Summary: In a world where magic doesn't exist, a normal Harry Potter goes to Namimori in order to escape from his relatives. But then he meets the crazy baby Reborn and Sawada Tsunayoshi…

Disclaimer: This is not meant to be an amazing piece of work, but simply out there for those who are looking for a short reprieve from their KHR/HP addiction. You've been warned.

Act III. Varia

Part 3

There was someone sobbing. Her choked weeping clogged her voice, making her words hard to discern."Not my boy, please no, kill me instead—"

Green light bathed the room, filling his being as electricity crackled through the air. A woman's scream. A monster's shrill laughter. Shouts and bangs from below. A baby's cry which struck through it all…

"…wake up."

And Harry felt his consciousness disentangle itself from the strange murky scene.

Shifting against a bed of blankets and pillows, Harry blinked open his eyes blearily. The white ceiling of an unfamiliar room came into focus, as well as an unfamiliar face by his bedside. A girl. It was a girl. The girl from his dream? He felt disoriented and not all there, as if he were still only an observer to events passing by him.

"Who…" he began, only for the rest of the words to fall into hacking. His throat was dry and his tongue felt sticky from disuse.

He struggled to sit up, only for a cutting pain to spear through his side. He inhaled sharply. His insides felt as if they were going to come tumbling out. His vision blurred.

"Don't move," a dainty voice commanded, and delicate hands helped steady him into a semi-sitting position. "You'll aggravate your injuries. Do you imagine it was easy saving your foolish hide?"

Harry could only breathe heavily, shaking his head as he attempted to muster his mind back together. Through gritted teeth he raised a hand to his forehead, pressing the heel against his temple as he tried to gather himself. His body felt unbearably tender, and it was an effort to ignore the agony in every movement. Finally, he gained some semblance of control over himself, and lifted his eyes to meet the half covered ones of his caretaker.

Harry froze.

The girl smiled as she shoved a glass of water at him, "Hello, Harry-kun. Now, drink slowly."

Harry sipped. When he had finished he allowed the girl to set the cup down before speaking. His voice was soft. "…Mukuro?"

There was a pause. The smile on the girl's face didn't fade, but it did change. "My, Harry-kun is quite perceptive. I assume you've been told everything about me, then."

"You're not even trying to pretend otherwise," Harry grunted, shifting his position. He let out a hiss of pain as his bones creaked with the movement. "I remembered your possession. Someone had to explain after that."

Curiosity entered the lone violet eye, "You recall the experience? My, a constant surprise, Harry-kun."

"So it seems." Harry gulped a large lungful of air. "What's this currently? Possession or female illusion of yourself?"

"Kufufufu." The giggle was quite disturbing coming from the girl's lips. "You never cease to amuse me. It's possession."

"How you still manage to be creepy in a cute girl's body is beyond me," Harry grumbled, earning him another laugh from his companion. "Ken and Chikusa?"

"Outside." The girl's eyes crinkled, "They're quite awkward."

"I don't want to hear that from you," Harry muttered.

The mocking undercurrent of the response didn't seem to suit the girl's features, but felt completely appropriate with whom Harry knew he was truly conversing with. "Awkward? Me?"

"You left me a note," Harry pointed out. "After possessing me, trying to kill my friends, destroying my home. That had to be the most awkward goodbye apology I've ever seen."

"Kufufu, who said it was an apology? Perhaps I simply do not like having debts."

"Maybe," Harry shrugged. Once upon a time he might have believed it. But he had struggled with Mukuro's decisions for weeks and he had already decided on his answer. "But I'll take it as an apology nonetheless. It's helpful for you if I delude myself, isn't it?"

The girl was silent for a long moment. And then, she breathed out a familiar laugh. "I see why you were drawn to him, or perhaps he to you. You two are stupidly similar." She rose to her feet and cast him a sideways glance. "Still, I'm surprised you aren't angry with me."

"Oh I'm fucking angry," Harry replied. The language was a surprise to him as much as it was to Mukuro, since Harry was usually unfailingly polite. But he supposed hanging out with Gokudera had to have affected him at least somewhat, and he was actually quite mad. "But you never owed me anything, so it'd be unfair for me to demand anything of you."

"Your sense of self worth is nearly as bad as Nagi's," the girl said, looking bemused. She leaning forward and cupping Harry's cheek, causing Harry's breath to still. She was so close that her words tickled his nose. "I won't tell you to trust me, but you should have more faith in your bonds."

Green eyes went wide at the other's words, and for a foolish moment, he felt… He was quick to jerk his head away before he could inadvertently spill more of himself. His heart was beating too rapidly to follow. It felt like Mukuro had seen through him, and that frightened the English student.

Abruptly the girl stood, pulling away and striding in a few graceful steps to the large window a few paces from Harry's bed. It was impossible to make out her face as she stared out into the village. "It was quite foolish of you, Harry-kun, showing mercy to a member of the mafia. If Sawada Tsunayoshi weren't equally as soft hearted, you would have traded your life for the Varia lightning guardian's."

It took a moment for Harry to follow the sudden change in topic. When he understood, he looked down, hands twisting around his sheets. His voice was soft. "I know."

"And this is why you're unsuited," the girl sighed, turning back to look at him with a stormy gaze. "I wouldn't have given you back to Tsunayoshi-kun if I knew he'd make you into his lightning guardian."

"It was my choice." His knuckles were going white with how hard his fists were clenched around the fabric of his blankets. "Besides, it wasn't Sawada-kun's fault. Reborn was the one who asked me. Sawada-kun even begged me not to do it."

"Nevertheless." The girl shook her head, her hair falling in front of her eyes and making her expression unreadable. "You know Harry-kun, if you step further into the world of the mafia, I'll be your enemy."

"Really?" Harry asked, jerking his chin to indicate to one of the girl's hands. On it was half of a gleaming silver ring. "It looks like we might be comrades in arms, this time around."

"So you noticed it, have you?" There was a grin on the girl's face as she lifted her hand, Mist ring sparkling under the sunlight. "I'm only a temporary guardian though. I need Tsunayoshi-kun to survive if I want to use his body and destroy the Vongola."

Harry's heart gave a thud. "Then I suppose we'll be enemies. Even if it's you, I won't let anyone touch Tsuna."

"Shame, that," the girl sighed. She allowed her hand to fall back to her side. "I'll give you a quick death when the time comes, in gratitude for your cooking."

"I wish…" All of this sounded so final, and he hadn't asked any of the questions that he'd wanted. He hadn't expressed any of the emotions that he'd wanted. But really, what was the point? Mukuro was making it clear that he was an adversary. Harry closed his eyes. His voice was choked. "I consider you my friend, you know. It doesn't matter what you consider me but—you're the last one I want to fight. Tsuna's different from the others, he'd help you. He'd make the world that you'd want to see."

There was a moment of silence, and then—

"Harry-kun," it was Mukuro. Mukuro's true voice. The soft timbre sounded almost apologetic. "I doubt that Sawada Tsunayoshi would allow the kind of world I want to see. He'd do everything in his power to stop that kind of hell."

He felt a hand brush his shoulder. A flutter of wind. And he didn't have to open his eyes again to know that Rokudo Mukuro was gone.

Harry fell asleep again. When he woke the second time, he didn't have to wait fifteen minutes before everyone came tumbling in and piled at the foot of his bed.

"I came as soon as I heard!" Tsuna exclaimed. "Reborn said you'd finally woken up—Potter-san you've worried us so much!"

Harry could only smile weakly, "Hi guys."

They were quick to fill in the details of what had happened the day before. Of how Harry had messed up, badly, and Tsuna had to pay the price with his rescue of him. He felt his stomach sink even as the others continued to chatter excitedly.

"You should have seen the Tenth!" Gokudera exclaimed. "You fell and the Cervello said some shit about non-interference and then suddenly the lightning rods collapsed on Leviathan! Then the Tenth stared down Xanxus and assured him that we wouldn't lose! He was amazing."

Tsuna flushed. "Go—Gokudera-kun! It wasn't like that. I was just really concerned about Potter-san and—"

"Haha, Tsuna was pretty awesome," Yamamoto laughed. "He was really angry about what Varia did to you."

Sasagawa jabbed a fist into the air, "Sawada-kun was EXTREME."

"I—I—I wasn't the only one," Tsuna denied with a shake of his head. He turned to look at Harry with large brown eyes, "Everyone was really angry. Nobody thought it was fair for the Varia to get the lightning ring. You won."

"I'm sorry," Harry whispered.

Tsuna looked surprised, "For what?"

"For costing you the two matches." He gritted his teeth. Shame filled him. He'd learned about the price of being soft back in Stonewall, and he was a moron for forgetting it. "I shouldn't have—you were right, I did win. But I was stupid and it turned into a loss. Not just for me, but for you too. And now everyone has to work twice as hard to make up for my mistake."

Surprisingly, it was Gokudera who answered. He had a sneer on his face, "And what, you think that we wouldn't have tried to win before? Look Potter, I don't know who you think you are, but I'm never planning on failing the Tenth. I'll win tonight and balance out your losses."


"Maa, maa," Yamamoto cut in, eyes dancing. "Nobody thinks badly of you for trying to save someone, Potter-san. Gokudera-kun even looked like he was going to declare war on the Cervello for ruling the battle in the Varia's favour."

Gokudera went red, "Well, Varia played dirty! Anyone would be pissed off about that!"

"Octopus head is right," Sasagawa said seriously. "It was uncool to the extreme."

"I—" Harry's throat was dry. He ducked his head. "Thank you, guys."

Soon they had to leave in favour of training, but Tsuna paused at the doorway.

Tsuna shifted hesitantly, "You're sure your parents won't be worried?"

"My guardians don't even know," Harry assured the younger boy, just as he'd done after the Kokuyo Land incident. "They're still out of the country."

Tsuna deflated, "Oh, alright."

Harry hesitated, "Was there something…?"

"Oh yes!" Tsuna bit his lip. He fidgeted. And then he straightened, "Potter-san, I'm sorry for dragging you into this."


"You're not—I knew from the beginning that you weren't like the others. It wasn't fair of me to drag you into this, but I've come to depend on you too. I know better now than to ask you to leave but… I'm sorry."


The other boy was blushing, but he forged on, determination glittering in his eyes. "I have to go train now. Potter-san, heal up, alright?"

There were so many things he wanted to say, so many assurances he wanted to make. But the expression on Tsuna's face froze his tongue. Harry swallowed, and found that he could only bow his head in acquiescence.

Tsuna smiled, and slipped out of the room.

The rest came to visit too after the discussion about the ring battles were done. Lambo, Ipin, Fuuta, Bianci; everyone had something to say. It turned out that Harry was at Tsuna's house, and the non-members of Tsuna's Family believed that he was struck by lightening and tripped down the stairs. He could only stare in stupefaction as Sasagawa cheerfully let him know of the excuse, and found himself dumbfounded when it seemed to work.

He was thankful that he wasn't sent to the hospital, because he didn't want to be confined there again. The head nurse at their school turned out to be another member of the Vongola and treated them in place of the government establishment. He felt good, anyhow—better, at least, than he thought he should have—and that was enough for him.

Lambo demanded that he read them a story, and although Ipin had scolded the boy, it was clear that she wanted it too. With a weak smile, Harry took the proffered book and assured Ipin that reading was probably the best thing for him, confined to the bed as he was. Fuuta found a place at the edge of the bed too, while Bianchi kept a watch over them at the entrance.

He felt himself drift back towards sleep at one point, and sensing his fatigue, Bianchi ushered the others out. His consciousness swam in and out throughout the day, a fact which he found irritating beyond belief but ultimately difficult to fight.

"—so that everyone can laugh together again! If you die then all that no longer has any meaning, does it?!"

And then the school exploded.



There was a brief, terrible moment where Harry's heart clenched, where Tsuna slid to the floor with a look of devastation on his face, where even their Head Nurse seemed as if he couldn't believe reality—and then Gokudera came stumbling out of the rubbles of the hallway, worse for wear but stupidly, amazingly, alive.

Tsuna and Yamamoto rushed to his side. Harry lurched to follow only to stop himself at the last second. He was sure that the ones Gokudera wanted to see after that harrying experience wasn't him.

"It's really troublesome when you won't rush forward like the others," Reborn commented lightly.

Harry smiled weakly, "It's a bit difficult to move let alone rush for me right now."

It wasn't strictly a lie. He'd managed to convince the others to let him attend the Storm battle, but it hadn't been easy. Someone had gotten him crutches, although it was not his legs that were the problem but his side, which shot needles of agony through him with every step that he took.

"Hmm." Reborn's voice was perfectly neutral. It was impossible to discern how he truly felt about Harry's answer, as always. "That Gokudera… he managed to stay alive in the end."

"At the very end, he showed how much he's grown," Shamal sighed. He accepted Reborn's change in topic without hesitation. "There's no way I can be arrogant enough to take credit for that though. I've been completely outclassed by the Vongola's boss."

The Cervello announced the results of the battle, and the preparations for the next one. Yamamoto seemed stoked. Hibari arrived at one point and almost disrupted the entire plan. Harry tensed, especially when Hibari threatened his friends, but he had agreed with Reborn that Tsuna needed Hibari's power and so he refrained from interfering. And then Reborn mentioned something about Mukuro and Hibari backed off.

Harry shot a sharp glance towards the baby, only to find it returned with narrowed, contemplative eyes.

The chairman of Namimori's Disciplinary Committee left, as did the Varia after a few more exchanges with Yamamoto. Dino, whom Harry had only met briefly, met up with them, and he made Harry wary in that Harry hadn't been able to sense his entrance at all.

The man introduced as Romario treated Gokudera while Dino told them about Squalo's background. Harry saw the Cavallone's fingertips flare with yellow fire and remembered Iemitsu's lessons about flame types. His stomach churned at the thought of Tsuna's father and he hastily turned away.

Dino's story made Harry more and more worried about Yamamoto's upcoming fight, but he knew that he couldn't dissuade the boy from the battle any more than Yamamoto could have done with him. He could only pray for the best. Such a feeling made him agitated.

When the Cavallone family were finally finished, Harry was surprised to learn that Gokudera would go back to his apartment by himself.

"Gokudera-kun doesn't do well with Bianchi," Tsuna explained, but then the brunette hesitated, "but Gokudera-kun is injured…"

"Don't worry about me, Tenth!" Gokudera was quick to assure. He turned to Harry with a glare, "Who can recover in a house full of brats anyway?"

"But, um," Tsuna poked his fingers together as he looked up at Gokudera through his fringe, "maybe you shouldn't be left alone…"

And yet, Harry realized with startling clarity, none of them could possibly have time for him. Yamamoto would be training to not get slaughtered, and Tsuna looked worse for wear every time Harry saw him.

"I'll take him home," Harry volunteered.

Gokudera sent him a look dirty enough to bury the rest of Namimori Middle.

"What?" he hissed.

"Potter-san, you can't!" Tsuna exclaimed. "You're injured too!"

"Actually, I was planning to head home after this anyway," Harry replied with a weak smile. "Since my house is so far away, it might be better if I could crash at Gokudera-kun's place instead. That way we can keep an eye on each other."

Gokudera had looked as if he were about to launch his dynamite again, but one look at Tsuna's face and he deflated. His expression soured, but he didn't complain.

Tsuna had visibly brightened, "Oh! Then that's a great idea! Potter-san, you're on a different level after all, huh? But you know, you can stay as long as you'd like."

Harry only shook his head. He didn't want to impose any longer than he had to.

They split at the usual intersection. Tsuna and Yamamoto had slowed considerably to allow Harry and Gokudera to keep pace.

"I don't need your freaking help," Gokudera grumbled as they walked quietly through the empty streets. "I can take care of myself."

Harry looked to the sky. Gokudera was abrasive and Harry wasn't particularly close to him. Normally he would never consider speaking to him about personal issues. But this kind of thing… Tsuna wouldn't be so cruel as to bring it up.

"You don't need it," Harry agreed with a murmur. The darkness shadowed his expression. "But Gokudera-kun, you're allowed to rely on others. Everyone's your friend, aren't they? They care about you and want to help you, just as you want to help Tsuna. Why don't you let them?"

The silver haired boy's willingness to die had struck him. Tsuna managed to talk some sense into the mafioso at the end, but Harry was shaken. He'd never noticed this instability in the other boy and he was ashamed of it.

Gokudera stared at him for a long moment. And then he turned away, snorting. "That's rich, coming from you."

Harry's head swivelled, genuine confusion on his face, "Huh?"

"Don't give me that crap," Gokudera snapped. His whole body radiated tension. "You're always off doing who knows what. Do you think it's escaped my notice that you never really talk about yourself? It's like you're freaking hiding something and I don't like that since it might endanger the Tenth! So don't lecture me about being independent, you hypocrite!"

Harry opened his mouth, and closed it.

"That's not—" He began, only to stumble off when he realized there was no answer he could give that would be satisfying. There were a lot of things he didn't want the others to find out about; because it was all in the past, because he didn't want them to worry. He slumped, lifting a shoulder in a sheepish shrug, "My problems… they just aren't a big deal."

"And do you think this injury is?" Gokudera asked scornfully. "I was born into the mafia. I can't stand the sight of my sister because her face reminds me of all the times I've been poisoned. This, this barely makes a scratch in the grand scheme of things."

There wasn't a single flaw in Gokudera's logic. Not for the first time, the scholarship student found that he couldn't reply. And yet Harry's stomach rumbled uncomfortably. He didn't like leaving it here. He didn't know why, but allowing this conversation to end like this just didn't seem right.

"So if you want me to consider my problems from other people's points of views," Gokudera continued, impatience lining his voice, "you have to as well."

For a second, Harry couldn't comprehend what the silver haired boy said. The uneasy feeling receded.

The most incredible thing occurred to Harry. He could only stare, "Are you worried about me?"

Gokudera went red. It was easy to make out despite the dim street lights and hazy moon. "No!"

"Right." Harry curled up and laughed, and laughed. His body hurt, but he couldn't stop. He'd wanted to give some advice to Gokudera, maybe. Help him see another view. But it'd been him who'd been given the lesson. He really had to stop underestimating everyone.

"O—oi! What's so funny Potter!"

"Sorry it's just—" Harry just barely refrained from wiping a tear from his eye. He stood back up, eyes twinkling and a slight smile on his face. "I worry about you. I don't know if you value it as much, but I want you to know that it's not just Tsuna who cares about you. All of us do."

"Sh—shut up!"

Obediently, Harry didn't push further. He knew better. It was something Gokudera would have to mull over himself. They changed the topic, discussing Yamamoto's chances instead of what was on their minds. Finally they arrived at Gokudera's apartment and the silver haired boy shook out a futon for Harry to use.

"Sorry," Gokudera said quietly, long after they'd both laid down and night had descended upon them, "even after I said all those things about overcoming your loss, I didn't win in the end, either."

"I don't have the right to accept that apology," Harry murmured sleepily. And then the comforting darkness tugged him under.

The Rain Battle was a series of one heart attack after another. The conclusion was sobering, and none of them knew how to feel about Squalo's fate as the first real casualty of this conflict. It brought home how real it was and how lucky that none of them had managed to die so far.

And then the night of the Mist Battle came.

Gokudera and Harry were surprisingly the first ones to arrive for the Mist battle. Injured as they were and expecting to run late, they'd left the apartment early. Weirdly Gokudera had asked Harry to accompany him again after the Rain Match, and Harry accepted the gift for what it was. They made some small talk about the results of their training, and Gokudera expressed a lot of interest in the flames that Harry practiced when he wasn't too tired.

Yamamoto arrived at one point, half his head wrapped in bandages but still sporting a cheerful grin on his face. He and Gokudera immediately got into it, but Sasagawa joined them not long afterwards and didn't leave Harry much time to contemplate. He was followed by Basil who was carrying Tsuna on his back. Harry had to smile at the sight, even though in truth he had mixed feelings about it. Gokudera practically threw a fit, half worried that Basil wasn't being gentle enough with the Tenth and half in admiration for the extent to which Tsuna trained himself.

Reborn shattered all their conceptions by stating that Tsuna had fainted from a scary face, not exhaustion.

Harry laughed. Tsuna caught up with Yamamto for a bit before Gokudera mentioned the Mist team. Harry hesitated at the mention of them, which earned him a sharp glance from Reborn, but he didn't have further time to consider telling the rest because Tsuna seemed to sense something.

"It's time for our Guardian of the Mist to come forward," Reborn mused.

And then the gymnasium doors opened for the last time.

Harry turned and felt his heart stop. Ken and Chikusa sauntered into the building, confidence and dangerous outlining every inch of their posture.

Everyone else's reaction wasn't so quiet. Gokudera was the loudest, dynamite appearing between his fingers as he demanded to know why they were there.

Seeing the two again brought a mix of feelings to Harry's chest, but the real shock came from the one that was accompanying them. It was the girl who Mukuro had possessed earlier that week. She introduced herself as Chrome Dokuro and Tsuna was convinced that she was her own person.

Something about the girl made Harry want to defend her too, but in truth he knew little about her identity or her origins, and he couldn't add anything of substance. He did know that she was connected to Mukuro though.

And then she was heading into battle.

They barely had time to breathe before the grounds came apart.

Harry watched as closely as he could, dodging the illusionary obstacles when they came his way. He felt like he had to. Impossible occurrence happened after impossible occurrence. It was different seeing illusion in reality, as opposed to dream, where everything felt murky. He felt his breath stop and his skin tickle with every change imagery, and for an outrageous moment, he forgot about the fact that it was a battle at all and couldn't help but just marvel.

And then Mammon reversed the course of Chrome's attacks and her organs caved in. And Harry finally connected why the girl was chosen as the Mist Guardian.

Mukuro you softie, Harry realized.

"Tsuna, if this continues she'll die," Harry exclaimed, turning to Tsuna. Unlike the rest of them, she hadn't chosen to be in this battle for Tsuna or even to stop the Varia. "I can't…"

He trailed off when he saw the expression on Tsuna's face. Shock and fear painted his features, drowning out all else.

"What is it, Tsuna?" Reborn asked quietly.

"He's coming…" Tsuna whispered, squeezing his eyes shut as his hands rose to the side of his head, prompting worried exclamations from Yamamoto. "It's him… He's coming!"

And then Rokudo Mukuro arrived. He was in his true form this time. The resulting battle was completely one sided, and watching it, Harry almost couldn't comprehend how Tsuna had managed to win the last time. In the end, the Mist ring was theirs.

Mukuro exchanged a few words with Tsuna and Xanxus. He said nothing to Harry. That was fine. Harry wasn't sure what to say to the illusionist, either.

And then, his illusion disappeared, and Chrome collapsed on the gymnasium floor.

Reborn gave a short explanation about her circumstances which more or less answered Harry's questions, although he wasn't exactly paying attention to the acrobaleno at the moment.

"Ken, let's go," Chikusa murmured, turning to the exit.

"EH?" Tsuna. "Wait, you're abandoning her?"

Ken scoffed as he followed after his companion, "She can walk on her own once she wakes up, right? I'm not babysitting her. It's not as if she's really Mukuro-sama."

A line of worry crossed Tsuna's face, earning a harsh rebuke from Reborn about sympathy with the enemy.

The Cervello spoke and everyone's attention was drawn to the two females. Harry slipped out of the gym.

The cool evening breeze greeted him like a long lost friend. Harry shivered.

"I'll be back in Kokuyo land tomorrow," he called out to the two departing figures.

That prompted the two to stop and turn around. In the darkness it was impossible to make out their faces, but Harry could easily picture the disbelief was on Ken's. Chikusa's expression would be as unreadable as always.

"Do you think we care?" Ken snarled.

Ah, that was painful. It felt a little difficult to breathe. But Harry pushed on.

"I'm hurt," Harry said shortly.

Ken sneered, "Oh boohoo, your delicate feelings can't take the fact that we were using you the whole time. It's not our problem so don't—"

"I'm hurt," Harry continued in a steely voice. "So I'll have trouble carrying groceries myself. You and Chikusa need to buy them for the next day."

Ken froze. Even Chikusa's body language seemed to shift.

"Che," Ken said, stuffing his hands in his pockets and shuffling away. "Whatever."

For a second, Chikusa was still, and then he too turned and followed after Ken. He cast his gaze back at the dark haired boy just before they departed from sight, "You still like pot pie, right?"

Harry gave a nod. A small smile flitted across Chikusa's face before he, too, was gone.

"So that's your relationship," Reborn's voice murmured at his side. "I see. Now a lot of what's been bugging me suddenly makes sense."

Harry didn't even bother to be startled. He was slowly getting used to the false baby's appearances.

"They stayed with me before," Harry said softly, answering the unspoken question as he stared after them. "Before I knew they were… and then they were in jail and I didn't think we'd ever see them again, so that information wasn't relevant."

"It is now," Reborn pointed out. "And you're purposefully keeping it from Tsuna."

Harry shook his head. "I won't deny it if he asks. But right now, I don't want to distract him." His gaze fell to the cursed hitman, "Why did you choose Mukuro to be his Mist Guardian if you don't trust him?"

Reborn's lips were pressed into a thin line. The rest of his face was obscured by the trim of his fedora. "I didn't choose Tsuna's guardians. Iemitsu did."

Iemitsu. Harry's hands clenched at his sides.

"You were the one who convinced me to do it," Harry reminded with his own twist of lips.

"Yes, I convinced you," Reborn agreed blandly. "But Iemitsu had already approved your appointment by then, by virtue of my reports on everyone associated with Tsuna. Well, you were my first choice for the lightning guardian as well. Much better than that cow brat."

Reborn spoke differently when he spoke to Harry. He wasn't sure if it was because Harry knew his secret now and Reborn could let loose a bit, but this was the clearest Harry had ever heard the other be.

Harry glanced away, "There isn't anyone stronger than Mukuro."

"It's true… there isn't anyone stronger," Reborn said slowly. There was a hard edge to his voice. "But you underestimate how many people have associated with Tsuna. Any one of them who had a Mist flame—even if they weren't the best, at least they wouldn't be out to kill him."

"You're that worried."

"More than that worried. Tsuna seems to believe in the best of people. I've seen enough to know better than that. Can Rokudo Mukuro be redeemed? I don't know. I doubt it, but I suppose it's possible. But I wouldn't be willing to bet Tsuna's life on that. This time, I don't understand Iemitsu's reasoning." He glanced up at Harry then. "But I suppose I'm speaking to the wrong person about this, considering the way you lost the lightning match."

Harry grimaced. Everyone had lectured him about that loss.

"I couldn't leave him," Harry repeated. He took a breath. "But don't worry, I won't bet Tsuna's life on such things, either."

Reborn was silent for a long moment. And then— "You'd better not."

They didn't have a chance to continue their conversation as it was then that Tsuna and the others joined them. Basil had Chrome on his back while Gokudera and Yamamoto were bickering. Sasagawa was happily sharing how extreme he thought the Cloud Match would be.

"Eh, Potter-san, Reborn?" Tsuna asked with wide eyes, "What are you two doing out here? We were looking for you!"

"Sorry," Harry smiled. "Just wanted some fresh air. The illusions gave me a headache."

Reborn glanced sharply at him. Then he hopped up and kicked Tsuna hard on the head. Tsuna cried out in pain and bowled over.

"No-Good Tsuna," he said in a monotone as he landed on Yamamoto's shoulder, "you should pay more attention to where your guardians go."

Tsuna complained. Chrome was designated to Dino's place until she woke up. Reborn had surprisingly suggested for Harry to stay as well so that he could accompany Chrome the next day, since he had no other engagements and was better with girls than Tsuna. That prompted blushes, protests, and teasing from everyone. They were all laughing as they wandered home.

Harry awoke to Chrome standing over him.

For a split second he had an immense moment of deja-vu, and he blearily wondered what Mukuro wanted with him, when he noticed the girl's posture. Looking uncomfortable in her Kokuyo school uniform, she had her bag clutched protectively against her chest. Mukuro would never allow himself to look so vulnerable.

"Good morning," Harry said tiredly as he partially pushed himself up to a sitting position. His hand immediately fluttered to his side as it gave a sharp jab of pain, clutching at the fabric of the shirt he'd worn to sleep. He grimaced, and wished once again his injury could just heal already. "Were you waiting for me?"

Chrome responded with an uncertain nod.

Due to the fact that Chrome had passed out, there had been little Harry could tell her last night, so he'd left her a note by her bedside telling her he knew where Ken and Chikusa had gone.

"How um—how long did you wait?" Harry asked, hiding a wince. He hadn't intended for her to wake up before he had, but he should have thought of it. Subtly he peeked to the entrance of the guest bedroom he had borrowed from Dino. Sure enough, the door was thrown wide open.

Chrome just shook her head, "It is not so different from waiting for Mukuro-sama."

Harry did wince this time. He wasn't sure how to feel about that comparison.

"You could have woken me up," Harry murmured. The response he received was a shamed duck of the head, and Harry sighed. "No, never mind, it's my fault. You couldn't know what type of person I was."

There was a brief moment of silence where Chrome's fingers loosened and tightened around her trident. Harry's stomach rolled. He wasn't sure if he'd offended her or made things worse. Hastily, he opened his mouth to make some sort of apology when…

"I do know," Chrome denied softly. Finally she raised her gaze again, meeting Harry's eyes without flinching, "I was aware when Mukuro-sama spoke to you."

Harry went still, "You were—"

Chrome nodded.

Harry felt the blood drain from his face. There had been no part of that exchange that he had wanted a stranger to hear.

"You and Mukuro-sama, you were… close?" Chrome asked hesitantly. The point of her trident reflected the early morning sun, making her eyes glimmer. The expression on her face almost looked like… hope?

Harry swallowed. He told himself to forget the mix of emotion and embarrassment that was currently battling within him. It wasn't Chrome's fault that she had heard everything. Considering that he had a similar experience with Mukuro's possession, he could hardly blame her. He closed his eyes. In that, he thought, he also understood her confusion and desire for answers.

"I was his host in Namimori," Harry muttered, taking a breath and steeling himself before he opened his eyes again. "House host, I mean, not host like you—er, anyway, we weren't that close. He never told me about what he was doing or what he really wanted."

And that was the definition of a close friendship, he thought. It was a shame that for Harry, who never had real friends before this year and who was constantly isolated by the Dursleys, his relationship with the Kokuyo Land gang had felt close. That had only been an emotion on his end though, and he didn't want to mislead Chrome.

"But," Chrome's brows furrowed, "but Mukuro-sama saved you, didn't he? Like he did with me?"

"Tsuna saved me," Harry corrected. "That's why it's him and not…" He paused, and then gave a quick shake of his head. "No, that's not right. Sawada-kun helped me, physically." He raised an arm, bringing a hand to his chest. His heart beat out a slow, mesmeric rhythm. "But he saved me, here."

It was intensely personal. His heart wasn't only beating because of what he was saying, but because of what he was revealing. But after leaning about Chrome's crushed organs… he wanted her to understand.

And surprisingly, she did.

"Me too…" she whispered. "Mukuro-sama told me… after I was in the car crash, my parents no longer wanted me. I was ready to die. I don't mind dying. But Mukuro-sama told me he values me, and he needs me. So for him I'll—as long as he gives me a purpose I'll—"

Harry's eyes went wide, "That…"

Chrome turned away, embarrassment on her features and shifting as if she were ready to bolt, "I've said too much." All her previous confidence when speaking about Mukuro had slipped away, and she looked like all she wanted was for the ground to swallow her up. Harry instantly understood that she wasn't worried about revealing so much of herself—rather, she was worried about how he would perceive it. Nobody, Harry realized, had ever told this girl that her life was important enough to be talked about.

"No," Harry said softly. "You've said just enough."

She looked back to him, and now it was her turn for her eyes to go wide. Hesitancy still showed in the lines of her face and Harry knew he had to continue.

The green eyed boy swallowed, "My relatives didn't want me either. It's why I live alone and how I met Mukuro and the others in the first place. So being here, I…" He reached out a hand to the girl, pushing back the anxiety of telling someone all of this and pushing a faint smile on his face, "But now we have people, right?"

Chrome just stared at him, looking dazed. Slowly, she took his hand.

They stayed like that for a long moment, before they heard a loud clang downstairs. Both turned, their arms dropping back to their sides.

"I'll go look," Chrome muttered, glancing back at him shyly before rushing out. She didn't bother to actually ask his opinion.

Harry sighed. He looked to the crutches leaning on the patch of wall beside his bed with a grimace, "I'll just… I'll just get dressed."

By the time he manoeuvred his clothing over himself and had dragged himself downstairs, the sun was already high in the air. Tsuna was chattering nervously outside with Chrome, who looked equally as out of depth with the conversation. She wasn't stuttering like the brown haired boy, but she didn't seem like she knew how to respond to him, either.

Chrome's attention was instantly drawn to him as he stepped out, "Harry-san, let's go find Ken and Chikusa."

"Potter-san!" Tsuna greeted in relief. "Hey um, have you seen Dino?"

Harry could only shake his head, "Sorry, he wasn't here when I woke up."

Tsuna sagged, "Oh, I suppose I'll have to go find him, then." He threw a smile at Chrome and ran into the building.

Harry blinked. Tsuna was rarely that abrupt. He wondered if the brunette was worried about the Cloud Match, even if it was Hibari Kyoya who would be representing them. As much as Harry disliked the prefect, he had to acknowledge Hibari's strength.

"Boss is a kind person," Chrome said quietly. "He thanked me for yesterday's battle."

Harry could tell that there was more to it, but Chrome didn't elaborate so Harry didn't push.

Chrome took his arm without waiting for actual consent yet again, causing an instinctual tensing before Harry forced himself to relax. Chrome didn't seem to notice as she made her demand without even seeming to notice it was a demand, "Lead the way."

Harry nodded. Chrome helped steady his hobbling and they made some steady progress. It was a silent journey though. Chrome seemed introspective.

They made it to Kokuyo Land somehow. Harry led Chrome to his abode and nearly fell over in relief when he saw Ken and Chikusa lounging in their usual corners. Chrome allowed her hand to slip from his arm.

"What the fuck took you so long?" Ken sneered from his position on the far couch. He had a leg swung over the armrest and was hammering away rapidly at some kind of handheld game. He didn't even bother to look up. "Your groceries are rotting."

"Ken," Chikusa admonished with no inflection in his tone. He was… dusting. It had been his turn for that chore before they had all left. "Harry is only human. He doesn't heal as quickly as we do."

"Fuck that," Ken snorted. He finally looked up and glared when Harry attempted to reach for the fridge only to curl over slightly from the pain of shifting too quickly. "This is why humans are so useless. Your only damn value is your adequate cooking skills, but I'm not going to wait around for six hours for dinner because you're moving slower."

Harry was genuinely affronted. Maybe a few months ago he wouldn't have been, but he'd started cooking for other people now and he'd gained a sense of pride in it. "I'm not going to take—"

"I see." Chikusa pushed up his glasses. He set down his duster. "There's only one solution to this then, isn't there? Ken and I will make something. Harry, you should sit down."

"Then dinner will definitely take more than six hours to make," Harry snarked.

Ken threw his handheld at the green eyed boy. Harry shifted to dodge it and gasped as his side protested. Ken leapt to his feet, a wild look in his eyes, "Fuck! Didn't Chikusa tell you to stop moving? Do you have a hearing problem?!"

A strange sound swept through the room.

Three heads swivelled to the source of the noise as all three males found their eyes widening.

There, leaning against the entrance and a hand making a poor show of covering her mouth, Chrome was giggling. Out of the corner of his eye, Harry thought he spotted a faint blush dust across Ken's cheeks, and a small smile make its way across Chikusa's face.

Harry's eyes softened.

Considering where Mukuro stood, he should have probably been more wary. But he couldn't help the feeling that rose within him. The surge of warmth and giddiness that told him… he was finally home.

The Cloud Match was terrible. Everything from the way Xanxus manipulated Tsuna's feelings to the fact that they'd all have to risk their lives again… everything about it was terrible.

Harry and Chrome arrived at the location for the Sky Match together. Harry had received the summons in the middle of practising control for his electricity in his bedroom. Chrome had been with the others in the common living space.

They all greeted each other, but didn't have time to say more before the Cervello began. They explained how the match would be conducted and after receiving their bracelets, they headed to their respective arenas.

"Ready for round two?" Leviathan sneered.

Harry smiled wanly, "If I beat you once, I can beat you again. And this time I won't show mercy."

And then he felt a prick on the inside of his wrist.

His body trembled with hot and cold as he lay on the floor. Pain surged with every breath and darkness swam across the edges of his vision. He was in absolute, all consuming, agony.

"The Sohei Buddhists believed that first you must fight with your mind, then your weapon."

The Cervello were saying something about poison in the monitors they had given the combatants over the broadcast radio. About how it was the Sky wielders' responsibility to oversee the lives of their guardians. Harry could hardly think. He was too busy struggling against fire in his veins which was threatening to incinerate his entire body from the inside out.

"It's painful, isn't it, Harry? I learned it just like you when I first began training to cast aside my weak, snivelling self. But this physical torment I'm inflicting on you—tell me, how does it compare to the misery of the previous months, your will to change?"

An ear splitting ring signalled the beginning of the sky battle. Tsuna and Xanxus met in a clash of red and orange flames. Harry squeezed his eyes shut. It felt as if his very insides were boiling. But Tsuna… Tsuna… Tsuna's honey brown eyes flashed across the forefront of his mind, brimming with warmth and concern. The guardians were supposed to help Tsuna this time, but they were forced to wait for him to save them yet again.

"Every warrior must learn the simple truth."

A loud crash sounded from somewhere below. Harry took a breath. And then another. The lesson came to him dimly. He remembered his screams, his teacher's dissatisfaction, but mostly, the words. Harry stopped struggling. He gave in and allowed himself to be swept up in the tide of agony, but he didn't stop there this time. He'd failed Maine then, but he wouldn't fail Tsuna now.

"Pain is inevitable."

He. Could. Not. Let. Down. Tsuna. Not again.

"But suffering is optional."

Harry's eyes snapped open, and gritting his teeth, he began to inch towards the tower holding the lightning ring. He mostly used his elbows.

On the other side of the tower, some distance away and curled against the floor, Leviathan's face twisted in shock, "How're you—moving—?"

"I've—had—worse," Harry gasped as he finally wrapped a hand around one of the legs of the tower. Physically he'd never experienced something so excruciating, but the Dursleys, Stonewall, the loneliness—what was this in comparison?

He sent up a current of his own power, rerouting the electricity from the tower. It was a struggle to maintaining his control through the revolt of his own body. He had to be precise or else this would all be for nothing. The top sparked and blazed with green energy.

The ring peeked over the edge, and fell down.

Harry caught it. Shakily he pressed it against the slot on his bracelet. Immediate relief filled his body, and Harry sagged with the sensation. Slipping the ring on, he couldn't help the small grin which flitted across his face. He never felt more thankful for second year science where he'd learned about electricity and magnetism.

Slowly, he pushed himself to his feet. His side twanged, but it seemed less now. He felt like he could move even without his crutches.

Leviathan was staring at him with wide eyes, "You have to—you have to save me. You're a kind person, aren't you?"

"I'm also not an idiot," Harry said, his fingers wrapping around the lightning ring. His conscience demanded that he do something about a person who he could easily save, especially since not even this man deserved a horrible death from that poison, but he couldn't jeopardize Tsuna's match. His stomach squirmed at the thought of killing someone, and he couldn't just knock Leviathan out because he couldn't be sure the others wouldn't find him. This wasn't just a one on one battle, and if any of Harry's friends were to be hurt by Leviathan later, he'd never forgive himself. "If this battle concludes within half an hour, I'll come back for you."

He'd just finished speaking when red flames lit the night. Eyes going wide, Harry swivelled his head around. He was just in time to see the Storm and Mist towers crash down. Xanxus was laughing hysterically in the air.

"No," Harry breathed, and raced to the edge of the roof. For a moment he hesitated, unsure of whether to go to Gokudera or Chrome, but then he spotted a familiar red armband fluttering on an uniform below. Hibari.

The green eyed boy sagged in relief. The surge of gratefulness he felt towards the prefect at that moment was immense. Hibari was always reliable, especially against those who disrupted his school.

And so Harry turned and ran towards Chrome.

He found the gym in tatters. Mammon stood over Chrome's body, expression indecipherable. The baby looked up at the door opening. Harry stood still by the entrance, taking in the destruction around him.

"So it's you after all," Mammon noted. "I had hoped Bel would arrive first, but no matter. I saw that you weren't at the lightning tower over the monitors. This is within expectation."

Harry untangled his chain.

"This isn't bad," he smiled tightly. "Not sure if I have the strength to fight a bigger opponent at the moment."

Mammon quivered. A dark aura settled over the baby, and his next words were nearly a snarl, "You'll regret saying that!"

Tentacles sprang out at him, but Harry was quicker. He shifted to the side, ignoring his body's creaking protest, and lashed out with his chain. The end touched the acrobaleno but he disappeared, the body vanishing from sight.

"You're already caught in my web," Mammon stated in a superior tone of voice, blurring into sight atop one of the piles of rubble.

His chain suddenly changed its direction mid flight, winding back to him as the tentacles dissipated. Harry's eyes widened because he hadn't commanded his weapon to do that. He let go and threw himself backwards to avoid the attack, but he was too late.

"Kuh," he choked out as cold metal wrapped around his neck. He hand rose to keep the thing from strangling him as he stumbled, the other reaching out to steady his balance. His hand hit the light switch, plunging a third of the room into darkness.

"Now," Mammon smiled, reaching out a hand and twisting his fist, "die."

The spell shattered.

The smile fell from Mammon's face in an instant, "What—"

"Mind over matter," Harry muttered under his breath. His chain lay as a line from his feet to Chrome's body, unmoving.

Mammon's tiny fists tightened, "So you won't be corrupted by this level of illusion, is it? Well how about—"

And it was just then that the ceiling fell on him.

Or, more accurately, the a good section of the metal casings for the lights fell down. Mammon didn't even have time to look up before the beams of steal and broken bulbs knocked him unconscious.

Harry breathed a sigh of relief, and shakily removed his hand from the switch. Electricity crackled around his fingers. In the brief moment when Mammon had thought he'd won, Harry redirected the gym's entire system. He'd only just managed to overload the area above the baby. The heat had caused the metal to weaken and the section to come crashing down.

He'd noticed it immediately upon entry. It was why he hadn't moved from the walls. Of course, Mammon's initial position had been problematic since there would be the danger of hurting Chrome, too. Harry had hoped that a brief fight would force the acrobaleno to move. He hadn't expected it to have been an illusion in the first place.

His fingers brushed across his neck, and Harry stared down wonderingly. He still wasn't too sure how he'd seen through it, but something about the scene had felt similar to Mukuro's possession and then he'd just known. He shuddered, fully aware that he'd lucked out. During the Mist battle it had become increasingly hard to recognize what was reality until he couldn't distinguish at all, and he felt that if Mammon had used any higher grade of illusion, Harry wouldn't have won that confrontation.

Thank the gods for arrogant opponents and the need felt by all of them to conserve energy.

"Now for the ring," Harry murmured, allowing his arm to fall back to his side as he walked towards Mammon.

Silver glinted under the remaining lights, and Harry had to skip a few steps back to avoid being skewered. He instantly recognized the design of the knives. The Storm battle flashed through his mind. He twisted to reach for his chain.

"I wouldn't move if I were you~"

Small incisions sliced through his clothing, spraying a thin layer of blood into the air. Harry froze.

"Shishishishishi, we can't have you rescuing all your friends, can we?" Belphegor cackled, stepping out of the darker corner of the gym. "And the main character finally arrives."

"Hibari?" Harry asked through gritted teeth. He felt his heart sink. In every scenario he'd planned for, he'd never imagined that the prefect would lose.

"Probably taking a nap," Belphegor grinned, twirling another three knives between his fingers. "Now the question is whether to save dear Levi-tan or take one of you hostage and wait for your other friends." His daggers suddenly stopped moving. "Well, I suppose even if I decide on hostage, I only need one."

And it was just then that they heard the distant voices.

"You look really pale…"

"As if you can talk! Aren't you also pressing on your wounds and sucking it up?"

"Che," Belphegor sneered, surging over to Chrome in one fluid leap, just as Gokudera and Yamamoto shoved into the gym.

"Haha, we're both beaten up pretty bad, huh?" Yamamoto laughed, surveying the gym. His eyes lit up upon spotting Harry, "Potter-san!"

"Guys," Harry smiled weakly. He was in a really awkward position. He jerked his head towards Belphegor. "I'm not alone."

Instantly, Yamamoto's gaze sharpened. Gokudera too, went rigid, snapping to attention.

"Shishishishi, don't worry Potter-kun, I didn't intend to ambush them," the Ripper Prince laughed. He was half kneeling over Chrome's body, one knee on her chest while he held a knife over her throat. "The little skylark gave me more wounds than I care for. Even though I could probably win, it'd be a bad idea for me to take the three of you on at once. Instead, why don't you just give me the rings?"

Everybody tensed. They knew without a doubt that Belphegor wouldn't hesitate to kill her.

"No choice then," Yamamoto said with a frown. "It looks like we have no choice but to hand over the rings. Apart from the Mist ring…" An brief expression of confusion flitted across his face, "Where is the Mist ring, actually?"

"It's over there," the grinning prince jerked his head towards one of the piles of rubble. "You've got a ruthless one on your team. Poor Mammon's buried."

"Potter-san is always reliable," Yamamoto sighed, correctly guessing what had transpired. "Then, Gokudera and I have the remaining rings. We'll exchange them for the girl's and Potter-san's life."

"What?" Gokudera exclaimed angrily.

"Shishishi, that's acceptable," Belphegor sniggered. "Roll them over. Do not approach within reach of your sword."

"Then," Yamamoto held up two of the rings he had. "Here."

He moved to roll them, but the gymnasium was wrecked and the ruination Harry had brought onto the building made things hard to see. Yamamoto tripped.

Except, it wasn't a trip.

His sword came sliding from its sheath and flew across the room. Harry barely had time to even gape before Belphegor was knocked backwards with a cry of pain and Yamamoto had streaked across the length of the gym. The prince didn't even have time to react before Yamamoto slammed his head with the back of his blade, knocking the blond unconscious.

Gokudera could only stare, "You dog."

"Hahaha, that's everyone right?" The baseball star laughed. He rose to his feet, wincing as his hand went to his side. Blood had seeped through his wounds. "Now for Potter-san. Gokudera can you take care of the girl?"

Yamamoto made short work of Belphegor's wires while Gokudera administered the antidote to Chrome.

"You should really sit down, Potter-san," Yamamoto said once he'd freed his senior. He took Harry's arm to steady him.

"Dunno if I can," Harry grimaced. "I don't think I'd be able to get up again if I did that."

"Sheesh," Yamamoto said, looking amused, "you and Hibari-san are ridiculous. You make me feel bad. Look, Gokudera and I will handle the rest. Trust us, okay?"

Harry thought about protesting. They were all injured, and Yamamoto had just pushed himself to surprise Belphegor. But the words 'trust us' wasn't easy to ignore.

The green eyed student sighed, and allowed the swordsman to lower him to the floor. The sheer exhaustion which flooded his body nearly made him black out, but he managed to conquer the feeling. Nevertheless, his reply was slurred, "Alright. Take care of Tsuna."

"Che," Gokudera grunted as he rose from Chrome's prone body. She was breathing more easily. "As if that had ever been put into question."

The Ring Battle ended crazily. Tsuna had been declared the winner after all the rings had been brought together, but in bringing them together they'd created a phenomena which melted the ice he'd incased Xanxus in. The barriers were lowered with the conclusion of the Sky Match and in the confusion following Xanxus had gone crazy and ripped the sky ring from a distracted Tsuna, declaring he'd take the Vongola by force. Then Xanxus had been rejected because his blood was not worthy, and there was talk of the Vendice because the leader of Varia had assaulted the now legitimate Vongola heir. Lancia had at some point appeared too, having fought off the reinforcements of the Varia. In short, it was absolute chaos.

"Your ring," Reborn told him the day after the battle. Harry was at Dino's again, along with pretty much every guardian, excluding Chrome. True to his prediction, he couldn't move after the battle, and Dino's men had to carry him back. He might have been embarrassed if he hadn't been so wearied and in pain.

At his bedside, Reborn held up a velvet box. Within, the lightning ring glimmered at the end of a silver chain.

"What actually is it?" Harry asked, bemused. He slipped the ring from the box and into his waiting fingers. "It helped me, before. I could never have brought down those lights in the gym with the little I trained with electricity."

"The Vongola rings are special," Reborn confirmed. "They augment dying will flames. It's partially why they're so valuable."

"And the other part?"

Reborn smirked, "Don't suddenly start acting dense now. They're an heirloom."

Harry let out a laugh at that, "Right, of course."

"You really are quite impressive, Harry-kun," Reborn said, hopping off the bed and heading towards the door. "I'm not often surprised, but I admit I didn't expect anyone other than Hibari Kyoya to be able to resist the Cervello's poison."

"There's a reason we don't normally go beyond our limits," Harry grimaced. The pain that he hadn't felt had been an indicator of how badly he was hurt. He thought he just set back his recovery by weeks if not the month. "But Tsuna could do it too, can't he?"

It wasn't really a question.

"He's the Boss," Reborn said in reply, as if that explained everything. He paused at the doorway, looking back with a smirk, "And more importantly, he's my student. Don't forget, the party's at six."

Reborn left. It was just as well. Now that the adrenaline following training, battle, and life and death situations was over, there was a lot to think about.

"Lightning Guardian, huh?" Harry mused, holding the ring up to the window. It glinted innocently, giving no hint to the amount of trouble it took to take possession of it. There'd be no peace after this, because he was sure that the Varia was only the beginning. More would come for Tsuna and it'd be a world of fear and danger, battle and blood. But it'd also be a world of warmth and friendship, of light and of life. "I guess that isn't so bad."

A/n: So, it's been something like three years hasn't it? I have no excuse other than KHR has really disappointed me, but rereading has made me feel better about the Shimon and Rainbow Representative arcs which I hated while I was following. So Act III has finally come to an end, with an abundance of page breaks I might add. There was supposed to be a Harry/Iemitsu confrontation scene to wrap up that conflict but then Iemitsu had to be in Italy -sigh-. So all I'll say about that is everyone's human.

Also, I'm having a hard time with Harry Potter, but I rather feel KHR-y unless GoT manages to completely draw my attention away. Just out of curiosity, if I did decide to write a pure KHR fic, which would you be most interested in? It should be noted though that I heavily favour character development and am a big fan of friendship, so all of these would likely end up centering around those elements.

Idea #1 Sum: His assassination was meant to allow him to mimic a state of death, but he should have known better than to rely on an experimental bullet. He never meant to become the papa to his younger self in a parallel world, either. Eventual R27.

Idea #2 Sum: Tsuna was dame-dame from the start, so he wasn't sure why on his eighth birthday all these cool people started wanting to be his friends. A guardians travel back in time story because Talbot didn't have a solution.

Idea #3 Sum: Byakuran's power was able to awaken without his ring. What if Tsuna's had as well? After a life and death encounter Sawada Tsunayoshi begins to receive help from beyond the grave in the form of all the previous bosses, whether he wants it or not.

Idea #4 Sum: A chance encounter in Tokyo changes the course of Tsuna's life irrevocably. When Byakuran discovers he can see into parallel universes, and his best friend can connect to the past, a two player game against the world suddenly sounds a lot more fun than dominating by himself.

Idea #5 Sum: Nana dies and Iemitsu chooses the Vongola over his family. Tsuna is sent to live with an acquaintance of his mother, Hibari Manami.

Idea #6 Sum: The Inheritance Ceremony is uninterrupted and Tsuna takes on the mantle of Vongola Decimo. Returning a mafia organization to its vigilante roots however is far harder than the inverse. To prosper or to perish. Primo hadn't told him that perishing meant taking down a third of the world with him.