Tsuna slumped bonelessly against the cold wall, taking the chance to suck in fresh air like a starving man before looking up.
Ieyatsu was going after Mukuro like a dog with a bone, completely ignoring or going straight through any of the illusions Mukuro threw up. He wheezed out a laugh.
That would have been a good thing to know when he faced Mukuro.
Ieyatsu was so lucky to have a cute younger brother like him, helping him out with situations like this~
His Intuition pinged and Tsuna grinned internally. His cuteness brings all the people to the yard.
"Your cat is okay." Reborn said, landing nearby. Tsuna twitched in fake surprise, perhaps a bit over dramatizing it based on the way Reborn's eyes narrow.
That or Reborn is still being a bit paranoid about Natsu.* He could practically hear the air quotations around the word cat.
"Good. I'm gonna have to get the expensive cat treats out, I kinda maybe used him as a projectile. To throw at Mukuro. Desperate times call for desperate measures." He was going to have to grovel so much. It was never nice to have his best friend angry at him.
Angry Natsu meant sulking hiding Natsu. And that could take a while to fix if he didn't deal with it right away.
"Considering the way he used the beast boy's head as a springboard to escape, I don't think he was injured." Reborn said drily. Tsuna hunched over, wheezing out a laugh.
Oh god why did the best things happen where he didn't have a camera to record it? Ken's face would have been beautiful.
The was a bone shaking crash and Tsuna looked over to watch as Mukuro got slammed into a wall. Ieyatsu slowed, panting.
Thank the lord he at least had the intelligence and foresight to start putting small cameras in his ring bow tie. They were delicate but this blackmail footage would be worth it.
Mukuro would probably kill him for it, despite his cuteness, but it would be worth it.
Daw, he had almost forgotten the days where Mukuro hadn't quite reach the demon levels he was capable of.**
Namely that his hand to hand was currently terrible. It made Tsuna cringe a little inside as he watched. Ieyatsu's form was atrocious and even he was still able to dodge the trident.
Poor Ieyatsu. Hope he didn't get used to that though. By the time Mukuro was out of Vendicare, he had grown into the trident and was absolutely terrifying.
Tsuna had let Mukuro spar with him once without Flames. Never again. If it wasn't for the Vendice, he'd wonder if it was an elaborate assassination plot.***
Tsuna put his hand on the wall, carefully climbing to his feet. Reborn watched him with an air of curiosity but didn't offer a helping hand. Rude.
Reserves were still drained. So that route was out. Which left him the fun but kind of difficult route.
Mukuro would probably maim him for this.
Tsuna looked up to see a flash of grey in Mukuro's palms. One thing hadn't changed, young Mukuro was just as much a drama queen as his elder version. He had the best taste in Guardians.
Mukuro aimed the gun at his head. Tsuna bolted forward as fast as his little legs could carry him.
Mukuro squawked as he suddenly found himself with a little kid wrapped around his neck. Tsuna smiled devilishly into the fabric of Mukuro's shirt, quickly schooling it into a sad puppy eyes (subsection 6, 1.3 version).
He clung to the gun, turning it away from Mukuro's head. Mukuro, still in shock, let him.
"Don't do it!" Tsuna wailed. "Momma told me you never kill yourself! Never ever! Things get better! You can get medicine and therapy!"
He was going to relish the look on Mukuro's face for the rest of his likely short life.
Behind him, he could hear a crash and someone wheezing for air. Looks like the dying will bullet just ran out. Pity. Would Ieyatsu have tried to prevent Mukuro with his dying will?
Tsuna sharply turned his hand, managing to force Mukuro to let go and toss the gun back. It skidded along the ground, out of reach.
Then, faux seriously, He patted Mukuro on the face. Mukuro looked like he was blue screening. Or trapped between murderous intent and complete confusion.
"You should be more careful Pineapple. Pointing a gun at your head isn't safe at all. You could have killed yourself or been seriously hurt." Tsuna said. Mukuro looked like he was about to tip over into murder at the pineapple comment.
He was going to have a fun time when he met Fran.
Speaking of which, Tsuna should get on that. He was ridiculously fond of the teal haired Mist's antics.
Xanxus and he had even kinda sorta bonded a little bit over it in a spar. Mostly yelling back and forth between blows about who had the worst Mist.****
Tsuna totally won that competition no matter what Xanxus said.
"You stupid little child." Mukuro hissed. Tsuna leaned in close.
"Try adorable." He was not acknowledging the little part. He was not that short. It was perfectly normal for his age. He would grow. Just that there seemed to be a minimum height requirement for the mafia sometimes.
Tsuna then head butted Mukuro in the nose.
Mukuro cursed, reaching up to check his nose. Behind him, Tsuna heard the door crash open as Gokudera blew into the room. Good. Lower chance of death or maiming.
He could also practically hear Ieyatsu flail behind him, and Tsuna determinedly held on to Mukuro's shirt as arms wrapped around him and tried to tug him off.
"I can't leave him! What if he attempts to hurt himself again." Tsuna insisted, packing all the sadness into his voice that he could muster. The arms around his middle loosened, Ieyatsu not wanting to make his brother sad.
"He tried to hurt you Tuna!" Ieyatsu said. Tsuna shook his head, clinging closer.
"He's just sad and confused!" Tsuna said. Resist the urge to laugh, resist.
Mukuro, for his part, was watching this strange sibling argument with wide incredulous eyes. Hard to keep up murderous intent in the face of a child on the verge of tears attempting to cling onto your shirt with all they had.
Tsuna almost pitied him.
"Hey! Jyuudaime's brother! Release Rokudo!" Gokudera said behind him.
"Never!" Tsuna shrieked, milking it for all he was worth. Ieyatsu was tugging again but softer this time.
Tsuna could hear the frost snap in the air and how the shadows grew along the wall when the Vendice arrived.
Ieyatsu's grip loosened, allow two black chains to snake past and wrap around Mukuro, pinning his arms to his side.
And pinning Tsuna to him.
Tsuna squeaked a little at the constriction. Perfect. Sort of to plan at least. His presence prevented the Vendice from quickly taking Mukuro as they had before.
"Hey! Leggo!" He cried, wriggling slightly in the chains. They weren't exactly comfortable, cold and prickling against his flames as well as his skin. Ieyatsu shrieked, turning to charge the Vendice members.
"Let my adorable little brother go, you caped fiends!" Then received a ten ton mallet to the face, sending him bouncing off the wall.
Reborn looked uncharacteristically serious, eyes shaded under his fedora. "Those are the Vendice. The police of the mafia world. You should not try to attack them Dame Ieyatsu." He said.
"But they have Tsu-tsu!" Ieyatsu wailed. Tsuna pressed his hands against Mukuro's chest, glaring at the Vendice.
"And what's your charges!" He snapped. The lead Vendice cocked his head slightly.
"Murder of two famiglias and countless others as well as escaping custody." Huh, toning it down a bit. Or they didn't want to list off all of the crimes.
Tsuna has seen the complete list along with a census of the mafioso Mukuro had murdered. It was long. Mukuro was very smug about the ashy look Tsuna had for the rest of the day.
Time to keep going. Here's hoping the Vendice don't murder or imprison him to save time.
"What about the blood family law?" Tsuna said. Reborn visibly stiffened. The chains loosened marginally.
"State your reasoning."
"Ieyatsu is the heir to the Vongola and student of Reborn. He has defeated Mukuro and his allies in a fair fight. So he gets to choose if he want Mukuro, Ken, Lancia, and Chikusa in his Family." Tsuna parroted off. There was M.M. as well but from what he could remember, the slightly longer time that she would have to stay in Vendicare had really matured her. She later went on to the Science division, specifically sonic weapons.
Technically it was a really old law that he was using, a throw back to the early days of mafia where land and personnel disputes were common. Winner got to choose if they want certain people from the loser's family.
Wasn't used much nowadays because you had to prove you could handle it, have a high ranking position, and be ready for any sabotage.
Okay, he shouldn't have known this. But he had the mafia textbooks as an excuse and when in doubt, there were mafia websites. He actually discovered it in his past timeline early on in his boss role, memorizing all the loopholes because his Family seemed to be intent on breaking every single law in existence.*****
The Vendice moved slightly and Tsuna knew they were conversing in that weird creepy way of theirs. Probably talking to Bermuda.
Maybe he should try to establish more communication with the Vendice sooner. Bermuda actually wasn't that bad, at long as the conversation kept away from Checkerface.
The Vendice stopped, staring at Tsuna. He stared back with wide eyes. "The Vongola will owe the Vendice a favor."
Welcome to hell, mummies, Tsuna had done so many negotiations, he actually did one in his sleep once. Mostly about his Guardians.
"Limited to Ieyatsu or me, within reason, that will not cause any significant damage or death to him and his." There. That should give some wriggle room if the Arcobaleno Trials happened the same way.
Ieyatsu spluttered behind him. Reborn was watching him with those creepy soulless eyes (the opposite of puppy dog eyes).
The Vendice paused again. "These terms are acceptable. If Mukuro and his allies escape again, they will be back in our legal custody and will face higher penalties."
"Acceptable. A pleasure to talk with you. Maybe we can chat again sometime." Tsuna said. "I'd wish you goodbye individually but I feel you would not want me to know your names."
Okay, that technically was not in the textbook negotiation, but it was polite. Mama raised him to be polite. And he knew for a fact that the Vendice liked people seeing them as individuals rather than a faceless mass.
The lead Vendice dipped their head in acknowledgment and the chains around them pulled back. Tsuna shifted, trying to get comfortable.
Then the Vendice seemed to fade away in the shadows.
Tsuna breathed a sigh of relief. He may do negotiations well but with the Vendice, there's no telling how they could react. They could have very well ignored his status as secondary heir and dragged him off to Vendicare as well.
He glanced back at Mukuro who honestly looked like he didn't know how to react.
Tsuna moved for him, patting him on the head. "You need therapy. And Mama's food." He said. Then he scooted down and stood off, brushing off his hands before turning towards the room at large.
His brother seemed dazed but panicky. Gokudera looked like he had attempted to become a statue in the face of the Vendice and was now unfreezing.
Tsuna could never tell with Reborn.
"Good negotiation." He said, deceptively mild. "Where did you find out about the blood family law?"
Tsuna scrunched up his face. "Got curious about what Gokudera was talking about, you know, loser serving the victor in his fight with Ieyatsu and looked through some books. And all the manners and stuff came from Mama and the textbooks."
Short. Sweet. Not technically a lie. Probably the only way he would ever be able to hide things from Reborn in a conversation.
Reborn pushed up the brim of his hat. "Fascinating."
Tsuna had a good feeling Reborn wanted to say a few other things and this conversation wasn't over.
Meh, he saved Mukuro and co. He'll deal with any suspicion later. He turned back. "Sorry if I accidentally missed one of your allies in my list. Negotiations are really hard. Big brother never tells me anything."
"Tsu-Tsu!" Ieyatsu wailed. "I just want to protect your innocence!"
Ha. Ha. Innocence. He hadn't had that in years, not since a baby hitman showed up on his doorstep.
"I'll kill you." Mukuro says. He still sounded unsure, thrown off by the new events. "Ask Lancia what I did to his Famiglia."
Ieyatsu shrieked. Tsuna waved a hand. "Then you go back to Vendicare. And I don't think Reborn would let you kill Iey-kun."
Reborn sounded suspiciously quiet.
"Reborn! I thought you were supposed to be teaching me!" Ieyatsu wailed.
"Don't worry I'll protect you Jyuudaime!"
"Of course I'm teaching you Dame Ieyatsu. You're a terrible student." Reborn drawled, hands flicking over Mukuro's gun and the Possession Bullet inside. With a flicker of golden flame, the gun deformed until it resembled a half melted clump of metal.
Tsuna giggled. "Ah, you sound like you're having a lot of fun with Reborn, Iey-Chan." Ieyatsu spluttered.
"I am not having fun with him!" Ieyatsu said. Reborn's eyes gained a sadistic glint.
"How rude Dame Ieyatsu. I suppose I can start a lesson right now however." Leon helpfully changed into a gun.
Ieyatsu shrieked and bolted out of the room. Reborn deftly dodged the bombs raining down towards him and kicked Gokudera out the door with ease, following them out like a wolf intent on a pathetic herbivore.
"So cute." Tsuna cooed. His Intuition pinged. "Aw, how disappointing."
He turned back. Mukuro was busying himself examining his trident that had been thrown to the side. Specifically the sharp points. "We should start running soon Mukuro."
"And why should I do that?" Mukuro said, glancing back. Tsuna shrugged.
"Because Hibari is going to wake up soon and be seriously pissed? Because Mama is making fried tofu for lunch?" Fried tofu was very important. Especially Nana's fried tofu.
"I think I can handle that pathetic Cloud." Behind him, Tsuna could hear a growl and the shifting of rocks. Hibari was nearly up.
Screw it, his flames felt better now and he did too well to have Mukuro be murdered by Hibari now. Or vice versa.
Tsuna reaches up, grabbed his bow tie, and simply picked up Mukuro. "It's lunchtime. We're going." He said firmly.
Mukuro made a sound like an angry cat and tried to conjure a lotus to strangle him. Tsuna dodged before turning and dragging Mukuro with him. "I gave you the option to walk. You said no."
From the sounds Mukuro was making, Tsuna honestly had to wonder if Estraneo slipped in some animal DNA during their experiments. He twitched, the trident flashing down beside his head.
He ended up dropping Mukuro is favor of picking up the semiconscious Chikusa and flat out unconscious Ken. Mukuro did not seem very grateful for that.
Ah, looks like Lancia had left. He'll be fine, he was competent and Tsuna had some Internet contacts he could send Lancia's way.
Tsuna rocked to the side, dodging another vine. "Careful, I nearly dropped Ken."
"What do I care, they're just tools." Mukuro spit out.
The air dropped a few degrees.
This is younger Mukuro, Tsuna reminded himself. Damaged by his life experience. Don't murder younger Mukuro.
"Because they would have given their lives for yours. Because people are not a means to an end, they are people. And Chikusa and Ken have given you their loyalty." He glared at Mukuro.
"So what." Mukuro snorted. Even so, Tsuna didn't miss the way his eyes flickered over his partners, checking for damage. He hid a smile. Mukuro could talk the talk, but even now he still worried.
Tsuna ambled away, completely ignoring the explosions coming from the other end of the park. "Now come on, Mama is going to love you."
Eventually Ken and Chikusa did wake up.
Chikusa stirred first but didn't move. Tsuna could feel the half lidded eyes boring into his back. Ken was the same, despite his boisterous nature.
"The weak Vongola negotiated with the Vendice on our behalf." Mukuro huffed eventually, twirling his trident. "Effectively we're prisoners."
"Kind of." Tsuna chipped in. "You'll be closely monitored and if you commit a crime without justification, you'll go back under the Vendice with harsher punishments."
"Why the hell would the Vongola negotiate for us?" Ken said. Chikusa was still watching. It would be more unsettling but Tsuna had to babysit Fran for a week in the past timeline.
Mists never needed to blink.
"Because I wanted to? Because as scary as you are, you're a bunch of teenagers and Vendicare isn't really equipped with dealing with past trauma? To make Ieyatsu freak out?" Tsuna said, putting his arms behind his head. "Take your pick."
Mukuro snorted. "May I be put down?" Chikusa said.
Tsuna hummed. "Sorry, I don't trust you guys not to gang up on me yet." Streets were empty along the route they were taking anyway.
"I hope you guys are hungry anyway. Mama likes to cook for others." He continued.
Nana loved them.
After fussing about with their various injuries (Tsuna quickly took over Mukuro's care as the Mist kept illusions over most his injuries), Nana happily fed the new teenagers.
Even suspicious Chikusa tucked into the spread, all of them using their best manners for once. Tsuna stole a plate in the beginning, happily munching away.
If there was a food related flame, his mother would have it. She was an amazing cook.
Ken growled as a spoon smacked his hand. "What the hell was that for pipsqueak?"
"You should eat slower or you'll make yourself sick." Tsuna said. It was pretty obvious that they hadn't been fed enough lately.
Ken grumbled but did slow down after that. Tsuna refrained from commenting, knowing they wouldn't appreciate it instead keeping his eyes on his own food. Mukuro kept glancing up to look at Tsuna, eyes narrowed.
Tsuna ignored it, setting down his empty plate. "Mama?"
"Yes dear?" Nana said, looking away from the stove.
"Mukuro and his friends will need a place to stay for a while." Tsuna said, mentally thanking the fact they had a big house. And his mother had a big heart.
"Ah? They can stay with us then, we should have an empty guest bedroom." Nana said. Chikusa jerked slightly.
"Well, that's settled then." Tsuna said, sneakily grabbing two more fried tofu slices. He'd need something to bribe Natsu with later.
"Are you sure you want to do that?" Mukuro said, tilting his head. "I murdered the last Famiglia we stayed with."
"Yup. You're not stupid Mukuro." Tsuna said. The Possession bullet was gone. It would take time before Mukuro could possess someone without the bullet. The Vongola and Vendice would both have a close eye on him now.
That didn't, however, stop Tsuna from sneakily lacing their door later in the evening with nearly unnoticeable Sky flames, to help keep them calmer. And to warn him if something went wrong.
He was Reborn's student. Paranoia was part of the package.
Reborn had already trapped the door before he got there. Tsuna could feel the thrumming warm Sun flames under the wooden surface. Maybe for spying, maybe for gruesome torture in case of escape, who knows?
He didn't feel like it would come to that however. Tsuna hummed, taking a step back.
It was… nice. To have been able to take Mukuro away from Vendicare. Chikusa and Ken had left quickly but Mukuro stayed imprisoned within for far longer. Despite his antics, it was one of the things he refused to talk about in depth, even the early years.
He may not be quite the same Mukuro but he was achingly similar. Enough that Tsuna wanted to keep him safe.
Now was not that time for distraction though. He had to go bribe his way back into the good graces of a lion cub.
*Despite sneakily laid Mist Flames around Natsu, Reborn knew something was off. He just didn't know what.
**Tsuna fully expected that one day Mukuro would take over Hell. While still alive.
***It was. Tsuna just didn't comment and Mukuro cheerily ignored it.
****Turns out, what Fran lacked in emotions, he made up for with sheer tenacity.
*****He had a master rule book. It turned into a checklist of how many rules his Guardians had broken.
So sorry for not updating sooner! I got a sneaky writers block and this chapter was really fighting me.
There is one or two mentions of suicide in this chapter. I really hope they weren't insensitive and if they were, I sincerely apologize.
I also referenced a few other brilliant KHR fanfics! Try and spot them!
Big ripple here! I hope Mukuro reads okay, he's a sassy, sadistic character but in here he's confused and disoriented. He's not quite sure how to act.
I hope you enjoyed this chapter! Please Review/Favorite/or Follow!