In Dreams

Chapter 8


Zoro left the tavern after retrieving his horse. Confusion swirled through him, and he found he was unable to complete one thought before finishing another.


If he were a horse, which actually means, if he were gay-

But he’s a goa-

…not gay.

And he likes other goa-


So he…was thinking about me?

Well, he was drunk.

It doesn’t mean a damn thing. He doesn’t want a horse, he wants a fucking goat.

And I’m not a goat. I’m a horse. A lousy horse.

“Do you think he would notice if I stuck this feather in his ear, Yosaku?”

Zoro jerked his head out of the clouds and found himself between Johnny and Yosaku, who were riding their horses beside him in a leisurely manner. His own horse was just barely making a trot. He must have let the reigns slack during his pondering.

“Oh? Mon ami, have you come back to us?”

Zoro managed a small laugh. “I’m sorry. I was lost in thought. I didn’t even hear you approach.”

“We only called your name several times.” Johnny scolded. “We saw your horse dragging you through town. You look like hell, my friend.”

Zoro muttered something unintelligible under his breath.

“So how bad is it?” Johnny continued.

“How bad is what?” Zoro said.

“The blond. How far have you fallen, exactly? He obviously doesn’t realize, or you’ve fallen into unrequited love. Ah, love. So fragile, so hellish-” Yosaku began.

“Shut up. I’m not in love.”

“Yes you are.” The other two said, simultaneously.

“Am not!” Zoro snapped.

“Are too.”

“Am not!”

“Am not!”

“Am too!” Zoro snarled.

“Fine! You don’t have to yell at us! We believe you!” Yosaku and Johnny chorused triumphantly.


“Indeed. So what is your course of action? You won’t leave this alone, will you? I should hope not.” Johnny said.

“Admitting defeat?” Yosaku sneered.

“How ugly,” Johnny scoffed, looking absolutely offended at the idea.

“Shut up! Both of you! I have no idea what I’m doing! I don’t know if I should give up, keep trying, or throw myself into the nearest river! It’s never been like this before…”

The two bounty hunters broke out into laughter.

“Oh, my poor, poor little muffin cheeks. You’re in looooooooove. Leave it to us, we’ll figure something out for you.” Yosaku said, reaching across his horse to pinch Zoro’s cheek, missing horribly and almost falling off his own horse.

“You’re an ass, Yosaku. I wouldn’t want you saddling my horse, let alone playing my cupid. What are you two doing, following me anyway? You’ll never be allowed in, you know that.”

“Ooooh, hoity toity now, aren’t we?” Johnny said, feigning insult. “Us lowly cretins cannot soil the ground of Versailles with our dirty blood!”

“Shut up. You know what I mean.”

“Yes yes. We should be going. We only came to make sure your dog hadn’t died.” Yosaku assured him.

“I don’t have a dog-”

“But we’ll be on our way. Oh yes-”

“We forgot to mention-”

“Completely slipped our minds-”

“We leave for Germany in four days.”

“Do make sure to clear your busy, noble schedule to make time for old friends?” Johnny said.

Zoro smirked. “We’ll see about that.” He tightened his grip on the reigns and gave his horse’s gut a slight kick. “Go keep Francois company!” He said over his shoulder. The bounty hunters waved at him as he raced down the road.

“Does he stand a chance?” The tattooed man inquired.

“Depends. Sanji seems like quite a mess, as far as what he wants is concerned. He hung all over Zoro last night and couldn’t keep his eyes off him, but…” His friend replied.

“Sometimes if you don’t want to feel something, you won’t.”




Maybe he won’t remember?

If I don’t act suspicious, he won’t be suspicious.

Maybe I should avoid him?


It’s not very serious, after all.

It’s not as though I admitted to anything-

Not that there’s anything to admit to, but-

It could certainly be misconstrued, I’m sure-

I need to do something with my hands-

I wonder what they’re preparing for tonight?



“Goat. It’s quite difficult to serve anything edible off such a creature, but when it’s done right, it’s quite the delicacy. We would be honored by any assistance you could give us tonight, Monsieur Cuire.”

Sanji realized he was gaping at the younger apprentice.

Really now.


Sanji coughed to hide his temporary speechlessness. “Er, who suggested that particular entree this evening?”

“Mademoiselle Robin.”

“Ah. And she has much... experience eating goat’s meat?”

“Apparently, Monsieur.”

Sanji spent the remainder of his day in the kitchens preparing. It had been a very, very long time since he’d had to prepare goat’s meat. It was usually only something eaten when there wasn’t a choice of lamb or fowl or beef. His Master had taught him to never depreciate the value of any meat, however. Goat’s meat was as good as gold when you were starving. Originally the Master chef had intended to serve it the way one would if serving sautéed pork with camembert sauce, but Sanji didn’t like the idea of mixing goat tenderloins with a cheese sauce, so instead prepared in Navarin Printanier style, stewing the meat in a mixture of white wine and herbs. Goat’s meat was tough by nature, but after it had stewed for a good two hours, the meat was juicy enough that it was about sliding off the bone.

Perfect. Zoro probably won’t even recognize it as goat’s meat.

Well, he’s probably had it enough in his lifetime.

We’ll see.

“Jean! Tell Pierre not to announce the meal tonight. I want them to ask after they’ve tasted it.”

The jumpy apprentice nodded and skittered off to find Pierre.

Cooking always calmed Sanji’s nerves. It was his safe haven away from anything and everything that normally concerned him. It was his creative outlet, his chance to really shine. He was always immensely proud of his work, and even though he had never received reactions to the contrary, that moment that someone picked up that fork or spoon and placed it to their lips was the most exciting and nerve wracking moment Sanji knew.

He was a mess after cooking, so he left the cleanup and preparations beyond main course up to the rest of the chefs. He certainly couldn’t show up to dinner looking, and smelling, like he did now.



“I don’t know what he means by it Usopp! We were drunk!”

“Hm… Zoro! Are you going to marry Sanji?” Luffy poked his head over the top of the chair Zoro was currently slumped in. Zoro looked up, his view of Luffy’s head upside-down.

“I don’t think so, Luffy.”

“You can marry me.”

Zoro smiled. “You’re the third person in the last six months to offer themselves up to me in marriage, you know. I’m sorry Luffy, but I don’t think I’d be able to feed you properly. You need a husband who can at least give you that courtesy.”

Luffy frowned. “I never thought of that. Maybe I should marry Sanji instead. He would definitely be able to feed me.”

That vein in Zoro’s forehead throbbed. His eyebrow twitched. “You know, you’d probably have an easier time of getting him to marry you than I would.”

Usopp snickered and Zoro sat up, straightening up his over coat. “You think I’m joking? I should have said yes to Nami. Or Francois.”

“What about me?” Luffy interjected, pouting.

Zoro stood up and ruffled the boy’s hair. “And you, most of all.” Luffy smiled.

“Well, you could always go away for a while. Put some distance between yourself and this.” Usopp suggested thoughtfully.

“Of course. You just want me to go away so you don’t have to hear my pining.”

Usopp patted Zoro’s shoulder. “You’re absolutely right.”

They walked amicably down the corridor towards the grand dining room. Of course there was the big affair before the meal, which was meeting in the ballroom that led into the dining room. For an hour (thirty minutes if the king and queen were especially hungry) or so, the courtiers would do what they did best. Socialize, gossip, comment on the newest scandal, and generally make asses of themselves in Zoro’s opinion. He would have skipped out on all of it if it weren’t for the fact that he would be ostracized for it. And then there were the times when Sanji actually made the meal. He didn’t care if he had to kiss Madam Bergutha Du Uggla (1) square on her hairy lips. He never missed it.

Speaking of Madam Horsebrush-Lips, she had spotted Zoro, so the swordsman made a straight, albeit inconspicuous, line for Mademoiselle Nami, who he saw was chittering away with Count Hugues youngest daughter, Mademoiselle Camille. She was a relatively safe courtier, as she was smitten with a certain love-cook with blond hair and a curly eyebrow. Zoro didn’t particularly detest her, as Sanji had never shown an interest in her. Not that he ever detested Nami, because they had been too close for such trivial entanglements. Nami spotted him and waved him over.

“Ah, Monsieur Zoro!”

Zoro breathed a sigh of relief as he saw Usopp take the blunt of the blow, as Madam Du Uggla had seem to settle for pinching his nose and other… areas. He would have to make up for it later. Luffy seemed to be slowly inching away from the scene, perhaps hoping to find someone bigger than him to hide behind. The king perhaps.

“A thousand thank yous, m’ladies. You have saved me from certain death.” Zoro said, taking Mademoiselle Camille’s hand and giving it a small, polite kiss. Nami rolled her eyes.

“Nonsense. She’s a harmless old woman.”

Zoro raised his eyebrow. “She has more of a beard than me after five days of living in the wilderness.”

Mademoiselle Camille giggled again. Nami joined her this time.

“So, Monsieur Zoro, even you have braved this massive congregation in order to taste Monsieur Cuire’s wonderful food.” Camille said, fanning herself, batting her eyes.

Zoro catalogued the behavior away. “Of course. It’s one of the only things worth staying in this palace for. I admit, had he the level in swordsmanship that he does with a cutting knife, I wouldn’t refrain from saying he might cause me some trouble.”

“Oh certainly not you Monsieur. Not Roronoa Zoro. They’re beginning to say that you’re the best there is.”

Zoro scoffed. “Have you never heard of Javiere Mihawk, good lady? Are you not fortunate enough to know of the man who has never lost a single sword fight? The man who fights with a Scottish sword, nearly as tall as he himself?”

Camille “hmmd” at that, but kept smiling. “And you, Monsieur. What of that sword that you never bring to your duels here at Versailles? The one from the far east? Or should I say, ones…?”

Zoro’s gaze narrowed. “I’m afraid, mademoiselle, that I am too unfortunate to know what you’re speaking of.”

Camille “hmmd” again. Zoro decided he didn’t like that sound. The blond woman just kept fanning herself, batting her brown eyes at the green haired man. Nami only looked back and forth between them, confused.

“Where is Mademoiselle Robin, tonight?” Zoro said, his gaze still lingering on Camille.

“She is indisposed, sadly.”

“How dreadful!” A new voice interjected from behind Nami. Zoro looked away from Camille at recognizing Sanji’s voice. “That’s simply terrible. Should I make something refreshing for her?”

Nami smiled awkwardly. “Yes, that would be wonderful of you Monsieur. I’m sure Robin would be very grateful. I am so looking forward to tonight’s meal. What have you devised for us tonight?” Nami said, allowing Sanji to kiss her on both cheeks. She held onto his hand as he stepped away.

Zoro didn’t notice this however, as his brain was still reeling from the prior conversation. His face was intense, the closest thing Sanji had ever seen it to anger in such a public place.

“Eh, actually, it’s a surprise tonight, Nami.” He smiled at her, feeling her squeeze his hand unnecessarily hard. She squinted at him, hoping he would get the message. Something was wrong here.

“Well, it’s about time, the king is simply famished after the hunt today, so he’s in quite the hurry for supper. Shall we head towards the entrance?” He offered. Zoro didn’t make any sign of recognition, but instead stalked off towards the entry way. Camille giggled and followed quickly at his heels.

“What was that about-“ Sanji began to say, before he was interrupted by the sound of a bell being rung.

Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to communicate much more than that with Nami, as the queen had asked her to sit beside her this evening. Zoro ended up sitting across from him, with that Camille at his side. Usopp was on Sanji’s right, and Luffy was on Zoro’s other side.

Zoro still looked like he was deep in thought. What Sanji couldn’t understand was why Zoro said nothing about the arm Camille had woven around Zoro’s. She seemed quite satisfied with herself, but the situation wasn’t making sense with the cook.

“Ah, I am to understand that tonight’s entrée is a surprise, Monsieur Sanji?”

Sanji was slightly startled as the king addressed him, but he pulled himself together, stood up, bowed and said, “If it please your majesty. I would prefer that everyone first taste the entrée before asking what it is.”

“Oh dear, it must be something unpleasant, don’t you think?” The queen said.

Sanji smiled. “Oh not unpleasant. More… common, actually.”

“Oh let’s make a game of it! The first person to guess what the dish is shall win an evening with our very talented Monsieur Sanji!” The queen said, excited.

Sanji laughed. “It’s a terrible thing, your majesty. For I should hope you will guess the entrée, but I should hate to bear the king’s wrath, were that the case!”

Everyone laughed. “Rest assured, Monsieur Sanji, Her Majesty shall not be familiar any common dishes-” The king began.

“Oh do stop. I ate, oh what was it called, oh yes, a dreadfully vulgar name. I ate a catfish once!”

Many of the courtiers gasped.

“Was it awful, your Highness?” Nami asked. Nami actually knew very well what catfish tasted like, and loved them. This was a part of the very well practiced act on her part.

“Oh, simply dreadful, dear. I should hope you’ll never have to experience.”

“Very well. Shall we begin? Let us start with the first course. The dish that must be guessed will be the second to last course before dessert.” Sanji said, bowing again. All at once several page boys approached the table and lifted the domed silver lids (gold, in the case of the king and queen) from the table, revealing the dish. Several wonderful aromas filled the air, and immediately courtiers picked up their knives and forks to begin. The first three courses went off without a hitch. There still not much movement or sound from Zoro, besides going through the mechanics of eating, something which displeased Sanji immensely, as he had never done that at one of Sanji’s meals. He was sure to get a reaction out of Zoro during the entrée.

Zoro, for his part, hadn’t even heard what had been said from the point that Sanji had told them dinner was about to begin. Camille had seen fit to wrap her arm around Zoro’s, keeping him uncomfortably close at all times. She even sat beside him. Zoro didn’t care much what she did, it was what she so obviously knew that bothered him.

He couldn’t do anything about it at this point, however, so he decided to begin enjoying his meal. He looked up just in time to see shock on Sanji’s face as Luffy said,

“Sanji, I want to marry Zoro.”

The other courtiers around him laughed. Sanji looked a little stunned. “Well, Luffy, that’s… interesting.”

Luffy smiled. “But Zoro said you’d make me a better husband, because you can cook for me, and he can’t.”

That vein that had popped out on Zoro’s forehead earlier seemed to have found its way to Sanji’s brow now. The same eye twitching movement as well.

“Well, I suppose that would be true, Luffy. However, I can’t marry you, since you can’t give me children.”

Luffy whined. “But who am I going to marry?”

Zoro frowned. “Yes, who will he marry, Sanji?”

“Oh I know!” Mademoiselle Camille interrupted. “He can marry Mademoiselle Nami! They can have their own personal cook, and she can give him children!” She giggled, thinking this was very clever.

“But I don’t want children. Sanji wants children!” Luffy pouted.

Camille smiled slowly. “Then, perhaps, Monsieur Cuire should marry Mademoiselle Nami.”

Sanji blushed slightly, and Zoro felt his blood pressure rising.

“Oh, but Zoro wants to marry-” Luffy started.

Nami suddenly laughed very loudly from her end of the table. “My, this has hall been so delicious! I can’t wait for the next entrée!”

“Meat?” Luffy said, hopefully.

Zoro’s heart was pounding in his chest. This woman was giving him an anxiety attack. Luffy was giving him an anxiety attack. He was giving himself an anxiety attack. Pages were bringing out the next dish and he honestly thought, for the first time, he wouldn’t be able to eat whatever it was Sanji had made.

He was wrong.

A familiar scent hit his nose as the boy lifted the lid. It was heavily masked by something else, but it struck Zoro as odd that he should smell this meat here. But he was so distracted he couldn’t think of what it was. But the smell was familiar and nostalgic, and the effect was that he began to calm down. He picked up his fork and knife, cutting into the obviously very tender meat with some curiosity.

“Oh, delicious-”

“What could it be?”

“I’ve certainly never had something like this before-”

“This is spectacular-”

And the comments went on an on. He spared Sanji a glance, only to find that Sanji was staring rather intently at him, which was something of a shock. He chewed slowly, trying to sort out the dressings and sauces. He knew this meat. He had to…

Zoro all at once wanted to vomit.


What does that mean?

Did he remembered after all.

Was this his way of reminding me?

Trying to tell me he’s not interested?

Does he think this is funny?

Zoro choked down a swallow, and Sanji was looking at him, quite alarmed. Zoro set down hit fork and knife and glared hard at the cook.

“Goat, Sanji?”

Everyone looked up from their plates, including the king and queen.

“Monsieur Zoro? Did you say something?” The queen asked, a half amused smile on her face.

“If it pleases your Highness, I asked Monsieur Sanji if tonight’s meal was goat meat.”

The queen laughed. “I certainly did not expect a gentleman of the court to inquire…”

The courtiers began to whisper, and the king looked absolutely baffled. Then, quite suddenly, he broke out into hysterical laughter. “Zoro, my lad, you’re spectacular! Oh what a jest that would be! Sanji! What is your answer?” The king demanded, eyes twinkling with mirth.

Sanji was somewhat speechless before he muttered, “Th-that’s… correct. It’s goat’s meat.”


Chapter 7 ~~~~~~~~ Back to Zoro/Sanji ~~~~~~~~ Chapter 9


(1) I realize that neither names, Bergutha nor Uggla, are French. But as I see it, there is no such thing as an ugly French name, so I made one up. Well, Bergutha (kinda sounds German, no offense do the German readers out there, assuming there are any) was made up, but Uggla is actually Swedish. I read it in a book once. >.> .


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