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Epilogue: Your Pain is My Pain

Chapter Text

Waters Near Sabaody Archipelago


T-Minus 2 days

Sanji grimaced his way through cooking. He had good and bad days. Hell everyone was entitled to good and bad days. But Zoro was beginning to get on his nerves. The stupid sack of swords kept needlessly endangering himself. Even other crew members had hounded him and Luffy for excessive and brute force. 


“Don’t you care about your soulmate,” Usopp had whined after a particularly rough battle. They’d refrained from telling the rest of the crew. For their own peace of mind, really. It was still new and fragile and the fewer interruptions the better. 


The idiots had just grinned from ear to ear. No matter that Sanji’s body was aching and on fire. He’d been the one to personally drag their asses to Chopper because the sooner Zoro got better the sooner Sanji would feel better. 


Sanji felt a phantom flash of pain lace its way up his side and covered his shock with a cough. He glared at Zoro from where his spot peeling potatoes. Zoro just glared back. 


Sanji let the knife come down harder than anticipated, nicking his finger in the process but delighting in Zoro’s flicker of concern for his soulmate. Reluctantly, Sanji turned to clean and cover his finger. It was an amateur mistake, and hadn’t happened to him in years, but he’d had his fair share starting out. Not even seconds later he was back to glaring at Sanji. Not on speaking terms apparently. 


“You know Camie-Chwan-”


“Shut up,”


“Oi, I’m allowed to-”




“But-” Sanji whined. 


Zoro kicked the table. Hard. Sanji grit his teeth. Asshole. 


“Caimie-chwan is beautiful,”


“Okay, but-” 


“And we can get over working with Hatchan, Luffy is dead set on it.”


“Ok, Duval.” Zoro quipped. 


Sanji raised the knife menacingly. 


“You wouldn’t,” Zoro challenged. 


“Try me Moss-head”


Zoro would raise to that challenge. 


He stood walking across the kitchen to meet Sanji half way. 


His smirk widened as he looked over the blonde.  


Get ready to back it up cook. 


Sabaody Archipelago

T-Minus 1 day


“Who would have thought we’d meet such influential people here.”


“Mmn, honestly I’m more surprised you didn’t go for Shakky,” 


Sanji scoffed. 


“Excuse you, but Shakky-san is beautiful. She's also mildly terrifying. She knew Zoro. But,” Sanji said regaining his earlier vigor. Saving face really, but Zoro wouldn’t say anything, yet.


“I have refined tastes now.”


“Refined, eh?” Zoro teased. 


“Oh, shove off,” 


Zoro just grinned. 


He waited for Sanji to catch up.


“Seriously? What are you twelve?” He cackled.


Sabaody Archipelago

T-Minus 3 hours


This was bad. Everything was going to hell. Not only had they managed to lose Zoro, but they had to save Camie. Sanji was attempting to call in favors from Duval. The man now worshiping him. 


Sanji groaned this was bad. How had their luck turned so quickly> 


The crew was spread thin. They pleasant exploring they’d originally come to the Archipelago for, left them with a bitter realization. Sabaody was apparently known for slaves and slave trading. They’d even been privy to Celestial Dragons and their slave entourage. There were many slave shops, and auction houses dispersed throughout the archipelago. The happiness of the island only masked a dark history of pain and suffering. 


They needed to regroup. They had money. They would gladly put it towards saving Camie. No matter what...


Camie could be in any number of shops. 


Divide and conquer as they say. And divide they did. 


The crew was attempting to regroup to make it to the Auction house in time. Assuming they found the right one. Surly as morbid as it was they’d have no trouble finding Camie. She would be an excotic high bid item. 


The thought sat like poison in his brain. Sanji crushed the cigarette he’d been smoking. Was it his third, his fifth, his tenth, he didn’t even know anymore. 


Chopper had vaguely told him he smelt like cancer but that's a problem for another time. 


They heeded Hatchan and Pappug’s warnings as they began their search.


Sabaody Archipelago

T-Minus 10 minutes


They were thoroughly fucked.


Zoro knew. He could feel it. Sure they were all willing to do exactly what Luffy did, hell if Luffy didn’t they would. But there was a line that was crossed. 


He didn’t expect to be running towards their ship as the Buster Call was activated.  


He caught Sanji’s eye the other tense with concern. This was really bad.


Sabaody Archipelago

T-Minus Too Late


The creature came out of nowhere. He was less of a guy and more of a machine, hence the description of creature.


He was speaking in some sort of code. His voice eerily deep and calm despite the chaos erupted across the island.  He was vaguely familiar. They’d seen this freak back in Thriller Bark. He’d swiped his hand through the air and Zoro had taken on the pain Luffy was harboring. It had left Sanji unconscious for a couple hours, after Zoro knocked him out that was, and Zoro out for days afterwards. 


“We gotta get out of here, quick!”


Usopp’s voice carried out across the space. His hand reaching towards Zoro. The Swordsman panting and still recovering. He was trying to shield them. His hand resting on his swords. 


Kuma swung his hand, and Zoro vanished with a popping sound in his wake. 


Usopp was frozen in place. Eyes wide in alarm. 


Sanji went into a fury. He didn’t feel any pain. He didn’t feel anything. He was so numb he couldn’t feel anything but the white hot rage boiling in his gut. 


How dare he. 


Sanji forced himself up. 


“Zoro-san” Brook said voice quivering. 


Everyone called after him, confusion permeating fear, well more like solidifying it. 


“I’ve seen that power before!” Nami started. Her eyes were terribly wide, “ A girl on Thriller Bark was erased like that… and never came back…” 


Franky had the right idea. They did need to go. Regroup and figure out what happened. How to get Zoro back. 


Sanji could feel himself crumbling. 


Sanji had taken a really rough hit, both physically and to his psyche.  


He couldn’t move. His body… he was going into shock. 


Brook shielded them from Kuma. 


“I will protect you even if it costs me my life.” 


Sanji was trying to snap out of it. He needed to for all their sakes they were losing their nakama. 


Brook’s attempt at an ill-timed “skull-joke” didn’t make it any easier. 


They couldn’t lose anyone else. 


Usopp's cries of despair were too much to handle. 


Sanji tried his best to avenge them. But Kuma threw him like he weighed nothing. He was powerless to help as Usopp fought for all he was worth. How he fought through the fear. 


The mocking of popping bubbles punctuating the loss of a crew member was unappreciated. 


Screams of anguish echoing throughout the archipelago. 


Sanji was seething. He looked into the eyes of the beast and his last conscious thought was of Zoro.

Chapter Text

Kamabakka Kingdom: Sanji


Sanji hadn’t known true hell until he landed himself on Momoiro Island, home of Kamabakka Kingdom. Now it wasn’t that everything on the Island was super effeminate. It was who on the island was super effeminate. 


Now, when Sanji had initially gone chasing skirts here it was entirely due to the persisting brain fog lingering after Kuma. It wasn’t his fault. It really wasn’t. Sure he had Zoro now but certainly while they’re separated Zoro would want him to enjoy himself. 


Sanji let himself picture Zoro’s laugh and smile, the gestures beginning to diminish the longer they stayed on with the crew. That’s not right. Zoro should be happy, this… 


He took a deep breath.This isn’t right. He couldn’t think about that right now. He was following the lovely lady to ask for a ship to get back to the crew. They promised to meet up again. He needed to find a way back to his crew and this lovely lady was going to help him. 


He knew he wasn’t always the straightest arrow in the quiver, but he had a reputation to uphold. He was Sanji “The Ladies Man” not, Sanji the “Okama”.


When he chased Tibany, he will swear to you on Zoro’s life, because what idiot bets their own life...wait-


Sanji would swear to you on Usopp’s life, better, sorry Usopp, but you gotta take one for the team, that he was chasing a gorgeous young woman with flowing blonde hair and a delightful smile. He wasn’t expecting a cross dressing, “Heart of a Maiden”, middle aged man in drag to try to convert him into one of them. 


He’d run and run and run, through the faint phantom pain he’d felt from who he now knew was Zoro. But that didn’t save him from the worry that clouded his judgement, he felt himself slipping, his focus flickering out. 


The Okama had him now. 


Sanji was horrified. 


The dress, the make up, the heels


Oh no. 


If the others were here he’d never live it down. He’d never hear the end of it. 


They’ll never know. He’ll never tell them. Yep. That's the best solution. 

Emporio Ivankov had arrived at the Island, snapping Sanji out of his stupor. After being humiliated by Ivankov, Sanji learned that Ivankov brought news of the Paramount War, of the heartache his Captain was likely feeling. 


Sanji’s insides turned to ash. His Captain was suffering, he was suffering and had lost his brother. While Sanji had a much different relationship with his brothers, it didn’t mean he couldn't see how much Ace meant to Luffy. 


He needed to get to his Captain. 


Sanji had likely just made a deal with the devil. He realized how stupid this was, noting the surprise of the Okama at his demanor. He seemed to have done a complete 180, he was now determined. If Luffy’s message was anything to go by, this… this would be good for them. He just hoped everyone else knew what that meant. 


His worry was of Zoro, the swordsman missing the original message. 


He had a plan, Zoro would likely kill him for this but… They needed everyone to make it. While past Sanji may have thought they'd be better off without this idiot, his other half, his soulmate, the crew wasn't complete without him. 


They were a durable crew. 


Sanji could hear the screeching behind him, his legs burning as he dug into his reserves. He could do this. He could beat this. 


Luffy had relit that fire of determination. 


They would meet again.



Chapter Text

Kuraigana Island

Zoro had awoke on an island that wasn’t Sabaody. It was dark and chilly, and reminded him a lot of Thriller Bark. When he came face to face with the Ghost girl from Thriller Bark he was convinced he’d landed himself back there. He couldn’t afford to be back here. The crew was going to be crossing the grandline. 


He wasn’t back to full health yet. Taking on Luffy’s suffering had taken more of a toll on him than anticipated. He felt guilty for making Sanji suffer as well. He was really bad at this whole soulmate thing. 


They’d found Mihawk, or more so, he’d found them. They’d apparently crashed his island. The man hated socialization (or maybe just stupid people) so much that he’d settled an island for just himself. The Shibukai had arrived after the War bringing them both horrible news. For the ghost-gir- Perona, was the news that her old captain, Moria, was likely dead. No one had known what had happened to him after the War. As for Zoro, Mihawk dealt news that his Captain was suffering from a grave trauma, losing his brother. Ace had been killed right in front of Luffy. 


Zoro had made it clear that he needed to return to Luffy’s side, and as much as he hated to accept Mihawk’s observation his duty to his captain was more important. 


Mihawk allowed him a small boat to take to find his friends, but gave him a warning about the creatures in the forest. 


Much to his dismay the fighting monkey-things, it’s not Zoro’s fault he didn’t know what they really were, the Grandline had, had a bunch of freaky creatures, wouldn’t let him leave. He’d tried fighting his way out but it was growing progressively harder and harder. It was kinda like those Kung Fu Dugongs back when they were helping Vivi. But at least those were cute, these…nope. 


Humandrills, Zoro had the vague recollection as it was too late.


He could put aside his pride for this. He knew that Luffy needed them at their best if they were to survive the rest of this journey. 


If he was going to help his captain be the “King of the Pirates”, and he wanted to be the “Greatest Swordsman”, why not learn from the best. 


Sure its unconventional but … He could make this work in his favor. 


Mihawk’s expression had been worth the blow to his pride. 

He could do this.

He could be the "Greatest Swordsman" he could do that and help Luffy to be "King of the Pirates"

He'd help Nami to draw a map of the world, he'd help Usopp to be brave, he'd help Sanji, his soulmate to find his dream of the "All Blue", he'd help Chopper to cure anything, he'd help Fanky to maintain the Sunny and accomplish his dream, he'd see to it that Brook reaches his dream of meeting back up with Laboon.


“Wait you’re only 19?”


“Yeah, why?” Zoro remarked after his first major victory against the Humandrills. It was after spending yet another frustrating day trying to decipher Luffy’s message in the paper. 3D2Y. Zoro figured that if Rayleigh was with him that it would be okay. 


It was obvious the message was meant for the crew, but what it truly meant was beyond him. It hurt his brain to think that hard. And Perona complained the whole time, grumbling about her arms, his reopened wounds, and his stubbornness. 


Mihawk choked slightly on his sip of wine. He threw hands with a teenager.  


Perona’s cackle cut through the air. 


Zoro looked too confused to process. He felt a sharp pain, too familiar to him at his point, in his arm. It went deep then retracted a bit. 


Zoro unwound the gauze on his arm as Mihawk was coming to terms with his past. There was beading blood at on top of his skin, Zoro’s fingers twitching as the wound continued… writing



“Newspaper. 3D2Y. 3 days now 2 years. Be back to Sabaody.” 

Zoro felt his eyes go wide. He could kiss Sanji for that. 


Zoro felt Perona’s eyes creeping over his shoulder and he quickly threw the gauze back over his arm and cradled it to his chest, hissing at her. 


She held her hands up, affronted. 


She was curious sure. But this was Zoro’s. It was between him and Sanji. 


As morbid as it was, Sanji had just figured out a way to keep an open line of communication going despite the distance. 


Smiling Zoro, palmed a knife from the table, ready to respond. 


“You’re 19?” Mihawk asked voice tight with disbelief. Eyes blinking against his shock. The more he thought about it the more he could see it.  


“Mn.” Zoro grunted out.

“Thank. Glad u r ok. I’m same.” 

He’d definitely get a lot of shit for that. But Sanji just eased the strain and anxiety Zoro had for missing the message. Sanji had also dispelled the guilt he’d felt for sticking around with Mihawk to train. 


They had this,