This is my first time writing anything like this... So, yeah, gimme a break. I can't update really fast on this, but, I will try and make long chapters. ^^
Anyway, on with the disclaimers!
I do not own One Piece, or any of it's characters, even if I do in my dreams. I do, however, own the idea behind, and the power over THIS STORY.
Currently rated: T, for language. That may change. ^^
EDIT: Seriously fixed up as of 7/05/13. Liek, srsly. I don't know how so many people tolerated this as it was, but I have butchered the hell out of it and changed up a lot of finite things. Hopefully, I have smoothed out the original premise. Btw, it took me over a week to edit this. Dx YOU BETTER LIKE IT. xD
One cool, peaceful day the Going Merry is floating along, carrying with it the same liveliness as is usual for our favorite Mugiwara Pirates...
"Hey, Usopp, that's not fair!" Luffy shouted, reaching out and putting his hand up as a blockade so Usopp wouldn't take his stuff.
"All's fair in love and Pocket Poker! Now fork over the junk!" The sniper stuck out his chest, striking an admirable pose, and again tried to take the hard candy that had been Luffy's betting chips.
Luffy smacked Usopp's hand away. "That wasn't fair! Now take it back!"
"I'll gladly take my candy!"
"No! That's mine! Zoro, tell Usopp he cheated!"
"Hey! Who made you referee?"
"No more excuses, Usopp. No one's heard of the hand called 'Special sniper's minions'."
"But, Nami- OW!"
"I said 'no more excuses'!"
"Ahaha! Usopp's got a bump on his head!"
"Luffy! He's injured. That's not funny."
"Yeah, you tell 'em Chopper!"
"It's still funny, though! Ahahaha!"
"Captain-san, Sniper-san looks angry."
"Ite! Usopp! I'll punch you!"
Yep. The usual. Sanji smiled at the commotion, listening from the galley. He came in to cook dinner not ten minutes before they decided to play Pocket Poker. Apparently, Usopp had really shitty inventor stuff in his pockets, and Luffy somehow kept candy in his pockets. This, naturally, made him the target of every underhanded trick in Usopp's book.
Fortunately for Luffy, he's got my beautiful Nami-san and Robin-chan keeping an eye out for cheating, Sanji thought to himself, smiling a goofy smile.
He raked the vegetables he'd been chopping into a pan and prodded at them with his spatula. These past few days had been good ones for cooking, since they'd just departed from the last island four days ago and they'd stocked up nicely, with interesting new ingredients, too. Honestly, the cook couldn't be happier. The weather was good, the food was good, the ladies were goooood, and they hadn't run into the marines for a while. All in all, their days were like those of a peaceful summer song.
"HEY! Luffy, you can't eat your raise!"
"Chu latche! I al-ray di'!" Too late! I already did!
"I was wondering when that would happen..." Sanji mumbled to himself as he cut off the stove. He was just finishing up with the side dishes as a certain green-haired swordsman thumped into the galley. Sanji barely paid him a blink, continuing in his task without even asking why Zoro was there. He knew of course. It was very close to dinner time and the smell of delicious food was probably wafting straight to the crew's noses.
"It's almost ready, Marimo-head," the cook said, putting the smallest bit of taunt into the last part. That, of course, would've been enough to start a fight, had the Marimo-head in question not already absorbed himself in a bottle of booze.
"Oi, oi. Save some for the others. Our supply won't last a week if you keep drinking like you have." Sanji frowned at the swordsman who was currently enjoying his booze and ignoring the cook. He knew that always pissed Sanji off.
"Hey! You listening or has your brain gone completely to seaweed?" Sanji was sure that one would get him. Though, he didn't know why he wanted to start a fight. Perhaps, the calm was unnerving to him. At least, when it contained Zoro.
"Ehh, shaddup, Ero-cook," the swordsman tossed, lazily. Zoro had been out training for a while and Sanji knew even idiot swordsmen would avoid a fight. The marimo had been known to argue or simply ignore Sanji when he didn't feel like fighting and Sanji supposed they were in another such situation. "I'll make it stretch," Zoro added.
"Sure ya will, ya drunken seaweed," Sanji muttered, pulling out plates and filling them with his latest creation. He'd had to drag the drunk, passed out, useless blob of seaweed off the deck and into his hammock one too many times. He's not as light as he looks.
"FOOOOOOOOD!" The door burst open, giving a loud "thunk" under the Captain's eager push. Slowly, everyone made their way into the galley, allowing dinner to commence. If anybody wanted to be heard over Luffy and Usopp's loud bickering conversation over Pocket Poker, with brief intervals of dishes clanking, they practically had to shout. Even with the noise, contentment still filled them all. Probably in part because of the constant ruckus their Captain stirred up, but nonetheless.
"Oi! Eat properly in front of the ladies!" Sanji scolded, lightly dropping his heel onto Luffy's head. He knew it was useless, but he still had to give it a shot for the sake of table manners. Luffy turned just enough so he could see Sanji. "Bu' i's gooooo'!" he shouted, spraying food on the unfortunate Usopp who happened to be sitting right beside him.
Sanji momentarily ignored the thoroughly grossed-put sniper and instead continued to yell at Luffy; "And, don't talk with your mouth full! How many times have I told you this?"
The Captain swallowed hard and answered, flatly, "Eight," then proceeded to stuff his face. That made a vein show itself in the visible part of Sanji's forehead. He cracked his knuckles loudly, as if any of the damage dealt would be from his fists.
"Sanji-kun, relax! He's just being Luffy!" Nami waved for him to stop.
"Haiiiii, Nami-swan~!" His eyes turned to hearts as he danced away from Luffy, towards the subject of his affections. Just as he did so, an unsettling silence befell the room, save for the brief tinkling of silverware. This was quite peculiar to Sanji, even as his mind was consumed by his beautiful Nami-san.
All at once, the crew seemed to gather from whom the silence emanated. Luffy. His shoulders slumped, his fork on the floor, his head so close to his food that his hair was marinating in it, his breathing uneven. What the hell just happened?
"Luffy?" The little doctor stood up in his seat and reached across the table. He put his hoof on Luffy's forehead only to pull it right back. "He's burning up!" Chopper shouted, causing the others to jump.
Nami gasped, Usopp and Zoro gaped, Robin stared, her eyes widening visibly, and Sanji could only manage one word: "What?"
Chopper's head snapped up. "You heard me! He's got a terrible fever!" His expression became very serious for the normally cheerful reindeer. "Sanji! Get me a cloth and a bowl of warm water. Usopp, go get my bag. Zoro, help me move Luffy to a suitable area for him to be treated in."
The room was still for a moment before they all suddenly jerked into action. "You should put Luffy in our room," Nami said, her voice coated with worry. "It'll be easier on you and Luffy that way." She got up and opened the galley door for Zoro, who was carrying Luffy, and Chopper who had gotten his bag from Usopp and was digging through it as he walked. Everyone was quick to follow, though a few feet behind at Chopper's request.
Has Luffy ever even had a fever before now? Sanji thought, carefully striding to catch up to Chopper and Zoro without spilling the bowl of water that had been requested of him. As they entered the girls' room, Sanji placed the bowl down on one of the nightstands and set the cloth down beside it.
No sooner had they all piled into the room than Chopper had ordered all but one to leave. The one whom he kept was Robin, because she seemed to him the most level-headed of the silently panicking crew. Everyone else left immediately. None of them spoke, yet all of them had the idea that if they stuck around it would somehow make things worse. Which Chopper didn't help by saying that it was best to stay out of his way.
As soon as the four who were ordered away got onto the main deck, Zoro went to the galley mumbling something like "where'd that sake end up?"
Usopp, who happened to be standing near the main mast a few feet away from Sanji and Nami, asked in a whisper, "What do you think happened?"
Nami shook her head. "I don't know. Sanji-kun?"
Sanji shrugged as he pulled out his cigarettes. Honestly, he wasn't sure what had happened. All he knew was that while Luffy's fever developed, he had been yelling at him about table manners. That was so stupid, Sanji thought to himself. It's not like Luffy was doing anything outside of his ordinary rudeness at the dinner table. But... just because I yelled at him... that doesn't make it my fault. Right? Unless it was the food. Shit.
"Is anyone else feeling sick?" Sanji asked suddenly, dropping his pack of cigarettes and apparently interrupting a conversation that Nami and Usopp were having. They looked at him, apparently shocked by the question.
"What? Sanji-kun, why would we feel sick?" Nami asked, concerned. Usopp just stared; making an expression like the words had been stolen out of his mouth, which might well have been the case.
Sanji shook his head again. "Please answer the question, Nami-san," he urged, keeping his voice as calm as possible. Nami said a quick "no" and Sanji looked to Usopp.
"What's this about?" Nami tried again, as Usopp shook his head.
Feeling slightly relieved by their responses, Sanji decided to tell them his theory. "I'm worried that Luffy may have gotten sick from... From the food," he admitted, bending down to retrieve the abused pack of cigarettes.
"Wait, what? That could happen?" Usopp shouted, baffled, then began raving about feeling a disease coming on.
Nami, however, took it quite differently. "Sanji-kun, that's hardly a possibility." She paused, watching him pull a match from his pocket and light the cigarette that was between his lips. "You've cooked for us countless times, with countless ingredients, and no one's ever had a reaction like that. Surely, you've made that dish before?" Nami looked at Sanji questioningly.
His only reaction was to turn away slightly. "We got some new ingredients at the last island. Some I haven't used before." Sanji moved towards the galley, unwilling to face it if they agreed with his increasingly possible-sounding thought. "I gotta go make sure that Marimo doesn't drink all our stock away," he explained lamely, waving over his shoulder as he entered the galley before Nami could protest.
Zoro didn't even look up from the wine rack when Sanji walked in. He watched the swordsman searching through the bottles with an uncharacteristic thoughtfulness and wondered what he must think of the situation. Sanji wouldn't normally accuse Zoro of "thinking" anything, but he was the first mate and he'd known Luffy the longest, so he was bound to be worried, maybe more than he'd ever show. Hell, Sanji was worried like that. And, if he and Zoro were even the least bit similar, he had no doubt that the brainless swordsman was wondering how Luffy could've gotten sick and how he could help. He pitied Zoro, if only a bit, that his only two ways of alleviating problems were exercising and drinking.
"Don't touch the bottles on the second shelf. They're expensive," Sanji said to the silence, detecting a note of gloominess in his own voice and frowning slightly. Zoro finally acknowledged him, turning his head to the side and raising an eyebrow at the cook. Sanji made a face, trying to say "I'm serious, asshole," and Zoro just shrugged, grabbing a random bottle off the top shelf.
"Didn't you already have an open bottle?" Sanji asked.
"I see. That's the last one you get for a week."
Zoro groaned in response as Sanji walked over to the counter and began straightening things up. He had made similar threats more than once and he'd kept to them strictly. Zoro knew that and, Sanji could tell from the heavy boot steps and graceless "flop," he didn't feel like being without sake for a week. That friggin' seaweed would never willingly enter a week of torture. Especially if it meant no booze, he thought, almost smiling at his victory.
Suddenly, Sanji realized something that he should ask, if only for the sake of routine. He turned to look at Zoro, who was sitting sulkily at the table, staring down the fresh bottle on the table. "Do you feel sick?"
The swordsman met his gaze with a slight glare in his eyes. Sanji could see him teetering on the edge of snapping or insulting the blond or some belligerent action that would be utterly predictable coming from him. But, after a minute, he seemed to catch on that Sanji was being serious and he should respond in kind. "Nah," Zoro grunted. "Why?"
Sanji sighed quietly, relieved even if it was just for the sake of seaweed. At least if it was the food no one else is reacting like Luffy did, Sanji thought with bittersweet consolation. He pulled heavily from his cigarette, but Sanji found no relief in his precious nicotine.
"Oi, shit-cook! I asked you a question!"
Sanji jumped slightly, not really expecting to be growled at. His eyes focused on Zoro, who was still sitting at the table. He seemed to be agitated more than normal at the moment, and had Sanji not known that now was the time to be completely serious, he'd have thrown an insult right back at the idiot moss-head. "I just asked because I thought that maybe one of the new ingredients in the food was some sort of poison. It seems as though that assumption is wrong." Sanji shrugged, his eyes shifting down from Zoro's face to the table. "A perfect waste, if it had been poison. I doubt anybody's coming back to finish any time soon."
Sanji walked over to the table and collected as many plates as he could hold, then brought them to the counter. Just in case Chopper needs the table for his medical stuff, he told himself. Sanji finished clearing the table of plates in a minute or so, leaving only the unopened sake bottle Zoro had pulled out. After staring at the bottle a moment, he noticed Zoro was watching him and frowned. "It's bad luck to watch while someone else works, dumbass," Sanji told him, nonetheless grabbing the bottle and walking back to the wine rack.
At that moment, Nami and Usopp entered the kitchen exchanging whispered quips in an argument too quiet for Sanji to hear. "Hey, Sanji, you don't really think it was the food, do you?" Usopp asked at normal volume, looking paler than usual. Nami elbowed him in the ribs before taking a seat across from Zoro at the table.
Sanji smiled pleasantly enough at Nami, and then turned around and glowered at Usopp. "At this point, I'm not sure. Maybe he's just allergic to calm?" The cook tried his hand at lightening the mood. The worry of his nakama was thick in the air, but each managed a small chuckle.
"Now, it's going to turn out like that just because you suggested it."
"Shut up, Marimo."
"Who knows? Maybe he is allergic to calm?"
"I was joking before. That's not even possible."
"Sanji-kun, 'possible' and 'impossible' don't apply when it comes to our captain."
"Ah! That's right! Maybe he was possessed by a ghost that ate a lot of hot peppers, and that's why he has a fever?"
"That's reeeeeally stupid, Usopp."
"Shut up! It could happen!"
"In that case, perhaps a Sea king on the other side of the ocean farted in Luffy's general direction? 'That could happen'~"
As soon as Sanji finished that sentence, Robin walked into the galley looking slightly less calm compared to her usual. The others looked up at her expectantly, watching her come to sit down beside Nami. She took a slow breath, eyeing her nakama as she did so.
"It appears," she began, pausing as everyone seemed to lean in a bit, completely silent. "It appears that Captain-san has had a temporary lapse in the stability of his immune system. Doctor-san said that he is unsure why or how that lapse occurred, but it is quite treatable. In fact, he's administered a sort of medicine already to help Captain-san get better." She stopped, smiling at the relieved, but still worried faces of the others.
"When's he gonna be better?" Usopp asked, eyes bugging out for no apparent reason.
Robin looked up at him, as he was standing on the other side of Nami, near the counter. "Doctor-san has estimated that the healing process for his condition would take a month or two to cure, and a bit longer to be completely normal again."
"Yeah, but how long will it take him to get better?" Zoro rolled his eyes as he asked the question. He knew he sounded abnormally anxious, but he didn't much care. The well-being of the Captain, Zoro's best friend, was far more important than appearances.
The others couldn't help but smile at hearing that question. Certainly they all knew their Captain was an extraordinary man and therefore did not doubt that he would be up and about in no more than-
"About a month," Robin stated smoothly, smiling. Her nakama did not share that same attitude.
"WHAT?" they shouted in unison, jaws dropping.
"Luffy can't be bed-ridden for a month! That's physically impossible for him!" Nami shouted, standing up and looking down at Robin as if she had said Luffy was going to be purple for the rest of his life.
"Wouldn't that make his condition worse? Resting, I mean," Sanji asked, almost rhetorically as he knew the Captain wouldn't stand for it.
"Che, yeah. He'd die within the first few hours!" Zoro added.
"Z-Zoro!" Usopp's eyes widened at the swordsman's comment. "Don't even say that! It might happen if you say it!" He pointed at Zoro accusingly as the sound of his knees knocking together filled the room.
Zoro snorted. "Too late. And anyway, Luffy isn't going to stay in bed for a month. He'd hardly stay there for a day, even if he was asleep," Zoro said confidently, crossing his arms and puffing out his chest in a bold display of his faith in the captain.
"Wait." Nami put up her hands and her expression was between worried and serious. "Robin, if it would be two months of recovery time for a regular person, why is it a whole month for Luffy?"
Robin's smile dropped a little at that question. "Well, it's quite a complicated matter, I'm afraid," Robin sighed, gesturing lightly towards the door. "Doctor-san has told me that Captain-san has, so far, contracted four illnesses in his weakened condition."
"Four? Luffy's that sick?" Usopp yelled over the calm of Robin's voice.
"There's no way," Nami denied, putting her hand to her face and falling deep into her own thoughts.
"Isn't Luffy some kind of superhuman? Robin-chan, certainly he's not sick with four different illnesses?" Sanji implored, walking over to the table and placing his palms on the spot just beside Zoro. He leaned forward a bit, encouraging her to answer.
"Ah, of course, Cook-san, he is quite amazing. However, it is because he's so super and hasn't gotten sick very often that he is suffering so much now," Robin explained.
Sanji felt as if he'd been smacked upside the head with a heavy-duty frying pan. Of course it's because he was invincible that he was so vulnerable now. That was the obvious answer. It did make sense, though if he hadn't known Luffy, Sanji never would have believed it. Thinking twice on the matter, he was surprised Luffy hadn't contracted over thirty illnesses. As soon as his immune system went wacky, he could've been smacked by all the colds, stomach bugs, allergies, viruses and all that shit that he'd avoided over the years. Hell, over just the past few months each of the crew had had their turn being sick, except for Luffy and Chopper.
Sanji mentally shook his head and focused back on the conversation that was now going on between Nami, Robin, and Usopp. Why Zoro wasn't participating, he wasn't sure, but he listened nonetheless. "Swordsman-san, it is getting rather late, and tonight is your watch. If you wouldn't mind?" Robin gestured, again, towards the door, signaling to Zoro exactly what she wanted from him.
Sanji understood why somebody needed to be on watch, but the suggestion was very random, especially for Robin. He would have asked her what was wrong, as is the gentlemanly thing to do, but her calm gaze was focused on Zoro and wavering in the smallest show of concern. He was not one for making mountains out of molehills, but Sanji decided such a phenomenon need not be interrupted.
With nothing more than a grunt, Zoro stood up, hands in his pockets, and headed for the door. He pushed it open with his shoulder just in time for a certain reindeer to come into the room.
Chopper was immediately met with the expectant eyes of his worried nakama and under their gaze he sighed. "He's asleep right now. The medicine I gave him seems to be working, but we'll know more when he wakes up and can say what feels wrong." The little doctor walked around to the side of the table where Zoro had been sitting and hopped onto the bench so he was directly opposite Nami. "He'll be just fine, I promise," Chopper said seriously, looking around the room at everyone's faces, including that of the swordsman who was standing in the doorway watching intently.
A unified relief filled the room. Everyone let out the breath they'd been holding, whether figurative or literal. More than once, Chopper was asked if anyone could go see Luffy. The doctor had turned them down, of course, because their Captain needed his rest, but he allowed that one person should be on "Luffy watch" when everyone else went to bed. Of course there were many volunteers, but the one that ended up on first Luffy watch was Nami, since he was in her bed. The others were tasked with figuring out what the hell they would have been doing right about now had Luffy not gotten sick.
After a few minutes of hand-to-chin humming action from each of the straw hat pirates, Robin went to join Nami in the girls' room and read a book. Usopp went to work on a new invention in the boys' room. Chopper started making more medicine, Zoro went to the crow's nest to keep watch. And Sanji put everyone's half-finished plates of food in the fridge so he could focus on other things.
In all honesty, Sanji was relieved. He knew that he was kind of counting his chickens before they hatched, since the Captain was still sick, but he was just glad it wasn't his fault. What he was feeling, he could not put into words. I still have a lot to do aside from worry, anyways... I have to figure out at least a few recipes for food that's good for illnesses. That might be in the same category as worrying. I don't know. So what if it is?
God, what'll a month without that bottomless pit of energy be like? Wait, no. Not "without." He'll still be here. And he'll still be a bottomless pit. Probably. What if he loses his appetite? All of our food will go bad because it didn't get eaten fast enough. I did buy a lot... Wow, that'll be a huge waste. Geez, even that plant-head doesn't eat half as much as Luffy. But, we can't waste all that food...? Ah, maybe Luffy will eat more than ever before while he's sick? Oh my God, we'd need to restock within days. Wait, nobody eats a lot when they're sick. Holy shit, what if he throws up? The bathroom will explode off the ship and run away screaming... That'd be funny to watch, at least. Okay, not so much. Now I hope he doesn't throw up. It's settled then. "Don't over-feed a sick Luffy."
I just thought that like other people are going to respond. Maybe I have gone crazy? Mental note, A: I'm crazy. B: Never say that out loud, lest you be barraged by another set of unoriginal insults from the marimo. C: Don't refer to yourself in the third person, even in your thoughts. Wait a second, where is everybody?
Sanji looked up from the book where he had been reviewing the meal plans and rationing for the next few weeks. The room was empty except for the slightly confused cook. He raised a brow, noting how quiet it was. Deciding against just sitting there like an idiot, Sanji left the galley with a purpose.
The first thing he saw when he pushed the door open was Zoro half way up the main mast, or down, by the looks of it. Sanji's confused gaze drifted over the deck. No one's here? "Oi, Marimo!" Sanji called out, just as Zoro's foot touched the deck.
Zoro jumped, apparently not having realized before just then that Sanji was there. He stepped down heavily on the deck and glared over his shoulder at Sanji. "What the hell do you want, shit-cook?" Zoro growled, turning to face the cook for the express purpose of glaring at him. The swordsman looked like he was personally put-out by Sanji's existence, but that seemed to be his normal expression.
"Did everyone go to bed already?" Sanji asked, choosing to ignore Zoro's attitude.
As the words left the cook's mouth, Zoro narrowed his eyes, his brows furrowed, and his mouth hung open creating a "what the fuck?" expression. "Huuuuh...?" Zoro's expression turned into a slight smirk. "They went to bed an hour ago. Your eyebrow givin' you brain damage or somethin'?"
Said eyebrow twitched in annoyance at the question. "What'd you say, plant?" Sanji asked, using a sour-polite tone. He reached into his pockets, glaring daggers at Zoro. He ran his fingers over the box that rested on the palm of his left hand. It was slightly squished-looking from having hit the deck earlier. "Haha... Hit the deck," Sanji mumbled to himself.
Zoro raised his eyebrows and strained his ears. The crazy love-cook is talking to himself... What the hell? Zoro watched the afore mentioned cook trace weird patterns on the box of cigarettes, then pull one out, put the box back in his pocket, and place the small cylinder between his lips. At that moment, Sanji's head snapped up as if he'd been forced from his thoughts. He looked around slowly, and his eyes met Zoro's.
Zoro watched with growing curiosity as Sanji stared back at him for a minute. That wasn't the first time that evening he'd seen Sanji acting strange and spacey. At one point, he'd walked into the kitchen not so very quietly and gotten himself a drink and the cook hadn't even looked up from his book.
The cook looked away from Zoro, reaching into another of his many pockets and pulling out a matchbox. "Keep staring at me and I might have to kick your ass," Sanji sneered as he lit his cigarette and flicked the match overboard.
That remark drove Zoro out of curiosity and pulled his face into the same smirk it had been in not two minutes ago. "Shut up, I ain't staring at you, I'm staring at that dart-board you call an eyebrow!" Zoro laughed as Sanji glared at him.
"Stupid marimo! I didn't know seaweed could stare!" Sanji remarked, taking his cigarette between his fingers and waving it at Zoro to emphasize his insult.
"I'm not fucking seaweed!"
"Tell that to the genes, Marimo-head!"
"You wanna fight, Moss-for-brains?"
"Bring it on, you-"
"Shut up! Luffy's sleeping, you idiots!"Nami's voice hissed angrily from the doorway of the storage room. Sanji and Zoro paused, mere inches away from each other in the middle of the ship, Zoro gripping the collar of Sanji's shirt, Sanji standing on one foot with the other suspended two feet off the ground, ready to launch his first attack.
Without warning, Sanji slipped away from Zoro's war-hold and danced towards his Nami-san, nearly causing Zoro to fall over. The swordsman straightened himself up almost immediately. He'd been looking forward to a little fight to clear his head, but his sparring partner would apparently rather flirt with a witch.
"Forgive me, Nami-swan~!" Sanji sang, wriggling around her with hearts in his eyes. "We'll be quiet now, I promise~!"
The navigator sighed, looking at Sanji with an annoyed expression. "You ought to be going to bed soon, Sanji-kun," Nami told him, resigning back into the storage room and shutting the door behind herself.
Sanji turned to Zoro with an evil expression. "Look what you did," he hissed, "now the magnificent Nami-swan is mad at me!" A haunting aura surrounded him, his anger almost palpable.
Zoro was about to respond, but as quickly as it had appeared, Sanji's aura faded away. His head drooped slightly and his cigarette just hung off his lip, a large part of it just ash. Zoro scrunched his nose up slightly, leaning back in a pitiful attempt at getting away from the cook and his rapidly changing mood. "What?" Zoro asked slowly.
Sanji looked at him, and choked down a sigh. "I'd almost forgotten about Luffy," Sanji answered as he walked to the railing and looked out over the ocean.
"Oh" was all Zoro could say. Of course, since they were insulting each other, he'd been thinking about fighting, but after he started in again with Sanji it never crossed his mind that he should be thinking about his Captain. Why is the cook being so damn bipolar today anyway? He should be thinking about Luffy, too. It's really starting to piss me off.
"I got something to finish up in the kitchen. Get back up there and keep watch." Sanji nodded his head in the direction of the crow's nest, effectively smooshing Zoro's attempt at being a, God forbid, friend.
Slightly taken aback, Zoro decided he wouldn't listen to that shit-cook. He'd gotten down from the crow's nest for a reason, after all. What was it again...? He was sitting up there, thinking about training... Oh, right.
A deafening growl ripped its way to the cook's ears as he opened the galley door. Zoro stood up straighter, blushing ever so slightly at the substantial cry for food that his stomach had released in perfect time with his remembering what he came down to do.
Sanji smiled, barely turning enough for Zoro to see it. "Come on, then," the cook said, laughing and holding the door open as if waiting for Zoro. The swordsman was quite sure that this day was going to be his last with pride. He shook his head, deciding that kicking the cook's ass tomorrow should fix this, and trudged into the galley.
Sanji shook his head, following Zoro to the fridge and reaching in over his shoulder. He grabbed a plate that looked like it hadn't been touched. He held it just low enough for Zoro to see what it was, as he was bending down a bit to look in the refrigerator. Zoro rose to his full height again. "That ain't mine," he grunted, raising an eyebrow.
Sanji smirked. "Tell that to your stomach." He shoved the plate into Zoro's hands and, without another word, returned to his previously abandoned planner. Sanji sat down in the middle of one bench with his back to Zoro and read over what he had been writing. And then he read it again. And again. And one more time and he still didn't know how it happened.
"I still have a lot to do aside from worry, anyways... I have to figure at least a few recipes for food that's good for illnesses. That might be in the same category as worrying? I don't know. I can't help it.
God, what'll a month without that bottomless pit of energy be like? Wait, no, not 'without'. He'll still be here. And, he'll still be a bottomless pit. Probably? What if he loses his appetite? All of our food will go bad because it didn't get eaten fast enough. I did buy a lot... Wow, that'll be a huge waste. Geez, even that plant-head doesn't eat half as much as Luffy. But, we can't waste all that food...? Ah, maybe Luffy will eat more than ever before while he's sick? Oh my God, we'd need to restock within days. Wait, nobody eats a lot when they're sick. Holy shit, what if he throws up? The bathroom will explode off the ship and run away screaming... That'd be fucking funny to watch, at least. Okay, not so much. Now I hope he doesn't throw up. It's settled then. "Don't over-feed a sick Luffy."
I just thought that like other people are going to respond... Maybe I have gone crazy? Mental note, A: I'm crazy. B: Never say that out loud, lest you be barraged by another set of unoriginal insults from the marimo. C: Don't refer to yourself in the third person, even in your thoughts. Wait a second, where is everybody?'
"What... the hell?" I wrote down all my thoughts during that time…? When did that start?
Behind him, he heard Zoro take the two steps necessary to peer over the cook's shoulder. "Hmm...?" In the corner of his vision, Sanji could see Zoro squinting. "'Holy shit, what if he throws up?'" Zoro read aloud.
The cook let out a weird yelp and threw his arms over the page. "What the fuck, Marimo? I thought you were supposed to be eating!" Sanji shouted, quickly closing his planner to hide the accidental contents. Zoro laughed at that reaction. A lot. Sanji glared at the cackling marimo as said marimo took a seat on the opposite bench. "Shut up! I'll make sushi out of you!" Sanji threatened, sliding the book closer to himself just in case.
"That the kind of stuff you're always scribbling in there? 'Holy shit, what if he throws up?' What the hell's that about?" asked Zoro, still laughing a little as he dug into his food eagerly. Offsetting his annoying tone, Zoro hummed with a mouthful of food and made the slightest little happy face that, on Zoro, was really just a less-prominent frown.
Sanji smiled at the wordless praise of his cooking. It was all he could hope for from the seaweed. He always loved to hear everyone tell him how good the meal was, so it kind of irked him that Zoro didn't say anything. He only spoke about the food when he had a complaint, and that pissed Sanji off to no extent. With that thought in mind, he said this; "Yeah, I write down stuff like, 'What ingredients should I put in the food to make this bastard have the worst diarrhea of his life?' and 'I wonder if this poison has taste? Will they know if it's in the food?'"
The swordsman gasped through his nose and appeared to try and say something but he interrupted himself with a horrible, rattling coughing fit. Sanji watched with barely disguised amusement as Zoro sprang from his seat and catapulted himself at the sink, all the while trying to contain his mouthful of food and not choke.
Zoro seized a glass from the dish drying rack beside the sink and tried to throw the faucet on three different times and missed. When, on the fourth try, he finally succeeded, Sanji lost it. He was laughing so hard it barely made a sound anymore. He almost fell off the bench with the force of his laughter and he actually did fall forward onto the table, arms crossed between his head and the tabletop.
Zoro slammed the glass down on the counter with enough force to just about break it. "It's not that fucking funny," Zoro rasped, coughing a few more times as he stomped over to the table. Sanji's laughter was barely calming down when he sat up to get another look at Zoro's priceless expression, instead getting an eyeful of angry glare.
"It really is," Sanji insisted, still laughing in little bursts.
"Shut up! So fucking mature, sick bastard," Zoro sneered, making sure Sanji saw that his hand was very close to his swords in a vaguely threatening way. Sanji merely smirked up at him with the smuggest expression he could make without looking in the mirror until the swordsman gave up and clomped over to his previous seat. Except that he went right past his seat and over to the wine rack.
Zoro grabbed a large bottle off the second shelf, one of the best wines that Sanji had reserved for the ladies, and started towards the door.
"Hey! What the hell are you doing?" Sanji called, standing abruptly from his seat. Zoro stopped, but he didn't acknowledge the cook. That looked a lot like he was trying to leave without finishing his food to Sanji. "I was joking about messing with your food, asshole."
The swordsman glanced at Sanji with that somewhat dumb-looking frown that was his normal expression. "I'm not sure I trust you. That shit's exactly your kind of messed-up humor," Zoro responded with one of the most unfriendly looks Sanji had ever seen. Maybe Luffy's sudden illness made him grouchy, but he was being entirely too cranky and stubborn about something that, if he looked at it just a hair closer, would be very obviously wrong.
"Maybe it is," Sanji hissed, stepping over the bench towards Zoro with narrowed eyes. "But do you really think I would do anything that would cause such a gross waste of food? No. In case you didn't get that, no I fucking wouldn't. Now sit your ass down and eat or I will break every bone in your body and force feed you," he threatened with every intention to follow through.
He watched with the exasperated amusement of world-weary parent of a young child as the realization dawned on Zoro's face. It was subtle, perhaps a tad unconvinced, but he understood at least. With simmering-down annoyance and reluctance clear on his face, Zoro thudded back to the bench and flopped with his usual grace down in front of his plate.
Sanji sat back slightly, just enough to bask in his pride at winning an argument without doling out a single blow. Zoro didn't seem to be fully backing down from the threat, but that was fine. He knew the saying about things that aren't broken, and the one about sleeping dogs, and both seemed to apply. A win was a win, in any case.
As the cook returned to detailing certainly not diary-like entries in his book, he watched Zoro eat with barely disguised enthusiasm. He, himself, was not entirely convinced of the food's innocence in the whole situation they were in, but he was mostly convinced by the expertise of their little doctor. Still, he would keep an eye on everyone, starting with the seaweed in front of him.
He keeps looking at me. Why does he keep looking at me? He isn't even being subtle, the shitty ero-cook. Zoro did his level best to ignore the stare he felt unwaveringly on him. Was the cook hoping for praise or something? He wasn't going to get it, that much was for damn sure. He'd be waiting forever. The swordsman looked down at the food he had yet to finish and thoroughly mulled over whether or not he wanted to be stared at the whole time. It really didn't take him as long as he thought to give in and acknowledge the stare. "Stop staring at me," he blurted.
Sanji sat up a bit straighter, frowning at the order. "I'm not staring at you," he countered crassly. "I'm staring at… Wait. Didn't we have this argument earlier?"
The context did seem familiar. Zoro supposed they had a lot of similar arguments, but that one must have been recent. He couldn't quite recall, though. Did they have an argument about staring? Maybe it wasn't exactly the same. It wasn't in the kitchen or some small detail like that. Oh, wait.
"It was the other way around," Zoro acknowledged out loud and, surprisingly, he heard Sanji saying the same thing with him.
They looked at each other with that familiar competitive fire in their eyes. Zoro started to shout about the damn dart brow copying him, but just as he opened his mouth the cook, of all things, began to laugh.
It wasn't like earlier when Zoro was choking and Sanji was just having a grand old time. The blond chef was just barely chuckling in a tired, breathy way. He looked so weary all of the sudden, in the orangey lantern light of the kitchen, with an equally weary sound coming from him.
He had half a mind to laugh, too, since the cook found their situation so damn funny, but mostly he was surprised. Zoro didn't get it, really. Sanji was either stupid or crazy to giggle about something so strange. To hell with it. This time he'd ask, but only once, not again. "Why are you laughing?" The words came out unnaturally gentle and curious sounding when he'd meant them to be annoyed, but he'd already said them.
Sanji immediately straightened himself. "Because I'm fucking tired, Marimo," he answered abruptly, wiping his eye as if he'd been laughing hard enough to have to. The cook stood from the bench and clapped his book shut noisily. He walked over to the cabinet and put his book way up in the top, closed the cabinet and turned back to Zoro. "I'm going to bed," he stated, grabbing a lantern off the wall and leaving without another word.
Zoro stared after him, his mind petering out in the silence after hours of overworking it. He remembered that morning when he was up in the crow's nest for his early nap. It was yet a very normal day at that time, but he had a feeling all those hours ago that that day was going to be bad. He cursed his gut feeling, but more so the fact that he hadn't acted on it. Maybe there wasn't anything he could've done to keep Luffy from getting sick, but he could've done something, certainly. All the others, they were so deeply worried, even if Robin was like a robot and Chopper tried to be objective, he could see it in all of them.
The door opened a crack and the dim light of a lantern filtered in and joined the rest of the lantern light in the kitchen. "There better not be any dirty dishes left out when I get up in the morning," the cook's voice ordered quietly and the door shut promptly afterwards.
The swordsman listened to his retreating footsteps and sighed, long and loud. Of course he had to do the dishes. Apparently, getting on Zoro's nerves was how Sanji coped. That was damn annoying. He would get tired of it very quickly, but if having something else to fume over would keep one of his nakama, even the most annoying one, from blaming themselves, he could do that at least.
Zoro got up and washed his dishes as quickly as possible so he could get back on watch duty. He left them in the drying rack as a sort of rebellious gesture against the cook. I'm nobody's chore boy, he tried to convey. And he wasn't. If Sanji had a problem with that, he could deal with it.
As he was turned to leave, Zoro's eyes scanned over the kitchen one last time and hovered on the cabinet he'd seen Sanji put his book in. He could see the cover of the book and an excerpt from its pages in his mind. "Holy shit, what if he throws up?"
Zoro smirked to himself, inching over to the cabinet. He'd probably get hell for it… No, he definitely would, but… he really wanted to see what kind of crazy shit the cook had written in there.
Alright. Just this once.
I think that went well! ^^
Honestly, I'm not really sure about some of the middle bits, but, all I can say is this story will get better! Especially as a certain mhrmf, and that mfwef start to... mh-hm-hm!
Haha, in any case, I do appreciate reviews!
Oh, I am going to have fun writing this!