Firebrand

Mukuro likes strong things, and pawns who are loyal to him. Alternate canon history; dark, violent, and twisty.

Character(s): Rokudou Mukuro, Xanxus

He leaves a message behind for whatever Estraneo survivors there might be. It’s written in smoke and blood, and it says, quite simply, Don’t do this again.

The two children who had survived the labs trail after him. Their eyes are wide and dark, and they look at him like he is a hero. He does not disabuse them of the notion.

But they are children, for all that they are strong—he saw the dark one make two kills, and the light one rip the throat out of a scientist with nothing but his teeth—and for now they are a burden to him.

He toys with the idea of killing them; the fewer people who know of him, the better. It would be simple enough to do. Given the way they look at him, they might even bare their throats for him.

Instead he renames them. The names come from an early life, perhaps his first, and though they no longer have faces attached to them, he recalls the sense of camaraderie that goes with them. “You will be Joushima Ken,” he tells the light one, and to the dark one, he says, “And you will be Kakimoto Chikusa.” They accept that, solemnly, and then he finds them a home.

The Rossi are a small Family, and, in the way of small, weak factions, have made up for it by building one of the finest information networks in Italy. Their boss is a sentimental fool, and adopts the two orphans without a single thought in his head but charity.

Before he leaves Ken and Chikusa to the Rossi’s mercies, he gives them instructions. “Grow up,” he tells them. “Become stronger. Listen. Learn. Be ready for me when I come for you.” There are other things, ones he leaves unsaid—their minds are open to him now, ready for him to stroll through any time he chooses.

They accept that, too, and then Ken—already the brash one—asks, humbly, “What should we call you?”

“You shouldn’t,” he says, and they flinch. But it’s true enough that he needs a name, and the one the Estraneo gave him won’t do at all. “Mukuro,” he says, finally, picking the name that goes with theirs. “You may call me Mukuro-sama.”

The linguistic niceties are lost on them, to be sure, but they nod. When Mukuro leaves them, they are forming the syllables for themselves, eyes wide and shining.

 

 

He drifts through Italy on his own, possessing people and discarding them after he’s learned the things they won’t tell someone wearing a child’s body, and what he learns is that he wouldn’t give two figs for any of the Families or their so-called values. The Estraneo had been rotten at the core, and so are the rest of them. The more they bleat on about their honor and their codes, the more it disgusts him. They have no honor that they will not sell. They have no codes that they will not break.

The Mafia—humans—are revolting. There’s nothing they won’t sacrifice if it means gain, not even their own children.

The whole thing should be destroyed.

And then Mukuro thinks, Why not?

 

 

He drifts northward, towards the Rossi, with the vague intention of letting himself be adopted along with Chikusa and Ken. The Rossi are as good a place as any to stay while he plans his destruction of the Mafia.

That changes when he hears the rumors coming out of the Vongola—that the Vongola Ninth is getting old, and will select his heir soon. The favorite is Xanxus, his natural son. All the Barassi peon Mukuro is possessing knows of this Xanxus is that he’s strong—incredibly strong.

Mukuro absorbs this, and smiles.

He likes strong things.

 

 

He goes strolling that evening, walking through his own world until he comes across Chikusa. The boy looks startled to see him, but takes his hand without hesitation. “Mukuro-sama,” he murmurs.

“I have need of you,” Mukuro tells him, and pushes Chikusa’s consciousness aside.

The Rossi are careless among their own people. Mukuro strolls Chikusa’s body through the Rossi base unchallenged, conducting his interrogations here and there, gleaning what they know of the Vongola, of this Xanxus. He pays no mind to the bodies he leaves behind him, and is pleased to note that Chikusa doesn’t either.

It is terribly useful to have loyal pawns.

What the Rossi know of Xanxus dwells on the fact that he is rumored to be the Vongola Ninth’s bastard son, and that he wields the Vongola Flame. He is said to be arrogant and short-tempered, and widely-expected to be named the Tenth any day now. In the meantime, he has taken control of the Varia.

Mukuro thinks that he will do nicely.

 

 

Xanxus is even better than he’d hoped.

It takes a while for Mukuro to weed through the man’s underlings—killing the weak ones, disabling and marking the stronger ones for later use, if necessary—and reach him where he’s brooding in his lair. When Mukuro walks in, carrying his trident and flicking the blood off his fingers, Xanxus is slouched in a chair. Mukuro doesn’t make the mistake of assuming that the casual posture means that Xanxus is unwary; the man’s eyes are burning.

Xanxus does him the courtesy of not assuming that the child’s body Mukuro is wearing means that Mukuro is harmless. “Who the fuck are you?”

He smiles. “You may call me Mukuro,” he says, and rolls out of the way of the gunfire—the gun had appeared in Xanxus’ hand almost before he could see it. Delightful. “Oh, you are going to be fun to play with.”

Xanxus snarls something wordless at him; his Flame sears through the air and Mukuro barely escapes being burnt. He laughs again and vaults out of the way, pivots on his staff and launches himself at Xanxus.

He’d dipped into the minds of the higher-ranking Varia, to see what their experience of Xanxus was. The uniform impression that he’d received was that the only thing Xanxus respected was strength. In that sense, he’s a man after Mukuro’s own heart. So Mukuro dances with him, trading blows and dodging bullets until the room is in ruins. He lands a hit early, a glancing blow as Xanxus turns his trident aside, but it lays the back of Xanxus’ hand open. That’s all the opportunity he needs.

He pays just enough attention to what’s going on around him to keep Xanxus from injuring him, and goes for a stroll through Xanxus’ memories. He’s looking for confirmation that Xanxus really is going to be the Tenth. What he finds is something else entirely.

“And to think all of Italy believes you really are his son,” Mukuro says, beyond entertained by it. The rot goes all the way to the heart of the Vongola, who pride themselves on the purity of their Family traditions. It’s too delicious for words. “To think he even let you believe it—!”

Xanxus howls and lunges for him, but it’s too late now. Mukuro has seen to the heart of the man, seen all his doubts and insecurities and the intangible things Xanxus hungers for and knows that he won’t ever have. Mukuro steps out of his way and reaches out his own Will to seize control of Xanxus.

The man goes down like a rock, but his spirit struggles against Mukuro’s, fighting against the grip Mukuro has on him. “You are strong,” he says, going to Xanxus and standing over him.

The man glares at him, eyes fierce.

Mukuro considers him, and crouches. “Very strong,” he says, softly. “And yet they don’t want you. They fear you and what you can do to them.” The spirit of Xanxus flinches in his grip. “You will never belong to them, and they know it.” Xanxus flinches again, but Mukuro’s hold on him is too strong now, and Mukuro refuses to let him look away. “But they don’t mind using you, do they? They don’t mind lying to you, and letting you destroy their other enemies. You make a very pretty little pawn, don’t you?”

He tips his head to the side, studying Xanxus. “I wonder how long it will be until their fear of you outweighs their need for you, and they decide to kill you? It can’t be long… I see you’re already planning to take what should be yours. They won’t let you, you know. The old man who calls himself your father will see you dead by his own hand before he lets that happen.” He smiles as Xanxus’ spirit goes still against his. “Remember, it’s always the Family first with them. And you? You’re not even family, let alone Family.”

That has him; Xanxus’ will flinches against his one more time, and then goes limp, bleak with despair.

Mukuro starts to shoulder him aside, and reconsiders it. “I wonder what you even want with that,” he says. “Whited sepulchers, all of them. Corrupt to the very core of them. Weak little men who can’t even do their own killing, and rely on monsters to do it for them. Liars and cheats, all of them.” He lays his hand against Xanxus’ cheek, lightly, and can feel Xanxus listening to him, intent as a flame. “You are much finer than that, aren’t you? You’re stronger than they are. Purer than they are, for all their fine bloodlines.”

Xanxus’ spirit flexes against his; Mukuro relaxes his hold just a bit, enough to give him a voice. “What do you want from me?” he rasps.

Mukuro smiles at him. “I want you to help me burn it all down,” he says. “Right down to the ground. All of it—the whole rotten, stinking thing.”

Xanxus’ eyes change, go bright and fierce. “Yes,” he whispers.

Mukuro can see the future burning in his eyes. It’s a beautiful sight.

– end –