So... A new story, this time for Katekyo hitman reborn.

The plot came from a prompt by Aliathe, and their poem, An Ode to a Thief!

This is the first chapter of a (probably) threeshot.

"True, true." The man in front of Viper, clad in a bulging white suit to set off the richly decorated banquet hall they were in laughed, the meticulously combed hairs of his mustache quivering, and Viper resisted the urge to shudder and back away, grimacing at the folds of skin sagging beneath the old man's chin. Only the thought that the man was an earl, and the one hosting this lavish party, saved said man from being yet another one of Viper's numerous skeletons in the closet.

That, and the unnatural presence Viper could feel along with the weight of someone's eyes.

Viper allowed a smile to slide onto the illusion in front of the earl's face, adding a slight flutter to the thick dark lashes framing the illusion's heavy lidded olive green eyes. This job was a simple one, the wealthy earl had been undisturbed for decades after inheriting all his riches and power from his predecessor, his guard was down and his wealth was in full display. Just as Viper's illusion began to speak, Viper flinched as pain began to creep over, it's spiny tendrils gripping hold of the brain tightly and not letting go. Fatigue began to cloud Viper's eyes as full effort was put into maintaining the illusion and her low, sultry voice. The earl stared at the illusion in concern, reaching out to grasp the illusion's slender wrist with a damp hand that was nearly bursting out of the confines of the white gloves.

"Are you feeling unwell?"

Viper's eyes narrowed. This was it. It was now or never. Pushing back the biting pain and disgust, Viper allowed the illusion to collapse into the earl's arms, deft fingers sliding up to his lapel while the other one swung against the earl's chest, distracting him.

"Bye bye." The illusion's voice was soft, with a playful lilt, and the baron stared in confusion before his brows nit and he fell back with a thump, the poison administered just seconds before finally coming into effect. Viper stood back to admire the work, taking a second to tuck the pocket watch worth millions away before directing the illusion to the nearest guard, who was standing beside a black clad boy with messy blonde hair covering his eyes and the most irritating smirk Viper had ever seen. If everything went as planned, by the end of the week, Viper should be several million euros richer.

Viper followed the illusion across they marble floor, dodging the white boots of the blonde boy just in time before they came crashing down, threatening to squish the small illusionist. The illusion spoke to the guard as Viper watched, weeping out a carefully orchestrated speech on the earl's collapse before breaking down in tears. Suddenly, a hand descended from above, grabbing the back of Viper's hood and raising back up until the owner of the hand came into view.

The cloaking illusion was evidently not strong enough...

The owner, who happened to be the blonde boy standing by the guard, smiled that infuriating lopsided smirk and laughed a strange, high pitched laugh. "Ushishi, it's a baby! What are you doing here, baby?" Viper glared from under the big black hood, small feet kicking out. "Let go, stupid brat." The boy laughed again, and something in his hair glinted. A crown? Viper squinted. No, it was a tiara, slender, reflecting the light of the chandelier with it's shiny silver surface.

"The prince will let go of you when he wants too." Viper stared.


Just then, Viper remembered the guard. Quickly moving the illusion to thank the guard, Viper reached up to pinch the slender, sharp nailed fingers holding the black cloak and dropped to the ground, heading towards the great doors, not noticing the blonde boy's smirk widen as he watched the small figure leave.

"Found you!"

As soon as Viper was out of the mansion and onto the streets, the guard, seemingly thankful to be away from and out of the blonde boy's presence as much as Viper was, promising to find the culprit behind the baron's murder, all illusions were dropped, almost. The presence was gone, but Viper took no chances, looking around before fully letting go of the illusion. The slender viscountess with curling hair of dark honey disintegrated to nothing, dissolving into the smokey night sky.

Viper hurried down the rainy streets and over small stone bridges, under the pooling glow of the black metal streetlamps, cloak pulled tightly as small feet pitter-pattered across the dark alley. Turning corner after corner, Viper finally stopped in a worn back alley somewhere in Venice. It was dark, the moon fully hidden by the clouds-or maybe it was the new moon, Viper didn't know-and the streets were quiet but for the occasional soft hum of something, probably a boat, moving through the thin canals crisscrossing across Venice.

A soft huff escaped a small, pouting mouth as Viper sank down, pulling the hood down more as lightning bolts of pain attacked from all directions, threatening to split open Viper's brain. The small illusionist curled up as the sight of the dark street and dusty brick walls began to blur around the edges, the wind passing over the small dark figure lying against the back alley wall. Knowing the places no one went, especially at night, had never been so useful.

Viper cursed softly, the sound blown away by the unforgiving wind. At some point, it had been easy to make a few alterations of hair, eyes, face shape and clothing. Infiltrating had been nearly effortless and Viper didn't need to steal so much as take. Ever since that curse though... Viper shuddered. Though being chosen as one of the seven strongest had been something Viper had been secretly quite satisfied about, shrinking into this puny baby's body had not.

Even with the extra boost being an arcobaleno, the holder of the purple pacifier and being one of the seven strongest babies had given Viper, creating whole illusions for so long, all at once, every night, was becoming more and more painful, taking up more and more energy to make. Fantasma, the frog who had appeared along with the curse, helped, but there was no way to contact the frog who usually rode along on Viper's head, but was currently no where to be seen.

It hurt. Viper hurt. Viper's head hurt, all over Viper's body, the pain fogged over and covered Viper, like some kind of malicious blanket. Just as Viper couldn't take it anymore, just as the pain was too much to bear, the hollow tap-tap of leather against stone sounded throughout the alley, shocking Viper enough to momentarily forget the pain.

"Hello...?" The voice was soft, youthful and tentative, smooth, with the slight lilt of a foreigner, and Viper froze in reply, before an idea came to mind. It was stupid, nearly impossible, and far more dangerous than it was worth... But Viper couldn't go on anymore, couldn't make a living out of thievery, not in this useless, tiny body... And finally, Viper came to a decision.

"Hey, you." Viper's voice was weak and slightly scratchy from disuse, but it had the desired affect. The youth froze, the tapping of footsteps stopping. Indigo mist surrounded both of them, thick and curling, obscuring the entrance to the alley, preventing escape. No matter how weak Viper was, this much was simple. "Where are you going?" There was a pause. "W-why does it matter?" Viper's eyes slid shut as an illusion of something dark, with fangs, was conjured up and sent to growl at the youth. There was a yelp. "I-I'm going to the bar owned by the V-vongola family..." There was a moment of silence, before the youth spoke again. "I-I'm searching... I want to hire and assassin... I-I don't look like much, but I have money..." Viper hummed softly frowning. Getting mixed up in the Vongola family was more trouble then Viper would like, but the youth did say he had money..."I'll do it."

The youth flinched back at the abrupt statement, their voice high pitched with fear as they spoke. "B-but you..." They fell silent as the illusion in front of them growled low, threatening. "O-okay... What are you called...?" Viper paused, looking down at her small hands, so different from what they had looked like before.

"...Mammon. I am the Esper Mammon."