a few years back...
"Boss Zeff!" Patty called out, frantically. Sanji rolled his eyes. Stupid Patty always had something to whine about. "Yeah, what is it?" The Geezer said in his gruff voice. The big, lumbering cook came in, carrying a small form in his beefy hands. Sanji paused in his work to see what Patty was holding. Boss Zeff came to him and looked, frowning. Sanji tried to see, but the Geezer was in the way. "What is it?" Sanji asked, too small to see for himself.
"Sit her down on a table!" Zeff ordered. Patty nodded and raced to a table. Boss Zeff turned to Sanji. "Boy, go to table seven and get that girl something to eat!" Sanji nodded and scuttled out of the bustling kitchen. Girl? What was that old geezer saying? Suddenly, his eyes rested on a little girl, slightly older than a toddler, hunched over her seat, clutching her stomach, crying.
Sanji came up to her and gently tapped her shoulder. "Hey, you alright?" He asked. The girl looked up, her hazel eyes wet with tears. She shook her head, sniffling. "No...my tummy hurts...I'm hungry..." The loud growl from below sealed her point. Her white hair was stringy, and tangled, and she looked as though she spent a whole decade at sea.
"Can...can I have a food to eat? Please?" the girl asked, tearfully. Sanji nodded and grinned, despite his overall shock. "Sure! What would you like?"
"Pancake." She said simply. "With lotsa syrup." Sanji smiled and wrote it down. "Okay, then! Your food will be ready soon, I promise!" As Sanji turned to leave, the girl called out to him. "Excuse me, Mr. Waiter!" Sanji turned his head. "hm?"
"Thank you. Thank you so much."
"How old are you, Mr. Waiter?" The girl asked, chewing down on her large stack.
Sanji held up nine fingers. "I'm nine!" He said. "How old are you?" The girl shrugged. "Romano never told me. I think I'm five, or four." She said glumly. Sanji raised a curlicue eyebrow. "Do you have a name?" Sanji asked her. She simply shook her head. "Romano never bothered to give me one."
"Who's Romano?" Sanji asked. Whoever he was, he sounded like a total ass hole. "He was the captain of the ship my mama was on. After she...died...he and the crew sheltered me."
"So how'd you end up here, at the Baratie?" Sanji said, inquisitively. "Romano threw me out." She simply stated, biting some sausage. Sanji gasped and gripped his water glass tight.
he left her...to die? What a bastard!
"Can you give me a name?" The little girl asked Sanji suddenly. He looked up from his angry thoughts and looked at her in surprise. "What? Name you?" The girl nodded, and gave a small grin. "I know it's a lot to ask...but I just really, really want a name like the other girls do." she said sheepishly. Sanji considered this and looked around her table for inspiration. pancake? Yeah, right. Hmmm...the syrup...it has a maple leaf on it. Maple? No, not quite...it should be...ah-hah!
"I'm gonna call you-"
"Kenedaaa!" Sanji called. ten years have passed and he was surprised she was here for so long. "Coming!" She said in her singy voice. She slid down the railing, her blue waitress dress and long flowing white hair, billowing behind her. She landed on her feet next to Sanji, a big smile on her pale face. "Did you need something, big brother?" She asked him brightly. Sanji grinned and placed a bowl on her head, and put two plates on each hand. "Give those to table four, would ya, sis?" He asked. Keneda winked and carefully, but swiftly went to deliver the food.
Sanji chuckled at the girl's exuberance. Ever since the day they met when he was nine, and she was four, she clung to him and copied everything he did. Now she was practicing balancing plates on her head. So far, not bad, just a little wobbly. "Quit yer daydreamin' Sanji, and get this food out!" Zeff barked. Sanji muttered under his breath. "Shitty bastard..." But got the food to take to his customers. On his way there, Keneda passed him and gave him a smile. He nodded in acknowledgement.
She's gotta know one day that I'm not her brother...not even remotely related. He thought to himself. He felt guilty to be lying to her like this, but hey, as long as she was happy with it, he was.
"Hello, and welcome to Baratie!" I said cheerfully. The family of four took in my kindness and smiled as well. I knelt down to their kids and gave them each a lollipop. "That's a special Baratie welcome for the little ones!" I lead them to their table and took their order, all business like, like big brother Sanji. He looked so wise and capable when he did it, too. He was so cool.
After taking orders, I handed the ticket to one of the chefs. Where's Sanji-OniiChan? I wondered. I looked around the kitchen and found him, hard at work on some fish. I skipped over to him, looking over his shoulder. He seemed to be trying to ignore me, except when I got in his way. "Ken, what are you doing?" He asked me, slightly amused. I smiled and giggled. "I wanna see how you do it," I said reasonably. Sanji took a spoonfull of a broth and gave it to me. "Taste this, would you please?" He asked, continuing his work. I gently blew away the steam, and took a sip. It was so spicy and tangy, with the perfect tinge of sweetness. Big Brother Sanji was the best cook I knew. Maybe even in the world!
"You like it?" he asked me. I nodded happily. "It's the best!" Sanji have an arrogant smirk and poured the broth over some noodles. "Great. Now if those idiots have a problem with it, I'll simply slice them up." I giggled at his cooking threat. He loved to make those, though some were quite frightening. "Be right back, kay?" He said, ruffling my hair on his way Out. I blushed and nodded. I knew he was my big brother and everything, but still...it didn't stop the feelings I felt for him. It was love, of course.
But...could I actually...fall in love with my brother?
Sanji-Kun has been gone for a while. I hope he's okay. I wondered. I placed my customers plates on the table, wishing them a great meal. Then I went into the kitchen. I came up to Patty, tugging on his sleeve. He looked down at me with a frown. "Why are you bothering me this time, kid?"
"I just wanna know where Sanji-Kun is, Patty-San." Patty grunted and turned back to his work. "I saw the idiot go out to the front." He said. "He might still be there." I grinned and ran out to the front of the ship, looking around for Onii-Chan. "Hey, what're you doing here, Ken?" I turned to see Onii-Chan walking back to the restaurant, turning to me. I smiled when I saw him. "I was just looking for you, Sanji-Kun. I wanted to see you again."
Sanji-Kun reached into his pocket and pulled out a cigarette, getting his lighter. "Well, that was pretty nice. You finished bussing all your tables?" I nodded, watching as he lit his cigarette. "Then I guess you can hang with me for a while." He said, sitting back on the rail, blowing little puffs of smoke. I smiled happily. A little time to hang out with Onii-Chan was alright with me. I looked out into the wide, vast ocean, watching the big white albatrosses fly lazily over the sea.
"Isn't it beautiful, Sanji-Kun?" I asked, staring at the impressive creatures. Sanji-Kun watched with me and gave his lopsided grin. "Yeah, it's cool, Keneda..." His voice trailed off at the end as he looked out. I looked in his face, the eyes that wasn't covered by his shiny blond hair was squinting out into the sea. He frowned deeply, his curly eyebrow furrowing.
"Sanji-kun...?" I asked him nervously. His lips set in a grim line, and he turned his head to me. "Keneda...you should go. Now." He said urgently. I looked out to what he was looking at, but all I could see was a black silhouette of a ship, coming towards the Baratie. "Look, Sanji-Kun! Customers! I'll just get my note-" Sanji-Kun put a hand on my shoulder, squeezing slightly. He only did that when something was really wrong.
"Sanji-Kun, what's going on..."
Sanji-Kun pushed me into the restaurant, and took my hand, racing me to the kitchen. Patty turned his head and scowled at both of us. "What are you guys doing here?! Shouldn't you be serving the customers?!"
"Shut your mouth, Patty!" Sanji-Kun shouted, planting me in the corner of the kitchen. "Make sure she stays here, and only here." he ordered. Patty looked confused, but before he could ask why, onii-Chan had left.
I know it wasn't what I thought it was...but it really seemed like it. Sanji thought as he made his way back to his spot. He stared out into the horizon, watching that black shadowy ship come towards Baratie. "Hmmm..." it didn't seem possible, but one thought crossed his mind at that point.
When Sanji was younger, the other cooks would tell of a pirate named Black Sully, the meanest, toughest, most ruthless pirate to sail the seas. It's been told that he showed no mercy in slaughtering anything and anyone that got in his way. They also said that his ship was painted all black, so it looked like a creepy shadowy beast. And as Sanji looked out, that's what it seemed to be.
He stepped back into Baratie and went into the kitchen. Keneda saw him and ran to him, a worried expression on her face. "Sanji-Kun, what's going on? I'm scared!" She hugged him around his waist and he patted her head. The cooks saw this and looked a little concerned themselves. "Sanji? What's the deal?" Sanji looked around at everyone with a dead serious demeanor about him. "Black Sully." He said, making some of the cooks jump. "He's coming. Here. Now."
Almost immediately, the chefs all grabbed their long knives, and spatulas. Keneda pulled away from him and grabbed a ladle. Sanji took it away from her hands and set it down gently. "Why can't I fight, Sanji-Kun?" She asked him, her eyes telling she was obviously hurt by this. Sanji beat back the guilt and told her straight forward. "I can't have you getting hurt, okay? Black Sully is insane. If he got to you and hurt you, who knows what Boss Zeff will do to me? It's saving my ass, and your ass."
"But-" Keneda began, but Sanji and the rest of the cooks had already left the kitchen, leaving Keneda to herself. She'd better stay in there too, or Zeff is gonna fry me!
"Why do I have to stay behind while the others get to kick butt?" I muttered to myself. It made me so mad to see Onii-Chan treat me like such a baby. I knew he was doing it to protect me, but I could fight! I was tough as nails! I picked up my metal ladle and swung it around like a sword, yelling as I did so, like a ninja. "Take THAT!" I whacked a counter with the ladle, making a loud clanging noise as I did so. I froze, knowing Mr. Zeff didn't like me doing that.
After a few moments, though, I didn't hear anything. No footsteps, nothing. "Phew! He isn't here! Thank goodness!" I smiled and placed the ladle back in its cupboard. "Maybe another day." I said to myself.
I turned to take another customer's order when a tall, lumbering man in a black cloak stood before me. His narrow, black eyes looking down on me like glittery black coal. His long, greasy hair tied back like a black snake, and his terrifying smile filled with disgusting yellow teeth gave me chills. "Hello, girl." He said in a wheezy, croaky voice. I began to tremble and shake. "S-Sanji-Ku-!" The man clapped his hand over my face and came really close to me, his hideous smile growing.
"you're not getting saved. Not from me."
© Copyright 2017 Mika Ride. All rights reserved.
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