So this was originally meant to be in reply to a prompt that was essentially Zoro-centric but got hijacked by Brook and Peter and the Wolf (which hopefully explains at least some of what I was trying to do), and is now completely unsuitable for what it was supposed to be for. Also, admire my self control: so many terrible skull jokes I could have made...
One Piece is owned by the glorious Eiichiro Oda and all his misc. merch. companies.
Brook loved watching his new crew. The feeling he gets when observing them is exactly like that when Yorki and the rest were still alive – these crazy dreamers were both his nakama and his orchestra. They complemented each other in the strangest ways and the harmony that resulted was magnificent.
Today he woke up in the mood for composing an upbeat tune and set about searching for inspiration. Whenever constructing a melody, Brook knows it is essential to start with the very bones of the piece, and for this tune he finds he needs a strong backing beat. The swordsman is the obvious choice.
He finds the man napping in the morning sun, in what Brook could have sworn was the most uncomfortable place on the entire deck; Zoro had propped himself against the gallery wall, pillowed in the indentation Luffy had left behind in the hard wood where Sanji had kicked him yesterday. Seating himself by the mast, Brook hums into his teacup in time with the unchanging and determined rhythm he hears whenever in the presence of the swordsman. He can hear the drums already (pum para pumpum para pumpum)… Now for some melodies.
Strings, perhaps. Brook settles himself further as Nami rounds the mast, maps clutched in one hand and writing utensils in the other. He hears a violin start up and imagines the bow sawing evenly across the strings. The gallery table is the only one large enough for this particular project of hers, but the door is closed, she has no hands free to use the handle and her possessions are too lightweight to put down on this breezy day. Brook notices the way Nami's mouth pulls down sharply and the shriller note of a viola joins his melody. It fades, though, as she nudges the arm of Zoro's that isn't curled possessively around his swords into an upright position. The violin resumes, quicker than before, as Nami rests her unfinished maps on the swordsman's open palm, opens the door with her now free hand, collects her belongings and sails on into the gallery. Zoro continues to sleep and the drums continue to beat.
(pum para pumpum para pumpum)
Brook pours himself another cup of tea as Franky clangs up the stairs from below dragging his toolbox with him. The skeleton hears the deep thrumming of a cello closely match the existing slow and steady rhythm. The tone dips deeper as it's Franky's turn to huff in frustration when he realises there is a green-haired grumpy bastard in the way of his repair job. At this point Robin exits the gallery, book in one hand, coffee in another and teacake in yet another, and the skeleton feels his finger bones twitch as a harp overplays its gentle melody to soothe the agitated cello. The archaeologist smiles bemusedly at Franky, and he grins ruefully back as she sprouts hands and feet beneath Zoro to move him gently out of the way and onto the lawn. The swordsman is now sprawled flat out on the grass but continuous snoring indicates he doesn't mind. Robin retreats to the aquarium and the harp goes with her, but leaves a lingering sweetness in the air. Brook watches with his ears.
(pum (rrrum) para (rrum rrum) pumpum (rrrum) para (rrrum rrrum) pumpum)
Franky works fast and the wall is soon as good as new. The cyborg observes his work, hefts his hammer, and the cello strums strongly a few times. The shipwright needs to test the strength of the repair job but doesn't want to risk damaging the wall again. Franky makes a decision and this is marked by a confident crescendo in the tune Brook hears in his skull. The cyborg's action in hauling Zoro up by the scruff of his white t-shirt and lobbing him (albeit gently) into the wall is accompanied by a cymbal clash that almost startles Brook, but Zoro just snuffles slightly and, returned to his previous position, remains settled in sleep. Franky nods in approval and the complete lack of splintering, picks up his tools and he and the cello fade away into the bowels of the ship.
(pum para pumpum para pumpum)
The sweet and light sound of the flute is what Brook hears next as Chopper teeters past him, small furry arms filled with a jumble of raw medical supplies. Brook has noticed that while the little doctor loves having an infirmary to rule, he really prefers working in the gallery in the comforting presence of other crew members. Well, Brook reasons as he nods his head in sympathy with the flute's slightly hectic harmony, reindeers are herd animals. Chopper grins at Brook happily as he makes his way to the kitchen door but while his head is turned his hooves continue to carry him forward. As a result Chopper trips inelegantly over Zoro's outstretched leg and Brook adds a piccolo's shrill note to his growing masterpiece. There is no ensuing instrumental clash, though, as Zoro shifts at exactly that moment and the drums increase with protective insistence. Chopper finds himself pillowed gently in the crook of one leg and propped up by the knee of the other, ingredients still safe against his chest instead of scattered all over the deck. The piccolo fades as the flute starts up again - high at first, but decreasing in tone - as Chopper gathers himself together and slightly unsteadily carries on through the door being held open for him by Sanji.
(pum para pumpum para pumpum)
As Brook notices the presence of the cook, the drums noticeably decrease in tempo but a quick check of the swordsman, however, shows him still fast asleep. It occurs to the musician then, as he hears within him the suave note of a jazz saxophone, that perhaps the slowing drums do not indicate wariness or mistrust, but are merely matching themselves to a different tune. The cook has stepped out of his domain for a quick break and a quiet smoke in the nice weather. The saxophone's tone – smooth and in control (a marked difference to when Nami is in the room, in which case it tends to squeak unappealingly) – does not change as the cook observes Zoro and even nudges the sleeping beast with his foot. The cigarette is tapped a few times over him, dusting the green hair lightly with ash, before the cook pivots about, sounds out some sweeping notes, and retreats to the stove.
(pum para pumpum para pumpum)
It's later in the afternoon when Brook wakes with a start and realises the rhythmic drumming had lulled him into a light sleep. He looks around for the source of his wake-up call and realises it's the pizzicato strings that he hears whenever Usopp walks around. The sniper is indeed present, plucking delicately across the deck, drawing pad and paints in hand. A xylophone joins in, somewhere in the background, and Brook smiles when he hears the harmony that results; suddenly more upbeat, purer. The falling twilight lends an almost magical look to the Sunny's deck and he can see Usopp is determined to capture this moment. Completely without the deference the long-nose usually shows the swordsman when he's awake, Usopp sets to adjusting Zoro's position to create a better subject for his own masterpiece. The swords are aligned more symmetrically, his legs stretched out in a more relaxed manner and his head tilted slightly back as if contemplating the heavens. Brook assumes Usopp is going to leave out the closed eyes and snoring countenance.
(pum para pumpum(tsing tsing) para (tsing) pumpum)
As Brook watches Usopp engage in his own art, he becomes aware of the similarities between their respective creative outlets. Usopp moves his brush evenly along the canvas just as Brook plays his fingers delicately across the classical piano keys: himself in this crew and this song. His fingers dance across imaginary ebony and ivory and his heartstrings sound in accompaniment as the beat moves along in the background and Usopp's young masterpiece echoes in its artistic faculty Brook's developing one. This is Brook's ecstasy of music – the notes vibrating his bones and the sound coming from within – that he loves to share with his crew.
And as the music reaches its zenith within him, a saxophone makes its grand entrance as Sanji calls for dinner. All the other instruments arrive in a jumble heading through the gallery door into the orchestra pit; the violin sings in annoyance as it trips over the xylophone, pizzicato strings hurriedly pack themselves away as a harp sails gently past. Cello combines strangely with flute as drums rouse themselves and Brook's own melody becomes lost in this confusing stanza.
Then the maestro enters. An impatient tap-tapping as his sandals run across the wood is the conductor's baton against the lectern. The instruments don't cease; far from it - they increase in vivacity and tempo - but now they form a true arrangement, and the melody is complete. An entire orchestra represented in the souls of Brook's nakama, playing a song so magnificent it is fit to tell the tale of the Pirate King himself. For Luffy is indeed the composer of this performance – he has carefully selected each element, and has tuned each crewmember in such a way that their inherent harmony comes forth such as they themselves often have difficulty accessing. Brook notes, however, as he sways with the flow of the music, that while each instrument produces of its own accord splendid sound, it is only in the presence of the conductor that they all work together to form aural beauty. Brook could never write something this captivating, but he can hear it, and he can play it so that others may recognise it.
"That's a pretty tune, Brook. What's it called?" Nami asks as they all sit down.
Brook ceases his subconscious humming and grins toothily. "Hmm, I might just call it, Nakama. Yohohoho!"