Disclaimer: I own nothing but my notebook.
Notes: This idea was inspired by the last four lines of Alexis C's "Only Human". It's just a bit of crewmate bonding.
Sanji awoke with a violent shiver. His head hurt, a lot, and opening his eyes only revealed a blurry mess. He promptly closed them again, trying to ignore his rolling stomach and freezing fingers. What happened, where was he, and why in the hell was it so cold? Damn. The ache in is skull was really not being helped by the constant vibration of his long limbs. Had Luffy sailed them into a freezer? Why was his head so wooly? Argh!
Since Sanji's back seemed to be the only part of him that wasn't going numb from the cold, he leaned back and tried to force his reluctant brain to function. He remembered Nami falling ill, Usopp spotting the unknown island, coming ashore with Zoro and then... not much. Had there been some sort of monster... a fight maybe? He really couldn't remember, probably something to do with his aching head, but one thing was certain, it had been warm when he'd lost consciousness. So what could have happened to land him... wherever 'here' was? Well, only one way to find out...
With more effort than he'd hoped, Sanji forced his eyes open again. Though things were still a bit blurry, the blond cook could now make out the icy stone walls of a little cave. He was sitting in a cave. That was... odd, and it meant he was still on the island. Where was the ship? This could not be good. Not only was he lost on some strange island, but he was quickly freezing to death as well. Actually seeing the ice instantly made his shivering worse, so he snuggled further back against the warm... huh? The mysterious surface behind him grunted softly in response, and Sanji suddenly realized that his 'pillow' was shivering right along with him. 'The hell?
The cook swung around wildly, scrambling away from his captor as he felt his foot connect with something solid. The little cave was instantly echoing with angry pain-filled cursing, very familiar pain-filled cursing. He distinctly heard the term "crap-cook" several times.
"Zoro?" Sanji blinked as his eyes finally cleared, revealing the green-haired swordsman sprawled on his back, both large hands clapped firmly over his jaw. The muffled cursing faded into a groan as he pushed himself back into a seated position, still holding his face and glaring daggers all the while.
"What in the hell was that for, shit-cook?" Sanji just blinked at him, more confused than ever. Failing to receive an answer, Zoro went back to grumbling about ungrateful crewmates getting attacked by strange beasts, fainting, freezing and having their asses saved by loyal first mates. Ah, so that's what happened. Sanji's head finally began to clear as he listened to the ranting. Normally it would have ticked him off in about two seconds flat and incited the driving need to stomp the swordsman's face into the deck, but for some reason the way Zoro's teeth chattered just as loudly as he grumbled, sort of countered any natural anger inducing effects.
Then again, since scrambling to opposite ends of the tiny cave (a grand total of ten feet) Sanji's own shaking seemed to have tripled. Who knew the cabbage-head put off so much heat?
"So, what happened, anyway? Where're Nami and the crew?" Sanji pulled his long legs up in front of his chest, wrapping his arms around them to try and conserve as much remaining body heat as possible. Zoro did the same, then rested his chin atop this knees, giving in to only the slightest wince as his quickly bruising jaw took the pressure.
"I don't know." He sounded rather... dejected to Sanji's ears, but that couldn't be right, not that cocky bastard, and besides, the words weren't comforting.
"You don't know? What do you mean you don't know!"
"Look, that thing attacked you. I killed it, grabbed you and headed back to the ship, but it wasn't where it was supposed to be." Sanji did not miss the fact that Zoro wasn't meeting his gaze. "Then this damn blizzard started."
Sanji shivered in silence, waiting for more explanation, until the first mate's pause had stretched a little too far.
"Wait, you mean that's it? You lost the ship and now we're stuck here?"
"I didn't lose the ship. It moved."
"Yeah, right. Nami always says you can't navigate your way out of a paper bag, but I never thought you were this incompetent." Zoro growled, the effect once again ruined by his trembling lips. "Why did you even come, spinach-head?"
"To take care of you, shit-cook! Since you clearly can't take care of yourself."
"Oh yeah, because we're perfectly safe in this nice little icebox." The sarcasm was palpable.
"It was the best I could find! And besides, I didn't see you giving any suggestions, Mr. Limp-and-Drooling!"
"You're just pissed because you couldn't find your way back to your own ship."
"Shut up. I told you-"
"What kind of pirate are you? Nami-san is sick and we're stuck here in the middle of nowhere freezing solid because you can't walk in a straight line!"
"Nami-san could be getting worse and for all we know Luffy and everyone else are under attack at this very moment! I swear, if anything happens to Nami-san because of you I'll-"
"I said, shut up!" Sanji was so wrapped up in his tirade, he didn't notice Zoro moving until he was slammed forcefully back against the frozen wall, one large calloused hand digging into his shoulder as a katana pressed feather-light to his neck. The cook wasn't quite sure what button he'd pushed to get the swordsman so riled up, but he was regretting it now. Anywhere else he would just knock the algae-haired goon silly for daring to invade his personal space, but there wasn't enough room in this poor excuse for a cave to get in a proper swing. Though loath to admit it, for the moment he was at the other man's mercy.
Well, maybe there was another way...
"Zoro, did you eat something strange?" The swordsman blinked at the total non-sequiter, anger forgotten in favor of deciphering the cook's bizarre comment. Not that such a thing was possible.
"Why are your lips blue?" If looks could kill, Sanji knew he'd be keeling over right about now, but it sure beat the katana.
"Because we're freezing to death, you moron. Yours are the same color."
Zoro sighed, the sound coming out staccato between chattering teeth, and sheathed his sword, grabbing Sanji by the jacket and pulling him back down to the gritty cave floor. The first mate easily won out in lean muscle, and before Sanji could blink he found himself sitting with his back pressed firmly against the swordsman's broad chest, muscular arms wrapped around his own. This was not what Sanji had in mind. At all. Frankly, he just might prefer the sword. The blond immediately began to fight like a cat, using his inhuman flexibility to land one foot squarely into the other man's side. Zoro grunted, but held on, tightening his hold to pin the other man in place. When his voice warmed Sanji's ear, the cook took pleasure in hearing it hitch with pain.
"Knock it off - crap-cook." Sanji stilled, but didn't relax, glaring forward at the dimly lit stone wall. His voice was low and deadly, echoing threateningly against the wind.
"What the hell do you think you're doing?"
"Trying to keep us both warm. Luffy wouldn't like it - if I let our cook freeze to death."
"So why aren't we out there looking for the ship instead of sitting here watching our fingers turn blue?"
"I already dragged your sorry ass through that blizzard once, princess, I am not doing it again." Sanji stuck his tongue out at the wall, but had to agree when a particularly fierce gust of wind blasted its way into their sad excuse for a shelter. Any warmth that might have accrued from their little fight was snatched away in a single icy breath. Sanji felt the body pressed around his pass into a particularly violent shudder just before his own did the same. Damn blizzard. Silence fell as the men tried to will their bodies into stillness, both failing miserably.
When the warm breath hit the back of his icy neck, Sanji had to fight not to lean back for more.
"Share the jacket?"
"Like hell I will." Sanji huddled further down, shamelessly using the larger man as a wind shield. Though he would never have stooped to it otherwise, Zoro's request had just placed the action safely within the realm of 'let's-do-it-just-to-piss-off-the-cabbage-head'. Good thing, too, because it was only getting colder.
Silence descended after that, broken periodically by the wind howling around the tiny stone cavern. Not that it was big enough to really call a cave. At Sanji's guess it was only about seven by fifteen by five foot square, not nearly enough room to stand up and far too cold to lie down. He had no idea how Zoro had even managed to find it in the first place, it wasn't much, but seeing as the opening was almost completely drifted over with snow, the cook was grateful to have even this.
The fighting really had helped, getting his blood flowing again while taking his mind off the temperature, but now the last of those minor effects had worn off and he was left with nothing to do but stare at the ridiculously monotonous stone and come up with new and inventive ways to torture the asshole when they made it back to the ship. Oh, and to will his body to soak up as much of said asshole's body heat as possible. That was top of the list right now, especially as, quite the opposite to Sanji's own lanky frame, the body wrapped around his own seemed to be shaking less and less as time went by. How in the hell could the shitty-swordsman be feeling any warmer when the damn cave seemed to be getting colder with every passing moment?
Sanji was startled from these thoughts when a green head fell against his shoulder, brushing along the side of his face and coming to rest there. Cheek to cheek, the cabbage-head didn't feel any warmer, but colder, causing another shiver to ricochet up the cook's spine.
"Hey, shitty-swordsman, quit drooling on my shoulder." He shoved at Zoro's head, expecting the man to jerk awake with some lame insult, but nothing happened. Trust the crap swordsman to fall asleep in the worst possible situation. Sanji shoved again. Zip.
"Cabbage-head, get your scruffy mug off my shoulder or I'll use it to make soup. I'm sure Luffy won't mind a bit."
This silence was getting ridiculous, so Sanji twisted to get a look at the man behind him. Zoro's lips were even darker than before, his breath making only the tiniest little puffs of steam.
"Hey, shithead." Sanji poked his forehead. "Asshole!" He whapped his cheek. "Zoro!" This was bad. There was no possible way to use his legs at this point, due to both the cold and their huddled position, so with severely limited options, Sanji looked down at his hands. They may be his livelihood, but the cook had a gnawing suspicion that he wouldn't live long enough for it to matter if Zoro wasn't alive to help him. Not to mention, though it galled him to no end to admit, the swordsman had probably saved his life from that thing that managed to knock him out. He couldn't just let the man freeze, no matter how much of an annoyance he could be. Thus, after a long sorrowful sigh, Sanji hauled off and slugged the other man right on the jaw.
The green head rose as dark eyes fluttered open to glare at the blond, who was currently grumbling under his breath about rock headed swordsmen as he rubbed his delicate knuckles.
"Whathe hell-s a' for?" Sanji sighed in relief at his crewmate's response. He knew the heavy slurring couldn't be a good sign, but at least the swordsman was conscious. For a minute there the cook had been worried that... well... Anyway, the algae-head was awake now and blinking at him with glassy half-lidded eyes. "Whts th madder?"
"You, shitty-swordsman. We can't fall asleep or we'll freeze here. Stay awake." Zoro blinked at him, hazy eyes already falling shut.
"No!" Sanji could feel the other's shivering slowing down again, and punctuated his order with another fist.
"B' Snjiii," the larger man whined. This wasn't working and the cook really didn't want to sacrifice his poor abused hand a third time. How else could he knock some sense into the swordsman?
"Do you want to freeze to death?"
"Nt s'bad. Feel k'n of warm now..." His head lolled forward again and Sanji fought the urge to scream. If death didn't phase him, what could he say to get the first mate riled up? He'd done it earlier, but what was it he'd said that had ticked Zoro off? Hmmm.
"You know if you die you'll be abandoning the whole crew." Zoro merely grunted, but at least it was a response, so Sanji continued. "You've saved them more times than anyone can count. Usopp's always telling stories about it, and there's no way Nami would let you spend all day sleeping like a lazy bum if she didn't think you were a valuable member of the crew." That might have been a shrug... or just a shiver. "Luffy won't last a week without you to watch his back and haul him out of the ocean..." Ooh, here came the hard part, "and that thing back there would probably have eaten me, too." Ah well, pride was highly overrated. "Are you really going to just sit here and give up on your crew and your captain? I thought you had a little more loyalty than that."
Zoro pulled himself upright and glared at the cook for all he was worth. Sanji gulped. Guess that 'devil eyes' thing wasn't made up after all.
"We've got to stay awake. So, you gonna stop wussing out and talk to me?"
Easier said than done. Silence descended again as the men tried to come up with a topic that wouldn't lead to blows. It took a while.
"So, what's with the three swords?"
x x x
Notes: Thank you so much to each of my reviewers who mentioned my mistake about Sanji using his fists. I had totally forgotten about the reasons behind his unusual fighting style. Once you guys mentioned it I realized it was a big enough problem to go back and fix. Thus the repost. I hope this is a bit more in character. Thanks to everyone who reviewed!
Also, though this is really just a vignette, I am thinking of doing another little piece to follow up. Question is, which way should I go? I don't do lemons, but I had been thinking about shifting it just a bit romantic. Still, I've gotten so many complements for keeping it friendly, I just wondered what the consensus might be. Honestly, I love doing nakama stuff, but I can picture them so easily either way... Let me know what you think?
Oh, and if you want to know which lines are from "Only Human", go read it and find out!