15 Reasons to Fall in Love

Chapter 16

Disclaimer: I do not own One Piece.

15. Zoro's hair is GREEN.
Because honestly, who in their right mind would want to date a moss-head?!

When Sanji woke the next morning, it was still dark. Or he thought it was still dark, until he attempted to sit up and realized that he was not in his bunk. Not only was he not in his bunk, he had something latched to his waist that tightened its hold when Sanji moved. The fog of sleep finally lifted from Sanji's mind and he recalled the events of the night before. A smile stretched his face and he looked down to where Zoro lay, though it was so dark Sanji could hardly tell him apart from the blankets beneath him.

Unlatching the arms from his waist was difficult, the marimo didn't seem inclined to let go anytime soon, but eventually Sanji managed. Spending a few fumbling moments in the dark he finally managed to locate the storm lantern they'd used the night before. He managed to light it, illuminating the storage room they had spent the night in.

"Oi, Marimo," He called to the sleeping mass on the blankets.

Zoro grunted and turned but didn't move any more than that.

Sanji sighed and moved closer. "Marimooo," He sang out.

Zoro didn't budge.

"Oi, Zoro," Sanji called a little louder now, his impatience bleeding into his voice. All Zoro did was sleep! How could he even sleep through the night after all the napping he did during the day?! "Wake up you shitty moss."

Sanji was about to shake him awake, but a hand shot out and grabbed his before he reached. Sanji glared down at Zoro, who was very clearly awake and staring back at him. He attempted to tug his hand out of the swordsman's grasp but the hold only tightened. Zoro brought Sanji's hand to his face and nuzzled into the cook's knuckles, his eyes falling shut again in content and pleasure. He resembled an overly affectionate cat, and Sanji couldn't help but soften at the gesture.

"What time is it?" Zoro murmured against Sanji's hand.

"I'm not sure," Sanji looked pointedly at the ceiling. The storage room was far below deck, where no natural light made its way in. There was no sun or moonlight shining here to give Sanji and idea of the time, but if there was one thing he'd prided himself on as a chef it was his punctuality. Sanji was never late for breakfast. Well, maybe he had been as a child, but Zeff had broken that habit. After years of his routine, Sanji could trust his biological clock to wake him for meal times. "Early probably. I should be making breakfast soon."

Zoro grunted, though Sanji wasn't sure if that was a grunt of agreement, acknowledgement, or a snore. He was inclined to go with the latter, as the swordsman had been lying still with his eyes closed for far too long. His grip on Sanji's hand hadn't lessened though.

"Come on, Marimo," Sanji sighed, attempting to wiggle his hand free. "It's time to get dressed."

Zoro grunted again, but this time it seemed to be in compliance. He freed Sanji's hand and stretched, a few joints popping in relief at the change of position, and sat up to search for his clothes.

Pleased that Zoro was listening to him without argument (perhaps Sanji should ask things from Zoro when he's half asleep from now on) Sanji set about dressing himself. Fortunately, he'd been smart enough to neatly fold his clothes and set them off to the side where he could easily find them later. It was much more convenient than having them thrown about carelessly as Zoro's were (though that may have partially been his own fault). He watched Zoro struggle to find his shirt while he buttoned up his own.

When Sanji picked up his pants, something fell from the pocket without his notice. He slid them on and was half way through doing them up when Zoro interrupted him.

"What's this?"

Sanji turned curiously. Zoro had managed to find his shirt and had slipped it on, though he was still short one boot. Between his fingers he held a neatly folded piece of paper. Sanji stared at it, curious himself as to what a piece of paper was doing in the storage room. There was something slightly familiar about it; something about the way the crease of the fold was worn, like it had been folded and unfolded many times…

The list!

Sudden realization zapped through Sanji and he made a lunge for the paper in Zoro's hand. "That's mine!" He cried, sounding a tad to panicked and desperate for his liking.

Zoro reacted instantly, yanking the paper out of Sanji's reach. Sanji lunged for it again, but Zoro managed to keep it just out of reach. A smirk spread across the marimo's face, the kind that said he was now going to do whatever possible to piss Sanji off.

"What's on the paper, Cook?" He asked curiously.

"Nothing," Sanji answered a little too quickly. "Ingredients for a new dish I'd like to try," He added. There, that sounded more believable.

"Oh?" Zoro's grin widened. He didn't buy Sanji's lie for a moment. "Well let's just take a look at what you'll be feeding us next."

"You won't even know half those ingredients," Sanji quickly, trying once more to snatch the paper back from Zoro.

Zoro was done playing keep away, snatching up the cooked hands and pinning them under his knees. The hold was gentle, but when Sanji tried to pull his hands free Zoro shifted his weight causing a painful twinge in Sanji's hands. Sanji didn't think Zoro would actually hurt his hands, but the pain sent a red alert to the most instinctive parts of his brain. Pain in the hands could mean injury to the hands, and Sanji wouldn't let his hands be injured, so he held very still.

He watched in horror as Zoro unfolded the slip of paper in his hands. He did so very carefully, and Sanji didn't blame him. When had it gotten so worn? He had written it so long ago, Sanji had been carrying that list for a long time; so long he'd actually forgotten it existed. True he moved it from pants pocket to pants pocket every time he changed, but that had become more habit than anything else. He'd kept it in the same pocket as his lighter, and it had become just another part of his personal effects over time. Things he didn't think about owning, they were just always there.

But had it always been so worn out? Holes peaked through the creases of the paper, probably where corners had been rubbed away inside his pants. He remembered that, once upon a time, he'd taken it out almost every day, reading it over and assuring himself that as long as that list existed, Zoro and he would never be together. What silly denial. His feelings for Zoro won out in hardly anytime at all, and the list that had been his safety harness against these feelings had become nothing more than a forgotten fold of paper.

Zoro read over the page, his brow furrowed in what was either confusion or frustration. Neither was really a good thing; confusion made Zoro irritable and frustration would mean Zoro was going to be angry. Sanji sat still and quiet, observing Zoro's face for any other traces of emotion as he waited for the marimo to finish reading.

When he finished, Zoro held the paper aloft, looking quizzically at Sanji. "So, what is this?"

"The list," Sanji confessed. Zoro's face didn't seem to illuminate with understanding right away, so Sanji decided to explain further. "I wrote it right after you, uh," He paused. For some reason he suddenly felt inexplicably embarrassed by his own past behavior. Falling for Zoro had almost been too easy, and Sanji wondered if maybe he could have saved himself some hassle by just accepting the marimo's feelings in the first place. "I wrote it right after you confessed," He finished quietly, afraid to meet Zoro's eyes.

"Oh yeah," Zoro said, realization seeming to dawn on him. "I remember you tried to give it to me. You're an idiot, Cook. Like I was going to take a 'no' from a sheet of paper with such stupid things written on it," He snorted, but his voice sounded amused. Sanji chanced a look. Not angry, amused. That was good.

"They aren't stupid!" Sanji cried indignantly. "I made some valid points!"

"Like number fifteen?" Zoro rolled his eyes. "Because my hair is green?"

Sanji felt a blush creeping on to his face. Okay, so his list wasn't all valid. "There was a time when I didn't find green as attractive as I do now," He muttered.

Zoro laughed and looked over the list again. "Some of them are crossed out," He pointed out.

Sanji smiled. "You exceeded my expectations, Marimo."

"But not all of them," Zoro frowned, looking thoughtfully at the paper.

Sanji took the opportunity of his distraction to slide his hands out from under Zoro's knees. Zoro didn't use his weight again, instead he let Sanji free, either on purpose or because he wasn't paying attention. Sanji wasn't sure which, but with the concentration he could see Zoro pouring into reading the stupid list, Sanji thought it could easily be the latter.

"Zoro," Sanji sighed, tugging the paper from Zoro's fingers. It gave easily, though Zoro stared after it as Sanji slid it away. "I haven't looked at this shitty thing in so long I forgot I still had it. It was every reason I couldn't fall for you, and I ended up doing that anyway, list or no list."

Zoro looked between him and the list for a moment before a small smile worked onto his face. "So you're in love with me now?"

"Who ever said such a thing?" Sanji asked, feigning innocence but assuring Zoro with a playful smile and a peck on the lips. "Now let's get going. It'll be really suspicious if I'm late making breakfast."

A feeling of terror gripped Sanji's insides as they headed towards the deck. Upon leaving the storage room there was a little more light filtering in through small windows; barely enough to see their path by, but enough to send a spark of panic through Sanji's gut. Something was off; the lighting looked different than it usually did around this time of day.

They emerged on to the deck a few moments later. Sanji blinked in the blinding, too-bright sunlight that shined down from an impossibly high sun. It certainly wasn't before breakfast time. It wasn't even late morning at this point. It was afternoon.

"There the two of you are," Robin greeted warmly, having spied their entrance. "We took the liberty of making our own breakfasts, Cook-san. Of course, Franky took care of Luffy's," She informed Sanji. She sounded casual, as if she hadn't just seen the cook and the swordsman emerge from below deck together after a night and half a day of inexplicable absence.

"Uh, okay," Sanji spouted. Smooth, real smooth. He sounded about as panicked as he felt and shot one desperate glace to Zoro, hoping perhaps the swordsman had a genius cover story planned for them.

Judging by his bored gaze, however, he probably did not.

"Sanji!" Luffy called out from below. He and Chopper had obviously invented a new and messy game and seemed to be irritating Franky and Usopp who were working together but on separate projects. "Did you and Zoro have fun? Hey, now that you're up will you cook food?"

At the call of his name, every eye seemed to turn to the newly arrived pair. Some, like Nami's and Brook's (though he had no eyes, so really it was tough to say) glittered with curiosity. Usopp and Franky exchanged a knowing look. Robin smiled warmly, and Chopper just looked mildly confused.

Sanji felt himself practically glowing red from the sudden attention. He diverted his gaze, trying to pretend he couldn't feel six pairs of eyes observing him closely.

Zoro didn't seem to be feeling the same embarrassment. Nor did he apparently hear Luffy's awkwardly stated question. His mind had clearly been wandering up to the crow's nest ahead of him, already planning out a regimen that was sure to push him to new limits. He did however notice when everyone's attention fell on to him and seemed to linger for longer than normal.

"What are you all staring at?" He asked irritably, annoyed by the sudden attention.

His blunt question deterred some of the more easily frightened members of the crew. Usopp for example, let out a terrified squeak and quickly pretended to look engrossed in his work. Chopper also looked away, looking properly embarrassed about having been caught staring. The others were not so easily frightened off and continued to look between the two men.

"I think that everyone is curious as to why the two of you were missing from your bunks last night only to have shown up this morning together," She paused looking at the two men thoughtfully. "In yesterday's clothing no less."

Sanji's blush deepened. Trust Robin to say exactly what was on her mind, but now the others were beginning to look a little more enlightened. He could practically feel their eyes raking down his clothing, and he hoped that he at least looked somewhat put together.

Zoro still didn't look all that disturbed though, in fact he looked down at Robin as if she were the confusing circumstance here. "Because we slept down in the storage room," He stated, as if the answer should have been obvious.

"Together?" She asked, one elegant eyebrow rising in amusement.

"Yeah, of course together," Zoro scoffed.

"I knew it," Robin smiled happily. "Franky I believe you owe Navigator-san some money."

Nami smiled wickedly, her mind whirling through numbers and sums as she calculated just exactly how much money she'd won.

"I told you," Usopp frowned at a pouting Franky. "I told you she was right. And even if I hadn't told you, you should know better than to make a bet with Nami."

"Sanji and Zoro had a sleep over?" Chopper asked innocently.

"Yup!" Luffy laughed. "But not the kind of sleep over you and I can go to, Chopper," He said wisely, though he honestly had no idea what he was talking about. He was just repeating what Robin had told him the night before.

Brook laughed. "Ah young love. I remember it fondly."

Sanji had had quite enough of this conversation. He decided to take advantage of the fact that they were all currently distracted with arguing amongst each other and made for the galley, the swordsman in tow. He certainly had a few choice words for the marimo.

Sanji slammed the door shut securely behind him, flicking the lock and ensuring himself some much needed privacy. After all he wouldn't want any witnesses for the murder he was about to commit. He rounded on the swordsman, ready to berate the idiot within an inch of his life for being such a loud mouth.

But Zoro spoke first. "I know you're mad."

Sanji considered skipping the talking part and moving straight on to the maiming, but it sounded like the marimo had more to say. Instead of committing murder, Sanji pulled a cigarette from his pack and lit it, deeply enjoying the burn of smoke in his lungs.

"Why would you open your big mouth like that, Shitty-marimo?" Sanji asked after the nicotine had hit his system and calmed his nerves, settling his rage at least a little bit.

"They were going to find out eventually," Zoro shrugged. "I think Robin probably already knew."

"I think so too," Sanji frowned. "I think she figured it out from the very beginning. Robin-chan is so smart," He cooed warmly.

Zoro snorted and ignored Sanji's comment before continuing. "And if we didn't tell them, they'd just talk about it anyway. They aren't idiots," He paused. "Some of them aren't idiots," He corrected with a chuckle.

"You could have found a more delicate way to break it to them!" Sanji growled, his temper flaring at how easily Zoro was handling this situation.

"What was wrong with the way I did it?" The swordsman asked, confused.

Sanji let out an exasperated sigh. "Chopper and Luffy were present, you perverted moss-brain!"

"It's not like they took anything weird from it," There was a long pause in which it seems an idea had implanted itself into Zoro's mind.

Finally he spoke again. "So you're not mad that I told them, you're just mad about the way I told them?"

Sanji sighed again, softer this time, and moved to the ashtray to stub his cigarette out. "Of course I'm not mad you told them, idiot. I just wished you had a hint of delicacy."

"You're really okay that they know?" Zoro asked in disbelief.

Sanji smiled and beckoned the swordsman closer. Zoro obeyed instantly and Sanji thought he could get used to a more obedient marimo. "They were going to have to know at some point because I intend to stay the night with you quite often," He smirked as Zoro's eyes widened. "Now listen up, Marimo because I am only going to say this once."

Zoro looked more attentive than he had ever looked in his entire life and Sanji had to resist the urge to laugh.

"I love you, Zoro," Sanji said quietly, pulling the swordsman in for a short kiss.

Zoro looked a little stunned when Sanji released him, and this time Sanji couldn't help but laugh. "Alright, Marimo," He chuckled. "Get going." With that he turned away, opening the refrigerator and inspecting the contents to decide what to make for lunch.

"Say it again," Zoro said, still looking stunned where he'd been left standing.

"I told you I was only going to say it once," Sanji smirked, pulling out a container of left overs he was going to have to use up soon.

"I didn't hear you. Say it again," The swordsman pleaded.

"Hm," Sanji seemed to consider for a moment. "Maybe if you leave me alone to cook I'll tell you again tomorrow."

Zoro smiled, a broad, warm smile that was almost foreign on his face. It was a smile that made Sanji's insides flutter. He wondered if now he'd be able to see that smile more often.

"Now shoo, Marimo, go make up for all your lost weightlifts or something," Sanji waved him off.

Zoro laughed. "Whatever you say, Love-cook."

Once Zoro was gone Sanji pulled the folded sheet of paper from his pocket, neatly unfolding it and glancing over its contents. What a stupid thing to write. Just how stupid had he been? Nothing on this list was even remotely accurate, just spending time with Zoro in the past couple of months had more than proved that. To think he would have let this stupid little list of untruths keep him from being with Zoro.

Sanji turned the list over and tore it neatly along the folded seam. He did this, once, twice, and again, until the sheet of paper better resembled confetti, before pitching the little scraps into the garbage. He wouldn't be needing a shitty list like that anymore.



Well, that's it. That is the end. Hopefully it doesn't sound too horrible. I almost didn't want it to end, it's been so fun!

Thank you all for your amazing reviews and continued support! Honestly when I wrote this thing it was exactly as Sanji said, a shitty little list on paper. I had intended just to make it a series of one shots, but felt that at least some of the reasons could be linked together. It was honestly just for fun because I had been in a bit of a writing slump. I didn't realize people were actually going to enjoy it. But thank you all so very much! From the people who gave me my first reviews to those that reviewed every chapter, and those in between who popped in to tell me what they thought. And all of those that favorited it before it was finished as well as those who followed it and gave it a chance. Thank you all so very much! You've made this very fun for me!

Well, I suppose that's it. I hope you enjoyed! Until next time!