What the genre of this anyway
Memento Mori, a Latin phrase that translates to "Remember that you must die". It serves as a reminder that all of us are mortal, and that we need to keep that in mind.
One day, we will all die.
Will we be able to pass on without regrets?
The first time Tsuna heard his mother describe him as useless, it was a pretty huge blow for him. The second time was just as bad but, by the fifth time, he became used to it, just like he became used to everyone else calling him useless. Dame-Tsuna. That was who he was; a useless person who didn't contribute to society. Even if he disappeared, no one would notice.
(So useless that even his own mother would call him no-good.)
With these thoughts in mind, he went to bed, unwilling to wake up tomorrow and face the beginning of his junior high school life at Namimori Middle School.
Tsuna woke up in the middle of the night. His first thought was 'Why am I awake', followed by 'There's a man in my room', and finally 'There's a man in my room!'.
He tried to open his mouth to scream, but no sound came out. The man was sitting on his chair, staring at him. Or at least, Tsuna thought he was staring at him. It was kind of hard to tell, with the checkered mask on the man's face and all, but the man was facing Tsuna's general direction. They stared at each other for a while, the man unwilling to speak and Tsuna at a loss for words.
"Sawada Tsunayoshi," the man suddenly spoke, causing Tsuna to jerk in surprise, squeaking.
"I'm here to tell you that you will die on your fifteenth birthday." There was a pause before Tsuna realised that the man was waiting for him to clarify any doubts.
"W-why…?" Why, of all the people in the world, did Tsuna have to die? Tsuna did nothing wrong… but then again, he did nothing right either. Maybe that was why he was chosen; someone who would make much of an impact on the world, whether he lived or died.
"Because you are the only one who can do it." That was certainly not the answer Tsuna was expecting. He stared at the man with wide eyes, silently imploring him to continue. "Once in every few hundred years, someone with unimaginably high and pure flames will come into existence on this dying earth. Through a sacrifice, the earth would be able to absorb their flames and continue to live. This time, that person is you, Sawada Tsunayoshi. The earth's life lies in your soul."
It took a while for Tsuna to process that. He was important, irreplaceable, and the fate of the earth rested on his shoulders. His life. He couldn't believe it. "You must have the wrong person. I'm just Dame-Tsuna; I can't be as important as you say I am."
"There is no mistake, Sawada Tsunayoshi, descendant of the ninth sacrifice, Sawada Ieyasu."
"Sawada… Ieyasu…? No, wait, that's not important. What if I don't accept?" The man looked a little displeased at Tsuna's question.
"Then all life on earth will die," he replied flatly. There was a sharp intake of breath as Tsuna realised that there was no way he could get out of this.
"But, I don't want to—" die. Tsuna cut himself off before he could finish the sentence. It was true that he didn't want to die – because who would? All human beings were afraid of death, after all – but it was either him or the rest of the world. He thought about his mother and her warmth, the beautiful girl in his school and her bright smiles, the faces of his classmates whom he didn't really know but was suddenly all too aware of. Everyone had their own complex life, their own problems, their own future.
Everyone around him was living their own unique life, and they were not just background characters for Tsuna's own story. It wasn't fair for them if Tsuna, due to his selfishness, decided to let everyone die. And besides, Tsuna wasn't going to contribute much to the world if he continued to live, so why not die and protect the smiles of the people around him?
He didn't want to die, but he didn't want everyone else to die too.
Besides, it was nice to know that he had a purpose in this world, a role to fill. That he wasn't just a useless waste of space.
The man seemed to know that Tsuna had accepted his fate and nodded in acknowledgment. "Normally," he began. "I would wait for you to reach late adulthood, so that you could live a fruitful life, but there is no time." Tsuna closed his eyes and sighed. There was a strange, bittersweet feeling in his chest.
"Okay. Thank you for telling me." A warm sensation made itself known on the inside of his right wrist and Tsuna saw that there was a strange marking on it.
"Thank you, Sawada Tsunayoshi." Tsuna blinked and suddenly the man was gone. He blinked again and then there was darkness.
Tsuna woke up the next day, on his first day of school at Namimori Middle, to see a marking on the inside of his right wrist. He closed his eyes and pushed down the urge to sob.
"So it wasn't a dream after all…"
There were a lot of things that Tsuna regretted.
He was thirteen and he was to die when he was fifteen. A day ago, two years seemed like a long time. Now, it wasn't enough.
"Tsu-kun! It's your first day of school; you can't be late!" His mother walked into the room, hands on her hips and a stern look on his face. Tsuna stared at her blankly. What would she do if he died, he wondered. Nothing much, probably. She called him useless after all. Maybe she would be happy that she wouldn't have to deal with such a useless son anymore. Now that Tsuna had thought of it, he realised that one of his regrets was that he wasn't a better son for his mother. He wanted to be a son she could be proud of.
Two years… he hoped that it would be enough.
"Mum, do you want anything?"
"Mum, do you need my help with anything?"
"Mum, I'm going to the store. What would you like me to pick up?"
Something can caused her son to change. Before, Nana had to nag Tsuna into doing anything but lie in bed and read comics. Now, she saw that he had been putting his comics aside to study and help her with household chores. He had even cleaned his room! Something had happened – a miracle, perhaps – and it seemed that her son had finally started to put in effort in his life. Nana should be happy; this was what she wanted after all.
So then, why did she feel that something was wrong?
"Tsu-kun, are you happy?" A strange expression had flitted over Tsuna's face when Nana had asked the question, before a pensive look settled on his features.
"I…" he finally answered slowly. "I'm happy to be able to spend time with you, mum. It's nice to be able to…" The strange look flashed across his face again as his voice hitched. "To be able to live."
Nana didn't know what to say to that. She remembered what she had said to Tsuna just a week before.
"Tsu-kun, I'm not saying that you have to get into a good college or university or anything. I just I want you to live feeling that it's great to be alive!"
She knew that Tsuna wasn't lying but, ironically, she couldn't feel happy about this change. It didn't matter if Tsuna did well in school or not, she realised. It didn't matter if she was happy or not. She just didn't want to have to see that look on Tsuna's face.
"Mum?" Tsuna's voice startled her out of her thoughts. "You should leave now if you want to get to Fujikawa-san's home on time for the gathering."
"Do you want to come with me?" Nana asked. She didn't feel right leaving Tsuna alone in the house like that. Tsuna gave her a weird look.
"No, it's fine. You usually go alone after all. It'd be weird if I suddenly showed up." Tsuna's nonchalant words were like a stab to Nana's heart. That's right, Nana normally just went out alone, leaving her son behind. Tsuna never spoke up about it, and Nana never thought to give it much thought, but she suddenly realised that it had been a long time since she had spent time with her son. Actually spend time with him, not just eat dinner together in silence.
She couldn't even remember what his favourite food was anymore.
"And besides," Tsuna continued. "Fujikawa-san doesn't like me all that much. I'm Dame-Tsuna after all." He gave an amused laugh at that while Nana froze up. It… didn't feel right to hear her son call himself useless. He was her son, after all. The light of her life, one of her most important people.
But didn't you call him that as well? A voice in her mind whispered. All the time, you called him useless and no-good. What kind of mother are you, to call him those names so easily.
"No. I think I'll stay here," she decided. Immediately, a concerned expression settled on Tsuna's features.
"Oh, do you not feel well? Are you sick? Do you need me to get anything?" Nana shook her head, cutting through Tsuna's near-panicked state.
"I just want to spend the day with you, Tsu-kun."
"Spend… the day with me? But why?" his utterly confused look broke Nana's heart. Was it really so strange and foreign for him to think that someone wanted to spend time with him? Just what had happened to make her son so insecure?
She forced a cheerful smile onto her face. "No reason, I just wanted to!"
"I… Thank you…" The tears that spilled over onto Tsuna's cheeks caught both him and Nana by surprise, and Nana's heart broke all over again. Silently, she resolved to be a better mother for her son.
Tsuna had a crush on a girl in his class. Her name was Sasagawa Kyoko and she had a beautiful, innocent smile. He had been in the same class as her since he was in kindergarten, but he never really had the courage to approach her. It was even worse now, seeing that she was the school idol and he was a social pariah. It was an unspoken rule that social pariahs shouldn't interact with the top of the social hierarchy. Why? Tsuna didn't know. Things just was. However, with his new outlook on life, he began to question it. There was no reason he couldn't talk to her, after all. What was stopping him? Society's constructs on the rules of popularity? Who cared about that.
He was going to die in two years. What else did he have to lose?
"Sasagawa-chan. I like you." Kyoko stared at the boy in front of her. She knew who he was – who didn't? – but she didn't know him.
"I'm sorry, Sawada-kun, but…" It was hardly the first confession she had received, but something was different about the way Tsuna said it. Perhaps it was because he didn't ask her to go out with him?
"I know." Kyoko could tell, from the very beginning, that he didn't believe he had a chance.
Kyoko knew that people got hurt and sad when she rejected them, and that she couldn't make everyone happy, but there was a strange quality to Tsuna's sadness that Kyoko wanted to wash away.
Then, Tsuna smiled at Kyoko and took her breath away. "Thank you for giving me an answer," he told her, gratefulness in his voice, before he turned around and walked off.
"Wait!" Kyoko called out, but Tsuna was already gone. She puzzled over her reaction. Why did she want Tsuna to stay? Did she… like Tsuna after all?
…Well, it was another problem for another day. She had time to sort out her feelings, after all. It wasn't as if the two of them would be going anywhere in the next few years.
Tsuna's English teacher walked in one day to cheerfully announce that she had gotten in touch with her friend from Italy and they would be carrying out a pen pal program. It would be to improve the students' grasp of the English language as it was the only common language they had with their pen pal. Since it wasn't compulsory, Tsuna didn't feel like participating in the activity. It seemed troublesome to have to write in English to someone he didn't' even know but…
What did he have to lose?
It would be nice to make new friends, especially someone who didn't know him as 'Dame-Tsuna'. And it was also a good way to improve his English. He didn't want to do badly for his tests, after all. It would disappoint his mother.
A week later, he started his correspondence with a boy with the pen name Orchidea Bianca. Apparently, it was Italian for white orchid, Byakuran. Tsuna decided to go with an Italian pen name for himself as well, and called himself Decimo, which meant tenth. It was rather fitting, considering that he was the tenth sacrifice for this earth.
And so, Tsuna found a new, and rather odd friend, in Orchidea Bianca. And he was happy.
Bullies were a problem in every school. With Tsuna being, well, Dame-Tsuna, there was no surprise that they would hone in on him. Tsuna's first few weeks at Namimori Middle were blissfully bully-free, as everyone was still settling into the middle school system, but once they got used to the school, the bullying started again. If Tsuna was who he used to be, he would just submissively lower his head and take the abuse. However, he was different now. Life was short, way too short for him to live with his head down. And really…
What did he have to lose?
With that thought in mind, he straightened up and regarded his bullies with a sort of calm a person had right before they died. He didn't really know what to say to them, but he did remember certain Italian phrases Orchidea Bianca had taught him. They were nothing much, just basic conversational things, but Tsuna reckoned that anyone would feel a bit intimidated if someone talked to them in a language they didn't understand.
Sure enough, the bullies backed off, confusion and alarm in their eyes. Tsuna felt a strong sense of accomplishment. He had always wanted to stand up for himself, but was too afraid to do so. In hindsight, Tsuna found himself rather amusing. There might be repercussions for his act tomorrow, but today he was happy.
He hadn't been this happy in a long while.
There were a lot of things Tsuna regretted. However, he was steadily working through them.
He was thirteen and he was to die when he was fifteen. Two years was definitely not enough time, but there will never be enough time so Tsuna just had to make do with what he had.
Sawada Tsunayoshi had made sure to plan out his life, so that he could leave the world and die without regrets.
It was too bad that the arrival of a baby hitman ripped that plan to pieces.
I have left this extremely open-ended because there is an off chance that I might continue it. i have the ending planned out, but just that.
So basically, once every few hundred years someone with really pure & strong flames would be born. This person's sacrifice would allow the earth to continue to live (because trinisette). However, it only provides for around 200~300 years, so the remaining years, something needs to be done to sustain the earth. Hence, arcobaleno. However, it's only a temporary solution as there are not enough flames. Therefore, when Tsuna was born, the arcobaleno of his generation was getting weaker and Checkerface needed either arcobaleno replacements (not recommended) or a sacrifice.
Yeah, Giotto was the sacrifice before him. In this storyverse, Giotto died around 30ish. He left Vongola knowing that he was about to die and with the betrayal and all, he was like "wow great opportunity. I don't have to tell anyone that I'm going to die and can just quietly disappear somewhere." His will still exists in the Vongola rings, though, because it's just will. No flames.
I don't like the way I wrote this. Tsuna's become a woobie ugh. Also, I know the true meaning of Memento Mori, remember you will die, is for people to stop practicing vanity and cease putting so much importance in material objects but i like this one better.