Falling of the Arc
Disclaimer: Not mine.
When Tsuna came back to himself standing in the middle of the garden of his family's home in Namimori, he could not help but wonder what Reborn was up to this time and what was in store for him next. Being the victim of Reborn's schemes was not something new, but usually he would have found himself in a battle for his life, or at least his sanity and what was left of his dignity by now.
He gazed around looking for his friends, whenever Reborn kidnapped him and brought him somewhere else, it was usually some horrible training exercise or a test for the family. (He ignored the whisper of his hyper intuition in the back of his mind telling him, that his conclusions were wrong – at least this time.)
Unfortunately he could not spot any of his friends. Nor could he hear them, which was a bit worrying, if Tsuna was honest with himself.
Deciding that waiting for whatever disaster Reborn had in store for him to happen would get him nowhere Tsuna decided to look around and the moment he moved he froze, his intuition practically screaming at him. Immediately his gaze sharpened and he looked around. There was no danger that he could identify, but something was off.
He looked back towards the house and a shiver went down his spine when his eyes landed on the people sitting in the living room with the glass door wide open. One was undoubtedly his father, blond and buff like he always was. The other was his mother, but unlike his father she looked different from when Tsuna had last seen her with hair hair now reaching down to the middle of her back, not ending at her shoulders.
But it was the last person in the living room that shocked Tsuna.
Timoteo di Vongola.
The Ninth boss of the Vongola family and Tsuna's honorary grandfather. Something about the picture was wrong - Timoteo was standing and walking all while insisting on helping a flustered Nana to set the table, the last time Tsuna checked, or well more like had been informed, Nono was still bound to a wheelchair and not in the sense of a man recovering from an accident and getting the muscles in his legs working again, but simply due to old age. Something that should not get better, not even with copious amount of sun flames.
It was only when Tsuna tore his gaze away from the house that he noticed something else, something even more disturbing.
Everything was far bigger then it should be. Part of him hoped that it was Reborn who had somehow kidnapped him and brought him to a place that looked like his home to give him a false sense of security, but Tsuna knew that that was only wishful thinking. The people in the house were indeed his mother, his father and Nono and the house was indeed the house he had grown up in.
A shiver raced down his spine and a very bad feeling started to make itself known, yet Tsuna forced himself to look down at his hands.
Because those were his hands and - he reached up to pat his fluffy hair - the hair was his as well, even if his hands were way smaller and softer than they should be after his training. Tsuna flexed his finger, noting their shortness and slight clumsiness the child's hands - because that is what they were - still held. The burn scars that had littered his hands were gone as well and while Tsuna could not help but wish that he had found himself in a very well crafted illusion. Which was a fools hope.
In a battle between illusions and his hyper intuition is was usually his intuition that won, making him well equipped to deal with them and now his intuition was not even attempting to put of a fight.
That meant that he really was home. And also that for some reason he was smaller, and dare he think it younger. The impression was not only strengthened by the appearance of his mother and Nono, but also by the fact that the tree in the garden was smaller, some prominent branches that Tsuna remembered were missing, the veranda did not have the burned patch that Yamamoto and Gokudera had caused in one of their squabbles, nor were the traces of the countless reparations that had taken place after Reborn had arrived, visible on the house.
It was as if time had been turned back and he was back in his childhood. Tsuna vaguely remembered Timoteo once visiting his family, as he later found out this was also when the Ninth had sealed his flames.
Tsuna wasn't sure what could have caused him to awaken his flames at this point, but he was pretty sure he would have remembered if someone had tried to kidnap him or something like that. Not that it would have been smart of any potential kidnappers to act when the security around his home was even tighter then normal because the Don of the Vongola familia was visiting. Surely at least one of the old mans guardians had accompanied him to Namimori.
He was pulled from his thoughts when he felt something tug at his pant leg. Curiously he gazed down. Big brown eyes gazed up at him from the face of a small dog that was wagging it's tail happily and pushing the ball that Tsuna could remember from his own childhood towards him. The dog barked.
Tsuna was quite sure that he would never really be fond of dogs, but he did not longer panic around them. It wasn't because he thought dogs were any less scary, it was simply because the range in which he had judged his fears had shifted drastically over the years. What had once been pretty much the high of scary - barking dogs - was no barely worth mentioning, at least as long as Reborn was not involved.
So instead of given his typical "HIE!" he knelt down next to the dog to pat it's head. While trusting his intuition on serious matters still took a lot of effort on Tsuna's part, by now he had learned the hard way that his intuition was spot on when it came to the intentions of those around him, whether he could identify what his intuition was telling him was another thing, but the dog clearly only wanted his attention.
Tsuna grinned, part of him very glad that there was something to distract him from his thoughts. Used to strange situation or not, Tsuna really did not want to think about what kind of consequences his appearance in his own past could have. Especially since he did not appear as a teenager, but in the body of his younger self.
He pushed the ball away and watched as the dog raced after it.
Maybe whatever had landed him here would wear of any moment and he would find himself back in his bed in his room, with Reborn telling him that his inability to evade whatever had send him into the past was not fitting for a mafia boss and he would be punished accordingly.
The dog brought the ball back and barked happily, Tsuna pushed the ball again and tried to keep from crying as his intuition informed him, that his hope was futile. Whatever had caused him to be here would not wear off, and Tsuna could not help but fear that the not could as well be replaced with a never.
He shivered and when the dog came back Tsuna crouched down to pet it. The dog did not seem to mind and instead licked his hands happily, it's tail wagging against the ground.
"Tsu-kun! Come in please, it's time for dinner."
Tsuna stood up from where he had crouched while patting the dog. There was only one way to deal with this situation really and that was to go along with it and wait for the next stone to drop. Living and being trained with Reborn had most certainly prepared him to deal with that. If this was truly time travel as he suspected (feared), than it would either wear off or… He did not really want to think of it, but wasn't it just his luck?
Tsuna looked towards the door and found his fathers standing in the open doorway. Apparently he had taken to long to answer. His mind spun to come up with an excuse but it wasn't needed as his father laughed loudly.
"Now look at that."
With a few long strides Iemitsu has crossed from the veranda to the lawn, picked Tsuna up and swung him around. Said boy let out a squeal of surprise.
To Tsuna's chagrin Iemitsu did not put him down, instead he held his son out in front of him making Tsuna's feet dangle like those of a puppet.
"The dog is not that scary after all, huh?"
Tsuna's fear of dogs, that even his training with Reborn had not managed to rid him off, it had simply shifted said fear from small cute dogs, to very large beasts that hunted him through the streets in an attempted to get him to run faster, was not something that Tsuna had expected his father to bring up, but if his time travel theory was correct ( his intuition told him it was) and if he was truly on the day that he thought he was (again), then the dog was a bigger piece of the puzzle than Tsuna had first though.
Tsuna nodded, causing his fathers grin to widen, but his mind was whirling. Taking a short glance down at the dog that had decided to retreat a little at Iemitsu's approach, Tsuna concluded that it was indeed their neighbor's dog. The dog that had scared his younger self so much, that he had first activated his flames and caused them to have them sealed.
Tsuna expected his intuition to go hi-wire, he knew the implications of time travel after all and he did not want to be responsible for the rise of another like Byakuran, but his intuition stayed conspicuously silent.
His father's voice brought him back to reality and he reminded himself to simply go along with it for now. What had happened with the dog could no longer be changed, but that did not mean that it was a good idea to draw attention of another kind to himself, when his intuition purred in agreement in the back of his mind he breathed an internal sight of relieve. Reborn had always told him to listen to it, so the hitman would not kill him if he did just that.
Iemitsu's smile widened and gained a slightly goofy tilt.
"Ah thank god, my little Tuna is still calling me tou-chan, I though now that he conquered his fear of dogs he would consider himself too grown up to do so."
Tsuna twitched slightly, very tempted to do just that, but it would be out of character for his younger self, so he pouted instead.
"But tou-chan is tou-chan!"
The answer seemed to please his father as the man chuckled and opened his mouth to say something else, only to be cut off by his wife's voice calling them from within the house.
"Iemitsu? Tsu-kun? Dinner? Timoteo-san and I can eat alone if you don't want any."
Tsuna could hear the playful pout in his mother's voice and the slight chuckle of Nono. Iemistu apparently did as well, as the man laughed and settled Tsuna on his hip, before going back to the house. Tsuna bouncing as he went and trying very hard to get over the feeling of disconnection that was caused by the fact that someone was carrying him like a little child, even if he technically was one right now.
"Of course we want dinner, dear, but you won't believe what Tuna just did!"
Tsuna steeled himself, knowing that whatever was going on, it was surely only the beginning, this was his life after all.
In Tsuna's eyes the day could not be improved, not even by his mother's fantastic cooking. Every breath Tsuna took he hoped would wake him up and that he would find himself back in his bed ten years in the future, having overslept and far to late for school. Hyper intuition or not he could not help but hope, but then again denial had always been something Tsuna had excelled at, at least self-denial.
That said, while the day did not progress the way Tsuna wanted it to, it was by no means unpleasant, just a bit awkward at least on Tsuna's part. He was six years old again and had no idea how to act. While he had interacted with Ipin and Lambo at that age Tsuna, for all that he loved the two, was very much aware of the fact that they were anything but ordinary children and Tsuna at age six had been painfully normal.
His mother in celebration of his father's return and the fact that the man's boss was visiting had cooked quite an elaborate meal. Nana was an excellent cook and it was always startling to see when she went all out. But what Tsuna liked the most was the incredibly happy look on his mother's face when someone complimented her cooking or when the house was full and lively.
Tsuna ate silently while the adults made polite conversation. It had been a long time since he had been allowed to eat in peace like that and he enjoyed it quite a bit, even if he felt a bit like Dino as he tried not to make to big of a mess with his chopsticks as he was unused to his shorter fingers.
Timoteo who should have been unused to eating with chopsticks seems to have no such problems, it was just the tiniest bit frustrating.
He gazed at Nono again, but this time something caught his eyes and pulled his attention away from the chopstick dilemma. It was the Vongola Sky ring. Glinting slightly in the light of the living room and twinkling almost cheerfully at Tsuna. The bad feeling that said ring had something to do with his presence in this time creeped up on him and Tsuna cursed his hyper intuition for making it impossible for him to unthink that thought.
"What is it that fascinates you so much about this old ring Tsunayoshi-kun?"
Startled out of his thoughts Tsuna's head jerked up and he met the eyes of Nono who was gazing at him curiously. It suddenly occurred to Tsuna that he must have been staring rather intently at the man's hand for a while now. For a moment he allowed his gaze to flicker from Nono to his parents. His mother seemed amused, while his father just like Nono seemed curious, if not a bit worried as well.
It would make sense. While a child may have been intrigued by the Vongola sky ring, the focus Tsuna had showed must have a bit unsettling, especially when the child staring was a known descendant of Vongola Primo.
Instinctively Tsuna ducked his head an action that Reborn had tried very hard to train out of him.
"The color…Orange is my favorite color."
Luckily, Timoteo had not sounded angry or suspicious, only amused and indulgent. It reminded Tsuna of the fact that in the eyes of the people around him he was only six years old. On a teenager the staring he had been doing would have been considered rude,but on a child it would be put aside as idle curiosity. Especially coming from a civilian child.
"It was glimmering and I wanted to know if it was really orange."
Nono chuckled and from the corner of his eye he noted that his father breathed out a sight of relieve.
"I see." Then to Tsuna surprise the man held out his hand with the ring to Tsuna allowing him to get a good look at it. Startled Tsuna looked up, but the old man simply nodded encouragingly, a small smile on his face.
"Go ahead Tsunayoshi-kun."
Hesitantly Tsuna reached out and took the old man's hand. The Vongola sky ring looked different, not unfamiliar, Tsuna had originally worn this ring as well, but after they had them unsealed and then remade the design, while still reminiscent of the current form had been different.
He did not dare touch the ring, fearing what might happen especially with the way his intuition was ringing in the back of his head.
"I never really though of it like that, it is a family heirloom you see and I will pass it on to one of my son's when the time is right."
Tsuna suppressed the flinch at Nono's words, knowing full well, that that was not possible, as Nono would loose all of his son's but Xanxus and the relationship with the latter had not been repaired as far as Tsuna knew. The one who would eventually get the ring was Tsuna himself.
"You have sons?"
A chuckle was his answer.
"Indeed I have. There are four of them, the youngest is fourteen now."
"He is big."
This time both his father and Nono chuckled.
"That he is."
Tsuna released the old man's hand with a quite thank you and went back to his food. It did not take long for the conversation between his parents and Nono to spring up again. With a sight that went thankfully unnoticed by the adults at the table Tsuna tried to straighten out his thoughts. The reminder of all the death had bee disheartening. Seeing Nono as he was now and comparing him to the man Tsuna had gotten to know in the future, it was easy to see how heavy the loss of his sons' had hit the man.
When Reborn had first arrived and announced his fate as the next boss of the Vongola, Tsuna had seen the pictures of the dead bodies, but to his shame he had never really thought about them more then the slight resentment he had held for them for dieing and leaving him with the mess that was the mafia.
In retrospect the arrival of Reborn in Tsuna's life had been both the best and the worst thing that had ever happened to him, the worst for obvious reasons and the best because Reborn had changed Tsuna's life completely. He had given Tsuna drive and courage and challenged him and not taken any excuses. Half the thing that Tsuna had done under Reborn should have been impossible for him, but somehow he had pulled through. Tsuna did not want to be Vongola Decimo, neither did he want to be Neo Vongola Primo, but for all that the mafia was terrible and cruel it was also the place were Tsuna had found his family.
After dinner Nana retreated to the kitchen and Iemitsu and Nono started to converse in Italian, leaving Tsuna playing in the living room with the toy car his father had brought him as a present.
At first Tsuna had made a half hearted effort to play with the toy, but his head was still spinning in circles and being left alone was not really something he wanted right now. He needed something to focus on and the conversation between Nono and his father was just the thing.
"Bed time Tuna."
Tsuna pouted, and it was no act, he had liked laying on the ground in the living room just fine, especially because it had allowed him to listen to his father's and Nono's conversation without them knowing. The themes had not been all bad. There had been some family business mostly straightening out some points of a report that Iemitsu had given Nono on the flight to Namimori. After that the two had talked a little about some new recruits. The name Basil had been mentioned and the fact that he was the child of one of Iemitsu's subordinates who had died on an assignment leaving the child in the care of the CEDEF. Tsuna had often wondered how the other boy had ended up under his father tutelage and had sometimes been a little jealous as well, because he had easily realized that Basil knew his father far better then Tsuna did. That Iemitsu had been a better father to Basil than he had been to his own son.
Now he felt a bit bad about his thoughts. After all he still had his mother. For all that the absence of his father had left a whole in Tsuna's life. He had still had his parents and his mother had showered him with love everyday. Tsuna sat and rolled around to sit up from where he was lying, it made sense that his father would think that he was tired given the fact that he had been lying there unmoving and simply listening, a look at the clock told him that it was his younger self's bed time anyway.
"Do I have to?"
His dad chuckled good naturally.
"You are nearly asleep anyway little man."
Tsuna shook his head, even if he was a bit sleepy, he could deal, it was not like he had to get up early tomorrow.
"No. I'm listening."
His father's hands froze for a moment, but the movement of picking him up was still smooth.
"It sounds nice."
It did, Tsuna had always thought that Italian sounded nice, actually understanding what was said, especially considering his company, had taken the charm away a bit, but it still remained true.
"It does, what is it?"
It was Timoteo who answered and Tsuna gazed over his fathers shoulder to look at the man, only to be forced to wiggle around in his father's grip as the man turned as well. The older mafia boss was smiling kindly, but there was a certain wistful edge to it.
"Why does tou-san speak Italian?"
His father blinked at him and then grinned widely.
"Well, I work in Italy a lot, so I had to learn the language and..."
Iemitsu hesitated for a second, but carried on smoothly.
"My great-great grandfather was Italian. It's the reason tou-san has blond hair."
Wide eyed Tsuna looked at his father, not really because of the revelation, but mostly because his father had just so carelessly told him something that Tsuna had only found out years later.
The two adults chuckled at his stumped expression.
"So I have to learn too?"
His father chuckled and Nono smiled kindly.
"Only if you want to."
Tsuna didn't not really and he never really wanted to either, not that Reborn had given him a choice. The thing remained, that he did speak Italian, remarkably fluently, if he dare say so himself, and should he ever slip it could get him in trouble.
Hoping to wake up any moment or not, it would be smarter to plan for long term.
"I want to."
His father chuckled and messed up his hair.
"Then tou-chan is papa."
Tsuna nodded, repeating the world.
Apparently caught up with teaching his son a couple of Italian words Iemitsu settled down on the couch, Tsuna still in his arms.
"And kaa-chan is mamma."
Tsuna nodded again and repeated the world again. He figured he should have seen that coming, maybe going to bed would have been better than a very basic vocabulary lesson. His father continued on for a while, given Tsuna easy words to remember and then telling him how to introduce himself and how to ask for another name. At that point Nono had decided to join in at well to provide a conversation partner for Tsuna. The young boy was a bit bemused by their behaviors, but at the same time he could not help but feel a warm feeling in his chest. It was nice to see that the two of them took time for him. Especially his father. Tsuna wondered why he had never interacted with his father like this when he had really been a child, but the answer came easily to him. His father had been a stranger to him most of his life. Especially when he was younger, he had not quite understood that the man was his father and that he was supposed to be close with him and when he had been old enough to understand he had reacted with bitterness to his father's absences. The ridiculous trips the man had dragged him on whenever he came for a visit, rare as they were, suddenly took a whole different light and Tsuna had to force himself to stay on track with his lesson.
He was supposed to talk to Timoteo, but Tsuna had really no idea how to address the man, in the future he had called him grandfather, but as Tsuna only knew the man as his fathers boss as this time he could not really do that.
He started the improvised conversation by introducing himself and then asking for the older man's name.
"Il mio nome è Timoteo di Vongola."
Tsuna had to force himself not to widen his eyesat the fact that Timoteo had answered with his full name at his momentary silence Nono continued on, this time in Japanese.
"But you can call me grandfather."
The man's eyes was kind and Tsuna's intuition told him that the man was honest in his offer. Nodding his head Tsuna grinned slightly.
"What is grandfather in Italian?"
Nono chuckled and there was a mischievous light in his eyes when he answered.
In the end it was not Iemitsu who brought Tsuna to bed, but Nono. The man had convinced his father that it was perfectly alright and that he missed bringing his own children to bed and would very much like to do it again, Surely Iemitsu had no problem with that, after all Iemitsu would be the one to bring Tsuna to bed tomorrow. Nana had been chuckling in the doorway of the kitchen and Tsuna, at that point once again in his father's arms, had felt a bit like a toy with two children fighting over it.
After Nono's win the older man had plucked him out of his father's arms and carried him up the stairs with a smile that was just a bit smug on his face.
For a man his age (and even at the point in time he was now, Nono was by no means a young man), the man's walk was deceptively smooth and firm. There was no trace of the weakness that would latch onto the man some years from now and chain him to a wheelchair, for any distance longer than a couple of steps.
When they were half-way up the stairs the smug edge to Nono's smile disappeared and he gazed down to Tsuna kindly.
"Will you point me the way to your room Tsunayoshi-kun?"
Tsuna nodded and pointed down the hallway towards the door that he knew had always been his room. He did not really need to think about it, and even if he had changed his room someday during the following years (which he had not), the nameplate( the one with the robot that he had made together with his mom, after he had been teased in kindergarten and she had wanted to cheer him up) on the door would have made it obvious which room belonged to Tsuna.
Part of him was offended as he was quite sure that Nono could not only speak Japanese but also read it, but another part of him was very much aware of the fact that he was currently shorter then even he should be, and that this was simply how older people interacted with children. He had done it himself after all.
Nono had not been joking when he had said that he was perfectly capable of tucking a child into bed. The man was a professional, he straightened the blankets with ease and tucked them in just right. Tight enough so it was warm, but not so tight that it would be restricting Tsuna's movements. Nono had even fluffed the pillow.
Tsuna tried to fight it, he really did, but he could not help but picture Nono trying to tug Xanxus into bed. Unfortunately Tsuna had no idea what Xanxus might have looked like as a child, so the image that his mind conjured up for him was that of the Xanxus he had first met during the ring conflict.
Whether the resulting image was terrifying or humorous was something that he could not decide.
A smile must have found it's way onto Tsuna's face because Nono chuckled and messed up his hair.
The old man hummed and straightened himself from where he had still been leaning over the bed.
"What is it Tsunayoshi-kun?"
Tsuna fidgeted a little, not sure if he really wanted to ask this question. Just a while ago he had been thinking about the fact that he had never really thought much about the old man's other sons, but now presented with the possibility of asking questions he found himself being unsure of if he really wanted the answers.
Arriving in the past had been strange, and Tsuna had no idea how long he would be here, no matter what his hyper intuition was telling him, he was sure that if the mind of his younger self ended up in his future body (and wasn't that a pleasant thought) his friends would work tirelessly on a way to get him back. Any change he might make could have devastating consequences.
In the end he let go of his hesitation and simply asked.
"What are your sons like?"
The older man blinked, obviously not having expected the question, but then he smiled widely and began to answer. The love clearly visible in the old man's eyes made Tsuna wonder just a bit how Xanxus could ever had doubted that Nono loved him.
The stories Nono told him were harmless, if a bit embarrassing, but for once it was not Tsuna's embarrassment. Like the fact that his eldest Enrico, apparently a very good friend of Tsuna's father (Tsuna had never known this) had been a terribly mama's boy growing up and to this day would ask 'How high' should his mother tell him to jump. Not that that would be the case much longer, Nono had confided quietly, as his wife was quite ill ( And dead ten years in the future Tsuna knew). Or that Massimo the middle child used to sneak the vegetables from his plate into his pockets and then hide them behind the curtain, only to regret it when he woke up in the middle of the night with mice in his room. Or Federico who was apparently the youngest (and the favorite, if Nono's indulgent tone was any indication) and how the boy used to escape his tutors by dressing up as a girl and evading capture. Or, and this one was most certainly Tsuna's favorite, how Xanxus used to hide under his bed, and take his blankets and pillows with him, every time it thundered outside.
Blackmail. Glorious Blackmail.
Tsuna really had been spending too much time around Reborn.
Nono told him other stories, mostly short anecdotes and as the son's that had simply been some guys before, slowly became more and more human in his mind, Tsuna promised himself that if (since, his intuition mumbled) he was indeed back in this time to stay, he would try to save them.
Eventually Tsuna's eyelids were getting heavies and heavier and he closed them to rest a bit. It was not anywhere near the time he was used to going to bed, but it appeared like beeing in his child's body was taking a tole on him. A while after he had closed his eyes Nono trailed off, at the end of another one of one of his sons' escapades, and Tsuna could hear him getting up from where he had taken a seat on the edge of Tsuna's bed.
The man crossed the room with soundless steps and the only indication Tsuna got as to when the man reached the door was the slight creep the doorknob made when it was pushed down.
Tsuna listened with his eyes closed until he could hear the door being closed quietly and not much later soft footsteps going down the stairs. Only when he could no longer hear anything but the quite murmur of the voices downstairs did he open his eyes.
This was the first time he could really look around his room since he had found himself in the past. After all it would not have done for Nono to wonder why his subordinate's son was looking around in his own room as if he had never seen it before (or as it was in Tsuna's case - not in a long time.)
It was quite obvious that it was child's room and a fairly orderly one at that. The only explanation for that that Tsuna could come up with was that at this age it had still been his mother who had been cleaning up the room.
Sitting up carefully so he did not disturbed his blankets too much Tsuna held his hands up before his eyes and took a deep breath. Calling up his flames without the help of the pills was not something that he had mastered yet, no matter how much Reborn had pushed and punished him. Flames were resolve and unless Tsuna had something he needed to protect, he would rather avoid fighting and he just knew that at least Hibari, and probably Ryohei too, would have been quite happy to test him should he be able to call up his flames on command and without aid.
Eventually Tsuna managed to call up his flames, it was no more than a small flicker, but that was enough to knock him out flat. He had obviously forgotten how much strain the flames put on the body of someone who was not trained to use them and challenged them without a medium. It was almost scary how heavy his limbs suddenly felt and how he just managed to actually lay back down again before sleep overtook him. The last thought was once again the futile wish that in the morning he would find himself ripped form his sleep by the Leon-mallet and everything would be back to normal, or at least as normal as anything in Tsuna's life could be.
That night Tsuna had a strange dream.
He was in a dark cave and the only light seemed to come from an eerily glowing stone tablet. A stone table that Tsuna had seen once before and the moment his eyes landed on it he took a cautions step back, instinctively slipping into a defensive stance.
The curse of arcobaleno. The tabled depicting the origin and purpose of the Tri-Ni-Set.
The tabled that should be safely hidden away somewhere, save behind the strongest mist flames that existed on earth, unreachable to all. Yet Tsuna stood in front of it and if he stretched out his hand he knew he would be able to touch the stoney surface. The mist flames are still there, Tsuna's senses are ringing warning them of them, yet it is not their presence that unsettled Tsuna, but the fact that they were fading, disintegrating and the tablet was cracking at the edges, slowly but surely. Before Tsuna's disbelieving eyes one of the edges of the stone tables fell down, the small crack that had slowly deepened as Tsuna watched finally deep enough to cause the stone to fall.
The moment the stone touched the ground Tsuna woke up in the morning his hyper intuition practically screaming in the back of his mind and knew with a certainty that he had never felt before that whatever hopes he might still have nursed before. Whatever it was that had brought him here, there was absolutely no way to undo it. He was here to stay.
As it turned out waking up with hyper intuition screaming in the back of his mind was even worse then being woken by Reborn. The latter while usually painful, did not really leave him rattled and on his toes the whole day, but wore off quite quickly after the initial shock.
The dream had unsettled him greatly and there was only one person Tsuna knew of that could possibly be able to answer his questions. Kawahira. He was the administrator the the Tri-NI-Set after all and if he was correct and his strange time travel had something to do with the Vongola rings, that Kawahira might be the one to know more about it. He even lived in Namimori so reaching him should not be to difficult.
As it turned out Tsuna was wrong. While the man might still now the answer and even live in Namimori reaching him turned out to be downright impossible, given that he was currently a child and the adults were watching him like hawks.
At first Tsuna had not really thought about it and tried to walk out of the front door only to be stopped by his flustered mother, who thankfully had been pacified by Tsuna's excuse of wanting to see that dog he had played with yesterday again. Unfortunately she had decided to talk to his father, who had decided to take him to see the dog. His father and the neighbor had then celebrated the fact that Tsuna was no longer afraid of the dog by laughing loudly and exchanging some stories about Tsuna's previous attempts. It had not been funny at all.
And that one had been one of the less ridiculous outcomes, somehow it was like all the adults had decided that whenever Tsuna wanted to do something they had to come along. Intellectually, Tsuna was very much aware of the fact that they were simply being responsible, but as he was intellectually also sixteen years old it was grating nonetheless.
There had been that one moment when Tsuna had thought that he had finally succeeded and found a way out of his home turned temporary prison: He had told his mother that he wanted to go to the park and she has just been about to give in and allow him to go alone when Nono had offered up one of his bodyguards for the job.
From all of Nono's guardians Ganauche might be Tsuna's favorite, mostly because he was not as strict as the others,but in that moment Tsuna had resented him. Since he could not pull out without arousing suspicion, Tsuna had been forced to go to the playground. Ganauche had taken it in good humor and pushed him on the swings, played in the sandbox with him ( Tsuna had claimed that he was cooking like his mama) and then eventually walked him back home. When Timoteo had asked him how he had liked it Ganauche had simply laughed and answered that he had not minded a chance to stretch his legs a bit - in Italian and Tsuna curious gaze had promoted Nono to give him another lesson.
It was probably around the time they were naming all kinds of fruits that Tsuna gave up. Especially with the added help from Nono's guardians who seemed to find quite a bit of amusement in the act of Tsuna watching, he would not be able to get to Kawahira as long as his father and Nono were still in residence in Namimori.
When it was finally time for Iemistu, Nono and his guardian, two of whom, Ganauche and Schnitten, had met during the older man's stay Tsuna was close to celebrating internally. Both guardians had taken part in keeping Tsuna entertained and Ganauche had gone so far as to actively seek him out to play ball with him.
Tsuna at six would have been delighted once he got over his shyness, as people rarely wanted to play with him, at sixteen he went along with it because it was better then playing with blocks or paint deliberately bad pictures. He could have done without the baby sky comments though. They hadn't even stopped when Tsuna had shown that he had understood them, instead Timoteo had assumed him that it was just a cute nickname.
Under any other circumstances Tsuna was sure, that he would have said without doubt that he had been having fun, but if he could not remember much of his father's visits in his childhood except for what he would now call bonding activities that back then had simply been scary stuff the scary man did.
Had more of his father's visits been like this one, he was sure that they would never have gotten quite that estranged, but that had never been the case. If Tsuna remembered correctly, this visit especially had been a bit of an disaster that had ended with Tsuna releasing his flames for the first time, getting them sealed and spending three days sleeping. When he woke up Iemitsu and Nono had already left and Nana had been worriedly fussing over him.
That had not happened this time around.
Part of Tsuna worried about the changed this might cause, but as he had never needed his flames until Reborn arrived he was pretty confident that he would be alright, even if he could not shake of the feeling that things would be different this time around. He had vaguely considered making greater changes before, but he would rather talk to Kawahira beforehand. Maybe it was something that would eventually wear off and he would find himself in a drastically altered future. Without knowing, the risks were simply to great.
Nono said goodbye to Nana, while Iemitsu hugged Tsuna tightly.
"Take care of yourself, Tuna."
Tsuna nodded his chin bobbing against his father's shoulder.
"You too, tou-chan."
The older man laughed.
For a moment Tsuna hesitated, but then he decided to get it over with, because while he had never really said it in his conscious memory and sometimes he would rather not, it was true.
"I love you dad."
Iemitsu froze and his voice was a bit rough as he answered while tightening the hug for a moment.
"I love you too Tsuna. You and Nana, more than anything."
Had this happened in his own time, Tsuna might have asked, rather spitefully, if Iemitsu loved them more than the Vongola, but this was neither the place, nor the time for it, so he hugged his father more tightly instead.
Then Iemitsu released him and stood up, messing up Tsuna's hair as he went, before turning to Nana, who was looking at him a little teary eyed. Tsuna sighted slightly and looked to Nono who was smiling kindly at him. Tsuna smiled back and watched as Nono knelt down to get to his eye level, or closer to it anyway.
"Well then Tsunayoshi-kun. We might see each other again someday."
Tsuna nodded slightly and only hesitated for a moment to shake Nono's outstretched hand.
A pleased light lit the older's eyes.
The his hand was released and Nono stood up and turned towards the car that was waiting to take the men to the airport. Nana's hand landed on his shoulder and she smiled at him before turning her gaze back towards the man now getting into the car, as he got into the car Ganauche turned around and gave a cheerful wave. Tsuna waved back and then watched with his mother as the car drove away.
In the evening Nana cuddled Tsuna a bit longer than usual, evidently she was already missing it father, and Tsuna felt a bit bad for actually feeling relieve that it was just the two of them now. Then he brushed it aside, knowing that as callous as it may sound, his investigation was more important. It might have taken far longer than he had wanted, but tomorrow he could finally work on finding a way to talk to Kawahira.
As it turned out Tsuna never got a chance to try to find a way to set out to talk to Kawahira on his own, because that night someone came to find him instead.
Tsuna woke in the middle of the night as soon as his window slid open, it was a survival technique that had been one of the first things that Reborn had tough him. Usually knowing when somebody was sneaking up on you was a great help, but given that he was technically in the body of a six year old (and most certainly not one with super powers - yet), the only thing that he would have going in his favor was the element of surprise. So he forced himself to relax, his mind desperately trying to remember what Reborn had told him about keeping his breathing pattern even as to not give his awakened state away.
In theory it was easy, but in practice with someone sneaking up on you it wasn't.
The moment the hand landed on his shoulder Tsuna moves, trowing his weight against the other person - who to his surprise did not turn out to be much taller then him, which meant that instead of throwing the other person off balance, the force send them both tumbling to the ground. Biting back a curse, Tsuna tried to gain the upper hand, but whoever he was fighting was very good at hand to hand combat. It did not take to long for Tsuna to find himself pinned to the floor, the cold metal of a gun pressing against the underside of his head.
Tsuna had tensed the moment the cold metal had touched his throat and hardly even dared to breath.
"What did you do now Dame-Tsuna?"
The voice was different, but the intonation was so very familiar that Tsuna could not stop the relieved laugh bubble up from his mouth.
The pressure of the gun increased for a moment before disappearing immediately, so did the weight of the body pinning him to the ground. Now that Tsuna thought about it something was strange about that.
As soon as the light on his nightstand was switched on, Tsuna knew what it was that had been disturbing him. Reborn was the same size as him, not a baby and most certainly not an adult. He was also wearing strange clothes. Not strange as in clothes that Haru would come up with, but clothes that were quite obviously to big for him. The dress shirt was hanging past Reborn's knees and the dress pants were more then rolled up twice, he was also only wearing socks.
Tsuna blinked. He had never seen Reborn in anything but his ridiculous disguises or immaculately dressed.
"So Dame-Tsuna." Tsuna blinked.
"What did you do?"
At the last part Reborn's aura darkened and Tsuna would have stepped back had he been standing instead of still sitting on the floor.
"I have nothing to do with that." Reborn's expression did not change. "I simply found myself standing in the middle of the backyard. The last think I remember before that is going to bed. Really, Reborn, I didn't do anything. I swear it!"
The dark aura disappeared.
"That matches with what I remember. The idea that you could have pulled something this disastrous with me in the room is impossible after all."
Tsuna did wisely not chose to point out, that just moments before Reborn had thought him perfectly capable of pulling it off.
"So you simply found yourself in your old body as well?"
The hitman's head turned in his directing and Tsuna quickly amended his statement.
"Or well, were you were around the same time.. just a bit older."
Reborn actually did massage the bridge of his nose.
"Something like that."
The he straightened and despite the fact that Reborn at six was closer to cute than anything else he manged to seem somewhat intimidating, at least in Tsuna's eyes who knew perfectly well how dangerous the other had been even in the body of a baby.
"Dame-Tsuna, sum up what we know!"
For a moment Tsuna floundered, but he managed to collect himself before the slowly rising gun was pointed his way.
"We went to sleep and found ourselves in the past. I'm in my younger self's body.. and you in the body of a child."
"My own body as a child." Reborn corrected.
"Right," with a nod Tsuna amended his statement, while trying not to think to hard about it, "In your body as a child, which is a good thing, I guess…"
"How so?" Reborn sounded curious, and a bit annoyed as well. Tsuna was sure that part of the hitman's annoyance at his current form was the fact that his clothes did not fit him, but he was not suicidal enough to point that out.
"Well…" Tsuna trailed off, his mind racing to explain before Reborn changed Leon into a gun again, he liked the chameleon way better, before he realized that this was not really something he needed to think about, "I mean, you are no longer cursed, right?"
He gestured in Reborn's directing indicating the others body, while far from the man that Tsuna had seen during the ring battles (and yes, he had eventually figured out who it had been), at least it was no longer the body of an infant.
If Tsuna had to guess he would say that Reborn appeared to bit about his age. At that though a shiver ran down his spine, somehow his intuition was assuring him that that was exactly the case.
Surprisingly Reborn did not agree with him, he just gave Tsuna a look as if to tell him that he had missed something obvious.
Tsuna blinked at him, not sure what the other was getting at. Everything looked normal and Reborn still had his pacifier, but he was obviously not an infant. Then Reborn flared his sun flame and instead of the six year old hitman in too big clothes and a fedora that did not quite fit a baby in a well fitted suit was in front of him, looking very much like the Reborn Tsuna had first met. The yellow glow was lighting up the room and as Tsuna watched Reborn deactivated the flame, immediately he was back in his child form.
Tsuna cleared his throat.
"Well… It's still better than being a baby all the time."
Reborn tugged down his fedora, it was a familiar move, but this time the fedora did not stay were Reborn had tugged it, instead it slipped further down his face and the hitman had to catch it before it could fall down to the floor.
Tsuna bit the inside of his cheek. Hard.
The moment a familiar green gun was pointed at his face he knew that he had not managed to keep his face straight.
"It is strange though."
The gun did not waver, but as no bullet had come his way yet Tsuna continued.
"The curse should be gone, in the future the arcobaleno were growing normally again, weren't they?"
Reborn inclined his head minutely.
"That's what Shamal had said."
And even if Reborn did not say it, after half a year had passed since the resolution of the curse it had been quite obvious that the man was right as the changes in the Arcobaleno had been obvious. Whether they were truly growing like ordinary children was not sure, but they were growing up again.
"Then if the curse is back… Then that means that you should be a toddler again."
"If you aren't..."
There was a reason the arcobaleno had been cursed after all, despite what some of them believed, Tsuna knew that Kawahira had not cursed them to amuse himself, not even partly. The man had done it because it was the only way to keep the Tri-Ni-Set stable. The consequences of an unbalanced Tri-Si-net were far to server to for Kawahira to simply let be, even at the price of ruining other people's lives.
"That means something is wrong." He wet his lips.
"Are the others like you?"
To Tsuna's relief, and he felt just a bit bad about it, Reborn shook his head.
"No, I did not see all of them, but I checked up on Lal and Colonello just to be sure, nothing seemed out of the ordinary with them."
That was one weight off his shoulders.
"So it's not really related to the pacifiers, " he paused for a moment. "That is the original pacifier isn't it?"
"I know the Vongola rings have something to do with it."
Tsuna shrugged, he still felt silly saying it out loud, even to Reborn who was the one always encouraging him to trust in his intuition.
"Intuition... It was ringing in my head."
The hitman nodded, a pleased smile on his face.
"Good, you are finally starting to listen to it, but… " Reborn trailed off and tugged his Fedora down again, this time, Tsuna noted rather amused, he did hold on to it and made sure it did not fall off, "There are some people who might be able to answer our questions."
The slight note of menace made it quite obvious whom Reborn was referring too. Tsuna suppressed the urge to pinch the bridge of his nose - he could already feel the headache.
"I had planned on visiting Kawahira from the moment I came back."
Reborn seemed amused.
"Since the moment you came back Dame-Tsuna?"
"Well, pretty much the moment I came back… When I saw Nono's ring… and then there was the dream I had on the first night back."
The hitman straightened his posture unconsciously.
A nod was his answer, but Tsuna gazed out of the window.
"Yes. I was in a cave… And the stone tablet was there."
He knew he still held Reborn's attention.
"And it was breaking."
The severity of that statement was not lost on his tutor. For all that Reborn would like to get rid of the curse right now, the fact that the curse was part of the stability of the world as they knew it, would stop him from getting rid of it at any cost.
"Do you think that my partial curse is the reason for it?"
Tsuna thought about it for a moment, but in the end he shook his head.
"Not according to my intuition." He bit his lip.
"I think that us being here is more of a consequence then a reason, if that makes any sense. Especially since we were both brought back to the moment I had originally first used my flames…or just before it."
At this Reborn's gaze sharpened.
"Are they sealed?"
Tsuna shook his head and finally turned around from where he was standing by the window to face Reborn again.
"No. I wasn't sure what was going on and would rather not be helpless." A shrug. "And since I never used them until you arrived I don't think it will make a difference."
Reborn's lips twitched and he seemed amused.
"Whatever you say Dame-Tsuna."
He got a look in return.
"If it weren't for the fact that I arrived just when Nono and my father were here I would have had far less trouble to get out and gone to -"
Tsuna would have made a continued, but before he could do so, Reborn turned completely serious.
Nodding the brown haired boy leaned against the wall.
"We will go in the morning."
Reborn nodded in agreement and Tsuna breathed an internal sigh of relieve. He would not have put it past Reborn to drag him out in the middle of the night. The hitman had done so before after all.
"So when are you going to drop by tomorrow?"
At Tsuna's question Reborn snorted and dropped down on the bed with a grace that Tsuna would have believed impossible to pull of in the body of a child had he not seen it with his own eyes.
"I'm not planning on leaving Dame-Tsuna."
He should have expected it.
"Then budge over."
Reborn simply looked at him for a moment and Tsuna wondered if the other would order him to sleep on the floor. It would not be too out of character for the other after all. But Reborn did not terrorize him, instead he did indeed role over and made some space for Tsuna in the bed. It was quite surprising for Tsuna that Reborn had actually followed his order, and the moment that the fact hit home that he had kind of given Reborn and order and managed to get away with his life, he nearly screamed in surprise. Next to him Reborn snorted.
"Shut up and go to sleep Dame-Tsuna."
Tsuna tried, but having Reborn in his bed was quite different from having Reborn in a corner of the room, his presence like a looming shadow of pain and torture to come. A kick against his shin made Tsuna bit his lip to keep from screaming again and altering his mother.
"I said shut up."
Tsuna sighted and pulled his blanked up a bit father, ignoring the way Reborn scoffled and pulled it down again.
"Shutting up now."
He would just have to deal with it, like he had to somehow deal with everything else involving Reborn.
If nothing else he felt a lot better now that he knew that he was not on his own. He had never liked being on his lonesome after all and Reborn had been with him from the beginning, it was only fitting that Reborn was along for this misadventure as well.
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