Usopp supposed he'd never be able to tell Sanji how he felt.

Oh, there was no way that Sanji would like him back, and if his one-sided love would come out, everything would become awkward between the two of them. There would be no "our longnose" or sitting side by side or hands on shoulders, because anything like that would remind of the thing that was between them.

Why couldn't it have just stayed a strong love between friends? Why did it have to become tangled and sticky and sweet as hell, a mess wrapped around Usopp's heart that caused it to pump hot blood to his face when they talked or when Sanji slapped his back in a brotherly manner, preventing him from acting normal around his favourite person? He could never feel honest when being with Sanji again, and this was a different feeling than when he told made-up stories of his marvelous adventures. It wasn't because he chose to lie, it was because he had to hide the truth. Stupid heart.

Maybe he could tell him if they found One Piece. In the middle of the celebration, all the racket... No, it would completely ruin the happy moment. Or when they were se- separated, he guessed they would go all their own ways afterwards, since it wasn't like they could just... It wasn't how things worked.. Maybe he'd tell just when their ways were going to part...

But then that would be Sanji's last memory of him. Usopp who cowardly confessed at the moment when he knew he wouldn't have to face the consequences, Usopp who'd been stealing his kindness all this time. Usopp who'd forced his disgusting, male love on Sanji who loved women over anything.

No, there was no moment for telling it. No gap to stuff his unwanted feelings into to never be seen again, no way to say aloud he loved the cook without destroying everything.

"You okay, Usopp?"

Sanji had silently walked to him when he was sitting in the rear of Thousand Sunny, his thoughts running in dreary circles. Usopp drew a quick breath, startled, and turned around.

"Y-yeah, I'm just... planning new weapons, y'know. You can count on the brave warrior of the seas anytime!" His grin may have been weak, but it was a smile, and he was so miserable the tangle on his heart didn't show signs of making him blush.

"If you say so", the cook said in disbelief, sighing with tobacco smoke. "It's time for lunch, come on. You should've heard when I shouted."

Well, here came the red cheeks again when Sanji pulled him along by his shoulders. The others would probably notice it, or at least Robin if no one else.

Usopp was too tired to care, and also a little happy about the way the swirlybrowed cook thought and worried about him.

There is a small possibility of this continuing, in case I get an idea for Sanji's pov or how this might proceed in general. SanUso is my OTP, as in actual ONE true pairing (the only pairing I seriously ship), and I'd really like to try writing a multi-chapter story for once.