"It would seem our gracious host has less than honorable intentions," Robin said suddenly, voice as thin and cold as a blanket of ice. It got her crew's attention right away, and they all looked up more or less together.
"What do you mean?" Nami asked, at the same time Usopp glanced around and behind him muttering, "Where's Luffy?"
Robin, as gracefully as she did everything else, nodded her head toward the dessert bar of the fine restaurant they were being treated at; their captain was sitting at one of the tall barstools, kicking his feet and chatting with the sous chef through the pick-up window as the server prepared him a dish of what looked like a crumble.
And next to their dear captain was a man- the brother of the drowning sailor they had rescued upon their arrival to the island harbor- who sat eyeing Luffy like he was one of the desserts on display.
"What the hell," Sanji said with all the righteous fury of an older brother watching his sister get hit on by the town punk. "What does that guy think he's doing?"
"Is he- is he putting the moves on Luffy? Really?" Nami said in disbelief, watching the man lean in to get Luffy's attention, and Luffy's head swivel around to him. "But he's Luffy."
"Hey," Franky protested, "Luffy's pretty charming when he wants to be. He has all us wrapped around his little finger, after all."
"Yohoho, he does, doesn't he?"
"Yeah but- that's different."
"Not really," Robin returned smoothly. "And he certainly isn't unattractive. But that man is a little too old for him, I do believe."
"More than that! He's looking at Luffy like he's food!"
"Our captain is pretty dense," Sanji said, with a smirk. "Let's see how long till the dude gets the message and gives up."
But that didn't seem to be happening. Luffy had that wide-eyed, blank look on his face that spelled out, plain and simple to his crew, that his interest was only passing and he was not retaining the conversation to any degree. The man only seemed to delight in this, and laughed something that made Luffy raise his eyebrows in an expression that was blatantly unimpressed and turn away again to watch the waitress, who smiled at him prettily and presented him with his finished dish, all done up with whipped cream and syrup. Luffy beamed at her and said something that made her laugh; as she went away, he picked up his bowl and turned to return to the table.
"Oh, he's coming back over now," Chopper said, and the rest of them sighed in relief.
"Now all we have to do is make sure that slimy guy doesn't- wait- what- "
He had reached over and put a hand- rather showingly- on Luffy's shoulder, and rested his other hand on Luffy's knee. Luffy blinked at him like he'd grown a second head, but with his hands full of his dessert, and Nami's previous warning of "do not pick any fights here, Luffy, this is a high class place!" that she was suddenly seriously regretting, he just sat there on the edge of his stool and let the man's hand inch a little higher up his leg because he was an idiot with no sex drive and had no clue he was being flirted with by some greasy guy who had no business touching him.
And up until that point, the Straw Hat Pirates had had no clue how possessive they were of their captain, but it was dawning on them now, and it was fierce. As much as they were Luffy's, Luffy was theirs.
But suddenly Zoro, who had been missing from their table as well and presumed lost-and-to-be-found-eventually, strode by, stopped when he saw his captain and the stranger, and assessed the situation in a single flick of poison green eyes.
"That dude has no clue what hit him!" Sanji whispered, trying to choke down his laughter, and Usopp was in a similar boat, both hands covering his mouth against a fit of giggles. "Look at his face!"
Because Zoro had leaned over, wrapped a strong arm around Luffy's shoulder, and murmured something that made Luffy laugh in delight and grin up at him- while simultaneously making the stranger go two shades paler and retract his hands quickly. When Zoro straightened, Luffy slipped out of his chair and allowed himself to be steered back to the table, chatting happily all the while about how neat the cook was and how nice the waitress had been.
And then Luffy was safely back among them, where he belonged, with Zoro at his back and Usopp and Chopper at either side, and Sanji leaning over at a beckon and promising to bake another crumble later, and Franky laughing raucously at Brooke's soulful "Ode to the Crumble" strummed out on a tiny guitar, and Nami and Robin looking on at their boys with fond smiles.
They decided to leave not long after that, and Luffy called out a goodbye to the chef who waved from the order window. He then stooped to pick up Chopper, and trotted over to the door, with a merry, "Come on, everybody! To our next adventure!"
"Aye!" was the unanimous response as they gathered around him, and, as one, glanced back one last time at the man who had put his hands on Luffy. At their collective stare, he flinched.
They probably looked downright predatory, clustered around Luffy like a pride of lions, but that was a good thing, and a metaphor rather true to form.
No one touched Luffy; whoever tried would get ripped apart. Like captain like crew, after all.