Edit: I checked the spelling once more and decided I couldn't leave it like that. So here's the second version.
One Musician's Dream
Robin was mildly annoyed. Walking down the street carrying a heavy bag filled with books and another with a couple of new pairs of underwear she felt quite exasperated with her company.
This crew really had an effect on her because she noticed that lately she had more and more difficulty with schooling her features so as not to let any emotion show on her face but apparently she wasn't doing as good a job as she'd have liked because the bony companion striding next to her appeared to notice that she was becoming impatient. Then again, it might also have been because he finally recognised that there were more pleasurable conversations in her opinion than being repeatedly asked to hand over her new panties so the skeleton may take a look at them.
"Miss Robin, do you mind me keeping you company."
"No, Brook-san, really I don't mind having you around me, but I will not, under any circumstances, show you my underwear"
"I understand, Miss Robin! Brook sounded slightly downtrodden.
To prove to him that she really did appreciate his company she suggested "You know, being the gentleman skeleton you claim to be, how about you carry my books. They really are quite heavy"
"But of course I'll carry them for you" he said hanging his cane into the crook of his elbow so he could alleviate Robin of her heavy purchase "and maybe then with your free hand you could pull out some of..."
"You will never get to see them, Brook" Robin interrupted him forcefully and shoved the bag towards him. He took it from her and decided he'd be better off keeping quiet for the time being because the young archaeologist next to him was, in light of her usual moods - or rather lack there of - practically seething.
She only barely managed to repress a huff when she noticed a small bookshop wedged in between a boutique and butcher's shop that was hardly noticeable because it was so small. Perfect she thought to herself.
"Ah, Brook-san, I would like to just quickly look inside that bookshop over there" she said, her usual pleasant smile back on her face and it made Brook feel uneasy, "but it really seems tiny. I'm not entirely sure whether you'll be able to come in with me, after all you are quite tall." She knew that Brook was obviously aware of his own height and didn't need reminding but she was desperate for some time alone and didn't mind making that perfectly clear to her crew mate.
Brook got the hint. "You're right, Miss Robin, I really think it'd be a bad idea if I tried following you inside. I'll just go sit...ah..." he looked around for a place he could comfortably rest and wait for Robin to come back out of the small bookshop and spotted a small café just at the end of the narrow street, "there!" he finished, pointing a finger to the end of the road.
Robin was relieved to have her Nakama disposed of comfortably. She wouldn't have wanted him hanging around in front of the bookshop for the duration of her browsing the shelves, after all an 8'8'' tall skeleton in a suite would look rather suspicious loitering in the middle of the street and therefore she was glad he'd be seated and most likely happily occupied with a cup of tea.
"All right" she said to Brook, this time genuinely well humoured "I'll just pick you up there when I'm done inside the shop. Do you need anything from here yourself, Brook-san, or do you need money?"
"No there's nothing I need from you Miss Robin, thank you" and then he added "but maybe you could show me your..." and trailed off, because Robin had already disappeared.
The small café was situated just across from a tiny park and just on its boundaries was a bench that faced the road, so whoever was inhabiting it could observe the bustling traffic on the street, and this was exactly what Brook was now doing. He had had two very enjoyable cups of tea and then decided to get out before he scared anymore waitresses.
It had been at least an hour and a half since he and Robin had split up and he suspected that she had finished in that one shop and then decided she might as well finish her shopping without the skeleton around. He couldn't blame her, he knew he could be quite strenuous at times, but he was simply so giddy to be back in the company of other people and the effect of these wonderful youngsters being his new nakama had still not worn off.
Still, for the moment he didn't mind not having any of them around because he was sitting on the side of the road watching all those townspeople getting on with their daily lives and all the excitement that hung around was enough to keep his ever wandering mind occupied and convinced that he was, in fact, not alone. He tried to keep his thoughts out of that dark place they usually shifted to when he had nothing better to concern himself with by watching a young teenager unpack a guitar and start playing on it, not ten feet from where he was sitting.
The young lad was obviously only just starting to get control over the instrument because some chords, especially the barrés, were still quite sloppy, but he showed a lot of talent when he was playing a small solo with so much heart put into the slides and pulls, which he was a lot better at than the initial chords.
Only very few people threw a couple of coins into the guitar-case, which the boy had laid out for exactly that purpose and Brook felt a little sorry for the kid. After all he had started out as an aspiring musician in a very similar manner some seventy five years ago. This kid, though, was in a far more desperate shape than Brook had ever been when playing in the streets for money. The boy's brown trousers had some patches on them and still sported a couple of holes and he was wearing a tattered looking vest over a stained brown t-shirt and he had a dirty blond straggly matt of hair half covering his face. Even the guitar-case was battered and in an overall bad shape but Brook could tell that the boy was obviously taking very good care of the instrument itself. The wood showed very few signs of damage and the strings were in better shape than those on Brooks spare violin. That thought reminded him that he had actually meant to buy new ones but he was drawn back to the kid when he stopped playing and set his guitar carefully aside to see how much money he had made so far.
Brook decided to talk to the boy, after all he hardly ever got the opportunity to talk to fellow musicians, except maybe Franky, but the cyborg really only new the crude basics of music and therefore wasn't really much of a connoisseur on the subject.
"Excuse me, lad, that's a very fine instrument you have there, may I take a closer look at it" Brook inquired bending down towards the youngster so as not to tower over him in, what could be taken as a menacing manner.
The kid looked up at the sound of the cheerful voice and squealed in a rather childish fashion when he saw where it had come from and hastily moved away from the skull that was right in his face.
"What the..." he mumbled.
"I'm sorry," Brook said crouching down so as not to make things worse and keeping a little more distance "I didn't mean to startle you but I am something of a musician myself and I'd really like to take a look at the guitar you have there."
The boy, still looking rather bewildered, handed the instrument to the skeleton, who took it, rather satisfied with the fact that the boy didn't seem deterred by his unusual appearance, or at least not enough to be rude.
It was a beautiful instrument. The body had a wonderful shape, it reminded Brook of a curvy woman, and the neck was slender and long enough to allow for quite a lot of frets which explained the kids style. With an instrument like this you could play heart-wrenching blues music. The strings were made of steel with no signs of rust whatsoever showing the amount of care the boy took of it. They were thread over a fine ivory nut and the residue bits of string poking out of the tuning keys were meticulously cropped to exactly the same length.
"You really love this guitar, don't you" The skeleton said quietly, in awe of such a elegant instrument.
"Yes, I do! With this guitar I'll become a well known musician with lots of money and fans, and I'll write music that will have people laughing and crying!" The kid was invigorated by the awestruck look on the skeleton's skull, though how he could recognise he wasn't sure himself.
"My dad gave it to me and I keep it well maintained in his memory."
Not wanting to prey Brook kept silent and instead ran a bony finger over the intricate designs that were painted on the dark wood of the body.
The boy fell silent as well, though he seemed more lost in thought.
Brook looked up to see Nami, Sanji, Usopp and Chopper stopping on the street to turn to him. They were obviously in the middle of their usual supply run and the annoyed look on Nami's face told him that it had gone as chaotic as always. From experience he knew that however useful for finding good food, Sanji would have most likely spent a lot of their time swooning over the small town's beautiful ladies and Chopper and Usopp being pulled in by shifty vendors trying to sell them fake souvenirs of made-up pirates. For such an intelligent little creature and such a skilled liar they were both shockingly naïve.
Brook waved to them reassuringly and they carried on down the street with a shrug.
"Are they your friends?" the young teenager asked from his side.
"Yes, I've been sailing with them for a little while now" the loving tone in his voice was obvious.
"They look like fun" the kid mused and then added "Wait, what...sailing? Are you a pirate?"
"I am indeed. I used to be first mate and then captain of the Rumba pirates and am now the resident musician of the Straw hat crew."
"Wow, really? You know I don't mind pirates. I know I should be scared of them, and you, and all but I really think pirates are pretty rock and roll!"
"I guess you could put it that way" Brook agreed.
After another couple of minutes of silence during which the skeleton had handed back the guitar, the boy began to speak again. "Do you have a dream? I mean, some sort of plan or something?"
"Actually, I do." and as the boy looked at him expectantly he began to relate to him his dream of seeing his friend, Laboon, again. "...And my new captain has told me that he met the whale and that he's been waiting for the crew for the last fifty years."
"Wow, that's so cool!" but the youngster's mood quickly changed from excited to gloomy in a few seconds.
"Do you believe in your dream? Do you think you'll really make it to the end of the Grand Line and back to your friend? Because I have a dream myself, you know, the one I told you about earlier, of becoming a famous guitarist? Well, I practice hard every day and I think I'm getting better but at the moment I can't even sustain myself with the money I make from playing. I live off of the money a friend of mine gives me to buy at least some food." he sounded quite bitter on the last couple of sentences.
Brook wondered how to explain to this kid how important it is to hold on to dreams and commit to them fully. "You know, for the better part of fifty years I lived in despair, believing that I'd never get back to Laboon and simply drift on the ocean alone for all eternity. And then this crew came along and swept me away from all my sorrows. They all carry a dream and they are all more than determined to reach their goals. After spending only a small amount of time with them I know that there is nothing that will stop me anymore. With enough motivation and the right people backing you up there's nothing that can go wrong. You say you got that guitar off of your father? I'm sure he'd be glad to see you make it big! And that friend who supports you financially, well I'm sure they're a support in more than just that one way. The main thing is that you believe in your dream!"
A wide grin spread across the boys face, and Brook felt a proud notion welling up inside of him and was struck by the feeling that this must be what his captain felt like whenever he helped a friend on the path of their dream.
"Brook, oi! Brook!!"
Thinking of the devil. His captain was skipping over towards where he was sitting carrying three drumsticks in his hand and devouring a fourth in his rubbery mouth. Following behind him was a grumpy looking green-haired swordsman.
"Hey Brook, who's your friend?" the overexcited rubber boy enquired on reaching the two seated musicians.
Surprised at his own ignorance Brook turned to the boy "I'm so sorry" he apologised "I never asked you for your name!"
"It doesn't matter, I never asked you yours, either" the young guitarist answered, smirking "It's not important anyway. You will know it,, though once I'm a famous musician, you'll recognise me and know my name!" He got up excitedly and put his guitar back in it's case carefully.
"I need to go now, the friend I told you about will be already waiting for me. Good luck with finding Laboon!" He called over his shoulder running off into the crowd.
"Cute kid" Luffy said and then pulled Brook to his feet. "Let's get back to the ship" he stated blankly and skipped off in the direction of the docks.
"I'm sorry, I need to wait for Miss Robin..."
"That's OK" Zoro interrupted him, picking up the discarded book bag Brook had left on the bench. "We met her earlier. She asked us to come get you, 'cause she really wanted to read her new book, or something and on the way here Luffy got distracted by the butcher's shop over there" he pointed at the one right next to Robin's bookshop, and started walking in the direction his captain had just disappeared.
"I hope you weren't too bored waiting for someone to pick you up."
"No, not at all!" the skeleton was practically beaming.
"You seem to have had a good time." Zoro said, not really expecting an answer.
"Ah, I only did a little of what Luffy-san does every day and it already excited me to no end" Brook admitted.
"What was that then?" Zoro enquired "I didn't see you eating anything."
Brook chuckled lightly "No, not that. I was just helping a wavering soul on the path of their dream!"
Zoro snorted, but in a good humoured way, Brook could tell, and with that they walked silently back to the Thousand Sunny.
AN: Ah, my wrist hurts.
Brook is really growing on me but that's really no wonder, after all I've always had a thing for musicians. It's quite lengthy but I wanted to write something with a little more detail, whether it is any good, is for you to decide. In case you're wondering, Franky was on the ship on watch enjoying a lot of coke! I really like reviews so if you like this story (also if you don't like it, cause with reviews it's actually quantity and not necessarily quality that counts) please do tell me so!