Snow falling on cedars.

Written to the prompt "winter time in an empty ryokan".

The title is taken from the 31 Days theme for January 7, 2009.



The job started out pretty much the way jobs always did, when it's Hibari Kyouya and Yamamoto Takeshi tagging along as the Mandatory Vongola Family representative (since Hibari Kyouya would rather kill a million people than admit that he's with them): deathly silent car ride and a generally uneventful set of negotiations up until the rival boss man smiled, wished them good night, lifted his hand, and brought his whole clan down hard on their asses.

In retrospect, maybe Tsuna should have warned the man about his mercurial Cloud Guardian and his acute allergy to crowds.

About an hour past midnight and pile upon pile of corpses later, Yamamoto is flicking the blood off of his sword with a twist of his wrist. He sheathes his weapon, yawns, stretches, shuffles around to loot the guys in his vicinity. Thirty minutes of searching yields a Zippo, a nifty silk tie miraculously untouched by the death and destruction, an expensive-looking wallet (those baby pictures definitely have to go, though) and car keys to the sweet black Cadillac he saw parked outside when they arrived. He's fallen into the habit of bringing back souvenirs to give to the boys under his command, and there's nothing like a little bit of Asshole Tax to send all the right messages to all the right people.

So he's pocketing his finds, moving from room to room and trying not to trip on all the dead stuff, looking around, wondering if he should look for Hibari THEN look for the sake or look for the sake and THEN look for Hibari. He eventually decides to go with the latter, because a Hibari is much harder to find and get a hold of than a bottle of sake in a place like this.

It surprises him, then, when he's making his way down the rooms by the outer corridor and spots one of the bigger hot spring pools between one set of open shoji doors and the next, with his partner for the evening walking towards it, stripping off an article of clothing with each step of the way. Shoes, then suit, then tie, then belt, then shirt, then pants, then…

…Then the only thing he thinks about after those are shoulders and shoulder blades, and hips, and calves and ass.

Yamamoto zooms off. He finds the finest sake in the house and the best set of cups in record time.

"You look like you're enjoying yourself," he says, when he's walking out into the cold, sake bottle dangling between two fingers and cups balanced on his other hand.

A narrowed eye, a sniff of disdain. Hibari looks relaxed for once, arms resting on the edge of the pool that he's occupied, face tipped up towards the stars, legs sprawled out beneath the surface. Untouched and clean, compared to the clothes that he's abandoned, the tonfa he's left out in the moonlight.

Yamamoto decides that it's time to pour the sake. The first cup goes down easy. The second never reaches his lips, because a tug sends him sprawling into the water and right on top of Hibari, who suddenly has one slender hand wrapped tight around his tie.

It's hard to believe that a murderer could have such soft lips.

"That was good wine," Hibari murmurs, just over his mouth.

"Ahaha, yeah. Wasn't it?"

Hibari smiles the sort of smile that never reaches his eyes, the one he wears when he's about to step up and break your spine.

Yamamoto forgets all about the sake.

The next morning, Sawada Tsunayoshi receives a massive bill demanding funds to repair a local ryokan that he's never heard of – among all the annotations on structural abuse, there's a request for one bottle of very expensive sake from Okinawa, a futon that had been thrashed and soaked beyond repair, and a coil of hemp rope.

Yamamoto is in the room when Tsuna brings the bill up to Gokudera. He spits out his coffee, laughs when Gokudera demands to know if the baseball freak knows anything.

Tsuna decides that maybe he doesn't want to know after all.