Sj: hey everyone! This is my first fic in a long, long while. It's (surprisingly) not a one shot. There's gonna be a second part but I have no idea where the story is going cause my muse, the lovely 382, decided to disappear on me. Anyway, this isn't the final draft of the first part either, but I wanted to know what you guys thought of the format of the fic. If it's too confusing, or if you spot any mistakes, please comment and tell me so. And please tell me if the end bit of this chapter is too unsatisfying. I'm open to any suggestions to how you think this first part should be changed. Thanks a bunch! Enjoy.
She doesn't know what she's doing there at this time of night, in front of the boy's cabin with the cool summer air surrounding her. But she still stands there, at the door, unmoving and unwilling to knock. She shouldn't have come.
This conversation needs to be over and done with though, and she's been holding off this meeting for too long. The boy needs a proper rejection. It's already been three days since the idiot confessed his feelings, and Robin feels she's waited three days too long to reject the crazy fool.
So she clears her throat and makes her presence known.
"I'm in love with you." It was said over morning coffee. Not that he drinks coffee, but she does and he was there, drinking something alcoholic while Robin uncharacteristically choked a bit.
"Did you say something, Kenshi-san?" Robin asked, knowing that the swordsman was not one for romance. The archeologist figured she must have been hearing things.
"I'm in love with you."
A pause. She wasn't hearing things.
The door opens, a delicate hand pushes softly, careful not to wake the room's occupants as a shocked face becomes visible when it hits the moonlight.
A tired blue-eyed blonde with a naturally curly brow above a heart shaped eye.
Robin never realized how strange it is to see the young man without a cigarette until now.
"ROBIN-CHWAAAAN~" Sanji whispers as loudly as he can, wiggling his hips from side to side, hands clasped together above his heart. "To what do I owe this honor?"
She chuckles softly at his antics, enjoying the insincerity of his wooing.
"I need to speak with Kenshi-san. Can you wake him?"
"Marimo?" Sanji asks, sobering up at the sound of his rival's nickname. "If the shitty swordsman isn't up in the crow's nest, he's probably raiding the kitchen for some shitty alcohol."
Robin blinks. The crow's nest? Of course. Robin had night watch three nights ago, meaning it's now the swordsman's turn. How could she have forgotten?
Sensing Robin's uneasiness, Sanji takes her hand in his. "Robin-chwan, let me accompany you to the kitchen and pour you a glass of wine." Robin sees the moon reflect off of Sanji's right eye as his face brightens lovingly; she knows that she should reject his invitation, but it's getting chilly out, so the indoors and some calming wine sounds perfect. Her meeting with the swordsman could wait.
"I'm capable of pouring my own wine, Cook-san. I do have the extra limbs after all," she says, crossing her arms in an unneeded reminder. She is wearing a small smile though, so Sanji smiles back, letting Robin play him for the fool that he is.
The night sky twinkles above them. "Ah," Sanji says with a charming smile. "A gentleman never lets a lady drink alone."
Breakfast had just ended and the archeologist and the swordsman were the last two in the room. Usually, Robin would stay behind and read a book to keep Cook-san company while he did the dishes. But today, the dishes remained unwashed and the poor love-cook was off on a new, unexplored island, following an under-clothed Navigator-san while the teen used him as a human shield.
It was just the two of them watching the ship. Robin wouldn't have found it too painfully awkward if the swordsman decided to stop speaking right then. However, taking a last gulp of whatever was in his mug, he decided to elaborate.
"Yeah. I'm in love with you. I found out while I was meditating. I look at you a lot but I never really understood why." He leaned back on his chair, tilting it to balance on two legs as he closed his eyes in comfort, empty mug forgotten on the kitchen table.
She hums slightly in her usual seat in the kitchen, lightly spinning the wine within her glass with an elegant turn of the wrist. The cook stands next to her, the base of a cloth covered bottle resting in his left hand, right hand cradling the neck.
The sour scent of spices lingers and she closes her eyes and takes a sip with a knowing smile. "North Blue. The City of Mitqueo, if I'm not mistaken." She opens her eyes to glace at the cook when she receives no response. "Würzburger Stein?"
"There's no fooling you, Robin-chwan," Sanji removes the cloth from the bottle, smiling all the while. "You must have been a wine expert before pursuing archeology."
She chuckles but says nothing and waits for the cook to take his seat across from her. This doesn't happen often, but it happened enough for the both of them to know that a semi-serious conversation may be on its way. Normally, these conversation are about their crew members, or of the cook's unrequited love for a certain navigator, but something in the air tells Robin that today's conversation is going to be a little different.
"So, Robin-chwan." Sanji starts as he pours himself a glass of wine, "What happened between you and Zoro?"
"And when did you come to this realization, Kenshi-san?" Robin asked in nonchalance, attempting to gain dominance over the conversation. She wasn't used to being told that she was loved, and she wasn't used to feeling shaken, especially while she was in her comfort zone (i.e. with the crew or on the ship) but this conversation had truly tipped her off balance. She needed to remain composed.
And that was how Zoro broke her.
"But I figure I've been in love with you since before Skypia, so what? It's been two, three years now?" he asked, lightly scratching his head in clouded memories. He hadn't been asked to do math in a long, long while.
"Fourteen months, Kenshi-san. I joined the crew fourteen months ago."
"Right. Two years then."
"I'm afraid I don't know what you're talking about." She says with a hint of stubbornness. Sanji wouldn't have been able to recognize the change in her voice if he hadn't been living with her for the past year. He smiles a bit, thankful to have seen even a bit of her more child-like side. Reaching for his right pocket, he takes out a cigarette and lights it, taking a satisfying drag before speaking.
"Robin-chwan, you've been avoiding him. Everyone knows it. Hell, Luffy's beginning to catch on. The only person who doesn't have a clue is that shitty swordsman."
"Even the captain?" she asks aloud in bewilderment. Next to Zoro, the captain is the thickest person that Robin has ever had the pleasure of meeting. She thought she was being discreet about the Zoro matter, but the cook in front of her is telling her otherwise.
Sanji is taking a sip of his wine, cigarette in his left hand, when he suddenly chokes, as if a thought hit him. Wide eyed, he asks the woman across from him: "Do you have feelings for the shit-head?"
"The captain? Of course I care for my captain. " she says to be charmingly annoying.
"Shit" he says, shocked. He leans back and meets the spine of his chair with a soft thud. "You're avoiding the question. You really do have feelings for Zoro."
The wine in the glasses sway gently with the rocking of the ship and Robin could hear the soft crashing of the waves as the Thousand Sunny bravely splits the ocean in two. Her eyes are closed when she answers:
"I'm nine years older than he is."
"Kenshi-san, perhaps this is only a crush? There are a lot of cases where a young man falls for an older woman; they fall out of it just as quickly. I'm sorry if I acci-"
"Look," he said, cutting her off. He watched her with one open eye, but he remained relaxed. "I don't know what kind of guy you think I am, but I don't go throwing around the word 'love' so easily, okay? I gave this a lot of thought."
Robin, losing her composure, slammed her coffee mug down on the kitchen table. "You found out about this this morning!"
"Do you have feelings for him?" Sanji asks again. "It's a simple yes or no question, Robin-chwan." He watches her as she puts down her wine. The half-filled glass meets the wood of the table with a soft thunk; Robin's eyes close softly and she exhales deeply, not knowing how to respond.
"It's not a simple question, Cook-san." She tells him, giving a small smile at a memory. "Nine years can really change a person."
Zoro opened both eyes to look at her. A blushing Robin was a rare sight to come by, especially more so if she was blushing because of something he said. Zoro grinned.
"Relax, okay? I'm in love with you. The age difference may bother you, hell, it bothered me too, but you'll be over it by the time the shit cook starts pulling out the side dishes."
Robin doesn't know how to respond to the swordsman's new found insanity, so she listens, worried for her captain's first mate, while still slightly curious.
"And I figured, age is a rough estimate, right? An estimate of how much someone's experienced while they lived. I need to get stronger and experience thirteen years of living within the next few weeks so our zodiac compatibility will be about right."
"Excuse me?" Robin asked, no longer able to contain herself.
"You know, I always wanted to be the year of the Dragon Sea King and now I finally get the chance."
"You know, Zoro is a great guy." Robin is surprisingly not shocked to hear these words coming out of the cook's mouth. "He may only be nineteen years-old, but he's a hell of a lot more man then any of the manly men I've met on the Grand Line. Excluding my-"
"Cook-san," she says, cutting him off mid-word. She reaches for her wine again, almost wishing it had a higher alcohol percentage. "Are you suggesting I pursue a relationship with Kenshi-san?"
The cook's lips curves up into a smile that Robin has never seen before as he leans forward, wine glass in hand as he clangs his glass against hers before taking a sip.
"Kenshi-san, there's no such zodiac as the Dragon Sea King."
The front legs of his chair came down with a loud bang and the swordsman got up from his seat. Slowly, he walked around the table to Robin, putting one hand on the back of her chair and the other on the table in front of her.
"Yet." Zoro corrects, leaning closely towards her. "I need to get stronger if I'm gonna make room for a 13th zodiac." He pauses, as if in thought. "And which zodiac year are you again?"
Robin decides not to respond to Sanji's silence. The young cook is about to speak again but is interrupted by the sounds of boots hitting the wooden floor right outside the kitchen. The two of them turn their heads to see who is about to enter.
The door swings opens and the swordsman pauses, hand still on the knob, giving a slight sound of surprise at the sight of two of his crewmates having a late night drink.
"Yo, Marimo. Care to join us?"
Zoro, coming out of his momentary confusion, grunts in response. "Unlike a certain love-cook," he says, coming inside and closing the door behind him. "I have work to do." He walks to the fridge, not giving the couple a second glace before forcing the door open and taking out a bottle of rum. He opens the bottle with a flick of the thumb, a skill only the swordsman of the Thousand Sunny could perform, before chugging down the bottle and giving a loud, powerful burp when he is finished. He reaches for a second bottle before Sanji comments:
"Can you be any more barbaric? We're in the presence of a lady."
Zoro closes the fridge door and turns around to look at Sanji, one eyebrow raised as an indication that the swordsman is yet again questioning how high Sanji rates on the Man Scale. He then looks to Robin, who doesn't smile her usual quiet smile at him.
"Ohisashiburi, Kenshi-san." His eye-brow is still raised but his expression changes to genuine confusion.
"We saw each other a few hours ago at dinner." The swordsman shoots the archeologist a questioning look but says nothing further when she finally smiles. All the while, Robin can't help but notice the cook's unusual silence.
Zoro gives Robin a final stare before flicking his second bottle of rum open and taking a gulp. "I need to get back to work." He tells his two crewmates. "I'll see you guys in the morning."
"The Mer-Cat Sea King." Robin responded, leaning slightly away from the young man.
"Rght. Then God will have to make room for the Dragon Sea King four zodiacs above the Mer-Cat Sea King." He pecked her lightly on the cheek before standing straight, right arm grabbing hold of his left as he reached for the ceiling, stretching, to crack the bones in his back and neck. He shook his muscles out before making for the door.
"And if it still bothers you, and if you're scared a younger man can't provide for you," he turned his head slightly to look back at her and grinned. Lifting his right arm and using his thumb to point at himself, he told her: "This head is worth 120 million belli."
Robin was shocked speechless, wondering what in the world had gotten into the seemingly asexual swordsman before being pulled from her train of thought.
"Call me when the others come back. I'll be training in the crow's nest." He said over his shoulders.
On the kitchen table, Robin's coffee was cold next to Zoro's empty mug.
Zoro leaves and the door closes with a creek. The two of them sit and listen to the swordsman's fading footsteps until all they hear is the buzzing of the light bulb above and the soothing sounds of waves crashing against waves.
The cook then speaks with a knowing chuckle. "That confirms it," He brings his cigarette to his lips, inhales, then exhales in satisfaction. "You want him."
Robin smiles at him, a smile she only gives when she's annoyed. "Do stop talking, Cook-san."
And he laughs.