“Wait, wait, I need to write this down. Ok, who’s with who now?”
Nami had her ink ready, hair tangled from the amount of times she had pulled at it during the last couple of hours. She kept looking at Zoro like she wanted to kill him, then maybe herself, and Zoro honestly could blame her.
Since, apparently, she was now in love with him.
Back up a good couple hours, introduce a pirate gang full of the most useless and annoying devil fruit users Zoro had ever met, and add a battle. The first one hit with whatever the fuck this thing was had been Usopp, who, to everyone’s suprise and alarm, had very openly declared his love for a one Tony Tony Chopper. After that it had been a mess of finishing the whole thing and trying to isolate whoever had got Usopp with the thing . Complications ensued, and somehow every single member of the straw hat crew (except for Robin, because of course Robin would somehow avoid this bullshit) was now infatuated with someone else on the crew.
It was important to note that no one was happy with this situation.
Usopp raised his hand first.
“Well, I think I want to marry Chopper. Actually, I definitely do. Is that a thing we can fix? Like, maybe right now, actually?”
Chopper made a noise from under the table. Apparently his newfound love for Nami existed in the form of trying to hide, mumbling nonsense, and stuttering a lot. Robin made a humming noise from where she stood, using multiple arms to restrain Brook. She wasn't under the affects, but that didn't stop the skeleton from now passionately throwing his heart to her.
“Since we are aware that our feelings are manufactured, and from what I’ve seen only surface level, I’d assume the situation is temporary.”
Zoro nodded. That made sense, and even if it didn't, Robin had a way of being right about most things. He also had the added benefit of not actually suffering from the affects he was under. Nami cleared her throat again, tappin her quill.
“Ok, well, we can't do much about it at the moment anyways. So to keep track, I have here that Usopp’s got it for Chopper, Chopper’s got it for me, I’ve….got it for Zoro-
“ Nami-san NO! ”
Nami threw the ink jar at Sanji.
“-And Zoro has it for...Zoro who’d you get it for?”
Zoro tensed minutely. This was the part that got complicated.
He’d gotten hit with something, but whatever that something was, it hadn't been new. In fact, his very personal love spell of sorts had been going on for years, if not longer. It was more a sickness at this point, and verging on terminal. However, the situation they were in allowed for a brief period of honesty.
So biting the bullet, Zoro raised his hand and very clearly pointed at Sanji.
“I’m in love with him.”
A collective silence filled the room for a good second before Nami cleared her throat, scratching the information down on paper. Zoro stared very hard at the far wall, trying to ignore the general awkwardness in the room. Out of everyone who knew about Zoro’s possibly very obvious crush/ affections/ would-die-for-you-in-an-instant feelings for the cook, it was only the cook that seemed oblivious. Zoro still couldn't figure out if that was good or bad luck on his end.
Nami cleared her throat again, glancing at Zoro quickly.
“Right, well. Sanji-kun, what about you?”
All eyes turned to stare at Sanji. Zoro watched him, repeating to himself that however weird this was about to be, it was temporary. It wasn't real. It would be fine .
Sanji looked at Luffy. And blushed .
So Usopp had it for Chopper (weird), Chopper for Nami, Nami for Zoro (also weird and gross), Zoro had it for Sanji, Sanji for Luffy (bad, awful), Luffy didn't even know who he had it for (typical), but had been following Franky around like a lost child, so Nami had him down for that. Franky had it for Brook (horrible images), Brook for Robin, and Robin free. So far the only changes noticeable were that Chopper was more reclusive than ever and Franky had made Brook 4 new chairs with attachable music stands. Nami had taxed Zoro for ‘unwanted and disgusting feelings’ and Zoro couldn't really argue with that.
Now Zoro was in the relative peace of the galley, watching Sanji cook another meat pie.
“Didn't you just give him hamburgers like an hour ago?”
Sanji jumped, like he’d forgotten Zoro was there. He looked at the pie, then Zoro, then the door.
Zoro rubbed his face, feeling a headache coming on.
“ Yes . And that was after you already gave him second snack.”
Sanji switched the oven off, looking at the pie accusingly like it had made him bake it somehow.
“Shit. I didn't even notice.”
Zoro got up, poking him between his shoulder blades. On a normal day Zoro would be working out on deck, but with the excuse of his ‘new’ love spell, he decided to push his luck and annoy the cook for longer than necessary. However, he found that he now had the responsibility of babysitting an overexcited and pining Sanji. Who was baking too much. For Luffy.
And the worst part was that Zoro couldn't hold it against either of them. Hell, he didn't even want to. Like all his nakama, he loved the shit out of Luffy. The boy was essentially everyone's annoying and reckless little brother, jumping around and showering the crew with his many strange and often ridiculous affections. And out of everyone of the crew, it would make sense for Luffy to pay particular attention to Sanji. The cook made the food, which Luffy loved like he loved no living person, and so the logical conclusion was that Luffy could possibly be capable of holding some form of special love for Sanji. And maybe he did, who fucking knew. Zoro sure didn't, and he didn't care because Sanji wasn't going to return any of those imaginary feelings because Luffy , little brother, innocent idiot child.
And now Sanji was acting like he had a real, visceral crush on their captain while Zoro sat at the table, being ignored and harboring more feelings than he knew what to do with.
“Just don't give him the code to the fridge out of- love or whatever.”
The cook bristled, glaring at Zoro. He slapped an oven mitt in the swordsman’s face.
“I’m not being mind controlled . I just- thought making something would make him happy. I didn't really think about it.”
Zoro scowled. Sanji scowled back. Zoro wanted to kiss him, but he didn't see that ending well. He opened his mouth to ask him more about this new daydreaming about Luffy problem, when the captain himself burst in.
“I smell MEAT!”
And Sanji, the bastard, smiled like Nami had complimented his outfit. He held the whole pie out for Luffy, no kick, no cursing, just an honest to god offering of food to Luffy.
“It's minced ham. Do you like it?”
Zoro didn't know why the cook even asked. Luffy had swallowed the entire thing and spit the tin back out, grinning with his mouth full. There were crumbs on the floor, but Sanji didn't seem to even notice.
“It’s good! Are there more?”
Zoro was positive that Sanji was about to reply yes, there can be more and so he grabbed Luffy by the collar and flung him out the galley door. Sanji was kicking him in the head, yelling something about manners or whatever when Nami kicked the door open. Sanji jumped to her side, offering snacks and drinks like the flip of a switch, but she ignored him completely.
And punched Zoro in the face.
“What was that for!?”
Zoro would have cursed her out in a variety of ways if the cook wasn't standing guard, and touched his tongue to his teeth to check for any loose ones. His nose hurt like hell, and Nami was standing there inspecting her nails like punching Zoro between the eyes was the most normal thing in the world. Which, well it wasn't unusual for Nami, but still .
Zoro wanted to throw her in a barrel and toss it out to sea.
“Checking what !?”
Nami gave him a particular cold scowl and crossed her arms. Zoro brushed under his nose, surprised that there was no blood. Sanji seemed torn between being afraid of Nami and wanting to defend her.
“That I can be in love with you but still want to kill you. Had to make sure it wouldn't affect my day.”
Zoro frowned, looking at the cook. Sanji had found something interesting about a particular spot on the floor it seemed. Zoro turned back to Nami, growling.
“Well are you satisfied or am I gonna wake up to a knife in my arm later?”
Nami scoffed, tossing her hair and turning on her heel.
“Knives aren't really my thing, but I do feel better now, so we’ll see.”
Zoro gaped at the swinging door. Shit, he was going to have to take his nap in Chopper’s office just to be safe. He nubbed at his nose again, wincing a bit and sighing. He looked over at Sanji.
He was looking at Zoro with a curious expression on his face, head tilted a little to the side like he was making guesses at something in his head.
Zoro wondered if his nose had gone crooked and Sanji was going to make fun of him. Sanji just crossed his arms, leaning forward a little with furrowed brows.
“Do you still wanna kill me? Even though you’re, uh, in love with me or whatever?”
Sanji stuttered over the word love quickly, eyes flicking away for a moment as he got the question out.
Zoro thought about lying for a second, but then decided against it since he couldn't see the harm in continuing with the honesty thing. Sanji thought this was all some weird temporary thing anyways.
“I mean, I never want to actually kill you. Most of the time I just want to throw you overboard to get you to shut up, and that feeling hasn't changed.”
Sanji gave him a look, lips pursing in distaste.
“Seriously? You fall in love with me and the only thing of note is that you still wanna throw me overboard?”
“Well I also wanna kiss you, but right now I think I’d enjoy throwing you overboard more.”
It was a filthy lie, but Sanji didn't know that.
Zoro watched as Sanji’s face lit up with a bright blush, spreading up the tips of his ears from his cheekbones. It made Zoro feel ridiculously proud for no good reason, and he barked out a laugh out of sheer happy surprise. Sanji seemed to take the laugh as a barb, face scrunching up in annoyance.
“Shut up! I was surprised is all!”
Sanji’s face only got redder, making Zoro smirk, which in turn made Sanji blush even harder.
“How is it a surprise I wanna kiss you? I’m in love with you, idiot.”
Sanji uncrossed his arms to cover his red face. Zoro did laugh at that, unable to help himself.
“Shut up ! You’re embarrassing! And distracting! Stop distracting the cook!”
“You’re just making Luffy unlimited snacks-
“Distracting marimo! Out! Out of the kitchen!”
Zoro ducked under a kick and then dodged a spatula. Snickering, he ran out the door just as a wooden spoon smacked the wall.
The first heartbreak occurred the next day.
Apparently, Franky had wanted to perform a duet of some kind, to which Brook had refused due to his desire to spend time with Robin. For about 10 minutes after, the cyborg had sobbed in a very loud and ugly fashion until, suddenly, he stopped. Because like most devil fruits, what they'd been hit with involved an unnecessary and complicated solution.
“It would seem the cure to a fabricated love is simply to end it with a fabricated heartbreak. The person with affections must be personally rejected in some way of meaning. Brook and Franky often perform musical ensembles together, and so the refusal was viceral enough to do the trick.”
Everyone stared at Robin. Franky was nodding along, only stopping to give Brook a thumbs up.
“Yow! Thanks for cutting the love scene out, skeleton-bro! Can’t say I was that productive in that mindset, always thinking about us go-
Nami slammed her hands down on the table, interrupting him.
“Franky, never finish that sentence. Robin, what counts as personal enough?”
Robin hummed, everyone on the table leaning in a little. She tapped her chin for a moment, then turned to Brook.
Brook was all attention, diving forward to kneel before Robin.
“Yes, Robin-san? Are you finally going to show me your pa-
“I do not enjoy your music.”
There was a collective silence as everyone snapped their eyes to Brook. He stayed frozen for a second, and then burst into tears.
He wailed on the floor, rolling around in a puddle of his own tears. Everyone watched with varying degrees of concern. Robin folded her hands neatly, turning to smile at Nami.
“I believe targeting a specific importance or aspect of the other person should do the trick.”
Nami looked at Robin, then Brook. She turned to Zoro. Zoro focused on Brook’s wailing.
“I can't believe I’m asking this, but Zoro, you need to insult me.”
Zoro slouched in his chair, grimacing. Sanji stood, chair scraping the floor.
“Don't you dare insult-
Nami held up a hand, silencing him.
“Sanji-kun, trust me, it's for the good of the crew.”
Zoro stole a glance at Sanji, watching him seem to struggle for a moment before sitting down stiffly. He turned to glare at Zoro, and Zoro quickly turned back to watch the fascinating show of a skeleton with no tear ducts sob.
Zoro stubbornly refused to look Nami’s way. He slid a little lower in his chair.
“Can't you just think of Vivi? I doubt she’d be happy about you suddenly being in love with someone else.”
He heard Nami sigh in response, and he cautiously looked over at her. She was rubbing her temple.
“I’ve tried that. I even tried reminding myself of how unattracted to you I am. Of how attractive men are.”
Zoro grimaced. Noting that other than Brook, everyone at the table was watching him, he swallowed and turned fully to Nami.
“...I don't...like women?”
Nami stared at him. Luffy played with a water cup. Brook sobbed. Zoro blinked. Nami picked up Luffy’s cup and threw it at Zoro.
“No shit ! You gotta try harder than that!”
“Well what the hell do you want me to say!?”
“Insult me! Make it personal!”
“You’re hair is really orange!”
“How is that an insult!? And you have green hair! ”
Zoro was cut off from responding by Brook, who at that moment stood up so suddenly that Nami jumped. He had stopped crying.
“Yohohoho! That was certainly a painful stab to the heart, Robin-san! Although I have no real heart at all!”
Robin smiled serenely up at him.
“I apologize skeleton-san. I should also clarify that I enjoy your music quite enthusiastically.”
“Oh how those words warm my bones! Now may I please see your-
Nami kicked Brook in the skull.
“Enough! Zoro, insult me like you mean it!”
Everyone turned back to Zoro. He shrank back, sweating.
He frantically scanned Nami for something to target. He could call her a money-hungry witch but he always called her that. He didn't give a shit about her appearance, she was actually really stupidly good at navigating, and she was definitely smarter than him. And he didn't want to actually fucking hurt her feelings for shits sake.
But he also really didn't want her to be in love with him.
Just pick something and be mean about it.
Literally anything. Fucking do it.
“I think your tattoo is stupid.”
Silence. Zoro tried to get lower in his chair without falling out if it.
Nami flipped the table.
The next couple of hours were. Odd.
After Nami had stormed out of the galley and then burst back in in a much better mood, everyone else had gone about their own break-ups. Nami, in a fit of good cheer over being done feeling things for Zoro, had even reduced his debt by 1%. She was, however, unable to bring herself to say a single mean thing to Chopper.
Chopper had accidentally crushed Usopp’s heart rather easily just by throwing in a few comments about his nose and general anatomical anomalies. Franky had let down Luffy gently, because as he put it, “you’re a super cool bro, but you’re not my super cool bro, right bro?”. No one actually knew what that meant, but Luffy went back to begging for food more than hanging off Franky.
Zoro didn't know what Luffy said to the cook, only that after Luffy left the galley he wasn't wearing his hat. And because Zoro was a god damn masochist, he decided to check on the blonde.
Sanji was sitting with his head on the table, straw hat tilted over messy hair. He glanced up with Zoro entered.
“Oi, having a moment here.”
Zoro ignored him, sitting down opposite. Sanji glared at him, but didn't seem to have the energy to do anything else. He sighed and turned his eyes back to the side of the room, gaze going distant. They were quiet for a couple minutes, and Zoro watched him watching nothing.
“It's weird how much it can hurt even though it's fake.”
Sanji’s words were quiet, probably spoken more to himself than to Zoro. Zoro checked the clock on the wall.
“At least it’ll be over soon.”
Unlike mine , he thought bitterly. Sanji raised his head and followed Zoro’s gaze to the clock.
“Oh. Yeah, that's so weird. I know it’ll all be over in a couple of minutes, and it was never real to begin with, but right now it just kinda...hurts.”
Zoro wanted to reach out and touch him, maybe pull him close and tell him stupid, sentimental things. He clenched his fists instead, looking down at the table.
“Yeah. Love sucks, huh?”
Sanji chuckled dryly.
“Yeah...I guess you’re here for me to cut you loose too, huh?”
Zoro’s throat went dry. He stared hard at the table, at a single deep knick in the wood.
“Sure. When you’re up for it.”
“Please, I’m always up for insulting you.”
Zoro gave him a humorless smile, leaning back in his chair.
“If I’m gonna get my heart broken can I at least get a drink?”
Sanji sat up straight, a smirk catching his lips.
“Shit, that’s a good idea. Have a toast over bullshit love.”
Zoro watched him move over to the cupboards, grabbing one of the nicer sake bottles and two cups. He went about popping the cork and filling Zoro’s cup to the brim. He had filled his cup halfway when he stopped.
Zoro grabbed the bottle out of his hands, filling the glass the rest of the way for him.
“What?” he asked.
Sanji gave him a cloudy look, shaking his head.
“I guess it wore off. I don't feel sad anymore. It just kinda- stopped.”
“Well that’s good, right?”
Sanji chuckled, lifting his glass. Zoro did the same.
“I guess. Now I just feel dumb though.”
“You’re always dumb.”
Sanji raised the glass to his lips.
“Hey, I’m supposed to be insulting you here, not the other way around.”
Zoro took a long sip, swallowing quick. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.
“So do it. Hit me where it hurts, love-cook.”
Sanji hummed, and then took a few sips before placing the glass down. He eyed Zoro from across the table, scanning him as if some inspiration for insult might present itself. Zoro wanted to laugh at the idea of Sanji somehow coming up with an insult Zoro hadn't heard before from the man.
“You’re a shit swordsman.”
Zoro scoffed, gulping down his drink.
“Like I haven't heard that one before.”
Sanji drank, fingers drumming on the table.
“You’re disgusting. You have no manners. You don't bathe enough.”
Zoro shrugged. Sanji refilled his glass.
“You’re hair is ridiculous. Your haramaki makes you look stupid. Also it's disgusting.”
“You already called me disgusting.”
“Well now I’m calling you’re clothes disgusting.”
“Isn't that the same thing?”
“No. Shut up, don't distract me.”
Zoro smirked, downing the rest of his glass and holding it out for Sanji to refill. Sanji clicked his tongue.
“You drink too much.”
“You smoke too much.”
“ I’m doing the insults here, marimo.”
Zoro smirked, leaning his chin in his hand. Sanji laughed, movement making the glass in his hand tremble. Zoro stared at the way his long fingers curled around the cup, delicate and graceful and strong all at once.
“You’ll never defeat Mihawk.”
Zoro’s head shot up, surprised. Sanji had his lips pressed tight, his posture no longer relaxed. He met Zoro’s stare for all of three seconds before looking away, trying to hide his face as he took a sip. But it was funny, Zoro thought. That didn't even count as an insult because-
“I know you don't believe that.”
A second, and then two and Sanji heaved a sigh into the air and let his shoulders drop.
“Yeah. Yeah no, I know you’ll beat him.”
Zoro hated the way that made his chest swell.
“You’re really bad at this.”
Sanji gave a dry chuckle, putting his glass down.
“Didn't think it’d be this hard to personally insult you. You’d think I’d be the best at that with all the experience.”
He was looking at the glass, not Zoro. He looked tired all of a sudden, the shadows turning the skin under his eyes dark and heavy. He took Luffy’s hat off, thumbing the edge absently. He looked back up at Zoro with a somber expression, and Zoro swallowed.
“Sorry you got it for me, by the way. I know it’s probably really shitty.”
Zoro looked away, paying close attention to the way a drop of sake dripped from the rim of his glass. He shrugged halfheartedly.
Sanji dumped the sake bottle upside down over his glass, the last drops splashing up and over to his fingers.
“You’re just saying that ‘cuz you’re under the affect or whatever. It’s not fair to you.”
“Wasn't fair to you either.” He countered.
Sanji huffed through his nose.
“Yeah, but on a normal day I still like Luffy. You got the shittiest bargain out there.”
“What makes you think I don't like you? We’re nakama.”
Sanji cut himself off. Zoro looked up, anxious. Sanji was getting frustrated, sounding more upset by the second. His eyes were still dark, heavily bagged. He looked sorrowful, and Zoro had to restrain himself.
“Loving me, in any situation- I know it's not easy. I’m not- I’m not easy to love.”
No, he thought. No, you couldn't be more wrong. It was so easy to love Sanji. He made it so easy . Yes, he was ridiculous and a bastard and wore the weirdest outfits sometimes, but not loving him was like fighting a tidal wave with a net. It was just impossible. Sanji was infuriatingly easy to love, and it was infuriating that he could think otherwise.
“I should get started on dinner.” Sanji interrupted. “We’ll try this again later.”
He stood, turning his back and moving stiffly to the counter. Zoro pressed his lips together, watching the hard lines of his shoulders as he hunched over, obviously uncomfortable. Zoro chugged the rest of the alcohol and stood, moving out the door before the ache in his chest could rise.
“You wanna know what sucked most about being in love with you?”
Zoro grunted in response, not particularly interested in whatever Nami wanted to get into at the moment. As usual, she kicked his own interests to the curb and parked herself beside him on the floor.
“It was so weird, because I knew I was in love with Vivi, not you, but also I was in love with you. And I knew you were in love with someone else, and somehow that bothered me more than anything. And that still pisses me off.”
Zoro stayed quiet, staring at the ceiling of the crows nest. He traced the wood grain, trying to make shapes in the lines.
“I mean, it's one thing to watch you wallow in misery while staring at Sanji-kun’s butt all day-
“Are you trying to make a point here or what?”
Zoro tried to glare at her, but she just met his gaze evenly, chin in her hand. He raised his chin a little in challenge, because if this was going to be about pitying him or some shit, he was leaving.
“Being in love with you made me want to make you happy, but I just kept seeing that I could never make you as happy as Sanji-kun could. I’m not in love with you anymore, thank god, but I do still want you to be happy.”
Zoro wasn't sure what to say to that.
He winced at how mediocre that sounded. Nami gave a heavy sigh, poking him in the side.
“You’re an idiot is what you are. But so is Sanji-kun, so it's a perfect match.”
Zoro chuckled a bit at that.
“You break up with Chopper yet?”
Nami groaned, flopping onto her back beside Zoro.
“I just can't. He too adorable. He’s been leaving me lollipops.”
Zoro couldn't deny that was very adorable.
“Also fuck you, my tattoo is awesome .”
Zoro laughed up at the ceiling.
“Yeah, it's pretty badass.”
Dinner was the usual affair or everyone being loud and Luffy stealing food. Brook and Franky had come up with horrible love songs for everyone's fake relationships, yet had somehow mysteriously forgotten to include Zoro and Sanji, and Zoro could only be grateful. Usopp joined in, showering Chopper with overly dramatic praises and making him squeal when he planted a noisy kiss on his head.
Everyone started filtering out after the sun dipped, Nami having loudly declared that Zoro was on dish duty for the night. She gave Zoro a meaningful look before she left, a skittish Chopper following her out.
Zoro scrubbed at a stubborn black spot on a large pan. He felt like he’d been working on it for hours to no avail, Sanji silent beside him with his pale hands catching soap bubbles. It was uncomfortable and weird and Zoro hated it.
“What’s wrong, curly? You fresh out of insult ideas?”
Sanji winced minutely. Zoro stopped scrubbing.
Sanji had turned his head away just enough that his soft blonde hair fell in his face, and the shadows hid his expression.
“You’re a dumbass.”
Zoro turned the tap off, frowning.
“You’re a dumbass, and an idiot and a huge fucking moron and such a useless muscle-head.”
Zoro scowled, opening his mouth to curse the cook back, when Sanji whirled on him. He looked oddly furious all of a sudden.
“You sleep all day, steal my cooking wine, never wash your clothes, always get lost no matter what-
“Ok I get it-
Sanji jabbed Zoro’s chest with a finger, growling.
“No! I’m not done! You annoy me every single day! Just looking at your face pisses me off sometimes! You can be such an arrogant, stupid, stubborn asshole, and you’re a huge masochist with probably 200 weird sword-related kinks and I don't even know how the fuck you survived before Luffy!”
Sanji panted a little, eyes still fixed on Zoro in an angry, frustrated way. He kept jabbing his finger in Zoro’s chest, apparently hell bent on continuing while Zoro tried to figure out what was going on.
“You’re hair is ridiculous and you’re always gross and sweaty. You act like a caveman most days and a confused child on the other days. You have stupid taste buds that can't tolerate sugar. You drive me absolutely crazy just by being alive, and I could probably come up with a hell of a lot more to say but I don't want to because I don't actually want to break up with you .”
Zoro’s brain hit the breaks. He blinked slowly, scowl lifting in open shock as he stared at the cook.
Sanji still looked pissed, but the color on his cheeks seemed less from agitation now. The furrow to his brow was a little more angled to express worry rather than fury. The finger on Zoro’s chest trembled slightly.
“You don't...want to break up?”
Sanji growled a few more curses under his breath and then stood up straight, looking determined.
“No, I don't, and I hate myself because I know I’m being a selfish piece of shit and I’m abusing your feelings just to make my feelings feel better because it feels fucking good to be liked back!! And If I didn't break off the curse thing just now then I don't even know how to!! And I don't even want to break the stupid curse thing !”
Zoro took a second to unpack that. Leave it to Sanji to put things in the most complicated light. Still, the general message of the whole thing seemed too good to be true.
“You. Like me?”
“As in, like like.”
“What are you, 12?”
Zoro threw up his hands in frustration.
“Well then what !?”
“I’m in love with you, asshole!”
Distantly, Zoro wondered if the entire ship could hear them. Quite frankly he was more concerned with the way his heart was jackrabbiting it's way towards breaking his ribs.
Sanji looked like he definitely did not want to have this conversation, which was tough shit because Zoro didn't think he’d survive the night as it was. Sanji’s face was vividly red even in the low light.
“ Yes . God. Shiting fuck did the influence break or not?”
Sanji walked over to the galley table, stopped, then turned around stomped back to Zoro. He looked frazzled and exhausted and unfortunately cute with a blush still high on his cheeks.
“Y’know, if you’d gotten hit and fallen for anyone else this would've been fine, but no. You had to go all- nice and kinda sappy and telling me shit like you wanna kiss me.”
“I do wanna kiss you?”
“Don't say it! Are you trying to kill me!?”
Zoro smothered his laughter quickly. Sanji was acting like an idiot, but he was also being a kind of adorable idiot and Zoro loved him so much .
“Ok, look. I’m not sure what to do at this point, I think we should just go to bed and ask Robin-chan in the morning. Maybe Chopper can do something, I don't know.”
Well fuck that . Zoro hadn’t trained like hell for two years and lost his damn eye just to go to bed on a potential awesome outcome. Not that Mihawk had prepared him for this situation or anything, but still .
“Why the hell do you still wanna break up if you love me?”
Sanji gave him a withering look.
“Because you’re still under a shitty devil fruit spell, marimo. It’s not real for you.”
Oh right. Better clear that up.
Zoro looked around for a second, gathering ideas. He wasn’t great with words and didn't really have the patience for a whole lot more conversation anyways. It felt like they’d just been talking for days when they could have been-
Zoro perked up. He looked at Sanji.
“You know how they break most spells in stories, right?”
Sanji looked at him warily.
Zoro took a meaningful step forward. Sanji backed up a little, hitting the counter and Zoro moved closer still. He could see the pale, near-invisible eyelashes of the cook up close, long and delicate. Sanji fumbled with his hands, looking perplexed and somewhat annoyed at the current situation. Zoro edged a tiny bit closer.
“With a kiss.”
The bright pink on his cheeks flamed up instantly, glowing more orange than red from the candle on the table. Zoro leaned in, fixated on the tiny freckles on his nose.
Zoro frowned, stilling. Sanji’s hand pushed on his chest gently, his blue eyes wide.
“ No ! I’d be taking advantage of your very fake feelings! You might think you want to but-
“Cook I’m not-
“Shut up! You’re under a fucking influence!”
Zoro sighed through his nostrils, grabbed Sanji’s face between his palms and gently headbutted the other man.
“Yeah, but I’ve been under it for way longer than just one week.”
“I’ve been in love with you since...well, somewhere before water 7. So like, a while.”
Sanji blinked again, face oddly blank.
“Right. What? No, that's not right.”
Zoro gave him a look .
“Can you not make this complicated? You love me, I love you, it's pretty simple at this point.”
Sanji blinked again, wide eyed as ever.
“But- me ? You’re in love. With me. For real.”
Zoro bit back another sigh, patience run dry.
“It can't be a surprise to you at this point.”
“Uh, yeah it can be!?”
“No, it can't. I’ve been spilling my guts to you for days. I’ve been staring at your ass everyday for like a year. I go grocery shopping with you.”
Sanji looked like he was having trouble breathing.
“You’d do that for anyone.”
His voice was a little higher than usual, and edge of hysteria to it. Zoro ran his thumbs along his cheekbones, trying to seem calm for the both of them.
“No, I wouldn't.”
“Yes, you would.”
“Sanji, can I kiss you now or not?”
Sanji made a strangled noise in the back of his throat, blush so vicious that Zoro could feel the heat of it on his own face. And then his eyes flicked down to Zoro’s lips, and back up, and he nodded.
Zoro was gentle. He wanted the kiss to be something intimate without urgency, passionate without force. A slow, lingering kiss on the surface of all their feelings, just testing the waters. Zoro continued to thumb over his cheekbones, slow and reverent. He traced the line of his jaw, feeling the bump of stubble and following the sharp lines. He moved one hand to brush down the cook’s neck, fingers kissing the delicate skin of his throat. He followed the long curve of his elegant collar bone, deep enough to catch rainwater, and let his hand rest on the back of Sanji’s neck even as he began to pull away.
He opened his eyes first, watching Sanji’s face as his pale lashes fluttered, eyes opening slowly. They watched each other for a long moment, and a part of Zoro was relieved at how easy it felt to just be with Sanji. The cook swallowed, opening his mouth to speak.
Zoro felt a grin stretch his face wide, and then wider still and then burst into outright laughter. Sanji joined in, breathless and quiet and if Zoro was being honest with himself, he’d never heard anything so nice. He’d never thought Sanji could look that perfect, happy and flushed as he was.
Sanji knocked their heads together again, speaking softly in the close space.
“You love me. As in, real love.”
Zoro kissed his cheek, smiling.
It was a simple answer, but it was also a weirdly simple equation of one plus one equals two, and Zoro felt like he’d been working the math on their situation for forever. And maybe pining after Sanji hadn’t been easy but falling in love with him had been, and loving him and being loved back by him wasn't a hard thing in the slightest. This is me, this is you, this is us .
Soap bubbles popped in the sink and Sanji leaned back in, pressing his smile on Zoro’s lips, tasting sweet.
It took Nami another week to finally break up with Chopper. Sanji made him rainbow cotton candy and he cried on Zoro’s shoulder, and then he was fine and Luffy was stealing pickled eggs and Usopp’s ink bomb went off all over the deck. Zoro somehow ended up cleaning most of it up. Sanji brought him a drink and a kiss and an I love you , and it was easy as breathing.