One Piece is the property of Eiichiro Oda. Also, there's a bit of a graphic scene (involving some blood) in this chapter - just a warning.
"Serious discussion, okay? I'm full on booze and pizza and I'm feeling honest."
"Fufufu, yes, sir."
"We've been married for a while now, yes?"
"Two and a half years," Robin kissed Zoro's cheek and giggled at the sudden splash of rouge left behind by both her lip gloss and his blush. "Yes."
"We've had some fun, done some traveling. Just you and me."
Zoro breathed a sigh of air and swaddled himself and Robin deep into the blanket that surrounded them. "Paint me a family portrait. What's your idea of you, me, and x amount of children with x genders and all that."
"What a question!" Robin blushed. How Zoro was so easily able to read her mind, she would never know. "A girl. Named... Selah. I love that name, Selah."
"Any middle names?"
"Olvia. It's the least I can do, since Selah wouldn't have a grandmother to spoil her rotten." Robin gave a small chuckle. "Roronoa Olvia Selah. She would have black hair, your eyes or something lighter, like a milk chocolate colour. She'd blame both of us for her being freakishly tall."
The couple shares a laugh and Zoro added, "She'll blame you more than me."
"Quiet, Zoro. Anyway, you'll be a total softie around her. You'd call her 'Angel' or 'Princess' and stuff like that, but not in public." Robin wrapped her arms around Zoro's torso. "And she'll love us. And we'll love her to death. And we'll all love each other."
Zoro hummed in acknowledgment and pressed his lips to Robin's temple. "Okay. So, we have a game plan, technically."
Her curiosity nagged at her, even though she knee the answer before he could reply to her. "What are you getting at, Zoro?"
Zoro licked his lips, drawing Robin in close to his person. "I would love to start a family with you. And, of course, before we can do that, the one thing I need is you to, y'know, want to."
"But I'll lose my magnificent figure." Robin joked. Zoro didn't catch on immediately, as usual, so Robin continued, "Zoro, you have no idea how good that sounds. I mean, we won't even have to move or anything. Your house is big enough-"
"For the three of us. A-And I could build a nursery in one of the spare rooms. I'll take some time off from teaching the kids and let Johnny and Yosaku take over while look after our baby. Maybe I can stay home from work and do some shopping for stuff like a crib and blankets and whatever." Zoro paused, blushing. "Spoil you."
Robin smiled, deeply touched. She stroked his cheek gently. "With a father like you, she'll be the luckiest girl in the world."
"Or luckiest boy." Zoro added, smirking. With two fingers beneath Robin's chin, Zoro kissed Robin's lips gently, an action at which she chuckled softly. Zoro rasped, "Should we try tonight?"
"I just ate." Robin gestured to the empty pizza box with a tilt of her head. "I still want to give it some thought, okay?"
"Sure, of course." The swordsman nodded, sinking down and placing his head on Robin's lap. He smiled up at her, feigning a yawn. "Tell me a bedtime story, Robin."
The archeologist grinned, letting her fingers comb through her husband's hair. "Well, once upon a blue diamond ring, there was a brave and humble swordsman that presented his beautiful, intelligent wife with a more romantic dinner than goat cheese and bacon pizza before he suggested that they try and make a baby."
"That brave and humble swordsman probably didn't get the coupon book in the mail," Zoro grumbled.
"Shh-shh. Anyway, the brave and humble swordsman and his wife loved each other very much. Consequently, they were soon lucky enough to have their very own beautiful baby girl - or boy, what have you. For the story's sake, this child was a girl. Much like he had done with his wife, the swordsman was a fierce protector of his daughter. He conquered every paper cut with a kiss, and every broken heart with a hug. As brave as he was, the swordsman possessed a great fear."
Zoro quickly arched an eyebrow. "Fear? I'm not scared of anything."
"And I'm not talking about you." Robin snapped. Thoughtfully, she ran her fingers through the green hair present before her, reminiscent of the grass in her flower garden. "His greatest fear was losing idea of losing his baby girl terrified him. Perhaps this love for his daughter eclipsed his passion for every other determination that he left behind in his past, daughterless life. So he guarded her, on and on."
Anxious, the male inquired, "Does this story have a happy ending?"
The archaeologist smiled, bestowing a kiss on her husband's lips. "That'll be your decision."
Zoro blushed, raising a hand to twirl part of her hair between his fingers. "Thought you said I wasn't the brave swordsman."
"I may have lied." Robin smirked. "Shall we go to bed?"
With a grunt, Zoro kicked the pizza box off the bed - an action for which Robin scolded him for making a mess - and joined his wife under the covers. They took to a spooning position, a muscular frame closed protectively over a frail, curvy one. Zoro whispered, "You know, I am kind of scared of something."
Robin flipped over onto her other side, staring up at Zoro as he pulled her in close. "What would that be?"
"The day that story has to end," Zoro kissed her forehead gently. "Goodnight."
Both Robin and Zoro began preparing for the baby in the ways that they both saw fit. Though Robin recognized the fact that Zoro was getting ahead of himself, she watched, amused, as her husband sat in the study, working on the blueprints for a crib that he was determined to build with his own two hands. He'd bring home massive planks of wood that he'd lifted from the construction site to build said crib, studying already-made cribs from catalogues that he borrowed from Nami for a fee and not without gushing over Robin and Zoro's decision to have a baby.
Meanwhile, Robin became inclined to linger by the museum's daycare after declaring a bathroom break. The only time that she'd really seen the daycare was during her orientation, when it was barren and looked like nothing more than an abandoned nursery from a low-budget horror film. With summer vacation freeing the children from school, there came a surplus of small boys and girls with their employee parents. Children in large masses terrified Robin, but, with the possibility of having a few of her own soon enough, there was a learning experience available for her at the daycare.
After some negotiating and conversations with the museum manager, the following Monday was Robin's first day as a daycare tenant. Groggy-eyed children filed in as early as seven in the morning, unceremoniously shoved in by their parents who immediately went off to work in the gift shop or the front desk or in several other sections of the establishment. The children seemed almost dead, Robin observed, as they went on to lamely play with blocks or slump to the floor, napping on the rough carpet.
Her job wasn't to entertain the children, anyway.
A light tugging on her skirt caught her attention. A small voice asked, "Miss?"
Something melted Robin's heart about the sound itself and she looked down at the source, finding a small, fair-skinned boy in a beautiful traditional kimono. The top half of his scalp was shaved, the remainder of his jet black hair pulled into a puffy topknot. His cheeks were rosy and his eyelids drooping as he mumbled, "I have to go to the bathroom."
"O-Oh, of course, sweetie," Robin chirped, ecstatic about her first real one-on-one journey with a child from the daycare. "I'll show you where it is. Come!"
Robin held out one of her hands, prompting the boy to hold it. In reply, he looked up at her, stretching out his arms and wiggling his fingers. This boy, perfectly capable of walking on his own, wanted to be carried. Thinking it nonsenical at first, Robin complied anyway, scooping the boy up into her arms and allowing him to wrap his legs around her waist as she held him tight. His right hand hooked onto her uniform blue blazer, where the first button was fastened. She looked around at the other children, most of whom were already knocked out or, if they weren't asleep, they were deeply focused on colouring the simplistic black and white drawings provided for them.
"Okay," she sighed as she completed her assessment of the room. Don't kill each other - I'll get fired and it'll be a pain getting the blood out of the carpet. Thus, Robin began her trek through the broad hallways of the museum. "Okay."
The child was a very quiet boy. He laid his head against Robin's chest wordlessly, sometimes looking up and around at the colourful murals along the walls. Robin respected his quietness, cancelling her plans to inquire about his name and perhaps how old he was and what he liked to do. They arrived at the washrooms in silence, where Robin set the boy down and crouched to his level. She pointed to the entryway of the men's washroom, instructing, "The washroom is right there. Do you know how to get back to the daycare on your own?"
He shook his head vigorously. "Can you wait for me?"
"Well, the other boys and girls need someone to watch them." Robin regretfully informed him. She hated to have to leave him alone; he was a right adorable little angel to her (thus far, at least).
"They'll be fine. In the morning, they never do anything. Except maybe ask me about my hair, my clothes..." The boy's lips and forehead creased, forming a scowl. "Make fun of my dad for being a janitor."
"Kinemon..." Robin whispered her co-worker's name, seeing the resemblance between the two of them as she cupped the boy's face in her hands. She smiled reassuringly at the child. "You know, there's something to be said about a young man who can dress himself in beautiful cultural clothing."
"What does that mean?"
"It means... you're proud of your country. It means you're a strong and brave boy who isn't afraid to show his roots. And anyone who has a problem with that can take it up with me." She winked. "And the proper term is custodian - it means being in charge of guarding property, you know."
With sparkling eyes, the boy tested the word aloud a few times, then smiled at Robin before bounding into the washroom. Satisfied with the boy's reaction, Robin stood, brushed off her skirt and folded her arms. Handling children couldn't have been the nightmare that society made it out to be. And once she had her own, such a joy would be magnified to an unimaginable greatness.
His newfound knowledge shone before the other children as he pointed out that he was the brave and strong son of a custodian. The eyes of the other children sparkled with awe at this new word - four syllables and nine letters of wonder - and the boy turned back to Robin, shooting her a smile and a thumbs-up.
Robin's bond with Momonosuke had been a week in the making now, and Robin had spoken volumes about it to Zoro. She spoke of how he blushed when the other boys and girls accused him of having a crush on Robin and how he would find big words in the dictionary and ask Robin if she knew what they meant, because he knew and he wouldn't tell her. She was experiencing her first real taste of motherhood.
"He can't stop talking about you, you know. Momonosuke."
Kinemon indulged this as he accepted his sleeping son from Robin's arms at the end of the workday that Friday. Robin kissed the top of Momonosuke's head and smiled. "As do I with my husband. Has he spoken kindly?"
"Sure has. You must have brainwashed him." Kinemon looked to Momonosuke as the boy's eyelids fluttered open and he rested his head on his father's chest, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. "Since his mother passed away, he's been..."
"A real prick. The kid loves you," Kinemon stated softly. "I don't know how you do it. You'd have to have a few of your own to be able to transform a kid like Momonosuke. What are you, a mother of ten?"
"Actually, I haven't any just yet..."
Robin trailed off at the sight of her husband engaging in small talk with the museum secretary, Valentina, regarding the bouquet of light pink roses with which he strolled in. With a smile, Robin swept up to her green-haired beau and inquired, "Lovely flowers. There's someone here who might greatly enjoy them."
"Can't seem to find her," Zoro smirked. He wrapped a muscular arm around Robin's waist and gave her a chaste kiss, handing the bouquet of roses to his wife with a whispered, "For you."
"Thank you... oh, I would love for you to meet Momonosuke!" The archaeologist waved Kinemon over enthusiastically, giving the small boy a light pat on the head. Tenderly, she introduced, "Momonosuke, this is my husband, Zoro."
"So, this is the kid who's stealing my wife from me, huh?" The swordsman teased lightly. "I've heard a lot about you."
With a tip of his chin towards Zoro's hair, the the boy noted, "There's an alien on your head."
Kinemon snorted and Robin chuckled at the way Zoro's grin melted into a deep frown. The male museum employee excused himself and his son from the scene, after which Zoro hissed, "Little punk."
"Oh, Zoro, he's only a boy."
"If one of my dojo kids disrespected me like that, I'd waterboard him over the goddamn bridge until he learned his lesson..." Noting Robin's alarmed stare, Zoro added, "The dojo kids. Not ours. Speaking of which..."
Robin grinned. "What's on your mind?"
"I was wondering if you'd wanna try tonight. You know, if you'd wanna try... h-having kids." He was blushing by the end of his first burst of speech - an uncommon feat for a man who had no problem proposing casual intercourse to Robin. Idly, he held her hips.
"Is that what these flowers were for? Bribing me, are you?" The female kissed Zoro's nose lightly. "How could I say no to this face?"
"Great! The car's still in drive."
"Hold your horses, young man - I want to be romanced first." Robin chided, sauntering before Zoro and bidding adieu to Valentina.
Rolling his unsealed eye, Zoro chased after Robin, giving her behind a playful smack. He wrapped his arms around her waist, waddling behind her and murmuring, "There's only one way I know how."
"Ufufufu, you fool..."
Zoro's special kind of romancing lasted long after its initiation, resulting in a passionate encounter at home, filled with tossing and turning and breathy "I love you"s being uttered with every intense increase in pleasure. The swordsman was loose, uninhibited, knowing that there was a need to fulfill for both of them that was far more meaningful than any kind of orgasm. Not a second of hesitation existed between the two lovers that night, and their reward was a doctor strolling into his office with a smile on his face and a heartfelt, "Congratulations."
"You're glowing, Robin. New skin care regiment?" Valentina noted during hers and Robin's lunch break in their bleak yet cozy staff room.
"Am I?" The archaeologist blushed and returned to her modest garden salad and water. It had been seven weeks into her pregnancy and she was still reliving the moments leading up to the present: the night her and Zoro made love, the doctor's telltale smile, how Nami and the others cheered when they told them the good news. It was as if she'd been walking in an art gallery of someone else's ideal journey of wanting to have a family, only to realize that it was her own surreal experience. "I hadn't noticed."
"Oh, Robin, I'm not stupid. You don't wear your skirts up to your waist anymore, you're peeing every ten minutes, you can't stand the smell of my sushi? Spill." Valentina smirked, her hazel eyes glinting mischievously.
The secretary had cracked the case, it seemed. Robin smiled. "Do you remember that night when my husband came by the museum? With the roses and everything?"
"Green hair guy, yeah."
"Well, we'd been discussing starting a family for a while, and... well-"
Letting out a squeal, Valentina abandoned her lunch to embrace Robin enthusiastically. "This is amazing! I'm so happy for you!"
"Thank you. It means a lot." Robin sighed as the other female released her from her grip. Her abdomen cramped viciously, as had been commonplace for Robin as of late. Not to mention that she'd been swelling like a hot air balloon, more than she thought normal for seven weeks.
"We should throw a party! With everyone here! We could get a caterer and- oh, my God, I know this café; we could get a cake there! There's so much planning to do!"
"That's really not, um... necessary." Robin swallowed thickly, frowning as yet another wave of nausea hit her. Robin hated vomiting, but even such a trait could not explain her suddenly painful heartbeat and the sweat forming on her brow. She swayed as she stood. "I think I'm going to be sick."
"O-Oh, let's get out of here, then. I'll come to the washroom with you." Valentina hoisted her purse onto her shoulder, making to stand until she looked down, seeing the thick, dark blood running down Robin's leg beneath her black tights. "Holy shit! Robin, you're-"
It all seemed to happen at once as Robin emptied the contents of her stomach onto the tiled floor, the sight of the blood only increasing the flow. She could hear people calling out to her, Valentina shouting at someone to "get to a phone and call a fucking ambulance", and felt the presence of a crowd above the nausea and the stabbing pain in the pit of her stomach.
"S-Someone... call my husband," she pleaded weakly, her heart pounding violently. She was terrified, confused and unaware of how her beading sweat mixed in with tears on her cheeks. Her surreal experience had become warped in a pool of blood on the polished ground - the last thing she could remember.
Her earliest memory of waking up was a white tiled ceiling with harsh lights of the same colour. The sheets beneath her felt like the gift paper that got stuffed into bags to hide a gift... but the gift, Robin's gift, felt missing. The bag betrayed her and stole it from her, the only evidence being the vacant feeling.
Warm lips pressed against her right hand, followed by a recognizable voice that whispered, "Oh, thank God. I thought I lost you."
"Zoro?" Robin croaked, placing the voice to the face present at her bedside. Tears were brimming in the brown iris that met her azure hues.
"Robin, I came as soon as I could. I saw the ambulance leaving the museum and, fuck, I was so terrified..."
"Oh, Zoro, I..."
A woman with the face of a fairy tale witch - complete with wrinkles, a pointed chin and long grey hair - but the body of an athletic twenty-year-old strolled into the room. She first studied the couple and then her clipboard. "Mrs. Roronoa?"
Robin's heart leapt into her throat. "Doctor, is my baby okay? The-The baby?"
"My name is Doctor Kureha. I'm glad to see that you're recovering nicely - I can't deny that you were in shit shape when they wheeled you in here, gahaha!"
The shrill laugh annoyed and startled Robin. She furrowed her eyebrows and insisted, "Recovering? What are you talking about?"
"Got a selective memory, do you? Maybe you took a bad fall when you were vomiting up a storm. Anyway, your D&C went smoothly. You'll be clear to go in a few hours and our... findings were sent to the lab."
"D&C?" Robin very slowly repeated, pushing herself up and into a sitting position. "As in dilation and curettage?"
"B-But... that would mean..." Memory after memory hit Robin in rapid sequence. The incident at the museum, being wheeled away, Valentina sitting at her side in the ambulance and holding her hand... the blood. She lowered her face into her hands.
"What we have here is a partial molar pregnancy. Essentially, this happens when there are two sets of chromosomes from the father and only one from the mother... you following me, mosshead?" Dr. Kureha asked as she studied Zoro's dumbstruck expression.
"How does that happen?" He asked urgently, looking briefly at his completely still and silent wife before returning his gaze to the doctor. "How could this have happened?"
The doctor exhaled, searching for a way to simplify the explanation. "If two sperm fertilize the same egg - it's all very complicated. Mrs. Roronoa, did you speak to a practitioner about your symptoms?"
"No," Robin moaned. "I thought... I thought that's what was supposed to happen. When you're pregnant. I mean, the spotting had never been that bad before..."
"Well, then, you should've done your homework, hun."
"With all due respect, Doctor, there's no need to be so fucking rude." Zoro hissed. Realizing how he'd snapped at the person helping them understand their predicament, he pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed, "What... what do we have to do?"
Dr. Kureha scowled briefly, and then folded her arms. "The abnormal growth had only been developing for a short while, which lessens your risk of any further complications. We'll still need to have you come back for weekly checkups and such. She'll need to be on birth control for a bit."
"Wait, birth control?" Robin interjected. The desperation in her voice and eyes was clear. "For how long?"
Dr. Kureha's pager gave a sharp beep and she peeked at it. Absently, she answered, "As with the checkups, about a year. Now, if you'll excuse me..."
Both Zoro and Robin stared after the doctor until she left. In a moment, Zoro slowly took Robin's hand, pressing his lips to the back of her hand and holding them there. Robin's free hand was brought up to her mouth, her silent tears rolling down her cheeks. "Zoro?"
"Yeah?" Zoro answered tiredly.
She sniffed and gave a sob, asking, "Why are we being punished?"
"I couldn't tell you if I tried..." the male whispered. He pressed his forehead to her hand, grasping it with both of his hands. "Robin, I'm so, so sorry. I'm sorry I did this to you."
"I'm the one who miscarried - please don't blame yourself." That word burned on her tongue - the word that defined how her gift, her happiness, had been stolen. "I don't know what I could have done to deserve this. What we could have done..."
The swordsman squeezed Robin's hand, then fanned her fingers out on his palms. "A second miscarriage is... really unlikely. I know that because Nami lent me some of her pregnancy magazines or whatever. I told her that... that I was scared that I might not be a good father. She said they'd help me prepare. I remember reading about miscarriages and everything and the one thing that I remembered was that they almost never happen twice. Maybe... maybe we'll be the lucky ones."
"I know, Zoro. Thank you..." Robin laid back down, turning onto her side and looking up at Zoro. "I just... I thought this baby might be good for us. Not everyone is lucky enough to get it on the first try... I guess we didn't deserve it."
"You deserve to be happy. It'll only be a year." Zoro kissed Robin's forehead. "Only a year. Besides, I see you with that little runt from the museum. It'll be like... practice."
"He's a lot like you, you know. Stubborn as a mule." Unbelievably, Robin cracked a smile. Zoro frowned and Robin caressed his cheek, whispering, "You don't need any magazine to show you how to be a good father. Just stay like this."
The swordsman smiled, bestowing a soft kiss upon Robin's still-smiling lips. "One year."
Robin was discharged from the hospital not much later and, immediately, the comfort she felt with Zoro vanished as she stepped into the summer sunlight. As usual, she began to worry. When she worried, she became unreachable. She'd confine herself in her room to worry alone, not accepting any help or comfort. And she had a lot to worry about, she felt. What would she tell Nami and the others? What of the people who witnessed the scene and wanted to know what happened - could she explain without breaking down all over again? And what of Momonosuke? Had he seen it happen? How could she explain this kind of loss to him?
As part of an errand run two weeks following the incident, both Zoro and Robin stopped by the museum to discuss Robin's return to work.
Robin caught Valentina's sympathetic gaze the moment she walked in, accepting the way the secretary immediately began to dote on her. "We were so worried about you, Robin. I was worried. I'm so sorry I couldn't stay with you - I had to let the boss know what happened and-"
"Please, Valentina, what you did for me is enough. Thank you." The archaeologist released Zoro's hand - with her new fear of losing yet another loved one, she'd taken to remaining physically attached to him as often as possible as of late - and gave the fretting girl a consuming hug. "I'm just here to speak to the professor about getting back to work."
"Oh, great! I'll, um... I'll take you there."
"It's only been two weeks, dear. Unless they turned the place upside down while I was gone, I can manage." She moved to take Zoro's hand.
Valentina stopped in front of the married couple. "Please. There's... a stop we have to make."
Zoro squeezed Robin's hand, giving her a reassuring smile. "Babe, it can wait. Let's just go ahead."
And so Robin let herself be led, trusting her husband and her co-worker. She gripped Zoro's hand tightly upon recognizing the path to the staff room, sure she was experiencing some kind of post-traumatic stress, until she peeked inside. Flowers occupied the table in the center of the room corner to corner, along with an assortment of stuffed animals and a massive envelope, just about the size of her torso. Not only that, but a surplus of employees were gathered behind the table, smiling sweetly.
"The other day, Valentina called to ask how you were doing. I told her that you'd been in a really shitty mood, you weren't sleeping or eating or even talking to me. So, we thought-"
Zoro's speech was promptly cut off by the secretary. "He thought we should do something. To show you that we're here for you. I just helped him."
Immediately, tears welled up in Robin's eyes. Caught up in her melancholic lifestyle, she'd been so cruel to Zoro. She hadn't acknowledged the ways in which he'd been kind and caring and, for that, she felt awful. "Oh, Zoro-"
"Are we late?" Kinemon strolled into the room with Momonosuke at his side. Robin immediately noticed a bright yellow daffodil in the boy's fist.
At the sight of Robin, the child detached himself from his father and bound up to his favourite museum employee. She knelt, gathering him into her arms and resting her chin atop his head. "Sorry to keep you waiting, sweetie."
"Are you coming back?" Momonosuke asked timidly.
"As soon as possible. Is that flower for me?"
Nodding slowly, he handed her the single flower - coincidentally, the same ones that grew just outside the museum. Robin accepted it with a quiet "thank you", standing with the boy and holding him on her hip. Zoro flocked to his wife's side, curiously studying the boy and deciding, "He's not that bad, I guess."
"Neither are you," Robin smiled. "I can't even begin to thank you, Zoro. I'm so sorry I didn't notice how hard you've been trying..."
The swordsman kissed her cheek, smiling. There's no need to apologize. I just want you to know that you don't have to go through this alone. It's okay to need help, Robin."
Promptly wiping a tear off her cheek, Robin curled up to Zoro and tightened her grip on Momonosuke. Sharing her misfortune seemed so selfish to her, but it was only then that she realized how wrong she'd been. Undergoing such a painful loss, impossibly, had its rewards; it opened her eyes to what she could be denied, but showed her what kind of love she could be given - only if she could find it in herself to accept it.
I'm not dead! This one took a long time, as you could probably tell, especially with having to do research on miscarriages and molar pregnancies (and I probably fucked up on the details somewhere, regrettably). I've also changed my penname. Yes, yes.