by Purple Mongoose/PallaPlease
Shtuff: Here it is, something that people have hinted at and mulled over! Well, kinda. Anyway! A chapter from Sanji's point of view (such as the case may be), with a smoochie of sorts – I leave you to agonize over that horrible mini-cliffhanger, but first! It really does mean a lot to me that you all have taken the time to review. :] Also, the layout of this chapter is somewhat hectic in design and whatnot: the first bit (before the double-dash that separates the scenes as evidenced in the other chapters – why am I using big words?!) follows the nightclub instance, and the second bit is Sunday evening, followed by Monday. Lovely, isn't it? I'm sure it just rivets you with a deep chocolate gooey-ness. *laughs and winks*
Sanji: I've been told in the OP section that I can characterize him very well, so odds are he'll be in character (*juts out chest* Me big rooster on farm! Me write character much good!) – just keep in mind he's a foul-mouthed guy who tends to be an idiot. 0o; Are we surprised?
Eep: Ah! I love you all so much! *hugs everyone* Thank you for being so supportive of me!
Continuity: Yay! I think I've covered this enough times…but this chappie, I hint at modernized OP continuity! Oo, what could it mean? (I…haven't a clue. *massive sweatdrop*)
Summary: [One Piece/Sailor Moon] When Minako's plan for a relaxing evening after defeating the universe's greatest evil involved a nightclub, Ami was by no means expecting to actually enjoy herself!
What's New (Scooby-Doo): Sanji had plenty of time to mull over everything that happened – from a dance, to a kiss, to an interrupted talk. With that in mind, he's got a few things left unresolved when Monday morning rolls 'round. (And, yes, this is a very short chapter. My apologies, all!)
Remember!: Friday evening (or, perhaps, Sunday morning), Sunday evening, and Monday morning. Friday, Sunday, Monday! Those are the separated parts below. *waggles finger* Dontcha be fergettin' naow!
I've got one hand in my pocketAnd the other one's holding a cigarette…
-Alanis Morisette, 'One Hand in My Pocket'
He was strongly reminded of why, exactly, he was not particularly fond of alcohol in any form, pinching his nose as he tucked the lapels of his tie back together in an absent manner and flipped the keys on the metal ring about in smooth loops. A small slip of polished metal was gripped in his palm, fingers twisting the key into the shadowed slot that took it in with a clink, and he leaned his forehead against the sturdy material of the apartment door to take in a calming breath. The roiling nausea was a privately embarrassing reminder of his problems holding his liquor, and it took a moment's pause to restore his delicate sense of balance to a degree safe enough that he would keep from pitching through, say, a window. That tended to be rather painful, if he recalled his currently somewhat fuzzy memories in a correct manner.
"The hell," he muttered, shouldering the door aside and stepping cautiously into the dim shades of the darkened apartment, shoes scuffling over the metal bridge guarding the hallway from the thin platform of the cement outside. Pinning the dead stub of a cigarette clenched in his mouth, he ripped it away and tossed it to the rippled cement, rocking back over the outer strip to grind the smoldering nub under his strong heel and licking his lips at the dry taste lining the smooth folds. Sanji passed a lean hand through his gold hair, strands of the dark yellow shifted out of careful alignment over the course of the evening and early morn; he hazarded a peering glance at his watch as he sidled fully into the apartment and tugged the door shut with a slick noise at his back, recognizing barely the digits signifying it was nearly four in the morning of Sunday.
At least it'd been worth it, he reflected with a smug little smile as his fingers got caught in the worn necks of his polished shoes and yanked stubbornly at the leather contraptions until they finally gave way, popping away from his feet and exposing the socks to the air conditioned coolness without. "Beautiful women everywhere," he grinned brightly, kicking his shoes aside and peeling off the socks next, wriggling his bare toes in the thin carpeting to welcome a freedom of the traces of lint. "God, I love civilized society: women, music, and every damn vice on the planet in one easy location." The practiced Japanese gave way to his natural English, a learned language slipping with ease into the practiced expertise of the language he had been taught in first.
As he exhaled and drew in a deep breath of the manufactured air, rolling onto the toes of his feet and arching his heels into the air, he twisted his shoulders back, stretching his arms out to their gangly lengths and curling his fingers into backward curves. Muscles and joints popped with satisfying little sounds, and he blew out a strong gust of air, a wavering vein of small grey tinging it for just a moment as the remaining nicotine-shafted smoke left his body. Unfortunately, when he twisted his heels around and snapped into the natural pose of ordinary stance, he staggered just a bit, the remnant effects of the two drinks making themselves well known by way of dizziness and a brief assault of sickness in his gut.
"Oh, hell, I hate drinking," he muttered under his breath, sucking in air and pinching his lips shut to steady his momentary sense of health, or lack thereof. "Social drinking can kiss my ass," and he strode in quick steps over the mildly littered floor to the small dinette attached to the also obnoxiously undersized foyer-and-all-purpose-room, heading directly to the deep sink positioned strategically in the counter near the refrigerator and the skinny hallway leading to it.
Leaning over, he shoved the faucet's jutting cold-water bar up with the swell of his palm, sending a noisy cascade of icy water pouring musically into the metallic sink, and he ducked his face into the stream of freezing water. His lips puckered in automatic response to the numbing cold, darkly lidded eyes flickering shut to protect the sharp black-blue orbs from the stinging droplets, and he gritted his teeth, not enjoying the sensation but stubborn enough to force himself to endure it. Gradually, he ceased to notice the uncomfortable fountain and blew warm air out of his centered mouth, lower lip cupping over his upper lip as he tossed the air up to sweep away dampened strands of hair from his slitted eyes.
Sanji pulled himself back, slowly, from the tumbling river of water and twisted his wettened fingertips into the loose knot of his tie, prying at the ebony cloth and flipping the back tail over the lumped center, and he dipped his head to unhook the tie from his neck. Folding the cloth over in his hand, he rested it smoothly on the spotless counter, rubbing his soaked palms over the thighs of his black pants before hurriedly shifting the faucet back off, and he drummed his right hand's fingers over the stretch of skin left open to the cooling air where the first button of his shirt gave way. He hesitated, pausing his motions as he wrinkled his curled eyebrows together in distant thought, and his fingertips stilled, rubbing softly at the curved dip in his collarbone and rolling his lips to rid himself of the empty feel there.
"Shit, where are my cigarettes?" he muttered, patting his hands at his pockets and then at the left side of his chest in search of a breast pocket that did not exist. "Shit!" he swore louder, shifting aside on his bare feet and stabbing his hands deep into the pockets of his trousers, fingers wriggling around in vain hopes of finding a desperately wanted pack of cigarettes. "God damn it, I know I'm not out," he continued irritatedly, narrowing his visible eye and passing his cuff over his lips, wiping away what few droplets of water remained, "so where the hell are they?"
Storming into the thin, dark hall that led to the two bedrooms and solitary bathroom, he kicked the door at the skinny end open with a shove of his wide foot against the wood, and he glowered at his cousin's soullessly tidy room as though it had personally offended him. He flipped the light switch on and bit his teeth down habitually, a thoughtless behavior meant to slip down on a nonexistent cigarette, finding his arrogant cousin was in no way present: the bed had no suspicious lumps, there was no unconscious man on the floor, and the closet was far too organized with clothing to fit anyone in it. A tic formed in his cheek as he suppressed the urge to kick his cousin's bed out of a childish impulse, and he groaned, rolling his head forward and back, calling under his control the nerves that had been frayed by a lack of rest.
"Shittin' hell with jet lag," he grumbled, recalling his own stubborn insistence that he was not suffering jet lag at all and grimacing as he flicked the light off, yanking the door into a noisy thundering click while stepping away back down the hall. Shuffling over the carpeting, he cracked his neck painlessly, sharply turning it from one side to the other, and launched himself into the strenuous exercises that served as both escape route and physical release.
His hands met the ground for only a moment, fingers streaming out in a gripping forest of skin and bone, and he swung his legs up like a double-belled pendulum, creasing the limbs from the last swath of hall over his body and onto the carpeting of the cramped foyer. He remembered the girl he had first danced with, an innocent one at odds with the cruder women he had spent the rest of the night flirting with, and a grin crossed his face, encouraging his circus of pummeling feet with the well of adrenaline he shoved out into presence. Clasping his hands together at his back, he swirled around in a dervish of kicking, legs striking up at sharp angles, and exhaled warmth in the cold.
"God, she was nice," he smiled, lashing his foot out in a whipped cord hidden by dark cotton.
He was carefully ladling an extension of the crimson sauce to pillow on top of the thousand interloping noodles, thin streaks of white that circled in on one another as an elaborate design of Italian cooking perfection, when the phone rang cold syllables of shrill noise, and he paused, holding the spiked utensil in his hand. Shaking it with restrained strength, he tilted it onto the side, draining the sauce cradled in its smooth dip over the few noodles left untouched, and turned on his heel, the flannel cloth of his pajamas pinned beneath the calloused press of his foot's sole. He tugged at the back knee of his pajama bottoms, raising his leg to assist his attempts to peel the cloth free of its clinging tightness, and crossed the floor quickly to the sink, padding along the pebbly tiles. As the phone insistently rang, he rinsed the ladle quickly, gently under the whirlpool of water splashing from the faucet, wiggling it shiftily and studying the red-dripped water pouring through the angled sides, and Sanji knocked it against the side of the sink, a shower of faint droplets sprinkling down whilst he cut off the flow.
Setting the ladle on the draining board, he rubbed his hands over the wrinkled apron lassoed about the pajamas' waistband and reached for the phone, impatiently striking aside the coiling wire tying phone to base. "Speak," he stated bluntly, forgetting to use the Japanese that was of lower nature to him than English, and he followed it with, having few scruples over social etiquette, "Jinsei, you shit, you better have one hell of an excuse for skipping out and leaving me to deal with the apartment crap."
The sound of his cousin laughing, a dry, humorless noise that irritated him further into the aggravated state of existence undoubtedly unhealthy for him, answered his flatly angry query, and he gritted his teeth, fingers of his other hand fumbling in the large front pocket of the apron drawn tight around him. Pulling free a cigarette from the absently opened carton, he popped it between his teeth and chewed down, hard, channeling his aggression into the motion.
"I'm so glad to be talking to you, too," the voice said cruelly in perfect English, as he snatched up the lighter deposited on the counter and clipped it open, holding the light frantically to the end of his cigarette for the soothing nicotine. "Trust me, I'm sorry I pissed you off by actually having a job, but I was called to Hokkaido and I won't be returning to Honshu for a week or so. I thought I'd call and let you know I hope you didn't kill yourself by accident."
Sanji spoke a particularly unpleasant curse involving a few choice expletives and a crude reference to intimate relations with a blender.
"You goddamn," he gestured vaguely, frustrated, trying to find a word explosive and volatile enough to share his rage, and was finally able to snap, "eggplant!" Before Jinsei had time to laugh in expected sarcastic laughter at the chosen insult, he continued to snap off, "I had to pay all the damn bills you left behind, dumbass, which took a helluva lot out of my paycheck, and I swear to God I am going to kill you if you do that again."
"Of course, kamo," replied his cousin politely and he slammed the phone down onto the receiver, nearly biting clean through the tan butt of his cigarette as he wrinkled his nose furiously, eyebrows tilting dangerously.
"Go to hell, you bastard!" he snarled to the cheerfully unresponsive phone, flexing his fingers around the sleek plastic as he harnessed the dissatisfied feeling currently pulsing in his mind, and he yanked the phone back from the base. Swearing loudly and enthusiastically, he smashed it to the molded receiver, rearing his arm back several times and crashing it onto the base until his fury was suitably waived, and he let it tumble lazily to the waiting, abused plastic that was part of its design. "Shit," he groaned, weaving his right hand through his blonde hair and scratching idly at the left side of his bangs, passing fingertips gingerly over his hidden eyebrow.
He drummed slowly wearing fingers on the counter's angled edge and blew a noisy breath of air out in an upwards tilt, smacking his palm forcefully on the shined surface as he pulled back and calmly strolled to the abandoned dish of Italian food, snagging a chilled can of drink he had left on the counter. Gripping both all but tenderly in his hands, one palm made red by the unheralded abuse he had used it for in punishment of the telephone, he picked a quick way over the clean, vacuumed floor to the small, cramped chair centered near the flat television hooked to the wall over a dark brown dresser. The lanky blonde seated himself cautiously, one hand balancing under the plate to hold it in tentative place, the other wrapped securely around the dripping can, and relaxed a little toward the armchair's machine-pressed spine.
"Thank God for the small things," he murmured to himself, tucking the can between his knees - or as close to between his knees as possible what with the way his obscene height folded itself up when he sat - and balancing the plate on his lap as he wielded a small fork previously tucked casually into the epicenter of the noodles. Twisting the silver tines deep into the engulfing pool of stained ivory slips, he ducked his head forward briefly, lancing the spiraled fork into his mouth and rolling his lips so as to peel the spaghetti into his mouth, and he chewed quickly, flicking his eyes to the ceiling thoughtfully. Swallowing, he nodded brusquely to himself, stabbing the noodles again with the fork as he tapped the slender length of his forefinger on the shaped metal.
"Could've used a bit more basil in the sauce," he murmured, digging the tines further in, "and the tomato is a bit thick. Damn! Amateur mistakes, amateur mistakes." He paused to work his jaw reflectively over the noodles and tipped his thumb over the end of his nose, nibbling at the tail noodle residing over the lower swell of his mouth in quietly placid wait before swiftly suctioning it onto his tongue and chewing it with grand ease. Rocking his head to the side, he twisted his shoulder into a looping rise-and-fall circle to loosen the hovering tension gripping the muscles lining twixt bone and skin.
A frown tugged at his mouth as he considered something forgotten, his curly eyebrow tilting up as he slid down the worn cloth of the armchair, pinning fork between his teeth and clipping the cigarette free of his warm mouth, then taking the fork to place it on the plate. He turned his elbow over the sagging chair's arm, three fingers clasping the can to palm and thumb as the other picked the cigarette firmly across the slick moistness around the aluminum metal of the same can, and blew smoke through a curved pursing of his lips as his eyes drifted shut. The other hand played with the smooth edge of the plate's glazed surface and he nearly fell into a sudden, unexpected slumber at the filling laziness seeping at his limbs and mind with paralyzing warmth.
"Nah!" cried Sanji to himself, snapping his pale blue eyes open and straightening quickly, and he tucked the can into a slumped slouch beside him as he flipped the cigarette about in an opposing direction. Crushing the smoldering tip between his fingers, he winced slightly at the explosive heat and merely flicked the vice away into a small trashcan near the chair, shaking his shoulders and lifting the can, popping the tab efficiently. "Can't go to sleep," he said stubbornly, taking a deep swig of the soda and stretching his legs strongly into the air before him as the plate balanced dangerously across his thighs. "I am a young, healthy individual. God, did this go flat?" He studied the soda with a wrinkled expression and dubious downward twitch of his one visible eye.
"Oh, of course," he commented gleefully to the empty apartment, downing another hefty sip of his drink anyway, "I forgot my angelic love! What am I, turning into the Hulk?" He paused for a moment of introspection, sipping with great sincerity at his drink. "Although, all three personalities of him got Betty Ross, so…uh-hnn." Striking his partnering hand to the side of his head, he rolled his eyes and swallowed another gulp of soda, patting fingertips across the dripping surface of the soda can and absently taking another strong bite of his self-prepared dinner.
"Anyway, I'm losing perspective here," his seen eye closed philosophically, drink held at odds with his body as the forefinger peeled from the can's sleek surface to jab intellectually into the air, "which is so very unintelligent. How suave can I be if I must continually speak of such embarrassing things?" His eye cracked open, the strong eyelid lidded fractionally, and he admitted sheepishly to himself, turning his chin down and lowering his finger slowly back to the can, "Even if I do like them."
Clearing his throat, he took a draught of the drink and paused, a hesitant look crossing his face as he stared, lost, at the wall clearly, proudly opposing him with a blank solitude.
"I seem to have forgotten what I was doing," he told the wall, sipping emptily at the can as his eyebrow twisted even further up.
Sunlight pierced the folded skin of his eyelid sharply, lightly wiggling its way into prominence along his hidden blue eye, and he grimaced, stretching his long limbs out and wincing when his feet unceremoniously slid off the far too short end of his cot bed. He could never understand how the Japanese people managed to sleep in such massively uncomfortable beds, though he supposed the fact that he was a good two feet taller than most Japanese people might be a considerable factor in his discomfort. In any case, he woke up in a pouty mood, lazily sitting up and hunching slightly as he blinked his eyes in discord, trying to capture a momentary flicker of anything other than weary apathy and bunching his hands together. "Damn sun," he finally managed to get out, twisting his neck quickly to pop out the kinks before swinging his legs over the side of the bed next to him after taking a moment to carefully extract the bedspread from his lengthy shins.
Sanji worked his arms to the side, lapsing his fingers together behind his head as his revealed eye closed thoughtfully, or more likely sleepily, and he stretched his arms back and up, arching back to tug at the muscles in his torso and upper legs. Almost immediately, he collapsed back into a marginally hunched sit, rubbing one hand at the soft outcropping of hairs along the contour of his chin, and he gripped the palm of his hand along the soft cloth of the sheets. "Something's hovering on the edge of my mind," he murmured, perplexed and miffed that he could not claim the thought, "and I have no idea what the damned hell it is. Shit, I hope it's not important."
His eye snapped open and he gaped, simultaneously angry and horrified as he repeated somewhat more passionately, "Shit! It is important! Damn it, morning shift, where the hell are my jeans?" He launched up from the bed, glancing wildly around for the cloth he needed to exchange his pajama bottoms for.
"I swear to God!" he swore. "How could my life get the hell worse?"
Notes: How indeed. :] I told ya'll it was short, and I apologize. Real quick, I have a translation note – kamo is Japanese for (wild) duck, as opposed to ahiru, which is (domestic) duck. I won't tell you who Jinsei, his cousin, is, but it'll be important in the future; you might note he called Sanji 'kamo' in their phone conversation. When asked what animals the various characters in One Piece could be, Eiichiro Oda sagely replied in the Q&A section that Sanji would be a duck. Don't ask me, I'm only going by what he said. ;]
Feedback: Give to Zim!
Disclaimer: I'm torn between laughing maniacally or sobbing hysterically.
Thanks: Yami Nocturna, I've just realized my fanfic isn't a romance anymore – it's comedy (with romance being the ultimate goal). Unexpected, no? Or maybe that's just me…and, yes, there are lots of people on-line who have similar names (although I still insist I was the first PallaPalla…even though I technically don't use it anymore). Devils Little Doll, many thanks, ma'am. I liked writing Mamoru and Usagi (more so than I would have expected a year ago, when I loathed him irrationally – why did I ever hate him?). Have fun victimizing people! The Misfit Dragon, *sobbing*! I'm trying to work on Requiem, I really am! But, argh, I have so many new fics I'm trying to work on…this, my Treasure Planet fanfic, Jackie Chan Adventures, straight-up One Piece, Trigun…you know what this means, right? Burnout, coming soon! ^.-; Reihn Midnite, sometimes ff.net has a momentary glitch…I've posted reviews before that ultimately weren't posted for whatever reason (how and why I'm not yet sure of). I've found I like Mamoru (preferably manga Mamoru, though post-SMR Mamoru is better in the anime). Dee-Chan, matchmakin' be a worthy way to spend yer time, argh! (Heh – I loved Treasure Planet just a bit much, can ye tell?) And plotting – plotting is good. Too bad I don't have the attention span for it…*sweatdrops* SailorPikaAngel, mwahahahaha! I feel omnipotent and powerful (which is really, really alarming). Ah, and Mamoru is one of Ami's close friends (as well as the cats, who I've been shortchanging and will be writing more of), and I don't think he was trying to insult or make fun of her with the "dating is evil" thing – she says, on a few occasions, similar things in the manga (and she isn't, of course, saying love is evil – just that she doesn't have the time or patience for it). :]
Extra: I'll give five dollars to the first person who gets the Britney Spears song out of my head.