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Tsuna really should have seen this coming.

The De Luca famiglia had been getting bolder, more arrogant and reckless, for months now, infringing into other territories, interfering with business deals and trades, and basically challenging the power of the mafia’s most prominent famiglias at every turn. Until now, Tsuna had refrained from stepping in since his own people were unaffected and the other bosses had sworn they would deal with the problem before it became a truly major issue.

It figured that De Luca would make a truly spectacularly stupid move just days before the Cavallone and Trevisani were due to confront the insolent boss.

The boss, who currently had an arm barred across Tsuna’s chest and a knife pointed at his throat, shielding all but his eyes behind Tsuna’s smaller frame. The boss, who had foolishly interrupted Tsuna’s weekly lunch date with his younger basically-adopted siblings that everyone and their mother knew was a sacred two allotted hours in Tsuna’s busy schedule that were not, under any circumstances, to be spoiled, under threat of Vongola Decimo’s wrath. The boss, who’d at least been smart enough to bring along half-a-dozen henchmen that were scattered around the restaurant’s outdoor patio with handguns and flame weapons, one of whom - one who was little more than an already-dead man walking - who had his fist snarled in Lambo’s hair, cooly ignoring the young boy’s panicked tears and pleading.

All of them were about to have a very, very bad day.

The sharp click of an extremely familiar gun being cocked drew Tsuna’s gaze up, his own hazel eyes locking with rich, glimmering black, practically glowing from beneath a pristine fedora with unmitigated fury.

“You’ve just made the biggest mistake of your miserable life, Alessio De Luca,” Reborn said, aiming the transformed shape of Leon right between the Don’s eyes. I-pin - who had managed to slip out of the henchmens’ grasps - stood behind him, clutching at the back of his coat and lip trembling as her gaze flitted rapidly between Tsuna, Lambo, and Reborn.

“Reborn,” Tsuna called, steady and collected - this was a problem, yes, but not nearly as troublesome as the rigid tension in Reborn’s shoulders suggested. He needed his hitman calm, thinking clearly. “Lambo first.”

Reborn’s eyes flashed and his tone was cold, biting. “Tsuna—”

“No,” Tsuna started, then was cut off himself by a hiss of pain when De Luca tightened his grip and the blade bit into the tender skin under his jaw.

“Shut up!” De Luca shouted, shaking Tsuna in his arms and tugging him back a step. “No more talking! You make one move, Arcobaleno, and Decimo dies!”

Tsuna barrelled on, more concerned with the rising tension in his hitman and the safety of his family than he was about the Don at his back. “Lambo first, Reborn,” he repeated, voice level and serious. “I trust you.”

Reborn’s eyes widened - just for a moment - and then his jaw clenched and he slowly, reluctantly shifted his aim over to the mafioso trying to restrain a thrashing, whimpering Lambo. His eyes never left Alessio’s face. “You’re dead, De Luca. You won’t make it two steps.”

De Luca laughed, pitchy and strained to Tsuna’s ear though he was probably trying to sound amused. “I think not, Arcobaleno. Not unless you want to risk the life of your precious student.” He started gesturing with his head to his men, directing them to start backing away.

“Two steps, De Luca. Remember that,” Reborn said, and switched his gaze to Lambo’s attacker. His lips moved in a quiet, subtle murmur, too quiet for Tsuna to hear, but I-pin straightened her shoulders and nodded, stepping to the side and dropping into a fighting stance.

The henchmen circled up, surrounding the Don with guns trained on Reborn and I-Pin as they prepared to back toward the nearest alley. Lambo whimpered, but stilled finally, gaze locking with I-Pin’s mirrored expression of fear and steely determination. Tsuna took it all in - the hushed, fearful whispers of the watching crowd; the breeze whistling against the broken glass and porcelain scattered at his feet; Reborn’s chest rising and falling in a steady, perfect rhythm; the ticklish trail of blood dripping down his neck - and nodded.

Two gunshots shattered the silence in immediate succession, then a dozen more were almost drowned out by the panicked shouts of De Luca’s men as they fired on Reborn’s lean figure and I-Pin’s blurred one as they dodged and wove and took the rest of the attackers down in seconds. Alessio’s body went stiff and then completely limp at Tsuna’s back, and Tsuna slipped out of the dead Don’s slacking grip and out of the way as his body fell heavily to the ground, a gaping, sluggishly-bleeding hole right between his eyes. He’d made it a single step.

Reborn rushed over, then, yanking a handkerchief from his pocket and forcing Tsuna’s hand to press it against his own neck. “Dammit, Tsuna,” he growled, running his hands over the rest of Tsuna’s body, checking for injuries.

Tsuna indulged the fretting, smiling wanly as he held the cloth in place. “I’m fine, Reborn. Just a little cut, nothing else.”

Reborn’s eyes flashed and one of his hands tugged at the hair behind Tsuna’s ear. “That’s not the problem and you know it. You shouldn’t have asked me to do that.”

“Hey,” Tsuna said, reaching with his free hand to yank on Reborn’s tie, derailing his fussing. “I’m fine, everyone else is fine. I knew you could do it. Since when is anyone else more confident in your abilities than you are?” he asked, lips quirking.

Reborn stiffened, loosening his grip and turning away, head tilted just right so that the brim of his fedora hid his eyes. “I’m… finding more and more often that my worry for your well being tends to override everything else,” he said, voice low and quiet and almost - hesitant?

Tsuna went still, staring up at Reborn and trying desperately not to take that to mean what it sounded like. “...Reborn?”

Reborn tipped his head back, staring up at the deep blue sky and sighing deeply. “Still so oblivious, after all these years,” he muttered, but before Tsuna could do more than start to wrangle up a squawk of indignation, Reborn tilted his face back down, and the overwhelming level of emotion in his gaze strangled the noise halfway out of Tsuna’s throat.

“I trust you, too, Tsuna,” Reborn said, soft, soft, so goddamned soft , and the gravity of the statement made Tsuna’s eyes widen in realization.

Oh.

“Really?” Tsuna asked, pretty sure the smile beginning to split his face was wide and blinding and utterly soppy.

Reborn chuckled and reached up to tug gently on his ear. “Really. Now wipe that grin off your face. You’re a mafia boss, you shouldn’t look so ridiculous.”

Tsuna beamed, tightening his grip on Reborn’s tie. “No.”

“No?” Reborn asked, quirking a brow.

“No,” Tsuna shook his head, subtly pulling Reborn down, closer, trying to get him within reach; if the way Reborn’s mouth kept tugging up to the side was any indication, though, he wasn’t being all that subtle. “Not until you kiss me.”

Reborn’s grin turned sharp, then - dangerous - and he froze, refusing to let Tsuna pull him down any further even though his eyes were sparkling. “Oh? And how is that in any way related to what we’ve been saying?”

Tsuna tried to growl in frustration at being unable to reach any higher - dammit, why hadn’t he inherited any of Iemitsu’s height? - but this new, delightful, playful side of Reborn was too perfect and precious and he couldn’t help the exasperated laugh that spilled from his lips. “Oh my god, stop playing coy and just kiss me already!”

Reborn chuckled, eyes dancing, but complied - finally complied - and let Tsuna pull him down the last few inches and press their mouths together in a warm, belated, perfect kiss.