A/n: So I just got my second tattoo and believe it or not, I fell asleep during the inking process. Because it felt so amazing call me a freak but it's true xD My friends freaked the hell out and I was trying to explain to them how I could fall asleep, except I didn't do a very good job, so I decided to write this one-shot xD
This story is very different from the ones I normally write, mostly because I wrote it only to satisfy my need to describe the feeling of getting tattoo-ed in hope to clear much of the misunderstanding regarding tattoos. It's highly safe if you get it done in a good place, not expensive at all, unless it's really fancy and colourful and makes you feel like a whole new person. So people who thought those with tattoos are delinquents, think again. I consider us people who have the courage to permanently engrave the things we treasure and live up to them. -pride-
Oh, and just for curiosity's sake, the tattoo I got is the Japanese Kanji for the word 'creatiom', as in 'to create a masterpiece of art' on my back. x)
That's all folks!
Read on and enjoy~
Let's Get Inked
"No! Absolutely not!"
"C'mon Cook, what're you being a wuss for?"
"Hah?! Do you even realize what you're saying?!"
"I'm asking you to get a tattoo."
"That! And you don't think there's a problem with that?! We're not talking about some lousy temporary shit either!"
"Yeah, so? What're you so afraid of anyway? You've taken on way more than a little needle before."
Sanji just stood with his arms thrown out on either side, a completely dumbfounded expression on his face. He stuttered for a moment at the genuinely confused look on Zoro's face, that would make just about anyone feel like an idiot - considering Zoro found Sanji's over reaction to be absolutely idiotic and exaggerated. Sanji moved his arms about, in a desperate attempt to communicate to his lover that he was being a terrific fool – more so than normal – but seeing the way Zoro raised an un-amused eyebrow, Sanji finally sunk into the sofa, cradling his head in his hands and sighing in defeat.
"Alright, you know what? Let's do this."
When he didn't get a grunt or any of the like in response, Sanji raised his head, and his heart almost stopped at the absolute jubilation in the grin Zoro was giving him. Sanji gulped and tried to smile, though it probably looked more like a pained wince, but even that didn't seem to dampen his boyfriend's spirit. Zoro grabbed the blond's hand and yanked him off the sofa, bodily dragging him toward the front door of their cozy apartment.
"O-Oi! W-Wait a minute! We're not going now are we?!"
Zoro looked over his shoulder and Sanji melted from the rare smile that shone on his face.
"Yeah, I thought you said we're going."
"Y-Yeah I said we'd go, but not right now. Do you know what time it is?"
Zoro's brows crinkled in confusion as he glanced at the rather large clock that hung in the hall.
"It's 10:30. What's wrong?"
"What's wrong?! You mean, other than your sudden urge to engrave a permanent mark into me because some shithead thought it would be cool?! Or the fact that you're being a completely clueless Marimo and you're freaking adorable right now and it's almost the middle of the night and Goddamnit!"
Sanji deadpanned at the spiky green head in front of him and wondered what would happen if he always said every single thing he was thinking in his head. Grabbing his scarf, he wrapped it around his head so it was covering everything except his eyes, and pulled on his boots. Zoro was already waiting outside, impatiently clicking the car keys against door knob.
"I am soo going to regret this."
"It's not all bad. In fact, I have a feeling you'll like it."
Zoro shot another brilliant grin at the blond man and walked away humming, a skip to his step, completely oblivious to the demons that were chewing at his boyfriend's brain. Sanji took one look at Zoro's disappearing head and desperately thought if jumping off from their third floor apartment would save him from this mindless adventure that no doubt wasn't going to end well.
"You're never going to look in the mirror and see yourself as the same person ever again."
Sanji swatted the air above his head, forcing his little mental demons to shut the hell up and leave him alone so he could freak out in peace.
"Oi, you coming or what!"
Zoro poked his head out from around the corner and Sanji almost groaned at the visible aura of excitement that surrounded the man.
"Not like I have a choice anyway," Sanji grumbled into his muffler and stuck his hands deep in his pockets, willing himself to shrink away into oblivion.
But that didn't work, because apparently his physical self was listening to the demonic creatures in his head - that were laughing and flitting about, poking fun at him and creating obscure and disturbing images of how he would look if something went wrong – and although he willed himself to think about other things, the little beasts continued to screech and cackle all the way to their destination.
While Zoro parked the car and bounded out, Sanji took a nice long minute to crane his neck and stare at the crazy looking tattoo studio that he had decided would be the end of him and his career and everything he had ever dreamed of and strived for. There was a huge rickety sign above the large double doors that read, 'Welcome to Franky's Ssuuuuppeeeerrr Tattoo Studio' with the extended super in blinking neon lights.
Sanji covered his face with his hands and allowed himself a moment of self pity before slowly easing out of the car and shutting the door as softly as possible. Several possible escape plans were running through his mind and he was debating if he could just slip away into the night without Zoro noticing, when the doors were pushed open and said man stuck his head out, the same impatient look on his face, like an annoyed brat waiting for his dad to come into the toy store so he could explore.
The image of a tiny excited Zoro bouncing around made the tips of Sanji's lips tilt upward. He pushed himself off the car and trudged toward the doors, with a mighty sigh that could've broken more than a few hearts. From the palpable amount of eagerness and enthusiasm that surrounded Zoro, the blond could tell the other man was doing all he could to keep himself from picking Sanji up and strapping him down in one of the chairs.
While Zoro left Sanji alone – it must've taken a whole moment of careful consideration and debate on whether or not to cuff Sanji to something so he didn't bolt the second Zoro turned around – to go talk to his friend and the owner of the place, Sanji took a moment to look around.
The studio was rather small and quaint, not at all what the flashy sign outside indicated, with a row of comfortable looking parlor chairs on the right that faced a full mirror that ran the horizontal length of the room. On the other side was another row of chairs, except these were like the ones they used in salons, complete with those lever things that changed the height and angle. The wall behind the chairs were covered from top to bottom with every single one of Franky's tattoos that he had ever inked, starting from the very first ones that were small and simple, to the big glossy posters of more intricate and wild ones that screamed at anyone that looked.
Sanji had to admit, despite everything, that was some serious talent.
"Oh, so you're the infamous Sanji! I've heard all about you from my buddy Zoro here."
Sanji turned around to greet the voice that had spoken, but the unsaid words froze in his throat and his mouth hung open at the sight of the huge – he was ginormous – man that towered over him. The man was atleast 7 feet tall, with fantastic blue hair that was in the shape of what looked like a two-coil tattoo machine, a pair of sunglasses that sat atop his nose – that looked oddly metallic – and he wore a red open Hawaiian shirt with coconut tree prints and a red speedo. His arms were huge, with two big red balls on his shoulders and two slightly smaller blue cuboids around his forearms. Even his gloves looked metallic.
Sanji clamped his mouth shut and forced himself to smile and nod, unable to speak. Zoro grinned and patted Franky's arm and Sanji visibly flinched at the sharp sound of hollow metal.
"Meet your tattoo artist, Cyborg Franky!"
"Cy—" Sanji cleared his throat and took a deep breath, "—Cyborg…?"
Zoro and Franky exchanged mysterious grins while Sanji was trying very hard not to choke on his own spit.
"Well then," Franky walked up to one of the chairs closest to Sanji and swiveled it around its fixed stand, "do you have any questions to be clarified before we start?"
"Other than your freakish hair, choice of clothing and your appearance?"
Sanji coughed lightly and pulled the scarf from his neck while absent-mindedly muttering 'sunglasses'. Franky raised an eyebrow and the blond hurriedly waved him off, mentally berating himself for the accidental slip and slid into the chair offered to him. Franky didn't seem too bothered by Sanji's stiff posture or the way he nearly jumped out of his skin when two small robotic arms popped out of the centre of Franky's hands and grabbed his shoulders.
"Now now, there's no need to be so frightened, I'm only making sure you're comfortable."
Zoro chuckled behind them and Sanji shot him a dignified scowl, earning another one of his lover's rather rare, flashing grins. Placated, Sanji settled into the chair and relaxed his tense shoulders. The small extra arms massaged his stiff neck and shoulders and the blond calmed almost immediately, the fatigue of all the stress and unnecessary tension finally taking its toll.
Satisfied, Franky went off to get his tools and Zoro came to stand behind Sanji. He placed his hands where Franky's had been a moment ago and squeezed gently. Sanji met his eyes in the mirror and gave him a reassuring smile. A strange emotion flitted across Zoro's face, before he squeezed Sanji's shoulders again and asked slowly, "You're sure about this, right?"
The corner of Sanji's upturned mouth twitched, but he leaned back and grasped his lover's hands, squeezing back and smiling some more before replying, "Yes, I'm sure."
Zoro watched him for a moment and then nodded, although he didn't let go of the blond's shoulders, which caused Sanji to relax some more, knowing Zoro hadn't found him out as yet. The other man opened his mouth but paused before speaking,
"What're you going to get?"
Sanji raised his eyebrows, realizing that in all the rush and excitement, they hadn't really talked things through. So he nodded and leaned his head against Zoro's arm.
"Kanji for All Blue," he murmured, gently stroking circles on the back of Zoro's hands and measuring his reaction.
Zoro's eyes widened and his mouth fell open in surprise. Then the surprise turned to something deeper, and he smiled - that heart-stopping, breathtaking smile that Sanji would die to get a glimpse of every now and then. He tilted his head and breathed out, like he had been relieved from lifting a heavy burden. He nodded again, this time with a hum of understanding and acceptance.
"Yeah… that would be a good one."
Sanji finally grinned and Zoro seemed to relax some more. Zoro eyed Sanji's body in the mirror, the way his eyes raked down the length of him sent shivers down Sanji's spine. But it seemed Zoro had purer intentions than that – for once.
"Where are you getting it?"
Sanji pulled the right sleeve of his parka back and traced a horizontal line across the tightly drawn muscles in the center of his forearm.
"I was thinking maybe here?"*
Zoro's eyes marginally widened and he sucked in a breath, causing Sanji to wave his hand and chuckle.
"I know what you're thinking, but it's alright. It's my decision after all."
He propped his elbow on the arm rest and rested his cheek against his fist. Zoro blew air out from his mouth and nodded – more to comfort himself than accept Sanji's decision. Before either could say anything else, Franky bustled back in from the back room, tools at the ready and a sparkle in his eye that made Sanji gulp.
"Let's get down to business then, shall we?"
The burly man glanced between the two and Sanji straightened, while Zoro moved to let Franky sit in the chair to the right of Sanji's. Zoro then stood slightly behind Sanji, a safe distance away so he wouldn't accidentally bump into the chair but close enough to watch what was going on.
Franky placed a rectangular board with a soft cloth on his lap and Sanji placed his arm on it, forearm facing upwards. The two men watched as Franky dipped a cotton bud in a bowl of what smelled like antiseptic and dabbed it over the place Sanji specified. Franky then placed a laptop on the table that ran along the mirror and typed in the words Sanji wanted. After a moment or two of debating and choosing fonts, Franky printed the words out on a semi-transparent tracing paper, cut out the portion with the words, re-traced it over a carbon sheet, rubbed a small amount of a thick jelly-Vaseline like substance on his arm, then placed the carbon sheet on it face down and gently rubbed his – the robotic hand's – thumb on it.
Franky then lifted the paper and raised his eyes to Sanji, silently asking if the stencil was ok. Once he got the nod of approval, he cleaned his hands and picked up the tattoo machine.
"This may frighten you at first, but it's only because of the noise."
"Ah… Ahahaha… will it hurt much," Sanji asked nervously, his mouth going dry as he licked his lips. Franky grinned and said as gently as a man as huge as him could, "Like an ant bite."
Sanji nodded and bounced his knee nervously. Franky clucked his tongue in disapproval and the blond turned to picking on the hem of his parka. When Sanji was asked if he was ready, he wanted to scream 'Hell no!' but instead just silently nodded, biting his lip and refusing to look at Zoro in the mirror. Especially since he could feel his lover's concerned eyes on him.
"Franky, maybe we should—"
"No! let's do this."
"Oi, there's no rush—"
"Really? You're gonna say that after dragging me here in the middle of the night?"
Sanji finally glanced at Zoro over his shoulder and frowned slightly at the mildly miffed expression on his face. He didn't mean to diss him, but it was true. And now that he was finally there, like hell he was going to turn tail and run. If he was ruining his life anyway, may as well see it through to the end. Sanji scoffed at himself, imagining how proud his father would be if he ever found out about Sanji's unrelenting courage.
"Alright then," Franky said and switched on the tattoo machine.
Both lovers jumped at the sharp grating sound, like that of a dental drill and Sanji felt faint and had to lean back in the chair. Franky raised his eyes to meet Sanji's and looking back down, began tracing the stencil.
Sanji inhaled sharply at the jolt of electricity that passed through him when the needle made contact with his skin. The way the machine vibrated was making his teeth chatter and stomach churn and he felt sick. Sanji shut his eyes and tried to focus on something else, but his inner demons wouldn't let him. Nearly out of his minds from the sharp pain, Sanji was one second away from jumping up and running out, when he felt the familiar broad hand on his shoulder.
"Just concentrate on the feel of it."
Zoro's voice was more soothing than his words, but Sanji decided to try anyway, since he was left with no other option. He relaxed his shoulders and took a deep, calming breath. Once he decided he was ready, he cleared his mind and focused only on the feeling of the needle against his skin. Normally, Sanji would've found the notion insane, but at the moment, he was tired and drained and his mind was suddenly clear of all the unnecessary thoughts that had been haunting him for the past several hours.
The blond simply reveled in the feeling of the experience. The pain was quite intense, but mostly superficial thanks to his sensitive skin. But once he got past the pain, the numbing vibration of the needle was more calming than frightening. His mind went into a trance like state, as he let the feeling spread through him, from the point where the needle met his arm, through his veins and vessels, through his tissues and muscles, through his very blood.
He felt a sigh escape his parted lips and found that an unbelievable peace and calm had settled over him. The drilling sound had become a slow buzz in the back ground. The numbing vibration of the machine was accentuated by the sharp prickling pain every time Franky moved the tattoo machine. But soon, the pain would subdue and leave him with the same feeling of being drugged.
It was like he was high on something and he couldn't get enough of it. The euphoria created by the numbing pain was irresistible. It was a feeling that he'd never felt before. Something so pure and animalistic, something so feline and instinctual, it was a feeling that soaked into him till his very core, shaking him up and pulling him up from the roots.
The pain made him feel alive, made him feel human, and coupled with the numbing sensation that followed, it was like he was constantly being reminded of what he was, the reason for his existence being shown to him with piercing clarity and then being soothed until he had to be reminded again. It was just as Franky had promised, an unrelenting ant bite that penetrated through his bones and electrified his senses.
The exultation he felt was like nothing he had experienced before. He was intoxicated by the sharp sensations that seemed to give him a sense of clarity and acceptance to things he had never been open to in the past. It was like a part of that he had hidden deep down beneath all the layers had finally been uprooted and brought out into the light.
It was indescribable, what he felt. Like he was being slowly torn apart and the very innermost parts of his soul were being exposed. The pain made him feel vulnerable, yet undefeatable. He could finally accept his weaknesses and convert them into his strengths. It was like he had found a whole new perspective, an entirely different way to perceive normal, mundane things that he would have otherwise ignored.
He felt enlightened, cured, relieved, recreated, transformed, pure and indestructible.
But the exhilaration only lasts so long. All too soon it was over and Sanji could hear more than just the pleasant buzzing sound in his head. He didn't want to open his eyes, he wanted to savour the experience some more, go back to that bubble he had created, where he could float through everything and nothing and be perfectly content.
But as the voices grew louder and more clear, he was forced to open his eyes and return to the world he knew. Sanji squinted, waiting for his vision to clear and then blinked at Franky's brilliant grin. Not quite catching on, he turned to Zoro, who was more preoccupied with whatever was currently the center of his attention.
Following his lover's gaze, Sanji stared down at his arm. The flesh around the tattoo was red and raw, a stark contrast to his pale skin. But what drew him in, was the tattoo in the middle. It was beautiful. An exquisite piece of art that took his breath away. The longer he stared at it, the larger its presence became, along with all the meanings, implications, wishes and desires it carried.
Only two words, engraved into his skin, each stroke so precise and fine, each tip so sharp and each curve so gentle, it was a master piece and it belonged to him forever, till his flesh rotted away into nothing. A silent promise and an everlasting reminder of everything he wanted to be, everything he desired to be, everything he would be.
Sanji barely noticed when Zoro helped him out of the chair. He didn't notice Zoro thanking Franky, nor did he remember thanking the man himself, but he did remember the twinkle in Franky's eyes and the knowing smile on his face.
Sanji was quiet the whole drive home. He barely spoke, even when they reached and Zoro asked him if he wanted something to eat. Sanji just continued to stare at the mark on his arm in wonder, awestruck by its perfection.
"Hey, you wanna go to bed yet?"
Sanji had to tear his eyes from his treasure to acknowledge Zoro, but that was all he could do. Zoro sighed at Sanji's incoherent murmur and simply smiled and led the blond to their bedroom.
Sanji never figured out – till date – how he managed to change out of his clothes and into his night shorts, how he managed to brush his teeth and comb his hair or even how he managed to get into bed itself, but he was sure Zoro played a major role in all of it. Much later, Sanji would be conflicted on whether to apologize for being so incompetent, but right now, he continued to stare at his tattoo in pure admiration.
Zoro snuggled up to him, wrapped an arm around his waist and pulled Sanji against his chest. Sanji hummed contentedly in his throat and his eyelids fluttered. Zoro chuckled lightly and kissed his lover's hair, glad the experience hadn't traumatized the blond.
When Sanji murmured something, Zoro leaned in closer to hear, and what little he heard, made him beam with pride and joy.
"You were right, I really did like it. I liked it a lot."
A/n: Yup! That's that~ Couple of things to be noted, all this is based on my personal experience. So if other tattoo artists follow a slightly different procedure, well I suppose I wouldn't know of it. Also, the tattoo machine really does sound like a dental drill and your first reaction to it will be to get up and run. But seriously, don't. And I've made the whole idea of getting a tattoo very sudden and random here, but it actually takes a lot of time, debate and serious consideration, since it's something permanently etched into you. After the process is over, your skin will smart and the tattoo will have to be kept away from water and stuff, instructions that will be given to you in writing by the artist. So, hopefully, maybe I've inspired some of you that wanted a tattoo or thought about getting one, but were too scared to do so, to go right ahead!
P.s, don't worry too much about what other people say or think. As long as you like it, nothing else matters. Serious advice, since I've gone through a lotta shit for getting a tat.
*Most people would say Sanji would never tattoo his right arm, but I think it's exactly because it's his right arm that it's the perfect place for a tattoo. He'd never hurt his hands, but his arms are another story entirely. Just thought it was perfect. Personal opinion.
Well, that's all for now!
Review, Favorite and follow!