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Sun Over the Horizon

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The Straw Hat pirates, contrary to popular belief, do have their quiet moments, when all seems still and the sea as calm as it can be out on the Grand Line.

These moments can find Brook humming at the center of the deck, Bink’s Sake a lowly joyful tune to soothe the crew, as Usopp tinkers nearby and Nami sketches her maps, the doors open to hear the tune. Sanji’s cooking in the kitchen, a light snack and something sweet for their even sweeter doctor working to organize the (once again, ransacked) infirmary. Robin, with an ear on deck and a nose in a book in the Library, enjoys the tune as Franky drinks his own cola down in the Engine room – making sure their (temporarily) calm voyage stays that way as long as possible. Jimbe is up at the helm, doing the same.

Zoro’s napping, as he normally is, sunning himself on deck. Close to him is their captain, serene for once.

But they are not surprised – when he stares out at the ocean from his special seat (his throne), few can take his attention away.

(Usopp asked once, what Luffy thought about up there. In response, the captain had given a surprisingly poetic answer.

Nothing. ‘N Everything too. The sea likes to tell me things.  

Robin called it the Voice of All Things. Luffy simply shrugged, and said that the horizon holds everything.)

(They don’t ask after the two years they spent apart, when ever so often Luffy’s hand will drift to his chest during his watch. 

Luffy stares out to the sea, still but not frozen, before fluidly getting up.

It’s almost night, and the quiet moment isn’t as quiet as it seems.

Usopp’s tinkering with the Climatact, which had been hit by a stray bullet in the battle yesterday. Brooks humming is a forced sort of calm, reminding them that they are all (relatively) alive. Nami’s maps are not entirely new, but freshly done ones that need to be retouched after cannonballs shook the ship. Robin may have her eyes in a book, but her mind is elsewhere, somewhere far away as is Jimbe’s, his face stormy. Franky’s checking up on the engine, on Sunny, worried for the hits she took, and Sanji is cooking a feast to restore their (ever so slightly too thin) captain back to his fullest health, while Chopper reorganizes the supplies he had torn out yesterday – when Zoro had been bleeding from a stab wound to the stomach.

(He hadn’t seen the Devil-fruit user in his blind spot)

Luffy steps over the dark patch on the ground, burnt from cannon fire.

(Five Vice-Admirals, all with Haki and one with devil-fruit powers, all from the New World.

They had won, but it was not a bloodless fight on their end) 

Luffy’s captain, it’s his job to make sure these quiet moments are the good kind of quiet moments, where peace and relaxation and decompression (that’s the word that Robin used, right?) are all that are focused in their minds.

And he knows exactly how.

-

The engine room is where he starts, with Franky toiling away at the engine, for once, a content smile not on his face as he works.

Luffy doesn’t like that (even though his crewmates are free to feel however they want) – he prefers his shipwright smiling as he works on his Dream, on Sunny. He prefers his shipwright feeling SUPER!

“Hey Luffy-bro!” Franky calls as Luffy’s feet, bare for once, slap against the wood on the way down. His voice is strained, and it makes Luffy frown inwardly. “What do you need? I won’t have this fixed up for a while, so we can’t go anywhere yet.”

Luffy shakes his head. “Nah. That’s not what I want. It’s okay – I know you’ll fix it eventually. You’re the best shipwright after all!”

(Luffy sees the way the metal’s warped, the way the tanks are so slightly out of place, knows that any other person would have given up immediately.

But Franky’s different. Luffy knows this.)

“I just wanted to make sure you were okay!” And at that cheerful phrases from his captain, Franky’s hands still entirely, tension flowing from his body and to the floor upon which he sits.

A smile finally, finally graces his lips as he speaks. “Yeah, Captain. I’m okay.” Luffy nods, and stretches his hands to the cyborg’s face (still taller than him even as he sits) who leans down to accommodate him.

Luffy holds Franky’s face in his hands, searching his eyes for something Franky won’t ever be able to comprehend, before beaming. He presses his lips to Franky’s nose, loving like only a captain can be to his crew and that final bit of stress is finally gone from Franky at that oh so simple moment.

Its broken by Luffy laughing however, Franky’s hair now wildly distressed, triggered by the kiss upon his nose. Franky only laughs with him, styling his hair into something simple but sure to make Luffy laugh – a giant starfish!

It feels good to relax again.

-

After saying farewell to Franky (after three more hairstyle changes of course) Luffy heads to the aquarium, where Robin has relocated (he hadn’t missed the eyes peeping from behind the machinery.)

“Hey Robin!”

“Hello Captain.” Robin’s voice is normal to outsiders, but Luffy hears the shake in it, just as subtle as the way her hand was a second to slow to sprout to life and stop the first cannonballs to hit the deck. 

“Whatcha reading?” Luffy asks swiftly, ignoring the way Robins breath shudders as she puts the book down

“Nothing special – only a book about the ruins of Alabasta’s desert.”

Luffy’s frown grows even more.

Robin never describes any book as nothing special. They’re all special to her.

She rarely reads about Alabasta, it’s a place she’s already been to and documented – but the book itself is one she always goes back to when she’s feeling down and unsure…

(The past doesn’t matter, not aboard this ship, but Robin will never forget the day she was willing the sacrifice thousands for a chance at her dream)

Luffy plucks the book out of her hands and sets it carefully to the side. Robin doesn’t react, her hands perfectly still and her eyes empty and staring straight into Luffy’s.

“Robin,” He says, in the same voice that commanded her to say she wanted to live, “I’m glad you’re on my ship.”

A word doesn’t pass her lips but that’s okay, Luffy understands. Robin doesn’t like to add to history sometimes, only likes to watch it – and that’s okay too.

(She will, though, be history someday, a living legend – the Pirate King’s beloved archeologist -)

Luffy gently grabs her hands and lays them in her lap before releasing one and grabbing a ink pen set to the side. With careful movements, he traces an X, bold and powerful, on her wrist.

Robin likes history – she understands. 

Luffy brings it up to his lips and kisses it gently, careful to avoid the ink, and beams at her. 

“I’m glad you’re here Robin,” He says simply, before tugging the infamous straw hat more firmly on his head and dashing out of the room. 

He doesn’t need to look back to see the smile gracing Robin’s lips.

(Because Robin – she’s an archeologist. She’s history, and with the Straw Hats, she’s history in the making. She knows what the X means, drawn on seven wrists and one wing, knows that it means belonging like only a Straw Hat can know –

And now, even if she is not ready enough to stop cannonballs in sudden fire, she is enough to be one of the Straw Hats.

And that’s all she needs.)

Usopp’s next on his list, buried deep within the Usopp Factory. Luffy steps through, taking care not to step on anything (Usopp gets mad if he does – Luffy doesn’t get it, knows that Usopp’s stuff is amazing no matter what shape its in, but he can respect it), slowly but surely making his way to his sniper.

When he finds him, Usopp’s hands are shaking and he’s cursing when he can’t fit the screw into the climatact.

Usopp’s a liar, but he’s never been able to hide his feelings from his captain.

“Usopp.”  Luffy says, collapsing on Usopps back (and how out of it is Usopp with his observation Haki that he startles when Luffy does so?) like some kind of rubbery, wet rag. “Tell me a story.”

“I can’t Lu- I have to fix Nami’s weapon.”

“Nami’s weapon won’t fix itself if you can’t fix the screwy thing in the hole.”

Usopp’s shoulders slouch, taking Luffy with them, and the captain lets out a soft shishishi at the motion. “I know.”

“So tell me a story!”

“Aye Captain.” And Usopp does, shrugging Luffy off his back so they can sit side by side, imaginary battle scene rippling to life on the wooden walls.

His voice is soft this time around, but Luffy knows that when Usopp’s stories are the truest, they’re the quietest, like Usopp doesn’t want anyone to hear the truth.

(Luffy doesn’t get it – Usopp’s awesome! He’s the best sniper in the world! Who wouldn’t want to know about him?)

“Did I ever tell you about the time I fought three giant ants at once with only one pop green?”

“NO! Tell me!”

“Well – It all goes like this...” Usopp’s voice gets stronger and stronger, and his body relaxed and easier as the tale goes on – embellished a little, but truthful in every way that counts.

Until…

“I aimed for the final ants wing and – and … and…” He stutters and trails off. “I missed. Like I did today.”

(Luffy remembers. Remembers how Usopp shot the star and how for once, it didn’t hit its target (the musket in the Marine’s hand), how for once, Usopp’s aim was off, how for once, there was a devil fruit eater who could combat his attacks near perfectly, how for once, Usopp couldn’t do what Usopp did best and snipe.)

Luffy hums from his place on Usopp’s shoulder, playing with Usopp’s hands as he lets his sniper speak.

(After Water 7, he knows the value of words.)

“I missed and you got hurt Luffy. I failed – I had one job and I failed, I couldn’t even do that right, I’m sorry Luffy, I swear I aimed right, I’m sorry…”

Luffy hums again, this time slipping his hand firmly into Usopp’s. “That’s okay.”

“But it isn’t! You’re hurt! I’m supposed to stop things like that…” Mm. The sea stone bullet in his shoulder had hurt but it had can straight through so that’s okay. But Usopp’s voice continues to waver, unsure and wet. “I couldn’t protect you.”

At this, Luffy stops listening and starts speaking.

“Usopp. I’m the captain.”

“I know Luffy –“

“Usopp. I’m the captain. And I say its okay. It wasn’t your fault – it was Pinky’s fault-“

“I don’t think that was his name-“

“It was Pinky’s fault. You aimed true and you did everything you were supposed too do. And it didn’t work out – and that’s okay!”

“But – “

“And you got back up and did it again! You were so fast! Pinky didn’t even have time to cast another… another uhhh Moody Moody Pull!

“I think it was Muta Muta Luffy…”

“It doesn’t matter! I saw it doesn’t” And now, Luffy looks at his sniper and smiles. “Its okay Usopp. I’m okay, you’re okay. Alright?”

Usopp doesn’t respond for a while, doesn’t look Luffy in the eye, but like Luffy’s been saying, its okay.

Luffy will wait as long as it takes.

Finally, Usopp looks up and just melts. “Yeah,” He says, voice wet with tears, “Its okay.” And suddenly Luffy has an armful of Usopp.

Eventually, after Luffy’s bandaged shoulder is suitable wet with tears, he lets Luffy go, who promptly places a kiss on Usopp’s cheek.

“Shishishi! I have the best sniper!”

“Luffy!”

“Shishishi!”

-

Nami isn’t much different than Usopp when Luffy finds her, hands shaking as she draws her still flawless maps.

The one thing is, she’s already crying and her whole body is shaking.

First thing Luffy does is slide the map out from under her hands. The next thing he does is hug his navigator like he has never done before.

Nami only cries harder, beating her hands  on Luffy’s back as sobbed words break from her throat. “Luffy… Luffy I almost died.”

“I know,” he responds, “I know.”

(The musket guy had been back, aiming at another target after shooting Luffy, who was still tusseling despite the blood pouring from his shoulder, with a Vice admiral. The target had been Nami, who had no one to protect her from the bullet.

It was luck that had Nami pulling the Climatact in front of her chest at the exact moment that the musket fire. It was luck that the bullet ricocheted off it, it was luck that Nami lived.

Luffy didn’t like to think about it)

(Ace…)

“But Nami,” He says carefully, making sure his hands move Nami’s to her tattoo and the scars underneath it. “You’re alive.”

Nami’s eyes don’t stop crying nor her body shaking, but she understands.

(The past doesn’t matter – not aboard Luffy’s ship. Nami asked him to help her, and he didn’t need a reason, didn’t need a story to beat up Arlong.

Nami lived now, and it didn’t matter why or how, only that she was alive. And she would stay that way.)

“But-“

“You’re alive.” Luffy says it like its truth, and if Nami really has to admit it, if it’s from him it must be true.

“I’m alive.” Nami repeats, quiet but secure in it.

“I’m alive.”

I’m here, I’m alive, I’m free.

It takes three minutes for Nami to pull away from his shoulder, and another two for her eyes to stop watering, but by then she’s smiling so Luffy knows it worked (he would stay still forever if it meant his nakama got the chance to be happy.)

“Thanks Luffy.” Nami says in that wonderful happy voice she reserves for her captain only.

Luffy only beams like a thousand suns in response and places a sloppy kiss on her cheek, and dashes out to the embarrassed but fond screeching of his navigator

-

Luffy’s shirt is wet from ink and tears (and blood) when he finally leaves, but his navigator is smiling and the shirt was getting itchy anyway as it rubbed against the wounds littering his body so maybe it’s time to ditch it anyway.

He slowly creeps past the galley, avoiding Sanji’s gaze (his cook is focused on the meat he’s burning in the pan, but for once Luffy isn’t interested.) as he makes his way to the infirmary.

There he finds Chopper, small and lost between the bloody piles of bandages tossed around the infirmary. Luffy doesn’t hesitate to sweep him up in his arms and sit on the bed, Chopper acting like a stuffed animal more than a reindeer.

“Luffy!” Chopper exclaims, surprised but content to let Luffy hold him. “Where have you been! I told you to be in here an hour ago!”

“Sorry Chopper!” Luffy relaxes into the fluffy fur, “I was talking to Franky! And Robin! And Usopp! And Nami! And now you!”

“But what were you doing before that?”

“Thinking!”

“On your special seat?”

“Yeah!” Luffy loosens his arms so Chopper may turn in them and look him dead in the eye.

“I told you, you have to stay inside! That sea stone bullet left residue in your body and I don’t want the sea spray heightening it’s effects!”

Luffy pouts but his doctor only glares back harder.  “In a bit. I need go back outside to see the others and then I’ll rest! But don’t you know what I was thinking about? It's really coooool!”

Chopper has stars in his eyes, personality a complete 180 from the strict doctor he was moments ago?

“Really? Tell me! Tell me!”

“Well it was just that I have the doctor of the future pirate king on my ship who can fix up any of us! Even Zoro! And Brook and he’s a skeleton! You’re the best Chopper!”

The reindeer immediately becomes cursingly bashful, hitting Luffy lightly on the chest (still so conscious to avoid the spots of blood on Luffy’s shoulder. Its starting to hurt.) “You asshole! Being nice isn’t going to make me like you more!”

“But I’m not! I’m just saying what’s true!”

If it’s possible, Chopper becomes even more bashful, but his smile is wholly sincere. The rigidness in his shoulders slowly seems to melt out of him, the tension that had been there even since Zoro came in bleeding out organs, and Luffy came in hazy from Sea Stone, almost gone as he gives Luffy a hug.

In an adorable gesture, Luffy bends and gives a nose kiss to Chopper, making them both laugh with joy, all worries now completely gone in the face of their happiness.

Well… almost all of their worries.

Chopper suddenly transforms into his tallest form, giving him easy reach to all of Luffy’s wounds.

“Now Luffy – let me chance your bandages okay?”

Luffy tenses but nods, allowing his doctor to change the bloody swathes of fabric around his shoulder. The blood is sticky, and it pulls at Luffy’s skin as Chopper peals it away, but Luffy make no noise, only lets Chopper do his job. His hands are always gentle with his patients, no matter what form he’s in.

Chopper prods at the wound, seemingly pleased with the heal process, but then prods at Luffy’s shoulder blades and collar bone, noting how his ribs can be seen against rubber skin. “Luffy.”

Uh oh. Luffy knows that voice. He’s in trouble.

“When was the last time you ate?”

“Ummmm…” Luffy doesn’t even try to lie, even if he does stall. “This morning before the Marines attacked.”

Chopper eye’s narrowed. The rest of them had went and gotten sandwiches from the kitchen while Sanji cleaned up, but if Luffy hadn’t gotten any…

Well it was evening now. And breakfast had been interrupted.

“Luffy.” His voice was scolding. “What did we talk about?”

“I know! I know…” Luffy knows (doesn’t know why he sometimes pushes off food when he knows his body needs it, more than most, knows how sometimes he just… can’t, despite his voracious appetite) how his doctor feels about it. “I’m going to Sanji right now! Look!”

“Not without me finishing your checkup you’re not!”

-

It’s another ten minutes before Chopper finally ushers him out and by then Luffy has been thoroughly admonished and ready to meet his cook.

Which he does, by stretching out his arms and launching himself koala style onto Sanji’s back.

“Shitty Captain!” Sanji roars, but the way he shifts to accommodate the weight so effortlessly betrays the fact that he’s used to this act by now (and welcomes it.)

“Hiya Sanji!” Luffy places his head on Sanji’s shoulder, wrapped around him like a rubbery octopus, watching him make dinner. “What’cha making?”

“Meat sandwiches.”

“Yum!”

“Yeah, yeah…” Sanji says, and Luffy watches his hands shake.

(The battle had not been hard on Sanji – no mistakes or grievous injuries, but his cook is the kindest person on this crew and Luffy knows how much he hurts when others hurt, knows how much his cook hurts when he can’t help, can’t make all their problems go away with a meal or a friendly hand or a harsh kick. He’s kind and it kills him, but Luffy wouldn’t have his cook any other way.)

Luffy makes a soft noise and reaches out to touch Sanji’s hands, saying nothing (because Sanji has always spoken in actions when it comes to himself.)

“Sorry Captain. Meal will be ready soon.” Sanji’s tone is apologetic, sorry for the fact that he can’t make science and cooking bend to his need.

Sometimes, Luffy’s cook is funny like that.

“It’s okay. I can wait.” He doesn’t add the fact that he’s not that hungry, but his cook doesn’t need to hear that.

And wait he does.

He mumbles stories next to his cook, about the time he grabbed a giant sea king from the sea and Usopp had said it looked like a goldfish but Luffy could swear it was a hippopotamus, about the story Robin read to him two nights ago about a kid and treasure up in the sky (The ships could fly in space Sanji!), about how good Sanji’s meals taste, about how he always feels full afterward, about how he’s lucky to have Sanji on his crew.

And every so often, he places his hands on Sanji’s, stopping the trembling.

And every so often, his cook smiles a bit more, not stiffening about the ribs felt through his captain’s shirt anymore.

Sanji finishes the meal with a grand flip of a tray, giving a show to the captain grinning over his shoulder.

“Eat up Shitty Captain. I don’t want to see a single crumb left you here me? I know you’re hungry.”

“Shishishi! Of course!”

In a whirlwind if movement, Luffy dashes off of Sanji’s back and faces his from the front, hands gentle as they push the hair off Sanji’s face and love in every movement as he kisses his cook right between his swirly brows.

“Thank you!”

Sanji has a dopey smile on his face before he realizes what happened and brandishes his spatula. “LUFFY!” he shouts in faux rage, but he’s smiling, laughing, and that much joy is back in the Straw Hat pirates.

And all Luffy does is (attempt to) smile back with his mouth full of delicious meat sandwiches.

“Thank’s Sanji!”

-

When Luffy is finally full according to Sanji’s standards, he dashes out to meet Brook, humming along to a quiet song that Luffy can’t quite place.

“Brook!” he says happily, staring up at the man. He can feel Jimbe’s eyes on him, and Zoro shifted over in the corner, but the skeleton appears to have not have noticed.

“Brook? Brook!” He tries again, attempting to catch his attention.

But Brook’s attention is far off – the kind he gets on stormy nights, on foggy nights, when the world around the ship is quiet and dark and sunlight is nowhere to be found.

A frown crosses Luffy’s face.

This won’t do.

So he starts to hum his own song, something up beat and happy, something that Brook’s lonesome song had strayed from when Luffy wasn’t looking.

As he does so, he pulls Brook down to the seat behind him, sitting with him as he hums and pulls the violin slowly out of his grasp. The bony hands are limp and unresisting as Luffy does so, and fall into his lap when Luffy places the violin firmly out of reach.

(When Brook’s feeling loud and brave and bold – he uses his guitar, the mark of the soul king.

When Brook’s quiet, or happy, or peaceful, or sad, the violin is his weapon of choice – sometimes its hard to tell when he is the Humming Swordsman or Future Musician of the Pirate King or simply Last member of the Rumbar Pirates.

His music is his tell though.)

While he hums, slowly calling Brook out of the fog, he takes a look at Brook’s hands.

As weird as it may sound, he likes his nakama’s hands, scarred and soft and metal alike. He likes holding them, feeling the heartbeat, observing the marks on each and the stories they tell.

Robins are hard, used to tough environments and fighting with her hands – Sanji’s are soft, a cook’s hands, unweaponized and for his friends. Usopp’s and Zoro’s are calloused from weapon holding and Brook’s…

Well Brook’s are all bone. There’re no scars to tell him what his life is like (do you see the scar on Luffy’s thumb? The pierced hole through his fists?) or what he likes to do, but perhaps the bones are all he needs.

Speaking of loneliness and death, but also long and slender. There are grooves on the end, where strings cut into softened bone, and all are held together by seemingly nothing at all.

Luffy leans into Brook’s side, slotting himself under one arm, humming forcefully.

Gather up all the crew

Its time to ship out Bink’s Brew…

He’s here, with Brook, and if Brook can’t come back to himself right away, too lost in his mind, and the night sky, and nakama almost lost, then that’s okay. As long as he comes back eventually, it’s okay.

Luffy reaches the end of Bink’s Sake and starts again, lifting a bony hand to his lips and pressing a firm kiss to it, humming all the way through.

He’s here, and Brook isn’t alone, if he only would come back to them.

And come back to them Brook does.

“Ah – Luffy?”

“Brook!” Luffy says cheerfully, happy to see his musician back.

“I apologize… I drifted off it seems… I had been meaning to be playing a cheerful song, to lift us up from that dreadful battle, but I suppose thoughts of… well death swamped my mind… even though I have no brain inside this skull, Skull Joke!” Brook says, slowly and then with renewed cheer in his voice.

Luffy smiles. If Brook can make a skull joke, then all is well as it can be.

“That’s okay Brook. Can you sing a song now? A happy one! But not a party one! Like an in-between one!

“Yohoho! I believe I have the song for that, Captain. Have you eaten? Did Chopper redress your wounds?”

Luffy blinks at the out of the blue question and then huffs. “Yep! I’m all good! We’re all here!”

It’s okay if Brook nags him. Luffy knows he only does so because Brook has experienced loss too. 

(Yorki, Brook sometimes mumbles out on foggy nights, Yorki, please don’t go.)

“Very well then Captain! A song dedicated to our triumph today!”  And so the melody starts with Brook humming, the picked up violin swaying in. Luffy himself sways in place to the tune, a cheery, peaceful thing.

“I’m glad you’re my musician Brook.”

“I am too, Captain. I am too.”

 

-

 

Jimbe knows his turn is next, Luffy knows, feeling his eyes follow him up the steps to the helm. 

“Luffy.” He says calmly, but it’s a forced kind of calm, the kind like peaceful waters with a pulling riptide underneath. His helmsman is worried.

“Jimbe!” Luffy replies with enthusiasm, before sobering up, know that while Jimbe needed to let loose sometimes (There were no responsibilities chaining him down on the Sunny-) he appreciated it more when Luffy was serious.

Which Luffy would oblige.

Sometimes.

“Are you okay?” Jimbe did not need hands held and fears assuaged – he did not need gestures of affection (though Luffy will give them freely) but needed words instead. Vows were what bound Jimbe, vows and promises of honor, and brutal honesty was in his every word.

Luffy liked that about Jimbe – he was kinda like Zoro, held promises to the same level, but Zoro could be more ruthless then Jimbe sometimes.

“I am… alright Captain.” And sometimes Jimbe did this, used his words to dance around the question, and Luffy wanted to scream. 

“But are you okay?” 

Jimbe averts his eyes from Luffy’s at that, gaze towards the storm. “No Luffy. I am not.” Jimbe’s older than Luffy, old enough to remember a time before the Pirate King, and different than Brook in that he’s not gone half insane during his life. He’s worldly, and the way he admits that he’s not in control to Luffy is another level of loyalty entirely. 

“I… I failed today. I am supposed to help guide this crew, answer to the navigator in these rough waters, steer the ship to safety, but today… Today I did not. Today I neglected my duty, failed to maneuver us out of a battle where our sturdiest warriors were already hurt…” His view falls to the bandages around Luffy’ shoulder, stark white against sun kissed skin.

“But you didn’t.” Luffy says simply, hopping up to sit on the railing besides Jimbe. “You didn’t fail. In the New World we all have to be ready but today we weren’t. And that’s okay. We’re alive, aren’t we? And you did get us out – you smashed a hole in that Marine Ship didn’t you?”

Jimbe huffs, a smiling quirking from a fanged mouth. “I suppose I did.”

And Luffy knows his helmsman will be okay. But to make sure…

Luffy stands atop of the railing and presses a kiss to the side of Jimbe’s forehead, soft and sweet, and full of the devotion a captain must have for his crew. Jimbe’s smile, small, grows bigger and he lets out a laugh. “Thank you, Captain. I believe you have one more person to see?”

Jimbe’s so smart, of course he knew what Luffy was doing!

“Yep!”

“Then go – and then rest or I will make you.” Jimbe threatens fondly, and Luffy can only laugh.

He loves his crew.

“I will! Zoro’s sleeping anyway!” Or at least he will be until Luffy bounds over – he always wakes up for Luffy.

“Of course." 

Zoro doesn’t wake up for Luffy, but that’s okay. Luffy doesn’t need to reassure Zoro, though he does appreciate the nice pillow that Zoro makes. 

Zoro knows already, what Luffy would say – or rather, what he wouldn’t say because Zoro already knows.

(They’re confusing like that.) 

Zoro knows that he’s alive, that his mistakes just mean he needs to train more, that every fight is practice until he fights Mihawk, that this wound, wet where Luffy presses against Zoro’s bandaged side, is just encouragement to work better. 

Besides – it wasn’t from a sword (did he see the shrapnel flying towards him from Pinky’s devil fruit? Did he even know it was a thing? It doesn’t matter.) so its okay.

But still… Fit in the slot between Zoro’s arm and his body, he can feel the bandages, slightly wet with blood pressing up against his own bandaged side.

Zoro got hurt today.

But he’s still alive.

Luffy sighs, and sinks further into his spot, hat slipping off his head as he feels the pulse of Zoro’s heart beat against his cheek.

The battle’s past, and his crew – all of his crew is okay.

There’s a pressure against his head, Zoro’s lips giving him a short kiss against it.

Luffy only laughs. His swordsman woke up after all.  He's just making sure that he’s okay too, just like Luffy did with the rest of the crew.

His first mate is the best.

So Luffy beams, giving Zoro a look that tells him all he needs know.

I’m okay too.

Now – his crew is quiet and peaceful, the kind after a storm where you know everything is finally going to be okay, and there’s a sun in the sky. No one is anxious, fighting back tears or holding shaking hands.

The Straw Hat Pirates are at peace. Now all Luffy needs is a nap and everything will be right in the world.

So against his first mate’s side, the captain of the Straw Hats sleeps at last.