disclaimer: disclaimed.
dedication: to Celia.
notes: le angst. my… my heart…

title: how to be dead
summary: "I mean, yes, we're sinking. But the music is exceptional." — Franky/Robin.






It had been so very close.

A magnificent battle—thick red arced through the air in a flash of colour and hit the wall in a splatter, pain in her side as someone slipped a knife through the gap in her ribs, that same red down her chin and smearing across her vision. Zoro and Nami and Sanji, screaming for Luffy and Luffy, falling and falling and he'd—he'd lost so much blood—and Chopper, popping his Rumble pill to reach their captain before he hit the water—

Robin coughed. Something cracked. Blinding pain. Blinding pain everywhere.

The Thousand Sunny burned around her.

Timber from the foremast, flaming as it fell, nearly crushed her. Robin didn't flinch. She didn't even raise her head.

Brook stood at the helm, and played his violin. It was a slow, lilting lament that sang of a grief so profound that it would have reduced Nami to tears—on a bad day, it might have tugged at Robin's own heartstrings.

But Nami was dead.

And Robin's heart had died along with her.

She shuddered and coughed, smoke filtering into her lungs. Robin could feel them decaying as she breathed, and if it wasn't the most horrible thing she'd ever felt, she didn't know what was.

Dying was up there, though.

She pressed a blistered hand to her forehead. It was so hot and her vision was starting to go blurry, but—

"Franky?" she croaked.

And he broke through the haze of heat and fire to stand before her, sweating and shaking, stumbling and falling, careening forwards to crash into the railing next to her. He went still—still but breathing, and Robin couldn't speak. She reached for him. Her fingers curled into his hair.

The lament sung along her bones, adagio and cool as water. What she wouldn't have given for water.

"Good to see you're alive," Franky chuckled.

"Barely," Robin murmured.

They rested against each other; they'd been attached at the hip for a very long time. It made sense for this to be the end, together. Even the Sunny. It made sense to go down with their ship.

"We're gonna die," Franky muttered. He'd scooped up her broken, burnt body and cradled her close. "We're sinking. All that work…"

"Probably," Robing sighed. "I mean, yes, we're sinking. But the music is exceptional."

Franky nodded wearily. Robin couldn't tell if he was crying or not.

The heat clawed at her throat.

Burning was so very easy.

And still, Brook played.