All characters © Amano Akira

Summary: In which Tsuna makes a phone call, and Lambo is useful.

Lost in Translation

It was inevitable, really. Eighteen-year old Sawada Tsunayoshi saw no other option.

Yamamoto was out. As talented a Guardian as he was, his cranial prowess was not his most distinguishing feature.

Ryohei was out, for the same reasons.

Hibari's whereabouts were unknown. Dino was unreachable.

Reborn was currently investigating the Vendicare case with Iemitsu and Gokudera in Italy, leaving Tsuna all alone to figure this out.

Sighing, Tsuna drew up to his desk and reached for his phone. It was one of those antiquated office-phones that had several extensions on them; perfect for mafia lines and private conversations. A slight hesitation held his fingers back as he leaned over to dial. This was his last resort, since there was nothing more that he could do. And Tsuna really, really did not want to do this.

Ever since defeating Byakuran in the alternate future, the Varia had settled back in Italy. There had been no real disturbances after that. Tsuna had graduated high school, inherited the title of Vongola Decimo, and had established his own base in Japan. Given, there were always issues with the mafia (why can't they just get along? Tsuna thought): mostly drug dealings, kidnappings, and power struggles. His famiglia had helped him through the battles, and now, at eighteen, Tsuna had almost completely lost sight of the little whimpering boy Reborn had first visited four years ago.

Yet despite all his change and gradual evaporation of fear, Tsuna generally tried to avoid contacting the Varia at all costs. He no longer cowered before them--but their sparse conversations were always extremely awkward.

Nonetheless he called up the Varia communications line and waited. Glancing at the clock hanging from his wall, he remembered that Italy was a good eight hours behind Japan. They should be finishing up breakfast now.

The line kept ringing. Tsuna was just about to disconnect when someone picked up on the other end.

"Vooiii, if it isn't the Vongola brat!"

Tsuna sighed, holding the phone at arm's length. "Squalo." He didn't know how it was possible for someone to be so loud at all hours of the day. Realizing that he didn't want to tire his arm out, Tsuna put Squalo on speaker. It turned out to be a smart choice.

"So? What the hell do you want?"

"Is, um, Xanxus there?"

A pause. "Boss's out," Squalo answered laconically. Over the long-distance line his tones sounded static and gravelly. "Settle for me, brat."

Oh, well. It could have been worse. Secretly Tsuna was relieved; talking to Xanxus, believe it or not, was much more difficult than talking to his subordinate, volume aside. "You know about the breach in Vendicare last week," he began. "The Vongola's involved—whether we like it or not—since Rokudo Mukuro is still being contained there."

Squalo made a sound on the other end. "And?"

"Well, Mukuro sent us a message before the breach, but it's a little... hard to decipher." Tsuna swallowed. What Mukuro had actually given them, via Chrome, was nothing more than a series of jumbled letters, words, and numbers. As a mediocre student just barely passing his remedial classes at Namimori, codes weren't Tsuna's thing. "I'm sending you the file now," he said, opening up his internet and emailing the puzzle to the Varia's substitute leader.

"Is it so hard that you can't figure it out?" Squalo scoffed.

"You'll see when you get it," Tsuna answered truthfully. "You may know something. We can't seem to solve Mukuro's riddle."

Squalo paused on the other end. "Mukuro's what?"

"Riddle. We've tried, but it's too complex. Do you, um, think you can look into it?"

"Vooiii! Why the hell would I want to do that?" Squalo's voice sounded strange on the other line.

Tsuna frowned on his. "Please, just look into his riddle?" he asked. "I can't put my finger on it…"

"On what?!"

"The riddle!" Tsuna said, exasperated.

"Brat, you're not making any sense," Squalo snapped. He deliberated for a moment. "Try Italian, kid."

"Alright…" Tsuna made the switch in his brain before starting again. Even with the constant lessons from Gokudera, Bianchi, and Reborn, he was still horrible at it. Both languages, Reborn had said on more than one occasion, were essential to mafia relations. Tsuna found the language both beautiful and frustrating.

He spoke slowly. "Can you look into Mukuro's riddle? We've been trying to pick out the pieces for hours, but it still doesn't fit."

"That's fuckin' nasty," Squalo replied. "What the hell is in Mukuro's nose that you want so badly?"

Tsuna blinked. "His what?"

Squalo exhaled noisily. Over the phone's speaker it sounded eerily similar to a growling dog. "Look, Vongola brat," he began, making an effort not to go nuclear and damage Tsuna's eardrums, "I don't care what language you speak. Say it in fucking Swahili if it gets you on. Just speak clearly, or find someone who can."

"There is some language misunderstanding," Tsuna agreed. "Give me five minutes, Squalo."

"Vooiii." Squalo waited, not wanting to admit that since their return to Italy, the Varia had gotten a bit rusty on their Japanese themselves. They didn't like to establish contact with "the little shits," or "the trash," as Xanxus called them, so there was really no need for the tongue.

"Squalo?" Tsuna's voice was back, sounding a trifle sheepish. The latter grunted to show that he hadn't hung up yet.

"I'm putting Lambo on," Tsuna announced. "Sorry about this."

The person around who was fluent both in Italian and Japanese was the Vongola Guardian of Thunder. Even at nine, Lambo Bovino knew more kanji than Gokudera himself.

"Thanks for coming," Tsuna whispered to Lambo. Lambo nodded nervously and twisted a lock of dark hair around one finger as he picked up the phone.

It took less than two minutes to realize that the miscommunication stemmed from the confusion of one word. Nazo is the Japanese word for riddle, and sounds very much like the Italian word for nose, which is naso.

Afterwards, following much screaming from Squalo about wasting his time and a headache the size of Enzio, Tsuna deliberated having his whole family undergo international relations training.