Author's Note: Normal disclaimer applies. KHR is not mine. This is-well, random fluff that floats around in my head. I needed to write it down before my Muse decides to kick me and have a tantrum. Please be merciful.
MISFIRES, MISTAKES AND MISUNDERSTANDINGS
"If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite."
The Cavallone boss is accused of favoring the Vongola due to its immense power and influence. The fact that the Bucking Bronco referred to the young Decimo as a little brother escaped no one's attention. There were many who were of the opinion that it was the reason behind the young Don's infamy. After all, no one would dare argue such a close and healthy relationship between two dons and risk alienating the Cavallone Famiglia and the extensive league of their alliance which in one way or another is indirectly under the Vongola control.
Others were of the opinion that the Cavallone was simply bidding his time and that he was looking for any weakness in the inexperienced don. This speculation was quickly shot down when they observed that the financial guru of the Cavallone was always friendly and protective of the young Don; going so far as to declare war on a one-time ally for a supposed insult on the Vongola heir. The Cavallone Don openly declared during one of their summits that should anyone feel any need to question or challenge the Vongola Decimo to not bother issuing the threat to man himself, the Cavallone don would take care of the problem himself.
There were theories, hundreds of them-some even daring to contemplate approaching the Ranking Prince to find out the real score. The Cavallone Don has heard all the speculations and couldn't help but laugh at the imaginations of those powerful dons and bosses, who, despite their pride and influence and jaded cynicism couldn't figure out something so simple and straight forward.
He is loyal to Tsuna because Tsuna reminds him what it's like to hope, a constant reminder to do better. When he had nothing and no one, a sadistic, fearless, master of torture came and gave him the skills and the strength to gain everything the world had to offer. When he found out that his teacher found another student, he wanted to see who it was that lives through what he did. He didn't expect to see an image of himself as he was before his tutor finished with him. It made him feel less alone in the world for here was one other person who understood the sheer magnitude of trauma that he suffered (and still suffer) under the tyranny that was Reborn. It was a bond born under the shared tutelage of the master of mayhem, a brotherhood created and strengthened by bloodshed forged in a blaze of gunshots and a hail of verbal insult.
I-pin knows far too much about the human body not to be a living weapon herself. She has killed a man before she even learned how to write her first words or walk without stumbling. Her slim build, flexible body, supple strength and her extensive training has made reacting such an ingrained response that it take considerable control for her to engage in casual touches and mock fight-plays she had growing up with Lambo and Fuuta.
She can defend herself successfully without ever lifting her gaze from the pages of the book she's reading or breaking her stride. She knows more about how to incapacitate, disembowel, maim, disfigure, hurt and harm a man using no more than the two fingers of one hand than almost anyone except Reborn and her master. She understands strength and courage and how to be a warrior first and foremost. She understood little how to be a little girl until she came to live with her Gē ge *
She understood how to ignore the aches of injury, the bite of inclement weather, and the pangs of hunger. She understood how to keep her feelings tucked away behind a serene mask and to not ask for anything more than what is given to her. What she never quite understood fully is why Tsuna- Gē ge for some reason or another, always treated her differently.
She couldn't understand at first why he always asked if she had eaten or if she was warm enough. Or why he always made sure to shield her from the fires of the Ten-Year Bazooka or whatever else it was that Gokudera and Lambo bombed off. Or why after he had tossed her when she did her Pinzu Countdown, he would be the first one to look at where she had landed. Or why when she would turn away from Lambo whenever the broccoli monster called her ugly, he would immediately admonish him and tell her that Lambo didn't know what he was saying and that she was very pretty indeed. Or why when she told him of her decision to leave the world of the mafia and try to be a normal student, he was crying tears of joy. She still couldn't quite understand why when she told him that she could defend herself whenever assassins came to attack her he simply shook his head and told her that she shouldn't have to.
It wasn't until he said it when she turned sixteen and he insisted on throwing her a sweet sixteen celebration that she understood why he did all those things. She finally understood that while she could do all those things—defend herself and kill men, fight with Lambo and even create a bomb with her own body—for Tsuna-Gē ge she was a just and would always be a little girl.
Fuuta understood desire. Understood that human nature craved and yearned and wanted and longed for things, possessions, people, and power. He understood that many would go through great lengths to possess one or all of those things. He understood it when his parents passed away and his so-called relatives fought to gain control of the estate and the inheritance that was meant for him. He understood it when his gifts started attracting the attention of people who wanted nothing more than to be of advantage over someone else. He understood all of it well before he celebrated his seventh year.
When people speculated the reason why the ranking prince stayed within the auspices and protection of the Vongola, they would often say that perhaps the boy had known that someday it would be the most powerful organized famiglia in the world. They speculated that the influence and power that the Vongola wielded from time of the Decimo's ascent was due in large part to the information generously provided by the ranking Fuuta created. People whispered and gossiped and speculated but for once Fuuta couldn't understand what it was they wanted to learn. He stayed because Tsuna-nii's home was his first after his parents passed on. He stayed because Maman is the warmest person in the whole world—next to Tsuna-nii. He stayed because they wanted him to. Nothing more and certainly for nothing else.
He understood people. What he couldn't understand is why they question his choice to stay with Tsuna-nii and the rest of his family. He couldn't understand why they didn't see that it was he who wonders most of all why Tsuna-nii and his family allows him to stay. Because in all the years that he has been under the care of Sawada Tsunayoshi not once had the man asked him to rank anything. Whatever ranking he created since coming to be with the man he called brother, the man their world referred to as Decimo, he did on his own. Tsuna-nii never asked to see his book, only to see how he was doing. He never asked who was the most powerful famiglias to form alliances with, only if he already ate and how school was. Tsuna-nii never asked to know who could be trusted and who would betray him, he only asked if he was happy and if he needed anything.
Fuuta understood people. His rankings show the constant desires of people flow and ebb in their ever-changing mindset and priorities. He understood that this was expected of people and he has made his peace with it. He knows rankings would change and keep on changing as long as people are alive and breathing. His rankings have changed over the years but there is one entry that he keeps returning to when things aren't at their best. A singular page that he guards as he guards no other.
On an immaculate snow-white page, a single line of entry written in his concise, fluid script— the sole entry that has remained constant and true since he first wrote it—
Sawada Tsunayoshi, Vongola Decimo, Ranked No. 1 Mafioso to have no desire to use Ranking Fuuta.
It was no secret that the Vongola Decimo was akin to a well-guarded citadel. Like the ancient city of Troy from long-ago, he was similar to an impenetrable fortress that no one could overcome. Many have tried and many still have faced defeat. Though there were still many who think that if they could just figure out the right leverage, they could win over the unconquerable Decimo. They decided to attack him the first week his fearsome and temperamental right-hand man and Storm guardian took a trip outside Italy.
Some resorted to brute force and found to their eternal dismay that with a Sun guardian who relishes contests of strength and a Cloud guardian that revels in chaos and battle, going head to head with the Vongola is like going to fight with a grenade and a bluff and being answered with a Nuclear Bomb that has its own guidance system.
Some tried subterfuge and veiled threats, manipulating the underlings in hopes of gaining spies and traitors. To their everlasting shame, Decimo's Mists guardians played havoc within their ranks, infiltrating their closest and most secretive, restricted sections with laughable ease. The worst thing was that the man insisted on videotaping and broadcasting his infiltration for the entire Mafia world to see.
Others tried ambush. They tried cornering the don with massive numbers of attackers, hoping to incapacitate the fearsome guardians with sheer force only to face the financial disaster of looking after hundreds of half-burnt subordinates who couldn't explain how they ended up electrocuted in the middle of a sunny Sunday afternoon.
One tried assassination and found to his everlasting horror the nightmare of having a phantom slip inside his highly secured facility without a single alarm being triggered, without a single camera catching sight of the assailant, and with every one of his highly trained security guard falling victim to this lone wolf's fangs. With all lines of defense and communication cut off, the perpetrator of the assassination order was subject to the unfettered attention of one royally pissed off Rain Guardian who smiled at him with eyes colder than the coldest region of hell and showed him with a thousand and one small shallow cuts just how agonizing even the softest rain could feel like on open wounds.
Lussuria understood all too well that in testosterone-soaked, machismo-dominated world like the Mafia, someone of his particular persuasion would receive more than his usual share of discrimination if not outright hostility. Sure, his position in Varia and the fact that he could kill effortlessly silenced the condemnation to a tolerable, nearly undetectable degree but he could see it as easily as he could feel it. It was there, in the dip of conversation and atmosphere in the room whenever he would cross it. The snide smiles and the condescending sly looks, the whispered innuendos and outright glares. He has grown immune to it all and actually felt comfortable in the midst of all the vitriol they were spouting—taking it as his due, his payment for living the life he wanted, the way he wanted.
It wasn't until Decimo and his Guardians came to live in Italy and interacted with their world and by extension, the Varia, that he understood what being treated fairly meant. His Guardians treated him like they would any other. They looked him in the eye and though they screamed and shouted when he would proposition and flirt with them, they never retaliated with any unkind words. Lussuria flaunted his choices and dared anyone to pass judgment, knowing all the while that Decimo, as a leader, would inevitably call his habits and mannerisms into questions, and so when the summons came, Lussuria came prepared. What he didn't prepare for was the courtesy with which Decimo treated him, then and ever onwards. Decimo and his guardians never minded the outrageous outfits he insisted on wearing during his off-duty hours and when Decimo once caught him wearing a fur-trimmed evening wrap and bunny slippers, he apologized profusely for the intrusion. Decimo was always polite, always solicitous—always thanking him for the tea he would hand him and compliment his baking whenever he would offer some treat or another that Lussuria felt for once-justified in his hobbies and mannerisms. In Decimo's presence there was a sense of delicacy and sensitivity to his feelings—not because he acts like a woman—but because somehow Decimo made him feel truly like one.
He doesn't like silence. Silence hides malicious intent and lies. Silence speaks of no truth, no action, and no possibility for hope. Silence is for things that no longer had the power to change anything. Silence is for things final. Silence is for the dead.
Superbi Squalo is without question or doubt the loudest Mafioso to ever be born in the Underworld. No one could go from absolute silence to the staggering vocal calisthenics of jet engine that he could on a daily basis and still be called human. He belts, bellows, holler, shouts, screams, shriek, and screech every word that comes out of his mouth leaving in his wake shattered eardrums, glassware, crystal, even medieval stained glass windows. His voice alone was once enough to threaten a beleaguered antique collector who tried to pass off some dubious jewels to the Varia, especially when Xanxus told the man that he would send Squalo to come and have the negotiations in the room where he housed his acclaimed Lalique collection. And yet, as deafening as his usual volume is, it never fails to surprise to him how Decimo could silence everyone around him with no more than a few words said in just a slightly louder voice than usual. It also puzzled him to no end, how in spite of how loud he can be or how much he shouted his reports and demands, the man simply that sat behind the desk in that office of power always invited him to take a seat, offered him a refreshment and quietly listened to every word that comes out of his mouth.
People lie. Most people lie most of the time. Most people would lie if they know they could get away with it. She knows it. At times, she even understands it. Lies and betrayals are part and parcel of being in the shadow world that she lives in. She doesn't necessarily enjoy it—but she is aware of it all the same. She knows how it is to live with just her wits, her talents and everything else that's in her arsenal. What she couldn't understand is how someone who looks like they're weaponless and weak could be so lethal.
Bianchi realized that of all the weapons in Tsuna's vast and not inconsiderable arsenal, it was far and away his sincerity that was the most lethal and the most potent. It moved the heart of the damaged, the cynical and the wary because his eyes—lambent, clear chocolate—fairly blazed with guilelessness and truth. His words, wrapped in the strength and intent of his Dying Flame became as strong as any given blood-vow. He would trade words with hardened criminals with candor and treat their flawed logic with the kind of respect they might never have known prior to meeting with the young man. He invited the forgotten, the discarded and the unwanted into his home, his world and his heart. He gave of himself and never once asked that they pay back any of the multitude of things he has given—never once thinking that what he offered them, what he gave away so freely—are the very things they have given up hoping they could find anywhere else.