Papà

Anime/manga info: The intro thing actually does come from the manga. It's right after the thunder guardian battle in the Varia Arc and comes around the 99th-ish chapter in the manga and episode 44-ish in the anime.

Disclaimer: Don't own KHR.

"Xanxus! You bastard! What did you do to the Ninth?" I was enraged, shouting over both the rain and thunder.

"Bhah! Isn't investigating that matter your job, Outside Councilor?" the bastard laughed.

"Calm down, Iemitsu," Reborn said, acting all cool in front of my son.

"You too," I hissed, restraining myself. "Put the gun down."

Xanxus continued to blather on about his excitement and how he wanted to destroy everything Tsuna held dear to him. It was ridiculous bull crap but I had faith in my son so I turned my attention to more pressing matters: the Ninth could be dead.

"Iemitsu, you fly back to Italy. I'm concerned about the Ninth."

Tch. Like I need him to tell me what to do. I ground my teeth but managed to speak civilly. "… Sorry, Reborn. I'm leaving Tsuna and the others in your care."

And here I swear the damned baby smirked at me. "Don't worry about them. I know them better than you."

I think this was when I first started resenting Reborn. Not during any of my time in office as Outside Councilor, not even when he first came to Namimori to brutally train my cute little son had I ever disliked Reborn. Okay, maybe a little after the Ninth chose him and not me to train Tsuna. But this, this was when it really started.

"Tsuna!" Nana yelled upstairs. "Come downstairs! Papa's finally back!"

"Eh?" my son asked incredulously, descending – surprisingly – without tripping or any other form of clumsiness. You could even say he was graceful. "You said he'd seriously gone and become a star this time!"

"Is that what you told him, Nana?" I boomed cheerfully, embracing my lovely wife.

"Oh, but dear, it was just too romantic to resist," Nana giggled while blushing.

"Well, if Mama said it, it must be true, right, Tsuna?"

Tsuna looked on at our probably disgusting but completely un-wanton display of semi-private affection for a few seconds before turning away coldly. "But you're alive, Dad. I thought you were dead."

I stopped him abruptly, not wanting him to get into too much of the Vongola business in front of Nana. "I was, Tsuna, I did become a star," I said playfully nudging Nana. "But I decided I'd much rather be on Earth with my family."

"Oh, so suddenly the family's more important than the famiglia?" Tsuna asked caustically. His voice had deepened while I was away. "I don't know why you'd choose the family. I mean, it's not like you were ever around enough to get a real taste of it."

"Tsu-kun!" Nana chastised our son on my behalf. "You know your father is very busy directing traffic at construction sites around the world! That's no way to treat him when he finally comes home!"

"You said it yourself, Mom: finally," Tsuna not quite spat, but managed to inject enough venom into to sting. In a tone so very fitting of a mafia boss, Tsuna dismissed me as easily as if I were just another hired goon. "Help yourself to the liquor in the cabinet, though I know you'd have done it without my offer. Take it as your 'reward' for coming home before I turned twenty."

"Dame Tsuna," Reborn called out before jumping off the banister and aiming a kick at my son's face.

"Reborn!" Tsuna answered not un-fondly, blocking the kick easily, only to be blasted in the stomach by something Leon had shot at him. Tsuna was getting better.

"Does a mafia boss still living at home with his mother have the right to be criticizing esteemed members of his predecessor's staff?" Reborn tsk-ed in that still annoyingly childish voice of his.

"It's not – Mom would get lonely if I moved to Italy," Tsuna stammered in his defense, but the beginnings of a smile were showing on his face.

There was no greater injustice in the world. My son should be smiling at me. "Tsuna, c'mere, give your Papa a hug."

In response, he gave me the same look he would've given a dirty, flea-infected, street mongrel that had asked the same. "Mom, what's for dinner?" Tsuna asked, changing the subject rather than pursuing any hostility towards me in front of Nana and Reborn.

"I'm sorry, dear," Nana apologized sympathetically to me. "If I'd known you were coming home I would've made your favorites, but tonight I thought we could eat Reborn-chan's favorites."

"Thanks Mama," Reborn smiled. "And welcome back, Iemitsu," he added with his ever-present smug smile plastered on his face.

"… Thanks," I answered after a pause. I didn't want to hear that from him after he'd taken not only my son but my wife. The cheekiness of the little - !

"C'mon, let's eat," Tsuna said with finality, settling the matter. "I-pin! Lambo! Fuuta! Get done here now! Dinner's waiting!"

The other children had grown as well. Lambo and I-pin had reached some form of bodily proportion. Fuuta was now a little taller. But their growth didn't seem to amount all together to even half how much Tsuna had changed. Did you grow up without me on purpose, Tsuna? Did you miss me at all while I was gone, son?

Resigned, I sat at the head of the table before suddenly cheering up. "Tsuna, sit next to – "

Reborn (purposely, I'm sure of it) sat across the table from me and motioned for Tsuna at his side. Tsuna complied easily.

Dinner continued just as the rest of my visit had: tensely. Though Nana and the children ate peacefully, blissfully unaware of the situation, Reborn couldn't be able to ignore the glares I was giving him, nor could I miss his deadly killing intent. For his part, Tsuna seemed to have realized that this was more than just a family visit; I was here on business.

After dinner, I helped clear the plates but then planted a large smooch on Nana's cheek. "Let Tsuna off dishwashing duty tonight, sweetie? He, Reborn, and I have manly things to discuss."

Nana pouted. "Alright, but just this once."

"'Manly things'?" Tsuna repeated, following me into the study with Reborn on his shoulder.

"Vongola – " I started to explain.

"Matters of your family, useless boss," Reborn interrupted. Tsuna threw him a look of annoyance, but it lacked any real malice.

"Actually, Reborn, this relates mostly to you." It was my turn to be smug. "The Ninth's calling you back to Italy, Reborn. Permanently."

"WHAT?" Tsuna yelled, standing up abruptly.

Reborn narrowed his eyes. "So how much begging did the Ninth have to suffer through before he finally caved to your whining, Iemitsu?" he asked coolly.

"Dad, did you really - ?"

"None at all, Reborn." I set my jaw. "The Ninth made this decision completely on his own." For the most part. "I've got a ticket for you leaving for Italy in a week. I guess you'll have to start packing."

Reborn and I stared at each other long and hard for minutes before he finally exhaled sharply, his way of admitting defeat. "I guess I have to go then, since it is the "Ninth's" words and – " he said to Tsuna without looking away from me.

A loud crash made us both turn to Tsuna and what we saw was amazing: for the first time, he had gone into hyper dying will mode without the help of a bullet. My son was a sight to see, blazing brightly in his sky flames.

"Tsuna…" I was awed, bursting with pride.

"Reborn's staying," Tsuna stated firmly without preamble. "Reborn's not just Grandpa's most trusted man, he's mine too, and this is the Tenth's generation, not the Ninth's."

Reborn and I were both shocked.

"But, son, Tsuna," I protested weakly. "You still haven't fully taken on the mantle of Vongola boss. The Ninth's still holding most of the power for you."

"Then I'll take all the power," he said with annoyance, as if he were waving off a droning mosquito, though I knew he would follow through with his declarations. "Reborn's staying. You on the other hand…"

My heart throbbed, thumping painfully out of rhythm. "… Son?"

"I'm not going to kick you out of your own house, but I hope you know I won't be pleased while you're here."

I swallowed with difficulty but there was no ignoring the truth. "I know."

"Well then?"

I took a few swift strides and enveloped my only son in a bear hug, one big, tight, loving one for all of the hugs I hadn't been able to give him as he was growing up.

He took the hug stoically, barely even flinching.

At last I whispered softly into Tsuna's ear, "I'll be gone in the morning."

"Have a safe trip," he monotoned, disentangling himself from my embrace, like he'd been waiting for me to give in before shoving me away. "Give my regards to Grandpa."

I staggered to the door before turning back and weakly grinning. "Ja ne, eh, Tsuna?"*

Without looking back at me, Tsuna answered unwaveringly. "Sayonara, Iemitsu."**

Author's Note: Iemitsu and Tsuna always make me sad =( If the pesky mafia hadn't come in, I bet they would've made the funniest, most lovable father-son pair. As Amano-sensei wrote, however, Reborn kind of became the father figure (0_o" despite being a baby) and I don't feel like Tsuna and Iemitsu will ever regain what they might have had. ;_; Please review!

*-** "Ja ne" and "sayonara" are both ways of saying "good bye" but the former is in more of a "see you later" way and the latter implies that it's good bye forever.