thereisafire (thereisafire) wrote,

sanji's most incredible birthday (until the next one)

Sanji's birthday, that year, was possibly the best one yet.

Not that there was much competition, as most of his birthdays before that had been spent at the Baratie. The only concession that old bastard made was that he tried to kick slightly less hard (and didn't always succeed).

Usopp had made a set of basting brushes for him, to replace the set that Luffy tormented while trying to paint a picture of a gigantic sea rhinoceros. The old ones were still usable after that, surprisingly, but the splayed bristles made him twitch every time he used them. The gift made him feel better about throwing the old brushes into the depths of the sea. The new ones were better-quality, anyway.

In keeping with the trend of giving Sanji culinary equipment, Franky had decided to make Sanji a new and improved blowtorch. It worked better than his previous one, which had given up the ghost when Luffy had coopted it in order to attempt to make creme brulee. Sanji shuddered. The less said of that, the better. Especially since Luffy had confused sugar with salt. The gift worked well, except that Franky couldn't resist the urge to weaponise it, as Sanji found out when he was experimenting with one of the blowtorch's knobs. He was grateful that no one was in the kitchen at the time, as he had let out a rather loud shriek while frantically turning it back to its default setting. Thankfully, his eyebrows remained intact.

Zoro had handed him a bottle of good alcohol, which surprised him. Even more surprising was the mumbled birthday greeting, which seemed truly uncharacteristic until he noticed Chopper standing with his hooves on his hips and glaring at Zoro from a distance.

Chopper had used his lab equipment to make cologne and aftershave for Sanji. It smelled like crisp, fresh apples, but was unobtrusive. Also, Chopper had been the one who strong-armed Zoro into getting an actual gift instead of wrapping up a knife from Sanji's kitchen and handing it to him, so he deserved quite a lot of credit.

Brook gave him a parcel wrapped in brown paper, and asked him to open it in private. Of course, this subtlety was ruined by the subsequent warning that Brook issued. ("I was so charmed by the beauty on page 27 that my eyeballs popped out! Except I don't even have eyeballs! Yohohoho!") They were rather fetching, though none could compare to the glorious beauties already present in their crew.

Speaking of the two beauties, Nami had sent away to the Baratie, resulting in a parcel of well-preserved cheeses and ham, accompanied with a note cursing Sanji's lack of culinary ability from the shitty old chef. She had also thrown in a pack of cigarettes. It reminded him of old times. He was so touched that he paid Nami more than what she requested as commission.

Robin, on the other hand, had obtained a book about a foul-mouthed chef's journey to different regions of the world. The chef was no gentleman, but his observations on food were quite interesting. Sanji felt inspired to research local cuisines of the areas that they were travelling to, so as to make best use of the ingredients obtained from Luffy deciding to bludgeon cool-looking animals into submission.

As a birthday gift, Luffy drew Sanji a picture of Sanji cooking a gigantic leg of sea lamb. It would probably be more touching if Luffy hadn't just killed a sea lamb and hauled it on deck, and if Luffy wasn't looking at him with gigantic pleading eyes while gesturing to the sea lamb.

They had lamb that night. That was also the night that the crew revealed their group present.

Sanji was so touched that he almost cried.

1. Luffy

It all started with Luffy, as always.

"Hey, Usopp, why does Sanji always glare at his wanted poster?"

"Well, there are probably many complicated reasons that the great Usopp would be happy to explain - no Luffy don't stop stirring that or it might explode - but basically, he isn't happy with the way it looks."

"But the drawing looks just like him. Even his eyebrow is in the right direction!"

"Luffy, if you mention that to Sanji, he will kill us."

"I think we should do something about his poster so that Sanji will stop glaring at it. Then he can have time to make me an extra snack every day!"

2. Usopp, Nami (and Robin)

Ever since Nami joined the crew, she'd fallen into a routine with Usopp, as they were the only people on the ship with actual common sense and planning ability. Robin usually sits at the side, interjecting with laconic comments.

Between them, they manage to get a plan hammered out. Usopp will be in charge of distracting Luffy, as Luffy is terrible at lying, and engineering distractions for Sanji (possibly using Luffy). Robin will be in charge of observing Sanji's daily routine with her extra eyes (and ears) and alerting any team members if Sanji is about to barge in. Nami will be in charge of logistics, and be in charge of the emergency plan. It is not much of an emergency plan, as it mainly consists of Nami unbuttoning part of her top and crooning Sanji's name while leading him away from where the project is taking place, but it is probably effective enough for their purposes.

3. Franky

Once they've explained what they need, Franky is very obliging, jumping at the new challenge he's been given. He stays up late at night, swigging cola, the floor below his workbench littered with discarded carcasses of what could possibly have been cameras.

Finally, they have a working prototype. However, when Nami turns on the "flash" mode, it emits a startling burst of light, leading Luffy to run towards the deck and shout excitedly about approaching storms, as well as blinding the people in immediate range.

They all agree that it needs more testing before field use, but Usopp keeps the prototype in case he ever needs to distract an enemy.

4. Zoro

Zoro is in charge of distracting Sanji whenever the group has meetings. Not that he minds, because it's always nice to spar with the love-cook and attempt to wipe that superior grin off his face.

He slightly minds the part where he's forced to let Sanji take out more enemies so that Chopper can have more shutter opportunities. Especially, especially Sanji's gloating afterwards when they do the tally.

But then again, as funny as Sanji's current wanted poster might be, he's still part of the crew. It's important to look cool (especially if you're in imminent danger of becoming a wax statue), so Zoro guesses it would kind of suck if he had the reputation of dueling with someone who looked as drastically uncool as Sanji's poster.

Also, this is a crew project, and if he's the weak link, Nami will give him no end of hell.

5. Brook and Chopper

Brook and Chopper are proud to be part of the important task, particularly Chopper, who has taken to constantly carrying his camera in his small backpack next to his medicine kit and snapping photographs of Sanji in all sorts of situations. However, Chopper sneaking into the bath was probably not the best idea, as Sanji started to be on guard after that.

Chopper sometimes vanishes during fights, as he's too engrossed with getting Sanji's best angle.

Brook is in charge of developing the photographs and sorting through them, but the sorting is usually a shared effort, as they spread the photographs on Nami's drafting table, tossing the ones with the lens blocked by Chopper's hoof into a mound of photographs to be discarded, stacking them into piles with occasional comments.

"He looks pretty cool in this one, huh, Brook?"

"Excellent framing, Chopper. But the ladies in my time preferred a gentleman to look more mysterious than this...add it to the pile of potentials."

They all sit around the table. Nami tries to pick the ones that will appeal to girls, while Robin quirks an eyebrow at the antics that Chopper has captured on his camera. Franky has come up with a grading system which doesn't make much sense, as all the grades seem to be different variations on the word "SUPER". However, he's also made a nice set of drawers to store the photographs. Usopp tells far-fetched tales to Luffy about the circumstances in which the photos were taken. Even Zoro sometimes glances at the photographs, while pretending to sleep.

If they notice a swordsman's calloused hand sometimes subtly moving photographs to the pile of discards, no one says anything.

6. Robin

Robin is in charge of drafting the letters to the marines, with Usopp and Nami providing advice and proofreading.

"Dear marines, our town was visited by pirates lately. One of them was Black Leg Sanji. I noticed that he looked quite different from his wanted poster. I am attaching several photographs to help you in your endeavours. Best regards, A Concerned Citizen."

"No, no, Robin! More emotion! You're a concerned citizen, pleading with them to update their files before more people are deceived by this...chicanery! These filthy lies that they are disseminating! You're not a robot that needs its data to be updated!"

"Usopp, you're forgetting something! Robin is a woman and this must be reflected in her writing. You should write this part in a more curved style, and your pen should shake at this point. Hold on, I'll go get the eyedropper so you can drip fake tears on it. Remember to sign off with a heart!"

" know, I don't think I'll ever be as good a trickster as that woman."

"I'm sure you can do it if you try, Longnose-kun."

7. Nami

Nami is in charge of sending the letter off. At the next port, she sends multiple copies, all with a slightly different cover story about how the photographs were obtained, making sure not to send duplicate photographs.

She takes extra care to tie the packages firmly to the delivery bird's leg.

If Sanji's poster isn't updated soon, she'll simply have to leak it to the media. She hopes that the contingency plan won't actually have to happen, because postage to the major newspapers in all regions is extremely expensive.

But for friends, it's worth it.

Not that they should know that, of course.

8. Birthday

Sanji opens the parcel as everyone stares at him expectantly.

It's a scrapbook, and he's confused for a moment, as it seems to consist of random pages torn out from newspapers all over the Blues.

Then he realises what all the pages have in common. He flips to the last page, his eyes blurring, and it's a large laminated poster of him looking suave, leg extended in the middle of a kick, smirking with a cigarette in his mouth.

His face is clearly visible and the lighting is perfect.

The words "Dead or Alive" are under it, and he can't bring himself to even comment on how his bounty still hasn't increased, he's too overwhelmed.

The air is still, and Luffy decides to break the silence.

"Sanji! Sanji! Do you like it? It was my idea! And everyone else helped!"

Once the silence is broken, Chopper jumps up and down and tries to tell Sanji about when he took the photo, only to be drowned out by a rising babble.

Sanji exhales deeply, trying to prevent himself from being overcome by emotion. Robin places a finger on everyone else's lips, effectively shushing them.

"You damn sneaky bastards...thank you."

Tags: fandom: one piece
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