As the Thousand Sunny sailed towards its next destination, a blanket of snow was covering it, and it was a no-brainer that the pirates inhabiting the ship were aware of it, as signs of both men and forts of snow were visible all over the usually grassy main deck. At the moment, four of the crew's members were sitting in the dining room, discussing a certain event that was coming up soon.
"Alright, we've got everything set up, right?" the orange-haired navigator of the crew said, as she was wearing a pair of glasses, reading through a checklist. "Zoro's taken care of the tree, Brook and Luffy are dealing with decorations, and both Usopp and Franky are building the sleigh. Robin, you took care of the presents, didn't you?" she asked, throwing the raven-haired archaeologist a look.
"Everything's wrapped up and ready, Nami." Robin replied with a smile, as she sipped some coffee from her cup, just as the blonde chef gracefully handed her and Nami a piece of strawberry shortcake. "Ah, thank you, Sanji." she said with a nod to the chef.
"Ah, it was nothing, Robin-chwan!" Sanji said with a swoon, before taking notice of the checklist Nami was reading off. "But do you think we can pull this off, without Chopper noticing, Nami-swan?" he asked, before he went back to the kitchen counter, to prepare some more coffee.
"Hey, we've gotten this far without a problem, Dart-Brow." the green-haired swordsman said, as he was resting his chin on his knuckles, throwing Sanji a look, noting that he got a pretty annoyed look from that nickname. "Even though he's nosier around this time of year than any other time of year, we've kept this year's spiel fairly well-hidden for the time being."
"I know that, Marimo," Sanji countered, as he looked back at the swordsman, who got a fairly annoyed look on his face as well, "but I'm just concerned that either Luffy, Usopp or Brook might reveal it too early, and that's gonna ruin the surprise."
"Zoro, Sanji, don't start anything now." Nami said adamantly, which made Zoro give her a look, and which also made Sanji swoon around her, like the lovesick fool around girls he was. "Besides, I've made sure that those three won't reveal anything. If Luffy says anything, he won't get any of Sanji's cooking during the period. If Usopp says anything, I'll be forced to reinstate that 70 thousand Beri debt he owes me." she said, giggling in an evil fashion at the mere thought of that.
That's just cruel, even by your standards… Zoro thought, before he raised an eyebrow. "Hang on, you didn't mention Brook. What's gonna happen if he spills anything?" he asked, though the giggling from Nami suddenly died the moment he asked of that.
"Well…" Nami began, laughing somewhat weakly, as she scratched the back of her head. "It's actually only a formality, nothing too big or important enough to be mentioned…"
"I believe that if Brook didn't say anything, Nami offered to show him her panties." Robin said bluntly, without losing her smile, which made both Nami and Sanji look at her in shock, whilst Zoro kept his neutral expression.
"I… but the… how did you-" Nami began, when suddenly, an ear showed up on the checklist, before it quickly vanished. "…you're still a bit of an eavesdropper, aren't you, Robin?" she sighed, holding her head in exasperation.
Robin merely chuckled, before she looked at Zoro. "I trust that you found a good enough tree, Zoro?" she asked, with Zoro only giving a small nod. "I also hope that it wasn't too large…"
"Hey, I'm not stupid enough to pick the biggest tree I could find." Zoro said, as he snapped his fingers. "I just picked the biggest pine tree I could find." he added quite bluntly, with Sanji and Nami only slapping their hands against their foreheads.
"That's still going to make Chopper suspicious, Marimo…" Sanji growled, though this earned him a glare from Zoro. "Where are you going to put such a huge tree anyway, you idiot?"
"I hid it below deck, alright? Besides, I'd like to see you cut a bigger tree, Dart-Brow." Zoro replied coldly, as he stood up, with him and the chef glaring daggers at one another at this point.
"I've got dinner to take care of, shitty swordsman, so I can't. Try cooking meals for a week, and then we'll talk." Sanji said back, as the two were now butting heads against each other, Zoro actually reaching for one of his swords, and sparks emitting from their eyes.
"Now, now, you two; you heard what Nami said." Robin shot in, as a pair of hands sprouted from both Zoro's and Sanji's bodies, pushing the two from each other. "We don't want to ruin the festive mood, do we?" As she said this, the door into the kitchen opened, and in strode two persons.
"Man, that took a lot longer than I expected." the blue-haired, sunglass-wearing newcomer said, as he cracked his knuckles for good measure. "Putting a super finish to that sleigh took quite a lot of thought, I can tell ya. But this sleigh's definitely the greatest this week!"
"Longer, he says…" the long-nosed newcomer sighed, as he looked at the four sitting by the table. "It took him ten minutes to decide on what kind of paint-job he wanted the sleigh to have, and the paint-job only took thirty seconds!"
"Ah, Franky, Usopp." Nami said, as she stood up from her seat, looking at the shipwright and sharpshooter. "It's hidden and ready?"
"You bet!" Franky laughed, as he suddenly broke into a pose. "The Super Battle Frankopp Sleigh is all ready for take-off, whenever it's needed! Ow~!"
"And the best part is, Chopper won't have to pull it at all!" Usopp said with equal enthusiasm, giving the four a thumbs-up. "With the spare Dials we got from Skypiea, we can actually make it fly, like in the stories!"
"It sounds like you put your all into this project." Robin said with a smile, as she took another sip of coffee. "But it must have been cold, working on the sleigh down below deck. Maybe Sanji could make you two some hot chocolate?"
"Anything for you, Robin-chwan~!" Sanji exclaimed, as he rushed over to the kitchen to prepare the hot chocolate. And just as he did that, yet another pair entered the kitchen.
"Yohohohohohoho! Did I hear someone say something about hot chocolate?" the skeletal newcomer laughed, as he brushed snow off both his top hat and his afro. "It'd be nice to have something to warm up these bones, after working in the snow… but that's a little too late, since I'm already dead! Yohohohohoho, Skull Joke~!"
"Aah, both Nami and Robin has cake!" the straw hat-wearing newcomer said, as he looked shocked at both Nami and Robin's plates. "Sanji, can you make me some cake, too?"
"Wait in line, Luffy! I've got my hands full with the hot chocolate, here!" Sanji called back, before he noticed the skeleton. "And you, Brook! Don't think that you're gonna enjoy your reward for long! Not alone, at least!" However, this comment earned both him and Brook a shoe to the face, sending them tumbling to the floor.
"Sheesh…" Nami sighed, as she took her glasses off. "So, Luffy, where did you guys hang the decorations?" she asked, looking at him with a curious look.
"We hung them all over!" Luffy said proudly, snickering a bit. "Around the mast, by the steering wheel, on my special seat, on the swing, on the slide, on the walls, on the tree, we hung them all over!"
"I should have known…" Nami sighed, before she rubbed her temples. "Well, at least that day coincides with the other day; with any luck, Chopper won't suspect anything." Then, she put on her glasses again. "So, we have the presents ready, and with the sleigh, decorations and tree done as well…" she said, as she checked the checklist again. "There's the dinner for that day, something Sanji should be able to do with ease… anything else we need to add?"
"Ooh, we need fireworks!" Luffy said in a giddy tone, which made the crew look curiously at him. "If we're gonna make this right, we have to have fireworks!"
"Don't you think that's a little too early, Luffy?" Zoro asked, as he raised an eyebrow. "Like, a week or so?"
"No, he does have a point…" Franky said, as he rubbed his chin, humming a bit. "If we're going to make it super, we definitely need some fireworks. I think Longnose already has something like that ready..."
"You bet!" Usopp said proudly, as he rubbed his nose with closed eyes. "With Kabuto, I can create the most splendid of fireworks! It's only gonna take a few modifications to make them the right color, but it'll work out!"
"We also need the music!" Brook said, as he took out his violin, swiping the bow across the strings a few times. "It can't be a jolly celebration without the music! Yohohohoho!"
"So, with cuisine, fireworks and music, along with the other preparations…" Sanji uttered, as he counted on his fingers. "…then we should be all set?"
"We should." Nami said with a nod, before looking at Luffy, Usopp and Brook. "Now, all we have to do is to keep our mouths shut until the day arrives. You guys got that?" she said with a stern look, which made all of them nod quickly, knowing what would befall them if they said anything. "Perfect! I'm so glad that we can see eye-to-eye on this." she added with a laugh.
"Dear Doctorine. How are you doing?" A few days had passed since the meeting had taken place, and right now, we find ourselves in the infirmary of the Thousand Sunny, where a small, tanuki-like creature was writing a letter. "It's that time of year again. I don't think I could ever imagine taking part in it without being in the castle with you, Doctorine." As he wrote, he also scratched the large, pink hat with a white X on the front he wore on his head. "The others have been pretty quiet about it, so at first, I didn't think they celebrated that on the ship. But when I saw all the decorations they had hung up, it made me wonder… but, I hope that you're still well back on Drum, Doctorine. Say hi to the villagers from me, if you pay them a visit! Sincerely, Tony Tony Chopper."
At that moment, he heard a knock on the door, before two people peeked in; Usopp and Brook. "Hey, Chopper, Nami wanted us to come to the kitchen!" Usopp said, whilst Chopper put the letter aside for now.
"That's right!" Brook said, as he scratched his forehead. "I think it's about money distribution for when we get to the next island. I can't wait to see how this will turn out… but then again, I can't see, because I'm a skeleton! Skull Joke!"
"Anyway, everyone's there already, except for you, Chopper! Let's go!" Then, the two quickly left, leaving Chopper perplexed.
"What's going on, now?" he mused, before he stepped off his seat, walking out the door. Looking up at the sky, he could see that the snow was still falling, though it wasn't like a blizzard; it was more or less tranquil, which he was more or less used to. What he did notice, though, was a bunch of twinkle lights hung up all around the walls. Without a word, Chopper followed the lights, all around to the main deck.
There, Chopper immediately noticed that sitting by the base of the mast was Zoro, sleeping like usual, even with the snow covering his entire body. "Hey, Zoro!" Chopper called, hoping to get the swordsman's attention, but to no avail. "Zoro, come on! Nami wanted us in the kitchen!" However, he still didn't reply. "Hmm…" With a sigh, Chopper turned towards the kitchen door, unaware that the moment he turned away, Zoro's eyes opened up.
Chopper cautiously opened the door, carefully peeking in, before opening it. "Sorry that I'm la-" he began, but the moment the door was opened, something suddenly covered his eyes, preventing him from seeing anything.
"Now's our chance!"
"Move, get the tree ready!"
"Usopp, don't stand around like an idiot!"
"Zoro, wake the hell up, already!"
The sound of his crewmates scurrying about made Chopper curious, though the darkness covering his eyes made it impossible for him to see what was happening. However, he could hear lots of noises around him, as if people scurried to get things ready. "Alright, all done! Luffy, you can let go of Chopper, now." Then, the darkness vanished, and…
"HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CHOPPER!"
The sight that met him surprised him beyond compare; the entire kitchen was decorated with bright, colorful lights, in shapes of both Chopper and his hat, and a large banner hanging across the room, with the words 'Happy Birthday, Chopper' written on them. And standing in the room were all the Straw Hats, each holding a present in their hands (Robin, however, was holding three). "You… you guys remembered my birthday?"
"Of course, Chopper!" Luffy laughed, as he held out the present he was holding. "How could we forget? Santa's gonna give us all presents tomorrow, but today, you're getting the presents!"
With a large smile, Chopper began dancing around in a happy fashion. "Just because you remembered the day, doesn't mean I'm happy, dumbasses!" he laughed, which only made the Straw Hats smile.
"Maybe you'd like to start with this, Chopper?" Brook said, as he handed Chopper the present he was holding. What Chopper found when he opened it, was a flute shaped like a snake. "If you'd like lessons, don't hesitate to ask! Yohohohoho!"
The present that Franky held contained a six-pack of diet cola. "Y'know, keep a healthy diet, and everything, and stay super, even if it isn't real cola! Ow~!"
One of the presents Robin held contained a book on very rare diseases. "I thought it'd fall in your interests, Chopper."
The present that Sanji held also contained a book, but this one was a survival guide. "Just so you'd be perfectly sure on what you can and can't eat if you ever get lost."
The present that Usopp held contained a wooden figurine shaped like Chopper doing a pose, whilst wearing a cape. "I spent a whole month carving that from a piece of Adam wood, so it should last an eternity!"
The present that Nami held contained, surprisingly, some jewels from Nami's stash of treasure. "And just because it's the holiday season, I won't charge you for having any of it!"
The present that Zoro held contained an extra-sharp scalpel. "This should help you out in some way or another."
The present that Luffy held contained a funny-looking mask. "I found this on the previous island we were on, and I thought it looked cool, so I thought you'd like it!"
Seeing all these gifts, Chopper was, needless to say, happy. "I… I don't even know what to say, except… Thank you all!" he said with a large smile.
"We're still not done, Chopper." Robin said, as she held out the other two presents. "These came a few days ago, from a 'V' and a 'K'. Maybe they used pseudonyms to not get attention from the Marines." she said, though whilst Chopper was distracted with these presents, he didn't notice Usopp and Franky sneaking out of the kitchen.
One of the presents contained a small gourd with the name 'Chopper' written on it, along with a note. "Dear Tony, I'm sorry that I couldn't be there to celebrate the day, so instead, I send you the best wishes from Alabasta! Sincerely, Nefeltari Vivi."
The other present contained a bottle of sake, along with a note, though this one only said "Ya happy? Kureha." Though it only said that, Chopper instantly knew that his mentor had sent him that note with the best of wishes.
Then, all of a sudden, they heard noise coming from outside. "Hm?" Chopper mused, as he and the other Straw Hats went out of the kitchen, only for them to see something incredible; a large pine tree decorated with various lights, decorations and a star at the top standing by the mast, and a sled flying around the tree. And in the sled, Usopp stood, wearing his Sogeking mask.
"Aha! I am the legendary sniper, Sogeking, coming to greet you for the special day today, Chopper!" Usopp said with a laugh, as he did a pose, something that both Chopper and Luffy marveled at.
"WOW! Sogeking's got a sleigh, just like Santa!" Chopper and Luffy said with glee, as they looked at the sleigh flying around without anything driving it, all whilst Usopp was posing. And then, from behind him, fireworks shot up from the front of the ship, courtesy of Franky, and when each of them exploded, they eventually spelled out 'Happy Birthday, Chopper!'
"Wow…" Chopper uttered, as the sleigh passed by over them, to the back of the ship. "This… has been the best birthday ever!" he laughed, as he looked back at his crew, who all looked down at him with a smile. "Thanks a lot, all of you!"
"It's not over yet, Chopper." Sanji said, as he lit a cigarette, just as Franky and Usopp returned to the crowd. "Right now, I got dinner all prepared, and since it's your birthday, it's gonna be a feast!" he said, which prompted a cheer from everyone of the pirates, but Chopper's was undeniably the biggest cheer.
Needless to say, the rest of the day was spent partying, along with a good portion of the following night. And eventually, a few days later, when Kureha would receive the letter that Chopper had written, it would have one extra sentence added:
"P.S: Thanks for the bottle, Doctorine!"
A/N: I wanted to get something out for this time period, so, everyone, say it with me: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CHOPPER! And happy holidays and all that good jazz to all of you people, as well! Here's hoping to an excellent new year!