In Dreams

Chapter 11


They made plans to meet again by the servant’s gate at the earliest possible convenience. The sun hadn’t even risen yet when Sanji approached on horse looking tired and slightly rumpled. Zoro was throwing his most intimidating glare at the guardsmen.

“Why exactly did we have to get up so early?” Sanji yawned, irritated. He was slightly hung over and certainly hadn’t slept well.

“To avoid gossip. I think we should lay a little low, at least until I have this Camille issue sorted out.” They made their way through the gate and Zoro led Sanji down the same road he had lead Johnny and Yosaku the previous day.

“You really are a lot more worried about what people think about you than I thought.” Sanji snapped. An entire night of dreams that Sanji thought but refused to admit might have been somewhat erotic had not aided him. His current headache wasn’t helping either.

“And you’re not concerned at all about your own reputation? Certainly I don’t care what they know, do not know, or think they know about me. I don’t care how much they talk about it. But I am concerned with how it affects those around me. Nami, Luffy, Usopp. /You/. They have nothing but life at Versailles, and should they fall out of favor and become the center of ridicule they would be somewhat… inconvenienced. Or am I wrong?” Zoro said with a small smile on his face Sanji. What a grump his blond truffle was so early in the morning.

Sanji hadn’t thought of it like that. He frowned, feeling slightly ashamed. They were quiet for the rest of the journey. The sun was starting to come up, though it was too cloudy and foggy to see it shine. Sanji recognized the little glade they were approaching. He had been here before with Nami and Robin a few times, back when he had first come to Versailles. Sanji wondered how Zoro knew about this place.

He had the answer before he asked.

“I come here to train. Not a lot lately, but I came here daily when I first came to Versailles. No one comes here this early in the morning.”

They dismounted and left their horses to graze in a small patch of green grass. Zoro laid a bundle on the ground and began to unpack it while Sanji stretched a little. He made sure to wear clothes in which he could move, but he had to remove the precautionary formal layers first. It wouldn’t do to be caught in Versailles wearing plain clothes. Underneath he wore a plain poet’s shirt which was unlaced enough to reveal his sternum, and a pair of simple trousers made of pliable leather with leggings underneath.

Zoro had brought six swords with him total; the three Wazamono and three wooden boken. He was laying the Wazamono out reverently when his gaze accidentally wandered to his companion, who was…

Bending. Bending in ways that normal humans shouldn’t. Bending in ways that-

Zoro gulped as he saw Sanji move from a back bend to a hand stand, his shirt coming untucked and sliding across his bellying revealing inch by creamy, gorgeous inch. In the quick flash of flesh Zoro could see that Sanji had a muscular abdomen and oh God, just a flash of golden curls starting below his belly button and disappearing in the line of his trousers. Heat swept through Zoro’s body like a flash fire.

Sanji chuckled embarrassed and quickly tumbled out of the hand stand to right himself. He pulled his shirt down sheepishly.

“Oops.” He smiled.

Zoro was looking at him strangely but he quickly turned around and busied himself with his swords. Sanji did a few more stretches before he came up behind Zoro to look at the swords. They really were unlike anything he’d ever seen. Zoro slowly unsheathed each one for him to observe.

“May I hold one?” He asked a little breathlessly. He wasn’t a fencer, but the idea of something so important to Zoro, from such a distant land… They were strange. Their design wasn’t made for piercing or the whip like strikes of the French sword. This was for slicing, rending a body in half… The folded steel made a strange wave pattern. Sanji held it before him like he would his own, much neglected sword. Zoro immediately corrected his position.

“Like this. You pull it from your left, out of the sheath, and let the sharp end face away from you. When you hold it with both hands the sharp end should be facing the ground. Like this. That’s it.”

“This is much heavier than mine. How do you manage to hold three?” Sanji asked, in awe. Despite the weight he could feel the fluid travel of the sword as he moved it. “How do you fence with this thing?”

Zoro smiled. “You don’t. Your aim is to kill, not compete. Every blow is a fatal one. There is no planned foot work, only strength. No tactics, just a single goal. These schools for learning aren’t for culture or refinement, they’re for practical purposes of survival. Although most samurai are scholars and artists.” He added thoughtfully. In his own time in Japan he had learned how to compose very simple poetry. His grasp of the language had been competent enough to do that, at least. Although his calligraphy, he had been told, wasn’t very good.

“How would I approach my opponent then? How would I strike him?”

Zoro picked up one of the wooden swords and demonstrated an over head strike. “You would be aiming for the neck, your goal is to cut through the torso. Or you could strike from below, from the waist up to the shoulder.” Another demonstration. “You could also impale him by thrusting straightforward.” He thrust the boken forward.

Sanji shuddered and returned the sword to Zoro. “It sounds very bloody.”

“Japan is a nation at war with itself. An environment such as that creates an entirely different culture than what we know and understand.”

Sanji nodded. “So show me how you manage all three swords at once.”

Zoro picked up the other two boken, placing one in his other hand and the other in his mouth.

“Like this.” He said without any trouble, surprising Sanji with how well he was able to speak with a large chunk of wood in his mouth.

“Being able to speak normally must have been quite the challenge.” He remarked.

Zoro shrugged. “It wasn’t so important functionally as I was simply tired of being mocked for sounding like I had a sword in my mouth. Your opponent doesn’t deign to respect you if you sound like a child with a speech impediment. Which I did for a long time.” Zoro said without any seeming difficulty.

“Still though, it doesn’t look like the sword in your mouth could carry in power in a strike.”

Zoro surveyed the area. He pointed to a tall tree with an average size trunk. Sanji raised an eyebrow. Surely the man would knock his teeth out. And then to his surprise Zoro handed him the other two boken so that he only held one in his mouth. Sanji knew this wouldn’t turn out well, but nonetheless Zoro charged at the tree. For a moment it seemed as though he had missed completely. Sanji didn’t even see the wooden sword connect, but suddenly splinters were flying everywhere and the top of the tree was hurtling towards the ground.

He stood there for a moment, speechless. Then Zoro smiled at him, boken still in his mouth will all teeth still in tact.

The chef sat down, still staring at the tree. No one at Versailles, no in France, hell maybe even the world, could match that. He had never seen Mihawk before, but he had heard the stories of his battles. None of those grand tales could match the reality of seeing Roronoa Zoro destroy a tree with one wooden sword in his mouth, in one strike. And so easily done!

It was as if the swordsman could read his thoughts. “It is a much larger world than we are given to know here at Versailles Sanji. This is nothing compared to Mihawk.”

They were silent for a few moments before Zoro asked, “What did you want to show me?”

This broke Sanji from his reverie. Suddenly he realized the insignificance of his own power, and felt embarrassed about even showing the swordsman.

“Ah, well, you certainly have trumped me, but it can’t hurt to show you anyway. You said you learned hand to hand combat in Japan?” Sanji said standing up and brushing the dirt and grass off of himself.

“Yes. They call it karate.”

“Well, in France, as you well know, we call it Savate. Care to spar?” Sanji took a stance.

It was Zoro’s turn to be surprised. It made sense though. Those longs legs would be very much a waste of space for anything else. Well, not exactly anything, but Zoro ended that thought right there. He tossed away his jacket and remaining boken and rolled up his sleeves. He was familiar with the rules of Savate.

Sanji started in immediately with a series of several low front sweeps, hoping to knock the swordsman off his feet. Zoro was light on said feet however, and let himself be herded backwards. Zoro jabbed for the chef’s jaw while Sanji’s concentration was on his feet. Or at least he thought it was, but Sanji took the advantage and countered with a fouette, a round house kick aimed at his head. This forced the swordsman to duck and Sanji again used the sweep and successfully knocked the swordsman’s feet out from under him. Zoro’s back hit the ground with a thud, but he was back up in a flash with a kick up. A round house kick from Zoro countered with Sanji’s own roundhouse kick.

Zoro cringed as his shin hit Sanji’s and he backed down. He didn’t even see Sanji so much as blink at that connection.

Sanji smiled. “Had enough?”

“No. You?” Zoro didn’t wait for his reply but took the momentary distraction to close the distance between them and start a flurry of direct bras avant, or jabs. Sanji was able to block them all but soon found himself with his back to a tree. He hadn’t even noticed where Zoro had been herding him. The swordsman aimed a powerful punch at the chef’s head only to have his fist connect with the tree. Sanji had ducked and rolled to the left. Luckily he had, because there was now a sizeable dent in the poor tree where his head had been.

But Zoro was nothing if he wasn’t quick and he took advantage of Sanji’s close proximity to the ground.

The chef hadn’t expected to be tackled, there wasn’t any grappling in Savate after all, and soon found himself pinned underneath the swordsman, his face in the dirt and his right arm twisted up behind him.

But that wasn’t exactly something he couldn’t handle, either.

He slammed his right foot backwards into Zoro’s back, causing the green haired man to hurtle forwards. Sanji was free but Zoro was back up again and coming at him with revers, a roundhouse kick that use the sole of the foot to make contact instead of the toes, and it was aimed straight at his chest. Sanji flipped backwards but the kick still caught his hip and he crashed his landing.

A kick up and he was back on his feet. Now he was getting frustrated. He ran at Zoro and jumped but faltered mid air when he heard Zoro holler, “Whoa whoa whoa WHOOOOAAA!”


“That was a very angry duck.”

“I wasn’t aware duck had such ferocious teeth. Are you sure you don’t need me to bandage that for you?”

“I assure you I’ll live.”

“I am sorry. I really didn’t see-“

“I said it was alright Sanji, for the last time. Besides, it gives me a reason to stay away from the palace a little longer.”

Sanji stretched leisurely on the grass they had only a few moments ago been sparring on. Sanji had backed Zoro into the pond unwittingly and had gone down with him because of it. But really, are ducks naturally that aggressive? Sanji had hung his shirt on a branch to dry and had been trying to convince Zoro to do the same.

“You’ll soil your coat and it can’t be comfortable, just take it off already.”

“I already told you-“

“So you’re a modest man!” He said in mock surprise. “What else haven’t you told me?” Sanji said, grinning at the man stretched out next to him.

Zoro sighed. “Alright, but don’t complain if it bothers you.” Zoro slipped his shirt off and went to hang it on the branch next to Sanji’s.

“If what bothers me… oh.” Sanji didn’t say anything for a moment. The size of the scar that ran from Zoro’s right shoulder to his left hip didn’t inspire him to say much. It looked as though someone had tried to slash the man in half.

Zoro lay back down. He really didn’t mind anyone seeing it normally, but he did mind with Sanji. Sort of.

“Can I ask you how you got it?” Sanji asked, a bit embarrassed of himself. He hadn’t meant to put the other man in an awkward position.


Sanji sat up. “Mihawk? I thought you’d never met him before.”

“I never said that.”

Zoro closed his eyes, ready for a nap but Sanji wasn’t going to let it go at that.

“Well how did this happen? When? Where? And if he was able to do something like this to you why in God’s name would you seek him out again? How did you even survive-“



“One question at a time. As for the first one, I think it should be quite obvious how this happened.” He made a slashing noise and a motion with his finger across his chest. “As for where, Germany. How I survived? I guess sheer will power so that I could meet him again. And of course I would want to meet him again. I want to become the best, so I must beat him.”

Sanji didn’t know what to say to that. Zoro seemed to take it all so casually, so Sanji decided it wasn’t his place to worry about it. He lay back down. He had hoped by coaxing Zoro to remove his shirt he would get a good eyeful. After all, the bastard had seen him completely naked, why shouldn’t he return the favor? But he settled for eyeballing the swordsman’s torso while he napped. To say the scar marred his chest wasn’t really accurate. Sanji hadn’t really expected anything specifically when Zoro removed his shirt, but he hadn’t expected that. But now that he’d seen it he felt it was somehow in place. Natural, like Roronoa Zoro, the number one swordsman in all of France, wouldn’t really live up to his name if he didn’t carry some evidence with him.

He admired the man as he slept, watching the slow rise and fall of his tanned, well muscled chest. The man really was built, Sanji admitted. Certainly Sanji was fit, but Zoro… Zoro could punch through a tree, as he’d witnessed today.

It was very strange to Sanji. He’d only ever admired the female figure, so looking at a man was very much different. To be honest he’d never had a woman, always holding out hope for that amazing one, one he was so sure was going to be Nami…. Surely he gave people a different impression, being too flirty or flamboyant, but that had changed when he came to Versailles. But he knew women smelled better than men, generally, and wore a lot more clothes than men as far as layers went. He was thankful to have been born a man if only for that. Women wore a lot of make up and put all manner of trinkets in their hair, which could be designed in all manner of ways. There was a lot to take in when admiring a woman, from the intricate silk design of her dress to the curves of her bosom. To be honest it was a bit distracting.

Men were much simpler, something he’d noticed even before Zoro had come along. Sure, there were exceptions. Ace had always worn outrageously bright colors and Sanji sometimes took the time to count his freckles if he fell asleep in the middle of a conversation. But when it came to Zoro, it was more a pleasure than a chore. Everything about him was simple but elegant, strong but not barbaric. His tan skin stretched over intimidating muscle, the contrast of green hair, green as the grass they were laying on, against the three delicate gold earrings in his ear. The faded lines of concentration on his strong face…

Sanji closed his eyes and rolled over on his side facing the other man.

Sanji had finally closed his eyes so Zoro took the opportunity to admire him. Zoro had been half hard ever since Sanji’s stretching exercises and he was extremely lucky he’d been thrown into the cold water of the pond. Fighting, real fighting always excited him. He sighed deeply, enjoying the sight of Sanji’s peaceful face and smooth skin. He refused to look at the lower part of his waist. He didn’t have anymore excuses for being thrown into the pond.

Sanji couldn’t help it, he opened his eyes again to get another look and found himself looking into a pair of black eyes looking at him intently. He’d been caught sneaking a peek! He blushed and looked away, Zoro did the same thing.

Now what did Sanji think of him? Zoro had obviously made him uncomfortable by looking at him, if the blush was any indication. It had only been yesterday that Zoro assured Sanji that he had nothing to worry about from him. Zoro hoped he hadn’t blown his cover. Did he suspect anything?

What was the harm in telling Zoro how he felt, he wondered. Zoro could simply turn him down, and that would be that, wouldn’t it? Afterall, wasn’t Sanji a man of action? Hadn’t he always been forward with women? Why should it be any different with men?

/Because this is Zoro./

Sanji already knew from last night the other man wasn’t interested, but he burned to hear it from Zoro himself that he was a fool for feeling this way and that they were nothing but friends and would never be anything more. He’d only been in love one day- well, he’d only realized it for one day. It had been much longer than that. He had always been attracted to the other man, even when he thought he was competing with him for Nami. That must have been why he couldn’t deal with the man. He had always been able to deal with other men he thought were competition, easily. Zoro had always been different.

“Zoro…” Sanji said, his heart all the way in his throat.

“Hm?” Zoro said, trying to pretend he wasn’t nervous.

“I…” He lost his courage, so he decided to steer the conversation in a similar direction. “I hope you don’t mind me asking but… have you had… lovers? Men, I mean? Why aren’t you with Francois?”

Zoro hadn’t been expecting that. What was the chef trying to say?

“Look, Sanji, I’m sorry if I made you uncomfortable, it certainly was not my intention. I told you last night-“

Sanji sat up too. “What are you talking about? You didn’t make me uncomfortable, I was just curious… Should I not ask?”

“No, I don’t mind. If that’s all you really want to know…”

Sanji nodded.

“Well…” Zoro thought about it for a moment. “I’ve never had a serious lover. It’s different between men, or at least men that I had previously associated with. Before I became noble it was really more physical needs than… falling in love, or however you view it. But I also think that has a lot to do with your position in the world. The poor can’t afford to marry for love most of the time, unless you are so poor it just doesn’t matter. The men I knew were just as rough as I am, so you can imagine there wasn’t much in the way of romance. The rich have more privileges in that respect. So I think that if I ever find someone at this current position in life the experience will be different. I would be able to truly call them my lover, rather than someone with whom I am physical. Does that make sense?”

Sanji was fascinated. He had never thought about love in terms of rich or poor before, and how it could possibly be different for different classes. Everyone should be able to love equally, he thought, but circumstances probably hardly ever allowed it. Sanji was slightly awed by all that Zoro thought about in a daily basis, and all that he thought about. There was probably a lot more soulful thought in Zoro than in himself, even though they had both been peasants once. Maybe it was just different for a warrior.

“You seem to be a lot more aware of the world than me. I feel like I have no experience in anything I thought I’d previously had compared to you.” The blond man said sheepishly.

Zoro frowned. “I don’t think there is anything more important to a warrior than a good meal. Its sounds pig headed, but I’m not sure how well I could ever go back to commoner food after living off yours for this long… You provide others with sustenance. A warm meal can be so much more to someone than just food too. Don’t degrade yourself like that. At least not in front of me.”

Sanji blushed again.

Zoro dismayed. He was really overstepping it. He was hurriedly thinking of something to change the subject when Sanji brought up the subject of Francois.

“So you never told me why you aren’t with him.”

“Probably for the same reasons you don’t think we’d make a good pair.”

“That doesn’t answer my question.” Sanji said with surprising intensity. Zoro raised his eyebrow.

“I don’t love him. Does that answer your question?”

Sanji stared hard at the ground. Why had he needed to hear that so badly?

Zoro lay back down with one arm over his eyes to block out the rays of sunshine now coming through. The mist had cleared up and temperature was rising. It was going to be a muggy day. It was also turning out to be one of those overly emotional days he was coming to hate. And it hard started out so well…

Sanji couldn’t believe it, but why should he stop himself now? He was already leaning over the other man, halfway there. There was nothing but fear telling him to turn back, and no one could ever accuse Sanji du Cuire of cowardice. Caution, maybe, but today that was going to be thrown to the wind. He had to know what it was that could be…

It took a moment for Zoro to comprehend why Sanji was leaning over him, lips pressed firmly to his, or understand why Sanji’s trembling could be felt through the very atmosphere. His eyes opened slowly in confusion. Finally he understood the physical act occurring, he still didn’t understand why Sanji was doing it.

Sanji ended it quickly. Zoro had not moved a muscle. All he could do was stare up at Sanji, his golden blonde hair surrounding his face.

“What was that for?” He said stupidly.


Chapter 10 ~~~~~~~~ Back to Zoro/Sanji ~~~~~~~~ Chapter 12


A/N: It was brought up, despite the fact that again, this is an AU story, that there are yet more historical inaccuracies. However this one I felt was noteworthy. Terms like "gay" and "homo/heterosexual" weren't in existence back then. But seeing as though this isn't written in French, and I certainly don't know the French word for being a man and preferring men as sexual partners in the 16th century, you'll just have to deal with it. It's just easier on me to use terms like, "gay" or "homosexual". My apologies. I do thank the person who brought that up for their research though.


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