orig. unknown (before 2016)
Elly x Zoro (pre time skip)"Awkward First Steps" scenario
Non-Canon Anime/Manga: ONE PIECE
Sanji peered around the corner of the florist he'd been window-shopping at, his visible eye wide. The building on the other side of the cobbled street was a pet shop, and he'd just seen an unmistakable haramaki-wearing idiot wander inside.
This has got to be good, he chuckled to himself as he quickly crossed over and opened the door. The bell tinkled musically and he immediately spotted the big man in front of a counter looking uncharacteristically nervous.
"So let me guess. This girl you like has a cat, and you want to impress the lady by winning her pet over." The female clerk cocked a quizzical eyebrow at the green-haired man, who seemed uncomfortable for some reason. "Don't be shy - we see it all the time here." She shrugged.
"Oh, yes. Zoro here would do anything to win this little kitten over," Sanji assured the woman with a mischievous twinkle in his eye as he draped an arm about the big man's shoulders. Zoro glanced quickly up, annoyance passing over his face as he grit his teeth and glared at him. His blush intensified but he said nothing to contradict the cook.
"I saw you go inside and wanted to help." Sanji's smile was beautiful. He simply oozed sincerity as he faced the counter and gestured to the clerk. "Can't go wrong with catnip," he pointed out.
"Eh?" Forgetting his ire for a moment the swordsman thought this over. He didn't know much about pets but he remembered that was something they did like. The perverted cook had used mint in the Davy Back fights on that one cat, for instance. He wasn't sure why it worked, though.
"Oh!" The woman smiled broadly. "That's our best seller. We have a spray bottle of concentrated catnip. Spray it on any of her favorite toys, anything, and she'll go wild. Guys sometimes use it on themselves so that it looks like a finicky pet likes them." She cast a sly look at the big guy but he seemed lost in thought.
"'Go wild'?" He finally asked in an odd voice.
"Catnip makes them high." The cook shrugged.
"What!" Startled beyond belief he actually choked a little. The woman was confused by his vehemence.
"It doesn't hurt them," she assured Zoro quickly. "The effects are said to be like an aphrodisiac on the females."
He blushed even harder. "A what."
"Many react to the smell like female cats in heat do. Every cat responds differently to the herb, but most love it. They won't overdose or anything and I've never known any cat to be hurt by it. Otherwise we wouldn't sell it."
But Sanji was pushing coins across the counter. "He'll take the spray bottle. Thanks."
"Why did you do that?!" Zoro was more than irritable as they left the small shop. In his hand he clutched the small bottle and he glanced at it distrustfully.
"You need to be pushed into doing something. Don't get me wrong. I'm doing this for her sake more than yours." He sniffed. "Christ, just get her alone and spray some on your neck or something. You'll thank me later." He grinned and ducked the punch the embarrassed swordsman threw at his head.
Zoro had ample time to consider what he was thinking of doing as the crew ate dinner together and spent time with their assorted amusements afterward. The night crept inexorably on and he still couldn't decide if it was wrong or not when something happened that made up his mind for him. As he was pacing on the deck between the trees in the deep shadows, he heard a soft noise and peered out. Elly was climbing the rigging on the side of the ship with no apparent effort like the feline she was. He watched as she leapt from one section of ropes to the deck and then back to the mast, tail swaying about her human body and ears flicking in the ocean breeze. She mostly stayed in that "middle" form now, a comfortable medium between human and cat. Her human parts were far more interesting to him as she swung about, though. After he'd watched for a short time he shook his head and stepped out into the dim moonlight.
"Hi," she said cheerfully, dropping to the grass and shaking herself lightly. She ran a hand through her short lavender hair and grinned at him, sharp canines flashing. "Marimo-kun."
"Quit." He glared at her, not really meaning it.
"What'm I supposed to call you, then?" She batted her eyelashes at him. "Mr. Bushido like Robin does?" She made a face.
Zoro blinked. "You won't believe what that stupid cook called you earlier," he said.
He glanced quickly aside. "...never mind. You're too old to be a kitten."
"Gee. Thanks." Elly's tone was acidic. Her ears laid back in irritation.
"All right, all right. I didn't mean you were old. You're..." He groped for a word.
"No, I am old. I just thought it would be nice to be called something else for a change." She sniffed. "My name, for one," she muttered under her breath.
"Damn it, that's not my name..." She laughed despite herself and laid a hand lightly on his wrist. "All right. It's sort of cute. I like it. But why the hell you'd want to call me something cute I'll never understand."
"Reverse psychology crap?"
"No, the truth." She stuck her tongue out at him. He frowned at her and pulled his hand out of his haramaki to scratch his chest.
"I'll be right back," he told her and quietly left for the men's bathroom.
Elly waited patiently until he strolled back out with a nervous expression on his face.
"That was quick, what -" She paused, sniffing at the air as he came closer. Then her eyes widened. "Did you put cologne on?"
He coughed apologetically. "Not really."
"Catnip." She reached out and poked him gently on the neck. "There is no way that got on you by accident." As he stood there, amazed, she slowly wrapped her arms around him.
"Hey, kit," he murmured. "You all right?"
"I'm fine," she said in a dazed voice. "You know what that does, right? And you put it on your neck, y - your body." Her lavender eyes widened.
"Yeah." He looked terribly embarrassed now. Elly reached up and warmly clasped the back of his big neck in one soft palm.
"All you had to do was act interested," she huffed in exasperation, pulling the stunned young man down to nuzzle where he had sprayed the catnip. She flicked out her tongue and then looked up when she felt him tense. "What's wrong?"
"I shouldn't have done that," he groaned.
"Oh for the love of ...do I look drugged to you? I know that's what you're thinking." Her hands tugged and he blinked down at her. "Come closer," she insisted.
"Cat," he murmured nervously.
"I know what I'm doing and I know what I want, and what I've wanted is you, for what feels like forever."
"You heard me!" Elly climbed up his tense body and bit his neck. His heavy breathing grew even more hoarse as he struggled to hold her without grasping anything untoward. She wriggled against him and he groaned, hands clenching, lightly squeezing her waist.
"I didn't mean ..."
"Yeah, but do you want me?"
"Huh?" His face looked completely adorable when it was confused, she thought as he sweated nervously under her.
"Not 'what you meant'," she explained. "This happened instead. Do you want me?"
"Yes," he gasped quickly. Elly got the sense that he'd forced it out so that he wouldn't think about it too much. From the darkening blush on his face he appeared embarrassed as hell that he'd admitted it.
She purred happily and absently kneaded at his chest with her hands. "Good."
"Not here," he choked, eyes widening further. He crab-walked backwards with her sitting on him until his back rammed up against the tree. The deck was full of shadows there that even the wan moonlight didn't reach, but it still made him nervous.
"I'm certainly not going to wait any longer." She wormed her hand under his haramaki.
"This thing really does keep your belly warm, doesn't it?"
"Crap..." He arched backwards, his eyes squeezed shut and his face bright red. Maybe it hadn't been a good idea to put the spray, well...
"You even put it here? Well, well, well. We are serious, aren't we?"