Luffy's Clothes Choice: Normal red vest with yellow buttons and blue shorts with white fur hemmed at the bottom.
Zoro's Clothes Choice: Gray shirt that he wore at the end of the Thriller Bark Arc/His normal plain white shirt with three undone buttons at the collar and black trousers.
Nami's Clothes Choice: A brown cleavage-revealing blouse that exposes her abdomen with cream-colored liners, a pale blue, pleated mini-skirt, and black high-heeled gladiator sandals from the Enies Lobby Arc.
Usopp's Clothes Choice: Normal brown overalls with a white sash and no shirt underneath.
Sanji's Clothes Choice: Normal black, double-breasted suit with a black tie and pants and a long-sleeved, buttoned light blue shirt underneath.
Chopper's Clothes Choice: Normal maroon shorts and red leather jacket from the Enies Lobby Arc.
Robin's Clothes Choice: A black, unzipped leather jacket over a cleavage-revealing dark blue shirt, a tan mini-skirt with white ornaments dangling on the hem, and light brown high-heeled boots that reaches up to her thighs from One Piece: Straw Hat Chase 3D.
Franky's Clothes Choice: A brown, unzipped leather jacket with straps on it and a fur collar from One Piece Opening 12 – Kaze wo Sagashite.
Brook's Clothes Choice: Normal black suit with a dark blue cravat tie and his hat.
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ~ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ
"That boy has got to learn to relax. " – Episode 145
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ~ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ
The sound of waves rocking against the Thousand Sunny's hull stirred Robin from her sleep. The archeologist's eyelids flickered opened and her sleepy eyes darted to Nami's bed. Her roommate was dozing peacefully with a smile gracing her visage. The raven-haired beauty chuckled at how cute her best friend looked when she was asleep.
Gazing at the porthole located on Nami's side of the room, she saw the rich colors of an early dawn morning. It'll be a while until Sanji wakes up to start breakfast, so she might as well take this chance to spend some quality with Zoro.
Tossing the blanket aside, she quietly tiptoed to the washbasin and brushed her teeth. Once that was done, she collected her clothes and bathing materials she needed and journeyed to the bathhouse. On her way, she spared a happy glance up at the crow's nest, knowing that the swordsman was up there training. Since their relationship started, the lookout section of the ship became their private haven—a secret place where the lovers can meet freely. It's only been a few weeks since then, but thinking of him still made her heart throb rapidly.
After her shower, she strolled to the kitchen for coffee. She brewed two cups, one for her and one for her lover. As she did, a tedious sigh escaped her lips. With every minute that went by, the day seemed so much shorter. It was hard for her and Zoro to be alone, due to their noisy and energetic crew wandering all of the ship during the day and the unfortunate night schedule. If only they were somewhere away from Luffy and the others, then they wouldn't have to sneak around that came with anxiety of getting caught. She wanted to gather up her courage and tell Zoro the three special words she was dying to tell him.
Yes, indeed. Nico Robin was falling in lov—No. She wasn't falling in love with him.
She already was in love.
Some would say that it was impossible to fall in love with someone that quickly—crazy, even. After all, she and Zoro has only been a couple for a few weeks. However, she knew that her feelings are pure, genuine love for Zoro.
But how to tell him?
"Morning, Nico Robin!" a jovial, unexpected voice called out to her just when she was about to exit the galley. Franky entered with smudges of grease of his cheeks and hands, which he was currently wiping away with a filthy rag. He must've just emerged from the Solider Dock System.
"Oh, good morning, Franky," the historian responded politely. "What are you doing at this time? You usually don't wake up until Luffy and the others are up."
"Just working on a few adjustments for the Sunny's weaponry," the cyborg answered with a broad grin. "How about you? What're you doing up so early?"
"Uh, um..." she stammered nervously for a proper excuse to use. "I woke up and couldn't fall back asleep, so I made coffee for myself."
The shipwright's grin widened. "Oh? You drink two cups of coffee?"
Robin parted her mouth to usher out another excuse, but then she picked up the teasing in the carpenter's tone. A smirk blossomed on her lips as she pieced everything together in a second. "You know, don't you?"
He hollered out a cheerful laugh. "Sorry 'bout that, Nico Robin, but you can't fool me. I know you super well for you hide it from me. I helped ya out, don't forget."
"I'm sorry I didn't you sooner, even though you'd tried your best to help me. It's just that Zoro and I wanted to—"
"Ah, don't worry, I get it," Franky inserted with dismissive wave before he struck his usual pose. "As long as you're happy, then it's super fine with me!"
"Thank you so much, Franky."
"You won't tell anyone, I assume?" she asked with an arched brow.
"Of course not, you'll tell Straw Hat and the rest when you and Zoro-bro are ready!"
"I appreciate it, thank you." Robin bowed her head in gratitude.
"So, out of curiosity, how's it going?" he quizzed with a mischievous grin to match the glint in his eyes.
Robin giggled at her comrade's inquisitiveness. Well, seeing as he'd helped in her time of need on more than one occasion, what's the harm of letting him in on a few details? "It's going very well, Zoro's making me extremely happy."
Franky stifled back the overflowing tears that were running down his cheeks. "Good for you two! Love on the wide, blue sea!"
"Franky, are you...?"
"I'm not crying, damn it! Don't look this way!"
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ~ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ
"Bon appétit, Mademoiselles!" Sanji swooned over the girls at lunch, presenting them with delicious dessert he made especially for them: Chocolate mousse served in fancy glasses with whipped cream and fresh strawberries.
"Thanks, Sanji." Nami dug in her dessert with a delighted smile. "This is really good!"
Robin nodded in agreement, taking a tiny lick of chocolate and cream with a spoon. "Indeed."
The chef beamed and cooed, "I'm glad you like it, my angels! Shall I fetch you something to drink as well?"
"Sure," the thief said, and Sanji merrily did just that.
Too absorbed in pleasing the women, he didn't the annoyed snort emanated from Zoro, who sat in regular seat next to Luffy and across from Nami. Naturally, he didn't like it that the moronic love cook was flirting with his woman and Robin was responding to it with a charming smile. He knew she was being polite (or trying to make him jealous for fun), but he still didn't like it.
"I'm going back to the crow's nest. Tell me when dinner's ready," the first mate declared, raising from his chair and stepping out of galley.
Thirty minutes later, Robin excused herself from the table and exited to follow the green-haired man to the crow's nest. She felt giddy at the anticipation of spending time with him. As she popped her head in "Zoro's Training Room", she saw something she didn't expect to see. Instead finding Zoro eagerly waiting on the bench like she'd expected him to, her boyfriend was sprawled on the floor with flushed cheeks and unconscious.
"Zoro!" She rushed to his side and shouted for Chopper's aid.
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ~ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ
"Chopper, please tell me that Zoro is okay!" Luffy begged with teary eyes, gripping the doctor's small shoulders and shaking him for an answer. The crew gathered in the kitchen after Robin, with Franky's help, carried him to the sick bay for treatment.
"Relax, Luffy, Zoro's fine," the Zoan user stated, patting the captain's arm to assuage him. "He just collapsed from fatigue and heat stroke, because he was training too much. He'll be fine in two days or so."
"TWO DAYS!?" screeched a enraged voice from the infirmary. The crew flinched at the thundering tone. "THERE'S NO WAY IN HELL I'M GOING TO SPEND—"
His hoof on the panel, Chopper swung the door opened to see an exasperated Zoro sitting up on the bed as the others followed in. "You have to! Prolonged physical exercise can cause your body to—"
"Screw that!" he interrupted hotly. "I'm not even wounded, why do I have to rest for two days?"
"Your body needs to rest or else you're going to collapse again from exhaustion! Straining your muscles all the time isn't good, Zoro."
"Chopper's right," Nami chimed in, wagging a finger like a mother would do when scolding her child for misbehaving. "All you do is train, train, train, and train! You need to loosen up and relax. You know, take it easy for once in your life. It's no wonder why you're such a sound sleeper. You work your body to the bone, and then you have to sleep your lazy butt all day just to recharge, which usually makes you oblivious to everything else around you."
"In any case," the navigator ignored his outburst and prowled on. "Listen to the ship's doctor for once and rest for a bit. I'm sure you can find other things to occupy yourself with than training."
The green-haired man grumbled in defeat. "Fine, whatever."
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ~ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ
"Listen here, if you don't tell your bosses to stop increasing the price, you won't be able to get any more payments from me or anyone else," Nami scolded the News Coo delivery seagull the next afternoon, reluctantly paying the bird the required currency for today's newspaper. As News Coo flew away, she plopped down on her seat next to Robin on the deck. "Stupid bird..."
"Now, now, it's not like it's his fault for raising the price on the newspaper," her best friend placated, her eyes never moving from the book she was reading.
"What's the big deal, anyway?" Luffy ceased his gait to galley to speak with his female crewmate. "It's just a newspaper, Nami. Besides, if you don't want to waste money, then don't buy it."
"Luffy, Luffy, Luffy... You're so naïve," the orange-haired woman replied with a shake of her head. "I buy these every day, and how do you think we're suppose to know what's going on in the world if we don't read it? It's important to stay inform about stuff like this while making sure we don't end up as penniless pirates, understand?"
The captain's expression was dumbfounded, but he bobbled in head in spite of that. "Got it."
"Good, now go tell Franky to move the ship towards two o'clock so we catch more wind."
"You really ought to be nicer to him," Robin told her, peeking from her book over to see Zoro meditating at the foremast.
The thief, trailing her best friend's gaze to their swordsman, smiled brightly. "Changing the subject, how're you and Zoro doing?"
The older female showed no indication of shock at the revelation. "So, you do know."
"Yep," Nami beamed with a triumphant smile. "Please, I'm not an idiot like the others, or deaf. You really think I snore so loud that I won't be able to hear the sounds from the crow's nest?"
Crimson colored the Robin's cheeks. "I'm sorry about that."
She dismissed the apology with a wave. "Don't worry about it. I knew the you guys were a couple the second it happened, but I didn't say anything because you wanted privacy and all."
"Will you please keep it a secret, just until Zoro and I are ready to tell everyone?"
"Sure thing, Robin, but..." Nami's smile broadened devilishly.
Knowing full well where this was going, Robin quizzed, "What do you want to know?"
"Good, Zoro is quite the lover under all that tough exterior, and we've been spending a lot time together, although not as much as we want to. He's sweet and gentle with me, and I'm very happy."
"Is that all?" Nami deadpanned. "C'mon, Robin, give me specifics! Like, for example, how much do you like him?"
The raven-haired beauty flushed scarlet and a coy expression replaced her surprise. "I like him a lot...maybe too much. Maybe even more than he likes me."
The way she said the last sentence astonished Nami. Dropping her volume to her hushed whisper, the younger female asked, "Robin... Are you...saying that you're in love with Zoro?"
"I think I am..."
Nami squealed gleefully. "Have you told him?"
"No. I want to, but we're always worrying that someone might catch us together. There hasn't been a good time or place for it, and I...I'm a little scared. I don't think he'll say it back."
"What makes you think that?"
"It feels lik—"
"Nami~! Robin~! Lunch is ready! The rest of morons come to!" called Sanji from the dining room.
"FOOD~!" Luffy, Usopp, Chopper, and Brook cheered happily, racing to the kitchen as Franky and Nami strode after them.
Robin chuckled at the boisterous crew and took stepped to follow, but a hand grabbed her waist and stopped her from going. Pivoting, she came directly face-to-face with Zoro. He was so close to her that she had to recoil a few inches back before regaining her composure.
"What is it?" she inquired immediately, observing the stern expression on his countenance.
"I overheard some of the stuff you told Nami." His tone edged on one of melancholy and seriousness. "Robin, is true that you think you care more for me than I do for you?"
His girlfriend cringed a bit at the question. It wasn't her desire whatsoever to ever let Zoro know what she thought about their relationship to spare him the guilt of causing any sort of distress, but since it was out now, it was no use of denying it. The archeologist averted her eyes to the ground and nodded. "I-I do. I'm sorry, but I really think that."
"You're wrong, you know."
"It's just... It seems like you're trying to say good-bye sometimes," she explained anxiously.
"Sorry," he murmured. "I guess it's because I've been on my own for a long time. I'm not used to being cared for by others."
Was that really true? It certainly was plausible, considering that Robin was in the same boat not too long ago. Although the circumstances were a tad different, she understood what he meant. Trying to brighten the atmosphere between them, she flashed a lovely smile. "Let's digress from this, shall we? We should get to the dining room before anyone gets suspicious."
"Yeah, you're right."
At the moment, the urge to profess those three magic words nearly overwhelmed her, but she bit them back. It wasn't the right time or place again, and Robin clenched her teeth on her bottom lip tenderly as she watched Zoro walk away.
Why was it that even though he was so close to her, but seemed so far away?
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ~ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ
"GUYS, I SEE LAND!" Usopp shouted from the front of the ship, on the staircase that leads up the Sunny's lion figurehead.
Rushing forward, Nami took the telescope that the sniper was holding and peered into it. "All right! We got here earlier than expected! Guys, we've finally made it to Gōkana Island!"
"It's about time!" Franky exclaimed he and the others joined them. "We're running out of cola and need to restock."
"Robin, what is this island called Gōkana?" Chopper asked.
"It's called that because this island is known for its expensive merchandise. You see, the name of the island actually mean 'luxury', hence the name," she responded. "It sells things such as food and clothes at very high prices."
"Think of it as an island for the rich, Chopper," Nami said, swiveling to face her crewmates. "Listen up, guys, because I'm only going to say this once. Since this island is so luxurious, the Marines are stationed here, which means that absolutely none of you—Luffy, Zoro and Sanji—are allowed to get into fights! If we don't buy enough time to purchase enough cola, we can't escape when we get busted. So keep your heads low and traps shut. Franky, Chopper, and Brook are staying behind."
"Wait, what? Why? No way!" the cyborg and little reindeer protested. "I wanna go into town, too!"
"You'll draw too attention to yourselves," she retorted matter-of-factly. "Franky, you're a huge cyborg; Chopper, you're a talking, shape-shifting reindeer; and Brook is walking, perverted skeleton! One look of you guys, and everyone will freak out and kick us out of their island! Or worse, call the Marines!"
"We're split into groups, then. I'll go with Luffy to keep him out of trouble to gather info about how long it takes the Log Pose to record this island's magnetic waves. Robin," Nami winked slyly at her best friend, "you'll go with Zoro, Sanji, and Usopp to get cola and make sure no one tries to sneak off."
"Yes, ma'am," the Monster Trio chorused.
"Good, so we just have to wait until we do—"
"Why should we wait? I see a ferry up ahead!" Luffy stated, pointing his finger in the direction of a large, white cruise ship in front of them. "I don't know about you guys, but I'm not gonna sit here when adventure's waiting for me! Gum-Gum—"
"Luffy, no! Don't do th—" Nami began, but it was too late.
"—Rocket!" The captain flew rapidly toward the cruise ship and disappeared into the horizon. His launch so fast that none of his crewmembers could tell whether or not if he landed on the cruise ship on not, and the ship getting farther away from where they were.
Nami panicked. "This is bad! If Luffy gets spotted, then we won't even be able to step a single foot onto Gōkana!"
"LUFFY~!" Usopp and Brook yelled in unison at the white ship. "LUFFY, IF YOU CAN HEAR US, SAY SOMETHING!"
"What the hell do you think you're doing, you dolts?" The thief ran over and whacked the back of their heads. "What if the Marines are close by? They'll hear you!"
"Relax, Nami. The Marines are usually stationed at their headquarters and in the lower distracts of a town, since that's where most of the trouble is," Sanji assured her, lighting a cigarette in his mouth. "As for our moronic captain, I can't see him anywhere."
Robin put a contemplated hand under her chin. "Maybe he drowned?"
To her right, Franky was shocked and mildly irritated by her morbid guess. "How can you say such ill-omened thing?!"
"Ugh, that bumbling idiot!" Nami fumed with gritted teeth. "If he ruins my chance to shop at Gōkana, I'm going to kill him! And when I'm done with him, I'm gonna kill him again!"
"Forget about your stupid shopping spree!" Zoro bellowed frantically, hopping onto the Sunny's head to get a better view. "We have to find Luffy! Where'd he go? Franky, get us to that island, now!"
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ~ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ
"We're here!" Nami proclaimed in joy and relief, Zoro and the others ambling on the docks. "Good thing Franky used the paddles so we can take down the sails. If anyone saw our flags, we'd be in big trouble. Okay, I'm going to find Luffy. The rest of you know your duties! Later!"
"See you later, Nami." Robin waved to her, who mouthed "Good luck" to her before she vanished in a throng of people. Glancing at Sanji and Usopp, both of them studying the map of Gōkana, she hastily grasped her boyfriend's left hand and started dragging him away.
"Where're we going?" he asked, confused.
"Shopping," Robin answered simply with a delighted smile.
By the time they were gone from eyesight, the blond-haired cook realized that the raven-haired beauty was gone and bawled in agony at her absence while the long-nosed sharpshooter awkwardly stared on.
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ~ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ
"That was fun, wasn't it?" Robin commented cheerfully, strolling through the streets with her right hand locked with Zoro's, the other carrying the multiple bags of purchased clothes she bought at a boutique. One of them was also for Zoro, having gone to a men clothing store and personally selecting T-shirts and jackets for her boyfriend to wear. She even found a white shirt that resembled the one he used to wear before it was shred to pieces at Thriller Back. He thanked her, immediately switched the gray shirt he wore for the white one, and stashed it in his bag of his new clothes.
"Hmm." Zoro shifted his predatory eyes back and forth through every corner of the streets. He was keeping an eye out for the Marines and while Robin understood the need for caution, she really wanted to spend time with him without any worries. After all, Nami gave them this chance to be alone together so she could confess her love for him.
"You're so tense," she remarked with a fatigued sigh, noting how tensed and alert he was. "Try to relax sometimes, we're being careful already. You don't have to act like my bodyguard."
"Hanging out in a town like this gets on my nerves. Marines are crawling all over the place, I don't like it."
"How about we get a drink, then?" she suggested. "We still some money left over from shopping."
Zoro's grumpy expression brightened, eager to get a good jug of sake to swallow down. They came across a decent bar that was local and clean—not the kind of bars that pirates hung about in, but a bar where men can sit back and relax with a cold drink. As expected, the bar was packed with people, men and women alike, seated in tables and at the bar counter. Like the town, the customers were all well-dressed and suave. Robin might've fit in with these types of people because of her elegance and mature demeanor, but the swordsman certainly did not. He stood out like a sore thumb.
He couldn't care less what a bunch of strangers thought of him, so he ignored them as he and the raven-haired beauty took a seat at a table. Once the bags on the floor, they ordered their drinks—ale and coffee respectively—and drank while the customers eyed them suspiciously. Some of the men were ogling at Robin's beauty from afar. It pissed Zoro off to have men were drooling all over his girlfriend. Sliding his prized sword's hilt up by an inch, Zoro sent death glares that pierced the perverted onlookers. They cringed and shrunken back in their seats in fear of the bloodlust that the pirate emanated.
"Tch, stupid gang of Sanjis," he mumbled.
Robin sipped her steaming cup of coffee, set it down on the table and gave him assuaging smile. "What's with the face? You look angry."
Zoro gestured his hand to the male customers that were still staring at Robin in lecherous manner. "They're salivating all over you."
"I'm not looking back, am I?" A playful smirk adorned her features. "Are you jealous?"
"Shut up," he replied in a low murmur and took another swig of rum.
She chuckled. "You're so cute when you're jealous."
"I'm not jealous!" Red splotches colored his cheeks.
"You don't have to worry, in any case," Robin smiled pleasantly. "I'm only interested in you."
Despite her words, his mien became solemn. After he chugged down his glass, his next sentence surprised her. "For what reason for, I still don't know."
"What do you mean by that?" Her smile flattened into a serious line. She really wanted to know what he meant by his words, because she didn't want him to have doubts about their relationship.
"It doesn't make any sense to me why a woman like you could be interested in someone like me. You're obviously attractive enough to have any man you want in the world, but you settled for me instead."
"Is really that hard to believe that I could be interested in you?"
"If you think about it logically, yeah. I'm younger than you, for one thing. I've never been with a woman before, much less really associate with them since...she passed away. I always figured I was allergic to relationships."
"What do you mean?"
"Remember what I told you before we got together? How that I might end up hurting someone in the end if I got together with someone?" Zoro reminded her, his tone becoming bitter at the memories of Kuina's death replayed in his mind. "I'm not cut out for stuff like that."
"I don't think that's true," Robin replied softly.
"You sure about choosing me, though?" he asked, almost like he was daring her to back out from their relationship.
"Yes." Her answer was fast and resolute, her cobalt irises staring him steadily to match the sternness written on her visage. A second or two passed before her gaze softened and spoke to him in a more insecure voice. "Just now...it sounded like you were trying to say good-bye."
"I'm not used to caring for a woman," he told her curtly, indicating that he was referring to Kuina. He never was comfortable talking about her to anyone. "And like I said before, I'm not used to have someone caring me, either."
"Would you rather I hate you?"
"I don't want you hate me, I just wanna make sure you're happy."
"I am happy, especially since I found you and people I can call my family." Now would be a good time as any to tell her boyfriend how she truly felt about him. To ease the doubts that he was having before he decided that him being with her was not a good idea if she was not happy. Exhaling a shaky breath, Robin gathered up her courage and licked her lips as she opened her mouth and began, "Zoro, I want to tell you something. I lo—"
"Excuse me, miss," a smooth voice cut in.
The couple pivoted their heads to see a man—somewhere around in early thirties with slick black hair and a charming smile in casual yet classy clothes—leering at Robin the same way Sanji would do every time he saw pretty girl. Instantly, Zoro felt irritated by his interruption, more so when he saw the scorn visible in his dark eyes that were directed to him. After half a second, the stranger turned his rapt attention the long-legged, gorgeous beauty in the other chair.
On the verge of popping a vein and slicing in him two for treating him like he didn't exist, Zoro motioned for his sword.
"Hello, sir. Is there anything can I help you with?" Robin jumped in quickly before her lover came to her unnecessary defense. The sooner she dealt with this man, the sooner she can finally tell Zoro her true feelings for him. However, she wasn't going to resort to violence methods to get the stranger to leave, so flashed lovely smile at the unknown person.
"I was wondering if you'd let to have a drink with me," he offered, leaning too close to Robin.
"That's very kind of you, but I'm afraid I have to decline," she responded, shooting the boyfriend a look that warned him not to do anything stupidly rash.
"I'm sorry, but as you can see, I'm wi—"
"I can show a great time, especially at my house."
Zoro growled, a deep rumble in his chest what was he was witnessing. Was this bastard serious? He was lewdly flirting with Robin in front him and not caring a bit that she had no intention of accepting his invitation for a date? Are all snobs like this?
Knowing that she wouldn't be able to control her boyfriend's ire anymore, Robin immediately stood up "I think it's time we leave, don't you, Zoro?"
The minute she tried to from the stranger, the man grabbed her arm to still her. It's official; this man was the type to never until he got what he wanted. "Stay."
"Let go of her." Zoro twisted the man around by the shoulder and delivering a punch to the man's jaw with more force than intended it to be. Blood spluttered from his mouth as the rude asshole crashed to the floor while the people around them gasped in horror and fright.
"Someone call the Marines!"
That was their cue to leave. Picking up their shopping bags, the two Straw Hats sprinted out of the bar and into the streets. The summoned Marines hot on their trail.
"Robin, head back to the ship. I'm going to take of them," Zoro ordered.
"No, don't," she objected at once. "There's too many people in streets, you're going to hurt someone. Let's just keep running and shake them off before we reach the Sunny."
"That's easier said than do—OUCH!" Zoro yelped as he crashed with some idiot coming out from an alley. Both men stumbled backwards, their butts hitting the dirt ground, groaning in pain
Zoro and the stranger recovered from collision, immediately got back onto their feet, and simultaneously roared, "WATCH WHERE YOU'RE GOING, ASSHOLE!"
"Sanji, it's Zoro and Robin!" Usopp pointed out from behind the martial artist
"Robin! How I've missed you, my darling!" Sanji crooned.
"Zoro, where have you and Robin been?" the sniper inquired. "We're done with the shopping, so let's go."
"Talk later, run now! Marines are behind us!" the first mate informed.
"The Marines?! What the hell are they doing here? And why are they chasing you guys?"
"RORONOA ZORO! STOP RIGHT THERE!" a feminine, strict, and utterly familiar voice ordered him front the throng of Marines that were still running toward them.
An instant bell of alarm went off in the Zoro's brain at the command from the female Marine that reminded him too much from a ghost of his past. Perspiration broke out on his forehead as he slowly swiveled his face around to confirm his suspicion. There, in the center of the squad of his enemies, was that damned woman Tashigi—or as he often put it, 'the evil look alike'. Damn it! Why did have to be her?
Peeking over her lover's shoulder, Robin also recognized the Marine and frowned deeply. "That girl is..."
"Oooh~! The lovely lady!" Sanji gushed out, enthralled again by a pretty face—which earned him a whack on the head from Usopp.
"You idiot!" he cried hysterically. "Do you wanna get captured by them? Start running!"
As Usopp started dragging the lovey-dovey cook by the collar of his jacket, Robin made a motion to follow until she saw Zoro was in a defensive. "Zoro, what are you doing? We have to escape."
"You go on ahead, Robin. I'm staying here," he told her, unsheathing his blades from their scabbards. "I'll buy you guys some time to get to the Sunny, and then catch up with you. Marines won't stop chasing us, so I'm going to dwindle down their numbers."
A bit shocked from the assertiveness of his tone, the historian relented and dashed down the streets with Sanji and Usopp.
"Good luck, Zoro!" Usopp wished him before they were of sight.
Zoro smirked cockily. "I don't need luck to take care of them."
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ~ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ
"What's wrong, my dear?" the chef asked with concern as he saw Robin stopped in her tracks after five minutes running while leaving her boyfriend behind to deal with the enemies. "Robin, is everything okay?"
The raven-haired beauty bit her lip in dread. "It's just that..."
Usopp glanced at his friend's troubled expression. "If you're worried about, Zoro, then don't. He'll be fine, let's just hurry back to the ship. Zoro gave us this chance to get away, so let's not waste it."
That's not it. Something felt...wrong to her. Robin couldn't put her finger on it, but leaving Zoro only with the Marines—more specifically with that girl—made her anxious with fright and some other emotion she couldn't figure out at the moment. She didn't know why, but it made her worried about her lover.
"Sanji, take these for me." She thrust her shopping bags into her crewmate's arm and pivoted her heel in the direction where her swordsman and the Marines were. "I'm going back for Zoro."
"Wait, Robin, that's too danger—" And she was gone. There was no way Sanji was going to leave a lady by herself. With that decided, he slammed the bags into Usopp's arms and went after Robin. "Usopp, take these and go back to the ship! I'm going to get Robin and the stupid swordsman!"
"Wait, Sanji! Don't leave me alone! Who's gonna protect me?!"
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ~ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ
"For the last time, I have no desire whatsoever to fight you!" Zoro proclaimed for the umpteenth time, clutching his legendary blades in his palms tightly. Sprawled around him were the Marines he taken down already in five minutes, which meant that he only have to get away from that irritating copycat. They've clashed swords at least eight times by now, and while they were doing that, the pirate continuously stated that he have no intention of fighting her. "We settled our fight just fine in Loguetown!"
"No, we didn't! I never even dealt you a single blow!" Tashigi countered hotly, her beloved sword, Shigure, pointed directly at her rival ten feet from where she was. "Stand and fight, Roronoa!"
"Even if we do fight, there's no point. It's just gonna end up the same way it did in Loguetown!" he declared in exasperation, a vision of Kuina's youthful and smiling face covering the female Marine. And that, of course, only made him more uncomfortable at the situation he was in. She looks too much like her! "And put away your damn face!"
"How dare you insult me again?!" Tashigi exclaimed, enraged at his rude comment. "You really are low, Roronoa Zoro, to stoop to such a pathetic tactic like that! I'd expect nothing else from a pirate!"
"Shut up, you don't know anything!"
Like their previous encounters, a childish argument broke out between the two. While this went on, Robin arrived at the scene just as an injured male Marine hoisted himself of the ground on one knee, and aimed his rifle at the Straw Hats' swordsman.
Oh, no! Zoro! Acting quickly, the Devil Fruit user crossed her arms and took action."Dos Fleur: Clutch!"
Two arms sprouted from the male Marine's shoulders and covered his mouth before he could cry out, and bended him backwards. When they audible sound of bones breaking was heard, it brought Zoro and Tashigi from their verbal fight and drew their eyes to the female pirate.
"Robin?" He stared at her with disbelief. "What're you going here? I told you to go with to the others!"
"No, I won't," she refused, treading to her stubborn boyfriend's side.
"Nico Robin!" Tashigi glared Robin. Her legs ached from the memory of the notorious female pirate that broke her legs not too long ago in Alubarna.
"I remember you. You're that foolish girl that stood in my way in Alabasta, correct? Back then, I should've finished you off when I had the chance," Robin stated icily, the infuriation she felt during that encounter surging in her veins to her as she crossed her arms. "Now, I won't make that same mistake again."
Abruptly, Zoro grabbed her wrist, startling her. "No, Robin! Don't kill her!"
The shock and hurt that spread on her features made her looked like someone punched all the air out her body. The raven-haired beauty locked her astonished gaze with her lover's, his handsome visage distorted with something that bordered on pain and regret.
Overwhelmed by various emotions of confusion and anguish, terror-filled doubts invaded her mind. Was he...choosing that girl over her? It felt like a betrayal, no matter how irrational it may seem, but she cannot deny the fact that she felt as if her beloved was protecting someone other than her and their crew—protecting an enemy. "Z-Zoro...? Why won't you let me k—"
She was unable to complete her sentence when a sudden whirlwind of smoke engulfed her and lifted her up in the air. She knew this wasn't any ordinary smoke; otherwise she would've escaped it by now. Once she was a good twenty feet in the air, an arm replaced where the smoke circled her neck and a face formed next to hers. Within a second, something solid was pressed against her side, and Robin felt as helpless and weak as if she was in the sea. She knew what this familiar, draining sensation meant.
Sea-Prism Stone—the only weakness against Devil Fruit users like herself.
"Surrender now, Roronoa, if you value your crewmate's life," Smoker told him, pushing the tip of his jutte harshly against his captive.
"Robin! Damn it! Let her go, you bastard!" Zoro cursed at him.
"Surrender now, and I won't kill her," he repeated. "You're smart, Roronoa, you know what the outcome will be if the two of us fight."
Seeing no other choice in the matter, the swordsman sheathed his swords and put them down on the ground gently and held up his hands in surrender. "You win. Just don't hurt her."
Smoker jerked his head at his subordinate as he lowered himself and Robin down and returned his normal form. "Tashigi, cuff them both."
"Yes, sir." Tashigi sauntered to the two pirates, pulling out Sea-Prism Stone handcuffs from her coat and did what she was ordered to do. Once they were properly in place, Smoker moved his jutte from Robin's person and ushered his next commands to the other Marines. All the while, his right-hand woman stared at Robin and Zoro with stern eyes, although her burning glare was mostly directed at the raven-haired beauty that returned her glare with equal, burning hatred. "The vow I made to myself the day you defeated me is now completed. Roronoa Zoro and Nico Robin, you now hereby arrested for your crimes against the World Government."
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ~ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ
"Nico...Robin... I promise I will capture you..." – Episode 123
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ~ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ
A/N: Just to let all of you know, I'm terrible at battle scenes. I'm too much of a romantic too write them. In any case, two more chapters left! :) Although, I got to admit that the upcoming chapters bit bore everyone a little since I'm not good at fighting scenes and I focus more on emotional aspects of things than the physical. Again, I'm a romantic, being a girl and all. :P
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