Benvenuta a la Vongola Famiglia

Original Release: Valentines & White Day 2017

 

Concept: reader-insert (female), otome-game prologue style, action, humor. Inspired by the concept of Kuroshitsuji's "Welcome to the Phantomhive"

 

Summary: you Reader is the foreign pen-friend of Kyoko visiting her in Japan, just at the perfect timing for a big Ball and midnight always strikes at Balls... except that this Ball is hosted and attended by the Mafia.

 

Benvenuta

a la Vongola Famiglia

JAPAN, NAMIMORI, A 'NORMAL' JULY AFTERNOON

The sky feels narrow despite how blue it shines on this summer afternoon. The warm breeze is dancing with the sunlight to come relieve the last shreds of potential jet lag, and you can't help but feel refreshed and impatient despite yourself.

"Are you sure you do not mind accompanying me? It's your first stay in Japan, isn't it? You'd surely prefer going to famous places instead, I guess…?"

The voice of the Japanese girl your age brings your attention back on her. Her short fluffy hair must be so nice in this hot weather… Ah, it looks like she's sincerely worrying and not only asking out of politeness. Her smile always looks so caring and natural that you can't help smiling in answer when you tell her it is no trouble at all.

How could you refuse the favour of accompanying her for some pre-arranged plan when it was this damn agency fault that they had given a wrong date for your arrival to your welcome family. To think you had to wait for the summer before entering high school before having the possibility to come, and they managed to mess up, sigh...

In any case, discovering new things is exactly what you've come for, so although you weren't expecting to start right off the plane, it is still very normal to join her to meet her friends.

"Tsuna-kun, everyone!"

Speaking about her friends, you're already arrived in front of the station without even realising. The group of teenagers you're joining looks rather unusual a mix, and you can't help thinking that you won't look at odd since there seems to be other foreign-looking people in the group.

"Kyoko-chan! Eh? This person behind you is…?" Your eyes fall on the shortest of all the guys who has just spoken, the one Kyoko has called Tsuna-kun.

"Ah, Tsuna-kun, everyone, she is my foreign correspondent. She's just arrived to Namimori yesterday night. I hope it won't trouble anyone to have her with us today…?"

"O-of course not, Kyoko-chan, haha… Oh, I-I'm Tsuna, naisu too meet yoo, hmm…" (A.N. sentences in italics will be spoken in English by the Japanese characters)

Your first impression of the one called Tsuna is the one of a clumsy shy guy who can't speak good English and doesn't make eye contact when greeting someone but, at the same time, not someone against whom you can feel angry or distant. And, eerily, despite not looking like a natural leader, it seems everyone in the group around is still taking his word as the rule and comes closer to greet you after he's done so. Perhaps there is something more to him than eyes meet.

"Ahiii, nice to meet you! My name is Haru and I am the same age as you!" Some upbeat teenage girl with a ponytail introduces herself in perfect English while coming to shake hands with you.

Haru… the friend Kyoko has often told you about in her letters. Her uniform is indeed different from the rest of them, but from what you remember from Kyoko's letter, her school in not an international one either. Still, her English is so good for a Japanese person…

"Ah Haru, the agency said she came to study more Japanese, so please talk to her in Japanese, alright?" Kyoko has friendlily explained your situation to them all and you smile faintly in thanks, wondering if that means you'll be faced with more unexpected Japanese accents.

Up until now, Kyoko's parents have had perfect Japanese like in textbooks but her brother is using some very blunt shortened sentences with a loud repetition of the word 'extreme' in English… Haru also seems to be using typical Japanese girly interjections like 'ahi' so that's two out of five people already: is it Japanese standards, maybe... Just how will the other people around speak…

You can't help but wish deep inside for something intelligible and 'normal'…

"Really? All in Japanese? So brave-desu!"

Kind of normal…

"Haha, I see, I see. Then nice to meet you. I'm Yamamoto, and this frowning guy here is Gokudera." You have to raise your eyes unexpectedly high to make eye contact with the one who's just talked. He looks the sporty type and his smile feels very refreshing, on top of his accent being casual but 'normal'.

Yama like the mountain, hmm… His name indeed suits him as you can't pinpoint why, but he does feel like someone solid and whom one can trust.

You faintly nod with a smile to answer his greeting before shifting your eyes towards the 'frowning-guy' introduced by Yamamoto.

"Tsk, if the 10th approves…" A foreign-looking guy that could qualify as handsome is looking away with a sneer.

His silver-grey hair and green eyes make him the most foreign-looking person of the group so you would have expected him to be more welcoming towards you. But his tone and attitude look very hostile so your smile falters considerably.

"Hey hey! Lambo-san is Lambo-san!" A loud unexpected voice makes you look right and left in search of its owner, before finally looking downwards to find a little boy running around you to greet you.

Th… it's… is it a cow-pattern pyjama he's wearing… like in pyjama and cow-pattern… Is Japan really such an easy-going country on fashion-style or has the little boy forgotten to get changed before heading out… He looks about 5-year-old so it could be… maybe…

"This brat is always so annoying, sigh, that's why I hate kids… That aside, tell me, Kyoko, have you told her exactly where we're going?"
"Ah, Hana, actually not yet, because…"

SHREEEK.

You don't have time to hear the end of the conversation between Kyoko and her best female friend, as the sound of tires stopping abruptly next to you all attracts your attention.

You turn your eyes in synch with everyone to see three black luxurious Italian cars parking in a skid, in line parallel to the walkway. This kind of stunt is usually for action movie, isn't it… Not so normal for a quiet Japanese neighbourhood, nevermind the fact that Italian cars are not so common in Japan or Asia in general…

Almost instantly after stopping, three foreign-looking drivers in black suits and black glasses and white gloves have left the driver's seats to walk in direction of your group. Before you could wonder if they were really coming for you or for someone else behind your back, they've stopped and bowed in front of Tsuna.

"Vongola Decimo, Master Cavallone has insisted we come and pick you up."

... n-not normal…

"Let's go, Tsuna. You wouldn't want to be late when your sempai goes through all this trouble for you, heehee…" A baby-looking boy dressed in a suit and who you hadn't noticed before has already jumped on the passenger seat of the car in the lead.

A simple smirk of his and the boy called Tsuna gives up and follows, and the entire group splits into the different cars as if all of that was normal. Yourself is gently pulled by the arm by Kyoko and you find yourself sit on the leather backseat of one of them before you would realise.

... d-definitely not normal…!

_

ABOUT AN HOUR LATER, WAITING ROOM OF A NEARBY HOTEL

"Awww, this dress really suits you! Look, Hana, Haru, doesn't it suit her really well?"
"Ahiii, gorgeous-desu, Haru feels a little jealous!"
"My my, I was right about the make-up tones, it looks perfect!"
"Well done, Hana, hihi…!"

The bubbly chatting between girls almost makes you forget about the emotional shock of an hour before.

It's true you hadn't expected to meddle with the high-society during this trip in Japan, even less considering your destination was not Ginza but Namimori. But, surprise aside, now that you think calmly about it, isn't it usual for the high-society to have fancy black cars coming to pick them up… usual to have fancy dresses and make-up ready for them at a fancy hotel…

You hadn't been able to catch a better look when first entering, but this is definitely one of the finest hotels in the prefecture. You're even sitting in the dressing rooms that usually only serve during wedding banquets… except tonight is not a wedding.

Once arrived, Kyoko had indeed apologized twice to you for not telling you today was not a simple outing with some friends but that tonight is actually a party organized by Tsuna's family with a lot of other families invited. You suppose your expression must have looked troubled upon hearing about it, but you hope it is not the case anymore. After all, it might just be that Kyoko had been embarrassed to tell you beforehand or didn't want to pressure you, so you can't let her efforts go to waste.

So it seems this little Tsuna from before is actually part of the high-society… No wonder all the others seemed to take his opinion in high consideration. Kyoko's family doesn't look that high-end though, and, if you recall the former introductions, isn't the tall guy called Yamamoto from a sushi shop… Maybe it means this Tsuna doesn't bother about social status when making friends, and that must be the reason why he didn't mind you joining…

Somehow, the thought makes you smile faintly and feel a little more at ease.

You gaze at the other girls who are still putting the finishing touches to their outfits: everyone look so glamorous…

Now you can't help feeling curious and a little anxious about tonight. For sure, attending a high-society event isn't the normal type of activities you were expecting for your first day here, but since you're already here with everyone being so friendly, you will do your best to behave as a guest should.

KNOCK KNOCK. "Hmm, ano… Excuse-me…?"

"Ah, Chrome-chan!" You turn your head in synch with Kyoko and the others to see a petite girl with silky blue hair entering the room.

She looks quite shy and keeps blushing when the girls compliment her outfit as well, while on your side, you can't help being curious about why the crown of flowers is making strands of hair hide her left eye…

But just about the time you are getting introduced to her, another knock is heard at the door.

"Ladies, are you ready?"
"Dino-san!"

Haru goes and open wide the door with an enthusiastic smile, while Kyoko murmurs at your ear that this person is like a big brother to Tsuna and is also the one who arranged today's party.

You approach the door with her, stealing a couple glances at the tall young man standing there in a dashing white tuxedo. He's way taller than everyone else and looks already in his twenties. You're impressed to hear him converse in fluent Japanese with Haru and the girls while he looks foreign in each detail, from his blond hair to his poise and smile, almost like a model from one of these famous Italian brands.

Dino notices you and a warm smile shows on his lips as he turns to greet you.

"Ooh, I am glad to see the dress chosen suits you perfectly. It is an Italian design we've arranged for tonight especially. I hope you won't mind we could only arrange this colour?"

You shake your head faintly to let him know you don't mind the extravagant gift, of course. An Italian design too... Ah, so he IS Italian...!

"Well then, ladies, I will be waiting for you in the hal…" BAM.

But just as the blond Italian gentleman was leaving, he bumps into the door frame in a very clumsy manner, startling you considerably while the other girls seem on the contrary used to it.

You have about two to three minutes more in the dressing room to have your heartbeats quiet down while everyone tidy up their clothes and grabs onto their clutch bags before heading towards the door again.

"Alright, let's go, hihi…!"

You breathe in deeply, straighten the fabric of your dress, and follow after Kyoko and the other girls towards the reception hall.

_

GRAND BALLROOM

The reception hall itself feels overwhelming, with its huge crystal chandelier, its heavy curtains of satin opening onto balconies, its boudoir sofas and fancy buffet tables covered with glasses of champagne and silver trays presenting sweets and savory delicacies.

A live classical orchestra is even playing chamber music, and the tunes of violin and harp are engulfing the entire hall wide enough to host hundreds of people.

But, presently, only a dozen of people are present – although you can see from the guest list at the entrance that about a hundred invitees are indeed expected – and Kyoko is politely bringing you from group to group with Dino's escort to introduce everyone to you.

Your first destination is a group of foreigners near the boudoir sofas, and you ponder on the chances of them being fluent Japanese speakers once again.

"Voiiiii, Bronco, why the big fuss?"
"Haha, Squalo, the truth is we have a civilian guest tonight so…"
"Guest…?"

You make eye-contact with a tall young man with really long silver-white hair who stares at you with furious eyes despite his elegant figure, and his expression makes you swallow back all concerns about being fluent Japanese-speaker or not.

"Squalo."
"Boss…?"
"She's under the Cavallone wing. Don't sully the name of the Varia."
"… Tsk!"

The silver-haired man looks away and your eyes widen as you notice the one sitting just behind in a fancy leather armchair, wearing a fur-collared tuxedo.

His presence makes it difficult for you to maintain eye-contact and you momentarily forget how to breathe as he stares deep inside your eyes. You're not even sure anymore if you've heard Kyoko's murmuring at your ear that this person's name is Xanxus.

"Shishishi, Boss, do you allow me to play around?"
"Bel…"

The interruption of another young man with light blond hair covering his eyes and laughing sadistically despite his princely appearance barely allows you to catch your breath, and you bow slightly before walking away with Kyoko with what is left of your composure.

Those people don't feel normal at all…! And not just because they all speak better Japanese than you...

"Sorry… These people might look scary but they are still part of Tsuna family, so… Ah! But this person is alright, come: I will introduce you!"

You follow after Kyoko with an automatic smile, not daring to imagine what to expect but not wanting to appear awkward either.

"… Sasagawa."
"Hibari-san, you came! Tsuna was concerned you would skip this time again, hihi…"

Your eyes widen in awe at the good-looking aloof guy just a bit older than you standing with poise near the balcony windows. Somehow, you can't pinpoint why but you easily imagine him in a kimono in a Japanese garden, it's the kind of vibe he's giving.

He gives you a brief glance and nods, and you also nod and silently bow in answer to his greeting, not a word escaping your lips as if intuitively mirroring the fact that he hadn't spoken any. Hibari then walks away on his own, not seeming the kind of person to meddle with people much, besides not speaking much.

"Ah, please do not worry. Hibari-san is like this with everyone but he's a very important person for us all!"

The rest of the guests keep on arriving gradually, and you're introduced to more and more people.

At first, you follow after Kyoko to avoid making a social blunder with people you don't know. But soon enough, everyone in the group you had first met at the station take it upon themselves to show you around and introduce you to new people.

It feels unexpectedly warm coming from people you've met for the first time today, and you feel grateful and touched by their friendliness, although you can't chase away this impression of 'not normal' from your mind every time you meet with foreign bodyguards in black suits, or with little babies walking around as if on a costume party, or even in the way everyone refers to one another.

Your Japanese might not be perfect but the words 'civilian', 'family' and 'guardians' are coming out a little too often for a regular high-society party... Little do you know that, like in Cinderella tale, the truth will get revealed when midnight will come.

_

AS MIDNIGHT APPROACHES

The evening has passed enjoying the buffet and trying to converse in Japanese with the couple people you felt comfortable around - mostly Kyoko and the girls, and the ones your age you had met at the train station.

So when Dino taps his ring on his champagne flute to call for attention for a toast at midnight, you're engaged in conversation with Kyoko, Haru, Gokudera and Tsuna, who has apparently just managed to escape Reborn - the little baby in suit you hadn't noticed this morning but who seems important enough to be bossing around someone from the high-society like Tsuna.

"Hmm hmm! Attention everyone!" The loud warm call from the young Italian gentleman calls for silence over the crowd of guests, and you turn like everyone towards the pianoforte near which he's standind on the podium. "We have assembled tonight f..."

CRRR. A tremor interrupts Dino's discourse, as the huge crystal chandelier trembles on the ceiling of the Ballroom, making some dust and particles fall from the ceiling.

... was it a small earthquake... you heard Japan was often shaken by minors earthquakes but...

But your guess is proven wrong as the tremors get gradually more and more intense, but not continuously.

In sequence, like if loud steps of a giant were getting closer and closer, the Ballroom is shaken and shaken, some crystals even detaching themselves from the bouncing chandelier to rain on the guests like a foreboding hail.

BOOOM. The huge double-doors at the entrance are sent flying inside the Ballroom with a deafening detonation.

When the cloud of smoke and dust from the explosion has resorbed, you and everyone can now see a huge machine like a cyborg robot standing at doorstep... except it has the shape of a takoyaki shop mascot, meaning a giant octopus.

... just what...?!

"Mwahahaha! You're all assembled tonight to witness my superiority over Reborn!" A baby-ish voice, digitalised by the robot, roars and echoes in the entire Ballroom, obviously coming from the robot, more especially from what looks like a cabin enchassed in the head of the cyborg machine, a cabin in which a pilot must be riding.

"SKULL?!" Tsuna exclaims next to you, seeming to recognize the octopus pilot from its voice.
"Oh, Skull. You're late." Reborn says without seeming to care much about the newcomer and the chaos he's caused. "Since you've come with so many hands, take some brooms and clean the dust so that we can resume the party."

... have you just heard a little baby using sarcasm to belittle a huge cyborg robot worthy of being the villain in a children tv-show...

"... RE-BOOOOOORRRRRRRRRRRRNNN!"

The octopus machine - or maybe its rider embodying into the cyborg - looks so pissed that it turns as red as the takoyaki logo from a shop you saw in-town during the car ride, and it releases smoke all over, as if to emphasize its fury.

You raise your hand at the level of your eyes when the thick cloud engulfs you all, but the next thing you feel makes you snap your eyes open again with a hushered scream.

"Mwahahaha! Don't underestimate me, Reborn! The all-mighty Skull always has a plan!"

"A plan?" Reborn casually shoots a glance at Skull in his octopus machine from under sunglasses that he had pulled to protect his eyes from the smoke.

"Look around you, idiot, mwahahaha! Your precious student is in my hands, now! You'd better admit my superiority or I won't let Vongola Decimo go!"

"... Vongola Decimo? Reborn, do we have another Vongola Boss here today, or... AAAAH! SKULL, YOU'RE MISTAKEN! LET HER GO!"

Tsuna is saved from being shot by Reborn when he realises on his own that the person previously next to him has disappeared, captured in his stead under cover of the smoke.

"Well done for noticing on your own, Baka Tsuna. Tsk tsk tsk, Skull, you can't even succeed at a surprise attack? How could you confuse your target? I guess I overestimated you until today, thinking you would at least know the difference between a man and a woman."

"What...?" Skull - the baby-sized rider in the glass cabin - turns his head towards the hostage he's holding in one of the octopus legs.

Teenager stuck like a spring rool in the cyborg tentacle: spotted, but looking unfamiliar.
Italian design party outfit: spotted, but a dress instead of a tuxedo.
Panicked expression: spotted, but nothing in comparison to the determined furious one of the real Vongola Decimo at some distance below.

"Skull, she's a friend of Kyoko. Release her. Now." Tsuna's expression has turned dead serious and irradiating threats, but you can't notice as you're trying to pull yourself out of shock.

"Skull, she is a civilian." Reborn's expression has turned dark as well, as he glares at Skull from under his hat. "Even you won't make the blunder of messing up with a civilian with us and the Cavallone Famiglia here."

Silence has fallen over the entire ballroom as rings and weapons are pulled, all stares converging towards the giant mechanical octopus. Dino and Chrome are already accompanying Kyoko, Hana and Haru towards the sidelines, before going back to stand en garde at the centre of the room, Dino's ring activating and Chrome's retractable weapon pulled from under her skirt.

On your side, words can't even escape your lips as all nerves in your body are sending emergency signals for being stuck suspended in the airs at ten metres above ground, rolled-up inside a huge mechanical octopus leg, shared between the doom of a fall and the doom of being crushed.

"I... I..." Skull obviously seems to panic at the surrounding pressure, biting his lips in shame while shooting a crooked glance at his 'mistaken' hostage. "...alright."

Swallowing back his pride, he tremblingly pushes the button for release, a cliqueting sound answering.

"... sk... SKULL?!" Tsuna roars at seeing the giant octopus suddenly starting spinning, half of its tentacles shooting smoke and ammunitions while the other ones are crowling on the red carpet of the Ballroom to start a drunk-crab dance left and right.

 

"... IT'S NOT MEEE!" Skull's panicking baby-ish voice echoes across the room, as he presses and pushes in panic more and more buttons and levers in his pilot cabin, the cyborn obviously not responding as it should.

VLAM. Several guests jump away from the trajectory of the mad robot now spinning all over the Ballroom like a madman - or rather madoctopus - while pulling out dangerous-looking things for the counter-offensive, only waiting for a nod from either Vongola Decimo, Cavallone Decimo or Arcobaleno Reborn to attack.

"KYAAAH!" This time your voice can also be heard, answering the adrenaline rush of being caught in a life-threatening roller-coaster ride with only a robotic octopus leg as seatbelt.

You close your eyes, anticipating your doom while clinging onto the octopus 'seatbelt' like onto dear life - the idiom having never been so true - and mentally clinging onto the hope that perhaps today had only been a dream all along and you'll wake up in the plane instead of dying.

After a long minute of more spinning and roller-coasting that felt like an eternity, the scary sensation of feeling yourself sliding off from the octopus clutch makes you clench your teeths, but you refuse to scream, not that it would make any difference in the surrounding noisy chaos.

Gravity embraces you for a second, but not the next one, and you wonder why, as the end of the fall hasn't been accompanied by the expected death or any pain at all. Instead, it feels rather warm...

TILT. When you reopen your eyes, you can't help feeling your heart skip a beat.

Tsuna is holding you in his arms princess-style, standing in the air at some distance from the mechanical octopus as if flying thanks to some mysterious magic.

"Are you alright?" The deep voice doesn't sound as clumsy or shy as when you had first heard him this morning: it feels soothing and confident, the type you would trust with your eyes closed.

Speaking of eyes, aren't Tsuna's eyes shining like orange-gold in fusion… So captivating…

You feel Tsuna's hands tighten around you as he scans his surroundings with poise.

"Nobody hurts my comrades. This octopus will have to go down, and fast."
"10th, reinforcements!"
"Gokudera, good timing."

The call makes you turn your eyes towards the newcomer: is it magic or is it science… Some futuristic circles in gothic-bone shape are making Gokudera fly while surrounding him with sensors and shields.

Before you can realise, you're under the protection of these shields, having been carefully handed over to Gokudera by Tsuna.

"10th?!"
"I entrust her to you. Make sure she doesn't get hurt."

Your eyes widen at the same time as Gokudera's when you both see Tsuna fly away, propelled by his X-gloves to go and confront the octopus.

TILT. When you finally realise the position you're in – namely holding onto Gokudera's neck while one of his arms is holding you – you both look away in synch with a blush.

"Tsk… W-what a troublesome woman…"

Gokudera makes you slide behind his back and you land knees on the magical field of the C.A.I propulsion system, not really getting how this reddish-flame-like field is able to support your and his weight so high in the air, neither why this flame-like thing doesn't burn.

"If it's the 10th order, I'll make sure to protect you. So don't leave the eye of the storm, tsk…!"

When you raise your eyes towards him, he still looks upset, but you don't know why, this time he looks really cool with this badass attitude… perhaps the fight is helping… Yes, it's just that this guy fits in a fight like a storm in the sky…

And stormy the skies become as you can't help closing your eyes again when multiple explosions thunder all around you, the guided missiles of the robotic octopus being destroyed in mid-air by some red lasers coming out from Gokudera's arm-weapon.

But just as one missile escapes his net of attacks, he winces and repositions the different shields of the C.A.I system to cover for you, leaving his front wide open in consequences.

TCHAAK. The last missile that was about to reach him is sliced in its course like soft tofu, before falling aside and exploding into dust.

"Haha, Gokudera! It's unlike you to miss, but not unlike you to get hurt to protect someone. Don't you think you should just ask for support during those times, hmm?"
"Tsk!"
"Yosh, here you go! Now, make sure you don't get hurt or she'll worry too, you know!"

Before you can voice your opinion, you're lifted from the C.A.I system and placed piggy-back on Yamamoto's wide back.

As you try to place your arms where it will not be a hindrance for his katana - trying not to look surprised at a katana when there are many more surprising things around - you can't help noticing some smaller blade made of blue flames. They are probably the same type of magical-looking tools helping him and everyone flying… Some kind of flame-based technology, maybe...

"Haha, are you alright? Don't worry about these guys, they'll be alright!"

You nod with a blush at the laughing comforting smile Yamamoto is giving you – just giving you from too close – before tightening your arms around him to make sure not to fall as he dives towards one of the octopus legs blocking your escape path, his katana ready to transform the cyborg seafood into sushi.

"Shigure Souen Ryu…"

You're unable to hear the rest of the attack called forth by Yamamoto as a waterfall of rain dashes around you both to go and twirl around his katana. Isn't that a swallow you are seeing beyond the layers of water… A swallow, in here…

GRAB.

When you reopen your eyes, you're not as drenched as you had anticipated, but you also hadn't expected to be hanging like a parcel under the arm of someone too loud for your ears.

"VOIII! What kind of stupid pupil would bother carrying someone during their attacks?! Just wait until I beat the crap out of you to make you remember the way of a swordsman, you brat!"
"Haha, my bad, Squalo…!"
"Don't laugh the crap out of me, voiii! Just get going, stupid brat!"
"My bad, haha… I leave her to you, then!"
"Tsk!"

You raise your eyes with difficulty to catch a glance at the tall man with long silver hair. Unexpectedly, he's also looking at you and your eyes meet: is it the position you're in that's making you skip a breath or is it the look in his eyes…

"Of course strong men protect women, tsk."

Your cheeks can't help feeling hotter at the declaration: how can he just say that straight-forwardly when looking into your eyes…

Another explosion makes you close your eyes again and when you reopen them, you're lying flat on the ground of… wait, isn't that… a stingray… An abnormally large stingray floating in the skies and that seems to have cushioned up your fall to you and Squalo.

Speaking of Squalo… t-too close…

But you don't have time to think about it further as he's back on feet swifter than a whirlwind and, by the time you manage to make sense of the order he's shouted to the owner of the stingray, you've already rolled down from it to land flat on your back in some unexpected cosy space just at the right size.

While swallowing back a painful moan, you try to place your hands on whatever space is available to help you sit up. As you reopen your eyes, you can't help realising where you've landed, and almost regret to have opened your eyes.

"Levi."
"B-B-Boss, I'm sorry!"
"Hmm."

Your eyes meet with the amused yet violent ones of Xanxus as he towers you from his imposing demeanour, and you swallow back with difficulty as you forget to breathe again, unable to break eye-contact.

Suddenly your entire body feels even more on edge than before, feeling every little part in contact with his, from his lap where you've landed, to the buckle of his belt where your fingers are. Oh damn, aren't your cheeks burning up at the moment…

You feel your head pounding like crazy while you finally lift your legs off the armrest to sit then stand up quickly-yet-docilely, straightening the fabric of your dress into something less revealing than the position in which you'd landed.

"Humph, she sure has guts." Unexpectedly, Xanxus chuckles as he sees you lifting yourself off him and walking away with whatever composure you've managed to gather.

You can't help shooting a glance at him, and immediately regret it as you see him stare deep into your eyes while pointing his gun at you with a smirk.

"A reward for having amused me."

PAN.

The deflagration makes you blink a couple times and you make a swift U-turn to see the remnants of an octopus tentacle grilled by the rage flames from Xanxus gun falling into a pile of junk just behind you.

Was this tentacle about to hit you just now… Could he have… saved… you…

Your eyes chase after Xanxus again, but he's back to sipping his wine, apparently unconcerned by the surrounding chaos even when a tentacle was at so close a distance.

And your feet bring you away as fast as you can, still unable to get how/why so many of the guys you met today are up there fighting in the endless ceilings of the Ballroom with some magic/technological tools propelled by coloured flames.

Five of the dangerous mechanical tentacles have already been defeated and their scraps are scattered all around, making it tricky for you to dodge them all while wearing heels.

TRIP. As you try to run away from missed counter-attacks causing sometimes more collateral than the octopus itself, your foot tangles on the velvet carpet and you lose your balance.

But just as you were anticipating the shock of the fall, an unexpected contact around your arm makes you reopen your eyes again: Hibari is looking at you with nonchalance, and he lifts you up effortlessly before giving a silent look at your ankle, as if to ascertain it's not twisted, and you shake your head to answer it's alright.

As you watch him releasing your arm with an aloof sigh, unable to understand how he can look so calm amidst this chaos, a twirl of deflagrating flames behind him alerts you, and you part your lips to shout to watch out.

TWIRL. But the dangerous-looking lost attack is countered in a swirl of tonfa without Hibari even needing to turn around, straight-forwardly covering for the both of you.

As he pulls out his second tonfa while turning to walk towards the mechanical octopus as if on a peaceful stroll, you can't help wanting to hold him back. But your unsettled attitude – almost running after him but tripping again – only makes him frown as he finally parts his lips with a cool tone.

"If you're safe now, go somewhere else. You're in the way."

And he turns heels while lighting his tonfas up with purple flames, as if you had really only been on his way, and saving you had only been on his way as well… his way to calmly confront such a dangerous thing…

But just as you're swallowing back this last impression, two strong hands fall on your shoulders to bring you away.

"Don't mind Hibari. He's a bit hard to get along with, but he cares for his nakamas to the extreme."

You recognize Kyoko's brother at his way of speaking, but as you turn your head to voice your concern, you can't help falling silent at seeing how unusually serious and mature he looks, right now.

"I'll also do my extreme best to make that octopus pay for messing up with you, so go and tell Kyoko not to worry, 'lright?"

And you can only watch him depart after that he's ruffled your hair with confidence and punched in his own hand to warm up while activating his ring.

... wait, is that a... kangaroo... materializing by his side like if magic...

BAM. Another hand suddenly ruffles your hair so violently that it rather feels like a hit forcing you to lower your head, and you can only look around after the culprit.

"Isn't that naive Sun Guardian an idiot? Not classy at all, tsk. It's a prince job to beat the bad octopus to save the beautiful girl, so he shouldn't think about stealing my spotlight."

Before you could utter a word, Belphegor's fingers still on your head clasp around strands of your hair and you wince of pain at being forced to look his way as he pulls on it.

"Miss me, princess. I'll be soon back to trap you in a golden cage to amuse me for all eternity, shishi."

The honey-sweet of his tone barely covers for the poison of his words and you shiver, trapped between the eerie light in his eyes under his hair and his fingers pulling on your hair to force eye-contact.

BOOM. You have another explosion to thank for your release, except that it's accompanied by another blush.

"Signorina mia! A weapon, could I borrow a weapon? The younger me called me at the most unappropriate moment!" TYL!Lambo - result of little Lambo having panicked in the chaos - has pushed Belphegor away from you to plead to you at too-close a distance.

... wait, he's also wearing a cow-pattern shirt, is he the big brother of the little kid from before... a weapon, why of all people is he asking YOU...

At that stage, you're not even wondering anymore about what is normal or not, so you simply look around for something, happy to escape the closeness even if he's not releasing your hand and shoulder since the request.

"Ah!" You spot a long purple weapon that looks everything like a bazooka on the velvet carpet at a couple metres, but just as you are lifting your arm to point at it: "Be careful!" Your arm is pinned down your body again as you're caught in a glomp sending you to the floor, lost ammunitions exploding in the air where you were previously both standing.

A stolen blush and heartbeat due to the proximity later, and you can see TYL!Lambo jumping off you while crying that he's been grazed by the missile in the back and it hurts. A second later, you watch him literally dive into the opening of the purple bazooka, disappearing inside it like if magic, before another explosion happens.

Once the cloud of smoke dissipated, you end up nose-to-nose with a tall mysterious-looking man with black hair.

... wait, is it horns he's wearing...

"Hmm..." A nonchalant look around gives 20YL!Lambo a hint on the situation, and he looks at you with poise, "My memories are unclear, but the Bovino Famiglia would never leave a signorina unprotected."

GRAB. The mysterious man has lifted you from the floor and grabbed you around your shoulders to hold you onto him, before walking towards a side exit of the Ballroom purposefuly.

"Elettrico Cornata." All lost projectiles heading your way are being turned into charcoal by high-voltage electricity projected from 20YL!Lambo's horns, covering for you both effortlessly.

But just as you were nearing the exit, a faint implosion happens, replacing the dashing man having helped you by a 5-year-old brat screaming and crying all it can.

"Uwaaaaaaaahhhh!"

KICK. Before you could have thought about what to do about the kid wearing the cow-pattern pyjama, he's kicked out of the way by a man wearing leather boots having arrived at doorstep.

"Fufu, there is no need for such an eyesore in the scenery of my perfect entrance." The young man with dark-blue hair having kicked Lambo stands for a while in front of you, radiating arrogance somehow on par with his good looks, before bypassing you with a smirk and a very obvious murmur. "I was thinking about what kind of reward to ask the Vongola for assisting them this time, but it seems I won't have to look further, fufu."

His tone as he surveys you from head to toes makes you blush at full speed, but he's gone to join the battle against the giant octopus before you could answer anything.

"S-sorry, I will go and assist as well. Kyoko-chan and Haru-chan and Hana-chan are in the dressing room from before: will you find the way?"

You nod 'yes' out of reflex to Chrome who now seems less shy, and she leaves for the battlefield while you hurry inside the corridor towards the dressing room.

... just what exactly is going on...

Lost in your thoughts, you slam open the door to another dressing room by mistake, and freeze at doorstep at making eye-contact with a white-haired boy a little younger than you.

"Ooh, am I found out already? And here I wanted to surprise everyone later on."

You blink at the boy peacefully snacking marshmallows without a seeming of care for the tremors and noise and obvious chaos happening.

"Do you want to join me? I'm a bit bored so I'm trying to imagine how it would feel to conquer the world, haha. Hmm... seems like we'll have to pass, a pity..."

You follow after the boy's eyes behind your back and finally heave a sigh of relief at reuniting with Kyoko, Haru and Hana who have come to the corridor.

"Byakuran-kun, bad joke-desu." Haru lectures him with a pout while Kyoko slowly places her hands in your back to guide you away from his room, also seeming concerned about the boy.

You had wanted to comfort Kyoko first thing upon reuniting, but no words can leave your lips, and you finally end up being the one comforted.

"Tsuna-kun and everyone will make sure to punish the one who did that to you. You can trust them."

The kind yet strong look in Kyoko's eyes suddenly makes all your previous worry blow into stardust, and you can't help but find her very mature. Her acceptance and trust don't feel at all like something pre-thought or submissive or powerless, quite the opposite.

And, somehow, thinking back, you can also feel it, feel that this trust in Tsuna and all the guys having saved/helped/bothered with you is justified.

"Ah! Here she is! How is she, is she alright?!" A dashing silhouette interrupts and pulls you from your thoughts to nod that you're fine.

"Ahiiii! Dino-san, what happened?! Torn-desu, hurt-desu, awful-desu!"
"Dino-san, was the fight...?"
"Haha, no, my bad, please don't worry! The fight is now finished. These injuries are from when the carpet rebelled after that I finished off two tentacles with Tsuna, and..."
"... Dino-san, do you mean you tripped again...?"
"Haha..."

Somehow, when looking at this amazing Italian gentleman able to face such a dangerous cyborg without trouble but clumsily tripping on the collaterals, you also feel like sharing in the laughing smile of the other girls. So you join them instinctively as they pat Dino's tuxedo from the dust and burn stains, but your hand is intercepted and you startle.

"... so you're hurt?!" Dino has caught your hand in his, alerted by the blood stains from when you had clung to the octopus leg like onto a seatbelt for dear life.

You don't have time to comfort him that it is nothing much that he's pulling his silk handkerchief from his tuxedo pocket to wrap it around your palm, resulting in a very clumsy half-falling-apart bandage.

"... what to do, what to do... Should I ask Reborn about... UWAAH!"

Dino suddenly loses balance after having been kicked behind the knee by the little baby in suit called Reborn.

"No need to panic over a little cut, Idiota Dino. If you want to care properly for your guest, make sure the everything is cleaned soon so that the dance still goes on, humph."

Unable to follow with their train of thoughts, you follow after Reborn when he escorts you back to the Ballroom, listening without really hearing him to the little baby able to make both Tsuna and Dino surrender, too stunned by everything you've seen today to put words on your thoughts.

"I have to admit you handled the entire situation well: a very promising newbie."

The shine in Reborn's eyes takes you aback for a second, before your eyes are stolen by the sight of Tsuna and everyone standing in the middle of the Ballroom, smiling in your direction, while after-images of their previous dashing fights dance in their back, hypnotizing you for a second.

"So, how about it: would you join the Vongola Famiglia?"

Benvenuta a la Vongola Famiglia

BONUS ROAD ~ Tsuna

 

 

BACK IN THE BALLROOM ONCE EVERYTHING SETTLED

"What are you waiting for, baka Tsuna? Go and ask your civilian guest for a dance! In the mafia, we treasure women and make sure to always apologize when causing them trouble."

BAM. Tsuna is sent flying towards you by a kick from the little suit-wearing baby called Reborn, and you hold your hand to him to help him stand, still a bit baffled by everything that just happened, but not forgetting you own a big thanks to Tsuna for having saved you from that octopus cyborg.

"Ah, hmm, I-I'm shoree..." Tsuna stutters in approximate English while massaging his head, seeming back to his usual shy self.

...just where has the confident Tsuna from the fight gone, you can't help wondering... And it seems it had been your mistake all along when you had thought his eyes shined of orange-gold in fusion, because no matter how much you stare at them, they're plain brown...

"Ah hum, is-is there something on my face...? Y-you know, I'm really really sorry for what happened, and you can hit me in exchange, but... can you please just dance first and hit me once Reborn is out of sight, pleez...?" The whisper badly hidden behind his hand makes you want and giggle, not sure how he came to conclusion of you wanting to hit him, so you nod your agreement for a dance with a crooked glance for the little baby who seems more than eyes meet.

"Ah! Sankyu (Jap. simplified pronounciation of thank you)!" Tsuna smiles of relief and hurries to take your hand to walk away towards the dancefloor, too happy yet nervous at the same time to escape Reborn.

As if that had been what the orchestra had been waiting all along, notes start rising under the high ceilings of the Ballroom, and other couples form themselves around Vongola Decimo and his partner, meaning you, while Dino is cheering from the sidelines while instructing the violinists to lower their tempo so that it wouldn't too fast for his sworn brother. A kick from Reborn and Dino's kind attentions for Tsuna are being ignored, the little baby in suit seeming to enjoy watching Tsuna struggle at a fast tempo.

"... m-my bad, I'm... uwaah, it was right, it was right foot first...!" Tsuna starts panicking while looking down at his feet, his hand feeling sweaty in yours although he doesn't let go of you nonetheless. "Reborn is going to kill me, uwaaah..."

Looking at him like that, it's a wonder how you heart skipped a beat before when he had held you in his arms to save you from your doom... But stealing heartbeats from you or not, you still owe him some thanks for having saved you, so you should speak up now that you have the chance.

"...ano...?"

"Hmm?"

But just as you've started muttering the beginning of a sentence, you notice behind Tsuna's back the black barrel of a green gun pointed in his direction by Reborn, the baby's finger already about to press the trigger.

You don't think twice before dragging Tsuna in a twirl to replace his back by yours in the trajectory, closing your eyes already in apprehension.

"AH!"

But Tsuna has already noticed the same thing as you now that he's standing in your previous spot, and he keeps the twirl going with more strength than you'd have imagined him capable of, completing the loop and bringing him back to square one as the target.

PAN.

Tsuna's hands hold you tighter when the detonation is heard, and your eyes widen and widen at seeing his expression freeze, not having to be a genius to guess that he's received the projectile in his back or the back of his head.

"...N...!"

But just as your expression was turning horrified, your feel Tsuna's hand squeezing yours tighter as his eyes find focus again... but this time engulfed by orange gold in fusion.

"...sigh." The deep voice escaping his lips as he shoots a glance backwards at Reborn steals another heartbeat from you, bewildered and captivated at the same time.

Your hand can't help but palpate his shoulder, his shoulder blade, his neck and this back of his head, your fingers searching as far as they can reach for any potential injury or something like blood flowing from a wound. But nothing of the sort can be found, and instead you find yourself too close from Tsuna to breathe comfortably. So you step a little farther away to recover proper dancing position, swallowing a blush while averting your eyes.

"...I should be the one wondering if you're not hurt after what happened."

TILT. Your eyes instinctively go back to meet with Tsuna's as the tone of his voice once again stuns you, being so much of a contrast with the him from a moment ago. Something seems to be burning on his forehead, and it hypnotizes you as you keep dancing clumsily, not sure anymore about what you wanted to tell him a second before his transformation.

"Are you angry...?"

The unexpected question and sad look in Tsuna's startle you and you shake your head without a second thought, not wanting him to misunderstand but still not finding the right words to say.

"Really? You can be angry, it would be normal. Since Reborn used the Dying Will Bullet on me, I'll make use of it to tell you..." Tsuna still seems a little melancholic as he gazes straight into your eyes, holding you a little tighter to make sure you'll listen to his follow-up. "...that I'll honour my debt to you for having put you in danger, even if it's the last resolve I'll show before dying. No matter if now or in ten years, anytime, anywhere, tell me and I'll come for you, deathsperately."

DOKI. Your heart has definitely stopped beating as your face feels gradually hotter and hotter, unable to break eye-contact with Tsuna while at the same time illusioning about how he would look in ten years, with this deep trustworthy voice, these strong caring hands and these captivating burning eyes.

...what should be appropriate to answer, you have no idea... and not just because of language barrier anymore...

 
 

Benvenuta a la Vongola Famiglia

BONUS ROAD ~ Xanxus

 

 

BACK IN THE BALLROOM ONCE EVERYTHING SETTLED & THE PARTY HAS RESUMED

"Phew...!" You stagger towards the sidelines, unable to hold straight after having been dragged from dance to dance by everyone, never mind the children still twirling on the dancefloor like if it was a game of spinning cups at the amusement park.

Your fingers finally find the comforting feeling of the velvet of a sofa, and you grab the arm of it to bring yourself to it, your eyes still unable to focus on your surroundings.

As you let yourself fall onto the soft cushion of the sofa seat, your eyes are already closed to try and recover, and you dig your face between your forearm and the arm of the sofa on which you've collapsed, wondering if you will have recovered before anyone notices.

TILT. But as you blink your eyes for a while, still feeling dizzy, an unexpected silhouette finds itself in your field of vision.

Crossed robust legs occupying the other half of the sofa... High-end tuxedo with fur collar matching the luxurious upholstery of sofa setting to perfection... Red wine swirling slowly in the crystal of a glass held by strong gloved hands... and most of all, this pair of arrogant eyes shining of icy-cold rage only needing a small detonator before burning anyone standing too close in flames...

SNAP. You've startled and sit correctly again in the blink of an eye at having suddenly realised where you've just sitted.

"... eh, don't you have guts, hmh." Xanxus cool statement feels like the ultimatum a liger would give a day-old puppy as praise for not knowing fear.

You've frozen with ominous cold sweats running down your spin, vaguely remembering some very embarrassing position you've end up in, although accidentally. To think that you've chosen this sofa out of all of them, just what was your preservation instinct doing...

You try not to steal a glance a the one occupying two-third of the sofa beside you, somehow wondering if his armchair from before got destroyed during the fight with the gigantic octopus, and also wondering if you might have a chance to survive if you stand slowly to sneak away.

TILT. Your eyes are caught by his and you forget to breathe, caught red-handed.

It takes long seconds of agony before Xanxus lets you off the hook and allows you to avert your eyes, although you're not sure how he managed to hypnotize you into not looking away for all that time... preservation instinct, maybe...

This time you try really hard not to look into his direction, half-guessing that if Xanxus is sipping his wine now, it might be a good time for you to...

"Hey." TILT. You freeze once again after having barely managed to lift yourself from the sofe for a couple centimetres.

"Get me more wine." This time you have no choice but look his way to see his request/order is indeed directed at you and not at a potential waiter.

Xanxus eyes are shining divertedly as he's looking straight into yours, his lips stretched into a smirk radiating of violence and arrogance. You gather all the composure you can muster to detach your eyes from him and stand up from the sofa, trying to remember how to breathe.

"And don't forget yours." The follow-up words spoken by the same lips feel like a death chime, cutting short into any possibility of giving his order to the waiter before disappearing far from such a dangerous person.

You turn your head mechanically towards Xanxus, full of disbelief about what your torturer might have in stock for you by ordering you to come back.

"What is this look for, hmh?" Xanxus' smirk turns even more amused and more violent, like if your attitude was making the fire under the ice of his countenance burn harder. "Is that a look of refusing? Or a look to beg and leave? Or... is that a look to hint that one glass is enough and you'll give it to me mouth to mouth?"

Your face has flushed crimson in less than a second, unable to react to any nerve signal of your body, be it fear, self-consciousness or vexation.

"Humph." GRAB. Before you could react and put some distance between you and the dangerous young man, he's grabbed you by the wrist and pulled you so forcefully that you fall backwards, landing heels-over-head on his lap for the second time of the evening.

"You're asking for it." Xanxus' tone is cold but his eyes are burning of unrestrained amusement when he pulls harder on your wrist to draw you to him, closing down the space between you and him at desperately fast speed.

Only half-a-metre left between you and his violent merciless stare...
Only thirty centimetres and his eyes are still burning of the same Rage Flames without letting you break eye-contact...
Only twenty centimetres and the day-old puppy might get devoured by the liger...
Only ten... five...

 

Benvenuta a la Vongola Famiglia

BONUS ROAD ~ Skull

 

 

IN THE BALLROOM, ONCE EVERYTHING SETTLED & THE PARTY RESTARTED

Seeing everyone dancing and chatting and enjoying the buffet again feels almost like if nothing had happened.

'Almost' because you can still find piles of rumbles hidden under the fine tablecloth of the buffet tables, and some of the musicians on the podium are sitting on the ruins of the gigantic chandelier.

...if nobody else minds, you'll also pretend not to mind. Only one more thing to add to the list of 'not-so-normal' things of today, and this one is definitely nothing in comparison to a huge octopus robot, weapons made of coloured flames, or animals appearing like if magic.

After another round of dancing, you retreat to the side-lines next to Kyoko and Hana, quite happy to rest your feet a little, when a noise nearby attracts your attention:

KICK.

A little baby in purple waiter outfit has been kicked your way by another baby wearing a black suit, and you blink of surprise while squatting to help the little purple baby back on feet.

"DAMN YOU, REBORN! I CAN GO ON MY OWN!"

You freeze with a drop of cold sweat running down your spin at recognizing the tone of voice of the little purple baby who's just spoken.

How could you not recognize the voice of the one who had given you such a frightening ride of roller-coaster with only a cyborg octopus leg as seatbelt...

"As if you could when you're making her scared shouting around like that, you really never learn, tsk."

"Uwaah! Don't pull out your gun for that! I'll do it, I said I'll do it without you forcing me! I'm definitely not doing it because you're asking but because I feel responsible, you get it?!"

TILT. You defreeze a little at feeling the little baby you've helped back on feet turn your way with a pouting ranting expression.

 

"...H-hey!"

You startle at being called, hesitating to bring your eyes back on the one responsible for the most life-threatening happening of your entire life.

"Hey, do... do you want... a glass of something? Or eer... sweets, do you want sweets?"

You blink of surprise while finally making eye-contact with Skull who is pawing at carpet with an embarrassed look, arms crossed in front of his chest as if pretending not to care, but stealing a glance almost towards you every second. Somehow, guilt can't help but show under the shape of a tiny blush on his cheek.

"Y'know I'm the waiter now. So I'll get you something nice, just ask me, 'lright! Ah, and it's not because Reborn forced me, I'm telling you, it's all because I want to make it up to you. So don't get the wrong idea! Ah, and so, drink or sweets, what do you want? I told you to tell me!"

This time you blink three times in a row, completely bewildered by what sounds like the clumsiest apologies you've heard, never mind the fact it's being said by a baby acting like a tsundere bad-boy.

"...S...K...U...L...L...!" Reborn has frown under the shadow of his hat and is readying his Leon-gun again, not finding Skull's 'apology' to his liking.

"Uwaah, Reborn, damn you! Don't interrupt to rush things! I said I'm not doing it because of you!"

The argument has started to attract a lot of attention and a small circle has formed itself around you - still squatting in front of Skull, Skull - still ranting at Reborn, Reborn - still pointing his gun at Skull, and Kyoko and Hana who can only force a smile while wondering since when so many people came.

"I said I'm doing it because I want to! So don't rush me, damn you! I'll get her sweets first, and then I'll tell her, do you get it?! HEY, YOU!"

You startle when Skull turns to you again and grabs your hand to make you look his way, beat red of anger against Reborn and bet red of guilt and embarrassment towards you.

"I'LL GET YOU EXPENSIVE SWEETS NOW, SO WAIT FOR ME! DON'T YOU DARE LISTEN TO THAT DAMN REBORN BECAUSE THIS SKULL HERE PROMISES ON HIS NAME AS ARCOBALENO TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITIES FOR YOUR LIFE, YOU GET IT?!"

Silence has fallen, not only on you but on all the spectators by the side-lines.

... did you just hear a baby propose to you...

In the side-lines, the same question is being murmured from ear to ear, causing much laugher but also causing many gasps and glares, as weapons and rings and boxes are pulled out to teach another lesson to the culprit of the day.

 

Benvenuta a la Vongola Famiglia

BONUS ROAD ~ Hibari

 

 

IN THE BALLROOM AFTER EVERYTHING SETTLED & THE PARTY HAS RESUMED

"Phew..." You heave a sigh of weariness while leaving the dancefloor, having switched from hands to hands, and from twirling to spinning for too long to really remember, although your feet do feel it.

In contrast, the night breeze feels very comforting and chilling when you venture past the heavy curtains leading to the Ballroom balconies, in need of some fresh air. A deep breath in, a deep breath out, a deep breath in again as you close your eyes to focus on the cool sensation of the outdoor.

But just as you were reopening your eyes to stretch with a yawning grimace, your muscles a little sore after the plane trip of the morning and the cyborg octopus trip of the evening, you freeze at making eye-contact with a familiar silhouette.

SNAP. You bring your arms back by your side swiftly, a bit ashamed to have started stretching in front of someone, before stealing a glance at the one sitting on the balcony railing, back to one of the pillars.

The moonlight is casting some mesmerizing shades and highlights on his dark hair, and his aloof pose feels almost like if out of a gravure magazine. How can a boy jsut a little older than you look that good in a tuxedo... even the little yellow bird on his shoulder doesn't feel out of place at all...

It kind of makes you feel even more ashamed for having been caught grimacing by him, and you fidget a little under his stare, not sure if you should apologize for the shameful show of you stretching, or for the disrespectful fact that you run away from the party for a while, or... wait, thinking about it, isn't he also avoiding the party, somehow...

Your index raise to your chin as you ponder for a while, your eyes shifting from Hibari to the ballroom, then back on Hibari, with such a wondering gaze that he can easily guess your thoughts.

"I dislike crowding around." His words sound poised but curt, and you flinch a little at realising you didn't even greet him or anything yet kept staring at him.

What to do... If he doesn't like being around people much, should you just bow sorry and leave... Ah, but you still haven't thanked him for having saved you before against the huge octopus robot...

You bring your foot forward, suspend for a moment, then bring it back in its initial position, before parting your lips to say something but swallowing back your words, not sure about how to thank him properly. So your foot moves again, trying to bring you closer from the one you're supposed to thank, not wanting him to think you're not being authentic, but once again you step back half-a-step for the step forward you've taken.

"Sigh..." Hibari seems to have noticed your hesitation, or rather your face must be looking like an open-book, and he tilts his head to the side a little before saying coolly: "You alone doesn't qualify as a crowd."

Your eyes widen at feeling unexpectedly relieved. Although dismissive, don't his words mean it's fine for you to approach him... So you walk towards him very slowly, a bit careful not to frighten the yellow bird standing on his index, and to whom he's murmuring some lyrics about something-mori.

At finally arriving at his level by the railing, you straighten your back, quite intimidated, and slowly bow in this Japanese manner taught by your teacher, hoping it will give some backup to your words.

"...a-about before, th-thank you very much." You stutter despite yourself, feeling a blush coming to your cheeks at having been unable to speak correctly although it was so simple. Just what is wrong with you...

"...nothing worth mentioning." Hibari's answer in perfect English stuns you and you stare at him bewildered, but he's not looking your way anymore, his attention back to Hibird.

...so that's it, hmm... Your fingers clench nervously on the fabric of your dress, more and more ill-at-ease and somehow ashamed at yourself for a reason you can't pinpoint, but that might be heavily related to the cool countenance of the one in front of you.

But just as you were taking on yourself and bowing a little to take your leave, a soft sensation finds its way by your cheek, coupled with high-pitched chirping tunes.

"...?!" You startle a little at the tiny yellow bird having jumped from Hibari's finger onto your shoulder to sing something along the tunes of a waltz.

... eeh, isn't that the song that was playing in the Ballroom before...? Did this aloof guy teach it to the little bird...? Impossible, he really doesn't look the part...

TILT. As you were bringing your eyes back on that aloof guy, something unexpected stuns you on spot, something like the shine of the moonlight in his eyes looking straight at you.

"Humph." His sigh feels like a mixture of sultriness and amusement, along the lines of what a carnivore would think when seeing its pet fluttering around an herbivore having lost its way like if it was an interesting curiosity.

FLAM. Hibari's legs slowly leave the railing to simply lean against it, leaving the space open by his side with a can't-be-bothered gaze.

... is it really okay to take it as an invitation to lean there next to him, or is he just preparing himself to leave...

But at seeing him not moving from his spot, your feet hesitantly bring you there as well, and Hibird starts chirping another waltzing tune, seeming quite gleeful to now have two auditors.

... pfffhihihi, so the little bird can sing classical... should you try teaching it some more... the tune from before was kinda something like la-la-l-a-lalala or wait maybe laaa or... ah, no, wait...

As a smile finds its way to your lips, you can't help noticing a pair of eyes gazing at you from the side, seeming diverted by your interaction with the yellow bird.

Wait... was that a faint smile you've seen before a cool sigh, or is the moonlight playing tricks on you...

 

Benvenuta a la Vongola Famiglia

BONUS ROAD ~ Byakuran

 

 

BACK IN THE BALLROOM AFTER THE PARTY HAS RESUMED

"Ahiiii! No way! Lambo-kun!"

"Rah, that's why I hate kids..."

"Uwaaaaaaaaaaahhh!"

You soon mimic Kyoko in reaching out for paper towels by the buffet table, trying to absorb away the orange juice drenching Lambo, after that a miscalculated kick to reach I-Pin had landed right in the foot of the table and knocked over the glasses that had fallen over the little child wearing a cow-pattern pyjama.

"What to do... Ah, there was a change of clothes in the changing room, wasn't it?"

You nod to Kyoko and walk away towards the corridor to the changing rooms as fast as you can, the loud cry of Lambo still ringing at your ears.

VLAM. But just as you were opening wide the door to the boys changing room to run to the different bags by the console tables, you suddenly feel a draught of air pass you by as the sound of the door closing behind you echoes with a foreboding feeling.

"...?!" You turn around in a startle, and your eyes widen at meeting with a white-haired young man leaning topless against the door, his fingers playing with a marshmallow at his lips.

... he does ressemble the white-haired boy from before, but older... is he his big brother... or wait before that, why doesn't he have a shirt on... and why has he closed the door on you...

"Pfffhuhu, seems like someone saw something they shouldn't have seen, what to do, hmm~?"

CLACK. The young man's fingers have left the marshmallow he's swallowed with a cunning smirk to go for the electric switch, bringing darkness in the room as the ceiling lights switch off, only leaving the glow of the tiny neon of the dressing table behind you to save you from total obscurity.

... just why is he...

"I wanted to surprise everyone with my looks from the future, but now my grand entrance is ruined even before I could change into a nice outfit, what to do, hmm~?"

You unconsciously step back at seeing in the dim obscurity that the young man looking like an older Byakuran is walking towards you, slowly, composedly, teasingly, yet somehow dangerously. All the nerves in your body still on alert after the happenings from before are screaming that it feels dangerous, and his smug smile doesn't make it better at all.

BAM. Your hips bump onto the dressing table, unable to step back anymore, and soon two hands have come and rest on the surface of the table, on your left and right, their owner closing on you without losing his smile.

"What should I do to the one who's come and ruined my perfect plan to tease Vongola Decimo, hmm~?"

The neon in your back is casting some light on the young man previously obscured by darkness, and it catches onto the white skin of his nude chest bending over you.

You bit your lower lip at seeing your reflection growing in the purple of his eyes, sign that he's standing really too close, even with you having collapsed backwards on your elbows to try and put more distance between the two of you.

"What to do, hmm~? Haven't you heard I am a b.a.d guy, huhu…?" The shine in his eyes feels too dangerous to get tricked by his soft smile as he murmurs his warning, turning the atmosphere into a cocoon of darkness cut from the rest of the world. "If you don't put more efforts into avoiding me, I'll feel obliged to do something bad, hmm…"

Your eyes widen at seeing his tongue coming to slowly lick his own lips from the powder sugar of the marshmallow from before.

"Well then... I'd feel most obliged."

His last words are breathed on your skin as his fingers reach for the switch by the dressing table mirror, the last neon surrendering to darkness.

...the Ball is resuming, which road would you like to follow for the end of the evening?