Or alternatively, the story of how Sanji had his first kiss stolen.
(Notes: My meager contribution to sannami week. SN romance of course, although I was also going for nakamaship. Also doubles as my Sanji’s belated birthday fic. Partly inspired by a fan art. This can also be found on Fanfiction.net with the same title. Please take the time to review as I’m new at this. Thank you. ^^) ______________________________________________________________
Sanji blinked. Nope, still there.
He knew he probably looked like a fish out of water, blinking constantly as if
it would make the scene in front of him dissipate like one of Nami-san’s
mirages, but he couldn’t help it.
Zoro was in his kitchen.
Now that fact itself wasn’t
really any cause for concern. Zoro was often in his kitchen either boozing or
snoozing, sometimes both, so you might ask what was so confounding with Zoro
being in Sanji’s kitchen? Fact #1, Zoro was in Sanji’s kitchen. Yes, that was
already established. Fact #2, it was 6:00 AM and Zoro was awake. Just that
itself made Sanji wonder if it was in fact the apocalypse today, and if so
regretted that he never got to fulfill his fondest dreams. Fact#3 Zoro was
clumping rice together. Add together facts 1, 2, and 3 and you had yourself a
very confounded Sanji.
Sanji liked to think of himself a
fairly rational man (at least when it didn’t involve the fairer sex). But right
now at this moment, he was seriously considering if he’d woken up to a parallel world, one
where Zoro woke up earlier than him and was in his kitchen cooking (in a world
where rubber men and magic fruit existed, anything was possible after all). He
checked his hip, absentmindedly wondering if there would be katana there,
simply thinking dazedly that if Zoro was this parallel world’s cook, then he’d
probably be the swordsman of the crew.
Relieved not to find anything,
and annoyed to have found himself entertaining such a silly thought, he found
himself asking, not without a good amount of belligerence too (though that was
probably because he felt peeved at the thought that he somehow lost to Zoro at
an imaginary competition, which was stupid since when did waking up earlier
than the other count as a competition, and anyway if they were tallying
properly, he’d win against Zoro one million to one..), “What the hell are you
doing in my kitchen?”
“Making onigiri.” Dull, to the
point. Much like the marimo himself really.
“Why?” He had to mentally
restrain himself from delivering a swift kick to his head.
Zoro turned to face him, plate
full of freshly-made rice balls as he said with exasperation, “For breakfast.”
The ‘duh’ went unspoken but Sanji heard it loud and clear and restraint be
damned, the national treasure was getting his kick.
“Ara. Good morning Sanji.”
Or he would’ve if not for lovely
flower right by his side. “Good morning Robin-chwan!” he greeted loudly,
instantly in noodle mode. (In hindsight, he realized that was probably why
Robin was with the baka-kenshin.)
He heard Zoro snort but told
himself to just let it go. Honestly, he was berating himself internally. How
could he have overlooked the presence of Robin-chan of all people?
In the midst of his internal
melodrama, he noticed Robin stirring a mug of coffee so he said, “Robin-chan
I’m sorry for being remiss in my duties. You can go ahead and sit down. I’ll
prepare your coffee for you.”
“It’s fine,” she said smiling
slightly, “I’ve made a whole pot of coffee for everyone, and sandwiches too.
Would you prefer yours with cream and sugar?”
Sanji felt conflicting emotions
at that moment. On the one hand, he was really glad that Robin-chan was doing
something for him. And as a gentleman, he would never refuse a lady’s gracious
offer. On the other hand, he was faced with a bit of self-doubt. Not only the
marimo, but even Robin-chan had felt the need to make breakfast for themselves
and the crew. Was there something wrong with the breakfast he made yesterday?
Did it not suit Robin’s and (even if he would never admit that he cared about
his opinion upon pain of death) Zoro’s taste? What about the others? Did
everyone on the crew feel that he was failing as a chef? He had complete
confidence in his skills. He never cared about being the best, or any sort of
prestige. His crew’s good esteem of him was the only recognition he needed. But
now, faced with the possibility of having lost it, he felt dread.
Before Sanji could give her any
sort of answer, their whirlwind of a captain made himself known through a thunk
and a crash.
And as if it was a crowing
rooster’s call, one by one their other crew mates came inside the gallery and
sat themselves around the table amidst jostles and bustles.
“Nice Robin. These sandwiches
look so pretty and delicious.”
“Ah Robin-san, I’ll take two
creams and two sugars please.”
“Yow! Robin, I’ll have mine
Sanji wanted to stand up and help
Robin, if not take over doing the serving entirely. In his opinion, the girls
shouldn’t have needed to cater to the needs of the other crew mates. In fact
that was his purpose he believed, to be of use to the two flowers on board. Yet
he found himself firmly seated between Usopp and lovely Nami-san. Though he
felt he was getting paranoid now, he felt as if Usopp’s arm flung around his
shoulders and tall tales of the time he slayed the demon rice ball and shared
the plentiful bounty to hungry townsfolk Robin Hood-style were as effective as
Nami-san’s queries to his opinion on the food they were having, in pinning him
to his place at the table. And when did that happen? There were eight seats all
in all, so he was usually standing, preparing and serving the food, or seating
at the gallery once the table was set. Even then, he’d usually be standing up again
to get the next courses.
“Brook, Franky,” Robin set the
mugs by them one by one, “Chopper milk for you, since I know you don’t like
bitter things,” she said obligingly.
“Thanks Robin! Zoro can I have
some more onigiri?”
wordlessly passed Chopper a plate from the gallery and glared at Luffy before
his rubber arm could transfer the whole content of the plate from Zoro’s hands
to his gaping maw, and because Sanji had to say it to restore some semblance of
normalcy to what was starting out as a weird day indeed, he said, “Damn Marimo.
The onigiri’s too salty.”
Sanji would’ve been content to
put the morning’s events at the back of his mind to contemplate on it later in
his private moments. The day passed by uneventfully; no marine attacks, fishing
Luffy out of the water only once, fighting with the Marimo only five times, it
was really a record for the most peaceful day they’d had so far in recent
That should’ve been his first
clue. His second clue should’ve been the fact that it was an hour to lunch and
Luffy hadn’t event glomped him once with repeated shouts of “MEAT! SANJI,
MEAT!” like one of those wind-up monkey toys with the cymbals (one of which
Franky made for Chopper on his birthday, although Sanji’d bet that standard
models didn’t have mini-lasers attached to them).
He was about to enter the gallery
“Sanji-kun! Could you help me
with the tangerines?”
Ah, but of course, if his goddess
should call, what other recourse could he have but to follow?
And so it was that the time in
which he was supposed to prepare lunch came and went, and was instead spent
with Nami-san. Usually after helping Nami-san pick her tangerines, he’d bring
it into the gallery and make a dessert for her to indulge in while drafting her
maps. Instead, today they chattered about various things while gathering the
fruit, like the latest news from the News Coo, wondering how Vivi was doing
based on her most recent letter, vague plans about their next step while in the
After they were done, Sanji was
already late by thirty minutes, but Nami-san (a bit worriedly, he noticed)
asked him to help her out with her maps. Again, there was no way Sanji could
refuse. While navigation was not his area of expertise, and he was completely
out of his depth, as Nami-san continued to talk about latitude and longitude, topography,
and a general overview of the process of how she made her maps, he found
himself enjoying the conversation and thinking (not for the first time) how
enamored he was with the woman in front of him, especially in moments like this
when her eyes would sparkle with genuine excitement and passion. Although he
made his proclamations with sincerity, he knew that there was little chance of
him actually managing to reproduce that sparkle because of himself. It was
because of this that he often envied Usopp and Luffy as they had an
understanding with their beautiful navigator that he only wished he could have.
If it led to ordinary days like this, with this feeling of comfort and simple
enjoyment between them, he’d put the Marimo to kitchen duty every day.
Sanji noticed Nami look
discreetly at the clock and in the lull of the conversation asked her, “Are you
A bit startled, Nami answered,
“Yeah, I am a bit Sanji-kun. Should we go to the gallery now? Thanks again for
Chuckling he answered her, “I
don’t know how much of help I was, since all I did was get paper for you, but,”
he clasped his hands together, “anything for you darling Nami-swan!”
Putting away her materials as
Sanji helped her, Nami said, “I got a lot done today since it was so quiet.”
“Now that you mention it, there’s
hardly any noise on deck. Those idiots would’ve usually been raising a ruckus
at this time.” He should’ve noticed, but not only did time fly when he was with
Nami-san, his focus also narrowed when it came to her.
“They’re probably in the kitchen
“I haven’t prepared anything
yet,” he said with a sigh, “but I’m sure those idiots can certainly wait a
while. Don’t worry; I’ll prefer an aperitif for you and Robin-chan.”
If Sanji noticed how Nami-san’s eyes held a
secret, he didn’t comment on it.
His third clue was how quiet
Sunny-Go was. Even if everyone was off doing their own thing, the air would be
filled with the sounds of steps, doors opening and closing, and the occasional
explosion all creating a harmony only known to the Strawhats. If normally, the
Sunny-Go sang, today it seemed as if it held its breath, as if waiting, for
As Sanji opened the door to the
gallery, Nami-san right behind him, Sanji realized what exactly it was waiting
*BANG* *BANG* *BANG*
“HAPPY BIRTHDAY SANJI!”
Picking off the streamers
decorating his hair shot from something he had no doubt was Usopp’s inventions,
he could only state surprised, “It’s March 7. My birthday is on March 2.”
“We know,” Nami-san said from
behind him, a bit sheepish, “but remember how we were on the run from the
Marines last week..”
“And then there was the
consecutive pirate attacks,” added in Chopper
“And the great Usopp-sama had the
marvelous idea to celebrate your birthday today instead so that you would be
surprised; you were surprised weren’t you?”
“It’s normal to celebrate your
birthday on the day itself, so isn’t it more fun to celebrate your birthday on
a day NOT your birthday? Also, we forgot it was your birthday Sanji.”
“LUFFY.” Nami-san, Usopp, and
Chopper shouted collectively, as Robin-chan simply smiled and Brook inclined
his head in slight apology, while Franky muttered ‘sorry bro’ with tears
streaming and Zoro was..Zoro.
Sanji didn’t really begrudge them
for it. Hell, he himself forgot that it had been his birthday that day what
with having to fight three marine battle ships. It didn’t seem like something
necessary to be brought up so he just let it pass.
“Anyway,” continued Luffy as he
plopped his precious strawhat onto Sanji’s head like some sort of ceremonial
party hat, “since we forgot your birthday, you get two presents from each of
us! Isn’t that neat? It was my idea shishishi.”
Sanji touched the treasure on his head, made
of simple straw, but more valuable than any golden crown to all of them as he
tried to find the words to express his overflowing feelings. He noticed the
table which was piled high with burgers, cola, deep fried fish, chips, and
“I was feeling EXTRA SUPER today
so I cooked some SUPER DELICIOUS hamburgers for you bro.”
“Hehe, feel privileged that you
get to eat my delicious specialty Sanji. My fish and chips are so great that
even royalty and the Shichibukai can only beg to have a single taste of this
rare delicacy..” Usopp continued his spiel of how he singlehandedly netted a
million fish and how his fish and chips were created only with the rarest and
most delicious of the fishes in the four blues, as Chopper exclaimed ‘Amazing,
Usopp!”, and Sanji finally made sense of the scene from this morning.
Sanji was a chef and he felt most
at home in the kitchen. The knotted feeling in his chest finally unwound as he
realized that his crewmates weren’t showing their disapproval, but rather their
appreciation in wanting to cook for him on his special day. Not for the first
time, Sanji thanked his lucky stars that of all ships and of all the people to
meet, he had met this wide-eyed boy with a smile a mile wide and hands to
embrace the world on that fateful day. He glanced at Luffy who sat on his right
side and grinned.
After their feast of
cholesterol-inducing comfort food (once in while wasn’t so bad, Sanji thought),
they simply sat and enjoyed Brooks’ soft music in the background. As Sanji
began to get up to work on the dishes, he felt a light touch on his arm from
Nami-san who was sitting on his left side. Taking it as a cue, he sat down as
the notes from Brook’s violin became swifter and transformed into a tune he
“Happy Birthday to you~ Happy
Birthday to you~,” began Brook and pretty soon everyone was joining in as well.
Zoro was even humming along, albeit grudgingly.
As the crescendo of “Happy
Birthday dear Sanji,” ended, Chopper came in bearing a pile of choux pastries
with small wax candles encircling the plate.
“I apologize Sanji-san. I don’t
really know how to bake a cake, but I hope these pastries will be adequate.
Certainly they are no match to the flavors you can create, so scrumptious that
they even cause my taste buds to dance. Though, I have no taste buds nor tongue
to speak of anymore yohoho!”
“I helped out in taste-testing!”
said Chopper enthusiastically. Sanji was inclined to believe him since he was
after all the sweets expert in their little family. He couldn’t help the soft
smile that threatened to break out of his tough exterior. Each of the pastries
had a letter iced on it, which all together spelled ‘Happy Birthday’, and as
the strawhat crew enjoyed their afternoon snack, Luffy announced that it was
time for gifts.
“Yosh! Zoro goes first!”
“Why me?” he grumbled, but
nevertheless approached Sanji to place a rough rectangular-shaped object in
front of him.
“Thanks for the rock Marimo,”
Sanji said completely deadpan. He was expecting a lot worse actually, so a
greyish stone wasn’t really that bad. He could even use it as a weight.
“Idiot love-cook. “ On a normal
day, Sanji would’ve loved to fight him just for that comment, but he was in too
good a mood, “It’s steel ore. I’m no expert on kitchen knives, but I know good
material at least.”
“Uh,” Sanji was speechless and
touched too (though of course he’d never admit it), “..thanks,” he said
Zoro merely nodded in
acknowledgement. Franky’s gift was new upgrades to the kitchen, which was why
he had needed Sanji distracted and thus employed Nami’s aid (Sanji was a bit
disappointed at that), Robin-chan’s was a book she found, ‘The Complete Volume
of Collected Legends on All Blue’ made personal with annotations that she had
made inside based on the few snippets of the legendary ocean she had learned
while in Ohara.
Chopper’s gift was a rack of rare
medicinal plants which could be used as herbs and spices. Brook’s was a tone
dial, though the first dial he gave to him was apparently a flame dial
containing his farts, ‘ah, excuse me’ and Sanji was liable to kick him for
that, good mood or no. The correct dial contained previously unreleased
compositions of the Soul King, smooth beats and jazzy undertones, which Brook
claimed used Sanji as inspiration. He decided to reserve his right to kick him
Luffy’s was a gift coupon,
immediately demandable of him, which stated ‘No infiltrating the kitchen for
one month.’ While Sanji was skeptical as to the effectivity of the coupon, it
was the thought that counted, and anyway there was Franky’s new upgrades to the
security features still ready to test.
Usopp had really outdone himself
with his gift. It was a painting on three separate canvasses which were
contained in three separate ornate frames which were foldable. Cerualuean,
aquamarine, navy, all shades and hues of blue created a picturesque background,
while jewel tones of millions of fishes completed the scene. Sanji knew that
this was Usopp’s rendition of All Blue, and while all of them had no way of
knowing how accurate his representation was, the artwork was still magnificent,
the effort behind it apparent for all to see.
“I..” He held it, cradled
lovingly in his hands and said with all of the sincerity he could muster, “I
really love it Usopp. Thank you.”
“Ah.oh..don’t worry about it,”
Usopp replied, bashful instead of boastful for once.
Sanji loved it, he truly did.
Even then, he couldn’t choose a favorite among all of these wonderful gifts.
With anticipation, he found himself trying to meet amber orbs, and with a turn
of his head, saw a flash of orange and heard the sound of a door closing.
Quashing his disappointment, he kept his smile plastered on his face as he
participated in his crew’s merriment.
by him, teal eyes pensively observed the scene which had just occurred.
Sometime later, when dusk was
upon them and the sun was to disappear to sleep, Sanji smoked his ‘cancer
sticks’ (as Chopper loved to call them) contentedly as he recounted the events
of the day while on his shift in the crow’s nest. It was only fitting he supposed,
that Zoro give up his kingdom for a while. There was nowhere else he could wait
properly while waiting for the last surprise to end his nearly perfect day. He
knew the routine by now, so Zoro would have to make do without getting to train
as he’d have to make to do with temporary being barred from his domain. By
process of elimination, he determined that it would be Luffy and Nami-san who
would be in charge of dinner.
While Sanji was trying to stall a
mini- heart attack at the thought of
“Luffy” and “kitchen” in the same sentence, he knew that he could trust
Nami-san to hold him back from making TOO much of a mess.
Ah Nami-san, he thought while watching the smoke lazily swirl up to
disappear into nothingness. She was the heart of the matter, the qualifier on
why exactly he couldn’t call today completely perfect.
After lunch, he wasn’t able to
see her at all and maybe it was his paranoia again, but she seemed to be
avoiding him. While spending time with Robin-chan in the library as they
perused his gift to him, she must have realized that something was bothering
“Sanji, is there something on
your mind? You seem to be as if you were somewhere else.” While this was said
in a slight teasing tone, Sanji still apologized profusely at his abhorrent behavior
in not giving his full attention to her. There was some veracity to her
statement however since at that moment Sanji wished for the return of that easy
companionship that he had shared with Nami-san earlier in the day.
He never wanted it to appear to
Nami-san that he had expectations of her, since when he did the things that he
did, he didn’t do them expecting something in return, but only to make her
happy. Despite his best efforts, it seems he had failed, since he still tasted
that acrid tang of disappointment at the back of his mouth when she disappeared
earlier at lunch. Was it something he did while they were alone together? Did
his perverted tendencies get the best of him once again? He counted no less
than three times he had a slight nosebleed when they were together earlier and
deduced that must be it, as he sighed deeply and went to take his shift.
Probably wanting to cheer him up,
Robin said to him quietly, “You know, it was Nami-chan who remembered your
his slight smile to her before he left conveyed his thanks.
“Ok, 5 minutes till the chicken
is fully cooked,” stated Nami as she stirred the orange mixture inside the pot
in front of her slowly. She wasn’t saying it to anyone in particular, since she
was alone in the gallery.
Lifting the spoon to her mouth,
she tasted the mikan sauce and deemed it satisfactory, though of course it was
nothing on one of Sanji-kun’s creations. She turned the stove off and made to
remove the brand new blue apron she was wearing when she stopped and considered
She mentally huffed and glared at
the piece of clothing as if it was the source of all of her troubles. Which was
silly she knew; Nami sighed though there was no one to hear her.
45 minutes ago, as she was starting
on her preparations she had been deciding on whether or not to wear it. She was
wearing a nice halter one-piece dress. New and also white. There was a high
risk that splatters would stain the dress and she wanted to look her best later
(for who, the niggling voice at the back of her mind asked, the one she was
desperately intent on ignoring). She couldn’t find Sanji-kun’s old Doskoi Panda
apron so she decided to wear her gift for him instead. She didn’t even bother
to wrap it for him, although she knew with certainty that in the opposite
scenario, if it had been her birthday, Sanji-kun would have lovingly prepared
his gift. In fact, he would have probably bought or created a more thoughtful
birthday present, complete with an unnecessary love poem to boot.
That was the true cause behind
Nami’s unpleasant cocktail of emotions right now, not really the apron, but her
realist personality being a cause of hurt for Sanji-kun’s romantic heart.
She knew she had already hurt him
when she didn’t give him her gift earlier. He probably thought that she didn’t
even prepare anything. Nami was nothing if not objective and rational. She knew
that anything she gave him would make him happy and that she should’ve had it
done and over with.
Why did she hesitate after seeing
all the different expressions she discovered that Sanji-kun could make? The
soft smile, the sincere eyes, the gruff embarrassment…
After Sanji-kun’s heartfelt
remark of Usopp’s gift, she felt that hers (something easily ordered from a
catalogue of Doskoi Panda) was woefully inadequate, even against Luffy’s
childish gift, because she knew how priceless Luffy’s promises could be. And so
she fled, and didn’t appear in front of Sanji-kun at all for the rest of the
day. Bad enough that she’d be seeing him and preparing dinner later, but at
least Luffy and everyone else would be there to dissolve any awkward tension
She’d confided all of this to
Robin earlier, when the older woman asked her what was bothering her, and she
listened patiently although offered no word of advice.
Then again, Nami thought wryly as
she set the table and took the chicken out of the oven; maybe she shouldn’t
have said anything since it was what landed her in this situation.
‘After that ‘girl talk’, Robin seemed to have formed some sort of plan.
She can be really cunning when she wants to be. As expected from a former
secret agent I suppose.’
Nami, the famed ‘Cat Burglar’ could do nothing but be subject to historian’s
“Luffy, I have a suggestion as a
modification to the plan,” Robin addressed the boy lounging below her. He was
now wearing his strawhat again and was sprawled all over the blankets covering
the aquarium floor. Everyone, save Sanji, was gathered at the Aquarium Bar. Nami
was seated to Robin’s right on the couch, while Franky was on the left and had
his arm extended along the back. The rest were in varying positions of comfort
on the floor, and Zoro seemed to already be sleeping. They were brainstorming
as to what to do with dinner, with Nami and Luffy being the assigned cooks of
“What is it Robin?” asked Luffy
“Perhaps it would be better if
you didn’t cook?”
“Now that I think about it, I
have to agree with Robin,” said Usopp, with his elbow propped up on his hand,
“Luffy and cooking don’t really go well together.”
Luffy pouted as he said, “I can
“I don’t think your definition of
‘help out’ is the same with the definition of everyone else. Your definition of
‘help out’ usually involves explosions. I’m sure Sanji wouldn’t appreciate
finding his kitchen burnt down tomorrow even if we did cook for him today.”
Nami privately breathed a sigh of
relief at being saved from the dangerous fate of managing and wrangling Luffy
to do orderly tasks in the proximity of fire and sharp pointy objects.
“Boooo, that’s no fun!”
“Luffy-san has to give his two
gifts as well,” reminded Brook calmly as he sat cross-legged amidst the
blankets and farted, “Excuse me,” and continued sipping his tea.
“Yeah! I want to give two gifts
to Sanji too.”
“That’s where my suggestion comes
in Luffy. Instead of cooking, why not use your captain’s privilege to compel
certain members of the crew to do something for Sanji for his birthday?”
“You can do that Luffy?” asked
Chopper excitedly. Nami was suspicious of the existence of a convenient
birthday privilege which could be exercised such as this, and found her
suspicions confirmed as she caught sight of the devious smile shared between
the two older crewmates beside her. What on earth was Robin up to?
“Yeah, that’s a great idea Luffy!
You could order Zoro to lose to Sanji…” suggested Usopp before breaking off
nervously when he felt the demon’s aura behind him.
“And who exactly were you
suggesting to lose on purpose to who?” growled Zoro menacingly.
“Noone,” “Hmph,” grunted Zoro
while he crossed his arms and settled in a new position against the wall, “As
if Dartbrow would appreciate my throwing away a match to him.”
To get rid of the feeling of
restlessness plaguing her from since earlier, she addressed the swordsman,
“It’s not a democracy Zoro.” Fighting and winning against Zoro was sure to make
Sanji-kun ecstatic right? “If Luffy orders you, you’ll have to do it.” She
turned to face their captain as Zoro just glared at her.
Luffy seemed to have been
deciding on something deeply when he finally declared, “Yooosh! I’ve decided.
Nami,” and he pointed to the surprised navigator while grinning widely, “As
your captain, I order you to cook dinner for Sanji later and eat it alone with
“Luffy?!” It was a question and
exclamation all together, but Luffy just continued to smile up at her.
“Wouldn’t having Nami and Robin
together with him, make Sanji happier?” ventured Usopp. Nami latched onto this
tidbit like a drowning woman clings to a lifeline, as she turned to Robin,
“That’s right! It would be much better for both of us to be there right?”
However, upon seeing the mischievous gleam in Robin’s eyes, Nami knew she was
“Ara. But I’ve already given my
gift to him. Wouldn’t this be the perfect chance to give your gift privately
since you’ve yet to after all?” Robin commended her captain in her mind, ‘As expected of Luffy’s intuition.’
“Quit whining Nami,” said Zoro
tersely, eyes still closed. “It’s not a democracy,” he mimicked mockingly.
One irate navigator off to change
and one severely beat up swordsman later; Robin considered her preparations a
success. ‘It’s up to the both of you
I wonder, for someone who’s aiming to be the world’s greatest swordsman how his
survival instinct seems to be nonexistent at times.”
‘The food’s ok, the utensils have been set, the flowers have been
arranged, the candles lit,’ one by one Nami mentally ticked off things from
her checklist as she smoothed her other gift to Sanji. As the door creaked
open, she tried to compose herself. ‘Everything
was perfect and prepared. Well, except for me, but let’s not mind that for
Nami smiled, although it was
still tinged with nervousness, as she prepared to greet Sanji who was at the
door way. The expression on his face was something that she had never seen
before, different even from the ones she had already seen earlier. It was
dumbfounded, dazed, and he was continuously blinking and shaking his head as if
trying to make sense of what he was seeing in front of him.
“Sanji-kun!” He started, “Ah hai,
Nami-san! What is it?”
“Nothing. I just wanted to catch
your attention, since you were just standing there.”
“You always have my attention
Nami-swan!” has said frivolously as Nami rolled her eyes slightly. “It’s just
that,” and he shook his head as if clearing water from his ears, “I was just a
“Hmmm, well I cooked Chicken with
Orange Sauce. It’s on the table, so dig in.”
“Where’s Luffy, and everyone
“They’re with Robin. Luffy
decided that tonight should be story night and bailed on me,” said Nami quickly
thinking up of an excuse.
“Why that shitty gomu, to leave
the burden to a lady I ought to feed him to the fishes.” It was said as if in
routine and had less the usual of threat of force behind it.
“Um..so well then shall we?”
While at first Sanji just stood there as if unsure what to do, he quickly
recovered his senses. As Sanji removed his jacket and rolled up the sleeves of
his white dress shirt, Nami found herself blushing at the sight of his
forearms. She always found them as a source of fascination though she would
never tell him as blood was notoriously difficult to remove from white silk.
He went to her side of the table
and pulled her chair for her, as always ever the gentleman. From this close,
Nami could smell smoke and sea salt. Somehow, she could always tell him apart
from his distinct smell alone. He went and retrieved a bottle of champagne
which he uncorked and poured into two flutes which he placed on her side and
both sat down to eat, Nami raised her glass against his in celebration. He
smiled at her, with an expression so soft that Nami found that she had to look
away, as he said, “Bon appetit, ma cherie.”
Nami didn’t have to worry about
anything as conversation flowed between them smoothly. Sanji had nothing but
praises for her dish, though Nami couldn’t really trust his impartiality since
he’d praise food resembling charcoal if she had cooked it. She shared the story
of how it was her mother’s signature dish, and how often she’d mess up when
Belle-Mere was teaching her how to cook it. Sanji’s expression became solemn
and serious while listening to her tales.
“Thank you for sharing it with me
Nami-san.” Nami knew he wasn’t only talking about the story.
Sanji then shared his own
experiences of tough love dispensed by Zeff, and his personal nickname given to
him by the old geezer.
“Pfft..hahaha, little eggplant?
“It’s not that funny Nami-san,”
he grasped the back of his neck which must’ve been as red as his ears by now.
For her part, Nami adored the blush that spread onto his pale cheeks. It wasn’t
perverse but simply borne of innocent embarrassment. If they had met when they
were younger, no doubt Nami would have had so much fun teasing him. She smiled
at him fondly.
For his part, Sanji felt it was
worth the small shame to see and hear Nami-san laugh exactly as she did when he
had first laid eyes on her.
Too soon for Sanji’s liking their
meal was done and it was time to tidy up. He sighed though he made sure not to
let Nami-san hear it, “Leave it to me to put these away Nami-san,” he said to
her as he picked up her flute, “It’s the least I could after you prepared that
scrumptious meal.” He then made his way to the sink carrying all the dishes and
‘It’s now or never’, thought Nami. She stood from her seat and
approached Sanji while clutching her present to her chest. “Sanji-kun,” she
said to his back softly.
Having heard her call, he turned
to face her and was startled at their proximity. Sanji was slightly a head
taller than Nami-san, though she often wore heels just like now thus closing
the gap between them.
They were but a whisper’s breath
apart, and if he turned his head down fully, his lips would touch her hair. He
was still, afraid to move lest he break the charged atmosphere around them.
Nami-san’s head was tilted down so he couldn’t see her eyes, and he wondered as
he often did with her, what those fathomless depths hid. He felt her arms go
over his head to land encircled behind his neck. He gulped, hearing the unsteady
beating of his (hers, theirs) heart.
He suddenly felt an added layer
of cloth covering his front and noticed that he was now wearing an apron. It
was the same Doskoi Brand panda like his pink apron, though instead of a logo,
this one had the words ‘Kiss the Cook’ embroidered on the front in pink thread.
“What?” he asked dumbly.
Nami-san met his eyes then and
smiled brightly. “This is my gift to you Sanji-kun. I noticed your old one was
a bit worn out already.”
Of course. What had he been hoping for? Regardless, with great
sincerity (care, affection, love),
he thanked her, “Thank you Nami-san. I really appreciate it.” And that was
that. Except. Except Nami-san still hadn’t moved away. “Nami-san?”
If someone were to ask her about
it later (the someone in this case being a mature beauty who shared a name with
a bird), Nami would adamantly blame the intimate atmosphere caused by the soft
glow of the candles amidst the darkness of the room, or the heady feeling she
had which she was sure was due to the champagne (forget the fact that her alcohol
tolerance could match Zoro’s),
mostly, mostly though she would blame the orange sauce which was left at the
corner of Sanji’s lip. In normal circumstances he would have noticed it and
cleaned it himself, but their circumstances now were anything but normal. There
was something about Sanji-kun as he was now that made him unguarded, boyish,
and young, even if he was, in fact, a year older than her. And that made her
want to draw closer.
Throwing caution to the wind, and
deciding to blame the apron between them (something about the power of
suggestion), she stated plainly, “You have something at the corner of your lip
Sanji-kun.” And with that she brought his head down and herself up and quick as
a thief, licked the sauce away, and stole the kiss hidden in the corner of his
It was soft, so very soft.
Sanji-kun neither took nor demanded anything and neither did she, which was
completely different from their usual routine. She was content to touch and
share a single breath between them and just focus on the sensation. A second (eternity) later, she returned to her
normal height although their faces were still close. Sanji’s eyes which had
been closed slowly flickered open and she noticed at that moment how blue they
really were. She wondered in a distant part of her mind if All Blue would be
He still wasn’t speaking, so she
whispered a soft, ‘Happy Birthday Sanji-kun’ against his lips before
disentangling her arms from his neck and exiting the gallery quietly. If her
heart was pounding too loudly in her ears, then she hoped she was the only one
to hear it.
Early morning the next day, the
crew mates found something resembling the scene of a murder crime in the
kitchen with the blood splatters reaching as high as the ceiling. The victim
was comatose or otherwise unavailable. The suspect kept her lips sealed tight,
even while her face was aflame, and Robin just smiled knowingly.
Two days after the eventful
non-birthday, the rest of the males noticed that Sanji seemed to be more
high-tension than usual, distracted, and was frequently off in la la land. Nami
was still locked in the girls’ room and refused to comment. They also noticed
his new (bloodstained) apron, especially Luffy who was figuring out the words
written in front.
I noticed a neat little thing about Nami vs. Doublefinger. At first I thought it was one of those Oda mistakes, but it’s not. Notice how Nami’s log pose and bracelets are on the right hand instead of the left? Also the bandage on her arm is missing.
When the mirage disappears you see the real Nami with her bracelet and bandage on the left arm.
The second mirage Nami also has the same ‘incorrect’ placement of the log pose, bracelets, and the bandage. I think it’s really neat that Oda used such a tiny detail to indicate which Nami is fake even though it wasn’t really necessary. Like we see the mirages disappear immediately, so we don’t need any further ‘proof’ that they’re fake. I checked the panels of this fight scene, and the real Nami has it on correctly in all of them.