A/N: Hello and thank you for clicking on such a massively huge story! Before you begin reading I'd just like to mention a few things. I began this story in 2009 and am absolutely determined to finish it even if it sometimes takes me far too long to update it. I've gotten so far with it already that I just can't give up. As I said, though, I began this in 2009 and as such much has changed since then. My writing style has changed a little and I'm using different editing methods than I used to. Also, new information has come out about the life of Sanji that was not available to begin with.
This all being said, I am going through and editing the story and also changing some things in the original arc that I added to the story to better comply with the canon. Some things in canon are going to have to be tweaked but not until later. I'm trying to keep the differences between this story and Oda's work fairly minor (with the one exception of course being Sanji's gender). You are more than welcome to read the whole of this story but do be aware after a certain point the chapters become a little less refined. I hope that's not too big of a turn off to anyone but with well over a hundred chapters it's taking some time to edit things.
I couldn't help but smirk a bit at my own reflection. Okay, I'm vain. I'll be the first to admit it. But hey, a girl's gotta look good doesn't she? I pulled out my tube of favorite bright red lipstick and reapplied it quickly before putting it away again. Being the assistant chef and often the main hostess of the Baratie I had to look the part. I flicked a strand of bright blonde hair to the side where it all of my bangs rested to block out my one blue eye. The other eye was done up with mascara and slightly darker than natural eye shadow; no need to over do it, it was still daytime after all. At night I'd go for the heavier stuff.
"Sonya, quit primping and get to work!" I heard Zeff shouting.
I rolled my eyes at him. Honestly, I love the man like a father but he should know by now I need my time to get ready. "I'm going! I'm going!" I called back before straightening the black tie that I wore around my neck. One last glance to make sure my sleeveless white button down with collar was wrinkle free and I started towards the front of the ship.
Suddenly, there was a huge crash and I looked around, expecting to see some huge fire leaping from the stoves like the last time I'd heard an explosion like that. Luckily, there were no huge fires to put out and I looked up towards the top of the ship where all the cabins were located. "What the hell?"
There was a loud commotion and I couldn't help but sigh. Someone was seriously asking for my high-heeled boot up their sorry ass. This was a restaurant, not a brawling house!
I gave a few orders that I had gather from the customers to the cooks that I knew could handle them and brushed a few invisible pieces of dirt from my knee length skirt (I was wearing biker shorts underneath; I didn't trust the sailors we always got in here). "Here ya go, Sonya," a chef said as he slid the plate across the serving area before instantly going back to work. I barely even caught a glimpse of him.
"Thank you, love," I replied happily as I picked up the food and took it to the waiting customer. A man with a rather nice set of biceps and a pair of purple sunglasses that were a bit ridiculous but something I could easily look past. "Here you are, sir. Please, if you need anything, be sure to ask and I'll be happy to get it for you," I said as I slid the plate in front of him.
Suddenly, there was a loud call of 'WAITRESS!' and I looked over to see that a rather obnoxious marine was calling for me. He'd been bugging me ever since he'd shown up but he was a customer so I was trying my best to put up with him. He'd tried some stupid trick thing with wine earlier but I wasn't about to serve a wine that didn't go with a meal. He hadn't been so happy about that. Mentally I sighed but got over it quickly as I plastered a smile on my face. "Sir, if you'll remember I'm not the waitress. Is there something I can do for you?" I asked looking between the man and his date.
I was just deciding that I might as well ask the woman if she needed something when the marine slammed his hand against the table. "Hey! Why is there an insect in my soup?" he demanded and pointed to the tiny bug floating on top of his tomato basil soup. "What is this insect?" he shouted loudly.
I blinked a little. There was no way that bug had been there five minutes ago when it was brought out of the kitchen. But I wasn't about to tell him that. "I'm sorry, sir, I honestly couldn't say. I'm a cook, not an insect expert."
Almost instantly the entire restaurant started laughing, some louder than others. I gave an apologetic smile; I really hadn't meant to get people laughing. I was just trying to soothe his nerves without saying anyone was wrong. I wouldn't do that to a customer! It wasn't appropriate!
Suddenly, the man lashed out, slamming his fist through the table and splintering it in half. I took an instinctive step back as the plates and glasses shattered on the ground. I grit my teeth to keep my temper. Normally, I was a very pleasant person (especially if you're a half decent looking guy) but this guy was trying to piss me off. And whatd'ya know…it was working!
"Do you realize who I am?" he growled as he held up his fist that had iron knuckles on it. The silence in the restaurant was absolutely mind-boggling. I could even hear the noise in the kitchen stop as everyone took in a collective breath and held it.
I cleared my throat to keep from letting it sound angry. The guy was alright looking -even if he did have a crappy personality- so I'd give him a single forgiveness for his rudeness. "I'm sorry, sir, I'll just take this insect off for you. Did you want to order a dessert or maybe coffee?"
"What?" the man asked not sounding particularly soothed by my efforts. "I am the guest and I am paying to eat here!" he shouted angrily. "You're just a chef! How dare you make fun of me!"
Since when was I making fun of him? I don't recall doing that at all. I was trying to be polite, damn it! The man's date leapt half out of her chair "Stop, Mr. Fullbody! Please forgive her!"
That irked me even more. I didn't do anything and this floozy date of his was asking him to forgive me? I knew my eye had lost all warmth it might have had and I resisted the urge to kick something. I gave my best smile –though I knew it was strained- and tapped my toe behind me on the floor. But no, no, no I couldn't kick him. No matter how much he deserved it. "I'm sorry, sir, but you're disturbing the other guests. I'm going to have to ask you to either calm down or leave. I'd absolutely hate to have to kick you out of here."
I heard the door to the kitchens burst open. "Somebody stop, Sonya!" Someone shouted. They could tell I was nearing my breaking point. Even I could only take so much.
"Don't do it, second chef!" One of the others called to me desperately.
"Ha! Like a little bimbo like you could kick anyone out!" Fullbody said with a sneer.
The chefs behind me fell deadly silent. I shifted my weight to my back foot. I could take a lot of things. But calling me a name like that was NOT one of them. Faster than the man could react, I lashed out with my foot. The toe of my boot caught him on the temple and he fell. But I had already brought my knee up and his face slammed into it and he cried out in pain. He hit the deck hard and bleeding.
Blood was gushing from his head, dripping all the way down to his iron-knuckle wearing hand and destroying his nice suit. He groaned a bit as I put my heel on his already swelling face, pinning it between my foot and the hard deck. "Whoever messes with a chef in the middle of the sea, sir-" I couldn't help but sneer a bit at the word "-that person has committed suicide. Remember this!"
"Food is not something you can play with!" I added in a hiss. The man might have actually made a mess in his trousers. He definitely looked terrified. Casually, I reached into the pocket of my skirt and pulled out a small silver case. I opened it and pulled out a cigarette. A quick flick of my lighter and it was lit. I put my lighter and cigarette case back in my pocket and exhaled a long stream of smoke. "You got that?" I asked letting the cigarette hang limply from my fingers; I never did like holding it my mouth all the time, it looked classless.
"What is this?!" I heard the unmistakable voice of Patty crying from the other side of the dinning room. "A customer!? Sonya! What did you do to our customer?! Isn't that Mr. Lieutenant of the Marines?!" he screamed as he pointed at the man under my heel.
I turned and smiled at him. "Hello, Patty dear! Off break already?" I replied as sweetly as I could given that I was still a little –or possibly a lot- ticked.
"A restaurant has to welcome customers, instead of hurting them! What is the meaning of this?!" Patty asked, practically blowing steam from his nose in anger.
I maintained my smile as best I could. Patty was like my annoying uncle that had long ago gotten over my charms. "I know, Patty dear," I said waving slightly as if that would calm down some of his anger. It wasn't working it didn't look like, which meant I had to switch tactics. I put on my best pout. "It's just…he insulted the chef by messing with his food. I was just trying to teach him a lesson in manners. Then he called me a bimbo. You know how mad that makes me," I explained as I added a little sway to try and soothe his temper.
I finally took my foot off of the man and walked over to where Patty was standing; suddenly looking unsure of who he should be mad at. "What the hell…What kind of restaurant treats…it's customers this way?" Fullbody asked as he propped himself up against the wall. "I will destroy this place!" he shouted suddenly. "I'll tell the government to shut this place down!"
I turned to look at the man. He was now officially on my black list. "You want to shut us down?" I asked darkly. I took another inhale of smoke and blew it out in a huff. "I can't let you live now."
"What did you say?!" Fullbody squeaked.
"Stop this, assistant chef!" Some of the cooks cried from where they were crowded around the door to the kitchen. I ignored them and lunged, but they had predicted I'd do that and jumped to hold me back.
"I'm really pissed off now!" I screamed as I tried to squirm out from their grips.
"Everyone stop her or she'll kill that man!" One chef yelled.
I twisted and managed to get one person's hand off me but I was still stuck behind several bodies "I really can't stand idiots like you!"
"That's enough, Sonya! Stop it!"
I stopped and glared over the shoulders of two chefs. "Just who the hell do you think you are?" I demanded; all pretense of a nice girl chucked out the window at the sight of my temper.
Suddenly, two huge forms crashed through the ceiling and onto the floor with a rain of wood shards and a long scream. "What is it now?" one of the chefs asked exasperatedly.
I raised my eyebrow. That was a very good question. I could easily recognize the impossibly tall hat of Zeff, but who was the other guy? I tried to take the opportunity to wriggle free from my captors but they held on frustratingly tight. "Head chef!" one of my captors screamed. "Can you stop, Sonya?" he begged.
Zeff took a few uneven steps over. "Sonya! It's you again?"
"Zeff~" I whined. "It isn't my fault!"
Patty ignored me. "Yes, boss!" he said. "She has hurt Mr. Octopus head. Our customer!"
Zeff lashed out with his peg leg, slamming it into my stomach and making me double over. "Do you want to destroy my restaurant?!" he demanded. Luckily I was used to getting a piece of wood jabbed into my stomach and I'd recover fairly quickly, but I still hit my knees with a cough of pain.
"Isn't that the guy who shot the cannon at us?" the person who slammed through the roof with Zeff asked curiously. "Why is he bleeding?"
Zeff quickly turned his anger on Fullbody and kicked him hard towards the door. "Get out of my restaurant now!" he ordered. Fullbody slid to a stop almost right next to the door but I was more concerned with bruise that I was sure I'd be sporting in the morning.
"Listen! Customers are our gods!" Patty snapped as I got to my feet and took a calming drag of nicotine.
Luckily, my anger was pretty much spent so I could easily handle Patty's ranting and raving without it even registering on my annoyance scale. "Of course, Patty!" I agreed wholeheartedly. "But even some customers have to have rules…he was being a real jerk to me!" Patty opened his mouth to protest but was instantly stopped by Zeff.
"Patty! Sonya! If you two want to fight just go back into the kitchen!" Zeff snapped.
Suddenly the door slammed open and a uniformed marine hurried in. "Lieutenant! Lt. Fullbody! It's an emergency!" he shouted. Fullbody snapped his head around instantly. "I'm very sorry, sir. But our captive has escaped from his cell!"
It was then I noticed the marine had a fair amount of blood on his face. It must have been a very violent break out. Pirates tended to do that though. "What a busy place," the boy who crashed through with Zeff said with a sigh. I finally took a minute to closer examine the kid. He was thin and lanky with a red vest and shorts that were rolled up to his knees. A pair of simple sandals and a straw hat completed his innocent ensemble. He had wild black hair and big innocent eyes with a small scar under his left one. I tilted my head in thought. He wasn't bad looking…if a little young for my tastes. In a few years maybe…
I noticed the marine was shouting again. "Krieg's crewman has escaped!" he screamed. "Even seven of us can't touch him!"
"That's crazy!" Fullbody said. "How can he have any strength left?! We caught him three days ago, when he nearly died, and we have not fed him since then!"
I felt my anger spike instantly. Hadn't eaten in three days!? That was just inhumane! Nobody was worth starving! No matter how bad a person they were! But around me people had latched onto a different point of interest. "Krieg's pirates!? That's the strongest pirate in the East Blue!" the customers cried in horror.
"Forgive me!" the marine at the door cried. A second later there was a shot and the marine cried out as a bullet tore through his chest. As he collapsed to the ground, I could see a shadowy figure holding a smoking gun. People started screaming instantly –well most people.
"Here comes another customer," Patty said dully.
"I hope he doesn't disturb my restaurant," Zeff muttered before casting me a long and rather disapproving glance. I just rolled my eyes. Honestly, as long as people keep polite I'm the perfect lady.
"A pirate?" the Strawhat boy asked somewhat dumbly. He had apparently not been paying attention.
Everything was utterly silent as the man walked in and almost collapsed into a seat. I tilted my head in survey. He had that dark brooding thing going for him. Thin from lack of food and bags under his eyes. He looked like he hadn't had a shave in a while and blood and dirt covered him. His short black hair was held back by a striped headband, which matched his grey and dark blue tracksuit. It was no question that this was the pirate that Fullbody had been holding. 'Clean him up a bit and he might be decent…' I thought to myself.
"Just go and get me something to eat," he said gruffly. "This is a restaurant, right?"
I gave my best smile. "Only the best, sweetheart."
Patty hurried over. "Welcome to our restaurant, sir."
"W-what did they say?!" the other customers were aghast. What? Had they never seen good service before or something?
"I'll say it again. So you'd better listen. I'm the customer. Get me some food, now!" the previously captured pirate ordered.
Fullbody muttered something that sounded suspiciously like a death threat. "I'm most sorry, Moron. But do you have any money?" Patty asked putting a hand to the top of his strangely shaped head.
I made a move to walk over but Zeff put a hand out in a silent signal to stay back. He knew me too well sometimes. He really did. "Do you want me to pay with a bullet?" the pirate asked putting the barrel of his gun to Patty's forehead. "Because I don't have any money."
I closed my eyes as Patty slammed the pirate with both of his large hands. The customers and a few of the newer chefs gasped in awe. "Patty! You broke one of my chairs!" Zeff snapped.
"What power," the Strawhat kid said in amazement.
"If you don't have any money-" Patty said folding his arms over his barrel chest. "Then you're not a customer."
The customers cheered but I was less than happy. Especially when the pirate's stomach gave a loud rumble a second later. "Ho! Your stomach is crying loudly," Patty said sounding surprised for some reason. I mean, what did he expect when the pirate hadn't eaten in at least three days?
"I just farted, idiot," the pirate lied. "Now get me some food."
"Get out!" Patty shouted. "You are not a customer!" I took a long drag from my cigarette to keep from saying something as Patty went berserk. Honestly, he was worse than me sometimes. "This is a restaurant that welcomes only customers! A poor pirate like you, I wont even give a crumb!" he shouted as he kicked the pirate almost out of the door.
Fullbody quickly fled out of the door, seemingly uncomfortable by our behavior, which was odd as I'd never found anything strange about it. Finally, the pirate collapsed, spitting up a bit of blood as he did. Patty gave a little curtsy with his apron, "Everyone, please continue dining!"
Everyone reluctantly did as a few chefs came and drug the pirate out of the dining room and onto the back deck of the Baratie. I hummed a bit in thought and turned to disappear into the kitchen. Patty might have no sympathy for the man but I did. Money wasn't everything after all. That was not the reason this place existed, it was for the food not the money.
It didn't take long for me to whip up a quick stir-fry and put it on a plate. After I did, I slipped out of the back and found where they had dropped the pirate. I put the plate and a glass of water down in front of his rather pathetically beaten face. "Here, sweetheart. Try this, huh?" I said before hoisting myself to sit on the railing. I crossed my legs to better balance myself as the pirate glanced between me and the rice a few times. He didn't look like he entirely trusted me but I wasn't put off by that. That idiot Patty had just beaten him to a pulp.
After a minute, he gave a cry of delight and grabbed the plate before starting to scarf it down. "I don't want to be ashamed but…this is the most delicious rice I have ever had in my whole life!" I could help but beam at the compliment. "I should not be ashamed…I don't want to be ashamed but…I though I would not survive!" He garbled through food and tears.
I smiled wider. "It's really delicious, right?" I did so adore it when people complimented my cooking!