Title of this chapter is from "Body of Years" by Mother Mother. And I'm intending to update this every Friday at the moment, but that's all subject to change.
Chapter One: Body of Years
It seemed like Zoro had just fallen asleep when the phone rang; the gruff voice on the other end sounded equally displeased about the hour as it explained, succinctly as possible, the incident - Queens, beast of a fire, most likely the latest in somebody's quest to piss a lot of people off.
He got out of bed slowly, muscles still aching a little. The uniform was on his floor where he'd shucked it off at 4am. A little wrinkled, of course, but it would do. He hadn't had a chance to get any laundry done with all the running around these past couple weeks.
On the scene, Smoker handed him a styrofoam cup and walked him over to the witnesses. They didn't play a game of good cop, bad cop, so much as mean cop, meaner cop - though most of the group of shivering, blanketed people seemed just as pissed as they did. Still, they detailed the happenings as well as they could: huge hulking figure shrouded in darkness, suspicious but not actually guilty of anything.
Of course, the fact that that figure had been spotted near every single one of the smoldering crime scenes so far was reason enough to suspect them. It almost seemed like they were taunting the police: allowing themselves to be seen, but slipping through their fingers like water. It was frustrating, to say the least.
The last ember wasn't put out until well past noon. At that point, the streets held only a trickle of firemen, medics, and other officers trying to tie up loose ends. Most of the inhabitants of the building were probably settling in at the hospital now, and the remainders were looking frumpy and put-out as they answered questions for the straggling officers.
Having had more than enough, Zoro headed for his cruiser after foisting the paperwork off on his tiny partner, who nodded in sympathy as Zoro growled about having today off, damn it.
Of course, he knew better than to believe he'd get away clean. He was intercepted a scant few feet from his car by Ace, whose face was a sooty mess, dark enough to cover up his freckles.
"Should go to lunch while we're over here," he commented offhandedly. "I know a place."
Zoro hemmed and hawed for a little bit, because he really just wanted to go back home, crawl into bed, and sleep for twelve hours.
"I'll pay," Ace wheedled, tucking his bright yellow helmet tighter under his arm.
Zoro's eyebrow twitched a little, but he finally gave in. He hadn't had a bite to eat since being pulled from bed that morning, and he'd probably end up falling asleep in traffic anyway. At the very least, he could get a little coffee and a burger in his system.
The place was squeezed in between a tumbledown apartment complex and one of those skuzzy hipster thrift shops. Its sign read Baratie in simple serif, and you could barely see inside for all the people crowded outside.
Honestly, he didn't think they had any business eating at a place like this. For one thing, everyone else was wearing neat suits or skirt sets, and here they were - a policeman in uniform and a fireman who still had smears of ash along the sides of his face, stripped out of his uniform to jeans and a Descendents t-shirt. For another thing, one glance at the menus sitting on the podium revealed just how much it was going to be costing Ace for their little side-trip.
It was blessedly warm inside, though, probably because of how packed it was with human bodies. But the savory smell wafting through the air was what really convinced Zoro that the price and his feelings of displacement would be worth it.
"I know the head chef," Ace said with a wink. "It should be easy to get a table."
Sure enough, the girl standing at the podium smiled brightly at Ace, greeted him by name, and led them to a booth tucked in near the kitchen doors. It was less crowded back here, and gave Ace an eye line into the kitchen, which he swiftly took advantage of by waving someone out.
Someone with blond hair hanging over one eye, someone slim with legs for days. Someone that looked exactly like a blast from the past.
"Sanji!" Ace greeted, and received a nod in return.
"San...ji?" Zoro asked.
The object of their focus turned an impassive face on him, but then his visible eye widened and his brow furrowed, mouth opening just a little. "Zoro?"
"Hmm, someone you know?" Ace asked Zoro, with a smirk on his face that implied he wasn't completely ignorant in this.
"Childhood enemies," Sanji said, amused, before Zoro could reply. Zoro nodded.
Summer in the countryside. The smell of lavender blossoms, wheat tickling their bare feet. Sweat dripping down the small of Zoro's back. Dirt in his hair. Kneecap in his gut.
They were tussling, not for the first time today. It had started after Zeff had served up the last blondie with a side of butter pecan ice cream and suggested they share it or face his wrath. They might have had a little disagreement about how to split it.
Now they were in the field out back, huffing and shoving and kicking. Dessert was long forgotten.
"You stupid bastard," Sanji panted, forcing his knees tighter around Zoro's ribs. "I hate your stupid face! Why do you have to show up around here all the time!"
"I'm telling your dad you said that!"
"Bastard! Bastard! Bastard!" Sanji said, as Zoro tried to buck him off. For such a stringy kid, he was strong, and kept holding on. "I don't care! He's the one who taught me!"
Zoro grabbed him by the waist and toppled them both over, drawing back an arm and socking him hard in the stomach. His legs loosened by increments, and finally fell.
They never sparred - Koshiro was really strict about who they were allowed to do that with, and Sanji wasn't trained the way Zoro was. He tended, usually, to rub that in Sanji's face.
But their tussling was an everyday occurrence, and he often heard his adoptive dad lamenting their 'antagonistic' relationship (whatever that meant) on the phone at night when he and Kuina were supposed to be tucked in.
Kuina scolded him about it too, but she was just as apt to defend Zoro from Sanji as she was to yell at him for being such a mule.
Sanji rolled onto his back in the dirt, soft blond hair falling over his face, a smudge of dirt on his chin.
"I hate you, you bastard," he said, and if five years later, watching Sanji and Zeff disappear as he looked out the back of his family's station wagon, Zoro realized that the feeling in the pit of his chest at that moment was love, then he just tightened his jaw and resolved to forget about it.
"I didn't know you were out here now," Zoro said, politely. He was a lot older now - twenty three years from the first time they'd met, eleven from the last time they'd seen each other. He'd done a lot of maturing. A lot of learning when to keep his mouth shut, and when to act like a fucking adult. The force was good at teaching you those things.
Sanji shrugged. "The old man got a big opportunity here and we decided to take it."
"Oh. What a small world," Zoro said lamely.
"Thank god for that," Sanji replied sardonically. "Anyway, since I'm out here, what can I get you two?"
"Coffee," they said in unison.
"And the duckbeak burger," Ace said.
Zoro cleared his throat, trailing his eyes over the menu slowly. "The chili... same as your dad used to make?"
"Basically," Sanji said with a wry twist to his mouth. "I've made some changes, but it's mostly the same."
"Sour cream and cheese still okay?"
"Alright," Sanji nodded. "If I don't see you before you leave, it was really good to see you again."
"Yeah, you too," Zoro replied with a small smile, and it wasn't just a formality for him when he put as much warmth into his voice as he could muster.
Sanji nodded once more, returning the smile, and walked back through the swinging doors.
"Childhood enemies, huh?" Ace asked with a goofy grin. "Seem to be doing okay now."
Zoro rolled his eyes. "We were kids. Apparently we've both grown up."
"Pff. I know how abrasive both of you can be."
"Well it's not like we've seen each other in over a decade. We barely know each other now."
Ace shrugged. "No time like the present."
Zoro snorted and shook his head before putting it down on his folded arms and closing his eyes. The clink of china touching down on the table stirred him a few minutes later, and he looked up to see a girl with pastel blue hair pulled up in a ponytail.
"Sorry," she said with a sweet smile. "Sanji had to get back to work. I'll be serving you."
"You say that as if it's a hardship," Ace said with a grin.
"Don't try to flatter me, Ace," the girl said, but she smiled back all the same.
"How are you, Vivi?" he asked.
"Trucking through, I guess. Busy today. And you?"
"Tired!" Ace exclaimed, and Zoro was slightly ashamed that he jumped at the sudden burst of noise.
She turned back to Zoro and her smile softened a little. "Need anything else, or do you want to get back to your nap?" Though her words were a tinge caustic, she seemed almost motherly.
"I'm good, thanks," Zoro said, half-muffled by the sleeve of his jacket.
"Alrighty. Back in a few."
When a bowl was placed in front of Zoro, he snapped out of his sleepy daze and inhaled that nostalgic scent, almost shivering at the warmth rolling off of it.
Winter, now. The snow on the ground was a foot deep already, but the kitchen was perfectly warm, and watching fat flakes of snow drift past the window was lulling him into content.
"Give it a taste," Zeff said to Sanji, who had just hit his first growth spurt and seemed to have shot up half a foot overnight.
Sanji took the proffered spoon and dipped it in the pot, blew on it gently, and put it in his mouth.
"Good," he murmured. "It's done."
Zeff took a spoonful too, to be sure, and nodded.
Sanji ladled out five bowls with perfect, careful movements, not spilling a drop. He topped them with cheese, sour cream, and spring onion while Zeff piled slices of warm, herby bread onto a plate.
"Dinner!" the old man shouted into the living room, and the patter of slippered feet filled the dining room. Kuina passed Zoro, and he half-listened to her offering to help carry dinner to the table.
"I could never ask a lady to do such menial work in this kitchen," Sanji said, only his voice cracked halfway through, and Zoro snorted out a laugh.
"Oi, why don't you come help then, lazy bastard?"
"Hnn," hummed Zoro, sliding off the barstool and shuffling over to grab the two bowls that Sanji was holding out for him.
"Don't drop them, or I'll have your balls."
"I wasn't aware you knew what balls looked like yet," Zoro countered.
"OI." There was a bright flush over the bridge of Sanji's nose, and maybe Zoro wanted to brush his fingers over it.
Instead, he tightened them around the bowls and smirked a little. "Relax. If an empty-headed cook like you can carry some bowls to the table, I can too."
And so he did, placing them down in front of his father and Zeff. Sanji was right behind him, reaching over Kuina's shoulder to put one down in front of her.
"Thanks," Kuina said, picking up her spoon immediately.
"Anything for my beautiful Kuina!" Sanji exclaimed.
"Shut up," she replied.
Sanji visibly wilted, but worked his disappointment off by fussing at Zoro instead. "Here, idiot."
"Thanks," said Zoro.
"Hmph." He placed the last bowl in front of his own chair, next to Zeff and across from Kuina (because if there was one thing the adults had quickly learned, it was that putting Zoro and Sanji across from each other led to lots of kicking), then settled down.
Kuina, Zoro, and Koshiro all bowed their heads and murmured, "Thank you for this meal." Then they dug in with the kind of enthusiasm that only their family was capable of.
The first bite was hot and perfect, burning on the way down but filling his mouth with the taste of spice and meat and beans. The second bite soothed it with sour cream, and Zoro's closed eyes kept him from seeing the way Sanji's flicked toward him and his lips curled up just a touch in satisfaction.
Some things you'd leave behind for years but the second they came back, you'd remember them perfectly, and as he took the first bite, Zoro was carried back to wintertime in the Black household. It made him think of tumultuous sleigh rides in his backyard, Sanji's arms holding tight around him; of hot chocolate with cayenne pepper and the year where Zeff first trusted Sanji to make his sweet, flaky chocolatines; of soaking wet socks, sitting in front of the fireplace until his cold skin felt like it had baked through.
And yet there were different things about it too - it was richer, spicier, thicker with the addition of more beans and meat. Didn't go down as easy but left a heat behind that Zoro liked.
He wolfed it down in record time, actually managing to keep up with Ace for once. By the time he was done, he felt incredibly full, and he'd finished two cups of coffee, but it was probably the spice that was starting to make him feel so alert.
They were about to leave when Sanji hustled forth from the kitchen and called out, "Wait up!"
Zoro stopped, turned.
"Give me your number. We should catch up sometime."
Pleasure filled his chest and he had to take a moment to remember his own number. Sanji dutifully inputted it, and a few seconds later, Zoro's phone chimed with a text.
'sanji ;)' it read, and Zoro smiled down at it.
Zoro got home around 2 in the afternoon, took a quick shower, and passed out on his bed without drying off. He woke up an hour later, tossed the towel across the room and crawled naked under the sheets.
He slept for another six hours and finally dragged himself out of bed a little before 10. Dinner was leftover Chinese takeout in front of an episode of Criminal Minds (he seriously lacked a single squeamish cell in his body at this point) and dessert was a handful of peanuts with a round of Temple Run on his phone - or so he had planned, until he saw a message from Sanji upon tapping it awake.
'let's go drinking some night. when are you free?'
The timestamp said 8:59, so he probably wasn't that late answering but he made sure to start with an apology anyway. He was almost a little desperate to not have Sanji think he was putting him off.
'sorry, was sleeping. i'm mostly working the night patrol this week but i have thursday and friday off.'
Sanji's reply was prompt. 'ah, the sleeping habits of an officer. i'm working thursday and friday nights :( damn.'
Zoro had to chuckle a little at Sanji using emoticons. 'what are you doing tonight?' he texted back on the spur of the moment.
'nothing. sitting on the couch watching man vs food.'
'you should come over. i have a 24 pack of shiner and 7 different flavors of b&j's in the freezer.'
'you had me at seven different flavors. where you at?'
'oh hey! i'm over in brooklyn heights. i can be there in about half an hour.'
'awesome. see you soon.'
Sure enough, the doorbell rang a little over half an hour later and Zoro jumped up hastily to answer it. Of course, it wasn't until he'd cracked the door open that he remember he'd only put on a pair of flannel sleep pants after getting out of bed. The blast of cold air made his skin prickle into goosebumps as he swung the door completely open.
"Woah. That's intense," Sanji said, eyeing the long scar across Zoro's abdomen, before snapping his gaze upward. His cheeks were flushed, probably from the cold, and Zoro stepped back to let him in.
"Sorry. Rude. I brought you leftovers from dinner. French dip sandwich. Hopefully you still like them."
"Yeah," Zoro said. Sanji was wearing dark black jeans, cognac-colored 14-hole Doc Martens, a backpack slung over one shoulder, and a pea coat with the collar turned up to allow a blue striped scarf around his neck and chin. Everything fit him like a second skin. As he turned to shut the door, Zoro was treated with an excellent view of the way his ass filled out his jeans, and he had to force himself not to drool a little.
"Kitchen's this way," he muttered, leading Sanji through the archway.
"Do you want this now, or in the fridge?" Sanji asked. "I wrote down the directions for you, just in case. It's simple though, just heating things up and putting them together."
"Eh, go ahead now. I'd rather have the professional do it."
Sanji nodded, then set to preheating the oven. After, he stepped back into the small connected dining room, dropped his backpack, and started shucking off his scarf and jacket. Underneath, he was wearing a green and white button-up with the top two buttons undone, and he paused to straighten it out where it had rucked up a little.
Zoro didn't fucking understand how the short, skinny kid he grew up with had become such a bombshell. He was still slim, but there were the telltale signs of muscle underneath, and he was practically level with Zoro height-wise. He was really working that weird goatee, too. But it was more than that. Maybe it was the fact that he finally held himself with a manner of confidence. Or maybe it was that his face was exactly the same, but now it looked kindly upon Zoro.
He distracted himself from thinking about it by grabbing a couple cans of beer out of the fridge, and handed one to Sanji.
"Thanks," he said with a smile, and so what if Zoro melted a little.
"No problem," he mumbled back, popping the tab of his can and taking a long, steadying drink.
Sanji turned away to grab a cutting board from its place on a peg over the stove, then a knife from the block. He opened his bag, pulling out several tupperware containers, and took the lids off of them to begin layering bread, mustard, cheese, and roast beef onto a baking sheet. By the time he was done, the oven had beeped, and he carefully transferred the sheet into it.
Next, he took a pan from the rack overhead, and tossed butter and chopped onions in it.
He moved so naturally, but with care and almost a tenderness toward every ingredient he touched. Zoro found it more than a little mesmerizing. Obviously Sanji was a lot more at home in the kitchen now than he was even a decade ago.
"It's professionally frowned upon to microwave things but I guess it won't matter if this is just au jus," Sanji said, reaching over to stir the onions quickly and efficiently. "Just don't tell anyone."
Smirking, Zoro tossed his empty can in the trash and moved to grab another from the fridge. "The only person I'd need to tell is your dad. He'd chew you out so hard you wouldn't need anyone else to know to feel ashamed."
Sanji laughed, a rough, low sound. "True."
Zoro went quiet, only handing Sanji a plate when he asked for one. He watched him take the sandwich out of the oven, forking sautéed onions onto it before tucking the lid back on top, then poured the reheated au jus into a small bowl.
"Go get yourself another beer and sit down."
"Treating me like a guest in my own home?"
Sanji shrugged, opening one last container. "That's the job of a good chef, isn't it?"
"You're making me feel pretty inadequate at my hosting duties."
"You can make it up to me later," Sanji said with a wink. "After all, I brought you homemade salt and vinegar chips. You're gonna have to do something really good for me."
Zoro didn't even really have the presence of mind to pay attention, because all he could imagine was making it up to Sanji in very illicit manners.
"Go on," Sanji continued. "I'll be there in a second."
Zoro made his way back to the living room and kicked aside the throw that was laying half on, half off the sofa. The TV was showing infomercials on this channel now, and he took a moment to laugh at how miserable some people were at perfectly ordinary tasks.
Then Sanji was coming in with two plates, one with the sandwich and the other with... Castella cake, a couple lit candles sticking out. Zoro breathed in sharply as Sanji sat the sandwich down in front of him.
"I remembered your birthday was a couple days ago," Sanji said with a small shrug. "And this was the only cake you'd eat when you were younger."
Zoro had to smile as Sanji held the plate of cake in both hands, waiting for Zoro to blow the candles out. "Make a wish," Sanji said, and Zoro leaned forward, took in a deep breath, groped around for a wish somewhere inside himself, then blew the candles out in one gust.
He took the plate from Sanji's hands before he could set it down, and passed him the remote in trade. "Guest gets to pick."
Sanji made disparaging remarks as he thumbed through channels, and Zoro found he liked that dry, sarcastic humor. The Sanji he'd known when he was younger was full of a vitriolic, angst-ridden humor, but he supposed the same could be said for a lot of teenagers.
Finally, he settled on a rerun of The Walking Dead and Zoro made a soft 'hmm' noise.
"Don't say anything," Sanji demanded.
"Wasn't gonna. The second season wasn't my thing really but the first one's alright."
"Too much drama for you?"
"Too much bullshit, not enough zombies."
Sanji laughed and shrugged his shoulders in a conceding motion.
"If I wanted to see an abusive husband, his daughter contracting a horrible disease, the falling-apart of a solid relationship, a guy who thinks he has any kind of claim over a woman just because she had sex with him, and somebody's son's descent into sociopathy, I'd watch a soap opera," Zoro muttered.
Zoro took up the fork on the plate and sliced off a chunk of the cake, popping it into his mouth with far too much excitement for somebody who was just eating. Sanji tsked softly, and sighed, "Dessert before dinner? Heathen."
He didn't bother with an answer. Sanji had never made this cake for him before, so he assumed it was Zeff's recipe. But it tasted faintly of strawberries where Zeff had only made plain old Castella for him before, and he found that he liked it. It wasn't as sickeningly sweet as strawberry shortcake, and that was just perfect for him.
"Good," he managed between bites, and Sanji smiled at him, clearly pleased but a little bashful about it.
They were silent as Zoro polished off the rest of the cake, then sat the plate on the table and started in on the sandwich. Despite leftovers an hour before, he tended to always have an appetite, and even this would only sate it temporarily, especially at the rate he ate it, taking breaks only to force it all down with swigs of beer.
"Hey," Sanji said, after a few minutes. "Anywhere I can take a smoke break?"
Zoro paused with a chip halfway to his mouth. "You can open one of the windows or you can go on the back porch." He said porch, but it was more like a stoop looking onto a tiny "garden" with a wooden fence covered in graffiti on one side separating it from an alleyway.
"Thanks," Sanji replied. He stood slowly, and Zoro noted that he seemed to favor his back.
"Yeah, just overworking myself lately," he called from the dining room. He emerged moments later wearing his coat and scarf again, holding a pack of cigarettes in one leather-gloved hand. "Point me to the porch?"
Zoro stood too, grabbing his coat from the hallway closet and shuffling his feet into the fuzzy pink slippers Ace had gifted him with last Christmas. They passed the stairs and the bathroom, which Zoro dutifully pointed out to him. He unlocked the back door, which creaked open slowly, and stepped out onto the tiny stoop.
"You don't have to stand out here with me," Sanji said around the cigarette in his mouth, palm cupped as he flicked his lighter hushing him even more.
"I don't mind." Zoro sat on the cold concrete stairs. His breath came out in clouds of smoke, it was so cold out. A cat yowled close by, and somebody was listening to house music way too loudly a ways down the alley. Traffic could be heard beyond the stifling bricked sanctuary. Somebody honked their horn in increasingly aggressive patterns. Here on Zoro's back porch, the only sound that seemed tangible was Sanji's breath as he blew out smoke.
He folded his arms, sandwiching them between his head and his knees, and turned his gaze to look up at Sanji. Somehow, the image of him smoking was both quaint and attractive. He was probably such a lady killer now. They probably fell in his lap left and right.
"What are you looking at me like that for?" Sanji asked, tapping ash off into the dead grass below.
"About what?" Sanji didn't seem overwhelmingly curious, but Zoro remembered from childhood - if he tried to avoid answering things, Sanji would latch on like a sloth to a particularly nice branch.
"Just that you're probably beating ladies off constantly now."
"Certainly beating something off," Sanji commented with a dry chuckle. Zoro couldn't help his startled laugh in response.
"You don't really expect me to believe that."
"I don't mind demonstrating for you."
Zoro turned red and opened his mouth to say something when he was interrupted by several people screaming, which trailed off into loud giggles. He rolled his eyes. People could be so annoying.
One last puff, and Sanji crouched down to grind the cigarette butt on the concrete. Zoro took it from him and dropped it into the trashcan on his side of the stoop before standing, hands clasped tight in his fuzzy, fur-lined pockets.
They made their way back inside, Zoro toeing off his slippers and shrugging out of his coat by the front door. Sanji did the same with much more elegance, tucking his scarf over his coat and depositing both on the back of a dining chair.
For an hour or so, they hunched on the couch. Sanji had kicked his boots off and stretched his legs out to rest on the coffee table. At some point, more beer was brought out, along with several containers of ice cream for Sanji, and they'd changed channels ten minutes into The Breakfast Club.
"It's a classic," Sanji said, very defensively. Zoro had to laugh.
"Does that make you Bender? Tough asshole with a heart of gold?"
Zoro snorted. "Gonna give me your earrings?"
"Gonna give me a kiss?" Sanji retorted, leaning closer. He batted his eyelashes a couple times, and Zoro was suddenly overwhelmingly confronted with just how blue Sanji's eyes were.
He cleared his throat and wiped his palms on his pants a few times, the mood suddenly shifted from teasing to awkwardly serious. "I'm not reading this wrong, am I?"
"If what you're reading is that I've been flirting aggressively at you all night, then no, you're definitely not reading it wrong."
"This is new. You not being obsessed with women."
"It's not as new as you think," Sanji said, and then his mouth was a palm's breadth away from Zoro's.
He leaned up slowly, in case Sanji second-guessed himself, but he only moved closer in turn. Their lips touched gently at first, then Sanji's hand moved to Zoro's shoulder, and Zoro's hand moved to the nape of Sanji's neck, and they melted into each other.
Sanji kissed playfully, nipping gently at Zoro's lips, smiling and laughing, drawing him out until Zoro grabbed him by the cheeks and firmly kissed him into submission. It wound languidly on, then was stopped abruptly as Sanji moved into Zoro's lap.
"Less neck-destroying this way," Sanji murmured, placing a soft peck on Zoro's lips.
"Mm," Zoro replied, wrapping one arm around Sanji's hip to pull him close. He moved with no fuss, sinking down into the cup of Zoro's thighs.
He couldn't remember the last time he'd actually had fun making out with somebody. Some people, it was a fight, some people it was foreplay, some people seemed to think it was an obligation. Sanji was fun though, toying with Zoro ruthlessly until he did the same right back. His stubble burned pleasantly against Zoro's face. He smiled, and laughed against Zoro's mouth, and he liked to draw little smiley faces with his tongue, which Zoro didn't notice at first - but he was laughing just as much when he figured out that there was a pattern to the little poke, poke, half-circle motions.
"Hmm. You're better at that than I thought, moss-for-brains," Sanji whispered a while later. They'd caught their breath and Sanji had settled down, resting his face against Zoro's shoulder. Occasionally, he'd puff out a little breath and tickle Zoro's ear, setting his earrings to chiming together softly.
Zoro grunted and pressed his fingers into the base of Sanji's spine. "Had to find something to get up to after we moved here."
"You miss fighting with me all the time?" Sanji asked with a chuckle.
"Oh yeah. I thought about all those times you wrapped your legs around my neck and tried to strangle me with them when I jerked off for about a month at one point."
Sanji rolled his eyes and shook his head. "No you didn't."
Zoro had, but he wouldn't correct Sanji. He'd thought of that, and all the times he'd pinned Sanji down almost effortlessly - he'd had his first growth spurt almost two years before Sanji, so it was very easy - and how Sanji's face would flush with anger because of it. And he'd thought of those times after Sanji's growth spurt, where he'd kept Zoro down with just his strong legs.
For months after moving, no matter who entered his life and became an object of his affections, Sanji remained as the object of his obsessions. Even years later, he'd occasionally think of those things during a dry spot, in the same way he'd thought of certain sexual quirks of past partners while jerking off.
"Well, I'm glad you found something productive to do with your time, at least," Sanji said, dragging his mouth up under Zoro's chin, and sucked ruthlessly.
Head fallen back against the top of the sofa, Zoro stared up the ceiling and let his hands cup Sanji's slim hips, drawing him into a slow movement against Zoro's crotch.
Soon, he didn't need any direction, moving fluidly and easily, making Zoro groan every time Sanji's ass ground against his cock. But Zoro refused to let go of his hips and as Sanji drew himself up to kiss Zoro's mouth, he moved his hips up in counterpoint to Sanji.
They kissed and shoved against each other until they were both breathless, and then they just panted against each other's mouths, which was well enough because Zoro didn't think he could trust himself to do anything but this. Sanji smelled like smoke, leather, rum, and some underlying scent of male. This close, it was so heady Zoro felt more intoxicated by it than the five or so beers he'd had earlier in the evening. He could feel Sanji's cock hard against his stomach every time he pushed close, and that just made it worse.
It wasn't clumsy, but it wasn't exactly patented Adult Fucking either, yet that didn't stop Zoro from coming. His head wilted back against the sofa, his mouth fell open, his spine went stiff and his hips pressed up, fucking himself against Sanji's ass until he was wrung out and drained.
"Upstairs?" he asked after a moment or so. His limbs weren't yet un-jellified, but his mouth still worked fine, and he planned to put it to good use in a few minutes.
"Definitely," Sanji panted back.
Zoro turned off the TV and led him upstairs the moment his faculties were regained. They passed the practice room Zoro kept, tatami illuminated by moonlight coming in from the uncovered windows which also touched on the sword rack, setting the saya agleam.
"You still practice?"
Zoro shrugged. "You don't just stop bothering with what you love."
The bedroom was at the far end of the hall on the other side, and Zoro pushed the door open - it was still a mess from earlier, uniform once again carelessly spread over the floor. The still-damp towel was halfway covering his bedside table, and all in all he wasn't actually pleased at showing it to Sanji in this condition.
Luckily Sanji didn't seem to care about anything but getting out of his shirt, pulling his socks off, and unbuttoning his jeans as quickly as possible. Zoro did the same, making a face as his boxers peeled wetly away from his skin, then shoved Sanji to the bed none too gently.
They rolled across the sheets, causing some to spill off the side, and Sanji finally came up on top. He was flushed attractively and panting very quietly, and Zoro had to pause for a moment and just look because Sanji was covered in ink where his shirt had been hiding it before.
Waves wrapped around his left arm, no actual boundary lines, just colors - orangey-red sky, gray swirls of cloud, yellow sun, green-blue waves, black smudge of a ship. It swallowed his whole arm, ending just before his bony wrist. There was the bushy bristle of some kind of tail curled around his waist on the right side, and an angular snout on the other, tall stalks of purple-blue flowers weaving up around the both the snout and the tail on either side.
"You can fuck me," Sanji murmured, rolling to his side so he could shimmy out of his jeans and underwear, using his feet to push them down all the way. He kneed Zoro in the thigh as he climbed back up, and whispered an apology before Zoro could even register the faint pain.
Zoro was silent as he wrapped his fingers loosely around Sanji's cock, hefting him up slightly so he didn't have to reach down so far. He stroked him a couple times before Sanji burrowed his head in against Zoro's neck, nipping at it frantically.
He shuddered in Zoro's arms, pushing his hips up hard into his fist; he trembled all over - Zoro couldn't be sure if it was because he was trying to stop himself from coming, or if he was pushing himself harder toward it.
He abruptly stopped moving his hand, and Sanji let out a low whine, trying to get it going again on his own by forcing his hips up, but Zoro belted an arm around his back and held him down against his chest.
"I'm not gonna fuck you tonight," Zoro whispered behind the shell of his ear. "I'll suck you off and finger you until you come all over yourself, but you'll have to wait for anything more."
Sanji hissed in a breath and rolled quickly off of Zoro. "Well? Get to it."
And Zoro did, working his way down Sanji's body. He pushed his shirt up, nibbled gently at his stomach and hipbones all while Sanji huffed out little laughs and tried to shove at Zoro's head.
He gave in finally and kissed his way from Sanji's belly button, along the trail of darkening golden hair that led down, and took Sanji's hard cock in his mouth in one swift movement.
Sanji groaned loudly and arched off the bed. Zoro hummed, butting his forehead against Sanji's hipbone before pulling back.
"Overreaction much?" he asked, and Sanji draped one leg over his shoulder, kicking him lightly on the back with his heel.
"Shut up. It's been awhile and you're a lot hotter than you were last time I saw you, shitty teasing bastard."
"A lot better at this too since the last time you saw me," he murmured with a smirk on his face, kissing at Sanji's nose as he leaned up to the bedside table, unsteadily grabbing a bottle of lube at random.
"I wouldn't know," Sanji commented drily.
Zoro refrained from telling him that he could have known, if he'd wanted to, and instead went back to his elbows, barely sucking at the tip of Sanji's cock. He had a nice shape, average length but good and thick, and uncut. Zoro sank onto one forearm as he worked his mouth lower, taking him in with something akin to ease.
Despite being relatively good at multi-tasking, it took a lot of fumbling to snap open the bottle of lube and get some on his fingers. Once he had, he couldn't find the bottle to close it again, but forgot about it after Sanji nudged him in the shoulder blade several times, presumably as punishment for being distracted.
He stroked a wet fingertip over Sanji's hole, and he encouraged Zoro wordlessly, so he continued on, pressing it into Sanji patiently. Only he didn't seem to need it slow, and bucked down against Zoro, so he pressed deeper, licked at the vein on the underside of Sanji's cock, and he moaned, seeming pleased by the way his leg went limp over Zoro's shoulder.
At first he didn't really move all that much, just thrust it slightly every time Sanji seemed to be drifting into a plateau of bliss. After a couple minutes, he felt it was alright to try a second, and patted around the sheets for the bottle of lube, wetting his fingers again once he'd found it and going for two. Sanji seemed overwhelmingly approving of it, if the low pleased noise he made was to be believed. He scissored them a couple times, then tried rubbing around, and smirked when Sanji's whole body seized in pleasure. He continued pressing against that spot until Sanji was making constant, desperate noises, seeming unable to figure out whether to shove up into his mouth or down onto his fingers.
In the end, Zoro helped him out by rubbing mercilessly against that spot, and combining that and Zoro's mouth, he started to shake, pulling at Zoro's short hair and whispering, "God, Zoro, fuck, you're gonna make me come."
Zoro pulled his mouth off Sanji's cock, making an obscene wet noise as he did so, but kept shoving his fingers against Sanji's prostate until he moaned, hands clutching the sheets, and came. Just like Zoro'd promised to make him come all over himself, he shot on his stomach and his chest and Zoro couldn't do much more than stare at Sanji's face, contorted in agonized pleasure.
He came down as if in a dream, fingers moving to stroke Zoro's hair gratefully, and Zoro moved up to spoon against him.
"We should clean up," he said against Sanji's neck.
"Mmph. I'm good here." Only he obviously wasn't, since he climbed on top of Zoro and stayed very still there for several minutes.
After a while, his breath was a lot less quick, but it wasn't quite the deep evenness of sleep yet.
"I feel bad about falling asleep on you," he mumbled into the crook of Zoro's neck, dragging himself out of the trance that Zoro had drawn him into using the steady moving of his chest with each respiration and his palm smoothing up and down Sanji's back.
"Don't," Zoro replied, fingers resting against the top of Sanji's bony spine. "I probably won't be going to sleep until you wake up. That's just how my schedule is."
"No, I mean, falling asleep physically on you."
Zoro scoffed, tugging lightly at Sanji's hair. "Don't lie to me. I know you; if you felt bad about it, you wouldn't do it."
"Okay. I don't feel bad about it." Zoro could feel Sanji's lips curl up in a smile against his skin. "Just push me off if you get sick of me. I won't wake up."
They laid silently for a while until Sanji's breath finally evened out and his body slumped slightly more into Zoro's.
He was comfortable like that for an hour or two; he'd turned on the television, set the volume to low, and let that run in the background so he didn't feel strange for just laying there and holding Sanji.
Around one in the morning, he gently rolled Sanji off of him. True to his word, he didn't awaken, not even when Zoro scrubbed him up with a washcloth.
He cleaned himself up as well, then made his way back downstairs to read for a couple hours.
He'd been so carried off with it that he didn't resurface until around 7, when the steps popped and creaked with the weight of someone walking down them.
Sanji still looked half asleep, but he smiled at Zoro as he wandered into the living room, wearing Zoro's discarded sleep pants. They were big and baggy on him, but Zoro was intensely into the idea of Sanji wearing his clothes.
"Let me make you breakfast," Sanji said, his voice rough from sleep, and Zoro nodded easily. They'd probably known each other long enough and well enough that the morning after wouldn't be overwhelmingly awkward, or change things too much, but he'd worried nonetheless. If it had turned out bad and brought that antagonistic air back, he'd likely have found himself wishing that they just hadn't met again. It was hard enough the first time.
"That'd be nice."
"Alright. Just stay there, if you want. I'll call you when it's done."
"Nah, I'll come keep you company."
They were largely silent in the kitchen together. The first thing Sanji did was get the coffee going in the ancient coffee maker that Zoro rarely used - he was a tea person, himself. He sat mesmerized as Sanji diced up potatoes, onions, green and red peppers, then tossed all of it in a sauté pan with some olive oil, salt, and pepper. After that, he moved on to making homemade pancakes despite the fact that strangely, there was pancake mix in one of the upper cabinets. He ladled out exactly the same amount for each pancake, then set some sausage links to sizzling in the last of the frying pans Zoro owned. With everything going steady, he stepped toward the kitchen window and opened it so that the cold morning breeze filtered in.
Zoro wasn't wearing anything but the throw from the couch, draped over his shoulders like a cloak, but being behind the counter, he found he didn't mind the cool air. Sanji had taken his lighter and pack of cigarettes from his coat which was still hanging over the dining chair, lit one up, and was now leaning over the sink to blow all the smoke out of the window. It gave him a chance to finally see what the tattoo was that wrapped around his sides: stretched lazily across his back in a field of those same purple-blue flowers was a sharply-stylized fox, and a couple crows sitting on a wire strung between the points of his shoulder blades. Oddly, one of them was holding a meat cleaver in its beak.
Zoro was probably delirious with his screwed-up sleeping schedule, because he found himself wishing dearly that the sight of Sanji standing half-naked in his kitchen, smoking and cooking, would be a sight he'd never have to stop seeing.
Sanji didn't have to pay much attention as he cooked, standing sentinel instead; he flipped pancakes when they needed to be flipped, rotated the sausages until they were perfectly crisp, and used a spatula to push the potatoes around, but largely, he smoked and drank coffee in equal measures. Zoro mostly watched him, occasionally taking a sip of his own mug of red rooibos with honey and sugar.
When the sausages were out of the pan, Sanji fried a few eggs, buttered some toast, then laid the pans out on the potholders. Zoro finally realized how hungry he was starting to feel, and piled a plate high with everything.
They said only a few words over breakfast as well - Sanji didn't eat anything except for a couple sausage links and a piece of toast, but Zoro scarfed it all down as if he hadn't eaten in days.
"So good," he groaned, patting his belly. "So fucking good. Can I pay you to stay here and cook for me all day?"
"That all you want me for?" Sanji asked, with a mischievous wink.
Zoro tilted his head, pretending to think seriously for a moment. "Is there anything else you're good at?"
Sanji squawked, and aimed a kick at Zoro's side. He let him land it, rocking on the stool a few times before settling back.
"You seemed to enjoy last night well enough," he said, putting his fork down on his now-empty plate. "Would I really have to pay you to make you come like that as often as you wanted?"
"If you made me come like that as often as I wanted, I would let you do anything you liked," Sanji replied, replacing the smoked-down filter with a new cigarette. "Unfortunately, I have a job and speaking of, I need to be out of here by ten to start getting ready for work."
"That shouldn't be a problem. I'll most likely be in bed by then, there's not much to do around here that'd be any fun for you."
Sanji hummed in acknowledgement as he started rummaging around the cabinets for tupperware containers to store the leftovers in. Once he'd found them, he rinsed up all the pots and pans, put them in the dishwasher, and stuck the containers in the fridge for later. By the time he was done, Zoro had almost cleaned out his second plate.
"Do you mind if I use the practice room for my morning routine?" Sanji asked, putting out his last cigarette and tossing it in the trash can.
"Go ahead. Mats are folded up in the closet."
Zoro nodded noncommittally, and went back to his breakfast. He dumped the plate in the sink when he was done, nowhere near as good about clearing up after himself as Sanji was, and took the stairs up.
Sanji was bent in goddamn half as he passed by the practice room, and he wasn't wearing anything but his blue boxer briefs as he did so. Zoro had to pull himself up short and gape in through the open door. From bent in half, he moved to lunges, then a standing split, and finally a backbend. It was mesmerizing.
Sadly, he had to walk right by that room, but he wouldn't make himself stay away for long. As soon as he'd dressed in loose sweats, he went back to the practice room and began to go through his own katas.
It was his usual routine to burn out all of his energy before going to bed, but with Sanji so close to him, it felt entirely different. They moved in counterpoint but there was still a strange harmony in the room; when Zoro knelt, drew, and lunged forward, Sanji was stretching out each long leg - quads, hamstrings, then inner thighs.
"Koshiro's not here..." Sanji started a couple minutes later, and Zoro sheathed Shusui before turning to look at him.
"So we could actually fight."
Zoro was wary from the instant Sanji suggested it. For one thing, he couldn't see that Sanji had any actual ability, and for another, he was a lot more frightening with swords than he used to be - and Sanji wasn't wearing anything to keep him safe.
Sanji had slipped on the pair of geta Zoro kept in the practice room in the meantime, and Zoro had to smirk at the image he made: sleep disheveled, wearing nothing but boxer briefs and a pair of sandals, bare-chested and bare-legged. Still, he moved forward with grace, right foot first, and Zoro drew Shusui again, meeting him halfway.
It wasn't like he was intentionally drawing the blows, or slowing them, or just generally degrading his ability by more than half, but his subconscious seemed to be incredibly paranoid about hurting Sanji.
Sanji, whose foot came up, blocking the swing easily right between the teeth of the geta. Shusui made a distinct clack and Sanji frowned at him. The next swing was just as slow and Sanji was starting to look equal parts bored and pissed off as he halted it quickly.
"Stop going easy on me, bastard."
It was a lot like kissing him, really. Within minutes, Sanji had drawn his power out, making him work for it like he'd never had to before. Even when he was moving at his quickest, Sanji was right there, forcing the blade back with the geta's base. Even when he was swinging his hardest, Sanji didn't back down, knocking him off course with each well-aimed kick.
And when he got bored of blocking... it was like watching a whirlwind. He kicked off the geta, dodged using his body, and got right up through Zoro's defenses with each kick like a whip. His feet landed hard in all of Zoro's unprotected areas, one to the kidney, one to the left shoulder, one to the knee.
They were both breathing hard a couple minutes in, but they were just getting warmed up. Zoro got a hit in with the back edge of Shusui, but that just made Sanji guard even harder.
"Get another," Sanji panted as he stepped back. Zoro took Sandai Kitetsu from the rack next, unsheathed it quickly, and then Sanji was on him again.
Zoro blocked easier this way, but found himself doing more of that than actually attacking, so when he saw his chance, he took it. He dropped both swords, grabbed Sanji's right leg around the thigh as it was mid-kick, and pushed him off his feet.
Sanji went down, wind knocked hard out of him and frowning. "That's... not fair," he gasped. Zoro smirked, grabbed up each sword and sheathed them, then went to his knees, squeezing them around Sanji's hips.
"Who taught you all that shit?"
Rolling his eyes, Sanji took a handful of Zoro's ass and forced him to move against his hardening cock. "The old man was a professional savateur back in France before we moved to the US, before he even started his first restaurant. He taught me."
Zoro nodded, placing his palms on either side of Sanji's head, working in slight hitches against him. "Seems like it's working out well for you."
With a jolt, Zoro was on his back. Sanji had wormed one of his flexible legs under Zoro's arm, around his chest, and knocked him flat off. In the next second, Sanji was on him, pulling his sweatpants halfway down his thighs, mouth hot and wet on his cock. Zoro hummed, pleased, and shifted up to his elbows to get a better look.
The morning sun was streaming through the window, catching just right in Sanji's hair so that the strands looked more like silken gold. It caressed his naked back, shaping out the muscles, the gentle curve of his spine where it met his ass, lit up the fox and the crows, threw his shadow into a perfect silhouette of something feral and ravenous. He couldn't think of anything he'd rather be looking at right now.
He could think of things he'd rather be paying attention to though - the lick of pleasure down his spine every time Sanji drew back slightly and bumped the vein on the underside of his cock with his bottom lip, the saliva making everything too slick to catch even a hint of friction, the sweet, concentrated face Sanji was making, eyes shut, brows drawn.
Zoro rested on one elbow and reached down to card a hand through Sanji's soft hair. His eyes flew open immediately and he looked up at Zoro as if he'd woken from a dream, completely unaware of anything that was happening around him. Then his eyes narrowed and he slowly pushed down, the hot clutch of his throat closing around Zoro's cock and making his head fall back, a choked moan escaping him.
Sanji worked him over until he was panting and almost begging his body to just let go, and when he did, it was so powerful his back and shoulders came clean off the mat. He shuddered and came in long pulses down Sanji's throat, then dropped back supine.
"Come up here and let me help you out," he grunted after a moment of blinking away the lights swimming behind his eyelids.
"No need," Sanji said, holding up his hand, splashed with come.
Zoro laughed, shaking his head in disbelief.
"I left a little on the mat for you too. Something to remember me by!" he said, jumping up and running back for the bedroom before Zoro could even understand what was happening.
He paused to clean it up, then trailed after Sanji. The master bath's door was halfway ajar, steam starting to drift out, so Zoro slipped in. He tossed his sweatpants off at random, and at the sound of them dropping, Sanji poked his drenched head out of the shower.
"Get in here already."
Zoro did as told, and they proceeded to take a shower as free of gropings as either of them could manage, which was to say not very. After toweling off and a glance at the clock, Sanji was determined to get himself put together as quickly as possible while sneaking in kisses at the same time.
"I really have to go," he said, breaking off a fierce, biting kiss.
"Fucking go then," Zoro huffed as Sanji tried to descend for another. "Stop kissing! Put your damn clothes on and get out of my house!"
Sanji beamed at him brightly and smacked a kiss on Zoro's damp hair.
"Gonna arrest me for trespassing?" he asked with a wink.
"If you don't get, I'm gonna handcuff you to my bed and you won't be leaving until I'm satisfied that you've suffered enough for my liking."
"Ooh, sounds lovely."
"GET!" Zoro yelled with a swipe at Sanji's face.
Sanji darted out of the way and finally pulled on his jeans and button-up, balling up his boxer briefs and socks to take downstairs. He'd borrowed a pair of socks from Zoro, but claimed to not be bothered with going commando until he got back home.
They made their way downstairs, picking up Sanji's stuff in the kitchen, and it was precisely 9:58 by the time they were standing at the door saying goodbye.
"Text me today. I don't have to go in until 1, but I've gotta do laundry and all that bullshit in the meantime. I'll be bored."
Zoro rolled his eyes. "Okay."
"I mean it!"
"Yeah, got it!"
"Text me now to prove you mean it," Sanji sing-songed.
God, Sanji had grown up to be even pushier than he used to be. He took out his phone.
'go away' he typed, and Sanji pulled out his phone to check it, smiling at Zoro.
"I'm just fucking with you. But seriously... I had a good time last night and this morning. Don't disappear on me again. It was bad enough the first time."
"Me too," Zoro muttered, wiping at the faint stain of red on his cheeks. The fact that Sanji was echoing his own sentiment filled him with warmth. "It was really good."
"Okay, I'm out," Sanji said, and kissed Zoro a few more times for good measure.
When he was gone, Zoro walked slowly up the stairs, plopped into bed, and drifted off to sleep.
He hoped like hell that when he woke up, this would still seem so good.