BlackRoseVixen05: Wow… It's been a while. I haven't written a fanfiction for several years. It's about time I got back into the groove. :3 This is my first attempt at a One Piece project, so please bear with me, everyone. Thanks!
Disclaimer: I do not own Piece One, its characters, nor am I making any sort of money by writing this story.
There was something going on with the cook.
Of that much, Zoro was fairly certain. Nothing too obvious, but at the same time, it was completely obvious… and weird. The others didn't seem to be aware. Even the cook, himself, acted as though nothing was out of the ordinary. 'The hell it wasn't,' Zoro thought as he rested on the grassy deck of the Thousand Sunny.
The ship was drifting about the calm sea without a care in the world. It was a beautiful afternoon. The sky was clear and just as blue as the water beneath it. There were just enough clouds to provide comfortable patches of shade here and there, and the breeze, which was blowing in from the south (according to Nami) was gentle and cool.
Zoro couldn't think of a more peaceful time for a nap. Too bad such a glorious sleep was currently out of his reach. His mind was, sadly, very active. He had a hard time relaxing when there was something puzzling or troubling him, but the swordsman supposed that that was normal. To make things worse, the almost constant guffawing of Luffy, Usopp, and Chopper helped succeed in keeping him awake. He was smart enough to keep his eyes shut, though. Had his rambunctious Captain known that he wasn't cruising peacefully through dreamland, Zoro would have surely been coerced into joining their antics. Pretending to be asleep would save him from that for the time being. It would also give him more time to reflect on the issue with the cook. 'What is his problem, anyway?'
His usual dumb-assery aside, this was a new leap, even for Sanji, in Zoro's opinion. The cook always made a big deal over alcohol. Mostly when it came to using or sharing liquor for anything other than preparing meals, unless Robin or Nami asked for some, that is. She and their soft-spoken archeologist were the only people besides the cook who even knew the combination to the pantry.
Sanji made a point to complain extra loudly whenever Zoro asked for a bottle. Their squabbles over random trivial matters, such as drinks, often ended in twenty-minute insult battles and/or all-out fights. That was perfectly normal, however. That was how they got on, how they handled each other, and to some degree, things were still the same.
That didn't quite explain the recent change in his opinion on the handling and distributing of alcohol, though. For the past week, Sanji had been much more generous with serving drinks at dinnertime. Not just to everyone, save for Luffy, but to Zoro especially.
It struck the swordsman as odd on the very first day. He assumed it to be a one-time event, though, and didn't mention it.
His confusion grew on the second night when, once again, he was served a large mug of beer with his food. Again, he said nothing. Zoro wasn't about to look a gift horse in the mouth. Confusion turned to suspicion on the third night when he was presented with an entire bottle of sake and a glass.
Nonetheless, the first mate pushed the weirdness out of his mind and enjoyed the donation. On the fourth night, Sanji seemed to be an especially good mood and suggested they have a party for no apparent reason. Luffy, Usopp, Franky and Brook were all over this idea in seconds. Preparations were made, loads of food was cooked, dances were had, and alcohol was drunk by the case-full.
They even concluded their night of fun with a friendly drinking contest, also suggested by Sanji. Nami quickly insisted on a wager and many groans were heard. They eventually agreed that whoever won would be spared watch duty for three days.
Several hours passed in the blink of an eye and only Zoro, Sanji, and Nami were still in the game. Their navigator was no slouch when it came to holding her liquor, but she, too, had to cop out after another hour. It was well after midnight at this point, Zoro recalled.
Sanji worked hard to keep going, but he was struggling with his sixth bottle of wine. Zoro had smirked with amusement. This game was pretty much his. Nami had been his only real concern, and now that she was passed out in her chair, his worries were over. He could take Sanji out easily. Even after his fifty-fourth shot of sake, the swordsman was experiencing a small, but pleasing buzz. Zoro was far from drunk.
The cook on the other hand, was slurring like crazy and babbling incessantly about something Zoro didn't even bother to pay attention to. Sanji managed to finish his bottle, but angrily conceded almost immediately afterwards. The swordsman grinned triumphantly and downed another glass of sake just to rub it in.
The game was now finished and Zoro expected Sanji to stagger off to bed like Franky, or to drop off to sleep on the spot like Nami. He was more than a little surprised when the blonde remained where he sat and began to engage him in conversation. Zoro remembered that his face was flushed and he was grinning like an idiot. Sanji was, clearly, "three sheets to the wind."
Zoro was relaxed enough to listen (somewhat) and respond whenever the cook actually made sense. Strangely enough, their chat was kind of… almost nice. They argued a little, cursed a lot, teased each other, and threw plenty of insults. It was well after four in the morning when they stopped conversing. Sanji had fallen asleep and Zoro wasn't far behind.
That next day, things were back to normal between Zoro and the cook. Sanji, hangover and all, was back to his surly, antagonistic self and Zoro was, naturally, on the receiving end of all his foul-mouthed, marimo-themed nagging. It came as a complete shock to Zoro when the generous drink offerings continued that evening.
There was no party this time, but for whatever reason, Sanji ended up getting completely sloshed all over again when his cooking and cleaning duties had been seen to. Notably, he wasn't going for his usual staple: wine. Sanji was drinking hard liquor. Whiskey, Zoro deduced from the smell. He had no clue why the curly-brow was straying from his norm, but he had sort of been doing that a lot lately.
Just as the night before, once he was hammered beyond belief, Sanji came to flop down on the deck next to Zoro. The green-haired man gave him a flat and somewhat curious look. Sanji giggled drunkenly and began to talk about random things again. Zoro didn't have a reason not to, so he humored him. Maybe the love-cook just wanted some attention? If that was the case, though, Zoro wondered, why didn't he even attempt to seek it from Nami or Robin?
The cook repeated this same ritual every night since then, to Zoro's confusion. Even after his first experience (apparently) with an extensive amount of hard liquor had left him sick and heaving over the side of the ship the next morning. This, too, had been repeated ever since. Zoro was puzzled as to why Sanji kept choosing to drown himself in whiskey, sake, and vodka when it obviously did terrible things to his stomach. Just to have a conversation with him? Zoro wasn't sure how to convey this to the cook, but being drunk wasn't necessary if he just wanted to shoot the breeze. Not to mention that all the excessive drinking was probably depleting their liquor supply faster than ever.
Zoro didn't really mind the disorderly and giggle-filled topics. In fact, he had quickly gotten used to them. But still, he couldn't put his finger on the true reason or reasons behind the issue. He wondered if this day would be the same as the others? Would Sanji "tie one on" after dinner and come talk to him again? Probably so, but maybe not. The whole thing was far too strange to really put his finger on.
Zoro took a chance to be caught "awake" by Luffy and cracked open an eye. He did so just in time so see a frisbee sail through the air above him. The first mate speedily shut his eye again. He heard his captain and doctor gallop past not a moment later. He breathed a sigh and, after the sounds of their good time grew fainter, glanced towards the closed kitchen door. Zoro stared, as though attempting to peer through the wooden walls.
'That shitty cook…'
Sanji didn't deserve to spend much time occupying his thoughts. Zoro scowled deeply. He supposed that he would just have to wait and see what the evening would bring. It was no sense wasting anymore time pretending to be asleep. The swordsman exhaled and made an attempt to relax. He succeeded easier than he expected.
Zoro felt himself beginning to drift off when something flat, round, and made of plastic collided with the side of his head.
Luffy's voice called, "Zorooooo, come play!"
Dinner was over. The night was young. Sanji was busily tidying up inside the kitchen. Everyone thanked him for their food and then left to go do their own thing. The cook watched Zoro's departing back through his blonde fringe. He opened his mouth to speak, but froze when the door closed, leaving him alone. It wasn't too late, his mind pointed out. He could still call after the moss-head and request that he help with the dishes. There was a good chance that he would. Zoro rarely refused.
Sanji regained his ability to move. He shook his head and turned on the hot water, deciding to handle things on his own. There would be time to talk to that shitty swordsman later. Once the sink was full, he shut off the tap. Sanji loaded the dishes into the hot soak and then got to work, though not before his eyes drifted anxiously towards the pantry.
Zoro was leaning against the railing of the upper deck. Robin was there, also. The archeologist was engaged in the leisurely task of reading. There was a cup of steaming coffee on the small table at her side. She would reach for said cup with one of her detached arms every few moments and then put it back. The saucer made a soft clinking sound whenever the mug was placed upon its surface.
The sound, Zoro had to admit, was a little annoying. It eventually drove him to the lower, grassy space below. Usopp, Luffy, and Franky were already there. The three were playing an oddly quiet game of cards. Zoro couldn't contain a snicker at the almost painful look of concentration on the rubber-boy's face. The sniper was sporting a rather smug grin, and Franky appeared to be frustrated.
Zoro passed them by without a word, lest he disturb their game. He traveled to his usual spot and settled down to watch his crewmates in silence. It was about five minutes later when the tension building between the three erupted and Usopp declared himself the winner. Luffy shrieked and accused him of cheating. As far as the captain was concerned, the person who had the most cards in their hand was obviously the winner. A scuffle broke out. Luffy was determined to take Usopp's winning hand. Franky simply watched them, laughing all the while.
The sound of their brawl drew lots of attention. Chopper emerged from the medical room and Brook made his way up from the aquarium. The nine-foot skeleton chortled at the sight of his crew and whipped out his violin.
"Yohohohoho! This calls for a song!" he declared before starting to play a very sprightly tune.
Nami poked her head out of the women's quarters, frowning. Her face lightened after a moment and she ducked back inside. Two minutes later, she reappeared with a blanket and the map she had been working on. Robin came down from upper deck to join her on the grass.
With the music going on, it hadn't taken Luffy and Usopp long to stop rolling around and start dancing. Franky wasted no time joining in. Zoro observed from his spot with a faint smile on his face. Looks like they had another party on their hands.
The door to the kitchen swung open and caught Zoro's attention. Sanji leaned out and waved to everyone. "Oi! Who wants drinks?" he yelled over the music. Zoro raised his hand.
"Brandy for me, please," said Robin, lifting her coffee cup.
"Beer for me! Thanks," added Nami, never looking up from her map.
"Anything for you, my beautiful angels!" Sanji squawked as pink hearts sprang to his eyes.
"Beer for me, too, bro! A big one!" Franky requested, striking a pose as he danced with Luffy and Usopp.
"Fine, give me a sec," Sanji replied with much less enthusiasm. He disappeared into the kitchen, though he left the door open. The cook returned with a rolling service table with an attached cooler. It had bottle after bottle of various types of alcohol carefully balanced upon it. However, there was no wine to be seen.
Sanji served Nami and Robin first and then saw to Franky and Zoro. The last thing he did was get something for himself. The first mate watched with a discrete eye. Sanji took a chilled glass from inside the cooler and poured about two cups of coconut rum into it. He tilted his head back and took a large swig. Zoro noticed his nose scrunch up as he did so.
The party rolled on. An hour had passed and almost everyone was good and tipsy. Franky left briefly to fetch his guitar. He and Brook were now performing a duet. Usopp and Luffy were dancing with about as much grace as two blind elephants and Sanji was swinging Chopper around like a rag-doll. They were both laughing like crazy. The little doctor had chopsticks shoved up his nose and the cook was sporting two cigarettes sticking out of his own. His cheeks were noticeably redder.
Zoro and the girls took in the madness from their respective areas of the deck. Sanji put Chopper down a moment in order to slip off his suit jacket, and to down another serving of rum before being yanked back to the "dance floor" by Luffy's rubbery arms. Zoro chuckled as their captain spun the cook around so fast that he was left staggering. Sanji got another drink and then moseyed his way over to where the swordsman was sitting.
"Oi, marimo!" he stated loudly as he sat down with a thump. "Not dancin'?"
Zoro scowled and took another drink of sake before answering. "Not my thing. You know that."
Sanji stuck out his lip. "Yer no fun," he slurred, gazing off at the others. Zoro didn't respond.
The two sat in silence as Luffy and Usopp's antics resulted in a round of "who can catch Chopper first". It was beyond comical. The little doctor transformed into his Walk Point form and fled as though his life depended on it. The two screaming, but amazingly sober, teens were hot on his heels. Their chase spanned the entire deck.
Zoro winced as the threesome ruffled Nami's tangerine trees while circling them several times. This succeeded in instantly enraging their navigator, who sprang from her seat on the grass and tore after them. The swordsman grinned at the new game, "who can survive Nami's wrath".
Beside him, the cook was laughing so hard he was having trouble breathing. "Na-Nami-swan… ahahahahahah… scared the shit outta them!"
"Let's hope not," Zoro snickered. "Usopp's gonna lose whatever spine he has left if that happens."
His joke only made Sanji laugh harder, which was a little weird since Zoro didn't find what he said to be all that funny. In his inebriated state, though, the cook seemed to find everything some level of hilarious. He was cackling and holding his stomach. Zoro sighed and shook his head.
A good three minutes passed before Sanji was able to get a handle on his laughter. He was panted heavily and giggling intermittently. "Oh, man…" he sighed, smiling and wiping the light sheet of sweat from his forehead. "Shit…" He flopped over, landing directly in Zoro's lap.
This made the swordsman jump and then freeze. He glanced down at the cook like he was out of his mind. Sanji was merely giggled with that same drunken smile on his face as usual. "His spine… Haha, tha' wuz a good one, marimo," said the blonde, his smile widening even more. "Y'know, yer alright."
Sanji cackled and reached up to pat the side of Zoro's face. His hand was batted away after the third pat. "Oi, get off of me," Zoro grumbled, looking in another direction.
Sanji puffed out his cheeks like a child. "I don' wanna," the cook whined, folding his arms across his chest. "It'z comfy."
Zoro wasn't terribly sure how to respond to that. He blinked several times and then frowned. "Will it still be 'comfy' when I strangle your stupid ass?" he threatened as convincingly as possible.
The blonde didn't look bothered. He started squirming around in spite of the swordsman, attempting to make his point. Zoro growled and shoved him off onto the grass. "Get lost, cook!"
Sanji sat up and glared, looking almost hurt. "Whatever, shitty marimo brain," he shot back, clawing his way to his feet using Zoro's shoulder. He flipped Zoro off before stalking away like a wounded animal.
"Tch, idiot curly-cue," Zoro mumbled, watching him leave to rejoin the wild and crazy dance party still unfolding near by. He finished his bottle of sake and leaned back, trying to relax.
'What the hell was that about?'
The celebration continued further into the night, though the number of participants was slowly dwindling. Robin retired to bed sometime after one, and Sanji vanished not long afterwards. Their sniper was regaling Luffy and Chopper with some seriously monumental lies. The captain knew the stories he told weren't true, sure, but they were still fun to listen to. Chopper, on the other hand, was a little more gullible and believed every tall tale.
Brook and Franky were conversing over the now softer sounds of their music. Their tune was mellow and relaxing. It was making Nami yawn. The navigator soon stood up and began to gather her belongings. "Night, everyone," she said before heading for the women's quarters.
Zoro nodded to the young woman as she strode past. He unconsciously lifted his sake bottle to his lips, but received nothing. It had momentarily slipped his mind that the drink had been killed a while ago. He sighed and sat the bottle down. Perhaps it was time he turned in as well. Zoro stretched and then rolled to his feet. He said nothing to the rest of his crew as he left. They would no doubt beg him to stay if he had.
He stepped through the door that led to the room where all the men slept. It was dark inside, save for the gentle glow of a lantern sitting on the sunken table. The sound of shifting weight came from one of the hammocks. "Nnh? Whossat?" the familiar voice of the cook asked as he sat up. "Oh… It'z tha marimo."
Zoro didn't have to look at Sanji to tell that he was still full as a tick. He sighed and approached the table. "Ish tha party over?" asked the drunken blonde.
"It is for me," Zoro replied, facing away from his crewmate. He started to take off his boots. "I'm goin' to bed."
Sanji was silent for a moment. He then cackled with amusement. "Well! C'mon in, marimo," he called, lifting his arms and waving them about sluggishly.
The first mate raised an eyebrow and turned to look at the other man. 'What is he talking about?' Zoro wondered as he padded over to the row of double bunks. His eyes narrowed when he reached the cook, who was grinning up at him.
He spied the almost empty bottle of rum in his hand and resisted the urge to smack his forehead.
Sanji seemed to realize what he was looking at and thrust the bottle in Zoro's direction. "Wan' zome?" he asked happily, wiggling the container for emphasis.
Zoro ignored the question. "You're in my spot," he pointed out dryly.
The cook withdrew the rum and looked around curiously. "Mm… How 'bout tha'!" he exclaimed before taking a long swig from the bottle. "Ahh…" he sighed, then hiccupped. Sanji wiped his mouth with his wrist and then gazed back at the very irritated swordsman. "Wut're ya waitin' for? Ge' in heeeeere, maribo."
Zoro groaned loudly in exasperation. It was officially no fun talking to the cook, anymore. He'd never been this fucked up before. It was annoying and a little degrading. "Forget it," Zoro answered, turning to go climb into the bunk directly across from his own. It belonged to Luffy. The rubber-boy wouldn't need it anyway, as he had watch duty.
Sanji frowned at him and then downed the final swallow of rum that remained. He tossed the empty bottle and then flopped down on his back. "Sh-Shitty moss-balls," he hissed under his breath. Little did he know that his whispering skills weren't quite up to par at the time.
The first mate sighed heavily and glared at the cook. "Just go to sleep, would ya?" he snapped, closing his own eyes. Sanji whined and then fell silent. Zoro wasn't foolish enough to expect the quietness to last.
"Why d'you look like that?" Sanji asked suddenly.
"Yer face," said the cook.
"What about my face, dartbrow?" Zoro inquired with much annoyance.
"Y'know… Yer face… Ya got, like…" Sanji trailed off, making Zoro creak open an eye. The blonde was counting on his hand with a look of confusion.
"Ya got, like… th' s-s-same – one - look on yer face all th' time," he resumed, holding up four fingers. "An' yer creepy as fucking… I dunno wut…" Sanji let his arm fall. "An' tha' baby barf-colored hair o' yers… high ass Frankenstein forehead…"
His temper threatening to consume him, Zoro was all but trembling with outrage. He had a mind to march over to the cook, dump him unceremoniously out of bunk, gag him, and toss his stupid eyebrows into the sea. 'I'm going to ring his scrawny little-!'
"Zo why tha hell d'you look zo damn sexy all tha time…?" Sanji finished, sounding genuinely perplexed.
Zoro blinked and lifted his head. "What?"
Sanji sighed and rolled over in the wooden hammock. "I don' get it…" he mumbled with his back to the swordsman. "Dumb marimo head…"
The first mate stared at the cook for several minutes before he was able to relax again. 'The hell…?' he thought, unsure of what to say or do. This was the second time that night Sanji left him feeling such a way. Zoro frowned, slowly letting his eyes slide shut. Much to his relief, the room was quiet for the rest of the night.
End of Chapter One
BlackRoseVixen05: Well, there's the first chapter. It's nothing groundbreaking, but I hope it was enough to get you interested. ^_^ I would really, really appreciate a review if you, dear reader, can spare the time. I want to know how you feel about this beginning and if you're interested in seeing what happens next. Thank you for stopping by! Ja ne!See ya!