A person can learn all sorts of useful, interesting things by eavesdropping. Takes place early on in The Queen and All Her Men. Warnings for unabashed adorable fluff involving toddlers, and the general Hibari outlook on life.

Pairing(s): Hibari/Yamamoto

Kyouya supposed that it was all well and good that Sawada’s cub had survived another year. Given the general atmosphere in which she’d done it, he even supposed that he could understand commemorating the accomplishment. What no one had been able to explain (to his satisfaction, at any rate) was why doing so involved filling the south garden with every squalling mafioso brat from one to ten years old, and why he was required to attend.

“Mari likes her Uncle Hibari,” Sawada Kyouko had said, firmly, and there was something in her smile that suggested teeth. “She wants you there. Don’t worry, all you actually need to do is be present. We won’t force you to have fun, I promise.”

Kyouya had found the novelty of seeing Sawada’s woman showing her fangs like that amusing. It was his duty, he felt, to reward such efforts, so he had agreed to attend, albeit grudgingly.

Her word had been good, though, and he had been allowed to retain his dignity and sit in the shade beneath the terrace in peace, save for the handful of times Mari had bustled over to him, full of a four-year-old’s newfound authority. Once had been to inquire after his comfort, and another had been to bring him a plate of cake, carried carefully in her own pudgy hands. He’d been forced to eat a bite under her command, but after that, she’d let him alone in order to terrorize the rest of her guests.

Kyouya supposed life could have been worse, and closed his eyes—not that he had any intentions of actually sleeping, since it was much too loud for that—to keep anyone else from disturbing him.

He should have known better.

“My goodness, will you look at that?”

The voice—female, older, probably one of the other Families’ matrons—sounded like it was right in his ear.

“Isn’t that just a sight to warm your heart?” asked a second voice, also older and female.

That meant they weren’t discussing him. Kyouya slitted his eyes open and tipped his head further back to look—ah, yes. They were above him, two of them leaning against the terrace railing, looking out at the garden.

“It’s a sight to warm something,” the first one agreed—she was from the Valetti, he thought.

Her companion giggled, a sound that was distinctly at odds with her stout figure and her grey hair. “Absolutely. That one is positively delicious. I could eat him up with a spoon.”

They definitely didn’t mean him, then. It seemed entirely likely that they hadn’t even noticed him. Kyouya raised an eyebrow, and wondered what the Orsini boss would say about hearing his wife saying such things.

“I certainly wouldn’t kick him out of bed,” Valetti murmured, fanning herself with a bit of paper.

Kyouya opened his eyes a bit wider, to see who they might be discussing. The only one in easy sight was Yamamoto, who currently had small children dangling from every extremity, and was laughing even harder than they were.

That made sense, he supposed, and closed his eyes again, the better to listen.

“Is he attached?” Orsini asked, slow and thoughtful.

“That one is… hm, the Vongola’s Rain, so no, he’s not, as far as I know.” Valetti’s voice turned sly. “Why, were you considering him?”

“And if I was?” Orsini asked, arch. “There’s no harm in a bit of fun. And don’t you think he’d be… fun?”

“Oh, undoubtedly,” Valetti agreed, practically purring the words. “Younger lovers always are.” Then her tone turned practical. “But it’s not sensible to get mixed up in another Family’s Guardians.”

Kyouya muffled a snort.

“Pity,” Orsini said, regretfully. “Actually, I was thinking of something else. Hélène is about the right age to catch a boy’s eye, you know. If that one’s not attached yet…”

“Mmm,” Valetti said, the sound a thoughtful one. “Mmm, yes, I see what you mean. It would be a good in, no less.”

“Exactly. And he seems like a good enough man. He might even make a decent father, if his showing here is any indication. And surely he must be looking for a wife by now.”

Valetti hummed. “Mm, you would think. Well. It certainly wouldn’t hurt to look into. Makes me rather wish I had a spare niece at the moment. Pity.”

“Indeed,” Orsini said, sounding altogether too smug about it. “I think I—my goodness, what do you suppose he’s coming this way for?”

Valetti giggled. “Maybe he knows we’re talking about him?”

Kyouya snorted and opened his eyes to see Yamamoto ambling over as the women on the terrace fluttered. He tilted his head back again so that he could watch them, and waited until Yamamoto had hailed him to smile, so that when the two women finally looked down, he was showing all his teeth.

They disappeared in a flurry of red faces and squeaking, which was as satisfying as scattering herd animals ever was, and left him in peace as Yamamoto dropped himself onto the grass next to Kyouya’s chair with a gusty sigh. “You know, I’m glad we’re Tsuna’s Guardians,” he announced. “Mari’s a holy terror, and I don’t even wanna think about what she’s going to be like when she gets older.”

Kyouya just snorted at him, letting him know that he wasn’t fooling anyone.

“No, I’m serious.” Yamamoto grinned up at him. “Can you imagine how she’s going to boss her boyfriends around?”

That was a topic too close to what the idiot women had just been prattling about, so Kyouya grunted at him, noncommittal.

Yamamoto peered up at him. “What’s wrong?”

“Watch out for the Orsini,” Kyouya said, short and precise. “They have a niece they’d like to see you married to.”

“What, again?” Yamamoto groaned. “Damn it.”

Kyouya looked down at him, curiosity piqued. “Is it that regular an occurrence?”

“Yeah, sometimes.” Yamamoto’s smile was wry. “Most of ’em seem to think they’ll get closer to Tsuna that way.” His eyes went darker. “I would have thought they’d learned better by now.”

“Mm. You should pick one, then. From inside the Family.”

Yamamoto blinked up at him, slow and herbivorous. “Why would I want to do that?”

Kyouya’s chair was comfortable enough that he settled for simply kicking Yamamoto rather than interrupting Mari’s party with a fight. “To keep the other Families from siccing their daughters and nieces on you. And so you can have your own brats to play with.”

“But I don’t want that,” Yamamoto said, with a faint smile. “Would’ve done it a few years ago, if I had.”

Kyouya snorted, but he supposed that was true enough—they’d all had plenty of chances to join the headlong rush into marriage and domesticity. “You like the brats,” he pointed out.

Yamamoto’s shrug was probably grinding grass stains into the back of his shirt, but he didn’t seem to care. “The kids are fun,” he said, admitting it easily enough. “But this way I can give ’em back at the end of the day.” His eyes went darker again. “And they probably wouldn’t mind it as much if Uncle Yamamoto doesn’t make it home, one of these days. It’d be different for Yamamoto-tousan.”

“Sheep,” Kyouya told him. “Don’t be stupid.” He aimed another kick at Yamamoto’s ribs.

Yamamoto caught his foot before it could connect, hand curling around his ankle and holding it, grip solid. “Baa,” he drawled, with a grin and sharp eyes. “I’ve already got just about everything I want,” he added, looking up at Kyouya, a considering sort of look on his face. “Not everything, though.”

Then his fingers slid up the inside of Kyouya’s slacks.

Kyouya blinked as Yamamoto’s thumb stroked over the bare skin just above his sock. “You can’t be serious.”

“Can’t I?” Yamamoto asked, voice pitched low, just for him, thumb still moving slowly, dragging something hot down Kyouya’s spine to curl in the pit of his stomach.

Kyouya thought it over. “Make sure you are,” he said, and watched Yamamoto’s smile stretch wider at the note in his voice.

“Oh, I’m serious,” Yamamoto said, fingers creeping higher. “Plenty serious. I play for keeps.”

Kyouya regarded him, and then nodded, short and sharp. “All right, then,” he said, and then kicked free of Yamamoto’s hand. “Mari’s looking for you,” he announced, at the surprise in Yamamoto’s eyes. “We’ll finish this later.”

Yamamoto grinned up at him. “Sounds good to me,” he said, and rolled to his feet.

Kyouya watched him divert Mari’s determined march in their direction by swinging her up onto his shoulders as she shrieked joyfully, considering, and then nodded to himself, stretching out in his chair again and leaning back.

He caught just a glimpse of Sawada Kyouko’s satisfied smile above the terrace railing before it vanished in a swirl of bright hair.

Kyouya growled, but had to admit, on second thought, that it was better her than the Orsini harridan. Still. If Yamamoto had known she was there, Kyouya was going to do more than just kick him.

That promise made to himself, Kyouya settled back in his chair and watched the rough-and-tumble happening among the brats, contemplating the possibilities before him.

It was turning out to be a satisfactory sort of day after all, he decided, all things considered. And the evening promised to be even better.

– end –

Last Modified: May 07, 12
Posted: Jul 21, 09
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