acenpokerface (acenpokerface) wrote,
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acenpokerface

Through a Glass Darkly, Ch. 2

Title: Through a Glass Darkly, Chapter Two: Catch a Falling Star and Put It in Your Pocket
Author: acenpokerface
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: Mentions of sex.
Pairings: 1896, mentions of 5986, 27K, LamPin, pretty much every het pairing out there.
Summary: Haru considered her friend. Yes, it was definitely Chrome-chan, even if she was 10 years older. But it was a little shocking to see her ram her trident into Hibari-san's stomach as if she did it every day.

Disclaimer: I don’t own KHR or any of its characters—that honor goes to Akira Amano. However, if there was an alternate universe where I owned Hibari, you can be certain I wouldn’t be sharing him. :)

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Future Time: Chrome

...
At twenty-nine, Hibari Chrome was efficient—ruthlessly so because she spent years living like every day would be her last. Being a part of the Kokuyo group, making a home with Ken and Chikusa wherever they could find a place, letting herself be a vessel that Mukuro-sama could conceivably dispose of at any second…these things offered no stability whatsoever. Yet that was what she had: the certainty that nothing was ever certain. For years, she couldn’t quite believe in tomorrow, couldn’t quite picture the possibilities of the future.

Mukuro-sama always said that was one of her weakest features: her inability to imagine that which could be. It was, admittedly, a rather strange handicap for an illusionist, but unlike Mukuro-sama, who lived entirely for the future and could spend years/decades/centuries waiting for his plans to come to fruition, Chrome had existed solely for the present—because she wanted to disregard the past and because she was ambivalent about the future. Why worry about the past? It was done with. Why worry about the future?  It hadn’t happened yet. Why waste time worrying about the time you had/will have?

Instead, she made sure she didn’t waste a single second of the time she did have. Hence, efficiency.

(That efficiency, that single-minded concentration on living every waking moment to its fullest, was actually in Kusakabe Tetsuya’s list of “Top Ten Reasons Why Kyo-san Married Chrome-san.” The two were strikingly similar in that regard.)

But although Chrome was still ruthlessly efficient, things had changed.

For example, if today had been a normal day, when Kyoya had gotten out of bed at 5:30 a.m., she would have wordlessly gotten up with him. He would have headed off to train in their dojo for an hour; she would have talked to Tetsuya about household accounts, the plans for the day, and whether or not the dry cleaners were able to get the blood out of Kyoya’s suits. At 6:30 a.m., Kyoya would have taken his 15-minute shower, and she would have started eating breakfast in the dining room with the windows that faced the gardens. At 6:50 a.m., he would have walked in, and they would have
finished breakfast together in silence, Kyoya reading the morning reports and drinking his coffee, Chrome remaining quiet, having already done so.

At 7:30 a.m., Chrome would have gone to their room to change, and Tetsuya would have brought the car out to the front of the house. At 7:45 a.m.,
Kyoya would have stalked out of the front door and Chrome would have been two steps behind him, ready to go their separate ways.

(Before he opened the door, Chrome would have spoken to him for the first time that morning: “Have a good day.” He wouldn’t have said anything in reply, just placed a hand under her chin and given her a rough kiss, then walked out the door without a backward glance. Neither of them believed in saying good-bye.)

There would have been a decent chance that both of them would have gone to the airport that day and not seen each other for a week. Vongola business would often have them at opposite ends of the world—Kyoya would be happily fighting hordes of foot soldiers belonging to rival families in Italy, and Chrome would have been pretending to be someone else and gathering intelligence in China. Or they could have been infiltrating the Corlinis’ headquarters and wreaking havoc together. Kyoya preferred to stay close to home, however, so more likely than not they would have conducted mafia business right in Japan, and at 5:30 p.m., Chrome would have been back at the estate. At 6:30 p.m., she would have finished any miscellaneous tasks that came with running a household. At 7:00 p.m., she would have emailed Haru and Kyoko in Italy and ignored the pang of her heart that she’d come to associate with loneliness.

At 7:30, she’d have gone to the dojo to train for an hour, and Kyoya would come in and spar with her if The Foundation had no pressing issues—and that would be the first break in their rigid schedules. Kyoya was nothing if not unpredictable in battle, and no matter how long they fought, Chrome would always be exhausted.

Sometimes, though, Kyoya would be unpredictable in an entirely different manner—she’d be blocking his attacks one second, and the next she’d be on the floor, with his hand pinning her wrists above her head, his teeth nipping the skin at her throat, his knees forcing her legs open wide, his mouth smothering her screams as his hips thrust relentlessly against hers. Or maybe she’d be the one to catch him off-guard, trapping him in one of her illusions—and when that happened she never could resist tormenting him in the most sensuous of ways, seeing how far she could push his control, reveling in the way his low growls would morph into frustrated moans.

There was a reason why the dojo was sound-proofed, after all.

Afterwards, she and Kyoya would share a leisurely soak in the tub, then she’d either go to bed and read while he would pore over more reports, or they’d go to bed together and continue where they left off, until both of them were sated and sleeping.

Then 5:30 would have rolled around, and their day would start again.

Today, however, was not a normal day. Today, and every day for the last year, Chrome’s life had been nothing but extraordinary. Today, Chrome, while still efficient, no longer had any problems visualizing the future.

How could she, when she was looking right at her?

Chrome stood over the crib, watching her daughter sleep on her back and counting each of her flawless features. One stubborn, little chin; one rosy, puckered mouth; one small, elegant nose. Two fluttering eyes, fringed with long, long lashes, and framed by delicate brows that were currently pulled into a scowl. Ten tiny fingers, already fisted, ten tiny toes, already kicking, and she wasn’t even awake. Chrome ghosted a hand over soft, black hair, tenderly brushed her fingers against a smooth, pale cheek, and smiled as one miniature hand caught her index finger and gripped—she was just like her father, Chrome thought. Such strength she had. And such beauty…her baby was so beautiful, so perfect that it made Chrome’s heart ache just to look at her.

“You are going to wake her,” a deep voice interrupted.

Chrome sent a glance towards her husband, who was casually leaning against the doorjamb, watching her watch their daughter. She spared him a small smile before turning back to the object of her adoration. Nevertheless, she was aware of him crossing the room, and wasn’t surprised when his arms wrapped tight around her waist and his chin came to rest upon her shoulder.

“Thank you,” she said quietly. She didn’t have to see his raised eyebrow to hear his unspoken question. “For granting me my greatest wish,” she clarified.

He grunted, not bothering to answer her. He drew back a little, shifting his hands to her hips in a possessive hold. “We’re leaving soon. The Ghibellines have overstepped their bounds and Sawada needs us.”

“I know,” she answered softly. She didn’t move.

“She’ll be here when we get back,” he said, almost grudging in his tone; the words sounded too much like a reassurance, and God forbid Hibari Kyoya would try to comfort someone. “Get in the car,” he finished brusquely.

Chrome nodded once in reply and extracted her finger from her daughter’s hand. Then she bent over her baby’s head and kissed her lightly, whispered “I love you” like a secret, soft against her ear, so that it would enter her dreams and remain in her heart even while Chrome herself was gone.

Straightening, Chrome walked out the door, closed it, and then leaned against it in order to catch Kyoya’s quiet command: “Behave yourself.” It was the closest to a verbal “I love you” as he could get, and for all its formal harshness it still melted her heart to hear him say it, to hear the emotion it expressed.

By the time he followed her out of the room, she was halfway down the hall, carrying a single suitcase and showing no indication that she had listened in. Five minutes later, the two of them entered the car Testuya brought to the front of the house, their actions the epitome of synchronized skill, with not a single movement wasted.

“Let’s get this over with,” Chrome murmured as they left Namimori behind them, already planning how to best eradicate the Ghibellines and get home as quickly as possible.

After all, she was nothing if not efficient.

...

Present Time: Kyoko

...

When watching Chrome, Kyoko couldn’t help but admire her friend’s efficiency: not a single second was squandered, not a single move was made without a purpose. Each and every action flowed seamlessly into the next in a graceful, elegant dance—even if that dance happened to be nothing more than packing up cardboard boxes, duct tape in hand.

Kyoko thought wryly that it was kind of unfair for her to look so quietly dangerous with so little effort, and when she caught Haru’s eye, she could tell her best friend thought the same, shared a matching benevolent envy.

Or was it really so benevolent? Sometimes Kyoko found herself wondering if that was actually the case, if what she felt was truly nothing more than admiration mingled with a natural jealousy.

After all, Chrome—with the deadly trident, the insidious illusions, the madman in her head—Chrome was allowed to participate in battle. Chrome was wanted, needed, respected as a warrior in her own right. Chrome was privy to each of the covert meetings, every one of the whispered conversations, all of the veiled lies. Chrome was trusted to keep those secrets hidden behind her doll-like smile, with her violet eye growing darker and darker with the weight of everything that was left unsaid.

Chrome was never expected to stay at home and do nothing but wait, and wait, and wait, until she went insane with the emptiness and the silence pressing down, a silence full of nightmares and blood and memories of a smile that she would never see again, never, never, never, and oh, God, please, no, he had to come back home, please, please, please, please, please.

Chrome was going with the boys to Italy.

And there, Kyoko knew, was where the envy ceased to benevolent, and turned ugly instead.

She stood in front of the counter in the kitchen in the house that had been full of love and light and laughter, in the house that was her childhood and her innocence, in the house that was her stillness and her sisterhood and her strength. It was the house where Sawada Nana welcomed everyone with open arms, where I-Pin-chan, Lambo-kun, and Fuuta-kun played, where Bianchi-san absent-mindedly hummed as she cooked, where she and Haru-chan giggled together, where all the boys were safe and sound. It was the house where her family lived, the house that was home.

It was Tsuna-kun’s house—except that in two weeks, it wasn’t going to be.
Kyoko didn’t quite know where that left her.

Well, she supposed she did know where it left her—it left her behind. In Japan. Which was once the only place she ever wanted to be before she realized it wasn’t a place but a person she wanted to be with. And being left behind was far too close to being forgotten for comfort, and—

“Are you okay, Kyoko-san?”

Kyoko managed to rearrange her face before turning around to meet a gaze that was too old for someone who hadn’t yet finished her second decade and too knowing of heartbreak for someone who had never fallen in love.

“Yes, of course I’m fine, Chrome-chan. Why wouldn’t I be?” she said with a smile. It was too brittle and felt too broken on her face, but what else could she do? Isn't that what she was meant for, loved for? Her ever-present, ever-sunny smile. (Sometimes she wished she had something else to offer, something that would have made her good enough to take to Italy, something wouldn't have made her too precious not to leave behind.)

Chrome glanced around at the packed boxes, the empty shelves, and the no-longer bustling kitchen around them before giving Kyoko a look that would have been pointed had it come from anyone else. But it came from Chrome, so it only looked concerned.

“Umm…well, in that case, Haru-san says to tell you…that Lambo-kun is stuck in a drawer…and it would be nice if you could come…and help her get him out,” Chrome said, keeping her eye on Kyoko’s and her ears ready to catch…anything, it seemed. Even her thoughts.

Chrome had gotten better at talking without stuttering, but to an untrained ear her words still had the sound of hesitation. Kyoko knew better; Chrome spoke with deliberation, her pauses thoughtful, both considering (weighing each word, treating them all as precious) and considerate (weighing each person, treating their thoughts and feelings as priceless in comparison to her own). She spoke almost as if inviting an interruption, as if expecting someone to layer their voice over hers. Kyoko suspected it came partly from years of living with Mukuro in her head, and partly because Chrome knew how to make traps out of silence. Kyoko had seen it again and again, had used it herself more than once: withholding one’s words so others would fill the quiet, often with the things that they didn’t want you to know. Kyoko thought she was good at it, but Chrome was a master of the art of listening—she heard both sounds and silences, things spoken and things meant.

And now all her considerable skill was aimed towards Kyoko, that steady, patient eye waiting for her answer.

“Thank you for telling me, Chrome-chan. I’ll be right up.” Another smile to go with her words, this one more natural, but it still stretched at her mouth, natural only in the sense that it revealed her bittersweet thoughts.

Chrome nodded and turned to leave, but paused instead, her slim profile framed by the doorway. “Home…home is where the heart is…” she said softly, almost as if she was speaking to herself. “And the heart…the heart can be in more places than one.” She went quiet for a bit, and Kyoko said nothing and waited. Chrome took a breath, then continued, “It will be okay, Kyoko-san. Family is stronger than distance.” She fidgeted a little, still keeping her eye turned away (Kyoko had the distinct feeling it wasn’t because Chrome couldn’t meet her gaze, but because Chrome didn’t want her to feel as if she was too transparent). “I…I can listen, though. If you would like.” She glanced at Kyoko out of the corner of her eye for a moment, then turned and walked out of the room on silent feet, pulling the door shut behind her.

Kyoko used the seconds and quiet left in the room to gather strength before following. She went upstairs, helped maneuver Lambo out of his improbable position in the drawer, and laughed with Haru and Chrome until the ache in her heart was something bearable.

Later, the boys came in and joined them, and for Tsuna, the sunny smile was back in place, the envy no longer a twisted thorn in her heart. In its place was a root of resolve and determination to be something more than a girl who was left behind.

If Chrome could do it, she could, too.

So Kyoko smiled and smiled and smiled, all the while holding fast to Haru and Chrome’s hands, knowing that when she finally let herself cry instead, she wouldn't be alone.

...

Endnote: And that’s Chapter Two. Thank you for reading this story, and please review and tell us what you think! :D

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Tags: 1896, character: chrome dokuro, character: hibari kyoya, fanfic, khr
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