Dino had always been strong, protective, proud – and eternally smiling. Now, he's a broken man, a mere shadow of himself – how will a certain skylark cope with that?

A short drabble for D18 day. Enjoy and have a nice D18 day :)

Disclaimer: Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn and its characters belong to Amano Akira.

The Skylark's Nest

As he stood in the office of the tenth generation Cavallone boss and watched the wreck that was supposed to be him, the sole thought that permeated his mind was:

He's not supposed to be like that.

The Cavallone that now sat on the sofa (that, incidentally, brought back many memories of their common activities) all curled up, arms embracing his legs protectively, looked like a lost child. There were no traces of the strong, proud don left; no signs of his signature smile that almost never left his lips; no hint of the ever so optimistic gleam in his eyes.

His gaze was downcast, empty like a porcelain doll's; his lips were squeezed into a tight line, trying to hold back the pain, tears and the overflowing feeling of helplessness; his expression made Hibari's insides twitch and twist, and he felt like his mind was being torn apart with utter confusion and shock.

He just stood there and watched. After some time, he stopped trying to convince himself that what was seeing was some kind of illusion; sooner or later, he knew he'd had to face reality and embrace the fact that the wreck before him was the Bucking Bronco, despite the fact that he was no more than a mere shadow if his former self.

The Cavallone he knew was strong, kind and protective; he could be herbivorous in his thoughts sometimes, but he was certainly very much carnivorous in his actions – the only one he considered a worthy rival, nearly a fellow carnivore.

The Cavallone he knew would be always sporting a goofy smile that made him appear a naïve idiot; no matter how many times Hibari told him that, he would always keep on grinning back, and that was how it was supposed to be.

The Cavallone he knew would coil his strong arms protectively around him whenever he sensed the Skylark needed some comfort but wouldn't say it, and spoke soft words of comfort into his ear; even though he tried to wriggle out of the grip at times, that was how it was supposed to be.

He was supposed to be smiling, grinning, laughing like an idiot, he was supposed to hold him at tell him everything was going to be okay, he was supposed to be the strong fortress he could rely on...

The Cavallone was not supposed to be like this.

Hibari Kyouya didn't say a single word; he was too confused to manage to utter anything coherent, and too aghast to bite the Cavallone to death. Instead, he just turned on his heels and left, leaving the tormented boss behind, abandoning the only person he'd ever let invade his personal bubble.

The current Cavallone was no longer any different than any other herbivores he despised.

It shouldn't have surprised him that much though; he knew all along that the Cavallone had a herbivorous streak in him – yet he believed that is carnivorous nature was strong enough to reign over it and subdue any such herbivorous reactions. He was wrong though; and he should have expected this, he should have foreseen it.

After all, he had considered all the members of his famiglia his true family; and he appreciated and cherished each one of them like a brother, cousin or uncle...

Approximately 1,200 deaths in a matter of several months – the fact that he only knew the faces and names of the ones dead didn't make much difference. The Cavallone family had been decimated, a fifth of its members slaughtered, and the Decimo couldn't just stand and watch his famiglia get demolished.

Hibari thought that would spur him though; he knew the Bronco enough to be aware of his pride as a Boss, and had he been subjected to the judgment of his reason only, the continuous destruction of his famiglia would only spur him to devise a plan to bring the Millefiore to its bloody demise.

Unnecessary to add, he would gladly help in such.

Haneuma however, did nothing of such sort. Instead, he ordered his family to retreat, locked himself up in his study, and slowly started sinking in depression, mourning over the deaths sacrificed for the existence of the Cavallone family.

Hibari shook his head; with things as they were now, all those deaths were in vain. There is no family without a Boss, and Dino...

He stopped in surprise, noticing how his chest felt somehow heavy; as if something clenched within, strangely painfully... But his health was in perfect condition, was it not?

The pain subsided, and he walked on; yet, as soon as his thoughts returned to the picture of the blonde wreck in the cabinet of the Cavallone Decimo – the wreck that he refused to call Dino Cavallone – surged back into his mind, the pain returned, even stronger, clenching over where anatomically speaking his heart should be.

What... was that?

Why would a physical reaction such as this occur when he thought of the pitiful figure bunked up in the office...?

He stood there, in the middle of the deserted street, and snowflakes swirling through air playfully landed on him one by one.

He didn't know how long it took him; he didn't know how long had he been standing there – silent, unmoving, like a statue. The next thing he knew, however, was that he was tracing back his steps towards the Cavallone mansion, barging in and striding past the shocked Romario, nearly tearing down the doors to the Decimo's office.

Dino was still in the same place, same position; and his eyes were glistening with tears he didn't dare to shed.

"...Kyouya?" he asked silently, almost whispering.

Hibari Kyouya knew he was about to willingly take a great blow to his pride, to actually abandon his passive stance, to sacrifice nearly everything he had built up until now... yet he knew it was worth it.

He sat down next to the Cavallone who looked at his like a lost puppy, baffled by his sudden arrival and actions – and wrapped his arms around him, bringing the slightly shivering form to his chest in a protective embrace. His fingers ran through the blond hair, smoothing out the silky strands calmingly, and he leaned closer to whisper in Dino's ear.

"Everything's going to be fine... but you have to fight... we'll make a plan and send Byakuran to his bloody demise... it's going to be fine..."

Because Dino was not supposed to be like that; and he needs Dino to keep smiling for him, one way or another –

Because every skylark need a nest to return to when he grows weary of the endless sky.