It’s All a Metaphor

Remixed ending, a kind of AU to the rest of the arc. This is another way Tsuna and Xanxus might have come to their final understanding—a somewhat more dramatic one. Mind-Porn, I-4

Character(s): Sawada Tsunayoshi, Xanxus
Pairing(s): Tsuna/Xanxus

The door of Tsuna’s office was kicked open and Squalo stood in it, ignoring the weapons leveled at him.

"You!"

Tsuna regarded the finger pointed at him rather like a sword. "Yes?"

Squalo folded his arms. "You said you had a responsibility to him, after what you did."

You could always tell Squalo was serious when he stopped shouting, Tsuna reflected, and sighed as he stood up. "Where is he?"

"In his rooms." Squalo’s mouth twisted. "Better hurry if you don’t want him to break the goddamn wall this time."

"Thank you," Tsuna murmured with a sigh and went to see about Xanxus.


Squalo had almost understated the case, Tsuna decided, looking around the wreckage of Xanxus’ outer room. The walls weren’t broken but nearly everything else was, and Xanxus stood in the middle of it, chest heaving, eyes wild.

"Xanxus?" Tsuna asked, softly.

Xanxus whirled on him. "I can’t do it!"

"Can’t do what?" Tsuna edged cautiously into the room, closing the door behind him.

"I can’t fire on this goddamn Family! At anyone I know! The Flame won’t come!"

Tsuna firmly suppressed the urge to either roll his eyes or laugh helplessly. Xanxus, he reminded himself, had never been restrained by anything. "Most people find that they can’t fire at those they care for, who care for them, even with normal weapons."

Xanxus swept a hand across as if to strike away the words. "It’s always come! It’s always been there!"

Tsuna paused and looked harder at Xanxus. "The anger," he murmured, after a moment. It wasn’t exactly the Dying Will Flame Xanxus had never been without; it was his rage. The rage had been his weapon and his satisfaction, and now it was… well, not gone, but reduced. No wonder he was off balance.

Xanxus might not be in a good frame of mind to think about those underlying truths just at the moment, though. Perhaps it would be just as well for him to focus on the surface.

"If you can’t always fuel your Flame with anger," Tsuna said, matter of fact, "then you just need to master a different use of it. A different form, to use at other times."

Xanxus’ lip started to curl and then he abruptly stopped, gaze sharpening on Tsuna. Tsuna held his ground as Xanxus stalked towards him.

"Show me."

That made Tsuna blink. "Um?"

"Your Flame is strong enough." Xanxus took Tsuna’s wrist and pulled his hand up, placing it flat against his chest. "Show me, again."

Tsuna swallowed, trying to get his voice back from wherever shock had taken it. "Xanxus. I don’t know if…"

Xanxus eyes were burning, locked with Tsuna’s, and his words vibrated through his chest under Tsuna’s palm. "Show me."

Tsuna bit his lip. Squalo had been right; Tsuna had accepted his responsibility to Xanxus when he’d chosen to reach in and free his heart. He’d just never done something like this from a cold start, before. And certainly not by request. He took a deep breath and set his other hand on Xanxus’ shoulder. "All right."

It didn’t take long to find his Dying Will, but Tsuna let it light slowly, carefully, concentrating, not on burning or purifying, but on reaching out and touching, enfolding, encompassing Xanxus’ heart. A harsh gasp heaved the chest under his hand and he looked up.

Xanxus stood with his eyes half closed, head tossed back. Slowly, his hands came up to close on Tsuna’s arms. "More," he said, husky.

Tsuna looked up at him, measuringly. "You’re sure this is what you need?"

Xanxus swallowed, the taut arch of his throat working, and nodded.

"All right." Tsuna let the need of one of his Family call him, let his Will burn brighter, closing it around Xanxus’ heart or mind or soul, whatever it was of Xanxus that was under his hand.

Xanxus’ knees buckled and he folded down to the floor. Tsuna moved with him, unsurprised, settling between Xanxus’ knees, left hand firm and reassuring on his shoulder. Xanxus’ whole body was drawn taut, now, his breathing quick and hard.

"My friends, my family, those are the most important things, to me," Tsuna murmured to the man he held. "When I need it for them, it comes. As strong as it needs to be. Feel." He reached deeper, stronger, wanting Xanxus to know this.

Xanxus gasped and arched into Tsuna’s hand, panting now, breath cut short as the heat of Tsuna’s Will sank into him deep and slow, folded around him, offered to cherish him. His hands flexed on Tsuna’s arms, pulling him closer, and it was only because they were so close that Tsuna caught the whisper on his lips.

"…Tenth."

Tsuna couldn’t help the way his Will flared in response to that, not when he’d heard that tone before in Gokudera’s voice, and Xanxus groaned as it burned through him. Tsuna made himself stop; he shouldn’t go too far with this. He slid his left arm around Xanxus, holding him, palm pressed hard to his chest as Tsuna slowly eased his Will back. This close, he could feel the small shudders that worked through Xanxus as Tsuna released him, drew back until his Will was only just touching him. "Are you all right?" he murmured in Xanxus’ ear.

Xanxus didn’t answer, but his hand came up to press Tsuna’s against his chest.

Tsuna smiled, gently. "I’m not going away," he promised.

Xanxus growled at that interpretation, but didn’t let go. Tsuna knelt with him, patient. "The price of your old power is to hate," he said, softly. "The price of this power is to care. They can both hurt. You have to decide for yourself whether you can pay the price."

Xanxus nodded, after a moment, silently. Tsuna had the impression that he’d forgotten about the point of the exercise.

At least, the point when they’d started.

He pressed his Will out just a little and felt Xanxus’ breath catch. "I care for all my Family. Always."

A breath brushed past his ear, only the suggestion of the word boss in it.

Tsuna’s arm tightened and he smiled as he confirmed it.

"Always."

End