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Elly yawned and stretched, curling her forked cat's tail into a sinuous question mark. Her claws dragged gently in the soft green fabric she had been laying on.

Mmm, where is he? She had been tired and overslept, and the big man didn't wait for her or anything when he got up. But it wasn't like him to not be around at all this early. She sniffed the air and yawned again, showing her sharp fangs in what looked like a grin. Found you, she purred to herself. The big green-haired man was sitting up by one of the portholes drinking what looked like milk from a jug. Her dark eyes brightened.

"Eh?" She'd leaped onto his lap, nose moving. "What the hell." Elly sniffed delicately, whiskers twitching less than an inch away from the swordsman's mouth. He blinked at her.

The door banged open at that very moment.

"Holy shit, if I'd known you two wanted some privacy I wouldn't have barged in." Sanji's raucous laughter echoed through the room. "...you gonna kiss or what?" Elly flicked her ears back and leaped down from the swordsman's lap right before he jumped to his feet. She shot under cover of one of the enormous weights that were stacked around. Both men ignored her as the cook continued to taunt his crew mate.

"Shut up, she just liked what I was drinking." Zoro grunted and frowned fiercely at him. Sanji was having none of that, however. He grinned and flapped his hands in the air.

"This is why you don't look at the girls when we go out. You've already got a girlfriend!" He skipped nimbly back as a fist came whooshing past him.

"Cut it out." Zoro's growl was furious. Elly poked her head out from one of the bars and cocked her head, trying to gauge the distance between herself and the door. If they were going to fight it would be loud and she didn't want to be in the middle of it.

"But you two are so cute together." Sanji ducked another whistling punch that would have hurt like hell had it connected. "True love..." His singing was cut off by a loud shout from Zoro, who was standing with his fists clenched and his head down to hide his flaming cheeks.

"I don't like that stupid cat!" Sanji stepped backwards, shrugging and sticking his hands in his suit jacket's pockets. The big man's outburst had been more violent than usual.

"All right, geez. I was just joking." He glanced off to the side when he heard a faint sound, curly brow drawing down over his one visible eye. There was silence for a few moments and then he saw the lavender nekomata, her eyes wide and ears all the way back where she sat under the heavy steel weights. Zoro snarled angrily at the other man, still grumbling and upset. He turned around in just enough time to leap sideways, avoiding the little furry bullet that shot past him.

"What the f-"

"I think you scared your, ah, pet," Sanji murmured.

"Cat?" Zoro blinked. He faced the door and stared blankly at the hallway. Then he shrugged and his face grew dark again. "All right, what the hell do you want? You could have called, you ass."

"Nami-swan," here his eye grew large and he clasped his palms together earnestly, "asked me to come up to give you this invitation instead of using the dumbwaiter." He handed a thick packet dressed up in gold ribbon over to the swordsman. Zoro choked back the reply that came to his lips at the mention of 'dumb' and 'waiter'. He grabbed the packet from the other man's hand and tore it unceremoniously open.

"Contest... what the hell?"

"The island we're heading toward has a singing contest for ladies only," Sanji grinned, little smoke hearts floating up from the cigarette he had just lit. The big man just glared at him until he grumbled to himself and headed towards the door. After Sanji left he wandered downstairs for breakfast, looking around unconsciously.

But Zoro didn't see that damned cat all day. The others went to that stupid contest, so he was left blissfully alone for awhile to do whatever he wanted. At first he didn't notice he really was all alone. He lifted weights on deck, ate lunch and swam in the pool without the others afterward. It was around dinnertime, when the crew had come back, that he realized that she hadn't been at his side at all. His brows drew together as he turned to look behind him. Nothing. She would be there if she wasn't riding on his shoulder or curled up in his haramaki. He frowned so hard his lower lip jutted out. Damned stupid cat, he thought angrily. Fine. Get your own dinner. He scoffed softly to himself and stomped onwards.

When she was still absent a few days later, though, the crew started to comment on it. Chopper asked hesitantly if she was sick.

"Don't know," Zoro said shortly. Sanji's mouth thinned but he said nothing from the stove where he was flipping pancakes. The Strawhat Crew were meandering in for breakfast. Right now only a handful of the pirates were in the palatial kitchen.

"But - but if she doesn't come down from the room..."

"Are they ready yet?" Luffy was hanging from one of the light fixtures, bouncing excitedly as Sanji cooked. The blond man shook his head.

"Not in there." Zoro scowled and lifted his cup of coffee, trying to appear more interested in it than the conversation.

"She's not there?!" The little reindeer looked confused. "Then where is she? She might be hurt!" He wrung his hooves together nervously. "I haven't even caught her scent for days!" He paused, confused. "And it hasn't been fresh on you..."

"Maybe she got bored and ran off," Nami suggested lazily. She stretched, yawning, and ran her hands through her orange hair. "I'd have done that if all I did was hang around that guy. Must be boring." She snickered at Zoro's thundercloud expression.

"She ran away?" Chopper looked sad. His eyes started to tear up. "But I liked her!"

"The ship's very large," Robin pointed out quietly from where she sat in a corner, flipping through yet another book. "And we're in the middle of the ocean." At this point Sanji had walked over to the table and placed a stack of pancakes on the end. He absently slapped the captain's head back when he tried to stretch down to grab the entire platter.

"Here!" He flipped a pancake in the air to distract him and deftly served the others who were waiting. "And she's all right." Zoro's head jerked up.

"What?"

"I've been feeding her at night." Sanji assured Chopper. "She won't starve for lack of food," and here he glared so sternly at Zoro that the bigger man got up.

"Shut the hell up," he grated and left without eating anything. The door slammed so hard behind him that they heard Franky complaining in the hallway. Then Zoro swore again, angrier. Franky poked his head in, his blue pompadour proceeding him until everyone saw his pretty-lashed eyes were confused.

"What's wrong with him?"

This was it. He was going to find her and shut everyone up for good. He'd half-heartedly searched the aquarium room and a few other places he'd thought a cat would hide out in but she hadn't been there. Now Zoro was trying to think like himself. He'd go someplace where he wouldn't be disturbed. But he knew she also liked to sun herself in the morning.

"Ha." He stole out on the top deck and spotted a twitch of movement in a corner. Elly's ears twitched, sampling the air occasionally, alert for danger. Zoro made no sound as he crept forward and he was holding his breath. What he forgot was that he wasn't downwind of the demon cat. She sniffed once and suddenly scrambled off the railing, falling to the deck below with a loud thump.

"Damn it, I thought cats always landed on their feet!" And he was off, pelting after her as hard as he could. Elly was limping from the fall and although he knew it meant she had gotten hurt he grinned fiercely when he thought he'd catch her this time. She padded quickly around a corner and he skidded to a stop when he rounded the turn. There were several rooms in this wing, guest rooms for passengers they had never used yet. The corridor ended and there was no way back so he knew the one door that was open had to be the one she had entered. He squared his shoulders and stepped in, flicking the light on and closing the door securely shut behind him.

"Get over here," he called out when he saw she had hidden herself. "You're hurt, dumbass!" He heard her hiss and bent down on his knees, yanking back the duster on a bed so he could see underneath. She was crouched all the way in the corner with her ears laid back and her eyes very wide and shining in the dark. Zoro grimaced. There was no way he could get under there with his broad shoulders and she wasn't going to come out willingly. Gritting his teeth in expectation of the pain he laid all the way down and stretched his arm under the bed. Elly yowled warningly but he made a desperate grab and caught her around the middle, yanking her out. Her claws sank into his hand and upper arm but he held her as tightly as he could without hurting her as he got back to his feet.

"Cut it out," he muttered sourly.

"Hiss!"

"Stupid cat!"

"Hiss!"

"Why'd you run off?" He walked out the door, glancing around to get his bearings before moving towards the infirmary. Elly bared her fangs at him, wondering how he could be so dense. She tried to struggle again in his arms but he held her up in the air so she would be face to face with him. He even brought her closer so their noses touched like before. She flinched back and he pulled her forward again, frowning deeply. She didn't pull away a second time but she let her body get as limp and heavy as possible.

"Don't do that again," Zoro told her firmly.

"Rowrrll?" She jerked in his hold, angry and unable to think straight. But he wouldn't say anything else. He just held the furry little nekomata to his chest, face burning, heart pounding. She knew this because she could hear the steady, loud beat. The pain in her leg was nothing compared to what she was thinking and it seemed only a second before Chopper was looking at her.

"Elly! You came back." He beamed happily while he checked her leg, nodded to himself when he saw it was her ankle. "Don't let her walk on that for awhile," he told Zoro seriously as he wrapped it up. "She sprained it really bad." The big man's eyebrow raised as he leaned over, watching.

"Me?" He said it without thinking and Elly slapped at him with a needle-tipped paw when Chopper held her out to the big man. "Damn it! Fine, I don't want you. Too much trouble anyway." He set one hand on the hilts of his swords and crashed out the door with the other. Sanji was waiting for him. Although pissed off beyond belief, the chef was considerate enough to drag the larger man out of range of the infirmary before he confronted him.

"You remember she's not all cat, right?" the blond cook snorted. Smoke whisped out his nostrils when he did this and he rolled his visible eye. "I don't think you do. She's a woman, and she's been with you for a very long time now." Blushing, Zoro backed off, waving a hand in front of his face.

"The fuck," he said shortly.

"No," Sanji said firmly. "Look, you idiot. Listen, for once." There was a brief scuffle but Sanji got the better of the swordsman by kicking him in the shin while he snapped, "You're hurting her!"

"How?" Zoro's mouth drew down in a fierce scowl. "I never did." He released the slender young man with a contemptuous flick.

"You hold someone's happiness in the palm of your hand and you're crushing the shit out of it," Sanji growled angrily. "All she wants to do is be with you, near you. Why do you think that is?"

"She's a ca-"

"She's not!" He pointed towards the door, many feet away. "You remember her pale skin? Her dark hair? That lovely singing voice?"

"Ah..." Actually, it had been easy to forget. He'd only seen her once like that and she'd changed back very quickly when she'd noticed him watching her. After so many weeks with Elly the cat, he'd forgotten Elly the lady. Zoro blinked, looking less sure of himself.

"What other way could she get close to the big guy that hates women than not be one? She can turn human like Chopper. And she's in love with you. " He dragged deeply on his cigarette, judging the other man's reaction. "Every time you say you don't care you might as well hack at her with one of those big dumb knives you carry." He jerked his thumb at Zoro's katana.

"I didn't do anything," Zoro insisted. He looked off to one side, his face burning.

"So you don't like her at all."

"Not what I said."

"You did," Sanji pointed out. "So far you've said you 'don't like her', and now you just told her you 'didn't want her'. What's she going to think? You can't possibly love her."

"That's not what I meant!" Zoro ran a hand roughly through his short green hair and slammed the same fist on the wall next to Sanji. "Damn it, you shitty cook..."

"What did you mean, then?" Sanji blew out a long, thin puff of smoke and then turned away so the other wouldn't see his smile. Zoro stood speechless.

"What," he gasped finally. "I'm..." He didn't finish his thought. He simply stared, dumbfounded, while the smaller man wandered off to the kitchen. Zoro stumbled blindly out to the deck and gripped the railing in two numb hands. He squeezed until the wood started to splinter. The cracking sound snapped him out of his reverie and he shook his head, frowning. Franky would freaking kill him if he wrenched the damn post off; he'd never hear the end of it. He gingerly unwrapped his fists from the carved wood and blinked down at them. He wasn't supposed to care about anything other than becoming the greatest swordsman. He hadn't even see this coming. He wanted Luffy to achieve his goal along with his own; it had become something personal for him as well. But this? It wasn't anything he should care about, not something he needed. Zoro struggled with it, trying to get some kind of handle on this emotion he was feeling. It couldn't be love. He just missed her, that's all. There was nothing wrong with that, he rationalized, but then his mind countered with thoughts of how he'd feel if Sanji were gone. Would it cause that feeling he had in the pit of his stomach like he'd suffered through when he thought cat had left? Or one of the other girls? Hell no, he'd be happy if he wasn't tormented by that red-haired wench, for one. They were his companions but that didn't mean he felt love for them. It clearly couldn't be that emotion for stupid cat, since she was just another female on the ship. She wasn't even really human. He thrust his lip in a surly pout and stalked back inside, following the trail of cigarette smoke. He was going to have to shut that damned fool cook up before he blabbed around the whole ship that he was in love with that dumbass cat... girl. Woman. Whatever she was. He reached the door to the galley quickly but paused before he banged it open like he usually did. His frown grew deeper. There was a strange voice in the cabin.

"Just leave me alone," the speaker was murmuring. Zoro squinted, trying to make out what was happening past the frosted glass pane in the door. The woman seated at the table had her leg in a soft cast. Her hair was lavender, a familiar color to him. His eyes widened.

"You could have won that competition at the island," Sanji was saying clearly. "I've heard you sing. Why didn't you even try? Because he  wouldn't go with you?"

"It doesn't matter!"

"Nothing does?" Zoro ground his teeth as the blond man's long-fingered hand dipped under her chin and drew it up. "If you'd wanted, I would have escorted you. You didn't need him. You still don't," Sanji added firmly.

"So you think you know everything about me then? Right."

"Pfff." His hand hadn't left her chin. He trailed a lazy finger to her lips and tapped gently, effectively quieting the pale woman. "I can't know anything about you if you don't let me." He raised himself and sighed, dusting his slacks off in a fussy way.

"I don't know what you're talking about," she said and got up as well. Zoro backed away frantically as she strode towards the door, hiding himself in the shadows. "I'm going to bed. Humans talk too much and it tires me."

Neither one of them got much sleep that night.

Elly tossed and turned, not comfortable in person form but unable to change back for now. Stubbornly refusing to become that cat that he "didn't like", angrily resolving to let Sanji get closer to her. Why not?

Zoro angrily punched his main pillow so much that it dented in the middle and he had to wad up the cotton batting to rest his head on it comfortably. She wouldn't. Not that idiot.

But she did, and Zoro was irritated.

That was probably the best way to describe his feelings the next day; he felt cranky and out of sorts. He was honest with himself to admit that "cranky" was probably close enough. He paced his circular room at the top of the mast restlessly, growling to himself and absently lifting a small weight - only around 100 pounds -- with one hand.

Earlier on in the day the girls had decided to sunbathe. This normally wouldn't have affected the big man but he'd frozen in a mix of pleasure and terror when she had walked out with Nami and Robin. Her body was thicker; she wore a more concealing bathing suit but he could barely take his eyes off her. Now, the fool of a cook always tended to the red-haired bitch's back, smearing it with suntan oil. Zoro never even bothered to cast a second glance at them during their little charade.

"Don't go lower or I'll kill you."

"Hai, Nami-swan!" Sanji crowed. The swordsman grit his teeth, though, when he looked back some time later. The cook's pale hands were gently working the shining fluid on a different back. Robin always used her own talent to reach hers so he wasn't needed there. He was kneeling over Elly's body. Zoro squeezed the weight he had held tightly, knuckles turning white. The ass was cooing with delight at the fact that the pale woman didn't tell him to stop. His hands slid gently, massaging and caressing, lingering needlessly and making the green-haired young man more irritable by the second. Worse yet he couldn't say anything to stop Sanji or the others would guess at his jealousy. He bit his tongue and suffered the entire time, trying to ignore her soft purrs of pleasure. She was a cat in her normal form, and cats loved to have their backs rubbed. Why hadn't he thought of that?

At dinner that night the blond twit was more attentive than usual to her and this made Zoro even grumpier. Like a vulture sensing easy prey, he murmured endearments and set the choicest morsels down before her, catering to her every whim. The bigger man hadn't noticed that she was taken aback because he hadn't waited. He'd slammed his fist on the table and snarled that he was done. Leaving the dining area was easier than watching, after all. And now he paced his room, wondering and anxious. What was happening below decks? He knew she took a turn or two out in the open air after everyone had gone to bed, and what if? What if that idiot tried to, you know, take advantage of that? There was a shrieking sound and he glanced down at his hand, unsurprised to see the weight bent, curved in the middle from where he'd pulled at it in his fury. He gave in, setting the offending training aide down and jerking the door nearly off its hinges to leap down the stairs two and three at a time. He had to know!

The night air was cool and it smelled delicious, not fishy but tinged with the faint smell of another island close by. Flowery and salty at the same time, it flowed gently past her head and ruffled her hair about her pale cheeks. She had her arms resting lightly on the railing, looking down at the moon reflected in the waters. She didn't usually stay out this long but tonight there was a full moon and she loved how the water was lit from above, the wooden deck also glowing. It was incredibly beautiful.

"Hello, sweetness." Elly jumped a little at the soft sound of the chef's voice. She blushed at his compliment and waved at him to hush. "As you wish," he murmured and settled next to her, also folding his arms and resting forwards. His foot tapped the deck in a restless staccato as they watched in silence for some time. The sound of the waves lapping the side of the ship was so peaceful and water relaxed her so utterly that she barely felt it when his arm slipped around her shoulders.

"What're you doing?" She frowned, blushing harder. He smelled like dusky smoke and there was the hint of some alluring cologne lingering about him as well. Sanji didn't speak but gave her an amused look, his single visible eye winking at her. He removed his arm but moved closer so that their sides were touching.

Zoro had reached the door to the front deck by now and he slowly pushed it open. His eyes didn't spot her right away but he smelled the scent of that asshole's cigarettes. His eyes narrowed dangerously and he crept forward, making no noise on the planking as he searched for any signs of activity. Low voices caught his attention at last and he turned to the right and saw them. All the moisture in his mouth dried up and he tensed strongly. They were closer than propriety allowed. And then he heard her speaking and his thoughts grew more jumbled and confused.

"Zoro..." He couldn't see and he had to know. Her voice was husky, low and filled with a thrilling timbre that made him ache uncomfortably. No. She couldn't be. Zoro crawled low over the top deck and stared down towards the railing.

Sanji's hands gripped Elly's waist comfortably, burning where they rested and occasionally squeezing in a way that made her gasp. She clutched at his shirt, desperately kissing him with an intensity that he'd never expected from the lavender-haired woman. Her body was soft and willing, rubbing on his in an effort to make him lose control. And for a few delicious moments he let it happen, kissing her passionately, open-mouthed, touching her behind and back. His tongue grazed her own repeatedly, lips brushing softly and the scruff on his chin nuzzling her. It all felt too good, her skin ultra sensitive to his touches and licks. His blue eye snapped open in shock when she moaned the other man's name.

"Wait," he murmured. He winced at the little whimper she gave.

"No, Sanji!" She pleaded with him, her hands gripping his shoulder blades more tightly and sounding terribly frightened. He looked down at her only to see her eyes filling with tears. "Are you rejecting me, too?"

"I'm not rejecting you, sweetheart," he told her softly. His golden hair shone in the moonlight as he shook his head. "I just think that you should talk with someone first."

"Wh - what? Who?"

"Zoro."

"Zoro!" The big man had started to shake where he was watching. He passed a hand over his eyes and tried to focus. "That asshole doesn't want me. He doesn't like me."

"Hear me out," Sanji added in a thick voice.

"What?" She wrenched away from him, biting her lip. Her face was marred by a tight little frown that the swordsman found irresistible despite himself. He swore under his breath.

"You said his name. You're in love with him." Zoro watched her response carefully. Elly's eyes widened and she suddenly blinked several times. She looked down, her face blazing with color. Sanji chuckled and grasped her hand earnestly. "You can't deny it," he told her quietly. "Why aren't you up there," he gestured with his chin, a quick jerk of the head up towards the mast, "with that big idiot?"

"Oh, shut up." She wrenched her hand free. "I told you. He doesn't like me. He even said so! I don't think he likes any woman," she ended morosely.

"I doubt he likes men," Sanji drawled, causing Zoro's fists to clench. That asshole! But she was snorting and waving that aside.

"No. He just doesn't have time for that. All he has is his goal." She paused, a wistful look passing across her pale features. Zoro held his breath. "I'm not like the other girls. I need to be held once in awhile." Elly shrugged, indicating she knew her weakness. "I thought he'd maybe give me some affection if I wasn't human. But he doesn't need it, Sanji."  

"I think he'd surprise you." Sanji pointed up again.

"How?" She turned to face the water again and Zoro had to strain to hear the words, whipped half out of her mouth and carried along by the breeze. "He doesn't want me, didn't you hear? He's strong. He hates weak things."

"You're not weak!"

"Yes, I am. Especially around him." Now Sanji was quiet. It was a simple statement and she said it with such dignity that he felt a lump rising in his throat. He lit a cigarette to cover his confusion. Zoro found he was shaking and he silently cursed himself for his inattention. The cook had been right after all. Was he so involved with his training that he was that blind when it came to this kind of thing? He slowly walked over to the door, opened it, and up the stairs to his room while lost in thought.

The next day he paid more attention to himself than usual in the shower, shaving diligently and making certain not to miss a single centimeter of green fuzz on his cheeks. Zoro scrubbed at his heavily muscled body with the rough soap the men all used, covering himself in suds up to his neck and wishing he had cologne. He'd shunned the crap for a long time but he had seen how she sniffed lightly at Sanji's neck the other night. When he got out - wrapping a towel around his waist to catch the trickles of water dripping down his body -- he stopped at the mirror to run his fingers through his hair with more care than usual. He could wear his usual outfit today like he always did, but he remembered that the ero-cook wore different clothing when he wanted to impress the girls. So after much grumbling he managed to pull out a blue shirt with a crossing black design on it out of his clothing chest and yanked it on instead of his simple white top. He grabbed dark blue silk pants instead of the usual green ones and a blue haramaki. There. Maybe he could surprise her.

"Stop stealing all the bacon."

"I am not!"

"MAKE HIM STOP EATING ALL THE EGGS SANJI!"

It was chaos as usual at the breakfast table. Luffy appeared to think he'd been starving all night long and he crammed himself full of everything he could. Elly finished first and got up to place her plate in the sink. Zoro had been watching carefully and he got up as well, never catching the quick glance Sanji shot him. The blond chef's curly eyebrow raised as he sipped his coffee. He'd thought he had heard the planking above creak last night. Now he was almost certain. The new outfit, the way the big man kept staring at her and blushing across the bridge of his nose. He might try to win her today.

Sanji was glad. It would make her happy, and he loved to see a happy woman. He grinned openly as she slipped out the door, closely followed by her green-haired shadow.

A short time later Zoro was getting irritated again, this time for a different reason. She was leading him a merry little chase all around the blasted ship! Every time he thought she was settling in a room she'd get up to leave. He breathed a sigh of relief when she finally sat down in one of the common rooms and laid a hand over her eyes. He opened the door and walked in, taking a deep breath.

"Why are you following me?" He winced. Her voice was shaky and sounded upset. He quickly crossed the room to where she sat and joined her on the low couch.

"Wanted to talk."

"About what?" She lowered her hand and stared at him.

"This." He took her hand and brought it to his lips. Elly gaped at him incredulously while he lightly kissed her fingertips, blushing all the while. Then he drew the hand up and licked the palm, slowly, closing his eyes and tasting her nervous sweat. She didn't draw her hand away or make a sound so he continued on, brushing her wrist and mouthing her arm. He moved closer, kissing further up until he met the sleeve of her shirt. And then he dared to look into her face, in her eyes. What he saw inflamed him; her look was stunned but hungry. She wanted him, it was true. His desire was all but crushing him with its sudden intensity. He bent, nuzzling at her neck and rubbing his teeth against the throbbing pulse he found but was unable to continue. If he bit like he wanted to she might not like it. He didn't want to surprise her with something like that. Weren't women more delicate than guys?

"What are you doing?!"

"Don't want to hurt you." He shrugged.

"Ha!" She tried to wrench herself away, tears forming in her eyes. "You don't want ...to hurt me? That's a good joke."

"Damn it!" He didn't let go. Zoro knew how much weaker she was than him and he wasn't sure how much of his strength he could hold back if he lost control in the heat of the moment. He'd held everything in for so long. He shifted on the couch, picking himself up and leaning towards her on his knees. Elly's eyes shifted and began to lighten in shade as he lowered himself near her.

"Let go!"

"What if I don't? You gonna claw me?" Her said this without thought - he seemed to be good at that -- and she literally hissed loudly. Her eyes blazed, the pupils all but gone now. She was more than upset with him, she was furious.

"Roronoa Zoro, let go of me right now!"

"No!" He held her down and kissed her, thoroughly expecting to be slashed at or kicked, anything. But she lay limp on the couch and he soon realized she wasn't fighting him. Something warm and wet dripped into his mouth and he pulled away for a moment, tongue darting out to flick at the corner of his lips. It was salty. He blinked, suddenly ashamed of himself. She was crying.

"Hey," he murmured awkwardly, kissing the tears away in a gesture so sweet that it only made more flow down her cheeks. "Stop that." She shivered all over and suddenly clung to him, hugging him tight around his thick neck and raising her face for kisses. He readily complied, finding that he liked wet, deep ones the best and pressing eagerly against her when she railed against his tongue with her own. His body was sweetly tensed in all the right areas, highly sensitive and becoming more so to the touch. His senses seemed heightened as well, smells and tastes exploded around him. Everything was her and it was perfect. They made out with fervor, progressing towards more intimate acts without even realizing it. Zoro felt no particular triumph when his hand touched her breasts or the junction between her thighs, only a feeling of rightness. Since she didn't squirm away or slap him he assumed she felt it too. Her own touches were growing bolder and he swallowed hard, knowing that she would eventually reach the burning length between his own legs. Though he thought he was ready for it his stomach muscles rippled impressively when her hand grazed his manhood, his teeth clenched, his eyes squeezed shut.

"Oh," she gasped. "It's - you're..."

"Ready," he choked. His eyes were still half-shut. Sweat trickled down his forehead and blinded him momentarily. Zoro knuckled it out of his eye and propped himself up on both hands above her. So far they had been touching with their clothes still on and Elly's were in a state of wild disarray. The swordsman that struck terror into ruthless pirate's hearts suddenly became afraid himself. He thrust his lip out pugnaciously and his fears aside as he did it. She wouldn't be scared of what he had... would she?

"Maybe you should lock the door," she suggested.

"Huh!" He started back, blinking. "Good idea, cat." Damn. Again he hadn't thought of something so obvious. He must want to be caught and embarrassed! Zoro got up from the couch and cleared his throat when he saw her looking at him down there. His soft slacks were stretched quite prominently across the front, the fabric tented. He tugged lightly to try and adjust himself, scowled, then walked to the door and bolted it securely. Turning back, he rolled his shoulders and sniffed, trying to clear his throat and nose. He seemed to be having some trouble breathing which intensified when he saw she had laid the full length of the couch, head resting on the pillows at one end.

Zoro caught his breath in a tearing gasp. Although Elly's eyes were closed she could feel his gaze and relished the big man's eyes on her. His face had instantly flamed up across the cheeks and bridge of his nose as soon as he'd seen her. He moved silently, purposefully, softly treading the wooden decking with his thick-soled boots. She peeked and saw his chest hitching as he came closer to the couch she was resting on. He swallowed; she heard the bop in his throat very distinctly since he had bent down towards her. One warm hand rested gently on her back. She closed her eyes and smiled at him, the air hot but his hand hotter on her bare skin. His palm grazed her back, sliding over the cloth and gently cupping her rear. And then he wordlessly kissed her.

Elly sighed and let herself relax in the swordsman's embrace, timidly slipping her arms around his neck as she rolled onto her back. He nuzzled her lips with his tongue when she let that soft breath of air out and she parted them a bit more. She'd missed him. Good god, how she had missed him. He smelled like clean, fresh soap, shaving lotion and steel. He always had that sharp smell of his swords about him. She'd missed that, too. The pale woman choked back a sudden sob, not wanting him to see her crying over such a silly thing. Zoro pulled back as soon as he felt her body jerk and tighten.

"Eh?" It was almost as if he hadn't spoken at all. A soft grunt, all he needed to communicate. She knew what he was asking.

"Nothing."  He raised an eyebrow. "No, really." Elly opened her mouth to tell him it was perfectly all right and burst into tears. Zoro blinked, stunned momentarily by the vehemence of her outburst.

"Shh..." He was even more surprised to find that he felt an onrush of emotion at her crying. His arms tightened possessively around her shaking body and he found himself hushing her tenderly when he would have thought he'd say 'shut up'. Zoro blushed and continued to hold her in that awkward half-kneeling position on the blankets. Little by little the storm lessened and then she sniffled apologetically.

"I didn't mean to..." She froze as he shook his head at her sternly, dismissing her attempt to shrug this off.

"My fault," he murmured into her hair. His mind was racing too fast. Other parts of him were refusing to be held in check like they always had been. "Sorry," he muttered, brushing a strand of her hair away from her lips.

"Sorry?" Her eyes shone with unexpected tears and he frowned.

"What? What'd I say?"

"No." She reached out and cupped the back of his head in one hand. "I was being stupid, that's all. Haven't you always said that?" He grimaced.

"No games, cat," he grunted warningly. "Not now." He paused and grasped one of her hands in his. She looked startled and he grinned evilly down while he placed the hand on his chest.

"B-"

"No. No more talking."

And there wasn't any for the rest of the night, even when he carried her drowsy form back to their room. It was better. More difficult, maybe, a relationship was out in the open and he had to deal with things he didn't understand. But he would make sure she would know she was important to him, even if she was his second love.
One of many with the "don't like cats" theme.
:icontrippingdownstairs:
TrippingDownStairs Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2014
Fft woman, the feels. The feeeels.
Elly has got to be one of the few OCs Ive enjoyed reading about that is paired with Zoro xD or Sanji.
<3 Loved it.
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:iconellysketchit:
ellysketchit Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2014  Professional General Artist
<3

So many thanks. I love writing, and it's so great to hear feedback! I mean, I'd be doing it anyway, you know why, since you write as well *grin* - but it's so awesome to hear that. 

*hugs*

Too bad my original stuff never sells as much, lol! I might try again one of these months. 
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:icontrippingdownstairs:
TrippingDownStairs Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2014
I try to give plenty of feedback when it comes to the people I collaborate with online, when we all roleplay together. Kudos arent necessary but they're nice! <3

Just keep on writin', I'll devour it all during my free time xD
Maybe I'll start posting some of edited rps that I do. Hmm.
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