A/N: Bloody hell this is taking me a long time! I am so so so so so sorry for not updating sooner, but what with all my exams and everything; my muse for fan-fiction died and was replaced with revision. URGH! So I promise to get out more fics during the next six weeks or so, and I will do my very best to finish the sequel to ITTAI NANI GA as well! Anyway this is a request from Animezpeps (yes I do requests,), anyway this is a request and I think that after you read it, the request will become pretty self explanatory, heck I think that the title says it all! Meh, whatever. Enjoy!
Zoro sighed; his Captain had done it again. Why, why did he have to follow a man who was just about as unpredictable as death itself, wasn't being a bounty hunter enough? But no, no, he had to go and become a pirate (not that he'd had much choice at the time mind you), oh don't get him wrong, he loved being a pirate, it was exactly what he'd been looking for (even if he hadn't known at the time), a thrilling life with many twists and turns where if you didn't become strong then you'd die. Oh yes, he liked his life a lot. But it was at times like these that he wondered why on earth he had chosen to follow a man who was as crazy and wild as a clinically insane monkey on amphetamines.
"Why so glum, swordsman-san?" Robin asked, interrupting his thoughts as she joined him and leant on the railing.
"Luffy did something crazy again." Zoro answered.
"The normal crazy or the you-did-not-just-do-that-crazy?" Robin questioned, and for a moment Zoro sighed at the fact that they even had two different definitions for crazy when it came to their Captain.
"The second one." He replied.
Robin winced; she knew how much Luffy could mess with someone's head when he pulled off something like that, "What did he do this time?" She asked, offering the surly first mate a bottle of Sake as she did.
"Well," Zoro stated, taking a swig of Sake as he did…
Zoro watched with little amusement as Luffy began his 15th attempt at painting; the lithe teen had been at this for hours, hadn't he discovered that painting just wasn't his forte already, but no, Luffy had continued to waste both paints and paper as he attempted to draw something that actually looked good.
"Give it a rest Luffy." Zoro grouched, "You're not good at painting, but you have lots of other things that you're good at, just admit that painting isn't one of them. There's no shame in that, you can do lots of things that others can only dream of." He reassured, seeing his Captain's heart fallen expression.
"Awww," Luffy moaned, "But Ace said that my painting was good –"
Zoro suddenly had a sudden surge of pity for the elder D, having to deal with Luffy all those years must have taken its toll, and lying to Luffy so not to upset him must have been both difficult and trying for the absurdly powerful second commander.
"– but only when I paint with my feet though." Luffy finished, unaware of his first mate's thoughts.
'Yes yes', Zoro thought, nodding along, 'that poor bastard…wait what?'
"Ace says I'm very good at painting with my feet, but he also says that all my normal drawings are shit and should be burnt." Luffy continued, giggling happily and completely ignoring the look of absolute shock on Zoro's face, "That's why I'm trying to prove him wrong." Luffy chirped, still giggling.
Zoro spluttered for a few moments, trying to comprehend what he had just heard. Finally he managed to pull himself together enough to for a simple sentence, "You can paint with your feet?" He deadpanned, now looking at his Captain incredulously.
"Yup." Luffy chirped, looking ridiculous with paint in various colours splattered all over his clothes and skin.
"With your feet?" Zoro repeated, still trying to make sense of the conversation.
"Yes." Luffy repeating, now a little annoyed by the conversation.
"I already said that!" Luffy huffed, no longer amused with his first mate's repetitions, "Zoro's an idiot." He concluded, snapping the still spluttering Santoryu user out of his funk.
"If you can paint with your feet then prove it!" Zoro snapped, now trying to find out if Luffy could actually paint with his feet or if he had just got better at lying recently – all that time spent with Usopp could have rubbed off on the rubber pirate.
"Ok." Luffy chirped, switching the paintbrush from his hand to his foot and pulling out a new sheet of paper, he then dipped the paintbrush into the can of black paint and elegantly began.
Zoro watched in awe as Luffy's foot flew across the paper, swift strokes of the brush merging to create the image of himself (Zoro) leaning against the railing, his swords lying across his lap, with a Sake bottle in one hand and his other hand resting against the sheath of Wado Ichimonji.
Zoro just gaped as Luffy finished the painting with a deft flick of his foot and dunked the brush back into the pot of water, "So how was that?" Luffy grinned, sending a smug look at Zoro who was still staring at the black and white painting in awe, even without colour, the thing was a masterpiece, if Luffy had painted it on a canvas then it would even be sellable, Nami easily could make a lot of money out of Luffy's new-found talent.
"You can keep it," Luffy said, smiling, "It should be dry in an hour or so."
Zoro could only stutter out a thank you before Luffy picked up the paintbrush again, this time with his hand, and continued his efforts at getting a good painting using his hands.
An hour later Zoro stood up, not even noticed by Luffy – who was still painting –, and picked up the now dry masterpiece and took it to the boy's room, hanging it up in a shaded corner next to his hammock where it wouldn't be spotted by the rest of the crew; he was not about to let Nami exploit Luffy's talent, and if hiding away the painting would ensure that the so be it. But now he really needed a drink, talent or no, Luffy never ceased to amaze him.
End of Zoro's Flashback
There was a moment of silence as Robin contemplated what she had just heard, finally she opened her mouth and said, "Do you still have the painting?"
Zoro stared at her a little incredulously, 'she just heard that her Captain can paint with his feet and that's what she says' he thought, answering her question with a curt nod.
"Our Captain hides many talents." Robin mused, grinning mysteriously.
"You've got that right." Zoro grunted, taking another swig of Sake.
"She's got what right?" A voice called out from behind them, Zoro and Robin turned around to see Nami looking at them in bewilderment.
"I was just remarking on how our Captain manages to hide many talents from us." Robin explained as she sat down and waved to Nami and Zoro to join her on the ground, which they did seconds later.
"Yeah, he does." Nami acknowledged, "He's surprised me on more than one occasion.
"Oh?" Zoro grinned, now interested, "What happened?"
"Yes, please tell us Nami-san." Robin agreed.
"It was a little while back, when we last docked, on that island where Luffy disappeared for a few hours and then came back with several baskets full of fruit and a wild boar thrown over his shoulder." Nami began.
"Oh, the incident where he never told us where the baskets came from?" Robin asked.
"Yes, when he first disappeared, I followed him…"
Nami watched silently as the normally boisterous and loud teen crept silently away from the Sunny, slipping away out of the heat of the sun and across the burning sand, into the shade of the jungle, quickly disappearing into the shadows of the trees and out of sight.
Nami looked carefully over her shoulder, noticing immediately that no one else had noticed their Captain's disappearance. She looked back towards the trees where Luffy had slipped out of sight moments earlier, and, making a split second decision, she vaulted over the railing, landing softly on the sand below, before dashing into the jungle after him. She stealthily crept through the jungle after him, being careful not to make too much noise so not to disturb Luffy, who was now only a few metres ahead of her.
She watched, bemused, as Luffy flopped down onto the jungle floor, narrowly missing a snake as he did, which hissed angrily at him before slithering away as fast as its legless body could carry it. Luffy, naturally, ignored all of this in favour of stretching his arms and legs, letting out a long yawn as he did, and starting to fiddle with some of the long pieces of grass around him.
Nami, at this point, was very annoyed at frustrated at the fact that she had followed Luffy all this way, only to see him play with bits of grass; why she had even followed him in the first place was also a mystery, so – coming to the conclusion that the whole venture had been useless – Nami decided to just forget about the whole thing and go back to the ship.
Interruption of Nami's Flashback
"Wait, hold on," Zoro cut in, "I thought you said that you saw Luffy doing something that surprised you."
"I did," Nami replied, more than ticked off at the interruption, "I'm just getting to the surprising bit."
"Well, do it faster then!" Zoro snapped, backed up with nods from Usopp and Chopper – who had arrived shortly after Nami had started her tale, and, having not wanted to miss a good story, had settled down on the deck next to Zoro.
"Don't say that to Nami-swan!" Sanji snapped back, having also joined the story-telling-circle around the same time as Usopp and Chopper, upon seeing that Nami and Robin were also there.
"Shut up the both of you and let me finish!" Nami broke in before a fight could begin.
"Hai Nami-swan!" Sanji half-sang at the same time as Zoro said, "Get on with it then."
"Continuing…" Nami said before Sanji could retort, "Well…"
Continuation of Nami's Flashback
Nami was just about to leave when she saw something out of the corner of her eye, her head snapped around, her gaze finding the grass that Luffy had been playing with…only it didn't look like grass anymore, in fact, now that she looked closer, Luffy wasn't playing with grass at all, no, he was weaving the grass.
Luffy was weaving.
Luffy was weaving.
Luffy was weaving.
Luffy was weaving.
Her mind couldn't seem to get the fact that her Captain, the usually idiotic I-can't-do-anything-remotely-artistic loudmouth, was WEAVING!
It was enough to cause her to gasp, loudly, drawing the attention of her (still weaving) Captain.
"Nami?" Luffy called out, instantly recognising her, "What are you doing?" He asked, his head tilted to the side with a slight frown on his face.
"I saw you sneaking away and followed you," Nami admitted, "And since when could you weave?!" She asked shrilly.
"Shanks and Ace taught me, they said that it would be useful." Luffy explained, before his attention moved back to the half-basket in his hands.
"Oh." Nami whispered, "I'll just leave you to it then." She muttered, distantly.
"'Kay." Luffy murmured, not even looking at her as she walked away, her mind still trying to comprehend the fact that Luffy – of all people – could actually weave.
End of Nami's Flashback
"Our Captain seems to love springing things up on us." Robin commented.
"You're telling me," Nami deadpanned.
"I just think that he gets a kick out of watching our faces or disbelief every time we see him doing something out of character." Sanji added, lighting a smoke.
"Every time I catch him doing something unexpected, I swear I see a gleam in his eye, you know, the same one he gets when he pranks someone." Chopper said.
"I just think he likes seeing us squirm." Zoro muttered.
"I'll say," Usopp agreed, "Just the other day he managed to throw me for a loop."
"Oh?" Robin commented, looking interested, "Well this is turning into a story circle then, tell us what happened, long nose-san."
The rest of the assembled crew turned to the sniper, silently gesturing for him to proceed.
"Well," Usopp began, "It happened two days ago…"
Usopp sighed, they had just docked at, yet another, uninhabited island, and he and Luffy had been told to guard the ship while the rest of the crew went to explore the island and try and pick up a few supplies before the log-pose set and they had to leave again, an situation which, to Nami's best calculations, would occur in around half a day, so around 11 hours since they set down an hour ago. It had only been an hour and Usopp was already bored, he had finished his latest invention designs but he couldn't make them without supplies and an extra hand or two, a hand which usually came from his fellow inventor, Franky. All this added up to ensure that he had next to nothing to do; Luffy had disappeared into the cabins a little while ago, and Usopp did not want to know what the insane and very very bored pirate was doing, for fear of getting dragged into another crazy idea of his, no no and definitely not, he had learnt from the taco incident after all.
But the silence was unnerving – Luffy was never that quiet – and Usopp finally plucked up enough courage to go see what Luffy was doing when he heard a triumphant shout from the cabin, and the door slammed open to reveal a very happy looking Luffy, wearing swimming trunks and arm-bands, with a large board tucked under his arm.
Usopp barely had time to react when Luffy let out another happy sounding whoop and sprinted across the deck, before happily vaulting over the railing.
"Shit!" Usopp cried as he ran over to the railing that Luffy had just leapt over, throwing himself over the side in an attempt to see where Luffy had fell so that he could go drag him out, but instead of seeing a sinking captain – like he thought he would – he was met by the sight of his captain standing proudly on a large surf board.
"The waves are really good today!" Luffy yelled up at him, grinning happily, "I'm gonna go surf! Bye!" He yelled, placing one foot on the hull and then kicking off viciously, propelling himself away from the Sunny and towards the open sea.
By now Usopp was in full panic mode; Luffy was a hammer, he had just left to go surfing, Usopp couldn't leave the ship or she could be stolen, if Luffy fell and he went to save him there would be no-one aboard and that would be bad, all in all, he was screwed, royally screwed.
"Shit." Usopp muttered, "If this isn't a cluster-fuck waiting to happen I don't know what is."
So he sat there, and he waited, and he watched. Every time Luffy did a flip or a stunt of some sort, his heart raced and he only calmed down when Luffy was back on the board and nowhere near any of the larger waves that had started to roll in. All in all, it was a tense hour or so for the panicked sharpshooter, and he only really settled down when Luffy caught a waved back to the ship, his board lightly tapping against the hull as he flung his rubber arms at the railing and dragged both himself and the surfboard back on to the ship.
"You're an idiot." Usopp breathed, wrapping his – now shivering (the sea water from the waves had weakened him) – Captain in a towel, "A really cool idiot, but an idiot all the same." He muttered as he led the grinning teen over to one of the deck chairs so that he could dry off.
Once he had Luffy settled on the chair, Usopp moved over to the railing and picked up the discarded surfboard, carrying it over to a sunny spot and setting it down on the grass, before walking back over to Luffy and plopping down next to him on the chair.
"Don't do that again."
Luffy looked slightly shocked as Usopp repeated his words,
"Don't ever do that again." Usopp said, staring his Captain straight in the eye, "Not unless there are at least four people on board; you could have fell off and I would've been the only one here, but with how far out you were, I don't know if I would have made it to you in time – I'm not as strong a swimmer as Zoro or Sanji, I couldn't have reached you in mere moments like they could've – and then I would have had to abandon the Sunny, if someone had attacked and you were drowning then Sunny could have been taken. So, unless there's at least four people aboard; no more surfing." He said, his tone dead serious.
"Ok." Luffy replied, just as serious as the sharpshooter next to him.
"Good." Usopp nodded, "Anyway," He continued, his voice changing from serious to amused, "Since when have you – a hammer, devil-fruit user, and someone who can't touch water for fear of having your strength sapped away – been able to surf?"
End of Usopp's Flashback
"He can surf." Nami repeated.
"Luffy-bro is so super!" Franky yelled, having joined the circle with Brook a short way into Usopp's story.
"I almost can't believe my eyes when I see some of the things he can do, though I don't have any eyes! YOHOHOHO! Skull joke!" Brook responded.
"Yes he can surf." Usopp said, in response to Nami's words, "Very well too."
"He never ceases to amaze me." Zoro muttered, taking another swig of Sake.
"Mmm." Sanji and Chopper murmered in agreement.
"Well," Robin said, pulling the rest of the crew out of their thoughts, "Since we seem to be telling storied in the order of our recruitment, I believe Sanji-san is next to tell a tale."
"Hai Robin-chwan!" Sanji yelled, with hearts in his eyes, before settling down to tell his own tale, "Right, we already know that Luffy's fighting style is quite acrobatic when he wants it to be…" He paused as the rest of the crew nodded thoughtfully, "…Well, a little while ago, I saw him take it one step further…"
Sanji sighed, how the hell had they managed to get into this situation again, how the hell had he and Luffy been captured by marines, for the second time in three days, by the same marines none the less?! Most of it had been due to the fact that someone had managed to slip a sea stone cuff on Luffy's wrist, making him unable to use his rubber powers, and the rest was due to the fact that said marines had actually dared to snipe him – using a tranquiliser dart thankfully – while he had been protecting Luffy from the remaining marines that had swarmed them; overall resulting in this situation, with him chained to the wall, huge weights on his feet to prevent movement, and with his captain sitting next to him, stripped down to his boxers – because believe it or not the marines had learnt for their last escape – but unbound except for the single sea stone cuff.
He was going to kill those marines when they got out of here – because they would get out, their nakama would assure to that – because not only had they had the gall to snipe him with a tranquiliser dart, but they had stripped Luffy and then put him in a cold, damp, filthy prison cell, and the small pirate was now shivering next to him, drenched from the sea water that he had fell in before they had been captured, and then sat in this freezing cell clad in only his thin boxers. Hell, he was cold and could see his breath in front of him, he had no idea how cold Luffy had to be right now. If he weren't chained to the wall, he would've given the shivering teen his jacket and coat, to relieve him from the freezing air. But no, he was chained to the wall, with a slowly freezing captain sitting next to him, and no way to help his captain until their nakama came for them…he was going to murder those marines when he got out of here, slowly, and without a single hint of remorse.
He was startled out of his thoughts as Luffy stood abruptly, walking unsteadily to the cell doors before coming to a halt and staring out through the metal bars.
"What are you doing Luffy?!" Sanji yelled, alarmed at the way Luffy seemed to be swaying unsteadily on his feet, "Come back here!" He yelled, at least when the teen had been sitting next to him, he had been able to warm him up slightly with his own body heat. Now that Luffy had moved away he could not even provide that small amount of warmth.
Luffy continued to stare straight through the bars, the marines guarding their small cell stared back. Some of them were even laughing as the thin teen stood there, shaking, in his boxers.
That was it! Sanji thought. Those marines were going to DIE! Painfully. And in horrible agony.
He was, again, startled out of his thoughts as Luffy turned away from the jeering marines, turning to face him and gave him a small smirk – that practically screamed 'I have a plan' – and a small thumbs up, before taking a few measured steps backwards until he was almost pressed against the bars of the cell.
Sanji had no idea what his captain was planning, the cell was tiny, barely a metre and a half across and about the same wide, the only way out was a small cell door opposite them…just what was his captain planning to do?
So, naturally, he was shocked out of his wits when Luffy sprinted at full speed towards the wall right next to him – what on earth was he doing?! He could get seriously injured if he hit the wall at that speed!
And then, naturally, he was also incredibly shocked when Luffy did not hit the wall, and instead used the wall to spring off of, flying across the cell in a graceful arc and neatly slipping through the small space between the bars and the ceiling, landing on his hands outside the cell and promptly dispatching the marines outside with a series of moves that were incredibly similar to his own, but were far more acrobatic and involved the use of his hands and fists.
It took all of twenty seconds for this to occur, after which Luffy searched all of the marines, eventually finding the keys to their cell and easily opened the door to their cell and unchained Sanji from the wall, removing the weights in the process and then unlocking the sea stone cuff on his own wrist. All of this took less than a minute to occur, and by the end of it both Sanji and Luffy were standing outside the cell, surrounded by unconscious marines.
Upon his release, Sanji had immediately stripped one of the marines of his coat, wrapping it around his – still shivering captain – before pilfering another, bigger, coat and wrapping that around his captain and the first coat, resulting in Luffy looking hilarious with the second coat coming down to his ankles. But, Sanji thought, as he scooped his protesting captain into his arms and started to run down the hall towards the exit, at least he wasn't shivering so badly now…Sanji was going to murder those marines…god help any one that came across him now, because he had a shivering captain in his arms who really needed to see Chopper…now…and anyone who tried to stop him now was likely to end up with a snapped neck from a well placed kick to the throat…did he mention that he was going to absolutely destroy those marines…
End of Sanji's Flashback
"I don't blame you." Zoro growled, very pissed at the fact that those idiotic marines had actually done that to his captain.
"I remember that," Chopper muttered darkly, "Luffy was sick for a week after you brought him in wearing nothing but two coats and his boxers."
"Stupid marines." Nami said, muttering a few choice words under her breath.
"Shitty marines." Sanji agreed, not at all pleased with the outcome of that particular experience.
"Hopefully dead marines…?" Usopp said, posing a question to the grumbling cook.
"Definitely dead marines." Sanji answered, prompting a vicious smile from Zoro.
"I think we'd better have a nicer story now," Robin said, her tone still a little dark, eying the seven furious pirates that were sitting around her, "Chopper-san, I believe it's your turn." She stated, turning towards the little Zoan.
"Yeah," Chopper chirped, trying to bring the mood up a bit, "Mine's quite interesting actually, umm, it happened quite a while back, before Water 7…"
Chopper had been searching for three hours now, and he'd yet to come upon the plant that he needed; they had actually landed on this island at his (and Sanji's) request, firstly because they needed more food stores, and secondly because this island was the home of a very rare medicinal plant that could prove essential for the rest of their journey, so here he was, searching through the thick undergrowth, in a jungle far into the island, for a small flower no bigger than his pinkie finger when he was in human form.
His attention wavered though, when he heard some soft noises that vaguely resembled snoring and smelt something familiar. He could have sworn that that was Luffy's scent, but that was unlikely, Luffy had been heading in a completely different direction when they had left the ship, why would he be out here?
He shook his head slightly, waving away all thoughts of the mysterious scent and continued his fruitless search for the flower. But after a few more minutes of aimless foraging, he had to admit that the flower was not here and that he had to move on to another spot and try again. So he picked up his little basket, already full of medicinal herbs that he had found in his search for the illusive flower, and moved away to another spot.
The move had brought him closer to the mysterious scent and his eyes widened dramatically as he found that it was, in fact, Luffy's scent, and that, from the strength of it, Luffy was quite close, a few metres away at least, but not more than 100 in total. So Chopper started to follow the scent, wandering through the jungle and crossing several streams and interesting looking plants before his eyes finally landed on the sight of his wayward friend.
And what a sight it was.
Luffy was fast asleep, curled into a foetal position in the middle of a large clearing.
But that wasn't what had caught Chopper's attention.
No. It was the sight of around twenty different animals that surrounded him, almost protectively curling around him, that surprised and worried the little doctor. All of the animals were very awake and very aware of the lithe teen in their midst, but they didn't seem to mind, in fact, judging from what Chopper was hearing, they liked being with Luffy and didn't seem to want him to leave any time soon.
All of the voices stopped, rather abruptly, when Luffy started to stir, stretching under their watchful gaze and yawning loudly, before leaning back into the side of a rather large white wolf, who rumbled affectionately at the contact and started to nuzzle the sleepy teen, gently prodding the teen awake with his – because Chopper could tell he was a he from his very masculine voice – large head. Some of the smaller animals approached at that point, quickly running over to Luffy and settling happily in his lap and on his legs, chattering at him to play with them and to pet them in a myriad of different voices.
Much to Chopper's surprise, Luffy seemed to understand what they wanted, and started to pet the little creatures, not once complaining when a couple of the snakes present slithered onto his arms, or when several birds decided to make themselves comfortable in his hair – his hat was resting on the ground next to him, but none of the animals touched it and gave it a wide berth. And while this was happening, the bigger animals moved to surround the teen, all of them settled around him, making sure that each of them could touch him in some way, whether it was the huge bear that was resting her head on Luffy's shin or the lithe lynx that was resting across his shoulders; all of the animals were touching Luffy in some way, and he didn't seem to mind in the slightest.
What really amazed Chopper though, was the conversations that Luffy was having with the animals, it would have simply looked like he was talking to himself had anyone else found him in this position, but from Chopper's point of view, Luffy was actually talking to the animals and they were responding, he knew what they were saying and he could understand them! This was a monumental discovery in Chopper's eyes; Luffy could understand animal speak! That was amazing, although Luffy had never looked surprised when Chopper had translated something for another animal, maybe he had had this ability all along!
That was interesting, Chopper mused, as he walked away from the clearing, leaving Luffy and the animals in peace, and continuing his search for the medicinal flower; he'd have to talk to Luffy when they got back to the ship…but Luffy could understand animals! Imagine that!
End of Chopper's Flashback
"I wasn't that surprised though," Chopper added, "Luffy's always been able to understand us (animals I mean) quite easily, the discover just explained why."
"Woah." Usopp breathed.
"That's just–" Nami started.
"Amazing." Franky finished, with Nami nodding along in agreement.
"I can hardly believe what I just heard, though I have no ears to hear with! Skull joke!" Brook snickered.
"Never ceases to amaze." Zoro grunted.
"Nope." Sanji grinned.
"It does explain what happened with the 1000 year dragon though, and most of our other strange animal encounters." Nami muttered, only heard by Robin, who decided to ask later and continue with the story swapping.
"I believe it's my turn." Robin said genially, much to Sanji's enthusiasm.
"Hai Robin-chwan, please start!"
Robin leaned back against the deckchair, relaxing as she bathed in the sun, a large tome dedicated entirely to history lay on her lap, as she stared up at the blue sky through her sunglasses, the large sun hat perched shadowing her eyes from most of the sun's gaze, while the sunglasses merely made reading the white pages easier as they were less likely to blind her that way.
She turned abruptly as she heard a low scraping noise, turning to see Luffy dragging one of the other deck chairs across the grass until it was pressed against her own chair, Luffy then disappeared back into the cabins, returning a few minutes later with scissors, glue and a large pile of brightly coloured paper. He then sat down on his chair, fiddling with a piece of purple paper for a few moments, before presenting his finished work to her.
She was slightly shocked, but not overly so, to see a beautiful paper flower sitting innocently in the palm of his outstretched hand, if she remembered her flowers correctly, Luffy was presenting her with an intricate paper rose; she never knew that her captain was into origami, but it was a pleasant surprise nonetheless, and she smiled at him happily as she allowed him to carefully weave the paper rose into her hair.
"Can you make anything else?" She asked.
He grinned, "What would you like me to make?"
She then sat with him, watching him make all sorts of creatures out of paper, sometimes using the scissors and glue to make more intricate creations. She practically laughed herself to tears when he started to make little origami people; he made her first, complete with several extra arms to show her devil-fruit ability; then he made the rest of the crew; Zoro had three little swords, and was in the pose for 'Oni-giri'; Sanji was doing a flamboyant kick at an imaginary enemy; Nami was whirling her Clima-tact above her head, the little staff even had little paper lightning bolts around it; Usopp was doing a brave pose, with his Kabuto strung across his back; Chopper was in his 'antler' form, his head down and ready to charge; Franky was in his traditional 'super' pose; Brook was drawing his cane-sword; and Luffy himself was in his 'Gear Second' pose. Luffy then went on to make an origami Ace, complete with little flames and an orange cowboy hat, and then a myriad of other people that they had met on their journey through the Grand-line, some she recognised – like a satisfying little origami person that looked like a very beat up Crocodile – and some that she had no clue about, like two giant origami people that Luffy called 'Dorry' and 'Brogy'.
Every now and then Luffy would pause in his origami character making, and made her an animal, so far he had made a dragon, a tiger, a praying mantis, a cat, a reindeer, a wolf, a firebird (completely different from a phoenix), a bear, a kangaroo, a bull, a horse and a fox. He had then named each of the animals after one of his crew members or one of his 'family' members; the dragon was called Shanks; the tiger became Zoro; the praying mantis was her; the cat was Nami; the reindeer was obviously Chopper; the wolf was him; the firebird was Ace; the bear became someone called Makino; the kangaroo was Sanji; the bull was Franky; the horse was Brook; and the fox was Usopp.
Luffy then, at her prompting, explained why he chose a particular animal for a certain person.
Shanks was a dragon because he was fierce and protective of what he held dear, he could be downright scary when he wanted to be and he had always been a bit of a legend in Luffy's eyes.
Zoro was a tiger because he was strong, both in mind and body, he had also been a bit of a loner before he had been recruited, thus the appearance of a fiercely territorial animal, he also had an inner grace and wisdom which is why he was a tiger.
She was a praying mantis because she was highly intelligent, graceful and a thing of beauty, but she was also dangerous, quick to strike when she needed to and she always seemed to be the first one to strike out at the hint of trouble.
Nami was a cat because she was so complex, she knew what she wanted and she knew how to get it, she was also innately graceful and cunning, she looked pretty but she had an inner edge that could easily crush you if she felt you could be trouble, she was also wise, which fit with the cat persona.
Chopper was a reindeer for obvious reasons, namely because he was, but also because reindeer were quick and fast, they had a keen edge and even keener senses and seemed to know when there was trouble, and their antlers could kill even the deadliest of their foes.
He was a wolf because he was fiercely protective f his nakama, his pack and wolves were known to attack creatures far stronger than themselves if their pack was in trouble, also because wolves were strong and worked together with their packs to become even stronger.
Ace was a firebird (which is not a phoenix) because of his fire powers and also because they were said to bring doom to their captors and enemies, but showered love and protection on those they ha=eld dear, they were also know to be very strong and very wise.
The bear was Makino because she had been his mother figure when he had been growing up, and she had always seemed like a mother bear, protective of her cubs (him and Ace) and reading to go up against anything for them.
Sanji was a kangaroo because he was fast, he could travel long distances with his powerful legs, he could also deal a lot of damage with them, also his looks were deceiving, he looked weak at first and he had always been their undercover agent, most prominently in Alabasta and in Enies Lobby.
Franky was a bull because he was quick to react to danger, he was also protective of those in his 'heard' he was ready to charge headlong into battle for them and was all too willing to go down fighting for his 'heard' if he had to.
Brook was a horse because he seemed timeless, both in body and personality, a lot like a horse where you couldn't seem to tell how old they were, and while horses were quite gentle and calm creatures, they could quickly turn vicious when they or their heard was threatened.
Lastly, Usopp was a fox, because foxes were known to be mischievous and deceitful, a lot like Usopp with his jokes and lies, foxes were also quick witted and sharp, a lot like Usopp with his traps and his creative bullets that could even set a man aflame.
At the end of Luffy's explanation, she was shocked at her captain's analysis, but then she smiled, watching Luffy happily continue to make cute paper characters, that was just another thing that she had discovered about her mysterious captain, wasn't it.
End of Robin's Flashback
There was a brief silence after Robin had finished her tale, as the rest of the crew contemplated on how Luffy had analysed them and matched them with an animal, they all looked quite pleased with their animals though.
"He's more than meets the eye, isn't he?" Robin said, mysterious smile firmly in place.
"Yeah." The rest of the crew muttered, still deep in thought.
"I suggest that we move on, we can ponder upon this more later, Franky, please proceed." Robin said, motioning to the cyborg to start.
Franky watched amused, as Luffy happily skipped across the pavement, gasping and gaping at all the new sights and looking thoroughly impressed with all of the new and bright spectacles on the island. They hadn't been on an island for a few months now, and even for Luffy, who was all too happy to be at sea for long periods at time, was getting a little land sick. So when they'd landed at this island earlier, everyone had decided to take turns guarding the ship, so that the whole crew could have some time on land, Nami had said that the log pose wouldn't set for two days so they all had plenty of time to do what they wanted to before they had to get back on the ship and go. So they had all split into pairs and had set out to explore.
So Franky had volunteered to go with Luffy – he'd been planning on taking him somewhere anyway – and the two of them were now on their way, with Luffy practically bouncing off anything that didn't move in his excitement to find out where Franky was taking him.
"Where are we going? What will we be doing? When will we get there? Why are we going there? Will it be fun? Will there be meat? Will–"
Franky tuned out the endless stream of questions coming from the insanely powerful pirate/ hyperactive child-like powerhouse, opting instead to focus on leading the hyper teen in the right direction. Twice he had to backtrack because Luffy had been distracted by something shiny in one of the shop windows; three times he had to go stop Luffy from pilfering food from the market stalls that were dotted here and there.
But it could have been worse; they hadn't run into any marines yet, they hadn't pissed off the local populace yet, they hadn't broke into any secret bases for evil megalomaniacs yet, they hadn't been forced into any fights for their lives (and the lives of everyone on the island) yet, they hadn't been in any near death experiences, Luffy hadn't eat and run yet; so at the moment, they weren't in a bad situation, in fact, this was one of the best landings they'd had yet.
All he had to do was make sure that nothing happened while he was taking Luffy to That Place.
He thought that Luffy would be very good going to That Place, and that Nami would probably benefit from their visit.
Well he would know soon in any case; they had arrived.
"A Casino?" Luffy asked, blinking up at Franky innocently.
"Yeah, you've never been to one have you?"
"I thought it would be an interesting experience," Franky said, as Luffy grinned up at him, his eyes sparkling madly, "Let's go in then." He continued, leading the enthusiastic teen in through the doors.
"Ok, ok," Franky said, as Luffy bounced around him, chattering away all the while, "Right, I took out some money from our treasure shares and I'll give you your half in a minute, but I have a couple of rules first."
Luffy pouted at the thought of rules, but Franky had brought him here, so he decided to listen to them.
"First rule," Franky said, after seeing Luffy no his assent, "Always stay where I can see you, this place is pretty big, and I don't want to lose you, if you don't want to that then at least come and find me every 20 minutes or so. Second rule, if you run out of money – and you don't have to spend all your money here, you can go to other places when we have time tomorrow – come straight to me. Third rule, no fighting. Fourth rule, meet me, back at the entrance in an hour cause we have to do our ship guarding duty at that point. Last rule, stick to what you know, if you don't know something, like how to play a game, then don't play it or come and ask me for help," Franky looked straight at Luffy, "You got all that?"
"Yup." Luffy smiled, he had got all that.
"Good. Then off you go, I'll meet you back here in an hour, just keep an eye on the time and you'll be fine, okay?"
"Okay!" Luffy smiled, already moving away towards the slot machines, "I'll see you here."
"Ok!" Franky yelled back, as Luffy disappeared into the crowd.
1 hour later…
"Where is he?" Franky grumbled, "He's not that late, but we really have to go." He muttered, glancing at the clock.
"Franky! OI! FRANKY!"
"Eh," Franky whirled around, "Luffy?" Then gaped at the sight of the small teen, "What on earth…" He trailed off, gaping at the sight that stood before him.
"What have you been doing for the past hour Luffy?" He asked, wanting to know why on earth Luffy was carrying that.
"I went on the slot machines for a while, they were fun, and then I played some poker. Why?" Lffy replied, tilting his head to the side in obvious confusion.
"Oh," Franky said, astounded, "I was just wondering why you seemed to be carrying the Casino's entire supply of money and then some."
"I won the 'jackpot' on the slots four times and then I won lots on poker." Luffy said, beaming up at him.
"You won the slots' jackpot…four times?" Franky asked incredulously.
"Yeah…is that bad?" Luffy asked, looking far too innocent.
"No, not at all." Frank backtracked hurriedly, "You said you played poker?"
"Yeah, the man dealing said there must be something wrong with my 'card luck.'" Luffy said, looking down sadly.
"Oh, why'd he say that?" Franky asked, ready to go beat up the unfortunate dealer.
"He said that no-one should be able to get that many royal flushes in a row."
"Ah," Franky said, eloquently, "Well, we best be off, Nami will want to count that."
"Oh and one more thing." Luffy cut in, as they walked out of the Casino doors.
"The Casino manager told me to never come back."
"Why am I not surprised?"
End of Franky's Flashback
The was a brief silence after Frank had finished, a silence that was quickly interrupted by Nami's ecstatic squeal of,
"He's a living, breathing, GOLD MINE! YES! NOW WE CAN FINALLY AFFORD HIS FOOD BILLS!"
The rest of the crew, bar Sanji, who was also celebrating because he usually had to pay said food bills, contemplated what they'd just been told.
"Well h always had been quite lucky, it only makes sense that he's got insane card and slot luck as well." Usopp mused.
"We could be rich, quite easily, if we took him to a gambling island." Zoro muttered, already planning on locating said gambling island, and then using everything in his power to ensure that Luffy got there and visited every single casino on the floating rock.
"So lucky!" Brook yelled.
"I know, I could hardly believe my eyes when Luffy came back with all that." Franky said.
"I believe that Brook-san is last." Robin said, interrupting the celebrations.
Brook followed his ears, striding through the streets, following the sounds of that lovely music, floating through the streets, barely stopping once, just letting the music carry him through the back alleys, around street corners, over bridges, across the island until he came to a small seedy bar, the music was coming from here, he was sure of it, there was no other place that it could be coming from, it had to be coming from here.
So he gently pushed open the door, and was instantly hit with a wave of sound, the bar wasn't rowdy or anything, in fact, all of the customers seemed to be listening in rapt attention, barely breathing, barely making any noise at all, all of them staring straight at the grand piano – quite uncharacteristic of the bar to have a grand piano in fact – but at this grand piano, shrouded half in darkness, so that no-one could see their face, sat a small, lithe person, playing the most beautiful piece of music that Brook had ever heard.
It was so complex, very fast paced, very hard to play, but the pianist was playing flawlessly, not a single note was played wrong, and it showed, the whole bar was enraptured by the music, in fact, more people seemed to be arriving by the second, led on by the sound of the music, filling the bar quite quickly until people started to crowd outside, standing on the tips of their toes, trying to gain a glance of the mysterious player.
Brook wasn't sure how long he stood there, letting the waves of music simply wash over him, swaying ever so slightly to the sweet melody of the piano, but he was aware when the pianist started to tone down their playing. It was ever so subtle but Brook, as a fellow musician, could tell that this particular piece was drawing to a close, and how sorry he was that it was going to end.
True to his thoughts, the piece started to come to a close a little while later, much to the disappointment of the surrounding crowd, and the barkeeper, who had been making a killing, selling drinks to all those who had come to listen to the beautiful music.
It ended all too soon for Brook's liking, as the musician bowed to the applauding crowd before hastily slipping out the back, disappearing into the alleys behind the bar before their faithful fans could ambush them, demanding that they play another piece.
Brook used this to his advantage, as the crowd started to move away, finishing their drinks and leaving happy but disappointed that they hadn't heard more, he slipped out of the back door, quickly glancing around before spotting a lithe male figure slipping around the corner.
Brook didn't pause for a second, practically sprinting after the small figure, always seeming to spot him out of the corner of his eye, before he turned another corner, slipping into another alley.
He wasn't sure how long this game of cat and mouse continued for, it might have been hours, it might have been mere minutes, but finally Brook seemed to be gaining some ground, finally catching up with the mysterious man when he hit a dead end.
As Brook approached the man, he started to notice something familiar about him.
Sandals, check. Denim shorts, check. Red vest, check. Huge smile, check. Scar under eye, check. Unruly black hair, check. Infamous Straw Hat, check.
There was no doubt about it, it was Luffy.
"Luffy-san?" Brook called out.
"Oh, Brook!" Luffy exclaimed, whirling around, "It was you that was following me! Umm….why?"
"Because I wanted to know who was responsible for that beautiful piano playing." Brook answered, looking pointedly at his captain.
"Ah, well. You caught me." Luffy said, beaming at the complement to his piano skills.
"Although, I have to know, when did you learn how to play the piano?" Brook asked, quite curious at this point.
"Shanks and Makino taught me!" Luffy yelled, grinning happily.
"Shanks and Makino?" Brook asked, wondering who 'Makino' was and whether this 'Shanks' was actually who he thought he was.
"Yeah, Shanks is a pirate, a Yonkou! And Makino was the owner of a bar back in Foosha, she was like a mother to me and Ace when we were growing up! Shanks said it was nice to learn how to play something, so I asked him to teach me and Makino said she would help! I don't know that much, a few tunes here and there, and that's why I wanted a musician!" Luffy finished, giggling slightly.
"Ah, that would explain it." Brook smiled, still trying to wrap his mind around the fact that Luffy was on a first name basis with a Yonkou, and said Yonkou had taught him how to play the piano.
End of Brook's Flashback
"Hmm, he sure is full of surprises." Robin smiled.
"Do you think he'll play us something if we asked?" Chopper said, turning to Brook.
"I'm sure he would." Brook replied.
"Well that does explain why he was so adamant on getting a musician when we first met." Nami muttered.
"'Adamant' doesn't cover it, he was dead set on getting a musician, even before a cook and a navigator." Zoro replied.
"Hell, that was all he would talk about when we first mentioned getting more crewmembers to him!" Usopp exclaimed.
"He must have toned that down a bit, because I didn't hear a lot of it before we got Brook." Franky said.
"He was very happy when he finally got a musician," Nami snickered, "He was bouncing off the walls for a week."
"He didn't leave Brook alone for a week either." Sanji added.
"It was expected," Zoro responded, "But all of our stories weren't."
"Yeah, he sure is talented." Usopp muttered, with Chopper nodding in agreement.
"I wonder why it took so long for us to find out about all of this though?" Nami mused.
"Probably just wanted to mess with us, he has a twisted sense of humour and his logic is even more warped." Sanji muttered.
"Maybe." The rest of the crew replied.
"Hey guys!" Luffy said, appearing out of nowhere and giving most of the crew heart attacks, "What you doing?"
"Nothing sencho." Robin replied as the rest of the crew clutched their chests.
Stupid surprising captain, they thought.
A/N: I am sorry this took so long, I really didn't expect to be dragged away to Cheltenham for a week – without my laptop – so this took longer than expected.
On that not, I will be going on holiday later today so don't expect anything from me anytime in the next two weeks or so.