My father says that almost the whole world is asleep...

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Thoughts on a Snowy Cliff
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spiral_brow wrote in thewakelogs
Who: Sanji, Open
What: While - and after - making the snow-sculpture for Kergan, Sanji finds himself reflecting - and brooding - on what being in Nautilus means to him.
Where: Eastern District, on the cliffs by the Eastern Welcome House.
When: Dec. 14th, mid-afternoon-ish.
Warnings: It's Sanji, so possibly language. A warning for angst? ... Sanji is not really too happy by the end of this tl;dr. ^_^;;
Notes: !guest character. Feel free to backtag this! Threadjacking allowed, too, if you wanna hop into a scene in progress, unless otherwise noted.



Sanji had seen the post about some people planning a gathering to make snowmen up in the Northern District, but he didn't feel like being part of a crowd, nor did he want to enter the North. Sure, that big metal... thing had said if no one caused trouble, there was no issue... but the threat had rubbed him the wrong way, and he had no desire to step into his territory as of yet. He wanted to explore the East a little more, anyway. He'd been in there before, when he came to the Eastern Welcome House to give Miss Dana her cooking lesson, and he'd attended his first Bending lesson that morning.

He found a clear spot on the cliffs near the Welcome House and overlooking the beach, and began to build up piles of snow to make a snow sculpture of Kergan, and thought about what he'd learned. It was a weird sensation, Bending. To create something out of... absolutely nothing. It had sent a shudder up his spine, at the power one could have, with that ability. What people could do with such power. His first attempt was to try and Bend up an orange, but it had failed terribly -- it was overripe, very squishy, and way too sweet. It had still been edible, barely... but after eating it, Sanji had steadfastly refused to practice Bending on food, until he was sure he could get it right. He wasn't about to risk spoiling, and wasting, any more food with his practicing.

He also had asked how long it would be until he regained all his strength. Before leaving for the Bending lesson, he had kicked out at a thick tree on Budehuc's grounds. It had been a solid kick, but the impact did nothing more than perhaps knock a few loose shingles of bark off, and send a jolt up his leg. That was no good. He should have splintered that tree. His strength had definitely taken a knock, with his arrival here. He didn't know if his speed and flexibility were likewise affected, but it was a safe idea to think that they were. He'd been told it would take a lot of focussed effort, and work on regaining each ability one at a time, and that it would take weeks for his abilities to regain their full strength. Sanji had frowned, but nodded. Well, he was used to hard work and training. He would just have to make sure to lay low, and avoid any serious fights until he'd regained his abilities. He wondered if he could build up each ability gradually. Spend a week working on his flexibility, for instance, and work on strength the next, then speed the week after...

...was he already thinking about spending weeks here? Months?! What about returning to his crew? He had to get back! They needed him! ... He needed them, if he was to be honest with himself. Sure, people were nice here, but... they were his crew, his nakama. He pushed those thoughts aside for the moment, as he focussed on carving out the details on the sculpture he was building. After a while, he stepped back, and surveyed his handiwork. A female figure, representing Kergan, was lounging gracefully on some rocks... snowballs carved into various flowers scattered all around her. Sanji smiled. It looked good, if he did say so himself, and he hoped she liked it. He was no artist, but this wasn't too different from making shaped cakes... and the flowers at least were easy enough to do.

Sanji turned his gaze towards the sea, and found himself taking a few steps towards it. He stopped near the edge of the cliffs, and listened to the surf crashing against the rocks. He closed his eyes, and for a moment imagined he was back home, docked on some island, somewhere, and let the sounds of the sea soothe him. Or attempted to, anyway.

Thinking about the sea only reminded him of everything he'd lost since he came here. It wasn't even the loss of his strength that upset him, as it was being separated from everyone and everything he knew, and dropped into a wild, crazy place, full of metal giants and god-like figures and the ability to make reality shift to your will... and there really was no way home. Oh, sure, you could return to your world, but... it wasn't the same. You had no control any more over your life. Everything was pre-ordained, nothing you thought or felt mattered. You had no freedom in your own world; you were a prisoner of fate.

Sanji's jaw clenched around the cigarette he held in his mouth, and he glared - albeit sadly - out to sea. He hated this. He was adjusting, but he had no choice. He didn't live a sheltered life. He knew life was unpredictable, and unfair, and you had to roll with the punches and take what you were given, in order to survive. He'd put his own dreams and desires on hold, to pay back all that he felt he owed to Zeff... to make his dreams come true... to make sure the Baratie flourished, and was protected... But his dreams were still there, still possible even then... And now, even if he was chasing a legend, he was part of a crew that supported his dream... that had dreams of their own...

A dream that was useless, here. There was no All Blue, here. There was no NEED for the All Blue to exist. What good was it, if all you had to do was WISH for the fish you wanted, and BOOM! You had it! And what good was his dream back home, now that he had no CONTROL over finding All Blue himself? Oh, sure... it was his body, his dream, still... but it was none of his effort. If what these people said was true, it was like being a puppet... pulled by strings, manipulated by someone else. He was in that world, it was his body, his actions, but... not at the same time. It confused him, and gave him one horrible headache, trying to figure it all out. A part of him dreaded going back to his world, and discovering just what this would FEEL like... to see events playing out through his own eyes, but only be a passive observer.

It took the goal out of his dream. Even if it was his body, even if it was 'him' that eventually found All Blue... it wasn't the him who he was now... not the Nautilus Sanji... that had done it. His body had gone through the trials, his mind had followed the clues, his heart was still yearning for his dream... It was, and it wasn't, and it nearly made Sanji sick, trying to understand it all.

And if he felt this way, about his dream, and what it meant here in Nautilus... ...then how would the OTHERS feel, if they ever got dragged here?

He didn't like the answers he was coming up with.

Some of them would take it better than others, no doubt. Usopp would be freaked out upon arrival, but Sanji was sure he'd take to Bending easily. He had a great imagination, and that probably worked really well with Bending. His dream was to become a great, courageous warrior... and either here or at home, that was an accomplishable goal. Their newest crewmate, Chopper... he'd be scared upon arrival, too... but he was starting to warm up to humans, and was a friendly soul at heart... No doubt he'd make friends here. Sanji didn't know how Bending affected medicine, but if it all was just will, and re-shaping reality, well... that made almost anything possible, didn't it? And so many different worlds were here... How many different forms of medicine and healing were represented? Chopper could probably gain his dream here, too.

The others, though... Nami's dream was to map the world. Their world. A huge, daunting task... but if anyone could do it, he was sure his brilliant Nami-san was the one to do it. Was... mapping THIS world comparable? Or was this city all that existed, in this reality? How far did that sea stretch? Was there anything on the other side? At all? Sanji had no idea. He wondered if anyone else knew, either. And what'd he'd heard, of the city changing to suit its inhabitants... of buildings appearing all on their own... Was it even possible to map this place? Was it a futile effort? .... And the Marimo... what of his goal? To become the world's best swordsman. He had no idea if there were any swordsmen in this place, and he didn't care (though it would be nice to have SOMEONE to spar with, he grudgingly admitted. Doubtful they'd match up to the idiot, but... the Marimo was a class all his own. They knew each other's limits, too. Sanji snorted to himself and abandoned this line of thought). Would the shit swordsman consider them worthy opponents, though? If he arrived here, the idiot would probably just say he'd be the best of THIS place, too... be the best of both worlds, but... how much of that would be bravado, and - though it pained him to admit this - would the Marimo feel the same as himself? Would he consider the fact that he had no real control himself, over his life back home, a cheapening of his dream? That he really wasn't the one to obtain his goal? That he really hadn't been the one to fight Mihawk, and claim the title of World's Greatest?

And what of Luffy?

Sure, their captain would find this place an amazing adventure... full of fun and excitement to be had, but... There were no pirates here (as far as he knew, in any case). There was no Grand Line. There was no One Piece.

There was no Pirate King.

Sanji ground down on his cigarette, hissing faintly, frowning. No. They might adjust to things, if they arrived here... but he was sure it would hurt them, too. Their dreams had no substance, here. They had no goals here. Everything they had lived for... everything they had fought for... everything they had dedicated their lives to... was all for naught. Sanji had shoved his dream away for the sake of others, to repay a debt, before... he could do it again. His dream could be expendable. He would NOT want to see his nakama be forced to give up the same. If his being here in some way prevented anyone else from arriving, then... that was his toll to pay, and he'd accept that burden. It would hurt, and he already felt terribly sad and lonely... but if it meant that the others would never realise that their lives were just a 'dream'... if they could keep on living and dreaming... following and achieving their goals... then so be it.

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The thrum of turbine engines could be heard reverberating through the relatively still and cold afternoon air. Out over the water was another of the city's residents, flying low and fast over the waves on a pair of metal wings.

Rex was out for some air and doing a bit of thinking. He'd circled Pineapple Island a few times, knowing he would have to return there in another day or so to retrieve the last of his belongings and lock the place down. At the invitation of Six and Holiday, he was moving in with them up North. That was where he belonged, now, with his Providence family.

As he pulled higher, gaining altitude, Rex swung out near the cliffs and the Eastern District Welcome House. It was then he noticed someone out on the cliff edges, apparently gazing out to see. Rex squinted behind his amber lens goggles, sure he recognized the figure...

Ah right, the one guy in the Western District who'd been doing some cursing and yelling on arrival. Rex never did get his name.

He contemplated landing on the cliffs to see how the dude was getting along. Hopefully he was in a better mood today than when he Woke up.

Sanji was broken out of his thoughts by the sound of an engine. He looked around for it, looking first towards land, and then out to sea. Was it a ship? A land vehicle of some kind? He didn't think to look up, until the sound was almost above him. And then his jaw dropped.

"Holy shit!"

A man was flying! With these weird-looking wings on his back. This wasn't like any Devil Fruit power he'd seen. Was this Bending? You could do this with Bending?

Sanji took a couple steps back from the edge of the cliff, and continued to watch the flying man with awe.

From the sound of it? Rex had just taken the guy a bit off guard. He hadn't meant to, but he had to admit the reaction was pretty amusing. Might as well take the opportunity to show off a little, as well, because why not?

Rex dove back toward the water before pulling up sharply again, executing a couple of barrel rolls as he climbed. Swinging back out over the cliffs, he aimed for a spot not far from his one man audience that wasn't too crowded by brush or rocks and commanded his nanites to lose the build. The Boogie Pack folded away into his back, leaving Rex to fall a good fifteen feet or so where he landed in a crouch in the snow. Raising his goggles as he straightened up again, he glanced in the other fellow's direction with a grin.

"Hey, dude. Saw you hanging out here and thought I'd drop in on you, see how you're doing."

Okay, now the kid was just showing off. Sanji grinned roughly. He probably would have showed off a little, too, had he been able to do that. He watched the man spin through the air, impressed at the speed and agility, then blinked in surprise as the metal wings disappeared, and the man dropped to the ground. Stuffing his hands in his pockets, Sanji sauntered over to where the guy was now standing.

"heh... well that's damn considerate of you. I must admit, a lot of you Nautilus people are a really friendly sort." He paused, the kid looking familiar to him, and then it clicked. "You're the guy I talked to when I first got here, right..? So how did you make those wing things? Is that Bending?"

"Yep. Name's Rex. Those of who've been here a while like to keep track of who's new, make sure they do okay after arriving. I had a couple people do the same thing for me the day I got here."

It seemed this guy was in better spirits now, which was definitely a good sign. Disgruntled Wakened were tougher to keep around and mentor, which ultimately resulted in a strain on everyone involved. Rex was also glad to see he was out of the Western District. Not really that happy or safe of a place to stay.

"On the wings? Yes and no," he went on. "The best way to look at it is that everything here is powered with will. If people have special powers when they arrive, those powers are temporarily taken away and have to be willed back with training. Building machines off my body is one of my abilities, it's something I can do at home. So while I lost it after getting here, I bended it back again."

Rex gets a small nod of acknolwedgement. "I'm Sanji." He smirked faintly, stuffing his hands into his pockets. "Paying it forward, then? Real big-hearted of you."

Well, you've distracted him at least, Rex. He still wasn't in the best of moods. But he wasn't about to let any of what he'd been thinking, or feeling, slip to a stranger.

Sanji had learned about the drop in power; he wasn't as strong as he should be. Rex's explanation still made him raise an eyebrow in surprise, then. "Just... how did you get that power? Is it something natural in your world?" He wondered if it was anything like the Devil Fruits in his world, or something completely different.

The last time she was on a beach like this, it was for ... less pleasant reasons. When she was still with the Pack, tasked to lure out and defeat an evo many many times her size.

It was also where she first met Rex.

Despite that one brief shining moment of -good- in an otherwise sucky time in her life, she really didn't like to think about her time with them. Of course, now Biowulf was here, and though he had yet to make any moves that were outwardly hostile, she was still wary. Torn between keeping an eye on his movements and staying as far from him as conceivably possible.

She was already careful about going to and from the water tower, a task that would have been difficult enough without Rex's help. She'd brought trouble to her friends once already, she didn't want to do it again. Which meant she really needed to get a handle on her powers. She'd hoped she could have avoided it and just be -normal-.

Figures.

Taking a step to the edge of the water, she closed her eyes, about to focus -- wait. She opened her eyes again and glanced sharply towards her left, where she caught sight of Sanji. Who looked like his thoughts were just as heavy as hers.

Gradually, Sanji became aware that he wasn't alone. He glanced around, finally catching sight of Circe a short distance away. A brow raised in surprised confusion, and he turned to face her.

She seemed sad, as pensive as he was, and for a moment, he was hesitant to interrupt. Then concern bled through, and he walked through the snow until he was a couple feet away.

"Ah, hello, miss? Are you okay? What are you doing out here, all alone in the cold? You could catch a chill, or your skin might freeze, and that would be a terrible shame..." His words were still rather goofy, but his tone was soft and serious. His thoughts were a little too heavy to go into all-out flirt mode, here.

Probably for the best - she tended to dismiss overt flirtation. She tucked her hair behind an ear, shaking her head. "I'm fine. I was just thinking - I guess I lost track of the time. Were you out here long?"

Let's hope she catches sight of some of Sanji's more forward antics on the Network, then, so she at least knows what to expect when he's feeling a bit better. He smiled slightly, shrugging his shoulders. "How kind you are to worry about me," he said, with the hint of a lilt in his voice, then it dropped back down to normal. "I honestly can't say; I haven't been keeping track." He glanced out over the water. "Seems like this is the place for thinking..."

One can only hope! "It's the ocean. Something about it seems to stir up memories long buried. So they say." She stretched casually. "I wouldn't mind so much if they stayed that way."

Turning to face Sanji, she offered a hand, "I'm Circe."

Sanji turned more to face the sea, a sort of sad, wistful smile on his face. "The sea holds the memories of all who've sailed on her seas... all that sleep in her embrace... It's been here forever, and will continue to be here forever." He paused, wincing a little and grinning sheepishly at her latter comment. Bad memories, huh? He wouldn't pry. He wouldn't want to inadvertantly upset the lady.

He turned to face her again, and smiled - what he thought was, at least - a charming smile. "It is my pleasure to meet you, Miss Circe," he said, gently taking her hand. "My name is Sanji." And, well, so much for catching him on the Network. Unless she moves quickly, he's bowing his head and raising her hand, attempting to be charming by placing a kiss on her knuckles. If she let him get away with that.

It wasn't every day that someone decided to make art of a Deva. Sanji's declaration, to be honest, hadn't been taken seriously, but she thought it was sweet of him to say so.

But this?

"Wow, you really went all out, didn't you?" There was no sound of footsteps; Kergan was just suddenly there, hands tucked behind her back, leaning forward to admire the intricate details of the sculpture and the snow flowers surrounding it. Though her eyes were safely obscured by the opaque goggles with the orange lenses, her expression showed that she was clearly impressed.

"This is so cool!"

Sanji jumped a little in surprise, not having heard anyone come up behind him! One moment, he was alone, the next... a voice behind him! Ah... but such a sweet, melodic voice~!

Sanji turned around, hearts in his eyes. He clapped his hands together, wiggling faintly in delight. "I am so glad you like it, Lady Kergan~!" he cooed.

"Like it? I love it!" she giggled, clapping her palms together and spinning around to face the sculptor himself. "You didn't even use any Bending!"

If he had, she would have been able to see the pattern he left. She was kind of curious to see what it would look like, but oh well. In time, in time!

"About how long did it take you? It's very intricate."

Sanji's happy noodle-dancing got a little more pronounced. "I am so happy that the Lady Kergan enjoys it so!"

He paused at the question, and folded his arms, tilting his head to the side to think. "It took about an hour to get the base and the general shape built up... and another hour to refine the shape and carve all the details I think."

"It's super cute."

And worthy of a reward a little more special than the others, she thought, since he put in so much effort. There was just one tiny little thing she needed to check up on first, though.

"You know, I couldn't help noticing that you looked a little pensive just a few minutes ago. Something the matter?" The Deva trotted lightly across the snow until she was within comfortable conversational range.

Well, he'd heard about the group-building activity, and he wouldn't have thought he put any more (or any less) effort into it than the others did. The only reason why he made his out here, and not there, is because he didn't feel like being part of a crowd. And he wanted to be alone, to think...

He blinked a little as Kergan came close, then frowned faintly at the question, and felt his throat tighten up a bit. As beautiful as the lady was, she was also one of the Deva... the god-like figures. He glanced away from her, unable to meet her gaze, even though he couldn't see her eyes. He was a little hesitant. How much should he tell her? Would she know he was withholding information? She was a goddess!

"Just... reflecting on my being here... what I've lost to come here..." he said quietly.

The man who never stopped smiling was walking the East. Kept comfortable by his cloak and costume, he could enjoy the cold, the quiet, and the sight of the snow... even if Stevens' 'The Snow Man' seemed to scroll through his mind in every other neighbourhood.

He'd begun within the quarter's west point, moved through Manhattan, and started south at the sand, stopping only to scrutinize an unfamiliar figure. Having made both a hobby and a habit of speaking to strangers within a week of Waking, V smiled against the underside of the mask and moved towards the man. His approach was its own advertisement, with the snow crunching beneath both boots.

"Hello."

Sanji found himself still on the cliffside as time went on, still looking out to sea, with more to think about than he had when he arrived. He heard the sound of approaching footsteps, and turned to see who was coming. He raised a brow at the sight of the mask, but the oddity of it quickly passed. He had seen his fair share of odd costumes back home, after all. He nodded faintly to the approaching figure.

"Hello," he replied, polite enough, but still a little distanced.

"I hope I'm not intruding overmuch in asking after an introduction, but I believe you are a relatively recent arrival and I try to make the acquaintance of most." Closing to a conversational distance, V tilted his head so as to indicate his curiosity. The movement was natural, not at all exaggerated; half habit.

Stuffing his hands into his pockets, Sanji managed a wry smirk. "More of the Welcoming Committee... You folk sure are friendly, here." He nodded a little. "Well, your guess is right; I am new here. Name's Sanji. Who are you?"

"To be fair, friendliness isn't all of it---since the people present come from so many places and so many times, curiosity contributes." V shrugged, turning his palms up as part of the gesture before folding his hands together. "I'll answer to 'V.' It's nice to meet you. How long have you been here, and where---and when---are you from, if you don't mind my asking?"

Sanji tilted his head a little to the side, thinking. "Ehh.. I guess is a place this small, any new arrival would spark curiosity..." He turned a little to face the man directly. So the man preferred a moniker, rather than a real name? He raised a brow faintly. What sort of role did he play, back home or here, that made him feel an alias was needed? Did he consider himself an 'outlaw', of sorts? Unless V was his real name... and if that was the case, Sanji wondered what kind of a world he came from, where letters were accepted as names. Either that, or the name was just too unpronounceable, or embarassing, to say fully.

"Okay... V, then. I don't mind, but I doubt you'd have heard of it. No one else has, so far. I'm from the East Blue, though I'm currently sailing the Grand Line on my home world. The year 1522, if that makes any difference. And I've been here..." He paused to think, rubbing the back of his head. "...not even a week, yet, by my count."

“Human nature---although I realize it is rude of me to say so, given the variety present in the city’s population. You may have met one, or more, of our mechanoids.” The thespian seemed about to say something more, but fell silent and shook his head as Sanji finished speaking. “I’m afraid it’s foreign to me---I’ve come from London, England, Earth, 1998. That must be something, sailing; I would have liked to travel, but went without the opportunity until I arrived here.”

[ooc: good lord this is late; I'm sorry]

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