A/N: Okay, so this is basically word for word from an RP that took place a while back, and just about all of Sanji's words and thoughts come courtesy of the totally awesome Robert(o), who I RP-ed with. It came out well, I was bored, so I decided to publish it. :] Also, I'm not going to lie; there's sex in here. Not in this chapter, but there is some. But it's tasteful I promise, really. Nothing smutty about it.
Disclaimer: I do not own One Piece. That would be the great Mr. Oda.
"Robin-chwan?" Sanji straightened his tie and knocked on her door. He was one of the few who granted the women on their ship their wanted space, but then again, he was also the one who pestered them relentlessly with showers of love and affection. "I made something for you~"
She looked up momentarily from her book, glancing at the clock.
"Damnit..." she cursed under her breath. She had missed dinner yet again, because she couldn't tear herself away from one of her many, many books. Again. "You can come in..."
Taking advantage of the green light, Sanji waltzed inside of her room with a little pep in his step so to speak, and with as much grace his skinny, lanky form provided, he played the part of a waiter and set her dinner on the nightstand, grinning wide. "Dinner is served, Robin-chwan," he said proudly, extending his arm to show off his latest dish. "Baked salmon with fresh tomatoes, onions, steamed rice and a special healthy drink only for my love~!"
Of course, he'd taken the extra time to arrange her food into some artistic display. No one ever questioned how or why, but Sanji displayed his food in perfect symmetry in the shape of a heart. He sighed longingly and stood there, awaiting compliments for the chef if she had any to offer.
She only blinked at the artistic display of food before her. It seemed his designs became more extravagant every time she saw them.
"It looks… my God, that looks amazing, but..." she bit her lip as she stopped herself. Granted, her stomach was about to cave in from the sheer hunger, but she still felt terrible for having him prepare extra whenever she missed dinner. It wasn't exactly fair. "I shouldn't. I hate that you have to do this so often..."
His face filled with disappointment as her voice trailed off, and Sanji put his hands up, trying to assure her that it was just fine. After all, Sanji didn't mind making extra for Robin or Nami. Had she been Luffy, Zoro or Usopp, this would be an entirely different story. "Robin-chwan, please," he insisted, smiling at her. "It would be a deep, deep insult to the chef if you didn't eat his food."
With a suave little smirk, he turned around and rummaged through a small drawer, pulled out a small, table candle, and set it on the nightstand with her food. He lit it with his cigarette. "Besides, I'd hate to have this food go to waste. All I ask if that you close your book and enjoy a dinner with me Robin-chwan; it's a pleasure to cook for such a beauty."
She bit her lip, pondering. She looked at Sanji, then at the food, and then back at him. She sighed and a smile crept onto her lips. She had never quite been able to say no to him.
"All right, you win." Well, that, and she was starving. She got up, and pulled out two chairs, sat in one, and motioned toward the other. "Have a seat, Cook-san." As she did so, she took the plate of food and placed it in her lap. She bloomed an arm from the side of her chair, and held the plate chest-height.
He grinned wide when he realized she accepted his proposal and gladly sat down in the offered chair and fished out a lollipop. He'd been trying to cut down on the amount of cigarettes he went through a day, only for the sake of getting a little breathless the last time he pranced around, trying to show up that shitty swordsman.
"Well?" He unwrapped his lollipop with his quick and nimble fingers, then leaned in, grinning like a fool, "How's the food, Robin-chwan? "
She smiled, taking a polite bite of the salmon. Upon doing so, her eyes widened a bit, in somewhat of a shock as to how good it was.
"Cook-san, this is… incredible." She took another forkful, though a bit less "politely" this time. She then looked over at him upon finishing. "You never cease to amaze me with your delectable cooking," she added with a warm smile.
Sanji smiled proudly and puffed his chest out. A bit egotistical on his part, but he was Sanji, of course, and he couldn't help but have his pride swell whenever Robin or Nami complimented his cooking. This part of life was what he lived for-a good word from the girls made him feel more appreciated around this ship, more than any praise Luffy, Zoro, Chopper or Usopp could offer.
"Ah, Robin-chwan," Sanji said, waving a hand as if it were nothing. And really, it was nothing for someone like Sanji to cook for someone like her. Although a lot of effort went into cooking, he always looked at it as a hobby, not a chore. Sanji grinned, "It's my pleasure~"
She smiled, taking a few more bites. Sanji was actually the only person besides Nami she ever let in her room. In all honesty, he was actually one of her favorite members of the crew, simply because he respected the space that she thought she needed. But of course, this was Robin, and she would never let him know that.
"So tell me, Cook-san... Why are you up so late?"
Sanji, being so open with his affections (unlike Robin), sighed dreamily and cradled his head in his hand. "Keeping you company," he confessed. "Since Moss head's on watch right now-Luffy's asleep, so's Chopper and Usopp and Nami-swan went to bed after a midnight snack~"
He shrugged a shoulder. "I figured since you didn't come to dinner, you'd probably still be awake even after the others went off...so I made you something, and thought you could use a little company..." So far, he'd done a respectable job of keeping himself in check. After all, it was Robin-chwan, and he could always keep himself in a...calmer state around her. He paused, offering her a wide, boyish smile. "Must be a really good book to keep you up so late, Robin-chwan."
Her smile broadened as she recalled the fantastic book she had been reading. Her countenance seemed to glow, even.
"Let me show it to you." She placed her plate on the nightstand and rose to find the book she had hurriedly stuffed underneath her pillow. "It's about a clan of people who used to live on Ohara, where I come from, hundreds of years ago…" She pulled out a very old, tattered book. The edges were frayed, the pages were stiff, and the spine was torn. Yet she held it as if it were made of solid gold. "I'm in the midst of translating it. The culture and customs… It's all remarkable…"
Sanji turned the chair around as she got the book and straddled it, his arms crossed over the backside as he leaned against it. He nodded and listened to her explain intently, a small smirk tugging at his lips. "Ohara, eh?" Sanji asked, sitting up. It amazed him how something like that book could make her light up like she did when he asked her what she'd been reading. She got so excited showing him, Sanji wished he could show her something that would invoke a fraction of the happiness he had just seen on her face.
Her smile, how she talked, her reaction. All of it made Sanji's smirk evolve into a fool's grin as he stared up at her, left in awe. He only wished he could have half of the interest she had in that book, he only wished his cooking could make her smile like that.
"Ah, Robin-chwan..." Sanji said, sighing as he put his hands up. "How could I ever call you to dinner and pull you away from your books when they make you so happy?" He leaned back on his chair, buried his face in his arms, and chuckled lightly.
She bit her lip, feeling a twinge of guilt, though she had no idea why.
"Nonsense." She placed the book softly on her bed and devoted her attention back to him. "This... this is no reason for me to miss your excellent cooking," she said, glancing at the book. "And besides, no matter how fantastic of a book I may be buried in… I must admit that the company is infinitely better when I'm not barricaded in my quarters alone." She pulled out her chair and slid in front of him, hoping she wouldn't seem so far away, like she was always told she did. "In any case, there are things that books can't provide..." she began, slightly hesitant. "Excellent food, for one. And... company, as well..."
A smiled played faintly on her lips.
He raised his curly brow a fraction in surprise. Sanji wondered idly if he was really sleeping in his hammock, legs dangling and arm spilled over the side, as he dreamt that Robin said this to him. It wouldn't be the first time he'd had a dream like that...
He considered pinching himself, but everything seemed real enough to stop himself from trying that out.
Sanji was all little-boy smiles. Sometimes Robin made him wonder if she really did prefer reading and solitude over breakfast, lunch or dinner and the obnoxious symphony of whines and shouts that accented it (usually Luffy, sometimes an outraged Zoro or even him, adding to the fight). But he was relieved to hear that she didn't.
"That's good..." Sanji said, tipping his chair forward with a little push from his heels. He balanced himself carefully with his feet, and grinned. "Company, eh?" He leaned a little closer in anticipation of her answer, "That's me, right?" Just me?
She only smiled pleasantly, resting her chin in the palm of her hand, thinking she might delay her answer for a bit, and appearing as though she had completely disregarded the question.
"Would you like to know how I learned that lesson?"
Sanji didn't make an effort to hide his disappointment, but he nodded nonetheless and shrugged his shoulder. "How'd you learn that lesson?"
Still, she kept him on his toes. Figuratively and literally, as he balanced his chair carefully.
She smiled at her tottering crewmate, promising herself she would try not to drag this on.
"Believe it or not, I used to be much more reserved than I am now. For some reason, I had this… crazy idea in my head that… if I read and learned more than I could ever possibly need to know, my mother would come back to me. I thought I didn't need friends or companionship, or anything of the sort. They were nothing more than a hindrance. It wasn't until Luffy saved my life when I wanted to die that I realized there are more… important things than books."
At this, she peered into his eyes, smiling warmly, trying to get into the habit of doing so more often.
It startled him to know that Robin was telling him all of this. Of course, he made his own conclusions about her: that she was a quiet woman who liked to keep to herself. And he went about, doing his best to respect that (and forcefully getting the other male occupants of the ship to respect that as well).
So it was no surprise that this came as a surprise that she was having this conversation with him in the first place. It made Sanji feel strangely...proud, in a way. She could be talking to anyone right now, but it was him.
He stared back at her, smile for smile. "Nakama," Sanji said quietly.
She sighed, almost with a tone of... relief. That was quite a lot to get off her chest, and in a way she couldn't quite figure out, she was glad she had done so with Sanji.
"Precisely." She smiled, tousling his hair. Contact which was... extremely rare, to say the least.
He was all smiles. "Nakama, Robin-chwan." Sanji said proudly, holding out his hand to her's. "That's what we are, thanks to Captain Luffy."
Though he didn't show a lot of respect for the Captain, to be honest, Sanji really was thankful to Luffy for a million different reasons. Robin was one of them. He'd been able to meet her.
If there was one thing about Luffy, she thought, it was that he was definitely talented at bringing out the best in people, herself included.
"I do believe you're right, Cook-san," she said, laughing a bit to herself. "He's a good kid."
"Yeah," Sanji agreed. "Luffy's...Luffy's something sometimes, he really is."
She then glanced quickly at the clock, then back at Sanji. "Well, I must've talked you to death by now. You'll probably want to get going. It's late, after all..." she said with a twinge of... reluctance in her tone.
The cook watched her eyes go up to the clock, then stared back at her when she suggested subtly that maybe it was time for him to go.
He looked disappointed. "Not at all, " Sanji said, dropping his chair down to all four legs. He got up, stretched his arms in front of him, and smiled brightly at her. This was all too delicate. He wanted to stay, he really did, but he didn't want to force himself on her. "I like talking with you, Robin-chwan." He leaned over her, grabbed the plates he'd brought to her, and winked. "If I'm bugging you, I'll go. Got dishes to do, anyway..."
She bit her lip. In all honesty, she hadn't really wanted for him to go, either, but it was near daybreak, and she didn't want to keep him up until morning, especially if she wasn't entirely sure if he wanted to go or stay.
"Well, I..." It took her a moment to register what he'd just said. "I enjoy talking with you very much, Cook-san." She opened her mouth, then closed it quickly. She really did hope the screaming going on inside her head would stop. "But I don't want to keep you here, honestly…"
"Well, Robin-chwan..." he started, shrugging a shoulder."I don't want to keep you awake, either." He leaned in close, cheek to cheek with her, then slowly turned his head, his nose brushing her skin. He paused there, lips just shy of her as if he'd kiss her goodnight on the cheek. Instead, Sanji found his eyes trailing down her neck, and he turned away, sighing slightly through his nose as he stood. "At least," Sanji said with the tray of dishes he'd brought in earlier in his hands. "You can say you didn't stay up all night reading. You spent it with me, eh? Goodnight, Robin-chwan."
She was quite sure she was blushing fervently as she felt his breath grace her cheek. She prayed that he couldn't hear her heart reverberating in her chest a mile a second. She tried to remember the last time anyone had gotten that close to her... Her vocal chords were completely frozen as she watched him make his way out.
He paused at the door, turned and smiled at her. "If you need me, I'm in the kitchen. Doing dishes." And with that, he left her, still a little dazed by the close contact he'd had with her.
"Absolutely," she said, with as much composure as she could muster. "Have a good night." She waited until she heard the quiet 'click' of the door shut until she spoke again; quietly, to herself. "Sanji."