Sugarfree by ficklepickles

Ken rarely bought gum in Namimori. The simple reason was that it was too far away. However, this time the Kokuyo convenience store had run out of his gum, forcing him to travel to the neighboring town to get it.

Chikusa had stated that it was too troublesome, so Ken had to go alone. Annoyed and sulking, he had run into Tsuna halfway there, the latter on his way home from school. Ken had perked up on seeing him, and had the other boy accompany him to the store.

After spending so much time with a companion at his side, having to go anywhere by himself bothered Ken.

The blonde was happily chatting up a one-sided conversation in the meantime. Tsuna offered half-hearted responses every once in a while, but his nervous nature was beginning to wear down the Kokuyo hitman.

"Lighten up, pyon." Ken said with a sigh. "I'm not gonna eatcha, if that's what you're worried about."

"Huh?" Tsuna's eyes widened. "Oh, no. It's not you!" He shook his head fervently. "It's just, um, we're being followed."

"What!" Ken spun around immediately, fangs at his lips. He couldn't believe that he hadn't sensed that.

"Oya?" Purred a voice that came from behind him. "I thought I did well to shield my presence this time, little Vongola."

Tsuna shuddered visibly, his intuition working overdrive at Mukuro's insinuating tone. Ken relaxed. It was his just boss, as quiet and creepy as ever.

The dark haired boy chuckled. "What brings you two together?" He asked, eyeing Ken's proximity to the shorter brunette.

"Gum, pyon." The blonde answered, not liking how his boss's dual-colored eyes had sharpened.

"Not shared, I hope." Continued Mukuro.

"No!" Tsuna nearly shouted, his voice pitched higher than normal. "Don't think like that!"

Amused, Mukuro raised a brow. "Like what?" He questioned innocently.

Both Tsuna and Ken trembled at that expression. Such a visage did not suit dark haired boy at all.

Then, changing the subject, Ken faced his boss. "What are you doing here, Mukuro-san?"

The taller boy smiled. "I came to visit my favorite little Vongola." He leaned forward and blew lightly into the brunette's ear. "Won't you greet me?"

Tsuna jumped and shifted uncomfortably. "H-Hi."

Ken really wanted to laugh, but found the situation more disturbing than comedic. That predatory smile that Mukuro wore was something that he would never want directed at himself. It was just scary.

Instead, he tapped his foot impatiently. "Hurry, pyon. I want my gum!" He spoke to Tsuna, as using that tone against his boss would have been suicidal. He wasn't ready to die yet, at least not until he had his gum.

His voice broke the tension between them, and Mukuro backed off a hair with an expression of disappointment creasing his brow. Playing with the Vongola heir was much more fun without an audience.

Something akin to relief washed over Tsuna's face. "This way." He said, stepping away from the dark haired boy and waving a hand down the street. "We're almost there."

Ken knew where it was but didn't correct him. At that moment, Tsuna had looked nothing short of a mouse before a snake with his boss bent nearly flush against the smaller boy. Ken didn't blame him.

Out of a sense of propriety and some discomfort, he decided to pick up the pace. Tsuna sped up accordingly, Mukuro hot on his heels.

The three of them rounded the corner to the store a bit too quickly. Ahead of them, and far too close for comfort, Ken belatedly spied another group exiting the shop.

Instinct had him leaping to the side immediately. Something else caused him to snatch Tsuna's wrist a split second later.

Unfortunately, Mukuro had grabbed Tsuna's other wrist at the same moment. They both pulled, unknowing of the brunette's plight, and they looked back in time to see Tsuna yelp and collide in a tangle of limbs with the other group.

"What're you doing, shit trash!"

"Protecting my property, fuckin' dreads!"

The two standing high school students snarled at each other, one flexing a fist, the other brandishing what looked to be an M4 carbine automatic rifle. Between them, they each grasped a hand of their third member.

"Oya?" Mukuro peered at them, interested, his grip tightening on Tsuna's hand ever so slightly.

Abruptly, Ken released the hand he was holding. "Sorry," he muttered in Tsuna's general direction.

The high school students caught sight of them.

The blonde wielding the rifle looked Ken up and down and grinned. Ken felt the tiniest sliver of fear knife down his spine. Then he was slapped with an armload of fliers.

A taller and much more muscled teen regarded Mukuro. The dreadlocked player's glare was met with Mukuro's unflinching stare. Something seemed to pass between them. The high schooler smirked suddenly and a chilling smile spread across Mukuro's lips. The two of them passed each other by wordlessly.

Ken had the uneasy feeling that perhaps evil recognized evil.

Then older blonde turned his head and snapped over his shoulder, "fuckin' chibi, hurry it up."

The third student, who was still on the ground next to Tsuna, jumped to his feet. "Y-Yes, Hiruma-san!" He chirruped in a remarkable likeness of the young mafioso sitting on the floor. He spun and bowed, spouting apologies, which Tsuna mirrored. Then he turned and took off after the gun-toting blonde at a speed which rivaled Ken's own Cheetah Channel.

Blankly, he looked down at the sheets in his arms. They were emblazoned with advertisements to join Deimon's American Football team. Puzzled, Ken set them beside a recycling bin. He had no interest in American Football.

Mukuro simply chuckled at him. "You'll have a back-up in case we fail."

Ken stuck his tongue out and marched inside the store for what he had come for, glorious gum!

The shopkeeper took one look at Ken's hair and teeth and raised both his hands, fear flickering across his features. "Take whatever you want, it's on the house."


Had to be done after I saw that Ken had stocked their hidey-hole with gum as emergency supplies. Written in thirty minutes on too little sleep.