In Dreams

Chapter 7


Somewhat to Sanji’s chagrin, Zoro was nowhere to be found the next morning. For some inane reason, he had been kept up all night by the thought that he might have insulted the swordsman unwittingly by forgetting to pay. What if Zoro had not had any money on him? What if he had been forced to pay off the bartender by manual labor? What if he had been arrested! Sanji had panicked slightly at the thought, but put it to rest when he thought of how close Zoro and the bartender had seemed.

That was something else that had been buzzing around in his head since he left Zoro at the tavern.

Is Francois Zoro’s lover?

Not that Sanji was about to make it his business to keep tabs on another man’s lovers, but he was curious. For some reason he felt he needed to know.

What makes a man attracted to another man in the first place? What kind of man does Zoro find… attractive?

And for some reason Sanji couldn’t fathom, he couldn’t picture Francois being Zoro’s lover. Thinking on Francois, the blond chef didn’t think there was anything particularly unattractive about the bartender, but it just didn’t fit. Zoro didn’t seem like the type to settle down with someone so… domestic. Or polite for that matter. Francois seemed like the gentle type. Sanji imagined Zoro would want someone a little rougher. He needed someone who could challenge him-

Why am I thinking about this anyway? Who am I to say what the man needs? I wouldn’t have the slightest clue what type of men Zoro finds appealing, nor should I even be thinking about it!

Nonetheless, thoughts along this similar train of thought plagued Sanji throughout the day. And despite his own reassurances that Zoro had not been arrested, the fact that the green haired swordsman had not shown up by mid afternoon had driven Sanji to a slight panic. He had asked simply everyone in the palace if they had seen the other man, but no one knew. Nami had not seen him, Luffy and Ussop had not seen him, none of the maids he had spoken to had seen him yet either. He went to the stables to ask if he had arrived, and no one had seen him there either. At four in the afternoon, he returned to the stables again to fetch his horse and head back to the tavern, when he bumped into the object of his distress wearing fencing gear and looking slightly disturbed.

“There you are! Where have you been! I have been looking for you all day! I thought you had been arrested!” Sanji yelled rather indelicately as he grabbed Zoro by the shoulders.

Zoro was more than slightly alarmed and certainly very surprised to have run into Sanji so suddenly. He had spent the afternoon (after his bath) training, trying to avoid anymore distracting thoughts. He had worked himself into a thorough depression, and was avoiding having to think about facing Sanji again, or how he was to work out his strategy.

Zoro was a swordsman after all, and failure was simply not an option.

Not to mention the fact that Sanji had his hands on him and seemed to be concerned about something.

“I… arrested? What-why… huh?” Zoro was able to stutter out, sounding completely stupid.

“Last night! I did not pay! You never came back to the palace! I thought perhaps I left you stranded without any money to pay and you had been arrested even though you seemed so friendly with Monsieur Francois-“

Zoro grabbed Sanji’s shoulders in return to draw the other man’s attention. “Sanji, I had plenty of money on me, but more importantly, even if I did not, Francois would never call the police on me. In fact, he made me clean the tavern from top to bottom-“

“Christ, I knew it! I cannot tell you how humiliated I am. I do not know how to properly apologize for putting you in that position-“

Sanji was interrupted by Zoro’s laughing. He let go of the other man and allowed himself to be steered away from the stables and back towards the courtyard.


“You don’t understand.” Zoro’s bad mood took an upswing when he realized the other man had been worried about him. “I have often had to clean the tavern when I decide to spend the night. As a matter of fact, I am never charged when I go to Francois’. It is simply the way it is. I am sorry to have caused you such worry. I ended up getting… well, slightly drunk last night, and Francois, knowing so, would not let me travel back alone. I got back this afternoon, and decided to punish myself with a little training. I had no idea you were worried. I should have told you last night that the tab was taken care of.” Zoro said, smiling.

Sanji could only mutter a few “ah”s of understanding. He laughed a little.

“That is a relief. I thought perhaps I might be overreacting.”

They continued to talk as they made their way back to the palace.

“Will you be at dinner tonight?” Sanji remembered to ask.

“Oh, well, it’s probable. Mademoiselle Nami gets a little furious when I do not turn up for a while, mostly because she knows where I’ve been.”

“Ah hah. She’s quite a sharp one.”


“Well, I’ll see you then.”

Zoro nodded and Sanji was left alone in the corridor as Zoro returned to his room. Again, Sanji was slightly disappointed with that farewell, but decided not to dwell on it. It was an approach he found was the most healthy to take with the swordsman.



It wasn’t much, but it was a huge leap from the night before. Going from point A to point B (point A being, “Will you marry Nami?” to point B being “I was worried about you”) was a huge step. And Zoro was quite ecstatic with it. He had been given enough of a string to begin spinning a plan in his head.

At moments he was disturbed with himself, being yanked along this chain, his emotions being so up and down so easily. The swordsman in him didn’t want to admit that he could be so human, and that his human side could act so young and immature.

But he was pleasantly surprised with what he could allow himself to feel around the other man, or rather, what the other man made him feel. At times it was infuriating, humiliating, and frustrating. But then there were those times, mostly the times in his dreams, where it was… so right. And it all just seemed to fit and maybe he could say that he felt… whole.

It would take time to become Sanji’s friend. Probably longer still to pry Sanji away from the idea that Nami was still a romantic option. And even longer after that, if it was possible at all, to get the blond man to warm up to the idea that Zoro was going to make him his lover even if it killed them both, damn it.



Sanji woke up one day with that anxiety ridden feeling that he had forgotten something terribly important. He had been dreaming about it, and for a few cloudy seconds, he consciously thought about it, but the more he became lucid, the less he remembered. It was extremely worrisome. But as he stretched and blinked his eyes awake, the feeling faded. He tried to grasp at what it was, but decided it must not be that important anyway.

A month had passed in which not much had occurred at all. In one way he was unsettled by this, thinking that he was forgetting something, but in another way he was content, because although nothing dramatic had happened, something subtle had begun to grow.

He could honestly say a month ago that Mademoiselle Nami was his closest acquaintance at Versailles, which wasn’t saying much. She was the person he equated the most with knowing, but to say he knew her very well at all besides a basic biography would be a lie. And as far as he knew, she didn’t know him beyond his name and occupation. He held everyone at a distance in the same manner. Since a month ago, however, there was someone with which he could share a word or two, someone with which he could knowingly share something in common with. Someone he knew he didn’t hate, knew he could trust to be sincere, someone he knew was simply there should he need him.

He and Zoro didn’t mean to spend a lot of time together. They did not get together at the beginning of each day to plan out what they would do. It was coincidence, or rather, a natural occurrence, that they constantly happened to find each other in one another’s company. It was mostly off palace grounds, or merely walking around the gardens. They often went horseback riding together (though on separate horses) out into the countryside. When they spoke it was purposely not about deep things or things very personal.

They seemed relaxed in each other’s company however, is what other courtiers noted the most.

They did not speak about Nami. Sanji hadn’t thought about it much since then. For some reason it seemed awkward all of the sudden. In the beginning, he had planned on renewing his attempts with her. He didn’t feel that it was because he had lost confidence in himself, but as time went on, the urge and drive he had once felt about the situation seemed to have left him somewhat. He didn’t want to think of himself as a fickle person, someone undedicated. But the idea that Nami did not love him wasn’t as hurtful as it once was. He felt almost a little burnt out, and figured that his vigor would return at some point. At which time he would renew his efforts. But he had been vigilant for over a year, and felt he had a well deserved break from it all.

But for now he was enjoying present company.



Great strides had been taken on Zoro’s part to reign in his self control. More and more the relationship between himself and Sanji was rapidly cooling in one way, and then slowly warming in another. There was more respect between them, he thought, and more kindness. Much less anger and resentment, to be sure. In some ways he was glad for the sheer increase in interaction between the two of them, but it was monumentally frustrating how formal it all seemed. The only time he felt truly relaxed around the chef was when they were away from the palace, which wasn’t often enough. On top of it all, the mounting pressure of Mihawk’s impending arrival was causing him to lose sleep, which caused him to lie awake thinking, and that, he found, never led to anything good.

Sanji was distracting him from training. But there was nothing to distract him from Sanji. Usually he could rely on Francois to be able to talk about it with, but lately it seemed Francois didn’t have the patience for it, and Nami simply wasn’t an option he was considering.

But today was Tuesday evening. And though there was nothing particularly special about this Tuesday evening in August, where the air was warm and fragrant, and the moon was nearly full, Zoro had decided, once again, to accompany Monsieur Sanji to the tavern. It had become the closest thing they had to a ritual. It was never on a particular day or time. But they did it at least once a week. Since the first time, Zoro had made sure to bring his own horse, and to refrain from becoming so intoxicated that he lost his senses. It would not do to rape the other man on his own horse.

Sanji was in the middle of watching Zoro look at him disgustedly while animatedly describing in great detail a complex recipe involving crystallized cow saliva and green beans, when a great shout came up from the entrance.

“BROTHER!” Zoro was up in a flash and instantly in a three man bear hug between two men that Sanji did not know.

“Brother Zoro! I never-“

“What on earth are you-“

“How did you-“

“How are you-“

“Calm down, calm down!” Zoro had to shout, but Sanji could see the smile on his face. The chef gave Francois an inquiring look, who, in return, just smiled and winked.

“Look what the cat dragged in Francois! Sit down, sit down. Have a drink on me.” Zoro said, giving Francois a look when the bartender snorted.

“Oh, a gentleman now? Don’t mind if we do!” Said the darker haired one, who Sanji noticed had some strange markings on one side of his face. The other one, who had a shaved head and the pinched look of someone that looked ill, guffawed and slapped Zoro on the back before sitting down.

“Apparently not manners enough to introduce us to his company, eh Johnny?”

Zoro smiled again. Sanji was silent through all this, and more than a little surprised about the range of facial expressions his friend seemed to be exercising tonight. To him, Zoro had always seemed a little stoic, not that it bothered him. But the blond man had discovered (also to his surprise) that Zoro’s smile was quite pleasant. It made his eyes, which seemed so intense and piercing most of the time, soften. Smiling also drew attention to his strong jaw and chin, and the tan skin that looked so-

“Hello? Sanji? Are you with us?”

Sanji started, realizing, to his horror, that he had been staring at Zoro while he spoke, but hadn’t heard a word the other man had said.

“I… I’m sorry. I lost myself there. What did you say?” He only hoped the heat he felt in his cheeks was from the temperature of the room.

“These are my old friends, Monsieurs Johnny-“ he indicated the dark haired one with the tattoo, “and Yosaku. They are free lance bounty hunters.”

“Of course. A pleasure to meet you both.”

“Likewise friend! A friend of Brother’s is a friend of ours.” Yosaku said.

“Of course, you must understand, that doesn’t leave us with very many friends, does it? Brother here isn’t exactly the socializing type, as you may have already guessed.” Johnny said, elbowing his friend.

“How you managed to become a noble is beyond my grasp of thought-“

“Well that’s not very surprising, Yosaku,” Francois interrupted as he set down two more mugs, “as your ability for abstract, over even simple thought, must not reach very far.”

“Oh, I didn’t see his Majesty the King walk in! Wait, no, you’ll be the Queen, won’t you? As you ARE Zoro’s wife, which makes Zoro the King of France! You’re still hanging around the lunatic, are you? Find yourself a solid man, Francois! This dog’s no good!” Yosaku laughed, Zoro grinned.

“That’s an offer, is it?” Francois winked at Sanji again. “I am most flattered, but unfortunately, her Majesty the Queen of France must decline. I have decided to become a monk, where I can walk around naked and drink wine all day.”

Sanji sat back, feeling the weight of responsibility of creating idle chatter lift from his shoulders. It seemed this bunch was a talkative group. Zoro sat back as well.

“Johnny and Yosaku were my first fencing partners.” Zoro murmured beneath the loud conversation across the table. “My first real friends as well. We were all bounty hunters together, until it didn’t suit my training needs anymore. At that point they decided to head east again, and I came to France.”

“So you have not seen them this whole time, since coming to Versailles?”

“No. But they have sent me letters, letting me know where they were and what they were doing from time to time. Mostly to inform me that yes, they were still alive, and yes, they fully intended to come back and make bothers of themselves when the time was right.” Zoro smiled at this, and Sanji felt that familiar warming on his insides again. “I’m glad you could meet them. They’re not exactly civilized, but they’re better company that can be found anywhere at Versailles.”

That stung Sanji a bit. He scratched his nose and managed an “Ah” when Zoro suddenly put his hand on his shoulder, looking shocked.

“I meant, I didn’t mean to say that you, I didn’t mean you, of course-“

Relieved, Sanji nodded. “I understand.”

Zoro smiled again.



The rest of the evening went by pleasantly, if not a little louder, than Sanji had originally planned. He had never been able to finish his story about the recipe, but it didn’t seem to bother him. He had found Johnny and Yosaku to be terrible good company, and very interesting people. Yosaku’s mother had come from a land far to the east called Japan. She made her way to Europe on a Dutch trading ship, and had come to Ireland and met Yosaku’s father. His full name was Daniel Yosaku O’Hannon, and not only did he speak French, but English and Japanese as well. And he had never once entered a school room. Johnny, he discovered, had gotten his tattoo in another eastern country called Manchuria, where, he was told, there was nothing but rolling hills and millions of sheep where nomads lived. They met each other when they were in Germany, learning how to arm wrestle.

Sanji wasn’t sure what was truth and what wasn’t, but all their stories were amusing enough. He thought that Usopp might enjoy their company very much.

And, as it goes with good stories and good liquor, they were all happily drunk by the end of the evening. Francois offered to let Sanji and Zoro stay at the tavern, and Johnny had even offered to put them up at the inn they were staying at, but Sanji insisted he could ride his own damn horse back to the palace, even if Zoro was already asleep on the table.

“He can ride on my horse too. It will be fun. Fine! It will be fine… Just wake the horse up. Zoro up. Wake Zoro up. Unless the horse is asleep too, then we’ll wake him up as well. Francois, is the horse asleep?”

The helpless bartender sighed, and shook his head. He had hoped that tonight he could get Zoro to drink enough to loosen up around Sanji, but this was a little too loose. But he wasn’t going to argue with a drunk chef. Mainly because he had never done it before and he wasn’t quite sure what might happen. He went around to the back to untie Sanji’s horse, the blond man dogging his heels.

“Francois, do you… do you think I’m terribly wude- I mean rude? Rude. Do you think I’m terribly… rude?”

Francois chuckled. “No Monsieur, I do not think you’re terribly wude- I mean… rude. Why do you ask?”

“Well, I’m going to be rude. Do you mind to much?”

Francois just sighed and shook his head. “No, of course not. Do your worst.”

Sanji looked at Francois very seriously, wobbling slightly, and taking the other man by the hands he said, “It’s curious, you know. I mean, I’m curious. We’ll, it’s curious, and I’m curious.” He gave Francois hands a squeeze. “I don’t know.”

Francois decided to humor him. “You don’t know what?”

“About being gay.” Sanji said, serious as ever. Francois felt his heart stop, and he knew he was gaping in a very rude way, but Sanji was drunk and he didn’t think he cared. Sanji continued. “If I was Zoro, you wouldn’t be my first choice in lovers.” Sanji’s face went from serious to sympathetic, and he released Francois’ hands only to replace his hands with the other man’s face. He looked as though he were lamenting for Francois. “It’s not that you’re bad Francois. No, don’t ever think that. You’re quite good. You’re very handsome. You’re very nice. You don’t smell bad at all, and you’re very polite.” He nodded, making sure that Francois understood. He let go of the bartender’s face and pulled the stunned man into his arms. “But you see, that’s just it, isn’t it? You’re too nice for him. You’re just too good for Zoro Francois. Zoro needs someone… bad. Someone who will argue with him, and be rude to him, and well… he needs an untamed horse. He needs more passion and fire in a horse. And the horse needs to be good looking. Not that you aren’t. You are. But you just aren’t a horse.”

Sanji pulled Francois out of the hug and settled for holding the other man by the shoulder at arm’s length. “So I do not understand, Francois, why are you Zoro’s lover? It’s quite frustrating, so explain it to me!” Sanji ended this statement with a pouty frown.

The poor man named Francois stood there, torn between being very angry for all the salt the inebriated man before him had just thrown on wounds he previously thought healed, or laughing at the sheer earnestness of it all. Anger, however, had never solved much when dealing with a drunk man, and as a bartender, Francois knew that very well.

He tried to gather his wits, trying to think of what Sanji’s point had been.

“Well… Sanji, you’re right. I am not Zoro’s type.”

“So you agree!”

“Yes, I do. That is why I am not now, nor was I ever, Zoro’s lover.” He said evenly, punctuating every word. Drunk people didn’t remember much, but this obviously was something that needed to be straightened out. Apparently the point got across, because now Sanji was the one gaping in a very rude way.

“B-but, I thought you must be!”

“No. I’m not. Did Zoro tell you this, or did you just assume?”

“I… I assumed it so… I just… well… I thought… I don’t know what I thought, now that I think about it….”

Francois lamented his life sometimes. Now was one of those times.

“Well that’s a relief, anyway.”

That caught Francois’ attention. “Relief? Why is that?”

Sanji was very serious again. “Because you’re not a horse! It wouldn’t be right!”

Yosaku and Johnny stumbled out the back door at that moment, carried a grumpy but conscious Zoro.

“Who’s not a horse?” He asked blearily.

“Apparently not me.” Francois said, handing the reigns to Sanji. “Good night gentleman, and a safe journey home.”



Zoro was sleepy, warm, and more than comfortable draped over Sanji and having every legitimate excuse to be. He found this position, his arms wrapped around the chef’s lean arms and thin waist, his face snuggled into the crook of the Sanji’s neck where that silky hair was just tickling his nose, to be very satisfactory indeed. Sanji, it seemed, smelled like everything warm, sweet, and spicy Zoro had ever had the pleasure of smelling. And that creamy skin on his neck was so soft. Zoro had the intense urge to let his tongue do what it seemed to be screaming at him to do, which, at the moment, was nibble on that delectable looking earlobe. His hands were also having a bit of trouble not running themselves along Sanji’s torso.

Zoro wondered if it would bother Sanji if he did the things he wanted to do.

And Sanji wasn’t exactly indifferent to the position he found himself in either. The back of his mind kept telling the front of his mind to be more reactive, but the intoxicated state in which he found himself was faithfully ignoring that voice. Besides, the front of his brain was too busy being content and fuzzy, and congratulatory about discovering Francois was indeed not Zoro’s horse.

“Mmm…” Sanji sighed.

Zoro returned Sanji’s sigh by tightening his grip on Sanji’s waist and snuggling further into the nape of the other man’s neck.

“Zoro.” Sanji said suddenly.

Zoro jolted, wondering if perhaps he had finally made the other man uncomfortable. “Sanji?”

“Francois is wonderful.”

Zoro wasn’t drunk enough to ignore that statement. “Yes… he is.”

“But I’m glad he’s not your horse.”

“I… me too?” Zoro smiled and settled back down. “I don’t think he’d make a very good horse.”

“Oh, I think he’ll make a good horse to someone, just not to you.” Sanji said, matter-of-factly.

Zoro laughed. “I thought for sure I had drank more than you. But yes, I’m sure Francois will make a good horse for someone.”

Sanji pulled on the reigns, bringing the horse to a stop in the middle of the road. He turned as far around as he could to face Zoro. “You know what I think?”

“What?” Zoro said, looking at the horse and back to Sanji.

“If I were a horse, I’d be a good horse for you.” Sanji smiled, as if he’d just thought of something that would make Zoro’s day.

“Oh really?” Zoro replied, wondering what the hell the other man was rambling about. But he didn’t care much what he said, but that his mouth kept moving in the way that it was.

“Yes. You don’t think so?” Sanji looked hurt.

“Well, I wouldn’t know. You said it yourself, that you’re not a horse. So what are you? And if you were a horse, what kind of horse would you be? And why would you be such a good horse for me?”

“Wait… wait, slow down. I… first of all, I’m a goat. A goat. And if I were your lover, no, wait- you’re horse- I’d be the best kind for you. But I’m not. I’m a goat. A goat that likes other goats.””

“Oh.” Said Zoro, only more confused. “Well, that’s alright. I’ve already got a good horse.”

Sanji looked shocked. “You do! But Francois said he wasn’t your horse!”

Zoro shook his head, taking the reigns from Sanji and bringing the horse to a trot again. “Francois isn’t my horse. My horse is my horse, of course!”

Sanji turned around again. “Oooooh. You’re talking about your horse. I wasn’t talking about that kind of horse.”

Zoro’s head was starting to hurt.



“Stop talking for a bit.”




Zoro was in pain. Quite a bit of pain, actually. He was, however, thankful that he hadn’t woken up next to Francois again. He’d have to clean the tavern, and he didn’t think he could attempt such a feat right now.

He was still in his clothes, he noted mournfully. Clothes were such a bother to him. Too many layers, all stiff and not very easy to move in. His poorer days were much better to his wardrobe. A poet’s shirt, some pants, shoes when he could afford them. Very breezy, very moveable.

He found he couldn’t move very well, and the thought of working off his old clothes in favor of new ones seemed like a very painful task. His head was throbbing painfully, and that familiar nausea one gets after drinking way too damn much was rearing its ugly head.

Zoro was also slightly confused. He wasn’t used to getting hangovers this bad. Of course, he didn’t remember much of what had happened the night before, so he wasn’t sure how much he had drank, but he was sure that it had been at least a couple years since he’d drank enough to get this hung over.

What did I do last night?

Zoro concentrated hard to remember just where he had been and who he had been with.

I think… oh. Sanji and I went to the tavern…

Johnny and Yosaku. Oh yes.

“Now I get it.” Zoro mumbled, his voice slightly horse. He scrubbed at his face, stretching and making an effort to sit up. Once this task was accomplished, he searched for any more details his brain could supply him about last night.

My horse.

“Damn it!” Zoro growled, now getting up and searching for new clothes.

I left her there.

Hope Francois isn’t angry.

What time is it?

“Francois is wonderful, but I’m glad he’s not your horse.”

Zoro stopped. “What?”



Sanji was awoken from a fitful slumber by a loud knock on his bedroom door. He sat up suddenly, immediately regretting it as the pounding in his head set in.

“Whoozzer? What? C’min.” He said, confused.

Zoro walked in and laughed. “You idiot.”

Sanji was even more confused now. “Wha… huh? Why am I an idiot?”

Zoro looked at Sanji, the man’s hair was disheveled, he too was still in last night’s clothes, and there were tell tale signs of drool on his cheek.

“Well just look at you.” Zoro walked over to the vanity and picked up a hand mirror, thrusting it at Sanji. Sanji took one look in the mirror and flopped himself back down into his bed. He pulled the covers over his head.

“What do you want, Zoro? I’ve got a terrible head ache, and I think I’m going to relive anything I might have eaten last night.”

“Come on. I’ve got a pounding head ache as well, but it time for lunch, and we’ve left my horse at the tavern.”

Sanji pulled the covers just below his eyes. He glared at the swordsman.

We’ve left your horse at the tavern? No, I believe you were too drunk to ride your horse, so you left it at the tavern.”

Zoro rolled his eyes. “A small detail. I was going to visit Johnny and Yosaku anyway. And now, thanks to you, I am without a horse, so I need you to take me into town.”

Sanji rolled over. “Take my horse, but I am not going outside anytime soon. I am not getting up any time soon. I’m going to die. And vomit. So go away.”

Zoro sighed, disappointed. He was frustrated at the fact that he couldn’t remember much about the ride home that he was sure had been more than pleasant, and was hoping for a chance to relive it.

“Ah, well, very well then. But make a human of yourself before the evening.”

Sanji snorted and Zoro left.

Actually, Sanji was purposefully avoiding not going. He was utterly humiliated. Unlike Zoro, Sanji had begun to remember things about the night before, and he only hoped Zoro hadn’t remembered them.

I basically told the man that I would be a good lover for him.

Jesus Christ I must be insane.

What the hell was I thinking?

I must apologize to Francois. I can’t believe I was so indecent with him.

He groaned and buried himself further under the covers.

Zoro peeked his head through the front entrance of the tavern. There didn’t seem to be any customers. Francois was cleaning glasses behind the bar. Zoro cleared his throat, took a deep breath, and went in. He went up to the bar and sat down, watching his friend carefully.

“Hello Francois.”

No reply.

“It has… come to my er… attention, that I left my horse here last night.”

Still no reply.

“And so I came to get her.”

Francois looked at the swordsman. “And?”

“And… to… apologize?”


“Eh… hm… and to… ask you what else I need to do to earn my way back into your good graces?”

The young man sighed. “Zoro, I’m not angry about your horse. I’m not angry at all.”

Zoro sighed in relief. “Excellent. I really did not mean to-“

“Zoro, Sanji and I had a strange talk last night.” Francois pinned him with a stern look. Zoro gulped. “He asked me why we were lovers, because he thought that I was wrong for you. Granted, he was very drunk, and soon began to equate your would-be-lover with a horse, but regardless. How did he get it into his head that we were lovers?”

“I... do not know? I never told him that, if that’s what you are thinking.”

“You never perhaps… hinted at it, hoping he might be jealous?”

Zoro couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Francois wasn’t looking him in the eye anymore either.

“Francois, I wouldn’t use you like that. Besides, he was obviously drunk. We both were. He knows you are my good friend. Perhaps since he has never known me to have a lover he just assumed.”

“That’s what he said.” Francois set the glasses down and ran his hands through his hair. “You know, Zoro, that I have been in love with you for years. And I want your happiness. But I have to protect myself Zoro, so I had to be sure.”

Those words were painful to Zoro, because he had known about Francois’ feelings for a long time. First Nami, and then Francois. He could not make anyone happy, it seemed.

“Zoro, you are my friend unconditionally. And I understand your difficult position. But I think it will be better for everyone involved if you can manage to resolve this situation and hopefully it will end in your favor, if it hasn’t already.”

“What do you mean, if it hasn’t already? Of course it hasn’t.”

Francois laughed. “Did you not listen to me? That idiot cook was trying to make sure I was not your lover, Zoro. He didn’t think I was right for you and he was looking out for you! Don’t you get it? You nor he may not understand it yet, but I think he was jealous.”

“That isn’t logical.”

“Jealousy has no logic, Zoro. I think that whatever you are doing is working.” Francois patted the other man on the shoulder. “Did he say anything after you left?”

Zoro snorted. “If he did I sure as hell don’t remember it.”

They sat in a comfortable silence for a while, Francois going about his duties, Zoro just sitting there, thinking.

“He was talking about horses, I think.”

“What did he say?” Francois said, looking alarmed.

“Er… well, I think I remember him saying that you were wonderful, but he was glad you weren’t my horse.”


Chapter 6 ~~~~~~~~ Back to Zoro/Sanji ~~~~~~~~ Chapter 8



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