A/N: Written for LiveJournal's Write-and-Run KHR fanfic contest. Round 3 was centred around Mukuro, Hibari, and Chrome and public embarrassment as the main theme with a word limit anywhere between 1000-3000 and bonus requirement to work the three of them into a love triangle.
The timeline is some 2-3 years after TYL, set in what I call the "future without Millefiore" AU.
Warnings: none to account for.
Disclaimer: Reborn! is the intellectual property of Amano Akira and all associated companies. I claim no association with any of them, no profit is being made from this and no copyright infringement intended with this fan-made piece of fiction.
As the wind blows
(so the clouds and mist move)
Chrome has had it. She has been watching the fight for a while now, wondering if there will ever be a time when a peaceful day post-mission won't turn into mayhem and shattered pottery. The marketplace she's standing in is a cradle of chaos with vendors trying to salvage what they still can of their ware, shoppers hastily beating a safe escape, and two men trying to obliterate each other, but only succeeding in obliterating everything else around them. The sounds of battle are almost being drowned out by all the clamour of the market's regulars. But only almost.
Watching another fruit stand – third in a row – topple over and shatter, a slush of mashed fruit colouring the ground, and seeing Hibird flitting about above it all with a cheery chirp and Namimori anthem from its beak, Chrome thinks that she has finally had it. Glass shatters and she sees red. Her trident is out before she can complete another coherent thought and in the next moment multi-dimensional fire crates are belching out tornadoes of flames in all directions.
Hibari and Mukuro break apart, caught off guard and forced to evade suddenly spreading flames, and turn to Chrome.
"Kufufu~. My dear Chrome, what are you doing?" Mukuro inquires, head tilted curiously and the hand holding his own trident still pointed at Hibari.
Chrome doesn't respond. All she can think of is that she didn't survive the future of Millefiore and Daemon Spade-possessed Mukuro-sama to end up here, of all places, on the first day off in months just to watch them fight and leave the post-battle cleanup to her, again.
Hibari's twin tonfa are poised for attack, as he observes her from the corner of his eye. He shrugs one shoulder casually, making his slightly creased suit fall neatly back in place. "Hn."
"Enough," Chrome growls out, feeling a sudden tinge of hesitation from their intense looks, but she pushes it to the back of her mind. "I've had enough."
Four long and tiring months on a mission with Hibari, one before that with Gokudera, three even earlier with Ryouhei, and between each not even a single day to stop and just breathe, instead having to transfer back and forth between cities, countries, continents, and battlefields. And now that she has been finally, finally given a day all to herself before having to travel half a world over with Yamamoto – she has nothing against the guy, honest – the final straw, she finds, has snapped sometime around the first clang of metal against metal.
Hibird, oblivious to the rather tense situation below, but very much pleased with the momentary stillness, decides to land in the safest available perch within sight – the tuft of unruly hair at the back of Chrome's head. He settles in and preens. Any other time, she would be mortified at this, and a part of her thinks that maybe she should be – even now – because the indifferent look on Hibari's face changes to disapproval and his eyes narrow ever so slightly.
"Hibari~ Hibari~" the little bird chirps in satisfaction and his yellow wings flap happily, as he settles in and preens.
"Shut up," Chrome snaps quietly – loud enough for her own ears – without thinking and Hibird seamlessly switches to a song that, coincidentally, isn't Namimori Middle anthem.
The next thing Chrome knows, there is a tonfa in her face and a trident's handle across her shoulder. Hibird is still safely perched in her hair even though her own vision is full of black and white – the black of Hibari's jacket and the white lapels of his still impeccably white shirt. It's either his breath or air currents from the sudden movement tickling her face, but she doesn't have the heart to investigate it any further. Surprisingly, all of the anger from just moments before has disappeared to somewhere.
"You," Hibari breathes and Chrome is slightly taken aback because she hasn't been aware that he could make that kind of sound. He won't attack while Hibird is sitting on her head, but the mere fact that he's there is an affront.
Chrome chances a look up (up, up, and…) and looks straight into Hibari's eyes. Looking into them is the same as facing a tornado and Chrome is lost.
"You're crowding," he says in a very low and a very dangerous voice, but he's not speaking to her. There's something in his eyes that wants to tear her apart; something that's been there all through the last month of their mission together.
Mukuro laughs with ease. "You're crowding on me."
It's a statement and a point, and Hibari scowls at the meaning it carries.
Mukuro's closeness startles Chrome. She can never tell where exactly he is most of the time these days because it always feels like he is right next to her; hovering over her.
"Now, now, Hibari…" Mukuro trails off when Hibari plucks Hibird out of Chrome's hair – very gently – before nudging it to fly away.
Hibari lunges forward and Mukuro's trident slides aside while Chrome's ends up pressed across her chest. Hibari is closer to her than ever. She stumbles backwards and into Mukuro, tonfa coming up in a flash, but it only brushes past her ear and doesn't connect with anything she can see or hear. Hibari bumps his forehead against hers and there it is again – that low breath which she isn't sure even has words.
Chrome thinks it almost sounds like "herbivore" because the tone of his voice is the same – it's just the word that's different. And then Mukuro is gone from his spot behind her and she finds herself falling backwards, and – oh, so that's where it was – a tonfa presses against the back of her neck, holding her up in a rather odd pose. Hibari moves away, leaving her to complete the fall before turning to charge at Mukuro again. Chrome doesn't want to think where exactly she lands because the ground is sticky and soft underneath her. She is very aware of the odd, almost sympathetic looks some of the still present merchants are giving her and it makes her cheeks heat up.
Never again, she thinks to herself with a renewed ire, as she gets back up on her feet, never again will she let them leave her to handle the post-battle damage. Especially on her only day off in months. With a newfound resolve she spins her trident and feels a flicker of immense satisfaction when the end of its handle thumps against (sticky fruit remains) solid ground, tearing it away right under their feet. This, she thinks viciously, is a declaration of war.