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The Switzerland Debacle

Chapter Text


 

The rush of adrenaline he feels after winning is something that he has never quite gotten used to, no matter how many times he won a match.

The rush of adrenaline he felt after finally leaving was something he had never felt before.

 

He faintly hummed, contentment settling in and a sort of peace loosened his tense limbs. His orange flames briefly flickered, resonating with his feelings.

He ached, tension coiling up like a spring at the bottom of his stomach, a brief moment of illness. His cloud flames lashed out, put solely on the defensive.

 

The team had won against South Korea, and for the moments that followed the proclamation of their victory, the stadium had rattled. The rest of the team has similar emotions, the colors of the rainbow briefly flickering in and out. He felt a feeling of settlement, something akin to coming home, like he was a part of a bigger machine, a bigger moment in time.

He had finally left, left the house that had smothered him and caged his true emotions. The Bonds were cut and he was left with an encompassing and consuming need for Harmony. However, he felt a feeling of freedom, something that filled his lungs that had gone so long without working, a spark that he knew would soon flicker into a flame.

 

He was thankful that there was downtime in-between matches, not just so Sun Xiang can return to the team, but also so that he can fall back into planning and slowly come down from the all-too addicting high of a win. Sharing looks with the others once the cheering in the stadium had calmed down a notch, they stood up from their seats and moved from the constricting player area to the wide expanse of the stadium floor. They shook hands with the South Korean team, took some time to speak with the interviewers, and made their way home. A complete unit from beginning to end.

He was surprised that a wrench hadn’t been thrown into the plans, that the Arcobaleno remained away from the Manor and had actually stuck to the mission time frame. He turned his head to look at his surroundings once he left the forest surrounding the property, and all he could see for miles and miles was the Italian coast, the waves perpetually crashing against the rocky cliffs. It was much more open, allowing his brain to actually think instead of his thoughts being compressed by the halls of the house. He was finally alone and himself.

 

The team chatted as they returned to the hotel, basking in their emotions. He made his way to the planning room with two others, planning on picking up the remnants of their tactics against the South Korean team in preparation for their next rival, Italy. Once those papers were moved, he separated from them and made his way to his hotel room, sending a brief text to his brother on Weibo to inform him of their win, though he had probably already seen the footage.

He kept speeding along on his bike, whizzing past the local plants and animals. He made his way down the cliff, being careful around the bends and the rougher terrain as he made his way further down. Almost at the appointed destination, he felt a wave of gratitude towards Aria, though he knew she already understood the depths of his thankfulness.

 

Sliding the keycard into the holder- wading into the ocean- he turned the handle once he heard the confirmation click- he expanded his flames once he reached the spot- and walked in- inhaled deeply- before being met- with an overwhelming- darkness.

 

~

 

Reborn tightened the ropes, taking care to remember that the man’s livelihood relied on his arms and hands. The rest of the Arcobaleno sat or stood in the room, with Tsuna being the exception and standing far off to the side. The teen had forbidden the rest of his Guardians to enter the room in a surprise move, though Reborn didn’t spend an overt amount of thinking about why. He had more important matters to attend to.

 

Skull- and it was Skull, there could never be a denial strong enough to convince them otherwise, but-, was still in the chair, head lolling down and body slightly slumped against the ropes. It perhaps wasn’t their best idea, Fon and Tsuna voicing their audible disapproval, and there was even silent disagreement from Colonnello, though the man never voiced it out loud, a surprising move from a man who was usually one of the more vocal in the group. Even Reborn himself had doubts over their method because Skull had never experienced such treatment before, at any intensity. To their collective knowledge, at least.

 

Finished with the adjustments he turned and walked to the wall, leaning off-center from Skull’s possible line of sight. Raising an eyebrow at Lal who just nodded, he felt the weight of her Rain Flames slowly lighten and begin to fade away. They would have used Colonnello’s Flames, but the man refused, so they asked Lal. It wasn’t because they thought her Flames were weak, but their purity in comparison to Colonnello’s was less due to her Cloud secondary. The higher the purity, the easier it was to ensure their effectiveness, though it seemed as though Skull held no resistance against the effects of the Tranquility.

 

Reborn was taken out of his thoughts by the soft groan from Skull, whose face briefly contorted in annoyance before his eyes narrowly opened. They quickly opened fully once he became aware of where he was, and the people standing in the room. Reborn took note of how his eyes darted around and took in everything, before Skull plastered on a smile that held easily-seen annoyance but also a hint of something else. It was slightly hard to tell because the lights were as dim as they could go, but Reborn wasn't in the Arcobaleno for nothing.

 

“Well, I can’t say that this is a new experience for me, but it is certainly a surprise one. Would my surprise guests like to say something?” His leg twitched but he couldn’t complete the movement because his legs were tied to the chair legs.

 

Reborn looked at Verde, who only nodded, before beginning the conversation.

 

“Skull,” he opted to call him by his actual name in an attempt to set a non-hostile environment off the bat, “what are you doing here? One second you’re at the Manor, the next you’re gone.” He tried to keep his voice even, but the months of anxiety made it so his speech sped up a little. Embarrassing.

 

“Huh?” Skull scrunched up his nose a little in confusion, eyebrow quirking upwards, “I have no idea who any of you are. Well,” he seemed to think for a little, igniting something Reborn refused to call hope in his chest, “except for those two. Fon and… Tsuna?” That emotion was snuffed out.

 

“Ah?!” Tsuna squeaked out, causing Skull to smile in satisfaction. “I WAS right! Ha, didi would be surprised I remembered it.” He seemed to get a little lost in his head, but Mammon bluntly cut in.

 

“Would that be, by any chance, Ye Qiu?” Skull snapped out of his thoughts, and Reborn felt his eyes slightly widen at the sharp calculating looking in his eyes, spotting a ferociousness he couldn’t recall ever seeing from the man.

 

“Eh?” Skull’s voice lilted high, a tinge of genuine anger present, “You should think a little harder. Little old me, related to the CEO of a company many would kill to enter?” He didn’t quite answer the question, which Reborn noted down. Skull would always answer a question directly, even if he answered with a lie. Misdirection wasn’t something he had ever heard from the man.

 

“Yes?” Mammon asked, head moving imperceptibly closer, though Reborn could see from his spot that Skull caught onto the movement. This time, a frown almost crossed his face. Skull would never have noticed that, he never noticed anything that wasn’t blatantly in his face, and even then he would sometimes miss it, though Reborn knew he occasionally ignored them just to get a laugh. 

 

The thought that had crossed his mind the first time he saw the man came back. This, this might not be-

 

“Aiyo, what is this, an interrogation? I don’t even know your names, yet here you are, asking for my entire family tree? A little unfair.” He tsk’d, but Reborn could tell that the man wouldn’t say anything else on the matter. “If you try to torture me or something funny like that, I’ll say in advance I am trained, so don’t try it!” He smirked, but there was a sense of genuine unease.

 

“Ah- Skull-san!” Tsuna abruptly chimed in, causing everyone to give him a look of confusion, though of varying intensities.

 

“Also!” The man narrowed his eyes at Tsuna, though it seemed to be in a simple questioning manner, “Who is this ‘Skull’ guy you keep mentioning?” He tilted his head in what Reborn could tell was a mix of mockery and playfulness, “Well, you haven’t mentioned him a lot, but I can pick up on things.” He punctuated the last word with a wink.

 

“Do you really not know, kora?” Colonnello jumped in, earning him the same looks that Tsuna had gotten. 

 

“Know what?” A raise of an eyebrow.

 

“He’s you! Well, they think he’s you. I don’t think that, I think you’re just some gamer guy, kora.” The last sentence earned Colonnello a brief moment of rapid blinks, before the guy burst out laughing, the chair slightly moving at the intensity.

 

“‘Just some gamer guy’? I think you’d get jumped if you ever said that to a group of Glory fans, but I think that’s a perfect description. Just some gamer guy , haha, you’re funny! I think I like you! Well, like you enough to maybe forgive you for the kidnapping and interrogation.” The man smiled, and Colonnello was visibly at a loss for words, though a tentative smile appeared on his face.

 

“For the record, I didn’t really agree to this whole thing. It’s a bit of a mess, kora.” A small sparkle appeared in his eyes, his smile growing to crinkle the ends of them. Reborn hadn't seen Colonnello smile like that, probably since they found out Skull was missing.

 

“We’re getting off track,” Verde’s voice cut in, voice cold as always, “Move the topic of discussion.”

 

“Well, you sound a little familiar,” at this admission, the Arcobaleno briefly perked up, “you sound just like Happy’s resident assassin, Mo Fan!” Their expressions fell.

 

“Also,” he shook his arms and legs briefly, “can you let me go? I am quite positive I’m not the guy you’re trying to find and judging by the time, you might get a visitor that won’t be pleased to see this whole thing.” Reborn took a glance at the clock in the room, but didn’t have any idea what the man meant. Who would visit him at three in the morning?

 

A couple of sharp knocks at the door jolted him out of his thoughts and he shared a surprised look with Lal, who had also turned to look at the clock. A second round of the knocks happened, along with the quiet sound of keys jingling snapped him into action, causing him to move behind the chair and begin untying the knots, Lal joining in. Only one knot undone, they heard the key inserted into the lock and a small creaking noise of the door being opened. A figure was backlit by the hallway lights, and Reborn saw a hand reach out to flip on the lights, only to pause and hold the button to bring the lights up to full intensity.

 

“Ah, now I’m in for it.” The man murmured, dismay audible in his voice, wincing at the drastic change in lighting.

 

“Senior?” The man asked, and Reborn saw the man in glasses narrow his eyes before widening them in shock.

 

Senior?!

 

“I would like to state for the record that this wasn’t my fault.” The guy said, letting out a single nervous laugh.

 

Reborn suddenly deeply regretted the plan, especially once he saw that the man’s eyes went from a light grey to a blinding yellow that slowly changed into an electric yellow-green.