Disclaimer: Katekyo Hitman Reborn! belongs to Akira Amano. The Gamer belongs to Sangyoung Seong and Sang-a
AN: I've changed the system shown in The Gamer a bit to better fit the Reborn! Universe.
Tsuna tended to like dreams.
He didn't like nightmares, but he liked dreams. So he didn't really blink when he found himself standing in front of a display titled "The Game". Beneath that display was a smaller display saying "Start?" Tsuna also liked games, and so he poked the start display. The display changed to "Welcome". As the area around him faded to white, Tsuna absently wondered what kind of game this would be.
Tsuna was in his bed, looking at an orange screen above his head that said "You got 8.75 hours of sleep!" Tsuna thought that it was interesting. Was it a part of his dream game?
He got up and dressed, quietly noting the various displays. "You got dressed!" "Time: 7:12" "Breakfast is ready!"
"Tsu-kun! Breakfast is ready!" Nana called from downstairs.
"Coming!" he yelled back. Tsuna jogged out of his room…
… and promptly tripped over his own feet and fell down the stairs. As his various aches and pains made themselves known, Tsuna blearily realized that there was a new display. "You have lost 1HP."
It wasn't a game.
Tsuna promptly had a hysterical breakdown.
Nana could be quite oblivious sometimes. But even she could see that something was very wrong with her son, and so Tsuna was allowed to stay home.
It took three days of hiding in bed for Tsuna to realize that no, the displays weren't going away and yes, this was his life now. And so it was a red-eyed and quiet Tsuna that got up to prepare for school on Saturday. He did his best to ignore the various displays and went down for breakfast a lot slower than normal. Even so, he could not quite ignore the display above Nana that said "Sawada Nana Housewife LV 12". Or the one above his cereal that said "Cereal + 1HP". Tsuna did try though.
It was on the way to Namimori Elementary that Tsuna discovered there were benefits to his new life. He was walking down the road when a bright orange flashing display popped up saying "HIDE". Tsuna didn't question it but hid behind a few trashcans in a nearby alley. A few minutes later a group of three young men stumbled past, dressed like hooligans with bright red faces. One was waving a knife. The display above their heads read a name and "Junior Yakuza LV 16"
Tsuna could barely dare to breathe as the men stumbled past. It was clear that these men were dangerous. After a few minutes, once it was obvious that the yakuza weren't coming back, Tsuna crept out of his hiding spot. As he continued walking to school, he reflected on what had happened. If Tsuna hadn't hid when he had, he could have gotten seriously hurt. Maybe this game thing wasn't so bad.
It was with a lighter heart that Tsuna slipped through the gates of his school a few minutes before the bell rang. This time, as he hurried to his seat in his classroom, Tsuna was careful to take note of the displays. There was one above each of his classmates' heads, saying their name, Classmate, and their LV. Tsuna noted that with the exception of a few people, all of his classmates were LV3. The exceptions were a Kurokawa Hana and a Mochida Kensuke, who were both LV4. Tsuna remembered that Kurokawa was considered the class genius and Mochida was a rising kendo star. So maybe that was why.
When the teacher entered, Tsuna noticed that the teacher's LV was 15. So did a person's LV increase with age? But the new yakuza looked younger than his mother and the teacher, and they had a higher LV. Tsuna remembered seeing something like this before. He'd check it out when he got home.
Well, that was unusual, Tsuna thought as he looked at his homework, or really the display overlaid on his homework. It said "Daily Mission: Homework. Complete all problems on your homework and turn it in! Time limit: 2 days. Reward: +5XP, increase reputation with teacher. Fail Penalty: Decrease reputation, increase teasing." Tsuna shrugged. He'd think about it later. Right now, he wanted to see what else the game could tell him about his town.
Tsuna took the long route home, wandering through the town of Namimori. He passed by shops and houses, looking to see what the displays said. It wasn't difficult to see that most adults had LVs in the teens, although some of the elderly and a few others had LVs in the twenties. Tsuna spent at least an hour wandering around the shopping district, watching all the people and trying to figure out LVs and what they meant. There was a group of extremely well-dressed, pretty young women shopping, but they all had very low LVs. The highest one was LV 11. On the other hand, there was a homeless man eating food that he may have pulled from one of the garbage cans, who had a LV of 22. Did that mean that the less well-off you were the higher your LV? But the kids at school were almost all the same LV, and some had more than others. Tsuna didn't get it. Furthermore, a lot of people had question marks above their heads. Tsuna didn't know why that was either.
Eventually Tsuna wandered home. He greeted Nana and walked upstairs to his room. Once there, he laid down on his bed and stared at the ceiling. There was something about LVs that sounded familiar. Tsuna rolled over and looked out the window. The sky was blue, the trees were green, and a yellow bird was flying past. Yellow… like Pokémon! That was where Tsuna had seen LVs before.
Tsuna rolled out of bed and ran to the desk where he kept his things. He quickly searched through the desk and located his Gameboy. The Gameboy and Tsuna's Pokémon game were both from Tsuna's 8th birthday. Tsuna had tried to get through the game but he kept losing all his matches, so eventually he stopped playing. Tsuna booted up the game and loaded one of his games. It took him a few minutes to remember how to work the game, but once he did, he quickly located where he had seen the term LV.
"Oh," said Tsuna. "L-V means level."
After thinking about it, Tsuna realized that it made sense. Levels in Pokémon were gained through experience, or learning things, especially through fights. The pretty young women mustn't had learned or experienced a lot over their lives while the homeless man must have had a very interesting life. Older people had learned more than Tsuna and his classmates. And Mochida and Kurokawa had gotten the levels they had through hard work or talent. In that case… what LV was Tsuna? Tsuna looked in the mirror. Floating above his head was the display "Sawada Tsunayoshi Vongola Heir LV3"
Tsuna had no idea what that meant.
Once dinner was done, Tsuna went back to look at his Pokémon game. If he could see LVs, maybe he could do other things too.
Tsuna looked at the Gameboy's screen. He could check his Pokémon's status, and he also had an inventory he could look at.
Having a place he could put things sounded cool, but Tsuna doubted that there would be anything cool in there. So then…
"Status," tried Tsuna. Immediately another orange box popped up. It said:
Then, on the side there were tabs labeled Status, Passive Effects, Inventory, Abilities, Social, and Map.
Tsuna frowned at his agility and luck scores. He knew he was clumsy, but a three seemed a little low if his strength was a five. And a three for luck did not sound good. Plus, he had no idea what Vongola or Constitution meant. Well, there wasn't anything he could do about it right now.
Tsuna decided to go down the list of tabs. He poked Passive Effects. A new listed replaced the previous one on the display. Tsuna read:
"Vongola Direct Lineage Heir: SEALED
IX's Seal: -50% all abilities. -50% all experience gain."
Tsuna stopped. He went and reread the second line. Then sat back. For the second time in a week Tsuna's view of the world shattered. He wasn't inherently dame.
Ever since he had started school, it was obvious that Tsuna was not the best student. Even in third grade his average was a 62.5, far worse than most of the students in his class. It didn't help that he was inherently clumsy and could apparently trip over air. Tsuna had simply assumed that he was dame, or useless, just as his classmates said. But now he had proof that he wasn't. He was made to be dame by this seal thing.
For the first time in a long time, Tsuna felt something like fire sparking to life in his stomach, and it felt like anger and hope. Anger because he was a kid, and someone still did this to him. Hope because maybe he wouldn't always be this way. He could possibly break free.
And with that thought an ache that seemed to echo through Tsuna's soul rose up from deep inside him.
Tsuna's eyes closed. He would break free.
It was filled with new resolve that Tsuna went to sleep that night.
When Tsuna awoke in the morning, the display box was still hovering over him. As the heady anger-hope from last night had not yet subsided, Tsuna spent a few minutes just staring at it, giddy from his emotional cocktail.
Then a problem asserted itself.
Tsuna had no idea how to break the seal.
For a moment, despair again overwhelmed him.
But this time, it didn't drag on for three days. Because this time, he had hope. And he had this weird game thing that might help him. So this time he opened his eyes and continued reading the display above him.
"Cute: +25% rep. -50% rep with bullies and females with the jealous effect"
So maybe the game thing wasn't all good. But it was sometimes good, so after Tsuna got over the fact that it had decided that he was cute he was not cute he was just small and fluffy he began to read again.
Cared For: -5% HP loss, -25% HP loss while in home
Gamer: Body and Mind react as though reality is a video game. It is easier to keep calm in combat situations and more difficult to gain crippling injuries.
Everything Happens to Me: Random chance encounters and special events may happen at any time"
And that was all, but it was plenty to think about, especially considering that last one and his luck.
Tsuna shivered on his bed. He did not need more problems in his life.
Even so, his curiosity resurfaced and he decided to look at the other tabs.
Inventory, like he thought, did not contain anything cool in it. It did, however, include a body thing that included the clothes he was wearing and a little bar at the bottom of the display that told him he had no money.
Abilities, meanwhile, had a lot of things in it.
"Cooking: LV1. Cook good food that can raise HP and MP
Tsuna snorted inwardly. He could toast bread and prepare a bowl of cereal or a simple sandwich. LV1 indeed.
"Cleaning: LV1. Tidying places to make them more habitable.
"Draw: LV3. Ability to create pictures on paper.
"Japanese Language: LVMAX. Ability to fluently read, write and speak Japanese.
"Mathematics: LV4. Ability to understand numbers and equations.
"Physical Endurance: LV3. You have become used to pain, to the point you can ignore it"
And didn't that say something about his clumsiness.
"Science: LV2. Ability to understand the physical world around you
Sing: LV5. Create music with your voice.
Sprint: LV2. Run fast for a short period of time."
And so on, listing mundane skills any elementary student had. Except maybe the en-dur-ance thing. Tsuna didn't fully understand why he had this, or what everything meant, but he did have it.
So Tsuna shrugged and went on to the Social tab.
The Social tab hurt.
It was divided into groups, Family, Friends, Acquaintances, and Enemies. Tsuna had no one in the Friends group. He had several people in the Enemies group.
Tsuna felt tears prickling at the corners of his eyes. He rubbed his eyes furiously and clenched his teeth. He wouldn't cry. He had something he could do now.
He decided to ignore the Social Tab for now.
The Map tab was simply a map of Namimori. It included the names of things and roads, but it had these odd symbols on them and greyed-out areas. Tsuna wasn't sure what to think about that.
But then Mama was calling him for breakfast, and he had to get dressed and go downstairs, and so he decided to think on it later.
After breakfast Tsuna asked if he could go out. Nana looked surprised at first, her eyes widening just a little, and asked if he wanted her to go with him. Tsuna said no, and was surprised to find that it was the truth. He actually didn't dread going outside this time, with no one to protect him. And maybe, Tsuna thought, as he looked at the big, radiant smile Mama gave him so rarely, that was a good thing.
Tsuna decided to explore the map first, because it was easiest. Some of the symbols on the map looked almost scary, so Tsuna decided to check out the gray areas first. There was one very near his house, in fact. Tsuna started walking towards the grey area, checking the map every couple of minutes. But he never got to the gray area. Actually, the grey area seemed to be getting smaller…
Tsuna stopped. Then, while watching the map, he began to go forward. The grey area was getting smaller. The area he was walking in turned colored as he passed it. The grey areas must be places Tsuna had not yet gone.
Tsuna continued walking down the road of almost identical walled-off houses. It seemed to just be a normal neighborhood. Was there even a point to doing this? Still, his Mama had smiled at him when he had left, so maybe he should stay out a little longer. Maybe fill in a few grey areas, even if it was hot out.
"Oof!" a thin, elderly voice said, breaking Tsuna out of his thoughts. Up ahead there was a grandmother attempting to carry a few potted flowers out of the back of a small car. Above her head was "Sato Hari Grandmother LV18". There was a yellow question mark above her head. As he got closer a screen popped up.
"Quest Alert! Help Grandmother with her Gardening! Help Sato Hari plant a flower bed. Time limit: 1 hour. Reward: Increase reputation, +25 XP, +100 yen. Fail Penalty: Decrease reputation"
Tsuna didn't really think. "Excuse me, grandmother, would you like some help?" he asked.
The elderly lady looked up at him and smiled. "Of course…" she trailed off.
"Sawada Tsunayoshi, ma'am. But most people just call me Tsuna."
"Quest accepted" said the orange box.
"Tsuna-kun. Would you mind carrying these in for me?" said Sato-san, gesturing at the pink and yellow flowers in the back of her car.
"Um!" said Tsuna as he quickly grabbed the flowers. They were a little heavy, but nothing too bad. Sato-san unlocked the gate and led him inside. Out back in the garden, Tsuna could see several patches of dirt on the ground. Sato-san walked over to one, kneeled down and pulled out a small, pointed shovel. She gestured to Tsuna to kneel down next to her. Tsuna did, placing the potted plants off to the side.
Sato-san pointed at her shovel. "This is a trowel…" she began to lecture.
Tsuna enjoyed gardening. Sato-san, who he was beginning to call "Grandmother" even in his head, was a good teacher. Between the two of them, they finished Grandmother's flowerbed in half an hour. After that was done, Grandmother showed Tsuna how to water the flowerbed with a watering can. At the end Tsuna was smiling happily.
Grandmother patted Tsuna on the head. "You're a good kid," she said. "Here." She fished around in one of her pockets before withdrawing a 100-yen coin. "It's hot out, so buy yourself a popsicle."
"Thank you!" said Tsuna.
"Oh, if you want to help out more, I'll be working on this garden throughout the week. Feel free to stop by and help," added Grandmother.
"I will!" said Tsuna, as the "Quest Complete" sign flashed in front of him. There was another two signs as well, ones that he read as he walked to a convenience store. They said "You have learned a new skill, Gardening" and "[Gardening (Active) LV1 EXP: 23.5%] Grow useful plants and flowers. Can take care of small potted cactuses and weeds."
Tsuna thought that the word cactus seemed familiar. He'd ask his mother about it. But for now, he was going to buy a popsicle.
Tsuna was back in time for lunch. "I'm home," he yelled as he walked through the door.
"Oh Tsu-kun," said his mother, poking her head out of the kitchen. "Right on time, too. But do wash your hands, they're filthy."
"I was helping an elderly woman garden," Tsuna explained. "By the way, do you know what a cactus is?"
"It's a thick, prickly plant," said Mama. "Why do you ask?"
"Oh, uh, she thought I could grow a small potted one," Tsuna lied.
"Ah, I heard that some are very easy to grow," said Mama as she served lunch. "Itadakimasu!"
"Itadakimasu!" Tsuna repeated.
After lunch was done, Tsuna returned to his room. He remembered seeing another quest yesterday, something to do with his homework. After pulling out his worksheet, he hesitantly poked the "Accept" button and then settled down to work.
It was very difficult. Tsuna had always found math to be difficult, and his mind wandered. Still, he wanted to see if anything good happened due to this quest, and so he persevered.
And then it was dinnertime and bedtime and Tsuna had school tomorrow, so he said goodnight and went to sleep, wondering at the consequences of his actions.
"Good morning class!" said the teacher as she walked into the room. "Good morning Sensei," they replied.
"Now, I know this is the last week until summer break but I still expect you to do well and work hard," Sensei said.
Tsuna sat up straighter. He had forgotten about that. It would give much more time to figure out what this strange ability of his did. Maybe he could figure out how to undo the seal thing. But right now he had to concentrate on class.
Tsuna didn't see some of the boys smirking at the back of Tsuna's head.
"Get him!" someone yelled from behind.
Tsuna tried to run even faster. His lungs were burning though, and he wouldn't be able to keep this pace up for long. So Tsuna angled towards the busy pedestrian roads where the boys wouldn't dare attack him. However, he forgot to factor in how clumsy he was.
Tsuna tripped and face-planted. Hard. With a laugh, the boys caught up to him and started kicking him. Each blow felt like a hammer against Tsuna's ribs. "Dame-Tsuna!" they cried. "Here's our summer vacation present. Make sure you don't forget us!" Tsuna sobbed. This group of boys tormented him whenever one of them had felt down, which was often. As they had told him once, "If you are going to be useless, we might as well entertain ourselves with you."
"Hey kids, what's going on over there?" someone yelled.
"Oh, crap," said one of the boys as they scattered. Tsuna stayed on the ground, thankful for the brief respite and letting his new aches and pains go away. After a few minutes he felt steady enough to stand up again. As he didn't want the boys to find him, he moved away as quickly as he could. Then, Tsuna faced a dilemma.
One, Tsuna could go home immediately and be safe. But Mama was always so sad when he came home with bruises and the memory of yesterday's smile was still strong in his mind. Two, Tsuna could wander around and try to find bandages on his own, but there wasn't any guarantee that the boys wouldn't find him again or that he could find anything in the first place.
Tsuna looked up and saw Grandma. That was even worse than Mama, because Mama was used to it. Grandma wasn't, and would be disappointed in, or worse, pity Tsuna and then he wouldn't be able to garden with her…
"Tsuna-kun, what happened?" Grandma asked, urgency in her voice.
"I, uh, tripped," Tsuna tried to lie. The look Grandma sent him told Tsuna that she did not believe that at all, but she thankfully didn't push. Instead, her eyes darkened and she glared at Tsuna's knee as if it was the source of all her problems.
"Grandma?" Tsuna squeaked. Grandma took a deep breath, shook herself, then smiled at Tsuna and said "Well, we'd better get you cleaned up. Would you like to come with me?"
Tsuna, uncertain of how to respond, hesitated and nodded. Getting cleaned up with help sounded nice.
Slowly, Tsuna trudged behind Grandma. It seemed like his aches and pains were fading away quicker than he thought they would, but they still hurt. They walked back to Grandma's house, where she made Tsuna sit down while she grabbed an obviously well-used and loved first-aid kit.
Tsuna hissed as she started dabbing antiseptic onto his scraps. "Do you… trip… a lot, Tsuna-kun?" Grandma asked.
Tsuna hesitated, wondering if he was revealing too much, then nodded. Grandma paused, took another deep breath, and continued working on Tsuna's knee. "Would you like it if I taught you some first aid? So that you can bandage yourself up if I can't," Grandma asked.
Tsuna would have thought that she was joking if it wasn't for a big orange pop up box in front of him.
"Mentorship Offer," it read. "Acquire Sato Hari as a Mentor. Sato Hari, an Ex-nurse, can teach first aid, gardening, cooking, homemaking, sewing and cleaning. By acquiring Sato Hari as a mentor, experience in these tasks is doubled. Accept/Decline."
"Umm, sure," said Tsuna, as he poked the accept button.
And for the rest of the time Tsuna was with Grandma, she explained what she was doing and why.
The week went by fast for Tsuna. The boys that ambushed and chased him stayed away, clearly frightened that they had been seen. Grandma took Tsuna under her wing and began teaching him all about first aid and gardening. She mentioned that she might teach him cooking if he continued to be such a good student.
Finally summer vacation came, and Tsuna ran outside with the rest of his classmates. This summer vacation was going to be different, Tsuna was certain. This time Tsuna wasn't going to stay inside almost the whole time. This time, he was going to work on his abilities and how to break that stupid seal thing. This was going to be his best summer vacation yet.
And then Hibari Kyouya happened and all Tsuna's plans went out the window.
AN: For the record, this is one of Tsuna's average classmate's stats:
In essence, Tsuna is behind, except in wisdom. He had a high wisdom score due to his sealed ability and surviving his school of hard knocks.