All characters © Amano Akira


Incalzando

The first time Hibari Kyouya committed murder was when he was fifteen.

As a boy of semi-taciturnity, he had always believed that actions spoke louder than words. Talking was simply not enough to quell those who stepped out of line, which was why Hibari had adopted two steel Okinawa tonfas complete with rubber grips to fit his hands.

He just roughed them up a little, breaking a few bones here and there to make absolutely certain that no trouble would be caused in what he called "his establishment," Namimori Middle.

Then one day, his trademark phrase, "I'll bite you to death" finally lived up to its name. A classmate had received punishment by the hands of Hibari, which was not an unusual occurrence. He was even taken to the hospital, which most students who met Hibari had to visit at least once in their three years of school.

He just never woke up.

That was one of the only times in his life that Hibari Kyouya had ever felt at a loss. The principal had called him in, presenting this news from a safe distance, and had asked Hibari what he was going to do now; The student's parents had to be notified, and Hibari was currently facing juvenile charges of third-degree murder.

It occurred to him at that moment that he would never be able to bite that student to death again. That student would never graduate, never get a job, never marry. That student would never get another chance to break the rules again, nor would that student ever learn from his mistake. Hibari had gone home then, and had washed his hands until the skin was florid and raw. He didn't touch his tonfas once over the weekend.

To his surprise, when Hibari returned the next week he discovered that Namimori had decided to drop his charges, allowing him to continue attending school. Not that Hibari was complaining, but some part of him still felt dirty as he walked through the halls, receiving terror-filled glances from the students and hearing the wisp of whispers behind his back like a constant draft.

As he walked home, he noticed the presence of another behind him. It was an aura unlike anyone else's, so Hibari knew exactly who it was even before he turned around.

"As I thought, this is your doing, baby."

Reborn sat on the stone wall that winded around the street, sipping a tiny mug of espresso and looking nonchalant. "Hibari," he said, in a tone which made his spoken word serve as a confirmation as well as a greeting.

Hibari brushed a dark lock of hair out of his face, not bothering to return the greeting. "Why did you do it?"

A sip. "You're no good to Tsuna's family if you're locked up."

This irked him, and Hibari's expression darkened. "I don't need your help, baby," he spat, baring his tonfas. They felt rotten under his hands. "And I have absolutely no intention of teaming up with the likes of that herbivore."

As expected, Reborn didn't even bat an eye at the tonfas. He set down his cup on a miniature table and folded his arms. "Do you feel guilt, Hibari?"

There was no response, only a whitening of knuckles around the rubber grips. Reborn smiled a little, and continued.

"The first time's always the hardest. It's only natural to feel guilty for killing someone who didn't deserve to die," he said. "But when you're a hitman, a guardian, those you kill you kill to protect. The ones you raise your hand to are the ones who are true enemies. This is the path of a hitman."

"And what if I said I was protecting the laws of my school?" Hibari shot back. His own composure had evaporated, and the strain of what he had done was finally hitting him.

Leon crawled from one of Reborn's shoulders to the other under the shade of Reborn's fedora. "I know how important your school is to you, Hibari, but it's not worth your classmates dying over. Besides, you killed him by accident, and now you can make sure something like that never happens again."

Hibari shoved the tonfas back into his coat, looking disgusted.

"When you join the mafia, you can 'bite to death' as many people as you want, and you won't feel a modicum of regret while doing so," Reborn told him. "Trust me."

And looking into those deep black eyes which held nothing but shiny truth, Hibari decided to take his word for it.

"I'll fight you one day, baby," he assured the Arcobaleno, which was Hibari's own twisted way of expressing his acknowledgement.

"Sure," Reborn smiled. Hibari walked away then, sinking into his own musings.

"You're almost a hitman now, Hibari," he heard from behind him, but Hibari's only response was a quiet 'hn.' There would be others to bite, others who were worthy to feel the butt of his tonfa. He would seek out those herbivores and send them back to the earth in which they came from.

Suddenly he didn't feel so dirty anymore.