Naruto ran. He was only eleven, so he was really doing rather well, all things considered, but he still wasn't good enough at stealth to hide from everyone.
So many villagers were coming after him. None of this was his fault! Why were there so many people trying to kill him? Sure, most of them were drunk, and Ayame-neechan had explained that people did stupid stuff and acted a lot dumber than usual when they were drunk, but that still didn't explain it!
"Demon! You won't get away this time!" And why did they always call him that?!
Naruto took a wrong turn and ran into an alleyway; it had a dead end. Cursing himself for forgetting where he was, he turned around. He'd seen some shinobi get up walls this high before, but he couldn't do that yet. He brought his fists up, hoping to be able to fight off his attackers, when an odd blur caught the corner of his eye. He turned, and when he saw that there actually was something there, he pointed and shouted.
"Look!" His finger went wild, and most of them ignored him, but one or two did deign to send a glance.
"What is that?" A random villager wondered. Naruto waited until all of the villagers were looking away, then weaved through them and slipped out of the alleyway. Several seconds after he was out of sight of the mouth of the alley, he heard outraged, drunken cries behind him. He turned towards where the blur, for lack of a better term, had been headed.
Well, might as well go see what it was that saved me.
Naruto walked over to a crater and coughed a bit on the dust that was floating around it. He put an arm over his mouth and walked closer.
Weird shape… it looked like a paw.
He edged a bit closer, and peered in. There lay an unconscious woman, who was covered in scrapes and bruises. Naruto stared for a few seconds, coughed a bit more, and then eased himself over the edge of the hole and stumbled down the short incline over to the woman.
"Ma'am?" He poked her shoulder. He had to be as polite as possible. What if she ended up hating him like the villagers?
He poked her again, but nothing happened. He looked closer at her. She was pretty, he guessed, but she was old. Well, old to him. She looked nowhere near as old as Jii-san, or even Teuchi-san from the ramen shop, but she was a lot older than Naruto, and Ayame-nee-chan, and probably older than Iruka-sensei too. He looked at her body and frowned at the rips in her clothes. He knew it cost a lot to fix clothes or buy new ones. Then he turned away, blushing. Her shirt was pretty revealing, though it still covered up what it should, and her chest was even bigger than his Oiroke no Jutsu's! He thought to himself for a few moments, wondering what the best way to do this would be, and then just shrugged and walked back to her head. He knelt down, picked up her arms, and started dragging her to the hospital.
Naruto frowned. This woman was heavy for a kid like him. She was skinny, but she was really tall too. He reached up to the hospital doors and knocked. The door opened and a medic looked out at him. A quick flash of distaste crossed his face, but he schooled it behind a blank expression.
Naruto appreciated the attempt.
"What can I help you with?" His voice held barely any emotion, but Naruto ignored that. He pointed behind him.
"A woman fell out of the sky and landed in this crater shaped like a big paw and now she won't wake up." Naruto rattled off, playing off the idiot role.
The medic blinked.
"And she doesn't look like a ninja, so I brought her here." Naruto added. The medic stared at him, then pushed his way out to the unconscious woman and checked her pulse. The medic picked her up.
"Come inside, stay in the waiting room, and don't touch anything or ask questions." The medic ordered as he rushed towards the doors that led to the rest of the hospital.
Naruto gave him one of his patented grins. "Yes, sir!"
Naruto kicked his legs back and forth under the chair. He was still pretty short, so his legs didn't quite reach the ground, but he wasn't allowed to touch anything, so he wasn't going to leave the chair. If he did, he might get in trouble. If he pulled a random prank, he was fine with the consequences, but right now, it wasn't a prank, and he didn't want to get in trouble.
Naruto looked up as the door opened, but didn't get up, as much as he wanted to. "Jii-san!"
The Hokage smiled down at him. "Hello, Naruto. I heard you were the one that found this woman in the forest?"
Naruto nodded. "Uh-huh. She was in this crater a couple hundred meters away from the village. She was in one of the training grounds."
"I already sent someone to investigate. Would you like to come with me to see her?"
Naruto nodded. "Yeah. She was probably the blur that got those drunken villagers distracted so that I could run away, so I want to thank her." Naruto didn't notice the Sarutobi's flinch.
"Well, then, come along." The Hokage walked through the hospital door and Naruto walked along beside him, chattering as he went.
"And then that stupid Sasuke got five out of five with the shuriken, but I told him that I would-" He was cut off by the medic.
"She's in this room. Hokage-sama, would you like to go in alone or will the boy come too?" The medic's face was carefully empty of emotion.
The Hokage smiled genially at him. "I'll take Naruto-kun in with me for now, and if sensitive information comes up, I'll have him stand outside the door."
The medic nodded. "As you wish." He opened the door, motioned them in, and then left as the door closed behind them.
Naruto hopped over to the bed and stood next to the woman's head. He tilted his head to the side. "She doesn't look too hurt."
"Yes, the report I got mentioned that she seemed to be healing remarkably quickly."
"I can hear you, you know."
Naruto and the Hokage froze.
Impressive, that she managed to hide the fact that she was awake…
"Are you feeling well?" The Hokage asked. Naruto was sitting on one of the chairs now, and the Hokage made his way to the other. The woman didn't make any move, though her eyes opened, tracking them both as they moved through the room.
"As well as can be expected after what happened. If I may ask, where am I?" She had a small smile on her face, but Sarutobi didn't really feel that it was genuine.
"You're in Konohagakure!" Naruto threw his hands in the air. "The greatest village in the Elemental Nations! And I'm gonna be Hokage one day, dattebayo!" He grinned widely at her, and Sarutobi noticed some genuine amusement come into her expression.
"Fufufufu." She chuckled. "Is that so? I'll have to ask you to forgive me: I don't know of the Elemental Nations, or any of what you just said. Last I knew, I was on the Sabaody Archipelago."
Naruto and the Hokage stared at her.
"You mean to say… you are from outside the Elemental Nations?" Sarutobi asked.
"If you could show me a map?" the woman asked.
"Later, Ms…" The Hokage trailed off, leaving it an open question.
"Nico Robin." She held out a hand from her position on the bed.
"Sarutobi Hiruzen, current Hokage. And the orange blur next to you is Uzumaki Naruto."
"And I'm gonna be the next Hokage, dattebayo!" He pointed at her, as if daring her to doubt him.
She chuckled again, hand delicately held up to her mouth. "So that is your dream, is it? But I am still going to have to ask, what is the Hokage?"
Naruto stared at her, eyes wide and mouth open. Sarutobi chuckled at his expression, and then turned to speak with Ms. Nico again. "Konohagakure is run as a military dictatorship, and the Hokage is the highest position in the government. I am the current Hokage."
She seemed to mull over the information presented to her. "What sort of military do you have? Are you affiliated with the World Government?"
"Shinobi. Traditionally, the Hokage is the most powerful of the shinobi, or kunoichi, if that is the case, though there are certain other considerations which must be taken into account as well. I know of no World Government, so no to that question."
Robin frowned. "Shinobi? I'm afraid I've never heard the term before. Though if you've never heard of the World Government…" She trailed off, frowning.
"Ne, what's the World Government?" Naruto asked.
"Naruto, ask later. Right now, I think she would like to know what a ninja is." Sarutobi suggested, and smiled as Naruto launched into a detailed, but hardly comprehensible explanation of what ninja were. Robin smiled and nodded along, and Sarutobi felt as if she actually did understand the garbled explanation that Naruto had given her.
Robin smiled at Naruto. "You remind me of my captain."
"Captain?" The Hokage latched onto the information.
"Of the Thousand Sunny, now that the Going Merry is no more." She 'explained,' the sparkle in her eye showing that she did indeed understand just how little she'd actually told them.
"Ah… And what would those be?" Sarutobi asked her to elaborate, somewhat irritated.
She smiled. "Our ships."
The Hokage raised an eyebrow, though inside he was sighing heavily at how he was being led around by the nose. "So you lived on a ship. What did you do? Fishing, merchant work, cruise lines…?"
"Piracy." She stated, once again with a simple, benevolent smile; you could almost see a cute little heart in the middle of the sentence. Naruto and the Hokage stared at her for a few seconds.
"You're a pirate?!" Naruto shouted, staring at her, horrified. This pretty lady was a pirate?
Robin sat up in the bed and propped herself back up onto her pillow. "There are two kinds of pirates in the world, Uzumaki-kun."
Naruto frowned, still looking at her warily. "Huh?"
Robin picked up a drawing pad and pen that had been left on the bedside table. She looked at the pen a bit oddly for a few seconds, and then put her pen to the paper. Quickly, she sketched out a few little pirate flags. "There are the Peace Mains, and the Morganeers. Tell me, Uzumaki-kun, when you think of pirates, what do you think of?"
Naruto pursed his lips, thinking. His face still scrunched up in thought, he answered the question while trying not to insult the woman in front of him. "Pirates are…" He trailed off.
"Do not worry about insulting me. As I said before, there are two types of pirates, and I am most likely the other."
Naruto sighed and said what he'd been thinking. "Pirates steal things from innocent people on the ocean and set fire to their ships. They get drunk a lot and they don't fight like ninja. They run from the law, and sometimes they hurt port towns and pillage them or whatever." His face scrunched up. "And they're hairy."
Robin chuckled, and Sarutobi found himself joining in. "That's an interesting description. It's also quite similar to the description that the World Government prefers to use for all pirates. That is, for the most part, a description of the Morganeers, the truly villainous, though to the Marines, just flying the Jolly Roger is enough to allow them to arrest you. They are also the larger group of the two kinds." Robin showed him the paper and pointed to several flags. "The Buggy Pirates, the Kuroneko pirates, the Don Krieg Armada, the Arlong Pirates," Her finger twitched, "And once in the Grand Line, the BlackBeard Pirates, certain factions of Baroque Works," her voice slowed down a bit as she spoke on them, then sped back up. "God's Priests, if those men were to be considered pirates, they were more of an over-lording faction within Skypeia" She murmured, "The Silver Fox Pirates, the zombie crew of Thriller Bark,"
Naruto's eyes widened. Zombies?
"Shiki's group, and several crews that we met at Sabaody, like the some of the other Supernovas."
Sarutobi looked at the pirate flags she'd drawn. "You seem to have met quite a few."
Robin smiled at him, though the intent behind the disarming smile was a bit closer to that of a smirk. "I have not met them all, Hokage-san."
"Ne, ne. Nico-san, you gotta call him Hokage-sama. I get to call him Jii-san, but everybody else has gotta call him Hokage-sama." Naruto poked her in the arm. Robin smiled again, amused.
"And if I could prove that I'm the most dangerous person in the room?" She asked.
Naruto folded his arms. "Nuh-uh. You can't be the most dangerous."
Sarutobi coughed. "If we could get back to your explanation?"
Robin nodded. "The other kind is Peace Mains. Crews that are not on the side of the law, and do not care if they break the law, but do not partake in the evils of the Morganeers. These crews are closer to being adventurers and explorers than murderers and pillagers. Crews that want nothing more than to have fun on the sea without interference from the World Government, and only fight the Marines when attacked, or fighting Morganeers when they don't agree with the actions. Tell me, do the Peace Mains seem all that bad to you?"
Naruto shook his head slowly.
"I thought not. My crew is one of the Peace Mains. The Straw Hat Pirates." She pointed fondly at the largest of the pirate flags she'd drawn, the one with the, would you look at that, straw hat. "Some others that we've met would be the Rumbar Pirates, the Rolling Pirates, not many others, but still fun-loving, still wonderfully childish, immature, powerful but kind." She ran a hand over the picture in the center. "And now I find myself worrying for them."
"Why are you worried?" The Hokage asked.
Robin shook her head sadly. "I don't know what happened to them. I was one of the last to disappear, if what happened to the others is the same as what happened to me. Seeing as I am no longer at Sabaody, I can't say what happened, and I can't say where the others are. They could be anywhere." She looked out the window, not smiling, not frowning; she was just blank.
"I'm sure they'll be okay." Naruto said, and put a hand on her elbow. Robin reached over absentmindedly and pet his head.
Naruto grabbed at his head. "Hey!"
Robin chuckled again. "Sorry. You just seemed to be acting like one of my crewmembers for a second, and that's how we cheer him up."
Naruto looked at her for a second, and then looked down shyly. "Ano… Thank you, Nico-san. Because you showed up, the villagers stopped chasing me, and I managed to get away." He looked up at her sharp gasp.
"Why… why were these villagers chasing you?" Her voice was strained. Unbeknownst to Naruto, the Hokage was acting somewhat uncomfortable to the side, a guilty look on his face.
"Ano… I don't know." Naruto shrugged. "But I found you after I ran away and brought you here to the hospital, so I guess we saved each other!" He looked up at her hopefully.
She smiled softly at him. "I suppose we did."
Sarutobi coughed. "Naruto-kun, if you could go outside for a minute? I'd like to speak with Miss Nico here about some classified information."
Naruto hesitated, but then nodded. "I'll be right outside the door, jii-san."
Robin waited until the door closed. "Why?"
Sarutobi sighed, and it seemed as if a great weight had settled on his shoulders. "It's an S-ranked secret, I'm afraid. I don't know enough about you to tell you."
Robin's eyes narrowed. "I know what it is like to be a child and be attacked by the people of your hometown for irrational reasons. I think that knowing about what happened to him would be beneficial."
Sarutobi raised an eyebrow. "Beneficial to whom?"
Robin's arms stiffened at her sides, and Sarutobi felt her chakra twist, though it didn't feel as though she'd actually used any. Then he felt a pair of hands cupping his chin, and realized that the woman in front of him was the cause.
"I was not bluffing when I said that I was dangerous." Her voice was cold. "I am a Straw-Hat first and foremost, and I pride myself as an archeologist, but I spent many years as an assassin and a spy, and have been on the run from the wrath of the entire world since I was eight. I have managed to avoid government capture for twenty years, and I feel quite certain that I would be able to escape this hospital quite easily."
"So, it would be beneficial to the boy to know why, even if the reason is completely illogical; it would be beneficial to you, because I won't break your neck, or even," Sarutobi felt her chakra twist again, and an odd sensation came from behind him. "Your spine; and it would be beneficial to me, because I intend to protect this boy while I am here, and would like to have a solid argument to refute their claims."
Sarutobi stared at her for a few seconds, and then chuckled sourly. "I don't know what sort of technique you used, but I will say that few people are capable of threatening me quite as easily as you seem to assume you have. If I could see a better example of this technique of yours?" Robin's eyes narrowed further.
"Take a look at your chest." She said, her voice still cold. Sarutobi looked down, as if to humor her, and then froze as he saw a hand coming from his chest.
"Doce Fleur." Robin said, and a dozen hands sprouted out of the walls, bed, and Robin's own shoulders.
Sarutobi stared. "…An interesting jutsu. Though I can't see exactly how it is possible."
Robin's glared at him. "The result of eating a cursed fruit, and it gave me this power, at a price. Part of that price was the hatred of my town, which called me a demon and a monster, and my only friends constituted of the archeologists at the Tree of Knowledge and, for a short while before he died in the Buster Call, a giant that had washed up on the beach. Even my uncle was indifferent to me, while my aunt and cousin treated me like a servant. My father dead, my mother on an archeological expedition, and then the Buster Call… I was forced to grow up very early in life." Her eyes had a slightly faraway look in them, though she was still completely alert.
Her eyes darted back to Sarutobi, and the hands around him tightened slightly. "I have told you the basics of the beginning of my story, now tell me the child's."
Sarutobi sighed. "I can't tell you everything, but I can tell you what was told to the villagers. But first, you'll have to remove your… appendages, or I may be forced to arrest you on account of attacking the Hokage." The arms vanished in a few bursts of sakura petals.
"Loath as I am to admit, that was probably the closest I've come to a true loss in several years. While I am sure I could have gotten out of it, it would have been very difficult." Sarutobi smiled gently at the woman. She smiled back, eyes shut, and her words were like poisoned honey.
"I would appreciate an explanation, Hokage-sama." Sarutobi sighed. This woman, strange as she was, was probably the most dangerous non-shinobi he'd met in a long time. So after putting up a privacy seal, he told her the public story, told her about the Kyuubi and the sealing, told her about the Law and about Naruto's treatment.
"So the drunken mobs are definitely a rare occurrence?" Robin asked.
Sarutobi nodded fervently. "Of course. If they occurred more than they do, I would have ANBU guarding him like I did when he was younger. Now he's had shinobi training, and since the shinobi are better at following orders than civilians, only civilians come after him without reason, and he can usually run away easily. His stealth is at the level of a high genin, at least, though I doubt that's from hiding from civilians so much as it is hiding from his teachers and victims when he pulls pranks."
Robin frowned, and shoved the topic back in the direction it had been going earlier. "You wish not to tell him. That is… unadvisable."
Sarutobi sighed. "I understand where you're coming from, I really do, but I haven't told him for years, and if I suddenly told him now, he'd lose all trust in me, and probably in everyone else."
Robin crossed her arms. "So you're just never going to tell him? I've seen people that can take in information that big without blinking an eye, even disregard it as unimportant, but Uzumaki-san does not seem like that sort of person."
Sarutobi smiled sadly at her. "Actually, I was planning on telling him when he made genin, which is most likely going to happen in about four months."
Robin nodded slowly. "I can… accept that as somewhat reasonable."
"Now," Sarutobi leaned back in his chair. "What are you going to do? How are you going to get back home?"
Robin shook her head. "I don't know if I can. First, you'll have to tell me what you can about where we are right now. Simply telling me which of the Blues we are in would suffice." Though whether or not the Blues even exist here is debatable. Perhaps it is simply their knowledge? They seemed surprised that I was not from these 'Elemental Countries,' so perhaps they simply have little information on the world beyond their collective borders? But they don't seem to know about Devil Fruits either, and one would have washed up on their shores at some point in the past.
"Blues?" Sarutobi asked.
Robin's face was blank.
… This is not good…
"Tell me," Robin started hesitantly. "Has anyone, to your knowledge, ever developed strange powers after eating a colorful fruit covered in swirls? One that tastes especially horrible?"
Sarutobi stared at her. "No, I do not believe so. Several of our ninja do have strange powers, as you put it, but those are genetic."
Robin frowned. "From what Uzumaki-san told me, I believe I already know the answer, but do you ever use guns?" I hope I'm not right.
"I apologize, Nico-san. I have never heard of these 'guns.'"
I was right.
"To think…" Robin started off, somewhat dazed, "To think that a paramecia user would have the power to cause one to transcend worlds as easily as this…"
The Hokage stared at her. Transcend worlds? Did she mean she was from a different dimension? That would be impossible; something only possible in the children's stories he gave to his grandson. He noticed that her hands were shaking and decided to bring Naruto back. She'd seemed to enjoy his presence, so perhaps his presence would help her calm down.
Sarutobi broke the privacy seal on the room, and called out, "Naruto, you can come in now!"
"Okay, jii-san!" Naruto rushed in and jumped back onto the chair next to Robin. "Ano, Robin-san? Are okay?"
Robin slowly looked over at him as he shook her shoulder and smiled weakly. "I'm just a little shocked at something I realized recently. I'm also a little worried, since I have nowhere to stay, and the money I have on me will probably be worthless here."
"What currency do you use?" The Hokage asked, curious.
"Beli." Robin reached into a pocket and held it out for him to examine. "Please allow me to hold on to it. If I ever do get home, I'd at least like to hold on to enough money to buy a few books or outfits."
"Oi, Robin!" She looked over at the excited young blonde. "You said you were a pirate, right? So did you have a bounty or something?"
"Yes. When I left, my bounty was approximately 80 million Beli. I don't know how much that is in the local currency, but a hundred beli might be enough to buy you a coffee or a small, non-alcoholic drink; a thousand beli is enough to buy several loaves of bread; twenty million beli was the highest bounty in East Blue , which is the weakest of the four Blues; two hundred million beli was enough to buy us the wood for our new ship and the work done on it, and the wood was extremely expensive as well."
"So," Naruto's face scrunched up again. "That's a lot?"
Robin was amused. "Yes. It was quite a bit, third highest in the crew. If you'd like to compare it to others in my world, then there were eleven rookie pirates that made it through the first half of the Grand Line and managed a bounty of over 100 million Beli, known as the Eleven Supernova."
Naruto's mouth opened wide. "Wow..."
"The Grand Line?" Sarutobi asked.
Robin took up another piece of paper, and drew on it again. "The Grand Line is a strip of extremely dangerous ocean that circles the world." There was a circle drawn on the paper now, with a band around it, the backside dotted to show that it was on the other side. She drew in a slimmer strip on either side. "It is surrounded on either side by the Calm Belts, which have no air or ocean currents, and are infested by gargantuan sea kings."
Naruto's face furled again; Robin noticed and took care of his confusion. "Large, eel shaped sea monsters. The ones in the Calm Belt have eyes that are several hundred times the size of our ship." She wiggled her fingers at him. "You would be less than a fruit fly to them."
"Are they bigger than the Hokage monument?" Naruto asked, naming the biggest thing he could think of.
Sarutobi pointed out the window, "It's just outside the window if you look."
"Well… that is awfully convenient." Robin said, and glanced out at the mountainside. "Maybe the head."
"One of the heads on the mountain?" Naruto asked, eyes shining.
"Of course not." Robin said dismissively, smirk playing on her lips. Naruto drooped. "The sea king's head."
Naruto's head shot back up. "Their heads are bigger than the mountain?!"
"The big ones are." Robin answered.
There was a cough behind them and they turned away from the window to look at Sarutobi. "If we could get back to the matter at hand?"
"What were we talking about?" Naruto asked.
"We were talking about Nico-san's current situation regarding money and living arrangements. She has money, but it's not in Ryo, and she doesn't have anywhere to stay."
"She can stay with me!" Naruto offered. She'd helped him get away from the villagers, even if she hadn't meant to, and she was nice to him, so why not?
Robin chuckled. "That's very kind of you. However, are you sure your apartment is big enough?"
Naruto frowned, and then shook his head slowly.
Sarutobi looked at the two. As little as the woman had actually told him, he understood that she was fond of children and apparently understood perfectly well what Naruto went through daily; she'd also said that she would protect him from the villagers if she saw him being chased again and would argue on his behalf if she heard people badmouthing him because of the fox. She couldn't stay in the boy's apartment, but the apartment complex…
"If I may make a suggestion?" Sarutobi asked. The other two nodded, one eager and hyperactive, the other slow and elegant. "There are a number of empty apartments in Naruto's building. At least one of them is near his. If you'd like, you could find temporary lodging there. The building is a government sponsored home for orphans, young shinobi that have nowhere to live on their pay, and elderly or disabled former shinobi who can no longer work and are living on a pension."
Robin looked at him unblinkingly for a few seconds. "I believe that would work. What work would I have to do for the lodgings and money to buy myself necessities?"
Sarutobi smiled, slightly vindictive. She shouldn't have shown him that power of hers earlier. It was almost like a shadow clone, only no chakra draining! "How do you feel about doing paperwork at the Hokage tower?"
A/N- Yes, I did start a new story. This is one that I've actually had in my head for a while, and thought I'd get up now that I've finally started an account instead of just roaming aimlessly. I've read one or two stories where Zoro gets sent to Konoha after getting hit by Kuma's Slap of Awesome, but nothing with any of the other crew members. A few had to go where they went if they were going to get the training they were supposed to get and learn the information that they needed and make the connections they needed (Franky, Luffy, Zoro), and, while Robin met the Revolutionaries, they've got Sanji's connection to Ivankov for that. Besides, Robin's the only one that I could conceivably think of that could…
Never mind, no giving away the plot.
For those of you that are worried about various things, here are a few notes:
Robin won't be involved in any pairings. Playful flirting, probably, but nothing more than that, and yes, Kakashi will be involved in that. It will be Played for Laughs.
She will help more than just Naruto, he's just the first. With all the children she meets that are troubled or that come to her with their problems (and word will spread among the children), she'll tell her story and help them see just how much worse their situation could be: AKA- this is your miserable past on steroids.
She will end up working with Konoha, though not as a shinobi, and she will learn some chakra manipulation, but she'll focus on her Devil Fruit more.