In his eighteen years of life Sanji has seen lots of things: he's cruised two of the Blues in a pleasure ship, he's been attacked by pirates, he's been almost starved to death in a forgotten rock in the middle of the ocean, he's helped build from scratch the best floating restaurant in the world and seen thugs and pirates become chefs.

It could be said it's very difficult to surprise Sanji nowadays.

He's not exactly surprised. He was a second ago when he first realized his eyes where not lying to him, he's well past that now. He's angry. Furious, even.

His cooking has been called many things since he was made assistant chef in the Baratie but boring was never one of them. He supposes there is a first for everything.

Sanji eyes the guy again, considering if he should wake him up with a kick before tossing him out of the restaurant or just get on with the kicking until the bastard has a reason to be unconscious.

He's not an idiot, he has an inkling of who the guy is and why starting a fight with him is not a good move. Sanji couldn't care less. The bastard is asleep, snoring loudly for everyone to hear and see, face first into his food with his fork in the air. It's enough disrespect for the food to make any chef worth his salt mad.

Sanji raises his leg, poised to strike a powerful blow to the head, and hears the sharp intake of breath of the patrons and chefs surrounding him.

"He's going to kick one of Whitebeard's pirates! Is he insane?"

"Isn't that Fire Fist Ace? Does that cook have a death wish?"

"Someone stop him, he's going to be killed!"

He ignores the voices and releases the kick, waiting to hear the satisfying crunch of bones being crushed. He's learned how to kick from the best and knowing the reputation of his foe he's not going to pull his punches, so to speak.

"This is very good!" a friendly voice says, Sanji's kick gently brushed aside as if swatting a fly, the movement too quick for most people to follow.

Sanji is not most people and his brow curls higher up his forehead.

The owner of the voice is looking up now, a friendly grin stretching his mouth around a forkful of Salmon Mousse. Sanji stares at him. Fire Fist is certainly handsome--dark and friendly eyes framed by wild black hair, freckled face and that impish smile that attracted Sanji the moment the guy stepped onto the Baratie. All that combined with a fit and defined body, tanned and bared for all of them to admire, had made sure he had all of Sanji's attention.

Pity the guy's an idiot.

Sanji stands straighter, brushing some inexistent lint from his perfect suit and getting a cigarette out of his pocket. He lights it and inhales the smoke, trying to put his thoughts into something resembling order. Fire Fist has brushed one of his best kicks aside with an ease that tells Sanji he's not an ordinary man, and he's complimented his food in the same movement. Still, he fell asleep while consuming it as if it wasn't good enough to hold his interest.

"Is the food not to your liking?" Sanji asks calmly tilting his head up and exhaling the smoke toward the ceiling.

Fire Fist stares at him considering, recognizing the thin layer of composure Sanji uses to cover his bubbling anger for what it is: the calm before the storm.

He's not the only one if the retreating noises from the other chefs are any indication.

He smiles, mirth dancing in his eyes. "It's good, best I've had in a long time," he says munching away happily.

"Is it?" Sanji asks arching up his eyebrow, eyes never leaving Fire Fist. "You didn't look as if you were enjoying it."

"Yeah, it really is," he says, swallowing and grabbing his glass of wine, washing down the last bite, tongue coming out to lick the remaining crumbs on his lips. Sanji stares at the mouth and represses a sigh.

He's about to say something else when a loud snore fills the silence, Fire Fist's eyes closing suddenly and his face slipping forward into his plate again.

"Oi!" Sanji snaps, disbelief plainly written in his face. What's wrong with this bastard? "Oi, you idiot! What's with falling asleep in the middle of a conversation?"

He approaches the moron to shake him awake so he can properly beat the shit out of him and Fire Fist's head snaps up, a sheepish expression crossing his features.

"Sorry about that," Fire Fist mumbles scooping another forkful of food and cramming it into his mouth. "Odd condition, narcolepsy or something like that. Used to drive my nakama up the wall."

"I'd say!" Sanji blurts out, wondering how someone who falls asleep every few seconds managed to get the position he's supposed to have among one of the strongest pirate crews on the Gran Line.

"My compliments to the chef," Fire Fist says finishing the last bit of food on his plate and gulping down the wine under Sanji's shocked stare. He feels the anger draining out of him; it's not as if the guy can help it for what he's said, and he's said the food was good.

There is no point starting a fight which might destroy the Baratie over nothing.

With a nod and a strained smile, Sanji turns around and leaves the idiot to fall asleep again in peace.

Sanji likes the sea at night; in the nights he can't sleep he stands on the deck staring out at the sea and chain smoking, his mind devoid of thoughts except next day's menu.

He's been like that for a long time, unable to sleep for more than two or three hours stretches, a deep ingrained fear of missing something--a ship coming to his rescue--making it impossible for him to sleep the whole night. He doesn't mind anymore, and the rest of the crew knows enough to leave him alone.

Tonight he's thinking about Fire Fist Ace. He's heard--like every other sailor, pirate and Marine--about Whitebeard's pirates, a fearsome crew. Fire Fist has a reputation among them of being a tough one. Sanji wasn't expecting him to be so young or so attractive.

Sanji doesn't have an issue, as many of the other chefs might assume, admitting another man is attractive. He has even less problem doing something about it. He doesn't love girls less for that, it's just different. Women are beautiful and frail and he will always admire and adore them to the point of being ridiculous, it's just the way he is. Men, however, are rough and hard, and Sanji likes them for completely different reasons. Deep in his heart Sanji knows which he wants by his side and which he admires from afar.

Ace is definitely one of the former, or would have been were he able to stay awake for longer than five minutes.

Such a pity.

"So you learned to kick from The Red Leg," a voice next to Sanji says, his tone mildly curious. "It was a good one, hard and precise."

Sanji doesn't startle, though he's not felt the object of his thoughts approaching. "Yeah, that shitty-geezer taught me everything he knows, from cooking to kicking," he says not looking at his recently arrived companion.

"Could have broken my arm if I wasn't careful," Ace says, impressed. Sanji allows himself a smile.

"I don't like people disrespecting food."

"I wasn't."

"I know now."

They fall into a kind of easy silence, both of them staring out at the black night waters of the East Blue. Sanji knows why Ace is there, he saw the way his eyes followed Sanji when he served his food, the way he looked at him up and down, mouth curving in a smile seeing the interest in Sanji's eyes.

"What's the infamous Fire Fist Ace doing in this part of the Blues?" Sanji asks after a while, not really interested in the answer but wanting to hear Ace's voice. The silence is getting to be a bit too much.

"Just visiting the family," Sanji can hear the shrug in his voice. "I thought to see how my little bro was doing and maybe invite him to be my nakama. He left the island before I arrived, so I guess I'll meet him on the way to One Piece."

"Your brother's a pirate?" Sanji asks incredulous. What a weird family.

"Yeah, he wants to be the Pirate King." Sanji can hear a kind of fond amusement in the voice. "He's still a kid, though."

They lapse into silence again, the warm night air surrounding them. Sanji finally turns when he finishes his cigarette, leaning with his back on the railing and tilting his head to look at Ace, who's still looking at the calm waters, his face half lit by the moon.

Sanji takes this chance to study him again, the play of light and shadows on his face giving Ace a sharp angle. He's all planes and angles, actually: long straight nose and crooked smile, thin eyebrows and those funny freckles patterned in two lines. His body is the same; jutting collarbone and defined chest, and abs most men would sell their grandmother for. There is definitely nothing feminine about Ace and Sanji likes it just like that.

When he wants feminine he looks for a woman.

Ace turns to look at him, "So."


Ace's smile widens. "You know how it is."

Sanji is not used to play coy, not with men he wants and he's not likely to see ever again. "Yes, I know how it is. Long stretches at sea with nothing but dog-ugly guys to look at? I've been living in this ship most of my life, you know."

Ace nods, he understands what Sanji is saying. "There are lovely ladies among the patrons."

Sanji knows that. "Yes, but--" he trails off, not bothering to explain it. The few times he's tried the right words never came to him, he doesn't bother anymore.

Ace chuckles, "I see, you're like that."

"Like what?" Sanji bristles, doubting Ace actually does.

"You love women, it just offends your sense of romance to use them to get off when you're perfectly happy doing that with men," Ace's voice is slightly mocking, but not judgmental at all, so Sanji guesses he does really know.

Ace turns to look at Sanji and then pushes off the railing and walks up to him, standing just a few inches short of Sanji, a coquettish smile on his face. "Are you going to invite me in, Sanji-kun or do I need to seduce you?"

Sanji lets out a surprised chuckle, shaking his head. "That depends," he teases.

Ace looks at him, one eyebrow arching up in a curiously endearing gesture. "On what?"

"Whether you can stay awake for the main course or will drop off in the appetiser."

Ace's laugh is loud, and he shakes his head. "I only fall asleep at the table, I don't know why. I'll prove to you, Sanji-kun I can stay awake for a long time."

"Let's go to my cabin."

They don't waste any time getting rid of their clothes the moment the door is closed behind them. Ace makes short work of his trousers and underwear, sitting on the bed to watch while Sanji carefully disposes of his suit.

Sanji can feel Ace's eyes on him the entire time, following his movements, drinking in the sight of pale skin being slowly exposed. It's almost like a touch and it's arousing as hell. He takes his sweet time, removing each garment carefully and folding it under Ace's amused stare. By the time he's finished, his socks and underwear out of the way, Ace's eyes are on fire and he's breathing fast.

Sanji allows himself a small smile at that and stalks towards the bed, stopping a few inches from Ace.

They stare at each other, considering, and Sanji leans forward and puts his hands on Ace's shoulders, pushing him backwards and climbing on top of him, making sure to rub as much skin as he can while doing it. Ace's hands come up and grab Sanji's head, pulling down and closing the distance for a kiss.

Sanji turns his head to the side at the last second, Ace's lips brushing the corner of his mouth and moving along his jaw without skipping a beat; clearly not disturbed by Sanji's rejection.

"No kissing either," Ace mutters against his skin, the amusement clear in his voice but still not judgmental. His lips kiss a trail up to Sanji's ear, latching on the spot behind his earlobe. Sanji lets out a soft moan as a thrill runs down his spine.

"Not found the right person yet," Sanji says breathlessly. It's not an explanation, not really, but he feels compelled to say it out loud; somehow he knows Ace understands like few others can.

Sanji notices Ace doesn't push or insists on the subject, doesn't try to convince him he's the right one like some other men tried. He likes that about him: no empty promises and no complications.

"You will," Ace says, licking down a trail from his neck to his chest, tongue and hands exploring as much skin within their reach as they can. Ace's skin is hotter than any other Sanji has touched and that, combined with the things he's doing to Sanji's body, are enough to make his arousal throb painfully.

He really wants to drag it out, but his need it's turning overwhelming by the minute. Sanji lets out a moan when Ace's lips close around a nipple, biting gently. He's not used to be pleasured like that, giving nothing in return and he squirms, rubbing his aching cock against Ace's and eliciting a moan in response. He does it again, pushing down harder, feeling the slight tremble in the body under his, and keeping his movements steady and hard.

Ace's hands move down his back to his bottom, grabbing lightly and squeezing, pushing Sanji down even harder, the friction almost too much to bear. Sanji is about to say something when Ace's head lift from his chest and that impish smile Sanji liked before is completely focused on him.

"How you like it, Sanji-kun?" Ace asks eyes hungry and face flushed. For an instant Sanji is tempted to kiss him just for asking--very few men do, always assuming Sanji will take it just because of his lithe build and apparent frailness.

More than one had left Sanji's rooms with a footprint on their faces and a hard on.

"You?" He responds, studying Ace intently.

"I don't care one way or the other," he says and Sanji can tell he's being honest, not humouring him. He likes him even more. "Let's take the edge off this way and we'll decide for the second round." He pushes his hips up to punctuate his words and Sanji moans again, his mind made up already.

He doesn't say anything, not yet, just continues to rub against Ace's body, his hands trying to find purchase on the bed. All that soft and smooth skin, the incredible heat and Ace's lips on his neck are almost too much--Sanji knows he won't last much longer and if Ace's ragged pants are any indication, he's also very close.

Sanji leans his face closer to Ace's, struck again by the urge to kiss him in the lips, taste the thing he has denied himself for so long. But Ace is not the right person to get attached to, he knows this, so instead he presses his lips against Ace's jaw and nips gently all the way up to his ear, sucking his earlobe into his mouth and biting harder.

Ace shudders and grips Sanji harder, grinding him down frantically while his own hips push up, almost painfully hard. They come like that, panting harshly against each other's neck, their come mingling between their bodies.

"That was the appetiser, wasn't it?" Ace says after a few seconds, his voice laden with amusement.

Sanji can't help but laugh at that, rolling off Ace and staring at the ceiling, a smile spreading on his face.

"I only serve the best."

The main course finds Sanji on his hands and knees, spread open and being fucked in a way he has not imagined before. Ace is not too rough but it's hard and fast enough Sanji is unable to catch his breath, each thrust rocking him forward and hitting the right spot.

Sanji curses under his breath and holds on to the headboard, rocking back to meet each thrust eagerly.

A hand sneaks around his waist taking hold of his arousal, stroking him with sure and fast jerks. Sanji pants, the pleasure mounting too fast, sneaking up his spine and making him arch up.

His orgasm takes him almost by surprise; his vision blurring for an instant while his body shudders and goes limp, Ace still pounding into him. He feels Ace coming inside of him after a few more thrust, his groan of pleasure too loud in the now silent cabin.

They disentangle and flop on top of the bed, still trying to catch their breath.

"Is there still room for dessert?" Sanji asks cheekily and it's Ace's turn to bark a laugh.

They end up having another round before desert, Sanji riding him nice and slow; setting the pace teasingly until Ace finally grabs his hips and tries to take control, his face flushed and strained, his hips trapped between Sanji's powerful thighs unable to move.

Sanji can't remember the last time he felt so relaxed and comfortable doing this; he's no blushing virgin but his one night stands are usually colder and more detached, nothing but two bodies seeking pleasure. Ace is playful and gentle, and very much skilled.

Sanji has never been happier to stand corrected on someone's opinion.

When they finally come, sated and exhausted, Sanji closes his eyes and lets Ace's unnatural heat lull him to sleep.

When Sanji wakes up he's alone in his bed--not that he expected anything else. He remembers hearing Ace saying something, maybe a good bye, when he was still mostly asleep.

Sanji would have liked to have another round before breakfast, one last for the road, but he has to admit it's better for him that Ace is gone before the Baratie fully wakes up. The cooks are such gossips they could be women.

It's going to be difficult to keep the smile off his face today; it was been the best night of his life.

It's such a pity he's not going to see him again.