"Tadaima."

Aoko says the second she opens the door. Silence greets her like an old friend. Her only constant companion. She sighs, low and disappointed. She should have been more used to this. She switches out her shoes and goes through her routine of what she usually does on days like today.

Days where she had nobody to share her time with.

Kaito is busy off doing who knows what. Keiko is with other friends. Hakuba-kun is with her dad preparing for the heist later tonight. Even Akako-chan is busy, practically vanishing without a trace straight after school ended. Not that she thought the beautiful Akako-chan had no other plans but to hang out with plain old Aoko. So that leaves Aoko alone with the house mostly cleaned from yesterday when she was in this exact same situation. Of course, someone needs to cook dinner and she does have a little homework to do—But even so both would have been better done with Kaito around. He complains a lot but she likes how his voice drives away the silence of her house. It's never quiet with Kaito around. Too bad he does not live next door. That would have made her life easier in some ways.

Her musings are interrupted when the door bell rings. Instantly, she brightens with hope. Maybe it's one of her friends! If not, at least it means company if only for a short while. Who knows, maybe its an adventure calling to her!

With that, she opens the door with a bright smile, prepared to greet whomever at her doorstep.

"Ciaossu!"

She did not squeal—but it was really really close. Standing on her porch was a black-eyed child, immaculately dressed in a fedora and suit. He was holding a briefcase and her heart melted. He is definitely the cutest child she has ever seen. She is not ashamed to say cute things are a weakness of hers.

"Hi!" She crouches down so they could be more on eye-level and she could see his face better. "How can I help you? Are you lost? Would you like to come in?"

"I'm not lost but I would like to come in!" Strangely, she thinks his eyes are different from anyone's she has ever known. She cannot exactly explain why.. Even so, she beams at this child as she allows him inside. Maybe her evening would not be as lonely as she thought.

They make their way to the living room and she is happy to prattle on. "What's your name? Are you hungry? I can whip something up for you!"

"No, thank you, I'm fine." The child sets down his mini-briefcase on the table and everything about this is just so cute. "My name is Reborn." He clicks it open, "My profession is assassination. I am here to train you into a mafia boss." He proceeds to take out a firearm. The smile she wears vanishes like one of Kaito's magic tricks.

"Is this a prank? Did Kaito put you up to this? —That idiot! How dare he!"

She swears she could feel the air brush her cheek from the passage of the bullet before it embeds into her wall. Her knees shake and collapses against her will, no longer able to support her weight. She stares almost uncomprehendingly at the child she stupidly thought as cute just a second ago.

"This is not a prank. I am a hitman sent as a favour to the ninth boss of Vongola, Vongola Nono, to train you as the heir to the bloodiest mafia family in Italy."

Aoko's hand shakes and she clenches it tight. Suddenly, a few truths stand out to her. She'll die here. Her father will find her body after coming home from work. She has not told him she loves him in far too long. "W-What m-makes you think I would ever be in charge of a mafia gang!" Her voice shakes in the beginning, scared and soft before gaining strength from the anger she feels raising within her. Some days, she wishes her temper was not like her father's. Today is not that day. "My father is a police officer! I'd rather die than betray him!" She roars, mentally cursing when tears impede her vision. The hitman's—Reborn's eyes are blank still but she thinks he is amused. She focuses on how that only fuels her anger instead of how clearly he has her in the palm of his hand. How easily he could kill her if he wished. She did not even see when he fired the gun—And it was not like she was looking away!

"Even if it could save your friend Kaito?"

Just like that, he blindsides her once more. She deflates like a hot air balloon.

"W-what are you talking about?"

He takes out a folder and slides it over the table towards her. The first page is a lie—It has to be.

"Your childhood friend Kaito is the internationally wanted thief 1412 or better yet known as Kaitou KID."

The picture of Kaito—her Kaito, the one who knows just how much she hates that stupid thief for stealing her father's attention away—is damning, as he was in the process of changing into or out of the KID costume. The face is clear and unobstructed—unmistakable.

The rest of the file is not any better. She flips through searching for doubt, for inconsistencies, for anything. She finds more photos—of a broken watch, of him breaking and entering, getting away from the police, even of a hair sample and when she finds the picture with his accomplice in it, along with the information of odd jobs and broken alibis, she chokes on her sob. Tears stream down her face because it's Jii-san, the kind old man Kaito introduced her too. Suddenly, it is like all the pieces fall together. She always thought they whispered details of KID's cases because they did not want to upset her anymore than Kaito usually does. But no, all this time, Kaito's just been getting information—insider information!—from her to be one step ahead of her father. All those times, he asked to be brought along, even when he encouraged her to bring her father dinner, all of it was to serve his own goals.

"Why... Why are you telling me this..?" She stares into the soul-sucking black eyes of the child hitman. She sees no mercy in them for her.

"He betrayed you. He's lied to you." Reborn said, matter-of-fact. Every word of his is a stab to her heart, stealing the air from her lungs. "The person you love.." Her breath hitches and sticks in her throat. Her tears burn hot trails. "I can put you out of your misery. This file could be on your father's table. You wouldn't have to get involved, your father gets to catch the thief and KID gets to pay for his crimes. That's what you always wanted, right?"

The resounding 'NO' in Aoko's head is instinctual but is immediately battled with her sense, leaving only confusion and unease. Her mind is a turmoil. Everything is too loud and too quiet all at once. She can't think. She does not know what to think.

"The file—" Reborn continues, "And all the evidence inside, is yours to do as you will.. If you agree to be the heir to Vongola." Her eyes peer at Reborn, unfocused at first but then with meaning. She never stopped listening but now it seems as if his words are the only things she could hear. "Vongola has the power and connections to either make Kaitou KID regret ever crossing you... or to make sure Kuroba Kaito is never caught." She does not blink—she cannot—because for the first time since Reborn arrived her mind is clear.

"What will it be, Aoko?"

..


..

Author's notes:

1. I am so sorry. I really am. You get 3 more chapters of this if you (and I) are lucky. After that, I have no plans to write more of it. I posted it even though it'll probs be another unfinished story because well the fandom needs more Aoko. And if you need your Aoko fix I can help you... For 4 chapters.

2. On that note, you can adopt it if you want? Just pm me or smt. I dunno, it doesn't really matter. It's such a small fandom that I'll see it eventually.