Title: Without Regrets
Rating: pg-13
Pairing: Xanxus/Tsuna, and- well, you'll see.
Notes: A Reborn!/Loveless fusion AU, and um, warnings for lots of liberties taken with everything. (And I do mean everything)
Summary: The new fighters are being matched with their sacrifices today, and Tsuna finds himself looking forward to it.

"You have got to be fucking kidding me," said Gokudera Hayato with a sort of stunned anger, staring at Yamamoto Takeshi. It was the beginning of the time when fighters chose their sacrifices- or, rather, found them, and vice-versa.

He was matched up in Tireless, where he had expected to be in a as yet-unnamed (never to be named, now) pair with Sawada Tsunayoshi. Oh the humanity.

Tail lashing in anger, he stomped off to shout futilely at the seven teachers, and Yamamoto gave Tsuna his usual calm I'll take care of this casual good-bye wave, then sauntered after him.

Very relieved- Gokudera-kun would do much better with Yamamoto than with him, Tsuna wanted a sacrifice who wouldn't actually cry tears of joy when he took damage for you- Tsuna hopefully scanned the crowd, which was both noisy and thinning as pairs well, paired off and exclaimed with either horror or delight at their names.

Across the hall Deathless looked on with serene smugness, as Rokudo Mukuro and Chrome Dokuro had come to them already matched, in name, appearance and demeanor. Chrome gave Tsuna the tiniest of acknowledging twitches with her tail, turning her eye upon Merciless, one little yellow bird and one Hibari Kyouya.

No one, not even some of the teachers, were entirely sure how Hibari had managed to snag a bird as his sacrifice. Certainly in all the battles they'd ever fought the bird had never take so much as a scratch, and appeared to spend all it's time in and out of battle singing as loudly and as off-tune as it could manage, which was far too considerable for a bird roughly the size of half a coffee mug.

As a battle strategy, it wasn't half-bad.

Tsuna usually tried to steer clear of them four, because one unless Principal Reborn decided to throw him into certain very specifically dangerous battles he was a consistent loser while they topped the charts, and two, everyone but Chrome steered clear of Mukuro, who had started a little after the rest of them, and had started without his ears. No one else in the first year had lost their ears yet. His weird novelty lensed left eye didn't help.

Tsuna twitched his own childishly overlarge ears at the thought, and turned his gaze to a group of clustered seniors (the unmatched seniors turned out in force when the first-years matched up, with their paired friends coming to cheer and jeer indiscriminately), dressed in the black leathers worn by a group of the best fighters in the upper years.

He kept looking at them just long enough for him to recognize Dino-sempai's partner in Defenseless, a sharp-faced, long-haired boy for whom there could be no more ironic moniker. The boy next to him of course, Tsuna knew by sight and school legend, the sacrifice raised as fighter who refused to accept his fate. He'd remained unmatched for three years and was likely to remain so for more, as he would never accept a fighter partner. It didn't seem to hamper him unduly, as he was one of the best battlers in the school, paired or otherwise. Few of those in the third year kept their ears, especially those in his little gang- but Xanxus still had his, and on him they weren't cutesy little symbols of childhood or inexperience, but dangerous indicators of focus- always flat against his head, black as night.

Tsuna kept hopefully searching for some small, sweet sacrifice, whom- he hoped- he would be able to keep and protect and- and love, all their days…

The Varia gave up their vigil and filed out after their leader, joking and sneering among themselves. Tsuna was morosely contemplating the remaining first-years- he'd felt nothing from them, he'd have to wait another year-

Xanxus brushed past Tsuna with the slightest of touches, not in the sort of mood to push away an undersized first-year when Squalo and Levi would do it would much greater enthusiasm.

And then they both felt it at once, the deep, crackling awareness, the spark and tingle- like lightning, like love, only not anything so flash- of a thousand nerves recognizing their one true counterpart, newly found and always there.

They turned utterly astounded eyes upon each other, and perhaps that was what saved Tsuna from being immediately killed by Xanxus- the staring of a child's eyes, fixed upon the Remorseless written across his collarbone like a threat.

-tbc-