“Hiiieee!” Hands catch him, unfamiliar ones, and the pretty fire vanishes, his tou-san and his guest looking at him in consternation. His rescuer shushes him softly and balances him in his hip, carrying him across to his tou-san, and he yawns, sleepily.
“Did he just -“
“He’s like my boys, Iemitsu; Vongola tend to come into their Flames early.” The older man brushes equally pretty fire against his, and he perks up a little, reaching for him and his tou-san’s guest chuckles and takes him from his rescuer. “We should arrange for him to spend at least the summers with my boys; having a little brother to teach and spoil would do Federico and Xanxus the world of good.” He burrows into the warm fire, and it wraps around him, making the world go soft and quiet.
His tou-san says something he doesn’t understand and the fire hisses and roars, and there’s a sound like when kaa-chan chops things up in the kitchen, and the feeling in the back of his head says not to look. So he doesn’t.
“Coyote.” He keeps his voice quiet, hyper-aware of the little Sky trustingly balanced on his hip and curled in his Flames, but his tone makes it clear that he considers his Storm’s response to his former CEDeF head’s words … extreme. “I was going to tell him no.”
“And he wasn’t going to listen, Timo. I didn’t consider it a risk worth taking especially since he’s been ‘influencing’ people recently.” He winces and sighs, turning away from Iemitsu’s corpse before the little Sky’s curiosity could outweigh their intuition. “I had to help Guido unfuck Enrico’s priorities last week, for starters. And given the state of his wife’s Will -“
“Can I take a look at the little one, Boss? Something’s making my Flames prickle -“ he hands Tsunayoshi to his Mist, and the man takes the little Sky, cooing at the boy and getting a shy smile.
“- just make sure that you don’t leave any evidence, Coyote.”
“Don’t try to teach your grandma to suck eggs; I’ve been cleaning up after you since you learned to walk, Timo.” His Storm kneels by the body and allowed his Flames to crawl over it, consuming everything … including a flicker of Mist Flames that feel familiar, but he shakes his head and limps towards the house’s patio doors. (Normally he does a better job of hiding his injuries, but he feels old, all of a sudden.)
“Can I prick your finger, Cielo-tan?” He tilts his head and looks up at the pretty man that had carried him in from the garden, confused.
“Sky. It’s our name for someone that has that lovely orange fire you share with my Boss, little one. And I need a drop of blood so I can check you don’t need one of our doctors, as your kaa-chan does.” He holds out a hand, hesitantly, and a pretty dark blue flame wraps around his finger, and there’s a tiny ouch. “All done, Cielo-tan.”
“Tsu-tan will be. Sleep and good food and time will sort most of it out; the rest … that can wait until you’re older, little one.” He eyes the man sceptically; he chuckles. “Nothing bad, Cielo-tan. Nothing bad. Now, shall I make you something to eat while Visconti sees to your kaa-chan?”
“Your adorable new ward has two Guardians already, Timo.” He raises an eyebrow at his Mist as Bouche Croquant settled into a chair in the suite’s sitting room. “A powerful little Rain whose Flames I recognise and a Cloud to challenge ‘conti. We should ensure their Families aren’t a threat to the kitten.” Coyote makes a grumbling sound from his position on the floor - slumped against his legs, clearly exhausted from his earlier antics - and he ruffles his right hand’s hair gently. “And like Coyote should really spend more time with Xanxus, I’ll need to spend some time with your fluffy new ward.”
“I’ll spend more time with the brat when he figures out how to talk without first being punched through a wall, asshole.” He allows his fingers to tighten in reprimand, and Coyote goes limp.
“Wrath is a composite Flame; perhaps we're wrong about our assumption as to its makeup, Coyote. Visconti, will you see if you can get through to the boy?”
“With or without punching him through walls, Timo?”
“Try to avoid any that are structural.” His Cloud snorts. "Maybe we should find the boy a Lightning for the Fort’s sake.”
“Where were you planning to find a Lightning robust enough to appeal to Xanxus, Timo?” His Lightning sounds rueful. “You know how the training has shifted in the last few years -“
“Gio owes me a favour; I suspect his nephew’s Flames are actually reversed from what he admits to in public.”
“He might work. Won’t stealing him away frustrate little Valentino, though?”
The restaurant manages to be both homely and traditional, and he’d wonder how the senior chef had managed that … except he can feel the Flames and they explain almost everything, including his eldest’s frustration.
“Irasshaimase -“ the Misty Lightning playing hostess blinks in astonishment as she realises just who he is. “- Vongola-dono?!”
“It’s been a while, Eiko.” He allows his Flames to spill out, warm and welcoming, and resonating with his sons’ Harmonies, too, and her knuckles go white as her Flames try to sing as well. “Enrico and Guido have been driving themselves mad, trying to find the two of you.”
“Okaachama? Where’s Tsu-tan? Feels like Tsu-tan’s here -” he crouches down to the tiny Rain’s level, more of his joints popping than he’s entirely comfortable with and his hip, with its shrapnel aching unmercifully. He holds out a hand, coated in his own Flame, with it’s touch of Tsuna’s to the boy, and Takeshi looks at him in confusion. “- feels like Tsu-tan but isn’t Tsu-tan.”
“I think your Tsu-tan is the youngest Sky in my resonance, Yamamoto-chan. Is he a tiny, fluffy brunet that you want to protect from everything including the local Cloud?”
“Oi, Boss.” His Cloud’s grumble is performative.
“Not you, ’conti. Bouche Croquant said our new ward has a Cloud circling; given that Tsuna’s never been out of Namimori, there must be one locally.”
“The local Clouds are all in the private room, Vongola-sama.” He twitches slightly; he’d expected a little more time before he had to explain to his new ward’s Cloud that he was planning to take the tiny fluffy Sky back to Italy for the time being. “It’s why my koi-sama’s Flames are so heavy in the restaurant this evening.”
“Then I think we can make do with a booth, ne?”
“Where is the small animal, old carnivore?” The Cloud perched on the end of his bed is tiny; maybe two years older than the fluffy little Sky he’d effectively adopted. He sits up, hip screaming at him, and the Cloud gives him a look that makes him want to ruffle the boy’s hair.
“Hopefully, Tsuna is in bed, being guarded by my Mist.” The Cloud pulls a face, and he chuckles. “The little Sky is Misty, young one. You’ll need to overcome that aversion if you want to cover them.” He pools his own Flames around the shrapnel, and the pain eases a little. “Now, from my discussions with your co-Guardian, you must be Hibari-kun, sì?”
“Hn.” He takes the monosyllabic answer as a yes. (He was going to make Guido socialise the boy; his son’s Right Hand and husband was the second most sociable Cloud he’d ever met. And it hurt to think Iemitsu had been able to make him doubt his son over the boy finding himself such a perfect match.)
“My Storm lost his temper with the small animal’s father, and now I’m picking up the pieces, Hibari-kun. I will be taking him back to my den to raise with my kits.” The little Cloud growls, and he resists the urge to chuckle. “Skies need the company of their own Flame-type when they’re growing up, cub.” He rubs his temple, the abrupt realisation of where things had gone wrong with Iemitsu make his head hurt. “… Skies raised alone end up like the small animal’s father, Hibari-kun. I would rather not leave the Sky my Storm just orphaned alone to twist that way. Not when my boys will benefit from a younger kit in the den, too.”
Using such an extended metaphor makes the headache gnawing at his skull more pronounced, but the little Cloud appears to appreciate the framing. “Hn. Where is your den, old carnivore?”
“Not in Japan.” The Cloud growls again, and he shakes his head. “Bring your legal Guardian to breakfast in the morning, Hibari-kun, and we can negotiate further. I can’t just kidnap you the way I can Tsunayoshi.”
“Hn.” He holds his breath, but the little Cloud flips back off the end of the bed and drops out of his eighteenth story window with alarming alacrity.
He’s actually a little bit worried until he feels the little Cloud’s smugness at nailing the landing, and then he shakes his head and breaths out, and then Brow Nie chuckles. “He’s a little spitfire, isn’t he? Watching him and Guido butt heads is going to be hilarious.” His Sun stretches and pushes up from his concealment. “I need to look at your hip, Boss. I really think we need to consider surgery; you seem to need to actually use your cane more and more, despite my best efforts.”
“When we’re back in Italy, and if the Rings will tolerate Enrico, we can discuss it, Brow Nie.”
“Hiiieee. Kyōya-sama?!” His new ward squeaks and everyone in the room gapes at the purity and strength of the Flames that pours out of the tiny brunet. Lush and rich and he will need to say a dozen Hail Marys in gratitude for Coyote’s actions; his Storm may have technically committed a mortal sin for him (again), but the Sealing would have been a worse one.
The Cloud prowls across the room towards his ward, and his Mist’s Flames flicker in preparation to divert the boy even as Tsunayoshi’s Flames ripple in nervous anticipation; once the little Cloud is close enough, he pounces, bowling the child over and into a pile of pillows that his Mist produces just in time to save Tsuna from serious bruises. When the pile settles, it’s quite clear that his new ward is being viciously and possessively cuddled by the Cloud in a way that reminds him of Enrico and Guido in the months after their rescue.
“I believe my son just demolished two-thirds of my negotiating position. We could still spar, Vongola-dono, but it seems so unnecessary when my cub has so clearly found his Sky.” The voice is amused and familiar, and his eyes widen as he takes in the figure in the doorway; her lips curl at his response. “But do tell me why I should let you take the little Sky out of Japan? My Sky would be happy to include the little one in his nursery; Tsuna would grow up as the beloved elder brother to the next Nihōn no Tenjō.”
Kasumi Hibari is even more stunning at thirty than she had been when he first met her at twenty-one; she was a rare creature, a Cloud with a territory and a Sky that left her genuinely - terrifyingly - sociable which, when combined with her choice to dress in a kimono that was clearly intended to intimidate (the subtle chrysanthemum pattern danced with Sky Flames that were his equal), actually made him nervous.
“Because my Hyper Intuition insists that the best possible result has Tsuna raised in Italy, and when I sent someone to consult with Aria di Giglio-Nero, she agreed.” Kasumi’s fingers twitch on the fan she’s holding - which, on second glance, is clearly a tessen and likely lethal in her hands - and then she sighs.
“As I said, Kyōya neatly demolished my negotiating stance. You will ensure they are in Japan for Hanami, and that they meet Japanese academic standards as well as Italian ones. If we are in Europe, you will arrange for the children to visit us; there are techniques that our Families keep private, and they will need to be taught, and being seen in the appropriate places will only benefit them later.”
“Indeed. I think we can manage that; would you accept my eldest as an appropriate escort? I’m growing a little old and a little well known for the places you, uh, frequent, Kasumi-sama.”
“Perhaps Massimo? He does a better job of staying off the radar, and Federico and Xanxus are a little young to be responsible for anyone, including themselves.” That was a very astute set of observations, but given her tradecraft, that was only to be expected.
“We’ll decide closer to the time, Kasumi. Both are possibilities; will you join us for breakfast?" She shakes her head, and her smile is a little wistful.
"I'm due in the Diet too early to linger, Vongola-dono. Look after my boy for me? He's leaving home far earlier than I expected, even given his Nature."
"Of course, Principessa." She vanishes in a whirl of silk and Flames, clearly unsettled by his acknowledgement of the mon on her kimono, and he settles back into his chair to watch his ward learning to manage a Cloud. (The trick, which he'd have to share later, was not to *try*; life went far more smoothly if one just learned to give in to a Cloud's whims.)