I've come back with a new series! I'm really going to be pushing the boundaries on this one, and I'm gonna try to go as angst-y as I can without actually becoming too OOC. This is rated for bad language. Bad, bad language.
What will this series be about? You'll find out anyways but just in case you're wondering, it'll be about the small things, the little parts of each other that have changed and the straw hat crew has to get used to because two years is a long time to spend apart. This is actually an extension of LaFia's request which was more or less asking for 'the crew members learning to get used to each other again'. Here it is. If you have any suggestions or parings of characters you want to request, they'll be greatly welcomed. They're being craved actually.
When Sanji realizes, it is entirely by accident.
It was because beautiful Nami-san, radiant and dazzling like the sun Nami-san, had been desperate to get Luffy away from the maps she was drawing and Sanji had jumped to her rescue by dragging Luffy into the kitchen under the pretense of needing help. Of course Sanji didn't need help in the kitchen, and if he ever did, it wouldn't come from his just-above-brain-dead captain. However, the smile of honest gratitude from his precious Nami-san was worth even the snacks Luffy would no doubt be inhaling when he thought Sanji wasn't watching.
So Sanji told his captain to skin the potatoes that were helplessly waiting in a pile on the table and warned that he would have Luffy's head if they didn't have any potatoes left for dinner. Luffy bobbed his head furiously and that was that.
Leaving Luffy to the potatoes and assured by the fact that they had more in the storage, Sanji began his preparations for dinner. The menu tonight would be lobster thermidor with baked corn and mashed potatoes on the side; he had excellent white wine he felt Robin-chan would enjoy with her meal. Gravy, he would have to make from scratch but that was no problem because it was what delicate Nami-san and fair Robin-chan would be eating and it had been two years and Sanji was sure they had nothing but the absolute best to make up for that time.
It was at this point that Sanji realized Luffy was too quiet, and suddenly the peaceful stillness seemed ominous instead. He set the corn in a bowl and slowly turned around.
What he sees isn't what he expected to see.
The pile of potatoes is already significantly smaller than how Sanji left it, but all Sanji can see is his captain sitting between the two piles of skinned potatoes and the untouched ones. Luffy, is squinting his eyes in concentration as he carefully peels a potato free with a knife, and Sanji stares in amazement because Luffy is actually doing it right.
And then his memory catches up with the rest of his stumbling brain and his realization comes crashing down, of exactly why his captain is so capable, and while his amazement turns into something darker, some part of his heart he didn't even know existed twists viciously.
Sanji's long strides swallow the distance between them in seconds and he snatches the knife out of Luffy's hand.
"You're not doing it properly," Sanji snaps because his heart is hurting, his throat is burning but he would rather die than admit the truth. "I shouldn't have relied on stupid monkeys from the beginning; you go outside and call the shitty swordsman to get his ass in here."
He doesn't need Zoro anymore than he needs Luffy but he's holding a knife, and knife-blade-zoro is the only logical connection his screaming brain can make at the moment. Thankfully, Luffy has been kicked out of the kitchen far too often to take any offense and cheerfully bounces up to do as told. It is when the kitchen door shuts close that Sanji sinks to an empty chair and grits down, hard, on a cigarette he pulls out.
The cigarette is halfway gone when the swordsman lazes in with an insult ready but Zoro catches Sanji's stricken face and tilts his head in question. Sanji thinks of telling the swordsman to stop staring like an idiot and start the fuck working or maybe just a start the fuck working. What Sanji doesn't think is god damnit Zoro, fix this and instead, wordlessly gestures to the pile of potatoes, but somehow, just somehow, it means the same thing.
Zoro follows his crew mate's gesture and when he finds the two, finely skinned potatoes lying near Sanji's feet and Luffy's pout that he'd been trying to help but still got kicked out of the kitchen, he puts two to two together. And he can't stop the pained intake that escapes.
Because two years ago, Luffy couldn't skin a potato without skinning half of the potato with it and Sanji always ended up doing it for him. Two years later, Luffy can.