~.~.~

Title: Vigilante Tendency

Summary: Vongola meets their future Decimo. He even comes with his own Guardians, alliances, and leadership experience. Whether this is a good thing remains to be seen.

Notes: EDIT 6/27/2016

Moved the last few scenes into chapter 6, and added an extra scene at the end. You know the one.

~.~.~

From the beginning, it felt like Vongola was playing catch-up when it came to their own successor.

"Hey, you haven't gone to see Tsuna-nii yet, right?" asked a handsome teenager who introduced himself as Lambo Bovino after he showed up at the Vongola headquarters out of the blue one day.

"..." Iemitsu said. It was more of a stunned silence, really. He and Nono hadn't even told anyone about Tsuna's existence yet!

In a way, that was very indicative of how things would go, from there on out.

"Unless I am mistaken, Lambo Bonvino is only five years old," Nono said, folding his hands over his cane and studying the teenager thoughtfully. "Then, are you here through the Ten Year Bazooka?"

It was a good thing the old man was so canny. It spared everyone an entire discussion about why Lambo even knew about the heir Vongola hadn't even decided on having.

It wasn't precisely right, but a very good guess.

"Kinda?" Lambo offered, making a face. "The Bazooka is supposed to switch you with your self from ten years in the future for five minutes, but my Family tried to upgrade it, cause they got jealous of those robot guys stealing their spot as the most tech-advanced. There was a bit of an accident, and it permanently shifted my personal timeline ten years forward... Well, let's just say I aged up ten years, for good. It's been a bit weird."

It was more than a bit weird, actually, but Lambo had learned to just go with things, after ten years with Tsuna and the others.

"Actually, that's why I'm here," he said. "I figured I might as well go with you when you go to meet Tsuna-nii. I always did wish I'd seen how things went from the start." He sighed a little. "Though I'm still gonna be the last one to join..."

"Very well," Nono decided, ignoring Iemitsu's confused protests. He smiled at the teenager. It was a smile that had made many men spill all their secrets, but Lambo had spent a decade with Tsuna, so he only smiled mildly in return. "I must say, I would be very interested in hearing your story - about your extra ten years." In other words, information about the future.

Lambo shrugged. "I dunno," he said. "I don't remember much. Plus, I wasn't around for the very beginning, and the world of ten years from now is really, really, really different. I mean, I barely recognize Vongola. Tsuna-nii and the others moved really fast, I guess..."

That was somewhat ominous.

"I heard from Hayato-nii and Takeshi-nii that it was kind of messy for a while. You might want to go in person to explain this. Just... as a suggestion," Lambo said added. "Tsuna-nii and the others have their own circumstances too. And you probably shouldn't let them be out of your sight so much. They always pull something crazy when you're not looking."

He actually didn't know how the "original timeline" introduction to Vongola had gone, since everyone he asked inevitably groaned and covered their eyes as if remembering something terrible. All Lambo remembered from back when he was five involved the entire mafia society running around in a panic.

Also, robots. Something about robots.

~.~.~

They compromised and called first. Despite the way Lambo shook his head in resignation, it was decided to proceed with the original plan - having Reborn head over first as a tutor for Tsuna.

But Iemitsu did agree to make the recommendation to Nana himself, if only for the excuse to talk to his wife again.

"A tutor for Tsu-kun?" Nana repeated.

"Yes! He's very good!" Iemitsu said, gritting his teeth a little as Reborn smirked at him. "He'll turn Tsuna into a leader for the new generation!"

"Hmm... that does sound nice," Nana said, but before they could celebrate, she added, "I don't think it'll work out though. Sorry, dear."

Iemitsu sputtered.

"Tsu-kun's grades could use some work, but I don't really care about things like that," Nana went on. "I just want him to be happy. And he really is! If we hire him a tutor, Tsu-kun won't have time for his friends anymore, and that'll just make him miserable. I think he's just fine the way he is."

Iemitsu made a choking sound.

"It was a nice thought, dear," Nana added sympathetically. "I'll tell Tsu-kun you called."

Stunned, he was left staring at the phone.

~.~.~

Tsuna looked at his father, then at the teenager sitting next to him, then at the toddler across from him.

"You better not be here to tell us you cheated on Mom," he said, "and that I have half-siblings."

Reborn and Iemitsu simultaneously choked on their own spit. Lambo buried his head in his hands and tried to muffle his laughter. "T-Tsuna-nii, that's just... haha," he muttered.

Needless to say, that suffix only made Tsuna's glare sharpen.

"Don't be like that, Tsuna-nii," Lambo said, regaining some measure of self-control. "I'm not related to that guy at all. I'm here to join your group." His smile had the impression of someone enjoying an inside joke - and also finally succeeding at something that had evaded him for a long while.

Lambo was beginning to realize there were certain upsides to his situation. For example, he was now older than Hayato, which he fully intended to rub in his face. They couldn't exclude him for being a kid anymore either. This whole thing was not half-bad, he thought.

Tsuna didn't even bother looking surprised. "Okay," he said. Can't be worse than Mukuro, he reasoned.

Finally able to restart his thought processes from an impressive system crash, Reborn immediately began to calculate who to kill first. The kid, for such a terrible idea? The cow, for witnessing?

No, there was only one person to blame.

"Iemitsu," Reborn said slowly, a gun appearing in either hand, "you're dead."

~.~.~

It was lucky for everyone that Nana had been out shopping with Fuuta.

~.~.~

Iemitsu, despite all signs to the contrary, was actually a very competent, powerful, skilled individual - enough so to survive Reborn's earnest efforts to kill him, at least long enough for Reborn regain some semblance of self control.

However, just doing so took all of Iemitsu's power, which led to several unfortunate things. One, half the house getting demolished. Two, revealing his Flames to Tsuna.

"I didn't realize men of the earth who directed traffic at construction sites could generate fire on their foreheads," Tsuna noted blandly, as he rather undelicately pulled a long splinter of wood out of Iemitsu's back. "I guess that would be very helpful when working at the South Pole with the penguins."

Reborn snorted. Maybe he might be able to forgive the kid for his stupid assumption. After all, it wasn't Tsuna's fault his father was such a useless, questionable individual.

"They're Dying Will Flames. It's like a mafia thing," Lambo said, reappearing from wherever he had gotten off to. Iemitsu glared, but Lambo ignored him easily.

"Mafia," Tsuna repeated, pulling out another splinter. His brow furrowed in a way every Committee member would have recognized.

"Oh yeah," Lambo went on, blithely. He had picked up some unfortunate traits from Tsuna ten years in the future - including a certain measure of sadistic vindictiveness. "He's in the mafia, in the CEDEF, which is kind of like part of Vongola, the largest mafia family in the world. It was actually founded by your great-great... great-grandfather," he nodded to himself, making sure the generations were correct, "but as a vigilante group, which became a mafia family later. Since you're descended from the first leader, they want you to take over as the next boss."

At that, even Tsuna had to pause in what he was doing and turn to look at Lambo with some disbelief.

"It's true," Lambo said, shrugging.

Tsuna turned to look at Reborn, who also shrugged. "I was hired by the current boss to tutor you," he added.

Tsuna turned back to Iemitsu, who pointedly continued to look away.

"I'm... going to think about this," Tsuna said, slapping a final bandage onto his father's back with more force than strictly necessary.

"Are you going to the base? I'm coming too!" Lambo called out as Tsuna quickly left the house.

~.~.~

"A mafia boss!" Tsuna repeated, disbelief finally settling in properly, after he arrived at the base and made the necessary calls. "A mafia boss? Is this an actual thing? I can't believe it!"

"Boss..? Of Vongola? Decimo? Juudaime?" Hayato was muttering to himself, unhelpfully.

Mukuro, the only other one who had direct experience in mafia, had started chuckling in a very unnerving way. Even Ken and Chikusa were shooting him uneasy looks.

"I know, right? A pipsqueak like you? Taking over the bloody, brutal Vongola Family?" Ken said around a mouthful of cookie.

Chikusa nodded. "Unexpected," he agreed.

"What're ya talkin' about?! This is totally great!" came Naito's insistent voice over the phone, left on speaker in the middle of the table. "I know Tsuna'll turn them around and make into a force of good! This is perfect! I knew from the start you were an amazing guy, Tsuna! Related to the great Vongola Primo, that's definitely something!"

"I didn't know Tsuna's grandpa was a foreigner," Takeshi commented.

"Great-great... great grandfather," Lambo corrected him.

"That's not the point here!" Tsuna berated them.

"Are you a new member?" Ryohei guessed, ignoring Tsuna to focus on Lambo. "Extremely nice to meet you! I'm Sasagawa Ryohei, captain of the Nami-Middle Boxing Club!"

"I know. It's nice to meet you again, Onii-san," Lambo said. "I'm Lambo Bovino."

"Bovino? I heard they have some pretty crazy stuff," Spanner commented from Naito's end.

"Yeah, like a Bazooka that summons a ten years later version of you," Lambo said. "But they don't have it anymore."

Momentarily distracted, Tsuna turned to stare at him in narrow-eyed suspicion.

"Ah, if you don't mind, I'd like to be your Lightning Guardian again," Lambo added.

Mukuro finally burst into the full, cackling maniacal laughter that had been building in his chest. Hibari tried to plant a tonfa in his face, and it just degenerated from there.

~.~.~

Iemitsu and Reborn waited on the doorstep of what remained of the Sawada house. It was the single most uncomfortable experience of Iemitsu's life, in part because he was sure Reborn was still contemplating whether to kill him after all.

"So!" Iemitsu blurted out, trying to break the heavy silence. "What do you think of Tsuna?"

"That poor kid," Reborn said, "having to deal with you. Maybe I should cut him some slack. He definitely deserves it."

They still hadn't quite caught on to how out of their depth they really were. That would change soon enough.

Things didn't get any more comfortable, but they soon got quite a bit stranger, as people began to arrive at the house. First, a group of middle school students with delinquent pompadours. Their leader, who introduced himself as Kusakabe Tetsuya, offered Iemitsu a professional nod and a card, which turned out to be a key from an expensive hotel downtown.

"Mama and Fuuta are staying at a suite, which she believes she won in a lottery," the teenager reported. "We will handle repairs in the meantime. Please avoid causing further disturbances to the peace in Namimori, or we will be forced to carry out disciplinary actions."

This pseudo-threat was delivered with an impressively smooth, straight face.

Then, a bunch of petty criminal types - to Iemitsu's experienced eyes - quickly surveyed the site and started making calls.

Following them, a construction crew that moved to clear away the rubble and start clean up with the speed and skill of long experience in "emergency" renovations.

It was... it was a lot like watching a Vongola follow-up operation.

"Whose men are those guys?" Iemitsu muttered to himself, frowning. "I didn't think there was any major group operating in Namimori."

"We are the Namimori Middle School Disciplinary Council," Kusakabe said helpfully. Gesturing to the criminal-looking types, he added, "They are from the Momokyokai. Leader contacted us to handle this situation."

"Leader? Who is your boss?" Iemitsu demanded.

"The head of the Disciplinary Council is Hibari Kyoya," Kusakabe answered, except of course he was being purposefully misleading.

"Oh, him," Iemitsu sighed in relief. "I remember him. The bite to death boy. Well, thanks for your help!"

Iemitsu went back to grinning idiotically, but Reborn was not nearly as much of a simpleton. He had easily noticed that evasive answer, and his eyes narrowed as he studied Kusakabe. Kusakabe smiled back blandly. It was kind of impressive. Not many in the mafia could fall under his attention without cowering.

Namimori was beginning to seem like a surprisingly interesting place. Maybe his student would be equally surprising...

(Be careful what you wish for. Seriously.)

~.~.~

Tsuna didn't turn up until the next day, but when he did, it was with Lambo and six other teenagers in tow.

Given what Iemitsu had told Reborn - or rather what Reborn had inferred from Iemitsu's endless whining and moaning about his son's habits - this was hardly unexpected. If the boy spent all his time out with his friends, and his mother considered them the cornerstone of his happiness, it was only natural he'd tell them and bring them over for emotional support.

It even looked like they were in it for the long haul, overnight bags and everything.

"It's about time," Reborn said, though he refrained from firing off a warning shot. For now. "Let's get down to business. As the cow brat said," he paused to shoot Lambo a sharp look for being so careless with his words, "you are to be trained as the next boss of the Vongola Family."

"Okay," Tsuna said. "We'll be heading out in a bit. Our flight's in a couple of hours."

There was a profound silence.

"Your... your flight?" Iemitsu parroted helplessly.

"To Italy," Tsuna said, turning to him with a blank, guileless look. "That's where it's based, right? We're going to talk to the current boss about how to handle everything. Oh, and Lambo told me about the rings, so these are going to be my Guardians."

He gestured to his friends and Lambo, who had apparently succeeded in securing his once and future spot, despite Hayato's still disgruntled glower. It helped that their group apparently had no other Lightning Flame users. On the other hand, Ryohei had declared that the Sun Guardian position would be decided through combat. Shoichi had quickly conceded, but Kyoko had looked like she was willing to throw down, until Tsuna managed to convince her to stay behind to manage the Committee and the Momokyokai.

She would keep them well in line, he was certain, with help from Kusakabe and the Disciplinary Council.

"Your... your Guardians?" Iemitsu repeated. It was starting to irritate Reborn.

"And my apprentice," Mukuro added, patting Nagi on the head. "She's in the middle of training, and I can't leave her alone right now." He was already regretfully leaving Ken and Chikusa behind. He hoped they didn't gain too much weight while he was away.

"What about her parents?" Tsuna whispered, leaning toward him.

Mukuro shrugged. "We tried to contact them," so Mukuro could brainwash them a little, "but we couldn't get in touch with them at all. So they probably won't even notice."

Given that they either hadn't noticed or hadn't cared that Nagi was all but living at the base with Mukuro already, Tsuna supposed that was a fair point.

"But... but... What about school?!" Iemitsu flailed. He had expected any number of reactions, but this... go-to gung-ho attitude was not one of them. In reality, Tsuna wasn't so much gung-ho as resigned, but Iemitsu wasn't nearly skilled enough at judging his emotions to tell.

"We're having a family emergency," Tsuna said.

"All of you?" Iemitsu said dubiously.

Tsuna shrugged. He suspected he was the only who bothered contacting the school at all. Hibari, Takeshi, Hayato and Ryohei apparently felt that informing their institutions of learning was unnecessary. Half of them barely bothered telling their parents - and Hayato existed in a perpetual state of telling his father exactly nothing about his life.

Tsuna could relate. He hadn't exactly told his father about the whole crimefighting and making alliances with a mafia family parts yet. It was bound to turn out... interesting.

"I think," Reborn said, somewhere between maliciously enjoying Iemitsu's suffering and rather off balance himself, "Nono will be happy to meet him."

And that was the end of that.

~.~.~

Nono was happy to meet him.

"You've grown so much, Tsunayoshi!" the old man marveled. "Look at you! Still as lovely as your mother, but I must say, you take after your ancestor as well!"

Tsuna smiled politely, not entirely sure what to say to that. This... this must be what having grandparents is like, he thought. Embarrassing, but somehow kind of nice.

"I'm also happy to hear that you are so... enthusiastic about taking over Vongola," Nono continued. "I had been somewhat concerned that it might be a great shock to you, to learn of your heritage..."

"It's not the weirdest thing that's happened to me," Tsuna said honestly. "And it's not like this is my first time hearing about the mafia."

"Oh?" Nono inquired with a smile.

"Well, Hayato's from a mafia family," Tsuna said. "And Mukuro. And Naito. They told me a lot about Vongola, actually."

The particularly calm, even intonation Tsuna used would have sent every Committee and Momokyokai member cringing in preemptive guilt, but none were present, and Nono only continued to smile, filing away the names for future reference.

"The most ruthless mafia family, an empire built upon corpses," Tsuna continued, very calmly, "steeped in blood and sin. Yes, I heard a lot of stories about Vongola."

Oddly, Nono didn't have a bad feeling about this at all. If anything, his intuition seemed content to curl up and let everything move along at its own pace.

Tsuna smiled, and Nono had to admire how diplomatic, bland and yet uncompromising the expression looked. "It's a great opportunity," he said, "to deal with this. Also, I guess I don't really have much choice. I doubt you'd just go away if I refused."

"...Ah, well, yes," Nono admitted, to the last part. Even he had been a little thrown off his game by the blatant guilt-slinging. "Vongola must have a successor, and you're the only remaining candidate..."

"Because this CEDEF thing disqualifies Dad," Tsuna noted, taking a sip of his tea. He swirled it in his cup thoughtfully, the European brand a little strange to his palette. Then, nodding to himself, he said, "I'm not going to become a mafia boss. Ever."

He said it so matter-of-factly that it took Nono a moment to realize the full meaning. But before he could formulate a response, Tsuna continued.

"That's fine. I mean, it wouldn't be the first time a criminal organization reforms and works toward peaceful goals instead. The Tomaso did it, and the Momokyokai," Tsuna said. "So Vongola can do it too. Lambo did say it used to be a vigilante group, after all. So it'll just be returning to its roots."

Finishing his tea, Tsuna set the cup down and smiled.

"So what do I need to do to become Vongola Decimo? Is there a ceremony? A test?" he asked. "Lambo only told me about the Guardians and mentioned seven rings..."

"..." Nono said, for the first time in about four decades.

Vongola was always playing catch up when it came to their heir, mostly because he always seemed to skip three steps ahead and two steps to the side of where they expected him to be.

~.~.~

His life had turned even crazier than ever before, with no likelihood of ever going back to normal and peaceful, but Tsuna was enjoying himself. True, it was mostly a sort of "if I'm going to down, I'm taking you all with me" mentality, but still enjoyable.

And, well, that's what his father got for missing most of his life. And what the rest of Vongola got for just thinking they could drag someone else into their nonsense.

Everyone had their own circumstances, after all. And Tsuna's circumstances included experience with managing very unmanageable people, and a tendency toward vigilantism.

~.~.~

"We can always just kill them all," Mukuro suggested helpfully, several times. Many times. All the time.

"Thank you, I'll keep that in mind," Tsuna replied. He meant it sarcastically. Most of the group would have missed it, but judging by Mukuro's smile he understood. And proceeded to ignore it.

"Think of it as protecting your sanity," Mukuro suggested. "And, you know, all those poor innocent civilians who would be hurt by Vongola's continued existence of blood and sin."

"Thanks," Tsuna repeated. "I'll keep that in mind."

It did, admittedly, sound pretty tempting at times.

~.~.~

Reborn sulked for a while.

How was he supposed to train someone so used to weird, crazy antics? Not to mention that Tsuna was apparently already very good at deflecting attacks on his person, at managing his Family, at managing large criminally-inclined groups, at making alliances, at smiling and stabbing people in the gut verbally... basically, everything Nono wanted in a successor, including a tendency toward Primo-like vigilante nonsense.

It was depressing. What was he even here for?

And then he found Tsuna and Mukuro in the private garden, staring dubiously at the rings Tsuna had basically swiped from Iemitsu's possession and Nono's office while they were too busy feeling stunned by his decidedly non-civilian responses, and trying to figure out how to light their Flames through them. Mukuro could do it, of course, but Tsuna was clearly not understanding the illusionist's explanations.

Probably that was because Mukuro's explanations were based on his own experience, which worked through illusions - and also multiple deaths.

"...your insides rupturing from the overwhelming heat," Mukuro was saying.

"I don't think I can do that," Tsuna said, his face rather pale and faintly green in disgust. "Isn't there a simpler way?"

"Sure," Reborn said, inwardly pouting when neither of them jumped in surprise. Being behind Tsuna, he didn't see the narrowed eyed look of 'great, another weirdo' on his face. "There's a very simple way. I can shoot you in the head."

"And how is that going to help?" Tsuna asked, taking him completely seriously. It was annoying. Had this kid really lived a quiet life in the suburbs? (It was a suburb that was also inhabited by Hibari. No one came out normal after that.)

"Ah, Vongola's famous Dying Will Bullets?" Mukuro guessed after a moment of thought. "That might work, I suppose." For Tsuna's benefit, he explained, "The way I heard it, you get shot in the head, and the bullet artificially invokes your Flames into the so-called Dying Will Mode, using your regrets."

Reborn forced down a scowl. Why was everyone taking over his lines? He had wanted to explain it himself, in a much more exciting way.

Tsuna looked between Mukuro, who had already offered to put him through an illusion that would perfectly simulate one of his gruesome deaths-reincarnations-paths-whatever, and Reborn, who was offering to just shoot him.

"Headshot it is," Tsuna decided, nodding to himself.

"You know, you're kind of a killjoy," Reborn muttered, readying his Leon-gun.

~.~.~

Apparently, Tsuna's greatest regret was not letting everyone know just how annoying he found their nonsense. So he proceeded to do so. Loudly. From the roof of the mansion, with Leon in convenient megaphone shape.

Hibari plugged his ears and ignored him. Hayato groveled and begged forgiveness almost as loudly. Ryohei tore off his shirt and tried to follow Tsuna's example. Takeshi cheered them on.

Lambo hid in the basement. He knew, logically, that this was just 14 year old Tsuna, who was using his Flames for the first time. He couldn't control his Dying Will Mode, he didn't have his gloves, he couldn't even use X-Burner yet, much less blow up entire wings of the mansion... rapid fire...

Lambo knew this logically. But ten years later Tsuna had instilled an instinctive, animal fear in him — not that this fear stopped Lambo from causing disaster after disaster. It just made him very quickly hide.

"Oya, oya," Mukuro muttered, while covering Nagi's eyes. Privately, Nagi wasn't entirely sure why he bothered, given that she had walked in on Ken and Chikusa enough times to know what a naked male looked like. And Boss was even still in his boxers.

When the five minutes ran out, Tsuna promptly tripped off the roof and plummeted into the bushes below.

Even if it was several stories, the fall was unlikely to be lethal. But that didn't stop Tsuna from screaming at the top of his lungs and seeing his life flash before his eyes, while mentally chanting 'I'm gonna die, I'm gonna die, I'm gonna die.'

And then he must have blacked out from sheer terror because the next thing he knew, it wasn't his life flashing before his eyes.

No, it was more like all the sins of Vongola instead.

~.~.~

Apparently, either the fall or the desperate screaming was enough to count as a near death experience. And when you had one of those, while wearing the Vongola Boss's ring, that could lead to some... interesting encounters.

Tsuna's first assumption, when ending up in a blank void in just his boxers, was that he was having a nightmare. Any moment now, he'd find himself in front of his class, being prompted to give a presentation — or worse, in the gym, or on stage, or even just walking down the street for groceries. Tsuna was very familiar with "naked in public" nightmares.

Then, the screaming started. Blood, suffering, and death, an ever-changing tapestry of human torment that would fit with any rendering of Dante's Inferno.

'Oh,' Tsuna realized, 'I'm in hell.'

That seemed a bit unfair. He'd always considered himself a good person, or at least not a bad one. Maybe he should have helped his mom more around the house, maybe he should have tried harder at school. Maybe he should have been more insistent that Mukuro reform a bit...

No.

Wait.

Forget it. Absolutely not. Tsuna deserved to slack off sometimes! Tsuna already did plenty, putting up with Ryohei, and Hibari, and Mukuro, and Hayato, and his stupid lying bum of a father! For putting up with them, he deserved some karmic credit, actually, he was practically a saint—!

"I'm a good person!" Tsuna burst out, indignant. "I don't deserve this! I have done nothing to deserve this! Nothing at all!"

Someone answered. But, despite Tsuna's expectations, it was not a god or a buddha.

"You are Vongola," a deep voice boomed. A Sky Flame illuminated a silhouette in an old-fashioned suit.

"These are Vongola's sins," another deep voice echoed, another Flame and silhouette appearing.

"Engraved upon the ring, as our hours were engraved upon it."

"You will bear these sins as well."

"You are Vongola."

"Can you withstand it?"

"Our bloody history?"

"Vongola Decimo!"

There were eight speakers, only one being female. All were black and gray silhouettes, their faces hidden by masks of Sky Flames. All wore expensive, well-cut suits.

'It's not hell,' Tsuna realized. 'It's just more mafia nonsense.'

He sighed, feeling a bit put out now. "Okay, Vongola sucks," Tsuna agreed, crossing arms and making a face when he remembered that he was in just his boxers. "I get it. Can I go now?"

That was not the right answer. "Accept it! Vongola's sin!" the eight shadowy figures boomed in unison, their Flames blazing.

'If I do that, I really will go to hell!' Tsuna thought.

At one point, he would have given in, maybe. Or at least curled up and cried.

But that was a year ago. Now, Tsuna had learned the value of "no," if only to preserve his sanity. Tsuna had told Hibari no — when he tried to make pompadours a requirement for their group. Tsuna had told Mukuro no — when he tried to brainwash the entire school faculty into giving him and his pose passing grades without studying. Tsuna had told Kyoko no — when she wanted to fight Ryohei for the position of Sun Guardian (which Ryohei would absolutely not survive).

"Yeah, no," Tsuna told the assembled Vongola ghosts. "That's not going to happen."

There was a moment of profound silence.

Crossing his arms and puffing up a little, Tsuna regarded with his best scolding look. "And to begin with, what do you think you're doing, forcing your sins on someone else? All of you are grown adults. You made your own choices, and those are your sins to bear. Take responsibility!"

The assembled bosses clearly didn't expect that. And, for the finishing touch—

"But I suppose if you can't deal with the consequences, I'll have to handle it for you," Tsuna said in a misleadingly mild tone.

It was the tone he used on Hibari a lot, the one that implied in spades how Hibari was too weak to do something (instant reverse psychology victory, since Hibari became obsessed with doing the thing). It worked quite well on Mukuro too.

It worked just fine on Vongola bosses as well. For a value of "working." Definitely not in the way Tsuna intended.

Instead of protesting that they would carry their own sins themselves, thank you very much, the bosses suddenly stood ramrod straight and, in lockstep like a marching band, parted into two rows. Light flooded the hellish void, illuminating the specters, the red carpet in the path between them, and finally the ornate chair at the end, where another boss now sat — the first boss, Vongola Primo.

Primo smiled and stood, spreading his arms as if in welcome.

At that moment, Tsuna knew he had made a massive mistake. Damned if he knew when, though. Well, it was too late to back out now. There was nothing to do except head down the red carpet — in his boxers and nothing else, because this really was a nightmare.

But if this was a dream, he might as well just go with it. Not like he'd get another opportunity like this. Probably. Hopefully. Nodding to himself, Tsuna drew back his fist — and, just like Ryohei had taught him, planted it firmly in Primo's solar plexus.

"This is all your fault, dumbass!" Tsuna snapped.

It was surprisingly enjoyable.

~.~.~

Tsuna came to with a groan and rolled over, covering his face.

"...engrave my hour, what is that... hang around in jewelry forever, who thought of that... this is so dumb... should've never agreed..." he muttered bitterly.

His erstwhile Guardians and supposed friends exchanged confused looks as they gathered around his prone form and the charred remains of the bushes he'd fallen into. There was a great deal of shrugging and headshaking, as well as some pantomime about what they should do.

"Tsu-kuuuuuun!" Iemitsu wailed, running up to their group. "Tell Papa what happened! I'll kill, er, really punish whoever hurt my boy!"

Groaning again, Tsuna sat up and glared. "It's Reborn's fault," he said sharply.

"I warned you," Reborn said, unconcerned.

"No, you didn't," Tsuna shot back. "Mukuro told me. And not about the stupid boss ghosts in the ring, or whatever that was!"

Now Iemitsu and Reborn exchanged a look, Iemitsu's mouth frozen open from where he was about to start yelling at Reborn (unwisely). "So," Iemitsu said heavily, "you've undergone the trial. We didn't expect it to happen so soon..."

"Why? What happened?" Takeshi asked, looking between them keenly.

Tsuna shrugged. Honestly, he had no idea. "There were these ghosts or something, of the previous Vongola bosses," he said. "They started going on about accepting Vongola's sins or something like that, and I, uh..."

"What did you do?" Reborn asked, narrowing his eyes with a sudden sense of suspicion.

"I... don't want to talk about it," Tsuna decided.

His supposed friends exchanged another round of looks.

"He lectured them," Lambo guessed.

"He definitely lectured them," Takeshi agreed, laughing.

"He extremely scolded them for their mistaken ways," Ryohei nodded along, arms crossed.

"Herbivore disciplining methods," Hibari muttered, but he looked entirely too pleased.

"Juudaime is the greatest boss!" Hayato insisted.

"I did no such thing!" Tsuna protested. "And in any case, they definitely deserved it!"

"He absolutely lectured them," Mukuro confirmed, smirking while Nagi nodded along. "But do you see now why we should just kill them all?"

Iemitsu stifled what sounded like a sob. Tsuna couldn't tell if he was impressed or horrified.

Reborn just sighed, feeling a headache coming on.

Somewhere beyond space, time and physical existence, Primo rubbed his sore stomach and smiled benevolently. Their Decimo was certainly something. A boy after his own heart.

~.~.~