In Dreams

Chapter 9


Zoro kept a stoic face but inside he was burning with humiliation. In his rush of anger he had forgotten about the competition at dinner and inadvertently guessed the entrée. The King had thought it was hilarious, and immediately began making plans for their romantic evening, to be held the next day at sundown. He didn’t touch his food after that. Sanji had tried several times to discreetly get his attention, but Zoro wouldn’t look at him. Camille had giggled and kept her hold on his arm tightly. As soon as the table was dismissed he pried himself away from her and made fast for his room.

/I had thought, perhaps, that we were beyond such trite behavior. All he had to do was say he wasn’t interested. It wasn’t even as though my advances were bothersome. They were hardly existent! They were nothing compared to what he put Nami through!/

Zoro threw open his door, wanting to slam his fist through the nearest wall. He settled instead punching the door closed behind him violently. Anger turned his blood to boiling, but humiliation soon robbed him of his energy.

He noticed his fist was bleeding as he sat down on the edge of his bed. For the first time he felt the edges of despair creep into his soul as the memories- no, dreams invaded his mind. They only felt like memories. The ship, his blonde lover, the ocean, All Blue, One Piece…


When had he become so attached to these unreal people? This pretend life? Had it engulfed him so completely that the real Sanji’s blatant and ridiculous rejection rendered him without hope? He was torn out of his reverie as his door was thrown open again and an angry looking chef walked in.

“Would you care to enlighten me as to what the HELL is going on?!”

Zoro stood up, his anger returning. “Get out.”

Sanji was taken aback, his eyes wide. “What? Zoro what happened?”

As for the chef, he was completely in the dark. From the moment Zoro could just barely swallow his meal Sanji had decided something was terribly wrong, but he didn’t know what. All color had left the swordsman, which was quite a feat considering his tan, and he wouldn’t look at anyone. Most of all he refused to finish his meal, a meal Sanji had put a lot of work and thought into. He knew damn well it tasted amazing.

“I think it’s pretty obvious I got the damn message. I certainly don’t need it reiterated.” The incensed swordsman seethed.

Sanji had never seen Zoro this way and he wasn’t quite sure how to tread. He just stood there, his mouth searching for something other than the monosyllabic gibberish he seemed to be producing. He shook his head.

“I have absolutely NO idea what you’re going on about. All I know is that when I met you and Nami outside the dining room you were perturbed about something, and that woman was all over your arm. You didn’t say a single word throughout the meal, a meal which I slaved over and you could barely choke down! Then you guessed the entrée and now we’re scheduled for a romantic dinner in the Queen’s private garden tomorrow! Tell me exactly what I’m missing, Monsieur, because I am very, VERY confused!”

“The goat’s meat.” Was all the swordsman said.

The look on Sanji’s face might have been considered comical in another setting. In fact, the chef was close to laughing if not for the look on his friend’s face.

“What about it??”

“You didn’t have to do all that you fool, a simple word or two would have sufficed. Did you honestly seek to humiliate me in front of everyone? And now you’re trying to play ignorant?”

“For the last and final time, Zoro, I do not know what you are rambling about. If you didn’t like the meal, fine. I worked really hard on it, but perhaps it was too flavorful.” Sanji sat on the edge of the bed next to where Zoro was standing. He rubbed the back of his neck, tired. “It was Mademoiselle Robin’s suggestion after all, and I had hoped to impress her but she wasn’t even able to make it to the meal. I thought you’d eaten goat’s meat before? Did it offend your delicatepalate that much? I thought you of all people at that table would appreciate it.”

It was Zoro’s turn to gape like a fish. Sanji took the expression as one ready to argue again so he threw his hands up. “I don’t have the energy to argue with you anymore Zoro. Whatever I did I am sorry. But I think we should work out what we’re going to tell the other courtiers who ask why I am accompanying you on a romantic candlelit dinner tomorrow evening.”

Zoro’s knees gave out and he sat down on the bed next to Sanji with a thump. He sighed heavily.

“I misunderstood, apparently.”

“Misunderstood what, exactly?”

“It doesn’t matter anymore.”

“I think you owe me an explanation. I’ve never had anyone force themselves to suffer one of my culinary creations, Zoro.”

The green haired man wasn’t sure how to avoid this particular subject, so he changed it. Sort of.

“I wasn’t paying attention to the competition, I didn’t guess it on purpose. I just… let it slip.”

Sanji chuckled. “Well… I’ll deny it if you tell anyone, but I’d much rather spend the evening with you than any of the other courtiers. Particularly now that I know you’re not after my head because you didn’t like the entrée.”

“Ah, I don’t know if I liked it or not. I was… preoccupied.”

“You’re not winning any points here.” Sanji frowned. “And since when does Mademoiselle Camille walk arm and arm with you?”

The relief Zoro felt was immediately crushed by the gravity of that particular situation. Just how much did Camille know, and how? And why did she suppose it was material she could blackmail him with, if that was her intention?

“I don’t know about that woman. She said something this evening that made me wonder where she got her information.”

“About what?” Sanji didn’t know if the swordsman was purposely being vague, but there were a million things wrong with the events that happened over the course of dinner, and he wanted some answers. And he would get them, but they had all tomorrow evening to discuss it in the utter privacy of Her Royal Majesty’s garden. “Your hand, what happened?”

Zoro looked at his battered hand and snorted. “Just took some frustration out on the structure of the building.”

Sanji tutted and pulled the swordsman’s hand close for inspection. “You’re a complete savage.”

“Ch.” Was all Zoro said.

/I’ve got to do something about letting my emotions run rampant. I’m completely drained.

But this is nice…/

The warmth of the body next to him rolled over him in comfortable waves. There was that smell again…

“Wash it and I’ll bandage it.” The chef said, getting up, Zoro’s hand still in his possession. The swordsman followed obediently to the bathroom. He washed his hand in the basin of water while Sanji tore a face towel into thinner strips. Normally Zoro wouldn’t bother with such a trivial wound, but he was enjoying being doted on, if Sanji was capable of doting on a man.

Sanji pulled a small tin container out of his pocket and unscrewed the cap.

“What’s that?”

“Salve. Wear it over night and it’ll heal faster and keep it from itching.”

“You just carry stuff like that around with you?”

Sanji lit a cigarette as Zoro gingerly dried the battered hand.

“Habit. I was, well… still am, a chef. I work with knives. I used to cut myself a lot as a kid so my master used to have me carry this with me. I just never stopped.”

Zoro grinned, wondering what Sanji would have been like as a boy. Had he always been such a stupid sot about women?

Sanji took his hand again and gently put small amounts of the fragrant salve on the torn knuckles. It stung slightly.

“Keep the wrap on tonight while you sleep. Let it air out tomorrow. Damn it man how hard did you hit it? You’re pretty close to the bone on this knuckle…”

Zoro couldn’t help but lean in closer as Sanji looked down to tend to the wound. He could still smell the blonde man past the cigarette smoke and salve. He didn’t notice as Sanji wrapped his hand tightly. All he could see was his face, hear his voice, smell his hair-

“You better take this to the surgeon tomorrow…” Sanji trailed off as he looked up. The swordsman was close. Very close. This was another look he’d never seen on the swordsman’s face, but it reminded Sanji strongly of something. Like at the tavern, when they’d first talked. His face then had been tranquil. Suddenly he was aware of the swordsman’s warm torso and his hot breath. The heavy lidded gaze of the other was enough to make him uncomfortable normally, but he couldn’t pull himself away. He had the insane urge to lean into the swordsman and… do what, he wasn’t sure.

He felt Zoro leaning closer, their noses were almost touching.

“Sanji…” He heard the other man breathe, just barely. His name was just a whisper on the swordsman’s voice and for some reason it made his blood flow a little faster.

“Monsieur! I have brought you fresh towels! If you are nude you would do well to cover your important bits! I am coming in!” Came the bright, bubbly and mood crashing voice of the maid Marie.

Immediately Zoro took three steps back, pulling his hand away sharply in the process. Marie poked her head in and frowned petulantly. “You aren’t nude at all! Your hand! Should I fetch the surgeon?” She set the towels down and immediately began inspecting his hand.

Sanji wanted to snarl at her to leave, that he had already bandaged Zoro’s hand. He had never felt the urge to do anything to a lady but smile at her or kiss her hand. He rushed out of the room, angry with himself and confused at what had just happened. He heard Zoro call after him but ignored it, and hastily made way to his own room, locking the door behind him.



Zoro sighed as Marie needlessly fussed over his hand. He thanked her for the concern and for the towels, then shooed her away after promising to visit the surgeon tomorrow. Sleep evaded him that night.



Sleep evaded Sanji as well. Finally after several hours of lying awake running every idiotic detail of that evening through his head several times, he got up and closed his window curtains. It wouldn’t do to have anyone discover what he was about to do. He moved all excess furniture to the walls and made sure the floor was clear of all rugs and debris.

The blonde chef took care to measure his breathing properly, and slowly began lifting his right leg up over his head. He held it there for as long as he could without supporting it with his arm, then slowly lowered it, and switched to his left leg. Then he did the splits, a back bend, a hand stand, and several sets of squats. When he finally felt warmed up he began sets of kicks, as many for each legs as he could stand. The fouetté, the chasse, the revers and the coup de pied bas. No one at Versailles new that Sanji practiced Savate (1), French kickboxing. It was considered lowly and base. Only sailors or peasant men practiced it. But Sanji had been just a lowly peasant before coming to Versaille. His master had taught him everything he knew.

He’d gotten a little rusty since coming to Versailles. He never had the opportunity to practice, let alone spar. But it had always cleared his head before; he hoped it would take his mind of the idiot swordsman tonight.

Unfortunately, every single muscle from the waist down protested that the chef had dared to wake up and move about that morning.

/Idiot. You’re completely out of shape./

He made it groggily to the bathroom without any major incidents. He needed a hot soak, but he would have to wait for the maid to arrive with his breakfast. She wasn’t going to be happy about having to haul all that water this early in the morning.

He tried to stretch while he waited, but the pain in his shins was nearly unbearable.

/From now on I’ll practice everyday. I don’t care who sees me. If Zoro can waltz around the palace with a tan and moss green hair…/

There was a small knock at the door before the maid stepped in with a platter. He had been right, she wasn’t happy about the idea of hauling all that water up. But Sanji wasn’t anything if he wasn’t charming, and he had soon flattered his way to a hot bath.

The near scolding water soothed his aching muscles and not long after he began to doze. He dreamt lightly of Mademoiselle Nami. Or rather, someone who looked just like her. This woman could not be Nami. She wore strange clothes and had trimmed her hair short, like a boy’s. And then Robin came, but again, it wasn’t Robin. Only a woman who looked just like her. There was a deer? Now he knew he was dreaming. There was Usopp, and Luffy… Sanji was cooking, apparently. They were all gathered around at a table in what looked like a small kitchen. He was smoking… in front of the ladies?! Someone was standing in the doorway but he couldn’t see who it was. The figure was fuzzy, but his voice was deep and soothing. But whatever he was saying it was angering him. No, just annoying. He wanted the figure to come closer.

“Sanji…” Said a voice in his hear. That was what Zoro had said. The figure! Was it Zoro?!

Sanji jerked awake with a gasp. Zoro was there-

“I can’t believe you fell asleep in the water, you idiot! Were you trying to drown yourself?” Zoro said, leaning over the edge of the tub. Sanji looked around wildly, trying to recover his senses. It took him a moment when he realized Zoro’s hand had been supporting his neck. Sanji looked at him, confused.

“I came in here because you wouldn’t answer your door, but the maids said they’d brought water in here an hour and a half ago for you to take a bath. Your head was about to slip under the water.” The swordsman said, purposely not looking at the chef. He’d been shocked when he walked in to find the naked man asleep in the tub. He’d gotten a gorgeous eyeful, but was a bit more concerned with making sure the idiot didn’t drown.

The water had cooled considerably and Sanji started to shiver.

“Come on. Get out of that cold water and dry yourself off.”

Zoro handed Sanji a towel, looking in the other direction.

Sanji slowly stepped out of the tub, still slightly disoriented but definitely aware that he had been sleeping in a tub of cold water. His entire body was prune-y. He quickly dried off, suddenly aware of his nude state. He wrapped the towel around his waist.

“Thank you. I must have been more tired than I thought. I didn’t hear anyone knock at all.”

“You must have been dreaming hard. You were mumbling in your sleep.”

Sanji’s heart pounded painfully. “I did? What did I say?” He quickly grabbed some trousers and an undershirt.

“You said something I did not understand. It was gibberish. I think you said, “Idiot marimo.” I don’t know what a “marimo” is.” Zoro continued to look the other way as Sanji dressed.

/Marimo? Why does that sound familiar?/

“Hm. Neither do I. I was dreaming about several people. Nami, Robin, Usopp and Luffy. I think you might have been there, but I could not tell if it was you or not. You were fuzzy. I was cooking.”

Sanji yawned and in the process noticed he definitely wasn’t sore anymore, for which he was thankful. He towel dried his hair once his shirt and trousers were on.

“I’m dressed, you can look.”

“Why is all your furniture against the wall?” Zoro asked. He’d been wondering since he first walked through the door.

“Ah… um… I was rearranging it last night and got too tired to finish.”

Zoro gave him a look, but let it go. “I came by to ask you if you really wanted to go through with this tonight. I could talk with the King, tell him it was a mistake. I think he would understand.”

Sanji stopped drying his hair. “You don’t want to?”

“… you seemed upset last night when you left.”

Sanji swallowed hard. “Ah, well, I was… overwhelmed.”

Zoro blinked.


Sanji cleared his throat. “Yes.”

To be honest, Sanji wasn’t sure what had happened in regards to anything since last night. He needed answers of his own before he could figure out what in God’s name was going on with himself.

“If you are not comfortable with it Zoro, I would certainly not force you. But it would be a shame to turn down dinner in the Queen’s garden.”

Zoro sighed. Usopp was never going to let him live this down. He’d already encountered the man on the way to Sanji’s room, met by several obnoxious questions regarding their “romantic rendezvous”, as the King put it. He needed a drink, and it wasn’t even noon.

“It that’s what you want, I suppose I can’t be bothered to care. I’ll be in town today with Johnny and Yosaku if you need me.”



Zoro had gone to great lengths to disguise his precious cargo. Particularly he kept a keen eye out for the simpering blonde, Camille. He made doubly sure to insure no one followed him, either. Johnny and Yosaku met him just outside the palace grounds, Johnny with a similar bundle to Zoro’s. They rode in companionable silence for nearly an hour to a secluded area that Zoro hoped he was the only one to know about.

“It certainly is not what I expected.” Johnny said after sometime of surveying the area.

“Yes. It is… scenic.” Yosaku leered at Zoro. “With a pond as well. I can just imagine some besotted idiot bringing a lady here to have a romantic picnic. Certainly not your average training space.”

Zoro frowned at the two. “You can barely see through all the willows, and I think that is the point, gentlemen. Yes, there is a pond. Hang me for treason. But there is plenty of space of here to do repetitions, and there are not many low hanging branches from the taller trees.”

“And you are positive no one knows about this place?” Johnny said, undoing his bundle.

“No. But I have yet to be discovered.”

“Or so you thought. Now what exactly did this woman say to you?” Yosaku said, leading the horses to a tree.

Zoro undid his bundle as well. “Just that she knows I have more than one sword, and that they’re eastern in origin. Well, actually she said, “far east”. So, in not-so-many words she indicated that she knows about Wadō Ichimonji and Sandai Kitetsu. And of course she cannot possibly know about this one, because you are just now delivering it to me.”

Johnny unveiled the sword in his bundle. “Yubashiri. One of the world's 50 Ryō Wazamono.”

Zoro inspected the sword briefly before unsheathing it. “Who wants to go first?” A hungry grin spread across the swordsman’s face.


Chapter 8 ~~~~~~~~ Back to Zoro/Sanji ~~~~~~~~ Chapter 10


(1) Savate - (pronounced /savat/), also known as boxe française (French boxing), French Kickboxing or French Footfighting, is a French martial art which uses both the hands and feet as weapons and combines elements of western boxing with graceful kicking techniques. Only foot kicks are allowed, unlike some systems, such as Muay Thai, which allow the use of the knees or shins. Savate is perhaps the only style of kickboxing in which the fighters habitually wear shoes. A practitioner of savate is called a savateur (male) or savateuse (female). (Wikipedia)

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