The Chef's Princess

BY : LadyKae
Category: +M to R > One Piece
Dragon prints: 6616
Disclaimer: I do not own One Piece nor am I making any money from this fiction.

The Chef's Princess
Chapter 1: Every Beginning...

A One Piece Fanfiction


“ AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

All the patrons looked up at the sound of the terrified woman’s scream. A woman in regal dress had jumped out of her seat and was currently crying out in fear.

There was a gigantic rat sitting in her salad.

Eight year old Tamara smirked a little when neither of her parents were looking. Then again, her mother was a little too preoccupied with her appetizer to be looking at her. She had managed another successful prank, she mused with glee.

“ What’s the problem over here?” came a gruff voice.

“ Your waiter served my wife, the Denebran queen, a contaminated salad!” her father raged.

Tamara was the princess of the nation of Denebra, the ruling body of the North Blue. She had a bad habit of pranking anyone and everyone she could, mostly the palace staff who took it in stride as they knew the princess was lonely with no playmates, and she had forgotten one little detail with this prank.

She wasn't back at the palace, where the staff would laugh off the harmless prank.

“ This toy?” This man had to be the owner, Tamara realized. His mustache was so long it was braided, and his hat was ridiculously tall! He picked up the over chewed squeaker toy from the salad and his glare leveled directly on Tamara.

Oh damn...she thought.



“ PUT ME DOWN THIS INSTANT! I AM THE CROWNED PRINCESS OF DENEBRA AND YOU WILL NOT MANHANDLE ME IN SUCH A MANNER!” Tamara screeched as she was drug through the restaurant’s kitchen by the collar of her dress. Her little legs and arms were flailing wildly as she tried to get out of the owner’s grasp.

“ First things first girl. Here you are no princess. Your father feels that working here for the summer will not only cure you of your incessant pranking, but will teach you a lesson. You ruined a perfectly good salad, and by the sea, you will learn to respect food by the time you’re done here. You will either refer to me as chef, or owner. I’m the one in charge here.” The owner’s eyes narrowed as he set Tamara down and he tossed her a kitchen smock and skirt. “ I’ll have Sanji bring a pair of sensible shoes for you to wear in the kitchen. Get changed.”

“ As if I’d fit into a man’s shoes.” Tamara huffed as she crossed her arms.

“ Sanji’s not much older than you, brat. Now, do as I said and get changed.”

Tamara went to retort, but the old man’s gaze all but told her that he would have no qualms in changing her himself if she didn’t comply. Well, no time like the present.




A ten year old boy burst into the kitchen almost instantly after hearing his name. His blonde hair was a little disheveled in his haste, but he had a big smile on his face nonetheless. “ What do you want, geezer? I’m only three minutes behind getting back from my lunch break. I had to grab those shoes you asked me for as it stands.”

“ Get over here and show this other brat how to properly peel the potatoes once she puts them on.” Zeff, the owner of Baratie said.

“ I am not a brat!” came the immediate protest. “ I am a princess and I refuse to do such menial labor!” Her big blue eyes were narrowed on Zeff and she shot Sanji a dirty look as well.

Zeff laughed loudly as he ruffled the girl’s hair. He couldn’t help but admire Tamara’s spunk and fire. She reminded of him of Sanji so much it was a little comical. The two would probably get along famously. “ You should have thought of that before you pranked your mother the way you did aboard my ship, brat. It was your father’s idea to make you work here for the summer to teach you a lesson, Tamara” Zeff looked over to Sanji and he smirked as he tilted his head over to the young girl. “ Sanji, this is Tamara, Princess and heir apparent to the Denebran throne. As you know, the Denebrans are the ruling body of the North Blue. Tamara, this is Sanji.”

“ Pleased to meet you.” Tamara said tightly. She certainly didn’t look all that pleased to be there.

“ She’s going to be bunking in your room Sanji, so you’re either going to sleep on the floor or room with Patty and Carne.” Zeff said seriously. He wasn’t going to allow the girl to be uncomfortable. She was a princess after all.

“ I’ll sleep on the floor. Patty and Carne snore.” Sanji replied. “ Besides, a gentleman always allows a lady the comfort of his bed. Just find me a futon or something. Oh. It’s nice to meet you too, princess.” He took up a paring knife as he stood beside Tamara and he gave her a bright smile. “ Just carefully run the knife right under the skin like this. We need to get the potatoes ready for the dinner rush later, okay?”

Tamara couldn’t stay the blush that captured her cheeks as Sanji smiled at her like that. She had never been around other kids before, not even her cousin Aden was allowed to play with her. One look to her right where Zeff still stood; as well as the smile on his face for that matter, told her that he had seen it too. “ Like this?” she asked softly. She began mimicking Sanji’s movements and he looked over to her.

“ Not too bad, but try to leave as much of the flesh on as possible. I’ve got it from here, geezer. I think I can hear Patty and Carne going at it again.” Sanji said. He knew damn well the other cooks weren’t going back and forth as they were wont to do. Sanji was just trying to get Zeff out of the way. The old man would be too harsh on the girl. At least Sanji would be able to keep her from feeling a good chunk of that harshness. She was pretty for her age too. Maybe the same age as him, give or take a year or two. She had long brown hair that reached to the small of her back, though it was braided to keep it out of the way, and her bright blue eyes were watching her every movement. Already she had vastly improved on just cutting the skin away. Her nose was a little big for her face, but Sanji had a feeling she would grow into it when she got older.

The girl beside him would grow to be a hell of a gorgeous woman. Sanji was sure of that.

“ I’m sorry you have to sleep on the floor.” Tamara said softly. “ Though I thank you. You’re being quite hospitable despite the fact that the old fart gave you no choice in the matter.” She was a very quick study, Sanji noted. She was on her third potato and she was only taking the skin at this point. She’d make for a damn fine cook if she wasn’t royalty.

“ I don’t mind. Like I told the geezer, a lady deserves the comfort of a bed. If you don’t want me rooming with you, that’s fine too. I’ll sleep in Patty and Carne’s room.” Sanji replied. “ And you’re welcome.” He snorted a little as he thought of what Tamara had just called Zeff. “ I’ll have to remember that one.” he chuckled softly. “ It’ll be refreshing to have something else to call Old Man Zeff. What’s Denebra like?”

Tamara smiled as she thought about her homeland. “ It’s beautiful. It’s a chain of closely knit  islands at the end of the North Blue, with lush forests, big bold mountains, rolling fields, and bountiful lakes all connected by bridges made of the finest marble. My favorite thing to watch is the wild horses running over the fields of the main isle. They’re so graceful, balanced, and strong.” She sighed a little wistfully and Tamara dropped her potato into the bowl for chopping. " Maybe you can come see it sometime?" She had a big smile on her face as she looked to Sanji now and he gave her a bright one in return.

" You bet! I haven’t been to that part of the north blue yet! You see, I was born there in a little village called Croquette…" Sanji replied excitedly striking up a conversation with the young princess. It was rare he had a chance to actually talk about where he had come from.

And thus, a strong friendship was formed.


Tamara and Sanji grew close quickly, and the two children could always be seen running around during the off time either playing tag or hide and go seek. Tamara would sit down to watch Zeff teach Sanji his fighting style, her sharp eyes picking up every movement as the two trained together.

“ Are you just going to sit there and watch?” Zeff called out to her one morning.

Tamara seemed surprised at this. She still had a few months left on the ship with them, three if she remembered right. She had spent the last three weeks just watching them. “ You’re serious?” she asked.

“ I wouldn’t have told you to get over here if I wasn’t, brat. Sanji, I know you two are up earlier than the rest of us for the most part. Start running Tamara through what I’ve been training you for the last seven months.” Zeff ordered.

Sanji spat in distaste. “ I’m not going to hit her, Zeff.” he retorted. His grey blue eyes were narrowed on the restaurant owner at the very suggestion. After all, Zeff had all but beat it into him so far that he was never to kick a woman, ever.

“ Just show her the proper form of the kicks I’ve taught you so far, you damn brat. I won’t have anyone aboard this ship who cannot fight.”

Tamara bristled. So he thought she was weak just because she was royalty?! The nerve of that damned old fart! “ I assure you that I’ve been learning how to wield a blade since I was only three.” she snapped.

“ A lot of good that’ll do you here, unless you can use the kitchen knives as swords.” Zeff countered. His gaze was locked directly onto the girl’s right now. Yes, she had fire and passion. She was a born fighter, Zeff could see that. It was a shame that she would be coddled for the rest of her days once she left Baratie.

“ Any blade will do.” Tamara answered him defiantly. " I don't need your fancy footwork to survive either." She could feel both Zeff's and Sanji's displeasure with her for that statement.

Zeff clucked his tongue as he turned sharply to head inside. “ Get to work on training her, brat!” He snapped.

Tamara looked back over to Sanji who was giving her a rather cool glare. " I'm sorry Sanji...I was trying to piss that old fart off. I need to start thinking before I speak, I know.." she whispered when Zeff was back inside the restaurant.

" He's trying to help you, you know. What if you can't find yourself near a blade if we get attacked by pirates? Don't you want to protect your hands, Tamara? You told me once you liked to sew, and that you dreamed of making the world's most beautiful wedding dress one day. You don't care about the fact that you're a princess. I like that about you. But everything Zeff has been doing since your old man decided to punish you is to give you a sense of belonging. I don't care that you're a princess. You're my friend Tamara. Don't look a gift horse in the mouth though. Now, it's going to take time to put some power behind these kicks, especially since we're kids, but I'll run you through how you're supposed to do them." Sanji walked behind Tamara and he took both her hands so as to steady her. " Balance on your right leg and bring the left one up...Here, just follow my movements.”

Tamara was blushing brightly, but she managed to follow Sanji’s movements with little trouble. It was as if he was leading her while they were dancing. Her blue eyes looked over her shoulder a moment to look at Sanji and he gave her a small smile, one that she returned right away. Well, it would be good to have something else to fall back on, just in case.


It was late, much later than either of the children was supposed to be awake. Yet they both were for different reasons. Tamara was sitting up in the bed with her knees pulled up against her chest. She was sure Sanji had fallen asleep a little over an hour ago and Tamara sniffled a little as she fought to brush her tears away. They were coming faster than she could stem them. She choked back a sob and she hurriedly covered her mouth to quiet herself.

Sanji was turned away from Tamara, his eyes slit in his nervousness. He wasn’t sure what to do. Did he fake just waking and make her feel worse for waking him? Did he let her knew he had heard every little sniffle and sob? I can’t take this any more. She’s homesick and Zeff cut into her really bad today. She only needs a friend right now. the boy thought determinedly. Finally, Sanji sat up and he walked over to his bed. Tamara hadn’t even taken notice of him yet. He sat beside her, and wordlessly Sanji pulled Tamara into his arms. He didn’t need to say anything and neither did she. It wasn’t his business, but he wasn’t going to make her feel alone either. Sanji couldn’t do that to Tamara, not when she was in such a frail state as this. Tamara stiffened a little at the contact, but then her arms flew around his chest and she tried to bury her face against his neck.

Sanji leaned against the wall, his fingers still moving up and down Tamara’s back. She had fallen asleep against him and the boy couldn’t bring himself to wake her. You shouldn’t get so close to her...She goes home next month. he thought. But even then, Sanji knew that the friendship that he and Tamara had sprung up would last a lifetime. She truly had become his best friend over the course of the last three months.Sanji couldn’t help but smile a little as he looked down at her. Tamara had trusted him enough to allow him this close, closer that he thought she ever would have considering she was a princess. He wasn’t going to betray that trust.




Tamara was dressed in a simple gown and her hair was braided back as it had been for some time. She turned to Zeff with a smile. Her father’s ship was approaching quickly and there was something that she needed to speak with both the adults about. “ Thank you, chef.” she said with a polite bow. “ I know I must have been a little terror at times, but thank you.”

Zeff smiled. Sanji had yet to turn to her. “ You’re still a brat.” the old chef said.

Tamara walked over to Sanji with a sad smile on her face. “ You’ll come visit Denebra soon, right?” she asked quietly.

“ That’s up to the old geezer.” Sanji replied glumly. He couldn’t even look her in the eye right now, he was torn up at the fact she actually had to leave. He felt Tamara’s arms wind around his neck as she gave him a hug and Sanji hesitantly brought his own arms around her. It was going to be too quiet without her here. There were no other kids his age. How would he ever see her again? Would she forget the time she spent here soon?

“ Tamara, are you ready?” came a deep, gentle voice. “ Chef Zeff. Good to see you again.”

“ Your majesty.” Zeff replied with a curt bow. “ I dare say the reason she was pranking everyone as heavily as she was was because she had no one her age to interact with. As you can see, both your daughter and my charge have become quite close in the time that she’s spent here.” Both men looked over to where Tamara was still hugging Sanji tightly, though she was crying into his chef’s smock now. Sanji was holding her just as fiercely, though he wasn’t crying as hard as his friend was. “ Granted a few pranks have been pulled since then, but nothing major. Water balloons and flour. Stuff like that.” Zeff put a hand on each of their heads a moment and they looked up at him. “ It’ll definitely be quieter without her here.”

Tamara looked over to her father, and he gave her a soft smile. “ Papa...I’d like to come back during the summer time if that’s alright.” Tamara said. “ I know it’s not something a princess should be doing, but…” She paused as she drew upon her inner well of courage. “ I had fun here. I have friends here. I’ve learned a lot, and I want to learn more too. I can still be a princess even if I like doing such menial things. It’ll keep me humble.”

Tamara’s father looked over to Zeff, who looked curious as well. “ I’ll leave that decision in your hands, chef.” he said with a small smile. He raised his hands in surrender as Tamara and Sanji looked between them hopefully.

“ I’ll allow it.” Zeff replied and both children smiled brightly. “ On one condition however. No more pranking, keep up on your studies. And you had better be able to hold your own with what Sanji and I have taught you when you come back next May.”

Tamara nodded enthusiastically. “ I will, chef. I promise. Papa. I’ll need to start training more with Martin and Touza!”

“ Alright, Tamara. We’ll set that up when we get back to Denebra. Chef. Thank you. Say goodbye to your friend Tamara. And young man…”

Sanji’s interest piqued a little as he looked up at the denebran king. “ Yes your majesty?”

“ You’re welcome to write Tamara as often as you like and vice versa. I’m glad she finally has a friend her age. And if you ever want to visit, that’s fine by me as well. I doubt Tamara’s mother will complain either.” His kind blue eyes met Sanji’s and the boy gave him a bright smile. “ If it’s alright with Chef Zeff, I can bring you back with us and you can come back just before the winter months start.”

“ Maybe next year, your majesty.” Sanji replied. “ We’re still a little short staffed right now, especially with Tamara leaving too. Thank you for the offer, but I need to stay here for now. We’ll see you next May then Tamara?”

Tamara laughed and gave Sanji a thumbs up. “ Sounds like a plan to me.” she said excitedly. She gave her friend a quick thumbs up and then Tamara turned to Zeff. “ Thank you again, chef.”

“ Don’t go thanking me yet, brat. Next year will be even busier than we were this summer. I’ll be putting you to work on top of everything else.” Zeff retorted.

Tamara laughed and she gave the old man a hug as well. “ I’m counting on it, chef.” she whispered in his ear.

Zeff couldn’t hold back the laugh that bubbled forth nor could he keep the smile off of his face. Sanji was waving wildly to her as Tamara and her father boarded his ship and she bent over the bow in order to wave back. “ You and that girl are quite the pair, like two peas popped from the same pod.”

Sanji smirked a little as he looked up to Zeff. The ship had finally disappeared off the horizon. “ She was lonely. I was too. But now, we both know we have one another. She’s my best friend Zeff. That’s something that’ll never change.” Sanji replied.


The next summer found Tamara back at Baratie and she smiled brightly when she saw Zeff and Sanji waiting for her on the deck of the restaurant. She jumped over the port bow the minute the ship was moored and she ran over to Sanji, who met her in the middle.

" You're back!" he exclaimed happily. He looked over his friend's shoulder to Tamara's father, King Percival, as he came up behind her and he gave the king a hurried, but polite bow. "Your majesty."

Percival laughed a bit. " It's fine, Sanji, I'm travelling incognito right now. No need for such formalities."

" Why don't you two get her things up to your room and then head down to the dining room for supper. The boys should be about done by the time you two get Tamara unpacked." Zeff ordered.

Sanji and Tamara both nodded and the two children ran into the restaurant without another word.

" Thank you for allowing her back, Chef. Coming back to Baratie is all she's been able to talk about for the last month alone." Percival chortled. " I noticed that she and Sanji have been writing a lot of letters back and forth."

Zeff nodded. " It's good that he has a friend his age, and I'm glad that her highness feels the same way. As for allowing her back, Tamara said it herself. Working here with us will keep her humble. A humble queen will better understand her needy subjects. I hope you have no objections to me teaching how to fight."

" I've been watching her practice what you taught her last year and I must admit, I'm intrigued. She refused to use her hands for anything, but both Martin and Touza have informed me that she has a strong set of legs for someone her age." Percival smiled as he shook his head. " Would it be any trouble if my crew and I joined all of you for supper tonight? This way I can spend a little more time with Tamara?"

" That's perfectly fine, your majesty. I'm honored that you would dine with us." Zeff said honestly. Now he could see where Tamara was getting that humbleness from. Percival had it in spades.


Tamara and Sanji smiled as they set the table for everyone. This was one of their chores once their meal times came and the two would turn it into a race to see who could set their side of the table the fastest. This was no different.

" Ha!" Tamara crowed. " I've been gone the last eight months and I still beat you!"

Sanji laughed. " You're on your own in the morning anyway. I'm on cooking detail for breakfast and prep during the lunch and dinner rushes." Sanji retorted with a smirk.

" I'm putting Tamara on the line with you, Sanji." Zeff said imperiously. " In other words, not only do both of you have to help with cooking, but set the table as well."

Tamara smirked back at Sanji. " I didn't sit on my laurels when I went home you know. I help out three to four times a week in the palace kitchens so that I don't get rusty." she said with a shrug.

Sanji snickered. " I bet the head chef there about had a heart attack at first."

Percival chuckled. " You're not too far off the mark. It wasn't until Tamara proved that she could start cooking that he allowed her in the kitchens with them. Admittedly, she's not half bad."

" Thanks Papa." Tamara said. " Are you getting ready to head out?"

" No, you need to get ten more settings. They'll be joining us tonight before they head off." Zeff replied.

" Yes chef!" both the children answered simultaneously.

" They're quite the pair, aren't they?" Percival murmured softly. His smile was soft as he watched Tamara interact with her friend and he looked over to Zeff. " I wanted to ask you first, but if Sanji wishes to visit Denebra come September, will I be permitted to bring him back with me for the fall months? It's only fair that he be allowed to spend the same amount of time with us at the palace as our guest as you accommodate Tamara's visits."

" Just bring a cook or two to intern here, and I'll allow it. The boy may not look it now, but he's fast in the kitchen and one of my best cooks. Sanji's going to make a hell of a chef come one day." Zeff replied.

Percival nodded in agreement. “ Both of them will make for fine adults when they grow up. Tamara hasn’t been able to stop talking about Sanji all week.” he chortled.

Zeff chuckled as well. “ It’s been the same with Sanji. He hasn’t said anything, but he’s been taking his meals on the deck for the last week while waiting for you and your daughter to arrive.” The food began coming from the kitchens the minute Tamara set the last fork into place. Hopefully, this summer would be as uneventful as last years. Not a chance with those two...Zeff thought with a small laugh as he looked back over to Sanji and Tamara. Both were seated beside the girl's father and the king was listening to them as they chattered on. That man must have the patience of a saint to try to listen to both of them at the same time.

No, this summer was probably going to be just as rowdy as last years, especially where those two were concerned. Zeff was positive of that.


Tamara and Sanji came up the stairs into the kitchen, each hauling a tub full of dishes that needed to be washed. Both kids were calling about ‘Behind you!’ so that no one bumped them or vice versa.

“ I told you, you idiot! That pot needs to simmer for another fifteen minutes! I just stirred it a minute ago!” Patty yelled from the cooks line where he was currently plating.

“ And I’m telling you this soup is going to be rendered inedible if you keep it on the burner at that heat!” Carne argued back. He picked the pot up, but due to his yelling he had not heard or seen Tamara coming around him. Both suddenly bumped into one another and the tub of dishes crashed to the floor along with Tamara.

Zeff was on the other side of the kitchen when he heard Tamara’s scream. His blue eyes went wide in worry and the old man hurried from where he was prepping the vegetables for the dinner time rush. Sure enough, there was a crowd of chefs gathered near some broken dishes. Dammit, if one of those bumbling idiots had thrown a dish and and hit Tamara or if Tamara had cut herself on it, he was going to throttle someone. “ Let me through!” Zeff ordered. “ Everyone back to their posts this instant!”

As the throng cleared, the sight that came to Zeff was much worse than he thought. There were not only broken dishes strewn across the floor, but there was piping hot chowder as well, the clam chowder that was supposed to have been today’s special. The pot lay on it’s side, and Tamara's head was currently in Sanji’s lap. She was gripping the boy’s pants tightly as she tried her best not to make too much noise. She couldn’t alarm the customers more than she probably already had. Her left arm, due to her sleeve being rolled up past her elbow, was severely blistered and red from just above her elbow down to the middle of her forearm.

“ Oh lord.” he whispered under his breath. “ Carne, get this mess cleaned up now and get another batch of chowder going. Patty, get Tamara up to my room now. I need to see if there’s a doctor present. If not, the two of us will need to set sail immediately. Sanji. Go get one of your short sleeved tee shirts so that we can get as much away from that burn as possible.”

Sanji looked hesitant to leave Tamara, as she was still holding onto him with a death grip. It was taking everything in her not to scream in the obvious pain she was in. Patty reached down to pick the girl up, and Tamara hissed as her arm was forced to move with her.

“ Sanji…I’ll be fine for now. Just do what chef asked you to do…” Tamara said. There was sweat beading on her brow, but she gave Sanji a small, but pain laced, smile.

Sanji nodded and he took off up the stairs before Patty did with Tamara in tow.


Zeff walked into the dining room with a weary look on his face. “ I am sorry to bother all of you, but I must ask if there is a doctor currently present in the house. We unfortunately had an incident in the kitchen that requires immediate medical attention.” he said carefully.

“ I’m a doctor!” came a voice from one of the tables. “ I’ll go get my supplies from the boat I was on!”

Thank goodness…Zeff thought. It would have been much worse for Tamara if they had needed to wait the two days it took to get to town. His brow furrowed. Now he needed to find out what had happened to cause this mess.


Sanji was sitting outside of Zeff’s room, his back leaning against the wall and his legs pulled up to his chest. Zeff, Tamara, and the doctor had been in there for the last three hours, and it had Sanji worried that he couldn’t be in there with her. He hadn’t been able to hear much, but to her credit, Tamara hadn’t screamed in agony like she had when the pot had fallen on her arm. The hottest part, the bottom, had hit first, and Sanji swore that he had actually hear a sizzle there for a moment when it connected to her unguarded skin. They had all stood there in shock for a moment until Tamara had screamed. That had been when Sanji had kicked it to the floor.

By that point the damage had been done.

Finally the door opened and the doctor stepped out. “ I’ll let my crew know we’ve been invited to join all of you for supper. Thank you for the extra meal chef.” he said.

“ Doctor Summers, I should be thanking you. Your crews tab from today is on the house for attending to the princess as quickly as you did. I’m sorry I can’t offer more.” Zeff replied as he too stepped from the room.

“ You’ve got a weeks worth of bandages, and I can work on some medicine that will help her highness with the pain she’s in. I want to make sure she has enough until that burn heals better. I’m also going to be making her a cream that will need to be applied every day with the bandage change. All together that’ll take me three days. Such a strong girl…” Summers whispered in awe. “ I can’t believe she didn’t scream once during the whole thing.”

Zeff looked down to Sanji. “ Then you and your crew will be joining us for meals for the next three days. It’s the least we can do to thank you. As for her strength...I think it was more that she was trying to keep her best friend from worrying too much.” he said as he ruffled Sanji’s hair. “ Go get her some consomme and some bread rolls and then some dinner for yourself. She doesn’t need anything too heavy in her stomach right now with as much pain as she’s in. I’ll be taking her back to your room once Doctor Summers and I finish talking.”

Sanji nodded. “ Yes chef.” he replied hurriedly.


Tamara was still sweating bullets as she laid in bed. The doctor had said it was a third degree burn, and that she would have some scarring from it. He had done his best to remove all the blistered and blackened skin from her arm. She got lucky, it hadn’t it her hand. She would have been devastated if she couldn’t sew anymore.

Sanji soon entered the room with a tray and Tamara sat up with some difficulty. “ Just lean against the wall, Mara. I’ll take care of you for now.” he said gently.

“ My right hand still works, Sanji.” she retorted. “ I don’t need to be pampered.”

“ I know you’re left handed Tamara. I found that out when we were julienning the carrots the other afternoon. You were cutting the opposite way I was.” Sanji’s voice had an edge to it that was hard to miss. He was glowering at her openly and Tamara caved with a slump of her shoulders. “ You realize that you don’t have to put on a front around me. I know you’re hurting. You don’t have to try to hide it, alright?”

Tamara nodded slowly. “ I just don’t want to look like the weak little princess to all of you.” she whimpered. “ This is the one place I don’t have to act prim and proper. I can actually be a kid…” She was getting ready to say more when Sanji popped one of the two bread rolls he had brought for her into her mouth.

“ You don’t have to explain yourself to me. You need to eat though. You haven’t had anything since breakfast.” Sanji said with a smirk. That got him a pained glare in retaliation though Tamara chewed it.


When Zeff came into Sanji’s room to check on his charges, he found them fast asleep in a position not unlike what he had seen earlier. By the look of things, Sanji had been reading to her while she rested her head against the pillow in his lap and his hand was sitting atop the chocolate colored curls at the nape of her neck. He must have been running his hand through her hair... Her left arm was stretched out, her fingers slightly curled in relaxation. Doctor Summers had managed to make some of the pain reliever for her after he had finished with her treatment earlier. Good to see it was working so well.

Smiling softly, Zeff eased Sanji off the wall enough to wrap his blanket around him. He wasn’t going to move either of them while they slept so soundly. Besides, after the day Tamara had had, some exceptions needed to be made.


Six years later:

“ Tamara!”

Fifteen year old Tamara was in the middle of packing her things for her annual summer trip to Baratie and she looked up in surprise as her father burst into her room. “ Papa?” she asked curiously. “ Papa what’s wrong?”

Percival pulled Tamara in close by her shoulders as he looked around hurriedly. So far no one had followed him. “ I need you to do something for me.” he whispered. “ Magnus is making his move. No matter what news you hear, do not return in September. If you can, stay on Baratie. At least I know you’ll be safe there.” He knew she would be more than safe. Sanji had been to visit a few times in the winter months when the seasonally slow period hit the restaurant and the king could see how the two youngsters acted with one another. They were extremely close, and acted more as if they were courting than as friends nowadays. Especially if the month Sanji had spent with them earlier in the year said anything. He wanted to tell Tamara how much he and her mother approved of the young man, how they loved the light and laughter Sanji brought her with his presence. He wanted Tamara to pursue a relationship with him, to find her own happiness away from Denebra. To follow her own dreams as opposed to what her heritage dictated. There wasn't much time and there were too many eyes and ears about nowadays. He wanted his daughter as safe as possible.

Tamara face paled. “ Papa...Please tell me that’s not true.” she whimpered. “ Magnus can’t be allowed to keep doing this! He’s going to kill all of us if he keeps this up and the people will only allow it!”

“ He can’t kill you if he can’t get to you. Magnus can’t stand the sea...He wouldn’t dare go after you. Give this letter to Zeff when you get there. It explains everything that’s going on. Just promise me you will not return to Denebra.” the king pleaded desperately with his daughter.

“ I can’t make that promise. I don’t know if Zeff will let me stay that long…” Tamara replied tearfully. Her thoughts turned to Baratie. She never wanted to leave Baratie again but she knew she would if her family was in danger. Even if it meant leaving Sanji behind. The boy had grown up into a handsome young man when she saw him last year. Even now, Tamara could feel her heart fluttering at the thought of him. He had been her closest friend for years. But he was quickly becoming more than that to Tamara.

Sanji was slowly capturing her heart without even trying.


Sanji was pacing his room a bit. Tamara would be pissed if she knew how much he had been smoking lately. All summer last year she had kept on his ass to quit smoking around her. He had switched to clove cigarettes earlier this year when he had caught a whiff of one during a smoke break from the kitchen. He had quickly fallen in love with their sweet scent. He looked at the calendar. She was supposed to be arriving in only a week! Dammit! How was he supposed to cut back that quick?! Sanji grabbed his plain clothes from his closet and stuffed them into a bag. He needed to go into town anyway.

“ Where do you think you’re going?” Patty demanded as Sanji strode confidently for his boat. “ You already did the shopping the other day.”

“ I forgot to get something. I’ll be back in time for Tamara to get here.” Sanji replied. “ Tell the old goat for me, will you?”

“ No need. Just be careful and make sure you get back here at least a day before Tamara arrives. Pick up some more food while you’re at it. Did you forget how much that girl can pack away?” Zeff had smirk on his face as he spoke. He tossed Sanji a bag with a good amount of berries inside for the shopping. It was more than enough to be honest. “ And make sure that whatever you get for Tamara for her birthday in August, grab something from the rest of us!”

Sanji smiled in return. “ You can do that yourself, old man. I’ll grab the extra food for sure though. I’ll be back in three days, four tops!”


Tamara had a worried smile on her face as she watched her father’s ship, the Golden Swan, disappear into the horizon. She had landed on Baratie a few minutes ago and she was trying to compose herself before she headed inside. I can only pray that Zeff will let me stay here…she thought nervously. As she drew closer to the entrance the door opened and she smiled brightly. " Sanji!" she exclaimed, and Tamara dropped her bag on the deck to go running over to him.

Sanji caught her in his arms and he spun her around. " It's about time you got here." he said.

" Oh get off it already. You're just mad because I missed the dinner rush." Tamara replied. She tousled Sanji's hair affectionately and he fussed a bit as he set to preening it back into place.

" Do you have to do that every time you come back for the summer?" He snarked. Sanji walked over to where Tamara had dropped her bag and he picked it back up for her.

" Yep. It's funny watching you fuss over your hair like that." Tamara laughed at the sour look she got and she smiled as he opened the door for her. That smile quickly faded though as Tamara pulled the letter from her father out of her bag. " Where's the old fart at? I need to talk to him about something important."

Sanji was confused at the worried tone in Tamara’s voice. Whatever it was, he'd get it out of her later. " Probably up in his room. I'll take your bag to my room then."

Tamara nodded as she went up the staircase to Zeff's room. The sooner she got this talk out of the way the better.


Zeff was sharpening his knives when Tamara walked into the room after he had given her the order to enter. “ Welcome back.” he grumped. The dinner rush had been wilder than usual. Then again, Sanji had been in a tizzy trying to get everything ready for when the girl before him arrived.

“ I’m sorry to bother you this late chef.” Tamara whispered. Her blue eyes were cast down to the floor as she closed the door behind her. “ There’s something extremely important I need to talk to you about.”

“ That important?” Zeff asked her. He put his knives down and he turned a little to allow Tamara to sit on the bed beside him. “ What’s going on, Mara?” He wrapped an arm around her shoulders and he pulled the young girl into his embrace. Though he would never show it outside of it being just the two of them, Zeff had a soft spot towards Tamara that was bigger than the East Blue. Tamara was the daughter he never had, just as Sanji was the son he never got to have.

Tamara’s face scrunched up as tears pricked at her eyes, and she gripped Zeff’s shirt tightly. “ Zeff…I'm scared...” she whimpered.


Sanji was staring through the darkness at the ceiling. Tamara was sleeping fitfully in his bed and every now and again she'd whimper as she dreamed. He was worried about her. In the last six years that she had been coming to Baratie, Tamara had never slept this lightly. Every bump had her bolting upright, every creak woke her with a start. It was as if every noise triggered an alarm inside her mind.

Sure enough, a long creaking sound had Tamara sitting upright once again and Sanji sat up as well. " Mara? What's wrong?" He asked her.

Tamara trembled a little as she held her face in her hands. " I'm sorry if I'm keeping you up, Sanji." She murmured. " Things have been very tense since I went back home last year. My uncle is trying to oust my father for the denebran throne and I'm worried of what I might return to when September comes." Tamara had spoken things over with Zeff in great detail and both agreed that it would be safer for her to stay on Baratie, but Tamara knew she was not going to abandon her family that easily. She had made up her mind that she would be returning to Denebra once the summer was over. " I spent many sleepless nights worrying about an assassination attempt..."

Sanji's brow tightened in worry and he got up from his futon. Sitting in the bed beside her, Sanji leaned her into his embrace. " You're safe here, Tamara. I won't let anything harm you. I promise." He said softly.

Tamara snuggled tightly against him and she sighed a little. " There are rumors that he's in league with pirates now...What if they attack here?" She mumbled against his chest.

Sanji shook his head. " You know as well as I do that we can fend off a pretty decent sized force. Remember last year when that band of pirates attacked us in an attempt to kidnap you for ransom?" He ran his left hand slowly up and down her back in an effort to soothe her and he blew a riotous chocolate curl out of his face.

Tamara chuckled. " We kicked their asses something fierce, huh?" She replied mirthfully.

They fell silent for a bit and Tamara looked up at Sanji with a tired grin. He had a knack for helping her feel better.

Sanji couldn't keep himself from staring at her. In the moonlight, Tamara had an ethereal glow that made her look angelic. As he had surmised years ago, the young woman in his arms was growing up beautifully. One hand settled against her cheek and she leaned into his touch. He leaned forward touching his head to hers in a show of affection. " Get some sleep. We have an early morning."

" Can you stay up here a little longer, at least until I fall asleep?" Tamara’s voice was nervous still and her troubled gaze met his worried one.

Sanji sighed in defeat and he laid down towards the pillows. Tamara followed suit and she felt him spoon around her and his arm tightened a little over her midriff. The feeling of safety washed over her after a few moments and Tamara sighed happily. This was something she wouldn't mind getting used to.

Little did Tamara know Sanji was thinking the same thing.


Zeff looked in through the window at the sleeping teens, his smile soft as he looked at how comfortable they were with one another. He wasn't all to surprised to see that Tamara was in need of comfort, and he was relieved to see that Sanji wasn't taking advantage of the situation. He was a healthy young man of seventeen after all and Tamara was beautiful for her age. Zeff knew that Sanji didn't consider Tamara as just a friend any longer, though he did his best to hide it when she was around. He only hoped Sanji could convince Tamara to stay once the summer months were over.


Sanji looked over his shoulder at the door to make sure Tamara wasn't going to come barging in. He looked down at his chest of drawers and he sighed a little as he looked at the little ring box that lay hidden in the top drawer. He had gone back to his hometown after Tamara had returned home last year to pick this up, though he was nervous as all hell about when he was going to give it to her. That was in two weeks, her sixteenth birthday...

Sanji hadn't even realized he had fallen hard for his best friend until she left last summer. As usual, the two had hugged and cried a little, but Tamara had done something different. She had given him a soft, lingering kiss on his cheek that had left Sanji's heart thundering in his chest. If only he had turned his head then, he had thought wistfully after the fact. He loved Tamara very deeply and had often day dreamed what it would be like if she never left. He had gotten a little glimpse of it here and there over the course of the last few months. He hadn't slept on the futon since she had returned, as if they both needed each others presence now as they slept. Every night, Sanji would hold her close to him, sometimes he would wake in the middle of the night to find Tamara half on top of him in an attempt to keep listening to his heartbeat. When they woke to the alarm, both would groan a bit, but once their eyes met, they would both smile shyly and set about getting ready for the day.

Sanji was determined as all hell to kiss her first before he gave her that ring though.

He heard footsteps stomping towards his room and Sanji hurriedly slammed the drawer shut before Tamara could come inside. He quickly made it look as if he was right in the middle of changing and the door opened too fast for him to react.

" Good god, I am going to have that bastard's head on a platter!" she seethed, only to stop short at the sight of Sanji pulling on a pair of jeans over his hips. Tamara blushed brightly as she turned away. " You should have locked the door."

Sanji smirked at the sight of the pink tinge on her cheeks. She looked insanely cute with it he realized. " And let you miss out on an opportunity to embarrass yourself?" he purred as he pulled on a tee shirt. " I wouldn't dream of it. Besides, now it makes me wonder just how far down that blush creeps."

Tamara’s blush intensified at Sanji flirtatious banter, though she couldn't lie that she couldn't tear her eyes away from him. His muscles had rolled like waves on the sea as he had pulled his shirt on. " Get changed and meet me at the boat. Zeff gave us the next two weeks off and I need to get away from here for a bit. I know you do too."

Tamara smirked. She could try to pull the same stunt he just had to see what the results would be. She might be only coming on sixteen, but her hormones were definitely in overdrive. There had been many a night in the shower where she had needed to work out some of the lustiness that sleeping beside him on a nightly basis had caused. " Hurry up and get out of here already so that I can change. Our bags are on the boat, right?"

Sanji nodded and he looked at the outfit Tamara was pulling out. Jean shorts, a tight fitting tank, and her favorite sandals. Dear god, she was going to have his tongue lolling out of his mouth if Sanji wasn't careful. " Don't keep me waiting long then." he whispered in her ear.

The door closed a moment later and Tamara shuddered a bit. Shit, now she had to change her knickers too. Damn Sanji and that voice of his.


Sanji and Tamara smiled as they steered the boat towards one of their favorite islands to visit. There was a festival happening in the next few days, and Tamara had always wanted to go to it. It was a two day trip, provided they kept course, and the teens were chattering excitedly as they finished their preparations.

Sanji could hardly keep his eyes off of Tamara. Granted, she was shorter than he was, but she had long, lean legs that he wanted to kiss and nibble on. Preferably in an intimate setting. I'm only a flesh and blood man and she's a beautiful young woman. Sanji thought as he came back onto the deck. His breath was suddenly taken as he looked at her. Tamara was silhouetted against the sunset as she leaned against the bow, content to watch the waves roll by. Her luscious chocolate colored curls were hanging freely down her back, swaying softly in the sea breeze.

She was stunning, no...She looked like perfection. Even in a pair of jean shorts and a tank top; hardly the kind of clothing a princess should be wearing, Tamara looked nothing short of perfect to Sanji.

Silently, he joined her at the bow and one arm wrapped around her. His hand came to a rest on her hip and Tamara's arm snaked around his waist as well. Her head leaned against his shoulder and she sighed happily. " I need to ask you something." she whispered.

" You know you can talk to me about anything, Mara." Sanji replied. How long had it been since they had given her that nickname? It was safer in the long run to call her that, especially out in the open if they went into town. But to Sanji, it was more than that. He and Zeff were the only two people allowed to call her that in a private setting.

" If I stayed this time, what would you do?" Tamara's voice was as quiet as a summer breeze. Her head was still against his shoulder, her eyes straight ahead. She couldn’t believe she was even entertaining this idea. With every day that passed by, Tamara wanted to stay with Sanji. It went further than the feeling of safety he gave her when they slept. For those few hours, she felt as if nothing in the world was more important to him than holding her. The sun had set completely and the stars were starting to peak out as darkness crept further off of the horizon.

Sanji sighed heavily. The question was, what wouldn't he do? He was already planning on finding a way to keep her with him. Denebra wasn't safe for her right now, if it ever would be again, and Sanji not only wanted to secure her safety, but her happiness as well. He had them turn to face each other, and he leaned in close. Resting his head against hers, Sanji looked her in the eye. " There's quite a bit I'd do to be honest." he said, pulling away from her after a moment.

A swell rocked the boat, sending Sanji toppling into Tamara. Both crashed to the deck, face to face, nose to nose. Oh dear lord, he was right on top of her. Sanji could feel her breasts mashed against his chest, every luscious curve pressed against his toned lithe form. Shit, he was between her legs nonetheless and her hips were pressed tightly to his own!

Don't get a boner! DO NOT GET A BONER! he thought desperately. Sanji couldn't move, couldn't breathe! His face was on fire with as intensely as he was blushing and Tamara was a deep shade of crimson herself. His eyes peeked down a bit and his attempts to stave off nature's will were for not. That cute little blush traveled down her neck and came to a stop at the top of her breasts. The very breasts that were still tight against his chest. Shit...Tamara is going to kill me...he thought as his erection pulsed between them. It was taking all of his might to not roll his hips against hers, to not zero out the distance between them and show Tamara just how deeply he loved her.

Dear lord, Sanji loved her.

With a nervous swallow, Sanji began to pull his body away from hers and he bit back a groan as pleasure laced through him. Tamara gasped as well and her jaw dropped as the same feeling coursed through her.

Dammit. If she made that face again, he was done for. Before Sanji could lift himself completely off of Tamara, both her hands grabbed his tee shirt and her legs wrapped around his hips. Without even knowing how or when it happened, Sanji found himself on his back against the deck and Tamara had him pinned tightly.

“ Something like this?” Tamara asked him, her cerulean eyes liquid and impossibly blue. There was a huskiness to her voice that was impossible to miss.

“ Not quite.” Sanji replied, pulling Tamara tight against him and rolling over to pin her once more. “ Something more like this.” Without thinking, Sanji kissed her.

Tamara’s hands were tangled in Sanji’s hair as they undulated against one another, their tongues dueling fiercely. She had never felt such heat, such intensity from him before. The way Sanji was kissing her had turned her legs into jelly and there was a slow pulsing sensation spreading through her. Desire...she thought numbly, though both teens were gasping as they dry humped one another. By the stars above, I desire him...More than that, I love him… Tamara felt Sanji pull her up and he lifted her with ease against his chest.

She didn’t know how he managed to get them both into the bed, but Sanji had and Tamara writhed against him as he zeroed out any space between them. They were moving together perfectly, years of training together had them synchronized to a tee. Her hands pulled at his shirt, needing to rid Sanji of it, needing to feel his skin against hers. There was no shyness or hesitation, no bashfulness on Tamara’s part as Sanji returned the favor and his head dipped down to suckle the skin over her collarbone. They were wildly ridding one another of their clothing, both of them consumed by the frenzied need to become one.

“ I love you…” Sanji whispered against her lips, his voice rich, deep, and sultry. He would have never dreamed Tamara would be against him like this, would have never thought this was even a remote possibility between them. She was a princess, and deserved a prince…

“ I love you too, Sanji…” Tamara replied softly. She gasped against his lips as he kissed her passionately, and she felt his rigid length settle against her entrance. With a shudder, Tamara tightened her legs and she drew Sanji in closer to her. It would only be a moment of pain, and then Sanji would be able to show her just how he felt for her.

Sanji eased her legs away from his hips, and he lined himself up so that he wouldn’t hurt her too much. Dear god, she was so hot, so wet it was maddening! “ I’m sorry...I know this’ll hurt…” he said regretfully. He never wanted to hurt her if it were possible. His heart was still thudding wildly against his chest at the thought that Tamara had reciprocated his love for her. How had he never noticed before?

“ I’ll be fine, Sanji. Please, show me, teach me…” Tamara whispered against his lips. “ Just...Just be gentle.”

“ I can do that. I wanted you to know this is a first for me as it is for you...” Sanji replied as he kissed her slowly and leisurely. With a quick snap of his hips, Sanji was buried inside the hottest, tightest sleeve that could ever be known to man. His jaw went slack even as Tamara cried out as he tore through her innocence, though he hurriedly began kissing her again. He needed to wait for her signal now; Zeff and the other men of Baratie had had that particular talk with Sanji last winter much to his chagrin, and Sanji panted between kisses. “ Tamara…” he moaned.

“ I thought I said gently…” she groaned. She felt as if she were being stretched over a thick, meaty pole.

“ Remind me to kill the others then for suggesting that then.”

Tamara couldn’t help but laugh. So Sanji had gotten the talk from the cooks huh? “ Enough talk…” She pulled on Sanji’s neck to bring him down for a kiss that left his senses addled. “ We have other things to be doing.”

Sanji smirked. “ I can oblige that.” he purred and his lips captured Tamara’s again. His hips rocked against hers, and Tamara cried out into his mouth at the feeling. “ I don’t think either of us are getting any sleep tonight.”

Tamara smiled almost predatorily. “ I’m counting on that.” she growled in return, only to have her jaw go slack as Sanji pulled away only to fill her again.

“ Glad to see that we’re on the same page then.” Sanji replied sexily as he put all of his focus on what really mattered.



Tamara laughed brightly as they docked the boat back at Baratie and Sanji lifted her over the bow and onto the restaurant's deck. The two shared a quick kiss under the stars and Tamara hummed happily at the contact. It was well after dark and Baratie was closed for the night. They were both sure no one was watching. She and Sanji walked hand in hand towards the entrance and Zeff walked out to greet them.

" Did you two have a good time?" He asked with a hint of a smile on his face at what he had just seen. It looked as if Sanji had finally acted on his attraction to the young princess. The thought of the two of them finding happiness together in this dark time of Tamara's life brought some solace to the old chef.

" The festival was wonderful." Tamara said with a broad grin. There had been fireworks at the end of it, both in the sky and between them. Sanji had made love to her under the stars and the fireworks that night. It was a memory that she wouldn't soon forget.

Sanji stayed silent as the three of them entered the main room of the restaurant and both teens looked around puzzled. Why was it so dark?

Without warning, the lights flooded on and all the staff jumped up from their hiding spots.


Tamara was stunned, but she laughed nonetheless. It looked as if they had pulled on over on Sanji too, by not telling him they were planning this. Soon, music, food, and laughter filled the restaurant as the party began in earnest. Sanji had disappeared for a brief moment, but Tamara had been dancing a rather jolly jig with Patty and Carne when he returned.

The cake was cut and presents abounded, most of them either books, sewing materials, or dresses for the young woman to wear. Sanji swallowed hard and Zeff gave him a nod. How had the old coot figured him out?!

" Tamara. I think you have one last gift to open." Sanji said nervously. " Tell you what, I need a smoke, mind if we step outside?"

Tamara smiled and nodded. " We'll be right back guys!" She called out over the din.

Catcalls and whistles followed them as Sanji led Tamara towards their favorite spot on the boat. Lighting up his cigarette, Sanji braced himself. His heart was hammering in his chest so loudly that he was sure Tamara could hear it.

" So what's this present you don't want to give me in front of everyone else?" Tamara teased. Both of them knew that the rest of the staff were watching them from the windows inside.

Taking a final drag off his cigarette, Sanji pulled Tamara close and gave her a searing hot kiss. He opened the ring box in his pocket and slipped the pretty band out of it's velvet lining. His right hand found her left and he began slipping the pretty band onto her finger. Tamara's gasp against his mouth told him she knew what it was. " It's not so much a gift for you, as the gift of having you for a bride would be for me." He whispered against her lips. " I can't even pinpoint the exact moment I fell in love with you Tamara, but I know for a fact that I don't want to live the rest of my life without you in it. This place isn't a palace, I can't give you the life of luxury befitting a princess, but I can promise that I'll love you with everything thing I am until my dying breath. We don't have to do this right away, I just need to know that you'll always be mine. You are the other half of my heart Tamara. Will you marry me?"

Tamara had tears trickling down her cheeks as she looked down at the pretty white gold band set with an emerald, a peridot, and a diamond. It looked like a blossoming flower. A smile spread across her face and her arms flew around Sanji's neck. " Yes!" She cried out happily.

Shouts of joy and tribulation boomed from inside the restaurant as the two teens kissed once more, both brimming with happiness.

Unfortunately, it was a happiness that was short lived.


Tamara was clearing dishes from the tables when the door burst open and one of the female patrons gave a scream. Fearing another pirate attack, Tamara looked up, but didn't see anyone blocking the door. Instead, there was a wounded man on all fours.

He was wearing Denebran armor.

Tamara’s eyes widened as she ran over to the injured soldier and she turned him over. " Martin!" She gasped in terror. What the blue hell was he doing here?! " SANJI! GET THE OWNER!"

Sanji was just coming down the stairs to see what the commotion was about when he heard Tamara's order. His eyes widened at the sight of the bloodied, wounded man in his fiance's arms. That was the captain of the Denebran royal guard! " Chef Zeff! Come here, hurry!" He called up the stairs. Sanji ran over to where Tamara was as the patrons muttered amongst themselves. " Help me get him to the living quarters."

" There's no time!" Martin wheezed. He grasped Tamara's shoulder tightly. " Magnus...He killed the king and queen, your cousins...The royal line has been obliterated except for you...Your highness...I..." A coughing fit racked his injured body and Martin felt himself get eased up to his feet. " I had to warn you...He's sending a fleet here to kill you, princess."

Tamaras eyes widened even as they filled with tears. Her parents, Aden, her family. All dead. Except for Magnus. They got Martin to one of the spare bedrooms and Sanji eased him onto the bed.

" Take it easy, Martin. We'll get you patched up in no time." Sanji said consolingly.

Martin looked to Sanji with a sad smile on his face. The boy had visited for a couple of months over the years. " Their majesties adored you." He said as if delirious. " You've brought the princess so much happiness...They always knew the two of you would be together one day." He fell still against the bed, unconscious.

Tamara choked back a sob. She had never known that her parents had approved of Sanji from the start. The two looked to one another and Tamara rushed from the room. Sanji didn't know how to console her.

Tamara burst into their room in sobs and she threw herself on the bed. Why? Why did it have to come to this? Why now? Then it hit Tamara why Magnus had made his move.

She had come of age.

Her mind moving a thousand leagues a minute, Tamara sat up and she began penning a letter. She wasn't going to let that bastard have the satisfaction of killing everyone on Baratie.

The first letter penned, Tamara sealed it and began writing another one. This one left her in tears by the end of it, but it needed to be done.


Sanji entered their room a couple hours later. Tamara looked as if she had cried herself to sleep. Martin was going to live, thank god, but there was more sad news for Tamara. Touza had been killed in the line of duty. The two guards had been the ones to teach Tamara everything she knew about swordplay. Everything else she had learned from Zeff and Sanji.

He laid down beside her, though the movement woke her. " I'm sorry. I didn't mean to wake you." He whispered against her neck.

" It's fine. Is Martin okay?" She asked.

" He will be." Sanji replied. Tamara turned in his arms and her arms wrapped tightly around his torso. " I could kill that asshole for causing you so much pain."

" You won't have to Sanji. He'll get what's coming to him." Tamara hissed darkly in response. She had tensed up beyond belief in his grasp. You won't have to because I'm going to gut him first. she thought.

Sanji's hold on Tamara tightened and his lips found hers. He knew exactly what she had meant by those words, and Sanji wanted to keep her from sinking into darkness like that. Revenge would never solve anything, would never heal the hurt that had been dealt. It wasn't going to bring her family back. She was the last of the ruling line, aside from her uncle. Tamara needed to live. She had a reason! That reason was sitting on her finger and Sanji's chest tightened. He knew she was leaving as soon as she could, but he didn't tell her that. He was going to do his damnedest to convince her to stay.

No words were spoken as Sanji made love to her, though Tamara was clinging to him tightly in tears as he brought her to the crest of the wave they had been riding together for a while. Sanji groaned as he found himself on bottom with Tamara bouncing softly in his lap. Her chocolate curls were tickling his thighs as her head flew back in her abandon, and her hips rolled sinfully to make him touch every part of her that he could. She fell over him, their mouths finding each other and their tongues entwined like their bodies. He sat up as Tamara pulled away, never once losing contact with her. Sanji was determined to show her how much she meant to him, even if their bodies were doing all the talking. His hips met hers in the middle, forcing eager cries of pleasure from his fiance, and Sanji groaned as he felt his release building. Tamara was drawing closer again as well and soon she was crying out his name and her rapture as they toppled over the precipice together.

They crashed against the bed, a tangle of limbs, and Sanji wrapped his arms tight around Tamara. He was terrified to let her go. " I love you." he whispered into the growing darkness. Sanji felt her breathing even out as she softly affirmed her own love for him and he found he couldn't stave off sleep much longer himself.

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