I swear I'm not forgetting about this! I just have a day job now, so finding the time to sit down and work on it is tough. ^_^0 Also, for fun, imagine the song Luffy's humming is Centuries by FOB
. XD lolSilva-love
had Law this time, and beta'd by my awesome kouhai
When he took the job at the dive bar just off Red Line Ave, Sanji Noir really didn't know what he was getting himself into. Life was hard growing up the second son of the most famous riverboat chef on the Four Blues, but surrounded by the craziest people he's ever met, he's found himself sucked into chaos, intrigue, and romance? Just what kind of bar is Luffy running here?Warnings:
Modern AU, yaoi, trans character, asexual character, polyamoryPairings:
Zoro/Sanji, Ace/Sabo/Luffy/Law, Sanji/LawDisclaimer:
One Piece belongs to Odacchi, I'm just borrowing them.
"I wanna have your babies, get serious like crazy. I wanna have your babies, see 'em springing up like daisies~!"
Bouncy humming, and lots of gold and sunshine, punctuated by bright, clear blue sky, Law drifted, cushioned by blankets of fuzzy pastels, soft and sweet. The scent of baby powder filled his nose, but he didn't sneeze. Something grabbed his beard, and suddenly there was a tiny blond bouncy baby in his arms. He felt a smile on his lips, and he looked around, the child had to have a mother around somewhere.
He spotted her, and the distance between him and her closed instantaneously. She turned, laughing and smiling, big bouncy curls just like the baby's downy hair framed her face, covering one eye. Her dress matched the bright pink of the ground, which seemed to be made of baby blankets instead of grass. Though Law could have sworn he was standing on the ground and not a floor of any kind. He looked around confused a little, and he saw her mouth the words 'what's the matter, Daddy?' but he couldn't hear her voice. His memory supplied that this was Sanji, and as soon as that happened his eyes went wide.
He could feel his body move to take her in his other arm, circling her waist, the hand that had been holding the baby was suddenly free to stroke a belly that hadn't been there literally a second before. Inside he could feel the pull of the information that he was dreaming trying to break the illusion but it didn't quite make it. Because if he was honest with himself it wasn't that bad of a dream. Sanji had a woman's body no matter what gender he was... that meant he could conceivably carry a child, couldn't he? Mmm, and how pretty she was!
Dream!Sanji turned to him and spoke again, "Traffy?!"
"Traffy! We're here! Wake up, sleepy head." Luffy giggled, and laid his entire weight across the air mattress that was their bed on tour.
Right, tour. Bus. Sleep. Gotcha!
The younger brunet chuckled again, nipping at the doctor's jawline. His hands wandered under the edge of the other's pants—where was his shirt?—and tickled the curls of dark ink just over his hip bones before dancing from spot to spot across his stomach to the line of coarse black hair below his navel. By then, Luffy's mouth was on his ear, and the Rubberman's teeth were pulling at his piercings.
"Wanna suck you off before I fight. Lemme deal with your problem, Traffy?"
A shift of Luffy's thigh between his legs brought to his attention very much that 'yes, indeed, there was a problem to be fixed down there' and wow, he had a lap full of eager lover nearly demanding to take care of it.
There was something lingering in the back of his head that was bothering him, something about Sanji… and… their goodbye kiss? In his still sleep-muddled state he couldn’t put his finger on it, and he was all too willing to push it aside in order to kiss Luffy instead. A good-luck blowjob had never been a bad idea, he decided, because if this thing was worth being bothered over he was damn sure it would be back to bother him again when there was NOT a lover in his lap tending his ramrod erection.
Luffy's grin and the bite he left on Law's neck were almost muffled by the sounds of their other partners deciding yes, now would be a good time to get seats in the audience, don't you think Ace, yup totally, Sabo, and their footsteps receded into the background as the youngest of their quadrangle nipped and bit his way down a line of spots from collar bone to nipple to ribs to belly button to hip bone, his nimble fingers freeing the surgeon's shaft and sack to roll the orbs in one palm while the other stroked up to thumb the slit in his glans. Law relaxed under the confident touches, hands going up over his head almost entirely out of habit as his eyes tracked Luffy's progress and his cock twitched hard against his lover’s hand watching him.
Already touched with the seriousness of the fight to come, Luffy's eyes were intense and focused. He nosed through Law's curls, his tongue wetting even the hair with no regards for it. He tucked his nail into the slit at the same time he pulled the doctor's scrotum ring into his mouth.
Law's head dropped back with a soft moan, and his eyes fluttered shut despite his mental protests that he wanted to watch. He felt it too much.
It had to be deliberate. He simply could not have accidentally sent vibrations through that ring as he tugged on it with his teeth. Especially as he moved his thumb to press deeper and curled his middle finger to pull on the matching metal at Law's frenulum.
"AH! Luffy!" He squirmed a bit, already hurtling toward 'oversensitive' from that fierce stimulation, chewing his lower lip raw.
Hearing the desperate note, Luffy pulled back, both thumb and teeth, to lick a broad stripe up the underside of his lover's shaft, right where the colors met in a dark line. He snickered when he reached the top, letting his breath flow over the wet parts, before wrapping his hand around the base so he could safely take Law's glans into his mouth without the doctor blowing everything on the first suck.
Law's hands were shaky when he pushed them into Luffy's hair. He didn't like it when he came fast like that either, it always felt... unsatisfying to say the least, and frustrating besides, which was not something he should be feeling going into a fight where he needed to be ready to help his partner. He purred instead, thighs parting to give Luffy more room as he groaned. That was much more satisfying.
The younger man sank down slowly, a steady, experienced, slide from slit to base. His eyes only drifted closed when his nose met his hand and that was more so he could concentrate on the undulation of his tongue than anything else. Luffy had a thing he could do with the muscles of the back of his jaw, it pulled and gripped at the same time, without cutting off his air so he could hum, but that would come later, after he'd worked Law's pleasure as high as he could get it.
The little spot started to form between his lover’s eyebrows and Luffy knew that meant he was having trouble thinking. Law's hand in his hair tugged gently as he inhaled deep and hard.
"Luffy... Jesus. More, please, babe..."
With the hand not holding his lover's orgasm at bay, the fighter kneaded at the doctor's thigh, running circles around one of his favorite spots. Around and around and around in time with the swallowing movements of his throat. Luffy pulled back just enough to look up at Law and wink, 'That's right, Traffy, beg for your climax.'
The older man gulped, audibly, because they both knew he was a prideful man and didn't usually consider begging until he had already started losing his grasp on words. Or when he was so close to climax things hurt being pent up. Not that either state took long to reach with Luffy at the helm. His eyelids fluttered again and his back arched restlessly.
"Nnngh... Luffy..." His voice rose on his lover's name in a whine.
Again Luffy pushed him, drawing breath past his mouthful for a moment of cold among the heat. Then he moved his other hand so that both were gripping Law's thighs. He stilled for a moment, watching the nerves and muscles bunching with need just above his lover's groin, and when he was confident Law had adjusted to the new sensations, he hiked the other's hips, sliding his own knees under Law's back so that he could look down, literally, into the darker man's face.
He wanted to watch him come apart.
Law swore, as he usually did, when Luffy stretched his spine and he snarled, baring his teeth, pupils dilated as his nails dug into whatever was beneath him. Thighs twitching, his breath came in hard, quick pants as his diaphragm was pushed up.
"FUCK! Luffy! C'mon, don't—Lufffyyyyyy!"
Luffy grinned—actually grinned—around Law's dick. That was what he'd been waiting for, and he moaned into the heated flesh in his mouth.
His lover’s back arched and his lip curled back, his toes flexing and his ass clenching as his shameglobes started to pull tight. His breaths became needy, whining pants.
Sucking him down, the Rubberman hummed his favorite song, and after balancing one of those delicious thighs on his shoulder, he snuck his hand under his chin to flick the exposed scrotal ring in time to the beat. His eyes latched onto Law's face, he adored doing this to his lovers, especially for the adrenaline rush the power gave him. Which was the whole reason he usually pounced one of them before every big fight.
"Ah, Luffy, Luffy, PLEASE!"
Law’s expression was open and broken, from the dint in his eyebrows to his hanging-open mouth and the near-painful squint of his eyes. Shudders rippled over him in time to the flicks and the beat of his humming, his toes popping loudly as both hands clenched the pillow above his head.
Ah! There it was! Luffy chuckled, deep and low, gripping the ring in Law's frenulum with the back of his tongue, and tugging on both rings at the same time. The result was a howl loud enough to rock the bus and beneath him, Law bucked, clinging to his lover and closing his eyes.
And Luffy drank him down, swallowing in time with the pulses of seed running down his throat to perpetuate Law's orgasm until he was a boneless puddle draped over his shoulders. Then, and only when he was sure he had gotten it all, did he pull off, slowly, carefully, licking and savoring the taste all the way back until his lover was splayed out on the sheets. A Cheshire grin on his face, Luffy crawled over Law, smug and satisfied.
Law didn't have the strength to even wrap around Luffy as he wanted to and purred to him instead, sleepy-eyed, spotted little leopard curling up on his mate's lap.
The one and only time Luffy did not inhale all edible foodstuffs put in front of him was now, just before a fight. When asked, he couldn't put down a specific reason for why he felt that way, he just did. As such, he shifted the both of them around so that Law was leaned against his chest, and pulled the precious On Tour Bento Sanji had made them before they left. It had been kept fresh thanks to a mini fridge tucked into the back of the first floor of the bus, and reheated just before Luffy had pounced on his sleepy lover. The second he lifted the lid on the box the scent of Sanji's cooking burst from inside in a cloud of 'home'.
"No time for sleeping, Traffy. Eat. So I can fight."
"Nnnngh. Alright, alright," the other groaned a little as he brought himself to full consciousness, reluctantly.
He reached forward, knowing it was needed, and took the bento to place before them on the bed. Inhaling the scent of home and Sanji (homemade food with the slightest hint of tobacco smoke), he smiled.
Luffy nuzzled his neck, reaching over and pulling the clincher over to where the doctor could see it—double-shot espresso, dark chocolate mocha—courtesy of Koala and Hack with best wishes for a successful tour. It steamed, promising life-giving caffeine.
The doctor would later claim no such delighted squeal ever escaped him, but for now, he grabbed the cup with both hands and nursed it with undisguised pleasure as he wiggled in Luffy's lap.
Outside the bus, Shanks smirked up at Rayleigh in the driver’s seat as their prize fighter's laughter echoed loud enough that several of the spectators, skulking about hoping to catch the fighters before the match, jumped and scrambled away in fear of being caught. The redheaded manager joined in the mirth, and thumped the highest step he could reach.
"C'mon, lovebirds, we've a cock to beat, and I'm not talkin' about Luffy's!"
"Son of a bitch, Shanks! DO YOU HAVE TO LISTEN IN ON EVERYTHING?! You're his manager, not his cock-monitor!"
"I've been to sign us in and back again. You wanna bitch at a peeping tom, ask Ray what he's been doin' since you woke up. Now, c'mon, Luffy! You need to warm up! Let's go!" Shanks chuckled but his tone meant he wasn't above coming up there and hauling the two of them out by the scruff of their necks.
So, Luffy laughed again, stealing a kiss from his lover, "See you after, Traffy." Then he extracted himself from where they were cuddling, threw his hands above his head as he barreled down the steps, "YOSH! I'MMA KICK HIS ASS!!"
Law sputtered, "RAYLEIGH SILVERS I AM GOING TO CASTRATE YOU AND WEAR YOUR BALLS FOR NEW EARRINGS!"
Rayleigh tilted an imaginary hat at Luffy and Shanks. "And THAT is my cue to skedaddle. See you ringside, Rubberman."
The transition from bus to ringside was something of a blur. Before they knew it, Shanks was rubbing Luffy's shoulders just outside where he was to enter the stadium proper. To the outside onlooker, it looked like the redhead was beefing him up, but really, if he didn't have his hands on him, the younger man would be literally bouncing in anticipation. As per usual, all he wore were his protective gloves, a pair of shorts that reached his knees, and wrapping on his feet to keep himself from breaking any of the tiny bones in any of his limbs. Only during a match did he leave his Positive necklace with his brothers. If he didn’t it ran the risk of it being broken, and besides it and his hat were against the regulations anyway. For this fight, he didn't even have a mouthguard—in spite of Law's cringing about it.
He was ready. The rhythm of the crowd thumped through his veins, and his mind settled into 'all-business' mode. Sharp, dark eyes cut to the stands, picking out Ace and Sabo with the kind of precision Usopp prayed for, and then to Law and Rayleigh at the side of judges’ table, apparently discussing something inaudible over the noise. The commentators' booth was set higher than most of the audience, so they had a better angle to watch, and TV cameras ringed the outside edges.
The announcer was saying something but Luffy didn’t hear him. Having located his nakama, he only had eyes for the cage. He shuffled his steps, bouncing to an internal rhythm, his muscles loose and warm. As soon as he crossed into view the screaming started. People climbed out of their seats to try and press up against the chain-link fencing around the ring. One too many spectators falling into the wrong place at the wrong time had the result that there was a five foot ring fenced off between them and the actual six-sided ring itself.
And that was on top of the cage.
Luffy D “Rubberman” Monkey never fought without a cage. It was in his contract. Six panels of solid steel, waffle-crossed bars bolted to the sides of the ring itself, and topped with a matching roof. The holes were big enough to wrap his hand around, and it was how he got his moniker.
But climbing the three steps to the single door, he tilted his head. He didn’t think he was going to need to bounce around all that much for this one. “Axe-hand” Morgan wasn’t one to dance around the ring. A big man, heavyweight, with a titanium plate in his jaw that most people thought was an edge over his opponents. The assumption was that if he was hit there, the person hitting him was more than likely to come away with a broken hand. But really, what a fighter had to look out for was his famous knifehand strike, for which he had earned his reputation. Though trained primarily as a judo and taekwondo fighter, Morgan was famous for hanging styles and just waiting for an opportunity to use his signature move.
In Jinbe’s opinion it meant he was lazy and would most likely resort to whatever he had to do to get Luffy into that position. Plus, he was sponsored by Gecko Moria, CEO of Thriller Bark Industries, and while nothing had ever been proven on paper (where it mattered) it was common scuttlebutt among the IMMAF members that all of his fighters took steroids and other drugs to ‘enhance’ their strength. In short, it meant that Luffy’s manager and trainers were watching the match very, very, closely from the sidelines.
They’d never actually crossed gloves before, but Luffy took his sport seriously. He and Shanks had studied all of the opponents on the Supernova Tour before leaving. He could still see the way Morgan had taken down “Black Cat” Kuro in the last of the pre-qualifying rounds—a single chop from that ‘axe hand’ of his and the lithe Drunken Master had toppled like a Jenga tower.
So, when he looked his opponent in the eye, the most he gave was another slight tilt to his head.
Again the announcer was cheering at the crowd, riling them up. The referee stepped between them, looked at them both, re-stating the rules of the match: no outside weapons, no groin shots, no performance enhancers, blah, blah, blah. Luffy had heard it a thousand times.
Still, when he was prompted, he agreed, soft and deadly, “Ah.”
It sent a shiver through the audience, and Morgan roared, “BRING IT ON, LITTLE CIVILIAN!”
Then the ref ducked out and the buzzer sounded for the match to begin.
Luffy cracked his knuckles and his face split into a grin. Morgan was going to rush him, he could read it in the larger man’s body language. So he dropped, throwing his foot out just as his opponent took a step forward. If he was surprised when Morgan jumped backward, he didn’t show it, following up the move with a right hook aimed at the big man’s jaw.
His fist met Morgan’s in a clash of barely padded bone on bone.
Outside the ring the crowd winced at the sound, and Shanks sat forward in his seat. He and Law focused intently on Luffy’s expression. If the Rubberman had broken skin…
Luffy looked up from his fringe and grinned wider.
“WHAT, PUNY BOY?! YOU THINK YOU CAN TAKE ON ME?! I AM AXE HAND MORGAN!!” The bigger man bellowed.
“I’m Luffy. Nice to meet you.”
The Rubberman’s glib response, just barely loud enough for the microphones to pick up, enraged Morgan all the more and he jumped back and up, his other hand raised in a high ready that held just long enough for the crowd to shout ‘AXE HAND’ before crashing down where Luffy had been standing not two seconds ago. The smaller man gripped the cage behind him, grinned for a second while his opponent realized he had missed, then he brought both feet, wrapped in protective gear, smashing into Morgan’s face.
Momentum made the big man flip backwards and he almost landed on his chest on the mat, but for the way he caught himself on his hands. Then he was back up, his hand raised to do his signature again.
Luffy spun off the side of the ring, tucked in tight for a full 360 degree rotation, then snapped his leg out to bring the inside of his right leg across Morgan’s so-called impervious jaw.
Again Morgan went flying, his head knocked to the side, and he crashed into the wall, just barely holding himself up. Because contrary to popular belief, Luffy knew a replaced bone meant a weak spot, a place where, if hit in just the right way, it would vibrate all the way through his skull. Thus, Axe-Hand Morgan was dazed, trying to clear the fuzziness from his head when the Rubberman bounced over the crack in the floor to grab him up by his sleeveless shirt. A single jab to the face was all it took to knock him over after Luffy pulled him away from the wall.
The ref slid to the ground, watching for any sign that Morgan was going to get up again as he counted him out. He reached ten, slammed his hand on the mat of the ring, and blew his whistle.
Luffy threw his hands up yelling with the crowd, his back to Morgan.
The ref had escaped the cage to give his testimony to the judges, and there came a loud roar from the defeated fighter. Morgan surged to his feet, intent on throttling Luffy, and the whole stadium screamed. Referees and other officials scrambled for the cage. Judges yelled for the security to do something. The commentators jumped to their feet with the rest of the crowd, narrating a mile a minute for the telecast.
And Luffy glanced over his shoulder just in time to bring his opposite hand up. The camera zoomed in on his face clear enough to read his lips, “Gumu Gumu no…
“PISTOL!” He shouted, throwing the cross hook at the same moment Morgan crashed into him.
The bigger man’s face caved. His nose erupted in blood, four teeth flew to the side, and his own inertia snapped his head back. Watching in slow motion it was like seeing a crash test dummy hit a brick wall. Luffy never even flinched. For the second time Morgan went down, and again the crowd went WILD!
After giving both fighters a once-over for injuries, Law directed a couple of big EMTs with a stretcher to take Morgan out of the ring to get cleaned up. He gave Luffy’s arm a squeeze on his way out of the ring, hidden from the cameras’ view, and focused on reporting his findings for the physician’s assistant. Since neither fighter had any real significant injuries as soon as the ring was clear and clean they could begin the next match, which meant Law couldn’t personally attend to patching up Morgan. He had to be on the floor in case one of the other six fighters got into serious trouble.
So, Shanks sent a surreptitious nod to him from the exit, ushering the rest of Team Rubberman out to the bus for food, victory drinks, and other time-wasting activities. They’d have stayed to watch the rest but Luffy was always too wound up to sit still when he won. Law nodded back, already distracted.
Through the other three fights he was to attend as Federation Medical Official, Law was lost in his thoughts, frowning. His dream, though he couldn't remember most of it now, had left him... unsettled, and it got him thinking about Sanji, which wasn't a bad thing except... except... the dream had been odd in that he had seen Sanji pregnant and while he could chalk that up to having one of HIS fathers go through a similar experience, the thought he'd had during the dream, that it was a possibility so the dreaming was okay (it was not, one TALKED about that sort of thing, bad brain damn it!), but... there had been such easy affection, such closeness.
And it made him realize that before they left, Sanji had been fidgety. Hadn't let him kiss him on the mouth. Had been shaky the moment he stepped out of his sacred land, the kitchen. Law knew an anxiety reaction when he saw one, but that left him at a loss for what, or who, or how he had been triggered into an anxiety attack, and if it had been him, completely without any way to know what it was, make it up to him, and never do it again.
Loath though he was to avoid celebrating the win, Law found himself still distracted when the time came to pack up the bus and head for Long Ring, thoughts about his dream and the way they'd departed from the Sunny and just what exactly had been wrong with Sanji kept playing over and over, around and around in his head. Until he could stand it no more and excused himself from the revelry on the top floor of the bus. He sought solace among the peace and quiet of the card game between Rayleigh and Jinbe, and the solitude of the empty seats behind where Shanks was driving. He gave a sigh, and then acquiesced to the urge of his subconscious to ring the Sunny.
The phone rang and rang, clearly hard to hear over the party that was sure to be going on, but eventually it was answered.
"Thousand Sunny, home of the Rubberman, this is Sanji, can I help you?"
His boyfriend's voice was honey on his ears, and he melted a little hearing it, unable to actually form words until the cook repeated himself.
"Sanji, it's Law. Not business, and no there hasn't been an emergency, I just... I knew you'd still be there and I wanted to hear your voice," he admitted, tone a little shy as he crossed his ankles and tried not to fidget. It didn't matter Sanji couldn't see him, Rayleigh and Jinbe could and he had no doubt they would report to Luffy. They tattled on him all the time.
"Oh. Hey~" There was relief in the blond's voice, and the sound of the kitchen door came in the background, cutting off the thumping music someone was playing in the dining room. "We saw the fight. Luffy looked good. That shot at the end... I think Franky and Usopp are still imitating it."
"To be honest, if there hadn't been a cage there wouldn't be enough pieces left to be patched together by his quack doctor. Rayleigh looked like he was going to tear the man's head from his shoulders, and that was after Luffy sent him down the second time." Law smiled a bit when Rayleigh gave him the finger without looking away from his cards.
Sanji laughed, "I bet." He was quiet for a moment, just listening to Law breathe in his ear. "So... Where's your next stop?"
"To be honest, I forget the towns. I know the next fight is against whoever came out on top of the other tier match tonight. Which I only remember one of the combatants of, because he's under my jurisdiction in the league. Bellamy. Since I had to be here with Luffy I missed his match... hope he hasn't gotten hurt much."
He frowned a little, and started to chew on a knuckle. He hadn't smoked since Cora got... sick. Why did he suddenly want tobacco smoke on his tongue? Seeming to be on the same wavelength as his distant other half, the shnkt of a lighter put a pause in their conversation.
"I think he’s fine? Chopper was watching it earlier, flipping back and forth between him and Luffy cuz of somebody in the background. Hogsworth or something? I had about a hundred orders at the time, I couldn't hear him clearly, but he seemed agitated with whoever it was."
"Hogback. They let fucking HOGBACK doctor one of mine?!" Law's voice went straight to as deep as it could and breathing fury. "Who fucking approved that? I will cull that board with my own two hands!"
There was a clatter of plastic on cement, which translated into the door closing having been the one to the back lot, not the one to the kitchen, and Sanji had just dropped his lighter in reaction to Law's anger. If the hurried way he'd responded hadn't been clue enough, the sudden tension in the air between their phones was a loud, sharp reminder to the topic of the doctor's thoughts earlier. Just because the cook sounded fine, didn't mean he actually was; many anxiety patients learned how to slap a smile over their nerves because life just didn't stop to let them recover after an attack.
So, he moderated his tone. He had to, he'd learned how because if he didn't he could send patients into cardiac arrest.
"No, no, Sanji, I know, I know. I don't actually expect you to know the answer who on the governing board for the league approved Hogback's presence at the match of one of my patients instead of one of my list of approved stand-ins. How the hell would you know that? No, it's alright, Sanji, it's alright. I'm angry at them for ignoring my explicit directions not to let Hogback touch my patients, I'm not mad with you."
Law felt himself rocking back and forth in his seat, one hand clutching his other elbow worriedly as he tried to lean into the phone. The questions he wanted to ask—who did this, are you okay, what caused this panic attack, can I help—they weren't going to help. Not right now.
"I'm okay. I'm fine. I'm okay." It sounded like a mantra, like he was trying to convince himself, not Law. "I can—the fuck did it go—I can ask Chopper about it... tomorrow... or something? I really don't know what happened. I just... I need to find my lighter... Um... The board on the mirror, Nami put it up, said something about Foxy? So I guess that's who's next or something? Um... I know Bellamy won. If that helps. Heard a couple of redheads talking about it right before one of them ruined her Louis Vuitton and wasted a double of Jack being stupid drunk. Just asking for someone to come along and—AHA! There it is!"
He was rambling, stream of consciousness. Every thought that entered his mind at the moment came burbling out through his lips. That could have been a symptom of the attack, or a side effect of his medication, or possibly even just having spent too long between smoke breaks, which, if they'd been as busy as Sanji made it sound like they had been, was entirely possible. On the upside, at least he wasn't shut down and catatonic.
Keep him talking, keep him talking!
"Bellamy won, that's good, I'll see him then, and soonish. That'll be good. Foxy... I can't remember but that might be who he was fighting? Or something. But you found your lighter, yes, that's good. And what did she do, throw up in her purse? There's a perfectly good toilet and alleyway."
"No, worse." Sanji paused to actually light his cigarette, as he'd been about to do when Law startled him. "She flung herself at me. Her tits landed in the purse, the double was in her hand. She dropped it. Deliberately!" His tone sounded scandalized by the idea that she poured the whiskey into her designer bag, and then he shuddered, audibly, "Told me to reach in and get the glass. Marimo took her to dry out."
"Oh gross. I've had women pull stunts like that on me, offer me a body shot and have the shot just 'happen' to slip down into their bra. Zoro usually takes them to the diner up the street, sits 'em down with a cup of coffee and toast and tells the waitstaff not to let 'em leave until they can walk without slurring. We're just lucky the waitstaff at the diner really like Zoro," Law chuckled, leaning so far into the phone he was in danger of falling off the seat as he tried to get physically closer to Sanji to comfort him.
An expectant silence fell between them, then Sanji mumbled something, sounding ashamed and like he wanted to hide.
"I'm sorry, Sanji. I can't hear you. Could you say that again, please?" Please don't be an apology. Don’t be an apology, please, he prayed silently.
"I... I said I'm out. My... um... My Ativan... Fucking with my head. Sorry. More tired I get... Thought I had... Sorry. I'm sorry." The cook sounded like he expected to be yelled at about it, or like he already had been and was bracing for another round.
"Oh. Do you still have refills? I know a clinic nearby the Sunny that does emergency prescription refills and can give you what you need for the day while they fill it. When does your shift end? They're open twenty four hours."
"Y-yeah. Talk to me? Call me back on my cell? And talk? Just... I don't care what. Everything's... Please? Ghin wouldn't. Said he was busy. Please?"
"Yeah, of course, no problem. Now or when you get off? And do you want me to call ahead to the pharmacy for you? A friend of mine should be working tonight, I think, I can call her to tell her to expect you if you want."
"Now. N-need it. Can't go back in there. Was fine, but..."
Unspoken was the break in his rhythm meant everything he had been shoring up to get through the end of his shift had come crashing down on him. And suddenly, as they changed phones, it was clear why he had waited so long between cigarettes. Not that they weren't busy, Law was sure of that, tonight had been one of Luffy's fights after all, but if Sanji had been using the busywork to keep his mind from cracking without his anxiety med... well, everything just made a little bit more sense. Except for one thing...
"Sanji... who is Ghin... and why isn't he helping you when you reached out to him?" The doctor kept his voice soft and gentle, as gentle as he could, but he suddenly had a cold chill in his gut that told him who he was afraid Ghin was.
Rayleigh and Jinbe watched Law. They couldn't hear most of what he said, but his body language was enough to abandon the cards. Now that he was no longer rocking in his seat, he was hunching into his phone, hands white-knuckled and his eyes hard; they were concerned.
"No, no, it was my fault. Time difference. It's later where he is now. He works first shift. He needed to get to bed. Couldn't talk. It's okay. I shouldn't have called him. I should've... I've got you now, it's okay."
"That doesn't explain who he is, Sanji, and frankly I think that's a poor reason for not helping a friend in need, but that aside. Who is he, Sanji?"
"My friend. He works with the Old Man, scrubs floors and stuff." The sounds of footsteps meant the cook was heading for the pharmacy he passed on his way in every day. "I've known him since we were like... eighteen or something."
"The kind of friend you call when you have a panic attack and he tells you no, sleep is more important?" The corners of his mouth were tight and he couldn't help it. "Even after six years of being friends?"
"It's not like that." There was something in Sanji's tone, undefined and poorly hidden, "He's just really bogged down with stuff. He's really focused on trying to be the best he can for my Old Man because he knows if he lost the job he'd be letting me down. I got it for him. I shouldn't have called him this late. I know better. I don't know what I was thinking."
"Sanji. Your old man would understand Ghin losing an hour or two or more, of sleep, helping his son without taking away his job. You were thinking you needed help, and you turned to a friend, someone you trusted to give you help. And he said no. You say it's not like that, but it sure does sound bad."
"You just don't know him like I do. Trust me. It was my fault." A door chimed, indicating the blond had made it to the pharmacy. "Should I mention you, or do you wanna talk to them, or... um... I've never come here before. I usually go through Hiriluk's on Drum. That gonna be a problem? Or...?"
"No, it should be fine. There'll be a lady with green hair and some feather tattoos on her arms. That's Monet, just tell her you need an emergency refill and give her your name. The clinic has access to all the city records so she can give you a dose to hold you over and fill your prescription on the spot. And it cannot be your fault. Remember what you told me? We can't help it when something triggers us. We don't always know what will. We need help when it happens, not admonishments."
"It's fine." Sanji vocally waved him off, then clearly was addressing the woman at the counter, "Yes, hi. Sanji Noir. I'm... I ran out of my Ativan, I have the bottle..." The sound of fabric against the microphone indicated the cook was digging in his pockets. "Here. I just—oh, okay, thank you. No, I... Well, if you insist. How could I turn down an offer like that from a lady as beautiful as you?"
Law sighed out through his nose. That was a pitiful excuse for flirting (given he knew Monet was telling him he was covered, no charge), especially with how over the top Sanji was usually. He wasn't even doing that 'noodle thing'. He chewed his lip and tried not to growl. How was he going to get any more info before Sanji clammed up again?
The tell-tale smack of a gentle kiss proved that even if the normally intensely romantic cook was off his game, he wasn't shut down completely, "You are a life saver, my dear. I hope your evening goes better than mine has."
Then there was minor silence, the jingle of the door, a few footsteps, Sanji's breathing in his ear, the rattle of the paper bag, and a clatter of tablets.
Another small, suspicious silence was followed up by the lighting of another cigarette, and a deep couple of inhales before the cook's voice came back through the phone's speaker, "Still with me?"
"FOR THE LOVE OF GOD LUFFY HOW MANY TIMES HAVE I TOLD YOU NOT TO SWALLOW THEM DRY?! NOT EVEN ACE DOES THAT!!" Sabo's voice filtered, crystal clear, through the phone on Sanji's end.
The younger blond chased their over-excited partner down the stairs of the bus and into the formerly peaceful lower level. The brunet bounced away cackling madly. They ringed the tiny table in the middle of what passed for a 'kitchen', Luffy just one step ahead of Sabo. He stuck his tongue out, indicating that the medication he had just taken was gone and there was nothing the guitarist could do about it. So, he gave a frustrated growl, looked to Law pleadingly with a gesture of helpless irritation at the Rubberman.
Law tried to wave them away, putting his finger in his other ear, and tucking his feet up on the bench, "Of course, Sanji. However I really have to tell you dry swallowing will burn holes in your throat. I hope you do it as little as possible."
Before he could hear Sanji's answer, Shanks bellowed, glaring in the mirror above his seat, "ENOUGH! Jesus! That fight wasn't long enough for you to be this wound up. The hell did you buy him for dinner, Jinbe?!"
The large Asian man put his hands up, his eyes wide with innocence.
Ace draped over the steps with a large yawn, "He got into my leftover bento. Had to give him Benadryl."
"Well, shit." The redhead cursed, his frown deeper. "Tie him the fuck down before I gotta pull over and do it myself!!"
At that moment, in a combined effort of a clothesline from Rayleigh and a tackle from Sabo, the youngest of their crew went down, crashing to the carpeted floor with a cackle that, for all indications, meant he hadn't felt a thing; too high on the antihistamine to focus on it. He squirmed under the blond, his hands dancing up Sabo's sides to where he knew the other was ticklish, and that was all Law could take.
He stormed into the bathroom at the back and plopped down on the closed toilet. "Sorry. Luffy got into the—"
"I heard." Sanji chuckled, sounding infinitely calmer than he had twenty minutes ago. "I can let you go if you need to."
"No. No, it's fine. Once Sabo gets him upstairs and holding still for five minutes he'll be out like a light. Don't worry about it."
"If you're sure. I mean, you're there all for professional reasons and stuff. The last thing I wanna do is keep you from it if he needs you."
"No. Right now I'm focused on you. You need me more. The greedy brat," this was said with love coloring the words, "has four other handlers able to take care of him. It's part of why we all go with him when we can. Now tell me more about this Ghin that has you thinking it's your fault for having a panic attack."
Sanji was quiet for a while, obviously picking through his words carefully now that he was back on more stable ground. "What's there to tell? We picked him up South of Mobile, he was starving, needed a job and a roof over his head. Never told us where he came from exactly, but the Shit Geezer's got a habit of picking up strays. So he was with us until I jumped ship here in FBC. Stayed with me and my brother for a bit, then took off wandering. We kept in touch via Skype on his phone. Occasionally he'll show up in Raftel or Sabaody, work with the Old Man 'til the end of the river and leave again. He's a hard worker, always puts his nose to the grindstone." The shrug was audible, "I should've remembered he was up near Raftel now. That's two hours' time difference from here. I mean, how'd you like it if I caught you in the middle of going to bed when you had to be in for a double in a couple hours?"
Law didn't like it, but damnit, the blond was closed off about it. Oh sure, that sounded like a lot of information about the guy, but really it wasn't. And it carried the note of finality that the doctor had come to associate with Sanji being finished with a subject. Still... he couldn't help himself. That cold feeling in his stomach was only getting worse the more his boyfriend talked about this guy.
"What's hmm?" The cook sensed something.
So he pushed ahead with a small cough. "He's never hurt you, right?"
"No! Never! Not on purpose or anything like that. Shit, Law! The guy's got a right to a good night's sleep before work!"
"I just had to—"
"No, you didn't. Fuck! And the rest of you wonder why I don't share my history with you! I panicked for stupid reasons, I called the wrong person, let go of it already!" Sanji huffed, stamping out his cigarette butt, "Look, I'm back at the Sunny, my med's kicked in, I gotta finish out my shift, and make up for the hour I spent on the phone when I was supposed to be working. And I don't care if Ms. Nami won't mind, I mind. Have a good trip; I'll talk to you after the next fight." The sound of a kiss came through the phone and then the cook hung up.
Well, that went over like a lead balloon.
Just like the pit of Law's stomach. He pulled his knees up to his chest and sighed deeply, clutching the phone with both hands. Outside his little bubble he could hear quiet again, meaning Sabo and Ace had been able to get Luffy back upstairs and presumably into bed. Which was good! According to a flick of his thumb through the calendar app on his phone, they had three days until the next fight, and at least half of that was going to be spent on the bus travelling.
God, he hoped this didn't set the tenor for the whole tour.
Song: I Wanna Have Your Babies by Natasha Bedingfield