Big mom didn't like her wedding dress. Her attendants apologetically ushered her in her dressing room and showed her the new dress which had a hem longer than what she usually wore. She didn't know how weddings went but most definitely didn't want to offend the woman before her husband-to-be got to kill her so she complied. She also patiently watched as the hairdresser arranged her pink hair in a coifed bun while leaving her signature bangs in place. Reiju stared at her reflection in the mirror, wondering why they have to go through such lengths when they'd just put a bullet through her head.
"You look lovely, princess." One of her attendants beamed. She smiled timidly. She pondered whether seeing her brother last night had been only a dream but she once passed him in the halls today. Sanji was well and donned a blue tuxedo. He nodded at her and she tried her best not to answer.
She was unsure whether his friends would successfully eliminate an emperor. Or best case scenario, injure her and escape. This Strawhat boy seemed to be ambitious, if not very pigheaded. Sanji seemed to be really fond of him, however. Reiju decided to put her faith into these pirates. Either way, the cost was her freedom and she was more than happy to surrender it.
It was a shame, really. She was not a masochist but she would really like to know the quiet man more. He probably thought of her a child due to their age difference (not to mention, the height) but she liked him all the same. He was comforting. He smelled of that sweet rice cake. What was that? Ah, the mochi. She really wouldn't mind kissing him before he killed her. Reiju slightly reddened, realizing all she ever thought about him last night was kissing Katakuri.
"Aren't you the perfect blushing bride, Reiju?" Niji chortled as he was asked escort her to the room where the groom was.
She coldly eyed him in distaste. "You reek of alcohol."
He smirked. "As I should."
"Had a rough night?" She dryly asked.
"Well, we certainly enjoyed ourselves." Reiju blankly hooked her arm around his.
"I saw a daughter of Big Mom around here. I wouldn't have mind marrying her myself." Ichiji commented, breaking the silence.
"I'm sure father would be happy to sign you up." They have arrived in the front door. Ichiji lightly tapped her hand, almost affectionately, and grinned at her. He opened the door and saluted her.
"Happy wedding to you, Reiju."
Reiju watched him leave before turning to meet the eyes of the groom. As usual, he wore a scowl. A more formal scarf that matched his suit wrapped around his neck and mouth. Katakuri effortlessly towered over as he lent a hand to help her on the platform. There was mount on it that made her eye-level to him. The warmth of his hand tightened her hold of him. He didn't appear to take notice of it.
"Lovely day." She remarked, not looking at him. It was not impossible for her to feel vulnerable around him. She was used to facing men like him, sometimes comrades in the battlefield, sometimes enemies. But she'd never fought him and most likely would never commandeer him.
He hummed. "It is." He replied curtly.
"I think it's customary for the groom to say his bride is beautiful." She told him. Katakuri turned to her, looking down at her. She pursed her lips. He said nothing for a moment before muttering,
"You look beautiful." Her lips curled.
"You look very handsome as well, Katakuri-san." Reiju replied. Katakuri hummed, drawing his eyes away from her.
"I hope you have had a good night sleep." He muttered, trying to make some conversation. "There were intruders and the chateau was riddled with soldiers. I hope it didn't disturb your sleep."
Reiju chuckled, feeling a slight tremor rising in her body. His concern was sincere. Pretense well-hidden. He was a perfect actor. She wondered how he would kill her. He didn't seem the type of man to carry a gun. This man was powerful and there were a hundred ways to kill her.
She hoped Sanji and his friends made it in time.
"You look dashing." The woman fixed his collar in place. Zoro nodded sternly, not quite decided on how to return Robin's compliment. She was beautiful today, not that she ever wasn't. But she stood close to him and she smelled intoxicating. The older woman arched a brow teasingly.
"Do you think we'd get out of this island alive?"
He grumbled, "heck yes, we are." Zoro stared at her with his available eye.
A smile slipped into her features. "Big Mom's not gonna let me escape so easily. She knows my knowledge of the poneglyphs."
"You know we won't let her." Zoro replied, turning away to grab his swords in the corner. "Just follow the plan and we'll be fine."
She nodded. "Is Luffy and the rest with Capone, already?"
"Yea, they're in." He drew a breathe. "Pray we won't fuck this up. Damn that cook."
Robin giggled, pulling his wrist so they could leave and head to the wedding. Zoro had no choice but to follow her lead. They already achieved their main goal. Brook had successfully stolen copies of the poneglyphs. Just this morning, they retrieved him from Big Mom's bedroom using the mirror world. Pedro and Carrot were with the rest. And two of the Strawhats, who have not been seen yet, excluding Sanji, were the swordsman and the archeologist. Their infiltration was successful and their identities remained hidden.
Luffy and Nami were captured last night in the library and Big Mom still had no idea they've already escaped and allied with Gang Bege. The only reason why she and Zoro were unshackled were because of her knowledge of the poneglyphs and, well, Zoro's role as vice captain.
The crew was ideally good addition to her family.
"Sanji said Big Mom was very excited about the cake." Robin said. "Chopper tasted the icing and we thought he fainted. That would bet enough as a plan B to make her vulnerable, right?"
Zoro made a noise in his throat in agreement. "Definitely. If that portrait of that baba doesn't work, we'll have no choice but to trigger her hunger pangs." He grinned. "No doubt Luffy would compromise the plan. Dartbrow already has another cake in Cacao island."
As much as the blond hated wasting food, saving his sister seemed to be the top priority and here they were, risking their lives for a Germa-66 princess.
"We're near the gate." Robin whispered. Zoro crossed his arms. "They're withholding weapons. I'm afraid you have to give up—"
"No, wait." He stopped her. "It's Bege. It's fine."
"He's still under the guise of head of security." Robin insisted. "We don't have to play the part but—"
"I'll make a way." He said, shooting her a firm look. Robin relented, unable to sway him further as it took too much valuable time. His swords were too precious.
Reiju didn't know much of physical contact. When they were children, Judge used to show them affection by hugging them whenever they accomplished a great feat and praising them. That much was the physical contact. It wasn't warm. But it wasn't entirely superficial either. The last warm embrace she had taken was when her mother Sora was alive. It felt like home. Germa-66 was never home. It was her mother's warmth. She was alive. But then, it was lost too quickly.
Katakuri was warm to the touch. She tried to initiate a contact and her arm wrapped around his bigger ones. When he looked down, she beamed and he looked away, suddenly deeming the portrait in his right with great interest. And Reiju was right. He smelled of mochi. She wanted to bury her face in his chest and take a deep breathe.
Maybe, she actually was a masochist. The man was minutes away from killing her and taking away their army and kingdom and here she was thinking of hugging her killer because he smelled sweet.
"You shouldn't be so," he flinched. "Transparent."
"I am not transparent." Reiju said. "You are forgetting I'm more of a commander than a princess." She fixed her veil on her head. "I have a feeling I should keep you close."
He didn't answer.
"Besides," she nuzzled his bicep. "You smell like rice cake."
Reiju didn't watch for his reaction. But she felt his muscles tense under her touch.
He was flustered. Hah.
It's good to have your enemy close and flushed. It was really amusing to see him. When Reiju parted, Katakuri fixed his tie and cleared his throat. She was surprised to feel his larger arms snake around her waist.
Without glancing at her, he said, "We're about to go."
Reiju nodded. "Of course."
Her heart was beating out of her ribcage. It was loud. She was afraid he would hear it. But the man was too occupied to take notice. There was a dark look in his face as he surveyed the area below. She had heard that he used a very advanced form of observation haki that enabled him to see 5 seconds into the future.
It made him a very formidable opponent.
So this is the man Sanji's captain will likely face before the emperor.
There were happy cheers below them. Reiju recognized them as the guest and his siblings. They were a colorful, lovely bunch. The enormous cake was within their reach when she spotted her brothers and Judge at their table. They looked up at her and her father nodded faintly. Three tables away from them were, she assumed, Sanji's comrades. The green-haired swordsman and a tall black-haired lady.
Her own brother was nowhere to be found.
She took a deep breathe. Reiju almost felt bad that she would make him a widower so early.
Note: not me, forgetting months later that I had this draft stuck. This will be very short and rushed.
You can check me out in ao3 as DreamOfStarsAndRoses
and twitter as traffsroom
Thank you for reading!