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Shell Shocked (Robin/OMC)

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“It seems that Straw Hat-san and the others are getting closer to headquarters.” The den-den mushi place in an elegant hand turned off as the transmission finished recording itself.

The large expansive desert was enough to intimidate anyone who was not used to navigating it. However, she knew it all too well. Especially having worked for Baroque Works for nearly three years now. Something that she had doubts about even after all this time.

The lumbering gait of the huge turtle carrying her and its extra occupant was gentle and steady. Banchi was given to her as a “gift” from her boss with the suggestion that having another turtle in her life as a bad joke. She did not mind it all that much, but her companion did. Distaste and silent anger radiated off him when seeing a distant cousin being used for recreational sport. With time, he came to help and communicate with the large turtle all the while becoming friends and kindred spirits.

Robin let a soft smile grace her lips at the memories that they had shared over the years they have known each other. He was already in his mid-teens when they had first met each other having rescued her from the bounty hunters who wanted the 79 million beri bounty on her head. She at first saw his silhouette. A tall, lean, and lanky man with a long thick high ponytail and bangs being the length of his hidden face was parted to the right. His strong, large hands had sheathed his swords held at his waist with a dark-colored haramaki. The first words that he spoke to her were –

“A little girl like you should pay more attention to her surroundings to avoid unnecessary danger, Nico Robin.” His voice was deep, warm and tranquil yet yielded raspy undertones as well. Like a blade cutting through wood or a rumble of thunder during the downpour of rain. Maybe even both.

Even at 10-years-old, Robin had noticed that he knew her name and wondered if he was a bounty hunter too. However, He did not withdraw his swords again. He had knelt down in front of her finally revealing himself. Robin knew then and there that he was not human. Not with his looks and coloring. However, she saw the wisdom of one who was ancient in his eyes and there was also a strong will dwelling in there. One that she did not have. Hers were empty, hollow, and full of pain. It was a wonder on how he could look at her and not be intimidated.

“Come.” That was all he said as he stood to his feet and held out his hand. Her bright blue eyes took in his stoic yet open features fully trusting her in making her own decision. To run away denying his help or to take his hand accepting his silent offer of protection. So, she took his hand her own fist completely covered by his own as a clam would hide the pearl within. His grip was gentle yet firm before he took her into his arms leaping at speeds that were inhumanly possible. However, it did not seem to matter to him for he was not human.

Robin looked at the back of her savior and only friend. Tall, lean, and lanky still but broader than her. His long ponytail swayed in the hot, humid desert wind displaying the colors it often hid. The bottom half of his head, including the sides, was short, almost considered a buzz cut, while the rest was thick, long, and voluminous. A bandana covered the bottom half of his face protecting his nose and mouth from the harsh sand while a dark, hooded cloak had covered his body, ready to be used if needed.

She was grateful for what he has done for her all these years. Protecting her, teaching her how to use her powers and to fight, watching over her, and being there for her through thick and thin.

“What do you plan on doing Robin?” That rumbling yet slightly raspy voice washed over her like a cool waterfall wiping away the darkness.

“I think you know already.” Her own voice was soft and gentle expressing her endearment towards the older man sitting in front of her.

“Mm. Then let’s go. Banchi to Rain Dinners post haste.” The low churring bellow from their huge terrapin companion was enough to express his delight as he picked up the pace. This began a whole new adventure and the end of Crocodile’s reign in the Kingdom of Alabasta.