Just a little break from Subtlety (I'm not slacking, though). This has been sitting around for a while, and I thought I'd get it edited last night, so I did. Pure nakamaship, though if you want to look at bits as being non-platonic, I won't get all up in arms about it. Enjoy! (I hope...)
Those things that no one else would know about… They're all a bit different, in so many different ways.
…that Nami sometimes uses her staff like she's wreaking havoc with a rifle butt and bayonet. He's seen Marines do this before; it's subtly different from staffwork.
…that Usopp's shots are more accurate by far when he's frightened, because he's not thinking about it anymore. Funny, how those things work.
…that there's always a lighter step then a slightly heavier step in Sanji's gait when he's itching to kick someone (the swordsman has cause to notice this; he's usually the target of Curly-brow's wrath).
…that Chopper's heartbeat shifts faintly every time he takes a different form. By now, Zoro can tell you it's Arm Point just by listening.
…that Robin won't flinch in the slightest at the threat of cold steel in her gut, but there's still a faint wince when something flies at her face. Muscle memory and instinct are powerful things.
…that Franky's most effective punches are far less flamboyant than his usual attacks. When he starts getting serious, he stops showing off so much.
…that the contrast between offense and defense in Brooke's swordsmanship is so abrupt that it's near invisible, even for Zoro. He'd tell the others, if he thought they cared or understood how impressive that is.
… that an almost imperceptible heat haze ripples around Luffy's shoulders when the captain is truly angry.
But Zoro doesn't care to mention stupid, obvious things like that.
…that Usopp unconsciously takes the wind into account before firing, and sometimes accounts for updrafts as well. He may not be a navigator, but he has an eye for how the air affects projectiles.
…that Sanji spices the food to compliment the flavor of the sea salt in the air. Always, he is aware of their surroundings.
...that Chopper can smell snow coming from over two miles away, and can see better through a blizzard than anyone else on the crew. (She tries not to be envious, and uses his talents to full advantage.)
…that Robin's hair always moves slightly before hands blossom from nowhere—Devil Fruits affect the atmospheric pressure. Useful knowledge? For a navigator, perhaps.
…that when Franky takes the helm, he turns the Sunny away from more dangerous currents without noticing he's done so. She's asked him about this, and has always received only a puzzled look in return.
…that Brooke tends to sing nonsense rhymes before the weirdest Grand Line conditions are upon them. They're ancient and surprisingly accurate mnemonics for the oncoming change in climate.
…that Zoro can never resist grumbling about his itching scars before a storm bears down on the ship. Nami knew about such things already, but the first mate is a mass of scar tissue; it's funny to watch him scratching madly as thunderclouds build on the horizon.
…that lightning ozone lessens dramatically when Luffy comes on board during a squall. Would that be a natural reaction to rubber, or is it just scared?
Well, anyway, Nami would say, she can't have been the only one to notice.
…that Sanji prefers old-fashioned fairytale romances to the smutty romance novels in the darker corners of the bookshops they visit.
…that Chopper loves adventures stories for the heroes and daring-do, but he loves best to hear about the far-away places.
…that Robin really does listen to his stories-when she can draw parallels to legends and myths. So he reads her books when she's otherwise occupied, and knows he's done well when she smiles mysteriously at the end of his tales.
…that an eloquent tear-jerker is all it takes to make Franky sit up and listen. It's only a man's romance, after all. And if he says he's not crying, well, then, he's not (never mind the water dripping from his chin).
…that Brooke takes no pleasure in horror stories, as one might expect from an eight-foot-tall skeleton, preferring lots of ludicrous humor and a happy ending.
…that Zoro is very choosy about the subject matter, and is never enthusiastic. However, he tends to sleep close by for a well-told epic battle.
…that Nami loves fairy godmothers and gorgeous dresses, balls and golden-egg-laying geese. Material dreams are evident in her interests.
…that Luffy will listen to anything that's told with panache and flair and very little romance. And no kissing, ever.
Usopp has never considered that the others might not have spotted these things.
…that Chopper loves bread fresh from the oven, hot and crispy. Every cook knows food has sentimental power, and Sanji was proud to pinpoint the little doctor's favorite.
…that Robin dearest takes no cream with her coffee, only a teaspoon of sugar, and ginger for stormy days. Her coffee is much like herself; dark and mature, but sweet enough to enjoy. (These thoughts tend to instigate a nosebleed when he takes a cup for himself.)
…that Franky has no sense of smell and must therefore be served food with stronger flavors—pork basted in cola, for instance.
…that Brooke takes a silent pleasure in ancient, aged wines, the majority of which he can identify with almost enviable accuracy. Sanji sometimes consults with the musician before beginning a marinade.
…that the sourer and stronger the beer is, the more Zoro likes it, the uncultured marimo-head.
…that Nami darling has a great fondness for tangy, sweet sauces. Sanji brings it back to her connection with oranges, and respects that she hasn't ever mentioned aloud. From time to time, she allows him to use a tangerine from her very own orchard for a special snack (just for her!).
…that Usopp has a surprisingly sharp eye for the composition of dishes, and his favorite foods are the ones that look grand and exotic.
…that Luffy, of course, will eat most anything, but will only take toppings on his meat if they have the familiar flavors of East Blue. Sanji can sympathize; he tries to adjust the dishes' taste as much as possible, though whether Luffy notices is anyone's guess.
You learn to keep an eye out for these things, is all.
…that Robin can't drink cold things since Enies Lobby—her teeth and gums will ache from the drop in temperature.
…that the scarred flesh around Franky's metal sections used to keep opening up from the iron's friction. Fortunately, he knows from Doctorine how to make seven kinds of balm for similar afflictions.
…that there's the faintest fracture in Brooke's left metacarpal bones where someone once gripped his hand with a desperate strength, and no amount of milk seems to mend it. One day, when he's rather braver, Chopper may ask about it.
…that Zoro's mysterious encounter in Thriller Bark left internal damage, to a degree that is far worse than the swordsman would admit aloud. All the wrong muscles start shaking when Zoro lifts weights.
…that Nami scratches at the scars under her tattoo when she sits alone by her orange trees. Sometimes the skin becomes badly irritated, but it's not the task of a doctor to repair damage of the kind she's really suffering.
…that Usopp still gets headaches from the sinus damage in Alabasta. Splints, hot salt water, and rest can only do so much, but for all Usopp cares, just that it healed straight is enough.
…that there's a slight dent in the base of Sanji's skull (along with signs of previous concussions), where an old man kicked him with a wooden leg.
…that there are only the faintest imprints in Luffy's skin from swords, claws, metal shark teeth, and brutal martial arts shockwaves.
Well, it's not that hard to see at all, is it?
…that Franky tried to stop a sea train with his bare hands, and talks to the ship when he thinks no one's listening. Robin, of course, can have ears everywhere.
…that Brooke will never stay alone in a room for more than a moment if he can help it, especially if that room is dark. He prefers to be on deck, surrounded by people.
…that Zoro sometimes refers to his white meitou sword as "she".
…that Nami eats an orange every day, "to retain her youthful good looks," she says to herself, as though quoting.
…that Usopp will often converse quietly with himself before his "can't go on this island disease" is cured.
…that Sanji's written over twenty letters addressed to the Baratie restaurant, and proceeded to throw them all away, respectively.
…that Chopper's greatest wish, perhaps beyond having more medical books, is to buy a miniature sakura tree at the next island one can be found.
…that Luffy's hat hasn't been the most precious thing in his life since he met his nakama.
Robin, of course, knows that these things are obscure; why else would she want to know them?
…that Brooke's favorite place is the grassy deck, where he can play for the whole ship. It's from there that the violin's tones resonate best through the Adam's wood.
…that Zoro stays in the crow's nest for solitude and rest, but also because all the chatter of his nakama can be heard from the little room high above the deck.
…that the portholes in Nami's room are hinged so that she can listen to the waves as she works (he just had a feeling she'd like it).
…that when Usopp's not fishing, he'll be down in the steering room, examining the machinery. Long-nose bro is a handy man with a wrench—it's not just gadgets, but machinery, that he can work with.
…that Sanji's second favorite place is the fish tank, where he watches the many varied species of fish accumulate with a dreamy look on his face.
…that Chopper loves the bravery and pride of the figurehead, and has twice tried to sit on it without Luffy's permission, but always loses his courage at the last second. It's a dangerous place for a Devil Fruit user, after all.
…that Robin spends much of her time inspecting the ship for the limitless little details and hidden corners. There are more rooms on this ship than the other crewmates could have imagined, and she's found about nine-tenths of them already.
…that Luffy's got his heart set on seeing this ship's "klaubatta-thingy" as soon as possible. It's not all that improbable, actually.
But anyone could notice all that.
…that it's easy to play a song that'll make Zoro sleep, but it takes a masterpiece to keep him awake. The right ratio of simplicity and elegance is a welcome challenge.
…that Nami, though she is never as enthusiastically involved as Luffy or Usopp, loves dancing tunes. She never joins in, but perhaps she simply enjoys the atmosphere.
…that Usopp is over-fond of triumphant marching songs, and loves to tell stories to their melodies.
…that Sanji's cooking improves when he has a swingy beat to work to, and the chef is remarkably good at improvising lyrics in his soft crooner's voice.
…that Chopper loves any joyful song and will happily dance if there's someone else to join him.
…that Robin will tap her toes involuntarily at only a certain tempo, and she is the one who recognizes the truly old songs—the ones he'd thought no one would remember anymore.
…that Franky's unusually good musical sense lets him sing automatic harmony.
…that Luffy's very favorite song is and probably always will be Binks' Sake. Brooke feels somehow that this is because it was the favorite song of the Rumba pirates.
But it wouldn't even take a musical genius to see such things, of course.
…everything he needs to and things you wouldn't expect him to.
…that they're his nakama, from swordsman to musician, and always will be.
Usopp, Franky, and Robin were probably the most difficult ones to find topics for. But I figured: Usopp knows stories, Franky knows ships, and Robin knows...trivia? I was always a bit iffy on that bit.
Part...VIII? Or are we on seven chapters? Anyway, the new part of Subtlety's up to three thousand words, and counting. It goes.