"You want me to what?" asked Raven.
"I heard that the new Decimo heir was in Namimori. I want you to investigate and tell me whether he's worthy of the titles, or if we should put him out of his misery now," said Xanxus.
"...I thought I was on medical leave until next month."
"Low risk op. Worst you'll have to deal with is getting caught up in Reborn's antics since he's training the kid. Besides, after losing my adopted brothers I would rather not risk making the Vongola's position even weaker by losing another heir," said Xanxus bluntly.
"Do I get to corrupt him against Iemitsu?"
"Go for it."
"Does this mean I get to see Bel soon?"
"You are not making me an uncle anytime soon brat."
"Not even with protection?" she joked.
Xanxus was not impressed with it. At all.
"Nothing past second base until you're over sixteen. And that's final. I will not hesitate to only let you on supervised dates if I have to."
Raven nodded. She knew better than to push.
"Everyone, we have a new student! I'd like you to give a warm welcome to..."
"Call me Raven," said the girl. She had a bored look on her face and actual feathers in her hair.
However something about her made Tsuna sit up and pay attention.
It did not help that Reborn immediately confronted her during lunch.
"What's the Varia's princess doing here?"
Raven rolled her eyes.
"You know perfectly well I'm on medical leave for another month at least. I'm not here after your student... far from it... my brother ordered me to act as a discreet protection detail on top of assessing whether he's worth being Decimo, considering the Vongola lost three heirs already."
"So Xanxus has no interest after Tsuna?"
"Honestly I think he mostly came up with this as a way to keep me from being bored and to keep me far from Vongola Nono until things settle down," said Raven dryly.
"Eh? What does the current boss have to do with this?" asked Gokudera.
"Let's just say I had a bad reaction to his Flames and leave it at that. The fact he openly tried to force the issue and didn't bother to consider that maybe the Varia do their jobs better than CEDEF ever will was also a factor."
"CEDEF?" said Tsuna.
Raven looked at him with surprise.
"He doesn't know?"
"I haven't had a chance to tell him yet," said Reborn.
"CEDEF is an external group to the Vongola. The current External Adviser leads it, though he's doing such a crappy job it's a miracle Lal Mirch hasn't strangled him in his sleep yet for being such a braying jackass. And don't get me started on the fact that the idiot hasn't even realized that several branch offices have gone rogue, provide falsified reports, or are about to split off entirely."
"Sounds like he really needs to be replaced," said Tsuna.
"He also claims he 'loves' his civilian family, but despite the fact that he's been given quite a few vacation days, he almost never goes to see them unless it's to pretend he still cares. I heard he actually sends ridiculous post cards with really crappy cover stories only a child would fall for, and that he openly parades his wife and son's photo around the office for anyone to see. All it would take is some decent facial recognition and a good hacker, and they'd be dealing with any number of assassins," said Raven.
Tsuna had a bad feeling about this. He wasn't sure he wanted to hear anymore, because a lot of little things were starting to line up in a way he really didn't like. He looked to Reborn and slowly asked "Who's the current External Adviser?"
Reborn eyed Raven with irritation, but it was going to come up sooner or later.
"The current External Adviser is Iemitsu Sawada."
"He's alive?" said Tsuna, in cold shock.
In an uncharacteristic show of empathy, Raven pulled the smaller teen in a hug. He leaned into it without thinking.
"There's a reason my brother can't stand the jackass, and it has nothing to do with the fact Iemitsu undermines him whenever and wherever possible."
"You mean to tell me that he's been living it up in Italy all this time, leaving my mother all alone for years because he's in the mafia?" said Tsuna in disgust.
"The man cares more about his familigia than he does his family. It's a well known fact. I'm sure Lal Mirch could verify it for you if you asked...she worked for him for over ten years after all," said Raven.
"Do I even want to know?" asked Reborn.
"She's my Mist. I also have Skull," said Raven shrugging.
"...Somehow I'm almost curious to see what would happen if you meet the rest of us," said Reborn flatly.
"Just out of curiosity, how is your student with large canines?"
"He's terrified of a chihuahua," said Reborn. "Mind if I borrow Nacht to put some spine into him?"
"Why does this conversation fill me with dread?" asked Tsuna to no one in particular.
"Isn't Nacht the name of the massive wolf that sometimes is seen with the Varia? The one that looks like a genetic throwback rather than a modern one?" asked Gokudera. Tsuna's dread only increased hearing that. Reborn's sinister smirk did not help his mellow.
It took less than a week for Hibari to notice the "new carnivore", and only an hour for him to challenge.
Raven took one look at the skylark before she openly grinned.
"Do you mind guns, or do you just want full contact hand to hand?"
"Hand to hand. Less damage," he said curtly. His interest was piqued now... he was so bored with the usual fake carnivores and the fake baby wouldn't fight him. To have someone more than happy to humor him was a new one.
Raven nodded and slid into a loose stance. Hibari charged without any warning whatsoever, and she matched his blows without bothering to hold back.
His bored interest only spiked to happy delight as he was able to go all out on the female carnivore without having to hold back. The fact she did the same only made it better.
Hibari looked at the female carnivore with open interest.
"That was fun. Want to make this a regular play session?" she asked, ears and tail appearing, with a hopeful wag of her wolf-tail. And here she thought she would end up bored!
Hibari nodded with a sharp grin. It had been so long since he had some real fun.
"I think next time I'll bring my scythe. I haven't had a chance to test it against a proper opponent since my brother gave it to me."
"Your brother...is he a carnivore like you?"
"He's more of a grumpy dragon than I am in the morning without my pop tarts," she said happily.
Hibari looked rather pleased hearing this.
"I will play with you again later," said Hibari, actually smiling.
"You looked like you had fun," commented Reborn.
"Drama Queen," said Raven playfully. "He's Fon's nephew, isn't he?"
"From what I understand, he's not too pleased that Fon is stronger than he is and allows the Triads to use him against the Storm so openly."
"And if both the Storm and Cloud were harmonized with a Sky that was strong enough to tell the Triads to go screw themselves?"
"Then Fon wouldn't have to worry about his nephew or his apprentice. She's already integrated rather strongly into Tsuna's growing family. The issue is that no one has been able to harmonize with Fon properly to the point he can break ties with the Triads," replied Reborn.
"Personally I hope we get to see the look on Vongola Nono's face when he finds out that Xanxus' half sister is strong enough to pull in your colleagues, when they failed to do so repeatedly."
"Considering you actually reel in your Flames and haven't even tried to test and see a bond would form between us, you're better than most Skies I deal with."
Raven rolled her eyes.
"I was trained to deliberately keep everything but my Mist contained. They didn't want the old jerk to find out about me before big brother was freed. He's cold enough to try and take advantage of our blood bond, even though I would never consent to being used against my brother."
Reborn didn't deny it. The fact Timoteo had tried exactly that the first time he saw the girl was a bad move. Not only would Xanxus have reacted badly once he found out what Timoteo had done to his half-sister, she would have eventually picked up on the fact she was just being used as a leash against him.
The girl might be a Mist, but she had all the instincts of a wild animal mixed with a very healthy dose of Cloud. She would not be caged with false promises and honeyed words. Her only loyalty to the Vongola was through Xanxus and that was it.
Fon stared at Reborn with cold disinterest.
"You say she managed to bond with three of us?"
"Colonello, Skull and Lal. She hasn't been able to search for Guardians because her brother's men are protective of her. After all, she's a weakness against their Boss."
"I never took you for someone who would openly indulge in flights of fancy," said Fon.
"She's different. She was able to fight your nephew head on, and didn't give an inch despite the fact she's still recovering from the foolishness of Timoteo Vongola," said Reborn.
"Do I want to know?"
"He thought her nothing more than a simple Mist and tried to use her against his adopted son. He wasn't expecting her to have Wrath Flames as well, or a knee-jerk reaction to an obvious attack. She set his desk on fire and gave his Storm second-degree burns before bolting. I think you'd like her."
Reborn smirked and pulled out his normal phone before showing Fon the security video from the office. Fon went from boredly amused to genuine mirth seeing the girl shoot fire from her mouth like a dragon.
"I-Pin is going to get a kick out of that trick," he said trying not to laugh. She loved dragons.
"It gets even better. Her Varia codename is Puppy of all things."
"I suppose I could send I-Pin to get a good read off her before we are formally introduced. She doesn't mind children does she?"
"I'm fairly certain she's already met your apprentice along with the annoying cow. They were playing the oddest game of tag I've ever seen," said Reborn.
Fon looked openly amused.
"Do I have to interview a Storm? My boyfriend is only going to get really territorial if he finds out I have a Storm Guardian," pouted Raven.
Reborn gave her an unamused look.
"You are technically an heiress to the Vongola, even if it's only because of the fact your mother apparently had the Secundo's bloodline in her. Which makes you a prime target for the other familigias."
Raven rolled her eyes.
"Please, like they'd get anywhere. I'm Varia through and through and I already have a betrothal contract that's ironclad unless my brother wants it gone."
"A betrothal contract? Who uses those anymore?" asked Gokudera.
"Long story short, the magical enclaves are assholes. It was either make a contract with someone I could stand, or risk being dragged back into their melodrama because I'm famous for some ridiculous reason. I'd rather live freely as a Varia assassin than be tied down because those idiots have allowed inbreeding and a fireside general to do most of the thinking for them. I'd be little more than a very high-profile broodmare for them," said Raven with open disgust.
"Is it really that bad?" asked Tsuna, wide eyed.
"The Italian enclaves are more or less kept in check by the familigias and the Vindice, but for most of Europe, especially the UK, yes," said Reborn bluntly.
"The same could be said of the Chinese enclaves, though generally women tend to get quite a bit more freedom than in some of the more regulated ones. It doesn't hurt that they never fully removed the Emperor or Empress from power, unlike their non-magical counterparts. Even the Triads step carefully around the enclaves," said Fon.
Raven's eyes locked on to him.
"Wait...this is the Storm you wanted me to meet?"
"Raven, this is Fon, I-Pin's Master. Fon, this is Raven, aka Puppy," said Reborn.
"Puppy?" said Gokudera with amusement.
"It's my Varia codename. Mostly because when Squalo found me, Nacht was bigger than I was and I was acting like a feral wolf pup at the time," shrugged Raven. "I only came up with the name Raven because I've seen how the Vongola gives out codenames."
"What?" squeaked Tsuna.
"Your father named his top men after spices, Vongola Nono after sweets, and my brother has a habit of using demons," replied Raven.
"She's kidding, right?" asked Tsuna desperately.
"Nono's Storm is named Coyote Nougat, and three of Iemitsu's men are named Oregano, Basil, and Turmeric," said Reborn amused.
"So I'm guessing you want to find out if I'm compatible with some of the stronger Arcobaleno and not just Lal, Colonello and Skull?" she asked Reborn.
Reborn said nothing. She didn't need to ask about his motivation for this... if she could handle Fon in her Sky, then there was a very high probability she could handle him.
She eyed the Storm.
"How good are you with unusual weapons? Your nephew is a lot of fun to play with, but I'd rather have a handle on the other half of Blood Rose before I bring it out to our playdates."
"Playdates?" said Fon with open amusement.
"They go up to the roof and try to beat the living hell out of each other with their favorite weapons," clarified Reborn. There was a reason Xanxus had only sent Raven here... she was Varia Quality. If she couldn't keep an eye on the Decimo heir and judge if he was worthy of the post, then no one could. And it meant he kept his sister far, far away from Timoteo until he got his head out of his ass while at the same time keeping her within sight of an ally.
Fon's smile widened.
"I'm decent with weapons, though I prefer my hands. And I find that people are generally far more honest when they are fighting to keep their head on their shoulders than when they talk."
Raven's grin widened.
"I agree. How about we let our fists and our Flames do the talking, instead of trying to size each other with boring words?"
"I know the perfect place."
Raven was rather pleased with her new Storm...once she got out of the hospital a week later that is. Xanxus was both amused and irritated. He promptly told Colonello, Lal and Fon to train her ass off so she didn't end up there again after a play fight.