Sanji comes to with a god-awful headache and a mouth as dry as an Alabaster desert. He groans and feels the bed move under him and when he peels his eyes open and tilts his head up he's met with Zoro's wide open eyes. The swordsman is hunched over the side of Sanji's bed, his arms frozen folded on the top of the blanket, there are indentations of fabric in Zoro's cheek, as if he'd been sleeping only seconds ago.
"Sanji." His name falls breathlessly from Zoro's mouth and snaps Sanji into full wakefulness; it's the first time Zoro's said his name in so long.
"CHOPPER!" Zoro hollers at the door and snaps his gaze immediately back to Sanji as if he was afraid that something might happen if he wasn't looking.
"Ugh." He groans, touching his throbbing head and squeezing his eyes shut once more.
The little doctor bursts into the room right after, slamming the door against the wall and making Sanji's brain throb more from the noise.
"SANJI! You're awake! You're awake!" Chopper squeals happily rushing to him in one excited furry mass. He tries to laugh but it turns into coughing that changes Chopper's happy face to his serious doctor face. Within seconds there's a cold stethoscope pressing into the middle of his back, the coughing subsides and Chopper instructs him to breathe in and out as deeply as he can.
Sanji tries to breathe as evenly as possible but it's a little hard when Zoro's dark intense eyes keep flicking from him to Chopper and back again with a tense kind of concern. Sanji doesn't know what to make of this. He thought that Zoro hated him now, he'd been trying to fight off the worry that Zoro wasn't thinking of him as nakama anymore, but the anxiety of it had been robbing him of sleep and sanity combined. And Zoro had hardly helped that idea, not after he nearly broke Sanji's wrist. Oh and, you know, stabbed him through the chest.
But here Zoro was, wide eyed and anxious to see if he was okay. And how the fuck was he okay anyway? When the world had started slipping away he'd accepted that it may very well have been it for him. Zoro had been afraid and perhaps he could explain some of that to guilt but not all of it. The way Zoro had looked at him; it had been as if he couldn't imagine anything worse than Sanji dying. The way Zoro had touched him to comfort him and keep him still before he pulled the sword out… there was a gentle kindness there that had to be more than guilt, it just had to be.
"That sounds better, but no smoking for the next few days Sanji. That sword that went through you slid between your lungs and your diaphragm." Chopper explains, taking the ear buds of the stethoscope out of his ears.
"That explains why I found it so hard to breathe I guess." Sanji nods, stretching to look down at the place in his chest where the blade went in. It's stitched up as he expected it to be, but it seems to be covered in some clear shiny gunk. When he reaches up to gingerly touch it he finds that the clear stuff is hard to the touch, almost like…
"It's a kind of surgical glue. It's a new experiment, since people like you and Zoro seem so keen to wriggle out of bandages at the first opportunity. It'll fall off when you're all healed up, just don't pick at it." Chopper explains with an irritated look at Zoro and Sanji. Zoro looks offended, as if Sanji and Chopper don't know that the swordsman "loses" his bandages at the first opportunity.
"Gross." Sanji remarks, grimacing at it. It's probably gonna scar all nastily too now. Balls. He's not a huge fan of having scars, that whole "chicks dig scars" thing was a total lie, if it wasn't Zoro would be drowning in ladies and that clearly wasn't happening.
"How am I alive anyway? I passed out when Zoro was trying to read the blood bag things." He asks looking at Zoro.
"Ah, well when we got here he'd managed to get one pint of blood back into you. For a man not medically trained he didn't do a bad job, though your arm doesn't look too great." Chopper admits, running his little hooves over Sanji's elbow where the IV is currently plugged in. It's a little hard to miss now that he's looking at it but there's at least ten bruised up needle marks in his arm. He looks like he's somewhere between being a drug addict and a pincushion. Still, he's alive.
"How'd you manage to find my blood? You can't read." He frowns, looking at the swordsman. He sincerely hopes that Zoro didn't just see that he'd passed out and grabbed one at random to plug into him figuring that it couldn't get worse.
Zoro gives him a smug, though slightly tired grin and fishes something out of his pocket. It's a little laminated card, he flicks it around in his hand and holds it up to Sanji. It's got a picture of his face on and… hey! That came from his wallet!
"Oi! That's my fugu licence you fuck! Did you pickpocket me?!" He snaps, reaching to snatch the thing back only for Zoro to jerk it out of his reach. He can't buy the fish to make proper fugu dishes without that thing, the stuff can be deadly and it's the only proof he has that he knows what he's doing.
He swipes for it again but the swordsman adjusts his grip on the card and taps at Sanji's name with his index finger. Sanji pauses and understands. Zoro might not be able to read right now but he can still work out where Sanji's name should be and then match the shape of the word to what's on the bags of blood.
"Clever…" He says with a quiet smile. Zoro snorts and flicks the card back into Sanji's lap. He's clearly trying to imply that he doesn't give a shit if Sanji's impressed, but the little grin that Sanji can see around the edge of the hand that Zoro has on his mouth tells him all he needs to know.
"Zoro saved your life, he carried you all the way back here and gave you that first transfusion. He even managed to get us back to the ship quick enough to give you qualified medical care, even if Nami and Franky kind of disapproved with his method of getting their attention to the ship." Chopper says, giving Zoro a sidelong look.
Zoro grins and pulls out Sanji's lighter from his pocket.
"What the- did you just hold me upside down and shake me while I was unconscious or something? Give me that!" He snaps, snatching his lighter back from Zoro.
"What did you use this for anyway?" He questions, looking down at the shiny lighter in his palm.
"Needed… them to see." Zoro says cryptically.
"He set fire to the main sail, so we saw and came back." Chopper answers flatly, making Sanji's eyes bug out. Zoro did WHAT now?! Oh man, Zoro was lucky to be alive still, how the hell had Nami, Usopp and Franky not got together to murder him yet? Chopper ignores Sanji's horror and disbelief and goes back to peering at his wound instead.
"You need to be more careful Sanji, if that marine's sword had gone any higher it would have gone through your lungs or even your heart, and any lower and it would have completely severed the artery to your liver which it cut into this time." Chopper lectures him with his furry little frown.
"Marine." Sanji repeats blankly.
"Well, yeah. Was it someone else? I keep trying to ask Zoro but he just goes completely mute when I ask, though I guess it is a pretty stressful question." Chopper concedes looking at Zoro who goes instantly tight lipped.
"Yes, sorry. It was a marine, huge guy. I was chasing after Zoro and didn't see him in time and, well, you know the rest." He lies quickly with a suitably embarrassed smile.
"Well, you need to rest. I'm going to get you something to eat, come on Zoro we need to leave him in peace." Chopper says, hopping down onto the floor and trying to tug Zoro to come with him. The swordsman just scowls and stays put and after a few hopeless attempts Chopper just huffs in irritation.
"I know you've been waiting here for two days for him to wake up but I'm sure you can wait a while longer and let him rest!" Chopper frowns but Zoro simply growls and leans on Sanji's bed, clearly not intending on moving ever.
"Fine." Chopper huffs and trots out of the infirmary.
Zoro drops his head onto the bed sheet over Sanji's legs and doesn't move. Now that he's alone with Zoro he doesn't really… know what to say. And the longer that silence goes on the weirder it is.
An anxious sweat breaks out on his back, made worse when the swordsman lifts his head and looks at him. He needs to say something rather than just stare at him in the tensest silence ever.
Perhaps he's just overthinking this, maybe if he just goes with his gut and stops over thinking things he and Zoro can just… go back to normal or something.
"Hey, so, you kinda kebab-ed me there." He blurts out, making the swordsman scowl. Crap. That was not the right thing to say; evidently his gut is dumber at talking to Zoro than the rest of him which is quite an achievement.
Zoro looks a little morose and sighs, staring at the wall to Sanji's side.
"Sorry that was kind of… I'm not good at this." He groans, leaning back on the bed, hissing as the stitches on his back rub against the bed sheet.
"Lied." Zoro says after a moment or two looking right at Sanji. Sanji realises that he means to Chopper just now.
"Well you did save my life apparently, and you looked like you felt far more awful than you needed to already. Besides, like I said, it was my fault and they already think we're about to kill each other any day now without me mentioning that it wasn't a marine who stabbed me." He answers with a shrug that he soon regrets as the glue holding his stitches onto him pulls at his skin.
"No." Zoro says flatly.
The swordsman squeezes his eyes shut as his mouth works soundlessly, frustration runs across his features and he releases a stressed sounding growl.
"No what?" Sanji prompts, leaning up on his elbow to get a slightly more comfortable way of watching the marimo.
Zoro breathes a little more slowly and his left hand comes up to touch his mouth as his brow pinches with effort.
"I don't want-" Zoro starts, his finger taping on Sanji's leg. It all seems to derail though as whatever it was that Zoro didn't want fails to appear in his vocabulary. Zoro's dark eyes look up at him and he reaches over and rough fingers brush Sanji's neck. He freezes under Zoro's touch, not sure if Zoro is going to try to hurt him again or if the swordsman is being gentle once more. The marimo doesn't attempt to strangle him but just… stays there, with his fingers on Sanji's neck no doubt feeling every quick and slightly panicked breath and his thundering heartbeat. In fact he can feel his pulse thrumming against his skin just under Zoro's fingertips; the marimo is feeling for his pulse.
"I'm alive marimo, I'd be a pretty talkative corpse otherwise wouldn't I?" He points out with a smile.
"You would be." Zoro answers distractedly, as if nothing was ever wrong with his speech. The swordsman sighs again and turns away, leaning against the side of the bed. The idiot seems to be doing a lot of that now, sighing that is.
"You thought I was going to die." He says out loud. Zoro doesn't answer but his dark gaze sliding sideways towards Sanji gives him the answer he needs easy enough.
"Well, welcome to my fucking life, asshole." Sanji growls at the swordsman, angrily he continues.
"Only I had to wait a week for you to wake up, and I had to wash bits of your skull out of my clothes for days. I didn't even know if you would wake up or if you'd still be you when you did! So forgive me if I'm not hugely bothered about your stress levels!" He snaps.
He's irrationally angry all of a sudden. It's not like Zoro was expressing a horrible sentiment, that he's glad that Sanji is alive, really it should make Sanji happy. But it doesn't. What it does do it piss him off, it seems so unfair, so unjust that after all that he's been through fearing for Zoro's life that the swordsman can act so terribly unhappy about his near brush with death.
"YOU! AGH! Bled to death!" Zoro snarls at him, turning around and snapping at him with his hands clenched angrily at his side.
"Yeah! And you fell off of a cliff and landed on the only FUCKING ROCK on the whole goddamned beach! You looked like mincemeat when we picked you up!" He screams into Zoro's face, getting up on his knees to do it. How can Zoro possibly be like this, after what he'd put Sanji's through?!
"And then- and then you just didn't wake up! None of this usual Zoro bullshit where you nearly die and then try to work it off the next day you just… you just didn't do anything. Every day I'd just be waiting and nothing, every hour that went by I just thought you were really gonna leave me all alone out here." He says shakily, slumping back down onto the bed and clutching at the bed sheets at his sides.
"Alone? No." Zoro points out.
"No, fuck you! I would be alone! You know that!" He snarls up at the other man.
"Whenever there's a big ass fight Luffy hurls himself off at the biggest baddest motherfucker there, leaving you and me to take on everyone else and keep an eye on the rest of our nakama. It's on us to keep them safe, to keep people in Usopp's range and make sure that Robin and Nami don't get outnumbered, we have to make sure Chopper and Brook don't get cut off from everyone or that Franky isn't setting fire to shit too close to anyone else. That's our job and if you leave me then I have to do it alone!" He argues, feeling a pain in his chest flare up that has nothing to do with the blade that was so recently sheathed there.
"If I can't trust you to stay alive then I've got to protect you as much as I would them, only you don't know how fragile you are now. Chopper said that… he said that I nearly killed you. That if you hit your head you'd die like that." He explains, snapping his finger to emphasise his point.
"No! Franky made-!" The swordsman argues back and raps on the back of his head with his knuckles. The metal makes a dull thunk when he does it. Sanji considers that for a moment or two.
"I didn't dream you knocking a crater in that wall with your head and not even blinking did I?" Sanji asks with a frown.
"No. I'm not weak." The swordsman replies snippily.
"But Chopper said… I never fought back because I thought it'd kill you. I thought I'd nearly killed you on the beach! How was I supposed to react? You don't know what that's like!" Sanji exclaims.
Zoro gives him a flat unimpressed look and pokes Sanji in the chest, just above his new stitches. Sanji looks down.
"Okay, so maybe you have some idea of how I felt when I thought I nearly killed you." He concedes.
Zoro rolls his eyes and grumbles under his breath and with a giant sigh sits down next to Sanji on the bed, slouching back on the bed until his head hits one of the metal pipes along the wall that rings metallically when he does. The swordsman shakes his head and rubs at his ear, Sanji supposes that the noise must sound quite loud in the swordsman's hollow head.
"You're really not gonna die from that?" He asks, leaning to the side and cautiously reaching to touch Zoro's head where scalp meets metal.
"Nah." Zoro shrugs, tilting his head slightly to let Sanji feel the plate again.
"I will turn Chopper into venison stew for this, you've no idea how much sleep I've lost thinking I nearly killed you. And I wasn't gonna fight you, no matter what you did to me, I'd rather you broke my wrist and hated me than died." He scowls. He doesn't care how cute Chopper is, he's gonna lodge his foot so far up that reindeer's ass that his tongue will have tread marks on it.
"Heard you… at night." Zoro mutters quietly.
"Oh." Is all that Sanji can say. Well, he can just die of mortification now, Zoro heard him having nightmares, great.
Zoro's fingers brush his wrist, tentative and curious. The swordsman's mouth is set in a thin and worried line.
"It's fine now, really." He shrugs and flexes it to prove his point.
"Sorry." The swordsman says quietly, his thumb sliding up the smooth skin on the inside of Sanji's wrist.
Sanji looks at Zoro. The other man looks regretful but not entirely guilty; as if he wishes he hadn't hurt him but felt like he had a good reason for doing so at the time. Whatever, he's just speculating now. He can't know why Zoro did what he did, he can take a damn good guess of course but until the swordsman can or chooses to articulate his reasoning then it's pure guesswork. The only concrete answer that he has from Zoro is that he's sorry.
He rolls his fingers in a little wave, he's lucky that nothing broke but again perhaps that was deliberate. Shit he's speculating again.
"Yeah. I'm sorry too." He mutters, leaning back against the wall next to Zoro.
Something tense and curled in his chest relaxes and Sanji feels all of the anguish that he's felt about fighting with Zoro, really fighting with him, just dissolve in one go. Zoro's not mad at him, they're okay. Zoro's hand slides from his and Sanji instantly misses the contact, he wants to reach back out and wind his fingers through Zoro's. He wants to pull the marimo close and kiss him and just… god. This is awful. Zoro's forgiven him for their misunderstanding about his apparent likelihood of imminent death but what will the swordsman do if he discovers how he really feels?
He can't tell him, just can't. If he does Zoro might cut him out again and he just can't bear that. Not again. He looks over to the marimo, who is leaning against the wall with his hands clasped in the arch of his neck and the back of his head, his plate is still pressing against the wall though and even now that sets him a little on edge. He shoves down that instinct telling himself that he was mistaken, or more accurately misinformed and he needs to have words with Chopper about that, but he can do that later.
As for now he needs to go out a little further to repair this messed up situation between himself and Zoro.
"I didn't think you were weak ever, I'm just kinda shit at…" He trails off, rubbing the back of his neck anxiously. It had been a valiant start if only he'd thought through what he was going to say first it would have been perfect.
"Talking?" Zoro offers, looking over at him with a wry smirk.
"Shut your fucking face, at least you've got an excuse to be shit at this, what am I supposed to do? I mean, it's not like I'm used to actually thinking about you as having real feelings, this crap was easier when you were just my dick of a nakama that annoyed me. So how am I supposed to tell you that I made the choice that I'd rather let you break my wrist and snap my fingers than risk killing you?!" He shouts and a few seconds pass before he realises that in just bitching about that there he's just kind of… told him.
Zoro is watching him with wide surprised eyes and Sanji squirms a little and wishes that he could just eat up everything he's just said. Does Zoro have to really keep staring at him like that? It's making him seriously uncomfortable. The more the marimo gawps at him the more Sanji's skin itches and the dumber he feels, what if this makes Zoro realise that he feels stupid emotional, hormonal and inappropriate things about him?
"Don't… don't look at me like that you shitty bastard. Or don't you remember doing the same shitty thing for me? Cause I still think my ribs are cracked from that shitty ghost boat when you stopped me from fighting that motherfucking bear bastard by jamming your sword into my lungs." He points out, trying not to look at Zoro.
Goddamnit, he needs to work on not having such an obvious verbal tic of profusely swearing when he's stressed. His ears are burning so he's sure that his face must be red too. To try and hide it at least a little he scowls at the floor, though he nearly jumps a foot in the air when Zoro pulls at his hand again.
"Uh-uh, no. Different." Zoro frowns, tapping his finger on the inside of Sanji's wrist.
"My life… your… shit- your… agh!" the swordsman hisses, scrunching up his forehead in frustration. But he knows what Zoro's trying to say.
"Dream?" He suggests.
"Yes, green." Zoro agrees and Sanji gets to watch with a smirk as Zoro realises that the word he just thought he said and the word he just actually said weren't the same.
Only… only he's fucking stupid because he can't stop having feelings for Zoro and right now on the top of the list of things he really doesn't need to subject himself to is being half naked on a bed with Zoro with the swordsman's fingers on his mouth. He doesn't need Zoro's dark eyes watching his mouth like that, especially when the more rebellious parts of his hormonal system hiss at him to grab Zoro's body and fall backwards on the bed, pulling the swordsman on top of him.
"Cook?" Zoro prompts him, his gaze flicking to Sanji's eyes now.
Sanji tries to marshal his scattered brain together enough to form a coherent lie.
"Shut it, I guess the blood loss is still… messing with my head… or something." He half lies. Sure his brain is starved of blood but that's not really because he's low on the stuff, more because it's… gone low. He shifts a little uncomfortably and wills his circulation to stop trying to get him killed because one sword through the chest a week is more than enough thank you very much.
Fuck, now what was that word that Zoro wanted to learn?
"Dream." He repeats, as it comes to him. He decidedly does not focus on Zoro's fingers touching his lips, and he doesn't stare as Zoro's eyes flutter shut as he tries to visualise the pattern.
"Dream…" Zoro murmurs, touching his own mouth. Sanji forces himself to remember what they were arguing about and try to steer the conversation back that way. Deep breaths, he can do this.
"When you tried to give you your life you were giving up your dream as well, you can't be a dead swordsman. Though… I guess there's Brook, but that's kind of a one person deal, it's not like you could have done that. So you were giving up your dream too." Sanji points out reasonably, though his argument is swiftly devolving into rambling.
Goddamnit, why is Zoro making him so nervous? Usually he's able to keep his cool enough around the marimo but if he keeps up this babbling nonsense whilst blushing like a thirteen year old girl then even someone as terminally stupid as Zoro is going to figure him out.
Zoro gives him a thoughtful look and quirks his head slightly in a way that reminds Sanji all too much of a cat watching a particularly interesting mouse.
"But… dead." He argues back pointing to himself, he then turns his finger at Sanji and shakes his head.
"I'd have to live with giving up my dream, or at least the risk of not being able to cook when I get there. Yeah, I know, and?" He challenges, because he'd been willing to live with that decision that was the whole point.
"Different." Zoro shrugs and leans back against the wall again. Zoro looks like he's thinking something serious but for the first time in a little while Sanji had no idea even of the vague topic of what it is. Whatever the muscle-head is thinking seems to be giving him quite the mental puzzle, though with how dumb Zoro is that could be anything.
For a few moments it's just a quiet peaceful silence in the room, one that reminds Sanji of when Zoro was first cooking with him. He misses that.
"If… if we're okay again, you wanna cook with me some more? I mean, I know that Franky and Brook are helping you with that music stuff but-" Sanji flounders.
"Yeah, cook." Zoro answers and hops up off of the bed. Sanji grins to himself but manages to more or less kill the dopey expression by the time Zoro turns around to look at him.
"Oi, help me up. My head is killing me and I need a drink, I also need to have words with the emergency rations about telling the truth." He says, holding out his hand. The swordsman grins at him and tugs him off of the bed.
Sanji leans over Zoro's shoulder as the other man helps him walk, neither of them says anything about it and Sanji likes to think that it's because they both have a little more class than that to mock the other when they genuinely need help. That's a better interpretation than Zoro just can't talk.
Despite the dramatic nature of Sanji's injury and the after effects of being blood deprived for a little bit, it's really one of the least unpleasant injuries he's ever had. Zoro's swords are always clean and sharp as anything so the thing sliced through him like one of Sanji's best knives through butter. The stitches itch but then they always do, he resists the temptation to scratch them as they walk up to the deck.
His hip bumps against Zoro's as they climb the last few steps up to the door to the deck, Zoro pauses and shifts Sanji's arm a little so that he can open the door. The stretch pulls at his stitches unpleasantly and he can't help but hiss, it's more than made up for by the conciliatory look that the swordsman shoots him though.
They step out onto the bright sunlight of the deck and the shock of the light makes Sanji scrunch his eyes up. He supposes that it's been a little while since he's his eyes have seen actual sunlight. As his eyes adjust to the brightness and Zoro walks him through onto the deck several of his nakama appear before him. Franky's coif blocks some of the light and Sanji can focus a little better.
He's surprised to see a scowl on Franky's face but as soon as the shipwright makes eye contact with Sanji his expression softens and he smiles.
"Hey there buddy, we were all worried about you. Good to see you up and about so soon." Franky smiles at him and rubs Sanji's hair before walking off.
Sanji shoots Zoro a quizzical look.
"Mad at me." The swordsman mumbles by way of explanation.
Oh yeah, Zoro set fire to the ship. Sanji's eyes look past the excited Usopp who's just come over to say how happy he is that Sanji's alive, he tunes the sharpshooter out a little as he looks at the mast. He can see dark scorch marks on the cross beam that the replacement sail is hanging off of, the flames must have reached pretty high before the others got here and managed to put it out.
It's surprising really, Zoro was just as devastated as the rest of them when Merry… when Merry burned. So it's hard to imagine that Zoro risked Sunny seriously catching fire, but he did… for him. Sanji's chest feels tight in a way that's got nothing to do with the hole pierced through it. He shakes the feeling off and tunes back into Usopp.
"-really went right through then huh?" Usopp exclaims, looking right at the healing gash in Sanji's chest.
"Yeah. It didn't hurt too bad though, it was a sharp sword, I didn't even feel it go in." Sanji says softly, he can't ignore the soft exhale from Zoro at his side.
"I'm glad you're okay Sanji, you looked like a corpse when we got here." Usopp smiles at him.
"Me too." He agrees. He doesn't want to say but he feels a little woozy now that he's been standing up for a while, he leans a little more of his weight on Zoro whilst he tries to get his bearings.
Zoro tuts at him and pulls him off to the side, the swordsman pulls him over to the edge of the grass deck and gently lowers him down so that he's sitting on the soft green grass in the warm sun with his back resting up against a wooden wall. His stitches pull uncomfortably at first and he has to shift about a bit before everything seems to settle down.
Nami saunters over to him, her feminine hips swaying hypnotically as she does so. She smiles softly at him and crouches down next to him.
"Are you feeling okay Sanji?" She asks with concern pinching her lovely brow.
"Ah, Nami-san is so sweet when she's concerned." Sanji smiles happily, "I feel okay, I just needed to get out of that bed was all."
"SANJI! What are you doing out of bed?!" Chopper's voice shrieks across the deck, making Sanji jump and his stitches twang again.
"I'll let you tell Chopper that then." Nami smirks at him and ducks out of view as the reindeer charges up to Sanji. Chopper reaches for him, clearly intends on picking him up and dragging him back to the infirmary, but Sanji quite likes it here in the sun near Zoro and the rest of his nakama. He doesn't kick Chopper, but he sticks his foot out and shoves it in the reindeer's chest to keep him at leg length.
"Cool it." He says flatly.
"You need to be back in bed! You only just woke up from being unconscious for two days!" The doctor squeals, shifting into a bigger form to try to get more arm reach.
Sanji shifts his weight onto his hands, leaving his hips free to lever and shove Chopper back sharply with his foot. The reindeer bounces across the lawn.
"Forgive me if I don't trust your medical opinion!" He hisses, letting himself back down onto the lawn with a hidden shock of pain.
Chopper looks at him wide eyed and confused from where he sits sprawled on the grass.
"I'm your doctor! You need to go back to bed! You could faint from the blood loss or rip your stitches open at this rate!" Chopper yells at him, leaping to his feet furiously. Zoro is watching the whole exchange with interest and even the rest of their nakama are starting to gather around curiously.
"The same way that the slightest shock to Zoro's head could kill him you mean? That's what you told me." He accuses with a growl. Zoro quirks an interested eyebrow at that.
"He could!" Chopper protests sharply.
"Oh really? Because I saw Zoro bust through a wall with the back of his head and he seems perfectly fine to me." Sanji argues back pointedly. This time Chopper's accusing gaze flicks to the swordsman.
"ZORO! How could you?!" The doctor squeals, clutching at his hat in horror.
"He's fine, as long as he hit it with the plate his brain won't have any problems. I built that plate strong enough so that nothing shy of a cannon ball right to the back of the head will even dent it, if something breaks, make it better than before, that's my philosophy." Franky grins slapping Zoro on the shoulder.
"NO! The brain can't take that kind of trauma, especially an injured one like Zoro's!" Chopper argues with Franky.
"He's fine!" Franky insists.
Sanji shakes his head despairingly and notices Zoro's eyes flick over to him. The swordsman looks as if he's starting to understand why Sanji was as concerned as he was.
"I don't care!" Chopper bawls eventually, bursting into tears.
"I can't keep putting you all back together, one time I'm not going to be able to! Even if there's a chance that hitting your head again could kill you, you should avoid it! I don't want you to diiiie!" Chopper wails, clutching at Zoro's leg.
The swordsman suddenly looks infinitely guilty, crouching down and cuddling the sobbing reindeer close. The marimo has always had a soft spot for their little doctor but right now it's not a train that Sanji can say that he shares especially.
"I think I might be able to see where this problem started. If Zoro thought he was invincible and Sanji thought that the slightest touch would kill him, then no wonder he wouldn't fight back." Robin comments, having come over earlier to view the commotion. Sanji tries to resist swooning; his beautiful Robin is always so clever.
"Oi, Chopper." Luffy calls from above Sanji. The cook looks up to see their captain leaning over the railing above Sanji's head, looking down on the whole scene. Despite their captain's dumb behaviour, when it came to situations where their nakamaship was in real danger or if something serious was happening with the crew, he was pretty switched on and protective. The little doctor looks up at Luffy with tearful eyes from his place buried in Zoro's chest.
"We're all strong, and you're the best doctor. We trust you, so you should trust us. If you'd trusted Sanji to be sensible then Zoro wouldn't have nearly broken his hand to prove a point. Sanji got hurt because you didn't trust him, you risked his dream." Luffy says, his voice deadly serious and his eyes piercing under the dark shadow of his famous hat.
Sanji's skin crawls. He hates that expression and is incredibly glad that Luffy is not pointing it his way, it's Luffy's seriously angry face and it means business. Chopper seems to sense this too and tears up even more, floods of fat tears streaming down his fur.
"I just wanted to keep them safe." Chopper whines pathetically, now even Sanji feels sorry for him.
"They're pirates, they can do that on their own. If you want safe then you can get off the ship. Or you trust you nakama and stay here. Which will it be?" Luffy challenges sternly. Sanji's jaw drops at that, Luffy can't be serious can he? But Luffy's face tells him that he's deadly serious, evidently Chopper realises that too because guilty brown eyes turn on Sanji.
"I'm sorry Sanji, I should have… I should have trusted you, all of you." Chopper adds, flicking his gaze to Franky and Zoro as well.
"It's okay Chopper, really. Forget about it." Sanji says quickly, wanting this awful guilty feeling to just be behind them all.
Zoro doesn't say anything but instead pulls Chopper close to him again, nuzzling his face into the reindeer's fur and whining quietly. Franky too pats the top of Chopper's hat, also seeming keen to get the whole fight over with.
"Great! So, Sanji, when can you make me meat again?" Luffy grins down at him, all seriousness and scariness vanished from his face as if it was never there. It weirds him out a little.
"Uh… Well, I'll see how I feel but Zoro agreed to help me cook again. So even if I feel bad I can make him do all of the hard work, so probably dinner." He answers with a little thought. He knows full well that Chopper doesn't approve of this plan but the little doctor isn't likely to kick up a fuss about any of his or Zoro's bending of medical rules right now, not after that. Sure, the reindeer would soon be back to ordering them all around when it comes to their health, but for a little while they were good.
He looks across to Zoro and sees the swordsman smiling at him. Not a mocking or teasing smile, not a smug grin just… just a smile and it makes Sanji's heart flutter to see it.
"Yes! Sanji's cooking!" Luffy hollers excitedly, throwing his hands up in the air and momentarily distracting Sanji from looking at Zoro. When he looks back Zoro has looked away and if it wasn't for his still thrumming pulse Sanji would think that he'd imagined that smile.