Chapter 0.

Alleanza di Mare

Summary: In another parallel world wherein Byakuran chooses a different path, will he find his happy ending?

Disclaimer: Don't own anything save the plot and some OCs. Just playing around with the characters for a bit.

Warning: Section IV is a bit suggestive and descriptive, so please read with caution.


thoughts, flashbacks, words of emphasis

prologue)

"Then, Tsunayoshi-kun," with a subtle quirk of his lips, Byakuran smiled placatingly as the long-winded tension between the Vongole and his own family had now simmered down, bringing about a pact of peace and ushering in good-will, "let's work together now, ne?"

Tsunayoshi Sawada was the esteemed tenth generation ruler of the Vongole, leading the organization with unspoken delicacy and at times, unbridled steel eyes that befell foes long extinguished. Through the throes of the years, he had grown wise beyond his years and his Guardians jeweled marvels in their own rights – skills and habits honed in masterful precision. He brought his hands up, albeit wrapped in black, leathered gloves with the famed X incision sitting rightfully at its center, in a handshake.

"My sentiments exactly, Gesso-san." His gaze was a soft chocolate, exuding nothing but warmth and solid acceptance as he hoped, in mute patience, for the return of the gesture. When none of the anticipated response came, the young boss had an expression riddled with question and confusion. "Is something the matter?"

"Oh, I didn't think that Japanese people like…" he spoke, his tone both thoughtful and mischief-laced. "I didn't think you would like body contact, at all."

Taken aback by the innocent misconception, Tsunayoshi cleared his throat and countered, "Ah, I think you've mistaken me for a Wallflower, Gesso-san." A mitten slipped effortlessly from slender fingers as he instigated yet another ritual, that which evidenced a bond – a friendship more than a mere alliance. "Ah, let's start again. I hope we become great friends."

Upon contact and exchange of body heat, they had signed a contract which brought an end to the affair of pure black.

i)

Complacence was as worthy a foe as any other. Grudgingly, Byakuran stalked the halls of his manor waiving haste over all things that mattered – over anything that still mattered. As he sputtered curses in more languages than anyone knew, an equally pale and shaken subordinate dogged his heels, thick folders of documents strewn between his arms.

There was thick silence, broken only by the rapping of dress shoes over polished marble surface.

"Shou-chan…" he finally spoke, tone drenched in dying resolve and deader expectations, "what did I do wrong?"

The redhead looked up bearing the same grimace, only to some degrees less severe. "If it's Sawada-san, I'm sure he'll spare us some leniency."

"I hope so," Byakuran muttered as he quelled a thousand suppositions slowly rising up his throat. If the world could present him graver torments, he knew them not.

One of the splurges for grandeur that he allowed himself were those lacquered oak doors that littered his abode at every length and turn but then, spared no effort towards preservation as he nearly blew one off its hinges in his white and blind rage. With a cruel, lop-sided grin plastered on his face, he denounced, "Who did this?" Surveying his uncharacteristically stilled Consiglieres, he bore the fangs to reiterate, "Who the fuck did this?"

"Byakuran-san, your temper, please." Shouichi sank into the confines of his seat, crippled by the overwhelming sense of dread that, in the same sickening fashion, was clamping everyone's mouth shut.

"Shouichi," venom threaded the rise of his voice, "don't you dare interfere."

There remained little defiance in Shouichi's eyes as he bit the inside of his cheeks to rid himself of the numbing of his jaws. "But Byakuran-san, clearly, one of us is missing."

"Is that an accusation, Irie?" A resplendent, crisp staccato rose over the tension as white laced gloves drew soothing circles over throbbing temples. "My husband- No, Alfredo may be a coward, but he isn't a fool."

"Playing defense, Adriana?" Ricardo Bocelli, a pudgy man in his early 50s had built his name around guns – and lots of it. If it were old money, he had the most and consequently, he was one greedy bastard who knew how to flaunt his wares excessively. "Where's your husband?" There was a sheen of amusement in his eyes, unmatched even by the twinkling of the enormous gold ring that fit snugly in his right middle finger.

"I'm not sure. The situation at home is… not very pleasant." In sheer disbelief and thinning tolerance, Adriana Rocha, another associate and Consigliere, raised a brow in protest. "If my answer does not suffice, please refrain from any more questions."

In mild curiosity, Frederico added, "Another lover's spat?"

"My marital affair is of no concern to the family." In truth, Rocha was never patient. She was not a woman who found leisure in idle chatter and thoughtless gossip, hence she had never been one of those superficial, trophy wives whom the mafia dons dragged about in most social gatherings. "Please spare me the humiliation, Don Gesso. However, I'll tell you what I must on my own terms."

The urges to press his authority were secondary only to the information, no matter how small and trivial, he could possibly get by the end of the day. "And what would those be?"

Privacy, especially in the face of plain distrust and parallel scrutinizing gazes, was necessity. "I request that we be out of the earshot of these sludge-faced pigs."

"But I do believe we have every right to hear what you have to say." Interest in full bloom, Frederico rest his half-consumed wine over the oak table and in immediate defense, he added, "That is, if anyone else wishes to hear it."

"Out of respect, the Boss has yet to make his decision." Graziana, soft-spoken despite the vividness of her red hair, smoothed the creases in her neatly pressed skirt, at least it was hours prior. "Besides, weren't you also against the alliance with Don Sawada?"

Feigning hurt, Frederico brought an arm up to his face, mimicking dead faint. "Ah, you hurt me, dear Graziana but what matters now is that I'm here now."

I have nothing to hide.

"And you dare say that Alfredo has anything to do with the assault of Don Sawada's men?" Ricardo injected, a toothy grin still, however misplaced, on his face. "Don Gesso, I suggest we use Alfredo's misconduct now as a scapegoat."

"My husband didn't do anything wrong," Adriana insisted, a ghost of a frown still lingering on her face.

Graziana scoffed, reprimanding Adriana for her naivety. "The Vongola have proven Alfredo's connection to the attack." Clucking her tongue in impatience, she swept over her fringe and tucked the stray strands behind her ears as she suggested, "We can write it off as Alfredo's personal hits. We don't need to sully our hands with his business."

"My mere affiliation to him could be detrimental," Byakuran stated, his shoulders ladened with responsibility. "This isn't getting us anywhere. The meeting is adjourned. Adriana," he paused, only to heave the heaviest of sighs, "meet me in my quarters in 30 minutes."

ii)

"Ha-Hayato-san…"

What? Didn't I tell you not to use this line when calling me?

"B-but- This time, it's an emergency."

Then spit it out, baka onna!

"There goes that nickname again! Anyway, there are some men following us."

You sure they're not the Tenth's?

"No. They aren't yours or Yamamoto-san's either."

Anything unusual?

"From what I can see, they all have silver bands around their fingers. The one nearest our vicinity is at around 7-8 meters."

Has Sasagawa-san noticed your absence?

"Ah, no but- I'm pretty sure she'll come for me soon. We're here at the pizzeria you often take me to."

Just stay put and-

"What?"

Stay put, and don't be hasty. My men will come for you.

"There's no need- Some of Tsuna-san's men are here. I'm only telling you… in case things get out of hand."

Be safe, Haru.

iii)

In gist, a man is defined by duty and never the other way around. Tsunayoshi thinks, during the absence of the commitment to the family and the brief lapses to his monotonous, everyday living, he could have become a salary worker with barely anything on his plate or worse, ended up on the streets with nothing at all. He was no-good after all.

His efforts bore little to no fruit and in fact, he too often slaved over his game console and tried to smite those pixels to dust – only to disappoint himself in the end. Still, the familiar Congratulations! on the TV screen, earned with nights of unrest and hideous bags under his eyes, was more than gratifying, even when it barely touched the edges of reality and right there and then, he would regress and with his signature slouch and contagious self-discrimination, he was dame-Tsuna once again.

Amidst the ridicule and intimidation however, stood the heroine of his little story, which unveiled with the ascension of a toddler, barely 6 years of age, from the zenith of perfection and pristine blackness.

She was a lily draped in sunlight, radiating even amongst diversity and the prying eyes. Ironic how he had known her first, yet he made the move a step – counting five grueling years – a little too late. He pondered then, at the same swing set where he had first seen that smile, that keen gaze, that everything. He laugh, short as a solitary tear trailed down his cheek that had been battered by countless other torrents.

He came during at her wedding reception bearing gifts and warm wishes, with the latter utterly lacking its desired intention. He had become a strong man, but even so- Loss was a far too heavy burden for his trembling shoulders, which were already pulled down by invisible yet omnipotent weights. He remembered crying, crying, and then crying endlessly while Haru, yes Haru, stroked his hair, offering a little less than herself because by then, she had already belonged to someone else.

However, it was his onii-chan that thanked him once, twice, thrice- Thank you for not bringing Kyoko into our world. Thank you for giving her the chance to live a normal life. Thank you for giving her the peace that I couldn't. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. He bled at the utterance of the last two words, but his response was dull in comparison to the joys she had brought to his world of sin and passion. Tsunayoshi congratulated the bouncing brother-in-law and left with a practiced smile.

She had become a rose in a bed of thorns, ever unparalleled and untainted.

iv)

Amidst the thrusts and ragged breathing was silence, drearier than its preceding leg. From the sapping missions, they had their moments of fun – fun being spun by their constant demands for dominance and the slightest scent of blood. They were among the ruthless in and out the Vongole Family, and they thrived in knowing and just sating their primal urges.

Adelheid Suzuki, another passive character, yet her fangs according to another, were quite sharp if indeed provoked. She gazed, through narrowed eyes and with lidded rage, at the sprawled figure under the covers. Leaving room for a sigh, merely born from habit, she ruffled the wealth of her lover's hair.

"Suzuki, you're being a nuisance." Hibari stirred, only momentarily as he sunk back into slumber, tried, before a light nudge to his side stole the last remnants of sleep from him. "What?"

In her usual banter, she slid the measly bathrobe from her shoulders down her thigh, revealing her plump breasts fully, "Want to go again?" Answered with a low growl, she went as far as licking his well-defined torso, still scar-bare despite the industry they worked. "You lied to Sawada."

"I did not." Feeling his abdomen tense from Adelheid's ministrations, Hibari smirked, only to fuel her desires further. "Is that all you can do?"

She stopped midway, face blank and expressionless. "Hibari, stop getting yourself into trouble." She crawled up to him, feline grace present as she clawed the arc of his back with eerie satisfaction. "I have urgent matters that need attending to. I don't think I'd be able to back you up this time."

Feigning disinterest, he downed a mouthful of vodka and chuckled, devoid of mirth and actual purpose. "I don't need help."

"And you think I'd buy that crap?" Her bony fingers were no threats bigger than the ferocity of his flames. "Ah, ah. Touchy."

"Just get your business over with." Hibari, despite the toll of the years, would not be swayed by anything or anyone, not even her, whose company he could tolerate.

The discourse ended in a lip lock and tangled limbs. Arms wrapped around a slender waist, Hibari allowed his tongue entry as he explored the tangy, sweet cavern of Adelheid's mouth with the latter retaliating with her nails that drew welting lines deep enough to bleed. Again in a vicious battle for the upper hand, Hibari bit into the pliant flesh of Adelheid's neck, hard enough to bruise. Well into the night were the vestigial moans of pain and immense pleasure as predators, both on their own league, prowled over the sheets in an escalating rhythm.

At the break of dawn, Adelheid dialed a number well from memory, "Enma, I'm sorry but go with Julie instead. I wouldn't be available this week or the next."

v)
"He's only restless because they got Miura." Yamamoto had been in a glaring contest with the sun since it broke through the expanse of the drifting wisps of clouds. It seemed that the Italian heat wave wasn't letting up, not until 17:30 at least, as the forecast grimly revealed. "Right now, it's not a reason to be concerned about, but Hayato is taking it hard."

The seas were merely superficial distances, as pain – and more of it from its master – spilled freely from lips tightly pressed in denial and waning hope. "Of course, it's Haru-nee after all." Fuuta limped over the thickening paperwork in his desk, however his mind was elsewhere. "If there's anything we could do-"

Yamamoto sucked in a mouthful of air before expelling it with equal intensity. "Like I said, we have it under control." He rubbed the years old scar in his chin, a habit born from the dawning realization from some time ago. "Haru left us a couple of clues and we're hot on the perpetrators' tails." He had learned the masters' ways at virtually anything and everything, and had become the best at espionage, honing the little details and killing all his weaknesses as efficiently as he can wield his katanas.

"And Haru-nee and Kyoko-nee were about to visit here too. It's such a pity." Yamamoto might have felt remorse, sympathy even for the heavy sigh from the receiver but unnecessary, fleeting emotions had long eluded him. Fuuta resumed tapping at his keyboard while his eyes drifted from one document to another. "How is Tsuna-nii?"

"A lot better than Gokudera, if that's what you want to know." Yamamoto attempted to suppress a yawn, but it was a futile battle.

Fuuta sheepishly added, "I'm disturbing your sleep, aren't I?" There was a rustle of papers and a dull thud, presumably from an overturned mug of steaming coffee. "Ah, I'm really sorry and-"

"Mmn?" With the back of his hand still against his quivering lips, Yamamoto stretched his stiffening extremities as he prepared to stand.

"Oh, nothing." Assuming that the Rain Guardian was heading out for yet another tedious assignment, Fuuta bade him farewell with and extra note for good luck.

Yamamoto slipped his phone into the inner pocket of his suit as the train came to a halt. "Better get this over with."

TBC


Note(s):

– Pairings: 5986, 2795, 1820, 6996

– Very different from cannon story

– Set at least 5 years into the future

Dictionary:

Alleanza di Mare – alliance of the sea

Consigliere – advisor or counselor to the Boss of a mafia family

(I only nicked this information from google, so I'm sorry if it is insufficient, still.)

Onii-chan - big brother; informal

(According to a Japanese text-book that I have, its most basic form is oniisan.)

A/N: Please bear with my self-indulgence and I hope you enjoy reading! Oh, and don't forget: RnR! (Dedicated to my little sister. xoxo, Abie!)

Thank you and until the next update! :3