Author: aRLegOdDesS PM
She had always thought that snow resembled him, beautiful yet lonely. However, as the battle between the Millefiore and Vongola continued, she realized that after all this time, she was denying the fact that it was really herself that resembled the snow.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Drama - Mukuro R. - Words: 8,068 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 11 - Follows: 2 - Published: 04-12-10 - Status: Complete - id: 5893257
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
This is my longest one-shot yet. I wrote this on a whim and forgive me for any grammatical errors you might see. I haven't really edited this yet. I'm really sorry for not updating my other stories. It's just that I haven't written fanfiction in a long time so...it's taking me a long time to get used to it again. xD So here's Mukuro Rokudo, our sexy pineapple king~
I hope you guys love this. I just hope Mukuro's not too OOC.
Disclaimer: Don't own anything 'cept this and Nanae. BTW, major spoilers ahead. Don't read if you haven't read the manga or anime during the Future Arc. I warned you already~
It felt cold. Why was it cold?
There was nothing around her. No sounds nor movements nor signs of life. It was only darkness, darkness that embraced her frostily. Then within that darkness, something white appeared. Not long after, more white speckles after that lone speckle she first saw fell from above her. The coldness then grew even more and enveloped her whole body.
Unconsciously, she lifted her hand and reached out for that strange white speckle. Upon the contact with her awaiting open palm, the white speckle immediately melted.
Yes, it was snow. That bizarre and mysterious white speckle that had melted on her palm was snow. It was no wonder as to why it was cold around her.
She then realized that it was she who had been speaking all this time. She was quite surprised. Shouldn't she recognize her own voice? A voice that she should be quite familiar with for the reason that it was hers? She pondered and wondered to herself. However, in the end, she could not come up with any reasonable answer. Not one answer appeared nor presented itself to her.
"Snow is beautiful," she had spoken once again, not to herself but to someone else.
"Yet, however, its beauty holds this certain sadness. Don't you agree, Mukuro?"
She started to turn around and immediately, as soon as she moved, a scenery appeared before her eyes. The darkness that once surrounded her had been replaced by a sky. The sky, which she found gloomy, was lacking the usual bright blue hue and was instead tainted with gray clouds that hid the warmth and brilliance of the sun. She found her surroundings to be covered with snow that almost seemed to look like white carpet. She then looked at herself and noticed the outfit she was wearing. She was, to the very least, astounded at the sight of it. She was wearing that green uniform of Kokuyo High, something she hadn't worn for a very long time.
Where was she?
Millions of questions started flooding her mind, none of them answered. She was confused, very confused.
That familiar chuckle had brought her back to reality, momentarily snapping her out of the train of thoughts that formed inside her head. Her green eyes flickered ever so lightly, focusing on a familiar form. She found his back facing her, his amusing hairstyle never failing with catching her attention.
"You find it amusing, don't you," it was more of a statement rather than a question. Yet she waited for an answer, but she knew she could never get a straight answer from Mukuro Rokudo. Which led her to the conclusion to not really expect an answer from the Kokuyo gang leader.
Mukuro finally faced her. And quite predictably, he had a grin plastered on his face already. She, in return, gazed at him apathetically and didn't seem fazed by his mischievous expression. She was, after all, used to it. Having known Mukuro for almost all her life, she would be used to it sooner or later.
"No," he spoke, his deep voice ringing in her ears. He slowly approached her and lifted her chin with his hand, slightly bending towards her until their faces were a centimetre away from each other. She could feel his warm breath with her lips and just then realized the distance between the two of them. It was then that her heart took a quicker pace all of a sudden. What was this feeling?
Mukuro seemed amused even more for his grin widened.
"You are the one I find quite amusing, Nanae amoré," he said followed with his signature laugh.
Nanae closed her eyes and slowly pulled away from him. She then looked up and watched the snow fall from the sky fall freely and carefully to the ground. Realization hitting her, she focused her eyes on the young man in front of her and said,
"You remind me of snow, Mukuro."
Before she could even see his reaction (to be honest, his reaction was none of her concern), she had turned around and walked away.
"Beautiful yet lonely."
Nanae opened her eyes to find everything blurry around her. She closed her eyes and opened them again. She found her surroundings still blurry, which aggravated her. Grudgingly, she reached for her eyeglasses that were placed on her night table. As she wore them, she sat up and automatically shot her eyes on her clock.
6:09 a.m. 
Looking through the floor to ceiling windows, she found the sun up high on the sky already, meaning a new day has started.
She let out a sigh, brushing her reddish brown hair with her fingers. She was perturbed. She had dreamt about Mukuro. Normally, she wouldn't be bothered by it; however, she had been dreaming about him constantly and it was always the same dream. It was always of her and Mukuro, back when they were still teenagers. Back when she was still with him.
Her brows furrowed upon the memory and pulled her knees towards her, burying her face on them. There had to be some kind of sensible reason as to why she was dreaming about him, especially that specific memory. Was she, in some irrational reason, guilty? She knew she was not guilty, but maybe she was unconsciously guilty that it was causing her to have such dreams?
A knock on the door made her look up and momentarily made her forget of her troubles, if only a bit. Whichever way, she did forget about it.
"Come in," she stoically said, fixing her hair.
The door opened with a creak and revealed the Cervello women who wore the White spell uniform. Nanae only eyed them and leaned on the headboard.
"What is it?" she asked, not even greeting them a good morning.
The Cervello women, who – by the way – were working for her, bowed to her.
"We are sorry to have interrupted your slumber, signora Nanae," the one on the left apologized but Nanae found no trace of admission of guilt in her tone.
"It's fine. I was awake before you two had knocked. Tell me, what brings you here?" she asked, standing up from her bed and walked towards the dressing folding screen to change her clothes. She started removing her nightgown and reached for a clean White Spell uniform that was hanging on the corner of the screen. While she was changing, the Cervello women complied and bowed, ready to tell her the message.
"Byakuran asks for your presence immediately."
"Hmm…" she hummed, buttoning her top.
"He says it is an emergency," the other pair said.
Nanae paused, closing her eyes. She suddenly felt this strange feeling on her gut, warning her of an oncoming bad omen.
"I'll be there soon enough. Thank you for telling me," was all she said before wearing her skirt and boots.
The Cervello women bowed before excusing themselves and left her room quietly. When she was finally alone on her room, she walked away from the dressing folding screen and got her contact lenses that were on a corner table. After wearing them, she approached the high window of her room. She let her fingers graze on the smooth surface of the window glass and looked at her reflection on the glass, seeing the tattoo engraved on her left eye. She then turned her attention towards the horizon.
What mess had she gone into?
Byakuran plopped a marshmallow inside his mouth, an uncanny grin marred on his face. He had a tattoo just below his left eye, one that resembled someone else's. He was leaning on the corner of a wide table, waiting for a certain someone to arrive. Upon hearing the door open, his gaze fell on the form that came inside his room. He grinned at her, plopping another marshmallow to his mouth.
"Ah, did you have a good night's sleep, Nanae-chan?" he asked enthusiastically.
Nanae stared back with an impassive face and approached the Millefiore leader.
"Most likely," was her monotone reply.
He only grinned and stood up properly.
"You don't seem like you did. Had a nightmare, perhaps?"
Her eyes immediately widened upon his words. But as quickly as it came, it was gone. Showing weaknesses and emotions in front of Byakuran was not a good idea. He could always use that against her at a critical time. And she didn't want that. Not now, not ever.
"Perhaps," was her indifferent answer. And before he could ask more about it, she had interrupted him.
"What is it that you want from me that is so important that you want me at this oddly hour of time?" she asked straightforwardly.
Byakuran chuckled at her straightforwardness, his eyes glinting with mischievousness, something that she was sceptical about.
"Same old, Nanae-chan. You really are straightforward, aren't you? You should loosen up a bit," he remarked.
"With all due respect, Byakuran-sama," she said."If you don't mind me saying this, I prefer not having this inane chit-chat. Is this small meeting about the Vendice?"
And with that, Byakuran's playful demeanour quickly dissipated and an evil look replaced it. Nanae was the least frightened by this sudden change of personality. If ever, she already expected this reaction from him. After working under him for a long time, she knew how to pull his strings and how he would react. Being the observant person that she was, she could predict one's next move. It was this unambiguous characteristic she possessed that intrigued the Millefiore leader greatly.
"Ah, as expected from Nanae-chan. Well then, seeing as you already know of it. Let's skip the basics," he said, approaching a vase of flowers. Nanae eyed the said flowers before looking back at him.
"Shou-chan, as predicted, betrayed us. It was only a matter of time," he started. It was true. Shouichi Irie was now working under the Vongola. "And the Choice game is tomorrow already, I'm afraid. The real funeral wreaths are coming, along with myself," he explained, never losing that playful tone of his, but she could sense the venom in his voice. She didn't comment about it and just continued listening.
"And what do you want me to do?" she spoke, voice still monotone.
Byakuran shifted slightly to face her.
"I want you to go to the Vendice prison located in Europe. Iris is coming with you. You know, to deliver Ghost to me when the time comes that I need him," he simply said.
Nanae remained silent before her eyes closed.
"Iris has not recovered yet. Do you intend to make her come with me when she can just slow me down?"
Byakuran chuckled at that, which made her question herself as to why he found it funny. Then again, Byakuran's humour was in a whole twisted way that even she could not bear to understand.
"But, Nanae-chan, you know you're the only one I can rely on. Besides, I'm sure you have no trouble going there and controlling him," he reasoned.
She finally opened her eyes and stared back at his cold eyes. She knew there was no use arguing with him, which led her to the conclusion to just accept it. Besides, she knew she could not argue with his stubbornness. She was in no position to complain since she worked under him.
"Very well," she said, "I'll prepare everything that we need and tell Iris of the plan. I will not disappoint you, Byakuran-sama." She bowed towards him, before leaving his room. Byakuran watched her walk away. He closed his eyes and chuckled to himself again.
"Let's see if you will not betray me in this world, Nanae-chan." He paused to plop a marshmallow on his mouth, all the while not removing that grin off his face.
"After all, you will be meeting him again."
Nanae Yugo let out a sigh she had been holding in for a long time after she had exited Byakuran's room. She held her chest to calm herself. That grin on his face… She knew that Byakuran knew something that she did not. Just the thought of it frightened her. He knew. He knew about her and Mukuro.
A certain memory flashed back. Snow.
"Beautiful yet lonely…" she repeated her words that she had uttered from her dreams and past. She closed her eyes then opened them again with no emotion on them anymore.
The past is the past. It was better that she moved on.
She had no trouble moving on, yet, why was she having troubles now? Her question was left unanswered as she sought for Iris.
The next day came by rather quickly. Byakuran had left the main headquarters a long time ago to meet up with the real funeral wreaths for the Choice game. Nanae noticed that the leader seemed to be anticipating for the day rather excitedly. Then again, he wanted to take over the parallel worlds as soon as possible. She sighed. Somehow, Byakuran resembled Mukuro. At that thought, a frown appeared on her face. She needed to stop thinking of the man. Why, after all these years, was she thinking about him all of a sudden?
"Nanae, Byakuran had just called."
This was what she liked here in this headquarters- everyone interrupted her train of thoughts. Facing Iris, she eyed the Afro woman's bandaged face. She frowned at the sight of them. She didn't want anyone slowing her down.
"He decided to go with it?" she asked, even though she already knew the answer to her question.
"Yes. We are leaving now. Are you ready?" Iris asked.
"Let's go," was all she said, automatically holding the rapier handle that was strapped on her left side. Iris frowned but followed her. She hated Nanae's guts. Nanae knew of it but she didn't care.
"To release that thing from captivity…"
"No way…We'll be able to return home alive, right?"
Nanae only eyed them at the corner of her eyes before returning her attention back at the Vendice Prison that stood right in front of them, all the while trying her best to ignore the snow coating the place. It was rather difficult seeing she could see it everywhere. In order to ignore it, she focused her attention on the prison. Vendice Prison is a prison that held captive extremely dangerous criminals. Ghost, one of the six funeral wreaths, was held captive here. They came here to retrieve and deliver him to Byakuran.
"I guess I'm out of luck…" Iris said, catching her attention.
"Open it! You're to be used by Byakuran-sama!" the Afro woman ordered rather rudely to the subordinate with them. Nanae chuckled to herself knowing that Iris was scared being here. It was not only she, but also the subordinate with them. It was pathetic, to be honest. But she didn't blame them. While the two bickered to themselves, she walked towards the entrance and went in wordlessly. The two immediately stopped and gawked at her. They soon followed after her.
The place smelled of filthy odour and rotting flesh, Nanae took note of. It was also dark and eerie. The mist was not helping at all either. Yet, she continued walking with Iris and the subordinate trailing after her. Finally, they saw two forms 4near the Vindice water cell. Nanae immediately stopped, just a few metres away from the unknown people.
"We're here on Byakuran's orders to retrieve the prisoner!" Iris said, her voice tensed.
"The deal's done. What else do you want?" one of the guards said.
Upon hearing his response, all of them were taken aback.
"Done?" Nanae asked, her brows furrowed. How could it be? They just arrived here and Byakuran personally asked her to take care of this job. Who would possibly retrieve Ghost? Unless someone pretended to be them…
"What do you mean done?" Iris blurted out angrily.
"As promised, we have released the man from the very lowest of our cells," the other guard said with a deep tone that brought chills down anyone's spine.
"You already released him, you say? Quit messing with us! We just got here!"
Nanae glared at Iris. What was she doing? She wasn't being mature about this whole ordeal. Didn't she know she was talking with Vindice guards? To think she was part of the White Spell…
"Was the man released the sixth member of the real six funeral wreaths named Ghost?"
There was a pause from the guards. The one on the right was the one who answered.
"No," he said.
"I knew it," Nanae mumbled. Byakuran wouldn't be happy to hear this…
"It was this man," the man continued, showing a hologram of a photo of a man.
Nanae's eyes immediately widened, her breath caught on her throat. No…it was not possible. She felt her stomach turn inside her, her hands sweating in spite of this cold weather. The man shown on the hologram was no ordinary criminal.
It was Mukuro Rokudo.
She felt the world collapse on her.
To say that Byakuran was mad was an understatement. The man was beyond mad. He was furious.
"As long as you do what I ask, I have no complaints," Byakuran said from the other side of the connection. Nanae was very well aware of the anger on his tone even though he seemed quite calm right now. She wasn't quite the least frightened by it.
"Well then, what do you want us to do now? Are you making a new deal with them?" she asked, eyeing the guards that stared back at them.
"Yes. I'll make a deal with Vindice once more…just get Ghost out of there."
Yes. Byakuran was furious.
"I understand. We'll try to get him to you by dawn, Byakuran-sama," she said calmly.
"I'm trusting you on this one, Nanae. I'm sure both of us are shaken up." And he hung up. Nanae held the phone tightly, almost crushing it with her own hand. Byakuran knew of her emotions. It was true that she was stirred up quite a lot, but the fact Byakuran knew of it scared her. That only meant that he was suspecting her as a traitor.
"Well? What did Byakuran-sama say?" Iris asked, bringing her back to reality. The sadness and anger disappeared from her eyes and was back to being void of emotions. Shoving her phone to the pockets of her coat, she faced Iris.
"We're still continuing with the plan. Byakuran-sama will be making a new deal with the Vindice," she explained.
Iris was about to retort but stopped when she saw Nanae's hands. They were shaking.
"Let's go," Nanae said before she could ask her anything. She took off; probably back to make a deal with the Vindice guards. Iris only eyed her before following her, the subordinate just right by their tails. Iris knew of the strange obsession Byakuran had over Nanae. Sure she wasn't as strong as the real six funeral wreaths, but something about her intrigued their leader. Somehow, she could control him, like a puppet being controlled by the puppet monster. That was what Iris hated about her and also because of the fact that she used to work under the enemy. Why Byakuran trusted her was beyond her.
"Because of another deal made by your leader, we will liberate Ghost."
Iris watched the scene before her unfold. Nanae was stoic as ever. Iris noticed that her hands weren't shaking anymore. Was it her imagination then?
"Only one may enter to retrieve the prisoner. The others should stay here."
"What? How dare-"
"It's fine, Iris. I'll take care of this," Nanae said. "Besides, you're sceptical about this one, right?"
Iris gripped her hands tightly and gritted her teeth. Smug bitch. Just because she wasn't scared of Ghost didn't mean she could show-off like that.
"I know what you're thinking. However, when you think about it carefully, why would Byakuran-sama make me come with you when you can do this yourself?" Nanae turned to face her. At her remark, all Iris could do was glare. She had caught her there.
"Well then, if you don't mind, I'm going."
Without waiting for their reply, she went inside with a guard leading her to the cell. They had walked towards an elevator, which led them to the lowest levels. It was quiet throughout the whole way. Then again, there was nothing to say. Nanae was no talker while the guard, well, she doubted he would converse with her in the first place.
"We have arrived," the guard announced, stopping in front of a huge iron door. Nanae only looked at it stoically. She waited for the guard to open the cell and lead her inside. However, he never went inside but stayed by the corner.
"You can go retrieve him now," was all she needed for him to say before she went inside.
Inside, she found a huge tank filled with liquid that she assumed was a strange mixture of various chemicals. She was not surprised to see someone inside the tank.
"Ghost," she uttered his given name, more likely, a title given to him by Byakuran.
"Wake up, Ghost. Byakuran-sama wishes of your presence," she said.
Not long after, the creature inside the tank opened its eyes and looked at her. His eyes did not hold any pupils. She would have been disturbed at the sight of it, but having been used to killing and working under Byakuran, this was no different from all of her experiences.
"Your time has come, Ghost."
It really had.
As soon as Ghost had been transported successfully to Japan (to Byakuran), Iris and that subordinate that tagged along with them had flown back to main headquarters. Byakuran asked Nanae to stay to say a few words to her.
"Just to be expected from you, Nanae-chan. You successfully brought Ghost here," Byakuran said enthusiastically, sitting on this grand chair in the middle of the wild life around them.
"It is my mission," she said monotonously.
He only grinned at her, his elbow resting on the armchair and plopped his chin on his palm.
"The guardians of Vongola, Varia, and the real six funeral wreaths. They're all gathered upon one battlefield," he said. She didn't know why he had asked her to stay and why he was telling her these, but she didn't question him. However, she knew that the Millefiore leader was up to something.
"It's just as I planned," he continued. He then looked at the creature that stood a few feet away from them.
"I guess it's time for you to take the stage, Ghost," he hummed, addressing Ghost. Light suddenly surrounded Ghost and fog covered his body. Nanae had to step further away, not wanting to get involved with this insanity. Soon enough, the light and fog disappeared. Ghost was nowhere to be seen.
"It's the final act~" Byakuran said in a singsong way.
"What is it you still want from me, Byakuran-sama?" she asked, unperturbed by his façade. "I surely can't help at this rate. Besides, the members of the funeral wreaths can handle this matter themselves."
Byakuran focused his attention to her at this and simply smiled.
"Why the hurry, Nanae-chan?" he asked, grinning still.
"I just don't find any reason as to why I'm still here," she stoically said.
"Hm? You don't want to be in my presence?" he asked, yet again. She was about to reply when he interrupted her.
"Or maybe you're trying to avoid a certain someone?"
Her eyes widened at this, and this time, Byakuran caught that emotion on her eyes.
"Just as I thought, you are trying to avoid him, are you not?"
For once, Nanae was caught tongue-tied. Sweat trailed down her jaw line. Byakuran knew her too well. All this time, trying to hide her real emotions and feelings, he still saw through her. This was not good. Somehow, she predicted this situation to happen. However, she didn't think it'd happen this soon.
"Oh? What's this? Aren't you even going to deny it?"
She didn't like that malicious grin he had on his face. Well now, there was no use lying. After all, she was caught in the act.
"Why should I, when you already know?" she said.
Byakuran let out a dry laugh.
"I'm quite surprised though," he said, his eyes glinting with evil. "All this time, I was waiting for you to betray me. But I was wrong. You were just, all this time, trying to run away from your past, are you not?"
"What makes you think I am running away, Byakuran-sama?"
"You are. There's no use in hiding it. While you can read me like an open book, I can read you the same way as you do for me. It's like looking in front of a mirror."
He suddenly stood up from the chair he was sitting on and leaned towards her.
"What angers me the most is the fact that he owned you before," as he said this, he trailed his fingers down her cheek then grazed them on the tattoo below her left eye. Nanae could feel her heart racing, not because of the closeness between the two of them but because of the fear of him knowing what he could possibly do to her. Slowly, her emotionless façade was slipping away. This really was no good. She had to do something.
"No one owns me. Not now, not ever," she sternly said.
Byakuran, once again, let out a dry laugh. She only watched with creasing brows.
"Well then, dear Nanae," he said, "I'll make you mine."
An explosion suddenly reached her ears, momentarily distracting her from her shock. Byakuran pulled away, looking at something.
"Oh? It seems my time to fight has arrived." He looked back at her and grinned cruelly at her. "I guess I should change."
He turned around, removing his top and revealed two scars behind his back. Before she could even comment about it, he had worn a new top over it and faced her again.
"Wait for me here, okay, Nanae-chan? It's an order."
He suddenly disappeared. When he did, that was when she let her mask slip away.
She was screwed. How could she let anyone see through her? The only person who could do that was…
She hugged herself tightly. This was no good. All of her memories, her locked memories of him with her came flooding back. It was overwhelming her. Why? Why?
For once, after her separation from the Illusionist, her tears fell down her cheeks. She gazed at the sky and closed her eyes, ignoring the tears that were freely trickling down her face.
"You remind me of snow, Mukuro."
"Beautiful, yet lonely."
Was she, after all, referring to herself and not Mukuro? As her memories kept coming back to her, only did she realize how weak she had become. So all that time of her acting like she didn't care was just a show. It couldn't be, though! It just couldn't be!
Gripping her hands tightly, she wiped her tears away. This was no time to cry. Another explosion sounded from the battlefield Byakuran had gone to, catching her attention. Byakuran had to be stopped. The thought of him owning her was the least she wanted to happen. Trudging her way towards the battlefield, she readied herself. She knew…she knew he was going to be there.
Her heart throbbed painfully, to the point where she had to grip her chest. She fell to her knees as she clutched her chest. Mukuro. Mukuro. Mukuro. Mukuro. Mukuro.
Why was she breaking down at a time like this?
Maybe because she was scared. Yes. She was scared of meeting Mukuro again. She was scared of belonging to Byakuran.
She looked up to find the source of voice, only to see a familiar redhead in front of her. Her eyes automatically went blank. It was a façade, a façade she was used to doing that it automatically came to her.
"M.M," she muttered.
M.M's brows furrowed upon the sight of her, more likely at the sight of her attire.
"Why?" she asked, her voice angry and furious.
"Why are you wearing a Millefiore's uniform?" she asked with venom.
Nanae simply stood up, ignoring the pain on her chest.
"I'm with Byakuran-sama now, M.M."
She was taken aback at her straightforward answer.
"How dare you! Mukuro-chan trusted you! HE TRUSTED YOU! And this is how you repay him?" she was literally screaming at her, but Nanae seemed to be unfazed at her outburst.
M.M suddenly stopped, hearing the softness in Nanae's voice.
"I didn't want this to happen," Nanae said. "However…I must do this now. I cannot escape my fate." She suddenly looked at M.M straight in the eye. M.M. was quite surprised to see the tears in her eyes.
"This must be done."
Another loud explosion sounded, this time, the flames reached them. The two immediately docked, having to sense the danger beforehand. When everything had calmed down, Nanae looked towards the direction of the battlefield. It would seem the battle was getting rather intense.
"I must go," she immediately bolted up, running towards the dangerous battlefield. However, she was stopped by M.M who grabbed her arm.
"Why?" she asked. "Why are you doing this? Mukuro-chan…he…he!"
"He never cared about me, M.M. We both know that I was only a toy for him," Nanae continued for M.M. "…So was I to Byakuran-sama…" she closed her eyes, deciding to voice out the harsh reality she didn't want to accept and tell anyone. "All this time, I was just a toy. I was merely a toy for everyone."
She looked back at M.M.
"I wonder…why you care seeing as you had wanted to get rid of me back then."
M.M clicked her tongue and only glared at her.
"I hated you back then. I really did, even now," M.M started, her eyes piercing through Nanae's.
"But then…I hate to admit this…but Mukuro-chan had always trusted you. You were the person he trusted the most!" the way she said it made her heart hurt. Nanae bit her lower lip.
"I will rule over this world," Mukuro said, his head resting on her lap. Nanae remained silent and waited for him to continue talking while she brushed a few strands of his hair away from his face.
"No," he said afterwards. "I will take revenge on the Mafia and then destroy this insignificant world," he corrected his previous statement and at that, he let out his signature chuckle.
"You will be there with me, won't you, Nanae amoré?" he reached out his hand as he trailed his fingers down her face. Nanae looked down at him and closed her eyes.
"Of course, Mukuro," she replied. "I will be with you at all times."
Mukuro chuckled. "I trust you completely."
"Is that so?" she asked. Her eyes quickly narrowing and then dodged a strange ray of light that was heading towards her way.
"What the hell are those? They're getting annoying already!" M.M exclaimed, dodging the rays of light.
"…it absorbs any kind of Dying Will flame. It is Byakuran-sama's doing," Nanae explained easily, dodging another ray of light.
"Listen here, M.M," she called, her voice suddenly becoming serious. M.M looked at her, but a glare already on her eyes.
"I cannot do anything as long as Byakuran-sama is alive."
M.M was shocked at her words, successfully shutting her up. Her eyes unconsciously landed on the tattoo that was just below her former comrade's eye. The tattoo resembled the one that Byakuran had and was on the same spot as his. No wonder she had the tattoo…
When she did not say anything else, Nanae chose to completely change the topic.
"You should go now," Nanae said. "Everyone's waiting for you."
M.M clicked her tongue, never forgetting to glare at her way.
"Just remember this, Nanae," she said. "Mukuro-chan is mine." Her voice was stern and serious. Nanae only smiled at her before watching the redhead drift off towards the battlefield.
"Whatever you say, M.M." In the background, all she could hear was explosions that came from the battlefield. As a matter of fact, she didn't know who would win this war. Byakuran or the Vongola? She could only guess.
"This is Nanae Yugo, captain of the 1st Squad. I am reporting of the current situation here. Byakuran-sama is battling the Vongola and their allies."
She was a Millefiore and all she could do was act like one, whether she liked it or not.
Nanae successfully hid her presence from everyone as she watched the battle in front of her. She had presumed that Ghost had absorbed everyone's flames, which was why everyone looked worn out and were standing on the sidelines. Bluebell and Zakuro were eliminated, and by the looks of their bodies, their flames were sucked from them completely. It would seem Kikyo was the only one left alive out of the six funeral wreaths and he didn't seem like he was of the best conditions ever. Byakuran and the Vongola Decimo were fighting intensely in the air. Nanae watched it carefully, making sure to take note of every detail. Feeling someone's eyes on her, she looked away from the fight to look at the source only for her to hold her breath when she saw the familiar Illusionist looking at her direction. Sweat formed on her forehead. Nanae was the only member of the Millefiore White Spell squad who can hide her presence perfectly. She doubted Mukuro could see her but his eyes were piercing right through her own ones. Could he see her? Impossible. He could not possibly feel or see her presence.
Only when Mukuro looked away did she let out a sigh of relief. Maybe he just saw something that was in her direction? It must be it; there was no other explanation.
Byakuran seemed to be the one winning. It was no surprising for her part, but she knew the Vongola Decimo had some potential hidden somewhere inside him to defeat Byakuran. But she doubt it would come out soon and if it did, it was too late since Byakuran was approaching Yuni, who was strangely trapped inside a boundary. However, before he could, they heard a cough. All attentions turned to the Vongola Decimo.
'Hm, this child really does have some great potential,' she thought.
"How unlucky of you to wake up in a situation like this," she heard Byakuran say towards the Vongola Decimo. "Ah but then again, I suppose your middle school years have been unlucky from the start, Tsunayoshi-kun~" he mocked, that evin grin plastered on his face.
"I know quite a lot about you. Not too long ago, you were merely a failure of a student who skipped school and then an assassinator came along and told you, you were a candidate of a huge Mafia group, which threw you into this scary world. Since then, despite hating the conflicts, you've been forced to fight for the title of boss and such. Your biggest misfortune, however…is that you came to this generation. If you hadn't brought been brought here, you wouldn't have had to go through all this. Don't you curse your own fate? Right?"
The boy was silent, his body shaking at Byakuran's words.
"Well…" he suddenly said. "The future is scary…and painful…and full of uncertainties. There's been very few times where I've felt happy since coming here. But…I feel as though I understand all that now…" he paused, clenching his fists tightly. "It's not about what's good or bad…everything that happens here…is a precious part of my life."
Nanae gaped at the boy, his words rekindling an old flame inside of her.
"You sure have an odd way of perceiving things," Byakuran said, completely unaffected by Tsuna's words. "But I want you to think very carefully. If you die, that'll only be a way to comfort yourself." At this, Byakuran materialized a needle on his fingers, strong Dying Will flames surrounding it.
Everyone yelled in protest. The Vongola Decimo was done for.
"Mm, you're right. In his state…a mini white dragon through his heart should be enough," the flames grew larger and the malicious evil look on Byakuran's face intensified.
"Ahh! W-wait!" the Vongola Decimo squabbled, but he was too late, Byakuran had thrown the needle towards him.
"Don't wanna," was all he said before the needle shot through his heart.
Byakuran laughed evilly, facing Yuni.
"Now, Yuni-chan! Your knight in shining armour is gone!" he said happily.
'You're wrong, Byakuran-sama,' Nanae thought, eyes turning towards the Vongola Decimo.
"He's alive," she whispered softly. And sure enough, Tsuna got up, coughing and hacking. He tried pulling out something from inside his shirt, only to find a ring that had blocked the white dragon Byakuran had tried to shot through his heart.
"It's true after all…everything has helped me in some way…" Tsuna realized. "Nothing that has happened since I came to the future has been pointless. The bitter things…the painful things…the fun things…it's because of everyone that I'm here right now."
Nanae unconsciously clutched her chest. She admired him for being strong. This child…this mere child had been through a lot, yet, he hadn't given up. Unlike her…
Her presence cover was waning, snapping her back to reality. Calming herself, she stabilized her powers and held her head. This was foolish.
Snow is beautiful.
Yet, however, its beauty holds sadness.
Darkness suddenly surrounded her…that familiar darkness she was used to seeing in her dreams. She looked up, only to, once again, see darkness. However, soon enough, snow fell from that darkness.
"Yuki…" she muttered, stretching out her hand to catch a snowflake.
"You are here, Nanae amoré."
Her body completely went rigid upon hearing that familiar voice.
"Do you remember?"
The darkness suddenly disappeared, revealing that familiar scenery she was so used to seeing. Snow was everywhere, carpeting everything on sight. The only difference was she didn't see him in front of her. Rather, she could feel his presence from behind her. Her hand fell back to her side.
"So…all this time, it was you who had been plaguing my dreams," she said, closing her eyes. She heard his feet approach her and stopped until he was close enough towards her.
"Kufufufu…you had guessed right, Namae amoré. Or should I say, Naldina?"
Hearing her own real name come from his lips made her eyes teary, but she tried her best not to show them or even let them appear.
"To see you in this uniform…it makes me want to kill someone," his voice was terribly close to her, his breath touching the nape of her neck. Hands snaked around her waist as she was pulled to a warm chest.
"Amoré…" he whispered.
Her eyes were still closed and she refused to open them. She refused to see him. She refused to see his face. She refused to rekindle that fire she once felt towards him. She refused it all.
"Naldina…my sweet amoré," he whispered.
"How did you sense my presence?" she asked, ignoring the affections he was whispering towards her. "No one felt my presence, not even the well-known Varia or that bronco. How?" her eyes finally opened that revealed no emotion. She was hiding her emotions again.
Mukuro chuckled at this.
"You're forgetting something, Naldina," he said. "You can never hide from me."
Silence prevailed as the snow fell from the sky she knew was an illusion he had made.
"Didn't you like snow?" he asked.
"I hate it," she answered instantly in a monotonous voice.
"Hm? Why so?"
"Because it reminds me of you." And of myself.
Mukuro simply chuckled. "Is that so?" he asked, burying his face on her left shoulder.
"Beautiful yet lonely…" she whispered. A lone tear trailed down her left eye.
"Was I, after all, referring to myself?" Her stoic façade finally slipped away, showing the tears she had been keeping inside her all these years.
"I was lonely," she admitted. "All those times, whenever you left me, I got lonely. I tried to understand, I did. But somehow, I still felt sad." More tears appeared and before she knew it, she was sobbing.
"Before I knew it, I was yearning for your every return. And it saddened me once again whenever you would leave and I had to stay behind and wait for your arrival. You know how hard it was for me?"
Mukuro didn't say anything and just remained still on his position.
"And finally there was a time when I couldn't wait anymore. You were leaving again and, as usual, told you the same words I would tell you whenever you were leaving…" she laughed bitterly at the memory of it, remembering the darkness that plagued her at that incident.
"I had given up…" she muttered.
"And it was at that time I had met Byakuran-sama."
Mukuro's grip on her tightened, not too tight to hurt her but enough for her to notice it.
"He had told me that you weren't coming back. That all those times, I was just your toy. And when you had left once again, it only meant that you had left me forever. You were tired of me…"
"For the first time in history, I cried…in front of a stranger. Strange, isn't it? For someone who was stoic and emotionless all the time, I cried, just like this…"
"At my time of weakness, Byakuran-sama appeared. He offered me a world of nothingness and no emotion and in return, I will give him my freedom," she unconsciously covered the left side of her face, wherein the tattoo was engraved on. "I didn't think twice and accepted his offer. I had assisted him and served as his right-hand that not even Genkishi knew of. I worked for him like a robot, a robot with no emotion nor conscience. I thought I had moved on…until I saw you battling Byakuran-sama at his room." She closed her eyes at the memory. She remembered the havoc Mukuro had brought on the room clearly. She also remembered the pain on her chest upon the sight of him- all wounded and bloody. It pained her deeply when she knew that she could not do anything about it. She couldn't do anything. Byakuran was controlling her.
"And you plagued my dreams every night and it came to the point where it was hard for me to forget you any longer…" she shifted and faced him, tears trailing down her cheeks.
"But it must end," she said softly.
Mukuro lifted a hand and wiped the tears away from her cheeks.
"And who said I'd let you end it?" he asked, his voice amused.
Her eyes narrowed at him.
"Don't you understand?" she asked. "As long as Byakuran-sama is alive, I cannot return. There is no chance that he will be defeated. I am forever trapped on his hands. I am-"
"Wrong," he interrupted, followed by a chuckle.
"He has been defeated, Naldina amoré."
Her eyes widened, disbelief clouding her judgement.
"Oh?" he asked, grinning at her. "See for yourself then." His illusion – the falling snow and snow-carpeted place – had disappeared, only to reveal the real events happening around her.
"We've done it!"
Everyone ran up towards the Vongola Decimo as they celebrated their victory.
Nanae stood beside Mukuro who watched her reaction.
"Byakuran-sama?" she called out softly. He was nowhere in sight. But there was one proof that he was defeated. His Mare ring. It was on the ground. That must mean…
Grabbing a compact mirror from her pocket, she quickly opened it and looked at her reflection. The tattoo. It was gone!
"You were, all this time, trapped by Byakuran," Mukuro said, catching her attention.
"He can never have you."
He leaned down towards her, making eye contact with her. She stared back at him, giving her the chance to closely see his eyes that were of different hues from each other.
"Because you're mine," he continued.
"I belong to no one," she said. "Not now, not ever."
Mukuro let out an amused kufufufu.
"We'll see about that."
And he leaned further in towards her while she did so, too, until their lips met. While the others celebrated their victory against Byakuran, the two of them shared their first kiss…and celebrated their destined reunion. Coincidentally, snow suddenly started falling from the sky. Whether it was Mukuro's illusion or not, Nanae didn't know. All she knew now was that snow was beautiful.
And forever joyful when watched with someone special.
"You remind me of snow, Mukuro." She paused before deciding to walk away. "Beautiful yet lonely," she continued. However, before she could even take another step, she was stopped by him as he grabbed her by the arm.
"Shall I make it joyful for you then?"
Nanae slowly turned around to look at him and found that mischievous grin still on his lips. She then looked at the falling snow. Feeling Mukuro pull her towards him, she didn't fight back and let him pull her.
"Wait for me," he whispered. "I'll come back for you."
Nanae closed her eyes and nodded, knowing that this was another farewell from him.
"I will be waiting for you," she said. "Until we can enjoy watching the snow once again."
Mukuro grinned at this, unbeknownst to her.
And while they enjoyed each other's company, they watched the beautiful snowflakes fall from the gloomy sky that yet to turn blue and bright.
"I'll always be there for you, Mukuro…"
 - Yuki (Snow)
 - Yuki ga futtemasu. (It's snowing.)
 Mukuro's number: 69 Makes sense? xD
 I was not sure whether there were two or three guards. So far, in the manga, I've only seen two. But on one panel, three shadows were shown. Someone correct me of I'm wrong, okay?
Good? Bad? Tell me on the review. Do it or I will never update any of my stories anymore! Mwahahaha! Blackmail much? 8D