Yes, I know I have something else I should be working on, but plot bunnies strike at the strangest times and in the strangest ways. By which I mean only during english class.

Either way, I felt the need to start this story too, which may or may not be shorter than what I'm pretending I have planned for Mistakes Will Be Made (because I'm totally pulling that out of my ass as I go). This is also an exercise writing present tense instead of past tense. Point of view will probably switch between Mukuro and Hibari from chapter to chapter.

Warnings: Yaoi/BL/Shonen-ai/slash/whatever you call it, language

Disclaimer: I'm not Amano Akira, but if I could just get my hands on that posession bullet...


Altruism

1: Attention

It is cold outside the human-sized tank when they finally let Mukuro out, but it's far earlier than he expected to be released and so he's trying to cope with it. It's been something like a year since he was stuck back in there after escaping, and Sawada Tsunayoshi has finally come to terms with the fact that you can't exactly change who you're related to and succumbed to his fate as the boss of the Vongola famiglia. That was fine with Mukuro; it made his plans to bring the mafia world crashing down around itself that much easier. Either way, Tsunayoshi wants both his Mist Guardians free and ready to fight in case of an emergency, as if anyone's stupid enough to challenge the Vongola after the last incident. Daemon Spade was a fucking asshole, and Mukuro had really put the bastard in his place, now hadn't he.

He's not sure exactly why he hasn't simply stabbed Tsunayoshi and taken him over just yet, but perhaps it's something to do with the fact that the kid's just simply that charismatic and sweet. Not many people would overlook the fact that you'd tried to murder them the last time you'd met in person. Not many people would forgive you nearly killing several of their friends.

Mukuro supposes that if he is being forced to associate with the mafia, at least it's Tsunayoshi's mafia, and their boss is an honestly good guy. Mukuro can't imagine Tsuna allowing experiments like the ones performed on Mukuro in his childhood to go on, not in a million years.

Mukuro shudders, and it's not because he's cold this time.

"Mukuro," Tsunayoshi starts awkwardly on the airplane back to Japan. The illusionist gives him a confused look. "I, um. Because you're part of the famiglia now, Joshima Ken and Kakimoto Chikusa wanted to follow you… um."

"Get to the point," Mukuro encourages.

"The Varia think they have potential, and want to know if they can, er… well, I believe the word Belphegor used was 'borrow,' but I don't quite think it's what he meant."

Mukuro laughs. "If those two fools can keep up with the Varia, the Varia can have them. Let them do what they want."

"Okay. Aw, crap. That means I have to call Squalo when we get off the plane… I really don't want to do that."

Mukuro stares into space for a moment. It's been a while since he's been on an airplane. The flight attendants keep giving him strange looks because his hair's still damp from the tank he was kept in and he's wearing a pair of jeans borrowed from Gokudera Hayato and an oversized t-shirt belonging to Tsuna that the boy has yet to grow into himself, and he looks and feels very out of place.

"How's Chrome?" he asks, attempting conversation. It feels strange to use his voice after so long speaking through someone else's mind.

"She's doing well. She's been staying with Kyoko-chan and Ryohei-oniisan this past week, actually. Sun Guardian and his sister," Tsuna explains, seeing Mukuro's blank stare as he attempts to recall where he's heard the name Ryohei before. "She's planning on transferring into Namimori Middle."

"What year?"

"Second. I'm going to be in third with Yamamoto and Gokudera-kun, and Ryohei-oniisan and Hibari-san are going to be starting their first year at Nami High school. Um, on that note, Mukuro…"

"Yes?"

"Would you be willing to attend Namimori High?" Tsuna asks.

Mukuro is taken slightly aback by this request. Mostly because he cannot fathom why it's being made to begin with.

"It's mostly so all the Vongola Guardians are in the same place, we can communicate easily, get used to each other better… there's a lot of factors, actually. But for you, wouldn't it really be your first actual academic experience? You know, since you've sorta been… well, in prison. And worse. You know what I mean."

Mukuro does know what he means. He tries not to think about what he means by and worse. He knows what Tsunayoshi means by his first actual academic experience. That doesn't mean he knows what he thinks about it.

Eventually, the idea of forcing Hibari Kyouya to attend classes with him makes him smile inwardly as he imagines sitting at a desk behind the prefect, flicking notes with suggestive, amusing things written on them at the back of his head and watching his reactions.

"I'll attend your school, sure," Mukuro agrees, shrugging. Maybe he'll go to class. Maybe he won't. If he doesn't, all he needs to do is send in an illusion, because the teacher won't be able to tell the difference anyway. If he doesn't, the head prefect of the disciplinary committee will come and threaten to bite him to death.

"Um, good," Tsuna nods. "Um, I'd offer that you can stay at my house, but Gokudera's sister and Lambo and I-Pin and Ranking Fuuta are already taking up all the extra space that I have…"

The plane lands and they file out to catch a cab back to Tsuna's house, still discussing where the hell Mukuro is going to live.

"I think Gokudera-kun still hates your guts," Tsuna continues. "And Yamamoto's dad already says he can't handle another kid. Um, the Sasagawas are already taking care of Chrome… that sort of leaves Hibari-san, and I can imagine you showing up at his house asking to live with him isn't really going to go over very well, but aside from maybe Irie Shouichi's place, which is completely out of the question, I can't imagine where else to send you. And you can't commute from Kokuyo every day…"

"Well, Kyouya-kun's just going to have to learn to live with me then," Mukuro grins, starting to get his strength back enough that he would feel comfortable wandering around on his own.

And then Tsunayoshi makes a face like he's just come up with a wonderful idea, and he voices this revelation of his to Mukuro. "Actually, that seems like it might be a good idea," he explains. "Go stay with Hibari-san. I'll come with you to convince him. You can teach him how to relate to other people without, say, killing them."

"And what do I get out of this? Besides living space," he adds.

"Um, Hibari-san will stop trying to murder you every time your name comes up?" Tsunayoshi guesses. Mukuro smiles, and they give the cabbie the new directions to Hibari Kyouya's house. They are dropped off some time later, and Tsunayoshi braces himself and takes a deep breath as he rings the doorbell.

Moments pass and then Hibari appears on the doorstep. It is late evening and he's wearing a yukata, for reasons Mukuro cannot fathom, because it's April, it's vaguely chilly, it's not a holiday, and Hibari lives in a perfectly normal house and the yukata, while very attractive on him, looks slightly out of place in a suburban neighborhood.

Hibari's about to say something along the lines of "get off my doorstep, herbivore" to Tsunayoshi when he realizes Mukuro's there too, and suddenly there's a tonfa to the illusionist's throat and he's being pressed easily up against the garden wall and Tsunayoshi is yelling at Hibari to calm down and be rational.

Mukuro decides that while he is recovering, he probably has a bit more recovering to do yet, because he finds it almost disturbing and definitely unnerving how easily he's been pinned down and how easily Hibari could push a little harder and suddenly he wouldn't be breathing.

There is a long and drawn-out argument between Tsunayoshi and Hibari, in which Tsuna cowers in fear a lot and Hibari growls and Mukuro remains pinned to the wall with much less force that should usually pin him to a wall, but eventually Hibari concedes, if only for the reason that Mukuro can cook and for the most part, Hibari's diet consists of instant ramen, convenience-store sushi, and whatever the closest cheap restaurant serves on the weekends.

Tsunayoshi leaves awkwardly and Hibari stalks back inside.

"I'll lock you out if you don't hurry up, herbivore," he snaps, and Mukuro steadies himself and follows Hibari indoors. He politely shuts the door behind him and removes his shoes before standing up straight and trying not to look as pathetic as someone who's just been let out of prison, shoehorned onto an airplane and flown through several different time zones, is wearing strange, mismatched clothes, and somehow still manages to be fucking dripping.

Inside, the prefect's icy gray eyes bore into his own mismatched ones for a moment before he instructs Mukuro on the apparent rules of the household. "You do all the cooking because I can't cook without disasters occurring," he begins, not at all distressed by the fact that he's about as skilled in the kitchen as Bianchi, minus the poison-on-purpose. Mukuro nods. "You do your own laundry. Don't expect me to touch it." He nods again. "Don't make a mess. If you do, clean it up. If something's broken, fix it. If you can't fix it, report it. If it's not where it's supposed to be, put it back. If you don't know what to do with it, figure it out for yourself." Mukuro nods to each of these, because if he doesn't, Hibari's still got his tonfas out and Mukuro doesn't want to be on bedrest. "Don't wake me up. Don't bother me. Take a different route to school than I do; I don't want to be associated with you."

"That's sorta harsh, Kyouya-kun," Mukuro mumbles. He is given the Evil Eye and rapidly shuts up.

"If you break any of these rules, I'll bite you to death."

"Gotcha." Mukuro refrains from making a sexual comment.

"Your room is upstairs. Go take a bath," Hibari instructs.

"Since when are you my mother?" Mukuro mutters. "Speaking of which, Kyouya-kun, where are your parents? They won't mind me here, will they?"

"My parents works overseas," he says vaguely. Mukuro raises an eyebrow.

"You live alone?"

"Go take a bath." Hibari refuses to make eye contact, instead glaring at the floor.

"Isn't that lonely?"

"Go take a bath, herbivore. I'll kill you if you ever bring this up again."

Mukuro has a towel shoved into his arms and is directed down the hallway and into the bathroom. He locks the door behind himself, just out of habit, and runs the bath water as hot as it'll go, because the people tubes in Vindicare are fucking freezing, and Mukuro is almost positive they employ some jerkwad scum to walk between the tanks and dump a new bucket of ice cubes in every once and a while, because it's prison, prison for the worst of the worst of the worst of the mafia world, and prison just sorta sucks that way.

The water's probably close to boiling, but it feels great, and Mukuro is very conscious of the fact that it's Hibari's bathroom and Hibari's bathtub he's soaking in and now he lives here, at least until he can figure out how to get a job. And keep it for long enough to make money. And get his own apartment.

Because until then, he's Hibari's personal chef. And Tsuna lied about the cooking skills. True, he isn't quite as bad as Hibari, but most of what he knows how to make involves a microwave oven, some tofu, and soy sauce, or otherwise looks like it came off the menu of an Italian restaurant. A vague and amusing image floats through Mukuro's head, an image of Hibari attempting to eat spaghetti with a fork instead of chopsticks, and it's a total mess and the prefect looks like a fool, and Mukuro decides he's making spaghetti for dinner as soon as he can get his hands on some.

Upon getting out of the bath, Mukuro wraps the towel around his waist because he really doesn't want to put Gokudera's pants back on and makes his way down the hall. He only knows which room is his because the door's open and a piece of paper reading "Herbivore" has been thumbtacked to the door. Mukuro raises an eyebrow and stifles a giggle and enters the room.

It's small and sparsely decorated and looks like it may at some point have been used for storage, because Mukuro can see vague hints of dust where boxes of stuff have been lifted out of the way. Mukuro finds the boxes shoved unceremoniously in the closet.

There's a desk up against the wall next to the window and a futon stacked in the corner. On top of the futon, folded conspicuously neatly, are a few pairs of pants and a few shirts, a set of pajamas and some socks and underwear and Mukuro can imagine Hibari wearing none of these things. It's clarified that this suspicion is true when Mukuro realizes there's a post-it note on top of the stack of pants. It reads, my mother sends me these from overseas; I don't like them and don't wear them. Go give Gokudera Hayato his pants back.

Mukuro smiles at this, because Hibari doesn't realize it but he's being rather caring here, and it seems very strange and out-of-character to Mukuro, but perhaps there's a reason behind it all.

Mukuro pulls on a pair of boxers (he wonders idly if Hibari's telling the truth about never having worn them and blushes slightly)and dons the pajamas, black and flannel and comfy. He leaves the room, giving a vague glance at the sunset out the window, and goes downstairs.

Hibari is in the kitchen with a cup of tea and a math book.

"Doing homework?" Mukuro asks.

Hibari makes a noncommittal "Hn" noise and otherwise ignores Mukuro's existence.

"Thanks for the clothes."

"Hn."

"Nice to see you again too, Mukuro," Mukuro snarks, "It's great to see you out of prison. Maybe we can have a sparring match in the morning. I missed you too."

"You're blocking the light," Hibari says blandly, gesturing vaguely at the kitchen window where the last rays of daylight are streaming in. Mukuro glances half-interestedly at this and then turns to say something to Hibari, but his voice catches in his throat because it's been a long time since he's seen the citrus-orange light of a sunset playing across someone's skin, seen the almost harsh highlights it throws in their hair, the dazzling sparkles it brings out in their eyes and the deep, black shadows it casts behind them, copying their form in a silhouette on the wall.

Hibari is beautiful in this light, and Mukuro is suddenly very conscious of the fact that he's being stared at in return by the Namimori prefect.

"Move," he says, and then repeats, "You're blocking the light."

"Turn on a lamp then," Mukuro retorts, composing himself quickly and looking conspicuously in the other direction.

"You're closer to the switch, herbivore."

Mukuro raises and eyebrow, grins, and moves to lean up against the wall right next to the light switch. "You're the one that wants light to work by, Kyouya-kun. Turn the lights on yourself."

Hibari glares not daggers, but large, recently sharpened broadswords at him.

Mukuro smiles like a child coloring beautiful crayon pictures of rainbows on the nice, clean, white walls of their parents' boss's house.

Mukuro continues refusing to turn on the lights and Hibari persists in ignoring his existence entirely. The sun sets slowly, but eventually the last rays of amber light are creeping through the window, and most of the kitchen has gone dark, and Hibari looks up from his math, closes the textbook, and stands.

On his way out of the room, he whacks Mukuro soundly over the head with the book, and silently vanishes down the hall.

Mukuro sighs and decides to raid Hibari's fridge while the prefect isn't looking, because he's hungry and has nothing better to do. He makes himself cup noodles, because that and convenience store onigiri are all that's in the fridge at the moment, and goes through every freaking drawer in the kitchen before he manages to find chopsticks, meticulously organized by color, and he wonders to himself exactly how OCD Hibari is.

He eats his cup noodles in silence and leaves the empty Styrofoam container on the counter because he's not sure where the trash can is, and makes his way upstairs to go to bed, because what with the airplane and the freedom and the actually moving around instead of floating in a tube 24-7, he's very, very tired.

Mukuro falls asleep staring at the ceiling and hoping to whatever might be up there in the sky that Hibari won't try to murder him in his sleep.

He has a sinking suspicion, as his eyes slide shut and he drifts into dreamland, that whatever might be up there in the sky is having a good laugh at his expense right now.


Listening to some really awesome Spanish music right now. I think I understand about as much Spanish as the average housecat (okay, maybe the average Spanish housecat), but it's still epic and win.

Review if you like. I don't care one way or another, but I'd like to know if I should actually continue with this or not.

Cheers;

Forte