Through their great adventures, Zoro always loved his nakama despite never showing it. However, there was this one person whom he never trusted; Nico Robin. Luffy took her in as nakama, but what was she exactly? Nevertheless, Zoro ignored her and dismissed her presence during their adventures.
It took Enel to strike a deadly blow to her for him to care for her. He never knew what forced him to catch her; was it natural instinct or something more. When she fell, he felt an unfamiliar tightening in his chest he never felt before. That vulnerability he saw in her hollow eyes really struck him, swiftly, he caught her and broke her fall. That was the first time he did not ignore her.
The second time was when she cried for her life in the tower of Enies Lobby. Her melancholy face pierced his heart. To see this side of her she hid so well, to see the façade come off to reveal the beautiful soul beneath certainly left Zoro breathless. He finally saw what she truly was; a lost soul looking for companionship. Her deep desire so simple yet so complex. That was the first time he understood her.
Zoro fought with his life against CP9, so did the others, but he did so with a different intention in his heart; to free Robin of the hurt of the pain, the save her from lonliness and rejection. Adrenaline and determination captivated his heart to fight for her and her right to live. That was the first time he felt for her.
After defeating the giraffe devil-fruit eater, he obtained the key which freed Robin's handcuffs. Coincidentally, he had managed to free her metaphorically and physically. Secretly, he was proud of his coincidental accomplishment, and euphoric that Robin would finally be with them once more.
The third time was the night after the Enies Lobby incident. It was late at night, near midnight. The rest of the crew had fallen fast asleep on board their new ship; the Thousand Sunny. He was on night watch, but took to star gazing instead, admiring the stars as they shone brightly against the black background. He found himself captivated by Mother Nature's beauty before soft footsteps snapped him out of his admiration. The soft footsteps were accompanied by the creaking of the wooden spiral stairwell. He took cautious steps forward, his katanas at the ready. It was only until that enigmatic, angelic face gazed upon him did he lower his guard. Robin smiled at him gently before striding pass him. He stumbled across the realisation that that smile was different from before; it was genuine rather than plain polite.
She took a seat on the cushioned seats near the window and gazed at the scenary below them. Zoro was intrigued by her actions and went to sit beside her. He could see the moonlight highlighting her features smoothly. She looked extremely enchanting… almost as if an angel herself.
"Zoro-san, I hope you don't mind me here." She murmured quietly.
"Nah, I don't mind." She shot him another genuine smile which went straight through his heart.
"Zoro-san, I just came here to give you a private thank you."
"For Enies Lobby, for Skypiea. For everything basically." She giggled feebly before leaning against the window.
"There's no need to thank for that. We're nakama remember."
"I remember… but with you it's quite a different affair." He widened his eyes in suspicion. What did she mean?
"Robin… I have no idea what you're talking about-"
"Well at least for me it's a different affair with you. I've come to have developed feelings for you. I thought it was something I could shake off but I can't, I think I love you Zoro…" He voice trailed off and she started to sob silently. Zoro was at a loss; why was she breaking down?
"Robin! Stop crying ok-"
"I know you still don't trust me… I know you'll reject me and hate me even more for caring about you. I just wanted to tell you so that I wouldn't have to hide this burden in my heavy heart." She buried her face in her hands. Her aura so sublime, yet solemn, it killed Zoro's heart to see her in such a miserable state. He took her in his arms and held her tightly.
"Robin, don't be crazy. Why would I hate you? In fact I think it's brave of you to take initiative and confess… I mean I think I feel the same for you too Robin, but I was too scared to make the first move. Afraid you'd reject me too or get the wrong idea." He sobbing ceased and she looked deep in Zoro's eyes. She leaned against his chest; his breath tickling her smooth skin. She felt so drawn to him at this very intimate moment, and she felt so relieved that he would reciprocate her feelings. She started to laugh and Zoro was perplexed once more.
"I never knew the most fearless man on Earth would actually be scared of something as small as rejection." Zoro joined her in the laughter and lifted her face to be levelled to his.
"Well just proves how love makes people do crazy things." He took her lips to his. Her soft lips brushed against him send fluttering fleeting feelings in his heart. Zoro never experienced this sort of euphoria and was ecstatic at the newfound experience; love. Robin followed his lead and kissed him back passionately. The loving couple were showered in the gentle rays of the moon, indulging in the love they held for each other. Zoro felt that he could hold this kiss forever, that he could hold Robin forever.
They broke the kiss reluctantly and stared in each other's eyes longingly. Zoro caressed her ebony hair lightly and she smiled gratefully. They basked in each other's warm embrace, grateful for each other's presence and requited love.
"Zoro, now I'm sure."
"That I love you." He smiled back sheepishly.
"And I love you too Nico Robin." They then proceeded to make passionate love, drunk of each other till the sun rose the next morning. That was the third time he did not ignore Nico Robin and the first time he started to acknowledge and embrace her presence.