Like A Rolling Stone

A Post-Piracy Robin Side Story

By Aoikami Sarah

This story takes place within the context of a fanfiction saga I wrote including the story "The Pirate King Is Dead". The events of Enies Lobby ended differently in this story and the Straw Hat Pirates were forced to disband. This is what happened to Nico Robin after the tragedy of Enies Lobby.-aks

"How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?"

-Bob Dylan, 1965

Chapter One

Robin was beyond rage. Only guilt and sadness filled her heart now as the madman dragged her further and further toward Impell Down. So confident had he been that everything was going smoothly, Spandam dismissed his bodyguard, Rob Lucci to go find the remaining Straw Hat pirates and destroy them. When a hand tapped him on the shoulder, Spandam turned and rolled his eyes. "What is it, Lucci? I told you to…"

"Surprise, Spanda!" Franky shouted and punched him as hard as he could square in the face with a fist much larger than his head. The CP9 director was sent flying and landed against a stone wall making a sizable dent before sliding down to the floor, unconscious. "Heh. That's for Tom, you bastard," Franky growled.

Robin blinked up at him. "You…"

Franky produced a key and unlocked her cuffs. "Ok, you're free!" he declared.

Robin's blood ran hot and she closed her eyes and crossed her arms over her chest. Dozens of blue eyes popped open on the walls of the building above her. In a moment she found him, her captain, running down a hallway several floors above them. She had to tell him that he didn't need to fight anymore before more of them got hurt. She sprouted an arm from the wall where an eye had been and grasped Luffy's arm as he ran by. "It's over," she said to herself and gave him a good squeeze.

Behind Franky, a small man with a mustache inched his way around the cyborg's bulk and gawked at Robin. "Oh my! Please don't attack!" he cried and dashed forward.

Robin opened her eyes and looked down in time to see this man plant a rather large syringe in her thigh. She gasped but reacted too slowly. In a matter of moments the drugs did their job and she crumpled to the ground.

"Hey!" Franky yelled down at him. "Whadja do that for! I thought you wanted to save her!"

"I do," the man replied. He stared at Robin's form as if in shock. "I must. She's only sleeping. I'll take care of her." His eyes were wide but he seemed in control despite being terrified. "You should get out of here. I've called the Marines. They'll be here shortly."

Franky made a face. "Whatever." He shrugged, turned and high-tailed it out of there before it became impossible for him to escape as well.

The small man looked down on Robin and wiped his brow with a handkerchief. "Now," he said resolutely, composing himself. "I've got to hide you away until the dust settles. When you wake, it will be a wholly different world."

(The following is originally from chapters 1 and 15 of "The Pirate King Is Dead…")

.x.

A loud whistle sounded again as Smoker leapt off of the Marine ship and ran toward the crumbling remains of Enies Lobby.

"Smoker-junshou!" Tashigi cried, stumbling down behind him. "Please, wait for me!"

He ignored her and charged into the building. "What the hell is going on?!" he shouted, but none of the government men strewn around were conscious enough to answer him. Soon he was jumping over bodies of both friend and foe. There were two huge king bulls from Water Seven in rough shape blocking his way, but they proved to be no obstacle for his Akuma no Mi ability. He became pure smoke and flew up over their hulking forms. Landing on an upper level, Smoker gathered himself and continued his charge, looking for someone to tell him the status. Rounding a corner, the scene before him stopped him in his tracks.

Two admirals, the Blue and the Red, were in combat. The winner grimaced and turned to the small group of marines and government men in black suits that surrounded him. He shook his hand free of icicles and adjusted his eyeshade. "All those who love justice," Aokiji bellowed. "Follow me!"

"Wait!" Smoker shouted. "What the hell's going on, here, Aokiji?"

"Ah, Smoker-junshou," Aokiji said, relaxing a little. "Things are sort of on their head right now thanks to your little pirate friend."

"Friend?" he asked, making a face.

"Smoker… junshou!" Tashigi panted as she finally caught up to him. "Mugi… wara… is here!"

Aokiji shrugged. "He's caused a lot of chaos, but it's well timed." He looked up as if scrutinizing something only he could see. "The world government is an apple that's rotten from the core out. Only a handful of folks like you and I, Smoker, are left untainted by the worm of corruption." He cast his eyes cast back down at the defeated Admiral Akainu, frozen solid at his feet. "Will you two join us?"

The men around him looked upon the other Akuma no Mi user with anxiety. They clutched their weapons, waiting for his answer.

"Tashigi," he called to his subordinate who stood behind him. "When we were in Arabasta, what did you learn of justice?"

She grimaced. "That the law does not always follow its path." They both looked to Aokiji who smiled and lead them all toward the crumbling tower.

.x.

Robin came to consciousness slowly. Her head throbbed dully. The lights in the room were bright and glared on the white walls. She blinked to clear her vision and tried to comprehend why she felt so logy. Her eyes refused to focus. After a few minutes of dwelling on how frustrating this feeling was, her senses returned to her. The sound of a fan whirred in the corner to the left. There were no windows in the room, but it was filled with light from above. With some disappointment, she realized she wasn't dead. The last thing she could remember was being lead to her doom.

"Good morning," a rough voice to her right greeted her.

She turned her head. A large man stood near the door with his arms folded. She squinted to make out his features. "Why am I alive…?" she asked.

"Search me," he replied with a strange accent, which she attributed to whatever it was he was gnawing on. "You've been in a drug-induced coma for nearly four weeks.

"Coma…?" she asked and sat up. A pulse of adrenaline rushed through her system, sobering her quickly. She realized that she wasn't restrained and attacked him.

He laughed darkly. "That power of yours can't affect me, Nico Robin." The ten extra arms that clutched him tightly passed through his body as it turned to thick, white smoke.

"Logia user!" She cried and tried to get to her feet. Her body was still unresponsive and she nearly collapsed back into bed.

"The name's Smoker," he drawled. "Relax. I'm not here to hurt you, just to make sure you don't leave before we get a chance to chat." He pulled a chair out and turned it around before sitting down.

Robin squinted at him as her vision became clearer. "Are you CP9?"

Smoker scoffed. "They don't exist anymore. You and your Straw Hat friends did a number on the government a little while ago. Remember?"

"It's coming back to me," she said carefully.

"I'm not government anyway, I'm military. The Kaigun has taken over in the meantime to deal with the chaos." He took two cigars out of his mouth and grimaced.

"I don't care if you smoke…" Robin said.

"Can't," he growled. "Hospital. Rules. Yadada yadada."

"Hospital…? Why am I being treated so well? The last time I checked I was about to be executed."

Smoker set the cigars down on the edge of a small table at her bedside. "I don't know. I was assigned to clean out the dungeons at Enies Lobby because I'm strong enough to handle any escapees. That was last week. Many of the prisoners had already starved to death. You had a feeding tube. Someone wanted you alive."

"Whatever for?" she wondered and sighed.

"Your knowledge, apparently."

As if on cue, the door opened and a short, bespectacled man wearing a doubled-breasted suit and a push-broom mustache entered. "Thank goodness, you're alive!" he exclaimed. Robin blinked at him as he approached her and took her hands in his. There were tears of joy in his eyes. "Those ignoramuses thought they had gotten everything useful out of you and were going to just throw you away! Such an action would be as destroying the keys to the kingdom!"

It took quite a statement to make Robin express shock. Her eyes widened at this strange old man who clutched her hands and cried relieved tears. She vaguely recognized him but the events of just before her drugging were still veiled in fog. "I'm sorry… who are you?"

"Oh! I'm sorry! I'm called Hartman Weimaraner…"

Robin gasped. "Hartman Weimaraner?" she cried. "You're still alive!? I haven't heard your name since I left Ohara!"

He laughed in delight. "We're both alive! Isn't that wonderful?!" Smoker gave Weimaraner his seat and leaned against the door. "I'm a bit late for a meeting with Admiral Aokiji, but let me quickly tell you the plan…"

"Aokiji!" Robin started, but Weimaraner waved his hand

"He's a kitten. Listen. I've made a plea on behalf of the History of the World that you be spared. Aokiji has agreed on the condition that your whereabouts and findings be monitored by the military," he said quickly.

"That means…?" Robin asked in a hushed tone.

"That means you are relatively free to pursue your life's goal: the True History!" Weimaraner said with a satisfied smile.

Smoker unfolded his arms and stuffed his hands into his pockets. "I'm sure there's a catch..." he grumbled. "I doubt you'll be able to see any of your pirate cohorts ever again."

Robin bowed her head. "The Straw Hats most likely believe that I am dead." She raised her chin and gave them a classic Nico-Robin-smile. "And as for catches, I suppose I don't have much of a choice, do I?"

Weimaraner blinked. "You don't want to take the offer?"

She shook her head. "That's not it. Forgive me, Mr. Weimaraner. I'm still a bit hazy."

He smiled and patted her hand. "I'll be back after my meeting. Get some rest, Dear."

Robin thanked him and reclined again. Smoker let Weimaraner out and picked his cigars back up off of the table. "I'll be outside the door," he said waving the cigars. "There's uh… one thing you should know before some moron upsets you…" he said quietly. "Monkey D. Luffy was executed in Rogue Town three weeks ago." Before she could react, he bent over and whispered, "but between you, me and the walls, he's very much alive." Smoker turned and made for the door.

Robin was at a loss for words. Before he closed the door, he could hear her voice, cut with exhausted tears, say, "Thank you!"

.x.

In a small meeting room that was only partially damaged by the Straw Hat attack, Nico Robin sat bolt upright in a wooden chair and waited. Across from her Commodore Smoker puffed perpetually on his cigars with his feet up on the table that separated them. "The admiral must be very busy," Robin said casually.

"Probably. There's only about 10 of us in command here. More coming though," he replied. She was surprised he told her anything at all but noted his openness. The door opened and Hartman Weimaraner beamed at Robin as he entered.

"Good afternoon, My Dear!" he chimed.

"Mr. Weimaraner?" she asked curtly. "Why did you drug me?"

He froze in place while pulling out a chair to sit in. "Ah, yes. I was hoping you'd forget that…" He grinned sheepishly at her. "I've been an employee here in the judicial archives for many years. I wanted to stay close to those who wanted all of us historians dead. What better place to hide than under their noses, right?" he laughed but didn't get so much as a smile from Robin.

Smoker took his feet off the table and leaned towards the small man. "What do you mean, wanted you dead?"

Robin raised a brow at his. "I suppose that was a CP9 mandate so you wouldn't be aware of it. 20 year ago my home island of Ohara in West Blue was destroyed in an attempt to wipe out of existence the True History and all those who sought it. Mr. Weimaraner was not of Ohara but did work with many of the scholars we sent to the Grand Line. We are, as far as we know, the only two people in the world who have any idea just what it was the Government didn't want the world to know." Smoker raised his own brows at this but said nothing. "Mr. Weimaraner, are you trying to avoid the subject?"

"Oh! No! I'm leading up to it." He took a seat and stared at her. "I've been working here in Enies Lobby for some time and I heard that you had been captured and were being brought here! Imagine my horror, but also my hope soared. If I could somehow save you it would all be worth it."

"He's the one who called Aokiji…" Smoker said.

"Yes. I did. I knew him from some time ago…" he started but seemed to catch himself. "I'm avoiding the subject again. I knew time was precious and if I couldn't spirit you away to a safe place I would lose you forever."

"Ah," Robin said, folding her arms. 'If only he'd known the pirates were here to save me!' she thought and pursed her lips, keeping her anger and disappointment to herself. Soon, there was no time to worry about what was past as Aokiji at last joined them.

"Sorry I'm late," he said sitting down. His eye shield covered his eyes and he lifted it as if he hadn't realized it was down until just then. "The first thing I must make clear is that this meeting is of the highest level of secrecy. Only the four in this room shall know of anything that transpires here and there shall be no written record of it even ever happening." The three people before him nodded solemnly. "The issue here is Nico Robin and the History of the World. It is my opinion that should a new government be able to lead the people, its past mistakes should be known so that they are never repeated. In order to learn of the lost history, we need you, Nico Robin."

Robin shifted uncomfortably in her seat and stared hard at the admiral. The proceedings seemed like a waking dream from which she would surely be pulled viciously at any moment.

"I know very well that the crime for which the bounty was placed on your head is completely unfounded…" he said taking a deep breath. "However. Since that time you have been in league with pirates and criminals and committed enough of your own crimes to warrant similar punishment. If you agree to the conditions under which you will be allowed to pursue your studies, your bounty and all charges against you will be dropped."

Aokiji paused and stared, unblinking at Robin who was shaking slightly but otherwise transfixed on him. Weimaraner said something about what wonderful news it was, but she didn't hear him. "And those conditions are…?" she asked quietly.

"Firstly you must renounce your past. This includes all ties to any civilians and criminals alike. You must discard the name "Nico Robin" and choose another. And as Mr. Weimaraner wishes you to be able to do field work anywhere your research might take you, you must agree to check in with Commodore Smoker once a week at a time of your choosing."

"And if I should fail to fulfill these requirements…?" she said, ready for the hook of the 'catch'.

"Your identity will be reinstated and your bounty and charges will be enforced. You will be captured and executed."

This statement didn't faze Smoker or Robin who rather expected something like it but Weimaraner leapt out of his seat. "What?!" he cried. "How could you?!"

Aokiji turned his head slowly toward the small man and lowered his eyes. "I think I'm being more than lenient."

"If you destroy her you destroy the past and the future!" he insisted.

Aokiji was unmoved. "If she betrays me she'll bring it on herself. I understand the importance of what you need to do, but you must understand that I require a certain amount of assurance, especially since Miss Nico has had such a colorful past."

Robin shrugged to ease Weimaraner. "A girl's got to do what a girl's got to do." She sighed lightly and put her hands together on the table. "I agree to your terms. I will report to Commodore Smoker, I will forsake my past and I will change my name."

"To?" Smoker asked.

She put a finger to her lips. "How does… Madame Curator sound?" she suggested, remembering how much she liked being called 'Miss All Sunday'.

This name also served to calm Weimaraner who settled back down into his seat and was quiet. "That sounds wonderful," he said with a smile.

"Then it is settled," Aokiji said getting up to go back to the multitude of things that needed his attention. "All who are here today will swear to secrecy. Nico Robin will no longer exist from this moment on."

To be continued…