Expressions of a missing heart

Rating: K+

Character: Brook

Summary: Brook celebrates his 200th birthday.

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"Happy Birthday to me", the living skeleton whispered as he wiped the leaves off the large marble stone. He sat down on the ground that was still cold despite the warm spring sun doing its best to imbue it with warmth. His old bones were creaking, but he barely heard it, used to the sound as he was.

Reverently he ran his naked phalanges over the long row of names, each of them precious and all of their owners confined to memory by now.

None of their remains were actually buried at this place, scattered all over the globe as they were. Some didn't even have a grave on land, having chosen the open sea instead for their eternal slumber. It didn't matter much. This place was of no benefit to any of them, having long faded into the pages of history books as they had. This place was for the the musician to remember them, and he didn't need to be physically close to a pile of rotting empty bones in order to do that.

If bones were helpful to make him feel better he'd carry a mirror everywhere he went.

But looking at the names, all the important people he'd encountered, conjured up images in front of his empty eye sockets. Of a ship always filled with music, a captain who'd trusted him enough to leave his precious crew in his hands, and that crew's last song.

He did his best not to think about the empty years that had followed, instead moved his gaze further down the stone. Those names, a later addition to his world but no less precious, a group of dreamers like no others that had given him back faith in his own.

He heard the most infectious laugh in the world and how rubbery arms had pulled all of the crew into a giant hug on the last island of the Grand Line before finally declaring himself the pirate king.

He relived the anticipation on the ship as the world's greatest swordsman had gone out to claim his title, how they'd all watched the fight with bated breath even though none of them doubted for a single moment how it would turn out.

He still carried with him a copy of the world map drawn by the greatest navigator. Even now, over half a century after it had been published it was the most accurate navigational guide there was.

Likewise he was carrying a book filled with tales written by one of the bravest warriors of all the seas. Contrary to its authors habits it contained only truth, recounts of events and bravery that would've been hard to believe had the musician not seen many of them occur with his own two eye-sockets.

He could still taste the most amazing meal of his live, remember how it had delighted his nonexistent tongue to taste the food prepared by a cook who would neither stop cooking nor stop smiling as they were anchored in a impossible ocean filled with beauty no song the musician had tried writing about it had been able to accurately reflect.

To this day he religiously followed all of the medical instructions given to him by the greatest doctor he'd ever known. The advances he'd brought to the field were now taught in schools all over the world leaving many students baffled as to how a reindeer could be one of the greatest medical minds of their era.

And he still felt the same awe he'd felt on the day when he'd heard an uncensored history being recited. And just as back then he was less in awe of the information than the woman who'd unrelentingly worked to uncover it, who'd remained undeterred through so many hardships.

And he remembered the amazing ship that had carried all of them to their dreams, and the man who had built it, who'd only had something in his eye when they arrived at the final island of the Grand Line, who had definitely not been crying, but wasn't this week one of the best they'd ever had?

He could imagine the ground shuddering under him, just as the red line had under the roar of an island whale that day a promised was fulfilled almost sixty years later. And he could still hear the most amazing piece of music he would ever hear, when he'd invited all of his crewmates to join in on the song he'd carried with him for so many decades.

But he also remembered the pain of attending too many funerals, and the soul crushing agony when he'd discovered once and for all that even the life span of an island whale could not compete with that of a skeleton too dead to die again.

He'd long stopped questioning where the tears he was wiping off his cheekbones were really coming from. He accepted them as the expressions of his missing heart that they were.

He leaned back, felt his hip bone digging into the ground. He'd lived a good life. Two good lives if you were to consider it this way. But now, on this day 200 years after his birth, he knew he was tired of it. Was done with the world.

He was ready to go.

But death was never going to come to claim him again.

A/N: So, I decided to start a collection thing of little one shots I post on Tumblr. Some of them are based on prompts, if you want to send me one, feel free, either on Tumblr or here.

Rating and Character settings for this are going to change based on the newest story.