He refuses to cry out when the bones in his leg snap. He grits his teeth against the pain, won't give the bastards the satisfaction.

"Tell us where he is," the soldier snarls, and Sanji manages to twist his face into a sneer.

Break all the bones you want, he wishes he could say, if he could speak without giving into the urge to scream. He hopes his expression is venomous enough to get the point across anyway, to this stupid man who thinks any Straw Hat Pirate would betray their infamous captain.

Sanji's lost track of time, but he's pretty sure it's been about eight days since he was captured. It had happened so fast even now he still can't exactly pick apart how they'd gotten the drop on him.

I'm sure the others are okay, he thinks for the hundredth time because it's the only comfort he has as the man approaches again with a set of pliers. The ladies are keeping an eye on everyone. Zoro's sleeping, that lazy bastard. Brook's playing the violin, or maybe his guitar. Luffy-

The far wall explodes out of nowhere, and everyone is thrown back by the sheer force of it. Sanji's chair hits the floor and splinters apart. Taking advantage of the sudden chaos, he unwinds himself from the chain, hating how sluggish and slow he feels as the world tips back and forth, how unwilling his legs are to help as he scrambles for purchase to make his escape. Even if he can't walk, he has to move.

So he crawls.

Through the deafening roar and pressure of wind pushing through the gaping hole in the side of the room, through the rubble and debris, the panic and shouting, the wailing of sirens somewhere outside, Sanji crawls.

Dragging himself over brick and mortar and wood, about to cry the way he wouldn't through pain and torture, because after an hour or a week or however long it's been, he knows salvation when he sees it.

Someone behind him shouts, he hears "Black Leg" and "trying to escape," and then there's scrambling and he feels a hand close on his shoulder.

He snarls, lashes out uselessly, careens face-first into the floor for all his effort. But with bruises and broken bones he's going to fight tooth and nail if he has to, because-


-his captain is here now, his captain is here, and he has to be fighting. No comrade of Straw Hat Luffy's is going to be found trussed and trundled, no comrade of that man would do anything to make him look like a captain with an incapable crew.

He's the best, he deserves the best, Sanji thinks, or maybe he says it out loud, he can't tell. Don't you dare look down on him because of me.

There's a burst of conquering Haki he can feel pass harmlessly over him like a caress, and the unmistakable sound of bodies falling like ragdolls. When soft footfalls stop in front of him, he murmurs, "I had 'em on the ropes."

But it isn't going to be like it usually is; laughing and bravado. There's hellfire in Luffy's eyes when he crouches in front of Sanji and takes his hand. Sanji wonders why for a minute, then realizes he'd been reaching out for him.

"I'm okay," he tries next, and Luffy's got that pokerface on that won't break for anything, doesn't even crack. He tries to lever himself upright to prove it, but Luffy's other hand is on his shoulder before he can get very far. And Sanji should be annoyed at that, he knows he should, but he isn't thinking very clearly and all he can come up with then and there is thank god

he's here all of his hands and attention and focus are on me nothing can hurt me now nothing I'm safe I'm finally safe

thank god.

Luffy is shorter and slimmer than he is, small for his age and scrawny on top of that, but Sanji feels strong again just being near him.

"I'm gonna burn this island down," Luffy tells him, voice low and gentle and the most comforting thing in the world. "No one hurts my friends."

Sanji cracks a smile at the fierce protectiveness Luffy pulls off too well for someone as tiny as he is; thinks of the Franky House and Arlong Park, Crocodile and the CP9, and wonders when the world is going to take the hint.

After all the pain he's suffered at the hands of the military in the name of Straw Hat Luffy, everything is suddenly and intensely okay again.

Bones will mend, scars will fade.

"Yes, captain."

And Luffy carries him home.