Chapter 1

"Tsunayoshi, I think it is time for you to go to Japan. Namimori, to be exact."

The Ninth paused, searching for a reaction in his heir. The shadows in the dimly-lit room hid the sixteen-year-old's expression but Timoteo knew the boy was confused. His guess was confirmed when the boy spoke.

"But why? Can I not learn everything here?" Said voice only showed the slightest hint of puzzlement, and Timoteo smiled. Tsunayoshi had learned well. He only hoped that the boy was ready for the events that would happen soon.

"Remember what I told you about a Mafia boss' guardians?" At the boy's nod, Timoteo continued. "I believe it is time for you to choose yours. At Namimori, some of the Mafia students there will become very strong in the future. Observe them, test them, and choose wisely. I will leave this decision to you."

The Ninth watched as the boy's brown orbs widened before narrowing. "Millefiore is finally acting up then?" The boy finally deducted. Again, Timoteo smiled proudly. Tsunayoshi would become a great Mafia boss one day.

"Yes, I'm afraid so. We need to be ready when they launch their attack. The Chiavarone Family, as well as a few others, has decided to side with us, but that still does not even the odds against us. And to make matters worse, our sources have relayed back to us that the Giglio Nero Family has recently joined with them as well." Here, Timoteo paused, watching as complete disbelief filtered into his protégé's face.

"Aria-nee would never join with them!"

Timoteo sighed. "Yes, I believe that too. But nevertheless, they have sided with Millefiore, and our sources can't find out why. It most likely has something to do with Byakuran though. Whatever the reason, we have to prepare for the worse. Which means I need you to assemble your Family as soon as possible." He finally finished, and stopped to wait for a response. He wasn't disappointed.

Tsuna nodded firmly. He knew the risks. Each action they took would result in a counteraction from the enemy so he would have to work fast and keep at least one step ahead of them. A rustle behind him made him dive to the side as a tiny foot came flying out of nowhere.

"REBORN!" He cried, as the baby arcobaleno smirked from where he had landed. "Why do you always have to do that? I didn't even do anything this time!"

The infant hitman only shrugged indifferently. "I was bored."

Tsuna sighed. At least he had managed to dodge it that time. He glanced up as Timoteo chuckled.

"You two really are quite close." The Ninth commented. He chuckled again as Tsuna looked at him with a "yeah, right" expression while Reborn snorted derisively. His face quickly became serious again though as he reached for a photograph on his desk.

"Since you're going to Japan Tsuna," He continued from before. "There are two children I would like you to find and look after." The Ninth handed the picture to the boy.

Tsuna peered at it curiously. Both looked to be around nine-years-old. "Who are they?"

Timoteo sighed heavily. "The boy is Lambo from the Bovino Family, and the girl is I-Pin, who trained briefly under Fong."

Tsuna frowned. "They don't look very happy." And it was true. Both children in the picture had an almost indifferent expression on their faces, and could have been passed off as having a strict upbringing if not for the fact that their eyes were twin pools of sadness.

Timoteo sighed again. "Yes, I suppose that would be our fault. Lambo is the weakest in all of the Bovino Family and was sent away to Japan so that he would be out of the way, while Fong had to drop I-Pin as his apprentice because he was too busy to keep up with her training. She was abandoned by her parents practically on our doorstep when she was six, old enough to remember, but too young to put it behind her. She was sent to Japan as well and they both attend Namimori, in the Primary Section." Timoteo sounded troubled as he continued. "The lady who has been looking after them is truly irresponsible but we didn't find that out for years, which was a mistake on my part. I should have sent someone to check up on them. Apparently, the woman kept most of the money for herself and only spent enough on the children so that they could be fed, clothed, and sent to school. I want you to deal with this."

Tsuna nodded again, anger flashing in his eyes. Why were there such people who treated kids so badly?

Timoteo nodded as well. "That's it then. Your plane leaves in an hour for Japan. You'll be going alone, but I'll send Reborn in a few months to check up on you." He had to smile when Tsuna looked slightly horrified as Reborn directed an evil smirk in his direction.

With a quick goodbye and a respectful bow, Tsuna hurried out of the room to pack for his journey.

After Tsuna left, Reborn turned somber eyes to the Ninth. "Why didn't you tell him about some of the kids there? Do you think my student can't handle it?"

Timoteo shook his head. "No, if anyone can handle it, it's Tsunayoshi. I feel sorry for those kids there. Tsunayoshi will be like a breath of fresh air to those who feel chained to their past. He'll be good for them."

Reborn only nodded in agreement, but a nagging feeling at the back of his mind made him wish he was going with his student now.