Tsuna was in mourning for the next week while teams of Vongola men reported to Reborn about the cleanup operations. With the leaders gone, the cult had fallen into disarray. Verde had been found and released from captivity and the bodies of the missing search teams had been buried.

He'd been told that while he was lost in the darkness, he'd done some cruel things. He couldn't really remember any of it though. It was all a hazy nightmare to him, one he'd woken from due to Salmon's sacrifice. All that really mattered was that the enemy was gone and wasn't going to return.

Patchwork had offered to make him another ring, but he had refused. Salmon was irreplaceable and he couldn't find it in his heart to create another creature from his flame. It would dishonor the eel's memory, Tsuna felt.

His father had overseen the destruction of the black rings after Patchwork had sealed them. What route he went down for their destruction, Tsuna wasn't sure, but he was positive that they were gone. He'd heard the horse's death screams from halfway across the world the moment they'd been destroyed.

Reborn had told him that the Vendiche had taken custody of the frozen Ari. He wouldn't say more than that she'd been 'dealt with'. Tsuna nor any of his Family wanted to know more. All that mattered to Tsuna was that he knew in their next life, they'd be bound only with the memories and feelings of a single lifetime. All three of them were no longer locked in a circle of accumulated hate.

Slowly, life began to return to normal and everything seemed like it was a bad dream.

"Is it always going to be like this?" He asked Reborn one day. "A never-ending cycle of nightmare followed by a quiet waking?"

Reborn nodded. "This isn't always a peaceful world we live in." He looked at his student curiously. "Does that make you wish you'd given in to them?"

"No," Tsuna replied, laying back as his mother prepared dinner. He thought about all the memories and feelings that Salmon had passed onto him in the darkness. The accumulated love and caring of his Family. "The time we spend awake is more important than any nightmare." And somewhere deep inside, he knew it was the truth.

Author's note:

I hope you all enjoyed Flames and Family!

Join us in the sequel as Tsuna goes to a high school in Italy and begins training under the 9th boss!