Sanji was more mature than most of his peers, he was a very polite, kind child, and he stood out, he was always in the center of happenings, especially when it comes to girls, and Sanji enjoyed that attention. All that attention diverted his thoughts from the problems he had within his family, problems he never wanted to talk to anyone about.
He was 8 years old when he met a boy completely different from himself, that boy's name was Zoro, he is 2 years younger, and he was always into some trouble.
Sanji watched him from the schoolyard, Zoro is a calm, quiet, and withdrawn child who doesn't talk and don't spend much time with his friends from school.
As such, he was a great target for the children from Sanji's class who were considered the main school bullies.
Sanji was smart and resourceful enough to get rid of them, but seeing that they were going towards someone so helpless couldn't leave Sanji indifferent.
On the contrary, he ran to the playground where Zoro was, prayed that he would get there before them, and he arrived on time, a couple of boys were pushing Zoro, others were teasing him, Sanji jumped between them without thinking, right before one of them almost hit Zoro in the face.
It was the first time Sanji had hit someone, the first time he had caused chaos and the first time he had heard someone sob so loudly and hold on to his back so tightly.
The other children who were watching everything started screaming and calling out to the teacher, and the older boys quickly dispersed, leaving 3 boys lying on the floor in front of Sanji and holding on to the places where they were hurt by the blows.
“Did they hurt you?” There was a thin voice behind him, “Of course not, I'm strong, look at them and look at me” Sanji laughed in response to the younger boy.
Zoro slowly started to move and looked at the boys in front of them “Thank you, but you shouldn't do it for me, I could defend myself, I'm strong too”, Sanji laughed again “It didn't seem that way to me, and these guys have gone too far, they are older than you and you were all alone, while they are in the crowd, I had to join you”.
“Now you'll be in trouble because of me” Zoro sounded sad again, “Don't worry, they started it first, everyone can confirm that” Sanji didn't take a smile off his face.
“My name is Sanji, what's your name ?”, Zoro smiled and answered a little shyly “My name is Zoro”.
“What a cool name, it sounds very strong” the older boy encouraged him, “I am strong and I will be even stronger” the younger boy answered briskly, “I'm sure you will” replied the older boy smiling back at him.
That day ended quickly, Sanji was punished for his behavior, but the fact that he received punishment from school is nothing compared to the consequences that awaited him at home, and he never regretted it.
After that event Zoro and Sanji gradually started hanging out, met on the way to school, and often went together, Sanji continued to take care of his younger friend, never allowing anyone to make fun of him ever again.
And Zoro was extremely excited to have someone so strong by his side, Sanji meant a lot to him especially because he was lonely, as a child without parents, he grew up with his uncle and grandfather, they both gave him all the possible love in the world, but he always had a part that was missing, a part of belonging, and with Sanji he felt it.
Zoro also asked Sanji to train him, to help him get stronger, so the boys were either at Zoro's house or in a park every day after school, practicing their skills.
Their more intense friendship began with high school, they both chose the same school in the district and decided to stay together during this period as well.
Their training was still intense, but now with a visible advantage in Zoro's strength. As he constantly trained with Sanji and with his uncle who runs a martial arts school, Zoro has now become a strong young man who has already secured a name for himself in the world of Kendo.
They also both made a fairly large group of friends around them, mostly hanging out with the same people. So their days passed between Zoro's matches, spending time with friends and school.
Zoro was never sure why he started feeling strange things when he was near Sanji, but he remembers very well when that happened, it happened at the beginning of his second year, at the time when Sanji started dating the girl of his dreams, Nami.