Night and Day

A Post-Piracy Sanji Side Story

By Aoikami Sarah

Original characters Harmony Sairen, Opus, Bravo, Kerodo Clef, Rubato, Rupert Krähe and Mokuhana Gen belong to aks. Weda, Hare, Dama, etc. belong to Kindaichi Renjuro.

This story takes place in my fanfiction "The Pirate King is Dead - Long Live the Pirate King" where Luffy was captured, nearly executed and subsequently freed. The crew has split up. We join Sanji on his way to tell my original character Harmony Sairen (who first appears in the fic "A Pirate's Life For Me! We Need A Musician!") that Luffy is alive and well.

If you have already read "The Pirate King is Dead - Long Live the Pirate King" you can skip ahead to chapter 3. -aks

Chapter One - Eulogy for a Pirate King

Under the stars, Sanji leaned against the railing and watched the black water churn around the ship. Vivi had found him passage on a trade ship carrying dates and textiles, the first ship leaving Arabasta that evening for the west. What it lacked in glamour, it made up for in speed, but it was still slow in Sanji's mind.

To anyone else aboard he appeared calm, cool and collected. He took a drag off his cigarette and rolled the filter between his fingers. "Can't this piece of shit boat move any faster?" he muttered to himself. He rolled his shoulders and cracked his neck. 'No use,' he thought. 'Might as well enjoy the view.'

He turned and watched Arabasta disappear behind them. He wanted to get this over with as soon as possible. Not that he had anywhere to go. Without a crew of reliable, strong friends, further travel along the Grand Line was out of the question. His search for All Blue was effectively put on a major hiatus. He needed to sort out what he was doing and where he was going, but in the time it had taken him to travel from Rogue Town he hadn't been able to decide on anything.

Vivi offered him a job as Royal Chef to the Nefertari family, which Sanji declined. He lied when he told her Kohza's name didn't sound familiar. He knew things between he and her childhood friend would be awkward, especially when he couldn't contain his outbursts of affection. Sanji could see it now; a state dinner, dignitaries everywhere, the royals dressed to the nines and him mooning over Vivi with huge hearts in his eyes asking Vivi-chan how she liked the pan-seared sea bass.

He crushed out one cigarette and lit another. "I hate waiting," he grumbled. He stared at the expanse of stars and sighed. For the first time in many years, Sanji sang.

"Bed sheet waves mirror the night sky. And the stars sway and sparkle more than those in the heavens do…" he sang quietly, an octave lower than she would have. "Why am I so nervous?" he asked the darkness. "She's not a little girl anymore. I should be happy about that, shouldn't I?" He pictured an older, curvaceous, long-lashed, long-legged, dark-skinned, pink-haired girl whose velvety voice made him weak. He clutched the railing tightly. "Why don't I want to see her?"

.x.

Harmony ran a brush through her sausage-curl bangs one more time and they sprung right back into place. She adjusted her trade-mark huge bow, checked her hair from the back with a small mirror and stared at her reflection. She was surrounded, as usual, by flowers of every shape and color imaginable delivered from her fans. She recalled a time over five years ago when a strange young man opened her dressing room door, let himself into her life, and changed it forever.

She looked up at the door's reflection and tried to imagine him standing there, unblinking with that stubborn look on his face that said 'my mind is made up'.

"Say yes," she whispered and clutched the brush. Someone knocked at the door. Harmony wiped a few tears from her eyes before answering.

"Five minutes to curtain, Miss Sairen," a blue-haired man in a sleek, black tuxedo informed her.

"Thank you."

"Are you sure you're ready?" he asked, noting the tissue she worried.

"It's been a week. That's more than enough mourning for me, for the fans and for him. I owe it to all of us to go on stage tonight." She got up and followed the man out, pausing to touch the large wooden box that stood to the left of the door. "Wish me luck, Vincento."

The theatre in the Casino Sea Note was filled to capacity. In the back, the walls were lined with even more fans who accepted standing-room-only just to see the legendary Harmony Sairen perform for the first time in a week. The house lights dimmed and the room filled with applause even before the curtain went up.

Sanji leaned against the wall and watched, wide-eyed as the orchestra began playing a soft, sweet melody. The audience quieted. The curtain parted and standing in the single spotlight was Harmony, wearing sparkling gold jewelry and a pale green dress that hugged her curves and fell all the way to the floor. She put her right gloved hand to a large microphone on a stand in front of her. "Good evening," she said quietly. "Welcome to the Sea Note. I apologize for my absence. You see," she said, her voice following the pace of the music mounting behind her. "I've lost someone very dear to me. I hope that everyone who wanted to see me last week will enjoy this evening. This show is for him."

The notes sounded familiar, but until she started singing, Sanji wasn't sure he'd heard the song before. It was completely re-arranged, slower, somber and beautiful in a way he never imagined it could be.

"Wanted, wanted…" she sang slowly. "The best nakama in the world. Wanted, wanted, the best feeling… Who was he? He was Monkey D. Luffy… The man who became the Pirate King…"

Sanji's heart went into his throat. If she sang one more line like that one, he knew he wouldn't make it through the performance without weeping. He debated going outside, but trying to get through the tightly packed crowd was not an option. Fortunately, the music swelled and picked up into a big-band version of "Wanted" much more in the style he remembered. Harmony snapped her fingers and smiled wide, her eyes glistened with tears, but her voice was clear and strong. "Dakara, kitto ai ni ikanakya! Mochi kirenakutte, kiechau maeni!"

She played and sang a set of about twenty songs, many of which Sanji recognized as the ones she had written for his nakama. The orchestra geared up for the finale. Harmony picked up a violin and played a plaintive melody that built up before breaking into a rolling beat. Sanji covered his mouth with his hand and trembled slightly.

Aritakeno yume o kakiatsume
Sagashi monno sagashi ni yuku no sa
Pocket no coin, soreto you wanna be my friend?
We are, we are, on the cruise! We are! We are! We are!

We will gather up all of our dreams And go searching for our desires A coin in the pocket, you wanna be my friend? We are, we are, on the cruise! We are! We are! We are!"

With the last 'we are' the lights went out. In a moment they were back up and Harmony was gone. The crowd exploded with applause, whistles and cheers. Sanji remained pressed against the wall as the lights came up and the patrons filed out. His eyes were hidden by hair. No one paid attention to the tears streaming down his cheeks.