Your art supplies are in tatters.
It’s an unsurprising revelation given the fact both you and your equipment were just fished out of the Grand Line not a few minutes ago. Still, it’s devastating to see all of your hard work reduced to smeared images and waterlogged sketchbooks. The crew who’d been kind enough to rescue you from your capsized dinghy watch you with concern as you mourn the loss of your life’s work.
“Is this one a monkey?” the captain asks you from his place crouched at your side. He’s squinting at one of your soaked sketches with interest. The image stares back at him with one eye drooping visibly lower than the next as the wet ink drags itself towards the ground.
“It was a pirate,” you respond ruefully. With a mournful sigh, you fall backwards onto your behind and sprawl melodramatically across the ship’s lawn. You’re not really sure why a pirate ship needs a lawn of all things, but it’s comfy if nothing else, so you can’t really complain.
“So, a monkey pirate, then,” your rescuer declares. You don’t really have the energy to argue with him. Anyway, one of his crew members seems prepared to do it in your place.
“No, no, she’s saying this was a pirate before he looked like a monkey,” the long-nosed one attempts to explain. You pay him no mind as he begins arguing with his captain. One of the crew’s female members has come forward to ask you questions that are actually relevant.
“I’m sorry about your supplies. But what in the world is an artist doing out in a dinghy on the Grand Line, exactly?” she asks, idly twirling a lock of her bright hair around a finger. The crew’s cook comes barreling out of the kitchens to hand you a warm, well-needed bowl of soup. He spends an unnerving amount of time afterwards adjusting a blanket across your shoulders. You’re really not sure why he keeps trying to cuddle you, given that you’re not that cold.
“I work freelance,” you start, all the while watching as a tiny, furry creature checks your vitals. “So, you know, I go where my business takes me. It’s pretty sporadic, but so’s the Grand Line.”
“So you’re a pirate artist. A...pira...pianist!” the captain declares, slamming a fist into his waiting palm with the emphatic force of his revelation. You don’t deign to correct him. To be honest, you’re more interested in eating your soup than revealing you wouldn’t know your way around a piano keyboard if your life depended on it.
“Luffy, a pianist is a musician-” the long-nosed one starts again. Luffy cuts him off with a shout while leaping at your face,
“You’re a musician?! Join my crew! We need a musician!”
The young woman currently conducting your interview shoves him back with the bottom of her shoe. While he complains bitterly into the sharp heel digging into his face, she asks you, “Freelance? So what kind of work are you taking all the way out here?”
“She’s going to be taking my work! Play a song, Pianist!” the captain interrupts.
You’re stuck waiting a few moments while the very ferocious woman beats her captain to a pulp. You bide your time eating your soup and ignoring the wistfully sighed compliments from the cook about the way your wet shirt is sticking to your body. It’s strange, but you could have sworn you knew these guys from somewhere. Especially this cook. Though, you’re pretty sure you’d remember someone who leered at you like this, given that it was usually you that was the one doing the staring. Of course, your intentions were purely professional.
“You seem like you’re going to be just fine,” the doctor informs you. He gives your knee a quick few, reassuring pats with his hoof before turning to look at the young woman grinding Luffy’s face into the deck with her heel. “Nami, she’s going to need to take a warm bath and to dry her hair. Can she use your hair dryer?”
Nami gives you a quick once over, and then glances to your dripping belongings. Most of it was your equipment. Beyond that, you’d only had an overstuffed backpack full of charcoal smeared clothes and some basic toiletries. When you reach out for your backpack with grasping fingers, a drowsy looking swordsman obliges you by tossing it over and then promptly falling back asleep. After a moment of fishing through your clothes (which all give very sad squelching noises as you dig through them), you manage to pull out a handful of wet looking bills.
“I’ll pay you,” you offer with a lopsided grin. The waterlogged money wilts in your hands before tearing clean in half. It falls to the deck with a pathetic, watery plop. You purse your lips, and then amend, “I will pay you in drawings.”
“Fine,” Nami groans as she drags a hand down her face. You grin and push yourself to your feet just in time for the captain to ram himself into your side at full force.
“You can draw too?!” he gasps. Immediately, he seizes you by the shoulders, shakes you, and demands, “Oh! Draw a robot! With lasers! And a pet dinosaur!”
“What’s your specialty, exactly?” the long-nosed pirate asks as the cook violently kicks Luffy off of you.
“Portraits,” you answer simply. When this is met with a skeptically raised eyebrow, you elaborate, “I mean, most of the time, my work comes from drawing wanted posters. N-not that I work for the government or anything. They just commission me when they can’t get a photograph.”
This is met with silence from the crew. You think you’ve said too much. After all, even though you weren’t a government employee, you had provided them with your services. No pirate would be pleased with someone like that. You open your mouth to defend your actions when, suddenly, the swordsman on the floor snorts.
“So, were you the one that drew a picture for the curly brow, then?” he asks you, jerking a thumb in the cook’s direction. The blonde is staring at you with a wide, wide eye and a gaping mouth. You squint at him for a moment before finally realizing that this is where you knew his face from. A few months ago, following the events at Enies Lobby, the government had commissioned you to draw a poster for one of the Straw Hat Pirates. So that was who you were with!
“Oh, uh, yes. I apologize for giving them a way to...find you, I guess?” you offer with an apologetic shrug.
Suddenly, the long-nosed pirate doubles over, clutching at his stomach and laughing. The cook collapses in an undignified heap, tears streaming down his cheeks while he mutters something incoherent.
“You drew Sanji’s poster? Wow. You got him spot-on!” Luffy congratulates you, a hand slapped to your shoulder and a grin shot your way. You shoot him an uncertain smile back.
Sanji begins crying even harder.