Tsuna wakes to the sound of Claude pleading with Reborn to stay for three more days, with the condition of several Beehive guards stationed as protectors. The trips in public would be brief, private and plotted out to minimize the chance the Yamaguchi would catch them. Reborn lectures Tsuna extra hard on the usage of his ring against thugs, should he need it to protect his new friends.
"Reborn, can't you just come with us?" Tsuna asks, exasperated.
"No. I've got other things to do. I trust Claude will keep an eye on you this time. Come, Black Tiger."
"Yes, teacher," Seishirou answers obediently, rising.
As the two leave, Claude, Chitoge and Tsuna are left with rather shocked expressions. When did Reborn decide to be the Black Tiger's tutor?
"A-Anyways..." Claude quickly recovers and pushes his glasses up, "Let us be going."
"Can I go home a bit? I just gotta tell my folks I'm okay," Raku entreats.
"Me too," quips Kosaki.
"That will not be necessary. We have taken the necessary measures-"
"I don't mind," Tsuna interrupts, "Besides, I'm sure your parents want to see you're okay..."
Claude looks to Chitoge. Chitoge doesn't meet his gaze and mutters "whatever" under her breath. Claude concedes disapprovingly with a "Hrrmph" and they all end up in a limo to the Shuei-Gumi estate.
"Wow!" Tsuna gapes as they near the impressive manor, "It's huge!"
"You're with a mafia, right? Aren't you kinda used to this?"
"Well, the Ninth's house is big too, but it's western. Gianini had a place like this when we were at base in the-" Tsuna catches himself before uttering 'future', "-Uh, Italy."
"Oh, cool," Raku looks to the white haired bodyguard, "Oi, Claude, is it really ok for us to go out in public? If they know our faces-"
"Do you doubt the Beehive capability? Perhaps you should ask your group to contribute then- oh wait, I forgot, you're powerless to raise a hand against the superior branch!"
Raku gives Claude a look that he takes no notice of, sitting in the passengers seat. Why the hell is he always so much of an ass to me, thinks Raku, but not Tsuna? The car stops before the gate and they dismount. A line of Yakuza members stand in two rows, their backs straight and arms behind. Raku walks through with some embarrassment tinging his cheeks, especially when Kosaki and Tsuna comment on how extravagant the whole gesture was.
"RAKUUU!" A hefty, tattooed man with a scar on his face rushes up to crush Raku in a thorough embrace, "Oh gosh, thank goodness you're safe!"
"R-Ryuu, it's good to see you too..." Raku promptly wriggles out of his arms and coughs, "These are our guests for today."
Claude and Ryuu's eyes meet and there are sparks. As they stand their ground, Raku and company proceed indoors. In the main guest room, Issei sits waiting impatiently. He turns to see his son enter and begins loudly shouting.
"You darn good-for-nothing!" He blares, "What the hell?! Do you know how embarrassing it was for me to take that call?! Why are you getting mixed up with the Italian Mafia huh?! And why the hell are they here right now?!"
"Uh …. Hello, sir...?" Tsuna greets the old man apprehensively, "I-I'm the Italian mafia Tenth. Please don't yell at Raku, it was all my fault-"
The old man's eyes bling at the sight of fresh meat. He immediately hones in on Tsuna, frightening the boy to near paralysis, "Oh, I've heard a lot about you, Tenth of Vongola! What've you and the Beehive got scheming?! How dare you disturb the peace I worked so hard to build in this town?! Have you no respect for older institutions?!"
"Geez, dad, just chill out!" Raku sighs heavily, "You're scaring Onodera!"
Kosaki had hid behind Chitoge. She meekly peeks out, "Uhm … I-I'm Raku's classmate, Kosaki Onodera. Nice to meet you..."
"Hmf!" With that, the old man thumps back on his cushion, arms folded. He picks up his cup of tea and drinks deeply, ignoring their presence.
"Young Master!" Ryuu and Claude emerge from the hallway, both looking a little ruffled, "Sorry for the wait, there was an altercation outside."
"... No problem. We're done here," Raku puts his arms behind his head nonchalantly and says loudly, "We'll be getting out of your hair now, old man."
His father does not respond. Claude pushes up his glasses and clears his throat, "Then we'll best take the girl home."
"Ah, sorry. I need to use the restroom," Tsuna quips. He makes a beeline for the door and shuts it behind him, taking a big breath, "Aah, the air is so tense in there. I forgot to ask where the bathrooms are..."
He wanders for what seems like hours. Finally, in desperation, he jumps into the garden and guiltily unzips his pants behind a tree. As he's finishing, a small voice calls out from the halls of the house. He hurriedly zips his pants and pops out from his hiding place. Then, remembering his hygiene, he washes his hand in the nearby koi pond. Kosaki stands on the wooden platform, looking about worriedly. She spots him as he runs up to her.
"Everyone was worried. You were taking a while, Tsuna-kun."
"Sorry!" He pulls himself back up on the platform, "Uh, I'm ready to go now!"
"Um..." Kosaki looks away, slightly red.
"Huh? What is it?"
She hesitates and stutters, "Y-You've caught your shirt on your zipper..."
"ACK!" Tsuna quickly turns around to re-zip, "T-thanks for the heads up there..."
"N-no problem..." Kosaki murmurs softly, "Um … Actually, there is one thing also..."
"Uh..." Tsuna quickly glances to see if he maybe got a pee spot somewhere. Upon seeing none, he asks, "What?"
"I … forgot the way back to the room."
Silence. Tsuna realizes he'd forgotten as well, having run randomly about. He notices Kosaki's gloom quickly and hurries to comfort her.
"I-It's ok! It's a big place. I don't even, um..." He looks down a random route, "Let's try this way."
Kosaki timidly follows. The two walk at an even pace as they make several twists and turns. There were no real distinguishing markings from one hall to the next, so they ended up simply on the opposite side of the garden they started from.
"GAAAH!" Tsuna ruffles his hair, "We're so late!"
He hangs his head sadly as he leans on the wooden banisters bordering the garden platform. Kosaki has taken a seat on the platform, letting her legs dangle just above the grass.
"I'm sorry... I'm sure you want to get back to your parents..." Tsuna sighs, "I really am a good-for-nothing."
"N-no! It's not that..." Kosaki looks at him, flustered, "I just … I can't do anything for you, Ichijou-kun or Chitoge. It's better I just stay out of the way."
"...! I don't think they want you getting involved, is all," Tsuna looks out at the irises swaying in the wind, "... I get it. You're someone they want to shield from everything unpleasant. What if you got hurt, like yesterday?"
She turns to him, surprised. He takes a seat next to her and smiles a little.
"You remind me of someone from my hometown. I want to keep her safe, even if it means lying to her," Tsuna thinks of Kyoko back in Namimori, "Eh, or so I feel..."
Kosaki looks at him with some admiration, then she chuckles and turns away, giggling, "That's thoughtful of you, Tsuna-kun, making a story like that to cheer me up."
"Hey, you're laughing!" Tsuna smiles, though inwardly he's trying to explain Kyoko was not a fantasy … at least, he hoped not.
"... Do you like someone, Tsuna-kun?" Kosaki leans in suddenly.
"EH-" Tsuna blushes bright red at the proximity. His blush alerts Kosaki to her transgression, and she turns red too. The two, red-faced, only stare at each other, unable to speak.
"HEY!" Chitoge bursts the bubble, screaming to them from the end of the hallway, "What are you two doing?!"
"A-WAH-WAH..." The two fumble to stand as the blonde marches toward them angrily.
"Did you two get lost or something?! It's been an hour! I was going crazy-" She pauses and looks at the two of them strangely, "What's with your faces?"
"H-Huh? What's up with my face?" Tsuna doesn't feel the burn spread to his ears.
"You're real red. Are you coming down with something?" Without warning, Chitoge places a hand on Tsuna's forehead, "You sure are warm..."
"AHH!" Tsuna pulls away, panting, "I'm fine! Really! SO let's get going! I'm sure everyone's fed up waiting!"
"Oh, yeah. Come on," Chitoge dismisses the strange behavior and leads the two back to the correct room. Upon entering, Kosaki and Tsuna have cooled down considerably. The two glance at each other nervously from the corner of their eyes. The fusuma panel slides open to show Raku almost at fists with his father.
"Oh, Onodera, Tsuna!" Raku looks away from his adversary, "What took you guys so long?"
Issei sits down with a huff, the battle's concentration having been lost. Claude affixes his glasses on his face and clears his throat.
"Ahem... We may now leave, I hope?" He subtly gives Tsuna an irritated look from the corner of his eye, "We have wasted more than enough time. Luckily, we are just in time for the reservation I made for that sushi restaurant."
He looks to Tsuna, "I hope that is to your liking."
Tsuna looks a little to Kosaki. He turns back to Claude, "Um … can Kosaki eat with us before she goes home?"
Raku and Onodera seem the only ones surprised. Chitoge doesn't seem to give a huff. Claude pauses before carefully saying, "...Of course."
The restaurant was vacated before the motley crew entered to eat. The chefs seemed quite caught off guard when this white-haired man with glasses had their customers forced out. They dared not protest, however, seeing the men with suits behind him. Slowly, they regained their wits just as a bunch of kids, escorted by the scary gentleman, took their seats by the small canal circulating their boats of fresh sushi.
As Tsuna, Raku and Onodera are commenting on the tasty foods floating by, Claude surreptitiously leans over Chitoge's shoulder. His whispers almost make her choke on her roll in shock.
"Young lady, you must make your move now."
"The heck, Claude-!" Chitoge chews and swallows. Eagerly grabbing another serving of toro, "Can't it wait?"
"Your father's plan if simple. If he cannot force the Vongola's compliance through the Beehive's influence, then we must have them make the first move. Your father has faith in your charms."
"Mm?" Tsuna looks to the whispering duo, "Aren't you going to eat, uh, Claude, right?"
Claude straightens wordlessly. He excuses himself to the farther end of the restaurant. Chitoge could feel his goading gaze as he departed.
"What was that about?"
To Tsuna's immense surprise, Chitoge jams one of her sushi in his mouth without warning. He barely avoids choking and swallows with some tears in his eyes. He looks to her incredulously.
"W-WHAT WAS THAT FOR?!"
"You should be happy I fed you!" Chitoge angrily avoids his gaze as she continues eating.
"W-Wha..." Tsuna can only look on, uncomprehending. That face only made Chitoge more reluctant to soften up to him.
"Uhh..." Raku's chopsticks fall to the floor in his daze. Did his fiancee just feed this other Mafia guy? She wouldn't even do that for him (Unless she was trying to shut him up, of course)!
After that awkward gesture, Chitoge did not make any more moves on Tsuna, instead having withdrawn into a chilly silence. Raku and Tsuna continually look over to see her just eating with frenzied speed, in quiet. Claude, in his corner, shakes his head slowly in disapproval.
Tsugumi, enclosed in a small boxed room no higher or wider than herself and only three steps deep, dodges flurries of bullets. Reborn aims for places where the minimum movement makes all the difference from being grazed to getting off unscathed. So far, the wall behind the Black Tiger is riddled with holes, and Tsugumi only has two scratches from earlier missteps. So far so good.
Reborn fires at rapid speed from his Leon dual pistols. First one is emptied, then he switches to the other while reloading the first with one hand only. He kicks his foot up, loosening the hidden cartridge in his shoe and launching it in the air. As it falls, he disposes of the empty clip and catches the clip in the gun slot with ease. The clip slides into place seamlessly with a click. Then he swaps when the second one is empty and so forth.
"Surprise shot!" Reborn yells.
He fires into the ground. Tsugumi looks at him with surprise before gasping in realization. She quickly pulls her head back just as a bullet burrows out of the ground and whizzes straight up past her chin. It pierces the ceiling, letting some foundation dust sprinkle on Tsugumi's face.
"PHWA! Ugh..." Tsugumi sneezes, slumping into sitting position. Her suit is soaking in sweat and she begins taking large gulps of air, "That … was..."
"Not bad. You did better than I'd have expected, avoiding the third strike."
"I... I felt like I was sure … I'd piss myself..." Tsugumi says, standing shakily. Her nerves were shot, after having stayed vigilant and tense under such pressure, "So … what next?"
"Now we take a bath," Leon reverts to the green lizard on Reborn's hat, "I'll only be your tutor for a little while. So keep up your guard. Even bathing can be a trial under my streamlined training."
Tsugumi swallows and follows the baby home tutor outside.
"Alright, see ya Onodera."
Kosaki bows lightly in gratitude. They dropped her off in front of her family store. Amanashi Takeshi, who owns Sweets Syuuei across the street, stands on vigilant guard. In his store were several Shuei-Gumi members, ready to pounce on whatever danger might befall their young master.
Raku and Kosaki are quiet, facing one another red-faced. Raku's throat is constricting from nervousness. He can only squeak "Bye" before Chitoge turns him around promptly and begins shoving him back in the limo. Tsuna smiles a little awkwardly at Kosaki.
"Chin up, ok?" He grins, "You've got a great laugh."
"Eh?" Kosaki blushes, then stutters, "T-Thanks Ts-"
"Just 'Tsuna.' We're friends right?"
"Yeah. Thanks, Tsuna."
The two grin. Tsuna gets in the limo and they start to drive away. Kyoko was on his mind as he watched the brunette's figure get smaller and smaller before disappearing as they veered a corner.
"So... What are we doing tomorrow?"
"Lots to do, lots to do..." Claude peers from the corner of his eye to the three in the back, "We're going to a fancy river viewing club that will include dinner. Tomorrow, we have a movie, a picnic and a trip to the gardens..."
He looks straight at Chitoge then, and she catches his gaze as he says, "They are some of the most romantic hotspots. I hope you enjoy yourself."
Stupid Claude, Chitoge mutters to herself as she glares at the passing scenery. He's being way too obvious...
Raku has recovered from his nervousness just enough to register Claude's drift, albeit incoherently. Was Claude trying to elicit some sort of romantic response between him and Chitoge? Maybe he was supposed to have punched Tsuna or something back at the sushi restaurant? Was that why Claude was so angry-looking after lunch?
They make another stop to drop Raku off. Before he enters, however, Claude exits the car and takes him aside.
"I do not expect you to accompany us tomorrow. It was a mistake to have you involved at all."
"Uhh … what?" Raku, sweating bullets, nervously swallows as he sees the butt of Claude's gun poke out from it's hiding place, "Involved in … what?"
"Point is, I don't want to see you in any of the places I mentioned, got it?" Claude glares fiercely behind his lenses, "There won't be any problems otherwise."
Before the confused boy can get anything else, the Beehive agent is already back in the car and the limo drives away. Raku looks at the retreating vehicle with a confounded expression. Ryuu comes up from behind and ushers him back inside. It's only when he enters that Claude's threat and intent dawns on him.
"He … wants Chitoge and Tsuna alone?!"
"What is it, young master?"
Raku shakes his head, "Nothing, it' nothing..."
Tsuna and Reborn are in a large, hot spring bath together. Tsuna and little baby's spiky hair remains erect despite the dense humidity and steam. Reborn kicks some hot water at his student's face, which Tsuna barely avoids.
"How did it go, you idiot?"
"You could've been clearer! Anyway, it was fine..." Tsuna scratches his head thoughtfully, "We went to a fancy dinner tonight..."
Dinner was stifling. Such a fancy restaurant it was! Tsuna had never been to one so elegantly westernized. The waiter standing next to him with cuts of raw meat for his consideration creeped him out considerably. Dim candlelight made it hard to appreciate the tiny font on the fancy menus. Tsuna would also have much preferred a restaurant without so much kissing from the neighboring tables.
Tsuna did not want to have to trip up without a safety net. "Tomorrow we're supposed to be going on a picnic. You're coming, right?"
"... I guess..." Reborn looks down pensively at the water, "What are they planning...?"
"Planning? You mean Claude and the Beehive?"
"Well, of course!" Reborn makes another kick, "Why do you think we were here in the first place?! The Beehive is trying to curry favor with the Vongola!"
"EEEH?! B-but I'm not even boss yet!"
"That's the thing. The only thing coming to mind is …" Reborn suddenly falls silent. Without another word, he slips out of the water and into a towel, "Nope, no, no … Never mind."
"Huh?" Tsuna remains in the bath after Reborn abruptly leaves, "What was that about...? Ah, well, I better get out too. This heat's making me light-headed..."
He climbs out of the water and dries off. As he's leaving with his bath-robe, Claude slides the door open suddenly, giving Tsuna a jump.
"GAH! O-Oh, Claude..." Tsuna nervously avoids those glaring eyes and skitters past the scowling bodyguard, "'Night!"
He hurries to his assigned room, surprised to find Chitoge inside along with a two-person bed. The girl has finished bathing, and she is looking as shocked as he is. Her face turns bright red and she slowly swivels her head towards him.
"I... guess we're … sharing..." She says in a very strained voice.
Tsuna turns as red as Chitoge. She makes the first move and crawls into bed, making herself as scarce as possible and practically falling off her side of the bed. Tsuna has half the mind to call Claude. Then thinks better of it and slinks in as well. The two keep to their sides, avoiding contact in the middle. An uncomfortable night was ahead.
Meanwhile, Reborn stares out to the tranquil night within his provided room. He would have preferred sleeping in Tsuna's room, but he'd looked before Tsuna and decided not to chance on Chitoge. The thought still bothered him from back in the bath. Why were they here? It'd gone beyond diplomacy when Claude practically begged him to remain for an extra three days. Then there's the whole thing between Chitoge and Tsuna. But Chitoge was already betrothed...
His room door suddenly flies open and a blur fires two shots. He dodges the first by jumping up, but that's the direction the second bullet was shot. The projectile glances his ear. While he's still midair, the assassin charges forward. Reborn spins about in the air, gaining momentum. Just as his assailant nears, he delivers a sharp kick on the wrist. He then hops onto its head, using it as a springboard, subsequently somersaulting onto the bed, where he whips out his gun.
Tsugumi rubs her wrist. Reborn smiles.
"That was a good effort. You would have been better off if you continued to shoot."
"... I wanted to test out my close combat."
"Well, that's good, but until you actually have intent to kill, focus on killing," Leon reverts to his reptilian form, "A good hitman kills with intent, but hides his bloodlust."
"... Yes, master..."
"Tell me something, Black Tiger," Reborn looks his pupil in the eye deeply, "What does Claude want with us, exactly?"
"...!" Tsugumi bites back her tongue, "I-I'm not sure. All I know is, this is an arrangement to get access to Europe for the Beehive."
"... Would it be strange if Chitoge and Tsuna were to be betrothed?"
"What? But that's ..." The pieces slowly gather in the Black Tiger's mind, "...No. It actually wouldn't be strange … or impossible. If the Beehive can access new resources through Vongola, it wouldn't matter if the Shuei-Gumi battle resumed. The boss will have gained something to galvanize all his forces. The Shuei-Gumi wouldn't be able to hold against the Beehive alone."
"And they aren't exactly on best terms with any of the other Yakuza, right?" Reborn smirks, chuckling, "And if the Yamaguchi got wind of this … What, an inter-Mafia war could break out. And Japan would be the battleground."
"...A war..." Tsugumi shakes a little. Vongola, Yakuza and Beehive … the casualties would be higher than ever before. Forces aiming to stop a merge between Vongola and Beehive would be hard pressed. They'd assassinate Chitoge-
"Well, that's a good lump to chew on," Reborn says, waving his hand dismissively, "Good night."
Tsugumi does not question him and bids goodnight before swiftly departing to her room. The thought that a war may possibly start because of this visit was frightening, but Reborn's words made the idea so real. What could she possibly do? Assassinate the Tenth?
Chitoge grimaces at the harsh sunlight as Claude rudely awakens the two by drawing the blinds. She opens her mouth to speak when she feels something warm against her back. A droopy voice is muttering "Mom, five more minutes..."
Tsuna and Chitoge join the breakfast table. Reborn pretends not to notice the foot-shaped bruise on Tsuna's face and focuses on devouring all the waffles. Chitoge sits down, clearly irritated by Claude and Tsuna ruining her morning. Tsuna rubs his stinging cheek and meekly asks for the toast. Tsugumi leans over and whispers to Chitoge.
"So … what happened?"
"He was all close to me, so I gave him a piece of my mind!" Chitoge huffs haughtily in English. She proceeds to take a big bite of her waffle.
Tsugumi smiles a little nervously. Lady Chitoge only spouted English if she was really miffed. Reborn understood the statement, but he would have guessed what transpired anyway. A small smile appears as he sips his dark coffee. Claude enters and claps his hands as a butler would, garnering everyone's attention.
"The movie will be at 10. Afterwards, I have reserved a spot for our picnic lunch. Dilly-dallying like yesterday will not be tolerated," He glares at Tsuna from the corner of his spectacles, "Understood?"
Tsuna squirms to straighten like a soldier in his seat. Chitoge makes an annoyed sound with her tongue. This was going to be a long day.
Luckily, they were on schedule departing their quarters, so Claude didn't cuss them on the way to the theater. Bon Bon Cineplex wasn't crowded this early and there was no huge release, so Tsuna and Chitoge didn't attract too much attention walking in amidst several suited guards. The ticket booth master hurries to give them their tickets, without charging the guards, of course. Gone with the Wind. Claude had some taste for western movies. Reborn bought his ticket separately. The ticket booth master looks on his calendar to see if it's April Fool's. Some high-security VIPs and a baby buying tickets, today's some day.
"Well, this is exciting," Tsuna plops down next to Chitoge with a small cup of popcorn and a bag of Swedish Fish, "I rarely see too many movies from America."
"I've watched this three times already."
"O-Oh? Maybe we should get Claude..."
"Don't bother. He knows how much I like Clark Gable."
Tsuna forces himself to relax and look to the previews. His eye can't help but float from time to time, though. And it would land on the girl next to him. It was strange. He'd gone to the movies with Gokudera and Yamamoto, sometimes Ryohei, but never with a girl other than his mom. This theater was empty except for them, for safety reasons. Their beings alone in this dark place had some strange feeling to him.
"... Do you like me, Tsuna?"
The question takes Tsuna by surprise. She popped the question just as the film began.
"... Do you hate me?" He asks in reply.
Chitoge does not reply. She hadn't started disliking Tsuna for being a weak idiot until Claude and her father forced her to get his attention. If they were just friends and Raku and Onodera were here, it'd be fine. Stuck alone with him, though, only made it more obvious he was not her type. Raku was more argumentative. He had more zest. She smiles at the thought. Then she stiffens in realization. Why was she thinking of that other idiot?!
"... Truth is, I," Tsuna starts to answer he question, much to her surprise, "...have someone else I like. Back in Namimori."
"Her name's Kyoko."
"Good for her."
"... So do you hate me?"
"... No," Chitoge lowers her gaze, "I'm just … mad."
That's right, she was irate; not because she liked anyone else or anything, but she just didn't like Tsuna. Who was her father and Claude to foist all this crap on her?! If her mother were here, she probably would've given Adelt a good pull on the ear.
"... Is Claude putting you up to this?"
Chitoge nods. Tsuna looks away a little guiltily. As he was struggling to sleep last night, he'd arrived at the same conclusion as Tsugumi and Reborn. He'd been a very fortunate youth. The Vongola had not forced him to carry out anything regarding their foreign relations and such. He never guessed that Chitoge was bound, unlike him, to her duty for the Beehive. He lets out a sigh.
"... Mafia, right...?"
The two watch the rest of the film in silence. Neither are really sure if the other is paying attention anymore. Reborn, from the screening room, looks down at his pupil, smiling.
The picnic grounds were strategically planned in a park within walking distance to the aquarium and connected botanical garden. After the meal the two future bosses would stroll along the venue like a couple. It plays out perfectly in Claude's mind.
"So, you're so confident you'd have an outdoor picnic despite the threat?" Reborn accepts a thermos of veggie pottage.
"The Yamaguchi presence has mainly increased in the metropolis area. More of their thugs were spotted, but unless they charter a plane they won't be able to get in this park. We've men posted all around the perimeter."
Chitoge tries to focus on her mini fried drumsticks. Her gaze drifts to Tsuna, who is too busy staring at the wide space to notice her. His hand loosens in his vacuous state and spills his cup of water all over the front of his pants.
"Ahh! Oh, no..."
"Not an issue, I have an extra pair right here," Claude swiftly pulls out an unopened pair of pants, "Would you like to change here?"
"N-NO! I'm gonna go change somewhere else!" Tsuna grabs the pants and runs off to look around for the restroom. Reborn does not go after him.
"... I thought you were worried for his safety," The white haired Beehive assassin pushes his glasses up a notch, "He could get hurt, being the clumsy idiot he is."
"Yeah, he's a good-for-nothing ..." Reborn smiles, "But he can take care of himself."
In truth, Reborn knew Tsugumi had been tailing Tsuna since their conversation last night. She would watch over him.
"But you, Claude," Reborn puts down his drink suddenly, assuming a serious tone, "You seem awful suspicious, arranging all these dates in these places. I believe this is a lover's hill, no?"
The accusation doesn't even faze Claude. He merely reaches over and refills the baby's soup in silence.
"... Answer me."
"Is it anything so veiled?" Claude replies, "It's as you probably think. A merger between the Vongola and Beehive, but with your own disciple's hand."
Now, Reborn knew what Claude didn't. Tsuna was a bit dense. He still hadn't realized Haru's feelings for him back in Namimori.
"The choice falls onto the young Tenth, ultimately," Claude says with some condescension, "But we of the Beehive have confidence in our young mistress here."
Reborn looks to the recalcitrant girl, who has turned away from the conversation. He gives Claude a confident grin, "I have confidence in both my student's choices."
Chitoge stands and excuses herself to the restroom. She'd lost her appetite. Heck, she couldn't stand being a piece in such a stupid game. She preferred it when she was faking love with Raku to prevent a war. This time, she really couldn't do anything without Claude orchestrating. She wanted nothing more than for this visit to be over and Vongola to leave. Things would go back to normal then, right?
She stops by the lakeside gazebo. The wind cools her head a little. She's just beginning to relax when she hears loud splashing. Looking out towards the water, she sees Tsuna struggling with some kid in the water.
What is that idiot...?! She kicks off her heels and pauses a moment to stretch before diving into the surprisingly deep water. With a strong kick, she closes the distance between her and Tsuna. The boy wasn't kicking and screaming, but Tsuna looked anxious.
"Chitoge!" He looks to her in relief, "I think he's caught on something, I can't pull him..."
Taking a deep breath, Chitoge goes under. The lake water wasn't too pristine, but she could see the kid's leg was caught in some lake weed. She makes easy work of the plant and together, with Tsuna, they ferry the boy to safety. By the shore, a great deal of people had gathered to see the spectacle. An ambulance, which someone called earlier, arrives shortly.
"Where are his parents?" Chitoge dries her hair with a towel provided by the paramedics, "Do they even care their kid just almost drowned?!"
"I dunno. I just saw him in there, so I got a stranger to make the call while I jumped in. Of course, if you hadn't come, Chitoge-san..."
Chitoge looks at him with slight surprise. She'd taken him as the cowardly type to shrink from the challenge. That he'd jumped in while keeping a cool head and contacting the ambulance … Well, he did say she helped, so she wasn't about to give him too much credit. The child's parents had yet to show up when the ambulance drove away. Chitoge and Tsuna make their way back to the picnic, avoiding each other's gaze. Claude was less than thrilled to see them drenched with pond scum in their hair.
"WHAT THE HELL, YOUUU!" He grabs Tsuna's collar and hoists him up, much to the boy's dismay, "HOW DARE YOU HAVE THE YOUNG MISTRESS JUMP INTO THE LAKE?! THAT IS SIMPLY-"
"Claude stop it!" Chitoge gives her bodyguard a good konk on the back of the head, "He was trying to help someone. I jumped in of my own free will."
Claude makes a 'tch' sound with his tongue and drops the Tenth. It's clear his plans are quickly going down the drain. They were supposed to go to the aquarium an hour ago. Now the sky was turning a light orange.
Raku sloshes about the remains of his soup in his bowl, unwilling to finish it. He looks out to the orange sky. I wonder if they're having fun on their little date?
"Young master, excuse me," Ryuu slides the door and enters, "Is there something wrong? Since last night, you'd been in a daze. Your father is worried."
"Oh yeah? You sure he's not just worried about the Yamaguchi lookin' into him as we speak?"
"Come now, you know the master is doing this for the sake of the family. When you become leader, you will understand..."
"Like hell!" In a sudden burst of frustration, Raku flings his bowl down in disgust. It shatters and spills soup along the floorboards, "I never asked for a grand inheritance! To be a Yakuza boss! Playing around like this ..."
Ryuu sighs and wordlessly goes to find a mop. Raku, not wanting to be present when he gets back, makes a quick getaway through the window, escaping to the outer edge of the manor. He takes refuge under the shade of the wall by the bonsai. Idle, he picks up small pebbles from the stone path and throws them into the nearby shrubs. There is talking on the other side of the wall. One of the voices is his father. The other was someone unfamiliar. Raku tunes them out until...
"... the Beehive. We've intel they and the Vongola are currently in the botanical gardens. Our influence will give us coverage in that area. But we'll need some of your men. They have experience in this town, right?"
"But..." Issei sounds strangled, "... my son is-"
"Have you been corrupted by the honey words of those foreigners?" The other voice seemed to get louder, "Listen, we have to strike now, or they'll join forces. Then we'll have a full-scale war on our hands. There are plans in Genoa right now, according to our spies, of a merger between those two mafias. You don't matter to them, Issei!"
A silence. After the brief pause, the other voice says a pleased "Good." Issei must have consented. Raku holds his breath, quivering slightly. Chitoge and Tsuna are going to be attacked. A knot arises in his throat.
Now's not the time for petty jealousy! Forget the mafia and Yakuza! Tsuna and Chitoge were his friends...! He stealthily hurries back to his own room on the other side of the manor, avoiding the pathways. Hastily donning his hoodie, he grabs his bike and kicks off the stand. The aquarium gardens were a bit out there. He only hoped he would get there in time to warn them.
Tsuna and Chitoge had entered the aquarium. The botanical gardens were stationed on the roof, so goers could go through all the exhibits before reaching the splendid view atop. The institution was only scheduled to stay open for about one more hour or two. After the closing time for the aquarium, the garden on top converted into an elegant night setting with a more hidden entrance, complete with its own outdoor restaurant.
"Rather exclusive schedule," Reborn observes, "But I guess they are geared for kids."
"We can briefly examine any specimens you wish, but I recommend getting to the garden top by 6." Claude does little to hide his impatience.
On the second floor, Chitoge takes a while to admire the sunfish tank. Tsuna shuffles over beside her. Tsugumi, hiding in the dark lighting, watches the two intently. Claude and Reborn observe by the exhibit entryway. Chitoge and Tsuna stare at the humongous fish in appreciative silence.
"It's going well." Claude affixes his glasses after wiping them. Reborn is silent.
Leon, atop Reborn's hat, suddenly makes a small jerking movement. Reborn makes a swift hop backward before arms make a grab for him. Claude, who reacted slower, has his arms suddenly twisted about. He's about to shout an expletive when a shiv is plunged deeply into his gut. The bodyguard coughs, his lips reddening, and crumples onto the floor. A dark circle begins growing underneath. Reborn hears the cocking of guns.
"Tsuna! Take Chitoge and run!"
The Tenth, at first surprised, grabs the unsuspecting girl's hand and makes for the emergency exit. Reborn summons his Leon pistols and evades the many shots fired his way. The glass on the fish tanks begin showing slight fractures as some stray bullets land. Immediately, there is a command for the shadowy men to retreat and head upstairs.
"Amateurs, I won't let you!" Reborn fires his expert volley, hitting a few. However, they disappear up the darkened stairs and turn a corner. The Arcobaleno curses, "Dammit!"
The infant runs over to Claude and delivers a stunning smack, "Get a hold of yourself! Tsugumi! Call the cops and an ambulance!"
His pupil quickly whips out her phone. She looks worriedly after her tutor who disappears up the dark steps. Claude groans slightly, drawing her attention.
"Seishirou! Go after her … protect the young mistress!"
Grateful to her original master, she leaves the phone with him and draws her dual pistols. The entire aquarium seemed empty all of a sudden. This was a planned attack.
Tsuna and Chitoge tried at first to descend and leave the vicinity, but footsteps below alert them to incoming forces. So they change direction and run up the stairs. Upon reaching the fifth floor, they throw open the door to the rooftop garden.
"We're trapped!" Tsuna wails.
"No, there's a separate-" More Yamaguchi goons appear from the night entrance, "...entrance."
Yamaguchi Yakuza members appear from the main entrance and from the emergency exit behind the two. They were surrounded. A familiar face, battered, can be spotted from the front.
"Chitoge! Ru-" Raku is shoved forward roughly and kicked onto the ground. His attacker spits.
"You can't be serious. You seriously thought you would marry the Beehive's daughter?" He picks the struggling Raku up by the head, "Well? Did you?!"
"Let him go!" Chitoge tries to go to his aid, but Tsuna holds her back. Multiple guns are pointed at them, ready to fire.
"You stinkin' mafia shoulda kept to your limits."
"... We don't want any trouble. Just, please, at least let Raku and Chitoge go. You can do as you want with me."
Chitoge gasps a little. Tsuna's voice is level and his eyes, unwavering. The wimpy idiot is nowhere to be seen.
One who appears to be a Yakuza superior with shades takes out his lollipop and grinds it with his heel. He pulls Raku to his feet and pushes him towards Tsuna and Chitoge. The boy wobbles and falls at the girl's feet. She kneels down, a worried expression on her face.
"... Raku, you better have a good explanation..." She fights back tears as she looks at the blood running down his head and his face, contorted in pain, "Why did you come here, idiot...?!"
"You … bullies..." Tsuna glares at the shade man and all those surrounding him, "I warned you."
"Ha! Kill 'em now!" The man with shades extends his hand in gesture. All at once, all the goons hit their triggers and the air is filled with the deafening sound of bullets. The Yakuza admin is cackling at the cacophony.
"Stupid brats! Now you're-" The smoke clears and there are a few clicks of empty magazines, but one figure remains standing, "...HUH?!"
A singular dark shape comes to light. It's a dark cape. The cape flaps aside to reveal Tsuna, a glaring flame atop his head, armed with burning red gauntlets. His eyes are a clear orange. There's not even a scratch on the Mantello di Vongola Primo from the bullet barrage.
The Yakuza hang back, slack-jawed. Their admin's glasses crack a bit from the pressure. Chitoge opens her eyes and looks up. They weren't dead? She sees Tsuna and her eyes grow wide. Who is he?
"Sit tight, Chitoge," Tsuna's cape reverts to the Leone di Cieli, and then transforms into the Mitena, "I'll protect you and Raku."
"G-GRR!" The admin grounds his teeth in frustration, screaming to his men, "What're you all gaping at?! Kill 'em!"
The men snap out of their gaze and draw their wakizashi. Crying like maniacs, they charge at the Tenth. Tsuna takes an offensive position and, with some light punches, send the first wave of attackers flying off the roof. Some secondary attackers waver from the spectacle, then charge in anyway with savage abandon.
Before Tsuna deals with them, they crumple to the floor, felled by bullets from behind. Reborn and Tsugumi, having cleared a path, stand by the emergency exit with their smoking guns.
"Master, please let me deal with these lowlifes!"
Reborn smiles his usual and calls to the two false lovers, "Chitoge! Get Raku over here! We're leaving!"
Chitoge's attention takes a second to focus away from Tsuna. "R-Right!" She hurriedly hauls Raku over to the infant. The superior growls, "Oh no you-"
Before he even points his pistol, Tsuna's hand clamps over his face and slams him, headfirst, onto the concrete floor. Spiderweb cracks form from the impact. Tsuna draws himself up. The admin is out cold, his shades broken into three pieces. Reborn and Chitoge and raku have disappeared down the emergency exit.
Shots ring out and bullets whiz past Tsuna. His gauntlets flare in intensity and he propels himself out of harms way with twin flame jets. The Yakuza shooters crumple under Tsugumi's fire, having focused too entirely on Tsuna.
"Thanks!" The young boss lands behind the hitman. However, the moment he touches down, a ring of attackers form around the two. He stands, back to back with Tsugumi. The two ready their weapons.
"It's too early to say thanks," Tsugumi smiles uneasily, "But how say you we waste these guys?"
Tsuna's blazing eyes glimmer slightly, "Cover me."
Down on the ground level, an ambulance and several police vehicles have clustered. On the fringe of the hubbub are a few dark limos. Men in suits, some with silver lapels emblazoned with the Vongola suit of arms, stand about idly. They do not interact nor interfere with the law enforcement, though their presence is certainly unsettling.
A distressed call was made about thirty minutes ago. Right now, they were working on evacuating the building. The aquarium is strangely empty of personnel and tourists. Next to the ambulance Claude is loaded onto, Chitoge sits, wrapped in a space blanket. She looks away from Raku on a gurney to Reborn, who stands a little away, surrounded by Vongola agents. Reluctantly, she makes her way to the Arcobaleno.
"... Will Tsuna be okay?" She asks a bit anxiously, some strain in her voice.
"He'll be fine, no need to worry," Reborn tucks his hands into his pockets, "Against thugs who can't even use Dying Will, he won't even break a sweat."
Chitoge feels some relief in the baby's confidence. Now instead wells some mixed feeling. That was some amazing power Tsuna pulled up there … and he was like a different person. Did she misjudge him? A loud voice suddenly calls her out of her mind.
She turns to see her father running towards her. Somehow, her hand stiffened, like in preparation for a blow. Adelt stops in front of her, his breathing a bit labored. He's going to lecture her, great …
"Chitoge..." That fatherly tone again …
"Dad," She starts in English, "I-"
His arms wrap around her tightly in a warm embrace. His cologne and hair gel, mixed with mingling cigar ash and alcohol in his breath, tingle in her nostrils. His body is trembling as he holds her tight. She was caught off guard, her eyes wide. She squirms against him.
"... Let go."
"Chitoge, Chitoge ..." He whispers her name over and over again into her hair, a slight sob in his voice, "It's alright..."
The scent … it made tears well in her eyes. She blinks repeatedly and feels lumps form in her throat. In a final gamble, she grasps his suit and tries to force him away. Her strength fails her. She's trembling in sync with him. The fear and tautness release into a single wash of tears. Sobbing, she buries her face into his suit jacket like a child.
Reborn smiles at the touching scene. He then gestures for one of the Vongola to bend down.
"Make sure to keep this quiet. We need to extract him without backlash."
"Rebooorn!" That familiar whine.
Tsuna and Tsugumi are led out by the police. Suspects, nonetheless.
"Reborn! Help meee!" Tsuna pleads as the police put him into a cruiser, "I didn't do anything wrong!"
"Sheesh, that good-for-nothing," Reborn says quietly to himself, still smiling, "Some things never change. But you did save the two real lovers today."
Bonyari hospital was bustling. Chitoge was checked in and out quick, no harm done. Claude was whisked to surgery. Raku, after some first aid and stitches, was placed into a temporary bed. Timoteo arrives, having gotten Tsuna and Tsugumi from the fuzz. He and Adelt's eyes meet with calm ferocity.
"I believe the Black Tiger is under your employ."
"Thanks very much," Adelt smiles slightly and looks to Tsuna, "Are you alright, boy?"
"Er... Yes, I'm fine," Tsuna struggles to maintain eye contact with the man who tried to orchestrate a romance between him and Chitoge.
"Tsuna." Chitoge stands a little outside of the door to Raku's room where she'd been waiting.
"Milady!" Tsugumi stops herself from hugging her head on, "You're alright, thank goodness."
"Yeah ..." The Beehive princess walks over to Tsuna. Her eyes are cast down. She clasps his right hand in her left in a handshake, "Thanks, Tsuna."
Tsuna turns a bright pink but manages a smile and "no problem." Chitoge smiles. The two part. Adelt looks a little disappointed.
"Well, no-good Tsuna," Reborn comes up beside the Ninth, "What now? Do you want to leave back to Namimori? We still have a day here."
He pulls out Claude's schedule. It was in a laminated sheath in his breast pocket. The man was a maniac for perfection. "Claude's reservation at the amusement park is tomorrow."
Tsuna thinks for a sec, then says, "I kinda wanna spend the last day with them, Reborn. My friends. Here in Bonyari."
This does not surprise Reborn, Timoteo nor Adelt. Chitoge smiles a bit, making Tsugumi relax her serious guise.
"No more of this 'love setup' or mafia and Yakuza stuff. Tomorrow, I'm just a regular high school freshman with his friends in the amusement park," Tsuna says, his voice brimming with conviction. He looks suddenly to Adelt, "Is that alright, Mister Beehive?"
"B-Beehive...?!" Adelt nearly bursts a vein from that address. He restrains his fists and looks to the Tenth with a stiff upper lip. In a strained voice, he croaks, "Yes, that's fine."
Tsuna, Tsugumi and Chitoge funnel into Raku's room. Reborn and the two bosses stand outside, to give the kids their sanctuary. Adelt snorts a puff of air angrily out of his nostrils.
"'Mister Beehive,' bah! That little brat..."
"Can I take it you no longer have an interest in our young Tenth?" Timoteo turns the ends of his mustache upwards, "He's quite the character, isn't he?"
"... I say you knew about my plan all along, even before the meeting in Genoa," Adelt looks to the coy old man, "Why did you still send him here?"
"Well, I simply asked if he wanted to participate in some inter-mafia affairs. He said yes. As for your plan, well, if the boy fell in love of his own free will, I will not say anything about it," Timoteo's eyes glaze over in a faraway look, "He doesn't truly desire the title of Vongola's Tenth boss. It simply fell upon him. If he wants his normal life instead, I will not deprive him of it. I decided I will bequeath it all to him, when he feels ready himself."
"... That's too lenient. What if he never shapes up?"
Timoteo and Reborn share a knowing look, "He is a boy willing to do anything to protect what he cares about. Even if he doesn't want to be boss, he will nonetheless protect the family, as his father has."
Adelt looks towards Raku's room, where chatter is arising, but he doesn't peek in, "I can't just play it like you, old man. The Beehive will fall if I don't play my pieces right."
"... Does that include using your daughter?" Timoteo aims to elicit a reaction from Adelt, "I looked into the firefight in this area. You were engaged with the local mafia, using your daughter as a bargaining piece. But! You scrapped it in favor of Vongola. How do you think little miss Chitoge feels about that?"
Adelt does not answer. He merely twitched at the prodding. "Excuse me" is all. He makes his way to the payphone in the waiting area. It was an old number. He nearly forgot it, since cells make automatic dials these days. He didn't want this call traced. He felt the urge to put down the speak as that dial tone seemed to drag out forever.
"... Hello? Ichijou residence."
An answer. Adelt takes a breath before addressing the voice, "Hello, Issei."
Around a large table in a barbecue restaurant sat the key players. Issei Ichijou, of the Shuei-Gumi, Timoteo, of Vongola, Adelt Wogner, of the Beehive, and of course the tattooed hulk of a Yakuza boss, from the Yamguchi-Gumi. His skin is slightly a glowy red, with tattoos peeping from the collar of his dress shirt. He scans the room with his face like that of Niou's.
"This the whole party?" He asks in a gruff voice.
"I believe so."
"We are splitting the bill, right guys?" Adelt tries to relieve the tension a little clumsily.
"You can forget it," The Yakuza boss says with a glaring look, "Issei's paying."
The server meekly places the menus before the gentlemen before bowing out hurriedly. They all take a quick glance for cues from the others before picking up the menus. Each consider carefully.
"Ahem …" Timoteo clears his throat a little, "What shall we call you, our esteemed guest of the Yakuza?"
"Ha, you think you got a silver tongue or something, old man? It's Nemo to you," Nemo sneers, "Hey, server! You didn't take our drinks!"
"S-sorry! Um," The server sidles in nervously, aware of the men poised just outside, ready to strike, "Are y-you ready to order?"
"Four beers! Tanshio! Kalbi! Skirt steak kimchi! And prime rib!" Nemo slams down his menu in finality, "That'll be all for now!"
The server scurries quickly to carry out the orders. The door slides shut, allowing for private conversation again. The gentlemen have an aura of tension that's both taut yet flexible, like a whip right when it's about to crack. Nemo grins.
"I hope beer is alright with y'all."
The other three bite their tongues. Timoteo and Adelt had fancier tastes for aged alcohol, like whiskey or scotch. Issei himself was impartial to alcohol, but he preferred sake when he could. The three nod in silent assent. Nemo again starts the conversation.
"So, am I to expect an apology or what? Vongola? Beehive?" He narrows his eyes at the others around the table, "You people are way out of your element here."
"Really? Last I checked, Shuei-Gumi was in charge of Bonyari, not Yamaguchi," Adelt cockily fingers his many rings.
"Yamaguchi is the largest of the Yakuza. We've been the central brain and heart of the organization since forever. Think of it as a supremacy clause," Nemo snorts a bit at the prospect, "I think an American would know that well enough."
"Mr. Nemo, I do apologize for the recent deployment on behalf of Vongola," Vongola Nono looks directly into the small, angry eyes of the Yakuza boss, "However, I was informed by the Beehive the issue of encroachment was no problem."
Adelt's knuckles turn white once Timoteo has thrown him under the bus. Now it seems like Beehive orchestrated the whole rendezvous, which wasn't a complete lie. Nonetheless, he smiles and laughs a little too loudly.
"Ha! Good one, old man!" The server returns and quickly hustles to distribute the beer, "Thanks, dear. Now see here, Nemo ..."
"Oh, this'll be good..."
"I think you can attest to the fact that Beehive had been active in Japan for a while now, not just in Bonyari. Like that firefight a decade or so back..." He waves his hand a bit dismissively, "We're not so much strangers here, now are we?"
"You don't pay kickbacks or anything, do you? Yet you think you can casually use our territory to stage a meeting? And a conspirator's nonetheless!" Nemo takes a hearty swig of his beer, "The two of you are planning to merge!"
Issei shifts uncomfortably before coughing to get Nemo's attention. "Actually … Adelt called me yesterday … Apparently, there … is no merge to happen."
"What?" Nemo turns to the inferior Yakuza boss, "Then what did they want with the Vongola? And to meet here in Japan of all places-"
"I think I'll let you in on the loop now, Nemo," Adelt leans forward, his fingertips touching in a businesslike gesture, "See, me and Issei, we had an agreement earlier in our lives, before this whole mess. I thought I sent you the memo."
"I got no such message..."
"Well, I passed it on for sure. Maybe it got lost in the network. Maybe someone wanted to slander the Shuei-Gumi, or force you to fight us," Adelt looks calmly at Nemo, who is catching his drift, "Anyways, I always intended to keep my promise about my daughters marriage to Raku Ichijou. That will allow for good relations around the table."
"... Then why the Italian mafia?"
"... Think of them as the observing third party. You always need a witness to make a notary official, right?" Adelt sips his beer, smiling contentedly, "There is no threat to you at all, Nemo. I can assure you, this is better for all of us, wouldn't you?
Nemo takes a breath through his nose. It was working so far. Adelt's charm was hard to see through, especially now that he actually meant it.
"Vongola's influence in the West is large," Timoteo plays along with the conversation, "Adelt wanted our attention to alert other Famiglia under our umbrella, and thus perhaps, signal a 'hands-off' on Japan."
Just then, the meat arrives. The grill is fired up. No one eats just yet however. They sit in anxious silence, waiting for Nemo's response. The bald man's mouth cracks into a grin. He picks up his chopsticks jovially and picks up the lemon juice.
"Enough of the stuffy formalities! Let's eat!"
"It went well?" Reborn speaks softly into his Leon phone, "Well, of course I'm glad... Mhm, ok. Yeah, it's going well here too... I understand. Wheels up at 10. Got it. Yes … yes. Ok, thank you. Ciao ciao."
Tsugumi looks to her pint-sized trainer as he tucks his lizard back atop his fedora. The two sit on a bench, staring at the brilliant lights from the amusement park attractions. It's just half past six. They'd been there since one. Tsuna had invited Chitoge, Raku and Onodera to the park. Despite Raku's injuries, the four were laughing and having a good time in the roller coaster. Tsuna screams louder than Onodera as they swoop down. The energy has yet to die down. The Black Tiger scrunches the hem of her shirt in her sweaty palms.
"... Why don't you play with Chitoge?" Reborn looks at her a little apprehensively.
"I … I couldn't. I'm happy just seeing her happy. Milady just need smile, and I'll be content."
"... Y'know Claude didn't send you out here to play parent. That's my job."
"... Master, I'm supposed to protect the Beehive from the shadows, as Master Claude has always said. I don't really belong in their world-"
"'Scuse me! Two cotton candies!"
Tsugumi almost falls off in shock. While she was talking, Reborn simply wandered off to the concession stand. He trots back over, throwing her a pack of gum. He unexpectedly feeds the second cotton candy to his lizard.
"Hitmen are human, Tsugumi," Reborn says through a bite of the soft confectionery, "We don't exactly live in different worlds. If you really think that way, then you have to realize our worlds are still linked. The Underworld, mafia, Yakuza, hitmen, mercenaries … We all interact with each other."
"But … being all chummy like this. Isn't it just going to get in the way of me?"
"... I could push Tsuna to the edge of death. I could do that to you too. I would too, since you're my students. But I don't," He throws the empty stick at her, much to her surprise, "Because you still have lives. You're not just a hitman, am I right? You're a Bonyari student. And you have a love life too, right? You're a teenager, after all."
He turns his attention back to the scenery, "I might've put it all in your head. But don't let that stop you from having fun. Hitmen these days certainly aren't made like from my day. You have other lives."
Tsugumi did not detect sadness from the home tutor's words. He was smiling as he watched the kids have fun. Maybe it was admiration?
"Now," Tsugumi jumps to her feet as Reborn fires at her seat, "Get going!"
The girl looks at him incredulously. Luckily no one saw that. Imagine, a baby firing a gun! She hurries to join in the activities. Chitoge, tottering from the ride, sees her coming and tackles her in a hug, demanding she win a giant teddy.
The Vongola Decimo reclines, stretching his arms wide and letting his head flop backwards. He'd gotten sick nearly twice on the roller coasters. Now he was taking a break while they rode the spinning cups.
Chitoge bends over. Tsuna, too tired to jump in surprise, merely smiles.
"I'm beat. You?"
"..." She takes a seat beside him. The bear Tsugumi won her sits on her lap, crushed by her arms. The two look at Raku and Onodera sitting awkwardly in a giant teacup. The two seem to have difficulty holding eye contact. Close by, Reborn and Tsugumi are riding together.
"Your friends are great, Chitoge-san."
"...They're your friends too," She says the next part in a single breath, "You can drop the formalities now."
"Ok … Um..." Tsuna comes to a blank as for what to say next.
"It-!" Chitoge squeezes the bear close, "It was a great thing … That you came here."
"... R- really?"
"Don't take it that way! I don't like you or anything!" She lashes out, then curls back, "But … thank you, Tsuna."
"... Heh, I should be thanking you, Chitoge," Tsuna scratches the back of his head, smiling sheepishly, "Thanks for putting up with me."
The two sit, watching their compatriots, until the speaker calls for closing in half an hour.
People go many different ways without a necessary destination. Perhaps they are searching for something to pop up in their way unexpectedly. Yes, that must be why. Tsugumi felt fortunate such a thing happened to her as she watches the crowds in the airport. Adelt and Chitoge were waiting to see the Vongola off in the terminal. She came in place of Claude.
"Flight to Italy will be taking off in 012 minutes." The electronic voice calls as the two shuffle into the terminal. Behind them are a few agents.
"Chitoge! Wogner- san!" Tsuna exclaims, "You didn't have to come see us off!"
"Shut up!" Chitoge folds her arms, "It was our deal that bought you here. So we're just taking responsibility!"
"The old man already flew back to Italy, huh?" Adelt looks down to Reborn.
"Yep, last night, after your negotiations went through."
"Sheesh! The ol' fart just threw me under the bus!"
"He knew the head of Beehive could handle nothing less," Reborn smiles knowingly, "Thanks for your hard work."
"Yeah, sure. Give me a mafia war anytime, I can totally negotiate any deal!" Adelt mutters sarcastically, "Still, that was a good waste of talk about merging. And to think I'd get my share of the EU market anytime soon..."
"Perhaps that will be settled in your successor."
Adelt looks down to Chitoge. He smiles and ruffles her hair playfully.
"So, be seeing you!" Tsuna extends a hand to Chitoge, "Good luck, future boss of the Beehive!"
"... I'll definitely force you to enter in a contract with me," She grasps his hand and gives it a good firm shake, "So watch out, future Tenth!"
The two grin. Tsugumi smiles at them. She then kneels down to the Arcobaleno.
"Thank you for everything, Master."
"Hmph, I don't know what you're talking about," The coy hitman smiles under the brim of his hat, "But you've got good skill. Here's in case you ever want a change of pace."
He throws her a graduation present. She catches it in her palm millimeters from her face. It's a Vongola lapel.
"... I don't think I'll need this anytime soon, Master-"
"Keep it. It's for the Beehive in general. Invite us to the big wedding, will you?" Reborn's eyes sweep over to Adelt, "Maybe, just maybe, you'll be invited to the Vongola ceremony."
"Hah! That's a deal," Adelt looks over to the panel flashing numbers, "You guys better catch your flight now."
"Bye! Come over to Namimori anytime! I swear there are no Yakuza there!" Tsuna waves his hand wildly as they go.
"Idiot!" Reborn delivers a kick to the boy's head, "Don't go shouting suspicious things like that!"
"'Attaboy," Adelt blows a small whistle, "He's like your rival, Chitoge."
"Hmph. I'll be a better boss than he ever will."
"That's my girl," He pats her shoulder gently.
They stay a bit to watch the plane run and take off. Once the speck disappears into the blue sky, the father, daughter and hitman walk back to their limo together.
"Gyupaa! No good-Tsuna's back!" The 5-year old hitman jumps onto Tsuna's face upon entry, "What souvenirs did'ya get Lambo, huh?!"
"L-Lambo, get off!" Tsuna pries the hyperactive cow off, "I gotta unpack!"
"Oh, Tsuna! Welcome home!" His oblivious mother pokes in, "I just got back from the supermarket. I got a really good deal on some porgy!"
"That's great mom-"
"Oh my, what were you doing with your suitcase?"
"Oh, uhh..." Tsuna looks a bit flustered to answer, "I just got back … from a friends house!"
"Ohh, how was it?"
Tsuna flashes a bit grin, "It was great!"