a/n: The wording was hard for this because Brook should still be cheerful, matter-of-fact Brook whatever happens.

"I am here to relieve you of your shift Zoro-san, yohoho!" The skeleton glides inside the crow's nest with his violin in one hand and his cup of tea in the other. After placing the instrument on the windowsill with utmost care, he sips his tea. "You do not have to remain here for my sake. I will be fine on my own."

The night is calm and clear; the stars are bright and they light the room with soft shadows stretching along from the tips of Brook's feet. He is, after two years, still grateful to see his shadow mimic his steps.

The swordsman he addresses doesn't look up from the sword he is caring for but Brook dips his head in thanks. He knows why Zoro stays.

"The silence does not bother me anymore," Brook assures his friend. "Not the way it used to. It is strange, Zoro-san, because even after living as long as I have, life still surprises me; I have learned much in the past two years we spent apart."

During the fifty years when Brook had nothing but a tone dial and the duty of fulfilling a promise to keep him sane, his greatest enemy was silence. Death came and went to take his crew mates away and the sun set, never to rise again. Brook's own voice and the melody in his head were the only solution that could drown out the oppressing silence that relentlessly pressed against the edge of his sanity.

"It was quite delightful to find that people love my music, yohoho! They were not frightened away because of how I looked; truly, they kept coming back to listen to my songs and watch me play."

During the past two years when Brook lost everything except for his sheathed sword and his fealty to return for the call when it came, his only comrade was sound. He never had a single moment he was not surrounded by people and the melody of their souls. His managers stuck by his side and his loyal fans followed him wherever he went. No matter how thick the fog settled, dawn broke and morning came. If Brook took up his guitar, his band followed suit and if Brook held out the microphone out to the crowd, they sang along.

And yet...

"In the end, Zoro-san, sound is not too different from silence," Brook decides. "Because though I had everything I once wished for, I still felt so terribly alone."