This story is going to be a multi chapter fic on a Sanji/Luffy pairing with mentions and flashbacks of Shanks/Luffy.
It'll be angsty but light; I want to make this a light story with many lemons. For now though I'll start it off slow with an accidental kiss that will change into a new relationship. This chapter will be a bit short as it lays the ground for the story as an introduction - the chapters are in actual fact twice the length of this.
Anyhow; please enjoy:
Prologue: A Touch of Uncertainty
A touch of darkness collided with the shimmering of a million stars bathed in the open night air. A perfect blend of scents, sights and sounds - the subtle scent of salt and the ocean, the sounds of calming water lapping against the hull of the ship and the whisper of a gentle breeze against the Jolly Roger flag. The stunning image of a new moon blackening the already dark skies and silver streaks of millions of stars. Depthless dark eyes stared up at the expanse of the night's blanket; the comforting weight of his straw hat resting on hair the darkest of black and with it the familiar weight of a spoken promise that kept the young Captain from loosing himself in the darkness that engulfed his heart. Yet, nothing seemed to be able to chase away the vine of fear and restlessness that blended with his soul.
Luffy couldn't understand why it was getting more and more difficult for him to be able to smile so freely and carelessly as before; every smile, word and expression was getting more and more difficult to force upon his features as a dark melancholy cloud washed over his heart - why was it getting harder to breathe? To be who he used to be? Nothing had changed and yet, everything had...
"Ne, Shanks; what would you do?" Luffy asked to no one in particular; knowing that he was the only one awake on the ship. No one would hear the subtle crack in his voice or the subtle hitch in his breaths as the Captain fought back his tears of regret. He was finally alone to allow the emotions that had been raking through him for weeks to overflow; a steady stream of tears clouding dark eyes and blurring the dark night - making silver stars swim together and brighten with the film of tears. Why was it that stars looked even more beautiful to look at with tears?
No one was supposed to know his weakness; know his fear and pain and yet he wanted to be comforted - something he wasn't use to and only one man ever provided him with and yet now he was alone again. Luffy knew what he was getting into the moment he set sail in the vastness of the ocean; there wasn't any forgiveness on the ocean, there wasn't comfort and nothing was more satisfying for his free spirited soul and vast loving heart. A life on the ocean may be filled with adventure, new discoveries and life changing events but it was the loneliness that got to him. Even when he had Nakama he could trust, enjoy life with it didn't fill the loneliness that he had been experiencing since he was a child. No matter how many people he surrounded himself with, no matter how many he considered family there was always a burning in his heart that cried out for something more...
'Ne, Luffy? You know this will be last time we see each other like this; the next time we meet it will be in the deepest depths of the darkest ocean.' Shanks' words of a two years ago rang in loudly in his ears and echoed through his soul. It had been the biggest surprise he had ever received when he turned sixteen - a visit from the man who he had looked up to since he was a young child. At the time he had been so happy that he had seen the red haired pirate again; it was the night where he lost his innocence to a love he harboured since meeting the man. Luffy couldn't remember when he had started seeing the red haired man in a different light but it was something he had to hide from Ace since he was twelve.
A brief bout of happiness caused a smile to dace across his lips - despite the tears that were steadily dripping down his cheeks. He could still remember that night; getting drunk on sake and wine before he confessed. Suddenly blurting out the words that changed everything between the father - son relationship they shared and twisted it into one of passion and love; the likes of which left the sixteen year old reeling and wanting more. Luffy wondered if it was Shanks' leaving the next morning with sombre words that had shattered the happy smile that he had always been known for and yet he couldn't blame anything on the red haired pirate. He knew he was bound to be betrayed at least once in his life.
Fingers curled around the edges of his straw hat as Luffy finally laid on the deck of his pirate ship; laying on his arms as dark eyes closed finally; shutting out the darkness of the night and the eerily quiet ship. Luffy hated the silence ; it was always underlined with the deepest of sorrow, the darkest of emotions and forced him to reflect upon things he would rather forget. Forget the stabbing pain in his lungs every time he thought of a forbidden love that was broken after one night - Luffy really didn't know what to feel anymore.
A deep sigh slipped from parted pink lips; the silent tears finally slowing to a stop. Luffy curled on his side; hands holding his straw hat against dark locks so that the breeze didn't disturb his most precious treasure - never noticing the flash of black and blond above him and the curl of smoke against the dark sky, never hearing the sigh spill into the night air and the soft click of black boots on the scrubbed deck.
Sanji laid awake on the floor; he was used to it - the feeling of unease settling over his stomach. He was worried; after spending many hours on the ocean with a crazy Captain he had become used to the feeling of unease but this was definitely different. No one but him seemed to notice that their Captain had been acting not like himself for the last few days or was it just that he paid closer attention to the black haired teen than anyone else?
Fingers fumbled with his lighter and box of cigarettes; scowling at the green haired swordsman as he stepped outside. Sanji was well aware of how Zoro hated the smell of smoke and if he wasn't careful he would be killed by the Marimo in his sleep; snorting to himself as fingers curled around the cold of the handle and pushed open the door to the crews quarters.
Closing the door behind him softly he stepped outside; the cool night air was refreshing to the stifling heat of the men's quarters. Whilst closing blue eyes behind creamy eyelids he lighted his cigarette and stared up at the smoke as it curled in the air. A satisfied sigh left Sanji's lips; tilting his head to get a better view of the stars. The Cook was contemplating going down the stairs to the bow of the ship where he knew a better view would be waiting but he stopped in his tracks the moment he saw a flash of straw yellow, red and black. It seemed that his favourite place to enjoy the night air was taken by someone else that night. Luffy was laying on the deck below him - dark eyes shielded by his hat but in the way Luffy was laying Sanji could detect something was very wrong.
"Hmmm?" Sanji hummed a soft inquiry to himself; blue eyes widening when they caught sight of a glitter on smooth cheeks - a single tear rolling down Luffy's cheek. Luffy was crying? The Cook was taken aback by the sight and completely unsure how to react to it. Of all the people on this ship he knew Luffy and Zoro were the strongest when it came to emotions; he had never seen anyone of them shed a single tear and yet what was before him was not something he could brush off. This meant something was very wrong with his captain. Could it be Luffy's strong sense of protection to his friends or something else that bothered the future black haired Pirate King?
Being careful to keep his footsteps light on the wooden deck - Sanji descended the steps and headed towards the curled up form of Luffy. The closer he got to the teen the more detail he could make out; how those shoulders shivered lightly and how the light from the stars caught the silent tears that fell from closed eyes. Sanji knew that Luffy was not sleeping; knew that he was suffering internally and afraid to show it to anyone. Maybe Sanji had been lucky that he couldn't sleep because he knew Luffy would never ask for help and would hide his true emotions so well that he would eventually crack under the pressure of his feelings.
Sanji sighed; sitting next to Luffy and waited for the teen to respond to his presence but he wasn't so instead the Cook unfastened his jacket and draped it over the Captain's shoulders. It was clear that the cool breeze of the night was affecting him more than he knew. He rested his forearm on his knee as he brought his leg closer to his body; blowing smoke from his cigarette noisily as his blue eye observed the way Luffy curled into his jacket and eventually crept closer to him. That straw hat coming to rest against his lap as Luffy rested against him; the rim exposing the saddest of black eyes and the evidence of a trail of tears on smooth cheeks.
"Thank you." Luffy's voice was soft and laced with sorrow but Sanji smiled softly at the black haired teen; he could detect the gratefulness in those small words. He nodded softly before turning his attention back to the stars; his right hand pushing away the straw hat and resting in black hair after his thumb had wiped away the tears that had stained Luffy's cheeks.
Complete silence settled over the cook and the Captain but there was a mutual sorrow that drifted through the air. One Sanji could detect very easily. It reminded him of the comfortable life he had also left behind to chase his dreams as fiercely as this teen before him; for that he would be ever grateful despite the guilt he felt for leaving the shitty old man behind.
"Ne Sanji?" Luffy's voice was soft but carried easily with the wind; capturing Sanji's attention easily as the blonde haired cook turned his attention to the young pirate Captain. His breath stuttered slightly as he noticed the way Luffy's head was tilted towards him; big black eyes were shimmering in something akin to fear and regret. For someone so young to make such expression it was difficult for Sanji to understand what it was that made Luffy such a magnetic person.
"What?" The Cook asked softly; his blue eye looking at Luffy intently as if he could decipher the emotions that rushed through both of them. He shuddered lightly at that intense gaze that he knew could see into the deepest parts of his soul.
"Is it wrong to love someone that you know will never love you back they way you love him?" Luffy asked with a small frown marring his features.
That question made Sanji stall; so many answers rushing through his mind but none appropriate because deep down the Cook acted like a love pervert towards the red haired navigator but that was a farce. A farce to annoy his Captain and the green haired idiot and see how far he could push it where in actual fact he wasn't that type of person. He had never experienced love in that way; never knew the pain that could come with it until he met Luffy...
"I don't know Luffy."
"Oh; forget I asked then." Sanji cringed at the fake smile that was sent his way; covering the black haired teen's face with his straw hat.
"If you are going to force yourself to smile; please don't do it in front of me because I know you are hurt by something and no matter how much I'll try to help you'll just stubbornly refuse." Sanji said as he pushed himself to his feet. Stubbing out his cigarette as he made his way back towards the cabin; in the distance of the Grand Line he could see the subtle rise of the sun - changing direction as he headed for the kitchen instead. It was time for him to make breakfast.
"Sanji! You and Ussop take the Helm! Hard to Starboard. Luffy you and Zoro hoist up the sails!" Rain poured from the skies as a powerful storm descended upon the Going Merry; the splash of sea water against Luffy's body made him feel weak and tired. Nami's voice was echoing in his mind as Luffy forced himself up the main mast to tie up the sails before they tore - glad for the help of his First Mate when he was feeling weak.
Ever since he had spoken to Sanji in the darkness of the early morning he had felt extremely tired and the sudden storm wasn't helping his sudden bout of exhaustion as his narcoleptic side reared its head - the attacks had started getting worse lately and now Luffy's mind reeled as his purchase slipped from the main mast and he tumbled to the deck. A brief cry left his lips before Luffy clenched his eyes shut in preparation for the impact but it never happened. Instead he felt hands curl around his torso as he fell onto someone; a low hiss in his ear as he knocked their wind out.
"LUFFY! BE CAREFUL WOULD YOU!" A voice shouted loudly in his ear; snapping Luffy's groggy mind awake as his eyes snapped up. Connecting with a blue eye and well kept blond hair. He gave a sheepish smile as he pushed his straw hat back on his head to keep the wind from taking it.
"That was close! Thanks Sanji!" He shouted happily only to find a hand curling around his wrist and yanked him back so he couldn't run away ; the sudden movement and change of direction made Luffy stumble forward - fingers fisting in a black blazer as he collided harshly with Sanji's body. A noise of surprise passing between his lips milliseconds before both of them tumbled to the deck; lips unconsciously touching with the impact before the rain made them slide together.
"NANI?(1*)" Luffy yelled as he yanked himself free; confusion clouding his dark eyes as a spark of something darkened his eyes; he stumbled against the main mast as he felt a blush colouring his cheeks. Dark eyes refusing to leave the blonde haired cook's form as he laid sprawled on the deck; Luffy noticed his hands were trembling and cold rushed through his body.
"Don't just stand there! Help Chopper with the ropes!" Luffy snapped out of his daze as he jumped to do what the navigator asked; his mind still reeling with the accidental kiss - his lips were burning where Sanji's had touched his. Something built in his veins then; burning through him as a blush decided to settle across his cheeks for the rest of the day as he avoided the Cook as much as possible. If the blonde haired man continued to show such kindness then Luffy knew he was going to break sooner rather than later and that scared him. He was afraid o the emotions that were bubbling inside of him but nothing could be done so instead he put on a fake smile and pretended to be the person they all knew him for - desperate not to let anyone else know the sadness that was building through him.
"Luffy! Do you have a fever?" The ship's doctor asked frantically as Luffy felt a hand sidled against his forehead; shaking his head from side to side to deny it as he slinked onto the deck. It was raining softly but Luffy didn't mind anymore - he laid down on the deck with his arms folded behind his head and his straw hat laid over his eyes. Luffy was still trying to get the image out of his mind; he had imagined that his kiss he shared with the Cook had led to something much darker and passionate. It was what caused the blush to settle over his nose and the reason he placed his hat over his face so that no one else would notice.
Why was his heart beating so fast? Why couldn't he get Sanji out of his mind? The questions were endless just like the night before; so many questions and so little answers. This was the reason Luffy hated to think because his mind could never really understand what it was that was bothering him so much or maybe he read too much into it? With a final huff; Luffy closed his eyes - desperate to fall into a deep sleep. The rock of the boat calmed his heart and overturned his churning emotions as he finally drifted into a nice dream.
Sanji's mind wasn't concentrated on his cooking but he knew he could make this dish with his eyes closed so the Cook allowed himself free reign of his thoughts as they ran through the event that had happened in the storm. His heart had nearly stopped when he had seen Luffy fall from the mast; he had known that he would easily have survived the fall but something in Sanji had moved by itself and caught the falling teen. The collided kiss was not something he was expecting but even now the sweet taste still lingered on his lips.
"Kuso!(2*)" He cursed as his knife made a satisfying thud against the cutting board; he was angry at himself that he hadn't seen Luffy's emotional state sooner but for now he would keep what he knew secret from the rest of the crew - their Captain need not be troubled by the others because of his emotions it could break the teen just as easily as he himself could if he was not careful.
"Dinner's ready!" He yelled; smiling softly at the excited shouts that followed his yell.
"FOOD!" There was the voice he was looking for; at least it seemed that Luffy had not lost his appetite. His worry diminished as the loud eating party arrived and laughter and wine began to flow; blue eyes watched carefully as Luffy avoided the alcohol. It was odd the way the teen acted like he usually would but Sanji knew something wasn't right. Luckily Nami had said they would reach land soon; maybe then he could get the teen alone and try to figure out what it was that bothered him so much. With a final sigh he also sat down for dinner and lost himself in the laughter.
Neither Cook nor Captain knew of the stirring emotions that fate had brought or the blossoming of a new relationship that awaited them around the corner.
1* - Nani - What
2* - Kuso - For lack of a better word (it means shit)
Thanks for reading! I really appreciate it. Please leave me a review and a rating and let me know if my OP stories sound as good as my Naruto ones; I wanted to try a new challenge.
That's it's for now; ant questions are also welcome.