Wow, this really got away from me and gained a life of it's own. Enjoy

Xanxus spends a few minutes just basking in Tsuna's flames. He's not a clingy kid, but sky harmony is a glorious drug. Tsuna's not doing much better – he's dislodged his hat from when Xanxus floored him, but he's just running his spare hand through the greasy mop rather than try to fix it. He's also got that look that suggests he's fighting the urge to cry. Its kind of pathetic, but infinitely better than the glazed 'not-in-the-present' look he wears so often – he almost looks happy, something Xanxus has never seen him before.

'I did that' he thinks with rightful smugness, happy from his perch on Tsuna's chest.

The only thing that would make it perfect was if the stupid trash would cut loose all his flames and complete the harmonisation. Right now Xanxus has to make do with the tiny amount that's connected to his own storm flames and amplify it with his own sky. Although maybe it's best they're starting small – Xanxus almost feels drunk as it is.

"Man, if we could bottle this, we'd make a fucking mint" he sighs. This is easily the happiest he's been in his life.

So, naturally, it has to end in the worst way possible, when a voice and dangerously familiar flames curl into the room.

"Oh, you're not the first to suggest that, I assure you."

Tsuna's flames flare dangerously while Xanxus's react in panic. The hand on his back tenses, and Xanxus hisses as his sky jerks into a sitting position, still holding Xanxus close, staring in shock at the man now standing in the doorway.

It's the Vongola Ninth, watching them both with something that could be called affection if it wasn't for the traces of shock accompanying it. Behind him, two Guardians are flanking him, cutting off any chance of escape, and when Xanxus flares his flames in reaction, he can feel someone flame active standing outside the window.

Tsuna's flames feel chaotic, and when Xanxus dares to look at him, he can't help but wince. The man looks as if someone's shot him in the stomach.

Fuck…Xanxus led the one thing Tsuna didn't want right to his door.

The Vongola Ninth steps inside and kneels down, offering a hand and staring at Tsuna in wonder.

"My apologies for dropping in. If I'd known you would be harmonising right now, we would have waited."

Xanxus scowls, resisting the urge to punch the man in the face and instead tightens his grip on Tsuna's shirt. Tsuna's grip isn't much better, supporting his weight as he struggles to his feet, refusing the hand and keeping his eyes on the Ninth. The hand retracts, and the Don returns it to the walking stick in his hand.

"Allow me to introduce myself. I am Timoteo Vongola, the Ninth Don of the Vongola family."

"I'm aware" Tsuna replies, still taught as a spring. He's keeping the arm tight on Xanxus's back, as if he's trying to keep him out of sight.

Screw that. Xanxus doesn't need anyone protecting him.

He struggles in the grip, managing to loosen the hand enough to twist himself around, glaring at the Don.

"Why did you follow me trash?" he snaps. "I'm not a sky, and you said you didn't want me."

Timoteo smiles indulgently.

"Now lets not lie Xanxus. You might have revealed your storm flames, but I haven't lived this long without being able to recognise someone suppressing their primary. And I never said I didn't want you, just that it wouldn't be prudent to take you right then. Not when you were clearly courting a sky of your own."

Tsuna's hand spasms, and his eyes close momentarily in pain.

"You felt someone else's sky flames on him."

When Timoteo nods, Xanxus kind of wants to sink through the floor.

"It was faint, clearly you were resisting the urge to complete it. Understandable giving your situation. Skies with secondaries are rare. But even rarer are skies that can coax another sky into harmonising with their secondary. It didn't seem right to separate my son from a sky strong enough to turn his head."

Tsuna growls at that, and Xanxus returns his attention to his skies face. The man looks about as angry as he's ever seen him.

"You're the one who said no lies Timoteo" Tsuna warns. "Xanxus might have Vongola blood, but we both know he's not your son."

Xanxus's eyes widen.

How the fuck can he say that with such certainty?

Timoteo is frowning now, and outside his Guardians are tensing.

"Perhaps not biologically, but that does not mean I can't love him as if he was. Blood is important, but family is far more than that. Especially in your case-"

"Not interested" Xanxus snaps, frustrated at the line of conversation. "I'm just fine where I am, so piss off."

Timoteo doesn't answer, choosing to lock eyes with Tsuna, and Xanxus feels the sky tense as the Don focuses on him.

"I must admit that your existence is as much as surprise as Xanxus. Your last name wouldn't perhaps be Sawada would it?"

Tsuna's eyes twitches involuntarily, a tell large enough he doesn't even bother denying it. Timoteo smiles in relief.

"I can't tell you how happy I am to know your bloodline has survived. We all thought Sawada Iemitsu, God rest his soul, was the last remaining-"

"We weren't related" Tsuna interrupts, and it doesn't feel like a lie, but-

Timoteo is frowning now, staring at the two the way one does misbehaving toddlers.

"Perhaps this isn't the best location to have this discussion. Will the two of you join me at the Vongola Mansion so we can discuss things further?"

It's not a request. Already Xanxus can feel the flame users moving in.

He's strong. Tsuna's even stronger, but he's never fought flame users before, and even Tsuna will struggle against one of the most powerful skies in the world plus a full harmony.

His hands clench, and he grits his teeth, choking on the anger that makes his storm flames seethe.

He's been a storm Guardian for all of five minutes and he's already managed to fuck it up. This isn't fair.

Dammit, screw the Vongola all to hell! He'll go at them with everything he's got and give Tsuna a chance to get away. If he doesn't die, he'll get back to Tsuna eventually.

He starts to pry himself from Tsuna's grip, only to feel the man pull him closer, practically hugging him

"Xanxus" Tsuna whispers. "Wrap your arms around my neck, and get ready to move."

The boy frowns, but gives a hesitant nod and does as asked. When Tsuna feels the grip tighten, he smiles and gives the Ninth a shallow bow.

"I'm afraid that won't be possible Vongola" he says, sounding genuinely apologetic, before the room utterly fills with sky flames.

Even Xanxus, harmonised to the man exuding it, gasps as the power blasting from the man. His eyes turn to see the Ninth taking a step back, almost in shock, before he feels Tsuna's hands twist his body, spinning the small frame until he's on his back instead of his chest. The second Tsuna has the boy piggybacked, he's spinning on his foot, running for the window and lifting his hands to protect his eyes as he smashes through the window.

Like Xanxus picked up earlier, one of the Ninth's Guardians is waiting in case they try this exit, but the man is blown back from the sheer wave of sky flames being thrown his way. They weren't expecting him to be this strong, and are utterly unprepared to handle a sky that knows how to fly. Xanxus roars in delight as Tsuna soars into the sky with him hitching a ride.

"SCREW YA LATER TRASH!" he screams, laughing as the building falls out of sight and Tsuna picks up speed.

Of course, hanging around in the sky is not a viable long term plan, and eventually Tsuna has to land. He chooses an almost empty alley on the very outskirts of Xanxus's neighbourhood. The landing's not perfect, he stumbles and hits the wall when he falls, and Xanxus quickly rolls off before Tsuna drops to the ground, leaning against brick and pulling at his hair reminiscent of the first time he'd ever seen him.

"Oh god, they know they know they know. The one time I don't have my hat, god they know…need to run, run…run where?"

Fuck, he was spacing out again. Xanxus pulled the hands out of his hair and yanked him up. Flames flared from the contact, and he jerked back when instead of the pure orange flames, he was greeted with streaks of black twisting through the colour. He flared again, resulting the orange overtaking them, and Tsuna was back again. He stared at the opposite wall incoherently, and groaned.

"So, we're now on the run from Vongola. Because life wasn't hard enough already."

Xanxus scowls, crossing his arms and looking way.

"It's not like I meant for this to happen" he mutters.

He hears Tsuna sigh, and frowns when a hand lands on his head.

"I know" his sky admits. "This isn't your fault. If I'm honest I knew I'd draw the attention of Vongola eventually. I just didn't think it would be this soon."

Xanxus accepts the contact begrudgingly, eventually pulling away to watch him.

"How come? Because of this 'Sawada' guy?"

Tsuna's shoulders sag.

"Sort of. It's complicated, and not something I really want to get into right now. We need to get off the street before they get the word out."

Xanxus isn't privy to whatever selection process Tsuna uses, but after wandering the streets for a few minutes, he jumps the fence on a small house with all its windows boarded up. A few minutes later, the two of them are prying open the door, and slipping into the dark building.

"Why this one Tsuna-Trash?" Xanxus asks, glancing round and taking note of furniture still in place.

"Uh, I saw the owners move out last week" Tsuna admits. "Figured the place wouldn't have been hit up yet."

Now that he's looking, there is a distinct lack of dust or vandalism Xanxus expects from this area. He's relatively impressed.

"Better than a street I guess."

Tsuna is in the living room, kneeling by the fireplace. As Xanxus watches, he sees Tsuna collect a pool of orange flames in-between his hands. It's an exercise he's seen him do a few times to warm up his apartment. But it's not quite the same this time – when Tsuna drops the flames into the fireplace, they instantly start warming the building up…but those weird black streaks are back.

Tsuna's aware of them now, judging from the pale look on his face from their appearance. He starts staring down at his hands, mumbling gibberish to himself. Xanxus leave him to it and wanders through the kitchen. It still has a fridge, but the electricity's been turned off so it's useless. He does however find a box of cereal and a tin of anchovies, so it's not a total loss. He grabs both and carries them upstairs. Tsuna, over whatever was bothering him, follows silently.

There's two bedrooms, but only one has a bed. Xanxus tosses the food on the old chest of drawers next to it and jumps on the mattress. There's no sheets, but it's still in pretty good shape.

Tsuna apparently doesn't think so, because he walks straight out and returns with some rather mothball laden blankets that he found god knows where in the house, dropping them on the edge of the bed. Xanxus takes the chance to grab his wrist and pull him onto the bed too, grabbing a blanket and tossing it over him before thumping his head on Tsuna's shoulder.

"What's the deal with the black flames?" he asks, now that he's got the man pinned down. "Don't you normally have them locked away?"

Tsuna just runs a hand through his hair.

"Yes…no…Harmonisation knocked something loose. I'll figure something out."

"Why? They bad?"

That gets him a very harsh chuckle.

"They're a cancer" Tsuna whispers, and his hand clutches at Xanxus's arm. He's trembling, so Xanxus lets him, and chooses to change the subject, only half faking the yawn that follows.

"Don't know about you, but harmonising is exhausting" he mutters. "Let's figure out the plan tomorrow."

Tsuna's a little too quiet, but before Xanxus can query it, he feels a hand brush through his hair.

"Xanxus, you realise that I don't have any plan, right?" Tsuna warns. "It's been a major accomplishment just to get up in the morning sometimes. You've thrown your lot in with a pretty big waste of space."

Xanxus just snorts, punching the man's arm before flopping down again.

"Don't fucking call yourself that again Trash" he replies. "I'm the only one who gets to insult you. Besides, I already figured I was gonna have to be the brains of this operation Tsuna-Trash. I'll figure it out, you just focus on not being crazy and teaching me everything you left out about flames."


"Hush! Sleep now."

"…It's not even dark out."


Tsuna gives a tired chuckle, but the hand in Xanxus's hair starts to drop away, and the two drift off until morning.

For the first few days, they lie low. Everyone in the area knows Xanxus by reputation, so Tsuna scrounges up yet another lousy hat, zips up the ugly coat and slinks out to get more food and hopefully more clothes. Neither of them will dare risk going near their old building again, so they're starting from scratch.

Tsuna at least had proven to have some street sense when he reveals several hundred euros stashed in the lining of the coat, so they weren't completely without funds. When he comes back, he's clearly hit up a local charity shop and grabbed anything that might fight Xanxus, and a few things that will fit – unfortunately – fit him.

Xanxus is quickly learning Tsuna should not be left to shop for himself. His taste in clothing is atrocious – he lives in hoodies and oversized sweatshirts. The first time they met, Tsuna was wearing a suit, so clearly, he knows other clothing exists and is just doing it just to piss Xanxus off. At least he's smart enough not to bring that crap home for him.

He also lets it go because it's distracting Tsuna from the black flame that has finally been unleashed. Despite his best attempts, Tsuna can't seem to get it back to the little flecks it's been up until Xanxus harmonised. It's a noticeable addition now, as much as Xanxus's flames when he's mixing both Sky and Storm together to try and trick Tsuna into embracing a bit more of their bond. The only thing that seems to have an effect is Xanxus's pure sky flames, which drown out the black temporarily.

While Tsuna is off getting necessities and avoiding reality, Xanxus is trying to plot their next move. Just idly patrolling the neighbourhood is no longer an option. If Tsuna is right and the Vongola are looking for them (and something tells him that his sky is right on the money), they need protection. Out here, that meant obtaining power.

In the evenings Tsuna runs him through harmony and elements and everything that's not 'activating-sky-flame' specific that he'd not had time to go over before, and can usually manage a few hours before his mind starts wandering too much. The biggest emphasis is what each element can do and how much more stable skies are with them. Frankly it sounds like something both of them could do with quite badly.

Xanxus needed to hunt down some more flame users. Harmonise with them and start carving out a place for himself, while trying to vet someone older and wiser to harmonise with Tsuna and help him stop being so crazy.

Course that's easier said than done. He's been running round the neighbourhood flame active for weeks without so much as a whisper. The only option is to start trespassing on other territory, see if there's anyone on the edge that might have been overlooked.

However, when he mentions this plan to Tsuna, it immediately gets shot down.

"Flame users are picked up early out here" he tells him from the chair he's curled in, staring into the fire and its ever-growing black flame. "The only ones left alone are those too weak to gain notice, which means you won't want to harmonise in the first place. You'd be better off biding your time, getting stronger so you can poach flame active mafioso in your teens."

"We don't have time for that Trash!" Xanxus snaps, moving from a sitting position and lying along the sofa opposite him. "How can I get stronger if we keep hiding?"

Tsuna pauses at that, staring into the fire.

"Xanxus, how would you feel about leaving Italy?"

The boy freezes.


"Not forever" Tsuna adds. "Just…until the heat dies down. I'd like to try and get back to Japan. Vongola probably wouldn't chase us that far, and even if they did, I think I know somewhere we'd be safe-"

"I'm not running halfway across the world to hide like a coward!" Xanxus roars, jumping to his feet and hissing at Tsuna, who flinches at the anger in his voice.

"It's not hiding-"

"We're not leaving Italy" Xanxus demands. "Maybe we could move North, but I'm not leaving Italy. And neither are you."

Part of him realises that Tsuna probably misses Japan the same way Xanxus misses his old neighbourhood. It was stagnant and a bad fit, but it was home. But Xanxus is not flying to a country where he can't speak the language and is even more of a freak than he already is. In Italy, at least the flames and his reputation give him respect. He is not starting from scratch in a country with one of the highest criminal conviction rates in the world and a distrust for foreigners.

Tsuna doesn't reply, merely cocks his head and nods.

"Okay. I won't mention it again."

Xanxus just scoffs, dropping back on the sofa.

"What the fuck brought this on anyway? It's been three days and the Vongola haven't got a clue where we are."

"Vongola aren't really what I'm worrying about" Tsuna admits. "I've been hearing rumours. There are people running around in the North District, abducting strong kids. Word is they're looking for flame actives. I can track Vongola, but I don't know enough about them to predict what they'll do. I'd rather avoid them than have to find out."

Looking for flame actives?

…Which probably meant they had flame actives with no bonds.

Xanxus grins as he stares into the fire, then releases more, letting it spread out from the fires and fill the room. Tsuna gives him a suspicious glance, but answers the apology in kind, the room all but glowing orange, with the odd speck of red showing up, and drowning the black flame. It's enough to make them both relatively sky drunk.

The next morning, when Tsuna is out information gathering and avoiding Vongola spies, he slips out of the bed and runs towards the North Districts.

It takes him nearly a month to get a good lead. He has to sweet talk a few drug runners and run a few dangerous routes off the books to get it, but he gets it. There's some guys who trail around a bar far outside Xanxus's usual flaring grounds that doesn't card in exchange for double price, and people have mentioned seeing people glowing odd colours. Could just be junkie's delusions, but it's more than enough to go on.

The bar itself is fairly nondescript, it's only outlier being just how packed it is at 12pm on a Tuesday. Most of the clientele are clearly too young to be in here, but Xanxus is hardly one to talk. He grabs his own drink before settling in a dark corner table to wait. Tsuna has issues with alcohol, and especially with his young storm drinking, but Xanxus has 8 years of being weaned on his mother's leftovers to deal with – alcohol keeps him sharp.

It doesn't take long before he starts to notice the glimmers of light darting round the room. It's not full out flame, but with so many in vicinity, perhaps because Xanxus is in vicinity, there's a distinct aura around several people in the room, the oldest of them in their mid-teens. He takes a chance, making sure nobody is watching, and flares is sky flames for just a brief instant.

The result is impressive. Almost everyone in the room straightens, and those he's seen glinting start scratching their skin, looking round for the presence they just felt. But most interesting are the four men in the corner, who immediately stand up and scan the perimeter. They're armed and have some of the stronger flames in the room – he can almost see actual flame hitting back against the remnants of his flare. He smirks.


But before he can go confront them, someone slips into the seat next to him, leaning over the table to analyse him with sharp eyes.

"That was a risky move" he says, pulling the blonde hair that's escaped his ponytail back behind his ear and smiling. "Skies shouldn't just announce themselves uninvited."

His hand flicks, inciting a small spark of blue flame that Xanxus's own barely register. Xanxus narrows his own eyes, and out from the corner he can see the men sitting down, catching sight of the arrival and relaxing. He's one of theirs.

When he returns to the conversation, the man has out a hand to shake.

"I am Greasy" the man says. Actually, he probably says Grassi or something, but the bar is loud and frankly Xanxus is more focused on the sheer amount of product the Trash has got in his hair, so Greasy it is.

He ignores the hand, and Greasy shrugs, tucking it out of the way while he balances his head on his other hand.

"What's a budding little stormy sky like you doing in a place like this?" he asks, smirking at the way Xanxus bristles. "It's faint, but I can feel a bond, your sky wouldn't let you walk in here on your own."

"He doesn't own me" Xanxus snaps. "He knows I can take care of myself."

Tsuna does. Xanxus does as much caring for Tsuna as Tsuna does for him. The man has never doubted for a second how capable Xanxus can be.

"Oh, so he knows you're here?"

Xanxus snarls, and the man chuckles.

"Easy now, let's be friends. What brings such a bright little spark like you all the way over here without your sky's blessing hmm?"

He really hates how much this bastard is talking down to him. Everyone in his neighbourhood knew from age five that Xanxus wasn't someone to be taken lightly. Normally he'd be clawing Greasy's face off right now, but he can't quite muster up the energy.

Probably Tsuna's influence. And helpful – these morons might not be taking him seriously, but he needs to find out where they're from so he can find some flame users.

Instead, he smirks, nails digging into his palms as he tries to ignore the slight. "Actually Trash, I think I was looking for you" he replies. "Heard you know where to find some more elements for harmonising. My Sky and I were interested."

Greasy chuckles. "Looking to build up your own gang huh? Can't say I blame you – strong flames like yours need strong allies."

Well, he's not wrong, but the comment shouldn't be enough to make Xanxus's shoulders relax as much as they have, so why?-

"But if you're starting at the very beginning, wouldn't it be better to join forces with a family with potential?" Greasy continues. "One that people underestimate, but could become a dangerous name with time and care. It's a lot easier than building up from scratch. Our boss is a good man, one with many loyal followers but not enough power to stand up against their enemies. You and your Sky would be very well received."

Xanxus just laughs. "Forget it Trash" he says. "We turned down the fucking Vongola, we sure as hell aint throwing our lot in with you. Not without seeing what you can offer first."

Huh, are people smoking in here? The room is getting awfully hazy…

Greasy ducks his head in agreement.

"I'll tell you what, why don't you come along and meet them right now" Greasy continues. "We'll even have a bed made up, and you can call your Sky to tell you where to meet."

His hand reaches for Xanxus, and Xanxus tries to arch back – only Tsuna gets to touch him so casually – but he doesn't move, frowning in confusion as the Greasy ruffles the hair on his head.

Something's wrong. Everything in him is screaming to get out or fight, but the commands aren't reaching his brain. Even his sight is starting to get saturated in a blue hue.

"I…don't. Not…right…what?"

Why can't he move? And why is everything blue-

It hits him like a gunshot. Rain flames. Tsuna had fucking warned him about the effect of Rain flames!

He staggers to his feet, but immediately drops back down. Storm flames try to eat at the interlopers, but it's too late, and he can do little more than watch as Greasy lifts the hand from under the table, dripping with rain flames as he pulls Xanxus into his arms. His colleagues stand up, and as they walk out the door, they pull out some brightly coloured rope.

"Don't worry little sky" he soothes in a horrifically calm tone. "We're just going to restrain you so you can't hurt yourself, and we'll take you to meet a whole lot of other kids like you. Wont that be fun?"

"You…bastards" Xanxus growls, still trying to burn through the flames. The men just chuckle, and begin binding his wrists. Almost instantly, his flames vanish, locked behind an impenetrable door, and Xanxus whines when he realises Tsuna's harmony is blocked out too.

His heart bursts when his storm flames go into overdrive, trying to discover the source of the threat, only to hit a brick wall before they get started, and he tries to start thrashing, despite the number of hands on his person. He doesn't stop even when they pick him up, fully restrained in the flame-dampening ropes, and toss him into the back of their car.

The futility of struggling doesn't really hit until he hears the car start, and starts smashing his head into the stinking carpet when they start moving.

Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, FUCK.

He's an idiot. He's a giant, stupid, fucking idiot! What the fuck was he thinking? They were middle ground mafioso and Xanxus thought he could take them just because he knew his way around flames? Even though he knew they were hunting flame capable children? All that time he thought they'd been underestimating him, and HE'D been the moron that played into their hands.

Crap, Tsuna didn't even know where he went every day. Because if he didn't know he couldn't forbid Xanxus from doing it. Now he's going to vanish into the underworld, get tortured or experimented on or tossed into the sea, and Tsuna isn't going to have a clue.

He's going to leave Tsuna alone. Alone with his memories and his episodes and that ever growing black flame.

Storm flames try and fail to rise to the surface at that thought, and he starts kicking the wall of the boot. Maybe if he can angle himself, he can kick out the lights and signal someone.

…Who is going to do exactly what you do when you witness an abduction in the middle of mafia territory and pretend they haven't. Fuck, fuck, FUCK!

The fight suddenly leaves him, and he almost tries to curl into the foetal position, mind clawing for even a crumb of flame to slip out.

'I'm trash. Just stupid trash. Tsuna, I'm sorry…'

Fate allows him approximately five seconds to feel sorry for himself, before the brakes of the car screech and the crash into something, throwing him into the edge of the boot. His abductors are yelling, and he hears doors open, but another five seconds later they go silent, and his damped flames flare at the unmistakable feeling of warmth and home…

The boot is flung open, and Tsuna's pulling him out bridal style. Xanxus is too in shock to be embarrassed by it.

"Tsuna-trash, how did you?-"

He cuts off when he realises Tsuna's flames are out and his eyes are in no way friendly.

"Xanxus" he says. "Not. Now."

A tremor of…he's not really sure what, rushes up his spine, and he keeps quiet as Tsuna kneels down and drops him on the pavement. A knife appears, and he frees Xanxus's hands, before handing it to him and stalking back to the would-be abductors. They're currently staggering to their feet, and the front of the car looks mangled.

…Did Tsuna actually fly and drop onto the bonnet? And Xanxus missed it?

Oh if Tsuna doesn't make these guys pay, he will.

Greasy seems to have mostly recovered from both the crash and what must have been a very badly thought out attempt to take out the guy who stops cars by using them as landing pads, because he's standing and pulling out a gun. Tsuna doesn't appear to care.

"You just tried to abduct a harmonised storm" Tsuna growls. "My harmonised storm. In what universe did you think that would end well for you?"

Xanxus will bite off his tongue before he admits it, but he always gets a kind of thrill when someone pushes Tsuna into being possessive of him.

Greasy doesn't seem to appreciate the warning.

"Oh screw you outsider!" he snaps. "You might be a sky, but you're an unaffiliated nobody. Skies aren't unaffiliated unless there's something seriously wrong with them, we were doing the kid a favour getting him away from you. Especially if you can't even control him."

Xanxus is now fully free of his bindings, and his flames spike at the insult. He wants to throw in with Tsuna, but his sky snaps his head back, freezing him in place, before returning to the conversation.

"I don't have to 'control' him" Tsuna replies. "I can find him when it matters, that's harmony."

Greasy rolls his eyes.

"We're taking the kid" he warns. "And you know what, we're taking you too."

"I'll give you one last warning" Tsuna replies. "Take one step towards Xanxus and I will kill you."

All five of them crack smirks at that.

"Cute, but everyone in the street knows you don't kill" Greasy snaps back, lifting the gun. "You leave your enemies alive every single time. Too civvie to stomach our way of life."

He fires, probably aiming for a disabling shot rather than a lethal one. Only Tsuna isn't there anymore – he's two feet in front of one of his allies, smashing a punch straight into the side of his face. His other hand jerks out, grabbing the mafioso's collar before he can hit the ground, and throws the man straight through what's left of the windshield before turning his attention to the other men. Greasy swings his arm blinding, trying to land just one bullet, but the only one that hits flesh sinks into one of his own men, and soon the other three mafioso are crashing into what's left of the car, and Tsuna turns his attention to Greasy.

Xanxus grins when he hears a shoulder dislocate, letting it grow wider at the snap of bones breaking in both legs, before Tsuna throws the still conscious man in his vicinity, and then tosses him the gun.

"Watch him" Tsuna orders, and turns back to the car, the flames in his hands starting to burn with insane intensity – one a soft, warm orange that Xanxus recognises from harmony, the other a vivid and violent hue he usually sees in fights, although both are dipped in black.

"A lesson you should have learned a long time mafioso" Tsuna warns, hands burning with incredible ferocity. "Do not mistake reluctance for inability."

The hand collecting the warmer flames is thrown back, while the darker orange is thrown in front of him. Xanxus can only gaze in wonder as Tsuna's eyes narrow, gleaming liquid gold, rimmed with a new black line.


The energy blast that bursts from Tsuna's hand almost makes Xanxus's ears pop. The mafioso barely have time to register what he's doing before their caught up in the heart. The flames are so powerful, they disintegrate on impact.

It only lasts three seconds, but when Tsuna cancels his flames, the only thing remaining of the car is the remnants of four melted tyres on the ground.

And the crippled man still lying several metres away, gaping in horror at the hit. When he realises Tsuna's eyes are on him, he yells and tries to crawl away, shrieks getting higher and higher when Tsuna starts walking towards him. Xanxus just strides over, stamping on his spine and enjoying the sounds as he's pinned down, making a point to cock the gun for the sound effect. Considering how low he'd felt ten minutes ago, he's almost grateful for the man's actions – he's finally gotten to see what happens when his sky gets serious.

And he doesn't care what it takes. Tsuna is teaching him that attack.

"Do you know why you weren't in that car?" Tsuna asks, boring down on the mafioso. He just shakes his head.

"Because I want answers" Tsuna tells him, holding out a hand to Xanxus, who happily hands him the gun. "Answers you are going to give me."

"W-what do you want to know?"

"Why?" Tsuna asks. "Why are you collecting flame actives. And how are you doing it without attracting attention?"

Greasy gives a crazy laugh at that.

"Without attracting attention? We can't step out the door without attracting attention!" Greasy yells. "We were desperate! The Estrano are marked! We need firepower!"

Tsuna's eyes widen.


Tsuna's flames pulse, black miasma flickering, and Xanxus winces.

Not now, not now!

"Estrano…Estrano…I know that name, Estrano, where…mist. Mist and teeth and yo yo's but, no, gone…or not yet? I forgot."

He's completely out of it again, and the mafioso's fear is changing to confusion. Xanxus quickly darts in, flame covered hand reaching for Tsuna's back, sky flames binding and trying to coax Tsuna back.

"Trash, focus. Stay in the now."

Tsuna mumbling stops, and both Xanxus and the mafioso gasp as the sky flames spike, interspersed with black fragments throughout, but now back in control.

"Where. Are. They."

Greasy swallows. "Who?"

"The others" Tsuna all but growls. "The other flame sensitive children you've got locked away. The ones you experiment on. The ones you justify turning into monsters. Where are they!"

Greasy stares in horror, but then a wave of acceptance comes over him, and his face calms. Xanxus can read it in his eyes. He's not going to answer the question, no matter what Tsuna does or threatens.

Apparently Tsuna can tell the exact same thing, because he's sighing and checking the gun for bullets.

"Fine. I guess you die now."

"I was wrong about you" Greasy mutters, eyes still locked on Tsuna. "You're not a civvie. You're a mafioso, just another part of a broken system, punishing us for being better than you. For creating something you couldn't even dream of."

Tsuna glares at him.

"You mean the possession bullet right? I'm not killing you for that. As far as I'm concerned creating that bullet wasn't a crime."

He raises the gun.

"I'm killing you because Xanxus is mine. They are mine. And I won't let you do what you wanted to do to them."

"Whose they?" Greasy shrieks.

Tsuna fires.

They don't bother hiding the body. Once it hits the ground Tsuna melts the gun into an unrecognisable puddle, tosses Xanxus's on his back and flies him home. Xanxus protests throughout, but Tsuna doesn't appear to hear him.

When they finally get inside, Tsuna throws him in before locking the door. Xanxus spins, ready to argue, but doesn't get the chance to defend himself, because Tsuna is dropping to one knee and yanking him into the tightest hug he's ever experienced, sky flames washing over him like a dozen blankets. Normally, he'd try to fight it – Xanxus has always been the one that initiated contact, always been the one in control and he's not sure he likes losing that power, but he's frozen when he hears the words his Sky is whispering.

"You can't do that again" Tsuna chokes. "I hate it. I hate that I'm dragging you down and you can't see it but, I need you Xanxus. I could have taken it before the harmonisation, but not now. You're all I've got keeping me sane and I can't lose you, do you understand? I can't."

Slowly, delicately, Xanxus lifts his arms to return the embrace, flames rolling round both of him. Tsuna's shoulders are trembling, betraying just how bad his emotional state is, no matter how well he hides it.


"Big statement from someone who still won't fully harmonise" Xanxus mutters a little spitefully, because for all those pretty words, his storm flames are still getting rebuffed at every turn, unable to gain more than the foothold they'd wedged that one night.

Tsuna goes stiff, and then sags into Xanxus's embrace as he gives a mirthless chuckle.

"That's for your own good" Tsuna promises. "One day you'll understand why I can't. You're mine, and that means I have to protect you, even from myself."

"That doesn't mean anything" Xanxus snaps. "You're just making excuses. You want to know you can leave me behind if you have to. Run off to Japan and forget about me."

Tsuna shakes his head.

"No, no I swear it's not that" he insists. "I need to know you can leave me behind."

"Hah?" Xanxus gawks. "I turned down the fucking Vongola for you trash! You're staying with me even if I have to drag you the whole damn way!"

Tsuna sighs, pulling out of the hug and staring at him with distant affection.

"Xanxus, I'm a sky falling headfirst into discord with no signs of stopping" he warns. "I've lost a full set of guardians – most would be completely mad by now. My brain and flames are ripping each other apart."

To illustrate his point, he summons a small spark in his fingertips, and Xanxus spots that black flame again, darting through in tiny spots.

"That black flame is night flames" Tsuna explains. "It's gnawing at my sky flames, trying to overtake them, and it's winning. One day they'll succeed, and I won't be a sky. I'll be lucky to be alive, never mind sane. If I harmonise with you, completely? I'll drag you down with me. As you are? It'll hurt, but you'll walk away in one piece.

Xanxus just snorts, red and orange flames swirling on his hand as he grabs Tsuna's, snuffing out the black flame completely.

"Won't happen" he guarantees, eyes full of conviction. "Any time you fall I'll drag you right back up. We're going to be Kings one day."

Tsuna gives a sad smile.

"I never wanted to be a King."

Xanxus rolls his eyes.

"Fine Tsuna-Trash. I'll be a King and you'll be, I don't know, the King's bum or something. You can stroll around half shaved, wearing stupid oversized sweatshirts and sleep all day and nobody can give you shit for it so long as you teach me that attack you used today. Otherwise, I'm totally making you the Trash-King."

Tsuna just bursts into laughter.

He starts showing him the X-burner that weekend.

After the run in with Estrano, Tsuna becomes a man possessed. He's shadowing Xanxus, using him to ferret out more stories of the people that tried to take him.

Estrano had definitely knocked something in his head loose, and Xanxus isn't sure how to take his sky's focus now that it's not completely on him. It makes him serious, and there's been almost no episodes since Greasy triggered one, but Xanxus – or at least his flames – feel neglected.

Of course, then he made the mistake of telling Tsuna this, and the man hasn't left him along for more than five minutes. At first it was kind of nice, but now it's a little suffocating.

"I can do this myself Trash" he growls, the second time Tsuna gets to close and chases off Xanxus's informant.

"Can, but shouldn't" Tsuna corrects. "If the Estrano are still looking for kids in the area, I want to be around in case they lure you in again."

"They're hardly going to do that if you've got me on a damn leash!"

Tsuna ignores him, glaring at the street for anyone who might be staring at Xanxus a little too long. All Trash, nobody is even acknowledging the storm when Tsuna's right there, acting like the world's least intimidating bodyguard at all of 5'3.

"Why the hell do you care so much about the Estrano anyway?" Xanxus asks, picking at his nails when he realises the day's a bust. "You said something about a 'they.'"

The man sighs, shoving his hands in his pockets as he comes to the same conclusion. "It's complicated."

He gets a scoff for that. "Wow, never heard that one before."

Tsuna darts in and ruffles his hair as he chuckles. Before Xanxus can do more than swear and try to push him away, the sky is speaking.

"One of…my former Guardians, he was once Estrano" Tsuna whispers. "I know what the mafia pushed them to do. There are children being tortured right now, and nobody's coming to help them. They'll do to them, what they did to him, and I can't let them. I can't let it happen this time around. Not if I can stop it."

His hand is on Xanxus's shoulder, and he tugs him closer.

"So, we'll keep looking, okay" he chokes. "We'll find them. And we'll save them. Because this time I know nobody else will."

He stays quiet the rest of the way home.

It's two months and three days after the Estrano incident that Xanxus's world falls apart.

It starts out like any other day. He feels the glare of the sun coming through the window, groans and rolls over, using the arch of Tsuna-Trash's body as a shield and kicking the man's legs to try and make him move into a better position. Technically Tsuna got him his own bed within the first week, but somehow Xanxus always finds himself grabbing his blankets and curling on top of Tsuna's own for extra warmth.

At least, that's the excuse he uses whenever Tsuna-Trash is stupid enough to ask.

Tsuna however, doesn't react to the kicking, so Xanxus is forced to wedge his eyes open and sit up, whacking him on the chest. The light is already in Tsuna's face so it's got to be irritating.

"It's morning Tsuna-Trash" he groans. "If you're not going to move to avoid the light, we need to get up.

There's no response.

"Fine" Xanxus warns, climbing off the bed. "But I'm using all the hot water if you don't get up and stop me."

He intends to do just that, but fifteen minutes later he's turning off the water and quickly shoving on a shirt and his trousers, heading back into their room. Tsuna still hasn't moved…has he always been that pale?

Something dark and cruel twists in his chest.

"Tsuna? Tsuna-Trash, wake up!"

He darts over and climbs onto the man's chest, trying to shake him awake, sky and storm flames bursting to life to try slamming into the unconscious man like a freight train.

As usual, flames instinctively flare out to match him, but both elements curl away in horror at the thick black that emerges instead of orange. It's not the awkward streaks Xanxus has come to despise, but a writhing entity.

A few months ago Xanxus had seen images of an oil spill on the news, and he's struck by the similarities. The orange sky flames are still dominant, but they're being overrun by the black that's eating into them by the second. His flames don't want to go anywhere near it.

Xanxus grits his teeth and powers through, forcing his flames to make contact, trying to disintegrate this invader.

It's like getting stabbed in the chest while swallowing acid. He stumbles off his sky, fighting the urge to throw up as his flames writhe in horror.

When he recovers, he tries again, this time with his sky flames. The sky has always kept Tsuna grounded – it feels almost as bad, but the blight hesitates.

He shoves everything he has into this minor victory, but it's not enough. It doesn't recede like it has before, just…waits, as if waiting for Xanxus to tire, so it can continue. And he's already starting to run dry…he needs more sky flames. More than he can provide.

An idea pops into his head…and is immediately discarded.

One hour later, it comes back…and is considered.

Three hours, his flames are almost running on empty, and Tsuna is still unconscious. It kills him to leave Tsuna's side right now, but there's no choice – he bolts out of their home and runs towards his old building.

When he slams open the door of his mother's flat, she screams insults and tries to smash his head in with a bottle. He just avoids it and spits in her face.

"I need the Vongola Trash's number!"

It takes a painfully long time for the car to arrive. Xanxus is glued to Tsuna's side, the man fallen ridiculously far in the time it took to call for help, and all but screams in the faces of the mafioso who make their way upstairs.

"What the fuck took you so long?" he howls, brutally aware that he shouldn't be insulting his only hope but finding it impossible to care.

Timoteo at least, seems to take it in stride, focusing instead on Tsuna. As he walks towards the bed, he flames arch out to join with Tsuna's, and the black flame starts to hesitate.

"My God…" Timoteo whispers. "How have you survived this long?"

"What is it?" Xanxus hisses, clenching Tsuna's hand so tight he's relatively certain he's broken bones. The Ninth stares at him in pity, before choosing to answer with a question.

"Xanxus, do you know what happens to a sky that's lost all of their Guardians in a short capacity?"

"They go into discord" Xanxus snaps.

"No, discord is what happens when flames are forced or manipulated, or one or two bonds are shattered" Timoteo explains. "When a Sky loses an entire harmony, that's something else entirely. Something far more dangerous."

Xanxus opens his mouth…and then closes it.

He knows that Tsuna's not…all there, most of the time. He can wander in his own head for hours when triggered unless Xanxus drags him out, and he's hinted enough times that this discord thing is responsible. He also knows about the black flames eating up his incredible sky flames, but he's never really asked about the specifics. Tsuna had seemed to understand, so he'd just accepted it.

"But…Tsuna-trash said it was discord! He's going crazy and his flames are changing. Those are signs of discord!"

Timoteo shakes his head.

"It's likely Tsuna wasn't aware of the difference. Skies are usually so protected this kind of event never happens, but for him discord is just the beginning, just symptoms. The body fighting off the loss. When it finally gives up, all of the flames are snuffed out. Night flames are the antithesis of everything a harmony should be, and when Tsuna's flames change to night flames completely, he won't be Tsuna anymore. There's only one place in the world he could survive, and believe me when I say that everyone would choose death over that."

Xanxus's eyes widen.

"At least he was smart enough not to fully harmonise. The night flames would probably have infected you and taken you-"

"Just shut up Trash!" Xanxus screams. "Stop talking about what's not going to happen and tell me how to stop it! I've been helping! All this time he was getting better, I kept them from getting stronger, so tell me how to do that again!"

"You can't" The Ninth replies, but before the dark feeling in his stomach can get any worse, the Ninth continues. "At least, not on your own."

He sinks more flames around Tsuna, pushing back the night flames.

"If he's surrounded by sky flames, it can strengthen his own. He's survived so far by allowing your flames to plug the gap, but it's no longer enough. The night flames are building a resistance to you the longer you're harmonised. He needs more sky flames that aren't connected to him. I have three sky element sons, along with a few weaker skies sworn to Vongola. If we take him to our headquarters, we can surround him with a veritable army of flames. It would take time, possibly years, but it could stabilise his flames enough that the night flames could revert back. Unlikely back to a pure sky, but still a true element."

Timoteo turns to face him.

"However, I am not in the business of doing favours of such magnitude for strangers. I would need something in return."

Xanxus can see where this is going.

"Fucking Trash. You want me to swear loyalty to you."

His flames are already writhing at the thought. He can't. Surely the Ninth knows that.

"I would need Tsuna to swear loyalty" Timoteo clarifies. "I know better than to expect an harmonised element to swear themselves when their sky does not. What I suggest, is that we take Tsuna to headquarters, help him recover enough to regain consciousness, and get his answer. If he refuses, he will be removed from the premises and left to his fate."

"He'll say yes" Xanxus immediately agrees. The Ninth looks at him with frustrating sympathy.

"Are you certain? He has proven to be very reluctant about entering the mafia world."

"I'll make him say yes Trash" Xanxus snaps back. "I promised him he wasn't getting rid of me, and I'm not letting him use death as an excuse. Take us there."

They take him to a mansion with grounds big enough to fit Xanxus' entire neighbourhood and settle Tsuna in a medical ward three floors below the surface. The entire day almost passes in a blur, Xanxus hands clamped to Tsuna's shoulders as other foreign skies flit about, pulling and tugging at Tsuna's dulling flames. He's sky drunk almost immediately, but has to focus on his own bond less one of these other skies forces themselves on his storm flames. Tsuna had mentioned it could happen if the original bond wasn't strong enough, and he's certainly not taking any chances now.

To be surrounded and as powerless as he was should have resulted in a complete breakdown, but Xanxus survives on one simple fact. Tsuna is responding. By the time night falls, the black flame is starting to recede. He keeps his eyes on Tsuna, even when the nurses decree he's stable enough to move, and transfer them to an odd room. It looks like a guest room, for all that Xanxus knows about them, but there's no windows, and he just knows there are cameras in every corner. Plus, the door locks from the outside.

It's a cell. A very expensive and fancy cell, but still a cell. He can live with it though, so long as Tsuna just wakes up.

He only leaves the man's side to relieve himself, growling when people try to coax him over to the table to eat, happy to munch over the side of the bed. A lot of the skies stare at him, and he hears the odd whisper of 'Secondo,' but he blanks them out. They call Tsuna 'Primo' too, so maybe it's just code.

It's hard to tell time without any natural light, but Xanxus guesses its two days before Tsuna opens his eyes. He's a messy, exhausted scrap curled into his side when he feels the chest he's half lying on hitch a breath, and shuffles himself into a sitting position as Tsuna winces back to consciousness.

It's a slow, awkward process, with Tsuna's eyes looking blank for a few brief moments, until he starts to recognise the ceiling isn't covered in the black mould of their room but some kind of arty crap that looks like gold (and given the net wealth of this building, probably is).

Tsuna doesn't even realise Xanxus is there, just staring up at the pattern, before his face falls in dismay.

"Is this hell?"

Something snaps in Xanxus, and his storm flames erupt.

"You asshole!"

He tries to punch the sky, struggling from his position, but Tsuna doesn't even try to dodge, seemingly more surprised that Xanxus is there than anything.

"You were dying!" Xanxus shrieks. "You were dying, right there and I, I couldn't do anything! So I called the only bastards I knew that might. I've been fucking waiting right here, all this time, and all you can say when you wake up is 'is this fucking HELL?"

He punches him again, and tries one more time, only for Tsuna to grab his hand. The other hand is immediately up, only for that to be pinned down too. Xanxus is spitting fire, but Tsuna is just staring at him in utter confusion.

"Xanxus, what did you do?"

He glowers. "I saved your life."

Judging from the way his eyes narrow, Tsuna doesn't seem to appreciate the answer.

"Xanxus, where are we, and what did you promise?"

The boy pulls his hands loose, and struggles to stand on the mattress, glaring down at the sky.

"Fine Trash" he spits, face red with anger. "I went to the Vongola alright? Even though I know you don't want one fucking thing to do with them. Because your flames were wrong, and I couldn't get them to go right. They were the only people I knew who could help."

Tsuna all but collapses, sagging back into the bed.

"You swore loyalty to the Ninth, didn't you?" he asks. "The Vongola wouldn't help us for free. No matter who…who we might remind them of."

Xanxus howls and tries to kick the man, only just managing to keep his balance.

"What the fuck is wrong with you! Your mine! I'm yours! Get that through your thick skull! I didn't swear anything, they knew damn well it would be pointless if you didn't swear first. But you were unconscious, so they had to fix you up enough to ask! If you don't agree now, they'll kick you out."

Tsuna frowns, trying to process that.

"No…no they wouldn't just let me go. That doesn't make any sense."

The boy growls again, sinking back down to his knees and pulling Tsuna's head back up.

"It does considering you'll fucking DIE if you don't agree to stay" Xanxus snaps. "Whatever this is isn't discord you moron, it's something worse. If you don't swear, then you'll just get worse and die in the streets in a week."

He shakes the man again when it looks like he's actually thinking that choice over.

"I know you don't want to be mafia, and I've not tried to make you" Xanxus pleads, voice breaking but holding back tears through sheer force of will. "But you do not get to die, not like that! So, when the damn Vongola walks through that door, you are going to swear loyalty, sign anything he shoves in front of you, and focus on surviving. When you've recovered, then we can run away, but we can't do that if you don't shut the fuck up and get better dammit!"

Tsuna stares at him in shock, but he doesn't have time to answer, because the door to the room opens, revealing the Vongola Ninth and answering the question quite nicely without his input. Xanxus releases the man's shirt and leans back.

"I saved your life Trash" he mutters. "Now shut up and let them finish doing it."

Tsuna glances between the Ninth and his men, and Xanxus, before letting out a heavy sigh.

"Xanxus, can you wait outside."


Sky flames flare, then shudder out of existence. The Ninth steps forward.

"I wouldn't recommend that" he warns. "Your flames are still very fragile."

Tsuna struggles to nod, and returns his attention to Xanxus.

"Go, wait, outside."


"That wasn't a request."

Xanxus grits his teeth, but shoves himself off the bed before the Ninth can order one of his own men to remove him.

"You could at least pretend to be grateful Trash!" he spits out, and slams the door.

The boy spends his time in the hallway experimenting with his storm flames and seeing how many swear words he can carve into the dark wood panelling along the wall. It's that or try to listen to the conversation happening in the room, but the Vongola sprung for the decent soundproofing – he can't hear anything.

Tsuna has to say yes.

He will say yes.

Xanxus can't wrap his mind around a future where Tsuna doesn't say yes.

It's almost an hour before the Vongola leaves and let's Xanxus back in. The Guardians look more than a little angry, but the Ninth is staring with what's almost affection.

"You can go back in now" he says. "It looks like we'll be getting to know each other now, Xanxus. You and Tsunayoshi Sawada."

The weight Xanxus hadn't realised he was carrying lifts from his shoulders, and he swallows.

"He agreed to join Vongola?"

The Ninth smiles. "Yes, although how loyal he intends to be is up in the air. Believe me when I say we'll be watching both of you very closely."

Xanxus can't help the grin crawling onto his face, and runs past the mafioso and into the room. Tsuna is still in the bed, head tossed back on pillows and eyes closed. They open when they hear Xanxus walking over.

"So, the Trash has a brain" Xanxus jokes. Tsuna huffs, pushing himself into a sitting position and holds out an arm.

"Come here."

Xanxus scowls, but he crawls up into the bed and leans into the crook of Tsuna's shoulder anyway. Tsuna's flames flare, and his own storm matches them almost subconsciously-

Only to gasp as he feels them touch and sink deeper than they ever have. Something ripples through his head, through his body, flushing his system with endorphins and cutting all connection to his limbs. Tsuna just curls his arm tighter around the boy's body as he sags into the embrace, drunk on flames.

"Easy" Tsuna whispers. "I'm told it can be a little overwhelming. Deep breaths."

Xanxus obeys almost without thinking, brain spinning on what just occurred.

"Harmonised" he chokes out, barely able to process it, because this, this is the real thing. "You…we harmonised."

But god fucking dammit Tsuna had been underselling it. How had he lasted the last few months with that pathetic little bond and thought it enough?

Tsuna just holds him tighter.

"It's my promise to you" he says. "I'm going to get better Xanxus. I'll be the sky you need. I don't want to be mafia, but if they can stabilise my flames for good, I'll live with it for now. This is where we both need to be."

Xanxus smiles, closing his eyes and letting himself drift off. But not before getting in one more parting shot.

"About time Trash."

This is about 3 times longer than it was supposed to be and that's even with discarding the original plan (which involved hiding in a prostitution house and Xanxus getting schooling from the Accountant). It had to go because it sounded funny in my head but felt hideously insulting and awkward to write. The next chapter will probably be a lot longer (and again, after my other fics update).