Can I just say I don't know that I'll ever write from Sanji's POV again? This was tough. It's a gift fic for Lucomillian, a character study of everyone's favorite fighting cook. And yes, the title refers to a BNL song which somehow sent this story into my brain.Rated for Sanji-speak.
Disclaimer: I don't in any way own the world, characters or plot elements of this. Only the order of words is mine.
There were times when finding a quiet corner to just think and do some work could be impossible on this ship. The delightful Nami-san had recounted these difficulties on more than one occasion, coming up on deck and shouting for everyone to cut the shit so she could work on her latest map.
He'd often defended her right to quiet, but next time, Sanji thought his defense might be a little more vehement. Metal clanked loudly from two different points on the ship as Zoro trained and Franky… he didn't want to know what was causing the cyborg to make mechanical sounds. Usopp had convinced Chopper and Luffy that there were invisible insects burrowing through the ships wood and trying to lay eggs in their clothes. Their screams of horror and amusement (and his laughter) filtered not only through the kitchen with its closed door, but into the larder through yet another width of wood.
Grinding his half-smoked cigarette between his teeth, Sanji forced himself to put pen to paper. On finding what he wanted them for, Nami had been kind enough to lend him both (at an appropriate fee, of course - Nami was so shrewd!). Distractions or no, din that would make some festivals pale in comparison or no, he would not waste them. And as for the letter… well, after everything, he supposed he owed shitty old peg-leg Zeff something.
So, where to begin? At the beginning, he guessed. Like a meal, a letter had certain ingredients, and a certain amount of creativity in between. And the first ingredient should be, he supposed, a polite greeting.
Shitty old man,
After he'd committed these three words to the paper, he stared at the blank space beneath. There was a LOT of it. Shaking his head a little to himself, he re-dipped the quill, tapped loose some excess ink, and began writing once more.
The Grand Line's one screwed-up place. You could've said something huh? Well, if you were hoping I'd wind up dead out here, sorry to disappoint you. Not only can I kick the asses of most of the weak excuses for pirates crawling this place, you wouldn't believe some of the great cooking techniques I've picked up on some of the islands, and
A jarring crash from overhead, followed by the unmistakable pulsing rumble of a loose cannonball rolling across the deck, drew Sanji's attention away from the paper. Whatever had happened, he could hear Zoro complaining and Robin laughing. Muttering a curse under his breath, Sanji winced as the sound of running feet god louder and there was a BANG as someone (several someones actually, from the sound of it) burst into the kitchen. One long leg shot out and planted itself firmly against the pantry door just as something crashed into it from the far side. With his other leg braced on the floor, the door did little more than shudder. There was a moment's surprised silence from the other side, as whoever was out there contemplated the oddity of the structure not simply giving way. Then they were off again, followed by the clatter of pots against the floor.
Great, he'd JUST washed those. He considered going out after them, but joining in their idiotic game of tag seemed like a waste of time and if he stopped now, who knew if he'd get a chance to come back to the letter? The crew did have an unnatural (but entertaining, he had to concede) ability to find trouble in massive, almost ludicrous quantities.
After rolling his eyes theatrically for the benefit of all the dry goods that shared the room with him, he reread what he had so far and sighed. He had NO idea how he'd planned on ending that last line. He dipped the quill again and shook a drop of ink over the "and." The shimmery black puddle quickly obscured the errant word. A little sand for blotting and he was back to the letter again.
Actually you probably do. Some of the food out here even makes me miss that floating piece of shit you call a restaurant. Some of these places… no respect for technique, for subtlety. Kinda like this crew you stuck me with.
Reminds me a bit of the crew at the Baratie. Not too much brains between them, but they know what they're doing most of the time. Always gotta keep an eye on them though, especially our idiot captain. You remember him. The one who busted up the restaurant? The kitchen boy. Feels like I always have to watch him. The fool is always in trouble. Though you know… he's pretty good at getting out of it too. He eats like a Sea King. I'd take it as a compliment, if he didn't follow eating a meal with trying to eat raw meat out of the stores. And then trying to eat something he just grabbed out of the air or off the ground. Jeeze, if he dies before he becomes the pirate king, it won't be an enemy, it'll be from something he just picked up and ate.
The lone visible brow furrowed in toward the middle of the cook's forehead as he frowned at the letter so far. Since when had he gotten so wordy with the shitty geezer? It was all that empty space on the paper, he decided. Felt like a waste, not using all the space.
I still don't get the rest of them. The swordsman, Zoro, the one who faced Mihawk that time? He's still got the scar. A sign of the stupidity of fighting with utensils instead of your body, I think. He really is an idiot but there's something… he has no sense of style, no respect for women, but that guy, he's loyal to this crew. It's eerie. He doesn't question things, just does whatever the captain says.
The pen hovered a scant fraction of an inch over the paper, as several thoughts to complete that paragraph warred in his head. He cast another glance toward the door before finishing up lamely.
He fights fairly well though, considering. That I understand.
There's two extraordinary women in the crew. They're beautiful, talented, strong-willed and have excellent taste in food and clothes. Not that I'd expect a dried-up old man like you to understand that. When's the last time you looked at a woman as anything other than a source of money? I'd include one of Usopp's pictures (he was the last one who was sailing with the captain at the time, the long-nosed guy, remember him?) of them but I'm afraid it might give a geezer like you a heart attack, and as big a floating pile of shit as that restaurant is, there's no way it'd survive without you bashing their heads into the walls to keep 'em in line.
As he paused to sand-blot the ink once more, he was surprised to see he'd actually filled most of the paper with his scrawling script. It had been ages since he'd taken the time to write something. Now that he was, it seemed to be boiling over. He thought about trying to explain Chopper or Franky, but decided against it. He wasn't sure he COULD explain Franky. What kind of cyborg ran on cola? He'd leave it for another letter.
He shook his head and scrubbed the fingers of his free hand through his hair. Time to finish this up. He was thinking too much.
I guess I better leave it at that. Not a lot of time. Somehow we pissed off those assholes at the World Government. You should have seen their flag burn. And if I hear word one about anyone laughing at that wanted poster - especially Patty - I'll travel back from here personally to kick their ass. That goes double for you. Black-leg, how about that? THIS is what you saved a scrawny kid for.
Another pause, another ingredient. The closing. Letters didn't just end. He thought a minute. Then, slowly, he smiled and traced out five more words.
I'm going to find it.
As he signed his name, he could hear another ruckus kicking up overhead. It hadn't ramped up to where he could even guess what they were doing yet. He'd know soon enough. Unexpectedly, the thought teased a wry smile onto his face.
It was funny, he reflected as he folded up the letter and pocketed it for later mailing, how easily life could change.