Neither of us owns One Piece, we will let you decide after reading this if that is a good thing or not ;-)
Beta read by the wonderful MasterQwertster, be sure to check out their own stories!
Inspired by Wolf Strife and Rose7anne101's own "My Family Can Beat Up Your Family."
Guest Reviews :-D
Love to hear the enthusiasm!
Here is the newest chapter, and I hope it was worth it! Looking forward to hearing your newest thoughts! :-D
Thank you for your Review and Support! :-D
Here is the newest chapter, and I hope it was worth it! Looking forward to hearing your newest thoughts! :-D
Thank you for your Review and Support! :-D
Thanks for all the praise, although this was co-written with rose7anne101 so I cannot take all the praise. Indeed, they wrote most of the Shirahoshi scene!
We are very much looking forward to Ace and Sabo's reactions! ;-D
Luffy is where plans go to die a horrible, convoluted, and humiliating death.
Here is the newest chapter, and I hope it was worth it! Looking forward to hearing your newest thoughts! :-D
Thank you for your Review and Support! :-D
Guest (please choose name/nickname next time ^^)
Thank you, but my co-author and our Beta deserve praise too! ;-D
Thank you for your Review and Support! :-D
Thank you for your Review and Support! :-D
Luffy's Mother is WHO!?
Warning, contains spoilers for… pretty much every chapter associated with the canon wedding itself, and after.
Previously: The Battle of Marineford never happened, so Ace and Whitebeard are alive, Blackbeard is dead, and the name of Luffy's father was never made public to the world.
Luffy and Sanji were abducted by Katakuri, who warned Sanji that if he failed to properly behave, his mentor Zeff would die. To help lure the Vinsmokes into complacency, as well as to give Luffy time to 'cool his heels' before meeting his mom, Katakuri announced he was leaving them with the Germa 66.
Meanwhile, Zoro and the Straw Hats are leading an enraged fleet to Zou as part of their plan to find and liberate Luffy. Unfortunately for them, bad weather has prevented them from receiving the news that has spread across the globe regarding Luffy's heritage.
The darkening clouds did nothing to depict the turmoil in Sanji's heart as he returned 'home.'
Katakuri had seen them off as a motorized boat intercepted them, keeping the Sweet Commander well away from that nation itself. While the man left without a word, he did give Luffy a friendly pat on the back, which confused the younger man, and left.
All proper politeness was accorded to Sanji and Luffy by the soldiers who sailed them towards the massive snail, and the fortress upon its back.
"Oooh," grinned Luffy at the sight. "That's pretty awesome! Hey Sanji?"
"What?" he flatly said.
"D'you think we could cook 'em up? The snails? I mean, they didn't give us any food or anything."
"No," and now Sanji's tone is nearly dead. Usually he would be firing off various recipes on how to cook said snails, yet right now he cannot muster the energy to care.
"Yes," Katakuri continued piteously. "A marriage of alliance between our families. You, Vinsmoke Sanji, are to marry my little sister, Pudding."
Then he held up another picture. "And you will cooperate, or this man dies."
Even worse, he was too out of it to catch the concerned look Luffy shot him. One that briefly became deadly serious.
(A look that Rebecca, Shirahoshi, Vivi, etc. would recognize well.)
It was also noteworthy that Sanji's cigarette was the same one he has had in his mouth since Dressrosa, if now crumpled. Indeed, the usually immaculate 'ladies' man' was still wearing the same clothes from his capture, blood stains and all.
Well, so was Luffy, which honestly was no surprise. Sometimes Nami has to order Zoro to chuck him and his clothes into the bath.
(With supervision, of course. Even if he was annoying, shameless moron that sucked beli like a black hole, it wouldn't do for the Captain to die by drowning in bathtub. They had a reputation to maintain.)
Finally their boat arrived at the base of the mobile nation, where a ladder had been lowered down for them to climb up. There the goons in their stupid outfits unlocked their shackles, and even threw Sanji a salute.
Before Sanji could react, Luffy bounded up top, and out of sight.
Panicking, the chef followed him, finding a modest welcoming party waiting for them as they arrived in the Kingdom of the Germa 66.
Of course Sanji was well aware that the very 'modesty' was a calculated insult in itself, for as a supposed member of the royal family it should have been grander.
Only Reiju was there, with that familiar smile on her face that could hide all manner of things.
"Huh, you look like a lady Sanji!" beamed Luffy. Fast as a snake, his hand snapped out and was shaking her hand. "My name's Luffy! Nice to meet you!"
Too stunned to react, Reiju did not resist what was her first-ever handshake. While confused, she managed still made a subtle gesture to keep the guards from attacking at the perceived insult. "Welcome, my name is Reiju."
Then she looked at her long-lost sibling. "Hello, Sanji, nothing to say to your big sister?"
"I made it crystal clear that I wanted nothing to do with any of you!" he snapped. "We're no longer family!"
Luffy said nothing, just giving a flat, empty look to this exchange.
If Sanji had been thinking clearly, that would have been the point he would have grabbed his Captain, and leapt into the ocean, taking his chances with the Sea Kings, insane and frankly supernatural weather patterns, and whatever other horrors, as he tried to swim back to the Thousand Sunny.
"So cold," she lightly chided. "All we want is to restore our family's glory. Can't you understand how well off the two of you'll be here? And even more-so once the wedding happens?"
Turning, she looked to see what Luffy's response would be.
He was gone.
"What?" she blinked in surprise, before composing herself. "He's an unexpected one," she mused aloud. "Unfortunately for him, he won't find anything of value here. All the sensitive stuff's traveling with father." Then she gave Sanji a teasing look, "Or maybe he just wants to see what it was like when you were growing up here?"
"No," gritted out the chef. "I grew up on the restaurant. This is where I was born, and only that. As for Luffy, he does whatever he wants."
Walking around her, he stalked deeper into the castle.
Who knew what his Captain would get up to without someone supervising him? This place was unsafe, no matter if Luffy's parentage was true or false. This was a snake den.
"Oh?" she called after him. "Not a word about the wedding?"
Scoffing, he says without looking back, "Pudding looks like a nice girl, but sorry, I've got other things to do."
It took every ounce of Sanji's will not to run after his Captain, as he followed after him via Observation Haki. Unfortunately, showing weakness here would be a disgrace, and he knew Luffy could handle whatever the people here dished out. Even in his injured state. Nevertheless, he remained worried. They had no friends or allies in this place. Even Reiju, for all that she had done for him all those years ago, could not be counted upon. After all, it had been ages since he had seen her last.
"Well, well, what's the rush?"
Turning the corner, Sanji found himself face-to-face with one of the few people he outright hated in life.
The fourth and green-haired member of the 'Royal Sons.' Or third, as Sanji, the supposed third, was no longer a part of that family.
His cocky sneer had only become more practiced in the intervening years, as Yonji snidely said, "I was surprised to know that weak little Sanji is still alive, and is a pirate now of all things. Such a waste."
The Proud Straw Hat Pirate just stayed still, hair shading his eyes. He refused to budge an inch out of this man's way.
After a moment, crumpled cigarette still in his mouth, he replied, "Go away."
The prince's head snapped back in surprise. He was totally unused to anyone besides his other siblings or father defying him, especially not the doormat he used to bully and kick even when he was down on the floor. It was a fun pastime. They all had missed it when he was gone.
Ignoring the ensuing glare, Sanji continued, "I cut ties with my so-called family. I have nothing to say to you guys." Plus he really does need to be sure Luffy was not eating out the kitchen. Not only would it be a pain to be on starvation rations at sea, it would be an intolerable insult for his Captain to eat second-rate food here.
"Well, we have something to say!" declared 'Winch Green' Yonji, arrogant expression back at full strength. "I heard you're refusing to marry the daughter of the Charlotte Family. You're a good-for-nothing fool. You have no choice. It's an order."
Without any reaction, Sanji pulled out his golden lighter to light his poor, poor cigarette, taking his eyes off the man threatening him to do so. Being ignored only further enraged Yonji, unable to reconcile this image of confidence with the crybaby weakling of years ago.
Releasing a puff of smoke, the chef said, "Didn't you hear me? I said 'go away.'"
In an instant the sneer became outright predatory, while pupils dilated. "Yeah? Then, why don't you make me go away yourself!?"
Winch Green launched a kick which Sanji leapt over and answered with one of his own.
Fueled by years of pent up fury focused through Armament Haki he mastered in hell, but most of all, powered by muscles honed by the only man deserving to be called 'father' by him.
A man whose life was now endangered because of a little starving kid he took into his home, giving him a dream, a passion.
All at the cost of his own.
By cutting off his own leg to keep himself alive, while giving a brat he hardly knew all the food.
Yonji's genetic enhancements to his reaction time and durability only meant he was permitted to stay conscious as he saw the black shoe come at his face and send him through three walls. His iron-hard outer skeleton bending and breaking under the impact.
Dazed, 'Winch Green' could only lie there before darkness claimed him.
At one point in Sanji's life, accomplishing that would have been a fantasy. A hopeless fantasy to strike back at his oppressors.
Here and now?
He just kept walking.
Scum like that were beneath his notice, and he had a starving captain to feed.
When Sanji finally did track down Luffy, he was surprised to find him in the medical lab.
The huge mound of meat he was chowing through was to be expected, yet the fact that the maniac –his maniac—had thought to get proper treatment, was a bit of a shock. Were his injuries that serious?
Well, no, maybe not. Despite his suicidal tendencies, Luffy was a survivor, and respected the need for a doctor. Chopper had been very good about that.
"Here you are, idiot," groused Sanji.
"Hey, Sanji," grinned Luffy, experimenting with his arm. "Look at this, I'm nearly all better already! Chopper's going to love this place!"
Flinching back, his friend rallied himself. "What're you talking about!? Chopper's not coming here!"
"Shishishi," chuckled Luffy. "Don't be silly, Sanji! Anyways, I'm going to have a nap, so you go talk to Lady Sanji, alright?"
And with that his Captain plopped his head down, and promptly fell asleep.
It took five minutes for Sanji to regain rational thought as his brain rebooted.
He almost kicked Luffy awake, except he recognized he had been given an order. "Idiot!" he snarled, before storming out.
Beneath her smile as she rested in her favourite sitting room, Reiju was coldly trying to figure a way out of this mess.
Luffy seemed alright, and Sanji clearly cared for him, yet the latter was still her priority.
The one her mother sacrificed herself for.
The only one in her accursed family who deserved to live.
For her love of her mother and her brother, she would find a way for him to be happy again.
Yes, if only she could live up to the name her mother had given her, she thought bitterly. She knew her father continued to believe 'reiju' meant 'zero,' as she was the firstborn, but not a boy. He had always underestimated his queen, never suspecting the real meaning behind the name she had given her daughter.
Reiju: 'Letting go of conditioned habits, including any self-limiting thoughts.'
Reiju wondered if her mother had foreseen what her father planned for his progeny in the future, and in her desperation, she tried to give her eldest child some kind of hope to hold onto. Some kind of protective charm. As much as she loved her name, she hated it too. It reminded her of what she couldn't be —at least she had stopped flinching inwardly when her father called her by her given name now— but at the same time it reminded her of her mother's love. Sometimes that was the only thing that kept her going.
She would at least try for her brother's sake.
Although I can't see a way out, she bitterly thought. Oh Sanji, why couldn't you have just spent the rest of your life in that restaurant? We'd never have found you!
And why risk everything for that old restaurant owner!? Ever since you've come here, you've had plenty of chances to run, along with your Warlord-beating captain, so why haven't you!?
She had heard the report of what had happened to Yonji already, so she had a rough idea of what her brother was capable of. Escaping was not impossible, and even better Big Mom might blame the Germa 66 for their failure and destroy them!
Everyone won! (Everyone that mattered.)
Unfortunately it seemed he refused to listen to reason, which meant she would have to try and make him feel satisfied with coming back here. At the very least it would give her a role to play while trying to figure out something else.
The door slammed open as the man in question marched in, ignoring her so he could look out onto the training field below. See the soldiers continuing their endless drills. The true strength of the Germa 66.
"Nothing to say to me," she lightly asked, seeing his thunderous expression. "It's been thirteen years, so maybe we can have some quality time."
"How many times do I have to repeat myself!?" growled her brother, before raising his voice. "I made it crystal clear that I wanted nothing to do with any of you! We're no longer family!"
He pointed at a large picture of their 'father' standing over four decapitated heads, still wearing their crowns. "Only a lunatic would want to be part of a family with bad enough taste to put up a picture like that as interior decoration!"
Privately Reiju disagreed. While it was indeed an unpleasant reminder of the kind of life she lived, she respected strength, and wanting to display it. "A photo taken in North Blue during the infamous incident known as the 'Conquest of Four Nations.' Our father's dream is to rule over the entirety of the northern seas once more. Nothing's wrong with a man brandishing his fame and power."
He was clearly unimpressed.
Nevertheless she tried offering him more —anything— so he could be happy here. If he could best Yonji, then maybe he, despite all his pure, kindness — the reason she loved him so— would be able to endure the rest of their family long enough.
So she paraded beautiful women in front of him to tempt him. Reminded him of the soldiers who would literally lay down their lives for him. Wealth. All his as a member of the Vinsmoke family.
"Quit the sales pitch…" Sanji retorted, only briefly phased by the ladies offering themselves to him. "I've got no intention of marrying that girl!"
"Isn't Pudding a sweetheart though? I really like her a lot." A lie. They had never met, and while she was presented as the perfect, lovely daughter and minister, Reiju had her doubts. When you got right down to it, what was really the difference between the Charlottes and the Vinsmokes besides relative military might? Even if Pudding was somehow as kind as Sanji, she doubted anyone as innocent as she was portrayed, could have risen to such an important rank within such a ruthless pirate crew.
At that moment all her work was undone as she heard a voice yell, "Commander, where are you heading to!?"
"The room Sanji is in," answered that hated voice.
"Father," she cheerily said, "to what do we owe the pleasure?"
"You enjoy being a huge pain in my ass!?" rumbled Judge, towering over both his children, fully outfitted for combat. His daughter already knew where this was going to lead.
"Quit calling me that," snapped Sanji with a dark anger. "Even if I were to admit that I have a parent, it sure as hell wouldn't be you!"
Interesting choice of words. That could be taken to mean he still cares about our mother, but does he consider that chef is real father? pondered Reiju.
The eavesdropping women, descended from a long line of girls who only lived if they brought pleasure to their royal masters, could only gasp in shock at a defiance they literally could not dream of.
"Did you do something to Yonji?" challenged Judged. "I'll have you know that boy's strength is quite formidable."
And that's the real reason you're here, Reiju thought, albeit with equal curiosity. As children, Yonji would casually beat upon his hopelessly outclassed brother. At that age they could already bend metal or shrug off bullets, while Sanji had only been Human. A so-called 'failure.' What had changed?
"Then I suppose mine just happens to be more so . . ." Sanji retorted with frothing emotion. While obviously he remembered what his life had been like, she expected him to gloat over his victory.
"Let's take this outside," declared the Vinsmoke King. "Men can only speak clearly with one another using their fists."
You mean they can only obey and follow what you're saying after you're done beating them. Understanding you isn't even a factor, nor them having any choice, Reiju sadly knew. Her true feelings still safely hidden away.
From the room's balcony, Reiju watched the battle between 'father' and 'son' progress.
The soldiers, always eager to see their beloved king, were cheering. Even better, Sanji, supposedly dead all these years, was competing too. They recognized his strength from the very start, and wanted to see how he would fare.
Sanji did not even hesitate, leaping upon his hands in a strange stance before spinning his legs around to deliver a powerful kick. Judge blocked it with his forearm, yet even from here she could see that doing so had been a struggle, and had even hurt despite his Raid Suit and own physical prowess.
Blackfoot indeed, she noted. I never saw him fight like that before. I'll bet 'Redfoot' Zeff taught it to him.
"So you dare kick your own father?" barked Judge.
"You started this fight, so I'm gonna finish it!" Sanji replied, still balanced on his hands. "Furthermore, don't you dare call yourself my parent anymore!"
Judge's spear struck in a series of strokes, as the large man highlighted how quick and strong he really was. "You've returned home, Sanji! This means that you are indeed my son!"
Kidnapped, was her bitter thought.
Surprisingly, Sanji's own speed and reflexes were up to the task as he danced around each blow. "It's hard for me to feel sentimental about that when you're waving around a big ass spear trying to impale me!"
The crowd continued to roar and cheer at this macabre display of 'family bonding,' and Reiju sadly knew how much this casual violence was just another day for the bloody Germa 66. Only Sanji would think that something like this was 'wrong.' Even she felt it was okay, even when she knew deep down she should be repulsed by it.
"I have every intention of leaving this place and returning with Luffy to my crew as soon as this 'Tea Party' bullshit is over! The marriage is a total farce!"
"Still harping on about that! Do you truly think that Big Mom will sit idly by in the face of such betrayal!?"
"I could care less about what happens to you all after the fact! I only came here to protect my crew!"
Good. Under the guise of merely enjoying such an 'exciting' fight, Reiju let herself smile now.
"Are you saying . . . that you'd sacrifice your own family!?" bellowed Judge. For all his faults, he did care about his children . . . in a twisted way, and only so long as they were also 'useful.' Arguably he had already sacrificed all of them already, even eagerly doing it to all four of his sons before they were born.
"How many times do I have to say it? You're definitely no family of mine!" Then Sanji's attention seemed to slip, and his big sister worried he had gotten trapped in a memory.
Taking advantage, Judge swung his blade up close. "Were you reminiscing just now?" At the last second, Sanji blocked the blade with his bare leg, and stumbled back, albeit, unharmed.
The crowd gasped in surprise, and Reiju had to agree. That had obviously been Armament Haki, which was a rare thing. Even the rest of her family could barely use it, preferring to rely upon their enhancements and advanced technology.
"To think that you of all people would be capable of using haki . . ." Judge begrudgingly acknowledged, before returning to his reflexive condescending words. "What's wrong? I'll give you the courtesy of picking up a sword. I remember training you in the way of the sword!" An obvious attempt to try and demean his son, as well as to try and forge some sort of connection. It was patently obvious already that Sanji's fighting style, his epithet even, all revolved around his feet to some degree.
With calculated insult, Sanji instead chose to relight his cigarette in the middle of the battle; a blatant declaration that he did not see the man in front of him as a threat.
Or he really was that stressed.
Only then did he answer, "These hands of mine exist for the sole purpose of cooking. Unless you're one of the ingredients to one of my dishes, I won't ever use my hands, let alone handle a sharp tool! Using my legs and kicks are my only recourse when it comes to combat."
"Huh!" Reiju beamed. "He's a beast . . . Hard to believe he's the same Sanji that we all remember . . ."
If she did not know better, she would almost believe Sanji might win.
Sanji knew he was too on edge as he stared up at the hated man before him, and that he was being egged on.
He just did not care.
"So I see you still have that disgusting habit of making food for a bunch of filthy rats," taunted his 'parent.' "You fool . . . You must remember that royals . . . were never meant to serve others!"
"It's in one ear and right out the other with you," growled Sanji. Especially since by now he had met rulers like Cobra and Neptune who actually deserved their thrones. Riku seemed decent enough from what he had overheard during the running battle for Dressrosa, but he was reserving judgment until he actually met the guy.
"What do you have to complain about in this marriage?" roared Judge, just as light flashed from his heels.
He zoomed past Sanji faster than he could react and took to the skies.
From the crowd he overheard the soldiers yelling in surprise at how the man was apparently famous for this fighting style, and rarely showcased it. Not that he would have been told something like that as a kid; all he heard were insults, dire promises, and general abuse.
Save from his mother.
And Reiju, when no one could overhear her.
"Hmph," he grunted. "What irony." Maybe he should demonstrate just how unimpressed he was by the concept of flight.
Suddenly Judge came back down, spear-blade first. "Diable Jambe," he cried, as his right foot lit on fire.
With "Collier Shoot!" he knocked the weapon aside, except Judge grabbed the flaming leg and spun him around to throw him down hard into the cobblestones.
Shaking off the impact, Sanji then saw a boot coming at his face cracking with electricity. "War is what advances technology," Judge all but screamed. "Electro-magnetic Crack!" Then the boots must have become rockets again as Sanji felt himself going from being electrified to being kicked at high speeds so that he tore up the ground and only stopped when he hit a wall.
Not that it really mattered.
From long, painful experience, Sanji knew –especially thanks to the kicks of a certain stupid chef— that his body was alright. It would take a lot more than that to really begin to hurt him.
Instead he chose to indulge in some self-reflection. "Hey . . . Mind if I ask you one thing," he wondered aloud.
"The Germa you once knew, is already a thing of the past," Judge continued to shout, ignoring his 'son.' No surprise.
Slowly yet fluidly, Sanji got up, showcasing how fine he still was. "Should blood parents . . . be viewed in some holier-than-thou light? You never bothered giving 'that little kid' a single decent memory . . ." In that moment Sanji let all his dark feelings show on his face. "The poor runt . . . had it pretty rough back then . . . wouldn't you agree?"
Memories of being locked in a cell with an iron mask on. To be forgotten alone in the shadows.
. . . With it only getting worse from there.
"Poêle à Frire," he said as he turned up the heat of his already burning foot so as to match the resistance of that suit.
I feel nothing . . . But hatred towards this man, Sanji knew from the depths of his heart, as he readied himself for the next clash.
No matter where it lead.
All Judge said was, "Wall!"
Leaping to meet the spear, Sanji flinched as three soldiers suddenly threw themselves into the duel and right between the combatants, facing Sanji. Obediently ready to throw their lives away for their king.
"Oi!" screamed Sanji. "Get out of the way, dumbasses!" He could not see Judge now, and more importantly he could not continue his own strike without risking hitting them.
They may be Germa, but they did not deserve to just die!
"Keep going Sanji!" a voiced yelled, and the chef's own instinctive compliance to that familiar voice made him harden his course.
A rubbery foot with a kick harder than a cannonball slammed the human wall aside, and time seemed to freeze for an instant for Judge, letting him look cross-eyed at his failure of a son's burning shoe three centimeters from his face.
Roaring out his hate, Sanji kicked the filth he had left behind all those years ago, and sent him across the courtyard and through the brick and steel wall.
Shaking his head, Judge pulled himself out of the rubble to swing his spear at the failure, only for one leg to block it. Twisting himself mid-air, Sanji came down with his right foot to snap the shaft in two.
Still spinning, he came around unleashed a relentless, burning barrage into the still stunned Judge. "Flambage Shot!"
Reiju could only gape in disbelief as her brother beat down on their mutual tormentor. Truly, he had grown into a man beyond her imagination.
The soldiers were frozen, for while their sovereign was assaulted, it was also being done by the man's own royal son, and as part of a formal duel no less. They had no orders to help them overcome their confusion. Their conditioning simply did not cover this contingency.
Then her fiancé, the one that this new version of her brother followed, took that choice away from them.
"Gum Gum Jet Rain!"
Monkey D. Luffy tore into the infamous army of the Germa 66 without heed. "What's wrong with you guys, just butting in like that!?"
Gasping, Judge threw Sanji back with a hefty backhand, burnt and bleeding all over. "Reiju!" he shouted. "What're you doing!? Get them!"
Just for an instant.
That was all she could manage.
The next moment she found her body hurtling down to the ground, and she was facing off against Straw Hat. His steely eyes all the more terrifying when set in a face that should only know joy.
I'm sorry, she thought, wishing he could hear. Alas, she dared not let that man see her true face.
The emotions she still held tight. Or else she may lose the little humanity her mother had fought and died for her and her real brother to retain.
Impassively, Luffy stared at Sanji's sister. Through his Observation Haki, he felt her anguish. How she wished for nothing more than to not fight him. The love she felt for Sanji. A love Luffy shared with her for him, and for all his nakama.
"Why do you have to fight?" he asked. She didn't want to fight, but here she was. This confused him. Luffy always believed in following your own path, your Dream (or at least paving it by force if need be). Not following someone else's orders, or doing their bidding.
"Why're you doing this?" he asked. "You're strong, strong enough to do whatever you want. So why do this?"
She said nothing, just stalking forward –slowly, as if to stall— to do something a part of her rebelled against. Like Nami with Arlong, he realized with a swell of hate. Or Robin at Enies Lobby. Yes, that was it. It was the same emotions Robin emitted. An empty shell full of regrets. Trapped and feeling like it's impossible to escape because everything you've already tried only failed miserably, so what was even the point of trying anymore because you would feel that same crushing despair all over again?
He was not the same person as he was all those years ago.
He was no longer as weak as he used to be.
Reaching out, he felt all the minds of those around him, with Sanji glowing especially bright, and for all but his nakama, he SQUEEZED.
That was what it felt to use the Haki of a Conquering King.
The strange men with the same stupid outfits who all felt weirdly similar collapsed simultaneously. Whoever Sanji was fighting shook it off, yet Sanji's sister . . . stumbled.
"You don't have to fight it," he offered her.
"Yes, yes I do," she grimaced, and continued to advance.
Beyond words, Sanji flew at his greatest monster with another snarl of hate. The depths of it had somehow impossibly grown when he had glimpsed the conflict in his sister, and while he did not know the details, he knew enough. That this was all on him. Their so-called father.
And here and now? He was no longer some wimpy kid. Moreover, this time his Captain had his back, so there was nothing that could stop him.
Except Judge did not hold his status due to just his technology, children, or army. Grabbing a sword that had fallen nearby as Luffy attacked the soldiers, he charged to meet his progeny, flying on his rocket boots.
Roaring, the man swung his blade with such speed and skill to earn the interest of Roronoa Zoro himself.
Sanji regularly sparred with the man, and mere 'interest' was not enough to match that.
Infusing his leg with more Armament Haki, Sanji deflected the first strike, the second, and then Judge grabbed his collar, and bore him down to the ground using his fancy boots.
"Enough! ENOUGH OF THIS! YOU'RE WEAK! THAT'S ALL YOU'LL EVER BE! ENOUGH!"
And so Sanji looked up into the eyes of the man crushing him into the ground, rearing back his sword to end it.
Looked, and remembered everything this man had put him through. A childhood of terror, misery, misplaced guilt, pain, and almost crippling loneliness. Costing him his mother.
For that alone he was beyond forgiveness.
Threatening that stupid, senile, perfect old chef!? Pulling Luffy into this!? The Straw Hats!? (Particularly Nami and Robin –He couldn't care less what happened to the marimo bastard.) All the life and sun of his existence!?
So Sanji merely whispered,
It was as if someone had made real the very idea of Fire; scorching and destroying what it touched, except also cleansing. Bringing light to darkness so that something new and pure could grow there.
Something so bright, she could hardly look at it without tearing up, had taken shape.
She felt relief and warmth when she saw it. She didn't know why.
A sun had erupted within the Germa 66 kingdom.
A pillar of flame that reached to the heavens and blackened the ground and choked the air with its heat. At least twenty-five meters wide, she instinctively knew her brother was at the heart of it.
Maybe it'll be over in time?
Endlessly the power of a Conqueror bore down at her, sending shivers up her spine as she prepared to fight Straw Hat, heading towards him as slowly as possible as the leeway in her orders would allow—she could always claim it was confidence in the 'inevitable Vinsmoke victory.' Unfortunately for them both, this was not the first time she had fought a Conqueror, and possessed the will to resist—Wait! What if I didn't!?
Her own conditioning told her to obey, and engrained habit propelled her, yet maybe . . .
Screaming inside for her freedom, Reiju threw all that she had into giving up. Battering against the full iron weight of her programming, even as the weight of Straw Hat's will tried to crush her.
Suddenly the cold grip upon her spine was gone, and warmth suffused through her. Helping her.
While she snapped the chains in her mind.
She had finally lived up to the name her mother given her. She was finally Reiju.
Sensing her elation, Luffy immediately stopped using his Haki. He had felt the shift within her, and it was almost as if she were fighting a part of her own brain. Which was messed up.
Clearly she needed to beat on Sanji's old man some. And eat meat. Lots of meat. Meat made everything better.
Blinking, she stared deep into Luffy's eyes, and then jolted back as she realized she had gotten so close –without him ever hitting her— that they were almost directly face to face. Barely an inch between them. "Oh, uhm, I," she stammered.
"He's over there," he calmly told her, jerking his thumb over his shoulder.
Following the direction, she saw Sanji impassively standing over the King of the Vinsmokes.
Despite being almost half the man's height, Sanji casually held the man by the collar while the rest of his charred and broken body was slumped over.
You could still hear him gasping and sobbing.
Glancing over, Sanji looked to see Reiju hesitantly walking over. Over her shoulder, he could see the grim expression of his Captain. Although if Luffy was letting her approach, then all was good.
"Reiju," he simply replied.
"We've got a lot to talk about," she said, with a sad little smile.
"If you're sure."
"R-Reiju. H-help," Judge managed. "Help. D-Daughter."
Then his eyes widened farther as he saw her expression.
Yanking him out of Sanji's hands, she drew him close. "The Germa 66 will now die," she whispered so softly only the three of them could hear.
Stiffening in outrage and fear, he tried to get out one last order, but then shook as he started to froth at the mouth.
The 'gift' of poison he had forced upon her.
A single sentence, and a single breath of it.
Thus died Judge Vinsmoke.
Afterwards, seizing control of the interconnected castles that were present was fairly straightforward. Yonji could hardly stand up to the three of them, and in short order was stripped of his Raid Suit and put in a medical coma.
He was so outclassed it did not even warrant happening on-screen.
(Not that we know anything about being on-screen, we are writers for kraken's-sake, not animators.)
Reiju and Sanji were Vinsmokes, and everyone within the entire nation were brought up to obey them. True, there were two others away on a mission, including the oldest son, yet Reiju was already making plans for when they arrived.
The final deciding factor was how everyone of the Germa 66 remembered how Judge had trumpeted on about 'survival of the fittest,' and now one of his children was apparently emerged the stronger. Thus Queen Reiju settled in without issue.
Now for a happy ending!
"This still isn't going to end well," Sanji growled, lighting a cigarette.
He and Luffy were with Reiju in her private quarters, trying to decide what to do next.
"I'm not going to get married, but Big Mom will have Zeff and the others killed! Or Ivankov and the Okamas!"
Reiju's face was scowling in thought. While her face was pristine, Sanji's sensitive nose (despite nicotine's best efforts) could smell the salty tang of a woman's tears; she had been crying earlier, when she had had a chance alone after everything had settled down. He knew how she felt. Despite everything, that man had still been . . . family. The only father she knew.
While he had been a diseased part of their lives, he remained a part of it.
"Sanji," Luffy sighed, "don't worry. We'll take care of it, and everything'll work out!"
"No buts! Now, it's lunchtime, I'm hungry…so go make something, okay?"
Blinking, Sanji realized that it was indeed after noon. More importantly, he realized he could cook. Here. In the Germa 66! For his Captain and sister! Oh Mellorine~, it was wonderful!
Reiju had been about to tell Luffy –he insisted upon being called that— off for ordering her brother around, except that Sanji's face had lit up with joy and purpose.
"Of course Captain!" he barked, and scampered off. "I'll show these people how a real chef cooks!"
She blinked at the sudden shift, yet Luffy just started to laugh.
Seeing her looking at him, he explained. "Sanji's happiest when cooking for those he cares for. This'll calm him down."
"Oh," she smiled. "Thank you."
"No problem, Reiju," he grinned back. "So, what can you tell me about yourself?"
"Myself?" she asked in surprise.
"Yeah. What's your dream?"
Opening her mouth to answer, she realized nothing came to mind. Oh sure, there was testing and sampling different poisons, and she did enjoy fighting and sparring, but other than that? Something unrelated to being one of the 'Army of Evil' . . . ?
At one point it was trying to destroy the Germa, or to at least live to see its demise. To end their lineage. Before that, she used to dream of being a normal girl with normal family. She can't even pinpoint when this dream stopped.
But here she is now as their Queen. The irony.
Was this considered a dream? Was she even capable of having one anymore?
"I really don't have any," she confessed. "Could you give me some suggestions? Or tell me about yours and Sanji's adventures?"
Once more his face brightened up the room, and he began to ramble on in a disjointed way about all the things he had done with his crew, and what they liked to do, and how maybe she would like those things too.
It was the most enthralling thing Reiju had ever listened to.
So this is my fiancé . . . He's so different. So . . . Luffy. I can't believe I've met him like this! Even the way he's treating me, it's just like another person. Why, if I didn't know better, I'd say he doesn't even know we were supposed to be engaged! That's so sweet of him!
I wonder what being with him for the rest of my life would've been like, she wistfully wondered. Maybe . . .
Something conflicted clenched within her as she realized the truth: the wedding was likely still on. Big Mom would not take such an ungracious insult lying down, and her wrath would be terrible to behold. While she could crush the Germa 66 for all she cared, queen or no, it would also fall upon Luffy and Sanji as well. Although, maybe I could leave with them . . . ?
I need to think about this. Hopefully they'll work with me on this.
Sanji had just finished setting up a hasty lunch –a mere six courses—and was determining which vintage of wine was best to go with it, when Luffy showed up.
"Hold yer horses, I'm nearly finished," he snapped reflexively, ignoring the flinches from the other cooks who had been watching him 'show 'em how it was done.'
"Nah," Luffy chuckled. "Reiju said she wanted to change before we ate, so I came to see you."
"Oh, okay," he managed. He spent another minute finally deciding which wine to use, relishing in the familiarity of the task, even within such an alien environment. Not that Luffy cared about wine . . . He demolish everything, be it food or drink. That was no excuse to create anything short of his best of course. Besides, he knew his sister would enjoy it.
The familiarity of cooking art, with Luffy beside him, was helping his nerves to finally settle.
I guess having that idiot glutton around won't be so bad after all. Maybe this'll all work out after all. We've just got to find a way out of this mess, and keep Zeff and those stupid cooks that tag along after him alive.
In the East Blue
"Get your wanted posters of 'Black Leg' Sanji!" a waiter said as he swerved around the tables. "The famous pirate who used to work here!"
"Luffy," he calmly said, "we're talking about an Emperor here. Big Mom won't stop, and we don't have a clue where the rest of the crew are. How're we supposed to do this?"
"Huh?" Luffy whined, trying to steal food from one of the plates. "Why're you talking like an idiot, Sanji?"
"I'm serious!" he snapped. "This isn't something we can just punch our way through!"
His precious Captain blew a raspberry at him. "Stupid Sanji, what d'you thinks going to happen? Zoro and the others will come to us. Count on it! And Big Mom's the bigger idiot!"
"The New World is too weird," moaned Nami.
In front of them was an elephant so ridiculously massive it reached the clouds, casually walking through the ocean. Suddenly it twitched its head as if in pain, and the fog cleared for them to see a massive fleet of ships at its rear legs. Even from here they could make out the swarm of bodies scaling up its hide.
"Who are they, and is there any reason why I shouldn't cut them up?" Zoro calmly asked.
"None whatsoever," Law answered, hefting his own blade. "That's the Jolly Roger of Kaidou the Emperor," he added. "Zou is under attack."
~~To Be Continued…~~
Sayonara Canon! :-D
Yes, there were some changes to the anime-only fight between Sanji and Yonji, including the lack of Diable Jambe. The reason is because when we see Yonji next in the manga, he has no signs of burn wounds.
Reiju's name basically means 'zero' in Japanese, continuing the naming convention. But with this additional detail about what her name can mean, you realize just how in-depth Oda can get . . .
Some might rightfully point out that Sanji never really wanted Judge dead; he is just that compassionate. Plus, he knew Luffy would be disappointed. Reiju however is a different story, and Luffy has no real authority or influence over her that he is going to use. Moreover, Reiju has gone through many more years of that filth than Sanji.
And let us be honest, was anyone disappointed to see that man die?
We do apologize for how short Judge's death was, and once more let us be honest with each other; we all hate him like we hate guys like Doflamingo, Blackbeard, Akainu, etcetera. His death was never going to be satisfying enough.
As for Reiju's last scene, how many of you previously noticed how conveniently Katakuri (genuinely) forgot to mention that Luffy was due for a wedding too . . . ?
Please Review, and we will get back to you!