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what never was

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Tsuna had been (reluctant) friends with Hibari Kyoya for going on four years when he showed up at his café, looked thoughtfully into his morning coffee, looked back up at Tsuna, and said, “Become my personal assistant.”

Tsuna blinked down at him. “What.”

“This is not ‘personal assistance’,” Tsuna mutters as he jams his key into the lock. The lock itself doesn’t deserve his ire, but its owner sure does. The door swings open easily enough and he trudges to the stairs, barely keeping from slamming the door behind him. “This is more like caretaking. Parenting. I should not be parenting someone two years older than me.” He quietly enters the bedroom at the end of the hallway and narrows his eyes at the curtains covering the windows. He marches towards them and spreads them open, letting sunlight filter in. Then he tilts his head just as a tonfa bounces off the window where his head just was. Thank god for reinforced glass. That had been a good investment.

“Omnivore,” Hibari growls, one eye squinted open while the other is still burrowed into his pillow. Tsuna is suitably unimpressed.

“It’s time to get up, Hibari-san,” Tsuna says blandly. Hibari closes his eye and attempts to fall back asleep. Tsuna did not suffer six years in his company to be discouraged. He pulls the curtains back further, bringing more light into the room. There’s a muffled growl from behind him. “Don’t be like that, Hibari-san. You have to face the day just like the rest of us so it’s better that you get up now before I make you.” He spins on his heel to face him, hands on his hips. God, he feels like Hibari’s mom—which, considering he had seen Hibari’s mom interacting with him multiple times before, is not exactly comforting.

At last, he lifts his head to glare at him warily. His hair is sticking all over the place. Tsuna has to swallow back a laugh.

“Get out,” Hibari orders.

“Will you stand up before I do?” Tsuna asks and raises an eyebrow. Hibari keeps glaring at him. Tsuna doesn’t falter. Eventually, Hibari scoffs and tumbles out of bed to his feet.

“Now get out,” he says. “And make breakfast.”

Please just get a butler, Hibari-san,” Tsuna sighs. Appropriately assured that Hibari will eventually make his way downstairs in a non-zombie-like manner, he leaves the room and heads down to the kitchen.

It takes Hibari half an hour to come downstairs in his neatly pressed suit and perfect hair, which has Tsuna giving him an offended look. It isn’t fair that someone like Hibari-san, who is a demon with a hatred for mornings and responsibilities, still manages to look completely put together and unreasonable attractive while Tsuna has been up for two hours and is pretty sure he still looks like he’s sixteen and only just learning how to live on his own. Hibari, in response, raises an eyebrow and smirks that infuriating smirk of his.

“Breakfast,” Tsuna says, sliding his plate towards him. Hibari doesn’t thank him—he never does—and simply begins to eat. Tsuna takes that as his cue to go over their plans for the day. He is only half sure that Hibari is listening. That’s fine; he would just force him to go along with the plans anyway. It isn’t like he has anything else to do.

“You should just move in with me,” Hibari says thoughtfully as he finishes eating. Tsuna does not like to hear a thoughtful Hibari. It usually means bad things. At least this time he’s reiterating an age-old argument. Small mercies.

Tsuna sighs and takes his plate to wash it. “I’m not moving in with you.”

“It would mean you wouldn’t have to walk all the way here every morning.”

“You could just wake up like you’re supposed to,” he groans. “Or get a butler. I keep telling you to get a butler.”

“You’re my personal assistant.”

“At your company. I’m pretty sure my job application said nothing about babysitting you twenty-four-seven.”

Hibari hums. “You used to be more herbivorous.”

“Well you know. It takes a certain kind of person to deal with you.” Tsuna places the dishes in the dishwasher and washes his hands, wiping them on a nearby towel. He looks at the clock on the microwave. “Alright, we can still be on time if we leave right now. Let’s go.”

Hibari drives them both to work, as he always does. Tsuna never bothered to get his license—first because there was no need, and then because he always ended up at Hibari’s anyway. And if he wasn’t at Hibari’s place, there was usually someone willing to drive him anywhere he needed to go if it was absolutely necessary, so it ended up that he never had a situation that couldn’t be solved by bus or Hibari’s connections.

“Welcome back, Boss,” says the receptionist, Kawamori. “And you’re with him as always, Sawada-san.”

Tsuna smiled at her. “It’s convenient this way.”

“You know, everyone is still—“

“And that’s my cue to follow Hibari-san. Good luck today, Kawamori-san!” He hurries after Hibari, who is waiting impatiently in the elevator, and practically throws himself in there with him. If he doesn’t specifically hear about the office-wide bet going on, then he doesn’t actually know that it’s happening and he can claim plausible deniability.

Hibari quirks an eyebrow. Tsuna crosses his arms and pointedly looks away.

Tsuna met Hibari for the third time in his life when he saved him from a possible mugger. He never did find out what the man following him actually wanted, but he assumed it was a mugging. In the end, all that resulted from it was Hibari suddenly jumping on him and beating his face into the ground. Considering there was snow everywhere, the white ground was quickly becoming stained with dark red.

“Hold on. Hibari-san?” Tsuna had said, gaping. Hibari stopped in his ruthless beatdown to narrow his eyes at Tsuna. Clearly, he didn’t recognize him, which was fair. The man was already unconscious underneath him.

“How do you know my name, herbivore?” he demanded.

“We, uhh…” Tsuna squeaked. “We went to middle school together? And also elementary school? In Namimori?” He swallowed, his mouth suddenly dry. He had forgotten how terrifying Hibari was.

“I don’t remember you,” he responded bluntly, “but herbivores should not be wandering around alone so late at night.”

“My apartment’s not too far, so I thought it would be fine…” The stare he got in return made him shrink back.

“I’ll walk you home,” Hibari decided.

What? No, I’m fine! Seriously!”

“Clearly you don’t know how to take care of yourself. Anything could happen.”

“What does that mean? Why are you even here? This isn’t your town!”

“That’s none of your concern, herbivore.”


Vongola? Here?” Taguchi asks, voice hushed and awed.

Tsuna nods. “Yeah, Hibari-san’s making some sort of deal. I was surprised too.”

“Wow.” Taguchi falls back in his seat. His eyes are wide. “I know Boss is like, pretty powerful, but I didn’t know he was powerful enough to get noticed by the company Vongola.”

“I think Asuka-sama has connections with some higher-up in Vongola and finally convinced them to have a meeting with us,” Tsuna explains. It’s a little bit of a lie. The ‘higher-up’ is her brother, but even then, he knows that Vongola would recognize them eventually. Hibari may not own the biggest company, but they have connections with certain groups all over Japan and even in some places in China. A group like them needs to be kept under watch.

“Sawada, some days I don’t envy you. Today is not one of those days,” Taguchi says.

“I usually don’t envy Sawada, so what’s happening?” Hidaka asks as he slides into another chair at the table.

“This guy gets to meet up with some Vongola representative for some sort of deal between our companies,” Taguchi begins, pointing at Tsuna, “and I’m always envious of how he can call the big bosses by their names.”

“Oh yeah.” Hidaka nods. “That’s a good argument.”

Tsuna sputters, face flushing. “I-it’s not that big of a deal! It gets confusing with three Hibaris and I already call Hibari-san ‘Hibari-san’!”

“You’re the only one who calls the Boss that,” Hidaka tells him.

“What? That’s not true! Haru also calls him ‘Hibari-san’! Hana and Onii-san call him ‘Hibari’ and Kyoko-chan even manages a ‘Hibari-kun’!”

“That’s because those four don’t technically work directly under him like the rest of us.”

“I can’t believe you get to call Sasagawa-chan by her first name,” Taguchi groans. “Your life.”

Tsuna’s face continues to grow warm. “It’s just because we lived in the same town for a long time,” he mutters. He has long since grown out of his childhood crush on her—a result of moving away and taking the time to reevaluate himself in the process—but those who aren’t as close to her are always lost to her affect. It’s embarrassing how a large majority of the men in the office are simultaneously jealous and admiring of him. Especially considering neither he nor Kyoko are all that straight.

“Not only are you the Boss’s favorite, but those girls all adore you too,” Hidaka sighs wistfully. “Well, Sasagawa-chan and Miura-san do at least. I don’t know what Kurokawa-san thinks of you, but to think Sasagawa-kun likes you enough to make you call him ‘onii-san’…”

“And on that note—“ Tsuna stands up from his chair, almost toppling it over, “I should get back to Hibari-san before he throws a fit. I’ll talk to you later.” Hopefully, that ‘later’ won’t include another analysis of his relationship with Hibari or the girls.

Kyoko and Hana made a reappearance in his life a mere two months after he began his tentative position as Hibari’s personal assistant. He had never been close to Kyoko, having been on opposite ends of the school’s social chain, and Hana had always disliked him about as much as she hated the rest of the male population of Namimori. So, come the day that he met them again, he honestly hadn’t expected them to recognize him first.

“Wait, you’re Sawada Tsunayoshi? As in, the kid from middle school that nearly failed out?” Hana had said immediately after he introduced himself. “I thought you were like, a cousin of his or something. You’re really…? Huh.” Tsuna barely managed to keep from fidgeting. He had an image to uphold now as Hibari’s assistant, and he wasn’t exactly the Tsuna from middle school.

“Yeah, that was… me.” He couldn’t help but grimace. “I’m surprised you recognized me enough, though, Kurokawa-san.”

“You were pretty loud back then,” she said, giving him a look. “Everyone could hear your shrieking from the other side of the school.”

Tsuna laughed sheepishly. “Middle school was a trying time.”

“What are you doing working for Hibari-kun, Sawada-kun?” Kyoko asked, an eager smile on her face. She was still beautiful, he thought idly, but she didn’t make his heart pound anymore. All he felt was a simple appreciation for her cute face.

“Ah, I met him near my apartment when I was eighteen, about four years ago, and he beat up some guy who was following me,” he explained. “Then, somehow, he found the café I worked at and refused to drink any other coffee than my own every morning. We just started to get to know each other because of that and a few months ago, he asked if I wanted to be his personal assistant. I decided to go for it because, well… I loved the café, but it wasn’t exactly the best paying job.” He still visited the owners every once in a while. They were like parents to him when his own couldn’t—and wouldn’t—be.

“Aw…” Kyoko cooed, for reasons he didn’t understand.

“Anyway, what was this proposition you had for Hibari-san?” he asked, changing the subject to what they were really meeting for.

“Oh, right.” Hana nodded. “You know what the Hibaris actually do. Kyoko’s brother—“

“Who’s also Hana-chan’s boyfriend,” Kyoko stage-whispered and giggled at the glare Hana sent her way. Tsuna raised an eyebrow. He hadn’t expected that pairing.

Kyoko’s brother,” Hana continued, “got into a fight with the wrong crowd and ended up in their debt. It’s starting to become a problem not just to him, but to Namimori itself. They’re trying to take over the town and with Ryohei in their debt, they’re doing frighteningly well. If we can get him out of there, we’ll be able to strike a harsh blow against the guys who have him under their thumb—and we want Hibari to help us.”

Tsuna pursed his lips. While he would love to help, it was ultimately up to Hibari. He needed a good reason to bring this to him. “If it’s harmful to Namimori, he might be willing to seek an audience, but it hasn’t reached his ears, so he might not care. What can you offer him and what does this have to do with his, mm… side job?”

Hana smiled. It was a smile full of teeth and violent promises. “I’m the best damn lawyer you’ll ever manage to find, and Kyoko has learned how to use her pretty smile to make just about anyone eat of her hands. Not to mention, Ryohei has Sun radiating from his goddamn ears. Help us, and Hibari won’t have any more trouble with law enforcement or pesky rivals. And I know that you guys are having issues.”

Nobody was supposed to know that the police were investigating them. It had been an on-going investigation since before Tsuna was offered the job. When he first inherited his position, Hibari lacked the poise, patience, and silver tongue his mother had possessed and so had ended up with a few too many people suspicious of him and what he did. Even as he mellowed out, he could never fully erase the damage he had done, and neither could his parents.

Tsuna narrowed his eyes, then nodded. “I’ll talk to Hibari-san. If you can get the police off our backs, I’m sure we can do something about your yakuza problem.”

Tsuna takes the empty coffee cup from Hibari’s hands, then promptly dumps it into the trash. Hibari freezes, a stuttering motion that anyone else would have missed, and then looks up at him in thinly veiled horror. Tsuna bites back a grin, stubbornly keeping his straight face.

“Hibari-san, I cannot give you too many cups of coffee today,” he says sternly. “The Vongola representatives will be here to meet with you any minute—any more and you’ll get too trigger happy. Or you’ll pass out. Neither of those are good options.”

Omnivore,” Hibari says in an attempt to growl. It ends up sounding more like an offended affront.

“Nope. That’s enough.”

You—“ To Tsuna’s luck, Kawamori chooses that moment to call up Hibari.

Boss,” she says, “the Vongola representatives have just arrived. Shall I send them up?

With a huff and a glare at Tsuna, Hibari responds, “Yes. Send them to the conference room. I’ll be waiting with Kurokawa and the omnivore. Have Tetsu bring them up.”

“Please stop calling me that to my coworkers,” Tsuna mutters. Hibari’s lips twitch.

You got it, Boss.” There’s a familiar tone of laughter in Kawamori’s voice. She was always the most amused by Hibari and Tsuna’s relationship.

“Come.” Hibari stands and begins to exit the office, leading the way to the conference room. With his dramatics, Tsuna can easily picture him in a cape every time he stands. He can’t hold back a small snicker that he knows isn’t lost, but Hibari ignores him.

Hana is already waiting in the conference room. Tsuna silently hands her the file that lists everything he had put together for this meeting. She flips through it, muttering something under her breath. While she is primarily Hibari’s lawyer, she’s still a businesswoman, and when it comes to the company’s background work, it’s her right to know everything. Considering Vongola is in the same line of business as they are, it’s an unspoken decision that she would attend the meeting.

Hibari is sat at the head of the table, Tsuna sitting on one side of him and Hana on the other, when Kusakabe enters with the Vongola representatives. Hibari stands to greet them while Kusakabe takes a seat next to Tsuna. He slides the file Hana had been reading towards him, too.

The Vongola representatives are two women with light hair and serious looks to them, a young man who can’t have been much older than Tsuna himself, and a tall, rough-looking blond man whose eyes widen the moment he sees him. Tsuna brushes it off as Hibari introduces himself. The representatives quietly return the introductions. The blond man, who is clearly the leader, only looks away from Tsuna to introduce himself in a murmur so low he can’t hear it. Something sparks in Hibari’s eyes. It’s a look that Tsuna is unfamiliar with.

When Hibari steps back, Tsuna stands to greet the representatives as well.

“Hello, my name is Sawada Tsunayoshi,” he says, smiling as he bowed and offers his card to the boss. Immediately, the three other representatives shoot glances at their boss, and then to Tsuna. The boss is staring at him with wide eyes. He swallows down his unease, smile kept firmly in place. “It’s a pleasure to meet you. I’m Hibari-san’s personal assistant.”

The boss opens and closes his mouth a few times. Tsuna waits patiently, and then the man says, “Tsu-Tsuna?” His voice is a bit raspy and shocked.

Tsuna blinks. He refuses to show any discomfort. “I’m sorry? Yes, that’s my name, but if you could please refrain from calling me so familiarly…” He knows Vongola is a mainly Italian association, but he would have assumed they would have more manners than to call him by his first name.

“Tsuna,” the man says, ignoring his request. “Tsuna, it’s me. I-it’s your Papa.”

Tsuna freezes.

When Tsuna was fourteen, he thought, This is it for me. His grades had hit rock bottom, his athletic ability was practically nonexistent, he had no friends and instead had bullies, his father might as well have been dead for all he knew, and his mother couldn’t bother with a son even she would call useless. He never wanted to leave his house. Every day felt like he was just barely managing to get out of bed.

The only determination he had was the determination to get out of Namimori. With great struggle, he scraped by with just passing grades to graduate middle school. He aimed for a relatively average high school in a town outside of Namimori, and because the school wasn’t really anything special, he got in with certainty that he wouldn’t see many if any other students from Namimori there.

He was fifteen when he bought an apartment, packed his things, and moved to be closer to his new school. His decision was only strengthened by his need to just leave and his mother’s happy cry of, “Oh I’m so happy my useless son managed to get accepted into high school!” After that, he couldn’t feel too much remorse over leaving. He loved his mother, but he didn’t love her parenting.

The apartment was small and cheap, suitable for a single student living on his own. He had some cooking skills inherited from his mother, which made him reasonably sure he could manage for at least a little while. He called home every week, if only to assure himself of his mother’s well-being and to make sure he did better than his absent father. She sent him checks to help him stay afloat until he found a job. He resolved to find a job as quickly as possible. Taking the money his father sent made him feel dirty.

The school wasn’t bad. It wasn’t a top-tier school, but it also wasn’t ridden with delinquents in every hallway. The teachers didn’t actively try to make Tsuna fail like a few had in middle school. When he went to speak to one, he was even helpful, which threw him in for a loop when it happened. He kept his head down and got to know his desk neighbor, Sekigawa. He wasn’t immediately targeted by bullies.

When he failed his first test, Tsuna felt as though the world was going to crash all around him. He had buried his face in his arms, when he heard a snicker from Sekigawa. He hesitantly peaked up to look at him.

“Failed too, huh?” Sekigawa had said, amused. “Look at my grade.” He shamelessly handed off his test to Tsuna for him to look. It was somehow a worse grade than what Tsuna got. He looked up at him with a raised eyebrow and Sekigawa laughed. “Yeah, I know! You did better than me, you know.”

“I… Yeah, I did,” Tsuna said, honestly shocked at how he managed.

“Hey, we should set up a study group!” Sekigawa gasped dramatically. “I know I’m not going to pass any tests otherwise. Hold on, let me grab someone.” He stood and turned to someone on the other side of the classroom, waving a hand in the air. “Oi! Oi, Ueshima! You failed too, right?”

“Shut up Seki!” Ueshima screeched at him. Tsuna tried to muffle his laughter behind his hand, but he was still heard. Ueshima gave him an offended look, but Sekigawa was laughing too.

It was the first time he had ever laughed with anyone.

The meeting begins as Tsuna stubbornly refrains from looking directly at the man who claims to be his father, his ‘Papa.’ Kusakabe sends him concerned glances every once in a while that he ignores. The two subordinates who had introduced themselves as Oregano and Basil are looking between him and Iemitsu as though they’re suddenly able to see the similarities between them. Tsuna doesn’t want to see any similarities between them.

Hibari and Iemitsu do most of the talking among them. The woman called Lal Mirch interjects a few times, as does Hana. Near the end, Kusakabe adds a few points and Basil and Oregano add theirs. Throughout it all, Tsuna says nothing. All he does is take meticulous notes and fulfill requests that Hibari makes.

“I believe that’s everything, then,” Iemitsu says at last. Tsuna wants to fall back in relief, but it isn’t quite over yet.

As he tends to when he wants everyone to know he is displeased, Hibari lets a toothy grin cross his lips. “I see. All that’s needed is for your own boss to meet with me so we can finalize the agreement. Next time, I fully expect to see him.” Hibari’s mother still technically runs everything, but Hibari is acting as the head for the public. It’s still rather offensive to not be given the audience of the true boss of Vongola.

“Right. I’ll… let him know,” Iemitsu agrees. Then he glances at Tsuna. Tsuna immediately averts his eyes and faces Hana.

“I took the liberty of making my own notes,” he tells her. “I know you took your own. Can I have them so that I can sort them? I’ll pass them on to you for refinement.”

Hana nods and hands off her notes. “Make it quick, Sawada.”

He smiles. “Of course.”

“Tsuna…” Iemitsu approaches him slowly. From the corner of his eye, he can see Hibari narrowing his eyes. Tsuna places a hand over his before he can stand and snarl like he knows he’s about to. Inhaling shakily, he stands to face his father. There’s no hope of avoiding this conversation.

“Yes, Sawada-san?” he says formally. He feels a dark satisfaction at the hurt in Iemitsu’s eyes.

“Please, Tsuna, I’m your Papa,” he says quietly.

“Excuse me if it’s a bit hard for me to accept your presence,” Tsuna says bluntly. He looks at Hibari. “I’m sorry, Hibari-san. May I deal with this or…?”

Hibari isn’t happy. He had schooled his face into its usual neutrality, but Tsuna knows him well enough to know that look in his eyes. “Don’t take too long,” he says reluctantly as he stands. “Sawada-san.” He looks at Iemitsu. “The omnivore is my assistant. Do not hope to take him and do not hurt him. Omnivore, I’ll be in my office.” He sweeps out of the room with Kusakabe at his heels, but Hana remains.

“Boss, we’ll wait outside,” Oregano says quietly.

“Hibari doesn’t like visitors roaming unaccompanied,” Hana says in a clipped tone. “I’ll escort you three down to the lobby where Kawamori-san can keep an eye on you.”

Lal scowls. “We don’t need escorts.”

Hana clicks her tongue, unimpressed despite the woman’s intimidating appearance. “It’s a matter of trust. You wouldn’t let us walk freely around your base, would you? No? So we need to keep an eye on you. And as you can see, our Sawada has already been affected by your presence. Hibari is protective of him, and it wouldn’t do to upset him more than he already is.”

“Hana,” Tsuna protests, face feeling hot. She smirks and doesn’t respond.

Lal glares for a few moments more, then huffs. “Fine. We’ll be waiting in the lobby, then, Iemitsu.” Iemitsu nods, a bit cowed.

Good,” Hana says unpleasantly. She escorts the three outside, and then it’s only Tsuna and Iemitsu.

Tsuna crosses his arms. “So, what did you want, Dad?”

Iemitsu winces. “Tsuna… how did you end up involved in this? I thought… I thought I kept you out of this. Nana told me you had become an honest man.”

“I am an honest man,” Tsuna scoffs. “I just happen to work under some not-so-honest people. You may have kept me out of Vongola, but there are a number of ways for me to get involved without your interference. I’ve known Hibari-san for years, and there was no choice but to get me involved after Kazuki-sama had to undo the damage you and your boss had done to me.”

“What? What damage?” It’s disgusting how bewildered Iemitsu looks. It’s also a little concerning. Tsuna has to work to keep his expression straight.

“The last time I saw you,” he says slowly, “I was seven and you had Sealed away my Flames. Which, fine, that doesn’t mean much if I hadn’t been Active. But you knew. You saw that my Flames were Active and you Sealed me. Do you know what that means? You put me through Hell, and it doesn’t help that I’m a Sky. Did you know that Skies rely on their Flames more than any other Flame user? The purer the Flames, the more in tune they are, and you Sealed me.”

“I—Tsuna, that was never my intention,” Iemitsu stammers. “I don’t even—“

“Doesn’t matter. You should have known what Sealing an Active Sky’s Flames does to them. I barely managed to survive for eighteen years and I actually almost died before Kazuki-sama realized what was wrong and overrode the Seal.”

“I never wanted you in this life, Tsuna, please. I only ever wanted you to be happy and safe, as a civilian, and I couldn’t… I couldn’t give you that if your Flames managed to fully develop. And Tsuna, you have to believe me, I didn’t even realize.” He sounds desperate. Tsuna wants to stay angry, but the meeting has waived off the initial panic, and now he’s simply exhausted. He had spent a long time angry as a teenager, and now he’s an adult. He can’t afford to let anger cloud him.

“Dad, there were ways you could have kept me safe that didn’t involve locking everything away from me,” he says, rubbing his eyes. “Honestly, I am mad that neither you nor your boss thought about the consequences of what you were about to do, but more than that… You never called. You never visited. It’s been more than fifteen years since I saw you, and okay, some of that is my fault. I know you went to Namimori to visit Mom when I was in high school and some time after I graduated and I avoided having to see you back then, but you didn’t have to keep minimal contact. In fact, you could have tried to get into contact with me after I left.

“And… do you even know what you did to Mom? What your leaving did to her? Or do you just not understand how Sky Flames work? Because, let me tell you, it took me a long time to figure things out after I learned about the damage your actions caused to us. I got so much shit from everyone in Namimori because of you, and Mom and I were kept from being a family because you couldn’t be a proper dad and husband. That’s not… That’s not something I can forgive easily.”

Iemitsu can’t manage a response. Tsuna doesn’t want to know what he would have said. He sighs again.

He knows he can’t entirely blame Iemitsu for being so absent in his life. There’s a good chance he and his mother would have been targeted had Iemitsu stayed in Namimori more often. But as he learned about the world he was in, he had also learned that there were measures that could have kept them safe while still allowing Iemitsu to be a bit more like family than a frozen photograph in a frame.

“Please leave, Sawada-san,” Tsuna says quietly, eyes hooded. Iemitsu flinched again.


“I’ll escort you to the lobby, but I don’t wish to have this conversation here,” he continues. He swallows down his discomfort and straightens his back, staring just past Iemitsu so he doesn’t have to look in his eyes. Iemitsu holds back whatever he wants to say and nods slowly.

The walk back to the first floor is painfully silent.

As Tsuna somehow managed to survive halfway through the six months after his eighteenth birthday, he found that he was becoming even clumsier than he already had been. He was getting terrifying spacey too. It was starting to become especially hazardous to his physical health, causing more injury to himself than any normal person should and making him lose focus during every possible situation. His doctor was baffled by the supposed lack of a cause and it was starting to worry Tsuna’s bosses. They insisted he take a few days off in hopes he would recover.

On the first day that he was supposed to return, he had already managed to bruise and scrape himself too many times to count before he left the house. There was a burn on the back of his left hand from when he was trying to cook breakfast, which, considering he was good at cooking, was definitely not normal. While walking to the café, he found himself not exactly thinking so much as going through the motions of crossing the street. The next thing he knew, there was nothing but pain all over his body and everything went dark.

When he woke up, he was in the hospital. He was wrapped in so many bandages he felt as though he was practically a mummy. To his surprise, it was Hibari sitting beside his bed with his head bowed. Standing nearby was a couple who looked so much like Hibari that they couldn’t be anyone but his parents.

“Ah… Hibari-san…?” he croaked. Hibari’s head shot up and he scowled furiously at him.

Idiot herbivore,” he snapped. “Don’t speak. You’ll only hurt yourself. How could you leave the house in your condition? You should have at least called someone to accompany you. No, close your mouth right now. Don’t even try to apologize, herbivore. You’ll ruin your throat.”

“He’s right, Sawada-kun,” said his father. “It’s not your fault, but you should have called someone when you knew that you weren’t okay.” Tsuna could only just manage to shrug. There were a few numbers he could have called, but he thought he could handle it. He had lived this long. Hibari’s father looked at him carefully. “Sawada-kun… do you even know why you’re like this?” Tsuna blinked at him, then painstakingly shook his head.

“What do you mean?” Hibari’s mother asked sharply. There was a complicated expression on both Hibari and his father’s faces.

“Both of you… can you reach and try to get a feel for him?” Hibari’s father requested. Tsuna didn’t know what he meant, but his son and wife did. There was silence for a little while that left him feeling uncomfortable, and then there was a choked gasp from Hibari’s mother.

“This is—“ She cut herself off, eyes wide. Hibari stood up and punched the wall, leaving distinct cracks in it. Tsuna had a terrifying feeling that he was holding himself back.

“Sawada-kun, I think I know the problem that’s causing your clumsiness, and I also happen to have the ability to, I suppose, cure you of your problem,” Hibari’s father said. Tsuna’s eyes widened. He had been ordered not to talk, so all he could do was nod. “I take it that means you wish for us to get rid of it. Very well. It shouldn’t take too long, if I do this right. Even if it does, you’ll be in here for a while. I should be able to heal you before you leave.”

It was risky. Tsuna wasn’t even sure what his problem is, but somehow, the Hibaris knew. It could have been a trap, or he could be made into some sort of experiment. But Tsuna was so tired of being hurt all of the time. He was tired of tripping over himself, of getting burns while trying to cook something he knew how to make, of losing minutes because he was too busy staring at his hands, of causing so much trouble every time he dropped plates and trays at the café. He would take any chance to get better.

Hibari’s father held out a hand and Tsuna watched as orange and yellow flames flickered and burst to life in his palm. It brought back a hazy memory of an old man with fire on his finger. Tsuna panicked for the second it took for Hibari’s father to place his hand on his chest, but then a sudden warmth spread all along his body. It was pleasant, a sudden peace, and he felt clearer than he had in years. He hadn’t even realized he was cold until suddenly he was warm again.

“What…?” he rasped, momentarily forgetting not to talk.

Hibari’s parents smiled in satisfaction, and his mother said, “I think there’s a bit more work to be done, but Kazuki has done what he could for the day. He can get rid of the Seal completely over the next few weeks. Oh, forgive our rudeness. I’m Hibari Asuka and my husband is Hibari Kazuki. If you’d like, we can tell you exactly what just happened and what it means.” Tsuna didn’t need to think about it, just as he didn’t need to think about the cure.

He nodded.

“We’re visiting that café,” Hibari declares as the day is ending.

“What? Why?” Tsuna asks. There is only one café Hibari would ever suggest going to, but he isn’t expecting it. Hibari gives him a look like he’s being purposely obtuse. It’s a little offensive. Usually it’s Tsuna who gives him that look.

“Don’t be an idiot.” He’salready halfway out the door and Tsuna hurries to follow him.

The café hasn’t changed in the few months it has been since they last visited. When the agreement for a possible Vongola deal came through, Tsuna had started working tirelessly to prepare for it and he hadn’t had time to visit. In the years he had worked there and even after, it always stayed the quaint, quiet little place it always was.

It’s nearing closing time, so there were only two people sitting around. The bells above the café door seem to ring loudly through the relative quiet as they enter.

The two who run the café were an old American couple who had moved to Japan together years ago. The wife, Joan, had always wanted to run a café so her husband, Charles, had worked to make it happen. For the six years Tsuna had spent working for them, they acted as though he were the child they had never had. Some days, it still felt like that.

Joan emerges from the back room and smiles brightly as she sees them enter. “Oh, Tsuna-chan!” she says happily, her Japanese still slightly accented even after all these years. “Kyoya-kun too! It’s been so long since we’ve seen you! How are you?” She hurries to usher him and Hibari to the table that had been dubbed ‘their table’.

“Hi Joan-san. Sorry to come in so late,” Tsuna says sheepishly, to which Joan laughs and waves him off. “I’ve been busy with this new business deal, so that’s why I haven’t come by. Hibari-san was actually the one who said we should visit.”

“The omnivore had a bad day,” Hibari declares bluntly. Tsuna shoots him a look. “I knew coming here would cheer him up.”

“Oh, honey…” Joan has this pitiful, worried look on her face. “Well, I’ll make you that special tea you like and some pastries for the both of you then.”

“No, you really don’t have to, Joan-san,” Tsuna protests.

“Nonsense. It’ll only take a moment.” With a wave of her hand, Joan heads behind the counter to make that tea.

Tsuna huffs and turns to Hibari with a frown. “You didn’t have to tell her that. Now she’s going to worry.”

“You’re always happier when she makes you tea,” Hibari says like it should be obvious. Tsuna doesn’t know he knows that.

“Well, still. What do you care?”

Hibari gives him a somewhat baffled look. Tsuna is not used to feeling this inadequate. He’s the one who’s supposed to be shocked and exasperated by everything Hibari does, not the other way around. “You cannot be this herbivorous, omnivore,” Hibari says. “I know you aren’t. Are you doing this deliberately? Is this because of what happened earlier?”

“Hibari-san, I can assure you, I have no idea why you care if I’m having a bad day or not,” Tsuna says. He pauses thoughtfully, then said, “Well, maybe it’s because I give you more trouble when I’m having a bad day? Or is it because I’m less efficient?”

“You are this herbivorous today,” Hibari says.

“What does that mean?”

Hibari refuses to answer, no matter how much Tsuna pesters him. Joan returning with her promised tea and pastries interrupts them, and it is only then that Tsuna lets the issue go. He thanks her and takes a happy sip of his tea while Hibari wastes no time snacking on the pastries.

“Where’s Charles-san?” Tsuna asks.

“Oh, you know how we’re getting old now. I told him to go to bed early,” Joan answers with a small smile. She sits down in the empty chair across from him. “Now, tell me what happened. It must have been a bad day if Kyoya-kun had you visiting.”

“Ah, well…” Tsuna looks into his cup of tea. “I told you there was a new business deal we’ve been working on. The first meeting was today, with some representatives from the company. It, um. As it turns out, my dad was one of them. The highest ranking one there, actually. I… haven’t seen him since I was seven. He recognized me immediately.”

Joan breathes in sharply. “…Oh,” she murmurs. Tsuna risks a glance up at her. She has that look again, the sad one that makes him feel like apologizing or crying with her. He looks at Hibari. He isn’t looking at them, but he’s a bit more tense.

“So. Yeah,” Tsuna says. He clears his throat. “He made a bit of a scene in the conference room. Hibari-san let us talk after the meeting and it didn’t go… well. I don’t really want to see him again but I probably have to. We need to clear the air between us.”

“If he bothers you, I’ll bite him to death,” Hibari says. His voice is casual and disinterested and he’s looking away despite the promise.

“What? Hibari-san, if you do that, you might lose the deal,” Tsuna says. Hibari huffs. Joan giggles.

“Oh, Kyoya-kun. Your life is hard.” She leans over to pat his hand. Hibari looks at her and nods solemnly.

His life is hard? What about my life?” Tsuna absolutely doesn’t whine. “I’m the one who has to walk all the way to his place every morning, wake him up, make breakfast because if I didn’t he would just eat cereal every morning, and then I have to attend to his every need during the day and keep him from biting everyone to death.”

Joan is outright laughing. “I shouldn’t have told Charles to go to bed early,” she chortles. “Oh, Tsuna-chan.”

“What am I missing?” Tsuna exclaims. Neither of them answer. He pouts.

It had taken Tsuna a full year to find a job somewhere that would accept him. His clumsiness always led to his downfall and he didn’t have a stellar record to begin with. There were too many things he wasn’t good at compared to the few things he was. It was hard, and some days he had just wanted to stop and accept the money that came from his absent father, but he refused. He absolutely would not let that happen.

The café was only different in that the owners weren’t Japanese. They were Americans, which made them a little weird and a little softer in some ways. They didn’t get mad when Tsuna kept tripping. Joan had, in fact, laughed and helped him clean up.

“It’s no problem, dear,” she said, warmth seeping through her voice.

“Are you prone to being clumsy, Sawada-kun?” Charles asked as he also assisted in cleaning up. Tsuna’s coworker took over where he had tripped.

“U-um, yes, I’m sorry,” Tsuna stammered. “I’m trying to get better, but it—it’s hard. I don’t usually have trouble when I’m cooking though.”

“Well then, I don’t think it would be any trouble to accommodate for you,” Charles said, a wide, wrinkled smile on his face. Tsuna could only gape at him.

He ended up working mostly with the food and drinks. He would sometimes go out to serve the customers if need be, but there were enough part-timers and Joan and Charles themselves to do that work.

He waited another year for the shoe to drop. He waited for the day when he would drop a cup one too many times, or the day when the owners got tired of hearing him fall over, or the day that they would finally cave and give in to the complaints that they must be getting. But the day never came. They wrapped up the little scrapes he got, gave him jobs that worked, let him do homework in the back whenever he wanted, and they never fired him. Even a few years later, when his clumsiness put him in the hospital, all they did was visit, and cry for him, and celebrate when he told them that Hibari’s private ‘doctor’ had found and cured the root of his problem.

The next few weeks are spent going over the notes from the meeting with Vongola, figuring out a few technicalities, calling a few people here and there, and a lot more Vongola-related necessities that blur together with the rest of the work Tsuna has to do—in between waking up Hibari, denying his daily offer to live with him, giving him coffee, and keeping every other person in the building from imminent death every time they act herbivorous in his presence.

At one point, Haru, Kyoko, and Ryohei ambushed him with a bunch of sweets during work once they had heard about the whole Iemitsu situation. It was a nice sentiment, but then Tsuna had to usher them out before Hibari found out what they were doing. They aren’t even office workers, so technically, they weren’t supposed to be there.

It seemed like the whole thing would never end. Somehow, Hibari had gotten himself incredibly annoyed with Vongola, which made him all the more difficult to deal with and which made Tsuna’s job a lot harder. Through it all, he wasn’t actually sure how much sleep he was getting and never before had he loved coffee more than in these last few weeks.

Then Asuka and Kazuki come down and Asuka has that smile on her face that says she has everything figured out. Tsuna is a bit on edge over that, because that smile could mean he would either get to rest, or he would once again be lamenting his life.

“Tsunayoshi,” she purrs, wicked smile on her lips while Kazuki looks much like Tsuna feels, “it looks like we are going to Italy.”

Tsuna is almost afraid to ask. “…’We’?”

“Why, myself, Kazuki, Kyoya, you, and a few other important figures in our Family of course. We’re going to have an audience with Vongola Decimo himself.”

Tsuna bites back a sigh. Of course. Of course Asuka would secretly set up a meeting with the head of one of the most powerful mafia Families in the world behind her own son’s back and then make them go to Italy for it. “I’ll set up the flight,” he says resignedly.

He bets this is all just an excuse for her and Kazuki to go on vacation. It’s their anniversary soon, isn’t it?

Chapter Text

Officially, Haru and Kyoko are there because they’re incredible negotiators and are able to diffuse situations in the event that Tsuna can’t, while Ryohei is there as Hibari’s second bodyguard. Unofficially, Haru has an uncanny ability to disguise herself as anyone she wants in order to get whatever information she wants, while Kyoko weaves words as though she were a Mist rather than the Primary Sun she truly is, and Ryohei is really just needed to hold Hibari back or possibly become backup in case of an emergency.

So, Hana and Tsuna are pretty much the only ones who aren’t gearing up in the case that someone needs to die.

“Everyone at the office was jealous that we get to go to Italy,” Tsuna tells Kusakabe, even though Kusakabe generally doesn’t engage in conversation with him.

“Oh?” says Kusakabe.

“Yeah. I didn’t have the heart to tell them to be thankful because this is probably going to end up being a trainwreck,” he says.

“Stop whining, Omnivore,” Hibari grunts and turns on his side. The limo gives him enough space to have sprawled over the seats, resting his head on Tsuna’s lap. Tsuna has to wonder if it’s really comfortable at all, but he doesn’t ask. He runs his fingers idly through Hibari’s hair. Neither of them are exactly complaining about this situation.

The driver is eyeing the both of them oddly through the front mirror. Haru and Kyoko are giggling and glancing over at them from where they sit. Kusakabe looks both patient and exasperated. Ryohei has a wide grin on his face that Hana is trying desperately to get him to wipe off. Asuka has her own playful smile on her face and Kazuki has a hopeless one. Tsuna ignores all of them.

Kusakabe’s first words to Tsuna were, “Oh, you’re the one.” He had then squinted, tilted his head a bit, and said, “I don’t get it.” Hibari kicked him under the table, which was the most merciful Tsuna had ever seen him act with anyone.

At the time, Tsuna had only really managed to have a basic idea of who Kusakabe was, remembering him as Hibari’s right hand man back in middle school but barely anything else. After making tentative friends with Hibari, he had gathered that Kusakabe was also Hibari’s Guardian and his family was basically a branch family of the Hibari Clan.

“Hi,” Tsuna said, ignoring Kusakabe’s vague and probably offensive comment. “I’m Sawada Tsunayoshi. Just call me Tsuna. Hibari-san likes to stalk me and bother me into indulging in his coffee addiction.”

“I don’t have a coffee addiction,” Hibari said. Then, belatedly, he added, “I also don’t stalk you.”

“That’s what they all say, Hibari-san,” Tsuna deadpanned. He turned a polite smile to Kusakabe. “You’re Kusakabe Tetsuya, right? Hibari-san talks about you significantly more than he talks about other people in his life, and it’s usually not in the context of ‘it would be so much easier to kill him than deal with his herbivorous bullshit.’ Do you like pastries?”

“Stop being an herbivore, little animal,” Hibari said. Sometime after the fated car accident, he had stopped calling Tsuna an herbivore and had switched to calling him a ‘little animal’ instead. Apparently, that was of higher ranking. Tsuna didn’t get it, but he could never understand Hibari in the first place, so he accepted the nickname and moved on.

Kusakabe stared at him and Tsuna stared back, waiting patiently for a response. “Huh,” Kusakabe said at last. “Yes, I do like pastries. I’m not too hungry, so I’d be happy with whatever you recommend.”

“Sure. Hibari-san, I’ll bring you your usual,” Tsuna said. He turned away and walked a few paces before letting himself sigh and his shoulder relax. It was easy to be calm when he felt the need to combat Hibari’s… Hibari-ness… but meeting the man closest to him was still nerve-wrecking. He had the feeling that if he didn’t pass whatever test Kusakabe set up for him, he would be feeling very threatened very soon.

As he returned to the table with their orders, he caught the tail end of their conversation.

“—it now,” Kusakabe was saying. “I understand completely.” He was nodding sagely, a hint of an amused smirk on his face. Hibari narrowed his eyes, but didn’t launch across the table to attack him as he saw Tsuna.

“Please don’t get yourself kicked out of Charles-san’s café,” Tsuna said blandly, placing the food down in front of them. “Enjoy.”

“I thought servers were supposed to be energetic and upbeat,” Hibari said.

“Most servers don’t have to deal with you on a near daily basis.”

Somehow, Kusakabe decided he liked Tsuna after that meeting. They never quite managed to become friends, but there was mutual respect on both sides and they were at least friendly.

It helped that they shared the same exasperation of Hibari’s bullshit.

“This is a recipe for disaster,” Hana says bluntly. Tsuna can do nothing but agree as he stares up at the Vongola mansion that they’ll be staying in. Financially and efficiently speaking, it’s the best and easiest option for them, but it also means a high probability that Tsuna will meet his father and the old man who had Sealed him away all those years ago, which is something he wanted to avoid.

“It’ll be fine, Hana-san, Tsunayoshi-kun,” Kazuki tries to assure them. He doesn’t exactly sound confident in his own words. Nobody else seems bothered, though Hibari looks a tad irritated. Tsuna wishes he could be surprised.

Their escort leads them inside, giving them a short tour as they walk but stops once they reach their rooms. The guest rooms are unlabelled, so he tells them to choose whichever they’d like, and then to please come down for dinner at 1900.

Hibari grabs Tsuna’s arm before he can claim a room. “You’re staying with me,” he decides.

“What,” Tsuna says.

“Good idea, Hibari-san!” Haru cheers. She used to have a crush on Tsuna. Now she seems intent on making sure Tsuna and Hibari spend as much time as possible together. Tsuna has a feeling it’s because she wants Tsuna to feel the same sickly sweet couple-in-love romance she has with Kyoko. She clearly has no idea that Hibari is far from the romantic type.

“Yes, I think that works perfectly,” Asuka agrees, nodding. “You are Kyoya’s personal assistant, Tsunayoshi-kun. It will be for the best.” Asuka is secretly evil. All of the women in Tsuna’s life are evil, including his mother in certain situations that he prefers not to think about.

“It’s good practice for when you move in with me,” Hibari adds and begins dragging Tsuna towards a room.

What. No. Hibari-san, I told you before I’m not moving in with you!” Tsuna protests. His face feels suspiciously warm, as it seems to every time Hibari pulls shit like this. He makes a futile and half-hearted effort to break free from his grasp, to no avail. He hadn’t expected to get out anyway. He’s nowhere near Hibari’s strength.

The bedroom they choose has only the one bed.

Because of course it does.

This is just his luck.

“Uh, seriously, I think it would be better if had my own room,” he tries, voice a few octaves higher than normal.

“No,” Hibari says, unsurprisingly. “We’ll share the bed.”

Why?” Tsuna despairs. Hibari gives him that look again. Tsuna has been trying to decipher that look since he was eighteen and he is still making no progress.

With Hibari firmly refusing to answer him, Tsuna goes to work on unpacking.


Haru won’t stop texting him, despite the fact that she is literally two doors away and rooming with her girlfriend. But apparently, she says, Kyoko doesn’t mind because she’s curious too.

Tsuna never likes hearing that the girls are curious.

so how’s rooming w hibari-san going, she asks, followed by various winky faces and eye emojis. Then the eggplant emoji, which has him flushing red and throwing a pillow at Hibari when he notices him looking curiously his way.

it’s not LIKE THAT, he answers furiously. hibari-san’s being an asshole and not listening to me like usual

mmhm, Haru says. but are you complaining?


that’s because ur lame and wanna wait, she says. Even through text, he can hear her knowing voice and see her mischievous grin. It’s awful. Another message pops up. kyoko-chan and hana-chan agree with me

please stop discussing my nonexistent love life with your girlfriend and my lawyer, he says.

never, she answers.

Tsuna tosses his phone across the bed and drops into the pillow he hadn’t thrown. His face feels like it’s burning. Again. He’s tempted to start screaming, but Hibari probably already thinks he’s being weird and he doesn’t want to make it worse.

Making friends with Haru—and subsequently introducing her to Kyoko and Hana, turning them into a ruthless trio never to be trusted—was one of the worst decisions of his life.

Tsuna had actually been friends with Haru the longest. She had been his classmate in his second year of high school, though she hadn’t originally registered to him as anyone important. They didn’t have much in common—Tsuna was an introvert with a very small study group consisting of a few other not-so-great students while Haru was the cheerful and popular star of the Drama Club. Other than their shared class, they had no reason to interact.

It was Haru who approached him first, having somehow found out that another person from Namimori was in her class.

You!” She had slammed her hands on Tsuna’s desk, staring intently at his face. He leaned back, almost tipping his chair back in his attempt to get away from her. She wore a frown of concentration. “You’re from Namimori, right?”

“Y-yes?” Tsuna stammered uncertainly. Then she had grinned, wide and open.

“Cool! I haven’t met anyone else from Namimori and, well, I never went to the public school so this is a new experience but anyway we should be friends!” she declared. Tsuna glanced around nervously. Mostly everyone had gone back to their own conversations, but a few classmates were still glancing at them weirdly.


Haru kneeled in front of his desk to plop her arms on top of it and lean her head on her hands. “So, this town is kind of hard to get used to, right? Even though I didn’t go to Namimori Middle School, everyone knew about those little unspoken things and they don’t have those things here.”

“I-I mean, that’s true…” Tsuna agreed tentatively. What they didn’t say was that the police didn’t look the other way here. They weren’t assured of what might happen while walking at night because there weren’t silent protectors. They didn’t have a Committee making sure that everyone didn’t stray. There was no prefect, no odd happenings. The town was normal.

In some ways, Tsuna had been happy to be in a normal town. It was nice not having to worry about being bitten to death. The adults actually did things in school rather than leave everything for children to handle. Everyone noticed when things weren’t quite right rather than turning and walking away.

But it was also strange. He had grown up in a town where he had learned the number of a founding family before the number of the police. He had grown up walking around town alone at night if needed because crime was basically nonexistent. The delinquents were all taken and turned into bodyguards, protectors. A normal town wasn’t something he could ever be used to.

He and Haru had had nothing in common, other than their class and their town. They were both away from Namimori, close but still away, and so were the only ones who knew. Friendship came easy for the only two people who knew.

Dinner finds Tsuna in the company of not only Vongola Decimo, but two of his Guardians and his brothers. Tsuna doesn’t look directly at any of them. He’s too busy trying to stave off Haru and Kyoko’s giggling questions, though he doesn’t want to look at any of them anyway. When he does finally work up the nerve to actually look at Vongola, the Decimo has a pleasant smile on his face.

“Welcome, Hibari Family,” he says in Japanese. “And, guests. I’m sure you already know, but I’m di Vongola Enrico, otherwise known as Vongola Decimo. This is my right hand and Lightning, Cesare, and my Rain, Laura. And these are my brothers, Massimo, Federico, and Xanxus.” He sweeps his hands, gesturing to each person as he introduces them. The only one who doesn’t smile is Xanxus, who is instead squinting at them suspiciously as though they would attack at any moment.

“It’s a pleasure, Decimo,” Asuka says, responding in Italian and smiling just as pleasantly. It feels like posturing. “You may call me Asuka. My husband is Kazuki, and this is my son, Kyoya. His personal assistant, Tsuna—as I’m sure you know—as well as Kyoko Sasagawa, Haru Miura, Hana Kurokawa, Tetsuya Kusakabe, and Ryohei Sasagawa.”

“His Guardians?” Enrico asks.

“Hmm… I wonder.” It’s no answer. It has Enrico frowning.

“In the interest of fairness, I think it would be helpful to be able to identify his Guardians,” he says.

Hibari sends him a vicious scowl. “Don’t speak as though I’m not here, herbivore.” Then, with a huff, “My Lightning is Tetsuya. My Sun is Ryohei. My Storm is Hana. Satisfied?” It isn’t a whole truth, but Enrico doesn’t notice the information being withheld. He nods and the polite smile returns. Tsuna bites back a satisfied smirk. It’s petty, but neither he nor any of the others are interested in revealing any more than they have to.

“Please, eat,” Enrico says. “We have plenty to go around.” Ryohei and the girls—sans Hana—cheer and are quick to begin eating. Tetsuya says a polite thank you, ever the normal one, before digging in.

Tsuna avoids eye contact with every Vongola at the table, letting Haru return to interrogating him on what didn’t happen while Hibari had forced him into staying in a room with him as part of his “personal assistant duties.” While it isn’t an ideal option, it’s the lesser of two evils, and despite sitting next to Hibari where he can hear everything, Hibari is all too happy to pretend not to. Only about twenty percent of it is actually kindness probably; the rest of the eighty percent is because he likes to see him suffer.

The rough-looking brother, Xanxus, gets his attention halfway through the meal anyway. “Oi, you. Personal assistant. You’re the Sawada spawn right?” he asks, as though it isn’t already common knowledge.

Tsuna reluctantly pulls himself from his interrogation to look at Xanxus. He plasters an entirely fake smile on his face as he answers, “If you mean I’m the son of Iemitsu Sawada, yes, I am.”

Xanxus eyes him suspiciously. “Are you as much of an idiot as he is?”

That isn’t really a fair question, all things considered. Idiocy is a matter of perspective, though it is apparently a universal perspective that his father was an idiot. Good to know he isn’t alone in that.

“I mean, I don’t think so?” he says. “Before he came to Japan to meet with Hibari-san, the last time I spoke to him was when I was seven, so he wasn’t really present to influence me at all.”

“The little animal is a very competent assistant,” Hibari butts in. He narrows his eyes at Xanxus, challenging.

“I have to be to deal with your shit on a daily basis,” Tsuna mutters to himself. It isn’t quiet enough because Xanxus barks a laugh. Hibari huffs. Tsuna doesn’t apologize.

“Alright, you don’t seem like as much of an idiot,” Xanxus says. “Though maybe it’s just guts if you can talk back to a Hibari. How’d you end up with them? You know your trash father wouldn’t shut up about you being an innocent civilian or some shit.”

Tsuna rolls his eyes at that. “Hibari-san stalked me for nine months and then I almost died because of some sort of problem with my Flames and after that, I had no choice.” Not that he regrets it. He isn’t in charge of anything but keeping Hibari and his subordinates in line, which is nice. He has friends and acquaintances in the civilian side of the company. He is never expected to fight. His only responsibilities are to deal with formalities, coffee runs, meetings, and whatever else Hibari needs him to do. As far as he’s concerned, it’s more than he had ever thought would happen for him when he was fourteen and life was hopeless.

“I didn’t stalk you,” Hibari says. Years of practice lets him hear the petulance in his voice and he smirks.

“Then how did you know where I worked and lived?” he teases.

“Public knowledge.”

“There’s nothing public about getting my number when I had never so much as let you glimpse my phone.”

“Hm, maybe.”

“What does that mean?”

The argument is familiar. They have been having it ever since Tsuna got out of the hospital that first time, when Hibari had one day called him at six in the morning and Tsuna had never recalled giving him his phone number. Trying to convince Hibari that it’s a bit creepy is a moot point after all their years as friends, but it’s fun. There’s something amusing about it and Tsuna always finds himself trying not to smile by the end of it.

He forgets about Xanxus, who sits and watches them with a raised eyebrow before turning to Haru with a question that she sighs and nods to in response.


The first meeting is the next morning, to which Tsuna wakes up far too close to Hibari for comfort and promptly falls out of the bed. Hibari blinks down blearily at him, but otherwise doesn’t do anything until Tsuna drags him to his feet and makes him become some semblance of a human being. Then, in trying to help make breakfast, he gets kicked out of the kitchen, and it’s not his fault when Hibari tries to beat up the chefs who don’t know how to make his coffee exactly as he likes it.

The meeting itself is perfectly formal. No Vongola looks at him beyond a curious glance and no one tries to ask about his father or what he’s doing in the mafia in the first place. It’s strictly professional and entirely unlike how Tsuna is used to meetings going.

(The first meeting Tsuna had ever attended as Hibari’s personal assistant ended in the table and two walls being destroyed, three injured possible business partners, and a fire. They somehow still got the deal)

It’s a nice change.

It’s also very weird. Tsuna doesn’t like violence and difficult business partners and what-have-you, but he’s used to some form of arguing, hostility, or general Hibari-grade weirdness. It’s a little unnerving to walk out of the meeting room without some sort of unwelcome and irritating encounter. Even Hana and Kusakabe are visibly off-kilter by the utter lack of Hibari’s usual irritation.

An hour later, Tsuna is doing paperwork in the training area, pointedly blocking out the sounds of the poor Vongola grunts who happen to be training too. They’re in Italy, which obviously means that Hibari wants new challenges. So far, the low-tier members are disappointing him.

“Interesting,” a smooth voice chuckles in Japanese from behind him, making him jump and nearly spill all of his carefully organized paperwork. Considering Tsuna had been honing his Hyper Intuition for years to deal with bullies, his clumsiness, and eventually Hibari-san and the girls—who are arguably worse when it comes to surprising him—it’s very shocking to be sneaked up on. “That’s Hibari Kyoya, isn’t it?”

Tsuna looks up and is suddenly reminded of how not-straight he was. He also isn’t much into hitmen who are far too old for him and known to work closely with Vongola, so the minor attraction is quickly squashed and replaced with wariness and the readiness to flee at any sudden movement. “That’s Hibari-san, yes. And you’re the World’s Greatest Hitman.”

Reborn smirks, tipping his fedora forward in greeting. “Indeed. Welcome to the Vongola mansion, Sawada Tsunayoshi. You caused quite a stir when you met your father again.”

Tsuna doesn’t know how to answer that. “Uh…”

Reborn sits beside him. Tsuna scoots away. He doesn’t comment on it. “Your situation is very interesting, you know. Iemitsu wanted to keep you out of the mafia, which is why he Sealed your Flames to begin with. In the end, you became involved anyway. I looked into you—you were hospitalized when you were eighteen, weren’t you?” There’s a knowing smirk on his face. Tsuna wants to claw it off.

“I was. I recovered.”

“By then, you had known Hibari Kyoya for almost a year. He was the one who called the ambulance for you.” Tsuna hadn’t known that. He had never thought to ask. “Afterwards, you had stopped accidentally injuring yourself completely. It’s easy to guess what happened.”

“Kazuki-sama realized I was Sealed and undid it before it could kill me. There was no keeping me out of the mafia after that.”

“I figured as much.” Reborn nods. “But you know what’s the most interesting about this? You were and are, reportedly, a Sky. Hibari Kyoya is also a Sky, though with massive Cloud Flames as well. You should be butting heads, not working together as though he were your Sky. I wonder how that is…”

Tsuna isn’t too interested in revealing sensitive information to an outsider. “You’ll have to keep wondering,” he says. The next moment, there’s a tonfa imbedded into the wall where Reborn’s head had just been, had he not moved at just the right moment.

Hibari stalks towards them, eyes narrowed and teeth bared. “Don’t,” he growls, “bother my assistant.”

“Oh?” Reborn turns his smirk to him. “And what are you going to do about it?”

Hibari loses the ensuing fight, to no one’s surprise. It does nothing but excite him—after the initial irritation and uncharacteristic anger fades a few hours later.

The situation between Tsuna and Hibari was complicated. Neither of them knew how to explain it, nor did anyone else in the know.

Tsuna was born pure, whole Sky. With his Active Flames being Sealed at a young age, their growth, strength, and mastery was stunted and eventually began to burn away at Tsuna’s body, becoming the catalyst for his worsening state until the car accident. When they were finally Unsealed, his Flames were small and weak—hardly anything that could be used at all, though they were still Active. They needed time to grow again.

Hibari, unlike Tsuna, was born with equal amounts Cloud and Sky. His Cloud aspects were stronger, but he was his mother’s heir and so he developed his Sky Flames more than his Cloud. His Sky was stronger than Tsuna’s, which should have caused conflict, and yet it never did. Their Flames seemed to twirl around one another’s instead in perfect balance. Perfect Harmony.

“It’s like Kyoya’s your sky,” Kazuki had said once, baffled and intrigued, “but you’re also his.”

Tsuna never wanted to be a leader. Hibari didn’t know how not to be one. It was wordlessly decided over time that Hibari was the Boss, the one who called the shots and issued commands. Tsuna stood at his side, quietly helping him rationalize and make better decisions from the back where no one could see him.

Hibari gathered his own Guardians while Tsuna found himself with accidental Elements. Both still worked together. When Hibari was indisposed, his Guardians would look to Tsuna. When Tsuna couldn’t lead, his Elements would listen to Hibari. They were partnered Skies with partnered Guardians. They were like a rotating machine, a cycle, a system. And it made no sense.

Italy is definitely Asuka and Kazuki’s anniversary trip, because they spend far too much time outside of the mansion for it to be anything but. The girls and Ryohei leave the mansion often, too, and sometimes Tsuna would join. Kusakabe is content with doing work and general right-hand-man things, so he doesn’t leave nearly as much. Hibari doesn’t care about Italy if he can’t conquer it, so he doesn’t bother to leave.

Technically, the town is Vongola territory, so most freelance hitmen and other Families not in the Alliance an’t allowed in. There are a few that still manage to slip through the cracks, which is how Tsuna finds himself saving and hiding Smokin’ Bomb Hayato from some random Mafiosi trying to kill him.

He had just wanted to buy cake.

“Amazing!” Smokin’ Bomb Hayato gushes, stars in his eyes. “You’re incredible! I can’t believe you saved me, and so smoothly too! I’m in your debt! Oh, um…” He stands down, looking a bit sheepish. “But who are you?”

“Hi, I’m Tsuna,” he answers. “Thank you, but I don’t think I did that much. You’re Smokin’ Bomb Hayato, right? Former student to Trident Shamal?” Hana had done a lot of research on notably mafia figures in Italy, so Tsuna had taken it upon himself to go over her notes and do some of his own research. Incidentally, she came across information on Smokin’ Bomb Hayato after a bad encounter with Trident Shamal left her searching for everyone associated with him in case she had to beat them up.

Smokin’ Bomb Hayato makes a disgusted face. “Ugh, don’t mention that pervert to me,” he complains, which makes him incredibly more favorable. “Yeah, I’m Smokin’ Bomb Hayato, but just call me Hayato, okay? I’m in your debt for getting me out of there, and so easily too!” His eyes take on that starry look again. It reminds Tsuna of Kyoko and Ryohei, when they start going on and on and on about their girlfriends. It’s a little concerning.

“That’s not necessary,” Tsuna chuckles nervously. “I’m only going to be in Italy for a little while, so…”

“All the more reason I should learn more about you!” Hayato declares. What? Tsuna thinks, slightly hysterically. “You know about the mafia, right? You must be in an incredibly good Family to be able to think on your feet like that!”

“Uh, I’m just a personally assistant to, um, Hibari Kyoya, and I’m pretty sure Hibari has most significant influence in Japan and China… Though, we are here to meet with Vongola.”

Hayato’s eyes widens and his mouth drops open. Tsuna winces. That probably isn’t something he should have said freely.


Hibari blinks. Looks at Hayato. Then looks at Tsuna. He blinks again.

“Omnivore,” he says, entirely too calmly. “I thought we talked about bringing in any more strays.”

“He followed me,” Tsuna says resignedly.

“Tsuna is clearly a man of great prestige to be meeting with Vongola Decimo personally!” Hayato declares. “I have decided to follow him as his subordinate for now in hopes of one day repaying my debt!” Tsuna doesn’t know where the whole ‘subordinate’ thing came from, but it makes him want to cry. He didn’t even do anything.

Hibari narrows his eyes suspiciously. “If you wish to follow the little animal, you must be tested first. I refuse to allow my personal assistant to have a weak herbivore as an Element.”

Who said anything about Elements?” Tsuna shrieks.



Tsuna bites back a frustrated groan. He had known that, eventually, he would have to face his dad. There was no chance of them not meeting while he was in Italy talking to Iemitsu’s boss, but he had hoped it would only happen on the very last day so he wouldn’t have to deal with him.

Adopting a politely blank expression on his face, Tsuna ignores Hayato’s frantic whispers of, “Holy shit is that the Young Lion of Vongola how does he know your name?” as he turns to his father. “Dad,” he says. Hayato begins to quietly freak out in the background. He goes ignored, again.

“I know you don’t want to see me and I don’t blame you,” Iemitsu says, holding up his hands in a placating gesture. “But I do think we should talk. You haven’t explained to me how you came to be in the mafia when I had done what I could to let you have a normal civilian life.”

Tsuna barely keeps from scowling. He knows that had been his excuse, but god, was he an idiot? Did he not do his research after Tsuna had plainly told him that him being Sealed had almost ruined his life? “What you did is what brought me into this life to begin with,” he says. “If you want to have an actual talk, please do so in Japan when we’re not in the middle of important discussions. I have work to do now. While we’re at it, visit Mom too. I know you haven’t seen her in years, as always.” Not that Tsuna has much room to talk about visiting, but at least he still calls her and sends her more than blatantly fake postcards and money.

“Are you so busy that you can’t explain right now?” Iemitsu asks. Tsuna casts a glance towards Hayato. His Intuition doesn’t tell him that he isn’t to be trusted, but he still doesn’t exactly know him. He’s loathe to have the conversation to begin with, and it’s worse when coupled with the fact that Hayato is there.

“I am busy,” Tsuna says. “And I would rather talk about this in Japan.”


Tsuna straightens and turns to Ryohei, pleasantly surprised at his appearance. He lets a smile grace his face and he waves. “Onii-san, hi!” Ryohei barrels towards him, nearly knocking him over but just managing to catch himself and settle for a tight hug. He lets go of him two seconds later, but keeps his hands gripping at his shoulders as he stares intently into his eyes.

“Tsuna, you and your new friend should extremely come to the training room with me,” he declares. “We’ll have a tournament!”

“A tournament?” Tsuna asks, raising an eyebrow.

“You, Hibari, and the other Elements, all fighting until we finally decide the winner!”

“Leave me out, but if Hayato wants to, that’s fine. I’ll just watch.” Tsuna looks at Hayato, who looks utterly lost but still nods.

“You hardly ever join us!” Ryohei nearly whines.

“I have work and you know I prefer not to.”

He pouts. “Fine. But let’s get going! I still have to tell everyone else!”

“What? Onii-san…” Tsuna laughs helplessly and shakes his head. “Okay, we’ll go find everyone else. One second.” He turns to Iemitsu and his smile slips back into a more formal, distant one. “Dad, we’ll talk about this when you come to Japan. And visit Mom. Until then, just don’t approach me. Family deals are not when we should talk about family issues.” He doesn’t wait to see the inevitably hopeless look on his father’s face before turning and walking away. Hayato follows quickly after him, and Ryohei comes a few moments after. Thankfully, Hayato decides it’s better not to ask questions.

Tsuna looks up at Ryohei and gives him a small smile. “Thanks for the interruption, Onii-san.”

“Of course, otouto,” Ryohei says sincerely. “But I wasn’t kidding about the EXTREME tournament!” He grins and pumps his fist in the air. Tsuna groans.

Despite working to help liberate Ryohei—and by extension, Namimori—from the too-powerful yakuza group that took over, Tsuna hadn’t actually met him until the end of the final battle. Hibari had his foot on the throat of the big boss and Tsuna was only there to commemorate the moment and have it on record. Ryohei happened to be there, looking worse for wear and in shock.

While Hibari was busy making his declaration to the entire mostly-unconscious-and-or-dead yakuza members, Tsuna approached him and said, “Your sister and your girlfriend made a deal with us to get you out. I’m Tsuna, and that’s Hibari, of the Hibari Clan. He essentially controls a bunch of major groups in Japan and China, and our base is supposed to be Namimori. Hibari-san’s been out of town lately, though, so somehow the group’s takeover managed to slip his notice.” Which was a bit weird. Nothing should have gone unreported, since they still had members keeping watch over the town. Tsuna mentally filed away a reminder to look into possible traitors.

Ryohei blinked at him, which Tsuna would later come to learn was very odd for him. Then he murmured, “Extreme.”

“Excuse me?” Tsuna said.

“How did you do this?” he asked instead of answering. “I-I’ve been trying extremely hard to simply keep Hana and Kyoko safe, and you…”

“To be fair, the Hibari Clan is more than just yakuza, and Hibari-san was trained by the best of the best,” Tsuna said honestly. “Um…” He looked at Hibari, who was just about finished and waiting for Tsuna impatiently. Kusakabe had appeared with a few other underlings and was doing clean up. Or something. Tsuna didn’t want to know. He looked back at Ryohei. “We have to get going, but you can come with us.” He sent a warning glare at Hibari when he opened his mouth to protest. “We’ll bring you to Kyoko-chan and Kurokawa-san, but after that… Well, do you know what you want to do now?”

Ryohei let out a somewhat broken laugh. “I-I had already decided to dedicate my life to trying to keep the yakuza away from my family as much as possible, so I… gave up. I don’t know what to do.”

Records showed that he had been a boxer in his youth. His strength only grew with his potent Sun Flames, not that he noticed. Had he not gotten involved with the wrong people, he would be well on his way to becoming a boxing champion. As it was, he was probably too strong for boxing—Flames weren’t meant for civilian tournaments.

Luckily, Tsuna had thought about that.

He smiled gently. “If you’d like, I think I can get you a job in our company. Let’s get out of here first, though.”

Ryohei looked up at him, a little awed and a little teary-eyed. “You’re very extreme, Tsuna-kun.”

“Ah, thank you…?”

They only managed to have the discussion the next week. Tsuna had been too busy with figuring out what to do about the new group they had absorbed and didn’t have time, and god forbid Hibari actually talked to someone. The discussion itself, though, was a short one: Ryohei didn’t mind becoming an even bigger criminal than he had been, so long as Kyoko and Hana weren’t threatened and he was given freedom. And, he had added, it was obvious that anyone Tsuna vouched for couldn’t be bad at all.

It was a little weird how easily he had decided to trust Tsuna, but it was nice. A warm feeling spread across his chest when Ryohei had told him to call him “onii-san.”

The last night of their being in Italy means that Vongola has to throw a party to celebrate the successful alliance. The first few hours are full of pleasantries and formalities with other allied Families that attended. There are quite a few pointed comments to Tsuna—

(“So how did you become a lowly assistant to the Hibari heir?”

“I think I can kind of see the resemblance between you and Iemitsu…”

“We all thought Iemitsu’s precious son was a civilian!”)

—all of which he ignores with a smile and a polite exit. After the formalities, he is all too happy to retreat to a wall away from most of the crowd. Unfortunately, Hayato isn’t allowed in, so he’s alone. He watches Hibari with a small smile, amused by how he’s trying to keep from twitching and attacking everyone who approaches him.

There’s a hushed argument somewhere nearby. He watches from the corner of his eye as a man tears into a sullen teenager wearing a cow-print suit of all things. The teenager is scowling, arms crossed protectively over his chest, and he’s only answering in annoyed mutterings. The man hits him over the head a lot harder than is likely necessary, then stomps away with an angry red face. The teenager holds his head in his hands, mumbling to himself.

Tsuna looks around and takes a drink from a passing tray. It doesn’t smell like alcohol, surprisingly, which is exactly what he needed. He approaches the teenager and holds out the cup. “You okay, kid?” he asks, smiling kindly. He had always had a bit of a soft spot for kids—there was a time when he would periodically visit a small orphanage in town when he was in high school, in fact—but his mother never had any other children. It was always a little bit of a disappointment.

The teenager looks up at him and scowls. “I’m not a kid.”

“You’re a teenager. Same thing. Take the drink.”

Not as reluctantly as he might have wanted to come off as, he does and takes a delicate sip. “…Thank you,” he mumbles.

“You’re welcome.” Tsuna leans against the wall beside him. “I’m Tsuna. What’s your name?”

“I’m… Lambo. Bovino,” the teenager says stiffly. The Bovino Family, Tsuna remembers, is a rather small one, but they’re making great strides in science. They had made a Ten Year Bazooka years ago, which fetched for a high price. They are also known to be arrogant, their ambitions making them a negative sort of desperate.

“Ah. Was that your father, then? Are you okay?”

Lambo kicks his foot. “Yeah. He’s not happy with… me. At all. But it’s fine. Whatever, I’m used to it.”

“Why isn’t he happy with you?”

“I’m not exactly what he wanted for a son. Too boisterous as a kid, too lazy as a teenager. And I don’t like attending these parties. He wants me to be… I don’t know. Why am I telling you this?” He narrows his eyes suspiciously, as though Tsuna had cast some sort of truth spell on him. Tsuna laughs.

“Sometimes you just need to talk to a stranger who isn’t connected to the situation,” he says. He knows the feeling. His therapist is an excellent listener.

“Right…” Lambo says disbelievingly.

“It sounds to me like that isn’t something you should be used to,” Tsuna continues. He remembers perfectly well how he had been as a teenager. He had been thirteen and fourteen and he had just kept his head down and let his peers call him useless and he had been used to it. It took years to get out of that mindset and sometimes, on particularly bad days, he still lets the words affect him.

(On those days, Hibari calls everyone over to Tsuna’s apartment. They give him ice cream and blankets and cuddles and they let him cry if he needs to. Tsuna never knows how Hibari knows when he’s having a bad day, but he always appreciates it)

“What?” Lambo says.

“You should never get used to being considered a disappointment,” Tsuna explains. “You’re only who you are supposed to be, and that’s yourself. When I was around your age, I had gotten used to being called ‘no good.’ I was my mother’s disappointment and I wasn’t who I should have been to fit in. Now, I’m twenty-four and I work with one of my best friends in a very influential Family. None of my friends are disappointed in me and I’ve become comfortable in who I am. Because when I graduated middle school, I decided I didn’t want to listen to other people telling me who I was and I got out.”

Lambo stares at him, uncomprehending and looking so heartbreakingly lost. Tsuna smiles sadly and lifts a hand to ruffle his hair.

The familiar curl of Hibari’s Flames approaches. He looks up at Hibari’s unimpressed stare.

“Omnivore,” he says, “we are not adopting and potentially stealing a child. You already brought in one stray from this country.”

“I didn’t even say anything!” Tsuna protests, lifting his hands in a surrendering gesture.

“You didn’t have to. I know that look.”

“I’m just telling Lambo here that he shouldn’t listen to his father being an asshole. I said nothing about taking in a stray.” Hibari scoffs. Tsuna shakes his head. “Did you need something, Hibari-san?”

“I’m getting irritated,” he says. “I’ve come to tell you I will be resting in my room.”

“Oh, I’ll come with you,” Tsuna says automatically. He looks at Lambo and smiles. “Sorry. But, um, if you’d like to talk more, I can give you my number. Here.” He produces a paper and pen that he always carries with him for… certain reasons and writes down his number before handing it off. He pushes off the wall and waves as he follows Hibari out of the room.

Even though he’s significantly better about crowding since middle school, Hibari still gets antsy at parties. Tsuna doesn’t like them much either, and he especially isn’t too happy about the possibility of getting drilled by mafia thugs who want to know about how he, who should have been Vongola, ended up with the Hibaris instead. The further they get from the roaring party, the more relaxed they both become.

Hibari sits at the window as soon as they return to the room. He loses himself to staring outside, as he usually does when he wants to calm down. Tsuna lies down on the bed, closing his eyes and simply resting. He isn’t actually tired, so he doesn’t fall asleep. His phone is placed on the bedside table.

It isn’t the first time they had escaped a party together. Tsuna excuses himself by saying that as Hibari’s personal assistant, he has to keep an eye on him, but the truth is that he preferred these quiet moments together. Neither of them are too big on talking, so if needed, it’s easy to pretend they’re alone. There’s something companionable about the utter silence when they know they’re supposed to be at a party. These are his favorite moments.

As usual, it isn’t meant to last. Thirty minutes later, Tsuna’s phone buzzes with a text from Kyoko.

Omg Tsuna-kun you have to come back, she messages. Chaos is happening and you’re the best person to help. It’s Hibari-grade business.

Tsuna groans and sits up. Hibari perks up and looks at him curiously.

“Kyoko says there’s something going on at the party and I need to help out,” he explains. Hibari nods and stands. He straightens his suit out, smoothing out any wrinkles. Tsuna stands up and doesn’t do the same. He leaves their room and walks hurriedly to where the party is being held. Hibari follows close behind him.

The closer they get, the easier it is to feel the Mist Flames spilling out into the hallway.

All too familiar Mist Flames.

Tsuna’s stomach twists with annoyance and he walks faster to the doors. He practically slams them open, barely wincing at the noise. Now isn’t the time to care for noise and appearances.


Chapter Text

It all started when a young woman with a weird haircut appeared at the office in a swirl of Mist Flames. She held herself timidly, shoulders hunched, but the trident in her hands broke the image she made. It didn’t help that both Tsuna and Hibari could feel that she was incredibly powerful. It wasn’t a very promising picture. Hibari attacked a split second after her appearance. She blocked him with her trident.

It was a very short battle, broken up when she shouted, “PLEASE, I DON’T MEAN ANY HARM!” Hibari paused, locking them in a stalemate. He took a few seconds to stare her down, then back away, though he kept his tonfas at hand.

“Who are you and what do you want?” he growled.

“My name is Dokuro Chrome,” Chrome had said. “I’d like your help. I know the Hibari Family is a powerful Family, and somehow you’ve managed to keep your hands as clean as you can get for a mafia Family. Sawada Tsunayoshi is also someone whose life had been ruined by the mafia. I need help from people like you.

“My mentor… I don’t know if you know his name, but Rokudo Mukuro was imprisoned in Vendicare years ago and he somehow managed to escape again. I-I wouldn’t be complaining, normally, but he... he plans to eradicate a lot of Families, even those who have done very little wrong, because he wants to get rid of the mafia. I don’t want that… I don’t want to see people killed because of that, but I also don’t want him locked up again.”

Tsuna didn’t like the sound of that, but he didn’t know what possible use they would be. “I don’t understand,” he said honestly, frowning. “What do we have to do with this? I’d love to keep people from dying, but…” Hibari wouldn’t do anything without a reason.

“Well, one, he may be aiming for you,” Chrome said, “and two, he’s doing this because the mafia ruined his life. I-I don’t want to explain because it’s not my story, but, um… In a way, I think you, Sawada-san, can maybe help. I found your hospital records and it corresponds with that of a person who had been Sealed away while having Active Flames. You almost died, right? So did Mukuro-sama, so… so maybe you can talk him down. Relate to him and show that he doesn’t have to do this because you’ve gone through pain but you’re still here. Unless, um... unless you’re unhappy being in the mafia. In which case this doesn’t, uh, work.” She fidgeted nervously.

“No, no, I like where I am now,” Tsuna said. “Um, Hibari-san? What do you think?”

Hibari stared wordlessly at Chrome, likely sizing her up and trying to find out if she was lying. “…How likely is it that he would target us?” he asked at last.

“Pretty… um, pretty likely,” Chrome said. “He’s going after powerful Families first, and, well… you’re awfully powerful.”

“Why should I not simply kill him?”

“I…” She paused, looking unsure. “I don’t… have a good reason. But I know Mukuro-sama does have the capacity to do good! He cares about the rest of us a lot! Please, he’s had a bad life but he’s not an entirely bad person…”

“Hibari-san,” Tsuna said before Hibari could declare his intent to kill Rokudo anyway, “I think it’s worth a shot. If she vouches for him, I think we should at least try talking to him.” He turned a somewhat pleading look towards him. It usually worked in his favor. Hibari glared at him for a long while, but let out a frustrated huff and a nod.

“Fine,” he spat. “We’ll refrain from killing him, but if he tries to kill my assistant, I’m killing him.”

There are a number of Mafiosi with guns and various other weapons pointed at Mukuro, who has already dodged a few attacks and is crouched on the floor in a defensive position. Everyone freezes as Tsuna slams the door open, casting an icy glare at everyone who dared to attack. Mukuro beams and stands up straight.

“Ah, Tsunayoshi,” he purrs in Japanese. The language switch is unnecessary; Tsuna is pretty sure everyone of importance knows Japanese. “Excellent. You’re just in time. You see, my dear, I heard there was a party that you all would be attending, and it would be none other than a Vongola party. Rumor has it that those are the best parties, and I just couldn’t resist.”

Tsuna marches up to him and stabs a finger to his chest. “Don’t give me that bullshit. You’re not supposed to show your face to other Families until everything gets finalized,” he says. “You’re too notorious in Italy, which is why we banned you from coming. What the fuck, Mukuro?”

Mukuro holds up his hands. “Now, now, Tsunayoshi. I’d heard about what happened with that Vongola dog and I simply couldn’t trust that nobody would try anything during the party.”

“How did you even—?” Tsuna stops and narrows his eyes. He spins on his heels to look at Hibari. “Hibari-san! Did you tell everyone?”

“We have a group chat,” Hibari says. “It was important.”

“You don’t even like Mukuro!”

“It was important.”

Tsuna throws his hands in the air and turns back around to continue glaring at Mukuro, only to find that Mukuro’s attention has been averted to gazing around the room. He grins terrifyingly as his eyes catch on to Iemitsu and he appears in front of him, using his Mist Flames for dramatic effect.

Sawada Iemitsu,” he drawls, “I am not only looking for you, but also your former boss. Timoteo, was it? Vongola Nono. I need to have a talk with the both of you, and I do believe this may be my one and only chance.” Iemitsu’s lost expression turns into a snarl and he grabs his gun, only to freeze as Tsuna steps between them to push Mukuro back.

“Mukuro, stop it!” he orders. “Go home. Don’t bother Vongola, or my father, or Nono. No attacking, no murdering, no talking. You’re causing a ruckus and while I don’t normally care, Italy is dangerous.”

“Tsuna, what’s going on?” Iemitsu whispers. Tsuna doesn’t look at him, too busy staring down Mukuro, who scoffs.

Mukuro looks to Hibari as he approaches. “Skylark-kun, you agree with me correct? I know we don’t often agree on anything, but when it comes to our Tsunayoshi…” It’s a shockingly true statement; for all that the two fight each other rather than together, they always seem willing to band together when it’s Tsuna who makes them.

Hibari crosses his arms. His eyes glance between the two of them, considering. For once, Tsuna can’t quite decipher the look on his face. Then, Hibari faces Mukuro fully. “The omnivore is… correct,” he admits reluctantly. “The longer you stay in Italy before the papers go through and the news comes out, the more dangerous it will be for you. We need this deal, unfortunately, and if you get put in danger, my Mist will be in danger. I won’t allow that to happen. Leave, Carnivore.” Then, almost belatedly, he adds, “But we can discuss possible retaliation once we return.”

Mukuro lets out a long, entirely fake sigh of disappointment. “Alright, alright. Talk we shall. But I do promise to be back if I get word of any incidents.” ‘Incidents’ can mean anything in Mukuro-speak, which puts Tsuna on edge. He glares at him, but Mukuro smirks and disappears in another swirl of Mist Flames.

Tsuna doesn’t let himself relax. He has to bite back a groan as he breathes deeply before looking around the room with an apologetic smile. “I’m very sorry for the inconvenience,” he says loudly in Italian. “Please continue with the party.”

Nobody continues with the party.

In fact, Enrico di Vongola is approaching him with a very serious expression while a few of his Guardians fall into step behind him. Tsuna stays where he is, knowing he has to face the interrogation. Kyoko and Haru hurry to stand behind him in a show of support as he suddenly finds himself pushed back by Hibari. Ryohei, Hana, and Kusakabe stand nearby. Tsuna sighs. Overprotective.

“Sawada-san, Hibari-san,” Enrico says, “I think we need to have a chat.”

Hibari and Mukuro had almost killed each other the first time they met. And also the second time. And the next few times they met after that, but it was undoubtedly the worst occurrence the first time it happened. Mukuro wasn’t very forthcoming with who he considered “invaders” and “mafia dogs” while Hibari took any chance to fight, especially considering Chrome had admitted that Mukuro planned to try to destroy his Family.

It took Tsuna and Chrome bodily restraining them to have a conversation. And then it took six hours of negotiations to hash out exactly what was going on, why things were happening, and what Mukuro should do instead of commit mass murder before they managed to get him to settle down enough to actually listen. From there, it was no issue getting the other two to follow.

The destruction of the Estraneo Famiglia was officially a Right of Blood, as Mukuro, Ken, and Chikusa had been tortured by the Family they were born in and so had leeway on that matter. The destruction of the Family after that was unjust, which was a bit more complicated. It took some digging on Hana’s part to find a reason for the Family’s death that would lessen Mukuro’s sentence—though she only agreed to do some research after Tsuna took some time to convince her that Mukuro could change.

The final nail on the coffin was Asuka’s meeting with the Vindice. Tsuna and Hibari were there too, but Kazuki stayed behind to keep watch on Mukuro and his gang. The Vindice weren’t all too willing to let go of a dangerous prisoner that had given them trouble before. Asuka herself was still skeptical, but Tsuna had a good feeling. He had never managed to quite grow out of his mentality of “almost everyone deserves a second chance” from when he was a teenager, and he could tell that Mukuro wasn’t all bad, exactly as Chrome said. He tried to act aloof, but the others in his care were important to him. The capacity to care was what set him apart from those truly beyond redemption. Tsuna was inclined to take that chance, and Asuka trusted him with that.

In the end, what convinced the Vindice to give Mukuro a trial period was Tsuna snapping. It wasn’t his fault—no matter what Ryohei would later say in between bouts of laughter—but the Vindice were… annoying. They were stubborn and while that was endearing on Hibari, who was usually willing to listen to reason after some time, it was a nuisance on the Vindice. So Tsuna blew up.

So what do you expect to happen after a child has been tortured to the point of dying? Of course they’re not going to respond well, and a mafia child who has apparently been to Hell? That’s asking for trouble! You don’t help by keeping that child locked up for the rest of their life! On the off-chance that they don’t somehow manage to escape—don’t look at me like that, I know your track record—they’re still not going to be given the chance to learn that life can be better!

Suppressing a problem doesn’t make it go away! That makes it fester, build, and it’s only a matter of time before someone ends up dying or hurt beyond repair! You’re arrogant to think that you can stay at the top forever when you’re here, locking children up and turning them into adults with no qualms about killing because that’s all they know. You’re definitely not helping to steer them to the direction that the mafia doesn’t need to be destroyed! Even prisoners need therapy, and fuck you for putting a child through your shitty system of locking things away in hopes they disappear! No wonder someone’s going to want to destroy you and some day they’ll succeed! Because you don’t know how to think beyond your own fucking asses! I get that you’re mafia, but wake the fuck up! Being a criminal doesn’t mean you have to stop showing a basic shred of human decency!

It might have been partially due to the Sky Flames that had started literally burning everything that the Vindice agreed to a trial run; Mukuro would be given six months with the Hibari Clan to be convinced that not everyone in the mafia must be destroyed. If he joined the Family, he would be let off with the warning that if he did commit unjust murder, he would imprisoned with no chance of getting out again.

Chrome becoming Hibari’s Mist was not expected.

Neither was Mukuro becoming Tsuna’s.

But it was enough to convince the Vindice.

There was still a lot of paperwork to be done though.

“Mukuro Rokudo is almost officially a part of our Family,” Asuka says coldly, arms crossed tightly over her chest. “All that awaits is his final paperwork going through and he is a free man.”

“Mukuro Rokudo is a dangerous criminal and cannot be allowed to be a free man,” Enrico insists. Asuka scowls, and Hibari mirrors her. Though he doesn’t like Mukuro, they’re still Family, and no one is allowed to tell him what to do with his Family. And Chrome goes wherever Mukuro goes, and Hibari isn’t interested in losing his Mist because of Vongola.

“He has been pardoned,” Asuka says.

“Also,” Tsuna adds, sending a pleasant smile towards Enrico, “Mukuro has done nothing to your Family. He targeted the Estraneo because they did the worst to him, but all other Families that have been affected by his past were small. Even if he were being hunted by the Vindice still, you don’t have just cause to hunt for him personally other than for Vindice favor.” There’s something of an unspoken rule that criminals should first and foremost be pursued by those who have been personally affected by them. It’s not always followed, since it’s not official, but vengeance is a familiar concept for a lot of Families. Vongola, though, has always been given a certain lenience.

Enrico is almost glaring at them, and the only reason he isn’t is because they’re supposed to be professional. “I have no guarantee that he won’t cause trouble.”

“Mukuro’s Sky gave him a direct order,” Tsuna says, being purposefully misleading. “He will listen.”


They’re back in Japan for less than twenty-four hours when Tsuna finds out that Hayato had followed him back.

“I’m in your debt!” he claims for why he’s in Japan. Tsuna just stares, then shrugs, because why not.

Two days later, the kid that Tsuna had talked to for no more than five minutes at the Vongola party shows up outside of his apartment too.

“You were really nice,” Lambo explains, at least looking a little sheepish. “So I ran away and came to you!”

Tsuna deals with them and their immediate rivalry for a week before he goes to Hibari, begging him to help.

“Move in with me,” Hibari says.

“That’s not a solution!” Tsuna exclaims. “They’ll just follow me to your place!”

Hibari sighs. “Let’s go to Namimori then.”


“It will take them a while to find out where you are if we don’t mention the trip to anyone else. That should give you at least a few days for some peace and quiet. Also, your father will probably be coming some time soon. Best to be prepared.”

Tsuna has the sneaking suspicion that Hibari is just having his usual Namimori-withdrawals, but it’s a solid plan regardless.

They go to Namimori.


Tsuna elects to stay with Hibari at the Hibari estate rather than in his mother’s house. It’s not that he doesn’t love his her or want to spend time with her, but it’s easier to stick with Hibari and after so long living away from her, he’s not sure he’ll be able to readjust to her quirks. He’s grown into his skin since he last saw her—he doesn’t think he can tolerate her for too long anymore.

But he does visit as soon as he’s finished unpacking. Hibari doesn’t follow him, choosing to review the state of the town in the meantime.

The decision to go to Namimori was last minute, so Nana is pleasantly surprised when she finds him on her doorstep. With an excited cry of, “Tsu-kun!” she tackles him into a tight hug. Tsuna smiles as he hugs her back. Her grip is sort of cutting off his supply of oxygen, but he doesn’t mind. He hasn’t seen her in some time and it’s not like Kyoko and Haru don’t do the same every other day.

“I didn’t know you were coming to visit!” Nana says, grinning as she ushers him into the house. “Oh, you should have called! I would have prepared something for you.”

“It was a bit of a last-minute decision,” Tsuna responds. “Everything’s been really busy, but things are finally slowing down, so Hibari-san suggested we take a vacation to Namimori. I wanted to surprise you.”

“Oh, Kyo-kun has always cared so much for you. I’m glad to see you’re doing so much better,” Nana coos. She tugs at his cheek. “No longer my adorable little useless son. Now you’re my adorable little successful son!” Tsuna carefully doesn’t let his discomfort show at the reminder of his former status. It has never been uttered back home at the company, but every time he returns to Namimori, there is always someone around to remind him. He can deal with it, but there’s a reason he doesn’t like to return often.

“Ah, yeah. I’m really lucky to have met Hibari-san when I did.” In more ways than one, he doesn’t say.

Nana giggles. “That you are! Go, sit on the couch, Tsu-kun. I’ll be right back with some tea and snacks!” Tsuna sits on the couch as she bustles into the kitchen. Even though nothing has changed, he has little to do but look around the familiar living room.

There are a few sparse pictures on the walls, some of him and his mother as he grew older. There are only one or two of his father. Tsuna smiles faintly at the pictures of his graduation and the day his mother found out about him working for Hibari. The latter picture was a nice one, full of good memories even if he had taken an hour to come around to being a personal assistant. (To be fair, most sane people wouldn’t even consider catering to Hibari’s whim every day for hours on end)

“Here we go, Tsu-kun!” Nana says cheerfully as she enters the living room again and places the snacks and tea on the coffee table.

“Thanks, Mom,” he says. He takes a sip of his tea and sighs happily. He does a decent job with cooking—Haru, Kyoko, and Ryohei would say that he does excellently—but nothing beats his mother’s.

“So, how are things lately?” Nana asks eagerly. “Job going well? Friends? Oh, and…” she smiles mischievously, “how’s your boyfriend doing?”

“Hibari-san isn’t my boyfriend, Mom, we’ve been over this,” Tsuna groans. He sets down his tea to cover his burning face with his hands.

Nana sighs in mock disappointment, cradling her cheek in her hand. “Oh, Tsu-kun, you should really talk with him about those feelings of yours. I’ve been waiting for you to do so for years, you know.”

“You mention that every time I call,” he chokes out. Nana laughs. “Please, no.”

“Oh, alright. Tell me about what’s happened lately, then,” she says, though he knows this isn’t the end of that conversation.

He talks about the deal with Vongola, which has her tittering in excitement. Everyone knows Vongola, even civilians who only see it as a prestigious company. Considering everyone in Namimori knows that the Hibari Clan isn’t exactly ‘clean’ of underground activity, his mother is at least aware of the fact that Vongola likely isn’t either, so she understands the implications a little better than the average civilian.

“Oh, Italy! How exciting!” she squeals. “I hope I get to meet those friends of yours soon!”

“Ahaha, that… might be sooner than you think,” Tsuna mutters, then clears his throat. “Speaking of Italy, Mom, have you heard from Dad lately?”

“Hm?” Nana tilts her head curiously. Tsuna frowns as a haze appears in her eyes for a split second before she blinks it away. She shakes his head. “No, I haven’t. I’m sure Papa will call soon though! Always so busy, that man!” Her eyes are sparkling, but Tsuna sighs. Her devotion to his father hasn’t changed.

The first thing Hibari had said to Tsuna immediately after meeting his mother was, “What happened to her?” He was still in the hospital and his mother was visiting, but she had stepped out for the moment to grab food.

“What?” Tsuna had responded, because he genuinely had no idea what Hibari was talking about.

Kazuki sighed. “I believe I can answer that,” he said. He always knew the answer. “Though your mother may not be Active, she still has Flames as everyone else does. Your father is also a Sky, yes? Hers latched on to his, but she never became fully Harmonized with him before he left. That left her with a half-broken Bond, loyal to him and blind to most everything else, especially when it comes to what he doesn’t want her to know. Her Flames should feel off to you.”

Tsuna had to think about it. His mother had acted about the same as she always had—cheerful but flighty—so he didn’t think to notice. He still wasn’t used to his Flames, so it took him a moment to reach out and realize, yes, something is wrong here. Her Flames were locked away, as most civilians’ were, but they were also sputtering, which was far from normal. Flames, even when Inactive, were always burning; they weren’t supposed to sputter. It put Tsuna on edge, made him feel like his mother was dying even though she wasn’t.

“That—does my dad know about this?” he had asked, gaping.

“If he does, he hasn’t done anything about it,” Kazuki answered sadly.

Tsuna spent the rest of the visit frighteningly aware of everything off about his mother, from her sputtering Flames to the way she averted the subject whenever he talked about his father. Every time he saw her afterwards, he found himself having to force himself to ignore the way she remained willfully ignorant over obviously suspicious occurrences.

He practically had a heart attack the first time he saw an assassin who his mother had invited in for tea.

(The man had tried to kill her while her back was turned. When Tsuna knocked him out to be interrogated by Hibari later, he had given the excuse that the man was really tired and all she had to say was, “It’s very sweet of you to take your friend home, Tsu-kun!”

That wasn’t normal)

The only time it was okay to talk to his mother without feeling sick, he came to realize, was when they were talking about recent events in his life. So long as he didn’t directly mention any criminal activity, she usually didn’t show her blatant obliviousness that felt so wrong all the time. It was better to keep to easier topics.

It was too bad she would likely never recover.

Nana insists on taking Tsuna out to Takesushi for dinner, saying something about how he should always have true Namimori food while he’s in town. He’s surprised to find Yamamoto Takeshi helping his father at the small restaurant. He had always expected him to go on to become a pro athlete, but then, he had always expected Ryohei to become a pro boxer. He doesn’t know what happened, and he had never bothered to keep tabs on his middle school peers when he didn’t have to. He hadn’t seen him in town the last few times he had visited, though.

“Welco—oh! Nana-san, welcome back!” Yamamoto says, a bright smile on his face. Tsuna blinks. He wasn’t great at emotions as a kid, but now that he kind of has to be, he notices the smile on Yamamoto’s face—the same smile he had worn all throughout elementary and middle school—is a bit… bland. Plastic. Maybe a little genuine, but not as much as it could be.

“Hello, Takeshi-kun!” Nana says cheerfully. “My adorable little son is back in town for a visit, so of course I had to bring him here!” She hugs Tsuna’s arm to her chest. He rolls his eyes and smiles politely at Yamamoto.

“It’s been a while, Yamamoto-san,” he says. He doesn’t expect him to recognize him at all.

“Oh? Wait… Dame-Tsuna?” Yamamoto gapes. “Wow, you’re looking good! I’m surprised!”

“Yup! My Dame-Tsuna is an honest man!” Nana coos. Tsuna laughs off his discomfort.

“Yeah, that was me. Uh, I work in a company now, I guess. Just call me Tsuna, though, okay? I haven’t gone by that nickname in years. Um, can we sit down now?”

“Yes! Go ahead and sit.” Yamamoto leads them to a seat and hands him a menu. Apparently his mother has been around enough times to have a regular meal.

As he walks away, Tsuna asks, “What’s Yamamoto-kun doing here? I thought he…”

Nana sighs in disappointment. “I’m not sure of the details, but one day he just came back. He said baseball got boring, or something…”

Tsuna hums. Unexpected, but he knows better than anyone that people can change.

When they get their food, Yamamoto sticks around to chat for a little while. Nana asks for any recent news that he easily gives. Tsuna isn’t interested in answering questions about what happened to him, so he’s grateful for her distraction. He looks to the side in time to see Hibari walking inside and making a beeline for their table.

“Good evening, Hibari-san,” he says as Hibari slide into the seat beside him. Hibari drapes an arm over the back of Tsuna’s seat. Yamamoto has stopped talking to stare in thinly veiled shock.

“Hn. Hello, Nana-san,” he says.

“Kyo-kun! It’s so nice of you to join us! Did Tsu-kun text you?” Nana gushes.

Hibari smirks minutely. “No. I just followed him.”

“Don’t word it like that, Hibari-san,” Tsuna sighs. Hibari had probably followed his Flames. It isn’t too hard to latch on to a familiar Flame signature when you’ve been Harmonized with the person for six years if you try hard enough.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa!” Yamamoto says. “Are my eyes deceiving me, or are Dame-Tsuna and the Demon Prefect way too familiar with each other?” He has a teasing grin on his face, but burning intrigue in his eyes. Tsuna twitches at the nickname while Hibari’s eyes narrow darkly.

“Sawada Tsunayoshi is my personal assistant and he will be treated with respect,” Hibari snarls. The only reason he hasn’t stood to get in Yamamoto’s face is because Tsuna has a hand on his thigh to keep him from moving. “He is not dame and you would do well to remember that, herbivore.” Yamamoto takes a step back, eyes wide. Tsuna shakes his head in exasperation.

“Hibari-san, it’s fine,” he tells him. He smiles politely at Yamamoto. “Really, Yamamoto-san, I haven’t been dame in years, and neither is he the Demon Prefect. I work for Hibari-san at his company now, as he said, and I like to think I’m good at this job since he hasn’t fired me. Middle school was a long time ago. We’ve all changed.”

“Maa, I, uh…” Yamamoto swallows, looking off-balance. “I guess you’re right. Sorry, ah, Tsuna. And you too, Hibari.” Hibari huffs while Tsuna nods his appreciation. “Did you want something to eat, Hibari?”

“No, I ate,” Hibari says shortly.

“Yeah, the flesh of delinquents,” Tsuna mutters. Hibari rolls his eyes.

“Right, then, I’ll get going. Enjoy your meal!” Yamamoto smiles that disturbingly fake smile of his and leaves them alone. Hibari snorts.

“Weird,” he says.

“So, Kyo-kun,” Nana says, bringing his attention to her, “how have you been? Tsu-kun can only tell me so much.”


Morning at the Hibari estate finds Tsuna waking up to one of the maids knocking on his door. He stumbles out of bed and opens the door with bleary eyes and even more messy hair than usual. “Yes?” he asks, yawning.

“A Yamamoto Takeshi is asking for you,” the maid says. “He’s waiting in the front room.”

“Oh, okay. Is Hibari-san still here?”

“He is currently asleep, yes.”

It was a bit of a stupid question. Hibari is usually disinclined to wake up before Tsuna comes to wake him. On vacation, the chance of him waking up on his own is slim to none. “’Kay. I’ll be down in a sec.”

“Of course.” The maid nods and heads back down to where Yamamoto is waiting. Tsuna takes a few moments to wonder what Yamamoto wants and how he found him, then goes to get changed and wake up a little more.

When he reaches the front room, he sees Yamamoto curiously inspecting a picture on the wall. Tsuna sighs. The picture is one Asuka had insisted on printing and putting where everyone could see it, and Kazuki and Hibari had agreed, so Tsuna had no choice ut to comply. It was supposed to be a family picture, except they had made him stand next to Hibari too. Tsuna is half-convinced Asuka would have seriously made him hold up the ‘Honorary Hibari’ sign she had prepared had Kazuki not convinced her out of it.

“That picture was taken about five years ago,” Tsuna says as he approaches Yamamoto from behind. He smiles as Yamamoto jumps and turns to look at him. “I was in the hospital for a long time about a year before. While I was there, Hibari-san and Asuka-sama and Kazuki-sama would visit and I got to know them. When this picture was taken, Hibari-san was getting ready to take over the company and they wanted this for posterity. I was there too since I was close to them and Hibari-san liked to drag me out on his whims. They made me join them, calling me an ‘Honorary Hibari’ and saying I was practically family.”

It’s a nice memory, even if he’s perpetually confused by their decision. He was family to someone. He had only ever had Haru and classroom friendships and his blindly loyal mother before then. Hibari had hit him for his bewildered expression, like it was supposed to be obvious that he was family. It wasn’t, because the Hibaris were vague and secretive bastards, but he had ended up grinning widely regardless.

Yamamoto stares at him in shock. Tsuna laughs sheepishly and rubs the back of his head. “Ah, sorry, Yamamoto-san. What did you come here for? And how did you know I was here?”

“Well, I went to your old house first but your mom said you were staying here,” he says. “I wanted to properly apologize for calling you Dame-Tsuna yesterday. I, ah, realized that wasn’t very nice of me. You were right—we aren’t in middle school anymore and you were obviously uncomfortable.”

“You didn’t have to come all the way here for that,” Tsuna says. “I forgive you. I guess it’s a little shocking. Hana had pretty much the same reaction you did.”

“’Hana’? You talk to Kurokawa?”

“She’s Hibari-san’s lawyer.”

“Huh. Wait, no, that’s not what I was here for.” Yamamoto shakes his head and smiles again. “I want to take you out for breakfast as an apology.”

Tsuna eyes him warily. “This wouldn’t be a date, would it?” Yamamoto is sort of his type, but he’s not interested. And he’s usually more into mysterious men.

“What? No!” Yamamoto’s eyes widen. “It’s just apology breakfast. Um, do you, uhh, swing that way?”

“I’m attracted to both men and women. I’m bisexual.” He eyes him warily. “Is that a problem? If so, you may kindly exit the premises now.”

“No, no, it’s not a problem, I promise. Actually, uh…” He coughs awkwardly and averts his eyes, ears turning the slightest bit red. “I didn’t expect you to be so open, but in the interest of fairness, um… I’m actually gay. So. But I don’t want to date you! No offense.”

Tsuna blinks at the unexpected confession. “Huh. No offense taken. You didn’t have to tell me, but that’s… well, that takes a little bit of weight off my shoulders at any rate. Cool. So, apology breakfast? I wouldn’t mind.”

“Yes!” Yamamoto smiles in relief. Tsuna is pleased to note that it’s not fake like his other smiles have been.

“That’s a nice smile,” he says because he can’t just not point out the clearly fake persona Yamamoto has been trying to portray. “You should try being more genuine. It was kind of weird seeing you wear such an obviously fake look during dinner yesterday. Hibari-san thought so too.”

Yamamoto’s smile has been wiped off his face, replaced with shock that’s becoming worryingly commonplace. He blinks and doesn’t seem able to come up with a response.

“So anyway,” Tsuna bulldozes on, “I have to go wake up Hibari-san and tell him I’m going out. He gets cranky when I don’t tell him where I’m going. In the meantime, just… wait here I guess? And if you don’t know where we should go for breakfast, you should figure that out.” He hasn’t survived as long as he has by letting other people take the initiative. Yamamoto wasn’t saying anything, so he figured he would get him moving at least.

“Oh. Okay?” He sounds a little confused, but Tsuna ignores it and heads back upstairs to Hibari’s room.

As is custom, he opens the door quietly to see Hibari still buried under his covers in pitch darkness. Quietly, he approaches the curtains and opens them with a, “Wake up, Hibari-san.” He ducks in time to avoid the tonfa at his head and he turns to face Hibari’s grumpy look. “Don’t worry, I won’t force you up, but I do need you somewhat coherent.”

Hibari groans and sits up, shaking his head in an attempt to wake himself up. “What, Omnivore?”

“I’m going out for breakfast, so I’ll be gone for a few hours at most,” he says. “Just wanted to let you know.”

Fine. I’m going back to sleep.” He drops back onto his pillows and tugs his blanket over his head. Tsuna laughs quietly and closes the curtains. Hopefully Hibari would remember this when he wakes up fully.


Yamamoto takes Tsuna to some small breakfast place that must be new because Tsuna doesn’t remember it. It’s a small place, and would be quieter if it weren’t so popular.

“So where’d you end up going after middle school?” Yamamoto asks as they’re eating. “I remember you kind of just disappeared. Everyone thought you’d go to on to Namimori High like almost everyone else, but you didn’t.”

“Oh, well, I went about two towns north,” Tsuna explains. “I love Namimori—kind of hard not to when Hibari-san is shoving pro-Namimori propaganda down my throat every other week—but I don’t have the greatest memories here, so I wanted to get out at least for high school. Then I just… never left. I had a job and friends there, so.” He shrugs.

“Yeah, speaking of Hibari, how did you meet him again? And when? He pretty much disappeared after high school too.”

Tsuna talks about his life for a little while. It’s easy to get lost in it, to gush about his friends and how surprisingly nice it is to work with Hibari on a daily basis. He keeps the criminal aspect out of it—Omérta exists, after all—but it’s easy enough to talk about purely business-related matters. It’s nice being able to talk about his life, and Yamamoto’s has amusing reactions.

(“Whoa, you’re telling me Sasagawa-senpai is also working with you?” he asks at one point, eyes wide. “That explains where he went off to.”

Tsuna laughs. “Yeah. Officially Onii-san is Hibari-san’s bodyguard, but he’s really just there to keep Hibari-san from attacking everyone who annoys him.”


“No, I’m not dating Kyoko-chan, though she’s also kind of a consultant for Hibari-san. He just told me to call him that after we met for some reason.”)

He can’t quite manage stop himself from asking the question on his mind when his own conversation topics waver off. “What happened to baseball, Yamamoto-san?” Yamamoto’s smile becomes strained and his finger begins tapping on the table. Tsuna winces. That wasn’t a good idea.

“It got… boring,” he answers slowly after a few tense moments. “I mean, I love baseball! It’s fun! But it was just so slow, I guess? And after a while, I couldn’t do it anymore. So I quit after a few years and never went back. I don’t really know what I’m meant to do now, but I picked up a little bit of sword training from my dad! It’s pretty fun! He won’t teach me seriously though—something about ‘finding a legitimate reason to pick up the sword’—so…”

“Hm… Well, Hibari-san’s always hiring,” Tsuna says. He doesn’t mention the whole ‘mafia’ thing because some parts of the company aren’t actually involved in the criminal side. A fair amount of the employees are pretty ignorant of that aspect of the business. “If you want to get out of Namimori, you can always apply. Hibari-san might get mad at me for offering, but he never refuses help.”

“Haha, I don’t think I’m cut out for a desk job…”

Tsuna smiles. “There’s a lot of paperwork, but when you work with both Sasagawa siblings and Hibari Kyoya, life is never boring. You don’t have to, of course. It was just a suggestion. You seem like you need a friend and, well. I gained some when I left this place, so why couldn’t you? While you’re at it, stop smiling when you don’t want to. As I said, it’s weird and kind of uncomfortable.”

Yamamoto’s smile drops, and it’s replaced with a contemplative look. Tsuna doesn’t want to drag an innocent into crime, but at the very least, he figures he might be able to help a possible new friend out.


It’s just Tsuna’s luck that his father comes by on the same day that both Hayato and Lambo have figured out where he is. That means that Tsuna is sitting on his mother’s loveseat, while Hayato is snarling at Iemitsu and Lambo is hugging Tsuna around his neck protectively, and Hibari is probably dying of laughter from where he retreated to Tsuna’s old childhood bedroom. Bizarrely, Tsuna hopes that Nana had cleaned the room up. Hibari doesn’t need to know about his manga phase. (Knowing his mother, his hopes are useless)

Luckily, Nana had gone out to buy groceries and so wasn’t present for this encounter.

“Um… Tsuna?” Iemitsu says weakly, eyeing Hayato warily. “Can you, uhh, tell your friends to leave us? Why are Smokin’ Bomb Hayato and the Bovino heir here?”

“The what?” Tsuna looks up to glare at Lambo, who pouts.

“I’m not the favored heir, so it’s fine,” he mutters petulantly.

“Lambo, you can’t just abandon—“ Tsuna cuts himself off and sighs, pinching the bridge of his nose. “Lambo, Hayato, please join Hibari-san upstairs. This is a conversation that needs to be had in private.”

Hayato spins around, looking offended on Tsuna’s own behalf. “But Tsuna-sama—“ what? “Kyoko-san and that annoying designer girl told us about your history! They also said not to let him anywhere near you!”

“Oh my god,” Tsuna says. “You don’t have to listen to them. Why did you listen to them? No, don’t answer that. Please, I can handle this myself. Go upstairs and let me talk to my dad.” The two of them hesitate, so he uses his voice that always gets Hibari moving to his tune. “Now.” That has the two scampering up the stairs. Tsuna smiles in satisfaction.

“You would’ve been a good boss, Tsuna,” Iemitsu says wistfully as he stares at where Hayato and Lambo have escaped to.

Tsuna snorts. “I never wanted to be a boss and I’m not going to be.” Ignoring the fact that he already basically helps Hibari run his own Family. He isn’t the boss, technically, and he isn’t in the limelight, so it doesn’t count and whoever says otherwise is a liar.

“Right… Tsuna, you said you would talk with me,” Iemitsu says, looking at him seriously.

“Yes, I did. Dad,” Tsuna begins, “did you know that the longer you leave an Active Sky Sealed, the harder it becomes for them to concentrate and use their basic motor functions? When I was eighteen, I got hit by a car. I survived, obviously, but that morning my arms were already covered in bandages from me tripping a whole bunch in my own home, as well as fucking up breakfast and burning my hand and a shit ton of other accidents from before. I had been having problems for months by then. My bosses at the time made me take time off work in hopes I would recover. The doctor I went to couldn’t find anything wrong with me. It wasn’t until I woke up in the hospital where Kazuki-sama was waiting that he told me he could fix what was wrong with me.

“And,” he continues, ignoring the gutted expression on his father’s face, “did you know that even Inactive Flames can Harmonize? When you left Mom, you were halfway through a Courtship. You left her only partly Harmonized and she’ll never recover again. It’s not the same as what I had; she’s still Mom, but she’s practically blind to even the most obviously suspicious activity and utterly loyal to you no matter how much you fuck up. I didn’t get the help I needed as a kid because you would assure Mom that there was nothing wrong with me and she would just… believe it after the first time you said it. I remember that phone conversation, because afterwards Mom said, ‘Well, Papa says all you need to do is work harder!’ and she would only ever repeat that when I tried to ask for help. She’s compliant. That’s all she is and it fucked us both up, Dad.”

“I… Tsuna…” Iemitsu says, sounding genuinely distressed. Tsuna just looks at him blankly. “You have to believe me, I just… I just wanted the best for you and your mother. I couldn’t stay, not if I wanted to keep you both safe and civilian. I didn’t even realize I had begun Harmonizing with Nana. Are you sure I…?”

“Can you not feel her Flames?” Tsuna demands. “They’re so cold and constantly flickering! It’s so hard to be around her, especially if I accidentally mention you or the mafia or anything criminal. I keep feeling like she’s dying every time your broken Harmony with her makes an appearance! The only time she seems okay is when your Flames are here to feed them!”

“Tsuna, I didn’t know.”

“And what’s this about ‘keeping us civilian’? You’re a known figure in the mafia! It would have been impossible to keep us a secret, and lo and behold, we’re not! I had to survive assassination attempts and because of what you did to Mom, she doesn’t even realize how many would-be assassins she has let into the house!”

Iemitsu gapes at him. “What?”

Tsuna clicks his tongue. “When you leave an undeveloped Element, the Harmonized Flame user is left blindly loyal to everything their Sky wants them to think. You wanted Mom completely ignorant to the criminal underground—which is impossible because Namimori is Hibari territory, by the way—and so Mom has no clue when obvious mafia criminals come after her. So many assassins have appeared, and the only reason we’re still alive is because of the Hibaris and later, my efforts to keep us safe. Did you even think before leaving us?”

“Keeping you secret kept you as safe as I could! I left some protection detail!” Iemitsu argues weakly.

“Your CEDEF officers couldn’t stay in Namimori all the time. They had other work beyond watching a bunch of civilians and so they were careless.” Hibari had looked into it on his request when Tsuna was twenty. It had filled with an angry frustration, and he still wasn’t accepting of what happened. “Dad, more often than not, keeping secrets is what gets people killed. If you had just told Mom and I the truth, I would have been more accepting.” He sighs. “I get it, Dad. I really do. I’m pretty notorious myself, to an extent, and I don’t go home as often as I’d like to see Mom, but at least Mom knows that I’m a criminal. I don’t tell her the details and your wishes as her Sky keeps her from realizing the extent of it, but she knows and I still find time to call her. Members of the Family are always around, so I’ve ensured her safety. But I shouldn’t have had to make those arrangements.”

Iemitsu runs his hands through his hair, looking cowed. Tsuna feels a bit of dark satisfaction. “I don’t have anything to say to that…” he murmurs. “There’s nothing I can say to make this better, can I? I wanted to keep you two safe and all I did was mess up.” If he’s trying to guilt Tsuna, it’s not working. He’s not as vindictive as he had been at eighteen years old, having only just learned about what his father had done, but he’s still an adult with a better understanding of himself and the world. There are a lot of things he is willing to forgive, but with his father, it’s too complicated for it to be that simple.

“Yeah, you did,” he says readily. Iemitsu flinches. “I’m not going to forgive you. I understand you, but I won’t forgive you. You haven’t even apologized yet. But Mom loves you, as blind as she is, and your presence makes her happy. And I know you love us. Your greatest flaw is that you were born mafia, and that makes it harder for you to understand being a normal parent and husband. So what you can do is own up to your mistakes and work to make things better.” Iemitsu’s eyes widen at the unexpected chance. “The twenty-four years I spent without you can’t be erased or fixed. They happened and I won’t ignore that, but I won’t outright reject your presence. I don’t hate you, Dad; I just don’t know you. I’m giving you this chance to work on that.”

“I…” He swallows. “Yes, I want to… I don’t want you to hate me. I love you and Nana so much, Tsuna.” He lets out a sob, covering his face with his hands. “I’m going to work on it. I don’t… Nono has a bad relationship with all of his children. Xanxus outright hates him and the other three aren’t happy with him either. I don’t want to just accept that, like he does. I want you to forgive me, one day. And, Tsuna…” He removes his hands to look at him with slightly red eyes.

“Yes?” Tsuna says.

“I am so sorry that I Sealed your Flames. And for what I’ve done to Nana, but you barely mentioned what that Sealing did to you. I didn’t realize the extent of what it would do to you, and no one ever told me that you had been in the hospital. Fuck, if I had known…”

Tsuna sighs and shrugs one shoulder, slightly uncomfortable. “That’s… I was mad about it, but ultimately it was Nono who did it even though he must have known its consequences. That man hasn’t even contacted me at all, so I’m mostly mad at him. As long as you acknowledge your mistakes, that’s… fine. I’ll probably forgive you one day, if you keep it up.”

“Yes.” Iemitsu nods shakily. “Yes, I will. I love you so much.” Tsuna doesn’t echo the statement. He doesn’t know what he feels for a man who hadn’t been around for a majority of his life, but it isn’t dislike or anger as it once had been. He may be able to see him as an actual dad, one day.

The door opens. “I’m home!” Nana calls. Iemitsu wipes at his eyes and plasters a wide grin on his face as he rushes to greet her. Tsuna stands to head upstairs, letting them have their moment.


Tsuna is too tired to have another discussion with Hayato and Lambo by the time he gets back to the estate, so he sends them off to two separate guest rooms and then collapses in his bed.

The next morning, they finally get to talking at the breakfast table.

“Why are you two so insistent on following me? Hayato, I know I didn’t do much for you, so I’m especially curious about you.” Tsuna raises an eyebrow and takes a sip of his coffee.

Hayato blushes. “Well, Tsuna-sama, um… Originally, I did just want to repay my debt and I was following you to find out when I could repay you, but then when I did I saw how… amazing you are! You command your Elements and even Hibari so easily! And you’re so modest about it too! And you didn’t get mad at me when I started hanging around! You didn’t yell or cast me out!”

“You know I left because I needed time to breathe right?” Tsuna asks.

“Ah, well, yes,” Hayato admits sheepishly. “I did get a bit rowdy, but that little cow brat is annoying!”

“Say that to my face, octopus head!” Lambo snaps.

“Lambo,” Tsuna says sharply. Lambo sits back down with a pout. “Alright, what’s your explanation?”

“I told you that you’re really nice and no one has ever told me what you did,” Lambo explains, fidgeting in his seat. “I-I’m a disgrace to my Family. They’re not happy about me at all so they just ignore me or make me do stupid things. They tried to get me to try and kill Reborn when I was five and I was just lucky Reborn wasn’t in the interest of killing everyone who went after him.”

“They tried to do what?” Tsuna gapes. Even he knows that that’s just asking for someone to get killed, especially a child. At five. “Okay, that’s understandable. And Hayato, you’re not affiliated to anyone, so I’m sure there’s something you’re not telling me about your past. That’s fine; you don’t have to tell me. I’m not going to make either of you leave.” The two smile widely in relief. “But we are going to need to figure something out about what you’re going to be doing here because I can’t fit all three of us in my one-room apartment. We’ll do that when we get home, though.”

“Thank you, Tsuna-sama!” Hayato says excitedly.

“Yeah, yeah! Thanks, um… the word for older brother is… ‘nii-san’, right?” Lambo says uncertainly.

“You can call me Tsuna-nii if you’d like,” Tsuna responds, pleasantly surprised.

“Tsuna-nii, then!” Lambo says, grinning. Tsuna smiles.

“Sure. And no problem.”


Their last night in Namimori leads to them going out for dinner at Takesushi. Tsuna isn’t willing to leave without saying goodbye to Yamamoto, who he had made sure to spend time with throughout the duration of his stay, and it would be nice to spend time with both his friends and his parents. And whatever Hibari is to him. They’re not quite boss-and-associate, but they’re a bit different from just friends too. (Iemitsu had been informed of Tsuna’s… thing for Hibari and had taken to fatherly teasing. It’s annoying, but he grudgingly tolerates it)

 “Tsuna! And Nana-san! And guests!” Yamamoto says, eyes wide and surprised. “Oh, wow, I wasn’t expecting all of you tonight. Here, sit.” He leads them to a large enough table and has them sit down before he starts talking again. “Wow, some new faces. Wasn’t expecting that. Welcome to Takesushi!”

“Ah, you’re the cute Yamamoto-kun my wife was talking about!” Iemitsu laughs. “You can just call me Iemitsu! If my wife likes you, I like you!”

“I like him too,” Tsuna pipes up. Hibari instantly turns to stare at Yamamoto, who blushes and laughs sheepishly.

“Wow, thanks Tsuna!” he says. “Nice to meet you, Iemitsu-san. And you two are…?” He looks at Lambo and Hayato. His gaze lingers on Hayato for a little while, which has Tsuna perking up in interest.

“This is my unofficially adopted little brother Lambo,” Tsuna says, “and my friend, Hayato.” He points to the two of them. Lambo waves shyly while Hayato grumbles out a greeting.

Yamamoto stares at Hayato for a little while, then blurts out, “You’re really cute.” There’s a beat of silence as everyone comprehends what he just said, then Hayato’s face turns bright red.

“What the hell, bastard?” he practically shrieks. Yamamoto laughs nervously, face turning pink, and he drops a pile of menus on the table.

Well, I think that’s my cue to leave haha I’llbebackinafewminutesbye!” He darts away before Hayato can decide whether or not to attack him for his comment. Lambo and Iemitsu are outright roaring with laughing already. Nana giggles behind her hand and Tsuna snickers. Hibari has a tiny, amused smirk on his face too.

“That’s so cute, Hayato-kun,” Nana coos.

“N-Nana-san,” Hayato chokes out.

“I told you to call me Mama!”

“Oh, oh! Call me Papa while you’re at it!” Iemitsu chirps.

“No way in hell!”

Needless to say, dinner ends up a friendly affair, though Hayato and Yamamoto refuse to look at each other for the rest of the night. It’s incredibly amusing for Tsuna and it takes speculation away from him and HIbari.

Before the two of them leave after dinner, Yamamoto grabs their attention. “Hey, uh, Tsuna? Hibari?”

“What is it, herbivore?” Hibari asks, looking at him suspiciously. Tsuna smacks him over the head to get him to drop the look. Hibari glares at him instead.

“Um, so, did Tsuna tell you that he offered me a job?” Yamamoto asks. Hibari nods. “Is that offer still open? I’m not great at desk work, but if you can find me a job, that’d be great. I’ve been thinking about it and Tsuna, you were right—it would be better if I left Namimori. And, well, you offered and you’re a pretty great guy! So how about it?”

“I wouldn’t be opposed to it! Hibari-san?” Tsuna looks at Hibari. He has the final say, after all.

After a few suspenseful moments of contemplation, he nods slowly. “Alright. We will find a job for you. The omnivore will set up an appointment with you at our base headquarters where we can evaluate your skills.”

Yamamoto smiles, and it’s so genuinely real that Tsuna feels a warmth in his chest. “That’d be awesome! Thank you both!” He moves forward and hugs the two of them with surprising fearlessness. Tsuna laughs at Hibari’s alarmed expression. He growls when Yamamoto pulls back.

You…” he growls and Yamamoto laughs even as he dodges the ensuing tonfa attack.


“This would be a bad time to tell you that me and octopus head got you kicked out of your apartment, wouldn’t it?” Lambo says, staring at the small training dojo-type building that had been built near the office. The small dojo is also currently doused in Mist, Lightning, and Sun Flames.

Apparently, Mukuro, Haru, Ryohei, and Kyoko had gotten it into their heads to train while Tsuna and Hibari were away. In multiple locations. Which led to a fair amount of destruction not only in the home office, but also in three different training areas. The walls are starting to crumble in Training Dojo #4 where they stand now. Tsuna doesn’t know why his Elements are such powerhouses. Hana, Chrome, and Kusakabe didn’t even try to stop them.

(Honestly, fuck Hibari for having such calm Guardians, with the exception of Ryohei. It’s just not fair)

“You two did what?” Tsuna shrieks, spinning around to face his two newest charges. Hayato takes a step back.

“You know what? I think I’m going to go order some apartment catalogues to look at!” Lambo declares nervously. “H-Hayato-nii, do you wanna come with?” He gulps at whatever look is on Tsuna’s face and takes a few steps back too.

“Y-yes, let’s go find some!” Hayato nods rapidly, and together, they scramble away.

Tsuna buries his face in his hands and barely manages to keep himself from screaming. Oh god. The shit he has to put up with in this place.

Two arms wrap around his waist and a chin hooks on his shoulder. Tsuna relaxes slowly, taking a few deep breaths until he’s leaning back into Hibari’s arms.

“Just move in with me,” Hibari murmurs. “You can even bring your two freeloaders, granted they don’t crowd and cause too many problems. We can install soundproof walls.” Tsuna shivers as his breath brushes his ear.

“I guess I have no choice,” he sighs. He turns his head and smiles crookedly at Hibari. “Does this mean I should start calling you Kyoya?”

Hibari rolls his eyes. “You could have done that years ago. But yes. And while we’re at it, figure out that we’re dating already and let me take you out on an official one.”

Tsuna blinks, mouth agape. His face burns, but he feels his lips curve into a smile. “I… okay. Yes.” Before he can second-guess himself, Tsuna presses a quick kiss to Hibari’s—Kyoya’s—cheek. Hibari blinks at him, then buries his face into his neck. His arms tighten around Tsuna’s waist and Tsuna can feel the curve of his smile into his neck. Tsuna coughs into his fist, trying to keep his smile from widening any more.

The training room is still breaking down in front of them, but at least this is two problems solved.

About a month into Tsuna’s new job as Kyoya’s personal assistant, he walked into Kyoya’s room to wake him and stopped in his tracks at Kyoya’s sleeping face. The light pouring in from the hallway illuminated his features, forcing Tsuna to take a moment to appreciate his looks.

It was far from the first time he had done this—he had always thought that Kyoya was attractive in a distant sort of way, but this time he couldn’t stop staring. He was busy thinking, about how grateful he was for Kyoya being in his life and how he had changed everything for him, and wow, Kyoya really was a pretty great person and more than being devilishly hot, he was also awfully cute—

Oh, Tsuna had realized, horrifyingly, in that moment. Oh no.