Disclaimer: The usual, I don't own One Piece.
AN: Here is the promised alternate chapter! I originally planned this as LawxRobin ending, but I toyed with the idea of having it end with ZoroxRobin, and this is the result of that. This chapter is a mix of flashback and normal time, unlike the past chapters.
For reference, this is an alternate starting at the flashback Chapter 10 to the non flashback Chapter 11.
Hurt was a feeling Zoro was familiar with. He was abandoned when he was two years old, left by whoever birthed him into this world to fend for himself. For four years he was passed around foster homes, because no one could handle his anger issues. He would always lash out, proving to be a difficult child for anyone to handle. It was a miracle when he found a family. His adoptive father was able to find him an effective outlet for all that pent up feelings of anger and abandonment. It also helped him bond with his new family.
He grew to love his new family, especially his older sister. True she would always beat him, true she wouldn't hold back when fighting with him, and true she would sometimes call him cabbage just to tease him, but she would also share her toys with him, and she would always help him with his stance, and she would always comfort him whenever the nightmares came.
Zoro became more open, even gaining friends in the form of Luffy and Sanji, a small group of friends that quickly grew to what is today.
But that didn't last. That accident took her away from him, and he felt hurt again, he felt abandoned again, even if his father tried to help him. They both mourned for her, and they both missed her. Even his friends couldn't console him.
Then Robin came. Robin who had her own nightmares, had her own feelings of hurt and desperation. Robin with her handkerchief and jacket too big for her small frame. He never knew how important she was going to be in his life. They were both too young to know. All that mattered was that she was there, and she would always know when to pat his head, say words of comfort, or even hug him.
It took time before he realized that the feeling he gets when Sanji flirts with her or when Brook asks her for something indecent was jealousy. It took time for him to realize that he was truly and deeply in love with her. But by that time, he had already lost her.
Robin was waiting for him in the dojo, sitting on their bench by the garden. It was a Friday and he was coming home from Baratrie, while she had things to do and wasn't able to come. But there was only a week of school left, and they would have two months to enjoy.
He smiled when he saw her, "We missed you at dinner." he said, sitting down besides her.
"I know, I'm sorry about that" She said with an apologetic smile.
"Sanji said I should drop this off at your house, but since you're here." and he handed her a take-out bag.
She giggled "Thanks, that was very generous of him."
She put the bag away, not bothering to examine the contents. Whatever was in there, as long as Sanji made it, she was sure it would be great.
"Law asked me out."
Zoro could feel his throat tightening. "He did?"
She nodded, even if he wasn't looking at her. "I told him I'd think about it." She looked at Zoro, holding her hands on her lap.
He kept looking forward, refusing to make eye contact with her. An uncomfortable silence enveloped them.
"Do you like him?" he finally said.
She looked up at the sky. He noticed that she tended to do that, whenever she wanted to think. Always looking at the sky.
"Well, he's nice" she said "and he's friendly."
"He's creepy looking" Zoro added.
"And he's really smart." Robin said, giving him a slight nudge for his insult. "And Kuzan likes him."
"Do you like him?" He asked "I mean, as a guy you would be in relationship with?"
She sat there silently, still watching the sky as if waiting for the answer. Or maybe she already knew.
"He's a nice guy" she started, "And I like him, but I like someone else more."
Zoro was taken aback by this. All this time he thought the only competition he had was Law. Law who was also a swordsman, Law who never cringed when she made a morbid observation, Law who also made his own morbid observations that make her giggle. Law and Robin were so alike that the person she must like must be someone far greater.
He would never stand a chance.
"Then why don't you ask him out?" He said, anger lacing his voice. To know that the one you liked, liked someone else was too much for him, and all he wanted now was for that conversation to end.
"It's because he's stubborn" she said, stretching her hands up above her head "Stubborn and hard headed and refuses to acknowledge his own feelings."
"Tch" Zoro stood up "Then he's not worthy of you." He clenched his fists, angry at this unknown person, he wasn't just jealous, he was furious. "Anyone that stupid, to not admit that they have feelings for you is a bastard that doesn't deserve you."
"Kenshi-san" she said softly, holding his hand.
Zoro was startled by the touch, and he blushed, gripping her hand a bit tighter.
"Zoro, you're such a stubborn bastard" she said softly, almost like a whisper, a secret between the two of them.
The cafeteria was filled with the same cheesy sentiments as the hallways. Paper hearts and red streamers. Even the lunch ladies partook in the celebration, cutting servings into heart shapes, and handing out pieces of chocolate to male students. He was never one for Valentine's day.
He sat on the end of the table, throwing the cafeteria chocolate into Luffy's waiting mouth.
"Thanks!" The straw hat boy said as he chewed "Can I have those too?" He gestured to the small pile Zoro had accumulated.
Zoro shrugged "As long as you share it with Chopper."
Upon hearing his name, the youngest student's ears perked up. Zoro couldn't help a smirk, watching his hands twitch slightly. The sugar rush was definitely kicking in.
"You sure you don't want to try any, bro?" Franky said, poking at the pile. He also had his own tidy pile of chocolates, but unlike Zoro, he had no trouble polishing them off.
"Yeah" Nami added "You wouldn't want to hurt anyone's feelings."
"Nah" Zoro said, pushing all the chocolates to the middle of the table "I'm saving up space."
Nami gave him a knowing smile, and he smirked back at her, eating his pizza. Chopper and Luffy had already started dividing up the chocolate between them, while Usopp was able to snag a box from the ruckus.
There was still some time for lunch left when she came.
"I'm glad I caught you guys" she said, panting a bit.
"Don't worry, we understand, Ms Student Council Vice President" Nami said with a grin.
"Oh don't remind me" Robin said, her brows furrowed as she sat down besides Zoro "Too many things to do for that Valentine dance."
He lazily draped an arm around her shoulder as she rummaged through her bag, his fingers playing with her hair.
When Sanji gave every girl he saw a box of chocolate, it was because he loved all women. The same reason that Robin was handing out neat bags filled with homemade chocolates for her friends, because she loved them all. She gave his knee a quick squeeze before standing up, leaving her bag on the floor, several small packages of chocolate in her arms.
Zoro watched her hand them out to Luffy (who ate it in one bite, with much appreciation), Sanji (who proceeded to shower her with glorious praise), to Chopper (who's bag was bigger than the rest, while the young boy stammered a bashful thanks and called her a jerk), to Franky (who refused to admit that he was crying in appreciation), to Brook (who asked her to show him her panties, a request she successfully ignored) and to Usopp (who merely smiled back, an amicable friendship and understanding between them). Nami had hit Brook in the head, scolding him for his indecency, while Luffy was trying to convince Chopper to give him more of his chocolate.
Finally, she got back to Zoro. She sat down and took out a red box from her bag.
"Here you go Kenshi-san" She said, handing him the box, with a wide smile.
"Thanks" he said, smiling back at her.
He held her hand, gently tracing her delicate fingers, then gave it a quick kiss, earning wolf whistles from Franky, Brook, Nami and Usopp. Sanji was too busy crying his eyes out, while Luffy and Chopper were too busy minding their sweets.
"You've been working yourself too much, Kenshi-san" she said, gripping his hand, feeling the calluses.
"Does it annoy you?"
She shook her head "I'm just worried that it might chafe and bleed. It would be hard for you to be a swordsman then."
He chuckled and kissed her cheek.
"Well it's true." She said, with a firm nod.
They turned to see Law, with his friends behind him, sharing a pack of chocolates from one of Law's misguided fan girls. "Principal Garp wants us to pass around memos for the dance."
"Ah of course" she said "I almost forgot about that."
"Oi!" Luffy suddenly said "Traffy!"
"Mugiwara-ya" the older teen said, giving him a curt nod.
"Robin gave us chocolates!" He said enthusiastically.
"Yeah!" Chopper enthused, keeping his bag away from Luffy.
"And they're really good" Usopp said, between a mouthful of his share. He was saving some, Zoro noticed, and he knew that their long nose friend wanted to share it with Kaya. The only other girl who had given him chocolates that day. He didn't mind though, it was a huge box.
She went through her bag again and got three packs of chocolate "And these are for you, Happy Valentine's day!" She said warmly, handing it out to the three boys.
"Thank you Robin-san!" Sachi and Penguin chimed, while Law just smiled at her.
"Well it's time for me to go" she gave Zoro a kiss on the cheeks "I'll meet you at the gates after school, okay?"
He nodded, still smiling at her. She went around their table, saying a quick good bye to each of them, while Luffy pestered Law for his share of the chocolate. Zoro could see the older student fend of Luffy, keeping the bag Robin gave him as far as he can from the human stomach. He was able to get away, and the three of them went out the cafeteria.
Zoro stood up when Robin came to him again. He was still shorter than her, and she gave him another kiss on his cheek.
"I love you." He whispered, as if a secret between them.
She smiled "I love you, too" she whispered back.
"Well time to get going" Robin said, giving everyone at the table a small wave "I want to finish the memos quick so I don't get late for class. We're dissecting chickens today." There was a glimmer of excitement in her eyes, and Zoro felt just a little bit more in love with her.
Usopp shuddered, "You're really creepy Robin!"
She giggled, patting Usopp in the head "Soon enough" she said "We'll be doing that to unclaimed cadavers from the morgue." It sent the young man into a cold sweat.
"Bye Zoro" she said, smiling at him, and this time, he gave her a quick kiss on the lips.
"Hope you like the chocolate." She said, before leaving. She jogged up to the door, where Law and his friends were waiting.
Zoro returned his attention to his friends. Unlike their group, his group was content in running down the hall as soon as the bell rings. Franky, Brook and Usopp seemed to be conspiring some new invention, while Luffy was still chasing Chopper for his bag of chocolates. Sanji twirled around Nami, praising her and inflating her already huge ego, while she merely let him, sporting a smug grin with each of his compliments.
Before she was accelerated, Robin would be sitting beside him. Quiet, like himself, watching the chaos before them. She would be smiling at him, making comments about everyone's interactions. Sanji would approach them at one point, before focusing his intent on Nami again, after receiving a swift kick from Zoro. Robin would lightly touch his arm, point out the time and that they would soon be late. And he would smile back, lean back on his chair, and assure her that they never would be.
But he sat alone, at the edge of the table with only a bag of chocolates. Never being late. Just standing up as soon as the bell rings, always getting in just before the echoing sound stops. He opened his bag of chocolates, popping one his mouth. He was never fond of sweets, but she always made a special batch for him. Bittersweet, with a hint of sake.
He smiled. They'll walk home today, and maybe have some takoyaki along the way. But all that matters is that he loved her, and she loved him. To be together with the one you love is such a wonderful thing, and more so on Valentine's day.
The bell starts ringing, signaling the end of lunch, and they were off, he can't wait until the school day was over.
And there we go, my dear readers! An alternate to the Lawbin ending! I hope you enjoyed it, this fanfic is officially over. Thank you so much for everyone who read and reviewed this fic, all the feedback inspired me and pushed me to see this thing to the end. It ended up longer than I intended, and I am glad I was able to show this alternate chapter.
Thank you :)
Now time to finish that other Zorobin fic so I can start on White Day!