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Sanji heard the door open and looked to see Tallis, Quinn and Thea standing there awkwardly. When they all left after dropping off the basket of fruit Sanji gritted his teeth before slamming his fists down on the table. "Dammit!" He then rested his head on his arm before points to the door. "Get out."
"Sanji, you know I'm just worried about y--..."
"Get. Out. Now." The tone he was using wasn't one she was used to and it honestly set chills down her spine.
"Fine. But if you want to be an adult and talk about this you'll know where to find me."
Adam nodded. "Will do."
Thea, Quinn and Tallis had entered the kitchen at the end of what Sanji had said. This caused the trio to stand there awkwardly, as if they had walked in on something they shouldn't. "We uh," Tallis swallowed hard, "thought you might need these. Ivan is estimating another few days before we reach another island. So I wanted to make sure you guys had enough fruits and vegetables to get you through. If you need more please let me know."
Thea could tell by the way that Nami side eyed her, that the conversation they had walked in on, was about her. She let out a deep sigh before setting down the basket of food. "Sorry we interrupted." Giving a forced half smile, she turned and walked out of the room quickly.
Quinn watched how quickly Thea left and frowned. He didn't know what was going on between the two, and he wasn't sure he wanted to. But he knew Thea. He also knew that Sanji looked quite similar to the boy the described whenever she was drunk and talked about her childhood. "Don't hurt her," he said simply before leaving as well.
"Oh well," Tallis shifted, "this is awkward. I'll just, I'll be going now." She ran from the room hoping to avoid further tension.
"Oh," Luffy's excitement died down as he looked towards the door that led below deck. "When she wakes up tell her to come find me."
Sanji looked at Nami with almost a disgusted glance before looking back at the table. "Nami... I care about her... I'd appreciate it if you treat her as a way to get beli. Whatever she's thinking I'm hoping eventually I'll find out on my own. I owe her that much."
Emezra was out like a light. She wasn't even able to hear Caramelle's yelling for breakfast that morning she was so drained.
Luffy had nodded before rushing out of the library heading over to the Ashen's Ship. "Hey, have you guys seen Emzy??"
Adam had just left Emezra and Tallis' room and upon hearing the strawhat captain he sighed softly. "She's sleeping... which we would appreciate if you didn't wake her... she hasn't been sleeping well lately."
"Its worth a shot," Robin pointed out.
"From what I heard from Zoro it sounds like she didn't hold back either." Nami picked up her pen and looked at the list, then back at Sanji. "Let me give you a little advice on women. Our hearts and brains don't typically like to work together, especially when it comes to strong emotions and what we want. In Thea's case, from what I've observed and what I've been told, she doesn't know what she wants."
She began tapping her pen on the table, still watching Sanji. "Considering your history and what happened, its likely she's trying to set boundaries so she doesn't get hurt again. Its a defense mechanism." She stopped tapping and leaned back in her chair. "I wont go after her again but if you'd like I can try and find out whats going on in that pretty little head of hers. For a small fee."
Thea looked at the baskets full of fruits and vegetables. They were slightly over filled which meant she would have to walk shower to avoid dropping anything. She placed her hat on her head then bent down to pick up one of the baskets. "Are you guys ready to go?"
"Mhm," Tallis nodded with a smile, "I'm are the Straw Hats will be ecstatic!"
"You're too kind sometimes," Quinn pointed out.
"I'd rather them have what they need to survive then not have it." Tallis backed out of the kitchen and held the door for the other two. "Careful going over. I noticed the bridge was raised oddly in one spot earlier. Someone could trip."
"I'll look it over with Franky and see if we can find out which ship caused it." Thea carfully stepped over the raised area and continued on her way to the Sunny. It seemed the Straw Hats were busy with morning chores so it was oddly quiet aboard the ship. [I First day out in days and the silence is deafening.]
Adam decided he was going to check on Emerza as it was not after breakfast and she still hadn't surfaced. According to Tallis, she was still asleep when she got up to go help Caramelle. Knocking on the door as a warning, he opened it to see Emzy still asleep. [I At least she is getting some sleep. Think I'm let her also a little more.]
Sanji sighed with a light shrug. “To be honest... I don’t know... I want to be able to be friends... but clearly my heart wants much more...” He set the dishes down on the drying rack before taking a seat at the table. “I just... I can’t believe I didn’t hold back... it’s like I couldn’t control my body... it just moved on its own...”
Luffy thought for a moment while he sat on the table and swung his legs. “Do you think it’ll help her?”
Robin saw the look of concern on Luffy's face and sighed. "You could always try talking to her about it. I know its become easier for you but it'll likely still hurt." She gestured to the articles on the table. "Ace isn't in the articles Luffy. She needs to understand that. He's in here," she pointed to his heart and his head, "and in here. You found it. Perhaps its time you help her find it as well."
"Something is on your mind," Nami said when she heard Sanji's statement. She hadn't yet left the kitchen as she wanted to go over the food supply list with him. She also knew that his mood was directly related to Thea. "Do you think you'll be able to handle just being friends?"
It took some time for Thea to get through breakfast as Ivan kept poking at her about her relationship with Sanji. If it weren't for her respect for Tallis and Caramelle and their kitchen, she would have laid waste to it by teaching the navigator a lesson. "I expected that kind of teasing from Jace."
"I don't joke about women being promiscuous," Jace defended when he heard Thea's comment. "Besides, you haven't been laid in a while and its something you desperately needed."
"How did you," Thea's brow twitched.
"Oh, I didn't, You just told me though." Jace laughed and ran out of the room before Thea could attack him.
"Now the whole ship is going to know because man whore doesn't know how to keep his mouth shut!"
Everyone shook their heads when Nami finished with instructions.
Nami nodded. "Alright, let's get to work then."
Sanji headed right for the kitchen to see if anything was out of place also to clear his mind. He felt guilty about what happened with Thea but he didn't regret it. He knew there was something deeper there. Deeper than just being friends. Not that that would help anything if she had no desire to go further than just friends. He sighed softly as he rewashed a few of the dishes. "I should be happy that she at least wants to be friends again... but why do I feel so down..." He frustratedly ruffled his hair before groaning. "Not even breakfast time yet and I need a cigarette..."
Robin had headed to the library to reorganize but hadn't realized Luffy followed her until he spoke.
"Emzy's been looking up stuff about Ace..."
Robin jumped slightly but sighed when she realized it was Luffy. "Yes, she has... She falls asleep here rereading articles."
Luffy frowned. "I... I'm worried about her Robin..."
Robin turned around when she heard the tone in his voice. "Captain?"
"I know she's afraid to ask me... b-because Ace is dead because of me... She doesn't want to force me to talk about it because it's hard... But... she-she... she's going to drive herself crazy if she keeps doing this... She isn't talking to anyone about it either that I know of..."
Zoro raised a brow at what Sanji had said about Thea. He could tell the cook was bothered. "You don't give her enough credit Eyebrows. Even in her weakened state are was willing to fight with me so I'd leave you alone."
"Is that why you called her a gremlin," Chopper asked as he applied bandages.
"Yeah," he nodded, "Even Nami isn't dumb enough to face me head on." He crossed his arms and leaned on the doorframe.
"Zoro is right." Chopper wasn't one to agree with the sword lightly, but in this case he did. "Nami told us your history with Thea. On top of that both of you were under emotional duress after your reunion with caused your illnesses. She may need time to work things out on her own."
Evin was careful as she washed Thea's hair. When she went to help wash her body however, she noticed the other woman flinch when she touched her upper arm. [I That's not a hickey.] She looked closer at it and noticed that they resembled fingers. "Thea," she moved so she was facing the other woman, "Did he hurt you?"
"No! He would never," Thea defended.
"Then why is his handprint bruised into your arm."
"Maybe we got a little rough," she shrugged, "I don't know."
"I'm going to go talk to him." Evin helped Thea out of the bath and wrapped her in a towel. "I'll see if Tallis can take you back to our room."
"Evin," Thea grabbed hold of her friend's arm, "Just let it go. It happened. It's done. You can't change the past." When she saw her friends sigh in defeat, she smiled. "Let's go play a game of cards."
"Aren't you tired?"
"No, but this will help. It always takes forever so I'll get bored and want to sleep eventually."
The following morning, Thea woke up feeling well rested and no longer ill. She pushed the thoughts if yesterday as far from her mind as possible when she got dressed. However it seemed her upper body was littered with various markings from when she was with Sanji. [I That idiot.] Pulling in a white t-shirt she sighed, "This still have to do."
Leaving the room she headed towards the kitchen where she was greeted by the rest of the crew. "Morning! So, Ivan, when is the next island? I need some some adventure."
"You mean other than snuggling with the Straw Hats cook," Ivan asked.
"Don't push your luck with my good mood. I can still kick your ass."
Ivan scowled at the threat, "Two more days."
"I made a basket of fruits and vegetables for the Straw Hats. They've been going through a lot so this will help them out. Will you go with Quinn and Eve to drop them off after breakfast?" Tallis smiled innocently at her request, hoping that Thea would agree.
"No problem." Thea sat down and picked up a slice of bacon, "Is the ship still doing okay? Anything needed fixed? I'd like to keep busy if possible."
"So something is going on between you and that cook," Ivan teased.
"So there are a few repairs that need done around the ship. Something hit us last night and there is some damage to the hull." Nami was going over her list of things for the crew to do that day. "The library needs reorganized. Probably put the articles of Ace on a file so they're all together. Emerza seems to be interested in though. This will make it easier for her." She scanned the page and continued. "We will also need to adjust the menu since we are low on fruits and vegetables. Any questions?"
Sanji stayed silent as he tried to process everything that had just happened. He winced a few times when Chopper washed the scratches on his back. The one thing to snap him out of his trance was hearing Zoro's voice. "Wouldn't you like to know mosshead..." He muttered.
Chopper sighed softly and was about to ask Zoro to leave when Sanji spoke again.
"I slept with her... like... [i slept] slept with her..." He sighed softly. "I wasn't even thinking... I just sort of let my body take control and not my mind... I feel like she didn't want it and I feel like she regrets it since she just wants to be friends and now I don't know what to do..."
Thea heard the tone in Sanji's voice and it caused her to tense for some reason. Would this situation hurt them further? The thought that she was the one hurting him, made her want to cry. Not wanting to face him yet, she focused on getting dressed. Once she was funny clothed again she sat beside him in the bed once more.
"Don't apologize." She leaned in and kissed his cheek, "We'll figure this out." Are didn't give him a chance to respond before she was up again and walking out the door. [I Dammit Thea! You just had to let your guard down around him. Look at the mess you've made.]
"Oh Thea you're awake," Usopp exclaimed when he saw the peach haired woman. "Let me go get Chopper."
"I'm actually going to head back to my ship. Adam or Emzy can look me over." The thought of staying on the Sunny longer squeezed her heart and she didn't want to risk crying in front of them. Quickly making her way back to the Ashen ship, she headed straight for her room. "Evin," she said as she tried not to cry, "I messed up."
Usopp was almost to the kitchen when Thea left. Before he could open the door, Chopper came out. "Oh Chopper, I just saw Thea. She went back to her ship. Didn't look good though."
"That means Sanji is awake." Chopper looked at the Ashen ship in concern then headed below deck to sick bay. "Sanji," he knocked then opened the door, seeing the cook on the bed. He chose to overlook the fact that he was naked, more concerned about the distressed look on his face. "Did something happen?"
A short while later Evin was helping Thea into the bath. She didn't feel comfortable leaving her alone considering how ill she had been. That and with Emzy currently being monitored for illness as well, the job was left to her. She wasn't going to let Adam help Thea bathe either, even if he was a nurse.
When she saw the marks on Thea's body she raised a brow. "Thea, what are these?"
"I slept with him," Thea admitted.
"We know you slept with him. You cuddled up to him after kicking us out of the room."
"No Evin," Thea turned to her friend, "I [I slept] with him. After we woke up we talked and then he hugged me and I knew he was upset. So I kissed the corner of his mouth and got some dumb reason I didn't pull away. Then he kissed me. All thought just disappeared and we gave in to our desires."
"Oh T," Evin sighed, "Was it at least good?"
"Yes and I don't regret it but we're trying to fix our friendship. Having sex is only going to complicate it."
"Do you want to talk about it," Chopper asked as he cleaned up the scratches on Sanji's back from his escapade with Thea. "Not about [I that] but about how you're feeling? You'll get sick again if you keep it bottled up. I won't say anything. Doctor patient confidentiality." He didn't want to say anything about how the scratches on Sanji's back were a little deep. [I It's like she had claws.]
"What enemy did you face to get scratches like that," Zoro asked from the doorway. He heard that Sanji was awake and though they were at odds most times, he wanted to see how he was doing. "Lose a fight with a cat? Or was it a gremlin?"
For some reason the word friends pulled on his heart. "R-Right... friends..." He scratched the back of his head nervously. [i I really fucked this up...] He saw the look on Thea's face and sighed softly. "Sorry..."
After Adam left the room to give Emezra some time to think she sighed softly. [i I'm sorry Adam... I can't just let him go... Not when there's a possible way to bring him back...]
"I'm as much to blame for this as you are." Thea took a few shaky breaths, trying to figure out what to do. She lifted her head and looked at Sanji, seeing the various marks of their, escapade, on his upper body. "I suppose if anyone it was enjoyable," she chuckled. Then with a sigh she straightened up, "But we can't do this again. Sanji, it can't happen again. We're trying to be friends."
Sanji was jolted awake with surprise. He saw Thea hugging her knees and her head was resting on top of them. He yawned slightly and when he stretched he finally noticed that he was buck naked and so was she. He looked at Thea and frowned. "Thie? What happened?" When it finally clicked and after she spoke his face turned slightly red as he pulled the blanket back over his lower half. He looked down angry at himself for not holding back. "Thea... I..." He scratched the back of his head unsure of what to say. He was sure she was probably regretting the whole thing.
It had been several hours since Chopper had checked on Thea and Sanji. He decided to let them have more time to discuss whatever had been bothering then. Now that it was after dinner, he figured now was the time to check on them. Upon walking into sick bay he saw the two wrapped up to the neck in the blanket, sound asleep. Carefully he reached over and checked their temperatures, noting they had gone down significantly.
[I Good, they are going better.] Since Thea had been having trouble with her breathing he wanted to check that as well. However considering the position the two were in, it was difficult to distinguish who's breathing was who's. [I I'll check before bed.] Grabbing the dishes from lunch, he left the room and returned to the kitchen.
"How are they," Robin asked from the sink as she worked in dishes.
"Better. Thea should be able to return to her ship in the morning." Chopper placed the tray of dishes in the counter by the sink. Then he hopped up on a stool by the sink to help with drying.
Not long after Chopper left, Thea started to stir. She was surprised to feel someone else's chest pressed against hers with no fabric between. When she finally began to wake up and become alert, it dawned on her what happened. During lunch, after Sanji hugged her, carnal desire took over them both. [I Oh gods! We didn't!] She wiggled free of his arms and lifted the blanket. [I We did!]
In her state of panic she shook Sanji awake. [I This is bad! This is very bad!] Pulling her knees to her chest she rested her head on them. "We can't fix things if the moment we show raw emotion we went up like this."
Emezra felt tears coming to her eyes before soon after feeling them roll down her cheeks. "I... It's so hard... I was hoping I could see him on the sea... tell him how proud I am of him... How happy I am that he was following his dreams..." She put her head in her hands and the tears fell harder. "I'll never get to tell him any of that... I'll never get to even hug him again."
Adam sighed softly feeling a little awkward. He was never good at comfort but he sat beside her on the bed and patted her head. "I know... But think about him... Would he want you overworking yourself over this so much that it could deteriorate your health or even kill you?"
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