Disclaimer: I do not own One Piece
Hey there readers and welcome to Silver Service! This is a multi-chapter fanfic that plot-bunnied due to a tumblr post I had come across ages ago and sparked me into writing. Unfortunately, I got stuck at some point due to not being sure how to work the timeline; but recently I revisited the story and figured it out.
As it stands, seven chapters are fully finished and the eighth is nearly done. The overall chapter count is going to be about twenty or so. With the general outline written, I know how the basic plot is going to go and can continue writing and get updates to be fairly regular. Or hopefully at least!
For now, enjoy the first chapter (more of a prologue really) everyone!
Day 1, Tuesday
"Hey, stop lingering around the kitchen! Table 15 is waiting for you, Sanji!"
The once-chef known as Sanji actually cringed at those words, but he was quick to spin around and pull a smile for his supervisor, "Going." As he walked past Ganzo, he had to fight the automatic instinct of shoving his boot in the man's face.
Maybe, he thought, my first customers will be a table full of lovely ladies.
But as he turned the corner into the dining area, he was quickly disappointed to find it was not a table of long-legged, voluptuous women but a lone, dark-skinned guy who seemed to of made himself quite comfortable already. There was a notebook and some kind of textbook on the table; not that this was surprising to Sanji, since Diable Jambe (or DB as most people commonly called it) was a fairly big hotspot for college students as the university was only a block away.
The guy was turned away from him when he approached, mumbling to himself as he dug through his bag that he had set in the seat beside him. Sanji waited about twenty seconds, tapping his pencil against his notepad. But, when he continued to go unnoticed, he cleared he throat irritably and said, "Can I take your order?"
The student jerked in surprise at the voice, looking up.
Sanji almost dropped his pencil. Wow.
"Oh, u-uh, I haven't even looked at the menu."
It took a few seconds for his reeling brain to catch up to his mouth, but luckily the right response spilled out. "Do you need a minute?"
"Oh, no, I'll uh-" The dark-skinned male fumbled about, trying to pull the menu out from underneath the heavy textbook. Sanji couldn't help but glance and noted it was an art book. It thumped softly as the menu came free. "Ummmm, I'll just have coffee."
"Coffee… right." Sanji mumbled, scribbling it down but hardly looking so that the word slanted across three lines. "I'll bring it right out."
The man smiled slightly. "Thanks."
Sanji retreated, pocketing the checkbook and nearly sprinting for the refreshments area. He was back out in no less than two minutes.
By then the mystery man already had found what he was looking for: a set of drawing pencils in a little case that was decorated with, curiously enough, armadillos. He already had one of the thin-tipped tools in his hand, idly flipping it between his fingers, eyes stuck to the page he was reading.
Sanji set the creamer dish and coffee cup down, filling it with the carafe. And with his job done, he knew he should just quietly scamper away and leave the other to his work; nevertheless, he couldn't help but be compelled to speak. "Are you sure this is all?"
"Mmm yeah this is fine."
Why? Order something, anything. I'll make it myself. It'll be the best thing you've ever tasted! Sanji irrationally wanted to argue – even if he could not, in fact, do so. Cook, that is. Instead he just swallowed down the disappointment that strangely had nothing to do with the dollar tip he was going to get and said, "Well, if you change your mind feel free to wave me down."
He was pleasantly, knee-meltingly surprised when the student caught his spinning pencil, glancing up at him then. "A-Actually… this is going to be kind of weird but, can I ask you a different sort of favor?"
Sanji didn't even think. "Of course."
"Okay well, do you guys have any of that uhh… uh that green leafy stuff you put on plates to make it look nice?"
"Parsley." He supplied. "And yeah we have some, why?"
"Well, could I like… borrow some? Like a leaf or something?" Sanji wasn't able to hide his befuddlement, because the other started to flush and even with his dark complexion he could see it. "B-Because, okay see, I have to do this art project where we have to glue a physical item somewhere onto the page and then draw around it basically but at the same time keep it part of the picture. And well I-" He nibbled on his lip nervously, seeming to withdraw some as looked down at the tabletop. "You know what, this is silly. I-I'm not even ordering any food, how can I ask – just, never mind."
"No," The temporary waiter shook his head. "That's fine I can bring you some."
The customer glanced up. He was adorably shy. "R-Really? It's okay?"
"Sure." It probably wasn't. Sanji didn't give a shit. "Does it matter what kind? Like the size or anything?"
"No, anything's perfect. Well, as long as it's not bigger than the page that is." He chuckled and it was a nice sound. But even better was the way he looked up at him and grinned. "Thank you so much!"
Sanji had to wonder how his voice was so calm when everything inside of him was practically trembling. "It's no trouble at all." Sneaking into the kitchen took a little work, but he managed to rip off a sprig of parsley and return to the table without anyone the wiser. He presented it like it was a flower. "How's this?"
"Perfect!" The other chirped, sounding utterly pleased as he took the small plant. "I can't thank you enough. You're really helping me out you know."
He smiled as charmingly as he could manage, what with his stomach doing little flips every time this guy spoke. "It was nothing. I'll be around if you need anything else."
Sanji kept a close eye on the student for the rest of the night; luckily, he seemed so absorbed that he didn't even notice the staring eyes. For the better part of an hour, he watched the other push the little plant all over the page, often sketching something before immediately erasing whatever he was trying to draw. Sometimes he would lift the parsley up, whirling the stem between his fingers or he would chew at the end of his pencil, glaring hard down at his notebook as if willing whatever inspiration he was waiting for to just draw itself.
"How's it coming along?" Sanji asked softly when he refilled the coffee cup for the fourth time. There was an array of sugar packets and creamer containers on the table. It was no surprise, seeing as he had watched the other dump in no less than three sugars and two creams per cup. He really liked sweet things it seemed.
The student sighed, a little exasperated. "Nothing yet."
"Is it not good enough? I could get more." He quickly offered.
"No, no." He shook his head. "Then I'd just have to start over." He looked up at him, saying rather determinedly, "Don't worry, I'm going to draw something great, just you watch."
Unfortunately, Sanji didn't get the chance because as another half-hour pushed on the few customers he had been handling soon turned into a horde as the restaurant filled with the early dinner rush. After that, he could only spy at him from afar and visit the table once. He knew though, from one of his glimpses, just when the wait ended – he was unable to see his face, because a curtain of dark curls hid him from view, but the man's posture had changed, now bent over the table and pencil working furiously across the page.
And one minute he was there, drawing adamantly.
Then the next time Sanji looked, he was gone.
He approached Table 15 with a mournful sigh, starting to shovel the sugar packs and creamer cups into the coffee mug, when he noted the folded piece of green pinned under the saucer. He lifted the ceramic away delicately, only to find himself unable to breathe.
It wasn't because of the amount – a pleasantly stunning fifty dollars.
No, it was because of the little message written carefully along the corner edge of the bill:
Thank you, Sanji