A low, frustrated groan drifted across the deck of the Thousand Sunny, catching Brook's curiosity. From his spot against the railing, he could see his captain springing towards the kitchen, beaming his usual wild grin. Against the mast, however, was the crew's newest guest, Trafalgar Law. The man's lips were turned down in a bitter scowl and his hat was pulled down over his eyes, leaving a good portion of his face hidden in shadow. 'I don't believe I've seen a single smile on his face since he arrived…' Brook thought. Cautiously, he stepped closer, offering a polite bow.
"Excuse me, Torao-san, I couldn't help but notice that you seem stressed. Is everything alright?"
Law lifted his head and gave a small grunt, motioning to the younger rubber boy. "Your captain doesn't understand the importance of this mission. We can't rush blindly into Doflamingo's territory without a decent plan, but he insists on doing just that! He's impossible!" He rested his chin on his fist. "Not to mention, he's been hounding me all day to play some childish game of hide-and-seek."
Now there was an odd image. Brook had a hard time containing his laughter at the thought of the serious, no-nonsense Warlord hiding in one of the ridiculous spots Luffy often pointed out. It was no wonder that he looked about ready to chuck himself overboard. "I see. Well, Luffy-san can be a bit eccentric at times, but that's what makes him so easy to be around." He paused for a moment, reflecting. "His boundless enthusiasm makes you forget your worries and doubts." It occurred to Brook that he may be getting too personal with Trafalgar, but his love for his captain often overtook his emotions in the oddest of moments.
"You have a lot of respect for him…" Law spoke. It sounded more like a question to the skeleton's nonexistent ears.
"I do indeed. Luffy-san freed me from a life of loneliness and has given me a second chance at life. For that, I hold the utmost respect and gratitude towards him." Law shifted slightly, mumbling something under his breath. "Hmm? Did you say something, Torao-san?"
Grey eyes glanced up at Brook warily. "Nothing…I just said he reminds me of someone." The musician, about to ask for further details, stopped as a strange sight appeared beside him. Another man sat next to the captain, smoking a cigarette. His blond, messy hair was tucked into a red hood-like hat and a large black coat of feathers draped over his large frame. For a moment, Brook thought he was imagining things as the figure rested a hand on Law's back, gently rubbing circles along his shoulders. The impossible played out before him, as Law allowed a small, serene smile to overcome his usual sour expression and his muscles relaxed under the man's touch. Nothing made a sound.
Finally, Law stood up, stretching some. "I'm going to go speak with Nami-ya. I need to know how long it'll be before we reach Dressrosa." He took a few steps towards the galley, only to turn around and give Brook a smirk. "Thank you for your input, Bone-ya. You'll have to tell me more sometime. Also, tell your cook to stop smoking so much. I can smell it even here." With that, he left, leaving Brook far more confused than before. He and the stranger remained rooted in place, watching his confident strides.
The skeleton faced the blond, meeting his brown eyes. "Yohoho," he laughed, "now this is certainly a surprise. I don't believe you're a regular young man, are you?"
The blond gave him a sheepish grin and nodded. "You could say that, though I doubt I could be considered young anymore. I'm surprised. Normally no one notices me." He took another drag from his cigarette. "I'm sorry about the brat's behavior, by the way. I swear, if I were still alive, I'd knock some sense into him again for being so ungrateful towards your captain. Hell, I'd beat this stupid revenge scheme out his head, if I could."
"It's alright," Brook reassured, "I'm sure, with time, he'll understand Luffy-san a bit better. My captain has a habit of growing on people."
"Heh, I can tell. He's a lot like Vice Admiral Garp in that way." Standing to his full height, the stranger was quite a bit taller than Brook. "Tell me," he said, "do you think your crew could do me a favor?"
Tilting his head, Brook stared up at his new companion. "What is it?" he asked softly. Whatever this man's wish was, it felt important, that much was certain.
"I need you and your crew to look after him for a little bit," the blond requested. "I have a bad feeling about this mission of his and I'm worried that Law will push himself too far this time. He doesn't have his friends around to keep an eye on him and I can't exactly do much in this state. So please, take care of him for me."
Silence filled the space between them as Brook considered the man's desire. Then, in almost a whisper, he chuckled once more. "Yohohoho! I don't think you have anything to fear. Luffy-san considers Torao his friend, so I can promise you that he will protect Law to the fullest of his abilities. Though, if it helps calm you at all, I swear to do my best to protect him as well."
Giving him a large, toothy grin, the man sighed. "Thank you! That's such a relief! These kids are so reckless nowadays!" His own laugh was light and airy. "I'll leave him to you then. If you don't mind, I have some things I need to look into. It was a pleasure to meet you."
Brook bowed. "The same to you. I never did get your name, however."
"Ah, just call me Corazon."
"Alright then. I hope we meet again, Corazon." The two waved as the blond began to fade away. The black feather coat caught fire while he disappeared, leaving a faint orange glow even after he vanished. "What an odd man," Brook mused.
Later that evening, while at the dinner table, Nami had explained that they'd be upon Dressrosa by tomorrow morning. Sipping on his glass of milk, Brook couldn't help but admire the jacket Law now wore, with the word "Corazon" stitched into the back above a Jolly Roger with a familiar smile.