The one thing—some days, the only thing—everyone could agree to was that Shamal wasn’t the sort of person a pregnant woman should ever have to deal with. Kyouko thought that was just as well, because Hisakawa-sensei was a pleasant woman with a reassuringly competent manner and a professional history that had been vetted three times over (once by Cavallone’s people, who had been the ones to recommend and vouch for her; a second time by the Vongola’s people, who had agreed that she was legitimate; and the third and final time by Gokudera, who had finally, grudgingly, said that Hisakawa-sensei might be competent enough to be allowed to supervise the gestation and birth of the Tenth’s firstborn).
Kyouko supposed that she might have known that even the matter of having Vongola babies couldn’t be simple.
“And that’s that,” Hisakawa-sensei said, undoing the blood pressure cuff and turning away to make a notation in the charts she was keeping.
Kyouko rolled her sleeve back down. “Well?”
Hisakawa-sensei’s smile was warm, reassuring. “Thirty weeks and still a textbook case. All of my patients should give me so little trouble.”
Kyouko couldn’t help smiling back; she did like Hisakawa-sensei. “At least something in my life is allowed to be straightforward.”
“I can imagine it must be a relief,” Hisakawa-sensei agreed, and closed her chart. She stood and inclined her head. “With your permission, I’ll see you again tomorrow.”
“Until tomorrow,” Kyouko murmured, and watched her go—she’d be off to Tsuna now, to make her daily report.
Nothing was ever particularly simple for the Vongola. But then, she’d known as much for years.
Kyouko twitched at her clothes one last time, settling them into place, and smiled at I-Pin. “Well, shall we?” she asked. “Haru must be waiting.”
I-Pin could admit that it was completely necessary and appropriate that they had increased Kyouko-san’s security detail. She could name five Families who might be pleased to see the Vongola’s wife fail to carry a pregnancy to term, and that was without even trying. Of course it was necessary to increase the number of bodyguards who accompanied Kyouko-san whenever she went out. To do otherwise invited disaster.
All the same, that didn’t mean I-Pin had to like it.
Fedele was a good man, and her dislike of him was completely unworthy, she reminded herself. Still, she couldn’t help it; this was her territory that he was intruding upon, and Kyouko-san was her Boss.
“All clear,” André’s voice murmured into her earpiece, and I-Pin nodded. Fedele went ahead, leading Kyouko-san and Haru into the shop, while I-Pin brought up the rear.
At least they’d left her with nominal authority over Kyouko-san’s security. That was something to hold to.
Antonio swept forward to greet them, effusive over how Kyouko-san was glowing and practically rubbing his hands together with his glee at getting to try out his latest designs on her. Kyouko-san and Haru-san laughed with him as they drifted deeper into the shop, already falling into easy chatter with him, while I-Pin and Fedele kept watch over them.
Fedele looked exasperated, just faintly, around the eyes, like he couldn’t quite believe that a veteran Vongola foot soldier had been assigned to stand in this shop, surrounded by bolts of cloth and the frippery of women’s gossip.
I-Pin turned her eyes away from him. He might have been necessary, even vital, but he didn’t understand anything, and she wasn’t obligated to like him.
Just a few more weeks, she reminded herself. Just a few more weeks of this and things would—well, they wouldn’t go back to normal, but they would change again.
All the same, she was going to look into assembling a proper security team for Kyouko-san, one that would understand the work that the Vongola’s wife did.
Kyouko-san didn’t deserve anything less than the absolute best.
“You know, I bet we could make a killing if we put some money down on whether it’s going to be a boy or a girl,” Haru said, once they were ensconced in the car and Antonio’s discreet questions were behind them.
Kyouko-chan chuckled. “I suppose we could,” she agreed, with the secret little smile she’d taken to wearing these past few months. “But I doubt we really need the money that badly.”
“The money’s only a way to keep score.” Haru studied her. “Is it true that you really don’t know which it’s going to be?”
Kyouko-chan laid a hand over the curve of her stomach. “Yes.” The smile turned into an outright grin. “I admit, confounding all the people who ask is one of my great joys in life right now.”
“You really do have an evil sense of humor,” Haru told her. It was all the more so for coming from such an unexpected quarter.
“I know.” Kyouko-chan turned her eyes to the window. “So. Which do the odds favor?”
“A son.” Haru couldn’t help rolling her eyes. “Because the Vongola are such manly men, you know.”
“Tsuna is very macho, yes,” Kyouko-chan agreed, with a straight face. “Quite vigorous, even.” That earned a squeak from I-Pin’s corner, rather like a stifled giggle.
Tsuna-kun was never going to hear the end of that one, poor guy. “Yes, well, the consensus seems to be that the Vongola’s firstborn wouldn’t dare be a girl. Long tradition and all that.”
“Tradition, yes.” Kyouko-chan’s expression went distant. “A boy would be easiest, all told. And then a second boy, and perhaps the third might be a girl…”
An heir and a spare, yes, and then a sister who might be used to cement an alliance with another Family—that was the preferred configuration for these things.
“Whatever it ends up being, it will be a Vongola,” Haru told her, quietly. “And it will be yours, and Tsuna-kun’s, and that’s what really matters. The rest of it can go to hell.”
Kyouko-chan looked away from the window, the uncertainty melting away from the line of her mouth. “Yes,” she said, after a moment, and some of her steel showed itself in a brief glint of her eyes. “You’re right. The rest of it can go to hell.”
Haru settled back in her seat, satisfied.
Privately, she was hoping for a girl. Wouldn’t that just put a spoke in the other Families’ wheels? She’d have to put some money down on it, discreetly. If it came out in her favor, it’d make a good christening gift.
Kyouko was drowsing by the time Tsuna came in, and had to rouse herself from a doze when he slid into bed next to her in order to collect her kiss. “Mm. I was starting to think that you boys were going to talk all night long.”
“Getting too old for that,” Tsuna said, settling against her back.
Kyouko laughed and leaned back against his chest, and sighed, contentedly, as his arm curved around her and held her close. “Is that the diplomatic way of saying that you ran out of wine?”
His laugh tickled her throat. “Maybe.”
“I thought it might be.” It wouldn’t have anything to do with the way Tsuna was wrapping himself around her, of course, or the way his palm had flattened itself against the rounding curve of her stomach. Well, not officially, anyway. There were appearances to keep up.
But that was okay. She was fluent in the things he left unspoken.
“Takeshi says that it’s not fair that Hayato gets first dibs on being a godfather,” Tsuna told her, after a moment.
“Does he, now?” Kyouko could imagine him saying so, half-joking, in order to get Gokudera’s temper up, and half-serious underneath the laughter. “We’ll have to have another, then, so he won’t feel left out.”
“That might set a dangerous precedent, you know.” Tsuna sounded amused. “Before you know it, they’ll all want godchildren.”
“It’s the accessory every fashionable Guardian is sporting this season,” Kyouko said, arch.
Tsuna’s body shook with laughter. “What a mental image,” he said, against her shoulder. “Can you imagine the look on Hibari’s face?”
Kyouko could, all too well, and giggled. “Oh, dear.”
“Somewhere,” he said, gravely, “Hibari has the urge to bite me to death, and he doesn’t even know why.”
Kyouko laughed until she was breathless and the baby was kicking restlessly against all the jostling. “Oh, now I really think we should.”
“I’m willing if you are,” Tsuna said, low.
Kyouko’s laughter stilled in her throat at the offer, which went against all the advice they’d been given about careful family planning and siblings who could only ever be rivals for one coveted position. “I am,” she said, softly, because if Tsuna was willing to try to change that part of mafia life, so was she. She settled her hand over his, and he snuggled her closer. Then the baby kicked again, sharply, and broke the mood. “I reserve the right to change my mind after this one is born, though.”
Even as Tsuna laughed and agreed that it was her prerogative to do so, Kyouko was fairly certain that she wouldn’t.
– end –