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His student … was an idiot.
An idiot with a dangerously disabling Little-Sister-Complex.
May god let him have patience with unrepentant fools.
Reborn was surrounded by them.
It was Iemitsu's fault.
It was always Iemitsu's fault.
But no one could deny his fault in this misery.
He did father the insufferable children in question.
All it was supposed to be was a small carefree holiday.
Just a brother and his sister exploring Palermo. Just the twins.
Timoteo di Vongola and Sawada Iemitsu had, respectively as Nono, the Ninth Vongola Boss, and as External Advisor, Head of the CEDEF, pulled a few discreet strings and made sure that the siblings' trip would be as secure as possible. They wanted it to be a wonderful lasting experience for the close twins who were so cruelly separated by continents and though murderous secrets created at the hands of their distant ancestor’s choices. It was the least those two guilty men could do after the vital roles they unwillingly had played in the pain of detachment the children had been forced to endure.
But when both twins, one of them unaware of her ancestral origins at that, were coveted by the Mafia, Enemies and Allies alike, their idea of ‘as secure as possible’ was obviously not secure enough.
A fact that was brutally driven home.
They had been out, sightseeing in the older outer parts of Palermo, when assassins from a small Enemy Famiglia suddenly attacked with Box Weapons and Flames, focusing their efforts on the brother. Reborn, who had been send as bodyguard and Hitman, and Sawada Ieyasu, the older twin and Vongola Decimo, made short work of their enthusiastic attackers and had everything under sufficient control, until one of the fucking assassins managed to get into his student's damned blind spot, green-shimmering poison-coated dagger poised to kill. They hadn't even noticed in the heat of the battle – not until Sawada Tsunahime's panic-filled voice cut desperately through the humid air, a terror-filled scream of warning for her beloved brother tearing from her throat.
Time seemed to slow down.
The instant that Reborn's gun was up and pointed at the fucker who threatened his student and Ieyasu himself had begun to turn in an attempt to block the attack, the cursed assassin was already in motion, striking lightning-fast forth, unerringly aiming for where the Decimo's vulnerable heart resided …
… only to be engulfed in a sea of insanely pure Sky Flames.
Screams echoed in the street.
Reborn immediately noticed Ieyasu's perplexed expression; deducing quickly that the boy was just as bewildered as Reborn by the turn of events certainly spelled nothing good; Sky Flames were rare. But Ieyasu wasn't the one who had incapacitated the assassin, that much became clear as he stretched out his senses. Looking closer and allowing his own flames to taste the foreign ones, he recognized that while the strength was nearly if not quite at his student's level and quite a bit softer, the purity of the orange-burning fire was far higher and much more refined than what Ieyasu could have mustered at the moment and maybe ever.
…. Skies were too rare to remain unnoticed, and one just stumbling on this scene, undetected and helping out of the goodness of their heart. Improbable. And Reborn knew that he was the siblings’ only guard today. Besides, the taste of those flames, their softness and sweetness had a certain feminine touch to it …
That only left …
… the younger twin.
Tuning around in a flash, Reborn had to keep himself together as he cursed violently at the sickening sight of Tsuna, the upper part of her white Lace Sundress soaked through with her own blood, her beautiful face ashen and pained, laying half-collapsed on the dirty pathway, mesmerizing half-lidded caramel-coloured orbs alight with an unmistakeable orange glow and a clear orange flame flickering weakly on her forehead.
Vongola Decimo's civilian twin sister had just activated her Dying Will Flame for the first time in defence of her precious older brother.
… Nono, Iemitsu and Ieyasu would have kittens.
Ieyasu's horrified gaze was fixed on his sister’s faint form. His eyes narrowed.
Reborn ducked as his student’s normally amiable flames went completely berserk, quickly leaving the young man to wreak havoc and take care of the trash as he hurried to the now fully collapsed girl. Taking stock he quickly identified the bullet wound in her right side, frowning angrily as he noted the coolness of her skin and the rapid flat breathing escaping those blood-flecked lips. Reaching out Reborn quickly summoned his Sun Flames to the surface and set them immediately to work, pleasantly surprised that Tsuna's own now-spluttering flames not only let him heal her but actively encouraged his work. Under his skilled hands, the flesh knit smoothly back together until only a thin fading scar remained. Still, she would definitely need to recover from this, the unexpected severity of the wound and her even more unexpected abrupt Flame Activation had brought her dangerously close to going into shock, something that could be fatal, especially in one not only unprepared for pain but of such a fragile physical condition as the girl in his arms was. He kept a hand on her pulse, and an eye and ear on her breathing. What little bit of colour she had only returned very slowly, to his immense discomfort, and he wasn't going to take any risks with the child's life, especially seeing how cool and clam she still felt to his touch.
Gathering the young woman up, he made a sharp call to the Mansion to update them of the situation and get a Vongola Clean-up-team going. Observing his surroundings carefully, Reborn was internally pleased to note that his student had ruthlessly squashed those bastards who had attacked not only them and as such Vongola but who had nearly ruthlessly killed a young defenceless civilian girl with extreme prejudice. Ieyasu was now running to them, face drawn and pale in worry.
Reborn handed the passed out girl wordlessly over to her brother, who cradled his sister like the most important fragile treasure in the world, whispering and pleading with her as the first tears escaped his eyes, and left the siblings to themselves as he started making more calls; to Nono, Timoteo and the Infirmary.
Somehow, the Hitman had the uneasy feeling that this was the catalyst for something far more radical and fatal than it looked like. His blood sang at the vaguest suggestion of action and chaos. He wasn't sure if it would be his kind of chaos, and it made him apprehensive as he eyed the white-knuckled grip his student had on the boy's sister.
Reborn had no idea how true that gut feeling would prove to be.
A week later, he would be proud of his student.
One week after that, contemplating Iemitsu's sterilization.
The bane of his existence.
A mere week.
That was how long it took a wrathful and disconcertingly quiet Ieyasu to entirely destroy the foolish Famiglia that harmed his baby sister.
Bank accounts were emptied overnight, homes auctioned of forcefully for less than a pittance. Strategic tip-offs to the police were made resulting in humiliating arrests and disabling or fatal 'accidents' happened within the Famiglia. In the span of seven freaking days, the normally so harmless and benevolent Vongola Decimo had remorselessly obliterated his enemies; monetary, reputation-wise, personally and physically.
Three quarters of the now extinct Cadenza Famiglia had been imprisoned, killed, maimed or disfigured. The remaining quarter consisted of mothers and children. They were given the meagre proceedings from the auctions and it was heavily suggested that they relocated as far away from the Vongola as humanly possible so as to not bother the Decimo ever again.
Still, even the bloodthirsty Xanxus di Vongola, who as Head of Vongola's Independent Assassination Squad, the Varia, dealt in death and destruction, was grudgingly impressed.
A clean and thorough job.
No trail left.
… but everyone naturally knew that Vongola had taken revenge.
It was a logical deduction.
Reborn could only grin smugly as Nono groaned over his successors reckless if recommendable actions, already foreseeing dozens of frantic calls from allies and enemies alike, desperately trying to strengthen or create ties with Vongola to safe their sorry hides.
If he had been anyone else but the Greatest Hitman in the world, tears of pride would have rolled down his chiselled cheeks. He had succeeded with hammering his most important lesson into that thick boy’s impenetrable skull: Let no one mess with your Family.
Reborn was sincerely proud of his student.
He must have been mentally addled when he had that thought.
At the moment the only pride Reborn felt was for the very creative and excessive torture methods he came up with on the spot to mercifully stop the fanatic insanity that was his student’s paternal genes rearing their butt-ugly head.
The last male Heir and Tenth Boss of the strongest Mafia Empire in the world acted like an idiot who lost the last necessary brain cell he possessed to rub against his other remaining one and spark a thought. Sadly, idiocy was inheritable. The proof laid knockout before him.
Since the assault and near-fatal injury on his beloved sister, Ieyasu had become a fucking maniac. Not only did the blond-haired foolish boy show a remarkable likeness to his irresponsible witless father, something that horrified everyone that had ever met them, but he didn't let his recovering sister out of is eyes once she woke up a day after Reborn had initially healed her, still weak and shaky after the shock to her system. The young woman was never left alone, and it had only been a particularly sharp tug and twist at the Decimo's ear that had stopped the young man from following her into the bathroom. Ieyasu had nevertheless insisted that they slept, ate and spent every waking second of the day together, so no one could hurt her again. He even waited before the door when she used the loo, ear pressed against the wood to be able to act should anything suspicious happen.
Ignoring the bathroom issue, Tsuna sadly had to hit him over the head only to drag him by the ear to a corner of her guest quarters at the Main Vongola Mansion, and put him into timeout, more than just once. She actually didn't look sorry in the least, and Ieyasu, despite his wailing apologies, took it in stride.
Reborn had declared her the daughter he had never had.
A sulking Ieyasu was certainly better than a manic one.
… though Tsuna did allow his constant need to check on her in moderation. As she explained, they were not just siblings but twins, and the very idea of losing each other had terrified her just as much as Ieyasu; her brother was just beyond reason in his fear, so she cut him some slack. For now.
Reborn would have been happy if that was the end of insanity.
Sadly, the reawakening of Sawada Iemitsu's Little-Sister-Complex had only just begun.
Behind her tea cup, Tsuna smiled indulgently.
Once upon a time, there lived a little boy. That little boy had a younger sister, a sister who was his beloved twin. The other, and in his words, better half of his soul. They lived a fairly normal life with their mother in a quiet little town until one day, during recess while in childcare, an older girl took his sister's finger paints. The younger twin stayed silent, but the little boy couldn't allow anyone to bully his baby sister. And so, with an almighty roar, the little boy attacked the bigger girl; and with fists, feet and teeth re-attained his sister's precious paints, presenting them to her proudly with a bloody nose and swelling eye. With just one blinding smile, the little sister calmed her older brother down and he returned to the normal sweet boy he was before the rage monster reared up … at least until the next fool picked on the little girl. It was the day the legend of Sawada Ieyasu, the possessor of the greatest Sister-Complex Namimori had ever seen, was created and solidified. It was a legend that would be forgotten by his friends until an ambush and near-death experience hurt his little sister once more. Bullies in Namimori collectively shuddered. They knew this particular shudder only too well. The older Sawada twin was back to his old tricks. May heaven have mercy because the spawn from hell had none.
Tsuna had been taking it lightly for about a week now, and her brother had finally allowed others to see her again, even though she was forbidden from any even remotely strenuous or aggravating activity.
Regretfully, he was not even peripherally aware that the tragically realistic impersonation of their foolish father he had adopted strained her more than anything else ...
She smiled gently as a refreshing breeze danced over her face and through her hair.
The sky was so blue. So free. So calm.
Tsuna sighed quietly as she gave a quick assessing glance to her peacefully dozing brother. It had been a shock to discover exactly what their worthless father had fucked up now and she for one was certainly not surprised at how completely the fool had screwed up her brother's life. Her insides were ice-cold just thinking about the hopelessness Ieyasu must have felt when he was torn from the live he loved and adored.
She was beyond furious.
Mafia. Omerta. Blood. Death. Violence. Sin.
Ieyasu deserved better.
He deserved so much more.
And next to her fury, there dwelled on carefully concealed guilt. Her big brother had always protected her, not only from school-yard bullies back home and later arrogant arseholes' wanting a good time, but, as she had found out, even from the damned criminal empire their paternal ancestor – and it was so fucking obvious where her father got his missing brains from now, because, hello, who the hell funds the Mafia only to let it get away from their ideals and fucking burdens their innocent descendants with the impossible task to right their wrongs of four-hundred-and-something years? Pathetic – had negligently funded and their … father had hoisted upon her brother's shoulders. Tsuna knew Ieyasu; he would have never willingly acquiesced to becoming a criminal much less a Mafia Don, steeped in the rotten unforgivable acts of his predecessor and looking forward to a future of anguish, built, blame and loss. Not her fairness-loving boisterous big brother, who felt bad when he killed a freaking spider, even if it was because Tsuna couldn't help but scream like a banshee when she saw the disgusting insects and he came valiantly to her rescue. There was only one reason he would have accepted the title of Vongola Decimo, the same damn reason why he wanted her unaware of the Mafia. There was no doubt in her mind that they had threatened his greatest weakness.
One that greeted her every morning in the mirror.
She stared into the sky without really seeing it. Her knuckles white.
To save and protect her he had sold his own happiness to the monsters of their damned bloodline.
It would be correct to guess that Tsuna felt very potent homicidal rage towards those men.
… she actually did poison her father's beer with Nightshade which she had … completely accidentally on her person when he had visited her in the Infirmary.
Too bad the asshole had such a high alcohol and drug tolerance that it didn't do more than knock him out cold for a few hours.
… she was also still a bit cross with her brother for actually stopping her from slitting her unconscious father's throat.
She was sure that it would have felt truly therapeutic.
And solved a lot of problems.
Tsuna sank back down into the fresh green grass, her honey-blond long curls surrounding her like a softly burning hallow in the blinding sunlight. It felt so good to be beneath the sky again, to feel the cool grass under her skin and the sun rays on her face.
Ieyasu's calm even breathing told her that he was deeply asleep. She did not begrudge him the necessary rest. He had been so tired and tense lately, all the time on high alert. It was good that her brother finally let go, if only for a few moments. She had started to become worried.
It reminded her too much of his behaviour in their childhood.
Even then he stood before her and defended her. Those were the only times he would scrupulously use force.
What no one but Ieyasu and their mother knew was that her big brother did those pathetic fools a favour by beating them up. If they had allowed Tsuna to … defend herself …
Well, there was a reason she seldom even raised her voice or reacted to baits at all. Between the twins' …
She was indefinitely more dangerous and devastating than him.
It was a fact.
Ieyasu was like their father, always in the thick of action, heart on his sleeve and so utterly predictable,.
Tsuna was like their mom; she lovingly smiled while plotting her opponents demise, using honeyed words and deceptions to utterly destroy the fools bringing their fates on themselves with a gentle serenity that was eerie, a devious passive-aggressive lioness biting lightning-fast when roused just enough and least expected.
Naturally, no one but her mother knew of the true depths of her manipulations, seeing how similar they let their puppets dance to a tune only the two women knew; though, she did suspect that Reborn had conned into the fact that he sadly got the nice twin.
The two were the only ones to realize.
For the two male Sawadas, Tsuna was an innocent harmless little girl, even though her brother knew to never cross her, he still believed her to be perfection reborn.
… well, she did love her father and brother, no matter how annoying they were. It would be cruel to needlessly destroy their delusions and take their comfort, now more than ever that she knew the truth. Though she was still seriously pissed at her father, she did not wish him harm or heartache.
That was the reason why she left them their comfortable illusions, as aggravating as it could turn out for her. Besides, she did adore playing with her … little darlings. They were ridiculously easy to manipulate.
And she just adored her very generous bribing pocket money and expensive foreign presents ...
No one ever said that she was a good person.
Goodness was … overrated.
Being bad... or at least morally ambiguous … was much more ..
Steps sounded heavily through the silent garden as someone neared their well-hidden spot, gravel crunching beneath flat shoes. As they neared dead on target, a head of blond wavy strands appeared from behind the high white rose bushes. Tsuna smiled happily upon seeing Dino Cavallone emerging cautiously, a good friend of her brother and herself, for the first time in three, nearly four, years, once again.
A slight blush rose to her cheeks as she saw how the muscles rippled under his fitting green shirt.
My, he looked handsome.
His pretty face lit up as he saw them and he opened his mouth, assumable to deliver a glad greeting, but Tsuna hastily laid a pale slender finger against her deep pink lips as she inclined her head towards her sleeping brother.
Waiting for the acknowledging nod from the man, she slowly stood up gracefully, straightening out her pale rose-coloured chiffon summer-dress while doing so. She hid her pleased smile at the heady blush staining the older man's face.
Tsuna was well aware that the strapless lace-graced neckline hugged her well-endowed bosom like a second skin only to let the loose dress fall teasingly down her shapely body, coming to a sinful stop mid-thigh and exposing her long milky-white legs; legs bearing delicate silver bangles around her ankles. Her toe nails and finger nails were painted in mother of pearl and her long honey-blond curls flowed teasingly over narrow naked shoulders, the tips just brushing her slender waist.
She wasn't necessarily vain, but she liked to feel good and pretty in her own skin, and watching such a handsome man like Dino react positively to her was delightful.
Tiptoeing silently and barefooted through the silky grass, she swallowed a giggle as the older blonde-haired man gallantly took her delicate hand and delivered a chaste kiss to the back of it, the touch of his lips barely more than the hint of a breath.
A sunny smile lighted up his face as he whispered reverently. “ You have become even more beautiful.”
At that she did giggle.
… something that was drowned out by the very angry growl coming from her twin's direction. Dread pooling in her stomach, she slowly turned around only to whimper resignedly as strong hands manhandled her behind her big brother, the malicious glare in his eyes drilling into Dino, who looked decidedly nervous.
“Now, Ieyasu-kun ...”, Dino started hesitatingly, hands raised defensively.
… the snap reminded her terribly of her wayward lover.
Possessiveness was sweet … but here? Unnecessary.
Besides, why did she always get the verbally challenged men?
“ I just complimented her on her astounding beauty”, the protesting blonde dug his grave deeper. “ I mean, she was always pretty, but now she's seriously beautiful. I would totally date her if she allowed it.”
What an idiot.
Plopping back down on the grass, she let herself fall back and sprawl out over the soft green, skilfully ignoring Dino's embarrassing cries for mercy and his pathetic yelps of pain as her enraged twin imitated Hibari Kyouya with startling success.
It was way too early for that kind of insanity.
… she had learned early on to let Ieyasu get it out of his system.
It was for the Greater Good of her remaining sanity.
Dino was the catalyst.
He wasn't the last.
Not by far.
That morning in a bountiful lovely garden hidden in a private valley near Palermo, hearing in his sleep-addled mind Dino proposition his innocent harmless virginal untouchable perfect amazing worship-worthy little sister, ragingly re-awoke the Sister-Complex he had managed to mostly suppress over the last few years, once they were separated by continents.
Now, it had returned with a devastating vengeance.
Ieyasu bared his teeth in a snarl.
She was too good for this world, and certainly too good for those scum.
He growled lowly.
Seems like he would need to contact his father for help in protecting his beloved imouto's virtue.
Fucking perverted males.
He would skin them all alive.
Starting with the traitor Dino.
Fucking Bucking Bronco.
Performing a hit in Northern Italy, Reborn suddenly gritted his teeth. A persistent headache proclaiming the coming of unavoidable pain invaded his mind.
He knew this kind of headache. There was only one fool that could induce it so perfectly awfully.
Reborn snarled viciously as his target slumped to the ground, blood dribbling down the hole in the man's forehead.
“ So that's the fucking woman you have gone all ape-shit about? Well, can't say I understand you, but she's certainly a hot piece of ass.”
Xanxus di Vongola resolutely refused to actually whimper. He was Xanxus. He was too good, too much Quality for that. Still, that had fucking hurt.
Who knew that the wimpy Decimo could hit like that?
He was still seeing stars.
… damn brat.
“ Oi, oi. Nee-chan will you tell Lambo-sama a bedtime story?”
“ Which one would you like, Lambo-chan?”
“ Hmm, Lambo-sama wants one where Nee-chan is the pretty princess and Lambo-sama her knight and Haya-nii the dragon.”
“ Ah, so you will be my knight on a white horse, coming to the princess' rescue?”
“ Lambo-sama doesn't want horse, he wants a cow!”
“ Oh, my creative little saviour, a cow is even more amazing than a horse. Oh, you will be so dashing!”
“ Lambo-sama is the best!”
“ That he is. I'm very proud of you.”
“ Lambo-sama wants to always be the best he can so that Nee-chan will smile prettily. Lambo-sama loves Nee-chan's smiles.”
“ I love your smiles too.”
“ Nee-chan is the best Nee-chan in the world!”
Lambo Bovino shivered as he heard Nii-chan's suddenly chilling voice calling again, his trembling hands wringing the green shirt he wore as he curled into an even tighter ball, hidden in the washing machine. He didn't know what he had done to make Nii-chan angry, but it must have been really really really bad.
Nii-chan was trying to make Lambo-sama into a real cow, he had even been presented him with a bucket of hay and confiscated all grape candy.
The child trembled as he remembered the get-up Ie-nii had forced him into. It was really really mean.
He wanted Nee-chan!
“ Oya, what do we have here? Are you lost, little bunny?”
“ No, thank you.”
“ Then what ever is a belle like you doing with the mean old Vongola? I promise to take very good care of you.”
“ You … are disturbingly creepy.”
Byakuran Gesso, Don of the Gesso Famiglia, laid heavily bandaged on his lonely hospital bed, only mouth and eyes lurked out from the swaddling white fabric he had been encased in. Tears of desperation cascaded down bandaged cheeks as his lilac eyes refused to move from the object of his desire.
It was there! Right there! Just an inch more …!
Byakuran cursed loudly as his injured arms stayed motionless. Son of a bitch!
In this moment, the Gesso Don swore to never again, accidentally or otherwise, piss off the Vongola Decimo. The merciless bastard who had landed him in the hospital in the first place had even given him a cheery wink at the end of his visit as he had disposed the answer to the universe under Byakuran's very nose, but just out of arms reach; an arm’s reach severely limited thanks to the other Don's rather radical response to some light-hearted teasing.
… not that he wouldn't have loved to win the beauty for himself.
That cleavage …!
A sob escaped his throat.
He opened his mouth and wailed.
“ Such a precious darling!”
“ Ah, thank you?”
“ Your brother is rather protective about you, isn't he? It's truly wonderful to see a young man of his age still act like a true gentleman should.”
“ Ie-nii is indeed really remarkable. He has always taken very good care of me.”
“ Wonderful! Such sweet innocence has to be preserved under any circumstances!”
Lussuria smiled sharply as he tended to his boss' injuries, humming under his breath.
Really, as intelligent as the man he had sworn loyalty to was, sometimes he could be so thick.
The Varia's Sun Guardian saw nothing wrong with the Decimo's reactions, on the contraire, he applauded the young man for his proactive outlook and had eagerly entered an informal pact with the male twin, fuelled by their passionate devotion to protect the rare innocence and virtue of one Sawada Tsunahime, the last Vongola Heiress.
Their determination was just as strong as their passion.
Lussuria whistled a little. He changed another bandage, ignoring the barely audible whimper of his sky as he drew it just a teeny tiny bit too tight.
Pity for his skies battered body …
… seemed to sadly evade Lussuria.
“ The useless whelp keeps Jyuudaime from his work.”
Hayato Gokudera blinked away his tears.
One thoughtless rude comment and his beloved Boss gave him the cold shoulder, no matter how much he apologized, begged and pleaded ...
He sobbed drily into his trembling hands.
His wail sounded through the mansion.
Family, Friend, Enemies and Allies – no matter in which way they were connected to the Vongola, they learned to keep their mouths shut and thought to themselves where it concerned the last Vongola Princess.
In the five days since the Cavallone Don had unintentionally awoken the slumbering monster within the Decimo, those that spoke to or about the Vongola Princess were either promptly integrated in her Security Detail, beaten to within an inch of their life, or, like little Lambo, mercilessly tortured with objects that normally gave them comfort but were now perverted symbols of nightmares.
No, Vongola learned to simply let their Boss run rampant.
It was better for the sake of their peace.
A red pulsing tick had developed at Reborn's right temple. His face was completely blank as he read through the mountains of reports on the chaotic incidents having occurred during his short absence. He ignored the nervously shuffling young Mafia Boss, standing before him.
This … was a catastrophe. And he even knew how it could have so unimpeded developed in the first place.
Nono, after taking care of the Cadenza Mess consequences, was in Egypt, taking a much needed and deserved holiday with his guardians.
Iemitsu, especially after having been rattled by the near-fatal ambush a few weeks ago, was still such an incompetent fuck-up, he had certainly approved of his irrational son's disastrous actions.
Reborn himself was on an assignment.
… honestly, he blamed himself and Iemitsu. Reborn had seen the impending signs, had known that Ieyasu had a heavy history with obsessing over his little sister but he hadn't connected the scattered pieces and failed to foresee the ridiculous length the boy would go to ensure the girl's safety after being so supremely rattled and shocked - even against mere imagined slights or sweet compliments.
And Iemitsu … was Iemitsu.
He had spawned the root of Reborn's persistent migraine.
Reborn took a deep breath and laid the report down.
Twenty-one Family Members heavily traumatized or injured.
Six Allies send to the hospital.
Four Enemy Famiglia single-handedly annihilated.
… fifty-three new alliance proposals.
Reeking of desperation.
Not that his student had anything to be smug about concerning the last point; while their alliances would grew as a result of his more forceful response, it only brought Reborn even more of an headache. Admittedly, the alliance proposals were certainly a nice side effect, but Ieyasu didn't get them like he should have, with charisma and intelligence and effort. The fact stood that he did not only send his own faithful men and allies to the hospital, but that the image of the second coming of Primo, a benevolent kind Boss who would shy away from unnecessary violence and fight his battles with wits and words, which Reborn had so painstakingly built up for Ieyasu, had come spectacularly crashing down around them, the shattered remains of hope still smoking mockingly.
His fingers itched to strangle the brat.
“ One. Reason.”
The boy looked defiantly up at him.
“ They were a danger to my Imouto.”
Reborn snorted disbelievingly.
“ Your seven year old guardian who simply asked for a bedtime story was a danger to your eighteen year old sister - one, who I may add, makes you quiver in your boots?”
“She's my sister, I'm the only one allowed to call her Nee-chan”, the boy grumbled stubbornly.
Reborn pinched the bridge of his nose.
Pointing out that Lambo saw both Ieyasu and Tsunahime as his older siblings wouldn't amount to much, the boy was obviously beyond reason. And noting that Ieyasu actually called Tsuna Imouto not Nee-chan like Lambo would only result in a fit.
… Reborn could, thanks to the now defunct Arcobaleno curse, still vividly remember how it felt to be a toddler.
… Ieyasu's behaviour placed him just perfectly in the terrible two's.
“ And Byakuran?”
“ That freaking paedophile-albino reject tried to steal her!”
Reborn did not twitch.
Hitman don't twitch.
Not even when absolutely justified.
“ Tsu-chan will always come first”, was the passionate declaration he got.
He had it with that idiot. Just like his incompetent fool of a father!
Dark eyes dangerously narrowed Reborn struck out with his fist, landing it perfectly central with a satisfied crack in his student’s dumbfounded face.
Silence descended in the office.
Then, slowly, Ieyasu's eyes rolled up in the back of his head and he went down like a wet bag of flour. That was most pleasing.
… and his pounding headache got miraculously better.
Sometimes the … direct approach was the best. Besides, any more idiocy and he would have gone straight to justified homicide.
Giving the unconscious young man a long considering look, Reborn sighed resignedly and moved forward, intend to at least hide his student behind the young man's massive desk so no one came of the idea to take a shot at their unconscious boss … especially after the last week.
Tempers were, even if mostly concealed, running high.
“ That is unnecessary”, a lovely voice stopped him from the doorway.
Standing there, obviously amused if the twitching of her lips was anything to go by, was Sawada Tsunahime herself.
Reborn quirked an appraising eyebrow as he took in her summer-fresh attire, from the loose saffron-yellow chiffon top that hugged her sensuous bosom and displayed a temptingly amount of milky-white soft cleavage, to the cream-coloured lace shorts that barely peeked out under her top and exposed endlessly long slender white legs which ended in simple saffron-yellow flip flops. Her long blond curls were haphazardly caught in a bun atop her head and Reborn paused as he saw the obviously expensive but casual white-gold jewellery.
Her caramel-coloured eyes were focused indulgently on her older brother while she delicately sipped on a white porcelain cup.
It emitted the distinct fragrance of green tea.
So the reports of her worryingly high consumption of tea seemed to be at least reasonable observed and based on more than hearsay, if the fact that she brought a cup of tea with her bore any consideration. Naturally, he couldn't be sure without knowing how many cups she already had already consumed that day, but running around with it in the Manor? A Manor as chaotic and active as theirs? It lent credence to his men's observations. And if that fact was assumable true, then maybe her newfound origami hobby was as well.
He was also pretty sure that she spiked her tea with calming drops or something similar. That level of serenity was just not normal.
… why couldn't he train the reasonable twin?
He would have loved to get his fingers on her.
“ It would do no good for Ieyasu to be attacked because he was unconscious in his office”, Reborn responded slowly, arching an eyebrow.
“ I'm not arguing that fact. It's just a moot point now. I will stay and watch over him … Nii-chan and I have to have a talk.”
Reborn gave her a long shrewd look.
“ That you do”, he agreed finally.
He eyed her closer and noticed the purple shadows beneath her eyes. If he wasn't a hitman, he wouldn't have noticed the signs of tiredness. But for someone as experienced as himself, it was easy to see the sheer exhaustion in her features and movements, the way she nearly swayed where she stood, leaning against the door frame to keep herself up.
The last weeks had taken their toll on her.
“ Why didn't you have it before now?”
She gave him a wan smile and slowly moved across the room, coming to stand still before her unconscious brother, her slender back to Reborn who nearly chocked on his breath as he saw that the back of her top was nearly missing, the two separate sides merely connected by criss-crossing ribbons.
… he was nearly sixty, even if he looked like he was in his mid-twenties, and it was absolutely inappropriate to look at an barely of age girl like that …
… but he did understand why so many men couldn't help but fall for her beauty.
“ We both know that this is not as simply as my brother's unhealthy little obsession … with keeping me innocent.”
She looked back at him and there was anguish in those soulful eyes.
“ Dino awoke his protectiveness, but that attack … it shook him deeper than anyone acknowledged. I will speak with him, so don't worry. Once I'm back in Japan, he should completely lose the tension, knowing me safe, and go back to normal. Well, as normal as a witless crime lord can be.”
He nodded assenting. She was right.
“ Then I leave him in your capable hands.”
She laughed lightly.
“ Thank you, Reborn, and thank you for looking out and after my idiotic brother, I know he can be … special. He is too much like our bumbling oaf of an father.”
Truer words had seldom been spoken.
“ It is my pleasure.”
She rolled her eyes and watched as he took the door. Just before he went out, he turned around and smirked.
“ You know, I was right. You are certainly the more dangerous twin”, he stated matter of fact, then turned on the spot and strolled out, her bemused laughter following him.
What a delightful woman.
Ieyasu groaned as he slowly woke up.
Pain bombarded his face and he moaned as he remembered – Reborn had knocked him out. With his fist.
His tutor must have been really pissed off.
… it smelled nice in here, like green tea and …
Startled, his head snapped up and he found himself nearly face to face with his little sister. Pain immediately forgotten, a bright grin overtook his features.
“ Tsu-chan!”, he beamed and leaned forward, intent to hug her.
Only to get a scolding finger shoved in his face. Going cross-eyed, he stared incomprehensible at the pretty slim digit nearly slapping his nose with a deliberate familiar 'No'-gesture. Blinking, he sunk back down and pouted.
She closed her eyes and heaved a heavy sigh before opening them again, and Ieyasu nearly flinched back at the sight of the raw pain in them.
Her voice was barely a whisper as she finally opened her mouth.
“ When they ambushed us ...”
“ When they ambushed us a few weeks ago, I was afraid. Oh, I was afraid of dying, yes, but I was even more afraid for you. My reckless Nii-chan who fought with all he had to protect us while any attempt from me to help would only hinder and distract you. I was so afraid to lose you, Ie-nii. So damn afraid.”
Her eyes were downcast as she spoke lowly, but he could see the tremble in her hands, which were folded neatly on her lap.
“ I still remember the feeling of the bullet as it hit me. It hurt terrible. But the pain held only for a moment or two, because I saw that man trying to stab you in the back. I was so desperate, so desperate for you to be okay that those … orange flames reacted to my emotions. All that mattered in those moments was that you would stay safe.”
… not for him. He had a different priority.
She looked up and stretched her hands out. He took them immediately between his own in a gesture of comfort and reassurance.
“I thought I would lose you”, she breathed out, brokenly.
A sob escaped her throat and he reacted instinctively, drawing her into this lap and gently rocking her as sobs rattled her fragile body and tears soaked his shirt, arms wrapped tightly around her slender frame.
She had kept it in for so long …
… and he had done the same.
His eyes closed as he felt the prickle of tears.
“ I didn't and don't care that I was nearly stabbed. All that mattered to me was to protect you and I tried that, I really did. But I failed.”
“ No!”, she vehemently denied.
Gently, he stopped her disagreeing gesture.
“ I failed, Imouto, I failed you. You were supposed to be safe and carefree, but I let those … those ...”
Her small hands rested on his chest as she slowly calmed down.
“ Those monsters you accepted as your future to spare me that fate?”
He choked out a slightly hysterical laugh.
Only his beautiful lovely intelligent little sister could see right through him … he didn't regret his decision. Not for one second did he doubt it. For her, he would tear worlds apart.
But it was only typical that she had seen right through his pathetic reasoning.
Admittedly, it sounded pretty much like a bunch of lies. But he had, against expectations, hoped to fool and in that move assure her, to spare her.
One more way in which he failed her.
“ Yes. I let those … monsters … hurt you. When you screamed, so fucking afraid, and I saw you lying there on the ground soaked in your own blood … something shattered in me. All I knew was that I had to destroy the threat to you. Tsu-chan ...”
He burrowed his face in her curly hair.
“ I nearly lost you.”
His breath shuddered.
“ You nearly died.”
Her grip tightened and he hugged her closer.
The air seemed so thin, as if he couldn't get enough into his lungs. It was only slowly sinking in that they had nearly lost each other … it hurt to breathe. It hurt so damn much.
He still felt her blood sticking to his hands.
“ I'm here”, she finally whispered and looked up at him through tear-webbed black lashes. “ I'm here and so are you. We are here. Together.”
And still, he couldn't let go, couldn't loosen his arms.
… but for the first time in weeks, he could at least breathe easier.
“ Ie-nii … you need to control yourself. You know that I'm not against your care or protection … but, remember, you can't simply beat anyone who talks with me.”
'And about you?'
But Ieyasu was too interested in living another day to get cheeky now.
“ But they are Mafia. They are so much more dangerous than the bullies were back than ...”, he tried to protest weakly.
“ And you cowed them all, big brother. You made your point.”
“ It is enough.”
He sighed deeply and closed his eyes again.
… Ieyasu would have to apologize to Lambo. The kid really didn't do anything wrong, on contraire, he managed to paint a smile on Tsu-chan's lips. It was just childish jealousy that had him act so horrendous.
The others deserved it, though.
To them, he would apologize when hell froze over and pigs learned to fly.
… how the hell did she do that every time? Make him see reason?
His little sister was really dangerous.
Or he was just that pathetic.
“ You are my better half, you know?”, he whispered gently.
“ And you mine”, she breathed.
He laid back down on the plush carpet and pulled his sister with him. She curled up on his chest and entwined her legs with his, their fingers interlaced.
As if they were kids again.
Ieyasu enjoyed it immensely.
It was reassuring, a memento of easier times.
“ I promise to try and behave.”
“ I know, Nii-chan. You are just a bit too much like Tou-chan.”
“ While you are a bit too much like Kaa-chan.”
They hugged. It felt good to laugh again.
And he would really try to behave. It was a reflex, slipping into what had been termed his incurable Sister-Complex, but all he had ever wanted was for Tsuna to be safe, sound and happy. So for her, he would try and play nice.
But only for her.
After the twins talk, Ieyasu did tune it down.
He was still unreasonably overprotective, but both siblings knew that only time could help them accept the fear of that ambush and what could have happened. For nearly traumatized twins, they did good.
Ieyasu, instead of physically beating or terrorizing the Mafia, reluctantly acquiesced to his sister’s big pleading eyes and joined her in practising Origami … and perfected his evil eye to bestow upon perverts who ogled her on the side. It was really relaxing.
The following eight days went by with nary an incident, tough Ieyasu did apologize to Lambo and was, after a bribe of lots of grape candies and promises of bedtime stories, forgiven.
And then it was time.
Tsuna had to return home.
Her smile was sad.
She hadn't expected that saying goodbye to them would be so difficult. Not that she had thought that it would be easy, but she was surprised at the depth of affection she actually found welling up inside herself.
It was a given that she would miss her brother terribly, though she was quite happy to leave her oaf of a father behind. The sadness she felt at once again being separated from her twin was heart-wrenching but an necessary evil of growing up.
She had her life in Japan.
He had his in Italy.
It didn't change anything about their love for each other.
No, what really took her aback were the tiny tears she had to blink away as it was time to leave everyone else. Especially sweet darling little Lambo and his helplessly wobbling lower lip as well as impossible big begging eyes had tugged painfully at her heart and made actually packing her bags that little bit more difficult. The little boy had wormed his steadily way into her heart, and she nearly cried at the tearful look in his eyes.
Tsuna sighed as she reluctantly let go of Lambo and ruthlessly squashed down the impulse to grab and stuff him in her bags; the little one was snivelling so sadly.
There was scarcely a dry eye.
And then she stood before the last one to say goodbye to.
Her older twin.
They looked at each other wordlessly, caramel orbs clashing with their counter parts. Before she could even register moving she had wrapped her slender arms around his long neck and felt his muscular arms encircling her waist and hips, pressing her body demandingly against his in a gesture that screamed ‘Don’t you dare leave me!’. It felt like time had turned back and they were children again, cuddling beneath their blanket forts, and Ie-nii protected her once more from the howling wind and terrifying thunder keeping her awake and afraid.
'I will always hold you. When you are afraid or sad or happy, my arms will always be there to catch you and hold you.'
… he never broke his promise.
She smiled at her own thoughts.
“ Something funny?”, he murmured in her ear.
“ It's just, I remembered that you have never failed to catch me.”
Chuckling, he leaned away and pressed a tender kiss to her forehead, one she returned just as lovingly.
“ I've tried to do my best.”
“ You did your best. I'm very proud of you, Nii-chan”, she whispered sincerely, looking directly into his eyes. “ I'm proud of the man you have become, Ieyasu. Don’t ever forget that nor ever doubt my words.”
He stroked over her cheek in a gentle caress.
“ And I'm proud of the woman you are. I'm prouder than I ever thought I was capable of. I promised then and I promise now, I will never let you fall, no matter what you do or how many white hairs you make me gain.”
Eyes twinkling, Tsuna pressed another kiss to his smooth cheek and stepped back, the warmth in her chest blossoming into a beautiful firework at the sight of her beloved older brother, his loyal friends and, well, his Family Members as well as Reborn, who was a category all on his own.
But as dear as those people had become, and as much as a part of her longed to stay, there was an even bigger part and more handsome reason to return.
And she wouldn't give that reason up without fighting nail and tooth for him.
The private plane sent to fly her home was rolling along the landing plain. Her small smile blossomed into a happy grin as she saw the Foundations logo on the right side of the plane. It stopped. Her heart beat faster as the door opened, a set of steps extended and he exited.
Bloodthirsty. Unmoveable. Antisocial.
Cold. Gorgeous. Intelligent.
Grumpy. Stubborn. Independent.
Tsuna's blood raced in her veins.
Kyouya hated flying. And the plane was only here … for her.
… her lover had come to take her home.
Her sandal-clad feet crossed the small distance as she ran to him, a brilliant smile lighting up her beautiful face as she threw herself into his waiting arms, and kissed him passionately.
Her toes curled as his strong grip caught and dragged her flat against him, feet off the ground and she knew nothing more.
The feeling of his touch, the smell of his aftershave, his lips moving with hers, tongues teasing.
Her knees buckled as his lips slid over her chin and sucked at her pulse point, making stars explode before her eyes.
… her bastard.
His elegant pale hands, stronger than they appeared, held her effortlessly up.
“ T-Tsu-chan …?”
She turned around and faced a dumbfounded Ieyasu. His friends looked uncomfortable, some of them positively terrified.
Reborn smirked knowingly.
“ Ie-nii, I would like to formally introduce you to Hibari Kyouya”, she said gently, a razor-sharp edge entering her smile. “ My boyfriend.”
And like summoned, Ie-nii coloured up.
“ That – that -! No! You -!”
He abruptly stopped his furious stammering and took a fearful step back, rounded eyes fixed cautiously on her. She didn't know what he saw, but the fearful expression on his Guardians' faces and the approving one on Reborn were a strong indicator that it wasn't pleasant sight.
“ My. Boyfriend.”
Her brother gulped.
“ P-pleased to meet you, Hibari-san”, Ie-nii choked out, pleasantly cowed.
He did that a lot, cowering before her.
When he pissed her off, that is.
… huh, he had pissed her off quiet a lot in the last few weeks, come to think about it. She couldn't cow him too often, or he would get used to it.
That would be bad.
Kyouya snorted and turned back to the plane, ignoring the congregation of what he without a doubt termed Herbivores.
Beneath his notice.
“ Hurry up, Omnivore”
“ Missed me?”, she teased.
Her answer was a quick bite to the lower lip.
She moaned and watched breathlessly as he walked simply back to the waiting plane, a smug quality in his predatory stalk.
“ Well”, she quipped, winking at her departing contingent. “ I'll come back soon, promise. Take care, Minna, there's always Skype. Bye bye.”
Then she addressed her still shell-shocked brother, her twin who was gaping quite unattractively at her.
“ Nii-chan, I love you. Be careful and don't overdo it. And not a word about Kyouya, brother mine. Behave.”
Reluctantly, he nodded, barely catching himself.
“ I love you, too, Imouto-chan. Take care, be happy and – just say the word and I'll be there.”
She chuckled lightly, embracing him one last time for the immediate future. “ I know.”
Her steps were light as she climbed up the stairs to the plane where Kyouya had watched the interaction like a hawk. He took her in his arms and guided her gently back.
She didn't need to turn around to know that her brother's eyes were narrowed in displeasure and scheming.
As much as she loved him ..
… sometimes his Sister-Complex could be tiresome.
Especially since she knew how any altercation between her brother and lover would end. It wouldn't be in Ie-nii's favour.
She had more important things to focus on at this moment …
Like kissing Kyouya.
~ The End ~