AN: A FrankyxRobin story that takes place…at some point after the current point in the manga… or anytime after Thriller Bark, because honestly, who can say how this whole Impel Down thing is gonna work out? I hope you enjoy it, but I really overthink this pairing so I probably tried to include too many ideas in one moment. By the way, Frobin totally owns ZoSan or any other One Piece couples out there. =gets beaten down by the whole internet= Sorry!
Oh yeah, and I don't own One Piece. Our main man Oda and all the crazies down at Toei do. Peace!
A hammer in her ocean
After twelve straight hours of furious drafting in the workshop, Franky was ready to admit that he was feeling uninspired. Tiredly, he examined the latest drawing before him which a little focusing of the eyes revealed to be no more than wildly incoherent scribbling. Interesting. Abruptly he crumpled it up and tossed it over his shoulder so it could join a pile of his other little failures that were quickly overtaking the small room.
He'd wanted to invent a more cola efficient gaon cannon since firing it required five whole barrels of the stuff and he'd recently come to realize that not every island they anchored on was familiar with the concept of cola. Absolutely criminal. Normally he'd just recommend that they use the cannon very rarely, but the others, especially Strawhat, seemed to love it so and as their shipwright he just couldn't let them down like that.
That being said, he'd solved the efficiency issue eleven hours ago. The problem now was designing the new details he intended to have decorating the barrel and he was far from satisfied with just reusing the old ones.
"This week's me is just not in the zone," Franky muttered in a defeated tone unbefitting of a hulking cyborg of a man.
He leaned back in his chair to stare blankly at the wall. For the first time that day he noticed the clock. Already past 1? Wait, was that AM or PM? Hell, it didn't matter anymore, he just needed to get some air and clear his mind, come at this thing with a fresh new perspective, yeah…
He climbed up to the deck and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was indeed night. There was a cool breeze making sweeping patterns on the grass and not a sight nor sound of his normally lively crewmates.
Franky folded his broad arms over his chest and smiled at the peaceful scene. Yup, nice and quiet. SUPER quiet. Couldn't get any quieter than thi- Okay, so maybe it was a little too peaceful. He needed to find some life on this ship! He remembered that Strawhat, Usopp, and Chopper had caught a lot of weird fish the other day and put them all in the aquarium so he decided to head over there to chill and get his thoughts straight.
Opening the door, he was met with the sight of someone's back as they stared into the large tank. Squinting in the darkness, he realized it was Robin and the tall, raven-haired woman turned to face him, a little startled at the sound of the door. Her expression quickly changed to an amused one, which he could guess came from his frazzled appearance, the drooping forelock and graphite marks all over his face where he'd thoughtlessly wiped his hands. Whatever, he was too tired to care.
"Robin? What're you doing here in the dark by yourself? You could turn the light on y'know."
"I know. However, I wouldn't want to ruin the nice atmosphere this room already has. It's very soothing don't you agree?"
Yeah, he knew what she meant. The bluish moonlight coming through the glass open to the outside cast the soft rippling light from the water's surface across the walls and floor, broken only by the shadows of fish dodging about here and there. It was kinda surreal actually.
"So why're are you still up anyway? It's super late."
Franky walked over to where she was leaning against the glass and plopped himself down on the couch lining the wall. It wasn't the first time he'd run into her late at night on the ship. They seemed to be the only two night owls onboard, Franky agonizing over many an unfinished design and Robin often unable to put down an interesting read, not to mention all the caffeine they got out of their respective preferred beverages. The younger members of the crew probably needed their rest with all the energy they expended throughout each day, goofing off, arguing, training and even Brook slept like a dead ma- ah, nevermind.
"No particular reason, I just had some thoughts to sort out that wouldn't let me sleep," Robin replied in her usual subdued tone that was always easy on the ears.
"You and me both!" Franky said with a grin.
He was glad of the company, and out of all his comrades he was definitely the most at ease with the calm, mature archaeologist, Nico Robin. While putting on his wildest acts for his adoring younger siblings (well, just Chopper actually) was fun and all, he appreciated having someone around that he could actually have an adult conversation with. The two of them even made a pretty good fighting team, battling their way through some really tough spots together back at Enies Lobby and Thriller Bark. Man, what a struggle it'd been since he'd teamed up with these guys…
"It's still a little scary."
"I'll say-wait, what?" Franky blurted out, interrupted from his musings.
Robin laughed softly at his awkward response.
"The sea," she continued, "For a devil fruit user like me, I can't help it being somewhat of a source of fear. To think, if the glass of this tank were to shatter, I'd be completely helpless to prevent myself from drowning."
"Hey, hey! Quit it with the morbid ideas already! Is this what you stay up to think about? Geez. Besides, I made this special glass SUPER strong!" The cyborg flexed a huge tattooed arm for emphasis. "It's safe."
Robin just nodded and smiled one of her mysterious smiles. "Well thank you, the effort is appreciated."
"Heh, for me, this is nothing!"
Franky exuded complete confidence outwardly, but from somewhere beneath his complex, robotic inner workings, a worrisome thought began surfacing. Did she really still think about death this often? He didn't want to believe that, not after all that had happened.
"You must really love the ocean though, to build a room like this," She said returning her focus to the tank, her pale blue eyes reflecting the deeper blue within it. "Growing up in a city where it surrounds you like Water 7, building magnificent ships to sail upon it and explore it. You never even change out of your swimming gear do you?"
"Hm, I guess you're right about that," he replied, looking proudly down upon his prized speedo.
It was a love he'd taken for granted. He'd been sailing the Grand Line since before he was out of diapers and even after he'd been abandoned on the scrap island he'd kept doing everything he could to test his strength against it, building battleships or swimming into the strongest currents. Not because he resented its power and many dangers, but because the sea fascinated the young Franky endlessly and he wanted to get the full experience.
"Luffy and Chopper as well. Even though they're in the same predicament as I am, they don't fear it at all. They want to see everything this ocean has to offer, even if that means falling right into it." Franky listened contentedly to the bright laughter in Robin's voice, letting some of his earlier frustration melt away. He'd remembered wondering if she was capable of laughing at all when he'd met the stoic, brooding archaeologist for the first time.
"Maybe it's because the sea is something so forbidden to them that they desire it all the more."
She traced a slender hand along the glass, following the path of a brightly colored fish.
"Seeing them like that, I began to think maybe I could be like that too. I'd always pretended it didn't scare me so I wouldn't reveal that weakness to anyone, so that they couldn't take advantage of me. With my knowledge and heritage already being used against me, I didn't want to give the world one more method for destroying me."
Franky whipped his head around to look at the tall beauty's profile, scrutinizing her as if to make sure he'd heard right. He was shocked that she would share such a personal piece of information with him, even if they'd been friends for a while now. He had forgotten how vulnerable this dangerous woman could be when someone got a hold of her weaknesses. Seeing her face now only made him think of the helpless Robin chained by his side at the Tower of Justice, and how he'd hoped so much for his rough words to be able to reach her, to somehow offer her comfort. To make her look at him with some hope in those eyes.
Franky was brought hurtling back to the present when he realized he had been fighting a strong urge to reach out and hold her hand. He pulled his arm back with lighting speed only a mechanical arm could have withstood.
He ran the other hand nervously through his thick blue hair, wondering if she had spotted the subtle movement, and suddenly feeling a very unfamiliar, unsuper emotion: self consciousness. Wait, just when did the room get so small? And when did the space between them get so tiny? And just what the heck was he so worried about? In a panic, he began formulating reasons to leave the room but much to his shock, he couldn't even remember what he'd been doing right before he came in. Crap!
Just as he opened his mouth to rattle off the first lame excuse he could think of, Robin dealt the killing blow.
"So I wanted to thank you too, Franky, for building this incredible ship and helping me overcome that fear. I'm actually beginning to enjoy the ocean, here aboard the Sunny. "
She turned to him, the strange lighting softening her elegant facial features as she gave him a smile warmer than the most tropical summer island, with those deep, captivating eyes projecting more genuine gratitude and admiration than should have been possible for two eyes.
Franky felt the steel reinforcements of his body melting down and forming a puddle of white hot lava beneath his bare feet.
He wanted to strong hammer himself in the head for not realizing before how breathtakingly beautiful this woman was. It had been hard to think of her as anything but the "demon child" he'd been shown on the wanted poster eight years ago. Even though he had ceased to see her as a threat, he certainly hadn't given much thought to her being a woman, or how attractive of a woman she was.
It was becoming more and more obvious to him though that he'd been drawn to her in some way from the start. Damnit, It'd just been so long since he'd thought of anyone in a romantic way, maybe not since he'd begun his new life as a cyborg and a dismantler.
Franky pulled down his shades to hide the embarrassment that he was sure he had written all over his face.
"N-no…problem," he answered after a long and awkward pause.
Oh great, he was thirty-four years old for crying out loud! This wasn't the time to revert to a silly teenage boy!
The ever cool Robin on the other hand didn't seem at all surprised by his discomfort. Instead she let out an airy giggle and continued her merciless assault on his emotions with that warm smile. That sly woman, she had probably known about his feelings all along.
That being the situation, he decided he should just put things out in the open.
"Robin," he began, "You-"
"It must have been difficult to accept me," she interrupted, her tone changing drastically from before. She lowered her head, seeming deep in thought, but Franky still caught the hint of pain in her eyes. "You said your teacher died protecting those blueprints. There must have been many times when you wished me captured or dead after that."
Franky felt the pangs of guilt stab him through the heart like a spear. It was true. While most of his anger had been directed at that Spanda bastard, there had been moments where he'd stopped to think of how much simpler life would be if Nico Robin had just died at the hands of the marines, freeing him and Iceburg of the burden of Pluton's blueprints forever.
"No,no, it's not like that. Y'see-"
"And yet, you still did all those things for me… are still doing all these things for me…"
"I never deserved that much kindness from you."
Robin was startled to hear the shipwright's deep voice from directly in front of her this time. She looked up to see his angular face with a dead serious expression looming inches away from her own. His towering form was hunched over to meet her at eye level and his oversized hands were pressed against the glass of the tank on either side of her head. For the first time since they'd met, Robin actually felt a little intimidated by this powerful man.
"Don't you remember what I told you before, Nico Robin?"
They were now so close that she could see her reflection in his metal nose. When she got up the nerve to look him straight in the eye, he continued.
"Just existing can't be a crime."
Hearing those same words that had so greatly moved her that day on the sea train, Robin was suddenly ashamed for ever implying that someone as compassionate as Franky could resent her. Even with a body that was now mostly steel and weapons, he still expressed the deepest of human emotions more openly than she ever could.
Franky's face softened when he saw the beginnings of tears in Robin's eyes. Taking one hand and cupping her chin, he tilted her head up so that they were eye to eye again.
"And just loving you can't be a crime either," he said more for himself. To hell with it. His brain didn't seem to be functioning right at all this week.
He leaned in all the way and pressed his lips against hers in a passionate kiss, feeling the wetness of a single tear against his face as Robin shut her eyes. She soon returned the kiss with equal fervor, wrapping long, graceful arms around his neck. As he began to lose himself in the ensuing tornado of emotions, his mind was rapidly flooded with hundreds of images of the woman he'd come to love: the distrustful face of a young girl on a wanted poster, the crumpled, defeated figure of a woman lying next to him on a cold floor, her tearful face as she screamed out her desire to live, a grateful Robin smiling in thanks for her comrades' rescue, a playful Robin using cruel methods to persuade him. All of those experiences and sensations seemed so immediate and fully realized now in the taste of her lips.
Overcome with his newfound passion for her, he deepened the kiss, searching her mouth for an answer to the burning desire welling up inside him.
More than an answer, he wanted to tell her about all these feelings he had bubbling up from places in his heart he never knew existed. He wanted to tell her that she was like the ocean to him, that dangerous and beautiful entity that was all the more desirable for its forbidden nature. This woman he was supposed to hate. The demon Tom had told him could revive the ancient weapons. He didn't care about any of that anymore. She was his salvation. The part of his soul that had been torn away from him by the sea train eight years ago, that he'd finally managed to reclaim from the burning wreckage of Enies Lobby. The precious person he'd finally managed to protect. He wanted to tell her how weak she could make him feel for all his superhuman strength, stealing his breath away and peeling away that layer of aggression he used to face the world with. He was every bit as helpless against her as she was against the ocean. A hammer in an ocean of Robin. He could feel himself drowning even now, but he couldn't resist the weight pulling him deeper and deeper, didn't want to. She was dangerous to him, but he'd tough it out all the way to the bottom if it meant he could be a part of her life.
He knew those words would never come out as eloquently as his mind phrased them, so he'd let their lips do all the communicating for now.
Franky couldn't say for how long they were like this, but eventually he found himself literally fighting for air and he had to pull away from her with a gasp. He could only gaze into Robin's searching eyes in those few seconds as he waited for the oxygen to reach his brain. When it finally did, all his embarrassment from earlier quickly returned.
One of his hands had somehow found its way to her rear, and the other rested on her side, snugly beneath one of her full breasts. He quickly released her, but stayed close. He wasn't quite yet ready to step down from the level of intimacy they'd finally achieved.
"Ah, s-sorry about that. I think I may have gotten a little carried away…"
"That's - quite alright," Robin replied between unsteady breaths as she pushed a few misplaced strands of hair away from her face. She placed a palm against his broad chest, running it across the well defined muscle there.
"I'm glad you did. I really needed that little reminder of yours."
Franky laughed heartily, his fear of rejection completely dissipating. He rocked forward a little to press the cool metal of his nose against her forehead.
"You know, I never blamed you for any of that stuff that happened."
Robin closed her eyes, basking in the protective glow of his acceptance. Being close to someone like this, being needed, she had never wanted to admit how much she longed for those things. It was no wonder Franky had been able to draw so many followers to his family back in Water 7, with a welcoming aura like this. She was surprised when he suddenly grabbed her shoulders and stared her down with that dead serious expression again.
"EXCEPT for the whole ball grabbing thing, that's all on you."
Robin could not conceal her amusement and had to muffle her laughter with the cloth of his shirt before she could say with a straight face, " Very well, I'll accept full responsibility."
Franky grinned widely and lowered himself back onto the couch with a sigh, the exhaustion of the day finally taking its toll. Robin followed suit, resting her dark-haired head against his shoulder. They took in the peaceful scene of the aquarium room once more together, reflecting on how dreamlike quality of the moment.
Just as he was about to nod off, Franky heard Robin whisper softly, "To tell you the truth, it was never my devil fruit that made me fear the sea."
"It was the thought of being alone out there."
Franky wrapped an arm securely around her.
"I'd like to tell you about it sometime," she continued, her voice fading almost to nothing, "Ohara."
"Funny, I was thinking of a story I'd like to tell you too," Franky responded drowsily, "Looking forward to it…"
As he drifted off to sleep, it occurred to him that he'd completely forgotten about those cannon details he was supposed to finish. It also occurred to him that the two of them would make an awkward scene for their young friends in the morning. He took in the flowery scent of Robin's hair and decided that it didn't matter.
Demon child or not, he was sure Tom would've been happy for him.
True to Franky's prediction, they did create quite the commotion in the morning when a baffled Nami walked in, followed by a tearful Sanji, a curious Chopper, an enthusiastic Luffy, an embarrassed Usopp, an inappropriate Brook, and finally an apathetic Zoro.
AN: Sorry that took forever to get to the point and was a little anticlimactic but please be forgiving. This is the first complete fanfic I've ever written, mostly because I don't really like fanfiction, but I just couldn't get this scenario out of my head so I had to write it out. Hope they were in character at least…Thanks for reading.