Hello again Brook.

"Ah, who said-" Brook stood startled, nearly upsetting his cup of tea and violin case. He shook his head to clear the sleep from his eyes "Ah, this is no good. I have to stay awake and guard Sunny." He said to himself. He glanced out over the beach to where seven sets of footprints lead off into the tropical jungle. They had just landed at the next island the log pose had pointed to. It seemed like a deserted island, but everyone had some reason or other to go exploring, even if it was just to get off the ship for a while. They had drawn lots, and Brook had gotten the short straw. He had to stay back and keep an eye on Sunny.

Robin had looked at him for a long moment after they had drawn "If you would like, I could watch the ship Brook." She had said softly, her face impassive. Brook had simply laughed and said his music would keep him company. But now as the day wore on he seemed to have realized why she asked. He had joined the crew for only a month or so, and fifty years alone were hard to forget…

But Sunny was such a friendlier looking ship than his old one, particularly without his dead crewmates cluttering it up. He leaned back against the tree and sipped his tea. He grimaced, it was lukewarm. "Ah, this tea tastes terrible… although I shouldn't be able to taste, for I have no tongue. Skull joke!" he said with a raucous laughter.

Ah, going for the classics, are we Brook?

Brook stilled, jaw open wide. He suddenly realized the tea cup was rattling against the saucer. He was shaking. Brook set the cup down swiftly and launched himself to his feet. He pulled out his violin "About time I did some practice!" He said enthusiastically.

Go ahead and ignore me. I can wait.

Brook shuddered, but continued to smile widely. He ran through Bink's Sake as fast and loud as he could, capering around the deck while he did it. After the third verse he noticed he was short of breath and stopped, hands on knees "Hah, I wonder if the others heard that?" he said, wiping his sleeve against his forehead "Probably! The song echoed throughout the land and all could hear it and be refreshed! Yohohoho!" he laughed.

No good, bony boy, I'm still here. Now what shall we do today?

The bow and violin clattered to the deck out of slack fingers. "Why are you back?" he whispered eye sockets wide.

I never left Brook, you just haven't talked to me in a while. Kinda hurts my feelings, you know?

Brook laughed again, a high cheerful laugh "No, we haven't talked in a while! That's because I don't need you anymore! I would much appreciate it if you never talked again."

Now Brook, don't be like that! You never know when you might need entertainment again. Who knows? Maybe this crew will be killed and you'll only have me again for fifty ye-

"Stop it." Brook said, all pretenses gone. He clenched his fists tight against his sides, his breathing turning ragged "It's impossible for that to happen. Luffy and the others are strong. They won't be taken out so easily."

Ah, but so many different things could happen! They could have a run in with the shichibukai, or one of the pirate warlords. They could even meet up again with that interesting bear fellow you met back at Thriller Bark.

Brook picked his violin back up "If you're trying to scare me, it won't work. We'll deal with all of them when the time comes." He said. He touched bow back to strings.

They could just abandon you.

He shuddered hard, causing the strings to screech.

Yes, what good would a creepy skeleton do, one so pathetic he couldn't even retrieve his own shadow? Soon enough they'll realize what a waste of space you are and put you back out to sea where you belong.

"They would never do that. I'm their nakama."

Yes, but have they ever had quite such a useless Nakama before? I highly doubt it.

Brook carefully put his violin back in his case. He stood for a moment breathing deeply "This is all just a trick to break me. You're nothing but a voice in my head."

I might be nothing but a voice, but you're right when you said I'm in your head. Dead right.

It laughed, a slow sinister laugh the exact opposite of Brook's.

I see everything, every truth you refuse to admit, every side glance you refuse to see. They may say you're their nakama, but we both know different don't we? They're simply too terrified of you to refuse you.

Brook slumped to his hands and knees, sweat rolling down his face "It's not true…" he said, but he had thought it often enough. "We're going to sail around the world, and then I'll see Laboon again. They promised me that."

Dear god still going on about that whale? You know as well as I that the stupid thing is dead and gone by now.

"Luffy and the others-"

Lied to you. Maybe they needed another fighter for their crew so they made up some fairy tale about meeting the whale. More likely they needed cannon fodder.

Brook smiled "Heh, you're not making any sense. If they think I'm so useless why would they lie to get me on their crew." That made the voice pause. Brook looked up, panting. Had it gone for good? Then there was another laugh and his hear nearly stopped, even though he didn't have a heart.

Too true, too true! I did contradict myself there. You're clever as ever Brook, for having such a thick skull. But of course I'm not here to philosophize, I'm here to entertain. Aren't I Brook?

"Aha, that's where you're wrong!" Brook said jumping to his feet again grinning "I can look at the aquarium, visit the library, go to the observation deck, or even practice Bink's sake some more! I have far too many things to do now, so I never need you to entertain again! Now go away, I think I'll brew myself some tea and go practice my sword play!" Brook took a few steps forward-

Ah, but it's been so long since I've had any practice. Why not stay for a few daydreams? Now that we've seen some new people I've thought up some doozies.

He whirled around angrily, although no one was there. "We'll have none of that! I refuse to think such things anymore! I'm amongst proper company now, I mustn't have such indecent thoughts!"

Oh really? Are you sure? You used to dream for hours about the people you met on your journey. All the people that ever wronged you, dead. Every woman you ever even slightly desired-

Brook huffed and drew his sword "No, I refuse to listen. Go ahead and chatter all you want, but I'll be busy doing other things."

As you wish. But I mean, that samurai, how dare he interrupt your battle with your zombie? You could do to him what you imagined doing to that Kintaro fellow you met back in Rogutown. What did he do to you again? Ah, I remember, he stole your wallet right after payday. Oh the things you imagined doing to him! You crept up while he was sleeping and quickly tied him down. Then, ever so slowly, you would cut away strips of skin from his forearms. Even while he begged and screamed for mercy you would slowly and methodically scrape away until he was all bone like you.

"Stop it, stop it, stop it!" Brook screamed dropping his sword to clutch at ears long gone "I won't listen to you! I can't go back to living like that!"

Hit a nerve have I? I thought you were busy practicing. Well now that I have your attention why don't I tell you about that Nami girl? A fine woman that one. Can't you just imagine running your fingers through her hair and touching her ever so softly-

Brook screamed and rammed his head into the tree, beating his skull with both fists furiously "I refuse to think of Nami like that! You sadist, you demon, you stinking old perv! Get out of my head!"

Ah, that's the sad thing isn't it? As much as I'd love to leave this rotting old pumpkin of a skull, I'm stuck.

His fists slowly stopped hammering his head and hung limply by his sides. "How do I get rid of you? How do I make you leave?" Brook sobbed.

You're the only one who knows. You made me Brook. You made me about ten years after you found your body and realized it could be another ten more before help arrived. I was your companion, your best friend, your only solace in that hell hole of a ship. Now you have others to fill that role. Luffy, Zoro, Nami, they're your Nakama now. I'm just the voice inside your head.

The voice, so full of malice and venom before, now sounded lost and sad. Brook sat with a heavy sigh on the tree's seat. "I'm so sorry. I was always weak. Alone for that long… I never should have depended on you. I'm so sorry I made you."

Yeah, you and me both.

There was silence. Brook's breathing slowed and steadied. He reached behind him and pulled out a thermos. After pouring himself a cup of tea and taking a sip he set the cup back down. "Well? What now?"

I can't help what you made me. I'm here to stay until you figure that out. See a shrink or something, I dunno.

"They'll just want to examine my brain… and I would disappoint them, for being a skeleton I have no brains left."

God I hate your stupid jokes.

Brook laughed softly "ah, well that's just something you'll have to live with, isn't it?"

"Oooooooi! Brook!" Brook sat up, looking over the side railing. Luffy was racing down the beach, a basket full of crabs strapped to his back "Sanji found a bunch of these on the other beach!" he held up one that was nearly as big as his head "And this one's mine! Awesome, huh!"

The others followed behind, "Hey, be careful with those! Ussop already let one basket get away." Sanji glared at him.

"Hey, it wasn't my fault! The big one pinched me…" Ussop said dragging his own empty basket along on the ground behind him.

Chopper suddenly looked around "Hmm? Wasn't Zoro right behind us?"

Nami slapped her forehead "For the love of- you guys stay here and start cooking. C'mon chopper, let's go find him."

They raced off as Franky came toting a huge pile of wood. He dumped it in the middle of the beach. "Eh, all that walking made me hungry. Let's get this campout started! Fresh fire!" and set it alight. Sanji was already on board, grabbing a huge pot and filling it with water.

Brook watched them all silently. He jumpedwhen suddenly a hand landed on his shoulder "Were you alright watching the ship?" she asked him. "I had meant to come back and check up on you, but I found a small ruin in the center of the island and lost track of time."

Brook took a deep breath and clasped her hand "Thank you Robin. I appreciate the sentiment. I…" he hesitated, but if there was someone on this crew who he could confide it, it was her. "I had a little trouble being on my own. I thought I would be fine…"

"Perfectly understandable. You don't recover from something like that in an instant. I would know." Her hair fell over her face and in the evening sun shaded it. "If you ever need to talk Brook just know that I'll listen."

"Thank you." There was a moment of comfortable silence between them. Brook felt the urge rising, probably helped along by a certain someone. "I'm sorry but I have to ask… what color are your panties today?"

Robin smiled at him "I think you'll be fine." She said and released his shoulder. She climbed back down the ladder and joined the crew around the bonfire. Brook saw Nami dragging Zoro over to the others with a gigantic lump on his head; chopper was applying a Band-Aid to it.

"Oi Brook, get down here! What's a campfire without a song!?" Luffy roared up at the ship.

Brook snapped to attention "Aye aye captain!" and leapt off of the deck, violin already in position. As he played and the others laughed and danced along he mulled things over. So what if he had a few bats in the belfry and a few marbles missing? For now he was among friends, fulfilling his promise to Laboon, and only half dead.

Being insane was a small price to pay for so many blessings.


Hey, If you've gotten this far, thanks for reading! I keep getting so many good reviews about my drabbles that I'm going to be posting more and more of them as the ideas keep cropping up. This is just the latest one, and since I'm actually taking a liking to this anime, it's probably not the last OP story I do. Also disclaimer: of course I don't own One Piece (I keep forgetting to put this here. hope no one sues me for it.) Freida 5 signing out!