In Dreams

Chapter 2


Sanji had arrived back at Versailles two days early so as to be completely prepared for Mademoiselle Nami’s return. When she did not arrive on schedule, however, Sanji was ready to organize a search party and send out the hounds ahead of them.

“Sanji, do not overreact. Bad weather passed this way not too long ago, I’m sure that it is what delayed them. Madame Bellmere would not let her daughter travel in the rain like that... although I’m sure Mademoiselle would not have minded so much... but more to the point, I’m sure Nami is fine and well on her way here.”

Sanji was pacing the corridors. “But how can you take that chance, Usopp? How can you stand to just sit there and do nothing? She could be in danger! What if that bad weather has caused her coach to be stranded in the wilderness?” The look of horror that crossed Sanji’s face - as he came up with ideas more gruesome and terrible than the next - showed.

“That is it- I refuse to wait another minute.” He shouted. “I’m going to find-“

“And miss Mademoiselle Nami when she returns? What if nothing is wrong? Imagine if they were simply delayed and she returns. You will be absent, and the one waiting to welcome her home will be Zoro.” Usopp said calmly.

Sanji stopped pacing, obviously alarmed that he had not thought of this himself. “Sacre bleu, you’re right. Why didn’t I think of that? And where is that idiot anyway? I have not heard one ounce of concern from him about her delay. What an uncaring, uncivilized, uncouth-“

“Anymore “un”s and I’ll call you redundant, Monsieur Cuire.” Zoro said as he came walking down the corridor. “Nami is not just any woman. She can take care of herself, fine enough. I’m sad to see so little confidence in the one you... supposedly love.” Zoro did not bother to look at Sanji while he spoke, but bowed to Usopp. “Monsieur Usopp, when did you return from Toulouse?”

“Ah, Monsieur Zoro. Not but two days ago. I have only been to court this day. I hear you’ve been fencing fantastically in my absence. Duponte, Armand, Beyard, and the infamous Montgomery all have fallen to your excellent sword.”

“Yes, well, in Mademoiselle Nami’s absence I had to find something to do.” Zoro winked at Usopp. “If you gentlemen will excuse me...” Zoro headed off in the direction of the library.

Sanji had not the time to get a word in edgewise. His face was purple with anger. Usopp looked at the other man wearily.

“Eh... Sanji-“

“Well of course the bastard is right!” The blond man exploded. “Why don’t I have more faith in the woman I love? Fine. I’ll not speak another word until she returns! I’ll be in my chamber until then.” Sanji stormed off, leaving Usopp quite speechless.

Ussop followed Zoro down to the library. It was one of their favorite haunts. Most of the other courtiers never bothered to go in there. They could at least obtain a level of privacy in there that they could not anywhere else in the palace. When he arrived, Ace and his younger brother, Monkey D. Luffy, were already sitting in the circle of chairs by the fireplace with Zoro.

“Now you’ve gone and done it, Zoro.” Usopp said with fake disdain. “Sanji has sworn to take a vow of silence and lock himself in his chambers until Mademoiselle Nami returns. You should have seen his face. It was purple!”

Everyone laughed except Zoro. “Che. The man is an idiot. I’m not after his precious woman! If he would stop whispering obscenities about me behind my back maybe I wouldn’t be so inclined to make him look like a fool.”

Ace’s younger brother looked at Zoro earnestly. “But Zoro, if Sanji is an idiot, what does that make you?”

Ace and Usopp snickered. “Good point, Luffy. Indeed, Zoro, you’re in love with an idiot. That must mean you’re not the epitome of wisdom yourself.” Zoro rolled his eyes at Usopp’s taunt.

“You think I don’t ask myself that question everyday? Why do I love that love-cook? Maybe I still hold out some hope that somewhere inside there... he’s like the Sanji I know in my dreams.”

“You can’t love a dream, Zoro.” Ace said, sadly.

Zoro suddenly found himself very interested in a spot on the floor. “I know.”

“Oh! Zoro! What did you dream about last night?” Luffy said, suddenly excited. The younger brother of Ace was still very much considered a boy, still in his teen years. But Ace and Luffy’s parents had long since passed away, and there was no other place for the younger member of the D family to stay. He was beloved of the royal family, the king finding his honesty refreshing, and the queen admiring his child like wit. He was much like the pet of Versailles, spoiled in every way, and loved by everyone.

Zoro smiled. He held much affection in his heart for Luffy. He and Ace were much like the family he never had.

“Last night was the one about the pirates again. I have that dream more and more these days.”

“And I’m the captain!” Luffy punched the air enthusiastically.

“Yes, you are. And Usopp is the liar-“

“I still don’t understand why a pirate crew would need a professional liar.” Usopp was never quite happy to hear of his role in this version of Zoro’s dreams.

“And your brother is apart of another pirate crew, and they call him Fire Fist Ace. I’m the first mate and swordsman of your crew, Luffy. Mademoiselle Nami is the navigator on our ship. Sanji is the chef. Mademoiselle Robin...”

Zoro went into great detail about his dream, describing adventures they had been through, other pirates they had fought, treasures they had found. Ace fell asleep several times, and during the course of the several hours of entertaining themselves, they found they were apart of a separate world, one infinitely more fulfilling and adventurous then the one they currently found themselves in.

“Tell me... yawn just one... more... please...” Luffy’s head drooped onto his brother’s shoulder and he drifted off into sleep. It was late, as it usually was after Zoro’s story time.

“Better get him to bed. Usopp, could you take him to his room? I need a word with Monsieur Swordsman.” Ace said.

Usopp smiled. “Of course.” Usopp pulled Luffy up and shook him awake just enough for the boy to wrap his arm around Usopp’s neck. He guided him gently from the room.

“What is it, Ace?”

The older D. brother got up and went to a section of the wall where the books on geography were placed. He pulled out a black book with gold lettering on it that said, “Africa.”

“I don’t know when, though sooner rather than later, I’m going to leave Versailles. I’m leaving France. I’ve been offered the chance to journey on an expedition to the darkest wilds of Africa.” He held up the book to show Zoro. “They want me to go to Asia after that. If all goes accordingly to plan, I won’t be coming back.”

Zoro looked at his friend. “I... I see. Palace life was never your forte, Ace.”

Ace looked at Zoro, smiling. “Nor yours, I would suspect. But I’m glad you understand. Luffy... won’t be coming with me. He has to find his own adventure. After I’m gone, you’ll look after him, won’t you? Don’t let him continue being the pampered palace brat. He belongs out there, in the world, heh... flying on dragons and swimming in the deepest oceans...”

Sanji paced the floor of his room bitterly.

/Of course he’s right. He’s always right. Ah I just don’t understand! Nami is so beautiful! And if it is what people say it is, that muscle head should be thanking his lucky stars that Nami even LOOKS at him. /

/But why? What does that moron have that I don’t? He doesn’t love her, that much is obvious! Why would she love someone who did not love her in return/

Unaware of the irony of his current line of thought, Sanji threw himself on his bed and toed off his boots. He ran his hands through his chin length blond hair before reaching into his pocket for a cigarette. It was difficult to go the whole day without smoking, but he considered it rude to do so in front of women. Naturally, he spent his whole day mostly with other women, so it was hard to find time to indulge. He was lucky if he could find the time to sneak off to the parlor and have a glass of wine with Ace or perhaps Usopp. No one else was worth conversing with.

His nerves were frayed after spending the day worrying about his love, then that insolent barbarian showed up and made a fool of him. Again.

/It’s almost as though he looks down on the rest of us./ He took a long, thoughtful drag off his smoke. /Like he knows something we don’t, or rather, we’re wasting our time with things like love./

“But what else is there!” He argued to himself, sitting up suddenly. “Love is everything! And everything else is nothing. At least, it’s not worth my attention when there is a beautiful woman like Nami to occupy my time!”

Sanji thought back on simpler days, when he was just a chef in Lyon. He didn’t make much money, but he worked for the best chef in all of France, Monsieur Zeff du Cuire. That was where Sanji attained his last name from. He was an orphan by right, and Zeff had taken him in, taught him everything he knew, then kicked his ass at the end of the day and called him “Eggplant”. Right before Zeff died, he told Sanji that he had been a chef for the king and queen some years ago and moved out to Lyon to retire after many years of service. He had not intended to take up a useless child such as Sanji, but he wanted someone to teach his techniques after he was gone. His dying request was that Sanji go to Versailles and be a chef for the king and queen for a time. Not forever, but for as long as it took for Sanji to gain some standing in the courts. And he had. Even now he would sometimes wander into the kitchen and scare the assistant chefs into a frenzy. He liked to cook for the royalty on special occasions. He had intended on preparing a feast for Nami’s arrival this evening...

“It doesn’t matter. She’ll be back tomorrow, for certain. Then I’ll prepare the feast of my life! Then she will see my heart.”

It just so happened that the next day, Mademoiselle Nami du Diamant made the most spectacular return to Versailles on a run away carriage, and it just so happened that Zoro was the first one to greet her and Mademoiselle Robin upon her return. He escorted the ladies back to the palace after swearing them to secrecy about the morning’s activities. And a one Monsieur Jacques the coachman was spared a most gruesome death by beheading.

The first person to greet the two women and Zoro was Monsieur Usopp, who promptly was sent to Monsieur Sanji’s room to drag him out of his pouting.

“Really, Monsieur Usopp, it isn’t necessary to run!” Nami shouted after him as he ran down the corridors. “Really, I’m sure Sanji isn’t so eager to see... me...” She sighed and looked towards Zoro for help. He shrugged.

“MADEMOISELLE NAMI!” Sanji appeared at the top of the stair case, dressed to the till and sparkling with charm. “Your beauty has only multiplied since I last saw your heavenly face! I mistook you for a goddess! Your skin, so radiant, your hair, like the sun-“

“Monsieur Cuire, it is... good to see you as well..” Nami said delicately to the man racing down the grand staircase to greet her. Sanji rushed to her side and was on his knee in an instant, her hand grasped by both of his, held tightly to his chest.

“I was so worried about you, Mademoiselle. I could scarcely bear the thought that something might have happened to you on your journey-“

Zoro excused himself with a cough, not eager to hear the hours upon hours of cooing and fawning that would be spouted from the other man’s mouth. Nami gave him a look of absolute betrayal as he left. Zoro smiled evilly at her. He had business to attend to on this day, as it were.

“There you are, Monsieur!”

“Francois. You have a letter for me, I hope?” Zoro said, perhaps with a little too much eagerness in his voice than he would have liked. He looked around the humble surroundings, feeling much more at home in the dingy bar tavern than at the palace.

“Oui, Monsieur. And I think you will be pleased to see who it is from! All the way from Ireland.” The young boy named Francois handed Zoro a suspiciously thin envelope with a red seal on it bearing the shape of a cross behind a sword.

“So short a reply for the long letter you wrote, Monsieur Zoro, if you don’t mind me saying.”

Zoro smiled at the boy. “I know. At least he’s to the point, whatever he says.” The swordsman’s hands trembled slightly as he tore open the letter.

Monsieur Roronoa Zoro,

Greetings. I regret to inform you-“

Zoro put the letter down and closed his eyes. He felt Francois take the letter from him. His stomach sank and he slammed his fist down on the sturdy little wood table.

“I can’t continue to stay here! This place is just making me soft! How am I supposed to be the best if all my opponents are spoiled royalty and courtiers! I need-“

“Monsieur Zoro? What are you talking about? Did you even bother to finish reading the letter?” The boy said, looking alarmed.

Zoro stopped in the middle of his tirade to look at the boy. “I... stopped at...”

Francois laughed and pushed the letter back at the swordsman. “Keep reading, you baboon!”

I regret to inform you that due to my service on behalf of England, I am far from France. It will take me several months to return to Versailles, but rest assured that I do intend to accept your challenge. I realize that your service to the kingdom limits your traveling. I cannot provide a promised time, but please expect me during the Christmas holidays. I trust you will be prepared for my sword, as I will be prepared for yours.

Javiere Mihawk”

Zoro stood up, and looked at Francoise, a smile spreading across his face.

“This is it.”

Francois smiled. “So it would seem.”

Zoro was in excellent spirits at the feast that evening in honor of Mademoiselle Nami’s return. Even the king and queen commented on Zoro’s change in attitude from his rather subdued demeanor, to a man who simply could not wipe a grin off his face.

“Monsieur Roronoa Zoro, do tell the rest of us what it is that has you in such high spirits this evening, besides, of course, Mademoiselle Diamant’s return.” the queen said loudly, so that the rest of the idle chatter died down to listen. Zoro only sat a few chairs down from the queen, but just for show, he stood and bowed.

“Your highness, Javiere Mihawk has accepted my challenge for a duel, and I will expect his arrival in Versailles in December.” Many gasps and claps rose up from the other courtiers at the table.

“Here here!” Boasted the king. “Finally! I knew you had it in you, young man! We’ll make it a tournament! What is the formal date?”

Zoro turned to bow to the king at the other end of the table. “Your majesty, we have both agreed to informality in the matter. He is in Ireland doing some service for England. He cannot estimate an exact arrival, but promises to arrive during the Christmas holidays.”

Sanji scowled. The last thing he needed was for all the attention to be turned to Roronoa Zoro. He watched Nami sitting next to the queen. Nami was the court favorite, and always sat next to the queen when the king did not. She had a very surprised look on her face, and she turned to Robin and began whispering fervently in her ear, all the while never taking her eyes off the swordsman.

“Well you should train hard until the holidays then, I should expect.”

“Of course, your majesty. Hopefully Monsieur Cuire would not mind continuing in the kitchens for a while. His food just might be the key to my triumph.” Zoro’s eyes sparkled as he sat down and looked at Sanji. Sanji blushed as the attention of the table was turned to him. The swordsman had meant it as a good natured compliment, after all the good mood he was in. The cook, however, did not take it as such.

“Unfortunately for Monsieur Zoro, I cook for only the gentlewomen of the court. Perhaps if he wore a dress and grew his hair out, I might change my mind.”

The table burst out into laughter. Zoro only smiled. “So you would cook for any woman, Monsieur Cuire? I thought perhaps your most tender affections were reserved only for Mademoiselle Diamant... of course, perhaps you cannot put your reputation to rest for any woman. How unfortunate for Mademoiselle.”

Several of the courtiers laughed, while a few gasped. The king and queen laughed good humouredly.

Sanji's face reddened, but try as he might, he could not think of a witty response. At this point, getting up to leave would be an obvious defeat, but sitting there to stay would simply be too humiliating. Thankfully, Nami spoke up.

"Now Zoro, who are you to remark on Monsieur Sanji's affairs?" She smiled with a twinkle in her eye at the swordsman, who knowing paled. "You have not courted a single woman at all, and not for lack of interest on the woman's part. I should know!"

The laughter among the courtiers reached new heights. Sanji looked at Nami, not quite sure what she was implying, but silently thanking her, for it had shut the other man up well enough.

"Now now, ladies and gentlemen. Let us forget this battle of wits. Dessert is coming!" The queen said in her matronly manner.

Zoro glared openly at Nami for a moment, before realizing that Sanji was staring at him with a somewhat perplexed look on his face. Good mood completely gone, Zoro scowled at the man and would not meet his eye for the rest of the evening.


Chapter 1 ~~~~~~~~ Back to Zoro/Sanji ~~~~~~~~ Chapter 3



A couple of corrections: Versailles is one of the most historically rich locations in France. In my earlier notes in Chapter 1, I described it a bit carelessly. Louis the 16th did live there, but only for 20 years or so. It was built by Louis the 14th (Louis the Great, the Sun King) who built it in the 17th century. (This actually means the 1600’s, so my dates are all screwed up. I apologize. Maybe I’ll have the inclination to go back and change it some day.) Louis had one of the longest reigns of any French king (I think...). Versailles is like... the Tower of London or perhaps Buckingham palace in England, or for us uncultured swine of America, it’s like Times Square (XD America is so young) or the White House. So I hope I haven’t offended anyone XP

Nami du Diamanta is incorrect, so it has been changed to Nami du Diamant.

And a historical note: If I were to write this story to the absolute perfection of historical accuracy, Zoro would probably be looked down upon because French nobility had a problem with tans. A tan was a sign that you were a lowly peasant that worked outside a lot. As it is, there are going to be a couple of historical nuances I’m going to have to ignore such as:

•The king was apparently a real ladies man. I don’t even know if he HAD a queen. But this is an AU, so in my story, the king and queen are a nice happy couple and liked to dine with courtiers on a regular basis.

•Zoro’s tan doesn’t matter.

•And palace life is as I write it. I apologize if you're somewhat better educated than myself.


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