Chapter 1: We Fell In To A Burning Thing Of Fire!
9 June: Alternate Future
Ryohei paused at the garden gate and considered going another lap. Things in town had gotten boring without the Sawada kid’s tutor playing around. Laps just didn’t weren’t… extreme enough anymore. He checked in his home’s windows and saw Miura Haru was over. He snorted. What happened to Kurokawa, little sister? Haru hit things but she had no idea how real extreme fighting went.
The woman who actually fought in the ‘Sun Battle’ he’d been offered by Sawada’s father was extreme. She’d contacted him beforehand to let him know what was going on too. Sawada Iemitsu was very un-extreme, trying to trick Ryohei into signing his life away to the mafia for a fight. Who does that?
Mafioso probably. Ryohei stretched and headed in. He could smell food cooking, another lap might make him late and Kyoko wouldn’t like that. He swung on the gate a little and reached down to pet a passing cat. He thought he saw sparks out of the corner of his eye but couldn’t find them.
He stood up and started walking to the front door. It took longer than usual. It almost felt for a moment like resistance training, as if someone was holding him back from his house in a most unextreme manner. He sped up and reached for the handle, turning a bit to figure out where the pull was coming from.
The handle vanished under his hand and a shower of multicolor sparks, mostly yellow, seemed to absorb everything else.
Ryohei squeezed his eyes shut under the assault and felt a moment of extreme vertigo as he was dragged backwards. The landing, flat on his back, wasn’t something he could roll out of. He merely endured as all of the air was punched out of his body harder than during the match last week.
He recovered after a couple of gasping breaths to relearn how his lungs worked before standing. He was alone in what appeared to be either a desert, or one of Miura’s apocalypse manga. Ryohei looked around. There was nothing living visible. No complete buildings either, there was a busted house but that was it.
All of this was extremely interesting but Ryohei would like to go home now. He picked a direction that felt somewhat northerly and started walking. Then he was jogging again, muscles warmed in the strange chill the place had. Ryohei wrapped himself in his extreme will to keep going.
It took a while to see anyone, when he did he recognized the little girl as the one who fought on Sawada’s side during the Mist Battle. Chrome Dukuro. He remembered that she’d won her match. There was an extreme amount of pressure during that.
There was a man with her, he had short white hair and was wearing a suit and Ryohei could only see his back but the girl didn’t look threatened so he figured it must be a decent guy at least. Then she spotted Ryohei and waved him over. “Sasagawa!”
Ryohei must have hit his head harder than he thought because suddenly there were two of the girl and another guy with white hair. Ryohei jogged up and looked around. Extreme correction, the other guy was also Ryohei. Other-Ryohei was staring at him in shock that Ryohei though he might return later.
With an extreme vengeance because the man looked like Ryohei’s dad, a little, except he had the same scars as Other-Ryohei. “How extremely bad was that landing?”
“What landing?” Older Ryohei and Other Ryohei chorused.
“It seems,” said one of the Chromes, the one who was standing gingerly not the one who looked too sick to stand, “That some of us were, dragged backwards into the future was it?”
Ryohei nodded. “This is all very…Extreme? Unextreme? What’s going on?”
Older Ryohei picked up the sicker Chrome. “I don’t know, but extremely I don’t like it. Little Brother was planning something but… nobody’s really sure what.”
“Planning to extremely deal with…” Ryohei gestured to just, everything. Other Ryohei was strangely excited to be randomly dragged into a post-apocalyptic world. What part of end-of-times was exciting here? Maybe more fights to get into but they were the rough kind of fights that made Kyoko cry.
“Yes.” Older Ryohei nodded. “We need to get back to the Vongola ba…” He stumbled and suddenly looked a bit sick. “Base. Base! Right Extremely Now!”
Ryohei suddenly found himself dragged into the backwash of an extreme running speed he’d never managed in his life. He ran with them and picked up ‘his’ local Chrome to avoid losing her. She hugged him and tapped the back of his hand. He nodded. Not quite desperate enough to call Sawada’s Lightning yet, but rapidly getting there.
Fights were one thing, something he was apparently going to get and that was extremely awesome, but he was a boxer and hand-to-hand enthusiast extremely not a Mafioso! It looked like other Ryohei didn’t get The Woman’s warning.
He tapped the Morse code he’d learned with Sawada’s tutor into healthy Chrome’s knee, “How to get out. Stay out. mafia?”
She responded via Mist-‘subtitles,’ “Careful what you agree to, I’ll warn you if something’s off.”
Ryohei willed himself to keep up with the other and older Ryohei’s. Best not get unextremely lost. He’d stick to protecting ‘his’ Chrome for fighting enjoyment. No need to accidentally join a criminal organization. Especially if this was the one Sawada had shot himself to avoid.
He wondered who else was here…
They should never have let that rat Spanner so much as touch the stupid bazooka. Should have destroyed the damn thing. Only now it was gone, along with several pillows, two chairs, half the couch, and [Boss].
“Lambo’s missing too.” Teddy looked more alarmed than they’d ever been. “Five minutes after [Boss]. Their heart-marks feel distant. I don’t know how to track those yet unless their used. They’re not dead but that’s all I can tell. Probably another reality or something, pretty distant, major change at some point.”
“Ryohei’s gone.” The Woman put down the phone she’d been listening to. “Sasagawa Kyoko looked out the window to see if he was back to dinner and saw him pulled into a ball of yellow sparks right in their front yard.”
“Who’s next? And what’s happening exac…” Takeshi dissolved into drop-shaped blue flames right in front of them.
“Abductions into an alternate dimension.” Hibari fiddled with his tonfa. “Grab what you might need.” It wasn’t phrased as a question but he clearly was looking for an answer.
Then Mukuro burst in. “Chrome disappeared in a…”
“Dark blue fog?” Hayato didn’t know where the snark was suddenly coming from but he clung to it. “A bunch of people are missing. [Boss] in a fireball, Sasagawa Ryohei in a sparkling yellow circle thing, Takeshi just dissolved in blue droplet-shaped fire…We can only assume green ball-lightning is responsible for Lambo’s disappearance because nobody saw that one… It’s all Spanner’s fault.”
“Should we expect a red fire-tornado next?” Mukuro hissed, turning to Spanner. “More fog? Purple Clouds?!”
Spanner looked like he deeply regretted every life-choice he’d ever made up until this point. Good, Hayato would feel sorry for him but Boss was missing and it was that experimenting jackass’ fault. “I don’t know! I was trying to figure out how it worked not change anything!”
Hayato wheeled back to smack the brat but his hand never landed.
“Oh, fire tornado it is th…” The last word, probably ‘then’ disappeared in the roar and a spinning not even Watson’s ‘Gates’ ever managed. Hayato was too slow to close his eyes but it hardly would have mattered at that speed.
The first thing he did upon landing was throw up.
Tsuna silently cursed Spanner, the Game, and fire for good measure as the thing dropped him off three feed above where the ground actually was. He chowed an apple to make the pain go away when he realized something. [New Quest] Yellow Light! Welco…t…-_-fut-…*BZZT*
Tsuna stared in horror. He accidentally put his hand down on a rusty nail and shrieked. It still opened his menu but the quest markers, the check for whether the people around him were hostile, and his inventory were all gone. Thankfully he’d only had pocketsful of stuff and they landed in his actual pockets but damn.
Wherever he was, and he was thinking alternate reality or Mars, the Game had no power here. He was still himself thankfully, but nothing he had that interacted with the world outside of him was functioning. No more checks to abilities, he’d have to see himself if something worked.
He rubbed his knees and thanked the game for still functioning as a healing device before wandering over to the first person-shaped thing he saw. As he got closer, he realized it was an older Tsuna. Whether this older Tsuna was him or an alternate him was yet to be discovered.
He got as far as “Hello?” when something hit him in the side and knocked him down. Everything greyed out, he couldn’t move his own body, couldn’t react as the person who hit him, carrying a bag of marshmallows but that was all Tsuna could see, stepped over him and proceeded to attack his other-older-self.
Tsuna couldn’t so much as blink. The world was grey, he had a hard time hearing the taunts handed to his older self by marshmallow-asshole. Something about how his plan to make a past self fight for him was doomed to failure but they hadn’t expected it to happen so fast…garbage monologue.
Tsuna was still trapped with his own body as a prison. Helpless. Between the game and everything else he could die here with nobody but his friends and love interests realizing. His last words to them, thankfully, were affirmation and love. No regrets there. Given the nature of flames that might be a bad thing…
Other-Older-Tsuna was on the ground, unresponsive. Marshmallow asshole walked away. Tsuna could finally stand again. He fought his own trembling limbs, thankful for every moment he could move at all, until he reached Other-Older-Tsuna. Thankfully [Observe] worked a little like a spell.
The man was in a coma. Flames breathing and such for him but his connections were a bit strangled as a result. His ‘Guardians’ would have felt that. There was a rush of more flames as the man disappeared, traveled somewhere within this world by the feel. In his place was another Tsuna.
This one was [Boss] Tsuna’s age. This one was just as alarmed at the sight as Tsuna himself.
“HIEE!” [Boss] wished to the heavens that he didn’t sound like that but despaired at the chances.
“Bazooka misfire?” [Boss] gruffly questioned.
The other boy was still visibly scared as he nodded. [Boss] sighed.
“V-Vongola mansion is that way?” Other-Tsuna squeaked.
[Boss] looked over. “Well shit.” So it was. So much for avoiding the Vongola. At least the alternate version was escapable, given the Game intervention. “Best be going then. Some jackass just whacked the older version of…probably you…that you replaced so in the interest of not dying.”
Other nodded and they started walking. Turned out Other had a terrible sense of direction and they wound up to the side of where they wanted to be but the mansion was visible from there so they did eventually make it. They arrived at the same time as Kyouya, Kyouya, Takeshi, Takeshi and Lal Mirch.
[Boss] caught all of their attention and signaled WTF to all of them.
Takeshi looks up at where two Tsunas are looking at the crowd he’s fallen in with. One of them is clearly his Tsuna, signaling WTF and waiting for response. Takeshi eyes the Kyouya who signals back with Takeshi. So that’s their Kyouya. They needed like, tags or something yeesh.
“Yo!” Takeshi could feel how brittle his smile was. He had bruises from both the landing and Mirch being an enormous bitch. Takeshi tugged on the edge of their Kyouya’s jacket, mindful of touch sensitivity, which was going to be worse for a while wasn’t it?
Takeshi grabbed his Tsuna and led Kyouya subtly to cling on the other side. Takeshi ran a hand over Tsuna’s hip for comfort. The others weren’t nearly so close but Takeshi was out of fucks to give at this point. Poor Hayato was going to have some kind of aneurysm. God only knew what Mukuro would do.
That’s when the Older Takeshi opened the door holding a pair of Lambos. One of which was screaming and the other who was reaching desperately for Tsuna. So that’s which Lambo? Tsuna extricated his arms to hold Lambo to himself. Takeshi and Kyouya held him harder by the waist.
Further proof this was their Tsuna; he had his bulletproof corset on, and he was calm. No really what was up with Panic-Attack-Teen? Tsuna was always calm. Unless this Tsuna wasn’t a gamer…Shit this Tsuna wasn’t a gamer. Gamers saved their panic moments into their menus for safety.
Tsuna didn’t save all of his there but he did save his emotions for people he trusted. Takeshi had long been proud to be one of them. Meanwhile, once out of his thoughts, Takeshi wondered the slightly more on-topic issue; “What are we calling each other?”
Kyouya’s fingers drummed and stroked on his tonfa in the hand that wasn’t clinging to Little Animal. The other carnivore moved in an unnecessary threat display. Kyouya nodded gratitude to Crocodile as he defused the situation. There was a not-Crocodile as well.
He looked like Crocodile but wasn’t as threatening, directionless. It was strange. Kyouya was disapproving of the other carnivore as well. He was lonely. Lonely predators don’t last long. Kyouya carefully guarded the pride as they moved inside. Older-Not-Crocodile led them.
They met up with the strange Not-Sun-Boxer, Older-Not-Sun-Boxer, and Sun-Boxer, two of whom were carrying Trapping-Predator and Sick-Not-Trapping-Predator. Sun-Boxer was the one rejected from the pride for irrelevance, loudness too.
Why was he here? He was quiet now, the others were loud instead. The Woman had taught Sun-Boxer carefulness. Trapping-Predator was on his back for a ride and probably helped that. He put her down once they were walking at acceptable pace. The Sick-Not-Trapping-Predator was sill carried.
None of them cared to be led much. This was a situation that they’d all regret sooner or later. Little Animal told as they went what happened. He signaled them that despite the takedown Older-Not-Little-Animal was still alive. Why the fake death? Was he a trapping creature?
They made it to a dinner table and refused to be separated, pulling their chairs close and letting Baby-Carnivore sit on Little Animal’s lap. Baby-Carnivore was far better behaved than Baby-Not-Carnivore. “Code-Names!” The Baby-Carnivore was also more helpful.
“We’re not local.” Little Animal mused. “So we’re the ones who can change what we’re called. The age doubles can go by Sr. or Jr. If it bothers people.”
Kyouya didn’t like the idea of changing for someone else’s benefit but he was in another carnivore’s territory. Politeness to that end could be endured. “Can, yes. Better if Little Animal chose the names.”
“I might borrow some of yours Kyo, So,” Little Animal sighed. The Not-Thems looked unreasonably surprised. Why? “For my people; I’m Boss, Takeshi is Crocodile, Kyouya is Carnivore, Chrome is Trapper, if or when Hayato shows up he’s Wolf, if or when Mukuro shows up he’s Lotus, and Sasagawa-Sempai can choose his own since we don’t really hang out. Oh, and Lambo is Baby. Is that alright Lambo?”
"Baby is fine. Lambo knows what you mean." Baby Carnivore pouted and tugged gently on Little Animal's arm for more petting.
“Boxer.” Sun-Boxer was subdued. Strange. Oh, lone carnivore surrounded by more powerful carnivores and unconnected to anything. Probably ‘Awkward.’ Kyouya settled that new knowledge as the strange Not-Selves around them looked at them oddly.
“If that’s what you want.” Older-Not-Sun-Boxer looked concerned. Alarmed even. Not-Sun-Boxer was gushing over Not-Little-Animal and calling him ‘little brother.’ Perhaps that is why. The difference between this group and theirs was obvious, the Not-Thems circling in various orbits while Kyouya’s group was tight knit save for the missing members and Sun-Boxer.
Perhaps, with the connection necessary like this, Sun-Boxer might join them, only as a friend though. His affection was clearly more platonic and Little Animal looked so like the female of Sun-Boxer’s family unit. He was strong.
Mukuro tensed up as a dark blue mist dragged him away mere moments after the red tornado stole Gokudera. Spanner had fainted and Mukuro wished he could have destroyed him. The connection Mukuro shared with Tsuna and dear Chrome was so strained that even being thrown through space felt better as he was moving towards them.
He arrived, not in the…He peeked and tapped for Chrome and she sent back an image…Dining room of the Vongola? Gads. No, he was in Vendicare. How? Why? What the actual living fuck? Another him, older by about ten years, was suspended in…disturbing liquid in a not-coma, probably riding along with… another Chrome?
This was bizzare. Then a third Mukuro showed up. They had a moment to look at each other, block each other’s attempts at connection or mind-reading and then almost get caught. Mukuro grabbed the other-Mukuro and teleported, ignoring the shocked objection. Was the other Mukuro also in a tank like older-Mukuro? He was dripping wet and wearing the same clothes?
He found a dozen-odd places that weren’t there anymore, checked more, narrowly ducked a man in a strange uniform, realized this place was post-apocalyptically shitty. And finally found an undiscovered bunker, previously belonging to what appeared to be a green Arcobaleno named Verde.
Inside were partially made things called ‘Box Animals.’ Mukuro made the place livable, dropped the other-self in a bedroom, and contacted Chrome again with the coordinates. She passed them on to the group, mentioned that they had Sasagawa and Lambo from their time/place too instead of The Woman and Keeper. Weird.
He settled, hid himself so the other him wouldn’t find him immediately, and dove into Chrome’s mind.
Chrome watched the group from where she was leaning into Takeshi’s side. She listened as the conversations went on.
“Octopus-Head is at a bit of a distance, it’ll take him a while to get here even after he…ya know…gets here. He’s going to be so depressed about Tsuna.” Sr. Takeshi laughed through the explanation, the tense laugh that from their Takeshi would have been a signal of wrongness.
Chrome half listened to that, half let Mukuro pay attention to is as she communicated what she discovered probing the place to Tsuna. It was all very efficient. Mukuro sent pictures of what he’d found and she encouraged the continued production. Pet animals that could also use flames? All the Yes.
This place was disturbing and she wanted to go home. She communicated that to the group and got overwhelming agreement. Given the look on Sasagawa’s face he wanted that too. She kept talking to him, letting him feel included. She let him know that learning more wouldn’t promise anything here unless he actually promised something.
Sasagawa was such a loose cannon. Having him here, given his strange behavior was going to return to how it was before, would be interesting.
Chapter 2: Hello? Hello? We're Not Where We're Supposed To Be?
10-23 June: Dangerous Tricks and Traps
Hayato didn’t bother opening his eyes or getting up for a good five minutes upon landing. He was too busy trying not to puke again. Thankfully he hadn't landed in the first. Then he heard two voices over him and listened while waiting for his stomach to return from orbit.
“Is he okay?” there was a clicking noise Hayato deliriously recognized as a lighter.
“Not sure. Hell of a landing.” The concern in that voice was impressive. Probably a father-son pair if the ages of the voices could be gone on.
“This is so weird.”
“I wasn’t expecting it ei-” There was a scuffing noise as the second voice gasped in…pain? Probably.
Hayato opened his eyes and would have screamed about UMA’s if he wasn’t still nauseous. Above him was a copy of him and an older version of him. The copy was now freaking out about UMAs and the older looked like he’d been punched in the gut.
“You okay?” the other him asked after calming down slightly. The older was looking around in a panic. The other then didn’t wait for an answer before hauling Hayato to his feet. The world spun again and Hayato swallowed hard. He shook his head. “Not okay then.” Other him nodded.
“Juudaime’s hurt.” Older looked panicked. “We need to get to the base.”
Juudaime-> inappropriate address-> Very Alternate Universe where Boss likes that?
Juudaime-> inappropriate address-> Older/Other selves still not listening to Boss?
Hurt transfers? -> Connection or hallucination? Need more data.
Hayato finally choked down his desire to puke and stood on his own. Older started running and Other followed. Hayato followed as well. The breeze calmed his stomach a little further. He reached into his pocket for the healing stone Ley gave him and felt better as soon as he touched it.
Then he pulled it out when he felt an edge and nearly had a heart attack as he watched it crack down the middle and go dark. Not supposed to be possible + other evidence -> Alternate Universe. Future? Probable.
It took way too long to get to the Vongola mansion. That they were going to Vongola at all was more proof, alternate reality tentatively confirmed. They head inside and reach a table full of people, some of whom are clearly Hayato’s boss and fellow guardians/lovers.
The Alt-Hayato’s panicked and fawned weirdly over the alternate boss, (There was no Older Boss, Why?) at a distance that had Hayato cringing. What was wrong with their relationships? Hayato was so tired he just couldn’t pretend to be a normal person anymore. Boss passed Lambo to Takeshi and turned to Hayato.
As soon as he saw Boss’ signed invitation he threw himself on his Sky’s lap and broke down.
Tsuna extracted his arms from his other lovers to hold his trembling Storm. He firmly ignored the continuing and irritating watchers’ comments on their relationships. Hayato was trembling and Tsuna needed to deal with that first. He stroked over Hayato’s hair, taking a conjured hairbrush from Mukuro to start putting his people back together.
Tsuna allowed his group to bask in his harmony as he listened in to Mirch’s ‘training plan.’ The brush made quiet swishing noises as he reduced his Storm’s anxiety to purring. The other… Tsunayoshi, Tsunayoshi was panicking loudly and anxiously himself, when he wasn’t looking at Tsuna with… either confusion or envy. Which of those it was would take more time to discover.
Mirch’s plan wasn’t terrible. Unfortunately, she was working with people going in entirely different directions for flame use. Tsuna started his own plans for experimentation. This place messed with his Game. He didn’t know if that was permanent or how far it went. He started braiding Hayato’s hair out of his face.
When he finished there was an elegant web of silver strands controlling Hayato’s hair and Hayato had slipped into a kneeling position, his favorite. Lambo’s patience was out and he crawled back into Tsuna’s lap and curled up. Tsuna automatically started to brush Lambo’s hair as well. The boy fell asleep almost instantly.
Tsuna moved on to Chrome and used their connection to ask about Mukuro, who wasn’t there and nobody seemed to miss. Chrome passed on images declaring that Alt-Mukuro was in Vendicare for some reason, likely connected to Estraeno trauma going even more very wrong without Gamer intervention.
Then they started planning. Chrome and Tsuna put the eventual plan into data packets so when they were offered rooms and declined in order to stay together, they were ready to pass on the plan. Everyone finished eating and Sr. Hayato led them to a room they could stay together in.
Takeshi flooded the walls and furniture with enough Rain flames that moving parts, hidden cameras especially, were incredibly obvious. To be sure, they passed out the Mist packets and all further planning was done in terms relative to their previous knowledge.
Chrome and Tsuna ran a combined scan for influences as the reference-based conversation settled into a working plan with backups. Chrome also would reach out and tap Tsuna as the hub to pass along Mukuro’s contributions.
The first part of the plan was to not bother hiding their relationship. With no Game here it likely would only be a joke if someone acted in a tasteless manner. Then it was to be as obnoxious as possible about it so they wouldn’t be voluntold for anything nor would they be relied on.
They put that into play when Sr. Tsuna’s guardians came to check on them and Chrome took pictures of their expressions. They were all shirtless, even Chrome. Hayato’s hands were down Tsuna’s pants while Tsuna himself played tonsil hockey with Takeshi and Kyouya left hickies all over the group, but mostly on Tsuna’s neck.
Takeshi’s hands wandered Tsuna’s chest as they held their breath mid-kiss. Finally the intruders stumbled out apologizing and making unfortunate noises. Takeshi giggled into Tsuna’s lips, probably clicking teeth a little there.
Tsuna pulled him away so it wouldn’t happen again and then moaned at whatever Hayato was doing. Takeshi was close enough to feel that as well. Takeshi’s amusement was catching though, ‘cause they all started laughing too hard to keep up any tension.
So, they went for a round of hand-jobs, except Chrome. Chrome shared such things with Mukuro apparently, her senses and his actions. Which would be creepy but they’d had experimental moments. Feeling what the possessed person feels meant their discomfort was also yours. Non-Con literally impossible. Must be nice, setting aside the gender confusion. Thankfully they acted differently enough that there were only a couple incidents. Takeshi mused on their most entertaining summer vacation as they swapped out for sleep clothes.
Takeshi hopes they wouldn’t be in trouble for the curtains. Tsuna’s sewing was slower than usual, almost human in speed. That was concerning. “Tsuna? Why are you moving so slowly?”
“I’m not moving any slower than usual actually.” Tsuna sighed. But then why? “There’s no Game here. I’m still trying to find out what that means. I leveled in Observe when I used it finding out Sr. Tsuna wasn’t dead instead of leveling medicine.”
“Any outside effects are gone.” Hayato hummed. “Without the game, you only have your own skills bought through practice. Spells too, since that’s how observe seems to work.”
Chrome was asleep or talking to Mukuro or something. Hibari spoke next. “Little Animal is still strong.”
“Yes.” Tsuna sighed. “Could be worse.”
Lambo snuck back into the room. “Many secret passages. Sneak out tomorrow?”
“Thanks Lambo!” Takeshi pulled out the smallest pajamas and handed them over. They all readied for bed.
“We sneak out for practice tomorrow.” Tsuna yawned. “Early, you know how Reborn was. They’re probably working on that schedule.”
Chrome waved a hand and conjured an alarm clock.
The next morning Lambo showed them the passages. Hayato Storm-dissolved the dust in the messiest one, clearly unused for years. Then they set up the pillows and blankets for better sleep. After waking up properly, Lambo ‘got a stealth mission’ (So Cute!) to the kitchen to retrieve news and food.
Everyone reached for their flames. Takeshi’s had worked properly the night before, ruining the bugs in the room. Chrome and Mukuro’s illusions were still as potent as ever. Kyouya doubled the illusionary vines before they vanished and then the rest disappeared when he stopped.
Lambo’s ‘Hard to See, Hard to Find, Hard to Stop’ effect was unchanged, possibly gotten better. Nobody’s abilities with flames had been changed in any way. Tsuna’s abilities, the ones given by being a gamer anyway, were harder to pin down.
Kyouya stalked through and away from the ‘training’ that Military Dog failed to enforce. He was tempted to fight her for having the gall to try to order them around but he wouldn’t give her what she wanted. Kyouya reached the weapons sources, map courtesy of Trapper’s Plant Carnivore.
There were many types. Little Animal had given him a list and instructions for testing weapons. Three swords that looked like the picture broke before he found one that Crocodile could use. Kyouya’s own tonfas were always with him, save for naked petting.
Kyouya briefly spared a thought to be grateful that wasn’t when they were taken. The tonfas here broke when Kyouya flicked one. Unwelcome eyes could have damaged the Pride as well. Kyouya needed to check if anyone was damaged emotionally anyway. They wouldn’t demonstrate in front of the not-thems.
Something was definitely wrong. People kept looking him so directly in the eye he felt like prey. He hated it. He’d thank Crocodile for helping him stare down the other-boxer when he got back. Little Animal has six guns as is. Kyouya was good enough at memorization to retrieve the correct ammunition.
There was enough to practice until he could use the purple fire to propagate ammunition as well as force and healing speed. Kyouya started back to their secret room. Thankfully this one didn’t have staring portraits. He slowed down as he passed the ‘training field.’
Military Dog tried to shout him down again but he heard the closer bit of advice about ‘trying it for the first time in the base’ and sped up to murder-strutting back inside. He met Trapper around a corner and she passed on what that was about.
“They’re planning a strike against the Merone base.” She showed him the map and address.
Kyouya looked it over and nodded. “Many of the Olders are missing.” They were. Military Dog was the only one outside. The elders should have been training their young selves for haste reasons.
“What?” Her gaze never actually met his eyes thankfully, but she stared at his mouth for a long time. “What happened?”
“Disappeared the same way we did.” Crocodile came out of nowhere and Kyouya took an unusually gentle swing at him.
“Sword.” Kyouya grunted, thankfully with the two of them he didn’t have to track the conversation much.
“Thanks.” Crocodile was very polite. “Older Tsuna disappeared when other Tsuna arrived, same flare of orange. Since dinner, each of the other older-guardians has disappeared the same way we came here. Same order too.”
“Yes.” Chrome flinched. “Older-Mukuro-San just vanished.”
Ryohei finished his extreme training workout. He was just as good as the one who’d been training with the mafia the whole time, which was extremely good. Then he walked into a conversation by those from his world.
“They just had all the older versions disappear, we’re all hopelessly outnumbered, the enemy mafia just sent a fucking invitation, and they want to…what? Spring the incredibly obvious and dangerous trap with seven teenagers? Sorry, six teenagers and a child?” Yamamoto threw his arms in the air.
“I extremely didn’t see you in training!” Ryohei greeted them. He wasn’t about to just eavesdrop, I case it was a private conversation.
“We’re doing research.” Chrome smiles. Ryohei wasn’t as bothered by her avoidance of training. There’d been a couple of near misses with the other Chrome. They shouldn’t be fighting.
“Oh?” He blinked confusedly at them. “Homework?”
“No,” Sawada came around the corner to join them. “On the Milliefore. The people who caused the apocalypse.”
“Seriously?” What was to learn about them? They extremely needed to be stopped.
“Yes.” Takeshi nodded. “Mostly how to stop them but also whether they have supporters and where, how they got their power… a bunch of things.”
“You’re not training though?” What use was it knowing how they could be defeated if you didn’t have the strength to do it?
Sawada spoke up again. “Mirch is training in things we already know, any training we do with her won’t give us an edge. Worse, with only teenagers working there’s a very good chance their little invasion plan won’t work.”
“We don’t have the opportunity to treat this like a spar or a fight.” Chrome nodded. “We’ve got weapons in the works but we can’t be sure of their usefulness. I really don’t want to use our alternate selves as guinea pigs.”
“Training extremely helps.” Ryohei scolded. “They are strong enough to win fights.”
“Against what?” Sawada asked. “These people are mafia. Their world-ending enemy is mafia. They’ve wiped out the intelligence division, the assassination division, and most of the main Famiglia of the Vongola. They’re not exactly yakuza thugs.”
“No.” Ryohei sighed. “I extremely cannot help with your research so I’ll keep training. I extremely hope that surviving this is something I’ll learn. Mirch is an extremely strong fighter.”
“She knows things about the other Famiglia too. They wiped out the… babies that are not babies. Called Arcobaleno. Cursed that way. Curly Carnivore had it too. All dead because of another curse mixed into how all this.” Hibari poked Sawada and gestured to the outside. “Happened.”
“Good to know.” Sawada sighed. “Recess over people, we’re back to work and hopefully surviving the base invasion Mirch is planning.”
Mukuro handily fended off the weak protests of the other-him as he organized the half-constructed box-animals properly. The other-him ‘went to sleep,’ likely trying to communicate with the dangerously sick version of Chrome.
They needed to do something about that. Meanwhile, Mukuro set up an internet database and started searching for wifi spots around the world. He set aside the outliers and guarded his own search from the signals poking around after him.
The box-weapons that the Mare ring holders used were registered in the system along with the construction process. Very dangerous, apparently the collective onlining of the boxes killed Talbot. So much for that direction to seek.
The Arcobaleno Curse was stabilizing something. The loss of Talbot and then of the Arcobaleno, was when the world started looking apocalypse-now-ish. Things stopped being born when Reborn died. Reality started getting iffy in places after Mammon bit it. A lot of public rage got more outrageous when Collonello died.
Cancer became an even worse problem when Skull disappeared. (In an explosion that took out three armies worth of Mare goons and two Mare bases temporarily flat lining one of the ‘Funeral Wreathes.’ Pity they were immortal.) Landforms got squishy after Verde stopped appearing at his lab.
A bunch of things were also not decomposing properly, too fast or slow, probably to do with Fon but where or when he died was hard to pin down. Pockets of stability could be found anywhere there was a “Kawahira Antiques” store but it wasn’t much. To be considered later, when they returned to their own world.
Mukuro checked and rechecked the plans before bullying his strange, weak, broken counterpart into helping him cannibalize the dangerous or useless experiments for laptop, radio, and other useful parts. It was very cathartic. Almost as good as seeing Tsuna permafrost the head scientist of Estraeno.
Mukuro redirected attention by filtering his searches through those sites. There was also an alert now for unauthorized ISBN numbers in the Mare holder’s computers. It wasn’t very good. Some clickbait quizzes were available online still. They made for great time wasters.
Other-Mukuro went through them and input his observations of the local-past kids. The results were little or nothing like Mukuro’s observations of Tsuna and friends but he wasn’t one to take amusement from someone who was that down.
“So, why Vendicare? Also how?”
“How were you not in Vendicare?” The other retorted. “Apparently experimenting on your children until most of them die is perfectly acceptable but killing people who were experimenting on you or trying to enslave you isn’t.”
“I was rescued when you weren’t I think.” Mukuro frowned sadly. No gamers to save the kids here then. He didn’t want to think how many more had died. “The ones who saved us got away with the complete Estraeno wipeout because they used the continued existence of the possession bullets and their retrieval of us kids to excuse it as ‘incomplete wipeout.’ Also the Estraeno were infringing on a couple of their areas at the time so they had excuses lined up.”
“Lucky.” The other sneered. “I died six times before Ken, Chikusa, and I were the only survivors and we killed them all.”
“Yikes.” Mukuro returned to his work. “Here.” He passed over a Mist Memory of the head bastard being permafrosted. “Feel better?”
“Little.” He murmured. “You are young here.”
“Thirteen.” Mukuro agreed. “Only a year after the experiments started. Most of the infants died. They saved the survivors. Were originally going to send a warning about encroachment but their spies are better than the Vendice. They didn’t approve of Estraeno practices.”
Chrome tapped in as the group bedded down for a nap. Mukuro pulled her forward in his mind. “So, box animals. The science behind this is… iffy at best…”
Chrome tapped out again.
Chrome pulled away from Mukuro’s thoughts, glad to have lightened them slightly. The depression and fear had started to pervade the group. She sidled up to Tsuna and rubbed her cheek on his shoulder. The dinner crowd stared, at her actions or his ability to ignore them she wasn’t sure.
The other Tsuna was certainly freaking out enough for four people. Her Tsuna meanwhile sent out tendrils of Harmony to both relax them and sharpen their awareness. She passed half of hers on to Mukuro-sama, who by the sound of it then had to explain his sudden sigh of pleasure to the other.
The box animals were interesting but more interesting was the fact that the Merone base was, in fact, a trap as they suspected. Chrome tapped confirmation on Tsuna’s knuckles before pulling back and focusing on her dinner again.
A conversation of innuendo, fake laughs, tapping fingers, and other signs followed. Mukuro sent out the directions to Milliefore base, the real one, and instructions to find the local Shoichi, Spanner’s internet friend and the local turncoat. There would be questions for the man, and their own Spanner once they returned.
Research into that goal was ongoing.
Chapter 3: We Got Guns In Our Heads And They Won't Go
OUTSIDER POV! Canon characters have opinions about MMIRL's kids.
10-23 June: OUTSIDER POV
Lambo-Sama kicked the cook until they gave up the grapes. Lambo-Sama had to do this every time! They were useless. Lambo-Sama was stuck in that stupid training all day and zapped with lightning the whole time and Lambo-Sama hated it!
Only Dame-Tsuna did what Lambo-Sama wanted. Dame-Tsuna was the only useful minion. Dame-Boss stuck Lambo-Sama in a corner when Lambo-Sama hit him for candy! Then Dame-Boss did it again when Lambo-Sama zapped him for it!
Dame-Boss was so rude! Dame-Boss’ guardians were rude too! Dame-Boss called Lambo-San ‘Baby’! It was insulting and awful. Lambo-Sama didn’t have to listen to Dame-Boss! Lambo-San did act a bit like a baby though. Lambo-San let them handle him and didn’t get candy and did what Dame-Boss said!
Nonsense. All of it. Lambo-Sama would avoid Dame-Boss and his guardians. They were trouble. No. Lambo-Sama didn’t want the hugs and playtime and attention the other Lambo got. Not At All. None of it. None of it at all. Lambo-San hugged him and Lambo-Sama almost cried! How awful!
Lambo-Sama didn’t cry himself to sleep in the next room over from Lambo-San. It wasn’t because they were reading Lambo-San a story. Lambo-Sama deserved a story too! Mama would have read to him!
Lambo wasn’t lonely. Lambo wasn’t pretending the lullaby from next door was for him. Lambo wasn’t…wasn’t…crying.
Takeshi did his cool-downs and drank his water bottle. These flames Mirch had taught him were awesome but he didn’t see how they would help. They looked cool on the blade of his sword though. It wasn’t a great sword but they didn’t have a lot of options in this post-apocalypse.
Laugh it off. Tsuna saved him, he didn’t need to hear Takeshi’s troubles here. None of them were happy here. It wasn’t news. They needed the uplift, not the downer. Now if only Octopus-Head would get on the bandwagon Tsuna would stop looking so depressed and terrified all the time…
He rounded the corner and stopped. The other him, Crocodile really? Was Hibari nicer in that world or? Not really the question to ask. Crocodile was hanging off of Boss!Tsuna again, just like the first night they were all here. Takeshi wished Tsuna would let him do that.
Then Crocodile kissed Boss!Tsuna and Takeshi’s brain shut down. They were really going at it. It wasn’t like Takeshi was hiding or anything he was right there. They just kept going. It took a minute for Takeshi to snap out of it and clear his throat. They didn’t stop. Takeshi giggled nervously for a bit. Then they stopped.
“Haha! Did you want something?” Crocodile asked like he didn’t realize how weird this all was.
Takeshi shook his head. “Heh, You’re crowding the hall a little but it’s not a problem. So, when did,” Takeshi gestured between them, “that happen?”
“Almost a year ago.” Boss!Tsuna nodded. “It was a long time coming at that point though.”
That’s when things got weird. Wolf-not-Octopus-Head walked in looking flustered, pecked Boss!Tsuna on the mouth, (No reaction from Crocodile?) then pinned Crocodile to the wall and started making out with him. Crocodile was obviously into it. Butt-grabbing and all. Takeshi choked on his spit.
“That too.” Boss!Tsuna hummed like that was completely normal. “Before you ask, it’s not cheating, we’re all polyamorous to various degrees. We share. There is no cheating.”
Takeshi finally managed to swallow. “Heh, ’We’re all’ sounds like more than you three here…”
“Kyouya’s involved.” Holy Babe Ruth Boss!Tsuna called Hibari by first name!? “So’s Chrome and one other but he’s not here.”
“Oh.” Takeshi tried for a moment to comprehend. There’s wet noises and moaning coming from where they’re ignoring his other self and the other Octopus-Head’s makeout session. He’s not sure if the example helps his understanding. He grasps for something to say. “Not Turf-Top?”
“Who?” Boss!Tsuna blinks. Do they not have those nicknames in his world? Probably a good thing. He doesn’t care for having to answer to ‘Baseball idiot.’
“Sasagawa-Sempai.” Takeshi corrects.
Tsuna stares at him. “No. How did you even meet him? I’ve only ever seen him at a distance until that disaster with the Varia.”
“We trained together. He beat that Varia guy. We sort of hang out.” Takeshi wondered. “You don’t?”
“No particular reason to.” Boss!Tsuna shrugged. “He wasn’t actually fighting in the Varia thing. I have a friend who did instead. She’s not here, probably because your future means your callback people. Same reason we can’t sic my actual Lightning on this Byakuran guy. Lambo’s good at finding secret passages but I’m not about to take him outside in this.”
“Your Lightning must be something else.” Takeshi was seriously uncomfortable now. How was Boss!Tsuna ignoring them and how were they still at it. He made the mistake of looking over and asking about their current position. “Are they seriously going to?”
Boss!Tsuna’s head jerked to the side and what he said next had Takeshi diving for the shower rooms: “Since when are you two into public sex?” Boss!Tsuna was clearly done talking to him so thankfully Takeshi got away. He didn’t need to hear the rest of that. He didn’t need to know what they were going to do.
Takeshi needed a very hot shower so nobody could tell he was blushing and then he was going to never look Octopus-Head in the eye again.
Chrome filtered through the maintenance of her illusionary organs and Mukuro-Sama’s confusion with the other Mukuro-Sama, also her vague feeling of jealousy as the other Chrome clearly didn’t need illusionary organs and was thus healthier and stronger.
It wasn’t worth the outrage. She set up on the highest shelf of one of the closets to meditate her way through various illusion plans. Mukuro-Sama was having an interesting conversation. It seemed the other Mukuro-Sama didn’t kill his way through so much of the mafia.
Pity. The mafia was a problem that needed trimming.
The closet door opened. She almost alerted the person to her presence but apparently they were caught up in themselves. She altered her eyes to Mukuro-Sama’s so she could see. Below her was the alternate versions of Hibari and Tsunayoshi. Carnivore and Boss wasn’t it?
They were kissing. Then Carnivore was chewing on Boss’ neck and he moaned instead of complaining. Tsuna-Kun complained about everything. It was strange seeing someone who looked like him but couldn’t have acted more differently.
Rather, Boss was complaining about how ‘slowly’ Carnivore was moving. Strange, he didn’t seem to be going anywhere. She wondered if Mukuro-Sama knew what they were doing. It looked like they were trying to climb into each other’s clothing, or bodies. They were making funny noises doing it.
Mukuro joined her in watching this strange activity.
“What are your Tsunayoshi and Hibari doing?” Mukuro asked vaguely as he took in Chrome’s view of the closet encounter.
“I’m not in their heads. Why? What are you seeing?” The other-him looked up for a moment from those strange boxes to stare.
Mukuro reached out and connected the other-him to what he was seeing through Chrome. “That. What is it?”
“You don’t-?” the other-him made a choking noise. Then he did something that felt like Mukuro’s near possession of the Decimo heir. Like Tsunayoshi. “They’re doing frottage in a closet. They know Chrome’s there now by the way.”
“Sorry, were we interrupting something?” Other-Tsunayoshi asked Chrome.
Chrome shrugged, “I just finished meditating. Mukuro-San says you’re doing ‘frottage’ what’s ‘frottage?’”
“…Humping another person for sexual pleasure. Clothed sex.” Other-Tsunayoshi sounded confused. Were they supposed to know that?
“What’s sex?” Mukuro asked other-him as Chrome asked the same thing of his boss.
Other-him stared for a long time. They both listened in then because this answer came from Hibari. Strange, this Hibari was far more involved than theirs. “Mature reproductive organs allow for a type of pleasure called an orgasm. Seeking this pleasure alone is Masturbation, mutually with at least one other person involved is sex.”
“Thank you, Kyouya.” The other Tsunayoshi sighed. “Nice explanation.”
Mukuro chuckled. “Fascinating.”
Other-him rolled his eyes. “And here I am, away. Not able to join you without taking dear Chrome’s part. I miss you.”
“Hope you have a good idea of something to celebrate when we return home~” Other Tsunayoshi sang.
Other-him lit up, almost literally with an application of Mist glitter. “Will do!”
“Alright! We have information to gather and training to do. Out of the closet people.” Tsuna shoed the disappointed Hibari and dear Chrome out of the closet.
“Hard to believe you were ever ‘in-the-closet.’” The other-him spoke strangely. With emphasis on where they’d just been. Was this an in-joke?
“That was bad.” Other Tsunayoshi poked the Hibari and signaled something, a hand signal Mukuro didn’t know. The Hibari did. He laughed.
Kyouya didn’t like this place. He wasn’t properly in Namimori and bad carnivores were everywhere so he couldn’t return to his school. It had been taken over by these…Milliefore. They were planning to take it back though. Barely acceptable. Everything grated on him.
He bade his time by watching the other-Carnivore. Other-Carnivore checked the place as if to make it part of his territory, but finding it wanting. He also took weapons and gave them to his own pack…Pride. They called it a Pride.
Little Animal had no Pride. He barely had a hunting pack and he was uncomfortable around them. Strong, but a lone hunter. Kyouya didn’t understand why he would bother to pack-bond with those people at all. The Little Carnivore was the only reason Kyouya could imagine.
Kyouya was glad not to deal with the Little Carnivore outside fights. He disrupted routine, made everything just icky, and created loud and unpleasant noises at random hours. Little Animal might be a good pack member if it weren’t for Little Carnivore.
Little Animal followed the rules before Little Carnivore ruined him. Little Carnivore taught him to fight but anyone could have done that. If Little Animal wasn’t a hunter he wasn’t a hunter. Forcing that caused the nervous wreck of an omega-personality Kyouya now had to ‘follow’ as if either of them wanted that.
The departure of Little Carnivore might be a good thing. Kyouya stepped up behind Little Animal, who was having a bit of a meltdown. Not as bad as Kyouya’s meltdowns but still dangerous here. “Calm Little Animal. Crying for Little Carnivore won’t bring him. Choose what Pack Members to bring on the hunt.”
Little Animal’s breathing calmed. He leaned back and Kyouya pressed firmly into his side. “You want your school back and you’re strong. It’s your school. Who do you want coming?”
“I’m coming.” Kyouya nodded, not pulling away even when Little Animal realized their position and flinched. Little Animal could pull away but Kyouya didn’t and neither did Little Animal. “Young Crocodile is not an herbivore, and puppy is not useless. The other-thems prove that.”
“The other-thems are someone else’s subordinates and refuse to come, even to training.” Little Animal controlled his breathing until the wheezing and shrieking stopped. “I can ask them about their involvement. Lambo isn’t coming, either of him. Both Sasagawas want to come. They’re helpful.”
“Military Dog cannot come.” Kyouya continued. Little Animal could think but he needed an anchor. Pineapple girl was too weak. She had the only real connection to Little Animal though, despite the tentative ones to the puppy and the young crocodile.
Little Animal nodded. “Maybe the others can help with plans or something. I don’t know.”
“Breathe, Focus. Solve what and when you can.” Kyouya sighed. “Don’t seek triggers for panic. Useless when not breathing.”
Hayato didn’t know whether to be envious or outraged at the other him. The oth-sorry, ‘Carnivore’ called him Wolf instead of Puppy. He got very close to the othe-no-Boss. Was in his lap actually, outrageously close. Then kneeling on the floor, only appropriate.
Hayato knew about other realities and how that theory went. What had changed in their world? The most likely would be Boss as the difference. He was always the center of everything. Hayato would have taken him for a UMA if he hadn’t known better.
The lack of Reborn was getting to them all. Not the Others. The Others didn’t seem to notice or care. Mirch had told them what happened to the people who had been cursed like Reborn and the Others didn’t even flinch.
What happened to them?
It was something of a mystery Hayato would have been gleeful over solving in almost any other circumstance but right now. Right now they were getting ready to storm a base and the Others weren’t involved. Juudaime wasn’t asking them to. He never asked anyone to sacrifice their lives.
He was the one to save their lives. Hayato still felt a bit bad about his failure against the Varia but Juudaime had been happier with Hayato than any of the others that day. Sometimes Hayato didn’t understand Juudaime. Not that he needed to. He was a proper subordinate not…
Hayato stared at the other version of himself as he kissed ‘Boss’ into a wall. ‘Boss’ had his hands tugging on the side of ‘Wolf’s shirt like he was trying to rip it off. Hayato had a couple seconds to realize that the dying animal noises were coming from him as the two pulled apart.
Slowly. They pulled apart slowly. They weren’t ashamed of what they were doing. “Something wrong?”
“What?! Wha? Huh?!” Hayato couldn’t even articulate. What was he coming to?
Boss snickered. “I think we broke him.”
Wolf nodded. “Goodness knows the first inkling broke my brain when that happened. I’m not surprised.”
“HOW? WHY? WHAT?” Hayato finally managed to gesture between them and ask somewhat clearly the main questions on his mind.
“Opportunity and communication. Because we wanted to. Polyamory.” Boss counted on his fingers. “In that order.”
“Polyamory?” Hayato wheezed. “What?”
Wolf rolled his eyes. “It’s li…”
“DRIVE BY!” Other-Baseball-Idiot…Crocodile, came hurtling down the hall then. He spent a full thirty seconds (Hayato counted in order to not lose his mind) French-kissing Boss and then pulled away to tackle Wolf into a hall closet. There was banging, growling, and moans. Hayato didn’t want to know.
“Like that.” Boss was smiling. Smiling! “We know what we want. Although that’s the third time my boyfriends have tackled each other off of me today. I need to stop having important looking conversations or my only option will be Chrome, likely with Mukuro along for the ride.”
Hayato desperately wished he knew where there was a wine cellar so he could find out if drinking it would save him from the images.
“What’s going on?” Juudaime then turned the corner to ask. That was all Hayato could take. He ran for his room.
“Hayato?” Tsuna almost went after him when ‘Boss’ stopped him.
He had a sheepish look on his face. “Sorry, I think my relationship with my guardians was a little much for him.”
“You’re all very close.” Tsuna nodded. There was a thumping noise from the closet. “What’s?”
“Excuse me a moment.” Boss held up a finger. Then he yanked the door open, spilling the shirtless forms of the other Gokudera and Yamamoto onto the floor. They were still kissing and other Ya-Crocodile, was wrestling with...Wolf?’s belt.
Tsuna jumped and shrieked a little at the startle but then found himself staring. Mukuro’s unfortunate turn of phrase, about wanting Tsuna’s body, had opened up some interesting trains of thought. Tsuna took this as confirmation. He’d research into various romance possibilities once they were out of the future.
“Get a real room or get involved with the conversation.” Boss seemed amused by his friends rendezvous more than anything. Wolf let out that whine that always had Tsuna picturing him as a dog and never would again. Then they scrambled back into the shared room. Of. The. Group. Nii-san and Lambo were the only exceptions…
“Are you all?” Tsuna drew a circle in the air with his finger. “Um, Involved? With each other?” He just had to know.
“Mostly.” Boss nodded. “I’m involved with Wolf, Crocodile, Carnivore, Trapper, and my Mukuro, who is not and never has been in Vendicare or on the run. I had a couple of early mentors who rescued him before he could be irreversibly screwed up. Wolf and Crocodile will do each other sometimes. Trapper will with Mukuro. Carnivore gives everyone kisses and hickies but Trapper but won’t go farther.”
“Oh.” Tsuna thought for a moment. He wanted to know more but that could wait. “Clunky subject change, are you coming for the base invasion?”
“We found another base to invade actually.” He looked a bit apologetic but Tsuna couldn’t really get why. “We’re going to be sneaking in there while Mirch directs your loud attack at the other. We aren’t really meant for forward marching and attacks. Not even Carnivore.”
“Ah.” Tsuna thought for a moment. “Can you think of anything to do with the Lambos?”
“My Mukuro has a place. Chrome took Baby there. I can ask her if she’d like to drop yours off as well?”
“No.” Tsuna giggled a little hysterically. “He’d be too much of a problem. I think Lal Mirch will have to live with him a while longer.” She couldn’t leave anyway. Probably Tsuna’s Mukuro was also there and Tsuna wasn’t about to subject him to Lambo.
Tsuna missed Mukuro. It wasn’t something he could ever tell his friends. It didn’t actually make sense. Mukuro wanted to possess him. He shouldn’t have ever even liked the guy. But Mukuro was the first person to believe Tsuna when Tsuna told him he didn’t want to be a mafia boss.
Mukuro was the first person who got why Tsuna didn’t want to be involved.
So, Tsuna missed him. “Can you pass on messages though? And is m-er-the-local-Mukuro there?”
“Your Mukuro?” The other understood. Of course he did. “Yes. The Mukuros are together. Yours is a little more broken but I think Reborn broke you a little more too. I’ll pass on messages when I can.”
“Don’t tell?” Tsuna whispered. “I miss him.”
“I get it. Getting him back may require the help of the Vongola though. Creating your own power base so nobody can control you or make you fight anymore will be hard. Reborn wasn’t helpful for anything but fighting for me. You too?”
“Yeah.” Tsuna shrugged. “I know essentially nothing about the mafia.”
“Ask Xanxus.” Boss pointed out. “He’s scary but he wants the Vongola to do well and continue to have power. He’ll respect the victory you had, if grudgingly. I asked about that. Start with any question about the mafia and he’ll answer, if only so you don’t screw up. If there’s going to be someone giving you instructions make it the guy who’ll let go eventually and meanwhile will tell you how to make your own choices instead of his.”
“Probably Nono won’t then.” Tsuna sighed. The only thing worse than being a mafia boss at all was being a puppet mafia boss for Nono and Iemitsu.
“Meanwhile.” Boss smiled. “We’ll see what we can do for you here and now.” What followed was going to make Tsuna’s life so much easier long-run.
It took a while for him to catch something though. If Reborn didn’t teach the other this, then who did?
Chapter 4: We're Gonna Dance On Broken Glass
24 June: Base Invasion(s)
Tsuna sighed as he once again had to sabotage the Merone base for the sake of their other-selves. Poor guy. They might be flame trained but clearly not very well. Tsuna turned on his music, pulsing Harmony to the beat startled Hayato into dodging his own bombs farther than usual. Mirch had decided that self-preservation was for weaklings and apparently was just enough not-Arcobaleno that the poison had no effect.
Other-Tsuna froze people onscreen. Tsuna would have to ask how that worked. He’d never managed freezing. Of course he’d never used the Vongola rings. Maybe that was it? God missing the [Gamer] details was distracting. He hadn’t seen life as anything but a screen in years. He caught a burst of constructed irritation and focused on cycling Harmony correctly again. Wouldn’t do to explode the other-Mukuro. Other-Tsuna still wanted him.
Like, wanted him wanted him. Harmony was getting near mind-reading levels of intuition about his other-self. Confirming that was a fun conversation. Calming his other self down took a long time. He’d almost passed out from flame depletion.
Tsuna was such a corrupting influence. It was awesome. Although, the fact that Other’s only real connection was to the Mafia Criminal, maybe Yamamoto…maybe he didn’t need corrupting. Tsuna considered options and outfits as he watched Hayato set charges at the base of the building and then on top of support pillars. Assassin’s Creed training was so useful.
“Wolf.” Tsuna tapped his earpiece. "Drop a level five and get out of there.” “Tsuna, your people need to take five steps back and left. Your left. Now.”
“Thanks.” Other Tsuna’s voice was muffled by the mask stopping him from breathing the smoke. “Heading, we’ve got a hallway, closed space, no windows. Suggestions?”
Tsuna checked the monitors. “Be aware any outwardly directed firepower will reflect back at you. The walls are too thick to guarantee you can break them. They’re load-bearing anyway. Any side-shots run the risk of sending your fire back or just crushing you.”
Tsuna ducked the reflected fire. “The people shooting at us don’t seem to care.”
“And how’s that going for them?” The amused voice of Boss crackled over the coms. Rightfully paying attention too, for all that Tsuna’s group had no guns most of the dead on the Milliefore side were suffering bullet-wounds. Tsuna gagged. His other self was a bit of a psycho.
“Maybe don’t laugh about all the dead people.” Tsuna’s voice strained.
There was sudden seriousness in his voice. “bout to stop anyway, incoming Funeral Wreath. Wolf, Sabotage his path please?”
*BLAM!* “he’s in the basement now Boss. Very creative word choices he’s using.”
“Good, don’t get seen.” Boss’s position had clicking sounds. “Setting off south wall. All innocents and civilians, there were like three, have been evacuated. Don’t die of collapsing the ceiling on your heads but you can stop holding back otherwise. I’m back on focus for the other base.”
Hayato sighed while he had the com off. Then he flicked it on again. “So-,” he cut himself off at the grinding noise. “Shit. Out. Everyone out! The rooms move and I don’t know how that kind of pressure might set off the bombs. They’re everywhere so we don’t exactly have options!”
“They’re trying to separate us!” Other Hayato yelled. “Mirch and Sasagawa are missing! So’s Hibari, but in the other direction! We’re down to Juudaime, Baseball Idiot, Boxer, Chrome, and me.”
“Shitshitshit!” Hayato hissed and ran through the buttons available in his mind. Then he checked the self-updating map.
“The guy moving the base around is in the other base. Wolf, do you hear me?” Crocodile hissed into the coms. “Three of the Funeral Wreaths are in your building. Mirch’s fighting two of them and might not make it out.”
Hayato breathed deeply and tugged on his connection to Boss, “Ideas?”
“7, 12, 14.” Came the strained voice on the other end.
Hayato checked his buttons and hit those. Then a flash of connected intuition had him hitting one more.
“Thanks Wolf.” Hayato couldn’t identify the voice. “That jammed the motion of the building and opened up the center guys. They’re not dead but two of the Funeral Wreaths are trapped by their own design. The last one escaped.”
“He’s headed to the other base by the direction.” Trapper lit up the HUD’s everyone was wearing. “Everyone out so we can bring the base down. They’ve gotten rid of everything important if there was anything there in the first place.”
Hayato was only a little jealous of his counterpart. ‘Boss’ was actually giving orders in Wolf’s wheelhouse. They weren’t going to die but that was all that Juudaime ever asked and he never guaranteed anything. Meanwhile. “Juudaime?”
“We need to go.” Juudaime was calmer than he’d been in anything like this before. “They’re going to bring the building down and the machine is either evacuated or it was never here.”
“That will be Extremely Problematic.” Turf top’s smarter version cautioned as they came up against a man with slicked hair.
“Oh?” The man smiled. “Good! You ought to stay a while.” There were green sparks everywhere, billiard balls floating around him like moons to a planet and a shield of Lightning in front of him. “I have to punish you for breaking and entering!”
He spiked the cue ball and they were all encased in lightning. No. Juudaime got away. Chrome basically evaporated. Turf Top was with Mirch. Other-Turf-Top dodged. Baseball idiot cut the ball in half before it reached him but it took the tip off his sword and shocked him. His arms were trembling unnaturally for an encounter that short.
This was bad.
Ryohei tore his attention away from the extreme sounding fight his, eh, Boxer was in. The little boy he was fighting was unextremely shooting at them with strange ammunition. Ryohei healed himself after getting scraped and found spiders as his flames shoved them out of his skin. “Extremely Gross!”
“Magic isn’t necessarily pretty.” The not-real boy who shot at them wasn’t worth paying attention to. Boss had explained flame-sensing to the group and there were at the same time too many and too few flames in the boy. The outside had more than the core. Impossible, Flames came from willpower and always centered at the core. Every athlete knew the importance of the core.
He extremely couldn’t tell where the activated puppets were coming from though. The actual person probably wasn’t here at all.
“Ginger Bread?” Mirch-san asked the boy-puppet.
“I’ve not gone by that name for a long time.” The boy’s voice didn’t echo properly now Ryohei was trying to track him. “Perhaps this spell will damage you more permanently.”
Ryohei got close enough to yank on the broom. He activated his muscles again to throw off the spiders, Kyoko wouldn’t like to hear of this, and poked the puppet with it’s own broom. The distraction allowed Mirch-san to slow the spiders to stopping properly. Then she blew the puppet’s head off.
“You extremely knew that was a puppet.” Ryohei panted as they rushed to the exit or wherever would take them back to the group, “Right?”
Ryohei extremely wished he wasn’t expecting the next words on the com. Being nearly zapped had given him a second to listen in from behind a crate while the green sparky nutcase extremely talked like Sailor Moon. (No he didn’t watch it on his own, you try telling Kyoko ‘no’) “It doesn’t matter if it was a puppet or not.” Mirch was a stone cold killer. Ryohei knew it. Why was it so extremely painful to hear?
Extremely put it off. More electricity zapped out. Ryohei extremely hated dodging but the ceiling was high and this extremely crazy man could fly. Ryohei gave up on hiding pretty quickly and extremely threw a pile of boxes between the man and Ryohei’s new friends. He wasn’t the most extreme school student but he remembered enough not to touch the green lightning.
The fight moved extremely onward. Yamamoto’s sword had a bit clipped off with every extreme swing. Gokudera’s extreme bombs had little effect but to shake the building. Mirch and Ryohei’s other self must have gotten out because that section of the building extremely exploded at the base and collapsed. Unfortunately that also unextremely threw all of those not flying to the ground as well.
Sawada even stumbled mid-extremely-weird-rocket-boot flight. Finally one of Ryohei’s hits extremely took out the flame-boots of the green-lightning man. Rather, it took out his ankle so his choices were land or go flying extremely fast in random directions without control until he hit something extremely hard. Ryohei enjoyed his extreme victory while throwing his next extreme punch.
That was a mistake. The man knocked loose one of the balls and it stuck to Ryohei's hand and the boot, shocking him in place. The sensation of cold-hot-PAIN lanced quickly and efficiently up Ryohei’s arm, through his chest and to the rest of his body. For a moment Ryohei was focused on how straight up his hair was standing before he realized he couldn’t feel anything other than his left arm.
Black spots appeared in his vision and grew until everything was gone.
Chrome reached out and grabbed Boss’ arm to stabilize herself. Other-Tsuna was screaming and the others with him. Only Other-Hayato had any kind of fight left in him. The explosions only held the man off for a bit before he had lightning prisons around them all. The panic lanced through their own group as Hibari struggled with calm breathing for a moment while he messed with the cameras.
As a result, Takeshi had to take cover in a closet and tranquilize himself to the degree where his flames couldn’t be detected. She listened to his quiet curses as he acknowledges that his presence would make things worse. The Milliefore lightning, this ‘Gamma’ was just the sort of person to discover the rain-lightning bubble by accident.
They breathed again. For all that Sasagawa was badly injured he’d been off the ground at the time and the lightning went back through the man who started the loop. Chrome tapped into her other-self for a moment and was relieved to be close enough to tell that Sasagawa was still breathing.
Then she had to nervously tell Boss that Sasagawa’s breathing was labored in a distinctly painful way. The moment of harmony that lanced through the double connection whacked both the other Chrome and Wolf near upside the head.
The Chrome’s started the bait and switch that tricked Mammon both times…
And Wolf took the shot. Chrome sighed in relief as the double-vision faded. As she returned to herself she was pleased to see that the man had been successfully tranqued. Wolf rappelled down from the ceiling and started to lead the others out.
Chrome used her new skills to teleport Boxer to Mukuro-San and Mukuro-Sama. Then she followed.
“That’s why blind rage while fighting is dangerous.” Wolf murmured other sad or comforting things to the group. He then picked up the local Gokudera and Yamamoto by the upper arms and let them use him as a crutch as they limped out. He’d blown several tunnels in the building.
“Will he be ok?” Tsuna-kun whispered.
Wolf clearly held back some movement, probably a shrug based on the situation. “I’m not medially trained so I don’t know. He’s not dead. We know enough that unless he’s hiding cancer or something this won’t kill him. Beyond that? We’ve got nothing.”
Tsuna-kun wilted a little, “oh.”
“We’ll do everything we can.” It wasn’t comforting, but what could be? At least he didn’t lie. Tellingly, neither did anyone else.
“Heh, we’re all alive though. That’s good?” Yamamoto, ever the optimist.
Gokudera grunted, still in pain clearly. “For some definition of ‘alive’ Baseball-idiot.”
The mist doubles to hide where they were running to took way more concentration then normal and Mukuro-Sama had to redouble the Mist on her organs when they got back. Trapper would need to retrieve the others.
Kyouya struggled against the strange man. The whip was not something Kyouya had experience against and besides that every time it cut through the air the man seemed to go faster. Kyouya concentrated on something Carnivore had said, “You can propagate anything, matter or force.”
Kyouya concentrated again, this time was easier. There was some shattering noise and he was going much faster than he or the man had expected. It took a moment, mid-flying-into-a-wall, to adjust his awareness likewise. He barely dodged the next strike regardless. Then the man seemed to be done playing around.
He brought out a box with a bird in it. Kyouya missed Hibird for a long, gut-wrenching second. This was an owl though. Hibird would have been eaten instantly. Dodging was even harder when one weapon moved at the speed of sound and the other was tossing feathers everywhere.
Trapper appeared then. Clearly separate from her other-self in a way the other’s weren’t until action was taken. She tangled the whip in her trident and held it away. Then she gestured in the direction of the owl. Indigo flames snapped up the bird. For a moment, Kyouya was sad about its fate.
Then it turned indigo instead of burning. It whipped around toward the man who’d conjured it. Blinding him. The man made a lot of sexist comments involving what were probably metaphors about birds. Then the bird’s feathers in his mouth made him stop talking.
The bird felt like the Sakura-Pineapple-Person. Kyouya never thought he’d forgive the boy for the sakura embarrassment but this was actually funny. Kyouya wouldn’t hold a grudge. Between the two of them they beat the man. Trapper conjured another trident, larger this time, and proved how vindictive she could be about being attacked verbally in such a way.
The outer prongs merely grazed the outside of the man’s thighs. The middle one landed right where she wanted it.
Kyouya held himself back from doing more than confuse the cameras. The shriek of DisHarmony that went through them all was grating in a very intense way and it threw him off. He tapped his com on. “What was that?”
“Boxer is down. Severe electrocution at minimum.” Little Animal spoke more quickly than usual. “Beyond time to get done and get gone.” There was typing on his end. “Thank you all for your hard work. Carnivore, could you go meet up with Crocodile?” Into the hall, left, and left again. Supply closet.”
“Incoming.” Kyouya breathed slowly. “Crocodile?”
“Ha!” a sharp intonation, more grunt than laugh. Crocodile tripped on his way out of the closet. “Ow. Further planning?”
“Working on it.” Little Animal typed quickly. “Ok, remember those scan-glasses? Now would be the time to turn them on. They’ll lead you to Shoichi. He’s headed to his office. None of the other Milliefore will be there. The office filters flames. Keep everything internal and you’re good to go.”
The glasses were heavy and their batteries didn’t last long but they did get the pair to Shoichi’s office. “Is this how you see all the time?” Crocodile murmured once they’d bypassed the latest set of guards.
“Usually.” Little Animal’s voice was less tense, then more. “This entire world is fucking with my senses. Everything is so…Vague.”
Takeshi felt his heart squeeze, partly from the loss in Tsuna’s voice but mostly from walking through Shoichi’s door. The shock on the boy’s face was worth it though. Takeshi locked down on his flames. “Ha! Hey there!” He smiled with an expression that had frozen Kyouya in place for five minutes once. In retrospect that’s when he also started calling Takeshi ‘Crocodile.’
Wasn’t that a hell of an ego trip? Meanwhile, Shoichi-the-local, assuming there was one in their own universe, looked like he’d pissed his pants. “Somebody,” meaning Spanner but no way was Takeshi going to mention that, “fucked up!”
“Y-you’re supposed to be at the Merone base!” Shoichi’s obvious shock-face was a thing of beauty but they didn’t have the time to relish it.
“Really Shoichi, you think so linearly!” Takeshi ignored Kyouya’s clear radiation of amusement. “Time Travel. What do you know? Because I’d think you’d want to get rid of us as much as we want to go home!”
“I-it’s the rings! The whole world is off-kilter so X, Decimo Vongola, he destroyed the local copies! Byakuran has the Mare rings and now the Arcobaleno Pacifiers! They’re necessary for balance but Byakuran doesn’t care! He wants to control the world no matter how!”
“I’m not so interested in the obvious,” Takeshi paused. “Time Travel. The ten-years-later-people didn’t all disappear when we showed up. How to get back. Those are interesting things.”
Takeshi listened into the communications back at base. Crocodile was well-named apparently. With only Carnivore as backup he was getting answers out of Shoichi. Of course that’s when things got interesting.
“The ten-years-laters are in hiding actually. The delay might have something to do with them going there instead of the past. It was part of the plan!”
“What plan Herbivore?”
“X’s plan. He asked for my help and got it. We were supposed to be able to predict you with their help. You don’t act like expected though do you? Did something else go wrong?”
“Only everything. Kinda rude of them to leave us in the lurch like that. We don’t care for the sudden responsibility for fixing their screw-ups.”
“Maybe. Keep talking Herbivore.”
“Yes, do keep talking Shoichi. I expected disloyalty if not quite this soon!”
“Very interesting. A rat-herbivore.”
“Good thing I kept my real soldiers in reserve. The Funeral Wreaths await you all. Literally and metaphorically. Meanwhile. Run, Run little gingerbread men. You’re a bit surrounded!”
“Get them out of there.” Boss whipped around to another radio. “MUKURO! WE NEED AN ASSIST!”
“On it Boss.”
Takeshi paused in shock with the rest.
Mukuro handed the volatile box to his counterpart, nearly killing them both with the startle.
“What the hell!” Other-Mukuro hissed as he stabilized the box.
Mukuro tossed the apron and grabbed a trident. “Going to rescue people! Sorry!”
He teleported invisibly to the office and scruffed the three boys there. Then he dragged them back to Tsuna and returned to his other-self. He arrived just in time to press down on the wire necessary to stop the box from exploding.
Risking it again he retrieved the other Hibari and Altered time in the area so Byakuran wouldn't suspect doubles. Then he snapped the panel shut on the box, still in his alternate’s hands, and picked it up to store it in containment. “Damn, I’m good!”
Other him was crazy. Mukuro put a hand over his heart and willed it to slow down. He almost died because his counterpart wanted to rescue people. Mukuro was never so glad to be bonded to Tsunayoshi as times like these. Where orders hijacked his alternate to nearly exploding a base.
He missed Tsunayoshi. Tsuna wouldn’t do this to him.
Mukuro breathed deeply and then went to collapse in the bedrooms.
Chapter 5: Varia Played Keytar, Vindice Played Bass
Varia, Vindice, and TYL-Mukuro POVs
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
25 June: Varia(ble) Encounters
Xanxus seethed. “Who the fuck thought this was a good idea!” He stormed into the Vongola base. That Shoichi was at least useful enough to spill information in exchange for the Varia saving his life. What did he mean by “the younger X and guardians Not performing as expected”?
First of all, being treated as performers would have pissed him off. Granted the kid was a lot more wishy-washy back then, so were his guardians, but would he be wishy-washy enough not to take that as an insult?
Second, the possible teleportation. Mammon could do it. It was possible. There was no record of Rokudo doing it though so if he could and did then he was holding out on them. Body doubles were more likely but apparently both of the ‘doubled’ persons were fighting so, not possible.
Xanxus didn’t get to a third before he threw the dining-room doors open and came face to face(s) with the brat and the brat and all the brat’s guardians times two. “What the Fuck!?”
“Nice to meet you to.” Came the entirely unexpected sarcastic drawl of one of the brats. “People have been calling me Boss and him Tsuna cause he’s the local but I doubt that’s your preference.” He gestured to the crowd. “Hands up when called: Wolf, Baby, Crocodile, Carnivore, and Trapper. Boxer is who you expect but he’s unconscious right now.”
“We got his heart started again though and he won the fight.” Said the unusually tense voice of ‘Crocodile.’ The hell did he do to get a Name like that? If it was a Name of course.
“Trash.” Xanxus pointed to the silent ten-years-young Decimo. Then to the one that spoke. “Brat.” The rest are fine. What the fucking hell is this?” but no really?
“Good question.” Came the unexpectedly sardonic tone of the local Trash.
Wolf spoke up, “The short answer, hopefully to be expanded on sometime soon, is: Something, Something, Bazooka screwup, weirdly shaped fire, buy-one-get-one-free sale on Decimo candidates.”
“You can say fuckup. The adult supervision here is worse than us.” Crocodile poked Wolf in the shoulder.
“VOI! And the long explanation?” Squalo raised an eyebrow.
Crocodile shrugged. “Involves high level math, dimensional travel, and existential levels of despair. Speaking of which.” He rounded on his Sky. “Is the game better or worse?”
“It’s been weird here. Limited to just me though.” Brat shrugged. “I did manage to test the…” he made a really fucking weird gesture involving the Japanese sign language for food combined with a gesture that could be interpreted as either clicking a timer of some kind or squeezing an injector.
“Something we should know honey?” Lussuria must have caught that last one. Injector it was then.
“I am significantly less damageable than a normal or even Sun powered person. It was tested inadvertently and doing so again is not recommended.” Brat shook his head. “Unfortunately not transferable. I know how to manage it. Outside management not possible.”
“Moving on…” The, wow, much healthier Mist brat, Trapper, waved for attention. Something her counterpart would never do.
Lussuria pursed her lips. The kids were hiding something medical but not something it would help to talk about then. “Medical knowledge is confidential honeys. I’ll sign something to that effect if it would help. There are no more medical officers anymore.”
“Not in public.” Was the response from the fluffy thing. Now, Boss Honey was Xanxus and nobody else would call the child Brat… Just Honey, then.
“Medical Honey?” Lussuria watched as Honey pursed his lips and gestured for Wolf and Crocodile, looking forward to those stories, to come with them.
He spoke again once they were in the medical wing. “If you can help Boxer too, we’ll need it. Like you said, there’s no medical personnel anymore.”
“Ok Honey, now explain your explanation.” Lussuria squared her shoulders and readied for the worst.
“So.” Wolf huffed. “Boss had something done to him at about the age of ten. It’s only a little bit medical. The person responsible is unknown and not contactable. It’s happened to others with different effects. No medically obvious signs.”
“Most external signs have disappeared since our arrival.” Honey sighed. “I assume it’s a different structure of the planet or a sign of the ongoing apocalypse outside. No way to test that unless we wind up back in your past again.”
“So.” Crocodile patted Honey on the shoulder. “Whatever it was, it still is a way to heal completely and entirely without sign of damage from any wound. Assuming it doesn’t kill him immediately. Aheh.”
“Fascinating.” Lussuria nodded. “We don’t have the materials for testing even if you agreed to that so…” Putting off the thrill of discovery hurt but they were on the clock. “What’s wrong with Boxer Honey?”
“He grabbed that Gamma person’s Lightning Levitation boot and ruined it.” Honey looked sad. “It saved everyone in the vicinity and allowed for their escape but his heart stopped and he’s got burns everywhere. We restarted his heart but that’s all we could do.”
“I see.” Lussuria rolled their shoulders. “I’ll see what I can do. Medical confidentiality includes you to though, so unless he asks I can’t tell you anything.” They nodded and filed out. Lussuria sighed. “Time to get busy again huh?”
“Hmn.” Said the painful looking Boxer boy on the cot.
Lussuria did the examination first. Burns everywhere, thankfully the inadvertent nature of the electrocution meant the Hardening aspect healed as much as it damaged. The boy would scar, would probably be useless for a good long while, at least physically, but he’d live, even get back to boxing eventually
“You got lucky kiddo, time to make that lucky result stick.” Lussuria switched gloves again and got to work. Very carefully with the flames, reactivate immune system but not the diseases it was probably fighting. Kid was in for a hellfire of a fever.
“Hmnh?” he woke up a little then.
“You won’t remember this probably.” Lussuria focused harder. “But I swear, while you’re here you’re going to learn so much healing. Distraction is good for the patient after all. Even if I have to tie you to that cot.” There was alarm on the boy’s face. Good. If Lussuria remembered correctly he was the type to assume ‘could walk out’ meant ‘should walk out.’
His reaction to Varia Medical Practice would be entertaining.
Squalo turned a corner into the so very lovely tableau of Alt-Bomber-Brat pinned to a wall by Alt-Sword-Brat, in a series of motions that looked like he was getting his face sucked off. “You gonna get a room voi?”
Alt-Sword-Brat pulled back with a smacking sound, “You have an indoor voice? And No. Get used to it.”
“VOI, People will see you doing this if you keep it up.” He pointed out. Too early to tell if they were susceptible to blackmail.
“Everyone’s seen most of everything.” Groused the Alt-Storm-Brat. “I maintain that any sensitivities they have are neither our fault nor our problem.” He tugged on Alt-Sword-Brat’s sleeve.
“Ha, yeah, it’s not like we were trying to make our alternates faint!” The smile and innocent expression that might have been convincing on the other Yamamoto Brat was something that wouldn’t be out of place on Belphegor.
“I was.” And there was Alternate-Decimo. Somehow right behind Squalo without him ever noticing. Seriously, were they all hyped up on Mist flames somehow? “Speaking of which…?” He dragged his guardians to a bench, sat them down and flopped down on top of them.
Alt-Sword-Brat spoke up first. “My alternate has started giving Gokudera considering looks. I couldn’t tell if the look on Gokudera’s face was fear or anger once he’d noticed.”
“Anger born from fear.” Sighed the melodramatic brat. “He’s of the opinion that Yamamoto disregards respect and personal boundaries as it is, suddenly having the ‘Baseball-Idiot’ staring at his ass isn’t helping. We know you respect boundaries but he’s still in the very mafia mindset it took me so long to shake.”
“Voi! Self-preservation is important! Why would you be shaking a mafia mindset!?” Outrageous.
“Because.” Alt-Decimo waved a hand and then settled better in his guardian’s laps. “I’m not mafia raised. He was approaching all interactions with me the way it’s encouraged to approach an heir to a big family. We have different cultures though, more different than usual, from peaceful eastern civilian to mafia streets in a western country.”
“Basically,” Alt-Bomb-Brat sighed again, this time in distracted pleasure Squalo very much didn’t want to hear. “I took months to catch myself interpreting his words wrong and then I had to adjust. We’re concerned about Nono’s inability to recognize the differences between mafia raised and civilian raised cultures now.”
“Might get messy.” Alt-Sword-Brat nodded along. “But that’s our problem. Meanwhile, Other-Mukuro and Other-Tsuna!”
“If your other-selves don’t get there first, which it looks more and more like they won’t.” A thumbs up from an entirely baffling Alternate-Decimo, “Yes they like each other, yes they want each other, and given Trapper’s reports Tsunayoshi might be the one to instigate.”
“Betting on your alternate selves love lives, Voi?” What was this madness? He’d sooner have expected it of the Varia (And there were betting pools about the Decimo candidate there) than of the alternate-tenth-set.
“No money to exchange here.” Alt-Bomb-Brat shrugged, then started petting Alt-Decimo’s hair. “So while we ‘ship it’ as it were, it’s not betting.”
“Ha! It’s better.” The grin was alarming and suddenly the ‘Crocodile’ moniker made sense. “Since without money and rules involved we can interfere without shame!”
Then Squalo had a moment of Deja-vu as Alt-Decimo put on an expression that wouldn’t have been out of place on Xanxus while planning something devious. “Are you already in on a pool or do you want to join our interference?”
“Survival first voi.” He said in a tone he hadn’t used for a long time. “Belphegor got something out of Shoichi. Meeting in the dining room.”
“Maybe should have led with that.” Alt-Decimo waved a hand. Then allowed his Rain to pick him up bridal style and carry him to the dining room. Squalo unstuck his own expression and prepared to be amused by everyone else’s.
Prince Belphegor tapped impatiently on the table. The Varia arrived at the meeting first, obviously they were the only Quality people here so…Obvious. Next to arrive was the mind-bending alternates who-Prince checked-were actually on time at least. Five minutes late was the less interesting local usurping peasants.
Who even knew about the others? They weren’t afraid of the Varia. Could be they were hiding it but could be the ring battles never happened there. They didn’t have the rings so they might not actually be X-Gen the same way The Prince’s Boss wasn’t. Alternate reality presented many possibilities after all. Might be Boss’ heir even.
The Prince didn’t approve of the local Decimo and ‘friends’. Not ten years ago at the ring battles and not now. They were clearly better for the interference of their alternates. Alt-Sawada acted more than a bit princely himself. The others of his group called him boss. The Prince might have thought Alt-Sawada was raised by Alt-Boss but that idea was already shot down.
The Prince watched as the native baby-Decimo became regularly and excessively alarmed and alt-baby-Decimo read the instructions for the stupidest game The Prince had ever heard of.
“Choice? They called it Choice?” Alt-Sawada was scathing about it. “What even is this…this…?”
“Flaming Garbage? Fuck-Off-Hot-Mess?” Alt-Gokudera was far more articulate than his sputtering alternate. For a peasant.
“Ha, Not a properly set up Game. That’s for sure.” Alt-Yamamoto sneered at it. The Prince reevaluated. The Prince hadn’t thought the ditzy peasant capable of either the analysis or the expression. Judging by the local version, neither had anyone else.
The Prince ran through the rules and the challenge. He waited until everyone else was done deriding it and ready to move on to-
“AH!” Alt-Sawada, despite being visibly uninjured, grabbed his head and curled up. Like he had a hangover or migraine suddenly. Migraines don’t work like that though.
“What now?!” baby-Decimo shrieked.
The alternate guardians closed in on their boss, save for other-Bovino, who ran to the kitchen and other-Sasagawa who wasn’t present. “Static.” Was all that alt-Sawada said. Croaked actually. Clearly in pain. Real pain too, none of that wouldn’t-even-bruise nonsense the local shrieked about on the regular.
“Were things getting too easy?!” alt-Gokudera shrieked at the ceiling. “What the hell?”
“Here.” Alt-Bovino ran back in with a bag of frozen peas in a shocking display of compassion. The Prince was getting used to being surprised by these people. That was dangerous.
“Better?” alt-Dukuro petted her Sky’s hair as he nodded and pressed harder on the vegetable bag. “So, I checked the plans. The power necessary to join in this stupid game could be taken from the box-animal project but then you wouldn’t have them for a while longer. It’s twice the output of anything we can do now.”
“Can we live with that delay though?” alt-Gokudera finally shifted back from holding his Sky. “Byakuran’s enforcement is a huge waste of energy but it’s also effective. We also don’t have the time to physically seek out whatever sub-dimension he’s hidden his people in.”
“Worse, Remember Zelretch?” alt-Sawada was looking less pained. What kind of headache did that so quickly?
“What about the blight on sanity?” This from alt-Yamamoto. Cutting. Who was this peasant?
“The Mare rings reach into alternate dimensions!” The shocked and completely non-sequitur response came from alt-Gokudera. Feeding off of each other’s responses was doing good things for the alt-group. Everyone else was just watching the entertainment.
“So, unless you can take the rings off, they’re basically unkillable.” Was the horrified response of alt-Dukuro.
“Or stop the rings power somehow.” Alt-Sawada already onto a plan? “Like for example, hitching a ride on their energies to ‘pay’ our way into Choice.”
“With trackers and sneaking in and this is going to be complicated.” Alt-Gokudera fiddled with a pencil, dead giveaway of how nervous he was.
“You’re coming with us this time?” Was the quiet question of the local Decimo.
The group looked over. “Most of us.” Confirmed alt-Sawada. “The rest will join you later, with the box-animals.”
Bermuda fiddled with the clear pacifier that cursed all his people and smiled. The deal of one prisoner for assistance towards a cure, complete with a forward-gift to ease their pain now? He’d have gladly traded Rukudo for just the four months of ease promised. Bribery was easily his favorite Mafia habit.
And with the chance of a cure? Especially since the ‘how’ was already proven and they just needed the pieces? It would have been worth everything. At that point the address of the man who’d cursed them to start with was just icing.
Bermuda watched in amusement as the shell-shocked Rukudo listened to the declaration of his freedom with an expression of shock even Mist flames couldn’t hide. He relished it as he stretched out, enjoying the feeling of being a little bit alive again.
Mukuro didn’t quite allow himself to run from the Vindice. He got the feeling they knew he wanted to.
His first stop was the echo of power that directly contradicted the Vindice. The pacifiers were dangerous so he didn’t touch them directly, even with flames. Taking them off of baby-sized corpses was far too close to his memory of swearing vengeance against the Estraeno for the sake of his infant siblings. For a moment he smelled the sickening sweetness of the disinfectant before the after notes of burning flesh drove it away.
With the pacifiers gathered he made for the sensation of connection that denoted dear Tsunayoshi. Mukuro was going to get a hug if he had to completely ignore pride and dignity to do so. He watched in amusement as the guards failed at their jobs while he snuck inside. Dear Tsunayoshi was alone.
“Letting the kids do the dirty work?” Mukuro allowed a tone of disapproval to enter his voice as he curled up on dear Tsunayoshi’s sickbed.
“It’s not as if I’m letting them do it alone.” His precious Sky indulged Mukuro’s need for touch after so many years of lacking connections. “Look.”
Mukuro crawled into bed with his Sky and looked at the screen dear Tsunayoshi was looking at. Onscreen was a series of project folders, each of them matching some problem the Milliefore was having at the moment. “Nice, not much though.”
“I’m sick of this being normal for the mafia.” Poor dear Tsunayoshi almost seemed to wilt. “All the killing and dying. For something I never wanted. But here.”
“You’re feeding into the box-animals for the young ones.” Mukuro was surprised.
Mukuro’s dear Sky nodded. “It’s already going better and faster than when we were pulled into the future huh?”
“No extra army for Byakuran.” Mukuro was a bit more satisfied.
Dear Tsunayoshi nodded again and then hugged Mukuro, easing something in what seemed to be both of them given their mutual relaxed state afterwards. “He might see sideways, but not anything in hindsight and nothing in foresight.”
“I’ll see what I can do to help Yuni escape.” Mukuro offered. “Lack of foresight on Byakuran’s side might change at any moment so long as he threatens her. Where are the extras from?”
“Alternate reality. They’re certainly helping in creative thinking.” Dear Tsunayoshi smiled and Mukuro took inappropriate pleasure in copying Ken’s behavior to nuzzle his Sky’s cheek.
“How helpful?” Mukuro sighed.
Dear Tsunayoshi clicked on a security camera that was overlooking the lab with the Box-animal project. There were two more of dear Tsunayoshi and two more of Mukuro himself. The alternate, obvious given the clothing dear Tsunayoshi wouldn’t have worn at any time in the last twenty years. Which was a pity, the corset looked good on him.
Then Mukuro and his dear Tsunayoshi were utterly shocked by the young Tsuna leaning down to kiss young Mukuro on the lips. The ecstatic applause from their alternate selves causing them to blush but not to pull away from each other.
Or just Mukuro was utterly shocked as dear Tsunayoshi pulled his face away from looking at the screen and pecked him on the lips. “I missed you and I love you. Your choice whether to pursue it.” Dear Tsunayoshi smiled and Mukuro would not let that stand.
He shoved the screen off the bed onto the desk and straddled his beloved Sky to kiss back.
Edited Ch 1 for continuity but it only changed a couple lines.
Chapter 6: We're All Sinners, Seasoned Beginners, Lucky To Be Alive
26 June: Choice(s that shouldn't have been made)
Tsuna leaned heavily on the deep-breathing exercises Boss suggested. “Ready.” The blast of flames drained from the heavily unbalanced earth through the partially completed ‘Arcobaleno Circle’ allowed a moment of feeling like he could breathe again. But then he was covering his ears and hoping the alternates got in.
“The chaos covered us, for now. Remember your jobs everyone. Most important thing is to get home alive, in one complete piece.” Boss said across the coms from wherever the Mukuros were hiding.
“Haha, Okay...?” Yamamoto’s nervous chuckle covered for everyone’s hummed agreement.
“Alright! We can only start when a battlefield is chosen!” Byakuran’s voice grated as Tsuna was faced with a bunch of cards floating around.
Nobody responded. Tsuna slowly exhaled and with that, extended his flames a little, invisible to anyone not bonded to him. He loved this trick, he hoped it would be good enough to use when they got back home, if they got back home. Tsuna shivered and chose the card his flames were the least hesitant about.
Fulmine lit up and Byakuran welcomed them to a bunch of high-rise buildings. While they were posing and bragging, Tsuna took the place in nearly with full-body rotation so the cameras embedded in his new jewelry and clothes could transmit back to Boss.
“Is anyone else getting an extreme Tenkuu Shinpan vibe?” Boxer suddenly crackled across the coms.
“You’re in medical paralyzed and bedridden, why are you suddenly involved?” Came the alarmed voice of…Wolf, that was it.
“Exactly.” Came the clear irritation from Boss. “He needs to be useful and distracted before he hurts himself more.”
Ryohei clenched his teeth. Was this how Kyoko felt? Left behind and extremely useless or worse? A hindrance?
He wouldn’t go jumping out of bed though. He might have tried but the lessons in anatomy and Sun-Healing while he couldn’t move explained a lot of things about his lingering aches and pains from previous hospital visits. Boss healed like a video-game character, Ryohei did not.
Learning to fix his own hurts and maintain healing was a good distraction from the fact that the alternate people and some of his own new friends were up against the literal cause of an apocalypse. He tried not to think about it as he cleared his own blood and re-activated the white cells. The last thing he needed was another paralyzing fever.
The map of Choice and the camera views from each of the combatants were nagging at him. Something about…oh no. It really was straight out of Tenkuu Shinpan.
“What do we have guys?” Boss looked nervous. Ryohei sifted through the papers in front of him.
Then he saw. “Guys, the Cervello are extremely back! They’re judging and they work for the Milliefore!”
“Shit.” Was the extremely shocking expression from Crocodile.
“Battles coming up, silence on the coms.” Wolf declared, and they all turned theirs off.
Mukuro, not the local one, spoke up. “Boxer, could you lend a hand with the boxes? I need to know as much as I can about their fighting styles.”
Ryohei sighed. “Sure. Other-me is still an extreme boxer but he’s started increasing his close guard, and his hits are strong enough to bend steel. Useless against the buildings there though.” He winced in remembered pain as other-Ryohei jumped back from a green crackle at the side of a building.
“Good to know.” He fiddled with something in the box. “Chrome I can connect with, Gokudera next? Local, not Wolf.”
“Extremely wild, doesn’t like containment. Likes explosions. He’s extremely taken down two of the reinforced buildings. Only stopped when he realized Sawada was in extreme danger. Rescued Sawada but hasn’t really restrained himself.” Ryohei watched in silence for almost a minute. “Might be a good thing though, he extremely took that big one out and a Cervello with him.”
“Hey!” Boss was smiling for some reason. “The Chromes both took your manga comment to heart and ran into another illusionist. Does Sniper-Mask remind anyone of anything?”
Ryohei checked those screens. There were six iterations of Sniper Mask and they were all gleefully holding the attention of the Mist attacking Sawada with Lightning snakes. The snakes were piercing the buildings but didn’t hold up under the snipers distraction. Sawada easily stepped out of the way of those distractions. “Reminds me of an adult Reborn.”
“I don’t like what that says about Reborn’s teaching methods.” Local-Mukuro knocked his fellow mist into his friend’s snakes and the bullet’s range. Then he pulled the same switch that once took out Mammon. “I got one of the rings.” Then he was back and handing it to Boss’ Mist.
Takeshi twined his fingers with Trapper’s and they constructed a bow. Takeshi nocked the first arrow, a construction that would fall apart when it reached the snakes and vines, containing within it a packed ball of flour. Chrome distantly pulled up the medical masks on their team and hid them in Mist flames.
Takeshi took the first shot. Then the second. Local Chrome’s existence covered them for the existence of the arrows. Then Takeshi’s alternate was ensnared in vines by a pissed off Mist-Knight, choking on airborne flour. Takeshi hissed and grabbed the extra swords set aside in his nest. Coating them in Rain flames he balanced the flat on his hand and shot, four times.
Chrome assisted in guiding them and they landed, severing each of the vines holding Takeshi’s alternate and one of them brushing his opponent’s cheek, poisoning him with Rain flames and slowing him down.
Sawada let out a burst of uncontrolled flame to cover where the extras were coming from. Meanwhile, Takeshi’s alternate picked up the swords and coated them in Rain-Flames to fake Cambio Forma. Sawada’s rubber gloves, now coated in flour, allowed him to shove the Lightning-snakes away and drop to the ground again. Then Other-Takeshi finally got his opponent on the defensive.
That was when Takeshi and Trapper’s sniper-nest dropped out from beneath them.
Takeshi spun a circle of Rain flame, cutting off the nutcase he was fighting from seeing any other part of the field. The trade of flames, their team going back and forth with the energies and fighting together, meant that they weren’t running out of flames as quickly as their opponents.
Takeshi resisted the urge to check on Crocodile and Trapper as he did his best to distract his opponent with flashy technique. The man just wouldn’t stop ranting about how Byakuran was god and would be smiting them all or something.
This whole stupid game was so badly constructed that only the fighting stopped Takeshi from griping about it.
“Swap, Yamamoto and Sawada.” Why was Boxer interrupting now? “I saw something. Swap Yamamoto with Sawada now!”
The shrug of agreement sent Tsuna tumbling into Takeshi’s place and Takeshi against the other mist. The wierdo had been toying around when it came to fighting apparently. Takeshi had to move fast and slow his opponent at the same time to keep the thing’s hands away from his box-weapon.
Between that and the Rain flames coming from the other direction, the man was just slow enough for Takeshi to stall him. Not enough to keep him from asking about the ‘extra players’ though. Takeshi didn’t answer, he did manage to cut the thing’s hand off. With that distraction, the thing managed to reach the box with the other hand.
EvERyThiNg wEnt sIdeWAyS IN thE woRSt WaAyEe
Tsuna released a torrent of words including the statement “Don’t Look At The Moth!” that was only matched in ferocity by his Mist’s agonized scream from his place on the floor. Boxer pulled a scar open rescuing the box-weapon he’d been working on.
Tsuna settled the box, Sky this time, and wondered if he’d be getting a Sun bond message when they got back home. Trying not to think about what happened to his people. “Sorry Sasagawa.” He apologized.
Boxer nodded. “Extremely sure you can call me Ryohei by now.” He collapsed back in bed. “What was that extremely bizarre thing?”
“Well, we know who the Mist Funeral Wreath is now.” Tsuna bitterly choked out while bandaging Ryohei’s arm
Ryohei was still watching the screen. “Crocodile is exposed but he took out that unextreme Oni-mask and the box. Yamamoto is dizzy but standing properly and unhurt. Trapper is unconscious.”
“Here.” Came the pained and exhausted voice of Trapper. “I have to get back but this is the Box-Weapon. Shoichi’s probably dead by now.”
“No.” Local Mukuro shook his head. “Remember that missing Varia Mist? His name is Flan. He managed to sneak a bypass into the thing. It’s draining Byakuran and much slower. Shoichi’s death is fake if it does go that long.”
“Little Animal?” Kyouya popped in. “My turn?”
Tsuna nodded slowly and handed him the one benched device that wasn’t a box. “Yes, here.” They already know about the double “It should de-power the rings. They probably know about the double Yamamotos at least, so be careful. Byakuran’s already having a shit-fit about ‘Cheating’ and that’s without involving someone who was actually chosen to fight.”
“I’ll take you.” Mukuro gathered up the boxes. “Thank you Boxer. Kyouya, with me. We need to deliver these.”
They arrived in the ‘base.’ Mukuro scrambled their tv and the Milliefore screens, forwarded himself to the battlefield and pitched a box to Crocodile. Crocodile activated it and promptly dropped the resulting dog. It ran over to Yamamoto with swords made of blue fire in its mouth.
Shit. They’d designed the boxes for the natives. Double Shit. They needed to make more if they wanted them too. At least they work a little? The sudden more-than-double teaming of the last Milliefore Mist allowed Mukuro to drop the rest of the boxes with their appropriate users and Mist back out again, taking Trapper with him.
Mukuro fixed the television upon his return and anxiously awaited results, either on the field or in Chrome. The sudden cut-off of her emotions left him feeling far too alone. Onscreen, one set anyway, the fight centered on the other Mist suddenly.
The man was ranting about how Tsuna’s eyes were… “Driving him insane.” Then he was literally praying to Byakuran to strengthen him during this battle. The man was nuts. There was an aura coming from his ring. Flan said it was a ‘hell ring’ and it showed.
Yamamoto was cursing as he threw one of the flimsier swords through the bones of his suddenly skeletal opponent. Mukuro started mentally taking notes as he watched the usually ditsier boy expand the vocabularies of those around him. Crocodile looked just as impressed.
The Sword styles increased in ability as the cambio formas flew everywhere. Sawada was sporting a baby lion and on another screen Gokudera was barely able to control his cat.
Mukuro looked at the note on the returned box-weapon and then turned to Boxer. “They’re pets. They also only work for my set of people.” He thought he was apologetic about it. Boxer didn’t seem particularly sorry either…
“I did give you their extreme fighting styles instead of…I hesitate to say ours, I’m not really part of the extreme crowd.” He looked a little bitter. “They need the extra weapons more anyway. They’ve been training extreme strength without technique and it shows.”
Mukuro stared at the unusually subdued Sun. “Ok, I’m going to need your help then.” The surprise on his face was gratifying but honestly the only reason Mukuro ever showed weakness around this guy was because nobody would ever believe a Sasagawa that Mukuro had asked for help in any way.
As it stood, the surprise gave way to a solid nod. “I’ve been paying extreme attention. Let’s extremely do this.”
“Extremely.” The happiness was surprisingly gratifying, even if Mukuro had actually been the slightest bit sarcastic.
Boss walked back in, where had he gone? “Carnivore’s in trouble, we’ll need to move out soon.”
Kyouya snarled as he led the Milliefore’s forces in circles in their own base. The device to de-immortalize the rings missed. He only clipped one of them and it only got their attention. Whether it worked or not they’d have to test with the confiscated ring.
“Require Trapper’s or other teleporter’s assistance immediately!” He hissed into his com as he crawled through the vents like a stupid forager. Flan’s assistance only went so far, even with the enemy Mists out fighting. “Move your skinny, useless flesh!”
The boy was too slow and going to get them killed. “I’m moving.”
“Do you want to die?” Kyouya asked. He didn’t bother with tone, he had no attention to spare right now as he had to stop the stupid baby-Mist from walking into yet another very physical trap.
“Just because I can’t teleport…” the stupid child started again. Kyouya cut him off by covering his mouth. Byakuran himself was sending out pulses of Sky-flame to futz with them and Kyouya couldn’t absorb or direct the signal around him, he had to multiply it. Kyouya focused and watched Byakuran stumble as the signal overpowered him from every direction.
Kyouya managed to hijack Flan’s flames for energy for a single moment but it was enough to teleport them both to behind Byakuran without making a noise. Then they headed where the man had been coming from.
“Do that again.” Came the voice of the brat when they got far enough away.
Kyouya hissed and spat the plan into the coms and Mukuro set a guide to let them teleport to the Vongola Choice Base.
More herbivores, worse, Mist Herbivores. Practically plants themselves. Kyouya couldn’t stop running his fingers over the grips of these new tonfas. They felt strange. It was enough to focus him more clearly.
His alternate had, while bleeding, rescued the Mist brat and barely managed to test a weapon to stop the awful Marshmallow-Scavenger’s team from cheating so much. Kyouya was itching to fight someone himself. With the “Choice Game” going so badly he might just get to do that.
Hayato fought hard for Juudaime. This…man? Hard to tell. The mint hair didn’t help. Anyway he wasn’t talking and he was trying to guide Hayato away from the group. Hayato caught sight of his alternate and started meshing their explosions more cleanly.
As a result they started moving back towards the group. Hayato was merely glad that he learned how to dissolve things with flames just before this or he’d be dead by flowers. The man was the first to catch on to the doubles and it was really difficult. Thankfully he seemed to think they were robots or something. Probably Shoichi’s doing.
More doubles showed up and these were definitely robots. Only keeping a fast pace of fighting allowed the deception because the robots fought like Hayato and his fellow guardians, not like the alternates. This man was too easily able to tell the difference and the robots were running out of donated flames to kill the flowers.
Then the man saw the Yamamoto’s and Juudaime take down the Hell-ring crazy, and Byakuran clearly gave him some kind of instruction.
Hayato let out another set of long-distance shot explosions and then cursed as the shrieking over the speakers about cheaters from Byakuran set mint-hair to killing his fellow, the last standing Mist. As a result, his focused destruction of literally everything in sight wiped out the fake alternates and revealed Hayato and Crocodile.
Hayato clenched his teeth against the sensation of blood running down one arm and backed up to stand in tandem with Crocodile. Sawada did something that let him bandage Hayato’s arm quickly and Hayato flexed afterwards. The chance of losing mobility wasn’t one they could really take. This guy was strong enough to cause some serious damage. It wasn’t like they were playing the game to win.
Just to delay, for now. Byakuran would never send them back home. As long as they were entertaining. Shit, Byakuran was sitting in for the Game in this universe. At least back home it was an inhuman intelligence garnering amusement from the puny humans. Byakuran was an all too human threat. Human enough to be easily amused…
Hayato’s train of thought then went a bit sideways as mint-hair rushed past all of them, leaving his dying comrades, and heading straight for Shoichi. “Never Cheat The Game,” was all he said as they watched his flower’s roots kill the genius boy.
“Even cheating you lose, you awful brats. Try again sometime!”
They broke for the doors and the Mists warped them away, back to the base in Namimori. One of the Chromes was missing…
Chrome focused on resurrecting the robot doubles as distraction rather than face the fact that Byakuran’s mint-guy killed Shoichi. He wasn’t one of them but Byakuran’s callousness was alarming in its own way. Chrome reminded herself that she’d seen worse and Byakuran wasn’t her mother. Byakuran killed, he didn’t torture, (Other than the toying that frankly they’d gotten used to with the Game) and that was all the hope they had.
Chrome’s spying around came in handy. She spotted the running woman who was wearing the stupidest looking hat Chrome or Mukuro had ever seen, and they lived near a fashion show. It was the wrong whitish-ceramic color to begin with and it looked like someone stripped and microwaved a pink peep.
Worse, there was a draining sensation coming from her Chrome hadn’t felt since they escaped Reborn. The woman was an Arcobaleno somehow. Chrome dropped in behind her. “Who are you and where are you going?”
“I’m Yuni.” She turned like she’d expected Chrome somehow. Chrome didn’t like that, it implied specific prediction was a thing. She’d lived too long around ‘predicted saviors’ to believe any good of it. It didn’t seem she’d ever say that to this ‘Yuni’ though. The woman seemed to expect deference.
“I have all the Arcobaleno pacifiers. Byakuran owed Shoichi because of their last game. Nobody is safe.” She pleaded.
Chrome was about to tell her to give the pacifiers to Byakuran as the prize but that ‘Daisy’ buzzed overhead. “Fine.” She grabbed Yuni and teleported.
The draining sensation became unbearable and she passed out in front of Mukuro-Sama.
Chapter 7: We're Searching For Unity
The final battle is planned and set into motion.
28-29 June: Final Battle Plan
Hayato dived between Trapper and the woman she brought who was so unsurprised at her fall. He dissolved the forced flame connection between the two and stepped back. Boss stepped up then and knocked the bag out of the woman’s hands into a box-weapon casing and slammed it shut. That shocked her. More than was reasonable.
Not used to being shocked + Major Arcobaleno powers. Theory: Prediction powers of some kind. Such things did tend to go more that sideways when it came to gamers. Predicted things were less funny after all.
“What were you thinking?” Hayato hissed at the woman suddenly glancing between the doubles as Boss lifted Trapper into her Mukuro’s arms.
“The world needs the Tri-Ni-Sette out of Byakuran’s hands and he actually murdered someone he owed a favor to.” The woman was surprisingly earnest when she pleaded. It was almost alarming.
“It wouldn’t,” Boss trailed as the woman jumped at his approach, “have anything to do with the fact that you’re so startled by every move I make?”
“My family sees likely futures and you’re never in any of them. I’m still not sure why…” she seemed apologetic at least.
“Little intrusive, but if you can’t help it, we’ll have to suck it up.” Crocodile hummed as he offered a hand to our Mukuro to more accurately attune the new box-animals.
“Wonder what the stats on these are going to be?” Hayato mused as he joined Crocodile in tuning.
“Probably amazing, if they work when we get home. There’ve been some differences.” Boss waved off the odd woman’s questions.
Speaking of which, “What’s your name anyway?” Hayato asked her.
Hayato kept half an ear on the conversation with the Sky Arcobaleno as he held the boxes still for the alternate Mukuro to do things that distinctly smacked of UMA. Pity they were in the future. The strange overlaying geometries looked alternately like a math class and like a demon summoning. They had to wear gloves to prevent contamination.
As they took their turns, the alternates pushed a lot of flames into the boxes, each becoming a new box animal. This time attuned to the alternates. Hayato hoped they enjoyed theirs as much as he appreciated his little murder cat. It only took a little instruction to figure out how to stop offending the little thing.
“IF EVERYONE CAN SHUT UP PLEASE!” For all that Juudaime shrieked a lot and would often freak out at Reborn (a situation it would forever shame Hayato for not noticing without it being pointed out) Hayato had never actually heard any Sawada Tsunayoshi raise his voice to give a command. Hayato saw Wolf shudder in obvious pleasure out of the corner of his eye and hoped Juudaime liked the idea.
Everyone did, in fact, shut up. And there was a definite look of interest on Juudaime’s face that Hayato hoped would translate into actual command at some point. Meanwhile Boss was about to give a speech. “OK. We’re all aware that the possibility of a time machine is a dead end. We also can’t build one or contact any other methods or persons able to transport us without alerting Byakuran.”
Crocodile nodded. “So, Byakuran is on our hit list. How do we take him down? We got the readings from the anti-Mare device, among other things it definitely confirmed that he’s pulling energy from other universes. Anyone wearing one of the rings is basically immortal.”
Wolf looked up from where he was feeding flames into his own box weapon. “There are seals on the Arcobaleno Pacifiers, the missing piece of the de-immortalizing weapon. The hard part’ll be matching them up.”
“Which.” Boss gave a firm look to the still easily shocked Yuni. “Is where you come in. Who are the Funeral Wreaths, and which one holds which ring?”
“Cloud is Kikiyo, the light green haired man who was given orders to turn on the second mist of their group. The first Mist, in the mask, was the real Mist Funeral Wreath. You only managed to put him down because you went for a knockout rather than a kill, and from behind. Zakuro is the Storm, red hair, likes lava. Daisy is green haired and carries a stuffed rabbit. He’s the only one who has actually died before. The ring is basically making him Frankenstein’s monster. He’s the Sun. Bluebell is the girl with blue hair and blue eyes. Her age is unknown however she looks. She’s the Rain. Lightning is actually an alternate Byakuran going by ‘Ghost.’” Yuni rattled off, babbling a bit. Nervous.
“Got it.” One of the Mukuros came forward, holding an oddly shaped revolver out to Boss. “This will send the appropriate seal to each ring, homing signal style.”
“We’re making progress.” Boss smiled and handed the thing back. “When the rings have been de-immortalized, it will probably send ‘Ghost’ tumbling though the between spaces. If he does, then there’s a possibility that it’ll get the attention of a multiverse troll like The Kaleidoscope. Just in case, we need a way to attach a message to him. There’s a chance Zelretch will help. We do need other options though.”
“A chance involving the Clock-Tower Wizard Marshall.” This seemed to alarm both Carnivore, who said it, and the entire extra tenth generation. Why? How bad was this person?
“The first thing on his list will be screwing around with Byakuran. He’ll probably take the multiverse control attempt personally. Again with the not being sure what he’ll do though. Hold on to each other if he shows up.” Crocodile sounded tense. “Hopefully he won’t use the opportunity to prank us by doing something crazy but if he does we should try to stick together. Byakuran knows about the extras anyway.”
“Seal extraction first. Potential escape plans when we aren’t being bombarded.” Hayato spoke up.
Chrome finished filling her own box weapon with flames as Gokudera pointed that out. She exhaustedly leaned on the table and Mukuro-Sama’s assistance as they started the exhausting job of retrieving the seals from the pacifiers without damage. To them or the seals.
Everyone watched nervously as she started with the Sky pacifier. Both Boss and Sawada stepped up behind her in what would have been an eerie twin moment if it weren’t for the nervous look Sawada shot Boss just beforehand and after. As if sensing weakness, a woman in a very similar hat to Yuni’s floated up from the Pacifier. “Who dares to attempt this heresy?”
Boss put one hand on Sawada’s shoulder and nodded. Sawada took a deep breath and squared his shoulders. “We require your assistance to rebalance the world. The Mare have overbalanced the rest of the Tri-Ni-Sette. The Arcobaleno Seals will stop their cheat. From there we will stop Byakuran ourselves, and return to a time where the balance can be preserved.”
“Your quest is reasonable.” Chrome watched Boss’ fist clench behind his back, no other sign of discomfort. “The rest of the Arcobaleno may not be.” Yuni’s mom, judging by the whisper from her direction, dissipated and the first Seal entered the sealing gun. Chrome sighed and picked the next at random. It was Mist.
Unsurprisingly, Mammon surfaced from the pacifier. Surprisingly, they took one look at the roomful of people, scoffed, “Pay me in peace.” And dissipated, leaving the seal. The next pacifier, Sun, wasn’t so easy.
“You think I’ll just cough up whatever you want?” Said the always-pushy little hitman. “Die first.” The apparition whipped out a gun and proved corporeality by grazing Boss’ cheek and putting a hole in a chair behind him.
Boss didn’t take that lying down though. While everyone else was still shocked, he walked up to the apparition and simply asked, “Going to ruin all your hard work mister ‘World’s Greatest’? We can’t bring back the cure if we don’t ever make it back.”
The apparition saw the truth in Boss’ face. He smirked. “Cheeky Dame Tsuna. I should leave you hanging for that, but I refuse to be predictable by anyone else.” He faded away, leaving the seal.
Cloud was next. Oddly, Skull flickered back and forth from his normal look to the appearance of a young British aristocrat. He took one look around, then stared each of them in the eye in turn before simply saying. “Byakuran right? Fuck him up for me.” Then he too faded away. There was something in the pacifier other than the seal. A letter. Boss pocketed it.
They all took a deep breath and moved on. Lightning conjured Verde just long enough to expand most of their cursing vocabularies and leave a fragmented instruction paper to float down with the seal.
Storm brought Fon forward long enough to infuriate both Hibari’s by telling them, “Love you Kyo-chan.” Then he also faded away. It was enough to weaken their awareness just enough they were almost shot when the last pacifier came up.
They really should have guessed. Lal Mirch and Colonello weren’t friendly people to begin with. Being murdered didn’t help. Both Lambos put up shields in a panic, Boss and Sawada harmonized with each other as they guided their people into a formation that saved them from being perforated. It took long enough for all of them to shake with exhaustion before the Rains could be reasoned with.
Boss took another half an hour to talk them into moving on and leaving the seal. In the end they only had to promise Mirch to kick past-Iemitsu in the balls for her before she left and there was nowhere she’d go Colonello wouldn’t follow, so that was the last seal.
“Any other bright ideas?” came the unidentified sarcasm that was on everyone’s minds.
To everyone’s shock, Boss nodded. “We all get harmonized and blast Byakuran with the power of friendship. Literal Rainbow Friendship Cannon.”
It took three hours to get everyone to finally admit they had no better ideas. An X-Burner powered by fourteen Flames would probably wipe their opponents off the map. Most of those three hours was spent trying to convince Boss not to call it the Rainbow Friendship Cannon.
That argument failed. Half the room shut up when Sawada cutely spoke up saying he ‘thought it was nice and weren’t they friends?’ and the other half shut up when Boss kissed them stupid. It only worked because the Lambos had gone to bed by then and the Sasagawas weren’t there to begin with.
Tsuna was…not happy but not unhappy. They got the seals. He had a moral obligation to kick his father in the crotch. He had the training to actually succeed in kicking his father in the crotch. He was officially in a relationship with his Mist whom he never wanted to part from again. (Note to self, find a way to rescue from Vindicare once in past again. Maybe offer the Arcobaleno cure? They liked that in this timeline.)
He watched through those conversations, the deals with the Arcobaleno over the seals, the planning it would take to stop Byakuran. He was in the really unfortunate position of actually liking his life in the future, post-apocalypse and all, more than his life at home. That was super risky and also not sustainable.
That night, as they went to bed, Tsuna decided to try something terrifying. He was going to ask for help on a project and hope that people took what he said seriously. “Mukuro?” he whispered.
“We should probably get Yuni’s other people away from the Milliefore.”
“Good idea. Where should I take them?”
Was this like being high? Tsuna was being listened to, this never happened. “Do we know where the Future-selves are?”
“Well-” Mukuro started to look disappointed when the older Mukuro showed up.
“I’ll guide you.” He whispered to them. “We’ll make for a good distraction when you’re fighting the funeral wreaths. Darling Decimo has agreed to join in your twinned harmony trick when you get that far. Triple the harmony if possible. We’re not asking you to risk the twinned harmony if it looks like adding a third set will cause problems though.”
“Ok.” Tsuna wanted to squeal. People were listening to him. He had a plan. He had a plan he’d come up with and nobody insulted him for it.
“Thank you for that.” Mukuro whispered into Tsuna’s ear. “It’s good to have direction sometimes.” Tsuna supposed other people might enjoy having clear instructions from someone they trusted too. It was nice to have trustworthy people. Reborn came close sometimes but then he’d say ‘Dame-Tsuna’ and Tsuna would be reminded that Reborn didn’t actually like him.
They’d tell the others and enact the plan the next day. Having some control over his own life was heady enough that Tsuna figured he’d better sleep it off.
The next morning, the baseball obsessed Rain asked to go with them on their mission. “I’ll be able to calm everyone down and explain. Being randomly kidnapped by a Mist might startle some of them. The Future selves will know me too.”
So he came along. And they did and they did. If rescuing people they’d fought or run from before, including the guy who so badly injured Boxer, was hard on him, Yamamoto didn’t show it. He was polite all the way through. Probably the customer service experience.
Yuni tried to complain about being sidelined but subsided when Mukuro pointed out the constant startling around the alternates, and the fact that they couldn’t exactly trust her straight out and she subsided.
It took way too long to get the Milliefore out of the Mare and away from the Funeral Wreaths. They had to go slow and carefully. There was a few times they almost got caught and the last rescue nearly got Mukuro’s foot taken off when Daisy reached for him. The angry screech echoed in Mukuro’s ears.
He collapsed into a corner as every one of the adults shouted at each other trying to figure out what was going on. As Yamamoto explained their actions, Mukuro focused on Dear Tsuna’s approach. Then his tongue decided to rebel and embarrass him. “If I said I wanted your body would you hold it against me?”
“Quoting English songs badly. You must be tired.” Dear Tsuna almost looked sad. “If it weren’t the post-apocalypse with a near guarantee of our deaths being soon, I’d stay. Just to keep you, us, like this.”
“Dear Tsunayoshi, we’ll manage. Somehow.” Mukuro whispered. He didn’t want to think about going back to Vindicare either. At least he could reach Dear Tsuna through Chrome. “Don’t forget me.”
“Never.” They kissed in desperation. Death or success they’d be separated. He hoped it wouldn’t be for long. “We have a Vongola to burn.”
Oh. Bless his precious boyfriend. Shared interests were important, right?
Takeshi pretended he didn’t hear the romance novel level of heartbreak coming from Tsuna and Rokudo. Firstly because it was a private thing and secondly because there was no way he’d admit to reading romance novels. They had happy endings. It was all Takeshi could really wish for. It wasn’t worth the real-life unhappy ending.
He did question Tsuna’s taste sometimes. But it led to his own rescue from suicide off the school roof so who was he to question his friend’s romance with the quintessential bad-boy? Even if said bad-boy was in prison for killing hordes of people and had tried to kill them before.
Takeshi worried for his friend sometimes. He hoped the self-assertion moments he’d seen in his friend kept up and increased. Seeing him beat down so often was painful.
They were all going to need all the therapy. All of it. It took most of his self-control to remind himself not to put Gokudera on his knees no matter how happy their alternates looked doing such things. He hadn’t been invited and trying something like that would be beyond rude. He’d ask once they took down Byakuran. If only Gokudera wasn’t so hung up on appearances.
If only Reborn was less of a control freak. Maybe he should ask before they went after Byakuran. Oh. Wow. He did the entire explanation without thinking about it or giving evidence of his thought process. Go him. Takeshi would need those skills. He was the only one who heard Rokudo and Tsuna’s plans regarding Vongola.
Burning a Mafia Famiglia, especially such a powerful one, double especially without breaking Vindice rules or hurting anyone they’d need? It would be hard. Probably shouldn’t spring it on Gokudera without warning. Takeshi watched as everyone got ready for the assault.
“Hey, Gokudera? How do you feel about…?” He was going to have an honest and clear conversation with his Stormy frenemy no matter what assumptions got in the way.
Ryohei put on the goggles and box-weapon parts of his fighting armor. He tried not to feel guilty about using so many resources in such a time. Survival and a retreat home were the most important things here. Armor would help them survive. Who knew where Byakuran might be or attack from?
Ryohei endured the quiet guilty apology from the man, now on their side, who had hurt him in the first place. “It’s not fine.” Ryohei intoned once the man finished. “So I won’t brush off your extremely difficult words. I understand your reasoning and accept your apology. We can work together. I have learned extremely important things from my time in the medical wing.”
He saw a smile for an extremely hot second when the building exploded. The next thing he saw, before anyone else since he’d learned from Officer Lussuria’s extreme techniques, was a man in an extremely ugly mask reaching for the box-weapon. It was the man who’d nearly single-handedly taken out their Choice team with a hypno-moth.
Ryohei let off his own blinding flash of light to cover his reach. One hand caught the man’s wrists before he could release the moth again. The other shoved his own box weapon’s corner into the mask, cracking it. The scream coming from it was cut off from the box’s activation. That third flash of light resulted in the total destruction of the mask and covered the Arcobaleno seal as it took out the Sun Mare ring.
He pulled a mercy knockout on the man behind the mask and released his Box-Animal to assist his alternate self. He snorted and then smiled as an extremely angry swan joined the kangaroo in beating the tar out of the various other box-weapons.
He tossed his group sunglasses in warning of future random Sun Bursts and then covered them while they put them on. He dragged a Rokudo, probably Trapper’s, out of the way of a falling beam from the vaporized hideout while the other boy struggled to unjam the Seal Gun.
Then he took a deep breath, concentrated on tracking the entire battlefield at once, and fought to protect and distract from his more stealth-oriented teammates. There was a gentle heat in his chest as he varied the sun pulses and Boss steadied him.
“We will survive this.” Ryohei whispered, hoping that the echo of his words was Boss agreeing with him.
Chapter 8: Justice Runs In Crimson Rivers
FINAL FUTURE BATTLE...FIGHT!
BOX ANIMAL SYMBOLISM SUCKS TO RESEARCH!
Hayato: Poodle named Azula
Tsuna: Fennec Fox named Snitch
Ryohei: Swan named Amazon
Lambo: Ferret named Cat-Noodle
Takeshi: Gharial named Amaka
Mukuro/Chrome: Platypus named Asui
Kyouya: Honey Badger named Twitch
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
29-30 June: Final Battle (Justice Runs in Crimson Rivers)
“We will survive this.” Mukuro panted. If there was some world he wanted to create it was that. His Tsuna’s agreement was empowering. The sudden feeling of family coming from Boxer was as well. It proved that survival was something they all agreed to believe in. Mukuro snapped off the Storm seal.
That the Sky seal was next had him dodging and bouncing around. For a moment he had to work through vertigo as both Chromes tried to assist him at once. He didn’t echo back a reprimand, just directed the other Chrome to his own counterpart. The dizzying ‘assistance’ took him out of Byakuran’s aim quickly enough that he managed to seal the man’s ring without getting hit like he half expected.
That’s when he landed in just the right place to seal the Lightning and Cloud. For a moment he almost saw a boy who could have been Skull intervening and distracting the two so they wouldn’t notice the seals landing. Then the afterimages faded and he resolved to ask his Tsuna later rather than get his head taken off now. Speaking of which, even distracted that Lightning was a health hazard.
Mukuro shook out his arm. The elder Lambo was the only lightning capable of fighting on their side. As a result they sometimes had to move to rescue their little brothers. The elder Lambo was wearing the two as a backpack actually. Sometimes he even borrowed flames to shield everyone he could. That one shield stopped Mukuro from having Lightning burns worse than Boxer.
The prickling on that hand had yet to go away. Mukuro forced a manipulation in flame flow that redirected it back to the elder Lambo for use. His hand and wrist pain faded to ‘asleep’ buzz. That would have to do. The Sun was the Mare user most reliant on the ring. Where was he?
Mukuro withdrew, the downed Mare Mist (Brutal takedown, Boxer was learning) freed up some of them to fight more effectively but the predictive powers of the Mare rings were more dangerous than foresight. More…and less… “Boxer, ideas? Where’s the Sun and should anyone be rearranged?”
Boxer actually looked a bit surprised. His love for fighting had been obviously warring with his desire not to be so badly hurt again once the first blush attack was over. “The Yamamotos are fighting him together.” He concluded after looking around a bit. Then he pointed. “Over there-” he suddenly cut himself off. “Crocodile’s injured!”
Mukuro’s blood went cold. No, damnit you’re a Mist, Don’t thing pessimistically. We Will Survive. We have to…
Mukuro grabbed Boxer and teleported them to the Rains.
Two swordsmen, fighting next to each other with moves so similar as to almost be predicable but just different enough to be dangerous to each other as well. A wolf with a third sword jumped forward from his fighting partner and almost got snapped up before Takeshi could direct his own gharial, Amaka, to stab at Frankenstein’s crime against nature 2.
“Careful.” Takeshi warned as Hibari’s hedgehog started savaging the rhino…somehow. Then he directed his ire at Daisy, “Gharial Crocodilians will eat corpses you know.” As the wolf and hedgehog finish taking down the Rhino Takeshi directed his own box animal against Daisy. “Sometimes they’ll pluck them right off their funeral boats.”
Daisy snarled and did something that involved crying out for carnage before transforming into a sun-flame-winged pseudo-kanima. In doing so though, his stuffed bunny landed in Amaka’s mouth. The ensuing freakout was not a safe proposition with flames flying everywhere. Amaka skittered around with the bunny, Daisy not quite able to keep up. Winged Lizard v Lizard with a sword on its tail.
Takeshi was so surprised by the image he barely ducked his counterpart’s backswing. The wolf and hedgehog couldn’t quite handle the rhino and without the seal none of them could really deal with Daisy. Takeshi settled for tripping up the two without getting too much in the way of his counterpart. Their inability to truly predict each other combined with the moments where they were in sync caused the most damage whenever they fell out of sync.
Then the hedgehog, got into the rhino’s eyes. It swept its head around and no amount of blocking with a sword was going to stop that. Takeshi’s alternate was swept into him and both of them were thrown backwards. They managed not to stab each other but there was a loud cracking noise.
Then pain swept away every other thought in Takeshi’s head as his counterpart stood unharmed but pale as he stared at Takeshi. There was liquid in his lungs, he coughed and tasted blood. Judging by the look on his alternate’s face he’d just coughed blood out too. He coughed again and there was blood visible for a second before more coughing and choking.
There was another crash and suddenly a Mukuro was forcing his alternate to go back to fighting Daisy. It must have been Boss’ Mukuro since he had the sealing gun and was after Daisy while Amaka had him distracted. After that? Probably sealing, ring theft, and lotus vines but Takeshi couldn’t lift his head or get enough air to check.
Ryohei was there. He looked…something. Takeshi really couldn’t interpret while he was trying not to injure himself but also trying very hard to keep breathing. The two didn’t mix well. Ryohei was kind enough to hold him still without making the pain worse. He was doing something around Takeshi’s chest that he imagined would have hurt without the Sun Flames. No, Shit. Takeshi was tranquilizing himself.
“S-ry- ke-shi- gn-t-h-t” Blue and pain washed away whatever Ryohei was trying to say.
Huh, since when was Boxer, ‘Ryohei’?”
It burned a little, watching Roll take down a very dangerous herbivore alongside Vine-freak. At least it was the tolerable Vine-freak. He couldn’t afford to get distracted though. Sealing the rings didn’t actually make the ‘Funeral Wreaths’ less dangerous. Kyouya acknowledged that he was bleeding in four places. Nothing immediately deadly but nothing to be sneezed at.
Movements getting more limited in a fight like this. Bad, very bad. Stupid plant-people. Not even Herbivores, Plants. Kyouya ducked out of his counterpart’s way and shot out a propagation for the tolerable Vine-freak. Then another for Boxer once he saw him. One of theirs was down and with ‘Boss’ and Little Animal concentrating for the final blow against Marshmallow they couldn’t afford to lose anyone.
Kyouya jumped behind a Lightning barrier and proceeded to bash every weapon not belonging to their side he could reach. He bypassed the elder Sasagawa who healed the inhibiting cuts without looking. Then he wound up toppling over a ripped up piece of concrete. His elder self’s territory was getting badly damaged. Thankfully, Kyouya’s own was not so damaged. It was awful being away though.
Concentrate. Left, left, right, duck, and roll out of the way of the sweep. Don’t get set on fire. Don’t get hit by that green thing. Kyouya’s eyes were caught by seeing Roll step next to the wrong-Marshmallow. Roll was suddenly absorbed. Kyouya cut off the propagation flames to the box and pulled away as the wrong-marshmallow chased, absorbing from everyone, making their people more tired.
It was wrong. For a couple seconds his entire body seemed to heat up painfully with the desire to externalize his flame. Cutting off from the outside was going to damage the Skies’ blast by unbalancing the triad so he needed to get rid of the ‘funeral wreath’ sucking up all their power. Kyouya started by fighting so the wrong-marshmallow had to follow him away from the others.
Then he internalized all of his flames. It burned and hurt but not for very long. He propagated the force behind his tonfa blows. He propagated his own durability, a division in mind he wasn’t very good at but he’d rather not die of self-inflicted tumors, and he propagated the speed of his own thoughts. For a second he wondered if this was what being a Lightning was like before he knocked down his opponent.
It vanished, back to marshmallow to be repaired most likely. It mostly fixed the drain everyone was feeling though. Kyouya took a step back towards the fight…and collapsed. He felt like he could explode. There was too much flame. It was propagating itself and he couldn’t stop it. He crawled slowly, draining as much of the overclocked flame into his box-animal as he could, bringing Roll back out.
He passed out next to Crocodile, his counterpart’s tranquility finally slowing the pressure.
Getting to a defensive position and ensuring that Byakuran was there was the extremely important thing right now. The more extremely important thing was getting to Crocodile and Hibari, both of whom were down. Boxer was with them but how bad was the damage?
Ryohei knocked down two of the Funeral Wreaths on his way to their side. He got there in time to see a Rokudo and Yamamoto return to the rest of the fight. Ryohei looked Boxer in the eye and they sent off their box-animals to fight while Boxer did his utmost to drain the blood out of Crocodile’s lungs. Ryohei missed the fight but he had to be sure Hibari hadn’t given himself an internal injury.
He took a bruise to the shoulder getting there, not bad enough for permanent damage but inhibiting where they couldn’t really afford that. He healed it as minimally as he could. He reached Hibari by sliding under the Storm’s strike and between his legs. Yes Yamamoto, he did extremely remember baseball moves. Granted he was pretty sure nut-shots were illegal in both sports but this was hardly a sporting fight anyway. It knocked down the Storm trying to kill them was the important thing.
There was not enough blood for an unextreme knockout, his head was extremely unhurt… His flames were extremely overclocked and his muscles had nearly broken his own bones under the extreme force. Ryohei forced himself to go extremely slowly as he activated torn muscles to healing, without extremely activating the other boy’s flames again.
Getting his flames into muscle and bone without touching flame was an extremely delicate process. Especially since the other’s flames were also in those muscles and bones. Eventually the nervous checks that they weren’t going to be attacked while healing their fellows led Ryohei to trying something Lussuria had probably not meant to explain to either of them let alone both.
Sneaking in to visit his alternate was a more extreme idea every day he’d done it. He extremely carefully activated the hedgehog box weapon. The drain of suddenly having two pulled the rest of the excess flame out of the boy’s muscles, allowing faster and safer work. Forcing a slightly sideways use of his own flames to ensure not too much of Hibari’s flames were taken out…
He ignored the burns from badly faking Storm flames as he picked up Hibari and Boxer carefully lifted Crocodile and they both extremely booked it to the shelter. On the way they picked up the mostly successful members of their team, coalescing into a single unit as the harmony of their bosses collected and extremely purred in their skin. The layer of burned skin fell off as his own healing activated.
The way he carried Hibari, back to back and by the sleeves, allowed him to sweep away attackers once he woke, which Ryohei felt bad for doing but they’d all need to be awake for this. Crocodile was shaky on his feet as it was, broken ribs and punctured lungs were hard to heal, especially while ensuring the patient didn’t drown in the process.
He and Boxer put down their friends and turned to face the last two standing Mare; Byakuran and Ghost.
Kyouya watched as his counterpart woke, instantly going back to fighting despite the exhaustion and damage. He released his own honey-badger, Twitch. She prowled with the rest of the zoo in front of them. For all that Boss’ people had fragile looking animals. (Mostly. He was very proud at having pegged Crocodile.)
Kyouya covered the retreat of the Suns with the injured teammates while he powered up the flames his alternate would probably never admit to let alone use. Indigo flame with such a red backing it looked purple propagated across the field, appearing to be waste from tired Mists trying desperately to protect their people with fading vines. It actually powered most of their work as Kyouya readied himself.
They fell for it. The Mare stepped into the flickering lights, more purple than indigo, smirking in false superiority. Kyouya tensed as he puppeted and extended the tendrils. Most of them reached out to the unconscious Mare, the rest curled around the gloating marshmallow and fake-marshmallow.
The fog, a literal mist curling off his Flames of Mist, extended and covered the approach of the ex-Milliefore. He carefully swapped out the rings, all but the approaching threat. Each one falls into the box of dead pacifiers held by the fore-seer. Sun, Mist, Rain, Cloud, Storm, the clinking covered by the clash of weapons, Byakuran against swords, knives, tonfa, and metal plated gloves.
“Too cowardly to face me yourself. You really haven’t changed in a thousand alterations Dame-Tsuna.” Kyouya clenched his jaw and resisted the urge to tell the plant off. Then Dukuro lunged and planted the message on the un-marshmallow and signaled a thumbs up. Then Crocodile got a look that perked up his ears it was so excited.
“Throat, spine, lungs, liver, thigh artery, kidneys, or heart?” He chirped despite his previous injury. It made his voice almost as hoarse as the person he was misquoting. Kyouya would know, he was the only one with the patience to watch anime with Crocodile. “And with this many people someone’s going to land a hit.”
Chrome caught the moment necessary to plant the message. It was now on the ring, taped to his back, and shoved into a pocket. The bombardment started after Crocodile called out kill points. Ghost held a shield against most of them. Then the Yamamotos reversed the ‘rain bubble’ trick to send Ghost rolling away thrashing. Getting his ring was easy then. He vanished as Carnivore used Mist to take it.
They linked up. The elder selves pulled together, the Tsuna-kuns collecting their guardians to within their own auras, and those guardians pouring out as much flame as they safely could. Using the inspiration of the Arcobaleno cure, they balanced their flames on the rainbow spiral and spun the three circles together.
Byakuran was finding himself at the center of a three ring ven-diagram. The further back they all stepped, the more the little section shrunk with him in it. He failed categorically to counter the harmony they projected. Meanwhile, the lot of them trembled with the power they were channeling. Chrome held on to Mukuro-Sama’s shoulder as her organs seemed to twist inside her.
She looked over to see Crocodile being supported by Wolf and Boxer, his swords seeming to float through rain falling in reverse. To her own side she shielded their Hibari from his own flames and Mukuro-Samas. Mukuro-sama was pouring flames out and where he hesitated, not wanting to truly return to the past and the Vindice, she substituted.
She trusted Tsuna-kun. He got her proper organs, and he loved Mukuro-Sama. He would get Mukuro-Sama back. He had to.
Tsuna wondered if Zelretch got their message. It hardly mattered. If he didn’t or ignored it they’d just have to use this to power a gate. He wasn’t sure about the time thing though. Supposedly they had the people to figure out a time machine, if they even wanted to go back in time.
Tsuna watched his alternate and his alternate’s future as they almost symbolically stepped back. Byakuran’s lashing out almost took Lambo’s hand off Tsuna’s shoulder but bounced off an instinctive shield. The flames spun around as they cut off Byakuran’s escape routes. His claim to be a god looked less probable by the minute. It didn’t make him an easy kill though.
Sweat beaded on all their foreheads as flame and dying will clashed. His alternate wasn’t wavering, much as Tsuna knew he didn’t want to return home. His own time, separate from Mukuro and under Reborn’s thumb wasn’t a direction either of them would want to go or a place they would want to be. Thankfully Byakuran was a direct threat to their lives so he was helping with everything he had or the harmony wouldn’t work.
It was on the edge of not working anyway. Byakuran still had his ring. He was powerful enough to have kept it. The box with the rings and pacifiers rattled and glowed. A flash of pink smoke came out and suddenly Byakuran was lunging for the Tri-Ni-Sette. For a moment it looked like he could reach it. They all leaned as hard as they could away from the box, keeping Byakuran’s desperate grab from reaching.
Local Tsuna was wavering, his circle never copped out but it was weaker than the others and Byakuran knew it. He reached out and managed to touch local-Tsuna, his dying will to survive and take over the Tri-Ni-Sette stronger than Local-Tsuna’s will to kill him.
“Tsuna!” Tsuna yelled at his local counterpart desperately. “Will you let me help?!”
Local-Tsuna hesitated a moment too long. Byakuran’s hand was on his throat. Elder Tsuna and Tsuna jumped back to try pulling him away. The other boy’s circle flickered, trust not quite established in his guardians. Harmony falling to pieces.
Then there was a clinking noise. Tsuna’s eye was drawn to the chalk portal door drawn beneath them all. It had all the correct writing. He couldn’t imagine how Carnivore, and he could feel the flames, it was Carnivore, had managed to draw it. Activation across time and space would require a sacrifice. Were they expecting...?
Belphegore tossed a wire across the space behind where Byakuran was standing as he tried to kill the local Tsuna for the rings and pacifiers. Another picked it up. Tsuna got ready to yell again. “YOU HAVE WHAT YOU NEED. YOU CAN DO THIS. YOUR FRIENDS STAND WITH YOU!”
Gokudera and Yamamoto manage at that moment to pry Byakuran’s fingers off of local-Tsuna’s neck. With his first free gasp of air Tsuna shoved Byakuran, with no skill or finesse necessary. The man tripped over the wire, blood landing on the chalk and mixing for a moment of white light before the elder-Tsuna turned his circling Harmony on him directly. He died without a sound.
Then the world dissolved in a rainbow of fire as the alternate Tsunas and friends fell into a portal away from the Tenth Gen Vongola Adults. For a moment Tsuna saw his living room before he recognized Zelretche’s “You are so fucked.” smile. The second rainbow was a glass kaleidoscope. Then they were falling towards a bunch of Vongola people in Namimori. Tsuna stopped his alternate from face-planting then froze. They were in his alternate's timeline judging by the happy-faces and the bazooka. This could be bad.
Reborn, the Varia captains, and Iemitsu were right in front of them.
plot twist :^)
So, people who's points of view you'd like to see in the epilogue?
Chapter 9: Country Roads Take Us Home!
Reactions from select canon cast members and the homecoming process. (Hint: It's not as easy as clicking your heels.)
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
1 July: Return and Reaction
If nothing else this would convince Nono to stop asking for ‘favors.’ Reborn steadied his stance in the face of Vongola’s disapproval. He was the only person known to be immune to the crushing force of the Ninth Vongola’s attempts to coerce him with ‘harmony.’ He didn’t need that fact driven home with the pointed intensity of Nono’s reaction to his heir being missing.
Dame-Tsuna was going to hurt for this if he wasn’t already. Reborn might hurt him anyway. Those Bovino were on his List for inventing the malfunctioning bazooka in the first place. The Varia for their interference were getting close as well. Nono was too big for his britches and had been for a while, hence Tsunayoshi’s lessons in protecting himself and his own coming before politics.
“The ten-year-bazooka went off enveloping the tenth generation in pink smoke, after which it ceased to function. I’m the World’s Greatest Hitman but if you want them back you may have to wait.” Reborn snarked at the increasingly fuming Nono. He was officially out of the energy to care what the old man thought of him. Besides, he couldn’t be fired at this point.
“Trash isn’t strong enough to survive if he winds up in trouble.” Why thank you for your ‘help’ Xanxus, Reborn didn’t need or want it.
“I’m simply trying…” (And failing by the barely perceptible tremor in his voice) “To ascertain if there’s anything else that can be done. His inheritance is rather soon after all. I’ve been Don Vongola too long.” The rage Nono usually hid was becoming more obvious. Reborn could see both the little spurts of cold from the man’s fingers and Xanxus’ own tension about it.
“Hopefully we won’t be waiting the full ten years.” Reborn sniffed. “All time travel devices and to be honest, even some seers have catastrophically failed to involve the future as of the beginning of this month so, there’s nothing to do but wait and keep trying.”
“Surely not all…” was as far as Nono got before his sparking ice ceased in a blast of what smelled like glass-fire, relaxing Xanxus and the Varia thoroughly even as it confused everyone in the vicinity. Reborn ensured he did his own eye-rubbing while nobody could see because there was no way he’d admit to weakness.
Even in the face of two tenth-generations complete with a doubled Dame-Tsuna at the front. What had he ever done to deserve that?
Two trash-brats. Joy. Although they didn’t look like usual. One of them was doing something about the strangle-prints on the other’s neck, assisted by the boxer-Sun that Xanxus could have sworn didn’t know how to do that. What had happened to the brats and how long had they been gone their end?
“The fuck?” He didn’t even bother putting any energy into it.
Nono fluffed up like a satisfied chicken. “Well, that’s solved. Inheritance can go forward as planned.”
Xanxus scowled for a moment as both brats failed to complain about said inheritance like usual. Maybe it was the neck-injury? Or the distraction of fixing it? They didn’t seem to have reacted at all though so maybe they didn’t hear? No. Something was wrong.
Or at least Reborn thought so. “Explain the doubles Dame-Tsuna. We don’t have room for two Decimo, do we need to stage another Ring Battle?”
The one with the strangle prints shook his head as they finally faded and croaked something unintelligible before grimacing and gesturing to the other.
“No more ring battles. They’ve a tendency to go badly and we the non-locals won’t be staying long.” The healthier brat answered, casually, without looking. He also pulled a pencil out of his pocket and did something entirely without Flames that turned his porcupine fluff into a tight twist and pinned it there.
Xanxus tried not to smirk at the Shark who was obviously (for a Varia captain) trying to figure out how the brat did it. Then the group separated just enough for the Varia to catch sight of baseball-brat choking on his own blood. “Lussuria, medical attention for the brats!” Xanxus called over his shoulder, knowing Luss would absolutely run him down even if he hadn't given that order, and stepped out of the way as Luss shot forward.
Xanxus tried not to relish the looks on Reborn and Nono as the kids parted instantly for Lussuria to reach the injured but closed ranks to keep the ninth generation as far away from the Sawada Brats as possible. He didn't try very hard. He also noticed the camera in Mammon's hands. He signaled his desire for which specific photos and Mammon clearly complied.
The kids were weirdly well behaved for Lussuria. Even when she had to check the stiffly moving alternate Sawada child. A corset, not broken ribs. Of all the ridiculous… “I love the outfit Honey but what the hell were you doing to wear this into what I can only assume was a fight of some kind?” She tapped a finger on the boning before kneeling to help the badly injured Rain.
“It’s not very restrictive and besides, it’s the only bulletproof clothes I had.” His reply was quiet as he held his Rain’s hand while Lussuria moved to fix the punctured lung and broken ribs. Now where had Sawada-Honey-2 found a bulletproof corset? And given the expressions Lussuria had asked that aloud. Oops.
Goodness, Lussuria hadn’t spoken her thoughts unintentionally in years. Thankfully the kid didn’t seem upset at being outed with an alternate of parental figures right there… If he even considered Nono and Lion-Bastard parental. Given the clothes and general attitude probably not.
“Miura. You need to know how to ask though.” The first sentence Baby-Rain-2 decides to say and he even took his hand from Sawada-Honey-2 only to use it to stroke the line of bulletproof boning under his Sky’s t-shirt. A t-shirt that, mind, was three sizes too big, exposed one shoulder, and was long enough Lussuria couldn’t tell if the kid was wearing shorts.
“And the boots?” Now that the possibility was mentioned Lussuria had to ask about the thigh-high-barely-heeled combat boots he was wearing.
“Are also bulletproof. Nothing I wear isn’t flame-proof, and few things aren’t good against bullets.” He tugged on the t-shirt collar.
When the kids had all been seen to, Lussuria looked back at the argument Nono was having with Reborn and Boss. Lion-Bastard was wailing something dramatic about how his ‘precious Tsuna-Fishie wouldn’t talk to him and the other Tsuna-fishie was wearing girly clothes’ as the local Sawada-Honey tracked the argument grimly and checked his phone every few seconds.
Then the kid finally smiled at the phone. The argument ceased at a wave of Harmony from a very strong bond but everyone choked on the arrival of Rokudo. Dukuro-dear casually tripped Lion-Bastard and nudged Nono off-balance enough that nobody was able to do anything before Rokudo reached Sawada-Honey.
Sawada Honey then threw himself into Rokudo’s arms and stuck his tongue into the other boy’s mouth. Lussuria thought the whole thing was very sweet and returned to the Varia group to join in the giggling at the Ninth Gen’s faces and planning the party.
The Ninth Vongola Don’s face was entirely worth a good long watch, especially when the other option for viewing was rapidly approaching underage porn judging by the noises. “Voi.” Squalo shook his head and snickered along with Luss as they watched the World’s Strongest Hitman choke on his words for what had to be the first time in decades at least.
Rokudo was a concern yes, but less of one doing this than possessing the brat like Idiot-Mitsu was claiming. “Voi, underage pornography falls under human trafficking.” He hissed to make Mammon stop filming it. Not even that level of blackmail on Idiot-Mitsu was worth the Vindice.
“Fuck.” Was the totally unexpected deadpan response from his colleague as they put the camera down.
“Pity.” Lus sighed. “It’s cute, for all that the puppy love image is ruined by the pair being an unwilling future Vongola Don and an unrepentant mass-murderer fixated on the total destruction of the mafia.” And with that unnerving reminder the Sun placed one finger delicately under Mammon’s camera and directed it at the shocked-silent group of Ninth Gens. “Don’t lose out Misty Dear, sound editing is cheaper and easier than you’d think.”
“Priorities Voi.” Squalo shook his head but deliberately didn’t insert himself.
“You’re watching the show too Squ-chan.” Lus didn’t even move.
“Voi. Talking about the Ninth. Obviously. Or the brats. Works either way.” Speaking of. Squalo checked on the other kids. Funny as Nono and Reborn’s faces were, there was something, more than one thing probably, different and or wrong with the group.
The kids really were watching the approaching underage porn. Half cheerfully, two involved, and the rest in some state of dismay or avoidance. Local Smoking Bomb looked like he wished he could drop dead on the spot. Local Cloud brat had disappeared completely, probably investigating his territory. God knows the separation, even just in time, would have been hard on him.
Nono and Reborn were suddenly arguing again. Probably to avoid looking or listening to the show. Iemitsu was wailing his ‘contribution’ at the top of his lungs as well. Squalo’s attention was then drawn to the kids who looked like they were watching the show(s) as their whispers to each other started to include passed notes. Nice. Sawada-Brat’s distracting show had a purpose then.
A purpose beyond showing off how good his Mist was to keep them kissing for so long without coming up for air at all.
Hana returned to check on the group of foreigners. Kyoko had been reduced to tears by the men’s words and implications but Hana knew it wouldn’t last for long before she’d forget that and start blindly getting involved in stupid monkey shit again. Practically sell herself into slavery to those awful men.
That Miura girl’s encouragement of course. Dumb half-monkey herself, that girl actually wanted to be a mafia wife. Kyoko didn’t even speak to Hana anymore because she was too involved in mafia shenanigans following Sawada. It was like she couldn’t even see the dangers.
Gods knew she only liked Sawada like that because the boy was so gay even his obligatory crush on the ‘school idol’ was perfunctory and limited to platonic smiles. He’d been missing a while, now he seemed to be ba…
Two Sawadas. There were two. One of them was hanging off a spiky monkey, the other was laughing into the shoulder of his own, different spiky monkey. The first had hickeys all over. She approached from behind them. Better the little monkeys than the foreign monkeys.
Oh, and Kyoko’s brother was talking. “So, given that last Extreme blast went through the guy at the same time as we went through that extreme portal thing, we can extremely track his rings. At that point… It would be extremely nice to have a phantom thief because getting the rings off him or him out of whatever turned him so unextreme will be dangerous and painful. Or we could extremely reverse the Harmonic Dissonance thing and extremely summon them through space-time. Whichever.”
Hana’s brain stalled. Ryohei, monkey among monkeys, the guy that fought so much Kyoko couldn’t ignore the danger in it, that Sasagawa Ryohei was advocating a solution that didn’t involve a fight. If she wasn’t actually hallucinating he’d also kept his voice down so the adults’ argument about the gay smooching kept them from hearing it.
Miracle or hallucination. Hmmm.
“Do we still have…?” Ryohei cut himself off, then he cuffed the distracted Wolf on the shoulder. “Yo, can you extremely pay attention?”
“Yes we still have.” Was the grumpy response. Wolf waved the last Arcobaleno cure wheel. He didn’t rub his shoulder though. Ryohei was extremely proud of himself for pulling the hit enough. “And my attention is on the mafia not too far away.”
“Ha! Great.” Crocodile extremely snagged the wheel and passed it to the invisible Rokudo. Ryohei extremely bit his tongue as there was a long pause. Then his sight went extremely sideways and Purplish-Blue as the scenery dissolved and reformed outside the Italian Mare Base.
Portals, this time facilitated by Rokudo’s extremely cool Platypus, opened views onto the Arcobaleno. The unextreme not-babies jerked like they’d been stung and they started looking around suspiciously, except for Reborn who was looking around a lot slower and more methodically, and the Varia Mist Arcobaleno.
Ryohei was most extremely nervous about the Mist Arcobaleno, who turned right to the portal and started reaching out, almost touching it before Ryohei extremely quickly sped-Activated Rokudo into going at the thing sideways for just a moment. The extremely odd boy jumped like he got extremely close to Lambo’s Lighting practice. They got the pacifier switched out and into the box though.
Alternate Rokudo pulled out the local Vongola Ring Box and held hands with Sawada as they extremely quickly poured the orange Harmony flame into that section. The Vongola rings seemed to extremely smear into the Arcobaleno pacifiers and for a moment Ryohei knew he had to activate something.
He grabbed onto the building Harmony and extremely added an Activation to the mix. Then they all stepped back for the locals. The extremely nervous locals. They reached out to hold the box on their parts, Harmony calling the Mare rings to meet their Tri-Ni-Sette. Ryohei took an involuntary and unextreme step backwards when he saw green sparks get a little too close.
He rubbed the circuitry of scars that ran up his arm. He got extremely lucky. He extremely couldn’t rely on getting lucky like it again. Dealing with that had to wait until they got home. He prayed extremely hard that they wouldn’t need more luck. Then the portals showing the Arcobaleno faded and the Rokudos looked very nervous as they gestured and their hiding place turned back into Namimori.
“We need the Vindice to finish it.” Ryohei’s alternate hugged them along with Ryohei. They both seemed extremely surprised. It was extremely sad.
There was a sensation of Ryohei’s earlier Activation of Rokudo’s constructs cracking as their protective barrier turned into a signal. They’d left the adults on the other side of town. Hopefully the Vindice would be extremely fast.
Mukuro got ready for the arrival of his alternate’s biggest problem. The chill invaded the air very quickly.
“What is this?” the Vindice paused at the multiplicity, and Harmony. Thank whatever gods.
The Mukuros looked at each other and shrugged. Mukuro decided to speak up for his alternate. Antagonism couldn’t help him here. He shrugged and sighed. “There’s been a thing…”
“We can see that.” More showed up, including the little one. "Identify the Rokudo local or the other will also suffer for his crimes."
“Here.” Tsuna-darling tossed them a Harmony crystal. “That should explain…”
They played out the future memory and deal. Then they said nothing for an extended period of time.
“You want Rokudo and his friends to be yours.”
“Yes.” Tsu-dear nodded along.
“You want to pay us for the inconvenience in the device that will remove the Iron Masked Man’s control devices from power.”
The small Vindice came up and investigated the box, feeding it a trickle of Night flames, the balancing device sealed and spun. It was as if he’d been trying to breathe in water before but now air was available. Everyone in the vicinity gasped.
“A valuable prize.” The small Vindice nodded, he even smiled as the device seemed to leech pain out of his shoulders. “You may keep Rokudo for your own. He is your guardian now? Good. Limit his works to the Mafia. Or we will return for you as well as him.”
“Thank you.” Local Tsuna hugged his own Mukuro. Mukuro the better version smiled at their clear happiness. It was nice to know he won, even if only in another world. The Night Flames seemed to speed the device. Excess Flames pulled from the air and as Mukuro noted, sent elsewhere as needed.
He wondered if it was possible to recreate it in their own world. It would be the best possible way to prevent Reborn from damaging them. If the Sun Arcobaleno owed them…
Was the thing moving even faster? Dear Tsuna seemed taken aback by something only he could see as well…
“Everybody, it was nice meeting the locals but we have to say goodbye before we’re jerked away.” That Game was back then?
Mukuro surprised his alternate and alternate-Tsuna’s friends with hugs, Mist allowing for more than one at once. They all expressed the desire to see one another again if possible. If the Bovino managed time travel then reality had to be easier right?
It was his firmest hope to hold onto as the last thing he saw of that world was a tearful goodbye stained in a swirl of indigo fog.
Tsuna nearly skinned his knees as the Game reasserted itself by jerking his nerves around. It took a moment to look around and catch everyone’s entrances, as flashy as their exits had been. Ryohei was here this time.
“Extreme.” Was his surprisingly calm and quiet reaction to their surroundings. He also reached out and stopped Chrome from accidentally impaling herself or Mukuro with the suddenly present trident. Tsuna felt a stab of guilt for the clear strain as his convalescence prevented him from holding them up completely.
“Ryohei, or did you prefer Boxer?” Tsuna called for his attention.
Ryohei looked up, smiling with an unusual strain for that face, no teeth. “No alternates here, I extremely like either of them, or you can all call me Nii-san like Kyoko does. We’ve extremely been through an extreme experience together.”
“You want to stick around? Or go home? We can still talk if you go home right?” He’d been hurt, Kyoko was going to lose her mind…
“I extremely have to go home.” He nodded. “Kyoko’s not going to be happy, or perhaps she’ll be extremely happy I’m not chasing overpowered fights anymore. I would extremely like to keep in touch though.”
“Great.” Tsuna nodded. “Take care of yourself Ryohei-Nii. Mukuro?”
“I want to play with that Activated Construct thing again someday.” Mukuro said as he whisked Ryohei back to his home.
Tsuna looked at his backed up messages and smiled at the [New Bond: Sun Bond] and [Sun Bond: Harmony of Resolution]
“We have a problem.” Mukuro was suddenly back and those words had Lambo promptly burst into tears.
“What the Fuck NOW!?” Hayato and Takeshi shrieked in concert.
Mukuro looked wild and unhinged. “That power surge was caught by a great deal of the mafia. This place is about to be investigated we need to leave now!”
Tsuna swooped down and scooped Lambo into his arms, collecting with the others as Chrome shepherded them all through a portal to another portal to the safe-house. “Ryohei-Nii?”
“Also at the safe-house with his sister, Miura, and Kurokawa.” Mukuro was tense. “I barely managed to get them out without their watchers noticing but the investigation notice hit their phones as we passed and I just moved.”
“Good.” Tsuna and Lambo squeezed each other for reassurance. “Where are we hiding now? Which safe house?”
“The third one. We have a school too. Simon High.”
Depending on reaction I can either start on the Inheritance (Avoidance) arc or I can add a real epilogue, very short, with Canon-Tsuna's changes and Spanners comeuppance for the bazooka experiment.
I'm going on Summer Vacay though, so next update to the series is likely to be in September either way.