Disclaimer: I do not own any KHR characters…
Last chapter, everyone!
I'll start the sequel as soon as possible, and it will basically start with a flashback of some sort…
I'm still not sure what the title will be but I will be posting up the sequel by the end of next week at the latest.
As to what it will be about, I'm pretty sure I want to focus on the Vendice and the arcobaleno, but I'll also throw in a bit more about Tsuna's past. I can say now that this will be a long series and Tsuna's past won't be confronted fully until the third fic, with Millefiore after that. (Yes, I'm ambitious, what can I say?) Other things like the Varia's past and how Tsuna influenced them might be added into the second fic as well.
Thanks to all the readers that stuck with me throughout this fic as well as reviewed, and I hoped you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it!
Tsuna scowled at the blue-haired illusionist smirking lazily back at him as he clambered to his feet again for the umpteenth time in four days. The other teen had taken a liking to weaving illusions of doors into the walls while hiding the real doors so that the other occupants of the house, mainly Tsuna, would crash straight into unforgiving wood.
"Mou, can't you find something else to do that won't make me lose the little brain cells I have left?" Tsuna grumbled, rubbing his head. He rolled his eyes when Mukuro only chuckled cheerfully.
"Kufufufufu. Not really, Tsunayoshi-kun." The blue-haired teen drawled. "It never ceases to amaze me how many times you fall for the same trick. Literally."
Tsuna opened his mouth to retort but he had no time as a certain bomber came streaking around a corner, dynamite in hand.
If there was one thing Mukuro could claim he had succeeded in doing, driving a certain explosives expert into permanent paranoia would be it.
"What did you do now, you damn pineapple bastard!" Gokudera roared, not even hesitating before hurling the explosives at a delighted-looking illusionist who simply moved back before the bombs hit him.
"Oya, does the puppy want to play again?"
Over the last few days, Gokudera had been dubbed 'the loyal puppy' by Mukuro after the Mist Guardian noticed how the bomber followed Tsuna around.
Obviously, this hadn't sat well with the Storm Guardian.
"Shut up, you bastard! I'm going to kill you for harming Jyuudaime!"
Mukuro, with a last fleeting smirk over the silver-haired teen's shoulder at a sweatdropping brunette, disappeared down the stairs, Gokudera hot on his heels.
Tsuna facepalmed as he could feel the house shake with the force of Gokudera's wrath. He was really lucky that Reborn had finally given up on repairing the house and reprimanding him for it.
Speak of the devil.
Tsuna turned to face his baby tutor. "Ohayo, Reborn."
But for once, the hitman looked serious and Tsuna instantly knew that the arcobaleno had something important to tell him. They both headed for his bedroom, the real one this time, and made themselves comfortable after closing and locking the door.
"A jet will be arriving tonight to take you all to Italy."
Tsuna started. "Tonight? I thought it would be at the end of the week."
Reborn stared hard at his student, eyes conveying a certain dread that made Tsuna's breath seize.
"She's escaped Vendice, Tsuna, along with five others. No one knows how and no one knows where they are at the moment."
Tsuna felt all the breath leave him as his eyes unconsciously dilated with terror.
"W-what?" It was all he could manage to stammer out, voice faltering.
"The Ninth wants to relocate you back to the mansion as soon as possible." The sun arcobaleno's features tightened. "Don't worry, Tsuna. I won't let any one of them get close to you ever again."
Tsuna blinked blankly at his tutor before making a move to stand up. "We'll have to pack," He mumbled, voice unusually empty. "I have to call the others–"
Shaking slightly, the brunette slowly turned his eyes back to the baby hitman. He felt some semblance of normalcy return when he caught sight of a rare, openly protective gaze from the sun arcobaleno.
"I will die before I let them lay a finger on you. They will have to kill me and burn my body to ashes first, Tsuna. I promise."
Tsuna let out a gasping sob before sinking to his knees, gathering the fedora-wearing arcobaleno into his arms.
After what seemed like ages, with Reborn waiting patiently for his student to pull himself together and using one gentle hand to sift through soft brown locks, Tsuna finally raised his head again, eyes slightly redder than normal.
"I know, Reborn. Thanks."
EVENING ON LANDING PAD OF TSUNA'S ROOF
"Hey, Tsuna!" Yamamoto called out. "Where did this landing pad come from?"
Tsuna shrugged surreptitiously. "Hell if I now," He muttered under his breath. Louder, he called back, "I think Reborn managed to buy it at the last minute."
The swordsman easily accepted the answer before turning to scan the skies again. All of Tsuna's Family were gathered there, having answered their boss' call instantly. Hibari had been the last to arrive, a duffel bag slung over one shoulder. That had been half an hour ago and there was still no sign of any flying vehicle.
Tsuna glanced around, veiled concern meeting Reborn's eyes. But the arcobaleno gave nothing away and only shot him a 'be patient' look.
With a scowl, the brunette turned away again, scanning the group. He smiled as he caught sight of a certain auburn-haired girl. Kyoko had adamantly told her brother that under no condition would she be left behind. Now she stood beside Chrome, chatting amicably with the quieter girl.
Tsuna's eyes moved on before falling on the stern man standing motionlessly beside his Rain Guardian. He smiled as he remembered how difficult it had been to convince the man to come with them.
Tsuna paused and turned as Yamamoto came running up to him.
"Can you help me convince my dad to come with us?"
Tsuna frowned. "He doesn't want to?"
The swordsman hesitated for a brief moment before letting his worry surface. "I think he blames himself for what happed with mom and Byakuran."
Tsuna's eyes narrowed at his friend's soft tone. "You already talked to him then?"
The raven-haired teen nodded. "He refused right away and wouldn't listen to another word I said. So please," Tawny eyes grew wider. "Talk to him, Tsuna. It's really not his fault, and you're probably the only one he'll listen to."
The brunette nodded immediately. "Of course," He promised. "I'll go right now."
The swordsman looked relieved as Tsuna followed him back to the restaurant. "Thanks, Tsuna. I'll wait outside. He probably doesn't want to see me right now."
Tsuna nodded once more before stepping inside the restaurant.
Inside, the lights had been dimmed but Tsuna caught sight of Yamamoto Tsuyoshi almost immediately. The man was staring straight back at him, face giving away nothing.
"Ohayougozaimasu, Yamamoto-san." Tsuna gave a small, respectful bow before moving further into the room. Before he could take more than a few steps, the swordsman's voice stopped him cold in his tracks.
"You are not welcome here today, Vongola. Please come back another time."
Tsuna frowned. He hadn't come all the way here just to be turned away. So, instead of respecting the former assassin's wish, he continued his way across the room until he had drawn level with the man, ignoring the cold stare directed in his direction and taking a seat across from him.
"I'm sorry, Yamamoto-san, but there are some things I want to say first before I leave."
When the man said nothing, Tsuna took a deep breath and plunged ahead.
"I don't think your decision to stay here was right." He hurried on at the blank expression on Tsuyoshi's face. "Whether or not you blame yourself for the betrayal of your wife, I don't think the decision should be influenced by that." The brunette paused again as the elder Yamamoto cut in abruptly.
"Vongola, this has nothing to do with you. Please refrain yourself from interfering in other people's lives."
Tsuna's anger flared. "It has everything to do with me when you're taking your guilt out on my Rain Guardian!"
He had obviously startled the swordsman as well as angered him if the narrowed eyes were anything to go by.
"Yamamoto-san," Tsuna continued softly. "I can understand why you are reluctant to go back to Italy. But right now, the decision to go or not is not made for you."
He paused again as he realized he had finally gained the former assassin's attention.
"The decision to go to Italy or not should be made for your son. He's asking you to go with him because he doesn't want the only father he's ever had to stay behind while he fights against Millefiore. He doesn't want the only remaining family he has to be put in danger because of him. Don't you think you owe it to him to go when he shows you that he cares enough to ask? Refusing and turning him down without even pretending to think it over, you might as well be telling him that you don't care what happens to him once he's over there!"
The silence thundered in Tsuna's ears, and the brunette wondered if he had gone too far. But it had to be said since the man didn't seem to understand. When it was clear that Tsuyoshi would not say anything else, the teen rose and, with another bow, headed for the door.
Pausing in the doorway, he turned back and added quietly, "You may have lost a wife due to years of neglect, and created a broken family instead, and hell, maybe you're right, Yamamoto-san, but you can't forget that you still have a son. One that loves you very much."
Another silence descended as Tsuna turned again and stepped out of the restaurant. His brown eyes met shocked amber and he directed an apologetic smile at his Rain Guardian.
"Sorry, Yamamoto. I might have gone a bit too far."
But the swordsman only shook his head, a shaky but genuine smile surfacing. "I shouldn't have expected anything less from you, Tsuna. That might actually help my dad more than either of us could know. Thanks."
Tsuna blinked, surprised, before nodding slowly. "Yeah, maybe."
Tsuna almost jumped when onyx eyes turned to meet his. He flushed red before sketching a rough bow. He had been more than happy when Yamamoto arrived earlier with his father but he hadn't had a chance to speak to the former assassin yet. Now he tensed a bit as the man turned and headed in his direction, expression as unreadable as always.
As the swordsman came to a stop in front of him, Tsuna gulped before hastily opening his mouth.
"Yamamoto-san, I'm glad you decided to come in the end," He blurted out. "I'm sorry for what I said," He paused. "Or rather, I'm sorry for the way I said what I said but I'm not…"
The brunette trailed off as an amused smile flickered across Tsuyoshi's normally stern features.
"I believe I should be the one apologizing, Vongola." The man offered. "My rudeness back at the restaurant that day was unacceptable."
When Tsuna made to interrupt with his own protests, the swordsman held up a hand. "I also wish to thank you." He paused and another small smile surfaced on his face. "Somewhere along the way, I seemed to have forgotten that Takeshi is just as important to me as my late wife. Thank you for reminding me."
Tsuna started wide-eyed at the man in the front of him before breaking out into a wide smile of his own. "No problem, Yamamoto-san." He said simply, and the slight nod informed Tsuna that they were on good terms again. The man moved away to stand beside his son again, and the brunette caught a grateful smile from his Rain Guardian.
Tsuna blinked before turning to the boxer. He followed the wildly pointing finger and caught sight of a distant shape in the sky.
"A jet's coming to the extreme!"
Tsuna smiled in relief, his sharp gaze catching sight of the Vongola crest on one side of the aircraft. As it drew closer and started to descend, Tsuna started, brown eyes widening as he caught sight of the smaller crest engraved beside the Vongola coat of arms.
Gokudera, noticing the change, quickly reached for the dynamite in his jacket. "What is it, Jyuudaime?"
But Tsuna only broke out into a wide grin, suddenly feeling a lot lighter than he had in a while. He moved forward as the jet finally landed and the engines slowly stopped.
Turning to his tutor, the brunette beamed. "Thanks, Reborn! You're the best!"
The baby hitman only 'hmph'ed, tilting his fedora down to hide a smirk as Leon seemed to smile back at the teen. The others watched on, varying degrees of puzzlement on their faces.
In front of them, the hatch opened and a tall man stepped out, red eyes glaring and raven hair tossing in the wind. His sharp gaze found the brunette instantly as said teen broke into a run.
Tsuna hurtled across the rooftop towards the man. If he hadn't been so slight, the man would have been knocked over by the force of the teen's embrace. Instead, a derisive snort made its way into the open as the man steadied the Sky Guardian clinging to him.
"You damn brat! What did I say about hugging?" The man barked.
Tsuna loosened his grip but didn't let go, only pulling back enough to peer at the irritated face above him with shining caramel eyes.
"Never to do it in public!" He chimed, smile never faltering, even as the man glared back at him.
"I said never to do it, period!" The man snapped, though he made absolutely no attempt to push the brunette away.
Tsuna only smiled softly as he finally stepped away. "I missed you too, Xanxus-nii."
Xanxus rolled his eyes, one hand coming up almost absently to ruffle soft brown locks. "Whatever brat."
Gokudera's jaw had almost reached the ground by now. "That's the leader of Varia?"
Crimson eyes snapped up to glare at the bomber. "And I suppose you're one of the scum this brat calls a Guardian!"
The silver-haired teen almost growled, invisible hackles rising, much to the amusement of a certain Mist Guardian. The illusionist watched on almost curiously as another figure darted off the plane and all but glomped the brunette.
Tsuna laughed, sweatdropping a bit as he was squeezed. "Ohayo, Lussuria-nii."
The sunglass-wearing Varia member pulled away slightly with a pout. "Mou, Tsuna-chan, why didn't you contact your Lussuria-nii instead of that cloaked puffball?"
He was abruptly cut off by a voice drawling, "What use would you have been to the brat, Lussuria? You would've whined until the brat agreed to go shopping for you. At least 'that cloaked puffball' has a brain."
The Mist Guardian of Varia appeared, settling on top of Tsuna's head. "Yare, yare, things are as troublesome as always around you, brat."
Tsuna grinned, careful to make sure the arcobaleno didn't fall off. "Ohayo, Viper-nii!"
The baby illusionist 'hmm'ed, saying no more as a silver knife flashed by, effectively detaching Lussuria from the brunette he was sitting on.
"Ushishishishishi. Did you miss me too, Tsuna?"
Tsuna sighed as Lussuria retreated into a corner to sulk. "Hai, Bel-nii, demo," He watched as the flamboyant Sun Guardian fell into another round of depression. "Couldn't you be a little nicer to Lussuria-nii?"
The blond prince grinned, another knife glinting in his right hand. "Nope. It's much too entertaining."
Tsuna shook his head in exasperation. His Bel-nii effortlessly reminded him of a certain blue-haired illusionist who at the moment, Tsuna checked, looked almost as amused as the blond prince did.
A silver streak sprang out of the jet, looking positively livid.
"You damn prince!" The Varia swordsman bellowed, sword already out and pointed at a madly grinning Belphegor. "How dare you lock me in the damn prison hold!"
The shark turned to a pissed-looking Xanxus who had remained miraculously silent so far. "Why do we even have a damn prison hold on this jet? No one ever uses it anywa–"
The Rain Guardian had to duck as a fireball was hurled in his direction, his boss having, predictably, snapped.
"Shut up, you damn shark!" Xanxus snapped, withdrawing the gun he had taken out in a heartbeat. "I don't need to hear you yelling any fucking more than usual!"
Squalo's silver eyes blazed. "Damn boss! Why do you think I yell so much! Nothing gets through that head of yours if I don't!"
An explosion of fire took place right on top of Tsuna's rooftop in the middle of Namimori as Xanxus unleashed a powerful blast of Sky Flames from his gun, causing most of Tsuna's Guardians to gape. But as the smoke cleared, Xanxus growled and swiftly put away his gun again, glaring resentfully at the brunette standing in front of a very much alive Squalo, dying will flame flaring on top of his head.
Squalo blinked as his sword only cut through smoke, realizing that his boss' wrath had been stopped by a certain teen. Also scowling, the shark scoffed and retracted his sword.
"Oi, Tsunino! I didn't need you to save me! I can handle my own damn boss!"
Tsuna turned, looking suddenly stern. "Squalo-nii, you're not supposed to provoke your boss."
Squalo looked torn between turning red at being lectured by someone half his size and ignoring said someone's lecture so that he could slice the smug look off his boss' face. Unfortunately, the brunette in front of him had a particular authority about him that often made people do what he wanted, so the shark settled on scowling at the raven-haired assassin instead.
But then the brunette turned back to face the Varia boss, frowning reproachfully at him. "And Xanxus-nii, you're not supposed to attack your second-in-command."
This time, it was Squalo's turn to gloat, cheerfully grinning as Xanxus snarled at the teen.
"Don't tell me how to run my Family, brat! If I want to knock that bitch's head off, no one's going to stop me!"
Nevertheless, the leader of Vongola's Independent Assassination Squad only crossed his arms and turned away, scanning the small crowd gathered on the rooftop with a sneer.
"Oi, brat, your Guardians all look like trash."
Tsuna rolled his eyes as his dying will flame disappeared. He didn't have time to say anything back before his Storm Guardian managed to toss a handful of dynamite at Xanxus.
Another series of explosions were set off and, as another round of smoke cleared, Xanxus could be seen standing in the same spot as before and sneer still permanently glued to his face.
"I'm not impressed, brat." The man scoffed. "Did you just pick up random trash off the streets?" He had barely finished when Hibari moved. Snorting, the Varia leader simply moved back as silver tonfas slashed downwards at him. Raising one leg, he aimed a heavy blow at the prefect's stomach, only to be stopped by metal. Eyebrows rose before the crimson-eyed man jumped backwards, evading another blow from the tonfas before disappearing and appearing behind the skylark and lashing out with one hand. Again, he missed as Hibari also disappeared. But Xanxus simply followed the movement and performed a roundhouse kick as Hibari appeared again behind him. The blow knocked the prefect back but the former assassin managed to stay on his feet, silver eyes narrowed.
Xanxus smirked. "Not bad, scum. But your movements are too slow."
Crimson red and silver grey both glanced briefly at the petite brunette watching them with an exasperated expression etched on his face.
"Can we please just get on the jet and go? I thought the whole point of leaving tonight was so that I– we would get away without attracting any attention."
Xanxus straightened, narrowed gaze observing the gentle brown eyes that skittered away from his. So the baby had told him after all. Well, it had been his suggestion first. Leaving the brat in the dark wouldn't prepare him for anything.
With a curt nod, the Varia leader barked out, "Everyone onto the jet! We don't have all night!"
Roughly, he reached out and hauled the brunette beside him and onto the aircraft. "You and I have Family business to discuss. Hurry up."
Ten minutes later, they were all loaded onto the jet, Hibari taking a seat in the very back and glaring at anything that moved. It was obvious that the skylark was furious at not having been able to get in a single blow against the Varia leader.
In a separate room aboard the spacious aircraft, Xanxus sat lazily in a furnished seat, swirling a glass of clear brandy.
"So brat, what's this I hear about you taking on the Vendice?"
Tsuna shifted uneasily, a sheepish expression on his face.
"I had to, Xanxus-nii."
The Varia leader's face immediately twisted into a glare. "Had to? You had to find your Guardians. I don't think even the old man would have told you to go around freeing convicts and challenging shitheads to a death match." His eyes sharpened. "And dragging my Guardians along too."
Tsuna stayed silent. Xanxus-nii was right of course. He shouldn't have asked the Varia to interfere. Especially Viper-nii. He was an arcobaleno!
"Although," Tsuna glanced up, surprised as the Sky Guardian across from him continued. "Contacting those good-for-nothing idiots might be the only thing you were smart enough to do."
Tsuna flushed, a smile appearing on his face again as Xanxus knew it would. The teen was far too accepting for his own good. The half-smirk that had made its way onto the Varia leader's own face disappeared as he remembered the reason he was here in the first place.
The brunette sobered almost immediately, features also turning grave as Xanxus reverted back to his full name.
"What are you going to do?"
Tsuna turned to stare out at the darkened sky, eyes becoming distant. The crimson-eyed man waited patiently, taking a sip of the brandy in his hand.
"Reborn promised me he would die before he ever let them get close to me again," The teen finally voiced quietly, calm caramel eyes turning back to meet red orbs.
Xanxus nodded. "Sounds about right. That baby is way too protective of you."
Tsuna stared for a moment longer, expression contemplative.
"I don't want him to die."
The Varia leader's features stiffened, hand unconsciously clenching around the wine glass. "The baby's fucking strong, brat. He's not going to go out there and get himself blown up by those bastards."
Tsuna didn't seem to have heard. Instead, his brown eyes flashed orange, and Xanxus wondered, as he often did, why the universe in general was so damn unfair that they just had to go and fuck up a mere child, enough to make him look so fucking old at times.
"I love my Family, Xanxus-nii. You've all done so much for me." He paused, and Xanxus found his jaw tightening as he observed the blank expression floating across the face of the person he had sworn to protect.
"But I'm not naïve enough to think that my past won't catch up to me eventually, and not even Reborn can protect me from that."
The brunette rose, heading for the door. "I won't be the cause of Reborn's death, Xanxus-nii," He called back quietly, hand reaching for the sliding door. "Nor yours or anyone else's that I care about. This is the one promise I have always kept and will always keep."
As the teen disappeared, door sliding close behind him, Xanxus remained seated, face impassive as he tossed back the rest of the brandy in one large gulp.
SIX HOURS LATER
"Tsuna-nii, are we almost there yet?"
Tsuna sighed as the nine-year-old clambered up beside him, eyes pleading. "No, Lambo," He explained gently. "We still have another six hours before we get there."
The Bovino looked ready to throw a fit at this point until Tsuna hastily stood up. It was time to take out the trump card. "Why don't I show you the secret Varia kitchen? Lussuria-nii should have stored ice-cream there."
Lambo brightened instantly, nodding eagerly and Tsuna quickly motioned for I-Pin to follow. The two children bounded after him while the brunette sweatdropped as he caught sight of a distraught-looking Lussuria, devastated that his precious kitchen had been taken advantage of.
Another few hours later and both children were dead to the world, sleeping with their heads on Tsuna's lap in yet another room on the jet. Unsurprisingly, Gokudera and Bel had not hit it off and both were trying to tear each other apart in the main section of the plane. Reborn had gotten a call from the Ninth and had disappeared into another part of the plane. So, wisely, he had moved both children to an empty room so that they wouldn't be disturbed as they slept.
But the brunette did not sleep, only staring absently out the window as it began to rain. The raindrops dashed against the glass before being whipped away by the wind. He blinked as a pressure settled on top of his head.
"Viper-nii?" He questioned, making sure not to dislodge the mist arcobaleno as he tilted his head up slightly.
The baby illusionist stayed quiet for a while in an almost contemplative silence. He watched as the teen ran a gentle hand through his Lightning Guardian's hair as his other arm wrapped itself securely around the young martial artist on his other side.
"Why don't you…"
Tsuna glanced up questioningly at the cloaked figure.
"Why don't you… care more… about yourself?"
The brunette frowned as Viper managed to voice his question. He returned to staring back out the window, features tightening.
"You heard from Xanxus-nii?" He asked quietly, gaze firmly fixed on the darkness outside.
The arcobaleno shifted. "I was outside the door when the two of you were talking." He paused. "You care so much for everyone else, even for people you just meet, but when it comes to yourself…"
Tsuna's expression finally relaxed and a sad, abject smile, no more than a quirk of his lips really, flickered across his features.
"Because I'm not worth it, Viper-nii," He replied softly in a way that simply acknowledged this statement to be true. "All of you have given me a life, an actual life that I don't ever want to give up, but I don't deserve it. I understand that all of you care about me, but, even after all these years, I still don't think I'm worth the concern you all have for me. I'm just–" A helpless shrug. "Messed up."
Viper's mouth turned downwards, a pain driving through his heart like a stake. "Haven't we–" The arcobaleno stopped before his voice cracked. "Haven't we done anything to make you realize how much you are worth to us?"
Tsuna reached up and gently brought the illusionist down to eyelevel. "You've all done more than enough, Viper-nii, but, as I said, I'm just really messed up inside."
The cloaked arcobaleno stayed still for a moment longer before shifting out of Tsuna's grasp to settle on top of the brunette's head again.
"It's not just Reborn, Tsuna," The Mist Guardian finally whispered after a long period of silence. "All of us, me, Boss, the rest of the Varia, and the arcobaleno, we would all protect you with everything we have."
This time, a melancholic, almost dark expression crossed the brunette's face as his head leaned gently against the head rest behind him, a wave of exhaustion suddenly drifting over him.
"I realize that, Viper-nii. But you know, for some reason, that's what scares me most of all."
Viper watched silently as the brunette finally drifted off before turning to stare at the back of the darkened room.
"Do something, Boss. Please."
But his only answer was a flash of crimson eyes before the door slid open and close, signalling that the Varia leader had left.
Without another word, the illusionist turned back, bowing his head. He hoped that, when he woke up again, he would have some idea as to how to fix this.
No one noticed the dark, solemn onyx eyes that watched the sleeping brunette with a weary sort of tenderness, expression marred by the pained realization of failure.
~FLORENCE, ITALY – VARIA MANSION~
"We're finally here!"
Tsuna chuckled as Lambo and I-Pin sprinted off the jet and into the glow of an Italian sunrise. Gokudera and Ryohei also charged off the aircraft, eager to stretch their legs. Yamamoto, grinning widely, evaded a slashing blade, bringing his own out as Squalo lunged after him, shark-like grin appearing.
When he had woken up that morning, the brunette had found himself alone, both children having run off somewhere while Viper had also taken off. Tsuna had gotten up, only to be stopped by a grumpy-looking Squalo with a tray of food in hand, muttering something about a damn bossy mist arcobaleno. Tsuna had laughed and thanked the swordsman, sitting down in his seat again. The shark had only scowled before reaching outside of the door once more and retrieving another tray. Without another word, the shark had taken the seat opposite the brunette and proceeded to ignore everything except the breakfast.
It had been rather enjoyable, Tsuna thought back now. The shark was much quieter around him. Or rather, Squalo was much louder around everyone else. The brunette knew for a fact that the Rain Guardian didn't often like to talk all the time, as he had found out several years ago.
A whirl of blue flashed towards him in a blur and Tsuna automatically ducked before turning to block a kick directed at his head. Grinning, he prevented several more blows, backing up until he had reached his male illusionist.
"Sorry, Mukuro-san," The brunette apologized cheerfully, quickly reaching out and tugging his Mist Guardian in front of him. "Just take it like a man."
Mismatched eyes blinked in surprise before a smirk appeared. The teen expertly fended off the flurry of kicks and punches directed at him with his trident before wrapping an arm around the petite figure that had taken refuge behind him and jumping away.
"Kufufu. I'm hurt, Tsunayoshi-kun. Sacrificing me to a woman who obviously has issues with you?" His words were belayed by the amused glint in his eyes as he gently set the brunette down.
Tsuna only pouted. "Lal-nee always has issues with me."
"I don't have issues with you, brat!" A miniature figure skidded to a halt, blue hair fluttering out behind her as she landed, a scowl firmly fixed on her face. "You've gotten slower. What have you been doing over there? After fighting with the Vendice, I would have expected you to have gotten stronger!"
Tsuna sighed, a rueful smile appearing on his face as he stepped out from behind his Mist Guardian. "It's nice to see you too, Lal-nee." He crouched down next to the arcobaleno, smiling gently at the frowning combat specialist. "Sorry to have worried you."
Lal Mirch's scowl deepened, glaring a hole through the future Vongola boss. "How exactly did you come to that conclusion? Enlighten me, because I'd really like to know."
"Don't mind her, Tsuna." Another voice cut in. "She's been more aggressive than usual these days after she found out what you were doing, kora. I'd say she's been pretty worried."
The brunette turned, beaming as a blond descended beside the bluenette. "Nello-nii!"
The blond arcobaleno had no time to reply as he evaded a blow from the amber-eyed woman beside him. Grinning, he jumped away as Lal grabbed her gun and unleashed a volley of bullets in his direction.
"Shut up, Colonello!" Lal barked, a faint blush painting her cheeks. "Stop filling the brat's head with your damn stories!"
Tsuna sweatdropped as the two in front of him fell into their familiar routine.
"A-are they always like this, Boss?"
The brunette blinked as a soft voice sounded from his right. He straightened and turned a smile to his only female Guardian. The purple-haired girl had taken to calling him 'boss' and no matter how much Tsuna asked, coaxed, or begged, Chrome simply refused to call him anything else. 'Boss' is boss, she'd only reply, and he had finally given up.
"Hai," His caramel eyes flickered towards his Storm and Rain Guardians. "But who do you think is worse?" He whispered conspiratorially. "Gokudera-kun and Yamamoto, or Lal-nee and Nello-nii?"
As he had hoped, the female illusionist giggled. Tsuna grinned, trying not to look too triumphant. He had made it his personal mission to get a laugh out of the shy girl at least once a day. Unbeknownst to him, said girl's cousin was observing them with a bemused sort of delight, carefully hidden behind his signature smirk.
Right on cue, the explosives expert let out a string of scathing expletives in both Italian and Japanese at a certain swordsman that could've put Xanxus to shame, while Yamamoto simply laughed and evaded several bombs directed at him. Tsuna sighed in exasperation as Squalo, looking ready to add his two cents into the argument, swung his sword at both teens, threatening to decapitate them for good.
Shaking his head, the brunette finally stepped in as he noticed the invisible steam coming out of a certain Varia leader's ears as said leader's hands twitched, eager to grab his guns and just shut all of them up the good old-fashioned way.
"Gokudera-kun, Yamamoto, Squalo-nii," Tsuna called out. "You guys can always spar some other time. Let's get through the introductions and settle everyone in for now, okay?"
Gokudera immediately stopped, storing the last of his dynamite away and turning to the brunette. Yamamoto smiled and turned as well, as good-natured as ever. Squalo, glaring evilly at the raven-haired teen in particular, lowered his sword as well. He then directed a killer glare at his boss as Xanxus let out a derisive snort.
Lal Mirch and Colonello also stopped after the bluenette had managed to sink an unforgiving foot into her counterpart's mop of blond hair, sending him crashing to the ground.
With a relieved sigh, Tsuna stepped forward, waving a hand at the two new arrivals. "This is Lal Mirch and Colonello. Both of them are arcobaleno as well as combat specialists. Lal-nee is the leader of COMSUBIN, the strongest Italian Combat Force. Nello-nii used to train under her."
"Still needs training, if you ask me. You still lose to me everytime." The bluenette muttered, shouldering her rifle again.
But Colonello only grinned, despite the bruise he was nursing at the moment. "Only because I would never want to raise a hand against a beautiful lady such as yourself." He ducked as a fist headed for his face.
"Your excuses are getting worse by the day!" Lal snarled, her face taking on the look that Tsuna had dubbed 'the glare of doom whenever Nello-nii does something stupid'.
But the bluenette, discipline kicking in, held back her desire to torture the dumb blond next to her and turned back to the brunette instead.
"So," She snapped, gaze impatient as she scanned the newcomers. "Who are your new Guardians, brat?" Her eyes met mismatched eyes and she paused. "Tsuna," Lal finally spoke. "What is the meaning of this?"
Tsuna sighed before stepping up next to his two Mist Guardians. "Lal-nee, meet Rokudo Mukuro and Dokuro Chrome, my Mist Guardians. They're the reason why I got into a little argument with the Vendice."
"Brat," The bluenette deadpanned. "You're aptitude for understatement never ceases to amaze me." Her face turned serious a moment later and she glared at the two illusionists. "Hurt him, and I'll make sure you're both buried alive."
Mukuro and only raised an amused eyebrow at this threat but Chrome nodded, lone eye just as serious as Lal's.
Tsuna smiled slightly, meeting Colonello's sharp blue gaze. Whatever Lal Mirch would do to them, it wouldn't compare to what the blond could and would do.
Nodding briefly, he moved away to stand beside Gokudera. "This is my Storm Guardian, Gokudera Hayato, and my right-hand man."
"Shamal's student?" Colonello asked, peering curiously up at the explosives expert.
Gokudera blinked before nodding cautiously. "That damn pervert taught me everything about explosives."
Colonello's mouth stretched into a grin. "'Damn pervert'? You and I are going to get along fine, kora."
Tsuna shook his head in exasperation before moving on. "Yamamoto Takeshi, my Rain Guardian."
The young swordsman smiled. "Yoroshiku!"
Lal Mirch's eyes widened as she stared briefly at the teen before her eyes trailed over two the man standing a few feet away. "Yamamoto Tsuyoshi? Father and son?"
The raven-haired teen only grinned while his father nodded curtly. Lal nodded back, demeanor turning more respectful as she faced the seasoned swordsman.
Tsuna grinned before moving away again. "My Lightning Guardian, Bovino Lambo." He glanced affectionately at the child as the Bovino stared back defiantly at the dubious curiosity all around. Reaching out, the brunette gently placed a reassuring hand on his adopted brother's shoulder, knowing that anything more than that would only further prove the others there correct.
"Moving on, this is my Sun Guardian, Sasagawa Ryohei."
This was met with blank stares all around, especially when the Sun Guardian shouted, "It's nice to meet you to the extreme!"
Tsuna had a hard time hiding his amusement. "His stamina's off the charts." He simply explained, and no one seemed to doubt this as the Sun Guardian continued to grin. The radiance emitted from the boxer's fists proved it like nothing else.
Without letting go, the future Vongola Decimo turned one last time, eyes focusing on a lone figure standing a fair distance away from everyone else. "And my Cloud Guardian, Hibari Kyouya."
A murmur swept the group as even Xanxus finally seemed to give the skylark a second glance. They had all heard of the assassin of course, as well as his refusal to accept any position in any Family.
"There's Tsuna's charm in action again, kora." Colonello muttered, turning an amused look on the brunette.
Tsuna smiled back before widening his focus to include the people he had gotten to know over his time in the Vongola Family. "These are my six Guardians, everyone." He turned, and the proud gleam that made his brown eyes flash orange was visible to all as the brunette's gaze swept the Guardians he had gotten to know.
"The best Guardians I will ever be able ask for."
THREE HOURS LATER
Tsuna paused in his tour as his Storm Guardian turned to him with a puzzled look.
"Why are we staying at the Varia Estate? Doesn't it make more sense to keep the Vongola heir somewhere safer?"
This was met with a vicious glare as a sword was waved in his face.
"VOOOIII! What are you saying, you damn trash? That the brat's not safe with us?"
Before Storm and Rain could clash again, Tsuna quickly cut in. "It's quite safe here, Gokudera-kun, but we will be moving to the Vongola Mansion soon. It wouldn't be as safe for everyone if a plane was tracked and seen going straight to the Vongola Mansion from Japan."
The silver-haired bomber nodded, satisfied with the answer and proceeded to enter a glaring match with the shark beside him. Tsuna wondered if maybe he should step in, but then thought better of it. At least Squalo was no longer fighting with his Rain Guardian.
With a small sigh, he moved on. He envied his Cloud Guardian. As soon as the rooms had been assigned, the skylark had disappeared into his and locked the door, proceeding to ignore everyone else. Tsuna had given him the message that dinner would be at seven but he wondered if Hibari would come.
A soldier walked stiffly into the dining room where they were all enjoying a classic Italian dinner. Surprisingly, Hibari had shown up and had stationed himself at one corner of the long table, with only Tsuna on one side and, unexpectedly, allowed Ryohei to take a seat on his other.
The Varia leader looked up, annoyed. "What now?"
The soldier saluted before extending a letter. "A letter came just now for the Vongola heir."
Xanxus rolled his eyes before going back to his meal. "Then give it to the Vongola heir."
All along the table, hands tightened around cutlery and glares sharpened in the soldier's direction. Shortly after arriving, all of Tsuna's Guardians had quickly realized that the brunette was not welcome in the Varia Mansion by the majority of the Varia.
'They wanted Xanxus-nii to be the Vongola heir,' Tsuna had explained, which only furthered their dislike.
Meanwhile, the soldier seemed to barely hold back a grimace before walking down the length of the table towards Tsuna, who was sitting on the opposite side. Once more, he extended the letter, this time with a lot less finesse, and said with difficulty, "A letter for you from Vongola Nono… sir."
The 'sir' was hastily tacked on as stormy grey eyes slid towards him and a killer aura suddenly flooded the room. The soldier bowed clumsily as the brunette thanked him politely and took the letter. Without another word, he turned and fled the room as quickly as etiquette would allow.
Tsuna looked reproachfully at his Cloud Guardian even as a small smile quirked on his lips. The skylark simply ignored him and returned his focus to the meal in front of him, the tense atmosphere now gone.
With a small shake of his head, the brunette glanced down at the letter before breaking the seal and slipping out the parchment inside.
Only seconds later, a frown found its way onto his face as sombre eyes scanned the writing. Raising his head again, he found several pairs of eyes glued on him. Ignoring this, he turned to his left, back straightening unconsciously as the full implication of the letter hit him.
"Reborn," Tsuna started, voice grave. "Grandfather wants me and my Family to stay here for a while longer."
The baby hitman was already focused on him. "The Vendice?"
All along the table, the assassins assembled all tensed. Mukuro, sitting on Reborn's other side, turned unreadable eyes on the brunette while Chrome, right beside him, looked up in anxiety. Both Ken and Chikusa stopped their silent argument, gazes also turning to Tsuna.
Tsuna nodded, features grim. "Apparently, I'm now on the Vendice's hit list. They want me dead."
This announcement was met with complete silence as even Hibari looked up, expression lethal. Only Xanxus continued to eat, crimson eyes gazing calmly ahead.
"I knew there would be backlash, Reborn, but not to this extent and not this soon." Tsuna glanced at his two Mist Guardians before standing up. "Xanxus-nii," He called out, the full force of Vongola Decimo in his slight frame. "Please send a messenger to grandfather. Tell him that I will stay for now, but I will not stay out of this. This is a problem that I created for the Vongola Family and I will take full responsibility."
The Sky Guardian across the room took a sip of red wine before finally focusing sharp eyes on the standing brunette. "If that's what you want, Tsunayoshi."
Tsuna nodded, satisfied. He then glanced around the table at his Guardians. They weren't stupid. Even Lambo held a certain determined gleam in his eyes.
"No doubt, sooner or later, there will be a battle against the Vendice. The Vongola Family has seen this coming for a while now. Their power is growing too fast and too strong. While you're here, there will be political matters that I will have to handle but please prepare yourselves for war.
When the time comes," The future of Vongola tilted his head, eyes flaring with Sky Flames. "Vongola will not back down."
The sequel will be up soon so please review this in the meantime!
Thanks for reading!