A/N: Because I was asked: no, Tsuna's diagnosis wasn't correct in the slightest in this fic. It was a misdiagnosis of his HI that doctors wouldn't be able to identify in the first place.
(i'm back two years later with an update merry holidays and happy december here's 7.4k words of accident)
Reborn quickly and easily explained what Tsuna was to expect with his status as the Vongola heir apparent. That in itself was something worth noting, Reborn figured, because Tsuna was wary but otherwise accepting of the explanations.
(No questions, not even disbelief, just wariness.)
He didn't really know what to make of his new student. Reborn was usually pretty good at being able to place people on the first meeting, or at least being able to read them easily and therefore having a decent idea of what type of person they were. But while Tsuna was clearly the awkward teenager the reports had described, he was also something else that even Reborn needed some time to figure out.
Time was the key. He had no doubt that with enough observation and getting to know the boy, he'd be as simple to handle as any other teen his age.
Which was why Reborn saw Sasagawa Kyoko's appearance as a blessing. Tsuna's awkwardness increased tenfold at her greeting, with stuttering and blushing to add to his overall sorry look. It was a good chance to get to work on getting him used to flames, and had the added bonus of being both embarrassing and informative.
Hat tipped forward, smirking, Reborn pulled out his gun and aimed for the worried creases at the center of his foolish student's forehead. He curled his finger on the trigger, and—
Reborn stared. Tsuna stood a foot away from where he had been, eyes wide as he stared at the smoking barrel of Reborn's gun.
Reborn fired again.
Tsuna spun on his heel with a shriek and ran towards the school, flailing limbs and all. Reborn followed swiftly, each failed attempt to shoot his goddamn student only increasing his baffled ire.
Sawada Tsunayoshi was a fourteen-year-old civilian child, how the hell was he not hitting him?
Reborn's increased attempts did not prove fruitful, and he was just about ready to fly back to Italy and let loose on some contracts by the time Tsuna finished school for the day. (And no, the idea of returning wasn't to make sure he hadn't lost his touch, because he already spent a few hours terrorizing Namimori and stirring up new legends to affirm that he hadn't. He knew he hadn't.)
His only real consolation was that one shot had Tsuna faceplanting hard into his desk in the middle of class to avoid the bullet.
He actually managed to knock himself out with that one, and the rat-faced teacher of his kicked him out for sleeping while the rest of the class laughed. Reborn could have taken the shot, then, but it was a matter of stubborn pride that he figure out how to shoot this target while awake.
He stared darkly at the untamed hair of his charge as they walked home, watching with keen eyes cataloguing every twitch and shift.
Another consolation, he supposed. Tsuna snapped under the pressure, suddenly darting down the street with a drawn-out scream. Reborn followed like a menace.
(Tsuna may have been able to dodge his shots, impossibility though it had seemed. But he couldn't avoid Reborn.)
Despite Reborn's silent "I-won't-shoot-him-while-he's-asleep-because-I-should-be-able-to-while-he's-awake-damn-it" vow, he tried to shoot Tsuna after he'd retired for the night. Partly from curiosity. Partly because he had a job to do and he was irritated enough that it didn't matter anymore.
The first shot had Tsuna rolling over before the bullet hit the pillow. The second saw him fling himself to the foot of the bed, the bullet embedding itself in the wall instead of his forehead. Reborn wanted to shoot something, and unfortunately it couldn't be his student—some godawful, impossible luck had him dodging the bullets, even in his sleep.
If he were a lesser man, he'd phone the Nono to inform him that the task was impossible. As it was, he had a job to do, and he knew that there was some way to get around this issue—he just had to figure out how.
He fired one more shot before deciding he could just trap every square centimeter of his student's room instead.
Reborn was an immensely spiteful man chained in the body of an infant. Revenge was good.
Hayato stared across the field at the human twig with disgust.
Sawada cowered like a wet rat, eyes wide and fearful as he nervously wrung his hands. He was weak. Pathetic.
"You weren't kidding around," he turned to Reborn, "when you said I could become the successor if I wipe him out, right?"
The hitman bobbed his head from where he was seated on the window, eyes impassive. "Don't worry, I was serious. If you kill him you can become the next Vongola boss."
Hayato turned to the weakling with a sneer, hands already reaching for dynamite. He was completely ready to wipe the floor with that useless face—
Sawada stared at Reborn with a baffled look. "You're lying," he blurted.
A beat of silence.
"... Are you making fun of me!?" Hayato snarled, heels digging into the ground, glare scorching.
"N-no! Of course not, I," Sawada flicked a panicked look in his direction but turned back to Reborn, shaking his head. "… Reborn, earlier you told me that I was the last Vongola candidate. You weren't lying then, but I can tell that you're lying now."
He'd had enough.
Hayato's face contorted into a snarl as he withdrew his dynamite, the fuses sparking to life. He felt the slightest satisfaction when the weakling's face changed from confused to horror-filled, his eyes widening in surprise and—
Suddenly, the air was knocked out of him as the boy full-on tackled him—not a push, not even a hit, that was a sports-worthy tackle—and they fell to the ground in a heap.
"G-get OFFA me!" Hayato shouted—because he was a hitman and he was just tackled by this shrimp in front of the number one hitman in the business; he'd be damned if he lost to this weak little—
He flushed red in realization, followed by indignation, when the boy's grip tightened around his waist. Not threateningly.
The little shit was hugging him.
"What the FUCK—"
"STOP!" the candidate shouted, sounding hysterical and confused and frightened and goddamnit what the fuck!? "My paranoia is telling me that you're going to hurt yourself if you aren't careful, and that Gokudera-san is only sad and hurt and—"
"What the fuck are you on about!?"
"I WON'T LET GO!"
"BECAUSE MY PARANOIA IS TELLING ME NOT TO AND I'LL DIE IF I DON'T LISTEN TO IT!"
"AND BECAUSE YOU'RE REALLY SAD AND LONELY AND I DON'T LIKE THAT AND YOU SHOULD CHERISH YOUR LIFE MORE BECAUSE YOU MEAN SOMETHING AND YOUR LIFE VALUE ISN'T DETERMINED BY HOW USEFUL YOU ARE BUT BY THE TYPE OF PERSON YOU ARE AND EVEN THOUGH YOU'RE REALLY REALLY REEEAAALLLY SCARY I THINK GOKUDERA-SAN IS A VERY NICE PERSON—!?"
Hayato gaped. Reborn hovered off to the side, and Sawada shivered, looking about half a second from dying of horror, even despite the fact he was still clinging to him.
Hayato's eyes darted across the scorched field, cataloguing the damage as his mind worked frantically—
"TENTH!" He yelled, slamming his hands and forehead to the ground in subservience, "I will follow you to the ends of the earth!"
"Congrats on getting your first subordinate."
Tenth wailed, "I don't want a subordinate, I want a friend!"
Later that night, Reborn was contemplating the situation and trying to figure out what he had to do in order to successfully shoot Tsuna.
Said student wailed loudly from downstairs. He ignored it.
(He didn't think about the implications in him needing to extensively plan in order to shoot his fourteen-year-old, allegedly clumsy student. It did smart slightly, but it was easy enough to fall back to old habits and let his mind try and reason possible routes. It was a task. Reminding himself that his difficulty was most likely due to the famed Vongola Hyper Intuition helped.)
He considered each incident catalogued in his mind over the course of the day, how Tsuna's nervousness seemed to increase with each bullet. Not particularly when Reborn kept himself visible. He'd hidden himself a few times to see if it would help—it didn't—and Tsuna had been just as jumpy then if not more, visibly looking around instead of glancing at Reborn when he'd let his student's awareness reach him.
It could definitely be attributed to the subconscious recognition of a pattern. But Reborn, even while irritated, was good at subterfuge and surprise, and it was a rookie mistake to let anyone pick up on a pattern, subconscious or not. Reborn didn't adhere to patterns.
… Intent? He wondered, considering the idea. In order to successfully bypass Tsuna's Hyper Intuition to shoot him, did he need to eliminate his intent?
He never had any intent to kill Tsuna (not really) but if he followed this line of thought, even the intent to shoot warned the boy, apparently. And while it was good he had such a good defense and even managed to get a new family member without the use of the Dying Will bullet… Part of his training was handling his flames. It was necessary, as he couldn't be recognized as the Vongola heir if he didn't have them.
And Reborn couldn't train him to use his flames without shooting him.
(At that point, he wasn't sure if Tsuna's Hyper Intuition was a boon or just something really, really annoying.)
Reborn was still contemplating his course of action when he heard a dull "thunk" from Tsuna's closet, drawing his attention. Automatically, he jumped down from his perch in the corner and made his way to the closet to inspect the noise. He opened the door.
He lifted a hand reflexively as an impossible number of gauze rolls and medical tape pooled at his feet. A couple medical kits, women's clothes, are those what I think they are—Reborn was about to suspect either some perverse fetish or an identity issue—but then he noticed the sealant, bottles of pills that he identified the majority as being painkillers and anti-inflammatory meds, coupon clippings in open tins, a sewing machine, a toolbox, and jars filled with paper clips, rocks, shredded paper, and other miscellaneous items one might find around the house.
Reborn wasn't really thinking anymore as he stared at his student's collection. For the first time in what felt like two lifetimes, he found himself completely, and utterly perplexed.
"What the hell."
Tsuna felt a feeling not unlike a cold stab of fear rush through his body. Like, a physical stab. He felt stabbed, completely unrelated to the aching pains and abrasions he had from being forced to run several kilometers at gunpoint an hour ago.
He looked down at his stomach, then turned to look over his shoulder. No cold, stabby blade to be seen. Huh.
"Tsu-kun? Are you all right?" His mother placed his food down in front of him, her other hand resting lightly on his forehead.
Tsuna shrugged her hand away with a stiff smile. "I'm fine, just a little cold, I think? Um, thanks for the food."
That seemed to work, as she pat him on the head before circling to sit in her own seat. Tsuna was already inhaling his food when his mom spoke up again.
"I wonder if Reborn will really be okay without food tonight."
Tsuna froze, feeling the earlier cold-stabby feeling return with a vengeance. Whatever it was that was making his paranoia go haywire, he knew it had to do with Reborn.
He just hoped it went away soon, since he knew Reborn wouldn't.
Reborn sat on the corner of Tsuna's bed, legs folded beneath him and arms carefully crossed over his chest. His hat cast a shadow over his eyes.
Footsteps made their way to the door, and he took a breath, cleared his mind of intent. The door opened. "Dame-Tsuna, come here for a moment."
He could hear the stutter in Tsuna's gait as he hesitated. He could tell the moment his student waited for some kind of warning that never came, and decided that it was safe.
A quick movement and his gun was in his hand, his finger on the trigger, and Tsuna fell to the ground in an unmoving slump.
Reborn stared hard at the wound sitting just above the juncture between Tsuna's eyebrows. One second became two, two became five, five became ten and Reborn was starting to panic and wonder if he messed up, small fists clenching tightly—
A flicker. A sudden burst flew upwards and out with startling force, and Reborn actually had to retreat backwards from its intensity because he hadn't felt flames this powerful in decades and that could have actually harmed him.
Tsuna seemed to float up into a standing position rather than actually stand, which was all kinds of strange and impossible but there was a lot about that day that should've been catalogued as impossible but happened anyway. Reborn stareed at his student's chin, unable to look directly at the bright source but still focusing all his attention on the spouting bonfire situated on his student's forehead.
He was in Hyper Dying Will Mode.
Tsuna stood there with a blank gaze for a few seconds longer before collapsing on the ground, unconscious.
Reborn stared at his unconscious student, mouth a grim line. There was no real doubt after so much evidence, but if he had any residual doubt then it was gone now. Tsuna's Hyper Intuition was worrying on its own, and the possibility that its strength was related to the fact that Tsuna jumped straight to the immediate (and violent) removal of his internal limiters…
Leon started shifting before Reborn's hand was even level with the brim of his hat, and he quickly dialed a familiar number into the keypad.
"Shamal, I need you in Namimori. Right now."
Shamal was one of few individuals that Reborn considered to be part of his inner circle of sorts, in that he trusted the man's skills and the man himself, which was why he was the first person Reborn thought of to handle the situation.
As demanded, he arrived in Namimori and performed a brief diagnosis of Tsuna. Reluctantly, sure, but Reborn had him at gunpoint through the initial half of it so his reluctance was a moot point.
Shamal made a face, unrelated to the gun that is now safely tucked away in Reborn's jacket. "His flames… Were sealed?"
Reborn nodded. "Nono sealed them when he was a child, when it was still expected that he'd never end up involved with Vongola. It was to keep the eyes of the mafia away from him."
The conflicted look didn't leave Shamal's expression, but he considered Reborn's words for a moment. "If I'm right, that was possibly the worst possible thing for Vongola to have done to Tsuna. For most other people it would have been okay, but this kid…"
"Well… the kid's flames are extremely powerful, and really, really pure. Vongola might've actually seen that potential for that which necessitated the sealing to begin with—and I'm not saying that it isn't generally an okay tactic! If he were any other kid then it would have been for the best, but he's not, and he's going to be Vongola Decimo since all the other candidates are out." A wave of the hand, "Anyway, he's a sky, and sky flames are possibly only second to cloud when it comes to negative effects resulting from suppressing them, which I'm assuming is the basis of this 'seal'. On top of all of that, there's his Hyper Intuition to consider."
Shamal rubbed his stubble. "Now I'm obviously not the most informed regarding the Primo's line, nor am I the most informed regarding flames because. Hey, I'm a disease specialist. But I can tell that the famed Intuition is closely tied in with his sky flames. A sort of… mental faculty spurred on by his sky flames' harmonization factor. He's particularly in-tune with his environment, the people surrounding it, and potential danger as a result."
I already suspected as much based on his habits, but confirmation isn't bad. Reborn tapped his gun impatiently. "The point."
Shamal shot him a long-suffering look. "The point is that when Vongola sealed the kid's sky flames, he sealed only the flames. But, his flames are connected—in conjunction with, related to, whatever—his limiters and hyper intuition, meaning that the Nono had only sealed one outlet of his flames. With his ridiculously high purity, powerful sky flames… It was like a tea kettle. Leave both openings open and the water will simply boil, but place the lid, and…"
Reborn nodded. "To make up for the loss of one outlet of his sky flames, his hyper intuition acted up."
"Exactly. Just be glad that the Nono hadn't somehow sealed both. Who knows what would have happened to the poor kid?" Shamal grimaced.
"But the point is that he'll be fine," Reborn said more than asked.
Shamal scratched his chin. "... Yes."
"You don't sound so sure."
"Oh no, I'm sure he'll be fine… In fact, he'll probably better than he was before. I can't imagine how bad it must have been, being so aware of his surroundings and the people nearby. Since you released the seal, he shouldn't be as bothered by his surroundings, and he'll be able to relax."
"His Hyper Intuition won't be as powerful?"
"No, it'll be just as strong, but more… controlled. I'm guessing the kid was given too much information, via his intuition. A sort of sensory overload if I had to guess. Different, but the symptoms almost tie in with modern day diagnoses—nothing abnormal." Shamal waved a hand through the air, "There are signs of sleep deprivation and stress, but he's fine otherwise."
Reborn nodded. "Alright. Stay in Namimori for when the Skull Disease surfaces."
"Hah!?" Shamal practically leapt out of the chair. "I don't treat men, and there are plenty of beauties in Italy waiting for—"
His words cut off as Reborn pointed his gun at him. "There are just as many women in Japan, find a Yamato Nadeshiko for all I care. You're staying."
Shamal grumbled unintelligible complaints and Reborn shot his retreating back a glare. After all, it wasn't like he was the one that had to deal with a student with ridiculously powerful Hyper Intuition.
When Tsuna woke up, he was shocked at how peaceful he was. He didn't feel a strong compelling something telling him to go down the street to buy Yamada-san some eggs, or help Miura-san find his car keys, or help Yamazaki-san carry the fertilizer, or—the point was that his paranoia wasn't buzzing! At all!
He was definitely dreaming.
Tsuna turned over, closed his eyes, and relished in the fact that he had a reprieve in this peaceful dream.
At least, until bullet shots rang through the air, and Tsuna was violently dragged out of bed to get ready for the school day.
Despite being really happy about it, Tsuna found it kinda weird that his paranoia wasn't as... there, as it was before.
Reborn told him about it—"Hyper Intuition," but Tsuna still liked to call it Paranoia even though Reborn threatened to shoot him for it a few times—and how it was an inherited trait from his thrice-great grandfather, the Vongola Primo.
Tsuna had smacked his face and groaned. Wow! Thanks for the gift, grandpa!
But it honestly had gotten better than before. Yeah, he still got the odd impulse to buy eggs and noodles for his mom (who was just about to go grocery shopping for that), but it was surprisingly… Less. Its frequency went from "every second of the day" to a peaceful "occasionally and only with mom and the few people I know," which meant that he wasn't constantly battling with his paranoia.
It was pretty great.
And then one day he went to the roof because, again, his paranoia, and saw Yamamoto about to jump off—WHAT.
Tsuna was freaking out, Reborn told him to calm down and even threatened to shoot him but Tsuna couldn't because his freaking paranoia told him to TACKLE YAMAMOTO OFF OF THE ROOF.
He'd only ever seen the boy the few times he helped him with discounts at the store or in passing at Takesushi; he knew his father more than him and how can I ever face either of them if I push him off of the roof oh my god.
The click of a gun drew Tsuna's attention, and he turned to see Reborn stare at him with the aura of the devil incarnate. "Dame-Tsuna."
Tsuna ran full sprint and tackled Yamamoto off of the roof with fear flooding his veins. His flames sputtered—why did he have flames shooting out of his hands and feet why was he on fire and WHY was his paranoia telling him this was OKAY when it CLEARLY WASN'T—and he grabbed Yamamoto with one hand and shifted them in the air just before they fell in a tangle through leaves and thin branches and bushes.
Tsuna's heart was beating a million miles an hour, and he turned to Yamamoto before the boy could say anything or get angry and he took a deep breath— "You feel like everyone expects too much from you and don't care about you apart from what you're good at and you were stressed from it all but don't forget about your family at home that will be sad about you dying and you actually are cherished more for you than you think and I think you're really cool and I've kinda sorta admired you for a while—!"
He took a deep breath in preparation to continue, but Yamamoto clamped a hand over his mouth. "Whoa! You're speaking really fast, Weird-Tsuna!" He laughed, the sound unsteady but happier than his tone earlier. "And… Why? I mean, how…? You're right, actually, about my dad being…" He swallowed, shaking his head. "... But you don't know me, why would you—"
"I PUSHED YOU OFF OF THE ROOF BECAUSE MY PARANOIA SAID FOR ME TO I'M SO SORRY PLEASE DON'T BE MAD."
Yamamoto blinked. "'Paranoia'? It told you to? Is… Is that like a game?"
Tsuna opened his mouth to explain, but then Reborn apparently phased into existence right next to them. "Yes it is, would you like to join Tsuna's family since he saved you?"
Tsuna felt his face go ashen pale. "B-but I didn't! I pushed him off of the roof!" He flailed his arms towards the broken fence of said roof for emphasis.
"Haha, sure, that sounds like fun!" Yamamoto rested an arm on Tsuna's head and leaned, grinning impossibly bright. "I guess we're family… Friend-family, then? You should call me Takeshi!"
Tsuna floundered. "T-Tsuna."
"New family member acquired," Reborn said with a smirk.
Tsuna looked between the two, helplessly wondering why his paranoia was agreeing with them when there was obviously so much wrong with the situation.
Tsuna didn't encounter Sasagawa Ryohei so much as get mauled by the distracted teen. Of course, his paranoia warned him before it actually happened, but the statement still stood.
"Tsuna, I didn't know your reflexes were that extreme! JOIN THE BOXING CLUB!"
Takeshi just laughed as Gokudera scathingly yelled "Tenth doesn't need to join your shitty club, freak!" Before any fighting could break out between the boxer and Tsuna's bomb-happy friend, he decided that he should try and introduce them first.
"Fight Tsuna, and if you can't land a hit, join his family. If you win, he'll join the boxing club."
Tsuna turned a horrified look towards Reborn, who was staring up at them innocently from under the completely random hatch door that really should not be there.
As much as Tsuna didn't want to drag Sasagawa into Reborn's madness, he also knew that the boy would probably be the first human to achieve the ability to punch through tempered steel and he did not want to be hit. His paranoia also incessantly warned him to dodge, though he wasn't sure how much of that was "follow Reborn's plan or there will be more pain" versus what he assumed about Sasagawa's metal-punching strength at the moment.
Sasagawa did manage to warp a telephone pole Tsuna had been hiding behind at one point, so that affirmed a few things.
At the end of it, Sasagawa clapped Tsuna on the back with a grin. "It's a shame you won't join the boxing club, but having a little bro like you is still great!"
Tsuna made a weak sound between a wheeze and a laugh. "Ha… You don't have to join my family, Sasagawa-sa—"
"TSUNA! I've told you to call me Ryohei-nii, and you should do that now that we're actual family!"
Gokudera yelled, "Get your hands off of Tenth!" Takeshi laughed. Tsuna buried his face into his hands.
That day, their history teacher let them know that they were having a quiz later that week that they should prepare for. Gokudera was more or less fine, but Tsuna and Takeshi needed to prepare as much as they could, so they'd decided to go to Tsuna's house to study.
Tsuna froze mid-movement as they were leaving the school. Takeshi and Gokudera looked at him in question.
Reborn, who was on his shoulder, looked at him askance. "Dame-Tsuna."
"I need to go to the supermarket," Tsuna blurted, and then he darted in that general direction, bringing a confused (only slightly this time) and exasperated Reborn with him, Gokudera and Takeshi in tow.
One shopping trip later, Tsuna went home after telling his two friends that today was a bad day and that they still had a couple days to study, "Please go home for today."
Reborn still forced him to study on his own, which he figured was more or less fair by the not-baby's standards. He was in the middle of studying when a child that looked like a baby crashed through his window and screamed.
"LAMBO-SAN IS HERE! LAMBO-SAN WILL KILL REBOR—"
Tsuna was across the room in a blink and pushed the purchase from earlier into the kid's hand. The child startled, inspecting the lollipop before looking up at Tsuna with wide-eyes. After a few moments of silence, he grinned. "Lambo-san approves of your offering! Lambo-san will not cause trouble for now."
And then he hopped off of the windowsill to run out the door of Tsuna's room, and a few moments later both of them heard Nana's surprised exclamation.
Tsuna turned to Reborn with a thin smile. Reborn stared, watching the boy fidget. He eventually offered a slow nod, and Tsuna's shoulders relaxed.
They went back to studying as though nothing had happened.
Tsuna looked at the can in his hand for all of two seconds before throwing it as far away from living-breathing organisms as he could.
He wasn't surprised to find out that the woman was Gokudera's sister, that she was mafia, or that she would probably be making more intrusive appearances in his life from then on.
He did find it weird that she was Reborn's ex-girlfriend though, not-baby or not.
It was a nice day. The sunlight was warm on his skin, the clouds forming pretty shapes in the sky and the wind lending a nice breeze. It really was a nice day.
Tsuna looked at the ponytail girl peering over at them from around the corner, his blood frozen in his veins and fear gripping his rapidly beating heart.
His paranoia was telling him to WHAT!?
He glanced over to Reborn. I'll be killed. I'll definitely be killed and no one will find the body or even suspect. But if I don't listen to my paranoia…
Tsuna new exactly what kinds of things happened when he didn't listen to his paranoia, and he had a feeling that the results in this situation might be just as bad.
He gulped, glancing to the girl's sparkling eyes as Reborn spoke to her evenly from Tsuna's shoulder. Reborn needed him alive because he needed to inherit Vongola. Tsuna probably wouldn't actually die, but the punishment would be severe.
Better bruised and alive than dead.
Tsuna quickly grabbed (a startled) Reborn and with all the strength and mental fortitude he could muster, threw the not-baby at the starry-eyed girl.
And then he turned-tail and ran for his damn life.
Tsuna didn't bother trying to avoid Reborn because even if it was feasible, he knew he had to return home eventually. So he went straight home and prepared himself for retribution Reborn-style.
He expected to be met with a weapon to the face the moment he stepped into the house, so the eerily quiet stare Reborn graced him with set off alarms in his mind.
Tsuna was right to trust that feeling. He came home five hours later to collapse in his bed, completely wiped out from death-running (threat of painful death via Leon mallet and rubber bullet) five laps around the whole of Namimori.
The self-satisfied smirk Reborn wore after that actually managed to be more annoying than terrifying.
Tsuna stared at the baby that just saved him from the rabid dog. He knelt down, withdrew the pair of glasses he bought the other day, and gently slid them onto her rounded face.
She blinked at him. Then she pulled out a piece of paper, said something unintelligible to his ears in a language he thought was Chinese, and darted off.
Tsuna was not surprised when later that day she ended up joining his household of random visitors.
Tsuna had felt his paranoia ringing in his mind almost as bad as before as the school day passed, so he wasn't too surprised to come home to lines of suited and imposing men leading to his home's door.
He still gawped a little at the gaudy blond-haired man that he saw snooping around in his room, pointing with a yell, "Who the heck are you!?"
Reborn sat on Tsuna's chair with an amused smirk. The blond man turned around to him with a conflicted look on his face.
"What the hell are you doing with gauze, ibuprofen, and tampons in your room?" His face twisted, sudden worry crossing his features. "Is… Is there something wrong, Tsuna?"
Tsuna edged away from the weird foreigner. "Uh, no, I have other stuff in my bag," he said, not really minding much when Reborn snatched said bag away to rifle through it. "But anyway! Who are you and what are you doing in my room!?"
The man, surprised, apologized and introduced himself. It turned out that the man's name was Dino, and he actually wasn't that much older than Tsuna. He was mafia (unsurprising), the Cavallone boss (also not really surprising), and also really clumsy when his subordinates aren't watching him.
"Anyway, you can probably think of me as… A big brother, of sorts," Dino said, smiling grandly. Tsuna personally didn't think that would happen, even if he could tell that Dino wasn't a bad person. "Since we're both students of Reborn. And if you—"
"Tsuna, what is this?"
They looked over at Reborn, who was staring into Tsuna's bag with a look that Tsuna learned to classify as "bewildered" on the not-baby. Tsuna and Dino peered into the bag, the former not understanding the problem and the latter looking confused.
"There's… nothing wrong, though?" Tsuna said, frowning. "Reborn, you've seen my closet."
Dino was reaching into the bag now. "Is that a scalpel? And an electric screwdriver!?"
"It's my emergency kit," Tsuna said, a little defensive. He reached out to take back his bag, but Reborn, of course, pulled it away from his reach. Even with his much shorter arms. A frustrating but very Reborn thing to be capable of that made him want to tear his hair out.
"An emergency kit," Reborn repeated blandly, "with a screwdriver, a jar of imported volcanic sea salt, a sledgehammer, a scalpel, C-clamps, and pads?"
"It's a precision knife, not a scalpel," Tsuna said, finally managing to steal his bag back. "And, you never know when someone might need some salt for their food! Or a screwdriver or sledgehammer for, for a spur of the moment patch job, or, a, er…" He scratched the back of his head and blushed slightly. "You know!"
Dino just looked bewildered as Reborn pinched the bridge of his nose. "This was supposed to stop."
"It has!" Tsuna protested quickly, before subduing, "well, kind of? It's gotten better, but I still have all of this stuff, so whenever my paranoia—"
"Hyper Intuition," Reborn corrected.
"—acts up, I try to handle it."
Reborn sighed, and Tsuna blinked as Dino burst into laughter. The blond clutched his stomach and shouted, "The Vongola Decimo is a glorified nanny! He even has his make-up bag of tricks!"
Tsuna threw the sledgehammer at him for that, but not before Reborn landed a kick to Dino's face.
It was one of the only times they had been in complete agreement with one another.
Gokudera and Takeshi walked into the Sawada residence, the former cutting off in his usual hate-spewing to blink at the scene. Takeshi stared too.
… Baby-proofed, was the first thing Takeshi thought. Bubble wrap was on everything not nailed down that he could see. He turned to Reborn, who actually looked kinda annoyed. "Did I-Pin and Lambo do something?"
"It's Tsuna's Hyper Intuition again." Hmm, yeah, that sounded pretty annoyed for him.
Gokudera turned to blink at Reborn. "... Oh. Uh. But why?"
The shadow cast over Reborn's face seemed to darken. "He wouldn't tell me other than 'everything will break' if he didn't."
Takeshi scratched his cheek. "Okay. Where's Ts—"
A bullet grazed his cheek, and he froze.
Reborn stared at the two of them from under the brim of his hat, dark eyes colder than ice. "What a coincidence that you'd ask that. You're going to find him."
"Wha - Huh!? Reborn, you don't know where Tenth is—" Two bullets whizzed past him, strands of silver hair fluttering to the ground.
Both Takeshi and Gokudera stood frozen, wondering if they should try to act normal or run for their lives.
Luckily for them, the front door opened, and Tsuna stepped in. "I'm ba—" He cut off, quietly holding Reborn's gaze for a long ten seconds. He turned away and smiled weakly at them. "… Hi Takeshi, Gokudera. Uh, what's going on?"
Tsuna had brought home a boy named Fuuta, who apparently could rank things with almost definite accuracy. When he brought out his ranking book, everything got really float-y all of a sudden, their bags and shoes lifting into the air. Fuuta was a nice kid, too; Takeshi could tell that Tsuna liked him.
Everything floating in the air fell when he finished, tables and chairs and vases bouncing on the floors.
Reborn blinked impassively as Gokudera and Takeshi made simultaneous "Oh"s.
Tsuna invited them all to eat dinner with his family, and that was that.
His paranoia was getting worse again.
The only thing he knew for certain was that it had to do with his friends, so he pushed for all of them to hang out more frequency than before. Gokudera was always ready to drop everything for him, Takeshi thought it'd be great to spend time with Tsuna, and Sasagawa was always willing to spend time with them especially if it involved Reborn's idea of a daily workout, so that made it easy enough to make sure nothing happened. Even if it was at the expense of his eardrums and required that he go along with Reborn's training without complaint, it was less worry on his mind, and Reborn was pretty good at managing them all.
The real issue came in the form of Hibari Kyoya, who his paranoia was also trying to get him to check in on. Tsuna's thoughts on the matter were a hysterical, Yeah right, there's no way I need to make sure he's fine. If Hibari-san is in danger then it's even worse for us and that's not something I want to think about.
Hibari had been more irritable than usual, too, probably because of the assault cases on the members of the Disciplinary Committee. Attacks that Tsuna knew had to do with his paranoia's recent nervous revival. He didn't bother asking Hibari about them because he doubted the questions would be appreciated and there was no way that anyone could beat Hibari. Right?
He still did keep an eye on the prefect when he could, and he always made sure to maintain a distance.
Still, even the near constant vigilance wasn't enough after a point, and one day, Tsuna fell out of his seat in the middle of studying and ran out of the house like death was on his heels.
It started with Ryohei. He beelined it in the direction his paranoia was urging him, almost feeling like his friend was going to die what with how nervous and freaked out he was.
He couldn't really explain it, to be honest, the closest to it being "hyperfocus." Tsuna ran and ran and ran until three figures came into view, Sasagawa being one of them, only noticing as one of the other figures lunges forward and his paranoia screaming hurry protect danger—
Tsuna swept Ryohei into his arms and dodged the swipe of claws, "NO THANKS BYE!"
Tsuna propelled himself forward on adrenaline, continuing his mad sprint down the street without so much as glancing at the other two.
The next was Kusakabe.
Tsuna really didn't know him that well. They'd nodded at each other when they passed each other in the hallways but otherwise the only thing they knew about each other was that Kusakabe worked for Hibari and the Tsuna was "Weird-Tsuna." But Tsuna knew that Kusakabe was probably the closest thing to a friend that Hibari had and would be really angry if he got injured during this mess.
Tsuna saw two familiar figures as he approached. He full-on tackled one, kicked out the legs of the other one while they were distracted.
"What the fu—"
"SORRY GOTTA GO RIGHT NOW!" Tsuna grabbed Kusakabe's arm and sprinted in the other direction.
Eighteen students were hospitalized, and the situation was Tsuna's fault.
Reborn had managed to obtain one of Fuuta's lists, said that the people being targeted were a countdown to the strongest at their school according to the list. Their connection to Fuuta meant they were mafia.
Rokudo Mukuro. Ex-convict that escaped from the world's most secure penitentiary, killed entire families before being put behind bars. He and his accomplices were in Namimori, hurting Namimori students because of Tsuna.
Tsuna didn't really know what to think about this. His paranoia had never once let him feel at ease with his situation or Reborn, but this was different. He felt sick.
And then Kusakabe told him that Hibari had gone to confront the ringleader and full force panic hit him.
He could hear Gokudera and Ryohei exclaim in worry, felt Takeshi's presence next to him. Tsuna turned to Reborn, eyes frantic and scared and his paranoia wasn't actually telling him anything, what do I do—
Reborn gave him an inscrutable look, then reached out, placing a drowsing Leon in his hood.
"I think it's time to put some troublemakers in the ground."
Tsuna gaped, thrown. "... Wha—Reborn, I can't just—I can't kill people!"
He ignored the suddenly determined looks his friends all wore, and tried not to think about how okay with killing the people he associated with apparently were.
(He wanted to tell them that this was serious, but he didn't think any of them were really joking around. Unfortunately.)
"Then I'll defer to your judgement this time," Reborn said, sitting on Tsuna's shoulder. "I already know that your Hyper Intuition won't let you run away. So what are you going to do?"
Tsuna opened and closed his mouth a few times, eventually slumping. True, he hadn't even thought about running away, even though he really does want to. But would that even work with someone like Rokudo?
Oh, there was his paranoia. Agreeing with Reborn. Telling Tsuna to go and beat up Rokudo Mukuro so that everything will be fine.
Tsuna broke into hysterical laughs. "You know! I didn't exactly want to die this young."
Reborn, the jerk, just smirked. "Then don't."
He beat Mukuro.
It wasn't that easy, obviously, but he did, and even though seeing the Mist and his cohorts being dragged away by the creepy skeletal guys gave him a weird feeling of wrongness…
For the first time in a long while, Tsuna felt content. And relaxed.
It was amazing, and he attributed it to having surpassed a ridiculous and life-threatening hurdle but coming out of it relatively unscathed, with all of his friends intact. Even though Reborn wouldn't be going anywhere anytime soon, he was certain that he would be able to appreciate a more peaceful life now, what with this event behind all of them.
(Of course, then the Varia arrive, guns literally blazing, heralding Tsuna's inevitable involvement with the mafia and the life-threatening, reality-breaking, impossible hell that's associated with it.)
(It's one damn thing after another, and Tsuna is torn between taking a page from Mukuro's book and burning the mafia to the ground or crying himself to sleep.)
A/N: Sorry Mukuro, I didn't feel like writing you. 0 inclination. Deepest apologies.
will there be more? this chapter wasn't planned and the "story" is driven entirely by impulse so idk
Also i was too tired to edit this when i finished writing it/am still very hhhh about it so if you see any errors (esp tense b/c i caught myself writing present tense more than a few times) don't be afraid to let me know!