Disclaimer: - I don't own One Piece or anything related to it
He's dying. He knows and so do they. It's cold outside, but he's warm with his Nakama nearby. One of the straw hats is dying while the rest of the crew linger nearby and wait. It's all they can do.
This idea just kind of came to me after reading a fic and so I thought I'd get it down on paper … or in the keyboard … whatever.
It was cold outside; at least he thought it was. The blankets wrapped tightly around him kept him warm though. He breathed deeply, taking in all the scents around him and a small smile graced his features.
He never used to be able to smile, not back then. But then a boy with a straw hat had come into his life and changed it all. They'd had so many adventures, so many dangerous battles and he'd grown up a lot since he left.
He couldn't help but wonder how they were doing back home. He knew they would fine of course. They were before he was around; they would be after eh left. He wondered if she missed him at all; probably not.
It didn't really matter in the end. What mattered was here and now and now he had been to the ends of the Earth and back again with the craziest crew he had ever seen, but they were family.
That word was so special to him; he took another deep breath. He'd never really had a family until he met them. They'd protected him and helped him understand things he would have never even known had he not gone with them. And he was so grateful. He wished he could do something for them, but there wasn't much left he could do.
A cold breeze wafted through the room and he felt somebody leave his side to close the window and then return again. The scent of the cold air reminded him once again of his home back in Drum. He was so tired, but he wanted to stay awake as long as he could. He wanted to be with them as long as he could, because he knew that when he closed his eyes this time, he wouldn't be waking up.
They say that animals can tell when the end is near and Chopper could definitely vouch for that. He didn't understand it at first. It was just a funny feeling, an ominous feeling that something big was coming, something bad. He brushed it away though – he was just being paranoid again.
Then the feeling had grown and he could no longer ignore it. It was like someone, somewhere was trying to tell him something, but he just couldn't figure out what. And then it had come to him. He was simply sitting over his medical books, studying possible cures for a new disease that had been sweeping across the grand line like some sort of plague when he had felt it. It was as clear as day then and he just could understand why, but he knew.
He was dying.
They had been travelling for many years now – what was it? Twenty years? More? He couldn't remember, but it felt like such a short time to him now that he looked back on it. But as they say time flies when you're having fun and he certainly did have fun.
They had teased him 2 years or so ago, when his fur had turned lighter and a few greys had reared their heads along his furry body. They had called him old timer and messed around. He hadn't taken it seriously though, none of them had. But they were right. He was old. He had never felt it until that moment when he just knew, but he was. And though they failed to take note, they were too – at least for pirates. Luffy was now in his late thirties and for a pirate that's really quite an age. With older age comes weakness, you slow down and many would die because of this. Luffy wouldn't let it stop him though, Chopper was sure of that. Luffy never let anything stop him … not something as silly as old age … not like Chopper.
The devil fruit had granted him and extended life, but he was still a reindeer nonetheless and reindeers don't live out full human lives. How old was he now anyway? Thirty-five? Thirty-six? How many reindeer years was that? He was too tired to think about it.
They had been shocked when he had told them. He had told Luffy first and to say the boy was lost was an understatement. He just stood there, string at the spot where the reindeer had been, even long after he had gone. The others had had similar reactions ranging from denial to emotional breakdowns. He hadn't expected such a bad reaction from them, but they were his Nakama.
Nakama … he still loved that word … even after all this time.
Over the years Luffy had gained quite an extensive crew, but none of them held the same respect, love and friendship as the first eight. Vivi had even come back to sail with the straw hat pirates again.
A smile touched his lips as he remembered the reunion between Vivi and the others. She had gasped at the sight of Luffy, who was covered from head to toe in bandages from his most recent battle. That was a pretty close one, he recalled.
As he thought more on their battles, he couldn't help but wonder who would replace him. He had asked Luffy and the boy had shook his head angrily, stubbornly protesting that nobody would be good enough to take Chopper's place. The little reindeer had tried to tell him that it was okay, but Luffy had outright refused saying he would have no other doctor. The little xoan had then tried to persuade him by telling him that he couldn't be a pirate without a doctor and Luffy's answer still replayed over and over in his head.
Then well learn to fix ourselves, or we won't be pirates any more.
It was a bold statement coming from the rubber man. His life and dreams revolved around being a pirate. The others, they might be able to go back to land and live again, but Luffy … no. Luffy was a creature of the sea and always would be.
He imagined Usopp would go back to his home village to see the girl he had told him about. Kaya was it? And Nami … Nami would probably head home too – maybe she'd tend to the mikan groves? Sanji and Zoro … they didn't really seem like the types to settle down, maybe they would continue to sail with Luffy, but then again, Sanji had always talked of opening a restaurant of his own some day…
He wished he could stay with them, see them live their lives like he had his, but his time was nearly up. A soft hand brushed across the fur on his head, his hat long forgotten on the floor. He sniffed the air, trying to figure out who it was; the fight to open his eyes given up a while ago. It smelt like … Robin.
She had been so kind to him. He would miss them all so much, but maybe he would be like one of those guardian angels in Usopp's stories. He knew Usopp was a liar and a lot of his stories weren't true, but this one had to be. But then again, he was just a reindeer. They're not supposed to be guardian angels … but they're not supposed to be doctors either so maybe … maybe they would let him? Would he be a guardian angel?
He heard somebody reply, Usopp probably, saying that he would be an angel. He hoped it wasn't another of his lies. It was getting hard to breathe now
A soft sigh escaped his lips as he started to feel light headed. Was this it? Was he going to die now? He knew they were talking to him, telling him nice things like how much they loved him and how he had been so strong, but the voices were so foggy and far away. He would have shouted and swore at them for that like he usually did if had had the strength, but it seemed to just be slipping away now.
Funny. He's always been so afraid of dying, but it really didn't seem so bad … more like falling asleep after a good drink…
Breathing was harder now. He found himself taking short shallow breaths rather than the long deep ones he had previously inhaled. He felt somebody grab his hoof and then the other and then more hands came to rest on his fur. They were letting him know they were still there with him. He smiled.
Wetness fell on his fur then, and trailed to the bed sheets … rain? No … no … they were indoors … so they had to be … tears … no … don't cry for me … really … it's okay … we'll see each other again … someday.
Slowly he exhaled his last breath and his chest fell still. The room filled with silent sobs that racked the straw hats bodies as they said goodbye to their dear doctor and Nakama Chopper.
He had come so far since they met on Drum Island and become the best doctor in the world.
More tears fell from their eyes as the moments passed and the reality sunk in that he would not be back. It almost seemed unreal … but he wasn't coming back and they knew it.
"Love you" Luffy whispered through a harsh sob "Bye Chopper"
Wow, damn that was sad to write. I just thought this was a good idea and decided to put it into writing. I also decided to leave it pretty open so you can decide if they've achieved their dreams yet or not. Please let me know what you think