Title: Cats Are Gods
Author: legare_virtuoso/la-devil-lancer
Rating: T
Pairings: Xanxus/Haru
Warnings: Xanxus, being Xanxus. Bester, being special. Some violence and strong language.
Author Notes: khrfest round II prompt 41: Xanxus/Haru - Change; "He's not the boss she imagined herself with."

Granted, I'm not actually signed up for said prompt abuse. To be perfectly honest, I realized the existence of the actual prompt list... at about four in the afternoon the day I started this (which was... thirteen hours ago) after I had just read a whole stack of wonderful in the hitman_reborn posts. I then proceeded to sit there going 'oh god, this is an impossible pairing... no, really' for five minutes before deciding to forget limitations and pull a Kamina. Enjoy.

--- Some people say man is the most dangerous animal on the planet. Obviously those people have never met an angry cat.---

He could have anyone in the world that he wanted to, snap them all up like dried leaves and leave them burned ashes in his wake. But he chose her. Miura Haru. The simple girl with her head on Cloud Nine and her feet grafted to her sewing machine, a useless little dreamer with her declarations of love and abandon. She doesn't know him and he doesn't care to know her, his own gracious charity given through the utmost cruelty. At most they know their own reputations and how everyone else in Vongola sees them, at the least they have a sugar spun red string tied twixt the pair. Haru doesn't know how it happened or why he even set it all in motion. All she knows is that when she walks through the Vongola halls, Miura Haru is stalked by whispers of fear and supplication.

And a shining ring coupled with a bite mark says she's never going to marry her beloved Sawada Tsunayoshi.

By her side paces a box weapon that will never be hers, a regal beast that is as much a clue to her new status as it is her dearest friend. Haru does love the animal, treated it with as much care as she could manage. But this whole situation is probably its fault, so right now Haru is understandably vexed at the thing. "Hahi… this is all your fault!" And it rubs its head against her leg and purrs, vibrates her bones with the sheer force of how very much it couldn't care less about Haru's actual opinion on the matter. Really, in the mind of the big cat, she should have remembered the only warning Verde gave her before teaching her how to call out the box inhabitants without a ring to her name.

A box weapon is nothing more than a reflection of the wielder. If the box happens to love the way Haru sounds when she's startled awake by a warm body in her bed, the wielder does too. When the box can't resist the urge to step on every other box that tries to cozy up to Haru like it does, needless to say the wielder will do the same to every other box user that tries it. If the weapon gets a weird thrill out of surprising Haru in the shower and giving her its version of a thorough cleaning, Haru had better expect that its owner is probably harboring the same desires. When Haru cries and the big kitty curls up around her to lick her tears away, the man supplying the flames is sure to be dealing with the cause of the woman's displeasure. Really, Haru should know that.

At first Haru thought the animals locked inside the boxes were lonely. So she went out to the park with a cluster of boxes she didn't know and a bag of various treats and set them all free one by one. She liked that part of the job, even relished how the Vongola boxes purred and twined around her like the pets her mother would never let her have. "Hahi!" Or at least, she liked it until the big cat was brought out to play. Uri and Natsu got along like Gokudera and Tsuna, so Haru was of the opinion that there wasn't really much the cat boxes would do to her save beg her for scraps.

That lion was not and never can be compared to any box but himself.

From the start he loved Haru, shoved her down and purred when she squeaked, wouldn't go back into his box until Haru was supposed to give him back to his owner. And slowly, bit by bit and month by month, Haru got used to having the lion around. Sure he growled when Haru hugged Tsuna and proclaimed her love for him, wouldn't let any of the Guardians near her save Chrome. But he was nice to have around when it was cold, was a better guide through the mansion halls than any guide. And when she gave him back to Verde she was lonely, for no one wanted to be with Haru in all the odd hours of the day.

When Tsuna asked Kyoko to marry him and Kyoko said yes, all Haru could think about was how very hard it was to keep a lion from maiming someone without resorting to tears. Haru became dependent on the thing, screwed up enough of her courage and asked Verde for its name. "Bester," rolls off her tongue and gains a roar of approval, ends in laughter and more than a few light bulbs needing replacing. She spends her time with the lion, learns that the best thing about cats is that they always find the greatest places to nap, sometimes sprawls out across his back and lets Bester carry her wherever he pleases.

The first time she met Xanxus she was using Bester as a pillow, massive paws holding her in a fierce embrace while she read the latest manual on how to care for her box friend. He doesn't say a word, merely raises a familiar box and scowls. Bester takes care to make sure Haru's up, swipes his sandpaper tongue over her arm and paces back to his owner. "Freaking scum." He leaves Haru there, stalks his way back to base and doesn't pay her any more attention than he has to.

"He's… cool."

The second, third, and even fourth times Haru runs into Xanxus are much the same. Haru and Bester are comfortable, Xanxus comes and takes the lion away for work. The fifth time Bester comes back of his own accord, the sixth goes the same. The seventh time, Haru has the nerve to be giving Xanxus' box a bath. "Hahi! Why is Xanxus here?!?"

"Bester." It shakes the water from its fur and splashes Haru and Xanxus, makes the man frown as the cat dissolves back into flames and snakes his way back into his box. Xanxus doesn't pay any mind to the scantily clad Haru and simply makes his way out of Haru's bathroom without even his customary 'scum' comment.

The twelfth time Haru meets Xanxus is much the same as the times before, but this time Haru is crying into Bester's fur and Xanxus wants his weapon back so that he can annihilate another selection of mafia scum. "Oy. Woman." And all she can do is sniffle, twist her fingers in Bester's mane and tries not to let the snot mix with the freshly cleaned mass. "Woman." Bester growls, a lethal sound that does more to convince his owner to leave than the new stream of salted water from Haru does. "Tsch. Useless scum." But he leaves and an hour later Tsuna is falling over himself apologizing to Haru, Gokudera is complaining about the cost of a new desk, and Haru laughs as she scratches behinds Bester's ears.

The fortieth time Xanxus and Haru meet is without the presence of any sort of order that Haru would like to keep herself sane. She is alone and forgotten, left in the wake of a rescue attempt that was more for Kyoko's sake than Haru's, the outsider looking in as the Guardians fuss over the pregnant beaming whale that is Haru's best friend. She would like to hate her friends for forgetting her but can't bring herself to, would rather miss the warmth of Bester at her side and the quiet but confident way the lion makes her follow. Xanxus has mellowed over ten years, has about as much hatred towards the Vongola Tenth as ever but as much devotion towards the Vongola name to at least make a pass at civility. He doesn't say a word as Haru falls quietly into his shadow, doesn't need to look back to know she's following him back to the base.

Haru wishes she could lie and say that Xanxus and Bester are two different kinds of warm, but she's too tired of everything to say so.

The fifty-fourth time Haru runs into Xanxus is all Bester's fault. She was using the cat as a her personal GPS again, stalking him through the halls while reading a new book on French seam techniques in the fourteen hundreds, when suddenly paws stopped padding on the plush carpet. And Haru reacted just as she always had, reached a hand out and to the left, gave a twist to metal and a tiny shove to hear the door open and Bester's approving growl. A furred head pressed in the small of her back steered her to a convenient chair, a rasp of tongue on bare flesh let her know she's in for one of those awkward days where Bester took it upon himself to make doubly sure Haru was both wonderfully exfoliated and clean.

"Scum, get out of my office." Low and dark, a harsh grumble that is only offset by the high squeak Haru makes when teeth nip at her skin and she jumps at a voice that doesn't belong.


"Bester. Get her out of my office." The big cat grins, all lethal teeth as Haru's fingers desperately try to keep hold of her book-shield. Bester folds himself over, puts his head in Haru's lap and makes a pleased sort of grumble while knowing eyes stare at Xanxus.

"Haru is sorry! I just followed Bester and didn't know-"

"Shut up. Don't talk scum."

Bester purrs as the two resign themselves to silence at the behest of a lion that had no business dictating much of anything but for the length of his teeth and the promise of a betrayal Xanxus didn't have the patience to deal with. He makes it a goal to drag his squeaky here more often, if only to feel just a bit more contentment where he shouldn't.

The seventieth time Haru and Xanxus are together is when a paper is slapped on her desk, a list of pay grades and orders that Haru isn't even there to protest. "VOOOOOOI!! This is the new Varia roster damn sushi idiot! Pass it off to that right hand bastard of yours VOI!" And near at the bottom of the first page is a name that makes Gokudera spit his coffee across the desk and run frantic to his boss. "JUUDAIME!! That damn woman… she's in the VARIA?!?" He's not the boss she imagined herself with. But Haru has no choice really, not with the weight of the Vongola's stares and the contented rumble of a cat that knows its owner is now going to be forced into happiness pressing her into servitude.

The hundred and tenth time Xanxus sees Haru is on a mission. He's raged and burnt the stripes back in black into Bester's hide, shot the ever living shit out of more than half of the Lagessi famiglia's pathetic answer to the prompt of 'secret hidden headquarters', and is generally having himself a wonderful time shooting the shit out of the scum that served as the aforementioned famiglia's answer to the concept of 'entire fucking capable populace within four square miles of said shot to shit secret hidden headquarters'. Bester was off recovering the stupid woman from the depths of such an appalling institution, the Varia were rounding up the stragglers from outside Xanxus' unspoken four square miles of Wrath fueled death, and all in all the mission was going splendidly.

Haru was bleeding when Bester brought her back, a steady trickle from bruised and broken flesh that was so red Xanxus lost himself in it.

When Squalo came to report on the successful slaughter, he found his boss laughing his crazy ass off as the liger roared, an unending spiral of flames and death that not even Squalo wanted to test. And between the two was a woman, broken and fragile with her red dress and redder blood mingling with the storm blazing around her, the only thing in four square miles that had two feet of clear space around it.

Haru slept in Xanxus' bed while she recovered, surrounded on one side by white fur and on the other side by a man nine years her senior and nine times more frightening than anything else she had ever met. "HAHI?! Why is Haru in Xan- BESTER! This is all your fault!" An arm wraps around her middle as a breathy sort of grumble sounds in her ear. "Shut up woman."

And now Haru has a place in Xanxus' office, a chair all her own guarded by a liger and a swift bullet to the brain. She really did want to marry Tsuna, intended to with all her heart. But now… Haru is just happy with the fact that she is alive, buries her face in warmth and smiles at the pleased grumble her actions earned. The cat's in the box, balanced on the arm of Xanxus' throne as fingers thread through Haru's hair and make her purr in her own little way.

The box liked being scratched behind the ears, the owner wears his feathers right over his ticklish spots. A certain liger had a thing for being brushed, a nameless leader of the Varia liked having his hair petted. Bester loved to make Haru squeak in surprise, Xanxus loved making her squeak for completely different reasons that still lead to shock. The parallels were so clear really… it was just a wonder it took Haru that long to figure it out.