This is crossposted in my ao3 DreamOfStarsAndRoses. Feel free to leave a kudos there hehe!
He was a tall man. Reiju noted at their first meeting. Taller than her father. Of course, he was intimidating too as there was a fixed glared on his face that did not suit the beautiful bouquet of flowers in his arms. His clothes were foreign to her as it did not seem to have purpose to clothe his body. His chiseled torso was exposed for the world to see. A dark jacket hugged his body uselessly. There was also that scarf wrapped around his neck which covered a small portion of his face. In Germa, every little thing had purpose. Most especially, the clothes. Reiju looked thoughtfully at her husband-to-be. He was twice her age too but did not look like he was almost half a century.
Reiju painfully admitted he was handsome.
They stood together in the garden, her hands locked behind her as she gazed at the Sweet General of Totto Land. He seemed to mutter something behind his scarf before thrusting the bouquet to her. Her hands dropped and she reluctantly took the flower in his large hands. The flowers dwarfed her figure and a smile slipped to her lips.
The feeling of standing before a stranger made her feel free and she accepted the flowers with a thank you. The man (should she start calling him Katakuri?) looked anywhere beside her.
"You were not what I was expecting." She said bluntly.
His neck twisted to properly looked at her. His crimson eyes were wary and he seemed to hide his head behind his scarf more. "You must be dismayed."
She chirped, "Not at all."
He gave no expression whatsoever. Reiju felt like he didn't care. Truthfully, neither did she. This marriage is a part of allying with the Big Mom Pirates, Judge's dream, and her freedom. Should this hasten her death, she did not care. It was obvious this alliance would be doomed. Their father was against it when she volunteered to take Sanji's place. Her little brother did not deserve to relive his life in Germa by being with them. He was a pirate now. She envied his freedom.
She took a seat on the white bench. Reiju motioned for him to sit. He arched a sculpted brow.
"I am too large to fit." He said dryly. "I will remain standing, if you do not mind."
"Oh you could fit, Katakuri-san." She said coyly. "May I sit on your lap?"
He stared at her, narrowing his eyes. "I think it's safe to say as well you were not what I was expecting."
She rolled her eyes. "I am not exactly engineered to be modest and to shy away from men." She crossed her arms. "If you insist on standing, then so be it."
He seemed to want to ask her why she chose engineered to describe her.
He stood in her peripheral vision. Reiju thought there was an awkward tension brimming between them. She did not expect that a 1.5 billion belli man would be quite reticent around women.
She looked at the flowers, not really familiar with them. "They're lovely, I suppose. Thank you." Reiju plucked a pink petal. "It's quite a shame we have not given enough time to get to know each other. Tomorrow would already be our wedding."
"We would still get to know each other after the wedding." He grunted, though not as loud as his replies.
"I heard you were not forced onto this union." Reiju noted. "It was supposed to be your brother Cracker."
He did not seem to have an answer to her statement. "I did not volunteer, per se." He said. "Nor chosen this to spite Big Mom."
"So, why you, Katakuri-san instead of your brother?"
He only hummed. Reiju did not wait for his answer and asked without thinking, "Do you expect children from me?"
He appeared to want to break his neck when he whipped his head to look at her like she grew two heads. "I've lasted this long. I do not expect anything." He dismissed her question. "Besides, children are fragile."
Reiju made a small noise. He did not know whether she was in agreement or not. "Perhaps, you could change your mind along the way." She intentionally looked at him with half-lidded eyes. Once again, he gazed down at her expressionlessly.
She chuckled in amusement. "Well, you are quite fun." She said. "My children would not be fragile, I assure you that."
"More or less. If we are to have children, I would not go near those technologies." She said darkly. "My genes are already infused with germa science, however, so I do not deem it a necessary to have my children undergo the torture."
He did not know what to make of this woman. "Should you be comforted enough that I am willing to adopt in your terms?"
She smiled. "I am not sure." She arose, clutching his bouquet to her chest. "I am glad to have this topic with you comfortably."
''You are a strange woman." He said, looking at her.
"That's good to know." She said. "I'll take my leave now, Katakuri-san. I still have to choose a gown for tomorrow."
He nodded and offered to escort her. Reiju left the chateau with a smile on her face.