A Robin-centric ficlet also written for a chaos thread, this one for the prompt "Justice". Set during the Enies Lobby arc around chapter 429. G (or possible PG for violence). Could be seen as a companion piece to my earlier Robin ficlet "Funeral Pyre" (chronologically set later, though not by much).

Disclaimer: The characters and situations of One Piece were created and are owned by Eiichiro Oda. They are used here without permission for entertainment purposes only.

Fires

-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-

During the battle she didn't have time or opportunity to look back: as soon as she was free of her seastone chains, she joined the fighting with the others. But in truth she was afraid to watch the devastation, fearful that old memories would come back to paralyse her again despite everything. Even if she fought off such a reaction quickly, that could still take more time than they could spare in these moments.

So it was only after their allies were reported as safe, after the last of the CP9 was defeated, after Going Merry miraculously, joyfully had turned up at the last second, and after Sanji's clever trick with the Gates of Justice had finally rendered the Buster Call's ships unable to fire their guns - it was only after all of that, just when Nami skilfully found them the right stream to let them escape to safety, that Robin turned back and let herself bloom eyes across the distance to look at Enies Lobby one final time. To remember how mighty it had looked at her arrival: to see the devastation now, the fires that still raged. The craters and ruins and ashes.

Some of the destruction was wreaked by her captain and her crewmates and their allies. But most came from the Buster Call itself.

She only had the time to look at it very briefly, putting the image clear in her head; then she turned away, to attend to the flight at hand, and a spine that needed cracking.

But it did occur to her, when she had the time to think, that someone could put those images side by side, looking at Ohara then, at Enies Lobby now. And maybe they would say: this is justice. Or: it's a small piece of justice. Or: it is fair.

She couldn't see it that way. How could there be justice without truth? And the truth of Ohara, she was well aware, might have to wait a long time yet. (You couldn't say anything to those who refused to listen. And where was her proof?)

Not justice. Just a consequence: the fires then, the fires now. And this time the destruction turned on the perpetrator's own stronghold - maybe because that was bound to happen one day, with the World Government's all-too-easy drive towards extreme ruthlessness. Or maybe because that was just one of those things that happened when Monkey D. Luffy was around.

She close her eyes and breathed in the salt air, listened to the old, creaking, wonderful ship underneath her, hearing all of her crewmates and the others aboard. The smouldering Island of Justice lay far behind. Fires were dying down inside her: sea waves came rolling in instead.