It annoys him, greatly, more than he would of thought, the way people seem to believe, insist, that he has only six Guardians. Because even if he should, he didn't. There were seven, none any more or less important than the other.
He isn't quite sure why it bothers him so much. A couple of years ago he was willing to think the same, although he differed in just who he considered a Guardian and who he did not. But it irritated him now, the way everyone seemed to think that, now that Tsuna had finally (finally) released Mukuro from the Vendicare's malignant grasp, Mukuro was the only one to hold the title of Mist Guardian.
As though Chrome had merely been a cheap imitation, a place holder, a substitute that he made due with since he couldn't have the real thing. And now that he did, he should what? Toss her aside? Forget about her? Regulate her to some lesser position? Like she hadn't fought just as hard as the rest of them. Hadn't been by their side in countless battles. Hadn't change her whole life around for the so called honor of being a Guardian.
It frustrated him to no small degree, the way even his own family seemed to think it as well.
"And what's your Mist Guardian up to?" His father would ask on occasion, usually after having asked the same about his Cloud Guardian. It always put a twitch in Tsuna's eye.
"Which one?" He would ask back, bitterness growing every time he had to ask it. His father ignored it.
"Mukuro of course." Of course. Like there was no other. Still, he always replied by telling his father the whereabouts and doings of both his Mist Guardians.
He pulled out of his thoughts in time to hear Mercutio Venizzi, eighth Don of the Venizzi family wind down from his incredibly long winded invitation to his third daughter's wedding.
"In conclusion, my and my Family would feel it a great honor should you and your six Guardians deign to attend the ceremony." The old man said in his rumbling voice.
"Seven." Fell out of Tsuna's mouth before he could stop it. He hadn't meant to say it, and he hadn't meant for it to sound so cold, but he had apparently thought it so loud it had inadvertently popped out (less popped out than hurtling from his lips like a bullet, really). There was a brief shocked silence on the line.
"Heh, heh, of course, of course." The man placated nervously. "We would love if all seven of them could come."
After Tsuna assured Don Venizzi that he and at least part of his entourage of Guardians would be there to witness the sacred union between two loving souls (Don Venizzi was secretly (if it could even be called that for how blindingly obvious it was) a romantic) he hung up the phone with a harsh click. He wrote a quick memo in his planner, a huge leather affair that Reborn insisted he write only in code in, marking the date four months from now, a side note to remember a gift joining it. (Doubtlessly he'd have Haru or Kyoko or maybe Bianchi do the actual shopping. He'd send Chrome but the last time he'd done so she came back with a crystal serving bowl carved with skulls.)
Tsuna rubbed at his temples, attempting fruitlessly to stave off the building headache, as his eyes fell to one of the many framed photographs that littered his monstrous desk (a huge, heavy affair made out of a dark wood and carved with strange scenes he'd never looked too closely at that had been there since the time of Secondo(who'd had it commissioned after he broke in two the much less stalwart desk of Primo)).
The photo had been taken a few months after Mukuro's release into the custody of the Vongola Family.
It was the first (and only) photo to include all of his Guardians. The fact that he had gotten all of them to behave and stand still in close proximity of each other, even for the few seconds it had taken to snap the shot, had been nothing short of a miracle.
In it Tsuna stood dead center, Gokudera to his right and Ryohei lingering behind his right shoulder. Chrome stood almost nervously to his left with Mukuro (still too, too thin and so, so pale) on her other side and Yamamoto behind. Hibari had placed himself as far away from male illusionist as he could get, arms crossed and displeasure plain on his face as Hibird sat on his shoulder. Lambo stood in front of Tsuna, Tsuna's hands on his shoulders to keep him from running off.
In all honesty it wasn't a very good picture. Fuuta, who'd taken the shot, had tilted the camera just a bit. The only ones smiling were he and Yamamoto. Ryohei's mouth was wide open, mid-exclamation and Gokudera had just started lifting a hand towards a cigarette in his mouth. Chrome was looking at Tsuna rather than the camera and Mukuro was looking at Chrome. Hibari looked as though he wanted to bit the camera to death. And Lambo clearly looked as though he wanted to be anywhere rather than there.
It remained however one of Tsuna's most beloved photographs, and he'd had copies made for them all (although he was fairly sure only Chrome, Yamamoto, and Ryohei had actually kept theirs).
Tsuna was well enough engrossed in the memories of that day to jump lightly in surprise when a soft knock was heard at his open doors. He swung his swivel chair to face the door, unsurprised to find Chrome standing there (he had memorized the knocks of most of those in his family(although some refused to knock, like Reborn, and Hibari, and Mukuro, and Lambo, and actually most everyone)).
"Boss?" Chrome asked. "Am I interrupting?" She had seen his small motion of shock.
"No, no." Tsuna laughed, feeling silly for being caught so unaware. "What's up?" He'd never gotten the hang of 'speaking in a vernacular befitting a Mafia Don' (Reborn's words, clearly) around his closest Family members.
"I just came to say good bye. I'm leaving for Namimori, remember?" Chrome stood stiffly in front of his desk. Tsuna was still trying to get her to relax around him, but he was coming to realize that it just wasn't part of her personality to be carefree.
"Leaving?" Tsuna wracked his brain, trying to remember why she would be headed to Namimori. He couldn't. "With who?" Maybe knowing that would jolt his memory.
Chrome shook her head at him. "Just me. Haru-san invited me to a 'Girl's Trip' along with Kyoko-san and Hana-san, you... you don't remember? I asked permission a couple of weeks ago." Now Chrome looked nervous, clearly about to say she didn't have to go.
"No! I remember!" Tsuna blurted out before she could speak. Chrome blinked at his loud tone. "Go. Have fun. You could use a vacation. Err, incidentally, how long will you be gone?" He continued in a more subdued voice.
"A week and two days... I'll leave the Mist Ring with Mukuro-sama, just in case anything happens..." Chrome informed him. Chrome was the one who wore the Mist Ring on a day to day basis for the most part, passing it to Mukuro only when she would be gone or a situation arose. It was a big, heavy, awkward thing on her knuckle but Tsuna knew she cherished it. She often twisted it around her finger when nervous, both hands close to her stomach in a protective gesture.
"Okay." Tsuna told her. "Please try to have fun while you're away, we'll be fine." He requested, knowing she could end up spending the entire time worrying about them if she let herself. He wasn't prepared when Chrome nearly flung herself over the (big, ugly) desk at him for a ferocious hug. In fact his chair nearly toppled over, the only thing saving both of them from hitting the floor a hand hastily catching the ledge of the desktop.
"Thank you Boss." Chrome spoke into his ear, giving a swift peck on the cheek before pushing herself back up over the desk to stand before him. "I'll call when I land in Namimori." She said referring to Tsuna's mandate that everyone call him after any flight (Hibari never complied but Kusakabe did and since Hibari was never without the man...).
"Have a safe trip." Tsuna told her in farewell as she made her way out the door, a hand raised to wave her off. He lowered his hand slowly once she was gone, placing the elbow on his desk and his chin in the palm. A sigh escaped him.
How could anyone think that Chrome (dear, sweet Chrome who still acted as though she expected to be abandoned any moment) was any less important than Mukuro (who was certainly neither dear nor sweet)? Maybe Chrome was weaker than Mukuro, but she was not less than Mukuro, never less. Perhaps it was time Tsuna stopped relying on passive-aggressive tactics and tried simply beating it into people.
Yes, that could work. The next person to insinuate that Chrome was not a Guardian would be forced to see the error in their thinking. Doubtlessly it wouldn't take long for people to learn the lesson.
It was after all how Reborn had taught him.
Author's Note: The title, Juno, comes from the Roman god of doorways, who had two faces, it's a bad title, I know, I just couldn't think of anything else. I wrote this plotless wonder because I was tired of everyone seeming to consider Chrome as not really a Guardian.
Regardless, I don't know why I'm so into KHR right now, but I'll willing to run where my muse takes me.
Edit: It's been made clear to me that I mixed up some of my ancient mythology (In my defense, it's been years). It's Janus, not Juno.