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The Not-So-Romantic Tale of the Swordsman and the Cook

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“I’ll chop your brain off your head.” 

There’s a sound of a sword being pulled out of its sheathe.

“I’d love to return the favor, but unfortunately, brainless marimo don’t seem to have a brain for me to bash your skull into.”

A unique, yet familiar, sound of shoes hitting blades—

“Stupid love cook.”

A thud as feet hit the floor of Sunny a little too hard—

“Brainless seaweed.”

“You’ve said brainless twice, too difficult to come up with a new insult, swirly brow?”

“Shut the fuck up, shitty swordsman, you out of all people don’t get to comment on my looks—“

“QUIT IT, YOU TWO,” Nami’s voice bellows from the upper deck, and the fighting screeches to a halt.

Zoro and Sanji glare at each other.

Years ago, Usopp would have missed it. But not these days. Unfortunately. He looks up from his new invention just in time to see Sanji scrubbing his cheek where the hilt of Zoro’s sword managed to graze him. He licks the corner of his mouth, out of instinct, and Zoro’s gaze drops to Sanji’s tongue as the swordsman freezes and wears a darker look on his expression, like he’s mentally stopping himself from jumping on Sanji then and there, for once not with the purpose of fighting. Far from it, really. The temperature around them seems to have suddenly gone up by a couple of degrees as Zoro’s eyes practically track the movements of Sanji’s tongue in minute details. 

Usopp sighs, long and suffering, and gets back to his invention.

 

+

 

Once upon a time, there was a brainless swordsman with hair as green as a field. He came on board of the ship provided by the bravest warrior of the sea, and met an oblivious cook with eyebrows that curled like the devil fruits.

 

+

 

The operation is called Operation Get Sanji and Zoro Into Each Other’s Pants. Usopp came up with the majestic (albeit, admittedly, quite a mouthful) name himself. 

“I’m in,” Nami readily says, which isn’t surprising at all. Out of everyone in the crew, she’s one of the most observant ones, and therefore must have suffered as much as Usopp has as Sanji and Zoro generate more sexual tension than the entirety of the Lapahn population does during mating season and stubbornly don’t act on it.

Robin doesn’t immediately join in, which is surprising. 

“My, my, Usopp,” she says, the ever-present smile on her face gaining an amused edge, “don’t you think Sanji and Zoro would find this a little bit… disagreeable, should I say?”

It sounds too much like a threat, and Usopp laughs nervously at her. “Haha, just adding a little excitement to the Thousand Sunny, Robin, the sea is vast and a brave warrior of the sea loves an extra challenge every now and then, after all…pleasedon’ttellzoroandsanji.”

Robin chuckles, but doesn’t elaborate.

Okay, so Usopp might be a little bit… interested in what isn’t really his business. Invested, some could even say. But who wouldn’t have, really, when you spend as much time in closed quarters with these two morons?

Imagine being on a ship. The sail has been pulled in and the wind is blowing so strong you can feel yourself moving with the wind, and you are really, really excited as you watch seagulls fly overhead and the jolly roger flap in the wind as your ship turns and faces windward. This is your first time. This is going to be the best journey of your life. You wait and wait and wait but the ship never sails off, just continues to float at the dock for an eternity and you know, can feel it deep in your bones that it’s going to sail off towards the horizon soon but it never does.

This is what watching Zoro and Sanji’s relationship is like.

Zoro pines for Sanji, Sanji crushes on Zoro, and both are somehow absolutely oblivious towards one another’s intentions. 

And Usopp has to witness everything. 

At first he only observed them out of sheer preservation instinct. All he wanted was some peace and quiet whenever he drew up new inventions, two words that would continue to be foreign as long as Sanji and Zoro don’t realize that they want to kick each other’s asses less and want each other’s asses, period. 

Then curiosity took hold. A part of him, the part that loves the words regardless of the truths behind them, yearns to lend a hand in writing the ending to this love story-yet-to-happen. The bravest warrior of the sea is nothing without the grand tales spun around his legend, after all, and romance always sells, if Nami and Franky’s bookshelves have anything to say about it.

Speaking of Franky.

“That is so beautiful,” Franky says, tears streaming down his face, “I am mentally composing a super love ballad for Cook-Bro and Swordsman-Bro as we speak, where’s my guitar—“ 

“Have you ever considered composing a duet, Franky-san?” Brook chimes in, “a violin accompaniment seems suitable for a love song, after all—“

“I’m not really familiar with the psychology behind human copulation,” Chopper says as Franky and Brook drone on in the background, “but if Sanji and Zoro would fight each other less, I’ll help you with the best of my ability, Usopp! I’d help you get them, as you say, ‘into each other’s pants’!” 

Robin’s smile turns a little more ominous this time. Usopp shivers, and makes sure to think twice before imparting certain word choices to Chopper’s vocabulary.

Luffy, oblivious to the rising tension around him because he’s Luffy, laughs and says, “I don’t really get it, but a happy Sanji cooks better food, so cool!”

Usopp does a little fist-pump, and ignores Robin’s much-too-amused, much-too-knowing gaze on them.

 

+

 

Behold, the mating ritual of Doofus Swordsmansus and Eros Cookus, as documented by Usopp, the Bravest Scientist of the Sea Who Is Totally Qualified for This.  

Lunch time. Eros Cookus is bringing a food he has cooked himself to the crow’s nest, where his coveted mate Doofus Swordsmansus currently resides. This is an important step as it exhibits Eros Cookus’ ability to provide sustenance, not only to his future mate but also his future mate’s family, and thus establishing Eros Cookus as a desirable mating partner.

Doofus Swordsmansus will pointedly ignore Eros Cookus, occasionally granting him a mere grunt as a response as he continues to physically exert himself through the horrifying activity he dubs as training. This may seem like a negative response to Eros Cookus’ mating call at first, but a closer inspection would reveal that Doofus Swordsmansus simply intends to present himself as a strong alpha that is capable of protecting its future mate.  

Now, normal species, who lives to copulate and extend its lineage, will eventually notice this blatant exchange of affection and sexual interest, and consequently consummate their relationship in a preferably remote, untouched corner of the ship, away from everyone, at a time where everyone is asleep.

Eros Cookus and Doofus Swordsmansus are not normal species.

So instead, Eros Cookus makes a show of being insulted while subtly appreciating the egregious display of skin, muscles and sweat. Doofus Swordsmansus throws the insult back, even though he visibly preens under the attention.  

Bravus Usoppus can sometimes be seen sighing in exasperation from a safe distance.

Of course, unable to channel their sexual frustrations, Doofus Swordsmansus and Eros Cookus will fight with such intensity it would put the clash between Akainu and Aokiji to shame, and they destroy the world and humanity in the process, eradicating the last of our species as apocalypse dawns upon all of us.

Quod Erat Demonstrandum.

 

+

 

“Come on, aren’t you going to buy me a drink, Zoro?” 

Zoro looks at her like she just suggested him to chop off his arms and legs for fun. “Aren’t you going to sit somewhere else?” 

Nami leans on the table, twisting her hips just so that she’s showing the most amount of cleavage without getting arrested for indecent exposure. “Nah,” she says, and her voice is huskier, sultrier than usual, “I’m good.”

She is good.

As expected from the main accomplice of the Great Captain Usopp.

Only accomplice, all things considered. Usopp relayed the details of his genius plan two days after he’d asked them their help, and it was soon clear that Nami is the only one whose help matters, considering that:

  • Luffy had to listen to the plan three times from Usopp and another three times from Nami, before he finally laughed, picked his nose and called it a mystery plan, haha, why didn’t you just say so, Usopp.
  • Franky proposed to build a huge, flashy, three-headed robot (with personalized hairstyle on each head!), which is cool, but ultimately doesn’t contribute anything to the plan at all.
  • Chopper understood the plan just fine, but couldn’t lie even during rehearsals without telling the whole world the truth through an elaborate interpretative dance as he wiggled and clapped his hooves excitedly (“asking for my help doesn’t make me happy at all, you bastards!”).
  • Brook seemed to consider the whole thing as harmless fun instead of the life-and-death matter that it actually is, and proceeded to make three consecutive skull jokes before Nami kicked him out of the galley.

Robin would’ve been a huge help, of course, but she oddly expresses no interest in meddling with this particular circumstance, and Usopp counts himself lucky enough that he hasn’t woken up with three swords and a pair of designer shoes sticking out of his chest and cracking his ribs open.

Well, whatever. Nami is all he needs for Step One: Operation Jealousy.

As practiced, Usopp nudges Sanji in the ribs and feigns a surprised, “hey, isn’t that Nami and Zoro?”

Sanji turns, scans his eyes through the crowd and raises his eyebrow. “Huh, I guess so,” he says, and Usopp can practically hear the mental switch connecting to a part in Sanji’s brain—the part that turns him into a ridiculous, lovesick puppy whenever a member of the female population is around—being flipped on. 

Uh-oh.

“Nami-swan!” Sanji bounces on his feet and waves, “what a beautiful twist of fate that allows us to meet again here toda—”

Sanji makes an oomph noise as his mouth is quickly muffled by Usopp. This isn’t how it’s supposed to go. They’re supposed to ‘accidentally’ run into Zoro and Nami, seemingly on a date in a bar, and watch them from afar as Sanji contemplates his apparent romantic feelings on Zoro and Usopp mentally pats himself on the back for a job well done. Not… this.

“What the fuck, shitty long nose—”

“We shouldn’t approach them!” Usopp blurts, panicked. 

Sanji growls, “why not? If that Marimo dares lay a hand on beautiful Nami-san—” 

Because,” Usopp presses, racking his genius brain that is supposedly well-honed in the art of making excuses, “don’t you think they… uh… look like they don’t want to be disturbed? Don’t they look like they’re... enjoying themselves?”

Ha. Right. Even Chopper would consider ‘enjoying themselves’ to be too much of a stretch; Zoro is leaning away from Nami and wears an alarmed expression usually saved for facing formidable opponents like Mihawk. 

Well, it doesn’t matter either way. He’s lost Sanji a long time ago.

“Oi, Marimo!” Sanji shouts, fire in his eyes. Literal fire. Usopp backs away from nearby alcohol, just in case.

“Huh?!” Zoro snarls back from across the bar, sending deadly glares at Sanji, Nami completely ignored, “why are you here, Shit Cook?!” 

“That’s my line!” Sanji stomps towards him as few heads turn. “if you dare to sully Nami-san’s beauty with your mud-covered hands—”

“As if I would want to touch the witch that way—” 

“I told you not to call her that—”

Usopp’s eyes meet Nami’s from across the room, and she shakes her head, defeated.

Okay, so maybe Usopp didn’t think this plan through.

 

+

 

Usopp Journey Log, Day 1216


13:45
Surprise attack by the Marines. At least three galleons sighted North West of Sunny’s helm.

13:49
Zoro, Sanji and Luffy meet the marines head on. Other crew members continue to go about their daily activities, deeming the three aforementioned members sufficient for subduing the threat.

Am sitting behind a stack of barrels. Documenting from a vantage point. Most definitely not hiding.

13:55
A stray bullet grazes Zoro's right cheek, creating a thin line of slice wound perpendicular to the scar through his eye. Marine must have thought it would be his blind spot; most probably only a lucky shot. Zoro doesn't actually have a blind spot, as supported by that one time with the rotten egg and the pink slingshot. Back of head still hurts just thinking about that incident.

Marine is so totally dead. Rest in peace.

14:02
Marine is presumably dead, but by a kick to the head, thrown overboard from the other end of the galleon. Sanji's kick is suspiciously too powerful for this enemy, and may be influenced by personal vendetta. A theory: Sanji, somehow, saw the marine officer took a shot on Zoro, was enraged, and dealt with him a little too passionately, blinded by concern and protective instinct.

14:17
This particular exchange occurred:
"Nice face."
"Shut up."
"No, really, that wound seems to improve your ugly face, in fact. Ever thought of getting a matching one on the left cheek—"
"Che. Continue talking and you'll get a matching one."
"... just be careful next time, shitty swordsman."

Theory essentially proven. Am a genius. Am also considering possible possession of latent precognition talent on top of amazing sharpshooting abilities.

14:23
Luffy just sank one galleon. Zoro and Sanji are racing against each other to see who can sink the other ships faster. Those monsters. 

14:30ish
Took down a marine swordsman with two heavy rocks to the neck, but not before his partner swung his blade and slashed a large gash on Sanji’s back. 

Was absolutely HORRIFIED. Zoro was more so. Sanji staggered on his feet for a second, but the next moment the marine’s sword had snapped into two, Shushui pierced through his thigh, Wado pressed onto his neck, hard enough to break the skin.

Theory… well. Does it even need to be written out.

Zoro seemed to mutter something, low and threatening. Wouldn’t begrudge marine for pissing himself and passing out.

14:42
Enemy forces retreat.

14:43
This particular exchange occurred:
"Watch your back."
"That's your job, seaweed brain. Stop slacking off."
"I mean it, cook. Don't let your guard down. I can't always—"
"Aw, marimo, you're cute when you're worried."

Zoro turns an interesting shade of red. Sanji is infuriatingly oblivious, unfortunately, and stalks off with a satisfied smirk on his face.

Theory proven. Am considering possible future career as a seer after retirement.

+

 

So maybe trying to get a rise out of Sanji was not the best course of action.

It’s all clear as a day in hindsight; Sanji is emotional, reactionary—trying to get Sanji riled up in a certain way is like throwing flame into a stack of woods and expecting one specific branch to catch fire, or throwing Luffy into a pile of meat and expecting him to only eat the fish. Operation Jealousy was doomed to fail from the start.

Usopp’s adaptable though. He’s accustomed to failures, like all Great Leaders are, so they’re switching target.

“So yeah,” Usopp finishes his elaborately thought-up story on how Brook defended the Sunny when everyone was away and single-handedly fought a poisonous giant firefly—which everyone knows is a native grand line insect and not something Usopp completely made up— “I figured he’d need a good night’s sleep, and I need to finish tweaking the new Kabuto anyways, so I filled in for him for today’s watch.”

“Huh,” is all Zoro says before continuing on his training.

Zoro’s a simple guy, you see. He’s straightforward, sees the world in very distinctive black-and-white, and sports a certain kind of oddly endearing innocence that simply consists of 1) sticking pointy things at bad people and 2) not sticking pointy things at good people. This line of thinking also makes him a little bit dense on more complicated matters like feelings, but that’s where Usopp comes in.

He doesn’t immediately breach the subject. He doesn’t disturb Zoro as the swordsman goes about his nightly workout, tinkering on his Kabuto instead, and he waits until Zoro is done before handing him alcohol.

“Thanks,” Zoro grunts, taking a swig immediately from the bottle.

Post-training Zoro is calm, more subdued; Usopp can even say (in the safety of his own minds) that he’s… docile. 

The fact gives Usopp enough courage to sit beside Zoro and begins, “so, Sanji.”

Zoro’s aura seemed to shift from ‘going to fall asleep and probably cuddle anytime soon’ to ‘ready to cut you up to pieces and feed the remains to sea kings’ in the 0.1 second it took for Usopp to pronounce Sanji’s name. “What about the cook?”

Not docile. Certainly not docile. Usopp’s mentally putting the word as far away as possible from Zoro’s entry on his mental dictionary. “Nothing, I was just…thinking.”

“About?”

About the way you look at him when you think no one’s looking, is what Usopp wants to say, but he’d like his head and limbs attached to his torso by the end of this conversation, so he settles with, “don’t you think Sanji is hot?” 

Zoro’s beer bottle falls to the floor with a clang.

Usopp watches the bottle roll across the crow’s nest, spilling the liquid inside like a jagged trail behind, as awkward silence descends upon them.

He waits until the bottle hits the wall before stuttering, “you know, Sanji, he… he dresses nicely, and brushes his hair every day, and buys those expensive perfumes that make him smell nicer than the girls…” 

He trails off to chance a glance at Zoro to find him staring at Usopp with his mouth slightly hanging open. 

“He’s strong, too,” Usopp continues, because it’s… working? Is it actually working? Zoro hasn’t stabbed him yet, and he gives Usopp the look of concentration he usually wears when he's cleaning his katana, “he certainly has no problems keeping up with you, like, fighting-wise, but also, you know, stamina-wise. And he makes great food! Definitely wouldn’t have a problem keeping your stomach… full…”

He trails off, because Zoro still hasn’t responded. Did he… break Zoro? Should he call Chopper?

Usopp represses the urge to run away. He counts down from a hundred to calm himself down and reaches 40 by the time Zoro looks down and says, gravely, “I'm sorry.”

Not… exactly the kind of response he expected. “Eh?”

“I'm sorry,” Zoro repeats, and pointedly looks anywhere but Usopp’s eyes, “but I don't think... the cook likes you.” He pauses, and mouths the words like he isn’t entirely familiar with the concept of euphemism, “that way.

Usopp’s brain short-circuits.

 “NO!” Usopp sputters, disgusted, and resists the urge to locate the nearest window and hurl himself over the ledge because, ew, that’s, like, banging your own brother! “I don't—Sanji—not me! You!”

He didn't think it was possible, but Zoro blanches more, face turning a shade whiter. "You like me."

This conversation has taken a ridiculous route that would make Zoro’s sense of direction seem to be as accurate as Nami’s map. Zoro misses the point so utterly and completely that the only reasonable response is to groan and indignantly stomp away. Which Usopp does. Dramatically. “Oh my god. You know what, never mind! See if the Great Captain Usopp and the eight thousands—nay, eight millions—of his legions would ever try to help you again!”

 He storms out of the crow’s nest and makes a point to slam the trap door really hard, leaving a confused Zoro behind.

 

+

 


A cook, a swordsman, and a sniper walked into a bar.

That's it. That's the joke. If you're looking for a punchline, that'd be the sniper's life.

 

+

 

“Oi,” Sanji calls to the group as he jumps into the deck of Sunny, “finally found Little Lost Swordsies.”

Zoro follows suit not far behind and scowls, but still stands a little too close to Sanji. “I wasn’t lost.”

Sanji snickers. “Explain why you were standing on a cliff in the middle of the forest, overlooking the beach.”

“Ha, I was clearly heading towards the beach—“

“A different beach from the one Sunny is currently docking at. A beach on the other side of the island, in fact. Were you actually looking for sunlight? Maybe photosynthesizing with that green moss head of yours—“

“Zoro, Sanji-kun!” Nami calls out, clearly an attempt to break their argument. “The fireworks are about to start!”

Zoro and Sanji stop arguing, but continue to throw insults at each other under their breath.

It seems all is lost, after all, Usopp sadly thinks.

They’re currently at a surprisingly peaceful island, far from the influence of the World Government. The inhabitants are friendly, welcoming merchants and pirates alike with open arms, and seem to throw celebratory feasts for the flimsiest of excuses. 

Today is even more special though. It is the day of birth of one of the villages’ ruler, and they’re celebrating it through—according to the villagers—massive displays of fireworks. The villagers also promised it would look amazing viewed from ships docked at the Eastern side of the island.

Which is why the Strawhats are gathered at the Sunny tonight, food and booze prepared beforehand. The stars paint the sky with little dots of lights, illuminating the smiling faces of the crew members as they wait for the first firework to go off, and the mood is so good and peaceful one could even say it’s—romantic. 

The first firework sets off with a bang

“Woohoo!” Luffy shouts and claps cheerfully with Chopper. Franky starts posing to the amusement of Robin, but soon their voices are drowned out by the repeated bang-bang-bang of the fireworks, exploding into multitudes of colors. Everyone is momentarily distracted by the spectacle, but soon Zoro and Sanji are distracted by… other things. 

Usopp catches them, from the corner of his eyes, bickering. Again. Apparently Sanji has noted how the green firework reminds him of Zoro’s hair, which is why it makes such a small, unflattering explosion, and Zoro retorts with something equally trivial before the two devolve into yet another ridiculous argument. 

And Usopp wants to give up, right at that moment—he’s tried everything he could, exhausted all his resources, and even his genius plans couldn’t make the two get together. Maybe, the negative part of his brain supplies, maybe they weren’t meant to. Maybe their love story is destined to be an unfinished one, a collection of missed moments and what-could-have-beens.

But Usopp’s gaze falls on Zoro’s empty plate where he just ate through a cupcake Sanji especially made for him, slightly less sweet than everyone else’s because he knows Zoro doesn’t eat sugary food, and Usopp thinks of how Sanji searched the entire island for Zoro when the latter got lost, always looked for Zoro, always found him. 

Usopp thinks of a moment shared in the kitchen this breakfast: how Sanji smiled, a little smile he reserved only for Zoro whenever the swordsman is enjoying his food. Sanji had turned his back when Zoro looked up from his food, completely missing the way Zoro looked at him like the suns and stars were clinging on Sanji’s back. Always a second late, always a step out of sync—

Usopp sees a boat, floating and bobbing eternally on a shore as it never sails and he blurts, “oh my god, JUST KISS ALREADY.”

The last firework goes off with a bang, illuminating Zoro and Sanji’s twin bewildered stares at Usopp. 

Usopp is having none of this routine anymore, though. He jabs his fingers pointedly at the two men as he says, “yeah, you heard me right. Zoro, Sanji’s into you. Sanji, Zoro probably wants to be in you. So let’s get this over with and make out already!”

Zoro and Sanji make disgusted faces almost simultaneously, and Usopp hates how they’re never in tune with each other except now. “What, can’t handle the truth? Look, we know already. I know, Nami knows, even Chopper knows, and honestly? At this point we wouldn’t even mind if you make out here, right now—“

“We’re not going to kiss in front of the ladies,” Sanji hisses. 

“And not in front of Chopper,” Zoro growls. 

“—and in fact you can even take a step further than that!” Usopp prowls on, “I mean I can’t promise Luffy to not point it out, but I can assure you the rest of us can turn a blind eye if you guys decide to grope each other a bit and—“ he then stops abruptly as Sanji and Zoro’s words catch up with his brain and sink very, very slowly. 

He looks up.

Zoro and Sanji are glowering down at him, still standing close, shoulders pressed against each other’s. They don’t seem to be particularly disgusted by the idea of them being together, and more about…

“Wait,” Usopp gulps. “you mean… you mean you’d do it? Later? When Chopper isn’t around?”

“And the ladies,” Sanji reminds him, tone chastising, as if that’s the most important part of the conversation instead of the fact that—the fact that—

“You guys are willing to kiss each other?” Usopp squeaks. 

Zoro and Sanji blink at each other, less angry and more confused.

Every single image Usopp has meticulously crafted about their relationship crumbles as Sanji says, “yeah, in case you’re not aware, that’s what couples actually do.”

Usopp hears a strangled noise, and it takes him a few seconds to realize it’s coming from him.

“You guys…are willing to kiss each other,” Usopp repeats, as if the words would eventually make sense through constant repetition. 

Sanji scrunches his nose. “Is there some kind of weird kink of yours that we need to know about?”

“We kiss in front of Luffy all the time,” Zoro adds tangentially, obviously trying to be helpful as Usopp watches his whole life flash before his eyes.

“They are willing to kiss each other,” he repeats again, addressing the rest of the strawhats this time.

“I guess they are!” Luffy laughs, and before Usopp can ask him, why didn’t you tell me earlier and spare me the suffering, Luffy grins widely and says, “not sure if they’ve started wearing each other’s pants, though! Sorry, Usopp!” 

“I did say I would not take part in a… misguided endeavor,” is all Robin says, which sounds ominous and mysterious at first but is basically Robin-Speak for, I told you so.

“This is the most super love story I’ve heard all week!” Franky says, sobbing into his right hand as his left one takes out a guitar out of nowhere.

“Should we try out our duet for the lovely couple, then?” Brook responds in kind as he takes out his violin.

Nami is sitting at the corner of the ship, having what seemingly is an existential crisis. Chopper is fussing over her, probably worrying that she’s caught some kind of weird Grand Line sickness.

“I’m getting seconds,” Zoro announces out of nowhere, oblivious to the whole scene around him, and—as if purposely making the final blow to everything and anything Usopp has ever believed in—gives a light peck on Sanji’s cheek before leaving. Sanji grumbles an annoyed, yeah, yeah, but subtly leans into the kiss anyways.

Zoro walks away, patting Usopp in the shoulder once as he passes him.

“You are willing to kiss each other,” Usopp echoes, because what else is there to say, really? 

Brook and Franky’s latest love duet sounds like a fucked up soundtrack to the demise of his million-berries, best-selling love story. And his dignity.

He really should have known better.

 

+

 

INT. THOUSAND SUNNY, CROW’S NEST - NIGHT 

A man dressed in a white shirt and a striped tie, SANJI, pushes the door open and jumps into the crow’s nest. He’s carrying a TRAY OF FOOD and a TOWEL. The swordsman, ZORO, acknowledges his presence with a grunt. He has just finished his rigorous training for the night, and is SITTING DOWN on one of the benches in the room.

ZORO
It’s not your turn tonight.

Sanji hands Zoro the towel.

SANJI
I know, you idiot. Couldn’t sleep. 

ZORO
Nami’s downstairs.

Sanji visibly huffs at that, annoyed.

SANJI
If you want me to leave you can just say so. 

Sanji turns to leave, but Zoro GRABS his wrist before he can do so.

ZORO
I didn’t say that. 

Zoro TUGS lightly and Sanji sits beside him. Sanji then LEANS his head on Zoro’s shoulder.

SANJI
Stupid Marimo. If you fall asleep with me I’m going to kill you. This is still your watch, you know.

Zoro doesn’t say anything, but he releases his grip on Sanji’s wrist and loops his arm around Sanji’s shoulder with practiced ease. Sanji hums contentedly and snuggles closer to Zoro. They sit together like that, for a long time. Just like they always do.

Even though the other doesn’t see it, they’re both SMILING to themselves.

  

INT. THOUSAND SUNNY, MEN’S QUARTERS - NIGHT 

USOPP, like OTHER MALE STRAWHATS, continues to sleep, oblivious to everything that takes place in the crow’s nest.

 

INT. THOUSAND SUNNY, WOMEN’S QUARTERS – NIGHT

ROBIN lets the eye and ear she manifested in the crow’s nest vanish, giving the two men some privacy.

She SMILES, and goes back to sleep.