Warning: AU. Written in Sanjis point of view, but really has very little to do with the cook.

Note: I wrote this a few months ago and I don't remember if this fic was edited by anyone, so if your find any mistakes, please review and tell me. Umm... what else to say? This fic takes plave a few weeks before my other fic When the World Ends.. and Oh yeah, and only in a world where Dué le quartz is still together, Miyavi is madly in love with me, and Die and Shinya from Dir en Grey can't live without me do I own One Piece. In other words, not in this life time (but hopefully the next:).

Only When They're Not Around
by Strawberry Mango

I've abandoned the man who wanted to make my dreams come true. I let him die, not even trying to rescue him. I've killed my best friend, although I would never tell him that he was, is, and always will be my best friend, letting him commit suicide by drowning. I even let his body sink to the bottom of the ocean, not bothering to retrieve it. You can call me a heartless bastard, I don't mind. Saying that their death didn't impact me would be lying though. It hurts. A lot. But now, with our Captain and that moss-haired swordsmen gone, someone had to take charge of this heart broken crew. Usoppu is gone. He's somewhere in the grand line looking for One Piece. He thinks that I'm running away; perhaps I am. We live on land now, since I cannot stand the ocean anymore. It reminds me too much of our everything turned nothing, of our Captains eternally smiling face, and of that swordsmen who dreamed of the impossible that I believed he would reach one day.

What could I have done to make things better? Should I have gone after One Piece as Usoppu had suggested? Would that have brought back Luffy and that directionally-challenged young hothead? No. I believe I did the right thing, staying by Nami and Choppers side, I just hope I'm doing it the right way. Truthfully, I'm frightened. I am without a Captain and a fun-to-argue-with best friend, I have not heard from Usoppu in three months, Nami has taken up the habit of drinking, smoking, and sleeping around, and Chopper has started to show signs of insanity.

I am now responsible for everything and everyone. When Luffy first left us, I had turned to that suicide-committing idiot for leadership, I never thought he would drown himself when we needed him most. With unspoken words exchanged, the three of the remaining crew members had turned me into their leader. The three of them expected me to be a wonderful leader, someone who makes all the right choices, someone who could bring back all that we've lost. They expected too much from me, they want instant, long lasting happiness, and that is something only Luffy could give.

I asked myself over and over again, "What could I do to make us happy again?" I told them to forget about it, no more pirates, no more Luffy, no more Zoro. I told them that I had decided that it would be best to settle somewhere and try to forget the ones we lost. All four of us knew that that would be impossible. Usoppu disagreed with what I had to say, and he too, left us. He wants to complete our Captains dream. I still consider myself to be responsible for him though. I'm worried sick. If he gets hurt, I blame no one but myself. I can only pray that getting hurt will the the worst that happens to him. I will wait for the day that Usoppu comes to find us with the title of the Pirate King.

What can I do to make Nami-san pure again? I haven't seen a sober Nami-san for two month now. She leaves the small two-bedroom apartment we live in as soon as she wakes up in the afternoon while I am at work. I get home at around ten to a completely dark and seemingly empty apartment. Chopper likes to keep all the lights off when he's home alone. I stay up and wait in the kitchen until about 3 or 4 in the morning, thats usually when Nami-san comes home completely and utterly wasted, sometimes with or without a man to keep her company for that night. I wait because I have so much to say to her, but when I see her, I do not know how to put it in words. The only help I could give her now is to just stand by her and give her a place to live. I promise myself to talk to her once I figure out what to say.

Chopper is beginning to pick up strange habits such as insisting to keep the lights off, having a two person conversation with himself and only himself, and sitting in dark corners mumbling thing, I could never make out what. What can I do to make Chopper turn to his old and usual self? As of this moment, I am most concerned for Chopper. He's showing signs of insanity, but then again, I could never be sure. We're going through hard times, and this may just be Choppers way of dealing with things. Hopefully, he will snap out of it in a few weeks. I will wait until then but will take action if things get worse.

In the end, the only thing I could do is wait. Wait for a letter from Usoppu. Wait for the right time to converse with Nami-san. Wait for Chopper to snap out of his phase. Its 3 in the morning now. I'm sitting in the kitchen doing the thing I do best. Waiting. I try my best living out each day by day by smiling and being optimistic. I am no Luffy, but I am trying. From the outside, I hear the jingling of keys and the sound of footsteps making their way to the front door. The door opens and an overly drunken Nami-san ungracefully steps through.

"Nami-san!" I flash the brightest smile I could conjure at her. She does not bother to give me a second glance as she walks through our tiny living room and straight to her own room. The door closes behind her with a bang. My smile fades.

"Welcome home,"


Theres nowhere else to run