Act I: Marriage

Chapter 14. Midnight search

Giotto watched attentively while Ugetsu took down one enemy after the another with fluid moviments of his bamboo sword. No doubt that his skills were improving and now he didn't limit himself with one style but he was creating techniques during the fight. The blond was sat under an awning with a great view from the arena, accompained by Gravitta's royal family, Yema's king and Tsuna. G had came a few minutes ago and was eating a apple while looking at the fights, but his mind seemed to be elsewhere.

-Master Giotto. - Alberto said by his side - I'm afraid some rumors are running on the castle.

He furrowed his eyebrowns. He tried his best to muffle the poor servant murder and only two girls that worked there knew about it because they could tell this to the man's family, but he didn't expect the news would be running so soon.

-Did they discover about the boy?

-Actually it's about G-sama, sir. - Giotto turn his face to look at the man with surprise and he saw Cozarto doing the same by his side - Something about him being married.

He couldn't say who was more shocked, him or Cozarto. He heard G choke on his apple and cough to keep on breathing. Looks like he wasn't so elsewhere like he first thought. Tsuna looked backwith worry, probably thinking that G was poisoned or something alike (after two attempts, you always think the worse), but wave his hand to him not worry and his cousin go back to his talking with Dino.

-Are you married? - Cozarto whispered, somewhere between angry and shocked - And you don't even tell us? Your best friends!

-It's not like that. - G tried to start, keeping his voice low

-I always thought I'd be your best-man. I feel betrayed. - Giotto clean an non-existent tear on the corner of his eyes.

-I'm not married damn! - the redhead raise his voice a little

-There were clearly heard the sounds of a young couple making love. - Alberto said keeping a poker face, but he imagined that the man was smiling on the inside for teasing them like that. Cozarto put a hand on his chair and tilted his body on G's direction in a way that he could almost lay down on Giotto's lap.

-It's not that! She's my brother's fiancee. - G put his hand on the other arm of the cair and tilted his back to their side. Giotto laid his back against the chair to give his friends space to move without stoping the whispered discussion.

-You slept with your brother's fiancee! - Cozarto curved a little more, but there was no more arm chair to suporte him and he fell face-first on the ground. Adelia gave them a worried look, but Giotto shook his head with an embarassed smile. The raven shot a last glance at her fiance before focusing on the fight on the arena - I can't believe it G! What kind of man are you? - Cozarto rubbed his nose angry with the fall and the talk, trying to keep his voice low, but it was hard when his emotions took control like that

-Could you listen to me?! - the redhead yelled getting up drawing the attention of everyone near, in other words Adelia, Enma, Tsuna e Dino.

-You jerk! - Cozarto yelled back pointing a finger to the redhead, but he was still on the ground and didn't have all the effect he wanted to. G have a vein popping on his forehead and judging by his furious expression he didn't doubt that the two redheads would jump in one another troats, bu he was still deciding if he should just watch, apart them or help Cozarto to teach his childhood friend a lesson.

-Is there a problem boys? - Adelia asked narrowing her eyes

-It's nothing. - the three of them said at the same time turning to her and then looking at each other again.

-I won't stay here hearings this bullshit - G said in a lower voice and get up - I'll be on my room if you need me.

-I know very well what you're going to do in that room! - Cozarto said before G turned his back and walk away grumbling some curses. Well, surely the redhead needed to give some explanations

-I like this one. - Tsuna said showing the bracelet that grabbed his attetion earlier. The games had a break on the afternoon and he used this time to talk to Fiore. She was still in G's room and he found her trimming some necklaces while G smoked near the windows. G still was near the windows, but he now had a book on his hand instead of the cigarrete.

-Nice choice. - Fiore said aproving the necklace with blue stone on his hand. The string made some kind of mosaic around the seven blue stones - This twenty bronze.

-I want it. - he said with a smile. He could have one for himself and another for Giotto - You are so talented.

-Thank you - she smiled - You said you wanna see me doing?

-Yes. I want to know if I can do it with this. - he take out of his pocket the little caelum stone that Natsu gave him.

-It's possible. - she held the stone between her fingers - But you'll need more.

-If I get more, you think I can do it until tomorrow?

-Yes. - she smiled and said something in seik before raising six fingers - Six more stone to do until tomorrow.

He nodded and heard someone knocking on the door. He turned his head and saw Natsu entering the room with a small smile.

-Tsuna, Giotto-sama asked to remember you about the dinner.

-Right. - the brunet get up and walk to the door where the younger waiter, but turned waving a goobye to Fiore - I'll bring it tomorrow. - she nodded and he closed the door, looking Natsu - We will start looking for the stones tonight.

-A night? But there'll be the tournament's champion comemoration.

Tsuna's eyebrowns furrowed. Sure he knew about the comemoration that night, but he was hoping to discretly walk away in the middle of the party. Usually people never paid attention on him, this time he would use it in his favor.

His hopes were proved vain, since Enma, Dino and Giotto didn't let him alone for enough time to scape. So there he was, at three in the morning fumbling the way to the kitchen. He mentally thanked Giotto for taking him there dozens of times on those secrets passages or he'd be already lost in the dark (he didn't dare to light a candle and be discovered, after all a light between the walls wasn't a common view).

When he managed to get in the kitchen, he moved to the stairs and go inside a door on his rights that led to a corridor with doors on both sides; the servants used to sleep on these rooms, specially the ones that hardly have a day off like Nanami, Flavia or Luchio. He go inside the second door on his right, moving slowly to not make any noise. The room was little and had two bed: one double bed that Nanami shared with Alberto and a smaller one on the opposite wall, that was Natsu's. He walks as silent as he can and stop by Natsu's side, putting a hand on his friends shoulder and shaking it a little. Natsu roll on the bed and groaned before opening his eyes.

-Tsuna? - he sat on the bed, he couldn't see but he knew that the youngest was wearing a confortable shirt and pants

Natsu pulled his walker shoes closer and put them in the most silent way he could. Tsuna looked over his shoulder to Nanami a couple of times thinking that she would wake, but she just turned on her bed mumbling something in her sleep. When Natsu was done, they left the room. Tsuna goes back to the kitchen and open the passage. He was already going inside when he turned back to say to his friend to stay silent and saw Natsu was still in the middle of the kitchen.

-I'm not going in there. - the youngest said putting his arms around himself - Why can't we go by the door like normally?

-The guards would never let us pass. - Tsuna said in a low voice and goes back to him, holding his hand - I know the way, trust me.

-I trust you. - he squeezed the older's hand before pointing to the tunnel with his jaw - But I don't trust this thing.

Tsuna lead the way trought the tunnel, taking more time than usual because Natsu would stumble on his feet or hit a wall on a sudden curve, but they made it and were out next to the gardens on the east side after moving a rock, that was a hidden door that opened only on the inside. Tsuna put his head out, noticing that there weren't any guards around and get out with Natsu following close. They started looking near G's newly planted herbs, but after a few minuts of digging and looking around they found nothing beyond normal rocks.

-We should have brought a candle. - Natsu said rubbing his forehead with the back of his hand. He had worked all day and if he hadn't promised to help, he would still be on bed taking his more than deserved sleep - Nana will complain with me in the morning - he mumbled moving his hand on the earth looking for a stone that would shine in the moonlight, like the one he found before.

-You sure you found it here? - Tsuna asked keeping his voice low, worried about the guards. Only God knows where Lal Mirch guards were, unlike the other they didn't use a torch or candles - Maybe we should look closer to the garden.

-Okay. - Natsu crawled a few meters until the closest roses and look the earth near the roots. Tsuna was looking on the left side near to small plants, but he couldn't fund anything beyond dark stones - I found one. - Natsu said raising his arm to show a little stone that glinted in a faint yellow, before putting it on his pocket.

-Five more to go. - Tsuna said and get up, brushing the dirty on his pants - Let's look inside the garden - Natsu noded and get up.

They didn't walked much to reach the garden where a one-meter hedge made three concentric circles around the table on the center, every circle had a different flower, and even if he couldn't see them clearly at night their perfum followed them when they moved. They walked until they were between the inner and middle circle and they were on their knees again to look.

-I think I saw something there. - Natsu pointed to a place not to far away from them. Tsuna crawled until hi was by his friend side and lean his face against the earth seeing a sutile shine under some flowers.

-Can you reach it? - Tsuna asked. Natsu stretched his hand, but didn't get any close to touch them.

-Hold this part. - the youngest put the others hand were some branches interwined and Tsuna pull then up. Natsu laid down on the soil and stretched his arm again but still didn't reach it - I think I'll have to slither.

Tsuna laid on his back and hold the branches as higher as he dared without breaking them. The hedge covered Natsu until his hips when he reached the stones. After a positive sign, Tsuna slither under the hedge too and give Natsu a little bag where he put the stons.

-Seven, eight.. How there are so much here?

-No idea. But remember me to cut this things, looks like they are eating me - Tsuna said looking over his shoulder, he couldn't move much before a branch hit beside his eye but he saw that he too was half-body under the hedge. Natsu chuckled while continuing to put the stone and conting them in a low voice. - You forgot one. - Tsuna looked in front of them seeing one, not too far from the others.

-I can't move anymore. - the youngest was already contorted between the branches. Tsuna tried to go a little further and with some struggle he managed to get

-I think it's enough.

-I agree. - he put the last one inside the bag - Can we go back now?

Tsuna nodded, but froze when he heard footsteps near them. If he could see clearly he would notice that Natsu grew paler

-Tsu.. - he put a hand over his friends mouth and pointed backwards. If they were going to be caught, at least they would run. Natsu nodded and they slithered back, but when they were almost completely out a hand on their back made them stop.

-Don't move. - said a familiar voice. Tsuna looked up to his tutor that had kneeled between them and kept a hand on both boys backs. Reborn stared the place in front of them and he turned in that direction. Through the branches, he could see a pair of boots stop in front of them in the other side of the hedge.

Please, don't be the captain's guards, the brunet prayed in his mind. Please, just this time let me have some luck. He felt Natsu iron grip on his wrist. If one of the guards discovers, the worst punishment would go for he could convince Reborn to say that Natsu had nothing to do with that, sure he would get suffer more one his 'classes', but his friend would escape. He wanted to say to the youngest to keep calm, but he was afraid of talking and be heard by the guard.

-Where were you? - asked a deep voice and he saw another pair of shoes stop closer to the boots

-I had to come hidden. It's not easy to come out with so many guards around ya'now? - the boots shifted

-That's not what I'm here to talk about. What were you thinking when you killed that servant?

-I didn't know it was a servant. The only description I had was a red head wearing a simple suit

-All the servant that served the tables wear simple suits. - the boots move again and the shoes steped back - It doesn't matter nor. After the failure to kill the prince and the Guardian, we only have a chance. The king can't go to the meeting after the ball tomorrow or all our plan will be doomed.

-I know that. - the boots turned to the other side - When are the others coming?

-Thats not of your business. Your job is to stop the king to go for that meeting and that only.

The boots walk away and the shoes turned to the other side and left too. They stayed in that position for some time, Tsuna counted til two hundred before Reborn took the hand of his back. He crawled backwards out of the branches and he could see that Natsu had his eyes large as plates.

-What were the two of you doing outside this late at night? - Reborn asked in a low voice, but his irritation was noticiable. They got up seeing the mand on his usual suit and fedora with narrowed eyes

-Looking for some stones. - speak it out loud made it sound something stupid - What are you doing here? - he asked moving so that he was in front of Natsu. He felt the youngest hold the fabric of his shirt.

-Looking for you. I saw when you leave the kitchen and followed you. - Reborn turned to the castle - We better come back. - and he barely spoke and was already moving there.

-Reborn, wait. - Tsuna walks beside him in a fast pace - Those people..?

-Obviously planing something against your cousin - Reborn pulled his fedora and even with the dim light he could imagine the furrowed eyebrowns - We have to talk to him asap.

Giotto come inside Tsuna's room seeing that his cousin was fast asleep on the bed with Natsu, bith still with dirty clothes and some little cuts on their faces and arms were the branches had hit them. He gave a little smile seeing both finally having some rest. When they burst into his room in the night, talking at the same time he couldn't understand a thing. Natsu didn't stop apologizing saying that everything was his idea while Tsuna said that he dragged Natsu and was almost tearing his hair in fear because of a murder atempt.

Fortunately Reborn calmed then down and explained better the conversation they heard. After that Giotto asked the boys to wait in the room and get some rest while he talked with Reborn and G, who woke up a few minutes later at his request and with a lot of curses. He asked if they saw something beyond the shoes, but they were laid down under the hedge and couldn't see a face between the branches. The only thing they were sure was that there were two men.

-Reborn-san, you didn't say why the boys were on the garden that late. - he said closing the bedroom door. Reborn was with his back against the opposite wall and tilted his hat in a way that covered his eyes.

-Forgive me, Your Majesty, but you should ask this to them when they awake. - the man made a little curtsy before heading to his own room.

-Alaude. - he heard him knock on the door once more before opening it only enough to put his head inside - Do you want some tea? - the blonde nodded. Alaude was sat confortably on a chair, watching nothing in particular.

Fon came inside with a little smile, on his left hand he held a tray with a teapot and two cups with so much naturality that he seemed to do that his whole life. Fon put served the cups in silence and he mentally thanked for that. The quantity of persons on this castle was pissing him off and he could do nothing about it, because he was forced to deal with them all as Nebula's governor

-Here. - Fon gave him a cup before sitting in front of him, pulling the braid over his shoulder. Alaude take a sip and let a sigh escape through his nose. Fon even let the ideal temperature enhancing the taste of the tea.

-What happened? - his cold grey eyes fixed in Fon while he moved a finger along the edge of the cup.

-It's Kyoya. - the chinese said, his face absolutely calm. Alaude should have guessed. This was a very low trick from Fon, making his favorite tea and putting on the cup set he gained as a gift from his wife (the only one that survived after his son learn to walk) to 'smooth' some new.

-What did he do? - he ask in a cold voice, but Fon wasn't afected by the cold glares and treatment of Alaude; he was long used to it. He take one more sip and when his lips were away from the cup Fon said what happen - He did what? - he asked without realizing that his voice was raising. He put the cup on the little table next to him, the poor cup didn't deserved to be destroyed for a slip on the control of his force.

-He was fighting with Lord Daemon's son. - Fon repeated, the black eyes never leaving Alaude while the blond face turned into a scowl - Mukuro-kun was not hurt, actually he keep up with Kyoya. But one of his servants needs some urgent medical attention, I believe his name was Birds.

Without realizing it, Alaude had tilted his body towards the chineces and he laid his back against the cair again. Urgent medical attention, as Fon calmly said, mean one thing: the man had his feet on the coffin just wainting to be buried or a miracle to survive. He shouldn't be surprised; he knew it, knew that Kyoya was a walking bomb just wainting for a little spark to explode.

Two weeks ago, he had put his son in a ship with Fon and I-pin so that could go by water until Piogge and from there in a carriage to the castle. In the first night on the ship, Kyoya had jumped out of the ship and swam half of the night to come back to Nebula's coast. If he didn't know his son's temper and stuborness, he wouldn't be prepared to something like that. But when Kyoya arrived at the wharf and found him wainting, he couldn't help but smirk at his son's face.

Suprise, angry, humiliation, all twisted together in a cold look that resembled a lot his. He put Kyoya in a rowboat and made him row all the way back to the ship, where Fon waited for them mumbling a 'Just like the father'. He had to keep his son cuffed to the bed and made turns with Fon to make sure he wouldn't run away again or tried to turn his anger on someone of the ship, but he stayed surprisingly quiet all the way.

His son was much more intelligent than most sixteen year old boys, beyond caeli (Caelums language) he could also speak japanese, chinese and french fluently and was able to take down ten man two times his size without breaking a sweat; but he was also stuborn, untamable and was guided by two words only: pride and strenght. He didn't doubt that there was some plan forming in his mind and he knew that his little gang would blind follow him. How could someone be his biggest pride and strongest headache at the same time?

Fon offered a buttered biscuit to Lichi, his albino monkey pet, while Alaude though what to do next, turning his wedding ring one his finger. It was a habit he had for long now, and even after his beloved Mei had passed away almost a decade ago, he didn't stop wearing it. The chinese was the first and probably the only woman that he loved. Fon looked to him again when he heard a long sigh coming from the blond, grey and black eyes met with a single understandement. Kyoya couldn't stay by himself without someone that could tame him or when they came back the castle would be subdued to his son's will.

-I could stay. - Fon saidstretching a finger to Lichi, the monkey hold it and Fon pull him and put him on his shoulder - You can't resign to your duties in Nebula. And also, some of my old companions are here. It will be good to talk to them, know what they had be doing. - Alaude stared him with a arched eyebrown, but didn't say a thing. They heard someone knock on the door twice.

-Fù qïn. - call a female voice

-I'm here I-pin. Come in. - Fon answered and the door knob twisted slowly before the door was fully opened by a eleven year old girl wearing a red qipao with embroided white flowers and the long black hair hold in two brais that fell until her hip.

-Good morning Shüshu. - she made a bow before looking to her father with a smile - Fù qïn, I finished my lessons.

-Already? - Fon laughed when she beamed - Then I'll take a look at it. Excuse me. - he made a quick bow to Alaude before going to the door where his daughter waited.

-Fù qïn, can I practice the Kaze Ryuu today? - she asked holding her father's hand

-Not today.

-Okay. - it was the last thing he heard before the chinese man closed the door. He thought with a sigh, why can't Kyoya be like I-pin and obey him without throwing a tantrum and destroy everything on his reach?

Fù qïn: formal way to say 'father' in chinese

Shüshu: formal way to say 'uncle' in chinese

Sorry for the wait! It took me longer to translate then I planned! Hope you like it.

Thanks to Angelic Fluffe and L'sCoffee for the reviews.