Olivia was dying.
She could feel blood trickling down her chest from CP9's strange martial arts on top of her wounds from her capture and imprisonment. Without immediate medical treatment Olivia knew that she would bleed out.
Unfortunately the World Government was currently setting her home island on fire. Thousands of years of history was burning to ashes, with the archeologists dedicated to protecting it soon to follow. Chaos raged inside the Tree of Knowledge as Olivia and her teachers, companions, and friends rushed to save as many books as possible.
But all Olivia knew was that she was dying.
Tears began to flow down her face, and she knew it had nothing to do with the smoke that was billowing around the main room of the great library. Guilt and regret weighed heavily on Olivia's heart as she realized how she had failed Robin. She had grown up so much, to think that her little girl knew how to read the ancient words!
It wasn't supposed to end this way. The archeologists had tried so hard to remain hidden, taking precaution after precaution to avoid the ever watching eyes of the government. They had all cut off all ties from Ohara in an attempt to keep their loved ones safe. Now all Olivia could do was hope that the strange giant with the 'D' initial could get her daughter off of the island before it was wiped off the face of the map.
The ground was shaking from the constant bombardment, the air whistled with cannonballs flying through the air and the sound of explosions roared when they hit the ground. The fire crackled as if it were laughing at the foolish archeologists' attempts to preserve history. As if throwing books into a lake were really better than letting them burn. But the dedicated people continued on, many with tears of their own, trying against all odds to let the knowledge reach the future. They could not abandon hope in the future others would be living in.
And every single one of them knew that they were going to die.
Olivia's vision began to cloud. Dully she realized that the smoke might get her before the fire. Fate was a strange thing, she decided. Six years ago she thought that she would fulfill the dream her husband had died for. As they had set off it never crossed Olivia's mind that she would never see her brother, sister-in-law, and niece again. Never in her wildest dreams did she ever think that Jaguar D Saul would be the one protecting Robin in her stead.
Olivia was finding it harder and harder to move. She and her colleges had saved thousands of books, with thousands more left on their shelves. Between the blood loss, smoke inhalation, and heat Olivia just had no more energy to draw from. She found herself standing beside Professor Clover, the man she had studied under and admired above all others. Robin had been lucky to learn from him, the sheer wealth of information he had memorized was nothing short of astounding.
The professor was making some strange gurgling noises when he breathed. The gunshot he had suffered at the hands of the bastard Spandine must be affecting him more than he let on. He gave Olivia a small smile when he saw she was near.
"She really is a genius. Her desire and capacity to learn is beyond any I've ever seen," he rasped. More tears began to flow down Olivia's face. She had failed as a mother. Not only had she missed it as her daughter studied, and learned, and became an accredited archeologist (at the age of eight!); but she had failed to keep her little Robin safe. Now there was no guarantee that Robin would escape death or capture. All Olivia could do was hope a mother's hope that her daughter would survive and reach an uncertain future.
Because right now Olivia was dying.
The great tree was beginning to creak in an unnatural manner. Someone begin to sob and another shout obscenities against the government. Olivia knew that they all only had a couple of minutes at most until the Tree of Knowledge fell, crushing them all beneath the weight of the history they all tried to decipher. Really, it was remarkable that it had lasted as long as it did, as if the tree itself was protesting against the horrible injustice of the matter.
"This is another history humanity has chosen," Olivia would not have heard what Professor Clover whispered had she not been right next to him. The look of pain and disappointment etched into his face as he began crying was too much for her to bear. As she turned away in shame, Olivia almost missed his final words.
"Oh how shallow humans are."
The creaking became louder, and the floor began to tilt. Archeologists were thrown off of their feet. Furniture began to slide across the floor, some if it on fire. Books tumbled out of their shelves, never to be read again.
Olivia looked up one last time before she died.
Memories began to bubble up, flashing in her mind's eye. Reading and studying in the Tree, her wedding, Robin's birth, her husband's funeral, the day she left, all of the forbidden history she had learned, the marine's capture, and the bittersweet reunion with her daughter. And while she had many regrets, one in particular stuck out.
"Robin, I'm so sorry I couldn't leave you any words as your mother."
With a mighty crash the Tree of Knowledge finally fell, and with the evidence that Ohara had stood against the world. Even with the tree gone the Buster Call continued on, the government hell-bent on leaving no trace of the archeologist's sins behind.
But even as Olivia died, Robin lived.
The archeologists had been right to trust in the future. Even though it took twenty years, the last student of Ohara's Tree of Knowledge found a new home and new friends to live with. She continued the research of her mentors, discovering and untangling a lost history unknown to the general public.
AN: This fic came when I reread Robin's flashback. I wondered why Olivia chose to stay and throw books out of a window instead of escaping with her daughter. Really, wouldn't it increase Robin's chances of surviving into the future if she had a capable adult with experience hiding from the marines help take care of her? Saul's awesome and all that, but he's not exactly inconspicuous. So I decided that the shigans she received earlier had actually done more damage than shown, not to mention she is the lone survivor of an attack that killed 33 others, and was imprisoned by the marines, who make a habit of torturing people for information. So this is basically my interpretation of Olivia's last moments. Hope you enjoyed it!
Note the Second: In a testament to Oda's preservation of detail, the books were saved. In the panels showing the books getting thrown into the lake, the title of Brag Men is shown on one of them, the very same book Nami got her Little Garden info from. Oda confermed in an SBS that the archeologist's last moments were not in vain. Maybe a government official had a Devil Fruit that restored paper. After all, it's only the poneglyphs that are illegal, the rest is valuable history.