As a special birthday pres from me to you, I am posting a few stories from the drabbles as full ones. Enjoy!
"Another day, another dead body. Might as well get this over with," sighed a figure in front of the alley. "At least it's not the Varia again."
The figure was small and rather petite. He couldn't possibly be anywhere out of his teens, if that. However he got to work with the quiet efficiency of long practice. A lot of long practice.
By the time he left the alleyway, the crime scene had been 'sanitized' that the odds of any decent forensic techs finding anything they could use in court were pretty much gone. Not only that, but the body itself was dumped far, far away from the jurisdiction of the local cops, and thus it was unlikely anyone would be able to pinpoint exactly where the body had been killed off.
Under the cap, tired honey colored eyes watched the road as they drove to the usual spot where they dumped bodies.
He often wondered exactly what god he had pissed off to make this his life. He still had trouble figuring out how exactly he had stumbled into this sort of job in the first place.
It wasn't like he particularly enjoyed moving corpses or destroying evidence.
Dumping the corpse was annoying, but at least now he could take a steaming hot shower and relax...provided he didn't get another call out by the various hit men, assassins or general killers to clean up their mess.
It said a lot about his skills that he had the freaking Varia on speed dial. Though he really didn't appreciate the fact Lussuria had apparently decided he was the perfect person to force into helping him clean out their rooms of "interesting corpses" when they were no longer attractive...or when Squalo demanded that they clean up after themselves.
He could do without knowing the Sun Officer's taste in fetish gear, thank you very much. Or worse, knowing what said gear was used for after hearing a far too detailed explanation from said Sun.
His life, why?
It was with some relief that he drove up to the spot the client had indicated they wanted it dumped. Some famiglias had specific areas they wanted bodies disposed of (mostly because they had the cops who patrolled that area on the payroll) or they wanted something special done with the corpse.
It said far too much about his life these days that he didn't even care about getting creative when it came to posing the bodies. Or that he now made it a habit to canvas the area for a few hours before he dealt with the security cameras and discreetly positioned the corpse before leaving the area.
He had a collection of some of his more...interesting jobs, as sad as that was.
As if it wasn't enough that he had the Varia literally on speed dial during the slow weeks when he really needed the cash...he was far too familiar with the Varia as a whole, mostly because they made him clean out the castle of all the random corpses that piled up, up to and including Lussuria's private collection (on the plus side Squalo at least made the mook squads help him haul out the parts that failed to dissolve under Storm flames)... but he couldn't complain.
It was a job, and at least being on first name basis with the Varia Elite meant they would be less likely to actually take out a hit on him unless ordered by the Vongola main family. As in it had to come from Nono himself and they had to have concrete evidence he was an active threat to the famiglia in question.
Which wasn't likely to happen, if the odd looks they had given him after Lussuria bullied him into a free medical exam the one time he showed up with a minor flu was any indication. He didn't know why, just that they had apparently stumbled across something after they drew a bit of blood.
Maybe they knew his dad or something? He couldn't really see his mother as part of organized crime.
Once finished, he was about half-way to his current apartment when his phone rang. He wanted to cry... he was so close to a proper shower too!
The only reason he didn't let it go to voicemail was because of who was calling.
"Hello Squalo. Does the castle need another spring cleaning again?" asked Tsuna tiredly.
"Voi. Just get off another job?" he asked with some sympathy. It wasn't much, but Tsuna would take what he could get.
"I've been getting one too many complaints about bodies in the castle. You interested in doing spring cleaning a bit early?"
"I'm free at the moment. Tell Mammon I'm bringing my expense forms and spread sheets like they asked...took me forever to track them down."
"Will do. See you in a few days brat."
Tsuna hung up and sighed.
First things first, take a long hot shower, food, nap and then clean out the apartment of the essentials before starting the long drive to Varia territory.
At least they paid for living expenses while he was helping them clean the place. Even if staying in a castle full of crazies tended to make it difficult to sleep.
A few days later, Tsuna walked right in and went to find Squalo.
"Voi! Glad you're here brat. If I have to hear one more rookie whine about a dead body in their room..."
"Well look at the bright side. You get to point out that an almost civilian contractor who cleans up after them doesn't whine as much as they do about handling dead things and then throw them in the deep end with even more horrible training until they shut up about it," Tsuna snarked back.
Squalo's grin was positively evil and shark-like. After the first two times the kid had to deal with being in close contact with them, he had lost any fear he had of their habits. He was something close to a good friend who put up with your insane habits, which was far too difficult to find in their line of work.
"Mammon in?" asked Tsuna. He gave the Varia a flat rate for his help, and gave them a week's discount if Mammon could make sense of his books. Being a small business owner with no other employees was tough, but it was even worse when you were one that had regularly flunked math.
Considering he usually found the majority of said bodies within the week, Mammon didn't mind. At least Tsuna kept better track of his receipts than most of the mooks they had to deal with. Even if the boy didn't really have a head for money.
Tsuna could care less about how much he made so long as he was paid enough to deal with basic expenses. A fact that both amused and annoyed the Mist. He had built up quite the nest egg from all the little bonuses he kept getting for being efficient and keeping his mouth shut about what he was doing.
And he didn't even need to sell the collection he had started to get it either. He still didn't get why the mafia liked their rings so much.
Mammon accepted the file Tsuna had put together and waved him off. They would sort through his expense reports and balance his books later.
Tsuna was almost boneless with relief when Mammon commented that he could afford to hire an extra hand to help haul the bodies around full time. His back ached every time he got a big bruiser...those took forever to get into his van.
As such when he went to stock up on supplies, he was very surprised to find someone who could easily fit the bill of what he needed in a partner.
The silver-haired boy was clearly pricing out cleaning supplies, and had the markings of someone who liked to blow things up a lot. There was a slightly gaunt look to his face, as if he had to forgo regular eating in favor of his preferred weapon.
Likely a budding hit man, and not a very successful one either.
He wrote something in clumsy Italian (he could speak it fluently but his written one still needed a lot of work) along with his phone number.
While it hadn't been intentional, Tsuna did have a name for himself in the underworld and his clients appreciated the fact that he told the varying famiglias when he was in their territory, if only so they could hire him.
Sometimes it was better to "know a guy" than hire professionals, and he was often "the guy" they called. The fact he was well known to be on good terms with the Varia really helped, since they had strong connections to the Vongola.
The silverette didn't even realize Tsuna had left the card in his pocket until much later, when he went to look for his spare lighter.
Hayato Gokudera was a budding hit man, one who had only recently earned a name for himself. It wasn't much, but at least it was out there now.
As such he was very confused as to why he found a card for a 'cleaning' service with a clumsily written note on the back that they were hiring extra help, along with a phone number.
Normally he would have dismissed it, but whoever had put that in his pocket had done so without his noticing, rather than rob him. More to the point he vaguely recognized the name.
Besides, cleaning meant free access to chemicals, which were a pain to get in decent quantities.
Perhaps it was fate that he ran into Shamal when he did.
"Wait... you found his card in your pocket?" said Shamal incredulous.
"You know him?" asked Hayato.
"Only through word of mouth. Rumor has it that it's a one-man operation run by a kid about your age. He's good though... he goes in, removes the body and then does so much damage to the evidence on scene that the cops can't really trace it back to the one who did the hit. I even heard a rumor that the Varia hires him once or twice a year to clean the castle out of the dead bodies that tend to pile up...especially around the Sun Officer's personal rooms."
Hayato went wide eyed at that.
"He's personally hired by the Varia?" he said in shock.
Varia meant Vongola, Vongola meant that he would have a chance to make connections and possibly get a chance to enter the famiglia.
"Don't get your hopes up kid. From what I heard he mostly needs a hand to help haul dead bodies around and possibly sanitize the scene. Doesn't mean you'll get a chance to get your name out there," said Shamal.
"Yeah, but it still means easy access to chemicals and if I'm lucky he won't mind me slipping things into the bill for myself," said Hayato. "That plus a steady paycheck."
He needed the money, and to be honest this at least sounded like he'd have steady work and food to eat. Never mind the access to chemicals to make even more of his bombs with.
Shamal grimaced at that, but said nothing. He still paid for lunch, because he could tell Hayato needed it. He was good at surviving, but that didn't meant he was a proper street brat. And bombs, even home made ones like the one his former student used, did not come cheap.
Hayato debated on calling the number for all of a week, before he caved after his stomach complained one time too many.
If nothing else he could build up his stash of bombs and possibly a cushion until he could try his luck as a hit man again.
The sheer relief on the other end of the phone was a bit surprising, though not as much as actually meeting his potential boss.
The kid was a twig and looked like a fluffy cat.
"You're the guy who runs this operation?" said Hayato incredulous.
"I get that a lot," admitted Tsuna.
"But... you're just a kid!"
"A kid who dropped out of school at fourteen, managed to make it all the way to Italy on his own without any help and somehow ended cleaning up corpses and crime scenes and is now on a first name basis with the top assassins in the underworld," said Tsuna patiently. "And don't ask me how I got into this business, because I'm still trying to remember how it happened and coming up short."
Hayato stared at him.
"So were you serious about that job?" he asked finally.
Tsuna pointed to a big bruiser of a thug. One that didn't have much brains to speak of.
"See that guy? Exactly how long do you think it would take me to haul him into a van in order to dispose of the body?"
"...I see your point."
Bodies, much like cold hard cash, were essentially dead weight. And Tsuna was positively tiny with not much muscle to speak of. It would take him an hour at least just to haul someone that big into a van, never mind getting the guy out again.
"So why me?"
"I saw the small tells that lead me to believe you're mafia raised, and from the way you were pricing out chemicals without having any of the signs of drug use, I suspected you would know how to mix the particular solution I use to sanitize scenes," said Tsuna shrugging. "Not to mention the fact I could tell you haven't been eating regularly, which means you would be open to an unusual job with a steady paycheck and not ask too many questions or gain a sudden case of loose lips around cops."
Hayato felt a bit of respect for the kid hearing that.
Mixing up chemicals to clean up scenes was well within his abilities, so long as he had a recipe to follow and the ingredients. And as a mafia raised brat, he had a natural inclination to avoid cops.
"How would you feel about me using the company as a way to get easy access to chemicals in order to make bombs?"
"I could care less about what you do with your paycheck so long as the cops don't come around asking why a couple of kids need restricted chemicals, especially since the job isn't entirely legal to begin with and I'm technically too young to drive," said Tsuna flatly.
Hayato perked up at that, and was relieved his potential boss didn't mind him using the company name to stock up on his own weapons.
"So do I have to sign a contract or what?"
"We're going to do a trial basis first, to see if you can stomach the work. Some people can handle the sight of the dead, some can't. Especially if it's one of Luss-nee's collection," said Tsuna with a grimace.
"Lussuria, the Varia Sun officer. I used to have the worst nightmares about his collection the first time I had to help clean it out. Fortunately he doesn't mind what I do with them after so long as he doesn't have to hear Squalo bitch about cleaning his rooms again."
Tsuna's grin was positively devious.
"I find it's great stress release to dump those bodies onto the lawns of people who have stiffed me at some point within the year in highly suggestive positions. I have an entire album with pictures, including ones that come from a long-range lens at their reaction."
Hayato grinned, before a thought occurred to him.
"Exactly how good are you at getting past security?" he asked.
"I'm good enough to the point Squalo has me hold classes with the rookies on how to clean up after themselves and to make sure they don't leave evidence behind. And I've left corpses in pretty public places without being caught before, including on fountains and the like."
"So if I wanted to leave a few horrifying and graphic bodies on my dad's front lawn for him to find and gag over..."
"Then I would be more than happy to help pose them for maximum effect for free so long as you agree to work for me," said Tsuna.
Hey, he had to find some humor in his disgusting job. Might as well have some fun with the dead.
Hayato, once he got over the somewhat gross nature of the job, found it rather soothing. The only real issue he had was how back-breaking it was to haul heavy corpses into the van, and Tsuna was pretty good about paying him a fair cut. If anything he gave Hayato extra whenever they were forced to deal with something too gross for words.
It was strange, how easily he fell in line behind the smaller, fluffy teen. Or how much easier it was to laugh at the look of pure relief on Tsuna's face the second he learned Hayato was decent at budgeting and didn't mind taking over his least favorite part of running a business.
Mammon was going to be happy... his books were a bit more organized now and with the addition of Hayato, Tsuna was able to demand better rates.
The Mist had despaired of the foolish boy living on 'charity', in their words.