Meanwhile somewhere else along the Grandline, quite a distance behind the Straw Hat crew but finally having docked from Hamel Island, a navy ship was battling a storm. It's marines were running around above the deck, desperately trying to get to their positions to face nature's beast. Below the deck, in a small infirmary wing, a marine doctor continued to ring out a cloth over a bucket before placing it back over his captain's forehead.
"Sir, you're fever is still high and your wounds aren't all the way healed." He explained, glancing over the freshly stained bandages that laced his Captain's chest. "I recommend we put off this chase until further notice. Let someone else follow the Straw Hats."
A loud grumble came from inside the massive captain, his face shadowed by a scowl. He wasn't in the best of shape and hadn't been since his men had decided to stop lolly gagging and help him. They had found him in the place Zoro and Sanji had left him, severely sliced in the middle of the goddamn forest.
"No." The Captain growled, glaring furiously at his doctor. "We aren't that far behind. I'm going to catch that straw hat."
But there was another motive the Captain had. All he could see replaying in his mind was Sanji, fleeing away and protecting his abdomen in an odd matter. The coward! He had even planned to have his crew mate, the pirate hunter Zoro finish his battle. It was extremely dishonorable and the Captain wanted nothing more to get his revenge on that smack talking blonde. He glared up at the wanted posters he had his crew bring down and hang onto the wall, those of the Straw Hat crew. They were his motivation to hurry up and heal, so he could rid them while they were still in his grasp.
When they finally reached the island the Fortune Teller's log pose pointed them to, Sanji was already well into his fourth month. No one had imagined the trip to take so long, but none the less they were greatful. They could only see the island in the distance, but could already tell it had a huge city on it. Just what the girls had been waiting for. Sitting on their lawn chairs after having spotted the island, they glanced at one another, grins painting their beautiful features.
Zoro, who was choosing to lift his weights on the deck, totally not because Sanji couldn't visit him as much in the crow's nest or anything, paused a moment to gaze over at it, wiping the sweat from his brow. He grinned at his Captain, who was cheering from his spot on the Sunny's head and then turned towards the kitchen. He was just about to go and alert the Cook of their arrival when the two ladies, now getting up from their seats, called out for him to stop.
"Don't worry about it Zoro, we'll tell him." Nami assured.
It wasn't minutes later the navigator swung the kitchen door open, nearly startling the blonde Cook. Sanji had to nearly juggle just to keep the glass he was putting away from falling and breaking. It usually would have been an easy task, except for some reason he seem to just be clumsy with everything these days. He turned to see the girls, slightly blushing at his earlier charades.
Sanji flattened down his apron bashfully, as if it could even hide the protruding tummy, which had no doubt grown bigger since its discovery by the crew. He casually leaned up against his counter, trying to hide the plate that held a certain rice related treat he'd made himself.
"Ah, Nami-swan! Robin-chan!" He exclaimed. "I'm sorry I can't make your treats would you like me to make you something-"
"No Sanji-kun." Nami stopped him with a gesture of her hand, her bracelets jiggling. "We just came to let you know we've reached the next island."
Sanji raised his eyebrow, slightly nervous. He'd kind of been dreading going to the next island. Everyone on the crew had been so excited about the news and getting things for Sanji and baby, he wasn't sure he was going to be ready for this. Then again they were getting low on the food rations again and restocking was needed.
Robin nodded, smiling warmly before tucking a strand of her raven hair back. "Yes. I believe its about time we got you some of your own clothes, Sanji."
Nami, still beside her nodded, crossing her arms. "And some stuff for the baby."
Sanji still stayed in his place, determined not to show them he'd been snacking. It was bad enough they knew he would be, but finding him in the act was just as embarrassing. Nami looked at him suspiciously though. It was quite obvious, the way he leaned over the counter that he was hiding something. She sighed rolling her eyes.
"Sanji, You've got rice on your face still. Just finish your snack and then come out, yeah?"
Sanji's hand moved straight to his face to wipe away the stray piece of rice, his cheeks reddening. He nodded, having been caught and stopped leaning against the counter, to embarrassed to say anything more to the ladies as they exited. He glared at his tiny snack, shoved it to his mouth, cussing the whole time while he untied his apron.
After cleaning that up and placing away the rest of the glasses, there weren't that many left, Sanji left his kitchen and joined the rest of the crew on the lawn. He gazed over, slightly impressed at the city coming into view as they progressed quite nicely. Everyone looked excited to get off the boat again, the need to get away from each other most likely high and the need for adventure. However, Sanji wasn't sure he liked this adventure that was in store.
The last few days there had been so much talk about what they would need to get, some revolving around things for their newest crew member. Sanji though, just really wanted to focus on the food stock. Before anyone could decide where they would be going and what they would be doing on the island though, nearly all of them instantly volunteered to go into town with Sanji. It surprised him, well no actually it didn't, he knew they all wanted to splurge and be exited again.
He sighed. It would seem there was no way around it. At least if the whole crew was helping, they'd get it done much faster. He glanced over at Luffy, who was of course grinning before announcing some words he honestly never thought he'd hear him say.
"Let's go shopping!"
It was an interesting sight to say the least when they did eventually get into to town. Sanji just watched as his crew mates, wearing some goofy disguises no doubt because they'd all gotten famous, walked around among the crowds of people and glanced into store windows enthusiastically. Sanji watched them, enjoying their excitement as he walked down the street himself. He glanced at the shops. Most of them were for travelers but they did seem to have the usual lot of blacksmiths, clothing shops and pubs.
Sanji wasn't very excited for clothes shopping himself for obvious reasons. He felt more comfortable in a tailored suit then anything else, but knew that was out of the question. Peanut was growing steadily, his hunger pains making sure of that. In fact, Sanji didn't want to admit it, but that might have been a second reason he was itching to head to the market. Without realizing it he'd stopped, having had been watching the rest of his crew. It was then he realized the presence next to him. He rolled his eyes, glancing at the swordsman, wearing his ridiculous mustache.
"The hell do you want Marimo?" He said lowly, trying not to give him to much of acknowledgment.
It seemed every time he was in the swordsman's presence, the more things he'd never want to happen, that could embarrassingly happen, happened. And the damn Marimo fed off all of it. Zoro let out an amused huff, raising his brow and looking the cook down. It would seem the blonde hadn't heard him when he approached and had mentioned something, falling on death ears. It didn't matter he supposed, now that it seemed he had caught the Cook's attention. He grinned, side stepping closer to him, ignoring Sanji's growl of a question.
"Spying on girls now ero-cook?" He pointed out, gesturing with his head where Sanji had been staring.
At first he'd been watching his crew, but they were quick ones. That and there were quite a handful of people about that there were new people staring in that location. This time a group of beautiful women that Sanji would have loved to run over to and swoon. He narrowed his eyes though, glaring back over at Zoro. Shit head! It made his cheeks slightly flush and he turned abruptly from Zoro.
"Oh fuck you, ya' shitty moss head. If anyone's spying it's been you." He said bitterly before starting back down the street.
Zoro watched him go amused, starting to trail behind as well, his hand resting on the hilt's of his katana. He slightly shrugged. Alright, he'd totally been checking Sanji out from afar since they'd left the ship. Fifty percent because he was using him to follow the group, not that he got lost or anything, the other fifty percent because...
"It's not my fault..." He began, speeding up a bit so that he was walking beside the blonde. "Wearing my clothes like that, you were asking for it."
Sanji couldn't help himself, he let out an irritated noise, glowering over at that fucking swordsman. It wasn't his fault even his poor hoodie couldn't be worn anymore. The one at fault here was this fucking Marimo! He was the sperm donor here! If he had just stayed a lover of the ladies, then he'd probably smoking happily in his suits right about now, flirting with those ladies they had just passed. But no, now he was being checked out while wearing his boyfriends clothes because some Marimo baby was growing inside his stomach and he couldn't for some god damn reason stop blushing! He growled out.
"I need to get out of these dirty things. I can feel my IQ dropping." He gritted through his teeth. "Next thing you know they'll be handing me some shitty swords and putting me in a haramaki."
Zoro glanced down, playfully pulling out the top of his haramaki. "That's not a bad idea Cook, it could keep the baby in place."
Sanji spun on his heel at that comment, grabbing Zoro's shirt to lash out in his face. "Shut up you Shitty Marimo! You think this is funny?"
Zoro wasn't phased though, he was admiring the view of a flustered Cook holding on to him, both his eyes, since his bang had been misplaced, staring at him. He pointed towards the eyebrow. Sanji looked at the gesture confused until it made sense. He dropped Zoro's shirt instantly and turned back away, his hands frustratingly messing his hair.
Zoro frowned slightly though watching Sanji. He knew that the cook really needed to release some steam, but knew he shouldn't be over exerting himself right now. It didn't help everything was starting to set him off. What Zoro had said had been a compliment though. And pointing out the eyebrows was being helpful, after all the blonde made sure to hide one of them for some reason right? Zoro shrugged at his mental conversation. Though he didn't understand why, they were kind of irresistible on the blonde when he was embarrassed like that.
Sanji finally calmed himself down with some deep breathing. He glanced back at the Marimo, meeting his eye. He didn't speak, but not strangling him was enough to tell Zoro enough that he didn't mean to be so reactive. Though, he did honestly really want to kick the bastard to a pulp. He looked down at the haramaki on Zoro though. That really was the last straw if anyone was going to suggest him wearing that!
"Sanji-kun! Zoro!" A call from off to the side caught their attention.
It was Nami and Robin, standing half way out of a shop. Nami had her arm up and was attempting to wave them over. Zoro glanced over at Sanji.
"Guess they found your size."
Sanji rolled his eyes, glaring at him. "You do realize shit head that I'm going to kill you as soon as this baby's out, don't you?"
Zoro gave a solid nod. "Better to enjoy life while you can, right curly?"
The cook was about to walk off to the shop when Zoro reached out and grabbed his wrist. He pulled him closer, stealing his lips once. He didn't want the Cook to be mad at him. He loved to tease him, that was obvious enough, but he didn't want the cook upset. They were about to start a family together after all, everything was a new page of this adventure. The two of them were a team now.
Zoro pulled away, walking ahead and leaving a breathless Sanji in his shadow.
Sanji had many reasons he supposed he could believe in miracles and fate. Some he would admit to, some he wouldn't. This was one he'd accept wholeheartedly. When they had shown up at the shop with Robin and Nami, he was blessed enough to hear that he wouldn't have to stay for the clothes shopping he'd dreaded this whole time. Instead, Nami just place a few shirts against his back, trying to get a good feel for what sizes to get. It was a little different, considering it wasn't a normal sized store, but a big and tall.
Then again it was better than actual Maternity wear. Ussop had been teasing him for days about getting a bun in the oven shirt and he swore he was about to break that nose, no fighting rule or not. But the real miracle of the occasion was that after getting his size, Nami shooed Sanji away.
"You need to go to the market right? Go on ahead, have Zoro carry your stuff. We can meet you guys back up at the ship." She smiled.
Ah, an angel in human form! So that was settled. While Nami and Robin did their Sanji clothes shopping, which Sanji would be lying if he wasn't still a little concerned, and Luffy and the rest of the guys were doing god knows what, Sanji would be dragging Zoro to a beautiful market place. It was huge, several little shops open along the sea street, wonderfully colored and smelling foods on display for sale. Zoro didn't even have to glance over at Sanji to know he looked like he'd just woken up to Christmas morning.
Within moments Zoro was getting stuck lugging around a few bags of groceries. Though he didn't mind, this had become the norm. Usually when he came to the market to carry whatever crap the cook bought though, it had been quite a boring trip for himself. He wasn't as excited about food, needless to say, as much as how it made Sanji smile. Though there was something about this trip he did seem to enjoy. It's something he noticed quite fast.
Instead of going to the places and getting usual things that he always got, it was almost as though Sanji was following his nose. He'd approach the booths enthusiastically and even seemed to be taste testing a lot of produce. It made Zoro grin. That idiot cook, he could deny it all he wanted but there was no way in hell it wasn't painfully obvious his new craves and hunger had kicked in. It was endearing to watch.
So when Sanji was lightly flirting with a girl at a stand of fruits, sampling a fresh grape from a vine, Zoro couldn't help but hover over and tease. It was like his sole purpose to infuriate the Cook, a burning desire.
"Oi, love cook, leave some for the rest of the customers." He said low enough for Sanji to hear, his chin turning and he glanced around, as if acting inconspicuous.
Sanji let out a minor chuckle, trying to keep his composure and a smile to the lovely miss in front of him. However his own inner desire of killing the swordsman was back. The fuck was he getting at? The stupid Marimo should just shut his trap, he hadn't even sampled that much, jeez...Had he? Well, it was always good to sample anything you could before you bought it was it not? Dammit! Why was he even trying to defend himself?
The young lady tried not to giggle as she accepted the payment from Sanji, looking back and forth between the Duo, unknowingly to them catching all their conversations.
"Shitty Marimo, what did I tell you about just standing there and looking pretty, yeah?" he whispered bitterly, turning and handing Zoro another bag.
Zoro took it, looking Sanji down as he did. "Thought a diva like you'd want that job."
Sanji shook his head lightly, turning and starting off towards the next booth that caught his eye. "Go off and scare some more kids with that ugly mug again, Shit head."
The swordsman couldn't help but let out a growl at that remark. That had happened maybe on one occurrence and the girl wasn't even crying because of him. What kid isn't petrified when pirates and marines are running around in every direction in their town? It was just in that moment when Zoro stumbled upon her that Sanji also ran past, catching sight of him looking down at her worriedly.
It made Sanji sort of snort just remembering that scene and how the swordsman wouldn't stop mentioning that night how he hadn't made her cry. The blonde knew Zoro didn't, but it was nonetheless still fun to bother him about. Though the Cook knew also that the swordsman was good with kids, he somehow got along with them in an awkward way. He'd be a good father.
The two were insulting each other, growling and glowering each other down while Sanji, now distracted, went back to doing his craft and finding fresh ingredients. The old woman behind this booth though couldn't help but smile and laugh at their display. Two young men babbling insults at each other, it made her old heart warm. The two of them stopped though, having heard they had an audience and glanced over to her. Sanji cleared his throat and stood a little straighter.
"I apologize for that madam. Please pay this neanderthal no mind."
The old woman shook her head. "No, no it's quite fine. You two are together aren't you?"
Zoro nearly choked on his own spit in laughter and Sanji violently shook his head.
"No we aren't we are just..." His voice drifted off though at the silence coming from his side.
Well shit. Now he was in some sort of situation wasn't he. The man he loved and his baby's father was watching him expectantly to hear what exactly they were. No pressure or anything. He just lowered his head, regretfully placing out his hand with payment.
"We are." he finally admitted hushly, ignoring the smug expression of the bastard behind him.
Though, it didn't end there.
"Ah I knew it! So then how far along are you?"
Both men tensed, Zoro's eye widening slightly. Could she have asked an even worse question? As if the cook wasn't self conscious enough about his appearance and then having to wear his clothes, now she had to ask something like that? First off how did she freaking even know? Were they possibly the only crew on the Grand Line not knowing about this male pregnancy thing? Or perhaps it was just the weird old tribal women. Either way, he brought up a hand and pinched the bridge of his noise, sighing.
Sanji seemed still frozen a bit, oblivious to what was going around in the market around them or even, not really acknowledging what he'd been asked. But that was what it just appeared to be. Sanji was internally having his own crisis. He just smiled at her though, no need to let a tiny old woman know her words had bothered him. After all, women probably usually were really chipper talking about this sort of stuff and asking questions.
"Four months." He told her, his voice still calm.
After hearing some more kind things from the woman and some advice about what he should eat, which Sanji already knew himself, they left the market. It was unsettling to Zoro, who was carrying the bags and following the cook. He kept expecting any moment for the blonde to lash out and be angry. But he wasn't. They traveled in silence the whole way and it worried the Marimo. The Cook wasn't beating himself up that much just because someone found out was he?
They got back onto the ship to find only some of the crew had returned. Robin and Nami were still shopping in town. The guys had come back though. When Zoro had put the things down on the counter, they all rushed in to greet them, excited with some news. Except Brook, whose music could be heard coming from the aquarium.
Chopper jumped up and down seeing the cook and swordsman, rushing over to climb up onto the chair with his exciting news.
"Sanji! Sanji! Guess what we found in the market today!" He begged.
Luffy slid into the one next to him, laughing. "It's one of those picture machines!" He announced, giving away the answer already.
Ussop let out a small groan, nudging Luffy in the side. "Luffy! We were going to have him guess!"
Sanji, who had already began to put things away, stopped for a moment then turned around, that forced expression Zoro could see through coming back.
"What? You guys found an ultrasound machine? Here?"
Chopper nodded. "Yeah! There was this store with medical supplies and they had one! It was this tiny portable one-"
"But that other one had to be hooked up to a generator. How the hell are you guys going to get that to work in the infirmary?" The blond had to point out.
Ussop shook his head though, taking one of his stances that were reserved for the best story telling or when he was absolutely proud, his thumb pointing back to himself.
"Nope! We don't need one! Me and Franky worked out a way to make it run without it! With Cola!"
Zoro let out a huff at that. Of course it would run on Cola. Well, it wasn't his drink of choice but if it worked. Speaking of drink he took this moment of the cook's distraction to reach for one of the bottles of sake- Nope. Sanji turned, blocking him and grinning evily.
"No Marimo, I'm still watching you." He warned.
Zoro retreated his hand, mumbling nonsense about the cook under his breath. At least Sanji wasn't upset enough to let that slide, he was still doing normal things. His eye's traveled to Sanji's abdomen for a quick peek before walking away.
"What do you need an ultrasound now though for Chopper?" Sanji had to question. He'd seen the baby once already before, why did he need to see them again? Another reminder just in case? Though he supposed if the rest of the crew really wanted to see..
"If we can get it to work we can tell what gender it'll be!"
Author's Note: Kyaaaa 8D baby gender~ things progressing nicely. XD oh sanji dont be too bummed ;u; it gets better in the next yummy chapter ;D. Hope that wasn't to boring for you or anything and you enjoyed it! You guys are the best followers/reviewers/readers/favoritors everrr. xoxo I shall cherish these reviews/suggestions always!