Interlude in the Bookshop

Spoilers/Notes: No spoilers that I know of. There's not really a timeline to this one, either. I wrote it because the plot bunny would not leave me alone. (Also, does anyone know why this site takes the first few words of the first sentence and sticks them at the top of the document? It's really weird.)

Rating: PG-13/T

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters mentioned here.

xXx

Zoro watched Robin from behind as she passively flipped through a thick book. The small shop they were in was dim, and smelled of old paper and ink. Just the kind of place he knew she loved, which was why he was there in the first place. She already had a small stack of books piled beside her on a variety of subjects. She also had a good deal of money to spend. Robin was the only crew member Nami did not try to budget; it would have been a worthless endeavor anyway, as she had more funds than the navigator even realized.

"Robin!" Chopper padded toward the tall woman from the other side of the shop, waving a thin volume with one of his hooves. Zoro stepped back and tried to hide himself behind a shelf in an attempt to keep either from realizing he was there. Spying was no good if you got caught, after all. "Look at what I found!"

Robin stopped what she was doing to give the reindeer her full, undivided attention. "What is it?" she asked kindly, kneeling before him to get a better look at what he was grasping.

Chopper's face was smothered with excitement as he held the text out to her. "It's a history book," he explained happily. "A rare one that I haven't even seen before. I thought you might like it."

"Oh, thank you!" She gently extracted it from his hooves and opened the cover. The pages were yellowing with age, the spine bent and worn. It was a lovely book and, as Chopper had guessed, quite rare. "I've actually been looking for this one for years. You are so wonderful at finding things. Thank you very much for showing it to me."

The youngster fell back and turned around, his cheeks flushed with pride. "Even if you tell me that, it won't make me happy, bitch!"

Robin laughed and added the book he had brought her to the stack she had already procured. "Was there anything you wanted to purchase? Some medical books, maybe?"

"Yes," Chopper said quietly as he shuffled his feet and glanced up at her shyly. "But Nami didn't give me much money. I can only get one."

The woman furrowed her eyebrows in consideration. "She certainly is stingy with giving money to you all, isn't she?" She settled back on her heels and looked Chopper in the eyes. "Bring me your books and I'll buy them for you. One can never have enough to read, no? Nami need not know."

"Really?" Chopper's whole face lit up at her words and he ran forward to throw himself into her arms. "Thank you, Robin!"

Robin returned his hug briefly before setting him down again. "Bring me your books and put them with mine. I'll even bring them back to the ship for you." The reindeer's face was still alight with joy as he dashed off to bring over his own small stack. Once they had been placed beside Robin's original pile, she put a hand on his hat and gazed down at him. "Use your money to get yourself some sweets and save one or two for me, okay?"

He nodded eagerly and bounced off toward the door. "I'll see you later, Robin! Thank you!" he called over his shoulder.

Robin watched him go before turning around to cast her eyes back over the massive shelf before her and picking out a different volume. Once she heard the door close again, she said quietly, "You can come out now, Kenshi-san."

Zoro, still hidden behind a shelf at her back, stuttered in surprise as he peeked around to the other side. She was still facing the books. "H-how the hell did you know I was here?"

"You've been following me for the last three shops. You're not very good at subtlety," she pointed out bluntly, still not facing him as he stepped up behind her. "Afraid you might get lost?"

"Don't be stupid; I never get lost." He took advantage of her unusual vulnerability and wrapped his arms around her thin waist so he could rest his head on her shoulder to see the book she was holding. "What're you reading?"

Robin leaned back into his chest and sighed contentedly. "Just an archeology text. It's actually rather interesting. Want to give it a read?" She held the book up closer to his eyes, grinning with a mean sweetness.

"Um, no thanks," he muttered as he twisted his face away from the proffered book to press against her neck. The scent she radiated was strongest there where it mixed in her hair just under her ear, smelling of roses and carnations and, most of all, herself. It was intoxicating, the one aroma able to completely stop his heart. "God, you smell good."

"I thought you didn't pray to a god," she retorted smugly, tilting her head to give him more access to her neck as she continued to skim over the text still in her hands. Even though she was feigning disinterest, she couldn't help but feel the heat building in the pit of her stomach at his adoring touch.

"I don't." The jab, though, only made him remember how not long after he'd said it the first time, she had been electrocuted. It was not a pleasant memory, the black and burned body he had caught, and so he focused on the white hot skin currently warming his face instead. When she made no response, he began to press his lips to the skin of her neck in lingering kisses, slowly making his way down to her shoulder.

It was becoming harder and harder to ignore him, but Robin tried her best, flipping through the pages of her book and only acknowledging his movements by shifting her head or lowering a shoulder. His soft mouth was progressing across the back of her shoulders, one of his hands releasing her waist to move her hair out of the way. It really was a good thing that the shop was rather empty, and they were standing in a corner relatively hidden from view.

The ignoring suddenly stopped, though, when the hand not occupied by her hair slipped lower down her exposed abdomen. She was about to protest his audacity when his fingers dipped just below the waistband of her pants and the words died on her lips only to come out in an astonished gasp. Her knees went weak and she let herself all but fall back into him, eyes fluttering shut, jaw falling open, as his hand dropped farther still, barely pushing aside the very top of her underwear. Zoro did nothing more after that, just let his fingers splay out across her skin as he watched her surprised reaction. He knew this wasn't exactly the right place to be doing this, and that was enough to keep him at least somewhat restrained.

"So you finally decided to pay attention?" he asked wickedly, his lips brushing her ear.

Robin gasped again at the feeling of his hot, tickling breath, and let the book drop back to the shelf. "Why are you doing this to me?" she managed to whisper, almost embarrassed at how shaky her voice was. The room was starting to spin, so she reached behind her head to disentangle his fingers from her hair in order to grasp his hand tightly in her own.

"Do you really have to ask?" Laugher was thick in his voice, and it made them both smile. "You should probably wonder how I'm able to resist you the rest of the time." He wished he could kiss her lips, but her face was turned away from his as she tried to regain her composure. If only they were somewhere else, somewhere private! Sadly, though, they were not. Instead, they were in a very public place, being much too affectionate where anyone could walk by and see. Their crew included, of course.

With much effort, Zoro pulled his hand away from her burning body and slowly turned her around so she was forced to look at him. She stood perfectly still as he leaned in close and let his mouth hover over her flushed cheek. "I'd take you right now if I could," he told her softly, pleased at her reaction to his words. "But what do you say we buy your books and head back to your room to finish what we've started?"

Robin stepped closer to him so her chest was pressed against his before turning her face to bring her lips within millimeters of his own. "I'd say, what are you waiting for?"