Forgot to post this. I uh… had to let it age a bit. Vintage of five months or so. By the way, is any one as sick of the Shimon arc as I am? Cliché, cliché, cliché, and Yamamoto is getting zero love, what the heck?

The Walls Came Crumbling Down by ficklepickles

The moon was nearing full again. Tsuna sat on the floor of his cell, gazing at the brightly shining orb. That meant he had been imprisoned for almost two months. While Tsuna was curious as to why they were delaying his sentence so long, he also appreciated the peace it brought him.

He had spent years in a seat of observation. It wasn't power, just the ability to watch over that which the others would do for him. At first, they were small incidents. After rising to his proper rank, he was confined to an office for his 'safety.' The gun was taken from his hands and replaced with a pen.

Papers pushed before him asked for his signature. Later, the written name was replaced with a rubber stamp. Then, that too was taken from him. It wasn't long before his orders were issued from the mouths of others, and then 'his words' spoken from lips that weren't his. At last, it seemed that he wasn't even master of his own body. Told when to rise, when to sleep, someone even brushed his hair and prepared his clothes for him.

Tsuna was passive toward the treatment for too long, having grown cold to the mafia life that surrounded him. His family had amassed too many members for him to even be able to remember their faces any more. It was his loss in the end.

His pillars of support had left him as well.

Sasagawa Ryohei would always be a big brother first and foremost. The mafia did not suit him, so when he chose to watch over his sister over the responsibility of being a Guardian, Tsuna let him.

Torn between time and two families, Lambo of the Bovino was breaking down from strain. Tsuna released him as well.

The Vindicari were above mafia politics, so the plea of the Vongola Decimo fell on deaf ears when Tsuna begged them to release Rokudo Mukuro from undue punishment. He remained locked up in the water prison of the Mafia law enforcement.

Chrome, while an able illusionist, was not powerful enough to retain command of her branch of the Vongola, and it all too quickly overwhelmed her.

Hibari Kyoya was a man who only belonged to himself. Even before Tsuna had made the decision that damned himself, he had not seen the bearer of the Cloud Ring for several months.

Reborn, famed hitman, ever-present tutor, and the man Tsuna respected the most, had vanished. All of the Arcobaleno had simply disappeared one day. Not even Lal Mirch knew where or why. He was simply gone.

This was his penalty. Tsuna knew he would toil in solitude, but at least it was quiet. The year he had spent with secrets and worries, the ever present fear of getting caught too soon, before his plans were completed, were all gone. The weight was lifted from his shoulders, and he found that perhaps death wouldn't be so bad.

At least, there would be no more pressure.

"Hey, Tsuna!" A voice called cheerily from outside his cell.

The former Decimo looked up to see Yamamoto smiling at him from the bars. The Rain Guardian had strolled right up to them and leaned halfway through, as far as what the bars would allow. If he could have, Tsuna knew that he would have simply entered the cell with little care for formality and slung an arm around the shorter man's neck.

"You're not supposed to be talking to me." Tsuna said softly, knowing his crime. He had broken the law of omerta. His punishment was to be severe. Part of it was that none of his former family was to communicate with him, for security reasons of course. Another was that he was to remain locked up and forgotten until he was executed. Knowing what the Vongola had become, he was to die by the hand of his own family, a close member, just to make it hurt more.

Yamamoto laughed it off. "You sure got a lot of people steamed up at you, but they'd have to make me not talk to you." He said with a grin in his voice.

The tall man was all smiles with a carefree attitude, but there had been an edge in his tone, razor sharp just like his blade. There was no mistaking what he was. Yamamoto Takeshi was a hitman.

Tsuna deeply regretted that he was not a baseball player.

"You should go." Tsuna said with a sigh.

"Nope." Yamamoto replied easily. "And don't be looking so down. We're here for you, you know."

The Vongola blood inside of him stirred at that. There was a whole realm of possibility. Tsuna could escape. Yamamoto would help him. They had spent too much time together for his Rain Guardian to refuse him anything, especially this. But it would go against all of Tsuna's plans, what he had risked his life to accomplish. He was not willing to allow Yamamoto to live like a fugitive with him, nor would he place his friend up on the chopping block in his place.

Yamamoto was watching him with a carefully guarded gaze, hidden so well behind his cheerful veneer. He was waiting for a request, an order, anything as long as it came from Tsuna's own mouth.

He had always been waiting for it, Tsuna supposed.

Every time the tall Japanese man came to him, grinning from ear to ear, he always stood close to Tsuna, touched Tsuna, listened to Tsuna, or merely watched him. He was always waiting for Tsuna to say something.

This would be a proper time to reply to Yamamoto's unspoken request, but Tsuna wouldn't take it.

Whatever Yamamoto wanted from him, he couldn't give it.

In his heart, he knew that it was meant to be repayment for saving his life all those years ago. As a Guardian, it became Yamamoto's duty to protect Tsuna, so it wasn't a simple turnaround of 'you saved my life so I'll save yours.'

To Yamamoto, they would never be even for what Tsuna had done for him, even if in the end, it had taken his dream from him. For that, Tsuna could not forgive himself.

His gaze flickered up to the lone, high window. "You should be going. The guard will be along soon."

The clicking of a turning lock sounded loudly in the concrete cell.

"No, he won't." Yamamoto said in a steely voice. In his hands he held the key to Tsuna's lock. The door swung open on screeching hinges. The tall figure stepped into the cell, shiny black shoes clicking on the smooth floor. He stopped before where his boss sat, and kneeled.

"Tsuna, why won't you ask me?" The swordsman questioned, his eyes pleading. "Ask me anything, I'll do it." His mask was cracking but he didn't seem to care.

The former Decimo eyed the man who was his friend. Even now, against the law of the mafia, the man kneeled before the one who was to be executed for treason. "Idiot." He breathed quietly, shaking his head. "Why did you kill the guard?"

Yamamoto's eyes sharpened. "He was mistreating you." He said coldly.

A mirthless laugh escaped Tsuna's pale lips. "I'm a prisoner. How they treat me is of little consequence."

"Don't say that." The swordsman said quickly. Then, gentler, "give me your arm."

Tsuna shook his head. Yamamoto took the arm anyway. Deftly, he rolled up the sleeves to reveal long, straight bruises. They were marks that matched the baton Yamamoto had found on the guard. Unconsciously, the line of his mouth flattened. He dropped a pouch he had strapped under his jacket and unzipped it, pulling out rolls of bandaging and a tube of warming ointment.

"Don't." Tsuna murmured, but his soft command went unheeded.

Yamamoto slowly went over the bruising, cleaning the area as best he could with a moistened cloth. He applied the ointment swiftly and wrapped it in the bandages with practiced ease. Then his hands moved to Tsuna's shirt.

"Don't." The shorter man repeated. Again, Yamamoto ignored him.

He unfastened the dirtied shirt one button at a time, the expression on his face becoming darker with each one. Tsuna was thin, that had been expected, but the unnatural thinness was not what had drawn his lips into such a grim line.

Dark discoloration and deep slashes decorated Tsuna's torso, especially around one swollen area where Yamamoto could tell that ribs had been fractured. It was no wonder why Tsuna had hardly moved since he had arrived. Tsuna merely looked away as Yamamoto removed the shirt fully, baring what the material had concealed. As conscientious as the swordsman had been, he still had to rip the last bit of stuck cloth away. Both dried and fresh blood decorated the inside of the black cloth.

"What's this."

It wasn't really a question, and Tsuna sighed inwardly.

"I tripped and fell." He muttered under his breath. "Onto some knives." He added for good measure, refusing to look Yamamoto in the face.

If possible, the swordsman's face had become a thundercloud.

On Tsuna's back were thick ridges of healing tissue that stretched the whole of his backside. The flesh was a vibrant, infected red and tender exposed pink. Rather than cuts made by a knife, the gashes appeared more to have been dug out with a point. By the look of the burned skin and cauterized flesh, Yamamoto saw it had been inflicted by a hot poker. It was made worse by the fact that whoever had done it had used the poker to spell out the character "TRAITOR" in Japanese.

"Tsuna." Yamamoto's tone had gone frigid. His hands were shaking.

The brunette closed his eyes. "Ignore it." He said, shifting slightly. The movement caused the skin of his back to stretch and he winced slightly. Warm hands were suddenly on his shoulders.

"Stop moving. You'll only make it worse." Concern and worry was leaking into that voice and Tsuna hated it.

"Don't worry about it, and don't pity me. I can handle this much." He snapped.

A cold sweat was breaking out across his skin. It was an effect of the fever that he had been trying to suppress. Yamamoto's presence was unexpectedly agitating, especially when he looked at Tsuna with those unreadable eyes. When had Yamamoto become so closed off from him?

Oh yeah, it was when he became a hitman.

He killed for Tsuna. The former Decimo couldn't forget that. They killed in his name.

Those same warm hands were on him again, moving him slowly but deliberately. Tsuna didn't have the energy to ward them off. A cool cloth was applied to his heated back. Tsuna hissed through his teeth. Though he knew that Yamamoto was doing his best to be careful, it still stung.

Wiped as cleanly as possible, Yamamoto slathered the a layer of salve as delicately as he could across Tsuna's inflamed back and front. The brunette clenched his jaw to keep from sounding at the initial bite of pain. By the time that the Guardian began winding the gauze around his chest, he could feel his skin chill and numb.

"That was a topical anesthetic." He murmured accusingly. His breath was coming shorter as Yamamoto started to wrap him in a layer of linen.

"It's a disinfectant." The swordsman replied evenly. He tossed aside an emptied syringe. With the numbing salve, Tsuna hadn't even felt the prick.

"You… you drugged me." Tsuna had to fight to keep his eyes open.

Yamamoto finished, knotting the ends of the linen strips. "Sleep." He whispered, draping his jacket around Tsuna's slight form.

The former Decimo managed one last indignant glare before his eyes closed and his breath evened. The anesthesia was a powerful and quick-acting one, especially in the brunette's weakened state. Yamamoto paused a moment to study Tsuna's sleeping features. His face was still taut with tension, but rest would relax him and drain away some of the stress.

Affectionately, he brushed away a few of Tsuna's forelocks with his fingers before gathering up the sleeping bundle in his arms.

Tsuna awoke in a fury. Anger burned vibrantly beneath his skin, but he retained a carefully controlled exterior. After all, Yamamoto sat beside him, waiting for him to awaken.

"Good morning."

For a moment, Tsuna said nothing, considering his options in silence. Then, "my shirt." He said calmly.

Yamamoto presented him with a freshly cleaned shirt and helped him into it. Tsuna took the assistance with no complaint.

"My jacket." Tsuna said softly.

This was also brought before the young former boss. Tsuna ran a quick hand down the pockets. "Where are they?" He asked.

The swordsman's smile never slipped as he smoothly replied, "with me."

The brunette held his hand out in a wordless demand for the return of his items.

Yamamoto ignore the gesture. "I made some soup." He said. "It's not as good as your mom's, but my dad taught it to me. It's pretty good."

Tsuna's lips tightened. That was a low blow. Yamamoto's father was killed several months ago, caught in an accident that was the fault of Vongola. His Rain Guardian didn't blame Tsuna, never would, but that could not assuage the guilt of the former boss, knowing that it was something he could have prevented.

Mutely, Tsuna's hand returned to his lap.

Still smiling, Yamamoto stood. "Sit tight, Tsuna. I'll be back in a minute."

The door closed behind the retreating swordsman. There was no telltale click of a lock. Yamamoto knew him too well. Locking the door would do nothing to stop him had he been determined enough. This was a matter of trust.

However, Tsuna was still recovering. His legs felt like lead weights and he did not yet have full motion of his upper body. It would take a few days for him to regain the strength he needed for what had to be done. But for now, he required one more day for him to be fully independent. He was not yet confident that he could even walk outside without assistance.

Tsuna fisted his hand in his lap, hating himself in that moment. He didn't want Yamamoto to see him so weak.

Too soon, Yamamoto returned, soup in one hand, and a emergency kit in the other.

Tsuna sighed and resigned himself to whatever Yamamoto had planned, which of course was first drinking down all of the soup he had made, under the swordsman's watchful eye. Once the bowl was suitably emptied, Yamamoto opened up the kit and pulled out bandages.

Dutifully, Tsuna turned to expose his back to the taller man, and Yamamoto began his chore quietly. The first few minutes were spent in silence.

"You could've been a baseball player. Why didn't you leave like everyone else?" Tsuna asked, breaking the peace.

Yamamoto smiled. "I can't leave you."

Tsuna's eyes flashed. "Idiot." He hissed, repeating the word from last night. "Even rats will abandon a sinking ship. Don't you have a sense of self-preservation?"

The swordsman laughed. "Not when it comes to you." He replied easily, looping coils of white linen around Tsuna's chest. He pinned it neatly and ran a hand over it to check the tautness.

"You can still be a baseball player you know? Even if I'm a disgraced boss, I have funds and connections. Just tell me, and I can set it up for you. The mafia game has gone on long enough."

For the first time, Yamamoto looked insulted. His eyes narrowed and his lips thinned. Instead of replying verbally, Yamamoto did what he did best, and acted on instinct. He pushed Tsuna to the bed, holding him down by the shoulders, and tilted his former boss's face up to look at him.

"Don't you dare, Tsuna. Don't treat this like a game now. I know it was never a game to you, even in middle school. You always took things so seriously, treated everything and everyone like they were important. It's why everyone loves and respects you. Why can't you accept that?" Yamamoto snapped, not even realizing when he had pushed his face mere millimeter's from Tsuna's impassive one.

"There's blood on my hands." The younger boy said in a flat tone. "Even if it wasn't me who killed them directly, everyone who worked under the name Vongola spilt blood in my name. It won't ever wash off. Innocent or guilty, the blood is on my hands. I would never treat it as if it were a game." Tsuna nearly snarled back. His eyes glowed gold, lips drawn in a tight line.

Then, Yamamoto took stock of the position they were in. While he wasn't quite on top of the boy, he was fairly close to it, sitting on the bed beside him and hovering over him.

A strange expression flitted over his features.

Very aware of the situation, Tsuna's eyes hardened. He said nothing as Yamamoto began a slow, almost inquisitive exploration of his skin.

Fingers, tentative at first, stroked lightly along his cheek, then across the line of his jaw, and down his neck. Blue eyes intently followed the path of his fingers. Yamamoto leaned into the crook of his neck, inhaling the soapy and blood-tainted scent that was Tsuna. Gently, Tsuna felt lips ghosting against the sensitive flesh between his shoulder and neck.

"Yamamoto, don't do this." Tsuna's voice was calm, quiet, but rang out like a softly spoken plea.

"I can't stop now." Yamamoto replied, his hands now moving fervently over Tsuna's body. "I've waited too long."

A small, slender hand was on his chest.

"Don't." Tsuna whispered, his eyes burning gold. Yamamoto shook his head.

"You're mistaking desperation for attraction. It's just lust." Tsuna continued in that flat, but soft tone.

"You're wrong." Yamamoto said, pushing himself up to glare into Tsuna's golden gaze.

The former Decimo bored into that bright blue stare with all of the intensity of the Vongola boss.

"Don't regret it later." Tsuna hissed.

"I won't." Yamamoto promised, and pressed forward to claim Tsuna's mouth with his own.

When Yamamoto awoke the next morning, it was to an empty bed. Cursing himself, he threw off the covers, heedless of his nude form, and stomped out of the room, intent on locating Tsuna.

In the dining room, Tsuna stood, clothed in a clean black suit. He took in Yamamoto's state of dress with a wry smile. "I never took you for an exhibitionist." He murmured.

"I thought you had left." Yamamoto said, worry for Tsuna overriding any embarrassment he should have had.

"I do have business to attend to." Tsuna said offhandedly.

"I'm coming with you." Yamamoto said firmly.

Tsuna regarded him with a sideways glance. "A long time ago, I swore that before I would fall to the sins of Vongola, I would destroy the Family with my own hands."

The swordsman listened intently.

The former Decimo studied his hands with an almost lazy curiosity. "I'm going to burn all of Vongola to ashes." He said quietly.

"I'm coming with you." Yamamoto repeated.

"This is a sin. Betrayal. You will become a traitor to this world." Tsuna warned.

"It doesn't matter." The swordsman said resolutely.

For a heart clenching moment, Tsuna's dispassionate face was utterly unreadable. Yamamoto thought he was going to be denied, and he knew that he didn't stand a chance at stopping a fully recovered Tsuna.

Then, slowly, Tsuna nodded. "If you wish." His lips (pink, swollen, completely luscious lips) quirked. "First, pants."

Grinning, Yamamoto dove in, snatching Tsuna into a searing kiss, then broke off to ravage his room for clothes. Carelessly, he threw on a suit and looped a pre-knotted tie around his neck. Slipping on his jacket, he patted at the hidden pocket, alarm coursing through him at finding it flat.

"You always were obvious about hiding things." Tsuna commented lightly from behind him. Yamamoto spun quickly.

Tsuna stood in the doorway, two white mittens held in one hand.

The swordsman swallowed thickly. "You were on your way out when I came down. You weren't going to wait."

The brunette shook his head. "Coincidence that you woke up in time. I didn't want to give you a choice."

Angrily, Yamamoto grabbed his sword, slinging it over his shoulder. "Then what are you waiting for now? Let's go."

"Last warning." Tsuna said softly.

"You can't change my mind, Tsuna. I'm staying by your side. There never was a choice, not for me. I can't live without you."

"Sap." Tsuna muttered. Then he wrapped an arm around his Guardian's narrow waist. Yamamoto caught a brief glimpse of Tsuna's neck, and then they were off, blasting away on Tsuna's hard flame.

Vongola headquarters was a smoking inferno.

Faster than could have been imagined, the walls of the once strong mafia had crumbled.

As Tsuna had flown straight toward them, they had been intercepted by box weapons. No doubt Tsuna's unique flame signature had given them a forewarning, but they had still been unprepared for the former Decimo's speed.

Tsuna landed neatly in the courtyard with Yamamoto touching down a few seconds later, as he had leapt off first to dispose of the box weapons. To his surprise, the front door had opened to reveal a somber Gokudera.

The half-Italian who carried the Ring of Storm. Gokudera, his passionate Guardian who had been fighting to free his disgraced boss, but had done so with words and paper. He had been unable to take action against the mafia he had been born into, or the family he had loved.

The Storm Guardian had fallen to one knee, head bowed.

"Juudaime. I'm sorry."

I failed you. I couldn't help you. I wasn't even there for you.

Tsuna swept past without speaking, laying a single hand on Gokudera's head.

It wasn't your fault. I know you tried.

Absolved, Gokudera stood following behind Tsuna and Yamamoto. Grey eyes sharpened on Tsuna's neck, and he directed suspicious glare at the swordsman. The Rain Guardian merely grinned.

The three of them made quick work of the foyer, incinerating all who stood in their way. This wasn't a mission of revenge, nor had Tsuna come to dole out mercy. This was pure justice, as he had sworn so long ago.

Coming up on central rooms, it was quickly revealed why the building was falling so swiftly.

"So, you finally gathered up your courage, trash?" Xanxus sneered as he stood in the middle of the hallway, flanked by his Varia members.

"Yes." Tsuna answered, hi s orange flame burning brightly on his forehead.

Red eyes slid across Tsuna as Xanxus walked by. They flickered to the two remaining Guardians before fastening on Yamamoto. He grinned.

Nice work, sword brat.

Then the Vongola's Independent Assassination Squad marched right past them. "About time." Xanxus muttered, then even quieter, "it's on the western coast."

Tsuna smiled and bowed. "Thank you." The gesture went unheeded by the man walking down the hallway.

Belphagor answered for his boss, turning around and flipping him a double bird with his tongue sticking out.

No doubt it would be the last time he saw them for a very long while.

The Varia had cleared out most of the Vongola already, but they had left the core conspirators to Tsuna. The former Decimo was surprised by how detached he felt as he burned their bodies alive. Their weak wills stood no chance against his resolution. Admittedly, Tsuna had thought that killing in cold blood would have wounded him more, but he felt nearly nothing at all.

It was over all too soon. Tsuna stared at his gloved hands that weren't marred with a single drop of blood. His flames had been too hot, burning off any scrap of Vongola sin. Slowly, the flame on his forehead dwindled.

Tiredly, he looked to his two remaining Guardians with a question in his eyes.

Would they stay or would he go?

"You know my answer." Yamamoto said.

"Always with you." Gokudera said, nearly choking.

"Then will you rescind your position as Guardians?" Tsuna asked.

The two of them wavered.

"I don't want Guardians," Tsuna murmured. "Please, just be my friends."

Understanding lit their eyes at the same time. They handed over their rings without question.

"Thank you." Tsuna said, pocketing them. He took a deep breath. "I've arranged for transportation to Japan. Basil and Lancia left ahead to set up shop in Japan. A sushi shop." The brunette added sheepishly. "Fuuta and Bianchi have already moved."

"They were as dissatisfied with the situation as I was, and chose to leave the mafia when I completed my task. Since they were related to the Independent Advisor or were neutral themselves, their leave wasn't seen as suspicious, and after this, they will have cut all ties with the mafia. As for the Vongola, I've been in contact with another Family." Tsuna loosed a soft chuckle.

"It is what I broke omerta for. The Gesso Family will claim responsibility for the defeat of Vongola. Without any survivors to reveal any internal strife of the Vongola, the Gesso will move up and fulfill their ambition while allowing us to leave quietly." A strange smile touched his face then.

"And they won't ever betray us." He said in a near whisper.

A bit stunned at how thorough Tsuna had been, Gokudera and Yamamoto were rendered speechless. Tsuna had spent the better part of a year setting it up before he had been caught.

"There's no going back after this. I plan to clean up in Italy and go back, but not without my friends." Tsuna said with a sunny smile.

Yamamoto and Gokudera found themselves nodding, caught up in Tsuna's words.

"We have one more stop, and then we'll leave."

Following Xanxus's words, Tsuna headed to the coast where their plane was to be found. A group of green clad people were huddled nearby. Chrome, along with Ken and Chikusa were cautiously guarding a cloth covered pallet.

Tsuna pulled back the sheet, and with a sigh of relief, saw the sleeping countenance of Rokudo Mukuro.

Everyone was accounted for at last.

The plane was loaded up, and before news of the fall of Vongola had spread, they were gone.

In the air, Tsuna relaxed in his seat. Finally he was finished. Though, the plan would have been set in motion even if he had been executed, living through it was not so bad.

Before he was to die, he had ensured that everyone, his friends and family, would be protected.

If Byakuran had even thought to double-cross him, he would pay with more than just his life. The Gesso Family boss knew the risk in dealing with him, and had accepted it. Tsuna knew that Byakuran would never unseal his lips in this regard.

Reborn had promised him this.

A warm body had wrapped itself around Tsuna. With his eyes closed, the brunette inhaled the familiar scent that was Yamamoto.

"We're even now." Tsuna whispered.

"Hm?" The swordsman hummed questioningly.

"I was ready to die to make sure everything came to pass as it should." Tsuna explained. He opened his eyes, wide and guileless. "You gave me a reason to live. Thank you."

Yamamoto exhaled slowly. "Tsuna, don't ever think about sacrificing yourself again. I won't forgive you if you do. I don't like you thinking you can take the whole world on your own shoulders. You shouldn't have to, not when you have us. You're not alone."

Tsuna smiled. "I know that now."

"Good." Yamamoto said with a note of finality in his voice. He cuddled Tsuna closer to him.

"Will you be the chef in the shop?" Tsuna asked idly.

"Of course. I wouldn't leave it up to you guys."

"Teach me?"


"Oi." Gokudera interrupted, looking dour from where he sat with the Kokuyo group. "Cover up that neck first. We don't want to see your stupid marks all day."

Tsuna's eyes widened, hand going immediately to his neck. He shot Yamamoto a suspicious glare.

Yamamoto laughed. "Well, I wanted everyone to know that you were taken."


Severe tone change! I wrote it in two spurts and ended up with a happier ending than I had originally planned. But still, what should have been a cheerful pairing ended up as a not so happy pair. Dang, I really want them to be happy! I love 8027!