Ho ho! Foolishly, I have attempted to claim Sanji and Zeff for the fanfic50 LJ community. This is prompt number one, "Temptation." As the summary indicates, it's kind of a filling-out of one of my Fifty Sentences.
Disclaimer: I do not own One Piece! Also, underage drinking is bad! Don't do it!
Sanji pulled the broom down from its hook in the closet and dragged it behind him as he walked into the dining room of the Baratie. It was only a few minutes, say half-an-hour, until the restaurant closed for the night, and most of the customers had returned to their own ships. Technically, Sanji wasn't supposed to sweep until everyone was done eating, but he figured he could get away with it if he started at the farthest, emptiest corner. Besides, if he finished early, he might get to cook with Zeff before bedtime.
As he made his slow circuit around the floor, he did his best to get all of the hard-to-reach crumbs and all of the stubborn spots. It wasn't hard work, but it wasn't exactly interesting, either. His mind drifted off to daydreams of all the wonderful food he would be able to cook one day. Omelets came to mind. Maybe the shitty geezer would let him make omelets that night.
He grinned. Maybe he could make them by himself! He knew where all the ingredients were. He could just sneak in past Zeff and get everything ready. By the time the old geezer realized what he was doing, he'd already have awesome omelets. That would show him! Then he'd have to let Sanji cook. No more sweeping!
It was a good dream, but he knew that it couldn't come true. Zeff had eyes like a hawk when it came to the goings-on in the Baratie. Sanji sighed and quickly looked around. If the chef thought he was slacking, then he'd have to wait to cook until the next day.
As he peered around, he didn't see the shitty geezer, but he did see a half-empty bottle left on one of the tables. Which meant it was still half-full. Sanji frowned. That was so wasteful. If you weren't going to drink the whole bottle, then you should just get a glass. He jogged up to the table and climbed onto the seat. He picked up the bottle. He should bring it back to the galley, he thought. Maybe Zeff could do something with the leftovers.
Then the words on the shiny gold label caught his eye. "Sail Island Chocolate Rum", it said, and Sanji raised an eyebrow. Rum was something all the cooks liked. They were always drinking it after shift, even when Zeff told them not to. Sometimes even Zeff joined in!
But he never let Sanji have any.
…But Zeff wasn't here, was he?
Sanji took the bottle off the table and studied it a moment longer. He pulled out the stopper, sniffing at the rich aroma of chocolate and… something else: something unfamiliar. It smelled good. He took a sip.
It was getting close to nine o'clock. Zeff had just finished cleaning his stove, and had hung up his hat on its shelf. On the counter was a plate of roast chicken, his dinner, and Sanji's if he could find the boy. He'd seen his little protégé take the broom out earlier, but he hadn't come back yet. Wasn't the little bugger hungry, yet?
He looked up as the galley door swung open, but it was only Lisle, one of his cooks. The man looked slightly worried, though, which was unusual.
"What?" asked Zeff, a feeling of foreboding settling over him.
"Uh. You might want to come out here. For a minute." He glanced out into the dining room and almost cringed, the expression alien on such a swarthy man. "…Yeah."
Zeff narrowed his eyes and stumped out of the galley.
"…What the hell?"
Sanji was standing on one of the tables. He had somehow managed to lose most of his clothes, though he had tied his shirt around his neck like a cape. He was swaying.
"Get down from there, eggplant," snapped Zeff, marching over to the table. "What's gotten into you?"
"I dunno, but I like it!" hiccupped Sanji, wobbling. He grinned and waved a brown bottle at Zeff. "It got better," he solemnly said.
"…" Zeff took the bottle from the boy's lax grip and scanned the label. "Rum." Sanji nodded enthusiastically and tilted some more. Zeff tossed the bottle to Lisle, who fumbled the unexpected catch, and lifted Sanji off the table, throwing him over his shoulder. He growled. "Soon as I find out how you got a hold of this, someone's going to die."
"'Kay." Sanji squirmed in Zeff's grip until he could wrap his arms around the chef's neck. He sighed, his warm breath tickling Zeff's neck. "I love you."
The chef snorted. "That's downright unnatural, that is," he rumbled, though he took a moment to pat Sanji's head. "Lisle."
"You get rid of that bottle. I'm going to try and sober him up."
"Aye sir." The cook hurried back to the galley.
Zeff shifted Sanji into a more comfortable position and then carried him out to the deck. It was a clear night, with many stars shining in the sky. The moon glowed like a pearl on the horizon.
"'S cold," murmured Sanji, trying to tuck himself closer against Zeff.
"Sorry, pup. It's about to get worse."
Another freezing wave crashed over him and it felt like he was drowning again. A strong current held him in a grip like iron and forced his face underwater again and again. Finally he collected his wits and started to struggle, weakly, against the pull. He couldn't breathe.
And then suddenly, he could. He gasped, chest heaving, flailing around and flinging water everywhere.
"Welcome back, eggplant," said a gruff voice.
Sanji blinked, confused. He was disoriented. Was that Zeff? Why was he upside-down? Sanji frowned.
The small cook realized that, yes, he was cold. Very cold. And wet. And his head hurt, and he was probably going to throw up. He whimpered.
"It's all right," said Zeff in as soothing a tone as he could manage. He turned Sanji right-side up and wrapped him in a blanket. Sanji deduced after a while that he had been dunked in the rain barrel, Zeff holding onto his ankles. "Do you feel sick?"
"That's what a hangover feels like. It'll go away by tomorrow."
"Nn." Sanji felt Zeff scoop him up again and leaned his head on the great chef's shoulder, closing his eyes. There was a blast of warmth as they went back inside the Baratie, and then a fuzzy weight covered his head. He started.
"It's just a towel," said Zeff, and one hand came up to rub at Sanji's wet hair. "Thanks, Lisle."
Sanji tuned him out, concentrating on the pounding in his temples. He wanted to take a bath and go to sleep. He couldn't remember what had happened. Did he have the fever? He gripped Zeff's sleeve. He hoped not. He wanted to see All Blue.
"Do you need anything else?" asked Lisle, and Sanji determined that Zeff had stopped walking. He opened his eyes to see that they were in the galley, on Zeff's stool by the big stove. It was much warmer here, and quiet. He sighed.
"Ginger ale," commanded Zeff. "And a bucket."
"Hush," said Zeff. He turned Sanji so the boy was sitting in his lap, and pulled the towel away from his damp hair. Instead, he made a hood out of the blanket and wrapped it more securely around his young charge. "You'll feel better in a minute."
Lisle had returned with a cup and the wooden bucket used for mopping. It would do. Zeff accepted them with a grunt. He put the bucket in Sanji's lap and held out the cup for the boy to take.
"Here. Drink it slowly." He pushed the cup into Sanji's hands and made sure he took a small sip. "Does your stomach hurt?" he asked, already knowing the answer.
"Yeah. I figured." He started to rub the boy's back. "It'll all be over in a second."
As predicted, Sanji threw up. Luckily, he didn't miss the bucket.
"There you go." Zeff brushed the hair out of Sanji's face as he puked again, comforting hand on the boy's shoulder. "Done?"
Sanji didn't reply, just sniffed unhappily.
"I think so." He put the bucket off to the side and let Sanji lean back against his chest. Unexpectedly, he chuckled.
"Decided to try the rum, eh? Didn't I tell you you couldn't have any?"
"…Sh-shitty ol' geezer."
"Heh. That's better." He ruffled Sanji's hair. "Now. What did you learn?"
"Rum is evil."
Zeff laughed again. "Well, we'll see how long that lasts. Time for bed, pup." But Zeff didn't get up, just let Sanji snuggle closer. "In the morning, if you feel better, we'll make omelets."
Hope you liked it! Review! :D