KHR Themes

Title: Martyr Without A Cause

Theme: Devotion

Rating: PG-13/T

Pairing: Mukuro/Chrome –kind of-

For: Allimassy

Summary: Shimon arc spoilers.

He knew from the moment they met, Mukuro had found his perfect vessel. So obedient and when he healed her body, the girl looked at him as if he was some sort of God. With one look, Mukuro could tell. Nagi would follow him to the ends of the Earth if he asked.

She would only be temporary though, he told himself; because even with the illusionary organs the girl was weak and underdeveloped in terms of strength.

Still, he couldn't have asked for a better host. Aside from their occasional conversations to ease loneliness from her soul, Nagi asked for very little. Strange that. Usually his hosts were so demanding. Still others like Lancia; lost their ever loving minds when they woke up to find their body had done something while the person was unconscious.

The first time he 'borrowed' Nagi's body without her permission, the girl found herself staring at a dead body while standing in an empty street in the middle of the night. Mukuro lingered at the edges of the girl's consciousness, waiting for the screaming, vomiting or silent terror.

She did none of these things. The girl simply pushed on the trident to stand up, staggering away from the stranger's corpse to find a park water fountain faucet to wash blood stains off a green skirt.

Intrigued by her lack of response, Mukuro coaxed Nagi back to the meadow they first met.

"You don't have to try to act so brave, Nagi" he said lightly. "Death is never a pretty sight. Murder is even worse."

He hadn't lied to her about his reputation, but Mukuro would be the first to admit he wasn't forth coming about it either. His excuse being: she never asked.

It didn't take Nagi long to piece it together though.

"You said…you're in prison…is it because you killed people?"

Mukuro smirked, "If I said 'yes', would you scream?" Nagi shrugged. Again, her lack of emotion was interesting to him.

Her left eye blinked owlishly, lips pursing as the thirteen year old mulled over the possibility of sharing her body with a murderer.

"…never mind."

"Why? Are you no longer curious?" Mukuro prodded. Nagi played with the left strap to her white dress, "No. It just doesn't matter to me…I suppose."

This struck him as beyond odd. Her serenity in the face of the unknown had gone from being a boon for Mukuro and his purpose to being troublesome.

"What if…" he began, keeping his tone as light as possible, "I decided that I've grown tired of you and rob you of your organs. For no reason other than I can."

She blinked again. "Just a hypothetical situation, Nagi. I'd never do that to you." Mukuro assured with chuckle.

A long stretch of silence followed, Nagi looking away while plucking grass blades from his illusionary world.

"…if taking away my organs would help Mukuro-sama, I would understand."

It felt like a fist had caught him in the gut. At first, Mukuro couldn't grasp why it bothered him so much. Before Nagi, he used others bodies as his weapons. A human body was only around as long as it was useful. If the body was unable to carry on he'd hop to another host without a problem or sense of guilt.

This was a first though: a host who didn't care what happened to her body.

"Well, what do you think?" he inquired long after Iemitsu Sawada left, leaving in Nagi's hand half of a Mist Ring.

"It's…" she turned it over in her hand and held it up to the 'sunlight', looking at the gleaming silver, pad of her thumb tracing over the broken emblem before sliding it on her left ring finger. Like an engagement ring or wedding band. Maybe that trend hadn't caught on in Japan, so most likely Nagi was none the wiser as to the significance of a ring on the left hand.

Either way Mukuro snickered, but didn't bother to correct her, even if his stomach soured at the thought of her actually being 'married' to the Mafia.

The girl examined the ring, only to lower hand and allowed the half-ring to drop onto her lap.

"It's too big."

"Well, it is meant for a man's ring finger." 'It was meant for me', went without saying. Nagi was well aware her power came from him, not the other way around.

Still, a momentary look of dejection crossed her honest face.

He didn't like that look, so Mukuro surprised the girl by wrapping his arms around Nagi's middle and drawing her to his side.

"You're still important Nagi. You'll be my proxy until it's time for my release." Because he was getting out of Vendicare, it might take years; but Mukuro would not be contained forever.

The illusionist didn't have to look to tell the girl was blushing. Her body language as a whole radiated embarrassment. Nagi squirmed and struggled in his embrace, her heart hammering inside its glass-bone ribcage. The girl did not like being held, yet Mukuro kept his arms around Nagi until she settled down long enough to listen.

"You exist to serve my purposes Nagi. For now, that means cooperating with the mafia" his lips curled into a disgusted sneer behind the girl's hair- so she wouldn't see.

"One day though, you will be instrumental in bringing them down." No one suspect a frail little girl with a sob-story past. Just like no one saw it coming when a loyal-to a fault mafaiso to kill his own family, Mukuro really knew how to pick his 'vessels'.

The unexpected and unassuming, the loyal backstabber and the frail mind-reaper: both under his control, yet the two couldn't be more different.

When time came for her to fight, Mukuro could already tell Nagi wouldn't win and the Vongola family were in dire straights and needed this win.

'Time for you to tap out Nagi' he said just as the girl used her power to create pillars of fire and the 'baby' emerged unscathed. Mukuro could tell their opponent was readying an illusion to over take the girl's.

Yet, she refused. Nagi built up a block, preventing him from taking over her body right that instant.

'When did she…' he wondered. The block was easily torn down, only for him to find another. Barrier after barrier, mental block after block, becoming annoyed Mukuro almost forced himself to emerge through her.

'No. I don't want him to hurt you, Mukuro-sama.' Nagi told him, trying to sound stern but her inner voice was quaking from pain and fear.

Were this less serious- the trident shattered and she was wasting away internally- Mukuro would have laughed and mocked her foolishness before forcing himself through and ending the match quickly.

Instead, he pushed his consciousness first and foremost, letting Nagi sit back and recover. Mukuro's form overtook hers, a burst of energy all his own. It felt 'good' to have use of limbs again, even if was only for a little while since her strength was fading fast.

When the fight was over and done with, Mukuro's one regret- out of so many- was that he let the brat escape with his cowardly life.

Nagi would have a difficult time recovering and he'd have to sleep for awhile to regain strength as well. All of this…for some stupid ring. A symbol of belonging to a mafia, the one thing he despised more than anything. What a big joke.

Staggering, Mukuro looked the wide-eyed boy in the eye. His future 'boss', yet he was no older than Nagi and looked more fearful than the girl at the prospect at being a cog in the Underworld. This doe-eyed kid was the one who bested him too.

'What…a pathetic and cosmic joke…'was his last thought before letting Nagi have her body back.

"He's scary…" Nagi suddenly said one day, out of the blue a few days after Tsunayoshi won his battle against Xanxus.

"Who?" Mukuro inquired, but he already knew. "…the one with the Cloud Ring." Nagi mumbled, proving the other Mist Guardian right.

"Ah, you mean Hibari-kun. Yes, he's terrifying. You don't ever want to be alone with him, Nagi."

Her wide gaze turned to him, terror canceling out curiosity. Good. The less she hung out with Tsuna's little family, the better.

And not a day after Mukuro's resolve to protect Nagi from fraternizing with Tsuna and his budding mafia, she vanished.

Mukuro wasn't one to panic. He epitomized the concept of 'been there, done that'. Nevertheless, it was disconcerting when he couldn't feel the girl's presence; usually he was the one who withdrew, not the other way around.

He started to worry when it became clear to Mukuro he could only hear silence from her end. No heart beat or voice. And possessing her body was impossible. Something stronger than Nagi's amateurish attempts to block him from her body was preventing Mukuro from possessing the girl.

Eventually Nagi returned. And she came with quite a story to tell, because what had been the longest day of his life had actually amounted to nearly four months in her lifetime.

"Ten years in the future…hm, you don't say." Mukuro mused after Nagi fell back on the grass, breathless from all the talking. He was more than a little tickled by her gushing fountain of non-stop self-dialogue.

Rarely was the girl this excited, so everything came out in a rush and very disjointed. Mukuro waited for the girl in the grass to collect herself before asking questions.

He was getting the picture gradually. Images which felt like memories, yet without him being present to witness it first hand, coming to him in installments and gaining clarity as he connected them to Nagi's tale.

Nagi rolled onto her stomach, luckily in this world there was no such thing as dirt or grass stains, otherwise her white dress would have been ruined.

"In ten years…you're free from Vendicare" she said, eye shining with a look he could only describe as hope. Mukuro had to look away. This girl…he was her world and sometimes Nagi's open admiration and trust was too much for him to shoulder.

"Ten years…that seems like a life time away." Mukuro said with a smirk, not having the heart to tell Nagi that since they changed the future, his fate and that of his future self might not align. Besides, he wouldn't put it past the mafia to stick him right back in Vendicare after he helped save the world.

No. He wouldn't put it past them to back stab him in such a despicable manner after sacrificing his own well being.

"…everyone was…surprisingly nice to me."

"That's nice." Mukuro said off-handedly, feeling a touch bitter and wrapped in his own thoughts to bother with anything else Nagi had to tell him.

Ten years? Granted, he was patient but that seemed too far in the distance. Then again, he wasn't being very proactive about getting out at the moment.

Maybe, it was time to change that.

In retrospect, Mukuro realized it was a mistake to ignore Nagi's new found admiration and fond feelings for the Guardians and Tsuna.

He was roused out of 'sleep' to have Nagi pulling him, not the other way around; into their field.

She was sobbing and trembling all over. In between sleep and consciousness, he could only stare dumbly as the tears flowed.

"I don't…I don't know what to do…I can't…" her breathing was staggered. Climbing higher and higher and hysterics creeping into Nagi's voice between sobbing, unable to do anything else, Mukuro opened his arms and let the girl cry into his chest until exhausted.

"What happened?" he was finally able to ask.

"Yamamoto-san…he's…all tore up."

Mukuro wondered what was wrong with him. He felt no joy as the prospect of a mafia member dying. Maybe Nagi's foolish sentiments were rubbing off on him.

"I don't want him to die…" Nagi confessed, her voice sounded so pained Mukuro had to stop himself from giving in to comfort her. He'd have to pull away and detach himself from this situation.

Even if Nagi valued this person, Yamamoto was still a mafia member. And Mukuro refused to help the Vongola anymore. Not until they got him out of Vendicare.

"They want me to help…" she sniffled. Pausing to rub tears off her cheeks, Nagi began anew "I have to make an illusionary Yamamoto-san for the ceremony. I'll need your help Mukuro-sama."

"No" Mukuro replied. He didn't have to think about it. The sooner Nagi realized the Vongola were only using her, until they deemed she wasn't worth the effort; the better off they'd both be.

He wasn't going to lend his help making a copy of this boy. No matter how much she cried or begged him.

Instead, Nagi pulled away.

"…okay" she whispered then quietly withdrew out of their world.

Mukuro disconnected from Nagi. Some might call it 'sulking'; he'd call it 'sticking to principles'.

He refused to take part in a mafia ceremony. Idly, Mukuro wondered how she did with the 'fake' Yamamoto. Could she even conjure illusions without him?

Mukuro thought back to a shared memory of his and Nagi's, to the grim look on the older Hibari-kun's face as he forced the girl to put on the ring and make her own organs. She could. If her life depended on it, then yes Nagi could do it with great pain and effort.

To create another human being or at least a projection of one; and have it successfully fool many people…was another matter all together.

When she didn't return for a few days, Mukuro started to worry. His communication to the girl was blocked. Stronger than her own resistance. Last time this happened, she was ten years in the future. Something different this time, Mukuro could feel it. Darker…sinister and stronger than himself…

He didn't have to wait for too long. Mukuro felt the shockwave go through his body as Nagi's organs were squished, punctured and squeezed.

Panic flooded him, leaving him unable to think logically. Mukuro's only thought was to reach Nagi and pull her back to prevent further damage. She resisted. Fighting him tooth and nail.

'Stupid, idiot girl! I'm trying to save you!' Mukuro said around gritted teeth.

'He's too strong, please don't come. Please…don't…'

He almost screamed. Mukuro was within seconds of yelling that he wasn't going to let her die. Not if he could prevent it.

Nagi was already unconscious though, surviving on the bare minimum, yet Mukuro found he still had to fight against her mental blocks. She was dying, but fought against his control, because the man who had brought Nagi to this state terrified her so.

Yet, her first most thoughts were to protect him from harm.

What a messed up sense of devotion, Nagi had.

At last emerging, Mukuro held out his trident, looking the first Mist Guardian in the eye. He didn't care how this man was still alive or what tricks were up his sleeve, Mukuro's only thought was: 'this bastard hurt Nagi.'

No introductions were needed. Spade brought out the cards so they could fight in 'his world'.

Mukuro blinked as the people Spade called his 'comrades' appeared. M.M, Fran, Ken and Chikusa, all armed and ready to fight him to the death if need be.

For a split second, they were real, and then Mukuro tucked away his belief in their existence. Spade only needed a foothold, a fraction of an inch to worm his way inside and break Mukuro's resolve.

Then, Nagi appeared. Tears streaming down her face and begging him to stop and save her life…

He had to laugh.

'That's not Nagi. That's not even Chrome. She'd…' Mukuro swallowed something thick and tasting of bile as he came to a sickening realization.

The real Nagi would willingly give up her own life, before asking Mukuro to stop and save her.

So he turned the trident around and impaled the fake because it was a poor excuse for the real thing. For being the first Mist Guardian, Spade really didn't understand people all that well, for that he was the worst illusionist Mukuro had ever encountered.

And he would die, for trying to destroy Nagi.

Notes: Sorry if it was slightly OOC. I find Mukuro and Nagi/Chrome's relationship very interesting, so I can't even begin to cover all the aspects of in one ficlet but damnit I gave it my best shot –lol

Thanks for reading. And remember, I can always use more character or het pairing suggestions for future themes! Just leave a review or PM as to what character or het ship you want to read next.