Every time his agent convinced him to join a new team, he'd always ended up wanting to kick the man in the balls by the end of the first practice. It had always seemed as if that idiot went out of his way to find the biggest assholes in the league to stick him with.
This bunch had seemed to be no different, but they had some real skills on the ice. That Eustass guy in particular was a helluva power forward; it almost seemed as if he had an unnatural pull over where the puck went. His boy Killer, as if his name fit like a glove, showed no mercy in the game but seemed to be a little more calculating and aloof than his friend; in addition to being one of the quickest playmakers he'd ever seen. The rest of the team seemed to follow their orders to a fault, so Zoro had mostly just observed them for the first session to see where he would fall in as the new shutdown. The only other new addition, Usopp, had been mouthy as hell while they'd been suiting up, bragging something about having eight thousand fans or whatever, and then had seemed absolutely stricken in the warm ups, but the green-haired man and half of the other players had gaped at his pinpoint accuracy when the sniper had displayed his adeptness with the puck.
It gave him chills that had nothing to do with the ice beneath his feet to think that this ragtag group might very well prove to be playoff material.
After all the other players had vacated, he decided to stay back and take a few practice shots to get a little better accustomed to his new home. He'd only planned on sticking around for a short time, but it had been a while since he'd gotten in some quality time on his blades, so he ended up meandering between the boards for well over an hour.
It was only when he heard the Zamboni making its way onto the ice that he realized just how long he'd been at it. He gathered up the extra pucks he'd tossed about, and made his way over to where he'd left his stick against the penalty box. When he turned around, he spotted the resurfacer at work, and nodded to the driver politely only receive the nastiest scowl he'd ever seen.
A little taken aback and more than a bit perturbed, he decided to see what the hell he'd done to piss off the guy. After all, it was only his first day and he sure as hell didn't want it to end with a case of stink eye. He couldn't see much of the man's face he realized as he got closer, as he had his cap pulled low over the blonde mop that already obscured half of his features. He noticed the foul-tempered blonde grit his teeth around the cigarette that hung from his lips as he got closer, but the other man was obviously trying not to acknowledge Zoro's presence.
It wasn't doing much good.
"Oi, Blondie!" he shouted over the machine's engine, skating slowly alongside but maintaining a safe distance, "Who put a bee in your bonnet?!"
The blonde shot him a dark look from beneath the fringe, but finally opened his mouth, "How 'bout you buzz off! Nobody's allowed on the ice while I'm out, asshole!"
Zoro laughed at the snide comment and shrugged his acquiescence as he fell behind, vacating the rink but watching the machine work its magic.
In no time at all, he saw the man drive out of the arena and decided to mess with him.
He stepped out onto the freshly resurfaced ice and could have moaned in pleasure at the smoothness; despite his prickly attitude the blonde knew how to shave. He had removed his pads while he had been waiting, so it was a bit colder but the breeze felt nice on his heated skin.
The player didn't have long to wait before the blonde was back, this time with a palpable fury.
"HEY JACKASS!" he yelled from the sidelines, "Who the hell gave you permission to fuck up my ice?!"
Zoro's face broke into a shit-eating grin as he circled back over to the other man, completing his sixth figure eight on the frozen surface.
"Since when did the Zamboni driver own the rink?" he mocked.
It was the blonde's turn to laugh, the dark chuckle bubbling up in a way that made Zoro slow to a stop about ten feet from him. He raised a quizzical brow as the blonde removed his hat and swept his hair to the side and smiled smugly at him.
"Since my father gave it to me, shithead."
Zoro's jaw dropped, the man couldn't have been older than he was, but there was no questioning his claim. It was definitely the team owner's son standing before him, if the pictures he'd seen in Zeff's office had been any indication. But the photos had done nothing to justify the man's looks; he was a total bombshell. Tight muscles ran beneath the taught fabric of the zipped up workman's onesie he wore, seemingly purchased a size too small to them show off. The fringe of golden hair fell to the side to reveal a bright blue eye nestled beneath a sleepy eyelid that was just achingly sexy. He had full lips that were torture around that still-lit cigarette, not to mention the fact that he had legs for days…
He floundered for something to say for a moment before the blonde continued, "The old man only bought the team because I spent so much time here, so he pretty much leaves everything up to me… In fact, you could say that I'm the one who holds your contract, Marimo."
The green-haired man paled at the obvious power he had over him, but the odd moniker brought Zoro around in a hurry, "Marimo?"
"You are Japanese, right?" he said plainly, as if talking to a child, "That fuzzball on top of your head makes me think you belong in a lake, not on top of one."
He indicated the ice Zoro was still fouling up with his blades, huffing out a frustrated cloud of smoke.
"If you don't want me to go upstairs and rip up your papers now, Moss-head, you better get the hell off my ice."
The threat seemed valid enough, so Zoro glided forward and took a step off the frozen field.
Only to be kicked in the head.
"Ow! What the fuck, asshole!?"
"That's for fucking up my work!" came the reply, but as he faced the other man he realized he was smiling, "But it was nice to meet ya, anyway. I don't usually get to meet my guys since Zeff's the official owner and we're usually at our restaurant."
He remembered the Black's gaining international acclaim for their world-famous cuisine, resulting in the fortune that gained them the team and Zoro's subsequent employment, but found it odd that they still ran their own restaurant themselves. Now he also wondered to himself why the blonde famous for being the Prince of the culinary world was part-timing as an ice resurfacer.
He didn't get to voice his query before the blonde was clapping him on the shoulder reassuringly, laughing at the perplexed look on his face.
"I was just screwing with you, you won't get fired dumbass," he said, his dark mood a distant memory, "But if you fuck up my ice on purpose again I'll have your balls…"
Zoro laughed lightly at the warning, finally smiling again as the threat over his career was dismissed. He didn't know how to deal with this guy at all, but he was sure enough of the fact that he could definitely get used to the snarky bastard.
Especially considering how easy on the eyes he was.
He found his voice, and his sarcasm, again just as the blonde was turning to go retrieve the Zamboni for round two, "Did Daddy buy you the Barbie dream car too, Princess?"
The other man paused, and turned around to raise an eyebrow at him, which Zoro noticed was slightly curled at the end. The charming feature quirked at him before the blonde let loose a short laugh.
"Ya know, you're one shitty asshole, but I think I like that," he chuckled.
Zoro felt a bit light headed at the deep teasing tone in the blonde's voice, it played hell with his heartbeat.
"Yeah, the Zamboni's mine, but I've driven her for years before we owned the place," he said, putting his hands in his jump suit's pockets, "I don't trust anybody else to get it that smooth, so I still come by after you idiots tear it up."
Zoro smiled in embarrassment, but shrugged, "It's what you pay us to do, numbnuts."
He smirked and pulled the cigarette from his lips, "I suppose it is, heh. But that doesn't mean you get to mess up what I've fixed, you shitty puck-head." He made to leave again but waved over his shoulder, "Now go hit the showers, Roronoa."
The blonde stopped again and looked back at him curiously.
"You can call me Zoro, Princess."
The blonde's face scrunched up at the teasing nickname, "It's Sanji, Marimo."
"Whatever you say, Curly."
Sanji let out an irritated huff, but continued walking away, giving the hockey player ample opportunity to admire the ass that was outlined perfectly by the tight grey fabric.
Good god was he gonna love this gig.
It was nearly a week later before he ran into the blonde again, a week full of the most hellish practices of his career.
He and the other new blood Usopp had fallen in pretty well with the other guys, even striking up a friendship with the weird kid that wouldn't leave off his worn out straw hat for anything. But they had come to find out that Kidd was brutal as a Captain. Zoro didn't question the results the red-head's methods got, but the long nosed sniper was the whiniest sportsman he'd ever met. After day seven of "I can't go out on the ice of hell disease" the green-haired man had nearly wanted to wring his neck. Killer had voiced the concern that he needed to de-stress before the scrimmage the next weekend, so he had been told to take a breather in the office.
As he sat meditating on the floor he heard the door open and a pair of what sounded like dress shoes enter.
"Great," he thought to himself, "They called in the damn team counselor."
When he opened his eyes, however, he was greeted by a smirking Sanji in a very flattering designer suit.
"What's up, Marimo, you get put in time-out?"
"Nah, just waiting for someone to kill that idiotic long-nose," he said before he could stop himself.
"Oh, haha, him? He's a bit of a coward, but he knows how to shoot."
Sanji sat down in the chair across from Zoro after removing his jacket and draping it across the desk, which the green-haired man now assumed to be his. They sat in comfortable silence for a few minutes, the blonde watching him meditate before he finally decided to speak again.
"So you like the team so far?"
Zoro's eyes opened again, focusing on the other presence he'd been desperately trying to ignore lest his furious heartbeat return. He was supposed to be calming down, dammit.
"Yeah, you know to pick 'em. They're all crazy a hell, but we'll give everybody a run for their money for sure."
Sanji hummed thoughtfully, as if he couldn't believe the seemingly bristly player had paid him that small compliment.
"You know you should include yourself in with the 'crazy' ones right?" Zoro frowned at him, but allowed his explanation, "Not many guys would keep playing after getting that deep of a cut from somebody's blades, let alone that time you nearly lost your legs. You're practically a legend for winning that game."
Zoro pulled completely out of his position and crossed his arms over his chest, fully aware of the scarring beneath his jersey and pads.
"A legend that was a damn bench duster practically all last season," he laughed bitterly.
"From what I heard, that was because they were waiting for you to fully heal…" Sanji offered, again sounding as if he were talking to a petulant child, "Is that why you transferred?"
"I wasn't going to sit around forever, I want to earn my keep."
Sanji laughed again, and Zoro was temporarily distracted by the musicality in the silky baritone.
"Well, whatever, I was just happy you were up for signing again, I've had an eye on you for a while."
He knew what the blonde meant, but it didn't stop the flurry in his stomach and chest or the tinge of pink that dashed across his face.
"That pink looks interesting with your hair, moss-head, maybe you oughta try a different shade~"
Sanji rose from the chair behind the desk and sat cross-legged next to his coat, grinning as Zoro flushed deeper as if on cue.
"Not sure I like that one though, it kinda clashes…"
"Shut up," Zoro griped, eyes darting to the attractive smile curved around the smoking stick.
He could tell that the blonde wasn't one to give up so easily once he got under someone's skin, so he decided to distract him, "Don't you have something to burn, shit-cook, or did your Daddy finally kick you outta the kitchen?"
Sanji's eyes narrowed and he frowned slightly, but his posture was still relaxed, "Oi, don't mock my cooking shit-head, you haven't even tried it yet."
"Yet? Like I'd agree to eat that crap," he simpered.
"Oh now you've got to try it, jackass. I've got a reputation to keep and I'm not gonna let you fuck it up with misinformation."
"Since when did the boss cook for his employees?"
"I'll make an exception just to see the look on your shitty face!"
"So it's a date then?"
Sanji seemed startled as Zoro grinned at him from the floor, opening and closing his mouth for a few seconds before a knowing smile ghosted over his features.
"Smooth, Marimo, very smooth…" he shook his head in disbelief as the green-haired man stood and dusted himself off, the three dangling earrings in his left ear tinkling at the movement and catching the light in a diverting way.
Zoro made to leave but paused in the doorway to smirk at the blonde once again, "You have my number, Princess."
"That I do," Sanji agreed, shaking his head again as the moss-head left the office and wondering how it was possible that he found the athlete so charming.
Zoro meanwhile, was practically dancing onto the ice, prompting the Captain to question if he needed a skirt for his new figure skating career. He laughed and brushed it off, his dark mood from earlier nowhere in sight. Luffy noticed his good humor and asked if he had had a snack while he'd been gone, and Zoro couldn't help himself.
"No, but I have a feeling that I'm going to be eating like a damn king pretty soon."
Despite Luffy's jealous probing for more, Zoro refused to open his mouth further and completed the rest of the practice from cloud nine.
He had finally changed and gotten back to his car when he realized that he had forgotten his phone in his gym bag, making him dash back inside before the maintenance crew closed up behind him. He fished the device from the old denim material of the bag his mom had once sewn together from a couple pairs of his dad's old jeans; smiling at the notification on his screen. His heart leapt into his throat when he opened the text from the unknown number.
"I'm pretty sure you know where the restaurant is, shit-head, so be there at 7:30. Dress Nice."
He laughed at the bolded text, knowing full well that the five-star establishment wouldn't let him in if he wasn't dressed to the nines.
The rest of the day was spent getting cleaned up and selecting an outfit that wasn't too uncomfortable but would pass for classy, the last hour before he left his penthouse mostly just wearing a rut into his floor in his restlessness. He had forgone the suit jacket until the last second, just in case he got too hot in his pacing, marching around the spacious living room in trim black pants and a hunter green vest that had golden clasps and matched his ever-present earrings. The tie that hung loose about his neck also matched, but the paisley patterns in the gold colored silk brought a little 'something extra' to the outfit, as Nami had informed over the skype call he'd been forced into when he informed her of the date. Not that he minded the abnormal bit of free advice the witch woman had offered, it had been ages since he had last been this occupied by someone, let alone this nervous.
She had insisted that he call her tomorrow to tell her how it went.
"After breakfast, of course," she teased, "He'll probably feed you in bed~"
He had clicked the call end button as his all-but-blood little sister laughed from across town at his reddened cheeks.
Zoro had to calm himself with a few breathing exercises before he got out of his car when he arrived at the establishment. The valet had been nice enough, but he had apparently been a fan and nearly hyperventilated when the athlete took the vehicle reserve number from him, begging for an autograph when the man came back to retrieve his keys.
"Yeah, sure," he had promised, a little embarrassed at the kid's display.
By the time he had finally gotten inside, he wasn't even early anymore so he felt a little grateful that the eager boy had helped him refrain from seeming desperate.
"Welcome to the Baratie, Sir," he was greeted by a disembodied voice before a certain leggy blonde made his way into view, "Oh it's just you…"
"What, you aren't happy to see me?" Zoro groused sardonically, earning a smirk from his host.
"No, I just hate addressing plant life so formally."
Zoro rolled his eyes, but locked onto the man's form as he removed his staff apron, fully appreciating the striped vest that hugged his body perfectly. Thinking back on Nami's teasing, he truly hoped that he could wake up to that someday soon.
"Hey, Patty, he's here! Take over will ya!" he yelled over his shoulder to a large bearded man with a mug that could only be loved by a very open-minded mother.
"So, umm, shall we?"
Sanji led him to a secluded corner near the bar before going behind the counter and pouring a couple drinks.
"I take you to be more of a meat 'n potatoes kinda guy, so I already had our stuff cooking, I hope you don't mind," he handed over a glass of top-shelf bourbon.
"That's fine, I wouldn't know what to order anyway, so I'd just as soon leave it up to somebody that knows what you guys have."
Zoro took a drink and could have swooned at the perfection in the burn as it ran down his throat. Trust a connoisseur of cuisine to know his alcohol.
"Yeah, well, someone should be bringing it out, I was just up front to make sure you had dressed right and that asshole Patty didn't turn you away at the door."
"I do have some idea of how fancy joints like this work, Princess."
Sanji's head snapped up and he glowered at a man with sunglasses that held their tray, "Carne, I thought I told you guys to stay outta this."
Zoro smiled behind his glass as the other cook laughed and placed their food in front of them, his mind suddenly fogged by the heavenly aroma that wafted up from the table.
"It's just that little San-chan never brings friends around anymore…" the man sang teasingly, obviously not effected in the slightest by the death glare Sanji had fixed him with.
Zoro laughed at the honorific and Sanji sent a little bit of the heat his way, but the green-haired man only laughed again, making the embarrassed blonde miss the other chef slinking away while he was distracted.
"Great, now they'll have ammo for days, Marimo," he pouted, picking up a fork and twisting his linguine around it.
"You're quite welcome, Dart-" anything else he would've said was cut off in a delighted groan as he tasted the magnificent pork fillet he'd been presented with.
"Shit cook, huh?"
Sanji smirked at him as he dug into his food, knowing full well that Zoro was eating his own words.
"Can you cook for me forever?" the player finally said after polishing off the rest of his plate in record time, his voice full of wonder that could only be attributed to being practically struck dumb.
"Little early to be proposing, dumbass," the blonde joked, laughing at the dusting of red that overtook the other man's features, burning even his gold-adorned ear.
"Har, har, shit-head."
"Oh, I don't mind," Sanji said, taking a sip of the wine he'd poured himself, "You seem like you be a wonderful trophy wife."
"A trophy wife that wins you trophies?"
"The best kind… But you haven't won a trophy yet, cocky bastard."
Zoro laughed, just happy that Sanji took the embarrassing slip so well. Who the hell says that kind of thing on a first date?! He could've smacked himself.
"Gimme a season, you'll be sippin' Powerade in style," he sing-songed as he took a drink to punctuate his statement.
They traded little bits of idle banter as Sanji finished eating and he and Zoro eventually nursed drink after drink, sitting in their little corner of the restaurant until the wee hours.
They both found each other's company to be not only comfortable, but equally exciting; a challenging experience one only had when they met their match.
Eventually the wine helped the blonde let slip the fact that he had never learned to skate himself, only that he had always enjoyed the sport.
"Oh come on, cook! You can't tell me that you've never tried."
"Well, if you mean, have I fallen on my ass half a dozen times, then yes, I have," he sneered into his newest refill.
"You do realize that this means we have to go, right?"
Sanji fixed him with a wide-eyed stare that was soon covered with an incredulous smirk, "You have got to be kidding."
Zoro's smug smile was just enough to tell him that, no, no he wasn't.
As drunk as he was, it didn't take much convincing before they were back at the arena, clumsily tying on some old spare skates and staggering onto the ice (with Sanji doing the majority of the fumbling.)
Zoro led him, giggling like an idiot as he fell against the more confident skater, along the walls of the rink coaching him and catching his arms when he stumbled. Despite his higher tolerance for alcohol, Sanji's good humor was increasingly infectious; soon Zoro began laughing and carrying on, making his own little mistakes, even catching his toe pick once and causing Sanji to fall face first into his chest.
The blonde's hand tightened on his as he looked up into Zoro's face, their breath coming in visible puffs in the chilled arena air. Sanji smiled slowly and leaned farther into the other man as his arms instinctually came around him, a warm feeling trickling down Zoro's spine as he saw the half-lidded eye that watched him through the haze of inebriation.
Sanji seemed to fit into his every inch like a glove, as if he had been meant to be right there in his grasp from the start. His boss or not, he was beginning to feel as if the other man had a power over him that was downright innate. He hummed softly in approval when Zoro's hands came to rest on his hips and tried to shift even farther into the embrace, and subsequently overbalanced the both of them, sending them sprawling onto the frozen floor.
Sanji was the first to laugh, the disbelieving chortle coming in little bursts as he raised himself onto his elbows on top of Zoro's chest. They had landed in a mess of tangled limbs, with Zoro crushed beneath the full weight of the practically wasted cook with his face rapidly becoming a rosy shade that had nothing to do with the bourbon. The blushing athlete waited, transfixed, as the wiggling blonde finally found his composure again and looked down at him from his perch.
"Hmm," he sighed against him as he rested a cheek on the breast pocket of Zoro's shirt, now exposed after he had removed the stifling jacket, vest and tie when they'd arrived.
He toyed with the open collar of the garment, a mischievous curl to his lips that set the marimo's heart racing under his feathered touch. Sanji's eyes raised to his face once more, not breaking contact as he grew closer. Zoro had the brief but very distinct impression that the man above him had become predatorial, his other arm locking the man underneath him as he fingers trailed up his jaw line and made his earrings chime softly when they worked into the hair behind his ear.
He felt the warm but alcohol laden breath ghost over his lips when Sanji sat poised above him, a tingle buzzing through his skin wear they barely touched his own as he spoke, "Oi, shitty moss, do I have to send you an invitation?"
Zoro smirked, but angled his head, pressing a tentative kiss onto the full lips that had been captivating him in the car as the blonde had smoked out his passenger window.
The first taste was withdrawn and hesitant, but full of the smoky notes from the man's indulgence in tobacco. There was a sweetness on his lips, most likely from the wine at dinner and a warmth that had only to do with the silent request to deepen the contact. A tongue prodded his lips, and Zoro let out an approving sound as he opened for the chef, their mouths working together and bringing his body temperature up. His arms came around Sanji once again, and he ran his hands down the lithe back, feeling the musculature that seemed almost too perfect to not be an athlete's. He made a mental note somewhere beneath his preoccupation to ask the cook how he had gotten so fit sometime later.
It was when Sanji moaned into his mouth from the sensations on his lower back that he drew away, panting and wanting, to view the enraptured marimo beneath him.
The man was built, as most players were, but there was a softness in his gaze that had captured his attention immediately when he had seen the first interview with him. A spark of something that he only saw in the most exceptional men that provoked him to employ the athlete, no matter the cost, when he was finally, finally up for signing. He hadn't expected that spark to trigger an immediate attraction upon actually meeting the man, despite his attitude when he'd discovered a player on his ice when the Zamboni was out or the mess he'd made of his resurfacing job. Let alone having in no way expected Zoro to be interested as well.
And if the player's hockey stick was anything to go by, interested didn't even begin to cover it.
Sanji laughed softly, pressing a soft kiss to the reddened lips on the tanned Asian's dazed face before sitting back on his lap. The telltale bulge he felt under him made him smirk, but he knew that it was much too late and he was much too drunk to try anything right now. Besides, he didn't want to seem easy.
"Mr. Roronoa, if you would be so kind as to take me home," he said politely, dismounting from the moss-head's waist and grabbing his hand, "I believe I'm tiny bit too intoxicated to continue our lesson."
Zoro was a little stunned and embarrassed by his state of arousal, but now that the sexually frustrating blonde had stopped squirming on top of him and the ice had begun to seep into his system he could feel his head clearing. Nami's teasing was fresh on his mind once again and he had to berate himself for jumping the gun. It was only the first date, dammit, and he would be damned if this was a one-night stand.
"Too bad, it seems like you still need practice, Mr. Black," he purred, slipping a little sarcasm into his silken words, "I thought that princesses were supposed to be full of grace and poise?"
He stood and brought Sanji up with him, the grin on the slighter man's face mirroring his own, "It's unfortunate for you that I'm no princess… But who's to say that I can't be graceful?" He drew one of his long legs up around Zoro's waist, careful not to spear him with the bladed boot, and hung his arms from his neck as he whispered upon his lips, "This just isn't my element."
Zoro swallowed, hyper-aware of the body molded against his own, "So what is your element?"
"Well, they say that 'if you can't take the heat, stay outta the kitchen'," he winked, disentangling himself once more and dropping his hand back into Zoro's more tanned one.
The cook's fiery eye burned into his, the blue an almost molten sapphire. Zoro could still feel a tingle in his fingertips as he drew the blonde along the ice, heading for the rink's exit.
"But," Sanji continued when they got to their things, waiting for Zoro to put on his outer clothing, "I am looking forward to our next lesson…"
"Of course. I will need to pay you for your services however, so you may have to stop by the Baratie more often," Sanji alluded as they walked out and locked the arena doors.
Zoro eyes grew wide as he smiled at him, a little bit of childlike wonder creeping into his ebony gaze. They hadn't let go of each other's hands since they'd left the building and the larger man still hadn't responded.
"If that's okay with you," Sanji eventually laughed, watching the green-haired man glance furtively up at his face and bob his head slightly in his flushed silence.
"I'll teach you whatever the hell you want if you're gonna cook for me…"
They had gotten into Zoro's car by the time he was finally able to respond, and Sanji paused in his seatbelt buckling to look up at the driver dubiously.
"Oh really, is that a promise?" his voice dropped to a sinfully sexy tone. He leaned over to rest his chin on Zoro's right shoulder and crooned into his ear, "Then I'm really looking forward to learning how to score."