Man and the Sea
Free man, you will always cherish the sea!
The sea is your mirror; you contemplate your soul
In the infinite unrolling of its billows;
Your mind is an abyss that is no less bitter.
You like to plunge into the bosom of your image;
You embrace it with eyes and arms, and your heart
Is distracted at times from its own clamoring
By the sound of this plaint, wild and untamable.
Both of you are gloomy and reticent:
Man, no one has sounded the depths of your being;
O Sea, no person knows your most hidden riches,
So zealously do you keep your secrets!
Yet for countless ages you have fought each other
Without pity, without remorse,
So fiercely do you love carnage and death,
O eternal fighters, implacable brothers!
One thing (among many) I love about One Piece is how different and interesting most antagonists are. They have deep and rich personalities, sometimes a cool backstory too, great strength, funny laughters (!), great character designs, etc. But there’s one antagonist we scarcely talk about, and in my (humble) opinion it counts as one of the most - if not THE most - important of them all : the Sea.
If you think about it, One Piece is all about crossing the most unpredictable and dangerous oceans in the world to find a treasure. No Sea, no pirates. No pirates, no One Piece. No One Piece, no fun. Isn’t sailing the perilous Grand Line the first real (and expected) challenge to take up in order to become the Pirate King?
The Sea is the first antagonist Luffy ever met. Shanks used to make fun of him as a child for not being able to swim! Then Luffy became a rubberman, thus making the Sea a mortal enemy. Poor boy doesn’t even know how to navigate on his own! With Nami’s help, he could make it so far to the New World with everyone safe, but how many times have they thought they were gonna die in a storm, swallowed by the Sea’s watery mouth, how often have they feared she would steal them all, take them in her furious arms, bring them against her abyssal womb and cradle them goodbye? How many sea creatures have they faced? How many terribly dangerous phenomenons have they witnessed when the Sea got so angry and violent?
“Wild and untamable" The Sea’s unpredictable, destructive, hazardous. The Sea doesn’t care which side you’re in, won’t consider your position, age, rank, sex, family or friends. Not matter how strong you are, if you ate a Devil’s Fruit or can use haki, the Sea does what she wants. The Sea is brutal yet fascinating and mysterious, moody, bitter and cold as death but also full of life; she’s a restless graveyard (Merry *sobs*), infinitely beautiful, forever untamed, eternally FREE. Luffy once stated: ”I don’t want to conquer anything. I just think the guy with the most freedom in this whole ocean is the Pirate King!“. I also see it that way: you only get freedom if you can, somehow, understand the Sea. Make it your friend, your ally, your family. Sail with it, not against it. Learn to respect it.
”O eternal fighters, implacable brothers!“ Because the Sea isn’t just one antagonist. It’s also the path to everyone’s dreams, the salty string that brought the Strawhats together, their everyday home. It’s the nest of the world! Just like our Blue Planet… just look at the maps to see how vast the Sea is in the OP universe. Even the Wold Government’s flag depicts it: the four dots don’t symbolize different countries or organizations, but the four Oceans: North Blue, South Blue, East Blue and West Blue. And we’re not even talking about All Blue! We’re all children of the Sea… as stated by Whitebeard. The Sea carries everyone’s hopes and dreams, but she can also crush them all in a heartbeat.
"The sea is your mirror; you contemplate your soul" And eventually… the Sea’ll be there at the end of the Strawhats’s journey. She’ll be the last obstacle to the One Piece, I’m sure of it. And once Luffy finds it, once he reaches his dream and gets the Great Treasure, he’ll finally be… as free as the Sea itself. Her equal, her brother.
• Like, really sing- as in every note that comes out of his mouth is a blessing from above that would make a vicious serial killer want to start an orphanage and donate to the homeless.
• What if Hinata can play guitar and even taught himself; think of how he learned to play by practicing and watching others, just like volleyball.
• Hinata being able to mimic chords just by looking at them one time and sight reading music so quickly that he can learn a completely foreign song and memorize it within an hour?
•Hinata isn’t the volleyball idiot that everyone expects, and actually has a hidden talent that no one would assume.
• But what if Hinata had horrible, horrible stage fright and refused to sing in front of everyone- except Natsu because she never judges his voice and sometimes it’s the only thing that will calm her down after a tantrum or when it’s time for bed.
• And it just so happens that the whole team goes out to a restaurant/bar after a particularly good practice before vacation only to find that it’s karaoke night and anyone is invited.
• Hinata just sits there fidgeting because someone just sang a horrible rendition of Sanctuary and he could crush every person in the place if he just wasn’t scared shitless.
• And Suga is constantly giving the “I know you want to,” look because he may or may not have accidentally walked in on Hinata singing a really gorgeous song when he thought the club room was empty and may or may not have gushed his heart out until Hinata made him pinky promise not to tell anyone. (“Really Hinata? I don’t think a pinky prom-” “Please, Suga-Senpai!!”)
• And then the last call for singers before the DJ goes home goes out and Suga literally kicks Hinata from under the table and how the hell did he do that from the other side of the table so Hinata literally bolts up and stands there for a solid thirty seconds, not really sure where his heart landed on the floor because it certainly didn’t come up with him/that or it’s beating so fast he can’t feel it anymore.
• Everyone staring at Hinata like they’re expecting some sort of speech or joke or proclamation of “We’re Going to Win!”
• Then, as if the actual law of gravity has suddenly reversed itself, Hinata raises his hand and asks if he can go on the stage. He’s actually quite proud of himself that he didn’t throw up while he asked.
• The whole team just stares at him blankly, blinking with food half-hanging out of their mouths. Suga looks like he’s bursting with pride, while Tsukishima looks mildly sick. Hinata won’t dare look any of them in the eye.
• What if they start laughing? What if Noya and Tanaka both can’t hold it in and make a scene? God, Kageyama is right next to him, judging him and Chikara looks like he’s about to ask Hinata to take a drink of water to calm down.
(“Um Hinata, you do know you have to be able to sing, right?” “Christ, Hinata! Sit down! Haha!” “Did someone put something in his food?” He can imagine all the comments that are waiting to come out.)
• But all of a sudden, the guy at the DJ booth comes over and ushers him away to pick a song, leaving Hinata without a chance to back out and run away. He’s stranded near the stage with the entire team looking at his back, and no escape route. The guy asks what song and Hinata suddenly sees a guitar behind the booth, one much like his own and just the sight of a similar instrument calms his down a bit.
• He looks back to see Suga give him a thumbs up, everyone still watching him like they’re half confused and half intrigued- maybe a little scared and Hinata takes a breath. Then asks for the guitar and a mic stand.
• He’s shaking while things are being set up, but holy crap this is actually happening ohmygod someone stop him please just send him off and bury him in a ditch because oh god don’t make me do this-
• The first strum of the guitar is wiry and loud and people flinch and so does Hinata because his nerves are getting to him, dammit! The second strum is easier, the third is softer, the fourth movement of his hand is relaxed and comfortable and suddenly his fingers feel warm and light and his head is clear and the lights are so bright he can’t even see anyone more than five feet away.
• And then Hinata opens his mouth and the entire place goes deathly quiet while lyrics to the acoustic version of “I’m a Believer” pour past Hinata’s lips like they were made to be there.
• He starts singing softly, then gets stronger and more emotional, his eyes falling shut as his hands strum the guitar with practiced ease and his voice fills every room with this calming radiance that no one expected from the shaking, stuttering, hyperventilating kid who walked up literally 40 seconds ago.
• And every single member of the Karasuno Volleyball Club is absolutely dumbstruck because who the hell is he and what did he do with Hinata? Even Tsukishima can’t turn away and even takes off his headphones so he can listen better.
• Asahi is wiping a tear from his eye, while Noya and Tanaka don’t hide their watery-eyed pride for they Kouhai. Daichi looks more at peace than anyone has ever seen him and Chikara’s heart may have stopped beating for a minute. Suga is just sitting there like a smug little shit with a glowing sign above him saying “That’s my kid, start bowing.”
•Then there’s Kageyama; not sure whether he should keep looking at Hinata like a fish out of water or keep his eyes down to hold in the blush of embarrassment.
•And all of them are struck completely silent as Hinata continues to sing with this unearthly voice that is an actual gift. People who weren’t even in that section of the restaurant are crowding in the doorway to see who that beautiful voice belongs to- some women writing down their numbers for after the performance and some men as well.
Soft Shells in Moonshine #3~ “The New Sheriff in the…Forest?” Beth in squirrel costume, with boots and Sheriff hat?!! *shields herself from blinding cuteness* Yup, here she is! Now that I take a step back, she really reminds me of Puss in Boots. *lol*
Ah, I feel accomplished. Two paintings in one day, woot!
Cheers, Bethyl fans!
>*__*< *crawls back into her cave of artistic bliss*
And then sometimes there is the breaking,
When the irredeemable turning screeches to a halt.
The dripping realization,
Sending a crack through my cement core in an unmeasured assault.
And then an uncurling of my coiled spirit
A pouring out
Guttural and crawling
A sob which starts in my ribs
Scrapes its twisted fingers into each empty corner
Of my tightening, hollowed out cave
Up, up, through swollen neck to stony mouth.
I curl back I close in no space is tight enough for my writhing veins I am too big for this disappearing heart I am too small for this encompassing darkness I am scared so scared so
Searing. It’s searing. The pain is searing.
And it’s palpable.
Nails leave a message on my palms.
Am I soft now?
It is running through me now.
Reaching into each distant moment of skin
The outermost edge
Unstable docks formed
salt and water and wood.
Ends met only with the beginning of an infinite sea
Looking out, soaring out, over the sweeping dark curtain.
Churning waters, the circle is upon us
Melting back, into moments ago.