Disclaimer: Katekyō Hitman Reborn! is owned by Akira Amano and affiliated corporations.
Spoilers: Read at your own risk. The pairing in this story is Hibari/I-pin.
When Tsunayoshi Sawada saw I-pin as he was leaving a meeting, he was hidden in the shadow of the entranceway and she was making her way across the courtyard, bathed in the soft glow of the Sicilian sun.
She lifted her hand to brush her bangs from her forehead, and something on her hand caught the sunlight.
Tsuna was at her side, clutching her hand and admiring the ring, before I-pin could register surprise at his presence.
Tsuna inspected the plain silver band with something akin to awe. There had been rumors that she was involved with someone, but none of the gossip could be substantiated; not even his most reliable and trustworthy spies could find out whom she was supposedly seeing on the sly.
(He refused to believe the rumor Reborn had started that was sweeping across the compound like a typhoon.)
With a wide smile he joked about I-pin's mysterious man, teased her about her secret engagement and nuptials, and chided her for leaving Haru and Kyoko out of the entire process - the two ladies were going to be very upset.
Tsuna finally paused in his lecture when I-pin's formerly pale face became the color of the roses blooming on the bushes surrounding the bird bath.
Still smiling, he inquired about the lucky man.
I-pin mumbled a name that sounded like the Devil's progeny.
Tsuna stilled. Surely he had misheard….
Then she repeated that same horrible name while talking about Shinto priests and temples.
Tsuna hadn't meant for his question to be the raw, hoarse scream that made the birds nesting in the fountains take flight.
Before he completely gave in to oblivion, Tsuna remembered that five-year old I-pin had nursed a crush on then fifteen-year old Kyoya Hibari and thought, But that couldn't have been the basis for the unholy union that took place.
Tsuna was very glad he hadn't entered Reborn's betting pool.
Hayato Gokudera had been in the second music room when Tsuna's yell tore through the formerly silent mansion.
He burst through the large oak doors, his dynamite out and ready for use, and nearly collided with Yamamato and several other men.
They ran to where the scream had originated and skidded to a stop: Tsuna, as white as the ivory-carved statues in the courtyard, was standing in front of a horror-stricken I-pin.
Then Tsuna fainted.
I-pin caught him before his head hit the ground and lowered him onto the grass just as Gokudera, Yamamato, and the others reached their side.
Gokudera rapidly fired off questions to I-pin as he checked Tsuna's pulse – the Tenth was so white! - while Yamamato sent several men to look for the family doctor and several others canvas the grounds in case an assassination attempt had been made.
Something flashed on I-pin's fourth finger on her left hand.
Gokudera blinked. Surely that wasn't….
The last thing he heard were Yamamato and I-pin's worried exclamations.
Gokudera's last thought before he passed out from shock was, The bastard had known!
He was going to be poor… forever.
Once Takeshi Yamamato was assured by the doctor that Gokudera and Tsuna would be okay, he took I-pin into the hallway and asked what happened.
With a shy albeit hesitant smile she told him, holding up her left hand as she did so.
Something akin to unbridled terror made Yamamato shudder, and he (barely) managed to choke out a congratulations.
He had suspected but never asked, wondered but not to excess, speculated with the others on those days when it was possible to place bets without word getting out to Hibari….
Unlike the others, who had thought Hibari didn't have a soul much less a heart, he had bet against the pair because he had thought I-pin would want something more than a soulless creature with a thirst for blood and a penchant for violence.
He owed Reborn five thousand dollars.
Lambo was genuinely happy for his friend. He might not have known for sure that she had been seeing Vongola's Cloud Guardian, but Lambo had had his suspicions, for few men could make I-pin smile the way Hibari did, and fewer men could make her develop a sudden interest in bonsai and traditional Japanese tea ceremonies.
Besides, he was a firm believer in love for everyone, regardless of their level of evilness.
But he still owed Reborn too much damn money.
Kyoko Sasagawa wasn't terribly upset by I-pin's… omission… but it still made her heart ache when she thought of her young friend getting married and not telling any of them about it. There hadn't even been an invitation to a reception!
There was so much Kyoko could have done… so many memories that could have been created. She already knew Hibari wasn't the type to take pictures, not even on one of the most important days of his life.
(At times like these, Kyoko really sympathized with his parents.)
Kyoko sat at her desk near the window and sighed, her head resting on her hand. She imagined I-pin standing in front of the priest, dressed in a brilliant white kimono, a shy smile on her extremely red face as she recited the vows that would tie her forever to the man standing at her side –
Kyoko shook her head and tried again to picture the groom.
She gave up after picturing every other person (including Tsuna!) but Hibari.
Sighing, Kyoko contented herself with the knowledge that I-pin was happy - or doing a good job of pretending to be.
(She had seen the bite marks. And despite I-pin saying that they weren't as painful as they looked, those bite marks made Kyoko imagine the most perverted, horrible scenarios.)
With a final wistful sigh, Kyoko opened up her desk drawer, removed her purse, and took out her check book, happy that she had only placed a mere fifty dollars in Reborn's betting pool.
Bianchi truly did not understand why people were so worked up over the marriage.
Love was love and that was that.
She wondered if Reborn really expected her to shell out sixty-six thousand dollars.
Haru Miura pouted for a day before accepting I-pin's apology. It hurt that I-pin decided to get engaged and married without telling anyone, not even her closest friends. Haru had always seen herself as a mother-figure for I-pin, as she had watched her grow, combed and braided her hair, cooked for her, helped her with her Japanese lessons….
Haru supposed that I-pin's happiness was foremost, and as she presented her friend with a bouquet of snow-white roses and a prettily wrapped gift, she thought it sad that the beautiful sight of I-pin as a bride wouldn't ever be seen by anyone other than Hibari.
(Haru ignored the lingering chill she got whenever she tried (and failed) to picture Hibari as a willing groom. Perhaps Bianchi had succeeded in concocting a love potion that didn't kill its intended?)
Nevertheless, Haru was determined to put things right by throwing the most lavish and extravagant wedding reception this side of the Italian countryside.
But first she had to find a way to convince Reborn that she should keep the five grand she owed him.
That night when Hibari returned to Italy, there was an unnatural stillness in the air, as if the world was holding its breath in anticipation.
It didn't have to wait long.
When Hibari finally attacked, there were no words, no questions.
Just a whole lot of screaming and pain.
And hundreds of betting receipts falling through the air like snow.