Chapter Six

Fated Meeting

Robin walked out of her home with her head held down. The talk from her aunt hadn't gone well. Though she didn't expect it to , considering what happened and all. Still, this was normal. Her aunt yelled at her regardless of what she did, and this was just another scratch on an otherwise scarred ego. Sighing she decided to see if her hands were clean, and finding they were, nodded to herself and collected her writing materials.

She was supposed to stay away from the stranger who lived by the shore, Mr. Rubber, and had to keep in touch every few hours.

Smiling bitterly she walked around the house, and to the direction of another shore. This one was her secret base, a place no one else knew about, well, at least she hoped they didn't. It wasn't one that had a set of stairs, and you can easily fall to the sands and die if you went over that cliff. Either way it was peaceful, noisy, and beautiful. It provided a spectacular view of the ocean, and the horizon.

So when she got there all she could was pause and look at it.

Robin loved the ocean, not so much for its vast beauty, but more for what it contained. Her mother was in the ocean, travelling to some foreign site, a place she probably wouldn't be able to go to. After all, Clover and the other archeologists had told her that she wouldn't be studying what they studied, apparently she would be in trouble if they studied those ancient writings, but she didn't care.

She was lonely, afraid, and in need of companionship. "Wonder if Mr. Rubber is thinking about me?" Probably, she figured.

He seemed to genuinely care about her, but why? Why would he care? He didn't even know her? Right? Okay, so she saved his life, big deal, right? He was a pirate, pirates didn't care about things like that. Though, in his defense, he did give it his best to do something about the kids who picked on her. That thought brought a smile on her face. Those strange Devil fruit powers, combined with his twisted personality was enough to cow the town's people, and if used correctly he could probably get the villagers to hand over more food. Lest he unleashes the might of his rubber man powers?

"Rubber man," she snorted. "What could he really do?" Probably more than her? Probably, though she hadn't tested the limits of her abilities yet.

She put her book down and sat on the cliff. Looking down her head felt dizzy so she decided to change direction, looking now at the horizon. Until she realized something. Well, not so much realized as heard. It was a deep rumble. Like the rumble a big cat makes. Freezing for a moment to check for any predators, Robin came to the conclusion that it wasn't a dangerous animal at all. So what was it?

Getting off her position she stood up, reached out with her devil powers to sense for any foreign invaders, and looked around. Nothing out of the ordinary, nothing at all…unless you counted the giant sleeping under a forest nearby. Quickly deciding to retract her hands, which held eyes on them, she packed her bag, and went down to look.

A Giant. A real live Giant! She had never seen one before, she had read about them, of course, but to see one in real life. Well, hmm, Clover would have to know about this!

"And what better way than firsthand account?"

Slowly walking around the trees, finding any holes she could go through, she saw him. He was HUGE. With all words capitalized. A body larger than a ship, a face wider than a house, a maw full of blunt gaping teeth, a belly large enough to fit a living room. She shivered slightly, but then got it back in control. No use being scared now, besides, he was sleeping. What would a sleeping giant do?

"Never tickle a sleeping dragon, that's what." Yes, she the saying would work in this case too.

Backing away, without making any noise, Robin managed to get a fair amount of distance before snap a twig. She chided herself for her carelessness and looked back. Good. Nothing. The giant was still asleep. Strange considering how large his ears were, but maybe it didn't pick up sound as well as it thought it did? Or maybe he was just a heavy sleeper? He would have to be, considering how heavy the waves were in these parts.

"Now I just have to get back home, and…" Tell Clover? And then what? What would Clover do? Call the Marines? Tell her to stay away? Probably. There, that would be the end of her adventure. And, more importantly, she had noticed something about the giant. "He's actually badly hurt."

So if she told anyone of his existence he would likely be dead. She wasn't an idiot. She knew damn well what the villagers would do if shown weakness; they would destroy it. These people were cowards by nature, but, well, if they had a shot of being famous, say famous for killing a 'Giant!' despite it being asleep, they would take it. And had the thing even done anything to them? Why should they harm it when it hadn't done anything to anyone? It didn't make any sense!

"But what should I do?" She should help it like she helped Mr. Rubber?

Mr. Rubber was one thing, a boy, but this thing, was, well, a predator of mankind wasn't it? She sighed. This was a hard decision. She sat down, looked back at the creature, then looked ahead. What to do, what to do! Villagers vs. Giant. Which was more important?

An image of the kids throwing rocks at her made that decision.

Nodding to herself Robin stood up, looked out into the ocean, and reached out with her Devil fruit powers. Hands started to spring out of her arms, they made chains upon chains, linking together in twisted, ungodly, ways, becoming stronger, more durable, and flexible. They reached out into the ocean, only to become numb again. Robin frowned. The sea was the weakness of all fruit users, and when she touched it, the salt water made her powers numb.

"But how did Mr. Rubber make his hands go into the sea to catch fish?" Hmm, interesting.

He must have had some serious training, or conditioning, to be able to do that. But then he was skimming wasn't he? Feeling out for the fishes, and grasping it from the surface. Smiling to herself she decided to test out that theory, and dip her hand into the sea. One fish, two fish, three it! Her hands closed in on the fish, and it squirmed. More hands reached out to grasp the fish once she plucked it out of the water.

Genius, absolutely genius! Skimming for fishes with her powers! Why didn't she try it before? She would have to thank the boy later.

Right now she had a giant to feed. Walking back to the place where she found him, she kneeled down, and started piling the fishes her hands skimmed out of the ocean. She wondered briefly if the beast like man ate his food raw or cooked, and figured cooked. Judging by the way he dressed this guy looked to be a civilian of sorts, otherwise he wouldn't be wearing boxers with the world government logo on the tag.

She shuddered briefly for catching a glimpse of that, but got her poker face back on.

Using a flint, and some leaves along with a hundred or so hands, she was able to make a fire, and cook most of the fish. The scent wafted into her nose, and probably the giant's too. It would have to, considering the rumbling noises he made, and the yawns that started to come out of him. Slowly, with great hesitation, his giant eyelids came open.

"He's got really funny eyes." They were half closed and a little more circular than the average person. "But he doesn't look that dangerous now."

Truth be told he looked somewhat funny. Smiling, she made another whip made of hands, and speared them into a pile of cooked fish. Bit by bit she put the food into his mouth, which opened wide to accept it, and smiled even more when he muttered 'food.' Okay. Good. So he wasn't a man eater, or at least he liked fish. Perhaps he wasn't as dangerous as she thought?

Then realizing she had smiled, she frowned. Not good. Not good at all. "Poker face, Robin, Poker face."

It wouldn't do to show any emotion, even in front of a creature that could care less about what another human felt. She learned long ago that feeling nothing was better than feeling something, or at least her aunt taught her that. After that day she tried on her cousin's dress, hmm, she certainly didn't want to go there.

Eventually, her pile of fish was gone, but that was alright. Apparently the red haired man had his fill. So much fill that he had the energy to reach out and grasp what looked like a cowboy hat. Robin tilted her head at that. What would a giant need style for? Giant's in the wild cared little for style. This lent further credence that perhaps he really was the civilized kind, but for which side? World Government? Or the Revolutionaries?

"Interesting." More thoughts.

Eventually the thing had enough coherency to put sentences together, though "give water'" might not have been grammatically correct, but far be it for her to say that. The only problem was she didn't have fresh water. She thought about that problem, and came up with a solution. Concentrating on the location she directed her hands to sprout from the ground, to a nearby well; fortunately for her the island wasn't particularly big.

With slow precision, the hand that reached into the well got the water, and the other hands passed the bucket to her location. Anyone seeing this would think it an odd, and horrifying sight, but she didn't care. Saving lives were important. She had been a hero once, and she would be one again. Though this one might be more trouble than he was worth.

"Here, drink slowly." She passed him the bucket of water. "You might choke otherwise."

She wasn't so sure about that part, but it was what her aunt told her. Probably just to spite her, not that she actually cared about her to be specific.

The giant did just that. It drank the water slowly, making sure to get every drop out of the bucket with its enormous pink tongue. Robin tried not to giggle at the picture. Seriously, the thing was plain comical. Or it would be comical if it didn't look so injured. Its giant purple shirt was in tatters, along with its half cut khakis. There were scars covering the top of his face, made from recent weaponry, and, well, he hadn't shaved in days, or so it seemed.

The giant beard was nearly twice the length of his face, and Robin could see animals crawling out of there. "I'm going to need a bigger razor," she muttered. "Do giant's even shave?" Probably not by the look of him.

Slowly, the giant met her eyes. She backed away once, then twice, then stopped. Its eyes were harmless, like that of a puppy, she paused, and sighed. Trust her to find harmless people, who turn out to be dangerous later on. Shaking her head she put out her hands. The giant placed the bucket of water back on, and leaned on the base of the cliff. With a large belch he shook the ground, and sent a smell that was incredibly foul.

"Sorry," the thing gasped. "I hadn't eatin' in das." He had a very funny accent. "Can ya get me more w'ter?"

Robin nodded. After feeding him at least twenty more buckets he continued his dialogue. "That's b'tter." He smiled. It was friendly. Robin resistd to do in kind. Nico Robin didn't smile. Not often, and not in the open. "Ya sav'd me life."

"I suppose I did." She said this respectfully. "You didn't look like you could have lasted much longer."

The thing gave a large groan, then looked at the ocean. Robin got a look at the scars on his face, and the patches of missing hair on his beard. There was probably a cut or two in there. She wondered if getting a disinfectant would be a good idea. She hadn't done that for Mr. Rubber, mostly because his body healed itself quickly, but what about giants? Again, more thoughts.

"I was in er pickle." He turned his face to her, she noticed he had that half smile even when his mouth was opened. It was kind of bizarre, but oddly comforting. "Some people are af'ter ma." Bad people, Robin guessed, judging by the bullet and canon marks on the purple shirt. "So I'd reca'mend ya don't come 'ere often, lass."

Now she felt affronted. How dare he tell her what to do? Especially when she saved him. If she weren't here he would be vulture food, or some amusement attraction for the villagers when they found his dead corpse. But she wouldn't say this out load, no, not Robin, she would have to keep her game face on, and extract as much information as she could out of him.

She acted bored. "Oh. Pity." She looked at the horizon, then back to him. "I'll come back with more food tomorrow."

The giant looked surprised. "Ya aren't gonna ask me what I be doin' here, lass?"

Robin shrugged. "No, not really." She frowned. "You aren't particularly interesting." Which was true, archeology was more interesting, but how often did one run into a giant?

The man looked somewhat insulted. "Lass, now I wanna tells ya about me self." He frowned. "Cause, I don't know, maybe I owes ya?"

Robin shrugged. "If you want." She smiled internally. Information, data, knowledge, they were all keys to success, and Clover would have to let her join his crew if she gave him the right kind. "Suit yourself."

The man nodded and poked his chin. He frowned, and pulled out something big. It was a fairly large snake. Robin tried not to laugh at the sight. How in the world did he not feel that until now? The thing was as big as a python! It certainly wasn't native to these parts, probably from some other location, so he must have drifted pretty far to get one of those sea snakes into his beard.

She shook her head. Best to let the man explain his situation first. The snake could wait for later. "So you're a giant?"

The man nodded. "Aye, lass, I be a giant." He looked thoughtful. It looked funny. But still he was thoughtful. Weird. Truly, it was. "My name's Saul." He paused, then sighed. "Jaguar D. Saul."

That got Robin's attention. She had seen references to the D. , but had no idea what it meant. The mystery of that initial lay in those ancient writings, but she couldn't read them. Firstly, only Clover had those texts. Secondly, Clover wouldn't let her touch those texts! So maybe, just maybe this man knew the mystery behind D? Well, it was worth a shot.

"Why is there a D. in your name?"

Giant man looked surprised, his scratched his hair arms on his belly. "I don't know, lass, but everyone in me family has dat name." He tilted his large head. "Or at least everyone in me line, as far back as I can remember."

She nodded again. Hmm, intriguing. So not only people, but giants had that D initial as well? This lead to more question than answers, and Robin was more than up to the task of solving that mystery. "Okay."

The giant smiled. "Okay, that's all you gotta say." It barked out a laugh. "Ya see a giant and all ya gotta say is 'what is the d stand for' and 'okay." It palmed his hand on his face, and chuckled. Quickly his face morphed into a strange expression. His eyes became slits, with tears on them, his mouth widened, and he made a strange noise.

"Dereshisishisisisis, Dereshisihishsishis…."

Now this was funny.

Forget everything she had seen about him. This face, this laugh, and that weird 'dereshisishsihsis' in the world was she supposed to take him seriously? She put her hand on her mouth and hoped to the Gods of the Seas that he wouldn't spot it. Robin prided herself on her calm demeanor, and having it all collapse in front of this guy wouldn't do. Not when she wanted to come off as aloof and somewhat emotionless. She had failed to do so with Mr. Rubber, but, well, this was a new chance!

But alas that was for not. "Ya find it funny, lass?"

She shook her head. "No, not really."

He grinned. "Ya do, ya do!" He rubbed his stomach, and looked away. "Everyone does, lass, dey say I have dis weird laugh, but I can't help it ya see." He gave her a half smile. "It's in me nature, I guess."

"But I thought-,"

"Giants be violent killers, lass?" He sighed. "Aye, they be, they be." He looked away from her. "But, not all of'em. Some of us won't hur't no fly." He shook his head. "And some of us lose our way, lass, remember dat. Dere ain't no same giant as dere ain't no same people, we all be different." Then he looked at her carefully. "But ya know what? That's not what yer here for, so I'll just keep me story brief." He sighed, took a deep breath, looked at the horizon, then back at her. "See bad people be after ma, so I gotz ta make me raft…"

And as he told his story, Robin got the distinct impression that these 'bad people' spelled trouble for not just him, but the villagers as well.

Please Review: The reason I update so quickly is because you motivate me to do so. Thank you for your comments, and concerns! I love to hear them. Someone pointed out my time line error and character error as well, thanks a lot for your help. And, no, there probably won't be any original straw hats in this one, aside from possibly Franky. Let me know what you think of this chapter. I've been busy so it might take a me a while to respond to your reviews.