Disclaimer:One Piece and/or its characters are property of Oda-sensei.
Summary:Although a picture speaks a thousand words, an afternoon doodle of Luffy's holds volumes.
Notes:A big thanks to Luz Nocturnal for taking the time to read and comment on this prior to it being posted. You're great, Luz!
Eye of the Beholder
By Quatrina Raberba
He was staring at him again.
It wasn't something he saw - for his eyes were closed as he lay sprawled on the warm deck -- nor was it something he could really hear, since people typically stare in silence. Actually, it was something he could feel, just as he could feel the heat of the afternoon sun he basked under.
Either way, Roronoa Zoro knew his captain was staring at him.
As to why -- well, that was an entirely different matter. Captain Monkey D. Luffy was a spontaneous sort of fellow, so his reasoning for how he behaved wasn't always clear right away. While some found this unnerving, Zoro often felt whatever the rubber pirate did usually held a good reason. Even if it wasn't a conventional one.
Maybe Luffy's color of the day was green, or perhaps he was curious to see how long it would take for Zoro to shift in his mock slumber.
But as Zoro finally heard the soft scratching of a pen against a note pad, he figured that Luffy was just doodling. Not that it mattered or anything.
The scratching continued with a clumsy deftness, accompanied with short strokes and long lines. As the wind carried these sounds to his ears, Zoro took a moment to roll over from where he rested, his eyes remaining closed.
Luffy made a soft noise of protest. This prompted Zoro to inquire, "What're you doing?"
"Stuff," spoke Luffy after a moment, sounding as if he were in concentration. "Hold still, okay, Zoro?"
"Hold still?" repeated the green haired man, vaguely puzzled. "Yeah, sure, whatever." A few moments of relative silence passed before the resting swordsman heard footsteps approach.
"Oooh," came Usopp's voice. "Are you drawing, Luffy?"
"Mm-hm," was Luffy's affirmative. "It's fun. Can you tell what it is?" Usopp was quiet for the briefest of moments.
"A dinosaur coming out of the ground," proclaimed the long nosed man confidently. "I would know, since it's quite scary looking."
Luffy laughed. "Stop joking around. Of course it's not that!"
Usopp sounded a bit taken aback. "A-ah, right." Luffy chortled again -- the poor boy. By now, Zoro had cracked an eye open to survey them casually. Usopp, on the other hand, had looked over to Nami. The orange haired girl was standing against the rail, and her currently mild countenance hinted that she was in a good mood.
Catching Usopp's gaze, the girl blinked and strode over to both him and her captain. Stopping beside where Luffy sat, she peered down at his notepad. "What are you drawing?" she asked, genuinely curious.
"Can't you tell?" Luffy looked up at Nami, grinning proudly. "It's my best picture yet."
"Oh, well, it's obvious what it is," said Nami with surety. "It's a piece of meat with a face, see?" she placed her finger onto the focal point of the picture. "It's very…well, meaty. And of course food would be a subject of interest for you," she logically reasoned.
"Nope," replied Luffy, looking a tad disappointed. "I figured at least one of you would know. Usopp's an artist, and Nami's good at looking at stuff," was his own reckoning. "So, why can't you tell what it is?"
"Now, Luffy," said Usopp with a reassuring smile at the rubber pirate's crude picture, "This sort of stuff just takes practice."
Their captain's face suddenly brightened. "Yeah, you're right. I'm sure you'll get better at telling what stuff is supposed to be after awhile."
Momentarily at a loss for words, Nami's eyebrow lightly twitched. "No, Luffy, what Usopp means is that--"
Zoro inwardly groaned, and he closed his eye again. After all, the best way to get a stupid chef to leave him alone was to play dead. Besides, the swordsman didn't much care what Sanji thought of anything.
Nami, on the other hand, turned to the chef who, seemingly out of no where, had just appeared beside her. "You have my drink, Sanji-kun?" she sweetly asked.
"YES, Nami-san!" he proclaimed as he extended a quaint little glass of juice before her. "Chilled to perfection, just for your lovely little self." She took it and kindly thanked him before contentedly sipping on it. His mission of serving his orange haired goddess accomplished, Sanji's smile faded when his only visible eye fell upon Luffy's poorly scrawled drawing. Before Nami could open her mouth to explain it, the chef bluntly spoke.
"What's this piece of crap?"
Vaguely taken by surprise at the question, Luffy curiously looked over at the blond man. "You mean you don't know what it is either? Usopp thought it was a monster--"
"Dinosaur," corrected Usopp.
"--and Nami thought it was a piece of meat with a face," finished Luffy, his attention still fixed on the chef.
Sanji's eye suddenly held a glint of malice. "You haven't been drawing Nami-san, have you? That 'picture' is not worthy to even attempt to bear her likeness."
"No, I haven't," replied Luffy truthfully, his eyebrows furrowing with mild frustration. "And it's not a piece of crap, either." The rubber pirate took a brief pause. "It's Zoro."
"Zoro?!" Usopp, Nami and Sanji cried in unison. The swordsman in question abruptly opened his eyes.
"Yeah, that's right," said Luffy confidently. "So don't make fun of it."
"Well," spoke Usopp, who was still taken aback, "Zoro can be as fierce as a dinosaur sometimes."
"And he is, well," Nami choked back a snicker, "meaty."
"Yeah, you did a great job capturing his essence," jibed Sanji. "Right down to the crap part."
"I dare you to say that again while I'm not pretending to be asleep," growled Zoro, sitting up to get a better look at everyone. Before Sanji could retort, he said, "Let me see the drawing." Eagerly, Luffy got up from where he was perched on the railing and handed the notepad to him.
Zoro gazed at it for several silent moments. He could feel several gazes upon him -- one of them being hopeful.
He could barely recognize his own image within the picture. But he did see the black bandana he wore if he tilted it to the left. And when he held it upside down, he was able to locate his haramaki. He gathered that a mouth was around the zig-zagged lines that were supposed to represent teeth, as well as the mass that was attempting to show strength and muscle.
Finally, he looked up at his comrades and, with a soft grimace, lightly shrugged, trying not to make a big deal out of it. Luffy beamed proudly, oblivious to the soft snickers beside him.
"Easy for you not to care," said Sanji with a sly grin. "You don't even draw at all."
Zoro narrowed his eyes at the Love Cook. "Oh, yeah? Well, if you're so sure you could do better, prove it."
Sanji growled slightly and indignantly said, "I wouldn't give you the satisfaction of trying to prove anything to you."
Snorting, Zoro looked down at the carefully scribbled drawing and noticed something odd. Pointing to the right side of the picture, he said, "I think I know what this is."
"That's right," spoke Luffy, his arms folding over his chest. "It's me." Blinking, Zoro promptly tilted his head at an odd angle. Ah, there was the hat, along with the scar. With it came a lopsided squiggly line that could only be a goofy mouth. "We're both napping on the deck," added Luffy.
"I can see that," spoke Zoro gruffly before handing back the picture to its creator. And with that, he closed his eyes again and eased himself completely back onto the deck.
Luffy happily laughed and took back the notepad. "Zoro loves it!"
Usopp gawked at his captain. "What gives you that idea?" The rubber pirate's eyes twinkled.
"I just know!" He was silent for a moment before his eyes lit up with the inspiration of a great idea. "Ooh! And I even know what to do with it!" With that, he wandered away, chuckling to himself all the while.
That evening came as all normal evenings do, and Roronoa Zoro seated himself at the table, ready for his dinner. Just as we was opening his mouth to tell Sanji to hurry, his eyes suddenly fell upon something that he hadn't noticed before.
Taped to the refrigerator was the poorly scrawled picture Luffy had produced earlier that day. Not just any picture -- no, it was a picture of them.
Allowing himself to give a small grin, he lightly shook his head and chuckled.
After all, it was the process -- and not the product -- that constituted real art.