Breaking of the Day

Tsuna gets taken off to Italy to get better acquainted with the Vongola. While he’s there, he has to come to some kind of terms with Xanxus. Kind of, sort of, mental Tsuna/Xanxus. Drama, I-4, some spoilers

"I can’t believe you told Kaa-san this was overseas study," Tsuna grumbled as he was frog-marched to his doom.

Well, all right, not really frog-marched, his dad had his hands in his pockets and Reborn wasn’t tall enough, but the effect was the same.

"It is overseas," his dad said, cheerily. "And it’s definitely higher education."

Tsuna glared at the double-doors they were approaching. He had never agreed to this. Well, not really. Not exactly.

"Cheer up," his dad advised. "It’s a job for life." While Tsuna was trying to find words for the magnitude of wrongness in that statement, his dad swept open the door with a perfectly ruthless smile and Tsuna was pinned in the doorway by the measuring stares of a lot of men in black suits.

"Tsuna." The Ninth smiled. "Welcome."

A rough snort cut through Tsuna’s fumbling thank-you, and he looked around to see Xanxus lounging in one of the chairs glaring death at him. His words ended on a strangled sound. The room was silent as the two of them stared at each other.

Finally Tsuna swallowed and took a breath. If he didn’t say something he would probably be here until he spontaneously combusted from the glare. "Xanxus-san," he managed. "It’s, um, good to see you again?"

Xanxus’ lip curled in a sneer but he finally turned the dark glower away, as if Tsuna was a bug he’d noticed only in passing, and Tsuna made it to the chair left empty without wobbling. Much.

It took him a while to register that a few of the stares around the table were now impressed, and he had to choke down hysterical laughter when he did.

What else was he supposed to say, after all? "Still going to kill everyone present to cover up murdering me, and by the way how’s the food around here?"

"So." The Ninth’s smile was a little too similar to Reborn’s for Tsuna’s comfort. "Shall we begin?"

"A war?!" Tsuna waved his arms to relieve his feelings, here in the safety of his own room. "Another? You brought me over here just in time for another?" He stopped, siezed by a horrible thought, and buried his fingers in his hair. "Or is it the same?"

"It isn’t the same," Reborn stated, far too calmly, as usual. "We’re pretty sure."

"Pretty sure?" Tsuna’s voice cracked.

Reborn shrugged. "We’re still tracing their headquarters."

"While they know exactly where we are. Great," Tsuna grumbled.

"That’s why the Varia were called here." Reborn sounded perfectly reasonable and Tsuna shuddered.

"Is he going to try to kill me again?" he asked with a certain morbid curiosity.

"Sooner or later, probably."

Tsuna threw himself onto his bed and pulled a pillow over his head. He didn’t know whether he was really glad or really regretting that he’d convinced Gokudera to stay in Japan while he spent six months "overseas study" in Italy.

Reborn hauled him out from under the pillow and dumped him on the floor. "Hurry up. You have another meeting to observe in five minutes."

The only reason Tsuna managed to keep shoot me now behind his teeth was because he knew Reborn would.

Tsuna cautiously eased out onto the terrace. Bullets had stopped zinging and the man in charge of interior security assured him the assault was over, but he’d heard a few of the stories about how many tunnels and hiding places this place had.

Besides, Xanxus was out here.

"You got them all?" he was asking Viper and Belphegor.

"All three," Viper confirmed while Belphegor cocked his head at Tsuna and smiled disturbingly. "If that really is all of their squad leaders this should put the crimp in their strategy we need…"

Tsuna stopped paying attention, because something in the trees caught his eye. It was something like a gleam, only dark instead of light, and his gaze followed it, puzzled at it, until it resolved into something that might be a very long gun.

Adrenaline kicked his heart hard and his teeth locked. He felt like he could see rings of air sliding down a long, straight path and he followed them with wide fixed eyes until they ended at…

Xanxus’ back.

No one else was looking, he could never push Xanxus hard enough to move him away, but he was already moving. He reached out but he’d seen the things Reborn could shoot, his hand wouldn’t even slow a bullet down. He needed something more. He was not going to let anyone be shot in front of him!

Need. Want. Will.


The impact drove him back against Xanxus and the next few moments were a confusion of shouting and falling and someone’s boot in his ribs and the bullet safe in his hand. When it was done, Belphegor was gone from the terrace, the noise had moved over to the tree line, and Xanxus was staring down at him.

"What kind of a goddamn moron are you?"

Tsuna straightened up, coughing a little, and opened his hand to show the bullet resting in his glove.

"I know that! I’m going to kill you and you’re trying to protect me?" Xanxus spat on the flagstones. "The old bastard is senile, trying to make some limp little shit like you a boss!"

He stalked inside and Tsuna sighed. He knew it probably was a pretty stupid thing to do, but he couldn’t just watch even someone who wanted him dead shot. He couldn’t.

"A boss risks his life to protect the Family," Reborn said, appearing in the door. He looked Tsuna up and down and smiled faintly. "Not too bad."

Tsuna smiled back, shakily.

"We’ll work on new training, so you can call the Flame faster."

Tsuna slumped back against the wall, groaning. One of these days, he was going to learn.

Tsuna squirmed in his chair. He’d never been fond of watching meetings to start with, especially when they were in a language that, despite Reborn’s Dying Will Language Lessons, he only mostly understood, and lately they’d gotten a lot worse. The Vongola leaders were tense, people were dying, and Xanxus was watching him like a hawk and sneering every time Tsuna so much as twitched. It was as much as he could do not to stammer every time someone spoke to him.

"What has he got against me?" he wailed as Reborn and his dad saw him back to his room and checked it over. "Just that I’m alive?"

Reborn paused to whack him over the head. "Quit whining. And yes."

There were times Tsuna wished Dino-san had taught him how to swear, the way he’d joked about when he learned Tsuna was visiting Italy.

"Well, and his strength is the reason he had so much support for becoming boss," his dad added, looking carefully out the curtains. "The more people see of your strength, first hand, the less support he’ll have to keep holding off from serving you."

Tsuna stopped dead in the middle of the room and stared in abject horror.

"I told you a long time ago, didn’t I?" Reborn hopped up onto a chair and pulled open his gun case. "In a challenge for leadership, our tradition is that the loser serves under the winner."

Tsuna squeaked.

His dad waved a soothing hand. "Xanxus is the leader of the Varia and they’re directly under the Ninth. As long as the Ninth is alive, no one will bring any real pressure for him to swear to you." He scratched his chin thoughtfully. "Of course, he does owe you for his life, now, which probably isn’t helping."

"Life… huh? But…" Tsuna laughed uneasily. "People save each other all the time in the mafia, right?" Surely they must or no one would still be alive.

"Of course." Reborn polished a very large barrel. "And by doing so they incur a debt. It’s a special relationship. Between enemies, it’s a debt of honor that must be discharged. Within the Family it’s an extra bond of loyalty."

Tsuna took one second to consider the idea of Xanxus finding himself with a "special relationship" to Tsuna and started hyperventilating.

He’d never make it home alive.

Tsuna watched the fighting flow slowly over the slopes below and listened to the babble of voices in his earpiece and waited in the Flame’s stillness to see another opening to push the intruders back.

"They’re staying together, this is our best chance…"

"…shield, though, even Xanxus’ guns can’t get all the way through it."

"We need to get rid of it, then."

Tsuna watched the wavering opacity around the invaders flowing and reforming, and felt the weight of it in his mind and senses, and nodded. In the present stillness of his mind, he knew there would only be more deaths if he held his hand now. "I can do it," he said, the first he’d spoken during this battle.

There was silence on the earpiece for a moment until the Ninth said, "Reborn?"

"He’s my student, of course he can." A double crack of gunfire rang out off to the left and through the earpiece, and another of the invaders went down. "It’s line of sight, though, and he’ll need cover to prepare it. Twenty seconds."

Babble broke out again.

"…take the whole thing out he’ll be up pretty high."

"Wide field of fire…"

"…Varia can do it?"

Unthought calculation tumbled through the back of Tsuna’s mind. The Varia probably could protect him, if they chose to really do it. If they didn’t, could he protect himself? Their "failure" would have to be subtle, before so many witnesses, so, probably, yes.

Xanxus snarled an acknowledgment over the line and Tsuna nodded to himself. "Fifteen minutes for the squad on the east to be in position," he stated, the movement he had watched coming together into prediction. "I’ll be one hundred feet up from the first terrace."

There was another hitch of quiet and then a rattle of movement orders to the eastern defenders. Tsuna made his way up the terraces and found Squalo there ahead of him, bellowing for the other Varia to hurry up or he wouldn’t leave anything for them.

Tsuna would have prefered his own Guardians around him, for this, but it had been his own choice for them to stay behind. He would just have to keep his eyes open. He nodded to the Varia.


A hundred feet up the stone wall, Tsuna had the angle he needed to strike the invaders’ shield and he was completely exposed. Knives, illusion, lighting flickered around him as he drew on the Flame and started to focus it. His eyes didn’t leave his target, and so he saw it coming for him, larger than any bullet he’d seen before and rippling the same way the shield was. It tracked him perfectly and the world slowed and sharpened as he decided it would probably follow him even if he moved; he hadn’t built enough power yet to deflect it; his senses reached out, searching for the best answer.

And then Xanxus was in front of him, firing into the oncoming danger, firing and not moving. Surprise flickered in Tsuna’s thoughts, but the calm of the Dying Will drew memory together into understanding, and Tsuna knew what Xanxus was doing.

Discharging his obligation. Declaring his enmity.

So be it. Tsuna concentrated again on raising his Flame, even as the bullet and whatever it carried struck Xanxus and he fell. As Xanxus fell, Tsuna raised his hand and released the Flame.

He breathed once, twice, watching as it struck the shield and spread, breathed deeper and focused the Flame more tightly, ignoring the rise of voices in his earpiece. He felt the break before he saw it, the sudden give under the force of his attack. The shield didn’t crack, but it gave. And then it disintegrated.

Everything paused for one moment, and then a roar swept over the field, triumph and terror mixed together.

Tsuna was more than happy to leave firing on people caught in the open with no cover to others, and instead he descended the wall to where Squalo had dragged Xanxus around a corner into a bit of shelter from stray bullets. The other Varia had already scattered, having, Tsuna knew well enough, none of his reluctance.

Xanxus bared his teeth, looking up at Tsuna from where he leaned against the wall with a certain satisfaction laid over the constant fury in his eyes. It didn’t waver as Squalo yanked bandages tight around his shoulder.

"There, damn idiot," Squalo declared and turned to bound toward the battle.

Xanxus ignored him, snarling that backhanded triumph at Tsuna, and Tsuna came closer and knelt beside him. He hadn’t seen Xanxus in a long time, and maybe Reborn was right about his intuition growing, because this time he understood something he hadn’t before. He lifted a burning hand and laid it against the center of Xanxus’ chest.

"There shouldn’t be ice here."

Now Xanxus was staring at him, blank and furious instead of pleased and furious, not even bothering to brush him away. "The hell?"

It wasn’t something seen. It wasn’t something felt. But Tsuna knew what was under his hand. "Your Will has frozen your heart." He frowned and flattened his palm. "It shouldn’t be like that."

It would be such a small thing to do, really. He reached with his own Will, and Xanxus jerked back against the wall behind him, eyes widening. "No…"

Tsuna looked up at him. "I know." He knew the first crack in that ice, and the fractured edges of it. He knew how they would cut when they came free. Love and betrayal both slid off the ice, right now, and Tsuna knew that they shouldn’t.

The fury and terror in Xanxus’ eyes only knew the agony waiting in those edges, though, and that he had been checkmated before he knew it. Tsuna’s hand had already closed around the rage the fueled his Will.

"No!" Xanxus’ voice was harsh and tight and almost inaudible, his whole body rigid under Tsuna’s hand, fingers closed helplessly hard on the chips of broken stone under them.

Tsuna listened to the sounds coming from below them, to the death following his actions, and finally sighed and reluctantly drew his hand back, releasing the unseen ice from his Will. He stood, head bowed, looking down at Xanxus staring up at him. He almost certainly was risking his life, to refrain, and he didn’t know if he was truly doing any good for Xanxus either. But Xanxus had chosen that ice and Tsuna couldn’t undo it by force.

He turned away into the building and left Xanxus staring after him, breathing hard.

Tsuna sat in his chair and tried not to fidget, because sometimes now it made someone jump when he did. He didn’t really think that was much of an improvement over the past few months, but Reborn smiled a lot.

The Ninth leaned back in his chair, smiling. "Well, that’s one conflict cleared up in Vongola favor. So let’s move on to other business. Does anyone still have any objections to my successor?"

Tsuna froze, wide-eyed, as the entire table looked at him. Murmurs and headshakes and a few smiles ran around the gathering, and Tsuna wasn’t sure whether to be relieved or even more alarmed that they were accepting him.

He hadn’t even accepted him, yet!

Well… not exactly.

And then everyone stilled, eyes turning to Xanxus, who was glaring wild and hard at Tsuna once again and hadn’t said a thing.

Tsuna bit his lip and looked back. He remembered tremors raking Xanxus’ chest under his palm. Would it help if he apologized?

And just as Tsuna was opening his mouth, hand raised toward Xanxus, groping for words, Xanxus flinched back and lowered his eyes.

The whole room breathed again.

"Good," the Ninth said quietly. "Then I think we’re done here."