A/N: Request YEAR returns once more! I do so love being inspired again, don't you? I've been gone for a while due in no small part to some NASTY flamers and a slew of other crud that I won't tell you guys about because it'll only upset you but I am BACK BABY~!
I have gotten a LOT of hate for this fic and "Legacy of a God" as of late and in the past. I mean serious hate. Death threats and that kind of stuff. That's part of the reason why I stopped. It took a lot to get me to come back again and I can only hope that senseless hate doesn't drive me away once more.
Now, I'm all for constructive criticism mind you, but these people have NOT been constructive or helpful in the least. I've said time and time again "If you don't like my stuff, don't read, and don't review" yet still the hate comes on strong. Saying I skip around too much, or focus on the fights is one thing, but some people are just mean I guess.
But a few select readers, writers, and reviewers have pushed me to come back, so here I am. Lets just hope this works out for the best; because frankly, if I leave again, it might well be for good and I know you guys don't want that. Frankly, neither do I. But I don't want to be harassed and have my life threatened on a daily basis both on and OFF this site, ya know?
Alright, now that we've gotten than out of the way, let's go!
This chapter is thick with NarutoxRobin moments, any who don't like the pairing, please leave now. Also, regarding Naruto being Aoikiji's nephew, (I DID mention this a few chapters ago, folks) it serves as a poignant reminder that you really can't choose family...
There is also a strong possibility that Naruto and Robin will be splitting off from the Straw Hats soon and starting their own group due to upcoming events. How do ya'll feel about that? Remember, I WANT to hear what you have to say, no matter how silly you might think your idea is. Don't forget I'm taking story requests and helping out other authors as well =D
Lets skip the rest of the blah, blah, blah, now...
...onto the next chapter! And remember:
Hope you like it~! AND BRACE THYSELVES FOR THE FEELS!
"Bring it on!"
"Oho! You're not afraid of facing me alone?
"Alone...I've never fought alone in my damn life! I FIGHT FOR MY FRIENDS!
"How does it feel to be a monster?"
The voice laughed at Hard Contact, dark in its exultance.
He stared at his bloodied right arm and tried not to pass out. That nearly proved to be an exercise in futility. For beneath the flesh of his new leg, within the bone itself, he saw it...
"Oh," he gulped. "Well...that's new..."
Naruto woke with a violent start, fumbling in the dark.
"Who, what, where?!"
His first realization that it was little more than a horrible dream came when he felt Robin spooning against him; caught sight of her dark, dusky skin against his own. Somehow, the sight of her proved enough to calm his raging demons leaving him to notice the warm sheets wrapped round them. To remember. Robin telling him the news. News he had never suspected yet secretly longed for all the same. She'd told him. Pregnant. Robin was pregnant. Then he'd passed out with a wheeze.
Now that he was awake, however, and looking at the mother of his child, he felt no such urge.
He was going to be a daddy.
A strange warmth suffused his cheeks at the thought, and he rand a rough hand across her outer thigh. What would a child of theirs look like? Would they have a daughter; a determined little girl with dark hair and blue eyes, like her mother? Or would it be a boy, wild and fierce like him? Maybe some combination of both their features? Naruto couldn't stop thinking about it and the more he did, the more he warmed to it. He wasn't too certain if he was ready to be a father, but he was going to do his damndest to try.
But what had that foul specter been just now?
Maybe a vision?
Or another memory?
He glanced at his arm, shuddering. So. There might be metal in his bones. Fan-fucking-tastic. Still, that didn't explain why he was in bed when his last memory consisted of hitting the deck in an uncontrolled faint. No, perhaps that wasn't quite right. If the dream was a memory or-he hoped not!-a vision of some sort then he'd rather not think about-
Drawn out of his dark thoughts by Robin's sleepy voice, the blond turned his head. Scarce had he done so than a slender pair of arms encircled him from behind, pulling him back to the sheets. Back to her. Restraining a tiny grin at the clever use of her powers, he allowed those many disembodied hands to have their way with him, hauling him to a warm body and a gentle kiss. She wasn't wearing anything, he realized. To his surprise-mild though it might be-neither was he. Well. Someone was naughty. With that he yielded to Robin gladly, his tongue twining with hers, all too happy to press himself to her; to forget the nightmare and all of the silent dread that came with it.
Bright eyes stared back at him as she pulled away, panting softly.
"Yo." he managed eloquently. "How long was I out?"
"A few hours." Robin confessed, planting another kiss on his forehead, as though she were trying to make certain he was truly there.
Then her expression grew cloudly.
"No," he said, realizing what she was trying to ask him, "I'm not."
"You're not upset?" she asked, nuzzling his neck. "Really-ahn~!"
"Why should I be?"
Naruto laughed and kissed his archaeologist-and by the Log how GOOD did it feel to say that!- long and deeply with terrible desire, drawing a soft moan from the dusky-skinned woman. Robin returned the kiss with ferocious fervor, utilizing her ability to momentarily pin her beloved blond and straddle him. Her hips rocked against his in quiet invitation, temptingly. He responded by breaking the hold and tackling her to the bed, leaving them right back where they started. They laid like that for a long time, tangled up in one another, not doing anything, just...savoring each other's presence.
When he moved to kiss her again, however, Robin held up a hand.
"We really should wait," she insisted. "Merry's going to have her funeral, soon." she cast one last, longing look at their surroundings. "The others are probably waiting." her expression became decidedly mournful at that. "I wanted to spend one last night here, with you."
Wires crossed in the back of his brain.
"Wait, what happened to Merry?"
Her frown deepened.
"You didn't know."
"Know what?" realization was dawning now, but he daren't think it.
"We can't sail with her anymore." Robin elucidated.
He didn't remember the Merry breaking before he passed out!
"On second thought." he decided, pressing close to her. "I don't mind being late."
Then she gave him a small smile.
"I think that sounds like a wonderful idea."
She kissed him ravishingly, and for a few hours, all the worries and sorrows of an unfair world fell away.
(...Some Hours Later...)
"Aw, hell. I said I wasn't gonna cry...!"
Naruto sniffed aloud as he gazed upon the burning wreck of the Merry Go, stubbornly biting his lower lip and squeezing his eyes shut in a vain attempt to fight the oncoming tears. To no avail. They overcame him despite his best efforts, spilling over the edges to streak his whiskered cheeks, stinging the blue orbs even as he gripped Robin's hand with enough force to fracture bone. His fellow fruit-user didn't seem to mind; judging by the gentle squeeze he received in return she shared his sympathies. She looked as though she were on the verge of bursting into tears herself.
Hard Contact couldn't help himself; he really couldn't.
Merry had been a good ship, even if he and some of the crew hadn't known her nearly as long as the rest. She'd carried them across the seas, through battles against powerful enemies and there at the end, she'd saved them from being annihilated by the Buster Call. She was a fine ship indeed, and he'd resolved himself to watch her burn with quiet stoicism, if only to honor her sacrifice. At least, that had been the plan initially. But the moment he heard those words from Merry...
...he started blubbering like an idiot.
You couldn't replace a ship like Merry, Dattebayo! She was irreplacable!
"I don't think I've seen you cry like that before." Robin mused softly.
"Shaddap!" Naruto bawled! "Men have feelings too, ya know!"
The archaelogist tilted her head, considering, a thought occurring to her.
That sounded as good a name as any for their child.
"Stop ignoring me, Aokiji!"
Kuzan tactfully did just that, ignoring Akainu's explosion of anger as he sifted through another stack of documents at his desk. Nasty business, that. If ever there were a bane to an Admiral's existence than surely it was the sheer amount of paperwork that came with the title. How Sengoku managed it he'd never know. Regardless, he didn't so much as bat an eyelash at Sakazuki's. Let the mad red dog rant until he was blue in the face; what did it concern that he considered him a failure? In Aokiji's eyes, he'd completed his task and more; losing to Naruto had simply been an unexpected bonus.
It certainly wasn't the outcome the Marines would have preferred, but it was better this way.
Once you took down an Admiral single-handedly, you tended to make friends fast.
Less so for your enemies.
In the end he didn't even look up from his desk, quietly sifting through the piles of paperwork, signing some, ignoring others. Rinse and repeat, the process in an endless loop. There was a harmless nonchalance to his impervious silence that no doubt infuriated his accuser to no end, and he took a quiet pleasure in the way his elemental opposite snarled and seethed at that perceived slight. Peace truly was a foreign emotion to their resident Red Dog, he simply didn't have the threshold for it. He needed a nice girl to sooth that temper of his.
Shame he'd never find one.
No, actually that joke was in bad taste.
Considering happened to her, he supposed Sakazuki would never settle down until every last pirate was wiped from the face of the earth. Not that such a thing would happen any time soon.
Indeed, if looks could kill, Sakazuki's glower would have bored a hole right through Kuzan's head. Instead he was left glowering impotently at his fellow marine, waiting, for Aokiji to acknowledge that he'd spoken in the first place. Perhaps if he ignored him long enough he, and his questions would simply go away? Unlikely. Like the element he wielded, Sakazuki's mind was burning with questions, questions he was determined to have answered, one way or another. Kuzan knew he couldn't simply tell the overbearing little twat to shove it; any sort of verbal violence on his part would be sure to result in a fight.
Alas, after ten minutes of utter silence, the Red Dog finally lost his patience.
"AOKIJI!" he thundered, slamming a smoldering fist down on the desk! "Don't ignore me, damnit!"
"I'm not ignoring you." Kuzan replied with a jaw-popping yawn. "I'm just not terribly excited about your existence, that's all."
"What are you doing here?!" the red dog demanded to know! "Why haven't you brought Hard Contact and those criminals to justice?!"
"Because I lost." the ice-user answered blandly, meeting his gaze evenly. "He knocked me on my ass and went on his merry way." There. Let the old bloodhound chew on that! He made no mention of the possibility that the boy might have taken a substantial bit of his power and made it his own. That'd be a nasty surprise if Akainu ever took it upon himself to put him down. Oh, he was sure his comrade was going to try, and soon, his overinflated ego and firm belief in absolute justice would allow for nothing less.
"You mean you allowed him to defeat you?!" the red dog thundered, incredulous. "You've soiled the name of justice, you fool!"
"I didn't allow anything." Kuzan sniffed. "He defeated me fair and square."
Sakazuki barely heard him, judging by the way he was starting to steam, he didn't hear much of anything.
"If you won't do the deed then I'll do it myself!"
"Good luck!" Aokiji called at his back.
"...you'll need it."
Kuzan waited until he was absolutely certain the madman had gone out of earshot before he finally allowed some measure of strain to show on his face. Allowing his head to rest against the cool metal of his desk he sighed, he sighed, quietly.
"You'll need it too, kid."
His fist struck the steel, denting the frame as though it were made of plastic. The reason for his frustration was almost painfully obvious.
Like it or not the boy was his flesh and blood; a painful fact he'd worked terribly hard to keep secret over the years, a secret that was likely going to get the kid killed.
Having so tried to hard to keep him out of harms way in the first place, he felt his absence most keenly. The blond strayed down such a dark path without his memories there to guide him, but that had been the plan all along. Not for him to lose himself and become everything he despised, but really, it was the only way for him to survive without being hunted down and put to death. Now, he was gone again, doubtlessly back to Water Seven, and he had the very hounds of hell barking at his heels. Sakazuki was by no means a pushover. He was cruel, ruthless, and above all, vicious. He'd do whatever it took to make certain Hard Contact never saw a second sunrise, much less a third.
Out of the frying pan and right back into the fire.
And thus, Aokiji was left at a loss. There was nothing he could say, nothing he could do, to reverse the events of Enies Lobby. His bounty would skyrocket because of this.
Not even he knew what was going to come out of this fiasco..
...he could only pray the boy stayed out of harm's way.
"Arararara, I hope you're ready for this, Naruto...
(...Several Days Later...)
(UGH, this is getting to be a thing, isn't it!?)
Naruto gawped at the poster thrust before his face.
He was still trying to readjust to the fact that they were safely back in Water Seven to begin with; that he and Robin were alive, much less safe and sound. Add to that a slew of complications that apparently came with being an overprotective parent to be as well ass having added ice to his new repertoire of elements and he was just about ready to call it a week. Alas, this was not to be, as he woke one morning to find that he'd gone from a minor pirate to outright scum of the earth in the eyes of the World Government.
"My bounty is what...?"
They'd changed his wanted poster again he realized peripherally; someone had managed to sneak a snapshot of him during the last week and it looked outright...well...menacing, if he was truly honest with himself. The fact likely had something to do with the timing of said photo op; probably because he'd been in the middle of stomping some poor sod half to death. In his mind, the man had gotten off easy. He could've easily chopped the idiot's hand off for daring to grope Robin's butt!
More jarring still, was the number beneath the new image.
Six hundred and sixty six million, six thousand, six hundred and sixty six. So many 6's there! Nine of them! This wasn't funny -oh, yes it was!- not at all! The longer he looked at it, the more his eyes rolled. That high?! I can't believe it! Too high! He felt as though the ground itself was about to give way beneath his feet.
"Ha?" Luffy poked his head over the twitching blond's shoulder, frowning. "HEY! No fair! Why's your bounty higher than mine?!
"You think I WANT it this high?!" Naruto lowed! "Everyone's got one now! Even Nami!"
The blond hissed quietly as he rubbed the rising welt on the back of his head, eyes narrow.
"What the hell?!"
Robin laughed softly.
"Well, at least yours is higher than mine."
All eyes turned to the poster held in her hand.
"No fair!" Luffy whined! "It's higher than mine, too!"
A/N: Aaaaaand I HAVE DONE IT! Now, tell me if you want Naruto and Robin to go their separate way from the Strawhats! I NEED to know this to decide how the story will progress! If they leave, YES, they will receive their own ship courtesy of Water Seven.
If you guys insist they stay, well...we'll follow canon.
But I don't WANT to follow canon! T_T
As a side note if they stay, the Thriller Bark is likely NOT happening for Naruto and Robin. That's right. Not. Happening. At the most, it'll be very condensed, because aside from meeting the ever amusing Brooke, I just don't see how it contributes to the grand plan I have for this chapter. Let me know if you want me to do otherwise, because either way, things are about to go WILDLY off kilter pretty damn soon as we see a shift in cannon events...
And with that, its back to bed for me and more painkillers to recover.
Hope ya'll enjoyed the update! I sincerely look forward to your reviews on this chapter when I wake up!
So in the immortal words of Atlas...
...review, would you kindly? Things go nuts next chapter! Don't believe me? HAVE A LOOK!
Naruto threw a blow and hissed as he nearly lost his hand for it his efforts.
"Do you see now the futility of your efforts?"
"Bite me, magma boy!"
Dancing backwards the hybrid snatched up his sword and smashed it into the soil, sheathe first.
Roots and rock rose at his command, a veritable avalanche of earth roaring forward as the entire grove rose to swallow the towering Admiral. And for a fleeting instant Naruto thought it might work. He willed the earth to bend, to twist and warp around the furious Sakazuki smothering his seething element. Naruto lobbed a torrent of ice after it, forcing it to harden, to still, to cool and contain the writhing admiral. His hands trembled from the force of controlling dual elements at once, the strain causing cracks to splinter across his face. Still, it held...
...until Akainu just dissolved the whole thing.
"Give up, you fool!" the Red Dog roared! "You're only delaying the inevitable. I'll kill you and catch up to them!
The blond flashed his opponent a bloody, cheeky grin, coughing up red.
"Then I'll last as long as it takes. As long as they live."
"You'll die long before then, imbecile!"
"We'll just see about that!"
Then they clashed.