In Dreams

Chapter 12


“What was that for?” He said stupidly.

Sanji’s eyes widened comically.

“What was that for? What do you think that was for!?” Sanji hadn’t actually meant to say it, but had come out of him too quickly to stop it.

Zoro was further confused.

“I- I don’t know. A- man suddenly kisses me and I’m supposed to know why?”

“Well for you, yes! …Usually!”

“Well normally I would, but I’ve never been kissed by a straight man! The same rules don’t apply!”

“Well who says you were just kissed by a straight man?” Sanji said, indignant that his actions required explanation of any sort. He hadn’t calculated this. His fear really might have overcome him had he known he would need to provide a follow up report.

Zoro gave him a funny look.

“Sanji, it is possible for men to discover different preferences er… later in life, but I am quite sure you are not one of them.” A fact Zoro thought he refused to believe. But being faced with the situation simply made it all the more impossible. This was a trick. There was simply no way Sanji felt anything for him. Not yet anyway. Wasn’t Zoro supposed to have raised the earth in order to win Sanji? It couldn’t be this easy. This must be a stupid joke.

“Why did you kiss me?”

Sanji was angry, partly disbelieving that his advance had been refused on the mere basis that Zoro thought he was lying or was out of senses, and partly that Zoro was stupid enough to think that. He got up and stomped over to wear his shirt was hanging, snatching it from the branch still wet.

Zoro got up as well. “I believe I am owed an explanation Sanji. If this is a joke, at least allow me to laugh. If you’re confused… allow me-“

Sanji whirled around. “I am not confused! I am not joking! If you’re going to refuse me, at least be a gentleman and just say it, but do not take me for a fool or a child! I know better than to treat other’s feelings like a joke!”

Impossible. Simply impossible.

“You can’t expect me to simply accept this, can you? Our friendship was formed through rivalry over another woman, for God’s sake! Y-you’re Sanji du Cuire, a great lover of women! You were ready to duel me over Nami!”

“Well that was then! Who’s to say I haven’t changed my mind!” Really, how hard was it for him to understand? Sanji reached for his other clothes as soon as he had stuffed himself back into his shirt.

/Nami would believe me if I told her…/

/…Wouldn’t she?/

“Is it unreasonable then, to ask for proof?” Zoro said, trying to keep his head from going in too many directions at once. He thought when this moment came he would be deliriously happy, not deliriously confused.

But this couldn’t be the moment he was waiting for!

Could it?

“And how better may I prove it than to kiss you?” Sanji said, glaring at the other man. “Don’t you think that might be indicative of how I feel?!”

Zoro really didn’t know how he would ask Sanji to prove it to him anyway. “Well any man can kiss given a pair of lips and someone or something to kiss! It isn’t necessarily an action that requires anything beyond that! I need a little more explanation here Sanji. If I am to believe you, then… why now? Why not before? And what about Nami?”

“W-why are you asking all these questions? They won’t change anything!”

“Change what?”

“That I’ve been spurned! I honestly thought you had more tact than this-“

Zoro grabbed Sanji’s arm and pulled him close, forcing the blond man to face him.

“I have not spurned you Sanji. But you must permit me to be somewhat at a loss for words or understanding. Until a moment ago I was sure you would never…” Zoro faltered. He had still managed to leave his own feelings undiscovered. What if this was a sick joke to get him to admit to it? How could he possibly trust this?

Sanji sighed, frustrated. “Very well. I’m sure it’s somewhat surprising, given the way I’ve behaved since our acquaintance began.” He looked at Zoro, determined. “But this is just how it is. You can either accept it, and we can continue to be friends, or you can reject me completely and never speak to me again.” Sanji’s chest swelled. So this is what it felt like to be bold with a man. It was like he was fighting his way to his goal, and he would either achieve it or he wouldn’t. It was so much different with a man. He felt empowered, even though he knew Zoro could walk away and destroy him with a single rejection. He didn’t think he could stand it.

Zoro felt speechless again. Just what was he supposed to say to that, to any of this? He knew exactly what he would say if he knew this wasn’t a joke but…

It quickly dawned on Zoro that his cowardice was showing, badly. Even if it was a joke, he’d endured worse. So Sanji would finally know, one way or another. He tightened his grip on Sanji’s arm and shoved him against a tree. When he spoke his voice was seething.

“If I find out this is some sick joke, cook, you won’t have the devil to pay. You’ll have me to pay.” He relaxed his grip, his voice returning to normal. “But since I have no way of knowing your true intentions simply because I’m not a trusting creature, I can only tell you… that I would never spurn your advances. I have only yearned for them with my entire being since I first laid eyes on you.” He released the chef entirely and stepped back. He cleared his throat. “Now, if this is a joke, I’ll give you a running head start. But if it’s not, I’ll also give you a running head start, because believe me when I say I’ve waited too long for this moment, and you don’t have a chance in hell.”

Sanji’s knees buckled. It was unsightly, he knew, but his strength couldn’t withstand the onslaught of blood rushing to his loins or the quivering in his stomach. His heart was thumping wildly in his chest. He pushed himself off the tree and stepped slowly towards the other man.

“This is all the head start I’ll need-“

“Zooooooorooooooooo! Saaaaanjiiiii!”

Both men whipped their heads in the direction of the road. They heard horse’s hooves trotting on the dirt road.

“Sacre bleu-“


They threw clothes on themselves and each other hurriedly.

“What on earth are you two doing?” Nami said. She and Robin entered the grove on horseback just in time to see Zoro buttoning his vest and Sanji putting on his shoes. Robin had one delicate eyebrow raised, and Nami looked confused.

They were both silent, unable to think of anything to say.

Robin suddenly spoke. “Ah, it would seem that Monsieurs Zoro and Sanji were testing each other’s skill, no? Look, six swords? My goodness, just how many people were sparring here?”

“Sanji I didn’t know you had any skill with a sword.” Nami said.

“Ah, well, none to speak of, milady. Zoro was simply giving me a few tips.”

Zoro thanked Robin for her good senses and obvious kindness. He bundled up his swords quickly.

“What are you beautiful ladies doing all the way out here on your own so early in the morning?” Sanji asked, smoothing back his hair.

“It’s nearly noon, Sanji. Everyone’s been wondering where you were! There isn’t a single person not talking about last night. The most incredible rumors have been flying around. That’s what we came to see you about-“

“Just how did you know where this was, Nami?” Zoro asked, trying his bundle to his horse.

“Sanji took me here once, actually. And we looked everywhere else. I even had servants sent to the tavern. Francois said you trained here. But anyway, Zoro, something has happened.”

Suddenly Zoro realized just how strange it was for Nami and Robin to be on horseback. How had they gotten out of the palace without a fuss?

“What is it? And how did you two…?” He looked pointedly at the horses.

“A lady never reveals all her secrets.” Robin said with a small smile.

Nami began to get agitated. “Never mind that Zoro. But tell me it isn’t true!”

“Very well.” He said, mounting his horse. “It isn’t true.”

Sanji frowned. “Don’t mock a lady, Zoro. She obviously has something important to say. What is it Nami?”

Zoro rolled his eyes. Some things would never change, apparently.

“Camille Hugues… She’s been telling everyone you’re engaged!”

Zoro almost fell off his horse. But Sanji shouted the words Zoro was about to blurt. “She what?!”

Nami looked taken back. “Uh… yes. She’s been telling everyone who will hear. Especially when she hears someone talking about the two of you and last night’s dinner in the garden. She-“

The blond man mounted his horse.

“But you’re not engaged to her.” Sanji said accusingly. The glare aimed at Zoro from Sanji could have cut down stronger men.

“You know I’m not.” Zoro said.

“You swear?”

“You should know better than anyone!” The swordsman said, his defenses raising.

“Hyah!” Sanji’s heels met the gut of his horse viciously and he was off down the road, leaving them all in dust.

As soon as the dust settled Nami asked, “What on earth was that all about?!”

“Ah, well, he… he’s had a rough morning. I think we should pursue him.”

Robin interrupted. “Perhaps you should pursue him, Monsieur. Mademoiselle Nami and I must find our own way back to Versaille.

Zoro nodded and was off.

Sanji was enraged. How dare she? What exactly was she trying to accomplish! Didn’t she know?

/Know what, exactly?/ A mocking voice asked him.

/That he’s MINE!/

He slid off his saddle after reaching the stables and all but threw the reigns at a terrified stable boy. He was just about to reach the sitting room where everyone gathered before afternoon lunch when he stopped himself after seeing his reflection in some glass.

His hair was disheveled, most of his clothes un-tucked and he had grass and leaves all over himself. This would not do. He simply couldn’t face his romantic rival looking like a lunatic.

Zoro was in a better state when he arrived, and was a bit more polite to the stable boy who had gone from terrified to indignant.

The swordsman rushed quickly to his room and changed in lightning speed, only letting Marie fuss over his hair for a moment. He hurried to the sitting room where he was sure everyone still was from lunch. He was greeted by everyone with numerous “Congratulations” and “Interesting choice, Zoro” and a number of other things he certainly didn’t want to be said about himself and Camille Hugues. Neither Camille or Sanji could be spotted. Finally Ussop made his way through the crowd and he was ushered out roughly by the long nosed man. Luffy followed them out into the hall.

“What the hell is going on Zoro! First you fall in love with Sanji then refuse Nami and now you’re engaged to that spoiled, arrogant-“

“Calm yourself Ussop and for God’s sake lower your voice-“

“I’ll lower my voice when you explain what’s going on! Nami tore away from the palace this morning near in tears when she heard the news-“

“And have you heard the news from me? Of course not! You’ve heard rumors perpetuated by this woman whom I’ve only had occasion to speak with a handful of times. Of course I am NOT engaged to Camille Hugues and no I do NOT know why she has told everyone we are. I certainly haven’t encouraged it in anyway. Now, I need to know where Sanji is. Have you seen him?”

“He went off with that lady. He looked really good.” Luffy said simply, still chewing on a muffin from the sitting room.

“Where did they go?”


“Thank you Luffy. And Ussop, correct anyone talking about this. I am NOT engaged to that woman. If the King and Queen hear about this-“

“Right right, go!”

“I’m sure since you’ve become such fast friends, Monsieur Sanji, my fiancé will ask you to be the best man at our wedding.” Camille said, smiling. She allowed Sanji to take her arm and lead her down the hall to the library.

“It’s funny.” He said, his voice like silk. “Zoro has never mentioned his engagement to you. Not once. In fact, he’s never even mentioned you. You two must have wanted to keep it terribly secret.”

Camille giggled. “Well, I had a lot of convincing to do with my father, after all. Zoro is rather low for a noble.”

Sanji’s stomach clenched, but his face was a mask. “I don’t mean to be forward, Mademoiselle Hugues, but to be honest, many thought Zoro was… well, he and Nami had been rather close. Did you know?”

She didn’t giggle this time. “Nami chased him constantly. What a shameless woman.”

Sanji’s other arm convulsed. He took a deep breath.

/Enough of this./

“I know you’re not engaged to him.”

“Pardon me?”

“What could you possibly have that could cause him to be blackmailed into marrying you?”

Camille jerked her arm away. “How dare you imply something so horrible!”

“How dare you for spreading lies! What game are you playing at? You could disgrace your entire family and even face death for telling a lie that could reach the ears of His Majesty-“

“It won’t be a lie when I threaten to reveal his secret!“

“Those swords aren’t a secret you foolish girl! Mihawk already knows about them-“

“That’s not the one I’m referring to.” A nasty smile slowly crept across her lips. “He’ll be ruined when his precious Mihawk finds out his disgusting preferences.”

It wasn’t in Sanji to hit a woman. He simply could never do it. But if he could be reborn into another life, the first person he would hit would be Camille Hugues reincarnation.

“And tell me just why you would want to marry a man with such “disgusting preferences”? What exactly is in this for you?”

“Once he’s married to me I can cure him of it! Zoro may be a low born with nasty habits but he’s just a diamond in the rough. I can make him the ideal husband. When he defeats Mihawk he’ll obtain power and wealth second only to the king and queen, and I’m going to be at his side when he does it! I’ll leave this wretched palace and build a palace of my own!”

Suddenly it occurred to Sanji that this woman might be a little off balance. She had a gleam in her eye that didn’t tell of normal.

“Well here is something you didn’t count on. Zoro has a lover, and he’ll never let you do this.”

“But Zoro certainly wouldn’t want his lover to think he couldn’t attend to his own business.” Came Zoro’s voice from the doorway. “Camille… I will only ask you once to recant everything you have said. You must publicly declare that we are not and never will be engaged. I’ll even let you say it was a misunderstanding to save yourself the humiliation of having lied with malicious intent.”

“You’ll understand that I’m doing this for your own good, Zoro. I’m doing it for the good of your salvation! What good is it being the best swordsman in the world if you’re doomed to a fiery hell after death? I can help you!”

“Are you refusing?” Zoro asked finally.

“I’ll never take it back! We are going to be married! I won’t let this blond slut have you!”

“That’s enough!” Came a deep, gravelly voice. A tall, broad shouldered white haired man stepped through the door. He was smoking a cigar and wore the official insignia of the King. “Camille Hugues, you are to be placed under official arrest for falsifying claims before His Majesty the King of France. You will be escorted to confinement until you will face your judgment.”

Two guards stepped forward. Camille shrank back.

“You cannot arrest me like a common thief! I am a noblewoman! I have rights!”

“You will have the right to a fair trial before the King. Evidence will be brought against you and you will have the opportunity to defend yourself. Your confinement will restrict you to your father’s custody. Come quietly or we will be forced to restrain you. Take her to her father’s quarters.” He said to the guards.

Camille stiffened at their approach but did not fight. “I’ll have you, Roronoa Zoro. This is not over!”

Zoro watched her leave.

“Nothing this interesting has happened since Portgas left.” The white haired man said gruffly.

“Thank you Monsier Cigares(1).”

“I told you to call me Smoker. Don’t tell me I need to teach you another lesson you’ll never forget.”

They shook hands. “Tell Mihawk I said hello.” He nodded to Sanji before he left.

Sanji stood there, slightly stunned.

“Well what was your plan? ”

“I-I don’t know? Mostly I just… wanted to make sure she knew…” He trailed off.

“Knew what?” Zoro said, smirking.

“They… they weren’t sparring, were they.” Nami said, more than asked.

Robin sighed. So Nami’s troubles were never ending, it seemed. “No, milady, I don’t believe they were.”

“So he… so Zoro really… well I’m happy for him.”

Robin looked at her charge in surprise. She was smiling. Robin smiled too.

“We’ll just have to do everything in our power to make sure Camille cannot ruin this for them.”

Sanji paced nervously outside the court chambers. Only a few hours had passed after Camille’s arrest that Zoro had been summoned by the King himself. In the meantime they had met up with Robin and Nami and begun damage control, telling everyone who would listen that Zoro was not engaged.

“Oh… so you believed her then?” Nami giggled in a superior manner. “I suppose you would, wouldn’t you? But really now, you must know Mademoiselle Hugues is well… a slight touched. Can you imagine THE Roronoa Zoro marrying such a person?”

“I simply think she got a little carried away, is all.” Ussop said knowingly. “Of course I know about jokes. Where I come from I am the Master Joke Teller. But Mademoiselle Hugues is perhaps too amateur still. You know it’s gone all wrong if people actually believe you.”

“No, we’re not engaged. Stop asking me.”

“Of course they’re not engaged!” Sanji crowed. “Why would Roronoa Zoro choose Mademoiselle Camille over Mademoiselle Nami?! Mademoiselle Nami is obviously the superior of the two. Of course they are both gorgeous beauties, but Mademoiselle Nami is the Queen’s favorite. Perhaps that brute Zoro gave off the wrong impression and Mademoiselle Camille was mistaken, but they absolutely aren’t engaged. I simply wouldn’t allow it.”

“Camille can’t marry Zoro because Sanji is going to marry Zoro, or me. I’m hungry. Sanji, when is dinner?!”

“I can’t say I know much about the matter, but I do know Mademoiselle Camille is a very eager young lady. I only hope she isn’t too much damaged by Monsieur Zoro’s correction. But he simply can’t be coerced into marrying someone simply because they say they want you to.” Robin said gently.

In the court room Zoro shifted slightly under the stern gaze of the King. Yes, Zoro could destroy him, but even Zoro was a subject of France. He had respect for the man that ruled their country.

“It is not easy to believe one side or the other without undeniable proof. I have been lied to by someone and I will not stand for it.”

“I have undeniable proof your majesty, I only hesitate because I do not wish for it to affect the favorable light in which my friends have been so graciously cast. Myself be damned.”

“Very well.” The King dismissed the guards. “Now speak openly Zoro, and rest assured whatever escapes your lips will not pass beyond these walls, assuring that whatever it is provides me with enough evidence to clear your name in all this mess.”

Zoro took a deep breath. First Sanji, now this. When had his life become such an… adventure?

“Your majesty… many times I have refused Mademoiselle Nami’s advances. Had Mademoiselle Camille actually shown any preference towards me before this, I would have refused those advances as well. And Mademoiselle Robin’s, and Mademoiselle Charlotte, Jacqueline, even the maid, Marie. Does this… illustrate my point effectively?”

The King frowned. “I’m afraid it does not, Zoro.”

Zoro cleared his throat. “That is to say, Your Majesty, my… romantic preferences do not… ah… lean towards women.”

The King only looked further confused. “Then where do they lean?”

Zoro almost laughed, but this was a grave situation. “Begging Your Majesty’s pardon but… they lean towards my own gender.”

The King’s eyebrow twitched. He was silent and unmoving otherwise. Finally he inhaled.

“I see.”

Zoro swallowed and nodded.

Suddenly the King grinned. “You know… the Prince of Spain is much of the same material as you. I could arrange a meeting, you know. I could-“

“I-I thank your Majesty for his most gracious kindness, b-but again, begging your pardon, I am otherwise disposed to another to which I am somewhat committed.” The flustered swordsman said in one quick breath. He did not need the King of France trying to get him a date with the Prince of Spain.

The King was quiet again before his face lit up and he said, “Oh! You’ve already got someone, have you? Well why didn’t you simply say so? Very well, we’ll have this all sorted out in no time.”

“Your Majesty, if I may…”

“Go on.”

“Mademoiselle Hugues seems… unwell. While I do not think her actions should go unpunished, I beg mercy on her behalf. She should be inspected by a physician.”

The King nodded. “I’ll consider your counsel. You may go.”

Zoro breathed a sigh of relief and bowed before letting himself out. Outside Sanji was eyeballing the guards who immediately re-entered the room upon Zoro’s exit.

“Well?” Sanji demanded.

“I’m cleared. I also asked that the King consider that Camille might be…”

“Out of her head? Insane? Crazy?”

Zoro gave Sanji a look and began to walk away.

“Where are you going?” Sanji also demanded.

“To the kitchens. I haven’t eaten at all today. Then I’m going to my room to have a bath. Then I’m going to my bed. You’re welcome to accompany me to all of the above.” He stopped and turned on his heal. “In fact, I insist.”

Sanji blushed hotly, but then put his hand on his hip. “You should only be so lucky to have the pleasure of my company.”

“Are you refusing me?”



Chapter 11 ~~~~~~~~ Back to Zoro/Sanji ~~~~~~~~ Chapter 13


(1) Cigares – French for cigar, according to the internets. So Monsier Cigares is actually “Cigar Smoker”, and of course he is supposed to be Captain Smoker.


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