Sanji had really assumed Chopper squirting really fucking cold gel on his balls to use his new "seeing inside of people machine" would be the low point of his day. But at least that had proven he didn't have testicular cancer. Which Chopper had been worried about because of his blood tests.
It was probably a blessing that Chopper hadn't told the cook about that suspicion before disproving it, because, damn. That was not a worry Sanji had appreciated entertaining even for a few seconds. He was very fond of his balls and really didn't like the idea of something happening to them.
But compared to what the machine's screen was showing now, testicular cancer seemed like a comparably mild threat to his masculinity, really.
"That… looks like…", Sanji started tentatively, but he didn't really want to finish the sentence. Because saying it out loud might make it real and not just a crazy machine malfunction and he knew he wasn't ready for that.
"That doesn't make any sense", Chopper said, removing the machine's wand from Sanji's abdomen and looking at it critically. "That's weird."
"Glad you agree", Sanji said. The image had vanished when Chopper had removed the wand but when he pressed it back down it reappeared in all its illogical glory.
"How… but the machine can't be making this up… or can it?" The little doctor waved the wand around Sanji's stomach, smearing him with the annoying gel all over. "Everything else looks normal… spleen, liver… can't be the machine… but it also can't be what it looks like."
Chopper returned to that spot a little to the left of Sanji's belly button and they both stared at the picture for a few more moments. The cook really wasn't an expert on any sort of medical thing and even less on the machine since it was the first time he saw it in action, but it it looked a lot like something it just couldn't be.
"Then again that would explain the high levels of beta HCG…" Chopper mused. "It is the hormone used for pregnancy tests, after all, and there's no tumor…"
"I… hate to point out the obvious here, Chopper, but, you know. I'm a guy."
"I know that! This is completely crazy. You don't have some weird gender quirk that I don't know about, do you? No you don't, I just saw your testicles and they're perfectly fine." Chopper hopped from the chair he'd been sitting on and went to his book shelf.
Sanji honestly had no idea how to respond to that. His testicles were more than fine, they were very nice, thank you very much. But then again, looking back at the now empty screen of the sonn… sono… whatever it was called made him wonder that the hell was going on with him, there.
"Have you… experienced any symptoms, any nausea, mood swings, amenorrhoea… no wait, forget the last one, that doesn't make sense", Chopper asked, staring at his book shelf without making a move to take out any book in particular.
Sanji thought back on the past few weeks. "A bit of nausea, maybe, but it was never really bad, I thought it was just from testing some ingredients."
"Hm… well it might've been morning sickness, some women have it really badly, but some barely at all", Chopper trailed off and then shook his head violently as if trying to dislodge the thought. "No, what am I talking about? That doesn't make any sense."
Chopper went back over to the examination cot and put the wand back on Sanji's stomach. At least the stupid gel had warmed up by now. The picture came back on and Chopper pressed a few buttons to make the image freeze.
"Okay, let's look at this rationally, throwing around theories is stupid if we haven't even gathered all the facts, yet. So, let's go over this picture", Chopper said, turning his attention to the screen. "We're at the back of the peritoneum, close to the bifurcation of the aorta. There's a… foreign structure close to the left illiac artery" Chopper's brow furrowed. "Worryingly close, actually. It seems to have infiltrated the surrounding structures and" He pushed a button again, making the image unfreeze and then some red and blue colors started pulsing on the screen, some of it on the 'foreign object' as Chopper so charmingly put it.
"And it's latched onto the blood supply, which is worrying. It also seems to be responsible for a hormone imbalance. Did I forget anything?"
"Yes. Sort of the most pressing point", Sanji said hesitantly. "It looks like a baby."
"No it doesn't, it looks like a fetus", Chopper immediately shot back. "But you're male and men can't get pregnant, so it probably isn't a fetus. It's much more likely a parasite that happens to look like one. And mess up your hormones in the exact same way…"
"There are parasites like that?"
"Not that I've ever heard of, but then again this is the New World there could be lots of uncharted parasites around here that no one's ever written about", Chopper said thoughtfully.
"So that's just as unlikely as a guy getting pregnant?", Sanji asked. Honestly he wasn't even sure why he was arguing in favor of it being a baby… or fetus, or whatever. He didn't believe in that, but maybe it was Chopper's insistence of the opposite that made him do it.
"No, a parasite makes more sense", Chopper said. "But why would a parasite even look like that? Well if people think it's a fetus they might be less likely to get rid of it, but the sonogram is a really new invention, it couldn't have evolved to anticipate that, and other than that people wouldn't even see what the thing looks like. Or maybe it is a fetus, but why would it be there? … Have you ever had sexual intercourse with a man?"
The noise that came out of Sanji's mouth at that question sounded like something between a yelp and a strangled cough and he didn't need a mirror to know that his face was rapidly turning a quite unbecoming shade of red.
"Really?", Chopper said, his eyes growing to almost twice their normal size.
"Shut up… there was lots of alcohol and stupidity, and… shut up", Sanji mumbled, looking off to the side and trying to wish his blush away. Which probably only went a deeper shade of red, if he was honest.
"O… kay, that's not any of my business… but still, that probably doesn't have anything to do with that. Anatomically it doesn't make any sense, even if you were capable of producing an ovum, which you aren't, because you don't have ovaries, then there still wouldn't be any way for sperm from your rectum to travel to your peritoneum, you'd have to have a perforated colon for that and then you'd be in a whole other world of trouble, that can't be it."
If Sanji had ever known in advance that careless consumption of alcohol and dumb decision making would lead to Chopper talking about sperm in his rectum he never ever would have consumed any alcoholic beverage in is life. He refrained from answering the little reindeer because he really didn't have the faintest clue as to how.
"Well, if we assume that this were, in fact, a fetus, which it can't be, but if it were… I'd say it's at around two months, maybe."
Two months… Sanji thought back on that ill advised night, which, to be fair he'd quite enjoyed while it was happening but had afterwards vowed to never ever repeat. "Two months doesn't really fit", he said absently before he could stop himself. Chopper looked away from the screen and back to the cook, and Sanji resumed his staring contest with the floor self consciously. "It'd be closer to three…"
"Hmm… that might work, too", Chopper said, looking back at the screen. "It'd be pretty small for three, but in a male body it'd be incredibly difficult for the fetus to get proper nutrients, so it would probably stay smaller."
"Huh…" was really all Sanji could think to say to that.
"But it probably doesn't have anything to do with that, as I said, if you had a perforated colon then maybe the sperm would be able to get where it would have had to end up for this to happen, disregarding everything else… and basically if you'd had a perforated colon three months ago you would already be dead", Chopper theorized.
"Maybe we're thinking about this too rational, though. Did you get hit with any crazy devil's fruit in that time frame?", Chopper asked.
Sanji was just about to reply "no" when he realized that that would be a lie. It'd been several months ago even if he didn't remember the exact time right now, but it was the only unexplained thing he could think of. He'd pretty much forgotten about that weird lilac colored beam that had hit him, because it hat had absolutely no effect and he'd mentally dubbed that the "useless, useless fruit" and not thought any more about it. "There… might have been something like that", Sanji said after a moment.
"What? How come I didn't know that? You're supposed to tell me about stuff like being hit with mysterious devil's fruits! I'm supposed to know about potential health risks to my crew!", Chopper yelled.
"I didn't think it had any effect, it was just some silly purple beam that didn't do anything"
"Well, apparently it did! Either you got some crazy baby looking parasite, or you suddenly became a medical miracle. What was the fruit called?"
"I don't know, they didn't say", Sanji said.
Chopper let out an exasperated sigh. "Okay then, I guess it doesn't matter either way", he hopped off the chair again and went over to his desk.
"As far as I can tell there are four theories. First: it's a parasite that happens to look like a fetus. Second: It is a fetus that was artificially implanted into you by that beam that's some sort of offspring of the caster. Which doesn't really make it that much different from a parasite. Third: it is a fetus that was somehow created by fusing the caster's DNA with yours. Fourth: the beam didn't implant a fetus but somehow made you able to get pregnant from that escapade you had. Which really doesn't make sense, because as I said, perforated colon, and where would the ovum even come from, and if that beam somehow created an ovum, either artificially or even from your DNA how would it have stayed alive long enough to be inseminated and…" Chopper stopped himself and shook his head as if to dislodge his stuck train of thought.
"But, anyway, it doesn't even really matter, because no matter which theory is right the course of action we have to take now doesn't change", Chopper declared.
"Really?" Sanji blinked. Wouldn't a parasite or a baby have different implications?
"Yes, it needs to be removed as soon as possible."
Sanji couldn't do anything but stare at their doctor for a moment. Only now did he realize that Chopper had started taking surgical tools out of his drawers and the cook acutely felt as if he'd just missed a chunk of conversation.
"Hang on, what?", Sanji asked, only half aware that his voice sounded quite a bit higher than it usually did.
"It needs to be removed", Chopper repeated, as if just saying it again would make it make more sense.
"When the hell did you decide that?", Sanji asked, indignant. "You just said it might be a baby!"
"I said fetus!"
"That's not the point!", Sanji yelled. He sat up, suddenly uncomfortable in his previous position of lying on the cot.
"But it really doesn't even matter. Sanji, even if it is a child, it probably isn't even related to you and even if it were that doesn't change the fact that you're a man and you can't be pregnant." Chopper finally turned around and stopped messing with his surgical tools that made Sanji quite uncomfortable to look at.
"Well apparently I can, whether you like it or not", Sanji said and gestured at the screen were a picture of the baby… fetus? was still frozen with some blue and red colors around it.
"But you're not built for that! Look no matter which theory is true, time wise it should be along further than this, it should be bigger. And that's because your body can't sustain it. A woman's body is built to accommodate a child, yours isn't! There's special tissue in the uterus that makes it easier to provide nutrients to the child, you don't have that, and there are cells that make sure the placenta doesn't infiltrate too far so it doesn't turn harmful to the mother, you don't have those either."
"So what, what does that mean? Look at it, looks like it did just fine without that stuff so far."
"But it won't stay that way! Look at this, you see this large blob of red there?" Chopper said, pointing at the screen.
"That's the common iliac artery, which is among the largest blood vessels of the human body. Look how close that is to the fetus, if it is one. You see this mess of blue and red, there? That's the placenta, that's even closer. And that is going to grow and it's going to burrow further into the surrounding tissues, including that artery, and if it hits that, then that's probably going to rupture the artery and then you'll bleed to death!"
That gave Sanji pause. He looked from the screen back to the doctor who was looking at him imploringly. "… Death?", the cook repeated tentatively because that hadn't been part of his considerations, yet, at all. Not that he'd really had the chance to do much thinking. Chopper's sudden insistence to get rid of the baby, fetus or parasite or whatever it really was without even checking which theory was correct had just rubbed Sanji the wrong way.
"Yes. A female body has cells in the uterus that can protect it against the fetus growing too aggressively, but you don't have those, your body has no way to defend itself. Sometimes that happens to women, too, it's called an abdominal pregnancy when the fetus doesn't implant in the uterus but somewhere it doesn't belong. And that's life threatening!"
"You don't know for sure that that's gonna happen, though", Sanji said. "Do all those women die?"
"No", Chopper admitted. "But the chances of the fetus living long enough and growing enough to be viable are much lower than the chances of internal bleeding. It's not worth the risk!"
"But if this was a devil's fruit that made this happen don't you think it was designed for this? You don't know it works, it might all turn out fine!", Sanji protested.
"Devil's fruit aren't perfect. And it could just as well be designed to kill you! In a… weird, roundabout way, but still. It might not even be a baby in the end but a creepy monster that's going to eat you from the inside. We just don't know, but the risks are way too high, so we should do something about this." Chopper opened another drawer and took out some other surgical instrument that Sanji didn't understand and certainly didn't want used on himself.
"Put that stuff away! What makes you think you can just decide that!?" The cook looked for his discarded shirt and hastily pulled it on.
"I'm you doctor, that's what!", Chopper yelled, transforming into heavy point. Which had grown quite a bit more monstrous over their two year separation and Sanji did not like the implication.
"That doesn't mean you just get to cut people up whenever you feel like it!", Sanji said, grabbing his jacket and getting off the cot. It wasn't just Chopper's added size that suddenly made the infirmary claustrophobic to him, and he really needed some air to breathe. He turned to leave.
"I'm trying to save your life, did you even listen to anything I just said?" Chopper grabbed his arm and Sanji shook it off.
"Oh I listened. You want to kill my baby and you don't understand that I don't like that", Sanji summarized with a sneer.
"Thats not- I don't want to kill a baby, I want to save a crewmate!", Chopper yelled.
"Oh and didn't there use to be a thing were people get to decide what medical procedures they want? Pretty sure you're not supposed to sharpen your scalpels without even asking!" With that, Sanji pushed open the door and ignored Chopper's frantic cries to wait. He climbed up the ladder to get to the rear deck above the Thousand Sunny's expansive bathroom and found the deck thankfully empty.
He really needed some room to think about this, because by now his head was spinning. He patted himself down for his cigarettes and gladly removed one from the packet when he found them. He stuck it between his lips and was just getting ready to light it when it occurred to him that this was probably not a good idea. If he was going to have a child he really shouldn't be smoking…
Was he going to, though?
He flicked the still perfectly unused cigarette overboard because just staring at it made him feel worse. He let out a heavy sigh and tried to sort through his thoughts. What a mess… This was so far out of left field it hadn't even occurred to him to ever think about what if… Because which guy in their right mind ever thinks about what to do if he were actually pregnant?
He'd always wanted children, but that had never been an immediate goal, just part of his dreams of finding a nice girl, starting a family. It was something he wanted, but later, sometime in the future when he'd found the right woman, was leading a safer life…
But fate, as it so often did, seemed to have other ideas for him. He ran his hand through his hair but it really didn't help calm the turmoil in his thoughts.
"Oi Sanji, what did you say to Chopper? He's crying", Usopp's accusatory tone came from behind him and Sanji turned around to find the sharpshooter fixing him with a mildly judgmental frown.
"Nothing that wasn't justified. Maybe you should be asking what he said to me", Sanji snapped. What gave Chopper the right to cry about this?
"Actually Nami did, but he said he couldn't tell us because of doctor-patient confidentiality. So I'm asking you."
"Oh." Well apparently Sanji's jab about patient rights had had some effect. Which Sanji appreciated, but then again he really didn't feel like he could accurately describe the situation right now. It was just too much to handle for him right this moment. "Tell him it's fine, he can tell you guys. I don't really know how to talk about it."
Usopp's gaze turned worried. "Are you okay? You don't have some crazy horrible disease, right?" Of course that's where the sniper's overactive imagination took him immediately.
"Crazy, yeah, horrible… who knows. It's complicated. Just let Chopper explain it."
"Alright then. But you're fine right now, right? You're not just gonna drop dead if I leave?", Usopp asked skeptically. He looked torn between being concerned about Sanji and going back to Chopper to satisfy his curiosity.
"No, I'm not really sick, it's just… complicated."
"Okay, then", Usopp turned to go down the ladder again, but not before shooting Sanji a last worried look.
Leaving Sanji alone with his thoughts.
So, baby. In him. Pregnant pirate. Pregnant male pirate, what the actual fuck?
And nevermind that, having a baby in the middle of the New World the most dangerous of all seas was a ludicrous idea in and of itself. A baby on a ship already wasn't a great idea, there were so many dangers even in the most ordinary of seas and those just raised exponentially when you factored in that they were talking about a pirate ship, here.
Just leaving the boat and settling down on an island along the way wasn't really an option, either. It made his heart hurt just to think about leaving his nakama and giving up on finding All Blue with them, but even if you didn't think about that, there weren't many safe islands in the New World and even fewer for a pirate with a 77 million beri bounty on his head. Who was pregnant, which might render him pretty helpless at some point and he'd definitely need medical assistance, because even if there were absolutely no problems with the pregnancy the baby wasn't just going to come out from where it was all by itself.
So why did he feel so reluctant? Why not just let Chopper do his thing and forget that this ever happened, just chalk it up to another weird occurrence in the Grand Line?
His hand moved to the spot where Chopper had found the "foreign structure" as he'd put it. There was nothing to be felt, no bump or anything, just the wet fabric of his shirt where the gel was soaking into it. He'd completely forgotten to wipe himself off in his hurry to get out of there.
There was a little something there. The image had only been vaguely human shaped, with a gigantic head and small arms and legs. There'd even been a vague outline of the face, or maybe Sanji had just imagined that, but he was pretty sure he'd seen the shape of the nose.
It didn't look anything like a parasite to him.
And even if Chopper's other theories were true, if the child wasn't even related to Sanji at all and entirely someone else's or if it was some hybrid of him and some unknown devil's fruit user, it didn't really make much of a difference.
Because wherever it came from, it was here now. And however it had come into existence, none of that was the child's fault. And it didn't really seem fair to just casually end its life when it had no way to defend itself without even discussing it first.
Not that Sanji himself really knew what outcome that discussion would have.
Did he have some sort of emotional connection with the child? Not really, an hour ago he never would've believed its existence to be possible and he hadn't even had any time to get used to it, yet. But still, he'd not been ready to just get rid of it. Maybe he'd been feeling protective of it. Had he? A little, maybe because Chopper had been so hell bent on removing it.
But contrary to what Chopper seemed to think, Sanji had listened. Keeping it would be dangerous. It could kill him, even, and the chances that the child would turn out healthy were slim. He understood that. He just didn't know how he felt about it, yet.
Thinking of that little face, now that he'd gotten over the shock of it being there in the first place filled him with some strange emotion he wasn't sure how to label yet.
"Sanji-kun?" Nami-san's delightful voice said from behind him and he turned around. He'd been too lost in thought to notice the footsteps, but now he saw that both of the crew's delightful ladies had climbed up.
"Nami-swan! Robin-chwan! It's always a delight to see you!", He cooed, momentarily distracted from his worries.
"Are you alright, Cook-san?", Robin-chan asked, climbing up after the navigator.
He was already opening his mouth to wax poetic about how he was always fine when the lovely ladies were present, but he stopped himself, because he realized he might be telling a lie. He let out a sigh and sort of wished he had a cigarette right now.
"I don't really know", he admitted. "This is all a bit…" Unexpected? Crazy? "… Much", he finished lamely.
"Chopper said you had a parasite that resembles a fetus, or possibly actually a fetus", Nami-san said carefully.
"Of course he did. He could've just said I'm pregnant", Sanji said somewhat spitefully. And then couldn't help but listen to himself saying it… "That's the weirdest thing I've ever said." He had to shake his head to shake loose that thought because he kept getting stuck on the word.
"It's certainly unexpected", Robin-chan commented. Ah, her gift for understatement was a marvel. "Chopper also mentioned that you'd prefer to keep it."
"Yes. No. I don't know", Sanji said miserably. He ran a hand through his hair, trying to come up with an answer, but it didn't help. "He just wanted to do it right there, he didn't even ask, just started sorting his scalpels. But there's a little face! And hands! He can't just…"
"But you are aware of the possibility that it's not all it appears to be? It could still be a parasite, or something not quite human. There's an ancient myth in South Blue about a demon that regenerates its human form by burrowing into unsuspecting victims, staying inside them for nine months and then eating its way out", Robin-chan said, her face as calm and serene as if they were discussing the state of the herb garden.
"Uh…" was really all Sanji could think of to answer to that. He looked down at his stomach and then back up, mildly horrified.
"Let's… maybe keep the flesh eating demons out of the conversation, for now?", Nami-san suggested, and Sanji shot her a grateful look. "But Robin has a point, Chopper said it's really dangerous for even if it isn't a parasite or something."
"Yes, I know that, it's just… did Chopper show you a picture?"
Both of the girls shook their head.
"It's just… if you'd seen it maybe you'd understand, it just feels…" And he still didn't really know what that feeling was, so he was stuck stumbling over his words. Both of them looked at him with concern and it made him slightly uncomfortable. Attention. From beautiful ladies. Making him feel uncomfortable… really, what was wrong with him?
Other than unplanned impossible pregnancies, that is.
"Cook-san, I have to ask, is abortion something that you're generally opposed to?", Robin-chan asked.
"What? No, not in general. I would never presume to tell any woman what she can do with her own body. There's plenty of situations and circumstances that might lead to such a decision, and I don't think anyone else has could really understand that or judge that", Sanji said.
"And would you consider the pregnancy being a health risk to the mother a good reason for terminating it?", Robin-chan pried further.
"Yes, obviously." He said it before he'd really thought about it. But he found, as he heard himself saying that, that that didn't really help him make a decision, either.
"So it's not that you're completely against it, but… what?" Nami-san asked. And Sanji didn't know how to answer her, because he hadn't been able to pinpoint the but yet, either.
"It's just… I don't… it's…" Sanji tried forming a sentence but it just wouldn't come.
"Okay, calm down, we're not here to talk you into anything, Sanji-kun, we just want to try and help you", Nami-san said, putting her hands up placatingly.
"Ah, Nami-swan is always so understanding", Sanji swooned, glad for the opportunity to focus on something other than his own mess of a head.
"But, you know, ever since Chopper told us, I've been trying to imagine myself in your situation, and I mean it's obviously different, cause I'm a woman, but there's just something that would really bother me, you know?" Sanji looked at her with rapt attention, and did his best trying not to get sidetracked by a vision of Nami-swan as a loving mother with a beautiful child, because any child of hers would be beautiful and… focus, cook!
"If I just suddenly got pregnant against my will, against my knowledge, I'd feel… violated. I don't think I'd want to have a child under those circumstances. Some stranger just using me as a birth machine, that's… just creepy", Nami-san finished.
"I… I get that, and I'm really not happy with whoever did it, I didn't even see whoever cast that beam or whatever, but… none of that's really the child's fault, is it?"
"We're not trying to blame the child, cook-san", Robin-chan said delicately. "But you don't have any duty towards it, either. You didn't have any say in its creation, you're not responsible for it. Of course this is unfortunate for the child, but you have no obligations of any kind towards it, especially not trying to keep it alive at possibly the cost of your own life."
"I guess…" Sanji admitted. He sighed again, and turned to look back at the ocean. It didn't have any answers for him, either.
"I never knew my parents", he suddenly blurted out. He looked back at the girls and was met with puzzled faces. "I grew up in an orphanage on some island in North Blue, I don't know how I got there, who out me there, why… I used to think up wild theories about who my parents might be, but fact is, I don't know anything."
"I always liked to think my mom was a princess. Or a spy, or a brave warrior, so many different ideas. But the fact is, she might have just been a scared pregnant girl who was all alone and she faced the same choice I'm facing now. And if that's the case then I'm really grateful she chose letting me live, and I guess that's why I don't want, well in part, at least…" At the end of his own story he wasn't really sure what he'd point he'd been trying to make, but he did know that it was important. Somehow.
"But you don't really know enough about that to base your decision on it, do you?", Nami-swan asked.
"No…", Sanji groaned. "What am I even saying? I can't have a baby, I'm a guy, and you can't have a baby on a pirate ship and I don't want to leave but Chopper won't help me, and I can't just go on any island in the grand line, and I can't leave the grand line, and I really want a cigarette, but I can't…"
"Sanji-kun, slow down!", Nami said, gently pulling him by the shoulder. Only when she said that did he realize his speech had been getting faster and faster.
"Right, sorry", Sanji said, blinking a little trying to get his mental focus back.
"You don't have to decide anything right now, I've asked Chopper, and he said you're not in immediate danger, you don't have to decide anything right now. You can sleep on it, think about it some more, talk to people. And then in a few days you can make up your mind. You seem pretty overwhelmed right now, so I think some time might help you sort this out", she suggested.
"Nami-swan is so wise", Sanji praised. "I apologize for my rambling, I've just never imagined myself in this situation so I'm more than a little unprepared", he said, trying to not to sound like a crazy person anymore.
"That's perfectly understandable, cook-san, I'm sure both Nami and I would be equally as flummoxed if we were to discover someone was pregnant from us", Robin-chan said, and Sanji's brain promptly embarked on a rather colorful bit of theorizing as to what could lead to such a discovery.
"Just remember, you're not alone, okay? We're all here to support you", Nami-san said. Sanji just had to wonder how so much perfection even fit into a person as he smiled gratefully.
And promptly sighed again, because really. What was he gonna do about this whole mess?
A/N: Honestly, I never thought I'd be writing mpreg, especially not that much of it, but damn, it's fun. This idea's been bouncing in my head ever since I was studying about pregnancy for a huge exam (I'm in med school) and thought of all the different things that just would not work about mpreg. And now I just have so much fun with writing this.
If you managed to read this far, I'd love to hear what you think of the story.
Also, what do you think Sanji should do? This is not going to decide what happens next (because I already have that planned out) but I would be really interested in hearing your opinions. Keep in mind that the medical information Chopper gave is accurate.