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Starstruck

Chapter Text

“Keeping the hope in our minds

One day life will be kind.”

Home, AURORA


Sometimes, Tsuna had a problem saying no. 

When anyone asked him for something—anything—he mostly went along with it (within reason, of course) and did his best to carry it out without asking anything in return. He gave more than he should, as his younger siblings would say. 

But Tsuna wasn’t dumb. He could be naïve sometimes, but he thought his heart was in the right place. Besides, it was second nature for Tsuna to help others, no matter who they were. 

If he could be at least that one person who cared, that’d mean the world to him (and hopefully for that other person, too). There was no reason for people to suffer alone, and Tsuna would gladly brace the storm with them, even if they were complete strangers. 

However, he had his limits. His kindness might be abundant, but he knew when to reign it in. The world didn’t always reciprocate his good intentions; he learned that the hard way. 

There were lines that shouldn’t be crossed. 

So, when Lambo’s school called him for the umpteenth time that month while he was on working at the café, Tsuna was more than displeased. His manager was understanding about it—she was three months in on her second child—and after he promised several times that he’d work double later to make it up, Tsuna quickly hailed a cab and drove off to Namimori Elementary School. 

“Got a kid there?” the driver said with a twinkle in his eye. “You look pretty young. You young people really need to learn how to control yourselves. Partying and all that isn’t good for you.” 

Tsuna should’ve taken the bus. “I’m just picking up my little brother.” 

“Oh…” 

Thankfully, the driver left it at that and tried not-so-subtly to ease the awkward silence by raising his radio’s volume. Some bubbly girl’s group song pumped through the speakers, with auto-tuned voices and that ugly snare most pop songs liked to have nowadays. 

Tsuna just let the music drown out in the background while his mind returned to eliminating the worst possibilities about what happened with Lambo. Sure, the boy was really lazy sometimes and had some of the worst sugar-highs Tsuna had ever seen, but he was a good kid. 

Recently though, he got into some trouble at school that even involved some physical altercation with other students. That worried Tsuna. Lambo never hit anyone. He rarely fought with I-pin or Fuuta, mostly whining to get what he wanted. He might stand proud with a puffed chest, but he had a very soft heart. No amount of grape candies or bribes could get Lambo to talk either. He’d just stare at the ground and quietly ask for a hug, which Tsuna gladly gave reciprocated. He stayed quiet when the boy’s arms tightened around his neck, as if he’d disappear any second.

Still, between work, the bills, and taking care of three kids, Tsuna thought he was doing okay—but really, he was barely making it over the edge. He never blamed the children though. That was just cruel. This was something he took on with unwavering confidence.

Although, looking back, he should’ve prepared himself more. Who was he kidding when he thought he could balance college with raising three kids? Nonetheless, he dropped out in his third year to give all of his attention to the children. 

No matter, they were his utmost priority (besides surviving, of course). They were everything to him and he’d never trade them for the world. He also never regretted volunteering at the orphanage where he first met them. Tsuna just loved them too much.

But, his mind quickly shifted from Lambo to I-pin. When the principal had mentioned her name, that made Tsuna even more worried. Usually I-pin was the one who made sure Lambo didn’t get into trouble, despite being a year younger than him. So, when her name came up, Tsuna couldn’t help but be anxious. 

He quickly paid the driver and dashed towards the school, not even bothering to fix his appearance when he entered the principal’s office. 

The secretary gave him a pitying look before gesturing towards the door. “They’re inside, Sawada-san.” 

Tsuna took in a deep breath before opening the door; his eyes instantly locked on Lambo and I-pin. He frowned when he saw Lambo’s split lips and I-Pin’s disheveled hair. This looked more than a minor scuffle. 

“Ah, Sawada-san,” Principal Ueno said, “thank you for joining us. Please, take a seat.” 

It was then that Tsuna noticed the other three mothers and bruised boys. The women simultaneously scowled at him, but he paid them no mind. Whatever their grievances were, his siblings came first. He sat down on the sofa across them and reached out to rub I-pin’s back soothingly, who relaxed and smiled weakly. He smiled back reassuringly in return. 

“What happened, Kocho Sensei?” he said. 

Before the woman could speak, one of the mothers cut in, “They beat my Satoshi-kun! I demand reparations!” 

“Those children are monsters!” 

“It’s no wonder they’re improper. Having no mother is a clear sign that they’re uncontrollable.” 

Tsuna narrowed his eyes. What the hell did they just say?

Principal Ueno coughed lightly to gather everyone’s attention. “Let’s discuss this more civilly, please,” she said, clasping her hands together. “And please, lower your voices. Classes are still in session and there are children in the room. From what I gathered, is that they fought during gym.” The black-haired woman narrowed her eyes slightly. “According to Honda-sensei, the boys were deliberately provoking Lambo during an exercise, which led to a physical altercation.” 

“Excuse me, Kocho Sensei,” one of the mothers said. “They hit my son!” 

Principal Ueno raised a hand, silencing her. “That is not the point, Fukui-san. The issue is that your son verbally harassed Lambo, which led to something that could’ve been avoidable. If Satoshi hadn’t provoked him, he would not be here with a bruise. Also”—her gaze zeroed in on a chubby boy who flinched—“Juro, pulling I-pin’s hair who only tried to stop the fight was not a smart thing to do. I suggest you learn how to keep your hands to yourselves—all of you.”

The children nodded quickly, their eyes wide. Tsuna couldn’t help but silently thank the principal. She loved children as much as he did, but knew how to play fair. He was already thinking of what to say to Lambo and I-pin later. 

“Satoshi, Juro, and Akio will be suspended for a week,” Principal Ueno said, shuffling through some papers. “Lambo and I-pin will be suspended for three days. Please use that time to think about you’ve done. Our school does not tolerate any of that kind of behavior. Do you understand?” 

“Yes, Kocho Sensei,” the children said. 

Tsuna winced when the mothers exploded, yelling and pointing fingers at his siblings. He glared and pulled the kids closer to his side. Lambo flinched against his hold, his fingers tightening on Tsuna’s shirt. 

“You may leave, Sawada-san,” Principal Ueno said. “Thank you for coming on such short notice. I know you must be very busy.” 

Tsuna nodded. “Thank you, Kocho Sensei. Come on, Lambo, I-pin.” 

Principal Ueno gave him a slight smile before redirecting her steely gaze at the yelling women. Tsuna swore to bring her some more of his sugar cookies when he got the chance. 

Lambo and I-pin were quiet when they left the school building, their eyes downcast. Tsuna sighed before crouching down to their height. He smiled and brushed away some of I-Pin’s tears. 

“Why are you crying?” he said softly in Mandarin. 

I-pin’s chin quivered as more tears rolled down her cheeks. “Big Brother isn’t—isn’t angry?”

Tsuna smiled gently. “I’m not mad. Maybe a little upset but I’d never get angry at you. So, you don’t have to cry.” 

I-pin flung her arms around his neck, holding on for dear life, and her sobs got muffled in his shoulder. “I’m sorry, Big Brother! I tried to stop Lambo but they were saying mean things about you and I got angry, too! Please don’t hate me and Lambo!” 

Tsuna patted her back and hushed her gently. “It’s okay, I-pin. Everything will be okay. I would never hate you or Lambo.” 

“You don’t hate us?” Lambo said in Italian, kicking some dirt with his foot. 

“I’d never hate you, Lambo, any of you.” 

Lambo continued to look down at his feet. “They said that you were no good, that you don’t count as my mama or papa. I got angry and told them to stop but they kept saying it.” He scowled. “They said—They said that no one would ever love me because I’m an orphan. But I said that I had you and I-pin and Fuuta-nii.” He looked up with teary eyes. “You don’t hate me, right, Tsuna-nii?” 

Tsuna shook his head. “I love you, Lambo. Nothing will ever change that.” 

“You’re not angry, too?” 

“No.” 

“Even though I hit them?”

“Well, we can use some work on that, but no, I still love you.” 

“Are you going to put me back there?” 

Tsuna ruffled the boy’s fluffy black hair. “You’re stuck with me forever whether you like it or not, bambino.” 

Lambo smiled shyly before sniffling and puffing his chest. “See, I-pin? Tsuna-nii forgives Lambo.” 

I-pin snorted and rolled her eyes. “Lambo’s still very dumb.” 

Her Italian’s getting better, Tsuna mused. Children were fast learners after all. 

Lambo suddenly laughed. “You should’ve seen I-pin, Tsuna-nii! She punched Juro in the face!” 

I-pin blushed and pinched the other boy’s nose. “I told you not say that, you dumb cow!” 

Lambo winced, grabbing his nose. “That hurt!” 

I-pin sniffed haughtily. “Good.” 

Tsuna couldn’t help but laugh. He ruffled both of their hair before standing up, I-Pin still clinging onto his neck.

“Well, three days of no school, how about that?”

I-Pin looked at him worriedly. “What about Big Brother’s work?” 

Tsuna nuzzled her forehead, smiling. “Don’t worry about me, I-pin. I can call Haru. We should get your lips checked out, Lambo. Come on, there’s a convenience store nearby. We can get some ointment and Band-Aids there.” 

Lambo immediately held his hand, clutching it tightly, while they left the school grounds. “Okay, but this is nothing, really, Tsuna-nii!”

Tsuna’s heart clenched in his chest. “It’s okay, Lambo. What about getting ice cream later?” 

Lambo’s eyes brightened. “Really? I want grape!” 

I-pin frowned. “What about work, Big Brother?” 

“Don’t worry, I-pin. I’ll be fine.” He grinned mischievously. “So, tell me about that punch.” 

The girl blushed but couldn’t help the grin from spreading on her face. 


With tired legs and heavy arms (and an emptier wallet), Tsuna and the kids managed to lug in their shopping bags inside their small apartment. It might be small for an adult and three children, but it was home, and they managed. There were only two bedrooms but they all slept in one while the other one was a study room for the kids. There was a kitchen with a dining table and a living room that had a worn couch and a small TV. 

Some toys and crayons were strewn on the floor that I-pin immediately started to put away. Tsuna smiled gratefully and placed some of the groceries on the kitchen counter. Fuuta helped him put them away while Lambo turned on the TV. The same song from the taxi radio blasted in the air. 

“I-pin, it’s the music show!” Lambo said.

I-pin immediately ran to the sofa, her eyes wide. “Is Hibari-san on?”

Lambo made a face. “No, it’s Sweets and Cream. Look, it’s Chieko-chan!” 

Fuuta and Tsuna both sweat-dropped as the young boy swooned over the girls on TV while I-pin huffed on the couch. 

“How was your day, Fuuta?” Tsuna said, taking out some egg cartons. 

Fuuta beamed. “It was good! I got a 100 on my math test.” 

Tsuna grinned, ruffling the boy’s hair. “That’s great, Fuuta!” He winked. “I was going to make pasta anyway.” 

Fuuta widened his eyes. “Really?” 

“Yup. Do you want to help?” 

“Yes, please!” 

“Go change and wash your hands first.” 

Fuuta nodded and dashed to their room. Tsuna watched fondly as Lambo and I-pin chattered happily on the couch, commenting this and that about the performing idols on-screen. He barely recognized any of their faces—maybe a few from advertisements, but that was it. He wasn’t too out of the loop about the entertainment world—there were some dramas he’d watch on his rare free time—but he was too busy to even bother. Heck, he barely had time to check his social media, opting to take a nap on the bus instead. 

But Lambo and I-pin enjoyed them so that was fine. That said, he had to think of a way to keep them occupied for the next three days, which was a pretty generous penalty from Principal Ueno considering the circumstances. Granted, it was those boys’ fault, Tsuna couldn’t condone violence. 

I-pin let out a muffled squeak when she covered her face with a cushion. Tsuna followed her gaze to see a brief close-up on a young man’ face before it changed to the boy’s group choreography routine. He chuckled. 

“Was that Hibari?” 

I-pin nodded, her eyes still trained on the screen. Lambo yawned loudly. 

“Hibari is scary,” he said. “I don’t get what you like about him.” 

I-pin glared at him. “Hibari-san will always be a better man than you, Lambo.” 

“Ryohei and Yamamoto are cooler than he is!” 

“Nuh-uh!” 

“Yuh-huh!” 

“Nuh-uh!” 

“Yuh-uh!” 

“Nuh-uh!” 

“Yuh-uh!” 

“Guys!” 

The two stopped, glancing at Tsuna with wide eyes. He sighed. “Keep it down, okay? We don’t want the other neighbors to complain again.” His heart constricted when they deflated and nodded sadly. “Just keep it down a little, okay? Indoor voices.” 

They nodded and continued to watch the performance in silence. Tsuna frowned as he chopped some onions. 

“It’s okay, Tsuna-nii,” Fuuta said, walking in the small kitchen. “You don’t have to worry about us too much.” 

Tsuna sighed. “I’m sorry, Fuuta. I just don’t want you guys worrying about my problems when you don’t have to.” 

“We worry about you, Tsuna-nii. Someone has to.” 

Tsuna smiled sadly. “Thank you, Fuuta, but really, you guys don’t have to.” His shoulders slumped. “I just—After today, I’ve been thinking a lot. I feel like I haven’t done enough for all of you. I know I can’t be your parents and my circumstances aren’t great either. Just, sometimes I get that feeling, you know?” 

He jumped when Fuuta suddenly hugged him, then relaxed in the child’s arms. 

“It’s okay, Tsuna-nii. We’re family, right? We’ll always be there for each other, just like you said. So, don’t worry about us. We’re doing better than okay. You’re everything to us.”

Tsuna couldn’t help but smile. Sometimes Fuuta was too wise for his own good and knew just the right things to say. “Thank you, Fuuta.” 

Suddenly, an indignant shout came from the living room. Two pairs of arms abruptly clung onto his waist. 

“No fair, I want a hug, too, Tsuna-nii!” 

“Can I hug you too, Big Brother?” 

“Tsuna-nii is cooking!” 

“So, I want to hug Tsuna-nii!”

“Move, Lambo! You’re squishing my foot!” 

Tsuna couldn’t help but sigh in exasperated fondness. Fuuta smiled, which he easily returned. 

Yeah, they were family. 


On some of the rare occasions that Tsuna actually sat down and rested, he’d browse through his laptop and try to catch up with whatever was happening in the news. Of course, a majority of them was celebrity gossip but he scrolled past them without much interest. 

He had called Haru on whether she could babysit the kids while he was at work, but got a “no” for tomorrow. She was meeting a big client over her portfolio and couldn’t miss it, not that Tsuna would let her. She was just starting to make a name for herself as a freelancing fashion designer and he’d be devastated too if she couldn’t achieve her dreams because of him. She did promise that she’d watch them the days after tomorrow, which was fine, and Tsuna couldn’t stop thanking her enough. 

With that, his mind ran a mile a minute, trying to think of anyone else who could watch the kids tomorrow. He came up blank. It was kind of sad now that he thought about it. He didn’t have many friends. Haru was practically the only one he knew; honestly though, he didn’t mind it too much. It was better to have one good friend than have many friends who were merely acquaintances. The kids also liked Haru, which was a plus. 

He could ask his mother, but she wasn’t here anymore… 

Tsuna hugged his knees to his chest. She would’ve loved the kids… 

After browsing through some depressing articles, Tsuna sighed. He shook his head. He had to find some way to keep the kids occupied tomorrow. There was the afternoon shift at the restaurant and an evening shift at the convenience store since one of his coworkers couldn’t make it. The rent was due soon. He had spent some extra money today for the kids, which he’d been saving for some bills, but they were so happy that he forgot. 

Oh, well. Their happiness was enough. 

But not enough to pay the bills, a bitter part of him whispered.

Tsuna groaned. That kind of thinking was unwelcomed, unnecessary, and unneeded. He perked up when he heard the soft pitter-patter of feet. “I-pin? What are you doing up? Sorry, is the light distracting you?” 

I-pin wore simple pink pajamas with dancing dumplings; her black hair was loose and reached her lower back. She shook her head and snuggled up to Tsuna’s side, sighing contentedly. 

“Are you okay, Big Brother?” she said in Mandarin. 

Tsuna smiled. “Of course. What are you doing up?” 

“Lambo’s snoring again.” 

Tsuna chuckled as he pulled her closer, patting her shoulder. “Well, I did tell you to sleep before he did.” 

I-pin wrinkled her nose cutely. “It’s not fair. What if I’m not tired before him?” 

“Counting sheep might help.” 

“Sheep remind me of Lambo.” 

“Hmm, I was thinking cows?” 

I-pin giggled. It was a running joke that Lambo resembled a cow. Sometimes the boy threw a fuss about it but they knew he didn’t care. He even wore cow-print pajamas to sleep. 

Tsuna scrolled through some more news when I-pin squeaked. He quickly noticed what she was looking at. It was a picture of Hibari next to a big headline: “Decimo’s Hibari Kyoya Reported to Star in a New Action Film”. He couldn’t help but smile teasingly. 

“Your boyfriend is pretty busy, isn’t he?” 

I-pin blushed. “H—Hibari-san’s not my boyfriend!” 

Tsuna laughed. “I’m just teasing, I-pin.” He tilted his head. “I didn’t know he was an actor, too.” 

I-pin huffed. “You don’t know anything about him, Big Brother.” 

Tsuna flushed. “Well, I don’t see a reason to. Here.” He clicked on the article and Hibari’s face-shot grew bigger on his screen. He was wearing a simple black suit, which looked like it cost five times Tsuna’s rent, and was very handsome. Like, “wow, he looked like a walking sex god” handsome. His sharp eyes were also dark blue-gray. “Huh, Decimo. That’s ‘tenth’ in Italian.” 

I-pin nodded. “They’re Vongola’s tenth group. They debuted a year ago but they’re really popular now. Did you know that they’re all brothers to Primo? Well, besides Giotto.” 

“Primo…?” 

Tsuna heard of Vongola—it was one of the most popular entertainment companies in the world, producing several famous actors, models, and singers like clockwork. 

I-pin widened her eyes. “You don’t know them, Big Brother? Giotto, Asari, G, Knuckle, Alaude…?” 

Tsuna shrugged. “Their names sound familiar, I think.” 

I-pin looked scandalous. “Lambo is right. Big Brother is hopeless. Don’t worry! I’ll teach you!”

“You really don’t have to… 

Too late. 

She started spouting out names, ages, birthdays, favorite colors, favorite food, astrological signs, spirit animals, and what the hell, did she just mention their blood type? Tsuna suddenly pitied the idols. Their privacy was practically compromised. 

“—ntly on their new album tour. Oh, did you know they’re coming here tomorrow? To Namimori? No one famous ever came to Namimori before!”

“Hmm?” 

I-pin pouted. “Are you listening, Big Brother?” 

“You mean this?” 

Tsuna clicked on another link about Decimo’s Japan tour. Sure enough, they were coming tomorrow. Namimori was a small city but it had some recognition, particularly for their mountains and scenery; there were also some notable amusement parks like Kokuyo Land that got heavily renovated a few years ago. Most newlyweds came here for their honeymoon if they liked the countryside and there was a good number of tourists who liked touring sacred shrines. 

It was surprising that a popular group like Decimo would come here, but that just spoke of their passion and dedication to their fans. Tsuna could respect that. 

“The girls in my class said that they’re all going,” I-pin said quietly. 

Scrolling through the listed dates and times, Tsuna chewed on his lip. Well, he could use one of his sick days at the restaurant tomorrow. The fan signing event was open to everyone and it was at the largest record store in Namimori, which was close by.

“Do you want to go, I-pin?” he said slowly.

I-pin widened her eyes before she deflated. “Big Brother has work tomorrow and Big Sister can’t come.” 

Tsuna smiled brightly. “I don’t have to go to work tomorrow. We can go together.” 

The hope in her eyes returned almost immediately, and it was absolutely blinding. “Really?” 

“Of course.” 

I-pin squealed and flung her arms around his shoulders. “Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!” 

It wouldn’t hurt to indulge a bit. Besides, I-pin’s smile was worth it. 


Tsuna barely managed to wake up to his alarm on time. 

He woke up at six every day to prepare the kids’ bento but since only Fuuta was going to school, that was two less bento he had to pack. Fuuta wasn’t disappointed on not going to the fan-signing since he was going on a field trip to the zoo, which he had looked forward to for weeks. 

After hugging Tsuna goodbye and warning the other two children to not give him any trouble, Fuuta took off to Namimori Middle, which was a only few blocks away. When he searched for their apartment, Tsuna made painstaking efforts to make sure they were close to the necessary locations. Their apartment was close to Third Street and the children’s schools without much trouble. The rent could be cheaper though but he took what he could get. 

“Tsuna-nii, I want grape juice!” Lambo said, shoveling some pancakes in his mouth. 

“Eat slower, Lambo,” I-pin said, frowning. “And don’t talk with your mouth full.” 

Lambo just chewed obnoxiously and stuck his tongue out. I-pin made a disgusted noise before pushing her plate away. 

Tsuna poured Lambo’s glass with a sigh. “Lambo, stop that. You’re making a mess.” 

“Did you finish the bento, Big Brother?” 

Tsuna smiled. I-pin had asked him if he could cook some food for Decimo—well, for Hibari—after another impromptu crash course on everything and anything about the five-man group. Needless to say, not all the information stuck in his head aside from Hibari, Hibari, Hibari, Hibari. There was nothing I-pin didn’t know about him. Poor guy. 

There was one thing that did stick out though. I-pin had showed him some of their songs and music videos from their new album and one track caught his attention in particular: Angel in Lavender.

It was a peculiar title, but when it opened up with some haunting piano chords, Tsuna was slowly sucked into a passionate, heartbreaking story of unreciprocated love. The singer was apparently Gokudera Hayato, the main rapper of the group, which was surprising because he sang pretty well. Gokudera sang with such raw passion and conviction that it actually moved Tsuna to tears. The slight rasp in his voice only made the song more emotional. 

He may not know the group or the rapper all that well—he was not having I-pin lecture him again on whose birthday is on which day or their favorite movies—but he came to respect them. They were clearly passionate in what they were doing. 

“Don’t worry, I-pin,” Tsuna said, checking the miso soup. “It’s almost done.” 

I-pin beamed. “Thank you, Big Brother!”


Okay, maybe Tsuna underestimated Decimo’s popularity a little bit—just a tad. 

The line outside Namimori Records was already circling the block. A large majority of the fans were young girls and teenagers; Tsuna saw some guys here and there, and surprisingly, a handful of kids. Okay, that wasn’t that bad, not that he minded. He made a mental note to get something for Fuuta later. 

I-pin clutched his pants tightly when they finally managed to get on line. “Will we be able to go in, Big Brother?” 

Tsuna patted her head. “Don’t worry, we will. It’s not that bad.” 

Lambo yawned, leaning on his other side. “The line is getting longer, Tsuna-nii.” 

It was true. The line was probably circling the block three times by now and it was only nine AM. The event started at ten-thirty but this was just crazy. At least the weather wasn’t that bad. That was one less thing to worry about. Unfortunately, there were a million more that Tsuna hoped wouldn’t nag his mind for the next four hours. 

“Oh, my god, I can’t wait to see Hibari!”

“Yamamoto is so hot! And his smiles! God bless that man.”

“Kyaa, Mukuro-sama! I hope he gives me a rose!” 

“Gokudera-kun is so cool! He wore different rings yesterday in Kyoto!”

“Did you see Ryohei’s abs in that video?” 

Tsuna sighed. This was going to be a really long day. 


They finally got in the store and slowly but surely got closer to the table where the group was sitting at. The place was really loud and crowded, and Tsuna nearly lost the kids twice in the chaos of giggling and chattering fangirls. Lambo was snoozing on his shoulder after Tsuna piggybacked him at the 45-minute mark. I-pin held onto his pants, looking around the shop with wide eyes. 

“There’s a lot of them,” she said, chewing her lip nervously. 

“Well, you’re going to be meeting your boyfriend soon, I-pin,” Tsuna said, winking at the blushing girl. “It’ll be worth it.” 

She nodded and patiently waited with him as time ticked by. When they finally got closer to the table, Tsuna took a quick glance at the group. Even though he didn’t know much about them, it was still pretty cool to meet one of the most popular boy bands in the world. Haru made him promise to tell him the details later and it wasn’t a surprise to find out she was a fan. Tsuna bought a second copy of their new album for her, the other for I-pin. 

The idols were spaced out evenly at the table despite the crammed space. There were five of them and Tsuna couldn’t get a good look at their faces since the fans were blocking them from view. He did get glimpses of blue, silver, and black, but that wasn’t very helpful. 

I-pin suddenly tugged Tsuna’s pants, her eyes wide. “Big Brother, we’re almost there.” 

Tsuna patted her head gently. “It’s okay, I-pin. I’m here. You can do this!” 

That made her relax and take deep breaths. The table was just coming into view. Tsuna didn’t know why he briefly hesitated, as if his guts were telling him to go back. But they were so c— 

“Hey, there!” 

Tsuna jumped at the friendly voice, but relaxed when he made eye-contact with the first member. He was tall with spiky black hair and bright brown eyes. He wore a casual white t-shirt under a denim jacket and black jeans; a pair of sunglasses hung from the top of his shirt. Tsuna’s first thought was that he was incredibly handsome. His second thought was more out-of-the-blue: the idol was smiling a little too hard. 

Tsuna didn’t know what to think about that. It wasn’t his business, but it bothered him a little. Maybe the idol was overworking himself? Tsuna wouldn’t be surprised if his schedule was grueling. He remembered that they had another event in Kokuyo and Midori after before they moved to Kyoto. 

Now if he could just remember the guy’s name… 

Hibari, Hibari, Hibari, Hibari, was all that popped up in his head.

“What’s your name?” the idol said, grinning at a wide-eyed I-pin. 

Tsuna only feared on how she’d fare when they reached Hibari, who was at the end of the table. Surprisingly, I-pin managed to compose herself and beamed. “My name is I-pin!” 

“Wow, that’s a pretty name for a pretty girl!” I-pin blushed. “Want me to sign that for you?” 

“Yes, please,” I-pin said, handing him her album. “I—I really like your singing, Yamamoto-san. You make me feel better when I’m sad, too.” 

Yamamoto smiled, which Tsuna thought looked much better. 

“Thanks, I-pin. And I really like your braids!”

I-pin stood up a bit straighter and smiled proudly. “Big Brother did them for me! Big Brother, this is Yamamoto-san! Remember?” 

Tsuna vaguely recalled sushi, baseball, smiles, and dogs, but yeah, sure, he remembered. He smiled at Yamamoto who looked at him curiously. 

“Hello, I’m I-pin’s brother, Tsuna. I heard a lot about you.” 

Yamamoto smiled easily. “Not a big fan?” 

Tsuna quickly shook his head, careful not to wake Lambo. “Oh, no! I’m just too old. That’s what I-pin says anyway.” He smiled sheepishly. “I’m sorry if I offended you, Yamamoto-san.” 

The idol just laughed it off. “Nah, I understand. I can respect guys like you. You look like you have it all together.” 

Tsuna grinned. “Yeah, let’s go with that.” 

Yamamoto beamed before pointing at Haru’s album. “Wanna get that signed?”

“Oh, yes. It’s not for me though. It’s for a friend. Her name’s Haru. She’s a big fan.” 

“No problem!” Yamamoto signed the album with big loops before taking an extra CD from underneath the table and signing that too. Tsuna widened his eyes when he handed them both to him. “Here. That one’s on me.” Yamamoto winked. “Hope you become a fan.” He leaned in to whisper. “World domination’s on our to-do list at the moment.” 

Tsuna laughed. “Good luck with that, Yamamoto-san.” 

The idol’s lips curved into an easy, relaxed smile. “Call me Takeshi. Yamamoto-san’s my dad.” 

Tsuna nodded. “Okay, Takeshi.” I-pin tugged his pants. “Take care of yourself. I don’t think anyone would be happy if you push yourself too hard.” 

That seemed to surprise the idol a bit before he regained his composure. “Thanks, Tsuna. Take care of the kid, too!” 

Tsuna smiled when he referred to the still-sleeping Lambo. “Thank you, Takeshi.” 

I-pin gestured him to lean down so she could whisper in his ear while they moved on to the next member. “That’s Rokudo-san. Don’t call him a pineapple, okay? He doesn’t like it.” 

Tsuna just smiled at her concern and quickly ushered her ahead before more people complained behind him. 

“Kufufu, and who is the pretty little lady?”

The next idol was also tall, around the same height as Takeshi, and devilishly attractive. He had long blue hair in a thin ponytail—it did look like a pineapple, Tsuna mused—and wore a thin black coat over a white t-shirt. His slender fingers were adorned with several rings that glimmered under the light. But what caught Tsuna’s attention were Rokudo’s eyes. One was a deep blue color while the other was a crimson red. Maybe they were contacts? 

I-pin squeaked. “M—My name is I-pin.” 

Rokudo smiled before snapping his fingers and making a rose appear in his hand. He handed it to the wide-eyed I-pin with a wink. 

“A beautiful rose for a beautiful girl,” he said. 

“T—Thank you, Rokudo-san,” I-pin said, taking the rose tenderly in her hands. “C—Can you please sign this for me?”

“Already done, dear.”

Tsuna peeked over her shoulder to see Rokudo’s signature in her album. He looked up at the idol in amazement. “That’s incredible.”

Rokudo smirked. “I live to please.” 

Tsuna chuckled. “Well, you’re living up to it well.” 

Even though the man was probably complimented on an hourly basis, he still blinked in slight surprise before smiling pleasantly. “But of course. I believe I didn’t catch your name…?” 

“Tsuna. I’m I-pin’s brother. Thank you for the rose, Rokudo-san. You’re very talented.” 

Mukuro seemed to purr at the compliment. “Of course. I expect nothing less of myself.” 

Tsuna laughed. He could see why the girls were so taken with him. Rokudo certainly knew his way with words. “Are my albums signed, too?” 

Rokudo smiled. “Oh? Seems like I missed one.” He reached out a hand. “I’d like to do it properly, if I may?”

Tsuna blinked when he handed his copy that Takeshi gave him to Rokudo. I-pin was gaping at him. Did he do something wrong? He watched as Rokudo elegantly signed his album before handing it back to him. He slightly jumped when their fingers brushed very briefly. Tsuna was imagining things—yup, he just needed more sleep, that was all. 

“Kufufu, it was a pleasure to meet you, Tsuna,” Rokudo said, giving him a charming smile. 

Tsuna smiled back. “Thank you, Rokudo-san.” 

“Please, call me Mukuro.” 

“Ah, Mukuro-san then. I know you might hear this all the time, but you have very beautiful eyes.” 

Mukuro grinned. “Thank you, Tsuna. And you look lovely as well.”

Tsuna blushed. Kami, was Mukuro even hearing himself? It was probably just fan service—very good fan service. He quickly said his goodbye when I-pin tugged him away.

“What was that all about?” he said. “Did I do something wrong, I-pin?”

She still stared at him with wide eyes. “Mukuro-san never signs copies himself, Big Brother.” 

Tsuna frowned. Did the man have some kind of muscular disease? Was he in pain? That was certainly strange. 

“Maybe he’s just very tired from writing. He must meet fans all the time.” 

I-pin looked at him like he grew three heads. “Lambo is very right. Big Brother is hopeless.” 

“Hey, what do you mean?” 

Before I-pin could respond, they were greeted with an enthusiastic, “Hello to the extreme!” 

I-pin giggled and shook a bandaged hand shyly. Tsuna blinked when the white-haired idol stuck out his hand for him. The brunet smiled apologetically, gesturing at Lambo. “Sorry, my hands are full. But I’d still shake your hand if I could.”

The ruggedly handsome man laughed. “Not an extreme problem!” 

He had white hair, tanned skin, and gray eyes. An adhesive bandage was taped over his nose and his hands were bound with sports tape. He showed more skin than the others, wearing a sleeveless black hoodie over a gray t-shirt; he clearly worked out because those muscles were insane—not overly buff but just about right that made the ladies swoon.

“What’s your name, kid?” 

“I-pin!” 

“Are they your brothers?” 

“Yes, that’s Big Brother and Lambo!”

Tsuna couldn’t help but smile. It was clear that this idol was very good with children and had a lot of energy to boot. It was pretty refreshing. He could roll with that.

“And what’s Big Brother’s name?” the idol said, signing I-pin’s album.

“Tsuna-nii!” I-pin said. “Big Brother is the best brother in the world!”

Tsuna blushed at the unexpected compliment. “I try.” 

The idol grinned and gestured for the two albums that Tsuna held onto. “Let me sign those! You look like an extremely good brother, Tsuna!” He signed them both with fervor. “I get it. I have a little sister too, and I’d do anything for her. Sometimes you feel like you’re not doing enough but their happiness is extremely worth it, right?” 

Tsuna widened his eyes at the idol’s softer tone. He couldn’t help but smile brilliantly at the shared sentiment. “Yeah, it is. Thank you.” 

I-pin nodded. “Yes, thank you, Sasagawa-san!” 

“Call me Ryohei! I’m not that extremely old yet!” 

I-pin practically glowed when they moved onto the next one, and Tsuna patted her head affectionately. 

“Ryohei-san seems very nice.” 

I-pin nodded. “His sister is also nice, too. She’s a model! Remember?” 

Tsuna just nodded. Honestly, he didn’t but he didn’t want I-pin to sit him down for another long lecture that was just going to escalate into more Hibari, Hibari, Hibari, Hibari. 

“Hey,” a voice said. “How are ya?” 

Tsuna knew the next member—well, he knew the name and face at least. He had seen a video of the other’s live performance. 

The idol was handsome with long silver hair tied back into a short ponytail, narrow green eyes, and an assortment of different rings and bracelets on his hands. He wore a thin, furred black coat over a white tank-top and had a thin chain necklace around his pale neck. 

“I’m good!” I-pin said, smiling. “How is Gokudera-san?” 

The man smiled tentatively. He was obviously not that comfortable around children—he looked like he didn’t want to be here honestly—but he tried his best to not let it show. Tsuna could admire the professionalism. 

“I’m doing good,” Gokudera said, signing her album quickly. 

“Big Brother is a fan of you, Gokudera-san!”

Tsuna widened his eyes when the idol looked at him with a blank, polite stare, if that was even possible. 

“Thanks,” Gokudera said. “Do you want those signed, too?”

“Ah, yes.” Tsuna handed him his two copies. “One of them is for a friend. Her name’s Haru. The other one’s mine. Yamamoto-san gave it to me.” 

Gokudera raised a brow. “He did?” 

Tsuna tilted his head. “Is that a bad thing?” 

Gokudera merely pursed his lips. “No. Just, he doesn’t do that often.” 

“Oh, I see.” 

I-pin poked Tsuna’s side and silently urged him to do…something. Tsuna stared back, confused, making her roll her eyes. 

“Gokudera-san, what’s your favorite song in the new album?” she said with innocent curiosity. 

Famiglia. How about you?” 

I-pin grinned. “That’s one of my favorites, too! I like Kokou no Pride.”

Gokudera smiled faintly. “You’re a Hibari fan?”

I-pin blushed. “Ah, well, I—”

Tsuna laughed and patted her head. “She is. She never stops talking about him.” 

Gokudera nodded. “Here.” 

He handed Tsuna his albums. The brunet couldn’t help but note how elegant the other’s hands were. “You know, I’m actually a big fan of one of your singles. Angel in Lavender?” 

Gokudera looked up at him with a bit of surprise. “Really? That’s a pretty old song. I wrote it before my debut.” 

“I really liked your piano composition in that one. It had some nice blend of Chopin and Beethoven.” 

Gokudera quirked a brow, his lips twitching slightly. “You’re a classical fan?” 

“I guess you can say that. I played the violin when I was younger and my mother loved it. Your song reminded me of her. So, really, what I wanted to say was thank you for making that song. It means a lot to me.” 

There was a brief mutual understanding between them when Gokudera smiled, his eyes softening just around the edges. “No, thanks for listening. That means a lot more to me.” 

A petite, pretty girl appeared behind Gokudera’s chair. She looked like Mukuro with her long purple hair and violet eyes. She leaned down to whisper in Gokudera’s ear but Tsuna could tell what she was saying. He smiled sheepishly. “Sorry, we’re holding up the line. It was nice to meet you, Gokudera-san.” 

The idol nodded. “Yeah, sorry about that. It was nice meeting you, Tsuna, I-pin.” 

Tsuna smiled before ushering I-pin to the end of the table. He grinned at her mischievously. “Are you ready, I-pin?”

She squeaked in response, hiding her face behind a cute, stuffed yellow bird that she bought for Hibari. Tsuna laughed and ruffled her hair, careful not to ruin her perfect braids. 

“It’ll be fine, I-pin.” 

He noticed that Hibari sat a little further away from the group. Something about not being a fan of crowding, I-pin said. He was also more handsome in real life. He wore a casual suit jacket and a white button-up dress shirt, which was unbuttoned a little to show some of his toned chest. He wore an expensive watch on his wrist that was different from the one in the article Tsuna read last night. 

Hibari was a man with very few words, I-pin had told him. But he was a really nice person if you knew him really well. Tsuna sweat dropped at that. Hibari looked anything but nice. He looked intimidating and very intense, which was apparently popular among the fans. 

They stared at each other for a few seconds before Hibari glanced at I-pin, who was blushing terribly. Tsuna restrained a sigh and placed the idol’s bento on the table. 

“This is for you, Hibari-san,” the brunet said, gauging the impassive idol’s reaction. “My sister, I-pin, made it for you.” 

I-pin blushed when Hibari took the bento with a slight nod and left it next to him, along with a myriad of other fan gifts. She shyly handed her album for him to sign, which he took wordlessly, and watched as he scribbled something on the page. Tsuna blinked when Hibari stuck out his hand for his albums. 

“Ah, sorry. Here.” 

The idol signed and returned them wordlessly. Tsuna couldn’t get a good read of his face but he wasn’t the type to pry and he really didn’t know what to say or whether he should say anything at all. I-pin then placed the stuffed animal on the table and pushed it shyly towards Hibari. 

“For me?” Hibari suddenly said. 

I-pin nodded before hiding behind Tsuna’s legs. He smiled down at her reassuringly, patting her shaking shoulder. 

To their surprise, Hibari’s lips twitched into a slight smile. “Xièxiè.” [Thank you.] 

I-pin squeaked then tugged Tsuna away, so they could leave. He smiled gratefully at Hibari. 

“Thank you, Hibari-san. Take care.”

The idol just focused his attention on the next fan in line, not sparing him another glance. 


I-pin sighed dreamily while swinging her legs on the park bench they were sitting at. “Hibari-san is very handsome.” 

Tsuna laughed while wiping some ice cream from Lambo’s mouth. “I’m glad you enjoyed it.” 

She hugged his side. “It was really nice. Thank you, Big Brother.” 

“Of course.” 

Lambo huffed. “Why didn’t you wake me up? I wanted to talk to Ryohei and Yamamoto!” 

I-pin rolled her eyes. “You sleep too much, Lambo.” 

“I’m a growing boy!” 

“You’ll never grow up to be a man like Hibari-san!” 

“I never even mentioned him! What are you talking about?” 

“Hibari-san will always be better than you!” 

“Are we talking about the same thing here?” 

“Don’t say bad things about Hibari-san!” 

“You’re crazy!” 

“I’m not crazy! You are!” 

“No, you are!” 

“You are!” 

Tsuna just sighed.

Chapter Text

“He said, ‘Son, when you grow up

Would you be the savior of the broken

The beaten and the damned?’”  

- Welcome to the Black Parade by My Chemical Romance 


 It took a while for the kids to settle down when they arrived home. 

Tsuna barely stopped Lambo from running into the dining table three times, already regretting giving him so much candy. He made a mental note to really start curbing the boy’s intake because this was just ridiculous. Plus, he also needed to stop giving into Lambo’s puppy-dog eyes. 

Curse his soft heart. 

After Tsuna made sure the kids were sleeping, he quietly closed the door, but left it open just enough that a sliver of light illuminated Fuuta’s peaceful face. Even though he never said it, Fuuta suffered from nightmares that made him extremely restless. The boy tried hard not to make the others worry, but Tsuna made sure that he knew it was okay—that it was okay to be afraid and ask for help. He slowly got better, but there’d be some nights where he’d wake Tsuna up, unintentionally or not, and the other would sing lullabies to help him sleep again. 

Tsuna glanced at the clock and cursed softly under his breath. He was going to be late. His coworker, Daichi, would always leave on the dot, which would make his manager cranky if he didn’t come in on time, and Tsuna was not looking forward to another long lecture of punctuality and the job market. 

He slipped on a jacket and left the apartment as quietly as he could. He ran towards the small convenience store a couple of blocks away. It wasn’t a major chain, but it was a decent business and had a steady flow of customers. 

Tanaka Mart was located at the center of Third Street, a smart decision on the owner’s part since a majority of traffic ran through there. Its glowing logo brightened the dark streets along with other stores’ signs around it. The convenience store wasn’t big, but it still held the necessary things that people needed when they were in a rush. 

“Sawada!” an elderly man said, peeking out of his office. “Took you long enough!” 

Tsuna bowed deeply. “I’m sorry, Tanaka-san! I was making sure my siblings were asleep and took longer than expected.” 

Tanaka clicked his tongue. “If it weren’t for those damn kids, you wouldn’t be having this job! Do you know how hard it is in the market nowadays? You should be grateful I even gave this job to you!” 

Tsuna clenched his jaw, holding back sharp words. It wasn’t the kids’ fault and never would be.

“Hurry up and get to work,” Tanaka said. 

Tsuna flinched when the man slammed his office door shut. The hum of the fluorescent ceiling lights reverberated softly in the background, along with the quiet bustle in the streets. He let out a shaky breath before forcing himself to change into his blue uniform and man the cashier.

A slow stream of people came and went, buying some beer or snacks. Some greeted him politely, some didn’t. It was another tedious evening. There weren’t a lot of customers during this time—it was already three in the morning—and he had some time to breathe a little and think, even if he was bone-tired. 

Still, his lips curved into a soft smile when his siblings’ bright faces bloomed in his mind. He twirled a pen in his hand to the song’s beat filtering through the speakers. It was a slow ballad with a lazy but steady bass. He didn’t recognize the singer’s voice, but it was richly deep. The lyrics were soothingly nostalgic, not like most pop songs nowadays, and reminded him of Gokudera’s Angel in Lavender. He vaguely pieced the story together to be about unreciprocated love. 

How romantically depressing, he thought. 

Resting his chin on his arms, Tsuna quietly watched the clock tick by. There were still two more hours left in his shift. Could time go any slower?

The ballad gradually softened in the background, becoming a soothing, muted lullaby. Tsuna’s eyes fluttered as he struggled to stay awake, but wow, that voice was like a drug and he was beyond exhausted. Maybe he could look up the song later. It was actually very nice, and he wouldn’t mind listening to it again. I-pin might know who the singer was, too. 

He didn’t realize he drifted off until someone shook his shoulder. Forcing his eyes to open, Tsuna groaned when the store’s lights assaulted his vision, and barely managed to contain a yawn when someone said, “Uh, you alive?” 

Tsuna immediately straightened in his chair and squeaked when he nearly fell over. “I’m so sorry, sir!” 

The customer just waved him off. “It’s okay. You looked like you needed it.”

Tsuna blushed before he quickly grabbed the large assortment of drinks one by one to scan. “I really am sorry. I usually don’t do that.”

The tall man shrugged. “Happens to everyone. You’re lucky it was me instead of some asshole who came in.”

Tsuna chuckled sheepishly. The customer wore a dark hoodie pulled over his hair, a white mask, and a cap pulled over his eyes, but Tsuna saw a glimpse of violet before he turned away to scan the items. They were an interesting mix: strawberry milk, teas, sports drinks, and raspberry Ramunes.

“Is there anything else you need, sir?” Tsuna said, bagging the drinks. 

“Do you sell coffee? I couldn’t find a machine around. Please say you do.” 

Tsuna smiled reassuringly when he heard the slight panic in the muffled voice. “We do, sir. It’s because we brew the coffee ourselves. Which would you like?”

“Do you have espresso? Something strong? Like, really strong?” 

“Yes, we do. Is there anything else you’d like in the coffee, sir?” 

“I’d ask you if salt was an option, but I’d probably get killed, so no.” 

Tsuna widened his eyes. “K—Killed?” 

The man waved his hands in front of him. “No, no, no! I was just joking.” He laughed awkwardly. “Yeah, just bad jokes. Forget I said that. I’m pretty tired and it’s late. The asshole who wants the coffee is just really picky so, yeah. Seriously, forget I said that. It’s nothing.” 

Tsuna pursed his lips. He knew a victim when he saw one. Haru called it his “internal victim radar” but she wasn’t wrong. As a past victim himself, Tsuna could pick out those being persecuted or beaten. It was the little things you had to look for. So, he straightened himself and smiled sweetly. “How does this asshole like his coffee, sir?” 

The man jumped slightly in surprise. He leaned forward a bit, resting his elbows on the counter. “Don’t tell me you’re actually going with the salt thing.” 

Tsuna grinned. “Who said anything about salt, sir? We do have some extra spices in the back.” 

The man laughed, making Tsuna’s heart swell at how full it sounded.

“I like your spunk,” the man said. “But you shouldn’t go around threatening to screw up other people’s drinks.” 

Tsuna smiled pleasantly. “Our customer service is outstanding, sir. You’re my customer and my job is to please.” 

The man laughed again. “Oh, you’re good, kid.”

Tsuna huffed. “I’m 20 years old, sir. I’m not a kid.” 

“Huh. Well, I guess you’re not that short.”

Tsuna rolled his eyes but couldn’t help his lips from twitching into a tiny smile. “So, one espresso?” 

The man snickered. “Just don’t make it too obvious.” 

Tsuna winked. “I won’t make any promises.” 

Laughter rang behind him while Tsuna walked to the back where his precious coffee machine was. It took him forever to convince Tanaka to buy it; the old one was terrible. Tsuna brewed the coffee himself. Good coffee, good business, good traffic—it all worked out in the end, even though the manager never thanked him. Oh, well. The customers came back anyways, and the money spoke for itself. 

Tsuna waited patiently for the dark liquid to fill the beige-colored cup—Miscela d’Oro Cremoso. He usually switched the coffee beans around every month or so to liven it up. The customers enjoyed it regardless and returned for more. Thankfully, Tanaka used the store’s profits to import them instead of making Tsuna buy them himself. Even though the espresso wasn’t freshly made on the spot in Italy, it was the closest he could find to being authentic. 

His lips tugged into a wistful smile. He hoped to visit the country someday. He heard how beautiful it was, and he wasn’t going to pass up on gazing at rich, scenic landscapes. 

An intense aroma wafted in the air while the coffee filled the cup. Tsuna made sure the crema wasn’t too thick or thin; the fragrant, reddish-brown froth rested on top of the espresso nicely. After putting on a lid, he quickly walked back to the counter where the man browsed through a magazine. 

Tsuna got a quick glimpse of what he was reading and smiled. “Are you a fan of Skull?”

The man jumped before placing the magazine back on the rack. “Are you?”

“I don’t have much time to watch TV,” Tsuna said, ringing up the register, “but I see some stuff sometimes when I get the time. I can’t remember the show’s name, but I remember him riding a motorcycle on a broken bridge. I don’t know how he managed to do that, but it was amazing!”

The man muttered something under his breath Tsuna tilted his head. “I’m sorry?” 

“Devil’s Ridge. That was the drama.”

“Oh. You’re a fan!”

“I guess.” 

Tsuna smiled when he took the man’s cash and counted the change. “I wish I could do some of the things he does, but I’d probably be too terrified. Although, I hope he’s careful and doesn’t push himself too much. He’s only human after all. It’d be terrible if he got hurt.” He handed the man his change who just stared at him. Tsuna frowned. “Is everything okay, sir?” 

“You can keep it.” 

Tsuna blinked when the man grabbed his bag and coffee. He paused at the door when Tsuna said, “Thank you for choosing Tanaka Mart. Have a nice day!” 

Tsuna didn’t miss the man’s violet eyes crinkle slightly.

“Thanks. You, too.”


“Hahi! Tsuna, you look terrible!” 

The brunet barely had time to blink when Haru threw her arms around his neck. He struggled under her unexpected weight but hugged back nonetheless. 

“Good morning, Haru,” he said, smiling tiredly. 

She pulled back with a frown. “Tsuna, you lost weight. Are you eating at all?” She looked down at I-pin and Lambo. “Is he?” 

“No,” the children said innocently. 

Tsuna groaned when Haru glared at him. “I ate some pancakes with them this morning.” 

“Pancakes aren’t enough! You need meals! Protein, fat, calcium!” 

“Big Brother was working last night,” I-pin said, as if that was the most disappointing thing in the world.

“He came back in the morning, Haru-nee-chan,” Lambo said, munching on some chips. 

Tsuna snatched the bag out of the boy’s hands and ignored his indignant shout. “No junk food in the morning. Come on, Lambo. You need to finish your breakfast.”

“I want chips, Tsuna-nii!” 

The brunet sighed. “It’s not healthy, Lambo. You can eat them later.”

Lambo promptly wilted. I-pin snickered and poked his cheek. Tsuna, feeling terrible for causing the disheartened look on the boy’s face, reached out to pick him up. He grunted from the boy’s weight. He was certainly growing and getting heavier. Still, Tsuna managed to keep him up. 

“I’m sorry, Lambo,” Tsuna said, rubbing the boy’s back. “Come on. You want more grape juice?” 

Lambo brightened up immediately. “Okay!” 

Haru sighed, following them to the dining table. “You spoil them too much, Tsuna.”

I-pin nodded. “And Big Brother needs to sleep.” 

Tsuna placed Lambo down on his chair and smiled when the boy grinned up at him. “I’m fine.” 

Haru pulled back a chair and huffed. “No, you’re not. Why were you working last night? You don’t work Thursday nights.”

“I was filling in for a coworker,” Tsuna said, pouring grape juice in Lambo’s cup. “It’s a one-time thing, Haru.” 

His friend rolled her eyes. “No, it isn’t. You filled in a lot before, Tsuna. You need to rest. You’re going to end up hurting yourself.” 

“I’m fine,” Tsuna said, his voice loud in the stunned silence. He ran a hand through his hair and sighed. “I’m sorry. I…” 

I-pin stood up from her seat and hugged his waist firmly, burying her face in his shirt. He still didn’t change out of it since yesterday. 

“Big Brother,” I-pin said, her Mandarin soft, “it’s okay.” Her grip tightened. “You should rest. Please?” 

Lambo looked up at him with teary eyes. “Tsuna-nii, I’m sorry. I’ll be good. Don’t get angry at me, please?” 

Tsuna sighed before smiling wearily. He ruffled both of their hair affectionately. “I’m sorry. It’s not your fault, Lambo. I’m just a bit tired.” 

Haru snorted. “A bit tired? Tsuna, look in the mirror.” 

The brunet scowled at her but all she did was coo mockingly and pinch his cheeks. He swatted her manicured hand away, feeling even more irritated but too tired to say anything. 

Haru laughed. “You don’t scare me, Tsuna. Come on.” She stood up and gripped his arm firmly. “You need to sleep.” 

Tsuna groaned. “Haru, please. I can’t. I have work later.” 

“Yeah, at twelve. Last time I checked it’s still eight in the morning. Come on. Help me, guys.” 

Tsuna grumbled under his breath while the three of them dragged him to the bedroom. His body barely protested when Haru nearly shoved him down on his futon. 

“I’m fine…” 

Rolling her eyes, Haru pulled his orange blanket over him. “Yeah, yeah. I’ll wake you up, Tsuna. Just go to sleep.” 

Tsuna could feel his eyes failing him as his body sagged underneath the warm sheets. “Your album…” 

Haru huffed, though her brown eyes softened. “I know. Don’t worry about it.” 

“Just for an hour…” 

“Sleep, Tsuna.” 

I-pin kissed his cheek while Lambo patted his blanket gently. Tsuna could see them look at him with worry through his hazy vision. Whispers and the soft pitter-patter of feet sounded distantly in the background, and he could vaguely hear the door creak when it closed. The lonely ballad from last night echoed gently in his ears. He didn’t know why but it was comforting… 

Tsuna couldn’t help but sigh and surrender himself to sleep. 


Haru thankfully woke him up in time before his shift. 

She nearly cackled when he yawned and quickly ushered him to the dining table. He did feel refreshed from the nap though, but he didn’t say it out loud after she pinched his cheeks again. She sat him down and made sure he ate before he left. Haru had cooked him a full meal with a bowl of rice, small fish, miso soup, and some pickled radish. 

“Eat some more, Tsuna-nii,” Lambo said, placing a small piece of fish in his nearly empty bowl. 

“I’m fine, Lambo,” Tsuna said through a mouthful of rice. 

“Drink this, Big Brother,” I-pin said, handing him a cup of water. 

Tsuna sipped the water and gave the girl a grateful smile. “Thanks, I-pin.” 

He glanced at the clock again before Haru huffed. “Tsuna, you have time. Stop worrying and just eat.” 

Tsuna shrugged. “Sorry. I’m just making sure. Thank you, you know, for everything, Haru.” 

Haru grinned. “Of course! Someone has to make sure you don’t waste away!” She pointed at her copy of the new Decimo album that Tsuna had bought her. “And thank you for this! I’m so jealous! I wish I could’ve went. I-pin told me all about it!” She wriggled her brows. “Seems like you had a lot of fun.” 

“We did. They were very nice.”

Tsuna felt wary at the gleam in his friend’s eyes. That usually spelled trouble.

“Oh? Only nice?” 

“Yes…?” 

Haru giggled. “I heard some interesting things from I-pin. Like how Yamamoto gave you a free copy and Mukuro actually signing it. You do know that Mukuro never signs anything himself, right?” 

Tsuna rolled his eyes. “They were just being nice, Haru. I’m sure they do that for all of their fans.” 

“Did you not hear what I just said, Tsuna? Mukuro never signs anything himself and they don’t give free albums away so generously—well, I guess Ryohei does. He’s actually a lot nicer than Yamamoto.” 

Tsuna sighed. “What’s your point?” 

Haru shook her head in disbelief. “You’re hopeless.” 

I-pin nodded. “Big Brother is hopeless.” 

Tsuna munched on a pickled radish, his brow twitching. Why were they being so difficult about some simple fan service? He thought that was how most idol-meets functioned. “How did your meeting go?” 

Haru made a ridiculous pose that made the children giggle. “It went perfectly, of course! The representative was from Vongola and asked me to help design some concepts for one of their newer groups before they debut.” 

I-pin brightened. “Really? So, Big Sister is going to work at Vongola?” 

Haru nodded. “Yup! They signed me for half a year but it’s still a lot of money and I’ll be able to make connections there. I can still work from home and send them stuff, but I’ll have to go to Tokyo some time later to meet them.” 

Tsuna smiled. “That’s great, Haru! I’m happy for you!” 

“Thank you!” Haru grabbed his empty bowl and went to fill it up with more rice. “Here. You need some more fat on you, Tsuna.” 

Tsuna frowned. “I’m okay, Haru. You don’t have t—”

“If you faint at work, you’re never going to forgive yourself. And you have time.” 

Tsuna just grumbled under his breath when she placed the bowl of rice in front of him. He smiled though when Lambo placed another piece of fish on top of it and grinned sweetly. 

“Eat a lot, Tsuna-nii, so you can be strong like Lambo!” 

The brunet nodded, feeling more relaxed and content than he ever did in weeks. “Okay.” 


Even though it took twenty minutes to arrive at the restaurant with ten minutes left to spare until his shift, Tsuna couldn’t help but feel anxious. He perked up when he saw road block signs on some streets for a photo shooting. Namimori was rarely used for any setting and it seemed pretty huge, too. Some girls lingered around the area, trying to get a peek. 

Tsuna’s musings vanished when the bus stopped across Kurokawa Cuisine. He waited impatiently for the traffic signal to change and dashed to the large yakiniku restaurant. The bell tinkled when he opened the door, and the heavy, smoky scent of grilled meat wafted in his nose. The restaurant was pretty big and had several tables and customers to boot. Bamboo pots enhanced the traditional backdrop while the loud, excited chatter meshed warmly in the air. 

Irasshaimase!” a bright voice said. “Oh, Tsuna-kun, you’re early!” [Welcome!]

Tsuna smiled. “Hello, Rin-san. I hope I’m not too early.” 

The waitress shook her head, her dyed blonde hair swishing with the motion. “Nope, it’s fine! Oh, Kurokawa-san asked for you when you came in. She’s in her office.” 

Tsuna widened his eyes. “Am I in trouble?” 

Rin shrugged. “She didn’t seem angry or anything.” 

Sumimasen!” a man shouted from across the room. [Excuse me!] 

Hai!” Rin called back. “I’m sure you’ll be fine, Tsuna-kun!” [Yes!] 

The brunet nodded and watched her dash to the customer’s table. Tsuna’s breathing faltered slightly when he walked towards the back of the restaurant. Hana was a no-nonsense manager with a nasty temper if anything went wrong; however, she could be nice in her own way and gave very generous bonuses around the holidays. 

She was also the same age as him but already running her family’s restaurant whenever her parents weren’t around. They had been classmates in their school years, but never really talked until a year ago when Tsuna found a hiring sign on the restaurant window. Plus, she was still attending Kyoto University, which was admirable. Tsuna had nothing but respect for her.

He tried to remember if he screwed up somehow recently. There was one time he came late, but Fuuta was sick that day and he was terrified beyond belief when the boy’s fever never went down. He winced. There was also yesterday with the fan signing event. Hana had only responded with a curt, “Okay”, before hanging up on him. 

After he quickly changed into his uniform, Tsuna headed to Hana’s office. Two voices spoke behind the closed door, but he couldn’t make out what they were saying. There was a laugh here and there, which made Tsuna relax a bit. Maybe he wasn’t in trouble. Hopefully. 

He knocked and opened the door when he heard a muffled, “Come in.” 

Tsuna immediately bowed in greeting. “Good afternoon, Kurokawa-san. Rin-san said you called for me.” 

“You’re early,” Hana said, leaning against her desk. “That works out actually. Sawada, this is Sasagawa Kyoko. She’s a good friend of mine.” 

Tsuna recognized the other woman from some TV advertisements he saw in passing. She was beautiful with a slender frame and long golden-brown hair tied back in a ponytail. She wore a pair of casual blue jeans and a white sweater with the words “Believe” in big, bold letters. 

There was also something else familiar about her. Sasagawa… 

“Do you happen to be Sasagawa Ryohei’s sister?” Tsuna blurted out. His cheeks felt hot when he realized what he just said. “I apologize, Sasagawa-san. That was very rude of me.” 

The model just laughed. “I didn’t know you hired such adorable waiters, Hana-chan.” 

Tsuna blushed at the unexpected compliment while Hana rolled her eyes. “Don’t do anything dumb and drive him away, Kyoko. He’s the only competent monkey around here.” 

Kyoko frowned. “This isn’t the zoo, Hana-chan, and you should really stop calling people monkeys. It’s very rude.” 

Hana just huffed before looking at Tsuna with stern gray eyes. “Sawada, I’m going to assign you to one of the private party rooms. We have special guests today and I expect you to give them the best service we have to offer.” 

The brunet let out a small sigh of relief. So, he wasn’t in trouble at all—good. 

“And you say I’m the one driving him away,” Kyoko said, pouting.

“He’s the only one who won’t screw up serving them,” Hana said, ignoring the other’s childish attitude. “I’m pretty sure he doesn’t know who they are either. He seriously lives under a rock.” 

Tsuna tried hard not to wince. It wasn’t a mean comment or anything, but…Yeah, he might live under a rock but that didn’t mean he was ignorant… 

Kyoko looked at Tsuna curiously. The brunet fidgeted under her gaze before she beamed. “You’ll be perfect! What’s your name?” 

“S—Sawada Tsunayoshi,” Tsuna said, trying to keep a straight face. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Sasagawa-san.” 

The model waved her hand. “No need to be formal, Tsuna-kun! Call me Kyoko. And yes, Ryo-nii is my brother.” Tsuna jumped when she led him out the door. “Come on. I’ll show you the way. Thank you, Hana-chan!”

“Just don’t cause any trouble,” Hana said with less heat. “Sawada, don’t mess this up. And don’t tell anyone!” 

“Yes, ma’am!” Tsuna said before closing the door. He turned to a smiling Kyoko and tilted his head. “Who will I be serving, Sasagawa-san? Are they friends of yours?” 

Kyoko smiled even more mysteriously as they walked further back to where the private rooms were. The customers’ chatter behind them became muffled by the thick, wooden walls. “Well, yes. They are. And please, call me Kyoko, Tsuna-kun.” 

Tsuna chewed on his lip. “It would be impolite of me to address you in any personal manner, Sasagawa-san. I hope you’re not offended.” She looked at him with such heartbreaking sadness that Tsuna quickly said, “But I can call you Kyoko-san if you insist.” 

She brightened instantly and Tsuna wondered if it was all just a fluke. “Thank you, Tsuna-kun! That means a lot to me!” 

As they approached the room, loud laughter and shouts were muffled by the closed door. Kyoko sighed. “Brace yourself, Tsuna-kun.” 

Tsuna widened his eyes when he heard a long string of curses from the other side. “Who exactly am I serving, Sasag—Kyoko-san?” 

Kyoko beamed. “Primo. Well, some of them. Don’t worry! They won’t bite, Tsuna-kun.”


A small hush fell over the rowdy bunch when Tsuna slid the door open. 

He quickly assessed the room, satisfied to see nothing broken. It was large and held a long table with a grill in the center. The lights cast a warm, hearty glow on the brown walls and maroon drapes covered the windows. A few bamboo pots in the corners were still standing. 

Tsuna entered the room and bowed. “Good afternoon. My name is Sawada Tsunayoshi and I will be your designated server for the day. Have you finished going over the menu yet?” 

He took a brief moment to look closer at the handsome men in front of him. They were all wearing caps, hoodies, and sweaters. He could see the resemblance they bore to some of the Decimo members. 

One had black hair, almost blue, under a black cap and cheerful eyes, reminding Tsuna of Takeshi. The second one had chin-length red hair with darker red eyes; a flame-like tattoo stretched across the right side of his face and Tsuna had no doubt that he was related to Gokudera. The third man had dark brown hair and honey-colored eyes; the white bandage over his nose was a dead giveaway that he was Ryohei’s and Kyoko’s brother. The last one had a white cap placed firmly on his head, but Tsuna could see tufts of blond hair underneath and kind blue eyes. 

For a second, he thought he was looking into a mirror. They looked similar, but still different. The blond man was much better-looking than he was, with a strong jaw and elegant features. He held himself with such poise that Tsuna felt almost inferior to be in his presence. 

“You know him, Giotto?” the red-head said, raising a brow. “Is there a lost brother I never heard about? He actually kind of looks like you. It’s creeping me out.” 

Tsuna flushed but managed to keep a polite tone. “I don’t know who Giotto-san is, sir. I assure you that there is no blood relation between us if that’s what you mean.” 

The silence after was deafening. 

“Wait, you don’t know who Giotto is? This.” The blond man next to him let out an indignant cry when he snatched his cap off. “This guy is Giotto.”

“G, give that back!” 

Tsuna was really tired of people voicing out their disbeliefs at this point. Okay, fine, he lived under a rock. So, what? He took a deep breath and spoke in a steady voice, “I apologize if that offends you, sir.” 

Kyoko patted his shoulder reassuringly. “This is why Hana-chan chose Tsuna-kun.”

Understanding briefly flashed in the men’s eyes then, but G still looked like he was having a midlife crisis. Tsuna wouldn’t be lying if his intense stare unnerved him a bit. 

“That was very impolite, G,” the Takeshi-look alike said. “I apologize, Sawada-san. My friend can be quite tactless, but he doesn’t mean any harm.” 

“I fucking dare you to say that again, Asari.” 

Asari just smiled. “You’re very impolite, G, and—” 

“Guys,” Giotto said, “stop. I’m really sorry, Sawada-san. I didn’t mean to offend you. G just doesn’t know when to keep his mouth shut sometimes.” 

“Hey!” 

Tsuna just nodded; he dealt with worse customers before. “I’m not offended at all, sir. Please don’t worry about me.” 

Giotto looked hesitant but let the matter rest. He quickly kicked G’s leg under the table and, ignoring the red-head’s hiss, addressed Kyoko’s brother, “What do you recommend, Knuckle?”

“The Kurokawa Special Selection,” Kyoko’s brother said, grinning. “It’s the ultimate course and I think it’ll be enough for all of us.” 

Kyoko nodded as she sat down next to her brother. “The meat here’s really good, Giotto-nii. You can order some other stuff, too.”

“Is there anything less fattening?” G grumbled, shifting through the menu again. 

“I’d recommend the kuroge wagyu beef,” Tsuna said, shifting when all eyes turned to him. “We import it from the Miyazaki prefecture. It’s fresh and lean so it’s not too fat or rich. It’s a little pricey but worth it.” 

“I’ll get that then,” G grumbled, slamming the menu shut. 

“How much meat is in the special, Sawada-san?” Asari said. 

“That has several different arrays of meat,” Tsuna said. “It’s served with the more popular meat selection like galbi, gyutan, zabuton, and makura. I assure you that it’ll be enough for the five of you, sir.” 

Giotto smiled. “We’ll take that then.” 

Tsuna scribbled their orders in his notepad. “So, one order of kuroge wagyu beef and a Kurokawa Special Selection?” 

Knuckle nodded. “Yes. Thank you, Sawada-san.”

“You’re welcome, sir. Excuse me.” Tsuna squeezed in-between Giotto and G to get the grill started and blinked when Kyoko giggled behind her hand. Was something funny…? “Your orders will be here shortly. If there’s anything else you need, just press this button and I’ll be right back.” 

Asari nodded. “Thank you, Sawada-san.” 

Tsuna smiled. “You’re welcome.” 

He left the room with a bow, closing the door. When he relayed the orders to the kitchen, he made himself busy with other customers. He and Rin exchanged quick smiles when they passed each before dashing off to whatever customer shouted for their attention. 

Getting a pager buzz from the kitchen, Tsuna rushed over there to relay another order and deliver Primo’s orders. He thanked the chef before heading back to the private area. Loud laughter sounded from the group's room, making Tsuna smile. Even if they were famous idols, Primo was human after all. They deserved to enjoy the simple luxuries in life, and he’d do his best to ensure it while they were here.

Tsuna managed to open the door and carry the trays inside the room. “Your orders are here.” 

Giotto blinked. “That was fast.” 

Tsuna beamed, setting the trays down. “We only provide the best, sir.” 

Amusement twinkled in the man’s eyes, and Tsuna had a sudden sense of déjà vu wash over him. The men immediately jumped on the meat, placing them on the grill and letting them sizzle. Asari was much more patient than the rest, expertly flipping the meat over in short intervals so they wouldn’t overcook. The smell of seasoned meat flooded the air. 

“Thank you, Tsuna-kun!” Kyoko said. “Why don’t you join us? We have plenty more to go around twice.” 

The brunet shook his head. “Oh no, Kyoko-san! I have to go back to work. Thank you for the offer.” He bowed. “Please let me know if there’s anything else you need. Enjoy your meal!” 

He quickly left and walked to the front of the restaurant when a white blur rushed past him. Tsuna barely had the time to react when someone jostled his shoulder, nearly making him fall. 

“What the hell?” another waiter said. “Look where you’re fucking going! Are you blind?” 

Tsuna pursed his lips but didn’t lash back at him. Akiyama looked tenser than usual, even though he was always in a bad mood. 

“I’m sorry, Akiyama-kun,” Tsuna said, straightening himself. “Are you going to the back to smoke?”

“What the hell do you think?” 

“I just want to make sure you don’t disturb the private rooms. There a—” 

Tsuna froze when Akiyama slammed his hand against the wall, trapping him in. He widened his eyes when the taller teen loomed over him, casting a large shadow on his smaller figure. 

Don’t tell me what to do.” 

“It…won’t look good on the restaurant, Akiyama-kun. You need to calm down before someone sees y—”

Tsuna gasped when Akiyama raised his fist. Pressing himself against the wall, Tsuna could only close his eyes and brace himself. A sudden breeze brushed his face. There was no impact. He looked up, wide-eyed, to see another tall figure standing in front of him. All he could see was a strong back and Akiyama’s fist in the man’s hand. 

“I suggest you walk away,” Knuckle said, his voice firm. 

Akiyama just snatched his hand away, gritting his teeth. He glared at Tsuna before turning away and clicking his tongue. Hana’s office door slammed open then, making the teen flinch. She looked at them once before jerking her head towards her office. 

“Get in, Akiyama.” 

The waiter visibly paled before stiffly following her order. Hana gave Knuckle and Tsuna one more look, then closed her door with a click. Knuckle sighed in relief and looked down at Tsuna with worry. 

“Are you alright? Thank God, I was passing by just in time.” 

Tsuna bowed, smiling sheepishly. “Thank you for helping me, Knuckle-san.” 

Knuckle scowled towards the direction of Hana’s office. “What a terrible young man.”

Tsuna shuffled on his feet. “Well, Akiyama-kun is never in a good mood. He’s only a high school student and has it pretty rough at home.” 

Knuckle looked at him skeptically. “Are you justifying him trying to hit you, Sawada-san?” 

“Oh no. I’m only saying that I understand where his anger is coming from.” Tsuna’s brows furrowed. “He never lashed out like that before though. I hope he’s okay.”

He knew how stupid he sounded, but he found it selfish to have others waste their energy worrying about him. His priorities always flocked to others’ needs, so he could lessen their burden. There were times where that wasn’t the case, but he always tried to find the good in people. Haru had said it was only going to hurt him in the future, but he couldn’t help it. 

Knuckle’s eyes softened. “Sawada-san, no man lives without sin. There are some people who can be saved and some who can’t; there are those who want help and those who don’t. You’re not obligated to help those in need. You can’t save everyone.” 

Tsuna didn’t—couldn’t—look away from the man’s eyes. It felt as if he was looking at a higher divinity. Knuckle’s unexpected preaching also caught him off guard. Tsuna could only assume that he was a devoted man of religion. He could respect that, but that didn’t mean he followed it. 

Straightening his shoulders, Tsuna said, “I would still do it.”

Knuckle quirked a brow. Tsuna suddenly realized how close they were; the man’s spicy scent drifted in his nose. Strangely, he didn’t find it unpleasant. There was a hint of cardamom and lavender in the expensive cologne.

“Do what?” 

“I’ll try to save them. No matter the cost. Sometimes those who don’t seek for salvation are the ones asking for help—it's just that no one is there to listen.” 

A heavy silence hung between them, their gazes not breaking away from each another. The restaurant’s buzzing chatter and the clinking dishes in the kitchen echoed faintly around them, merely just white noise. It slowly occurred to Tsuna that he was talking boldly—too boldly—to a customer, a special customer nonetheless who was an idol. He could imagine his body mutilated and abandoned in a dumpster if the fans got a wind of this; unconsciously, he shivered. 

A throaty, warm laugh suddenly boomed in the air. Tsuna blinked when Knuckle rubbed the back of his head sheepishly. 

“I apologize, Sawada-san,” he said, bowing his head a bit. “I have the tendency to preach at inappropriate times. Please do forgive me. I didn’t mean to make you feel uncomfortable.” 

Tsuna laughed gently. “It’s okay, Knuckle-san. It was rather enlightening. I enjoyed it.”

Knuckle brightened a bit. “Really? My friends think I can be very overbearing sometimes.”

Tsuna shrugged, realizing too late how comfortable and informal he was with a customer. “Maybe they need some enlightening, too.” 

Knuckle laughed again, and Tsuna thought it made him look handsomer. 

“I believe so, too.” 

A pair of footsteps suddenly drew close from their left. Tsuna didn’t think twice to reach over Knuckle’s broad shoulders and flip his hoodie over his surprised face. The brunet merely smiled politely while bowing towards a male customer who walked by. 

“Kurokawa-san said to keep you all a big secret from the others. I apologize for being rude.”

Knuckle’s lips twitched into a smile. “Thank you, Sawada-san.” 

Tsuna smiled back. “You’re welcome, Knuckle-san!” 


Primo snuck through the back entrance after they finished eating, careful not to be caught by the public eye.

Tsuna followed them all the way out while Kyoko skipped by his side. He bowed in farewell towards the group. “Thank you for coming to Kurokawa Cuisine. We hope you enjoyed your stay here.” 

Asari nodded. “The meat was top-quality. I might bring Takeshi here when I get the chance.” 

Giotto smiled. “Thank you, Sawada-san. It was delicious and you were a wonderful server.” 

Tsuna blushed at the compliment. “Thank you, sir.” 

Kyoko grinned. “Of course! Hana-chan knows the best people to hire!” She leaned in close to whisper, “Tsuna-kun, when are your shifts?” 

Tsuna drew back in surprise. “My…shifts?” 

Kyoko nodded. “Yes, so I can see you again! I’ll be in Namimori for a while and it’d be wonderful to get to know each other!” 

Tsuna could feel his cheeks burn. He leaned away from Kyoko’s too-close face—her eyes were lighter than Knuckle’s, he realized—until a large hand pushed her back. The familiar scent of spice and lavender was very faint in Tsuna’s nose. 

“Kyoko-chan,” Knuckle said, his brows slightly furrowed, “give him some space.” 

His sister just pouted. “I was only asking a question.” She perked up and dug in her bag for a piece of paper and pen. Tsuna blinked when she scribbled something on it, ripped it, and handed it to him. “Here! Text me, Tsuna-kun! We can talk more later.” 

“Kyoko-chan…”

“I’m just being nice, Shu-nii.” Kyoko smiled at Tsuna. “That’s my number, Tsuna-kun. Don’t lose it!” 

Tsuna widened his eyes when she placed it in his black apron’s pocket. “I can’t take this, Kyoko-san!” 

“Are you done yet?” G shouted from the driver’s seat. A pair of sunglasses rested on the bridge of his nose. “We’re going to be late!” 

Knuckle tugged his sister gently towards their shiny van. “Kyoko-chan, come on.”

The model waved cheerfully at Tsuna. “I hope to see you again, Tsuna-kun! It was wonderful meeting you!” 

Tsuna just weakly waved back while the van backed out of the parking lot and turned right onto the street. He took out the folded paper from his apron and stared at the numbers scribbled on it. This was so unprofessional, he thought despairingly. And probably illegal. Why would Kyoko give him her number? She was a model, a top-tier celebrity, someone who wouldn’t associate with somebody like him. 

Still, a warm feeling buzzed in his chest, the numbers repeating over and over in his head. He folded the note and tucked it away in his pocket. Peeking at his phone, Tsuna noted that it was late afternoon. Thankfully his shift was almost done. Maybe he could stop by the grocery to get some more chips for Lambo. 

“Oh, hey, it’s you!” 

Tsuna tensed. His gaze landed on a waving man standing a few feet away from him. He wore a dark blue hoodie, a face mask, and a white cap under the hood. Tsuna immediately smiled when he recognized those violet eyes. 

“Good afternoon,” he said, bowing in greeting.

The man from the convenience store laughed and waved him off. “Nah, no need to do that. I didn’t know you worked here, too.” 

Tsuna chuckled sheepishly. “Yeah, I have a lot of part-time jobs. What brings you here?” 

The man just shrugged. “I was just passing by.” He gestured at the plastic bag in his hands. “Had some errands to do.” 

He had bought the same assortment of drinks from last night. 

Tsuna couldn’t help but smile. “Ah, I see. What about the coffee for the asshole?” 

The other laughed sheepishly. “Yeah, about that—I was trying to look for a café or something to see if I can get one. You don’t happen to know a few places, right?” 

Tsuna looked back at the restaurant. “Well, I have an hour until my shift is over. There’s one nearby that I can take you to.” 

“Really? Awesome! You’re a lifesaver! I don’t mind waiting for you.” 

Tsuna suddenly stuck out his hand. “My name is Sawada Tsunayoshi. You can call me Tsuna.” He ducked his head shyly. “Sorry, it feels a little awkward that you don’t know my name and I don’t know yours.”

A cool, calloused hand suddenly gripped Tsuna's own. Violet eyes crinkled underneath the man’s hoodie. “You can call me Vasya.” 

Tsuna grinned. “Hello, Vasya. It’s nice to meet you properly this time.” 

“Likewise, Tsuna.”

Chapter Text

“Rule number one, is that you gotta have fun

But baby when you’re done, you gotta be the first to run.”

How to be a Heartbreaker by Marina and the Diamonds 


 

“Sawada, come with me.” 

Tsuna dutifully followed Hana to her office. He wiped some sweat from his forehead with a damp cloth before pocketing it in his apron. He’d been running around the restaurant like hell after Akiyama was pulled out of the shift, leaving them one waiter short. 

Orders were called out nonstop, and Tsuna’s feet ached from dashing all over the place. Granted the restaurant was always busy, it was still exhausting. He lost count of how many times he bumped into the other waiters, trying to balance the dishes in each hand. They all exchanged quick smiles to lessen the tension, but didn’t linger to share any words. 

Akiyama was sitting on a chair in the office with his shoulders slumped. Tsuna fought the urge to reach out and comfort him. The teen looked so distraught, it was like looking at himself. Tsuna opted to keep a polite distance instead, still wary of Akiyama’s temper. 

“You can sue him,” Hana said, tucking her short black hair behind her ear. 

Tsuna gaped. “S—Sue him?”

Akiyama tensed but didn’t look up once. Hana quirked a brow. “I already fired him. Assaulting anyone in my restaurant or elsewhere is a punishable offense. Against the law, Sawada. You know that.” 

Tsuna slightly winced. It kind of didn’t help that they were classmates in university, too. 

“Still,” he said slowly, “Akiyama-kun is already going through a difficult time.”

Hana sighed and massaged the bridge of her nose. “Sawada, you’re one of the most insufferable monkeys I’ve ever met.” Her eyes sharpened when they landed on Akiyama. “There are worse though.” 

Akiyama flinched. Taking pity on the boy, Tsuna said, “Lawyer fees are too much and sending him to prison would be a death sentence for his family, Kurokawa-san. Firing him is already enough punishment.” 

Hana’s brows furrowed, and for a second, Tsuna thought she might explode. Akiyama looked up at him with wide eyes, which looked both hopeful and disbelieving. More disbelieving though. Tsuna just gave him a tentative smile. 

“Akiyama, you have five minutes to get your stuff and leave,” Hana said, taking a deep breath. “Consider taking some anger management on the way out.”

The boy didn’t think twice. Bowing hastily, he scrambled out the door. A moment of silence hung between the two occupants in the room. Tsuna suddenly felt like he was in Professor Hoshino’s office again. His professor looked exactly like how Hana was looking at him: sharp eyes, firm lips, furrowed brows. 

Instead of saying “why the hell are you dropping out, Sawada?”, Hana said, “What the hell are you thinking?” 

Tsuna tried hard not to fidget. “I’m thinking about the future, Kurokawa-san.” 

“He was about to punch you.” 

“He didn’t though.”

“Because Knuckle happened to pass by.” 

“There’s also that…” 

Hana narrowed her eyes. “Don’t try to justify assault, Sawada. You’re better than that.” 

“Akiyama-kun has a family to support.” 

“And what about you? What would your siblings think if you were beaten up? How would you work? Who’s going to pay the bills then? Are you going to subject them to child labor? Don’t be ridiculous, Sawada.” 

Tsuna cringed. There was nothing he could say to that. Hana rarely pulled her punches, a style he both admired and loathed. 

“Firing him's already enough, Kurokawa-san,” he said again, a little wearily. “Just let it go. I don’t have the time, energy, or the money to bring the case to court anyways. The most he’ll get is possibly a fine.” 

Hana scoffed. “Your heart of gold is ridiculous.” 

Tsuna smiled wryly. “I thought it was my saving grace.”

“Get out before I throw something at you.” 

Stifling some laughter, he bowed. “Have a good evening, Kurokawa-san. I’ll see you tomorrow.” 

He really didn’t like the way Hana grabbed the large stapler from her desk and quickly left. After changing back into his orange hoodie and jeans, Tsuna grabbed his bag while tying his converse laces. He cursed when he nearly fell over. 

Vasya was at the same place outside, browsing through his phone, which looked like the latest model. Tsuna felt terrible for not letting him in but Hana would’ve made him order something if she saw him and the other man insisted that he liked the fresh air. 

“I’m sorry for making you wait,” Tsuna said, smiling apologetically. 

“Nah, it’s fine,” Vasya said, his eyes crinkling. “So, where to?”

Tsuna hoped he could see the man’s face. Was he self-conscious? Sick maybe? Did he get cold easily? It was a little chilly nowadays. Namimori was further up north in the Hyogo prefecture where it tended to snow a lot in the winter. Tsuna wouldn’t be surprised if it did in a few weeks’ time. 

“There’s Madam Latte,” he said, leading the way. “It’s not that far and has a nice selection of coffee.” 

“Lead the way.”


It took about fifteen minutes to walk to the café, but neither of them seemed to mind. 

“Is this your first time in Namimori?” 

Vasya nodded. “Yeah. I just came here yesterday.” He waved his arm in the air. “I like it! It’s a pretty cool place. Though I should get to actually exploring and looking around. Staying at the hotel all day isn’t the most comfortable thing in the world.” 

Tsuna smiled. “I’m glad. Namimori’s not really well-known, but it has its quirks.” 

Vasya’s eyes crinkled. “All small places are like that. Kind of like finding the diamond in the rough. I honestly don’t know if I’m using that phrase right. I went to Annecy a few months ago, which is really beautiful by the way—definitely recommended. It’s like Venice but well, French.” He laughed. “Oh, and there’s this one town in Switzerland called Morcote—did you know it has an arcade from the Middle Ages? Like, how the hell is that even possible? And the lake—holy shit, Lake Lugano is like one of the best places I’ve seen!” 

Tsuna couldn’t help but laugh while Vasya talked. He gestured wildly as he spoke, which was almost comical but endearing at the same time. He was like a small child, eager to please and entertain. 

It’s pretty cute, Tsuna thought, hiding a small smile behind his hand. 

“You must travel a lot.” 

Vasya shrugged. “Comes with the job. It gets tiring sometimes but it’s worth it.” He chuckled sheepishly. “Sorry, I talk a lot. Feel free to pitch in whenever.” 

Tsuna laughed. “It’s fine. I enjoy you talking, really. I don’t really have anything interesting to say. I live a pretty boring life.” 

“Oh, come on. I’m sure it’s not that boring.” 

“Between working and paying the bills, which seems more fun to you?”

Vasya rolled his eyes. “Okay, I guess that’s pretty boring. But hey, some people get off of filing their taxes.”

Tsuna wrinkled his nose. “Really?” 

Snickering, Vasya shrugged. “Whatever floats their boat. People can be into weird shit sometimes. Oh, I have a friend who likes dissecting dead animals." He leaned into whisper conspiratorially in Tsuna’s ear. “Between you and me, I’m pretty sure he got his hands on dead people, too.” 

Tsuna widened his eyes. “What?” 

Vasya nodded. “I’m 10,000% positive.” He raised his hand as if taking an oath. “Swear on my granny’s grave. Once my friends and I went out for a drink and I swear I saw him bring some woman to his car, which is just never a thing for him. He was pretty much dragging her, too. I asked him about it later but all he did was—Well, I’d rather not talk about it.” He shuddered. “Technically, that was the company’s car but all the better to pin it on them and not him, right? He can be a sneaky son of a bitch sometimes.” 

“Well,” Tsuna said, “they could’ve just been…acquainted that night?”

Vasya barked out into laughter. “Hell no! He can’t sweet-talk with anything! I’m pretty sure a tree would shrivel up and die before he’d even get a word out. Besides, I haven’t seen him date once while we worked together. All he cares about are his creepy experiments. I think he has some kind of legit underground lab or something at his place. I wouldn’t be surprised but that’d be really cool.” 

Tsuna sweat-dropped. “What exactly do you do, Vasya? To have friends like that…” 

Vasya puffed his chest. “I’m just an awesome jack-of-all-trades. Whatever it is, I can do it all!” 

Tsuna rolled his eyes, but smiled nonetheless. “Could you fix a broken sink?” 

Vasya scoffed. “Please, Tsuna, if you don’t know how to do that kind of stuff, you’re a goner. Give me something better to work with here.” 

Tsuna hummed contemplatively just to humor him. “How about building a house from scratch?” 

Vasya flexed his biceps, making Tsuna laugh. The man had a toned body, more like a runner’s build. He clearly worked out though. “That’s nothing!”

“Cooking a full-course meal?” 

“I can make some mean pancakes.” 

Tsuna laughed. “Okay. What about stocks?” 

Vasya tapped his head. “Stocks, schmocks—I can do it all in here. Whatever you want to invest it, run it by me and I guarantee that you’ll be set for life—1,000%.” 

Tsuna shook his head, grinning. “Alright, I give. You live up to your name, mister jack-of-all-trades.” 

“Of course! Remember it, Tsuna. You don’t know when you’ll need someone like me in your life.” 

“I’ll keep that in mind.” 

Soon, the café came into view. Its light brown canopy, decorated with cute teacups and pastries, stuck out amongst other stores. A nice flow of customers was already going in and out the door. 

“It’s over there,” Tsuna said, pointing at the café. 

“Cool. Looks busy.” 

Tsuna smiled. “Of course. It’s one of the more popular cafes around.” 

Before he could get the door, Vasya stepped forward and opened it with a dramatic bow. His eyes crinkled with an impish gleam. “After you.” 

Tsuna rolled his eyes, but his lips tugged into an amused smile nonetheless.


The pleasant aroma of coffee and pastries made Tsuna involuntarily sigh. Renovated three years ago to accommodate increasing customer demand, Madam Latte was a large café with several round tables arranged neatly in the warm space, and delicious pastries displayed tantalizingly at the counter. 

When they got on the long line, Tsuna noticed Vasya trying hard not to fidget from some of the customers’ stares. His guise drew a lot of curious attention and Tsuna resisted the urge to drag him out the door so he could breathe. 

“I’m sorry,” he said. “Is it too crowded?” 

Vasya blinked a couple of times, surprised that Tsuna was concerned with his discomfort. He shook his head. “Nah, it’s okay. It’s just coffee anyways. I hope it’s really good though.” He waved his free hand quickly. “Not that I don’t trust you or anything. I’m sure it’s fantastic.” 

Tsuna wanted to laugh at the man’s flustered state, but was too worried. He noted the way Vasya’s fingers clenched his bag of drinks tightly. 

“I think so,” he said, smiling comfortingly. “Don’t worry.” He paused. “Actually, I should’ve asked before—what happened with the coffee I made yesterday? Did your friend hate it?” 

Vasya suddenly laughed, which drew some irritated stares. “Oh, God! You should’ve seen his face. He didn’t say it—his ego’s so goddamn big, I swear—but I think he really liked it. Like, really, really liked it. Shit, it was hilarious. He looked so confused; I never saw him like that before. It was gold. Still threw some stuff at me though. Asshole needs to learn how to say thank you.” 

Tsuna widened his eyes. “What?” 

Vasya flinched. Tsuna took in a deep breath to calm down. Now wasn’t the time to lash out.

“Uh, forget I said that.” 

“I have really good memory, Vasya…” 

“Nice weather today, right?” 

“I should’ve spit in his drink.”

Vasya winced behind his mask. “Yeah, no. He can tell if you did anyways. He’s scary that way.” 

“Good.”

“Who are you and what have you done to my friend?”

Tsuna felt his cheeks turn a little hot. Friend… Was that what Vasya saw him as? It was a nice thought, even if they only met yesterday, and Tsuna really hoped that they were. Before he could say anything, they were already at the counter. 

“Yo, Tsuna!” the cashier said, grinning. 

Tsuna smiled back. “Shiro-senpai, how are you?” 

“I’m all sunshine and rainbows. Who’s your friend there?” 

“Ah.” Tsuna glanced at Vasya, unsure if he wanted to be outed. “He’s just visiting Namimori and wanted to get some good coffee. We happened to pass by. What did you want again?”

“A large double espresso,” Vasya said, not even looking at the menu. “Black. No cream or sugar.” 

Tsuna smiled sweetly. “You’re welcome to spit in it, Shiro-senpai.” 

Vasya coughed awkwardly behind his fist though his eyes slightly crinkled. 

Shiro whistled as he inputted the order. “Who’s the lucky guy?” He paused. “Or gal.” 

“Just an asshole,” Tsuna said, his voice still pleasant. 

Shiro nodded. “Gotcha. One large double espresso with a thick wad of my lovely spit coming right up.”

“Please don’t,” Vasya muttered, eyeing them warily. 

Tsuna stifled a snicker. “Maybe next time, Shiro-senpai.”

The cashier huffed but smiled nonetheless. “Yeesh, make up your mind, Tsuna.” He grabbed a large brown paper cup and scribbled on it before handing it to a passing barista. “Double espresso, Mio. Black with no room.”

“Got it!” the girl said, heading towards the machines.

Vasya slipped a bill on the counter. “Keep the change.” 

“Your order will be called over there, sir,” Shiro said, pointing down the counter. “Have a nice day!”

“Thanks.” 

Tsuna noticed the way Vasya glanced at one of the raspberry cheesecakes on display. Ah, perfect. When the man was out of earshot, Tsuna quickly slipped his own card in Shiro’s hand.

“Two slices of the raspberry cheesecake,” he said, “and a small Americano.” 

Shiro grinned. “No problem!” 

When Tsuna and Vasya left the café with their orders, the man looked curiously at his bag. Tsuna just smiled. 

“It’s for my siblings,” he said.

“You have siblings?” 

“Yes, two younger brothers and a younger sister.” 

“Yeesh, how do you manage?” 

Tsuna laughed. “I’m still alive so far. I guess that’s a good sign.” 

Vasya’s eyes crinkled. “Yeah, I think so, too.”


They walked around aimlessly for a little bit so Tsuna could point out some shops and restaurants Vasya could visit on his own time. 

Suddenly, a vibration from Vasya’s pocket caught their attention. 

“Shit,” he said, placing his phone against his ear. “Hello?” 

Tsuna winced at the loud voice from the other line. It sounded terrifyingly angry and he could only watch in concern when Vasya flinched. 

“I barely know this place,” he said, almost whining. “Cut me some slack, Lal.” He paused in his step. “Okay, okay, yeah. Okay. God, I get it. I’ll be there. Uh, ten minutes maybe? Okay, five. Three? You gotta be fucking kidding me. No! I didn’t”—He stared at his phone; the person had already hung up—“mean it…” 

Tsuna frowned. “Are you okay?” 

Vasya laughed sheepishly. “Yeah, just, you know, angry friend. I’m sorry, Tsuna. I should get back. I lost track of time. And don’t blame yourself! It’s not your fault! I really enjoyed hanging out with you!” 

Tsuna was torn. On one hand, he could let Vasya go then catch the bus home, but on the other hand, he wanted to drop Vasya off himself to make sure he was fine. The man wasn’t exactly doing a good job of hiding how anxious he was.

Besides, it was Tsuna’s fault in the first place… 

“Let me go with you,” he said suddenly.

Vasya blinked. “What?” 

Tsuna pursed his lips. “It was my fault for making you wait and waste a lot of time. I can vouch for you to your friends, if that’ll help. Besides, you don’t know Namimori that well and I’m sure they’d understand.” 

A mix of emotions briefly flashed in Vasya’s eyes. Tsuna didn’t have much trouble picking apart Vasya’s inner conflict. He was ridiculously easy to read, not that that was a bad thing. It was somewhat endearing, in a way. 

“I don’t know, Tsuna,” Vasya said slowly. “Really, it’s not your fault. I chose to wait for you anyways. This is normal.” 

“You’re not making it any better, Vasya,” Tsuna deadpanned. “I’ll make it really short.” His eyes softened. “I just don’t want you to get hurt.” 

Vasya groaned. “Really, it’s fine. I can handle it.” 

“I insist.” 

“You’re not going to let it go, are you?” 

“Vasya, the coffee’s just going to get colder.”

“…goddamn it.” 


Tsuna blinked a couple of times when Vasya led him to one of the road-blocked areas he saw on the way to work. 

Although, he shouldn’t be at this point, he thought dryly, his mind working overdrive with the caffeine’s help. He didn’t know why, but his gut was telling him to get used to it. He wasn’t sure what “it” was but he never ignored his uncanny intuition. 

He wouldn’t be surprised if Vasya was also famous. Now that he thought about, the man’s get-up suddenly made sense. Primo wore something similar to keep them hidden from the public eye. The subtle glances and the anxiety in crowded places—Tsuna suddenly felt stupid. Really stupid. He glanced at Vasya who seemed a bit more high-strung than usual and chewed on his lip uncertainly. 

“I’m sorry about all of this,” he said. “I’m here for you though.” 

Vasya jumped before shaking his head. “No, no, it’s okay, Tsuna.” His eyes softened. “Thanks, I guess. But, you know, there are some things you should know before we get there.” 

Tsuna took in a deep breath. “You don’t happen to be…famous, do you?” 

Vasaya widened his eyes. “I thought you lived under a rock.”

“Please stop saying that.” 

The other man leaned closer, curious. “So, which one do you think I am? I’m really famous, just saying.” 

Tsuna wrinkled his nose. “Are you serious? You’re going to make me guess who you are? Egotistical much?”

Vasya shrugged. “Why not?” His eyes shone with amusement. “I’m interested to hear what you’d say.” 

Kami, he was teasing him. Tsuna huffed and looked away. He usually liked having the upper-hand on people. It was better than being stepped on into the dirt or flailing around with no clue what was going on. Vasya even laughed at his expense. 

“You know, you look like a bunny.” 

Tsuna scowled. “No, I don't.”

“Maybe a kitten?” 

“I hate you.” 

Vasya had the audacity to poke his cheek. “You’re freakin’ adorable, you know that? Wow, your skin’s really soft. What do you use?” 

Tsuna felt his face growing hot. “S—Shut up. And I don’t use anything.” 

Vasya just laughed. “I could get used to this.” 

Tsuna kicked his shin for good measure. He gaped when Vasya barely flinched. “What are you, made out of steel?” 

“Didn’t you know? I’m Iron Man.”

“Ha, ha, you’re funny.” 

“I know. I’m a born comedian.” 

Tsuna snorted. “You’re ridiculous.”

“Ridiculously hilarious, yup. Sounds right.” 

Tsuna then noticed a crowd of people running around in the distance. Flashing lights and cameras caught his eye, nearly blinding him, even with their considerable distance. It looked like a photoshoot, a really big photoshoot. Behind them was a long, iron railing that overlooked the shimmering ocean; the sky was a beautiful mix of orange, yellow, and blue that cast an almost ethereal glow on the waters. The shouts and chatter became louder as they walked closer, and the gentle sea breeze caressed Tsuna’s cheek so tenderly he nearly sighed. 

“This became one of my favorite places,” Vasya said softly. “I’m glad we came here.” 

Smiling, Tsuna said, “Midori Sea’s really beautiful, especially at sunset. It’s better at dawn though when it’s empty. It’d be pretty cold but the sight’s worth it.” 

“Really? Maybe I’ll check it out.” 

“I can bring you there if you want. There’s a nice spot further down…” 

Vasya looked at him in surprise. “Really?” 

“That’s only if you want to,” Tsuna said quickly. “I know you’re a really busy person and—” 

“Sure.” 

Tsuna blinked. “I’m sorry?” 

Vasya shrugged. “It can’t hurt to sneak a peek. Well, it’s going to be hell waking up really early but I’ve been through worse. Why not?” 

Before Tsuna could say another word, an irritated shout interrupted them. 

“Skull, where were you?” A woman with a blonde bun and glasses marched towards them while waving a clipboard in the air. “You were supposed to be with Verde and Viper twenty minutes ago!” 

Tsuna looked at Vasya with wide eyes. “Skull? You’re Skull?” The conversation from last night hit him full-force then. He almost buried his face in his hands if he wasn’t carrying a cup of coffee and a bag of cake. “Kami…” 

The woman instantly zeroed in on him, her eyes indifferent. “Who are you? This place is off-limits. I’m sorry but I’m going to ask you to leave.” 

“Oregano, he’s a friend,” Vasya said, rolling his eyes. He shook the bag of drinks. “I got lost and he helped me back.” 

Oregano pursed her lips. “Ah, I see.” She sighed. “They should really stop sending you out like that. We have a snack station for a reason. Come on, you need to go to Rizona. She’s waiting for you.” 

Skull shook the bag of drinks again. “I need to deliver this though!”

Oregano rolled her eyes. “Later. We don’t have time.” 

“I can do it for you, Vasya,” Tsuna said, drawing attention to himself again. “The coffee will only get colder and I don’t think the as—um, your friend would like that.” 

Oregano regarded him suspiciously. “Are you crazy? Do you think I’d let you in?” 

“Hey, Tsuna’s not crazy!” Vasya said. 

“It was my fault he was late, ma’am,” Tsuna said quickly. “That’s why I came. I didn’t want his friends to misunderstand.” 

Oregano narrowed her eyes. She studied him for an unnerving second before fixing her glasses. “Skull—” 

“He’s the one who made Reborn’s coffee yesterday!” Vasya said. “Remember? Besides, he won’t do anything. He liv—” 

“If you say I live under a rock again, Vasya, I will throw one at you,” Tsuna deadpanned. 

Oregano’s lips twitched, but otherwise, her face remained stoic. “You picked up an interesting friend, Skull.” She glanced at her watch and sighed. “Alright. Go to Rizona now.” 

Vasya’s eyes crinkled. “Thanks, Oregano! I owe you!” 

The woman shooed him off with her hand. “Hurry up. I don’t want Lal on my ass again.” She groaned. “We’re so behind.”

Vasya handed her the bag of drinks and the cup of coffee. “Take care of Tsuna for me, okay?” 

“Just go.”

“Will you still be here?” Vasya said, a little hopefully. 

Tsuna smiled reassuringly. “I’ll wait for you. Don’t worry.”

Vasya relaxed before giving a cheery wave. “I’ll try to make it quick!” 

Tsuna shook his head. “Take your time.” 

“If anyone gives you trouble, let me know! Oregano, I meant it when I said to take care of him!” 

After Vasya left, Tsuna stood awkwardly under Oregano’s shrewd gaze. He honestly didn’t know how he got roped into this. Really, this shouldn’t be a common occurrence. 

“If you try to pull anything, I’ll make sure your life ends right then and there. Skull might vouch for you but that doesn’t mean anything to me.” 

Tsuna licked his lips. “Yes, ma’am.”

Oregano sighed, massaging the bridge of her nose. “Follow me.” 

They walked together in complete silence. Tsuna counted to ten three times in his head to calm his nerves; still, his eyes wandered as he took in his hectic surroundings. Several people yelled at each other from across small tents and dashed in and out of large makeup trailers. He saw a glimpse of a few models while he passed by, too. They were all pretty girls with light makeup and casual clothing.

“Here.” 

Tsuna jumped when Oregano smacked an empty name tag on his chest. It had staff labeled on top of it.

“It’ll be easier that way.”

“Thank you,” he mumbled, quickly falling into her step. 

“So, you made Reborn’s coffee.”

“Oh, um, yes, I did. That’s how I met Vasya.” 

“Call him Skull when you’re out. It won’t look good if people hear you saying his real name.”

“Ah, I’m sorry.”

Oregano looked at him strangely. “You really don't know who he is?” 

“Oh, well, I didn’t know he was Skull, but I do know who Skull is—kind of. I’ve seen him on TV sometimes when I get the chance.” Tsuna smiled sheepishly. “I’m not too familiar with celebrities…” 

Oregano hummed to herself. “That’s hard to believe.” 

Tsuna nodded. “Yes, I understand. It’s okay. I really did come for only Vas—Skull.” He frowned. “I hope you don’t mind me asking but is he…okay?” 

“He’s fine. He’s just easy to pick on by the others. Don’t worry. They don’t push it too far.” 

“The fact that it’s even happening is wrong in the first place,” Tsuna said, startling her. “He shouldn’t be picked on at all. It’s inexcusable and wrong.” 

“Thank you for your concern, however I suggest you don’t get yourself personally involved. Skull might consider you a friend, but that doesn’t mean anything to me.” 

“I understand you’re only performing your duties to ensure the group’s privacy and public face, but that doesn’t justify you letting one of the members’ suffer. It doesn’t make you any better than them.” 

Oregano narrowed her eyes. “I won’t repeat myself—what was it? Tsuna? Don’t try to meddle. You’re only going to dig yourself a deeper hole.” 

Tsuna didn’t back down though. He could tell she wasn’t angry; her eyes were less hard around the edges and her brows were simply raised in curiosity. 

“I’m not saying this as Skull’s fan, Oregano-san, I’m saying this as Vasya’s friend.” 

For a moment, they only stared at each other, both sides unwavering in the slightest. Finally, there was a crack. Oregano’s lips twitched into a small smile. 

“I can see why Skull likes you.” 

Tsuna relaxed a little, smiling shyly. “I like him, too. He’s a really good person. I hope I didn’t overstep my boundaries, Oregano-san. I apologize if I came off too rude. I just want to make sure he’s okay.” 

He jumped when Oregano suddenly ruffled his hair. He didn’t like the gleam in her eyes when she poked and prodded his cheeks though. 

“…soft hair…nice skin; a little dry…great eyes…”

Tsuna blushed before stepping away. “Oregano-san, what are you doing?” 

Oregano just pushed her glasses up her nose. “You look nice when you smile, Tsuna.” 

“Oh, um, thank you…?” 

“Have you ever considered modeling?” 

Where did that come from? 

“No…” 

“I believe you should. You have potential.” 

Tsuna smiled nervously. “Thank you but I’ll have to politely decline. I’m not interested.” 

Oregano hummed to herself before picking up her pace. Tsuna couldn’t stop the uneasy feeling churning in his stomach. He wanted to run and get the hell out of here, but he promised Vasya that he’d wait for him… 

They arrived at a large tent near another set. “Trinisette” was emblazed on one of the flaps in elegant font and some female models posed near the railings in front of a photographer. The name was familiar and it took Tsuna a while to realize that it was also a big entertainment company. It stood toe-to-toe with Vongola in the industry from what he knew. 

When Oregano slipped inside the tent, Tsuna stood outside, shifting a little when some staff members glanced at him. They didn’t stare for too long though. Probably thought he was a delivery boy or something. 

Oregano poked her head outside and looked at him expectantly. “Aren’t you coming inside?” 

Tsuna blinked. “Oh, um, if you insist. Is this really okay? I don’t want to bother you or anyone.” 

Oregano quirked a brow and there was a teasing edge in her voice. “You promised Skull you’d deliver the stuff, right?” 

Tsuna pursed his lips. “Yes…” 

He widened his eyes when she pinched his cheek gently. Her lips curved into a kinder smile. 

“You’re quite adorable, Tsuna. Seriously, you should consider modeling. You’re not exactly our type but we could probably work around it. I don’t know how Skull found you. Come on. They won’t bite.”

Tsuna regretted ever setting foot in that tent.


Inside the tent, the space was large but cluttered with several racks of clothing and makeup stands. There was a cot to the side and Tsuna felt an itch to fix the sheets because how in the world could anyone just walk past that mess? His gaze then landed on three handsome men sitting at a long table. 

One of them had spiky blond hair and ocean-blue eyes, which were trained on his phone. He wore a pair of cashmere sweatpants and a beige sweater that outlined his slim muscles. The man across from him had a black fedora over his spiky black hair and thin curly sideburns. He wore a white-collared shirt with the sleeves rolled up, revealing strong, tanned arms, and a pair of black slacks. The last man oddly looked like Hibari—actually, they looked the same eerily enough—but a lot less intimidating. He had long black hair in a braid and wore a solid white turtleneck sweater with a pair of red jeans. 

Tsuna must’ve stared too long because the Hibari-lookalike smiled kindly at him. 

“Hello,” he said. His voice wasn’t deep but soothing with a light tone. “Are you a new staff member?” 

All eyes snapped towards Tsuna; suddenly, he felt like he really did walk into a den of wolves. 

Oregano quickly gained their attention by dumping the bag of drinks on the table. “He’s Skull’s friend. And guys, seriously—stop sending him out like that. It’s messing up our schedule. We have a snack table for a reason. Use it.” 

The blond man snickered. “It’s the lackey’s job, kora. Besides, Reborn told him to go, too. Don’t look at me like that.” 

Tsuna glared at him. “Vas—Skull isn’t your lackey. Stop treating him like that.” 

Silence hung in the air. Tsuna ignored the men’s gazes as best as he could. The one with the fedora was the most intimidating, his eyes looking even darker if that was possible. Oregano handed the coffee to him and that was when Tsuna realized that the man was the assh—Reborn. 

Amusement flashed in the man’s eyes, as if he heard what Tsuna was thinking. That was…very unnerving and hopefully untrue. 

“Oregano, did you bring a fan, kora?” Colonello said, raising a brow. 

The woman sighed. “No. He really is Skull’s friend. Be nice.” She slightly smirked. “And he doesn’t know any of you. How nice is that? A fresh start for everyone.” 

Tsuna resisted the urge to sigh, opting to huffing lightly under his breath instead. 

Colonello scoffed. “You’re joking, kora. Nice prank, Oregano, but this is really stupid.” He flashed Tsuna a charming smile. “Everyone knows who I am.” 

“I’m sure they do,” Tsuna said dryly. 

The man’s jaw dropped. Tsuna had to admit though—it looked pretty funny.

“Wait, no. That’s impossible, kora. Are you an actor?” Colonello laughed a little too loudly. “Nice one, Oregano.” 

“As much as I’d like to stick around and watch,” Oregano said, “I have a schedule to get through. You don’t mind waiting here for a while, right? Skull will probably take half an hour until he’s done—if he’s lucky anyway.”s

Tsuna blinked. “Pardon? No, I shouldn—” 

“It’s okay. Don’t worry about it. Skull said to take care of you anyways.” Oregano was already halfway out the tent. Tsuna gaped. Was she really going to leave him just like that? “By the way, Tsuna was the one who made your coffee yesterday, Reborn. I’m sure you’d love to have a little chat about that.” 

“Oregano-s—” 

“Don’t worry.” Oregano winked unexpectedly. “Fon’s here so they won’t bite.” 

Tsuna watched helplessly when she left. He glanced at the men behind him, feeling just a tad overwhelmed. The Hibari-lookalike, who he assumed was Fon, smiled comfortingly. Okay, well, Tsuna guessed he looked nice enough. 

“Wait, you’re the one who made Reborn’s coffee yesterday, kora?” 

Colonello’s loud voice made him tense. Tsuna noticed that Reborn was also looking at him rather intently and wasn’t so sure if the attention was very welcoming.

“Colonello, you’re overwhelming him,” Fon said, pulling out a chair next to him. “You can sit here while you wait. We’re on a break at the moment. Your name is Tsuna, right?” 

Tsuna nodded as he sat down, placing the bag of cake by his feet. “Yes. And thank you.”

“You’re welcome. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Tsuna. My name is Fon.” 

Tsuna smiled. Fon was much nicer compared to the other men. Hopefully, he wasn’t another one of Vasya’s bullies. He didn’t seem like it, but Tsuna learned that he couldn’t always trust people with a kind face—a wolf in sheep’s clothing as the saying went. Although, he was absolutely certain Reborn and Colonello were the main culprits. 

“It’s very nice to meet you, too, Fon-san.” 

Fon chuckled. “Please, just Fon is fine.” 

“Hey, stop ignoring me, kora!” Colonello said, waving his hands. 

“I’m sorry, were you saying something?” Tsuna deadpanned. 

Colonello gaped again. Tsuna couldn’t help but smile when Fon laughed. However, he didn’t like how Reborn looked at him, like he was some kind of fresh meat. That was the look his bullies gave him before beating him into a pulp. Great.

“Don’t encourage the imposter, Fon!”

Fon smiled. “What do you mean, Colonello? All I see is an innocent boy.” 

Tsuna huffed. “I’m 20-years-old.” 

“You’re lying, kora,” Colonello said, his eyes wide. “You barely look legal. Are you sure?” 

Tsuna’s brow twitched. “Yes, I’m sure. Would you like to see my birth certificate for proof?” 

Colonello barked out into laughter. “Oh, I like you, kora.” He extended his hand. “I’m Colonello.”

“I got that the first time.”

Colonello pouted. “You’re so mean, kora.”

“That’s what happens if you treat my friends badly.” 

“Are you serious, kora? I thought Oregano was joking about you being Skull’s friend.” 

Tsuna looked at him in disbelief. “Yes. And I am Va—Skull’s friend. So, stop treating him like crap.” 

Colonello grinned. “Children shouldn’t say bad words, kora.”

Tsuna flushed. “I’m not a child.” 

The idol suddenly leaned in close until his face was inches away from Tsuna’s. “You know, you’re actually pretty cute when you’re not having a hissy fit, kora. You sure you’re Skull’s friend?” 

“Please get out of my face. I will punch you and claim self-defense.”

Before Colonello could respond, Fon pushed him away, giving Tsuna some space to finally breathe. He gave him a grateful smile, which the other man returned easily.

“This is not how you treat a guest, Colonello,” Fon said.

“He started it, kora!” 

“I didn’t start anything,” Tsuna said. “You’re the one acting like a child.” 

“See what I mean, kora?” 

Fon frowned disapprovingly. “All I see is you being rude.” 

Tsuna smiled. “Thank you, Fon-san. At least there’s one other adult in the room.”

“Reborn, do something, kora!” 

The said man just looked at him, unimpressed. “Don’t drag me into your problems.” 

Sipping his coffee, Reborn then slightly pursed his lips. Though the man didn’t say anything, Tsuna instantly understood the grimace. His own lips twitched upwards.

“Is something wrong?” he said innocently. 

Reborn looked at him with an unreadable gaze. “It’s cold.” 

“Pity. Skull sends his regards.”

Colonello coughed, nearly choking on his own sports rink. “Oh my God. Did you just—Did you just backtalk Reborn? Holy shit, why am I only meeting you now?” 

“I was only sending him Skull’s regards.” 

Colonello snickered. “Ah, this is gold, kora. Seriously, how are you Skull’s friend?”

Tsuna glared at him, satisfied to see him flinch. “I don’t know why you make Skull feel uncomfortable and I really don’t want to assume, but the way you’re treating him is terrible. He’s terrified of both of you—or all of you, I don’t know. Well, maybe except Fon-san because he seems too nice. So as his friend, I’m asking you to treat him like a human being, not some lackey.”

“Tsuna…” 

Vasya stood at the tent’s entrance, his eyes wide. Instead of his previous getup, he wore a gray wool cardigan over a beige shirt and black skinny jeans that was torn at the knees. His spiky purple hair was lightly tousled to give him a more casual look. Yeah, he was Skull alright. 

“Oh, Vasya,” Tsuna said, smiling. “Are you done?” 

“Yo, Skull,” Colonello said. “Interesting friend you got here, kora.” 

Tsuna glared at him. “I warned you.”

Colonello just stuck out his tongue. 

Tsuna blinked when Vasya gripped his wrist. “Vas—Skull?” 

“Come on, I’ll walk you out,” Vasya said tensely. 

“Get me another coffee, lackey,” Reborn said. “This is cold.” 

Tsuna glowered at him. “You have two functioning hands and I’m sure you’re smart enough to know which buttons to press on a coffee machine.” 

“Reborn, we have one right here,” Fon said, exasperated. “Please use it.” 

“Fon-san, you’re too good for them.”

Fon smiled. “Thank you, Tsuna.” 

Colonello huffed. “How come you treat Fon nicely, kora?” 

“Because he’s actually a decent human being around here.” 

Vasya tugged his hand more firmly, his brows furrowed. “Tsuna, come on.” 

“Oh, right. I’m sorry.” Tsuna bowed towards Fon. “It was nice meeting you, Fon-san. Have a good night.” 

Fon smiled. “You, too, Tsuna. I hope you get home safely.” 

“Thank you.” 

Colonello pouted. “Hey, where’s my goodbye, kora?” 

Tsuna just rolled his eyes, not even bothering to give him a response, and smiled when the blond man threw a fit behind him. Vasya led him out the photoshoot quietly, his hand never letting go of Tsuna’s wrist. Some staff members and models stared at them but no one engaged them in conversation. 

Tsuna chewed on his lip nervously. “Are you okay, Vas—Skull?” 

Vasya blinked. “Oh, yeah, I’m fine.” He winced. “Sorry, I didn’t know that Oregano left you with them. I told her to take care of you, not leave you with them. Well, I guess it was good that Fon was on break, too.” 

Tsuna shook his head. “It’s okay. I know she’s a very busy person. I’m sorry for, you know, disrupting everything.”

Vasya looked at him incredulously. “You’re not disrupting anything, Tsuna. It’s really okay.” 

They finally arrived at the same place they entered through before. The sky was much darker now, almost black. The bright lights from the photoshoot illuminated the dark streets, and the staff’s chatter were the only signs of life in the sleeping neighborhood.

“You actually waited for me,” Vasya said, his voice a little quiet. 

Tsuna tilted his head. “Of course. Why wouldn’t I? I promised you that I would.” 

Vasya rubbed the back of his head. “I thought you were going to leave right after, honestly.”

“Why would I do that?” 

Vasya shrugged. “I don’t know. I just thought you’d be overwhelmed, I guess.” 

Tsuna laughed gently. “It’s okay, Vasya. Don’t worry about me.” 

“Well, yeah, I guess. Um, so what do you think about them?” 

“Of who?” 

“You know, Reborn, Colonello, Fon.” 

Tsuna blinked as he watched Vasya fidget. His eyes looked anywhere but him, failing to look casual. Then, it sort of dawned on him. 

“Well, Fon-san is a very nice person,” he said, gauging Vasya’s reaction. “Colonello and Reborn seem like assholes though.” He smiled. “I can see why you don’t like them.” 

Vasya smiled slightly. “Really? Well, yeah, Fon’s a nice guy. Reborn and Colonello are demons, but you know that.” He faltered a bit. “They’re kind of cool though. I mean, Fon knows all these martial arts stuff, which is really awesome when you see them up close, and Colonello’s a really good dancer. Reborn—Well, Reborn’s on a whole league of his own.”

Tsuna gripped Vasya’s hand to make him stop talking. The man stared at their hands, wide-eyed. Without his face mask, Vasya looked so much more like a child. 

“Vasya,” he said, “I don’t care. I didn’t come for them. I came here for you. You’re my friend. Just because you think they’re better than you doesn’t mean that I’d think any less of you.” Tsuna smiled. “You’re perfectly fine just the way you are.” 

Vasya stared at him for a few minutes, his eyes practically glowing. “You’re…a really good friend, Tsuna.” 

Tsuna laughed softly. “I try.” 

“No, really. I’m happy that I met you. I hope…we can still be friends.” 

“Of course.” Tsuna suddenly frowned. The cakes… “Oh, um, I wanted to give you something before I left. I got you some raspberry cheesecake from the café, but I forgot it back at the tent.” He chewed on his lip. “I hope no one touched it.” 

“You bought me cake?” Vasya said, his eyes wide 

“Well, you looked like you wanted it and I felt bad for making you wait outside the restaurant.” Tsuna chuckled sheepishly. “I hope you like it, if none of them noticed it yet…” 

Vasya grinned. “Nah, Fon will probably think you forgot it anyways and keep it safe. Thanks, Tsuna, really. I mean it.” He gazed up at the sky. “Is it okay for you to go back home alone? It’s pretty late. Do you want me to call a cab for you?” 

Tsuna shook his head. “It’s fine. I can take the bus. The stop isn’t too far from here.” 

Vasya frowned. “Are you sure? I don’t mind calling a cab for you. It’s really no big deal.” 

“Namimori is very safe,” Tsuna said, smiling. “There’s not that many people around at night. Don’t worry about me! I’ll be fine.” 

Vasya still didn’t look convinced. He suddenly fished his phone from his pocket, unlocked the screen, and handed it to Tsuna. “Put in your number.” He flushed. “It’s so you can text me when you get back home. I can’t have you dying on me or anything!” 

Tsuna laughed. “Okay.” 

He typed in his number and gave the expensive phone back to Vasya, careful not to drop it. Vasya quickly shot him a text. A small tinkle of synthesized bells came from Tsuna’s pocket. 

testing 1 2 3  

He responded with “Affirmative” then saved the number under “Vasya”. “Will you still be working?” 

Vasya nodded. “Yeah, we’re behind schedule. I don’t know when we’ll finish but we’ll probably work through the night.”

Tsuna pursed his lips. “Don’t overwork yourself, okay? And if the assholes give you any more trouble, let me know. I’ll punch them for you.” 

Laughing, Vasya unexpectedly ruffled Tsuna’s hair with a coo. “My fluffy knight-in-shining- armor—you’re cute when you get all angry and violent like that.” 

“I will bite your hand off,” Tsuna deadpanned. 

Vasya raised his hands in mock-surrender but the grin never left his face. “Okay, okay, my bad.” 

Tsuna huffed. “I’ll see you around then?”

“Yeah! And you better text me when you get home! I don’t want to find your body in the dumpster tomorrow.” 

“Okay, okay. Good night, Vasya.” 

“Night, Tsuna! Get home safe, okay? Or else I’m hunting down the bus driver!” 

Laughing, Tsuna just waved and walked down the wide street. When he reached the end of the blocked road and the chatter faded softly behind him, Tsuna looked over his shoulder. Vasya was still there. 

Tsuna’s heart fluttered in his chest. He felt impossibly warm in that cold evening. 


Tsuna unlocked the door as quietly as he could, tiptoeing inside. The house was dark, except for the kitchen, where the light shone through the bedroom door on Fuuta’s sleeping face. Tsuna smiled as he slipped off his shoes and walked to the dining table where Haru slept at. 

Her sketchbooks and pencils were scattered across the surface. Pages were filled with various clothes sketches and drawings, some even stained with coffee. Tsuna slipped out the extra futon he kept for whenever she came over and set it up as quietly as he could in the living room. 

It was quiet aside from the light snores and breathing from Haru and the kids. Tsuna walked over and gently shook Haru’s shoulder. 

“Haru?” he whispered. “Haru, wake up. I made the futon for you. Your neck will get sore if you sleep like this.” 

Haru groaned lightly. “Tsuna, ‘s that you?” She yawned. “Welcome home…” 

Tsuna smiled. “Can you get up?” 

“’m tired…” 

“I know, but sleep on the futon. It’ll be more comfortable.” 

Haru sighed. “’kay.” 

Tsuna helped her stand then lead her to the spare mattress. He gently laid her down and pulled the thick blanket over her body. “Thank you for looking after them, Haru.”

“No prob’em, Tsuna,” Haru said, her eyes fluttering. “They were…really good…” 

“I’m glad. Sleep well, Haru.” 

“Night, Tsuna…”

She easily went back to sleep, her breathing slowly evening out. Tsuna smiled when he saw his siblings’ peaceful faces. Entering the bathroom, he took a quick shower to get rid of the grime and sweat from his body. Leaving the towel on his damp hair, Tsuna carefully treaded inside the kitchen with his phone in hand. 

He pulled up the chatroom with Vasya and quickly texted: Still alive. 

Not even a second passed by when his phone vibrated.

really?? i wont find you in the dumpster tomorrow right??  

Tsuna rolled his eyes. 

Yes, yes. I just took a shower. Still working?

yup. but we’re almost done thank god. im so HANGRY!!  

Tsuna stifled a laughter at the dog emoticons Vasya sent with the text. 

There’s not a lot of restaurants opened this late.

our hotel has some good food. oh and thanks for the cake! fon saved it for me, hehe.  

I’m glad! You should visit when I’m on my shift. 

awesome!! gtg now lal’s yelling at me again. night tsuna!  

Good night, Vasya.

Tsuna quickly sent a sleeping bunny emoticon and sighed, sagging in his seat. The fatigue really got to him and he had the morning shift tomorrow at the café. Wonderful…

Still, today wasn’t that bad.

Ah, right. He unfolded the piece of paper Kyoko gave him earlier that day. He chewed on his lip, unsure if this was really ethical or not. She looked so happy though…

With a sigh, he flipped his phone open again and keyed in her number. His thumb hovered over the number pad before he sent a quick message. 

Hello, Kyoko-san. This is Tsuna. I’m sorry if I woke you up.  

The speed of her response was terrifying. 

Tsuna-kun!!!! No worries~ you’re not bothering me at all~ How are you? (^v^)

I’m doing well, thank you. I hope you’re fine as well.  

Don’t be formal!! We’re not at the restaurant. And call me Kyoko-chan~  

Okay, Kyoko-chan. 

Ahh, that’s better!! By the way, Shu-nii says hello~ (*^▽^)/  

Tell Knuckle-san I said hi, too!  (*^▽^)/   

Kyaaa, I just want to pinch your cheeks~ Your bunnies are so cute!! When do you work at the restaurant, Tsuna-kun?  

I’ll be working tomorrow night from 4-8

Perfect! I’ll drop by around then~  

Tsuna blinked. Oh, you don’t have to. 

Noooo~ I want to see you again! Oh, I have to go to sleep now. I’ll talk to you later, Tsuna-kun~ Night night~

Good night, Kyoko-chan! Sweet dreams. 

You’re too precious, Tsuna-kun… o(;△;)o  

Tsuna wasn’t sure how to respond to that but Kyoko’s emoticons reminded him of Haru. He smiled. They’d probably be good friends if they met. 

Thank you, Kyoko-chan. Although, you should really go to sleep now.  

Yes, mother~ Night night for reals!!

Tsuna laughed, closing his phone. He leaned back against his chair and closed his eyes. For some reason, he felt a little less tired.

Chapter Text

“Jump in the terminal, let’s start the race.

‘Nothing good to do, just bored to death. Hey,

Can I take your hand and steal you away?’”

- World’s End Dancehall by Hatsune Miku and Megurine Luka


 

Tsuna woke up before his alarm went off, which was becoming a true testament to his paranoia. Ah, the joys of adulthood. 

Despite that, his body felt like lead, and he struggled to get up. Honestly, he was sorely tempted to snuggle deeper under his blankets but that wasn’t going to pay the rent next Tuesday. Sighing, he stared at the ceiling, thinking of nothing but everything at the same time. 

Not wanting to stay idle any longer (or he’d really go back to sleep), Tsuna got up as quietly as he could and carefully stepped over Fuuta’s legs. Lambo muttered something in his sleep before snoring again. Tsuna stifled a small chuckle while he left the room. Haru was already awake with two cups of coffee on the table. She smiled when he passed by. 

“Morning, Tsuna!” 

“Morning, Haru. I’m sorry for coming late last night.” 

Haru waved him off. “Don’t worry.” She grinned. “You’ll tell me later about it, right? I mean, it’s a little weird since you usually come home right away. Is there something I should know? A secret lover maybe?” 

Tsuna blushed. “H—Haru, don’t say that! And that’s not true!” 

“I don’t know, Tsuna. You can be pretty secretive sometimes.” 

“Since when?” 

“Since last night.” Haru leaned forward, waving Kyoko’s number in the air. Crap, he forgot to throw it away. “So, who’s the lucky girl—or guy?” 

Tsuna huffed before snatching the paper away and slamming the bathroom door shut. He ignored Haru’s cackle while he brushed his teeth. Rinsing his mouth with water, Tsuna stared at the number for a minute or two before he tore it into little pieces and flushed it down the toilet. Haru would’ve sniffed it out of the dumpster later with her uncanny skill in digging things out of him. Why she didn’t become a PI mind-boggled Tsuna; but then again, it was a good thing she didn’t. The world would never be ready for Detective Miura Haru. 

Straightening himself, Tsuna left the bathroom to see I-pin and Fuuta sitting at the table, both somewhat awake. They were early-risers compared to Lambo, who could probably sleep through six consecutive earthquakes without a care in the world. 

“Good morning, Tsuna-nii!” Fuuta said, smiling brightly. 

“Morning, Fuuta. I’m sorry, did I wake you?”

Fuuta shook his head. “No. I woke up by myself.” 

“You can go use the bathroom. It’s free.” 

Fuuta nodded and walked inside, closing the door behind him. Tsuna ruffled I-pin’s tousled hair and nuzzled her forehead. 

She smiled with a small yawn. “Good morning, Big Brother.”

“Morning, I-pin. I’ll make some breakfast, okay?” 

“Okay, Big Brother.” 

“While I do that, can you go wake up Lambo?” 

I-pin smiled mischievously. “I got it!” 

Tsuna didn’t know how she managed to wake up Lambo, but it always worked and he wasn’t about to question her methods. He watched her dash inside their bedroom and close the door. 

It was quiet, too quiet… 

Haru giggled. “You’re all adorable. Come on, tell me who the number belonged to. I won’t judge.” She wrinkled her nose. “Actually, if it’s Pantera, then no. She’s crazy. I don’t know how you managed to run into her, but I’m pretty sure the restraining order’s still in effect and I don’t think you’d have the money to bail me out.” 

At the mention of his ex-girlfriend, Tsuna widened his eyes. “No! It’s not her! Besides, she moved to Miyagi a long time ago, so we’re okay.” 

Haru narrowed her eyes. “For now. I wouldn’t be surprised if she did find you. She has some kind of weird radar out for you. It’s on par with your creepy gut feelings.” 

Tsuna sighed. “Don’t worry, Haru. It’s all in the past. She was just…really lonely.” 

“Loneliness doesn’t justify insane, Tsuna. She throws pinwheels with blades inside them. That’s crazy.” 

“If I tell you who the number came from, will you stop talking about her?” 

Haru immediately grinned with flowers, sparkles, and all. “Yes, do tell.” 

Tsuna sighed. He mulled over it for a moment, not really wanting to compromise Kyoko’s privacy. But Haru could go on and on about Pantera, who really wasn’t a pleasant topic he wanted to talk about right now (or ever).

“But you can’t tell anyone about it,” Tsuna said. 

Haru rolled her eyes. “What do you take me for, Tsuna? I know when to keep my mouth shut.” 

“Eight grade cultural assembly,” Tsuna deadpanned. 

Haru laughed sheepishly. “Yeah, okay, that wasn’t really my fault. Everyone loved you!" 

“Ninth grade class play.”

"But you looked so good in the dress, Tsuna! Okay, maybe spreading the pictures wasn’t the best idea but—” 

“Tenth grade New Year’s banquet.” 

“Your hair though! It’s so fluffy!” 

“End of the year onsen trip.”

“Okay, okay, Tsuna, you win.” Haru gravely raised her right hand and placed her left over her heart. “I, Miura Haru, solemnly swear to keep your secret lover a secret.”

“She’s not my lover!” 

Haru grinned mischievously. “Oh? So, it’s a she.”

Tsuna covered his face with his hands, utterly mortified. “She’s just a friend…I think.” 

“You think? No one just gives you their number as a courtesy.” Haru widened her eyes and leaned in to whisper, “Is it a call girl?” 

“What? No!” 

“Well, who is it?” 

Tsuna mumbled Kyoko’s name under his breath. 

“What? Speak up, Tsuna.”

“Kyoko-san.” 

“I’m sorry, but there’s like a gazillion Kyoko’s in Japan.” 

“The girl on that rice cooker commercial.” 

Haru widened her eyes and her jaw dropped. It would’ve been funny if Tsuna wasn’t feeling so miserable. “S—S—Sasagawa Kyoko?” 

“Yeah…” 

Tsuna yelped when Haru sat him down on the chair next to her and slid him his cup of coffee.

“Drink and tell me everything.”

“I need to make breakfast, Haru.” 

Huffing, Haru stood up. “I’ll do it. Now spill.” 

“Right now?”

“Yes, right now.”

“You don’t have to cook, Haru. I can”—Tsuna squeaked when she glared at him; she was already washing the rice—“Okay. Um…so, a lot of things happened yesterday.” 

Haru nodded, silently urging him on. Thankfully, before Tsuna could continue, Fuuta exited the bathroom. The boy tilted his head when he sat down next to Tsuna. 

“Tsuna-nii, are you okay?”

Tsuna smiled reassuringly. “I’m fine, Fuuta.” 

A loud cry suddenly came from the bedroom. Bursting out the door, Lambo ran towards Tsuna and buried his head in his stomach.

“Tsuna-nii, I-pin is being mean to me!” 

I-pin looked at Tsuna innocently from the doorway. “I’m not being mean, Big Brother. I just woke him up like you told me to.”

Sighing, Tsuna patted Lambo’s messy hair. “Lambo, why don’t you go use the bathroom? You have some drool on your chin.” 

Lambo blushed furiously before running to the restroom, not even bothering to close the door. The sound of running water cut through the silence. 

“Tsuna, continue,” Haru said. 

“Continue what, Big Sister?” I-pin said, sliding into the chair on Tsuna’s other side. 

Haru grinned. “Tsuna was just telling me how he met Sasagawa Kyoko yesterday.” 

Widening her eyes, I-pin slammed her hands on the table, making Tsuna jump. “What? When? How? Big Brother, please tell me, too!” 

Tsuna glanced at Fuuta helplessly who only shrugged. He sighed.  “I met her at the restaurant. Kurokawa-san called me in to serve some special guests…” 

I-pin leaned forward, her brows furrowed. “And then what happened, Big Brother?” 

“Kurokawa-san told me not to tell anyone…” 

“We won’t say anything!” Haru and I-pin said at the same time. 

Tsuna wanted to bash his head against the table. Actually, he preferred the wall, but then he’d have to pay for repairs, which he didn’t want to do… 

“Okay…but you have to promise.”

“We promise!” 

Tsuna sighed. “Okay, well, I served Kyoko-san and Primo so—” 

Primo?” 

Tsuna covered his ears. “Yes…Primo.” 

“Why didn’t you tell me?” Haru said, her eyes comically teary. “I didn’t know they were in Namimori! Actually,

“Big Brother, I want to see them! Can I meet them, too?” I-pin whined, tugging his sleeve. 

“Um, but it wasn’t everyone, I think. There were only four of them.” 

“Who?” Haru said. 

“There was Knuckle-san—” 

Haru squealed. “He’s Kyoko’s big brother so he’d definitely be there! He has really sexy abs like Ryohei and they even work out together! He’s also a really good rapper! I’d do anything to trade my life for yours right now, Tsuna!” 

Tsuna sweat-dropped at her unexpected passion. “Well, he was really nice.” 

Haru gaped at him. “You talked to him?” 

“I mean, I was serving them. I can’t telepathically speak with the customers, Haru…” 

Tsuna never mentioned the hallway incident. Haru would probably search high and low for Akiyama and beat him with an iron bat or something. And she was right. As much as he wanted to, Tsuna didn’t have the money to bail her out. 

“Tell us more, Big Brother! Who else was there?” 

“Asari-san—” 

Haru squealed again. “Asari is so handsome and talented! Did you know he can play six different instruments? He was just born for music. We’re so blessed to have him in this world. Kami protect that precious man forever.” 

“I…see.” 

“Yamamoto-san is just like Asari-san,” I-pin said brightly. “They’re always happy!”

“Why are you talking about Yamamoto?” Lambo said, exiting the bathroom. “Hey, I want to sit next to Tsuna-nii!” 

I-pin sniffed. “Well, too bad. If you woke up earlier, maybe you could’ve sat here.”

Lambo looked at Tsuna with teary eyes. “Tsuna-nii!” 

“You can sit here, Lambo,” Fuuta said, moving to another chair.

Lambo grinned, jumping on the seat. Tsuna smiled at Fuuta who returned the gesture. If he didn’t have Fuuta, he might just go insane with all the chaos at home. He made a quick note to get him something later. 

“Anyways, why are you talking about Yamamoto?” Lambo said.

“Because Big Brother met Asari-san yesterday.” 

What?” 

Haru snickered while cutting some green onions. Tsuna scowled, but she already looked away and hummed a cheery tune. 

“Who else was there, Big Brother?” I-pin said, leaning forward. “Giotto? G? Alaude? Daemon?” 

“Ah, Giotto and G were there.” 

Haru sighed dreamily. “Giotto’s so handsome. His voice is blessed by the angels.”

I-pin clasped her hands together and closed her eyes. “He's an angel. Don’t you think so, Tsuna-nii?”

Lambo wrinkled his nose in distaste. “G is scary. Alaude and Daemon, too. They’re all scary.” 

“Alaude-san is not scary!” I-pin shouted. “He’s a better man than you, Lambo!” 

“Are we doing this again?” Lambo deadpanned. 

“Alaude-san is just misunderstood! You don’t know anything about him, Lambo!” 

“Okay, why don’t we just calm down?” Fuuta said with an amicable smile. 

Lambo snickered. “He’s in Primo.” 

I-pin flushed. “You know what I mean, Lambo!” 

“And he’s from Namimori.” 

Tsuna tilted his head. “Really?” 

I-pin gaped. “Yeah. He went to Namimori Middle! Hibari-san, too!” 

“Actually,” Haru said, stirring some miso soup, “Hibari’s two years older than us, Tsuna. He might’ve been your senior when you went to Namimori Middle.”

Tsuna shrugged. “I guess so.” 

“He was pretty notorious for running the Discipline Committee there.” 

Tsuna never liked thinking about his middle school days. Too many bad memories. He’d think that someone like Hibari would leave a strong impression on him and okay, maybe he heard about some committee like that, but honestly, he was too busy trying to escape his bullies than thinking about anything else. 

He tapped his finger on his lips before smiling. “Nope. I don’t remember.” 

Haru and I-pin face-faulted.

“Are you sure?” Haru said. 

“Well, you know how middle school was like, Haru.” 

Haru frowned. “Ah, right.”

“What was it like, Tsuna-nii?” Lambo said. 

Smiling, Tsuna just patted his head. “I’ll tell you next time, Lambo.” 

Hopefully, never. They were terrible memories he never wanted to revisit again, and he wasn’t keen on traumatizing his siblings with stories about him being bullied. 

“Oh,” Tsuna said, remembering Fon’s uncanny resemblance to the idol, “does Hibari-san have another brother?” 

“No,” I-pin said. “Alaude-san is his only brother. Well, they’re half-brothers, but—Oh, Fon! He’s their cousin and he’s part of the Arcobaleno!” She sighed dreamily. “Fon-san is so cool.” 

Lambo yawned, slumping against Tsuna’s arm. “Well, Fon’s not that scary, I guess.” 

I-pin glared at him, but the boy just ignored her. 

“Fon’s a sweetheart,” Haru said, pouring some soup in bowls. “When he was in Beijing last month, he saved a fan from getting hit by a car at the airport. And do you know what he said in an interview with Étoile three months ago? He said that he’d like to take his girlfriend on walks at the beach around sunset.” She sighed. “Isn’t that romantic?” 

“Ah, I didn’t know Fon had a girlfriend.” 

“He’s not dating,” I-pin said, pouting. “They ask that to everyone. Did you know Hibari-san likes stargazing? And that Alaude-san likes having dinners by the sea?” 

Tsuna sweat-dropped. “I…see.” 

“Why do you ask, Big Brother? I didn’t know you were interested in this stuff.” She grinned. “Are you a fan of Hibari-san now?” 

“Oh, no. Just wondering, that’s all.”

“Tsuna,” Haru said, her voice cracking, “I hate you.”

Tsuna blinked. “Eh?”

Haru waved her arms in the air. “You—You actually got to meet Decimo and some of Primo.” 

“I don’t know, Tsuna-nii,” Fuuta said. “It does seem weird that you’re meeting these people all of a sudden.” 

“It’s just a coincidence, Fuuta,” Tsuna said, forcing a smile. “And Namimori’s a small town.” 

Still, the serious look on Fuuta’s face unnerved Tsuna. Well, none of them had to know about Arcobaleno… 

Okay, this was a little weird now that Tsuna thought about it. Maybe it was really just a coincidence. Yeah, there was no need to overthink this. 

“I don’t know,” Fuuta said. 

“I mean, I met Decimo because of the fan-signing,” Tsuna said. “That doesn’t really mean anything.” 

“And then you met Primo and Kyoko at the restaurant.” 

“I think you’re overreacting, Haru.” 

“But that’s not normal, Tsuna! Why can’t you see that?” 

“Because I…don’t really care?”

Haru gaped at him. “How can you say that? Any girl would die to be in your shoes right now!” 

“I really hope they don’t.” 

“Don’t what?” 

“Well, both.” 

Haru shook her head. “Tsuna, you’re impossible.” 

Tsuna just shrugged. He glanced at the clock then and widened his eyes.

“Ah, Fuuta, you’re going to be late! I didn’t make your bento yet!” 

“It’s okay, Tsuna-nii.” 

“No, it’s not! And you didn’t even eat breakfast!” 

“Hahi! Sorry, sorry! I’ll make the bento, too!” 

“I’ll do it, Haru. Just give them their breakfast!” 

“Can I get grape juice, Tsuna-nii?”

“You can’t drink juice with rice, Lambo.”

“I can do whatever I want, pinhead.”

“Lambo, no juice. You can drink water.”

“But water tastes like nothing, Tsuna-nii.” 

“That’s what water tastes like, you dumb cow!” 

“Tsuna-nii, I-pin’s being mean to me!”

Tsuna just sighed while Haru laughed. Still, this was his family and he loved them.  


 

“Shit, shit, shit, shit!” 

Tsuna rarely cursed unless he was really angry, which was pretty rare nowadays. When the bus finally stopped, he flew down the steps, nearly tripping over his own feet, and ran as fast as he could to Madam Latte. 

He mentally groaned. Why did it have to be fifteen minutes away from the bus stop? People were already bustling in the wide streets. The café was busier during morning rush hour and while Ogawa-san was a nice woman, she didn’t like late workers. He glanced at his watch—9:16 AM. 

Suddenly, his shoulder bumped against something hard, making him stumble to the edge of the crosswalk. His eyes widened when a flash of blue rushed past him. He gasped. It was too close. Something firm gripped his arm, quickly pulling him back. A warm and woody scent soon tickled his nose, and he blushed when he realized that he was pressed against a broad chest. 

“I—I’m so sorry!” Tsuna said, quickly moving away. 

However, when he met familiar dark eyes, he took another step back. “You…” 

“Is that any way to thank your savior?” 

Tsuna blinked. He glanced over his shoulder to see a rush of cars passing by and that the walking signal was red. His breath slightly hitched. Kami, he almost got hit by a car

“I—I guess not…”

Reborn smirked. “Well?” 

Tsuna eyed him warily. “Well what?” 

“What will you offer in return for saving your life?” 

Tsuna pursed his lips. Wow, what an asshole. The man did save his life though, a small voice whispered in the back of his mind. 

“Would you like some coffee then? I’m heading to the café over there for my shift.” 

A brief gleam shone in Reborn’s eyes before his face relaxed into a cool mask. “Perfect.” 

For some reason, Tsuna felt like this was just what her wanted. Suppressing a shiver, he turned to lead the way. The adrenaline from before continued to pulse in his veins. He glanced at Reborn who walked next to him. Wearing a pinstriped suit and a black tie, Reborn looked more like a businessman. He even held a briefcase. 

Now that Tsuna thought about it…was Reborn wearing a wig? The bigger question was—how the hell did he hide those curls? 

Reborn caught him staring and his lips slightly twitched. “Is there something wrong?” 

Tsuna huffed, looking away. “No.” He noticed some women staring at Reborn as they crossed the street. “Just…never mind.”

Reborn hummed under his breath. “It’s quite easy.” 

Tsuna blinked. “I’m sorry?”

“Although I’m not privy to tell you how.” 

It took a moment for Tsuna to understand what Reborn was saying. When it finally clicked, Tsuna scoffed, picking up his pace. 

“You’re crazy.”

Chuckling, Reborn easily caught up with him. Damn tall people with their long legs. Tsuna internally sighed.

Maybe Fuuta was right. This was getting a little too weird…


Tsuna squeezed through the large crowd so he could change into his uniform in the back. The heavy, rich fragrance of coffee and pastries did nothing to calm his nerves. When he walked past the counter, Akiko waved at him. 

“Hey, Tsuna,” she said, ringing up a customer’s order. “Ogawa-san said she’s coming in late today. I told her you were already here.” 

Tsuna smiled gratefully. “Thank you, Akiko-san. I’ll make you some coffee later at break.” 

“Yeah, just go change.” 

Nodding, he quickly snuck into the changing room. The uniform was a cream-colored shirt underneath a long brown apron, simple and neat. He shuddered, remembering the last café he worked tried to make him wear some maid outfit that just—No. Hell no. 

Manning the other register, Tsuna looked around to find Reborn sitting at one of the tables in the back on his phone. He looked much different at a distance. Well, Tsuna supposed that the man’s curly sideburns would be a dead give-away to his identity. Still though, he didn’t look that much different. He still looked like Reborn in a way. 

Maybe it was just Tsuna… No one really paid attention to the idol, except for some blushing young women; but they seemed to have no clue who he was.

Tsuna quickly smiled when a customer walked up to him. 

“Good morning, sir, and welcome to Madam Latte. What would you like to order?” 


Slowly but surely, the morning rush subsided. Some customers still trickled in the café and most of the tables were filled with college students and neighborhood women. 

Tsuna still kept an eye on Reborn throughout his shift. He vaguely wondered why the man hadn’t come up once to order anything. The idol was either texting on his phone or watching him behind the counter, which was a little creepy.

It was already half past noon when Tsuna finally (kind of) understood the sudden silent treatment. As if on cue, Reborn met his eye and quirked a brow. His lips twitched upwards into a knowing smirk.

“Shiro-senpai, can you take the register for me?” Tsuna said. “I’ll be back in a moment.” 

The older man grinned. “Sure!” 

Tsuna left the counter and made his way towards Reborn, who still had that insufferable smirk on his handsome face. Kami, he felt bad for anyone who had to deal with him on an hourly basis. His respect for Oregano increased a couple of notches.

Crossing his arms across his chest, Tsuna frowned. “Do you want coffee or not?” 

“Is this how you treat your customers?” Reborn said flippantly. 

Tsuna resisted the urge to sigh. “You’ve been sitting here for nearly three hours, sir. I was just wondering if you were going to order anything.” 

Reborn placed his chin on his fist, leaning in slightly with a thin smile. “I’m flattered that you only noticed me now.” 

Tsuna widened his eyes. This man was going to be the death of him. “Are you serious? You just—Why couldn’t you just stand on line like a normal person?” 

“You promised me coffee,” was Reborn’s curt response, as if that explained everything. 

Some customers were staring at them curiously. To salvage whatever dignity he had left, Tsuna turned away and walked back to the counter. The other baristas moved away from him while he muttered unintelligible curses under his breath. Grabbing a large cup, he headed to the machines and promptly brewed a lungo, foregoing the double black espresso. If that was all Reborn drank, then that was pretty sad.

Tsuna assumed that he liked his coffee dark and bitter—Like his soul, he thought—and that he was probably behind schedule or something from the way he kept glancing at his phone. Actually, should Tsuna brew another one? That could probably save Vasya the trouble of being ordered around to get more coffee for the asshole. 

He mentally shook his head. That was stupid. It’d probably get cold and Reborn would just get all pissy or whatever he did when nothing went his way. Still, did he ever touch a coffee machine? Maybe Reborn was just…really picky? Should Tsuna recommend a machine or something? He probably had the money to buy it—actually, he definitely had the money for it.

Sighing, Tsuna ran a hand through his hair. Just thinking about all that gave him more unnecessary anxiety. How could one man just stress the hell out of him? He quietly watched the bitter, dark coffee slowly fill the cup to the brim. 

“Tsuna,” Akiko said, approaching him, “everything okay?”

“I’m fine, Akiko-san,” Tsuna said blankly. 

She glanced behind her shoulder. “I could kick him out for you.”

“No, it’s fine. I kind of owe him this.” 

“What do you mean?” 

“He…saved me from getting hit by a car earlier.”

What? Are you okay? Is that why you were late?” 

Tsuna flushed. “I’m fine! Really, there’s nothing to worry about!” 

Akiko quirked a brow. “Okay, but let me know if it gets too much, okay? I’ll handle him.” 

Tsuna slightly grimaced at the thought of his senior co-worker going up against Reborn. And yet, Tsuna was more annoyed than frightened of him, which was probably not normal.

Just think of it this way, he thought. Give him the coffee and we’ll never see each other again.

“Thank you, Akiko-san. But really, you don’t have to worry about me. I have it all handled.” 

He checked to see that the crema was just right, then popped a lid over the cup. When he passed the bread section, he grabbed a croissant with a plastic wrap and placed it on a small plate before heading to Reborn’s table. 

The man simply stared at the croissant. Huffing, Tsuna placed the coffee and plate down on the table. 

“You didn’t eat anything while you were here,” he said, looking away. “I just thought you might be hungry. It’s not much but—Anyways, don’t worry about paying. It’s on me for…earlier.”

A few minutes of silence passed between them. Tsuna kept his eyes trained on the cream-colored walls, slowly counting to fifty in his head. Finally, Reborn picked up the cup of coffee. 

“You didn’t spit in this, right?” he said, almost teasingly. 

Tsuna scowled. “I’m not that petty.” 

Reborn smirked. “Oh, so you admit that you thought about it before.”

Tsuna fought the blush from creeping on his cheeks. “I—Just—You’re—I didn’t spit in it, even though I wanted to. But that’s not how you treat people who saved you, right, sir? And the croissant is fresh. I didn’t do anything to that either if that’s what you’re wondering.” 

Reborn just let out a small huff of laughter when he sipped his cup. Tsuna leaned in expectantly when Reborn just stared at the cup for a good few seconds. Wow, he was really difficult to read when he wanted to be. 

Tsuna tilted his head and tried to keep a blank face. “Is it okay?”

“It tastes different.” 

“That’s because I used a different machine and this is a lungo. Unless you meant the one from yesterday. I didn’t brew that one. So, how is it?” 

“It’s passable.” 

Tsuna’s brow twitched. “Okay. Do you need anything else, sir?” 

“No.” 

With that, Reborn proceeded to ignore him and browse through his phone again. Tsuna just left him with another small huff.

He saved your life, he reasoned with himself. No point in getting angry at him about something so small. Give him this one pass. 

Before Tsuna’s shift ended, Reborn left without another word, leaving an empty plate behind.  


 

The autumn breeze was still crisp around late afternoon. After clocking in the double shift he promised Ogura-san for today, Tsuna left the café for a small walk around the block. He had about an hour before his shift at the restaurant. Sending a quick text to Haru, he sat down on one of the park benches, nearly sagging in his seat. 

Sighing, he watched people walk by on the streets, their chatter filling the air around him. Tsuna liked observing others. It helped him think about anything other than himself. Really though, any distraction was welcomed, but he didn’t dwell on them too long before bills, deadlines, and money started to flood in. 

The incident that morning made him more aware of his surroundings (and his mortality). If Reborn hadn’t been there, Tsuna might’ve actually died. Who would take care of the kids then? How would they live without him?

It was then he realized that he hadn’t thanked Reborn properly —like, actually said the words to him. A very small part of him insisted that the croissant and tab were enough to get his message across, but the bigger part of him refused to acknowledge that as the proper way. Cursing the etiquette lessons heavily ingrained in his head, Tsuna opened his phone before realizing that he didn’t have any way to contact Reborn. 

He sighed and ran a hand through his hair, an increasingly nervous habit of his. Maybe he could ask Vasya…? But Tsuna didn’t want to explain that he almost died that morning or bother him. He also didn’t want to say it to Reborn’s face—hopefully, they’d never meet again. 

His finger hovered over Vasya’s number. Maybe he could just…call him and get it over with? But did he really want to hear Reborn’s voice again? What if Vasya didn’t pick up? What if he was too busy? 

He could see why Haru called him too stiff for his own good.

With another sigh, Tsuna quickly sent Vasya a text: Hi, Vasya! Am I bothering you? 

The reply was instantaneous: tsuna!!! nope, you just caught me on my break. what’s up?? 

Tsuna couldn’t help but smile and relax a little. 

It’s nothing. Just, is everything okay? Are they bothering you?  

lol nope!! we were working at different sets for most of the day. why?? wanna come over??  

Oh, that’s good. And thank you, but I have work soon. I just wanted to ask if…Reborn is with you?

There was a small pause. Tsuna never felt so anxious over a text before. He jumped when his phone buzzed again. 

uhhh, he just came like 10 mins ago. why…???  

Tsuna swallowed a small lump in his throat. Kami, he was actually doing this.

Could you…tell him “thank you” for me?  

wha???????? Σ(・口・)  

Just tell him that please.  

are you okay tsuna?? did you mean oregano or sth?? you should check your autocorrect cause it seems like shit.  

No… I really meant Reborn…  

what did he do to you?? OMG did he harass you or sth??

Tsuna stifled a small laugh at the angry octopus emoticon Skull sent. 

No, he didn’t. It’s really nothing. Just tell him that for me, please? I really want to get it over with.  

are you going to tell me what happened?? this is all really fishy…  

Maybe another time. I’m so sorry for putting you through this, Vasya, but I don’t know how else to contact him…  

nooo!! dont apologize tsuna!! its okay!! im heading over to him right now.

Thank you, Vasya! I’ll cook whatever you want the next time we meet!  

ohhh, i didnt know you cook. but nahh dont worry about it. give me a sec.  

Tsuna waited anxiously for the next few minutes. He glanced at the time; he had about half an hour left before his shift. Seconds passed by, then minutes. Should he call Vasya? What if Reborn did something to him? What if Reborn and Colonello did something to him? Actually, this was a terrible idea. What was he thinking? 

Before Tsuna scrolled through his chat rooms again, a message popped up. He frowned when he realized that it was from an unknown number. 

He opened it and nearly dropped his phone with a small yelp. 

That wasn’t so hard now, was it?

No, no, no, no, no, no. Tsuna chewed on his lip while his fingers typed up a response: You didn’t hurt Vasya, right? He’s only the messenger! And how did you get my number?

He quickly erased Vasya and replaced it with Skull before sending it. His heart pounded against his chest while he waited for the other man to respond. Maybe he should call Vasya to make sure…

He’s alive

The color drained from Tsuna’s face. Quickly dialing Vasya’s number, Tsuna waited nervously for him to pick up. The line finally connected after two rings. 

“V—Skull?” Tsuna said. “Are you okay?” 

Vasya laughed nervously. “Hey, Tsuna! Uh, yeah, I’m fine.” 

“Did Reborn do something to you? I’m so sorry for asking you to do that! That was a terrible idea! Do I need to call the police? Where are you right now? Should I go to you? I can talk to him or something. I can’t guarantee he’ll listen b—” 

“No, no, no! I’m really fine, Tsuna, but, uh, Reborn kind of stole my phone and got your number. I’m so sorry, Tsuna! I can try to erase it when I get the chance. It’ll probably take fifty years or something though. I hope you’re patient. I swear, the bastard has the most complicated shit on that thing.” 

Tsuna sighed in relief. “Thank Kami, I thought he hurt you or something. You didn’t respond and the goddamn asshole had the fucking balls to only tell me you’re just alive.” 

There was momentary silence from the other line. Tsuna frowned and checked his phone. The call was still ongoing.

“Hello? Are you still there?”

“Holy shit, Tsuna. I didn’t peg you as a curser—is that even a word? Wow, it’s actually kind of h—cool.”

“Huh?” Tsuna blushed. “Oh, I—I’m sorry. I’m usually not that crude, I swear! I only get that way when I’m really stressed and a lot happened today so—” 

Vasya laughed. “Tsuna, calm down. It’s okay. Anyways, I told the asshole what you wanted. Is there really nothing going on? Are you okay?”

“I’m fine. Just, yeah. I’ll tell you another time. You must be very busy. I’m so sorry for bothering you.” 

“Nah, I mean, you caught me on my break.” There was a distant shout in the background. “Oh, well, that’s my cue. I gotta go, Tsuna. If Reborn’s bothering you or anything, shoot me a text or call me! I’ll try my best to stop him from whatever he’s doing!” Vasya chuckled sheepishly. “Heavy emphasis on ‘try’, just saying.” 

Tsuna smiled. “Thank you, but really, there’s nothing going on. Take care, Skull. Don’t push yourself too hard.” 

Vasya laughed. “Can’t promise anything but I’ll try! See you, Tsuna!” 

Tsuna sighed after Vasya hung up. He frowned when he opened Reborn’s texts. Clicking his tongue, he was already writing another one before he even realized it. 

Stop bothering Skull! And erase my number!

Reborn responded within a few seconds: Last I checked, you’re in no position to tell me what to do. 

Tsuna groaned and pinched the bridge of his nose. 

Just leave Skull alone…please? Preferably forever.  

I’ll keep him alive. 

That doesn’t mean anything!  

Who do you think you’re talking to?

Tsuna’s brow twitched. 

Why did you have to pull me away from the car…?  

I was only helping a citizen in need.  

Tsuna just sent him an angry bunny emoticon smacking carrots against the ground and marched towards Hana’s restaurant, not even bothering to check if Reborn responded or not. 

He wanted nothing more than to bash his own head against the nearest wall—repeatedly.  


 

The restaurant was oddly louder than usual. Tsuna looked around quizzically to find the source before greeting Keiko at the front. The stoic girl nodded in greeting before saying, “Kurokawa-san wants to see you, Sawada-kun. She’s in her office.” 

“Oh, okay. Thank you, Keiko-san.” 

He made his way towards Hana’s office and knocked politely. A muffled “come in” sounded from the other side. Opening the door, Tsuna was greeted with the sight of Hana shifting through several piles of paper. She glanced up at him briefly and gestured to one of the empty chairs. 

“Sawada, sit.” 

Tsuna obliged nervously, shifting in his seat. “Is there something wrong, Kurokawa-san?” 

“I’m going to need you to serve some private guests tonight.” 

“Oh…” 

Hana raised a brow. “What is it, Sawada?” 

“Just…why me again, Kurokawa-san?” 

Dropping her pen, Hana crossed her arms over her chest and leaned back in her seat. “Because you were specifically requested.” 

“Ah, was it Kyoko-san?” 

Hana furrowed her brows. “How did you know?” 

Tsuna ducked his head shyly. “Ah, well, she gave me…her number yesterday before she left. She texted me saying that she’d be coming in tonight. So, I only assumed that it was her.” 

Hana sighed irritably and massaged her temples. “That insufferable…” She looked up at Tsuna with wary eyes. “You’re didn’t force her to give her number to you, right?”

Tsuna widened his eyes and shook his head. “No! I’d never do that!” 

“Of course, you wouldn’t,” Hana mumbled under her breath. “It would’ve been easier that way though.” She sighed. “Anyways, there’s another group here you need to know about so listen carefully. Kyoko is here with Decimo and you already know that you need to keep your mouth shut about them being here. Make sure no one enters the private areas until they leave. The other group you need to worry about is Varia.” Hana massaged her temple. “I don’t know why they came here of all places, but they’re loaded. Anyways, that’s beside the point. You must make sure that they don’t see Decimo and vice versa. Don’t even mention that either group is even here.” 

Ah, so he’d be seeing Decimo again today. Tsuna tilted his head. Varia…?

“Um, why is that, Kurokawa-san?”

Hana just looked at him wearily. “Sometimes I wish you knew something about the real world, Sawada.”

Tsuna blushed. “I—I’m sorry.” 

“All you need to know is that we’ll have to rebuild the restaurant from the ground up if they realize they’re breathing the same air as each other.” 

That…sounded terrible. Tsuna gripped his jeans tightly. 

“I understand, Kurokawa-san.” He smiled. “You can count on me!” 

Hana waved a hand dismissively. “Yeah, I know. Also, one of the Decimo members is in a separate room. Don’t even question it. It’s for the best. Decimo is in Room 4, Varia Room 9, and Hibari Room 18. Any other questions?”

“What about the main restaurant, Kurokawa-san?” 

“Don’t worry about that. You’ll only be serving them. They’re already tough to handle, especially Varia. Just letting you know that I’m increasing your pay for this shift.” 

Tsuna widened his eyes. “A—Are you serious, Kurokawa-san?”

Hana quirked a brow. “You’re going to be handling the most difficult customers in a few minutes and you’re the only monkey around here who won’t screw it up. Do you not want the extra money?” 

The heavy weight in Tsuna’s chest lightened a little. He shook his head and found himself smiling again. “Thank you, Kurokawa-san! I won’t disappoint you!”

“Yeah, don’t keep them waiting, Sawada. Serve Decimo first. They’ve been here for a while.” 

Tsuna stood up and bowed deeply. “Thank you, Kurokawa-san.” 

Hana just waved him away, already returning to the papers in her hands, and Tsuna couldn’t keep his smile from growing bigger. 


 

Quickly making sure he had everything with him, Tsuna headed towards Room 4. So this was where some of the noise was coming from. It was pretty rowdy but the racket was much louder further down the hall where he guessed Varia was. 

He knocked on the door before sliding the door open. He bowed. “Please excu—” 

“Tsuna-kun!” 

Tsuna barely had time to brace himself when Kyoko suddenly leapt out of nowhere, hugging him tightly. He stumbled a little as he tried to steady himself.

“Ah, good evening, Kyoko-san.” 

The model pouted. “Kyoko-chan, Tsuna-kun.” 

Tsuna smiled. “Well, I’m working right now so I have to call you Kyoko-san.” 

Kyoko sighed dramatically. “Fine.” She smiled brightly. “Come inside, Tsuna-kun! I want to introduce you to some friends of mine. Oh, and my brother, Ryo-nii, too!” 

Tsuna closed the door behind him and followed her inside. It was the same room that Primo had been in yesterday. All of Decimo, including the girl who looked like Mukuro, was there except for Hibari. Their loud chatter died down as he approached closer. They didn’t look any different from the fan signing aside from wearing some casual hoodies and caps. 

Yamamoto broke the silence then, grinning. “Yo, Tsuna! It’s nice to see you again! I didn’t know you work here!” 

Tsuna smiled. “Hello, Yamamoto-san. It’s nice to see you again, too.” 

Mukuro chuckled. “Oya, oya, it seems like we were meant to meet again, Tsuna-kun.” 

Gokudera scowled. “Don’t say weird shit like that, you goddamn pervert.” 

“Maa, maa, you should keep it down, Gokudera.” 

“What the hell did you say, baseball idiot?” 

Yamamoto smiled. “To keep it down.” 

Tsuna sweat-dropped. He could see the resemblance they had with Primo. “Did you finish looking over what you wanted? I can take your orders.” 

“The Kurokawa Special Selection!” Ryohei said. “It’s an extremely good choice for all of us!” 

Tsuna noticed Gokudera frowning at the menu. “Would you like something else, sir?” 

Gokudera wrinkled his nose. “You don’t have to call me sir. We’re like the same age.” 

Tsuna chuckled sheepishly. “If it makes you feel more comfortable, I can do that. I’m sorry. It’s just courtesy.” 

Ducking his head, Gokudera flipped through the menu. “Is there anything with less fat or something?” 

Tsuna stifled a small laugh, catching Kyoko’s knowing gaze. He pointed at one of the dishes on the page Gokudera stopped at. “We have the kuroge wagyu beef imported from the Miyazaki prefecture. It’s lean and fresh. The price might look intimidating, but it’s worth it if it’s to your taste, which I can guarantee.” 

“I’ll take that then.” 

Tsuna nodded. Scribbling the order on his notepad, he looked around the table. “Anything else?” 

“Can I get the sukiyaki, Tsuna?” Yamamoto said. 

“Why are you ordering so much, idiot?” Gokudera said, frowning. 

“I’m starving!” 

Tsuna smiled. “Of course, Yamamoto-san.” He glanced at Mukuro. “Mukuro-san, would you like something?” 

Sasami, please, Tsuna-kun,” Mukuro said with a charming smile. “Nagi-chan?” 

The girl next to him finally looked up from her phone. She perused the menu with shy, downcast eyes and quietly said, “Buta meshi.”

Tsuna smiled at her. “Not a problem at all, miss.” 

Blushing, Nagi quickly returned to her phone. Mukuro whispered something in her ear, making her sag a little and tuck her phone away in her small bag.

“I think that’s everything, Tsuna-kun!” Kyoko said. 

Tsuna nodded. “Okay. So, one order of kuroge wagyu beef, sukiyaki, sasami, and buta meshi, including a Kurokawa Special Selection. Is that everything?” 

“Sounds about right!” Yamamoto said, grinning.

“Excuse me.” Tsuna squeezed in-between Mukuro and Nagi to get the grill started. He smiled politely when Nagi glanced at him from the corner of her eye. She looked away quickly with a small blush. “I’ll return with your orders shortly. If there’s anything else you need, just press this button and I’ll be right with you.” 

“Thank you, Tsuna-kun!” Kyoko said, clapping her hands together. 

Tsuna smiled at her with a nod and quickly left the room to deliver their orders to the kitchen. When he finally arrived at Varia’s room, he immediately cringed from the loud shouts and bangs inside. That didn’t sound good… 

Taking a deep breath, he knocked on the door and slid it open. “Excuse me. My name’s Sawada Tsunayoshi and I’ll be your designated server this evening.”

He winced when a loud “Voi!” erupted in the room and quickly closed the door behind him before someone heard the (crazy) man’s scream. Even though this room was farther away from Decimo’s and the front, the man had a powerful set of lungs. 

Getting a closer look at the group, Tsuna noted how bizarre they appeared. They didn’t look like they were trying to hide themselves at all. The one who screamed was tall with long silver-white hair and light gray eyes. He wore black gloves and a thick black jacket with a white furry collar. 

The same man pinned him down with an intimidating gaze. “Took you long enough.” 

Tsuna bowed. “I apologize, sir. We—” 

He blinked when a tall, muscular man tugged him closer to the table. He couldn’t help but squeak when the other hugged him around the waist. 

“Oh my, I didn’t know this restaurant had such a cutie working here!”.

The man had some green hair parted to the side and red-trimmed sunglasses. His long black coat had large orange fur trimmed around the hood and wow, his muscles were no joke. 

Tsuna tried to get off the man’s lap—When the hell did he get here?—but he was abnormally strong. “Um, sir, I—”

“Don’t worry, cutie. I’ll keep you safe from these brutes.” 

The blond man next him laughed oddly and Tsuna blinked when he noticed his tiara. “Let the peasant go, Lussuria. The prince is hungry.” 

“You can take orders from here, right, sweetie?” 

Sensing a losing battle, Tsuna suppressed a sigh and took out his notepad with a blank face. “I suppose so, sir.” 

“Call me Lussuria.” 

“I’d rather not,” Tsuna deadpanned. “I’m on duty.” 

The blond man laughed. “The peasant has a sharp tongue.” 

Tsuna bit back a smartass comment in turn for a polite, “Have you already decided on what you wanted to order, sir?”

“Yes,” another man said. “One hibachi steak and your best whiskey for Xanxus-sama. Five orders of kalbi and wagyu beef each, three orders of butaniku, and one Kurokawa Special Selection.” 

Tsuna’s hand gradually slowed down while he scribbled down the orders. The man’s voice sounded strangely familiar. He swore he heard it somewhere before. It had a rich deep timbre to it and— 

“Ah, do you happen to sing ballads?” he said without thinking. 

Silence fell in the room. The man he spoke to blinked at the unexpected question; he was the tallest member in the group with spiky black hair and lightning-shaped sideburns. 

Tsuna flushed and quickly bowed, which was a little difficult since he was seated on someone’s lap. “I’m sorry, sir! That was very rude of me!” 

Lussuria giggled, even going as far to pinch Tsuna’s cheeks. “You’re so adorable, Tsu-chan! Of course, Levi sings ballads. Don’t you know who we are, sweetie?”

Tsuna licked his lips, his mouth suddenly feeling dry. “Uh, well, I only heard about you…five minutes ago?” 

The man at the head of the table opened his eyes then, directing his unnerving gaze at Tsuna. He had black hair adorned with a few feathers and beads and wine-red eyes. Some scars marred his face but didn’t detract his roguishly handsome appeal. 

“Voi!” the long-haired man said. “How the hell is that possible, you brat?” 

Tsuna’s brow twitched. “Well, I apologize for living under a rock, sir, but there’s nothing I can do about that, is there? Would it make any difference if I knew who you are?” 

The blond man burst out laughing. “What an interesting peasant.”

“Now, now, Bel, you shouldn’t overwhelm Tsu-chan like that,” Lussuria said. “And Squalo, there are people out there who’re busy with their own lives. Not everything revolved around us. It’s just how it is in this cruel world.” 

Tsuna found himself nodding to what the man was saying before he realized what he was doing. “Lussuria-san said it perfectly, sir.” 

The said man hugged him tighter and even squealed. “Tsu-chan is just too cute! I could eat you up.”

“Please don’t, Lussuria-san,” Tsuna deadpanned. “Cannibalism is highly frowned upon and Kurokawa-san will not appreciate the mess.” 

“Voi, stop joking around and get us our food already!” Squalo said. 

“Keep your fucking voice down, trash,” Xanxus said, slamming Squalo’s head against the table. 

Tsuna gaped. What the hell? Lussuria released him to tend to Squalo’s wound, leaving him alone. Tsuna crept slowly towards the door, not even bothering to repeat back their orders or turning on the grill for them. They’d probably burn the whole place down and he definitely did not trust them to cook their own meat. They didn’t even notice him leaving, too busy fighting and smashing all the plates. 

“I’ll be back with your orders.” He glanced at the button underneath the table. “If…there’s anything you need, just press that button…” 

Without checking if anyone heard him, Tsuna ran back to the kitchen. He only shrugged when the chef gave him an incredulous look. After checking Decimo’s orders, which would take a few more minutes, and making a note to get some ice from the break room, Tsuna quickly made his way to Hibari’s room. 

He’d let the Varia…settle down before going back again. He didn’t want to risk losing his head. A small buzz in his pocket alerted him that someone had pressed the button. He checked it and sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose. When he opened the door to Varia’s room, he tentatively looked inside. 

“Yes…?” 

No one but Bel acknowledged him. He grinned. “I just wanted to make sure it was working.” 

Tsuna suppressed the urge to roll his eyes. “Well, now you know. Is there anything you needed?” 

Bel laughed. “No.” 

Tsuna quickly closed the door before any of them realized he was there. It was really rude and he’d probably get fired if Hana found out, but he didn’t care at this point. Varia seemed like they got away with too much anyways. Massaging his temples, Tsuna strode towards Hibari’s room, which was even further away from everyone else. 

They’re a bunch of weirdos and maniacs, he thought. Not idols. 

He quickly composed himself before opening the door. “Excuse me. My name is Sawada Tsunayoshi and I’ll be your server for the evening. I apologize for not getting to you sooner. We’ve been…fairly busy tonight.” 

Alone in the small room, Hibari sipped his tea. He glanced at Tsuna before returning to his phone. Tsuna walked over quietly and kept a respectable distance, remembering that the idol didn’t like crowding. Maybe he was claustrophobic…? 

“Did you decide on what to order, sir?” Tsuna said. 

Hibari just slid the menu towards him. It was opened to a page of…several dishes. Tsuna’s brow twitched. Which one did he want? Did he really expect him to just know what he was thinking? 

“Could you—” 

Hibari glanced at the page, forcing Tsuna to follow his line of sight—the hamburger steak. Tsuna wrote it down with a mental roll of his eyes. 

“Is there anything else you need, sir? I can get your tea refilled if you’d like.” 

Hibari gave him an imperceptible nod. Tsuna huffed lightly under her breath. At least he wasn’t that difficult. Well, if he actually talked then it’d be better, but beggars couldn’t be choosers. 

Tsuna smiled politely. “I’ll be back shortly then. If there’s anything else you need, t—” 

“Herbivore.”

Tsuna blinked. Did Hibari just call him…an herbivore? What the… 

“Yes…?” 

Hibari turned to him, his dark eyes glinting under the low lights. 

“Don’t you remember me?”

Chapter Text

“Some nights I stay up, cashing in my bad luck

Some nights, I call it a draw

Some nights, I wish that my lips could build a castle

Some nights, I wish they’d just fall off.”

Some Nights by Fun.


It took some time for Tsuna to process the question Hibari asked. 

His mind whirled as he tried to decipher what the other meant. Remember him…? Well, Hibari was from Namimori if he remembered correctly and if that was what he referred to, then this was pretty bad timing because Tsuna could barely keep his head straight. 

He racked his brain to think of something, anything. Hibari didn’t seem like the kind of person one would forget easily. Tsuna hadn’t had the time to think about him really—their first interaction didn’t even count much; Hibari spoke more words to I-pin than he did with him. 

Still, maybe there was something he missed? Tsuna wasn’t sure what though. Hibari seemed pretty adamant about it and the brunet didn’t want to say anything careless to set him off. 

“I…remember you from the fan signing, if that’s what you mean, Hibari-san,” Tsuna said, clicking his pen. “My sister gave you a stuffed bird and a bento.” 

Hibari’s lips became thinner and the tension in his shoulders was becoming more apparent. He actually looked like he wanted to beat something. Tsuna took a small step back, something the idol noticed before he marginally relaxed. The scowl didn’t disappear from his face though; it reminded Tsuna of storm clouds and frankly, it was terrifying. 

“Ah, was it the bento?” Tsuna asked, his eyes wide. “Please don’t blame I-pin—I was the one who made it that morning and wasn’t s—”

“I know, herbivore.” Hibari crossed his arms across his chest. “You talk too much.” 

Tsuna flushed. “I’m sorry.” 

Hibari’s brows furrowed. “You made miso soup.” 

Tsuna blinked. “Yes…I did.” He paled a bit. “Was something wrong with it? Was it too watery? Ah, I was sure I made it right. Maybe I wasn’t paying attention.” 

Hibari’s scowl grew even darker, but the frustration in his eyes was what puzzled Tsuna. He tried, he really did, but he couldn’t remember ever meeting Hibari for the life of him, aside from the fan signing event.

A small buzz in Tsuna’s pocket snapped him out of his thoughts. He mumbled a quick apology and checked his pager to see that it was from the kitchen. Crap. 

He bowed. “I’m sorry, Hibari-san, but I have to attend to other orders. If you need anything, you can press that button and I’ll be with you shortly. Please excuse me.” 

Keeping his eyes down, Tsuna left, almost running if he didn’t have any dignity left. Still, he could feel Hibari’s smoldering gaze burning on his back. Tsuna suppressed a shudder as he dashed to the kitchen to receive Decimo’s orders. He balanced the plates deftly in his hands and speed-walked to their room. Putting on a quick smile, he used his foot to slide the door open. 

“I apologize for the wait,” he said, walking inside. “We’re rather busy tonight.” 

“Extreme timing, Tsuna!” Ryohei said, pumping a fist in the air. 

“No problem!” Yamamoto said, smiling. “They look great!” 

Tsuna couldn’t help but smile back. He could see why they were so popular. Ryohei had all that boundless energy that got others on their feet while Yamamoto easily swayed other people with his easy grin. Tsuna was a little happy to see that it was less strained than when they had first met. 

He placed the dishes on the table in an orderly fashion while being mindful of bumping into the idols. “If you need another grill, please let me know. We have an extra here and I can set it up for you.” 

“That’d be great, Tsuna-kun!” Kyoko said, clapping her hands. She pouted. “I just wish you could eat with us.” 

Tsuna smiled as he took out the extra grill from the back. “Maybe another time, Kyoko-san.” 

That seemed like the wrong thing to say. A suspicious gleam shone in her eyes. She leaned her chin onto her hand and batted her eyelashes innocently.

“So, when is the best time to eat together, Tsuna-kun?”

“Kyoko,” Ryohei said, “that’s extremely inappropriate. Sorry, Tsuna. My sister can be difficult sometimes.” 

“Ryo-nii!” 

Smiling pleasantly, Tsuna said, “It’s okay, Ryohei-san. And, Kyoko-san, I’d rather not mix my private life with my work life. I hope you understand.” He moved next to Gokudera who stared at him almost bewilderedly. “Excuse me, Gokudera-san. There’s another grate by your side. You can share it with Mukuro-san and Nagi-san when I’m done setting this up.” 

“Yeah, thanks,” Gokudera said slowly. 

Mukuro just smiled. “Thank you, Tsuna-kun.” 

Nagi mumbled her thanks, her eyes trained on her lap. Tsuna wanted nothing more than to assure her that he wouldn’t bite. Instead, he opted to smile and nod politely instead. 

“I just wanted to know you more, Tsuna-kun,” Kyoko said, pouting. “That’s all.” 

Tsuna frowned ruefully. “I apologize for being rude, Kyoko-san. That was out of line. The restaurant is pretty busy tonight and—Ah, I shouldn’t be bothering you with my troubles. Maybe we can talk about that later when my shift is over?” 

Kyoko brightened then and nodded, which made Tsuna mentally sigh in relief. He slightly grimaced when he started the grill. Wow, he must be more out of it than he thought. 

“Oh, Tsuna, how are your siblings doing?” Yamamoto said. 

Kyoko widened her eyes. “You have siblings, Tsuna-kun?” 

Tsuna flushed. “Yes, I do.” 

“Oh, how many? Are they older? Younger?” 

Yamamoto grinned. “We actually saw them at the fan-signing event two days ago. They’re really cute!” 

Kyoko almost fell out of her seat. “Oh, my goodness! I wouldn’t doubt it! I bet they’re adorable like you, Tsuna-kun!” 

Tsuna’s cheeks turned even redder. “Um, thank you, Kyoko-san, but I’m not…adorable.” 

Mukuro chuckled. “You’re too modest, Tsuna-kun. You’re lovely.” 

Kyoko actually squealed then. Ryohei just looked utterly confused while Nagi blushed. Yamamoto’s smile tightened just slightly, but he continued grinning anyways. 

“Stop flirting, bastard,” Gokudera said, scowling. “You’re going to get us kicked out.” 

Mukuro smirked. “Jealous that I have better-functioning social skills than you do? I’m sure Tsuna-kun will spare some sympathy for a rabid mutt like you, just like the kind person he is. Don’t worry.” 

Okay, that was just really uncalled for. Before Tsuna could say anything, Gokudera reached for his jacket and actually pulled out a switchblade. 

“G—Gokudera-san, please put that away!” Tsuna said, his eyes wide.

Mukuro didn’t even blink. “Oya, oya. Baring your fangs already, mutt? I thought you’d last longer than that.”

“Onii-san.” Nagi’s voice was surprisingly firm despite its soft tone. “Stop.” 

Mukuro merely hummed to himself but retreated nonetheless. Gokudera just clicked his tongue and abruptly stood up.

“Bathroom,” he muttered. “Don’t fucking look for me.” 

Tsuna watched helplessly as Gokudera left the room and slammed the door behind him. He frowned when he looked at Mukuro. Still, the table was actually quite lively as everyone grilled their own meat. Yamamoto was still smiling and Ryohei engaged Kyoko in an animated conversation. It was as if this was normal for them. Kami, were these idols just a bunch of psychopaths or something? This just…wasn’t normal or was it just him? 

“That was unnecessary, Mukuro-san,” Tsuna said, making everyone look up. 

“He’ll be fine, Tsuna-kun,” the man said, waving him off. “He just has a temper.” Mukuro chuckled. “I’m surprised he didn’t last any longer.” 

“Still, that was cruel…” 

Mukuro momentarily paused then, regarding him curiously. Before he could say anything, Tsuna was already leaving, his pager buzzing in his pocket. 

“Enjoy your meal,” he said before closing the door. 

He glanced down the hallway where the bathroom was, which was thankfully not even close to Varia’s room. For a moment, he contemplated on whether he should check on Gokudera or not but decided against it. Still, he couldn’t help but worry.

A curse slipped from his lips. What did he do back there? Pinching the bridge of his nose, he’d have to apologize to Mukuro later—actually all of them—for his poor behavior, even though he didn’t want to. Mukuro was so…blasé and nothing like the charming man a few days ago. But then again, Tsuna knew nothing about him past his public appearance. 

Sighing, he walked towards the break room, grabbed an icepack, and shoved it in his pocket. Happy thoughts, he reminded himself. Think happy thoughts. 

His mind thankfully shifted to Varia, even though they weren’t a pleasant subject. He’d have to be careful approaching Squalo later, remembering the bruise on the man’s forehead. When he passed Hana’s office, Tsuna nearly jumped when the woman poked her head out.

“How’s it going, Sawada?” She glanced at his pocket. “Why do you have ice?” 

Tsuna smiled slightly. “Well, one of the groups is very…intense.” 

Thankfully, Hana didn’t push. She just groaned. “Make sure they don’t break anything.” She paused. “Actually, it doesn’t matter. You have my permission to do whatever you have to do to keep them…restrained.”

With that, Hana shut the door in his face, snapping him out of his stupor. He blinked a couple of times. Permission…to do whatever he had to do? 

Well, he supposed he could do that. He hummed a strange tune to himself as he nearly skipped to the kitchen. The chef’s irritated look vanished when Tsuna entered. Staring at him strangely, he wordlessly passed him Varia’s orders. 

No one approached Tsuna when he walked back to the private quarters. It was for the best.


 Varia’s room was an utter mess

Tsuna’s brow twitched when he slammed the door behind him. Broken plates and cups littered the floor and there were even some knives embedded in the walls. All the chairs were toppled over, except for what seemed like Xanxus’ own personal throne. It was a miracle that the table was still intact.

Squalo wrestled Bel on top of it, looking close to killing the other man with—Um, was that an actual dagger? Levi tried to keep the chaos contained, but only away from Xanxus, while Lussuria flailed uselessly in the background.

Xanxus was the only one who noticed Tsuna. The man was just about to enter an intense staring match, which was utterly ridiculous, until Tsuna glared at him. It must’ve worked since Xanxus clicked his tongue and kicked the table hard enough to gain everyone’s attention.

“Get off the goddamn table, scums,” he said. “I want to fucking eat.” 

“Tsu-chan! I didn’t see you—” 

“Lussuria-san, please don’t move,” Tsuna said in a low tone. “You’re going to hurt yourself.”

The man surprisingly obeyed while Tsuna brushed away some broken ceramic pieces with his foot to make a small path for himself. Squalo and Bel sat back down in their seats, not looking embarrassed at all. Squalo glared at Tsuna like he was some insignificant bug while Bel had the same infuriating grin on his face. Only Levi looked a little uncomfortable. Xanxus just looked like he wanted to punch someone—well, everyone.

“Here, Lussuria-san.” Tsuna made a small path for the other man. “You can sit now.”

Lussuria simply hopped back into his seat and grinned. “Thank you, Tsu-chan! You’re so considerate and sweet, aren’t you?” 

Before Bel could make some smartass comment, Tsuna glared at him, making him quickly shut up. Tsuna let out a withering sigh before slamming Varia’s dishes on the table. The sudden clatter made a few men shift. Tsuna placed his hands on his hips, not caring how ridiculous he looked. He vaguely wondered if they were the yakuza instead of idols. He honestly wouldn’t be surprised if they were. 

“While you’re here, we’d appreciate it if you don’t destroy the restaurant,” he said in an eerily calm voice. “Bel-san, I don’t recommend you interrupting me while I’m talking.” Bel’s grin slightly faltered. “I’m trying really hard to make sure no one knows that you’re here and you’re just making it difficult. I could hear you from the kitchen. You’re in one of the farthest rooms of the restaurant. So, can you all just act like proper human beings until you leave?” 

“V—” 

“Squalo-san, if you have nothing helpful to contribute, keep it to yourself.” Tsuna grabbed a knife from the wall and slammed it on the table, making the men jump slightly. “From this point going forward, we’re doing things my way. Until this mess is cleaned up, none of you are going to eat. Xanxus-san, you can glare at me all you want, but that won’t change the fact that you destroyed half the room.” 

Xanxus continued to glower at Tsuna, his red eyes almost glowing. If looks could kill, Tsuna would be way beyond dead right now, but he only smiled back at the man, who blinked and quickly averted his gaze. 

“Voi!” Squalo said, brandishing his dagger. “What kind of bullshit are you pulling, brat?” 

Bel’s grin grew even wider, if that was possible. “The prince agrees with the idiot shark peasant for once.” 

Levi, thankfully, pulled Squalo back from strangling Bel and frowned. “I’m sorry but Xanxus-sama needs to eat now.” 

Lussuria was the only one who even looked remotely guilty. “Tsu-chan, I’ll be more than happy to help you clean up. We almost never get to go out anymore because these brutes always go way over the line. I really am sorry for them, sweetie.”

Squalo glowered at him. “Don’t stick up for the trash, Lussuria!” 

Tsuna gripped the knife tightly in his hand, his lips twisting into a cool smile. “Unless you can show me that you can control yourself, I suggest you don’t complain, Squalo-san. Lussuria-san and Levi-san are the only well-behaved people here. Can you guarantee you can do that, too?” 

Squalo just grumbled under his breath and smacked Levi’s hand away from his coat, but didn’t lash out after that. 

Tsuna smiled brightly. “If the room is cleaned quickly, you can all eat faster.”

“The prince will not clean anything.” 

Tsuna turned his gaze to Bel, blinking innocently. “I didn’t say that you have to clean it up, Bel-san. But wouldn’t it be nice to eat this as soon as you can?” 

“I will help if that will allow Xanxus-sama to eat,” Levi said. 

Tsuna was a bit unnerved at Levi’s zealous nature, but didn’t comment on it. He was just satisfied that he got his point across. Soon, he grabbed a broom and several dustpans from a small closet. He barely had time to blink before the room was half-spotless. 

Lussuria chuckled as Tsuna gaped at Levi’s blinding speed. For such a huge man, he was surprisingly meticulous and just…really fast. No one else seemed fazed. Bel was even filing his own nails with a knife. Okay, no. Tsuna snatched it away before he could protest.

“It’s unsanitary and dangerous, Bel-san,” he said, dumping it in an extra tray with all the other knives and broken utensils. 

“The prince doesn’t appreciate anyone interrupting his time to himself.” 

“The peasant also doesn’t appreciate the prince being susceptible to bacterial infection and disease.”

That seemed to shut Bel up. Squalo even snickered. 

Lussuria cooed. “Oh my, Tsu-chan. You’re handling them so well. I’ve never seen them so obedient before. It’s actually quite incredible for someone so small and adorable like you.” 

“You better keep your fucking mouth shut, trash!” Squalo said. 

“Levi also has an impressive work ethic,” Lussuria said, ignoring him. He dumped some more broken cerami in the trash. “Whatever he puts his mind to, he’ll most definitely surpass all your expectations.” He giggled. “Especially when Xanxus is involved.”

Said man suddenly threw a cup at Levi’s head. Tsuna widened his eyes when it shattered on impact.

“You’re too fucking slow, trash,” Xanxus said, scowling. “Pick up your shitty pace. I’m hungry.” 

Levi, who seemed too lax with the outburst, bowed deeply. “I apologize, Xanxus-sama. I will do better.” 

Tsuna gaped at them. It was terrifying and painfully reminiscent of his school days. What was wrong with these people? Do the fans know at all or do they glorify this as some kind of “cool”, “bad boy” behavior? Actually, he didn’t want to know.

Before he knew it, Tsuna was already at Levi’s side. He cursed the man’s tall height; he barely reached his chest. 

“Are you okay, Levi-san?” he said, tiptoeing to carefully brush the glass from the man’s broad shoulders. 

Levi blinked. “Yes, I am fine. I just need to clean up the room faster like Xanxus-sama told me to.”

Tsuna glared at Xanxus who stared to the side. “You’re despicable.” He turned back to Levi with a frown. “Is your head okay? Is it bleeding? Should I call an ambulance?” 

Again, Levi just blinked. “I’m okay, Sawada-san. My head is very sturdy.” 

Before Tsuna could say another word, his pager buzzed with another order from the kitchen. Giving Xanxus one final glare, he took away Levi’s dustpan, ignoring the other’s protests, and shoved it in Squalo’s hands. 

“Squalo-san, I don’t want to see one speck on the floor when I come back.” Tsuna ignored Squalo’s indignant sputters and turned to an amused Lussuria. “Lussuria-san, I have to go to another table. Please make sure no one touches the grill or anyone else until I come back.” 

Lussuria just waved him off merrily. “No worries, sweetie. I have it all handled.” 

Tsuna dragged a stuttering Levi to the end of the table, far away from Xanxus. “Sit here, Levi-san. If you move at all, I will tie you down.” 

“Sawada-san—” 

“I’ll be back,” Tsuna said cheerfully, heading for the door. “Make sure he doesn’t move an inch, Lussuria-san.” 

Lussuria giggled. “Of course, Tsu-chan.” 

“Voi, get back here, brat!”

Tsuna sighed deeply once he left the room. How could grown men act worse than children? He took a brief moment to calm down and headed towards the kitchen, but not before he tossed away the melted icepack in his pocket to get two new ones. Squalo still had that nasty bruise and…he didn’t want to think about Levi’s head. 

Right—Hibari. Carrying the man’s order, Tsuna racked his sluggish brain to think about what he asked him. He only drew blanks again. When he found himself outside Hibari’s door, he paused. What would he say to him? Hibari would still probably be upset that he didn’t remember him. But, it was true. Tsuna couldn’t place his face. His mind was too cluttered with other things and he wasn’t really a big fan of remembering his school days. 

Someone awkwardly coughed nearby, making him jump. He barely managed to balance his tray in his hand. 

“Shit! Sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you. You okay? 

Tsuna relaxed when he realized it was only Gokudera. He quickly smiled. 

“I’m fine, Gokudera-san. Do you need help going back to the room?” 

Gokudera shifted. “Oh, no. I know my way back. I was just passing by and well, you kind of looked out of it.” 

Tsuna mentally cursed. “I’m fine, Gokudera-san. It’s just been a busy night. You don’t have to worry about me.” He frowned. “Are you okay?” 

Gokudera blinked and Tsuna just realized how vividly green his eyes were. 

“Yeah, I’m fine,” he muttered, scowling at the ground. Tsuna stifled a small laugh. Gokudera was easy to read. It was kind of endearing. “Mukuro’s just a bastard. I’m used to it.” 

Tsuna pursed his lips. “Still, what he said was unnecessary and cruel, Gokudera-san.” 

Gokudera just shrugged. “It’s even worse if Hibari’s there.” His lips twitched into a small smile. “You don’t want to see the total shitfest when they’re in the same vicinity.” 

“Is that why Hibari-san is in a different room?” 

Gokudera raised a brow. “Yeah. You…really don’t know anything about us, huh?”

Tsuna huffed. “Yes, I know. I’m way past living under a rock at this point.” 

Gokudera laughed. “Nah, I actually find it refreshing, if that makes sense…” 

Tsuna couldn’t help but think that Gokudera had a nice laugh. It was full, almost lyrical. His smile was also nice. It made him look so much younger and less weary. There were small cracks in Gokudera’s carefully-crafted mask and Tsuna was a little happy to see past it. 

“Is there something on my face?” Gokudera grimaced, rubbing a thumb against his cheek. “Ah, shit, I thought I was clean before I left.” 

Tsuna blinked before laughing softly. “Oh, no. I’m sorry. That was very rude of me. You just have a very nice smile, Gokudera-san.” 

Gokudera’s cheeks grew a little red as he shoved his hands in his pockets. “Oh, uh, thanks, I guess.” 

Tsuna nodded. “You’re welcome. I’m sorry but I have to get this to Hibari-san.” 

“Oh, yeah. I’m sorry. I held you up.” 

Tsuna shook his head. “It’s okay. I’m just glad you feel a little better, Gokudera-san.” 

The idol ducked his head and mumbled a quick goodbye before leaving. Tsuna couldn’t help but laugh. Gokudera was like a puppy, which was kind of cute. He then knocked on Hibari’s door and opened it, entering inside. 

“Thank you for waiting, Hibari-san,” he said, placing the dish in front of him. “I also refilled your tea.” 

Hibari just stared at his hot dish with pursed lips before huffing lightly. Tsuna kept his mouth shut, not wanting worsen his mood. He tried to think back again, but still drew blanks—and he wasn’t all that willing to poke the beast in the back of his mind. 

He was sure that he was close to breaking down if he did. 

“Is there anything else you need, Hibari-san?” 

The man just shook his head slightly and continued to eat his meal in stubborn silence. Frowning, Tsuna bowed and quietly left, making sure the door didn’t make a sound. Straightening himself, he quickly headed towards Varia’s room. He’d have time to think more later. Now he had to make sure they didn’t kill each other yet. 

Opening the door, Tsuna was greeted with a spotless room and grumbling men. They even managed to find the spare plates and cups from the small pantry. Miraculously, they weren’t broken. 

Tsuna looked around with a small smile. “Oh, you actually cleaned it up nicely.” 

“Voi, just give us our food already, you little shit!” Squalo said. 

Tsuna shrugged. “Alright.” He sauntered towards the grill and turned it on. He gave Levi an ice pack, who was still sitting at the same chair he left him in. “Here, Levi-san. It’s for your head.” 

Levi blinked, making Tsuna’s heart ache when he saw the slight confusion in his eyes. Did no one ever help this man? Did he ever visit the hospital before? Did he even know what a hospital was? 

“Thank you, Sawada-san,” Levi said awkwardly, taking the ice pack. “But I really am fine.” 

“Just put it on, please,” Tsuna said. “For me?”

Levi flushed slightly before mumbling another thanks and placing the ice pack on the back of his head. Tsuna flashed him a brilliant smile then handed the other ice pack to Squalo. 

“For your bruise,” he said when the man sneered at him. 

“I don’t—” 

“Take it, Squalo,” Lussuria said. “It’ll help with the swelling.” 

Squalo scowled and snatched the ice pack from Tsuna’s hand, muttering angry curses. Tsuna slid the hibachi steak towards Xanxus. It was unexpectedly but thankfully still warm. 

“Here, Xanxus-san,” he said, pouring the man a cup of whiskey. “Please don’t throw anything.”

Xanxus just glared at him. For a rough man, he was surprisingly elegant when he ate. Tsuna then squeezed in-between Bel and Lussuria to man the grill, smacking Bel’s hand from touching it bare-handed. Why? Just…why? 

“I don’t trust any of you,” he said, letting the meat sizzle on the pan. 

A heavy, delicious aroma soon basked the room and Tsuna could see the men practically salivate at their mouths (except Xanxus since he was way above that and content that no one was being so fucking loud for once). 

Lussuria pouted. “Not even me, Tsu-chan?” 

“No, Lussuria-san. I’m not taking any risks.” 

“Voi, we’re not idiots, sc—” 

Tsuna just shoved a butaniku in Squalo’s mouth to shut him up. The man let out unintelligible gurgles before chewing and swallowing the meat. Clapping his hands, Lussuria laughed while Bel just snickered. Levi looked a little more uncomfortable than usual and Xanxus stared at Tsuna like he grew five heads. 

Tsuna smiled innocently. “Isn’t it good, Squalo-san?” 

Squalo just scowled, his cheeks a little red. “J—Just grill the fucking meat. I’m hungry.” 

Tsuna was already piling several plates with more meat. “I wasn’t the one who almost destroyed the room, Squalo-san. There are rules here and you will not be treated any different from other rowdy customers.” 

Lussuria giggled. “Oh, Tsu-chan, you’re just adorable! Why, you’d make the perfect housewife!” 

Tsuna nearly spilled Bel’s plate on the floor if he didn’t catch it in time. He gaped at the other man. “Lussuria-san, that is…very inappropriate.” 

Lussuria just ignored him, already lost in his disturbing fantasy. “Why, I can see it so clearly! Xanxus is the father, I am the mother, Squalo the eldest son, Levi the second, and Bel the youngest. And you are our adorably naughty housemaid who manages to ensnare all of the men’s hearts!” 

Tsuna immediately ducked when a bottle of whiskey flew over his head; a knife swished past his nose not a second later. He stifled a squeak when a loud crash came from his left. Squalo wrestled Lussuria to the ground, but it looked like he needed more help than the giggling man. Lussuria had Squalo in a rather painful headlock between his legs.

Taking pity on the suffocating man, Tsuna hesitantly reached out to pat Lussuria’s calf, which was terrifyingly muscular.

“Lussuria-san,” Tsuna said, “he can’t breathe. Please let him go.” 

Lussuria laughed. “Oh, Tsu-chan. Alright. But anything for you, sweetie.” 

He let go of the choking man and stood up gracefully, barely looking ruffled. Tsuna reached out to help Squalo up but tripped on a leg, which suspiciously looked like Lussuria’s, and fell forward with a small squeak, landing on top of Squalo in a heap. 

For a moment, no one spoke. Tsuna’s could feel Squalo’s heart quicken its pace and smell the man’s cologne. Close—they were too close. Squalo smelled like sea salt, juniper, and oak, reminding him of the ocean. Bel snickered while eating the meat from his plate. Levi averted his gaze quickly and tried hard not to fidget. Xanxus looked like he wanted to murder someone—probably everyone. Lussuria was straight up cackling—and was that his phone

A blush crept on Tsuna’s cheeks when the door suddenly opened. Everyone looked up to see a hooded man standing at the doorway. He was fairly tall with a slender build and a large black hoodie covering his eyes. His skin was fairly pale and there were some strands of purple hair reaching down to his chin. Even though he couldn’t see the man’s eyes, Tsuna could tell that he was staring at him. 

He quickly scrambled to his feet and bowed towards the equally flustered Squalo.

“I’m so sorry, Squalo-san! I didn’t mean to fall on you!” 

Squalo just clicked his tongue and stood up, flicking some hair behind his shoulder. “Whatever, brat.” He glared at Lussuria. “Put your fucking phone away, trash.” 

Lussuria smiled, his hands suspiciously empty. “What do you mean, Squ-chan? What phone?” 

Squalo gritted his teeth and prepared to lunge at him until the hooded man said, “Squalo, if you increase the damage costs again, I’m deducting your paycheck as I see fit.” 

His voice was quiet, but there was a sharp edge to it that made Tsuna tense. Squalo kicked the table instead and sat down with a scowl. 

“Fucking pervert can’t keep his goddamn mouth shut,” he mumbled, glaring at Lussuria and shoveling more butaniku in his mouth.

“Why are you here, Mammon?” Bel said, eating as if nothing was wrong. 

“To make sure you idiots aren’t bleeding my card dry,” the man said. “I’m surprised you haven’t made a mess yet.” 

Everyone glanced at Tsuna who shifted a bit. When Mammon drew closer, Tsuna was surprised that he wasn’t as tall as he thought. The other man was possibly just a few inches taller than he was (still didn’t help though since everyone was taller than Tsuna anyways). 

“Could you leave us for a moment?” Mammon said.

Tsuna blinked. “Oh, um, yes!” 

“But, Tsu-chan, what about the meat?” Lussuria said. 

“Grill it yourselves,” Mammon said, brushing past Tsuna. “I’ll make sure they don’t burn anything.” 

“Get me another bottle, trash,” Xanxus said, his intense gaze pinning Tsuna to the spot.

Tsuna glanced at the broken bottle on the floor. “If you clean that up, maybe I will.”   

He dashed out of the room, dodging a flying cup that shattered against the wall; it was dangerously close to his head. Someone just kill him, please. Ignoring the curses and yells behind him, he saw Hana down the hallway, who gestured him to follow her. They walked out to the back where Decimo, minus Hibari, chattered loudly and threw insults at each other—well, more like Mukuro and Gokudera were. Everyone else was just trying to keep them apart. 

Kyoko beamed when she saw them, and skipped over to hug Hana’s arm, who surprisingly didn’t shrug her off. Tsuna politely stood to the side, not wanting to intrude. 

“Thanks for having us over, Hana-chan!” Kyoko said. “The food was wonderful like always!”

“It was really good,” Yamamoto said, grinning. “Tsuna was a good server.” 

“He extremely was!” Ryohei said. 

Tsuna flushed. “Ah, thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed your meal.” 

Mukuro chuckled, his arm slung loosely over Nagi’s shoulders. “Tsuna-kun was actually the best-looking m—”

“Don’t finish that fucking sentence,” Gokudera said, glaring at him. 

“Maa, maa, keep it down, guys,” Yamamoto said, raising his hands. “You can continue this at the hotel.” 

Mukuro smirked. “Oh? I don’t want to sleep with this mutt.” 

“That’s not what he fucking meant, you dumbass! Who the hell would even sleep with a freak like you?” 

Tsuna gaped when Mukuro tapped his chin in mock-thought. “Well—”

“Okay, guys, we’re going to be extremely late,” Ryohei said quickly, steering them towards a large van. “Nagi stalled for us long enough. Hibari’s already there.” 

Tsuna blinked when Kyoko suddenly clasped his hands. She smiled at him, her eyes glowing under the streetlights.

“Tsuna-kun, tell me when you’re free!” 

Hana sighed. “Kyoko—” 

“Oh, hush, Hana-chan. I’m having a very important conversation with Tsuna-kun.”

Ryohei placed a hand on his sister’s shoulder, looking exasperated. “Kyoko—”

Kyoko huffed. “Ryo-nii, let me talk to Tsuna-kun."

“Ah, well, I don’t know when I’ll be free, Kyoko-san,” Tsuna said quickly. “I’m very…busy.” 

“How about tomorrow morning?” 

“I have work.” 

“Tomorrow afternoon?” 

“I have errands to run.” 

“Evening?” 

Tsuna glanced at Hana for help, but the woman just shrugged. “I have to watch my siblings…” 

Kyoko frowned. “Sunday?” 

“I have work that day, too.” 

“Oh,” Kyoko said, looking down. “I didn’t know you were that busy, Tsuna-kun. Well, is there any other day or time? Anything…?” 

She looked so heartbroken that it made Tsuna’s heart hurt. Something told him it was all an act, but still—it was painful and it worked. He chewed on his lip. “Well…I can make room for tomorrow afternoon…” 

Kyoko immediately brightened. “Really? Okay, great!” She kissed his cheek and waved. “Bye, Hana-chan! Bye, Tsuna-kun! I’ll text you later!” 

Tsuna just stared at her dumbly when she left. Hana sighed again. 

“I thought you were smarter than that, Sawada,” she said, walking back inside. 

Tsuna barely heard what she said before he followed her in a daze. He was seriously starting to question his life right now.


If keeping the Varia contained was hard inside, it was even more difficult when they were outside

Tsuna didn’t even know why he had to babysit them. Hana and Mammon were talking in her office, probably about the hefty bill the idols drew up, which left Tsuna with the impossibly loud men. 

Levi had easily carried Xanxus’ chair—Tsuna still didn’t understand that—to their van and placed it very carefully in the back. Squalo screamed threats and curses in Bel’s ear who just laughed at him and— 

Tsuna snatched the knife away from the man’s hand, his brow twitching. “Are you going to pay for this, Bel-san?” 

Bel laughed. “Oh, seems like I got caught. You should be careful, peasant. I can do more with that knife.” 

“I never asked. And Squalo-san, please keep your voice down.” 

Squalo scoffed, flicking his lighter over his cigarette. “Don’t tell me what to do, brat.” 

Tsuna just sighed and pocketed the knife in his apron. He tensed when Lussuria suddenly ruffled his hair.

Lussuria squealed. “Oh, Tsu-chan! I knew your hair would be this soft and fluffy! You’re like a kitten!” 

Squalo scoffed. “More like a maggot.” 

“Keep your fucking voice down, trash,” Xanxus said with a glare, letting Levi light his cigarette.

Tsuna just wanted to sleep and forget that these men ever existed. Preferably now. Soon, the door opened behind him and Mammon stepped out.

“Why aren’t you in the car?” he said. “You’re wasting time. I’m not rescheduling the meeting again.” 

“Yes, yes.” Lussuria hugged Tsuna with a grin. “I’m going to miss you, Tsu-chan! I hope to see you again!” 

I hope not, Tsuna thought. 

Instead, he smiled politely. “Have a good evening, Lussuria-san. Thank you for coming.”

Tsuna almost sagged in relief when the Varia climbed into the van, yelling and shouting all the way, until Mammon looked at him. 

“You held their meal hostage,” he said. 

Tsuna flushed. “Ah, yes, I apologize for that…” 

“Their room was clean.”

“Oh, um, well, I really do apologize for that, sir. They made a huge mess when I delivered their order and I told them that they couldn’t eat if the room wasn’t clean so I…forced them to clean it up.” Tsuna bowed. “I’m sorry, sir!” 

“It’s fine. I’m surprised that they’d even listen to you. You look harmless.” 

Tsuna shifted. “Ah, I…get that a lot, sir.” He looked up a bit shyly. “You’re not angry, sir?” 

“As long as there are minimal damages, I don’t care what you do. How much do you want?” 

Tsuna blinked. “How much do I…?” 

Mammon pursed his lips. “Money. How much money do you want?” 

“…pardon?” 

“I don’t want you telling anyone about them being here or what happened in that room so name your price.” 

“I don’t—I don’t want your money, sir. I won’t tell anyone.” 

Tsuna mentally winced. He had promised Hana the same thing, but told Haru about his past encounters that morning. Dread coiled tightly in his stomach. Kami, he couldn’t even keep his mouth shut for something so simple

Mammon frowned. “Just name your price.” 

“Sir, I don’t need or want your money. It’s okay.” 

A brief silence passed between them until Mammon spoke again. “I don’t want to hear any of this in the press or on the internet.” 

Tsuna smiled. “You don’t have to worry about that, sir.” 

Mammon finally nodded. “I’m sorry for their troubles.” 

“Ah, it’s alright, sir. Have a good night.” 

Tsuna silently watched him leave, bowing a little. He winced when the van abruptly pulled out and skidded onto the road; he could still hear the men yelling when they turned right. Kami, if he were someone else, he would’ve assumed that they were kidnapping someone—or killing each other in the van.

He sighed before heading back inside. When he arrived at Hana’s office, he knocked. A muffled “come in” sounded from the other side and Tsuna entered, closing the door behind him. 

Hana gestured for him to sit down, typing on her computer. “Give me a second.” 

“Take your time.” 

They entered a rather comfortable silence, which was only disturbed by the fast clicking of Hana’s keyboard. Finally, she turned to face him. 

“You look exhausted.” 

Hana actually sounded a little sympathetic, but still held onto her usual stoic expression. Tsuna shook his head. 

“I’m fine, Kurokawa-san.” 

“I heard you held Varia’s meal hostage.” 

Tsuna blushed. “They made a mess when I came back and you told me that I could do what I had to do so…” 

He looked down at his clasped hands, which trembled a little. Did he hear Hana wrong before? Did he go too far? Was she going to fire him? 

“Sawada, I’d prefer it if you looked at me when I’m talking to you.” 

Tensing, Tsuna forced himself to meet Hana’s gaze. 

“I’m not angry. You did better than I expected.” 

“W—Wha—I did?” 

Hana opened one of her desk drawers and took out a white envelope. “Yes. It’s not that much of a secret that the Varia are horrendously difficult. Mammon just happens to be a good negotiator.” 

Tsuna slightly winced. If “good negotiator” meant Mammon just spending money to cover up whatever Varia did, he didn’t know what to think. He supposed he pitied the man and his wallet. 

“I…see.” 

Hana handed Tsuna the white envelope. “Here’s your pay for the past month. As promised, I added in extra for today.” 

Tsuna reached out for it before he stopped. Swallowing a small lump in his throat, he slowly shook his head. 

“I don’t think I can take that, Kurokawa-san.” 

Hana pursed her lips. “What are you talking about?”

Tsuna retracted his hand as if the envelope burned him. “I—I really can’t. I don’t think I can.” 

Hana sighed loudly. “Spit it out, Sawada.” 

“I—I betrayed your trust.”

Hana raised a brow. “Go on.” 

“I—I promised you that I wouldn’t tell anyone about Primo and Kyoko-san being here and—This morning—Haru was watching the kids and she found Kyoko-san’s number that I forgot to throw out and—” 

“Get to the point.” 

Tsuna’s heart thumped painfully against his chest, his mind swirling with a million thoughts at once. 

“I told Haru about Primo and Kyoko-san…” 

A brief moment of silence hung in the air. Hana stared at Tsuna with an unreadable gaze. She then sighed and massaged her temples, making Tsuna tense. 

“Sawada,” she said slowly, “is that what you were worried about?” 

Tsuna blinked. “Yes…? I promised you that I wouldn’t tell anyone and…I ended up doing it.” He chewed on his lip. “I tried not to but…”

Hana rolled her eyes. “I suppose you’re only human after all.” 

Tsuna frowned. “What do you mean, Kurokawa-san?” 

“I know Haru, Sawada. She’s persistently annoying and loud when she wants something. Also, you look dead on your feet. I’m not surprised you caved in, though I thought you’d be stronger than that. I know Haru can keep her mouth shut. If anything, I can talk to her.”

Tsuna gaped at his boss. Was she…not angry at all?

Hana’s brow twitched. “Sawada, you look like a stupid monkey. Stop looking at me like that.” Tsuna closed his mouth immediately. “Honestly, I’m disappointed. I thought you’d keep quiet about it, but then again, I might’ve expected too much from you.” She stood up and walked around her desk to stand in front of him. “Stop stressing yourself with pointless thoughts.” 

“I also told my siblings…” Tsuna said quietly. 

Hana’s brow twitched again. “I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that, Sawada.” 

“But—” 

“If you’re going to keep kicking yourself over a stupid mistake like that, then you’re only wasting your time. Guaranteed that it was really, really stupid of you, nothing will come out of it if you’re just going to wallow in your own self-pity.” 

“B—” 

“Sawada.” Hana’s sharp tone made Tsuna flinch. “It’s done. You told them. Now move on and fix it. Make sure your siblings don’t say anything stupid outside. You can handle that much, right?” 

Tsuna nodded. “Yes…” 

“I’ll call Haru and let her know.” Hana pinched the bridge of her nose. “Honestly, if Kyoko just…” She sighed. “Never mind. Anyways, take it, Sawada.” 

“I—I really can’t.” 

“Can’t or won’t? Whatever your insufferable heart is telling you, ignore it for once and think with your head. I know you need the money so just take it.” 

“Kurokawa-san—” 

Hana reached for Tsuna’s hand and pressed the envelope firmly on his palm. “I’m serious, Sawada. You’re only being selfish if you don’t take it. Use it to bribe your siblings or something.” 

Tsuna’s pale lips twitched into a shy smile. “You’re…very kind, Kurokawa-san.” 

Hana scowled. “Don’t make me regret hiring you.” 

“But I thought I was the only competent monkey around here.” 

Hana narrowed her eyes. “Don’t push it. Now go home and sleep. You look terrible.” 

Tsuna bowed deeply. “Thank you, Kurokawa-san. Have a good evening.” 

She just waved him off and went back to her desk. 

“Oh, Sawada.”

“Yes?” 

“I really don’t recommend going out with Kyoko tomorrow.” 

Tsuna blushed. “It’s not a date, Kurokawa-san!” 

Hana rolled her eyes. “You’re too naïve for your own good. Whatever. Just get out of my office.” 

After Tsuna bowed again and left, he exhaled quietly. Changing out of his uniform, he sent a quick text to Haru.

They needed to talk.


Tsuna caught himself staring into space again while he waited on line at the convenience store. 

Shaking his head to regain his bearings, he tried to focus on the terribly slow customer in front of him. Haru had texted him saying that they were out of some snacks and juice for the kids. While he preferred them not eating those kinds of stuff on a regular basis, Tsuna hadn’t had the chance to buy groceries since last week; he had planned to do it tomorrow. He sighed when he reached the counter, mumbling a greeting to the cashier. 

The paycheck Hana gave him felt heavy in his satchel. He knew that he should appreciate it, but he couldn’t really be happy about it. Hana was right though—he should think more with his head instead of his heart. If he hadn’t caved in that morning to Haru and his siblings, if he had just kept his mouth shut, if he had j— 

“You okay there, honey?” the cashier said, snapping him out of his thoughts. “You look pale.” 

Tsuna blinked blearily and looked at the concerned woman as if he just noticed her. “Oh, yes. I’m fine.” 

“You shouldn’t be eating all this stuff,” she said, bagging his items. “You’re so thin. You remind me of my son. He’s a university student—never eats properly ever since he left.” 

Tsuna just nodded politely. He paid quickly before she could say anything else. He wasn’t in the mood for a lecture, especially by a stranger who knew nothing about him. When he stepped out of the store, the crisp air somewhat revitalized his senses. The night sky was hazy and he was a little sad to see that there were no stars out tonight. 

Slowly, the neighborhood silence got to him. His legs felt heavy while he trudged through the empty streets. Was it really late? He checked his phone: 8:12 PM. Huh, he thought it was later than that. His siblings would still be up, which was good since he also had to talk to them. 

He blinked when he noticed several messages in his inbox. His lips curved into a small smile. They were all from Vasya. 

3:21 PM: tsuna, i know youre at work but just wanted to let you know that reborns still on set. ill keep an eye on him. so no worries about him stalking you or anything. seriously tho the bastard can be a total creep. 

3:24 PM: hes been staring at me this whole time and i think he knows im talking to you… 

3:29 PM: im just gonna stop now…  

5:52 PM: OMG TSUNA LOOK  

5:54 PM: [image attached] 

Tsuna opened it before bursting out into laughter. He quickly covered his mouth with a blush. It was a picture of Colonello sleeping with some half-assed women’s makeup, blue lipstick, eyeliner, and all. There was even a blue heart painted over his lips.

5:56 PM: not too shabby eh?? 

Tsuna shook his head, giggling. He hoped Vasya managed to escape Colonello’s wrath. 

6:01 PM: im so hungry tsunaaaaa. im going to die from hungerrrrrr.

Tsuna frowned. That wasn’t good. He hoped that Vasya was actually eating though (more like, he hoped that he was actually being fed). 

Speak for yourself, a small voice whispered in the back of his head. 

He ignored it. 

7:43 PM: REBORN DISAPPEARED IDK WHERE HE WENT BUT HES GONE OMG TSUNA HIDE

7:58 PM: lolol mb. false alarm. he just came back. carry on. 

Tsuna smiled, his steps becoming lighter. Vasya seemed to cheer him up without him realizing it. He then hesitantly opened Reborn’s chat. The man looked at his last message but didn’t respond. Tsuna should really delete his number but that wouldn’t erase his own on Reborn’s phone, would it? Sighing, he pocketed his phone. 

His mind jumped around a lot when he was left alone to think. There was the rent, which he could definitely pay with what Hana gave him. It was actually more than enough. He’d have some left over to buy some stuff for the kids. Lambo had already finished his ninth coloring book and ended up drawing on their printer paper, which was a bit concerning since those were pretty pricey, but Tsuna never had the heart to tell him to stop. I-pin’s birthday was coming up soon and he still wasn’t sure what he was getting her. He’d have to poke around again. Fuuta would probably like getting some new notebooks and those cute pencils he liked. 

While Tsuna thought about how he’d spend the remaining money, his thoughts wandered to Hibari. He frowned. He still couldn’t wrap his head around the idol’s insistence about knowing him. Seriously though, Hibari seemed like he really did know him. Did they happen to pass by each other in middle school at some point? It could’ve happened. But why would the man be affected by something so trivial? Actually, why would he remember him at all? 

Wait. 

Tsuna slowed down his pace. Hibari mentioned miso soup, which was oddly specific. He thought that the man was talking about the one he made a few days ago, but there was something strange about the way he said it. 

“You made me miso soup.” 

Tsuna froze. For a brief second, he remembered his middle school’s rooftop and how no one would ever go up there. He had thought it was strange since Haru had said she went up to her school’s rooftop all the time. The faint scent of early spring and the distant flutter of wings soon flooded his senses. There was someone sleeping peacefully on the ground with a small yellow canary perched on his chest.

The memory was so sudden, so fleeting, that Tsuna barely had time to recollect himself or even process what he just remembered.

The sharp pressure building inside his head made him see double. A choked sob suddenly tore through his throat. He didn’t even realize he was crying until he was leaning on a wall for support. Terrible memories suddenly spilled inside his head and a wave of nausea racked through his body. He tried to push them away but he just couldn’t…breathe

His bullies had caught him on his way home one day and managed to nab him before he could run. They pummeled him to the ground ruthlessly, screaming and laughing in his ears, until someone suddenly swooped in and beat them within an inch of their lives. 

Tsuna had been too out of it to see his savior’s face then, but he had heard about the demon prefect of Namimori and assumed that that was the person who saved him, even though the other didn’t stick around to help him up. Of course, Tsuna never confronted the other man, too timid and terrified then, but he had grown to respect him a little for defending the weak, even if his ideologies were a bit skewed. 

And it was Hibari.

Kami—he did know Hibari. He just didn’t know that that person was him

And he had given him miso soup—he just never gave it to him directly. 

How could he have forgotten that? Tsuna’s breath hitched. Why couldn’t he do anything right? 

He really was Dame-Tsuna. 

“Are you alright?” 

A low, smooth voice suddenly drew Tsuna’s attention to a tall, imposing figure standing above him. His eyes slowly trailed up long legs and a lean torso before resting on a hidden face. The man wore a black mask, but Tsuna could see his ice-blue eyes under the low light and strands of blond hair underneath his cap. 

Tsuna quickly covered his face, feeling small. When did the man even appear? 

“I—I’m sorry,” he said, hiccupping a little. “I don’t know what—Please don’t look…” 

He tensed when the man crouched next to him. Tsuna peeked through his fingers to see him holding out a blue handkerchief. For a few minutes, he just stared at the elegant fabric, noting the simple white curves stitched on the hem. His dazed mind barely processed the large, warm hand taking his own to peel it away from his face. The man was surprisingly gentle.

Tsuna gaped when he placed the handkerchief in his hand. 

“Keep it.”

“Oh”—Tsuna shook his head and tried to give it back—“I couldn’t.” 

The man firmly but gently pushed his hand away. “You need it more.” 

Tsuna flushed before looking away. “Thank you…” 

“Do you live far?”

The question caught him off-guard. Tsuna took a moment to process what the man just asked. He just couldn’t keep up today, could he? 

Shaking his head, Tsuna said, “No.” He slowly stood up on numb legs and grimaced. “I live only a few blocks down from here.” 

The man looked him over for a few seconds before turning away. “Travel safely. It will get colder tonight.”

Tsuna could only stare when the stranger disappeared around the corner just as quickly as he appeared. He blinked a couple of times to make sure he wasn’t imagining things. The handkerchief was warm in his hand. His eyes widened before he ran out into the streets. 

“Wait!” 

His cry was met with silence. The man was already gone. 


Haru opened the door before Tsuna could even get his key out. He blinked at the unexpected motion and stared at his friend’s bright face. Her grin vanished instantly. 

“Tsuna, what happened?” she hissed, pulling him inside. 

Ah, the kids must be asleep, Tsuna thought vaguely. 

Sure enough, his home was dark, except for the kitchen, and none of his siblings were out. The bedroom door was left slightly open for Fuuta. Tsuna slipped off his shoes clumsily while Haru took his bags and set them down on the dining table. She quickly led him to the bathroom. 

“Wash your face, Tsuna,” she said quietly, closing the door. 

Tsuna stared at himself in the mirror. His eyes were red and puffy from crying and his cheeks were flushed. There were dark bags underneath his eyes, which looked more prominent now that he got a good look at them. After washing his face and brushing his teeth, he walked out to the dining table where Haru was brewing some tea. 

Tsuna smiled tiredly. “Haru, you didn’t have to.” 

Haru huffed lightly. “Well, I did. Sit.” 

He obeyed quietly and accepted the warm mug. A beat of silence passed between them. Tsuna just stared at the green liquid, his mind dulled and ears buzzing. 

“What happened, Tsuna?” Haru whispered. “Did something happen at work?” 

Tsuna shook his head. “No. Just some rough guests, but nothing I couldn’t handle.” 

Haru searched his face. The determined set in her brows made Tsuna smile slightly. 

“I’m fine, Haru.” 

“You were crying.” 

Tsuna forced a small laugh, but it came out more bitter than he intended. “People can cry when they’re happy, too.” 

“Tsuna.” Her voice was low but firm. “What happened?”

Tsuna’s tongue felt heavy and his head was still pounding, though it wasn’t as bad before he met the stranger. He swallowed a small lump in his throat.

“I don’t know…” 

Haru frowned. “What do you mean you don’t know?” 

Tsuna tightened his grip around his mug. “I told Kurokawa-san after my shift that I told you and the kids about, you know. We—We got some difficult customers tonight and I was assigned to them. She told me beforehand that she’d give me a raise for that shift. I was happy but then”—his breath slightly hitched—“But then I started to think. And it’s bad when I do, especially on a shift. I was thinking a lot and I tried to stop but when I told her—I don’t know, Haru, I just felt terrible and then I realized the mistake I made and—” 

Haru reached out to grip his trembling hands. She was warm.

“I’m sorry, Tsuna,” she said quietly. “Hana actually called me a while ago.” 

Tsuna flinched. 

“I really am sorry, Tsuna. I know how much you value someone’s trust. I pushed you too much. But I swear, I won’t tell anyone. I even told the kids about it. They understand.”

Tsuna frowned. He was hoping that he could talk to them himself. 

Haru smiled. “You’ll get to talk to them tomorrow. Another day, another start, right?” 

Tsuna laughed softly. “Yeah…”

“But there’s something more, isn’t there?” 

Tsuna’s shoulders hunched when he looked down at his tea, remembering the blue handkerchief in his pocket and the kind stranger. 

“I—I’d rather not talk about it now, Haru.” 

Haru frowned, but didn’t push. She patted his hand comfortingly, smiling gently. “Okay. I’ll be here when you need me, Tsuna. Don’t forget that, okay?” 

Tsuna smiled back tentatively. “Thank you, Haru. I don’t know what I’d do without you.” 

Haru snorted. “Of course. I’m amazing.” 

“Yeah, you are.”

Haru looked down at her pink mug. “I’m leaving for Tokyo on Sunday. I’ll probably be out of town for a few days but I’ll be back by Thursday night. Friday morning if things are rough. It’ll depend on how the group and I work together, but I have a good feeling about it.” 

“I’m happy for you, Haru. You deserve it.” 

Haru smiled sheepishly. “What if I screw up? You know how I can be sometimes.” 

Tsuna shook his head. “That’s what makes you you, Haru. And if they can’t accept that, then they don’t deserve you.” 

Haru teared up a little. She sniffled, quickly wiping her eyes. “Thank you, Tsuna.” 

“How are they like?” Tsuna said. “Ah, my bad. I shouldn’t ask, right?” 

Haru chuckled. “I don’t really care. You’re not the type to tell anyone about it anyways.” 

Tsuna raised a brow. “And you?” 

“Hey, I promised. Don’t you trust me?” 

Tsuna’s lips curved into a genuine smile. “I do.” 

“You know, one of the group members actually reminds me of you. He’s the leader, which is kind of funny. I’ve seen the pictures they sent me and some of the demo videos and he’s just adorable. He has amazing red hair and eyes and—Oh, did you know that it’s a coed group, too? It’s a first for Vongola, but I think they’ll do great! One of the girls is so tall and looks really badass. Actually, now that I think about it, they all have red eyes. It’s kind of a neat concept…” 

Tsuna smiled fondly while Haru talked. Her soft voice distracted him from the dull pounding in his head and the heavy weight on his heart all throughout the night.

Chapter Text

“Did you see the sparks fill with hope? You are not alone

Cause someone’s out there, sending out flares.”

-Flares by The Script


 

A small shudder rippled through Tsuna’s body. Something was shaking him, he vaguely processed. His drowsiness slowly subsided as a voice started filtering through his groggy mind. Groaning, Tsuna opened his eyes and tried to adjust to the bright light. Wait… 

“—na-nii, Tsuna-nii.” 

Tsuna blinked a couple of times to clear his blurry vision. Lambo properly came into view after a few seconds. Tsuna stared at him for a moment, confused. 

“Lambo?” he said, his mouth dry. “Is something wrong?” 

His little brother frowned. “Tsuna-nii, it’s 10:15.” 

Tsuna suddenly sat upright, making Lambo stumble and squeak. “What? Ah, sorry!” He widened his eyes as he scrambled to his feet. “Why didn’t anyone wake me up?”

“I woke up just now, too, Tsuna-nii,” Lambo said, grinning. “We can sleep in tog—” 

The door suddenly flung open, making them jump. Fuuta dashed in the room and tugged Lambo away. 

“Ow, Fuuta-nii, that hurts!” Lambo said, struggling against Fuuta’s grasp. “Stop pulling me!”

“I should’ve just woken you earlier,” Fuuta hissed. He smiled innocently at Tsunas. “Nothing to see here, Tsuna-nii! Just go back to sleep!”

Tsuna just gaped at him. “B—Back to sleep?” 

Grabbing his phone, he saw a few missed calls from the café and a text from Akiko and Kyoko. He opened Akiko’s with shaky fingers. 

Hey, Tsuna. Your friend called in saying you were sick. Hope you get better. 

Sick…? He wasn’t sick. 

Tsuna gasped before bolting to the bathroom. Brushing his teeth, he poked his head out and noticed that Haru wasn’t around. Her stuff was still on the couch. That was a little strange. She never left without telling him. 

“Whe’e’s ‘aru?” 

Fuuta frowned. “Tsuna-nii, you should be sleeping.” 

I-pin nodded, her hair still loose. “Big Sister said to make sure you sleep.” She scowled. “But Lambo woke you up.” 

Pouting, Lambo rested his chin on the table. “How was I supposed to know? Jeez.”

Tsuna spat in the sink before gurgling his mouth and washing his face. He dashed to the bedroom, throwing on some jeans and a random hoodie. “When Haru comes back, let her know that I went out!” 

Fuuta followed him to the doorway and watched him slip on his converse with a frown. “Tsuna-nii, you should stay home and rest.” 

“Fuuta,” Tsuna said, tying his laces, “I can’t afford to take a sick day off. If I don’t go to work then it won’t be good for any of us.” His stomach sank when he realized what he just said. “Kami, Fuuta, I’m so sorry. I—I didn’t mean it.” 

Fuuta forced a smile that didn’t reach his eyes. “It’s okay. I know you’re just trying to—to make sure we don’t fall apart.” 

Tsuna cringed. Those shouldn’t be words a child should say—ever. 

“I’m so sorry, Fuuta,” he said lowly in Italian. “I shouldn’t have said that. I promise—everything’s fine. You don’t need to worry about me.” 

Fuuta didn’t look convinced. “Really…?” 

“Really.” Tsuna smiled slightly. “Don’t you trust me, bambino?” 

Fuuta’s lips twitched despite him trying hard not to smile. “That’s not fair.” 

Chuckling, Tsuna nuzzled Fuuta’s forehead. “That doesn’t answer my question.” 

Fuuta’s voice was soft when he spoke. “I do.” He looked down at his feet. “Will you be back soon?” 

Tsuna nodded. “I’ll be back before you know it.” 

“Okay. Come home safely, fratellone. Don’t push yourself too much.” 

Tsuna ruffled Fuuta’s hair, standing up. “I will. Make sure Haru doesn’t go crazy, okay?” 

Fuuta giggled. “Okay.”

Opening the door, Tsuna gave him a small wave before leaving. Even after he caught the bus, his heart continued pounding against his chest. Never—he had never spoken like that to any of the kids before and the way it slipped so easily made him feel even worse. 

Chewing his lip, he glanced at his phone and hesitantly opened Kyoko’s text from last night. 

Tsuna-kun! Let me know when you’re free tomorrow~ °˖✧◝(⁰▿⁰)◜✧˖°

Tsuna ran a hand through his hair when he checked the time: 10:23 AM. His shift was from 9 to 1 today, but he wasn’t sure if Ogawa-san would let him work. This was becoming a bad habit. His leg bounced up and down before he noticed and stopped. Maybe he should’ve talked to Haru last night; but then again, wouldn’t it count as betraying Hana’s trust again since he’d have to mention Hibari? 

A woman jostled past him, her bag bumping his head. Wincing, he rubbed the sore spot. She didn’t seem to notice what happened, too focused on catching her friend’s attention. Tsuna caught himself staring at them chat and laugh with one other for a while. He turned away before they’d notice and shook his head. 

Sighing, he leaned his head against the window and watched the pedestrians and cars pass by in a blur. He realized how…lost he felt. Granted, he didn’t think he needed friends. It wasn’t like Haru and his siblings couldn’t fill the void in his life. He loved them very much; they were his rocks, keeping him steady—and yet, they didn’t seem to be enough to stand against the rush of loneliness that sometimes managed to slip through. 

Tsuna shook his head. It wasn’t right to ask for more when he already had what he needed. But was it all enough?

Frowning, he looked down at his phone. His fingers rested on the number pad while his mind wandered to the kind stranger from last night. He still had his handkerchief and hoped to meet him again to return it, but what were the chances? It was awfully nice of him, but if Tsuna hadn’t broken down and made a mess of himself, he wouldn’t have to make the stranger worry in the first place. 

Was he worried? he thought idly. Or am I just that pitiful?

It took Tsuna a moment to realize that he missed his stop, but he didn’t move. He just stared as the bus moved further away from the café. Without much thought, he typed a response. 

Hello, Kyoko-san. I apologize for not getting back to you last night. I’ll be free around 1 but I need to be home by 4 if that’s okay.  

It took a few seconds before Kyoko responded.

No worries~ 1 is perfect! I’ll be outside Aika’s Sweets~ ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ  

Sending an affirmative, Tsuna realized that it was Haru’s favorite cake shop. His lips curved into a small smile. Haru and Kyoko seemed like they could be good friends if they met. He found himself opening Vasya’s texts then, feeling even worse for not responding to the other man. His fingers flew before he realized what he was doing. 

Please tell me that you got to eat something last night. And I’m sorry for not getting back to you sooner. I hope your morning is going well.  

Tsuna looked out the window again, finding his throat dry. He should’ve taken some water. His mind reeled; he wasn’t sure if what he was doing was even right. He shouldn’t be so close to Vasya—Are we friends? he thought meekly—, but a small part of him desperately reached out to him in a strange way. He couldn’t really pinpoint what it was, too terrified to label it. 

His phone suddenly buzzed in his hand, making him flinch. 

hey tsuna!! nahh dont worry about it. you dont have to respond if you cant. its okay. and yup!! we ate some hotel food when we got back. dont worry!!

Tsuna laughed at the emoticon Vasya sent. It was an octopus happily stuffing its face with all kinds of food. 

I’m glad to hear that. You made me worry there. I thought you were actually going to die from hunger.

LOL nahhhh. have you eaten anything yet?? home cooked meals sound great. i bet you cook a whole feast or sth.  

Tsuna blinked. His stomach was fairly empty but he didn’t feel hungry. 

That’s not an excuse to not eat, Tsuna, Haru’s voice said in his head. 

I’m not sure. 

Tsuna cursed under his breath. That wasn’t what he meant to send. Before he could correct his mistake, Vasya already responded. 

wait what does that mean?? did you eat anything at all?? don’t you have breaks inbetween work?? lal’s a slavedriver but she doesnt let us starve.  

Tsuna clicked his tongue. Why was he so stupid? 

It’s nothing, Vasya. You don’t have to worry about it. I’m sorry if I’m bothering you. You must be busy.  

The next message took a while to come through. Tsuna didn’t know what to feel about that. His phone buzzed again a few minutes later. 

im actually out atm. oregano gave us the day off since we managed to pull ahead of our schedule last night. you can join me if you want. im at boketto cafe. not that im forcing you or anything!! 

Tsuna glanced outside. That would be around the next stop. When the bus slowed down, he found himself walking down the steps. He sucked in a deep breath, not knowing when he’d let it go, and headed towards the bustling building. 

At this point, he was moving on autopilot.


Boketto Café was a rather posh book café. It was a large building with coffee-colored walls and an extensive bookstore on the first floor. There were stairs on both sides that led up to the café. Several customers wandered around, shifting through the tall bookshelves and drinking a cup of coffee. 

When the bell tinkled his arrival, he took a moment to look around, finding himself unwinding under the soft lighting and to the smell of books. Climbing the stairs, he took his time to calm his nerves. He really shouldn’t be doing this, but apparently his body had a mind of its own. He wasn’t concerned that Vasya would be there—it was just the fact that he was meeting him so casually that was unnerving. 

A waitress greeted him politely when he reached the top. His tongue suddenly felt heavy. Before he could embarrass himself even further, his mouth moved without him thinking. 

“I—I’m here to meet a friend.” 

Surprisingly, the waitress nodded. “Are you Tsuna-san?” 

Tsuna blinked. “Yes…” 

She grabbed a menu and gestured him to follow her. “This way, please.” 

Tsuna just stared at her small back while he followed her to the back farther. Most of the tables were already crowded. Leather couches were attached to the walls, which were filled with more books. Soft jazz filtered through the café, creating a casual and relaxed atmosphere. 

Vasya soon came into view with his back turned. He wore some skinny jeans and a hoodie, but still managed to look fashionable. Tsuna suddenly felt out of place. 

This is a mistake, he thought, almost turning away. 

“Would you like anything to drink?” the waitress said, unknowingly blocking his escape. 

Tsuna widened his eyes. “Um, water, please?” 

“I’ll be back, sir. Please let me know if there’s anything else you need.” 

Tsuna dazedly watched her leave until a hand gripped his arm. He yelped and turned too quickly, bumping into some nearby chairs. Vasya quickly pulled him up before he met the ground. 

“My bad,” Vasya said, chuckling sheepishly. “I didn’t think I’d…” 

He trailed off when he got a good look at Tsuna’s face. Tsuna flushed and tugged his arm from Vasya’s strong grip. 

“Thank you,” he said, shuffling to an empty seat. 

Frowning, Vasya sat down across from him. “Tsuna, you look like, well, shit.”

Tsuna laughed, noting how bitter it sounded. “Yeah, I know. I’m sorry about that.” 

Vasya didn’t laugh. His violet eyes were wide with concern, which would’ve been endearing if Tsuna wasn’t so on edge. He nearly sighed in relief when the waitress returned with a tall glass of water.

“Thank you,” he said quietly. 

“Of course, sir,” she said. “Is there anything else you need?” 

“No, thank you.” 

“Can I get three chocolate Belgian waffles?” Vasya said suddenly.

The waitress nodded. “Yes. I’ll be back shortly then.” 

“Thanks!” 

When the waitress left, Tsuna downed his whole glass. The cool water soothed his dry throat considerably, making him slowly relax. He let out a small, content sigh.

“Here,” Vasya said, pushing his own cup towards him. 

Tsuna didn’t even think twice. “Thank you.” 

He drank the whole cup, his nerves calming down considerably. He couldn’t help but smile a little. 

“Better?” 

Tsuna nodded, his eyes downcast. “Yes, thank you.” He looked around the snug, warm space and gazed out the large windows. “I didn’t know you liked book cafes.” 

Vasya chuckled. “Nah, this was just the closest place. I figured why not? I like it. It’s pretty cozy.” He frowned. “But hey, are you okay, Tsuna? You actually don’t look too good.” 

Tsuna averted his gaze down to his hands, which were laced tightly around the tall cup. “I’m…okay.” 

Vasya snorted. “Okay, my ass. You seriously look like shit.” He suddenly gasped. “Was it Reborn? Oh, my God, did he do something to you? But he never left the set yesterday! Shit, he could’ve left when I was taking a nap! Damn it, I should’ve just stayed awake!” 

Tsuna laughed. “It has nothing to do with Reborn, Vasya.” He looked away. “He…saved me yesterday actually. I wasn’t paying attention on my way to work and almost got hit by a car. I didn’t want to say anything because I didn’t want to make you worry.” 

Vasya shook his head. “Wait, wait, wait, wait—you almost got hit by a car?” 

“Oh, but I’m fine now. If Reborn hadn’t been there, I don’t know what could’ve happened.” 

Fine? You could’ve been hurt or six feet in the dirt by now!” Sighing, Vasya propped his chin on his fist and clicked his tongue. “Well, I guess the asshole did something decent for once.” He tilted his head. “I mean, you look really out of it. Are you sure you’re okay?” 

Tsuna licked his chapped lips, his throat suddenly feeling dry again. “I…” 

“You can talk to me, you know?” He looked up at Vasya, who pursed his lips. “I’m not good at this kind of stuff—Actually, Luce’s better at this than me—but you can…talk to me. I can’t give you the best advices or anything but I can listen.” Vasya huffed. “What I mean is that I’ll listen to whatever you want to say. I don’t want to, you know, force you to talk or anything—that’s all up to you—but, yeah. You get what I mean, I think. Please tell me you do.” 

Tsuna’s grip relaxed around his cup. “Thank you, Vasya. That’s really sweet of you.”

The other man’s cheeks turned a little red, but he just waved his hand to save face. “Yeah, yeah. I’m a saint, I know. Don’t mention it.” 

Tsuna laughed. “Really, thank you. I do feel a little better now.” He smiled softly. “You seem to have that effect on me. It’s really nice actually. I’m very glad to call you my friend.” 

Vasya widened his eyes. Tsuna blinked when the idol suddenly groaned and rubbed his face with his hands. He could barely hear what the other was mumbling and only tilted his head. 

“Are you okay?” 

“’m fine,” Vasya said, his voice muffled. 

Tsuna giggled, poking his arm. “Really? You look like you’re having an existential crisis.” 

Vasya looked up then with an expression that bordered between a pout and a scowl. “How’d you know? Why are we here? Why am I here? What is the meaning of life?” He groaned. “I sound like Verde now.” 

Tsuna laughed. “Well, I’m glad you exist because I got to meet you.” 

The waitress arrive then, saving Vasya from more embarrassment. She set down a plate of Belgian waffles and bowed. “Please let me know if there’s anything else you need, sir.” 

“Thanks,” Vasya said. 

After the waitress left, Vasya pushed the plate of waffles towards Tsuna. “Here. Eat.” 

Tsuna blinked before widening his eyes. He pushed the plate back. “Oh, no, I couldn’t.” 

“I ordered it for you,” Vasya said, handing him his fork. “Now, eat.” 

Tsuna stared at the waffles, swallowing a small lump in his throat. Oh, now his stomach decided to be hungry. “Thank you… Itadakimasu.” 

When the warm, fluffy piece of waffle entered his mouth, Tsuna found himself enjoying it. Plus, it was chocolate-flavored—chocolate was the cure for everything. He cut another piece with his fork. 

“How is it?” Vasya said. 

“It’s really good,” Tsuna said, smiling. 

Vasya grinned. “Great!” 

“Oh.” Tsuna cut a small piece and raised it to Vasya’s lips, making him blink. “Try it.” 

Vasya widened his eyes. “Wha—” 

Tsuna quickly shoved the fork in his mouth, grinning mischievously. “It’s good, right?” 

Swallowing, Vasya looked away with a blush. “Y—Yeah.” 

Tsuna reached out to wipe some crumbs from Vasya’s lips with a napkin. “Really, is it that hard to chew?” 

Vasya sputtered some unintelligible words before burying his face into his hands, no doubt blushing again. 

“I was only teasing,” Tsuna said, laughing. “You know, stuntman aside, you’re actually pretty cute. I wonder why Reborn and Colonello can’t see that. Maybe that way they could stop bothering you.”

Vasya gagged. “Hell would freeze over before those assholes even think that. And I’m not cute!” He made a ridiculous pose. “I’m a walking sex-god!” 

Tsuna burst out laughing, clutching his stomach from falling over. Even Vasya joined him, his eyes gleaming with childish delight. They ignored some stares, too busy giggling and crying at the same time. Finally, Tsuna stopped though some giggles slipped from his lips. He wiped his eyes. 

“Ah, I’m sorry,” he said. “That was rude of me.” 

Grinning, Vasya leaned his chin on his palm. “Nah, don’t apologize for something like that. You gotta let loose sometimes, you know? I’m glad—you look better smiling, Tsuna.” 

Tsun flushed. “Oh, um…” 

Vasya snickered. “Cute, my ass. You’re the cute one here. Don’t try to reverse that shit on me.” 

“I’m not afraid to use this fork against you.” 

“Wha…?” 

Tsuna smiled, finding it easier this time. “Thank you, Vasya—really. I feel a lot better now.” 

Vasya rolled his eyes. “Of course, because it’s me you’re hanging out with.” 

“You’re right. It’s because I’m with you.” 

Vasya covered his face again, mumbling something under his breath. Tsuna just continued to eat his waffles, sometimes feeding Vasya, who snatched one from his plate to munch on himself. 

He really did feel a whole lot better.


After Oregano called Vasya for a small meeting—“Goddamn it, they don’t understand what a day off means”—Tsuna walked him out. 

“I’ll see you around, Tsuna!” Vasya said, his voice slightly muffled through his mask. “And, you know, I’m here if you want to talk.” 

Tsuna smiled. “Thank you. Travel safely!” 

Waving, Vasya soon disappeared in the crowd, blending in effortlessly with the pedestrians. Tsuna waited until he was out of view before getting on the bus. 

Aika’s Sweets was a small bakery that sold the best pastries in Namimori. It was all soft colors and had a cozy atmosphere, coupled with the heavenly scent of coffee and bread. Even from a distance, Tsuna could tell that it was bustling with people. He vaguely wondered how he and Kyoko would sit down and order anything. It’d probably take forever to get through the line and find seats. 

Stepping down at the next stop, Tsuna squinted to see if he could find Kyoko in the crowd. He crossed the streets, letting his eyes wander until he found her. She stood inconspicuously to the side, wearing a gray sweater with jeans and a mask. Her orange hair was stuffed neatly under a black cap, making her seem like she had short hair. It was a little strange that Tsuna could find her so easily, but it was better than not finding her at all. 

He walked towards her with a small, awkward wave. “Hello, K—Um…” 

Kyoko immediately looked up from her phone, her eyes crinkling. “Tsuna-kun! I’m so glad you came!” 

“Well, didn’t you want to meet me?” 

Kyoko giggled. “Of course! Ah”—she tapped her chin in thought before perking up—“call me Sen.” 

Tsuna smiled. “Like in Spirited Away?” 

Kyoko suddenly gripped his hands, her eyes bright. “Yes! It’s such a great film!” She squealed. “And Haku is so handsome! It should be illegal for a fictional character to be so good-looking!” She sighed dreamily. “If they ever get to make a live-action film for it, I would love to audition for the role of Chihiro’s mother.”

Tsuna tilted his head. “Why her mother?” 

A mischievous glint shone in Kyoko’s eyes. “Don’t you ever want to try the delicious food that Miyazaki-sensei draws? They look so good! I wouldn’t mind stuffing my face with those in several takes!” 

Tsuna grinned. “You’re not wrong there. But you don’t care if you, well, turn into a pig?” 

Kyoko rolled her eyes. “I’m sure the CGI will take care of that.” 

“Character-wise, I mean.” 

Kyoko tapped her chin thoughtfully. “Well, the parents kind of had it coming. They shouldn’t have eaten all that food without permission, but can anyone blame them? They look delicious!” 

Tsuna laughed. Kyoko’s enthusiasm was pretty cute. He remembered how the kids raved about the film after showing it to them. Lambo had salivated over the food, but quickly became terrified of No-Face and made himself very comfortable on Tsuna’s lap; I-pin had swooned over Haku and squealed at the cute mouse, which Tsuna had sewn for her as a stuffed toy a few years ago as a birthday gift; and Fuuta had teared up at the end and shyly asked if he could watch it over just to listen to the soundtrack again. It was one of the few moments they had done something together without Tsuna working. 

“They do,” Tsuna said, nodding. “I wouldn’t mind learning how to make them.”

Kyoko gasped. “You can cook?”

Tsuna scratched his cheek. “Ah, well, I’m not that good at it, but it’s something I picked up.” He shrugged. “I feel like it’s a necessary life skill.” 

“Of course it is! Oh, I’m jealous! All I can make is instant noodles. I’d love to try your cooking some time!” 

“Oh, um, if you want. But don’t get your hopes up. I can’t please everyone.” 

Kyoko gripped his hands again, her eyes shining joy. “It doesn’t matter! Even if you create the worst tonkatsu in the world, I wouldn’t care because it’s from Tsuna-kun!” 

A light shade of red dusted Tsuna’s cheeks while he tried to find the words to respond. Kyoko squealed and quickly snapped a picture of his face with her phone. 

“Tsuna-kun, you’re just so adorable, I can’t!” 

“Um…” 

Kyoko shushed him. “Oh, don’t worry. This picture’s for my eyes only.” 

Blushing even harder, Tsuna ducked his head. “Ah…” 

“You’re such a treasure, Tsuna-kun! Why didn’t I meet you sooner? Oh, look at the time! We should go now. The movie’s about to start!” 

Tsuna barely had the time to blink when Kyoko grabbed his hand and led him to the movie theater a couple of blocks down.

“Movie?”

Kyoko nodded. “Yeah, there’s a new movie that came out two days ago! It’s already a big hit but that’s expected of Byakuran-senpai!” 

“Byakuran…?” 

“Ah, right. Byakuran is part of Millefiore. It’s actually a co-ed group from Trinisette! They have one girl—Bluebell-senpai—and she’s so cute! She and Byakuran-senpai always post the best-looking desserts on Twitter!” 

Tsuna nodded, digesting the information. “I see. And he also makes movies?”

Kyoko hummed an affirmative. “Yup! He’s made a few hits already! He’s a little weird, but that’s part of his charm. Byakuran-senpai’s really talented. I heard that this movie was one of the first things he wrote while he was in university.” 

“And what’s the movie called?”

Kyoko furrowed her brows. “It’s kind of hard to pronounce. Pha—Phalano—Phaliop—” She laughed sheepishly. “Sorry, I’m not sure how to say it, but it’s supposed to be some kind of plant, I think.”

“Phalaenopsis?” 

Kyoko perked up. “Yes! How did you know? Did you hear about the movie?” 

Tsuna shook his head. “Oh, um, no. I don’t really catch up with movies. But that is an odd title. The Phalaenopsis is actually a group of orchids that can grow new branches when you divide the original ones. It’s actually interesting and they’re quite lovely.” 

“Wow, Tsuna-kun, I didn’t know you knew that!” 

Tsuna smiled slightly. “My mother owned a flower shop when I was little.” 

“Oh, that sounds wonderful! Does she still own it? I’d love to visit!”

Tsuna looked away. “Ah, no. She…passed away years ago. The shop was sold after she died.”

Kyoko widened her eyes. “Oh, I’m so sorry, Tsuna-kun. That was very rude of me.” 

Tsuna shook his head. “No, it’s fine. You didn’t know.”

“I truly am sorry…” 

“It’s fine, K—Sen-chan.” 

Kyoko averted her gaze, and it pained Tsuna’s heart to see her so miserable. He reached out to grab ahold of her hand and smiled tentatively. 

“So, what was your favorite scene from Spirited Away?” 

He knew that Kyoko wasn’t stupid for realizing what he was doing, but she indulged him anyway. She pretended to think for a second or two before perking up. 

“My favorite scene was when Haku remembered his name when they fell from the sky—I cried a lot when I watched it the first time and still do. But I was sad that Chihiro had to leave. I never really liked the ending. I mean, I was happy she got her parents back, but it was heartbreaking to see that she had to leave all her friends behind. I like to think that she met Haku again, too.” Kyoko tilted her head. “What was your favorite?” 

“The train scene. I actually watched the movie when I was in high school; my friend made me watch it with her.” Tsuna chuckled sheepishly. “It was pretty embarrassing because I…cried a lot, too. The scene didn’t have any dialogue or acting, but it spoke to me a lot. The music was also beautiful. The train was like a rite of passage for Chihiro, a transition from childhood to adulthood. I could watch it several times and I wouldn’t feel any different.” 

He blinked when Kyoko stared at him with wide eyes. Ducking his head, he noticed that she still held onto his hand. 

“I’m sorry. I sometimes get carried away and—” 

Kyoko shook her head quickly. “No, no, no! Don’t ever apologize for something like that, Tsuna-kun.” Her eyes crinkled. “Thank you for sharing that with me.” 

“Oh, um, of course.” 

Kyoko giggled. “I think Shu-nii would love talking to you. He likes talking about these kinds of things. I feel bad because I don’t always understand what he’s saying—not everyone does—but I try to listen. I think the only one who could ever talk with him is Alaude-san.” 

Tsuna smiled. “I think he still likes that you listen to him anyways, even if you don’t understand. Listening is enough to a lot of people, and it’s very kind of you to do that. He’s lucky to have a sister like you.” 

Kyoko sighed. “Tsuna-kun, you’re such an angel. Seriously, where have you been all my life?” 

Tsuna blushed. “Oh, um, no, I’m really not. If anyone’s an angel, it’s you, Ky—Sen-chan.” 

Kyoko blinked a couple of times before she laughed. “You know, I’ve been called an angel many times, but you’re the only to make me blush. You’re such a sweetheart, Tsuna-kun!”

Tsuna fidgeted, not knowing how to respond to that, when the large movie theater finally came into view. It was a large, sleek building with nice windows and interior design. He saw some movie posters outside but didn’t recognize any of them. They were pretty photogenic if anything. Kyoko tugged him inside, making him smile. He rarely went out to watch movies—or went out, period. The theater was bright inside and the smell of popcorn, drinks, and candies made his nose twitch. There was a line at the concessions stand and most of the people there were teenagers or couples.

“Do you want anything, Tsuna-kun?” Kyoko said, peering at the well-lit menus.

“Oh, what about our tickets?” 

Kyoko took out two tickets from her bag. “Bought them already!” 

“Ah, I’m sorry. How much was the ticket? I can—” 

Kyoko shook her head. “No, this is my treat. So, don’t apologize.” 

“Are you sure? I c—” 

“All I ask is for you to enjoy the movie, okay? I’ll take care of everything. So, caramel popcorn?” 

Tsuna wasn’t sure what to think about that. He still felt terrible for having Kyoko pay for the movie tickets, which were a bit pricey. 

“I never…really tried it.” 

Kyoko gasped. “What? That won’t do! Follow me!” 

When they reached the concessions stand, Kyoko ordered a large caramel popcorn and two medium cokes. Tsuna quickly paid for them before she could even take out her wallet. He smiled quickly. 

“At least, let me do this much, Sen-chan.” 

The cashier giggled when she handed him the receipt. “What a sweet boyfriend, miss. He’s a keeper.” 

Tsuna blushed. “Ah, we’re not a couple.” 

Kyoko smiled. “We’re just friends, but thanks! Have a nice day!” 

They each carried their drink while Tsuna held onto the popcorn, refusing to let Kyoko hold onto it. When they found their theater, it was almost packed aside from the back rows, which was where their seats were. No one looked their way and it was relatively quiet. 

Kyoko plopped down on a plush seat and gave Tsuna a V-sign. “What do you think, Tsuna-kun? Are the seats okay?” 

Her voice was quiet but Tsuna could still hear her. He nodded and sat down next to her. “It’s fine.” He looked around the large theater, taking in the nice seats and big screen. “It’s been a while since I’ve been to the movies.” He smiled. “Thank you for bringing me here.”

Kyoko shook her head. “No, thank you for coming. I know you’re a very busy person, and I’m really sorry for pushing you so much yesterday.” She laughed sheepishly. “I can get overwhelming sometimes—well, that’s what my brothers says.” 

Tsuna smiled reassuringly. “It’s okay. I…kind of needed it. So, thank you for inviting me. By the way, what is the movie about?” 

Kyoko shrugged. “I don’t know. I don’t read the summary because I feel like it spoils the fun! But it’s bound to be good if it’s by Byakuran-senpai. Oh, it’s starting!” 

A sudden hush fell over the theater when the lights dimmed, darkening the room. The large screen brightened, showing a long list of prohibitions: no cellphones, no noise, don’t kick the seats in front of you, throw garbage in the bins outside, and so on. Tsuna popped a caramel popcorn in his mouth and chewed on the crunchy snack, savoring the sweet and salty taste. It was really good. He took another one. 

Kyoko pulled down her mask to chew on some popcorn, but never took off her cap. She made herself comfortable and focused all of her attention on the screen. Tsuna smiled. Haru did the same thing whenever she watched something. 

Some movie promos were shown then, but most of them didn’t really catch Tsuna’s interest. The trailers gave away too much in his opinion; effects looked nice though. One trailer did manage to catch his attention though. It was a yakuza movie and he blinked to make sure he was seeing correctly. 

Was that…Asari? 

Tsuna gaped when the man unsheathed a katana and gracefully slashed through several men with almost inhuman speed. Never mind the fact that he wore a pristine suit and had his dark blue hair styled handsomely—the way he wielded that katana was almost dangerously beautiful. Tsuna could tell that Asari had experience and this wasn’t a stunt double. Some girls quietly squealed to the side. 

He blinked when the trailer ended. Well…that was something. He still didn’t see the point in the movie though. Something about stolen money…? 

Once the actual movie started, Tsuna found himself immediately sucked in. The story was simple but the complexities behind it were irrevocably heartbreaking. It was about a man named Koyama Yuji who, like Tsuna, grew up as an outcast for being smaller than the other kids. After entering middle school, Yuji met a few students who accepted him for who he was—he finally felt like he belonged. Soon, they all lost contact when they entered high school. As an adult, Yuji found himself weary while he navigated the grueling corporate world until he met a shaman one night, who promised him a wish. 

“I want to see my friends again. I want to smile and laugh with them and get onigiri after school like we used to. I want to be happy.”  

The shaman just smiled mysteriously. “You desire too much, young man.” 

She actually did send him to the past, but it all went downhill from there. Yuji had all of his present memories intact, but his perspective had also changed drastically while he grew up, making him see everything in a more jaded light. He tried to ward off any suspicions as he navigated middle school all over again while trying to learn more about his friends, unearthing things he never knew about or thought about twice. 

Tsuna didn’t move when Kyoko gasped and gripped his hand as Akio jumped from his apartment building. Yuji had been too late. 

“I could’ve saved him…” 

His friends only looked away. 

“No one knew,” Kazuo said, his quiet voice loud in the suffocating silence. 

Yuji didn’t respond, but his thoughts filtered quietly through the speakers. “But I did, and it wasn’t enough. I wonder what Akio thought about before he jumped. Did he think about his grandmother? Did he think about Kimiko? Did he think about us? Wherever he is, I hope he’s happier.” 

A few days later, Naoki was killed in a robbery gone wrong after trying to protect his older sister. Yuji heard it from Kazuo and ran all the way to the hospital, only able to watch helplessly when doctors performed CPR on his friend’s lifeless body. Kazuo disappeared after that and Ryota moved to Osaka. When Yuji found the shaman again on the way home, he begged her for one more chance to go back again, even falling onto his knees.

“One more chance is not enough to reverse the rifts you’ve created.”

Tsuna furrowed his brows, trying to decipher the meaning behind those words, until it finally clicked. Phalaenopsis—of course. He took a brief moment to revel in the genius behind the concept. Whoever this Byakuran was, he was truly brilliant. 

Still, the shaman sent Yuji back, but nothing worked. No matter how many times Yuji tried to keep his friends together, something else went wrong. Whatever he did was never enough and he was forced to pick up the pieces and try again and again and again. Finally, after losing Ryota for the umpteenth time, Yuji seemed to understand what he was doing wrong. When he found the shaman again, he asked for one more wish. 

“Send me back where I belong.” 

The shaman smiled then, kinder this time, almost proud, and nodded. “As you wish.” 

A bright light shone on the screen before fading to black. Silence hung over the theater aside from the quiet sniffles and sobs. A soft melody soon filtered through the speakers as the credits rolled up on the screen. Tsuna took out a packet of tissues from his bag and passed it to Kyoko. She took them to wipe away some tears. 

“Thank you.” 

Tsuna smiled gently. “You’re welcome.” 

They quietly shuffled out of the theater while the credits continued to roll behind them. A few audience members left too, but most stayed behind. Tsuna threw out their empty drinks and popcorn bag in the garbage before meeting up with Kyoko. 

“That was so sad,” she said, her eyes a little red. “But it was really good.” 

Tsuna nodded. “It was. Do you want to use the restroom?” 

Kyoko looked away, sniffling. “Yes, thank you.” 

“I’ll wait for you.” 

After Kyoko left for the restroom, Tsuna hung around in the hallways and took out his phone to turn it back on vibrate. The time read 3:13 P.M. Frowning, he found himself enjoying spending time with Kyoko—actually, he liked doing something that didn’t involve work. 

There was a text from Haru: Tsuna, where are you? Please tell me that you’re actually not at work. 

He quickly responded: I’m sorry, Haru. I actually didn’t go to work. I’m occupied with something else at the moment.

Okay—don’t push yourself too much. We’re all worried about you. Tell me when you come back?  

Of course. I’m sorry for making you all worry. I’ll be making dinner tonight.  

Really?! Yay! We’ll be waiting for you! (/^▽^)/  

I’ll be back before you know it. 

Maybe Tsuna should’ve just stayed home… 

A part of him berated himself for having fun while the kids were stuck at home and taking Haru’s time like that, but another part of him told him to just relax. It was…hard to make up his mind. He jumped when his phone buzzed in his hand. It was Kyoko. 

Wait outside. Caught by fans. Will be out in a few!  

Tsuna left the movie theater then and waited for Kyoko at one of the more inconspicuous corners by the building. He quickly texted back. 

I’m outside by the intersection. Take your time.  

He rubbed his eyes to adjust to the sunlight and stifled a small yawn. He had been afraid that he’d fall asleep in the theater but was glad he didn’t. The movie was good, though there were parts that could’ve been smoother. Well, that was his opinion anyways. His mind then wandered to what he should cook for dinner tonight when he saw Kyoko step out of the theater, her mask in place. 

She glanced around before meeting Tsuna’s gaze. Waving, Kyoko walked over and wiped some imaginary sweat from her brow. 

“Whew, I’m so sorry about that, Tsuna-kun,” she said. “Did you wait long?” 

Tsuna shook his head. “No. It’s fine. Are you okay?” 

“I’m fine. Just some autographs; but it won’t take long before I get found out.” 

Tsuna tilted his head. “Found out?”

Kyoko grabbed his hand. “News travel fast so we gotta go before more fans come. I don’t want you to get caught up in that. Let’s go to Aika’s Sweets!” 

Tsuna let her lead the way. Her hand was comfortingly warm in his. 


They somehow managed to find a free table when they arrived at the bakery—well, more like Kyoko threw her bag on an empty table as soon as it was free. Tsuna quietly apologized to the startled onlookers while Kyoko giggled. 

“Tell me what you want,” Tsuna said, gesturing at the counter. “You can stay here so we won’t lose the table.” 

“Oh, okay! Hmm, a slice of strawberry shortcake and—Oh, a strawberry shortcake Frappuccino!”

Tsuna blinked. “That’s…a lot of strawberry shortcake.” 

Kyoko giggled. “I just love sweets! And strawberries! Oh, and here.” She took out her wallet and handed him some cash. “This is for my order. What are you going to get, Tsuna-kun?” 

Tsuna shrugged. “Probably coffee.” 

Kyoko huffed. “So boring.”

“Coffee’s good.” 

“It’s boring. Oh, the line’s getting shorter. Go, Tsuna-kun! We need to eat cake!” 

Tsuna laughed. “Okay, okay. I’ll be back.”

He quickly got on line and perused the menu. He wasn’t really all that hungry for cake. The caramel popcorn kind of had him full. Maybe some coffee would do. He needed caffeine. 

Someone knocked into his shoulder, making him stumble and bump into the person behind him. 

Tsuna quickly bowed. “I’m so sor—”

He paused when he got a good look at the tall man. What the…? 

The man just smiled amicably. “No problem. You okay?” 

Tsuna couldn’t stop himself. “Why are you talking like that?” 

The man—Reborn, it was Reborn—blinked innocently. “I always talk like this.”

His voice was slightly higher than his usual baritone, matching his current appearance of a university student. Pursing his lips, Tsuna quickly looked him over. A knowing but curious glint came and went in Reborn’s gray contacts while he maintained an affable expression of…whoever he was supposed to be now. Reborn wore a wig of dyed gray hair and a pair of glasses. His clothes were casual—a long cardigan over a plain shirt and jeans. 

Tsuna wanted to gag, but he settled for a small cough and quickly turned around. He vaguely wondered how Reborn even managed to get his curly sideburns covered up again. Moreover, what was he doing here? 

Don’t overthink it, he thought. It’s probably a coincidence. He likes coffee and they sell coffee here. Yup, nothing strange at all. 

“Is there something wrong with my voice?” 

Tsuna barely suppressed a squeak when hot air suddenly tickled his ear. Speaking in his normal, sultry voice, Reborn leaned down to speak to him. Tsuna couldn’t even respond since he was next in line. His voice was luckily steady when he spoke his orders. 

“…and a double espresso,” Tsuna said, handing his and Kyoko’s money to the cashier. 

The woman nodded. “Anything else, sir?” 

“No, thank you.” 

“Your drinks will be out shortly.” 

She brought a slice of strawberry shortcake from the display case and handed it on a nice plate. “Enjoy, sir! Thank you and have a nice day!” 

“Thank you. You, too.” 

Tsuna took the cake back to Kyoko. “Our drinks will be out soon. Here.” 

Putting away her phone, Kyoko clapped her hands. “Thank you, Tsuna-kun!” She peered over his shoulder. “Do you know him?” 

Tsuna (sadly) knew who she was referring to and quickly shook his head. “No. I just bumped into him by accident. It’s nothing.” 

Kyoko giggled. “He’s very handsome.”

Tsuna opened his mouth then closed it. Didn’t she know that the man was Reborn? Actually, it was probably for the best. Shaking his head, he shrugged. “I don’t know.” 

“Oh, but he’s looking at you. Are you sure you don’t know him?”

Tsuna made the mistake of looking back and pulled a small face when Reborn waved at him cheerfully. Okay, seriously, what the hell? Tsuna turned away. 

“No. Probably a lunatic. Don’t pay attention to him.” 

Kyoko grinned. “Okay then. Oh, those must be our drinks!” 

Tsuna nodded. “I’ll be back.” 

“No rush!” 

And of course, it was Tsuna’s rotten luck that Reborn had to stand beside him when he picked up Kyoko’s Frappuccino. 

“Yo, Tsuna,” he said in the same light voice. 

“Just leave me alone,” Tsuna deadpanned, waiting for his own drink.

“Call me Keiji.” 

“I’m not going to call you anything. What are you even doing here?” 

“Getting coffee.” 

Okay, that was a stupid question but still. He hoped—he prayed—that this was only a coincidence. 

“Maybe, maybe not,” Reborn said.

Tsuna blinked. “Did you just—Never mind.” 

There was a hint of amusement in Reborn’s voice. “Did I just what?” 

“I’d prefer it if you keep your mouth shut, thank you.”

Reborn spoke with hurt that might’ve seemed genuine to others, but sounded mocking in Tsuna’s ears. “But we’re supposed to be friends.” 

Scoffing, Tsuna rolled his eyes. His order finally came out then. “Yeah, no.” 

He grabbed his drink and walked away, trying to pretend that conversation never happened. However, his luck grew worse. He peered over his shoulder to see Reborn following him, as if it was normal for them to be heading back together. His brows furrowed. 

“What are you doing?” 

“Walking.” 

“You’re following me.”

Reborn looked at him innocently as if he didn’t realize what he was doing. “Oh, am I?” 

Tsuna restrained the urge to sigh. “I’m going t—” 

“A note—we went to high school together.” 

Tsuna paused in his step at the bizarre statement. “Wait, what?”

However, Reborn walked past him towards his and Kyoko’s table. Tsuna could only gape when Reborn smoothly introduced himself to the smiling model. Apparently, his charm carried over in his disg—Okay, no. Just, no. 

Tsuna walked over quickly but couldn’t get a word in when Kyoko spoke, “Tsuna-kun, I didn’t know Seiji-san was your high school friend!” 

What the hell? 

A flush dusted Reborn’s cheeks while he rubbed the back of his head. “You can just call me Keiji.” 

Tsuna didn’t know whether to laugh or cry because how could anyone buy into that act? He handed Kyoko her drink. “He’s no—” 

“And you can call me Sen!” 

Tsuna sat down on his chair, almost slumping if it wasn’t for his dignity. 

“Like in Spirited Away? That’s cool.” Reborn winked, making Kyoko blush. “Makes you mysterious.” 

Tsuna wanted to bash his head against the wall. 

“Yes! Oh, why don’t you sit down with us?” 

“I don’t want to intrude.” 

“You’re intruding enough,” Tsuna muttered. 

“Oh, no, no, no! None of the other tables are free and we have an extra seat. Besides, the more the merrier!”

Reborn shrugged. “Okay then. Thanks.” 

Tsuna tried to edge away when Reborn sat next to him, but the man hooked his foot around the leg of his chair, preventing him from moving. Scowling, Tsuna looked down at Reborn’s shiny shoe before meeting his gaze. Reborn just smirked before easily assuming the “Keiji” act again. It took every ounce of Tsuna’s willpower to keep him from throwing his drink at his face. 

And of course, Kyoko was oblivious to all of this. 

“I’m glad that Tsuna-kun could recognize you!” she said. “He didn’t seem like he knew who you were before, but I’m happy things turned out okay. So, how did you two meet?” 

Reborn and Tsuna spoke at the same time. 

“Kendo tournament.” 

“Never.” 

They glanced at each other then. Reborn’s friendly smile never wavered, but his eyes told a different story: Really? 

Tsuna pursed his lips. Fine, if that was how Reborn wanted to play, then he wasn’t just going to stand there and take the hits: Okay then. Try me. 

Reborn’s lips almost curved into a smirk but he, admirably, never broke character. They averted their gaze from each other to look at a confused but still smiling Kyoko. 

“Tsuna’s just embarrassed because of what happened,” Reborn said, sipping his espresso. 

Tsuna quickly intervened. “You should be the one embarrassed. I never saw someone so incompetent in the sport in my life.” 

Gently blowing his cup, Tsuna sipped it to hide a small smile. To his surprise, Reborn just chuckled sheepishly. “Yeah, I was never the steadiest guy on my feet. I was really just the water boy for the team anyways.”

Tsuna pursed his lips. “It was for the best.” 

Kyoko giggled. “You two are so funny. Oh, Tsuna-kun, try this! It’s so good!” 

“Eh?” 

Before Tsuna could blink, she took a small piece of her cake and nearly shoved it in his mouth. He chewed on the light, creamy shortcake before swallowing. It wasn’t too sweet and there was just the right amount of fluffiness that didn’t make it too soggy.

“It’s…very good.” 

Kyoko beamed. “Right? Oh, you have cream over there. I have a napk—” 

She widened her eyes when Reborn wiped the cream away from Tsuna’s lips and licked his finger, tasting it thoughtfully. Tsuna barely processed what happened until Reborn smiled. 

“It is good.” 

Tsuna gaped at him. “Y—You—”

Kyoko looked like she was on cloud nine. Her cheeks were pink and—was that her phone? 

Reborn tilted his head. “What? Did I do something wrong?” 

Tsuna turned away, fighting his own blush. “Just drink your coffee and die already.”

Reborn pouted. “But I like living. And we always fed each other back in school.” He grinned. “It still gets you flustered now, too. You’ve always been too cute for your own good, Tsuna.” 

Tsuna nearly choked on his coffee, but saved face just in time. Kyoko squeaked behind her hands, her eyes wide.

“You must’ve been close friends in high school,” she said, her voice a little too high. 

Reborn smiled breezily. “We were really close.” 

Before Tsuna could respond to that, Kyoko suddenly gasped when she looked at her phone. “Oh, Tsuna-kun, it’s almost four!” 

Tsuna glanced at the clock above the counters: 3:49 PM. Crap.

“Thank you, Sen-chan,” he said. “I must’ve lost track of time.” 

Kyoko frowned. “I’m so sorry for keeping you out this long, Tsuna-kun.” 

“Oh no, it’s fine. I enjoyed spending time with you.” 

Tsuna slung his bag over his shoulder and tried to stand but stumbled because Reborn apparently liked keeping his foot hooked around the leg of his chair. He glared. 

“I could give you a ride,” Reborn said. “I know where you live.”

Tsuna really, really, really hoped he was bluffing. 

Kyoko beamed. “Oh, that’s so sweet of you, Keiji-kun! And you could catch up along the way! That’s perfect!”

“What about you, Sen-chan?” Tsuna said, stepping on Reborn’s foot with his heel. Reborn didn’t even flinch

Kyoko shook her head, grabbing her bag. “I actually have somewhere else to be. But no worries! It’s close by.” 

Somehow, the three of them found themselves exchanging quick goodbyes outside the pastry shop. Tsuna just wanted to run away. 

“Make sure you drop him off safely!” Kyoko said, slipping on her mask. “I’d like to see Tsuna-kun again!” 

Reborn smiled. “Of course. My driving skills make up for my clumsiness at least.” 

Kyoko laughed while Tsuna wondered how this all happened in the first place. 

“Travel safely, Sen-chan.” 

Kyoko gave him a thumbs-up. “I will! Thank you for spending time with me! I had a lot of fun.” 

Tsuna smiled. “Me, too. Thank you for inviting me.” 

Kyoko waved her hand. “Don’t sweat it, Tsuna-kun. Text me when you get home, okay? It was nice meeting you, Keiji-kun!” 

Reborn gave her a casual two-finger salute. “Likewise.” 

Kyoko winked. “Have fun, you two!” 

With that, she took off. Tsuna blinked. Did she just say…have fun? Oh, hell no. After Kyoko safely crossed the streets and disappeared around the corner, he turned away to make his escape when a hand gripped his arm. 

“Where are you going?” Reborn said, still talking like “Keiji”. “I said I’d give you a ride.” 

Tsuna looked at him incredulously. “I never agreed in the first place. Also, please stop talking like that. It’s creepy.” 

Reborn blinked innocently. “Talking like what? I’m just talking like I always do.” 

“Re—” 

Tsuna gasped when Reborn shoved a small cookie in his mouth and tugged him closer to his side, slinging a long arm over his shoulder. Where did that cookie come from? Reborn held up a small bag, which Tsuna never saw before, and smiled. 

“Good, right?”

Tsuna took the cookie out and wrinkled his nose. It was black, very black. “Why is this so bitter? What is this?”

Shrugging, Reborn munched on one himself. “I just took it from the shop.” 

Tsuna gaped. “Did you steal this?”

Reborn rolled his eyes. “No. The cashier gave it to me.” He smirked. “Free of charge.”

“...I think you stole it.” 

Reborn pouted, still in full “Keiji” mode. “How could you think that? Don’t you believe me?”

Tsuna made a face. “Can you stop that? You look ridiculous. And take your arm off. People are staring.”

“They’re looking at me, not us. Don’t worry.” 

Sighing, Tsuna tried to pull away from Reborn’s grip, but apparently, the man was also on steroids because it just wouldn’t budge

“I’m going to file a restraining order against you,” he said, still tugging. “I’m serious.”

“It’d never pass anyways. Stop moving.” 

“I won’t unless you let go.”

“But I promised Sen-chan that I’d get you safely back home.” 

“I never said I’d go with you anyway so that’s highly debatable.” 

Before he knew it, Tsuna arrived at a rather nice but unassuming black Toyota Corolla. He widened his eyes. “You’re not being serious, are you?” 

Reborn dangled the car keys in the air. “Oh, very. Besides, we’d catch up along the way. Isn’t that nice?” 

“I’m going to sue you for kidnapping and harassment.” 

“You’d never do that. Besides, Keiji doesn’t exist. How would that play out in court?” 

Tsuna glared. “Try me.” 

Reborn smirked, letting a small crack of his real self slip through. Oddly, Tsuna found that a much better look than whatever crap he was pulling. 

“Oh? Is that a challenge? Didn’t you ever hear money is power and power is everything?” 

“Yes, and it sounds worse coming from you. Kindly let go of me before I punch you in the face.” 

Reborn surprisingly let him go, only to open the passenger seat. Tsuna stared at him, baffled. 

“You seriously don’t think I’m actually going to get in the car with you, right?” 

“Think about Skull.” Reborn leaned on the window casually, his lips curved in a slight smile. “It’s been a while since I—” 

“Don’t you dare finish that sentence,” Tsuna said through gritted teeth. 

He marched towards the car, hoping he crushed Reborn’s fingers when he pulled the door shut. Never happened. Damn it. Hugging his bag close to his chest, Tsuna jammed his seatbelt on as Reborn took the driver’s seat. The car smelled…like not Reborn. Was this all for the “Keiji” act? How far did this man go

“It’s a staff member’s car,” Reborn said, turning on the engine. 

“I never asked.”

“You did.” 

Tsuna scowled. “Just drive.” He wanted to kick the car just to spite Reborn, but since it wasn’t his there was no point. “Try not to hit the other cars.”

“I’m an excellent driver.” 

A beat of silence. 

“You just passed a red light.” 

“I never said I was perfect.” 

Tsuna wanted to jump out the window.


He gave Reborn directions to the supermarket because hell if Tsuna would lead him to his house. Besides, might as well take advantage of a free ride, he guessed—even if it was against his will. He had to get groceries anyways. 

Reborn deadpanned. “This is the supermarket."

Tsuna rolled his eyes. “Oh wow, how’d you know? You can just drop me off h—Where are you going?” 

“The parking lot,” Reborn said, easily finding an empty space. 

Why?” 

“To park. That’s the function of a parking lot, if I remember correctly.”

“Yes, but why? You could’ve just dropped me off over there.” 

“I’m a gentleman, not a savage.” 

“A gentleman doesn’t blackmail someone to get in the car with him or overstep personal boundaries.” Tsuna narrowed his eyes. “If this is your way of trying to follow me home, then that’s insane. I don’t care what kind of hotshot legal team you have—I will sue you.”

“I won’t be following you home, but I’d be more than happy to drive you there if you’d like.” 

Tsuna nearly smacked his head against the window. “You’re so clever.”

“Thank you. I’m flattered.”

Tsuna bit his lip before he actually cursed. He opted to unbuckle his seatbelt and leave with as much dignity he could muster. Once the fresh air hit his cheeks, he released a deep sigh and closed the door. He scowled when Reborn followed behind him, but kept his mouth shut. He just knew that he’d never get rid of him easily—and that sucked.

A handful of women giggled and blushed when Reborn passed them, who ducked his head shyly as…”Keiji” would Tsuna guessed. He really didn’t care at this point. When the doors automatically opened, he grabbed a cart and wheeled it inside. The supermarket was fairly crowded, but not suffocating. Namimori Market was the biggest grocery store in the city and had really good bargains, which was a bonus.

Running through a mental list, Tsuna easily navigated through the aisles. Thank Kami he didn’t need rice—the landlady had shared it with him a few weeks ago and they still had plenty left—because he didn’t think he’d be able to carry it…without a car. 

Damn it. 

Right, he needed ingredients for dashi to make miso soup. Hibari briefly flashed in his mind. Tsuna stumbled when Reborn suddenly pulled his cart away from hitting another customer’s cart. Thankfully, the woman didn’t notice and carried on with what she was doing. 

“Thank you,” Tsuna said, flushing. 

Reborn flashed him a friendly smile that was more Keiji than Reborn. “No problem, Tsuna.” 

Tsuna sighed. “Do you really have to talk like that?”

“You never know what might happen.” 

Oh, fans. Right. Reborn, famous idol, celebrity, who was somehow grocery shopping with him… 

“It’s still weird,” Tsuna mumbled under his breath, wheeling the cart towards the produce aisle. 

Reborn didn’t respond to that. Tsuna checked through every produce with a careful eye. Maybe he’d make lasagna? He was still upset for making Fuuta miserable that morning and had also vowed to get something for him before, which he never did yet. Food might not be enough, but it was a start.

Reborn stayed surprisingly quiet while he trailed behind Tsuna, which was a relief because he didn’t think he’d be able to stand it if the other man threw some smartass comments his way. At least, he could appreciate that part of the whole “Keiji” act. Tsuna paused to review what he had so far. He had the necessary ingredients for lasagna, which would probably leave some left over to make something else in the future, plus the makings for miso soup and a handful of fruits. What else…? Ah.

Tsuna headed towards another aisle. Haru and the kids would like it if they could bake some stuff. They hadn’t done that in a while and I-pin’s birthday was coming up soon. Just, if he could reach that damn baking soda… 

He blinked when a long arm reached above him and grabbed the pack. Reborn slightly smirked above him. 

“Is this what you wanted?”

Tsuna fell back on his heels and took the baking soda from him, dumping it in the cart. “Thank you.” 

“You never thanked me properly,” Reborn suddenly said, walking alongside him. 

Tsuna wrinkled his nose. “What? But I just s—” He stopped. Oh. Oh. “I gave you coffee.”

He winced. That sounded pathetic. Reborn picked up a package of lasagna noodles from the cart.

“I didn’t want to hear it from the lackey,” he said. “I’d prefer if it was from you. That’s how apologies work.”

“Stop calling him that.” 

Humming to himself, Reborn dropped the package in the cart and shoved his hands in his pockets. “If you cook dinner for me, I’ll consider it.” 

Tsuna looked at him like he grew three heads. “What?” 

“Oh, does that mean I can call him lackey?” 

Walking past him, Tsuna scowled. “You’re ridiculous. How does anyone stand you?”

Reborn slightly smirked. “I’m loved by everyone."

Tsuna scoffed. “I don’t.” 

He stood on his tippy toes again to reach for a pack of sugar—who the hell kept putting them up so high anyways? Curse his short height. A tall shadow loomed over him before a hand dropped the pack of sugar on his head, making him squeak. 

“Y—You—” 

Reborn shrugged, but his smile told another story. “Sorry, hand must’ve slipped.” 

Tsuna rubbed his head before scowling again. “You did that on purpose.”

He kicked Reborn’s shin, looking more like a ruffled child than an angry adult. Sadly, Reborn didn’t even flinch. He just took the hit like it was nothing, all with that insufferable smirk on his face. 

“Kami, you and V—Skull must be on steroids or something,” Tsuna mumbled, placing the pack of sugar in the cart.

“Or maybe you’re just very weak.” 

“I didn’t ask for your opinion.” 

“Never compare me to the lackey.” 

“Stop calling him that. He’s not your lackey or anyone’s lackey.” 

“And how crude. I’d never let a drug touch my body.” 

“Why are you still talking?” 

“Oh, do you want those crackers? Look, they even have bunny shapes.” 

“Shut up and die.”


Reborn somehow proved to be useful in the end after Tsuna shoved most of the groceries in his hands and led him out the doors, leaving the cart behind to make him suffer. The man couldn’t even do anything about it since others had the impression that he was a sweet senpai helping out his lovely kouhai. Whatever floated their boats. 

Tsuna even went as far as to drawl out “Keiji-senpai” when they were at the register, smiling sweetly when the cashier lady cooed. However, once they reached the car, Reborn dumped all the groceries on Tsuna, making him nearly scream. Glaring at the back of Reborn’s head, Tsuna carefully placed the groceries in the trunk and slammed it shut. He slid inside the passenger’s seat before closing the door and buckling his seatbelt. 

“You’re an asshole,” he deadpanned.

Reborn smirked. “Keiji-senpai isn’t an asshole.” 

“No, but Reborn is.” 

“What do you mean, Tsuna?” 

Tsuna’s brow twitched. “Stop talking like that. Your voice is just…ugh.” 

Hot air suddenly tickled his ear. “My voice is what now?” 

Tsuna blushed and immediately drew back. “Keep your eyes on the road!” 

Leaning back in his seat, Reborn pointed at the traffic light with a smirk. “It’s red.” 

Sighing, Tsuna turned away until something caught his eye. Before he even registered what he was doing, he unbuckled his seatbelt and opened the door. 

“What a—” 

“I’ll be right back!” Tsuna called over his shoulder. “Sorry!”

He dashed inside the stationary store; a bell tinkled his arrival. A worker greeted him at the front. 

“Could I get one of those, please?” Tsuna said, pointing at a keychain. “Is there anything that matches with the theme?” 

The worker smiled brightly. “Yes, sir! There’s more in the back.” 

Grinning at the selections in front of him, Tsuna picked out a limited-edition pack that carried three notebooks and several pens and mechanical pencils that matched the theme of The Little Prince. Plus, the charm was really nice: a simple golden chain with the moon, rose, and fox from the story. 

After he paid and bid the worker goodbye, Tsuna left the store and found Reborn parked on the next street over. Crap. He really didn’t mean to run out just like that. Actually, he thought that Reborn would’ve just left him after the little stunt he pulled. 

“I’m so sorry!” Tsuna said, bowing once he entered the car. 

Reborn looked at him blankly. “I would’ve let you get run over anyways.” 

Tsuna’s brow twitched. “I take that back then.” 

“Did you forget that this is my car?” 

“Technically, it’s not yours… But I see your point.” Tsuna huffed as he cuddled Fuuta’s gift to his chest. “Well?” 

“Hm?” 

“You want something, don’t you?”

Reborn gave him a look of mock-hurt. “The way you say it makes me sound like a terrible human being.”

“You are a terrible human being.” 

Reborn smirked. “Everyone thinks I’m a saint.” 

Tsuna rolled his eyes. “And pigs fly.” 

His phone suddenly buzzed in his pocket. It was Haru.

“Haru?” he said, taking the call. “Is everything okay? Are the kids alright?” 

“Oh, we’re all fine!” There was a faint whirring sound in the background. “I was just making some blueberry smoothies! It’s also the last of them.” Haru chuckled sheepishly. “Sorry, Tsuna.” 

Tsuna sighed in relief. “Oh, I thought that something was wrong.” 

“Nope! The kids just missed you and wanted to say hi! Is this a bad time?” 

“No. I’m actually heading back now. I just left the supermarket.”

“Hahi! Where are you? Are you on the bus? Tell me where you are! I’ll help you carry the groceries.” 

“Ah, if you could come to the intersection that’d be nice.” 

“Okay! Got it!” 

There was some shuffling behind the line before Lambo’s voice came through. 

“Tsuna-nii, come home soon! The—Stop grabbing the phone, you pinhead!” 

“Big Brother, I made origami cranes today!” I-pin suddenly said. “Fuuta-nii taught me h—Give me the phone, you cow!” 

Tsuna sweat-dropped. “I’ll be home soon and we can talk more, okay? Don’t break Haru’s phone.” 

A round of cheers erupted in the background until Haru finally managed to come back. 

“Where’s Fuuta?” Tsuna said. 

“He’s doing his homework right now. Do you want to talk to him?” 

“Oh, no. Let him work. I don’t want to distract him.” 

“Okay! So intersection, right?”

“Yes. Thank you, Haru.” 

“No problem! See you there, Tsuna!” 

“Alright.” 

Tsuna hung up and pointed at the next street. “You can drop me off there.” 

Reborn had one hand on the wheel while his other arm rested on the center console, not speaking once as Tsuna talked on the phone. He almost looked like he was…brooding, which kind of looked funny if it wasn’t, well, Reborn.

Tsuna sighed. “I’m sorry for jumping out like that before. That was very rude of me. And…thank you for saving me that one time.” The words jumbled when he spoke fast towards the end. “Is that good enough for you?” 

“I didn’t know you were married,” Reborn said.

Tsuna blinked. “What…?” He blushed. “No! Haru is just my friend! She helps take care of my siblings!”

“I was only joking. You have no wedding ring”—a glint shone in Reborn’s eyes—“unless you couldn’t afford one.” 

“I’m going to punch you in the face.” 

Reborn lightly huffed as he turned on the next street. He drove to the side before parking the car. Tsuna grabbed Reborn’s hand before he could unbuckle his own seatbelt. 

“Don’t come out!” he said. “I don’t want Haru to see you!” 

Reborn smirked. “Were you thinking about keeping me only to yourself?” 

Tsuna pursed his lips. “What? No, I just don’t want you to say anything stupid in front of her, like you just did now.” 

“I never say anything stupid in front of anyone.” 

“Could you stop talking like that? It’s creepy and weird.”

Reborn blinked innocently. “Talk like what? I always talk like this, Tsuna.” 

Tsuna resisted the urge to throttle him. He pulled away instead until Reborn suddenly gripped his chin. Startled, Tsuna stared back into Reborn’s gray contacts. It was then he noticed how close they were.

“W—What are you doing?”

“Did you know that your eyes are more golden under the light?” 

Tsuna blinked. “I’m sorry?” 

Reborn smirked. “It’s rather fitting.” 

“Thank you…?” Tsuna jerked away and unbuckled his seatbelt. “Anyways, you don’t have to come out. Thank you for…driving me.”

Even if it was technically against my will, he thought. 

“Dinner,” Reborn said suddenly. “I’ll message you later.”

Tsuna tensed. “Wait, what? I’m not going to dinner with you. And get rid of my number!” 

“You won’t be. You’ll be cooking dinner for me.” 

“What difference does that make?” 

“Skull’s life will depend on your answer.” 

Tsuna glared. “That’s despicable.” He opened the door and walked out. “Fine! Then leave him alone!” 

He slammed the door shut. After lugging out some of the groceries from the trunk, Tsuna perked up when Haru appeared down the street. Grinning, she ran towards him with a wave. 

“Tsuna!” 

Tsuna smiled, relaxing a bit. “Haru.” 

Haru then slowed down when she realized Reborn’s car. “Um, Tsuna…?” 

“Don’t.” 

“Ah, okay.” 

Haru helped him take out the groceries before Tsuna closed the trunk. She eyed the car warily. 

“Tsuna…?” 

“Let’s just go home, Haru.” 

“Okay…” 

They walked down the street with the groceries in silence. Tsuna released a small content sigh. 

“Oh, Tsuna.” 

“Yes?” 

“…I think he’s still there.” 

Tsuna’s brow twitched. “Just ignore him.” 

“He looked really handsome.” 

“Har—” 

“I’ll shut up now.” 

“Thank you.”

Chapter Text

“Hey baby won’t you look my way

I can be your new addiction.”

- Everybody Talks by Neon Trees


Dinner went off without a hitch. 

After washing and putting away the dishes, Tsuna started peeling some apples while the others watched TV in the living room. He carved the apples smoothly, the motion familiar with his hands. His lips tugged into a smile. He missed these small comforts. 

Lambo popped up next to him. “Oh, Tsuna-nii, can you make them like bunnies?” 

A perfectly good slice suddenly snapped in two in Tsuna’s hands. His brow twitched. Goddamn bunnies, goddamn Reborn. He was changing his emoticons, too. He wasn’t a bunny. 

Lambo widened his eyes. “Um, Tsuna-nii, are you okay? Did—Did I do something wrong?” 

Tsuna smiled, which didn’t reach his eyes. “No, you didn’t do anything wrong. Don’t worry. I’ll make bunny slices for you.” 

Lambo nodded, but still looked a bit unsure. “Tsuna-nii, if—if someone’s bothering you, I’ll beat them up! Just tell me!” 

Tsuna paused. The thought of Reborn and Lambo being pitted against each other—he didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Either way, it was terrible. He hoped Lambo wasn’t a fan of him. The brunet gave Lambo a gentle smile. 

“What did I tell you about beating people up, Lambo?” he said. 

Lambo wilted. “But I don’t want people to say bad things about you, Tsuna-nii.” 

Tsuna’s heart softened. He handed Lambo a rabbit-sliced apple. “I don’t care what other people say about me, Lambo. All I ask of you is to ignore them and move on. They’ll keep bothering you if you let them get to you. If they do something to you, then it’s a different matter. Come to me if anyone gives you trouble and we can handle it together.” He grinned. “Really, I can take care of myself. Don’t you believe in me, bambino?” 

Lambo took the offered slice shyly. “I do, but I want to protect Tsuna-nii, too. I don’t want you to get hurt or—or disappear.” 

Tsuna wiped his hands on his apron and crouched to gentle cradle Lambo’s chubby face. Smiling softly, he rested his forehead on the other’s. Italian slipped seamlessly from his lips. 

Resteró al tuo fianco per sempre, bambino.” [I will never leave your side, child.] 

Lambo couldn’t help but grin shyly, his face brightening. “Prometti?” [You promise?] 

“Sí, prometto.” [Yes, I promise.] 

Lambo hugged Tsuna’s neck before pecking his cheek, making Tsuna blink but smile nonetheless. When Lambo pulled back, he munched on the apple and dashed to the living room. 

“Tsuna-nii, bring the apples when you’re done!” Lambo called out. “I’ll be waiting!” 

“Yes, yes,” Tsuna said, standing up. 

“You’re not the only one waiting, Lambo!” I-pin said. 

Tsuna heard Lambo blow a raspberry and couldn’t help but sweat drop when he heard a minor scuffle before Haru pulled the kids apart. He peeled the remaining slices and carried the plate to the living room, placing it on a small table. Lambo immediately grabbed one before munching on it happily. I-pin and Haru followed suit, their eyes glued on the TV showing another music bank performance. 

“Jack's so hot,” Haru said, sighing. “And Bermuda and Jager sing so well together.” She and I-pin squealed when the bassist flipped over one of the guitarists with a crazy grin. “Small Gia! I love you!” 

Tsuna, Fuuta, and Lambo just looked at each other and shrugged. 

“Ah, Fuuta, can you come with me for a second?” Tsuna said. 

Fuuta nodded, standing up. “Okay.” 

Tsuna closed the bedroom door just enough so no one could peek inside. Digging in the closet, he took out the bag with the stationary set he bought earlier that day. 

Fuuta tilted his head. “What is that?” 

He sat down when Tsuna patted the ground next to him. Tsuna grinned. 

“I wanted to get you something since you couldn’t come with us a few days ago, but also because I thought you’d like it.” Tsuna rubbed the back of his head. “Well, I hope you like it. Look inside.” 

Fuuta eagerly peeked inside the bag before widening his eyes. He reached inside, carefully pulling out the still-packaged The Little Prince set. Suddenly, tears welled up in his eyes. Tsuna reached out to wipe them away.

“What’s wrong, bambino? Don’t you like it?” 

Fuuta sniffled. “I don’t—I don’t want to open it. It looks too nice.” 

Tsuna laughed. “Well, I was hoping you’d use it, but it’s up to you.”

Fuuta shook his head. He carefully tore the packaging off and marveled at the different assortments of mechanical pencils. They each had a small charm hanging at the end while the pens were decorated with different designs. Fuuta gaped when he leafed through the notebooks. 

“He’s called the little prince,” Tsuna said. “The theme’s based on the French book with the same name.” 

“Why is he called that?” 

Tsuna smiled. “I think we have a copy of the book somewhere. Do you want to read it?” 

Fuuta ducked his head. “Can you read it to me? It’s just, you have a nice voice.” 

Laughing, Tsuna ruffled Fuuta’s hair. “How about now? I’ll look for the book and we can read it with the others.” 

Fuuta nodded. “Okay!” He hugged Tsuna around the neck, his voice muffled while he spoke. “Thank you, Tsuna-nii. I love it.” 

Tsuna hugged him back with a smile. “I’m glad.”


When morning came, Tsuna mentally patted himself on the back for waking up before his alarm. He smiled fondly at Fuuta who clung to his side overnight. I-pin hugged to his back while Lambo was somehow sprawled over Tsuna’s legs. Carefully sitting up, Tsuna gently picked up Lambo and laid him back on his spot, pulling the blankets over his body. 

He slowly made his way out the door and gently closed it behind him, leaving just a sliver open. Haru was already up with two mugs of coffee on the table along with a couple slices of fruit. She smiled brightly. 

“Morning, Tsuna!” 

“Good morning, Haru.” 

After Tsuna finished his business in the bathroom, he walked out feeling refreshed. Sitting down at the table, he took a mug of coffee and gently blew on it. It was warm. 

Haru leaned forward with a small grin. “So, who was that yesterday?”

“He’s no one.” 

Haru pouted. “I’m just curious, Tsuna.” She tilted her head. “Where’d you go off to yesterday?” 

Tsuna sipped his cup, relishing the charred taste of the French roast. He let out a small content sigh. The pleasant rush of caffeine was a nice jolt in the morning. 

“I…met some friends.” 

Haru perked up. “Friends? Do I know them?”

“Maybe…” 

Haru gasped. “Does it have to do with…?” 

“I won’t say.” 

Haru widened her eyes. “But”—she sighed—“My little Tsuna’s growing up now.” 

Tsuna rolled his eyes. “Yeah, yeah.” 

Suddenly his phone buzzed on the table. He snatched it before Haru could, making her pout. He glanced at the message and raised a brow. It was Hana. 

Sawada, take the day off. It’s paid. If you come in tonight, I won’t hesitate to kick you out.  

Tsuna frowned. It wasn’t normal for him to take days off—he had to make sure to call Ogawa-san and tell her that he’d still come in to the café tomorrow morning—but he supposed that it was okay. That’d mean he only needed to go to the convenience store for the morning shift and have the rest of the day free, which was some good time to spend with his siblings. Perfect! 

“Do you mind watching the kids until I come back?” Tsuna said. “I’m really sorry about this. I know you’re going to leave tonight.” 

Haru waved him off. “It’s fine. I practically live here anyways.” She grinned. “You don’t have to ask me, Tsuna.” 

“Thank you. Hana just told me not to come in for my shift. I was thinking about taking the kids out when I come back.” 

Haru clapped her hands. “That’s great, Tsuna! I don’t think I can join since I have to pack, but I’ll be there in spirit!” 

Tsuna smiled. “Thank you, Haru.” He looked down at his mug. “You know you’re my best friend, right?” 

“You don’t even have to say it.” 

A small weight lifted in Tsuna’s chest. “Yeah.”


Tsuna took his time getting to Tanaka Mart. As long as he arrived ten minutes before his shift, Tanaka wouldn’t lecture him. When the doors automatically opened, Tsuna saw the elderly man talking to a new worker. Tanaka noticed him immediately. 

“Sawada, good, you’re on time today.” 

Tsuna forced on a polite smile and bowed. “Good morning, Tanaka-san.” 

The new worker flinched, nearly losing his grip on a carton of drinks. Tanaka clicked his tongue.

 

“I didn’t hire you to be clumsy, Akiyama,” he said. “Straighten up and put them away properly.” 

Tsuna blinked while the new worker mumbled an apology. He looked at him closer, recognizing him immediately. 

“Akiyama-san?” 

Scowling, Akiyama just glanced at him before easily lifting the crate on an empty shelf. 

“Since you’re here, Sawada, teach him the ropes.” Tsuna jumped when Tanaka shoved his clipboard in his hands. “Hurry up and change before customers come in.” 

“Yes, sir.” 

When Tanaka disappeared in his office, Tsuna scanned the list of stocks for the day. He looked up at Akiyama who mindlessly stocked the shelves with some snacks. 

“Oh, those go over there,” Tsuna said, gesturing at the shelf below. 

Akiyama wordlessly moved the bags of chips to where Tsuna pointed at. 

“I didn’t know you worked here,” Akiyama muttered. 

Tsuna blinked while the teen stood up. Akiyama’s shock of orange hair was stuffed under an old baseball cap, but he didn’t look much different from last time; well, he looked less angry, Tsuna guessed. Maybe he took up Hana’s offer on the anger management courses. Tsuna smiled to ease the awkwardness. 

“Well, now you know. Just put those in that shelf until I come back.” 

Akiyama just nodded. Changing quickly, Tsuna set his phone on vibrate before pocketing it in his pants. When he walked out, there were a few more customers around. Well, he could always teach Akiyama in-between the shift. Working here wasn’t that hard and Akiyama had experience with cash registers. 

Tsuna quickly greeted a woman at the counter and scanned her items. After handing her the change and a bag, he bowed, bidding her a good day. Akiyama approached him and gestured at the crates. 

“So, um, what do I do now?”

Tsuna checked off a few things on the clipboard. He turned it around so Akiyama could get a better look and pointed at some items with a pen. 

“These need to be checked and restocked today. You’re smart so I don’t have to tell you what to do about everything.” He smiled at Akiyama, who just stared at the clipboard like his life depended on it. “The shelves are labeled, too, so you’ll know where to put them. Try not to get them mixed in with others. Tanaka-san never likes that and it’ll confuse the customers. If you have any questions, you can come to me.”

Akiyama nodded. “Yeah, I guess.” He shuffled on his feet. “You know, I, um, never really said sorry for last time so…sorry. And, you don’t have to call me ‘-san’. It’s…weird. You’re older…” 

His words came out jumbled but Tsuna managed to understand them. He smiled. “It’s okay. I tend to do that sometimes without meaning to. Is Akiyama-kun okay?” 

Akiyama flushed. “You can just call me Kenta…”

Before Tsuna could respond, another voice piped up, “Oh, hey, it’s you!” 

He blinked when a tall man entered the store. Why did he sound so familiar…? Tsuna widened his eyes. “You…” 

The customer was Colonello of all people. His cap was turned backwards, letting strands of blond hair peek through, and a mask that covered his face. He wore a light gray hoodie, some jeans, and Timberlands, looking more like a foreigner than an idol if that was possible. 

“Do you know him, Sawada-san?” Kenta said. 

“Oh, um, kind of? You should go stock the shelves before Tanaka-san sees you, Akiy—Kenta-kun.” Tsuna smiled. “You can just call me Tsuna, too.” 

Kenta turned a little red but straightened himself. “O—Okay.” 

When he left, Colonello walked over to the counter with crinkled blue eyes. “Yo, Tsuna!” 

“Is there anything you need, sir?” Tsuna deadpanned.

Colonello winked. “Some of your time.” 

Tsuna wrinkled his nose. “Are you even trying?”

Colonello slumped dramatically over the counter, and Tsuna could sense him pouting behind his mask. “Why’re you so difficult, kora?” 

“It’s not called being difficult, sir—it’s called being professional. Are you here to get anything?”

Making an “aha!” gesture, Colonello straightened up. “Yeah, where’re the drinks?” 

“Go straight down and walk right into the refrigerator door.” 

Colonello barked out into laughter, drawing some stares. Thankfully, the customers were older people who could care less about celebrities. Tsuna was pretty sure Colonello could’ve been outed easily by his…unique little phrase. Tsuna caught Kenta’s gaze and smiled reassuringly, making the other boy immediately duck his head.

After serving the third customer, Tsuna raised a brow when Colonello returned with tons of sports drinks in his arms. He was tempted to ask if their budget was that low that they couldn’t order the drinks to their sets, but opted to keep his mouth shut. Colonello casually leaned onto the counter, watching Tsuna scan the drinks. 

Tsuna stole another glance at Colonello when the image of him sleeping with blue lipstick flashed in his mind. Biting his lip to stifle a laugh, Tsuna continued to scan the drinks. 

Colonello tilted his head, “What’s so funny, kora?” 

Tsuna coughed. “Nothing, sir. Just—yes, it’s nothing.” 

“You sure about that?” 

Tsuna couldn’t stop himself. He just burst out laughing, startling the other man. “You—You’re—Kami, I’m sorry. It’s just…” He straightened himself, but some giggles slipped past his lips. “You look great with blue lipstick.” 

Colonello gaped at Tsuna until he sucked in a deep breath. “That idiot.” 

Tsuna shook his head. “No, don’t blame him. It’s, well, would it help if I said that it made me feel…better?”

Colonello furrowed his brows. “What? So, my manhood being stripped down to nothing is entertaining to you? Is that what is it? Why, thank you, kora.” 

Tsuna chuckled, bagging the drinks. “I really didn’t mean to offend you. I was having a rough day when Skull sent me the picture, but it made me feel better.” He smiled brightly. “So I’m kind of glad I got to see you at the peak of your glory.”

Colonello just scoffed though there was a twinkle of amusement in his eyes. “Oh, there are so many other things that are considered my peak of glory.” He leaned a little too close. “I wouldn’t mind showing you personally.” 

“Please don’t,” Tsuna said, rolling his eyes. “That’s your total by the way.” 

Colonello just snickered, handing him a hefty yen. “Keep the change, kora.” 

Tsuna watched as he carried the bags off the counter. “Do you need help with that? That’s…a lot of drinks.”

Colonello shrugged. “Nah, I got it. Someone’s waiting outside for me.” His eyes crinkled. “Thanks for the concern. See ya!”

“Please, no,” Tsuna muttered. 

The rest of his shift passed with no more incidents, thank Kami.


“Tsuna-nii!” 

Tsuna grunted when Lambo and I-pin hugged his waist. He held onto the doorway for dear life while giving a giggling Haru and Fuuta a look. 

“Guys, you’re going to push him out the door,” Haru said, tugging the children away. “Come on, you can cuddle when he comes inside.” 

Tsuna laughed when the kids pouted. They still lingered by the entranceway as he toed off his shoes. 

“Have you guys eaten yet?” he said, walking inside. 

“We did, Tsuna-nii,” Fuuta said, smiling. “Haru-nee made us some salad and pasta. You should come and eat, too.” 

Tsuna smiled back and ruffled his little brother’s hair. “Thank you, Fuuta. Lead the way.” 

I-pin and Lambo immediately latched onto his arms and tugged him into the kitchen with excited chatter. Haru patted Tsuna’s shoulder with a rueful smile. 

“Since you’re here, I’ll have to go if you don’t mind,” she said, hoisting her bag. 

Tsuna widened his eyes. “Oh, right. Thank you for watching them for the past few days, Haru. I’ll walk you out.” 

Haru shook her head. “Nope. You sit down and eat. Make sure he eats everything, okay?” 

The three children all chirped an affirmative before hugging her and saying their goodbyes. 

“Call me when you’re at the airport,” Tsuna said. “We’ll see you off.” 

“Oh, you don’t have to do that.” 

“Don’t leave before saying goodbye again, Haru-nee,” Lambo said, pouting. 

I-pin nodded. “I want to see Big Sister before you leave. Please?”

Tsuna laughed when Haru broke under their puppy-dog eyes. She sighed dramatically. “Seriously, guys, your love is suffocating.” 

Tsuna shrugged. “They love you—we love you. Promise you’ll call?” 

Haru shook her head in exasperated fondness, her lips quirked in a small smile. “Yeah, yeah, I’ll call. Haru’s off, my lovelies! Have fun!” 

A chorus of “Bye, Haru-nee!” and “Bye, Big Sister!” followed her to the door. After Haru left, Tsuna barely had the chance to blink when Fuuta ushered him to a chair and a plate of hot pasta and salad were pushed in front of him. Fuuta smiled brightly as he poured a cup of water for him. I-pin and Lambo sat beside Tsuna and fought over his fork until Fuuta gave them a look. Tsuna smiled when they pouted. 

“Is there anything you want to do?” he said, swallowing some pasta. “I’m free for the rest of the day.” 

The response was almost immediate: “The mall!”


Namimori Outlet Mall was a tall, seven-story building that had every store you could imagine. Packed every day, the mall was a popular rendezvous and had some of the best interior designs in the city: a tall, dome-like ceiling, several fountains that marked each floor, bright lights, sleek balconies. It even hosted banquets and special events on occasions. 

Tsuna didn’t like the mall. It was too stuffy, and he thought shopping was boring. Window-shopping was alright, but not when the irrational part of his brain told him that he needed to buy something he didn’t need. He had good restraint though, which was why Haru always took him shopping so he could reign her in if she went overboard. 

He smiled though when the children looked around in awe. They rarely ever went to the mall, but when they did, they’d milk it for what it was worth. 

“So, where do you want to go first?” he said. 

I-pin pointed at a nearby clothing store, Gautier Couture, which was a popular global fashion brand according to Haru. It was one of her dreams to work there when she made a bigger name for herself, and Tsuna had no doubt that she’d be able to in the near future. The store was large and had simple but elegant calligraphy stating its name proudly on the overhead sign. 

“I want to go there, Big Brother!”

 

Lambo shook his head. “Sekaido! Tsuna-nii, take me to Sekaido!” 

Fuuta shrugged. “I really don’t mind.” He smiled. “I’m just happy we’re together.” 

Tsuna smiled and patted Fuuta’s head. “I’m glad, too. So, how should we…?” 

He sweat-dropped when he saw I-pin and Lambo duking it out in an intense game of rock-paper-scissors. They were on their eighth round, moving onto their ninth, but they kept getting the same thing every single time

“Rock again?” Lambo said, his brows furrowed. “Why couldn’t you be scissors?” 

“Lambo’s just being dumb!” I-pin said. 

“What did you say, pinhead?” 

“Hey, hey,” Fuuta said, breaking the two apart, “why don’t we go to I-pin’s place first since it’s closer. We can still go to Sekaido after, Lambo. There’s plenty of time.” 

Sticking out her tongue at Lambo, I-pin tugged Tsuna’s arm. “Let’s go, Big Brother!” 

Fuuta held onto Lambo’s hand while whispering words of comfort in his ear. Tsuna waited for them to catch up before they all entered the large clothing store. There were plenty of women and teenage girls wandering around the bright space, shifting through some clothes and chattering with their friends. A pop song filtered through the speakers and Tsuna could recognize the voices as Gokudera, Yamamoto, and Ryohei. There was some Italian mixed in it, too—he could pick up on the word “famiglia”—and it had a catchy beat. 

A worker greeted them cheerfully at the entrance. “Welcome to Gautier Couture, sir!” 

Tsuna smiled. “Thank you.” 

“Is there anything you’re looking for, sir? We’re having a 25% sale for children’s wear today.” 

When I-pin shook her head, Tsuna said, “I think we’ll be fine, thank you.” 

“Of course, sir. If there’s anything you need, please don’t hesitate to reach out to any of us!” 

“Thank you.”

I-pin led them to the children’s section, ignoring the sparkly bobby pins and hair ties she was always attracted to. Tsuna’s curious musings finally quelled when they arrived at the children’s section. 

“Is there something you like, I-pin?” he said as she pulled him towards the dress aisle. 

I-pin smiled shyly and pointed at a pretty red dress on one of the racks. It had a red tulle skirt with a sweetheart neckline underneath a modest lace overlay, which had floral designs and small red buttons decorating the back. Tsuna took it down for I-pin to look at more closely 

“Is this what you want?” 

I-pin gazed down at her feet, her hand still loosely clutching onto the skirt. “I like it but maybe Big Sister could make it for me…? Sakura-chan and Hitomi-chan wore nice dresses on their birthdays, so…” 

Tsuna smiled gently. “Haru might be too busy with work for now, but I can get this for you. Is there anything else you want?” 

I-pin looked up with wide eyes. “Really? Are you sure? What about—” 

Tsuna patted her head. “It’s fine, I-pin. You don’t have to worry about anything. A princess needs a pretty dress, right? Let the prince do his job.” 

I-pin giggled when he gave her a mock-fancy bow. Tsuna looked around then, frowning when he couldn’t find Fuuta or Lambo. 

“Where did they g—” 

A small squeal had him and I-pin running towards the men’s section. Tsuna widened his eyes when he saw Lambo at the feet of a young man in a black hoodie jacket and gray jeans. Fuuta was going back and forth between apologizing to the man and comforting a teary-eyed Lambo. 

“Lambo!” Tsuna said, kneeling next to the boy. He sighed in relief when he found no injuries and nearly jumped when Lambo latched onto his neck, but hugged back nonetheless. “Are you okay? What happened?” 

Fuuta looked at Tsuna with a small quiver in his lips. “We were just looking at the jackets and Lambo didn’t look where he was going.” He glanced at the man. “A—And he bumped into him…” 

Rubbing Lambo’s back, Tsuna picked him up in his arms. He adjusted him carefully in his arms before bowing towards the man. 

“I apologize for what my brother did, sir,” he said. “I hope you can forgive him.” 

“No, it’s okay, uh, Tsuna.” 

Tsuna blinked when he met the man’s gaze. The other wore a mask that covered his face but Tsuna would recognize those emerald-green eyes anywhere.

“Go—Ah.” Tsuna slightly winced. “I…didn’t know it was you.” 

Gokudera shook his head. “It’s fine, really.” He glanced at Lambo a bit warily. “Is he…okay?” 

Tsuna smiled sheepishly. “Lambo will be fine. He’s just sensitive.” 

“No, I’m not,” Lambo muttered into his neck, sniffling.

Tsuna just patted his back. “Yeah, come on, Lambo. What do we say?” 

Lambo reluctantly let go when Tsuna placed him on the ground, but only faced Gokudera three-quarters of the way. He mumbled an apology in Tsuna’s jacket, making the brunet sigh. Some customers glanced their way, but continued what they were doing. 

“Lambo,” Tsuna said sternly. 

Gokudera placed his hands in his pockets. “It’s okay, really.” 

Sniffling, Lambo turned towards Gokudera and bowed a little. “I’m—I’m sorry.” 

He immediately buried his face against Tsuna’s stomach, making him sigh. I-pin and Fuuta patted Lambo’s back. Tsuna smiled apologetically at Gokudera. 

“I’m sorry, G—Ah, sir.” 

“No, really, it’s fine. Just call me…Hiro.”

Tsuna smiled. “Alright, Hiro-san. Lambo, it’s okay, see? Hiro-san is nice. There’s nothing to worry about. We just need to work on your apologies more. Come on.” Tsuna hoisted Lambo in his arms again, chuckling gently when Lambo buried his face into his shoulder. “Don’t you want to go to Sekaido?” 

Lambo nodded against his neck, his sniffles much quieter now. “Can we go, Tsuna-nii?” 

“Of course.” 

I-pin grinned. “Lambo is so clumsy.” 

“I’m not! I just didn’t see where I was going!” 

Fuuta shook his head. “You’re lucky I was with you, Lambo.” 

Tsuna nodded. “Thank you, Fuuta.” 

Fuuta beamed at the compliment. I-pin just giggled, skipping to Tsuna’s side. She peeked at Gokudera curiously. “Big Brother, is he your friend?” Her eyes slightly narrowed. “He…kind of looks familiar.” 

“I-pin,” Tsuna said, giving her a look. 

She blinked before widening her eyes. Looking back and forth between Gokudera and Tsuna, I-pin looked like she was going to faint any second. Tsuna had already given his siblings an extensive talk about celebrities, privacy, and trust that went on for about an hour or so until they gave him an affirmative to keep things quiet. 

Finally, I-pin nodded. She smiled shyly at Gokudera. “Thank you for being Big Brother’s friend, G—um, Hiro-san.” 

Tsuna gave the stunned idol a reassuring look. “Don’t worry. They won’t say anything.” He looked towards Fuuta and I-pin. “Is there anything else you guys want?” 

I-pin perked up and pointed at the shoes section while Fuuta shyly said something about a nice scarf he saw. Lambo just stayed stubbornly silent. Tsuna nodded before turning to Gokudera again. 

“It was nice meeting you, Hiro-san. Ha—” 

“You said you were going to Sekaido?” Gokudera said. He looked away when Tsuna tilted his head. “I, um, got lost. Well, we’re both lost. Yam—Uh, my friend—We were supposed to meet here but the bas—idiot’s terrible with directions. This is my first time here and, well, yeah.” 

Tsuna smiled to stifle some of his chuckles. Fuuta stared at Gokudera like he was some kind of alien while I-pin covered her mouth with her hands. Even Lambo giggled against Tsuna’s neck. The idol’s awkwardness was somewhat endearing. Plus, his restraint from cursing was admirable. 

“Well, we were planning to go to Sekaido after. You could come with us and let your friend know where we are.” 

Gokudera’s shoulders sagged a bit. “Thanks.”

Tsuna smiled kindly as he followed I-pin and Fuuta to the shoe section.


After purchasing what the kids wanted, Tsuna led them out of the store with Lambo still in his arms, Gokudera trailing behind them, and a lighter wallet. He was just grateful he still had enough left over for whatever Lambo wanted to get at Sekaido. 

“Lambo, you’re going to make Big Brother tired,” I-pin said, tugging Lambo’s jeans. “Get down and walk.” 

“I-pin, let me hold that,” Tsuna said, reaching for the large bag that carried her dress and shoes. 

I-pin smiled brightly. “I’m fine! See, I can hold it! You’re already holding Fuuta-nii’s scarf.” 

“Lambo, why don’t you just come down?” Fuuta said. “You can hold our hands.” 

As if a small miracle occurred, Lambo tugged Tsuna’s jacket to get down. He yawned a little when he reached the ground but held onto both of his brothers’ hands. Tsuna smiled gratefully at Fuuta and reached to take I-pin’s bag. 

“I can carry it now, I-pin,” he said. 

Tsuna blinked when Gokudera swooped in and took the large bag gently from his hand, their fingers almost brushing. 

“Oh, Hiro-san, you don’t have to—” 

Gokudera didn’t look at him when he spoke. “I can carry it for you. I don’t mind. I have nothing on me anyways.” 

I-pin giggled while Fuuta regarded him suspiciously. 

“Hiro-san is very, very nice!” I-pin said. 

“Are you sure?” Tsuna said. “I can still carry it.” 

Gokudera shook his head. “I got it. Just lead the way.” 

Tsuna pursed his lips but didn’t push. They all clambered onto an escalator and Tsuna couldn’t help but laugh when Lambo and I-pin peered over the moving railings to peek down below. Fuuta just buried his face into Tsuna’s back. He patted the boy’s shoulder before they finally got off on the second floor. 

“Is he okay?” Gokudera suddenly whispered in his ear. 

Nearly having a heart attack, Tsuna smiled quickly. “Yes, it’s just that Fuuta has a fear of heights.” 

Gokudera glanced at Fuuta before nodding. “Me, too.” 

“Really?” 

“Yeah.” Gokudera rubbed the back of his head. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to pry or anything.”

Tsuna chuckled gently. “No, no, you don’t have to apologize for that, G—Hiro-san. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about. If it helps, I’m don’t like slugs or haunted houses.” He shuddered, trying not to remember what happened in high school. “Bad memories.” 

Gokudera’s eyes twinkled. “Really? I like haunted houses.”

Tsuna deadpanned. “Are you one of those people who’re obsessed with ghosts?” 

Gokudera and Fuuta spoke up at the same time: 

“They’re real, Tsuna-nii!” 

“They exist!” 

The two looked at each other in surprise. A moment of silence passed between them before they launched into an animated conversation about ghosts, yokai, evil spirits, and UMA’s. Lambo covered his ears while I-pin looked like she swallowed a lemon, a very sour lemon. Tsuna just laughed as Fuuta and Gokudera quickly bonded over their deep obsession of the supernatural. It was nice to see Gokudera slowly come out of his shell. 

“—found seven planets around Trappist-1 that could be inhabited with life!” 

Fuuta nodded. “And they’re big enough to retain an atmosphere for billions and billions of years! Isn’t that cool? There could be life out there, like aliens and maybe something else!” 

“Have you read ‘The Wonders and Mysteries of the World’? They have great issues about the stuff!” 

Fuuta wilted. “Ah, I know it, but I’ve never been able to read it. But I’ve heard good stuff about it! Is it really that good?” 

Gokudera’s eyes crinkled. “It’s the best damn thing you’ll ever read.” 

“Language,” Tsuna said instantly. 

“Oh, shi—um, shoot, sorry, Tsuna.” 

“Not around the kids, Hiro-san.” 

Gokudera looked away. “Yeah, sorry about that.” 

Lambo sniffed haughtily. “I never say bad words, right, Tsuna-nii?” 

Tsuna quickly ushered the kids inside Sekaido before Gokudera could blow a fuse (because that was definitely some kind of jab him). “Lambo, that’s very inappropriate to say.” 

Sweet, innocent Lambo. “You never answered my question, Tsuna-nii.” 

I-pin pinched Lambo’s ear, making him squeak. “Big Brother said it’s not appropriate, so be quiet.” 

“Tsuna-nii, I-pin’s hurting me!” 

Tsuna quickly separated the two and gave one of the workers an apologetic smile. He steered them away before they could destroy anything he’d most likely couldn’t afford. 

“Stop that, both of you, or we’re going to leave.” 

Lambo immediately slumped. “I’m sorry, Tsuna-nii.” He pointed at I-pin. “But she pinched me first. I didn’t do anything.” 

I-pin just huffed. Suppressing a sigh, he took both of their hands. 

“Come on,” he said, leading them to the pens and pencils sections. “And I told you, I-pin, never lay a hand on anyone.” 

“I’m sorry, Big Brother,” I-pin said, her eyes downcast. 

Lambo revitalized once they entered the sketchbook section. Gokudera and Fuuta trailed behind them, still talking about the supernatural in excited whispers. Really, Tsuna felt like he got another kid. Still, he smiled when he saw a glimpse of life in Gokudera’s eyes. 

“Tsuna-nii, look!” Lambo pointed at one of the thicker sketchbooks. “That has a lot of pages!” He looked down at his feet. “I could stop using the printer paper at home…” 

Tsuna tapped his chin in thought. Haru had told him several times that Lambo was talented in art; she even let him pick out colors for some of her designer sketches. With the right teacher and practice, he could really flourish, she said. Since Lambo was getting more and more into the craft on his own—Tsuna regretted never having enough money to send him to art school. Haru couldn’t always be there for him due to work—it was only fitting to get him a sketchbook of his own. Plus, they’d have printer paper to spare. 

“Okay,” Tsuna finally said, making Lambo look up with wide eyes.

He perused the large selection of sketchbooks, not sure on which to buy. He was pretty sure that Lambo didn’t need something huge like those watercolor pads. Suddenly, Gokudera cleared his throat. Tsuna turned to look at the shuffling idol. 

“You could get this one.” Gokudera pointed at one of the hard-covered, spiral-bound sketchbooks. “You don’t need to get anything fancy. It’s a waste of money anyways. Is he a beginner?” 

Tsuna nodded, blinking at the unexpected knowledge. 

“When you start out, quantity is better than quality. Really, you just have to get those drawings out so more paper is good for beginners. These are pretty thick so you can draw heavy and nothing can bleed through. Well, unless you use markers, then you need a different one. The pages are also smooth and the cover’s a nice surface if you’re not working on a desk. What you really want to spend good money on are the pencils and supplies.” 

A few minutes of silence passed while the Sawada family stared at Gokudera in a mixture of awe, surprise, and respect. Gokudera blinked before looking away, coughing awkwardly. 

“What?” he said, gripping I-pin’s bag tighter. 

“Ah, sorry, Hiro-san,” Tsuna said, snapping out of his daze. He smiled. “I didn’t know you knew so much about art.”

Gokudera shrugged. “I just picked up some things. There’s…an artist I know.” 

Smiling, Tsuna steered the conversation back to Lambo, who drooled at the sight of the sketchbook. “Then we’ll get that one. Is that okay, Lambo?” 

“Yes!” Lambo said, jumping up and down to get ahold of the book. 

Gokudera quickly picked it off from the higher shelf and handed it to Lambo before he’d start climbing the shelves himself. Lambo glanced at the outstretched sketchbook as if it was a snake before snatching it and scurrying off to hide behind Tsuna’s legs. Tsuna sighed while I-pin stifled a snort and Fuuta shook his head. 

“Lambo, that was very rude of you,” he said. “Apologize.” 

Gokudera waved him off. “It’s fine.” 

Lambo.” 

At Tsuna’s tone, Lambo tensed before slowly peeking behind his legs and bowing a little. 

“I’m sorry,” he said. “And…thank you for…picking it…for me.” 

Tsuna sighed again. “We’re only getting that, Lambo. You’ve been rude to Hiro-san the whole day.” 

Lambo ducked his head. Fuuta perked up a little. 

“Tsuna-nii, can I get something, too?” he said. “I saw something I liked.” 

Tsuna raised a brow. “What is it?” 

“I’ll be right back!” Fuuta said. He grabbed Lambo’s hand. “Come on, Lambo. You can help me pick them out.” 

I-pin quickly followed them, her long braids flying behind her. Blinking, Tsuna watched the children push through the crowds and head towards the pens and pencils section.   

Ah. Honestly, Tsuna didn’t know whether to be happy or upset. It was clear that Fuuta was giving Lambo a chance to pick out what he wanted under the guise of wanting them for himself. 

“Fuuta’s a good kid,” Gokudera said suddenly, making Tsuna jump. He shoved a hand in his pocket. “You don’t look related to them actually.” He tensed. “I’m sorry! That was shitty of me to say.” 

Tsuna smiled. “No, it’s fine. They’re my adopted siblings. I used to volunteer at an orphanage in high school. They kind of stuck with me since then.” 

Gokudera furrowed his brows. “You’re taking care of three kids by yourself? I don’t know if that’s respectable or suicidal.” He sucked in a deep breath. “Ah, shit, sorry.”

Chuckling, Tsuna shook his head. “It’s really okay. I don’t take care of them by myself all the time. I have a good friend who comes over to babysit when I’m working.” 

“I think you need an army. One kid’s bad enough but three?” 

“My mother would’ve loved to take care of them, but…” 

Gokudera’s breath slightly hitched. Instead of pity, understanding flashed in his eyes. His voice was a bit rough when he spoke. “I lost my mom to an accident. Drunk driver. She liked kids, too. I think she would’ve liked them.” 

Tsuna widened his eyes. “I’m so sorry, Gok—Hiro-san.” 

Gokudera chuckled bitterly. “There’s nothing to be sorry about. You didn’t crash into her, right? So, don’t say sorry. Makes me feel like shit instead.” He casually slung I-pin’s bag over his shoulder, ignoring Tsuna’s cringe at the crude joke. “I don’t know anything about raising kids, but I think you’re doing a good job. They’re coming out alright.”

Tsuna’s lips twitched slightly. “Well, I’m glad you haven’t combusted yet. They’re good children, but they can be a handful.” 

Gokudera shrugged. “You’re sane. I can live with that.” 

A sudden buzz caught their attention. Gokudera dug in his pocket until his elbow brushed against a pack of white postcards, making it fall. Tsuna and Gokudera bent down to reach for it and ended up bumping heads instead. They both grunted and rubbed their foreheads. When their eyes met, a few seconds of silence passed between them before Tsuna broke it by laughing. 

“I’m sorry,” he said, smiling sheepishly. “Are you okay?”

“Are you okay?” Gokudera said, chuckling. “My head’s practically fucking stone. Can’t have you concussed or anything.” 

Tsuna shook his head. “I’m fine. I can put this back. You should check your phone. It could be your friend.” 

They both stood up and Tsuna placed the pack of postcards back on the shelf. Gokudera looked down at his phone, typing. The kids, thankfully, returned unscathed. 

“Tsuna-nii, can I get these?” Fuuta said, showing him some colorful pens and graphite pencils. 

Tsuna glanced at Lambo, who wasn’t really doing well to disguise the hope in his eyes. His soft heart won against his parenting side as usual. He nodded, patting Fuuta’s head. 

“Sure,” he said. “Is that everything?” 

The children nodded and tugged him towards the checkout line. Gokudera opted to wait outside. When Tsuna reached the counter, he paid for all the items until the cashier said, “Would you like to participate in the raffle today, sir? We can provide you tickets if you’re willing to. The grand prizes are pretty big this year.”

“Oh, can we?” I-pin said, her eyes bright. “Can we, can we, can we?” 

The cashier smiled. “It’s all up to you, sir. I can give you five tickets.” 

Tsuna wasn’t so sure but I-pin’s hopeful eyes made him crumble. Restraining a sigh, he nodded. “Okay.” 

After receiving the tickets and their bags, the family headed towards Gokudera who was talking to a taller man. It was Yamamoto, wearing a baseball cap and a dark blue duffle coat. His eyes brightened when he saw Tsuna and the kids. He waved. 

“Yo, Tsuna! I didn’t know you were here! Oh hey, your little brother’s awake now!” 

Lambo choked on his spit, making Fuuta pat his back and Tsuna grab a water bottle from his bag. Gokudera jabbed Yamamoto’s ribs. 

“Idiot, keep your voice down!” he said. “And where’s your mask?” 

Yamamoto smiled sheepishly. “My bad, my bad. It got too hot so I took it off. It’s okay though; no one recognized me so far.” 

“T—That’s Ya—” 

Tsuna quickly silenced Lambo by placing a finger on his lips. “Remember what I told you, Lambo.” 

The boy sobered up and nodded. “Okay, Tsuna-nii.” He mimed locking his lips and throwing an invisible key away. “I promise that I won’t say anything.” 

“Thank you. Here, drink.”

Tsuna carefully raised the water bottle to Lambo’s lips and let him drink for a while before capping it. “Do you feel better?”

Lambo nodded. “Thank you, Tsuna-nii.”

“Big Brother, the raffle!” I-pin said, tugging Tsuna’s arm and pointing at the raffle stand. 

Tsuna let his sister drag him towards the booth with Yamamoto and Gokudera trailing behind them. A small sense of dread curled in his stomach when he saw a wooden hexagonal box on the table—damn it, it was “gara-gara”. Some people stood on line, chattering excitedly. A woman rotated the box’s handle and clasped her hands together in prayer before groaning when a white ball rolled out. The clerk smiled and handed her a pack of tissue paper. 

“Thank you for participating, ma’am!” he chirped. “Better luck next time! Have a nice day!” 

“What are the prizes, Tsuna-nii?” Fuuta said, craning his neck to look at the grand prize list. “I can’t see it.” 

Tsuna, who was also fairly short himself—but not that short—, had to stand on his tiptoes to look at the list, but it was pretty small and he could barely make out the words. He jumped when Yamamoto suddenly loomed over him from behind, a mask on his face.

 

“Oh, hey, it’s a raffle!” he said. “Are you going to try it, Tsuna?” 

Tsuna helplessly raised his five tickets. “I guess so. I don’t have much choice. Could you tell me what the prizes are, if you don’t mind?”

With his more superior height, Gokudera quickly scanned the prizes—why was everyone else giants compared to Tsuna?—and clicked his tongue. “I forgot this. It’s just a bunch of idol meets. Not worth it.”

I-pin perked up. “Idol meets? What kind, Hiro-san?”

Yamamoto laughed. “Hiro? Really?” 

Gokudera rolled his eyes. “Shut the he—Shut up. It was the first thing that popped in my head.” 

“Then I can be Ryo! This is fun—it’s like we’re role-playing!” 

Tsuna laughed at the idol’s cheerfulness—it was rather cute—while Gokudera muttered something under his breath that sounded suspiciously like Italian curses. The line moved up then, but Tsuna was still three customers behind. It didn’t make him feel any better. 

“What kind of idol meets?” I-pin repeated, louder this time.

Yamamoto’s eyes crinkled. “Oh, yeah. I can tell you. I-pin, right?” 

I-pin widened her eyes. Even Tsuna was pretty impressed. The fact that Yamamoto remembered I-pin’s name was both remarkable and kind of sweet.

“Let’s see,” Yamamoto said, reading the list. “There’s a lot of them. Four days and three nights in resort hotels with Arcobaleno and Decimo. Oh, the Arcobaleno one’s in Chiba and the Decimo one’s in Kyoto”—I-pin squealed when he mentioned Decimo because Hibari, Hibari, Hibari, while Tsuna shuddered at the thought of being anywhere near Reborn again—“There’s an amusement park outing with Millefiore. Doesn’t say where though”—Tsuna could only think of Phalaeonopsis and the director, Byakuran. Other than that, he didn’t know the group that well—“Oh, a ski resort with Primo. I didn’t know that”—I-pin bounced up and down on her toes because Alaude, Alaude, Alaude. Well, they seemed nice, the ones he met so far anyways—“And an onsen trip with Varia.” 

Hell no. Never. No fucking way. Tsuna wanted to forget that they existed altogether. 

Oh, he wasn’t interested in the prizes. Don’t get him wrong; they seemed like every fan’s dream come true. What he was worried about was him entering a raffle with those as the prizes. 

Yamamoto laughed. “They look fun!” 

“God help anyone who gets Varia,” Gokudera muttered. 

Tsuna silently agreed, frowning when he realized that he was next. 

“Maa, maa, they’re pretty popular too, Hiro. Their fans love them.” 

“They’re a bunch of fu—psychopaths.” 

“They’re scary,” Lambo said. 

“Right on, kid.” 

“Lussuria-san seems nice,” I-pin said, biting her lip. 

Gokudera narrowed his eyes. “None of them are nice. If you see any of them, just run.”

Tsuna nodded solemnly. “Truer words have never been spoken.” 

Gokudera blinked. “You know them, Tsuna?” 

Tsuna flushed. “Ah, well, I…did my research. Kind of. They…don’t look like the nicest people in the world.” 

They’re all from hell, he thought, mentally shuddering from the image of broken plates and flying whiskey bottles. 

Laughing, Yamamoto rested a hand on Tsuna’s shoulder, squeezing it reassuringly. “They’re not that bad.” 

“It’s because even the most depraved human being on earth can be your best friend,” Gokudera muttered dryly. 

“Besides, it’s pretty hard to get any of the prizes and today’s the last day of the raffle. No one got any of them so far! Don’t sweat it, Tsuna!” 

How Yamamoto could make the worst encouragement sound so reassuring was beyond Tsuna. Still, it didn’t make him feel any better—not when it came to his luck. 

“That’s not what I’m worried about, Ya—Ryo-san,” he said. “I have…really weird luck.” 

“Eh?” 

Before Tsuna could respond, it was his turn. The clerk grinned brightly, making Tsuna wonder if his cheeks would split soon. 

“Hello, sir! Do you have your tickets?” 

“I have five.” 

“Great! Now all you have to do is turn that handle over there five times and hope for the best!” 

“Lambo, why don’t you go first?” Tsuna said. 

Lambo eagerly rotated the handle. A small white ball rolled out. He pouted when the clerk laughed and handed him some pocket-sized tissue paper. The results were the same for I-pin and Fuuta, who went twice. 

“Why don’t you try again, Fuuta?” Tsuna said, his smile slightly strained. 

“Why don’t you try it, Tsuna?” Yamamoto said. “You didn’t go, right?”

“Stop it,” Gokudera said, rolling his eyes. “Just let it go. You don’t have to do it if you don’t want to, Tsuna. The raffle’s dumb anyways. The prizes are sh—stupid.” 

“Maa, maa, where’s the fun in that?” 

“Tsuna-nii, try it!” I-pin said, tugging Tsuna’s hand. 

Lambo nodded. “Yeah, you should!” 

Fuuta smiled encouragingly. “You can do it, Tsuna-nii.” 

Tsuna wanted to cry. They might’ve had good intentions, but he really didn’t want to know what would happen after. He was definitely going to get one of them—he just knew it. But I-pin’s puppy-dog eyes weren’t helping nor was Lambo’s pout or Fuuta’s expecting gaze. 

“Please don’t ring the bell after I go,” Tsuna finally said to the clerk.

The man just laughed. “It’s alright, sir! Just give it a shot! Best of luck!” 

Sighing, Tsuna braced himself and slowly rotated the handle. It felt like an eternity waiting for a small ball to come out, but when it did, it was red. 

A moment of stunned silence hung over the group. Tsuna sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. Suddenly, the clerk shook the bell loudly above his head. 

“Congratulations to our lucky customer!” he said. “He won a grand prize!” 

The floors shook underneath Tsuna’s feet while the clerk handed him some forms. Tsuna was tempted to chop the man’s hands off and shove them in his mouth. 

“Fill this out and mail it to that address! Congratulations again!” 

Tsuna paled when a flood of fangirls started running towards him, screaming out their price wagers. Gokudera pushed him ahead. 

“Run!” 

Tsuna never ran so fast in his life.


Somehow, Fuuta and Lambo disappeared in the rush of the surging crowd. 

When Tsuna finally managed to catch his breath, he looked around frantically to see a sign of his little brothers. Her eyes wide, I-pin clung onto him tightly as she tried looking for them, too. Gokudera and Yamamoto were also nowhere in sight. Tsuna could only pray that his brothers were with them or with each other, at least. Lambo would be absolutely terrified and Fuuta could only do so much to calm him down. 

Shit. 

After checking that the coast was clear, Tsuna released a breath he didn’t know he was holding. He stuffed the stupid prize forms in his bag. He might as well burn them. 

“Big Brother, where did Lambo and Fuuta-nii go?” I-pin said. 

“We’ll find them, I-pin,” Tsuna said, trying to keep his voice calm. “Stay close to me, okay?” 

I-pin didn’t need to be told twice. Tsuna looked around the unfamiliar crowd, trying to find Lambo’s curly bed of hair or Fuuta’s green scarf amongst the sea of people. He nearly fell over if I-pin hadn’t somehow kept him upright. 

“Are you okay, Big Brother? Do you need anything? Water?” 

Tsuna tried to laugh it off but I-pin continued frowning. “I’m fine. Just tired. There’s too many people. We could try going back to the booth but…I don’t think that’s the best idea.” 

If only he had some way of contacting Gokudera or Yamamoto, his blood pressure wouldn’t be rising through the roof. Tsuna found himself hating those fangirls with a passion, along with the clerk. He swore he’d castrate the man if he ever saw him again. Who would just swarm people to get some stupid prize? Maybe Tsuna underestimated the significance of these things, but he still couldn’t wrap his head around the fact that he lost his brothers because of them. 

“Do you think Fuuta-nii and Lambo are with them?” I-pin said quietly. “They should be, right?” 

Tsuna forced a smile. “Yeah, I think so. I don’t think they could’ve gone too far. Let’s keep looking.” 

He couldn’t help but worry though. If Fuuta was with them, he would’ve borrowed one of the idol’s phones and called him. He knew Tsuna’s number like the back of his hand; a small part of Tsuna made a note to get him his own phone soon. Mentally shaking his head, Tsuna took a deep breath to calm down and started walking again with I-pin close by his side. 

Suddenly, he stopped. 

His eyes immediately zoned in on a figure in a small café. His heart pounded against his chest while he moved on auto-pilot. Before he knew it, he entered the store and headed towards the back, shuffling through the narrow wooden walkway and mumbling soft apologies. 

A lone man sat at the furthest table away from the customers, his broad back facing Tsuna and I-pin. Tsuna couldn’t exactly explain how he knew who the man was but he recognized that aloof figure without thinking. Swallowed a lump in his throat, Tsuna walked up to the silent man. 

“Hib—Ah, I mean…” 

He mentally berated himself for letting the words die in his throat. Immediately, Hibari faced him, his cold gray-blue eyes narrowed before he donned an impassive look. His mask was folded neatly on the table where he held a hot cup of tea. Wearing a dark gray blouse and slacks, the idol looked more like a businessman. 

I-pin squeaked pitifully before burying her face in Tsuna’s jacket, which eased the tension in Hibari’s shoulders; however, he still stared at Tsuna, silently demanding an explanation for his presence. 

“Herbivore.” 

Tsuna glanced behind him to see some inquisitive stares his way. Sighing, he sat down across from Hibari, quickly dispelling the customers’ curiosity. Hibari’s brow twitched. Tsuna ignored his burning gaze as he hoisted I-pin onto his lap, smiling slightly when she refused to look up and face one of her favorite idols. 

“I’m sorry for barging in like this, Hibari-san,” Tsuna said quietly. “I know you don’t want to see me again, but may I ask for a favor? I met Gokudera-san and Yamamoto-san while my siblings and I were shopping and we got separated due to…unforeseen circumstances. I have no means of contacting them, so may I please borrow your phone? I promise I won’t bother you ever again after this.” 

Hibari averted his gaze, not giving any indication of empathy to Tsuna’s plight. He picked up his tea and sipped it like he had all the time in the world. Great for him, but Tsuna was this close to chucking the cup at his face. Finally—finally—Hibari shifted to take his phone out of his overcoat’s pocket from his chair. He unlocked it and scrolled through the screen. It felt like days before Hibari handed Tsuna his phone. 

“Thank you,” Tsuna said in a hushed tone, taking the device with two hands. 

When he brought the phone to his ear, he caught a whiff of Hibari’s cologne. It was a soft, earthy fragrance of cedar and amber mixed with rose, freesia, and mimosa that oddly soothed his nerves. Tsuna didn’t know who Hibari dialed but if no one picked up the damn phone in the next second, he was going to ki— 

“Yo, Hibari,” a voice said. “What’s u—” 

“Yamamoto-san,” Tsuna said, keeping his voice low, “it’s me, Tsuna.” 

“Tsuna? How do you have Hibari’s phone? Where are you?”

“He let me borrow it for a moment. Please, please, tell me that Lambo and Fuuta are with you.” 

Yamamoto laughed. “Don’t worry! They’re with us. We were just about to look for you when we met the others.” 

Tsuna furrowed his brows. “Others…?” 

“The rest of the group! Where are you? We can go to you.” 

Tsuna glanced at Hibari who was silently observing him. “Oh no, I’ll go to you.” 

“Sure! We’re at Choco Sweets.” 

“Ah, I know where that is. Could you put Lambo and Fuuta on the phone for me, if that’s not too much to ask?” 

“Yeah! No problem!” 

There was some rustling from the other side before his brothers’ spoke through. 

“Tsuna-nii!” 

Tsuna sagged in relief. “Thank Kami. Are you injured anywhere? Did anything happen?” 

“No,” Fuuta said. “We’re fine.” 

“Tsuna-nii,” Lambo said, hiccupping, “where are you?” 

“I’ll be with you in a few minutes, okay?” Tsuna said, slipping into Italian. “Promise me you’ll stay with them until I get there.” 

“We won’t go anywhere,” Fuuta said in Italian. 

“Good. Can you put Yamamoto-san back on the phone?” 

The idol’s voice soon spoke up. “Hey, Tsuna! Everything okay?” 

“Yes, thank you. I’ll be there in a few minutes.” 

“Okay. We’ll be waiting!” 

“Thank you again.” 

After he hung up, Tsuna handed Hibari’s phone back. “Thank you, Hibari-san.” 

The idol just placed it on the table. 

“Come on, I-pin,” Tsuna said, standing up. “Your brothers are okay.” 

I-pin widened her eyes. “Really?” 

Tsuna nodded. “Yeah. Let’s go.” 

After I-pin slid off his lap, Tsuna gathered his bags. 

“Thank you,” he said, bowing. “I really appreciate it.” Hibari just sipped his tea, not looking at him. Tsuna chewed his lip. “And, I’m sorry I forgot you.” He smiled when Hibari raised a brow. “I remembered after my shift.” 

Hibari lightly huffed, as if he could ever be troubled, though his lips slightly twitched. Tsuna bowed again. 

“Thank you again,” he said. “For that day, for what you did. You saved me.” Tsuna laughed awkwardly. “I guess there’s a lot of things I owe you for.” 

“You talk too much, herbivore,” Hibari said, taking out a piece of paper from his pocket. He scribbled something with a fancy pen and handed it to Tsuna. “You’re crowding.” 

I-pin squeaked and tried to whisper, “He’s going to bite you to death, Big Brother. Let’s go.” 

Hibari smiled slightly as Tsuna took the piece of paper from his hand. Before I-pin would really faint, Tsuna quickly ushered her out of the café.

“Are you okay, I-pin?” he said, checking her red face. 

She just squeaked and buried her face in his jacket. “Let’s just go.” 

Tsuna couldn’t help but laugh. He quickly forgot the phone number Hibari gave him when he and I-pin left to find their brothers.


Choco Sweets was a cute pastry shop that sold a myriad of chocolate desserts and bread. It had an open view of the mall and a heavenly scent that wafted in the air. Tsuna and I-pin quickly spotted their brothers sitting at a back table with four other people.

“Lambo, Fuuta!” Tsuna said, drawing their attention. 

The two boys immediately ran towards him and clutched onto his waist. Lambo sobbed into his jacket while Fuuta mumbled something under his breath. Even I-pin gave hugged them both. 

“Lambo,” Tsuna said gently in Italian, “it’s okay. Don’t cry, bambino. I’m right here.” 

“I thought you left me,” Lambo babbled. “I didn’t see you or I-pin and only Fuuta was with me. Don’t leave me, fratello. I’m sorry for being rude and not nice and being clumsy! Just please don’t leave me!” 

Tsuna picked him up and carried him to the bathroom so he wouldn’t disturb the other customers, who gave him confused but sympathetic looks. There was no one inside when he entered—thank Kami, it was a single-use bathroom. Fuuta and I-pin followed him inside, one of them locking the door. 

“Come on,” Tsuna said, placing Lambo on the sink counter. 

After washing Lambo’s face and helping him blow his nose, Tsuna patted his face dry with some napkins Fuuta had brought. Lambo’s sobs gradually reduced into small sniffles once Tsuna made sure his face was clean from his snot and tears. 

“Lambo,” he said, “look at me. There, there. It’s okay. I’m right here with you, bambino.” 

“You won’t…leave me?” Lambo said, rubbing his red eyes. 

Fratello would never do that,” Fuuta said. 

I-pin grinned. “We came back!” 

Tsuna nodded. “I didn’t leave you and I never will. That was just a bad situation. See, I-pin’s right—we came back for you and Fuuta.” Tsuna hugged Lambo and patted his back. “So don’t cry. We’re here. Did you give Ryo-san and Hiro-san a lot of trouble?”

Lambo shook his head. “No. Yamamoto-san is nice.”

“They carried us all the way here,” Fuuta said quietly. 

Tsuna sighed in relief. “That’s good. Let’s go and thank them, okay?” 

He picked Lambo up again, nodding gratefully when Fuuta opened the door for him. He nearly jumped when he saw Yamamoto standing by the doorway, his hand raised to knock. 

“Yo, Tsuna,” he said, grinning. “Is everything okay?” 

Tsuna nodded. “Everything’s fine, Ryo-san. Thank you for taking Fuuta and Lambo with you.” 

Yamamoto laughed. “Anyone would’ve done the same. Come on, the others are waiting.” 

Tsuna and the kids followed him to where the rest of Decimo sat. Their vicinity was not as crowded and they were well-hidden from the other customers. Gokudera looked up and his shoulders sagged when he saw Tsuna. 

“Hey,” he said, smiling slightly. “Is Lambo okay? He couldn’t stop crying with us.”

Tsuna bowed. “Yes, thank you, Gokudera-san. I just—Thank you, really. I almost lost my mind.” 

“Why don’t you take a seat, Tsuna-kun?” a voice said from his right. “You look exhausted.” 

Tsuna blinked when he realized Mukuro’s presence. The man wore a fitting cashmere sweater that outlined his slim muscles and a pair of black slacks. 

“Ah, I really shouldn’t intrude,” Tsuna said. 

Yamamoto smiled. “It’s okay. Nagi ordered some things for Lambo to help him calm down. She should be back soon.” 

“Oh, she didn’t have to…” 

Regardless, Tsuna sat down, his legs aching. I-pin and Fuuta quietly sat down next to him, looking around the table almost shyly. Ryohei sat across from him, deeply engrossed with his phone. As if on cue, the idol looked up and blinked.

“Tsuna?” Ryohei grinned. “Hey, what brings you here? Oh, you brought your siblings. What’s going on?

Gokudera sighed. “I’m not going to repeat myself, Turf Top.”

Lambo unintentionally giggled and shut up quickly when the two men looked his way. Tsuna patted his back before Nagi appeared with a plate of molten chocolate cake. She wore a baggy purple hoodie and black tights with some boots. Blinking, she stood behind her brother.

Tsuna widened his eyes. “Oh, I’m sorry. Is this your seat? I can—” 

Nagi shook her head. “No, it’s okay. Just”—she shyly handed him the plate—“I bought this for Lambo-kun.” 

“You didn’t have to.” 

“Please, take it. I wanted to.” 

Tsuna glanced at Lambo who gaped at the cake before conceding defeat. He smiled gently. 

“Thank you, Nagi-san,” he said, taking the plate with Lambo echoing his thanks. “How can I repay you?” 

Widening her eyes, Nagi shook her head again. “I’m just glad Lambo-kun’s okay now.” She smiled shyly. “That’s all.” 

Mukuro chuckled as she sat down on his other side. “How kind of you, Nagi-chan.” 

Gokudera clicked his tongue. “How’re you even related?”

“What did you say, mutt?” 

“I don’t know, you tell me, pineapple freak.” 

Mukuro’s brow slightly twitched, but his pleasant smile was frozen in place. “How unoriginal.” 

“Nothing original about the truth, pineapple-head.” 

“Onii-san,” Nagi said, pulling her brother back, “there are children here.” 

Tsuna edged away as subtly as he could from Mukuro. Nope, he’d rather live longer, thank you. And he was sure that Mukuro could be classified as a sociopath. His pleasant smile was still in place, which only made him look more menacing. Tsuna distracted himself by feeding Lambo cake and letting I-pin and Fuuta take a bite, too. 

“I didn’t know you speak Italian, Tsuna-kun,” Mukuro said, resting his chin on his palm. 

Tsuna flushed when all eyes turned to him. “Ah, well, I’m not that good at it. I learned it for my brothers.” 

Mukuro hummed. “That’s not what my ears tell me. I believe you do the language justice.” 

“Don’t you know the meaning of personal space, pineapple-head?” Gokudera said, narrowing his eyes. 

“I’m sorry, Tsuna-kun, but I must’ve heard something pass by. Perhaps”—Tsuna tensed when Mukuro suddenly reached out to his ear and pulled away—“it was this?” 

Tsuna and the children gaped when a beautiful butterfly fluttered on one of Mukuro’s gloved fingers. Its wings were vividly blue, spanning five inches. 

“T—That’s amazing,” Tsuna said. 

“It’s a Morpho butterfly,” Fuuta said, his eyes wide. “They’re mostly found in the tropical forests in South and Central America.”

“It’s pretty,” I-pin said. 

“I like the color,” Lambo said. “The blue’s really, really pretty.” 

Yamamoto laughed. “Mukuro’s really good with magic.”

“Show-off,” Gokudera said, rolling his eyes.

Mukuro smiled. He turned his hand over and the butterfly instantly vanished, making Tsuna and the kids gasp. He gently took Tsuna’s hand and placed something cool in his palm before closing his fingers around the curious object. 

“A small gift for your excellent service at the restaurant,” Mukuro said. 

Tsuna widened his eyes and tried to return it. “Oh no, I couldn’t.” 

“I insist.” 

Lambo tugged Tsuna’s hand away from Mukuro’s grip, his eyes suspicious. “Tsuna-nii, he’s weird.” 

“Lambo!” 

Gokudera snorted. “Join the club, kid.” 

Yamamoto laughed. “You’re funny, Lambo.” 

Even Nagi giggled. Tsuna wanted to dig a hole and just lay there forever. Yeah, forever sounded great. 

“I’m sorry, Mukuro-san,” he said. “Lambo sometimes says things without thinking. Please forgive him.” 

Mukuro just smiled. “There’s no need to apologize. No harm done.” 

“His ego says otherwise,” Gokudera said, snickering.

“Care to repeat that, mutt?” 

“Anyways,” Yamamoto said, “how did you get Hibari-san’s phone, Tsuna?” 

“I just happened to find him when I was searching for Lambo and Fuuta,” Tsuna said. “I didn’t have any means to contact you or Gokudera-san so I got desperate.” He chuckled sheepishly. “It was very rude of me but he let me borrow his phone so I’m grateful for that.” 

“Oya, the skylark’s growing soft,” Mukuro said, taking a bite out of his chocolate cake. 

“Hibari never lets anyone touch his things,” Ryohei said. “I’m extremely glad he helped you, Tsuna.”

The brunet nodded. “Yes, I’m really grateful for what he did.” 

“By the way, did you check your prize?” Yamamoto said.

Tsuna shuddered. “No. If you want, you can have it.”

“You won a prize?” Ryohei said, blinking. 

Gokudera scowled. “Yeah, and then the banshees came out. Crazy bi—women.” 

“Oh, so that’s what happened,” Ryohei said, nodding. “I hope you’re extremely okay, Tsuna. The fans can be overwhelming sometimes.”

“I’m thinking of becoming their number one hater,” Tsuna deadpanned. “But thank you for the concern, Ryohei-san.” 

He blinked when the group laughed; even Nagi joined, her soft giggles muffled by her hand. 

“Join the club,” Gokudera said, sipping his coffee. 

“You should check out what you won though,” Yamamoto said with an easy smile. “I’m really curious.” 

“Oya, the raffle?” Mukuro said, tilting his head. “That slipped my mind. I didn’t think anyone would manage to win it. But if it’s Tsuna-kun, I think it’ll be pleasant. There are some excellent places in Kyoto.” 

“Just work on keeping your mouth shut,” Gokudera said. 

“I’m quite adept with needles, and I wouldn’t mind sewing your mouth shut, free of charge of course. The benefits speak for themselves.” 

Nagi sighed. “Onii-san.” 

Mukuro slung his arm around her petite shoulders. “Nagi-chan…” 

“There are children here,” Tsuna and Nagi said at the same time.

Pausing, they looked at each other for a few seconds before smiling. Tsuna really wondered how she was related to Mukuro. A mystery for the ages, it seemed. Mukuro pulled a small pout, placing a hand over his heart in mock-pain.

“You both wound me,” he said. 

“You’ll live,” Nagi and Tsuna said. 

“So, are you going to check what you won?” Yamamoto said breezily. 

“I’d rather not,” Tsuna said, frowning. “I might give it away.” 

“But,” I-pin said, her eyes wide, “what if you get a really good one?” 

Tsuna smiled teasingly. “You just want to see Hibari-san again, don’t you?” 

I-pin blushed. “It—It doesn’t—I—” She huffed. “Can it be my birthday present then, Big Brother? Please?”

“Oh, when’s your birthday, I-pin?” Yamamoto said. 

I-pin grinned. “November 25!” 

Yamamoto laughed. “That’s two days before Aniki’s.” 

Tsuna’s phone suddenly buzzed in his pocket with a text from Haru. 

I’m at the airport! You really don’t have to come, but my flight’s leaving in two hours. (・´з`・)ゞ

Of course, I’ll go! We’ll be there right away! 

“I’m sorry but we have to go,” Tsuna said, standing up. Lambo slipped to the ground and held his hand. “Thank you for the cake, Nagi-san. Really, and thank you, Gokudera-san, Yamamoto-san, for taking care of my brothers. I truly appreciate it. And thank you for the small gift, Mukuro-san.” 

Yamamoto laughed. “You really don’t have to thank us, Tsuna. No worries.” 

Mukuro chuckled. “Pleasure is all mine.” 

Nagi smiled shyly. “Travel safely, Tsuna-san.” 

After exchanging a couple of more goodbyes, Tsuna ushered the children out the bakery. 

“Where are we going, Tsuna-nii?” Fuuta said. 

“Don’t you want to see Haru before she leaves?” Tsuna said, smiling. 

The kids cheered as they left the shopping mall. Tsuna quickly hailed a taxi and gave the driver directions to the Namimori International Airport. 

He pulled out Mukuro’s impromptu gift from his pocket and widened his eyes when he saw a beautiful silver-chain necklace with a vividly blue butterfly. It shimmered under the setting sun, making Tsuna’s lips tug into a small smile.


The airport bustled with people but it was easy to find Haru. She immediately brightened when she caught sight of them and waved them over. The kids dashed to her side and hugged her waist, making her laugh. 

“Don’t forget to call, Big Sister,” I-pin said. 

“Look, Haru-nee!” Lambo said, raising the Sekaido bag. “Tsuna-nii bought me a sketchbook!” 

Haru grinned. “That’s great, Lambo!” She caught Tsuna’s eye and gave him a thumbs-up. “So, it seemed like you all had fun.” 

The children all talked at once, recounting their adventure avidly, while Tsuna smiled fondly behind them. 

“—and we met them, too!” Lambo said. 

Haru tilted her head. “Eh? Met who?” 

I-pin giggled. “Big Brother’s friends!” 

Fuuta smiled. “They’re not that bad.” 

“Hahi! That’s not fair! I want to meet them, too!” 

Lambo whispered something in her ear, making her widen her eyes. 

“Tsuna!” she said, shaking Tsuna’s shoulders. “The one time I don’t go with you and all of that happens!” 

Tsuna winced. “Well, it wasn’t all sunshine and daisies. I lost Lambo and Fuuta for a moment.” 

Haru frowned. “Yeah, I heard.” She lowered her voice. “Is Lambo okay?” 

Tsuna nodded. “He’s fine. I managed to calm him down but I’m never going to let that happen again.” 

A voice suddenly spoke over the intercom, reciting flight numbers and their departure time. Haru grabbed her suitcase. 

“Hahi! I have to go.” She hugged each child with a grin. “I’ll call when I land, okay?” When she hugged Tsuna, she whispered in his ear, “Tell me everything later, okay? I’m here for you.” 

Tsuna smiled. “Thank you, Haru. Have a safe flight. Let me know when you land.” 

Haru gave him a two-finger salute. “Of course!” 

“Bye, Haru-nee!” Lambo said, waving. 

“Have a safe flight!” Fuuta said. 

“Call soon, Big Sister!” I-pin said, smiling brightly. 

After Haru disappeared in the crowd, Tsuna patted Fuuta and Lambo on the head with a smile. “Let’s go home. What do you want for dinner?”

As the children rattled off their choices, Tsuna’s phone buzzed in his pocket. He furrowed his brows when he saw the caller ID. 

“Kurokawa-san?” he said, answering the call. 

Hana sighed heavily from the other line. “Sawada, I’m sorry for calling on short notice.” 

Tsuna pursed his lips. “What do you mean? Is everything okay?” 

“I don’t think Nakamura’s going to make it tonight.” 

Tsuna widened his eyes. “Pardon?” 

“Can you come in now?”

“Oh, well”—Tsuna glanced at the now quiet children—“I’m out at the moment with my siblings. Maybe after I give them dinner if that’s okay.” 

Hana sighed again, sounding utterly exhausted. “They…can stay in my office. Dinner’s on me. Just come here as soon as you can.” 

“What’s going on, Kurokawa-san?” Tsuna said. 

“Hell—I’m in utter hell.”

Chapter Text

“Baby, I’m sorry (I’m not sorry)

Bein’ so bad got me feelin’ so good

Showin’ you up like I knew that I would.”  

- Sorry Not Sorry by Demi Lovato


When Tsuna arrived at Kurokawa Cuisine, it was nightfall and several customers were already seated for dinner. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary—until he heard distant bangs and crashes that were definitely not from the kitchen. 

“Tsuna-kun,” Rin said with a smile, “are you here for a table? Oh, you brought your siblings! Hey there!”

Lambo blushed, mumbling a greeting back, while I-pin hid behind Tsuna’s legs. Fuuta smiled politely, making Rin squeal a little. Tsuna shook his head. “No, Kurokawa-san called me. Is Nakamura-san okay?” 

Rin winced. “I don’t know but him and Suzuki-kun went home. I think it’s because of the guests in the back.” She leaned closer. “You didn’t hear it from me, but I think they’re yakuza.” 

Tsuna sweat-dropped. “Ah, I see. Thank you, Rin-san.” 

Rin nodded. “Good luck!” 

Tsuna led the children to the back, his steps slowing down when he heard distant thumps and bangs from the private sections. His brow marginally twitched. What was his life anymore? Was there something he missed here? 

After knocking on Hana’s door and gaining permission to enter, he ushered the kids inside. 

Hana stood up from her desk. “Sawada.” 

She was slightly paler than usual. Tsuna had never seen her out of her element before, and it only heightened his own unease. 

“Good evening, Kurokawa-san.” 

The children bowed and politely greeted the slightly frazzled woman. Hana just nodded. A small table with three chairs were already set up for the kids. Tsuna closed the door behind him and helped his siblings get settled after placing the shopping bags and his satchel to the side. 

“What’s going on, Kurokawa-san?” he said, helping Lambo take off his jacket.

Hana sighed, massaging her temples. “I swear, those monkeys will be banned.”

“Please get to the point.” 

“Right. So, there’s a bunch of lunatic monkeys tonight. There are other restaurants available, options.” Hana sucked in a deep breath. “Just, please, get them under control, Sawada. Nakamura and Suzuki couldn’t handle them at all. They’re lucky they’re not in the hospital.”

Tsuna pursed his lips. A coil of dread snaked in his guts, but he was honestly more irritated than afraid. I-pin suddenly held his hand and smiled, making Tsuna relax a little. 

“I’ll also double your pay,” Hana said. “Just make them not burn the restaurant down. You have permission to do whatever it takes to restrain them. Dinner’s on me for you and the kids.” 

“Are—Are we going to die, Tsuna-nii?” Lambo said, his eyes wide. 

“Don’t be dumb, Lambo,” I-pin said, though she didn’t sound convinced. 

“No, we’re not,” Fuuta said quickly. “Tsuna-nii’s going to make sure nothing happens. So, don’t worry.”

Tsuna gave his siblings a shaky smile at best. “Who are the guests, Kurokawa-san?” 

Hana looked like she swallowed a bee. “Four groups”—Tsuna widened his eyes. Was she kidding him? Four? Who…?—“Yes, four: Primo, Decimo, Varia, and Arcobaleno. Don’t ask me why. Just keep them from destroying the restaurant or know that the others are here, especially the first three.” 

A few minutes of tense silence passed as the information slowly, very slowly, settled in Tsuna’s mind. His brow twitched. At this point, he might as well accept that his life liked screwing with him.

He sighed. “Why me, Kurokawa-san?” 

Hana actually looked at him with some pity. “I don’t know, but I’ll triple your pay if you keep them from killing each other, too.” 

It took every ounce of willpower not to scream.


Tsuna didn’t bother changing into his uniform. He didn’t see the point—it’d just waste precious time saving the restaurant from possible ruins. He briefly considered quitting, but his pride and money were at stake; not to mention, Hana might drag him back anyways. Tying a waiter’s apron around his waist, Tsuna nodded solemnly at Hana, who frowned, and marched towards the nearest room. 

The screams, clangs, and crashes grew louder with each step. Clenching his teeth, Tsuna slammed the door open and gaped. His brain short-circuited for a second. It was both Primo and Decimo. Screaming and cursing at each other. Fighting. Not professional. Children. Hell. 

Why…? 

Mukuro and Hibari was fighting like cats and dogs, hissing and growling insults at each other—why was Hibari holding tonfas of all things and how the hell was Mukuro fighting him off with a floor lamp?—while their look-alikes clashed with each other on the other side of the room with…the other floor lamp and handcuffs? 

Tsuna wasn’t going to question it. His brain cells were too precious. 

But whose bright idea was it to lump Mukuro and Hibari in the same room together? Gokudera clearly told him before that it was practically begging for chaos, and Tsuna assumed the same thing applied to their look-alikes—their older brothers…? 

On the other hand, Gokudera and G were screaming at each other in Italian across an overturned table—how? Tsuna pursed his lips and suppressed the urge to repeat the words to their faces. 

“You runt, my hair isn’t goddamn pink, it’s red!” G said. “Get your shit together!” 

“I’m not blind, you asshole!” Gokudera said back. “I know the fucking difference between red and pink and your hair’s goddamn pink!” 

“Maa, why don’t we just sit down and talk it out?” Asari said, restraining G. 

Yamamoto laughed, holding Gokudera back. “Yeah, we’re all friends here.” 

G and Gokudera glared at the too-cheerful brothers and spoke at the same time, “Shut the fuck up, you bastard!” 

Giotto and Knuckle tried keeping the Hibari and Mukuro look-alikes apart but ended up joining the fray instead while Nagi, Ryohei, and Kyoko failed to talk sense into their younger counterparts. 

Tsuna closed the door behind him with a loud bang, startling a few people. 

“Tsuna-kun!” Kyoko said, her eyes wide. 

“What the fuck are you people doing?” 

Everyone immediately froze. The tinkling of handcuffs was the only sound that breached the silence. Another chair fell over. 

“Sawada-san,” Giotto said, trying to save face, “I can ex—” 

“I don’t need an explanation, Giotto-san,” Tsuna said, making him tense. “Honestly, I don’t care. You’re destroying the room. Mukuro-san, I recommend that keep your mouth shut unless you have something useful to say.” 

Mukuro wisely closed his mouth, his brow twitching when some people snickered. They quickly shut up when Tsuna glared. 

“I can hear everything from the kitchen,” he said, walking towards Hibari and Mukuro. “From the main floor. Am I right in saying that none of you want to be discovered by the other customers? Mukuro-san, give me the lamp.”

The man just smiled as if nothing was wrong. “Of course, Tsuna-kun.” 

Tsuna snatched the lamp from his hands and placed it in the corner where it belonged. Hopefully, it stayed there. Stalking towards a scowling Hibari, he motioned for the tonfas.

“Give them to me, Hibari-san.” 

Hibari snarled, showing some teeth. Oh, scary. “Herbiv—” 

“I don’t care. Give them to me.” 

“No.” 

Tsuna narrowed his eyes. “You’ll give them to me or be kicked out. Take your pick.” 

Eventually, Hibari handed over his weapons—well, more like shoved them in Tsuna’s hands. 

“You’ll get them after when you leave,” he said, walking past the seething man. 

When Tsuna approached the Hibari and Mukuro look-alikes, he motioned for them to hand over their weapons. “Give me the lamp, sir.” 

The Mukuro look-alike, who had a similar hairstyle to his younger brother but shorter and lighter with bangs, smiled politely, the picture-perfect gentleman. “You can call me Daemon.” 

“I didn’t ask for your name, I asked for the lamp.” 

Some people snickered, one of them sounding suspiciously like Mukuro. When Daemon handed him the lamp, his smile slightly strained, Tsuna placed it at the opposite corner before approaching the Hibari look-alike. What was it—Alaude? He blinked when he met icy blue eyes, which looked…awfully familiar.

Oh. Handkerchief man. 

Mentally shaking his head, Tsuna gestured for Alaude to give him his handcuffs, which… 

Okay, why would Tsuna even bother to think about it? Nothing in his life made sense anymore, and he wasn’t willing to lose any more of his sanity. 

Surprisingly, Alaude handed them over wordlessly without much fuss, though his frown was the only indication to his irritation. Tsuna mentally gave him points for actually acting like an adult. He glanced at a sheepish Knuckle and a mortified Giotto, noting the small scratches on their face and hands. He’d have to bring them a first-aid kit later, if he was feeling kind enough. 

Turning around, Tsuna gazed blankly at the toppled table and chairs. “Gokudera-san, I thought you were better than this.”

Gokudera wilted, looking like a kicked puppy. G snorted. Tsuna immediately glared at him.

“G-san, you’re not any better. Pick up the table. Both of you.”

G narrowed his eyes. “I’m no—” 

Prendi il dannato tavolo.” [Pick up the damn table.]

Nearly everyone flinched. G and Gokudera gaped before stiffly obeying his command. The former shot Tsuna some bewildered glances while turning the table over with a grunt. 

Gokudera clicked his tongue. “Watch my fucking foot, idiot.” 

G scowled. “I’m on the other side of the table, dumbass.” 

Another bout of silence passed as the two brothers rearranged the table and chairs with Yamamoto’s and Asari’s help. Tsuna took out an empty bin from a cabinet and dumped the tonfas and handcuffs inside. He approached the two hot-headed Italian brothers with the bin. 

“Your switchblades,” he said, reverting back to Japanese. 

Gokudera obeyed while G just clicked his tongue before tossing his inside. Tsuna perused the room again. The curtains were torn but still managed to remain up while the walls had some heavy dents. Wonderful. 

“Everyone, sit.”

In a matter of seconds, the idols clambered to their seats with some grumbles and hisses. Yamamoto and Asari smiled at the others though they were slightly strained. Knuckle patted Giotto’s shoulder while Kyoko whispered soothingly in Ryohei’s ear. Mukuro and Daemon both looked like nothing happened. Nagi maintained a firm grip on Mukuro’s arm, looking a bit paler than usual. Alaude actually sat down at the furthest end of the table, which was a far more mature display than what Hibari was doing. Hibari didn’t even budge from his spot. 

Primo sat on the left side of the table while Decimo sat on the right. Hibari continued glowering at Tsuna, which could be on par with Xanxus’. Tsuna didn’t even blink, only opening the door. 

“I’ll bring you to a different room, Hibari-san,” he said. 

Hibari could do nothing but obey, his shoulders tense. Tsuna gave the quiet groups one more look, silently daring them to pull anything funny. 

“If this room isn’t destroyed by the time I come back, you won’t be kicked out. It’s within our right to do so, so consider yourselves warned. While you wait, get your orders ready. I’ll be with you as soon as I’m able to.”

Slamming the door shut, Tsuna walked down the hall with Hibari a considerable distance behind him. His brow twitched when he heard loud screams and crashes from the room at the end of the hallway. A part of him was tempted to strangle the Varia while another (larger) part of him told him to keep walking. 

The door unexpectedly opened then just as he and Hibari passed by. Tsuna whirled around with wide eyes. No, no, no, no, no, no.

Xanxus stood at the doorway, his face scrunched in a deathly scowl when he noticed Hibari, who glared back. They looked like true predators under the dim lighting, which didn’t make Tsuna feel any better. He was seriously considering on becoming a hermit. 

“What the fuck are you doing here, trash?” Xanxus said. 

Hibari instantly moved into a defensive stance until he realized he didn’t have his tonfas. He scowled at Tsuna. “Herbivore.” 

Tsuna scoffed. “Are you kidding me? No. Xanxus-san, is there something you need?” 

The tall man glanced at him from the corner of his eye as if just realizing Tsuna was there. “Brat.”

“If there’s nothing you need, please go back inside,” Tsuna said, moving in-between the bloodthirsty men. “These carpets are new.” 

Xanxus clicked his tongue. “I need to use the fucking bathroom.” 

“Then go to the bathroom. If you start a fight, I’m going to kick you out—literally.” 

“Oh, is that Tsu-chan?” Lussuria called from the room. “Tsu-chan, it’s so nice to see you again!” 

Something sounded eerily similar to a plate smashing against the wall, but Tsuna couldn’t see anything since Xanxus covered his view. 

“I wish I can say the same, Lussuria-san,” Tsuna said, cursing Xanxus’ height. “Xanxus-san, please go. Now. And no detours. Go to the bathroom and come back here.” 

Clicking his tongue, Xanxus slammed the door behind him and walked down the hallway with long, measured strides. Tsuna stared at his broad back, making sure he didn’t barge in the other rooms to start a fight or something, until he disappeared around the corner. Tsuna sighed. 

“Someone kill me,” he muttered under his breath. “Hibari-san, your room is this way. If you start something, I’m just going to kick you out. And please don’t tell the others that Varia is here. I’ll confiscate your cellphone, too.” 

Hibari didn’t say anything but Tsuna could feel his back burning from his gaze. Yeah, that sounded nice, too—being burned alive. Better than what this was. Turning the corner, Tsuna glanced at the other occupied room and flinched when he heard a loud bang that sounded too much like a gunshot. 

“What the hell?” he said, slamming the door open. 

Colonello was engaged in some kind of hardcore close-combat scuffle with Reborn who was holding a gun. Tsuna prayed to every divinity out there that it wasn’t real, despite the comically green color. 

“Was that a real bullet, kora?” Colonello said, punching Reborn in the face. “Are you crazy?” 

The other man dodged it fluidly and merely smirked. “Who knows?”

A woman with dark blue hair and a burn scar on her right cheek was either berating them or encouraging them—Tsuna couldn’t tell, but he was still seeing red anyway. 

“Oi, Colonello, what kind of sissy punch was that?” she said, crossing her arms over her chest. She wore an impeccable suit with slacks. “I thought I taught you better.” 

Colonello tried to sweep Reborn’s legs, who jumped and moved away. “Shut up, Lal! Are you going to help or not, kora?” 

The woman scoffed. “I’m not the one getting in trouble when Luce comes back. Oi, keep your eyes on him! His ribs are open! You idiot! Where are you looking?” 

Fon stood to the side while maneuvering the men from damaging the furniture, moving lamps and chairs out of the way with grace. His smile strained slightly.

“Reborn, Colonello, Luce won’t be pleased to see you fighting,” he said. “Why don’t you sit down and talk it over? Someone is bound to come in with the noise you’re all making.” 

Funny, ‘cause Tsuna was right there and no one noticed him yet. Surprisingly, Mammon was also in the room, muttering some things under his breath that sounded suspiciously like maiming people, damage control, and funeral costs. Tsuna wasn’t sure if being in the same room as the Arcobaleno or Varia was better—he’d rather jump off a cliff. A green-haired man beside Mammon scribbled something in a small notebook, completely apathetic to the chaos around him. 

Vasya stood up from his seat and slammed his fist on the table. “Hey! Luce’s going to be pissed!” 

Reborn and Colonello immediately turned their gaze on him, making him visibly gulp. 

“What did you say, lackey?” 

“To stop…” 

Tsuna pursed his lips. “I’m going to borrow this, Hibari-san.” 

Not waiting for the man’s response, he grabbed one of Hibari’s tonfas, stalked towards the table, and slammed it against the wooden surface, making everyone face him. 

Vasya widened his eyes. “Ts—Tsuna!” 

Grinning, Colonello gave Tsuna a cheery wave. “Yo, Tsuna!” 

Tsuna glared, making him flinch. “Don’t ‘yo, Tsuna’ me, Colonello-san. What the hell are you doing?” 

Colonello immediately jabbed a thumb at Reborn. “He star—” 

“I didn’t ask for the reason, I asked what you were doing.” 

Colonello widened his eyes. He looked back and forth between Tsuna and Lal, who just shrugged. Vasya coughed, trying hard not to laugh. 

“I’m waiting.” 

Colonello opened and closed his mouth a couple of times, resembling a goldfish. “I—We—Uh, taking back what’s mine…?” 

Tsuna raised a brow. “That’s not what I saw. I saw you and Reborn-san fighting like wild dogs. You should both be glad that Fon-san could mitigate the damages as much as he could. Reborn-san, keep your mouth shut. I don’t want to hear you.” 

Reborn’s eyes gleamed dangerously, but Tsuna approached him anyways. He tapped the bin with the tonfa. “Your gun, inside, now.” 

Lal Mirch snorted. “You got guts, kid.” 

Tsuna gave her a sharp look, making her tense. “Lal-san, was it? You’re not off the hook either. Being a bystander makes you just as accountable.” He looked at Reborn again. “Reborn-san, put your gun inside.” 

“And if I say no?” Reborn said. 

“Then I won’t hesitate to kick you out. Don’t play stupid. It’s in our rights. You either give me the gun or you leave.” 

A couple of tense minutes passed before Reborn grudgingly placed his gun inside the bin; he looked like he’d shoot Tsuna if he could. 

“And return whatever you took from Colonello-san.” 

Reborn’s lips slightly twitched. “What do you mean? It’s mine.” 

Colonello scowled. “No, it isn’t! I found it first! Finders, keepers, kora!” 

“Funny—it has my name written all over it. You’re quite slow on the uptake.” 

Tsuna pushed Colonello back with the tonfa. “I won’t hesitate to kick you out either, Colonello-san. Reborn-san, give it back.” 

“Reborn,” Fon said, “just return the charm. You can always buy one for yourself.” 

Really? All that for a charm? Lambo and I-pin fought for less. 

“Oh my,” a voice said, “what’s going on? Oh, hello there, Hibari. I didn’t know you were here.” 

Fon blinked. “Kyoya?” 

Hibari didn’t respond, opting to slink back in the shadows to avoid the crowding in the room. 

“Luce!” Vasya said, leaping to the woman’s side. “Thank God! Make them stop!” 

Luce had short blue hair with a long ponytail and kind blue eyes. She wore a white blouse under a suit jacket, black skirt with stockings, and heels. A bag was slung over her shoulder, which Vasya took from her. 

“Thank you, Vasya,” she said, smiling sweetly. “Would you mind telling me what’s going on? This restaurant is so lively tonight!” 

Tsuna nudged Reborn’s side with a look. Return the charm to Colonello. 

Reborn just stared back in slight amusement. What do you take me for? 

Kami, they were all making Varia look like saints at this point—how was that even possible? 

“—orn started duking it out with each other,” Vasya rambled on. “Fon tried stopping them and Lal wasn’t helping. Viper and Verde never do anything. I tried but they never listen to me and then Tsuna came in and just…well, he made them stop, somehow. It was kind of cool actually.” 

Luce turned to Tsuna with a smile. “You must be the wonderful Tsuna I’ve been hearing about. Vasya speaks very highly of you.”

Vasya flushed. “Luce!” 

“Oh, hush. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about.” Tsuna blinked when Luce approached him. “My, you’re very adorable, and you have lovely eyes! They’re a beautiful shade of amber.” 

Tsuna didn’t know how to react to the sudden change in topic, but it wasn’t necessarily bad. Luce seemed like a nice woman (he hoped). 

“Thank you…?” 

Luce smiled. “Oh, but of course! Thank you for handling them so well. They can be quite a handful, especially Renato and Colonello. Why, it’s almost impossible for anyone to keep them from jumping each other. Fon can only do so much without paralyzing some nerves. Our schedule’s quite daunting and we can’t afford to have any slip-ups, you see.” 

Tsuna just blinked. He didn’t know whether to be horrified or in awe. 

“I can handle things from here. I’m sure you’re quite busy yourself. I apologize on their behalf.” 

Tsuna smiled gratefully. “It’s fine, Luce-san. Thank you.” 

Luce blinked before clapping her hands together. “Are you sure you’re not interested in modeling, Tsuna? We can certainly take you in. I think you’ll do splendidly.” 

Okay, his respect for her dwindled a bit there. “No, I’m fine, really. Please excuse me. I’ll be back shortly to take your orders.” Tsuna smacked Reborn’s hand away from the bin. “Seriously, I’m not stupid or blind, Reborn-san. You’ll get it back after you leave.” 

Maybe never because guns were illegal in Japan and he was pretty sure it wasn’t a toy if the hole in the wall was any indication. How the hell did Reborn manage to smuggle a gun in the country anyways? The man gave him a knowing look. 

No. Tsuna didn’t want to know. 

Some people snickered, but shut up when Reborn glared at them. Rolling his eyes, Tsuna left the room as quickly as he could, smiling encouragingly at Vasya; the man just returned it with a sheepish smile. 

Tsuna checked the bin to make sure everything was still there. He breathed a sigh of relief. Hibari stared at him in slight amusement, never leaving his spot, thank Kami. If he wandered around (with the intent to kill), Tsuna wasn’t so sure he’d be able to stop him. 

“Thank you for waiting, Hibari-san,” he said, leading him to the farthest room. “And I’m sorry for using your tonfa like that.” 

Hibari grunted. “Don’t do it again, herbivore.” 

Tsuna smiled tiredly, opening the door. “I hope I don’t. Make yourself comfortable. Is there anything you’d like before I go?” 

“Sencha tea,” Hibari said, walking past him. 

“Would you like a menu?” 

The man just raised a brow as if to say, “did you really have to ask that?”. Tsuna just nodded, restraining a sigh. Hamburger steak again then. It was unnerving at how much Tsuna could understand Hibari’s silent language. 

“I’ll be back with your orders soon. Press the button if you need anything.” 

After closing the door, Tsuna nearly sagged when he looked inside the bin. Seriously, he was convinced that he walked into a mental asylum.


After locking the bin in one of Hana’s office cabinets—she just stared at the content with a pinched face while I-pin gaped at Hibari’s tonfas and Alaude’s handcuffs like they were precious souvenirs; Fuuta and Lambo just hugged Tsuna before he left—Tsuna took a deep breath and marched back to the warzone. 

There were only quiet murmurings behind Primo and Decimo’s shared room, which he deemed safe for now before moving to Varia’s room. 

Kami help him. 

Opening the door, Tsuna widened his eyes when there were no broken plates or flying chairs in sight. Was this really heaven? he thought hysterically. In fact, Varia was just yelling at each other without throwing anything, just verbal insults. Tsuna wanted to cry—how Varia could be on such good behavior baffled him, but he didn’t want to jinx it—but quickly schooled his features before anyone saw him. 

“I’m glad nothing’s destroyed,” he said, closing the door. 

Lussuria smiled brightly. “Tsu-chan, come in, come in! It’s so nice to see you again!” He pouted. “I was so sad to hear you weren’t in today, but I’m glad you’re here now!” 

“Apparently, we have some tough customers.” Tsuna narrowed his eyes. “Were you the ones who drove Nakamura-san and Suzuki-san away?” 

Though he had a feeling that Varia was only part of the problem. After witnessing Primo and Decimo violently going at each other, he sympathized with his coworkers. It was a miracle they didn’t get a heart attack or killed. 

Bel laughed, grinning like usual. “Xanxus scared those peasants away.” He gestured at a cracked whiskey bottle on the floor, making Tsuna’s brow twitch. How did he miss that? “They brought the wrong one.” 

Tsuna opened his mouth when he stepped on something hard. An eerie silence fell in the room. He slowly lifted his foot, noting the small cracks under his heel. Lussuria chuckled nervously. 

“Whoops, must’ve forgot about that,” he said, waving his hand. 

Tsuna counted to ten in his head before lifting up the carpet and finding some broken plates. He looked at Varia, unimpressed, receiving only sheepish shrugs and angry screams in Squalo’s case. Xanxus sat in his throne-like chair as usual while leaning on a fist, his eyes never leaving Tsuna’s face. He looked like he wanted to say something but thought better of it, clicking his tongue instead. 

“What else did you break?” Tsuna said dryly, scanning the room like a hawk. 

Before he could check some places himself—the cabinets looked very odd—Lussuria grabbed his arm and smiled. “Don’t worry, Tsu-chan! We have it all sorted out. Why don’t you take our orders now?” 

“But—” 

“We’re here to celebrate Levi’s birthday! Did you know that?” 

Tsuna blinked at the sudden change of topic. “Levi-san’s”—his breath hitched before he turned to the said man with wide eyes—“It’s your birthday, Levi-san? Happy birthday!” 

Levi looked down at his hands. “Thank you, Sawada-san.” 

“It was yesterday,” Bel said, rocking back and forth on the legs of his chair. 

“Bel-san, sit properly.” 

The chair thudded lightly when Bel stopped, but still continued grinning nonetheless. 

Tsuna smiled brightly. “Well, even if it was yesterday, happy belated birthday, Levi-san! We actually give a special dessert for occasions like this. Is there anything you’re allergic to?” Levi looked back and forth between him and Xanxus, his eyes wide. Tsuna pursed his lips. “Levi-san, Xanxus-san doesn’t hold all the answers for you. Do you want cake or not?” 

Levi seemed to sweat under the sudden pressure while Tsuna stared intently in his eyes. He realized they were a dark shade of green. 

Tsuna suddenly smiled. “Okay then, I’ll just bring a surprise slice for you later. Are you all ready to order then?” 

Levi sweat-dropped but cleared his throat. “Ah, yes. One wagyu steak and your best whiskey for Xanxus-sama—the one from last time and not the one…on the floor. Two orders of the Kurokawa Special Selection and five orders of wagyu beef and butaniku each.” 

Scribbling down the orders, Tsuna sighed. “Anything else?” 

“That’s all, Sawada-san.” 

Nodding, Tsuna pocketed his notepad. “Alright then, I’ll be back soon.” He smiled sweetly. “I hope I don’t find anything else here. I’m required to search later and if I see anything broken or smashed, they’ll be placed on the bill. Press the button if you need me. Also, one of you might want to clean that bottle. The carpets are new.” 

With that, he promptly left and closed the door behind him. There were some rustling and grumbles from inside that made him smile.

“Voi, why didn’t you dump the plates in the trash, you bastard?” Squalo said. “I want to fucking eat!” 

“But I panicked!” Lussuria said, unapologetic. “I didn’t know Tsu-chan would be here!” 

“Just clean the fucking place before the brat comes back, trash!” Xanxus said. 

“I will do so to the best of my ability, Xanxus-sama,” Levi said. 

“The prince is not going to clean,” Bel said. 

“Voi, put that knife back, you little shit!” 

“Squalo, get off the table!” Lussuria said. “Bel, put down that knife!”

Ah, when Varia was actually better-behaved than the rest of the groups (even if they were still rough around the edges). Tsuna was certain now that he entered a completely different dimension. 

He didn’t know if he should be afraid or not.


When he handed the Varia’s and Hibari’s orders to the chef, Tsuna quickly shuffled back to Primo and Decimo’s joint room. Opening the door, he was somewhat satisfied when some idols tensed. Thankfully, the room was in one piece. 

“Are you ready to order?” he said, approaching the table with a first-aid kit he grabbed earlier. 

Giotto nodded. “We are. And I apologize for what happened earlier, Sawada-san. It was very inappropriate and rude of us. I swear it won’t happen again.” 

Tsuna didn’t blink. “You’re not the one who should be apologizing, Giotto-san, but thank you. Also, you shouldn’t apologize to me either. Please take it up with Kurokawa-san.” He glanced at the scratched table. “The damage cost will be added to your bill.” 

“I’m sorry, Tsuna,” Gokudera said, glancing at him from the corner of his eye. 

“As long as you don’t destroy the room again, it’s fine, Gokudera-san,” Tsuna said, making the other grimace. “Giotto-san, Knuckle-san, I brought this for you.” 

Knuckle smiled. “Thank you. I’m really sorry for what you saw.” 

“Again, you shouldn’t be the one apologizing, Knuckle-san,” Tsuna said, walking to the head of the table. “Do you need help with your wounds?” 

Giotto shook his head. “Thank you for your concern, but we can do it. This is really nothing.” He chuckled sheepishly. “We’re used to it.” 

Tsuna didn’t question it. He really didn’t want to know. “Okay then. You can use the restrooms. Don’t hesitate to ask me for anything else you need.”

Knuckle nodded. “Thank you. Before that, we’d like to place our orders.”

Tsuna took out his notepad and clicked his pen. “Yes?” 

“Three Kurokawa Special, four orders of kuroge wagyu beef, and five orders of butaniku.” 

“Anything else?” 

“No, that’s everything.” 

“Alright. Press the button if you need me. Don’t destroy the room while I’m gone. We’re still going to charge your bill even if you’re kicked out. Thank you.” 

Tsuna didn’t look back when he left. He sighed, closing the door. Honestly, he wasn’t in the mood for this. 

Gah, I don’t know anymore, he thought. 

Pinching the bridge of his nose, he could feel a headache incoming before heading to the kitchen. When he returned, he knocked on Hana’s office door before looking inside. 

“Tsuna-nii!” Lambo said, dashing to hug his waist. “Are you okay? Did something happen? Is anyone bothering you?” 

Tsuna laughed as I-pin and Fuuta soon crowded him, too. “No, I’m fine. No one’s bothering me. How’re you all doing? Is the food good?”

Fuuta nodded. “It’s good, Tsuna-nii. Do you want anything? You can take some of mine. You need to eat, too.” 

Tsuna shook his head. “I’m good. I have to go back soon and I can eat later. You’re not giving Kurokawa-san any trouble, right?” 

Hana huffed from her desk. “They’re better-behaved than I thought.” 

Tsuna smiled. “Okay, I have to go back now. Don’t give her any trouble, okay?” He leaned into whisper. “She can be pretty scary, but she’s not that bad.” 

Hana’s brow twitched. “I’m right here, Sawada. Get back to work.” 

The children giggled while they hugged Tsuna one more time before he gave them a small wave and left. His pager buzzed from the kitchen with Hibari’s order. He carried Hibari’s order with a kettle of Sencha tea on a tray while keeping an ear out for any strange noises. Thankfully, it was relatively calm. 

Knocking on Hibari’s door, Tsuna let himself in. He placed the dishes in front of the man. 

“Here, Hibari-san,” he said, pouring him a cup of tea. “Is there anything else you need?” 

Hibari just placed his phone aside and picked up his cutlery, a clear indication of dismissal. Tsuna couldn’t help but huff. Really, it wasn’t bad to communicate with words once in a while, but that’d be stepping over so many boundaries, it made Tsuna’s head spin. Either way, he wasn’t exactly in the mood for talking. 

“Let me know if you need anything. Enjoy your meal.”

Tsuna quickly left and dashed towards Arcobaleno’s room. Seriously, why were there four groups packed tonight? Did he do something terrible in his past life? Did Kami know what a day off meant? He just wanted to go home with the kids and sleep. He could understand Varia being here for Levi’s birthday, which was kind of sweet of them now that he thought about it, but Primo, Decimo, and Arcobaleno? Tsuna was pretty sure someone was out to get him. 

He didn’t bother knocking when he arrived, just opening the door and slipping inside, nearly breathless. Vasya perked up, but frowned almost immediately when he saw Tsuna. 

“Tsuna, are you okay?” he said, standing up. 

“You actually don’t look too good,” Colonello said, pursing his lips. 

“Perhaps you should sit down for a moment,” Fon said. 

Even Reborn and Lal Mirch gave him quick once over, their eyes slightly narrowed, while the green-haired man—Verde?—just glanced at him as he continued scribbling in his notebook. Mammon slightly turned to face him, his lips tugged in a small frown. 

Luce frowned. “Would you like some water?” 

Tsuna shook his head. “I’m fine. Thank you, Luce-san.” He closed the door behind him, almost stumbling if Vasya hadn’t steadied him. He smiled sheepishly. “I’m sorry, Vasya. I guess I’m a little clumsy today.” 

“How come you call him by his name?” Colonello said, pouting. “Drop the ‘san’ for me. It’s so stuffy, kora.” 

“Because he’s my friend and not yours,” Vasya said with a sniff. 

“Say what now, lackey?”

Lal Mirch rolled her eyes. “Stop acting like a kid.” 

Luce laughed. “Yes, don’t be like that, Colonello. You should be happy for Vasya! Tsuna seems like a very sweet man.” 

“Are you sure you’re okay?” Vasya whispered in Tsuna’s ear. “You don’t have to serve us, you know. I’m sure you already have your hands full. If that Hibari kid’s here, then Decimo isn’t far, right?” 

Tsuna smiled reassuringly. “I’m okay. We already sent two waiters home. I got called in since I’m the only one who could handle them, I guess.” 

“Called in?” Fon said, raising a brow. “Then does that mean that today was your day off?” 

Luce widened her eyes. “Oh, I’m sorry, Tsuna. We didn’t know.” 

Tsuna laughed gently. “It’s okay, Luce-san. There’s no need to apologize. You can sit, Vasya. Are you all ready to order?” 

“Well, I guess it’s quieter now,” Colonello said, scratching the back of his head.

“Has Varia damaged anything?” Mammon said. 

Lal Mirch made a face. “Varia’s here? Since when?” 

Vasya gaped. “Oh my God, Tsuna, how’re you still alive? They’re literally Satan’s children!” 

Tsuna smiled while he and Vasya walked towards the table, the man’s grip still firm around his arm. “They’re actually behaving tonight, so you don’t have to worry, Mammon-san. The bill won’t be hefty as last time. Primo and Decimo should be more concerned in that department.” 

“Primo’s here, too?” Colonello said, raising a brow. “Wait, shit. It’s Knuckle’s birthday in two days, kora.” He stood up. “I should g—” 

“No, you’re not,” Tsuna said, narrowing his eyes. “Do it later, Colonello-san. They’re in no position to be receiving visitors right now and I’m not risking you making a scene.” 

Colonello pouted. “Don’t you trust me?” 

“No.” Tsuna sighed. “Just, do it later, please. They nearly destroyed their room when I arrived. I don’t know who thought it was a good idea to have Mukuro-san and Hibari-san in the same room—Kami, Varia’s more well-behaved than any of the groups tonight, including you all. You should be happy, Mammon-san.” 

“We’ll see,” Mammon said. 

Verde muttered something under his breath about animal rearing methods that Tsuna wished he hadn’t heard. 

Fon sighed. “Kyoya is always prone to violence. It was smart of you to separate him from everyone. Thank you.” 

“How can they be better than us? Those kids are all psychopaths, kora!” 

Vasya rolled his eyes. “I mean, you and Reborn were going at it hard before. You’re all in the same boat.” 

“Care to repeat that, lackey?” Reborn said. 

“Um, you’re both angels…?” 

“Just tell me your orders,” Tsuna said, closing his eyes. “Reborn-san, stop picking on him.”

“You’re in no position to te—” 

The words just slipped from Tsuna’s mouth. “Non ci provare neanche, Reborn-san.” [Don’t even try, Reborn-san.] 

Stunned silence hung in the room. Tsuna blinked before widening his eyes. 

“Wait, no, I didn’t mean to say that! I mean, yeah, I meant to say that but not in that. Well, Reborn-san’s Italian, right? I think—Well”—He groaned and pinched the bridge of his nose—“Someone tell me the orders now, thank you.”

“You can speak Italian?” Lal Mirch said, her eyes wide. 

Luce clapped her hands together. “My, you’re just a young man of many talents, Tsuna!” 

Fon smiled. “You speak very well. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about.” 

“Holy shit, you’re fluent,” Colonello said, leaning forward. “Say it again!”

“What the fuck,” was Vasya’s smart response. 

Reborn hummed, his dark eyes gleaming. “Not bad.” 

Mammon drummed his fingers on the table. “Your value seems to have increased, Sawada. Are you interested in becoming part of Varia’s staff? I’ll give you double the salary of the average worker. Benefits and insurance are included along with housing and transportation accommodations. I’m open to further negotiation but it will cost you. My time is valuable.” 

Vasya widened his eyes. “What? Are you crazy? Why would Tsuna want to do that?” 

“It’s a worthy investment.” 

“That ‘it’ you’re talking about is Tsuna. Call him by his name or don’t say anything at all, you asshole!” 

“Why not join our staff instead?” Colonello said, grinning. 

Lal Mirch jabbed him with her elbow. “Stop talking crap, you idiot. We already have enough staff members.” 

“Angelo is quitting tomorrow,” Reborn said, sipping his water. 

Lal Mirch narrowed her eyes. “No, he isn’t. We just hired him yesterday. How would you know?” 

Reborn smirked. “I just do.” 

Tsuna paled a bit. “Thank you, Mammon-san, but I’d rather live longer so I’ll have to refuse. And Reborn-san, leave that man alone.” 

“I don’t make promises I can’t keep.” 

Tsuna resisted the urge to throttle someone, preferably Reborn. “I’m going to punch you.” 

Reborn smirked. “I’d love to see you try.” 

Luce laughed behind her hand while the others snorted. Even Fon chuckled. Not even Reborn’s glare got them to shut up, especially Colonello and Vasya. They howled in laughter, smacking the table with their fists like a bunch of lunatics. Tsuna saved Vasya’s cup before it toppled over, making Vasya smile sheepishly. 

“Interesting,” Verde said, jotting down his notes even more furiously. He pushed up his glasses, his light green eyes glinting under the lights. “How many other languages do you speak? And have you met Reborn outside before? Your level of communication indicates familiarity.” 

Tsuna frowned. “I’d…rather not say. And there’s no relationship between us in any shape or form—nothing.” 

Reborn gave him a look of mock-hurt. “How could you say that, Tsuna? After everything we’ve been through?” 

Tsuna wished he had Hibari’s tonfa so he could smack the other man. “I don’t know you.” 

“Stop harassing him!” Vasya said, flailing his arms. “You’re making him uncomfortable!” 

Colonello rolled his eyes. “Who asked for your opinion, kora?” 

“Colonello-san, starving is also an option tonight,” Tsuna said. “So, shut up and sit down. Reborn-san, move your foot. I’m going to kick you.”

Luce giggled when Colonello slumped in his chair with a pout. “Oh my, you’re quite something, Tsuna. I’ve never seen anyone tame Colonello and Renato like this before.”

“Whatever do you mean, Luce,” Reborn deadpanned. 

“I’m not a dog,” Colonello muttered. 

“I beg to differ,” Tsuna said dryly, making Lal Mirch snort. 

“That’s part of his value,” Mammon said. “Varia had a 13% decrease from their normal damage costs last time because Sawada employed some unusual but effective punishment that curtailed their behavior.” 

“Tsuna is a human being, Viper,” Fon said, frowning. “Please do not attach a price tag on him.” 

Mammon pursed his lips. “I didn’t ask for your opinion, Fon. And call me Mammon.” 

Lal Mirch blinked. “Wait, what? What do you mean by ‘unusual but effective punishment’?”

“You know my service fees.” 

Lal Mirch glared. “You goddamn snake, you’re already loaded! Why do you need more money?” 

“I won’t explain myself again unless you pay me.” 

Tsuna wanted to cry. “Someone please tell me your orders before I leave and never come back.”

Luce smiled apologetically. “I’m sorry, Tsuna. We’ll have two of the Kurokawa Special, three orders of wagyu beef, and three orders of katsu.” 

“Thank you,” Tsuna said, scribbling the orders down. “Is there anything else?” 

“Can you get us bourbon?” Colonello said. “Three bottles.” 

“Anything else?” 

“Do you serve cake? ‘cause technically we’re here because of Reborn’s birthday, kora.”

Tsuna blinked. “It’s today?” 

How many birthdays were there? It was like everyone was born just a few days apart from each other, which…wasn’t that far from the truth now that he thought about it. Still, why

“It was last month,” Vasya said, rolling his eyes. “Can I get vodka, Tsuna?” 

“Stop raising the bill, kora.”

“I’m not the one paying. Lay off, will you?” 

Reborn smirked. “You’re getting out of hand lately, lackey.” 

“Special training starts tomorrow, kora, so no drinking for you!” 

“Wait, what?” 

Tsuna outright sighed. “Colonello-san, Reborn-san, I’m right here. Leave Vasya alone. He can drink if he wants to. Is there anything you’re allergic to so I can inform the chef, Reborn-san?” 

“He’s not allergic to anything,” Luce said before Reborn could respond, making him scowl. “Thank you, Tsuna! We always celebrate everyone’s birthdays a month late since we’re so busy.” 

“I see,” Tsuna said, his pager buzzing in his pocket. “Okay, I’ll be back soon. Don’t bully Vasya or destroy the room—that’s all I ask for, please. Press that button if you need anything.” 

He left before anyone could say a word.


Carrying the food trays back was a bit difficult when there were so many. Hana, who was returning from the bathroom with I-pin, immediately opened Primo and Decimo’s joint room. Tsuna smiled gratefully when she took a tray from his hand. 

“I seriously pity you,” she muttered under her breath. 

“I pity myself, too.”

I-pin patted his back, making him smile. Kyoko perked up when they entered. “Tsuna-kun, Hana-chan!” She blinked, noticing I-pin hiding behind Tsuna’s legs. “Oh, and who’s that?” 

Yamamoto laughed. “She’s I-pin, Tsuna’s sister.” 

Nearly squealing, Kyoko clapped her hands. “Oh, my goodness, she’s adorable, Tsuna-kun!” 

I-pin blushed and mumbled something under her breath.

“She says you’re very pretty, Kyoko-san,” Tsuna said, setting the table. “I-pin, can you close the door and stay there? I don’t want you to get too close to the grills.” 

“Okay, Big Brother!” 

“If I-pin’s here, does that mean your brothers are here, too?” Yamamoto said, smiling. 

“Can I meet them, Tsuna-kun?” Kyoko said, her eyes bright. 

“Kyoko,” Hana said in a warning tone, setting some plates in front of Alaude. 

“No,” Tsuna said, placing the last dish on the table. “It’s not you, Kyoko-san, but I don’t trust anyone here. Did you forget that they nearly destroyed the room? I’m not taking any chances.” 

And he really wasn’t fond about his siblings becoming more involved with the idols.

Kyoko winced. “Ah, I’m sorry. That was rude of me.” 

Tsuna turned on the grill. “It’s fine. Knuckle-san and Giotto-san are the only ones who can even touch the first grill. Asari-san and Yamamoto-san for the second one. Ah, are your wounds okay?” 

Giotto smiled gently. “We’re fine, Sawada-san. Thank you.” 

Knuckle nodded. “It’s not bad. They’ll heal fast.” 

“I’m glad. Alright, no objections? Great. Enjoy your meal. Come on, I-pin.” 

I-pin stared at him in awe before snapping out of her daze. She took ahold of Tsuna’s hand while shyly peering at Alaude. 

Kyoko waved. “Bye, I-pin-chan!” 

I-pin lightly squeaked before following Tsuna out the door. Some of the men laughed as they waved and said their goodbyes, too. When Tsuna closed the door, Hana raised a brow. 

“You’re really something, Sawada,” she said. “I can only imagine how the others are.” 

Tsuna sighed. “Believe me, they’re not any better. Although, Varia’s actually the best-behaved tonight.” He chuckled when Hana made a face. “I know.” 

“That was so cool, Big Brother!” I-pin said. “They really listened to you! Primo and Decimo sometimes fight a lot when they’re together. And Alaude-san is so handsome!” 

Tsuna patted her head. “That’s what happens when children get out of hand, I-pin. Go back with Kurokawa-san, okay? I’ll be finished soon.” 

Giggling, I-pin followed Hana to her office and waved. Tsuna waved back before heading to the kitchen to get Varia’s orders. Opening their door with his foot, he clambered inside and set the dishes on the table. 

“Welcome back, Tsu-chan!” Lussuria said, grinning. 

Tsuna inspected the room, checking for anything amiss. The cabinets didn’t look too stuffed anymore and the plates were intact on the table. 

Xanxus clicked his tongue. “Room’s clean, brat. Just give me my food.” 

“I can attest to that, Sawada-san,” Levi said with a suspicious bruise on his cheek. 

Tsuna’s brow twitched. “What is that on your face, Levi-san?” 

“Voi, just give us our food!” Squalo said, slamming his fist on the table. “The room’s clean, isn’t it, brat?” 

“Room’s clean, Levi-san’s face isn’t.”

Bel laughed. “The giant peasant didn’t pay attention.” 

“I’m going to get some ice,” Tsuna said, walking towards the door. “If any of you touch the dishes, I’m just going to dump them in the trash with all of you.” 

Ignoring their frustrated and angry cries, he mechanically walked to the breakroom, received an icepack, and returned. They were doing so well, too, he mentally bemoaned. Tsuna glared at Squalo who was halfway to strangling Bel. 

“Sit,” he said. 

Squalo reluctantly obeyed, huffing and kicking the table. Tsuna handed the icepack to a tense Levi. He soon placed the dishes on the table and poured Xanxus a cup of whiskey. 

“You will eat your food like the gentlemen you were supposed to be,” Tsuna said, turning on the grills, “and not destroy the room or hurt Levi-san. I’m talking to every single one of you, not just you, Xanxus-san. Don’t look at me like that unless you want me to take your dish away.” He sighed. “And to think that I thought you were the best-behaved group tonight.” 

Lussuria tilted his head. “Best-behaved?” 

Squalo blinked. “Wait, what?” 

Bel’s grin grew wider. “Oh? We are?” 

Xanxus narrowed his eyes. He opened his mouth to say something, thought better of it, then closed it. Levi just stared at Tsuna like he’d just spoken God’s words. 

“I thought I could trust you with the grill for once, but apparently not,” Tsuna muttered under his breath, placing the meat on top of it. 

“What do you mean by ‘best-behaved’, Tsu-chan?” Lussuria said, his smile sly. 

“You’re the only group here giving me less of a headache at the moment.” Tsuna placed some butaniku on a plate and set it on the table. “But we’re back to square one, aren’t we? Levi-san, how is your bruise?” 

“I’m fine, Sawada-san,” Levi said. “There is no need to worry about me.” 

“No need to worry about you? Levi-san, you’re hurt. It’s also your birthday—Well, it was yesterday—but that doesn’t mean that anyone has the right to lay a hand for any reason at all.” 

“Sawada-san, I—” 

Tsuna glared, making Levi tense. “I don’t care what Xanxus-san said or whatever his reason was. He hit you and—” 

Lussuria chuckled. “Tsu-chan, Xanxus didn’t hit Levi. He didn’t see where he was going and only tripped on the carpet.” 

Silence fell in the room. Tsuna stared at Lussuria for a good minute or two, trying to process what he just said. 

Bel snickered. “The prince had said the giant peasant wasn’t paying attention.” 

“You’re burning the meat, brat,” Xanxus grunted. 

Yelping, Tsuna immediately removed the wagyu beef from the grill. They weren’t burned but he blew one gently and nibbled it to make sure. Okay, it was fine. He jumped when someone took a hold of his hand. 

“Bel-san…?”

Bel’s grin grew wider. “The prince is honored to take the first bite.” 

Tsuna gaped when Bel guided his hand to his mouth and bit the rest of the beef from the grill tongs.

Lussuria giggled. “Bel, how clever of you!” 

“Voi, what the hell are you doing, you piece of shit?” Squalo said. 

Levi kept his gaze down on his own plate while Xanxus looked like he wanted to stab someone with his knife. Tsuna just face-palmed. 

“Bel-san,” he said, “why…?” 

Bel shrugged. “The bunny peasant fed the shark last time. It was the prince’s turn.” 

Tsuna just shoved some beef in Squalo’s mouth before he’d jump on Bel and actually throttle him. “Squalo-san, sit.” 

“What the hell, kora?” 

Everyone immediately looked towards the door where Colonello stood. He gaped at Tsuna.

“You—You just fed him, kora,” he said. 

“Voi, what of it, scum?” Squalo said, glaring. 

Tsuna sighed. “Squalo-san, sit.” 

“Don’t tell me what to d—” 

Tsuna fed him some more beef to shut him up, completely missing the smirk Squalo gave to Colonello behind his back. 

“The prince wants more, bunny peasant,” Bel said, pointing at his mouth. 

Lussuria hooted in laughter, almost falling off his chair. Levi stared at his plate so hard, it might as well go up in flames. Xanxus looked like he was thinking about killing everyone in the room and only sat back down when Tsuna gave him a pointed look. 

“You can feed yourself, Bel-san,” he said, placing some meat on Bel’s plate. “And stop calling me bunny.” 

“Tuna peasant.” 

Tsuna’s brow twitched. “Or tuna.” 

“Princess.” 

“I’m not afraid to place your face on the grill.” Tsuna turned to face a strangely irritated Colonello. “Is there something you need, Colonello-san?” 

“I was just trying to find Primo.” 

A sudden chill coursed through the air. Tsuna immediately dashed towards Xanxus who was already halfway out of his seat. 

“No, don’t!” he said, trying to push him back. “Don’t do anything stupid, Xanxus-san! Squalo-san, Bel-san, don’t you dare take another step.” 

“I wasn’t aware Primo was here,” Lussuria said, his tone darkening just a tad. Tsuna tensed. “How lovely.” 

Colonello winced. “Ah, fuck.”

Fottuto idiota!” Tsuna said, making everyone tense. “Non avrebbero dovuto scoprire! Aspettare fuori!” [You fucking idiot! They weren’t supposed to know! Wait outside!] 

Colonello immediately shut the door. Tsuna pinched the bridge of his nose and slowly counted to twenty in his head. 

No one spoke a word. 

“I don’t know what the fuck your problem is, but if I see any of you trying to hound Primo, Decimo, whoever, or do anything to put this restaurant in jeopardy, I’ll personally see to it that none of you see daylight again, am I clear?” 

“Crystal, Tsu-chan,” Lussuria said, his smile slightly strained. 

Bel chewed his meat. “The prince understands perfectly.” 

Squalo avoided meeting Tsuna’s gaze. “Yeah, whatever.” 

Xanxus clicked his tongue before sitting back down, Levi following suit. Tsuna’s jaw clenched when he left the room. He immediately glared at Colonello, who shifted uncomfortably, and ignored the buzz in his pocket from his pager. He tried organizing the thoughts in his head, but he ended up with nothing. Miraculously, his patience was still alive—just barely. 

“I don’t know what to do, Colonello-san,” Tsuna said, his voice slightly shaking. “Primo’s in the second room. Just, go.”

“I’m really so—” 

“Just go.”

Tsuna brushed past the man to head towards the kitchen. Hana’s office door opened then, revealing the said manager. 

“Oh, Sawada, good t—” Hana immediately frowned. “What the hell happened?”

Tsuna just shook his head. “Nothing, just a small slip-up.” 

Hana narrowed her eyes. “I’m sending you home. You look terrible.” 

“I’m fine, Kurokawa-san. I just need some water.” 

“No. I should’ve just let you take the day off completely. I’ll pack your dinner for you.”

“Kurokawa-san, I—” 

Hana scowled. “I’m not taking no for an answer, Sawada. Most of them will leave soon. I’ll take care of it from here.” 

“I ca—” 

“Tsuna-nii, I need to use the bathroom,” Lambo said, appearing behind Hana. He blinked when he saw Tsuna’s face. “Are you okay?” 

Tsuna smiled slightly. “I’m fine, Lambo. I need to get some orders and I’ll be right back, okay?” 

“I’ll do it,” Hana said. “Just take him to the bathroom and come back to the office. Don’t go anywhere else.” 

Finding it useless to argue anymore with her, Tsuna just nodded and took Lambo’s hand. 

“I can hold it in,” Lambo said, biting his lip. 

Tsuna shook his head. “No, that’s bad for you. Come on.” 

They quietly walked towards the restroom, their footsteps muted by the maroon red carpeting. Tsuna opened the door for Lambo and waited by one of the sinks as Lambo entered a stall. The brunet turned on the faucet to wash his hands, grimacing at how pale he looked in the mirror. He looked like shit. A dull pain pounded in the back of his head. He blinked a couple of times to regain his bearings, splashing more cold water on his face. His head still hurt. 

The door opened and Tsuna nearly jumped when someone said, “Ah, Sawada-san.” 

He relaxed when he saw Giotto enter. “Oh, Giotto-san.”

Giotto frowned. “Are you alright? You look pale.” 

I practically stopped your deaths for the time being so, yeah, I’m peachy, Tsuna thought. 

He patted his face dry with some paper towels and tossed them in the trash can. “I’m fine. Thank you. Is everything okay on your end?” 

Giotto smiled. “Everything’s fine. They’re not causing any trouble. I really am sorry you had to see that, but I think you handled it well.” He chuckled sheepishly. “It’s hard for us to get along well with Decimo, even if they’re brothers. Family’s complicated. There’s only so much I can do.” 

Tsuna nodded. “I understand.” 

A flush came from Lambo’s stall before the boy came out. He widened his eyes when he saw Giotto, quickly hiding behind Tsuna’s back. 

Giotto smiled kindly. “Hello, you must be Sawada-san’s brother. It’s very nice to meet you.”

Lambo nodded while Tsuna patted his head comfortingly. “Lambo, it’s impolite not to return Giotto-san’s greeting.” 

Giotto blinked. “Lambo?” 

“Ah, yes. His name is Lambo.” 

Confusion flashed briefly in Giotto’s eyes before he quickly composed himself with a smile. Tsuna filed that curious action away to think about later.

“That’s a nice name, Lambo. I’m Giotto.”

“Thank you,” Lambo said quietly. “I know who you are, Giotto-san. I…like your songs.”

Giotto beamed. “Thank you. I’m glad to hear that.” 

Tsuna guided Lambo to the sink. “Come on, Lambo. Let’s wash your hands.” 

Lambo obeyed while giving Giotto curious glances. After drying himself, he held Tsuna’s hand and hid behind his back. Tsuna bowed a little. 

“I’ll see you later, Giotto-san,” he said. “Please excuse us.” 

“Ah, yes. Please take care of yourself, Sawada-san. Rest is always important.”

Tsuna smiled. “I’m fine, but thank you.” 

He left the restroom with Lambo and walked back to Hana’s office. He opened the door to usher Lambo inside, noticing that Hana wasn’t there. After making sure the kids were okay, Tsuna checked the kitchen to see if the Arcobaleno’s orders were there. They weren’t. 

Completely disregarding Hana’s orders, he made his way towards Arcobaleno’s room, but not before checking on Varia. He breathed a sigh of relief when none of them were missing. 

“Tsu-chan, is everything alright?” Lussuria said, making everyone else look up. 

“Just making sure you’re all where you’re supposed to be, Lussuria-san,” Tsuna said. “I apologize for interrupting your meal. Is there anything you need before I leave?” 

“More whiskey, brat,” Xanxus said. 

Tsuna nodded. “Alright. I’ll be back shortly.” 

He closed the door and continued his way to Arcobaleno’s room. He knocked before opening the door. 

Vasya perked up when he saw him, but frowned almost instantly. “Tsuna, hey. You really don’t look good.” 

Hana, who was pouring some bourbon for Lal Mirch, pursed her lips. “Sawada, did you forget what I told you?” 

Tsuna smiled sheepishly. “I couldn’t help myself. Do you need any help?”

Hana sighed but didn’t say anything. Nevertheless, Tsuna helped her pour the drinks. Colonello looked at him with furrowed brows. 

“Tsuna, are you okay?” he said. “You actually look like shit.” 

“Did you pass on your birthday wishes to Knuckle-san?” Tsuna said, handing him his drink.

Colonello grimaced. “Yeah. Thanks for that, kora. And I’m really sorry for what happened. I didn’t mean it.” 

Lal Mirch narrowed her eyes. “What did you do?” 

Vasya glared. “Yeah, spill.” 

Colonello rolled his eyes. “Since when did you get all mighty?”

“If you did something to him, I won’t forgive you.” 

Reborn swirled his glass of bourbon in his hand. “You should talk, Colonello.” 

“I didn’t do anything to him, kora!” 

Wincing, Tsuna set down the alcohol bottle, which teetered a bit from his loose grip. He felt someone touch his arm and say something in his ear, but the words sounded distant. 

“—ay?” Hana said, her voice sounding both quiet and loud at the same time.

Tsuna shook his head, the floor spinning beneath his feet. “I’m…fine, Kurokawa-san.” 

“Tsuna, you’re not walking straight.” 

“I’m fine. I can walk.” 

"Why don’t you sit down?” 

“Take my seat, Tsuna!” 

“He doesn’t seem like he’s properly registering what we’re saying.”

“You’re not helping, Verde.” 

Black spots danced in Tsuna’s vision while he struggled to keep himself upright. Why weren’t his legs listening to him? How hard was it to put one foot after the other? Everyone’s voices swirled around his head in a hazy and confusing mesh of unintelligible words. Why were they so loud? Someone—everyone?—was saying his name but he couldn’t make out what they were saying. His head hurt

Before he could ask them to kindly shut up, the room suddenly tilted. He heard chairs scraping and people shouting, but could only think about the bruises he’d get later. 

He barely processed the strong, warm arms around him until everything went black.

Chapter Text

“Even though I’m alive, I need to be perfectly sure

So as I aim for the deep seabed just this one last time

I’ll try my hand at breathing.”

-Diver by NICO Touches the Walls


Tsuna felt like he was floating, and it was quiet, very quiet. 

He wouldn’t mind it if he stayed like this for a while longer. The pounding in his head reduced into a numbing sensation that barely tickled his nerves. 

He couldn’t remember the last time he felt like this. 

However, something whispered in the back of his mind, a small hiss that was neither threatening nor comforting—it was telling him to wake up. 

Soon, a sliver of light breached the darkness. A blur of distant sounds gradually came into focus around him as Tsuna fluttered his eyes open. He moaned when bright lights assaulted his hazy vision. The ceiling was…white? Where was he? 

Someone closed a book beside him. He felt warm. 

“Here,” Hana said, sounding distant. 

A cup gently pressed against Tsuna’s chapped lips and he eagerly downed it within seconds. He turned his head to see Hana sitting on a chair with a book on her lap. His lips slightly twitched when he read the title: The Little Prince

“I didn’t know you liked that book,” he said quietly, looking around the small room.

He was in the hospital with an IV attached to his arm; the window drapes were drawn so he couldn’t tell what time of day it was. The door was also closed, giving them some privacy. Tsuna furrowed his brows when he realized only Hana was with him. 

“Wher—” 

She gave him a look, silently daring him to get up. Tsuna didn’t. His body refused to move either way. 

“I’m going to explain everything so just listen.” 

Tsuna nodded. 

Sighing, Hana massaged her temples. “You fainted last night.”

Tsuna widened his eyes. “Last n—” 

He instantly shut up when Hana glared. 

“You overworked yourself; you’re also dehydrated and malnourished. I don’t understand how you’re still alive. You’re lucky Fon caught you.” Hana sighed again. “Long story short: Colonello almost died if Luce wasn’t there; Fon was the smart monkey who brought you here; Varia also nearly killed Colonello; and Primo and Decimo almost killed each other.”

Tsuna gaped. “Is everyone okay? Is Colonello-san fine, too?” 

Hana scoffed. “That should be the least of your concerns right now.” At his imploring look, she rolled her eyes. “He’s alive, just bruised. He can walk it off.” She crossed her arms over her chest. “What a bunch of psycho monkeys. Actually, they’re worse than monkeys.” 

“I’m glad they’re okay,” Tsuna said, flinching when Hana scowled at him.

“Are you hearing the words that are coming out of your mouth? What will your siblings do if you became incapacitated or worse? You’re lucky that exhaustion’s the only thing wrong with you right now.” 

Tsuna’s breath hitched. “Wait, whe—” 

“I drove them to your house to get some stuff after you were admitted. My mom took care of them.” She grimaced. “I couldn’t tell them everything, but Fuuta’s a smart kid. I just dropped them off at school. Don’t worry. My mom likes the little monkeys.” 

Tsuna sank back against his pillow, hoping that the bed would swallow him whole. “Kurokawa-san…” 

“You don’t owe me anything. I’m giving you two paid weeks off and triple the wage for last night.” She raised a hand to silence him. “After you were admitted, I spoke to the other monkeys. I employed some rules in place and made them all sign it. Preferably, I wish they never come back.” 

“Where are they? I should thank Fon-san, at least, and tell Vasya I’m okay.” 

Hana pursed her lips. “The doctor recommended that you avoid stressful situations and people until you’re fully rested, Sawada. I suggest that you don’t get yourself too involved with them. I don’t understand you. I would’ve just run away and become a hermit.” 

Tsuna helplessly shrugged. “What can I do? They’re not…bad people.” 

“More like animals.” 

Tsuna sighed. “You get what I mean.” 

“No, I don’t. Take away all that glamor and they’re nothing but psycho monkeys; even then, it doesn’t make a difference.” Hana gave Tsuna an unimpressed look. “I’m actually glad this happened, Sawada. Get your act together and start thinking about yourself.” 

Sighing, Tsuna shifted under his blankets and struggled getting his muddled thoughts together. “I know that what I’m doing is bad for me. But it’s just who I am. It’s…better for me.”

“It’s not better for you if it’s hurting you. You’re also hurting the little monkeys like this." 

Tsuna chuckled. “Yeah, I guess that came out wrong. I just don’t know what to do.” He covered his eyes with his arm, feeling cold. “I’m just tired, Hana. I want everything to be over; but every time I think about it, something holds me back. I hate it, but I can’t help feeling grateful either. I feel sick whenever I think about it.” He laughed bitterly, his eyes burning with tears. “Did you know I wanted to tell Fuuta no when he asked to live with me? How could Dame-Tsuna do anything, much less take care of a child? I just kept telling him to wait.” Tsuna clenched his hands into fists. “He waited every day, and I couldn’t bring myself to tell him no.” 

Hana was quiet while he spoke. A small part of him wanted her to make him shut up. 

“Fuuta didn’t trust anyone,” Tsuna said softly. “His mother beat him and locked him in closets to keep him quiet. He still needs some light to go to sleep. His mother left him on his sixth birthday. I can never understand why a mother would abandon her child. When I first met him, he couldn’t speak Japanese, and he never let anyone near him.” Tsuna released a shaky breath. “He said he trusted me, that I’d never leave him like his mother did. He waited three years for me to say yes and never complained once. He just smiled and—and said that he was happy…” 

“Tsuna,” Hana said, her voice uncharacteristically gentle, “the kids are lucky to have you.” 

Tsuna laughed. “Sometimes I just want them gone. It’s bad—I think of so many bad things.” 

“You’re only human. It’s normal. Most people wouldn’t be able to raise a kid, much less three, all by themselves. From what I saw, you’re doing fine. It could be worse.” 

“But everything I do isn’t enough for them,” Tsuna said, his voice cracking. “I think that maybe I shouldn’t have taken them in, but I love them, and I couldn’t bring myself to leave them behind. So—” 

“Tsuna, shut up.”

Tsuna sniffled, realizing he was crying. He tried to wipe away his tears but ended up sobbing even more. His shoulders trembled as he desperately rubbed his burning eyes, the ache in his chest spreading to his head again. Hana handed him some tissues that he gratefully accepted. He blew his nose, feeling even more disgusted at himself. 

“I—I’m sorry,” he said, hiccupping. 

Hana clicked her tongue, but her eyes were less steely. “You have nothing to be sorry about. Stop talking like that. If anything, you should be proud of what you’re doing. You took in those kids when they had no one. You’re giving them plenty already.” She poked Tsuna’s forehead, making him blink. “They have you. That’s more than enough.” 

Tsuna sniffled again. “You’re…being awfully kind today, Hana.” 

Hana rolled her eyes. “I’m practical, Tsuna, not heartless.” She leaned back in her seat. “You know, I never really thought much about you. When I saw you in Hoshino-sensei’s lecture, I thought you’d leave with the others, but you stayed.” 

Laughing, Tsuna remembered the students’ outrage after Hoshino-sensei handed them an exam packet instead of the class syllabus on the first day of class. He failed horribly like everyone else but stayed anyways. Tsuna never regretted it, even if Hoshino-sensei constantly picked on him in class and kept him on a tight leash. The elderly man could be quite possessive when he wanted to be in an oddly endearing way, but Tsuna never said that out loud. He’d probably lose something more than his head. 

Longing tightly gripped Tsuna’s heart. He missed Hoshino-sensei. He missed university. He missed a lot of things, he realized. 

“He always liked you more,” Hana said, crossing her legs. “Everyone hated you. Even I didn’t like you. But you’re a good guy, Tsuna. So don’t think less of yourself. What you’re doing—I respect that. But you’re hurting yourself. It’s not good for you or your siblings. Wake up. You’re not alone in this. You have people who care about you.”

Tsuna swallowed thickly, his eyes burning with more tears. It didn’t hurt as much anymore. “Hana…”

Hana passed him some more tissues. “Can you do at least that much?”

Tsuna wiped his tears away and gave her a watery smile. “Thank you, Hana.” 

Nodding, Hana handed him another cup of water. “Don’t choke. I need you alive.” 

Tsuna laughed. “You can’t get rid of me that easily.” 

Hana scoffed. “I know. Go back to sleep, Tsuna. You can stay here a while longer.” 

“Will you be here when I wake up?” 

His voice wavered faintly while he kept his eyes on his shaking hands. 

“Don’t mistake me for a creep then.” Tsuna blinked when Hana opened back to her page in The Little Prince. “Just sleep.”

Tsuna made himself more comfortable on the bed. Crying had taken a lot more out of him than he thought. Still, it felt…nice, like a large weight lifted from his chest. 

“Do you like the book?”

Hana glanced at him but continued reading nonetheless. “I read this before. I don’t mind re-reading it.” She turned a page. “Fuuta gave this to me before he left for school. He told me to read it to you, so you could get better. I don’t understand that logic.” 

Tsuna smiled slightly. “Did you read it out loud while I was sleeping?” 

Hana scowled. “Don’t be ridiculous.” 

“Could you read it to me? You can just read it from where you are. I don’t mind.” 

Tsuna turned away, smiling, when Hana raised the book in the air, threatening to smack him over the head. A few minutes of silence passed. His eyes fluttered as the small drips of the IV slowly lulled him to sleep. 

“’To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world…’”


Hana woke up Tsuna when the doctor came by. After giving him a long lecture on taking care of himself better, the elderly woman made him swear that he’d eat and drink properly while getting plenty of rest. 

“You only live once, Sawada-san,” she said, peering over her glasses. “Working yourself to the bone isn’t the only thing in life. It shouldn’t be.” 

Shouldering his bag, Tsuna followed Hana out to the hallway and blushed when his stomach growled.

“Ah, I’m hungry.” 

Hana sighed. “It’s lunchtime anyways. Where do you want to go?” 

Tsuna blinked. “Are you…?” 

“Yes, I’m offering. So pick a place before I make you eat in the hospital cafeteria.” 

Tsuna wrinkled his nose. Nope. He wasn’t going to touch hospital food. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t something he wanted to eat either. 

“Setsuna,” he said, following Hana with a small hop in his steps. “Can we go to Setsuna?” 

Before Hana could respond, a loud shout made them jump. 

“Tsuna!” 

Tsuna could barely react when strong arms suddenly hugged him. The fragrance of bergamot and orange wafted in his nose, mixed with the scent of narcissus, jasmine, and coriander that gave it a warm, spicy touch. It took a moment for Tsuna to realize that it was Vasya. 

Smiling, he patted Vasya’s arm. “Vasya, I’m fine.” 

Vasya pulled away then. His eyes were red and his cap made him look even more disheveled. 

“I thought you wouldn’t wake up!” he said, shaking Tsuna’s shoulders. “I told you that you didn’t have to push yourself and then you fainted! Thank God, Fon caught you in time! You almost hit the table!” 

The nurses passing by gave them reprimanding looks and hushed them. Tsuna led Vasya away, nodding to the idol’s babbling, when he stopped short to gape at the other men in a waiting room nearby. 

“When did they get here, Kurokawa-san?” 

Hana pursed her lips. “Since last night. They never left.” 

“And you’re telling me now?” 

She rolled her eyes. “You needed rest, Sawada.” 

“But—” 

“Avoid stressful situations and people—that’s what the doctor said.” 

At the sound of their voices, the other men looked up with a mix of relief and concern—well, Reborn was hard to read under his cap, but it still surprised Tsuna that he was even there. Colonello looked terrible; his hair was messy and a nasty bruise formed on his left cheek. Fon was also present, looking a little worn out but otherwise fine. 

Fon smiled. “I’m glad to see you awake, Tsuna. Are you alright?” 

Tsuna bowed. “Yes. Thank you for last night, Fon-san. I heard what happened from Kurokawa-san. I apologize if I was any trouble to you.” 

Fon shook his head. “Oh no, you weren’t any trouble at all. I was glad to be of assistance.” He frowned. “You’re very light, Tsuna. Have you been eating properly? Perhaps I could recommend some diet regimens that can help you gain some healthy weight again.” 

Tsuna flushed, waving his hands. “No, I’m fine. Thank you though. You’re too kind.”

Reborn crushed his coffee can and tossed it in the wastebasket behind him, which was filled with several energy drinks. Tsuna grimaced. 

“Only an idiot would push himself past his limits. Did you know that your mind can only survive for so long without a physical body, Tsuna?” 

Glaring, Vasya shielded Tsuna from the other man’s view. “Stop being a dick, Reborn. You weren’t a saint last night either.” 

Reborn’s dark eyes gleamed. “Care to repeat that, lackey?”

“Skull, Reborn, there’s no reason to fight,” Fon said, frowning. “The staff will threaten to kick us out again.”

It was official—Fon was Tsuna’s favorite person. Either way, he was hungry and going to strangle someone if he didn’t eat. Sighing, Tsuna said, “For once, can we just talk like civil human beings and not kill each other? Let’s just hold hands and sing under the rainbow and—Oh.” He snickered. “Arcobaleno means ‘rainbow’. Why’re you called Arcobaleno by the way? I don’t know why, but it’s kind of confusing. Well, I guess the colors correspond…” 

Everyone just stared at him. Tsuna laughed sheepishly, rubbing the back of his head. “I’m sorry. I’m just hungry.” 

Fon chuckled. “So it seems. Why don’t we take you out for lunch? As an apology for last night.” 

Tsuna widened his eyes. “Wait, you really stayed all night? Why? You should’ve eaten something and rest! What about your schedules? And where’s everyone else?” 

Vasya huffed. “Well, I wanted to stay. You should be more worried about yourself, Tsuna. Luce and Lal stayed for a bit but got called out. Viper’s with Satan’s children and Verde—Well, I don’t know what he’s doing but he’s probably on set. He doesn’t like his schedule getting messed up.” 

“Well,” Tsuna said slowly, ignoring Hana’s pointed stare, “Kurokawa-san and I were just about to go and eat. You could…join us?” 

He glanced at Hana who just sighed and turned away. “My car, Sawada.” 

Tsuna smiled. “Thank you!” He turned to the men and frowned, noticing how quiet Colonello was. “Colonello-san.” 

The man tensed but didn’t look up. Tsuna tentatively reached out to place a hand on Colonello’s shoulder; he pursed his lips when the man slightly leaned away. Reborn scoffed under his breath but kept quiet when Tsuna glared at him. 

“Colonello-san,” he said, “my face is up here, you know.” 

A minute or two passed, but Colonello still didn’t look up, Tsuna sighed before crouching. He slightly winced; the bruise looked extremely painful up-close. A melted icepack was tossed to the side. Tsuna made a mental note to get another one later.

Placing a hand on Colonello’s knee, Tsuna said, “I’m fine.” 

Colonello clenched his hands into fists, his knuckles turning white. “I fucked up.” 

“Well, aside from that, you didn’t really know—I mean, I’m sure you know about Varia’s issues with Primo and Decimo, whatever they are. I don’t really blame you.” Tsuna ignored Vasya and Hana scoff in the background. “It was just a mistake, and mistakes happen. I’m not happy about it, but it’s done and over with. I trust that you won’t do it again. So stop sulking.” 

Colonello scowled, but it didn’t look meaningful. “I’m not sulking.” 

Tsuna grinned teasingly. “You’re definitely sulking. Don’t bother hiding it.” 

“I really thought…you wouldn’t wake up.” 

Tsuna smacked Reborn’s leg when he heard him mutter, “How dramatic,” under his breath. Colonello stared at him like he was some kind of alien. Tsuna just flashed him a bright smile. 

“Well, I’m okay now. See? I’m right here. So, you don’t have to worry.” Tsuna tapped the corner of his mouth. “This might be the only time I’ll ever say this to you, but you look better when you smile, Colonello-san.”

Colonello snorted, but his lips twitched into a small smile anyways. “Only one time, kora?” 

Tsuna rolled his eyes. “You heard me.” He stood up and straightened out his numb legs. “Anyways, let’s go and eat. I’m hungry. Do you know how to get there, Kurokawa-san?” 

Hana deadpanned. “I’ve lived here all my life.” 

“Point taken.” Tsuna smiled at the men following behind him. “I hope you like Korean food.” 

Before they left, he asked a nurse for an ice pack and handed it to Colonello, who stared at it dumbly. Sighing, Tsuna reached out for his hand and placed the ice pack in Colonello’s palm. 

“For your bruise,” he said, following Hana to her car. “I don’t think your fans would like it if they saw you like that.” 

Vasya snorted. “Looks great to me.” He barely dodged Colonello’s fist in time and hid behind Fon with wide eyes. “Hey, keep your hands to yourself, asshole!” 

“If you take another step, Colonello-san, I won’t hesitate to prolong your stay in the hospital.” 

They all parted on rather quiet terms—well, Colonello and Reborn chasing Vasya around the parking lot wasn’t peaceful in the slightest (Tsuna didn’t understand how these things escalated so quickly) but Tsuna quickly alleviated the situation by shoving Vasya in the backseat of Hana’s car and telling her to step on it. 

It was hilarious to see the other men’s stunned faces while Hana drove away though. Vasya was dying in the back from laughter and Tsuna considered that a win in his book.


Setsuna was an easy fifteen-minute drive, but Tsuna couldn’t help wanting Hana to drive faster. Oddly, the cars around him looked like katsudon bowls, which only made him hungrier. 

Wow, he didn’t know that it was this bad. Still, Tsuna bounced in his seat when Setsuna finally came into view. It was a large, traditionally-styled building that served both Japanese and Korean cuisine. With reasonable prices—nearly everything in Namimori was affordable; the number of discounts and sales was ridiculous—and good food, Setsuna was popular in the city. 

Vasya was still laughing when Hana parked the car. “Oh my God, Tsuna. Their faces—did you see their faces? Holy shit, that’s the only other reaction I’ve ever seen from Reborn besides ‘bow down to me or die’. Oh, and the ‘bring me coffee or die’.” 

Tsuna smiled. “I live to please.”                                                                                                                          

Vasya snorted. “And Fon—he’s always so Zen about everything, it’s hard to imagine him looking anything other than that. Jesus, I’m going to die. Oh God, my stomach. I can’t. I’ll see you in the next life.” 

“After you eat, hopefully.” 

“You’re right. Food!”

Hana sighed, unbuckling her seatbelt. “You’re both acting like monkeys.” 

Tsuna smiled sheepishly. “I’m sorry, Kurokawa-san.” 

Vasya coughed behind his fist. “Yeah, uh, sorry. And thanks for letting us tag along.” 

Hana rolled her eyes. “The sooner you all eat, the sooner we can get back.” 

“Thank you for this, Kurokawa-san,” Tsuna said quietly. “I…really appreciate it.” 

“I don’t think I’d appreciate you fainting again.” Hana pursed her lips. “I’m not paying for the other monkeys.” 

Tsuna nodded then fished out his phone, noticing a few texts from Haru. 

7:43 PM: I just got settled in my hotel! It’s SO nice here! Call me when you get the time!  d=(´▽`)=b

9:22 PM: Hahi! I just met the new group in person! Ahhhh~ They’re so good-looking and the leader’s so sweet and adorable! He reminds me of you so much! I think you two would get along really well~ hehe. They’re already working on some singles!! Let me run my ideas by you later, k? (◍•ᴗ•◍)❤  

Tsuna quickly texted a reply, silently thanking Hana that she didn’t tell Haru what happened. Haru would’ve dropped everything and flew back to Namimori. 

I’m glad to hear that! I’m sorry for the late response. I got busy with the kids. Let me know how everything’s going! And don’t overwork yourself. Make sure to eat and rest. Take your time with them.  

“Is that Haru?” Hana said, walking beside him. 

Tsuna nodded. “It seems like everything’s going well for her in Tokyo.” 

Vasya tilted his head. “Is she another friend of yours?” 

“Yes. She’s in Tokyo now and working for Vongola as a freelance designer. She’s really talented.” Tsuna tapped his chin in thought while they waited for the other Arcobaleno members. “They used one of her designs before so that’s how she got called back again. It was for one of their idols, but I can’t remember the name. It wasn’t a group though.” 

“What was it?” 

“It was a year ago.” Tsuna smiled sheepishly. “I really can’t remember the name, but Haru told me it was a big hit. It was a merlot red jersey dress.”

Vasya snapped his fingers. “Right! Shit, I never thought that Daniela would wear it. It was for her comeback performance.” 

He swiped through his phone before showing Tsuna his selfie with a pretty young woman. Sticking his tongue out, Vasya wore a black suit and a purple dress shirt; his hair was tousled stylishly, making him look like the residential bad boy with class. The woman next to him had a red flower tattoo on her left cheek and long black hair in a ponytail; she wore the dress Haru had designed for her, which was asymmetrically draped at the neck. Tsuna remembered when Haru had rushed to his house in the dead of night and helping her sew the final product together with the help of tons of coffee. 

Daniela also stuck her tongue out with a peace sign over her eye. There was a large crowd of people in the background, and Tsuna couldn’t help but giggle when he noticed a white-haired man copying her pose, looking absolutely ridiculous and not caring in the slightest. 

“She’s Daniela,” Vasya said. “Her stage name’s Ottavo. She has a younger brother, too—Timoteo. He’s the leader of Nono and performs with his brothers. They’re cool, but I don’t know how they’re related. Daniela’s really chill and Timoteo pretty much has a stick stuck up his ass. His brothers are okay.”

Tsuna tilted his head. “Vongola must like naming them all with numbers.”

Vasya shrugged. “The head honcho likes things to be simple.” 

“You better not show him anything stupid,” Colonello suddenly said, walking towards them.

Vasya snickered. “Can’t promise anything.” 

Tsuna smiled innocently. “I still think you looked great with blue lipstick, Colonello-san. It brings out your eyes.” 

Even in their masks, caps, and disheveled appearances, the men still managed to look handsome. Colonello sputtered some unintelligible words while Vasya gave Tsuna a high-five. 

Fon chuckled. “Rizona approved of it quite passionately.” 

Colonello gaped. “I thought you were on my side!” 

“There are no sides here, Colonello—only a friendly conversation.” 

Hana sighed. “Let’s go inside before Sawada faints again.” She narrowed her eyes. “He will eat.” 

Tsuna flushed when Vasya immediately pushed him inside the restaurant, blabbering something about nutrition, diets, and lots and lot of food. 

“Vasya, I can walk on my own.” 

“Nope. Not taking any chances.” 

Tsuna immediately forgot his ire when the delicious scent of sizzling meat and Korean dishes wafted in his nose. Just seeing the food was enough to make him nearly salivate. Kami, he sounded like some rabid dog. 

Okay, that wasn’t helping. 

Hana raised a brow when Reborn walked over to the greeter. Leaning casually on the counter, he entered a conversation with the flustered woman. Tsuna was pretty sure he was flirting the hell out of her. His suspicions were confirmed when she grabbed some menus clumsily and ushered them upstairs to the private quarters. 

They entered an elegant but cozy room that was brightly-lit with a large window looking out to some parts of Midori Sea. A sturdy, round table was in the center with five comfortable chairs. Tsuna sat in-between Vasya and Hana with Reborn sitting across from him. Fon sat beside Vasya while Colonello sat next to Hana. 

“Colonello-san,” Tsuna said, “is your face feeling better? Do you need another ice pack?”

Colonello had taken off his mask to shove it in his jean pocket. He brushed over his darkening bruise and grinned. “I’m fine. I deserved it anyways.” 

Vasya puffed his chest. “I punched him.” 

Colonello scowled while muttering something about stupid lackeys and ridiculous strength. 

Tsuna pursed his lips. “That’s not something to brag about, Vasya.” 

Vasya wilted. “I was just angry. I mean, it was his fault.” 

Tsuna placed his menu down on the table. Closing his eyes, he slowly counted to ten in his head. He really didn’t want to go through this again. 

“Okay, let’s get some things straight here. First, I’m sure Kurokawa-san already went over everything and Kami knows what else. Second, I’m convinced most of you are all crazy anyways, and I knew this going in. That was stupid on my part. I thought I could handle it, but I couldn’t, so lesson learned. Third, Colonello-san, stop blaming yourself. Just don’t do it again. It was a mistake. Fourth, Vasya, I don’t condone violence, but thank you for the sentiment. Fifth, try not to kill each other while we’re here. I’m hungry and if I don’t eat, I’m going to strangle all of you.”

A few minutes of silence passed by as Tsuna picked up his menu again and scanned the selections. Oh, that looked good. His stomach happily agreed. Hana nudged his foot a little and gave him an amused smirk, which he returned with an innocent smile. The silence soon became unbearable, even for Tsuna. It was nice but it…didn’t fit the men around him. Kami, he was probably going to go crazy at this rate. 

Thankfully, the waiter arrived to collect their orders. He didn’t even blink once he got a good look at their faces, though his eyes lingered on Colonello’s bruise. 

The waiter smiled politely. “Hello, welcome to Setsuna. My name is Taka Oniji and I’ll be your server this afternoon. Are you ready to place your orders?” 

“Why don’t you order for us, Tsuna?” Fon said. 

“Oh, but I don’t know what you all like,” Tsuna said. 

Fon smiled kindly. “I’m sure we’d enjoy whatever you choose. You seem to know more about this restaurant either way.” 

Tsuna sighed. “If you say so. We’ll get five large orders of bulgogi and five for kalbi, same size. Ah, and three large orders of samgyeopsal.” He tapped his lips before looking at the idols. “Are there any allergies I should know about? I’m sorry. I should’ve asked before.” 

“We don’t have any,” Colonello said.

“Is that everything?” Oniji said. 

Tsuna smiled brightly. “Nope. Could we also get six white rice?” 

Oniji scribbled down the orders with a nod. “So that’s five large orders of bulgogi and kalbi, three large orders for samgyeopsal, and six white rice? Are there any drinks you’d like?” 

“Coke for me,” Vasya said.

“Oolong tea, please,” Fon said.

“I’m fine with water, kora,” Colonello said.

Reborn just waved him off. Oniji nodded. “Okay, I’ll be back shortly then. Press that button if you need me!” 

“Thank you, Taka-san,” Tsuna said. 

After Oniji left, another bout of silence fell in the room. Tsuna shifted in his seat. 

“So,” he said, breaking the awkward peace, “why are you in Namimori? Well, I’m not saying you’re not allowed here or anything, but Namimori isn’t a popular place, so…”

“We’re here for our next album,” Colonello said, swiping through his phone. “Honestly, Oregano picked Namimori out of a hat and we just went with it.” 

Vasya shrugged. “No one could pick a place. So Luce got fed up with it and told Oregano to do things her way. And now we’re here. It’s not a bad place. We went to some mountains yesterday to get some scenery shots. They were pretty cool.” 

Colonello groaned. “It took forever to get to the top.”

Fon smiled. “It was a refreshing walk.” 

“Only you’d think that, kora.” 

Tsuna nodded. “Ah, I see. Well, I was also wondering why you’re called Arcobaleno.”

Colonello blinked. “Wow, you really li—” 

“I’ll throw a rock at your face, Colonello-san.” 

“Was never going there but I’ll shut up.”

Vasya snickered. “Good boy.” 

Colonello scowled. “What did you say? I’ll shove a r—” He closed his mouth when Tsuna gave him a pointed look. “Just shut up, lackey.”

Fon smiled slightly. “What Luce said was true, Tsuna—it’s fascinating to see you tame them so well.” 

“I’d rather not think of them as animals, Fon-san…”

Hana scoffed. “Psycho monkeys—all of them.” 

“What’s your obsession with monkeys?” Vasya said. He looked away when Hana gave him an unimpressed stare. “Uh, never mind. Carry on.” 

“Well,” Tsuna said, “I can kind of see how you’re called Arcobaleno, but…I don’t know.” 

Reborn smirked. “Oh? Enlighten us.” 

Tsuna narrowed his eyes slightly. “I don’t understand how you’re in the group, for one thing.” 

“I’ve been asking the same thing since day one,” Vasya muttered. 

“Ah, but it wouldn’t be complete without Reborn,” Fon said. “He’s the leader after Luce left.” 

Tsuna blinked. “Luce-san was in the group?” 

Colonello nodded. “Yeah, but she didn’t like the stage life and left a few years ago. She’s just our manager now, kora.” 

“Oh, okay.” 

“Hey, what do you think we do, Tsuna?” Vasya said suddenly. 

Tsuna tilted his head. “Is that a trick question? I know you model and sing. That’s what idols do, right?” 

“Nah. Well, we do more than that. Like what we do in the group. Positions and stuff.” 

“Oh… Is this some kind of ice-breaker?” 

Vasya smiled. “You can say that.” 

“Well, I don’t mind. So…do I just guess? They might not be accurate.” 

Vasya grinned. “That’s the fun of it! Come on, give it a shot! What do you think I am?” 

Colonello pursed his lips. “Why do you go first?” 

“‘cause I met him first—and I’m his friend. Friends’ privileges.” 

While Skull and Colonello bickered in the background, Tsuna hummed to himself, already lost in thought. Honestly, he wasn’t versed in the roles. Leaders, he guessed, were a given, but he wasn’t sure what they did. Represent the group? But then again, Reborn didn’t really seem like a good representative. He was fairly aloof despite being…charming (if anyone could call whatever he did charming). And singers usually shared lines, right? There could also be rappers and dancers, too. 

Wow, he never felt dumber until now. 

Returning to Vasya, Tsuna tapped his lips. The other man’s voice was bright and energetic, which could probably enter high vocal ranges. His enunciation was pretty good, too. 

“Well,” Tsuna said, “I actually don’t know about the roles, but I could see you as…a rapper? You talk fast sometimes when you get excited, but I can still understand what you’re saying.” He laughed sheepishly. “But then again, that doesn’t make sense and I could be wrong. I can see you as a tenor though. Maybe a dancer? I’m sure you could do that, too.” 

Vasya blinked. “Wow, okay.” He narrowed his eyes playfully. “Did you search this up before or something? That was creepy accurate.” 

Tsuna shook his head quickly. “No, I didn’t!”

Fon smiled. “There’s nothing to worry about, Tsuna. You’re correct. Skull is our lead vocalist and rapper.”

“What about me?” Colonello said. 

Tsuna lightly drummed his fingers against the table. Colonello carried himself with more confidence than Vasya. His voice was also spirited but lower than his. He could probably sing in the mid-range, maybe higher, too. Then again, Tsuna never heard Colonello sing. 

“Honestly, I see you representing the group more than Reborn-san,” Tsuna said. “Your tone’s similar to Vasya, too, so I wouldn’t be surprised if you were also a rapper. You could also be a vocalist, but you seem more suited for the other position. Maybe a dancer? I’m not sure…”

Colonello grinned. “Bingo! You’re talking to the main rapper and lead dancer of Arcobaleno! I usually attend most of the talk shows if we’re invited so you can call me the ‘face’ of the group.” He struck what was supposed to be a dashing pose. “Who wouldn’t want to see this face, kora?” 

Tsuna and Vasya spoke at the same time, “Me.”

Colonello pouted. “What the hell, that’s not fair!” 

Tsuna just smiled before facing Fon. “Fon-san is the main dancer and a vocalist. It’s kind of cheating, but my sister talks about you all the time. Well, and Hibari-san. And Alaude-san…” He sweat-dropped. “Ah, she has a rather particular taste.”

Colonello flailed his arms in the air. “Don’t ignore me!” 

Vasya smirked. “Sit, boy.” 

“The hell did you say, lackey?” 

Tsuna gave Colonello a warning look, silencing him immediately, before regarding Fon with another smile. “So, there isn’t much I can say about you, Fon-san. I’m sorry about that.” 

Hana scoffed lightly. “You always apologize for the dumbest things.” 

Tsuna huffed. “I do not.” 

Hana just ignored him in favor of sipping her water. 

Fon smiled. “That’s alright, Tsuna. Though I do wonder what your sister has said about me.”

“Ah, well, she mentioned that your favorite food is Mapo Tofu and that your favorite color is red. You’re Hibari-san and Alaude-san’s cousin. There’s more, but they’re…too personal. Please don’t think of her as a stalker or anything! She’s just a really big fan. Oh! And you know 107 different martial art styles, which is amazing! I didn’t know anyone could learn that much, and you’re so young, too! That’s incredible!” 

Fon chuckled. “Why, thank you, Tsuna. I’m glad to hear that.” 

Vasya pointed an accusing finger at him. “You’re enjoying that, bastard! I knew it! You were always a narcissist!” 

Tsuna pushed his hand down. “It’s rude to point, Vasya. But really, Fon-san, that’s incredible! How did you learn so many?” He flushed. “Ah, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t pry.” 

Fon shook his head. “That’s alright. I don’t mind answering.” 

Colonello suddenly snickered. “Reborn, don’t sulk. Your turn will co—Fuck!” He yelped when Reborn none-too-subtly kicked him under the table. “I have to practice the choreo tomorrow! What the hell?”

Reborn didn’t seem fazed, but his lips twitched into a small smirk anyways. “You’ll live.”

Tsuna just stared at them. “I honestly don’t understand how you all function as a group. Has anyone ever been arrested at some point? I’m being serious.” 

Vasya burst out laughing. “Oh, you don’t know the half of it. There was this one time in Las Vegas—” 

“You better shut the fuck up, lackey!” Colonello said, turning red. 

“—we went to an after party in the States after our last concert and got in a VIP club—”

Reborn twirled his knife too casually for comfort. “I won’t warn you, lackey.”

“We were all there by the way and pretty much got drunk off our asses and Colonello—Holy shit, he started strip-dancing at one of the poles and—” 

Thankfully, before Reborn could actually throw the knife at Vasya’s face, Oniji returned with their orders. Tsuna immediately perked up at the sight of food. 

While Oniji placed the dishes on the table and set the grill, Tsuna glared at Colonello and Reborn, silently daring them to pull anything funny. They remained in their seats, but Reborn never let go of his knife. Tsuna seriously didn’t understand how they were idols. Reborn might as well be some kind of hitman.

The man gave Tsuna a knowing smirk, which only cemented the idea. Tsuna wasn’t a superstitious person, but there was something wrong with Reborn somehow knowing what he was thinking. Reborn’s smirk grew even wider, and Tsuna was tempted to throw his cup at his face. 

After Oniji left, Tsuna immediately started grilling the meat. Finally—food. He placed some meat on Vasya’s plate. “Here, Vasya. Eat a lot, okay?” 

“Uh, um, yeah, thanks,” Vasya said, looking rather flustered. 

Hana sighed when Tsuna placed some bulgogi on her plate. “You don’t have to grill the meat.” 

“I don’t trust any of them—well, Fon-san and Vasya can touch it.” 

“…point taken.” 

“We’re right here,” Colonello grumbled, picking up his chopsticks. “We’re not going to burn the place down.” 

“I’m not taking any chances, Colonello-san.”

That seemed to shut him up. Tsuna placed some kalbi and bulgogi on Fon’s plate, making him smile. 

Xiè xiè. Ah, I apol—”[Thank you.] 

Búyòng xiè.” [You’re welcome.] 

Everyone, except Hana and Tsuna, paused in what they were doing. Noting the silence, Tsuna tilted his head. “Is there something wrong?” 

Hana snorted. “Sawada, think back to what you just said.” 

It took a second or two for Tsuna to realize what she was talking about. “Oh…” 

Fon blinked. “You can speak Mandarin?” 

Laughing sheepishly, Tsuna filled Reborn’s plate. “Yes, but I’m not great at it. I’m sorry if I ruined it.” 

Fon shook his head. “Oh no, you spoke perfectly. I do apologize though—sometimes I speak in Mandarin on random occasions. I do not dislike Japanese, but I honestly do prefer my native tongue.” 

How this man was related to Hibari or Alaude was a complete mystery. Tsuna shook his head while grabbing Colonello’s plate. “There’s no need to apologize, Fon-san. It’s understandable.” He chuckled. “And I only spoke a simple phrase. I don’t really think that tells a lot.” 

Wo quèdìng wǒ de ěrduǒ gōngzuò dé hěn hǎo, Tsuna.” [I’m sure my ears are working perfectly fine, Tsuna.] 

Tsuna smiled slightly. “Nàme, wǒ jiāng bùdé bù gǎnxiè nǐ de kèqì huà.” [Well, I’ll have to thank you for your kind words then.] 

Fon smiled, clearly pleased. “See? You speak wonderfully.” 

“I didn’t know that Mandarin could sound that h—good,” Colonello said, stuffing his mouth with samgyeopsal. “You also spoke Italian last night. That was pretty se—impressive.” 

“Don’t talk with your mouth full, Colonello-san,” Tsuna said. “You’re going to choke.”

“Yeah,” Vasya said. “How many languages do you speak anyways?”

Fon smiled apologetically. “I’m rather curious about you speaking Mandarin as well, Tsuna.” 

Reborn delicately chewed on a piece of bulgogi. Tsuna wondered how the man could make everything look so elegant. It reminded him of how Xanxus ate his steak. “It’s fitting to know more about you while you learn more about us, right?” 

Tsuna sighed. “Fine, but I can refuse to answer some questions if I want to.” 

Vasya narrowed his eyes. “Stop pressuring him.” 

Colonello snorted. “You asked him the same thing too, idiot.”

Vasya flushed. “I—You—” 

Tsuna patted Vasya’s shoulder. “It’s okay, Vasya. I’m fine with it.” He blinked when Hana took the grill tongs from his hand. “Kurokawa-san?” 

“Eat, Sawada,” she said, pulling him back to his seat and placing a large pile of meat on his plate. “Just eat.” 

“Yeah, you should eat first, Tsuna,” Vasya said, frowning.

“Please, take your time,” Fon said. “It’s never good to miss out on any meal.” 

Tsuna sweat-dropped but nodded nonetheless. “Okay. Itadakimasu.” 

He wrapped some samgyeopsal and white rice with a lettuce wrap. Placing some garlic and a small dollop of gochujang on top, he happily munched on the food, savoring the delicious blend of sweetness, spiciness, and the tenderness of the grilled pork belly. He was in heaven (and starving, but in heaven). He covered his mouth as he chewed and was set on making another one when he caught the others’ staring at him. 

“Ignore them,” Hana said, passing him more garlic. “They’re just being dumb monkeys. Drink some water. You might choke.” 

Tsuna nodded, his mouth too full to respond. He eventually swallowed and sipped his water after, sighing in content. “Is there something wrong?” 

Vasya shook his head. “No. You just make it look good. How come yours look better than mine?” 

Tsuna laughed when Vasya pouted. “It’s called skills, Vasya. Ah, right, I didn’t answer your question. Well, Japanese is my native language, which is a given. Mandarin and Italian, you heard. I speak English and French as well. They’re really not much though. I learned Italian for my little brothers and Mandarin for my little sister.” 

“You’re not blood-related,” Reborn said.

“Oh, wow, how’d you know?” Tsuna said dryly, making another wrap. “Is there a problem with that?” 

Fon shook his head. “Oh no, Tsuna. Please disregard what Reborn said. He can be tactless sometimes. I find it admirable that you were willing to learn different languages for your siblings. You’re quite remarkable yourself.” 

Tsuna blushed. “It’s really not that big of a deal, but thank you.” 

Vasya frowned. “It is though. Don’t put yourself down like that. If it makes you feel any better, I can barely get through German.”

Tsuna tilted his head. “I always wondered about where you were from, Vasya. Colonello-san and Reborn-san are Italian, and Fon-san seems mixed.” 

Fon chuckled. “Yes, my father is Chinese and my mother is Japanese. Kyoya’s father is my uncle from my mother’s side. Alaude is Kyoya’s half-older brother; his mother is French. It’s quite a complicated family history that I’m not privy to disclose to you. I hope you don’t take that into any offense.” 

“Oh no!” Tsuna said, shaking his head. “I apologize if I was being too forward!” 

Colonello made a face. “I mean, you technically just put it out there.”

Fon blinked. “Did I?” 

Vasya rubbed his face. “Christ, you’re such a dunce sometimes. Anyways, I’m Russian.” 

Tsuna widened his eyes. “Oh, that’s amazing! I’ve never met a Russian before. Ah, I’m sorry if that offends you.” 

Vasya just laughed. “Nah, it’s fine. No offense taken.” 

“I knew someone who learned Russian. It looks hard, but I like the Cyrillic cursive. I don’t think I could ever understand the grammar system.” 

Vasya grimaced. “Yeah, it’s pretty much shit to get through, but it gets easier once you understand the rules and stuff.” 

Tsuna wrapped the lettuce around his meat. “I only know how to say zd`rastvuyte.” He smiled sheepishly. “That’s about it.” [Hello.]

He cheerfully munched on his wrap and covered his mouth. Oblivious to the silence, Tsuna ate more food off his plate while Hana gave him some kalbi, which he thanked with a nod.

Vasya coughed awkwardly. “You know, Tsuna, you could definitely learn Russian. I could teach you.”

Tsuna blinked. “Really? I wouldn’t mind, but I don’t have time to learn. You’re also busy, I’m sure. I don’t want to take your time like that.”

“Don’t shirk your duties, lackey,” Colonello said. 

Tsuna glanced hopelessly at the empty dish of garlic beside him while Vasya and Colonello bickered again in the background. “Kurokawa-san, is t—” 

“Over there,” Hana said, pointing at the other side of the table. 

Tsuna released a small, withering sigh when he saw a dish of garlic by Reborn’s plate. “Reborn-san…”

The man didn’t seem to hear him and continued to eat like some pompous king. Tsuna’s brow twitched. Goddamn it, he needed that garlic. How could ssam be complete without it? 

“Reborn-san.”

No response. Not even a glance. 

“Reborn-san.” 

The man continued to browse through his phone while simultaneously eating at the same time. 

“Reborn-san!”

Reborn finally looked up with an amused smirk. “Yes?” 

Tsuna deadpanned. “Can you pass the garlic?” 

Reborn pretended to think about it. “I don’t know, can I?” 

Please?” 

“Reborn, don’t be difficult,” Fon said. “I can pass it to you, Tsuna.”

Before Fon could reach the dish, Reborn raised it in the air. “Why don’t you come over here and get it? This sweater’s expensive.” 

“Oh my God, you’re not even that far!” Vasya said.

Tsuna seriously wondered what fangirls saw in Reborn. Sighing, he stood up with his wrap and walked over to the other side of the table. Without warning, he shoved the ssam in Reborn’s mouth and snatched the dish of garlic from his hand. Colonello choked while Vasya spit out his Coke to the side before they burst out laughing. Fon smiled, amused, and Hana muttered something under her breath. 

Tsuna hugged the garlic dish close to his chest and quickly returned to his seat. “Thank you!”

Staring at him, Reborn slowly chewed the wrap stuffed in his mouth. Colonello and Vasya were still keeling over in laughter. Tsuna frowned when Vasya nearly bumped into his shoulder, but the other man didn’t even notice. He had almost dropped another wrap he was making. Food belonged in the stomach, not on the floor. 

“Yeah, yeah,” Tsuna said, pulling Vasya upright. “Very funny.” 

Vasya widened his eyes when Tsuna shoved a wrap in his mouth. He smiled sweetly before turning away and making another one for himself. The meat tasted so good. A plate suddenly slid in front of him, clinking against his. He looked up, confused, before meeting Reborn’s gaze. 

“Make another one,” Reborn said. 

“Eh?” 

Well, since Tsuna’s mouth was stuffed like a chipmunk—an adorable chipmunk, but the author digressed—it sounded more like “er?”. 

Colonello regarded Tsuna in an uncharacteristically serious manner. “Can I keep you?” 

Vasya flailed his arms in the air. “Say what now, asshole? Keep your delusions away from him! And make your own wrap, jackass! You have hands! Fon, do something!” 

Fon finally tore his gaze away from Tsuna’s face and blinked. “Pardon?” 

“Oh my God, you’re useless!” 

Tsuna nearly squeaked (and choked) when someone kicked his leg underneath the table. Covering his mouth to keep it from spilling the (precious) food, he tried glaring at Reborn, who only smirked in response. Hana patted Tsuna’s back, handing him his glass of water while scowling at everyone at the table. 

“If Sawada chokes to death, it’s on all of you,” she said. 

Silence fell over the table; aside from the grill’s sizzles, no one spoke. After Tsuna managed to swallow and sip his water, he tried kicking Reborn’s leg but ended up hitting the bottom of the table and hissed. Goddamn people with long legs. 

“Are you alright, Tsuna?” Fon said, tilting his head. “Would you like more water?” 

“I’m fine, Fon-san,” Tsuna said tightly, ignoring Reborn’s knowing smile. “Just peachy.” 

“You don’t have to listen to Reborn!” Vasya said. “Just let him starve!” 

Tsuna snuck some peppers in another wrap and placed it on Reborn’s plate. “He’s just going to be even more annoying.” 

Colonello snickered. “It’s sad but true.” 

Tsuna’s arm was too short to pass the plate back—goddamn it—so he ended up walking to the other side of the table again. Pursing his lips, Tsuna stood beside Reborn’s chair. 

“I didn’t know your hands weren’t working,” he muttered under his breath.

“They’re perfectly fine,” Reborn said, gesturing to his phone. “Just occupied.” 

Tsuna sighed. At this point, he just…didn’t want to question anything. He handed Reborn his plate and watched in anticipation while he chewed on the wrap. Blinking, Tsuna continued to stare at Reborn while he casually munched on the ssam. There was…no reaction.

Tsuna was pretty sure he made it extra spicy. 

“Is there something wrong?” Reborn said, his eyes amused and oh so all-knowing.

“Just wondering why you’re not choking to death,” Tsuna said. “Nothing new.” 

Colonello and Vasya burst out laughing again.

“Seriously, can we keep you?” Colonello said, grinning at Tsuna.

“No,” Hana said tersely. “He’ll die early.”

“Tsuna isn’t an object!” Vasya said. 

“No one asked you, lackey!” 

Tsuna sighed. “Fon-san, how do you manage all this?” 

Fon just smiled. “I’ve grown quite used to it already.” 

“I sincerely admire you.” 

Fon chuckled. “Xiè xiè.” [Thank you.] 

“Oh, hey, was that Luce?” Colonello suddenly said. “What’d she say?” 

Reborn pocketed his phone. “It’s nothing important. There were some winners for the recent raffle.” 

Tsuna unconsciously stiffened. Ah, crap. He glanced at his bag. That was something he didn’t want to think about. 

Colonello groaned. “I was kind of hoping we could get a pass for that. Does she know who?” 

“They have to send it in first, idiot,” Vasya said, rolling his eyes. 

“What did you say, kora?” 

Vasya tensed. “Wait, isn’t ours the one with the most spots? Was it four or five?” 

Colonello clicked his tongue. “Shit. I think it was five.” He shuddered. “I don’t want to remember the last one, kora.” 

“The one in New York, you mean,” Hana said, looking oddly amused. 

Don’t mention it,” Vasya said. “I still have nightmares about it.” 

Tsuna tilted his head. “What happened in New York?” 

Fon’s smile tightened slightly. “It’s rather unpleasant to talk about. Perhaps another time.” 

“Or never,” Colonello said. “Just…no.” 

Now that really got Tsuna curious. He munched on another wrap. “New York seems like a great city though.” 

“Great city,” Vasya said. “Bad luck.” 

Tsuna jumped when Reborn nudged his side.

“Make another one.” 

“Just let Tsuna eat,” Vasya said, exasperated. “Stop being a dick.” 

“He’s eating.” 

“Preferably in his seat.” 

Tsuna sighed. “Vasya, it’s okay.” He paused. “Can you really not talk about New York?” 

Vasya and Colonello spoke at the same time. “No!” 

Yeah, he’d probably search it up later. “Well, I’m sure this time won’t be so…bad.” 

“Is there something you’d like to share with us?” Reborn said. 

Tsuna slightly tensed. “No.” 

“You know something.” 

It wasn’t a question, and Tsuna was tempted to smack Reborn’s head. “I don’t know anything.” 

“I beg to differ.” 

“Hey, you’re making him uncomfortable,” Vasya said. “What the hell are you talking about anyway? Just ignore him, Tsuna. He’s just being weird.” 

Tsuna edged away from Reborn. “Yeah, I figured. And I don’t know what you’re talking about, Reborn-san. Here.” He pushed Reborn’s plate towards him. “Eat it.” 

He could still feel the Reborn’s eyes on him the rest of lunch. Tsuna just wanted to burn the stupid forms, not even willing to read them either.


Sighing in content, Tsuna smiled at Hana. “Thank you, Kurokawa-san.” 

Hana shrugged while they exited the restaurant. “You shouldn’t be thanking me. Thank Colonello. He paid for everything.” 

Tsuna whirled around so quickly Colonello jumped. “You did what?”

Colonello just shrugged. “It’s not much, but it’s something. Don’t worry about it.” 

Tsuna sighed for the umpteenth time. He was just past the point of arguing. All he wanted to do was sleep, honestly. “Thank you then, Colonello-san. I apologize for being a bother.” 

Hana scoffed. “I thought we talked about this. Anyways, just accept it and move on. You don’t need to apologize for anything.”

Vasya nodded. “Yeah, just bleed his wallet dry. I would.” He yelped when Colonello tried to grab him. “Lay off, asshole! Jesus.” 

Tsuna quickly stood in-between them. “Seriously, why do you always bother him, Colonello-san? What did Vasya ever do to you?” 

“We need to leave,” Reborn suddenly said. “Luce’s being annoying.” 

“Ah, of course,” Fon said. “It was a pleasure eating with you, Tsuna. And do take care of yourself.” 

Vasya nodded rapidly. “Yeah. Don’t push yourself too much! Take a break sometimes.” 

Tsuna smiled. “Thank you. I’m sorry for taking your time. Please, you should go.” 

“Seriously, take care of yourself, Tsuna,” Vasya said. “You can talk to me anytime.” 

Tsuna nodded. “I’ll keep that in mind.” 

After they exchanged their goodbyes, the men all left to their car, which was parked far away from the streets. Tsuna glanced at his phone, seeing some texts from Haru and the time: 2:36 PM. 

“It’s almost time to pick up Lambo and I-pin.” 

“I’ll drive you,” Hana said, leading him to her car. 

“Thank you, Kurokawa-san. Ah, is the restaurant okay? I’m sorry. I should’ve asked before.” 

“My mom’s taking care of it.” 

“What…about the other groups?” 

Hana sighed, buckling her seatbelt. “Don’t waste your thoughts on them.”

“Still…” 

“Why are you so difficult,?” Hana backed out of their parking spot and drove onto the road. “If I tell you, will you keep quiet?” 

“Maybe…” 

Hana rolled her eyes. “Fine. Primo left for Tokyo today, Decimo’s probably still being tor—detained by Nagi, and Varia’s doing Kami knows what.” 

Tsuna widened his eyes. “Wait, Primo left?” 

“They were called back early from their break.” 

“What about my hospital stay? They didn’t give me a bill.” 

“It was taken care of.” 

“Really, I should at least pay for some of it.” 

“Sawada, it’s been taken care of.” 

“Oh…okay. What about…the weapons?”

“We don’t mention them ever again.” 

“…point taken.”

Tsuna held his bag closer to his chest. Well, Alaude might never get his handkerchief back. 

Hana raised a brow. “What?” 

“Nothing. Just thinking.”

“Just take a break, Sawada, seriously.” 

Tsuna smiled. “I’ll try, Kurokawa-san.” 

Hana rolled her eyes. The rest of the ride was driven in complete but oddly comfortable silence.


At home, Tsuna took a long, hot shower before cooking dinner. 

Fuuta never took his eyes off of him once, even though Tsuna told him several times that he was fine now. Still, it was awfully endearing; however, he wasn’t sure if he wanted to know what Fuuta was writing in one of the notebooks he had bought for him. Lambo and I-pin were still oblivious to what happened and Tsuna made sure to keep it that way.

“What was it like talking to Fon-san?” I-pin said, chewing some pork gyoza. “Isn’t he really nice? Did he order Mapo Tofu? Does Kurokawa-san sell those? Fon-san really likes them. He also likes gyoza. I think he’d like your gyoza. Oh, and did Hibari-san order hamburger steak, too?” She sighed dreamily. “Alaude-san is so handsome in person." 

Lambo made a face. “Stop talking about them. They made Tsuna-nii tired yesterday. Why did Hibari even have his stupid sticks?” 

I-pin scowled. “They’re called tonfas.” 

“Whatever. Can I get more of that, Tsuna-nii?” 

Tsuna placed some shrimp gyoza on Lambo’s plate. “How is it?” 

Lambo grinned. “They’re really good! You should eat more, too. Here.” Lambo passed a few scallion gyoza onto Tsuna’s plate. “Eat lots and lots! That’s what Kurokawa-san said.” 

Tsuna smiled gently. “Thank you, Lambo. You should eat more too, okay?” 

While the small family ate their dinner, Fuuta remained quiet. Tsuna gave him a small smile when they made eye-contact, which Fuuta eventually returned and started eating with more vigor. When Lambo and I-pin changed into their pajamas, Tsuna pulled Fuuta to the side and hugged him. His heart clenched when Fuuta immediately hugged back, his arms tight around Tsuna’s waist. 

“I thought you wouldn’t come back,” Fuuta said quietly in Italian. 

Tsuna nuzzled Fuuta’s cheek. “Never, fratello. I’d never leave you.” 

“Don’t…Don’t do that again.”

“I won’t.” 

“Promise?” 

Tsuna raised his pinky finger. “I promise.” 

Fuuta entwined their fingers with a watery smile. “You promised.” 

Tsuna nodded. “Yeah. Come on. You need to sleep. You have school tomorrow.” 

“You’ll stay with me, right?”

“Of course.” 

After helping Fuuta go to sleep and making sure he wouldn’t wake up, Tsuna snuck out to the kitchen with his laptop. He opened up Haru’s texts from earlier that day. There was a video file attached to the messages: 

1:57 PM: TSUNA THEY’RE SO PRECIOUS ENMA IS PRECIOUS I CAN’T (*≧▽≦)  

2:13 PM: GAHHH THEY’RE ALL SO COOL I HAVE TOO MANY IDEAS SEND HELPPPP (T▽T)  

Chuckling, Tsuna opened the video file. It showed a dance studio with some people sitting on the ground. Tsuna blinked as he tried to take them all in. They were rather…distinct. He pressed play and kept the volume low. 

A red-haired man, who Tsuna assumed was Enma, heavily nodded his head to some invisible beat. He sang flippantly, but seemed to be enjoying it either way; his voice cracked and strained as he sang in a higher key. 

Hidoi yo, hidoi yo, mou isso boku no karada wo 

Kowashite hikisaite suki na you ni shite yo.”

(Cruel, it’s cruel, just go and take my body 

and destroy it, pull it apart; do as you please with it.) 

Everyone laughed as Enma continued to sing higher and higher, his face turning red from the effort. Haru giggled behind her phone, and Tsuna found himself laughing when Enma collapsed dramatically against a tall woman beside him. 

“Any higher and you might explode, Enma,” she said, smiling affectionately. “Leave the high notes to Shitopi-chan.” 

Enma laughed breathlessly. “Yeah.” 

A woman with a large “S” tattooed on her head wearing a pair of neon pink sunglasses giggled. “Protect Enma-chan forever!”

The tall woman swatted Shitopi away from jumping Enma, nearly choking him in the process. He patted her arm weakly. “A—Adelheid, can’t breathe…” 

Adelheid immediately released him, looking flustered. “Sorry, Enma.” 

Enma shook his head, rubbing his throat. “It’s fine. I’m okay.”

Everyone continued bickering with one another in jest, but their smiles were genuine before the video ended. Tsuna smiled fondly. 

To him, they didn’t look like an idol group—they looked like family. 

Grabbing his bag, Tsuna hesitantly pulled out the crumpled lottery form and smoothed it out on the table. He took a deep breath before he started reading: 

Congratulations!  

You are one of the selected winners of the 2017 Idols Meet-and-Greet Raffle!  

Among the myriad selections that were presented, you are the lucky winner to receive the Arcobaleno meet-and-greet as your prize! This wonderful opportunity constitutes a 4-day, 3-night excursion at the Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay Hotel

The package includes four extra tickets, a

Tsuna stopped reading there. He pushed the forms to the side and proceeded to thump his head against the table. 

Why? 

Just…why?

Chapter Text

Omake 1  

The moment Sawada fell, several things happened at once: Fon became a blur as he caught Sawada from meeting the ground; Vasya started screaming at Colonello to fess up with Lal Mirch somehow joining the fray; Luce (unsuccessfully) tried keeping them apart; Verde stood to the side, calmly giving his assessments no one was listening to; Viper muttered about funeral costs, which was just ridiculous; and Reborn looked like he was deciding between throttling Colonello or stabbing Fon. 

Hana just wanted to bash someone’s head with a chair; she seriously questioned about what happened to her drab, ordinary life. Oh right, it started with meeting Kyoko in her business class. Then Sawada started attracting all these psycho monkeys and—Right. 

Kneeling down, Hana’s touched Tsuna’s forehead. There was nothing out of the ordinary. He looked a bit pale and thin, but it was most likely from exhaustion and not eating. 

“I can bring him to the hospital,” Fon said, easily lifting Tsuna up in his arms. 

Hana sighed. She didn’t want to be questioned by customers (or nosy civilians) if they saw an ambulance outside the restaurant. She was tempted to follow Fon, but she couldn’t leave the restaurant unattended, not with those psycho monkeys still here. And there were the little monkeys, too. 

Restraining a groan, Hana nodded. “Do that. Don’t kill him on the road.”

 

Fon smiled. “I am a very safe driver, Kurokawa-san.”

 

Hana wasn’t stupid like Sawada was—Fon and the Hibari brothers were notorious on the road. The amount of speeding tickets they amassed was just absurd. How they didn’t have their licenses revoked was a mystery she didn’t bother thinking about. 

“Just don’t make me see him dead at the hospital,” she said, leading them out the door. 

Hana turned to the mess behind her, her brow twitching when Skull punched Colonello’s face. 

“Vasya!” Luce said, pulling Skull away. 

“He did something to Tsuna!” Skull said, struggling against Luce and Lal Mirch’s grap. “What did you do, bastard?” 

Nursing his cheek, Colonello spat some blood to the side. Hana closed her eyes and slowly counted to ten in her head. Those carpets were new

“I didn’t do anything to him!” he said, glaring at Skull.

“You’re fucking lying!” 

A loud pop immediately drew everyone’s attention to Reborn, who held another gun in his hand. 

“Instead of squabbling like idiots,” he said, standing from his chair, “invest your time in something else more useful. I’m leaving, Luce.” 

Luce frowned. “Where are you going, Renato? And how many times have I told you to stop carrying that around? You might get into trouble.”

Reborn ignored her while he walked towards the door. “I’m taking your car, Lal.” 

Lal Mirch gaped. “Wait, what? Reborn, get back here! Where the hell are you going? Reborn! Reborn!” 

Reborn shut the door in her face, making her stop short with a scowl. Hana stepped in front of her before she could leave. 

“You’re not going anywhere,” Hana said, narrowing her eyes. “I want you to sit.” 

Lal Mirch clicked her tongue. “Don’t talk to us like we’re a bunch of dogs, Kurokawa.” 

Hana glared, taking small satisfaction when the other woman tensed. “I won’t repeat myself, monkey. Sit.” 

“Wait, where’s Tsuna?” Skull said, his eyes wide. 

Verde scribbled something in his notebook. “Fon left with him, presumably to the hospital. I’m assuming that Reborn left to follow them.” 

What?” 

Skull dashed towards the door, but Hana immediately blocked him. She jerked her head towards the messy table. “Sit.” 

“But—” 

“I’m not repeating myself, monkey.” 

Soon, everyone clambered to their seats, grumbling and smiling in Luce’s case though it looked strained. Hana never left the doorway. 

“If any of you leave this room,” she said slowly, “I’ll personally see to it that the hospital will not be admitting any psycho monkeys tonight.” 

With that, she slammed the door behind her and locked it with her keys just as a precautionary measure. 

Inhaling deeply, she was sorely tempted to smack someone. 

Taking note of the empty hallways, Hana could only thank Kami that Fon managed to sneak out without anyone intercepting him, especially the little monkeys. 

She opened the door to Primo and Decimo’s joint room and stepped inside. Banging the door behind her, she drew everyone’s attention immediately. Hana raised a brow at how tense everyone seemed until they saw her. Huh, Sawada must’ve conditioned them unknowingly at some point. Either way, they were still crazy monkeys. 

“Hana-chan!” Kyoko said, smiling. “Is there something you need?” 

Hana seriously weighed the pros and cons of telling them. She tensed when a loud crash came from outside, coupled with some screams that sounded more like war cries. Gritting her teeth, she immediately followed the sounds and could only groan when she saw Arcobaleno’s door kicked down. Splinters of wood sprayed onto the floor. Hana could just see the repair bills rising at an exponential rate.

Running inside, she gaped when she saw Varia and Arcobaleno literally fighting each other. Colonello was the main target as Squalo had a dagger in his hand and— 

No. Hana grabbed a chair, walked over to the fray, and smacked Squalo’s back. The chair broke on impact, but it got what she wanted. Everyone immediately stopped what they were doing and turned to her.

“Voi, what the hell?” Squalo said, barely looking miffed.

Lussuria waved his hand in the air. “We’ll be done soon, sweetie.” 

Luce pursed her lips. “Lussuria, please…” 

Hana narrowed her eyes. “Get out.” 

“We’re just here to take out the trash, woman,” Xanxus said, holding Colonello up by the collar. 

Skull shoved Bel off of him and clicked his tongue. “Well, get in line, asshole. I was here first.” 

“Whose side are you on?” Colonello said, his voice slightly strained. 

Skull rolled his eyes. “I don’t know. You tell me.” 

Hana pointed at the door. “I said, get out. Or I’m calling the police.” 

Viper sighed. “If you continue any further, I won’t give you your paycheck for the rest of the year.”

Bel grinned while raising a knife. “The prince doesn’t need money. Just some blood will do for tonight.”

Hana wacked his head with a broken leg chair. “No. Get out. Now. Let him go, you giant monkey. Leave. Go back to your room. I wasn’t kidding when I said I’d call the police.” 

Slowly, but surely, Varia left the room, but not before Xanxus roughly threw Colonello back into some chairs. Colonello grunted, falling to the ground with a wince. After Hana made sure that Varia was in their room, she turned to face the remaining Arcobaleno with a small twitch in her brow. 

“Shut up and stay,” she said before leaving. 

Hana stiffened when she saw Hibari heading towards the joint room. 

Running, she thought, How did Sawada handle this

Nonetheless, her respect for Sawada went up a notch. 

“What the hell is wrong with y—Hey! Don’t come any closer, bastard!” 

Hana grimaced when Hibari threw Gokudera against the wall and kicked his stomach. G immediately leapt over the table, tackling Hibari to the ground.

“What the fuck is wrong with you, you crazy shit?” he said. 

G yelped when Alaude pulled and threw him to the side, making him crash into Asari. 

Giotto stood up with a frown. “Alaude, Hibari, please s—” He immediately ducked when Hibari threw a chair at him. “Alaude, control him!” 

Alaude just gave him a blank stare, stepping back when Hibari pulled Gokudera up by his arm. Before Hibari could do anything else, a knife whizzed past his cheek, cutting some strands of his hair. 

Yamamoto laughed breezily. “Sorry, Hibari. Why don’t we just talk it over?” 

Mukuro scoffed. “The skylark doesn’t speak.” He moved his head to dodge a flying plate. His lips curled in a small smirk. “Oya, and what did I do to gain such rough treatment?”

 

Hibari glared. “You exist, pineapple herbivore.”

Daemon smiled, though his eyes were anything but pleasant. “I quite agree with the sentiment.”

Kyoko screamed when Hibari threw a chair across the table. Ryohei quickly pulled her away and tumbled to the ground.

“Hibari, what’s your problem?” he said, scowling. 

Before Hibari could take another step, Nagi stood up, drawing all eyes on her.

“Hibari-san,” she said in a deadly soft voice, “control yourself. We’re in a public venue.”

It only took nine words to get Hibari to back down and only one second for Hana to respect Nagi a little more. 

(They were still psycho monkeys in her book though.)


Omake 2  

(April 21, 2014)  

A cheery, bubbly tune played on a colorful set as the camera panned to the two hosts on stage. One was a short woman with long blue hair and a black fedora. She wore some overall shorts over a white shirt. The other host was a man with spiky white hair and purple eyes, wearing a white turtleneck and black jeans. A purple tattoo was imprinted under his left eye. 

“Hello, everyone!” Bluebell said, waving at the audience. “And here’s to another episode of the Bella Bella Fans Show!” 

The audience cheered and squealed. 

“I’m Bluebell!” 

“And I’m Byakuran!”

The two posed heroically, eliciting some laughter. “And we’ll be your hosts this afternoon!” 

Smiling, Byakuran fanned himself with his cue cards, which had the show’s name in cute font on the back. “Isn’t it a little hot today, Bluebell?” 

Bluebell tilted her head. “Eh? What do you mean?”

“Our guests today are quite the sensation.”

Bluebell placed a finger on her chin, pretending to think. “Really? Who could they be?” 

Byakuran clapped his hands together. “They just ended their tour in the States a few days ago. I’m sure our lovely audience knows who I’m talking about.” The crowd cheered as the camera panned to some girls blushing and giggling. “They won several music awards in Japan in the past years, including the MTV’s Best Group video, Album of the Year, and Best Choreography!” 

Bluebell perked up. “Right! How could I forget those deliciously hot men? Oh, I want some chocolate fondue right now!” 

“Don’t forget the marshmallows! Nothing can be complete without them.”

The audience laughed. 

Bluebell grinned. “Okay, everyone! Traveling all the way from Tokyo is the amazing, fantastic, and super-duper awesome after-effects of the rain’s doom and gloom, Arcobaleno!” 

The audience cheered loudly with some laughs as the members of Arcobaleno walked out onstage. Colonello led them with a bright grin, waving at some of the audience members, who looked they’d faint any second. He wore a forest green bomber jacket over a white shirt with some cargo pants and boots; a few silver rings adorned his hands, glinting under the light. 

Skull followed behind him, sending some peace signs and making the crowd squeal. He wore a black leather jacket over a gray hoodie and some skinny jeans. Fon smiled, making many instantly swoon. He wore a white shirt under a casual red suit jacket and black slacks; some portion of his dragon tattoo could be seen on his left forearm and wrist. 

Viper just nodded in greeting, eliciting shrieks that made him purse his lips. He wore a pair of sunglasses and a baggy purple sweater with jeans. Verde more or less nodded towards the audience and was rewarded with several screeches. He wore a white long-sleeved shirt that folded up to his elbows and olive chinos. 

Reborn smirked at the fans, who immediately screamed. He wore a pristine black suit with his signature fedora resting on top of his spiky black hair. A golden watch adorned his left wrist, which shone under the lights. 

After the men sat down on their respective chairs, Byakuran and Bluebell took their seats beside them. Byakuran smiled as the crowd’s cheers and squeals finally died down.

“That was the loudest applause on the show so far,” he said, prompting another ovation and laughter from the audience. “I think it’s been a while since you appeared together as a group. Colonello came out on the show sometimes before.” 

Colonello nodded. “Yeah. I was here a few months before we went on tour.” 

Bluebell beamed. “Yup! You were with Knuckle, Timoteo, and Daniela.” She giggled. “It was really, really fun!” 

On cue, the large screen behind her showed Colonello holding up Knuckle’s legs in a wheelbarrow race against Daniela and Timoteo on a sandy field filled with sweets wrappers that Byakuran randomly tossed. The audience laughed as Daniela and Knuckle balanced an egg on a spoon in their mouths. Some text popped up on the screen when it showed a close-up of Knuckle’s strained face: The struggle is real for Primo’s Ultimate Cannon! 

The stage camera zoomed in on Skull’s snickering face when Colonello started yelling at Knuckle to not think about dropping the egg on screen. 

Byakuran gestured at Arcobaleno when the clip ended. “Not many of you come out on these shows so I’m honored you chose here. I’m sure our wonderful audience appreciates it too, ne?” 

The crowd cheered in agreement with several girls waving fan-made banners in the air. A camera shot a sign with a chibi Viper drawn on it: I’ll pay you to look at me, Viper-sama~ 

Bluebell bounced in her seat. “I’ve been wondering about that, too! Colonello can’t always come out to show off Arcobaleno. It’s a team effort, don’t you think, Viper?” 

“We promote ourselves consistently,” Viper said, “so we’re not worried about keeping the public up to date with our activities.” 

Byakuran nodded with a pleasant smile. “Of course. I heard that you’re going to be working with Gamma on a new film project too, Skull. How’s that so far?”

Skull grinned. “Yeah. Well, I’ve been making some stunt sequences already. No biggie.” 

Bluebell nearly fell over her chair if Byakuran hadn’t pulled her back. She leaned forward with sparkling eyes. “I watched your stunts in a recent drama and—Oh! I heard you filmed that beginning action scene in one take! You broke your leg after filming it, too, nyu!”

Skull laughed sheepishly. “Yeah, but I heal pretty quickly so it wasn’t that bad. I got some of my juniors to fill in for me.” 

“It was a pain since he couldn’t practice the new choreo with us,,” Colonello said. 

Fon smiled. “Skull is always a fast learner so there were no issues there. And he does heal relatively quickly.”

“It typically takes six to eight weeks for a broken leg to heal,” Verde said. “It takes Skull two to three weeks.” 

Bluebell giggled. “You’re like a man of steel! No wonder you’re called the Immortal Stuntman! Oh, now I really want jello!” 

The audience laughed. 

“There are also rumors that you might star in a film, Reborn,” Byakuran said, directing everyone’s attention to the fedora-wearing man. “Could you confirm that or are they as baseless as some rumors go?” 

“I can neither confirm nor deny that,” Reborn said. 

Byakuran pouted, making the audience coo. “Not even a hint?” 

Reborn pretended to think about it for a few seconds before smirking slightly. “No.” 

A stage camera panned to one of the younger members in the crowd, who looked like she was about to cry. 

Bluebell pouted alongside Byakuran. “Boo, Reborn, you’re always a tease.”

Reborn tipped his fedora slightly. “And the pleasure is all mine.” 

The audience, along with Bluebell, instantly swooned. Bluebell grasped her heart and collapsed dramatically against Byakuran’s shoulder, who patted her on the head. 

“It’s too hot, nyu,” she said, fanning herself with her cue cards and making the audience laugh. “I need a caramel apple martini.” 

Byakuran smiled. “Well, time to cool down! Before we get to the activities, there are some questions that the fans sent in.” 

“Go for it, kora!” Colonello said. 

Byakuran read his cue cards: “This question is from Jui in Nagoya. She says, ‘It’d be an honor for my question to be read to Arcobaleno! My question’s for all of you: Is there any people that catch your eye now?’” Byakuran smiled at the camera. “Well, Jui-chan, it was an honor for us to receive your question on the show! Thank you!” 

Byakuran turned to Arcobaleno. “Well, Reborn, you’re known to be quite the heartbreaker. You’ve dated many women before.” 

Reborn smiled. “You should get a new research team. I haven’t dated, as you said, ‘many’ women.” 

The audience chuckled. 

Byakuran continued smiling pleasantly. “Oh, but who wouldn’t want to date you? You’re handsome, rich, talented, among other things.” 

“Reborn’s schedule does not allow him to have much time for himself,” Verde said, crossing his legs. “It’s also not recommended. You should know since we’re from the same company—unless you’re excused from such rules.” 

“We haven’t had a lot of time to be in public,” Colonello said quickly. “This is our first public appearance since our tour. We’re actually working on a new album already!” 

The audience gasped in amazement. 

Bluebell squealed. “Really? What’s it about? What’s the concept? Oh, you all looked delicious in the last one!” 

The stage screen showed Arcobaleno’s last album, making the audience go wild. The cover had “Reflection” in elegantly simple font on top and showed the members wearing all white suits. 

“It’s a secret,” Skull said with a grin, causing the audience to swoon. “You’ll know soon! We’re getting there.” 

Bluebell pouted. “Boo, everyone’s a tease.”

Laughing, Byakuran patted her head. “Still, isn’t it attractive?” 

The crowd applauded in agreement. 

Byakuran glanced at his cue cards again while chewing a marshmallow from a bag he procured from God knows where. “So, that’d be a unanimous ‘no’ to Jui-chan’s question. The next question’s from Aika in Osaka. She says, ‘What’s your ideal type?’ Thank you for your question, Aika-chan!” 

“What’s your type, Viper?” Bluebell said. “Maybe we can help you find the one!” 

The audience squealed. Skull and Colonello turned towards their quiet member in interest. 

“Someone who knows how to dress,” Viper said curtly. 

“Oh, like a fashionista?” Bluebell said, widening her eyes. “Is there anyone that looks like your closest ideal?” 

“No.” 

“Boo, you’re no fun. Is there anything else other than that?” 

“Whoever can manage their time and money well within reason.” 

Bluebell giggled. “Of course! I always spend a lot of money on candy! And I can never stick to which ones to eat so I just eat all of them at the same time!” 

Byakuran nodded sagely while the audience giggled. “It’s never good to waste any sweets or marshmallows.”

“What about you, Verde?” Bluebell said. 

“Someone who can carry an intelligent conversation,” Verde deadpanned. 

Skull laughed. “Yeah, if you ever get anything he says, you’re a keeper.”

The audience squealed in laughter.

Byakuran smiled. “Well, Verde’s an intellectual. That’s no surprise there. But, I wish you the best of luck with that!”

Verde just stared at him, unimpressed. “Thank you.”

“What about you, Reborn?” Bluebell said. “A hot, sexy lady?” 

The audience laughed. 

Reborn smiled slightly. “That would be a plus, though if she can’t make coffee, I’d rather look elsewhere.” 

“Coffee’s Reborn’s life,” Colonello said, making the audience giggle. 

“If you can’t make it, forget it,” Skull said. 

“Is there anything else you want to add?” Bluebell said. “Come on! I bet there’s more!” 

Reborn pretended to think about it. “She should know how to cook.” He smirked at the audience, making them squeal. “Having evening dinners together would be preferable.” 

Several fans blushed and screamed in delight. The camera panned to one of the signs held in the air: Reborn-sama, I love you! Let me have your babies! 

Bluebell rapidly fanned herself. “How romantic, nyu!” 

Byakuran smiled. “I didn’t take you for a romancer, but as expected from an Italian man like you. I’m sure you’d easily sweep your lover off her feet—well, if she can get through your broody defenses first.”

The audience laughed along with Skull and Colonello. Reborn didn’t seem fazed though his lips tightened slightly. Byakuran just continued smiling in good humor. 

“And what’s your ideal type, Fon?” Bluebell said, tilting her head. “Someone sweet like you, I bet.” 

Fon chuckled. “You’re too kind, Bluebell. Well, it would be wonderful if she was polite as well, though I’d also like for her to speak her mind, too.” 

Bluebell nodded rapidly. “Yes! That’s perfect for you!” Cupping her cheeks cutely, she closed her eyes. “Ah, it’d be the ultimate sweetheart couple!” 

The audience agreed with her wholeheartedly. 

“Colonello, I bet you already found your ideal type!” Bluebell said. 

Colonello blinked. “What do you mean?” 

“You and Lal Mirch are so close! I mean, you look perfect together already!” 

Colonello smiled. “Nah, we’re not together. We’re just good friends, kora.” 

“But she’s close to your ideal type, no?” Byakuran said. 

“Eh? No, no, no, no. I like someone who wouldn’t hit me all the time for one.” The audience laughed as Colonello grinned. “I like cute girls! Lal’s anything but cute. I only see her as a friend.” 

The audience cooed and “aww”-ed. 

Bluebell huffed. “But still, let us know when you decide to get together! You have our blessings!” 

Colonello laughed. “Nah, not anytime soon. I’m still waiting for the right girl.” 

“That’s so sweet, nyu!” Bluebell said. “What about you, Skull?” 

Skull rubbed the back of his head. “I don’t really ask for much.” He chuckled sheepishly. “This might sound cheesy.” 

“Tell us! No judgements here!” 

“I’d just ask for someone to like me for who I am. That’s it, really. Oh, and be a good cook! Food’s great! No one can go wrong with food!” 

The audience laughed and cooed. Bluebell clapped her hands together. 

“The best way to get to a man’s heart is through his stomach! Now I want some salted caramel chocolate tart!” 

Byakuran happily munched through his fourth bag of marshmallows. “A new café opened up a few blocks away.” 

“Yay! Let’s go!” 

Byakuran patted her head. “Now, now, we have another question and some activities to get through.” 

The audience laughed when Bluebell pouted. “Boo.” 

“Oh, this is an interesting one. I’m curious about this, too. The last question’s from Shizuka in Tokyo. She says, ‘Congrats on finishing your tour! But what happened in Las Vegas?’ Thank you for the question, Shizuka-chan!”

The audience cheered as Colonello’s grin marginally strained. Skull looked torn between laughing or looking mortified. Reborn tipped his fedora, his smirk frozen in place. Verde crossed his arms over his chest while Viper frowned. Fon smiled slightly. 

“I think everyone’s been wondering about what happened in Las Vegas,” Byakuran said cheerfully. 

Colonello laughed. “Nothing happened. We were just taking a break.” 

Bluebell giggled. “You and Reborn looked like you were having so much fun on your break though!” 

The camera panned to the stage screen, which showed some shaky footage of a loud, fancy VIP club. The person recording cheered with the crowd over the booming music when Colonello leapt onstage and waved his whiskey in the air. The crowd went berserk (along with the show audience) when he chugged down the rest of his liquor and smashed it against the ground. 

The show’s camera showed Colonello laughing awkwardly before cutting to Skull cackling hysterically beside him. 

The footage crowd screamed and wolf-whistled when Colonello immediately hoisted himself onto the pole and spun around with surprising flexibility for a drunk man. He then lifted his legs above him, hanging upside down, and elevated himself higher with his back against the pole. The clubbers roared when he started unbuttoning his shirt and let it slip behind his shoulders almost lewdly, revealing his toned chest and stomach. His dog tags glistened under the lights while he spun down and landed on his feet. 

More whistles and cheers erupted when Colonello started body rolling against the pole. He made eye-contact with someone in the crowd, grinning wildly, his eyes almost mad from the alcohol. The show audience squealed when Reborn suddenly jumped on-stage and took the next pole. What unfolded next was just too baffling to believe but oh so wonderful for the greater masses (and fangirls): an all-out (drunk) strip battle between Colonello and Reborn. The footage ended just as Fon dashed on-stage.

The show audience squealed when all the attention returned to Arcobaleno. Verde smirked while Viper just sighed. Skull continued laughing like his life depended on it with Colonello joining awkwardly. Reborn and Fon looked a bit strained but no one was any wiser. 

Byakuran beamed. “That was quite the show you both put up there. Is there any consideration for round two?” 

The audience squealed. 

“I hope not,” Colonello said, laughing sheepishly. “We were just…de-stressing…?” 

“Were you joining them, Fon?” Bluebell said, bouncing in her seat. “Oh, that would’ve been fabulous to see!” 

Fon smiled slightly. “I only went up to take them off-stage.” 

Skull snickered. “He’s not lying. Ah, good time, good times.” 

“Do you have anything to add, Reborn?” Byakuran said. “This could be a profession you can consider, too, ne?” 

The audience squealed. 

Reborn just smiled coolly. “It can be, but I’ll pass.” 

Bluebell shot up from her seat. “Okay, everyone! That’s all the questions we have for today!” She grinned when the audience groaned. “Don’t worry, nyu! We have lots and lots of fun activities later! So, stay tuned and don’t switch your channel!” 

She and Byakuran struck another pose. “We’ll be right back!”

The camera panned throughout the audience as they cheered and shook their fan signs in the air. Soon, the TV switched to commercials. 

(The infamous video reached 13 million views today and was still growing.)

Chapter Text

“Everybody here is watching you

‘Cause you feel like home

You’re like a dream come true.”

- When We Were Young by Adele


After taking a moment to collect himself, Tsuna picked up the forms again. 

Several things coursed through his head at once: Why him? Why couldn’t Fuuta just spin the raffle twice? Did it have to be an idol meet-and-greet? Why not some fancy kitchen equipment? That was something he would’ve liked. Just…why

Sighing, Tsuna slumped on the table and forced himself to continue reading: 

The package includes four extra tickets, a chance to interact with Arcobaleno over the course of your stay, and an All-Inclusive bundle with roundtrip airfare, hotel rooms and services, meals, and additional activities and trips!  

Invite friends to spend time with one of the hottest bands in the world and enjoy days filled with fun and relaxation! Winners will also receive deluxe albums and limited-edition posters with the idols’ signatures after the meet-and-greet!  

The Arcobaleno excursion is from November 23rd – November 26th. Please respond by November 19th by signing and sending the attached forms to the address below. 

Thank you for participating and congratulations again on your prize!

We hope to hear from you soon!  

Sincerely,  

Giglio Nero Foundation

Tsuna whimpered. Did it also have to be on I-pin’s birthday? He also heard about the Giglio Nero Foundation; they were a large, charitable organization that funded for hundreds of humanitarian projects. He never expected them to be behind…this

Okay, there were several options: One, he could forget this ever happened, throw away the forms, and tell his siblings that it was all a fluke. Two, he could delude himself to thinking this was all a bad dream, which wasn’t really plausible, but hey, he could try. Three—this wasn’t his favorite option—he could…ask his siblings what they thought and most likely succumb to I-pin’s puppy-dog eyes. 

Well, everything was paid for… 

Massaging the bridge of his nose, Tsuna pushed the forms away and turned on his laptop. He wasn’t going to think about it. His life was entering very strange territory already. 

Although…whatever happened in New York and Las Vegas did make pique his curiosity. He just realized that Vasya never finished the story about Las Vegas but remembered how tense everyone was when New York was mentioned. Tsuna drummed his fingers against the keys before typing in, “Arcobaleno New York”. Some suggestions appeared below: “Arcobaleno New York concert 2018”, “Arcobaleno New York tour dates 2018”, “Arcobaleno New York disaster”, “Arcobaleno New York crazy”, “Arcobaleno New York lawsuit”. 

Um…Tsuna wasn’t so sure he wanted to know anymore. Still, he hovered over the last three before clicking on the “crazy” one. It sounded milder compared to the others… 

Numerous headlines popped up on the screen. Tsuna clicked the first one: “Extreme Fans Pursue Arcobaleno in New York”. It was dated 2016. He furrowed his brows while skimming the short article: 

On December 3rd, Arcobaleno dined with a few fans for dinner in Serenità, an Italian restaurant in New York City. The fans, who were some of the raffle winners of the 2016 Idol Meet-and-Greet hosted by the Giglio Nero Foundation, faced shocking obstacles along the way. Hordes of other fans were seen crowding the restaurant, hoping to get a glimpse of the idols.  

Some managed to sneak in the room where the group was enjoying dinner and were quickly escorted out by security, while others went further to take some inappropriate photos and post them on social media, which have since been deleted. None of the users have responded to us for comment.  

Multiple footages of what went down after are featured below. 

Some video clips were linked in the article that Tsuna didn’t think would be pleasant, but he plugged in his earphones anyway. The first video was titled, “arcobaleno and shitty fans ny”, with a thumbnail showing a large crowd of fans holding their phones in the air.

Clicking play, Tsuna cringed from the screams. The camera was shaky, but he could see Vasya leaving the restaurant and leading a teen girl with glasses to a car. A tall man flanked them while several bodyguards pushed the fans back from getting too close, which wasn’t working too well. Tsuna widened his eyes when some fangirls managed to grab and pull the girl away from Vasya, who immediately fell with her. 

The girl recording started screaming as chaos broke out. 

What the fuck?” she said in English, trying to push through the crowd. 

Oh, my God! I can’t see them!” 

Are they okay? Please tell me they’re okay! Oh, my God!” 

The camera shook more as the person recording was jostled in every direction, but Tsuna briefly saw what looked like Colonello and Fon running towards the commotion and pulling Vasya and the poor girl away. The fangirls screamed even louder and the girl recording shouted above them, “Just let them leave!”

Security struggled to keep the fans back while Colonello said something to Vasya, looking anxious. Fon led the bespectacled girl back inside the restaurant, dodging some of the fans’ outreached (and grabby) hands. The video ended there. 

Tsuna tried processing what he just saw. Only one thought ran through his head: What the fuck? He scrolled down to the next video: “WTF really happened in ny with arcobaleno and psycho fans”. The video started with a black screen before white fonts zoomed out in the center: “My friends and I were near Serenità by chance when the whole thing went down. We thought it was cool that Arcobaleno was in NY while we were there so we stopped for a second. THIS was what happened when we got there.” 

The video then cut to some camera footage much closer to the front without any fans in the way. 

“Oh, my God, that’s Skull!” a girl said. 

I think she’s a raffle winner.” 

Another girl squealed with the rest of the crowd. “I saw Colonello!” 

When Vasya walked out with the bespectacled girl, the screams grew louder. He covered both of their faces from some camera flashes and said something in the girl’s ear. Then all hell broke loose when some fangirls practically yanked her away from Vasya, who went down with her. 

Oh my God!” 

What are they doing?” 

“Stop! Let them go! Oh my God, I can’t see them!”  

“Are they okay? What the hell is going on?”  

Tsuna couldn’t see Vasya or the girl as the fans swarmed them. He could only get a glimpse of Vasya’s hair in-between some legs. Tsuna’s breath hitched. Even if he knew Vasya and the girl would be okay, this was still terrifying to watch. 

The screams intensified when Colonello and Fon ran out and shoved through the fans with security’s help. They managed to pull Vasya and the girl out and lead them away. Vasya looked extremely upset while Colonello said something to him. Tsuna could easily read his lips from the camera’s angle: “You okay? Are you hurt?” 

The footage cut to another black screen with more white fonts coming into view: “Those fans literally pulled that poor girl so Skull could get closer to them. No one came out for a while after that. I heard they tried leaving through the back but there were too many fans there so this happened.” 

Another camera footage cut to Reborn walking out with seamless grace despite being assaulted by hands and screeches. 

Reborn! Reborn! Oh, my God!” 

Chaos, Reborn! Look at me! Please!” 

I want you to have my babies! Oh my God, you’re so sexy!” 

“Rape me, Reborn!”  

The fans screamed even louder when Reborn looked their way. Smiling thinly, he said, “I’d rather you not get any closer or we’ll be seeing each other in court.” 

The recording ended just as he walked away. It faded to black with some white fonts appearing on the screen: “My battery died so I couldn’t get everything but Reborn did this so the other Arcobaleno and the girls could leave through another exit. He spent like an hour signing random shit before getting the hell out of there. He was really sexy up close though ;))” 

Tsuna couldn’t help comparing the Reborn from the video to the one in real life. The same went for Colonello. He genuinely looked concerned for Vasya, which contrasted with the way he treated him outside. It became more confusing when Tsuna tried finding the logic behind their behavior. Reborn could be insufferable but also the perfect gentleman, while Colonello could be brash but also caring with how he helped Vasya, who didn’t seem distrustful in the slightest from the kind gesture. 

Was it all a public front? Or was he just over-thinking it? Tsuna groaned into his hands. Why was he even thinking about it anyways? Hana and the doctor had said to avoid stressful situations and people… 

Sighing, he scrolled past a few more videos: “ny - reborn is a boss”, “fon and colonello to the RESCUE!!”, “SKULL BEING A SWEETHEART (NY)”, “crazy fans in ny arco (headphone users beware)”, “Arcobaleno leaving Serenità”. 

Tsuna ended up reading some of the article’s comments: 

jel13cute: wtf?? hope the girl is okay. fall looked nasty.  

NyuOP (in reply to jel13cute): She’s okay! She said in an interview somewhere that Skull took the fall for her and covered her from the crazies. :)) 

maruuuu000 (in reply to NyuOP): omg thank god skull’s a cinnamon roll #protectskull2016 

RaWrA: okay, reborn isn’t my bias but holy shit that was so fking badass when he told the fans off like that. 

oof_foo098 (in reply to RaWrA): I screamed when I saw that and my mom’s looking at me weird now looool 

XxXsoo: when everyones talking about reborn and skull and im here thinking about how cool colonello and fon looked rescuing skull and the girl. older bro and mom to the rescue ftw 

Tsuna couldn’t help but smile. It was still strange to see Arcobaleno in a different fashion; it wasn’t bad but Tsuna couldn’t help feeling…a little out of the loop. Okay, he was way out of the loop. What did he know about them anyway? Fon didn’t count—everything that I-pin told him didn’t mean much. He didn’t know the man, other than him being exceptionally polite and kind. 

He didn’t want to rely on public information because how true were they? These people were always under the spotlight and rarely had time for themselves to even enjoy some dinner without getting mauled (or killing each other, but he digressed). When Gokudera had told him about his mother, Tsuna felt grateful that the other man trusted him enough to tell him something so personal. Whether or not the public knew wasn’t Tsuna’s concern—he was just glad that Gokudera willingly told him about it. 

He then remembered what Gokudera had told him at the restaurant a few nights ago: “Nah, I actually find it refreshing, if that makes sense…” 

Tsuna drummed his fingers against the table. Hoshino-sensei had mentioned he was unnatural; people would eventually come around and tell Tsuna everything, which his professor exploited the hell out of whenever he took him to his trials. Would things go that way from now on, too…? But, they were idols, people who Tsuna shouldn’t even be seeing on a daily basis. 

He sighed again before returning to the search engine. Typing in “Arcobaleno Las Vegas”, he could only stare at the suggestions that popped up below: “Arcobaleno Las Vegas concert 2018”, “Arcobaleno Las Vegas battle”, “Arcobaleno Las Vegas reborn and colonello”, “Arcobaleno Las Vegas arrests”. Maybe he should just go to sleep. Still, Tsuna found himself pressing “enter”. 

The first thing on the page was a video link, and Tsuna was already questioning himself when he saw the thumbnail: it showed Colonello drinking a bottle of whiskey on stage next to a pole. Tsuna seriously weighed the pros and cons of watching this, but his hand apparently had a mind of its own and clicked on the video anyways. It had a little over 14 million views, which was…impressive? He wasn’t so sure… 

For eight solid minutes, Tsuna’s jaw dropped. What…Why…Was that Reborn actually stripping his shirt? Tsuna blinked several times to make sure he was seeing right. He snorted when Colonello nearly slipped but continued assaulting the poor pole anyways with…very erotic hip thrusts in time with the bass. When Fon suddenly appeared, Tsuna’s mind short-circuited at the thought of him joining Reborn and Colonello, too. But the video ended there… 

Okay so, he really wanted to know what the heck happened next because he just couldn’t get the image of Fon joining them out of his head. He skimmed through several articles then, including Colonello being almost arrested for public indecency and disturbance if Luce hadn’t intervened. Thankfully, Fon had only went onstage to take the other two men off. 

Tsuna wasn’t going to judge. When he thought about it, this wasn’t really terrible. Arcobaleno and the rest of the idols were young. He’d seen his fair share of college parties. Young people let loose; that was just what they did. And was it wrong to have fun (well, there were some lines that shouldn’t be crossed, but he digressed)? From the way Arcobaleno—and other idols—worked, Tsuna wouldn’t be surprised if they just let everything go sometimes. 

Closing his laptop, he rubbed his eyes when he noticed something sticking out of his jacket. He took out the slip of paper before thumping his head against the table. How could he forget (again)? 

It was Hibari’s number… 


“Lambo, your bento!” 

“Thank you, Tsuna-nii!” 

“Be careful, I-pin!” 

“I’m fine, Big Brother! Hurry up, Lambo!”

“I’m coming! Geez, you’re so—Stop pushing me! Bye, Tsuna-nii!” 

Tsuna could only sweat-drop when I-pin shoved Lambo out the door and waved at him with a sweet smile. 

“Bye, Big Brother! And don’t forget to get more origami paper, please!”

“I won’t forget,” Tsuna said as the two ran down the street while yelling at each other. He leaned against the doorway when Fuuta walked out. “Have a good day at school, Fuuta.” 

Fuuta turned to him with a frown. “Tsuna-nii, use this if anyone bothers you.” 

Tsuna gaped when Fuuta handed him a small can of pepper spray. “Where did you get this?” 

“A friend,” was the curt (and somehow terrifying) response. 

Who?” 

Fuuta just smiled. “Kocho-sensei also wanted me to tell you to call her when you can.”

Tsuna suppressed a sigh, knowing he wouldn’t get anything out of Fuuta if he tried. “Is something wrong?” 

“She just said to call her when you can. I’ll be back, Tsuna-nii.” Fuuta narrowed his eyes. “I’m not lying when I said to use it, Tsuna-nii. Aim for the eyes.” 

Tsuna’s smile strained a bit. “Okay. You should get going now, Fuuta.” 

“You better be here when I get back.” 

Nodding, Tsuna ushered Fuuta out the door. “Yeah, yeah, I won’t be going anywhere.” 

“You promised.” 

“I’ll be here when you get back. Don’t worry.” Tsuna chuckled when Fuuta mumbled that he’d always worry. He ruffled his brother’s hair. “Seriously, Fuuta, I’ll be fine. You have to hurry or you’ll be late.”

Fuuta huffed. “I know. I’ll be back, Tsuna-nii.”

Tsuna waved as Fuuta walked away. When Fuuta turned the corner, Tsuna stared at the pepper spray. He should be worried. What kind of friends would give Fuuta pepper spray? Tsuna met them a few times and they were sweet—they definitely wouldn’t get this. 

He should be afraid. 

“Ah, Sawada-kun,” a raspy voice said. 

Tsuna turned to greet the landlady, Maeda Sadashi, with a smile. “Good morning, Maeda-san.” 

Sadashi nodded. “You look good, Sawada-kun.” 

Tsuna blinked. “What do you mean, Maede-san?” 

Sadashi waved her hand. “Better—you look better. And don’t worry about the rent. I’ll be back late tonight so hold off until then or slip it in my mailbox.”

“Ah, okay.” Tsuna bowed slightly. “Have a good day then, Maede-san.” 

After Sadashi gave him a slight nod of farewell, Tsuna returned to his apartment and closed the door with a sigh. His landlady was a practical but kind woman who graciously took him and his siblings in when no one else would take more than one person for a room.

Stretching his arms in the air, Tsuna headed towards the dining table. Hana had somehow gotten ahold of his other bosses and made them give him two weeks off. He wasn’t sure how she did it, especially with Tanaka-san, but she usually got what she wanted. That left him with nothing to do but tend the house. It wasn’t like he had much friends, and Haru was in Tokyo. Still, staying idle was just something he couldn’t stand. He had gotten so used to keeping himself busy that doing nothing drove him nuts. 

Right—call Principal Chiba. 

Dialing his phone, Tsuna waited for someone to pick up. After the first ring, the secretary answered, “Good morning, this is Principal Chiba’s office.” 

“Good morning, Hirano-san, this is Sawada Tsunayoshi. Is Kocho-sensei there?” 

“Oh, Sawada-san! Yes! I’ll direct your call to her line. Please wait a moment.”

It took only a second before the principal’s cheerful voice spoke through the line, “Tsuna-chan! Ah, I think the sun is shining brighter already!” 

Mayumi spoke in the Osaka-ben dialect, which was a harsher and more melodic form of the standard Japanese. Tsuna restrained a sigh. “Good morning, Chiba-san.” 

He could sense the other woman pouting on the other line. “No, call me Mayumi! No one’s here so call me Mayumi!” 

“Did something happen to Fuuta?” Tsuna said, ignoring her childish whining. 

Mayumi huffed. “Respect your elders, Tsuna-chan!” 

“I won’t repeat myself, Kocho-sensei, or I’m just going to hang up.” 

“Okay, okay, okay. All I wanted to do was talk.” 

“Then please do.” 

Mayumi giggled. “Well, could you come to my office soon? Say, in thirty minutes?”

T—Thirty minutes?” 

“Oh, that’s nothing for you, Tsuna-chan. I know where you live.” 

Tsuna didn’t know how to respond to that, but it just sounded creepier every time she said that. “I…can. But did something happen with Fuuta?” 

“Nope, but this is a matter of utmost importance! Thank you! See you in half an hour! Bye-bye!”

With that, Mayumi hung up. Tsuna wanted to chuck something at her face when he saw her. Instead, he opted to take a long, hot bath instead. It didn’t matter if he was late. Thirty minutes for Mayumi meant two hours. She was most likely stalking the hallways scaring the pants out of loitering students anyways. 

Now that he thought about it, it kind of reminded him of a certain prefect…


After slipping the month’s rent in Sadashi’s mailbox, Tsuna left for Namimori Middle. 

The walk took about fifteen minutes but Tsuna savored every minute of it like it was his last. He was still uncomfortable with his old school, even if those days were behind him. Sometimes he thought about transferring Fuuta somewhere else, but his brother had insisted on attending the same school he went to, and Tsuna wasn’t going to dictate Fuuta’s life for him. 

So far, nothing bad happened and Fuuta didn’t cause any trouble. Everyone liked him and he even told Tsuna that he wanted to run for the student council in the next term. Tsuna couldn’t do anything but support him. If Fuuta had experienced the same things he did in middle school, he’d flip shit for a lack of better words. 

Running a hand through his hair, Tsuna finally stepped through Namimori Middle’s gates. The school still looked the same: a clean, pale yellow building with a clock at the top showing it was 9:22 AM. When Tsuna stepped through the doors, a tweet made him look up as a small weight nestled in his hair. It was a fluffy yellow canary that looked extremely familiar. An image of a sleeping young teen with a bird on his chest immediately flashed in Tsuna’s mind. 

His breath hitched. “Hello there.” 

Flapping its wings, the bird made itself more comfortable on top of Tsuna’s head. “Herbivore, herbivore, herbivore!” 

It was cute when pets took after their owners, but this was just something else. 

Tsuna chuckled weakly. “Where’s your owner, little guy?” 

“Herbivore, herbivore, herbivore! Hibird, Hibird, Hibird!” 

Tsuna choked on his laughter. Whoever named the bird was a genius. He seriously doubted Hibari named it. How could something sound so cute yet so terrifying at the same time? Still, the bird was pretty adorable. When he realized that Hibird—Kami, he just couldn’t get over that—wasn’t leaving anytime soon, Tsuna just left it alone and walked towards the principal’s office. 

The secretary, Aya, beamed. “Good morning, Sawada-san. Kocho-sensei is out at the moment, but she’ll be with you soon. You can wait in her office until she comes back.” 

Tsuna nodded. “Thank you, Shimizu-san.” 

He ended up waiting another fifteen minutes before Mayumi finally arrived—through the window. Honestly, it was bad enough that he was used to her childish (and crazy) antics. He had met her for the first time when he registered Fuuta to Namimori Middle. She clung onto him like a koala and asked if she could keep the “adorable little bunny”. It took Aya (and Fuuta) forever to get Mayumi off of Tsuna’s back. 

A short woman, the principal could be easily mistaken for a child, which made it easier for her to blend in with the students and scare the hell out of them with her terrifyingly accurate animal sounds. She even dressed like different animals; today, she was dressed like a mouse, coupled with mouse ears, a long tail, and a cute gray dress. 

Grinning, Mayumi leapt to give him a hug. “Tsuna-chan!” 

Tsuna simply stepped to the side, making her crash into the wall. Did he also mention that Mayumi was 34 years old? Yeah, he didn’t get it either. Mayumi pouted from the floor. 

“I just wanted to give you a hug, Tsuna-chan.” She suddenly snickered. “That’s a cute little birdie you got there.” 

Tsuna shook his hands quickly. “Oh no, he isn’t mine.” 

Mayumi hopped on her desk and crossed her legs with a cheeky grin. “Sit down, Tsuna-chan.” 

Tsuna sat down on one of the chairs. “What did you want to tell me, Kocho-sensei?” 

Mayumi huffed. “Call me Mayumi, Tsuna-chan. No one’s here.”

“Kocho-sensei.” 

“Okay, okay, okay. Well, I know you’re busy and all but”—Mayumi grinned—“you have time to spare this weekend.” 

Tsuna blinked. “How did you—” 

Mayumi giggled. “I know everything, Tsuna-chan. Namimori’s my territory now, no matter what that brat says.”

Tsuna sighed. “Right.” He furrowed his brows. “Brat…?” 

Clapping her hands together, Mayumi said, “The bunkasai is on Saturday.” She curled a strand of her short black hair. “And I was thinking that you should join the students in the cooking booths, pretty please?” 

Tsuna wanted to bang his head against the wall. How could he forget about the bunkasai? Although… 

“I’m sorry, did you say join the students?” 

Mayumi sighed dramatically. “The brats can only do so much.” She bit on a tissue procured out of nowhere. “If only Tsuna-chan could grace them with his wonderful cooking skills…” 

“This festival is run by students and faculty,” Tsuna deadpanned. “I’m neither.” 

Mayumi hopped down to clutch his shirt with fake tears. “Please, Tsuna-chan? I’ll pay you whatever you want!” 

Tsuna pursed his lips. “Please don’t use the school funds like that. How did you know I cook?” 

Mayumi smiled innocently. “Well, I might’ve taken some of the green tea cookies you made for Tachibana-sensei.” She cupped her cheeks with a sigh. “They were delicious! And you even added white chocolate chips! I love white chocolate!” 

“I still don’t see a reason why I have to participate in the bunkasai, Kocho-sensei.” 

Huffing, Mayumi crossed her arms over her chest. “Okay, Yagami-sensei’s out with the flu and the students in charge of the cooking booths are panicking for no reason. What a bunch of whiny brats.” 

Tsuna sweat-dropped. “They’re young, Kocho-sensei, and I’m sorry about Yagami-sensei.” 

“Is that a yes?” Mayumi looked up at him with bright eyes and—was her tail actually moving? “Please, please, please say yes! You’re our last hope! Please?” 

Tsuna sighed. If he didn’t say yes, Mayumi would bother him for the next twenty years—and he didn’t even want to think about her trying to use Fuuta against him. He’d sue her before she’d even blink. Well, he didn’t have anything good to do this weekend (or for the rest of the week)… 

“I’m only going to advise them,” Tsuna said blandly. “It’s still a student and faculty fair so less involvement from me would be reasonable.” 

Mayumi pouted. “Really? But I wanted to eat Tsuna-chan’s cooking!” 

“Those are my terms, Kocho-sensei.” 

Mayumi puffed her cheeks. “No fair! Fine! Then you have to make me food when I ask for it!” Grinning, Mayumi patted his cheek. “Come tomorrow afternoon in Room 3-A!” She pointed at Hibird with a snicker. “The brat’s on the roof. You should catch him before he leaves.” 

Tsuna blinked a couple of times. “Are you…talking about Hibari-san?”

Mayumi rolled her eyes. “Who else owns that cheeky little thing?” 

Hibird fluttered on top of Tsuna’s head. “Hibari, Hibari, Hibari!"

Mayumi might as well ask for a death wish if she really referred to Hibari as a brat. Actually, now that Tsuna thought about it, Mayumi wasn’t even around when Hibari attended Namimori Middle. 

Mayumi sighed dramatically. “The brat’s my nephew. He’s a cute little thing.” She leaned in to whisper conspiratorially, “He might throw up a whole fuss about being a carnivore, but really, he’s a very delicate herbivore.” 

Tsuna blinked. “I’m sorry?” 

Mayumi burst out laughing. “Oh, Tsuna-chan, you’re adorable! You really are a sweet little bunny. Ah, I have some spare bunny ears!” She squealed. “You can wear them at the bunkasai! We can match!” 

“No…thank you.” 

Mayumi snickered. “Kyo-chan’s on the roof. Have fun!” She hopped over to the window. “I have students to pun—love. Bye-bye!” 

Giggling, she leapt out gracefully. Tsuna pinched the bridge of his nose. How Mayumi ever became a principal was a mystery to him. He didn’t know what to be more disturbed about—the fact that Mayumi and Hibari were related or that the strange revelations and occurrences in his life were starting to become normal

Hibird chirped. “Bunny, bunny, bunny! Hibari! Roof!” 

Tsuna sighed. “I like you, Hibird. Don’t make me start hating you, too.”

The bird just cooed, which strangely sounded like a giggle.


After climbing some flights of stairs, Tsuna arrived at the door to the rooftop. For a moment, he wasn’t sure if he should be doing this. He didn’t even know why he hesitated. Maybe because he was facing someone he only remembered recently from the past or the fact that he was terrified about talking to Hibari face-to-face. 

He slapped his cheeks a couple of times, shaking his head. 

No, you’re different now, Tsuna, he thought. You’re not Dame-Tsuna. You’re…not Dame-Tsuna. 

Taking a deep breath, Tsuna pushed the door open. He looked around before his eyes landed on a tall figure looking over the railings. Wearing a black-and-red hoodie with jeans, Hibari had his arms draped casually over the handrails. His eyes were closed, and the barest hint of a smile danced on his lips. 

A cool wind whistled gently in the air. Hibird flew towards Hibari’s shoulder and nuzzled his cheek with a small, affectionate coo. Tsuna couldn’t help but smile when Hibari slightly leaned into the touch and scratched Hibird’s chin. 

Hibird chirped brightly. “Bunny here! Bunny here!” 

Tsuna wanted to smack the bird, but the thought instantly vanished when Hibari finally faced him. His face immediately turned stony.

Tsuna bowed slightly. “I just came to return Hibird, Hibari-san. I’m sorry if I disturbed you.” 

Hibari leaned his back against the railings, crossing his arms over his chest. His eyes looked over Tsuna almost critically if it weren’t for his lax posture. “You’re fine.” 

Tsuna blinked before smiling sheepishly. “Yes, I’m better now. I just pushed myself too hard that night.” 

Hibari glanced to the side. “You said you remembered, herbivore.” 

“Ah, I did.” Tsuna clutched his bag tighter. “I remember you saving me from…those other students.” He laughed awkwardly. “Well, I don’t know if you knew me then but, thank you.” 

Hibari looked up then, his gray-blue eyes appearing lighter under the light. “I knew you—Dame-Tsuna.” Tsuna tensed. The other man’s lips slightly twitched into a smirk. “But you are different now.” 

Tsuna looked on warily when Hibari started walking towards him. He towered over him easily, but Tsuna didn’t back away. 

“You are not the herbivore from before,” Hibari said, his gaze almost piercing.

Tsuna raised a brow. “Then what am I?” 

Hibari huffed, which sounded more like an amused chuckle. “You are a little animal.” 

Tsuna resisted the urge to sigh or throttle the man. How could Hibari view everything so simply? “I see.” He shifted through his bag and fished out the paper with Hibari’s number. “You can take this back, Hibari-san. I don’t need it and I don’t want you to get into trouble if other people found out.”

Hibari scowled. “I gave it to you, little animal.”

“Yes, but you could get into trouble.” 

“No one knows.” 

“I just think it’s inappropriate for me to have your number like this. Besides, we’re meeting now, right? Wasn’t that what you wanted before? Then there’s no need for me to keep contact with you.” 

Hibari pursed his lips. “You have the orange herbivore’s number.” 

“Ah, well, Kyoko-chan—She—" 

Tsuna closed his mouth. Anything he’d say would make him a hypocrite. He had Vasya’s number because he wanted to make sure he arrived home safely, and they were friends now. Kyoko’s number was taken more or less under pressure, but she was nice, and they got along alright. Reborn—well, the man just took his number and probably kept it anyways because he was creepy like that. 

Kami, now Tsuna just realized that his contact list was slowly garnering more and more celebrities—and Hibari was definitely sulking.

Tsuna sighed. “Never mind.” He took out his phone and added Hibari’s number. “Are you happy now?”

Hibari still didn’t look all that satisfied. He brushed past Tsuna saying, “I’m hungry.” 

Taken aback by the random comment, Tsuna stared at Hibari’s retreating back. “I’m sorry?” 

“I want miso soup.” 

Tsuna followed after him, pursing his lips. He had an uncanny sense of where this was going, and he wasn’t liking it. “Well, there’s a nice restaurant nearby that serves dec—” 

Hibari abruptly stopped, making Tsuna bump into him with a grunt. “I want miso soup.” 

These idols are children, Tsuna thought blandly. 

“I heard you the first time, Hibari-san. As I was saying, there’s a nice restaurant nearby that sells good miso soup.” 

Hibari pursed his lips. “I want m—”

Tsuna pushed Hibari towards the school’s entrance. “Yes, yes, I know. Umami is really good.” 

He was pretty sure Hibari was brooding. Tsuna wasn’t stupid. Like hell if he’d let any of these psychos inside his house.


Okay—Tsuna was never driving in the same car with Hibari ever again. 

Namimori wasn’t a large city but there were signal lights, crosswalks, and traffic rules for a reason. Hibari sped through the streets in a nauseating blur and reduced a fifteen-minute drive to ten seconds. Tsuna could feel the years of his life being shaved off every time Hibari sped through red lights and swerved around other cars that drove at a normal pace. 

His heart still thumped too fast by the time Hibari parked on an obscure street. “You—What—Why do you drive like that?” 

Hibari scoffed, unbuckling his seatbelt. “Stop complaining, little animal.” 

Tsuna hated to admit it, but not even Reborn drove like that (or maybe he did, but Tsuna didn’t want to know). He exited Hibari’s car and inhaled the fresh air deeply. He heard Hibari scoff but ignored him in favor of heading towards the restaurant across the street. Opening the door, Tsuna waited for Hibari to enter before following him. Umami wasn’t too big but it was cozy. Warm lighting enveloped the space and the scent of food easily drifted from the kitchen. There were a few customers, but they were mostly elderly and didn’t look up to see Tsuna and Hibari arrive. 

Irasshaimase!” a waitress said. [Welcome!] 

“A table for two, please,” Tsuna said. 

The waitress smiled. “Of course! Follow me this way.” 

After they were seated, Tsuna browed the menu and smiled when Hibird popped his head out from Hibari’s hoodie. The bird kept himself from the other customers’ view, but honestly, Tsuna still wondered how Decimo or any other idol group hadn’t been discovered or hounded down yet. Well, Namimori had one of the highest elderly populations in Japan—still, that didn’t mean there weren’t any young people here. 

Hibari had put on a black cap back in the car before they entered the restaurant. He didn’t even bother to look at the menu. He just sat there looking like he swallowed a lemon. Tsuna had to be honest though—Hibari looked like a moping child. 

“Just because I remembered who you were doesn’t automatically make you someone who can just come to my house,” Tsuna said. Hibari narrowed his eyes. “I’m not stupid, Hib—Um, yeah. Anyways, is there anything you want to eat other than miso soup?” 

Hibari huffed under his breath while Hibird chirped quietly that sounded like laughter. Tsuna smiled when he met the bird’s gaze. A mutual understanding passed between them—Hibari was definitely sulking. Looking through the selections, Tsuna finally settled on ordering for Hibari since the man still hadn’t said a word. 

“You know,” Tsuna said, closing his menu, “I never thought that you’d become…an idol.” Hibari pursed his lips but didn’t say anything. “I didn’t know you back then. Well, everyone called you the infamous prefect of Namimori. I didn’t think that you were real, to be honest.” Tsuna laughed sheepishly. “But now that I know, it’s hard to forget someone like you.” 

“And what was I supposed to become, little animal?” Hibari said. 

Tsuna huffed. “My name is Tsuna, not little animal. Human beings are omnivores, you know.” 

Hibari’s lips twitched slightly upwards. “I do what I want, little animal.” 

Tsuna propped his chin on his palm. “I don’t understand how you’re related to Fon-san.” Hibari narrowed his eyes. “It’s just an observation.” Tsuna tilted his head. “Are you not on good terms? Ah, never mind. I shouldn’t ask.” 

Before things could get more awkward, the waitress returned for their orders. Tsuna handed her the menus and thanked her before she left. He slipped the wrapper off from his chopsticks and started folding it into a small paper swan to pass time. 

“You are still naïve,” Hibari said. 

Tsuna tilted his head. “Naïve? Well, I guess so. That still hasn’t changed for me. You know, there are people who have priorities in life other than getting hung up over celebrities. I’m not judging them, but it’s just the way some things are. You have your life and I have mine.” 

Picking up his cup, Hibari sipped it quietly. “There are too many herbivores.” 

Tsuna furrowed his brows. Talking to Hibari was difficult when he rarely spoke more than a sentence. Was he always like this or did he turn out this way? It could be both. Tsuna wasn’t privy to Hibari’s personal life, but there was some tension between him and Fon. Was that the same with Alaude, too? Honestly, why was he even thinking about this?

“Do you mean that there are too many people here,” Tsuna said slowly, “or too many, well, ‘herbivores’ around you in general?” 

Hibari wordlessly stared at him as Tsuna folded down the top point of the wrapper and fanned out the accordion creases. Smiling, he rested his chopsticks on top of the green and white paper swan. 

“You don’t have to answer that. I just wanted to clarify what you meant. You don’t talk much, which is fine. I just don’t want us to have any more misunderstandings like last time.” Tsuna huffed. “But really, is ‘I know you from Namimori Middle’ too hard to say? Then I wouldn’t have gone crazy trying to think what you meant by saying I gave you miso soup. That’s already vague on its own.” 

“You should’ve remembered me from the beginning,” Hibari said, looking slightly amused. 

“Oh, so you’re blaming me?” 

“I only state the obvious, little animal.” 

“No matter how many times you call me that, it will never sound endearing.” Tsuna tilted his head. “Do your fans find that cute? Because it isn’t.” 

Hibari smirked. “The herbivores will always flock to the carnivore with the highest appeal.” 

Tsuna deadpanned. “I won’t deny that you’re good-looking, but Fon-san might be more appealing than you.”

He didn’t flinch when Hibari’s grip tightened around his cup, creating small cracks on the side. Hibird nuzzled Hibari’s cheek comfortingly. Before either of them spoke, the waitress returned with their orders. Tsuna had ordered the standard breakfast set for Hibari, which included hot rice, miso soup, natto, and some other side dishes. Truthfully, he seemed like the kind of guy to stick with the traditional standards. It was actually fitting now that Tsuna thought about it. 

He clasped his hands together and said, “Itadakimasu.” [Thanks for the food.] While Tsuna ate his meal, he watched Hibari eat like a king. “It’s good, right?” 

Hibari sipped his miso soup. “It’s…passable.” 

Tsuna smiled. “That’s fine by me.” 

Hibari huffed under his breath. “It’s not like yours, Tsunayoshi.” 

Tsuna nearly choked on his rice and flushed a bit. 

Hibari looked a bit too satisfied at his reaction. “What poor manners.” 

Tsuna rolled his eyes. “Look who’s talking. Who was the one that left a defenseless person on the streets instead of bringing him to medical attention again?” He paused. That part of his memory was actually clear for him. Someone had brought him to the hospital, but it wasn’t Hibari. “Ah, when did you leave Namimori? I remember others saying you disappeared, but I always assumed you just graduated or moved away.” 

“You talk too much, Tsunayoshi,” Hibari suddenly said, fishing out his buzzing phone. 

He read whatever texts he received before pocketing it again. 

Tsuna smiled slightly. “Yeah, yeah.” 

He opted not to ask Hibari about returning Alaude’s handkerchief for him. He wasn’t sure if Hibari would take that very well and he didn’t seem like the type of man to carry out any favors. They continued eating their meals in easy silence.


Tsuna paid the bill before Hibari could even look at it.

“Just take it as my thanks,” Tsuna said as they left the restaurant.

Hibari huffed under his breath before heading towards his car. Tsuna shook his head when the man raised a brow at him. 

“I have somewhere else to be,” he said. “You should get going though. I don’t want to take too much of your time. Thank you.” 

Hibari merely pursed his lips before entering his car. Tsuna graciously left out the part that he was serious when he said that he’d never get in the same car with Hibari again. Without as much as a goodbye, Hibari drove off, and just like that, it was as if Tsuna woke up from a really bizarre dream. Shaking his head, he set off for the nearest arts and craft store in the neighborhood. 

He was in Midori, the biggest district in Namimori. It was more like the countryside, filled with small towns and shops near Midori Sea. Right—he had promised Vasya that he’d show him around there when he got the chance. He perked up when he saw a Daiso store come into view. After crossing the street, Tsuna entered the average-sized building; the fresh scent of pencils, wood, and clay floated in his nose. 

“Oh, Tsuna. Hey.” 

Tsuna turned around to see Akiko behind the counter with a green apron tied around her waist. “Akiko-san.” 

Akiko looked up from her phone—some gunfire could be heard from the device—and gestured him to come closer. She looked him up and down, humming to herself. 

“Well, you’re not dead,” she said, leaning her chin onto her palm. “You look less like a zombie.” 

Tsuna laughed sheepishly. “I guess, word got around.” 

Akiko shrugged. “Sucks, but this is Namimori. Your other boss called in. I only heard the minor details and it’s not hard piecing things together. You looking for something?” 

“I came to get some origami paper.” 

Akiko pocketed her phone. “I’ll take you there.” She leaned in to whisper, “There are some nut-jobs here you shouldn’t get close to.” 

Tsuna forced on a smile. A foreboding sense of doom coiled in his stomach. “I see…” 

He followed Akiko to the back. Perusing the myriad of packaged origami paper on the shelves, Tsuna tapped his chin in thought. I-pin had said she needed them for a school project, but never specified what she’d do with them. He should get three in case—Fuuta and Lambo would probably like to use them too, for their own reasons. 

Tsuna reached for one on the shelf above him when his hand bumped into a gloved one. He blinked when he met a pair of heterochromatic eyes. 

“Oh, M—Um…” 

Mukuro smiled. “Oya, Tsuna-kun.” 

Akiko sighed. “Damn it.” 

Ignoring her, Mukuro said, “It’s wonderful to see you well. You caused quite the commotion.”

“Yes, I heard from Kurokawa-san. But I’m fine now. I was only exhausted.” 

Tsuna leaned back when Mukuro drew closer, his strangely beautiful eyes gleaming in amusement. “The human body can only do so much, Tsuna-kun. It’s a rather fragile thing. Do take care of it.” 

Akiko rested her arm against Tsuna’s shoulder and leaned on it casually. “Be creepy somewhere else, Rokudo.” 

Tsuna blinked. “You recognize him, Akiko-san?” 

“I’m not an idiot compared to the rest of the population here. Creepy eyes, weird blue hair, that evil voice—yeah, it’s Pineapple Overlord.” 

Tsuna sweat-dropped. Sometimes Akiko’s gaming obsession could really get in the way of how she viewed things in life. 

Mukuro’s voice sounded slightly strained. “And you know this…woman, Tsuna-kun?” 

Before Tsuna could respond, Nagi and the rest of Decimo—Kami, just why?—appeared at the end of the aisle. Nagi immediately ran over to pull Mukuro away and scowled, which Tsuna thought was actually terrifying.

“Onii-san, we went over this,” Nagi said, her voice firm. 

Mukuro merely brushed her off. “I was only sending him good wishes, Nagi-chan.” 

“I’m sorry if he made you feel uncomfortable, Sawada-san,” Nagi said. “And I’m glad to see you’re fine. Please, let me know if there’s anything more I can do.” 

Tsuna waved his hands. “Oh, it’s fine, Nagi-san. Really, I’m okay now. I was just exhausted.”

Nagi frowned. “Please take care of yourself more. I’m sure your siblings would wish the same.” 

Tsuna flushed. “Yes, ah, I’ll keep that in mind.” 

“What the hell took you so l—Tsuna!” Tsuna barely had time to react when Gokudera ran over to his side, only stopping when Akiko raised a hand in front of his face. “Are you okay? You sure you can be out of the hospital?” 

“I’m fine, Gokudera-san!” Tsuna said. “Really, I am!”

“Yo, Tsuna!” Yamamoto said, grinning. “I’m glad you’re okay. You must’ve been really tired.”

“You do look better,” Ryohei said, nodding. “If you feel extremely lightheaded or dizzy, you should drink more water or eat some sugary food. In most cases, it’s dehydration or low blood sugar.” 

“Oh, you’re very knowledgeable, Ryohei-san,” Tsuna said.

Ryohei laughed sheepishly. “My parents are doctors. Take care of yourself, okay? Just like what Nagi said, I’m sure your siblings extremely wouldn’t like seeing you like that.” 

Tsuna nodded. It was a bit strange to hear that so often now, but it was…nice. “I know. I will.” 

“I’m…really sorry you had to see all that,” Gokudera said a bit awkwardly. 

“I’m just wondering who thought it was a good idea to have Hibari-san and Mukuro-san in the same room,” Tsuna deadpanned. 

Yamamoto laughed. “It was Knuckle’s idea.” 

Ryohei scratched the back of his head. “Aniki wanted everyone there. He’s extremely nice that way.” 

Gokudera scoffed. “And then look at what fucking happened.” 

Mukuro chuckled. “Savages and civil human beings shouldn’t mingle.” 

“You and Hibari just get pissed at the stupidest things,” Gokudera said, scowling. 

“I wasn’t the only one causing trouble. You and your brother were going at it like the wild mutts you are.” 

Nagi smiled sweetly. “We have some time later to re-visit what we went over yesterday.” 

All of the idol flinched. Tsuna couldn’t help but admire Nagi’s firm handling over them. Damn, he wished he could do that. 

Yamamoto laughed to ease the tension. “Maa, we were just joking around.” 

Gokudera clicked his tongue. “For once, I agree with the idiot.” 

“You’re so cruel, Nagi-chan,” Mukuro said with a mock-pout. 

“Yeah, and where’d she get that from, bastard?” 

Mukuro sniffed. “It’s a gift that runs in the family, mutt. You wouldn’t know now, would you?” 

Gokudera glared. “Listen here, you bastard, t—” 

Akiko smacked his head with a rolled-up magazine. “Bad dog. Sit.” 

Gokudera gritted his teeth. “How the hell are you related to that wimpy bastard?” 

He yelped when Akiko smacked him again. “That wimpy bastard is my little brother. Bad dog.” 

Tsuna winced. “Akiko-san, that’s…”

“It was that or getting the store destroyed,” Akiko said. “Come on, Tsuna. Get what you need.” 

“Right… Excuse me, Mukuro-san.” Tsuna reached for the pack of origami paper above him and got two more packs. He handed another one to Mukuro. “You were going for the same thing, right? Here.” 

Mukuro smiled. “Thank you, Tsuna-kun. How kind of you.” 

“We have everything?” Ryohei said.

Tsuna noticed the basket of glue, tape, and markers that Yamamoto held in his hand. The other man grinned at him. 

“It’s for tomorrow,” he said. “We’re going to the hospital to spend time with the kids there. It’s what Knuckle wanted to do on his birthday, but he had to leave. This is all last-minute though.” He placed a finger over his lips. “It’s a surprise so no telling, okay?” 

Tsuna laughed. “You don’t have to worry, Yamamoto-san. I won’t tell. That’s very nice of you. I’m sure the children will love it.” 

“Ah, we need yarn,” Nagi said, peering through the basket. 

“Third aisle to your left,” Akiko said. 

Nagi smiled. “Thank you, Irie-san. Onii-san, let’s go.” 

Mukuro sighed dramatically. “I suppose this is where we part again, Tsuna-kun.” 

“Oh, Tsuna,” Yamamoto said, “did you ever find out what you won?” 

Mukuro perked up. “Won?” 

Gokudera scoffed though he did look a little curious. “You’re seriously still on that?” 

Ryohei grinned. “Right, congrats, Tsuna!” 

Tsuna chuckled awkwardly. “Thank you, I guess…? Well, I did…open it last night.”

Interest gleamed in Mukuro’s eyes. “Oh? And…?”

Tsuna felt a bead of sweat drip down the side of his face. “But it’s nothing! I didn’t intend to win anything, really!” 

Nagi tugged Mukuro away and ushered everyone else out of the aisle. “Onii-san, you’re doing that again.” 

Mukuro looked at her innocently. “Doing what?” 

Nagi sighed softly before giving Tsuna a small smile. “We’ll get going now, Sawada-san. Please take care. Onii-san, move. Takeshi-kun, put your phone away. Hayato-kun, turn around, please. Ryohei-kun, no, I did not get notified of any winners for our admission.” 

Tsuna could only stare as Nagi managed to get the other men out of the aisle and out of sight, but not before she waved at him shyly with a small bow. Well, Nagi got herself a fan. Tsuna seriously considered asking her to teach him her ways.

Akiko waved her hand in front of his face. “Checkout’s that way, Tsuna.” 

Tsuna shook his head to leave his musings. “Right." 

Akiko sighed. “Get yourself a knight. This isn’t normal.” 

“I don’t know what you mean but I also believe this isn’t normal.” 

“Was that businessman last time someone I should’ve known?” 

“I…don’t think you want to know.” 

“Good point. Be careful out there. I lost my brother—It’d break my heart if I lost you, too.”

Tsuna sweat-dropped. “I’ll try, Akiko-san.” 

“Seriously, you need a knight.” 

“I think I just need to re-evaluate my life choices.”

“That, too—and a knight.”

“I can take care of myself.”

Right…”

Tsuna rested his forehead against the counter. “Just ring me up.” 

“Anything for you, princess.” 

“I won’t hesitate to strangle you, Akiko-san.”

Akiko just hummed though the slight twitch on her lips didn’t go unnoticed. Tsuna seriously wondered what he did in his past lives to deserve this.


“Yeah, like that, Big Brother!” 

Tsuna raised the finished kusudama flower in the air, making I-pin exclaim in awe. It was a rich navy blue with white streaks outlining the edges. Lambo looked up from his sketchbook and widened his eyes. 

“That’s so cool, Tsuna-nii! Teach me how to make that!” 

Fuuta, who was folding another kusudama flower with a peach-colored origami paper, blocked Lambo from knocking over the small table they were working on. “Lambo, be careful.” 

The other boy sat down next and took a green origami paper from the packaging. “Teach me, Fuuta-nii! How do you make that? I wanna make one!” 

Fuuta gestured towards his own folded paper. “Fold it from corner to corner first. Good, now…” 

Tsuna handed I-pin the flower so she could admire it up close. “The glue isn’t dry yet, so don’t move it around too much. What’s this for again?”

“Oh!” I-pin pulled her backpack closer and took out a checklist in her handwriting. “Nakamura-sensei’s going to leave soon because of her baby. He’s coming out in three months! Sakura-chan said we should do a good-bye party on Friday. Her mom’s going to bring cake and Hitomi-chan said her mom will get money so we can buy her a gift. I’m in charge of decorating! Since Nakamura-sensei can’t handle strong smells, I thought kusudama flowers would look nice because she likes flowers, too. I wanted to finish some today so I can show Sakura-chan and Hitomi-chan tomorrow.”

Tsuna smiled. “That’s very nice of you, I-pin.” 

I-pin beamed. Thank you for doing this, Big Brother, Fuuta-nii!” 

“Of course.” 

Fuuta smiled. “It’s no problem. I like doing this. Ah, Lambo, fold it the other way. Like this.” 

Tsuna set on creating another one with I-pin watching him. He decided on creating bouquets of kusudama flowers with different color schemes. 

“What did you do all day, Big Brother?” I-pin said. “It must be boring being alone at home.” 

“I can stay home with Tsuna-nii!” Lambo said. “We can watch TV and eat all day!” 

I-pin rolled her eyes. “You just don’t want to go to school.” 

Lambo scowled. “I didn’t say that!” 

“I’m not dumb, you stupid cow!” 

“What did you say, pinhead?” 

“Guys, stop fighting,” Fuuta said. “Lambo, look.” 

While Fuuta easily distracted Lambo with another finished kusudama flower, Tsuna smiled gently at I-pin.

“I wasn’t bored,” he said. “I actually went to Fuuta’s school to meet the principal.”

Fuuta perked up. “What did Kocho-sensei want, Tsuna-nii?” 

“Ah, well, she asked if I could take over to help the upper-class students with their cooking booths for the bunkasai.”

I-pin gasped. “Really? What are you going to make? Oh, can you make gyoza and tonkatsu?” 

“I’m not going to cook, I-pin. I’m just helping the students design their menu, that’s all.” 

Lambo made a confused sound. “Eh? But Tsuna-nii’s cooking is the best in the whole world!” 

Tsuna laughed. “There are other people that cook better than me, Lambo, but thank you. Did your class already decide what to do, Fuuta?” 

Fuuta smiled. “It’s a secret.” 

I-pin pouted. “Not even a hint?” 

“Nope. You’ll just have to wait and see.” 

I-pin suddenly pounced onto Tsuna’s lap with sparkling eyes. “Oh, oh, oh! Did you open the envelope yet? From the raffle? Did you read it? What did you win? Which one did you get? Did you get Decimo?” She squealed. “It’d be so good to see Hibari-san again!” 

Tsuna seriously wondered why his sister was so taken with Hibari. Fon, he could understand—but Hibari and Alaude? Where did Tsuna go wrong? 

Lambo shuddered. “Did you already forget we almost died?” 

Fuuta’s smile strained a bit. “I don’t think it’s a good idea to go anyways.” 

I-pin gaped at him. “But—But…” 

Tsuna sighed. “The envelope’s in the top drawer.”

I-pin dashed for the dresser and yanked the drawer open. She exclaimed in victory when she found the envelope. Grinning, she plopped down on Tsuna’s lap and carefully pulled out the forms. 

She squealed. “Big Brother! Big Brother! Please, can we go? Please? Pretty please?” 

Lambo peeked at the papers and wrinkled his nose. “Arcobaleno? Why couldn’t it be Sweets and Cream?” 

“Because they weren’t on the list, dummy! But, Big Brother, please! It’s next week on my birthday, too! Please? I won’t ask for anything else! Please?”

Fuuta pursed his lips. “We have school, I-pin.”

“But—But it’s my birthday!”

“That’s not an excuse.” 

“You know, you could get a lot of money if you sell that online,” Lambo said. “People do that sometimes.” 

I-pin’s lips trembled. “T—That’s not right. Big Brother won it, so it belongs to him.” She looked up at Tsuna with teary eyes. “You won’t sell it, right? I won’t ask for new stuff anymore. I’ll be good.” 

Tsuna hesitated. “Well, there’s a lot of things to consider, I-pin. Fuuta’s right. You can’t just miss school like that.” 

I-pin sniffed. “But we can make up anything we missed. Ryota-kun did that when he went to Osaka.” 

“We still have time to consider…some things, I-pin.” 

“That’s only one day! Today’s the 17th!” 

“I’m sure we can figure something out.” 

“It takes one or two days for the mail to go to Tokyo!” 

Tsuna grimaced. “Okay, but…” 

Pulling off her infamous puppy-dog eyes, I-pin gripped Tsuna’s shirt. “Please, Big Brother? I won’t ask for anything else.” 

“Tsuna-nii,” Fuuta said in a warning tone. 

“Wait, isn’t Disneyland there, too?” Lambo said, reading the forms again. “I want to go to Disneyland! Tsuna-nii, I can make up work, too! Can we go?” 

Fuuta looked at Tsuna with frighteningly intimidating eyes. “Tsuna-nii.” 

Tsuna felt himself sweat from the sudden onslaught of pressure. “Um, well…”

“Please?” Lambo and I-pin said. 

After a few more minutes, Tsuna finally sighed in defeat. “If we go, all of you have to make up any work you missed from school…”

“We promise!” 

“And not fall behind in school.” 

“We promise!” 

“And not tell anyone where you’re actually going. That’s—I don’t want to risk anything. Wait, won’t this be on the news?” The New York videos flashed in Tsuna’s mind. Kami, he didn’t want his siblings—anyone—to face that. “Actually, let me think about it again.” 

“They don’t say who the winners are, Big Brother,” I-pin said. “And these meet-and-greets are really, really private—well, kind of.” She shrugged. “The fans always find out anyway.” 

“That’s what I’m worried about…” 

“But that doesn’t happen all the time! Most of the fans are nice.” 

“Most of them,” Lambo said, shuddering. “There’s also a lot who’re just crazy. Like at the mall.”

“I thought you wanted to go.” 

Lambo huffed. “Well, yeah, but now that I think about it, I don’t want to see crazy fans.”

“But this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance! I can finally meet Fon-san!” 

“Who cares? Reborn’s scary.” 

I-pin rolled her eyes. “Reborn-san isn’t the only person in Arcobaleno, you dumb cow. Skull-san and Colonello-san are there, too. And Verde-san and Viper-san.” 

Lambo snapped his fingers. “Right—Skull! He’s so cool! I wish I can ride a motorcycle like him! He does so many awesome stunts, too! Did you see him drive through, like, ten hoops on fire?” 

“Yeah, but you like them, right, Big Brother?” I-pin looked at Tsuna expectantly. “You talked to them at the restaurant. What do you think about Fon-san? Isn’t he handsome and really nice?” 

“Well…yes, Fon-san is very kind.” 

I-pin nodded vigorously. “And?” 

“And, um, he’s very…considerate?” 

“And? He’s very handsome, right?” 

“Uh, yes. I mean, they’re all good-looking…I guess.” 

“See? So we can go, right?”

Fuuta sighed. “That’s still not a good reason, I-pin.”

I-pin flailed her arms in the air. “Not even as my birthday present?”

“Still no.” 

“You’re so mean, Fuuta-nii.” I-pin sniffled. “Is it that bad? It’s not even expensive! Everything’s free!” 

“I’m just looking out for Tsuna-nii’s health.” 

“But this could be a vacation for us! We never went on vacation before!”

“Yeah!” Lambo said. “And Disneyland!”

Fuuta deadpanned. “It’s going to be the opposite of a vacation.” 

“What’s your problem anyway?” Lambo said. “You never really cared about this kind of stuff.” 

“I care about Tsuna-nii.” 

I-pin clutched Tsuna’s shirt again. “I’ll listen to everything you say, Big Brother! I won’t cause any trouble. Please, oh please, can we go? Lambo, promise Big Brother you won’t do anything stupid!” 

Lambo made a face. “Hey, what’s that supposed to mean?” 

“It means what it means, so promise him!” 

Lambo gritted his teeth before crossing his arms over his chest. “Fine, but it’s not because you told me to. I was going to say it anyway.” 

“Just say it!” 

“Okay, okay, geez. I’ll listen to whatever you say, Tsuna-nii.” Lambo leaned in with his own version of the puppy-dog eyes. “Please, can we go? I really want to go to Disneyland.” 

I-pin joined him. “Please?” 

Tsuna pinched the bridge of his nose. “Okay, okay. We…can go.” 

He sighed when Lambo and I-pin leapt in the air with loud cheers and high-fives. 

Fuuta just frowned. “I’m not going to say anything, Tsuna-nii. But I hope you know what you’re doing.” 

Tsuna gripped his brother’s hands while I-pin and Lambo continued celebrating in the background. “I owe you a lot, Fuuta. I’m sorry.” 

Fuuta’s face softened as he patted Tsuna’s hand comfortingly. “It’s okay. You don’t owe me anything.” He pursed his lips. “But they do.” 

Tsuna rested his chin on the table with a small smile. “I guess.” 

“If they do something like that again, I’m not going to leave it alone. You know that, right?” 

“Yeah, yeah. And I promise to take care of myself better, too.” 

“I’ll make sure of it.” 

Tsuna smiled gently. “Of course you will. Thank you, Fuuta. You’re really one of a kind.” 

Fuuta blushed and pushed Tsuna’s hands away. “You’re embarrassing.”

He yelped when Tsuna ruffled his hair. “My little Fuuta’s growing up.” Ignoring Fuuta’s indignant squawk, Tsuna turned to his other siblings. “So, what do you want for dinner?”


 

After making sure his siblings were asleep—thankfully, they were deep sleepers—Tsuna snuck out the room and put on some worn jeans and a blue sweater. Slipping on his jacket, he left the house, closing the door with a soft click. Storm clouds loomed in the horizon, making the  sky grayer. Tsuna quickly made his way to the nearest supermarket on foot; the cold wind sent shivers through his body and he crossed his arms to contain some heat. 

Cars passed him by while he walked along the fairly crowded sidewalks. When he arrived at Ryuuzaki Mart, he quickly grabbed a blue cart and wheeled it through the automatic doors. The scent of fresh vegetables and fish drifted in Tsuna’s nose and the cool air from the produce section gave him goosebumps. Maybe he should buy a new jacket—well, it wasn’t like he wanted to get cold easily. 

Ryuuzaki Mart was smaller than Namimori Market but had most of the stuff he needed to make his siblings’ bento tomorrow; and with the money that Hana had deposited in his account that morning, they could get through reasonably for the next few months. While he still had the money, he should get Fuuta a phone and put some money to the side for the phone bills. 

Tsuna was so lost in his thoughts that he didn’t realize he bumped into someone before it was too late. He widened his eyes and immediately bowed. 

“I’m so sorry!” he said. 

The person clicked his tongue. “Brat.” 

A moment or two passed before Tsuna actually sighed and rested his forehead against the cart’s handle. This wasn’t normal. It really wasn’t… 

“What the fuck’s wrong with you?” 

Tsuna looked up. “Nothing. Just…nothing. I’m sorry for bumping into you, Xa—sir.” 

He took in the man’s baggy hoodie and sunglasses before tilting his head when he noticed Xanxus holding some cold medicine. Was he…sick? When Tsuna spotted the panko bags behind Xanxus, he gestured for him to step aside. 

“Excuse me,” he said, reaching for the bags and placing two in the cart. 

Xanxus grunted. “You’re not dead.” 

Tsuna blinked. “Why would I be dead?” 

“The peacock trash is being fucking annoying for no reason.” 

It took a second for Tsuna to connect the “peacock trash” to Lussuria. “Well, you can tell him that he doesn’t need to worry about me. I’m fine and very alive.” Tsuna jumped when Xanxus dumped the cold medicine in his cart. “Um, Xa—What are you doing?” 

“I’m not carrying this shit,” Xanxus said, looking around the bustling supermarket. “Where’s the liquor?” 

Some customers steered clear from them automatically, not even looking back twice at Xanxus’ intimidating figure. Tsuna pinched the bridge of his nose. “I hope you’re not the one sick. Drinking alcohol with medicine isn’t recommended—at all.” 

Xanxus slightly bared his teeth. “Why the fuck would I be sick?” 

Tsuna sighed. “Forget it. Let me just get some stuff. We’ll get there…eventually.” 

Surprisingly, Xanxus didn’t complain—well, he grunted whenever Tsuna placed something in the cart. It was like he had something against the world. Tsuna wasn’t really sure why, but this whole thing felt too normal. Well, he might as well use Xanxus for what it was worth. He tapped the man’s arm and pointed at one of the furikake bags on the higher shelves. 

“Xa—Um, could you get that for me?” 

Xanxus clicked his tongue but grabbed a bag and tossed it in the cart. “Why are you so fucking short, brat?” 

Tsuna huffed. “I’m not that short. I’m just…vertically challenged.” He could sense Xanxus staring at him heatedly from his sunglasses and rolled his eyes. “Whatever. Anyways, it’s better than climbing the shelves.” 

“Why the fuck would you do that?” 

Tsuna deadpanned. “Because sometimes there are things I can’t reach.” 

Xanxus scoffed. “You’re a fucking idiot.” 

“I can just ask the workers to get them for me then.” Tsuna nearly fell forward when Xanxus suddenly jerked the cart. “What are you doing?”

“Just tell me what you fucking want,” Xanxus said, gritting his teeth. “Hurry up. I need liquor.” 

Tsuna stared at him strangely. “Am I really talking to the right person?” 

“What did you say? Speak up, brat.”

“Nothing.”

Tsuna placed some more food in the cart as they passed through other aisles. He couldn’t help but laugh under his breath whenever Xanxus actually got whatever he pointed at and dumped them in the cart. Honestly, he looked more like a disgruntled younger brother than the intimidating man Tsuna knew from the restaurant. 

“How old are you?” he suddenly said.

“Why the hell are you asking that?”

Tsuna shrugged. “I was just wondering.” He perked up. “Oh, and Le—Um, how is he? He never got that cake. The pastry section’s over there.” He wheeled the cart over and started looking through the selections. “Does he like anything in particular?” 

“How the fuck would I know?” 

Tsuna’s jaw dropped. “How do you not know? Do you know anything he likes?” 

“What’s the point?” 

Tsuna groaned. “Kami, you’re useless. Forget it.” He gestured for a worker behind the counter. “Excuse me, could you get me that strawberry and chocolate cake in a box, please?”

“Yes, sir!” 

When the worker handed Tsuna the cake box, her placed it carefully in the cart and walked towards the liquor section. “Pick your poison.” 

Xanxus scoffed. Tsuna gawked when he grabbed several bottles of whiskey, bourbon, and wine. That was way too much alcohol. The liquor pantry was nearly half-empty by the time Xanxus seemed satisfied enough with what he had. 

“Are you going to drink all of that…?” Tsuna said. 

Xanxus looked at him like he was stupid. “Who else?” 

“But still…that’s a lot.” 

“Do you have something to fucking say, brat?” 

“No. Just curious.”

After Xanxus filled the cart with more liquor that no human being could intake, Tsuna led him to the checkout line. 

“You can buy your stuff first,” he said. “Here. I can help.” 

His stomach churned with every bottle he placed on the conveyor belt. The cashier gaped at the items arriving at the register but quickly bagged them when Xanxus glared at her. The poor old woman didn’t even ask for his ID. Tsuna frowned when he saw heavy rain pouring outside. The sky was a terrifying shade of black.

Placing his items down, Tsuna smiled at the cashier in hopes of calming her nerves. She smiled back briefly more out of politeness as she bagged his stuff. He opened his wallet but couldn’t even take out his bills when Xanxus suddenly handed the old woman his card. 

“You take too fucking long, brat,” he said. 

Tsuna widened his eyes. “Wait, no, you d—” 

The cashier already swiped Xanxus’ card then and gave it back with a trembling hand. Tsuna could only sigh and placed his bags inside his cart. Why? Why? Why? When he wheeled it out of the supermarket, he handed Xanxus the cake box. 

“Give this to Le—Well, you know who.” 

“Where the hell are you going?” 

Tsuna gestured at his phone. “I’m going to call a taxi.” 

Xanxus stared at him for a good moment before clicking his tongue. “Wait here.” 

“I’m sorry?”

“Are you fucking deaf?” 

“But—” 

“Taxi drivers can be serial killers, brat. They kill weaklings like you.” 

“What…?” 

Xanxus dumped his liquor in the cart and disappeared in the rain. Tsuna stared at his back. What…kind of logic was that? Wait… 

“Why didn’t you bring an umbrella, you idiot?” he shouted. 

Not even minutes passed until a black car pulled up in front of him. Squinting, Tsuna tried getting a better look at the driver. The window rolled down revealing Xanxus who was dripping wet. 

“Put them in the back, brat.”


Tsuna was trying hard not to question his life too hard. 

First it was Reborn, then Hibari, now Xanxus. Actually, no. First it was Vasya, then Kyoko, then Primo, then Decimo, then Arcobaleno, then Varia… 

Just…why? Tsuna sighed and banged his head against the window. 

“What the hell are you doing?” 

Tsuna buried his face in his hands. “Nothing. At least, you drive better than them. You actually listen to the traffic lights. I’m…so grateful.” 

It was true. Xanxus stopped at red lights and drove through green lights. It was bizarre, but it made Tsuna happy for seeing some actual civil behavior, even if it was from one of the least likely people he knew. 

“Who the fuck are you talking about?” 

“No one. Just ignore me. Ah, do you have any towels?” 

Tsuna peered at the backseats, which were impeccably clean and black. Their groceries were the only things in sight. 

Xanxus clicked his tongue. “Stop moving.” 

Tucking a strand of his hair behind his ear, Tsuna took out Alaude’s blue handkerchief from his bag and carefully dabbed Xanxus’ face. 

The man immediately recoiled, glaring. “What the fuck are you doing, brat?” 

Tsuna scowled as he stretched his arm further to continue wiping Xanxus’ face. “Stay still. I’m not hurting you. Why didn’t you at least go out before with an umbrella? You’re going to catch a cold.” He blinked when Xanxus threw something at his face. 

Xanxus just grunted. “Use that. I don’t use that pussy ass shit.” 

Tsuna frowned. “You’re being picky now?” He tentatively sniffed Alaude’s handkerchief, which surprisingly held the other man’s scent. It smelled like mandarin and clary sage with a hint of vanilla and an elegant, leathery touch. “This doesn’t even smell bad.” 

Still, he pocketed the handkerchief and picked up the crimson one that Xanxus threw at him. The scent was strong, with a heavy mixture of bergamot, cinnamon, leather, and tobacco. Tsuna reached over again to wipe Xanxus’ face and neck.

“When you go home, take a hot shower,” he said. “Drink something hot too, like soup or tea. Make sure you dry yourself properly and stay warm. I’d let you shower in my house, but my siblings are sleeping.” 

Xanxus scoffed. “You’re like the peacock trash.” 

Tsuna rolled his eyes. “Stop complaining, Xanxus-san. It’s for your own good. What would your fans think if you became sick?”

“I don’t give a shit what they think.” 

“Well, what would Mammon-san think?” 

“Ask them yourself, brat.”

Tsuna pursed his lips. “Never mind then.” He peered through the blurry windshield. “Ah, you can turn on the next street.” 

When Tsuna’s apartment came into view, he unbuckled his seatbelt and nearly jumped when something hard landed on his lap. It was a black umbrella. 

“You better know how to fucking use it,” Xanxus said. 

Tsuna huffed. “I’m not that stupid. And you didn’t have to pay for my stuff.” 

“Just get out, brat. You’re goddamn slow.” 

Tsuna rolled his eyes. “Yes, yes. Thank y—Oh! Wait here!” 

Flinging the door open, he dashed through the rain with the umbrella over his head. He managed to unlock his door and enter his home, relieved to see that his siblings were still asleep. He made his way to the bathroom to grab a dry, fluffy towel. Shifting through the kitchen, he poured some leftover miso soup into an orange container and ran back outside. 

The cool, moisty air blew against his flushed cheeks as he sprinted towards Xanxus’ car. He tapped the window and immediately handed Xanxus the towel and the container. 

“Here,” he said. “Use this to dry your hair before you get home. And heat this up for about three minutes. It’s edible.” Xanxus stared at him oddly. Tsuna huffed and tossed the items on his lap. “Just take them. You’re welcome.” He retrieved his stuff from the backseat then paused. “Oh, and share the cake! But Levi-san gets the first slice, okay?” He smiled. “Have a good night, Xanxus-san! Drive safely!” 

After watching Xanxus leave, Tsuna couldn’t help but notice that he looked a bit out of it. 

He just hoped that Xanxus wouldn’t crash on the road…

Chapter Text

“Somehow I feel a warmth and comfort today

Your ever kind heart, the way you smile, and even how you find your dreams

I knew nothing, so honestly, I’ve always copied you.”

- Nandemonaiya (English Version) by RADWIMPS 


The heavy rain slowly dissolved into drizzles by morning. 

Some loud noise in the background broke through Tsuna’s sleep. He groaned and snuggled deeper in his blankets. Turning over, Tsuna blinked. He soon regained his bearings as the sound continued blaring outside.

What the hell…? Who was honking their horn so early in the morning? 

I-pin stirred in her sleep before settling back again. Tsuna covered his ears with his pillow, but the honking just kept going. Gritting his teeth, he rose from his futon and walked to the living room so he could look out the window. The streets were empty other than some cars belonging to his neighbors. Tsuna’s breath hitched when he noticed a familiar black van a few feet away. 

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” he muttered, grabbing his jacket. 

He dashed outside, careful not to slip on the small steps; light rain and moist air tickled his skin. He pounded the driver’s window with a fist. As soon as it rolled down, Tsuna scowled. 

“What the hell are you doing?” he said with a small hiss. “It’s five in the morning.” 

Xanxus clicked his tongue, looking away. His voice was muffled behind his black mask. “Then you should’ve come out earlier, brat.” 

Tsuna groaned. “What are you even doing here? Why couldn’t you just knock on my door or something?” 

“I don’t know where you fucking live.”

“Right…” Tsuna sighed. “What do you w—” 

He yelped when something soft landed on his face, almost dropping the canteen shoved in his hands too.

“Take your shit,” Xanxus said. 

Shaking his head, Tsuna pulled down his pale-yellow towel from his head. It smelled like some hotel detergent. He wrinkled his nose when he noted the slight scent of tobacco. 

“Did you smoke before coming here?” he said, leaning away. 

“What?” Xanxus said. Even with sunglasses on, the man’s glare was permeable through the dark, expensive lenses. “Do you have something to fucking say?”

Tsuna pursed his lips. “Smoking will kill you, and with your drinking—I don’t even want to say it.” 

“Then fucking don’t.” 

Rolling his eyes, Tsuna neatly folded the towel in his arms. “Is that everything?” 

“Back up,” Xanxus said, looking ahead. “I’m late.” 

Tsuna stepped away just in time before Xanxus stepped on the gas, his car skidding on the street. He winced when the man drove past a red light. So apparently, Xanxus wasn’t a civil driver. 

Tsuna suddenly gasped. “Wait, your umbrella!” 

He frowned when all he saw was an empty street. He looked down at his stuff. Couldn’t Xanxus do anything like a normal human being? (Could any of them…?) 

“Tsuna-nii?” 

Tsuna jumped when the landlady’s daughter spoke up behind him. Holding a purple umbrella, Junko wore a brown cardigan over her white pajamas. Her long black hair tumbled into loose curls over her shoulder. 

Tsuna forced a smile. “Good morning, Junko-chan.”

Junko yawned and rubbed her eyes. “What’s goin’ on?”

“I’m sorry if I woke you.” 

Junko squinted, gazing out to the streets. “Was that your friend?” 

Tsuna shook his head. “No, there’s nothing to worry about, really. Come on. I’ll walk you back.” 

Junko glanced at his stuff. “Kaa-san doesn’t like noisy people.” She smiled sleepily. “You’re lucky she worked herself too much last night.”

Grimacing, Tsuna started heading back to the apartment building. Junko followed beside him. “Yeah, I’m really sorry, Junko-chan. You should go back to sleep. You still have an hour or so before school.” 

“I’m already awake and I have to cook for Kaa-san anyways.” Junko laughed sheepishly. “I couldn’t finish all my homework last night, too.” 

“Ah, well, don’t push yourself too much,” Tsuna said, stopping in front of Junko’s door a few rooms down from his. “You’ll work yourself to death.”

Junko smiled. “Not like you, Tsuna-nii.” She unlocked her door before entering inside. Yawning, she gave him a small wave. “Have a good day then. And tell your friend not to be so loud next time.” 

Tsuna pursed his lips. “He’s not my friend.” 

However, he ended up talking to a closed door instead. Sighing, he walked back to his apartment and tried to forget whatever the hell happened ten minutes ago. 

Wait… Xanxus pulled up in front of his apartment. 

His apartment. 

Ah, shit. 

When Tsuna opened the canteen in his kitchen, his eyes widened when he saw the slip of paper inside the squeaky-clean interior. The handwriting was unfamiliar, but clear to read: 

Thank you for the soup, Tsu-chan~ Xanxus really loved it~ Would you mind sharing the recipe? Thank you~

- Lussuria

There was even a heart drawn next to his name. Below it was a phone number. 

Tsuna nearly fell to the floor if he didn’t have any dignity left.


I-pin reminded Tsuna over a hundred times to fill out the lottery forms and drop them off at the post office. 

Every time she mentioned them, Tsuna’s heart sank a little bit more before he finally sat down at the dining table with the papers spread out in front of him. 

He twirled his pen, already feeling nauseous just by looking at them. They weren’t even that long, only asking for his name, phone number, home address, how many people he was bringing, the usual. 

Tsuna’s breath hitched. Phone number and home address… 

Okay, he was beginning to backtrack on this. Maybe he was being too paranoid. This could just end up being a relaxing trip for everyone; but everything from the restaurant flashed in his mind, making him groan. Gripping his hair, Tsuna thumped his head against the table. 

What was he supposed to do? He promised I-pin… 

“Why did it have to be this?” he said, shaking the forms in the air. “Does no one want to give away some nice kitchen stuff or something?” 

He yelped when his phone suddenly buzzed and nearly fell over his chair. His shoulders relaxed when he realized it was just a text from Haru. 

TSUNA I NEED YOUR OPINION! PLEASE HELP! (;´д`)

Sighing in relief, Tsuna opened the pictures attached to the message. They were three different sketches, each featuring a different model. Some accessories were lightly circled with notes and there were some strips of distinctive earthy colors shaded on the side. 

The first one showed a rough sketch of Adelheid with her right arm raised. Her black hair was in a ponytail but her most striking features were her height and large bust. She wore a black school uniform of sorts and thigh-high boots. Simple and classy, there was nothing wrong with it. The outfit suited her really well actually. Haru wrote “school concept” on the side along with “new beginning?” and “fresh start? First day?”. 

The second sketch was a man with green hair and small-framed glasses, his right arm raised to the side. He wore a different version of Adelheid’s school uniform, which consisted of a sleeveless hoodie showing off his bare arms and a dark green shirt half-tucked in his black skinny jeans. Haru’s notes were “punk/bad boy/school”, “black and other colors; green looks good on Koyo”, and “Kimura-san’s favorite”. 

Furrowing his brows, Tsuna clicked his pen a few times. Well, they both looked good, but what was Haru going for? Was Simon’s album about…schools? A fresh day? A new beginning? The last one sounded right, however Tsuna wasn’t so sure. 

When he opened the third sketch, his eyes widened. It was Enma sitting on a tree stump, shoulders slouched and his arm propped on a raised knee. He wore an alloy orange vest over a brown shirt with the sleeves folded up to his elbows and brown loafers. A reddish-brown braided bracelet adorned his left wrist. Tsuna didn’t know what Enma was looking at, but he looked content, relaxed, at peace

The first two’s really good, but I like the third one more. 

A few minutes passed then. Tsuna twirled his pen, still thinking about how he’d fill out these stupid forms. Seriously, why? He still didn’t get past writing his name. 

His phone vibrated again. 

RIGHT????? Okay thing is I already ran this with Kimura-san who’s the head of the Visuals/Design Dept and she likes the second concept more. But I don’t think it’d fit with what Simon’s going for. Like their whole album is about being born anew?? And okay the school stuff I get but it’s too mainstream. Everyone did school uniforms before like EVERYONE. Maybe they could do that later when they’re more popular??? Idk tsuna send help pls. ヾ( •́д•̀ ;)ノ

Tsuna placed his pen to the side. 

What’s their concept? You don’t have to tell me if you can’t.  

Literally being born anew and the album’s called Nativity. I mean, the songs are great. Rauji-kun’s an amazing songwriter!! But I was kind of thinking it’d be more in tuned with nature?? Like, Enma could be the earth, idk. He’s the leader and he’s helping the other members stand on their own feet and giving birth to them in a way. Lol, okay that sounds weird but you get what I mean. And ohhh, he’s so sweet to the other members too. Did you know that they’re all childhood friends???? What are the chances????  

Tsuna laughed at the series of texts. Leaning back against his chair, he tried to keep up with Haru’s speed. 

Don’t worry. I get what you’re saying. You can do a lot more with the third concept though. Does Kimura-san not like it at all? Is there any way you could get her to agree? Technically, they called you in to give your input and design for them.  

Well apparently in this world they don’t give a damn. Kimura-san’s decisions are all final. There’s nothing I can do about it which is bs bc hello??? I came here to GIVE you my designs anyways?? (ノ`□´)ノ⌒┻━┻  

Maybe you could run them by Simon? Do they get to have a say?  

It’s risky. Kimura-san might not like it…  

It’s their album though. They should get a say on their concept.  

YES. EXACTLY. But since they’re new, Kimura-san doesn’t want to risk anything. Songs can be great but ppl mostly can’t get past the visuals if they don’t match or sth. Idk it’s weird. Ppl can be little shits but what can I do? No wonder Varia became their own thing.

Tsuna raised a brow at that small bit, but didn’t focus on it much. Haru needed him. 

Even if it’s a risk, it’s Vongola. Have they ever failed?  

LOL. You’re not wrong but hey they’re still a hotshot company. Apparently they know what they’re doing. Idk I just want the third concept to be a thing. It’s driving me nuts!!  

I think you should talk to Kimura-san again. Or show the designs to Simon. They could back you up.  

Ahhhh, I can do that. Definitely. Sure. Just come and pick up my corpse after Kimura-san’s done with me, k? (;¬_¬)  

Tsuna laughed. 

I’ll do that. But don’t worry, I won’t let you die on me. (^O^)爻(◕▿◕✿)  

But yeah, I can definitely show this to Simon. Seriously, it’s their FIRST ALBUM AND I’M GOING TO HELP THEM MAKE A GOOD IMPRESSION DAMMIT. Wish me luck!!  (`・ε´-ゞ)

Tsuna smiled fondly. 

You don’t need luck, Haru. You’re doing amazing already. I’m sure Kimura-san will come around and that Simon will love it. Stay strong.  

Tsuna…you’re just too good to be true. (;へ:)  

I live to please. 

Way to ruin the moment.  

Smiling, Tsuna glanced at the lottery forms. Four tickets… 

Can you talk over the phone? If you can’t then it’s fine. I’m sorry if I’m bothering you.  

Not even a minute passed before Tsuna’s phone repeatedly buzzed in his hand. 

“Haru?” he said, accepting the call. 

“What’s wrong, Tsuna? Who do I have to kill?” 

Tsuna laughed. “No, I just…wanted to talk. Am I bothering you?” 

“You can always talk to me. Always, always, always. What’s up?” 

“How’s Vongola so far?” 

Haru groaned. “I think I’m going to jump off the building. I mean, everyone’s nice but they’re so…distant. I don’t know. A lot of things are hush-hush over here, but I really like my cubicle, even if it’s only temporary. They even gave me the latest Vongola Etch tablet! The stylus is so smooth! Oh, and Simon’s just great! Enma and Adelheid are so cute together and Rauji’s songwriting skills are amazing! And Julie! He’s like Reborn! He even wears fedoras but”—she giggled—“don’t tell him I said that. He doesn’t like being compared to him.” 

Tsuna smiled shakily. “I doubt I will.” 

“Anyways, how’s everything on your end? Shouldn’t you be at work?” 

Tsuna winced. “I just have the day off.” 

“Really? That’s great! You can finally rest and sleep! Sleep’s great.” 

“Yeah, um, I just wanted to ask…if you’re free next week from the 23rd to the 26th.” 

“It’s I-pin’s birthday! I’d never miss it! Why?” Haru gasped. “Are you planning on doing a surprise party? That’d be so much fun! Tell me what you need!” 

Tsuna laughed. “No, no, it’s not that. Well, the kids and I went to the mall a few days ago and…there was a raffle.” 

“Tsuna…”

“But I had no choice! The kids really wanted to try it and—and I couldn’t just say no! I mean, no harm done in doing it, right?” 

“Please tell me it was for kitchen stuff…”

Tsuna huffed. “No, but I’d prefer that, honestly.” 

“What was it?” Haru’s breath hitched. “Oh, Kami, don’t tell me…” 

“Don’t freak out.” 

“I will regardless.” 

“Um…” Tsuna glanced at the lottery forms. “It’s…a meet-and-gre—” 

He immediately pulled the phone away when Haru squealed. Wincing, he counted to three under his breath before bringing it back to his ear. 

“—ever thought that you’d be one of them!” Haru babbled on. “Primo got their winners last night, too, and I still can’t believe that you actually got it! I mean, you have the weirdest luck but—Oh, who did you get, who did you get, who did you get? Wait, let me guess.”

“Haru, this isn’t exactly…the greatest thing in the world.” 

“Are you kidding me? You get to spend time with the hottest men to ever live on this earth! Well, Bluebell’s a girl but you get what I mean! So who did you get?”

Tsuna mumbled Arcobaleno under his breath.

“What? I couldn’t hear you.”

“…Arc—” 

Tsuna winced when Haru squealed again. He massaged his temples, trying hard not rip up the forms in the process. Damn it… 

“Arcobaleno? The Arcobaleno? Oh my God, you gotta be kidding me! I think this is the best thing you ever won! Like, the greatest thing ever! Better than that spa resort pass!” Haru gasped. “Hahi, is that why you asked me if I was free? Oh, I-pin’s going to love it! You’re all going, right?” 

Tsuna sighed. “Yeah…” 

Haru paused for a second. “What’s wrong, Tsuna?” 

“I mean, it’d be great if you could come with us. The kids will probably love it.” 

Except Fuuta, Tsuna thought. 

“But…?” 

“There’s no but.”

“Tsuna.” 

“Just…I don’t know. Will this…be safe? And the kids can’t miss school, but I-pin begged me and I couldn’t say no.” 

Haru laughed softly. “You do have a problem with that. Well, it’s not good to miss school. I mean, if you think about it, this is pretty unimportant, but it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Okay, I’m not the best with these things, you know that, Tsuna. But it can be a little family vacation! When was the last time you ever went out and relaxed?” 

“Relax” and “Arcobaleno” shouldn’t even be in the same sentence. 

“I still don’t know.” Tsuna sighed. “But yeah, it’d be great if you can come. We have an extra spot.” 

“Tsuna, no matter what, I’m on your side, you know that, right?” 

Tsuna’s lips twitched into a small smile. “Yeah, I know.” 

“Oh, break’s over. Tell me more later, ‘kay? Don’t worry, Tsuna. Everything will be fine.”

“I hope so.” 

“Hey, if anything, you’ll have me and the kids. I-pin can pull some mean punches. Okay, I gotta go now! Talk to you later, Tsuna!” 

“Okay, thank you, Haru.” 

“Of course!” 

When Haru hung up, Tsuna tapped his pen against the table. Okay, he could do this. How hard was this going to be, really? 

Still, he prayed to every god there was that his information would be safe and wondered what the hell he was doing.


Dropping off mail at the post office had never felt so terrifying. 

As soon as Tsuna had no more lottery forms on hand, he felt awfully relieved—for like a second. When he stepped out of the post office, his phone buzzed in his pocket. He groaned when he saw the number. 

Tsu-chan, thank you for the recipe~ It must’ve taken a while~ Buuuut, I’m more of a visual learner~ ヽ(。ゝω・)ノ☆;:*  

Why did Tsuna ever think that just sending the recipe to Lussuria would settle things? He sat down at a nearby bench and texted a response. 

Lussuria-san, this isn’t rocket science. You can read and follow simple instructions—I believe you’re smart enough.  

I’m flattered~ My brain’s just as wonderful as me too~! The thing is I don’t have all the time in the world… So, it’d be wonderful for you to just give me a quick demo~! ৲( ᵒ ૩ᵕ )৴♡*৹  

What…kind of logic was that?

I can…make a video?  

I’m also a tactile learner~ (*≧艸≦)  

Tsuna wanted to bash his head against the wall. Sighing, he rubbed his face with his hands, not caring how ridiculous he looked to passing pedestrians. The mountains were becoming more appealing every day—no, every second

How convenient. Actually, I meant to ask this, but is Xanxus-san okay? 

Ohohoho, you don’t have to worry about him at all~! I’ve never seen him in such a good mood in a long time~ (*≧▽≦)ノシ))

Tsuna pursed his lips. That was Xanxus being in a good mood?

Well, he had cold medicine with him and I wasn’t sure. Plus, he had…a lot of alcohol.

Awww, Tsu-chan, are you worried~? How sweet of you~ Oh, but don’t worry. We just have some sick staff members~ They ended up stuck in the rain last night for too long ~ Xanxus was just doing what a good leader should be doing~ Hehe, he may be a brute but he has a heart there somewhere underneath all that muck~ ( •̀ᄇ• ́)ﻭ✧

Tsuna scoffed, but his lips curled into a smile despite himself. 

I see. Well, I hope they get better soon.  

Thank you, honey~ Oh, but don’t forget, I’m in Namimori Sanctum Hotel~! RM 2023~ ٩(。•ω•。)و  

Tsuna blinked. Wait, how did they get here? 

Oh no, I can’t. That’s…really inappropriate, Lussuria-san.  

♡〜٩(^▿^)۶〜♡ Never inappropriate between friends~  

Tsuna bit his lip. They weren’t friends

I will block your number. We shouldn’t even be talking to each other.  

Oh, Tsu-chan, it’s okay~ No one will know~★⌒(●ゝω・)b

Tsuna did it—he blocked Lussuria’s number. Wait, why didn’t he do this with Reborn’s number before? Smiling, he did the same thing with the other man’s number. He almost yelped when his phone shook again. 

You can’t get rid of me that easily, Tsu-chan~ (๑ ˃̵͈́∀˂̵͈̀ )ʊʊ  

Okay, along with getting Fuuta a phone, Tsuna was going to change his number.


After stopping by his home to retrieve Xanxus’ umbrella, Tsuna took a bus down to Yumei. It wasn’t as large as Midori or Kokuyo but it was Namimori’s richest district. Honestly, he didn’t know why he even bothered following Lussuria’s directions—he just wanted to be left alone

But Lussuria must’ve had way too many phones on him because he’d send another text from a different number every time Tsuna blocked a new one. Was that supposed to be a thing? Either way, Tsuna hoped Reborn wouldn’t do the same. Well, he wouldn’t do that if he never found out, and that was if Tsuna just…didn’t respond. 

Kami, his hair was going to start graying way too early. 

Namimori Sanctum Hotel was the nicest hotel in the city. A 20-story building with cream-colored walls, it was located right in front of the central train station. Tsuna immediately felt inadequate when he walked through the revolving doors. The lobby was large and bright with a counter a couple of feet away. Tsuna’s Converse squeaked a little on the tiled floor, making him wince. Some patrons and workers walked around, creating some amicable chatter. 

Before Tsuna could reach the reception desk, a tall man suddenly appeared in front of him. Tsuna nearly tripped if the man hadn’t reached out to steady him. 

“Ah, I’m sorry,” he said, flushing. “Y—You just came out of nowhere.”

Wearing an all-black suit, the man had spiky brown hair and a black surgical mask. He glanced down at Tsuna, making the brunet unconsciously step back. Finally, after a minute or two, the man gestured for him to follow. Tsuna was just a little bit grateful that he carried Fuuta’s pepper spray in his bag. 

“Um…did Lus—” 

The man raised his hand, silencing Tsuna immediately. With a slight nod, he headed towards the elevator. Tsuna stayed rooted to the spot, just staring, as the man held the elevator open. Restraining a sigh, Tsuna slowly made his way towards him and entered the elevator. He shuffled closer to the corner, keeping an eye on the quiet man. 

Soft jazz filled the awkward silence, but Tsuna’s shoulders remained tense. He glanced up and nearly stiffened when the elevator stopped. They reached the 20th floor. 

The doors opened with a small ding. Tsuna followed the man down the long, well-lit hallways, marveling at the well-decorated walls and paintings. He stopped short when the man paused in front of a door at the farthest end of the hall. Stepping to the side, the man nodded at Tsuna then at the door. The room number was engraved on a small golden plaque: 2023. 

“Thank you…” 

Tsuna blinked when he turned around. The man had vanished. Shuddering, Tsuna searched the empty hallways but found no signs of him or that he even existed. Just…poof. 

Did he step into the twilight zone? He was pretty sure he did. 

Taking a deep breath, Tsuna knocked on the door. There was no response. He knocked again, louder this time. He heard some distant, rustling papers. Someone spoke but Tsuna couldn’t hear what the person was saying. He knocked a third time when the door suddenly flung open. 

“I told you to bring your card k—” 

Tsuna widened his eyes—it was Mammon. The man’s voice was much quieter than usual and very hoarse. A white mask covered his mouth and his eyes—they were a beautiful shade of lilac, making Tsuna’s breath hitch. He jumped when Mammon suddenly flipped his hood over his head. 

“Sawada,” he said, coughing lightly, “what are you doing here?”

Tsuna’s cheeks turned a little red. “I—He—Um, Lussuria-san told me to come…here. He kept bothering me and I couldn’t block his number so…”

Mammon pursed his lips. “Why do you have his”—he coughed—“number?”

Tsuna frowned. “Are you okay, Mammon-san?” 

“Answer the question.”

“I met Xanxus-san last night and gave him some miso soup so he wouldn’t get sick from the rain.” Tsuna took out the man’s umbrella from his bag. “I wanted to return this too, while I had the chance.”

Mammon stayed quiet for a moment before sighing. “Come in.” 

Tsuna entered the room quickly before Mammon shut the door. His nose crinkled when he saw the mess inside. The suite was spacious but not too fancy, with the curtains drawn over the large windows and cream-colored sofas littered with candy wrappers and clothes. Some empty wine bottles were on the coffee table with two empty glasses toppled over. There were three beds—only two were clean. 

“Why did he call you here?” Mammon said from the kitchen table. A small pile of papers was stacked on top of it.

Tsuna frowned. “Are you sick, Mammon-san?” When Mammon opened his mouth, Tsuna quickly said, “Lussuria-san just wanted me to give him my miso soup recipe. Well, I did but he said he was…a visual learner.” 

Sighing, Mammon then entered another coughing fit. He sipped his cup and scribbled something in an indigo planner. “That idiot. He’s out now. Just wait until he comes back. You won’t tell anyone about this.” 

Tsuna peered inside Mammon’s cup and immediately snatched it from his hand. “Are you drinking coffee?” 

Mammon lightly clicked his tongue. “Give it ba—” 

Tsuna scowled when Mammon coughed again. “Coffee won’t help you get better. You need to stay hydrated.”

“You can’t tell me what to do.” 

“No, but I can do this.” Tsuna dumped the coffee in the sink, ignoring Mammon’s protests. He looked around the bare kitchen before finding some tea near the coffee machine. “You’re going to drink this instead. I’m not taking no for an answer.”

Mammon didn’t speak while Tsuna heated the water. He chewed his lip, mentally smacking himself. What the hell was that? Why did he lash out at Mammon of all people? He’d never done that before. Wait, no, he did—when Fuuta caught a bad cold weeks ago, when Haru had a fever a year ago, when his mother… 

Tsuna gripped the counter to keep himself steady. He snapped out of his thoughts when hot water soon poured inside Mammon’s cup. The sound seeped through the silence. Tsuna tore the tea packet, faintly relaxing when he smelled a whiff of chamomile, and placed it in the cup. He frowned when he saw Mammon continue working through the papers.

“Mammon-san,” Tsuna said, setting the cup down on the table, “you should be resting.”

Mammon didn’t look up. “I am resting.” 

“This isn’t resting—this is working. You’re sick.” Tsuna swallowed a small lump in his throat. “Please, you shouldn’t—you shouldn’t push yourself. You’ll get worse.” 

Finally, Mammon paused. He peered at Tsuna from under his hood then sighed softly. “I’ll give you a pass for earlier.” 

Tsuna smiled slightly. “Thank you. And I’m sorry about for acting out before.” 

Pulling down his mask, Mammon accepted the cup of tea and blew on it cautiously. He wrinkled his nose. “I don’t like tea.”

“It’ll help your throat. I don’t think there’s any honey here to sweeten it for you.” 

Mammon took a small sip before placing the cup down on the table. Tsuna pulled a chair beside him. He glanced at the papers, which were filled with numbers. His eyes widened when he noticed a Namimori Hospital bill from the day he was admitted. 

“That’s my hospital bill,” he said weakly. 

Mammon tucked the piece of paper under another small pile. “It is.” 

“I—I could’ve paid it.” 

“It was either that or paying triple for the damages.”

Tsuna’s grip tightened around his bag. “I…suppose. Thank you, Mammon-san. You didn’t have to.” 

Mammon just pushed his mug to the side before returning to his papers.

Tsuna frowned. “I said you should rest.” 

“These won’t fill out themselves.” 

“You can do them later when you’re better and well-rested.” 

“This is resting for me.” 

Tsuna leaned his cheek onto his palm. “I said it before and I’ll say it again, Mammon-san. This is working.” 

Mammon sighed. “Mou, just stay quiet and leave me alone.” 

Tsuna suddenly pulled his chair closer to the table, making Mammon tense. “Then let me help.”

Mammon frowned. “No.” 

“You don’t have to pay me to shut up about whatever I’m looking at. I’m just going with my last option.”

Coughing, Mammon pulled up his mask and turned away. His coughs didn’t sound too bad, but Tsuna didn’t want to take any chances. He pushed Mammon’s cup towards him, which the man accepted grudgingly.

“This is me being nice, Mammon-san,” Tsuna said. “I would’ve slipped slipping pills in your drink.” 

Mammon paused, his cup centimeters from his lips. “You wouldn’t.” 

Tsuna smiled. “Don’t test me.” Mammon huffed. “Drink it before it gets cold.” Wrinkling his nose, Mammon drank some more tea while Tsuna perused the bills and paychecks on the table. “I can help you. This must be a lot for one person.” 

“Persistence will get you nowhere.” 

“If it means you getting better and resting like you should, I’d still give it a chance. Before you say anything, I really wasn’t lying about the sleeping pills.” 

Mammon frowned but didn’t say anything. He placed his pen down and grabbed his cup again, wrapping his hands around it. “You will tell no one.” 

“I know the drill, Mammon-san.” 

“Any mistakes you make, you’ll pay for yourself.” 

“I won’t.” Tsuna took Mammon’s pen and clicked it. “Where do I start?” 

Mammon slid a packet towards him. “This is Varia’s staff list divided into different departments. Read me the name and I’ll tell you what to write.” 

There were already several names crossed out on the spreadsheets. Tsuna skimmed through the numbers until they clicked in his head—they were the biweekly checks for each staff member. 

“Ah, okay.” Tsuna scooted closer to the table, quickly finding where Mammon left off. “Tachibana Chiyuri.”

“44,559.88 yen. Ne deductions.” 

Tsuna wrote it down. “Minamoto Yukio.”

Mammon coughed. “42,218.24 yen. No deductions.”

They continued like this for a while until Tsuna finally finished. He raised a brow when he realized how small Varia’s staff was. There were only 43 people. Mammon then took the packet away and placed it on a larger pile. Tsuna frowned. The man had definitely been going at it for a while now. 

“I hope that both piles are finished,” Tsuna said.

“Varia’s done,” Mammon said, shifting through some more spreadsheets. “This is Arcobaleno’s. Each member has their own pages.” 

Tsuna gawked when Mammon passed him three pages with Colonello’s name. He flipped through them and gasped at the large numbers. “This is all his?” 

“What else? Deduct 50% from each line on the first page.” 

Tsuna blinked. “I’m sorry?” 

Mammon pursed his lips. “I’m not repeating myself.” 

“Right…” 

Tsuna did what Mammon told him, even going as far to calculating the numbers. Mammon coughed before sniffling. Tsuna checked his cup, noticing that it was empty. 

“I’ll make you more tea,” he said, standing up before Mammon could protest. 

They soon entered a surprisingly lax silence when Tsuna heated up some water. 

“You don’t ask questions,” Mammon suddenly said. 

Tsuna quirked a brow. “I said I’d stay quiet if you let me help.” He glanced at the piles of paper. “You know, it’s not bad to ask once in a while. You look like you have your hands full.” 

Mammon sighed, tapping slowly against his thigh. “Help requires equal retribution. That’s something I’m not willing to get myself into.” 

“Not everyone asks for something when they help each other. Some people do it because they want to.” 

“Some, not many.” 

Tsuna smiled. “Maybe you haven’t met as many people yet.” 

“I’ve met enough.” 

Hot water then poured inside Mammon’s cup. Tsuna grabbed another chamomile tea packet from the small basket beside the coffee machine. 

“Well, it’d be nice, you know? I’ve lived in Namimori my whole life so meeting different people has been pretty limited. It’s my home and I love it, but I want to see a lot more.” Tsuna laughed sheepishly. “I used to have a travel journal back in middle school. I’d print out all these different places around the world and plan what I’d do if I get to spend the day there. It was my dream but, I can’t do that anymore, not without…my mother.” 

His chest ached when he remembered his mother’s kind smile, her warm brown eyes, the sweet scent she’d carry from the flower shop—they faded just as soon as they blossomed in his mind. Now all he saw was her pale face against her pillow and the heart monitor’s beeps slowing down. Running a hand through his hair, Tsuna blinked rapidly to keep his tears at bay. 

Wow, he really thought that he had it together but he was just pathetic, really—really, really pathetic.

“The cup’s full,” Mammon said, snapping Tsuna out of his thoughts. 

“Ah, right.” Tsuna placed the tea bag inside the mug and stirred it gently. He set it down in front of Mammon. “Here.” Mammon blew on it gently. Tsuna sat back down again. “You know, I’m not asking for anything for helping you.” 

Mammon just sighed under his breath. “Deduct 30% from Colonello’s final salary.”

Tsuna smiled but did what he asked. He blinked when he saw Mammon’s hand-written note on top of the third page. It was written in French but Tsuna understood what he wrote: Sawada sent to the hospital; transfer 30% to bill.

“Why aren’t you writing?” 

Tsuna jumped before laughing sheepishly. “My bad.” He wrote the deduction and calculated the final amount. “Is that everything?” 

Mammon just handed him another packet with Reborn’s name, which had more pages than Colonello’s. “Deduct 50% from the first page and 30% from his final wage.” 

Tsuna smiled. “I got it.” 

The two continued to work relatively in peace with Mammon coughing here and there. Lussuria never came but none of them realized it until Tsuna had to leave.


Returning to Namimori Middle nearly sucked the soul out of Tsuna’s body. 

He jumped when Mayumi slammed the classroom door open with impressive bravado. Oddly enough, the black panda ears on her head twitched when she pointed at the startled students. There were seven of them, which was less than Tsuna expected. How could seven students run however many food booths they were running? When he was in middle school, most of the grade participated and there weren’t any problems dividing the work. His eyes then landed on Junko who just blinked at him. 

Before Junko could say anything, Mayumi spoke, “Alright, br—kids, never fear because I found the most wonderful teacher to help you!” 

One of the female students frowned. “Kocho-sensei, we’re doing fi—” 

“This is Tsuna,” Mayumi said, shoving him in front of her. “Isn’t he the cutest bunny you’ve ever seen?” 

“Kocho-sensei, please don’t,” Tsuna deadpanned.

Some students snickered. 

“He’ll be filling in for Yagami-sensei so listen to him well!” Mayumi grinned. “Have fun and don’t give him too much trouble!” 

With that, she jumped out the window, but not before sending some finger guns at Tsuna with a wink. Tsuna just sighed and entered the quiet culinary room with an awkward smile. 

“So, I’ll be subbing in for Yagami-sensei,” he said, gauging everyone’s reactions. “I know that this is rather sudden, but I hope we can work well together.”

Some whispers broke out among the students until the girl who had spoken to Mayumi stepped forward. She had long black hair in a high ponytail and carried a clipboard.

“I’m Higashi Itsuko, Tsuna-san,” she said, “from Class 3-A. I deal with the funding for our booths.” She gestured to the other students. “We were just finalizing our plans. I’m sorry that Kocho-sensei brought you into this.” 

“I see,” Tsuna said. “Well, do you mind if I ask where the others are?”

Another female student with pigtails huffed behind Itsuko. “After Yagami-sensei got sick, most of them bailed.” 

Tsuna blinked. “Why would they do that?” 

The girl shrugged. “Probably didn’t see any point in it. Not all of them wanted to cook. I think some of them are doing their own club stuff.” 

A boy with glasses turned another page in his workbook. “This isn’t mandatory anyways.” 

The pigtailed girl rolled her eyes before flicking the boy’s forehead. “Yeah, don’t go complaining when we don’t have help on Saturday.” 

The boy rubbed his forehead with a wince. “You hit hard.”

Another girl with short hair separated the two with a nervous smile. “Rika-chan, Naoki-kun, let’s not fight, okay?” 

“So, are you saying that this is all of you…?” Tsuna said, catching everyone’s attention. His stomach sank when a few nodded. “Couldn’t you convince them to come back? I don’t think you can handle the booths with only seven of you—well, depending on your menu.” 

Tsuna jumped when Rika suddenly bounced towards him. She looked at him oddly for a moment or two before grinning. 

“You look like Giotto!” she said. 

Tsuna’s brow twitched. “Great. So, moving o—” He yelped when the girl leapt in the air, reaching out for his hair. “What are you doing?” 

“Rika-chan!” the short-haired girl said, pulling the other girl away. “I’m sorry, Tsuna-san. Rika-chan, stop it!” 

Rika pouted. “But, Miyumi-chan, it looks so fluffy.” 

Tsuna self-consciously ran a hand through his hair, which only made Rika squeal. He stepped back when she tried jumping again until Miyumi pulled her back with a sheepish smile.

“I’m sorry, Tsuna-san,” she said. “Rika-chan can get too excited sometimes.” 

“That’s…okay. Anyways—” 

“Are you related to Giotto?” Rika said. “Long-lost brother? Cousin?” 

Itsuko’s brow twitched. “Rika—” 

Tsuna pursed his lips. “I’m not related to him in any way. Let’s just get to the menus, okay? I’m sure you don’t want to end up staying here for too long.” 

“Tsuna-nii,” Junko said, stepping forward. She handed him a pink clipboard. “This is what we have so far.” 

A boy with headphones around his neck looked Tsuna up and down. “You know him, Junko?” 

Junko huffed. “Eiji-kun, be more polite. Tsuna-nii is older than you. We live in the same building.” 

Rika gasped. “Lucky! Then you get to see a Giotto-lookalike every day! I’m jealous!” 

Tsuna sighed. “I’m n—” 

Eiji scoffed. “Giotto’s not even that great.”

Rika glared at Eiji. “You’re just jealous that you’ll never be as great and handsome like him!”

Eiji rolled his eyes. “He barely puts in the work for the group. All he does is look nice and sing whatever G writes for him, who’s infinitely better anyways.” 

Naoki groaned into his hands. “Here we go again.” 

“That’s the same with Skull!” Rika said, ignoring Naoki.

Tsuna furrowed his brows. “Wait—”

He blinked when Junko pulled him back and shook her head. “It’s better to leave them alone, Tsuna-nii. You can sit down here.” 

Itsuko and Miyumi joined them, the latter sighing sadly. Pushing up her glasses, Itsuko sat down across from Tsuna. “Don’t even bother listening to them. I’m sorry about them.” 

Tsuna just laughed it off. “It’s fine. So, this is what you have so far?” 

He skimmed the list. Even though he was doing something a little more productive, he still couldn’t block out the students bickering in the background. 

“—produces everything for the group with Asari so I don’t know what you’re trying to prove here,” Eiji said. 

“Giotto made his own single!” Rika said, waving her arms in the air. 

“’Stay in My Heart’? Come on, that was like years ago. Where’s his singles now?” 

“Do they do this a lot?” Tsuna said, glancing at the quarreling students. 

Itsuko sighed. “More than necessary.” 

Miyumi smiled sheepishly. “Rika-chan and Eiji-kun are just really passionate about music.” 

Junko shrugged. “They’ll finish soon. What do you think about this, Tsuna-nii?” 

Tsuna returned to the list. “Well, I don’t see a lot of problems with it. I’m just more concerned how seven of you can cook all of this.” 

“You don’t have to help us,” Itsuko said. “Kocho-sensei can be…overbearing.” 

Junko frowned. “Itsuko-chan, we can’t do this alone. Besides”—she smiled—“Tsuna-nii will actually help us better than Yagami-sensei. He’s a very good cook.”

Miyumi peered at Tsuna shyly. “Really? It’d be nice if you can help us.” 

Itsuko pursed her lips. “Are you trying to say something?” 

Miyumi stiffened. “Ah, well…” 

“This can work if there’s more of us,” Junko said. “We’re just saying that we could take some things off.” 

Itsuko narrowed her eyes. “We have enough funds for this.” 

“It’s not about funds, Itsuko-chan, it’s about availability. Also, not all of us can cook these.” 

“I can.” 

“But you’re only one person. You can’t handle all the booths.” 

“I can work something out.” 

“Okay,” Tsuna said, getting their attention, “the bunkasai’s in three days and we can’t afford to waste time arguing about this. Itsuko, I agree with Junko-chan and Miyumi.” He gestured at the list. “This is too much for all of you. It doesn’t matter if you can cook these or not—you have to work together if you want the booths to function at all. Besides, this is a lot of food.” 

Itsuko scowled. “I—” 

“I’m not saying you’re incompetent or anything like that, but you also need to consider your classmates. If they can’t handle these then it’ll backfire. Unless you can get the others to come back, you could work something out, but this is still a lot. You should cut it down to three or four dishes, something easier so you guys don’t get a heart attack.” 

Miyumi and Junko giggled, but Itsuko kept her frown in place. 

“This isn’t what I expected,” she said, her voice slightly quivering. 

Her chair skidded as she abruptly stood up. With that, she marched out of the room, slamming the door shut behind her. 

“Did I say something wrong?” Tsuna said, his eyes wide. 

Miyumi shook her head. “No, Itsuko-chan’s just very sensitive.” She smiled. “Since it’s our last year, she wants to give it her all, even if she doesn’t say it out loud.” 

Junko nodded. “She’s also moving to Tokyo after she graduates. We don’t know when we’ll see her again…” 

A bout of silence passed before a boy wearing a baseball cap stood up. “I’ll go and talk to her.” 

Miyumi smiled. “Okay. Take your time, Shinji-kun.”

Shinji gave her a two-finger salute. “Oh, by the way, Rika, Decimo’s a whole lot better than Primo.” 

He grinned and dashed out of the room just as Rika threw her pencil case at him. Shinji’s laughter rang in the hallways before fading out. 

“No, they’re not!” Rika said, scowling. 

Eiji snorted. “I mean, if you look at their record sales—” 

“Shut up, Eiji!” 

“You just don’t want to admit that Primo’s ancient.” 

“They’re not! They’re all in their twenties!”

“You get what I mean. Besides, Arcobaleno’s pretty old but they’re still relevant.” 

“They’ve just been in the industry longer.” 

Primo’s been in there longer, too.” Eiji shrugged. “Stars eventually fade out, Rika. Can’t deny it.” 

Naoki raised his hands. “Why don’t we just talk about something else? Did you study for the math test tomorrow?”

Rika glared, making Naoki flinch. “Does that matter?” She suddenly turned to Tsuna. “What do you think, Tsuna-san?” 

Tsuna blinked. “What do I think about what?” 

“About Primo! Are they too old? They’re not right?” 

“Um, I don’t think I’m the best person to as—” 

Tsuna drew back when Rika leaned over his desk. “Primo’s great, right?” 

“Well, I mean—” 

Junko pulled Rika back. “Rika-chan, you’re overwhelming him.” 

All Tsuna could think about was Primo and Decimo fighting at the restaurant. Not really the greatest impressions. Then again… 

“Giotto-sa—Giotto is nice,” Tsuna said, “if that’s what you mean.” 

Rika brightened up immediately. “He is! He’s the biggest sweetheart ever!”

“Yeah…” 

“And he has such a sexy voice and I still can’t get over the fact that you look like him, only fluffier! Kocho-sensei’s right! You do look like a bunny!” 

Tsuna’s brow slightly twitched but his smile froze in place. “I guess.” 

“Neh, Tsuna-san, who’s your favorite idol?” 

Miyumi helped Junko pull Rika back. “Rika-chan, calm down.” 

“Um, again, I don’t think I’m the right p—” 

“Is it Giotto? That’d be so cute! I can show you some posters I have of him!” 

Eiji snorted. “Yeah, you’ll just creep him out, stalker.” 

Rika narrowed her eyes. “I didn’t ask you, idiot.” She turned to Tsuna with a sweet smile. “Well?” 

Tsuna sweat-dropped. “You really like Giotto-s—Giotto, don’t you?”

Rika swooned. “Of course! With his lovely sky blue eyes and sexy voice, he’s the sweetest, kindest man to ever walk this earth! Who wouldn’t love Giotto-sama?” 

Miyumi smiled. “Well, I like Dino.” 

Rika widened her eyes. “Yes, Dino!” She squealed. “He’s so cute and sexy—how is that even possible? And his voice! Did you watch his concert last night? He covered one of Reborn’s songs, ‘Ansare’! It was so good, I cried!”

Tsuna raised a brow. “Ansare” meant “to be out of breath” or “to hardly breathe” in Italian. He didn’t want to know. 

Miyumi tilted her head. “Isn’t Reborn dating someone?” 

Rika rolled her eyes. “No, they broke up a long time ago—Bianchi. Did you know she’s Gokudera’s half-sister? How crazy is that? Well, I guess I can see the resemblance—they’re both so violent. Oh, there were rumors that she sent Reborn an invitation to her gallery but he didn’t go.” She giggled. “Too bad for her.” 

Tsuna pursed his lips. He didn’t know who Bianchi was or if what Rika said was true, but he was a bit put off with how she belittled the other woman. 

“Oh, then I must’ve mixed that up with someone else,” Miyumi said. 

Rika perked up. “Oh, oh, oh! I think I know who you mean! Mukuro!”

Miyumi nodded. “Yeah, Mukuro! They said he might be dating someone in secret.” 

“With M.M.! She’s one of the stylists in Trinisette! Oh, did you know she works at Étoile? Lucky her—she gets to meet hot men all the time! I think she’d look good with Mukuro.” 

M.M.? Wasn’t that the candy…? 

Eiji sighed before putting on his headphones and heading towards the door. “Peace. I’m out.” 

Junko furrowed her brows. “Where’re you going? The meeting’s not over.” 

“No point if none of you are going to talk about anything useful. See you tomorrow.” 

Eiji slid the door shut before Junko could say anything more. 

Rika huffed, crossing her arms over her chest. “Good. He was being annoying anyways.” 

Naoki sighed. “I mean, he’s right. We’re not doing anything productive. Itsuko’s out and it’ll take a while before Shinji calms her down.”

Tsuna smiled apologetically. “Sorry about that. I should’ve done something about it.” 

Junko shook her head. “It’s okay, Tsuna-nii. We can work more on it tomorrow.” 

Miyumi smiled brightly. “Yes, we can! This’ll be fun!” 

Rika suddenly gasped. “Miyumi-chan, Junko-chan, we need to go!” 

The two girls tilted their heads. “Eh?” 

Rika grabbed her bag and shoved her phone in their faces. “They said Decimo’s at the children’s hospital now! We need to go! Oh my God, they’re actually here, in Namimori!” She squealed. 

Naoki blinked. “Wait, what? I thought you hated Decimo.” 

“Don’t ‘what’ me! This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! They’re still celebrities! We need to go!” Rika grinned slyly. “They said that Nagi’s there, too.” 

Tsuna just stared while Naoki scrambled for his bag and was already half-way out the door. 

“Well, are you coming or not?” he said. 

“Going!” Rika waved at Tsuna. “Bye, Tsuna-san! I’ll see you tomorrow! Don’t run ahead, Naoki!” 

Clutching her bag to her chest, Miyumi bowed towards Tsuna. “I—I’ll see you tomorrow, Tsuna-san. Thank you for coming! Rika-chan, Naoki-kun, wait for me!”

Tsuna waved half-heartedly. “See you tomorrow…” 

Junko giggled. “I’m sorry about that, Tsuna-nii.” 

Tsuna smiled. “You don’t have to apologize. Are you leaving, too?” 

Junko slipped the clipboard back in her school bag. “Someone has to keep them in check. I’ll see you tomorrow.” 

“Good luck.” 

Junko nodded. “Thank you!” 

After she left, Tsuna tensed when he heard multiple shrieks outside. Looking out the window, he winced when a large crowd of students dashed out of the gates, most likely heading towards the children’s hospital. 

He fished his phone out of his pocket. It was 3:23 PM. Lambo and I-pin should be coming out of school around now. He wasn’t sure about Fuuta, but he’d probably still be in the building. It was quiet, almost too quiet. A cool breeze swept in the room, making Tsuna sigh softly. 

Still though, with that many people swarming a hospital… 

Chewing his lip, Tsuna pulled up Hibari’s number. 

Hibari-san, I’m sorry if I’m bothering you but I just wanted to let you know that you and Decimo might be in trouble in a few minutes. Some of your fans found out where you are. Stay safe.  

He closed his phone and remained in his seat for a few more minutes. There was no response. Finally, he stood up to go looking for Fuuta.


At least, being home was less eventful. 

“Did you send it, Big Brother?” 

“Yes, I dropped it off this morning.” 

“You’re sure?” 

Fuuta frowned. “I still don’t like it, Tsuna-nii.” 

“I’m sorry, Fuuta…” 

I-pin beamed. “But we’re going!” She squealed into her pillow. “And Big Sister’s coming with us, too! It’s going to be the best thing ever! I love you, Big Brother!” 

Tsuna smiled softly, hugging I-pin. “Yeah, I love you too, I-pin.”

Lambo pouted. “I want a hug, too.” He giggled when Tsuna tugged him closer. “We’re going to be together forever right, Tsuna-nii?” 

Tsuna kissed Lambo’s head. “Yeah, we will. Come on, you guys need to sleep.” 

He ran a hand through Fuuta’s hair while the boy slept by his side. I-pin and Lambo snoozed to his left. Sighing, Tsuna rested his head against the wall and gazed out the small bedroom window. The moon glowed faintly against the evening sky and the stars shone like little diamonds. Tsuna’s lips twitched into a soft smile. 

His phone soon vibrated in his hand. Lowering the brightness, he read the message that popped up from an unknown number: The offer for Varia still stands if you ever change your mind. 

Tsuna huffed before responding. Thank you, but I don’t think I ever will. 

Understandable, but the offer will remain open.  

Tsuna chuckled under his breath. He then remembered Mammon’s lilac eyes and wondered why he would cover them up. He didn’t even bother questioning how Mammon got his number. Probably from Lussuria. Tsuna was still changing it though. 

His phone buzzed again. 

I’m sorry for not being there, Tsu-chan~ My meeting went on longer than I thought~ ๐·°(৹˃̵﹏˂̵৹)°·๐ Let’s meet up next time~  

It’s okay, Lussuria-san. Don’t push yourself too much.  

Aww, you really are an angel, Tsu-chan!~ (´▽`ʃƪ)♡ 

Tsuna sighed. Honestly, at this point, he didn’t know what to think anymore. Another message appeared on his screen and he smiled when he saw that it was from Vasya. 

pls tell me youre still alive  

Affirmative.  

and resting??  

Never felt better.  

why do i have the feeling that youre messing with me… (╯•﹏•╰)  

I’m not! You don’t have to worry about me.  

okay but you know im here for ya right??

Same with me. Is there something you needed?  

oh nahhh. just wanted to check on you. but was kind of wondering if your midori sea tour’s still available. we’re actually leaving tomorrow so…yeah. if you cant then thats okay!! no worries!!  

Of course! What time do you want to meet up?  

oh really?? cool!! is 5 okay?? too early??  

That’s fine!

we can meet where we had that photoshoot before. its cleared out anyways.

Sure! I’ll see you tomorrow there then.  

yup!! sleep tight tsuna!! gotta go now!! ヾ(-_- )ゞ

Good night, Vasya. Take care.

At that moment, looking out into the night sky, Tsuna had never felt more at peace.

Chapter Text

“Hope for snow at quiet dawn

Frost on the window pane

Branches cut into the clear blue sky

And the wind carries your name.”

-Rivers by Allman Brown


Thankfully Tsuna woke up before his set alarm. He stared at his phone for a few seconds, listening to Fuuta’s even breathing beside him. It was quiet and the sun still hasn’t risen yet. The birds weren’t awake either and neither were his siblings, who all slept peacefully around him. After fixing Lambo into a more comfortable position, Tsuna stood up and carefully stepped over Fuuta for the door.

Yawning, he entered the bathroom to wash his face and brush his teeth. He skipped eating breakfast since he’d cook later anyways and quickly changed into an orange sweater and some jeans. When he slipped on his sneakers, he pocketed his keys and left the apartment as quietly as he could.

The bus didn’t run until 6:00 A.M., but since Namimori wasn’t too big of a city, it’d take Tsuna around half an hour to arrive at the meeting point. Few cars drove in the streets. The neighborhood was peaceful and the sky was a beautiful shade of dark purple and orange. He could see the sun slightly peeking in the distance, emitting a small yellow glow.

His footsteps were the only sound in the muted silence but Tsuna didn’t mind. He was just grateful it wasn’t raining. After around 30 minutes or so, he arrived at Third Street and headed for the previously roadblocked area where he had first met the Arcobaleno—well, some of them.

This was a reality he should accept by now but he thought he was still dreaming because this wasn’t normal, no matter how many times he even thought about it. Still, at the same time, it didn’t feel as abnormal. Yeah, it didn’t make any sense to him either. 

It was easy to find Vasya. Aside from him being the only other person around, Tsuna’s gut was somehow very attuned in finding these kinds of people. The other man wore a large white hoodie and cargo shorts. His black cap made Tsuna frown. Vasya had to be disguised even at dawn? Sometimes, he wondered if Vasya ever spent time uninterrupted. Tsuna immediately stopped that train of thought. Vasya was an idol, a celebrity, who was probably never going to have a normal life again, and the more Tsuna thought about it, the sadder that prospect seemed. 

“Vasya,” Tsuna called out over the soft, tumbling waves from below. 

Vasya turned quickly from the railings, his black mask slipped down to his chin. He immediately grinned, and his eyes nearly glowed from the rising morning light. “Morning, Tsuna!” He laughed sheepishly. “Sorry for this. It’s pretty early, huh?”

Tsuna shook his head. “No, it’s fine. Besides, I offered first. Did you wait long?”

“Nah, I just got here.” Vasya leaned his elbow on the railings and gazed out into the purple-orange sky and sea. “It’s really great.”

Tsuna smiled, enjoying the sea breeze tousling his hair. “Come on. We can see better down there.”

Vasya followed him without hesitation. “Okay.”


As promised, Tsuna led Vasya to a stairwell near a small bridge going down to the beach. The wooden planks creaked underneath their feet until they reached the sand, which crunched softly with every step they took. Tsuna breathed in the aromatic sea air, and could taste the salty water in his mouth. 

“Wow,” Vasya said, “you weren’t lying.”

There were rarely any clouds in the sky, which was a beautiful expanse of purple and dark orange casting the sea in a dark shadow. The sun glowed brightly against the cusp of the horizon, shedding some light onto the tumbling waves. 

“I wouldn’t lie about this,” Tsuna said.

Vasya smiled crookedly. “Nah, you wouldn’t.”

Neither of them spoke; they just basked in the lapping waves and gentle wind. No thoughts filtered in Tsuna’s head for once, but it was a nice kind of emptiness, the peaceful kind. The sand was cool and firm under his feet as he walked along the water line. Even though the waves that kissed his ankles were cold, he didn’t shy away from them. Vasya walked a step or two behind him, splashing some water. 

“I used to walk with babulya near the river at home,” he said, the wind carrying his voice over. Tsuna paused and turned around to see Vasya gazing wistfully at the ocean. “Babulya’s my granny. She was a tough lady but she had the sweetest voice.” Vasya smiled faintly. “I miss her.”

Tsuna followed his gaze to see the sun continuing to rise in the purple-orange horizon. The waves lapped against the shore, a constant, hushed roar that anchored him to the present. “She sounds like a wonderful person,” he said.

Vasya chuckled. “Yeah, she was.” He kicked the water lightly, splashing some on his bare ankles. “We weren’t exactly the richest people growing up. Dedulya built ships—my gramps, sorry—but he died in an accident when I was 8. Kind of ironic, you know? Being killed by something you loved doing.” 

“I’m sorry for your loss,” Tsuna said softly.

Vasya shrugged, but his smile didn’t reach his eyes. “It happened. The past is the past. That’s what everyone says, right?”

Tsuna pursed his lips. That wasn’t how people should grieve. “It’s okay,” he said. “Sometimes, you can’t expect others to understand what you’re going through. Everyone grieves differently. I still miss my mother. I still mourn her even if it’s been years. No one should expect you to get over it. It’s not something you just forget.” He looked up, meeting Vasya’s wide-eyed gaze. Somehow it hurt to see how vulnerable Vasya looked. Vaguely, he wondered if Vasya had any time to just cope for himself. “Go at your own pace, but know that there are people who’ll be there for you, including me. It’s up to you how you want to do it because no one else understands your grief but you.”

Blinking, Vasya seemed just a little more lost than Tsuna had expected. Ah, maybe he should’ve cut some words out here or there. He jumped when Vasya suddenly laughed. It was a low, soft laugh that sent shivers up Tsuna’s spine.

“I—I was being serious,” Tsuna said, biting his lip. “Really, I—”

Vasya shook his head. “No, yeah. I know. I just”— Tsuna didn’t comment when Vasya rubbed his eyes—“I’m just being weird, sorry. I never talked about this kind of stuff like this and it just came out like that. I mean, yeah, the whole world knows it. Nothing much I can do there; it’s nice that most people respect it. I just”—Vasya looked down at his feet—“I was fucking pissed when I saw paparazzi at babulya’s funeral.” He laughed bitterly, crouching, and almost fell over if Tsuna hadn’t steadied him by the shoulder. “They just stood there and took pictures like it was some kind of show. It wasn’t. It didn’t matter how angry I was or what Luce did to keep them away. Nothing mattered.” His voice came out as a whisper, a small hiss. “That wasn’t how I wanted her to go.” 

The words continued to spill out but Tsuna didn’t stop Vasya. He just listened.

Volkov boyat’sa—v les ne khodit,” Vasya said, his language smooth on his tongue. “Dedulya always told me that. It basically means face your fears. I know what I do for a living’s probably not the safest—the stunts, I mean. But I’ve never been afraid of catching fire or breaking some bones. It’s weird but those are the things I like. You know, like the feeling you get when you know you’re alive? I live for that feeling. Have you ever rode a motorcycle before? God, it’s the best.”

Tsuna crouched down to Vasya’s level but still had to look up a little to see the other’s face. He smiled slightly. “No, I never have.”

Vasya didn’t meet his eyes. He only stared down at the sand. “You should try it some time,” he said. “If you want to! I’m not forcing you to do anything. It’s probably stupid though.” He huffed a small laugh. “You should see me when Fon and I go racing sometimes. It gets pretty wild.” He grimaced. “But never get in the same car with him. I don’t think it’ll be nice on your stomach.”

Tsuna laughed softly. “I’ll take that into account. I can only imagine how that feels for you. Riding your motorcycle, I mean. And what you said wasn’t stupid. I wouldn’t mind trying it if I had the time.” 

Vasya smiled slightly. “I think you’d like it. I’m not sure if you will but I hope you do.” He finally sat down on the sand, even if the waves were close to reaching his thighs. “And I’m sorry about your mom. I kind of just went off and talked about myself.” He laughed, which sounded forced and a little choked up. “I do that a lot, sorry.” 

“Vasya,” Tsuna said, “you don’t have to apologize. You didn’t do anything wrong. I’m…grateful that you trust me enough to share this with me. Not many people would do that. Vasya.” When the other man finally looked up, Tsuna smiled gently. “I’m here to listen. You can talk as much as you want. I don’t mind.”

He sat down next to Vasya, shivering a bit. He should’ve brought a jacket on the way out. The wind grew chillier, especially since they were closer to the waters, but Tsuna just hugged his knees to his chest and wrapped his arms around them for warmth. 

“Are you cold?” Vasya said, his brows creased in worry.

Tsuna shook his head. “I’m fine. You don’t have to worry.” He widened his eyes when Vasya tugged his hoodie over his head. “What are you doing?”

The purple shirt underneath Vasya’s hoodie rode up a bit, revealing some skin. Tsuna looked away quickly. His cheeks felt a little hot. Okay, so Vasya…had a really nice stomach (abs). He tensed when something heavy and warm fell on his lap. Looking down, he blinked when he noticed it was Vasya’s hoodie.

“Oh no, I couldn’t,” he said, handing it back to the other man. 

“Nah, you can,” Vasya said, grinning lopsidedly. “Wear it. I was getting a little hot anyways.” He laughed. “Seriously, Tsuna, wear it. You look blue.” 

Tsuna’s breath hitched. “I do?” He looked down at his hands, which were a little paler than usual. His fingertips were faintly red, too. “Still…” 

Vasya huffed. “Tsuna, I’m not losing you to hypothermia.” He wrinkled his nose. “Totally not the best way to go by the way.” 

Tsuna laughed. “Okay, okay, I get it. Point taken.” After slipping on the hoodie, he could smell Vasya’s warm and spicy scent. He jumped a bit when Vasya laughed. “What?” 

Vasya ran a hand through his hair. “You—You’re so small! God, you look like you shrunk!”

Tsuna flushed. Well, it wasn’t his fault that his arms weren’t as long as Vasya’s or that he was a bit short. The hoodie was pretty big and roomy but comfortable and almost reached his knees. “I—You’re just taller than me, that’s all!” 

Vasya snorted. “Yeah, sure.” He swept his hair casually, which was still a little tousled from sleep. “But I meant it, you know? About your mom.” 

Tsuna nodded. “I know.” 

Vasya tilted his head. “So does that mean you’re raising your siblings alone?” He winced, looking away. “Shit, sorry. I shouldn’t ask.”

“It’s okay,” Tsuna said, watching the waves. “I have a good friend who helps me.”

“The one in Tokyo?”

“Yes. She’s been there for me for as long as I can remember.” Tsuna chuckled. “I don’t think I’d be here talking to you if she wasn’t there.”

Vasya sucked in a breath sharply. He didn’t speak for a moment. Finally, he said, “What about…your dad? You’re awful young to be doing this, you know, raising three kids. Not that it’s a bad thing! I’m not saying you shouldn’t do it! Your life, you know? You do you!”

Tsuna couldn’t help but laugh at Vasya’s flustered face. “I get it. Don’t worry. I also thought I was going way over my head when I adopted them.” He smiled fondly. “But I love them and I don’t regret taking them in. They’re my family.” He rested his chin on his knees. “I don’t know about my father. My mother never talked about him and I never asked. Well, I did once, but she didn’t react very well so I didn’t ask again.”

Vasya furrowed his brows. “So your mom raised you by herself.”

“Yes.”

“That’s must’ve been rough.”

Tsuna smiled. “We had each other so it wasn’t that bad.” His smile faltered as another cold breeze swept through. “Still, I wonder…”

“Tsuna.” The brunet blinked when Vasya laid a hand on his shoulder. “I never knew my mom or dad. Babulya and dadulya raised me by themselves, but they were just as much as my parents as they were my grandparents. They were everything to me and I’m sure your mom felt the same. She’d be proud of you now. I know she would, so don’t kick yourself over it. You’re doing fine, better than most people.”

No one but Haru told Tsuna the same thing as Vasya did. It was pathetic now that he thought about it, that he needed some kind of validation from his insecurities. “Thank you, Vasya,” he said. “I think the same about your grandparents, too.” 

Vasya smiled. It reached his eyes easily this time. “Yeah.” He chuckled. “This is probably the weirdest outing I’ve been on.” Leaning back on his hand, he closed his eyes. “But it’s nice. Thanks, Tsuna.” 

Tsuna propped his chin on his hand, his lips curled into a smile. “It’s no problem at all.” 

They sat there, near the lapping waves, and basked under the morning light for a while longer.


“Lambo, don’t rush. You’re not late.”

“But I want to eat more rice, Tsuna-nii, and that takes time!”

“You’re going to choke, which will only take longer,” I-pin said.

A vein popped in Lambo’s forehead. “What did you say, pinhead? I’ll have you choke instead!” 

Tsuna quickly pried the two of them apart before they actually killed each other. It wasn’t a secret that I-pin had some painful punches. “Lambo, I-pin, how many times do I have to say to not fight at the table? You’re both going to end up late.” 

The children immediately wilted back into their seats.

“Sorry, Tsuna-nii.” 

“I’m sorry, Big Brother.”

Tsuna finished packing their bentos and placed them on the table. “Threatening each other like that or anyone else is wrong. You have to look out for one another or else it’s going to become a bad habit.” He smiled and ruffled Lambo’s hair. “Just keep that in mind, okay?” 

Lambo leaned into his touch. “I promise.” 

After watching his siblings walk off to school, Tsuna couldn’t help but laugh nervously when Fuuta reminded him about the pepper spray, which was tucked in one of the drawers and hopefully wouldn’t be used any time soon. Also, Fuuta was terrifyingly close to finding Vasya’s hoodie if Tsuna hadn’t distracted him at the last second. When he finally had the house to himself, he took a moment to bask in the hushed silence. 

Soon he busied himself with cleaning the house and washing the dishes. He did the laundry, including washing Vasya’s hoodie, and sent him a quick text: I’m sorry I forgot to give your hoodie back!

Out of curiosity, he checked his text with Hibari, who never responded to him. His lips slightly twitched when he saw that his message was read just a few minutes after he had sent it.

Vasya responded then: nahhh, it’s okay. keep it. i got plenty. at least itll keep you warm :D 

While Tsuna typed a response, his phone started ringing from a call with an unknown number. He furrowed his brows, puzzled, but picked up anyways. “Hello?”

“Ah, Tsuna!” a familiar voice said. “This is Luce. We met at Kurokawa Cuisine.”

Tsuna nearly dropped his phone. “O—Oh, yes! Luce-san! Yes.”

Luce chuckled. “I apologize for calling you so suddenly. I hope I didn’t wake you. But is there a chance we can meet in person later today?”

“Ah, can I ask what this is about? And how you got my number?”

“Oh, it’s nothing terrible, I assure you. And I received your number from someone we can both trust.”

Luce was definitely skirting the point here on purpose; although, Tsuna had a feeling he knew what this was about. “Well, I can only meet in the morning,” he said. “If that’s alright with you.”

“That’s perfect! Can you come to Boketto Café at around 8 then? Is that too early?”

Tsuna glanced at the clock and blinked. That was in like, half an hour. “No, it’s not. I can get there by then.” 

“Alright,” Luce chirped. “Thank you! I’ll see you soon.” 

After Tsuna hung up, he sighed again. “This isn’t normal,” he muttered into his hands, cradling his head. “So not normal…”

What was even normal anymore? Not a whole lot.


It didn’t take long to arrive at Boketto Café. The bell tinkered sweetly when Tsuna entered through the doors. Not too many people were present since it was still rather early, but there were some customers wandering up and down the aisles, browsing the bookshelves. It was also relatively quiet, other than the soft jazz playing in the background and the rustling of turning pages.

A different waiter greeted him at the café upstairs. “Welcome, sir,” he said with a bow. “Would you like to be seated anywhere in particular?” 

“Ah,” Tsuna said, “I’m here to meet someone.”

There were a handful of people seated at the café, mostly university students reading a book or typing on their laptops. Tsuna looked around to see if he could find Luce when he noticed a woman sitting alone in one of the back tables. “I found her,” he said. “I’ll just sit over there.”

The waiter nodded. “Would you like a menu then, sir?”

“Yes, thank you.” 

Taking a menu, Tsuna headed towards the back where Luce sat. A beige knit hat sat on her head. Instead of a suit, she wore a casual brown sweater, leggings, and boots. Before Tsuna could greet her, Luce turned around to face him with a bright smile, like she knew he was there. “Tsuna!” she said. “Come, sit, sit. Would you like anything?” 

Tsuna smiled politely, feeling just a little creeped out, as he sat down across from her. She had a cup of latte on a saucer in front of her, still hot and untouched. He raised his menu. “I was just about to order something, thank you. I’m sorry, did you wait long?”

Luce shook her head. “No.” She smiled apologetically. “I’m sorry for calling you out on such short notice. Are you feeling alright? I heard from Vasya about your condition in the hospital. I’m sorry wasn’t able to stay for too long.”

Tsuna waved his hands. “Oh no, I’m fine. I was just a little tired that day. You don’t have to worry about me.”

Luce raised a brow. “‘A little tired’ doesn’t make you faint, Tsuna.” She pursed her lips. “You looked exhausted, and with the guests you had to tend to that day, I’m surprised you were able to go on as long as you did.” Raising her cup, she peered at Tsuna with gentle yet shrewd eyes, reminding him that she was just as much as a businesswoman as she was a normal person.

Tsuna settled on a blank, polite countenance. “I’m only human after all. I learned my limits that day.”

Luce smiled. “Yes, we all are. Imagine my surprise again when I heard your name from my mother.”

Tsuna blinked. “Your mother?” 

“Yes. Sepira—she founded and runs the Giglio Nero Foundation.” 

Tsuna’s heart nearly sank. Of course. He had already suspected why Luce called him out but he didn’t want his qualms to actually be true. The more he thought about it, the more likely it seemed inevitable anyways. He also had a feeling that this was more than a courtesy meeting. “I see,” he said. “This is about the raffle, isn’t it?” 

Luce nodded, her eyes still gentle. “Yes. I couldn’t believe it myself, but you’ve been quite the popular topic lately.” 

Tsuna paled. “What does that mean?” 

Luce set down her cup and covered her smile with her hand. “Oh, don’t worry. I don’t mean that you’re popular among the tabloids or press, just among us.” That still didn’t calm Tsuna in the slightest. “Actually, it’s part of the reason why I asked to meet with you.”

Tsuna didn’t respond to that. Instead, he waited for Luce to continue. He straightened himself slightly, an old habit of keeping himself focused on what the other person was saying, and never looked away from Luce’s gaze. 

“It’s courtesy to confirm the raffle winners through the phone,” Luce said, “but I thought it’d be easier for us to meet up personally since you’re so close-by.” She smiled. “Isn’t it fascinating how small the world is? We all meet certain people in our lives, regardless of our circumstances. Fate can be strange but all the more mysterious that way.” 

She sounded almost wistful. Tsuna wasn’t sure what to feel at the moment but he still had his guard up.

“Which is why I found you quite the curious character, Tsuna.” Luce smiled almost wryly. “It’s not every day we see the same person more than once in our field. You have quite the luck.”

“I’d thank you if it hadn’t brought me into situations like these,” Tsuna said, keeping his tone even. “My luck isn’t exactly the kind of luck you’re thinking about. I didn’t expect this to happen but I should’ve known better.”

Luce chuckled. “And yet you still participated in the raffle.” 

“It was for my siblings.”

“Ah, right! You mentioned having siblings. You’re a wonderful brother for doing that much for them. Am I right in saying that you’ll be bringing them on the trip, too?”

“It’s what they wanted—well, most of them.” Fuuta’s pepper spray came to mind. “I was hoping to also get in touch with you somehow, Luce-san.”

Luce smiled knowingly. “I assure you that your siblings will be safe throughout the whole trip. May I ask how old they are?”

“My brothers are 12 and 9,” Tsuna said, noticing the waiter a few tables down. Their eyes met for a brief second. “My sister is 8.” 

Before Luce could respond, the waiter approached the table with a polite smile. “Are you ready to order, sir?”

Tsuna skimmed the coffee selection. Usually he’d go for a cappuccino in the morning, but instead he said, “A double espresso, please.” He was going to need some more of a caffeine boost. 

“Of course, sir,” the waiter said, taking his menu. “Anything else? Ma’am?”

Luce shook her head. “Oh no, I’m fine, thank you.”

Tsuna smiled slightly. “That’s all. Thank you.” 

After the waiter left, Luce sipped more of her latte. “It must be difficult taking care of that many children. I’ve also heard that you’re working three jobs.” 

Tsuna blinked. “How…? Ah, Kurokawa-san.”

Luce smiled softly. “She’s a diligent young woman and a wonderful friend.” She laughed behind her hand. “I believe she would’ve kicked everyone out of the hospital if it weren’t for Fon’s diplomacy. I never expected anything like that to happen coming here to Namimori, but fate can spring up some fun surprises. Ah, right! You mentioned that you had wanted to get in touch with me somehow. Are there some concerns you wanted to tell me? I apologize—sometimes I can get off-topic very easily.”

Tsuna waved his hands. “No, it’s fine.” He scooted a little closer to the table. “I originally didn’t want to go on the trip and I hope you don’t take any offense to that.” 

Luce widened her eyes. “Oh, of course! No one is forcing you to go, Tsuna. I understand perfectly where you’re coming from.” She smiled. “I’m glad to hear that you’ll be joining us. Vasya will be very happy to hear about it!” 

Tsuna pursed his lips. “I was also wondering about Vasya. I know it’s not my place but I’m asking as a friend—is he okay? I’ve seen Reborn-san and Colonello-san harass him whenever I see them together. I’m not sure of their dynamics and I may not have the complete picture but from what I see, Vasya is not in the best environment.” 

Softening, Luce’s eyes took on a much kinder gleam. “You don’t have to worry about Vasya, Tsuna. I know that it may seem that way but the group is very close. You are right—you do not have the complete picture. The Arcobaleno debuted 8 years ago. Regardless of their flaws and misgivings, they managed to work around them and function as a unit.” Luce chuckled. “I guess you can say that they’re a very dysfunctional family. I understand that some things may seem questionable but Renato and Colonello are not the most affectionate people. Well, more Renato than Colonello. I know it sounds like an excuse but you don’t know them like I do.” Smiling, Luce brushed her hand against her phone, a sleek new model with an orange and white leather case. “You also have nothing to worry about. Vasya and Fon are very good with children and the others know how to behave.” 

Tsuna slightly grimaced. “The way you put it doesn’t exactly help my nerves, Luce-san.” The waiter returned then, allowing him to briefly recollect his thoughts. As soon as the hot espresso touched his tongue, burning but all the more welcoming, Tsuna let out a quiet sigh. “I understand your point. I don’t know them like you do. But with Vasya, it’s different. He’s a very good person and my friend.” When he met Luce’s gaze, she slightly tensed. “Eight years is a long time, but no matter how long they might spend together, not everyone sees eye-to-eye. Everyone is different and everyone doesn’t get along. I’m not saying that we should or have to, but they should at least treat Vasya with some respect or decency. Even the littlest thing can go much farther than you think, Luce-san.”

Luce’s lips curled upward. “You sound like you speak from experience, Tsuna. I’m very touched by your concern for Vasya. It’s wonderful that you two became friends and I mean this in the sincerest way.” Luce lifted her cup again. “I just wanted to give you some advice while I have the chance.” 

Tsuna raised a brow. “Advice?” 

Luce sipped more of her latte with seamless grace. “Yes. From what Vasya told me, you’re not all that familiar with the entertainment industry, which is nothing you should be ashamed of. We don’t expect you to know who we are and you’re not obligated or required to listen to our music and buy our products. People who work in our industry are like anyone else—they came to work and give in their best effort to be successful, whether they’re a designer, singer, or producer. However, not everyone will see it that way.” She looked up from her cup, her eyes looking like a lighter shade of blue. “I cannot prevent you from being Vasya’s friend nor do I wish to. Why, you could befriend the others and more if you want to, but do so with caution. I believe you understand where I’m going with this.” 

Frowning, Tsuna set down his cup onto his small dish. The white ceramic was warm against his palm. “I do. Another thing I had wanted to ask you is if our identities could be kept secret. My siblings are young and I don’t want to subject them to media scrutiny. I’m not familiar with the people in your industry or elsewhere, but I’m not ignorant to the business. I don’t expect it to go perfectly either, only just enough so that my siblings won’t get involved. I hope this isn’t too much to ask for, Luce-san.”

Luce smiled. “Of course not, Tsuna. We exercise utmost caution in keeping the raffle winners’ identities secret from the press unless we have your permission. However, I cannot control exterior influences or if the information somehow gets leaked.” New York suddenly came to mind, making Tsuna wince. “But I will do my best to keep you and your siblings safe.” 

“Thank you,” Tsuna said.

Luce glanced at the time on her phone. “Ah, perfect.” She smiled. “If there’s any other questions or concerns you have”—she opened her phone case and took out a white card from the side pockets, handing it to Tsuna—“you can reach me with that number. Although text will be more convenient.” Tsuna stood up with her as she grabbed her gray coat and bag. “I have a flight in about an hour.” 

“Ah, are you returning to Tokyo?” Tsuna said, accepting the card with two hands. 

“Yes,” Luce said. “We’re all finished here. Namimori is a lovely city. I hope to come back soon.” She giggled. “Plus, we’ll have to get ready for the trip. I’m sure the boys will love hearing that you’ll be joining us.” 

Tsuna laughed weakly. “I see. Thank you, Luce-san. It was a pleasure meeting you.” 

Luce smiled brightly. “Oh no, it was my pleasure. I’ll see you soon, Tsuna. Have a wonderful day and don’t push yourself too hard, alright?” 

After exchanging goodbyes, Tsuna watched Luce’s back as she left the café. No one approached her. Tsuna only left when he finished his coffee after the waiter told him that Luce had paid their bill.

Still, their meeting didn’t really assuage the tension from his shoulders.


It was less awkward returning to Namimori Middle—a little bit.

Mayumi was nowhere to be seen. Tsuna wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing. When he found the classroom, the students were already inside. Junko smiled from her seat as Tsuna opened the door. 

“Tsuna-nii,” she said, standing up. 

Tsuna smiled back. “Hey, Junko-chan, everyone.”

Miyumi beamed. “Tsuna-san, it’s so nice to see you again!” 

Rika sulked in-between them, her face buried in her arms. She turned her head just slightly to peek at Tsuna through some strands of her brown hair. “Hi…”

Tsuna blinked. “Are you okay, Rika?” 

Miyumi rubbed the girl’s back. “She’s just a little upset about yesterday.”

“They were so close,” Rika said dully, “yet so far…” 

Tsuna sweat-dropped. “Ah…” 

Junko laughed softly. “They had already left before we got there.” 

“So close…” Rika croaked.

Itsuko huffed from her seat, which was a few desks away from the others. Some papers were spread out in front of her along with a clipboard. “Stop moping around. It’s not that big of a deal. You’re only wasting time.”

“Agreed,” Eiji said, rocking back and forth on his chair.

“Seconded!” Shinji said, raising his hand. 

Rika scowled at them both. “You’re a bunch of jerks, you know that?” 

Shinji fluttered his eyelashes playfully. “Why, thank you.”

Junko led Tsuna to sit down beside her. She smiled a bit sheepishly. “You can guess how far we are with the planning, Tsuna-nii.”

Tsuna laughed. “Yeah, but it’s not a problem. I’m sure Itsuko has it all handled very well.”

Itsuko’s cheeks turned a little red as she cast her eyes down to her lap. “I—It’s nothing.” Composing herself quickly, she fixed her glasses on the bridge of her nose. “We decided on yakisoba, nikuman, taiyaki, and takoyaki.” 

Tsuna’s smile faltered a bit. Ah, nothing was changed. Miyumi fiddled with a small turtle doll attached to her phone. “Itsuko-chan…” she trailed off, not sure what to say. 

Naoki, who was reading a different book from yesterday, licked his lips. “That’s…a lot.” 

“Way too much,” Eiji said, furrowing his brows. “Besides, we didn’t decide on that. You did.”

Itsuko pursed her lips. “It’s because all of you focus on stupid things.” 

“You never tell us anything!” Rika said. 

Miyumi quickly held her back. “Rika-chan, don’t!”

“Guys,” Junko said, “stop! If we keep doing this, we’re just going to end up wasting more time!”

Tsuna felt a headache incoming but ignored it because he was the adult in the room and he wasn’t going to screw this up (or anyone’s friendship today), damn it. “Everyone, sit.”

All of the students immediately silenced and obeyed, too stunned to utter another word. Tsuna restrained a sigh as he stood up and headed towards the blackboard. Picking up the chalk, he started to write. The chalk’s soft clacks echoed in the quiet room until Tsuna finished and placed it back down.

“Your selections are yakisoba, nikuman, taiyaki, and takoyaki,” he said, pointing to each one with a teaching stick he nabbed from the teacher’s podium. “There are eight of us so we can divide into three stalls max without stretching too thin. How many of you guys can make yakisoba?” All of the students raised their hands. “Nikuman?” No one dropped their hands. “Taiyaki?” Only two—Itsuko and Miyumi. “Takoyaki?” About half of them raised their hands. “Okay. We’re going to remove taiyaki. Itsuko, I understand that you want to try to have all these options on the table but we can’t afford to unless we have more people.”

Itsuko looked like she swallowed a lemon. “But…”

“Unless you have more people with you that I don’t know about?” 

Itsuko looked down at her desk. “No…” 

Tsuna crossed out taiyaki with the chalk and drew three rectangles for the stalls, filling them with names of the three foods. “Two of you can manage the yakisoba and takoyaki stalls. Three of you should handle nikuman since it can take a while. Put your name down for where you want to work in.” 

The students’ chatter immediately filled up the room as chairs scraped against the floor. Tsuna stood to the side and observed them discuss over who did what. Mentally sighing in relief, he smiled a bit when Miyumi and Junko encouraged Itsuko to pick first. As long as they sorted out their differences and didn’t fight, it was alright.

“Tsuna-nii!” 

The brunet blinked when Rika hopped over to him with a grin. “Yes?”

“Can I call you that? Tsuna-nii?” 

Tsuna chuckled. “I don’t mind.” 

He drew back when Rika squealed. “You look so much like Giotto-sama, I can’t!” she said.

Tsuna laughed awkwardly. “Ah.” He tried hard not to stare at the awed look in Rika’s eyes. “Well, um, may I ask why you like him so much?” 

Rika held up her hand and started counting off her list. “He’s hot, the sweetest man in the world, really talented, a cutie pie, and did I mention that he’s handsome?”

Tsuna sweat-dropped. “Yes…” 

Rika clapped her hands together. “Did you know that his name means ‘gentle ruler’ in Italian? Doesn’t it fit him really well?”

“Oh…well, I guess I can see that.”

Rika opened her phone and showed him a picture of Giotto at the airport—that was definitely Namimori Airport. The man was walking side-by-side with G, who wore a black cap and a mask. “I just heard that Primo was actually in Namimori for a little bit a few days ago for vacation! I can’t believe I missed them! Namimori’s such a small place, too.” She sighed dramatically. “Ah, why couldn’t they stay a little longer?”

Thankfully, Junko came by to save Tsuna from any more awkwardness. “Rika-chan, are you bothering him again?” she said.

Rika widened her eyes. “I’m not bothering him. I’m not bothering you right, Tsuna-nii?”

“Rika-chan!” Mayumi called from the blackboard. “You’re going to be Naoki-kun for takoyaki, okay?” 

Eh?” Rika left the two, much to Tsuna’s relief.

Junko giggled. “You looked like you needed a little help.”

Tsuna let out a small breath. “Thanks, Junko-chan.” 

“You should really study more, Tsuna-nii., if you ever want to talk to Rika-chan like a human being.”

Tsuna grimaced. “You say study but it sounds more like stalking to me.”

Junko shrugged. “That’s what happens when you make it big.” She smiled playfully. “You do know who the bigshots are right, Tsuna-nii?”

Tsuna flushed. “Of course I do!” 

Junko laughed. “I guess I-pin-chan’s teachings paid off.” 

You don’t know the half of it, Tsuna thought almost miserably. 

Soon Miyumi approached them with a shy smile. “Tsuna-san, before you said that the eight of us will be working, right?” 

Tsuna nodded. “Yes, why?” 

“Ah, well, we finished deciding who goes where and weren’t sure about you…”

Tsuna smiled. “Well, I can’t leave you all alone. The menu’s still pretty hefty so I’ll help out in all the stalls when I can.”

Miyumi brightened up a bit. “R—Really?” 

Junko clapped her hands together. “Tsuna-nii is a really good cook so we’ll be fine! Don’t worry.” 

“We can start prepping the food tomorrow and decide how to set up the stalls,” Tsuna said, nodding. “Does that sound okay to you, Itsuko?”

Itsuko jumped a bit when he called out to her but averted her gaze. “That sounds fine…”

“Alright, so we’re good for now, right?”

“Yup!” most of the students said.


Fuuta found him pretty quickly after clubs were dismissed. He waved when he saw his big brother in the hallways and dashed over to Tsuna’s side. “Tsuna-nii!”

Tsuna grinned when Fuuta joined him. “Hey, Fuuta. How was school?”

Fuuta smiled brightly. “It was good. How are the upperclassmen treating you?”

Just thinking about it prompted Tsuna’s soul nearly to escape. “They’re…fine.” Fuuta raised a brow but didn’t push him further. “How about you, Fuuta? How’s everything going?”

Fuuta brightened up immediately. “Everything’s going well! We’re actually done with the prep and stuff.” 

“Still won’t tell?”

Fuuta huffed. “It’s supposed to be a surprise.” He chewed on his lip. “You are coming to see us, right?”

He squeaked when Tsuna ruffled his hair. “I wouldn’t miss it, Fuuta,” Tsuna said. “Don’t worry. I’ll be the first person there.”

Tsuna opened the door for Fuuta as they left the school building, and walked out to the front courtyard where several students were already present. Their chatter and laughs filled the air, warming the atmosphere. A handful of them waved at Fuuta while they walked past them. 

“Did you have a lot of friends from school, Tsuna-nii?” Fuuta asked quietly.

Tsuna blinked from the sudden question. “Huh?”

“Well, I mean, you know, you’re always with Haru-nee-chan and you don’t—don’t meet with other people.” Fuuta looked down at his shoes, his ears a little red. “I’m only just wondering…and I don’t think Kurokawa-san counts as a friend. She’s your boss.”

Tsuna forced on a smile. “Kurokawa-san is a good friend, too. She’s very reliable.”

Fuuta sounded a little tense when he spoke. “Like on that day?”

Tsuna was practically sweating bullets. “I guess you can say that.”

“I also saw a hoodie in the laundry basket. It looked too big for you.”

At this point, Tsuna wished Fuuta wasn’t as sharp as he was now but that was too much to ask for. “Ah…” he said weakly. “It’s just something I bought.”

“It didn’t seem like your style.” 

Oh, wow. So Fuuta was much sharper than he thought. Well, shit.

“I thought it looked nice online,” Tsuna said. “But you’re right, it’s really big for me so I’m thinking of returning it…soon.” Honestly, he never thought that he’d wish for the day of the fated trip to arrive so badly in that moment. He’d roll in his own grave. 

Before Fuuta could respond, someone shouted behind them, “Tsuna!” The two of them both jumped and turned around to see a tall (very familiar) young man running towards them. He reached them in three easy strides without breaking a sweat. “It’s me! Remember?” 

Fuuta looked around to see if anyone took notice of the man, only to blink in confusion when no one looked at them twice. Tsuna was in the same boat. For having so many fans, these idols were hardly recognized in the streets, which is just a little too hard to believe… Then again, Yamamoto’s hair looked different. It was brown instead of black. Was that…a wig

“Ah, yes,” Tsuna said, unsure of whether to call his appearance a miracle or a disturbance. Probably both. “I do, um…”

Yamamoto hummed to himself. His red cap concealed his eyes a bit and his mask only covered his chin. Soon, he snapped his fingers. “Kijimuta Yorikane! That sounds cool! Just call me Yori!”

Tsuna and Fuuta both sweat-dropped.

“Where are you coming from, Ya—Yori-san?” Tsuna said. 

Yamamoto grinned and pointed at the baseball field where the school’s team was wrapping things up. “I was just passing by and stopped to watch for a bit.”

Tsuna tilted his head. “Are you a fan of baseball?”

A new, brighter light immediately sparked in Yamamoto’s eyes. “Yeah! Are you? What’s your favorite team? I’m a huge fan of Osaka Mozu! That’s actually where I’m from—Osaka!” 

“Oh, um, no, I’m not a fan of baseball. I’m sorry.” Tsuna smiled sheepishly, a little upset to see the light dim slightly in Yamamoto’s eyes. “I don’t think it’s safe for anyone if I get involved with anything physical.”

“What? I bet you’d be great! You’re so talented already! I wish I can be fluent in Italian like you.” Yamamoto rubbed the back of his head. “I’m still trying to get a hang of it but it’s pretty hard.” 

“Italian?” 

Yamamoto nodded. “Yup! Actually, since we’re part of the, you know, Big Clam Association, we’re based from Italy! So Italian’s a requirement.” 

Big Clam Association? Oh. Vongola. Tsuna wasn’t sure if he could call Yamamoto a genius or ridiculous. Fuuta just stared at Yamamoto as if he was speaking another language. 

“Ah, I see,” Tsuna said. “Well, do you play baseball?”

Yamamoto’s grin slightly faltered. It could fool anyone but Tsuna. “Yeah. Well, I used to. I was actually the ace of my team when I was younger!”

Tsuna smiled. “Wow, really? That sounds great. I bet you were really good.” 

Fuuta nudged his side a little. “The ace is the best, Tsuna-nii,” he muttered. “They’re the starting pitcher.”

“Oh…” Tsuna wanted to dig a hole and lay there for a while, a good long while. 

Yamamoto laughed. “That’s what they say.” A wistful gleam shone in his eyes, and his smile softened. “I do miss it. It’s been a while.”

“I bet,” Tsuna said almost gently. “You seem to love it a lot.”

Yamamoto nodded. “Yeah. I just had to stop and watch. It’s nice to see that you have a pretty good team. Fuuta, right?”

Fuuta blinked. “Ah, I guess. I’m not really interested in sports but I agree that our team is good. We also have a good boxing team.”

Yamamoto perked up. “Really?” He grinned. “I’ll let Onii-san know! He boxes and he’s really great! He got into nationals before, too, when he was in high school.” A buzzing sound suddenly came from his jean pocket. “Sorry, I need to take this one. It won’t be long!” 

Tsuna nodded and turned away to give the man his privacy. Fuuta gave him a look that was far too telling for his tastes but he just shrugged in response. Yamamoto wasn’t a bad person. Actually, he was way too jovial. Tsuna had met some cheerful people before—Haru was naturally a sunny person but she smiled like she meant it—and he had a knack for finding the ones who were trying too hard.

Yamamoto soon returned to the two with a sheepish smile. “Sorry about that. They’re asking where I am and I gotta go.” He winked. “I didn’t out you so no worries!”

Tsuna chuckled. “That’s okay but thank you. You should get going.”

Yamamoto nodded. “I will! Thanks, Tsuna! It was nice talking to you and Fuuta! Wish the team good luck for me, okay?”

Fuuta smiled slightly. “I will.”

“Oh, and Tsuna!” The brunet blinked when Yamamoto held up his blue phone. “Could I get your number?” Yamamoto leaned into whisper, “Gokudera doesn’t have a lot of time to teach me Italian so I was wondering if you could, you know?” He pulled back with a grin though there was a little hope in his eyes. “I’m not forcing you though! You’re probably really busy. You don’t have to if you don’t want to.”

Ignoring Fuuta’s burning stare, Tsuna slowly took out his phone. “I don’t mind teaching you.” 

Yamamoto looked like Tsuna just offered him the world. “Really?” 

After they quickly exchanged numbers, Yamamoto took off, waving over his shoulder, and soon disappeared down the street. A good moment of silence passed. 

“This wasn’t the kind of friends I had in mind, Tsuna-nii,” Fuuta deadpanned. 

“Fuuta, just don’t.” 

His little brother just shook his head and muttered something about tasers under his breath. Tsuna would love to live in a hole and sink into the earth.


Things settled a little at home but Tsuna was pretty sure Fuuta was thinking about digging through the laundry sooner or later. Damn it, how could Tsuna forget to return it? Was this something he should be concerned about? Screw the trip—he needed a damn vacation in the Bahamas or something, away from Japan. 

While he washed the dishes, the kids were watching TV in the living room. Some pop music played in the background but he didn’t recognize the singers. A pair of footsteps sounded from his right. Tsuna nearly dropped a dish when he heard his ringtone. 

“Tsuna-nii,” Fuuta said, “someone’s calling you. Who’s Vasya?”

Tsuna widened his eyes. “What?” He quickly turned off the sink and dried his hands on his brown apron. When he checked his phone, the caller ID was indeed Vasya. Crap. “I’m going to take this. Can you watch them for me?” 

Fuuta raised a brow. “Okay.”

Dashing to the bedroom, Tsuna closed the door behind him, took a deep breath, and picked up the call. 

“Vasya?”

“Tsuna! Holy shit, why didn’t you tell me?”

A small thin of dread coiled in Tsuna’s stomach. “Tell you what?”

“That you’re the winner! The raffle thing shit! Oh my God, Luce just told me! Why didn’t you tell me? Wait, no! It was better if you hadn’t. I almost can’t believe it! It’s really you, right?” 

Tsuna couldn’t help but laugh. “Is there another Sawada Tsunayoshi in the world?” 

“Hell no. I—” 

There was a distant, muffled bang in the background. Tsuna could hear Colonello’s voice not too long after. “Did you just say what I think you said, kora?” 

“The fuck?” Vasya said. “Bastard, this is my room!”

“Hey, hey, did Luce really tell you that?” Colonello said, sounding closer. “And who are you talking to?” 

“None of your business.” 

“Come on, man!” 

Tsuna’s door suddenly opened, revealing Lambo in the doorway. “Tsuna-nii, can I have some apples?” 

A moment of silence passed. A bead of sweat dripped down the side of Tsuna’s face. 

“Wait, is that Tsuna?” Colonello said. 

Vasya responded a little too late. “Ah, shit.”

Chapter Text

"I saw an angel

When I first saw you

You shined like an angel from heaven

I got curious

Who do you resemble to be that beautiful?"

-Angel by NCT 127


Tsuna froze. Not knowing what else to do, he hastily covered his phone and forced a smile at Lambo, who stared at him in confusion. "I'm on the phone right now, Lambo," he said. "Ask Fuuta to take out how many apples you want to eat and I'll peel them for you when I'm done, okay?"

Lambo nodded. "Okay."

"And don't try to cut them yourself."

Lambo huffed. "Okay. Fuuta-nii!"

After Lambo left and closed the door, Tsuna let out a sigh of relief before turning back to the phone. "I'm sorry, V—"

"—at really Tsuna?" Colonello said, sounding closer.

"Dude, get out of my room!" Vasya said.

"You never answered my question!"

"I don't need to! This is my sacred area so get your ugly ass out of here!"

"I'm telling Luce you're being shady, kora!"

"Oh, suck it up, jackass. Luce's not going to care. I'm her precious baby after all."

"You little—"

Tsuna winced when there was some scuffles in the background, most likely Vasya and Colonello wrestling each other. The sound of the door opening made them instantly go silent.

"What the hell are you two doing?" The distant voice sounded like Lal Mirch.

"Um, working out?" Colonello said.

Tsuna placed his phone over his shoulder and coughed lightly to stifle a laugh. Honestly, this was all just ridiculous.

"I don't want to know," Lal Mirch said. "Get up, Colonello. We need to go over the choreo again. I changed some stuff."

Colonello groaned. "Again? What's wrong with this one? It's fine, kora."

"Studio. Now."

Colonello sighed irritably. There was some rustling on the other line. Someone blew a raspberry. Tsuna had a strong feeling that that was Vasya.

"You got lucky!" Colonello said, his voice distant.

"Just get out!" Vasya said.

The door slammed shut then. Vasya grumbled something in Russian under his breath. Tsuna bit his lip. "Vasya?"

"Wha—Oh, shit! Sorry! I kind of forgot you were on the phone."

"It's okay. Does that…happen often?"

Vasya scoffed. "You don't want to know."

Tsuna smiled despite himself. "Do I have to worry about my number again?"

It was meant to be a small joke but Vasya inhaled sharply. "Ah, shit. I didn't think about that. Um, Reborn still has your number. I'm pretty sure he does. Has he been bothering you?" He quickly added, "I tried taking his phone this morning! Before we met. I swear he was sleeping—I don't know how the hell he knew—but next thing I knew, I was kicked out of his room."

"He hasn't been bothering me," Tsuna said. "It's okay, Vasya. You don't have to worry about me."

Vasya laughed. "You know, whenever you say that, I can't help but worry. Seriously though, if Reborn is bothering you, let me know."

Tsuna smiled. "Yeah, I will."

"You promise? I don't think you're taking this seriously."

"Vasya, I take everything you say seriously."

Vasya sputtered a little. "T—That's because you don't know how terrible Reborn can be."

A door opened in the background again. "Oh my God, what the hell do you want?" Vasya said. "You! Why did you come back? Lal, take back your stupid mutt!"

"Shut up!" Colonello said. "I'm just here for the USB. Where is it?"

"What USB?"

"The one with the new samples."

"Wait." Tsuna heard Vasya pull some drawers open. "Oh yeah, shit. I gave it to Verde. He's probably looking it over."

"Ah, fuck."

Tsuna blinked at the sudden change in conversation. It sounded…normal for some reason, as if they were actually friends. The more he thought about it, the more confused he became. Had he just assumed there was bad blood between them? Was he overthinking this?

"I have the old samples though," Vasya said.

"How old? I just need Eon."

"Eon? The hell? We made a choreo for that weeks ago. I thought she wanted you for Stellato."

"I don't know, man. She changed the ending, kora. Are you still on the phone?"

"What, I can't hold onto my phone now? I didn't forget about what you did last time, you bastard."

Colonello laughed. "Ah, good times, good times. Eh, I can just take that one. If it has it, it has it. If it doesn't, well, maybe I can sleep early tonight."

"Just take it."

"Thank you," Colonello said in a sing-song voice. "Tell Tsuna I said hi, kora!"

"It's not Tsuna!"

"Who else would it be?"

"My ass!"

It suddenly became quiet when a distant voice spoke up, "Tsuna?"

"Fon!" Colonello said, laughing nervously. "Hey! Uh, what brings you here?"

"I was simply passing by," Fon said.

How could Tsuna be hearing all of this? He was sorely tempted to even hang up but that was rude and would most likely hurt Vasya's feelings.

"Carry on, my liege," Vasya said.

"You mentioned Tsuna," Fon said. "I was only curious why you mentioned his name."

Colonello forced out a laugh. "Tsuna? Where'd you get that from? We were just talking…about the tuna we ate tonight."

Tsuna's brow slightly twitched. Vasya laughed along with Colonello. "Yeah!" he said, his voice slightly higher than usual. "It was…really good."

"But we didn't eat t—"

"Oh wow, Fon, I think I heard Lal calling for you, kora! Come on, let's go!"

"I didn't hear anything."

"Man, you're just getting old, aren't you? Lal, I'm bringing a buddy!"

The door soon closed again. Tsuna waited patiently for Vasya to speak. Finally, the other man let out a sigh of relief. "That was close," he muttered.

"Should we talk at a different time?" Tsuna said hesitantly.

"Oh, no! Sorry, it's usually like that. I mean, they bother me a lot since no one really wants to go to Verde. We're the ones who produce the music and write lyrics and stuff."

"You write your own music? That's amazing!"

"Oh, uh, well, you know, it's a team effort. Nothing big. We're lucky Kawahira gives us leeway with these things."

Kawahira…? For some reason, that name didn't ring a bell. Tsuna pinched the bridge of his nose. Ah, was it those "who is this celebrity?" moments again? Maybe he could be another manager or something. "I see," Tsuna said. "That's good. How was your flight?"

"Eh? My fl—Wait, how did you know?" Vasya's voice suddenly became somber. "Ah, sorry, I should've told you I left."

Tsuna smiled faintly. "It's okay. You don't have to apologize."

"Really, Tsuna, I—" The door swung open again. "Oh, come on, Colonello. What the hell do you w—Oh. Reborn."

"Luce wants everyone," Reborn said.

"What? Now."

"Yes, now." Tsuna found it eerie that he could sense Reborn smirking on the other line, even if he wasn't there. "Why? Are you busy?"

"None of your business!" Vasya said. "I'll be out in a minute. So just leave my room already."

After Reborn left, Vasya sighed deeply. "This is why we should lock our rooms. Did you know Luce took those away the first time we became a group? No one talked to anyone and she got pretty pissed about it. Something about family bonding or something. Anyways, I'm sorry for holding you up, Tsuna. That was your brother, right?"

Tsuna chuckled. "It's okay, Vasya. Really. Yeah, that was my brother."

"Holy, I still can't believe that you won it though. That's actually really cool. This thing might be alright after all. Well, gotta go, Tsuna. I'll talk to you later, okay?"

"Okay. Take care, Vasya!"

Tsuna let out a small huff when they both hung up. That was…a very interesting conversation. The call had gone on for about 7 minutes, which was pretty much the longest Tsuna had with someone other than Haru. He didn't know whether to call that sad or not. Pocketing his phone, he stood up and left the bedroom.

Some bubbly song mixed with audience applause played on the TV. I-pin had her eyes glued to the screen, perking up only when Tsuna came out. "Tsuna-nii, the Bella Bella Show is on!" she said, patting the seat next to her. "Let's watch it together!"

Tsuna smiled. "Just give me a moment, I-pin. Lambo, did you take out the apples?"

Lambo carried two apples from the kitchen with a grin. "Can you peel them here, Tsuna-nii?"

Fuuta followed behind him with a plate and a small knife. Tsuna blinked as Lambo led him to sit down at the small table in front of the couch. His brother made himself comfortable on Tsuna's lap. "Can you make bunny slices?" Lambo said.

Tsuna's brow twitched. "Of course," he said. "Anything you want."

Fuuta sat down beside him. "Who called you, Tsuna-nii?" he said.

Tsuna started peeling an apple. "Just a friend."

"Was it Haru-nee?" Lambo said.

"No. Just a friend."

Fuuta narrowed his eyes slightly. "What kind of friend?"

Thankfully, I-pin shushed them both before Tsuna could respond. "They're introducing the guests!"

"—ome special guests today coming in from all over the world," the white-haired host said cheerfully. Wearing a casual suit jacket and slacks, the man looked strangely familiar. "Our first guest is an accomplished musician and artist with three singles that sold over a million copies. He's expected to appear in a comeback with his group."

A short, blue-haired woman with a sweater and leggings piped up with her microphone, "Please welcome Primo's Blue Swallow, Ugetsu Asari!"

The audience cheered as Asari, clad in a gray shirt and black cardigan, walked out onto the stage. He waved and grinned sunnily at the crowd before taking his seat. Tsuna could see why he and Yamamoto were brothers.

"Ugetsu?" he said. "He's Yamamoto's brother, right?"

"It's his stage name," I-pin said, taking an apple slice. "Most of them have it, but some use their real names."

"Like Skull?" Fuuta said.

Tsuna nearly cut his finger if he hadn't caught himself in time. He smiled tightly. "Skull?" he said. "You mean from Arcobaleno?"

"He's really cool!" Lambo said, munching on some apple slice. "Hey, Tsuna-nii, you met them at the restaurant, right? Is Skull cool like on TV?"

"He's very nice."

"He is?" Fuuta said.

"Was…"

I-pin flailed her arms in the air. "They're introducing Federico! Shh!"

Tsuna had never felt so grateful for I-pin's interruptions in his life. He glanced at Fuuta who just gave him an innocent smile. A scary thought passed through his mind: Fuuta would be a great lawyer. To distract himself from his thoughts, Tsuna passed another apple slice to I-pin. "Who's Federico?" he said.

"He's part of Nono!" I-pin said. "Did you know that all the members are brothers? They're also brothers with Daniela who's known as Ottavo. She's the oldest in the family. There's Timoteo—he's the oldest brother—then Enrico, Massimo, and Federico."

"And that host," Tsuna said. "The man with white hair."

"He's Byakuran! He's so talented! He's the leader of Millefiore and hosts a lot of shows. That's Bluebell and she's also in Millefiore! They're so cute together."

Byakuran—so that was the man. Tsuna wasn't sure of what to think about him. He seemed fairly nice and made everyone comfortable. Bluebell seemed like only a high school student, dwarfed by Byakuran's tall, slim height.

"Hey, Tsuna-nii," Lambo said, "are we really going on the trip?"

Tsuna suppressed a sigh in favor of smiling. "Yeah. I promised you guys, right?"

"Did you ask Haru-nee?"

"Yes. She said that she'd love to come."

"—ast guest is also another member from Primo!" Bluebell chirped. "The youngest with charismatic charm, La—"

Tsuna blinked when the TV suddenly turned off. I-pin grinned sheepishly. "I don't really like that idol," she said, hopping off the couch. "I'm going to go sleep now, Big Brother!"

Lambo stood up from Tsuna's lap and followed her to the bedroom. "I'm tired too, Tsuna-nii. Good night!"

Tsuna just stared in confusion when they shut the bedroom door. "It's only 8," he said to the silence. He looked at Fuuta who just shrugged. "What was that about?"

"I don't know," Fuuta said. "How was your phone call with your friend?"

"It was fine."

"Is he a friend from school?"

"Fuuta, if you have something to say, you can tell me."

Fuuta pursed his lips and kept quiet. Tsuna chewed on an apple slice, munching on it quietly. He could understand where his brother was coming from without him saying anything. It had been hard for both them after Tsuna had fainted and the brunet could only imagine what Fuuta was going through—No, he didn't have to imagine. He knew how it felt. When his mother had collapsed the first time, Tsuna had felt utterly helpless and shifted blame on other things because he didn't know what else to do; but he blamed himself the most.

"Fuuta," Tsuna said, putting down his knife, "I know how you feel. If I were in your shoes, I'd be angry and frustrated, too." He smiled slightly. "My mother did the same. She fainted when I was 6, right in front of me. I didn't know what to do then. I was only a child but I blame myself every day for not being there for her, for helping her when she needed it. I understand that you're worried about me, Fuuta, but you don't have to anymore. I can't stop you either, and I appreciate it, really, I do, but don't let it consume you."

His brother looked down at his lap, hiding his face. "I just wanted to help," he said quietly. "I just—I thought you were never coming back. It was their fault."

"It wasn't their fault," Tsuna said, turning to face him. "It wasn't anyone's fault." At Fuuta's deadpan, he quickly said, "Okay, a little bit on both sides. I overworked myself and they were…wild. I acknowledge it, but the point is that you don't have to worry about me."

Fuuta didn't respond right away, and when he did, there was a somber look in his eyes, much reminiscent of when Tsuna had first met him at the orphanage. It didn't belong in a child. "I'll try," Fuuta said.

Tsuna ruffled Fuuta's hair, making him protest. "That's good enough for me," he said.

Soon, his phone buzzed in his pocket. When Tsuna checked the caller ID, he raised a brow when it was from Yamamoto: hey tsuna! buonanoote! (im pretty sure i spelled it wrong haha)

Tsuna stifled a small laugh when Fuuta looked his way. He quickly typed a response: Buonanotte, Yamamoto-san. It's okay. You'll get the hang of it soon!

He heard Fuuta turn the TV on and switch through several channels.

ohhhh, it has two t's! my bad my bad hahaha. domi bene.

Dormi bene. [Sleep well.]

whoops! haha, guess i know what to work on! this might be a weird question but how do you say something like have nice dreams or sth?

Sogni d'oro. This can be translated to "sweet dreams" but it literally means "gold dreams".

Tsuna set his phone down to peel the rest of the apples, passing a slice to Fuuta. His brother left the TV on some animal program. The camera zoomed in closer on a male peacock fanning out his bright and colorful tail to a female peacock.

"This male peacock already has several loyal mates," the narrator said, "but that doesn't mean he won't stop looking for more. Let's see if the peahen is interested."

The peahen didn't even give him a chance. She strutted away, ignoring his efforts altogether.

"It seems like she isn't in the market for a mate."

Tsuna found it a little odd at how Fuuta seemed so absorbed in the program, and how chilling the situation seemed. His phone buzzed again.

sogni d'oro, tsuna! :D

Tsuna's lips curved up despite himself.

Sogni d'oro, Yamamoto-san.

"How is it?" Tsuna said, gesturing at the TV.

"It's good," Fuuta said. "Was that Yamamoto?"

"Fuuta."

"I was just asking."


Morning came and everyone moved like usual. Tsuna feeding the kids, cooking their bento, and making sure they had everything with them. When they finally left for school, Tsuna took a small breather. Today was Friday and the trip was…in three days. Time flies, he thought dryly, gathering the laundry.

After folding and putting them away, Tsuna looked through the bedroom closet to find his suitcase. Honestly, it was just four days and it wasn't like they were really going anywhere extreme. His black suitcase was big enough for all of the clothes and necessities they needed. Rather than packing at the last minute, Tsuna preferred being prepared. Call him paranoid but he really wasn't looking forward to I-pin and Lambo being indecisive over which clothes to bring.

Unzipping the suitcase, he smiled to himself when he found that it was clean and empty. He patted the pockets to double-check when he felt a small bump in one of them. When he dug inside, he found some crumpled piece of paper. A small sense of dread coiled in his stomach as he unraveled it. The messy scrawls were something he could identify anywhere: Tail him.

Tsuna sweat-dropped. Professor Hoshino was really an interesting man. On one of his cases, he had Tsuna follow their client out of a meeting to double-check on his legitimacy. It turned out that the client was having an affair with a prostitute and that made things a little more…difficult. Tsuna crumpled the paper and shoved it in his pocket to throw out later. There was no time to be reminiscing.

While Tsuna packed some clothes, his phone rang with some rhythmic beats. When he checked the text message, it was from Haru.

Tsuna! I brought my sketches to Simon and they agreed with what I said. We're going to meet Kimura-san now. Wish me luck!

Smiling, Tsuna responded: Good luck! Hope to hear good news.

Right. He had thought about getting Fuuta a phone soon and what better timing before the…trip.

Tsuna thumped his head lightly against the wall. "Why is this happening…?"

Silence was his only answer.


When Tsuna entered Kiku Mobile, there were a few customers already inside. The store was fairly big with rows of smartphones and mobile phones on display. A long counter was to the left with a "Customer Service" sign hanging above it on the wall. All three workers were engaging some customers in conversation, showing off the phones from the displays. Some soft pop song played in the background.

It was long due for Fuuta to finally have his own phone. Most students in his class already had one. Even though Fuuta never complained about it, Tsuna still felt terrible for not providing more for his brother. With Hana's hefty paycheck though, he had the chance to do something, even if it was small like buying Fuuta a cellphone. Tsuna fished in his pocket to take out his own orange phone and flipped it open.

Thankfully, there were no odd text messages or missed calls. Nothing out of the ordinary. Getting a smartphone would be a little much for Fuuta. Heck, even Tsuna didn't have one and he was doing just fine. As he browsed through the mobile phones, he soon bumped into a large mass of bones and muscle. A whiff of spicy and woody aroma wafted in his nose, a mixture of cardamom and smoky oud. Tsuna immediately bowed. "I'm sorry, sir," he said.

"Are you okay, Sawada-san?"

Tsuna's brow twitched ever so slightly but he still smiled cordially when he looked up to see a very poorly-disguised and out-of-place Levi. The man wore a dark gray coat and sunglasses—that was about it. It was a miracle no one found him out, or maybe they did and were being respectful…? Tsuna wasn't sure.

"Ah, I'm fine," Tsuna said. "It's quite…a coincidence, meeting here like this."

Levi just nodded. A brief moment of awkward silence passed between them. Tsuna fidgeted on his feet. "Well, I'm glad to see you well," he said quietly to not draw attention. "If you'll excuse me."

Before he could take one step, Levi cleared his throat. "Ano, Sawada-san," he said.

Tsuna blinked, tilting his head. "Yes?"

Levi seemed to flail even more, stuttering over his words. "Ah, um, you, the cake."

"Cake? Oh! Did he give it to you? Was it okay? I wasn't sure if you'd like it."

"It was…good."

Tsuna raised a brow but smiled in amusement. It was clear that Levi wasn't much of a conversationalist or adept in expressing his emotions. A little nudge wouldn't hurt. "Good?" Tsuna said teasingly. "Only good? You didn't like it?"

Red dusted Levi's cheeks, his words failing him even more. "N—No, I—The cake wasn't good—Was good—You—I—The—"

Tsuna chuckled. "It's okay. I was only teasing you. Take a deep breath and just let out what you want to say. Come on, deep breath."

Hesitant, Levi inhaled deeply then exhaled. Tsuna waited patiently for the other man to gather his composure again. Finally, Levi said in steadier voice, "Thank you for the cake, Sawada-san. You didn't have to trouble Xa—er, him with it."

Tsuna huffed a small laugh. "I think he deserved it for not knowing what you liked. See, this isn't bad? You just need to speak up for yourself more." He patted Levi's arm comfortingly, making the other tense. "Don't let others push you around, okay?"

When Levi didn't respond, Tsuna laughed sheepishly. "Ah, I'm sorry. I went a little overboard, didn't I?"

"Tsuna-kun!" a worker called from the desk. A chubby young woman, she had messy hair and big eyes with a thin nose. "Do you need help?"

Sanappi grinned when Tsuna waved back. He looked towards Levi and said, "Ah, please excuse me."

Levi nodded, letting him go. Tsuna smiled when he approached the counter. "Hello, Sanappi. How are you?"

Sanappi gave him the A-Okay sign. She had been a classmate back in school and was a really sweet person. Tsuna had taken her under his wing, you could say, because she was bullied for her looks. "I'm doing great," she said in her sing-song voice. Despite her appearance, she really had a lovely voice. "You look better, Tsuna-kun. I thought you were a goner but you're too stubborn for that, neh?"

Tsuna smiled sheepishly. "I guess everyone knows by this point."

Sanappi just shrugged. "There's nothing we don't know in this town. Did you hear about famous celebrities walking among us?"

"Oh, no…"

Sanappi giggled. "Of course, you don't. Sometimes I wonder how you manage to move with the flow." She leaned her cheek on her fist. "By the way, who were you talking to over there? He looks like a strange fella. Actually, he looks awfully familiar."

Tsuna quickly covered Levi from view—or tried to. The man's height was just too noticeable. "I don't know what you mean," he said. "He was asking for help."

"I don't know but you seemed a little too close t—"

"I'm here to get Fuuta a phone."

And just like that, Sanappi's mind immediately went on the other track. "What? Really? Aw, how is your little brother? Oh, and I-pin and Lambo, too. It's been a while since I've seen them! How are they?"

Tsuna smiled. "They're fine, thank you. You look good too, Sanappi."

Sanappi giggled and waved her hand in the air. "Don't go acting sweet on me," she said. "You're such a cutie pie. And what would Fuuta like?"

"Ah, well, I was wondering if you could put him on my plan," Tsuna said.

Sanappi grinned as she typed on her computer. "That's easy. Have you chosen a phone yet?"

"Well, I'm not sure." Tsuna peered at the display case below him. There were several smartphones, some new and some old, in different colors. "Fuuta's not that interested in these kinds of things, but…"

He blinked when Sanappi waved her hands in front of her. "Oh, no," she said, dragging out the "o". "Not for Fuuta. Kids don't need these anyways. This is enough." She bent down under the counter and appeared again with a small box. Opening it, she took out some sleek flip phones. "We got these in last week. You'll be the first to get one. Look, I think this can work, or this one."

She slid three phones in front of Tsuna. The first one was a turquoise blue with some faint white streaks under the light; the second one was yellow-green; and the last one was red with orange lines on the side. Tsuna didn't have to think twice. He pointed at the second one. "That looks perfect," he said.

Sanappi grinned. "I thought the same!" She quickly packed the other phones back in the box and shoved it aside, making Tsuna sweat-drop. "I'll get you a case, too." She dove under the counter again before popping back up with a light green phone case. "Let me just register him into your plan, okay?"

Tsuna smiled. "Thank you, Sanappi."

She waved him off as she typed on her computer. "No worries. Since this isn't a smartphone, it's much cheaper so it's a good bargain. That would be ¥25,041.94!"

Tsuna handed her his card and waited for the transaction to finish. Not too long after, Sanappi placed the phone inside the case and slipped it into a small white bag. "Ah! Here." She snatched a phone charm from one of the small stands on the counter and showed it to Tsuna. It was a small, brown teddy bear. "It'll look good with the phone. Isn't it cute, too? Perfect for Fuuta!"

Tsuna shook his head quickly. "Oh no, I couldn't!"

Sanappi just dropped it in the bag and pushed it towards Tsuna with his card. "It's a gift from me, so don't worry about it. We should get together for a drink sometime. Invite Haru-chan, too!" She sighed dreamily. "It's been a while. Oh!" She leaned in to whisper, "Have you heard? Mochida passed the bar in Tokyo. People are going crazy here about it."

Tsuna blinked. "Mochida? As in Mochida Kensuke?"

It had been a while since he last heard that name. Mochida had been the captain of the kendo team back in middle and high school, the typical jock but with brains. Most girls had hated his guts. The most prominent role he had was being Tsuna's bully in middle school until after his mother died. After that, it was awkward between them but there was some mutual respect. Mochida wasn't a terrible guy, just…rash.

"You know," Sanappi said, "I think someone else could do it, too."

Tsuna laughed lightly, knowing where the conversation was heading. It had happened a few times before. "Sanappi."

The woman raised her hands in mock-surrender. "I was just showing my undying support for something that could be but never happened"—she grinned cheekily—"yet."

Tsuna grabbed the bag. "Thank you, Sanappi. Have a nice day."

"I wish you the most wonderful day ever, Tsuna-kun!" Sanappi said, waving enthusiastically. "Don't forget! We need a get-together!"

Smiling, Tsuna waved back as he headed towards the doors. "I'll think about it."

Before he could even touch the door, someone reached above him to push it open. Tsuna blinked until a familiar voice said, "Allow me, Sawada-san…"

Stifling a chuckle, Tsuna just walked out onto the streets and turned to greet Levi again. "Thank you," he said, glancing at a slightly larger bag the other man was carrying. "Did you find what you were looking for?"

Levi flushed. "This isn't mine," he said, shuffling awkwardly to the side. "It's for Bel. He…breaks his phones too often."

"Ah…" Tsuna wasn't going to question it. He didn't want to know.

"I'm sorry, Sawada-san," Levi said, bowing deeply. "I must go now."

Tsuna widened his eyes. "No, no! You don't have to be sorry!"

Levi opened his mouth as if to say something, but closed it after a moment. "Have a good day, Sawada-san."

Tsuna smiled. "You, too. It was nice meeting you."

Levi shifted a bit, clearly uncomfortable, then nodded and walked away. Tsuna blinked when he suddenly rushed back. "It—It was nice seeing you too, Sawada-san!"

Levi left quickly before Tsuna could even respond. He stood there in stunned silence before some laughter escaped his chest.

"Tsuna-nii!"

When Tsuna turned around, he noticed Junko and her friends across the street. Junko, Miyumi, and Rika waved at him with smiles on their faces while the others were talking over Itsuko's trusty clipboard. Smiling, Tsuna waved back as they all crossed the street.

"What are you all doing here?" he said, tilting his head. "Don't you have school?"

Rika laughed almost haughtily. "Kocho-sensei let us out early to prepare extra early for tomorrow."

"Seems like you won't be failing another math test," Naoki said, dodging her slap quickly.

"You!"

Junko smiled. "We're shopping for some ingredients to test out how to make the food for tomorrow. Kocho-sensei told us that she'd take care of the orders. We just need to let her know by this afternoon."

Miyumi clapped her hands together. "And we're lucky to meet you, Tsuna-san! Junko-chan was about to call you and ask if you were free." She looked down at her shoes. "Well, can you help us?"

Tsuna smiled. "I'd be happy to help. I promised, right?"

"Thank you, Tsuna-nii!" Junko said. "We were thinking about heading to the supermarket to get some things and going to Rika's house since it's nearby. You don't mind right, Rika-chan?"

Rika gave her a thumbs-up. "My house is your house. Come on, let's go! I'm hungry!"


When they all arrived at the supermarket, Tsuna divided them up into groups. Junko, Naoki, and Miyumi would get ingredients for nikuman; Shinji and Rika would get ingredients for yakisoba; and Eiji and Itsuko would get ingredients for takoyaki. Tsuna would gather the meat.

They dispersed after arranging to meet up later by the third cash register line. Tsuna had placed the phone bag inside his satchel, thankful that it fit, and wheeled his shopping cart to the meat section. The supermarket was fairly crowded with neighborhood women and mothers. Some kids squealed and ran about and Tsuna was extra careful in not running anyone over.

For some odd reason, he was relieved. Grabbing some ground pork and checking if they were good, he placed them in the cart with a small hum. He hadn't had the best experiences so far in the superma—

You gotta be kidding me, he thought when his senses went haywire. False alert, please?

Just as he reached the middle of the meat aisle, he caught a glimpse of a very familiar man reached for something on the shelves. Ignoring him, Tsuna just kept walking, grabbing some packages of sliced pork bellies along the way. The cool air from the temperature-controlled cases suddenly grew colder somehow when someone spoke in his ear, "What a lovely surprise, Tsuna-kun."

Tsuna tensed. Well, shit. He turned around with a forced smile. "Mukuro-san," he said in a hushed voice, "how…nice to meet you."

Mukuro, thankfully, stood up at his full height with a pleasant smile. He wore a green padded jacket, some jeans with a gray belt, and a long black satchel over his shoulder. No mask or sunglasses adorned his face, leaving it bare to anyone who could pass by. It was a miracle that no one was even hounding him at the moment. "Likewise," he said.

"Are you shopping for something?" Tsuna said, cursing at his sudden inability to speak.

Mukuro waved some chocolate in the air. "Yes. I've been craving for some and dear Nagi-chan wouldn't let me have them. She can be quite crafty. So, I suppose you can say that I'm being a naughty child at the moment. You won't tell, won't you?"

Tsuna blinked. "Oh, um, no. I won't."

Mukuro smiled, placing a gloved finger at his lips. "It'll be our little secret then."

Tsuna laughed to be polite, but he was really itching to just leave for the mountains with his siblings and never come back. This wasn't normal.

"Do you happen to have recommendations, Tsuna-kun?" Mukuro said. "I've noticed that a lot of the candies here are Namimori-based and not quite what I had in mind."

"I, um, okay."

Curse Tsuna's bleeding heart. He was tempted to just rip it out and step on it like dirt.

He followed Mukuro to the snacks aisle while mentally thumping his head against the floor. A colorful array of sweets and snacks decorated the shelves, some with cartoon characters and cute mascots. Mukuro must really have a sweet tooth. Then again, he seemed like a fan of chocolate. Tsuna remembered him eating a purely chocolate cake back at the mall.

"Are you looking for something in particular, Muk—Uh, sir."

Mukuro chuckled. "You can say my name, Tsuna-kun. There's no one else here but us." He turned to browse the shelves again, humming a light tune.

"Right," Tsuna mumbled under his breath.

Not again, he thought. Should he think about avoiding supermarkets altogether? Stepping out of the house? The mountains were becoming a much more favorable option day-by-day.

"Aren't you afraid someone will…recognize you?" he said, tilting his head as he leaned over the shopping cart's handle.

Mukuro smiled at him. "I am quite adept in this so you don't have to worry." He took something off the shelf and held it up with the other chocolate snack he had in his other hand. "Which one is better?"

One of the bags was "Choco-Paws" with a puppy on it and the other was "Lovebite" with a cute vampire baring her fangs. Tsuna sweat-dropped. "Uh, well," he said, "Choco-Paws is just pure chocolate inside. They have four different flavors. Here." He walked over and pointed at the other Choco-Paws bags, which were in different colors. "The one you have is milk chocolate. They have dark, white, and hazelnut. Lovebite only has one. It has a chocolate coating with a raspberry filling, if you like that."

"And which do you like?"

Mukuro had a knack in making the most simplest and innocent question sound like a rhetorical one somehow. Tsuna looked to the side. "Well, they're both good. I don't really have a favorite."

Mukuro smiled. "Then I'll take them both. Ah, if I may, could I ask you a question?"

Not liking where this was going, Tsuna raised a brow. "Depends."

"Hm?"

"If I like the question. I can refuse to answer."

"That's fair." Mukuro tapped his finger against his chin. "How should I phrase this?"

"Take your time," Tsuna deadpanned. "I'm not going anywhere."

First Reborn, then Xanxus, now Mukuro. Who was next? Lussuria? Colonello? Ryohei?

Get it together, Tsuna, he thought. Don't jinx yourself. It's already bad enough as it is…

Mukuro chuckled. "I can see that. Ah, are you and the skylark an item?"

Tsuna blinked. "An…an what?"

Mukuro smiled as if there was nothing wrong. "An item, Tsuna-kun. Are you having trouble hearing me? Perhaps I should ask louder." The bastard actually rose his voice. "Are you and th—"

Tsuna launched forward to cover his mouth and spoke in a whisper-yell, "Be quiet! People can hear you, Mukuro-san!"

An old lady then entered the aisle. She walked with a cane and had a sweet smile on her face. "Oh," she said, a mischievous glint shining in her clear eyes, "am I interrupting, boys?"

Tsuna immediately let Mukuro go, widening his eyes. "Oh no, we're n—"

He couldn't help but squeak when strong arms suddenly hugged his waist from behind.

"Perhaps, ma'am," Mukuro said, placing his chin on top of Tsuna's head. "Please, don't mind us."

The elderly woman chuckled, waving a dainty hand in the air. "Don't worry, lad. Why, you're so handsome I can barely speak myself. Do excuse me."

"And you are just as lovely."

"Oh, lad, no. You're too kind." As the woman passed by, she gave Tsuna a smile. "He's a keeper, sweet boy. Don't let him go, alright?"

Tsuna couldn't even work up a response. He just stared at her like she was insane.

"Ah, young love," she said, her voice fading as she left the aisle.

A minute or two passed before Tsuna tugged Mukuro's arms off of him. "What was that?" he said, whirling around. "You just—This—She—Why did you—"

Mukuro laughed that distinct laugh of his. "You turn a lovely shade of red, Tsuna-kun."

Tsuna's cheeks felt even hotter. "You—" He pinched the bridge of his nose. "I don't know who's worse anymore."

Before he could turn and head back to his cart, Mukuro suddenly blocked him with his arm. A trace of deep oak wood, bergamot, and amber drifted in Tsuna's nose. Mukuro's smile was starting to irk Tsuna more as seconds passed by.

"I apologize, Tsuna-kun," Mukuro said, taking another bag of Lovebite from the shelves. "I was only trying to reach this."

Pursing his lips, Tsuna crossed his arms over his chest. "To your question, no. He and I are not an item or whatever it is you're thinking of. We're just distant acquaintances, very distant. And if you pull something like that again, I won't hesitate to challenge you in court on harassment charges."

Instead of cowering or shying away, Mukuro just smiled even wider, which took on a sharper edge. His eyes gleamed in a way that reminded Tsuna of criminals locking on their prey. That wasn't a good sign in the slightest. "Of course," he said. "I apologize if I made you feel uncomfortable, Tsuna-kun."

"Tsuna-nii!" a voice called out in the distance. "Tsuna-nii, where are you?"

"You're loud, Rika," a boy said, laughing. "You could wake up the dead at this rate. Oh, hey, I was planning on going to the cemeteries tonight. Wanna come?"

"What? No, you weirdo."

"Oh, come on! I heard someone saw a ghost there."

Tsuna looked back and forth between Mukuro and where the voices were coming from. "You have to hide!" he said.

Mukuro looked at him in amusement. "There's no reason to be af—"

Tsuna just shoved him down behind a cylindrical basket filled with chips on sale. "Shut up and stay quiet!"

Cockroaches, he thought, walking back to his cart. They're all cockroaches.

"Oh, Tsuna-nii!" Rika and Shinji appeared at the end of the aisle with a cart filled with ingredients. Shinji wheeled it over with Rika skipping ahead and grinning at Tsuna. "Found ya!" She looked around and tilted her head. "Why are you here?"

Tsuna quickly grabbed some random bag of candy and dumped it in his cart. "Oh, I was just checking out some candy and thinking about sharing it with everyone…?"

Sparkles immediately burst in Shinji and Rika's eyes.

"What?" Rika said. "You're the best nii-san ever! Oh, can I add this? This is my favorite! I've been wanting to replenish my snack supply but never really got the chance! I'll pay for it!"

Shinji shook some gummy worms and strawberry-filled cookies in the air. "I'll pay for these, too!"

Tsuna sagged a bit in relief. "Sure. Did you get everything?"

Rika nodded enthusiastically. "Yup! Although, we were wondering about what to do with the sauce."

"Well, it'd be more convenient to buy the sauce here then make it. It'll save some more time."

Shinji gave him a mock-salute. "Aye, aye, captain!"

"See you later, Tsuna-nii!" Rika said, running after a speeding Shinji. "Wait for me, idiot!"

When the coast was clear, Tsuna released a deep sigh. He looked inside his cart and rubbed his face when he realized that he dumped "Lovebite" in there. Oh, right.

"Muk—Eh?"

Tsuna peeked behind the basket to find the man gone. What the actual fuck? This was way beyond parlor tricks. Tsuna didn't even hear him leave, and Rika and Shinji must've not…noticed him leave either. Suppressing a shudder, Tsuna looked around for any sign of him when a piece of paper fluttered down in front of him. He reached for it and unfolded it to reveal some elegant words written on it: Apologies, Tsuna-kun. I hope we meet again soon under better circumstances. Have a wonderful day. Mukuro.

Okay… Tsuna really wasn't sure if he should call this creepy or impressive. Probably a bit of both.


One thing Tsuna can guarantee is that Rika's kitchen was just amazing. His jaw had dropped when he saw her house, which was located in the richest area of Namimori, and it nearly fell off after he stepped foot in her kitchen.

Junko had giggled as she gently pushed him inside. "We still need you, Tsuna-nii. Come on."

"I'm in heaven," he said, still in a daze as he took out all the vegetables.

Rika grinned. "I'm glad you like it! Do you mind if I play some music?"

"I don't mind."

Looking down at his phone, Shinji raised his hand immediately. "I call dibs on the first song!"

"No! This is my house!"

"I called dibs!"

Itsuko sighed, shaking her head. "I'm surrounded by idiots."

Miyumi smiled, patting her shoulder. "It's okay, Itsuko-chan. What are we going to make first, Tsuna-san?"

Tsuna lifted a wok from the stove and tested its weight. It was a bit too heavy for the kids. "Yakisoba," he said. "You're all hungry, right? We can start with that so you can eat. Rika, do you have a takoyaki pan?"

Naoki pulled it out of the pantry. "We have it."

"Okay, we'll save it for later. Shinji and Rika are in charge of yakisoba, right?"

The two immediately appeared at the counter, Rika looking a little frazzled.

"Yup!" Shinji said.

Rika huffed. "Present."

"You two can start making it now," Tsuna said. "We have enough space for Eiji and Itsuko to work on the takoyaki so you two can work on those. I'll be on stand-by in case."

"Okay!" the students said.

Tsuna was pretty impressed at how efficient the four of them were. While Junko, Naoki, and Miyumi sat in the living room, the other students went about cooking the food.

"You're not cutting it right!" Rika said.

Shinji just brushed her off. "Hey, I got a knife and I'm not afraid to use it." When Tsuna gave him a pointed stare, he gulped and said, "But I won't 'cause I'm a great person. You know that, right, Rika-chan?"

"I'm almost done," Itsuko said, whisking the takoyaki batter.

Eiji nodded. "Let me know when you're finished and I'll heat the pan. I just need to cut the green onions."

Tsuna leaned against the sink a few feet away. He smiled as he watched the kids cook. It brought back some fond memories back in high school, which was a more tolerable time for him then. Some heavy bass played from the Bluetooth speakers in the living room over the kids' chatter.

"Our shadows are reaching out

As the daylight fades away.

I only caught wisps of you

Before everything turned black,

And I'm left alone again

For a century more

Until someone else comes my way."

The voice was somewhat familiar with its strong, flat tone. Despite that, it was uniquely expressive, conveying the utter hopelessness in the song.

"Ah, this is such a good song," Rika said. "Bel's such a good singer."

Tsuna blinked. "This is Bel-s—Um, Bel?"

"It's one of his singles," Shinji said, pouring the cut pork into the wok. "Pretty neat, huh?"

"You smiled at me before you went

I couldn't even do the same

With the weight on my chest,

Knowing you wouldn't need me anymore."

Tsuna walked over to the stove. "I'll do this part," he said. "The wok's too heavy for you. You'll have a grill to use tomorrow, which will be easier. I can't have you break your arm."

Shinji raised his hands in the air in mock-surrender. "I'll concede to the master."

Tsuna turned on the stove to medium-heat. "I'll let you know when to pass the vegetables."

"Okay! I call dibs for the next song!"

"I put mine up next," Eiji said.

Shinji huffed. "Next one then!"

"I'm going to put it up!" Rika said.

"Whenever the slot's free then. Jeez, y'all are jerks."

Tsuna laughed under his breath as he cooked the meat until they were no longer pink. They were a pretty rowdy bunch, but as long as no one was killing each other. The scene from the restaurant popped up in his mind before he shook his head. It was just a horror show. "Shinji," he said.

"Got it!" Shinij came over and poured the onions and carrots into the sizzling wok. "Smells really good! Can I eat one? Just a bite?"

"No!" Rika said.

"You can eat it soon," Tsuna said, stirring the food inside. "I'll fix it up quick for you."

Shinji grinned. "I call first bite then!"

Soon, the song changed into a new one. Some fast-paced guitar, bass, and synthesizers soon blasted through the speakers. It was actually pretty catchy. A familiar warm voice soon sang:

"Spiraling down in this tunnel of dreams,

Whenever I catch a glimpse of what could've been,

I fall even deeper and reach for your hand

That was never there."

"Yamamoto!" Rika squealed. "Oh my God, he's such a good singer!"

Rika just blew a raspberry at his direction. Tsuna nodded in thanks as Shinji poured in the noodles. He quickly stirred the cabbage, green onions, and shitake mushrooms around. Lowering the heat to medium, he grabbed a pair of tongs and combined the noodles with the rest expertly.

Shinji exclaimed in amazement. "Holy, you're so good at this, Tsuna-nii! Guys, look at him!"

Rika hopped on over and gasped. "Tsuna-nii, teach me how to do that! Not even my mom can do it like you!"

Tsuna chuckled sheepishly. "Just lots of practice. You'll get the hang of it soon."

Gokudera rapped later on in the story with Rika singing along:

"Because of you, I can't get a hold of anything

All my life I've been chasing this crooked dream

Why can't you ever look at me that way?

Everything I've done for you crumbled to dust

When you took his hand and left me here.

I needed you, I wanted you, but I guess

Everything wasn't enough.

Now I'm stuck here in a limbo

Day by day, thinking of you,

In this nauseating spiral."

Tsuna glanced over his shoulder to check on Eiji and Itsuko. They were breaking up the connected batter very carefully on the pan. Nodding in approval, Tsuna returned to the yakisoba, flipping some to separate the ingredients, and poured the sauce.

Hibari's deep, smooth voice started singing:

"Spiraling down in this tunnel of dreams,

Whenever I catch a glimpse of what could've been."

Mukuro's rich voice joined not too soon afterwards, providing some harmonious support:

"I only see oblivion, only oblivion.

So I close my eyes and let it swallow me whole.

You've given me life, but this is okay, too.

I'll hold myself tight, thinking only of you."

How…melodramatic, Tsuna thought, sweat-dropping.

"Rika, can you get some plates?" he said.

"Sure! Shinji-kun, help me."

When they both brought the plates over, Tsuna turned off the stove and placed the noodles on the plate, arranging them neatly. Eiji and Itsuko carefully placed them on another set of plates Rika handed them. Soon they moved everything to a fancy dining table and the seats were filled with hungry students.

"Itadakimasu!" they said.

Tsuna watched in content as the students wolfed down the food.

"Oh my God," Shinji said, shoving yakisoba in his mouth. "Tsuna-nii, this is so good! Hey, can you fry the noodles tomorrow?"

Tsuna laughed. "You prepped it," he said. "Besides, you get a grill tomorrow. It'll be easier then."

He blinked when Junko pulled him down to sit next to her. "Tsuna-nii, you should eat, too. Here." She filled a plate with some of her yakisoba noodles and takoyaki and passed it to him. "I'm going to tell Fuuta-kun that you didn't eat then."

Tsuna flushed before smiling sheepishly. "Okay."

"Please let me know how it is," Itsuko said. "Your noodles…are good."

Tsuna smiled gently. "Thank you, Itsuko." He blew on a takoyaki ball and bit it tentatively since it was still very hot. There was some hushed silence over the table as he chewed. Finally, he swallowed it. "It's good. I'd advise you to use more oil next time. It can make it crispier and easier to flip without the batter getting stuck."

Itsuko nodded with a small blush. "Okay. Thank you."

"Hey, hey, Naoki," Shinji said, looking at his friend's plate hungrily. "Could you give me some more yakisoba?"

Naoki immediately shielded his plate. "W—What? No! Eat your own!"

"But I ate everything!"

"No!"

"You can have some of mine, Shinji-kun," Miyumi said.

"Oh, thanks!"

Tsuna just smiled fondly as the students continued to eat and bicker amongst each other. It really did bring back good memories indeed.


After I-pin and Lambo fell asleep, Tsuna pulled Fuuta to the side. He nervously tapped his fingers on the table while he waited for his brother to finish using the bathroom. When Fuuta finally came out, Tsuna waved him over.

"So," he said, "I was thinking about this for a while and I really should've done this sooner, but here."

He placed a gift bag with the phone inside on the small tea table and pushed it towards Fuuta. He had changed it out of the original bag so the surprise wouldn't be totally ruined. His brother blinked in confusion. "You didn't have to, Tsuna-nii," he said slowly.

"I wanted to," Tsuna corrected. "Go on. Look inside."

Fuuta still looked unsure but pulled out the phone case anyways. An array of unreadable emotions flashed in his eyes. "This…"

Tsuna smiled. "Open it."

Not hesitating anymore, Fuuta tugged the case cover open and widened his eyes. Inside was the phone Tsuna had bought him earlier. He rubbed the back of his head with a sheepish smile. "I wasn't sure if you'd like it," he said. "But I thought you'd be needing a phone. I should've bought it earlier though." After a bout of more silence from Fuuta, Tsuna quickly added, "If you don't like it, I'll try to save up more to get you a smartphone. It's—Oof!"

He nearly fell over when Fuuta launched himself at him with a hug, burying his face in his shoulder.

"Thank you," Fuuta whispered. "This is perfect."

Tsuna rubbed his back in soothing circles. "I'm glad."

He blinked when Fuuta suddenly pulled away and said to him seriously, "Give me your number, Tsuna-nii."

Tsuna gaped at him before bursting out into laughter. Ah, what was his life anymore? Still, he handed his own phone to Fuuta and let him do it anyways.

Well, damn, he should've thought of switching phones, too.

Chapter Text

"When I look at you, the love and instinct in my heart

Tells me to hurry and confess to you

All of the competitors that surround you

Yes, I'm a soldier for you."

- 200% by AKMU


Some soft rustling stirred Tsuna awake from his sleep. Eyes fluttering open, he rolled over to see Fuuta already awake and dressed in a green sweater and jeans. "Fuuta?" Tsuna mumbled in his pillow. "Leaving already?"

Junko had told him that they could meet outside his apartment at around 9 AM so they could walk to Namimori Middle together. The bunkasai started at around 10 and would go on until 5:30 PM, ending with a bonfire. Now that Tsuna thought about it, was his bunkasai like that? It had been so long, he couldn't remember; or rather, he chose not to. It wasn't the worst thing that happened in his life but it wasn't the best either. Fumbling for his phone, he picked it up and checked the time: 8:17 AM.

"Yeah," Fuuta said quietly. He smiled. "I have to go and make sure everything's ready."

Tsuna laughed softly. "When did our Fuuta get so responsible?"

Fuuta flushed. "Tsuna-nii!"

Tsuna hummed to himself. "Time flies," he said. "You were so small before. I feel like if I close my eyes now, you'll be going to college."

"Stop saying weird things," Fuuta said, his cheeks reddening more. "You can go back to sleep now."

Tsuna had already sat up. "What about breakfast? I can make you something quick."

Fuuta shook his head. "No, it's okay. I can eat something at school. You don't have to walk me out." He zipped up his brown jacket. "I'll see you there, Tsuna-nii!"

He left before Tsuna could say another word. The sound of the door closing shut made Tsuna slump. He ran a hand through his hair, yawning, and briefly thought about going back to sleep. I-pin turned over then, her long black hair splayed across her pillow. Smiling softly, Tsuna brushed a strand from her face and tucked it behind her ear. I-pin leaned into his touch almost instinctively before her eyes opened sluggishly. "Big Br'ther?" she mumbled.

"You can keep sleeping, I-pin," Tsuna said quietly.

Rubbing her eyes, I-pin struggled to gain her bearings. "Where's Fuuta-nii?"

"He just left to get ready for the festival." Tsuna patted I-pin's pink dumpling blankets. "You can sleep a little more."

I-pin wrinkled her nose. "I'm okay. I'm awake anyways. What about Lambo?"

Tsuna laughed under his breath at his snoring brother. "Let's leave him alone for now. I'll make some breakfast for us."

I-pin smiled. "Okay."

They quietly exited the room and left the door open just slightly. I-pin plopped down on the couch and turned on the TV while Tsuna looked through the fridge. A light breakfast wouldn't hurt; after all, the kids would probably want to eat a lot later. Grabbing some eggs and toast, he decided to make some breakfast sandwiches. The sound of the TV droned in the background as I-Pin shifted through the channels. "Big Brother, look!" she said. "That's Dino! Isn't he so handsome?"

"—our world tour was a huge success," a female interviewer said. "Tickets have sold out within minutes! Also, you recently covered Reborn-san's hit title track 'Ansare' at a concert in Munich a few days ago. We all know that he was a bit of a mentor in your trainee days. Has he said anything about your cover yet? Oh, could you maybe sing a couple of lines for us today? What about it, everyone? Do we all agree?"

Several girls screamed in agreement. Tsuna tossed some arugula in the pan before putting in some olive oil and squeezing lemon juice on top. "I can't look right now, I-pin. Do you want juice or milk?"

"Juice, please!" I-pin suddenly squealed. "He's singing! He's going to sing! Big Brother, look!"

Cracking some eggs into the pan, Tsuna glanced over his shoulder to catch a perky interviewer and a tall, handsome blond man on the TV screen. The man, Dino, grinned charmingly and accepted the interviewer's mike amidst the screaming fans outside the barriers. They looked like they were outside some buildings in Tokyo.

"Of course," Dino said, winking at the screaming fangirls. "Anything for my darlings." He took a small breath, which echoed faintly in the mic, and started to sing in Italian. His voice was low and smooth with a slightly husky tone:

"Your slender hands seize me by the throat

My skin becomes warm then, and finally, I see the beautiful light that you are.

Take my breaths, my life, so that I will always be yours."

Tsuna made a small face. He didn't know if Reborn wrote those lyrics but they were…so Reborn. Shaking his head, he turned back to the sizzling eggs and sprinkled a dash of salt and pepper over them. I-pin almost fell over on the couch, clutching a cushion close to her chest. "Dino's so cool!" she said. "But Reborn's also cool, too. Did you know he wrote that song?"

Tsuna sweat-dropped. Of course Reborn did. "No," he said, taking out some plates from the pantry. "I'm almost done, I-pin. Can you go and wake up Lambo?"

"Okay!"

While Tsuna placed some whole-wheat toasts on three plates, I-pin dashed to the bedroom. A few seconds passed before Lambo suddenly shrieked and burst out into the living room. "Tsuna-nii, I-pin—"

I-pin appeared at the doorway, a big grin on her face. "Woke up Lambo!"

Tsuna patted Lambo's messy hair as the boy clung to his waist. He still didn't know how I-pin woke Lambo up but it was useful when needed. Though he was pretty sure it was what he thought it was. I-pin could pinch hard…

"I'll get you some grape juice okay, Lambo?" Tsuna said, guiding the boy to the dining table.

Lambo yawned as he sat down on a chair. "Okay." He eyed I-pin warily who just smiled innocently. "Don't come near me, pinhead."

"I'm not a pinhead, you broccoli monster!"

"Pinhead, pinhead, pinhead!"

Tsuna placed the eggs and arugula on top of each toast before setting them on the table. "Guys, volume."

Huffing, I-pin slumped in a chair across from Lambo and pouted. "I'm sorry, Big Brother, but Lambo's being loud, too!"

Lambo crossed his arms over his chest. "You started it!"

"Volume," Tsuna said, pouring grape juice in a green cup.

Lambo took it with both hands and grumbled under his breath. I-pin suddenly perked up. "Big Brother, today's Saturday, right? The 21st? Then the trip's in two days, right, right?"

Tsuna handed her a red cup with orange juice. "Yeah…" Just thinking about it had his stomach doing flip-flops. Dear God, four days with them, four days. He wasn't even sure if he could last an hour with them. Then again, none of this was normal so why bother questioning it? Yeah, why even bother…

"I just met Hibari-san a few days ago too, and Alaude-san!" I-pin rambled on, munching on her toast. "Now I'm going to meet"—she giggled—"Fon-san!"

Lambo rolled his eyes. "That's all you talk about. Why don't you talk about something else? Like something useful."

"Aren't you excited to meet one of the most popular idol groups in the world?" Lambo shrugged, making I-pin narrow her eyes. "Yeah, let's see when you meet Skull-san."

Lambo flushed. "S—Shut up!"

Tsuna sat down next to him. "Don't say that, Lambo."

"Sorry, Tsuna-nii."

"What do you think about them, Big Brother?" I-pin said. "You met them at the restaurant, right? Did they say anything? Isn't Fon-san the nicest man ever?"

Tsuna's smile strained a bit. "They were…nice."

"Fon-san too, right? He's so polite and treats everyone really nicely, even the fans! Did you know that there's actually a funny video where it shows how many times he helped someone on camera? There was one where he helped Colonnello with his mic onstage last year and it was so sweet! A lot of fans call him the mama of the group, too." I-pin huffed. "Just because he has long hair and really nice doesn't mean that people can just call him mama. It's kind of weird." Tsuna wiped some egg from her lips with a napkin as she babbled on. "What do you think, Big Brother? Did he seem like a mama to you?"

Lambo snorted. "His hair is girly anyways."

I-pin scowled. "His hair isn't girly! Men in China used to have long hair to respect their parents and it was honorable, you dumb cow! Also, Kikyo-san and Squalo-san have long hair too, and they're the coolest men ever!"

Tsuna wondered what the heck went wrong in the conversation. "Guys, calm down. You're getting too loud. Come on, eat your breakfast. We have to leave soon, remember?"

I-pin frowned but continued eating anyways. "Fon-san isn't a mama. He has a dragon tattoo, you know." She smiled. "He's more like a papa right, Big Brother? He looks like he'll be the best papa ever, too! He's so nice and gentle and patient with everyone; that doesn't mean he's a mama. And his hair makes him look manlier, not girly!"

Tsuna set his cup of coffee down on the table. "I-pin, whatever the fans say doesn't mean anything so don't get too worked up about it. We all see each other differently. That still doesn't mean you can insult them just because they are who they are. And Lambo, whatever people look like or how they dress doesn't mean that they're any less than you are. We're all people too, right? There's no need to disrespect each other. It's very rude to try to put them down like that. Men can have long hair if they want to and women can have short hair if they want to. Boys can like pink and girls can like blue. There's nothing wrong with that. They're just being who they are." He smiled while ruffling Lambo's hair. "Besides they're not hurting you, right? Will it hurt if some girls in your class like blue and some boys like pink?"

Lambo furrowed his brows. "No, not really."

"Don't worry. I don't expect you to change your mind about it overnight, but just keep that in mind. You can hurt other people's feelings if you say something carelessly like that. Be mindful, okay? If you don't have anything nice to say—"

Lambo smiled a bit. "Don't say it all."

I-pin puffed her chest. "See? Big Brother's smart! He gets it." She grinned. "Big Brother is like a mama and a papa!"

Tsuna laughed. "Well…"

"Big Brother can cook really good food, make nice dolls, and always helps us whenever we need it!" I-pin looked down at her half-eaten toast. "I'm really happy…to be with Big Brother."

"Me, too!" Lambo said, almost falling over his chair. "Tsuna-nii is the best mama, papa, brother ever!"

If Tsuna could combust, he would. Cheeks tinged red, he quickly sipped his coffee to quell his nerves. "If you're done eating, go brush your teeth, okay?"

Lambo grinned. "Okay. But I meant what I said, Tsuna-nii! You're the best ever!"

I-pin nodded excitedly. "Yes, the very, very best!"

Tsuna's lips curled into a smile as he watched the kids dash to the bathroom, leaving empty plates and cups behind. Everything just seemed a whole lot brighter then.


After braiding I-pin's hair into pigtail plaits and zipping up Lambo's green jacket, Tsuna held their hands and left the apartment together. Junko was already waiting outside, wearing some casual sweater and jeans. She waved at them. "Good morning, Lambo-kun, I-pin-chan, Tsuna-nii!"

The kids hid behind Tsuna's legs and waved shyly back at the girl. They rarely interacted much with Junko before so this was expected. Even though they were talkative around Tsuna and each other, they were mostly shy around strangers.

"Were you waiting long?" Tsuna said, locking the door. "I'm sorry."

Junko shook her head. "I just came out so you're right on time." She smiled down at Lambo and I-pin. "Both of you look really nice. Your hair is very pretty, I-pin-chan."

Blushing, I-pin looked down at her black shoes. "Big Brother did them for me."

Junko blinked. "Big B—Oh! You mean Tsuna-nii?" She grinned. "I didn't know you could braid."

Tsuna laughed sheepishly. "It took a lot of trial and errors. I think I-pin's hair can attest to that." He patted I-pin's head as she smiled up at him. "Are the others already there?"

Junko browsed through her phone. "Well, Itsuko-chan, Shinji-kun, and Naoki-kun are there. The others will be there soon." She giggled. "We should get going, too. Those two can only do so much to make sure Shinji-kun doesn't pull anything funny."

Tsuna smiled. "Right."

As they headed towards Namimori Middle, Tsuna briefly basked in the cool, autumn air. The streets were relatively quiet with the occasional car driving by. There were no clouds in the blue sky, and the sun was unabashedly radiant. Lambo stuck close to Tsuna's side and held onto his hand. I-pin gazed at the orange and red leaves in awe, her eyes bright and cheeks flushed. Tsuna made a note to make a doctor's appointment soon so they could get their flu shots. He'd been so busy, he didn't get the time to make one yet. A dentist appointment, too. Ah, he could already see his "to-do" list growing longer and longer by the second.

"Are you excited for the festival?" Junko said to I-pin, who tensed a bit. "Tsuna-nii cooks really good. I'm jealous that you get to eat his food every day."

I-pin ducked her head. "Big Brother makes the best food."

Junko smiled. "He does! I think our booths will do well this year because of him."

Tsuna shook his head. "I didn't do much, Junko-chan. Just a little guidance. You guys are doing most of the hard work."

"You sell yourself short, Tsuna-nii," Junko said teasingly. "Without you, we wouldn't have the booths running in the first place. They listen to you well."

"Well, they're good kids."

Junko smiled kindly. "You're a good mentor." She glanced at his siblings. "And a good brother. I'm a little jealous. I wish I had a brother like you. Remember, guys, treat Tsuna-nii well, okay? He's a once-in-a-lifetime, hmm, well, person!"

Lambo scrunched his nose. "We do!" He blushed when he realized what he just said. He glanced at Tsuna. "We do, right?"

I-pin nodded fiercely, waiting for Tsuna's response. He laughed almost breathlessly and squeezed their hands a little tighter. "Yeah, you do."

Junko covered her face with a hand. "You're all so adorable."

Tsuna laughed awkwardly. "You're too nice."

Junko shook her head quickly. "No, no, no, it's true." She smiled. "You really are a good brother."

Soon, Namimori Middle came to view in the next street over. There were already a small crowd of people at the gates where a large white banner was propped. "Welcome" was painted on it in thick, black ink with some artsy designs. Parents, children, and other Namimori citizens entered the school courtyard where several booths and activities were already set up. A mini-stage with some loudspeakers attached to a laptop was stationed at the center where everyone could see it. Some students tested out the mics. There was an arts and crafts table with face paint, easels, and origami paper. A few students spread out a long sheet of white paper on the ground, keeping it down with some buckets of paint.

"Tsuna-nii, we're over there," Junko said, pointing at some booths a few feet away.

Tsuna followed her with I-pin and Lambo trailing beside him. When they arrived at the booths, which had a light yellow overhead cover, the machines and grills were already plugged in and ready to go. There were two takoyaki grills, two electric pans for the yakisoba, and two steamers with lids for the nikuman. A large rice cooker stood on a long table behind the students next to piles of cups, plates, utensils, and napkins. Some desks and chairs from the classrooms created a makeshift cafeteria beside the stalls.

Clad in a yellow sweater and a long apron, Rika grinned and waved at them. "Junko-chan! Tsuna-nii! Over here!"

Junko returned the gesture. "Good morning, Rika-chan. Are you done setting up?"

"Yup! Oh, and look at this!" Rika gestured at the machines. "Kocho-sensei got them for us and they're brand new! How cool is that? Oh, right! Put this on! Kocho-sensei got these, too. Something about school spirit but they're pretty cute." She pulled two yellow sweaters from underneath the table and handed them over; they had "Namimori-Chuu" written in small characters over the left breast pocket. A small leaf was sewn next to it. "You too, Tsuna-nii! We can all match! Oh, and who's this?"

Tsuna laughed a bit. "They're my siblings. I-pin and Lambo, this is Rika-chan."

The other girl cupped her cheeks. "Oh my God, they're so cute! It's really, really nice to meet you! Call me Rika-nee-chan!" She squealed. "I-pin-chan, you remind me of Fon for some reason! Your braids are so pretty." She tilted her head. "Wait, Lambo? Actually, you kind of look l—"

"You like Fon-san, too?" I-pin suddenly said. She blushed a bit from the volume of her voice.

Rika pumped her fist in the air. "Fon is like one of the hottest guys out there! That man can freakin' dance."

I-pin nodded. "Yes, I agree! Did you see his solo performance last year on the world tour in Beijing?"

Rika gasped. "The one where he danced to 'Hurricane'?"

"Yes!"

"Oh my God, girl, those body rolls! And when he took off his shirt, I died."

Tsuna and Lambo sweat-dropped in the background. Soon, Tsuna intervened so that the girls wouldn't end up losing too much energy talking about Fon and…other things. "Stay together, okay?" he said, handing some cash to I-pin and Lambo from his wallet. "Take this in case. Come back later so you can eat lunch. Don't separate!"

I-pin waved as she ran off, tugging Lambo with her. "Okay! We'll be back!"

The kids disappeared into the growing crowd. Smiling, Junko handed Tsuna the yellow sweater and a white apron. "Let's get to work, Tsuna-nii!"

Tsuna returned the gesture. "Yeah."


The food stands quickly gained steam in the next hour, both literally and figuratively. The delicious scent wafted in the air, drawing in hungry and eager customers from all over. It was convenient that the booths were near the entrance and closer to most of the activities. Clad with a white face mask, Tsuna had a good view of both the kids cooking on the grills and other students showing off their talents in the courtyard ranging from beautiful ink calligraphy and dancing on the mini-stage. The weather was fresh and crisp with no hint of impending rain, and loud, traditional music boomed in the air from the speakers as a group of female students performed in kimonos onstage.

Tsuna mostly stood back, observed the kids, making sure that no mishaps occurred, and collected the money. They were doing well on their own really, churning out food continuously without fail. Customers continued ordering every minute or so while their orders sizzled on the grill, emitting a savory aroma.

"Two nikuman, please!"

"Can I get four orders of yakisoba?"

"One takoyaki and one yakisoba!"

Eiji tore another pack of yakisoba noodles open and loosened them up with his hands in a bowl of warm water. Wiping her brow, Itsuko continued tossing up the stir fry vegetables in the grill. "I'm going to need more noodles, Eiji," she said.

"I know," Eiji said, blinking rapidly out of nervous habit. "I'm trying!"

Itsuko placed some finished yakisoba in a bowl and handed it to an awaiting customer. "I also need more cabbages and green onions. Thank you, sir!"

"We're a third of the way on the octopus!" Naoki said, pouring a generous amount of oil in the takoyaki pan.

Junko whisked another batch of batter in a bowl rapidly. "We have plenty of sausage and cheese too, so I think we'll be fine. I'm almost done here, Naoki-kun!"

Shinji and Rika worked on kneading more dough while a previous batch just finished rising. Miyumi, having finished on chopping up the fillings, quickly rolled it out with a rolling pin. A bead of sweat dripped down the side of her head as she scooped up the filling from a bowl and placed it carefully on the center of the dough. Sensing her nerves going a little haywire, Tsuna quickly went over and helped her seal the buns quickly. His hands were a blur as he finished three within seconds, leaving Miyumi in awe.

"Make sure you make at least 10 pleats like this," Tsuna said, showing her a better view of him rotating the dough. He continued picking up the dough with his index finger and pinching it with his thumb as he rotated the dough clockwise. "If you keep your other thumb down like this, it'll keep the filling from spilling out. Lift the pleats up just a little bit when you do them while you make a new one so the filling also stays inside. Yeah, like that." He smiled, even if it was covered by his mask, when Miyumi followed his instructions perfectly. "That's great, Miyumi! I'll help you with this batch and the next one so you don't blow up yourself."

Miyumi's eyes crinkled from a grin underneath her own mask. "Thank you, Tsuna-san!"

They fell into a comfortable silence after as they quickly used up the whole dough. While the water boiled in the steamer, Miyumi laid out some parchment paper for the buns in the steamer tray. As soon as the nikuman were ready to be served, they disappeared almost instantly. Customers gushed over the food, some even coming back for seconds or with more friends.

"This is so good!"

"Hey, hey, get Akane-chan! She loves takoyaki!"

"I'm starving!"

"Yo, dude, can you get that for me? I'll pay you back!"

Tsuna soon moved around the grills, checking on the kids to make sure they were alright. Their stamina was something. When he checked the clock on the school building, it said that almost three hours had passed since they started. He almost jumped when Eiji bumped into him before quickly grabbing the boy from falling to the ground. "Are you okay?"

Eiji laughed sheepishly as he fixed his glasses. "Yes, I'm fine. Thank you, Tsuna-san."

Tsuna pursed his lips at Eiji's slightly haggard state. "Eiji, take a 15-minute break. I'll take over for you." He maneuvered the stuttering boy to one of the tables outside the booth. "I'm not taking no for an answer. You didn't eat breakfast, did you?"

Eiji looked down at his feet. "Um, no…?"

Tsuna patted his shoulder. "I'll bring you something to eat so rest here, okay?" He returned to the stall and quickly took over beside Itsuko, separating the wet noodles in the bowl. "How many orders for the yakisoba?"

"Five," Itsuko said. "Is Eiji…okay?"

Tsuna smiled. "He's fine. Just a little tired." He glanced at the grills. "I think that's enough for five servings. You're doing great, Itsuko. I'm going to take some for Eiji, okay?"

Itsuko didn't respond but she kept her head low more out of embarrassment rather than rudeness. Huffing a small laugh, Tsuna grabbed a spare plastic plate and placed a generous portion of yakisoba on it. He snatched a water bottle from the small fridge as he walked out to Eiji's table where the boy had removed his face mask and was fanning himself from the grills' heat. "Here," Tsuna said, handing both to Eiji. "Don't rush and eat at your own pace, okay? I'll come back to check on you. Let me know if you need anything."

Ducking his head, Eiji flushed a bit and scratched his cheek. "Y—Yeah, thank you, Tsuna-san."

Tsuna returned to the booth and glanced over to see Itsuko prepping another grill with more stir-fried vegetables. "How are you doing?"

"I'm fine," Itsuko said.

"Be careful." Tsuna wiped his hands on his apron and carefully reached over to fold Itsuko's drooping sleeve. "I can't have you burning out, too."

Itsuko quickly resumed her work. "T—Thank you…"

A quiet voice soon spoke up. "You again."

Tsuna blinked. When he looked up, he nearly had a heart attack when he saw Mammon standing in front of his stall. The man donned a simple disguise and went to some length to keep his identity unknown by tying his hair back into a small ponytail hidden underneath a black hoodie pulled over a gray cap. A pair of sunglasses hid his eyes.

"Ah, are you…interested in buying anything, sir?" Tsuna said with a slightly strained smile.

A small beat of silence passed between them. Finally, Mammon asked, "How much are they?"

"Each is 380 yen." Mammon pursed his lips before Tsuna quickly added, "It's not expensive. Most street food's average price is 500 yen and this is—"

"That's not the issue."

Before Tsuna could respond, a series of screams, very familiar screams, suddenly pierced the air. He paled a bit when he caught a glimpse of some black coats from the corner of his eye. Mammon just clicked his tongue and left to where the shouts were coming from, leaving Tsuna still stunned. He didn't… They weren't… Wait, why was Mammon here? Did that mean…Arcobaleno was somewhere nearby, too? But they left yesterday.

At that moment, Tsuna felt like bashing his head against the wall. One day, why couldn't he have just one day without seeing any of these people? One freakin' day.

"Tsuna-san." Itsuko's voice snapped him out of his thoughts. "Can you cut some more vegetables for me, please?"

She grimaced when Rika suddenly pushed past her shoulder and gaped at Mammon's retreating back into the sea of people. "Was that Viper?" she said. "I swear that he's Viper. He sounds like Viper. Oh my God, he's really Viper!" She squealed, almost knocking Itsuko down. "That's freakin' Viper! And I'm 100% certain that those screams are Varia! Oh my God, oh my God, does my hair look okay?"

Seriously, why didn't the group know how to lay low? Why? Tsuna didn't know whether he should be embarrassed for them or exasperated. This was probably how Mammon felt…

"Back off!" Itsuko snapped, adjusting her grip on her grill tongs. "Stop fooling around and go back to your station!"

Tsuna quickly pried Rika off Itsuko and gently pushed her towards her post. "Rika, let's not lose focus here, okay? We have food to make and people to serve."

Rika huffed, clearly pouting under her mask. "Okay, but I call first dibs on making the food for them!"

Shinji perked up. "For who? Hey, hey, hey, what are you saying? Are they really here?" He peered over his shoulder to get a better look. "I don't see them."

Tsuna gave them both a look, silencing them immediately, before returning to Itsuko's side. "I'm sorry about that. I'll get you more vegetables in a sec."

Itsuko just sighed. "Okay. I still have enough for two bowls for now."

Tsuna smiled weakly. Just as he brought out more vegetables onto the chopping board, another yell sounded in the air. The growing crowd a few booths down made Tsuna feel just a bit queasy and pray for the best. Well, more for him than them. He didn't look up when some students squealed in the distance or when Rika shrieked with them, nearly destroying his (and everyone else's) ears. He didn't even look up when a large shadow suddenly loomed over him. Instead, Tsuna found himself in a strange fit of calm. It wasn't normal, not in these kinds of circumstances, but it wasn't rare. Professor Hoshino had called it his "Hyper Dying Will Mode", whatever that meant. The man sometimes came up with the strangest things sometimes.

Swiftly, he stopped Rika and Shinji from coming over by raising his hand. They immediately paused in their step as if frozen. After dicing more cabbage, the knife thumping rhythmically and loudly on the cutting board, Tsuna finally looked up, his hand steady around the cutting knife. "Is there anything you'd like, sir?"

Honestly, Varia should really work on their disguises. Even if they were dressed casually for the most part, their style was too distinct to ignore. They mostly wore black and white and the one that had remotely any color was Lussuria with his hair and deep orange scarf. None of them even more masks, just sunglasses and overturned hoodies, which covered their faces, yeah, but anyone with a brain cell could tell who they were in a heartbeat.

Xanxus, who stood at the front and wore a black overcoat, slightly tilted his face downwards to look at Tsuna through his expensive sunglasses. "Brat."

Mammon sighed irritably in the background at the small slip. Tsuna was very aware of the students and customers watching them in awe and unease. No one tried approaching Varia, too intimidated by either their unexpected presence or their looks. Tsuna thought it was a bit of both. He grabbed a scallion and sliced it up quickly. "If there's nothing you need, then please leave," he said as if he was talking about the weather. "You're holding up the line."

Lussuria opened his mouth to say something and thought better of it. Still, his easy-going smile didn't falter. Bel's lips were curved in his trademark grin as he leaned an arm on Mammon's shoulder, which the other man surprisingly didn't move away from. Levi twitched, obviously very uncomfortable with the situation, and Squalo just bared his teeth. Though he was silent, his simmering temper exactly wasn't.

"Six of everything," Mammon finally said after a minute or two. "Do you accept card?"

With a cheerful smile, Tsuna pointed at the sign beside him that read "Cash Only". "No, but I can bring you a receipt later with your food. You can pay then." He looked to the side, not batting an eye at the students' wide-eyed stares. "Junko-chan, is it possible to make a separate space for them?"

Rika and Shinji raised their hands in the air almost immediately. "Will do right away, sir, yes, sir!"

Tsuna could barely get a word out before the two dashed off to God knew where. He quickly snapped out of his stupor to fill up a nearly empty grill for Itsuko. Looking up again, he caught Eiji's eye and waved him over. "I'm sorry, Eiji, but can you keep an eye on them until Rika and Shinji come back? Make sure they're not being bothered, too. Treat them like any other customers."

Eiji paled a bit. He glanced at Varia nervously from the corner of his eye but forced himself to nod stiffly anyways. "O—Okay, Tsuna-san. I'll t—try."

Tsuna smiled, closing his eyes. "Thank you, Eiji. You're a great help!" The boy flushed while Varia seemed to take interest on the trembling boy, though not the good kind. "Treat him nicely or else I'll kick you all out without hesitation. Thank you."

That day, the cooking students seemed to have found their God.


After Shinji and Rika created a space behind their booths for Varia, coupled with student desks and even an office chair from the teachers' lounge for Xanxus, things somewhat settled. News of the idol group spread across the campus and there were more customers than ever crowding around the food stalls to get a peek of Varia. They were thankfully covered from view by long white sheets so no one was trying to kill each other. Strangely enough, no one had their phones out.

However Tsuna and the kids had a job to do, and they were doing admirably well, other than Rika accidentally spilling some water on Bel's shirt. Tsuna had given him an extra "Namimori-Chuu" sweater they had and thanked every single god out there that none of the students, especially Rika, was there to witness him pull his crossbones shirt over his head and change right there. Needless to say, Bel had abs.

"Tsuna-nii, we're almost out of ingredients for takoyaki," Junko said, her brows furrowed. "We can make probably 3 more batches before we're done."

Tsuna quickly checked the time. It was almost 2 PM. He pursed his lips. It was past his siblings' lunchtime. They should've been back by now. While Naoki left for a short break, Tsuna took over his place at the takoyaki station. Junko was eventually reaching her limits from the way her hand trembled from mixing too much. Now she was relegated to only the grill while Tsuna whisked the batter.

"What about the sausage and cheese?" he said.

"We have only enough for 12 more batches." Junko clapped her hands together. "But that would mean we're almost sold out on a dish! I think we raised more money than last year, too!"

Tsuna hummed to himself as he poured the batter in the takoyaki pan, slightly making it overflow. "That's good but there aren't any other food stalls around and the festival doesn't end until sunset. When is that again, Shinji?"

"Around 5:30-ish," Shinji said, rolling out some dough. "Hey, did you know some the Science Club are gonna show off fireworks at the bonfire tonight? My friend's in it!"

"Two yakisoba, please!" a customer said.

With dreamy eyes, Rika was just in another world altogether. "They're so cool up close. I can't believe I just served Varia food." She squealed. "I hope they liked it! They liked it, right? I mean, I'm not a bad cook, I can cook. And the nikuman is so cute, you know?"

"Miyumi made the buns," Shinji said.

"Shut up! I wasn't talking to you!"

"And no one's listening to you, sister."

Miyumi laughed nervously. "Uh, guys, let's calm down, okay?"

"I don't hear you two working over there," Tsuna said. "If you have Miyumi doing all the work, I'm going to have to write you down. Also, I told you before not to make a huge fuss, remember?"

He wasn't moved when Rika and Shinji shed some crocodile tears.

"You wouldn't, Tsuna-nii!" Rika said. "If you write us up, then we can't go on the senior field trip! Do you know where we're going? The Fukanōna Onsen! That's like the onsen to go to in Namimori!"

"And graduation!" Shinji said. "I need to graduate!"

Tsuna raised a brow. "Shinji, nothing's going to hold you back from graduating unless you keep your grades up and focus in school. And Rika, writing you up won't prevent you from going on your field trip." He smiled innocently, which was thankfully covered by his mask, but the students shivered anyways. "But if you don't sell the nikuman and shirk off your work, we're going to see different problems."

Soon Bel peeked through the white makeshift curtains, making Rika shriek in excitement. Immediately the customers peered to get a better look of the grinning idol. "Waiter-san," Bel said, waving Tsuna over, "the snake has a question for you."

Some of the girls squealed.

"Bel-sama, I love you!"

"You'll always be my prince!"

"You're so handsome, Bel-sama!"

"Why are you so perfect?"

Tsuna sighed while Junko shooed him off. "I can handle this for a bit, Tsuna-nii," she said. "Besides, Naoki-kun's coming back soon. Don't worry! Go."

Nodding reluctantly, Tsuna set the batter bowl down where no one could knock it down and went to the back where Varia were. He pulled back the sheets before slipping inside quickly, ignoring the fangirls screaming behind him. "Yes?" he said.

His brow twitched. The men sat around some classroom desks pushed together and almost looked comical, almost. Empty plates and cups were scattered across the surface, some littering the floor; it was just messy. Xanxus had his legs crossed and leaned his cheek onto his fist. Even if he was sitting in an office chair of all things, he still somehow made it look like a throne. "Brat," he said, "I'm still hungry."

"The prince can go for more," Bel said.

"Your cooking is just delicious, Tsu-chan!" Lussuria swooned. "I just want more and more!"

Squalo clicked his tongue, chewing on a toothpick. "It's good, brat."

Tsuna restrained a sigh. "This isn't a restaurant. This is a school festival and we're almost running out of ingredients. If you'd like, there's some nice restaurants nearby I can recommend."

"Their prices aren't reasonable," Mammon said.

Tsuna pursed his lips. "They're restaurants, Mammon-san, and this is a school festival. There's a difference."

"Your food is high in quality and cheap."

"This is a school festival."

A bout of silence passed. "It's still the cheaper and better alternative in the area," was Mammon's response.

Tsuna sucked in a small breath. Was Mammon being serious? Why? Of all places, why here? Why now? Tsuna just sighed, feeling the weariness get to him. There was no point in arguing with them. Their skulls were too thick. "Is there anything you needed?"

Mammon gestured at the small piece of paper that Tsuna had given to him as a receipt. "12 of everything."

Tsuna blinked. "Twelve?"

"Voi, are you deaf?" Squalo said. "We're fuc—"

"Tsuna-nii, where are you?" Shit, that was Lambo. "Tsuna-nii!"

"Big Brother! We need your"—the sound of the curtains being drawn back made everyone look up to a stunned I-pin and nearly terrified Lambo—"help…?"

"Ah, I-pin-chan!" Miyumi said, dashing over. "Lambo-kun, you shouldn't—"

"It's okay, Miyumi," Tsuna said. "They can come in." He quickly drew the curtains so no one would see and led his siblings more inside. They both looked flushed from running and I-pin's long hair was loose from her braids, and messy. "Why didn't you two come sooner? Aren't you hungry? You missed your lunchtime."

Lambo looked down at his shoes. "I'm sorry, Tsuna-nii. There was just a lot of stuff to do and we kind of lost track of time."

I-pin quickly tore her gaze from Varia after a moment or two before tugging Tsuna's jeans. "Big Brother, can you help us? We're doing a scavenger bingo and the grand prize is a really pretty doll set."

Tsuna pulled a spare chair over to sit down on and wiped his hands over his apron. I-pin immediately sat down on his lap as he took her hair ties. "Right," he said, "but you two need to eat first."

Lambo shuffled closer to his side, hiding from Varia's piercing gaze. He shook his head quickly. "No one got everything in the scavenger hunt yet and we don't want someone else to take it! We only need three more things!" He held up a small tote bag with a red flower on it. "This Onee-chan was nice enough to give this to us, too! See, look!"

Tsuna peered over I-pin's head to scrutinize the bag's contents. It had a variety of things, including a shiny rock, a calculator, some wildflowers, an orange-red leaf, and a thin paintbrush. Lambo held up the calculator that looked familiar. "Fuuta-nii let us borrow it! You should see what his class did, too! It's really, really cool!"

I-pin's eyes brightened. "Yeah, it's so pretty and nice! He's waiting for you too, Big Brother! Let's go together later!"

Tsuna laughed, which was muffled by his mask. He continued braiding one pigtail of I-pin's hair without much trouble; his fingers moved deftly as he weaved locks of hair over and under unceasingly. "We will, but first you guys have to eat. Ah, did Fuuta eat yet?"

Lambo shook his head. "Bingo! We need to finish the bingo! We can eat later!"

I-pin held up a piece of paper in her hands. "We just need three more things. The first one says 'guardian'. Everyone's bringing their mama or papa around with them." Her voice became a little hushed. "Big Brother isn't a mama or papa but you're like them to us. And—And you're the best guardian ever!"

Lambo nodded fervently. "You are! So"—he shifted on his feet—"can you come with us?"

Tsuna had just finished re-braiding I-pin's hair when Lambo said that. His chest tightened a bit. Still his lips curled into a large smile. He tugged down his mask and ruffled Lambo's now messier hair. "Of course I will," he said.

They all jumped when Lussuria suddenly cooed. Oh, right. Varia. "You're all adorable!" Lussuria said, clapping his hands together. "How could you hide such darling little angels from us, Tsu-chan? From the world for that matter? This place could do some good with more kindness."

I-pin giggled. "You're funny, Lussuria-san."

The man practically swooned. "Oh, she knows me!" He laughed almost haughtingly to the ire of the other members aside from Mammon.

I-pin puffed her chest, standing up. "If anyone's an angel, it's Big Brother!"

Tsuna immediately blushed. "I—I-pin, don't say that. I'm not!"

Lambo tilted his head in confusion. "Sometimes Tsuna-nii eats ice cream at night when he's not supposed to."

"Lambo!"

Lussuria hooted in laughter and even Bel snickered. The blond leaned over and poked Tsuna's forehead. "Bad tuna peasant," he said, rocking back onto his chair dangerously. "No sweets after dark. The monsters will come and take them back again." I-pin and Lambo paled, which only made Tsuna want to strangle the man. Bel's grin grew wider. "But don't worry. They're no match for the prince."

Lambo furrowed his brows. "Wait, then does that make Tsuna-nii the princess?"

Tsuna's cheeks burned at this point. Lussuria chuckled almost devilishly. "What a smart boy you are, Lambo-chan," he said, making Lambo wrinkle his nose. "Tsu-chan is the princess."

"So," Tsuna said quickly, "what are the two other items you had to find? Maybe I can help you with those, too. Come on, the faster we finish this, the sooner you guys can eat, okay?"

"Oh!" I-pin skimmed the list. She pouted. "I don't know if we can get these though." She glanced at Varia nervously. "Well, maybe…?"

Tsuna tilted his head. "What are they?"

"…a tiara and a feather."

Silence.

With his arms draped behind his chair, Bel suddenly chuckled. He rocked on the legs of his chair with his feet on the table, much to Squalo's disgust who was mostly grumbling in the background. Xanxus just wisely kept his mouth shut along with Levi and Mammon.

"Will the tiny princess come closer to the prince?" Bel said.

I-pin blushed before pointing at herself. "M—Me or…"

"Ushishishi, who else?"

Hesitantly, I-pin stepped forward with Tsuna not too far behind. It wasn't that he didn't trust Bel; he was just keeping his guard up in case. He blinked when Bel removed his silver tiara from his hair and placed it on top of I-pin's head with surprising delicacy. Even the other Varia members gaped at him (well, except Mammon who just kept quiet).

"A pretty tiara for a pretty tiny princess," Bel said, fixing the big crown on I-pin's smaller head. "Bring it back in one piece for the prince."

I-pin was at a loss for words. Even Tsuna and Lambo seemed to have malfunctioned. Lussuria clapped his hands together. "I never expected this side to you, Bel-chan!"

Mammon just pursed his lips. "Don't break it."

"I—I won't!" I-pin said, her eyes wide. She bowed. "T—Thank you very much, Bel-san! I'll bring it right back!"

Bel patted her cheek. "Ushishishi, the tiny princess can't go without her crown. Hurry back or the prince will be lonely."

"Fu—" Squalo tensed when Tsuna glared at him. "Fun." He clicked his tongue. "I was going to say fun, brat."

Everyone jumped when the desks rattled from a loud kick. All eyes turned to Xanxus who roughly tugged a small red feather from his hair. He dangled it in the air for everyone to see in stunned silence. "Take it, brat," he said, making I-pin squeak.

Lussuria cackled.


The prize turned out to be fairly hefty: a set of 12 cute dolls in traditional kimonos of a variety of colors. The Outdoors Club was behind the whole scavenger bingo thing and pretty much stunned when I-pin, Lambo, and Tsuna came to their booth with all the items on the list. It was just a little bit difficult when one of the female students recognized Bel's tiara but Tsuna grabbed the kids and the prize before making a run for it.

Somehow his siblings ended up eating alongside Varia, mostly Lussuria, and chattering about who knew what. Lambo was mostly quiet last Tsuna checked, still a bit intimidated by the men, but I-pin opened up soon after Lussuria mentioned something about the next music bank in Tokyo they were going to perform in. The other members were smart enough to keep their mouths shut or mostly refrain from cursing.

"Takoyaki's all out!" Naoki said, wiping his brow. "Anyone gonna update the board?"

"I'll do it," Junko said. She grabbed a dry-erase marker and wrote "Sold Out" next to takoyaki on the dry-erase board. "Done!" She high-fived Naoki. "Good job!"

Naoki rolled his shoulder. "Yeah, you too." He stretched his arms in the air and yawned. "Well, if no one needs me, I'm going to the Baseball Club."

Rika scowled at his back. "Hey, why not help us?"

"I'm beat. Besides, you're doing fine." Naoki gave them a lazy wave over his shoulder. "They need me for their pitching contest anyways. Later."

"Just let him go, Rika-chan," Junko said, laughing. "I'll help you, Miyumi-chan!"

The other girl's eyes crinkled from her smile. "Thank you, Junko-chan."

Tsuna checked the time. It was around 3:20 PM. The crowds of people were endless. Music continued blaring over the speakers from the mini-stage and the more talented students sang some karaoke on the mics. He was pretty sure one of the groups' songs was sung before but didn't know enough to identify it. Every few minutes or so, he'd check on Varia and his siblings to make sure no one was killing each other or wreaking havoc. Surprisingly, no one blew up. Lussuria was obviously the most kid-friendly out of the whole group, even getting Lambo to say a thing or two before the boy retreated inside his shell. Bel was also pretty mild, even creating some impressive butterflies and flowers from napkins with a scissor, much to Lambo's awe. Tsuna had to stay a little longer to make sure Bel didn't stab Squalo with it though. Five times—five times and Squalo would've been buried six feet deep.

"Sawada," Mammon said, handing him the stapled receipt with a wad of cash, "take it."

Tsuna blinked as he flipped through the bills, calculating it quickly in his head. "Mammon-san, this is more than the total amount." He took some out and tried to hand them back. "Here."

Mammon pushed his hand back with his own, which was warm and smooth. "The rest is for you and the students. More so for you keeping the idiots out of trouble."

"Hey, what the fu—heck are you talking about, scum?" Squalo said.

Tsuna narrowed his eyes. "Squalo-san, you still need to work on that."

Squalo just turned away, clicking his tongue. "Whatever, brat."

Bel snickered. "You're being beaten by a tuna, dumb shark."

Tsuna pursed his lips. "Stop calling me that."

"Oh, you're right. Apologies, princess."

Tsuna flushed. "Bel-san!"

"That's prince to you."

I-pin and Lussuria just giggled in the background and whispered amongst each other. Judging from Lambo's terrified look, Tsuna didn't want to know. Mammon stood up then with Varia soon following suit.

"You're leaving?" Tsuna said.

"We have a schedule," Mammon said simply. "The longer we stay here, the more money we're going to spend on reclaiming the meeting slots." He pursed his lips. "Time is money."

Lussuria chuckled. "My, Mammon-chan, you've never spoken this freely with anyone before. Are you finally shedding your prickly skin?"

Mammon sighed. "You're annoying. I'm deducting 1.8% from your pay."

Lussuria pouted but his smile didn't disappear. "How mean! Tsu-chan, do something! How will I live?"

"You'll live," Mammon deadpanned. "Let's go."

"Wait!" I-pin said. She held up some of the dolls from the prize they had won. Shyly, she handed one in a red kimono to Bel. "T—This is for you, Bel-san. Thank you for letting me borrow your tiara before. I—I know how much it means to you. I know this isn't much but—"

Chuckling, Bel patted her head and accepted the doll. "The prince will take any gift from the tiny princess. They're all treasures after all."

I-pin blushed. Tsuna vaguely wondered if her obsession of the Hibari trio would soon turn into a Bel one. Shuffling a bit, I-pin handed Lussuria a doll in a yellow kimono. "This is for you, Lussuria-san! I really think that you're one of the nicest people in the world!"

The man cooed. "Oh, sweetie, you're too kind. Thank you!"

I-pin then held up a doll in a lavender kimono for Mammon. "This is free, Mammon-san, so you don't have to pay for it or anything!" Her hand dropped a bit. "Well, if you want to take it. You don't have to if you don't want to!"

A minute passed before Mammon outstretched his hand. "I'll take it."

I-pin grinned. She moved onto Squalo with a doll in a blue kimono. "S—Squalo-san, I really, really like your hair and I don't think that you're a mama like a lot of people say!" The man flushed a bit while Bel and Lussuria snickered at his expense, making Squalo hiss. "And—And you're one of the coolest guys ever!"

Squalo just took the doll. "Yeah, whatever, br—kid."

When I-pin moved onto Levi, she simply took the man's hand and placed a doll with a green kimono on his much larger palm. She barely reached his thighs. "Levi-san looks scary but I know that you're a very kind person."

Levi just stilled, not knowing what to say or do. I-pin just gave him a sweet smile before shuffling nervously towards Xanxus. No words were really exchanged. Xanxus just took the doll with the orange kimono. "Keep the feather, br—kid," he said. "Can't fu—put it back anyways."

Lussuria snickered while the others just stared at their leader like he turned into an elephant. Eventually, they started to leave, much to Tsuna's relief. His poor heart could barely take it (both I-pin's sweetness and Varia's surprisingly complicity). Suddenly Varia froze. Tsuna grunted when he bumped into Squalo's back. Xanxus glowered behind him. "I smell trash," he said.

"Oh my God, just leave," Tsuna said, pushing the men through the curtains. "Go, get out!" I-pin and Lambo stared at him in awe as he practically shoved Varia all the way to the back parking lot where only a few people lingered. "Have a nice day!"

"Thank you for everything, Tsu-chan!" Lussuria said, waving joyfully. "Let's meet again soon!"

Tsuna hoped not. Still he forced on a smile just for his own sake. Turning, he quickly returned to the food stalls. He almost did a double take when the next customer walked up to the table. It was a slender young woman with long black hair under a white cap wearing a baggy baseball jacket and a long skirt. There was just something about her that…

Oh.

"Is there anything you'd like to order, miss?" Tsuna said.

Nagi blinked in surprise from his greeting before regaining her composure. At least, her disguise was much more thorough and discreet than Varia's (did theirs even count as one?). "Yes," she said in her soft tone. "Can I have two nikuman and three yakisoba, please?"

Tsuna nodded. "Of course. Please wait a moment."

Miyumi and Itsuko already served them up on a small tray. Smiling, Rika handed it over to Nagi, oblivious to Decimo's manager's disguise. "Enjoy!"

Tsuna caught a quick glimpse of the group she was some distance away. Aside from Hibari, the rest of Decimo was there. At least their disguises had effort. A small tug from his sweater made him look down at I-pin and Lambo.

"When are we going to Fuuta-nii?" Lambo said. "Are you almost done, Tsuna-nii?"

"Ah, right." Tsuna looked at the time. It was around 4:40 PM. "I have to stay until everything is sold out and that might take a while."

Junko walked past him, carrying two pitchers of water. "You can go, Tsuna-nii! We got everything covered. Don't worry about us. We'll be fine. Go and enjoy yourself!"

Tsuna frowned. "Are you sure? I can't just le—"

Miyumi shook her head. "You can! You've done so much for us already. We'll see you again at the bonfire!"

Shinji gave him a thumbs-up. "Captain can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants!"

Rika raised a V-sign. "Ship's fine! Now go, go, go!"

Later, after Tsuna hung his apron and grabbed his bag, he held onto his siblings' hands and made his way to Fuuta's classroom. For a second, he and Nagi met eyes. They shared a brief smile before returning to what they were doing.


There were more people outside than inside since it had somewhat thinned out over the hours. Several student artworks decorated the hallways, some paintings of beautiful landscapes and calligraphy while others were anime drawings. There were also a handful of sketches of popular idols like Dino from the TV that morning and Decimo. Since Hibari had attended the school, there was even a replica display of his infamous black gakuran with the Disciplinary Committee's armband pinned to the left sleeve. Looking at it again made Tsuna feel a bit lost. He had seen glimpses of it before back in middle school but never really thought much about it. Also, wasn't it a bit much to display something like this…?

I-pin swooned and asked Tsuna to take a picture of her next to the case, which he did after several guests and students took theirs. Some students walked around in yukatas and many stood outside their classrooms to get people to enter and participate. As Tsuna walked past them, he saw a glimpse of the activities inside: movies screened on projectors, cursive writing on pretty name tags, kids playing karuta, a cosplay café, and so much more. He quickly avoided the haunted house because nope.

"Hey, you should've went to the baseball field before," a student said. "This guy threw a really awesome pitch and actually knocked down all the targets without missing once!"

"Oh, did you go to the auditorium? Someone played the piano there and it was so nice!"

"Dude, you should've seen this guy's punches in the gym! He nearly wrecked the punching bags!"

"Oh my God, look at this red tulip! This really sweet guy made it come out of my hair!"

"Here!" I-pin tugged Tsuna towards a classroom at the end of the hall. Two students stood outside the door in yellow shirts and black pants. One of them was Fuuta, who perked up when he saw the three of them come over.

"Tsuna-nii!" he said. "You came!"

Tsuna laughed. "Why wouldn't I?" He glanced at Fuuta's classroom, which was closed shut. "Ah, am I too late? I was kind of caught up with the food booths." He smiled sheepishly. "We had a lot of customers to serve."

Fuuta shook his head. "No, we're not done yet. You can come in! Oh, but take your shoes off here. I'll take this one, Daiki."

His classmate nodded. "Got it."

After taking off their shoes, the small family entered the pitch-black classroom. The windows were covered with black construction paper, but the whole room seemed to be covered by it, if that was possible. Soft instrumental music played in the background, mingling in with the distant droning from the crowds outside. Fuuta led them to the center of the room and sat down on dark green carpet that covered the whole floor. "Lie down here," he whispered, patting next to him.

Tsuna laid down next to him with I-pin and Lambo following suit. He wondered what was going to happen until Fuuta pressed a button on a small remote. His breath hitched when the black ceiling and walls slowly illuminated with several brilliant constellations; they slowly moved around as if they were a globe, entrancing everyone. Hydra, Virgo, Ursa Major, Lepus, Pegasus, Cassiopeia, Apus—all of the constellations appeared shining brightly in clear formation.

"Welcome to Class 1-A's Planetarium," Fuuta said quietly. "What do you think, Tsuna-nii?"

"It's wonderful," Tsuna said breathlessly. "I'm proud of you, Fuuta. This is…just incredible."

His brother beamed. They all laid there, with I-pin and Lambo cuddled against Tsuna under his arms, and watched the constellations in comfortable silence for a few moments longer…


The sunset darkened the sky into dark oranges, black, and purple. A large bonfire was already set up at the center of the courtyard where the mini-stage was. Soon fire crackled and rose higher while the crowds cheered and applauded. Smoke filled the air, curling into dark wisps. His siblings had left to get some cookies from the Baking Club's booth. Tsuna jumped when someone tapped his arm gently.

"Ah, I'm sorry." It was Nagi. She curled her fingers shyly and didn't meet his eyes. "I didn't mean to startle you."

Tsuna shook his head. "No, it's okay. Did you need something?"

Nagi shuffled a bit as she took something out of her bag. Blushing, she handed Tsuna a small slip of paper. "T—Thank you for not letting people know about us."

Tsuna widened his eyes. "Oh no! I'd never!"

Nagi giggled softly. "Yes, I know. Still, I'd like to be careful if you can understand."

Tsuna smiled. "Yes, I do. You know, I don't know how you handle them or everything else. It's really admirable."

Nagi flushed. "O—Oh, no. It's not. Anyways, please take this. I heard about the, well"—she smiled—"congratulations."

It took a second for Tsuna to realize what she was talking about. He laughed nervously, accepting the small card. "Ah, right. Thank you…?"

"My…number is on there. I just wanted to give it to you in case because, um, I know that it can be overwhelming." Nagi looked down at her boots. "If you ever need someone to talk to, I'm not the best person in that regard but I want to help in any way I can."

Tsuna laughed gently, his lips tugging into a smile. "Thank you, Nagi-san." The other woman sucked in a deep breath, her eyes going wide. "I think I'm going to get a lot more help after this. Ah, that sounds weird…"

Nagi shook her head. "No, it isn't." She smiled faintly. "I'm glad. I'd…like for us to be friends if that's acceptable to you…"

Tsuna chuckled. "Don't say it like that, Nagi-san. I'd like to be friends, too."

Slowly, Nagi's lips curved into a nearly radiant smile. She laughed gently. "Thank you, Tsuna-san." She glanced behind her shoulder. "Ah, I have to go now. I hope to see you again sometime under better circumstances."

Tsuna smiled. "I'd like that too."

Nagi gave him a shy wave. "Have a good night, Tsuna-san."

"You too, Nagi-san. Oh, wait!"

Nagi tilted her head. "Yes?"

"I…was just wondering where the other one was?"

Nagi pondered on what he said for a minute before smiling. "He won't be joining us until later." She looked up to the roof. "He's most likely there."

When they parted ways, Tsuna snuck into the crowd and inside the school building. A few classroom lights were still on, which he used as a guide to the staircase. Sending a quick text to Fuuta to let him know where he went for a moment, Tsuna found himself at the rooftop. He cringed when the door creaked a bit as he pushed it open.

Just like Nagi said, Hibari stood at the railings in a gray overcoat and thin scarf, overlooking the festivities below. The man didn't turn to greet him. Almost cautiously, Tsuna walked over and stood a few feet away from him. The crackling bonfire was a pretty hue against the shadows and darkening sky. Some stars even twinkled faintly against the dimming canvas.

"Why are you here, little animal?" Hibari's voice was low but clear enough in the peaceful silence on the roof.

Tsuna didn't look up. "I'm not really sure actually." He finally met Hibari's gaze after a few quiet minutes. "Did you eat, Hibari-san?"

Hibari regarded him silently for a moment before looking back down. "The carnivore brought me food."

"Ah." Tsuna slipped his hands inside his pockets; they were a bit cold. "That's a relief. I thought you'd end up starving up here." He turned his gaze upwards to the sky. "Do you miss your school days?" He didn't know where the question came from but it seemed to have simmered in the back of his mind for a while.

Hibari didn't respond right away. When he did, he grunted. "Why are you asking me that, little animal?" Their eyes unconsciously met again. "Do you?"

A cool breeze blew, carrying the faint smell of smoke and burning ashes from below. Somehow, it was oddly comforting. Shifting on his feet, Tsuna smiled slightly. "No, not really. I'd rather not think about it actually. I'm sure you know why."

Hibari straightened up then, letting his arms fall down to his sides. His hair swayed slightly from the wind. "Then make memories you'll want to think about, little animal," he said slowly, as if testing out each word. "Stop wallowing."

Tsuna blinked. That was…probably the most meaningful thing Hibari ever said to him (or ever). He flushed. "I don't wallow!"

Hibari smirked. "You still have much to learn."

Before Tsuna could say a word, a faint whistling sound came from the distance. Suddenly bright red fireworks burst in the sky. The crowd cheered from below as the sparks slowly fizzled out. Soon more colors burst in the sky: orange, red, blue, purple, yellow, green. Tsuna couldn't help but stare at them in awe. One even formed the shape of a flower.

Fireworks continued blasting above them in succession. Tsuna's bunkasai didn't have fireworks, but it was fine, because he was watching them now.

For a minute more, the two watched the fireworks in peaceful silence and Tsuna found that okay.

Chapter Text

"She's like a fire burning up the debris

Oh, I need to loosen up my collar to breathe

And there's no window here to let in the breeze

But she can give me all the air that I need."

- Bottle of Jack by Mikey Wax


Sunday passed by way too quickly.

After Haru returned from Tokyo Sunday afternoon, she crashed at Tsuna's house. Other than some tired mumbles that Tsuna couldn't catch, Haru barely spoke throughout dinner. The kids did most of the talking and their words went over Tsuna's head as he served them teriyaki salmon with rice and mixed green vegetables. Haru gave him a tired smile that he returned before digging in her meal. Thankfully, there were no crazy incidents other than I-pin and Lambo fighting over the last salmon. The bunkasai was never brought up, neither was Varia. Tsuna guessed Haru was too tired to ask or remember.

"Big Brother," I-pin whispered in the dark, her soft breath barely brushing against Tsuna's neck.

Tsuna turned over, his blankets rustling, to face his sister. He couldn't make out most of her face, which was black from shadows, other than the sliver of light slipping through the crack of the door, highlighting some of her long hair. Fuuta's and Lambo's quiet, even breaths sounded in their room, seemingly louder in the peaceful night. Outside, Haru mumbled something in her sleeping, her words muffled by her pillow.

"What's wrong, I-pin?" Tsuna said.

There was brief moment of silence then. Tsuna only knew I-pin didn't fall asleep from the way her breathing slightly hitched, nervous. Her blankets rustled a bit while she moved closer to him, careful not to wake the others.

"Do you think…everything will be okay?" she said.

"Why wouldn't it be?"

I-pin shrugged. "I don't know."

She paused, her hand unconsciously reaching out for Tsuna's, who gently squeezed it for encouragement. I-pin rarely talked about what she was struggling with; she'd suffer quietly alone until her doubts and worries went past the breaking point. Rather than forcing them out of her, Tsuna had to learn how to be more patient. When they first met, she had bitten him after he tried coaxing her into playing with the other kids. It wasn't a fun day but they made progress through lots of broken Chinese, days spent on morning walks, and cooking some hot gyoza.

"Are you worried about the trip?" Tsuna said mildly. "I can still cancel it."

I-pin gasped. "No!" She quickly lowered her voice. "You wouldn't."

Tsuna smiled slightly. "I could but if you don't want me to, I won't. What's been on your mind?"

Quietly, I-pin fiddled with a strand of her hair and twirled it around her finger. While Tsuna's eyes adjusted to the dark, he could see I-pin's face more clearly. She didn't meet his gaze, focusing on the sheets, her brows deeply furrowed. Having been with her long enough, Tsuna knew that the trip was far from her mind and something else was bothering her. But he didn't push.

"Do you think I'm weird, Big Brother?" I-pin whispered. "Like, not normal?"

Tsuna hummed softly under his breath as he propped his arm up on his pillow to support his head. He rubbed his thumb soothingly over I-pin's slightly colder hand. "No, I don't think you're weird, and you're not normal either." I-pin tensed. Tsuna smiled gently, hugging her closer. "There's no such thing as normal. You're fine the way you are. Don't let anyone else tell you different."

Breath quivering, I-pin buried her face against Tsuna's chest. "Okay."

I'll try lingered in the air, unspoken but present. Tsuna stroked her soft hair to soothe her, and the tension eventually disappeared from her small body. "And I don't doubt that you'll charm Fon-san tomorrow," he said.

I-pin gave him a sleepy giggle. "I hope so… Thank you, Big Brother…"

Slowly but surely, she fell asleep in Tsuna's arms, her breathing evening out, while Tsuna continued humming a small lullaby his mother had sung to him long ago until he soon surrendered to slumber.


"You have the tickets, right?"

"Yes."

"And all of your stuff? I don't know if only one suitcase will be enough."

"It's just four days, not four weeks. This is enough for us."

"Are you sure? We could always go back and pack another bag or something? Oh, wait! They sell some stuff here so we can get some later!"

"Haru, calm down."

All five of them had arrived at Namimori International Airport at 10:45AM before their flight departure, which was at 12:15 PM, in case there was a wait. Since it wasn't peak season, there weren't too many people in Terminal Two and the line wasn't that long. Businessmen and locals were mixed in the crowds, purchasing tickets from machines and saying goodbye to friends and loved ones. An automated female voice spoke over the loudspeaker among the bustling air with flight times and gate numbers.

Haru, who had woken up with a sparkle in her eyes and a skip in her step, fiddled with the black button on her long green coat. "Calm? I'm perfectly calm, Tsuna. I'm the master of zen at this point." She slapped her cheeks with a squeal. "Oh my god, we're actually going to meet them and sleep with them and see their gorgeous faces in like, three hours!"

Bouncing on the balls of her feet and grinning wildly, I-pin quickly joined in on her enthusiasm, which was the last thing Tsuna needed. "We are, we are, we are!"

"Do you think I look okay?" Haru looked down at her clothes. "Maybe I should've worn that other sweater instead."

"I think you look pretty, Big Sister!" I-pin said. "Green always looks nice on you!"

Haru giggled, pinching I-pin's cheek endearingly. "Aren't you a sweetheart?"

Tsuna and Fuuta shared a look while the girls doted on each other in the background. Yeah, it seemed like there was one other person who wasn't all that excited about the trip. Lambo rolled his eyes. "Girls," he grumbled, fixing the straps on his green backpack. "Are they going to be like this the whole time?"

At this point, I-pin and Haru were fantasizing about the future meetings with Arcobaleno, which constituted mostly giggles and squeals. Tsuna shook his head but couldn't help a small smile. "Let's just check-in our bags. Come on."

After getting through security and checking in their luggage, the group found their terminal and waited until they could board the plane. Lambo and I-pin exclaimed in awe as they dashed over to the large windows that overlooked some parts of the runway. Their plane was already parked at the gate but the doors were shut and the jetway wasn't pulled out yet; still, the kids were overwhelmed from looking at the aircraft up-close.

"It's so big," Lambo said, his eyes wide. "We're gonna go in there? How many people can it fit?"

"Probably 80 to 100 people," Fuuta said, eyeing the plane warily. He had told Tsuna before that he had flown on a plane once when he was younger but never liked it. He didn't say anything more than that either.

Lambo tilted his head. "Oh, that's not a lot."

"It's a domestic flight so there's no need to fly too many people. International flights have bigger planes."

I-pin chewed on her lip. "What if…something happens to the plane?"

Haru laughed reassuringly. "Nothing's going to happen. It'll go by really fast, promise! Besides, the flight will take half an hour or so."

"30 minutes?" Lambo said.

Tsuna ruffled his hair. "Yeah, 30 minutes. We'll be landing before you know it."

"Plane crashes are like one in a million," Fuuta said. "I think we'll live."

Tsuna squeezed his shoulder in comfort. "We'll be fine. You can sleep on the plane and I can wake you both up when we land."

"I want to see the sky!" I-pin said. "Oh, and the town from high up! I want to see it shrink!"

"Then you can take the window seat," Haru said. "You can see better from there than looking over someone's shoulder."

"I'm sitting next to Tsuna-nii!" Lambo said.

Before Fuuta could say anything, the gate agent announced that the flight was now boarding, and to have the passes ready for the flight attendants to take. It didn't take long for Tsuna and the others to board the plane. Lambo was hesitant at first to enter the jetway but managed to be coaxed by Haru and the others. The flight attendant that greeted them at the entrance smiled courteously and pointed them towards the direction of their seats.

When they arrived in the business section, there weren't many people in their seats. A formally-dressed elderly couple sat two rows ahead of Tsuna and the kids while a businessman sat in the far corner, typing something on his laptop. There were three rows of plush brown seats in twos that had a small divider in-between. A white cushion rested on each seat along with a packaged sleep mask, slippers and earbuds with the airline's logo, and a water bottle.

Haru and Tsuna shared a look. One of them would have to sit alone. "Fuuta and I-pin can sit together," Haru proposed. "I'll sit across from them. You can sit with Lambo."

"Alright."

I-pin quickly jumped on the window seat and peered outside with Fuuta following suit to sit next to her. Lambo and Tsuna sat behind them and Haru sat across the other two kids in an aisle seat. After they were settled, a few more passengers trickled in the section.

"Here, Lambo," Tsuna said, handing him a grape candy. "When we go up, your ears might feel uncomfortable so chew on that, okay?" He handed I-pin and Fuuta some candies, too. "Haru, do you need gum?"

Haru grinned, raising a yellow pack. "Got 'em already! Want one?"

"Yeah, thanks."

When the plane started to move, Lambo reached out to hold Tsuna's hand. Tsuna squeezed back comfortingly, making the boy relax. Turbulence soon rattled inside and everything tilted. They were off.


Fuuta and Haru had dozed off at some point while I-pin stared out the window in quiet awe for most of the flight. Lambo hadn't appreciated the uncomfortable sensation of his ears popping from the cabin pressure but admirably held back tears and squeezed Tsuna's hand until his fingers turned blue. The rest of the passengers were relatively quiet, either sleeping or reading a book, and the flight attendants were more than accommodating, offering I-pin and Lambo some orange juice after doting on how cute they were.

When the flight finally landed, Lambo was more than eager to get off. Giggling, I-pin held Haru's hand and poked her brother's cheek. "Flying is fun! You should've seen the clouds. They were so pretty."

"Yeah, if you don't think about falling out and smashing onto concrete," Lambo grumbled, tugging Tsuna's hand.

"Chances of falling out are nearly impossible," Fuuta said, rubbing his eyes. He paused. "Unless you're an idiot."

Lambo and I-pin laughed as the small group left the plane behind the elderly couple. The flight attendants waved goodbye and smiled beside the pilot.

Haru stretched her arms out in the air with a sigh. "Please tell me I'm still not dreaming."

Tsuna rolled his eyes playfully. "You're not. We're here, aren't we?"

Haru snorted. "You're clearly the life of the party."

"Where are we supposed to go now, Tsuna-nii?" Lambo said.

Tsuna surveyed the crowd while he adjusted Lambo's bag over his shoulder. The email with the tickets said that there would be a ride waiting for them outside the airport after they landed; though it didn't specify the car's model or license plate, which was something that they'd need if they were going to find the driver at such a busy airport. Restraining a sigh, Tsuna tugged Lambo's hand and gestured his head to a pick-up area near a shuttle station. "We can wait over there," he said, pulling his suitcase. "I can try to see if—"

"Excuse me," a sweet voice said.

Tsuna turned to see the elderly couple who had sat in the same business class seating as them. The woman had kind eyes while her husband seemed like he wanted to be anywhere else but here.

"Yes?" Tsuna said. "Is there something you need?"

The old lady waved him off. "Oh no, dear. I just wanted to say hello. We were sitting in the same section and I couldn't help but notice what a lovely family you are."

Tsuna flushed. "Haru and I aren't married."

Haru nodded vigorously. "Yes, we're just friends!"

The old man grunted. "Well, you know how women can be, boy. She seems like the one." He protested when his wife smacked his arm. "Oi!"

"Anyways," his wife said, "I just wanted to say that your children are so well-raised. You should be proud." She smiled at them as she grasped her husband's arm. "Thank you for sparing an ear to this old woman's ramblings. Have a wonderful day now, and take care."

Haru smiled. "Thank you. You too!"

Nodding, the elderly woman led her husband the other way and disappeared in the crowd. Lambo tilted his head while he watched them go. "What was that all about?"

"She means that you're probably a decent boy," I-pin said.

"Hey!"

"Let's not do that," Fuuta said, keeping I-pin to her spot. "There's a lot of people around and you might get lost."

Haru snickered. "Well, she was pretty nice. I think we're gonna have to wear something that says 'friend zone for life' or something. Oh, I was thinking about getting that 'I'm Next to Stupid' shirt, too. It'll be wonderful."

"Can I get that too, Tsuna-nii?" Lambo said.

Tsuna moved out of the way of a rushing businesswoman who barely acknowledged him. "I don't think so, Lambo."

"Which car are we looking for?" Fuuta said.

Tsuna flipped his phone open and checked his inbox again, re-reading the brief and cheery email. "They never said."

"Should we move over?" Haru said, dodging a family of three nimbly. "It's getting crowded and I'm pretty sure they didn't rent out a whole shuttle for us. That's a little much."

I-pin widened her eyes. "Are we not going anymore?"

Fuuta shook his head. "No, we just need to wait. We're still going. Don't worry."

Tsuna spotted a relatively empty area and pointed there. "We could go there and wait."

As the others followed his lead, his phone shortly then buzzed in his hand, making everyone pause. Haru tilted her head. "What is it?" she said.

It was a message from an unknown number. Skeptical, Tsuna opened it and read: stay there.

He blinked before doing what the message said against his better judgment while moving out of others' ways. Lambo stuck close to his side and looked around with wide, curious eyes, careful to not make himself too noticeable. Eyes parsing the throngs of people, Tsuna didn't know who he was looking for or who sent the message until a gray Honda van pulled up in front of them, slowing down when the small car in front stopped for a couple of passengers.

The driver's door popped open before a man in a white parka walked out, clad with a black ski hat and a face mask. As soon as their eyes met, brown clashing with blue, Tsuna just knew.

"Yo!" Colonnello said, gesturing to the back of the van. "Let's get your stuff in quick and move out of the way. It's pretty packed here."

Haru and the others didn't have time to react—none of them seemed to catch on who it was yet—when Tsuna ushered them quickly to follow Colonnello to the back. Opening the trunk, Colonnello helped Haru and Tsuna load their bags and suitcases inside. The inside, which looked almost brand-new, smelled faintly like mint and citrus.

"Heads up!" Colonnello said, closing the trunk. His eyes crinkled a bit when he met Tsuna's gaze. "Alright! I got four seats in the back so one of you will have to sit in the front with me. Don't worry, I don't bite. Perfectly harmless."

I-pin giggled shyly behind Haru's legs while Fuuta looked at him skeptically, smiling more out of politeness rather than good humor. Lambo furrowed his brows, trying to figure out who the man was.

"I'll sit with the kids in the back," Tsuna said. "You can take the front, Haru."

As soon as the seats were arranged, they quickly filed in the car. Lambo sat next to Tsuna in the backseats while I-pin and Fuuta sat in the middle two.

"Sorry about that," Colonnello said, closing the door. "Was I rushing you guys too much? Anyone missing?"

Haru waved her hands. "Oh no, it's fine! We wouldn't want to get in anyone's way."

"Yeah, people can get nasty." Colonnello strapped on his seatbelt and switched the gear lever from "park" to "drive". He peered through the sideview mirror. "I hope you have your seatbelts on 'cause I'm only one guy and I don't think I can catch every one of you if something happens. I mean, I could, but better safe than sorry."

I-pin and Haru giggled behind their hands. Lambo just snorted. Fuuta still looked like he'd rather be at home than here but smiled politely nonetheless. Tsuna quickly made sure the kids had their seatbelts on before Colonnello drove out onto the busy road.

"Alright," he said, tugging off his ski hat and ruffling his blond hair. "First things first, the name's Colonnello but"—he winked in the rearview mirror, making Haru and I-pin let out a strangled squeak—"you probably knew that, kora. I'll be your driver and host for the next hour or so but that's enough time for us to get cozy, right?"

"I knew it!" Lambo said before covering his mouth when I-pin gave him a look.

Laughing, Colonnello drove around another long line of cars. No one recognized him through the tinted windows. "I was the best option, you know. Like, seriously." He shuddered. "You don't want to drive with Fon behind the wheel. Ever. He did it once, I think, in Shanghai? It was like a few years back when we did the Asia Tour. Okay, I never even knew that the streets he drove in even existed, but damn, it's like he's stuck in Fast and Furious mode all the time. No one knows how he got his license in the first place. I still don't."

I-pin squeaked at the mention of Fon. Still shell-shocked from Colonnello's reveal, Haru just sputtered out, "O—Oh my God, you're so hot." She immediately blushed when Lambo burst out laughing. Tsuna coughed awkwardly in his hand and looked out the window, hiding a small smile. Leaning forward, Haru buried her face in her hands. "I said that out loud, didn't I? Kill me, please."

Colonnello just grinned in good nature. "Why, thank you. I didn't catch your name by the way."

Haru blushed harder. "H—Haru. Miura Haru!" She cringed when her voice rose at the end and covered her face again. "Tsuna, kill me please."

Tsuna just laughed, drawing Colonnello's eyes briefly on him through the side mirror. He smiled at Haru in good humor. "I won't. You're doing fine, much better than I thought actually."

Haru groaned into her hands. "You're no help."

"You two seem really close," Colonnello said, leaning on the wheel and looking both ways. The traffic light was red above them as cars drove past by. He grinned at Haru, making her blush again. "If Luce hadn't told us that Tsuna had siblings, I would've thought you two were married or something."

"Big Brother and Big Sister aren't married!" I-pin said before realizing what she just said. She flushed and sank back against the leather seat, mortified.

Tsuna's lips quirked into a half-smile. "We're just good friends since middle school. Besides, I don't think Haru would even accept a proposal from me anyways."

Haru scoffed. "Yeah, no. Too much of a leap there. I like us fine now."

Colonnello seemed to sag a bit, grinning almost to himself, and turned left when the light changed to green onto a local highway. Small white buildings whizzed by, mostly catching the children's attention who had never went outside of Namimori before. Although Tsuna didn't either, he had visited Tokyo twice, courtesy of Professor Hoshino. Even though he was in Chiba now, which he had never visited before, his chest ached with a bit of nostalgia when he watched sparse greenery and low white bridges that appeared every now and then. Everything seemed so distant.

"And what are your names, kora?" Colonnello said. "I got Haru here and you are…?"

I-pin squeaked pitifully and pointed at herself. "Me…?"

Tsuna had to hand it to her though. He thought that she'd malfunction once she met the idols but that probably wouldn't happen until she met Fon later. He had to watch out for that later, more for her sake. Same with Haru when she meets Reborn. Tsuna still couldn't understand how anyone could like that man but let the matter rest because he didn't want to know.

"Yeah!" Colonnello continued to maintain a safe speed on the local highway. At least he wasn't ramming into other cars and was actually a decent driver unlike some people, Tsuna thought. "Don't worry. I'm sure your name is as pretty as you."

Finally, I-pin spoke up, "My name is I-pin! And I really, really liked your solo stage Maximum!" With a red face, she sank back to her seat again.

Haru widened her eyes. "Oh my God, yes! That stage—The rain machine malfunctioned and everything but you still danced! Like, how?"

Tsuna had no clue what they were talking about and his face indicated such. Lambo tugged his sleeve while the girls gushed over Maximum and leaned in to whisper in Tsuna's ear, "It's some special stage thing. I-pin made me watch it with her." He made a small face. "Well, I guess Colonnello has muscles. I mean, he ripped his shirt off and I-pin wouldn't stop talking about it."

Tsuna's eyes nearly bulged out of their sockets. "What?"

"—f the others are going to do a special stage?" Haru continued on. "Ah wait, I shouldn't have asked."

Colonnello laughed. "It's fine." He turned right onto a local road. "Don't worry about it, seriously. You can ask whatever you want within reason, of course. I'll try my best to answer but you know, sometimes company policy can get in the way. It sucks but I'm not the CEO." The light turned yellow, prompting Colonnello to slow down. He drummed his fingers against the wheel. "First things first though, what are your names? I got Haru, I-pin, and Tsuna down."

Fuuta glanced at the back of the driver's seat. "I'm Fuuta."

"Yo, Fuuta! Nice to meet ya!"

"It's nice to meet you too, Colonnello-san."

Colonnello waved him off. "Nah, you can just call me by name, kora. We're all friends here. I've always thought that Japan took the respect thing a little, well, I mean, no offense or anything but it gets stuffy sometimes. It took a while to get used to but honestly, I'm not that into it. That cool with you, buddy?"

Fuuta smiled slightly. "Yes."

The light switched to green. "Awesome. So Haru, I-pin, Fuuta, and…?"

Lambo smiled. "I'm Lambo!"

Colonnello paused for a second, glancing to the side to check if a car was nearby, before changing lanes. "Lambo, nice.

"You're really good at Japanese now though," Haru said.

Colonnello laughed. "Oh God, I was absolute trash. I think there are still videos out there around our debut for that. I mixed up so many words. I kept thinking kawaii was kowaii. Fon told me the difference. I think him and Reborn were the only ones fluent enough back then." [cute; scary]

Haru bent over in giggles. "I remember when you were talking about your grandfather and you said he had 12 mushi instead of ushi." [bugs; cows]

Colonnello groaned into his hand. "Yeah, exposed and guilty. Hey, it's not my fault that Japanese has so many words that are almost the same." He snickered. "I think Verde tried saying ningen but he called them ninjin instead. The host looked so done with us." [human; carrot]

Tsuna tilted his head. "How old were you then?"

Colonnello hummed to himself thoughtfully. "We debuted in 2010, so…"

"April 3rd!" Haru said. "Oh my God, your first album Luminous is still legendary."

"Yup. So I was like, what, 15, 16?"

Tsuna widened his eyes. "Fifteen? You were so young. Then…that means you're 23 now?"

Colonnello grinned. "Why're you so surprised? I'm young, my friends, young and handsome with the world in my hands. This is my prime and I am ready to fu—I mean, shine. Yeah, that."

I-pin and Lambo giggled at the save while Haru looked like she was on the moon. Still, 15 seemed too young to get whisked away in a world full of glamor and lights. Tsuna wasn't sure about the whole idol business—well, there were child actors so he couldn't really judge. "Can I ask why you wanted to join…so early?"

Haru opened her mouth to say something, but thought better of it, and stayed quiet. Colonnello hummed to himself in thought as he slowed down behind a stopped car. "I used to be a total clown in school," he said. "Never thought much of my future. I just figured that I'd join the army if worse comes to worse. It seemed cool and my dad's a captain anyway, wanted me to join, too." He laughed. "I mean, my name literally means 'colonel'. It fits. Then one of my good friends got me to rap with him for a talent show in middle school. Corny, yeah, but it was pretty fun. I think Vongola had an audition like a year later? I tried that one out, nothing too serious, but I got rejected."

The light turned green. Fuuta wasn't looking out the window anymore and Haru had her gaze on Colonnello, less shy than before. "One of the judges told me that I had talent though," he continued, turning the car smoothly left. "She told me I could tryout again next year if I practiced more. So that's what I did." He snickered. "But I didn't audition for Vongola. I felt petty about the whole rejection thing so I went for Trinisette. And here I am. I guess that woman's words got to me. I wasn't a good student and corporate jobs are just, no. I'd rather be some sad sack on the side of a road than a zombie."

I-pin and Lambo laughed quietly at the small joke, making Colonnello smile. And okay, Tsuna couldn't really imagine the blond in an office setting. It was pretty comical actually. "Life lesson, kids, don't become a zombie. Do whatever you want—minus breaking the law and spoiling the next episode for Immortal Nemesis."

"You watch Immortal Nemesis?" Lambo said, bouncing in his seat.

"Hel—Heck yeah!" Colonnello said, pumping a fist in the air. "Isamu is awesome."

I-pin wrinkled her nose. "I don't like him. He was mean to Rika after she saved him."

Lambo rolled his eyes. "Well, if she didn't try to drink that potion when he told her not to, maybe none of that stuff would've happened anyways."

"She wanted to save her brother!"

"Her brother's the bad guy!"

"I feel like I walked into a Reddit thread," Colonnello told Haru, who laughed. "Now, now, children, let's talk it out like the good people we are—except the recent episode. I haven't watched that yet."

Tsuna was utterly lost while the three chattered about monstrous strength, dark magic, demons and monsters, and cool weapons. It sounded like a show. Fuuta sighed softly before gesturing Tsuna to come closer. "It's a pretty popular anime," he said. "I-pin and Lambo watch it every Tuesday when you go to work."

"Ah," Tsuna said, nodding slowly. "I see."

He leaned back in his seat and caught himself smiling despite himself. He had never seen Lambo talk so much before. The boy was mostly shy and rarely spoke whenever he was around strangers. Seeing him so open and carefree was comforting. Tsuna glanced at Colonnello who was talking excitedly about some fight scene and relaxed. He didn't know why he had been nervous about the idol being here; though he could be hot-headed, there was a sort of calm to Colonnello that Tsuna couldn't quite explain, but it was really heartening. The kids clearly enjoyed him and he was pretty good at handling them.

"Can I ask a question?" I-pin said.

"Sure!" Colonnello said, looking both ways in a busy street. "Hit me."

I-pin blushed and fumbled with one of her braids. "Um, never mind. It's a stupid question."

"Don't say that! You didn't even ask yet. Come on, you can hit me. What is it?"

"Erm, would you rather be a mermaid or a sea animal?" I-pin rushed the words out quickly before sinking in her seat. She blushed when Lambo laughed.

"What?" he said, snickering. "Seriously?" He immediately became quiet when Tsuna gave him a stern look.

Colonnello grinned in the rearview mirror. "That's one of the best questions someone asked me. Believe me, some people shouldn't have a job for that. I think you'll beat 'em out of the water." I-pin blushed even harder. "Hmm, it's a no-brainer for me. Mermaids are cool but I know my true calling. I"—he raised a finger in the air for dramatic effect—"will be a clownfish."

Haru laughed. "A clownfish?"

Colonnello winked. "Yes, ma'am. I'm being serious! I really want to be a clownfish in the next life! Hey, ever watched Finding Nemo?"

"Yeah!" Lambo said. "I liked the seagulls! When they were like mine, mine, mine, mine, mine!"

Everyone laughed at his uncanny mimicry of the seagulls' funny cries. Thankfully, the light turned red before Colonnello leaned on the wheel, roaring in laughter. "Oh God, kid. You're probably the best seagull I've ever heard."

Lambo grinned proudly. "Mine!"

Colonnello beamed, his cheeks flushed red from laughing. "It's all yours. Oh hey, have you guys seen that hilarious seagull meme?"

Haru burst out into giggled. "The one where it leans back and then screams?"

Colonnello banged a hand on the wheel. "Yes. Oh my God, it's just—Have you seen it, Tsuna?"

"Big Brother lives under a rock," I-pin said mournfully.

Tsuna flushed. "I—I don't!" It didn't make it any better that…it was true. He had no idea what they were talking about.

"Oh my God, someone show him," Colonnello said, still laughing. "I think my favorite is this one." He cleared his throat dramatically. "Alright, Tsuna, get ready. It's like the Holy Grail in the music world. You can never go wrong with this song."

Haru and the kids, minus Fuuta and Tsuna, clapped and cheered in encouragement. Colonnello flashed them all a wild grin. The light turned green. "Some—"

Tsuna watched in apprehensive curiosity when Colonnello suddenly inhaled deeply. What was he—

"—body once told me the world is gonna roll me!

I ain't the sharpest tool in the shed!"

I-pin and Lambo doubled over in squeals of laughter while Haru covered her face and leaned against the window, her hands not enough to muffle her cackling. Colonnello didn't lose the flow of the song though and continued singing in a purposely screeching voice:

"She was looking kind of dumb with her finger and her thumb

In the shape of an 'L' on her forehead!"

Tsuna covered his mouth, snorting a laugh when I-pin and Lambo suddenly joined in, their English accented cutely, "Well the years start coming and they don't stop coming!"

Colonnello widened his eyes and grinned in awe. "'ey!"

"Fed to the rules and I hit the ground running!

Didn't make sense not to live for fun!

Your brain gets smart but your head gets dumb!"

Bobbing her head to the invisible beat, Haru piped up:

"So much to do, so much to see! So what's wrong with taking the back streets?"

All four sang: "You'll never know if you don't go! You'll never shine if you don't glow!"

"Here we go!" Colonnello whooped.

"Hey now, you're an all-star, get your game on, go play!

Hey now, you're a rock star, get the show on get paid!

And all that glitters is gold!

Only shooting stars break the mold!"

At some point, Colonnello backed the others up with some beatboxing and excited whoops, encouraging the kids to sing louder and faster. Haru could barely keep up after laughing too hard. Fuuta and Tsuna just watched them, not joining in the impromptu singing, but they laughed along at the outrageous spectacle.

"Oh God," Colonnello said, wheezing for breath. "You guys are awesome." He drove out onto a long highway, passing underneath bridges with ease. "Wait, do you know this one?"

I-pin and Lambo leaned forward with eager grins, then burst out laughing when Colonnello belted out in a hilarious falsetto: "Take on me! Take me on!"

The two kids joined in: "I'll be gone! In a day or two!"

All of their voices cracked as they sang at a higher pitch with some effort, making Haru and Tsuna burst out laughing. Even Fuuta grinned. Colonnello and Lambo vocalized the instrumentals comically while I-pin giggled. They continued singing their hearts out until their throats went raw from laughing and screeching. Tsuna thought it was entirely too precious, and when Haru looked his way with a grin, he knew everything was going to be alright.


"Alright, we're almost there!" Colonnello said, thumping his palm lightly against the wheel. His voice had been hoarse from all the singing before Tsuna passed him an extra water bottle he took from the plane. The idol's eyes had brightened up and he grinned like a goof on the rest of the trip. "So right, thanks for taking the obviously awesome Colonnello Express. Nobody's dead or missing so that's great. Five-star reviews all around, right?"

Haru clapped her hands together. "Of course!"

I-pin beamed. "Why not 10?"

"10?" Colonnello laid a hand over his heart. "This pleb doesn't deserve such praise." He winked at I-pin who blushed. "But hey, I'll take it—graciously, of course. Thanks, princess."

Eyes wide, I-pin whirled around to look at Tsuna, stretching as far as her seatbelt would let her. "He called me princess," she whispered.

Tsuna held back a small laugh and patted her cheek. "I heard. Sit back, okay? You might hurt yourself."

Lambo suddenly piped up, "Tsuna-nii, look!"

When the others looked to where he was pointing at, they widened their eyes. Three large curved buildings soon appeared in the distance to their left. They were clearly part of the high-end hotel, with its sleek white-blue walls and balconies, that had a green "Sheraton Grande" sign on the side. There were some fake palm trees and vividly green shrubs along the driveway, and a rocky alcove of water that trickled down in white foam, glimmering under the bright sun.

A shuttle bus parked in front of the large entrance soon left after dropping off its occupants, which were mostly small families and young couples. Colonnello slowed down just a few feet away from the entrance and slipped on his ski hat, tucking his blond hair in. "Sorry," he said, grabbing his mask. "Just a moment, kora." He put it on, covering his mouth, and fished his phone out of his pocket. "Let me shoot Lal a quick text to let her know we're here."

Haru widened her eyes. "L—Lal Mirch-san is here, too?"

Colonnello chuckled as his phone's keyboard created quick clacking noises. "Yeah. She's Luce's proxy, you know, making sure everything goes right. But don't worry, she's nice, kind of." He snorted. "Okay, as long as you don't make a mess, you'll be fine. If you get on her bad side then, well, I've always wanted to die with honor, no biggie." Haru and even Tsuna laughed a bit. Colonnello's eyes flickered to the rearview mirror. "But yeah, don't worry about it, kora. She's cool-ish. Big emphasis on the '-ish'."

"What about the others?" Tsuna said.

"Oh yeah, everyone's here except for Skull and Viper. They're driving in from Tokyo but they'll be here in"—Colonnello glanced at his phone—"an hour or two." A small trill sounded from his hand. "Okay, time to go." He drove the car forward where three men clad in clean black uniforms stood at the main doors. "'ey, we're here! Don't forget anything."

When Tsuna and the kids unbuckled their seatbelts and stepped out of the car, the smell of fresh air greeted them kindly. Tsuna inhaled, savoring it, then exhaled. Everything still felt strange, not in a bad way, but he couldn't tell if it was good either. It was like…he was walking in a dream, a very long, very real dream.

I-pin exclaimed in awe as she nearly bent backwards looking up at the tall hotel. "It's so big and pretty!"

Tsuna quickly supported her back with a steady hand when she almost tripped. "Be careful, I-pin."

She smiled at him sheepishly. "Sorry, Big Brother."

Colonnello popped the trunk open and pulled out the suitcases, setting them down carefully on the ground. "Is that everything?"

Tsuna quickly perused over the kids and checked his bag. "Yes, that's all. Thank you."

Two of the suited men, who were bellhops Tsuna realized, stepped forward and bowed. "We can take your luggage for you, sir," one of them said.

They took a hold of their suitcases after Tsuna hesitantly gave his answer and patiently waited for them to the side while Colonnello talked with the valet and handed over the car keys. Soon, the valet departed for the van as Colonnello walked over to them. "Alright, let's go!" he said, leading them inside. "Oh hey, cool backpack, buddy!"

Lambo grinned and puffed up his chest a little proudly. "Tsuna-nii got it for me! Do you like dinosaurs, too?"

"You kidding? Who doesn't love dinosaurs?"

Tsuna couldn't help but be tugged along by Lambo as he chattered excitedly about all the different dinosaurs he learned from class. His lips slightly twitched into a small smile when Colonnello easily reciprocated the enthusiasm; then I-pin joined in too, at some point, not willing to be left out. Fuuta stayed close to Tsuna's other side, looking around the spacious, bright-lit lobby in wonder. The walls were a soft, glowing brown and there were several lounge chairs and sofas around short pillars and small tables. Some parts of the ceiling were concaved squares, emitting a blue light; the carpets were beige with some patterns of colored-tiles.

"We don't have to check-in," Colonnello said, steering them away from the reception desks. No one on the line gave them more than a glance. "We're on the 10th floor."

"10th floor?" Lambo said, his eyes wide. "How many floors are there?"

The elevator dinged open for them and the bellhops before they clambered inside. Colonnello chuckled, his eyes lighting up with mirth. "12," he said. "I think there's around 1,000-something rooms here."

"There are 1,016 rooms in the hotel," one of the bellhops said. He gave Lambo a friendly smile, making the boy shy away behind Tsuna's legs. "There is also a video game room and a playground corner for the children to play in. I'm sure they'll enjoy it."

Tsuna smiled at the bespectacled man. "Thank you." It was more out of politeness than anything but the bellhop seemed pleased at the response.

The elevator ride was short, and had felt like nothing as it zoomed several floors up, before the doors opened again with a small ding. The kids oohed and aahed when they stepped out, looking around the wide hallways and cream-colored walls with bright lamps. The carpets were blue now, and softened I-pin and Lambo's running steps as they inspected the new environment in awe. Colonnello dismissed the bellhops with some thanks and told them that they'd be able to handle things from here. They bowed before stepping back inside the elevators.

"There's so many rooms, Big Brother!" I-pin said, dashing back to hug Tsuna's arm.

He hushed her gently. "There might be people here so you'll have to keep your voice down."

She immediately deflated. "I'm sorry."

Colonnello laughed, tugging down his mask. He gestured at the long hallway. "Don't worry about making too much noise. This is all ours. Have at it. Walls are actually pretty thick."

It took a short moment for the meaning to sink in. Tsuna widened his eyes, barely believing what he had just heard. "Wait, you mean that this whole floor is…?"

Colonnello grinned when Haru gasped. "Oh yeah, welcome to our kingdom. You can pick whichever rooms you want when Lal comes out." A door opened a few feet behind them before Lal Mirch walked out, wearing black sweats and a grey hoodie. Haru squeaked quietly behind Tsuna. "Speak of the devil."

Drawing closer, Lal Mirch narrowed her eyes. "Devil, huh."

Colonnello's grin never faltered. "She-devil. Also, we got kids here."

Lal Mirch's gaze flickered to an awestruck I-pin and Lambo, to stone-still Haru, then a slightly calculative Fuuta, and finally, Tsuna, who just gave her a polite smile. They last time they had seen each other was back at the restaurant before the chaos had happened. Lal Mirch seemed to study him for a moment behind a blank gaze. "You look be—"

Tsuna slightly shook his head, his wide eyes flickering down to the kids. I-pin and Lambo didn't know what happened, including Haru, and he preferred it to stay that way. Thankfully, Lal Mirch got the message and smoothly changed the topic. "I'm Lal Mirch, the Keeper of Idiots." She slightly grimaced, obviously not knowing if that was appropriate for kids or not, but relaxed when they giggled. Even Fuuta couldn't help a small smile. "Right, so this is Idiot Number 1." She jabbed a thumb at Colonnello, ignoring his "Hey!". "What should I call you?"

"I'm Miura Haru," Haru said, bowing slightly. "It really is an honor to meet you, Lal Mirch-san!"

Lal Mirch waved her off. "Lal Mirch is fine. I think it's best if you refer to the others without the '-san', but that's up to you. We just want you to be as comfortable as possible." She glanced down at the kids. "And you guys?"

Lambo looked down at his sneakers. "L—Lambo."

"I'm I-pin," I-pin muttered. "And…I—I think you're really pretty, Lal Mirch-san."

The woman's cheeks turned red, making Colonnello laugh. "S—Shut up, idiot!"

"Aww, how precious," he cooed dumbly, poking Lal Mirch's cheek. "Princess has a way with words, I'll give her that." He gave I-pin a wink, making her squeak.

Lal Mirch shoved him away. "Princess?"

Colonnello gestured grandly at I-pin like a medieval guard. "This right here is Princess, you heathen."

Regaining her composure, Lal Mirch just sighed. Tsuna glanced at her twitching fingers. Any longer and she would've socked Colonnello in the face. "Okay, yeah, have fun with that."

Fuuta smiled politely at her when she looked at him. "My name is Fuuta."

"Alright, now that's done, you can go pick your rooms." Lal Mirch took out a black card key from her pocket. "First things first, I have the master key for"—she narrowed her eyes at Colonnello who beamed innocently—"security purposes but I'm not gonna go around snooping in your rooms. Your privacy and safety are our top priorities." She paused. "And fun. You'll have lots of fun."

Colonnello snickered at the utterly dry delivery and quickly darted away before Lal Mirch could smack his head. She didn't seem amused when the kids laughed. Tsuna was just bracing himself for a fight and thinking of ways to keep everyone out of the crossfire.

"Moving on," Lal Mirch said, "we have a list of activities and whatnot you guys can choose from, but we'll go over that later. For now, we'll get you settled and comfortable. Follow me."

She led them down the hallway, pointing out rooms that had double or family beds. Tsuna gave Haru a comforting look before saying, "Haru and I aren't together, Lal Mirch-san. We're just good friends."

Lal Mirch didn't even blink. "I know. This side just has most of the doubles and family rooms."

Tsuna flushed. "Oh."

Haru jabbed his side with an elbow, smirking. "Told you the shirt was a good idea."

Colonnello tilted his head. "Shirt? What shirt, kora?"

Haru couldn't meet his eyes, still a bit shy. "Oh, we were just talking about getting a 'friend zone for life' shirt, something like that anyways."

Tsuna huffed. "You were, not me."

"Hey, look who's talking."

"She has you there, Tsuna-nii," Fuuta said.

Tsuna looked at him as if he'd just cut his heart out. "Fuuta, whose side are you on?"

Fuuta shrugged. "Just pointing out the obvious."

"Traitor." Still, Tsuna ruffled Fuuta's hair affectionately, making the boy jump.

Colonnello and Lal Mirch watched the interaction from the side, their eyes a little wide with something akin to wonder. Lambo pouted. "I want the 'I'm Next to Stupid' shirt."

That seemed to snap the two out of their stupor. Colonnello grinned. "Hey, I have one! It's really comfy."

Lambo perked up. "Really? Can you ask Tsuna-nii if I can get one? Please?"

Colonnello looked at Tsuna and flashed a charming grin that had Haru and I-pin blushing. "Can he?"

Tsuna deadpanned. "No."

Lal Mirch snorted while Colonnello patted Lambo's dejected back. "I'll try again next time, buddy."

"Anyways," Lal Mirch said, stopping at the end of the hall that converged into two different paths. A small table with a vase of flowers rested by a white window. She pointed to her left. "This way is basically just single and double beds. Reborn, Viper, and Fon are staying in some of those rooms." She gestured to her right, raising a brow when I-pin squeaked and tightly hugged Tsuna's leg. "This way has some family rooms too. Verde's down there somewhere."

"Hey, I'm in one of the rooms back the way we came," Colonnello said. "Wanna be neighbors?"

"For the sake of your brain cells, don't," Lal Mirch deadpanned.

"The hel—heck is that supposed to mean?"

Tsuna pursed his lips to keep a smile from forming. "How do you deal with all of this, Lal Mirch-san?"

"Whiskey," Lal Mirch said. "Lots of whiskey."

Lambo wrinkled his nose. "Isn't that alcohol? How much can you drink?"

Tsuna widened his eyes. "Lambo!"

Colonnello burst out laughing. "Oh, buddy, you are a riot."

In the end, Tsuna chose a family room across from Haru's own room that was somewhat close to the elevators. Tsuna wasn't going to admit that it would be a fast escape route—just in case. Lal Mirch was just a couple of doors down with Colonnello and Skull farther away. Lambo shouted in glee, immediately jumping on a large white double bed and messing up the white sheets. The room was spacious with two large double beds and two twin beds underneath an expanse of white walls and a light brown headboard. Long yellow drapes were pulled back from the windows, which overlooked Tokyo Bay, letting in bright sunlight; the carpets were coffee brown and there was a small table with two sofa chairs in the corner beside a lamp.

"Be careful!" Tsuna said, rolling the suitcase nearby the bed.

Lambo jumped higher and higher on the bed, giggling in delight. "It's so bouncy, Tsuna-nii!"

I-pin quickly tossed her shoes to the side and leapt to join Lambo's side. She laughed, her braids flying up and down. "Big Brother, look!"

Fuuta frowned. "Guys, you might fall."

"We came here to have fun!" Lambo said. "Don't be a party-pooper! Tsuna-nii, catch!"

Arms already outstretched, Tsuna stepped back just as Lambo bounded towards him and caught him with a soft grunt. "You shouldn't have done that," he said, smiling nonetheless. "You could've gotten hurt."

Lambo grinned cheekily. "I knew you were going to catch me though!"

"Well, what if I wasn't there?"

Lambo nuzzled Tsuna's forehead, his eyes bright. "You'll always be there anyways. I know it, Tsuna-nii."

With a warm, fuzzy chest, Tsuna could only grin and hug Lambo close, basking in his warmth. Someone cleared their throat behind them. Tsuna widened his eyes when he turned around. "Colonnello-san!"

The idol grinned sheepishly from the doorway. "Sorry, but the door was open. You might want to be careful next time. Keep the doors and windows locked and all that."

"Big Brother!" I-pin said. "Catch me, catch me! I want a hug, too!"

Fuuta tore his gaze away from Colonnello and gaped at his sister. "I-pin, don't!"

Tsuna widened his eyes. "Wait, d—"

I-pin squealed, leaping high in the air and flying towards Tsuna with a big grin. He barely caught her with his other arm and stumbled from the overwhelming weight of two growing children. Suddenly, two strong hands firmly pushed against his back to keep him upright. The kids laughed as they clambered out of Tsuna's arms and dashed off to explore the room more. Tsuna peered over his shoulder to see Colonnello grinning behind him. "T—Thank you, Colonnello-san."

"No problem, kora!" the idol said. "Can't have you breaking your back." His hands still didn't leave from Tsuna's back. Fuuta stared at the contact with blank eyes, which was honestly a bit terrifying.

Tsuna stepped away, feeling Colonnello's hands slip away with the movement. "Right," he said, laughing sheepishly. "That wouldn't go well for anyone." He tilted his head. "Did you need something?"

"Oh right." Colonnello handed a dark blue card from his pocket. "Lal wanted me to give this to you. It's your room key. Don't lose it! I gave Haru hers. I'm just gonna head down to the lobby and give the other keys back. See ya in a bit, kora!"

"Oh, um, okay," Tsuna said.

After the idol left, Lambo poked his head out of the bathroom. "Tsuna-nii, the towels here are so fluffy!"

"Don't make a mess," Tsuna said, following him inside.

The bathroom was large, well-lit, and had a bathtub, a separate shower stall, and a toilet. There were two sinks underneath a large mirror with small hand towels draped over metal racks on the drawers. The tile floors were white but clean. I-pin pulled open a drawer. "There's a hairdryer in here!"

Tsuna nodded. "Yeah, hotels usually have hair dryers." He hummed to himself before opening a small brown closet and smiled as he took out a fluffy white bathrobe from the rack. "And these, too."

I-pin and Lambo immediately crowded around him and touched the bathrobe, feeling its fluffy cover. "It's so soft!" I-pin said, her eyes wide.

"Can I wear it?" Lambo said.

Fuuta appeared at the door, curious of the commotion, when Tsuna turned around. The boy blinked when he saw the fluffy bathrobe. "A…bathrobe?"

"Touch it, Fuuta-nii!" I-pin said. "It's so fluffy! And the soap here smells really good! Like peaches!"

"Come on," Tsuna said, putting the robe back in the closet. "Let's go and unpack a bit for tomorrow."

I-pin widened her eyes. "Are we really here? I'm not dreaming right, Big Brother?"

"We just had Colonnello drive us here and met Lal Mirch," Lambo said, rolling his eyes. "I mean, I didn't wake up yet."

Tsuna tilted his head. "You must really like Colonnello."

Lambo perked up. "Yeah, he's really funny and nice and he knows a lot about dinosaurs. Oh, and he watches Immortal Nemesis."

I-pin cupped her cheeks. "He's really handsome, too. And Lal Mirch-san is so pretty!

Tsuna couldn't help but laugh. Ruffling both of their heads, he gestured to the room. "Let's go and get settled, okay? How about you, Fuuta?"

Fuuta shrugged. "He's okay. Lal Mirch-san seems funny though."

Suddenly someone knocked on the door. Tsuna walked over and opened it, blinking when he saw Lal Mirch and Haru standing outside. "Yes?" he said.

"Sorry, am I bothering you?" Lal Mirch said.

"Oh no. Is there something you need?"

"I was gonna go and introduce you to the others and tell you what to expect for the next few days but I can come back later. We have enough time before dinner anyways."

Haru gave Tsuna a pleading look over Lal Mirch's shoulder, something akin to "please come with me and do this so I don't end up jumping out the window". Glancing back at the kids, Tsuna opened the door wider. "I guess it won't hurt. What do you think?"

I-pin flushed, most likely thinking about meeting Fon, which might go well or…not. She nodded and held onto Tsuna's leg like a shield. Lambo pouted. "Is Colonnello here?"

"He went down to the front desk," Tsuna said, holding his hand. "He'll be back soon."

"Oh, okay."

Fuuta quirked a brow at that but didn't say anything. The small family then followed Lal Mirch down the hall. Haru laid her forehead on his shoulder. "Do you think I can handle this, Tsuna?"

Tsuna's face didn't betray anything, even though he was laughing a bit on the inside. "You'll pass with flying colors. You handled Colonnello-san and Lal Mirch-san so far. You're doing fine."

"You don't have to use the '-san'," Lal Mirch muttered.

When she turned the corner for the right hallway, a very familiar figure stood by the window, his back turned against them with a hand in his pocket, while talking lowly on the phone. Tsuna suppressed a sigh and wondered how long it'd take for him to get a headache. A very miniscule part of him hoped that nothing like that happened, but a large, more telling part of him said, "Nope."

"Those pants make his legs look so good," Haru whispered in Tsuna's ear. "And his hair—Oh my God, he let it down."

He hummed vaguely in response. Lal Mirch just stared at Reborn for a moment, likely debating on whether or not to interrupt, when the man soon hung up. "Reborn," she said. "They're here."

Tsuna blinked when Reborn finally turned around. The man's hair was…different, more casual. Some portions of it were swept to the side of his head like bangs but still spiky. It just made him look younger. He wore slim-fitting khaki pants and a white dress shirt with folded sleeves, showing off a very expensive watch on his wrist. His gaze met Tsuna's and a gleam flashed in his dark eyes. "Pleasure to meet you," he said, walking closer to the group.

Haru let out a strangled squeak. I-pin seemed like she was on cloud nine and Lambo hid behind Tsuna's legs, somehow detecting a bit of danger behind Reborn's casual front. Tsuna was a bit relieved at that—he still didn't know how anyone would like Reborn at all—though he wasn't sure how to feel when he saw Fuuta somewhat sizing up the idol. No one seemed to make the first move, leaving it all on Tsuna this time. This time, he sighed softly and gave Reborn a polite smile. "It's nice to meet you again, Reborn-san."

Oh, Reborn could tell how much Tsuna didn't want to be here, the jerk, but didn't miss a beat. "Tsuna, was it?"

"Who else?" Tsuna said dryly. Inside, he cringed. That wasn't how he was supposed to act, especially in front of others, but there was something impulsive about him whenever he was around Reborn. He didn't like it.

Reborn slightly smirked. "Of course, who else indeed."

Lal Mirch crossed her arms over her chest. "Do you two need a r—" She caught herself in time when she looked over at the kids. "Never mind."

Haru gaped at them. "How do you know each other? Wait." She blinked. "Even Colonnello seemed to know you. Oh my God, Tsuna, what didn't you tell me?"

"They came to Big Brother's restaurant!" I-pin said, beaming. "A lot of them!"

Haru widened her eyes. "A lot of them." Tsuna sweat-dropped when she directed a fiery gaze at him. "What does she mean, Tsuna?"

"Ah, um, well, it was a coincidence really," he said, taking a small step back. "It's really nothing, Haru."

"Where are my manners?" Reborn said, standing a little too close behind Tsuna. He brushed past him and took ahold of Haru's hand before kissing it in a gentlemanly—prudish, Tsuna thought—way. Haru's face instantly transformed into a tomato. "And you are?"

Lal Mirch rolled her eyes. "Better let go before she sues you," she mumbled.

Tsuna coughed lightly into his fist to hide a laugh. They shared a glance and nodded their heads in brief solidarity. Reborn was just on a league of his own.

"M—Miura Haru, desu," Haru squeaked out. "I—I'm really a big fan, Reborn-san! And you look so handsome with your hair down! You always have it up all the time and just, gosh."

"I'm flattered to receive such a compliment from a beautiful lady," Reborn said smoothly.

Haru's soul simply slipped out of her mouth as she fell back. Fuuta and I-pin knelt down to fan her face. Tsuna huffed a laugh before helping her up. "This is Fuuta and I-pin," he said, placing a hand on their shoulders. "And the little one here is Lambo."

Lambo pouted. "I'm not little!" He shrank when Reborn glanced at him and stepped behind Tsuna's leg again.

"Great, we're all friends now," Lal Mirch deadpanned. "Let's move on." She led the group to a room a couple of doors down before knocking on it. "Fon? You decent?"

I-pin squeaked and gripped Tsuna's leg tightly. Her eyes flitted to the door and to the ground several times, unsure of whether or not she had the heart to look at one of her favorite idols in the face. Haru was still in a daze, stealing glances at Reborn, who caught one and returned it with a charming smile, making her squeak. Tsuna just patted her head like she was a terrified child. There really was nothing he could do about it but act as the only sane rock among the sea of chaos. The thought was becoming more normal than he would've liked.

Lal Mirch knocked on the door again. "Fon? You in there?"

A muffled voice spoke through, "Yes."

I-pin was almost hyperventilating. "Big Brother," she said. "Big Brother…"

Tsuna patted her head, too. "You'll be fine, I-pin. I'm here."

Lal Mirch crossed her arms over her chest. "Are you decent? What are you doing?"

"I'm almost finished," Fon said. "Ah, well, not quite. This might take a bit."

Lal Mirch raised a brow. "What are you…?" She clicked her tongue and scanned her master key against Fon's door before pushing it open. "If you broke something again, I'm going to ki—"

I-pin and Haru let out a strangled gasp before Lal Mirch quickly closed the door. Lambo's jaw dropped while Fuuta and Tsuna just blinked. Fon was inside the room…with his forearms and palms planted on a black yoga mat…legs together and in the air, curved slightly over his head…and shirtless. At least he was wearing pants.

Lal Mirch muttered something under her breath before jerking her head towards the other hall. "We're going to Verde when you're done. And next time I ask if you're decent, answer yes or no." She looked at the group. "That's Idiot Number 3."

She led them to the other side of the hallway when Haru tapped Tsuna's shoulder. She glanced at Reborn who sauntered behind them and made some strange symbols with her hands as subtly as she could. Tsuna levelled her with a blank stare before she gave him a pleading look. She wasn't mute for Christ's sake, but Tsuna was a better friend than he would've liked. His spine was practically nonexistent when it came to her and the kids.

With a soft sigh, Tsuna peered over his shoulder, immediately catching Reborn's gaze. "Reborn-san, Haru would like to know when you got that watch."

Reborn raised his left hand, looking down at the clearly expensive silver accessory. "Three weeks ago." He slightly smirked before smoothly slipping it off from his wrist. "Would you like to see it?"

Tsuna gently pushed Haru forward, who looked at him in alarm. "You'll be fine. He doesn't…bite." The brunet ignored the way Reborn's eyes gleamed. "Happy friend making."

Haru let out a muffled squeak when Tsuna left her to the man. He didn't stray too far though, making sure to keep an eye out if Haru really couldn't handle it. Lambo tugged his shirt, making Tsuna lean down, and whispered in his ear, "He's scary."

"I know," Tsuna mumbled, patting Lambo's back. "We'll be fine. Don't worry."

Lal Mirch stopped outside a door and knocked on it. "Verde, company."

Silence.

Tsuna and the others, except Reborn, jumped when Lal Mirch suddenly banged on the door with her fist. "Verde!"

There was no response. Lal Mirch pounded on the door again. "Verde!"

She gave Reborn a questionable look. The man shrugged. "He was here."

"Was?"

"I last saw him 3 hours ago."

Lal Mirch groaned in exasperation. "This fu—idiot."

She swiped her master key over Verde's door and didn't bother to yell out another tasteful greeting. The room was quite cluttered with only the double beds untouched. The brown window drapes were closed and there were some shirts and pants strewn about near a green suitcase. With his back turned, Verde, clad in a worn gray T-shirt and sweatpants, sat at a table with his laptop out and big headphones over his ears. The sides glowed with neon green lights.

Lal Mirch stalked over to him and promptly yanked them off his head. "Verde, what are you doing?"

The man didn't even flinch and continued clicking his mouse over the screen, which showed some sound program. There was some heavy bass that boomed through the headphones. "Working."

"I told you not to bring your laptop," Lal Mirch said, her eyes narrowed.

Verde deadpanned. "And here it is."

"Don't be a smart as—guy." Tsuna winced sympathetically when Lal Mirch pinched the bridge of her nose. He slightly felt bad that all of them would have to be PG around the kids, just slightly. "Forget it. Stand up and say hi. They're here."

Closing his laptop, Verde stood up and turned around, making Haru almost drop Reborn's watch from her hand. Tsuna didn't really interact much with the man before at the restaurant. Actually, he thought that Verde was a bit strange but didn't want to judge. Besides, Verde looked exhausted with the way he slouched, not standing fully to his true height, and had dark circles under his eyes. He fixed his glasses a bit. "Hello," he said blandly.

"It's nice to see you again, Verde-san," Tsuna said after a beat of silence. He smiled politely to assuage the awkwardness but it didn't do much.

Verde tilted his head when he saw Tsuna. "You look like you've recovered well," he said before Lal Mirch could stop him. "Do you—"

"Yes, yes!" Tsuna said, laughing awkwardly. "I'm fine, Verde-san. Just"—he gestured at a confused Haru—"this is my friend, Haru, and these are my siblings, Lambo, Fuuta, and I-pin."

Verde's blank face never changed. "Pleasure."

Lal Mirch ushered the others out the door. "I'm coming back for your laptop! What part of 'don't bring work' don't you understand?"

"Most likely all of it," Reborn said flippantly, making Haru and I-pin giggle.

"You're quite the comedian," Verde deadpanned. "It's unfortunate though that you never see yourself as a joke."

Lambo snickered underneath his breath but clammed up when Reborn stepped forward, his eyes glinting under the light. Haru and I-pin were still laughing, but Tsuna honestly didn't know if this was supposed to be funny or not. He had a feeling that blood could be shed at any moment and was pretty sure that that wasn't funny in the slightest. "Oh? Care to repeat that?"

Verde didn't blink. "You're imprudent, not deaf."

Lal Mirch yanked Reborn back and shut the door, effectively cutting their posturing match short. "Alright, back off. Don't even think about going there, Reborn."

Reborn stepped away from her gracefully, barely looking miffed. "Whatever do you mean?"

Tsuna opened his mouth but closed it quickly, holding himself back when he remembered that the kids were there. Reborn met his eyes with a knowing look and there was a challenging smirk on his stupid face. Tsuna bit his tongue and just followed Lal Mirch to the end of the hallway.

"I'm so sorry!" Haru said behind him. "I probably got this dirty."

"Never," Reborn said, not missing a beat. Tsuna almost rolled his eyes, almost. "You have good taste in accessories."

"Oh, but this is really a beautiful watch. It must've cost a fortune."

"The purchase was worth it."

"Yes, I think so too. This can go really well if you wore something black or even blue, maybe even gray. Black really suits you well though. A—Ah, I'm sorry." Haru laughed embarrassingly. "I talk too much."

"Are you a stylist?"

"Oh wow, how did you know?"

Tsuna could sense the smirk on Reborn's face without even looking at him. "You seem to have the expertise for it. You also design on the side. Your hands are artist's hands. It's quite noticeable."

Okay, Tsuna could kind of see how Reborn was popular. However, picking the right words to say was probably another sign of a sociopath. The elevators suddenly dinged open and Tsuna heard Colonnello's bark of laughter and thumping footsteps.

"I swear to God, if you eat my chips, I will murder you in your sleep!" Vasya screamed. "Colonnello!"

Lambo burst out laughing while Lal Mirch groaned and sprinted ahead of them. "Colonnello, Skull!"

Tsuna quickly ran after Lambo who seemed way too eager to see what was going on with the others right behind him. They arrived just in time to see Vasya lunge for Colonnello and tackle him to the ground. Lambo giggled when the men wrestled on the ground for the bag of chips, grumbling and pulling each other's hair. With impressive strength, Lal Mirch lugged Vasya off of Colonnello by the back of his hoodie and easily separated the two, standing between them. "Are you kidding me?" she said, scowling.

Colonnello grinned and raised the bag of chips in the air. "I called first dibs, kora!"

"First dibs my as—" Vasya blinked when he noticed Tsuna and immediately lit up. "Tsuna, hey!" He glanced at the kids and laughed awkwardly. "I was so not going to say that word by the way."

"And what were you going to say?" Tsuna said, unable to hide his amusement.

"Uh, I'll get back to you on that."

"You know him, too?" was all Haru said, making Tsuna chuckle sheepishly.

Vasya grinned and gave them a wave. "Yo, I'm the great and totally awesome Skull-sama!" Lambo laughed, making Vasya grin wider. "What's your name, buddy?"

"Hey, he's my buddy!" Colonnello said, tearing the green bag open. "Get your own."

"I don't see your name on him anywhere, dumba—" Vasya caught himself by speaking gibberish, making the kids giggle. "Backtrack, backtrack, my bad. Anyways, what's your name, buddy?"

"Dude, did you even hear what I said?"

"Who listens to you anyway?"

Lambo snickered when Colonnello jerked forward as if he was going to throw a punch. Vasya just stuck his tongue out. "You better fu—freakin' give my chips back! I paid for those!"

Mammon suddenly appeared behind him, catching almost everyone off-guard. His sunglasses covered his eyes as usual and he wore a large hoodie. "I paid for it."

Colonnello cackled when Vasya wilted. "Can't you let me off?" Vasya said. "It was just 250 yen!"

Mammon deadpanned. "250 yen that has been added to your debt."

Vasya let out an aggravated groan. "It's not my fault I forgot my wallet!"

Colonnello snorted, munching on some spicy chips. "You sure you're not getting some kind of dementia or something? It's becoming a problem."

"I'll knock your head so hard you'll get fu—freakin' Alzheimer's."

Colonnello gasped mockingly. "Aww, when did our wittle baby learn such a big word?"

Reborn smirked. "Truly an achievement."

"Can I kill them, Lal?"

Lal Mirch narrowed her eyes. "No."

Vasya groaned. "Why is the world against me? Why?"

"You're just unfortunate," Reborn said, meeting Tsuna's narrowed eyes with a smirk.

Colonnello snickered, crunching on another chip. "God has spoken." He held out the bag of chips to Lambo. "Want one, buddy?"

"Hey, my chips!" Vasya said.

Tsuna shook his head. "Oh no, Lambo can't handle spicy very well."

Lambo pouted, his cheeks red in embarrassment. "Tsuna-nii!"

"Why'd you buy spicy chips, you heathen?" Colonnello said. "My buddy can't eat them."

I-pin perked up. "Can I have one, please? I like spicy!"

She giggled when Colonnello held out the bag of chips to her with a grand bow. "Ask and ye shall receive, princess."

Vasya snorted. "Okay, first off, Prince Hans, those are my chips, and second"—he jabbed a thumb at Colonnello's direction—"he's a troll, and not the nice ones that sing and dance."

"Excuse me, dirt bag, but I'm Prince Charming. Get your facts straight."

"The truth hurts, peasant. Deal with it."

Laughing, I-pin munched carefully on the chip she took from the bag and lit up. "This tastes good!"

Lambo huffed. "I wanna try it!"

"You can't handle spicy, Lambo," Fuuta said.

"Just a nibble? I'll take a really, really small bite."

Vasya perked up. "Oh hey." He dug through his purple duffle bag that was draped over the handle of his suitcase. "Aha!" He pulled out a strawberry KitKat. "You like chocolate, buddy?"

"Not your buddy," Colonnello said, offering I-pin more chips.

"Shut up."

Lambo brightened up and tugged Tsuna's jacket. "Can I have it, Tsuna-nii?"

Tsuna smiled slightly. "If Vasya's offering, you can. Remember what you have to say."

Haru stared at him. "You call him by his real name?"

Tsuna flushed. "Oh, um—"

Lambo walked forward to take the KitKat from Vasya with two hands. He bowed. "Thank you, Skull-sama! Oh, and I'm Lambo! I think you're really, really cool! Like when you go all whoosh and vroom on TV!"

Vasya grinned. "Thanks, buddy! You know what, screw that guy." He snickered at Colonnello's indignant face when he ruffled Lambo's hair. "You'll be Skull-sama's best friend!"

"Really?" Lambo said, his eyes wide. "Then can I ride on your motorcycle, too?"

"Heck yeah!"

Lal Mirch folded her arms over her chest. "No. You don't even have it here."

Vasya smiled mischievously. "But we have the van."

Lambo perked up. "Oh, oh, can you drive like you did in Daredevils? When you went through that course with the fire and everything?"

Tsuna blinked. Fire…? Placing his hands on his hips, Vasya threw back his head and laughed triumphantly. "You got it, buddy!"

"You're not taking the van," Mammon deadpanned.

"Or my buddy!" Colonnello said through a mouthful of chips.

"Hey, listen," Vasya said. "I have an infinitely better chance of bringing the car back in one piece than anyone else here." He shuddered. "And Fon. Definitely better than Fon." The other Arcobaleno, and even Reborn, grimaced at that.

"This is the only time I'll ever agree with you," Colonnello said.

Mammon pursed his lips. "Agreed."

"Better than me in what?" a voice said.

Everyone turned to see Fon heading towards them, this time wearing a plain white T-shirt. I-pin promptly froze. Tsuna could already hear the warning bells in his head. Thankfully, Fuuta held I-pin's hand for comfort, even if she didn't properly register it.

"Ah, Tsuna," Fon said with a smile. "It's good to see you again. How are you?"

Haru looked torn between gushing over Fon and interrogating Tsuna for answers. Tsuna just reciprocated Fon's gesture with a small smile of his own. "I'm fine, Fon-san. Thank you for asking."

"I apologize for not meeting you sooner. I was a bit preoccupied."

Tsuna flushed, remembering the man's impressive yoga posture. "Ah, yes. That's fine, really. Um, this is my friend, Haru."

Haru snapped out of her internal struggle and smiled at Fon. "I'm Miura Haru! It's really nice to meet you, Fon-san."

Fon smiled, making her blush. "The pleasure is all mine. And please, you can call me Fon."

"These are my siblings," Tsuna said, gesturing at the kids. He took Lambo's KitKat to open it for him. "He's Lambo, that's Fuuta, and here is I-pin."

Fon offered the kids a pleasant smile, which just made Haru swoon. "Hello, it's very nice to meet you all."

Lambo shifted on his feet, unsure on whether to speak or not until Tsuna patted his shoulder in encouragement. "Is it true that you can break rocks?"

Vasya snickered, appearing at Tsuna's side. "Rocks—ah, buddy, you don't know the half of it. Me and Colonnello tried to teach him how to fist bump before and let me tell you, it was a freakin' riot."

Colonnello sputtered. "Oi, don't you dare!"

Even Lal Mirch smirked. "That was fun."

"Lal!"

"What happened?" Fuuta said slowly.

"Fon almost broke Colonnello's wrist," Vasya said, cackling. "Punched his fist so hard that—Oh god, it was great. His knuckles were bruised too." He dug his phone out of his pants. "Wait, I think I have a picture!"

Lambo burst out laughing while Fon had the decency to look embarrassed. "I didn't intend to," he said.

"Don't even think about it, Skull!" Colonnello said, shoving the bag of chips in Fon's hands and leaping for the cackling man. "Why do you even have it?"

Laughing, Vasya dashed away. "For all my precious memories!" His voice rose to a higher pitch at the end in jest, making Lambo giggle.

Lal Mirch groaned before running after them. "Get back here, you idiots!"

Mammon clicked his tongue, muttering something about property damages and numbers that were far too high for Tsuna's taste, while Reborn just scoffed under his breath. Tsuna looked down at I-pin who continued staring at Fon in stunned silence. Alright, that wasn't a good sign. "I-pin, you can say hi."

She responded with a small whimper and hid behind his leg. Well, at least she was still functioning, kind of. Her movements drew Fon's attention to her, making her squeak. He smiled at her. "I-pin, was it?"

I-pin's grip tightened on Tsuna's jeans. Tsuna leaned down with an encouraging smile. "What do you say, I-pin?" She just buried her red face against his knee. Tsuna smiled at Fon apologetically. "I'm sorry, Fon-san. She's just really shy."

Haru chuckled. "She's your number one fan."

Fon walked forward, making I-pin tense, and crouched down to her height. "It's very nice to finally meet you, I-pin," he said gently. "Tsuna told me about you."

Haru gave Tsuna a questioning look, which he just returned with a weak shrug. Oh, they were definitely going to have a talk later. I-pin still didn't move. Fon chuckled. "Don't worry," he said. "Tsuna told me only nice things. You went quite beyond my expectations. You're very cute."

Haru muffled a squeal behind her hand while Lambo made a face. "The pinhead isn't cute."

He yelped when I-pin suddenly jabbed him in the arm before Tsuna could stop her. "I-pin!" She deflated back to his side but still glared at Lambo who went to Fuuta for comfort.

Fon blinked before his lips curled into a smile. Tsuna wasn't sure what to make of the small gleam in his eyes as he offered I-pin the bag of chips Colonnello shoved in his hands. "Would you like some?" he said.

Everyone waited for a moment for I-pin to do, well, something. Before Tsuna could move things along to save his sister from her embarrassment, she finally moved, slowly at first, before sneaking a hand in the bag and taking a chip. Fon beamed.


Haru fixed her hair multiple times in the bathroom and asked Tsuna several times if her green blouse was okay or if jeans were good enough or not. He shook his head with a small smile. "Haru, it's just dinner, and Lal Mirch-san said casual's fine."

Haru looked at him, like actually gave him a look. "Oh my God, Tsuna, you just don't say that. It's not just dinner. It's dinner with Arcobaleno."

"I don't see why that's a problem," Tsuna said as he braided I-pin's hair. "They're people too, you know."

Haru groaned. "I know but, hello? Arcobaleno—one of the hottest groups in the world? I still think I'm dreaming. I was waiting to actually wake up at some point but I'm still here." She swooned. "Reborn is so dreamy and handsome up-close. I can't."

Tsuna wrinkled his nose. "I don't understand what you like about him."

Haru gasped. "Are you serious? You saw him! He was so sweet and acted like a true gentleman."

Tsuna calmly refrained himself from retorting the theory that Reborn was probably a closeted hitman or something. He tied I-pin's bun in place and smiled. "Done," he said.

The little girl grinned. "Thank you, Big Brother!" She had decided that changing into a dress wasn't a good idea and stuck with her red flower sweater and jeans instead to be more comfortable, though Tsuna could tell how much she really wanted to impress Fon so he offered to do her hair in a braided bun, which she eagerly agreed with.

Haru gave her the ok-sign. "You're so pretty, I-pin! Fon will love it!"

I-pin blushed and tugged the hem of her sweater. "R—Really?"

"Well, he might want to hear your voice, too," Tsuna teased.

Snickering, Lambo hopped on the bed to sit next to him. "You couldn't say anything." He squeaked when I-pin reached out to pinch his arm before Tsuna blocked her hand. "Tsuna-nii, she tried to hit me again! You saw that, right?"

"I-pin," Tsuna said, "you can't hit Lambo like that. That's not nice. Instead of using your fists, you need to stop and think. Say you're sorry."

Frowning, I-pin looked down at her shoes. "Sorry," she muttered.

Tsuna sighed but pinched her cheek endearingly anyways. "Don't do it again, okay?"

When dinnertime came around, Lal Mirch was the one to knock on Tsuna's door this time. She hadn't changed her clothes. The kids seemed pretty excited, though I-pin still shied away when Fon appeared, who had changed into a gray sweater and tucked his braid underneath a baseball hat. Without it, he looked more like Hibari, but his eyes were still kinder. Verde simply wore a zip-up sweatshirt over his shirt.

"Yo!" Colonnello said, raising a hand for Lambo. "Up top, buddy!" Lambo's eyes brightened while he jumped and gave Colonnello a high-five. "Nice!"

Fon smiled at I-pin. "Your hair is very beautiful, I-pin."

The girl blushed and just hid behind Haru's legs. Vasya shoved Colonnello out of the way, making Lambo laugh. "Hey, hey, hey, he's my buddy." He gave Lambo a grin. "Wanna sit next to me for dinner?"

Lambo looked like Vasya just handed him the world. "Really?"

"Heck yeah! It's an honor to sit next to the great Sku—Ack!"

Colonnello pushed him back. "He's sitting next to me, kora!"

"Let him decide!"

Lambo looked back at Tsuna, a bit hopeful and anxious. He clearly wanted to sit next them, but didn't think he'd really stand it if Tsuna wasn't beside him. Tsuna held his hand when the elevator doors opened and squeezed it comfortingly. Lambo relaxed then. Whatever Verde was scribbling in his little notepad, Tsuna didn't want to know. Fon gave I-pin a smile, making her hide behind Haru's legs.

"Christ, you can both sit next to him," Lal Mirch said, stepping inside. "Just have him in the middle. There, problem solved."

"Ah, Lambo doesn't really like it if I'm not with him, Lal Mirch-san," Tsuna said, stepping to the side when Reborn entered. He blinked when the man stood on his other side, his mask covering his mouth.

Verde pushed up his glasses. "Does he have sepa—"

He shut up when Lal Mirch jabbed him in the ribs. "That's fine," she said. "There's no fixed seating arrangements so you can sit wherever you want."

Tsuna smiled. "Okay." He wasn't sure about the idea but he wanted Lambo to be happy, and this was the most his brother ever stepped out of his comfort zone. He hadn't expected him to open up like this; maybe it was just because how Colonnello and Vasya were just really good with kids and made them feel comfortable. Either way, he was grateful for it. "Who do you want to sit next to you, Lambo?"

His brother looked up at him with wide eyes. "What about you, Tsuna-nii?"

"I can sit next to you. Just you can only have one of them with you. Like if we're sitting together, Colonnello could sit next to me and Vasya can sit next to you. That way they can be close to you unless you want it to be something else."

"Oh," Lambo said. "Hmm, I don't know."

Something in the air shifted when Colonnello and Vasya met eyes. A few silent words were exchanged before they smiled, showing teeth. "Nothing bad if you lose," Colonnello said.

"Coward," Vasya said.

"Best of three?"

"Oh, yeah."

Suddenly they shook their fists in the air. "Rock, paper, scissors, and shoot!"

Haru and I-pin laughed when Colonnello groaned. He had rock while Vasya threw out paper.

"Rock, paper, scissors, and shoot!"

Vasya clicked his tongue when Colonnello got scissors against his paper.

"Rock, paper, scissors, and shoot!"

Vasya pumped his fist in the air. "Ha! Take that, ba—uh, jerk."

Colonnello snorted. "Blockhead."

"What did you just call me?"

"Butt-face."

With barely a twitch, Tsuna stepped on Reborn's foot before he could lift his leg and kick Colonnello in the shin. He didn't care if he was ruining his Italian leather shoes and shot Reborn a deceptively pleasant smile. "Is there a problem?"

Before Reborn could say a word, the elevator stopped and opened. Lal Mirch sighed. "Thank God," she muttered, stalking out while Colonnello and Vasya continued yelling childish insults at each other.

Fuuta looked back and forth between Tsuna and Reborn curiously before tugging Tsuna's shirt. "Tsuna-nii, let's go."

Tsuna didn't know which floor they were on but it was well-lit with a lounge area that had some people relaxing about. A few looked their way but no one approached them, except for a hotel staff who led them through the brown hallways and through a door that led inside to a restaurant. The smell of smoky meat and sound of sizzling grills greeted them. The hotel staff lady bowed after she led to them a private room with a long sleek table for a party of 12. Lamps lit the room with a warm glow from the rocky walls.

"Sit next to someone you won't stab with a fork," Lal Mirch deadpanned.

I-pin giggled at that. Soon everyone pretty much arranged themselves accordingly. On the left side, going down from the end of the table, were Lal Mirch, Fon, Vasya, Tsuna, Lambo, and Colonnello. On the other side were Reborn, Viper, Verde, Fuuta, I-pin, and Haru. A waiter dropped by to pass around tall menus and told them to ring the buzzer underneath the table if they needed him.

Tsuna perused through it quickly, finding the prices alright but still hefty with this many people.

"You can order whatever you want," Lal Mirch said. "Everything will be paid for."

Haru widened her eyes. "I don't think I'll be eating a lot. What do you think, Tsuna?"

Tsuna pursed his lips. "You should eat more, Haru. You actually look like you lost weight."

Haru flushed. "Tsuna!"

Colonnello laughed. "Wow, you're a real lady-killer, Tsuna." He snickered. "I still remember you shoving food in Reborn's mouth."

Vasya cackled. "What a legend."

"I wish I recorded it."

"Same."

They ignored the daggers Reborn were sending them across the table. Haru gaped. "Tsuna, you did what?"

Even the kids stared at him like he grew three heads. Tsuna tried to wave it off with a half-hearted shrug, keeping his eyes on the menu. "It's nothing."

"That's not nothing," Haru said. "When did that happen?" She leaned forward to address Reborn at the end of the table. "I'm sorry for anything Tsuna did to you, Reborn-san! He can be too much sometimes!"

Reborn just flashed her a charming smile, making her blush. "There's no need to apologize on his behalf, Haru."

Lal Mirch inclined back on her chair, sending Vasya and Colonnello a blank look they seemed to strangely understand. Taking advantage of Haru's momentary distraction with Reborn, Tsuna showed the kid's menu to Lambo. "Do you want hamburger steak or something else?"

"Steak!" Lambo said.

"Can I get the steak too, Big Brother?" I-pin said.

Tsuna nodded. "Fuuta?"

"I'd like udon."

"Haru," Tsuna said, catching her attention, "what are you going to get?"

Furrowing her brows, Haru flipped through the menu. "I might get the goose liver," she said. "What are you going to get?"

"I'll get the sirloin steak," Tsuna said, closing his menu.

Haru nodded, closing hers too. "Okay. I think we're good to go."

"Do they have ice cream, Tsuna-nii?" Lambo said.

I-pin perked up. "They have sherbet, too!"

"If you have the stomach for it, we can order it," Tsuna said.

Lambo and I-pin beamed. Colonnello coughed lightly in his fist. "You know, you two actually seem like a married couple. No offense, kora."

Tsuna raised a brow. "I thought we went over this."

Colonnello grinned sheepishly. "Yeah, but still."

Before Vasya could say something, Tsuna said, "Well, are you and Lal Mirch-san married?"

Lal Mirch and Colonnello choked on their water. "What the—No, we're not!" Colonnello said, looking aghast. "Who'd marry her?"

"That idiot is far below my standards!" Lal Mirch said, thumping her chest.

"Since when did you have standards, kora?"

"So there we go," Tsuna deadpanned. "Girls and guys can be friends. Assuming that they're married is just that—an assumption. It doesn't give you any concrete facts, which are important in any situation. Long story short, Haru and I are just friends."

Haru nodded vigorously. "We really are, Colonnello-san!"

Vasya snickered by his side. "Good one, Tsuna. How long did you know each other by the way?"

"Since middle school," Haru said. "Namimori is a pretty small town so really, everyone knew everyone."

Vasya leaned forward with a grin. "Then that means you know some dirty secrets."

Tsuna didn't like the mischievous smile on Haru's face. "Oh, yes I do," she said.

The waiter returned to take their orders and after he left, Colonnello and Vasya started interrogating Haru for details Tsuna would've never told them. What was even worse was that the others seemed to listen in, too.

"So was Tsuna a good student?" Colonnello said. "Maybe a teacher's pet?"

Haru laughed. "He was alright. Pretty average."

"Did he do any sports?" Vasya said. "Join any clubs?"

"Oh, Tsuna's horrible at anything physical. The only thing he could do was cook. Well, he can still do that now. You should try his pasta; it's really good! Oh, and his steaks!"

Tsuna flushed. "Haru!"

Haru just shrugged, smile still in place. "It's true. Oh! There was this one time in a Sports Festival when Tsuna tripped on his face in a relay. He was running first though so others could pick up the slack and his class still won."

Lambo stared at him wide-eyed. "Did that really happen, Tsuna-nii?"

Tsuna took in a deep breath. "Well, I wasn't the one who walked in the guy's shower room and used a stall."

Haru blushed. "T—That was an accident!"

Colonnello laughed. "Wait, did you actually do that?"

"She knew what she was doing and where she was going," Tsuna said dryly.

Cheeks red, Haru groaned. "No one was even there when I went in! The girls took too long and I thought, you know, I could make it quick." She huffed before a gleam shone in her eyes. "Oh yeah? Did you know how good of a friend Tsuna is? Well, in the 9th grade I was in charge of the costumes for a play and—"

Tsuna widened his eyes. "Don't you dare."

He gaped when Vasya hushed him. "Shh, I wanna hear."

"Y—You're supposed to be on my side!"

Vasya grinned cheekily. "Come on, Tsuna, friends should know everything about each other, the good and the bad. I'll tell you some embarrassing stories too."

"You better not," Lal Mirch said. "Half of what you say aren't even about you."

Vasya just cackled. "I never said they'd be about me anyways."

"2014 in Shibuya," Reborn suddenly said.

Vasya nearly choked. "Oh my God, don't you fu—Reborn, I swear, if you—"

A Cheshire grin spread across Colonnello's face. "Oh yeah, that's a good one."

Haru gasped. "Is that when—" She stopped herself short with a giggle.

I-pin perked up. "Is that when Skull-san's p—"

Vasya laughed out loud awkwardly. "Alright, playtime's over. Let's just—"

He widened his eyes when Tsuna shushed him. "I want to hear." The brunet smiled pleasantly. "Friends should know everything about each other, Vasya."

Colonnello barked out a laugh. "Oh my God, you're an idiot."

"S—Shut up!" Vasya said.

Tsuna tilted his head. "What happened in Shibuya?"

Colonnello grinned as Vasya protested loudly in the background. "So we were performing Equinox and there was this one part where Skull had to knee slide onstage." He paused to catch his breath from laughing. "Holy crap, he does it and—" He covered his eyes with his hand, too far gone in his hysterics.

"His pants ripped," Lal Mirch said with a smirk. "Right over his crotch."

"It was quite amusing," Fon said, not helping at all.

Colonnello laughed uncontrollably into his arm, joined in by the kids and Haru. Vasya groaned into his hands. "I'd like to die now," he said, his voice muffled.

"I think—I think it's online," Colonnello gasped out. "Let me—" He burst out laughing again while he took out his phone and swiped through the screen.

"Don't fu—do it!" Vasya said, standing up.

Colonnello cackled. "I will! Ah, good times, good times. Oh, found it!"

Before Vasya could walk over and snatch Colonnello's phone away, Tsuna grabbed his arm and pulled him back to his seat. "Playtime's not over yet, Vasya."

Vasya widened his eyes but didn't speak. Colonnello propped his elbow on the table and turned his phone sideways before the video, recorded by a fan, started playing. Loud booming bass accompanied by some electric beats suddenly started playing through the speakers. Screams echoed everywhere in the large stadium as the phone zoomed in on Vasya who was dancing in the front of Arcobaleno's formation with Colonnello to his right. They wore some kind of black uniform with silver chains dangling from their shoulders in loops. Their dance was pretty intense with body pops and even some hip rolls that got the fans screaming louder.

"Wait for it, wait for it!" Colonnello said.

And then, it happened. Vasya stepped out of the formation, flicking his hair in what Tsuna guessed was supposed to be a sexy move, before sliding on his knees towards the audience. His black pants ripped open, revealing gray boxers. The fans went absolutely wild along with Colonnello, who entered another fit of hysterical laughter, and the others, including Tsuna. In the video, Vasya seemed to know something was wrong and looked down. Immediately he covered the tear and scrambled into a fetal position, bowing over like he was in pain. The others onstage dashed over, with Reborn, Mammon, and Verde standing a few feet away and the music still going. Fon kneeled by Vasya's head, asking if he was alright, while Colonnello leaned over his knees before staggering away in laughter. The video ended then.

"And that, ladies and gentlemen, was the amazing Shibuya incident," Colonnello said, snorting.

Haru snickered. "Twitter went nuts."

The waiter returned with their food then while Vasya pouted and grumbled under his breath. Smiling, Tsuna patted his arm. "It's okay. It happens."

"Oh, yeah," Vasya deadpanned, "people just go around ripping their pants. It happens." He perked up. "Wait, you said something about a play, Haru?"

Haru grinned as the waiter placed her plate in front of her. After thanking him, she wriggled her eyebrows at Tsuna who scowled at her. "Yes, sir," she said. "So there was this play in the 9th grade for—I think it was an original play but anyways, that's not the point. There was this one scene at the end where the main girl, who's a peasant, sneaks into the prince's ball. Th—"

"Haru," Tsuna said, narrowing his eyes.

"The girl who was acting her part had to leave town for a bit so I couldn't do a fitting. But, Tsuna here was actually pretty much her clone aside from their gender. Really, he was so small and petite back in the days, I'm amazed he even hit a growth spurt."

Colonnello laughed. "Oh my God, tell me you have pictures."

Tsuna gaped when Haru took out her phone and shook it in the air. "Definitely. Wanna look?"

"Haru, don't!"

Haru did.

And now, the image of a younger, more petite Tsuna in a red evening ball gown, back and shoulders bare, was ingrained in everyone's head. Tsuna cut their laughs short when he stabbed a knife in his steak and they wisely moved on.

(But they still thought about it—quietly, of course.)


Stomachs full, everyone left the restaurant and snuck onto the elevator. Vasya somehow roped Fon into coming with him to the hotel convenience store with Colonnello tagging along. Mammon pursed his lips and told them that the snacks would come out of their own pockets, which they shrugged off before stepping out onto a different floor.

When the others arrived at their floor, Lal Mirch led them to a lounge area that had several brown sofas and cushion chairs. The lights were low and golden, offering more warmth to the wooden walls, and the sky was already dark outside the overly-large windows. Tsuna tilted his head when Lal Mirch re-arranged the sofas and table around to make a large space in the center. She plopped down on the taupe carpets and gestured the others to join. "Take a seat. I'll just go over some things about our schedule and what to expect, some ground rules, all that."

Sighing, Verde sat down to Lal Mirch's left and Mammon sat on her other side. Reborn, surprisingly, sat next to Haru who had Fuuta and I-pin to her left. And as always, Lambo was in-between Tsuna and I-pin. They formed a wonky circle at best but better than nothing. Lal Mirch took out her phone, which had a dark blue case and a worn white sticker of a dance company, and unlocked the screen.

"So there's a lot of things to do here," she said, running a hand through her hair. "The hotel has a complimentary breakfast service for club guests from 6:30 to 10:00. We're all registered in the club so you don't have to worry about not being able to go in. That's on the 12th floor. There's also a gym and a pool, an onsen that's open from 3 PM to midnight. There's a kids corner too for…the kids. That's basically the gist of the hotel's services. If you have questions I'm just down the hall from you." Lal Mirch frowned. "If I'm not in my room, you can ask…" She looked around the room and pinched the bridge of her nose. "Okay, no. I guess you could ask Fon then."

"Don't you trust me?" Reborn said in a sickly sweet voice.

"No," Tsuna and Lal Mirch deadpanned.

Haru didn't know whether to smile or not. "Why are you so mean to Reborn, Tsuna?"

"I think he's pretty justified," Lal Mirch said. "The only person you could trust here besides me is Fon, but that's still kind of pushing it."

Reborn propped an arm over his raised knee. "You wound me."

Lal Mirch rolled her eyes and scrolled through her phone again. "Yeah, great. Okay, so for tomorrow, there are some options to choose from. There's a lot of shopping outlets in the area so we could go there. The Imperial Palace isn't too far either. There's the Ghibli Museum and some science museums if you're interested in that. Additionally, this hotel is a Tokyo Disney Resort so Disneyland is an option, too."

Lambo perked up. "Disneyland? Can we go there, Tsuna-nii?"

Sparkles glimmered in I-pin's eyes. "Yes, can we?"

Tsuna laughed as they clambered onto his lap. "We should wait for the others and decide. Fuuta?"

Fuuta smiled at him. "I don't mind."

"Disneyland sounds fun!" Haru said.

"Then we can go there tomorrow," Lal Mirch said, typing something in her phone. "It opens at 8 AM so we could probably get there at around 10 or 11 depending on when we all wake up."

"Anything you buy there is out of your own expenses," Mammon said.

Lal Mirch rolled her eyes. "Yeah, yeah, scare 'em off now, will you?"

Mammon frowned. "Do you know how much money we spent on th—"

"Anyways, I guess that'll do for now. We can plan the other days as we go along."

Reborn glanced at I-pin, tilting his head. "Fon mentioned it before but your hair is lovely."

I-pin blushed and looked down at her hands on her lap. "T—Thank you, Reborn-san."

Reborn slightly smirked. "Can I ask who did it?"

I-pin beamed proudly. "Big Brother did it! He always does my hair for me and makes it really pretty!" Her cheeks reddened more when she realized how loud she was and she hugged Fuuta's arm to try hiding herself.

Lal Mirch raised a brow. "You did that? That's pretty good."

Tsuna shrugged, smiling sheepishly. "I couldn't let I-pin go around with her hair down forever so I figured that I should learn. It took a while though to get the hang of it."

"How long have they lived with you?" Verde said.

"Three years, but I've known them for longer."

"That's really something," Lal Mirch said, skeptical. "Taking in three kids. On top of that, you work and go to school—how can you manage all of that? I can barely manage one of these idiots."

Embarrassed, Tsuna scratched his cheek while Lambo made himself comfortable on his lap. "Ah, well, I dropped out to take care of the kids."

Lal Mirch blinked. "You dropped out? Wait, how old are you again?"

"20."

"20? The he—What made you want to take them in?"

Haru shook her head fondly. "Tsuna was always good with kids. It just kind of happened. He really can't say no to them."

Lal Mirch tilted her head. "Still, that's a huge responsibility, and you're so young too. Didn't you have plans for the future?"

Tsuna wrapped his arms loosely around Lambo's stomach. "I did, but you know how it is." He smiled slightly. "Life can throw large curveballs when you least expect it. I learned to go with the flow. Besides, I don't regret taking them in. I love them."

A bout of soft silence fell in the room. Lambo grinned up at Tsuna. "I love you too, Tsuna-nii!"

"Me too, me too!" I-pin said, beaming.

Fuuta smiled. "Me three."

Haru clutched her chest dramatically. "They're just so precious. I can't."

Lal Mirch flushed and busied herself with her phone. Mammon seemed to hum to himself in thought while Verde scribbled something in his notepad. Tilting his head, Reborn regarded Tsuna with unreadable eyes. Soon, familiar shouts and footsteps sounded down from the hall before Vasya and Colonnello entered the lounge area with several bags of snacks.

"Dude, you need a freakin' leash!" Vasya said, heading towards the group. "How much sh—stuff did you get?"

Colonnello snorted. "You got more than I did."

Vasya plopped down next to Tsuna before Colonnello could. "I'll pay you back, Fon!"

Fon appeared sooner than later with long, smooth strides, unhurried. "It's no problem."

Colonnello was about to kick Vasya's back when Tsuna gave him a look. The blond gave him a tight grin. "I was just going to sit, kora."

"Right," Tsuna said, unimpressed.

"So what'd we miss?" Vasya said, digging through the plastic bags. "Oh, there's these weird crackers I found. You can pick whatever you want. I just grabbed random stuff." He snatched the spicy bag of the chips that he had bought before from Colonnello's hands. "This is mine!"

"Sharing is caring, kora."

"I don't care about you."

Fon sat down gracefully between Verde and Reborn while Colonnello and Vasya bickered in the background, making the kids laugh. He smiled. "Is there an agenda for today?"

Lal Mirch pocketed her phone. "Oh right. So, icebreakers. Since this is the first day, we thought that we could play a game or something to know each other more. Something like that."

"If anyone suggests Two Truths, One Lie, just leave the room," Vasya said, passing around the bags of snacks. "We don't need your vanilla as—uh, boring-ness."

"Truth or Dare?" Colonnello said, opening a box of chocolate crackers.

"No," Lal Mirch and Mammon said.

Colonnello shrugged, but his grin didn't disappear. "I tried."

Vasya munched on a spicy chip. "Charades?"

Lambo shifted through the bags with wide eyes before settling on some grape candies. Tsuna passed them on to I-pin who looked through them with little noises of awe.

"Oh, wait!" Colonnello said. "Mafia!"

"There are kids here," Lal Mirch deadpanned.

Colonnello pouted. "We can keep things PG."

Haru perked up. "Mafia sounds fun."

"What's that?" Lambo said.

"It's a game that'll wreck friendships and help us find out who's an actual criminal," Vasya said in a comically solemn fashion. "But hey, it's pretty fun. Some people play it differently but the gist is that we have to figure out who's in the mafia. There's a moderator who can keep things in check. You can get the hang of it while we play."

Colonnello pulled out a deck of cards from his pocket. "I got this!"

"How many should be mafia?" Vasya said. "There's 12 of us."

"Eh, 2 can work. Makes it more fun." Colonnello tossed the deck of cards to Verde. "Do your thing."

Sighing, Verde shuffled through the cards, taking out 12, and tossed the rest to the side. "I'm not playing," he said.

"Thanks for being the moderator in the first round, bub," Vasya said, munching on more chips. "So he's gonna pass out the cards and if you get a heart, you're mafia. If you don't, then you're innocent. Don't show anyone what you got until the end. It's a whole interrogation guessing game. If you get killed by the mafia, you'll sit out but you can't talk."

After the cards were passed around, everyone took a quick peek before setting their cards down. Tsuna got 4 of spades. Verde sighed. "Close your eyes and put your heads down."

Lal Mirch grimaced. "We should've done this on a table."

"Too late!" Colonnello said. "Just go!"

Everyone except Verde bowed down, though Reborn seemed slightly miffed at doing it. Lambo moved from Tsuna's lap to the floor.

"Mafia, wake up," Verde said.

There was some rustling and shifting bodies. Tsuna remembered playing Mafia back in university with large groups of people while they drank. One game lasted almost 7 hours when no one could agree on a suspect but they were mostly drunk at that point.

"Mafia, sleep." After a few minutes, Verde blandly said, "Everyone, wake up."

Tsuna straightened himself along with everyone else. Verde had his arms crossed over his chest. "During the night, Tsuna is killed by a blow to the head while walking h—"

"Hey, keep it PG," Lal Mirch said.

Verde sighed. "Tsuna trips over a rock purposely left on his path by a mafia member and falls. Sma—Hurts his head. Brain swells. He ceases to exist."

Haru snorted a laugh while I-pin and Lambo giggled. Lal Mirch rolled her eyes and gestured at a spot to the side. "I guess you can go there."

Tsuna honestly didn't expect to be killed first but stood up and sat in the Dead Corner nonetheless.

"You can start your arguments," Verde said.

Vasya immediately pointed at Reborn. "This guy."

Reborn raised a brow though a smirk danced on his lips. "Oh? But I'm innocent."

"The ba—jerk is going to end up playing mind games with everyone and I think we already established the fact that he's probably a closeted serial killer."

Tsuna snorted behind his hand, ignoring Reborn's piercing stare. That sounded too true. Colonnello raised a hand and deadpanned. "I second that notion."

"Why do you guys always end up blaming Reborn for everything?" Haru said. "Maybe he is innocent."

Vasya raised a brow. "Oh? Are you two in on it together? I bet you chose to kill Tsuna because he exposed you."

Haru widened her eyes. "I wouldn't kill Tsuna over something like that! And I'm innocent!"

"I mean, you defending Reborn is pretty suspicious," Colonnello said.

"Why don't you just think about this seriously?" Lal Mirch said.

"I am, kora!"

"I still think we should get rid of Reborn whether he is mafia or not," Vasya deadpanned.

"Hey, that's two nominations!" Colonnello said. "Alright, majority vote!"

"You didn't even let Reborn try to defend himself!" Haru said.

"Okay, never mind, it's probably Haru."

Haru flushed. "I'm innocent."

Vasya crossed his arms over his chest, nodding gravely. "That's what they all say."

"Besides, you didn't even ask the others."

"Why would the kids kill their brother?"

"Why wouldn't they? It's the mafia. Anything can happen. And the cards are random, too."

Colonnello smirked at Reborn. "Are you just going to sit there and let her keep defending you, kora?"

Reborn returned the gesture. "It's nice to have someone to trust."

Haru blushed at that. "I—I'm just trying to keep things rational here."

"So do you have some doubts about my innocence?"

Haru looked at Tsuna in alarm. The brunet just shrugged. He couldn't speak and he already knew that Reborn wasn't lying about being innocent, which was pretty unfortunate, but what could he do? He had some suspicions about who the mafia might be, though he'd have to observe more. The others didn't speak up yet.

"Oh, no," Haru said, laughing sheepishly. "I just think that, you know, innocent until proven guilty and all that."

"Okay, okay," Vasya said. "Then let's do it this way. Fon, are you mafia?"

Fon blinked at the sudden question but remained calm nonetheless. "No." He was telling the truth.

"Lal?"

Lal Mirch scoffed. "No. Everyone's just going to end up saying no anyways. I don't know what you're trying to do." She was also telling the truth.

Vasya threw his hands up in the air. "Okay, whatever. I nominate Reborn anyways."

"And what if you end up killing an innocent civilian?" Reborn said.

"Don't even try."

"I'm simply posing a question."

"Your questions are insanely complicated no matter how simple they sound."

"You're overthinking this."

Lal Mirch huffed. "You know, Reborn has a point. Maybe you're mafia."

Vasya gaped at her. "Why would I kill Tsuna?"

"You could've killed him to make yourself seem less suspicious," Fuuta said, drawing all eyes on him. "I know you like Tsuna-nii."

Vasya flushed while Colonnello laughed, smacking the other man's back. "What a beast. He got you there!"

"I—I'm innocent!"

Reborn smirked. "That's what they all say."

Tsuna could only pat Vasya's arm sympathetically after the others voted to kill him off. He took an extra bag of snacks and took out some green tea-flavored KitKat. After tearing the wrapper off, he snapped it in two and offered the other half to Vasya, who brightened up at the silent offer. They munched on the wafers—Vasya had 6 of clubs—while Verde told the mafia to "wake up". Vasya almost choked. "The l—"

Tsuna quickly covered his mouth, making him blush. After the mafia picked their next victim, Verde told everyone else to wake up. "Distracted by a butterfly freed by a mafia member, Reborn slips into a pool and drowns. He ceases to exist."

A scatter of snorts and giggles sounded across the room. Reborn narrowed his eyes at Verde who didn't spare him a glance before moving to the Death Corner and sitting on Tsuna's other side. Vasya just snorted when Reborn showed them his card: an ace. "Still don't like you," he mumbled under his breath.

With each round, the amount of people in the Death Corner grew and there was still no signs of who the mafia was. There were only Fon, Fuuta, I-pin, and Haru left. At some point, Colonnello almost punched Reborn in the face after he stole his crackers and Tsuna had to sit between them to make them act like their age.

"Fon is hit by a car," Verde said dryly, eliminating the last person. "Mafia wins this round."

Vasya bolted up and pointed at Fuuta. "You little sneak!"

Fuuta just smiled at him. "Welcome back from the dead, Skull-san." He laughed when Vasya pulled him into a headlock and ruffled his hair affectionately.

"You're a terrifying squirt," Vasya said. "You eve