Hi! Rena here with a new story! "OMG, ANOTHER STORY? You're already working on other ones! ARE YOU SERIOUS?" Yeah, I'm serious. I'm sorry; I couldn't help it! I had this idea for about a month, now, and I really wanted to start it while I had the chance. I love family/friendship themes, so that's what I wanted to work on :c ! So here we go. I've been planning this during school, too. Don't worry! I'll try to update my other stories as soon as possible! & I'll work on them! So, just bear with me... ;_; I'll update quicker once February comes, no worries! Or maybe March... I'm not sure.

DISCLAIMER: I don't own Katekyo Hitman Reborn!

01 - the secret

A cold wind blew through the city streets, having many people wrap themselves tighter with their jackets. The sun was slowly setting, creating an orange glow in the sky. However, since the city looked so busy, no one could see the sun itself and could only tell that night time was approaching by staring at the red and yellow mixture up above. That was how life was in this city, bustling with people who paid no attention to anything else but themselves.

One couple was walking slowly, despite the quick paces of others, not even caring that they were moving at a snail pace compared to the rest. Some started yelling at the couple, telling them to accelerate their walking, but the two only ignored the shouts and carried onto their own business. Besides, they were too upset to care about anything else.

The male was holding onto fliers of some sort, while the woman had her arm linked to the man's and carried a huge roll of masking tape with her hands. At every available space they could find on walls, they would tape the fliers up next to the other ones already on the wall.

The man held up the paper on one space, biting his lips as he did so. He was looking down, trying to block the rest of the world from seeing his eyes that seemed to be filled with liquid, ready to pour and hit the concrete pavement he was standing on.

His lover's hands trembled violently as she tried to put tape on the flier's borders. Her fingers danced oddly and shakily while inching closer to the paper. A part of her wanted to break down on the spot, but a part of her prevented that from happening. She knew she had to continue the task, for the good of her family. If this was to bring back the good of her family...

She felt a nudge on her side, glancing up to her husband with teary eyes.

"Hurry and put the tape on," he whispered with strained force. "We have to put up the rest quickly if we want news to come to us. We have to let people know now."

"B-but it's not just us that this is happening to!" she shouted back, trying hard not to bawl right there. "Look at all the time has passed since the first one! It's been years! Wh-what if the same thing happens to us? What if it takes us that long to receive news...? Then what?"

He did not answer to her questions, not knowing what to say. He was scared, too, thinking the same possibilities as she did. He was ready to lose hope, but at the same time he could not bring himself to. For the sake of his family, he had to work hard. This was too important to him, and he was not going to give up all that easily. Maybe something good will happen... Maybe.

The wife accepted the silence, knowing that there were no answers to her questions. She proceeded to taping the flier and tried thinking positively about good news. She needed to hear anything positive about the situation. Anything. Soon. No, not soon. Now.

Despite thinking about the pleasant possibilities that may rise, her tears fell like bullets. Her whole body was shaking and she could not control it. She was about to fall to the ground, if it was not for her husband to catch her. He picked her up to her feet and carried on to the next space that was not far away. She wiped her tears with her sleeves as she went to catch up to the man.

Their one flier was tiny compared to the big amount of papers on the bulletin board. Their paper was similar to many others, having pictures of faces of young children with two words above that every paper had in common.

"Missing Child!"

. . .

A blond, short-haired man raised the suitcase he was holding and placed it on the table. He clicked the buttons and slowly opened it, allowing the other man next to him to see the shining metal inside. The man next to him grinned with satisfaction and nodded, signaling the blond one to close it once more.

"As promised, here's the money."

They switched suitcases. The blond man didn't even have to open the suitcase to tell the money was there. After working in his job for a few months, he was able to tell that the company – or rather family – was never ripped out of money.

This man was Sawada Ietmitsu, a rookie for the strongest family in the city and the rest of the country of Italy – the Estraneo Family.

The Estraneo Family is a mafia family that was specialized in science and technology. The scientists were all very intelligent, discovering new advances almost every month and these discoveries were used to create top-class weapons. Their specialty is what gave them their current rank as the number one family in Italy and how they got their power and respect in the mafia world. Because they were so well-known and more advanced than any other family, everyone would buy their tools and weapons.

However, they had a secret for their success. And their secret is very unexpected.

. . .

"I'm home, Nana!"

"Oh, welcome home, dear!" a voice sang from the kitchen.

Ietmitsu closed the door behind him and took off his shoes, placing them neatly to the side. He first went to the living room, took off his black jacket, and tossed it to the sofa. The smell coming from the kitchen lingered in the air, which he sighed happily to knowing that his loving wife was cooking something delicious for dinner. He was lucky to be a husband of an amazing cook.

The blond man pranced to the kitchen, forgetting about the tired day he had at work by the wonderful scent of Japanese food in the air. He walked over to his wife, placing a kiss on her cheek once he got close enough. His response to her blushing action was a heartfelt laughter.

The Sawada family is a family that originally came from Japan. However, because of Ietmitsu's job, they moved to Italy where they had lived ever since the birth of their adorable child, Sawada Tsunayoshi. They were easily used to the Italian culture since both parents of Tsunayoshi's knew Italian prior to moving to the country. They were already proud of their son, who was catching on some few and easy Italian words.

Overall, they were a loving family. Both Nana and Ietmitsu cared deeply for each other, as well as their son. One could tell the love of the family if he or she took even one step in their house, or even around them. Their love was gentle and sweet, perfect for a model-like family.

"How was work, dear?" Nana asked, stirring her spoon in the big pot. "Did you have another successful day?"

"As always!" Ietmitsu heartily answered. "There hasn't been a day since our company failed. And I could say, our items are top notch. No other company can match up to ours! We have the best goods, probably even too advanced for our generation right now!" Suddenly, he looked around, noticing that one person was missing from the kitchen. "Honey, where's our little Tsuna?"

The brunette woman chuckled. "Tsuna-kun's taking a nap right now. I was going to wake him up once dinner is ready... Actually, it'll be ready in a few minutes. Do you think you could wake him up for me, soon?"

"Of course! Anything for you, Nana!"

"Aw, you're so sweet, dear! I love you!"

Ietmitsu grinned, not showing any hint of negativity behind the smile. That all changed once he stepped out of the kitchen. He did not want to show Nana the shock that he felt today, and being the oblivious woman she was, he was thankful that she didn't sense anything suspicious from him.

Before he went to go to wake up his darling, cute one-year old son, there was something else he had to do. Something important that was good for humanity. If he did not do anything about what he found out about, then who knows what would happen to the future? This started one year ago, he just realized. The secret of the Estraneo Family had begun one year ago.

If he did not make the phone call now, what could happen to his son...?

. . .

Only a few people knew about the secret of the Estraneo Family, and those that knew were the ones that remained loyal to the mafia family. Never did the other members of the family know about the secret, or consequences would occur. If one did find about the secret, then that person would be shot, burned, or killed in some tortuous way.

The secret to their success... The key was test subjects. And where did they get such test subjects without having to pay any additional money?


To the Estraneo Family, children were seen only worthy when used for the family's gain. Other than that, children did not have any other reason to live. The adults were the only worthy ones to live in this world. To them, their concept was "survival of the fittest." Children could possibly not survive in a world as dangerous as this – only adults did, especially mafia men.

Also, they found out children provide accurate results for their tests. This was how they ranked high in the mafia rankings, with the help of children sacrificing their lives and health for the sake of their research. This was how they were advanced, by having test subjects already available who were human as well. Children were unimportant in life, only for the sake of science were they useful.

How did this family get the children? In the first scene, do you remember that bulletin board that had all those fliers of missing children? That's exactly how. No one knows about the hidden, underground base of the Estraneo Family. No one knows of the hidden children trapped in the base, who are unable to escape the prison. The children were kidnapped or found in the streets, taken when they were alone and away from parents.

No one, except for the loyal people, know about the truth of the missing children or the truth of the success.

. . .

Sawada Ietmitsu was only a rookie for the family, working his best to get into the higher ranks. However, no matter how long or how hard he worked for the family, he was never promoted to be one of the higher ups of the family. Because of the rookie status he had, his task was to only sell the merchandise. Of course, he did that without knowing the background secret.

It had occurred to him several times about the strange success of the Estraneo Family. How did they manage to be so advanced? What was the cause of their number one rank? What allowed this family to become more technological compared to other mafia families?

He had only seen fellow coworkers making exchanges like he did. He had never seen the tests run or the scientists running the tests. The lab rooms were always closed, which was a bit suspicious but he never questioned anyone about it.

However, today, something out of the blue happened that made this day so different from other days and so shocking that Ietmitsu could not believe it.

There was a lab room door opened and the blond man happened to be passing through going back to his room in the base to take a rest. After taking a curious peek in the room, he regretted stepping into the base. He regretted taking the job interview. He regretted partaking in the Estraneo Family business when they held such a huge secret like this.

There were three scientists clapping their hands in joy by some new discovery they made. But that's not what caught his attention. What made him gasp was the lone child that sat on the experiment table, crying quietly to himself. That child was full of red cuts everywhere, all over his body. Some parts of his skin were different colors – blue, green, purple, yellow, and black. It was a disgusting sight.

Ietmitsu found himself rushing through the halls. He felt sick. He wanted to stop running and throw up at the spot. He had never seen such an ugly sight as that child. The moment he saw that child, his suspicions came up and he was connecting the puzzle pieces.

This was why the family was so strong. This was why the family was so advanced. He was horrified with the truth and he had to get away from this family. He had to... Someone as loving as him did not belong in such a place like this.

The huge, metal doors swung open. A big fat man, spun his chair to the doors, narrowing his eyes at the panting blond man. It was obvious he was the boss of the Estraneo Family. Who else had a whole room to himself with a chandelier, spinning armchair, and expensive furniture around?

"Ietmitsu," the man said in a baritone voice. "What seems to be the problem?"

"I can't, sir," was Ietmitsu's reply. "I cannot do this anymore. I cannot stay. I have to quit. This is not my type of job. I cannot stay here knowing the secret that you have hidden from everyone else, sir. I just cannot work for you anymore in this state. I..." He stopped, trying to choose the best word for the situation."...apologize."

He hung his head low, gritting his teeth at the word. Ietmitsu did not want to say "apologize." What was he apologizing for? If anything, the boss should be the one apologizing for allowing such inhumane matters to the family! Using innocent children like that, what kind of people were they? Using these kinds of methods to succeed was wrong. Humanely wrong.

"So be it."

Ietmitsu shot his head up in surprise. That was it? He was free? Just like that? No, that was too easy. If the boss of the Estraneo Family now knew his reason for quitting, then wasn't the family going to do something about it? What would have happened if he spread the word around the city? The family would kill him, but will the members allow him to even utter a word?

He couldn't bring himself to ask these questions out loud. When he had the chance, he should escape from this place, right? He was troubled by the easiness of the resigning, but the fat boss was allowing him to go off and run away from the terror.

Who would have not taken the offer when they had the chance? That's what Ietmitsu exactly did.

. . .

He had to do something about the situation. He couldn't let those children be, just like that. He was a person with morals, unlike the ex-family he worked for. That's why, before he had to wake up his darling son, he had to make this phone call to the police. Someone had to know about this. Someone had to know, for the good of the planet and for the humanity of Earth.

Just as he picked up the phone in the living room, there was a sound of a gunshot. He could hear Nana scream from the kitchen with terror in her high-pitched shout. There was another gunshot fired, right close to him.

Ietmitsu's eyes widened as he picked up the phone with the now broken cord. He dropped the phone, letting it land wherever on the living room floor and rushed the kitchen. He screeched his wife's name, rushing up to her shaking and fearful position. Her pupils shrank into almost nothing and her face was as pale as a ghost's. Her lips quivered as her pointer finger shook in the air.

Flames excitedly burst in the room, swallowing anything that was inflammable. The blond man had a hunch of what was going on. Cursing out loudly, he motioned his wife to quickly get up so they could flee the house. It was much too dangerous to stay inside when there was a fire burning down everything in its path. Their lives were at stake now. Dinner could wait.

It was at the first step he took outside the house when he realized that Tsunayoshi was still inside. He quickly turned back and jumped right away when he saw the fire already blocking the doorway. His wife was screaming at him to get away before he also got charred. But, he had to rescue his son. His son was still upstairs, sleeping with no care of the world.

It was too late, though. The fire had already engulfed the whole house.

. . .

By the time the firefighters came and put out the fire, Ietmitsu searched through the debris and burnt furniture for his son. There was no way he was going to give up, yet. There was still a chance. No, that was wrong. There might still be some miracle that was ready to happen.

But nothing did happen. No matter how hard he searched, his son was nowhere to be found. There was no trace of him, nothing at all...

The last thing he and Nana remembered was nothing, as they both hit the ground and fell into a deep sleep. A deep sleep full of darkness.

. . .

The next six years were hell for him.

His skin burned greatly as if his whole body was hit by flames hot as the sun. The pain made him weak and he just wanted to die at the spot, but he couldn't. He was destined to be alive for as long as he lived – working for the success of this mafia family. And yet, after all these years, he was used to the pain. The physical pain, not the emotional pain that burned his heart every single day.

He despised human beings. He despised everyone that existed in the world. He hated this family for making him go through hell. He hated the adults in black suits and white lab coats, who only were satisfied when he reacted some hurtful way. He hated the smiles and satisfactory grins they wore whenever they reached some point of success...with his contribution.

He hated life. He hated humans for what they did to him. He hated being a test subject. He hated all these things with such a big passion. That was the only emotion he had, after all. Hatred, consumed with anger.

He never understood how humans could happily smile at one another. He never understood how humans could stick along each other. He could not understand how one could stay happy for so long. All he understood was that there were no humans in the world that was "nice." Humans were full of evil things, and that was all he had ever understood as a young boy.

He wanted to be saved. He wanted to escape. That was all he ever wanted for the past six years. Living through pain every single day was not how he wanted to live his life. He could not stand the loneliness. He didn't know how long he could live with the anger and hatred.

His wish was granted, one day.

His eyes widened when he saw a blur of blue hair in some weird pineapple shape. When he saw the adults falling one by one from being stabbed by a trident. When he saw the attacker was some lone boy, who looked around three years older than him, destroying everything that he wanted to destroy. When he saw the pineapple, blue-haired boy slowly approaching him with a smile of innocence and warmth.

"What is your name?" the boy asked, mismatched colored-eyes sparkling with interest. "My name is Rokudo Mukuro. Care to tell me yours?"

"S-Sawada Ts-Ts-Tsunayoshi...!"

"Don't worry. All those adults are gone now, so you're free..." His eyes narrowed, seeing the sadness in the brunet's eyes. "Hey, do you have a place to go? Do you have parents to return to?"

Tsunayoshi's head tilted with confusion. "Parents? What's that...?"

Mukuro blinked. This was the first time in his life to meet a young child who did not know the definition of the word "parent(s)." Did he really have none, or did he simply forget? The older boy was surprised to meet someone who knew nothing about family. How...sad.

"Kufufu, why don't you come with me, then? I think I can fill the gaps of your life. I'll show you...what you were missing."

I promise you guys, the next chapters will get better. It's a bit rushed at the end because I didn't know what other details to put... I'm terribly sorry about that. Really, I'll keep my promise! The next chapters will have the other characters of the series! Like the rest of the Guardians. Yeah. Promise ;;.

Review and tell me what y'all think? C: They're greatly appreciated!