It was only about a week and a half or so later that the kitchen door opened, allowing Zoro to stroll in with the stoniest of stone expressions, his shoulders tightened to keep his posture. It was still a little bit before breakfast, so he was early due to the lack of most of the crew sprawled about in the kitchen, but still late considering he used to come in the same time as Sanji.
The cook looked up from his place at the stove in the midst of cooking, wearing his pink apron in usual Sanji fashion, regardless of the obvious curve in it and the extra mess that lay there from his new found clumsiness. He raised his curly brow suspiciously before scowling.
"Finally Marimo, where the hell have you been?" He huffed, gesturing over to his work. "Get over here, you're supposed to be helping me."
The swordsman growled slightly under his breath, already falling back into the more usual morning routine. Thanks to the specific rules, he was suppose to help the cook out in the kitchen, the least he could do for infecting him with his sperm. However the blond had never actually taken him up on that rule until more recently, the growth in his abdomen proving a little more difficult as it knocked down anything in its reach that Sanji was trying to cook with, thus the mess on his apron.
And even so, that wasn't easy for Sanji to do, to let some neanderthal join him on his side of the kitchen and work with his tools, his life. He supposed, in the long run, Zoro could be the one he trusted them with, if he remembered the proper care of course.
Zoro knew better than to protest his request, though, having already felt the onslaught of the protective crew over the matter in favor of the cook, shooting him glares and cold shoulders until he played along. It hadn't phased him at all until maybe when he wasn't allowed into his room with the cook over the whole damn thing. So, as a changed man, only grumbling slightly under his breath, Zoro moved over behind the counter where Sanji was, lightly placing a hand on his hip, gently holding the cook as he pecked his cheek, grinning triumphantly. The Marimo earned himself a fuck off before he moved past him and took over the stove.
Sanji brushed him off with a silent snarl, mostly because he still hated the flutter he got from the asshole's public displays of affection, amongst which this one really only scaled about a five compared to other occurrences. He dismissed it, forcing a deeper scowl on his face before turning around and sighing out of relief, opening one of the island's drawers and searching for something Chopper had given him, unaware of the eyes on him from around the room.
Zoro kept swirling the cook's concoction the way he'd seen him do before, not sure exactly what it was doing and how it turned to cooking, hell it actually seemed kind of easy just stirring like this, before glancing back over at the blond. His glower softened slightly, his eyes focusing on the small bottle Sanji had retrieved. He recognized it but it made him slightly concerned. It was one of the bottles Chopper always gave any of his little prescriptions in. And because no one was asking as Sanji threw his head back, swallowing some of the pills in one go, he decided he would. He was carrying his baby after all.
"S'wrong cook? Not enough beauty sleep?"
The scorned expression was enough to send any fear out of his mind, the blond having responded normal as ever, a positive sign.
"No asshole, I got enough thank you very much." Sanji hissed, closing the bottle back and tossing it into the drawer once more. "I've just got heartburn like a bitch." He'd lowered his tone in his response while he turned back to the simple task he'd left Zoro in charge of. There was a lady around so of course he didn't want to be too loud when spitting his sailor tongue.
Not that they ever minded. In fact, it was a bit calming in how back to normal everything seemed. Robin peered from over the curve of her mug, admiring her view at the expecting couple. Her usual eerie smile, which only revealed her most unique of thoughts, was already brightening her features this early in the morning. She had a love and hate relationship with igniting the lover's quarrel, but simply this time she could not pass up the opportunity to tease the cook.
"You know, Sanji," she began, setting her mug down, her eyes trailing over the cook who had just withdrawn his arm from nudging Zoro for doing something wrong before willingly giving her his full attention. "It's an old wives tale that the more heartburn an expecting mother has, the more hair the baby will be born with."
Zoro snorted loudly. Now if that wasn't icing on the cake. Especially when the cook's face was just priceless upon hearing that. He could practically feel the mental face palm inside that curly brain. He knew enough already that Sanji had hunches that a clone of his favorite swordsman would come out, so it probably would have hair, most likely green, when he arrives.
The thought amused the Marimo to no end. His baby there, having a head full of hair, similar to his. Shit, it was better than the random baby image he kept getting in his head. He wanted to know what his son looked like already, his patience about becoming a father running thin. Fucking thing was taking too long and the more time that passed the more he found himself accidentally stressing himself out. Even so, he couldn't help but wonder... how genetic were those brows?
There was an awkward expression on the cook's face. He did love Robin's lovely commentary and fun facts, but simply something about this one had him speechless. How the hell-? Did that mean-? His vision went involuntarily green. He did what his instincts normally told him to, as this reaction was one he used often on such an unusual crew. He pinched the bridge of his nose, letting out a slightly annoyed sigh. This situation just kept getting better and better. He purposely had tried skipping the old wives tale section of the information Chopper had gathered for them.
His eyebrow slowly twitched. That fucking heartburn feeling was nothing but a thorn in his side these days and to think each and every time he was having it could mean...!
"Fucking fantastic. Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse... to think there's shitty moss growing inside me... I'm gonna be sick-"
"Wait until he comes out with those ero cook brows."
Sanji's head jerked back to the asshole who was grinning at him from his spot. He was definitely amused by this information. Day by day it seemed like more interesting things were being discovered about this thing, leading up to the prize. Hell, he was enjoying the ride and feeding off the death threats he could just taste Sanji sending him mentally.
"Oi!" Sanji snapped, shoving himself into place at the stove. Suddenly he didn't want an idiot helping him in the kitchen anymore. He only set the knob on simmer anyway, allowing himself to turn and get up close and personal with a jackass. "It'd be the only thing going for him if he turns out looking like you, shit face!"
"What'd you say?"
"Fantastic, is he going to end up fucking deaf too?"
Ah, yes just a normal day in the kitchen. Robin just continued to wear her smile. Her job here was done. She turned in her seat, graciously taking her leave, but ended up almost running into the door as it swung inward, Luffy jumping inside and launching for his seat, yelling his cook's name excitedly off the top of his lungs. He was here earlier today, but with a good reason.
Their orange haired navigator and Chopper trailed in next, seemingly annoyed at the way their captain had ditched them and gone ahead much faster. On any other day it would have been odd to see them all so early and worn, er well at least some of them, but they had good reason to be. During the night they had come across the next island and docked onto it, the group of five, the others that had joined them being Brook and Usopp, had left the ship that morning to do some exploring around the island to get more information about it. They would share it back to the remaining group over some munchies.
Sanji nearly knocked Zoro clean over in his distraction from watching them, heading straight to the fridge to retrieve the chilled drink he announced for his Nami-swan. Unlike the last two weeks or so, they had finally escaped the sudden chill of a never ending blizzard right back into summer weather, which Sanji much preferred. Even if he couldn't spend too much time outside without feeling miserable and the unusual feeling of potentially combusting into flames, minus the diable jambe flare.
Zoro cursed under his breath, pulling himself off of where he'd nearly been impaled against the counter and moving around it, listening to the way the crew immediately went into reunion style, the incoming group going straight into discussions about what they saw and did.
"Ah, Robin, it's so beautiful! They have hot springs as well and shops-" Nami began, already putting something down to the side that she'd experimentally purchased.
"Cotton Candy carts too!"
Sanji raised his eyebrow. A city where cotton candy was served on the streets. Why did that wake up his stomach this morning? Before he could get into more specifics, their captain seemed to take over, standing up with a excited grin to announce their next adventure.
"They're having a festival and we're all going! I'm gonna eat meat!"
"Festival?" Sanji repeated, unsure if he was as excited about that.
Festivals meant lots of people. Lots of girls, which he had no argument against, but lots of people, which made him feel very exposed. Though, festivals usually had main events in the evening hours, with nothing more than lantern light illuminating the way. Perhaps it could work out, maybe. Even though he loved to cook, he was dying to get out and try some food that wasn't his own.
"That's right," Nami began, taking her seat with the drink Sanji had retrieved for her. "And there's a dress code for it too. The people here take tradition really seriously."
Zoro leaned back against the island, watching them all move about.
"Dress code?" He wasn't wearing some damn outfit for booze when there was booze here waiting for him.
About that time the kitchen door was kicked in, causing Sanji to cuss, and Usopp and Brook strolled in, rolls of stunning floral patterned fabric under their arms.
"Everyone~ We are back- oh? You're already here? Yohoho." Brook laughed, setting his things on the table, only to pick them up again at the glare the cook was giving him.
"Yeah, we got all we could need for the outfits. Thanks to Nami's bargaining." He explained.
Nami just giggled slightly, shrugging her shoulders in an innocent manor, like it really was nothing.
Robin approached, reaching out to gently run her fingers over the fabric. It was simply beautiful to her tastes, giving her a warm smile.
"Am I correct to assume we'll be in our very own kimonos and yukatas this evening?"
Usopp nodded. "Yup, all ready to go. Except, uh, Sanji."
The cook hesitated at his spot where he'd tried going back to taking control of his kitchen, setting the table and asking Franky to remove some of his blue prints and notes he'd decidedly brought into the kitchen to work on since early that morning. Reluctantly, he glanced over. He knew he wasn't going to enjoy this conversation since the mention about yukatas. There was no way in hell he wanted to wear that. Fuck he felt exhausted just thinking about getting dressed in that and going out on a night in town. They didn't happen to have some kind of delivery service to the Sunny, did they?
"We're probably going to have to alter yours. I can help after breakfast."
Sanji shook his head, standing straight up and ignoring the soft roll inside him. Jeez, Satoru wasn't even out of him yet and he was playing his role of a kid wanting to stay out late. Was this his version of begging his parents?
"Nah, don't worry about it Usopp. I probably shouldn't-"
"Sanji! We're all going!" Luffy demanded, food already in his mouth, inflating his cheeks as he just reached over to grab already prepared things waiting at the counter.
Sanji's eyes narrowed and he hit the back of his head. "Oi you rubber bastard, did I say you could eat yet?"
"Yeah Sanji-kun it'll be fun! You and Zoro can have some alone time and go on your date~"
His face softened and he ignored the snort from across the room. Ah, if only she truly understood how much of his heart she was breaking by even suggesting such things with the bastard. Still she kept on her award winning cute smile and turned to Chopper who was beside her.
"Besides, Chopper says it's okay. Right, Chopper?"
Chopper had been sort of silent, a few things on his mind. He had kind of tuned out the enthusiastic conversation of his nakama, since he'd celebrated with them the whole way back to the ship. His new focus was on the medical facility he had found, one with proper equipment that would be perfect for a certain event approaching pretty fast. He jumped slightly at his name.
Wait what was he agreeing to? His eyes caught on quick to the silent stare Sanji was giving him and he swallowed thickly. Oh okay it had to do with Sanji and the festival. His doctor instincts were pressing on him hard to say no. Sanji should be resting instead. But then he remembered what Sanji had asked of him, once when they were alone, unknown to the rest of the crew. For him not to tell anyone how exhausted the cook was becoming. He didn't want anyone to know that he was falling behind.
His words hung on his mouth for a moment, a shiver running up his spine from being the spotlight of attention. Then he just smiled and giggled his usual way, rubbing the back of his head.
"Yes of course~! Doctor approved!"
Sanji wanted to rip his hair out. As if that long pause while the two of them had eye contact wasn't totally suspicious. He could feel some eyes on him. Way to put him in a tight spot. One corner, his Captain who he couldn't exactly say no to, the other his doctor who could have been the only one to weasel him out of this. He sighed, giving in.
"Alright I guess, we can do those after breakfast, now clear this shit off my table!"
No one ever questioned the hand that fed them, complying and moving their own plates and silverware that were still stacked so that the table was more properly set. Any way they could help the cook out, they would. Sanji seemed a little touched by it, but not so as it was becoming a habit he actually liked, and turned back toward his better half of the room, his kitchen. There was still some stuff that apparently Luffy hadn't been able to stretch over and steal.
He had planned to walk past the swordsman without saying much of anything, his mind elsewhere, thinking about how much he's going to loathe this measuring so that he too might have a yukata and visit the festivities, but a hand reached out and stopped him, causing the blond to glance up at his lover with narrow eyes.
"What the hell, Marimo?" he hissed, smacking his hand away. "What is it?"
Zoro just stared down with an indifferent expression, studying him with that single dark eye.
"What was that?" was all he asked, gesturing back to the table silently.
He didn't have to say a word for Sanji to already realize what he had meant, the doctor-patient showdown. Really, having such an observant worry wart of a fiancee was really annoying sometimes. Sanji brushed it off, turning his shoulder toward him. Zoro just didn't need to know some things, there was doctor patient confidentiality for a reason and he planned to use it to the fullest, letting nothing out he didn't approve of.
"It was nothing, shit head." He kept moving behind his counter. "Stop making something out of nothing."
Little did Sanji know, though, that his words only made Zoro more curious about this untold situation. It was only a matter of how he would be filled in. Either way it was going to happen and soon, he was determined.
"It didn't look like nothing." He followed him there, as infuriating as it was.
Sanji just stopped, glaring up at him. He needed to say something, or at least enough of something to get the marimo off his back.
"Oi, listen here asshole, I'm trying to be nice about this and get all dressed up and shit so we can all have fun tonight, so try not to ruin it with that ugly mug saying something's up. It's not, I've just been a little more tired lately. Honest."
Sanji pursed his lips. He wasn't actually lying, he was definitely more exhausted. He rolled his eyes, grumbling while picking something up, a grumble similar to the word promise under his breath.
"Now hurry up and help me take this to the table or I'll kick your ass."
Author's Note: Beta'd by MyLadyDay ! A boring ish chapter I'm sorry, I'm already working into the next one. I give up on apologizing on being so late and promising to be quicker.. OTL I just cant seem to get myself working. I'll keep trying and I am sorry. Also of course reviews, comments, thoughts everything is welcomed for this chapter and anything up to it ~!