Summary: Merely existing isn't a crime, but two people are made to believe that. One fought the legacy he was given, while the other is struggling to uphold the one she lost. This is the unlikely story of these two people as they find love and each other in the Grand Line.
Disclaimer: I do not own One Piece.
Pairings: Ace X Robin
Warning: This a Romance story so it might get sappy. Unintended OOC-ness and grammar errors. Also, there might be some SPOILERS especially in the longer Author's note at the bottom, so please refrain from reading that far if you've just started on One Piece. Also, if you're reading on mobile or something like that, Italics don't appear.
EDIT: There were so many glaring errors that I went back and fixed them.
Chapter 2: Warlord's Offer
Word travels fast, and the news of the Super Rookie Fire Fist Ace reached the heads of the government and marines in such amazing speed that the name Portgas D. Ace spread like wildfire. It even reached people who are powerful enough to grant him the status of a Warlord.
For they were afraid of his capabilities.
"He's a boy!" Gecko Moria said, slamming his hands on the table. The mandatory Shichibukai meeting was held in regards to having an invitation sent to Portgas D. Ace. It wasn't to ask for permission from the current six Warlords, but rather to inform them that it was going to happen. However, much to the chagrin of Fleet Admiral Sengoku, only four of them arrived, and one of them was not one to speak in such meetings, just sat there with his giant sword.
"We have been missing that seventh seat for some time now" Jinbe said, "But would it be really wise to offer it to such an inexperienced boy?"
Crocodile, who had been listening intently, looked through the files for Portgas D. Ace, reading it thoroughly.
"He is currently near Alabasta." he said loudly, surprising Sengoku "I can personally extend him the invitation to become a Warlord."
Sengoku eyed the man, who, although a Warlord, was also quite a crafty businessman. He knew of the casino that Crocodile owned in Alabasta, in fact the government had allowed the said establishment to be built, having helped in persuading King Cobra. So far, Crocodile has proven to be loyal to his status, albeit as stubborn as the rest of them.
"Very well." Sengoku said, determined to finally finish the meeting. He left the room quickly, missing the smirk that graced Crocodile's scarred features.
"Captain!" Jory called out, running around the Spade's ship, looking for their narcoleptic leader. He finally found him, sitting on the kitchen floor, sleeping soundly. "Captain" He called out, nudging his knee with his foot.
Ace woke up from his sleep, scratching the top of his head, his hat having fallen to his lap. He looked up at his navigator, yawning loudly. "What is it?" He was a bit irritated, for he needed more sleep these past few days. It wasn't just his narcolepsy or his devil fruit requiring the rest, but somehow, he's gotten nothing but restless sleep ever since that day.
His mind, plagued with her face, her smile, her name. It was difficult when all he wanted was to be with her, and at the same time, conquer the seas. He had a goal, and even if she was already on his list of things to accomplish, he can't set aside his lifelong dream just yet. All those nights spent in dreams of her, and sometimes spent awake regretting the fact that he never asked her to join his crew.
"Uhm" Jory said, noticing that their captain had deep dark circles under his eyes, and the usual smile had been fading ever so slightly from his boyish features. Without another word, he handed him a letter that came earlier. It read, in gold ink,:
Portgas D. Ace
Captain of the Spade Pirates
"What's this?" Ace asked, flipping the envelope over and over to see if there was a return address, but there was nothing else. He looked up at his navigator, who with a shrug said: "The mail bird brought it in, and then abruptly flew away."
Ace ripped open the enveloped and fished out a letter. His eyes quickly scanned over the page, and a smirk appeared on his lips, relieving Jory who had not seen that kind of mischief in his Captain's eyes for some odd days now.
Ace threw the paper at Jory, who caught it and read it, while the Captain laughed.
"Can you believe it, Jory?" Ace said, standing up and stretching his arms up in the air "They want me to become a Warlord!"
"Here you go Banchi" Robin said, feeding the giant turtle some cabbages. They were in the Rain Diners, in a separate aquarium from the ferocious Bananwanis, vastly different from the underwater aquarium for this one was open to the sky. It one of the luxuries her employer had spared for her pet. Then again, he did own Banchi, so it would be understandable that he didn't want the turtle to be eaten.
The enclosure seemed more like a Zoo type of enclosure, with a little alcove where she can sit and feed her favorite method of transportation.
The turtle, who didn't have his signature cowboy hat or cigar, for the time being, looked up at her lazily as she fed him another half a head of cabbage. She had been working with him for a year now, and had grown quite fond of the large animal.
After feeding him, Robin scrubbed his shell clean, which went quicker because of her handy ability. The turtle liked being scrubbed, and so she paid extra attention to the little crevices and indentations. Banchi would close his eyes when she did, and his leathery mouth would form something akin to a smile. While her phantom hands work, he would lean his head on her lap, and nuzzle her.
She had always wanted a pet, and although a giant chain smoking turtle like Banchi was far from what would be considered conventionally cute, he was still a wonderful pet. Besides, cute and fluffy things wouldn't match her always on the run personality.
Finally done cleaning him, her phantom limbs disappeared, while she hosed him off to rinse him. She cleared up her cleaning supplies, while the turtle leisurely swam around his enclosure.
"I really wished you'd stop smoking, Banchi" She said, as the animal nudged at the metal box that housed his cigars.
The bad habit that he had acquired from his real owner. But she still relented, giving him a fat cigar that smelled so much like their employer. She used to like that smell, but now it was more of a nuisance.
The turtle eagerly chomped down on the cigar, while she lit it, smoke floating upwards to the open sky of Alabasta. She sat there, leaning back on some rock structures, watching the smoke float up, wondering to herself where a certain Captain with the Mera Mera no Mi had wondered off to, his distinct freckles and infectious smile embedded in her mind.
Her reverie was broken when to the door to the enclosure slammed open. In strode the Shichibukai Crocodile, without his coat, and the sleeves of his immaculately white shirt rolled up to his elbows.
"Miss All-Sunday" he drawled, his cigar between his teeth. He walked up to her, while she didn't bother to stand.
Robin couldn't help but see the similarity of the man and the turtle, but had long since learned that a misplaced smile around the hooked man would mean some form of painful punishment. So, like always, she kept the amusement to herself and instead plastered on a polite smile. "Yes, Mr. 0?"
The tall man looked down at her, with apt irritation, then at Banchi who was happily enjoying his cigar.
"When is the okama coming?" He asked.
"Bon Clay" She said with emphasis "Is coming in three days."
"Good" He said, with that smirk that emphasized the scar on his face. He crouched so they were in eye level, and she could see the darkness in his eyes. He reached his hook out to her cheek, caressing it slightly, while she kept on a straight facade, having been used to the coldness of the metal. With his hand, he took the cigar from his mouth, throwing the snub into the water.
Normally, she would protest at how dirty he was making the pool for Banchi, but his hook was currently too near for her to be cheeky.
He leaned in close, that smirk still there. He could have been so handsome, if he wasn't such a psychopath. He was so near now, that she can smell the mustiness of the cigar that lingered on his breath. She kept on a straight face, refusing to give him the satisfaction of knowing how uncomfortable she was.
"I have another thing I want you to do" He said in a husky whisper, the tip of his nose brushing up against hers. He closed his eyes and inhaled deeply, then pulled back.
"Come to my office" he said, before leaving her.
She waited for the door to close, before letting herself sink lower, her breathing unsteady. She gathered her knees, leaning her forehead on them. Banchi, who always seem to know when she was distressed, nudged her shoulder gently. She would never let him see her like this, the fact that she was afraid of him, even terrified sometimes.
He will never have that satisfaction.
"I'm fine" she said, hugging his head gently, while the turtle yawned in contentment.
The trip to Alabasta did not take as long Ace thought it would be. As soon as he received the letter, he had Jory redirect their ship to the desert kingdom, which was an easy transition from their original destination.
"It's so hot here!" some of the men complained, but it was all in face value, for all of them were quite okay in being there. It wasn't always when their young Captain was invited to be a Warlord. Though they already knew the answer.
"You could just ignore the letter" Jory said, fanning himself.
Ace was crouched on the rail, watching the harbor as they docked. He had on his hat, and his yellow shirt that remained open. He smirked at his navigator "I know, but it's more fun this way."
Satisfied with his answer, Jory left.
But Ace had other reasons to want to go to Alabasta. It was a tug, like a string, imploring him to go. It was like the tug that he had that implored him to venture in the Grey Terminal when he met Sabo, the same tug he had when he decided to go home just in time to meet Luffy. These little tugs, that would often be against logical reasons, have always proven to start a grand adventure.
After he read the letter, he was determined to go, even if he had already set his mind on refusing the offer.
He smiled to himself, maybe this would become the grandest adventure of all.
Miss All-Sunday eyed herself on her full length mirror. Today was another day, another day that she needed to survive. Mr. 0 was a fickle man and desired that those associated with him would keep up their appearances. Of course, the woman he claimed for himself as his partner, needed to be more than presentable.
"You must always be stunning, my dear" he had said, his elbows leaning on his desk as he eyed her "I think I'll call you, Miss All-Sunday." His smile had widened considerably, as she kept on a straight face, refusing to react to his verbal ministrations.
She sighed loudly, taking off the deep green dress she had on, stripping down to her matching purple underwear.
"This won't do" she muttered to herself, massaging her temple.
After she had regained her composure and locked in Banchi for the rest of the day, she went into Crocodile's office who informed her that he needed her to look pretty for their coming guest, a very important one according to him.
"Enough to make him know that money isn't the only thing our organization can offer him." He said, as he pulled open the curtains to his office "Make him want to be a part of it."
Who he was, she wasn't privileged enough to know. She could have queried further, and asked him even if he would refuse an answer, for her own amusement.
She did like to see him riled up.
The knock on the door, followed by an unceremonious opening of the oaken doors, didn't faze her.
"Mr. 0." She said, putting on her silk robe, tying it tightly around her thin waist. She was no virgin and has been in less than decent wear in front of men like him, but the looks he sometimes gave her even when she was clothed sent uncomfortable shivers down her spine.
He had that smirk on her face as he walked up to her, bringing up his hook on the tie of the her robe.
"You're being too modest, Miss All-Sunday." He said huskily, leaning in close to her ear. He gave her lobe a suggestive lick. An involuntary shudder from her made him smile wider, nipping at her ear.
"I have to get ready, Mr. 0." She said, pushing him away gently "Your guest would be here soon."
Cool, calm, distant.
She pulled away from him, but his hook was able to untie the knot, pulling the thin robe open.
He growled gently, eyeing her up and down "Nico Robin."
"You said you wouldn't call me by that name while I was your employee" She said, pulling away, but it only made him tug on the tie harder, revealing more of her half naked form.
He ignored her question, and pushed forward, wrapping his hand around her bare waist, his thumb rubbing her side gently. She kept her emotionless face, looking straight into his eyes, as he smirked smugly. She can't show him fear. She can't give him that satisfaction.
She never will.
He leaned in closer again, this time leaning in close to her lips. She could smell the cigar, but she wouldn't flinch. She refused to flinch. But she wanted to desperately push him away.
Before he could press his lips unto hers, there was a knock on the door, catching their attention. Mr. 0, who still had his hand around her waist, turned to glare at the intruder.
The man, who seemed to work for the casino, or maybe a Millions member, or maybe even both, Robin couldn't be sure, blushed hard and stammered at seeing them in such a compromising position. Especially since their boss seemed mad, while the woman known as Miss All-Sunday seemed bored.
"Ah" the man stammered "Someone's here to see you, Sir Crocodile."
A casino employee? Probably. Or a Millions member who was made to think they were infiltrating the casino. How this man loved to play with his pawns, she thought to herself.
Crocodile scowled, pulling away from Robin. "Did you bring him to my office?"
The man nodded, apologizing profusely. However, Robin could sense that Crocodile's mood has shifted, from wanting her, to wanting to kill someone. Robin was just glad it wasn't directed at herself.
Crocodile, with the sweep of his cape, walked up to the man and grabbed him by his neck. The poor man barely had time to struggle, before all the moisture from his body disappeared. Crocodile dropped the husk of the former human with a satisfied chuckle, kicking it out the door.
Robin watched as the it slowly disintegrated into sand.
"Get ready, Miss All-Sunday." He said, walking off.
Robin felt sorry for the man, whoever he was. But she didn't have time to mourn or contemplate for an unknown victim, for he was nothing but sand now, and she needed to survive. She closed the doors and locked it, reminding herself to bar the doors tonight, just in case he decided to pay a visit.
She clutched the robe tightly around her form, she knew what to wear now.
Ace admired the office he was in. It was spacious, and had a great view of the outdoor area of the Rain Diners. A mirage in a never ending desert. He would have liked to bring his crew in with him, but the man that led him here was adamant that the Warlord only have an audience with him. At least they were enjoying themselves in the casino.
He sighed, stretching his arms up. He was seated on a high back chair, with his legs crossed on his seat, both feet off the floor. He had been waiting for several minutes now, and even if he wasn't as impatient as Luffy, he still wasn't as patient as Sabo. If the Warlord Crocodile doesn't appear soon, he might as well leave.
The doors finally opened, and he turned to see a tall man with slicked back hair, a large golden hook instead of a left hand, and a large, impressive scar spanning the width of his face. Ace wondered what man could have inflicted that scar, from what he heard, this Crocodile was a logia user.
"Portgas D. Ace" He said, as he sat on the chair behind the desk.
"Crocodile" Ace said, tipping his hat in mock respect.
Ace crossed his arms over his chest, leaning back on the chair, sizing up the Warlord, who seemed to be doing the same thing to him.
"Do you understand why you're here, boy?" Crocodile said, emphasizing on the word boy.
Ace smirked, knowing well that the man was trying to provoke him "Because the government feels threatened."
"The government wants to offer you the seventh positions of the Warlords."
"And make me a dog, just like you."
Crocodile's smirk faltered, ever so slightly. "There is some power in becoming a Warlord, boy." He gestured to the outside, to the palm trees and the outdoor ponds of the casino.
Ace laughed "Do I look like a businessman to you, Crocodile?" He slammed his feet on the floor, with his knuckles over his knees, leaning in close to the desk, the fires in his eyes flaring, even letting "I'm a pirate, not a dog. I should just take your head here to send a message to that damn government."
Crocodile laughed "You're too young to make threats boy!" He slammed his hook on the table, glinting with blood lust.
But Ace smirked, letting some flames engulf his shoulders and upper arms. He came ready for a fight, and he was not afraid to face a Warlord.
Crocodile laughed louder, throwing his head back in amusement. "You're brave, Portgas. It would be a shame to kill you now."
"Wanna try me old man?" He made a fist of flames, ready to strike "I only came here to extend my refusal, but I can kill you too just for the heck of it."
But Crocodile only smirked back at him. "You should know that there are other certain" He leaned back on his chair, bringing his hand and hook together "Benefits to becoming a Warlord."
He reached for a button on his desk, and in a few seconds, the door opened.
Ace extinguished his fire as he saw the woman who came in, his mouth slightly agape.
There, in all her beautiful glory, was the woman that had been in his thoughts, ever since that day she rode off on the back of her giant turtle. She wore a black corset dress that barely reached mid thigh, and black boots that accentuated her sculpted legs, and a long white coat. She looked at him, a second too longer, but did not show any form of recognition.
"My name is Robin" she said, softly "My name is Robin. But it should be a secret between us."
Ace, however, was not as subtle. He plastered on a huge grin, his eyes wide and amused. He started to speak, to call out to her, but Crocodile turned to her.
"Miss All-Sunday" he said, reaching out a hand to her "Why don't you make yourself a bit more comfortable? We have so much to show our guest."
Ace watched as she shrugged of her coat, letting it fall to the floor. Watched as Crocodile smirked at this action, leaning back on his leather chair, a hand on his chin. Watched as she walked to his desk, and as his hooked hand reached out to stroke her thigh as she leaned her hand on the desk and-
Crocodile's cigar burst into flame, shocking him and the woman called Miss All-Sunday. They both look at Ace, who was standing now, his fists aflame.
"Benefits?" he hissed. He sent another fireball, that met sand. Crocodile had stood up, and was ready to retaliate. But Ace was undeterred. He shot another one at Crocodile "You call her benefits?"
Crocodile was having a really amusing day. He laughed, sending more sand on Ace's way, which the younger man easily evaded, "You thought I meant Miss All-Sunday?"
Ace stopped, and stared at the woman, who he now noticed had a quizzical look on her face. He felt a bit embarrassed, although he remained in his fighting stance "Didn't you mean her?"
"I knew you were too green, boy" Crocodile said, getting another cigar from his desk. He lighted it up on the flames that had engulfed some papers on his desk, before extinguishing it with his own sand. "She's just here to show what you can get from becoming a Warlord. Though having such a pretty thing such as herself, does have its own perks." He licked his lips when he said it, making Ace clench his fist.
Miss All-Sunday, being reminded of her purpose, opened a drawer and took out a remote, with a click, the curtains were drawn and a screen and projector appeared. Ace couldn't help but feel embarrassed, his flames disappearing. There was a visible blush on his face, making his freckles more profound, while Miss All-Sunday had an amused smile on her lips.
"Seems like our guest is quite determined to uphold your honor" Crocodile said, sitting on his chair, and once again rubbing her thigh with his hook "What a kind boy, don't you think so?"
"Such a kind boy" she said, eliciting laughter from the Warlord. However, her eyes were locked unto Ace, and he saw sincerity in them. He scratched his nose, returning to his seat.
"If you're so disinterested in becoming a Warlord" Crocodile said, as several images appeared on the screen "Maybe I could interest you in becoming a part of my other venture?"
"Baroque Works." Miss All-Sunday said "A conglomerate of bounty hunters, determined to create an ideal nation."
End Part 2.
Next Chapter: Ace learns more about Baroque Works, and Miss All-Sunday.
Thank you for the faves, reads, follows and reviews! I'll try to update as regularly as I can, but I can't neglect my other fics, and of course, homework .
To aqua-empress Thank you! I'm trying to keep things as canonical plausible as much as I can, so yes she's still going to join the Strawhats :) I'm still considering Ace's death thing though, so that's still up in the air.
To suprememoonempress Thank you! It's so easy to crack ship them! Lol and I know what you mean, I ship Robin with practically everyone in OP world. We need a good Mihawk x Robin X Crocodile fic. They are both Shichibukais.
To lily thank you so much :) I hope you and your friends enjoy this chapter too!
To LadyDragon99 Thank you! You aren't the only one, there are a sparring few of us, but we do exist!You should check it youtube, if you haven't yet, there's this really nice AceRo amv that actually inspired me to make this. Plus a couple of AceRo cosplayers doing a couple's dance which is just so cute and sexy.
Anyway, Thank you all so much!