There will be various pairings in this fic, some you'd expect and some you wouldn't. I won't introduce all the characters into the one chapter as that would be super long, and some characters' conditions and backgrounds won't be made clear at first until a bit further into the fic. There will be hints for those characters so you're not completely in the dark.
If there was one thing Tsunayoshi Sawada had learnt on his first day of working at Namimori Psychiatric Hospital, it was that you couldn't help everybody. Working with the patients they had here proved that.
The brown-haired young man spun around in his chair, surrounded by bookshelves and files scattered all over his desk. Light filtered in through the window across from him, overlooking the gardens. He heard one of his co-workers and friend call for him, and placing the file he was holding back down on his desk, he stood up and stretched.
The male in question standing in Tsuna's doorway was Takeshi Yamamoto, a dark-haired, baseball-loving psychologist who worked previously in only the Vongola Wing, but having had another psychologist resign, was now also treating patients situated in the Varia Wing. He had a very positive outlook on life, and he seemed to get along with everyone he met. Well, almost everyone.
"What's up, Yamamoto?" Tsuna, by nature, was a kind person, and treated everyone in the psychiatric hospital with respect.
Yamamoto held out a vanilla folder, his usual laid-back smile on his face. His eyes sparkled with joy as Tsuna took it, explaining. "Gokudera said he was going on his lunchbreak. He asked me to give that to you; it's updated information on everyone's medication."
Tsuna, who was in charge of all the patients in each Wing, as well as overseeing the staff, took the folder, making note to look at it when he was finished writing a report to send off to his own bosses.
"Thank you, Yamamoto." Tsuna tucked the folder beneath his arm. "How did your session with Mukuro go?"
"Same as always. No progress." There was a hint of sadness in the young man's voice, but when it came to Yamamoto, one could never be too sure if he was upset or not.
Tsuna sighed. Mukuro Rokudo was a patient in the Vongola Wing with a serious delusional disorder. He had killed most of his family as a child due to it, but trying to help him was like trying to slam a revolving door; it just couldn't be done.
However, Mukuro was nothing compared to some of the other patients in the hospital.
"Have you seen Shoichi-kun?" Tsuna looked past the younger male, looking around for the one he had referred to. "He asked me to go over some things with him."
"I haven't." Yamamoto shook his head before he lifted his hand, smiling as he waved goodbye. "I've got another session. See you, Tsuna."
"Bye." Tsuna waited for his friend to disappear down the hallway before he himself took the opposite direction, deciding that lunch did indeed sound good.
While it was midday, most of the patients were out of their rooms and roaming around freely. Tsuna politely greeted the ones he passed, stopping to make sure they were okay and didn't need any help.
However, before the brunet could finish with one patient, he was called once again, this time by the security guard, Ryohei Sasagawa, a grey-haired boxing enthusiast whom Tsuna had known for over ten years.
"Sawada, I've been looking for you to the extreme." The grey-haired male said. "There's a new patient, and Hibari told me to extremely bring you to him."
Tsuna nodded before he turned back to the patient he had been talking to, a man with a green part of hair, a red Mohawk, and who was never seen without sunglasses. He had a serious case of both bi-polar and anxiety, but on a good day, he was very pleasant to talk to.
"I'll talk to you soon, Lussuria-san." Tsuna smiled as he patted the older male on the shoulder before he followed Ryohei down to their boss' office; though Tsuna had a very high title, he still took orders himself, from an older male named Kyouya Hibari who didn't have the patience to deal directly with either the staff or the patients and left that to Tsuna.
"Do you know anything about the new patient?" Tsuna questioned his friend.
Ryohei shook his head. "Saw him before I left. Extremely little kid."
Tsuna wondered what could be the problem with said 'kid', and how they could help him; he only wanted to give the best care he could, so he'd have to make a good first impression.
The two talked amongst themselves until they stood out the front of Hibari's office. Tsuna gulped, having always been afraid of his boss since Middle School, and then knocked. He opened the door slowly, hesitating before he stepped into the well-lit room.
"About time, herbivore." The black-haired man sitting at a desk just stared at Tsuna, making no effort to communicate further; he instead slid a folder across the desk and left it at that, focusing on his reports.
Tsuna listened to the sound of Ryohei leaving before he looked at the boy sitting on the other side of the desk. He really was little, as Ryohei had said. He had teal hair, his eyes the same colour. There were bruises and cuts on his face, and whether or not they ventured further down the boy's body, Tsuna wasn't sure; the new patient was wearing a green jacket with matching pants, a red shirt beneath it – they hid any other possible bruises from Tsuna's soft eyes.
"Hello." Tsuna could see the fear hidden behind layers of blank expression, and he wondered what this one's story would be. "My name is Tsunayoshi. What's yours?"
"...Fran..." Though the boy seemed emotionless on the outside, Tsuna was experienced enough to note the fear that seemed to course through the boy's entire being.
"How old are you, Fran?"
The boy – Fran – ignored this question, turning to look out o the window that oversaw the corridor. He blinked a few times before his eyes glazed over, as if was so focused on internal stimuli, he took no notice of anything around him.
Tsuna didn't press for answers; he instead reached out for the folder Hibari had slid across the desk. He opened it, looking at the information presented before him. It contained Fran's personal details – which answered Tsuna's question about the smaller male's age; Fran had only recently turned seventeen – as well as background information. Looking over that sheet of paper made Tsuna understand why Fran displayed a lack of emotions and hid what he truly felt.
"Fran?" Tsuna leant down so that he was eye-level with the younger male. He waited patiently until the dazed expression had cleared and he had Fran's attention. "Fran, would you like to come with me and start settling in?"
Fran shrugged before he stood up and followed the brunet out of the office. Tsuna noticed there was a limp in the boy's gait, and that he flinched whenever someone would get too close to him. It broke Tsuna's heart, but he didn't draw attention to it – he was sure Fran already had enough problems as it was.
"I noticed that Hibari-san had already put you in a designated Wing," Tsuna said, trying to start a conversation; Fran's silence was upsetting. "The Varia Wing."
To be completely honest, Tsuna wasn't sure of why Hibari had placed the boy into said Wing; sure, it seemed as if Fran needed a lot of help, but the Varia Wing was usually only for patients who were dangerous or uncontrollable – sure, the boy's background had sounded atrocious, but Fran didn't look as if he could hurt a fly.
Then again, looks can be deceiving – you know this, Tsuna. Tsuna shook his head, trying not to think too much on it; he needed to retain his own sanity if he were to help the patients.
Fran remained silent as he stared at everything around him with the same blank expression. It was as if he was curious or perhaps wary about his surroundings, but was trying his hardest to hide it.
The corridors the two travelled down were blazingly white, and Tsuna worried Fran may get lost in the constant twists and turns if he didn't stop zoning out on their journey.
When at last, ten minutes later, Tsuna stopped outside of a room, Fran having been so zoned out, he hadn't noticed the lack of movement and walked straight into his guide.
"Are you okay?" Tsuna reached out, steadying Fran on his feet. The boy just pulled away from Tsuna's touch, looking anywhere but at the older male. Knowing better than to take this to heart, Tsuna said, "This will be your room from now on."
Fran watched from the corner of his eye as Tsuna withdrew a bundle of keys, unlocking the door for the boy to go into. He was hesitant, but with a bit of encouragement from Tsuna, he walked into the room.
It was almost empty, just a bed tucked away in the corner of the room. The window that overlooked the grounds had bars over it, preventing him from leaving his room, and the walls where so white, it was blinding.
"Most days, you're free to leave your room as you wish," Tsuna explained. "At eight-forty-five PM, we'll start moving everyone back into their rooms. Nine o-clock is curfew. There's no lights-out rule here, but if you're going to stay up, please be quiet so you don't disturb the other patients. Is that fair to you?"
Fran nodded. He was looking at the bed, making a mental note to pull the sheets off it and instead sleep beneath it – he didn't think he'd ever so much as sit on it.
"Now that I've shown you to your room, would you like to go meet some of the other patients?"
Fran shrugged. In truth, he wanted to stay in his room and sit in a corner, but he was afraid of what disagreeing would bring him.
Tsuna offered a smile as Fran walked back out into the corridor. He knew that a lot of the new patients were nervous when it came to meeting the older ones; the stigma that was associated to being in a psychiatric hospital was evident even amongst the patients.
"Most of them would be having lunch by now, I imagine." Tsuna led the boy back down the corridor, stopping when Fran did. "What's the matter, Fran?"
Expressionless teal eyes looked at Tsuna as the boy pointed to one of the rooms. "Who's in there?"
Now that Fran had pointed it out, Tsuna noticed the loud, crazed laughing of one of their most deranged patients. There was a reason the door to their bedroom was shut and locked, and Tsuna felt uneasy about explaining to the younger male right now – he had hoped this could wait until Fran had settled in, lest the small boy be potentially frightened of his stay here.
"...That's Belphegor," Tsuna explained. "We don't usually let the other patients in to see him unless someone is supervising the visit. You probably also won't see him around the building much; we have to keep him confined."
Fran nodded. He didn't like the repetitive laughter that sent chills down his spine, and he could only wonder; what was there to laugh about in this life...? Especially in a place like this.
"What is he laughing at?" Fran shifted uneasily at his own question. Tsuna was used to people giving this reaction when it came to Belphegor, however it always upset him that no one ever seemed to give him a chance. The confined male was extremely unstable, but in Tsuna's eyes, that was no reason to treat him any differently.
"Well, he laughs a lot..." Tsuna frowned. "We still don't really know what he finds funny, but it's something you'll get used to."
Fran nodded. He followed again as Tsuna started walking, and he was eventually led out into a spacious room filled with small round tables and a few couches resting against the walls.
"This is the activity room," Tsuna conveyed. "Usually, it's where everyone plays a few games together, but it also doubles as where meals are eaten."
Fran lowered his head as he realised how many people were in here; there were far too many for his liking, and he wanted to go back to his room now.
Tsuna, who instinctively picked up on Fran's change of mood, became worried; he leant down to reassure Fran that he was safe, only to see the younger start to hyperventilate.
"Fran, it's alright." Tsuna could see the stress in Fran's eyes as the younger tried to move away from him. He reached out, holding the teal-haired boy where he was, trying to calm him down, but the panicked male didn't seem to be able to hear him. "Fran. You're going to be alright. No one's going to hurt you, Fran. It's okay."
Fran shook his head, making soft whimpering noises amidst his attack. Tears slipped down his cheeks as he turned his head violently to the side, trying to escape the brunet's hand that was steadily approaching his bruised face.
Tsuna covered Fran's mouth with one hand, using the other to block a single nostril with his free one, trying to decrease the amount of oxygen Fran was rapidly inhaling.
"You're safe here, Fran." Tsuna turned to look at the growing crowd approaching them, wanting to tell them to back off and give them some room, but he also didn't want to stress Fran out any further by causing the boy to misconstrue whom he was addressing. "Fran. It's going to be okay."
"You know, he's probably scared out of his wits and all you're doing is talking to him, Tsunayoshi."
The brunet frowned as he turned to look at the individual patient who was approaching them. He had long blue hair tied back in a ponytail, the back of it spiking up and resembling a pineapple.
"Did you think that he probably doesn't respond to words?" The man knelt down and wrapped his arms around Fran, pulling the boy against him. He didn't relent, no matter how much Tsuna scolded him or Fran struggled to be released, instead tightening his hold on the younger male until Fran had stopped hyperventilating and calmed down, laying limp in his arms. "Maybe you should revise your training as a therapist and know that not all cases are helped by talking."
Tsuna wasn't sure if the older male was insinuating something about the treatments the blue-haired patient received, but that wasn't important right now – what mattered was that this whole situation could have been worsened by such careless actions.
"You shouldn't touch a person you don't know, Mukuro-san," Tsuna pointed out. "Especially when they're in the middle of hyperventilating; he could have claustrophobia and panicked further."
"But he didn't, did he, Tsunayoshi?" Heterochromatic eyes watched Tsuna curiously as their owner held Fran tighter.
Tsuna didn't want to argue with the man named Mukuro; the long-haired male was right, and currently Fran was resting peacefully against the tall male's chest, a tiny hand gripping tightly the jacket Mukuro wore as he panted, struggling to catch his breath. Tears had stopped running down bruised cheeks, the emotionless mask donned once again.
"Well, all that matters is that he's okay..." Tsuna agreed. Turning back to the horde still watching them, he dispersed everyone, not wanting Fran to feel crowded.
"Tsunayoshi, what were you doing with him?" Mukuro held a playful smile on his face, resting his chin in teal hair.
"I was taking him to meet some of the others." Tsuna turned back around to face the two. "I wasn't aware that he would panic."
"They write records on our backgrounds for a reason. Kufufu~ You know all about mine, for example."
"Yes, yes, Mukuro-san, you are correct." Tsuna didn't want to hold this conversation with Mukuro; the man had an ego too big already, and he really had to get his reports finished. "If you could take care of him, that would be great; he seems to like you already."
"Ah, but Tsunayoshi, aren't you forgetting something important?" Mukuro's smile widened at his words. "You forgot to introduce us."
Tsuna nodded. "Mukuro-san, this is Fran. He's new, so be good to him. Fran, this is Mukuro. Would you mind staying with him while I finish off some work?"
Fran nodded. He was slumped against Mukuro, exhausted from his previous attack. His head rested against Mukuro's shoulder, his stomach and chest still expanding a tad harshly.
"Oh, and if you see him, please tell Shoichi-kun to find me." Tsuna waved to the two before he turned around and left, hoping he could rely on Mukuro to look after Fran; until he could free up some time, he would have to trust that the long-haired male wouldn't hurt the boy – Mukuro had some serious problems, but the good thing about him was that he was generally harmless on a good day.