Author's notes :
Each part of this fic holds one of the Strawhat Pirates thoughts about one or several of their crew-mates. I won't tell, though. Some are obvious, some are not. And since there's only 8 parts, one of them is missing. Can you tell?
I don't own these characters.
This takes place during their reunion, right after the Timeskip.
I've been waiting for this day.
It's been two years since we last saw each other, two long, slow-paced years that sometimes seemed to stretch into full ages. And it's true, somehow. An age did come to an end, and it makes me die a little inside every time this thought sneaks into my mind. That's why I try no to think about it.
But it doesn't change a thing, whether I succeed not dwelling on it, or fail doing so. It doesn't change the fact I've been waiting for this day to come, impatiently, yet, anxious that things would never be the same, after all this time and all that happened while each of us was on their own.
Oh, how I've been waiting for this day.
And now this day has finally come, and I can barely hold back my tears, for I've been meaning to tell you all how much I missed you. I've been rehearsing this day in my head, while I was waiting, and I thought that I'd hold you all into my arms. Honestly, I thought I'd cry. I always do.
And now you're here, I find myself unable to express these feelings of mine, over-whelmed by my own emotions, laughing stupidly because I'm so happy – and I feel like such a fool.
Some things never change.
We just got together again today, and already, old habits have started to set back into place, as if these two years never existed. And it makes me feel at home, back after a long, painful, exhausting journey.
It makes me feel like sitting down and listening to whatever everyone's been up for the past years, even though I've never been much of a listener. It makes me feel like taking a seat, grabbing something to eat, taking a bite and slowly savoring the taste, closing my eyes and enjoying the warm afternoon sun, the light breeze, while listening to your bickering.
It makes me feel comfortable how stupid you become as soon as you are near each other, even though, I'm sure, you've missed each other as much as I missed every single one of you. In the end, I'm even sure you missed the bickering more than anything else.
I sure know I did.
Why did I have to feel like this? I'm such a fool.
We haven't seen each other in two years, and even though it pains me to admit it, I missed you more than anyone. Sometimes, when I was alone, or when I thought I'd die from loneliness and exhaustion, from despair, it's your face I missed the most – frowning, yet smiling at me as if you didn't know better, expectancy in your eyes – and it's what made me hang on until the end. I knew your stupid face awaited me at the end of my journey, that I'd get to see you again. That you wouldn't let me down. You owed that to me.
And it meant home to me, more than anything else. Most likely because you'd only make that face when things were alright – which these two years weren't. Because you were all so far away.
It was lonely.
I thought, naively, that after two years without seeing each other, everything would set into place right away. That I'd fall back into the same old patterns, and honestly, that's what I wanted. What I missed during all this time.
I thought that, maybe, you'd feel the same. And actually, you didn't disappoint.
But when we first met again, when I saw your annoying, scoffing face, awaiting me as if no time had passed, I couldn't help but feel a painful lump in my throat, as if I were to cry. I wish I was brave enough to open my arms, and hold you. Admit that I missed you, and how important you are to me. How happy I was for we weren't apart anymore.
But old habits die hard. I had to be a man about it. I wouldn't cry.
I'm such a fucking coward.
We're already on the move. As usual, we barely had time to greet each other, and all hell was breaking loose around us. As if we never were apart for so long. Though, I feel satisfied at the thought these years weren't lost. I got stronger. I feel like we all did.
I search for you among the familiar faces, and you're smiling. There's something about your smile I've always found soothing, and it was strange at first, for I am quite the irritable, the most easily annoyed in this lot. Maybe that's because it reminds me of another sad, wistful smile, seen on the face of someone I used to know. Maybe that's why I find it comforting, familiar. Or maybe because it's yours. Whatever. It doesn't matter.
I've come to cherish that smile, especially since it's been taken away from me rather abruptly, and I had to do without for two long years.
Your smile has been me all this time. Because I knew I'd come to see it again, someday, it helped me become stronger.
And now that we're no longer apart, I wish I can make you see how I have changed. How grown I have become. I used to be scared of you, of your haunted eyes that have seen so much, of the suffering they held, beyond conceivable. I'm no longer afraid, because these two years reminded me how fickle life can be. How it can take away from you what you never knew was so important.
I intend to share that knowledge with you, from now on.
Since I was very young, I've known what loneliness is. No family, no friends, no one to trust, or barely. I've been through it all, and it might be why I'm now able to cast it aside so easily.
Though, nowadays, I'm hardly ever alone anymore. And it makes me happy.
You're looking at me, chatting merrily about shallow things, simply enjoying the fact we are together again. I can see how you've grown, and it makes me a little sad that whatever was left of your childhood is now even sparser that before. You've definitely grown a lot during these years. I can now see the adult you will become, someday, much too soon, as you smile at me.
Seeing you smile happily suddenly is too much to bear. I know that you've been through loneliness as much as I have, but knowing you had to experience it all over again for two long years is just too much. It is so unfair.
I open my arms, and I close them around you. Surprised, you ask me what's wrong. I shake my head. I can't answer now. If I do, I won't be able to hold back my tears. I don't want to cry when I'm so happy to be home, at last.
I was so lonely.
It's been two years already. I thought I'd never see the end of it, that the day we were reunited would never come. And now I'm here, I can barely find words to express how happy I am. All I can do is smile like an idiot. And I don't care.
You jump at my neck, smiling like we didn't see each other for years. Well, that's it. You hug me fondly, and I wonder how these thin arms of yours can be so strong. Your hair has gotten very long, and you're taller than before. Fortunately, I am, as well. I like being cuddled by you.
You bury your face in my shoulder, and I can hear you sigh despite the big, solar smiles. You are slightly shaking. Then, you mutter.
"I hope he's been alright." I'm the only one to hear that.
I know who you are thinking about. Even before we parted, you'd always look at him. Such longing, wistful glances. Nobody noticed – especially not him – since you're so good at hiding things from us. But I did. Because I'm always worried, looking for any sign of weakness.
And you sure seem to think it's a weakness, or you wouldn't trouble yourself with hiding it. I beg to differ. I don't know much about this kind of thing, I haven't experienced it yet.
But, isn't it more like a source of strength?
When I imagined our reunion, after these long, solitary years, I always dreaded what would happen.
After all you've been through, I often wondered how it would change you. If you'd become all solemn and gloomy and somber. If it would make you more responsible. If you'd still smile after that.
You've been through so much.
I hoped you'd still be the same despite it all.
When I imagined our reunion – and I thought about you a lot during these two years, because I missed you so much – I wondered if I'd be able to show you my best smile. If I'd be able to hold back my tears. I cried so much when we were apart. Because you needed us, needed me, and I wasn't there. Because I loved you so much, but couldn't do anything.
Not that it'd make much of a difference anyway.
When I saw you, after all this time, even though you didn't seem changed, even though you were as silly, as fickle as before, I could tell your smile wasn't as wide anymore. I could also tell, from a single glance, how hard it had been on you. And I wanted to cry the tears you were unable to shed anymore.
I wanted to jump in your arms, hold you against me, and never let go. I wanted to tell you that I'd never leave you. That I loved you, always have, always will.
Yet, I couldn't. You did your best to be your usual self, and I didn't want to inflict my own petty desires on you. You wouldn't understand anyway. You'd stand there, asking me what's wrong, why all the tears, since we're back together. You're such an idiot. The king of idiots.
Which would probably makes me the queen of fools, if only you'd let me.
I finally made it back.
I'd always been confident that I'd make it to the end of my dreams. I never doubted I could get that far, if I wished for it hard enough, and faced every obstacle on my path, discarding doubts that would obscure it without a second glance. I thought I was strong enough.
I was wrong.
When I lost you, I thought I wouldn't be able to go on. It made me realize how weak I was. To be honest, I almost gave up.
If it weren't for you all, I would have given up. You were far, far away, but you gave me strength when I needed it the most. I wasn't alone. And I promised myself I'd become strong enough. That I'd live up to your expectations. I wouldn't be able to face you all if I didn't.
And now, I'm finally back on track.
Yet, I almost feel as if you're afraid of touching me. You're hiding it, of course. Did you really think I wouldn't notice? I'm not as stupid as I look.
I sigh. I know that's just the way you are.
For now, I'll bear with you and not say a word. I'll let you come to me, if you ever do, because I know you'd run away if I were to take the first step. I don't think you're ready for that, yet. And, to be honest, I don't think I am either. It's better that way. We still have such a long way to go.
I hope, when we get there, we'll both be ready for whatever it is that has been left unsaid between us.
I'll be waiting.
Final note :
I'll be waiting as well, for you readers to throw your guesses at me! :3
Thanks for reading!