Remembrances In Notes Of Gratitude

The sea is rather calm here, ne?

Staring out at the darkness of the sea, monsters and underwater fish swimming about, Brook hummed under his breath the song of Bink's Sake in a slow, sad tune to match the gloominess emitted by the atmosphere of this constant underwater nightmare.

But it isn't affecting our atmosphere, he thought gleefully. We are happy to see each other, over the waves or deep under them—it makes no difference to us.

Although nobody knew if it was nighttime or daytime, everybody had decided to go to bed, though nobody actually slept; Chopper's enthusiastic squeals and Usopp's exited shouts, along with Franky's humorous robot imitations, Sanji and Zoro's bickering and the underlying baritone of the girls' talking from their room filled his heart (although he had no heart—SKULL JOKE!) with something he hadn't felt in two years.

I'm home.

He wasn't sure how long he'd been up there, in the crow's nest, before his captain arrived. Brook was about to give a cheerful hello, but stopped when he saw the nostalgia in his captain's eyes and chose to remain silent, waiting for his leader to speak.

Luffy plopped down beside him near-silent, looking up at the shadows of the underwater darkness around them, and something in Brook's chest—something he was sure he didn't have anymore—broke because his captain's eyes are glassy with memories and pain, and Brook doesn't know what to do. Should he get Zoro? Zoro seemed like the person who usually dealt with Luffy when he faltered, being the first mate and all.

Brook felt slightly powerless, and he felt ashamed, because Luffy was his captain and he wanted to help him, but he didn't know how; a small part of his brain (he didn't find it in him to make a skull joke about it) tried to rationalize, because it's been two years and Brook hadn't bee in the crew for too long anyway, but the rest of his just screamed that he was the worst scum on earth.

"Brook," Luffy whispered quietly, and his captain sounded to Brook's ears like a young child asking for something, but when he looked, all he saw was Luffy looking so old, so broken and empty. Brooks felt like crying. "Play me a song."

Brook looked at his captain, his childish, immature, happy, radiant captain, who looked so pained and delirious with memories, and understood.

(Because Brook knew the pain of losing people right before your eyes, so close that you could have held them but that still slipped away into darkness no matter what you did. His captain knew it now too, but unlike Brook he only had two years full of training to accept the pain and grief and guilt instead of fifty in silence. Brook understood.)

The answer was just as quiet and Brook positioned his violin on his bony shoulder. "Yes, Captain."

(Because Brook understood. It was not self-inflicted pain or self-punishment; it was quiet, nostalgic remembrance to an older brother that had given his life for his younger brother, and if Luffy needed that to slip back into the role of a captain and be his usual self, then Brook would do it.)

The song he plays is sad and melancholic, but it had something of sunshine, respect and something like gratitude beneath the low, slow notes of the strings, because if the man who Luffy called an older brother was anything like his captain, then Brook knew that he has been a cheerful person; and the man deserved this tribute, this remembrance, his gratitude for saving the boy he would do anything(everything) for.

Brook fingers never shook even when he heard the sharp intakes of breaths.

(Luffy deserved this tribute, this moment of remembering, this lament, this gratitude.)

Because as Luffy's musician, subordinate and, more importantly, friend, he would play and play no matter how long it took until his captain was whole again.

And if it took a nostalgic song and a moment to cry, then Brook would give that.

Because Brook understood.


Author Note:

Okay, I know I shouldn't be writing this. Technically, I should be writing my next one-shot for D. Brothers, but this idea just popped in my head and I had to do it. It is sweet and cute and I feel as if it is fitting.

I have no idea where I am going this point onwards, but I'm determined to do at least one chapter with Luffy and one person of the crew, because it's cute and appropriate. Two years is not enough time to grieve about a brother you loved so much. I would be devastated if that would happen to my older brother, and the scene of Ace's death strung something in my chest so painfully that this and my one-shots of Luffy's and Ace's childhood is my way of showing it.

Suggestions are always welcome.

Thank you for reading and please review!