AN/ If the summary didn't clue you in to what this fic will be like, it's a modern day/our world AU in which Robin is an ex-assassin who ends up, through different circumstances, adopting the younger strawhat pirates. (Everyone who's not Franky and Brook, who will still feature heavily in this story.) So think family feels, fluff, and the tiniest bit of angst and plot.
The only warnings I can think of is that it's going to deal with child abuse in very little ways - nothing worse than what's in canon, say. Also will eventually have some Franky/Robin, but only in small doses. If you don't like the pairing you can just ignore it.
It's on a warm, humid Thursday that Robin Nico's life is changed forever. She's getting ready to go to the local library to file books, her third job in sixth months, when she hears a knock at her apartment door.
She opens it to see a familiar face, one that makes her grow weary, as most reminders of her past do. "Hello," says Garp, smiling. He looks older than one would expect, given the relatively short amount of time it's been since she's last seen him. His hair has grayed, and his smile, while still bright, is causing more lines on his face.
"Hello," she returns, while noting the small child, perhaps eight years of age, who's swinging his arm off the edge of Garp's jacket. He's wide-eyed and slack-jawed, with the appearance of one whose mind is far away - not uncommon for a child his age, but somehow endearing. To top it all off, a ratty straw hat adorns his head.
"Luffy," he says, addressing the boy, "why don't you go run around outside?"
The boy nods, strangely eager for having been given such a simple request, and shouts, "Sim!" before bounding down the black steps that wind up to Robin's abode.
"Brazilian? But I'd presumed he was yours?" Robin says, only ghosting the question mark at the end of her sentence.
"Bwahaha!" Garp laughs, deeply in his belly. "Sharp as ever, eh, Miss Nico! My grandson, that he is! And half-Brazilian, on his mother's side. Now, why don't you fix me some tea and explain how you knew that."
Robin walks to her kitchen, smiling to herself a little - some people never change. She even starts laughing when she hears him shout, "Oh yeah, and donuts, too! You keep them in stock at all times like any sane person, right?"
Sadly, he is bereft of his pastries, though she grabs him some crackers with to go with his tea, placating him. He's set himself down in her sitting room, and she joins him, cups, tray, and kettle in tow. Robin sits across from him on the only other piece of furniture in the sparsely-decorated area. Then she explains at Garp's prompting that there is a clear resemblance between him and his grandson, and since they were together, and she knows Garp has children, it wasn't too hard of a logical conclusion to reach.
"Of course, I know from your facial structure and slight yet distinctive accent that you're Australian," she relays calmly, knowing full well he is easily impressed, "but his pronunciation of the Portuguese word for 'yes' leaned towards Brazilian."
"I'm always impressed by your freaky spy skills!" Garp says enthusiastically, sipping at his tea. Robin hardly blinks, long since grown accustomed to his lack of tact. "Yeah, he speaks what he picked up before his mother left - but let's talk about you." He leans forward. "How old are you now, young lady?"
"Twenty-five." He asks every time they see one another - Robin suspects he can't do arithmetic.
"Yes of course, you would be!" Garp seems to find this amusing, and gives another laugh. Robin smiles politely. "You're surprisingly easy to track down, for someone with your past," he says, still in good humor. "Why didn't you change your name?"
Her smile turns frosty. "It's all I have left of my home."
Garp nods, sobering. "Yes, that would be true. You haven't had any trouble, hm?"
"You see, just as I said. You remember, I said, 'Robin girl, you just lie low and change your ways and I promise I'll keep you safe and sound,' and didn't I?"
"Yes," she replies. Robin wants to express verbally her gratitude, but also knows never to show weakness or vulnerability. She straightens her posture to less of a defensive position and does her best to look as though she would never have asked for nor needed his help.
To be honest, Robin is sure she wouldn't have needed help, not in the strictest sense of the word. But if it weren't for the man before her, she'd still be a mercenary for hire, fearing for her safety day by day, living a life akin to a dog's.
"So I came up with an idea," he continues. "I thought to myself, 'What does this girl need, now she's had some time to settle into her new life? Structure, that's what, and responsibility. Companionship.' And I also figured since I can provide those things for you, we could do each other a favor."
"You want me to look after your grandson," Robin fills in, feeling numb. She knows nothing more about how to take care of children than what she's read in a book. She's only equipped to watch out for herself, and to have a life dependent on her, no matter how small, would be a task she doesn't know if she can take up.
"Took the words right out of my mouth, though I'd add you'll be adopting him!" Garp laughs, clapping. "Why don't I go fetch the little bugger, let you have some time to process my generous offer."
Garp exits Robin's tiny sitting room, as she continues to stare at the wall opposite her. She doesn't have a stable home - after fourteen years on the run, she can't bear to stay in one place for more than a few months. She's not a caring person, and she has so much blood on her hands - how could she use those appendages to comfort a child?
At the same time, she knows she really doesn't have an option. She owes Garp much more than she could ever possibly return, and if she were to refuse, she's not certain what would happen to her. Even so, she is overwhelmed - the idea of surrogate motherhood, or motherhood in general, is not a concept she has spent any more than a few spare seconds on.
Before these worries can become an outward crisis, Robin takes several deep breaths, and touches a hand to her neck in a gesture that she's found in the past to be reassuring.
"Sorry I was gone so long!" Garp shouts suddenly, and Robin startles, attempting to regain composure and scolding herself for not being aware of her surroundings. "The little brat had got his head stuck in a sewage grate."
"Shishishi!" Luffy giggles. "Sure was dark down there! But there weren't any crocodiles! Ace said there were crocodiles in sewers!"
Robin finds herself charmed by the child and his bubbly excitement. "I've been told they only come out at night," she returns playfully.
"Incrível!" His eyes widen even farther as he most likely imagines the possibilities. "I'll go out searching tonight!"
"Perhaps." Yes, he's going to be staying here...
"Good to see you're getting along!" Garp says, standing up. "In that case, I'll be leaving now."
Robin has to stop herself from asking him to stay, to take the poor child with him. She doubts that even if she were to explain herself he would listen. "I'll back to get you to sign the papers tomorrow, Miss Nico! Behave for her, Luffy!"
"Whatever!" Luffy shouts back, already getting up to wander around.
Robin looks down at her hands. She hasn't even been introduced to the kid. God how is she going to -
"Oi, oi, Lady!" she hears. She looks up to see the boy grinning at her. "What're you called?"
"I'm Robin Nico; what's your name?" she asks, for the sake of politeness.
He smiles hugely. "Luffy D. Monkey, nice to meet cha!"
Then he walks away, muttering to himself about meat, and if she catches it right, how crocodile would taste.
The boy - Luffy - is always smiling, she's already noticed. When she was a child, even before the events that happened when she was eight, she rarely performed the action. In fact, she only ever smiled for the archeologists, Saul, and her mother. That is, of course, a part or her nature - even today, she typically smiles in order to invoke a reaction from those around her, or because she finds most things amusing as a coping mechanism.
Luffy's smiles are genuine, and even if that is his nature, he does not seem to have cause for them to be so. His father clearly is unable or does not want to have custody of him, Garp had said his mother had "left," and his grandfather has just left him alone with a strange woman for who knows what reason. But he smiles, as carefree as if he were the favorite child of a happy, rich family.
Robin does not understand those with that sort of strength. She may have tried to imitate Saul, but adversity has only made her hard and cruel. But this child in her care, he is neither of those things, despite the way he seems to have been treated as discarded baggage. He's not ruined yet. And Robin intends to keep him that way.
"Um, Miss Nicky?" came a voice from the kitchen. "Why's there no meat?"
Walking into the other room, she beholds the sight of the dark-haired boy and all of her food strewn across the floor, presumably after a ransacking in his quest for flesh. Well, may as well have some fun...
"I'm a vegetarian. No meat is allowed under my roof."
One would think she'd killed Santa Claus.
"No meat!?" he says, the very idea inconceivable to him.
She laughs a little, and he growls at her. Clearly this is serious business. "No, I just remembered I quit last week. How about we run to the market to buy some?"
His face brightens, and he runs over to her, grabbing her hand to pull her towards the door. Seems she's been forgiven. "Yes! Carne, carne, carne!"
As she rushes down the stairs to her apartment to keep up with her charge, just barely having been able to lock her front door, she wonders what she's getting into. She doesn't know what her future will hold, or if she'll be able to do right by this boy. But she knows one thing: this is a second chance for her. A chance to change the world for the better, and make herself anew.
"Take me to the meat!" Luffy demands cheekily.
"Yes sir," Robin says, somehow happier than she's been in ages, thought that may just be the adrenaline.
"And then after I eat, we can go look for crocodiles, right?" He looks hopeful, so...
AN/ It may take me a while but I promise to finish this fic. I already have the entire thing planned out - it's going to have 10 chapter including a prologue and epilogue. All titles from "I'll Move Mountains" by Roo Panes.
I've made up a fictional city that Robin's living in, which I'll elaborate on later. Also, I aged Robin up a little, just so it'll be more conceivable to take care of these kids.
In this verse, while Garp IS trying to pawn Luffy off on someone, he does genuinely think he's helping Robin out and he and Robin have a history I'll be going into later. But that's why his approach to dropping him off is like this.
Every Strawhat has been given a nationality by Oda in an SBS question, so I'm using those. Luffy only knows like twelve Portuguese words, and the only reason he even remembers them is because there's certain things (like the word for meat) that he says all the time.