If asked, Drake would have no idea how to explain what had just happened. One moment you two were strolling over the narrow, snowy streets of the harbor town, the other - sitting squeezed in a corner of the cheesiest cafe on this side of the Grandline. Memories and awareness were mixed in Drake’s mind, he barely could process the present reality, let alone unscramble the sequence of events. You had been outside. You had been caught in early, first snow, which had quickly turned into a blizzard. You had got lost the way… Most likely? At some point you had found yourselves in the middle of unknown nowhere and, afraid to get you separated, Drake had grabbed your hand. It had been so small and tender in his, so differently softer than steel he was used to touching - but also so cold and trembling, sucking the warmth out of his fingers with an esurience of a starved castaway. He had glanced down at you, at your freezing cheeks and little, cute simper…
… And it was over.
Something was telling him it was him who dragged you two here. It would be in his style to lose his cool and rational mind because of a woman. And it wouldn’t be the first time he snapped and did something stupid because you touched him. Or because he accidentally glanced on your cleavage for a bit too long. Or because wind swayed up your clothes and a glimpse of your usually covered body grasped his attention. Or because you changed shampoo and he could smell it everywhere on the ship. Or because you leaned over his desk to help him with a log and your softness grazed his arm. Or-
Drake cleared his throat and focused on a cup he was holding. Or rather: on getting his finger out of its tiny handle. Whoever designed it, definitely hadn’t men of Drake’s size in mind. Porcelain adornments were pinching his knuckles and honestly, if it wasn’t for you, he would just break it a long time ago. But the presence of a lady obliged. Besides.. He wasn’t feeling quite comfortable in that cafe. Everything screamed: kitsch and extravagance, pink and cuteness, old ladies and fat cats. Maybe other clients ran away in panic at the sight of the notorious pirate entering the cafe (and knocking down a vase with an axe, absolutely unintentionally, it was just your hand suddenly touching his wrist…) and maybe the owner was trembling like a leaf when bringing you your tea and apple pie, but Drake still had a feeling he would end whooped by his late grandma as soon as he would even thought of breaking something.
So he was sitting as carefully as he could, shrinking legs under the little table, stooping shoulders to not touch the curtains, eyes glued to the cup, just to not glance at you, not even once, not when it was so soft and warm and cozy and he could get weird ideas. Drake pursed eyebrows and focused on pulling his finger, internally praying to all gods of sea he could name for not breaking fragile porcelain. Gods jeered back at him through ugly as hell, cross-eyed fat cherub painted on the cup. Drake could swear this little bastard was just waiting for him to fuck this up. To boot, he was just about to sneeze, cardamum and cinnamon were tickling his nose, candles and bibelots and ugly imitations of rococo were spinning in his eyes - and overall, whenever he dared to glance at your direction, he could spot your enamored smile and heat was blooming up his cheeks.
Truly, even Impel Down was using more subtle tortures.
“Do you need help?” You innocently reached towards the cup stuck on his finger. “I could smooth it with a lip balm maybe-”
“No, I’m fine!” He snapped it back. Porcelain didn’t stand the tension and broke into pieces. The biggest, dabbled with cherub’s ironic sneer, landed on top of his pie. Drake just groaned, barely holding curses back in his throat.
“Are you hurt?!” Your worried chirps were like red-hot needles stabbing right into his pride.
Yet, he didn’t dare to confront you, just shook his head and showed a clean hand as a proof. The rest of your words got swallowed in the noise of worries and embarrassment in his head. Pendant over your heads was throwing rainbow light on the table, colorful reflexes were dancing between your hands, almost touching each other, despite his best pains and efforts to move away from you as much as courtesy was allowing. In this light and angle your hands (Drake allowed himself to risk one, quick glance) resembled the hands of saints on paintings he saw in churches of North Blue. For some reason this sight made him feel at home, even though he never was religious in the first place. Fuzzy, cozy and warm feeling clenched his heart, he wanted to touch you so bad - isn’t it what couples do in such places? - but the mere thought of it made his head spin. He jerked back and - ah, damn those narrow spaces! - knocked his own axe down. The weapon fell with a huge bang, the owner hid in the back praying and cursing in the same time, your hands suddenly disappeared from the range of Drake’s sight.
Serene easefulness disappeared.
“Why do I have to be like this?” Drake murmured to himself, his lips hidden behind his hand so you wouldn’t overhear. Carefully, as if he was dismantling a bomb, he reached for a cake fork smaller than his pinkie and scooped a piece of pie.
At least it was tasty, he had to admit it. His pride and sense of aesthetic might be hurt and his head might be empty, but at least his stomach couldn’t complain.
“Are you sure you are okay?” You set the ball rolling anew, concern audible in your voice. “You are changing colors from pale to red every minute or so.”
His eyes darted up against his will and met yours. The colorful reflexes were dancing along your face now; the game of light and shadows on your cheekbones, lips and browridges was drawing the essence of your beauty together with a gentle, encouraging smile - that cute little smile, barely curving corners of your mouth, the one Drake loved so much. His jaw slowly dropped, a piece of pie missed its destination, sticky bits of apples and crust landed everywhere but where food should land.
And he couldn’t care less about it, so mesmerised by your beauty.
You chuckled, quite fond of the cute (and dumbass) expression he made.
“You’ve got something on your lip.” Absolutely overusing his confusion on purpose, you reached towards his face. “Here, let me.”
Feeling your tender fingers on his jaw, Drake froze. It was warm. It was soft. It was gently wiping the unlucky piece of pie from his chin. It was touching his chin, his corner of mouth, his lips-
You dragged your thumb along the bottom lip, gathering all the little crumbles you could spot. Drake’s canines - a bit bigger and sharper than people usually have - were proding your fingertip. An unaware invitation was made. You just couldn’t help yourself.
And Drake couldn’t move from his spot.
It could barely be called a kiss. You just quickly ducked forward and pecked his lips, taste of tea and apple pie didn’t even remain on yours when you withdrew a second later. But for Drake - for poor, shy and so madly in love with you Drake - it was more than enough.
If asked, Drake would have no idea how to explain what has just happened. He woke up in his bed in the captain cabin, his head was spinning and aching and the first thing he did was sneezing exactly three times. For some reason he could still smell cardamum and cinnamon.
He could only suspect he fainted, it wouldn’t be the first time he did so because of you, but everyone remained tight-lipped. If asked, you just smiled mysteriously.
“I really liked this cafe,” you were saying. “We should get out more often. And eat more apple pies.”