no parking on the battleground
here he is again


Sanji doesn't even have a word for what this feels like.

He's always known that Luffy would do anything for any of them. Sanji has watched him do it enough to be familiar with the pattern; watched him chase after a friend who didn't really want to go, watched him push himself past his limits to make sure that they're safe, and happy, and FREE. Luffy drags the deepest desires out of you, the things you really want but are too afraid to ask for, too afraid to voice, kicking and screaming, as if the words you can't bring yourself to say mean the entire world to him.

Experiencing it for himself, Sanji understands how Nami and Robin must have felt.

It's overwhelming.

It hurts to be loved that much, to be trusted like that.

It hurts to be forgiven so easily when you've done so much wrong and it feels like everything is going to shit no matter what you do to try and stop it.

Sanji feels like he's drowning in every sense of the word, and Luffy is the one that pulls him back to the surface, with his strong hands and his big heart. Luffy grabs him by the shirt, and yells in his face, and it's so familiar that Sanji is reeling. Here he is again trying to throw away everything he has, everything he's built, everything he's earned, everything he loves, because he thinks for some reason that it's the only choice he has. Because he's a self-sacrificing bastard like that, because he thinks he doesn't deserve any of it.

Because he's scared, and he's scared of feeling like this for the rest of his life.

He's done nothing but weep for the past two days, anyway. He's done nothing but feel sad and sick and sorry since he left Chopper and the others back on Zou, done nothing but tremble with nerves and rage since returning to Germa. He feels weak, and pathetic, and all the other things they think he is. And all of those emotions finally spilled out like a floodgate after his fight with Luffy, after saying and doing all that awful shit he didn't mean.

So when Luffy demands, hurt and furious, "Tell me how you really feel!" Sanji's weak resolve crumbles into a million unsalvageable pieces.

He wants to go home.

He's sitting here bawling his eyes out because he wants to go home.

He wants to save everyone. He doesn't want to get married to a girl that doesn't love him, or be here in this awful place, or sacrifice himself in the vain hope that it might save the others. He doesn't want to hurt his friends, doesn't want to hurt Luffy, and he's already done that tenfold. He wants Zeff to be safe because he still feels guilty, damnit, he still owes that bastard so much for raising his sorry ass, and for giving a shit, and for everything.

It's too much, and unrealistic, and stupid, and he can't do it by himself - He has tried and tried not to drag the others into this mess, and here they are anyway - and once he starts crying, once he starts blurting it all out, it's too hard to stop.

It doesn't help that Luffy's face goes slack in surprise. Surprised that his anger was too much for once, surprised that Sanji caved entirely. Then it shifts into a big grin, bloody and bruised, like it's the most nature thing for him to do, like it can fix everything. Luffy kneels down in front of Sanji and drops his voice into something quiet and understanding and full of encouraging laughter.

"It's okay."


"We're here for you."

Sanji doesn't know how it's possible to feel so relieved and so shitty all at once. Luffy doesn't deserve to be treated like this, and Sanji knows he doesn't want a damn apology, but he still feels one choking his throat.

He's never cried so hard in his life.

Not when his mother died. Not when he ran away. Not when he thought that shitty old man was going to die on him, too. Not when he set out on this crazy adventure with a boy he barely knew and left everything he loved behind.

To hell with how cheesy it sounds.

Everything he loves is right in front of him now, and he too stupid to hold onto it.

Luffy is the one to reach out first, again, always. He puts a hand on Sanji's shoulder and dips his head to one side, says, "Sanji? You gonna be okay?" He's already at his lowest, so why the hell not.

Sanji grabs the tattered edges of Luffy's open shirt in both hands and yanks him closer. Luffy makes a little ooph of surprise when he falls into Sanji's lap, when Sanji's arms squeeze around him tightly and don't let him go, fingers digging go to his back. He catches on quick, drapes his arms around Sanji's shoulders and bumps their heads together.

"You wanna hug even though I'm not a girl?" Luffy asks excitedly, his knees squeezing around Sanji's hips, arms around his shoulders.

A watery laugh busts out of Sanji.

Luffy's hands pat out a rhythm against his back and then fall still, pressing down. The weight of the world has been in those hands. Luffy carries it like it's nothing to him. He has turned the world on its side for them, and he would do it again, as many times as it takes, and Sanji feels like he doesn't deserve it - the simple way those hands squeeze into fists, and then open right away for a friend.


(A/n) SOMETHING CATHARTIC FOR THE SANJI ANGST, BECAUSE NOTHING COULD HAVE PREPARED ME FOR IT! T _T I will try really hard to write something that is Not Sanji next i swear to god lmao If u guys wanna send me prompts, go ahead! I'll do my best! /flex