All characters © Amano Akira

Summary: Without Tsuna or Reborn's positive influences, Hibari starts to spiral into the throes of mental deterioration and eventually ends up in Vendicare prison.

Author's note: Credit goes to Reidluver's fic: It's a Mafia Life, for the basis for this story. I just elaborated.


Infestation Coleoptera

Irritation.

It is like a beetle, its spindly feet scratching and skittering against the back walls of his mind. Itchy. It's moments like these when it itches the most, moments when Hibari Kyouya concludes that the sole existence of other sentient beings is to make his life miserable.

It's not a persecution complex. He just wants to keep everything in order, and there is no one more suited to the job than he and he alone. But oh, sometimes it is so hard. Like trying to contain a lake's worth of piranha in a Gladwear bag. It's a beautiful day and the October sun is in his eyes, resplendent and warm on his face. If only he could enjoy its glow and not have to worry about ill-behaved middle schoolers...but Murphy's Law is not that kind. Why can't people just behave?

First off, that mass of body heat, sweats and oils. He has to do something about that. It's sickening. And the way they chew. Like goddamn cows herding. How dare they crowd together in his school? Damn herbivores are probably scheming of ways to break the rules. They always are.

"Hey, you guys. I don't like crowding."

The guy from class C looks at him curiously, and a bit warily since he's been at Namimori long enough to know the legend of the Disciplinary Committee. There is mustard on his chin. "I-it's lunch time, Hibari-san," he says. "We, uh, like to sit together..."

"Crowding is crowding," Hibari responds flatly, drawing out his Okinawa tonfa and feeling the comforting steel, cool and smooth, against the undersides of his palms. "And you will all be bitten to death."

Yes, it's his job to keep order; it always has been. No one else but him can do it. It's his responsibility. Can nobody see that?

The beetle scratches away. The itch of its legs is maddening.

-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-

Hibari Kyouya sometimes remembers a time when he was involved in a mafia crime syndicate. The Vongola, he thinks, or maybe it was Vongoli or Bongoli. Whatever. The memories are hazy, underwater cogitations. They are not quite dreams, but something of the sort that makes him question the reality of it all. It happened when he was sixteen, but he is sixteen now, and the math doesn't add up. Nonetheless, Hibari seems to recall that he was a part of this outlandish organization up until they defeated someone named...Byakurot. He can't quite remember.

Then something had gone wrong.

Sometimes Hibari Kyouya wakes from what little sleep he gets these days with the phrase, "the parallel worlds went wrong" behind his lips, but with no idea as to what they could possibly mean. It's a phrase that haunts him yet he dismisses it as nonsensical ramblings of his subconscious. It's not like he cares.

Sometimes he dreams of someone named Sawada Tsunayoshi. It's the only name he can remember clearly—so clearly, in fact, that one day he had even taken the time to go through school's private records to see if there had been anyone with that name around. If so, he would certainly bite that person to death.

Not only does the school have no record of him, but Namimori's public records state that no one named Sawada Tsunayoshi has ever existed.

What does it mean, the parallel worlds went wrong? Was something supposed to have happened differently?

It's not like he cares.

-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-

Scritch, scratch.

Honestly, does he have to take care of everything? People just seem to want to be bitten to death more and more around here. Maybe they secretly like getting their bones broken, although you would have to be insane to like that kind of thing. And yet, they incessantly break the rules. Bunch of grass-eaters.

"You're not walking properly."

"Eh?" the kid is a freshman, and his tie is crooked. Just looking at it drives Hibari's blood pressure up, and the beetle grows restless against the soft fleshy walls of his head. The legs dig in, and Hibari almost brings a hand up to scratch behind his ear. Almost.

"The pathetic weakness in your legs makes you slouch like a baboon," he says.

"I-Is slouching against the school rules?" Now that is the wrong thing to say. Oh, it itches so much in his head.

"In my book it is," Hibari answers, and goes to work on the petrified kid. For a split second he almost feels like somebody should stop him, somebody with an influence even greater than his. There is the feeling that someone is supposed to be here who isn't.

The feeling is fleeting; the next moment it is gone and there's the lovely sound of a snapping bone beneath his fingers.

-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-

He's finally done it.

As a boy of semi-taciturnity and who harbors an incredibly narrow vocabulary, Hibari has always held comfort in the notion that actions speak louder than words. Talking is simply not enough to quell the contumacious spirit of Namimori high. Namimori, the feeding ground which he has recently been calling "his establishment." Because it really belongs to him. It's always been his school.

The hospital is accustomed to receiving high school students after Hibari's had a run in with them. Sometimes the students even get an extended absence and a nice cast or two. This student had been the same, at first. The only difference this time is that he had not woken up.

The student's parents have to be notified, and Hibari is facing juvenile charges of third degree murder. The principal sits a good distance away, superficially protected by oak and papers, asking Hibari what he is going to do. He thinks it would be a good idea for Hibari to leave school for a while.

Hibari almost finds himself saying, "the parallel worlds went wrong," but stops himself. He could snap the principal's neck if he really wanted to, but then he'd have to run the Committee and the school at the same time and that would just be annoying. As if he doesn't have enough work to do. They need him to keep order.

He manages to convince the principal and the Namimori police to drop the charges against him quite easily. The tonfa help.

-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-

When Hibari goes into his senior year, he starts beating up girls.

Females have never held a place in his Food Chain of Discipline before. They are usually even-tempered and well behaved, so he's never had prior reasons to associate himself with them. But as adolescence rears its ugly head (for him and for them), Hibari starts to realize that they are meat eaters in disguise. They are carnal, lascivious creatures. Harbingers of the blackest kind of mischief. Why has he never noticed this before?

Their blouses are too tight. Their skirts are too short. Their hair spills in front of their jaded cat's eyes in a wild, shiny sheen. Their lip gloss and makeup is disgusting. It makes him think of Venus fly traps and vampire bats.

At first, the scrap of quiescent chivalry lying underneath the raging wolf protests, asking him what kind of guy would lay a hand on a girl. Hibari ultimately decides that it's an appropriate sacrifice to preserve the lasting peace in his school. He loves to fight, and if all of the guys are in the hospital, then the She-wolves will have to do.

He loves to fight, but there is no one formidable around. Fighting is all he knows, and it is all he can do. There must be someone out there.

(Sawada Tsunayoshi)

Who?

Ah, never mind. That person who only exists in his head. Even if there is no one to fight, Hibari must fight anyway. It's the only way to make them all behave.

He ignores the tightness in his pants and the rush of his breath as he pulls the captain of the cheerleading squad's hair out in strands.

-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-

The mafia?

Hibari Kyouya sometimes remembers a time when he was involved in a mafia crime syndicate. The Vongola, he thinks, or maybe it was Vongoli or Bongoli. They are stronger than the Yakuza. Perhaps he will find a worthy opponent to fight if he tracks down the mafia.

Maybe he'll find someone

(Sawada Tsunayoshi)

Stop stop STOP IT ITCHES

who understands what it's like to have such a large burden.

Kusakabe says that he will help him sniff out some powerful Families, and Hibari trusts Kusakabe. But Kusakabe will never really understand. It's all about keeping order, not just in Namimori but the world now, and about fighting until he's the strongest. He will be the apex predator.

So they locate the most influential families. They even go to Italy. Kusakabe has to convince Hibari not to hurt anyone on the journey there since crowding is unavoidable with public transportation.

The last family to go down is one called the Cavallone Family. Hibari is once again overcome with the eerie sensation that he should know this family, but he sees no recognition in the eyes of the sandy-haired don and his right hand. As he watches them take their last breaths, the sandy-haired don's eyes lock on his. Finally, there's something there that Hibari doesn't like, not one bit. It's the look that asks him don't I know you from somewhere?

In another time, another place?

That look is probably on his own face too. He quickly smashes those eyes in, wetly popping the sclera and shutting them permanently.

On the way out, Hibari sees a roach and stomps on it. He makes a bloody footprint in the process that splatters on the tile in a shape that almost looks like a question mark.

The roach takes a good few minutes to die, even after the estate has fallen quiet. Its legs, like the ones in Hibari's head, are still moving.

-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-

Naturally, you cannot completely annihilate three mafia families and expect to draw no attention.

Kusakabe is having second thoughts. Unfortunately, he picks the wrong time to say them; they come out awkwardly and like a retch. He speaks a name that means nothing to Hibari. Vindice. They are looking for him.

"Then let them come," Hibari says. All of the clattering beetles in the world are useless in toppling a skyscraper. "Besides, there are people here to kill."

"Why?" Kusakabe asks. "There is no reason to kill them. The one you killed upstairs was just a child."

Scritch, scratch.

Hibari just smiles one of his bloodless marionette's leers, and Kusakabe lets it go this time. The next time he tries to intervene, he is not so lucky.

-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-

The beetle has grown. Perhaps it has eaten the flesh of his brain and has gotten fat from the juice and fluids. Perhaps it has impaired his judgment.

The pompadour is dripping with blood, the head attached to it crushed in. By him.

Why did he do that?

Kusakabe had been trying to prevent him from his responsibility. He doesn't know what it's like to have to make everyone behave. Ah, wait, that's past tense now. Didn't, using the correct grammar.

No, wait that was wrong.

It itches so much so much

It's all the beetle's fault for this.

CLICK

Something moves inside his head. It's the giant, pregnant beetle. Its writhing beetlespawn should be born soon, turning him into a mindless carnivore. Maybe Kusakabe had known this, and the beetles had tried to protect themselves. Yes, that's it.

Hibari whispers to himself, "click, click, clack...click, click, clack..."

He's still murmuring this to himself three hours later, when the Vindice come. He doesn't even realize it when they take him away.

-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-

Because he is not a mafioso nor working for any Family, Vindice cannot kill him. They can only hold him in a soft room with hard chains and a camera monitor. They had to switch to chains after Hibari had eaten through two straight jackets. But padded walls are good. That way Hibari doesn't have to listen to the beetles.

He still dreams. Frequently and vividly, because they inject him with tranquilizers twice a day. Sometimes it's about a strange man in a water tank. The man has long, dark hair and wears a straight jacket. Sometimes in these dreams, the man will open his eyes and say I told you so through the bubbles. His eyes don't match.

Other times, he actually sees Sawada Tsunayoshi. It's a boy, but his shape is fuzzy around the edges. To Hibari it is as though he's supposed to be solid but can't quite make it. He's holding out his hand, but it's never close enough for Hibari to grasp. In these dreams Hibari cries, and he doesn't even know why, damn it.

What went wrong, Hibari? the boy asks. When we defeated Byakuran, everything was supposed to return to normal. Why am I not here, in any world?

The parallel worlds, something with the parallel worlds.

You never existed.

Hibari starts chewing on his lip, biting it. Maybe he will bite himself to death, and then he too will vanish from this world. Little rivulets of blood run down his chin and stain his teeth, but he can't stop.