Nami didn't know whom they thought they were trying to fool – the crew, or themselves. She would make money on the former, but the latter was the actual truth. Strolling from the harbor with Robin, purse slung over her shoulder, Nami watched as Sanji's long-legged stride caught up with Zoro. She shook her head, amused, as they immediately started arguing as they walked along.
She wasn't sure when she had become aware of the change in their relationship – the fighting was an annoying distraction – but one day, she began to notice that Sanji and Zoro were side-by-side an awful lot for two who didn't get along. As time went on, it was obvious that something was going on between them and Nami couldn't let that opportunity pass her by.
The minimum bet was ten beli. A weekly lotto took place on the number of times and locations they had sex. There was a three-month over/under that one of them would voluntarily reveal their relationship. The odds were five to two in favor of it being love.
Luffy stretched his ear wider, continuing to listen to the thumps and curses coming from behind the storeroom door. It sounded like Zoro and Sanji were having a lot of fun. Luffy wished that he had someone to have fun with, but he didn't have feelings for any of his crew like Sanji and Zoro had feelings for each other. He was a man, and Ace had taught him that men could take care of their own needs or wait until they reached port where there were women whose job it was to have sex.
There was a bang and a particularly loud moan. Then, they got quieter. Luffy would have to leave soon. Nami said if he got caught, he'd never eat meat again. He'd stay just a little longer, listening to his nakama being happy together.
Usopp lowered his targeting goggles and rose cautiously. The late night cloaked him as he peered through the porthole. The curtains didn't close entirely and he was able to see a long slice of the Merry's galley. It was close to his watch and he wanted to take some fruit with him. However, he never touched the galley door without checking to make sure Sanji and Zoro weren't in the middle of something. He liked his head on his shoulders.
Fully clothed, Zoro was sitting backwards on the bench seat, elbows resting behind him on the table. An open bottle of sake stood beside him on the bench. He was speaking to Sanji, who was out of Usopp's sight. Usopp thought it might be okay to interrupt, if he made a lot of noise—
Usopp backed away from the porthole suddenly, face heating. He pushed his goggles up and tiptoed away from the galley. It was private time. He shouldn't go in.
Because Zoro smiled at Sanji like Usopp smiled at Kaya when he thought no one was looking.
Robin hid her amusement behind the rim of her coffee cup, as Sanji grabbed Zoro's wrist mid-reach for the second platter of pancakes Sanji carried. Zoro sneered as Sanji offered the pancakes to Nami first and then earned a smack to the back of the head when he muttered under his breath when Sanji went to Robin next.
Robin's hands played a very important part of her life and, consequently, she was aware of others' hands. People gave away a lot of information with them without knowing it. Sanji rarely laid a hand on anyone; whether it was because his hands were precious to him as a chef or simply because of the way he was raised. But as time sailed on, Robin had the privilege of watching as romance blossomed with a touch and saw it progress until the contact that was rare to all became casual to one. And now, in spite of all his swooning for her and Nami, Robin knew Sanji's heart was reserved for Zoro because of his hands.
Near the end of the table, Sanji stood with his hand resting thoughtlessly on Zoro's shoulder, asking if anyone needed anything. Dirty dishes that he'd reached past Zoro to take were balanced on his other arm.
Robin smothered her smile with a bite of syrupy pancake.
No matter how many times Chopper told Sanji that smoking was not only bad for him, it was bad for the patient, Sanji would only nod and continue smoking anyway. Thick, gray smog hung in the air, in spite of the galley portholes and door being open. Chopper would have transformed to Heavy Point and toss Sanji out if he hadn't felt sorry for him. It had nothing to do with Sanji telling him that he was a good doctor, because Chopper hated that kind of complimenting, that asshole (wiggle-clap-clap).
Zoro had gotten pretty banged up in the fight with the Dun Ge Rees. So had Sanji. Both were victorious, though, and would heal quickly with their constitutions. The hovering, Chopper was coming to learn, was non-curable. It had grown more pronounced the longer Zoro and Sanji had been together. Nami said these were the times when they'd most likely reveal their relationship to everyone and the biggest ongoing jackpot would be won. Chopper thought it was fun to bet like the others, but his first responsibility was for his patients' health and comfort, and that meant affording them privacy.
Zoro stirred back to consciousness, and Chopper was too busy checking his vitals to watch them subtly reassure each other that they were all right.
Franky had thought the Thousand Sunny was a masterpiece. It was built for a crew of the Straw Hats' caliber, with all the comforts and niceties for the long, rough months at sea. It even met his own needs when he'd thrown his speedos in with Luffy. But it turned out he'd been missing all of his facts and his design wasn't perfect. So when they'd docked at Indescent Island to let the log pose set, as the rest of the Straw Hats went ashore, Franky gathered material and got to work.
Nami was the first to return to the ship and Franky showed her the fixed room. He shuddered at her hyena-like laugh. Then, Nami fetched Robin, who covered her mouth with her hand, eyes sparkling. Franky started having a feeling that things were not Super, but Nami assured him everything was better than ever.
Luffy, Chopper, and Usopp, when they saw the wide double bed replacing the last bunk bed in the boys' quarters, jumped on it like a trampoline, laughter tumbling in the air. Franky knocked them all off with a launch of his fist. Luffy whined, but Franky was firm. A couple like Zoro and Sanji should have an unbroken bed of their own.
Zoro looked at the bed, looked at Franky, looked at the bed again, and went to lift weights.
Sanji was going to kick his ass, was pretty much all he'd thought.
(He also kind of liked the bed.)
Embarrassment heating his cheeks, Sanji found a shirtless Zoro lifting weights. He'd thought they'd been careful, that no one had known. But for a newcomer to make them a bed… Shit. How obvious did that make them? Yet, none of the others had said anything. Did that mean they didn't know, or that they didn't care? Did he want them to care? Double shit.
Sanji slumped against the weight rack and lit a cigarette. Zoro's ears glowed bright red and he cut a glance at Sanji. Sanji opened his mouth, shut it again, and gestured feebly. What was there to say?
Zoro's weights clanged when he set them down. He wiped his damp forehead with the back of his wrist and approached Sanji warily. Sanji mustered up a false smile for him, with an edge of self-disgust, and thought about asking to borrow a barbell to bash his own head in to end the humiliation. Zoro perked up for some unfathomable reason, and his earrings tinkled as he whispered in Sanji's ear.
Sanji chuckled softly, his heart stumbling, and nosed Zoro into a kiss. Shitty marimo. Zoro pulled back after a moment, his eyes bright, and smiled in the way that made him look like an idiot. Sanji tripped him to the floor, got rid of their clothes, and proved that it wasn't a mark against him.
Sanji figured he was just as much of an idiot, anyway, for being in love.
Chopper found out he won the over/under jackpot, with a hefty percentage of it going to Nami for running the bet and a small portion going to Franky for innocently prompting the outing.
Chopper wasn't pleased about it at all, jerks (clap-wiggle-clap).