Dead Man Walking
When Zoro hears a knock on his window and sees Sanji sitting out on the windowsill, he knows that something is up and not just a joke. Normally the blond just barge inside as he likes, and through a door, but when he has to say “Come in”, he knows that something is alarmingly wrong. Especially when he notices those piercing ruby-red eyes instead of those deep ocean blues he's known for, Zoro finally understands the problem.
And Sanji knows that Zoro knows, the moment he jumps into his apartment and hisses away from the lamplights, that suddenly feels too sharp for his eyes. The daylight is even worse; it’s almost like walking blind. He even has to walk around in his long-sleeved tuxedo to be sure that he won’t get sunburned.
He slumps against the nearest wall and eyes the man in front of him. His vision is more than sharp, even though he feels more than tired. He has come here to end this, he does not even lift a brow as Zoro eyes him, taking in his state, looking his old friend up and down who have been missing for weeks. He knows that he looks pale, more than normal, more than what would be considered healthy for a normal human being. But he is that no longer.
He musters the last of his withering strength to stand tall and strong in front of his friend, waiting for him to judge, to take him down with his two swords on the wall and end this blasted curse, like he normally would do to creatures like him. He hates himself for what he has become…Hates himself to the deepest corners of damnation.
Zoro opens his mouth but then reconsiders it and closes it again. He looks him in the eyes, red as blood they are, Sanji hates them too. He liked his blue ones; the girls did too, even though he was never that lucky with them.
“You hungry?” Zoro’s tone is inquiring and careful, taking Sanji aback by the genuine sincerity that those words hold. He splutters, not prepared for this shockingly dull relaxed reaction at all; he had been so sure and ready for Zoro to snarl and curse at him before finally killing him. There is wariness in the man’s movements, in his eyes, but nothing else other than that. Sanji hesitantly runs a cold hand through his hair and down his face, watching the man relaxing as he nods silently and weakly tweaks out a dry “Yeah.”
Zoro nods understanding, his fingers flexing and his hands clenching and unclenching. He swears that he can hear the man’s heart beating rapidly; he even dares to say that he can smell the nervousness in his aura, but even so his voice is steady and calm.
“I can help you with that.” It’s an understatement to say that he’s more than shocked as he looks up at the man in front of him. He can’t believe his ears as he watches his friend step closer to him, while he himself steps warily back against the walls.
“H-how?” He gulps, suddenly dreading the answer as the question passes his quivering lips. Though in reality, this was the reason to as to why he came; to hear it, for it to be done and finished, but he saw no murder intent in the other’s eyes. But then again, this is the dangerous aspect of this man. You never can read him when he’s going to attack you. But Sanji knows him; at least he thinks he does. They have known each other since childhood, except certain circumstances can change things between even the bests of friends.
And he’s ready for it.
Zoro notes his every nervous movement, even though his left eye almost got fully blinded from an attack last summer, it can still read him like a preying tiger. “You’re lucky that I’m around,” he says, and Sanji can feel his eyes follow each of his moves carefully. He does not meet Zoro’s gaze and instead keeps his eyes on the floor.
“How is that?” Sanji asks, feeling more nervous about the situation, because that want to lunge himself at him grows, that want to attack him, to rip him open and – he stops his track of mind to go any further than that and unconsciously shakes his head. He looks at him through the curtain of his blond hair, because he can’t make himself raise his head. His eyes flick to Zoro’s extended arm, the clean upturned wrist where he – if he listens carefully to it - can hear the blood rushing through the veins. The man smirks back at him, like he’s daring him to do something, to see if he chickens out, but Sanji doesn’t really get it, totally over saw the challenge because he couldn’t dare to believe what Zoro is even hinting before the words comes out.
“You can have some of my blood.”
Sanji stands fully still, unable to pull his eyes away from that bidding wrist.
“I’m not a… monster.” he hisses out, eyes stays firmly on the tempting wrist.
“I know,” Zoro says “you’re not, but you need it.”
“Why…?” he gulps, it’s hard to track his mind away from what’s just right in front of him, if he had a pulse it would be rising dangerously now. “Why are you doing this to me? I’m a, a… that! Shouldn’t you - they’re hanging just over there, the one of them are even howling to want to slit through my heart!”
“I don’t kill my friends,” he continues, tone serious. “Not if I can help it. What happened to you is not your fault. You are still you, right?” he tilts his head to catch his eyes, but Sanji is using all of his strength to not just attack. “Right?” he presses on. Sanji nods carefully, but says nothing.
Zoro makes a huffing sound as the blond still doesn’t react to his reasoning and moves in close enough so that Sanji can feel what was left of the heat from his earlier slumbering emanating from his sudden awoken body.
“Well, don’t just sulk around all night, Eat.” He urges.
“You don’t have to do it.” He starts to protest weakly, Zoro cuts him off.
“I know. I don’t have to, but I will let you.”
He licks his lips, feeling how much his body craves for it. “What if I take too much?”
“What if I can’t stop?”
“I’ll stop you.” Zoro says stubbornly, ensuring him that he can and will. Sanji bites his lips.
“Wouldn’t it be easier if-”
“Shut it and eat!”
Sanji shuts it for a moment and looks warily at his friend before looking down again. Every cell in his body craves him to bite, to taste it, and it’s about to drive him mad.
“You’ll tell me if I’m taking too much,” he says, sternly “though it would be better to just -”
“You know, if you keep up with this stupid stubbornness, your body will give in and take over anyway. It’s only natural, but it’ll leave a horrible mess.” Zoro points out, not worried in the least that the victim would probably be himself, and the mess mostly would be the remains of the blond.
Sanji sighs deeply, hands shaking even more than they did before. They’re as cold as did they belong to a dead man in a grave. And that should be where he belongs to, not here among all this life. “I know,” he shakily says, hating every piece of himself, of what he have become, but Zoro is right. If he doesn’t take on the offer his mind soon will go blank and his body will take over the haunting.
He hates it. He hates himself more than anything.
“No but’s,” Zoro intervenes and orders him to sit at the sofa, he even reaches for his shoulders and leads him all the way to it. Sanji complies and sits uncomfortable in the seat as Zoro takes a seat right next to him and once again extends his arm to him, palm open, offering. The life is beating through those veins, singing to him, calling for him. Sanji swallows hard. It’s almost unbearable to not give in. “Eat!” he orders. Sanji looks up at his old friend, ensuring himself that the offer still is at hand, quite literally, and leans down. The life-giving heat is beating up at him. He takes his arm, rolls up the shirt a bit further up, his warm skin almost burns his own cold fingers, almost to the point were he wants to pull away, but he doesn’t, and Zoro would beat the hell shit out of him if he did that now. And Zoro could beat the hell shit out of him, when he was in this weak horrible state he was in.
His heart is beating, though that it should have been dead, though it should have been still.
Sanji carefully lifts Zoro’s wrist up to his lips, the scent of iron overwhelms him so much that it almost makes him lunch at the man and bite off his arm instead. Sanji shivers just by the thought of how easily this can become reality. He leans down, opens his mouth warily and bites down. The two white pointy teethes breaks the skin, as precise as he can manage, the other still-human teethes opens the wounds just a bit more. The blood is hot on his tongue, in his throat. His heart beats, craves more of the liquid so it can pulse it through his system, his own body, to give life to an already dead body. But it gives no sense that his heart can beat and send the new blood around in his body, when he has no pulse at all.
“They’re not dead, not really. I don’t know the full anatomy of them, but when someone changes, it’s mostly at the inside.” Zoro’s words tells him, words he once have heard for a long time ago. A time when his friend told him about those creatures he now had become one of, when the man in front of him admitted that ‘yes’, he was a vampire hunter as well.
Sanji eyes the man in front of him through the blond bangs of his own hair. Zoro is sitting absolutely still in his seat, like he was nothing but a harmless mosquito biting through his skin about to drink his blood, and Sanji is thankful for that – he’s thankful for Zoro, thankful for his offer to him. He closes his eyes and swallows the warm red liquid down his throat, it feels surprisingly good, it feels calming, his whole body are humming for the blood that his brain tries to stop thinking are blood.
He had come here to get this miserable life of his ended, because he knew who Zoro was. But instead of taking his life, Zoro was giving a part of his own life to him.
Sanji hums and can’t stop himself from doing it. It feels so good, it taste like a flavour that he never have experienced before, a flavour that he feels like he always have tried to bring out of food, but never managed so. He swallows again and again and again. He does not need to come up for air, he does not need to stop to breathe; he is breathing through this man’s veins. The warmth is pooling at his core, the cold retreats from his fingertips, they are no longer trembling. A fire rekindling somewhere deep inside of him, where he is still mortal, where he is still human, alive, where hunger had started to breach.
Sanji’s lapping the blood into his own system, he’s drinking without thinking, like the nights where they used to be out in town to party, to just to get drunk and be stupid. He’s drunk now, without having to encounter the hangover the next day.
Zoro lets him drink until he is sated, lets him drink more than that, until Sanji’s eyes snaps open in realisation and the blond wrenches himself away with a strangled, confused noise.
“Shit,” he says, sounding breathless in the only way you can sound breathless when you don’t need to breathe. “They do breathe,” Zoro’s old words once again pops up in his memory and he doesn’t want to remember that just now “They don’t have to, but they do, because they are still humans with bad side effects. Those who stop to breathe, stops to want being human and only wants to be those monsters as we know of.” Sanji pulls away disgusted at himself. His tongue darts out to lick his lower lip, but he catches himself, horrified. “Shit!”
“I was handling it,” Zoro insists, though he looks paler than what Sanji did when he came. “No big deal. You were hungry, you-“ he’s slurring and Zoro’s aware of that too, he feels lightheaded and Sanji can almost feel that the man in front of him feels lightheaded, that he’s feeling sick. Sanji feels sick about himself.
The blond stands abruptly and wipes his mouth with the back of his hand. He feels much stronger now yet in return Zoro looks much weaker than he ever has seen him before, and suddenly he hates himself all over again. He looks at the backside of his hand, at the blood, at Zoro’s blood. He dries the blood off in his pant legs, catching himself in groaning from the little loss. ‘Monster!’
“You should have told me if I was taking too much!” he lashes out, feeling himself stepping back. Zoro looks at him, tiredly.
“You weren’t,” the man stubbornly says, looks down at his still bleeding wrist and moves it up to the blond. “You left some.” The idiot can still muster a smirk, weak, but a smirk there’s big enough to irritate Sanji.
“Bullshit! And stop saying that!” he seethes, voice rising, fists clenching and unclenching fitfully, feeling heady and incongruously light. “I don’t need you to do that for me! I don’t need your ass-fucked jokes!”
Zoro sighs, lower his hand again and says wearily “If you’re done, would you please shut the fuck up and get the bandages?”
Sanji opens his mouth to argue, but eyes the still bleeding wrist and closes his mouth without saying a word. Something irks in him when he sees the blood, when he can still smell the all too sharp scent, a smell he never have could smell before in his life. He realizes that he isn’t dizzy anymore; he doesn’t feel sick anymore - he realizes that he feels better than he had in weeks, if even in months. And when he realizes this, the shame amplifies and he had to grit his teeth to keep himself from shouting at Zoro again. A stab through his heart, a blade sliding through his throat, his neck and his spine would have been much better, because he realises that he would need to have more, again later, again and again and again. Always and forever. His body would never be satisfied with just one time. And Zoro would probably not be there forever to help him each time – but who was he to think that the man ever would help him like this again? He is too naïve sometimes.
He would have ended it himself if he could, but all those times he had tried were effortless, even when he had tried harder when the hunger had started to pain him, when the hunger was too unbearable and no food or alcohol in the world could satisfy that ever growing hunger. But Zoro doesn’t know this, especially when there’s no need for him to. It was unnecessary information. Absolutely unnecessary.
He storms out of the living room, out into the bathroom but halts as he closes the cabinet and stares surprised into the mirror. His eyes are back to normal. They’re blue again like they used to. He touches the cold glass before touching his own face. He’s warm, not cold as a corpse anymore. Opening his mouth he sees that even his two canines has grown back to normal sized teethes, but are still a bit pointier than they used to. Zoro’s groans from the living room pulls him back to the matter of hand and he storms back in to him again. He’s even faster than he remembers he normally is. He sits back down with the first aid kit on his lap, throws it open with an angry mutter and glares pointedly at Zoro, who extends his arm towards him with the air of someone resigned to have to go through something very unpleasant.
Sanji halts and feels his heart beat fast again. It almost hurts as it thrums like a Farrari’s motor pro second -the feeling is directly unpleasant. He still doesn’t understand it; his heart is beating, but there is still no pulse as he tries to feel for it. His mouth feels dry and he doesn’t even realise what he’s doing before he has taken the offered hand and his mouth are looming over the wound again. His tongue darts out to lick the blood up and suddenly he wants to bite the man again, to drink more until there are no more to drink, but he stops himself there. He’s not like that. He’s not like them.
And yet he feels the blood stream down through his throat again, tastes it against his tongue and mouth. He licks it up and he drinks some more.
Only when Zoro moans out his name, his real name that he rarely uses, he jolts back to realisation. “Shit. Shit!” He had bitten him again, been drinking more of his blood and made the man bleed even more.
He lets go of the hand as if it had burned him and starts pulling the shit out of the kit while he rambles his apologizes and gets even more furious with himself. He wants to harm himself, he knows that he can, he just can’t die from it. The pain, the punishment is what he needs. Zoro sits there still as a statue and says nothing, before;
“That’s too tight.”
Sanji ignores him, wraps the bandages around Zoro’s wrist even tighter out of spite, with irrational malice. More to himself than anyone else and to Zoro for letting him do that little act as well. He growls at the man’s next comment, the sound of his voice is as deep as an animals growl.
“Blondie, you’re cutting my hand off if you keep on with that. I don’t want to lose it. I have a class to tend to tomorrow,” Zoro informs him calmly. Sanji glares again, livid and violently grateful and he lets up.
“Shut up!” he snaps automatically, throws the first aid kit onto the stained coffee table. He winces when he realises that it is blood there has stained the surface of the furniture. Zoro’s blood. He sets his jaw. “I mean, you’re welcome,” he manages haltingly. A pause and a deep sigh. “Thank you.”
Zoro shrugs, a one-shouldered motion before he stands up wobbly on his legs. He looks like he’s about to pass out at any second, but he stubbornly moves over to the fridge to get them a beer each, like in the old days. Sanji looks down in his hands as the man barely manages to return to his seat next to him, and leans his head down onto his own knees to lay calm on his dizziness.
“Save it!” Zoro groans into his legs before sitting back up. God, he looks way too sick. “I don’t need you to be sorry.”
Sanji glares at him. “How else am I supposed to feel like? Oh, Zoro, good evening. I am here to leech off you like another insect – literally. Cheers pall!” He scowls in exasperation. “What do you expect? And why’d you even help me?”
Zoro growls. “You’re my friend.”
“I’m a vampire god damn it!” he roars, stands up and smacks a hand to his own chest “A freaking bloodsucker! A monster who needs to - who doesn’t… Fuck! Why did you just not cut off my head already? Or stab my heart or whatever shit you need to do?!”
“You’re not a monster.”
“I need blood to keep myself sane!”
“You need blood to keep yourself alive!”
“So, if I just don’t drink any, then-”
“Don’t you even dare to go that way, Curlieque! You need it, and I’ll give it to you!”
“What?” Sanji’s taken aback, they’re both standing up in each others faces, Zoro’s temple feels cold and wet against his own now warm and dry skin.
Zoro sighs and sits trembling back down again, Sanji soon follow suit. “When you need it, just come and I’ll give you some of mine. And then we can drink and watch a stupid movie, like in the old days.”
“I didn’t need any blood in the old days,” he bites out sharply, hating this, wishing that he just could return back to as it was back then… just a couple months back, before… that evening. He looks his friend in the eyes and stares at the wounded one, the one with a scar running straight over it, the one there are much fainter in colour than the other dark grey eye, the one that have been half blinded by a creature like him. “What if I take too much?” he asks for the second time this evening, more desperate than before.
“I keep telling you I can handle it.” Zoro growls.
“Yeah, and look what almost just happened!” he snaps back.
“I stopped you.”
“Yeah, well maybe I won’t be able to stop the next time!”
“Maybe you should give yourself some more credits, you fucking idiot!” He hasn’t even realised how loud they have become before Zoro’s roar stops him from saying anything else next. He looks down on the can. He’s not even thirsty, but still wants it, just to feel a bit like a human again. Would he even be able to feel drunk again? Yes, yes he can he remembers verily, his tolerant has just intensified, almost close to Zoro’s. Almost. He would bet that the man could still out drink him. But he didn’t trust himself enough to get drunk again, not yet. “Sanji.” He presses on. Sanji shakes his head.
“How can you even trust me?”
Zoro takes a swallow of his beer and points a finger at him, Sanji looks from the wrist laying lifeless in the man’s own lap and up to that finger. “Your eyes, they’re blue again. A monster’s eyes keeps being red, since they hunger for blood way too much. They can’t control it, the hunger I mean, actually some doesn’t even want to control it. They are even enjoying the kill. Someone like you, who still clings to be a human, are still a human – don’t you dare try to interrupt me! - and will still look like a human.”
“But I still need blood, you shit for brains!”
“So? Come when you need it.” Zoro yawns and empties his can before almost tossing it back to the table. Sanji has barely touched his own. “I’m tired, m’going to sleep.” He proclaims as he makes himself comfortable on the sofa. Sanji turns red in the face, furious at how easily the other takes this, as if this was a normal occurrence between the two of them. How could that oaf not see the problem in it?
“I - Stupid asshole! I’m not coming back again!” he growls “Hey! Listen when I’m scolding at you, you bastard!”
Zoro chuckles and smirks in his sleep. Sanji stands up abruptly, turns around sharply and launches himself the same way he came in, muttering curses all the way out. Zoro snorts, he’s not that deep into his sleep yet. “You can still use a door, you damn drama queen.” He says and slumbers down into a deep sleep. Some time later he senses the return of the other man, cracking an eye open he sees him sitting there crouched on the windowsill, the untouched beer in his hand and watches him carefully. Zoro closes his eye and smirks inwardly ‘That’s more like stalking, you idiot.’ before he’s pulled yet again to the land of dreams.
In the morning Sanji was gone again, an empty can standing lonely on the windowsill was the only indication on that he had ever been there.
~To be continued~
A.U: Then came the long waited story that I have been working on for so long. I hope that you guys likes it, I certainly does, but it saddens me that I have got none to very few reviews for those stories that I’ve posted lately, it makes me think twice about if what I write isn’t that good again. So review & review and tell me what you think of this so far^c^
Love & Hugs