Harry was, as was often the case, confused. Neville and Luna did not look much better in that respect. The “war” was over and Harry had prevailed in the end, and for the time being people were mostly leaving him alone. He had plenty of stalkers and fans, but they were not being quite as obnoxious as he had feared.
However, one of them had managed to figure out his schedule for visiting Diagon Alley and led one of the remaining Voldemort sympathizers straight to him. The girl and the people patronizing the alley had all fled at the first sight of the crazed man, which was just as well. Somehow, Harry managed to lift his sudden enemy with no effort and no wand, or even touching the man, and—his mind blanked out on seeing the man compress into nothingness and vanish.
He cast a bewildered look at his two friends and took off for Gringotts. Inside they pretended that nothing had happened, but they did not forget. Then started the incidents where Harry would summon things to himself wandlessly, with no incantation, just the power of his mind. At that point his two friends exchanged a long look before Neville said, “You have this. . . .”
Luna sighed faintly. “You obviously haven’t noticed it, Harry, but there’s been this odd aura around your hands when this happens, almost like flames.”
Neville nodded, looking sheepish for not just coming out and saying it.
“What? I didn’t see anything,” he protested.
Luna rolled her eyes. “It’s not like you’re looking at your hands when it happens.”
A few weeks later it happened out in public, in muggle London. Harry felt a bit panicky and went for his wand, intending to do some damage control, but Luna swiftly pushed his arm away. “Look,” she said, her free hand gesturing languidly. “None of them saw anything. It’s like the flames don’t exist to them.”
Harry took a look around and realized she was right. Nobody had noticed a thing. If anything, the bully who had suddenly tripped over thin air because his speed had abruptly changed was more embarrassed than puzzled or suspicious.
Back at the house Harry sighed and flopped into a chair. “Okay fine. Muggles can’t see them. And if it happens in front of wizards and witches? What then?”
Neville looked uncomfortable as he shrugged.
It happened again during his next trip to Diagon Alley, though he had mixed up his routine and was wearing a disguise. Not one of the many people shopping noticed a thing. They all just assumed it was someone playing about with magic. Baffled, he returned home and told his friends.
“What makes you two so different?”
Luna did the shrugging that time. “I don’t know, but it only started happening after the Horcrux was gone. Maybe you’ve always had some odd ability and the Horcrux was blocking it?”
Neville coughed quietly, drawing their attention his way. “I’ve been thinking and, well, maybe I can do it, too. But not the same thing.”
Luna’s gaze went uncharacteristically sharp. “What do you mean?”
“Um, well. . . .” Neville reached up to ruffle the hair at the back of his neck. “My plants. You know? I always thought I was imagining things. But sometimes I can see this greenish aura around my hands when I’m working with them, when they grow so much stronger and faster.”
Luna eyed him for a minute, then eyed Harry. “And you seem to be having some effect on gravity.”
“Gravity?” ‘What the hell is she talking about?’
She rolled her eyes again. “Okay. Think about it this way. Gravity is what keeps us on the planet. It pulls down, pulls us down. Things like levitation charms, impediment jinxes—spells like that could be said to be affecting gravity, either to increase or decrease it. You’ve been summoning things without any spells, against gravity, altering gravity. The same when you compressed that stupid sympathizer. I conjecture that you increased the effects of gravity around him from all sides, compressing him into such a small mass that he effectively became nothing but a super-heavy piece of dust.”
“And that punk I tripped?”
“Same concept. You increased gravity for him only, which slowed him down like an impediment jinx would. The change in speed is what tripped him. It’s like . . . learning how to floo, almost, in a way.”
Now that he could understand. The sheer number of times he had tripped or fallen coming out of the floo because his perceived speed was not his real speed. . . . “Okay. But what about you?”
“I don’t know, but I obviously have some power or else I couldn’t see the flames. For now I suggest we do some work, so let’s go to the greenhouse.”
She asked Neville to try to consciously accelerate the growth of one of the rarer plants there. If it ended badly there were more, so the loss of one plant would only be unfortunate. Harry saw what they were talking about for the first time as the plant Neville was cooing at suddenly grew on fast-forward and his hands were enveloped with a green light, almost like flames.
“Oh, wow,” he whispered.
“Neville, keep practicing. Maybe you can use this ability to help some of the plants you brought in recently that haven’t adjusted so well yet,” Luna suggested. “And as for you, Harry, let’s go outside and you can practice with something soft.”
Apparently, that meant letting Luna transfigure rocks into soft little balls of yarn and then telling him—ordering, more like—to try to alter the gravity around them. Unfortunately, that really did not make a whole lot of sense to him, so she tried explaining it a different way.
“Okay. Think of gravity like a net.”
He stared at her in confusion.
“Normal gravity is like an invisible net overhead and it pushes us down and keeps us down. When you jump you can only stretch it so far before it pushes back, like rubber.”
“So, imagine that the net can be above, below, or to the sides of one of those balls. If you can manipulate gravity you should be able to increase or decrease pressure from any side.”
That, at least, was easier for his mind to work with. A half hour later he found he could easily move one of the yarn balls around. Then Luna suggested he try two at a time and, if possible, not moving in sync. It was a dismal failure, but she just smiled and said he could work on that later.
She picked up one of the balls and started tossing it up and down. “Try to stop it.”
After that she stood to one side with a basket of yarn balls and began tossing them a distance away. “Try to stop them. Or speed them up. Whichever. Both.”
“You realize what this means, of course,” Harry said a week later.
Neville muttered something under his breath that sounded suspiciously like, “Constant vigilance.”
“Yes,” Luna replied. “The ignorant masses will eventually pay attention. And even if they can’t see the flames they’ll start pointing fingers.”
“And then you’ll be labeled the next dark lord,” Neville said, “and we’re your top lieutenants, of course, and we’ll either be jailed or killed.”
Harry nodded, glad to see that his friends were on the same wavelength. Luna, as it turned out, had skill with illusions, and while it could be a very powerful ability, none of them were in any way certain she could “blind” or divert people in a desperate situation, should it come to that.
“I have just the place!” Luna exclaimed happily.
“Eh?” Harry’s confusion was echoed by Neville.
“Oh, I did the usual,” she said, nodding. “World map, darts, you know. I found a darling little town in Japan.”
“We don’t know how to speak Japanese,” Neville pointed out.
Luna waved her hand dismissively. “Magic! There are ways, you know. You just need to know who to talk to. I’ll go get that taken care of!” And off she went, leaving behind two confused young men.
When she returned it was with a large box. Inside were a multitude of potion and memory vials. “It’s simple. We each take a vial for the language we want, then we enter the corresponding memory. By the time we come out we’ll know the language.”
“Why so many vials, then?” Neville asked, eyeing the box warily.
“Because if we’re going to do this we may as well learn more than just Japanese. I got German, French, Italian, and Spanish to round things out. Odds are, no matter where we travel along the way, we’ll be able to speak the language or one close enough to get by.”
“I’m surprised you didn’t throw Russian in there,” Harry muttered, causing Luna to look thoughtful. “But that’s fine,” he said hastily. “Er, any side effects?”
“Of course,” she said cheerily. “No more than one language per week, and we can expect to have splitting headaches for several days each time. We’re going to be at this for a while, so we’ll have to do research about buying a property over there, and decide on what we want to do once we get there.”
Because Harry could cook so well they decided on a little bakery of sorts. He didn’t mind so much because it would not be cooking anything for the people he was unfortunately related to. Luna went into raptures over the idea of doing the decorating and Harry and Neville just shared an amused look and a helpless shrug. Luna went so far as to sketch out a bunch of ideas and design a logo for the shop, and even come up with a name for it: Kidorui.
Neville snorted at the name, but went with her to gather up a ton of supplies. Harry packed up their home while they did that, and then they all went to Gringotts to arrange for passports and other paperwork. The bakery had already been purchased, as well as a home, and they went off to Japan in excitement.
Luna spent an inordinate amount of time decorating, and created a magnificent tree mosaic on the floor of the shop, even extending the design up onto the walls with paint. The end result was gorgeous. “You’ve outdone yourself,” he told her, looking around in wonder, then continued in a much softer voice, “I wonder if your talent at art has anything to do with your illusions.”
She smiled at him. “Perhaps. It’s not a bad thought. Now get to work on finalizing the menu! I can’t create that until you’ve decided on the things you want to bake.”
Neville busied himself with figuring out how to run the register. He was surprisingly good with maths, but it might look strange to any customers if Neville was doing calculations in his head.
Eventually they were ready to open. A few discreet fliers had been placed around Namimori to attract some attention, though there had already been plenty of curious people wandering by as they got the shop ready. Harry started early opening day to make pastries and other sweets from various parts of the world, and Luna and Neville got the cases ready.
A week later they were doing well. Harry had adopted a policy that any first-time customer got part or all of their first order for free, as a welcome. One of the more interesting changes of having the Horcrux removed was that his memory had improved to the point of being magical. Luna called it eidetic, whatever that meant, but Harry just knew he never forgot anything anymore, including faces.
He was on his way to the shop, having taken a break for a walk after having gotten the morning goods ready, when his leg buckled from an impact. The next thing he knew there was a tiny little child sitting on the pavement, bawling its eyes out. The child—boy?—was wearing a cow onesie, of all things, had an afro-like hairstyle mostly consisting of knotted hair, and a set of bull horns.
Harry looked around in confusion, then crouched down to gently pick the child up and cuddle him close, which made the crying stop. “What are you doing with Lambo-san?” the child warbled demandingly.
“Are you all right?” he asked quietly. “You hit me pretty hard.”
“Lambo-san is fine!” the child said, wriggling around.
“Uh huh. How about you come with me to the bakery and I’ll check.”
The wriggling stopped and the child looked at him directly. Harry’s breath caught on seeing the child’s green eyes, so like his own. “Lambo-san can have a snack?”
“Sure,” he said.
“Lambo-san will come with you!”
Harry chuckled and shook his head in bemusement. He had known some people in Japan spoke in the third person, but to see such a young child speak that way—it was freakin’ adorable. “All right. Let’s go to the bakery.”
Lambo settled down for the walk and started chattering at him without stop, but went silent momentarily when the bakery came into view. “Lambo-san didn’t know this was here.”
“Well, we only opened a week ago. I’m Hari, by the way. My siblings and I own the place. Let’s get you inside so I can make sure you’re all right, and get you a snack.”
“Lambo-san is in agreement!”
Luna took one look at them coming through the door and smiled serenely, but Harry could see the laughter in her eyes. Neville snorted quietly as they approached and said, “I see you found a stray.”
“Lambo-san is not a stray! Lambo-san is a skilled hitman!”
Harry held on a little tighter to account for the outraged wriggling and said, “What kind of snack would you like, Lambo-kun?”
“Can Lambo-san have all of it?” the boy asked, eyes wide and greedy.
“Ano, no. It’s called a snack for a reason,” he said firmly. Lambo looked like he was either going to erupt or cry, so Harry continued, “What kinds of sweets do you like?”
The child looked at him and paused, then reached up a tiny hand to pat the skin next to Harry’s eye. “Hari-san has eyes like Lambo-san.”
“Yes, I had noticed that. How about some carrot cake? It’s sweet, but has healthy things in it.”
Lambo eyed the display cases. “Does Hari-san have anything with grape?”
“We have some tarts with berries and grape jelly,” he said. “How about some of those?”
“O~kay!” Lambo warbled.
Harry nodded at Neville and smiled, then hauled the boy off to one of the free tables. Lambo did not like the idea of being separated from his benefactor, his supplier of free sweets, so Harry kept the boy on his lap. Luna came over a minute later with a small plate holding three tarts and set it down, then took a seat herself.
“So, who is this adorable little man?” she asked.
The boy paused in grabbing the first tart. “Lambo-san is handsome!” he said, then picked up a tart and snarfed it down in a second and reached for the next one.
Harry grabbed the boy’s arm. “Lambo-kun, please eat more slowly. I don’t like it when I make food and people don’t take the time to enjoy it.”
Green eyes clashed and Lambo got an “I’m going to cry” look on his face, but then he nodded and when Harry released his arm, took the second tart and ate it slowly, chewing properly.
“Much better,” he praised. To Luna he said, “Lambo-kun ran into me on my walk, literally. I wanted to make sure he’s not hurt, but he doesn’t seem to be.”
“Lambo-san is fine,” Lambo insisted, grinning at Harry. He had berry juice stains and a bit of grape jelly smeared around his mouth.
He grabbed a napkin from the holder and dipped it into a glass of water that had handily “appeared”, and set about cleaning the boy’s face. “Did you like the tarts?”
“Lambo-san liked them very much.”
“So you like grapes, hm?”
Lambo nodded and eyed the cases again. Luna giggled.
“Well, how about I take you back to your family?” he suggested, thinking that surely there was a mother out there worried about her tiny little child being off heaven knew where.
Lambo got that look again, but instead of it passing by, the child burst into tears again, making Harry panic slightly and cuddle the boy. He gave Luna a “what the hell?” look.
“Lambo-san is an orphan,” came a muffled voice from his chest. “Lambo-san came to Namimori to assassinate the man who killed his father.”
Harry exchanged a look with Luna over the boy’s head. “You don’t have anywhere to stay?” he asked gently.
Lambo shook his head, making the points of his horns tap against Harry’s chest.
“You came to Namimori,” Luna said. “How?”
Lambo sat up properly and sniffled. “Lambo-san was clever and stowed away on a plane! And then he went after the man. But the branch he was perched on in the tree outside broke when Lambo-san was trying to kill the man, so he rang the doorbell and sneaked inside, and upstairs, and then tried again, but the man tripped Lambo-san! When Lambo-san threw a grenade the man hit it back and Lambo-san flew out the window and exploded. Lambo-san was looking for the man when he ran into Hari-san.” He nodded, as if to say he remembered it all correctly.
Harry felt like his brain was melting at the explanation. “I see. How old are you, Lambo-kun?”
Lambo beamed. “Lambo-san is five!”
Harry grimaced. The boy was tiny! Luna gave him a knowing look, and Neville was eyeing him with amusement from the counter. “Would you like to stay with us?” he offered. Perhaps he could get more information from the child, enough to figure out where he came from and decide what to do.
Lambo looked thoughtful—and suspicious, and hopeful. “Ano. . . . Hari-san looks a lot like what Lambo-san imagined his daddy would look like.”
‘What a lovely non-answer,’ he thought. “Okay. How about we go get you some colouring books and you can visit with us today.”
Lambo beamed and nodded.
“I’ll be out for a bit, then,” he told Luna, keeping a careful hold on the boy as he got up. “Let’s go to the shops, Lambo-kun.”
The boy chattered incessantly the entire time, excitedly pointing at things he would like, though Harry limited his purchases to a dozen colouring books and a massive box of crayons. He set the boy up at a free table at Kidorui and made sure he had something to drink, then went back to baking, knowing that Luna and Neville would keep an eye on him.
They were just getting ready to close up when they realized Lambo was nowhere to be seen. The three of them searched the shop and found no sign of him. “Damn,” Harry said. “Well, I guess we can look on the way home. He knows where we are during the day, so. . . .”
“What was he talking about?” Neville asked as they walked home. “A hitman? Here to assassinate someone? The kid’s wearing a cow onesie, for Merlin’s sake. Where is he storing these alleged grenades?”
“I am utterly confused,” Harry admitted.
“And you suspect he’s been abused,” Luna said.
Harry snorted. “Of course. No child should be that tiny at that age.”
The next day Harry had just finished the morning baking and was out on his walk again when something attached itself firmly to his leg from behind.
“Hari~san! Lambo-san is here!”
He felt a lot like giggling, actually, as he carefully reached back and grabbed the kid, bringing him around so Lambo could rest comfortably in his arms. “And where did you disappear to yesterday? We were worried. Where did you sleep? Did you even have dinner?”
Lambo aimed wide eyes at him. “Hari-san was worried about Lambo-san?”
“Yes,” he said with a nod.
“Lambo-san spent the night at Dame-Tsuna’s house. Mama said it was okay.”
His brow furrowed in confusion. “Who?”
Lambo pointed down a side street. “Go that way!”
A short time later, after following the imperious commands of a tiny cow general, Harry arrived at a normal enough house. The name plate affixed to the wall above the letter box read: Sawada.
“Here! Hari-san should ring the doorbell.”
He let out a breath and opened the gate enough to get through, closed it behind him, and approached the door. He pushed the doorbell and heard a pleasant jingling sound coming from inside. Thirty seconds later the door opened to reveal a woman with brown eyes and hair, whose expression went from polite to smiling when she saw Lambo.
“There you are, Lambo-kun. I suppose you ran off because Tsuna-kun is in school.” Then she looked at Harry.
“Ano, I’m Mori Hari. I was concerned because Lambo-kun disappeared on me yesterday.”
“Sawada Nana, but you can call me Mama. Everyone does. Would you like to come in?”
“Ano. . . .”
“Hari-san goes in!” Lambo warbled.
“Okay,” he said, wondering why he was letting himself be bossed around by a boy. “Thank you,” he said to Nana.
The result of the visit was that Nana had no real clue who Lambo was, but she had assumed he must be some kind of a friend of her son’s. That being the case she had stuffed him full of food the night previous and let him sleep in her son’s room.
Lambo got bored and said, “Lambo-san wants to colour again.”
Harry shot an amused look at the boy. “You left the books and crayons at the bakery, so if you want to colour we’ll have to return there. And besides, I have work to do, so I should be getting back anyway.”
“Bakery?” Nana asked.
He nodded. “My siblings and I own and run Kidorui. We opened just last week. If you stop by the first order is free, as a welcome gift.”
“Oh my,” she said. “That sounds lovely.”
Lambo started wriggling madly so Harry made his excuses and left, taking the boy back to Kidorui and getting him set up with his supplies, a drink, and some of those tarts he liked. “Remember now, if you want to stay with us it’s fine.”
Lambo eyed him with wide green eyes and nodded, then busied himself with his colouring.
A little bit after lunch Nana showed up and looked around with wonder at the mosaic on the floor and the paintwork on the walls, then approached the counter. “My, what lovely things you have for sale. Is Mori-san in?”
Harry appeared from the back and smiled at her. “It’s fine if you call me Hari. This is Kuma,” he said, gesturing at Neville, “and our sister Tsuki is around somewhere.”
Nana nodded a greeting to Neville and said quietly, “I see Lambo-kun is very busy.”
“Yes,” he agreed. “He seems to settle down when he has something fun to keep him occupied.”
“Well,” she said normally, “I would very much like to try some of your delicious looking sweets. They’re not all from Japan?”
Neville shook his head. “Hari likes to provide a much wider selection. How about a sampler?”
“All right,” she said agreeably.
Neville got busy putting together a sampler for her and Harry brought a snack over to Lambo, along with a fresh drink. How the boy managed using the bathroom while wearing a onesie was not something he particularly wanted to know, but the boy did know where it was.
Lambo came home with them that night and squealed in delight over the room they showed him. Luna had done up the walls in a cow print and the covers for the futon were a green that matched the child’s eyes. There were toys and a kotatsu and plenty of space for Lambo’s clothing—Luna had produced a number of cow onesies for the boy since he seemed to like them so much—not to mention a bathroom of his own. ‘After all,’ Harry thought, ‘why have all that money and magic and not use it to have a comfortable home?’
None of the preparations stopped Harry from waking up in the middle of the night to realize he had a guest with him. Lambo had sneaked into his room to use him as a pillow. And, as loud and obnoxious as the child could be, Harry knew he was quickly becoming fond of the little guy.
Business started to come in from the nearest middle school, with students stopping by on their way home or to other activities, and Nana stopped by every other day, but the truly odd thing was when a very small person wearing a police officer’s uniform strutted in and started mumbling about health codes.
Harry and his blood-bonded siblings exchanged a look of patent disbelief before eyeing the little man again. He looked no older than Lambo, actually, and certainly was not any bigger, and spoke with a childish voice. “Does he seriously expect us to believe this?” Harry asked in English.
The chibi officer looked at him sharply.
“He’s adorable,” Luna said in Russian. She got a sharp look, too.
“You look like a coffee sort of guy,” Neville said in Japanese. “How about some espresso cupcakes for your first visit?”
The chibi’s eyes gleamed. “Yes.”
Harry sighed and said, “First order is free, as a welcome.” He went over to check on Lambo and give his opinion on the boy’s efforts and choice of colours. Lambo had something of an obsession with the colour green, but he was happy to use all the colours of the rainbow. “You can have a snack in a little bit, Lambo-kun.”
Harry eyed the cases before heading into the back. There were a few things he could quickly make to round out the display. The chibi was enjoying his espresso cupcakes very much, as Harry could see through the one-way wall, but he was also eyeing the place up, and his siblings, with a potentially worrying interest.
He shrugged and went back to working, unthinkingly using his powers to fetch things without having to move around too much. Luna had placed a clever illusion on the doorway to the baking area so he wasn’t much concerned, in any case. He had no idea the chibi was not fooled by the illusion or that his actions were being watched intently. A squeal broke him out of his routine and he turned to see Lambo tumbling into the room.
“Lambo-san wants a snack!”
He sighed and brushed his hands off, then picked the boy up. “You know you shouldn’t come back here, Lambo-kun.”
“Lambo-san is sorry?”
Harry saw the wide, innocent green eyes and rolled his own. “That look doesn’t work on me.” He went over to one of the refrigerators and opened it, pulling out a bowl of seedless red grapes, then closed it with a bump from his hip and returned to the main room. Lambo was parked at his colouring table and the bowl set down. “If you had waited just a few more minutes I’d have been done and brought this out anyway. You need to learn some patience,” he scolded gently. “Now remember, eat slowly. I know how much you like these, but you’ll enjoy them more if you take your time.”
He sighed and got back to work, not noticing that the chibi had slipped away.
That afternoon a silver-haired teen strutted into the bakery along with a boy who looked a lot like Nana-san, just a bit more masculine. Chaos erupted when the silver-haired teen spotted Lambo, and Harry rushed out to put a stop to it. He pretended not to see the bright pink grenades Lambo had produced from his hair.
He snatched Lambo up securely and said to the silver-haired teen, “Either you settle down and act like a respectful customer or you leave.”
The teen started to argue, but the brunet flailed his arms around, eyes wide with panic, and said, “Go-Gokudera-kun, stop, please.”
“Tch,” said Gokudera with a sneer. “Aho-ushi shouldn’t be here.”
“Excuse me?” Harry said. “He has every right to be here.”
“Lambo-san wins! Kufufufu.”
Harry eyed his charge. “That laugh is just weird.” To Gokudera he said, “And I won’t have you using such crass names in my shop. Dredge up some maturity or get out.”
The brunet grabbed onto his friend’s arm and started babbling at him. Gokudera eyed the situation unhappily and backed down. “I didn’t want anything from here anyway. We should go, jūdaime.”
“N-no. Kaa-san says this place is great. It’s what she’s been bringing home all week.”
“What!? This place?”
Harry sighed and got Lambo settled again, letting the two teens work things out between themselves. “How about you get back to your colouring?” he suggested. “And later on we can go home and have a nice big dinner.”
Harry gave Lambo a kiss on the cheek and retreated to the back room.
Lambo tumbled into the house, bawling his eyes out. Luna snatched him up and tried to comfort him, to no avail. Harry came out of the kitchen and took the boy, who immediately latched onto him with more strength than should have been possible. “What’s wrong?” he asked worriedly.
Lambo stopped crying for as long as it took to pull some papers out of his hair and thrust them out. Harry took them and handed them to Luna.
A few minutes later she said, “Ano, Hari, this is—this is bizarre. These papers say that you’re Lambo-kun’s father.”
“What?” Neville said. “How the hell is that possible? Lambo is five and Harry’s only eighteen. He’d have to have been thirteen when Lambo was born.”
Harry took that in and set it aside for the moment. “Are you unhappy that your father is alive, Lambo-kun?”
“No!” Lambo warbled. “Lambo-san was told that Reborn killed you! They lied to Lambo-san!”
“So, you’re happy?”
“Lambo-san is so happy he can’t stop crying.”
“Okay, then. Let’s go sit down and cuddle.” It was only after Lambo had worn himself out and fallen asleep that he shot a questioning look at his friends.
“Someone managed to get blood from the two of you,” Neville said, “and run some tests. You’re Lambo’s father.”
“You said it yourself,” he protested quietly. “I’d have been thirteen when he was born. How it that possible?”
“Do you remember anything, er, odd,” Luna asked, “back when you were twelve?”
“Twelve? Why twelve?”
Luna rolled her eyes. “I realize your brain is muddled right now, but please try to think, Hari. It takes nine months for a child to be born, and if you were thirteen, he had to have been conceived nearly a year earlier. So, twelve.”
He cast his thoughts back to earlier years and almost immediately started blushing.
“Hari?” Luna asked.
“Er, well, yes. I remember, that summer before second year, I kept having really vivid dreams.”
Luna grinned like a cat. “Oh? I think I can see how part of this happened. Do you think, perhaps, that someone who can do illusions like I can was involved?”
“Maybe, but why?”
“This says that Lambo’s legal name is Lambo Bovino, a member of the Bovino Famiglia. Mafia?”
“He did say he was a hitman,” Luna pointed out.
“At five years old?” Harry hissed. “What the fuck is wrong with these people?”
“This doesn’t say anything about his mother, though, but I have to assume she was part of that family,” Neville added.
“It certainly explains the cow onesie,” Luna said with a giggle. “And the horns. Don’t worry, Hari. I’ll find out what happened.”
He gave her a worried look anyway.
Thankfully it was the weekend, so when Lambo woke up he was ready to talk, though not ready to let go of his newfound father. Neville was off working on a potion that would give them Lambo’s family tree. Some muggles might have done their tests, but the siblings wanted something from the magical side of things.
The potion confirmed it; Harry was Lambo’s biological father. His mother was Edvige Bovino, which caused Neville to crack up laughing and Harry to scowl. As soon as they had the results Luna packed for a trip and took off.
Things settled down again, though Lambo was especially clingy. He also stopped talking about assassinating that Reborn person. Try as he might, Harry could not figure out how his son managed to hide an entire store’s worth of goods in his hair. The weight alone should have snapped his tiny neck. And on that thought, he took Lambo off to the bathroom for his nightly bath and set about the horrible task of combing out that mess.
All manner of things were revealed and piled up as Harry patiently combed through the snarl his son called hair. His son? He had a son? His brain melted a little and he pushed his confusion aside, not even bothering to wonder why Lambo wasn’t kicking up a major fuss or bawling his eyes out.
Lambo was even more adorable than usual with much neater hair, and happily went to bed after Harry made sure the boy flossed and brushed—another fight that did not happen, actually. Lambo had bragged that he never brushed, but Harry wasn’t having any of that. Part way through the night Harry had acquired his portable heater again with Lambo using him as a pillow.
And in the morning, all the things he had removed from Lambo’s hair were missing and the boy’s “hairstyle” was back to completely messed up and afro-like. He sighed heavily and stared up at the ceiling.
On the way to Kidorui on Monday they saw Tsuna being chased by someone bundled up in a pastel nightmare of field hockey gear, and wisely ignored it. He ignored a lot of things that were happening recently. Part of it was not knowing intimately what Namimori was supposed to be like and part of it was simply weariness. A new town in a new country after running from the expected backlash—so long as it did not look like backward wizards from the UK chasing around after him he was content for the moment not to get too nosy.
Lambo was holding onto Harry’s hand, and Neville’s, and they swung the boy between him as they walked, chuckling at the squeals of joy. It was really much too early for Lambo to be awake, but as soon as Harry had started to get up the boy had woken and insisted on coming with him. So, with Luna away, Neville came in early to keep an eye on the child.
Lambo went back to sleep on one of the padded benches that had a direct line of sight into the back room and Neville sat nearby to read while Harry got things ready for opening. The shop had not been open for long when the chibi returned, this time wearing the uniform of a doctor.
“Again?” Harry said. He had come out the second he noticed the chibi. “Look, little man, I have no idea who you really are, but these costumes aren’t fooling anyone.”
Chibi did an obvious pan around the bakery, then looked back at Harry. “Oh?”
Harry frowned and did a pan of his own; the chibi was not attracting any particular attention, certainly not from cooing females going on about how adorable he was. “Are they blind?” he muttered.
“No,” Chibi said. “They just see what they expect to see. I am Reborn. I am here to—”
“Hang on,” Harry said, pointing a finger accusingly. “You’re the one Lambo said he kept trying to kill.” He looked around again and saw his son at his usual table, drawing.
Chibi frowned at being interrupted. “I am here to discuss your son.”
Harry took a seat at Reborn’s table and nodded his thanks to Neville, who showed up long enough to deposit drinks and a snack. “You’re the one who did the tests? Is that why you’re cosplaying a doctor this time? Who the hell are you?”
“I noticed the striking resemblance between you two and investigated. Are you going to take custody?”
Harry gave him a sharp look as he sipped his juice. “He’s my son, of course I will. I have no idea how it happened, but that’s irrelevant.” He paused for a split second. “Is that even possible when I’m not considered an adult in this country?”
“Lambo is from Italy. The age there is the same as yours: eighteen. I can smooth the way.”
From the expression on the chibi’s face Harry had to wonder if he would be pleased to get Lambo out of his hair, and no longer trying to assassinate him. “How?” he asked plainly.
“How did you even know he was your son?”
He growled at the redirect. “Because Lambo came home crying his eyes out with some paperwork he found. At the Sawada home, apparently.”
“Ah, so you know his background.”
“Enough, yes. Though who the fuck is insane enough to create a five year old assassin, even in the mafia. . . .”
Reborn nodded. “The mafia can do much, and I am the world’s greatest hitman.”
Harry sighed. “What you’re saying is you have connections everywhere and a lot of power.”
Chibi nodded again.
“And you’re happy with the idea of a minor inconvenience to you being occupied elsewhere.”
Reborn gave him an innocent smile.
A week later he had the paperwork in his hands; he had legal custody of his son. Lambo was beyond happy at the news, at this evidence that his father wanted him. If nothing else it made things both easier and harder. Now he had more reason than just caring for an orphan to lay down the law, and more reason for the boy to pay attention. It was harder because Luna had not yet returned and he was worried, and because now he had someone he was obligated to care for, not that caring was in any way difficult.
“Do you think I should try to set him up in a school?” he asked Neville.
“Ano, he was trained as an assassin,” Neville said. “He cries at the drop of a hat, attacks people with grenades. . . .”
“Yeah, I see where you’re going with that. I guess I can work with him after we close, continue to keep him occupied at the shop. Maybe if we get to the point where we know he won’t explode on people at the first sign of distress. . . .”
Lambo tumbled in from his nap and latched onto Harry. “Oto~san!” he warbled happily. “Lambo-san had a good nap!”
“I’m glad,” he said sincerely, then sighed. “How did you get your hair like that again?”
Lambo shrugged and cuddled up, then gasped and hopped away. The boy was surprisingly acrobatic. “Lambo-san never showed you his most precious!”
Lambo pulled a huge purple bazooka out of his hair—
‘How in the hell?’ he wondered, exchanging a look with Neville.
—and set it down, then hopped inside. As Harry jumped up in alarm it exploded in a cloud of purple smoke. Then he heard, “Yare yare.” Out of the smoke walked a young man with black hair and startling green eyes. “Otosan. Kuma-oji.”
“Lambo?” Neville asked disbelievingly.
The teen nodded, then grinned and latched onto Harry, just like his little Lambo did. “Seems my younger self wanted to show off. I vaguely remembered that he would, so I prepared.” Even though Lambo’s hair was stylishly messy, he could still manage to keep things in it, for he pulled out a sheaf of paper and handed it to Neville. “That will help. The effects of the Ten Year Bazooka only last for five minutes, after all.”
Neville took the papers and immediately started reading. Harry was left to contemplate his strangely older son. “You grew up handsome,” he said inanely.
Lambo smiled lazily. “And you finally convinced me to comb my hair.”
“I know about your magic,” Lambo said. “I also know about your Dying Will Flames. It’s—” And then, with another poof of smoke, his five year old son was back, beaming at him proudly.
“That was amazing, Lambo,” he finally said, wondering how in the hell the bazooka had gotten back into his son’s hair—for he was sure that was where it was—without anyone seeing it happen. Was his son magical, too? “What the hell are Dying Will Flames?” he muttered, fussing over the boy to make sure he was all right, though he suspected checking was pointless.
“Ano, what we do,” Neville said, looking up from the papers. “Those weird abilities? Apparently there are two sets. Dying Will Flames of the Sky, and of the Earth. You’re an Earth, with a secondary in Forest. I’m Forest with a secondary in Mountain. Luna is Desert and Swamp.”
“Sky is a little different, according to these,” Neville said, glancing back down briefly. “But for Earth, well. Earth is gravity manipulation, just as Luna conjectured. Forest is plant manipulation.”
Harry snorted. “Go figure.”
Neville grinned at him. “Mountain deals with soil, rocks, and sand. For Luna, Desert is illusion, and Swamp deals with the fermentation of organic material. She can decay things at an incredible rate, essentially.”
Harry started laughing. “I wonder how well she’d do with brewing alcohol.”
“Lambo-san wants a snack!” Lambo said, tugging on Harry’s shirt sleeve.
Harry hefted the child up and carried him off to the kitchen to secure some grapes for his little man. He might be giving in a little too often to his son’s imperious demands, but he’d be damned if he allowed the boy to stuff himself the way Dudley had, with every imaginable kind of junk food on the planet.
While Lambo was enjoying his grapes, Neville was going over the papers with him. Sawada Tsunayoshi was a Sky, which boiled down to harmonization. He would end up with six guardians minimum, one each of Rain, Storm, Cloud, Mist, Sun, and Lightning. Of those, they were already familiar with his Storm Guardian, Gokudera Hayato.
“So Reborn is Tsuna-kun’s tutor? Sent by—?”
Neville shook his head. “Apparently there’s this thing in the mafia called Omerta. A vow of silence, kind of like the Statute of Secrecy.” Neville glanced at Lambo before saying, “He’s obviously familiar with Omerta, so he only wrote down what he could afford to say without invoking it.”
Harry frowned. “Well, technically, he’s part of a famiglia. I really don’t like this. He’s only five.”
“Well, apparently he has Dying Will Flames of Lightning.”
Harry eyed the horns on his son’s head. “So he’s part of the Sky set.”
“Yup. I suppose we could figure out how to train him. I mean, he’s—”
“Lambo-san doesn’t need training!” Lambo objected, chasing down the last grape.
He eyed the ceiling and sighed. “And just how many times have you fallen out of trees? Or blown yourself up?”
Lambo got that look again. But before he could decide to cry or not, a voice came from behind them.
“Training is essential,” Luna said. “You need training to be precise and efficient and skilled.”
Lambo did not look convinced, but neither did he look ready to cry, either.
“It’s true,” she said, taking a seat. “Do you think your daddy got so good at cooking for no reason? He practiced, a lot. He spent a lot of time and effort to get as good as he is.”
“There is something very weird about this conversation,” Harry muttered. Forget that he had been forced to learn how to cook—Luna had a very good point and seemed to be getting through to Lambo.
“Part of that is learning how to read and write,” she continued.
Lambo gaped in horror.
Luna nodded firmly. “Yes, reading and writing. Don’t you want to be able to make pretty cards for your daddy? To be able to write down things like ‘Love, Lambo’ on them?”
Lambo got a thoughtful look on his face as Harry sent a look of gratitude at his sister, not to mention a questioning one.
She shook her head slightly; it would have to wait for later. “Tell you what,” she said. “Your daddy and Kuma don’t need me all the time at the shop, so I can teach you. How about that?”
Lambo nodded happily.
‘Maybe it was the idea of going to school that was upsetting him?’ Harry wondered.
The rest of the day passed peacefully enough and when Lambo was finally asleep—though he knew that not long after he retired himself he would have a portable heater on his chest—Luna was finally able to report.
“I am so glad you’re okay,” he said, giving her a hug.
“I told you not to worry,” she said after she was released.
“Yeah, well, I won’t apologize,” he shot back, retaking his seat. “So what did you find out?”
“Way back, when you were still a child, agents of the Bovino family witnessed some of your more colourful bouts of accidental magic. They informed their boss and he had his people keep an eye on you over the years. They thought you had some special power and were looking to capitalize on it.” She paused when he groaned and then continued, “When you were twelve, and therefore old enough, they sent in an illusionist to provide you with ‘dreams’.”
Harry slumped over and buried his face in the arm of his chair in embarrassment.
“Yes,” Luna said knowingly. “With those they were able to collect . . . samples. Those were later used on a more or less willing female of the family and they impregnated her. They were hoping to get a child with your abilities. The mother died in childbirth. The Bovino Famiglia is fairly weak, but they have good technology.”
Neville snorted and told her about the Ten Year Bazooka.
“I missed it?” she said unhappily. “Damn. Anyway, when Lambo wasn’t showing any of the abilities you had, they considered him a failure and told him that Reborn had killed his father. And you know what happened after that.”
“So they just washed their hands of him, let a five year old boy smuggle himself onto a plane from Italy to Japan, and sent him off to get himself killed,” Harry said scathingly. “Did you do anything to any of them?”
Luna shook her head. “I wasn’t sure what rules there might be. Sure, I fooled a bunch of them and poked around in all their secret documents, maybe appropriated some things, but I didn’t hurt or kill any of them.”
He felt torn. Part of him wanted to march on over there and tear the lot of them apart. They had given him a wonderful little son, true, but they had manipulated him like some toy and stolen from him. His embarrassment went bone deep. They had—ugh. He remembered, all right, those “dreams”. They had started out with girls, and when that had produced no particular results, had moved on to boys.
It was how he knew he was gay, actually, and why he had more or less ignored every last girl vying for his attention. He knew what they wanted, and it wasn’t love, really. They wanted his fame and his money, the thrill of being the one to bag the hero and lord it over friends and enemies alike. There was a reason Luna was the only girl he could stand spending time with.
“I have no idea about rules, really,” he replied. “Much as I’d like to see them all suffer—the ones involved, anyway—it’s not the kind of thing you tend to do in cold blood.”
“Not unless you’re an assassin,” Neville said.
Harry rolled his eyes in frustration. “Yeah, not ready to even contemplate that. I suppose I could ask Reborn, but—”
“He is more than a little creepy,” Neville said.
“He’s adorable,” Luna cooed. “I’ll ask if you want. If he’s any good at all he should have some idea if we have any avenue for redress of wrongs committed.”
“I guess,” he said slowly.
“Great!” she chirped.
If he didn’t know better he would swear his sister was infatuated with the chibi.
“I’ll take Lambo over to the Sawada house in the morning for a visit,” she said.
He rather wished he could go along with her, but there was work to be done. Now if only he could convince Lambo not to wear cow onesies all the time. Then he remembered the fifteen year old version of his son and smiled. He had advanced to cow-print shirts at some point, so he considered it a win along with the hair issue.
Luna and Lambo showed up in time for his break, so he walked with them back to the house, with Lambo chattering away excitedly about his new “friend” I-Pin. She had decided he was a “broccoli monster” and they had lots of fun chasing each other around.
Luna was doing her best not to outright laugh and mouthed, “Later.”
Nana-san showed up after noon, looking to buy another round of sweets for all the people she was feeding.
“I hear that Lambo made a new friend?” he asked her, having come out on seeing her enter.
“Oh yes,” she said cheerfully. “Little I-Pin-chan is a darling, but dreadfully nearsighted, I’m afraid. She took one look at his hair and decided he was a broccoli monster.” Nana looked around quickly and then leaned in to confide, “I-Pin-chan does not like broccoli.”
Harry snickered in amusement. “You seem to have quite a crew over there.”
“Oh, it’s lovely. My little Tsu-kun has friends and it’s wonderful to have them over. And please tell Tsuki-chan how pleased I was that she brought Lambo-kun over for a visit.”
“I will, I promise. Lambo is very fond of you.”
Nana blushed slightly and smiled happily. “Well, I should get going. I have a lot to do today.”
He gracefully exited the conversation and let her get on with her shopping, returning to his work. She was a nice woman; a bit oblivious, though. He was greeted on entering home late that afternoon by an excited Lambo, who was waving a piece of paper around.
“Look, Otosan! Lambo-san has worked hard!”
He scooped the boy up and examined the paper. Lambo’s writing—brush-work, really—was more than a little sloppy, but it was obvious he had tried hard for Luna. “Very good,” he praised. “I’m proud of you.”
Lambo beamed and stuffed the paper in his hair so he could properly hug his father, then squealed happily when Luna said it was time for his snack.
That evening, after Lambo had gone to bed, Luna reported the results of her visit. “I didn’t want to clue everyone there in on what I actually wanted, so I asked Reborn in Russian if he’d be willing to speak with me later, at the weekend. He said he knew where we lived and that he’d visit.”
He waited patiently through the week, expecting at any moment for the chibi to show up, but he did not until after Lambo’s bedtime on Saturday evening. The doorbell rang and Luna hastened to open it. Shortly thereafter she was ushering Reborn—and Tsuna?—into the living room.
“Welcome to our home,” Harry said in mild confusion. “Would you like anything to drink? Maybe something to snack on?”
“Ciaossu,” Reborn said in greeting. “Yes, thank you.”
Harry wandered off to fetch espresso for the chibi, a soft drink for the boy, and a selection of things to nibble on. He also brought a pot of tea for himself and his siblings.
Once they were all settled Reborn said in that adorably childish voice, “What is the issue?”
“I went to check on the circumstances behind exactly how Hari is Lambo’s father,” Luna stated forthrightly, then went on to explain what she found. Tsuna choked on his drink at how blunt she was, and at what had actually happened. “We wish to know if we have any avenues of recourse against the Bovino Famiglia—those responsible, at least. What they did was line theft and that’s an unforgivable action, compounded by essentially abandoning Lambo to whatever Fate willed.”
“I am actually very happy to have Lambo,” Harry said, “but what they did was so incredibly wrong. We don’t know the rules of—” He waved his hand around aimlessly.
Reborn nodded and eyed his student. “What do you think, Dame-Tsuna?”
Tsuna looked startled to be asked. He stuttered and bit and ultimately said nothing.
Reborn made a disgusted sound and asked, “What if it had been you they did this to? What then?”
Tsuna’s complexion went green at the very thought. “I—it’s abominable, what they did.”
“And a potential answer to that? Punishment?”
“I—I’m not sure. They didn’t kill anyone, but—they stole something so private. They—” Tsuna looked down, fiddling with the hem of his shirt.
Reborn nodded and seemed satisfied with that. To them he said, “It depends on what you want. Killing would require a specific, precise contract, and a hefty fee. Otherwise the Vindice would get involved, and that’s never pretty. If you want to ruin them, that’s a bit easier.”
Harry exchanged looks with his siblings. “How much would it cost to ruin them?”
“Depends on how many people were directly involved and if you want it to be personal for each of them, or for the family as a whole.”
“Of those complicit there are twenty-seven living,” Luna said, handing over a piece of paper with a list of names on it.
Reborn nodded and started muttering to himself as he examined it. “Let me work something up so you’ll know what it’d cost.”
Luna beamed at the chibi. “We would appreciate it. Is there some kind of consultant’s fee we should be paying?”
Reborn smirked. “Free goods at the shop for a month.”
Harry’s brow went up in suspicion. “For you only,” he said, “not the entire brood over at the Sawada house.”
Reborn gave him an appreciative smile and nodded. “Deal. Be sure to make a lot of those espresso cupcakes.”
That week he was out taking his walk when he saw Lambo go squealing down the street with a tiny Chinese girl in hot pursuit. She managed to catch him, there was an explosion, and he actually laughed when he saw that the girl was completely unharmed and that Lambo was looking woozy and more than a little frazzled, not to mention that there was a small crater in the road.
He crouched down and said, “You okay, Lambo? Is this your friend I-Pin-chan?”
“Oto~san!” Lambo warbled tearfully. “I-Pin-chan exploded on me!”
“I see that. Hello, I-Pin-chan. I’m Hari, Lambo’s father.”
She squinted up at him and did a little bow with her hands folded in front of her. “A pleasure to meet you, Hari-san.”
‘Wow, she sure speaks well for such a little thing,’ he thought. “I take it that Tsuki let you out to play for a while?”
“Hai! I-Pin-chan and Lambo-san were playing Chase the Broccoli Monster.”
“Well, when you’re done playing you and I-Pin-chan can have a snack at home, or you two can come to the shop and get one.”
Harry left them to it and finished his walk. Perhaps he was mental, but he had been taking care of himself since practically forever, and if Lambo could smuggle himself to Japan without being caught it was probably not a real issue to let him scamper around town for a play break, even if it did involve explosions. The little guy blew himself up on a regular basis as it was. As he walked through the main shop door he thought, ‘I really have lost my mind.’
The two children showed up a few minutes later, tumbling through the door. Lambo was squealing again, but I-Pin was much more reserved. He watched as Neville chuckled and asked what the girl wanted, then put together a snack for the two of them. Lambo dragged the girl over to “his” table and beamed when Neville brought over a tray for them. “Thank you, Kuma-oji!”
‘Well, his manners are improving, if nothing else,’ he thought, and brought another tray of cupcakes out. Reborn had been in already that morning and helped himself to a half dozen espresso ones. It was a small enough price to pay to get a quote for a possible job. True, he and his siblings could go in personally and drive the responsible Bovino Famiglia members batshit insane with magic, an insanity they would never recover from, but he was more willing to let a professional handle things.
Reborn stopped by on Friday about two minutes after Harry got back from his walk, so he knew the chibi probably had their schedules memorized. Harry invited him into the back room and offered him a stool. Neville poked his head around the door and said, “The usual?”
Reborn nodded, so Neville disappeared, only to appear again a minute later with half a dozen cupcakes and a cup of coffee. “You know, you should try making tiramisu, Hari,” he said before vanishing again.
Reborn perked up and looked at Harry expectantly.
“I’ve never tried making it before, but I suppose I could give it a shot.”
“I would be happy to taste test,” Reborn said.
Harry snorted. “I’m sure you would. So, what’s the damage?”
Reborn pushed over a piece of paper and tucked into one of the cupcakes.
Harry picked it up and skimmed over the figures, his gaze coming to a rest on the bottom line. His stomach clenched a bit at just how much money was being asked, but those people had really fucked him over, even if he had ended up with a priceless gift. Thankfully the Potter family was loaded, and Neville’s was by no means poor. “All right. I don’t see any reason not to do this, but let me talk it over with my siblings first.”
Reborn looked as though he approved of him not just jumping on it, polished off the last of the cupcakes, and drained his coffee. “Let me know,” he said, then hopped down from the stool and departed.
“Damn,” he whispered, “this is a lot of money.” He went out front and showed the paper to Neville, taking care of a customer while his brother read, and glanced over to see that Neville’s eyes had bugged out. He served a few more customers while his brother remembered how to breathe properly again, then gracefully slipped aside to let Neville have his register back and retrieve the paper.
Lambo greeted him when he got home by somehow managing to climb up his body like a damn monkey, so Harry carried him over to one of the sofas and sat down for a snuggle. “How was your day?” he asked.
Lambo started chattering excitedly, puffing his little chest out with pride over how hard he had worked for Tsuki-oba. Luna nodded at that and smiled, then accepted the paper he fished out of his pocket and handed over. “And Tsuki-oba started teaching me acrobatics!”
“Did she now? Are you enjoying it?”
“Lambo-san is good at it,” Lambo said earnestly, “but it makes Lambo-san hungry a lot more.”
Harry tickled him just so he could hear the cute little giggles. “I have faith in you, and faith in Tsuki’s teaching.”
Luna got out a snack for father and son and called them over, so Harry carried Lambo to the table and set him down carefully. The little guy was disturbingly bouncy on impact, but there was no sense in rattling his brains more than they already were from all those explosions. Lambo squealed and pounced on the grapes.
He remembered the one time he had given the child grapes and had not been paying attention, and when he looked back Lambo’s cheeks were bulging like a chipmunk on a nut binge.
The grapes held Lambo over until dinner, after which he watched a little television with his son snuggled up on his lap. Once Lambo was in bed they convened again to discuss the quote Reborn had given him.
“I say we do it,” Neville said. “Yeah, it’s a lot of money, but. . . .”
“Maybe you had to be there, but those people were just awful, Hari.” Luna wrinkled her nose in distaste. “The things they did, the lies, poor Lambo running away because of what they told him, all alone. It was sheer chance he bumped into you.”
They went ahead with it. The next time one of them saw Reborn the chibi was asked to deliver a contract so they could go over it with a fine-toothed comb, then sign and provide the “key” to an account with the money already in it. The Bovino Famiglia would rue the day they fucked with Harry Potter.
Things were quiet for a while after that, even with the confirmation from Reborn that the job had been completed. The interesting spot happened shortly after Neville and Luna took Lambo off to the zoo for the day. The doorbell rang and Harry went to answer it, and was subsequently surprised to see Tsuna standing there uncomfortably.
“Come in, please,” he said, stepping back and holding the door open. Tsuna edged in and toed off his shoes in favor of a pair of house slippers, then followed him into the kitchen. “Would you like something to drink? A snack?”
Tsuna stuttered out nothing in particular, so Harry prepared a tray with a slight sigh. He slid it onto the table and sat down, pointing at one of the chairs, mainly because Tsuna still hadn’t seated himself. After making sure the boy had a soft drink he said, “It’s nice to see you again, Tsuna-kun. What can I do for you?”
“Ano. . . . I wanted to apologize,” Tsuna said, so quietly that Harry had trouble hearing him. “About Lambo-kun.”
“So many crazy things have happened since Reborn got here,” Tsuna said, destroying some daifuku nervously. “Lambo-kun kept—well, I was embarrassed a lot by him. He seemed so annoying. . . .”
After a long silence he said, “All right. And?”
“Well, Reborn told me Lambo-kun came here because he thought Reborn had killed his father. I never really thought about how he might not have had a proper family to care for him until just recently. I didn’t think about how hard it might be for him.” Tsuna became very interested in his soft drink.
“You’re still awfully young, Tsuna-kun,” Harry said. “Even a lot of adults often don’t bother to set themselves in other people’s shoes. It’s a good thing, I think, that you realized this. Was it because of when Reborn brought you here for that meeting?”
Tsuna nodded. “I had no idea that—it was awful. And Lambo-kun’s been so much happier and better behaved lately. I was just so relieved that I didn’t stop to wonder why.”
Harry nodded. “When I was growing up there was so much pressure on me that I could almost never see anyone else’s pain.”
Tsuna had such a set of doe eyes on him, Harry decided. It was like looking at damn kitten or something. “Yes. I was expected to save my community from a terrorist, simply because I survived when he tried to kill me as a baby. He had never before failed when he tried to murder someone. So I didn’t have a lot of room in my head to worry about other people too much, not unless they were really close to me.”
“Was it someone from a famiglia?”
Harry shook his head. “Similar, but no. He had a lot of people at his beck and call. But I did have friends and we helped each other. We would have died for each other, in fact, if that would have solved something.” Never mind that he had died, sort of, and nearly died so many other times. He did not think Tsuna needed to know that. “You have your family, so it’s probably natural to expect other people to have them, too.”
“Ano. . . . I have my mother. I haven’t seen my father in a long time, though,” Tsuna admitted. “The last time was two years ago. Something about off to be one with the stars in the sky.”
“That’s got to be rough,” he said sympathetically. He still had no idea where any of this was going aside from Tsuna seeming to want someone sympathetic to talk to whom he perceived as an adult. He had apologized for not being more thoughtful regarding Lambo, which for someone just hitting their teens was astonishing, but. . . .
Tsuna nodded and nibbled on a berry tart.
“Do you miss him?” he hazarded.
Tsuna shrugged uncomfortably. “I’ve never seen him enough to really know who he is.”
“Oh. He works out of the country or something?”
“Supposedly all over the world, but I noticed Kaa-san got a letter from Italy once.”
His eyes narrowed for a moment. “That would be a little weird, yes, having a father who’s a bit of a stranger to you.” So Tsuna’s father was in the mafia and Tsuna wasn’t necessarily aware of it, even? Had it been his father who sent Reborn, or someone else? “You have a lovely and kind mother, though. She seems to love you a lot. A little, er, naïve, though, if you don’t mind me saying so.”
Tsuna stared at him wide-eyed for a few moments, then laughed and nodded. They chatted about inconsequential enough things for a bit, like Tsuna’s school work (it was improving slowly) and the bakery (business was steady) and then Tsuna seemed to have decided he had taken up too much of Harry’s time and started making polite leaving noises. Harry sent him off with a box of baked goods and a cheerful wave, then flopped on the sofa.
“I still have no real idea what any of that was about,” he muttered.