Fandom: Katekyo Hitman Reborn!
Spoilers: up to 197-ish for Byakuran's sekrit powerz
Notes: ~2000 words. I actually fangirl Mukuro like burning. Also, I totally did not make that icon just for this fic post. Really.
Summary: The Vongola haven't seen the last of Rokudo Mukuro. Byakuran will make sure of it.
It's not really difficult, bringing Mukuro-kun down, especially once his six-fold eye's been taken out of play. But then again, Byakuran has spent days and weeks preparing for their first meeting face to face, wondering whether Mukuro-kun will be all he's heard about (and he is! Or at least, he will be soon.), and so perhaps he cannot be blamed for falling so easily.
The wards about his office and quarters hold strong; Byakuran can't hide the gleeful smile that capers over his face at the sight of the figure curled on his carpet—Rokudo Mukuro it was, and it remains Rokudo Mukuro still. Byakuran gives a happy little hum as he scoops up Mukuro-kun's body, right side facing away from him (because Shou-chan will be so upset if he gets blood all over his nice clean uniform again). His touch is tender as a lover's—for if there's ever been anything Byakuran's loved, it's toys with power.
He feels, dimly, the white hot throb above his eye. If he really concentrates he can feel the distant sway and jerk of his own legs and arms. Whether or not he's capable of actually moving those limbs under his own power is a something of a moot point at the moment, because he's not alone in his head. This is unusual enough to shock some caution into Mukuro, because he's the one who does the infringing, never the other way around.
It doesn't take long for him to figure out who it is trespassing in his mind, though, because he's heard entirely too much of that indulgent little chuckle these past few weeks.
Mukuro exerts force, flexes and expands to reclaim his own head. And in exchange he feels Byakuran's presence melt away like fog before wind, but that just makes him tense because he hadn't felt any resistance. And then the vague dark of his mind begins to shift and solidify and—
"Don't worry, Mukuro-kun," Byakuran chirps, carefully laying the man out on his bed. "You won't be out for very long!" Dark blue hair spills over the crisp linen pillows, one arm has folded over Mukuro-kun's stomach: if it weren't for the blood drying sticky black on the right half of his face, he'd almost look like he was sleeping.
Byakuran's a good boy, he learned his manners well, so he rummages in a drawer and pulls out a Sun box to heal the cut slicing through the pale olive of Mukuro-kun's face. He's very pleased to see that he managed to miss that shiny ruby eye after all (not that he had any doubts!), as the livid wound fades to a newish-looking scar that bisects one slender eyebrow.
He helpfully divests his sleeping toy of his gloves, his jacket, his tie and socks and shoes because Mukuro-kun can't possibly be comfortable if he lies there the whole time fully dressed, and Byakuran does so want his new toy to be comfortable when he wakes up, locked in Byakuran's black and white toybox.
Byakuran smiles with anticipation, cracks his fingers—and gets to work.
—presence shifts, hard at work, but at what Mukuro can't say. What Byakuran is doing with his mind him is both similar and dissimilar to what Mukuro does to his vessels. Similar enough he knows what to expect, and dissimilar enough he knows not at all.
And when Mukuro at last understands, it's too late, just as it was before in Byakuran's cream-colored office: he throws his not-body at the barrier but it doesn't budge; instead there is only the feel of knot and rope impressing themselves in Mukuro's not-skin as he strains to get through, back into his mind proper.
There is the sensation of Byakuran's not-fingers stroking his not-face through the not-net.
"Mukuro-kun," he coos, smiling happily as behind him various bits of Mukuro's mind slowly take on form and weight. "Don't worry! All I'm going to do is make a few…minor adjustments. Nothing too major."
He claws even harder at the barrier with his not-fingers but—
Byakuran's fingers pet that head of dark blue hair, his touch gentle and affectionate. The man under his hand shifts, a quick flick of the head—Mukuro-kun's brow faintly furrowed in concentration, one hand fisted in his own white shirt, another crumpling the soft cream-colored silk of the bedcovers.
"Ahhh, Mukuro-kun, you're proving quite the fighter, aren't you?" Byakuran says cheerfully. "You're no little girl, that's for sure! But even so…" He digs his fingers deep into the mess of fine hair, fingers subtly tensing around the scalp. "You'll have to break eventually, you know. No one is invincible, after all! Except for me. Or am I? Fufufu, I suppose that's just another mystery for you to solve, eh, Mukuro-kun?"
—like a tangle of chains, dangling from nothing and suspended in nothing. It looks rather delicate, really, slim lines sketching a hollow sphere. All at once, its paltry locks fall off and the arched chains slither out of shape, as Byakuran's not-hands pull them apart.
He tries not to watch, to concentrate on more important matters like oh say breaking back out but his not-eyes are drawn to the sight anyway; between tugs at the barrier he catches glimpses of Byakuran's work through the orderly diamonds, his cheerful whistle echoing as the ties of (to) Mukuro's self are rearranged. The rough welded chains of Kokuyo (of Ken, of Chikusa and Chrome.) slither to the not-floor, redirected into a loop that he won't be able to feel the pull of any more, crumpled as they are in an out-of-the-way corner.
The chains of motivation and loyalty are neatly replaced; the sinuous length of himself and harsh steel links of revenge are pulled away like dead vines; the grudgingly crafted cobweb of Vongola scatters into innumerable pinpricks of gold, light swallowed by the dark. In their places spring new growth: a chain of stout iron links for Millefiore; an even thicker one for the White Spell (Gesso). And twined with them all, weaving in and out and through until every other chain is helplessly wrapped in it, is the heavy silver of Byakuran.
The tangled mess is nothing like the elegant creation of before, but that doesn't mean it's not solid, created with an artisan's dedication to the craft. Locks dangle all over like misshapen fruit, patiently awaiting the chance to enchain him forever. Byakuran smiles over his not-shoulder as if to ask, Isn't it gorgeous, Mukuro-kun, what I've made of you?
But Mukuro doesn't see that as he's a tad preoccupied, seeking (solace) strength (reassurance) in that last bastion of his self, too busy trying to ground himself and shore up what's left of his autonomy (his freedom) in what he was and is—Estraneo, (friend), prisoner, (lover), criminal, (savior), Guardian—but the memories fall apart beneath his not-fingers at Byakuran's approach, stained glass shards spiraling away, and he knows with cold certainty that he's—
Mukuro-kun's shirt bunches around his waist and shoulders as his slender frame thrusts into the air, weight balanced on shoulders and heels in one long arc: once, twice. Nothing. His whole body suddenly goes limp, face smoothing out into genuine sleep. His breathing deepens, one leg now dangling limply over the bed's edge, tossed there by his body's struggle to back up his brain.
Byakuran primly tugs off his jacket and lays over his Mukuro-kun, he'd be sure to catch a chill otherwise, what with the sweat soaking through his shirt and the air-con puffing away. Byakuran beams down at Mukuro-kun, already making plans; he's a good boy, he takes good care of his toys, but that doesn't mean he doesn't like to play with them too. Especially the useful ones.
"Soon enough you'll be wearing Millefiore colors," Byakuran says softly, smoothing the matted hair out of his Mukuro-kun's face. "Don't worry, you'll be White Spell for sure, I couldn't possibly let a pretty thing like you go. Though I must admit, black does suit you so much better. Oh, dear. Perhaps something like Genkishi-kun's is in order for you? I'm sure Uni-chan wouldn't mind too much as long as I asked her very, very nicely…"
—feel the new chains tugging at him, pulling bits of him apart and forcing them back together in new ways; the pain is not unlike being tossed into a cauldron of boiling oil (not that he knows what that feels like). Still, Mukuro curses the faintness of his movements as he fights the force of Byakuran's not-hands around his not-arms, trying to tuck him into the cocoon he'd made, trashier and gaudier and tighter than anything Mukuro's ever made for himself.
"So that's how it is, Mukuro-kun?" Byakuran says sadly. He shakes his not-head sorrowfully and reaches for Mukuro's not-face with his not-hands; Mukuro's own are suddenly nowhere to be found, a fact he finds out when he tries to thrust Byakuran's away. "I've tried to be careful; I don't like breaking new toys too soon; Shou-chan says it's a bad habit to fall into and that it upsets whoever's been assigned to cleaning detail besides. But if that's the way it has to be, then—"
Byakuran's not-voice boomed through his not-ears as he writhed and flailed, desperate to find a quiet place in what used to be the quietest place of all. Anywhere to escape the bone-deep thrum, the endless echoes. This is who you are now, he said, and Mukuro felt new commands and new wants stream into being, coiling around him like the embrace of a sleepy lover.
And Byakuran said, This is what you'll fight for, and he felt the sizzle of not-flesh as the Millefiore (White Spell) crest seared its way into, through, his not-skin, binding tighter than any lock or chain or collar.
Byakuran said, still smiling bright and triumphant, This is what you will do for me, and there is the brief flash of a too-familiar face and graceful arcs of blood spurting beneath his trident; there is nowhere for his not-even-not-eyes to turn as the image melts into the sight of him on his knees, clad in White Spell (Gesso) colors, kneeling before his beloved boss and opening his mouth to—
Mukuro screamed at the sound of locks snapping shut but by then, not even he could hear the sound.
Byakuran leaned in and brushed a kiss to Mukuro's unprotesting lips. "Either way, I'm sure your fellow Guardians will be ever so pleased to see you again."
Didn't really fit with what I wanted to do with this, but I thought it was still worth sharing. Also, I kind of creeped myself a little.
He doesn't have nightmares because he is a nightmare—what can be more terrifying than finding you are not the one moving your limbs anymore? But had he been the type to have nightmares then this, this would be it.
There's a single moment he'll hate himself for when he can choose what to hate again, the moment when he blinks open not-eyes to the sight of a cracked plaster ceiling, the distant shapes of strange machinery, and directly above a blinding light, his not-limbs heavy in their restraints. One awful moment where he thinks that all the years before had never happened. That everything, imprisonment escape capture repeat, had simply been one more (if a particularly lengthy one more) not-death, one more bid by the Estraneos to see if there was another path waiting after the Realm of Heaven, a 七 after the 六.
And then Byakuran's face swims into view beneath the blinding light, beaming down at him over the little facemask as he snapped on latex gloves. That makes it slightly better than being twelve again, but only just.
"Well then, Mukuro-kun!" he says cheerily. "Let's see what's going on in that pretty little head of yours today, hmm?"
Behind him comes the grating wail of a buzzsaw.