A/N: Hey guys, been a while since I did a ZoRo oneshot so here we are. Like I said in the description, this can be viewed as romance if you'd like it to be, though it isn't directly implied. I personally think adding the implications would detract from the story, but that's me (I like to think it strengthens their bond/relationship, romantic or otherwise). Sorry for the lack of updates on my other stories again, the last two sessions of writing have left me pretty drained up to now. Anyways, this has been a topic that I've wanted to tackle between the two for a while now. I don't know how well I pulled it off, hopefully well enough, but I may come back later and redo the idea like I did with Opportune Moment. I've reworked my writing style again, trying to make it more versatile while keeping it simpler to read. Don't forget to let me know what you all think! Enjoy.
Zoro climbed down from the Crow's Nest, his lookout shift finally over. The sun had begun to rise off in the distance and the green haired swordsman figured now was as good a time as any to wake up the rest of his crew.
As he landed on the deck, Zoro noticed a feminine figure standing at the side of the ship. It was clear that she intended to talk to him so in order to avoid unnecessary steps Zoro turned to see the archeologist of the Straw Hat pirates. She looked like she was scheming something and whatever it was didn't bode well for the swordsman.
Robin coolly looked at the green haired swordsman.
"Kenshi-san, do you still not trust me?" the woman asked serenely.
"No," Zoro responded stiffly.
The raven haired archeologist leaned precariously against the railing of the Thousand Sunny behind her, placing herself in a vulnerable state that Zoro could easily capitalize on if he so desired. The green haired swordsman narrowed his eyes in recognition to her action.
"What are you up to?" Zoro accusingly asked.
Robin spread her arms apart in a shrugging, questioning gesture. "Whatever do you mean? I'm just relaxing," the archeologist started before staring into the swordsman's eyes, "although, if you really don't trust me I suppose you can just get rid of me."
Zoro, startled, grunted before subconsciously running his hand across Wado Ichimonji, his most trusted blade, to calm himself. It was an action that did not go unnoticed by Zoro's antagonist, her eyes quickly darting to the hand that lightly thumbed the white hilt before instantly returning to his eyes.
Robin sighed disappointedly. "You really still don't trust me, do you?" she asked rhetorically. Intensifying her gaze, the raven haired archeologist waited eagerly for her crewmate's response. She'd put him into a corner and they both knew it, it was simply a matter of how he reacted that would determine his position.
Zoro gritted his teeth in a building frustration. If there was one thing he could simply not stand about Nico Robin, it was her manipulative nature. It didn't bother him so much that she used it to her benefit; simply that it was all she knew how to do. It was the same when she joined the crew as well. The woman who had worked for the organization that tried to kill everyone and seize a kingdom somehow snaked her way into everybody's good side to sail with them and it bothered the hell out of Zoro. Robin had tried using her wiles on the swordsman as well, but all it managed to accomplish was making the swordsman more apprehensive to her company.
Zoro's hesitation amused and pleased the raven haired archeologist. Perhaps her companion's demeanor wasn't as cold and disconnected as he let it on to be.
Robin tilted her head to the side, reaching up with her hand to rest it on the side of her face. "What's the matter, Kenshi-san? It would be easy for someone like you to do. You could simply knock me into the ocean and there's not a thing I could do about it. Everyone else is asleep; you could easily shift the blame to something else and nobody would ever know. It's simple."
Something about the way the archeologist had said the last sentence made Zoro lose the last of his patience towards the woman. Finally snapping, the swordsman decided that he'd had enough of Nico Robin's deceitful and manipulative ways and that he was finally going to get to the end of things. Robin had set this trap to find out something she wanted from Zoro; it was only fitting to use it against her for the same reason.
Zoro steadied himself before staring grimly at the archeologist, his hands slowly working their way to his swords. The swordsman could sense slight changes in the woman's stature, but nothing too discernable. Continuing on, Zoro unhitched Wado Ichimonji from its rest, his amber eyes, projecting a malicious intent, never leaving Robin's azure ones.
Fear overcoming rationality, Robin pushed herself off of the railing and started to defensively maneuver herself before Zoro dashed towards her. Arms crossed and eyes flaring in anticipation, Robin focused on incapacitating the man who was threatening her very life, knowing very well that she would not be fast enough to stop her impending fate.
Zoro immediately halted his assault the moment he was within range of fatally striking the archeologist, infuriated that the woman across him thought his intentions were ill. Not a second after he'd stopped Zoro felt numerous arms coil around his body, placing the green haired swordsman completely at the mercy of his antagonist. Zoro attempted nothing to free himself of the raven haired archeologist's constriction.
"Here's something simple for you, Nico Robin," Zoro spat, seething with rage, "how the fuck am I supposed to blindly trust someone who doesn't trust me? You listlessly join our crew after trying to kill all of us then have the nerve to demand equal respect?" Blood coursed wildly through the swordsman's veins as he continued his tirade. "So you've been helping us out, big deal. That doesn't mean shit when you've clearly been helping others before us, so long as it suits your needs."
Zoro felt the grip of the arms tighten around his body, effectively stopping his ranting as he found himself almost struggling to breathe. The time for escape had passed, his fate now ironically rested in the hands of the one he trusted least on the ship.
Robin glared angrily at the green haired swordsman and his accusations. "Try to kill you?" the archeologist began in a low, slightly shaking tone, almost as if what Zoro had said couldn't have been more insulting, "At what point did I try to kill you and the others? I only did what I needed to for my dream and nothing more, I couldn't have cared less what happened to you back then. It was impersonal and—"
"Don't give me that bullshit, Robin…" Zoro snarled in between strained breaths, "regardless… of how you felt about it at the time… you helped the people… who tried to kill Vivi… and destroy her kingdom. You don't just… simply walk onto a ship… after something like that… to open arms, you know. It's… only because of Luffy's… rash decisions that you were even… allowed to join us to begin with…" Zoro coughed from the pressure on his throat. "We held no obligation to do anything for you."
Robin opened her mouth to retort Zoro's last statement but he stomped forcibly onto the deck of the ship to stop her, the loud noise echoing throughout the area and lightening Robin's grasp on the swordsman. "What you did before… doesn't matter now…" Zoro continued more fluently, the pressure on his body easing, "we aren't going to hold it against you. You're mistaken if you think trust is something that comes and goes on a whim." Zoro straightened up as Robin's grasp on him loosened, his tone softening. "If the others want to trust you as you are now, that's fine with me and I have no problem with that."
Robin released her hold on the swordsman, her arms dispersing in a deceptively beautiful shower of petals.
Zoro crossed his arms and looked equally at the archeologist standing across from him. "However, if you want my trust," the green haired swordsman stated, "you're going to have to earn it."
"If that's all, I'm going to go wake up the others now," Zoro finished as he reached behind his head, scratching it.
Zoro turned from the raven haired archeologist and to the crew's living quarters in order to wake everyone up. As he headed off, all Robin could think about was what had just happened. It was enough that she was barely able to keep her composure after Zoro's explosion, but now he was going to walk away as if nothing had happened. It was something the archeologist would not accept, whatever the cost.
"Wait…" Robin awkwardly called out and Zoro stopped without turning back. The raven haired archeologist cursed under her breath; she was never that good at apologies, even less so when it was to someone that mattered.
Zoro waited patiently for another minute before beginning to walk again. Robin panicked at the thought that she was going to miss her window of opportunity. She had no other choice.
"My… my dream…" Robin shakily began, her poise all but lost, "I don't think I've ever told it to you…"
Zoro stopped again, this time turning his head to look back towards his crewmate. He again waited patiently for the archeologist to continue.
"I… I want to find the true history," Robin said through grit teeth. Why was it so difficult to say? It wasn't like he was the first person whom the raven haired archeologist had told, nor would he be the last. Robin begrudgingly accepted that it wasn't the dream that was causing her insides to churn so much, but what she was inevitably going to get to.
Sensing the internal struggle of his companion, Zoro turned around to directly face the archeologist.
"I'm sure you've heard about it, the void century," Robin continued, her confidence growing with each word spoken, "it's the missing century of history that occurred right around when the World Government was formed. This history was inscribed onto the poneglyphs and scattered around the world, it's my duty… no, my dream, to find them."
Robin seated herself on the deck of the ship, resting her back against the railing. Rather than look down on her as she spoke, Zoro chose to instead sit down next to Robin. She wouldn't have to look into his eyes if she didn't want to.
Robin bunched up her legs and grasped them with her arms, resting her chin on her knees as she began to recall her past. Her eyes glistened from the moisture that began forming as she revealed everything to the swordsman sitting next to her; her hometown, Ohara, its destruction, the aftermath, everything. Throughout her confession the raven haired archeologist would cast a glance at her companion, noting the stoic look on his face. Even during the worst parts the swordsman remained composed, attentively listening to every word while looking off into the distance, presumably at the sunrise. Robin preferred it this way, actually, since she didn't want a reaction. She didn't want pity, she didn't want sympathy, and she definitely didn't want consolation. These were things Zoro was certainly not going to give.
After she had finished, Robin stared at the rising sun, it was more than a quarter of the way up now and it was beginning to create an inconsistently beautiful view in comparison to the discussions at hand. She was about to get up to find solitude when Zoro finally broke his silence.
"My dream," he began as he fiddled with Wado Ichimonji, "is to become the world's greatest swordsman." Zoro drew Wado Ichimonji from his haramaki, leaving the blade in the scabbard as he pointed it outwards, "It's a promise I made on this sword and to the one who used to wield it…" he continued, his voice softening considerably as he began reminiscing on his childhood promise.
Robin looked in surprise at her companion. The last thing she expected was Zoro to get into his past since he rarely, if ever, spoke of it to the rest of the crew. For him to be talking about it, to her of all people, was nothing short of amazing. The archeologist intently stared at the green haired swordsman as he relayed to her the meaning behind his promise and to the friend he'd made it to. As Zoro had done for her, Robin simply listened attentively to Zoro's past without saying a word in response.
As he finished, Robin desired more and more to inspect the blade in question. She wanted to feel the strength of a promise and the bond of friendship that she had never felt before. Robin wanted with every fiber in her body to hold Wado Ichimonji, but refrained from asking considering the recent argument.
Without warning, Zoro turned the sheathed blade around in his hand, holding it by the edge of the scabbard and presenting the hilt to Robin without a word. Taking the blade graciously, though hesitantly, Robin's arms dipped under the weight the sword bore. It was surprisingly heavy and Robin remarked to herself about the strength the swordsman must possess to wield it the way he did. The heaviness of the katana didn't bother Robin in the slightest and she felt a comforting warmth emanate from the blade.
Robin turned to ask Zoro a personal question but stopped when she noticed him peacefully asleep, his chest rhythmically rising and falling. If this wasn't him acknowledging his trust then Robin didn't know what was. Not wanting to move, lest she disturb her partner's slumber, Robin clutched Wado Ichimonji tightly to her chest, finally feeling that she was completely accepted somewhere for the first time in her life. Looking back to the magnificent sunrise with a deep smile, Robin decided that it wasn't contradicting the situation; in fact nothing could better picture it.
Ending note: I'd like to go into a little more detail about the style change. With what I've been using for a while (all spoken dialogue starting a new paragraph), it was easier to read but harder to structure. I wasn't able to have as many actions occur during the actual dialogue and I had to plan around it. What I'm trying out now gives me more room to work with while staying focused on the actual dialogue (or so I hope). It may not be as easy as before to read, but this is something I'm going to refine in order to become a more effective writer. Hopefully this will serve to improve the quality of my work and with luck it already has!