Xanxus decided he didn't like Squalo. He liked him even less than he liked Yamamoto – not that it was saying anything. But smething about Squalo irked Xanxus. (His voice? He wasn't sure.)

His mind wandered during the fight. He didn't remember what he was thinking about – only that fighting with swords was so stupid in this day and age. A gun was much more suitable.

When Yamamoto started bleeding, Xanxus snapped back to reality. He watched him clutch his shoulder, he saw Squalo talk about how Yamamoto had sliced at him with the flat side-

"Fucking trash," Xanxus muttered, annoyed. "Just hurry up and kill the shark." This whole ordeal was infuriating.

"Juudaime-?" Gokudera asked.

Xanxus waved a hand at him to get him to be silent. He was back studying the fight, ignoring the sly looks Tsunayoshi handed him – although Xanxus couldn't see them, refused to see them, he could feel them, felt a crawling sensation over his skin. Ugh, he was so annoyed.


When Yamamoto had the ring in his hand, holding it up, Xanxus smirked. He slid his eyes shut for a moment before opening them again.

"About time," he said.

But like the fool he was, Yamamoto tried to save his opponent. Whatever amusement Xanxus felt slid away.

But whatever. Squalo chose to die, to be eaten by the shark; Yamamoto appeared gutted by it, but that wasn't any of Xanxus's concern.

And then Tsunayoshi burst into laughter. Xanxus turned to look at him, more out of curiosity than anything else. And when Tsunayoshi's laughter died down, he heard him say, "Another piece of my past has washed away."

Another piece, Xanxus repeated silently, rolling the words around in his mind. He didn't like the way Tsunayoshi phrased that.


"Another victory," Reborn said, studying Xanxus. Said would-be Decimo was lying on his bed, staring up at the ceiling. He grunted in response.

"Who's the Mist Guardian?" Xanxus asked.

Reborn smirked. "You'll see."

Xanxus stiffened. "This better not be another stupid nomination."

"It isn't."

Xanxus rolled his eyes. "Like I'm gojng to believe you," Xanxus scoffed. "Lambo was a shitty choice. Hell, did you pick anyone outside of Namimori?" He would bet good money Reborn hadn't – the way this was looking, it would likely be everyone Xanxus knew. (Maybe he exaggerated slightly – but he didn't like the pattern.)

Reborn was silent for a moment. "This one, I'm sure has your approval," he said at last, a little smug.

Xanxus glared at him, turning his head to get a good look at the hitman. "It better," he warned. Not that he could actually back up the threat in his voice - Xanxus was sure Reborn would have his arse on a platter if the baby ever fought seriously.

That could change, though. Xanxus was going to be the Vongola Decimo, and then he could do something about this obnoxious child.


They were lined in the school gym, facing each other. So the baby was their Mist Guardian, Xanxus thought. Who was his?

Tsunayoshi was smirking at Xanxus, Xanxus glaring back at him. A tingling sensation in the back of his skull, and Xanxus frowned. He knew this feeling, he hated it. No, it couldn't be-

It was? The newcomers' voices were fuzzy, but they - Ken and Chikusa, he thought their names were - were speaking, and Gokudera's voice cut through the haze of Xanxus's mind. Irritated, Xanxus shut his voice out.

"Rokudou Mukuro," Xanxus muttered. "Is he my Mist Guardian?"

Before he had time to glare at Reborn for his rampant stupidity, a girl's voice spoke up.

"My name is Chrome Dokuro," she said, clutching a trident. Xanxus studied her.

"Juudaime, she's obviously with Mukuro," Gokudera said immediately, and Xanxus wondered if he was planning to throw dynamite. "You can't trust them, we don't know-"

Xanxus held up a hand, and Gokudera fell silent. "Trash." Xanxus was addressing Chrome casually, ignoring her uneasiness. "You can fight, yeah?"

Chrome nodded, and Xanxus eyed her considerinly. "And you're not Mukuro, right?"

"I'm not," Chrome said nervously.

Xanxus sighed. "Fine. She's the Mist Guardian." He glared at her for a moment, saying, "If you lose this, I don't want to see you again."

Chrome tensed up, nodding again. Xanxus wondered if she could win. She seemed too fragile-

Almost immediately, Xanxus slapped himself internally. Like that mattered, he told himself scornfully. So long as she won, he didn't care – he shouldn't care.

"Is this what you had in mind?" Xanxus asked Reborn as Chrome walked out onto the 'battlefield'. Reborn only smirked. Xanxus took that as a no. (If only to believe the worst of Reborn.)

And when the battle kicked off, Xanxus had to hide his surprise. He didn't know what he was expecting, but a battle of illusions wasn't what he thought.

They kept circling each other and exchanging blows, like some twisted dance; they lashed out against each other viciously, intending to kill. It was starting to strain his eyes, and he had to look away at some points, ignoring the way the floor tilted and erupted in flames at various intervals.

And then her trident shattered, and her midriff was caving in. Xanxus watched, almost idly, as she gasped for breath.

"What's happening to her?" He asked the Kokuyo pair. They weren't listening, the trash, Xanxus thought, half-tempted to kick them into the ground.

Steam was rising around Chrome, capturing Xanxus's attention again. Laughter - laughter Xanxus never wanted to hear again. He hissed out air, bile rising in the back of his throat.

"The grade A trash, Mukuro Rokudou," Xanxus spat out.

"Nice to see you again, Vongola Decimo," Mukuro greeted Xanxus. "So the goal is to get the ring off of the Arcobaleno, correct?"

"Yeah." Xanxus's mouth twisted into a grimace. "Hurry up and fetch."

Mukuro eyed Xanxus, then sighed. "That's no way to treat someone who's doing you a favour," he chided, before attacking his opponent.

About time they started winning, Xanxus snarked silently. Chrome had put up a fair fight, but Mukuro was going to win. (Xanxus had fought him, seen his strength first-hand. Regardless of his hate, he understood Mukuro was strong.)


"If they had lost the battle," Xanxus told Reborn as he walked home, Reborn on his shoulder, "I don't think I would been able to control my Flames."

"Do you think you would have destroyed the gym?" Reborn asked.

"Probably." Xanxus frowned. "Hibari would've annoying, then."

Reborn smirked. "Good thing they won. Although Tsuna didn't look too pleased."

Xanxus noted the shortening of the Varia boss's name for future reference. "Good. That arrogant smile of his deserved to wiped off his fucking trashy face," Xanxus seethed. "Fuck – the Cloud Ring Battle, and then I get to fight."

"The next couple of battles will be interesting," Reborn noted. "Don't you think?"

Xanxus stopped walking. "Tell me about Tsunayoshi," he demanded. "You tutored him, so tell me everything you know."

:3c long time no see. time to disappear into the void again