Astraea

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by nekojita

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Takeshi stared down at the plumes of smoke wafting through the night sky from the piles of rubble that once was a rather nice compound and thought of the site where one was supposed to be able to predict the futureÖ Deli? Delia? Wasnít that supposed to be somewhere around here? He really should have paid more attention to his ancient history classesÖ.

The flutter of wings was the only warning he had, and he smiled as Hibird landed on his left shoulder and chirped out his name. "Heya, little one. Whereís that grumpy bastard of a walking bird feeder of yours? I have a history question fo- ow!" He rubbed the back of his head and scowled at his lover while Hibird safely took to the sky once more. "And hello to you, too."

"Not even two minutes and youíre already playing the fool," Hibari complained as he sidled next to him, dressed in a black suit with a bluish-grey shirt that matched the color of his eyes. Perhaps it was the lateness of the night, but he was missing a tie and the top button of his shirt was left undone. "I see there isnít much left for us."

Momentarily distracted by his loverís less than immaculate state, it took Takeshi a few seconds to respond. He managed a rueful grin as he massaged the back of his sore head. "Yeah, well, you know how Tsuna gets when someone he cares about has been threatened." The grin slipped away as he looked down at the ruined villa, the nightís darkness and the smoke hiding most of the destruction and the death left in its wake despite the occasional flame. "I donít know what possessed the Selvaggio family to kidnap Kyoko like that." Tsuna had made it known that the Vongola would parlay with any family and had the strength to back up any threats Ė and tonight had made it clear that there were some lines that he would not allow be crossed.

Even with everything that Tsuna had done since taking over as the Tenth head of the family, too many people thought of him as weak. Takeshi had a feeling that tonightís actions would silence a lot of those doubts, and felt anger at the Selvaggio family for pushing things this far. No doubt his friend would be remorseful for what had been done, but it wouldnít stop him from repeating it should any idiots try to harm Kyoko again or anyone else Tsuna considered his Ďfamilyí.

"From the looks of things, he took out the entire compound by himself," Hibari remarked as he stepped closer to the top of the hill, sounding almost interested in the scene below. Takeshi waited for him to make a comment about being denied a good fight and wasting valuable time coming here, and was surprised by what was said next. "Itís about time he showed his true self to these weaklings."

"What?" He shifted Shigure Kintoki higher up on his right shoulder and joined his lover to look down on the carnage. "You almost sound as if you approve of whole situation. Arenít you upset over missing out on the fight?"

Hibari gave him a scathing look, one that clearly labeled him a blithering idiot and that he was beginning to think of as Ďforeplayí at this point. When he merely grinned in return, Hibari sighed in exasperation and shook his head. "Why would I want to fight a bunch of fools unworthy of my time? They felt they had to kidnap a weak woman in hopes of crippling Sawada to gain an advantage over him and so got what they deserve. I only regret not getting here earlier to see him stop acting like an herbivore."

"Hmm, he didnít even give Ryohei-sempai a chance to do much damage." Takeshi smiled at the fleeting look at regret that crossed Hibariís face, that was replaced by a scowl as the man glanced over his shoulder at a waiting Kusakabe, standing off in the distance. Kusakabe must have seen something since he quickly bowed and stepped back into the darkness, no doubt busy trying to think up ways to appease his lord and masterís temper. Takeshi would laugh if he wasnít so familiar with the situation. Instead, he just smiled when Hibari looked back at him. "It was quite the show," he admitted, unable to resist rubbing it in a little; if the reserved bastard couldnít be bothered to stick around much, it served him right to miss out on something good like this.

It would be worth his life to even acknowledge that Hibari looked closed to pouting just then, even if he thought it was adorable as hell. As he struggled to prevent himself from doing something that would lead to imminent maiming, Hibari made an annoyed sound and folded his arms over his chest, his fingers tucked into the ends of his sleeves as if to reach for his tonfa. "All this, over a woman. How stupid of Sawada."

Takeshi blinked in surprise over the comment. "Eh, you mean Kyoko?" As far as he knew, Hibari didnít dislike the girl. He was polite to her whenever forced into the detested Vongola social functions and hadnít given her any grief back in Namimori that Takeshi knew. "Whatís wrong with rescuing her?"

Up on the hill, it was quiet for a minute as Hibari stared at the destruction below. "That he had to rescue her in the first place." Contempt dripped from his voice, and his expression was cold, as if he was completely detached from the scene before him. "Sheís weak."

Takeshi stepped closer and put his right hand on Hibariís shoulder. "Wait, are we talking about the same woman? Kyokoís not weak just because she canít fight like us. Sheís a lot stronger than youíre giving her credit for right now," he argued, upset that his lover was being so unreasonable about one of their friends. When Hibari made to shrug him off, he tightened his hold. "Sheís stuck by Tsuna through a lot."

Hibari sneered as he motioned at the scene before them. "Isnít he always running after her? Perhaps this time heíll leave the impression sheís off-limits, at least until another enemy comes along seeking to use her against him." He looked at Takeshi with a curious expression on his face, flames casting sparks in his eyes and throwing shadows on his pale skin. "Is that what you find acceptable in a partner? ĎSticking by youí even though they drag you down with weakness?"

There was no mistaking the contempt in Hibariís voice just then, yet Takeshi smiled as he let go of his loverís shoulder, his fingers trailing over tense muscles for a moment before gripping the cord that held his sword to his back. "Eh, not really," he answered with a casual shrug. "I mean, sticking by me is a big thing since Iím one for fidelity, but thereís more to it than that." He smiled a little when he noticed that Hibari was paying him attention, even though the man was turned as if to look down the hill.

"I want what you just said, a *partner*," he continued since it seemed the flighty bastard was willing to listen to him for once. "Someone whoíll be there to put up with my lame jokes, to watch baseball games with me and go out to dinner." Sensing that he was losing Hibari, he smiled and hefted Shigure Kintoki a little further up his shoulder. "Someone to spar with whoíll come home with me, patch me up and spend the night, be there in the morning so I can cook them breakfast." He smiled at his lover, willing the idiot to *listen* for once and connect the dots like the brilliant man he was believed to be.

"A partnerís supposed to be there during the quiet times and the bad. Thatís what I want," he finished in a subdued voice.

Hibari stared at him for several seconds before snorting in derision. "You should get a wife."

"No, I want someone who can be my equal," Takeshi answered quickly, his voice sharp with anger. Dammit, why did Hibari always have to do this? The few times whenever he tried to be serious, the bastard had to be flippant, had to shoot him down as if nothing he had said mattered. Hadnít Hibari been the one to bring up the damn topic in the first place, he thought as he clenched his hands into fists. "A wife would never be able to handle the life we lead. Tsunaís the boss, heís special, but weíre the ones out there-"

Hibari cut him off with an elegant slash through the air with his right hand. "You should get a wife," he repeated, his tone curt and his eyes narrowed with anger. "Marry Miura and have some brats, carry on the Yamamato line to please your father." He took a step back, his arms down by his sides but his fingers curled as if to call forth his tonfa at any moment. "Didnít you have girlfriends in high school and college?" he sneered. "You should do fine and make your father very happy."

When the hell had the conversation taken on this turn, Takeshi wondered as he did his best to resist the urge to palm his sword. Conversations with Hibari had a tendency to warp on him like this if he wasnít careful - *this* was why he did his best to bed the man whenever possible, to spare himself the headache and most likely bruises and possible broken bones if things got out of hand and led to a fight. Hibari lacked common conversational skills, plain and simple. Giving in to his hormones around his lover was merely a very pleasurable time and life saving technique.

"Look, I donít *want* a wife," Takeshi insisted through gritted teeth. "I donít care about passing on the family name, just finding someone worthy to pass on the Shigure Kintoki style." More than anything, he wanted to grab Hibari and shake some sense into him, but there had been enough destruction around here tonight. Fortunately, something in his tone or demeanor seemed to sink into the idiotís thick head since Hibari eyed him with some trepidation but didnít take to arguing. Letting out a deep breath, Takeshi managed a weak smile. "What about you? Donít *you* want a little Hibari Junior running about one day to patrol Namimori Middle School and terrorize the poor students? What about your own family legacy?" After all they had been through, he still knew so little about his own loverís past.

The faintly open expression on Hibariís face immediately shuttered at the questions, and he shifted back until the nightís darkness hid his eyes. "I am my own family," he hissed, and Takeshi braced himself for a blow based on the anger in those words. Yet Hibari remained still, blending into the night except for the soft glow of his skin. "The only legacy that concerns me is the one that *I* leave. I have no ancestors to placate."

Why didnít that answer surprise him? Takeshi laughed as he scratched the fingers of his left hand through his hair. "Yeah, I should have suspected that." He studied his lover for a moment, at the prickly pride that damn near radiated off of Hibariís slender form, at so much temptation wrapped around death a mere armís length away. "You know, youíre like the gods of this country." He wasnít surprised when that statement earned him another contemptuous snort. "No no, hear me out," he declared as he held up both of his hands. "Wasnít one of them born of sea foam or something?" Hadnít Gokudera or Shamal told him the story? "Theyíre always born independent of something, strong and adult and full of power, like you," he finished with a smile. He just couldnít imagine Hibari as an infant, even one like Reborn.

This time his remarks earned him a smile, albeit a slight one. "I donít think you were paying attention," Hibari remarked as he relaxed a little, the fingers of his left hand uncurling. "Iím unique, not like some stories a bunch of stupid foreigners told themselves to explain the darkness away."

No, Hibari probably would have been the darkness, if those old Italians had ever been lucky enough to come across him. Takeshi wondered what stories or gods they would have invented if theyíd ever caught sight of his loverÖ. He shook his head as he bridged the space between them and risked settling his hands on Hibariís hips. "I noticed that you never said what it was that you wanted," he pointed out, returning them to their original discussion.

For a moment Hibariís hands flexed as if he was going to call the tonfa and then he slid them along Takeshiís arms. "I donít want a wife or some clingy lover," he spat as if he couldnít think of anything worse to be saddled with in his life. "Sawadaís downfall will come from having to go through similar shows like this for however long he lives," he gestured with his left hand to the carnage at the bottom of the hill, "over some foolish woman who will look to him to save her. Iíll never take a lover who wonít be able to strike back, to gut the herbivores who think to use them against me." He bared his teeth at Takeshi as if daring him to disagree.

"You set some simple if rather high standards there," Takeshi grumbled as he leaned a little closer. "Arenít you afraid of being lonely?" He winced when he felt something hit him in the stomach but didnít move back.

"Weakness is for fools," Hibari breathed against his lips as he tilted his face upwards. "Are you one?" he asked, his eyes heavy-lidded and his voice husky.

About to point out that he was called it on a regular basis, it occurred to Takeshi that this might be the closest that heíd ever get to hearing Hibari refer to him as a Ďpartnerí or an Ďequalí. So he merely shook his head as he spoke. "Not particularly."

Hibariís smile just then was a bit difficult to decipher Ė was he pleased at the answer, or proving a point to himself or something else Takeshi couldnít figure out just then? "Iím not afraid of anything," he murmured before he pressed his lips against Takeshiís for a kiss that was as savage as anything Takeshi had witnessed that evening.

If Hibari was without fear, then Takeshi was without doubts Ė at least in this matter. He didnít want a wife, didnít want a woman even if she was as pretty and loyal as Kyoko. No, not when he had his arms around someone so sexy, lethal and turned on by fightingÖ.

He slid his hands beneath Hibariís jacket and ignored the annoying ringing sound from his own pocket in favor of pulling his lover closer, chuckling a little at the adorable growling sound the man produced as a result. That earned him a rather sharp tug on his hair once Hibari threaded his fingers through it, a silent warning to keep his perverse sense of humor in check, yet the kiss went unbroken and Hibari stayed put, pressed hard against Takeshi. They stood together in the growing darkness and smoke, mouths set on the other as if to devour their essence, demanding more from each other as hands stroked through thin cotton and silk to increasingly heated flesh.

Takeshi moaned as Hibari shivered from fingers dragged down his back and retaliated by nipping at Takeshiís tongue in return, and tried to clear his lust-befuddled brain enough to find the nearest semi-vertical surface to pin the bastard against. He had just forced them both a stumbling step towards a dark shape a dozen or so yards away when the object moved and a light came on. The motion made Hibari push away from him even as he cursed at the sudden spot of light.

Kusakabe acknowledge Hibari with a bow as he approached from the car where he had been waiting, then called out Takeshiís name and held out the phone in his hand. "Sasagawa-san asks that if youíre available, that you please put out the fires now."

Still a bit dazed from the impromptu make-out session, it took a moment for Takeshi to realize what Ryohei wanted and why his phone had been ringing. "Ah, right!" He smacked the side of his head as he laughed. "Iím supposed to keep Tsuna from burning down the whole countryside, now that heís done." His expression turned into a grimace as he waved a hand through the smoke that had made it all the way up the hill and coughed a little. "This might take a while."

Hibari sniffed in apparent disapproval as he straightened out his clothing. "Thereís obviously nothing left of interest here for me to do." He turned to leave without saying Ďgoodbyeí, but Takeshi caught his left wrist before he could.

"Hey, if you stick around until Iím done, we could always have a fight of our own," he tempted his lover, unwilling to let him just leave when things had been going so good. "That is, unless youíre afraid of a little rain," he added with a teasing smile.

That earned him another look through narrowed eyelids, but all Hibari did was motion for Kusakabe to leave. The tall man did as he was bid with a low bow, then wished Takeshi a good night.

Takeshi returned to the edge of the hill so he could look down on the destroyed villa, and let out an impressed whistle at the sight of all the destruction that Tsuna had caused. "Wow, heís almost as rough on buildings as you are," he told his lover as he held Shigure Kintoki in his hand and readied to call upon the rain.

Hibari slanted him a warm look, his lips curled slightly at the corners as if he only grudgingly gave in to the urge to smile. "You talk too much."

"But I always tell the truth!" He laughed at the disgusted look that statement earned him. "Well, mostly. To those worthy of it." He shook his head at Hibariís aggrieved sigh and closed his eyes as the rain began to fall. "Ah, whatís the saying about prophets never being appreciated in their own time?"

"Name one thing that youíve predicted."

Takeshi lowered his sword as he turned to face his lover, his left hand reaching out to brush aside the wet bangs falling onto Hibariís storm-colored eyes. He smiled as he was allowed the caress, his hand dropping before it could be batted aside, his fingers curling to hold onto the warmth from Hibariís skin a little longer. "I foresee a great battle being fought here once the rain ends. The loser will drive the winner home, do unspeakable yet very pleasurable things to him and then cook him breakfast in the morning." He leaned forward to brush his lips along Hibariís right cheek and tasted rain. "Am I wrong?"

A tonfa caught him in the stomach and made him step back as he winced in pain, but as blows went, it was little more than a love tap. "Add Ďarrogantí to the list as well," Hibari complained, yet he remained standing in Takeshiís rain and he didnít tell him Ďyesí.

For a night that started with so much carnage, Takeshi bared his face to the rain and smiled in thanks.

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