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

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And what do they say about good intentions...?
spiral_brow wrote in thewakelogs
WHO: Sanji, Pyramid Head, possibly Orihime - closed
WHAT: Sanji attempts to find/save Orihime, and fails. Terribly.
WHEN: Backdated to the 5th, just before/during the body-takeover
WHERE: Southern District
WARNINGS: I'm not sure... some dark stuff when he's hit by the guilt wave?

Despite Thomas's warnings, Sanji continued to head into the Southern District. He was NOT just going to give up on Orihime! (or anyone, really, but he wouldn't admit that about any of the men he happened to hold in a slightly higher regard than others) He knew that this 'Pyramid Head' was a strong threat, but there had to be some way to defeat it. EVERYONE had their weak points, and he really didn't know until he tried.

He wasn't going to just rush on in, though. Well, that was his plan, at least. He knew he tended to lose his head whenever a pretty lady was in danger, but he still could think things through. Observe the situation. Plan a method of attack. But he couldn't just sit around and do nothing. He had to at least TRY. He wasn't scared about whatever he faced. Let it come at him; he'd face it head-on.

He truly hadn't been a member of the Strawhat Pirates for that long of a time, in the grand scheme of things... but it still felt like he had known them forever. They were family. They were nakama. And they had taught him a very important lesson. Luffy... and though he'd never admit it out loud, the moss-headed swordsman, too. They had taught him how to face life, how to go after one's dreams with their whole heart and being. They weren't afraid of death. They believed wholeheartedly, completely, in their strengths - their abilities, and the strength of their dreams. Their will and determination was unwavering. They were ready to die for their dreams... or the dreams of their crewmates. That's how they were so strong. That's how Luffy could defeat Don Krieg, and Arlong. That's how - even though he thought it was ridiculously stupid, Zoro could face Mihawk's blade, arms outstretched and open... and faced him in the first place, even with the huge difference in skills. They taught him it was okay to believe fully in his own dream. It was okay to face life head-on, challenge it directly, and laugh in the face of death. Because if they believed strong enough, because if they had their nakama with them... they could accomplish anything, and live with no regrets. They would have done everything they possibly could have done, no doubts about that at all... push themselves to the limits... and who really could ask for more?

Sanji sucked in a breath and grit his teeth, and continued to move further into the Southern District. He'd faced some monsters during his time with the Strawhats so far... he could face this one, too. What he couldn't face was running away, when someone could use his help.

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In theory, the Red Pyramid shouldn't have been difficult to find. Smell alone could lead one to his trail – the landscape a rotted, twisted, corrupted reflection of its former self, even long after the creature himself had moved on. The difficulty was, there was simply so much destruction. Pyramid Head himself may have moved slowly, but he knew nothing of rest.

And so, the corruption spread and spread as he made his way throughout the district. Judging by how far it had reached, one might almost think that he was destroying the areas around him intentionally. Whether he was or not, however, would likely remain a question without an answer.

But, given time and persistence, it was entirely possible to track the creature down. Unless a noise caught his attention, he would be moving; the slow, steady gait more akin to trudging through thick mud than over steady (if decayed) ground. If there was a noise, however, it would be a different scene: the twitching form still, his rusted helm twisted in the direction of the sound, unquestionably staring in spite of possessing no visible eyes.

In either case, one filthy hand would be clutching the handle of the enormous knife he pulled behind him. His other hand would be occupied as well, webbed fingers secure in their grip on the girl he dragged along.

Orihime. Once the Dark Aeon's captive. Now, his own.

Sanji frowned as he ran through the once-lush Southern District. What sort of a creature was this, to cause this sort of a decay? Damn it... as if that shitty Aeon and those shitty slugs weren't bad enough. He had no idea where to start looking, at first, and just continued to jog through the area. A feeling of dread started to build in his chest, and he tried desperately to squash it. Fear would do no good, here. He had to keep focused.

Finally, he saw signs of movement ahead. He slowed to a stop by the edge of some rotten, crumbling tree trunks, and sucked in a breath unconciously at the terrible sight in front of him.

He had seen some ugly things in his life, but this was something far beyond anything he ever had imagined. The aura this thing put forth was almost overhwelming, the sight of it grotesque. A shudder ran - unbidden - up Sanji's spine.

.o(Maybe I should have waited for back-up... Really, what did I expect to do? How can I save Orihime-chan by myself? Other ladies got hurt in this city, even killed, and I couldn't do ANYTHING... I didn't DO anything, and...)

He abruptly cut himself off, shaking his head a little in an attempt to clear it. What was wrong with him? This was no time to start doubting himself! Sanji ground his teeth together, and returned his gaze to Pyramid Head, watching the monster's movements, looking for weak spots, checking out that giant knife it held (he was sure he could fight against that clunky thing), noticing the bundle it held... The bundle...!

"Orihime-chan!" he called out before he could stop himself.

As the call to his captive echoed out, an entirely unnatural stillness overtook the creature. His sluggish steps ground to a halt, and the twitches that so often jerked through his form stopped entirely. It was as though the Red Pyramid had simply frozen. At first glance, it may have resembled the sort of stillness that comes with shock. But, if one looked a bit more closely at the creature's tense muscles (twisted as the flesh upon them was), it was clear that 'surprise' was not the cause of the sudden stillness.

A patch of flesh upon the creature's shoulder bubbled, and blackened filth – with just a hint of violet shimming deep within – oozed from beneath its skin. Slowly, it slid down the Red Pyramid's arm, gathering at a rough ridge of skin (deformed, rotting, like all the rest of him) before it dripped down to splatter to the ground.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

The creature's head turned, stillness giving way to a twitch that jerked one arm so sharply, the knife in his hand screeched across the metal ground.

It wasn't surprise that stilled him or made him twitch. It was anticipation.

The man before him was one who deserved PUNISHMENT. And he would deliver it.

It was the closest thing to excitement that the creature knew.

Sanji took an unconcious step back as the monster turned to face him. There was something so unsettling, so unnatural about this thing that he'd never faced before, that shook him right to his core. Sanji could tell that he hadn't startled the beast. Oh no... The mood was all wrong for that, the tension in the air only growing sharper.

He clenched his jaw in an attempt to ground himself, hands curled into fists and shoved into his pockets. "H-hey... you!" Just ignore that stutter, there. "I'm giving you ONE warning to let Orihime-chan go before I..."

And then he trailed off, a cold pit of fear starting to grow in his gut. He cursed himself as he could feel his legs start to shake - he wasn't Usopp, damn it! And then...

What good are you, really? Why were you worth saving...?

Forms sprung up in front of him... gaunt, twisted forms... Thin, with dried skin pulled taut over emaciated forms, more resembling skeletons with their flesh still on than anything else. Sunken cheeks, black hollow, lifeless eyes, with maybe only a few bare wisps of hair on the top of their head - blond in colour - thin and brittle like straw. Each of these things were missing one leg; in its place was a rotten, knarled and twisted peg of wood. They lurched towards Sanji, some outstretching hands - bony and knobby, black and withered, dead.

What you took... all you took... Why did you derserve to survive? A bratty, parentless whelp like you? Look what you took! You took my livelihood, my dreams...

Sanji choked, stumbling back away from the creatures. He didn't even think of attacking them. He couldn't attack them.

.o(Zeff! Zeff, I'm sorry! I didn't... I never ASKED you to save me! Why did you save me? I tried... I stayed with you... all those years... I helped to make the Baratie strong... protect it! It was your last dream left! You KNOW I wouldn't take that from you!)

You weren't wanted, even there. How rude were you? How stubborn? How many times did I have to kick you across the floor to teach you? We had to throw you out, eventually. It TOOK forever for you to get the hint, you stubborn bastard. We didn't want you. NO ONE wanted you!

.o(Th-that's not true... You... only because Luffy... It was the only way I'd leave you, and...)

Sanji took another shaky step backwards.

A low groan echoed from beneath the creature's helm. If emotion could be gleaned from the entirely inhuman sound, it would be something like satisfaction.

He watched, as the man's PUNISHMENT rose up around him. He watched, as the GUILT took hold. He watched, and his form twitched with pleasure.

The enormous knife he held twisted and elongated, even as it shrunk in width. In the blink of an eye, it was a spear that the creature held, no less filthy than his previous weapon. The Red Pyramid raised it, ignoring the skin that tore and cracked upon his arm as he did so, and pointed the tip at the GUILTY man.

It was a symbolic gesture, made more for the benefit of the man than to actually direct the creature's will. But the effect was the same.

The PUNISHMENT would intensify, along with the feelings that proved the man deserved it.

The voices in his head grew louder, as the skeleton-like forms advanced, and Sanji's legs wavered. Hands went up to fist handfuls of hair, and he squeezed his eyes tightly shut in a desperate, useless attempt to block out the images. Still, they came.

You take, and take, and take... Take away my livelihood. Take away my future. Take away my leg. Make a pain of yourself on my ship for years and years. Takes so long to get you to learn how to do things RIGHT. Endless fawning over the ladies, giving them free food. Constant fights with the men. Breaking all sorts of shit in the process. Causing disturbances in the kitchen. Causing disturbances in the dining hall. USELESS.

"But... but... the women deserved to be treated so well..." he mumbled weakly, his voice shaking and quiet. "And... and those assholes were being rude..."

What sort of a chef are you? Fighting with our customers. Making a FOOL of yourself in front of any pretty lady. You haven't even been doing your job HERE. You were trying to make a restaurant? What a laugh. Where is it? WHERE? Nowhere, that's where! You've been skipping on your duties.

"I've been ... I've been trying to build the restaurant... I'm not that good at Bending, yet. Nor actually designing a building... It... it takes time. I want this place t-to be perfect... I... I haven't been skipping on my duties... I still cook..." The excuse sounded weak, even to his own ears.

Bullshit! You HAVEN'T been trying. It's too easy, here. People can make food whenever they want. It's made you lax. LAZY. Face it; you're not needed... even HERE. People can make whatever they want with a THOUGHT. There's no need for a chef here. There's no need for ALL BLUE here. Your dream is useless. YOU'RE USELESS!

At that shout that echoed in his skull, Sanji let out a sub-concious whimper, and collapsed onto his knees.

(ooc: sorry for taking so long in the reply! x.x)

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