Title: Sapphire and Silver
Word Count: 2,024
Summary: The silver ring isn't magnificent, but it seems to call to Sanji. Unknown to the crew is the curse laid upon it. The ring searches for an akin soul and starves for revenge.
AN: I started writing this the other day under the pretense of writing my first One Piece fanfiction. I wasn't planning on writing anything spell really, just a short one-shot… but this story (as they usually do) developed a mind of its own. Whereas as I was planning on it being just the one-shot of about 2,000-5,000 words roughly, it has grown much bigger. The way I figure it now, this story will be about four chapters long, with a possible epilogue… maybe. I'm currently working on chapter two, and about halfway finished with it.
I do hope you enjoy this. The plot kind of ran away from me as much as the word count. Haha.
Sanji was never one much for treasure, at least not as much as the rest of the crew. The delicately crafted, jewel-encrusted trinkets, carefully carved gems, and gold all started to look the same after a while. Of course, he didn't mind the precious cargo, especially not when Nami or Robin would slip on bits of jewelry from the hoard to wear momentarily before being carefully put away again. Women are beautiful creatures, and their beauty is magnified a thousand-fold when accompanied with precious gems and bands of gold or silver. So, no, Sanji doesn't mind the treasure at all… he just has no personal interest in it.
Or, that's how it had always been before, but now he can't quite tear his eyes away from the mound of treasure piled out on the dining room table. Past the sea of jewels, gold, and jewelry lies a now open small, black box. The box itself is made of fine velvet, while the inside is filled with folds of silk, and nestled in the center of the blanket of silk is a single, silver ring.
The ring isn't all that magnificent when compared to the other jewelry proudly glimmering in the room's light, but it isn't any old, boring trinket either. From what he can see from afar, for he dare not go for it with the other men of the crew within sight, the ring is intricately engraved with swirls and knots winding around the band and encircling a small sapphire placed alongside the silver. It's certainly not magnificent, but for some reason it calls to him, and he truly wishes to reach out and examine it up close.
Robin picks up the velvet box and carefully extracts the ring inside, turning it this way and that before sliding it onto one of her slim fingers. It doesn't come close to fitting, which could easily be guessed from the width of the ring. Nami and Robin soon begin fiddling with the ring, sliding it onto their thumbs to see if it fits, but it never does.
"I'm guessing," Robin speaks softly, yet loud enough for all to hear, "that this is a man's ring. It is quite refined in its own way, but the design is more subtle than a ring for a woman would be." She looks back to Sanji, and he wonders if he just imagines the barely there knowing upturn of her lips. "Why don't you try it on, Cook-san?"
Sanji eyes the ring presented to him. He tries not to appear too eager as he gently picks it from Robin's proffered hand, and slips it onto his ring finger. It slides easily past his knuckle and rests somewhat loosely at the bottom of his appendage. He moves it to his middle finger, and there the silver band rests comfortably. He stares at the silver and sapphire blue against his own skin, and he can't help but think that it feels as if the ring belongs there.
"It really is very handsome," Nami voices. "I'm surprised that the silver looks so good against your skin."
At this, Sanji looks to the redhead and smiles his most loving smile. "Why thank you, Nami-swan! Although, I must say, jewelry is much more suited for beautiful women like you."
At the navigator's request, Sanji releases the ring into her hold. She carefully looks over every detail of the ring and weighs it in her palm. "I bet a ring like this, even if it isn't extremely extravagant, would sell for a fair price."
She goes on to speculate on the amount of Berri all the treasure could earn them, but the blond has stopped listening, instead looking longingly at the ring now tucked safely back in its box. It isn't until Luffy begins tugging on his suit jacket and hanging off his shoulders demanding dinner that he moves his gaze away from the ring. He retreats to the kitchen, effortlessly kicking Luffy out of the galley as the dark-haired teen tries to sneak into the supply closet, and sets to work on making dinner. All the while oblivious to a certain pair of eyes watching him the whole way.
Dinner is a rambunctious affair as per usual. Luffy eagerly eats his helping of supper, asks for another, and not-so-sneakily grabs food off of his nakama's plates. Usopp and Chopper fight valiantly against Luffy's attacks, too preoccupied by their captain to notice the first mate sneaking bites from their plates as well. Frankly laughs exuberantly at the commotion around him, while Brook cracks random skeleton jokes. Nami gripes at Luffy when he grabs for a piece of her food, and Sanji threatens the captain with his second helping of supper. Robin just sits back, smiles around the fork held daintily between her lips, and takes it all in. It's just another meal on the Thousand Sunny.
When the meal is over, the crew stays seated at the table and basks in companionship. Usopp is in the middle of spinning a tall tale with Chopper and Luffy as his wide-eyed and awed audience. Nami and Robin sip on tea and plan the next day's schedule. Brook is in the process of tuning his violin, for Luffy had exclaimed that the evening must end in music, while Franky heads off for the first watch of the evening –even anchored offshore from the island could be dangerous if there happened to be other pirates or the navy around. Zoro nonchalantly watches the cook's movements as Sanji goes through the motions of collecting dirty dishes and transporting them to the counter to be washed.
The blond prepares the soapy water and carefully places the dishes from supper into the sink. He's trying to hide the fact that he's not completely focused on his task. He would like to believe that he's doing well in it, but then Zoro sidles up beside him and offers to help with the dishes. It's not uncommon for Zoro to offer his help, but it definitely isn't exactly common either. If Sanji hadn't noticed the curious glance from the swordsman out of the corner of his eye, then he would have been able to convince himself that the marimo was simply being extra nice because of the bottle of expensive wine he had broken the night before.
The two fall into a routine of wash, rinse, and dry as the conversations at the table surround them in a comfortable cloud. Sanji relaxes, knowing that as long as his nakama are present, then Zoro will refrain from asking about the cook's distraction. It's times like these that he loves the fact that the two of them had begun their exclusive relationship some months ago. The marimo has thankfully learned to keep private talks in private, whereas before he would have jumped the gun and asked about what was bothering the cook right in front of the rest of the crew, who then wouldn't leave well enough alone until Sanji either made up a believable lie or truthfully told them whatever the bastard swordsman has inquired about. Bless small favors.
In the next half an hour, the crew slowly filters out from the galley and heads elsewhere on the Sunny. Robin is the last to leave, taking a pot of tea with her to enjoy while reading. As soon as Sanji and Zoro are left alone together, the atmosphere changes, but not all together in an uncomfortable way.
"So," the swordsman begins casually, "mind telling me why you've been acting off the last few hours?"
Sanji pauses in his dish washing to retrieve a cigarette and light it. "Who says I'm acting off? I think I'm acting the same as usual, shitty marimo."
"Yeah, right. You do usually have that faraway glaze to your eyes, but only when you're looking at women."
The blond can't help but smirk. "Is that a hint of jealousy I detect in your voice?"
"No, curly-brow. After this long I'm used to it. Besides, they may be pretty, but they don't have the right equipment to satisfy your needs."
Sanji almost chokes on his cigarette, and he turns to glare at the man beside him, who's looking down quite smugly at the cup he's drying. He searches for words, but can't seem to come up with an appropriate comeback. So he glares angrily down at the soapy water and vigorously washes the bowl in hand.
"But seriously, what's going on? You've seemed off ever since we got back from the island this afternoon."
The blond is silent as he slows the pace of his dish washing. It makes sense to keep his fondness for the ring away from the rest of the crew, but he isn't in a relationship with them. He glances curiously to the side at his lover before going back to paying attention to the task at hand.
"First off, I have a question for you. Where did you guys even find that chest? I'd rather know now than when the locals are coming after us for stealing their prized treasure."
"I don't know. Franky and Nami are the ones who found it. When we asked where they got it, Nami just smirked and said that we didn't need to know. Which probably means the sea witch stole it."
"Don't call Nami-chan that, marimo," Sanji snaps on reflex.
Zoro snorts and sets aside a few more dry dishes to be put up. "I answered your question, cook."
"That you did." He pauses. "It's not really anything big, so don't get your hopes up… and if you laugh, I swear I will kick the shit out of you. Got that, shit for brains?"
Curiosity piqued, Zoro readily nods his understanding, looking expectantly at the blond.
"That ring," Sanji quietly admits. "There's something about it that… I don't know… calls to me, if that makes any sense. I don't really know how to explain it."
"Why would I laugh about something like that? Who cares if you like some piece of jewelry? I'd kind of be a hypocrite if I were to tease you about that."
The soft jingling as the swordsman brushes the dangling jewelry at his ear reaches the blonde's ear, and he grins. Sanji should have considered the fact that Zoro owns jewelry himself. For some reason, the fact had slipped his mind. If anyone dared tease Sanji about the fact that he was attracted to the ring, then they'd have to deal with the irate swordsman. The thought brings a smirk to his lips as begins putting away the now clean dishes.
"I hadn't thought about that."
Zoro appraises the man beside him for a moment before looking elsewhere. "Why don't you ask Nami for the ring?"
The thought hadn't really come to mind. The blond frowns as he brings a cigarette up to his lips. "Nah. It would probably just get in the way of all my cooking anyway."
Zoro gives the man a look that clearly states that he doesn't buy the excuse. Sanji just shrugs and nonchalantly puts the last dish away. Without even looking back at the other, he sets about gathering sake and a bottle of his favorite wine, which is nearly empty. He has to remember to get some in the morning. Soon enough Zoro is joining him at the table, and the two drink from their cups contently. Thankfully Zoro doesn't mention the ring again.
After a few hours Franky walks into the kitchen, a warm drink already prepared for him, and Sanji leaves to take his shift as lookout. As he passes by the swordsman, he just barely traces his fingers along the man's collar bone and up his neck to his jaw. Franky, who has his back turned to the two, doesn't notice as Zoro gives the blond a heated look. The cook cocks his head to the side, a sly smile and challenge in his eye. He turns and heads towards the crow's nest, wondering if he'll be having company on his watch. Judging by the hunger in the marimo's eyes, he's guessing yes.