General overview

Summary: A series of six oneshots, each depicting Hibari Kyouya from a different perspective, and leading to a different pairing.

Rating & warning: Rated T just to be safe; het and shounen-ai fluff, a lot of violence (probably, since it's Hibari) and some cursing (yet to come). And a bloodbath. (Not really, I just had to add that; even though there most likely will be blood, though in lesser amounts.)

Disclaimer: I do not in any way own the characters used in this story. All of them belong to Amano Akira. (If I did own any part of Katekyo Hitman Reborn, it would have turned into a yaoi anime ages ago. And Hibari, Spanner, Squalo and Fran would get much more screentime. And Alaude and Fon too.)

This chapter...

Pairing: 1896

Summary: "Maybe it wasn't love, but she'll keep her promises."


Three: Have Patience

His gaze strayed over the garden of his very own base, the place that became his new home as well as the headquarters of the Foundation... and already bore a lot of memories, both pleasant and not.

The rain was falling softly, chiming a soft pitter-patter on the slowly falling leaves; it was early autumn, and the momiji were turning an even more flaming red shade than usual, glowing with bright crimson among the soothing evergreen kuromatsu*, splashes of radiance against the calm.

He took a sip of his green tea, and snorted at the sight of the stem flowing upwards; he did not believe in such things – no, superstition was for herbivores and loud chattering old women, but he did like the symbolism connected to the Japanese culture. This symbol though, could not be less appropriate given the situation.

A silent knock came, but he did not bother to respond. It wasn't Kusakabe, for he told him not to disturb him unless it was something urgent – and besides, his knock was far more confident that this feeble sound that could hardly be classified as audible.

"Kumo no hito...?" asked a silent voice.

Hibari sighed silently, recognising the owner of the voice. For the last few years, the female insisted on coming over from time to time, justifying it by saying his future-self saved her life, and she wanted to repay her debt by being useful to him. While he could not argue her usefulness despite the fact that he despised illusionists, he was not exactly in favour of the idea having someone else besides Tetsu enter his private chambers freely.

He did not reply; yet the female must have heard him sigh or determined he was in the room otherwise, for she slid the shoji door to the side, entered the room and silently sat down at the distance that was still endurable for him.

"I told you not to call me that."

Her eyes shot up to him, apologizing once again – as every single time she called him 'the cloud person', for she could not get used to calling him by his name – but he refused to look at her. She mumbled a silent apology, and they remained silent, listening to the melody of the requiem rain playing its tune of drops dribbling down and bouncing off the leaves with soft pitter-patter, landing on the ground in slowly propagating puddles with a muffled splash.

Hibari did not and would not cry; so the sky cried for him instead.

"Why are you still here?" he demanded coldly. He preferred to be left alone at times like this; if he was alone, he could handle it, for being alone was what he knew best, it was how he spent his life – and it was the way he should have lived, never deluding himself and falling prey to herbivorous emotions.

"Because kumo no hito is lonely," came her silent yet determined answer. She did not wrap up her words and twist them in weird ways like other people did; she was like him, when she did speak up, her words were few and their meaning clear – maybe that was why he found her company endurable.

"I'm not lonely." The cold answer cut her off, and they fell silent again.

She was wrong – he was not lonely; or at least, he would never admit to have fallen so low to feel lonely. Only herbivores felt lonely, after all; only herbivores were that weak to actually crave for company, to crave for crowds...

After all, why would he feel lonely?

Because the stupid Bucking Horse got himself a wife? He couldn't care less.

He couldn't care less if that herbivore was getting married; he couldn't care less if the idiot left him for a woman; he couldn't care less if he chose his family over him.

"Why do you think I'm lonely?"

What did she know anyway? She knew nothing of them, nothing of their silent agreement, nothing of the heated nights, nothing of the promises under the stars – promises that he could not; would not keep.

She was silent for a few moments, and he was already smirking bitterly at his triumph, no matter how small it was – before she spoke up, carefully, reluctantly, but hitting spot-on with blatant truth: "Because I heard Dino-san left and won't be coming back."

It was his time to be rendered speechless now; for while he was certain she knew of their relationship, he did not quite expect her to be that well informed, much less this much daringly direct in her reply.

"Hn. So you heard that."

He would not give her the pleasure of delving forth into this; the matter was nothing of her concern, and he didn't care if the herbivore left anyway. It wasn't like he meant anything to him, it wasn't like he had ever expected him to keep his promises...

She should realise soon enough she was not needed here, and leave – she was not that dense after all, the girl proved quite intelligent when it came to business and missions. If he ignores her, and keeps watching the rain, not even sparing her a glance, she'll leave.

Yet, she wouldn't.

"Why are you still here?" His voice held a shade of irritation now; he did not like having to repeat the same question twice.

The answer shot back almost instantly: "Because kumo no hito will be lonely if I leave."

He snorted in disagreement; 'What did the woman think she was? Why would I require her company?'

He changed his approach this time though, and instead inquired further, knowing that merely retorting back would lead them nowhere, and would only cause the situation to repeat once more.

"And what is it to you if I am?" he asked demandingly, actually sparing a glance to gaze at her from the corners of his eyes while keeping his head turned straight ahead.

"I don't want kumo no hito to be lonely," she answered simply and plainly, as if that answered everything.

Hibari, on the other side, did not know what to do with her answer.

Why would she care if he's lonely or not? It was nothing that should concern her, nothing that she should worry about. He had been alone for the vast majority of his life, and intended to be so for as long as it lasted; if he had decided to bear the stupid Bronco's company for a while, it was a mere whim of his, nothing else, and he hadn't ever thought that he might keep his promise and stayed with him forever...

He didn't care if the idiot wouldn't keep his promise, he really didn't!

Yet... what was this wetness he could feel in his eyes, this uncomfortable squirming in his stomach as he recalled the image of the untamed blond mane...

A single tear trickled slowly down his cheek, accompanying the rain, completing the melody into a bittersweet symphony.

Whom was he lying to? He did care, of course he did; after all, promises were made to be kept, and not to be broken. He actually grew to think that maybe, just maybe, emotions weren't just a herbivorous affliction that clouded their mind and hazed their judgement – and he was starting to believe him when he whispered the words in Italian in the night – Ti amo, Kyouya...

But after all, everything was just make-believe, wasn't it? The morning light shone on the ragged remains of his shattered dreams on the sea reefs of realisation, and no matter what he did he could not blind the light out.

The stupid Bronco and his stupid promises he knew well he could not keep...!

Suddenly, he felt a pair of arms coil around him. He did not know when she had approached him, having been too immersed in his misery to notice, and now the woman was leaning against his back with her head resting on his shoulder, her arms holding him loosely – not tightly to make him feel constrained, but rather comforting, soothing out his pain.

He felt something wet fall on his shoulder, and turned his head a bit to see a single tear flowing down her undamaged eye – a sight mirroring his own face. While he refused to cry, she would shed tears for him as well, sharing his unspoken pain.

She smiled bitterly at him, and said: "You are not alone."

He looked straight at her, and saw her soul barred in the indigo iris of her single eye. He saw her pains, he hopes and dreams; he saw compassion but not pity, care but not obsession, and devotion but not entrapment. Her words, not matter how simple and plain, made him want to believe, made him want to trust and not be alone...

He leaned against her and buried his face into her clothes, hiding the cleansing tears that he refused to let go until now.

He was not alone.

Maybe it wasn't love, but she was here.

Maybe it wasn't love, but she'll stay.

Maybe it wasn't love, but she'll keep her promises.

His arms coiled around her waist and brought them closer. As he held her, he looked over her shoulder and noticed his abandoned cup of tea on the floor, untouched apart from a single sip he took, the surface stirred by the light breeze that flowed over, causing the stem flow around merrily.

...

Maybe there really was something about stems flowing upright in tea.

* Momiji & kuromatsu: trees specific to Japanese gardens, Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum) and Japanase black pine (Pinus thunbergii).