A/N: Prepare yourselves.
10% KHR Premise
20% KHR Basic Storryline
15% KHR Characters and Basic design
5% KHR Setting
50% My Own Ideas
And 100% I REALLY WANT YOUR FEEDBACK ON THIS!
You have been warned.
Humans just aren't bulletproof
She was turning sixteen that year.
She didn't know why, but something about her life being relatively normal all the way up to this point felt terribly wrong to her. Something gnawing at the back of her mind, telling her that something wasn't right, that she should be doing something else entirely right about now, but she couldn't for the life of her understand what.
With a sigh, she turned her light brown eyes back towards canvas stationed in front of her, resuming the movement of her slender arm guiding the tiny limb that was her right hand holding the brush.
She had flecks of paint spattered all over the white short overalls she always wore when painting, the light-blue T-shirt under it left unharmed. Her messy, shoulder-length golden brown hair had been tied up into an equally messy ponytail at the back of her head.
Painting was one of the only things she could do right. One of the only things that managed to give her piece.
With a final smear between the darker and lighter color, Tsuna allowed herself to lean back and take a look at the result of her six hours on the porch.
She had skipped half the school-day again today.
This weeks painting was a forest clearing. The tree's greenery parting ways for the piercing rays of the sun, allowing the flower-covered grass to bask in it's warmth. She had added a bolder in the middle of the clearing to give the viewer more to look at and she smiled as she allowed her eyes to wander over the expertly placed shadowing.
She's always been proud of her sense for shadows.
Cleaning up her supplies, Tsuna carefully put each utensil back into the wooden briefcase in which they had their home. Each and every piece had it's own assigned spot and she triple-checked that everything was in place before she set the case down way out of reach for her bare feet.
Picking down the painting with great care, she carried it up to her bedroom where she hung it in the designated spot for "Painting of the week" as the paint dried. The Paintings from the previous weeks were stashed at the back of her closet. The only place she could put them really as her bedroom had a severe lack storage space.
After having fetched her art-supplies from downstairs, the young woman changed out of her paint-splattered clothing, hanging them back in her closet before putting on a pair of white jeans hot-pants, a pink and white striped hoodie that semi-clung to her figure as well as had sleeves that reached to her mid-palm and finishing the look with a pair of white thigh-socks.
Her clothing were practically the only things in her bedroom asides from her art-supplies and desk stationaries that had a designated place to put them and thus, one of the few things in her bedroom was had order to it.
Her floor was covered with discarder papers, books, half-filled sketch-books, her pen collection, make-up, jewelry, accessories, shoes, not to mention the antique toys her father had bought her from overseas for her birthdays and Christmas. Some of the toys he had gotten her were simply too beautiful to be put away, and so, they made their place in her bedroom as decorations that were rarely seen over the rest of the mess.
She really needed to get more storage space...
At the moment, that didn't matter to her as she dropped down into the very comfortable office-chair standing in front of her desk.
Breathing in the strong scent of fresh oil-paint, she popped open her laptop.
Her life was... to put it simply...
She had just graduated middle-school with barely passing grades and started high-school just two weeks ago. Somehow she had gotten the strange idea that high-school was going to be different.
How wrong she was.
High-school was just the same, if not worse.
Where middle-school had been filled with kids with low self-esteem at the beginning of puberty, High-school was a gathering of hormonal carnivores that were just waiting for something small to sink their teeth into.
And it just so happened that that little something was Tsuna.
She couldn't help it, she really couldn't. No matter how many lessons she took in classic ballet her sense of balance remained just the same. Non existence. She could trip over practically anything, the ballet just gave her the reflexes that prevented her from falling on her nose all the time. She had though she would outgrow it but she still found herself completely unable to focus during times of stress, she tries to sit down and take a test and her brain crumbles.
She hasn't passed a test since, ever.
The only reason she was able to pass her grades was because her homework all came back with passing, if not better grades and she volunteered to prove her knowledge in other means than tests in a desperate attempt not to get held back, and thankfully, it worked.
But now, she was stuck in a class of hormonal monsters that were all trying to make themselves feel better by trying to make her feel like something less than human.
And so, she buried herself in her own little world of art and the written word.
Her book collection was enormous, standing in stacks all over the room as she didn't have a shelf to put them on. She would read them whenever she returned home after a particularly horrible day as a means to escape everything.
Had she been any normal person, she probably would have ended it all a long time ago, but Sawada Tsunako was not a normal person. At least, she didn't think she was. As the days passed by she always had this strong, very, very, strong suspicion that something was going to happen to her, something that would change her life completely.
She just had to suck it up and deal with her life until that day finally came.
She woke up the next morning to the sound of her alarm-clock blaring at a medium-high volume.
She had discovered that it was easier for her to wake up to smaller sounds than loud ones for some reason. She didn't complain though as it worked and she didn't have to feel as if she was waking the neighbors with the sound of her alarm.
Leaving her hair in the usual mess it was in, she put on her uniform consisting of a short dark blue plaid pleated yoke-skirt, a white short sleeved button-up blouse, black socks that she preferred to wear up to her thighs, a red tie, and a black button-up vest with a black blazer edged in white over it.
She didn't bother checking her reflection in the full-body mirror standing in the corner to the left of her bedroom door. She knew what she probably looked like as all the garments apart from the skirt and socks were two sizes too big.
She had picked the size with future growth in mind, but she was paying for that choice in the mocking voices of her classmates believing that she was too ashamed to show off her figure since she most likely didn't have one.
Their words, not hers.
Wandering into the kitchen, Tsuna saw her mother standing at the counter like she always did, she was almost never seen anywhere else. She was wearing that regular light pink apron with long chocolate brown hair twisted up into a bun at the back of her head.
It had been jaw length two years ago but her mother found that she hadn't liked the look, and so she grew it out. Now, it reached a few inches below her shoulders meaning it was actually longer than Tsuna's when she actually took the time to brush it.
"Ohayo." Tsuna greeted, letting her school bag slip down against the leg of the dinner-table before she herself slided down onto the chair.
"Ohayo, Tsuna-chan." Sawada Nana greeted back, turning around towards her daughter with two plates clutched in her one hand and a glass of milk in the other.
No one could say that Tsuna got her lack of balance from her mother.
Or her hair for that matter.
It was odd to Tsuna that her mother had such a dark brown color of hair and her father (the Half- Italian that shall forever remain a secret to her school mates) had such a dark blond hair color whilst she got something of a mix between the two. Only, as her hair was at the moment, that particular factor was out of eyesight. It looked more like dark brown but that was just because she hadn't washed it in about three days now.
She should get to that before she goes to bed tonight.
Nana had made egg and toast for breakfast today with two wieners on the side. The woman sat down the two plates (one had the toast on it) in front of her daughter along with the glass and proceeded to just watch the teenager as she started eating, a worried look on her face.
About half-way through her meal, the look became too much for Tsuna.
"Mom." the girl called out, turning in her seat towards the woman.
At the sound of her daughter's voice, the woman jumped slightly. Too caught up in her own thoughts to register anything else then Tsuna suspected.
"Mom, what is it?"
It took a few seconds but the woman eventually let out a long breath, sliding into the chair opposite Tsuna, looking at her daughter with worried eyes.
"There's just something..." the woman began, closing her eyes for a moment before she looked at her daughter again. "I feel as if something terrible is going to happen today."
Tsuna couldn't help a frown from creeping up over her face.
Reaching out, she took her mothers hand.
"Nothing going to happen." she assured her. "It's just school."
Calming down a little, Nana smiled again.
"I suppose you're right."
Tsuna let out a sigh of relief once the bell signaling the end of school finally rang. Allong with several other of her classmates of course.
Standing up, she was just about to gather up her things when a group of boys at the back of the classroom caught her attention.
They had gathered up in a tight circle, whispering about something Tsuna was too far away to hear, but she was sure they were whispering about her if the looks she could see them throwing in her direction from the corners of their eyes were anything to go by.
Suddenly, the group parted.
There stood Takahashi, one of her more relentless bullies, his face a permanent smirk as he slowly began to raise what could only be a gun, barrel pointing directly at her.
Her blood run cold.
"I'm tired of your face Dame-Tsuna." Takahashi said. "Just die already."
In normal circumstances, the sight of a gun should have frightened everyone. But as Tsuna spared a glance at her classmates, she found some of them snickering into their hands in a lame attempt to try and look scared at the sight of the weapon.
So this was just a lame attempt to scare her then...
"Hey, stop that."
Tsuna turned her head to see Yamamoto Takeshi getting up from his desk, a serious look in his eyes as he stood behind Tuna, but a little to her right so that he would be able to see Takahashi.
He was not amused by their classmate's actions.
"You're taking this a little too far Takahashi."
Seeing Yamamoto serious was a very rare thing as he usually smiled at everything, so seeing him so serious, practically glaring at his shorter classmate was a new thing for them. A new thing that apparently, no one in the room liked seeing.
"Calm down Takeshi." Takahashi breather, lowering the gun a little.
He gestured with the gun, still pointing in Tsuna's direction.
"It's not even loaded, see." and so he took aim again, and pulled the trigger.
The silence that followed that cringe-worthy sound was even more deafening than the sound itself. Everyone just stared at Takahashi with eyes wide open in fear, some even took a step away from him, worried that he might turn the gun towards them.
Takahashi on the other hand, looked just as shocked as everyone else, his eyes turned towards the smoking gun in his hand. He didn't waste one second before he let the weapon drop down to the floor with a loud clattering sound.
Not one eye was turned towards Tsuna.
They probably should have been.
Slowly, the girl removed her hand clutching at the side of her stomach, looking down at it only to find her fingers covered in a thick, red liquid.
"Blood..." she murmured over the silence, each and every one of her classmates picking up on it for once in the few weeks she had been among them.
As if on cue, all eyes turned towards her just in time to see her knees give out from under her, letting her fall too the ground in what would have been a painful position had not one of the school's most popular athletes sun up to her and caught her in his arms before she did.
He stared down at her stomach, at the liquid that had begun to soak her clothing.
"Sawada." he said as he carefully maneuvered her to lie on her back, cupping his hands over her wound. "Sawada, stay with me."
Her eyes were still open, but as he looked at them, they were starting to loose their previous glow, clouding over.
"What is going on here?"
Everyone in the classroom froze at the cold voice of their disciplinary committee chairman. Yamamoto was the only one brave enough to look up at him.
Hibari Kyoya took a quick glance around the classroom, sparing a longer glance on Tsuna, the gun on the floor, and Takahashi before a fished his cellphone out of his pocket so quickly that one might have believed that it suddenly just appeared in his hand.
No one noticed him dialing a number, he just put the phone to his ear, his eyes never leaving Takahashi whom had begun to tremble where he stood, but all the younger boy did was stare at the bleeding girl in disbelief.
He had done that to her.
Hibari Kyoya shared a short conversation before he snapped his phone shut and stalked over to the girl who's life was slowly draining out of her. He crouched down opposite Yamamoto leaning over the girl, putting one hand to her cheek as he stared into her eyes.
"The ambulance will be here in five minutes." he said, his voice the only thing steady in the room at the moment. "You think you can hold on till then herbivore?"
For a moment, he got no response, then, Tsuna's lips moved.
This brought a smirk to Hibari's mouth.
"You're stronger than you look herbivore." he complimented. "Most people wouldn't be able to talk at this point."
This got a loose shake of her head.
"Used... to... pain."
And it was true.
Sometimes, when her classmates were tired of just bullying her with words, they took to physically hurting her. Pushing her down the stairs, shoving her into walls, pulling her hair. Anything that could help them vent their frustration made it's way to her. She was just glad no one had decided to vent their sexual frustrations on her yet.
A knowing look spread across Hibari's face before he shook his head.
He glanced at Yamamoto.
"Keep up the pressure on her wound." he said. "It's going to give her a few extra minutes."
Standing up, Hibari turned towards the rest of the class, the fires of rage burning inside his piercing, icy-gray eyes.
"I will not tolerate bullying inside my school." he murmured, however, just like Tsuna's one word, his was heard by each and every one of them, making their blood freeze up in their veins. 90% of the people in the room had taken part of the bullying at one point or another. The people that obviously weren't guilty were starting to gather around the dying girl, trying to give her the strength to keep living just a bit longer.
And Yamamoto Takeshi.
Hibari glared at the rest of the class.
Back in the Sawada Household, a plate slipped out of Nana's hand and crashed to the floor.
The ambulance arrived when Hibari said it would. The paramedics rushed up the stairs to their classroom and took the still bleeding girl from Yamamoto's hands.
Tsuna had passed out about a minute previously but Kyoko had been caring enough as to keep track of the girl's pulse, making sure that her heart was still beating until she had to move out of the way for the paramedics to take over.
It was a traumatic experience for the whole class.
One student desperately fighting for her life.
One student having to live with having shot someone when it was meant as a joke.
Three students having desperately tried to keep the drying girl alive.
And a whole classroom frightened out of their minds due to the punishment they would have to go through with the school's scariest person for bullying the girl, and it was the bullying that had caused the girl to end up in that position.
As the paramedics disappeared with Hibari in tow, (probably to ensure that they weren't behind the death of one of the students of his school) Yamamoto Takeshi remained on his knees, staring at his blood-stained hands.
Yamamoto had never actually thought about how fragile a life could be, and now, he had gotten to experience actually holding a life in his hands.
He never wanted to go through something so terrifying again.
Sasagawa Kyoko and Kurokawa Hana were right next to him, Kyoko's hands resting on his shoulders and Hana just stared. Desperately, they tried to gain some strength from each other as all three of them had been working on the same goal.
Keep Sawada Tsunako alive.
Silently, and without knowing it, the three of them all agreed on one thing. From that point on, the three of them would work to stop bullying at school. If what happened to Sawada Tsunako was anything to go by, then bullying can be much more dangerous than one believes.
Tsuna woke up in the hospital three weeks later with her Mom asleep next to her, clutching her hand.
Immediately, she knew something was different.
Before, she had felt as if her body didn't belong to her, like she was wearing the costume of a school-mascot that was too heavy and way too big for her and she also suspected that she must have been slightly allergic to the material of which the costume was made out of. But now...
Never mind the slight pain in her stomach, she felt as if someone had finally noticed her predicament and exchanged the costume for one that was more her size. It was still heavy and made out of the same material, but she wasn't as bothered by her own body as she was before. She tried out her limbs to see if anything was wrong with her but she found that all her motions were normal and her wound was almost healed.
She must have been in a coma for quite some time for that to happen.
Looking down at her mother's sleeping figure, she remembered the last time she saw her, what she had said.
"Looks like you were right Mom." she whispered, finding that there was not much wrong with her voice apart from the natural hoarseness that came with the lack of use.
Gently, Tsuna let her hand slide out of her mothers so that she may stroke it over her long hair.
She hadn't put it up today, and it looked considerably messier than it had been the last time she had seen her.
When was the last time her mother had showered?
At the touch of her hand, Nana began to stiffen.
Opening her eyes, Nana was met with those identical pair of light brown eyes she had been waiting for for three whole weeks at her daughters side.
"Tsuna-chan!" she called out in happiness, throwing her arms around her daughters neck and hugging her close to her chest. Nana had never been so frightened in her whole life as she had been that moment the school principal called to tell her that her daughter had been shot by a careless classmate and was currently at the hospital.
Sitting down with her daughter, Nana told her daughter what had happened whilst Tsuna had been out cold.
Apparently, Takahashi had been so devastated over what he had done that he had been sending her flowers.
Purple Hyacinth's to be exact.
At Tsuna's confused expression, Nana explained that the purple Hyacinth meant "I'm sorry, Please forgive me and Sorrow", the flower itself was very beautiful in Tsuna's eyes, and it was nice to have received flowers from someone even though they were a means to ask for forgiveness.
Then again, no one had ever apologized to her before so that in itself was a nice change.
But what Tsuna hadn't expected, was that she had had more than one visitor during her time in the coma.
The very next day, she had been reading one of the books her mother had brought her when someone knocked on her open door.
That was probably one of the voices Tsuna had never expected would call out to her.
Tearing her eyes away from the pages of her book, she stared wide-eyed at the fifteen year old in front of her.
Actually... she had been in a coma till the start of May and since his birthday was in late April... he was now sixteen.
"Yamamoto-san?" she asked uncertainly, carefully putting her bookmark on her page and closing it, placing it on the table next to her bed as the athlete stalked into the room.
There was something tucked in under his arm...
"Your mom called, said you woke up." he explained, sitting down on the visitors chair next to her as if he had done so a thousand times before.
Of course, this statement confused Tsuna.
Why would her mother call Yamamoto Takeshi, one of the schools most popular boys?
"She did?" she asked tentatively, anxiously rubbing her hands together.
"Yup." the athlete answered with a bright smile, making himself comfortable where he was sitting. "So how are you feeling?"
Again, Tsuna felt herself thrown out of the loop.
No one of her classmates had ever bothered to ask her about her well being before, it made her rubb her hands even harder. The pain helped her confirm that she really was awake and this wasn't some kind of morphine induced dream.
Not that she was in need of any morphine.
The pain was almost non-existent. The doctors just wanted to keep her in the building until the wound healed completely since her mother had explained to them that her daughter had a very poor sense of balance, and thus there was a large risk that the wound would re-open soon after she got back to her house.
Thinking back at the question he had asked her, she straightened herself in the bed.
"Honestly..." she muttered, brushing her bangs out of her eyes. "Better than I have in years."
This earned her a look of confusion.
"I don't follow."
Pulling her legs up to her chest, Tsuna allowed her head to rest on top of her knees, successfully folding herself in three as she let her eyes rest on the athlete.
He somehow looked so much different than he did surrounded by their classmates.
She decided to answer his question as honestly as she could.
"My body feels more like mine now."
As she expected, Yamamoto looked even more confused.
"And it didn't before?"
Slowly, she shook her head, letting her legs slide away a bit from her chest.
The two of them sat in silence for a longer period of time, not looking at one another as they thought over the situation in their minds.
Who would have thought either of them would be there?
This sparked a question inside Tsuna's head.
Awkwardly turning towards her classmate, she cleared her throat, succeeding in catching his attention.
"May I ask you something, Yamamoto-san?" she asked timidly.
Seeing her so uncomfortable brought a reassuring smile to Yamamoto's mouth.
"Shoot." it wasn't until just after he had said it that he realized just how insensitive that word probably was to her.
The word brought a rather uncomfortable look to the young man's face. He scratched the back of his head as he looked at her apologetically.
She shook her head, swallowing heard as she gathered up the courage to actually ask the question, worried that she would insult him.
"Why are you here?"
It may have sounded slightly as if she was complaining but they both knew that it was a valid question. Up until now, Yamamoto had been mainly indifferent to her existence ever since they were put into the same class during their first year of middle-school.
Huh... she hadn't really thought of it before but the two of them have shared the exact same class since middle-school, every year and even now that they entered high-school, they were once again put into the same class.
Sighing heavily, Yamamoto appeared to be reaching for Tsuna's hand, only he stopped himself before his fingertips had the chance to brush against the skin.
"Sawada..." one of his hands brushed through his ruffled black locks, ruffling it up even more. "I think it's impossible for someone to have someone else's blood on the hands without feeling the need to be close to the person." then he though over his words again. "Unless... you were the cause of the blood in the first place, then I have no idea what you would feel."
Realization dawned in Tsuna's light brown eyes, a stark contrast to his pondering dark brown ones.
"You mean..." she swallowed, trying to force her words out. "You mean that... you were the one who..."
"I was the one who pressed down on your wound until the paramedics arrived, yes." Yamamoto admitted, once again locking his eyes with hers.
They sat there, staring at one another for a longer period of time.
At that moment, Tsuna felt a strange connection to the athlete. It wasn't a romantic connection in the least, but she felt like her life was somehow connected to his.
She didn't know weather that connection had been there all the time and she just didn't know, or if it had come to being the moment he had put his hands on her bleeding stomach, but she knew, she just knew, at the back of her mind, that she was connected to this young man in a way she had yet to figure out.
"Yamamoto-san..." she muttered, forcing the both of them out of their thoughts. "You saved my life."
This earned her a light laugh and another scratch behind his head from Yamamoto.
"I guess I kind of did, huh..."
The remained there, talking about whatever Yamamoto could think about.
The main subject was how school had been since she was about. And, according to Yamamoto, their whole class had gotten rightfully punished for everything they had done to her and most of them had loudly declared that they would never bully anyone in their lives again. But of course, both she and Yamamoto knew that that declaration wouldn't hold once their lives fell back the way they were before and they had to take their frustrations out on something.
However, Tsuna found herself not dreading returning to school.
Something told her that her life would be a lot easier to live once she was finally released from the white-painted walls that were constantly trying to blind her with how bright they were in the sunlight. In fact, she was kind of looking forward to going back there after so many days locked up in there.
They had been talking for a few minutes when Tsuna's eyes fell on something that had completely skipped her attention.
The plastic bag that had been tucked in under Yamamoto's arm when he had stepped into the room. It was now leaning against one of the legs of the chair, just waiting for someone to notice it again.
"What's that?" Tsuna found herself asking.
It had gotten easier to talk to him, considering she had been unable to get out a word to anyone in her class before, and now here she was, conversing with one of the school's most popular people as if it was the most natural things in the world.
Glancing down, Yamamoto's eyes widened.
"Oh, I almost forgot!" he exclaimed, leaning down to fish up the bag with expert swiftness.
Letting the bag rest on his lap, he reached into if.
"I found these among your things in school." he looked up at her apologetically, obviously apologizing for going through her things but she didn't hold it against him. Someone had to take care of her things when she was out after all. Finally, he cleared his throat. "I figured you might want to have it until you can get out of this place."
Out of the bag, he fished out her thick, half-filled sketch-book that she had kept in her desk, allowing with the casket of artist pencils she had brought with her that day.
To be honest, she was quite surprised to see those two objects again.
Taking the objects from the athletes hands, she stroke her hand over the sketch-book's cover. She stared at it in disbelief at the good condition it was in.
She had always been worried about keeping her things in school, in case one of her bullies decided to go through her desk and ruin her things. So having them in front of her, looking like she hadn't been away at all, was a great relief to her.
Looking back at Yamamoto, she gave him her biggest, most genuine smile she had ever given anyone for years.
Slightly taken aback at the sudden smile, Yamamoto had to shake his head before smiling back at her.
"Don't mention it."
Suddenly, a loud beeping rang through the air, resonating from Yamamoto's wrist watch.
Looking down at the annoying noise-maker, Yamamoto sighed in frustration as he turned off the blearing noise.
He grabbed his bag as he got up from the chair, looking down at Tsuna looking up at him with questioning look in her light brown eyes.
"I got to go." he said, sounding somewhat regretful. "Baseball practice starts in about half an hour so-"
"I get it." Tsuna cut him off, her hand raised with the palm facing him.
She knew how much Baseball meant to him and she didn't want to be the thing that stood between him and doing the thing he loved.
He smiled gratefully at her as he walked away.
Only he paused in the doorway.
"By the way, Sawada."
Looking up from the sketchbook, she was met with the signature smile that everyone has associated with the athlete.
"You're really good at that." with that said, nodding towards the sketch-book. The athlete then gave her a wave, and disappeared out the door, leaving the girl alone to stroke her hand over her book.
And so began her acquaintanceship with Yamamoto Takeshi. It would soon be followed with Kurokawa Hana whom visited her a few hours later with the homework she had missed during her time in the come, even helping her finish it in the shortest time possible. And the next day, she would get to know Sasagawa Kyoko who came over with some food that hadn't been prepared in the hospital kitchens.
Who would have thought that Tsuna would have to get shot in the stomach before she had the chance to actually start living?
A/N: This chapter was actually finished the day after I finished the first one...
Which was actually TWO days before I even uploaded it...
I can't help but to feel slightly evil but I did it for one reason and one reason alone.
To ensure that you beautiful humans will receive regular, scheduled updates consisting of one chapter every week without fail for at least a couple of months from this day forward.
The next chapter WILL be up by Friday and the chapters that follows will be up by the Friday's that follows.
In case I even slip out of my creative phase, or momentarily loose interest in what I'm writing, I will still have chapters ready for your enjoyment that you have yet to see once a week until I start to actively write again.
I will make sure to inform you if I won't be able to give you a weekly chapter anymore.
I hope that makes up for it.
Please tell me what you think and the next chapter WILL be up next week, that is a solid promise, unless my computer crashes of course.