In Dreams

Chapter 14


Sanji didn’t dream that night or the next. Finally Chopper became concerned, and found the right moment to sit down in the kitchen when Sanji was chopping vegetables, alone for once.

“I don’t want to talk about this Chopper-“

“Sanji,” the little reindeer interrupted. He was visible disturbed and seemed hesitant, yet determined. Sanji had never seen him so serious.

“Luffy gave me a job to do. Doctorine didn’t teach me so well so that I could ignore my patients when they need my help. If you don’t let me help you, I’ll have you confined to quarters.”

Sanji set his knife down. He’d never truly been lectured by Chopper before, not seriously. Such talks were usually reserved for the idiot, suicidal swordsman. He felt somewhat embarrassed; embarrassed because this little reindeer had just told him to either get some help, or else. But inside this little reindeer was all the medical knowledge of Doctorine and Hiluluk. Behind that cute exterior was and inherited will just as strong as his own. So despite himself, he sat down and prepared himself for whatever Chopper was about to prescribe.

“I’ve been doing some research on the poisonous gas you and Zoro inhaled. Its hallucinogenic properties are very powerful, but I don’t really need to tell you that. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. Besides the hallucinogenic effect, it is also a very unique sedative. It was able to sedate you to the point where you both fell into mild comatose states. It obviously isn’t a weapon meant to kill its victims, but to subdue them for long periods of time. But that’s beside the point. I can guess the ingredients to a point, and can pin point mostly where those ingredients come from, but that doesn’t really help us either.”

“So what are you trying to say?” Sanji sighed, rubbing his hands over his eyes, a sign of his mental exhaustion.

“I was just giving you information.” Chopper continued. “Information is the most important aspect of a diagnosis. I was able to recognize some of the ingredients of the poisonous gas, so I was able to combat those ingredients I was familiar with. But obviously there were some I did not, so those toxins have, or still are, running their course, and I don’t know how to fight them. My guess is that if the gas was made with the intention of fatality, you would both be dead already. So I’m not too worried that it’s going to get any worse. But as for these lingering effects, these dreams you both continue to have, I don’t know how long those will last. You both physically seem to have recovered, but this leads me to my next point; I know the only reason you sleep is to dream.”

“How did you know I was still dreaming?”

Chopper hesitated. “Because you aren’t really… here with us. I mean, physically you’re here, but your mind is always elsewhere. You find excuses to sleep. You’re not living your life anymore Sanji, you’re trying to go back to that dream world. You can’t Sanji, its over. Or rather, it’s better to say it never even happened to begin with.”

Sanji ran his hands through his hair and sighed again.

“I don’t think you could ever understand Chopper.”

“Maybe not. But I know obsession and fixation when I see it, and it’s never, ever healthy.”

/I don’t want to let it go./

“Even Zoro understands all this Sanji. He’s working hard to make his dreams come true. It’s hard for him too, but he knows that this is where he belongs, not some dream world. And… I think he’s worried about you-”

Sanji suddenly slammed his fist on the table. Chopper could tell that the action surprised him as much as it had surprised the chef. Sanji didn’t speak for a moment. Chopper knew he’d only be able to push him so far before he closed up completely.

“I’ll stop taking naps, if that’s what you want, but you can’t stop me from dreaming.” Sanji stood up again and returned to his vegetables. Chopper relented for the time being, but was nowhere near ready to give up.

Chopper’s warnings might as well have gone unsaid, because the chef stopped dreaming about Zoro, and what was even worse, he was starting to dream normal, weird dreams that normal people dreamed. He was slightly panicked. Something told him that normal dreams were a definite sign that whatever toxins had lingered in his body were now either nearly or entirely gone, as were his chances for dreaming.

It was four am several days later, just after his late watch, and he was sitting in the bathroom on the floor. There was nothing physically wrong with him, but for the first time in a long time he was scared. Not of physical harm, but of loss, and he didn’t want anyone else to see him like this. He was desperate to hold on to any little detail he could remember. The smell of the stables, Nami’s perfume, water cascading in rivulets down Zoro’s golden skin, Ace, the furniture at the palace, anything. But those once vivid details were now very blurry, and no matter how hard Sanji tried to remember, everything was leaving him.

He took a deep breath, trying to calm himself down, but was startled when someone opened the door. It was Zoro.

/Of course it’s Zoro./

Sanji didn’t bother to get up.

“What do you want?” He said after Zoro failed to say anything.

“…This is a bathroom.” The swordsman said, as if that statement answered the question.

“Ch.” Sanji rolled his eyes but still didn’t move. If Zoro wanted him to move, he was pretty sure the swordsman would have to roll him out.

“Actually, I usually come in here to use the toilet, but tonight I was pretty sure I’d find you curled up on the floor, so I came to watch.”

Sanji recognized it as an attempt at humor, but did nothing to show it.

Zoro sighed. It was a heavy sigh, with a lot of interesting things behind it. So Sanji wasn’t too surprised when Zoro took a seat on the floor across from him.

“Are you worried I wouldn’t beat Mihawk?”

“What?” Was Sanji’s auto-pilot response.

Then it occurred to him.

“Are you still dreaming?” He said, sitting up. The eagerness in his voice apparent.

“Not anymore. Answer my question.”

Sanji’s entire body seemed to shrug with disappointment.

He didn’t know what to say. He didn’t really think one way or another about Zoro defeating Mihawk. It was more that he felt he wasn’t able to show up to somewhere he had promised to be and it was making him extremely anxious. “It’s like not getting to finish your favorite book because the last pages were ripped out. But you’re the writer, and suddenly your pen and paper have disappeared…” He knew he probably wasn’t making much sense to the swordsman. “Didn’t you… don’t you want to go back?”

“I did. At first.”

“Will it even go on without us?”

“No, it won’t go on. It wasn’t real to begin with.”

Sanji wanted to snarl “fuck you” in response to that tiring statement. It felt real, so for him it was. But he was tired and his heart ached. He knew he was a pathetic figure, sitting there on the bathroom floor with the only one to reach out to was a man to whom he had never wanted to show his weaker side.

“You did at first? What made you change your mind?”



Zoro was silent for a moment. He took a deep breath, and Sanji got the distinct impression that the other man had thought hard about whatever it was he was about to say.

“It doesn’t matter if I defeat Mihawk in my dreams. It’s just a dream. It’s my responsibility to make that dream a reality. I live here, and now.” He looked down at his hands. “I’m alive, I have blood running in my veins, and that won’t last forever. I can dream all I want when I die. But I only have now to make dreams real.” He looked up at Sanji. “If I thought for even one second that anything that happened in our dreams had the potential to happen here, in reality… It doesn’t matter if we make love everyday and can be together, like that, in dreams. They’re just dreams. Granted, the best dreams I’ve ever had,” He might have quirked a small smile, but his face was serious again when Sanji blinked a moment later. “…but if there’s a possibility I can make it, or something even remotely like it, happen in real life, then I’m not going to waste my time trying to recapture something that wasn’t real. I’m going to make it real. Even if it isn’t entirely the same.”

Sanji’s heart was beating a thousand beats per second, it felt like, and his chest hurt from the exertion of it. There was blood roaring in his ears and his finger tips were tingling. He might have been having a heart attack, and he certainly wouldn’t have been surprised if that were the case. But he looked at Zoro’s calm face and somehow he felt himself calm again.

“It won’t be the same.” Zoro said, his gaze strong and piercing. “You know that. It was a dream, we were different. Even if we worked a lifetime at it, it wouldn’t be that way.”

Sanji looked away, he couldn’t stand that gaze anymore, and rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly. The next question was very important, just as important as the answer to it. “Do you think… it’s worth it, if it can’t be that way?”

Zoro rolled his eyes. “Whatever. The mechanics may not be the same, but it is what it is. Instead of being in a palace with our own room and women that talk too much, we’re on a boat and share a room with three other guys and there are still women that talk too much-”

“It’s going to be a lot harder.” Sanji interrupted. He looked at the man he felt like I knew inside and out, but in reality, knew nothing about. “You hate me, and I hate you. That isn’t the whole truth, but we don’t even like each other. In fact, I pretty much despise you.” He gave a weak chuckle, despite himself. “How do you expect this to work?”

Zoro knew this was the worst possible opportunity to provoke the other man, but he couldn’t stop himself. “Afraid of a little hard work, aho cook? When’d you become such a wimp?”

Sanji’s left leg lashed out to kick the swordsman in the head, but Zoro caught it and used it to yank the cook into his lap instead.


“Shut up.” Zoro hissed. “You wanna wake the entire ship?” Sanji was silenced, but still he struggled to get out of Zoro’s grip.

“Are you going to fight me every step of the way or are we going to fucking work together?” Zoro said through gritted teeth.

Sanji stopped struggling and Zoro took the opportunity to pull him further into his lap.

“You really want to do this?” The blond chef asked. He wasn’t incredulous, or even suspicious. But he had nothing else to say.

“I wouldn’t be sitting on the bathroom floor at four in the morning with you in my lap when I should be getting some god damn sleep if I didn’t, shit cook. I already told you, dreaming isn’t enough for me. It’s gotta be real.”

They were silent for a moment.

“And you… I guarantee this’ll be a whole lot easier once you stop trying to go back there. Don’t try to be like that Sanji, don’t try to make me like that Zoro. That isn’t us. I’m a hell of a lot meaner-“

“And uglier-“ The cook added.

“And you’re a hell of a lot stingier, more hen pecked, whinier-“


“You gotta be here, or it’s not even worth me crawling in here after your sorry ass at four in the morning.”

Sanji didn’t really have anything to say to that, so he didn’t fight when Zoro kissed him, or laid him on the hard bathroom floor, or peeled off his clothes. He didn’t even complain when Zoro insisted they sleep in the same hammock after they untangled their sweaty bodies from each other and dressed, everyone’s reaction be damned.

When Sanji finally fell asleep, he dreamt of Zeff, the Baratie, and All Blue. Then he dreamt that he put one of Nami’s oranges in the toaster, and when the toaster popped, it turned into a log pose that always pointed to Zoro’s hair, which could speak and sang songs.

Zoro didn’t dream, but slept soundly, with Sanji wrapped in his arms.

Sanji continued to remember what little he could about his dreams for quite some time. But the natural course of his life on the Going Merry quickly overwhelmed such thoughts. He was the chef of the future King of Pirates. He was a fierce protector of his nakama, his goal was to find All Blue, and his lover was going to be the fiercest swordsman in the world.



“Has he woken up yet?”

“Not yet. Sanji just now fell asleep at his side. He’s been by his bed every second. The surgeons said he’ll recover just fine, but he’ll require constant bed rest for a while.”

“I can’t believe it… where’s the sword?”

“The King took it to be cleaned and I think it’s in Sanji’s room.”

“Why do you think Mihawk gave it to Sanji, and not Zoro?”

“It’s hard to say.”

“Mihawk… defeated. It’s hard to believe, but if there was a man to do it, it was our brother!”

Johnny smiled at his Yosaku.

“Yes, but he had to go and nearly kill himself in the process, didn’t he?”

“Francois! When did you get here?”

“Just a few moments ago. The inn was too crowded up until yesterday, people finally started leaving town last night. It’s amazing anyone would travel in this weather just to witness a silly sword fight.”

“The duel of the century, no less.”

“Where is everyone else?”

“Nami and Robin left, didn’t you hear?”

“What? Why? Where to? I thought Nami would stay… to see to Zoro.”

“She felt the position was already adequately filled. She simply said she was going traveling, and Robin didn’t provide any more information than that.”

Francois smiled. “I hope she finds what she’s looking for.”

“Usopp and Luffy were just down here, but it’s nearly lunch, and you can guess where Luffy is.”

Francois chuckled. “Well, I just wanted to make sure he hadn’t died yet. What became of Mihawk?”

“The surgeons saw to him, and then he insisted on leaving immediately. I believe he’s returning to Scotland, finally. He officially announced his retirement. He also announced that the heir to his fortune would be Zoro.”

“That’s odd, don’t you think?”

“Not really. He’s childless and unmarried. I don’t think he has any intention to address either issue.”

“But he’s not quite old yet, he could change his mind.”

Johnny shrugged.

“I don’t think Sanji and Zoro will remain at the palace much longer.” Yosaku said.

“What makes you say that?”

“I don’t know. I mean, Zoro’s goal was always Mihawk. And now he must defend his title. Mihawk moved around constantly in order to avoid unnecessary confrontations, swordsmen not worth his time. The only people worth fighting, to him, were the people that could actually find him. If Zoro wants any peace at all, he and Sanji will start moving.”

Everyone nodded their heads in agreement.



”This sword… belongs now to that man.”

“Why him?”

“It was not you, Roronoa Zoro, or your skill as a swordsman that bested me. Though do not mistake me, when I step down, you will be the best in the world.”

Zoro, bloodied and weak, looked down at the equally bloody and weak body of Javiere Mihawk. He had to hold the man’s head up in order for him to speak.

“I don’t understand.”

“I never loved another. I never had a wife or a lover.” He coughed for several minutes. “I knew when you sent me the letter. I could… feel it… in your writing. There was… something… you had… that I did not… I…” He took a moment to catch his breath. “I didn’t know… what it was until he… that man… came to me in the library… He was afraid… even so… approached me… for your sake… everything you do… everything… he… does… for you… that is power. To have someone… to fight for… Don’t let it go…” Mihawk lost consciousness, as did Zoro soon after.


Chapter 13 ~~~~~~~~ Back to Zoro/Sanji ~~~~~~~~ Chapter 15



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