Here is a SanLu fic (with minor ZoLu) for you all. I swear, there aren't many SanLu fics out there! Guess it is one of the most underappreciated pairing... Ah, That's why I decided to make one (several actually, just you wait ;) ) Eh, but I won't abandon my other stories :D
Special Thanks for TheDoublemintTwins11 for beta-ing this fic! English is not my mother language and perhaps that's why no matter how hard I try, my English won't be as perfect as the first English-speaker. But I won't give up learning English XD !!
I've been cooking for as long as I can remember. Zeff, my boss, adopted me after saving my ass in an accident. He lost a leg in the process. I'd been cooking long before that, but being taught harshly by Zeff made me learn how to become a real cook.
Without faltering at the loss of one leg, Zeff and I continued our dreams and managed to build a small floating ship-restaurant in East Blue. We named it the Baratie. It was a small restaurant at first, and for a few weeks we were really low on money. But as time went by, the Baratie gradually grew into a large and famous restaurant.
When I was nineteen—I was the chef assistant at that time— Zeff asked me to go to a restaurant named All Blue in Raftel. He said that having me in the Baratie was pain the ass, and he no longer wanted me there. But I knew better that, since All Blue is the largest restaurant in grand Line, that shitty old man only wanted me to develop my career.
I refused at first, but after seeing my mates do many attempts to shoo me away, I finally agreed.
So, with the last bickering, fighting, cursing, and a girly crying session (I wasn't crying. What? Oh, okay, I was), I left Baratie.
A New Place
As the capital of Grand Line, the third largest country in the New World (as for the first and the second, I have no idea. Pardon me, but I am a cook, not a geography teacher), Raftel surely is a big and crowded city— a typical semi-modern city. Skyscrapers and tall buildings are spread all over the place, making it look stuffy and overcrowded.
All Blue, as I said before, is the largest restaurant in Raftel. Placed in the Southeast district, it is always flooded by customers—especially at meal times.
The first time I stepped inside, I was struck with awe. The place was…amazing. Its main area was almost three times as large as the Baratie. And that wasn't counting the kitchen, the office room, or the dorms. So actually, it was approximately five times larger than my previous restaurant. Despite its enormous size, All Blue only has less than 150 workers, which means that the workers here are the best of the best. I should thank that shitty old man for sending me here, not that I would admit it aloud.
The management is run by a girl named Bellmere Nami, a beautiful-blessed-orange-haired-Goddess-sent-to-earth. My co-workers say she is an evil, money-loving bitch. I wonder how they could say such terrible things about this oh-so-gorgeous lady.
Starting to work
Working at a large restaurant with a minimum amount of workers (I later found that this was Nami's way of suppressing wages), means there is no time to waste. We, the cooks, have to get up early in the morning to purchase ingredients, and then, as quickly as possible, prepare the kitchen. This restaurant opens at 8:00 in the morning and closes at 11:00 in evening. But basically, there is not much difference from my previous job—only working with new people and new menus.
I told you working here isn't much different from working at the Baratie, but its no wonder I had a backache and stiff-limbs after my first day.
The Raven-haired Boy
I failed to notice before, since my job here is extremely time consuming, that there is always a small, raven-haired boy sitting in the corner of the restaurant everyday. He always comes alone at 7:00 in evening, and orders two mugs of hot chocolate. Then he walks to the corner of the restaurant.
He sits there and waits.
He will sit there, all alone, until the time All Blue closes, when he wordlessly leaves. Sometimes I see him drink a sip from his own hot chocolate, while the other one is left full, cold and untouched.
I asked Nami-swan once, but she told me to pay no heed. He has been following the same routine for two months now.
I asked who he was waiting for.
"I don't know. Perhaps his boyfriend. He used to teach in a dojo near here." She shrugged it off, like it was nothing, taking stock as she did so, "His boyfriend stopped coming two months ago."
I tried not to flinch at the words 'his boyfriend' and thanked her before heading back to my dorm.
I wonder what happened to his boyfriend.
Snow and Cigarettes
The boy keeps coming, even now as the season has changed from Autumn to winter. And still his boyfriend never comes.
One day, the snowfall was so heavy that All Blue was vacant of all customers. What surprised me most was that the raven-haired boy still came. Out of boredom and curiosity, I walked over to him. I don't think he recognized me at first, but then he offered a polite smile to show that he knew I was there.
"Waiting for someone?" I started awkwardly, taking a drag of my cigarette. I had forgotten that smoking wasn't allowed inside the restaurant.
"Aaa…". He blinked and glanced at the road, the snow was slowly piling up on the ground. "No one in particular."
Now was my turn to blink, but I decided not to force him to answer, at least not now. Nami-san called me to the kitchen and I decide to leave him there, his gaze still as unfocused as ever. But then, after three steps, I turned back to his table.
He smiles and I realize just how good-looking he is when he does.
Later, I was scolded by the owner for smoking inside the restaurant.
A Glass of Hot Chocolate
The daily routines in All Blue make me busy as ever and I barely have a chance to talk with Luffy anymore. It's been three months since I first started working here and five months since he first started to wait alone there.
"That is?" I point my slender finger to the hot chocolate before him.
He titles his head and gives a soft laugh, "Hot chocolate? You told me you were a cook, didn't you?"
I glare at him. That is not what I meant! "I mean," I ran a hand through my hair, "Who's it for?"
Almost like a switch had been flipped, his gaze turns blank again. After a moment of long silence, he answers. "His name is Zoro. He used to teach in the dojo." He jabbed his thumb towards the window to emphasize his point, "Since he always gets lost on his way to our apartment, I always pick him here. He has no sense of direction!"
I nod, it was just like Nami-san said earlier.
He falls silent again, and I sigh. He surely is not a type to talk too much, is he?
"Then?" I provoke him, "Where is he?"
He takes a sip from his hot chocolate, that I believe, is no longer hot anymore due to the time. "He's not coming."
I frown. "Why?" when I see the hand wrapped around his mug twitch, I know I have stepped into forbidden territory and I quickly change my question. "Then why are you still waiting?"
"Saa, who knows?" he laughed, but I don't fail to notice bitterness in his voice. "I think it's just something to do. You know, when you get used to doing something for a while, it feels strange to suddenly not do it anymore."
I think this is more than just a habit.
Luffy hasn't come to All Blue for almost a week, and when he comes back, he is skinnier than ever. He was skinny before, this is ridiculous. Was he sick? Did he eat well? Judging from his pale face and his croaked voice, I can tell he has been ill.
As usual, he orders two mugs of hot chocolate, one for himself and another for this Zoro guy. He has told me a lot about Zoro. Green-haired and uses three-swords style. Oh, come on, how crazy is that?
I see a glint on his fingers and I ask about it. It is a ring; he gives me to observe it. It is engraved with the words: "Monkey D. Luffy".
"We were engaged." He answers, staring at his simple gold ring in my hands longingly, "I wonder if we still are." The second sentence is almost like a whisper.
I don't know where I got the courage to ask him, "Why wouldn't you be?"
Did this Zoro dump him for another guy? Or for a woman?
Luffy raises his eyebrows and looks at me as if I am the dumbest person on the earth. "Of course—!" his frown turns into laughter.
I wanted to see him laugh, but not like this. His laughter is filled with sorrow and longing. So desperate.
Please, stop it. I'm sorry I asked. I don't want to know the answer.
"Of course," upon seeing my uneasiness, he covers his mouth to suppress his laughter, "You can't be engaged to a dead man."
That day was the last time I saw him.
It has been two months since Luffy's last visit, since I learned that Zoro had died, since the first and the last time I saw Luffy laugh. I wonder how it will sound for him to laugh freely, happily. Not desperately like he did back then.
It has been eight months since Luffy first started waiting for Zoro here, knowing that he will never meet him again, but still waited nonetheless. I don't know if I should feel happy or sad that he has stopped waiting. Has he forgotten about Zoro?
It has been six months since I started working here, and now I have been promoted to Assistant Chef. Just like when I was in the Baratie. Che, will this make that shitty old man proud?
When I have no jobs to do, I stare at the corner of the restaurant. The spot where Luffy used to wait all alone.
I wonder if I miss him. I barely knew him, but it is as if I have an indescribable bond with him. Something I can't really explain, but I know it is there.
"Sanji-kun?" I hear the voice of my delicate goddess that makes me melt immediately. "What are you doing?" she asks, ignoring my "Haai, Nami-swaaan!" as usual
I smile sheepishly, like a kid with his hand in the cookie jar. "Waiting."
She frowns at my answer and I feel bad for making her worry. "For whom?" she asks again.
"Aaa.." I run a hand through my hair, not entirely sure if I have the answer myself. "No one in particular, actually."
I'll leave it as a one-shot for now, (busybusybusy DX ) But in case you're interested with this story, just please tell me if I should continue. Please review :)