Tiger Stripes and Tiramisu

By Embrea

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EmbreaAna   1y ago

~~A Little Less Than Two Years Ago~~

It had been a quiet day on the island, as it typically was. The island was in the North Blue in a remote corner that few bothered with. It was summer which brought a nice breeze in off the ocean. Unfortunately, that breeze was also bringing trouble.

At the village center, a festival was taking place to celebrate the summer solstice. Streamers and banners hung from every post and shop. Strips of lights were waiting to be lit once the sun set. On the outskirts sat a cart loaded with fireworks, also waiting for the sun to set.

“Momma look,” a young boy with blue hair shouted as he ran around with a streamer wand in his hand. He had a few sharp teeth out at the corner of his mouth that gave him an eerie look and scared a few people. The villager came to ignore it.

A brunette woman shifted on the bench she was seated at and turned to look at the child. A smile graced her lips and the corners of her eyes crinkled slightly at the sight. “Did you convince Miss Celia to give you a wand?”

“Uh huh,” he beamed, “She said I could come back later for another one if I wanted.”

“Did she now? That’s nice of her.”

“O,” a male voice began, “Ana!”

The brunette woman drew a sharp breath before shifting again and turning to the voice. Her brow furrowed when she saw the bottle already in his hand and nearly empty. “Today? Really? You’re drinking today of all days?”

“Ana!”

“Enough Theo,” Ana hissed as she stood up. She began walking over to the blue haired boy when she felt a hand on her arm. “If you don’t release me right now, I’ll make sure you lose you other eye.” The grip on her tightened as its owner processed the threat before releasing.

“Where are you going?”

“To spend time with Aenan. You know, our son.” She didn’t wait for a response before picking up the small child and carrying him further into the village center to enjoy the festivities.

~~~

Not far from the island, a large ship was preparing to land. There was all manner of shouting coming from the vessel, but none quite as loud as its captain. “When we land, find him! Do whatever you have to to get payment from him! We are due our 500,000,000 berries and its high time he paid up!”

“Aye captain,” the men shouted in response.

~~~

A short while later, just as the sun was beginning to set, shouting could be heard from the shoreline. Soon, it grew closer, putting the villagers on high alert. As this island was typically left alone, there was no form of shelter for the residents to run to. Instead, they fled to their homes and hoped whatever was coming, would leave as quickly as it came.

Ana quickly made her way over to Aenan and prepared herself for whatever was coming. Not too far off was Theo who had gone pale at the incoming sound. (I Why do I get the feeling he has something to do with this?)

As the sound grew closer, a burly man with bright orange hair and a grimace could be seen at the head of it all. “Theo! We are here for the debt that you owe! Better pay up or this town is burning to the ground.”

“Wait!” Theo looked around in a panic as the man drew closer. The moment his gaze landed on Ana and Aenan he had an idea. “Take my son! He’s only 4 but you could get a good price for him.”

“W-what?” Aenan looked at Theo in horror at what just came out of his mouth. “Daddy why?”

The burly man came to a stop and looked over to where Ana and Aenan were. Sizing up Ana first then looking at the child. He was silent for several minutes before nodding, accepting the arrangement. “We can sell him off to a wealthy family or to the workhouse.” With a flick of his wrist, he sent his men towards Aenan.

“No,” Ana snapped, “You are not trading our son to pay off your debt! Figure something else out!”

“Get rid of the woman,” the man shouted.

Aenan moved behind Ana as the men came closer to them. “Mommy, do something.”

“It’s okay,” Ana whispered, “I’m not going to let them take you.” She looked back at the men and let out a growl, “You touch my son and I’ll tear you to shreds.”

“That’s rich coming from a puny woman like you,” one of the men scoffed.

The moment his hand started reaching for Aenan, Ana transformed into a Simbakubwa and pounced on him. She moved from man to man, attacking them, hoping to keep them from Aenan. It didn’t take long before they started fighting back and shooting at her.

How many bullets had she taken so far? How many cuts did she have from their swords? She lost count. The only thing keeping her going through all the pain and blood loss was the thought of protecting Aenan.

Theo watched as Ana, the woman he once loved, the woman he had beat on whenever he drank, was giving her life for their son. She was still as fearsome as the first time he had laid eyes on her all those years ago. It was one of the reasons he had fallen in love with her in the first place. He watched as she started to falter in her movements, the blood loss clearly beginning to hit her.

It was at this moment that he realized what he’d done. “Wait,” he shouted as he started moving towards Aenan and Ana, “I changed…” The words never left his mouth as a bullet went through him. He collapsed to the ground, watching, vision fading, as Ana too, collapsed and returned to normal. Was she still alive? With her wounds he doubted it.

One of the men picked up Aenan, who was screaming for Ana, tears streaming down his face. “Momma,” he screamed as he was carried by Ana’s body, “Momma!” No matter how much he struggled, the man wouldn’t release him.

“We’re done here,” the burly man said before he and his troupe turned to leave. “Next time,” he looked over his shoulder, “it’s better to just let us to what we want than to fight back. You may have survived.”

~~Nearly Two Years Later~~

Ana was camped out on a beach, waiting for the sun to rise before continuing her journey to find Aenan. It had been nearly two years since the day he was taken. She had failed to protect him back then, but nothing was going to stop her from getting him back.

As she carefully turned the stake containing her meal, she looked down at the scars that littered her body. By now they were just faded bits of silver skin, only visible if the sun hit them just right. But they served as a reminder. A reminder of Theo’s betrayal and Aenan’s abduction.

Just as she was about to remove the meat from the fire, she heard something near the tree line. Looking up she glimpsed what looked like the outlines of people. (I Guess I am not alone here after all.) With a sigh, she stood up, her movement triggering them to charge her. She didn’t hesitate before transforming and attacking in defense. Not long after, the ten men that attempted to jump her, were scattered on the beach, dead and some in pieces.

She was not without injury however and limped around in her tiger form. There was a gash on her arm and one running, what would be the span of her abdomen on the left. (I Just my luck, I am out of first aid stuff too.)

~~~

“Hey look,” Usopp shouted, “There is an island ahead.” He looked around some more, soon coming across the fire of Ana’s camp. “Looks like someone is already here too.” Though it was feint, he could make out the outlines on the beach and soon spotted the tiger roaming around. “Uhm.”

“What,” Nami shouted up at him, “Do you see something else?”

“Yeah, a tiger that killed like ten guys.”

“No way,” Luffy moved and headed towards Usopp, “Let me see! Can we keep it?”

“We don’t need a tiger,” Nami replied.

“It looks hurt,” Usopp pointed out.

"I'll go talk to it when we dock," Chopper offered.

As the crew drew closer to the island, Usopp kept an eye on the tiger. He and Chopper had a conversation about possibly tranquilizing it should talking not work in Chopper's favor. Once they docked, Chopper left the ship and made his way towards the tiger.

Ana stopped pacing when she senses another presence and began to growl. "Go away."

"I'm not here to hurt you," Chopper reasoned, "I'm here to help."

Ana narrowed her eyes and turned to him, still growling. "I don't believe you."

~~~

"Looks like he's meeting some resistance," Franky said as he watched the exchange., "Doesn't look it wants help."

"Well," Robin leaned on the railing, "Chopper wants to help regardless."

Usopp readied the pod with the tranquilizer gas and waited until Chopped was far enough away from the tiger before firing. Once the pod exploded and cleared, the tiger was on the ground and slowly transforming back into their human state. "It’s a fruit user?"

"That explains a lot," Nami sighed as the rest of the crew hopped off the ship. By the time the crew joined Chopper on the beach, he was already fast at work on fixing the woman.

"Oh," Robin frowned, "I know her. But what is she doing out here when she should be in the North Blue with her family?"

"Who is she," Luffy asked as he crouched by the woman's head.

"Her name is Ana. She helped me out six years ago when she was pregnant." Robin frowned, "Her husband was an abusive alcoholic if I recall."

"Maybe that’s why she's here?"

"Unlikely, that baby was the single most important thing to her. She wouldn't leave him with his father let alone bring him somewhere dangerous like the new world."

"Unless the father brought the son out here," Nami suggested.

"We won’t know until she wakes up," Zoro pointed out.

While Chopper worked, he noticed all the scars littering the woman's body. He had heard what Robin said about her abusive husband, but most of the scars looked to be the same age. Once he finished treating the wounds, stitching them up and bandaging them, he sat down looking over her. "The wound on her side is pretty bad. I don't want to move her just yet."

"Let’s look around to see if we can find out who these guys are," Nami suggested, "They had to have attacked her for a reason."

A short while later, Ana began to stir before sitting up and looking around. It was darker than it had been when the bandits ambushed her. Their bodies were gone but she noticed the presence of several other people around the fire, two were awake. Not liking the situation, she moved away from the group quickly, only to feel pain in her side immediately after.

“You’re awake,” Zoro said calmly, “I wouldn’t move though.”

While holding her side, Ana continued to move away. “Stay away from me.”

“If you keep moving you’re going to open up the stitched Chopper just put in!”
PotatoPirateSanji   1y ago

Sanji let out a puff of smoke before turning to look at the woman with a kind smile. "Mosshead is right, miss. We haven't hurt you. We don't plan to. Ana right? Lovely name. I know you probably don't want to trust a group of Pirates. But why would we try to help you with your wounds if we wanted to hurt you?" Sanji continued to try and be his charming self before a loud snore was heard from the other side of the fire. He sighed before shaking his head. "Are you hungry? I can cook you up something to eat."
EmbreaAna   353d ago

Ana narrowed her eyes at the blond, hand still gripping her side. "Trust if earned and not something I easily do considering my heritage. Besides, you guys did kind of knock me out." Drawing a sharp breath, she managed to sit back down, leaning against a nearby boulder. "No one does anything for anyone without an ulterior motive. So what's the catch?"

"You're a cynic."

"And you have moss for hair." Pulling her hand away from her abdomen, she turned to Sanji. He looked familiar but she couldn't quite place it. "Forgive me but, you look quite a bit like an older version of a young prince that died in the North Blue several years ago. Heard his father was a bit of a tyrant and still is." She crossed her arms, but smiled, "Something to eat would be great. I'm curious what you could whip up with what little is around."

"Why are you out here," Zoro asked.

"Trying to find my son. He was taken from me two years ago."

"What happened?"

"Husband couldn't pay his debt so when they came, he offered him up."

"Did you try and stop him?"

"Think I'd be here if I didn't?" She sighed and looked at the sleeping bodies surrounding the fire. "Look, I don't exactly know you and you clearly don't know me but I owe you. So, wake wake your friends up and I'll tell you my story."

Zoro narrowed his eyes a bit before poking Usopp with the hilt of one of his swords. "Usopp, wake up."

"Huh," Usopp bolted up, "Oh hey, you're awake." He squinted a bit as he looked at the woman across from him. "Are those fangs?"

"Shut up and wake everyone up. I get the feeling she doesn't plan on sticking around," Zoro whispered.

"You would be correct," Ana said as she gave a small wave to Usopp. "You're the one who shot me."

"Y-yes," Usopp admitted.

"Good aim though I wasn't a small target either."

Zoro cocked his head to the side, "Are you flirting?"

"You tell me."
PotatoPirateSanji   352d ago

Sanji flinched slightly when Ana mentioned the young Prince who died. “A-ha... must be a weird coincidence.” He stood up before rolling back his sleeves. “Ill be right back.”

Sanji headed towards the ship to get some spices and a few of the fish they had caught earlier. As he grew closer to the ship he felt his hand start shaking. [i Great... someone can recognize me from that long ago...]
EmbreaAna   352d ago

Ana noticed Sanji finch at her observation and frowned. She watched him walk away before turning back to the rest of the group as they woke up. There were groans and other sounds coming from them as they moved.

"You aren't going to eat us, are you," Usopp asked, thinking back to her monster form.

"Trust me when I say, humans do not taste good. Believe me, I've tasted my fair share over the years."

"Okay what gives," Nami huffed, "Why are we awake?"

"So I can thank you."

"Couldn't you do that in the morning?"

"No. I don't plan on sticking around."

"But your wounds," Chopper protested.

"Are pretty much healed." Ana removed the bandage on her arm then lifted her shirt to remove the one on her abdomen. "See?"

"That's so cool," Luffy shouted when he saw.

"How is that possible," Nami asked.

"Because she's a unique type of being," Robin replied.

Ana was looking off in the direction that Sanji had gone when she heard Robin's voice. Turning back around she smiled, "Long time no see."

"How is Theo?"

"Don't know. Don't care."

"Why?"

"He sold our son to pay off his debt then watched as they basically killed me while I tried to protect Aenan." Her first tightened as she thought back to that day. "Stupid selfish bastard!"

"Aenan? Wait, he sold your son?"

"Nearly two years ago. Been out here every since trying to find him and take him back."

"Okay so, you're married and your son was sold so you're out here and yet you are magically healed? Plus you have claws and fangs. What are you?" Nami was wide awake now and unsure of the woman in front of her.

"I," Ana looked back at the ship for a moment, "am a Primal."
PotatoPirateSanji   348d ago

Sanji grabbed what he needed from the kitchen and began cooking the meal for Ana. Something wasn’tsitting well with him the more he thought about it. “She doesnt look much older than me... how would she know about that event way out here... well i guess news and what not...”

———

Luffy tilted his head to the side. “A...primal? What’s that? Sounds cool.”
EmbreaAna   348d ago

"We are from an ancient bloodline. There aren't many of us left, a few hundred maybe. Most of us were forced into slavery by the Celestial Dragons." Ana was looking at the fire as she spoke, but it was almost as if she wasn't there. "That's where my mother was and consequently how I came to be, almost seven hundred years ago."

"Seven hundred," Usopp gaped.

"I'm almost 650 years old."

"But you're," he gestured, "young and hot."

"For us, we don't age, at least not until we meet our soulmates. It's rare for us to not have found our soulmates by 350. I'm one of a handful that hasn't found mine."

"Aren't you married," Zoro asked.

"Right because it makes so much sense to spend 600 years alone." She sighed, "Anyway, we're 3 times stronger than the average human and have enhanced healing. We have insane stamina and animal like instincts."

"Like what," Nami asked.

"I can hear your friend cooking and," she paused, "I can smell the tobacco from the cigarette he just lit. And the spices he is using." She glanced over to the ship then back at the fire. "Men are easier to spot than women as their teeth can be seen outside their mouths. Whereas women," she pulled her cheek to the side showing her teeth, "rest inside the month."

"And the mark on your neck," Chopper inquired.

"It's a birthmark of sorts. We are all born with one and once we find oue soulmate, it fades. Usually takes a day or two depending on how dark it is and the location." After she was done explaining what she was, she frowned, a realization setting in. "I'm sorry, I just realized I have no idea who any of you are aside from Robin."
PotatoPirateSanji   317d ago

Luffy listened and his eyes started shining as he laughed maniacally. "Thats so COOL! Hey, join our crew!"

Nami sighed listening to Luffy. "Luffy... I swear..." She turned to look at Ana and smiled. "That is pretty remarkable that you can tell everything Sanji is doing with him being all the way on the ship."

---

Sanji tried to clear his mind and pay no mind to the remark Ana had said. "Its just a misunderstanding..." He sighed softly. "I'm not going back..." Once he finished cooking he put the spices away and headed back outside to where everyone was gathered. Only to see Luffy was trying to force Ana to join his crew. He walked over to Ana and bowed politely. "Your meal, Miss Ana."
EmbreaAna   316d ago

"I appreciate the offer but," Ana shook her head, "I'm only out here to get my son back."

"We'll help you," Luffy said, eyes still shining.

"Luffy!" Nami sighed, "That is our Captain, Luffy. Then we have Zoro, Usopp, Chopper, Franky, and Sanji." She gestured to everyone as she introduced everyone. "I'm Nami and you already know Robin."

"Nice to meet all of you." Ana looked back at Luffy but before she could respond, Sanji had returned. With a smile she took the plate of food. "Thank you." She watched him for a moment, [I That name. It is him. I'm glad he got away. Judge was a real piece of work.]

"So what do you say," Luffy asked.

"If I say yes it'll be temporary. Once I get Aenan back that's it."
PotatopirateSanji   313d ago

Luffy grinned and cheered. “HAHA YAY WE GOT A NEW CREWMATE!”

Nami sighed watching Luffy be a moron then happened to glance at Sanji and noticed something seemed off. She gently placed her hand on his shoulder. “Sanji? Are you alright?”

Sanji snapped out of it and shook his head before nodding. “Yeah.. sorry just lost in thought Nami.”
EmbreaAna   312d ago

"Is he always like this," Ana asked.

"Unfortunately," Usopp replied.

"It's a nice change of pace. Don't think it ever this lively with my last crew."

"You were a pirate," Luffy asked, eyes wide.

"For about twenty..." She stopped and looked around, having picked up on whispers outside the group. Setting the plate of untouched food down, she stood up and walked passed the fire so she could look around. That's when she picked up on the scent, causing her to step forward.

"Ana?" Robin stood up and approached the other woman. "Ana what's wrong?"

"He's here. I don't know where but he's here on the island."

"Who?"

"The man who took Aenan." She hesitated before taking another step, then turned to look at the group. "Sorry." Then without warning she took off running, and mid-jump, changed forms.

"What's going on," Nami asked, noticing that Ana just left. "Where'd she go?"

"The man who took her son is here," Robin replied. It didn't take long before the crew was ready and following the path that Ana had created.

~~~

As Ana got closer, she picked up another scent. [I Aenan?] Then she heard it. The sound of a child yelling 'momma' and she knew who it was. "Aenan!" Shifting back into her human form she kept running. Once she spotted the men, and Aenan, she pushed herself to go faster. "Aenan!!"

"Momma," Aenan yelled when he saw her, "Momma!"

"Shut up brat." One man covered Aenan's mouth and picked him up. "Let's hurry and get to the ship. If she catches us we're dead."

"She doesn't look threatening," another man says as he started rowing.

"Why do you think our numbers are so low? We haven't been able to recover since we faced her last time. All we got was the brat." He held onto Aenan as he struggled, "This kid is part primal and his father is human just like us. The only reason she's still alive after what happened is because she is a Primal."

"So why'd her husband sell us the kid for his debt and not her?"

"Who knows."

~~~

Ana watched as Aenan was loaded onto the ship, once again being taken from her. "Aenan!" She felt her heart tighten before letting out a pained scream and falling to her knees.

~~~

Then, she woke up. She was on the floor this time, blanket barely around her. "Again?" With a sigh, she ran her fingers through her hair and got up. Silently she left the room, not wanting to wake Nami or Robin, and headed to the kitchen for some water. "Why that night? What was so significant about that night? Was it because I almost had him back or was it .." she stopped when she entered the kitchen. "Sanji?"
PotatoPirateSanji   312d ago

Sanji heard the door open and gave a soft smile over his shoulder when he saw Ana’s face looked pale. He quickly stopped what he was doing and got her a glass of water and a bread roll. “Another nightmare?” He asked leading her over to the table. “Just try to eat this to get something in your stomach. Breakfast is almost ready.” His gaze glanced down to where her birthmark had been. Then looked back up at her eyes.
EmbreaAna   312d ago

"Yeah." Ana watched him carefully after taking the water and bread from him. She knew what he was looking at, the location where her mark had been. "It won't come back no matter how many times you look at it." Maybe it was the combination of his smile or the way he was looking at her, but she felt her heart race.

She hadn't even noticed her mark had faded until Usopp said something one morning. Then there were questions on who her soulmate was but she didn't know. From time to time she would hear them whispering about it and who they speculated it would be, but it wasn't brought up directly. "I still don't know who it is." She wondered if it was Sanji, but he was with Nami so it didn't matter if he was. She wouldn't make him choose.
PotatoPirateSanji   311d ago

Sanji’s cheeks flushed a slight red when she noticed he stared. “Ah, sorry. That was rude of me.” He scratched the back of his head. “Well I’m sure we will find out someday.” He headed back over to the stove when the door opened again.

“Good morning Ana, Sanji.” Robin greeted seeing Sanji’s cheeks slightly flushed. [i Hmmm…]
EmbreaAna   311d ago

Ana looked down, "It's okay. Guess it's hard to get used to not seeing it. Almost seven hundred years and now it's gone." When he walked away, she took a seat, eyes on her water. She knew there was a way to find out who it was but part of her was afraid to find out. "There is someone..." Her gaze flickered to Robin as she entered, "Morning."

She turned her attention back to Sanji. "There is someone who can tell us. She's not an easy woman to find." Popping a piece of bread in her mouth she chewed it and swallowed before continuing.

"What are you taking about," Robin asked as she took a seat across from Ana.

"Soulmate."

"I thought you didn't care who it was."

"I don't, not really." Ana continued to watch Sanji, not realizing that at this point it could be considered staring. "I guess, more than anything in afraid to know."

Robin noticed how Ana was watching Sanji. How her eyes would dilate occasionally as she spoke. "Afraid that its him or afraid it isn't," she whispered so Sanji couldn't hear.

"Both," she admitted as she looked down. "It's silly I know. And you know what it's like to be alone nearly your entire life so you understand what it's like to finally," she looked up, "not be alone."
PotatoPirateSanji   311d ago

Sanji could hear the girls whispering and for some reason it made his cheeks feel warmer. He loosened his tie and cleared his throat before trying to focus on what he was cooking. He was so focused he hadnt heard the door open when Nami walked in.

“Good morning.” Nami smiled while looking over at Sanji then saw Robin and Ana at the table. She walked over to join them when she noticed Ana staring at Sanji. She raised an eyebrow and walked over to Sanji wrapping her arms around him from behind causing him to jump and accidentally burn his hand on the stove. “Son of a—!”
EmbreaAna   311d ago

Ana and Robin stopped talking when they heard Sanji shout. She frowned even she saw Nami hugging him only to back away moments later. "Sanji?"

"I'll go get Chopper," Robin said quickly before leaving.

When she realized what had happened, Ana got up and walked to the sink. She grabbed a clean washcloth on her way and ran it under the cold water. Even knowing Nami was there, she still took his hand and gently applied the cold compress. Then she shot a look at Nami, "I get why you did it but next time, wait until he isn't cooking so this doesn't happen."
PotatoPirateSanji   311d ago

Nami flinched when Ana scolded her and clenched her fist. “You get why I hugged my boyfriend? Yeah because he’s my boyfriend and I was saying good morning!”

Everytime the word boyfriend came out it made Sanji’s chest tighten a little bit.

Shortly after Chopper rushed in the room with Robin on his tail. “Thank you Ana. I’ll take it from here.”
EmbreaAna   311d ago

"I'm talking about your petty jealously," Ana replied. When Chopper came in and took over she nodded with a smile. Then she looked back at Nami, "You shouldn't see me as a threat, after all, I am still married." The words 'still married' made her want to vomit because not only did she loathe her husband, he was the reason that she was in this situation. "Excuse me," she muttered before leaving.

~~~~

"I'm not jealous," Nami hissed as Ana left. [I Old hag needs to stay away from my boyfriend.]

"What happened," Chopper asked, looking more at Sanji than Nami. It was clear that whatever it was, was because of Nami but he wanted to know more.
PotatoPirateSanji   311d ago

Sanji’s eyes followed Ana as she left his chest tightened but shook his head then looked at Chopper. “I was just a little too focused. I didn’t hear Nami come up behind me. So I jumped and my hand touched the stove.”

Robin looked at Sanji then at Nami then sighed before looking towards the door. She thought for a moment before heading outside to find Ana.
EmbreaAna   311d ago

"I see." Chopper finished taking care of the burn. "You'll need to take it easy with that hand or you'll risk popping the blister. I applied a salve that should help it heal faster but it's up to your body how long that'll take." He looked at Nami, "You did know better."

~~~~

Ana was pacing the deck, clearly agitated and upset. She didn't know if it was because of Nami or Sanji or the reminder that she was married but her heart wanted someone else. And then there was Aenan and the nightmare. "Damn."
PotatoPirateSanji   311d ago

When Robin finally found Ana she sighed softly seeing the state she was in. She put her hand on Ana’s shoulder and nodded towards the crows nest. “Come on.”

———

When Chopper said Nami knew better she clenched her fist and stormed out of the room towards the tangerine trees.

Sanji sighed seeing Nami storm off and knew if he didn’t follow her that he wouldn’t hear the end of it. “Thanks Chopper. I’ll take it easy.” He looked over the meal he was preparing and gave a small smile when he noticed nothing was wasted with the incident. “I’ll just use this hand less until it’s healed. Breakfast is almost done.”
EmbreaAna   311d ago

Ana looked at Robin before sighing and nodding. She was silent as they headed to the crows nest but once they were there, she let out an unfortunate pained sob. From there she just crumbled and buried her face in her hands.

Robin knelt down and pulled Ana into a hug. She knew, if only a little, what she struggled with as far as being alone. She knew why she was hurting.

"I only agreed because of Aenan. Never in a million years did I think that someone on this crew was my soulmate. And then to stupidly start falling for someone who I know I can't be with."

"Ana..."

"And if he does end up being my soulmate I wouldn't ask him to choose between me or her. I've lived my life alone and I'll continue to do it if I have to."
PotatoPirateSanji   310d ago

Once Sanji finished cooking he asked Chopper to go call everyone to breakfast while he went to defuse the redheaded bomb.

After wiping his hands he’s headed out to the tangerine trees only to see an irritated Nami frustratingly pruning her trees. “Nami—“

“Sure yeah just come after me whenever. Take your sweet time. If it was Ana you would have chased right after her wouldn’t you have?”

“What? Nami, Ana left the room and I stayed in the kitchen.”

“Your eyes followed her Sanji. Do you think I’m blind? Do you think I’m stupid?”

“No, you know I don’t. But Nami you have to admit since Ana’s joined the crew nothing i ever say to you is good enough.”

“Excuse me? Are you saying this is my fault?!”
EmbreaAna   310d ago

Ana and Robin talked for a bit, even after they had been alerted to breakfast being ready. With the high tensions already going on between Nami and Ana, and with how agitated Ana was simply because of the nightmare, Robin offered to bring food to the crows nest. She however, wasn't aware of the argument that was going on between Nami and Sanji, but she noticed they were missing.

~~~

Ana had been taking deep breaths when she picked up the sound of arguing. It wasn't until her name was mentioned, several times, that she moved to the window to see what was going on. She stayed hidden but looked over the edge and saw Nami and Sanji.

~~~

Robin heard part of the argument and stopped, with the tray of food for her and Ana. She wasn't sure if she should say anything as it had nothing to do with her. However when she noticed Ana watching she frowned and turned to the arguing couple. "I understand that you to have having a lovers quarrel but perhaps you should leave Ana out of it. She isn't the problem." She didn't say anything after that and headed back to the crows nest.

"You didn't have to do that," Ana said when she heard Robin.

"You have enough to deal with. Their relationship falling apart is not because of you."

"Isn't it? Nami hates me because she thinks I'm trying to take Sanji from her, but I'm not. I'm not that type of person." She poked at her egg with a fork. "I remember him."

"What?"

"Nothing."
PotatoPirateSanji   310d ago

When Robin spoke up Nami’s face started to turn red. But before she could say anything Robin had already walked away.

“Nami, maybe—“ Before he could finish what he was going to say he felt a sharp sting on his cheek.

“Don’t you [i dare]. Take her side.” Nami spat before storming down to her room.

Sanji sighed putting his uninjured hand on his cheek. “Nothing I say matters…” He ran his fingers through his hair and took out a cigarette.
EmbreaAna   310d ago

Ana stopped eating when she heard the slap and looked towards the window. "That didn't end well." She turned back to her food and kept eating. After a moment she looked at Robin. "You know you don't have to keep me company, right?"

"It's a nice change from the usual chaos of breakfast." Robin took a bite of her food before continuing, "Besides, you need a friend."

~~~~

Zoro had passed by in time to see Nami also Sanji. "What did you do this time Eyebrows?"
PotatoPirateSanji   309d ago

Sanji didn’t even have the energy to fight with Zoro after hearing his remark. “Existed.” He sighed before taking a puff of his cigarette. “What she wants me to do right now is chase after her… but I feel like the more I chase her… the more stained our relationship gets… I try doing everything I can… and it never seems to be enough…”
EmbreaAna   309d ago

Zoro, in an uncharacteristic moment of concern, let out a sigh and crossed good arms. "So don't chase her. You knew what you were getting into when you started dating. It only got worse because she is afraid you're Ana's soulmate and that you'll leave her." He left out that if given the choice between dating Nami or Ana, he personally would have chosen Ana, kid or not.

~~~

Ana couldn't help but listen in on the conversation between Sanji and Zoro. It bothered her to know that this was almost normal for Nami. To feel threatened by someone that could possibly take something that was hers. [I Selfish and greedy,] she thought, making note of these key personality traits.
PotatoPirateSanji   309d ago

Sanji sighed. "Yeah... I know..." He put out his cigarette then gave Zoro a small smile. "Thanks Mosshead." He wasn't sure why but it was nice hearing that it wasn't him that was always in the wrong. He headed into the kitchen to serve himself some breakfast and noticed everyone was almost done. [i I'll wash the dishes after I eat... then maybe I'll check on Nami if she doesn't come around.] He felt his chest tighten at the thought and let out a quiet sigh.

---

Robin could tell Ana was lost in thought or listening. "What's on your mind?"
EmbreaAna   309d ago

Ana blinked when she heard Robin's voice and shook her head. "Just making note of a few things. I heard more than I wanted to of Sanji and Nani's argument. Even what Zoro had said." She leaned back and looked up at the ceiling. "It's not my place, and I know she is your friend, but Nami is toxic when it comes to being in a relationship. She's incredibly selfish and her greed and jealously is destructive." She let out a sigh, "Based on what I remember of Sanji when he was a child, and how his mother talked about him, he deserves so much and she isn't the one to give it to him."
PotatoPirateSanji   309d ago

Robin blinked and raised her eyebrow. "Sanji's mother? You knew him when he was young?" She asked curiously as she finished the last few bites of her food. "And as for Nami. She's a good person... But unfortunately like some people she let's her feelings blind her. I'm not trying to defend her. We all knew it was a bad idea for them to start dating. With how possessive Nami is of her belongings, and how Sanji flirts with women. Two very different personalities. In a fairytale it would work. But we've seen it play out. Their relationship has been hanging on by a thread since it's started."
EmbreaAna   309d ago

"I didn't know him exactly," Ana admitted, "We never met. But I was around and I saw him and how his family treated him. After his mother died, his sister was the only one to show him don't form of kindness. He was gentle even then. Much like his mother." She continued to look up at the ceiling, then let out a sigh. "Like I said, it's not my place to dictate their relationship."

After the two had finished eating and discussing how Ana knew Sanji, they began catching up on the last few years. Robin told of how she joined the Straw Hats and what happened at Enies Lobby. She told of their adventures and if Skypiea. It didn't take long for Ana to notice just how much Robin loved being with the crew and how she was happy to have friends as loyal.

For Ana, she went over her favorite memories of Aenan after he was born. Of all his firsts and the way he chewed the ear off his favorite bear. She talked about how her marriage began falling apart and the day she caught Theo trying to kill Aenan. How it resulted in him not only losing an arm, but an eye as well. And she told her of the day she woke up after Aenan was taken and the anguish she felt at having failed to protect him.

Before they knew it, lunch had come and gone and it was nearing dinner time. "I should take these to the kitchen before Sanji starts a manhunt for the missing dishes."

"Are you sure you don't want me to do it?"

Ana shook her head, "If I run into Nami I run into Nami. She'll have to get over it. Might even see if he needs help considering his hand is out of commission for a bit." She gathered up the dishes from breakfast and made her way out of the crows nest and into the kitchen. "Need any help?"
PotatoPirateSanji   309d ago

Sanji had cleaned up after breakfast then went and found Nami only to have the door slammed in his face. So he went and prepared lunch. But once lunch was served he noticed all three girls were missing. Had it just been Nami and Ana he would have been worried but Zoro had said he saw Robin and Ana in the crows nest.

After lunch was done it took Sanji a bit longer to clean up because his hand started to hurt.

He had just grabbed what he needed to start on the dinner he was going to make that night when he heard a voice come from the door. “Oh, Ana… Im sorry about… everything.” He scratched the back of his head. Then saw her dishes. He walked over to take them from her but again got lost in her eyes. [i Dammit Sanji get ahold of yourself.] “Actually help would be nice… i think i over used my hand…”
EmbreaAna   309d ago

"You have nothing to apologize for." Ana gave him a smile then looked down at his hand, smile fading. She could still smell the small bit of burnt flesh, though it wasn't severe. And though she knew he was reaching for the dishes in her hands, she stepped by him and placed them in the sink herself. "Chopper did say to take it easy, didn't he? I'll worry about cleaning these dishes and the bulk of dinner."

Her gaze shifted to the ingredients he had gotten out. [I That's pretty close to,] her smile returned and she soon started looking for spices. "I on the other hand, am going to apologize because whatever you were planning on making, we aren't doing that. Sorry."
PotatoPirateSanji   309d ago

“Ana, you don’t have to do the bulk of it.” Sanji frowned. But when she said they weren’t making what he planned it caught his interest. “Oh? May i ask what we’re making then, chef?” Sanji smirked before walking over to the sink and started washing her dishes before she could object.
EmbreaAna   309d ago

Ana couldn't help but laugh at the objection to her taking over. The situation was similar in him starting in the dishes before she had a chance. "A recipe from home. My nana used to make it for me all the time. It does have but of a kick to it though." She gathered up a few more ingredients then looked at the spice shelf. "If you don't mind a bit of spice," she reached for the ghost pepper flakes but they were just sightly out of reach. "Could you?"
PotatoPirateSanji   309d ago

Sanji’s eyes glimmered for a moment in excitement of a new recipe to add to his Arsenal. “I’m always up to try something new. And everyone here will eat anything so spice never hurts. Luffy will say it’s spicy but he’ll still eat it because he’s Luffy.” When she couldn’t reach the spice shelf he chuckled softly. “Sorry not used to having helpers in the kitchen.” He grabbed the flakes for her then looked back up at the spices. “Need any other spices?”
EmbreaAna   309d ago

"I might make a less spicy version for Chopper though. We don't need the spice messing with his senses." Ana knew what it was like for something too hot or spicy to affect animal taste buds and with how small Chopper was, it would likely make him ill. After Sanji grabbed the flakes for her she scanned the spice rack some more. "Nutmeg, cinnamon, chili flakes and," she clicked her tongue, "honey." She glanced at him, "For sweetness."
PotatoPirateSanji   309d ago

Sanji grabbed the spices as she asked for them but when she said honey he turned to look at her and saw the expression on her face as well as the tone in her voice. “Ah-ahem. Well the honey is over here.” He loosened his tie as he felt his face get warm. “W-Well you’re the boss. Im just your sub chef.” His face turned red before he corrected himself. “Sou-Sous chef!”
EmbreaAna   309d ago

Ana raised at brow at Sanji's reaction and for some reason it made her heart race. [I Adorable,] she thought as she went and grabbed the honey. "Sub chef?" Her mouth twitched into a small smile as he continued to stumble over his words. "Sanji," she began as calmly as possible, "take a deep breath. I need you..." She didn't get a chance to finish before she was scrambling to catch the jar of honey that she carelessly put at the edge of the counter where it could fall. "Damn."

She stepped away from Sanji and towards the fridge to gather a few more ingredients. After a moment she poked her head up and looked at him from the fridge. She noticed his tie was looser, just like this morning. [I Stop it Ana. He's in relationship and you're married.] Ducking behind the door once more she pretended to look around the fridge to compose herself. "Do we have red wine vinegar?"

Closing the fridge she put the remainder of the cold ingredients on the counter. Then she pulled her hair back into a ponytail and washed her hands. "The great thing is, this is relatively simple to make it just has a lot of ingredients. If you can manage, can you dice the potatoes and onions? I'll work on mixing the dry ingredients."
PotatoPirateSanji   309d ago

When Ana said she needed him, it only made Sanji's cheeks turn more red. Luckily, or unluckily. He wasn't sure which, she had to step away when she almost dropped the honey. He felt his heart beat quicken before Ana went to gather things from the fridge. He tried his best to calm down and clear his mind. [i Sanji get ahold of yourself! Why are you acting like an idiot?] When Ana spoke once more he nodded. "Yeah, it's in the other cabinet." He walked over to the second cabinet and grabbed it for her before putting it on the counter. He watched as she tied back her hair and smiled softly at the image. [i Her husband was a lucky man... she deserved better...] When she asked him to dice the potatoes and onions he nodded. "Sure thing." He grabbed his knife and put the potatoes and onions on the cutting before quickly beginning to dice them.
EmbreaAna   309d ago

Ana turned the stove on to let the pans heat and the water boil. Then she grabbed a bowl and began adding in the dry ingredients, mixing it from time to time. She hummed to herself as she did this. Once she was done she mixed a bit of butter with the spices. Then she went over to the stove and began cooking the meat.

She glanced at Sanji, "Who taught you how to cook? Not many can cut that quickly, especially not with an injured hand?"
PotatoPirate     308d ago

Sanji smiled softly while he twirled the knife. "I was self taught. But from a young age I trained under Zeff as well. He was a grumpy old geezer but he knew his stuff. I learned a lot from him..." He paused for a moment before sighing. "I wonder how they're all doing... it'd be nice to see them again."
EmbreaAna   308d ago

Ana stopped what she was doing when he mentioned Zeff. "Zeff? As in Red-Leg Zeff?" She thought back to the last time she had seen him. It had been almost thirty years since she'd last encountered him, and it wasn't on good terms. "He tried to kill me and failed miserably," she laughed, "He didn't like that I made fun of his moustache. Never thought he'd have a kid though. Didn't seem the type."
PotatoPirateSanji   308d ago

Sanji couldn't help but laugh when Ana said that Zeff tried to kill her because she made fun of his mustache. "Yeah sounds like the old geezer." When she said she didn't picture him having kids Sanji's smile saddened. "Yeah. We aren't related by blood but I consider him to be more family than my actual family. He saved my life. I made a promise to him to fulfill our dream. And I won't stop until I complete that promise."

———

Nami hadn’t seen Sanji since she slammed the door in his face. She was starting to feel guilty so she decided she’d go offer to help him with dinner since he was injured and all.

———

Sanji walked over to the sink and put the knife in before bringing the diced vegetables to Ana’s side. When he looked down he saw the light reflect off her eyes and felt his heart skip a beat. “Is heterochromia common in primals or is that a bonus that comes with you?” Sanji teased chuckling softly.
EmbreaAna   308d ago

[I No, of course you aren't related to him. I've met your father, and I'm glad that Zeff raised you and not Judge.] Ana gave him a small smile in response to his dream. After her fight with Zeff, they had a heart to heart, so she knew what it was. "Do you think you'll fulfill that dream?"

When he asked about her eyes, she looked back at the pan. "It's not actually. Just like not finding a soulmate by 300, it's incredibly rare. But I inherited it from my father who probably never knew about my existence to begin with." She hadn't meant to go dark so she perked herself up immediately after and looked at Sanji. "So I guess it is a bonus," she giggled and winked.
PotatoPirateSanji   308d ago

Sanji listened to her and frowned for a moment at her response. [i I wish i knew more about her…] But when she giggled his heart skipped a beat once more before he chuckled. “Yeah, I’ll find the all blue… i know i will.”

———

Nami heard giggling coming from the kitchen and her eye twitched when she peeked through the window she saw Sanji smiling talking to Ana. “He never looks at me like that.” She clenched her fists before pushing open the door and stomping inside. “Well i was going to ask if you wanted any help with dinner but it seems you’ve already got your hands full.”
EmbreaAna   308d ago

"I believe you will." Ana went to grab the vegetables he had just cut up when she heard the door open. The moment she heard Nani's voice, she let out a deep sigh. Even though she didn't want to make Sanji's situation with Nami worse, she'd had enough. "Actually, I'm the one making dinner tonight. I thought it would be nice to give him the night off considering you're the reason his hand was burned. Which by the way, I can still smell the burning flesh hours later, so thanks for that. But since it's his kitchen, and I can't reach some things, he stayed around to help even though he had the option to go find you instead." She turned back to the food to stir it and flip the meat. "I've put up with your catty jealously for a month and it's getting old. I don't deserve it and neither does he. This man has done nothing but love you and your behavior is basically throwing it back in his face. So if you aren't going to treat him the way he deserves, and trust me, he deserves a lot, then end it because at this point you're nothing but toxic."
PotatoPirateSanji   308d ago

When Ana spoke Nami’s face turned red and she stomped over towards her. “Don’t you dare talk down to me like this!” She raised her hand and Sanji saw what was about to happen.

Without thinking his body moved on its own stepping between Ana and Nami and grabbing Nami’s wrist before she did something she was going to regret. “Nami. Enough.” Sanji’s tone was cold and his smile had faded. “I’ll let you slap me. Scream at me. I put up with it because I’m trying so hard to make this work. But I’m not going to let you start attacking others because our relationship is falling apart. Leave the kitchen. I won’t tolerate fighting in the kitchen.” His stare was cold.

Nami got chills from looking at him. He’d never looked at her like that before. She pulled her wrist from his grasp and stormed out of the room and down below deck.

Sanji sighed softly before leaning against the counter and ran his fingers through his hair. “I’m sorry you got dragged into this mess Ana…”

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