One Piece: LuRo OneShot
A/N: This idea wouldn't leave me alone so I was forced to write it down to get it out of my brain. Contains a smarter and rather OOC Luffy.
East Blue, Baratie Restaurant
Straw Hat Luffy pushed open the broad wooden doors of the Baratie and strolled into the restaurant with his three crew members flanking behind him. While Nami selected a table for the four of them to sit at the pirate captain inwardly congratulated himself on keeping everything pretty much the same as it had gone the first time around.
'Gosh. It's been years since I've seen this place...It's exactly as I remember.' he thought.
He suppressed a large grin as Sanji made his first appearance and immediately started fawning over Nami's beauty in the same manner that he always had. It all served to remind him of just why he had changed events so very little since returning to the past. Any big changes could ripple out in some unexpected way and somehow prevent one of his crew, his nakama, from joining up with him. Even a 1% chance of that happening was unacceptable to him. He'd wait until they at least got to Drum island and had Chopper safely in tow before shaking up the world.
Honestly he should receive an award for his restraint, or at least a hulkingly large slab of meat. He'd grown so used to pouring Haki into every move he made while in the New World that it had become second nature, it was practically akin to muscle memory at this point. Crushing Morgan, Buggy, and Kuro while having to constantly keep himself in check was troublesome work. He was so far above them that he bordered on considering them civilians. One little mental slip, one attack that didn't hold back quite enough, and he could have accidentally killed them without meaning to. If he did that then the awkward questions would begin. He wanted to at least avoid those until he got the crew into Paradise.
Luffy scanned the room and watched all the happy couples and various groups dining contently while he waited for that Don Krieg guy to show up. King of East Blue my ass.
'No... wait… it was his first mate that showed up before all that. What was his name again? Pin? Gin? I think that's right.' he remembered as he watched a middle aged couple clink their glasses of wine together.
'And didn't I get roped up into working here for three days first? Paying back Sanji's boss for breaking his roof or something? It certainly sounds like something the younger me would have-' His thoughts ended abruptly and his breath hitched as he saw her.
Sitting alone at a corner table near the back of the restaurant in her iconic purple cowgirl ensemble whilst sipping from a cup of coffee was Nico Robin.
Luffy's palms started to sweat and his heart started beating quicker. Why? Why was she here? It's too early. Did he cause this somehow? Was she always here and he never noticed?
Her eyes briefly wandered from the slice of cake in front of her to that of Luffy and his party. A slight smile played on her lips, one he recognized as her making an internal decision, before she returned her gaze to the dessert in front of her.
The look she had given had lasted only for a moment, gone as quick as it came, but in that instant it was enough for his resolve to crumble. He swore to himself he wouldn't change the past too much before he was ready but none of that seemed important with her sitting only 50 feet away.
Luffy stood up, causing looks of confusion from his three crew mates. "Excuse me for a minute guys. I think I see someone I know. Usopp order me something that looks good."
Robin smirked in amusement at the blonde waiters antics towards the feisty red haired woman that was traveling with the straw hat boy before returning to her small meal. She was on the last leg of her assigned recruitment drive for Baroque Works and preparing to return to Alabasta when news reached her ear of a young man with a Devil Fruit who took down Buggy the Clown without a single injury. A young man who's description matched that of the person lauded for tearing down the corrupt Marine Captain Morgan just a few days prior.
More on a whim than anything concrete she decided to linger a little longer in East Blue just to see if anymore noteworthy news popped up about him. Perhaps she could even offer him a Numbers position if she ran into him. A solid recruit like that just may keep Crocodile off her back for a while once she returned to the desert kingdom.
Now that she actually had seen him, an encounter which was entirely coincidental, she decided to abandon the idea. Based on the way his three companions walked in with him, not to mention the caravel they had anchored outside, it was clear that the young man had his eye set on becoming an up and coming Pirate Captain. It was more than evident he would refuse the Numbers offer if she gave it.
"Pardon me. Do you mind if I join you?" a friendly chipper voice said next to her.
She turned her head upwards to see the very subject of her thoughts standing before her. "By all means." she replied gesturing to the empty chair in front of her.
"So. What do you think?" he asked as he sat down and pulled his chair in.
"About what?" she asked with an amused smile.
"My crew obviously. I saw you looking." he said, still maintaining that overly cheerful tone.
Robin glanced back over to the other table and watched as the red head smacked the one with the long nose upside the head over something stupid he had said. "They're certainly a lively bunch fufufu." she answered with a small laugh.
"Yeah." Luffy agreed. "They're the best...so what's a leading agent of Baroque Works doing all the way out here?" he asked changing the subject.
Robin smiled disarmingly while her mind suddenly kicked itself from relaxed into overdrive looking for a way to explain how this boy knew who she worked for. "I can't say I know what you mean Straw Hat-san." she said as innocently as she could.
"Now now. There's no reason to play it like that. I know who you are Nico Robin." There it was. He said the words. The figurative bomb was dropped. No going back now.
The congenial atmosphere evaporated instantly and Robin's expression shifted into a guarded one with a spark of true hatred reaching her eyes. "How do you know that name?" she demanded coldly.
Luffy sighed sadly at seeing her this way and folded his hands together on the table in front of him. "Before I can answer that question Robin I need to ask you one of my own. What do you know about Devil Fruit? And I don't mean about my Fruit or your Fruit or about any of the Fruit users in Baroque Works. I'm asking strictly about Devil Fruit themselves in the broadest of terms."
Robin seemed reluctant to answer anything to this man whom she now thought of as a threat but did so anyway because she didn't see any other good options. "Their exact origin is unknown." she started. "Records of Devil Fruit being rampant throughout the Grand Line and bleeding into the surrounding four oceans starting popping up roughly 800 years ago right after the conclusion of the Void Century. The three types of Devil Fruit in order of their rarity are Zoan, Paramecia, and Logia. Supposedly there are two exceptionally rare sub-types called Ancient Zoan and Mythical Zoan but I've never seen proof of their existence. Regardless of which type of Fruit a person consumes they will lose the ability to swim and-"
"What about Awakened Devil Fruits?" Luffy interjected.
Robin leaned back in her chair and huffed at the interruption. "I'm not familiar with the term." she responded curtly.
Luffy inwardly apologized for cutting her off but recognized it would have been awkward if he voiced it. "That...doesn't really surprise me. Incidents involving Awakened Devil Fruit are heavily suppressed by the Navy and World Government. Combined with the fact that they're so rare in the first place means information about them is...well calling it scarce is probably generous."
Curiosity momentarily overpowered ire and Robin inadvertently found herself pulled back in. "What are they?"
"The dormant second stage that all Devil Fruit possess. It's when the powers of the Fruit evolve from simple unexplainable magic to reality warping impossibilities. There are only two ways for someone to get their fruit to evolve. The first is a complete subjugation of the Fruit, to master every single aspect of every imaginable way the Fruit can be used. The only person in the world who I know has done this is the Royal Shichibukai, Doflamingo."
Robin leaned in with her chin resting on her hand as he spoke, fascinated by the new knowledge even as a voice in the back of her head insisted that there was no way a nobody pirate just starting his journey in East Blue could possibly know this. "And the second?" she found herself asking.
The young mans expression darkened considerably and he seemed to sink deep into his own thoughts. "Trauma. The second way is to experience so much pain and agonizing loss all at once that your mind nearly snaps. For many it actually does. Impel Down employs four Awakened Zoan users as guards whose minds never recovered and are barely better than wild beasts now."
Robin found herself staring at the raw pain written over the boy's feature's and noticed that his hands had clenched painfully tight. "How do you know all this?" she asked, knowing she had to pose the question eventually.
"Because that's how I Awakened mine." he said as tears sprang up in his eyes. "They all died. My crew. My family. The woman I was going to spend my life with. All gone in the course of a single day."
"But...but you're so young." Robin objected to what sounded impossible. How could all this happen to a young man who barely looked 18? Maybe even 17.
Luffy shook his head in the negative as he wiped his tears away with his palm. "I ate the Gomu Gomu no Mi. The power to stretch and contract. When I was in that darkest place and my Fruit Awakened I latched onto something, anything that I could, and...well I'm not exactly sure what I did. Did I stretch myself across time? Contract it and slingshot myself backwards? I don't know. But one moment I was in the New World and the next I was waking up from the nightmare back in East Blue in the body of my 14 year old self."
"You time traveled?" Robin whispered disbelievingly as she exhaled a breath she hadn't realized she'd been holding.
"Yes." Luffy answered solemnly. "For three long years I wanted to sail out to sea and see my family again. Some days the temptation was unbearable. The younger more headstrong me would have been gone within a week. But I waited because my queen drilled into me to always think my actions through. To always have a plan. I knew that If I left early, changed things too much, that it could effect things in ways I couldn't predict."
"W-why are you telling me all this?" Robin asked barely audible.
"Because you're the first thing I'm going to change since coming back. The instant I saw you from across the room I knew I'd be telling you Robin. I've never been able to keep things from you."
"We knew each other?" she asked already knowing the answer from the way he had spoken.
Luffy sniffed away the last of his tears and let loose a wet happy laugh. "Yeah. We knew each other. I know more about you than I do anyone else in the world. I know about Ohara, Professor. Clover, the Buster Call, and your dream to read the true history. I know you wear that cowboy hat because it reminds you of Saul, and I know your life has been one hell after another since that day..."
Robin sat pale and stone faced as she listened to the young man with the straw hat describe her life in intimate detail.
"...I know that your currently working under the alias Ms. All-Sunday to help overthrow a kingdom and that you're loathing every day of it. I know that all your life people have been letting you down. Betraying you. Selling you out. Destroying your belief in the goodness of people one piece at a time..."
Her lip began to quiver as the wall she had kept her emotions behind for years began to crumble.
And still Luffy continued.
"...I know that your two favorite things to go with a good book are a cup of coffee and a big slice of lemon cake. I know that you're ticklish on the backside of your knees and I know that you have a birth mark on your left thigh that annoys you. I know that you hope to have a daughter one day who you can teach to read the ancient language and I know that sometimes you dream about reading her bedtime stories."
By now the tears were flowing freely down her face and one hand covered her mouth to keep her sobs somewhat controlled.
"I know all of that...and I know you're thinking frantically right now to try and explain a way for me to know all this without what I said being the truth...But I'm asking you...just one last time...to take a leap of faith in someone else...and believe in me."
Luffy laid one hand outstretched on the table and stared directly into her eyes with the most hopeful expression he could muster.
"You're the love of my life Robin. So what do you say...you want to join my crew?"
Robin sputtered a small laugh through the happy tears and laid her own hand down into his.
"I'd like that."
A/N 2: I'm not opposed to continuing this some day but I have no plans to do so at this time. I have another story to finish first.