I guess many of you noticed that the story is ending. Yes it is, but the ending will be long. It will probably drag a few chapters. So, definitely more than three chapters away from ending. As for the ending, Kunagisa wishes to hear from you guys. Please please tell me in the reviews whether you want to see a half/half ending (more 20% 80%) or a completely sad ending. Please review! Merci~

Also how do you guys like the cover? Closest possible to Zero. I might want to put up a pencil drawing of Francisco and Ivan later.

Chapter 15: What We All Regret

Hibari Kyouya, Vongola's unbeatable Cloud Guardian, was send to the hospital by Gokudera and Yamamoto the afternoon before the battle with the Salvos in an urgent hurry. Reborn was not told, nor were the other Guardians told. The people who were informed, surprisingly, were Byakuran and maybe, Zero. Byakuran picked up the phone, but Zero did not. Hence Yamamoto left a message in the Zero's voicemail. Since these two weirdos were the last two who had contact with Hibari before his mind went berserk, Yamamoto made the assumption that these two had something to do with this spontaneous situation.

Byakuran picked up the phone only after one ring. Before he called, Yamamoto thought of everything but Byakuran's actual reaction to the news. He imagined Byakuran laughing, screaming, joking, or just remain silent and put down the phone. But not this, never ever this. Thus when he received the reaction, Yamamoto himself did not know how to respond to it.

Byakuran cried. He cried in wistfulness. And he cried in happiness.

"*Sniff*You knew..." Byakuran muttered on the phone with a running nose. "So you knew...Tsu-chan called you later, right? He did called me...Ha, at least somebody's like me now, dueling with reality..."

"'Tsu-chan'?" Yamamoto was alarmed. "What did you just say? Byakuran!" He demanded. "'Tsu-chan called you later'?!"

"Forget that." Byakuran suddenly stopped 'mourning'. His voice, this time, was light and joyous, contradicting with his previous mood. "I mis-spoke. Tell Hibari I wish him well." Then he hung up the phone, leaving Yamamoto completely dumbfounded in the beeping noise.

Gokudera moved forward and patted Yamamoto on the shoulder. "The doctor said he's just in shock. He can stay here for two days and should be well by then. He's Hibari after all. But I guess he can't go to tomorrow's battle, then." He sighed gently, his voice deep. "I guess we should go back now, Reborn and Sasagawa must be worried."

Yamamoto did not respond. His finger pressed the home key of his phone gently, eradicating the echoing beeping voice both on the phone and in his mind. Sliding the phone into his chest pocket, Yamamoto gave Gokudera a quick hug.

"Hey, hey, bastard, what in the world do you think you are doing..." Gokudera's cursing voice was quickly muffled by Yamamoto's coat. After a few seconds of silence, Yamamoto mutter into Gokudera's ear.

"You know, though our lives' stories are absurd, they are indeed precious." Yamamoto patted Gokudera slightly on the back. "Life itself, then, is the most fragile of all."

Gokudera pushed Yamamoto away slowly, as if absorbing what Yamamoto just said. "Why now?" He whispered silently. "Why say this now?"

"Nothing." Yamamoto gave out a smile, as if he was already back to his normal self. "Just pondering what might really happen tomorrow."

Francisco was lost in Sapporo. Not physically, though.

"I...killed...Ivan..." Francisco muttered in French, totally ignoring the gazes of the other pedestrians. "I...killed...Ivan...I killed...killed...killed..."He stumbled on the word and could not proceed. His eyes were blank, and he could see nothing but the debris of the brick house, smell nothing but sickening scent of dusts, fell nothing but the piercing pain of brick and wood chunks pressing into his feet, hear nothing but Ivan's gentle laugh.

Francisco went onto the crosswalk. Of course, he was unaware of the red light. Francisco walked forward, his mouth still stumbling on the word 'killed'. He did not hear the honk from the white Maserati, nor did he hear the screeching sound of the car's sudden brake.

And there was some pain. Francisco felt himself in the air, but he didn't bother to think why. "I..killed...killed...Ivan..." He continued to mutter. Then there was the impact. Francisco knew blood was zooming out off his body, but he did not care. He lied there. Eventually, he closed his eyes. Ivan, I am sorry. He thought. I will die now to see you, then. Francisco grinned slightly and finally passed out. This might be the last time he closes his eyes.

A man in rugged white jeans stepped out off the Maserati. It was an overly handsome young man. For some reason, his hair was white, and he had tattoos on his cheek. The young man walked quietly to the front of his car and wiped the blood away with his sleeve. Then he bent down and stared at Francisco's face. His face was first surprised, then there was an obvious joy. His red and teary eyes turned from extreme cold to somewhat heartwarming.

"Huh, Franc Salvo, why are you here..." Byakuran tilted his head. Without more words, he picked Francisco up and threw him into his Maserati. "You can't die now, I need your help."

"Edda-san." Reborn said slowly. "Any advices for tomorrow's battle since you are so informed about the Salvo's interior weakness?"

Edda Dogth laughed loudly. "Well, there's nothing to worry about!" He spoke in a cynical manner. "Only Zero will be there! How will he beat us! How can he beat us? We can just be who we are and I believe we will defeat him like that. "

"Only Zero?" Reborn asked. "Where will be Ivan and Francisco Salvo then?"

"Will Zero let them fight?" Edda joked. "No, no, no...They are his precious comrades, he will not let them go on to a battlefield where they are destined to lose."

"You talk like Zero's the one in charge, not Francisco." Reborn stopped for a second and pondered. "Did you know about that all along, that Francisco was not the true boss, but rather Zero?" A small suspicion raised inside Reborn's heart for the first time. This man might be a spy. He thought. A spy from some other family that want to destroy Vongola at its weakest time.

"Oh." Edda tried to look surprised. However, he was laughing in his heart for this question. He had waited so long for it to arrive. "Well. I just noticed, you see. When Ivan was wounded, he called Zero 'Zero-sama', so did Francisco. If the so-called boss of Salvo called Zero with '-sama', who is the actual boss?"

Looking at Reborn's expression, Edda tried to import another thought into his mind. "Zero was messing with Vongola all along. From the way Vongola Decimo was killed, to how he pretended to be a subordinate, Zero is trying to poke fun at us. He is going to make into Vongola a joke at the tip of the Mafia world's tongue. He murdered Vongola Decimo solely for the purpose of demolishing his boredom, or in other words, having fun." Edda sighed in an exaggerated manner. "What a way to kill the famed boss of the Mafia world, putting our family in such an ignominious position!"

To Edda's great joy, Reborn's face darkened. He could see anger flaring in Reborn's eyes. How fun it is to poke fun at human. Edda thought. Manipulating their minds is as easy as taking away their lives, or souls. Now, Edda was near his final goal. He was exulted by this soon-to-come set ending. To Edda, it was like a common movie, a comedy directed and acted by him. And Zero, the name Edda preferred to call Vongola Decimo, was simply an actor in this movie, not even the protagonist. To Edda, Zero was a disposable toy, Zero was something to be played with and joked with, a toy to erase his boredom. Vongola Decimo was somebody not to be reverenced by him.

"Guh!" Francisco woke up in great pain. He did not open his eyes, he didn't want to know what Hell looks like. Ivan must be in heaven. He thought, And I must be in Hell. But of course, his imagination was soon destroyed by a fuzzy blurb of white. How very funny, that blurb gave Francisco a shivering feeling.

"Good night, Franc-chan!" He heard a sharp voice. Very nostalgic. "How are you doing today?" Francisco refused to open his eyes. Just some little devil, go away go away. His wish, however, was once again ignored by his God.

Piercing pain came from his right ankle. "Oh freak...!" Francisco jumped from the pain with his eyes wide open. As he looked down at his ankle, he saw a hand. Then he traced up, and saw quite a familiar face. Byakuran Gesso of Vongola. After a short moment of silence, Francisco spoke.

"So Byakuran, you died too?" He asked innocently.

Byakuran tried his best to not break Francisco's ankle. Smiling, he looked into Francisco's eyes. "I am NOT dead, nor are you." He said slowly. "My car crashed into you in Sapporo and therefore, I saved you."

Francisco closed his eyes and tried to remember what happened. Sapporo, Sapporo, why was I there? Then everything flooded into his brain. For ten minutes, he sat on the bed in complete tranquillity. He did not go back into shock, nor did he cry. Francisco simply sat there in silence.

"So," Byakuran broke the eyes. From Francisco's expression, he knew something had happened between the time Vongola left the Salvo base and now. To Byakuran, this period of a time of doubt. The truth was revealed to him from Irie's senseless reports and his own deductions. He could now deduct the steps Zero will take in the upcoming days to survive, because Byakuran knew who he truly is. But something quite different seemed to had happen to Francisco. "Franc-chan, what happened?"

Francisco looked out the window and bit his lips. "Edda Dogth of Vongola captured Ivan and me. I escaped and hence killed Ivan." He gave a quick summary of his experience and continued silence.

Byakuran noticed that Francisco was unwilling to say anything else. Slowly, he sat down on the edge of bed and turned Francisco's head to him. "Zero V. Salvo's Sawada Tsunayoshi, right? Sawada's not dead."

Francisco dropped his eyes. If it was one day earlier, he would remain completely silent and deny even under torture. But it was not one day earlier. Ivan's dead. Edda kidnapped them. Piecing together the fragments of stories Zero told them during awkward times, Francisco could see a whole picture. Edda's identity was clear to him now. Zero-sama told him that Zero himself would die tomorrow no matter what, and that this death is for eternity because he would hand his own soul to Death. No rebirth. No 'See you next life'. Zero could not be saved anymore. But his fame could be.

Francisco looked up again, at Byakuran's red eyed. He had be crying badly, and he hadn't been sleeping. Byakuran must be confounded by the truth, he must had remembered the melancholy past. "You cried." Francisco stated quietly.

"Yeah." Byakuran laughed. "I did. We are going to do it again, right? Vongola is going to kill Tsuna again, break his heart again. And what can I do?"

"Tell them the truth." Francisco answered without hesitation. "I will probably commit suicide soon, so I can't do it. You will be the one to tell them the truth."

"Commit suicide? Why?" Byakuran twitched his eyebrows. "You are not that weak, are you? Just because your lover died?"

Francisco looked back out at the moon. It was about eight at night. The battle will be in a little less than a day. "I will tell you the story." He said gently, "The full story, and you will understand why."

So Francisco talked. He told the story as if he was an old man on his deathbed, and Byakuran listened. He was a good listener. He didn't interrupt at any point, even when Francisco's eyes started to turn red, even when Francisco started to tear.

So the night passed. Francisco fell asleep few minutes after he finished the story, leaving Byakuran alone in the daybreak, more awake than any time in his life.

Byakuran stood up. He put Francisco in a comfortable position and changed his bandages. He made two days' food and put them inside a fridge, sticking a note that says Francisco can't die before he comes back.

And then he left. Inside a black cloak, inside a white Maserati. To Namomori. If he can make it there in five hours, he may be able to save Tsuna.

Five hours. The normal travel time is fifteen hours. Five. Five.

And he started his car.

Hibari Kyouya woke up in dawn. He pulled the needle off his hand and walked out off the bed. Putting his hand on the window, Hibari Kyouya smiled. Another day, another world, maybe another life. The reason why Zero called him was clear: Zero wanted to shock him so he wouldn't appear on the battlefield, so Zero would face one less nostalgic face during this to-death fight. Byakuran's aim, of course, was the opposite: he wanted him to stop Vongola from fighting with Zero, so Zero wouldn't have to die again in sadness.

"I don't know..." Hibari whispered. "I don't know...I want to save you, Sawada...but...but can I?"

He was so devoted in his thoughts that he ignored the approaching shadow holding a gun.

And he collapsed.

"The silencer worked well." The shadow smirked to himself. "I love these human inventions. Pretending to be Death, what a nature."

"Sleep, Hibari Kyouya, I won't let you ruin my comedy show."

Zero stood alone in the garden staring at the rising sun. The sunrise hurt his eyes, but he didn't care. It was the absolute last day of his life, he wanted to treasure every second.

Edda sent him a message two in the morning. Francisco and Ivan had died. He had forced Hibari mad successfully because he questioned his identity. Now, he was truly alone.