Chapter: 1/1 (?)
Word Count: 2280
Summary: There's something in his demeanor, the way he hides his true feelings whenever they start to unconsciously slip out, that speaks volumes. And Sanji would hardly consider himself somebody that wants to fix people but, well, he likes a challenge, and Law presents a rather giant one.
Spoilers: For recent-ish chapters, but this is set before Dressrosa.
Warnings: Do I need to warn for shotgunning? Because there's that.
It's a lovely night. Or, well, maybe it just feels that way after the long cold of Punk Hazard, but the sky is clear and filled with stars, the winds are calm, and the air is warm enough that you don't even need a coat to be outside in it. He's unable to sleep for some reason, although quite honestly that's not uncommon, and is making himself a cup of tea to pass the time.
He knows Franky is on the watch and so he doesn't have any need to be concerned about being ambushed in the night, so the chance to unwind a little is appreciated. The ship, for once, is near-silent; only the sound of tiny waves lapping at the hull breaks the stillness of the dark. He pours the tea out into a cup, leaving the half-full kettle on the counter, and a flash of movement outside the kitchen porthole gives him pause for a moment. Usually everybody sleeps through the night, so to have somebody else awake is rare, but when he tilts his head, adjusting his glasses a little to see up at the railing and spots who it is, he can't say he's especially surprised.
He's not sure what prompts him to go out on deck, scooping his lighter and a couple of cigarettes into his pocket and carrying the steaming tea with him, but by the time he's leaning back on the rail beside the older man, it's too late to turn back.
"D'you mind some company?" he asks in a low voice, sipping at the tea and letting its warmth seep through him.
"If it's you? I can't say that I do," Law's voice is soft, devoid of any sarcasm or exasperation (because really, those are the two emotions the Warlord seems partial to), and Sanji studies him in the moonlight.
He looks…relaxed, which is rare. He's still got that damned sword slung over his shoulder but he's without his hat and has stripped off that feather-collared sweatshirt, although the low-necked t-shirt he's got on still has his crew's jolly roger on it. He's never seen the other man so undressed before, but now he can study the tattoos running up both arms, stylized hearts curling up toward his shoulders and the top of what seems to be another heart on his chest, spiraling up over his collarbones. They suit him, somehow, and Sanji's willing to bet his best cooking knives that there's a story behind the excess of heart motifs the other man surrounds himself with, although it's not something he's likely to be privy to.
"Implying that if it were anybody else…?" he chuckles softly and Law turns to him, blinking slowly.
"I'm quite sure you've noticed, but your crew is insane," Law mutters dryly, finally setting his nodachi down and crossing his arms. "I've only been with you a few days but I fail to see how you could have traveled with them for as long as you have."
"Yeah, they're special, but you get used to it," Sanji replies, holding out the teacup on impulse and smiling when Law accepts it after a moment or two, sipping at it delicately. He furrows his brow then, looking surprised, before he regards Sanji carefully. "You're from…"
"You recognize that, huh?" Sanji's pleased, a little, because Law's origin is fairly well-known by virtue of him being rather infamous, but the tea is a special black that, to his knowledge, is only produced in the North Blue. The peppery flavor is an instant giveaway to anybody that's had it before, and while Sanji can't remember much of his homeland, things like flavors and scents tended to stay with him forever.
"It's been years," Law frowns down into the cup, taking another sip before passing it back. "I didn't realize you were born there."
"Born, yeah, but not really raised," Sanji shrugs, setting the cup on the rail and lighting a cigarette in a smooth, practiced motion. "Some things stick with you, though."
"So it would seem," Law falls silent, then, a frown pulling his lips down as he stares across the ship, and Sanji wonders to himself why anybody on their crew is still afraid of him. Yes, he's powerful, but then, so are all of them. And Law's either ridiculously trusting or ridiculously arrogant to willingly insert himself on the ship of a rival captain with an extraordinarily strong crew. Sanji's seen enough of him by now to know that it's not the latter, and while the former seems almost as unlikely, there's a rather large part of him that's convinced Law's not quite the stone-cold bastard he pretends to be.
There's something in his demeanor, the way he hides his true feelings whenever they start to unconsciously slip out, the way he flinches away from every friendly touch, that speaks volumes. And Sanji would hardly consider himself somebody that wants to fix people but, well, he likes a challenge, and Law presents a rather giant one.
It's subtle, the way he leans back against the rail just close enough that their elbows brush, but even that makes Law tuck his arms closer to his sides, leveling a look at Sanji that tells the blond he's completely aware of what's going on.
"Don't what?" Sanji takes a careless drag of his cigarette, blowing the smoke out into the clear air, and Law narrows his eyes.
"Don't play dumb with me, for one thing. Your crew may be full of idiots, but I'm quite aware you're not one of them," his voice is smooth, malice bubbling just under the surface, and it would almost be a compliment except for the fact that, well, it's not.
"You know we're not your enemies," Sanji points out, not looking at law as he holds his cigarette between two fingers and takes another sip of tea with his free hand. "Once Luffy's decided you're a friend, you're pretty much fucked for the rest of your life, and some people on this crew might not like his decisions all the time, but they never question them for long."
"You didn't question him at all," Law notes, and Sanji smiles to himself.
"Yeah, I'm still trying to figure out why," he sees no shame in admitting that. "I'm not exactly trusting by nature, especially when it comes to guys, but despite your…reputation, I've never seen anything that tells me you really live up to it. Freeing slaves and saving a rival captain's life with no obligation to and helping a bunch of kids don't exactly scream 'sadistic psychopath' to me," he finally looks at Law, who's looking a little chagrined but still irritated.
"Well, reputations might often be exaggerated, but when they're helpful, I see no reason to try and disprove them," Law finally says, and it's not really an answer but Sanji supposes he knows what Law's saying.
"Yeah, true enough. I've always had bad luck with people knowing who I am, though, so I tend to let people underestimate me and then prove them wrong," he smiles, holding the cigarette between his lips and staring up at the sky.
"You're strong. Deceptively so," Law's voice is impassive but well, hey, this time it does sound like a compliment and he'll gladly take it.
"Nah, compared to some of the people on this ship…"
"Everybody else on this ship either uses tools or a Devil Fruit," Law cuts him off with a wave of his hand. "You only use your physical strength. I think that's fairly commendable."
Sanji ducks his head and chuckles, because he's never really thought about it that way although, yeah, it's true. Zoro's got his swords, Nami has her Clima-Tact, Usopp's got his slingshot, Franky's pretty much a fighting machine at this point, and then there's him, using nothing more than his legs and his brains, so maybe it is impressive.
"Yeah, well, I doubt that'd do any good against somebody like you," he comments. "I barely slowed Vergo down and you…"
"I…" Law hunches over himself, eyes growing dark. "I had…more reasons to want to destroy him than you did," his voice is cold now, devoid of any emotion, and it makes Sanji shiver to hear it. "My winning against him was fueled more by anger than any skill on my part."
"Well, whatever works, right?" Sanji blows some smoke rings out into the air, noticing how Law's eyes follow them. "You want some?"
"I'm a doctor," he says, as if Sanji's forgotten somehow, and Sanji shrugs.
"Yeah, well, I'm a chef. Been smoking these for ten years and they've done fuck-all to my palate, so I think the stories about them being deadly are exaggerated," he can sense Law shifting beside him and an idea goes through his mind in that moment, a very bad idea that's going to have very bad consequences, but there's something…
Well, it's not as if he's had a lot of experience when it came to…things of a sexual nature. He knows very well that he's an utter idiot around women to an absurd degree and despite his fascination with the female form, he's not sure his heart could handle more than innocent touches.
Men, however, were a different story, and he's learned in their travels that men that look like him usually have no trouble finding willing bed-partners. He's never had what could be termed a steady lover, exactly (being on this ship doesn't offer him much choice and while he's sometimes wondered what would happen if he and Zoro were to let out their aggression toward each other in a more…physical…way, he's convinced the swordsman is either asexual or else too dedicated to that white sword of his to engage in such frivolous acts), but it's impossible to deny how Law practically exudes sexuality.
Still, there's no assurance that Law feels the same toward him, or that he's even interested in that at all, but well, he knows Law won't hurt him while he's stuck on the ship, so it's the best time to do something that might be really stupid.
"You could cheat a little," Sanji raises his curled eyebrow and Law tilts his head to the side. "Do you trust me?"
"I don't trust anybody," is Law's smooth reply. "But I don't think you're going to hurt me, no."
"Close your eyes," Sanji instructs and Law heaves a deep breath before doing so, hands slipping into fists at his sides. He looks decidedly uncomfortable, no trace of his normal cockiness now, and Sanji inhales some smoke quickly before the Law's rare good nature expires, touching the other man's jaw gently (Law shivers at that, although Sanji has no idea what it means) and taking advantage of Law opening his mouth to no doubt ask him what he's doing to seal his lips over the other man's, holding his head in place and breathing the smoke into the his mouth when he sucks in a startled breath.
He pulls away quickly, putting some distance between them, and Law, despite his obvious surprise, blows the smoke out in a move that tells Sanji that it's not his first time smoking. Bastard, Sanji think smugly, trying to pretend he's all healthy and shit.
"That," Law's voice is a little raspy, "was an exceptionally stupid thing to do."
"I'm aware," Sanji promises, not looking in Law's direction because he doesn't really want to know how much trouble he's in, but Law grabs his wrist in a vice-grip, spinning him around and sealing their mouths together.
Sanji hesitates for a moment before throwing the cigarette overboard, wrapping his arms around Law's shoulders and just letting himself feel, opening his mouth when Law's tongue presses insistently against his lips and allowing the other man to take control of the kiss.
Law kisses like he does everything, with purpose and a sense of there being a thinly veiled threat behind it, but he's undoubtedly skilled and one of his hands twines through Sanji's hair, tugging just enough for him to feel it. He's never noticed it before but Law's got at least a few inches on him and he has to press himself upward a little to kiss him properly.
There's a moment of utter stillness when they break apart, both breathing harshly, and Sanji can see Law's throat move when he swallows, seemingly at a rare loss for words.
"Was that stupid, too?" the blond asks, fingers sliding down Law's arm and feeling a tiny thrill inside when Law doesn't pull away.
"Yes," Law's trembling a little and Sanji wonders idly how long it's been since he let himself be this close to somebody. He's not exactly a people-person by nature and he needs his time to get away and meditate, but he's in no way as isolated as Law seems to be.
There's something thick in the air between them, something that he's not sure how to read, and he lets go of Law and clears his throat, picking up his teacup and staring into it for a few moments. "There, um, more tea in the kitchen. If you'd like a cup."
"That would be appreciated," Law shoulders his sword and walks away, back to exuding an aura designed to keep anyone from getting too close, and Sanji sighs and wonders if tonight's accomplished anything at all.
Well, he decides with a shrug, it was…interesting, if nothing else. And maybe he can't read Law that well, but he's fairly sure that, whatever comes of this, the other man feels the same way.
He's definitely not trying to fix him. He's just trying to figure him out.
1. A panacea (pan-uh-see-uh) is basically a universal cure-all or a solution to all problems.
2. As it stands right now this is a one-shot, but I do have ideas to expand upon it so if anybody is interested at all in that, feel free to drop me a comment and I'll see what I can do :)