All characters © Amano Akira
A/N: I love writing Hibari's inner Food Chain of Discipline.
The Boxer's Sister
Hibari can hear music. The outdoors is its own score, its staves splashed with the laughter of children, twigs crackling, the whistles of the wind, and footsteps padding their own overlapping polyrhythms.
But there is one sound absent from the rest that he did not hear. And without that sound, the others meant nothing to him. He waited for it, inwardly convincing himself that it did not matter to him if its tune could sweeten his ears or not, but it did not come.
That shrill chirp...
As the promulgated Guardian of Cloud, Hibari had thought himself above all worldly attachments. Things of the ground held no weight for him, and without that gravity he drifted loftily along, observing, never fully coming back down to responsibility. For all of their ramblings those herbivores had at least gotten his characterization right, yet despite this they continuously tried to get him to flock with their grass-eating band. They hadn't yet succeeded. But it was true; Hibari cared for very little in life besides his school spirit and fighting, which were hardly tangible concepts and none that he considered very "worldly."
Which was why he was taken by surprise when Hibird didn't follow him home that day.
Hibari told himself he didn't care. Of course he didn't, it was just a pet, but nevertheless he would wait an extra five minutes for it at the school before leaving. And when the bird showed up, he would have to train it to be on time from now on.
It was the boxer's sister of all people who found him, standing against the afternoon sun with her tawny hair clipped back prettily and a plaid skirt swishing gently in the breeze beneath her Namimori vest. Hibari recognized her immediately, although she had never really spoken to him before, and inclined his head to allow her introduction.
"Hibari Kyouya-san," Sasagawa Kyoko approached the prefect on Namimori's vast lawn, holding out her hands. "He's yours, isn't he?"
Hibari looked into her cupped palms, already knowing what he would see. He almost wanted to deny the fact, to tell her no, this isn't my bird, my bird is alive, but he did nothing in the end but nod once. Kyoko's eyes fell as she washed a mournful gaze over the canary in her hands. "I'm sorry, Kyouya-san," she murmured. "I knew you liked him."
And Hibari, well, he didn't know what to say. The boxer's sister and her friends had always been well-behaved, even-tempered girls, so he'd never had any reason to acknowledge or associate himself with them. Or with girls in general, for that matter. And now when one had finally mustered the gumption to approach him and to look at him with pity, among anything else, he wasn't sure how he should react. He couldn't beat her for various reasons, yet his pride prevented him from abandoning the situation. It was an irksome predicament.
The wind whistled a disjointed tune, an atonal and empty thing that wasn't really music at all. Hibird's call would have added a melody to it.
"Should we bury him?"
If anybody else had asked him that, Hibari would have shrugged and answered with a terse "do as you wish," or something equally callous before breezing off. He looked into her earnest face, meeting eyes that were a tawny-brown, almost like Sawada's, but paler and larger. Hibari reminded himself that she was the boxer's sister. He knew a little about her, and knew that she cared for things precious almost as much as Sawada Tsunayoshi. From their journeys outside school, he also knew she knew just how much he was capable of. And still he detected no fear from her. How strange.
In Hibari's Food Chain of Discipline, it was alright for women to be herbivores. It was when they developed a taste for meat that he started to worry. He was content with avoiding the opposite sex; merely because he had no reason to mingle with them and because they had a lot more insight than the males. Hibari didn't like to think that he was transparent. He himself was indifferent in his disposition toward Kyoko, even though he got the same feeling from her that he sometimes did from Sawada; like he wasn't really solid at all.
But I'm right here. The sun can't shine through my flesh and bone. She can't see through me.
"You're sad," Kyoko remarked, peering at his face. It wasn't a question. Hibari looked at her in surprise, or something resembling it. "I know. It's okay to be sad sometimes. He was an adorable bird."
He almost swore he could see the tree through his arm for an instant. Nonsense. He's as solid as ever, and people can't see though concrete things. Unless they have X-ray vision, and not even the mafia has invented that. But that look, nonetheless...
Kyoko brightened. "So do you have a box?"
Hibari blinked slowly. It was difficult for his mind not to associate the term with box weapons. The herbivores really had brainwashed him. "Box?"
"To bury him, of course," Kyoko answered, cupping one hand over the other so Hibird was no longer visible. "An old cigar box or gum box could work."
And that's how they spent the rest of that afternoon burying Hibird. They did it behind Namimori, as their shadows grew long and languid. Kyoko told him of a dog they'd once had, who was hit by a car, and of various little pets her brother had owned. She told these stories knowing Hibari didn't talk much, but she saw that he listened. AndHibari, who would have preferred to do this kind of thing by himself, did not complain.
There was a certain...something missing, he felt, not denying the fact. He would never hear that high-pitched chirp of the bird as it perched on his shoulder like a yellow wisp of fuzz, would never feed it seeds again, and would teach it no more songs. He supposed he could get another bird, teach it the same old tricks, and when that one died he could repeat the process all over again. It was only a pet.
When they were done the boxer's sister smiled at him, perspiring lightly and brushing her bangs away from her face. "I know you're a great friend to Tsuna-san's, even if he doesn't know it yet, Kyouya-san," she said. He merely grunted.
"He considers you someone close, though I daresay he's a little intimidated by your Committee!" She laughed, and brushed some crumbles of earth off her skirt. Kyoko didn't expect Hibari to thank her directly for this afternoon, but she didn't need his thanks to read his appreciation.
And Hibari felt that odd sensation again, as if he wasn't really there. He was a cloud, floating, but did that mean that he was equally diaphanous?
For once he longed to be grounded, just so that nobody could see through him; he was more than just water and air, for goodness sake. And he was entitled to some justification. "Hn. I have no interest in that herbivore or his activities," he said as they reached Namimori's front gates. Kyoko didn't outright laugh, but the corners of her eyes crinkled up and her mouth twisted in mild amusement.
"Really?" she asked. "Then why do you keep coming back?"
And with a swish of her skirt she'd left, leaving Hibari alone to ponder why on earth God created females, such creatures that were too complicated to be of any use at all in the food chain.