Summary: Merely existing isn't a crime, but two people were made to believe that. One fought the legacy he was given, while the other struggled to uphold the one she lost. This is the unlikely story of these two people as they find each other in the Grand Line.
Disclaimer: I do not own One Piece.
Author's Note: I've been wanting to write this story ever since I got the spoiler that Ace died. AceRo is a crack ship, but I just can't help but imagine them coming together at one point. Anyway, here's my take on their story. I'm gonna try to make this as canon plausible as possible, so here's hoping I can do it. Actually, feedback is always good. Also there's a longer note at the bottom regarding Zorobin fics.
Warning: Crack ship ahoy! Also this is a Romance fic, so it might get a bit sappy. And again, crack ship ahoy! Unintended OOC-ness and my usual warnings.
What I'm listening to: I ship it, an Icona pop parody by Not Literally Productions.
Chapter 1: Spades in the Grand Line
It was a small island, but it had a port, and they needed provisions. Of course, having a bar on that island also meant that the Spades can enjoy dry land and good sake. The bar was fairly cramped, but the alcohol was good, and the service was hospitable. No one seemed to mind the pirates, and they were grateful for that. As much as they liked their action, it was also nice to get some good food and beer without needing to fight for it.
Portgas D. Ace smiled at his nakama. He was proud of what they've accomplished so far, and for whatever adventures they were headed to. He was also proud that he was able to acquire such a formidable group of people. They were already making waves in the Grand line, and they barely got in, he definitely had chosen the right crew. Plus, he had a pretty powerful devil fruit ability. At just seventeen years old, he had already made a dent big enough for the government to notice. The world was now theirs to conquer.
The bell on the door rang, catching his attention, and in came a woman clad in a purple dress.
Ace followed her movements, gulping. She was beautiful. Sophisticated. He has never been entranced by a woman, he was looking for some damn adventure, not some romance, but somehow, he found himself following her with his eyes. She was tall, graceful, had an air of mystery surrounding her.
Damn, she's beautiful.
He stared at her figure, her cowboy hat jauntily placed on her head. He fingered the brim of his own hat, feeling a certain connection to this woman.
"Pardon me, boys" he said, standing up from his group.
He had a grin on as he went up the counter, where the woman was sitting on a bar stool. She had a book in front of her, opened at a page with no pictures, while the bar tender gave her a cup of steaming hot coffee. He leaned his back on the counter, his elbows propped up on the worn wood, and gave her one of his friendly smiles.
"Good evening" he said, managing to stop himself from winking. A woman like herself oozed of sophistication, and a wink might be taken the wrong way.
She glanced at him through the corner of her eye for only a second, then returned the focus to her book.
Ace felt his face redden. Maybe he shouldn't have attempted this.
He turned around to face the counter, and sat on the stool, ordering a tankard of beer from the bar tender. He kept glancing at her discreetly as he drank, observing her. He liked her hat, first and foremost, since it accentuates her face. She had a thin, delicate nose, and blue eyes that dart through the pages. She had shiny black hair. Her fingers were long, and he wanted to reach out and touch them. She was, in simple terms, beautiful.
"It's rude to stare, Fire fist-san."
Ace choked on his drink, almost letting it spray out. He blushed red as he wiped his mouth, now averting his eyes to anywhere not near her direction.
"So you know who I am?" He said, with a bit of nervous stammer. How could a woman make him so nervous? He was a strong pirate and had the confidence to attain his current status, yet she who sat there with her book and coffee (in a bar, who orders coffee in a bar?) could reduce him to someone who stammers his words.
"I try to keep myself informed" She said, still not looking at him, a smile playing on her lips.
Ace smirked "So you know who I am, does this mean I get the pleasure of a name?"
Finally, she turned her head, and their eyes met. Ace was taken aback by how blue her eyes were, how piercing.
She smiled, and he smiled wider, expectant. But all she gave him was a firm "No."
And with that, she returned back to her book.
Ace blinked, a bit taken aback by her attitude. He knew it would be impolite to continue questioning her, but he wanted to know her name. So he downed his beer, and ordered another one.
Maybe she'd relent?
She closed her book, paid the bar tender, and left.
Or maybe not.
He waited a few minutes, before deciding to follow her. He was planning on ghosting her until he sees another opportunity to strike up a conversation, make it seem coincidental and all. Unfortunately, he wasn't the only one. He noticed shadows surrounding the alleyways when she walked, and was about to confront them when she entered a dead end.
Shit he though, quickening his pace. But the many shadows were quicker.
He ran to the alleyway, and was quite surprised. Half of the men were already down, and she looked as composed as ever.
But the other half were still relentless.
"You're going to fetch a nice sum missy" a particularly large man sneered, a gleaming dagger in each of his hands. All of the ones left standing had produced their own weapons, snarling at her. Ace was impressed at how calm her face was.
The large man lunged at her, but a column of fire intercepted him.
"Uh-uh" Ace said, when they all looked at him. He waggled his finger at the large man "You really shouldn't be attacking a lady like that."
"Higan" Ace said with a smirk, shooting a fire bullet straight at the large man. He erupted into flames, and his comrades fell back. Ace noticed that they were already fewer than before, impressed to see the lady step over a couple of them to kick at others.
He walked over to her, the rest of the shadows giving him a wide path.
"You do know there's more of them coming" she said simply, sitting on a pile of bodies. "Now that they know who you are, as bounty hunters, they can't let such a prize go."
He cracked his knuckles and smiled at her "Are you up to it?"
Suddenly, a roar of a crowd of shadows came upon them.
He took to one side, she took to the other. His back was turned, when he heard the awful crunching of bones. He looked to see several of their attackers crumpling down, while she had her arms crossed over her chest. That's when he noticed more arms growing out of their opponents' shoulders.
"Woah!" he said, almost shouting "You've got a devil fruit!"
She turned to smile at him, as she produced a pair of arms around his current opponent, twisting them into submission.
"What's your name then?" Ace asked, when they backed into each other. He punched another attacker, leaving a burn mark on his cheek.
She ignored him, but instead took down three more men.
Ace whistled "Impressive."
Within seconds, they had dispatched the bounty hunters. No more than a mere pile of broken bones and bruises, and charred off clothes and flesh.
He stretched his arms above his head, while she straightened her hat. "You're really good" He said, standing next to her.
She smiled at him "You're pretty good yourself, Fire fist."
"Portgas D. Ace" he said extending a hand to her "Call me Ace."
But she didn't take it.
Instead, she smiled at him, tipped her hat at his direction "It was nice meeting you."
She walked away, but he followed "So you're an ability user." he said, trying to spark up a conversation.
"Yes" she said, walking faster.
"So what exactly does it do?" he asked, matching her pace.
She sighed. "It does something like this." she crossed her arms in front of her, just like before, while Ace watched with anticipation. Suddenly, two hands covered his eyes.
"So cool!" he exclaimed. The hands then disappeared into petals, and he noticed how nice they smelt. He was going to compliment her on the scent, but she was already gone.
He smiled to himself, shoving his hands in his pockets.
Damn fine woman.
The information they gathered noted that the log post would set in about three days. Enough time for them to restock and explore. So the following day, Ace found himself wandering the bar area of the town, the memory of a tall mysterious woman still lingering in his mind. He was avoiding the area where they fought yesterday, in case anyone went looking for culprits. He wasn't expecting to find her, especially after she had dismissed him so passively.
He wasn't offended, he was intrigued. A lone lady wandering around town was a curious sight, and he longed to know more of her. Especially since that lone lady was a strong fighter. The spades can use a bit of femininity.
Suddenly, the smell of grilling meat caught his attention. He closed his eyes and sniffed, it was definitely meat. Using his nose, he was able to track down the heavenly smell to a street cart food stall. The old man sat on a stool, while fanning the smoke from his grill on wheels, skewered bits of meat and vegetables browning so deliciously. Ace's mouth watered.
"Hey old man" he said, sniffing some more "How much for a stick?"
The old man smiled, some of his teeth missing, "50 beris, and only 120 beris for three of them."
Ace hurriedly fished through his pockets, he must have some money somewhere in those cargo shorts. Unfortunately, the captain of the Spade pirates came out with nothing.
"Here" He was surprised to see a slender arm hand the old man some money, quite a considerable amount, with the way his eyes widened. "That should be enough for his appetite."
"You don't have to!" Ace said indignantly, grabbing the hand before it was retracted "I don't need a handout." He planned on glaring at the person, only to end up with a surprised look.
The slender arm was owned by the mysterious lady, a somewhat amused smirk on her lips. He let go of her arm, trying hard not to blush.
"Here you go sonny!" The old man said, pushing a plateful of the meat, which was practically the whole cooked stock the old man had. The old vendor gave him a toothy, or rather gummy, grin as he piled on more raw meat for the next batch.
Ace stared at the food, and then back at the lady.
"Go ahead" she said, with that same smile. "Consider that as thank you for last night."
He smiled at her, and started eating "So are you going to tell me your name now, or do I have to keep on referring to you as Lady or Hey?"
"I really don't mind either" she said. She flashed him another of her quiet smiles, then turned to leave. Hurriedly, he swallowed his food, and jogged after her.
She started walking deeper into the town, with him following her like a puppy, determined to get a name out of her. She didn't mind being followed, and didn't discourage him, but she did ignore him, instead focusing on her book. It amazed him how she could walk with her nose buried in a thick tome, and not hitting anything or anyone. He was actually hoping for her to stumble so he can catch her, and then she'd tell him her name.
They reached the other side of town, and she ducked into a bookstore, with Ace holding the door open for her. He chuckled, noticing that when he did, she had a tiny smile on her lips. Learning hospitality and manners from Makino still proves to be an amazingly wise choice.
"So you come here often?" He said, leaning on a book shelf, desperate for the woman to acknowledge him. She, however, was more focused on the spines of dusty books, a slender finger tracing them as she went through the rows.
And then darkness.
Narcolepsy has always been a trait of the D heritage, that was something Robin knew, but she has not met or heard of anyone with such severe symptoms. It took a bit of effort to transport him to her hotel room, but fortunately her lodgings were near, and the streets were nearing empty. She had used her hands to move him via the roofs of the buildings, and in her hotel, opened the window to slide him in. So that was how he, the great rookie Portgas D. Ace, was asleep in her bed.
She sat on the lounge chair, stretching her tired legs. She had been out for most of the day, scouring the city, observing all the nooks and crannies she can see without being suspicious. Most of her work for Sir Crocodile involved her stealth, and her cunning, and of course, her powers. She closed her eyes and concentrated, remembering a certain dark alleyway near a brothel, and her eyes were upon the place, in darkened corners.
She waited and watched to see if anyone would notice, and decided that her positioning was perfect for the job. She glanced at her guest, and couldn't help but smile. He was a charming fellow, a bit too young for her taste, but he exuded the kind of arrogance that was backed with power.
And Nico Robin was fond of men with power. They were intriguing, and their mere presence means protection.
He stirred in his sleep, and suddenly sat up, startling her, but she needed to focus on the job at hand.
"I see you've awoken" she said, giving him a smile.
"I'm sorry" he said, rubbing the back of his neck. He looked at his surroundings, finally noticing, a deep red blush appearing on his cheeks.
She couldn't help but chuckle "I figured that the floor of the bookstore would not be comfortable, and since I didn't know where you were lodged, I took liberties of having you brought here to my room."
"I'm sorry for the trouble" he said, standing up, and refusing to look at her. It was too much already that he had fallen asleep so suddenly, only to be escorted by a lady. "I really should be off now."
She nodded at the door, "Don't worry, it was no trouble."
He was about to walk out, when he turned to face her again "And what was your name again?" He asked, with a sly smile.
She noted that his confidence was back, quite a charming man indeed. "I haven't mentioned my name yet, Captain." She said, offering back a similarly sly smile.
"Well since I've already been in your bed" he leaned on the door, intending to be stubborn if need be "I believe I deserve to know my kind lady's name."
She laughed at him, and was about to answer, when she saw her target.
Her face grew serious and distant, and he came upon her with concern.
"Are you alright?" He asked.
She raised her hand up at him, shushing him. He wanted to kiss her fingers, they were so long and elegant.
The eyes she had on the brothel indicated that he, or by the looks of it currently a she, was in the brothel, but not for the usual intended purpose. She wanted to laugh at the antics produced by the okama, by twirling around and around, having mistaken the place, yet again, for a hotel, but she had to keep her concentration. A bit less focus and she would lose her eyes and the newly sprouted ears. She could hear the okama named Bon Clay demand for Octopus coffee, and she couldn't help but smile at the thought of what would happen if Sir Crocodile meets the vivacious Bon Kurei.
Well, they do need his devil fruit ability.
"Hey" Ace repeated, a bit worried now at how spaced out she looked. He wondered if she was right in the head. He reached out for her hand, and held it gently, feeling the smooth skin.
That brought her back. With a shocked expression, she looked at him. The sudden touch, warm and inviting, had rattled her, prompting the disappearance of her spying eyes and ears from the brothel.
"Oh no" She muttered under her breath.
"Are you alright?" he repeated, voice laced with concern.
She looked up at him, had half the mind to hit him, then realized that he held her hand. And that he was worried about her. She flashed him a smile, composing herself. "Of course, I apologize about spacing out."
She stood up, letting go of his hand, much to his disappointment, and walked to the door.
"If you don't mind, I am tired" She said quickly, opening it for him "It might be best if we part ways now, Captain."
The look of worry never escaped his face. "You sure you're alright-?" His voice trailed off, realizing he still hadn't known her name. He looked down at his feet, massaging the back of his neck.
He looked up and met her eyes, a glimmer of amusement in them "You can call me Miss All-Sunday."
Robin watched him from the window as he ran to the harbor. She was quite amused by his childish attitude, and she couldn't help but chuckle to herself. He seemed like a nice young man.
She sighed, remembering that she was there because of contractual obligations. She closed her eyes again, and readied to spy on her target. He was still twirling around in all his enthusiasm, and enters a cafe, screeching for Octopus coffee. It was the perfect opportunity. Donning her hat again, Miss All-Sunday was ready for work.
As soon as he was sure he was out of sight from the hotel, Ace ran. He was exhilarated, and would've broken into a speedy jog as soon as he felt the cold air, but he dared not to in case she looked out the window. He wasn't going to lose his composure to such a lady as Miss All-Sunday.
It was a really unique name.
He stopped running upon reaching the gang plank of their ship.
(Italicize) Miss All-Sunday.
He scratched the back of his head. "Damn it" he muttered to himself, realizing that the name was most likely fake, frowning deeply. But the frown didn't last long, it just meant that he would have to find her again, and that was something he looked forward too.
"Come on captain, cheer up!" Jory, their navigator, giving him a slight push on his shoulder. Ace was leaning his upper body on the railing of their ship, the side still facing the island, his lower body slumped on the deck. The days in that small island flew by fast, and he had spent them trying to find her again to no avail. And now they were leaving, and all he had from her was a fake name.
"Miss All-Sunday" he whined to himself. He really wanted to get her real name.
He watched as the island disappeared in the horizon, nothing more than tiny speck. With a sigh, he straightened up and faced his crew, his usually cheeky grin on his face.
"All right men!" he shouted, pumping his fist up in the air "Let's find the One Piece!"
And his nakama cheered.
The Grand Line is notorious for its temperamental weather patterns. It boasts of such extreme fluctuations of being scorching hot to being freezing cold. There is no constant in the grand line, except for the constant changes. So when a storm suddenly hit their ship, the Spades were ready for it.
It didn't last for too long, such as the whim of the Grand Line, and they soon found themselves back in calmer waters. However, most of their crew still opted to stay inside, to relish the dryness from a hard storm.
"Captain!" their lookout shouted "Captain there seems to be a giant turtle!"
"Turtle means meat" the cook said, pulling out his cleaver "We should catch it and make soup!"
The men looked eagerly at their captain, who they all knew would be up to it. And they were right. For their captain wasn't seated in his seat anymore, he had already run out to try and catch the turtle himself.
"It's huge!" Ace said, eyes wide, looking at the turtle as it idly swam by.
"Look captain" the cook said, looking through a pair of binoculars "There seems to be something on its back."
And indeed there was. It looked like a canopy.
"Quick, try to get us near it." Ace said, looking harder. He could see the canopy, and cushions, but nothing else. It might just be a turtle floating in the ocean who happened to get snagged on some fallen debris. Either way, it was meat. Just thinking about grilled turtle meat has Ace's mouth watering.
However, when they were near enough, they could see an occupant.
"Oh, hello" the lady calling herself Miss All-Sunday said, a book in her lap, and a cup of coffee beside her. She was riding the turtle, who wore a matching hat. The turtle looked at their ship lazily, chewing on its cigar.
Ace smirked jumping down on the turtle's back "Hello, Miss All-Sunday."
"Captain!" Jory called, but Ace just gave him a dismissive wave.
"Fancy seeing you here" Ace said, sitting down in front of her.
"I should say the same to you ."
"We wanted to eat your turtle." He added, patting the hard shell.
"I don't think Banchi would like that" she said, chuckling silently.
He watched her movements, her blue eyes shaded by her hat. "So the turtle's name is Banchi."
She nodded "He's from work."
He wanted to ask her where she worked, for it was odd for anyone to be riding on the back of a giant turtle, but he had more pressing matters "So what is your name, Miss All-Sunday?"
She leaned her cheek in her hand, staring pointedly at him "I already told you, Fire fist-san."
"Ace." He said, "Call me Ace."
"And you can still call me Miss All-Sunday." She said with a bright smile.
Ace smirked back "We can play this all day, or I can just tell my men we would have turtle soup tonight."
"Oh" she said, her small lips forming the O shape in such a cute manner that it made him blush. "Would a gentleman as yourself would really stoop as low as that?"
How could a woman so refined and elegant looking still exude some form of cuteness? His ears were feeling warmth, and it wasn't because of the sun.
"Not normally" he said, scratching the tip of his nose "but just a name wouldn't hurt."
The urgency in his nakama's voice made Ace turn around. They were shouting and pointing at something at the horizon. Both Ace and Robin looked, at what they were hysterical about. It was a sea king, and it was charging at them at full speed.
The turtle Banchi, sensing the sudden danger, started flailing.
"Calm down Banchi" She said, rubbing it's shell.
"Hold on!" Ace shouted, standing in front of her. The sea king came upon them, emerging from the waters, ready to devour the poor turtle. Miss All-Sunday was trying her best to keep the turtle calm so the two fruit users don't get tossed off.
Ace's fist caught on fire, and with one might punch, sent a column of fire at the sea king "Hiken!"
The sea king, though partly submerged in water, burned, and fell back dead, it's carcass floating. He could hear his crew cheering, probably because of the meat. The smell of burnt sea king meat was still enough to make him hungry. Then he realized they weren't cheering at all, and a certain Miss All-Sunday had fallen off the turtle.
Without really thinking, for if he was he'd remember he was a hammer, he dived after her.
Robin sat besides the drying body of the impulsive young man who dove in to save her. He was laying with his back flat on the floor, his limbs splayed out like a star. His first mate and navigator, who's names she was unable to get, had dove in after the two of them.
They were both hammers, yet he dove in to save her.
The rest of his crew were busy harvesting the sea king meat, enjoying the fact that their food rations have tripled.
"Thank you" she said, looking down at him.
He smiled his crooked smile up at her "Your welcome." He closed his eyes, still panting quite heavily.
She looked at the sky, realizing that she had been delayed far too long already. Crocodile would surely chastise her for it. Then again, it might be entertaining to see him fuming again.
"Robin" she said, softly "My name is Robin. But it should be a secret between us."
From the corner of her eye, she saw his smile widen.
Ace woke up to the stars. He wasn't sure how long he had slept, but a blanket had draped over his body. The turtle named Banchi and the woman named Robin was long gone, but at least now he had her name.
He stood up and stretched his arms up in to the sky. Now, he needed to find food. And maybe when he was Pirate King, he would go and find her too.
End part 1.
Author's Note: I haven't forgotten my other stories, please don't think that. Unfortunately, I've been working on this one far longer that those two unfinished ones. It all started with my other fic A Proposal and it ultimately grew into this. I had recently watched the Whitebeard war arc, something I just read in the manga, and that's what sparked me to start posting these. I hope you readers don't mind, but I have devised an effective posting/writing schedule so I can accommodate all three fics, plus real life. On the upside, A surprising turn of events i almost at its conclusion.
Thank you for reading, and reviews if you may~~