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Memento Mori

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“Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own mind.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt


It was considered taboo to contract your soul to a demon, even though it did happen on occasions. Just rarely. 

However, Tsuna had done it anyways. His right eye was a testament to that. It was crimson with an intricate seal resembling a lotus flower. Everyone thought he had lost the eye in the tragic incident years ago. It was convenient, so he went with it. He didn’t care where Mukuro staked his claim. He was desperate, dying, and too terrified to think about the trivial things. All he did was grab the demon’s insidious form and hiss, “Just do it!” 

Perhaps that was why the demon had stuck by his side for this long. 

“Thinking again, Tsunayoshi?” an amused voice said from behind him. “Oya, your pretty little head might combust.” 

Not bothering to look at the tall demon, Tsuna tied his school tie and kept his eyes trained on his slender fingers. The scent of chocolate, roses, and smoke was faint on his sensitive nose, but pleasant nonetheless. Even though Mukuro was a demon, he had a strangely calming effect on him, which was helpful most times and irritating in others. Sometimes Tsuna liked venting when he could, but Mukuro’s insufferable smile and sly gleam in his alluring eyes were just as charming as they were infuriating.

“I suppose,” Tsuna said, his voice soft in the quiet bedroom. He brushed some nonexistent dust from his school jacket, slipped on his white eyepatch, and checked the time. Nice. He still had some time left for breakfast. “Care to join me in the kitchen, Mukuro?”

“Of course, Tsunayoshi.” 

They walked side-by-side down the stairs, which would’ve been a bizarre sight in public. Demons never walked as equals to their human masters, always maintaining a respectable but close distance to ensure their safety. Demons were just dogs as humans were oddly obsessed with power play. 

Tsuna was never one for normal conventions and let Mukuro do as he pleased—in the shadows, of course. He wasn’t that stupid. It had already taken years to divert the public eye from “the Sawada child”. On several occasions, he’d been tempted to order Mukuro to kill the nosy neighbors and reporters on his front lawn, but refrained from doing so out of pure will and extreme patience. The massacre would not do well with the garden his mother had so lovingly tended. 

Besides, he was supposed to be a summoner who had no summon yet, a 16-year-old orphan with no family, a victim of a horrific tragedy that rippled through the nation.

It was a wonderful guise, although a bit annoying. But it’d be worth it in the end. 

A large, gloved hand tilted Tsuna’s chin up. The teen didn’t flinch when his gaze met with red and blue. Mukuro truly had beautiful eyes, he thought. 

The demon’s thin lips curved into a smile. “Tsunayoshi, a penny for your thoughts?” 

Shaking his head, Tsuna pulled away from Mukuro’s hold. “There’s nothing to be concerned about, Mukuro.” 

“Today is your summoning rite ceremony.”

“And we went over it many times already. Is your memory that poor?”

Amusement gleamed in the demon’s eyes. “Is it wrong to worry about my charge?” 

“I suggest you move before I put this kitchen knife to good use.”

Mukuro chuckled that odd but attractive laugh of his. “Violence suits you adorably well, Tsunayoshi. Perhaps I’d like to see you drenched in blood again.” He leaned down to his ear and whispered, “It would certainly be a delicious sight.” 

Tsuna tensed, but managed to school his features. Even though the demon could not see his face, Mukuro always seemed to know what went on in his head. It was dangerous for a powerful demon like Mukuro to be able to keep pace with him. At this point, Tsuna shouldn’t be surprised that Mukuro knew him so well—too well—but even he had some pride to uphold. 

He may have promised him his soul, but that didn’t mean he promised him his heart. 

“Only you would think so, Mukuro,” Tsuna said. “I’d rather not go through the laundry again for something so tedious.” 

Mukuro chuckled, his hot breath tickling Tsuna’s neck. Tsuna suppressed a small shiver and stubbornly maintained his gaze in front of him.

“How cute. I could just eat your soul right now.” 

“I’m afraid not. We still have more to get through.” 

Mukuro pulled back, his handsome face scrunched into something like a pout. “A simpler contract would have been much more pleasant. I promise it won’t be all that bad. My stomach is a wonderful place. You’d be a perfect addition.” 

Tsuna narrowed his eye. “And we’re not have this conversation again.” He shouldered past the demon, not caring if it was rude. Sometimes Mukuro needed to know when to keep his mouth shut. Tsuna would sew it if he could. “I don’t want to see you for the rest of the day.” 

Mukuro just chuckled and gave a mock-bow. “Your wish is my command, Tsunayoshi.” 

He instantly disappeared in a misty haze. However, the tension in Tsuna’s shoulders didn’t leave. He knew that Mukuro was always there, somehow watching his every move and making sure he didn’t do anything reckless. 

Tsuna sat down at the large dining table; the silence in his big home slowly suffocated him as he chewed on some toast. The grandfather clock in the living room ticked mercilessly in the background. He never understood why his parents opted to buy such a large house for only three people. They had mentioned something about having more children, but Tsuna didn’t see anything wrong with keeping their family small. 

His fingers drummed against the table, and it took him a while to notice that he reverted back to the nervous habit. He clicked his tongue before standing up. Grabbing his schoolbag, he slipped on his shoes and glanced at the small family portrait by the front door. 

We were happy, he thought, tracing his mother’s beautiful smile with his eyes. 

Shaking his head, Tsuna opened the door and stepped out of his haunting sanctuary.

Namimori Academy would’ve been a nicer place if it wasn’t filled with idiots. 

Tsuna stuck out like a sore thumb. Whispers would still travel in the hallways, fingers would still point at his back, and eyes would still follow his every move. Tsuna learned quickly to ignore them. Today, it wasn’t as bad since all the students were focused on the summoning rite ceremony.

When a summoner reached 16, they would have the chance to summon their first demon familiar. Only those with summoner magic in their blood could perform it and were carefully selected by the school through an impressive national database system. Tsuna had to admit, he was impressed that the Elders had some brain to utilize modern technology to their advantage. 

Since he was the son to Sawada Iemitsu, a powerful summoner in his own right, he was immediately scouted by the school and placed in the system. He didn’t mind it, even if it was somewhat against his will. The academy was only a step closer to his parents’ murderers—Vongola. It was a powerful summoner group in Italy that ran the underworld. Because of them, his parents had been slaughtered like cattle. 

And they would pay, he vowed. 

“Good morning, Sawada-kun!” a bright voice said. 

Tsuna nodded politely. “Good morning, Sasagawa-san.” 

The orange-haired girl always tried befriending him despite the fact that he wasn’t keen on it. She was nice, but he didn’t think he could stand her (or anyone) for that matter. Some people just didn’t understand that he wanted to be left alone. 

“Are you excited for the rites?” 

“I guess.” 

“I hope I can summon a decent demon.” Kyoko smiled sweetly. “It’d be nice to make friends with one, don’t you think? They’re so fascinating.” 

Tsuna just hummed an affirmative, nodding in all the right places while her words went in one ear and out the other. 

“—ll, good luck, Sawada-kun!”                                                                                                           

“You, too.” 

At the corner of his eye, Tsuna saw Hana tug Kyoko back to their seats. They briefly made eye-contact before Hana looked away first. Tsuna just opened his textbook to today’s lesson and gazed out the window. Some cherry blossoms bloomed on the trees, their pink petals drifting gently in the wind. Tsuna already itched to leave school already. He raised a brow when several black cars pulled up at the entrance. 

Curious, he tilted his head to get a better view, cursing his limited vision. If he could walk around without his eyepatch, it’d be useful. Why couldn’t Mukuro pick a more inconspicuous spot? 

Several suited men stepped out of the cars and before Tsuna could see more, Nezu-sensei had already entered the room. 

“I know you’re all excited for the rites today,” he said, surveying the student’s eager faces. “Just remember all the lessons you’ve learned and everything will be fine. The headmaster and teachers will be there to make sure everything goes smoothly. Any questions before we start class?” 

Numerous hands raised in the air. The questions were mostly about reviewing the summoning runes and any other precautions about the rites, which Tsuna already knew by heart. Mukuro had a surprising array of knowledge of the demon and human world, but that only made Tsuna warier of the demon. 

He mentally shook his head. Getting caught up in his thoughts about Mukuro would just induce an unneeded migraine. 

For the rest of the class, Tsuna doodled in the margins of his notebook, his thoughts occupied with the strange visitors that pulled up at the school gates. 

He had a feeling that today would not be a good day.

The large summoning grounds behind the school were filled with eager students and smiling teachers. Summoning magic was diverse, but there were prominent families with stronger bloodlines. Most of the students came from low-levelled families and could probably summon a weak demon at best. It was still a demon, but even creatures like them had a hierarchy to abide by.

Tsuna was more than aware of his father’s potent magic. Lal Mirch had been his demon familiar and a nice presence in their home, protecting Tsuna and his mother under a careful eye. Whenever he closed his eyes, he could still hear her agonizing screams from that night, and see her crumbling into ashes when— 

He mentally shook his head. No, he had to focus. 

Quickly, he reviewed whatever information he had collected so far. He had traced his father’s lineage back to a man named Sawada Ieyasu, and with the help of Mukuro, followed it back to Vongola. Apparently, the man was Giotto Vongola, its original founder. Still, Tsuna couldn’t help but be amused—how ironic that one of Vongola’s rightful heirs would be the one to burn it to the ground. 

Now, it was just a matter of timing. He’d slowly tear them apart from the inside out until there was nothing left. 

“Hey, who’s that?” 

“It’s Headmaster Okuda, dumbass.” 

“No, the guy behind him.” 

Tsuna peered over the crowd to see the suited men from before escort an elderly man beside the excited headmaster. He instantly recognized him—Timoteo Vongola. 

A sense of foreboding trickled down Tsuna’s spine. Why was Vongola Nono in Namimori? He never set a foot out of Italy since taking up Vongola’s mantle. His wide breadth of connections and manpower made it easy for him to pull the strings from his cozy desk in Palermo. So why… 

Suddenly, Nono’s sons came to mind. Mukuro had told him that two of them were killed by enemy Mafioso—one was drowned and the other was reduced into nothing but bones. Tsuna wasn’t sure about the third one, Enrico, but if Nono was here, there was a good chance that he might be dead as well. That would leave him and Xanxus—an adopted son but still family nonetheless—as the only heirs left. 

His eye narrowed. This was a little too coincidental. The murders, Nono’s unexpected appearance—Tsuna mentally cursed. Mukuro might’ve had something to do with it. The sly demon may be obligated to listen to his orders due to their contract, but that didn’t mean he’d somehow find a loophole and do something else. 

Tsuna would have to keep a tighter leash on him, he thought bitterly. 

When Headmaster Okuda started his speech, Tsuna studied Nono, who had a friendly and kind face. Typical grandfatherly look. However, Tsuna wasn’t fooled. This was a man who controlled Vongola and had the underworld at his beck and call. He was more powerful than most world leaders and politicians, even possessing six demon summons. 

Tsuna quickly averted his gaze when Nono looked his way. He blinked when he noticed a looming figure standing behind the headmaster. When did that man appear? He blended in with the other bodyguards easily enough, but there was something off about him that Tsuna couldn’t place. 

The man wore a black suit and a fedora over his spiky black hair. Thin sideburns curled from either side of his covered face. Tsuna tensed from the low hum of power that emitted from his lithe body—he was a demon, a powerful one. Dark eyes suddenly met his gaze before Tsuna realized he stared for too long. He quickly looked away, finding it difficult to breathe. 

That restrained, suffocating pressure reminded him of when he first met Mukuro. Of course, Mukuro had been much more overwhelming since he had been in his true form, but that suited man was different. His real power was being suppressed. Tsuna didn’t know how, but he wasn’t going to mess with him anytime soon. Was he Nono’s new summon…? It wasn’t uncommon for some summoners to have more than one—the most being recorded was six—however, it was difficult if they didn’t have potent magic. 

Yet, Tsuna knew Nono’s summons and that strange demon was not one of them. There was something amiss here. Was he being too paranoid? His gut was telling him to run away, far away, but he gritted his teeth and waited for one of the group leaders to call his name. 

The students were separated into groups and spread across the field, carefully supervised by the teachers and staff. It wasn’t fancy, but it was faster and more efficient. When Tsuna’s name was called, he quickly walked over to his designated spot and picked up a chalk from one of the boxes. 

Carefully, he started drawing the necessary runes on the ground; however, he made a tiny change in one of them, just subtle enough for no one to notice. He didn’t want to actually summon a demon. Mukuro was already one too many.

Tsuna had no doubt that he could probably make another contract but he wasn’t too keen to find out. His father had other summons too, but mostly kept Lal Mirch by his side. There hadn’t been any reason to have Oregano, Basil, or Turmeric around when they weren’t being threatened…

He mentally shook his head. Focus, he thought. 

He’d just summon nothing and attribute it to his trauma, even if it wounded his ego. Willpower did influence what kind of demon he’d summon anyways. 

Satisfied with his results, Tsuna tossed the chalk aside and turned to call Fukuda-sensei when he suddenly faced a strong chest. His breath hitched when he realized it was the demon standing behind Nono earlier. The man loomed over him, his face almost sinister under the brim of his fedora. The strong, musky scent of gunpowder, espresso, and ashes was overwhelming.

“Sawada Tsunayoshi,” the demon said in a low purr. “Finished already?” 

Tsuna unconsciously stepped back, gritting his teeth. “Yes. If you’ll excuse me, I need to get my teacher.” 

The man blocked him from walking any further. Glaring, Tsuna was tempted to tear the smirk from the man’s dark face. 

“You missed something.” 

Tsuna narrowed his eye. “I believe it’s perfectly fine.” 

A small gleam shone in the man’s eyes. Tsuna gasped when his back suddenly slammed onto the ground. When he tried to stand, a heavy foot stepped on his chest, keeping him in place. He couldn’t stop the heat from rising in his cheeks when he realized everyone was staring at them, their chatter slowly dying down. 

“W—What the hell are you doing?” he said, his voice rising embarrassingly. 

“I’m only trying to help you.” The man’s foot pressed down even more. Tsuna gasped for breath, struggling under the impossibly heavy weight. “You missed something important.” 

“Y—You’re hurting him!” someone said. Kyoko. 

Tsuna might not have liked the girl, but he was a little glad that she stood up for him. Although, he doubted this psycho would let her go that easily. 

“Don’t meddle, mortal,” the man said, his glare effectively silencing Kyoko.

“Reborn,” a stern voice said, “let him go.” 

The pressure on Tsuna’s chest lessened only slightly, but it was just enough for Tsuna to breathe. He gaped when Nono appeared with his men. This wasn’t…This wasn’t what he had in mind! Tsuna clenched his teeth and glowered at the demon above him. He was going to tear him to shreds.

Reborn’s lips twitched into an amused smile. He leaned forward, his dark eyes glinting dangerously. “You can try, Tsuna.”

The way he said his name made Tsuna involuntarily shiver. 


The demon clicked his tongue. “I’m not killing him, Nono.”

“You were supposed to stay by my side.” There was a dangerous undertone in his voice, but Reborn remained unfazed. “Why are you picking on this young man?”

Tsuna gritted his teeth. Did the demon see through his plan? Is that why he was here? Reborn looked down at him again with a predatory gaze. 

“I was only trying to help him with his seal,” he said innocently. “He made a mistake.”

He gestured at the subtle change Tsuna made in his runes. 


Nono walked closer for a better look. His face was inscrutable, but his mouth curved into a small, kind smile. “Ah, I see. Reborn, let him up. Young man, I believe he’s right. There’s a small mistake right here. This is supposed to be symmetric and curving to the left of its counterpart.” 

Tsuna smacked Reborn’s foot away and tried to stand with as much grace as possible. He glared at the chalk that Nono handed him politely. It would be so easy to call Mukuro now and kill the old man right then and there; however, he had no idea about Reborn’s capabilities and he wasn’t willing to risk his plan in front of so many people. 

It was too merciful than for what he had planned anyways. 

“Thank you,” he said, taking the chalk as politely as he could. 

Tsuna could feel several eyes on him while he knelt down to fix his “mistake”. He quickly ran through his options when a sudden pressure around his head made his breath hitch. It was as if a large hand was slowly crushing his skull. Some low ringing reverberated in his ears and his vision blurred for a moment. 

“Are you alright, young man?” Nono said, his voice distant. “You look a little pale.” 

“I’m fine, sir,” Tsuna managed to say through gritted teeth.

The pressure disappeared only when Tsuna finally corrected his rune with a trembling hand. His chalk snapped in two from his tight grip and he nearly threw them at Reborn’s head—that demon was definitely the culprit—if he hadn’t had so much restraint. 

He didn’t even realize Fukuda-sensei was nearby until the woman said, “Good job, Sawada-san. Looks good. Do you need a refresher on the summoning spell?” 

Tsuna shook his head, his ears still buzzing from the blistering pain before. “I’m fine.” 

Fukuda-sensei nodded. “Alright, good luck! We’ll be here in case anything happens. Don’t be nervous. You can do it!” 

Suppressing a sigh, Tsuna stepped onto the small circle at his runes’ center. What the hell was he supposed to do? This wasn’t what he wanted. Should he just summon Mukuro? He mentally cursed. The demon had never shared his personal runes with him so that was out. Tsuna could try holding back as much magic as possible, but the spell was created in a way to draw out the user’s full potential, and he didn’t want to risk changing it in the middle in case something even worse happened.

It was quiet, too quiet. Everyone was staring at him. Tsuna clenched his jaw. Why was people so keen on continuing to push him into the spotlight? His fingers twitched. Screw this. He only hoped that Mukuro had some back-up plan because this time, he didn’t. 

The gold ceremonial knife gleamed under the sunlight when Tsuna cut his palm. His blood dripped onto the ground. 

“…hereby summon you before me,” he whispered, “Mukuro.” 

Students shrieked when a heavy, ominous presence suddenly washed over the fields like heavy rain. A few teachers gasped, stepping back, while their familiars whimpered beside them. This…wasn’t Mukuro. 

Tsuna’s covered eye then burned when tendrils of shadow caressed his cheeks in an almost mocking fashion. This was Mukuro. Black and red swam in his vision before a tall, graceful figure took shape before him. 

“You called?” a smooth voice said. 

Tsuna furrowed his brows. He finally managed to force his tongue to work. “Yes. Will you accept my contract?” 

Mukuro’s lips curved into a smile. “With pleasure.”

Tsuna’s right eye burned again as Mukuro conjured an illusory mark on Tsuna’s hand. Most contracts were represented by a mark on the summoner’s hands where others could see them. Now that Tsuna thought about it, Reborn didn’t have any—at least, to the visible eye. 

“You’re dismissed,” Tsuna said blankly. 

Mukuro chuckled. “I look forward to our next meeting, little one.” 

Tsuna scowled as Mukuro vanished in a purple mist, his laugher ringing gently in his ears. He turned to see Nono observing him with a solemn, approving gaze before the old man smiled. 

“Congratulations, young man,” Nono said. “You seemed to have summoned a powerful demon.” 

“Thank you, sir,” Tsuna said. He glanced at Fukuda-sensei who still gaped at him. “Do I pass?” 

She snapped out of her daze and quickly nodded. “O—Of course, Sawada-san. You did very well. Congratulations! Just fill out this form and we’ll submit it to the Organization.” 

Accepting the form, Tsuna started walking away when a hand gripped his shoulder. 

“Young man, may we talk?” Nono said in a friendly tone. “In private?” 

Tsuna glanced at the elderly man behind him and nodded. “Okay.”

Random bursts of power spread across the summoning fields when the students resumed their summoning rites. Tsuna didn’t pay any mind to them. He just focused on keeping a safe distance from Reborn who never stopped staring at him.

Tsuna had only been to the headmaster’s office once to confirm his enrollment. Of course, the man had tried asking him about what happened that fateful night but Tsuna kept his mouth shut, making sure the man knew his place. 

It was a large room with a sturdy oak desk and tall windows covered by burgundy drapes. Nono sat comfortably on the headmaster’s chair and gestured to the sofas. 

“Please, sit,” he said. 

Tsuna eyed Reborn warily, who casually sat on one of the leathery couches. “No, thank you.”

Nono smiled slightly. “Of course. Now, instead of beating around the bush, I’ll get straight to the point. My name is Timoteo and I am the current head of Vongola. I am sure you’ve heard about it.” Tsuna just nodded. “Good. I came here on some business that relates to your father.” Nono’s eyes softened. “I am truly sorry for your loss, Tsunayoshi. Iemitsu was a wonderful man.” 

Feigning curiosity and grief, Tsuna widened his eye. “You…knew my father?” 

Nono nodded. “He was one of my chief advisers.” He chuckled. “In the old days, he was known as the Young Lion of Vongola and a formidable summoner. Even now, I still cannot believe he’s gone.”

Tsuna suppressed a scoff, his stomach churning from the kind act Nono was putting on. The man didn’t deserve to talk about his father or even utter his name. 

“But enough with the depressing talk, please. We should look forward to the future for better things to come, no?” 

“I believe so,” Tsuna said softly. 

Nono clasped his hands together. “As you can see, I’m growing old, Tsunayoshi.” He sighed wearily. “My sons—They were supposed to take my place, but they’re now dead.” 

“I’m sorry.” 

Nono shook his head. “No, no, don’t be.” He straightened himself. “That’s why I came here personally myself to meet you, Tsunayoshi. I was pleased to see that you’ve inherited Iemitsu’s potent bloodline. The demon you summoned was indeed powerful, just like your father’s summons.”

Mukuro was nothing like his father’s summons. Even though Tsuna barely knew the demon’s background, he knew that the raw power Mukuro held was ancient. He just chose to suppress it, like what Reborn was doing. Tsuna glanced at the suited man who still had his eyes trained on him. Creeper much? 

Reborn just flashed him a charming smile. Tsuna looked away, disgusted for giving him any attention. 

“I can tell you will do great things, Tsunayoshi,” Nono continued. “That’s why I am asking you to take my place when the time comes.” 

Tsuna blinked. Take…his place? That was…expected but still unsurprising. Still, it could make his plans move along much faster; but that was not the life he wanted. He didn’t want anything to do with Vongola. He wanted to watch it collapse terrifically from the sideline. If this was Mukuro’s way of making the contract easier for himself, Tsuna wasn’t accepting it. 

“Of course, it is your decision,” Nono said quickly, mistaking his silence for shock. “But you’re the only one left who’s able to take the mantle, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.” 

Lies. Tsuna would have no choice unless he killed himself, which wasn’t going to happen either. He chewed on his lip as a show of uncertainty. “May I…think about this?” he said quietly. “This is a lot to take in.”

Nono nodded. “Of course, but please, tell me in two days’ time. I apologize for giving you such a heavy burden again, Tsunayoshi. You must be tired. Would you like an escort home?” 

Tsuna shook his head. “No, thank you, Nono-san. I can get there by myself. Thank you for…telling me.” 

Nono smiled gently. “If there is anything you need—anything at all—please don’t hesitate to contact me through Headmaster Okuda.” 

Tsuna bowed. “Thank you. If you’ll excuse me.”

“Be safe, Tsunayoshi-.” 

Tsuna tried hard not to run out the door. Instead, he walked out with long, measured strides, ignoring the intense gaze on his back.

Further up in Namimori, his home somewhat isolated from the town. That was something Tsuna was satisfied with. He didn’t want any neighbors or curious trespassers snooping around the only place where he felt safe. It was one of the few things he had left that connected him with his parents.

As he walked through the busy streets, Tsuna ignored the stares and whispers around him. He shoved his hands in his pockets to hide Mukuro’s fake contract mark. He just wasn’t in the mood to answer questions from overly-friendly residents.

Mukuro’s going to get it, he thought, clicking his tongue.

Nono’s conversation soon replayed in his mind. Tsuna’s acting was a lot better than he thought. Nono was not only growing older, but also weaker. However, that didn’t mean Tsuna should relax. If Nono managed to have a powerful demon like Reborn by his side, that could be an issue in the near future.

A sudden chill made Tsuna pause in his step. He looked around warily. A long dirt path laid ahead of him, cutting through some small woods, and he could see the iron gates of his house in the distance. His father was always a fan of those kinds of things.

Tsuna took another step when he noticed a flicker to his right. His heart thumped faster against his chest, almost painful, while he picked up his pace. The trees rustled above him from the wind. A bird’s cry made him flinch. He gripped his backpack tighter.

Another moment of silence passed. Tsuna’s guts told him to run—and he did. 

Twigs and leaves crunched underneath his feet, the wind picking pace around him, whipping his hair. The same foreboding feeling twisted in his stomach. What the hell was going on? Was he hallucinating? Being too paranoid? Why— 

“You think too much, Tsuna,” a deep voice whispered in his ear.

Tsuna yelped when a heavy body slammed into him and knocked him to the ground. Small rocks scraped his cheek, and he gasped when Reborn flipped him over, pinning him to the earth. The demon’s dark eyes looked terrifying, and it took all of Tsuna’s willpower to not flinch. 


A rough, calloused hand clamped down over Tsuna’s mouth, clutching his jaw in a powerful grip. Tsuna stiffened when Reborn slipped off his eyepatch. 

“I was right,” Reborn said, clicking his tongue. “You and that filth are contracted.” 

Tsuna widened his eyes before he could stop himself. Did Reborn know Mukuro? Why was he here? Did Nono send him to follow him home? Was he going to kill him? Tsuna gritted his teeth. No, he wasn’t going to die today. 

“I’m not here to kill you, Tsuna,” Reborn said with that infuriating smirk. “I’m only here to offer a proposition.” 

Tsuna paused in his struggles. A…proposition? 

“Yes, now listen.”

A muted gasp escaped Tsuna’s lips when a cold sensation rippled through his body. Reborn leaned in closer, his eyes hungry and so impossibly dark they were almost black.

“I know what you want.” Tsuna shuddered when Reborn’s hot breath tickled his ear. “And I can help you much better than him. Just offer me your soul.”

Tsuna narrowed his eyes. As if he’d trust Reborn. He may be powerful, maybe even more powerful than Mukuro, but that didn’t mean Tsuna would just transfer his contract to someone else—was that even possible? As irritating as Mukuro was, he was still the closest thing Tsuna had for…a friend. Christ, he was actually considering Mukuro a friend. Hell had finally frozen over.

Reborn narrowed his eyes as if sensing Tsuna’s internal conflict. He wouldn’t be surprised if the demon could actually read minds, no matter how intimidating that sounded. 

“I am more powerful than he is,” Reborn purred. “There is nothing I can’t do. Take me instead, Tsuna.”

Tsuna nearly sagged in relief when he felt Mukuro’s presence. Nevertheless, he glared at him.

Mukuro just smiled. “How could you forget that I’d never miss my tea time, Tsunayoshi?” His eyes then shifted to Reborn; a small chill coursed through the air, making Tsuna tense. “I believe that’s my human you have there, Renato.”

Reborn smiled, baring a little teeth. “He’ll be mine when we complete our contract. Wonderful timing as always, Mukuro. We were just about to start.”

Mukuro’s smile was still pleasant but his eyes glinted dangerously under the light. Tsuna tried to pry off Reborn’s hand, except the demon’s skin was apparently made out of glue because it wouldn’t fucking budge. He was tempted to bite it off but had a feeling that the demon would enjoy that more than anything. Goddamn freaks.

“Why don’t you let him go?” Mukuro said, lightly. “I’m not that keen on hurting an old friend.” 

“You can do your worst and I can still kill you.”

Widening his eyes, Tsuna tugged Reborn’s sleeve. He couldn’t help but shiver when their gazes met. There were some amber flecks in the demon’s eyes, Tsuna realized. He mentally shook his head. There was no time to think about that.

He pointed at Reborn’s hand, then at his own eye where Mukuro’s contract was. Reborn smirked. “Are you considering it?” 

Tsuna hesitated before nodding. He glanced at Mukuro, who looked at him with unreadable eyes. If Tsuna played his cards right, he could hopefully trick Reborn into letting him go and make a run for it. His mother had the house protected with anti-demon seals that could maybe keep Reborn out for a while.

A dark chuckle made Tsuna flinch.

“Cute,” Reborn said. “But you can never escape me, Tsuna.”

A sudden gust of wind flung Reborn away. Tsuna gaped as Reborn landed gracefully on the ground, undeterred. Tsuna managed to scramble to his feet and grasp Mukuro’s long jacket. 

“Mukuro, get rid of him!” he said, his right eye burning from the command. 

The demon smirked. “With pleasure.”