It was late at night when Nami found her way to her work room, seeking a quiet place to concentrate on finding a solution to her problem. In silence, her dark eyes skimmed over the map spread out on the table before her. Across from her, cast in harsh relief in the lantern light, was Zoro, leaning with his hands on the table and staring down at the same map intently.

"This is the next closest island," the navigator said finally, her voice subdued as she tapped a finger on the paper. "There are definitely no marines here."

"And how long until we reach it?" Zoro asked without looking away from the speck that marked the next island's location.

"Tomorrow, afternoon at the latest," Nami replied evenly as she mirrored Zoro's position, hands resting in the tabletop. "We may be able to find someone to help us there."

A contemplative silence fell over the room as the pair regarded the map, and their possible salvation. And as distracted as they were, the work room door slamming open to admit a shouting Luffy had both the swordsman and navigator jumping about three feet and screaming.

"I've got it!" Luffy cried in a triumphant manner, and Nami clutched her chest as she whipped around to face her captain.

"A way to get the necklace off?" the navigator asked hopefully.

"No." Luffy blinked at his rattled nakama as they tried to recover. "Are you guys okay? Maybe you should go see Chopper."

Zoro scowled at the thought. Chopper had been busy during the few hours since they arrived back at the ship. No one had been hurt by the attacking marines back at the last town, but after the "Bandanna Incident," Sanji had laughed so hard he had actually managed to injure himself.

"Just tell us what you thought of," the swordsman snapped to get off the subject.

Luffy flashed a wide grin. "I have a worse option!" Nami and Zoro stared at him blankly, so the rubber man quickly added, "At least it's not a tiara!" He looked pleased, beaming with his hands on his hips, as if he expected praise for his brilliance.

Nami saved Zoro the trouble of pummeling Luffy by taking the liberty of throwing a chair at the captain's head. Luffy yelped and fled, and the two people left in the room stared after him as the door swung shut solidly.

A short span passed before Nami turned a thoughtful look Zoro's way and the swordsman shifted her a suspicious gaze.

"You know, this is worse than I thought?" Nami said, sounding bewildered. Zoro gave her a confused look and the navigator clarified, "I actually sort of feel bad for you."

It was as if someone had erased Zoro's expression, his face went that blank, that fast. Then, without a word, he turned away from Nami and headed for the door.

"Where are you going?" the navigator asked with a frown just before Zoro stepped out of the room.

Zoro didn't even pause or glance back as he stated calmly, "To jump off the ship," and then the door shut behind him with a soft click.

Nami nodded thoughtfully and turned to fold up the map they had been examining a few minutes earlier. Then she actually registered what Zoro had said, shrieked, and lunged for the door.

"Wait! Zoro! My necklaaaaaaace!"

~ ;3 ~

The following day, nearing mid-afternoon, the Thousand Sunny sailed into the calm waters surrounding a small summer island. Nami had told everyone the name, but it was ridiculous and Zoro had given up trying to pronounce it in his head well before he tried actually speaking it. It didn't really matter anyway, because they wouldn't be staying here long. Just long enough to find someone who could get rid of the choker – Zoro had decided to be positive about the situation.

The island was supposedly occupied, but there didn't seem to be any sort of dock in sight, so they ended up settling on dropping anchor not far from shore and using the Mini Merry to get to the beach.

While Sanji, Nami, Franky and Robin headed to shore and the rest waited their turn, and Zoro had to wonder why Luffy, ever-anxious as he was to explore each new island they came across, had waited on the ship with the second party. But then the captain scuttled up to Zoro's side and latched onto the swordsman's arm with a very self-satisfied grin on his face, and Zoro cocked a brow at him in silent question.

"Look!" Luffy tipped his head way back and pointed at his own neck, which now sported a neat band of light blue cloth. It looked like one of Nami's scarves, tied around his neck and falling back over his shoulders, and Zoro had to wonder if Luffy would get pummeled for that later.

"See?" the captain said cheerfully, "Now we match."

Zoro couldn't cover his amused smirk. "Yeah, we match."

Luffy smiled triumphantly and pranced away to join the other again, the scarf streaming behind him, and Zoro watched him go with a short exhale of breath. He could practically see Luffy's logic; Zoro hated wearing the bandanna like this, but if he wasn't the only one doing it, it would be better, right?

How the rubber boy could be so ridiculously immature and yet somehow always manage to cheer someone up when they needed it, Zoro would never know.

~ ;3 ~

It was immediately apparent upon reaching the shore that the tiny island was, indeed, inhabited; there were many snaking paths cut into the jungle that bumped against the beach, the way cut too perfect and clean to be a game trail made by animals. It had to have been cleared by some sort of blade.

Nami had apparently taken charge of the entire inland trek before Zoro's half of the crew – including their captain - had even reached shore, and the navigator's carefully-organized plans were being laid out clearly when Zoro's boots hit the beach. Luffy then promptly ruined all sense of order by flinging himself out of the Mini Merry with a maniac grin and taking off into the jungle without giving anyone a second look. "Islaaaaaand!"

Guess staying back on the ship for those extra five minutes wound him up, Zoro mused as Nami gave an indignant yell and ran after her captain, signaling everyone else to follow them or be left behind.

Luffy managed to evade Nami and crashed his way half-on, half-off the jungle trail for almost ten minutes before the first signs of human life showed themselves. Said signs of human life might have picked a better time to emerge though, since when the dark-skinned young man with the machete stepped out of the jungle and onto the path, Luffy ran headlong into him and sent them both sprawling in a painful-looking manner.

"Geez-a-frick, Luffy!" Nami huffed as she stomped over to kick the rubber man off the stunned island native. "We're not trying to kill them!"

"Ouch-- Sorry, sorry!" Luffy scuttled away from the wrathful navigator while Franky helped the stranger to his feet, since the man still seemed slightly dazed from the collision. He was of average height, and the combination of a strong build and darkly-tanned skin suggested he spent a lot of time working outdoors. Black hair was tied back in a tail that fell to mid-back, and his outfit consisted of sturdy leather boots and heavy tan pants, probably as protection against the thorny brush that covered the jungle floor off the path.

"I am fine, honestly," the stranger assured once he was on his feet, though his still looked as if he had no idea what to make of the strange group scattered around him. "You... just arrived here?" he inquired in heavily accented English as he studied the group curiously.

"Yes," Nami said cheerfully, hoping to change the subject from the assault of a greeting the man had received. "And I'm so glad we ran into--" Oops. "-- Found you," the navigator corrected herself. "You see, we're in a bit of trouble and we were hoping to find someone who could help us?"

The man lifted a dark brow at her and then looked at the rest of the Straw Hats. His gaze shifted to Luffy, then to Zoro, and an odd expression crossed his face before he suddenly grinned widely. Zoro's eyes narrowed in instant suspicion.

"Yes, of course!" the man said happily. "You are very, very lucky! I am one of very few people on this island who speak English. Very lucky!" he continued in that same excited manner as he put the machete away in its sheath against his lower back. "My name is Ahmi. I will take you to my father. If anyone here can help you, he is the one." He gestured for Nami to follow, and then turned to walk off down the path at a quick clip.

All of the Straw Hats exchanged a look, a few of them shrugged. At least he seemed friendly, right?

As a unit, they all followed after Ahmi.

~ ;3 ~

As a guide, Ahmi was quick and experienced, leading his charges through the maze of snaking trails at a pace that made it almost difficult for the pirates to keep up. But no one complained and soon Nami was able to give up her position as human leash for Zoro when Ahmi led them off the path into an area of jungle completely cleared of underbrush, which was a welcome break after being surrounded by the suffocating jungle.

Out of the jungle and into the village. It was an abrupt change from trees and underbrush to small houses and hard-packed dirt paths. People were scattered about the streets going about their day-to-day activities, and Ahmi didn't even hesitate to lead his impromptu tour group right into the heart of the village.

Just about every person the Straw Hats passed stopped whatever task they were working on and stared at the pirates, some with interest, some with nervous expressions, and most looking completely confused. Who were these weird people who just marched into their village?

Nami plastered on a cheery smile for the crowd and just kept walking, hoping that good behavior and Ahmi's apparent confidence would keep the other villagers from getting too antsy.

Keeping Luffy from running off at every whiff of cooking meat in the village was a task accomplished by the combined efforts of the entire crew, and soon the intact group found themselves led to the largest cottage in the village. Whereas the others were one-level structures, this one had a second floor and was much more expansive. There was a small group of people outside, and Ahmi smiled when he spotted an older man sitting in the sun in front of the house.

"There is my father. Come, come," Ahmi said brightly, and Nami glanced back at the herd of people following her.

"You guys want to spread out a bit?" the redhead suggested, thinking that facing the entire lot of them might be a bit... overwhelming.

Sanji and Brooke, having already been distracted staring at a group of lovely girls in low-slung gauze skirts, immediately gave their full agreement for the idea and ran off in a blur. Robin just laughed and suggested she keep an eye on them before heading off herself, though she was probably more interested in learning something about the village. Franky followed her with a shrug, which left Nami, Chopper, Usopp, Zoro and, strangely enough, Luffy.

Nami turned a questioning look to her captain. "Don't you want to go explore?" He'd been itching to do just that not five minutes ago...

Luffy just grinned. "In a bit. I wanna meet the old man, too!"

Nami hesitated, running disaster scenarios through her mind and debating whether to allow this, but a call for attention from Ahmi had her hissing out a breath.

"Fine," the navigator said as she pointed a finger at Luffy. "But you behave. Got it?"

"Got it." Luffy gave a serious nod and Nami eyed him before turning to head for the group Ahmi waited with.

As the reduced group of pirates finally stood facing Ahmi's father, Zoro became slightly less sure about their intentions. Everyone was giving Luffy weird, lingering looks, and it was starting to get on the swordsman's nerves. So with a scowl he shifted a step closer to Luffy, and as always, the captain remained oblivious.

"I would like to introduce you to my father, village chief," Ahmi said, and then turned to speak to the man in question in a language that totally escaped the grasp of any of the pirates standing by.

Ahmi's father was an interesting figure in his own right. He was obviously up in years, his dark skin sporting wrinkles around the eyes and mouth - Nami was hesitant to call them laugh lines due to the severe frown on the old man's face - and his black hair streaked liberally with silver, until there was more of the grey color than black left. He lacked a shirt, and his torso showed off an impressive mapping of scars which he seemed to wear like trophies. And yet despite this gruff appearance, fixed around the village chief's neck was a fetching stone cuff in dark blue. In fact, Nami noted as she scanned the group of people seated around Ahmi's father, all off them had cuffs like that, except that six of the eight men wore black collars and Ahmi's father, and the man next to him who seemed about Ahmi's age, both wore blue. The younger man's was a light sky blue, however.

Finally Ahmi stopped speaking in that rapid and confusing language and turned a reassuring smile on the pirates.

"I have told him you are no threat and that you are seeking help. He is willing to hear you out," Ahmi said, though he seemed to have expected that from the start.

Nami let out a relieved breath and looked to the old chief as he got to his feet. "It's sort of an odd predicament, but we're desperate," she said, and Ahmi translated her words as she spoke. "See, my friend over here has--"

"Wait, wait," Ahmi said, interrupting the navigator. She looked mildly annoyed, but let him talk since it seemed the chief had something to say.

"My father wishes to know why your prince isn't presenting your request," Ahmi said.

A pause.

"Huh?" Nami gave him a bewildered look, and her confusion only increased when Ahmi gestured to Luffy, who stood by picking his nose. Uhg.

"Your prince," Ahmi repeated, and now everyone was looking at Luffy again. "And my father would also like to know why his guard has been wearing such a scowl this whole time."

And now everyone looked at Zoro, and Nami felt like her brain was spinning.

"Wait, wait, he's not a prince," Nami informed them. "He's--"

"I'm going to be the Pirate King!" Luffy interjected brightly, and when Ahmi translated, the chief gave a grin that seemed full of... approval. And then Luffy started chatting at Ahmi, who translated to the chief, and Nami stared at them all like they were crazy.

Prince Luffy. Oh this wasn't even funny.

"The guards must wear the black collars," Robin commented from Nami's left, about giving the navigator a heart attack since she hadn't made a sound when she returned.

Nami clamped a hand against her chest above her heart and frowned at Robin, sure one of her damn sneaky nakama were going to give her a real heart-attack soon. "What?"

"Look." Robin gestured to the six men around the chief, all huge guys built like tree trunks, all of them sporting weapons. "What he said about Luffy's 'guard' scowling at them... He must have been referring to Zoro, since his guards seem to be wearing the black collars and Zoro is wearing his bandanna." Now she gestured to the swordsman, who was still eyeing the natives with suspicion.

Nami stared. "Wow. Just... wow," she breathed, and Robin had to laugh.

~ ;3 ~

"Such beauty! Such grace! In all my years I have never seen someone as elegant as--"

"May I see your panties?" Brooke's voice cut in, and Sanji immediately face-planted from where he had previously been kneeling before of one of the dark island girls, one of her hands clasped in his as he swooned and waxed poetic. Now he leapt to his feet and somehow managed to kick the much-taller musician in the side of the head.

"How dare you talk to a lady like that?!" the cook demanded in chivalrous outrage. Though it was a wasted effort when a moment of knocking Brooke's head sideways was ended by the sound of three girls giggling. Sanji turned a confused look their way, hesitantly lowering his leg when he saw that the girls were, in fact, laughing behind their hands in an almost conspiratorial manner.

Two of them nudged the slightly-taller – and probably slightly-older – girl forward and she offered them a coy smile and a bat of her long eyelashes.

"Our... panties?" the girl asked, pronouncing her English carefully and with a lilting accent.

"Yes," Brooke said hopefully, and Sanji found no words to contribute.

"Oh, I am very sorry. We cannot show you our panties," the girl said, and the two men before her sagged in defeat.

"Perfectly fine, miss, I was--" Brooke tried to clear up, but the girl interrupted him; "You see," she said with that same little smile, "we do not wear panties."

Brooke and Sanji stood stock still as the words sank in, and the trio of girls giggled louder and huddled together. The two men present exchanged thoughtful looks, considered the girls, considered her words, and then simultaneously pitched backward into a totally manly pile of euphoric goo.

Halfway across the little square and just close enough to have caught the gist of the exchange, Zoro gave a derisive snort and folded his arms. "Morons."

"What was that, marimo?" Sanji snapped, on his feet and in Zoro's face in half a second.

"Agh, quit breathing your nasty breath all over me," the swordsman griped, tipping his head to the side as if trying to escape the noxious cloud of Sanji's stink. "You smell like an ashtray-- I think you just gave me lung cancer."

Zoro could almost see smoke shoot out of the blonde's ears, and he had to stomp on a triumphant grin.

"Pardon me," Sanji seethed, "I didn't mean to offend your delicate sensibilities, princess."

And it was on. Zoro aimed a punch for Sanji's smug face and Sanji ducked and snatched the bandanna off the swordsman's neck, and then they were rolling across the ground shouting curses and generally mauling each other and disturbing the peace.

Brooke didn't mind, since he now had the girls all to himself, but Nami was less than amused.

"What the hell do you idiots think you're doing?!" the navigator shrieked, teeth seeming much sharper than they had a moment earlier.

Sanji immediately froze and started an apology that was abruptly cut off by Zoro head-butting him in the face, which knocked him back on his ass. Nami stepped between them before they could jump each other again.

"Gah, is your head made of brick?!" Sanji groaned, rubbing his forehead and glaring past Nami's leg. Zoro just glared back, so Nami clocked them both over the heads with her notorious Fists of Death.

"Shut up, the both of you. You're embarrassing beyond reason." The navigator huffed and set her hands on her hips as the pair agonized over their newest injuries. It was only then that Nami realized everyone in the village square was staring at her, and she stiffened. Oh, crap.

"I'm so sorry about these two," Nami said quickly, hoping to heal this while she still had a chance. "They're always doing that. I'm very sorry about--"

"No, no, nothing of the sort," Ahmi said with an edge of uncertainty. "My father was just thrown by your treatment of your princess."

A beat.

Luffy blinked. "... You mean Nami?" He pointed at the navigator, but Ahmi shook his head. "... Robin?" The stumped captain now pointed to the archaeologist, but again, Ahmi shook his head.

"No, the one who was posing as your guard. A very clever way to hide your princess, covering the royal pink collar with a soldier's black," Ahmi said approvingly, and all of the Straw Hats froze on the spot.

"Wait," Nami cut in, frowning faintly, and jabbed a thumb in Zoro's direction. "You mean him?"

"Yes," Ahmi said brightly. "Unconventional, but your customs are obviously different from ours. We are--"

"Whoa, wait, you've got the wrong idea," Zoro said quickly as he lurched to his feet, trying to nip this in the bud. "I'm not-- What are you doing?" He stared blankly at the man now standing in front of him, the younger man with the light blue collar who had previously been seated by the village chief. And if the guy invading his personal space wasn't weird enough, the slightly-taller man then chose to grasp one of the swordsman's hand and raise it to his lips.

"My brother, prince Azrai, would like to request your princess's hand in marriage," Ahmi informed them, sounding thrilled about the whole thing.

None of the pirates could even react at first. Zoro was so stunned he couldn't even move. Sanji was so overwhelmed he couldn't even laugh.

"I can't even laugh," the blonde stated tonelessly.

At the stiff reaction, the man still holding Zoro's hand looked a bit unsure and said something in that rapid foreign language. Zoro reluctantly looked past him to Ahmi, who translated with a faint frown, "He wishes to know if his looks do not please the lovely princess?"

Zoro's jaw almost hit the dirt. Nearby, Sanji looked thoughtful.

"No, I was wrong," the blonde said. "I can laugh." And then he proceeded to prove this statement true by keeling over in what was probably a painful bout of raucous laughter, clutching his sides and rolling in the dirt. Usopp, Luffy, and Franky joined him on the ground not a second later, and Nami was laughing out loud, and Robin even had a hand over her mouth, trying to stifle her own laughter. Even Chopper was giggling.

In the face of such betrayal, Zoro did the only thing a self-respecting – and still sane – man could do.

He turned on his heel and ran away screaming.

~ ;3 ~

This was it, Zoro raged as he stormed back onto the Thousand Sunny and headed straight for the hatch leading to the observation room, only stopping long enough to grab the first mirror he saw before heading up. This was absolutely the last straw. Even he could only take so much abuse before he snapped, and after days of humiliation he was damn well sick of it.

He had arrived back at the ship ahead of the rest of the crew – somehow without getting lost - so he had at least a few minutes before they caught up with him. He used the time to his advantage; after shutting the hatch behind him firmly, he hauled over two of his larger weights and set them on the door, then moved around the room locking windows. He made sure everything was shut tight to prevent Nami from gaining access. She would just try and stop him.

Once the room was secure, shut and locked, Zoro cast a brief look through the window toward shore and then grabbed his swords. The choker was coming off, today, one way or another.

~ ;3 ~

The second pirate to reach the ship was Nami, since once she had recovered from her fit she realized that Zoro wasn't the only one who had fled; he had taken the choker with him. And they hadn't even had a chance to see if anyone on the island could get the thing off!

So now, in a right displeased mood, Nami stomped back onto the ship and immediately headed for the observation room with Sanji hot on her heels. Luffy followed behind them both with Zoro's black bandanna clutched in one hand.

Nami reached the hatch with the full intention of unleashing her full wrath upon a certain swordsman, but her way was blocked by a door that refused to budge. But she still had her mad on, so she scowled darkly and slammed a fist into the wood.

"Zoro!" she screamed at the hatch. "Open up right now!"

"Idiot marimo, how dare you lock Nami-san out?!" Sanji shouted in equal – if slightly more misplaced – anger. "Open the door!"

Luffy took one look at the scene and back-peddled, choosing not to remain in an enclosed space with those two. He was rather attached to life and even his rather mediocre survival instincts told him that hanging around was a bad idea.

~ ;3 ~

Zoro didn't know how long he'd been in the observation room. After Nami had stopped her futile screaming to open the damn hatch – Franky must have stopped her from having Sanji just kick it to smithereens - he'd lost track of time. Not that any of this time spent in the tower had actually paid off – he hadn't made any progress in getting the damn choker off. He'd succeeded in giving himself innumerable hairline cuts all around the choker, and he was pretty sure his left shoulder was bruised from when he got pissed and tried to crush the necklace with a weight, but none of this had proven useful. His efforts hadn't even put a scratch on the fine gold; he kept checking it in the mirror after each new attempt, hoping for some sign that he wasn't just wasting his time.

Now sitting on the floor with his back against the couch, Zoro groaned and set the mirror aside. It was dark out, he noted with a sidelong glance toward the window, and late by the looks of it. He'd definitely missed dinner... He'd be surprised if anyone was even still up. Looks like he'd done nothing but earn himself a sleepless night on watch. Beautiful.

Zoro made a frustrated sound and dropped his head back on the edge of the couch to stare up at the ceiling. Defeated by a necklace. He had to admit, he hadn't seen that one coming.

With a mirthless laugh, the swordsman dropped an arm over his face to cover his eyes. He was completely out of ideas of ways to get rid of the choker. He'd tried everything he could think of! As it stood, he'd be stuck with the thing forever. Wouldn't Sanji get a kick out of that?

That thought was so depressing that it killed any shred of hope the swordsman had left. But he had no options left; the choker wouldn't break, it wouldn't cut, it wouldn't just open...

"Please come off," Zoro said to the empty room, and cringed at how pitiful his voice sounded. But then as if n response to his words, a tiny sound echoed in the empty observation room.

Click. Metal shifted, and the choker slid effortlessly free of the swordsman's neck to drop to the floor without another sound.

Zoro was pretty sure his heart stopped. The silence that swept through the room was deafening after the glorious little click, and even though there was no denying that the metal was no longer surrounding his throat, Zoro was hesitant to look for the choker, just in case he was imagining it. But he steeled himself and shifted his arm enough to crack open one eye and peer down at the floor, and there, in a neat little bundle of gold and pink, the choker lay innocently glittering in the dim light.

Zoro let out a harsh bark of laughter and snatched it off the floor as he lunged to his feet. He yanked open the lock on the nearest window and flung it open wide, then wound his arm back, intent on flinging the choker off into the ocean where it could rot, but a thought struck him, a thought so grand that it served to still his arm.

Oh, no, the swordsman mused as he gently shut the window again and looked down at the bit of shine he held. He had a much better plan for this...

~ ;3 ~

As always, it was before daybreak when Sanji rolled out of bed and padded out of the men's quarters to head for the galley. Other than whoever was on watch, he was always the first up; he had to prepare breakfast for everyone, after all. So the cool morning found Sanji winding his way to the kitchen, still rubbing sleep from his eyes and stretching to wake himself up. He was just fuzzy enough that he almost missed the one thing that had changed in the galley overnight.

Sanji paused near the sink and looked back to the spot on the counter that had caught his attention, and sure enough the peculiar item was still there. A small round mirror, just propped up on the counter and totally out-of-place in the galley.

With a shrug, Sanji moved to retrieve it. Maybe Nami had left it there on accident? He mused. Well, he would be sure to return it to her at the earliest--

Sanji's thoughts died before their completion when he lifted the mirror from the counter. He had taken an absent glance at the reflective surface and had to do a double-take to be sure he wasn't hallucinating.

But it was still there, staring back at him from the mirror like it wasn't an abomination.

The pink choker was around his neck.

Up in the observation room, the sound of the cook screaming loud enough to wake every soul on the ship drifted in through the open windows like some sort of wonderful music, and a pleased smile curled Zoro's lips.

Ah yes, the swordsman thought peacefully as he settled back on the bench with his hands folded behind his head, revenge was sweet.

! ~ ;3 The End ;3 ~ !

;D I wonder, did you see that ending coming?

HOKAI! This is the end of Zoro's New Bling. Sad, yes (note: lie.). It was freaking fun to write. XD Seriously. Utterly pointless, but insanely fun.

Yes I know I need to be shiv'd for this.

Lolo, you are the most tolerant, patient, other-words-that-ends-in-an-"ant"-sound person I have ever known, and I thank you for being my beta beta. -cling-

And to everyone who actually READ this, thanks for stickin' by me and this story, and I hope you liked it! Here's an extra token for you guys, to show my gratitude! 8D -flails off into the distant sunset-

! ~ OMAKE TIEM ~ !

Nami paused in her trek to the women's quarters when she spotted Zoro standing at the aft railing, staring down at the water as if he were watching the most interesting show in the world. The navigator felt herself somehow compelled to investigate, and so gave a shrug and walked up beside the swordsman.

A moment, then, "Why is Sanji being dragged by a rope behind the ship?" Nami inquired with a raised brow.

"I told him that's how I got the choker off," Zoro said without any measure of hesitation or guilt.

Nami looked away from the ocean and over at the swordsman, who sported the grin of the endlessly amused.

"You're evil," the navigator stated simply.

"I'll take that as a compliment," the swordsman replied.

"Very good. Have fun," Nami wished as she turned away from the rail to go about to her business.

"Will do," Zoro said amiably as he waved over his shoulder, still staring over the rail.