Author: Cella [shortitude]
Fandom: Katekyo Hitman Reborn!
Summary: Mukuro and Haru discuss Chrome's custody. No, really. HARU. MUKURO. Some spoilers.
It was on a sunny day when they met officially. Mukuro remembered the girl faintly as one of Tsuna's friends who he had targetted to encourage him to fight. He had never thought a lot about her, to be honest - but then again, not many people thought a lot about Haru in general, except when annoyed by her insistent nagging. In fact, Mukuro had been enjoying a peaceful afternoon in the sun when a messenger knocked on the doors of the warehouse the Kokyou were residing in this time - one he'd found only after the fiasco with Daemon Spade was done - bringing a note from one Miura Haru of Midori High.
It said, in clear cursive letters: We should talk about Chrome-chan over tea.
The note made him curious instantly, so he attended the meeting. Nothing made his day more than the oportunity to manipulate people - except maybe manipulating people into thinking he wasn't being manipulative at all - and from what Chrome had told him of the girl (in small, short phrases, his little Chrome-chan had actually pleaded him to be nice to someone) he had quite a lot to look forward in meeting this Miura girl.
The meeting place was a teashop with English cupcakes, which completely took away any and all power of imposing from the girl - and from him, he imagined, because there wasn't really a good way to stand tall in the middle of tiny pink cupcakes - but at least she'd already bought them both a snack by the time he'd arrived and sat down.
"So," Mukuro began, with little less than a hello, leaning forward to look at the girl assessively. "You're Chrome-chan's new friend."
"Yes, Haru is," she answered, the use of the third person to refer to herself making her seem less endearing and more childish than she should be, considering who her friends were and what they did. However, he was about to learn that it was her greatest weapon. "And Haru would like to continue to be, if you don't mind," the girl continued, back ramrod-straight and her way of looking at him, impertinently daring.
"Who's stopping you?" Mukuro asked, amused beyond words, before biting into a cupcake. Chocolate.
"Well, you are," she pointed out, her lips forming a frustrated pout. (Adorable.) "Haru and Kyouko-chan were making such progress with Chrome-chan. She was finally growing a little bolder around the boys, and a little more outspoken, and Haru just knows that she enjoyed all those girls' nights. But - now that you're back - they're all over!"
"Why's that? I hardly tap into her brain, you know?" he smiled benevolently, and mentally added a lately to that thought.
"You don't have to! I know that she missed you, but why do you have to live in a warehouse? And so far away! Not only is it unhygienic, bad for her health, but it isolates you from everyone completely and Chrome-chan isn't even around for Haru to invite her over for lunch anymore!"
"Is that so?" Mukuro asked, by now way beyond amused. All his answers started to be the polite sort of interventions one did when one was being outnumbered in a conversation. In his defense, he liked to think that he would help the girl reach a conclusion herself. She seemed determined to do so.
"So, Haru proposes a deal. You need to let Chrome-chan get out more, and spend time with her new friends too - the ones that don't actually call her ugly every day, when she's clearly absolutely beautiful!"
"And what do I get in return?"
"I'm sorry?" Pity, Mukuro thought, she'd seemed smart.
He clarified: "You proposed a deal. What do I get in return for letting Chrome have these playdates - not that, mind you, I have any say in what she decides." Not completely a lie.
Haru smacked the table with her hand, declaring loudly, "The pleasure of doing the right thing?!" At his unimpressed blink, she groused: "All of Haru's video game collection. Chrome-chan mentioned you liked to play..."
Offering games to a master of illusion was like offering cake to a baker - but she was funny, in her idea that she could persuade him to do something with that cheap bribe. It was her lucky day, though, because his whim was on her side.
"Alright," he answered, holding back a smile when he saw her triumphantly punching the air under the table. At least this was pleasing, if only because he knew that Chrome would be okay no matter what. She'd have an ally and friend like Haru - and Mukuro would have someone who'd cater to his needs, provided he treat his protegé well. To begin with, he thought he'd take a few cupcakes to the warehouse, courtesy of Haru's wallet.
"Excellent! Haru knew she'd make you see the right path to take!"
The way she talked was funny - but he could probably tolerate it. That evening when he returned to the warehouse, he kindly informed Chrome that every Tuesday and Thursday she'd be going to sleep at her 'mommy's place. The look on her face was funnier than tripping Tsuna down the stairs.