Happy birthday, Zoro!


Into Places Never Planned

Even if Sanji hadn't spent the greater part of the previous day holed up in the kitchen, refusing to let anyone in, it would have been clear that he'd put too much effort into the cake. Composed of ten thin, delicate spice-flavored layers with creamy green tea frosting in between, it was both beautiful and pleasant-smelling.

But Zoro wasn't going to eat it. He'd seen the kind of rituals the crew held every time there was a birthday, and he refused to participate in any of it. All he wanted was to be left alone for a whole day, so he could nap in peace. That'd be the best gift of all.

And for the majority of the day, he managed to hold his resolve against his crewmates; through breakfast, and the harrying round of hide-and-seek that came afterward; through lunch, and being locked inside the galley with everyone's intent to dole out birthday spankings; and when dinner was over and the cake was brought out, Zoro was fully prepared to object.

Yet he couldn't force his vocal chords to work as he watched Sanji place candles in the cake with steady hands, or as he lit them deftly. He didn't even object when, over the din of the rest of the crew singing Happy Birthday, Sanji told him to make a wish - just closed his eyes, made a plea for the first seemingly-important thing that entered his mind, and blew out the dancing flames.

It was really useless to object at this point, and so he stomached the slice of cake Sanji handed to him. He suffered through unwrapping a series of practical gifts interspersed with a few joking ones, and even stayed with the crew late into the evening, drinking and laughing and doing all the things Zoro had promised himself he wouldn't participate in. Only when the clock struck ten did he cut it off, gathering his gifts together to take back to the bunk room.

There, he did what he'd been meaning to do all day, stripping out of his clothes before laying down in his bunk to doze off. And like clockwork, the mattress shifted a few minutes later, and his space was filled with the scent of cigarettes and expensive cologne.

He didn't have to open his eyes to know who it was. This was a ritual he was all too familiar with by now, and he wasn't shocked when Sanji curled around his body like he was meant to be there. Zoro didn't object. He liked it, and was pleased when he felt Sanji's stiff body slowly softening against his, a whisper of a sigh against his neck, Sanji shifting closer, settling himself. He kept his eyes closed, breathing steady, and hoped that Sanji would stay just like that, the whole night through.

Nevertheless, his throat felt tight, his stomach dizzyingly weightless. He liked this - that was the problem. He liked Sanji far too much, and though he wasn't scared, he was... apprehensive, about where it could possibly end, and he hated how much he dreaded the coming of that day.

Sanji's cold nose rubbed against the back of Zoro's neck, and he shivered as cold feet wormed their way under the sheets. It didn't take overwhelmingly long for Sanji to start snoring softly, but Zoro stayed awake far after that, wondering how he'd let himself fall so hard, and even though he put little faith in wishes, he hoped his would dull the pain after all.


The next morning, Sanji was gone, as Zoro had expected him to be. He'd probably only stayed for an hour or two, until the early sleepers came back to the bunk room.

It was their secret, always had been - from the very start, when all they'd had was aggressive fumblings and insults, and even when it had moved to kissing and non-sexual touches, easy companionship, more than stress relief. Between two other people, that would have constituted a relationship of some sort, but Zoro had no illusions what it meant. Sanji couldn't have Nami or Robin, and the other crew members were either taken, too young, too old, too dead, or too... animal for him.

All that left him with was Zoro. Because they were stuck on the sea most of the time, Sanji couldn't find an actual relationship with someone he really liked either, so he had to take whatever emotional satisfaction he could get from Zoro. It probably wasn't much in the long run, but even a single, dirty drop of water was good to a thirsty man.

Still, it was easy to tell that Sanji was paranoid. It felt like they were sneaking around most of the time, even when they landed on an island and stayed at an inn far away from the rest of the crew. Zoro guessed that Sanji was only so serious about it because he was ashamed, but that didn't really bother him. Or at least he told himself that.

Zoro refused to let himself dwell on it too much, and just as he always did, he rolled out of bed and sleepily dressed himself before collecting his swords. If he had good enough timing, Sanji would give him something small to tide him over until breakfast, and so he put a little hustle in his step as he headed out into the early morning.

A chill hit him as soon as he opened the door, but he just shrugged his arms into the sleeves of his overcoat and buttoned it up. Mist sat heavy on the water, making visibility hard; regardless, he eyed the horizon in all directions as he made his way up to the prow. As far as he could see in the relative darkness, there were no immediate threats. But there was Sanji, already waiting for him with a cigarette between his fingers and two steaming mugs on the railing, along with a plate of onigiri.

"Waiting to be fed, eh?" Sanji asked with a smirk as Zoro stepped up beside him. "Such an obedient dog."

Zoro grunted, wrapping his cold fingers around the warm mug of tea. "Am I the obedient one, or is it you, for feeding me every morning?"

Sanji's smirk only widened as he snuck an arm around Zoro's waist, pressing a freezing palm up under his shirt. "If the dog wants his breakfast after an insult like that, perhaps he should work for it."

"You always make me do the work anyway," Zoro said, knocking Sanji's hand away. He picked one of the onigiri off the plate and chewed on it slowly, watching the choppy waves shifting down below.

Sanji let out a laugh, but didn't negate Zoro's claim, nor did he do anything but start on his cup of coffee. "Did you have a good birthday?" he asked eventually.

Zoro shrugged his shoulders. The wish was foremost on his mind for some reason, and already this morning, he'd found himself seeing the signs of victory despite believing he wasn't that invested. But wishes were fickle, and there was no way to tell when it had run its course, or even if it intended to at all.

"You should have stayed awake," said Sanji. "I would have given you another present."

"Too bad," Zoro said lightly, as if he didn't care much about the loss. He grabbed another rice ball, taking big bites of it and occasionally washing them down with tea.

"Then," said Sanji, seeming to realize that he would have to carry the conversation on his own. "What if we make a stop on the next island? I'll stay with you the whole night."

Zoro snorted at the tone he was using. It was the same one he took every time he was trying to be seductive and irresistible, and Zoro was ashamed to admit that a good 90% of the time, it worked. "Fine."

"Good," Sanji said. He remained a warm, comforting presence against Zoro's side, making occasional comments whether or not Zoro responded. It was nice, but not as nice as it could have been. Zoro thought about the eventuality of losing this and was somewhat devastated to find that it was still as likely and painful as it had always been - perhaps that was why he'd gone for such a strange wish.


Despite having made plans, Zoro didn't really expect much when they landed on the next island. Sanji was incredibly good about keeping promises most of the time, but he got easily distracted by women; Zoro was counting on this fact, and so he took his precious time getting to the meeting place they'd decided on, a restaurant that turned out to be far nicer than what Zoro was dressed for.

He didn't even have time to start loitering before Sanji emerged from under an overhang, cigarette between his fingers and an annoyed expression on his face. "You're late," he said, voice gravel-rough, as if he'd been chain-smoking. "Our reservations were for seven-thirty sharp!"

"Sorry," Zoro replied, though he really wasn't.

The irritated air faded from Sanji, and he even put on a smile. "You got lost, didn't you?" he asked.

Zoro's heart bumped to hear the fondness in his voice. "Yeah," he lied again.

Sanji's smile hitched up slightly more, and he sighed helplessly. "Let's go in, then."

And so they did. The doors were opened before them by two men wearing fancy suits, and inside, they were seated by yet another man in a fancy suit. Each member of the staff looked perfectly at home amongst the cherry-colored wooden panelled walls, elegant in the light the huge crystal chandeliers threw off, and made perfect silhouettes against the massive, picturesque windows covered in heavy embroidered curtains.

It was overwhelming, but more overwhelming was the surprise Zoro felt when their prettily-dressed waitress arrived and Sanji wasted no time doting on her, instead ordering wine and oysters, and a variety of entrees that both of them would enjoy. In fact, he spared hardly a second glance to the small gaggle of waitresses who surrounded them later on, loaded down with plates.

Zoro's attempts at not gaping led to him guzzling wine like it was water, and it didn't take long before he was on the road to being pleasantly tipsy and full of good food. The final kindness was that Sanji was actually being charming and lovely to Zoro, but not in the manner where he pretended to be in a good mood. No, he was smiling that genuine, heartbreaking smile that would have gotten him anywhere with women if only he could behave like they were human beings.

And just like that, Zoro was taken out of the moment, the enchanted, pure happiness falling completely away. It hit him once more that he wasn't going to have Sanji for much longer, not in reality. Not that he'd ever considered their relationship some fairy tale romance, but it was easy to get taken away, easy to think that, because Sanji smiled at him and came to him in the night and kissed him like he wouldn't want to be anywhere else, that Sanji wanted to be with him.

But they were just two people stuck out at sea. It was circumstance that brought them together, and Zoro knew that... but sometimes it drifted away from the front of his mind, until he could really believe that Sanji didn't have to look at anyone else but him.

"Do you want to leave?" Sanji asked, and Zoro startled. He was even more frustrated now, because Sanji tended to be so focused on other people that he didn't pay attention to Zoro's moods, but being put under this kind of direct scrutiny, he understood just how intense it could be. Sanji even looked all concerned, like he cared whether or not Zoro was comfortable.

Zoro grunted in response, but Sanji had already taken it upon himself to ask the waitress for the check when she passed by. He didn't even look irritated at having to cut his meal short, just pulled his wallet out with a small smile, slipping a stack of cash into the folder.

"Is Nami really going to be happy about footing the bill for his?" Zoro asked in an attempt to shake Sanji's unsettlingly good mood.

Sanji shrugged as he passed the folder off to the waitress on her next stop at their table. "I saved up for it."

"Oh." Zoro furrowed his eyebrows, staring at his lap as he waited to leave. He didn't want to think about why Sanji had bothered to save up for dinner with him of all people - didn't dare to hope that maybe Sanji did care about him that way.

When he was passed a bag of leftovers, Zoro obediently took it and trailed after Sanji into the night, following blindly down streets and up alleys, across bridges and along stone pathways, until they came to a stop at the door of an inn. It looked much nicer than their usual fare, and Zoro knew for a fact that he didn't have the kind of budget for something like this.

But it was, once again, Sanji who removed his wallet from his pocket at the front desk. Zoro watched, stunned, as he forked over several hundred beli, and he didn't quite regain his senses until after Sanji had pulled him up the side stairs and into the room he'd rented.

It was nice enough, Zoro thought as he paused just inside to drop the bag of leftovers on the floor. There was a large bed and a bucket full of ice and assorted booze on an end table, but that was really all he cared about. The frou-frou decorations were more Sanji's territory than his. And anyway, he didn't have much time to linger on what the place looked like, because next thing he knew, Sanji was pressed against him, his lips warm and soft on Zoro's.

One hand lifted automatically, resting on the slope of Sanji's waist that led into his hip. His thumb stroked over the soft fabric of Sanji's shirt as he lowered himself to the plush bed, lips still moving slow and firm against Sanji's. He thought it'd be nice to have something slow and measured between them for once, but that wasn't to be the case, as Sanji knelt down between Zoro's spread legs to remove his pants. Once they were gone, he bowed his head. Zoro heard him inhale, and then he leaned in, tongue pressing to the underside of Zoro's cock.

He didn't mean to make a sound, but he did, and Sanji's eyes turned up to face him, a wicked look dancing in them as his lips parted for Zoro's cock. Unable to take that teasing look, Zoro flopped back onto the bed, fingers curled in the comforter for control, slipping on the silky surface. Almost like Sanji's hair, or his tongue. And he was good with that tongue, knew exactly where and when to place it, which spots to start with and which to pay attention to when Zoro was more turned on. He knew what could make Zoro come hard and fast, and how to draw it out until Zoro was shaking and felt drained and sore afterward.

It was clear now that Sanji wasn't working toward an end though, just getting Zoro hard, and it didn't take long with the way that soft, wet tongue rolled against the head of his cock, fingers jerking the shaft with a grip that was neither too tight nor too loose. When he was satisfied, Sanji pulled off with a sigh and hurriedly stripped out of his own pants and underwear, retrieving a tin of slick from inside his suit jacket before tossing it onto one of the ornate chairs. His shirt was the last to go, and then he knelt over Zoro's hips, fingers dipped in shiny wetness that soon descended upon Zoro's cock.

Zoro didn't hesitate to get a bit on his own fingers, sliding them up the back of Sanji's thigh before brushing across his hole. There was no patience for teasing, and soon he'd pressed a finger in, then a second and a third, easily working them into the heat of Sanji's body. For the sake of feeling some form of victory, he thrust them in hard until Sanji released a shuddery sound of pleasure.

But it was only a small victory, because Sanji rose up on his knees a few seconds later, and Zoro's fingers slid free. In the next moment, he wrapped a hand around the base of Zoro's cock, holding it steady as he started to slide down.

It was always the heat that struck Zoro first, rather than the tightness, though that quickly became apparent as well. He clutched Sanji's hips, fingers digging hard into the skin there. And he didn't stop clinging until Sanji had settled himself, thighs pressed to the outside of Zoro's hips, his mouth barely a smile anymore as he bit his lip.

Zoro dragged his palm down the center of Sanji's chest, fingers slowing as they combed through pale pubic hair before fleetingly brushing his cock. They dropped away as Sanji lifted himself, easily moving into his element. Sanji knew how to handle this, rocking back onto Zoro's cock with that smirk on his face like he knew what it did to Zoro, and most likely, he did. It was probably all too easy to see the way Zoro melted under Sanji, letting him take control like he was usually so reluctant to allow.

But Zoro liked this. He liked watching Sanji's hips roll, his stomach flexing, his legs working for it. Sanji was handsome - he knew this fact well, between observing it himself and seeing others look at him. If he didn't have such an awful personality around women, they'd likely fall all over him. Once you got past that, there was very little to dislike about Sanji. It was often a problem for Zoro.

The more immediate problem, though, was the way Sanji was working himself in short, sharp bursts on Zoro's cock. It wasn't like Zoro was that picky about how Sanji used him; most anything was good, it was always tight and warm and full inside, and that was a nice feeling no matter what. Really, it was how Sanji reacted to it that caused Zoro to feel like he could go off at any second.

When they were fucking, it was very easy to tell what Sanji was feeling. He could keep a straight face most of the time, but when he wasfeeling overwhelmingly good, his mouth would drop open a little, and sometimes he'd let out huffs of breath that were forced out of him from the harsh connectings of their bodies, and when he had found just the right way to fuck himself on Zoro, his eyes would close and he'd bite his lip and his movements would get all the more frantic.

Those times, it was hard to hold back, for Zoro to look at Sanji and realize that he could hold onto Sanji's hips and press up into him until he came on Zoro, because of Zoro, shaking and shuddering and going far too tight around his cock.

Zoro knew Sanji was close, and he wanted to see it. He gritted his teeth as he pressed up into Sanji with quick, almost clumsy jolts of his hips. Sanji let out a moan before his hand went down to fist his cock, jerking until the first few spurts of come landed on Zoro's heaving stomach.

Zoro could feel his toes curling as orgasm lingered closer, just barely out of reach for the moment. When it came on though, he shuddered, gripping Sanji's hips and holding them still so that he could spill into the warmth of his body. All over, his limbs felt heavy and then suddenly light as air, and he collapsed into the mattress, the duvet uncomfortably hot and damp underneath him.

With a sigh, Sanji rolled off, landing on his stomach beside Zoro. For a minute or so, they lay still, catching their breath. Then Zoro sat up, wiping at the sweat that had gathered around his temples. Sanji was similarly coated, the shine of perspiration leading down his back and ending with the trickle of Zoro's come out of his hole. He was a nice sight to Zoro's eyes, and Sanji knew it too if his smile was anything to go by.

"What?" he asked, tone mischievous and more sexy than it should have been.

"Nothing," said Zoro. He felt somehow overwhelmed.

Sanji scooted closer, resting his chin on Zoro's knee. It was painful, but Zoro let it happen anyway, because he found himself tragically weak to what Sanji wanted.

"You wished for me to fall in love with you, didn't you," Sanji whispered, voice sounding accusatory to Zoro's ears. His stomach dropped.

"No."

Sanji, of course, didn't look convinced at all. He narrowed his eyes and frowned. "What did you wish for then?"

"If I say, it won't come true," said Zoro, and though he wasn't into that whole superstition, he found himself reluctant for more reasons than one. Perhaps it was because he did want to say it, and wanted desperately for his wish to not come true because of it.

Sanji stared up at Zoro, one curly eyebrow raised, as if he were unimpressed. He kept staring, until Zoro finally gave in.

"... I wished that you'd find somebody that you could settle down with."

And instantly, Sanji's face transformed. He looked almost as angry as Zoro had ever seen him. "What the fuck, asshole?! So you've just been using me for sex?"

"No," Zoro said in a placating tone, and he was only a little bit horrified at himself for that. "I figured... you should probably be with someone that you can be happy with."

"I am happy with you," Sanji said. "I love you, for fuck's sake!"

"Oh."

"Oh? That's all you have to say? Well, your stupid wish won't be coming true any time soon, shitty marimo. And it wasn't going to even if you kept quiet about it."

Zoro said nothing.

"If you don't love me, that's fine," Sanji continued. "Obviously I'm not going to make you do something you don't want to, but neither am I going to let you act like some martyr for my sake. I know what I want - it's you, and that's not going to change. Idiot."

Feeling very foolish, Zoro stroked his hand over Sanji's hair. "I love you too, you know."

"Then why would you wish for something so ridiculous?"

"Because," Zoro huffed. "I figured it'd be easier for you to spend your life with someone who can be there with you every step of the way." And because my dream is likely to get me killed, he didn't say.

"I don't want that. I want someone who understands the importance of a dream. Someone who can be equal to me. Someone who won't question what they are to me. Shit, maybe I don't entirely know what I want, but I know exactly who I want. Let me make my own decisions."

Zoro nodded, cowed. After a few moments, Sanji sat up and pressed a tender, forgiving kiss to Zoro's lips.

"You know, you insult the cake I made for you by using a wish like that. Maybe you need a new one."

With a smile, Zoro placed a hand on Sanji's neck and pulled him down, peppering his face with kisses. His mind was already racing a mile a minute, trying to find a new wish - one they could both be pleased with.