji had to shut up real quick, not missing the crude smirk on Zoro's face at his failings.

They were seated at the very end of the restaurant, facing each other as they ate. Zoro wasn't much for conversation, so Sanji settled for occasionally insulting him. Zoro only half-heartedly threatened to throw him over a cliff from when Sanji got too irritating. Sanji went quiet again and was slurping on his noodles when Zoro added hot sauce to his meal, then passed the bottle to Sanji without asking.

"No thanks."

"What? Can't handle spicy food?"

"Shut the fuck up."

"I will after you quit being a little girl."

Sanji frowned, taking the hot sauce and adding more to his food than Zoro did. Zoro would have none of it, and added more to his as well, taking an angry bite of his food, aggressively chewing on his meal. Sanji would have laughed if he weren't doing the exact same thing.

They added more until their food was drowned in red and they couldn't tell what they were eating anymore. It looked like a terrible battle had happened, and Sanji had seen Chopper repair damages to people's hurt bodies with less red than he was witnessing on his plate. They ate, despite the fact that their tongues and mouths were burning. Zoro refused to take a gulp of water and so did Sanji.

When they left the restaurant, they both complained that their stomachs were on fire, holding onto their bellies like pregnant women. They threw up in an alley after reaching a stalemate, and they both drank water like men who had emerged from the desert after weeks. Sanji couldn't believe how stupid he acted when he was around him.


Zoro knew more drinks than Sanji did, so Sanji let him order for him when they arrived the bar. The bartender was a male, so Sanji didn't flirt with him, even if he was attractive. The bartender handed them their drinks with a big smile, like he loved watching people getting hammered. Sanji took a sip from his glass of some mixed drink; he honestly didn't even know what Zoro had ordered him for him. He scrunched his face after he swallowed. "This is strong," he gasped.

"What? Usually those are pretty light drinks."

Sanji slid the glass across the table for Zoro to have a try. "Taste it, it's really strong." Zoro grabbed the glass then took a drink. He cocked an eyebrow, then took another swallow. He looked at Sanji, biting his lip to contain himself as he slid it across back to him. Sanji frowned. "You don't taste the alcohol, do you?"

Zoro let his lip go, breaking into a grin. "That's some good tasting water you have there."

"Unbelievable. You alcoholic."

Zoro shrugged. "If you can't handle it, order something else, I'll finish it for you."

He expected Zoro to tease him, but he didn't. He finished his drink for him as promised, as well as ten more for himself while Sanji sipped on some water while he smoked half a pack. Zoro was surprisingly merciful when it came to Sanji's 'weak' tolerance.


In the hotel room, Sanji drew a pattern on Zoro's bare stomach, resting his chin on his hip. The only light was a candle by the window, playing shadows on their skin, flickering and threatening to be extinguished by the crack left open by the window. They were both damp with sweat, both starting to get cold now that their bodies were cooling down.

Zoro was looking sleepy, a content grin on his face, but he stayed awake as Sanji talked to him about Zeff and what he did for him. He wasn't sure if Zoro was going along and listening to him due to an after effect of his orgasm, or because of the all the alcohol he had drank. Sanji continued to draw designs on his defined stomach either way. "That night, the storm was ugly. I was thrown overboard, and the old man saved me. He jumped in the water after me and saved me from drowning. We were the only survivors that night."

Zoro nodded, the only sign that he was even listening. "We survived, but we were stranded on this fucking rock, it was in the middle of the goddamn ocean, and we were stranded for months. I still hated him even though he saved me and went to the other end of the stupid rock. Everyday I would sit and wait, trying to see if I could spot anyone that might come looking for us. While I waited, I ran out of food, and I couldn't sleep, I couldn't think, I was starving, and I knew it. Starving was the worst experience of my life," he whispered. "When I thought I was going to die, I thought I should check on the old man. I found him missing a limb. His fucking leg was gone."

"What happened?"

"He had fucking cut off his own leg, he had been living off his own flesh for months."


Sanji stopped drawing on his stomach, dropping his head on Zoro's abdominals, face titled at an uncomfortable angle to be able to look at Zoro's eyes. "He saved my life, and I never thanked him for it until the day I left with my crew. I cried like a pussy that day," Sanji smiled.

"The day you left with your pirate crew."

Sanji froze. "Yeah," he said. "With my pirate crew."

Zoro laughed. "Like it was hard to figure out. You avoided talking about who you were here with, and once you recognized me, well, that gave you away really. No one looks at me that way unless they're a pirate."

Sanji sat up on his elbows, inching higher on the bed to be able to look down at Zoro, lying on top of him. "You're not mad? I mean, you're not going to try and turn me in for cash?"

A faint smile played on Zoro's lips, and his hand went to Sanji's hair, fingers roughly pushing his bangs aside to show the entirety of his face. "As far as I know, you're not a pirate. There's no bounty on you, so I have no reason to hurt you at all. Why would I be mad?"


"Are you afraid of me?"

"Of course not," Sanji snorted.

"Good. You shouldn't be."

Sanji lazily traced a pattern on his chest this time, right over his heart, feeling the slight thump of his heartbeat under his fingertip, felt the oddly smooth skin of Zoro's scar running over his chest. At the bar, Sanji had mentioned All Blue, and was surprised that Zoro told him his story about his friend and his desire to be the best swordsman, even told him about his battle with Mihawk. Sanji knew what was happening, knew that it would end with Sanji actually missing the man, though he hated to admit it.

"Look for me one day."

Zoro raised his eyebrow, giving him an odd look. "Why?"

"Why not?" Sanji asked. "You hunt pirates anyways, right?"

Zoro stayed silent for a moment before he chuckled. "Sure. Once you get a bounty."

"Oh I'll get a bounty. I'll have a huge bounty, and a badass poster too."

"It's going to take one skilled photographer to manage to get your effeminate ass to look badass."

"It'll be badass, you know why?" He leaned in, closing the gap between them, gritting his teeth. "Because I can kick any marine's ass."

"Oh, I believe you. After all, my friend was a girl and she could kick my ass, along with any chump who challenged her."

"I don't like what you're implying."

Zoro smiled. "Go to sleep."

Sanji laid his head on Zoro's shoulder, both lying there, knowing the other wasn't asleep, but kept quiet anyways. Or tired to. "You never even apologized, you know?"

"What the fuck did I do?"

"You almost drowned me."

"Oh," he said. "Right. Sorry."

"Fuck your fake apology."

"Whatever. Get off me, I can't sleep with you nagging in my ear."

Sanji bit him. The only reaction he got out of him was a rough yank on his hair. Sanji fell asleep minutes later, Zoro's fingers still running through his hair.


There was a bang on the door to their room, followed by a round of frantic knocking. Someone was desperate to get their attention. Zoro sat up in bed, beadily blinking before barking back a rude, "What?"

"There are pirates on the island!" a voice yelled behind the door. Sanji recognized the voice of the wife of the innkeeper, sounding frightened and worried to the point of becoming a shrill voice no one wanted to hear at such an ungodly hour. "You're a pirate hunter! Do something!"

They shared a look, and Sanji wanted to yell. His plans for spending his third day on the island with Zoro were ruined, all because of the skittish locals. Honestly, it wasn't like anyone in the crew was a violent psychopath or a rabid arsonist. Unless Chopper had a really fucked up secret.

"Some of them are headed to the docks now!" the woman continued to yell. "If you hurry you can catch them!"

At her words, they both looked to the right, where the window was located. "What floor are we on?" Zoro asked above the continuous banging on the door, pleads from the woman to save the island from the terrible pirates plaguing the peaceful island like cockroaches at a picnic, giving them both a headache.

"The seventh."

"I can land that just fine. What about you wonder brow?"

"Shut your goddamn whore mouth. It's too early for your shit."

They got dressed hurriedly, yanking the clothes off the floor, pulling on their pants on in a frenzied daze, both still not fully awake. Sanji thought he might have accidently gotten Zoro's shirt, looking down at the white shirt he had on that had somehow gotten looser, hanging off his shoulders like a blanket. Yeah, they definitely got the wrong shirt, Zoro looked like he was going to rip his shirt in pieces, the cut for the sleeves digging into his armpits, his shoulders being much broader than Sanji's. They both looked at each other, but both knew they couldn't waste time in exchanging shirts.

They ran to the window and jumped out, both landing perfectly below, startling the early risers with their sudden landing. They spared only a moment to catch their breath before they ran towards the dock. Sanji didn't know why Zoro was following him; maybe he just wanted to look like he was doing his job as a pirate hunter instead of fucking around.

They ran the entire way to the docks, passing many confused locals, some angry vendors and curious children who had gathered to watch them run. Sanji saw the Going Merry, and sure enough, the crew was all on board. When they spotted him they worriedly yelled at him to hurry and get on board before the entire town chased them away. Sanji skidded to a stop in the middle of the dock, then turned and looked at Zoro.

Zoro sucked in a breath, both were panting from running almost fifteen miles. His mouth was open, sucking in breaths through his mouth, and Sanji guessed they both looked like hell. They just had to sleep in the opposite end of town. Sanji looked at him, there were too many things he wanted to say at once, but he couldn't find a way to say anything.

Before he could think of anything to say, Zoro closed his mouth, set his jaw firm and nodded.

It wasn't the goodbye Sanji had in mind, but he nodded too, understanding that it was the only goodbye they could share. He turned and took off in a run and leaped off the edge, landing on the ship as it started to sail away from the island.

When Sanji looked back, Zoro was still standing there, looking like a little boy waiting to be told directions; looking uncomfortable in Sanji's shirt, tight enough to make him look like an overcompensating asshole. Sanji felt bad, he actually felt bad for leaving him that way. He couldn't leave without saying something. He grabbed the side of the Merry, leaning on it, and yelled at the top of his lungs. "You better try to find me asshole!"

For a terrifying moment, Sanji thought Zoro hadn't heard him because he just stared at him blankly, but then Zoro smirked, holding up his middle finger.

It was the only goodbye they had, but Sanji still broke into a stupid grin, feeling relieved. Luffy looked at Zoro oddly, cocking his head to the side as he studied the man who was flicking them off with a grin on his face. He looked at Sanji when Zoro became a lone figure with an indistinguishable face on the dock. "Who's that?"

"Some guy," Sanji muttered.

"Not just some guy; that was the pirate hunter Zoro. What were you thinking?" Nami asked him, looking more short-tempered by the minute, hands on his hips. That look might have looked hot when her anger wasn't directed at him, but at the moment she just looked terrifying. "Why did you ask him to look for you?"

Sanji didn't answer, couldn't find it in him to lie to her. Luffy looked back at the slowly shrinking town, squinted his eyes as if he could still see Zoro. "He looked cool. If he finds us I'm going to ask him to join our crew."

The crew broke into a fight. Nami yelled at Luffy for being an idiot, Usopp faked a heart attack, and Chopper ran in circles, saying that he didn't want to die at the hands of a bounty hunter. Sanji smiled to himself, looking at the town, thinking he wouldn't really mind at all if Luffy convinced the asshole to join.

He was also glad no one asked him about how his white shirt had gotten much larger in the last two days.


Zoro found him six months later. After he drew his sword on Sanji, the blade an inch from his neck in a dark alley like he was some sort of serial killer, Zoro laughed at how easy he was to catch. The first thing Zoro did after letting him go was hold up Sanji's wanted poster, a poorly rendered drawing of his face. His nostrils were too big, cheeks too chubby, and his lips were highly exaggerated, giving him the look of a fatter, more beat up version of himself. It was like a before and after ad to keep kids off drugs. Zoro didn't laugh, only smirked, which in a way made it worst. He also pretended to gasp at the remarkable likeness, saying the artist was truly gifted, capturing the exact details of Sanji's face.

"Shut the fuck up! It's not that bad, ok?"

"Please, that pet otter in your crew has a better poster than you."

After a brutal fight that was broken up by Luffy - who had misunderstood the situation – they had gone back to the rest of the crew. Chopper checked them out after yelling at them for being idiots, and Nami almost had Zoro's balls for hurting him, and Sanji would have been happy except she had turned her wrath on him as well. Chopper put Zoro's arm in a cast, and the idiot was grinning when Chopper lifted Sanji's shirt to reveal terrible bruising. It looked like a bag of ink had exploded inside of him, staining Sanji's skin around his ribs.

Sanji did laugh when he thought about how fucking ridiculous the whole thing was. It was a romance that was really fucked up, but he was happy. When they were alone in the infirmary, Sanji kissed Zoro, startling him, and he remembered how much he had missed him.

For the past six months, Sanji had been afraid that he wouldn't be able to see Zoro again.



I can feel myself turning into the next Nicholas Sparks.