Title: Cinq
Description: It's a countdown from his first breath. [Lambo, Tsuna]
Pairing: Mentions of L/T, L/R
Warnings: Gritty.
Disclaimer: Nothing owned.

A/N: Yeah, so, KHR! is like my newest passion, haha! First time entering the fandom through fiction.
Detailed Synopsis:
And somehow the future had become something abysmal and noir without him noticing, something he cannot grasp as the years tug anxiously at the tips of his eyelashes – something that has an "adult" Lambo gazing unto him as if it was his last chance. It was going to take more than five minutes, he was sure. Because Lambo had to go and grow up.

- - -

Feeling all alone without a friend

You know you feel like dying

- - -

"One of these times, I may not be alive."

Tsuna ran an impatient hand through his sepia locks, nerve already pulsating just beneath the tender skin upon his temple. A Sunday morning with such promise – storm clouds receding and Reborn out on 'errand' and a plush mattress simpering with gentle odor of lilac fabric softener – had been snatched from his eager grasp from the moment his bedroom door had slammed open revealing a distraught cow-suited youngster. The tears were already glistening in the yawning light and the pathetic countenance of hopeless melancholy overtook the usually jovial features as Lambo stood upon the threshold, suddenly shy of intruding after swiping the wooden divider as if an irritating gnat. A small sniffle rippled through the still room, the only indication that the five-year-old hitman was even present, oddly silent despite the forlorn liquid seeping into the unblemished skin of his cheeks.

Eyebrow risen at the utter display of uncanniness, Tsuna swung his legs from the bed to land on the wooden floor below, cautiously sitting to await the onslaught of whines, moans and cries of 'unfair', 'mean' and/or 'scary' persons. But as the sun made shadow puppets on the knotholes of the floor panels from behind a cumulus cloud, the future Vongola boss furrowed his brow in concern. Lambo merely stood at the door, the tail of his cow-suit almost mirroring its wearer as it limply lay between the boy's legs. Tiny fists clenched in an odd attempt of control, the wee Bovino member gritted his teeth as the tears streamed from his ducts.

Tsuna hurriedly rose from his bedsheets and crossed the room to kneel before Lambo, hands tentatively reaching out for something to grasp – for any minuscule notion of what was ailing the boy – and settled his palms on his trembling shoulders, "Lambo! What's wrong?"

The child lowered his head, voice cryptically soft, the tremors of the concealed sobs gyrating Tsuna's fingertips that lay across his shoulders, "L-Lambo had a n-nightmare."

Tsuna absently looked over his shoulder to where Dawn was slowly rising across the sky, painting the cyan mass in mellow rose-hues and alluring lilacs. Turning back to the shaken boy, Tsuna tried to smile, lips slipping however as memories of his own noir dreams of childhood crept into his mind's eye. "Maa, Lambo-kun, they were only dreams! Nothing in them can hurt you or anyone else!"

But they did hurt – they hurt so bad...

The cow-suited hitman instinctively leaned in closer to Tsuna's hold, jade eyes still downcast to the floorboards. The shadows of his and the future-mafia-boss' conjoined in a whimsical rendition of mortal and giant, the ghostly arms of Tsuna stretching across a seemingly harsh landscape to grasp at his own being. Lambo screwed his eyes shut and grabbed the hands resting on his shoulders, "D-Do you promise!?"

Tsuna tightened his grip, an unconscious attempt to salvage the innocence that still clung to Lambo as if the dogs of hell were awaiting to shred the last layers away. He pulled his right hand back to lift the young child's chin so he could peer into the shining orbs of the other. The sepia-haired teen tried his best to smile, "Of course, Lambo-kun. Promise!"

But Lambo's eyes only filled up with more tears, an ungracious trail of mucus sliding down his upper lip in the true essence of a child's pain. He tore his face away from Tsuna's gentle hold, screaming, "How can you! That's what you told me before and you lied! You promised you wouldn't leave!"

The passionate, broken voice left a hollow echo envelope the bedroom as premature sparks danced along the tips of his aureate horns. Tsuna could merely gape, muscles tense with chilled shock at the accusing tone of raw hurt and betrayal. His hand that held the boy's chin jerked back as if seared with black coal and in an instantaneous moment, it's no longer a simple beckoning for comfort. It's real tears that dot across the floor and on his pajama sleeve. The malformed circles of the droplets sag in agony as they evaporate and Tsuna doesn't know how to make it better. But he tries; always tries.

"But, Lambo, I'm right here! I never left and... and I won't if I can help it!" He knows he's grasping straws because a child's broken heart is not so easily mended with stitches and gauze in the forms of half-hearted words and desperate promises. Lambo shakes his head vigorously, tears splaying across the air.

"But you did! You did, you did, you did!"

His other hand falls from Lambo's small shoulder to hang dejectedly at his side as he watches the once-jovial hitman crumple before him.

And once Tsuna released his grip, Lambo's own tiny fingers started to comb through his obnoxious head of raven hair in a grievous search. Eyes still squeezed shut as if in dire pain, heart torn from its secure spot beneath his ribs, Lambo latched onto the deep purple device. Tsuna's eyes widened, a glint of fear penetrated each iris as he reached out to stop the young Bovino from climbing inside, "Wait! Lambo, please just talk to me! Don't run away!"

Hands pulsating from calluses of painstaking training, Tsuna seized the bazooka tight to his chest, effectively tearing it away from Lambo's weak grasp in the heat of sobs. The resounding click of a string pulling an idle trigger burrowed deep in Tsuna's eardrum as he realized, too late, that the age-defying device was still aimed at the anguished calf. Before he could utter a useless grunt of protest, the presence of lavender smoke invaded the alveoli of his lungs. Immediately rejected within his trachea, Tsuna covered his mouth as he coughed, the bitter tang of the mist still unpleasant even after repeated exposure.

He coughed once more – a pitiful hack, really – before lamenting softly, "Agh.. dammit, Lambo..."

Knocked back by the abrupt explosion of smoke, Tsuna gazed up from his position, elbows digging into the floor and awaited the telltale drawl of 'yure, yure' that would announce the fifteen-year-old Lambo's presence. But as the last remaining clouds of lavender dissipated, the amused slur was noticeably absent, disturbing Tsuna enough to hesitantly call out, "L-Lambo?"

The widened orbs of an older Lambo greeted him, laced with a memory of hurt and a touch of disbelief. The mischievous glint that usually flashed within the jade irises was replaced with a wan smile – that Tsuna wasn't quite sure, he deduced with a plummeting heart, whether actually counted as a true grin. A sickly curtain of weariness and resignation fluttered from his lips.

"...It's you."

The simple utterance jarred the future mafia head's chest. He almost lifted a hand to grip at whatever was slowly sinking past his ribs. The peekaboo of cow-print lining along his suit-jacket was still present, but clashing horribly with the aura of catastrophe that seemed to linger around the teen's shoulders, now tensed with incredulity. Tsuna felt his gaze lower and something broke inside him – the almost playful sandals were traded in for discreet, brown loafers. He was eerily the same, somehow a different man stuffed inside a past self's clothing, and the sepia-haired teen lifted himself to timidly sit in front of this new future-self.

The veil of desperado was lifting by the millisecond as a naive sense of absolute wonder spread across Lambo's visage. A hand still adorned with silver bands slowly reached towards him and Tsuna noticed with a start that his own ring was nestled across fifteen-year-old Lambo's right forefinger. The sapphire stone flashed in the infant light that was still slowly creeping past his cream-colored drapes. He couldn't stop his own finger from pointing at the jewel in a silent questioning – eyes fixated and mouth agape.

Nothing was making sense.

Lambo noticed the other's gaze and instinctively cradled the opposing hand to his chest, left hand covering the platinum band from sight. An empty chuckle rumbled in his chest, "Hah. I guess this seems a little peculiar, ne?"

There was no time, no time.

Explanations were dying on his lips –

Tsuna jerked his head up from the pale hand, nimble alabaster fingers shyly drawing inward from his stare, and regarded the older Lambo's countenance.

– before he could even utter a word.

The smile was back, the grin that was at once both beautiful and sick. It was so terribly strained and the longing emotion that hid beneath the polite sentences was enough for Tsuna to ask in a quivered voice, "Why?"

The smile vanished.

Tsuna pressed on, leaning in closer, "I don't understand... Why do you have it? And why do you – "

The young descendant swallowed thickly as he watched Lambo slowly close his right eye. It was frightening, how so much the future-self seemed to be trying to emanate what would be considered normal, as if he knew of the disparaging changes he now encompassed. However, despite his attempts to plaster on a mask of 'normalcy', Lambo had missed the most crucial part –

"Why do you have such a look in your eyes? Like... It's been years since...?"

And he wants to tell him everything – warn him like it's his last, dying wish, even if it means it tears his own life away because of the consequences – anything to just ...

His other eye slides close and he resists the temptation to throw his arms around this younger version of the Vongola boss, to hold him just so close – if only in an attempt to make his own self stay here. Before everything stopped, before he...
Lambo lowered his head and dropped his hands from his chest to clench at the floorboards, arms shaking as the imitation died away – never realizing how much he had paralleled his younger self from merely a minute before. The raven mop of tresses fluttered from poised position to cover – hide – his face from this Tsuna's view; his visage is cracking, this he knows, and he can no longer keep his lip from quaking.

He really hasn't changed all that much, he justifies (despite the cold sheen that lines his heart from one too many disappointments) – the tears still haunt him.

Three minutes left.

And he has to say something because he missed all the other chances.


Tsuna can feel his knees becoming rubbed raw from the bare floor beneath him, and knows they will be an ugly red and bruised once he stands. But as the future Lambo murmurs before him, a voice thick with too many words to release – and just not enough time, dammit – Tsuna believes that he'll be kneeling here for more than a mere five minutes.

Lambo can feel the bite marks his fingernails are creating deep within his palms through the deafening pound of his heart. He tries to smile at the floor, but finds his lips betraying him and his teeth clench.

You were gone and now you're here; I don't want to leave, not ever and I wish I could tell you more, tell you why, but I just wanna be selfish for just two more minutes and pretend that your red wasn't buried beneath my fingernails just six months ago as I held your scarlet chest close –

"I've missed you."

And suddenly he can't stop from leaping from his spot, muscles untwining and springing to embrace the surprised Tsuna before him. His arms encircle the other's waist and he buries his head into the soft chest – the scent of lilac fabric softener cuddling him close – and presses his wet eyes to the fabric in an attempt to stop time.

Tsuna's rosewood eyes had widened before the tackle of white, black and khaki had pummeled onto his being, hands slow to raise in an effort to halt any sudden attacks, but found the air knocked out of his lungs as Lambo's hands fisted his nightshirt tight all the same. The young mafia member blinked owlishly before the words of the 'adult' Lambo ebbed through his mind. Miss?

He slowly hugged the distraught man back, not sure exactly why such an embrace was needed but seeing the heart-wrenching tears of the aforementioned. Tsuna rested his hands cautiously on Lambo's back, fingertips finding the individual bones of his spine while the Bovino's fingernails sunk deep into the other's fabric with no inhibitions. From his position upon Tsuna's chest, Lambo could hear the faint beat of the Tenth's heart and he bit his lip hard. He could absently catch Tsuna wondering aloud, "Miss? What do you.. Did I – will I...?"

The complete confusion of the other was outweighed by the feather touches Lambo could feel upon his back, squeezing the boy even tighter as the distinctive pull of the timeline surreptitiously dragged his psyche to where he presently belonged. The sensation lulled within his stomach. Lambo merely slurred his words through tears, "So much, Tsuna. So much..."

And then the hold upon him tightened.

45 seconds.

And you have nothing to show for it.

"I'm here."

Lambo's jade eyes snapped open as his heart grasped at his rib bones. His hands were shaking.

Tsuna, calm and assuring, reiterated, "I'm here, Lambo."

22 seconds.

You could have saved him.

– but you'd like to think he knows, despite the laconicness of this meeting, what you meant to say.

He tries to hold on longer, but Time was never patient.

0 seconds.

Please, don't leave me.

A/N: So, first entry in the Reborn! world. I had a little extra that came after the last line, but I decided to just end it before TYL!Lambo traveled back to his own time. For those who are perplexed, because it was presented a little subtlety...

Five-year-old Lambo's nightmare including almost a premonition of the distant future where Tsuna perishes. The Lambo that appeared from the bazooka was from that dismal future. Six months ago in his time, Tsuna died (he kept the ring as a memento) and now when presented with the mafia boss from the past, he is too shocked and emotional to get out a warning or explanation. I tried to imply, however, that Tsuna understands exactly what Lambo's "I miss you" truly meant (not just a "it's been a long time since we've conversed" missing).

Awakening – Mae
Everywhere – Yellowcard cover
Almost Lovers – A Fine Frenzy

Please review with comments/critiques.

: )

- - H. 92