`Hey guys. So, yes, it's out! It's finally out. My very own LawRo! It was originally AU, but I realized after a few weeks, how boring AUs can come to be, compared to the OP world. There's so many things that could possibly happen off screen, it's overwhelmingly amazing. It's technically AU, as in AU of the OP Universe, but…you know what I mean, right? XD
So after I successfully wrote over seven chapters over 50K, I decided I didn't feel for the story anymore, and started this one. So, I apologize for the lateness of it, but due to my sudden change of plot, AND well, story, it is what it is.
Reviews make me happy, none make me…sappy? None is very…crappy? It sounds pretty mean, eh? I'll work on it later. Just review! :D
~ Prologue ~
It was more than clear to her that he no longer considered her an ally, a vice president, a tool.
That being said, she wasn't sure if she was either glad, or upset that her actions had slipped into one of the thousands of Thousands' ears, coming back out from his snitching mouth.
Glad he was no longer someone she had to be concerned about, but knowing what would happen in the long run, she regretted not taking the opportunity seriously.
She dragged herself as she lightly clutched her wound, the desire of some sort of moisture other than saliva was more than she could handle. Luckily, the busy city of Nanohana was only about a mile away.
It was around sunset already, but was still blazing hot. The cool temperature of the air was to come soon, and if she hadn't reached the city by then, it wouldn't give her another chance before rapidly dropping to a freezing temperature.
She didn't even decide to put much effort on keeping her eyelids as open as they should be – she was too hurt, too tired to worry about such things. The wound, which was slowly drying up, already succeeded in bloodying her right hand, only a fraction of her left being covered by the thick, crimson, liquid.
No longer being able to go to RainDinners as the manager, Nanohana was her only option. She was the least bit thankful that he cut her off of her position while they were in Katorea, which was only a small east travel from the city she was currently heading to.
She wasn't sure if she would try to go back to Alubarna after her wound had healed enough – she was sure that Crocodile would be on his way to Impel Down by then, so it would be no problem to. The question was, was the King going to allow her to do so, after aiding in the attempt to overthrow the whole Alabasta Kingdom?
The answer was almost, and practically was, a definite no. It didn't matter how much she planned on the Shichubukai to fail, what mattered was that she never showed any of it, so it could be easily seen as an excuse that was conjured out of desperation.
The rookie was an option, a higher chance of succeeding, though it still wasn't much at all. She hadn't originally planned on Crocodile falling short, but after meeting the young boy, her doubts instantly kicked in. One wouldn't believe such a naïve, innocent looking boy would have a thirty million bounty over his head, not to mention even giving him a second glance compared to a Shichubukai, but he bared the Will of D, something she had had an interest in ever since she was a child. She noticed many common traits of those who were born into the world as one. Incredible instinct. Smiles somewhat common, one way or another. And somehow, they always seemed to know what to say.
The initial was still a mystery to the world, no one known knowing what it meant. She herself pondered over what it meant, meeting a few along her path, the said instincts in almost all of them. Still, most people would argue that the simple middle initial meant nothing – he was still a rookie, while he was an experienced pirate.
However, she couldn't shake the odd scratching at the back of her head, begging to be thought about, so she soothed her thoughts by simply saying, she didn't doubt if he won, but she wasn't sure about either. At that moment, she was on the borderline, the middle of the road, where surely, you would get caught in the head lights.
So she had a decision to make: either Mr. 0, or the boy with the straw hat. The bet she put on him had technically brought her to side of true justice, not a bias opinion from marines, but actual justice, since it was Crocodile who had planned to take over the innocent kingdom. But that justice had dragged her down into the depth of sand of the Alabasta desert, like all of the other times she had tried to fit in with the small shred of good, or at least innocence, in the world.
Even though she was almost certain they could beat Mr. 3 at Little Garden, she gave them the Eternal Pose so they could arrive sooner to Alabasta – not for a trap that Mr. 0 set up, so they could hurry and save the kingdom. Only at the climatic point of the havoc could she sneak a chance to read the Poneglyph. While Crocodile was occupied, and on the verge of losing, but the pirates and the royal family were also busy fighting back. Only then could she have read it.
But she had screwed up, taking a damned Den Den Mushi when it was unnecessary for her trip to the small goat-headed ship.
She had placed it in it's spot between her breasts, but she shamefully had had the accident of it being on line, apparently. Whoever was on the other end, which she successfully assassinated earlier that day, had heard everything, and tattle tailed like a snobbish child to their father. The mishap seemed too fated, too unfortunately perfect for it to be real, but it happened that way, no matter how much she wished it hadn't.
She knew he never trusted her from the start, but she suspected something snapped, most likely his cigar, that morning, because he had harshly scarred her across her torso at her arrival back to Katorea, leaving a somewhat deep wound in the path the golden hook traced.
She could no longer walk around the summer island, free of any danger, with the position of Ms. All Sunday above her head. Now, any Thousand or Million could toy with her if they wanted. If she was drunk, that is.
She supposed he decided there was no way she was going to tell him the truthful translation of the historical piece, so he got rid of her before she could get in the way. It was a smart move, really. If he hadn't, she would've been secretly aiding to the young boy's crew faster than the flames that took over her own hometown. She just hoped it hadn't cost anything to them that she had screwed up her character in the whole scheme.
Finally reaching the city, she stirred up some attention, as the residents still recognized her as the manager of the popular casino, who had come bleeding from within the depths of the hot, ever going desert.
Not wanting to ask anyone for directions in her current position, she strolled around town, trying to stand straight so she wouldn't stand out much. With the help of her thieving skills, she managed to simply swipe a somewhat robe looking, purple piece of clothing, which was a common attire in the country. After adjusting it to a position that didn't let the robe directly touch her wound, blood stood away from it, making her look back to her higher-classed, respected self.
Walking around the larger sized town, she finally found a hospital, the Nanohana Hospital Medical Center. Upon entering, she walked up to the woman sitting at the front desk, and putting on a half hearted smirk, opened up the robe, revealing her long, narrow gash. With a quick gasp, she dialed up the Den Den Mushi, calling for a doctor.
The next few weeks were unmemorable.
Healing was one of the many things she had never known to like. Healing was moving forward, breaking free of what hurt you.
She had never healed from the scar in her heart, her mind.
Even though emotional healing irritated her, she didn't doubt that physical healing wasn't much better. Sitting, laying down, drinking water, eating small portions of food at a time, pills, and sleeping all day for weeks wasn't what she wanted to do, not when she could've been hundreds of miles away from the island on another gullible pirate crew's ship, a step closer to the Sabaody Archipelago – closer to the New World, closer to Raftel, the True History.
About a week after she was hospitalized, it was official – Mr. Monkey D. had saved King Cobra and the lovely Princess Vivi, exposing the supposed hero Crocodile of his schemes, the first blissful rain in years ending the war between the two groups of residents. The World Government and Marines told the rest of the world it was some no name marine – Smoker, who had defeated him, but anyone in the right mind to have heard the Princess' touching speech and goodbye to the rookies…it was easily known across the country who the true heroes were.
As soon as the news spread to the city she was bedridden at, she quickly prepared in leaving to catch up with the boy. He interested her, nevermind the D. Not all of them had this, but he did have this certain spark in his eyes she couldn't seem to shake. It gave her shivers, a shrill of excitement of wanting to know more of him. It reminded her of Saul.
Her wound ached, but wasn't all that bad. Despite this, they simply refused to let her go. Where all doctors this dedicated? She tried all ways of manipulation, some way to persuade them. It was her own health she was risking, wasn't it?
However, they didn't even glance at a single offer. They said it was not only her health she was risking, it was their satisfaction and pride as doctors. Respectable, she had to admit, but it aggravated her nonetheless.
She grudgingly accepted to stay at the hospital, but swore that if not going on the boy's ship was a choice that came back to haunt her, she would come back to this spot and personally slaughter them.
Another two weeks passed, and they had finally, finally accepted for her leave.
After officially being granted the ability to move freely again, the charges were shrugged off, as the doctor claimed she had helped him win a jackpot once at RainDinners. She didn't want to say no to free treatment, though she did think it was odd for a doctor to unprofessionally wave something as a fee off, so she left with a smile and a nod, followed by a polite thank you.
Buying new clothes with the leftover Beli she had, she walked among the other people, eyeing certain ones that caught her eye – someone who would take her in willingly.
After a good half hour, she stopped at a small diner, her head somewhat hurting after mild dehydration. She couldn't find anyone decent. Pirates who were too trashy, or too weak to protect her for at least a while, swarmed the city. She should've gone with Mr. Monkey D., but she was confident she would catch up to him soon – there was no doubt he was also aiming for Raftel, and the infamous One Piece, so she would just have to meet him amongst the way.
Usually, she wouldn't be so picky, but as she got older, she became less and less desperate to find someone. She was 28, now, and the Tragedy of Ohara had happened twenty years ago, something most people didn't even know about anymore. She was more than capable of taking care of herself – if it wasn't for her, her mother's, and Ohara's, dream, she could stop her journey right then, and settle down right there.
The only flaw being there was a goal she was after, and she couldn't stand the intense heat of the harsher summer island much longer, so she moved forward, not healed, but simply move forward.
Her attention was brought up by an older man, who she would guess was around fifty, the top of his head hairless, a matching grey beard, but only a few wrinkles.
He spoke in a hoarse, shook, voice that made her frown, "You..!" He pointed a slightly bent finger at her face, a bit too close to her nose, "You're the Devil's Child..!"
She frowned at his accuracy of her role in piracy, scolding herself for not realizing the man's older age – which also meant he was still a bit older when her bounty and the news shook the West Blue and bits and pieces of the Grand Line.
"The Devil's Child!" he yelled louder, causing some of the customers to stare at the scene.
"Oi, ossan, what are you yelling about, now?" One of the younger customers, who she assumed was a regular one, asked, "Don't be ridiculous. That's the manager of RainDinners."
"Have you youngsters no brains?! RainDinners, owned by our supposed hero, Crocodile!? She…!" he pointed his finger at her again, "She's the one that escaped the World Government.!"
"You're acting as if the manager of a casino had anything to do with the evildoing of a pirate. "he laughed with his other friends, still not believing it.
She slightly depended on the lax nature of the man to somehow make the predicament she was currently in…go away. She only hoped that the old man had no evidence to back up his accusation, but of course, like the rest of her life, misfortune was accompanied to it somehow.
This being said, she wasted no time in getting up and briskly leaving the small restaurant, after the old man shrieked, "Wait! I've got her bounty poster right here!"
She heard more shrieks after she left, most out of panic and fear. This city, and soon this country wouldn't be safe for her anymore – she had been recognized.
"I've heard of her, before, Captain." His first mate and navigator commented in a deep, somewhat slow voice.
"I know, Bepo." the Captain of that certain crew said to him in a serene voice, nodding, "The woman who supposedly has the power to destroy the world." He murmured under his breath, the said woman walking out of the diner.
"She doesn't seem like she's all that scary or strong." His other crewmember, by the name of Penguin, commented.
"But she looks pretty." Another commented.
"Who cares?" the polar bear asked bluntly.
"Shut up, Bepo." The man by the name of Shachi frowned.
"I'm sorry…" he apologized, his head swept down. The man, feeling somewhat guilty, patted the bear's back, which eventually brought his spirits up again.
The captain of the four turned to them, another one of his distinctive, smug smiles on his lips, "Would you men like another crewmate?"
"Can I keep her?" Shachi immediately asked.
"Don't be stupid! I'm keeping her." Penguin smiled.
"That doesn't make any sense." Bepo commented.
"Shut up, Bepo!"
After the bear recovered, the three were faced with the intimidating golden eyes of their Captain. "If you want her. Get her." He stipulated, frowning at his three best companions.
Faster than the Captain had thought they would be, the three dashed out the door, only a quick 'Yes, Captain!' scarcely reaching his ears as his hat was slightly misplaced from the wind that gathered.
Fixing it, he crossed one leg over the other, waiting for the small fraction of his crew to return.
Alabasta wasn't the crew's next destination – it wasn't the crew's supposed to be destination. However, another foolish bickering stirred up between the three that were currently chasing after the girl, causing the first mate to fall and break the log pose he so vowed to himself to keep in perfect condition.
The contour of islands from where he started the Grand Line to Sabaody was in somewhat of a jagged one, the island they recently departed from sticking out of it to the east, Alabasta being only a day's ride away.
With that being said, the Heart Pirates were thrown slightly off track, and would have to obtain a new log pose, go back to the winter island, Jäger Insel, and wait for the log pose to set once more so it would be back onto it's set magnetic order of islands.
He gave them each a strike on their heads with his nodachi, but now, he was somewhat glad they were at the burning hot sensation of the Alabasta Kingdom – the so called Devil's Child would make a lovely addition, and he was almost one hundred percent sure her skill of the Ancient Language was an important key to understanding the unknown world they lived in, and possibly even the rumored treasure of the Pirate King.
And he was almost certain she would agree. Despite him being only around the age of four when the so called Tragedy of Ohara happened, he wasn't an idiot. Already starting to read medical books, he was sure his own interest of doctoring was almost as strong, maybe even a bit more, than her's of history.
He had snooped around, and found a few old newspapers from his father – reading out of curiosity, he had summarized and somewhat stored her way of survival into the back of his mind.
Join a pirate or gang, wait for marines to come. Abandon them, steal what they could offer. The four stepped plan was simple, yet it was one that stood no vulnerability to marines, or no threat to most pirates – for they were as reckless as animals themselves.
He knew very well that she would tag along with them, seeing as he made a bit of a success so far as a pirate, considering he has only been a captain for about two months.
However, he was into the lifestyle of piracy before that, his powers and abilities somewhat stronger than most rookie pirates. He wasn't sure if he would be able to handle the 20 years of experience she had, but she was still only a margin into the Grand Line – unless she had traveled the whole thing, and had just came back, he couldn't see much advancement from her.
He knew this woman had a devil fruit, yet he knew nothing of it. Interrogating would be held once they left for the colder island.
"Captain." His first mate and navigator shyly peeked over the doorway at him, making him smile a bit.
"What is it, Bepo?"
"She's waiting near the edge of town. Shachi and Penguin are with her."
"The edge of town? That's a mile away, Bepo. How could you've reached it so fast?" He frowned, moving his hat so it was closer to his eyes.
"It's been about twenty minutes, Captain." The bear asked, a bit confused.
He breathed out a puff of air, before pushing himself off the chair he was sitting on with his arms, pulling his nodachi over his shoulder right after. "Lead the way." He nodded to him, which the first mate obliged to.
"Your stares are uncomfortable." She commented at the two men staring at her, as she sat on a barrel outside an old shop.
They didn't take her words into accountancy, so she restricted from throwing them a frown, and instead placed a smile, as the odd talking polar bear came into view once more.
"Captain." The two nodded respectfully, standing straight as a man a few inches taller than her, with a sword of about the same height, approached them.
The man stopped, two feet away from herself. A smile that she couldn't help but feel the least bit uncomfortable was on his face, slowly making her own drain away.
With a held out hand, he said in a clear voice, "Trafalgar Law."
Still sitting on the barrel, she stared at the tattooed hand, reading, 'DEATH,' before finally shaking it on his fingers, "Nico Robin."
"Well, Miss Nico Robin. I'd like you to join my crew, and I know you're already going to accept. We'll be buying a few supplies in this city, and we'll be setting sail tonight." He walked away after that, assuming she would follow him.
She couldn't help but smile at the retreating figure. This man was going to be fun to toy around with.
Waiting longer than she should have, she finally let herself down off the barrel, her heels creating two clicks! one after the other. She ignored the two men who were cheering to themselves – she had experienced men like this, before, and on more than one occasion.
She was a bit surprised, actually. Men in white boiler suits never had really struck her fancy in her personal dictionary, so she assumed the captain would be someone poor, maybe a bit barbaric.
However, he seemed like none of those things, even after the only brief conversation. Too brief, as a matter of fact. It annoyed her, actually. This 'Trafalgar Law' seemed to smug, too confident for her taste, and with those characteristics, he seemed to still have the nerve of being too kept to himself. Robin, at least, opened up a little bit, making small talk and telling people more about herself, other than simply her name. This man, in conclusion, seemed stuck up.
She didn't mean to sound like a whining, judgmental teenager or anything, but he acted as if the world was in his hands, and she was proven right when he simply walked away after giving her orders.
He seemed interesting, a different sort of interesting. Whether it was annoying or amusing, she had yet to find out.
She struck up a conversation with the polar bear, "Hello." She said this politely, happily, not inexplicably like she would with most people.
"Hello." The bear nodded back at her.
After thinking of the right words she proceeded in asking, "Bepo, was it?" He nodded. "May I ask a somewhat personal question?"
She heard the two men cry in disbelief due to their foul minds, but nonetheless asked when the bear nodded in acceptance. "Well, may I ask how is it possible for you to talk? Did you eat a devil fruit, perhaps?"
He shook his head. "I don't really know." He scratched the back of his head, looking at the sky, "Maybe I did...Maybe I just learned…"
"Animals have different vocal chords, though." She reasoned.
"I'm…an animal?" he hung his head.
"You arean animal!" the two screeched, but she just gently apologized, disparity in her voice, "I apologize. I didn't mean to insult you."
"It's okay…" he blinked, "That's the first time I've ever said that."
The two men next to her sweatdropped. She walked past them to a clothing store, much to the Captain's curiosity, "We're buying food and medical supplies – not clothes." He informed her, giving her a sideways glance.
She didn't bother to look at him, "I never agreed of joining you." She picked up a purple, lace embroidered tank top.
She could feel his frown, which was followed by a brisk sigh, "So, what deed to you want me to waste my time on in order for you to join?"
"Fufufu~ There isn't anything you can do. You'll just have to wait." She said, picking up a black, high waisted leather skirt.
"We leave tonight." He said, glaring at the woman's back as he ground his teeth together in annoyance. "You have until then to decide."
She smiled to herself despite answering in a somewhat cold voice, "Don't act as if this is an opportunity." She left deeper into the store.
"…She's still joining us, right, Captain?" Penguin asked, fixing the bill of his hat.
"Of course. She's simply messing with us." He confirmed, an exasperated frown on his face.
"You going to get her back for it, Captain?" Shachi sighed, already knowing the answer.
"That's not even a question, Shachi."
The three blinked at their captain's retreating figure before they let out simultaneous sighs. Their captain was plotting something – but lost in the depths of annoyance and feelings of being disrespected, he had yet to remember the woman was far more experienced than him in the life or death business.
So, they quickly rushed after him, in a futile attempt to talk him out of his light revenge on the woman. "Are you sure about this, Captain?" Penguin asked after catching up with him.
"Of course." He said under his breath, a frown still plastered on his face. "Are you suggesting that I shouldn't do this, Penguin?"
"Well…we're only looking out for you, Captain." He answered a bit sheepishly.
"I would appreciate it, but I take that as an insult." He peered his eyes at him, "Are you calling me weak?"
Shachi raised an eyebrow on him, "That doesn't work on us, Law. And we weren't even close to saying that. Supposedly, she was the temporary first mate for the ex-Shichubukai Crocodile! I wouldn't doubt it, as he was arrested right here and taken to Impel Down a few weeks ago." He informed her, "Unless you think you have a chance against that man, I wouldn't exactly recommend…this."
His jaw clenched in slight annoyance as he used his name, something he narrowly looked over since it was coming from those three, his best friends, but he still snapped his head in his direction, retorting, "Doflamingo would manage to kill him in seconds if he wanted to, I'm sure you're aware of this, Shachi. So, as one of his former men, I am not helpless. Adding on to that, I'm sure he only gave her such a high position of authority in exchange for her…skills."
"We know, Captain." Bepo added, "But, I heard someone who used to work for them, that she supposedly was planning on betraying him for that other rookie, Mugiwara!" he exclaimed, throwing his furry arms in the air for emphasis, "She stuck with him for a reason, Captain. If she bet her twenty years of risking her life on him rather than Crocodile…" the bear trailed off, as he felt somewhat ashamed for saying so much.
"She must have an incredible eye for things. And, in the end, Mugiwara did defeat him. If she thinks she's capable of betraying Crocodile, the Crocodile, who would kill someone on the spot, I think she's more than what she seems to be." Penguin concluded.
He sighed, and pinched the bridge of his nose, and stopped walking, "I'm aware of this, Penguin." He barely managed to spit the words out as he grit his teeth, "But she won't do that."
The three blinked, not believing the captain at all before blurting out almost too bluntly, "Why not?"
He could've sworn he almost ripped his skin off as he pinched harder in annoyance.
She brushed through the isles of clothing, picking out which ones caught her striking azure eyes, a majority of them being either black or purple.
The man, Trafalgar Law, had something to his personality to actually put her on the edge. She had met many pirates, many marines, many innocents, but hardly any of them were clever enough to have her even the least bit flustered of what to do.
He didn't seem like he would hurt her, or use her in any way, but what she was concerned about, what was burning in the back of her mind was if she were to join him, would she be able to escape? Despite him looking decent and far away from some pirates who acted very barbarian-like, just the few words exchanged between the two had her growing tired of talking to him, and to put it lightly, annoyed her. In short, he was uncomfortably devious, adding on to the whole way-too-brief-problem.
That was how she was supposed to act. It truly worried her that he would be able to read whatever she thought, making it seem as if he had known her for years. He would probably know when she was going to run. How she was going to run. Where she was going to run.
If she was going to join, it would be almost impossible to escape, unless he were to fail in succeeding what every pirate dreamed of finding.
Escaping was what kept her alive. Deviousness. Secrets. Twists. And finally, lies. She knew these four things better than her own mother, but what shook her usually stable feet, was that he seemed to know even more.
However, recklessness was also an option. It was what could get her out, but the pirate captain seemed to also know how to deal with this attribute, from the signs of unexpected respect from the three members of his crew.
After talking to the cashier about giving her a discount, she subtly threw in that she happened to be the manager of RainDinners. As her job of Ms. All Sunday was more important, yet unknown, the fact that the manager of a casino being fired wasn't big of a deal – it would probably take a few more weeks for the news to finally set in to Nanohana.
She hated using the excuse so much, it seemed overdone, and quite frankly, boring, but it was the only one that she had. That being said, an incredible discount was given to her, much to her pleasure. She successfully convinced several different stores of her 'current' status, snatching a few more expensive ones occasionally.
As the sky illustrated an ombré effect of different warm shades of orange, yellow, and red, to somewhat cooler shades of purple and blue, the archeologist found her self aimlessly wandering around the town, the atmosphere quickly cooling down, to many of the residents' delight.
Putting on the long, thick jacket she bought, much similar to the white one she had as Ms. All Sunday, she somewhat reluctantly, decided to find her new captain, her smug, annoying, captain.
Letting out a sharp sigh, she gripped the bags' replaceable string handles as she slowly increased her pace, somewhat hoping to find him, somewhat hoping to look over him and never see him for the rest of time.
The more she thought of it, the more she frowned, thinking that this may not be exciting anymore, but more of risking her own life. She tried to remember if she usually felt the sense of danger when hopping from crew to crew. Danger as in excitement, almost all the time. But danger as in literal danger, she couldn't say the same. She hardly ever felt out of place, even with the former Shichubukai, she felt as though she belonged in Baroque Works, being in an assassination group and such.
If only her mother was still alive. If only Ohara was still alive. But, she supposed that the tragedy had small advantages. She probably would've set off to look for the ancient artifacts when she turned around eighteen. She didn't think she could possibly survive the sea with that big of a power in her head, and only starting with the voyage, at that. What she meant was, she was probably much stronger, both physically and mentally, due to her twenty years of experience. She was earlier than the supposed schedule of her adventure, having a harsh ten years head start. It also gave her a drive, knowing Ohara's dream was in her hands.
It wasn't worth it, however.
Nothing was worth true nakama that would care for her for as long as they lived, not even her own death and failure of her dream was worth it. That being said, she couldn't help but feel she should've been somewhere else, right then, instead of walking to her soon to be sadistic captain, in the middle of the Alabasta desert, the incorrect destined starting point of the beautiful journey that was supposed to make her believe in her dreams again.