It was... blur.
Everything was sort of marred together like a kaleidoscope, so he just aimed flaming kicks towards the heads of guys in white. Thunderclouds and lightning struck in the distance, and he prayed for Nami-san's safety. Damn it, he had to get over there to protect her, ensure that anyone who so much as scratched her beautiful skin got their faces kicked in. But he was surrounded, dodging so many bullets by leaping up, aiming at their heads, ducking low and roundhouse kicking their legs out from under them, but there were so many.
They were still recovering from the last island they'd has the misfortune to disembark on, a weird, dark little forestation area that was dominated by eerily glowing jellyfish, and the bloody place was littered with slimy little government spies and disparagingly cunning enemies. They were exhausted from their travels and fresh wounds, yet they'd been thrust into this annoying ass battle and - and it should've been easy. These guys were weak in comparison to them, but in this massive group that didn't seem to ebb, they were... a challenge.
With a scornful roar, Sanji leapt onto his hands and spun around, legs flying and colliding with god knows how many men. He dropped low, narrowly avoiding a stray bullet, and sparing a moment to swipe the blood off his cheek where it had grazed him. He'd finally cleared a pathway, just in time to see Luffy reeling back from a Gomu Gomu no Gatling Gun shot, and a barrage of men were dashing towards him from behind, rapiers and knives bared, as bullets surged in all directions. Emitting a growl, Sanji launched himself towards Luffy, feet propelling him forwards fast enough to make him barely visible, and men on either sides were knocked back by a furious gust as he passed.
"LUFFY!" he shouted, and suddenly everything seemed to slow down. Sanji heard his heart pumping in his chest as he reached out, saw Luffy turning towards him in shock and confusion, and watched as the weapons closed in around his captain--
And then there was a shrill, long beep and everything else became background noise. He'd shoved Luffy out the way and avoided the blades, but he must have been hit with something because his head was spinning and he felt like he was going to throw up. God, it hurt... It hurt so much but he couldn't even seem to find the strength to raise his arms and clutch at his head.
He could vaguely hear his name being shouted, wrath and terror emanating from Luffy's shrill voice, but he couldn't even see, let alone speak. He parted his lips, trying to reassure him, say he was fine, he'd be fine in a minute, but... he couldn't. The words caught in his throat and he swallowed them back with an agonised groan that sounded too tremulous and downright pathetic to possibly be him.
Suddenly his world became vertical again, but the sudden change in angle left him reeling, and the pain in his head pulsed furiously like the blood running through his veins. He clenched his eyes shut as they stung, realising blood must have dripped into them. Ah, a head wound... that'd be why everything was so damn hazy, then...
It took a bit longer than it should have for him to realise that he was being manhandled, spun around in various arms, and his own were yanked roughly behind his back and pressed together. Normally, it wouldn't have hurt that much; he was pretty flexible. But as it was... his whole body was aching, and it stung in several places, and just - everything just hurt so much.
And shit, they were tying him up... He gritted his teeth and tasted blood, fought against his own limitations and lashed out, kicking blindly. He heard some men curse and grunt and felt a little pleased with himself. But it didn't last long. Rope twisted around his feet and he kicked and writhed furiously, but a swift blow to his neck made him fall limp in the arms that were holding him up. This... was really bad. Damn it...
They were moving, but everything was fading in and out, going black and then sparking white and he caught glimpses of more and more naval officers, hasty flashes of a straw hat or hands sprouting from people's backs and heard an alarmed "yohohohoho" that sounded so far away. And he was stumbling over his own feet, staggering like he'd never walked before, and he wouldn't even be upright if it weren't for being held up. He was marched through the crowds, nearly collapsing every step of the way. Was he seriously so weak he couldn't even take out these bloody marines? Zoro'd been in a far worse state than he was currently in numerous times, and yet Sanji was barely clinging onto consciousness.
"Off you go, Black Leg Sanji."
And suddenly everything was freezing and he couldn't breathe. He tried to open his eyes and they stung, but everything was more blur than before and it only took him a moment to realise he'd been tossed into the sea. He inhaled in shock, and then spluttered and flailed as water flooded his senses, weighing down his lungs. Okay, so maybe he couldn't fight effectively right now, and maybe that damn marimo would take the piss out of him later, but he could at least swim.
Except no - no, even as he pumped his legs, gazing intently up at the light from the surface, he continued to sink, and everything around him became darker as his lungs filled with water and he tried to hold his breath, feeling his lungs expand--
It hurt. Oh, god, it hurt. His lungs were burning and everything ached and his head was thumping with such obstinate pain that he could barely hold on to his mantra of curse words and repetition of please, please, please, please, please. He could see a vague red shape above the water, and a shaky hand extending towards him, but it progressed no further, and Sanji couldn't reach out because his arms were wrangled around his back and he was being dragged down into the dark depths too quickly.
Maybe it was fitting, dying where he was born - at sea. Or maybe it was just cruelly ironic...
But he couldn't hold on any longer... He coughed, begging for air, begging anyone, anywhere, anything, but a myriad of bubbles escaped his throat and he gagged on water, his organs burning in agony as tendrils of blackness enveloped him.
"SANJI!" Luffy screamed, voice hoarse. Eyes wide and panicked and body quivering from fear and strain, he desperately willed himself to defy his own powers and reach Sanji. His arm stopped stretching, and he felt it shaking and turning numb and weak from the sea water lapping at his skin, and he cursed. He cursed the marines, he cursed his powers, and he cursed himself for being too weak to save his nakama-- "SANJIII!"
Heavy, fast footfalls dashed towards him and he jerked up to see Zoro leap into the water, feeling immediate relief and gratitude towards his first mate.
"ZORO! SAVE SANJI!"
Got it, Captain, thought Zoro, speeding down through the depths like a shark, sharp eye scrutinising the darkness for any sign of movement. You better not give up, shitty cook.
Then he was encompassed by tonnes of bubbles, and he shot down towards where they'd came from and - yes! Sanji was there, being yanked down by another force, and Zoro could make out ropes attaching him to a large weight. Gritting his teeth, he unsheathed Sandai Kitetsu and slashed at the rope. He wanted to take his anger out on the damn iron ball, too, but the damn cook was bleeding and unconscious, and Luffy would kill Zoro if he lost the cook.
He grabbed Sanji and launched himself towards the surface, willing Sanji to hold on a little longer; Chopper would make him fine in no time. Damn it, I won't even tease you this time, so just hold on, damn it!
He gasped for breath when he broke through the water, carefully lifting Sanji onto the pier where Luffy was gripping the edge hard enough to make his nail beds bleed. Luffy scrambled to help Sanji up properly, and as soon as Zoro heaved himself up too, he handed Sanji over to him.
"Look after Sanji," Luffy ordered, voice as cold as icy steel, and his eyes were obscured by the shadows of his hat. "And I'll look after these guys..."
Eyes blazing with unrestrained fury, Luffy launched himself into the fray, emitting a battle roar loud enough to startle the entire complex into flinching. The crew used their distraction to their advantage: Robin's million hands fused into one huge one that slammed over a huge assortment of marines, Brook zipped through a line of them and they all went crashing down with slashes all over their bodies, Chopper sent some flying into buildings and into the sea, Nami let lightning crash down upon them, Usopp sent a barrage of flaming gunpowder towards their enemies, and Franky shot a destructive beam at them. With so many men shouting in pain, everyone was caught off guard, and Luffy shouted above the noise, "Gear Third!" inflating his limbs as he levelled the marines with a glare uncharacteristically vengeful. "Gomu Gomu no..." He stretched back his arm, narrowing his eyes, and launched towards them with a massive barrage of insanely powerful blows. "Elephant Gatling!"
Zoro watched from the pier with thinly veiled annoyance as he laid the bleeding cook down. "Oi! Chopper!" he barked, noticing Chopper dashing out of the way of Luffy's massive fists. Chopper startled, and then his eyes widened in horror as he saw Sanji lying immobile, a small pool of blood by his head.
"What--" he began, but Zoro beat him to it.
"He got tossed in the sea, I got him out," he snapped quickly, glaring. "No time! Heal him!"
"Right!" Chopper squeaked and then, as soon as he looked back at Sanji, entered his doctor mode. He began to pump at Sanji's chest until the coughed up all the water in his lungs, followed by bile and dry heaving. It was normal, Chopper assured Zoro, like he cared. But he remained at Chopper's side as stared intently at Sanji's face as Chopper stitched together his head wound with swift precision before wrapping it in an excessive amount of gauze.
"He's..." Zoro began, unsure of how to continue, but Chopper seemed to understand.
"He'll be fine," Chopper said. At Zoro's unimpressed glare, he amended, "Eventually. It's mostly the head wound that's gonna cause him trouble... We'll have to wake him up to ensure he doesn't have a concussion, or even something worse, but luckily the bullet didn't actually get embedded in his skull. It's just a pretty deep wound..." He trailed off, glancing at Zoro after realising he'd been rambling a little bit, but Zoro was just staring at Sanji like he was the cause of all his problems in the world. "As long as he doesn't overdo it and we keep an eye on him, he'll be fine."
"Better be," Zoro grunted irritably. "The idiot upset the captain."
But, despite his words, he remained by Sanji's side until they returned to the ship. For the next few days, someone else volunteered to do the cooking, although after Sanji's kitchen was destroyed and his ingredients depleted, he refused their help. Adamantly. But he was put on watch duty with whoever was assigned so they could nudge him awake every now and then. Much to Sanji's chagrin, Zoro seemed to be on watch duty most often, probably because the selfish marimo had deigned to make the crow's nest his own personal freaking gym or something...
But, Sanji thought, willing his face to cool down, I guess it could be worse... So he sat there in silence as Zoro reapplied the bandages to his head, occasionally pulling his hair, which the damn swordsman claimed to be an "accident".
Somehow, even after Sanji had healed several weeks later, he and Zoro remained on watch duty together most nights.