Foreword: Moved a little faster this time. I'm not sure where I'm going with this chapter, but I do hope it'll go on without seeming too weird. Do note that Sanji refers to Luffy as 'captain' quite a few times - it's his own way of avoiding thinking too much of the other's name.

Author's Note: Sorry this one took, again, a long time! My writing style seems to have changed though, and I'm not quite sure I like it. I do hope those that still remember this fic aren't too disappointed with this. I'm trying my best to continue this. The ending is completely due to being too tired to write on, and OOCness is to be blamed on lack of water.

Other Notes:

woopie - Sorry, I don't dance - my body seems to be too stiff for that. I'm sure Luffy and Sanji wouldn't mind dancing though...

Griever5 - Hope you still like it, after what I've done with it this time.

Merayna - And I haven't updated for quite a while as well, so we're even. I tried to make it go slow, as in step by step, but it seems my patience for this fic has worn thin - which means things have begun to go faster. I do hope you don't mind.

crimson nightmare - I noticed that in your profile, you said that you like Luffy x Sanji. Personally, I never did care about who's seme or who's uke and the such, as I'm under eighteen and really, it's not that much of a bother to me. I try not to make any character out of character (that's a rather hard sentence to say...) though, and especially since Luffy's by far my favorite character of the series, I try my best to make him his usual lovely self. And...angsty!Luffy can only appear for so long without getting lured by something else, correct?

Step by Step: Step Six

I'm tired.

It's been a long week, one full of insane demands from both my captain and the beloved navigator of the ship. I wouldn't mind cooking, but there was other things requested, including several that has much to do with the past few islands we pasted. Fulfilling Nami-san's requests are something I would never complain about, but it was tiring all the same.

And naturally, our ever-hungry captain would never stop his quest for food.

Now that I finally have time to rest, I realized how exhausted I was. Sitting down with nothing to do for the first time in a week, I proceeded to think about what's been happening around me.

Undoubtedly, my thoughts went to my captain.

It's funny how so much could happen, yet at one point you realize in a sudden that everything around you hasn't changed. Before he told me the fact that he's in love with me, I felt a pressure around me, binding me with the duty to act. Then, he says the words, and my mind was brought to a mess for a while - until he smiles to me again, and asks me to cook for him.

Just like always.

He's always loved me, so whether or not I know doesn't matter.

I felt rather stupid for not thinking of this earlier. Luffy would never angst over something for long, especially if food could be brought out to repay it.

And the tension I've felt was all one-sided, for Luffy's too cheerful for that, far beyond the extent of normal people like me.

Because of that, I enjoy cooking for my captain far more than ever before (before knowing he loves me) - he always smiles back at me, a look that manages to assure me everything's all right, it's all right not to love him; he's the kind of person that wouldn't hate you for refusing him or turning him down (though I haven't).

I still owe him an answer.

No, it's not like he's asking for an answer. It's more like my own heart tells me I owe him a full answer, at least when I find out what it is. There's still a lot to think about, and I still can't quite grasp what I'm trying to think.

One thing for sure: there's something different.

I took a glance at the clock - time to prepare dinner. Oh well, I already got a good rest, even if I did spend half the time in thoughts. Plus, the smile on his face would be worth everything.

And surprising myself, I called out: "Luffy!"

Loud noises of things banging into each other were heard, but after a while, the kitchen door was finally opened by the energetic captain.

"You called me?"

I thought for a while, and decided on what I wanted to say, "Would you mind accompanying me while I prepare dinner?"

"...Why? Do you need me for anything?"

"No, but it gets a little lonely..."

"Then sure!"

His reply came too fast to be well thought out, but I knew before I even try thinking about it that it's alright with me. Sometimes, his simplicity can become his most interesting traits.

For a while, everything was near perfection as I cook while he sat there, his eyes fixed on me. Then, he started clicking his tongue; after a while, he started tapping his feet; then, it was his hands, moving along the table.

I was losing my temper.

"Luffy, if you're that keen on leaving, just do so!"

"But it's boring-"

I sighed, I'd wanted to try talking to him, but I didn't know how to start. And it seems like Luffy's mind was completely off talking, and completely on eating.

Guess it's still not time to talk about certain things, even when everything seems so smooth already.

"Dinner's almost ready, just...go out and play, or something."

He did exactly that.

I tried to imagine a conversation in my head. Would I ever be able to talk things over with him? What can I say? More importantly, what's going on in his mind? He appears to have returned to normal without a trace, as if he's never even been in love with me - and, though there's things that are still there (I still save him from the water most of the time, for one), I still feel the need of the tension that was between us.

I wonder if he's still in love with me, after my reactions.

I need him.