When he had taken the hit, Renato had been expecting an easy job. Sawada is, sadly, a very prominent name in the region (Vongola’s attempt to protect the descendants of the First). So tracking the woman in question was probably going to be the hardest thing of the entire hit.
It takes Renato about two days. He is the World’s Best Hitman, after all. He does feel a little bad for the lady. Nana Sawada seems like a good woman, if on the ditzy side. The problem comes later when he tracks the target to her home.
A new mother.
That makes things easier and far more complicated. It’s easy to make it seem like a suicide, new mother’s, especially single ones, are very susceptible to postpartum depression. Complicated because Renato is a professional, not a monster.
The job will get done but Renato will not eliminate the baby.
He leaves the house with the mother’s body cooling off in the living room and a baby in his arms. It takes Renato about a month to name it, important decisions should not be rushed. He names his boy Alphonso because names have power and his son will be noble but undoubtedly ready for war. Renato will have it no other way.
Renato renames himself Reborn, lessens his workload and buys every book of parenting with a reputable source he can get his hands on. With his resources, that’s all of them.
Alphonso is a delight, happy and free in a way Reborn never had the chance to be. Smart and so eager to please, so trusting of Reborn that it sometimes terrifies the Hitman. But despite his fears, Alphonso never shies away from him. Not even when he comes back with blood splattered on his suit.
By age five, Reborn has come to expect the exuberant greeting, the loud screech of “Papa!” before a weight crashes against his legs. On bad days, it’s the one thing that keeps him going.
(“Were you good, bambino?”)
(“No!” and a sloppy kiss to the cheek.)
(“Good, did you get caught?”)
(“Even better, tesoro. Let’s get you a cookie.”)
It turns out his bambino is a sky, one with a potential to eclipse every Sky Reborn has ever met before and Reborn is simultaneously the proudest man alive and the most scared. Skies are important resources, especially the unaffiliated ones. He hides his baby away, plots to find him the strongest guardians he can find and makes a game out of training.
There’s something heartbreaking about watching his little Alphonso playing with replicas of his guns but Reborn would rather see him bloodied than dead.
One more year and Reborn has a falling out with Timoteo Vongola. For all his professionalism, Reborn can’t keep quiet. It might have something to do with his own fears for his boy. Skies are valuable, especially unaffiliated ones. Reborns knows exactly why Timoteo did what he did and it's just so easy to see his Alphonso in Xanxus' place.
The fights are long and hard, though they start civilized. Both Reborn and Timoteo are gentlemen. They also know each other for long enough to be able to get into the other's skin, to where it hurts the most. It spans months of screaming and outright throwing flames around. It earns Reborn the loyalty of the Varia and a bunch of teenagers to care for.
(“You lied to your boy for years! What were you expecting!?”)
(“He was planning a coup!”)
(“So you froze him?! Do you even know what that ice does to somebody long term? Did you bother investigating?”)
(“Xanxus made his choice. Reborn, please. I don’t want to see him dead.”)
(“Don’t blame the kid for your failures.”)
That night, Reborn came home to a happy Alphonso, picked him up and clung. Clung for dear life.
It’d be eight full years before Timoteo reaches up to him again and even then, Reborn only goes for the hopeful gazes of the Varia. (“They say he unfroze him, Reborn.”)
He’s become soft, truly. But he can’t really find it in himself to regret it. Reborn finds Xanxus in the medical wing, weak, terribly scarred and surrounded by so much security that it’s rather obvious he’s a prisoner. He takes him out of there with a frigid glare and a flash of his gun. (“So help me, brat, you will lay low until I deal with this mess.”)
Timoteo looks older than Reborn remembers him, the years have not been kind to him. Reborn is almost unsurprised to discover that he doesn’t particularly care.
“Old friend,” Timoteo greets him.
“Ninth, you have a contract for me?” Reborn hardly considers them friends anymore.
The Ninth probably sees it in his face. The man sighs but Reborn is far too experienced for guilt-trips. With a heavy hand, Timoteo gestures to some folders. “I have a job for you, Reborn. Should you choose to take it.“
"No information on the boy?” Reborn wonders. About two pages in, he realizes why. Reborn or Renato, he is a professional. And the best at his job. This is about his little Alphonso who, despite being fourteen, is still rather petite to the secret delight of his papa. Cold fury sweeps him but Reborn bites his tongue. “What do you want the boy for?"
He lets his suspicion show and Timoteo takes it to be about Xanxus, much like Reborn expected. "Nothing nefarious. If it’ll make you feel better, I’ll give you full control of his tutoring. Vongola, I, need an heir."
"How does this kid qualify?” Reborn presses.
“He’s Iemitsu’s boy."
"No,” Reborn closes the folder and sets it aside. “He’s not.”
“What are you saying?” Timoteo slumps, looking worried. “Are you saying Nana…?”
“I’m saying,” Reborn speaks slowly, “that he is my boy. I’ve raised him. You will not pressure him into anything."
There’s quick movement from behind Timoteo and Reborn draws his gun. Both guardians are dead before Timoteo can finish raising his hand and Reborn sighs, let’s his gun rest on his knee, fully on display. "Am I clear?"