Actions

Work Header

Made of Steel and Suns

Chapter Text

“No.”

“No?” Reborn raised an eyebrow. Odd. He actually hadn’t been expecting that response.

Sitting across from him, Sawada Tsunayoshi stared at him with a stony expression. All the reports from Vongola said Tsunayoshi was a meek kid, cowardly, moldable. Easy enough to turn into a respectable mafiosos heir.

Yet here was the thirteen year old boy, looking at him without an ounce of fear in his eyes. “No,” Tsunayoshi repeated. Then his lips quirked into a sly smile. “Goodbye, Reborn-san.”

Reborn blinked. He didn’t even get a chance to react before the ground dropped beneath him and he found himself free falling towards the ground. Leon quickly transformed into glider; Reborn grabbing hold. He tumbled, grappling to gain control over the wind currents and gliding safely to the ground.

A rocky landing later, Reborn narrowly avoided a crash. He froze looking up at towering building in the distance. He allowed a startled gasp to fall from his lips. The… Coliseum? He was back in Italy?

How?!

-.-.-

Tsuna bit back a laugh, having caught Reborn’s surprised expression before the World’s Greatest Hitman disappeared.

“Tsuna.”

Tsuna looked up fondly at his other visitor. “Good morning, Ayame-senpai.”

Ayame rolled her golden eyes. “You’re late. Do you want Hibari to bite you to death? Seika is already stressing.”

Tsuna grabbed his bag. “It’s not my fault. I didn’t plan on having my morning interrupted by the World’s Greatest Hitman. Where did you dump him?”

“Italy,” Ayame said nonchalantly. “Made sure the trash was returned to sender.” She flicked Tsuna on the forehead. “It would be easier if you would just let us kill him. World’s Greatest Hitman or not, he wouldn’t even see us coming.”

Tsuna wrinkled his nose. “Please don’t do anything that will land you in jail.”

Ayame gave him a flat stare.

Well, that was the best he was going to get out of her. “We’re going to be late?” Tsuna offered instead.

“You mean, you are. I don’t actually attend Namimori Middle, remember?” Ayame said.

‘The perks of being a genius,’ Tsuna supposed. It was true. Ayame only attended classes at Namimori Middle to strike terror into Tsuna’s senseis, criticize their teachings and occasionally spar with Hibari. All while juggling two bachelor degrees for, and he quoted, ‘shit and giggles’. As if she didn’t already have two other degrees under her belt.

“It’ll go faster if you take me there?” Tsuna asked, opening his eyes a little wider to plead with her.

Ayame flicked his forehead again. “You’re lucky you’re cute.”

They vanished with a snap of her fingers.

-.-.-

“What's wrong?”

Tsuna smiled a wry grin. He expected nothing less, of course she would notice. “Good morning, Seika,” he greeted, taking his seat next to his white haired friend. “I had an unplanned visitor. Ayame-senpai took care of it.”

Seika narrowed her sapphire blue eyes. She turned to the front of the classroom where Ayame was gleefully setting up a trap for their unsuspecting teacher to hit him.

(Tsuna wasn't even going to stop her. Nezu-sensei was their first teacher this morning and the man was determined to make Tsuna’s life a living hell.

… He really should see if they could get Nezu fired. But it would deny Ayame of a convenient target.)

“And who was this visitor?” Seika asked.

Tsuna braced himself. “Reborn.”

Predictably, Seika’s expression turned frosty. “As the World’s Greatest Hitman?”

“Yes.” Tsuna paused, giving himself a moment to collect himself. Seika, most likely, wasn't going to like the next part. “He is here to train me as the next heir to Vongola Famiglia.”

The temperature in the room dropped; a few classmates shivering as chills went down their spines. “I thought you weren't even in the line of succession?” Seika said.

“I shouldn't be,” Tsuna agreed. “The last time Ayame-senpai checked, there were four other heirs then me, actually born and raised in the mafia, compared to me, a civilian who isn't supposed to be aware of Vongola.”

Seika nodded. “Very well. Our next step should be to destroy Vongola then.”

“Seika!”

“Who are we destroying?”

Tsuna groaned. “No one, Agana.”

Agana smiled. Amusement sparkling in her light pink eyes. “That doesn't sound very fun.”

Tsuna buried his head in his hands. “This is your daily reminder not to do anything that will land you in jail.” Honestly, why were his friends like this?

Agana grinned. “I'm fairly certain Ayame could break us out.”

Tsuna looked to see the twisted Rube Goldberg machine Ayame had finished setting up. The rest of his classmates were watching her with rapture attention. With a wicked grin, she waved at them before jumping out the window and disappearing from sight. Just in time as the door slide open and in walked Nezu-sensei.

Their science teacher didn't even take a full step through the door before Ayame’s trap was sprung. Tar poured out of a vat, followed by feathers and a swift kick from a boot that sent him rolling back into the hallway and slamming the door shut.

“Sometimes I think it would be kinder to get him fired,” Tsuna mumbled.

“Probably,” Agana said.

“But who wants to deny Ayame her favorite target?” Seika said with a snort.

“Very true.”

-.-.-

Reborn was scowling by the time his plane landed in Japan again. He didn't know how or who dropped him in Italy, but he hated the fact that he had been caught off guard. The information Iemitsu had given was clearly wrong. None of said information mentioned that Tsuna had a backbone, much less the ability to teleport Reborn halfway the across the world. It conflicted with every story of a meek, weak kid. There was something going on in Namimori.

“Ah? Are you lost?”

Reborn instantly slapped on his ‘I'm-cute’ mask, eyes going wider and a large smile. There bending down to his eye level was a young woman with green eyes. She tucked a loose strand of black hair behind her ear, smiling at Reborn.

“No,” Reborn said, voice squeaking. “I know where to go!” Mentally he willed her to go away. It was people like her who especially made his transition to a toddler form miserable. Every single woman with an active mothering instinct insisted on helping and hovering, laying blows on his pride.

She nodded at him. “Is that so? Do you need any help?”

“No.” ‘Go away!’

“I must insist,” she said.

Reborn clenched his fist. Leon already poised on his shoulder and ready to transform. He had no patience to deal with this girl.

“I must insist,” the girl repeated.

That was when Reborn noticed the sluggish feeling weighing down on his body, a drowsiness he couldn't shake off. Rain Flames! Leon transformed into a gun but to Reborn’s frustration he had reached the point where his hand was shaking from the energy drain.

He couldn't remember the last time someone had caught him off guard with Rain Flames. Not even Lal with her original scope of power had enough finesse to creep-drain Reborn without him noticing.

“Who are you?” Reborn barked, through clenched teeth. His vision began to sway.

She merely smiled. “Sweet dreams, young one.”

His world turned black.

-.-.-

“I'm back.”

Tsuna peered out from the kitchen. “Welcome back, Kaou-nee! Is everything alright? You’re later than expected.” The last message he had received from her, Kaou had mentioned she was on her way back, except it had been thirty minutes ago.

Kaou smiled. “Everything went fine. I had to make an unexpected detour to the post office.” Her green eyes glittered with amusement, shining like emeralds.

Tsuna tensed, wary. He knew that look in her eyes. The thing about half of his friends was their ability to smile when they plotted to cause trouble. Kaou was arguably the nicest of all his friends, but she liked to remind people that the prettiest flower in the garden had thorns and secrets like poisons hiding behind their beauty. “What did you do?” he asked.

Kaou patted him on the head. “I just ran into a friend.”

Tsuna felt his Hyper Intuition ping, whispering softly to him. “It was Reborn, wasn't it?”

Kaou hummed. “It was.”

Wow, Tsuna almost felt pity for Reborn. Ayame then Kaou? There were worst order combinations to meet his friends, but that was a pretty bad one.

“Now let's go help your mother with dinner,” Kaou said, lightly pushing him back into the kitchen.

“Okay,” Tsuna said. Well, maybe Reborn would learn from this? Probably not, but Tsuna could hope.

-.-.-

Reborn gasped awake, ripping off the mask placed on his face. He choked, the lack of oxygen making itself known. Fumbling, he replaced the mask, taking deep breaths of oxygen.

He surveyed his surroundings, noting the thick wooden walls, enclosing him in a small space. The clear rumble he could hear despite the headphones on his head along with the thin oxygen clued him in the fact that he was probably on an airplane. Sealed in a container.

Reborn bristled. That girl… she was shipping him somewhere?!

He took a deep breath. Until the plane landed, there would be no way for him to escape. Instead he used the time to review.

There was something going on in Namimori. Something centered around Tsunayoshi as he had initially arrived to Namimori without any issues. These two little incidents happened after he met Tsunayoshi.

He had doubts that Tsunayoshi was the reason for his teleportation to Italy the first time, meaning someone else was in play. And what connection did the girl with green eyes have to Tsunayoshi? He couldn’t trust any information Vongola had give him. It was clearly wrong.

Reborn narrowed his eyes. While it was a possibility, he wouldn’t put it pass Nono to test him as much as Tsunayoshi. So was this bad information just a failure on Iemitsu’s part or a test against him?

Well, there was only a frail trust between them. Reborn was a freelancer after all. Regardless, he could handle it.

Now to plan how to get back to Namimori.

-.-.-

“Done!” Tsuna proclaimed, slamming his notebook closed. Three hours of studying and his head felt like it was ready to combust. Agana whined next to him, head resting on the table just as burnt out as Tsuna.

“Homework is evil,” Agana hissed. “I can’t believe we do this every day.”

“It’s good to have this knowledge,” Seika chided them, placing her pencils and eraser into her bag.

“No, I agree. Homework is evil,” Tsuna said, stretching. He was so happy they were done for the day.

Ayame snorted and reached over to flick Tsuna and Agana on the forehead. “Don’t complain,” she said, ignoring the twin yelps from them. She resumed reading her book, jolting down notes in the margins.

Tsuna rubbed his forehead, grumbling. He wasn’t like Ayame who instantly got everything or Seika who studied diligently every day. Despite his best efforts to understand, it just didn’t click as fast for him. He huffed. That didn’t mean he wasn't trying his hardest. After all…

After all… Tsuna stared at his notebook, remembering a time his subpar average grades were out of reach. Before, when everything was so fuzzy, hard to concentrate and focus; a fog that permeated his mind. Before his friends came into the picture.

They had given him so much. Tsuna had been missing so many pieces from his life and little by little they had brought it back. He felt his Flames sing, humming with that harmonization that only he could hear.

“Tsuna?” Agana asked, reaching out to feel his forehead. “Are you okay?”

Tsuna smiled. “Yeah.”

-.-.-

“Are you sure you’re alright?” the concerned voice came over his cellphone.

“I’m fine, Hotaru-nee,” Tsuna reassured her. “Is your business trip going okay?”

Though he couldn’t see her, he could practically sense the way Hotaru had huffed, exasperated. “You’re sidestepping the question, Tsuna,” Hotaru scolded him. “My business trip is going perfectly fine. But Seika was just telling me that Reborn had showed up a few days ago. What did he want?”

Tsuna hesitated. “He was sent to train me as the next heir to Vongola.”

“...Is that so?”

Tsuna didn’t like the brief pause. “Hotaru-nee. Please, don’t do anything that will land you in jail.”

“You should have more faith in me,” Hotaru said.

That was the problem. He had too much faith in her ability to know that Hotaru has multiple plans to take down Vongola in a way they would never see it coming. She played a very long game. Where Kaou would only react if someone else made a threat first and Ayame was a wildcard, Hotaru would start as soon as the possibility arose. He would be a fool if he didn’t believe that she started planning as soon as Tsuna’s tentative connection to Vongola came up. “Nothing indirectly either,” Tsuna said.

It wasn’t too much to ask that his friends stay out of jail, right?

Tsuna.”

Hotaru-nee.”

Hotaru grumbled. “I’ll be back in two days and then we’re going to talk about what needs to be done. Ignoring the problem isn’t going to make it go away.”

True, but Tsuna didn’t want them going on a complete destruction spree because of him either. “I’ll see you in two days.”

“Study hard,” Hotaru said. “Good night, Tsuna.”

“I will. Good night, Hotaru-nee,” Tsuna said.

He hung up the phone as Hyper Intuition alerted him to the fact someone else was in the room. It surged warmly, beckoning a friend. “Hello Black,” Tsuna said with a fond smile.

“Tsuna.” Black sat on his windowsill, looking like a ghost with moonlight causing her long white hair to glow.

Black was… well it was hard to classify her as a friend. More like a stray cat who often wandered off and returned home when she felt it. But she an irreplaceable part of the puzzle as well.

“I heard you have a visitor,” Black said, tone flat, cold even. There was a danger lurking behind her words. Her icy blue eyes staring straight at Tsuna.

No matter how frosty Seika was, she was a warm sun compared to the coldness that Black radiated.

Tsuna nodded. “Reborn,” he confirmed.

“Ah,” Black said. “Did he hurt you?”

Tsuna could almost hear the strand of concern in her words. “No, Ayame-senpai and then Kaou-nee took care.”

“But he will be back,” Black stated.

That, Tsuna had no trouble believing. There was no way someone like Reborn would just give up. Yes, Reborn would be back. Tsuna was sure of it. “Yes,” Tsuna agreed. Perhaps Hotaru was right and there was no way to be passive against Vongola.

“Then I will see what I can do,” Black said with a stiff nod.

“Be careful,” Tsuna softly.

This time a small glimmer of a smile appeared on Black’s face. She reached out to pat him on his head. “I will,” she said. Then she was gone.

-.-.-

Two days flew by too fast. Tsuna didn’t feel like having this conversation but knew better than to avoid it. They would never let him run from his problems again.

They, of course, being his girls.

Seika sat to his immediate right, scowling at the notebook that she was furiously taking notes. Next to her, Agana sat with a nail file, buffing her nails to perfection. Hotaru sat directly across from him; her purple eyes crystal clear and surveying everything. Tsuna tried not to feel like a bug under a microscope under her piercing gaze. Kaou sat next to Hotaru, pouring tea for everyone, leaving Ayame to Tsuna’s immediate left, tapping away on her phone.

She was nowhere in sight, but Tsuna could feel with his Hyper Intuition that Black was listening in.

“So, what are we planning to do about Vongola?” Seika asked, addressing the elephant in the room.

Ah, direct and blunt. Tsuna should have known that Seika would have cut through any dancing around the issue.

“I still think crushing Vongola is the best way,” Ayame said, not even looking up from her game.

“I agree,” Agana said. “I think we could handle it.”

“No, no. We all saw the information Ayame brought back. Vongola alone has over 10,000 members. That’s even before you count the CEDEF and the rest of Vongola’s allies,” Tsuna argued.

“They’re not someone we can just recklessly charge at,” Kaou said, sipping her tea. “No matter how powerful we are.”

‘Thank you, Kaou-nee for being the voice of sanity,’ Tsuna mentally cheered. It probably had to do with the fact that Kaou was the oldest of them all, a college student, and her older viewpoint gave her the wisdom to see both sides of the argument more clearly.

Tsuna wanted this problem gone, but not at the expense of his friends’ lives.

Seika scowled. “We can’t just ignore them.”

“Yeah!” Agana agreed.

“We’re missing an important point,” Hotaru said, cutting in. She folded her hands in front her as she rested her chin on top them, elbows on the table.

“Hmm,” Ayame agreed. “Why is Reborn here to train Tsuna? Who according to Vongola isn’t even in the line of succession despite being the direct descendant of their founder.”

“Why don’t you tell us?” Hotaru said.

Ayame grinned, placing her game on the table and gave a flick of her wrist. Blue hologram screens appeared, floating in the air. It turned out she hadn’t been playing a game, but instead had been digging for information.

“Their cyber security is still laughable,” Ayame said, rolling her eyes. “All the backdoors I found last time are still there. Didn’t even notice the last breach.

“Anyways, it turns out that three of the four original heirs are dead. Enrico, the oldest was killed in a gunfight. Massimo, the second oldest was drowned. Federico died of unknown circumstances, with only his bones having been discovered. The last heir Xanxus had vanished eight years ago.”

Tsuna frowned. “The first three matched with what Reborn told me when he was explaining why I was now the heir.” So Reborn hadn’t lied. Omitted yes, but not lied. “He didn’t mention Xanxus, but if it’s been eight years that might be why.”

Ayame pulled out a file from her hologram. The CEDEF logo hovered for a brief second before she expanded it, blowing up the file for them to view. A picture of Xanxus, scowling and angry floated in the center of the table. “Two weeks ago, Xanxus escaped, taking with him the entire Varia branch. While there have been multiple sightings of the lower ranking officers, the top officers and Xanxus have vanished into the wind.”

“Escaped?” Kaou asked.

“Vongola Nono, his father, sealed him away eight years when Xanxus pulled a coup,” Ayame said.

“A coup? Sealed?” Agana asked. “But why? And how does that trigger them coming for Tsuna?”

“There’s nothing concrete in their files,” Ayame said. “But probably, blood. If you dig deep into Nono’s private files, you discover that Xanxus isn’t Nono’s biological son. I wouldn’t be surprised if he pulled off his coup in retaliation to finding out about that. There are records explaining how the succession is tied to the bloodline. He probably wasn’t told and this is his temper tantrum for not being able to inherit now that his brothers are gone. Plus the Varia, men loyal to Xanxus, is their assassination branch and that kind of group running wild, location unknown is making them nervous.”

“They want a puppet,” Hotaru said coldly. “They were hoping that Tsuna was a moldable child they could shape into whatever they wanted or needed. If Vongola is steeped in blood traditions as you say, it would be a scandal if it came out that last heir wasn’t of blood. So they’ll sell the story of a direct descendant and rogue but jealous Xanxus. A secured heir in case Xanxus came back to finish his coup.”

“They wants Tsuna over Iemitsu because Tsuna they can coerce into anything. Iemitsu is already an established leader and for better or worst, they know his flaws and weaknesses,” Ayame agreed. “But no one knows Tsuna in the mafia. They can sell him as young and charismatic, or cold and ruthless, the perfect mafia don.”

Tsuna felt a chill run down his spine; his Hyper Intuition agreeing with Hotaru and Ayame’s logic, mournfully singing. He knew that Reborn was here to shape into a heir or break him into being one. But it was different to hear it said in words.

No one in Vongola cared who Tsuna really was. They didn’t care about his hobbies, his wants and needs, his own desires. No, what they wanted his blood. He refused to give them.

“I do not want to be Vongola Decimo,” Tsuna said, eyes flashing orange. Conviction carried in his words, tempered in the fire of his Dying Will. “I refuse to bow to them.”

“Well said,” Kaou said.

“That doesn’t answer what we’re going to do about them,” Seika said, exasperated.

They all looked at Hotaru.

She blinked at them, smiling guilelessly. “Why are you all looking at me for?”

“Hotaru-nee,” Tsuna said with a fond huff. “If you haven’t been closing Vongola in a net in the last five years since you met me, I’m going to be disappointed.”

“Well, we can’t have that,” Hotaru said. “Let’s see if we can’t flip Reborn. He’s the most pressing issue and since you don't want us to kill him, we better see if we can get him on our side.”

“According to Tier, Vongola Corporation, the “legal” front for the Vongola Famiglia and where they generate the most of their money has been having issues lately. Profits are down, loyal customers moving onto other brands,” Ayame added nonchalantly.

“Like Kinga and Suzuki, I assume,” Kaou said with a small smile.

Ayame responded with her own shark grin. “I may have been inventing things that target all different age groups in Italy.”

“Vongola Corporation did have to close several branches in the last two years,” Hotaru agreed.

“Bleed them dry financially,” Seika said dryly. “If they’re too busy trying to save themselves, perhaps they’ll leave Tsuna alone. They have more pressing issues to take care of.”

“So try to flip Reborn and let Hotaru and Ayame continue to do their stuff,” Agana said. She wrinkled her nose. “Does that mean I don’t get to destroy anything?”

“Maybe next time,” Tsuna offered. He could live with this solution. It wasn’t all that violent.

“If they won’t go peacefully, we’ll still have to crush them,” Hotaru said.

“But-” Tsuna started.

“Agreed,” the rest of the girls chorus.

Tsuna groaned. “And here’s today’s reminder of please don’t do anything, directly or indirectly, that could lead to you being thrown in jail, hurt or dead.”

-.-.-

Reborn made his approach to Namimori more cautiously this time. He took the mindset that the town was a high profile target with multiple levels of security that stand in his way. Everything was to be treated as an unknown.

He sent out feelers, listened to the civilians chatter, hearing the gossip and rumors in disguise. He hear them prattle about, everyone was willing to tell an old lady their story.

Sawada Tsunayoshi was… not exactly well known, but he and his group of friends were just strange enough that people remembered them. Once he had names, it was easier to hack into hospital records and dig through the internet to see what he could find.

It… wasn't a jewel mine, but the wealth of information he did find was just enough to raise an eyebrow.

All of Tsunayoshi’s friends, the people he interacted with, were primarily female. There were male friends and acquaintances, but they were far fewer. It was what stood out to most people, jealousy in other young men’s voices that someone like Tsunayoshi could score with so many women.

Except it didn't read like that. Not really.

There was a closeness, yes. A hint of intimacy that one could read as romantic, but in Reborn’s eyes read as harmony, the bond between a Sky and their Elements. The way they gravitate back to Tsuna, never too far. No one could really understand that level of bond until they experience it themselves.

(Wistfully, he thought of Luce for a brief moment before shoving it back into the box in his mind.)

Despite his irritation, he felt his level of respect towards Tsunayoshi rise. The boy didn't know what he was doing and yet he still managed to gather his Guardians. That was on top of the seal Nono had told him about.

Five main girls from the looks of it.

Usuyuki Seika, age fourteen and one of Tsunayoshi’s classmates. The top student in Namimori Middle and described to be very studious and cold. Her white hair and frosty sapphire blue eyes gave her the nickname Snow Princess.

Himura Agana, age fourteen, was also one of Tsunayoshi’s classmates. A cheerful and helpful girl, she was often considered to be one of the school’s idols, many girls asking for her advice on fashion.

Then there was Ayame. No last name found, in fact no real records found. He couldn't find anything concrete but a string of colorful emails from Namimori’s teacher describing a (not?) student, Ayame who disrupted their lessons on a regular basis. There was a student matching her description (gold eyes and long braided brown hair was an unique description), but not name, enrolled in the nearby college, juggling two degrees in computer science and business.

It was at that same nearby college that Reborn found the young woman who had tranquilized him with Rain Flames.

Aniwa Kaou, age twenty, and studying botany. Her professors were enthused with several stories, praising her green thumb and love of plants. She had her own lab, despite being an undergrad, where she tended to many different plants.

The last was a girl named Suzuki Hotaru. Recently finished high school but had passed on college (perhaps? In this day and age, online classes were becoming more popular). He couldn't shake the feeling that he had seen her and Ayame somewhere else though.

Five girls, just one missing from a complete set. They sounded completely normal on paper, but his instincts were roaring at him. Reborn always trusted his instincts. There was something strange about these these girls.

“Hello sensei.”

Reborn immediately fired off four bullets. They hit nothing, pinging off the metal walls. His eyes narrowed, peering into the long shadows cast by the afternoon sun.

He whirled around, gun poised and ready to fire and came face to face with another gun barrel.

Reborn recognized the other person pointing the gun at him. “Black,” he said. He didn't lower his own weapon, refusing to let his guard drop. Why was she here?

“Sensei,” Black said with a slight tilt of her head, a quiet acknowledgement of his presence.

Reborn stared at the young woman before him. It had been four years since he had last seen her.

Black, real name unknown. Seventeen years old and a growing reputation as an assassin in the underground world. Her known skills included the way she blended into the shadows, especially when you considered her pure white hair color, and her marksmanship.

He had taken her under his wing for several months, honing the sharpshooter skills he had witness. In that small time frame, she went from proficient to deadly, rapidly boosting her fame.

“What are doing here?” Reborn asked, fishing for information. Had she been hired for a job in the area? By Vongola? By an enemy?

“I like Namimori,” Black offered. Her face was impassive, betraying none of the emotions she was feeling. If she was feeling anything at all. That had been the fascinating thing about her. Reborn never figured out if she was truly emotionless as she appeared or if she had perfected the ability to wear a stone mask long before they had met.

The realizations slammed into him like a freight train, the implications hanging like the Sword of Damocles above him.

“I like Namimori.” That was both a confession and a warning. Black had vanished two years ago. Rumors circled, claiming she was dead. Reborn had given himself a brief moment of grief to mourn the young woman who would have, with time and experience, most likely been his successor. She reappeared barely a year ago, swiftly changing the theory that she had been badly injured. He doubted anyone had noticed, but Reborn had pieced together that there were large gaps between the jobs she accepted.

She liked Namimori just enough to call it home. Enough to admit it to him. Perhaps there were merits to the bad injury theory and Namimori was where she hid.

She liked Namimori just enough that she considered it her territory. Enough to see him and his presence as a threat. A warning, that if he was here to cause trouble, she would stand up against him. No hesitation, no mercy, she would kill him if she didn't like why he was here.

He knew he liked her for a reason.

“Your connection to Sawada Tsunayoshi?” Reborn asked, genuinely curious.

Black merely raised an eyebrow but revealed nothing else. There was no glimmer of recognition or sign of confusion. Completely blank.

“As a thanks, I will tell you this,” Black said. “You're flying too close to the sun.”

Reborn mentally scoffed. She was far too young to be thinking she could best him.

Some of his confidence must have leaked through for Black tilted her head just ever so slightly. She holster her gun and took a step back.

“Try not to be like Icarus,” she warned, disappearing into the shadows.

Reborn stared into the shadows, allowing a scowl to form on his face. He was always careful.

-.-.-

Tsuna was… worried? Concerned? When he woke, the last person he expected to see was Black. More alarmingly, she had moved his desk to block the door and was staring intently out the window, standing guard.

“Black?” he asked. He still couldn't read her well, but he thought she was tense.

She looked back at him. “Reborn is back in town.”

Tsuna blinked. “Well, we expected that.”

It could have been his imagination, but Black tensed further. “You will not be able to sway him to your side. He is… arrogant,” she said.

Ah. “He is… a friend?” Tsuna tentatively asked. Black didn’t speak of her past, and Tsuna never pushed.

“For a brief while, a teacher,” Black said. She glanced over Tsuna. “An efficient teacher, but his teaching methods leave much to be desire.”

Oh. Was she conflicted then? Had he put her in this awkward position? Tsuna fretted over it.

“Tsuna,” Black said. “His arrogance will be his downfall.”

Tsuna felt his Sky Flames sing, blending with Black’s own Flames. Oh. She was… she was picking him. He never wanted to chain her down, but there was always this fear that one day she would leave permanently, never coming back.

He was too use to losing people in his life, being abandoned like the useless, weak perso-

Black flickered his forehead, breaking him free of his thoughts. “Tsuna,” she chided.

“Sorry,” Tsuna whispered, rubbing his forehead.

Black blinked at him, face still expressionless. “It is not your fault.” She paused, mulling over her words. “...It will be fine.”

Tsuna chuckled weakly at her attempt to reassure him. “Thank you, Black.”

-.-.-

Reborn narrowed his eyes. He left approaching the Sawada Household alone for now. Instead he chose to examine a different target, one he was at least aware of.

Kaou lived in a small apartment near the shopping center. It was easy to pick out which one was hers. All he had to do was look for the one balcony covered in plants. It was a simple plan, sneak inside, place a few bugs for information gathering purpose.

She had Rain Flames, but how did she learn about them? There was nothing in her past to suggest a connection to the mafia, but perhaps it was a distant relative or a very elaborate cover story. Just how powerful was she?

“You know boys who tried to peek at girls should be executed.”

Reborn froze before the ground fell away from him. He cursed, seeing the dark blue ocean below. Leon shifted into a boat and they landed with large splash.

He seethed, letting out a string of curses. “I am going to kill the one responsible for this as soon as I get back,” Reborn snarled.

But first he had to get back to Japan.