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one for the money, two for the show

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Today is weird.

Which says a lot coming from Sanji because his days are, in general, pretty fucking weird—something that is regretfully the typical fanfare he pretty much signed up for when he decided to work at their university’s coffee shop. Frequented by students and teachers of vastly different ages and backgrounds, weird has pretty much become part of his daily routine.

Today is… different, though. Weirder is the word he would use if the mere thought of it doesn’t send him to depression from how his life has ended up becoming. He wanted to become a chef, goddamn it, one from a five-star restaurant that he sets up, names, and runs himself. Instead he’s a poor college student barely scrapping by from his part-time job at Grand Line Coffee Shop, serving excellent coffee to dying college students with eye bags from one too many all-nighters and old professors who look like they’d rather get some booze than coffee to quell the headaches caused by their students, neither of which possess the necessary taste buds to appreciate Sanji’s first-rate quality coffee.

Anyways. Weird day.

First, the girls. They’re fantastic as always, don’t get him wrong. They still look like they were personally delivered to Earth from heaven, with their dazzling smiles and soft-looking hair, but today they’ve been particularly…chatty, for a lack of better words. Sanji always makes a point to strike up a polite conversation with the ladies, most of whom would only reply to him in short, dismissive tone (not that Sanji would ever take offense). Today, though, they’re awfully responsive, talking back to him and even asking him questions. One of them even wished him luck, and when he asked, what for, she only responded with a giggle.

And then, there’s the guys. 

Some of them aren’t acting any different, but there’s a sizable number of them—a grand total of sixteen men to be precise—who honest-to-god, for some fucking reason, flirted with him. Like something out of a cheesy romcom. Sanji is currently in possession of thirteen phone numbers from thirteen different, very much male guys.

Thirteen!

That’s more than, like, a dozen. That’s a baker’s dozen.

And it’s not even eleven a.m. yet.

“That’d be 6.20 dollars,” he tells his customer as he sighs inwardly at his current predicament. It’s Gin from Engineering, he recognizes, one of their more frequent customers, and he forces a polite smile he reserves for regulars.

When he hands Gin the changes, Gin oh-so-accidentally brushes his hand and gives Sanji a fucking wink.

Sanji resists the urge to locate the nearest kitchen knife to stab himself. Or someone. Whoever is responsible for this, whatever this is, because someone has got to be.

The thing is. Well. Sanji is—straight, okay. Sanji is probably the Straightest Man on Earth. He appreciates women, and doesn’t shy away from expressing that. He loves everything about them and their feminine features. He flirts with them all the time

Okay, so maybe he does, sometimes, (quite oftentimes) express interest in the other, much more similar sex, too. Whatever. He just happens to be a straight man who’s also capable of appreciating the finer points of life and human species, things like a dude’s well-toned muscles and calloused hands and, on the rare (very rare!) occasion that he takes notice, proportionally-sized dicks.

Zoro walks into the shop right at this moment and Sanji is reminded why thinking about proportionally-sized dicks is not a recommended work place activity.

Nami and Usopp laughing behind the counter should have clued him in that something was going on.

“Uh,” Zoro says as he walks up to Sanji, short and deadpan and would’ve come across as rude to people who doesn’t know him, “coffee.”

“No shit, mosshead,” Sanji replies, almost out of habit at this point, and flashes what he knows to be an infuriating smirk. “What kind?”

The usual song and dance.

Zoro—Roronoa Zoro from History, captain of their college kendo club and the universe's idea to torture Sanji on a daily basis, to be precise—is simultaneously their best and worst coffee shop patron ever since he entered its doors a few months ago. Best in the way that he orders simple black coffee with little to no fuss (unlike the pretentious dipshits who order shit like, ugh, soy gluten-free mocha latte with extra foam or something equally ridiculous), and worst in the way that he manages to find out all the right buttons to annoy Sanji, and proceeds to push all of them at the same time for his own amusement. 

Despite Zoro’s insults and Sanji’s scathing responses that would send his Etiquette 101 professor into tears, though, Zoro keeps returning to the shop. Every day. Before he knows it, they’re part of each other’s routine, trading insults across the wooden counter like chatty housewives trading gossips, and Sanji slowly learned that they have a lot more in common than he would like to admit.

Sanji most definitely does not enjoy their daily verbal sparring.

Zoro glares at the jab, which isn’t unusual. “Just,” he shrugs as he shoves his money towards Sanji, “the usual.”

He says it with a blush, which is unusual.

In fact, there's an embarrassed flush across his cheeks, a stark contrast from the defiant way he tips his chin up, and it is so out of place that Sanji drops the money.

“Shit,” he curses as he flails to catch it, and notices the white, most-definitely-not-money paper wedged in between Zoro’s two five-dollar bills falling together with them. 

He picks it up to see numbers scrawled on it in Zoro’s decidedly ugly handwriting.

“What the fuck,” he says as he pretty much sees his life flashes before his eyes.

Zoro turns a shade brighter, which is absolutely perplexing and not the slightest bit cute, before saying, “that’s, uh, my number.”

Sanji contemplates saying, what the actual fuck, but that would be 1) extremely repetitive and 2) a gross simplification of around a thousand different emotions he’s currently experiencing at this very moment, not a single one of them makes sense.

He thinks he’s catching a fever, because there’s no other explanation for the warmth that’s creeping up his face right now.

Zoro opens his mouth, mumbles a pathetic, “uh,” and, “the sign,” before clamping it shut in so hard Sanji thinks he can hear a click from his jaws. He looks at Sanji helplessly and simply points at the sign outside the store.

Sanji doesn’t remember taking off his apron, motioning to Usopp to man the cashier for a moment, and walking out of the counter towards the now ominous-looking sign. He doesn’t remember any of that, but here he is, staring at the sign, and he finally understands all the weird things that’s been going on today with the same foreboding feeling a detective finally figures out a trail to a very nasty serial killer.

The sign, standing unassuming outside the Grand Line Coffee Shop in a handwriting Sanji recognizes as Usopp’s, says:   

TODAY YOUR BARISTA IS:

  1. Hella fucking gay.
  2. Desperately single.

FOR YOUR DRINK TODAY I’D RECOMMEND:

You give me your number.

Usopp is so fucking dead.

Sanji storms back into the coffee shop and sees Usopp scrambling away from the cash register machine to hide behind Nami from Sanji’s boiling wrath, but before he can smash Usopp’s skull in, his gaze falls onto Zoro’s still blushing figure and Sanji's breath catches in his throat.

Usopp is dead—but only if Sanji doesn’t die beforehand.

He thanks the gods that there’s no line behind Zoro as he half-stomps back towards the man. 

“Sanji—“ Usopp begins his apology.

“You’re dead to me,” Sanji immediately cuts in, and Usopp wisely shuts up.

The rest of the coffee shop is as busy as always, sounds of people typing and murmured conversations and glasses clanking filling the air, but unbeknownst to these patrons, there’s tense, awkward silence descending between Sanji, Zoro and Usopp. 

Sanji doesn’t do well with silences.

“So, you see,” he breaks the silence and jerks a thumb at a whimpering Usopp, “that was all, uh, a prank.” 

“I can see that,” Zoro says, and he’s pointedly not looking at Sanji, which is deeply unsettling. Zoro usually looks at him, head on, as if daring Sanji to kick him in the face. This Zoro, hands in his pants’ pockets and eyes avoiding Sanji’s gaze, is—wrong.

Usopp’s eyes dart between Sanji and Zoro. “Look, Sanji, I don’t think he means it as a prank,” Usopp starts.

“I’m going to mince you into pieces and feed your remains to a stray dog, and I won’t even use my favorite knife,” Sanji says. 

“I didn’t mean it as a prank,” Zoro says, at the same time.

Sanji thinks his entire world starts tilting. “What." 

“He said that he didn’t—“

“For fuck’s sake, Usopp, shut the fuck up or the next think you see will be the sole of my shoes—“ 

“This is a mistake,” Zoro cuts in, his face carefully blank, and Sanji feels like his heart is being submerged into ice water. Zoro turns towards the door and says, “I’m just going to go—“

Before he even realizes what he’s doing, Sanji grabs him by the arm.

Zoro stops in his track and Sanji inwardly panics.

Shit. Sanji is—he's straight, okay. Sanji’s straight, except when he walks past a guy with a great ass and too-small jeans, or when he can’t quite tear his eyes away from the male protagonists from the tv shows he watches because they’re shirtless more often than not. Sanji’s straight, except when there’s a guy a little too handsome, a little too nice, a little too tall, a little too—everything.

Sanji’s straight, except when he’s—not.

And Zoro isn’t just some guy. Zoro is—great, a great person and a great friend, the only person who can keep up with Sanji’s sarcasm and foul mouth, who can dish out as much as he can take. Their daily arguments are more fun than it has any right to be, and Zoro’s visit is his favorite part of his day, and there’s this way Zoro grins that can make Sanji’s insides feel like they’re doing perpetual somersaults, and—holy shit. Holy shit.

He likes Zoro.

Zoro is still standing there, arm in Sanji’s grip, which, speaking of, also happens to be packed with toned muscles and practically bursting out of his two-sizes-too-small t-shirt and Sanji’s attracted to this, to Zoro, and the realization blindsides him to the point where he can only mumble, stupidly, “I can’t read your handwriting.” 

Zoro stares at Sanji’s hand on his arm. “Uh.” 

“Your handwriting,” Sanji reiterates, aiming for calm when he’s mentally setting everything around him on fire, “it’s so shitty I can’t read it, like, your fucking nines and fours look the same, so,” he takes out a pen from his breast pocket and his hands most certainly don’t shake as he writes down the familiar numbers, “you should take my number instead.” 

He thinks, if Zoro were anyone else but Zoro, he would’ve dropped his jaw to the floor in shock.

Zoro doesn’t do that, because he’s apparently too cool to have his mouth hanging open, but he makes an expression that’s a close approximation to one, eyebrows raised in surprise and eyes locked into the piece of paper with Sanji’s numbers on it. The faint sweep of a blush makes its reappearance on Zoro’s face, and Sanji decides he likes that look on Zoro. He likes that a lot

Not that he’s any better, of course, judging from how warm his face feels, like he’s been standing under the sun during summer for three hours straight, and he unceremoniously shoves the paper to Zoro’s face in an attempt to hide his blush. 

Zoro, finally, takes the paper. “I’ll, uh,” he says, still dazed. “Call you.”

The words—and the implications that entail them—do funny things to Sanji’s chest that spreads to the tips of his fingers. “You better be,” he sputters.

They stand like that in silence, not quite looking at each other and yet unwilling to walk away either just yet, and god what’s the protocol on this, should he give Zoro a kiss? A peck? Is that too forward? Should he just wait for Zoro’s call? What if Zoro loses the paper, it’s so small after all, did he even write the right number, did he miss a three, did he accidentally write Zeff’s number instead in panic—

“Oh my god, just kiss already,” Sanji can hear Nami says from behind the counter before he feels Zoro’s hands framing his face and pull him into a kiss. 

Oh, he thinks.

He can hear the entire coffee shop cheering because of course they’ve been watching the whole proceeding, Sanji is literally doing all these in the middle of the fucking shop, someone’s going to file a fucking complaint. Zoro’s lips are warm and surprisingly soft against Sanji's, though, and Sanji decides they can file a goddamn lawsuit for indecent exposure for all he cares.

“Wow,” he can hear Usopp smugly says behind his back. "You're welcome."

He gives Usopp a middle finger without looking back.