There is no comfort they have found that compares to sleeping wrapped in the arms– and in Luffy's case, the legs, and the neck if he's feeling up to it– of the four people they love.


For Nami, there is no better kind that capturing Zoro's lips and watching Sanji swallow, his eyes widening before closing her own and enjoying the moment.


Parts of them are soft; Nami's skin, Usopp's lips, Sanji's laughter, Luffy's hands, Zoro's eyes when he watches all of them.


Zoro is no stranger to pain; for so long, it has been a constant presence, the only thing he could ever be sure of, but now he has love, and he has never been so sure of anything but that.


They are all servants of Nami's whim, it seems, which is why Luffy and Usopp are confined to the kitchen to peel potatoes for a stew, and they are also subject to Sanji's punishment, which is why they will have no stew for wasting so much time flicking peels at each other.


The boys are stunned by the vision of Nami, her nightshirt soaked through and her hair dripping and plastered to her face, damp and shivering and triumphant because she has brought them through the storm, conquered the rain itself, and they thank her the best they know how because she is their goddess of weather.


It is a secret weakness of Nami's, one that Sanji is happy to provide for, and if Luffy makes giant watery puppy eyes at him and Usopp remarks that he once made a chocolate cake that pleased the gods and Zoro very pointedly ignores the tantalizing scent of chocolate fondue wafting from the galley, it's not as if they actually persuaded him to share…he just felt like it, that's all.


Luffy doesn't have to explain why he is happiest when Sanji and Zoro are fighting over something ridiculous and when Nami is shouting at them to shut up and settle down and Usopp is cowering in the corner to keep from being caught in the crossfire and announcing in a tremulous voice that he is somewhere else, because the answer is so perfectly crystal clear.


"Zoro, Nami wants me to tell you that you have to turn left at the dock and keep going straight, and Luffy wants me to tell you to stop somewhere and buy him some fried chicken, and Sanji says– this is only Sanji I have nothing to do with it– that you're an idiot, and don't get too badly lost, and we have to go now because Nami is getting upset I love you bye."


Usopp is only trying to fix the railing again when Luffy takes one ear between his teeth and tugs it with apologetic gentleness, and Usopp's mouth goes dry; Nami watches the subsequent events with interest for a long moment before boxing both their ears and ordering Usopp back to work.


"Marimo" and "Target-brow" are the least of them, really; there are many names that they call each other, varying in nastiness and intensity, but the others can all tell exactly when they are insults and when they are endearments.


It's the way Usopp's lips are traveling along the pulse at the side of his throat, and the way Nami-san's hands are sliding underneath his shirt, and how somewhere off to the side his hazy brain makes out the sound of Luffy giggling as Zoro does something indecent and perfect with his tongue, and the sparks behind his eyelids as he squeezes them shut against the beautiful onslaught of sensation.


The point isn't where they die, or when, or if they go out in a blaze of glory or peacefully in their sleep at a ripe old age; the point is that they will be together until the end, and beyond.


It is, to say the least, complicated; Sanji and Zoro get into fights at inconvenient moments and Usopp's elbow is sticking into an uncomfortable place and Luffy refuses to cooperate and Nami has very nearly had quite enough of this foolishness, thank you, but in the end they are happy, and that's all that matters.


Luffy very readily accepted the idea that he could touch any one of them at any time he liked, and so he would cling to Nami and pin Usopp to the deck and attack Zoro lips-first and spin Sanji in an errant circle before running off to get himself into trouble, all in the span of four seconds, leaving them all flustered and befuddled for several days until they got used to it.


Zoro is not weak; he is anything but weak, because he has been stabbed and beaten and gored and all manner of horrible things, so why does it feel like he is the one drowning whenever Luffy falls into the water and Sanji goes in after him and they stay down for just a few seconds longer than they should?


Nami crying is the second most painful thing Sanji has ever experienced, right after the agony of watching Luffy and Usopp fight, really fight, and not knowing if either of them will be okay, and beating back the wave of something sickeningly close to hatred for Zoro who didn't actually start it but that's what his brain is telling him and now he wants to cry himself.


Nami takes Zoro's hand and runs, giggling, pulls him behind a wall, laughs at the bewilderment on his face and kisses him silly before hurrying off to find another of the boys and do it again.


The wind whips Luffy's hat from his head and everyone is briefly in a mad scramble to catch it, and Luffy just laughs and laughs because there was never anything to worry about, and Sanji jams the hat down over his head and Nami cuffs him in the temple and he laughs some more.


Usopp likes logic, so he is a little angry and confused but mostly resigned to the fact that waking up (half-pinned under Zoro's weight with Luffy snoring in his ear and Nami's arms wrapped around him and Sanji causing his leg to go numb with the way he is draped across them all) trapped makes him feel somehow at peace and irrationally free.


Believing in themselves makes the dream worth achieving, but believing in each other makes the dream worth living.


At first it was complicated; Sanji would bristle whenever Zoro touched her, and Zoro would sulk whenever Sanji did, and sometimes Usopp pouted in the corner because when was his turn, but then Luffy found the easy solution as always and now everything is much simpler.


They are important for many things; cooking, painting, stretching, wielding swords, tending mikan, and most of all for holding and touching and feeling each other and the world.


Sanji tastes of cigarette and food sampled while cooking, and Nami tastes like mikan and fruit drink, and Zoro tastes like sweat and rum and Usopp like gunpowder and Luffy like bacon, but sometimes their tastes get mixed up together, which is all right.


"You are, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful creatures born onto this earth, a stunning vision of radiance and perfection, and I am honored beyond words that you, such a fine and lovely woman, have expressed an interest in me, but– and you can have no idea how much it pains me to say this, my dear, sweet angel– I'm taken."


"Usopp, I am the navigator of this ship and this is the Grand Line and if I have to, I will locate a place where time stands still for all eternity and it will be a place that is full of giant monsters, and I will sail this ship into that place and leave you there until, until lizards take over the government and the world falls apart into tiny pieces and Luffy stops being an idiot and time itself erupts and reforms into a kumquat if you do not tell me what you did to Zoro last night to get him to actually do what he tells you, do I make myself perfectly clear?!"


Zoro is so often covered in blood that it could be considered a hobby, and it is not uncommon for the blood to belong to other people; still, he has never experienced a moment of panic and terror as pure as the first time he discovered that the blood on his clothes was from Luffy and Sanji, fighting alongside him.


When Nami is overcome with fever, they don't even have to share a glance to know that they will all be sleeping near her tonight, just to make sure she is okay, and to keep her safe, because the thought of losing her is more nauseating than sickness itself.


Luffy has long since lost the need for a musician and is running merely on the promise to himself that he would have one, because Nami's trilling laughter and Usopp's grandiose tales and even Zoro's snores and Sanji's angry shouts to stay out of the kitchen are all the music he needs.


Nami has her head on Sanji's lap and one of Usopp's hands grasped in hers, helping his finger trace the constellations, and Zoro moves his head from Sanji's shoulder long enough to mutter that Luffy can't stretch far enough to grab a star for them and to come and sit down with everyone else.


Usopp says that one day they should have one, maybe back at his old village, when they get older, and Zoro reminds him that they will probably all be killed before they have the chance to get that old, and a fight breaks out and Nami sighs and knuckles her forehead and smiles because how could poor Usopp be so stupid; they already have one.


Nico Robin, being an intelligent woman, is rarely confused, and thinks that her nakama deserve a measure of credit for perplexing her with the way they tried to hide the fact that they are all madly in love with each other.


Usopp is afraid of most things, from the trivial to the terrifying, and Nami is afraid of bodily harm and monsters and things of that nature, and Sanji is afraid of spiders and Zoro is afraid of girls in glasses and Luffy is afraid of them being confronted by their fears.


"The Great Captain Usopp is not afraid of thunder, not even a little bit, because he is not afraid of anything, but if his crew would perhaps like to find a nice way to abate his completely nonexistent fears I am sure that he would not object at all."


There is the bond of nakama, the bond of love, the bond of Nami's voice mumbling goodnight to them all and the bond of Luffy's arms wrapped around them all like comfortable rope.


"Woman, I don't care how good of a salesman you are, and I don't care that you're controlling all of my finances, and it doesn't matter that you're giving me the deal for half price and throwing in a second one for free, or that Usopp is willing to pay higher than me, I am not buying Sanji from you unless you tie him up first."


Usopp gently takes the camera from Sanji's hands before it ends up broken like the last one, and Sanji sighs in defeat and glares daggers at an amused Zoro until Nami gives him a bolstering kiss on the cheek and Luffy clings to his back and makes the mistake of announcing that they still love him even if he is stupid with technology.


"Boys, you bought me a sweater in the middle of a summer island that we will not be leaving for a week, and you know that I've charted the weather patterns and it won't be cold enough to wear this for ages, this is the stupidest thing ever, and you…you…oh, come here, you idiots."


The way Luffy smiles at them, wild and free and with utter abandon, is acceptance, and truth, and belief, and promise, and most of all, love.


Innocence is the way Sanji finds Usopp and Luffy tangled up on the floor of the boy's cabin, clothing mussed beyond recognition, flushed and writhing and panting and laughing because they are tickling each other senseless, that's all, and it is also the way that Sanji can't conjure up a thought dirtier than the urge to pounce on them both and join the tickle fight in a fit of gleeful immaturity.


Sometimes Zoro wonders if it is a flaw that he has to have four other people just to feel like one whole person, but he figures that everyone has their foibles and if his is having soul mates then it is one that he can live with.


"That one looks like meat, and so does that one, and that one sort of looks like my special seat, and that one kind of looks like meat too if you tilt your head, and that one looks like Nami when she's not wearing any clo– owww, Sanjiiii!"


Sometimes Nami is so overcome, so on fire with the reality of it all that she wants to stand up on the figurehead and throw her arms wide and lift her head to the sky and shout that if it wants to fall on her head right now it can go ahead because she is in love with the four greatest boys in the world and she can conquer anything.


Zoro's eternal pessimism tells him that he will never make it to heaven, and he feels comforted and guilty to know that wherever he ends up, the rest of them (nakama, beloved) will be coming with him, and won't that make it better than clouds and angels anyway?


Hell exists for Usopp; it is in Zoro's eyes when he fights, in Nami's voice when she berates him, in the lit end of Sanji's cigarette when he challenges an opponent, in Luffy's determined frown when he decides that the enemy will not live to see tomorrow, and in the thought of losing any of them.


The sun makes them lazy like cats; Nami stretched out in leonine satisfaction on her deck chair, Zoro curled up tiger-like in the corner, half-alert, Luffy clinging drowsily to the figurehead like a leopard cub, Sanji slumped over the galley table, long and lean like a resting cheetah, and Usopp surveys them all and fancies himself a tamer of great beasts for fleeting moment before lying down among them and stretching out in the sunlight like a housecat, content.


Sanji tells Nami that the moonlight makes her radiant, and Zoro tells Sanji that it makes him look even uglier, and they get in a fight that results in the two of the making out on the deck until Usopp teasingly comments on how romantic it is to be kissing under the moon and they hurriedly separate, giving each other sulky, sultry glares from moonlit eyes.


Usopp tries to be patient while Sanji makes a grand annoyed fuss out of combing the knots and tangles from his hair, but he doesn't necessarily assist in keeping Luffy's inquisitive fingers out of it while Sanji works.


Nami knows perfectly well that Sanji loves her hair, because he tells her at least once a day, and she thinks that Zoro would die laughing forever if he knew that Sanji liked his hair, too; she can tell by the way he runs his fingers through it and because he loves everything about all of them anyway.


"Nami, um, I'm sorry, I just need to go get my first-aid kit because Luffy sort of, well, he was trying to cook and he sort of blew up the kitchen and then there was this huuuge fireball and then Sanji kind of hurt him a lot and then Zoro got mad and started hurting them both and Usopp panicked and hit his head on the door, and Nami please don't make that face, you still love them, right?"