Years of Dysfunctional Chaos

5: Baby Brother

There had been a time when Nami had been concerned about her own love life. She had been positive that the existence of two protective elder brothers and two clingy younger brothers was the worst situation she could be in.

If anyone—including Nami herself—had ever thought that Nami's dating life had been difficult due to her family's intervention, such thoughts were quickly dispelled in the winter of Chopper's second year in high school.

The incident began when Usopp arrived at the high school to surprise Chopper and walk him home. To Usopp's shock, he had found his baby brother in the shadows by the lockers, attached to a girl at the mouth—a girl whom Usopp had never seen before.

"What the hell?" demanded Usopp.

Chopper and the girl sprang apart guiltily. The girl shot Usopp a fearful look before turning and running, and Chopper glared. Usopp, off-balance and reeling, felt a twinge of guilt that was quickly usurped by the shock that he had just seen his baby brother kissing someone. They walked home together anyway, and the walk was silent and awkward. The tension in the air was palpable.

When they reached home, to Chopper's horror, Usopp did not keep his mouth shut for so much as a second. Perhaps Usopp had intended it to be an ice-breaker, but that could not have been further from any desirable action as far as Chopper was concerned.

Usopp's loud announcement, "Chopper was kissing a girl!" was greeted by a moment of stillness and silence in which Chopper wondered if he had ever seen his home go truly still and silent before. But before he could think any further, all hell broke loose.

"Great going, m'boy!" cheered Dad with a slap to Chopper's back.

"You'd better be using protection," growled Sanji moodily.

"Oh my god," gasped Nami. "My baby brother?" A pause. Then, "I'm so old."

"What color were her panties?" asked Grandpa, perfectly serious.

"Everyone hush," said Mom, and the voices lowered to incoherent whispers. "I'm trying to decide whether to ground him or cook a celebratory dinner."

"Hey!" whined Usopp. "No one cared half this much when I kissed Kaya!"

"You took too long," snorted Sanji. "By the time you finally got around to it, we were just relieved that you hadn't accidentally gotten castrated at birth."

"Why's kissing always such a big deal?" sighed Luffy, and Chopper was suddenly terribly sorry he'd stolen Luffy's muffin on Monday.

"No clue," yawned Zoro. "It's a waste of time and energy, if you ask me." Chopper had to bite his tongue not to blurt out then and there about the bet about Kuina that had been running for the past five years.

But the ruckus in the room showed no signs of winding down, and neither Luffy nor Zoro was doing anything to stop it. The irritation mounted further and further, and by the time the outburst came, Chopper wouldn't have stopped it if he could.

"No one made a tenth of this big of a deal when Vivi was caught half-naked with Kohza!" snapped Chopper, feeling his eyes fill with tears. He wasn't sure whether he was angry or ashamed. "No one cared at all with Usopp or Ace, and Sanji goes around kissing most of the girls in the village without any of you making this much of a fuss! You even make bets about Zoro kissing. And still it's not okay when it's me? Come on, Ace is married, and Usopp is engaged!"

"Ace isn't married," said Luffy confused. Nami kicked him in the shin.

"I'm sorry, dear," said Mom, but her tone held an undercurrent of amusement.

"I hate you all!" sobbed Chopper, and ran outside before anyone could stop him.

There was a moment of silence as the family as one tried to overcome the shock of the baby's outburst.

Then Luffy turned to Zoro. "They have a bet? About you and who?"

"Mm," said Zoro, who was already asleep against the wall.

"What, am I the only sane one left?" demanded Luffy, throwing up his hands and stomping after Chopper in a huff.

Zoro snored, and everyone else looked at each other.