All characters © Amano Akira
Summary: In episode 94, Kusakabe mentions to Ryohei that Hibari has a low tolerance for alchohol. Ryohei gets more than he bargained for when he tries to get information from Hibari with sake.
Better Left Unsaid
Sasagawa Ryohei paced the medical ward of the Vongola base, swinging his arms. "Why can't Sawada do this himself?" he griped, partially to himself in addition to the room's other occupant. "I mean, I love him as a brother and all, but why should I be the one to deal if Hibari's paranoid to the extreme? That's his job!" He contemplated for a second. "Or Dino's!"
Dr. Shamal waited patiently for Ryohei to finish. "The Boss has other matters at hand, and he's counting on us to get this done. Everyone is," he answered smoothly enough.
Ryohei ran a hand through his short, flaxen hair and blew out his breath in a sigh. The doctor was right. Even though Ryohei barely understood half of the things that came out of his mouth, the main point was that this had do be done.
"I am," Shamal continued," and it's because of your sun flame that I can create this… vaccination."
"I know," Ryohei stopped pacing, "But why does it have to be so, um, exact?"
Shamal wiped his hands on his doctor's whites, a rough lab coat that disguised the thinness of his body well. "If this fell into the wrong hands, then anyone could use it, Sasagawa-kun," he replied with a patience that most people in the mafia lacked. Despite how many times this was explained to the Sasagawa boy, he still looked confused. The boy was brilliant in battle, but far from bookish.
"The Millefiore haven't realized yet that the Negative Seven Rays just released by Byakuran have long-term effects on box-wielders as well as the Arcobaleno," Shamal reminded Ryohei. "We're making something that will protect only us, and to do that the 'vaccination,' as we call it, needs to be encoded to only us."
"Which is why we need the exact age and blood type of all our Guardians!" Ryohei finished with a zealous punch to the air. His expression immediately darkened. "Which is why we need that information from Hibari that he never told us TO THE EXTREME!"
Shamal leaned back in his chair, glad that Ryohei understood. Again.
"So. How do I do this, Shamal-sensei?"
The doctor shrugged good-naturedly. "I was never a people-person," he replied.
"And neither is Hibari," a new voice joined in. Under normal circumstances Ryohei would have grinned at Reborn's suave entrances. The kid had a knack for sliding into a conversation like a knife through aged brie.
But not this time. Even Shamal's lazy half-smile faltered at the site of Reborn. The white radiation suit didn't look particularly effacing, though it did do a good job of bringing out the coon rings under the kid's eyes. Reborn no longer hopped onto a high ledge to speak but walked slowly on the level floor. He was constantly perspiring.
Just looking at Reborn made Ryohei want to take a step out the door and towards Hibari's villa. He supposed that was why Reborn had managed to come down at all.
"Ciaossu, Ryohei. Shamal." The Arcobaleno grinned. He hadn't lost his spunk; Ryohei didn't think he ever would, no matter what the situation.
"Reborn! You shouldn't be up!"
"I had an inkling that we would run into this problem," Reborn noted to Shamal, ignoring Ryohei's comment.
"Ah," Shamal agreed. "Hibari's the only Guardian which whom our information is scant on. We know he likes it that way, but his basic medical details are needed to complete this."
Reborn seemed unfazed, and he pinched out a crease in his white suit as Leon flopped onto his shoulder. What came out of his mouth next seemed like a complete non sequitur. "Pinot Grigio or Ginjo sake, Ryohei?"
Ryohei blinked a few times, failing to make the connection. This time, even Shamal was puzzled. "What?"
"I seem to recall something Kusakabe mentioned at Tsuna's twenty-first birthday party last year… about Hibari saying that he was…abstemious in his drinking." Reborn tapped his cheek in a fatuous rendition of contemplation. "Interesting, wouldn't you say?"
Shamal grinned, catching on. "When someone says they don't drink, it usually means they can't drink."
Ryohei, who was not abstemious in his drinking in the least but who could hold his liquor, began to grin himself. "Gee, Reborn," he chuckled, "Since when was getting people drunk part of mafia protocol?"
Reborn turned to leave, and even on his sweaty, infantile features Ryohei could make out a smirk. "I never said anything about how our Cloud Guardian may not be as coherent as he normally would be under the effects of alcohol," he replied. "I only remarked on how Hibari 'doesn't drink."
The Arcobaleno slowly made his way out. "There's a bottle of sake in the kitchen, unopened," was his last statement before disappearing into one of the many wings of the Vongola base.
"Who said you could come in?"
"I looked for Kusakabe, but he didn't appear," Ryohei answered with a wide-eyed stare, well aware that Hibari's bodyguard was now engaged in a long, extensive phone call with Shamal.
Hibari's expression never changed. "Never mind him. What do you want?"
Ryohei knew he would have to be genuine in his next reply, and found it surprisingly easy. He held up a bag which contained a bottle of sake and a little cup which clinked together when the bag jiggled around.
"My gal and I had an argument," he said mournfully, drooping his head. "She was mad to the extreme."
This was a hell of a lot simpler than the work Shamal was making him do. Hibari hadn't thrown him out yet, which could be a good thing and a bad thing. Ryohei met Hibari's cool gaze. "I know you don't care much for relationships Hibari, but could I stay for a while?" He rubbed a hand down his face for emphasis: the epitome of a man in the throes of anguish.
That cool gaze remained set in stone, but Hibari held the door open for Ryohei. A good start.
"I mean, she knows I don't care for the ritzy places, so she should have known I would take her someplace simple for our anniversary!" Ryohei blustered, removing his coat and quickly thinking of something to complain about.
He set the sake and cup down on Hibari's kotatsu with a dull thunk, to which Hibari only stared impassively. "And then she starts complaining to the extreme about my salary, of all things," he grumbled in his gravelly voice, plopping down on the other side of the table. "I—"
"—how much per year?"
"How much does Sawada Tsunayoshi pay you?"
"Oh," Ryohei answered, momentarily taken aback by Hibari's verbal participation. Usually when Ryohei came by to rant, Hibari listened quietly for a while before throwing him out for wasting his time. And on other times, a surprise would come his way.
"You know Sawada only pays in Euros," Ryohei protested, "which is why she should be satisfied with my wage!" He poured some sake into the cup and downed it. Now came the crucial part.
He held the cup to Hibari. "Sake?" Hibari shook his head slowly.
"In that case, let me get you some water since I don't want to be the only one with a drink," Ryohei stated enthusiastically, rising before his host could. "I know where it is!" he called back from the kitchen.
That had been simple enough…now all he had to do was come up with an explanation for the taste, Ryohei thought as he took the bottle of stronger sake hidden in his shirt and poured it into the plastic bottle of water found in Hibari's pantry.
"A toast!" Ryohei raised his tiny sake cup in the air, "to the extreme women!"
Hibari raised his eyebrows. It had been simple enough to justify the taste; Ryohei only needed to comment that Kusakabe had filled the fridge with some flavored water. Luckily for him, Hibari seemed not to recognize the taste of alcohol and went along sipping his unknown beverage as Ryohei rambled on.
"She's lucky enough that I remembered our anniversary in the first place, since I can be rather absent-minded," he told Hibari, whose complexion was looking rather…florid.
"But I don't forget everything! I mean, I still remember birthdays and such," Ryohei continued. "Yours is in May, right?"
Hibari gave a laconic nod of his head; to Ryohei it looked more like a droop. It was almost time.
"Whatever year I choose," Hibari murmured. He gathered his yukata and pulled it around him absently. Ryohei grinned.
"We were in the same year at middle school, but you always stayed in the same grade," he egged. When Hibari only looked at him pointedly, Ryohei continued, "I mean, you can't be older than Bianchi."
"She has a nice ass."
Well that was unexpected. Ryohei blinked for a good minute. "Excuse me?"
Hibari's eyes were half-lidded, the sclera laced with snaps of red. He took a small sip of his drink. "Gokudera Hayato's sister," he repeated quietly, "her ass is very nice. So is Miura Haru's. Very round and supple."
Thank god he hadn't said anything about Kyoko, Ryohei thought, momentarily forgetting his mission and leaning in. He wasn't one to exploit others, but come on, this was Hibari Kyouya we were talking about. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see something more amusing than Dino falling down a flight of stairs.
"Oh?" Ryohei asked. This was all he needed to say to instigate a reply.
"Yes," Hibari continued, his eyes meandering around the room drunkenly. "They don't have much in the chestwork department, though. I'll leave that to Chrome Dokuro…what size do you think she wears?"
Ryohei snorted, playing along. "Umm… a 36?"
"Definitely," Hibari replied, and actually giggled. It was the strangest sound Ryohei had ever heard in his life. "I bet those Kokuyo boys fuck her twice a week."
"I thought you were above such profanity, Hibari," Ryohei mused. He was on another planet—Venus, perhaps, where pigs flew and the stoics of the world shed their restraints.
The Cloud Guardian tucked a rogue strand of dark hair behind his ear. "What? 'Fuck' is such a wonderful word, if you really think about it, Sasagawa Ryohei." Another sip of the flavored water.
"Did I ever mention that I saw Yamamoto Takeshi naked the other day when—"
"Are you sure you don't want to reschedule our meeting, Oniisan? You look terrible, if I do say so."
Even at twenty-two, Tsuna still hadn't abandoned honorifics with his Japanese subordinates. Gikei would have been a better title at this point, but Tsuna decided that until the wedding was over, he would still settle for oniisan.
Said oniisan rubbed his eyes and scraped a hand down his unshaven jaw. "I know, Sawada," he replied, "but I'll rest later to the extreme."
Tsuna, behind his desk, steepled his fingers and surveyed Ryohei with eyes that were as calm as a sea of cocoa. "I heard about your mission last night. With a little, um, influence, did Hibari-san tell you what you needed?"
"He did," Ryohei said, his voice strangely detached. All of the gruffness seemed to have evaporated from his tone, leaving a hollowly burning Dying-Will flame in its wake. "Hibari told me what I needed to know. He also told me a lot of other things."
Tsuna frowned. "Oh?"
"He told me things I didn't know I didn't want to know," Ryohei continued, not meeting the Tenth's eye. "Then he threw up on me and fell asleep."
In his day, Sawada Tsunayoshi had seen some of the darndest things. He'd witnessed talking babies, exploding babies, flying fish in boxes, and some of the worst cooking on god's green earth, to name a few. Somehow, imagining his strongest guardian punch-drunk seemed more abnormal then them all. Tsuna thought it best if he didn't ask for clarification.
"Well…at least you got the medical information needed to complete the Negative Seven vaccination, and that's all that matters," he said lightly, spreading out his palms.
Ryohei's spirit seemed to lighten at the thought of curing Reborn. "Yeah, and Shamal-sensei better make up for the mental scarring it cost me TO THE EXTREME!" he shouted as he left then, leaving Tsuna wondering only slightly what Hibari was like under the influence.
Shamal suffered an influx of twenty-six new patients in the Vongola medical clinic that day, all sustaining various injuries by Hibari Kyoua, to whom an unexplained headache had put in the sourest of dispositions.