Saints of Palermo

The Giglio Nero boss talks to Kyouko and Haru about the other side of the mafia. Drama, I-3

A/N: The woman in this story is Uni’s mother, and for an explanation of why I think they’re actually the same person see here.

Unità leaned back, behind her desk, and gazed out the window.

"Are you going to do it?" Gamma asked, quietly.

"I think I probably am." She crossed her arms. "He made a very good offer."

Gamma frowned. "But what assurance is there that Vongola’s Ninth will honor it? Sawada may be the heir, but he isn’t the boss yet."

Unità hummed thoughtfully. "No, but he is confirmed. At sixteen, Gamma! And if they’re telling the truth, it actually happened even earlier."

"Do you think they’re telling the truth?"

She smiled up at him. "Do you?"

He gave her a disgruntled look for turning it around that way and she laughed. He leaned back against the window sill, one hand shoved in a pocket. After a long moment he said, "Yes. I guess I do." His mouth quirked. "The boys, well they’d agree the sky was green if Sawada said so, but the girls… no. They were telling the truth."

"They were pretty transparent, weren’t they? He was smart to bring them." Her eyes narrowed. "Gamma. Did that seem… strange to you?"

"Mm." He was quiet again, which she took for agreement.

"He seems very protective of them," she murmured, tracing the line of a woodgrain on her desk as if to trace her thought with the same fingertip. "Yet he brought them here, to the heart of an un-allied Family’s territory. So does he trust us that blindly or…" her voice softened, reaching the conclusion, "is it his own power he trusts?"

"After everything they seem to have gone through, I doubt he trusts blindly," Gamma answered, just as soft.

"Hm." Unità’s lips curved. "Yes. Still a bit naive, maybe, but not blind. We’ll take it." Gamma blinked as she straightened, and she smiled at him, wry. "Think of the things behind what they said, Gamma. In another six or seven years it seems that Vongola’s Tenth will be ruthless enough to let himself be killed, gambling for the future of the world, and keep the secret from his own Guardians. I think that Sawada would still ally with us, but he might not offer us such good terms as today’s Sawada." She spread her hands over the smooth surface of her desk and added quietly. "And one thing I’m sure of is that I don’t want us to have to fight the man that’s coming."

Gamma smiled back. "You take good care of your people, boss."

"Speaking of which." Unità reached for her writing paper. "I’ll have two letters to be delivered to them."

"Two? Sawada and… who else?"

"I did mention that those girls were transparent?" She nibbled on the end of her pen. Coffee, yes, that would be… unthreatening. "If we’re to be allies, I’m not letting Vongola stand around with a weakness like that hanging out where anyone can aim at it. And those boys probably won’t even see it until far too late." Her lips crimped in amusement. "Men can be that way."

Gamma opened his mouth only to close it again, a faint flush rising in his face. "Mm."


Unità had to stifle a laugh when she saw who had escorted the girls to meet her and observed the way Gokudera’s eyes followed the dark haired one. She welcomed the girls in and shooed the men out. "This is a discussion between women."

Gamma knew well enough to do as she said, but Gokudera stood his ground. "I have a duty to make sure they’re safe."

"We’re allies now, aren’t we?" she asked.

Gokudera glowered at her, possibly because she couldn’t keep her mouth from curling at the corners.

Gamma sighed faintly and stepped forward, catching Gokudera’s eye. "They will be safe here. We will guard them as though they were our own people. You have my word."

For a long moment Gokudera held Gamma’s gaze, eyes dark with, perhaps, memory. Finally he inclined his head. "I accept your word."

Unità settled in one of the armchairs arranged around a low table as the two men left. "Well, now that the posturing is out of the way," she said, dryly, "come, have a seat."

The dark haired girl, Haru, laughed a little. Unità considered her, and the quieter one, Kyouko, for a moment and leaned back with a sigh.

"I doubt Sawada or his Family will think to tell you before it’s too late, but the two of you have a decision before you. One that needs to be made now." As their eyes widened she folded her hands and asked softly, "Will you stay with them?"

"Of course we will!" Haru answered, sounding shocked.

Unità ran a hand through her hair. She’d been right; they had no idea. "This is not a kind world that I live in, that Sawada has committed himself to. It’s a dangerous and harsh world where people die just for being related to the wrong person, if a feud gets started."

Both the girls flinched at that. They knew that much, then. They still weren’t making the logical connection, though.

"You’ve been fairly safe up until now, because before he came to Sicily few people outside the Vongola took much note of Sawada," she told them as gently as she could. "But they’re noticing now. And you’ve been seen with him. It might already be too late. If you leave now, though, and never see any of them again, you should be safe. If you don’t… you’ll be targets."

Kyouko was frowning. "Why are you saying this?"

"Because you need to choose, and I believe in giving people all the facts." And having said that, she had to add, "In all fairness, there are two sides to this. You’ll be a target because the Vongola boss is very well known in our world, and very well hated by some. But it’s his power he’s hated for, and few people will be willing to cross his protection."

Haru was biting her lip, but Kyouko only looked down at her hands. "I understand," she said, softly.

Unità’s brows rose.

"I saw, when we were in the future. I heard." Kyouko looked up with a faint smile. "Hibari-san believes in giving people all the facts, too. And even before that… I knew." She looked down again. "That isn’t what makes me hesitate. It’s just…" her voice got softer still, "is there anything I can really do for him?"

It looked like Unità had underestimated this one. Which, actually, suggested an answer to Kyouko’s question, and she smiled. "Most likely, yes." She tapped a finger against her lips and decided to start at the beginning. "Bosses’ wives do different things, you know, depending on their own tastes. Some are completely private and have nothing to do with business at all. Some do negotiations in their own right. And some," she tipped her head, "some work behind the scenes. They smile and entertain guests and do the indirect negotiations." Her mouth quirked. "Or, sometimes, just charm the other side into submission." Her voice lowered. "Is that what you want? To help him with his work?"

"I… I do." Kyouko took a quick breath. "I know I’m not like Bianchi-san, but…"

"Well, he has Bianchi to be like Bianchi," Unità murmured. "Not that it wouldn’t be wise for you to learn to shoot strait and hit something hard enough to make a difference. But Sawada seems to have plenty of people with weapons already. Perhaps he could also do with someone to listen quietly and see the less obvious threats." She thought about what Gamma was to her and added, "And someone to listen to him. Even when it’s not directly about work." She tapped a finger thoughtfully on her knee, considering the differences, too. "That someone will be in danger, danger Sawada and his family will put themselves at risk to guard against, and that someone will just have to bear it. Do you have the will to do that?"

Kyouko was quiet for a moment, but when she looked up her eyes were dark with calm, deep as the ocean. "Yes."

Unità smiled. She might pay money to be present when Sawada got to discover all this. "Good."

Haru was wearing a wry smile as she listened to them. "I think you’re stronger than I am, Kyouko-chan. I’d go crazy if I had to do that." She glanced at Unità uncertainly. "I don’t want to leave either, though."

Unità looked her up and down, consideringly, and her lips curled. "I suppose it’s a good thing Kyouko is the one with the older brother, not you, so there’s no one to come pound me when I suggest this. But maybe you would be good at the, ah, other path mafia women tend to pursue."

Haru blinked at her. "Hahi?"

Unità’s smile quirked. "Wives are expected to be above reproach. Unattached women, on the other hand, have greater opportunities and greater dangers. And guns aren’t the only weapons."

Haru’s chin tucked down and some of the wide blankness slid away from her eyes. "You mean seducing people."

"I knew you couldn’t be as silly as you were acting," Unità murmured and Haru blushed. "No, no, it’s a very good act. Keep it. It will be useful." As useful, in its own way, as Kyouko’s soft-voiced sweetness. "It’s a sad truth," she continued dryly, "but the men of my country tend to be complete idiots when a woman coos at them. There’s a great deal of information to be gathered that way."

"And Kyouko-chan can’t do it," Haru finished for her. "But I could."

"Haru-chan!" Kyouko protested, sitting up straight. "I couldn’t ask you to do that!"

Haru’s smile was distinctly tilted. "Kind of the way Ryouhei-san and Tsuna-kun couldn’t ask you to deal with their being in the mafia?"

Kyouko stopped short, mouth open for a moment before she shut it with a click. Her hands twisted together, but finally she murmured, "If… if you’re sure it’s what you want to do."

"I want to think about it. But…" the sparkle in Haru’s eyes almost hid their sharpness, "it sounds fun. And useful," she added, under her breath, expression suddenly mulish.

Unità stifled a chuckle. "You should definitely learn to shoot straight, then. Perhaps you can ask Gokudera to teach you."

Kyouko’s eyes flicked up to hers as Haru blushed and sputtered a bit, and her lips curved in a tiny smile. Yes, Unità had thought both girls had their lines of sight straight, between them. The young men were thoroughly bracketed.

"On that subject," she went on, more seriously, "Haru, you have to stop your silliness about becoming Sawada’s wife."

Haru waved a hand. "It’s only to tease him. I know there’s no chance—"

"That’s not the point." Unità leaned forward, willing her to understand. "You and Kyouko may know it’s a game. Sawada will likely realize soon himself, if he hasn’t already. But outsiders will see it as a weakness in Vongola’s unity, and you can’t ever let that happen. That’s the responsibility that goes with the ability to be useful. Your games can’t be played inside the Family."

"Oh." Haru sobered. "I… I see. Yes."

Unità nodded to herself, satisfied that this gap in her new ally’s defenses was, if not closed, at least closing. "Indeed. I think you’ll both do well."

There was a tap at the door and the housekeeper slipped in with her always-impressive sense of the appropriate moment and a tray of coffee. The tension in the room uncoiled in the delicate clatter of setting out and pouring, and Unità smiled.

"So tell me." She leaned back in her chair, cup cradled between her fingers. "What do you think of Sicily?"

Haru and Kyouko looked at each other and Kyouko nodded.

"It will make a good home," she said.

End