Title: Fortune and Fate
Author:luinaelWarnings: None really, except maybe ooc-ness
For runesque ...it was definitely fun writing this ^^ Apologies for lateness.
D e d i c a t i o n
They call her “Poison Scorpion”, although never to her face. That is a stupid thing to do. Who knows? She might slip a little something extra into their drink, or serve up a fatal dish with an innocent [sardonic] expression. They would have to eat and drink with forced smiles, or refuse hospitality and insult the family. Unforgivable. Especially since she is the pampered, beloved, legitimate daughter. Every family has skeletons hidden in its closet. The older the family, the more unburied bodies there are.
She doesn’t remember when she learned to cook. She was probably around eleven or twelve. Another of Gokudera’s piano recitals. “So young and so talented, it must come from his mother, too bad she’s a—” furtive glances and lowered voices murmuring whore. He was too young to understand the meaning of the word, just that they were saying bad things. So he played and practiced, to prove them wrong. And Bianchi was too old and too spoiled, so she flounced off to the kitchen in her new dress (the eighth one that month). All work stopped as the kitchen staff bowed and murmured polite greetings. The head cook bowed deepest and said, “It’s an honor, Miss Bianchi. May we serve you?”
“I want to make cookies.” She doesn’t remember where those words came from.
“Ah, it will be a few minutes, Miss Bianchi. Please wait patiently.”
“No, I want to do it. Show me how.” She pouted.
The head cook had no choice but to obey. He showed her how to measure out the flour, the sugar, the butter, the milk and the other ingredients. The chocolate chips went in last. As she was putting them in, she prayed to God, and poured in her jealousy of Gokudera. Make him sick. Please. The last word choked her. She never had to say it before. When the cookies were done, she piled them onto a plate, still warm, and brought them into the hall where Gokudera was waiting before his recital.
She smiled and offered them. He took one with a smile that mirrored hers. Her prayer was answered. She watched with a satisfied smile as he was sick, and the music he played was a jumble of notes that were harsh and discordant. At the end, the adults applauded him , and her father even encouraged her to continue cooking to improve her brother’s performance. She was alone and thrived only on the attention of others, and he was taking it away from her. She fumed.
Gradually, her cooking got “better”. A separate, smaller kitchen with its own staff was built for her at the request of her mother, after she delayed and disrupted one-too-many mealtimes. She didn’t need to pray to God for what she touched to be poisonous. If she wanted to create a fit of dizziness, she thought of one of her dolls being broken, something that made her mildly angry. If she wanted to kill, she thought of crushing to death the impudent commoners who mocked her, hatred, anger and jealousy all mixed into one.
Oddly enough, there were times the efficacy of her poison cooking did not turn out as she expected. She was glad to be rid of Gokudera’s mother, believed that her own mother deserved more attention. It wasn’t until one day she saw the young boy crying that it struck her. He was a scared little child, and how would she feel if she were unloved and rejected? So she poured pity into what she cooked, served it to Gokudera who did not say a word as he ate. It was something he had gotten used to, the poison of his half-sister, another punishment he had to endure for existing. He took one bite and nearly asphyxiated.
Still, Bianchi honed her cooking skills until her cooking was poisonous even in a small quantity. She learned how to get close enough to slip a little something, just enough to kill. Her presence in the house was as deadly as the black widow spider, a harbringer of doom. It was when she acquired the nickname “Poison Scorpion” that she resigned herself to loneliness. Working as a hitman was enough to stave off her boredom.
There were two groups of hitmen: those who worked alone, and those who worked in teams. She was a loner, preferring to do things on her own time at her own pace. Clients sometimes requested that she work with a partner, but her partners had the odd habit of disappearing. Some turned up a few months It was incompetence on their part. There was no such thing as [fundamental] trust. Eventually, clients stopped asking her to collaborate. It was something people understood: Bianchi or nothing.
Vongola IX broke the unspoken rule.
For the first time in years, Bianchi got the request to work with a partner. He was touted as the number one hitman. They didn't meet until five minutes before their job was scheduled to begin.
“Ciaossu.” Reborn’s voice was a deep rumble as he greeted Bianchi with an odd phrase that wasn't in a language she recognized. She returned the greeting, and eyed his odd-looking hairstyle. His eyes were hidden beneath the brim of his hat. He didn’t seem to be carrying a gun or any other weapon, and she wondered if he really was the number one hitman. It was an international job, but she had handled those before.
The house was supposed to be open, the guards bribed, distracted or dead. She slipped inside the gate first, not caring about her associate’s movements. If she killed him, then he didn’t deserve his title. The door was unlocked, and she pushed it open softly. Then everything went downhill and she was staring straight at a gun. Two rapid pops, red splotches blooming on a silk shirt. She slumped down onto the floor.
“Oi, snap out of it, Bianchi.” Reborn slapped her lightly on the face once.
“T-thank you…” Shakily, she stood up. They finished the job, although her hands shook a little as she tried to get the dosage of poison right. It took three tries before she was satisfied, and they left. Reborn hummed tunelessly as he waited for her.
She doesn’t recall exactly when she fell in love with him. Maybe it was sometime on the way back to their hotel when she started crying and he said nothing, just waited until she finished. Quiet sobbing eventually turned into soft, choking hiccups. He proffered his handkerchief tactfully with one hand, the other hand on the steering wheel. Bianchi dried her tears. She handed back his handkerchief. They were silent for a while, and she glanced at him out of the corner of her red eyes.
He smiled that enigmatic smile of his, a cat-like smile that promised nothing. Everything else was a blur except for that smile. They spent the night together, the exotic, experienced killer and the sheltered, spoiled girl. She broods on the meaning of the evening. Time was ticking backward for him. It was one of his last nights as a man, before he became one of the Arcobaleno.
Maybe it wasn’t even love.
F o r t u n a
Bianchi doesn’t like carnivals, really. She prefers the festivals of Japan, because there is always a polite undercurrent that runs through the celebrations. Almost quaint. It is the complete opposite of the messy, loud Italian tradition. Carnevale Di Venezia was always full of people who jostled each other unapologetically, and children played hide-and-seek in a jungle of legs. Trash littered the dusty roads afterward. It was an exhausting experience. Still, there’s something about this year's Carnevale that reminds her of childhood, of how much she misses Italy. Although she speaks Japanese fluently, she still misses the way Italian words roll off her tongue. And this is [was] Reborn’s home.
Everything here reminds her of how Reborn is not here now. She asked him before why he chose to become one of the Arcobaleno, but he always smiled that smile of his and diverted her attention. He loved carnivals, but there was no explanation for that either. Bianchi shakes her head slightly, wonders why she is thinking of this again. He’s dead. Get used to it. A flat voice intones in her head. She shakes her head slightly to dislodge it, or dispel the black ominous cloud that follows her around nowadays.
Out of the corner of her eye, she sees a small sign. A psychic advertising her abilities –chiromancy, tarot, ouija, crystallomancy! The occult summons up images of an old wrinkled gypsy in a smoky, ragged, dirty tent, overcharging the gullible for self-fulfilling prophecies. Her people had helped to drive out the gypsies centuries ago. She reminds herself that she is not superstitious, that she knows better, that she is still a god-fearing, upright Catholic woman.
And yet she finds herself sitting in this place, a small open-air stall, the dust of the road rising in a choking cloud around her.
“Welcome, young mistress. I can tell you what the future holds in store. The spirits will tell me, and tell me true.” A mystical pause. Then, rapidly – “Five dollars for a palm reading or tarot reading, ten for ouija board or crystal gazing.”
She is amused, but pulls out money for a tarot reading.
The fortune-teller grunts and places a deck of old cards on the table, soft at the corners.
“What do you wish to ask the spirits? Shuffle the cards while thinking of your question.”
Am I destined to find true love?
The cards swish as she shuffles them. She hands the cards back to the fortune-teller, who starts laying them out. They form a cross, an insult to her religion, except that she is committing a worse blasphemy. The fortune-teller places each card down silently. Her small eyes dart across the cards, and she grunts again, mumbling incoherently. Bianchi waits. The fortune-teller coughs, spits out some phlegm, before tapping the cards at the center of the cross.
“This is the heart of the matter, the Wheel of Fortune is upright. Fortuna smiles on you.” She has no idea, I’ve never seen this many of the major arcana appear.
“Although Fortuna is on your side, the Hanged Man is reversed, indicating that there is a lack of effort; this is the greatest challenge.” I’m not putting in enough effort? Reborn is the one who’s always indifferent.
“The past is an unhappy one. The Nine of Swords is upright, indicating great suffering, caused by the death of a loved one.” The last one was a hazarded guess, but young girls like her can easily find some example.
“The reversed High Priestess tells me that you have been selfish and ignorant in the past.” Gokudera…
“However, your future is very bright. The Tower is upright, and there will be a sudden change in your life.” Ha, in these uncertain times, that’s easily fulfilled.
“The upright Sun is your best outcome though; you will soon find love, success, joy—” She paused and gave a sly wink, “—and a happy marriage.” Could it be…? My beloved Reborn! But…
The fortune-teller points at the remaining four cards in a column beside the cross. “Who you are also has an impact on the reading. You see yourself as the Star reversed, living a life full of unfulfilled hopes, disappointments and imbalance. Poor darling.” It’s not unusual at her age.
“Others however, perceive you as the Page of Wands upright, unafraid, beautiful, and a messenger.” That’s true…I’ve been used for reconnaissance more than assassination these days.
“You have great hope. However, the Ace of Cups is reversed, meaning you are afraid to accept things that come from the heart.” Her face tells me that my words ring true. Possibly an unrequited love or a broken heart?
“The final outcome will be happy. The Lovers card is upright, and you will find love, harmony and trust.” Love really does conquer all. Yet…I had to confirm it to myself.
“Thank you.” She is about to get up when she hears a very familiar voice behind her, irritated as usual. She turns, smiles her sweet smile and greets her younger brother. He, like her, is here for the funeral. He sees her and bends over, clutching his stomach in pain. Normally, she would turn away again. Today, however, Bianchi is not feeling very merciful. She walks closer and notices that another of Tsuna’s guardians is standing beside him. The Guardian of Sun.
By this point, Gokudera has fled the scene, clutching his stomach and trying not to collapse with dizziness. He stumbles through the crowd, running anywhere just away. “OI OCTOPUS-HEAD! We’re not done talking!” Gokudera ignores him, and just concentrates on staying conscious long enough to escape. Slightly puzzled, Sasagawa Ryohei scratches his head with one hand and turns to face Bianchi. Her smile is still plastered on her face as she holds out her hand. “I’m Bianchi, Gokudera’s older sister.” Ryohei’s hand shoots out and grabs it firmly, almost painfully. “Sasagawa Ryohei! Pleased to meet you! There’s something about you I’m supposed to remember, Bianchi-san, but I’VE FORGOTTEN TO THE EXTREME!” Bianchi’s ears ache, but she smiles anyway and removes her hand.
They stand in an awkward silence for a while. “Actually, Bianchi-san, I got lost! I can’t speak much Italian at all!” He fidgets. Her smile is frozen on her face by now, but he doesn’t seem to notice. Smoothly, graciously, she offers to guide him. He accepts in a tone that makes everyone turn, startled, before they return to their own business. Young love. The girl finally accepted him. That’s what they should have said. He’ll be dead by the end of the week. Doesn’t he know who she is? The difference between what should have been and what was…it wasn’t significant.
They walk, and she tries to make small talk. He always responds as if they are the last words he would ever speak in his life. That is the type of man he is. The sunlight is failing, and mosquitos buzz as dusk sets in. She glances at him out of the corner of her eye. He looks good in a dark suit, his profile illuminated by the sun on the horizon. It tinges his silver hair a mix of pink and warm gold and gray-blue. He offers to walk her home [even though a girl like her doesn't need an escort], and to her surprise, she accepts. It seems like something Reborn might do on a whim. Today, everything reminds her of Reborn. She runs her hand through her long hair.
He’s strangely quiet on the way back. They arrive and he pauses at her door. “Bianchi-san...” She looks at him in silence for a moment. “Would you like to come in?” She asks finally. He accepts, takes off his shoes and leaves them neatly outside the door. Ryohei fidgets like a little boy [old habits die hard] and suddenly blurts out, “Bianchi-san, I'M EXTREMELY IN LOVE WITH YOU.” The tension dissipates with his declaration. Bianchi does not say “yes” or “no”, but laughs and kisses him. Things progress.
Tomorrow, nothing will remind her of Reborn.
F a t e
As he was leaving, he asked her if she wanted him to bring anything. She laughed, shook her head no. “You’ll forget it, lawn head!” She reverted to the nickname her half-brother had given him all those years ago. He protested loudly and would have stayed behind until he won the argument, but the plane was waiting. “Stay safe,” she whispered after he had left. He paused and turned as if he had heard her, gave her an energetic wave. She waved back, kept back the tears and tried to believe that love conquers all. Oh how wrong she had been proven.
He had kissed her goodbye so many months ago, meeting with the Varia and the Ninth Boss in Italy. He returned in time to save Chrome [when the sun usually burns away the mist], to bring a broken child to Bianchi. She was a healer, like him, because you need poisons to make antidotes. There was something different in her gestures, in her eyes. Happier, delirious almost. And he understood when he saw Reborn. Love returned from the dead.
They had no time left for talk, for love. She kissed him goodbye, it was a habit now. “Farewell.” And she wondered at the pulsing ache in her chest as she said that, as if she cared that she might never see him again. Wasn’t she in love with Reborn? What was Ryohei to her? A stand-in, a replacement, they had made that clear from the beginning. But Ryohei never did things by parts, he was all-in love with her. Guilt then, committing adultery in plain sight, except he understood. [He wasn't a little kid that still believed everyone did things the way he did, never holding back.] And that made it that much worse.
According to intelligence, he wasn’t supposed to be alive. Gamma was supposed to be dead, impaled on Hibari’s box weapon. But “supposed to be” never happened as often as it should. Ryohei took it in stride, ran with it. It was to the limit or nothing. Some things never changed.
Except that their world had already changed, and this hot-headed, octopus-haired, explosive kid, this kid would die. Ryohei was this kid's half-sister’s lover, damn it all, she’d never forgive him for giving up halfway. Not that she’d ever have to worry about that because he never did things halfway.
He went in knowing it was useless, it wasn’t enough, but maybe the time he bought was worth something. He spent the last few seconds glancing back instead of forward and smiled at the silver-ash-gray hair. For the first time he had regrets, but it was too late and he was going to die.
Fate had kissed him goodbye with poisonous lips.