"Happiness can exist only in acceptance."

-George Orwell

Xanxus could feel his Rain's worried stare on the back of his neck, but he ignored it in favor of the sight before him. He understood the worry even if it was unnecessary at this moment. Normally he would be raging at the slight that his 'brother' dealt him just now. He should be setting the sky ablaze with his wrath.

(The rage was still there, as it always was simmering, burning in his core, in his very soul, but at the moment he found himself distracted from it.)

Instead of raging. Instead of blasting everything in sight, including his allies, he found himself watching the scene in front of him. Two brats. One obviously mafia born, all twitchy and carrying the scent of gunpowder and blood, and the other who looked like a civilian at first glance. Soft and weak.

(Or at least that's what it looked like on the surface.)

Xanxus may not be the bastards son, and may not have that annoying intuition, but one didn't make it as far as he didn't without a damn good gut instinct. And his gut was telling him that kid was no civ no matter how frail he looked as he trembled on his knees next to the cooling body of the External Advisor. The brats had broken into the mansion. No small feat even if they were currently dealing with an internal conflict. His eyes drifted over the brunette. He was thin and small. The Varia jacket wrapped around his shoulders was too large for his frame. It seemed to swallow him whole.

It was a poor disguise. His 'brother' knew the brats weren't his, but it was the politics of the matter. The man had already pissed off a lot of people today. No need to pissed off Xanxuws and subsequently the Varia by extension by arguing with his bald-faced lie.

Even with the oversized jacket, nothing could disguise the trembling of that small frame.

His men shifted uncomfortably behind him.

(They could sense the shift in the air even if they didn't know what the cause was.)

When the boy stood and turned away from the corpse, Xanxus couldn't stop the smirk that tugged at his lips.

(There wasn't the rage he half expected, but there was something else just as fascinating. A promise. A promise for vengeance A promise for pain. For retribution.)

"What's your name trash." It wasn't a question. He never asked questions.

Brown, tinged with orange met his stare unflinchingly. The boy slowly lowered the hands that had been clutching at his own chest since they arrived on the scene. His Rain took a half step forward then stilled at Xanxus's sharp glance. With all eyes on him, the little waif of a brat opened his hands to reveal a ring.

A ring that should be on its way back to the main house in the clutches of his 'brother's' greedy hands. A ring that had been at the center of this whole conflict. A ring that knew more blood than even Xanxus.

"My name…" The boy looked down at the ring in his hand, emotions flicking across his face to quickly for Xanxus to catch. The brat sighed and, almost unconsciously, slipped the ring onto his finger. "My name is Tsunayoshi Sawada."

The silver-haired brat gasped audibly, taking a step back with mouth agape. His men shifted behind him. Too proud and too well trained to gape, yet still just as shocked at both the name and the audacity of the tiny brat.

(He wasn't surprised. He suspected it from the start. That bastard wouldn't have begged so pathetically with his dying breath for him to protect the boy if that wasn't the case.)

The ring lit with the telltale orange flames. Acceptance. He heard his Rain mutter a curse under his breath and his men murmur nervously.

His smirk widened into what was undoubtedly a bloodthirsty grin.

This whole shitty affair suddenly got a lot more interesting...

High school wasn't as insane as middle school was for Tsuna. That's not to say it didn't have its moments, but there wasn't a new danger around every single corner and he had a lot more friends and allies to handle whatever insanity the mafia world threw at him. Nor did he have to deal with the ridicule that had followed him in middle school from the rapidly shrinking civilian side of his life. His Dame-Tsuna nickname didn't follow him into the new school and those who knew him from that time regarded him with a wary respect one might give a lion that was a little to close for comfort.

However, there was one moment he'd remember years after he left that school and even the country itself.

It wasn't even that remarkable in the grand scheme of things, especially compared to all that he had seen and done before that moment.

It was their last year. Everyone was preparing for graduation and the teachers were confirming with students their future plans. Typical questions about whether they were going to university or had a job lined up. By this point, he had gone through this process multiple times with multiple teachers. It was simple and easy.

"I'm going to take a job at my father's company."

It wasn't even a lie per se, merely an omission of what exactly his father's' company' was and what exactly his job would entail. His teachers had smiled, congratulated him and jotted down the information on their clipboard.

Except one.

Tsuna didn't even remember the man's name. He had been an unremarkable teacher. Doing his job, no more, no less.

But, he didn't smile. He didn't congratulate Tsuna. Instead, he hesitated a moment and glanced up from his clipboard. He squinted at Tsuna over his glasses.

"Is that what you really want?"

His usual phrase, voiced time and time again to Reborn, his friends, his enemies and to the universe in general stuck to his throat and he was left staring, wide-eyed at the man.

'Do I want to be a mafia boss?'

The answer seemed so obvious.

Of course not.

And yet…

(When did his feelings change? What made him hesitate?)

He didn't have an answer for that then and even years later the question lingered in his mind. It was there as he enjoyed time with his friends, with his Family. It was there when he struggled with choices with no clear good or bad side. It was there when he laughed. It was there when he fought. It was there when he chose mercy. And it was there when he did not.

It was there when he died.

And really that should have been the end of it. Everyone had questions they never found the answer to or things they never got the chance to do during their lifetime.

But, Tsuna's life had always been outlandish.

So, he died with that question still in the back of his head...then he woke up.

Tsuna woke up with the smell of gunpowder in his nose and the taste of ash in his mouth. He jerked into a sitting position clutching at the front of his shirt.

(No pain. No blood. No bullet wound.)

He was sitting in a bed.

A bed in a room that he hadn't seen in decades.

So while I was working on Broken Reflection, my brain went KHR time now. And here we are. My growing list of rarely updated WIPs has gained another member in its illustrious ranks. lol. Don't kill me, please.