Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto or Katekyoshi Hitman Reborn! I just wish I did.
Beta: the lovely Midnight-Kitsune11. Thank you for all your hard work. ;-)
I know I shouldn't start another story, but I couldn't help myself … These bunnies kept attacking me. And I haven't had any inspiration for my other stories, so here you go…
Flames of Resolve
He had always remembered. He remembered a life before this one, a better life. Sure, there was a lot of fighting involved, but he'd had a family. People so precious he had died for them. Literally…
He couldn't really remember his earliest years in this realm. Yes, realm, because this clearly wasn't the world he was used to. It was too different to be.
He was lonely. True, neither of his childhoods had been very nice. He never had known what it meant to have a father, but he missed his mom, and in his teenage years he had finally made friends, who later became family. He even missed Reborn!
After all that going back to being even more alone than before was hell!
He believed in reincarnation. Dealing with Mukuro had made sure of that. Still, he knew something had gone wrong. He knew he wasn't supposed to remember.
But still, knowing his luck, something was bound to have gone wrong…
He was stuck in an orphanage. At least for a while…
It was just his luck to be reborn as an orphan. Well, he had had parents, obviously but they had clearly passed away. He wasn't sure if he was happy he could still remember his previous life. On one hand he had the memories of his family to keep him company when the loneliness became too much, but it made him miss them even more.
The matron wasn't nice. She seemed to hate him with a passion and encouraged the other kids to bully him. He would love to get out of there, but the people in the village treated him exactly the same.
To survive he had stolen a wig one day and some make-up. Since then he wore both when he went out.
With his new brown hair and no whisker-marks in sight, he looked like a blue-eyed version of his old self. Still, no one seemed to recognize him and he could wander around the village peacefully.
And wander he did, especially after the matron had thrown him out of the orphanage. He didn't mind living on the streets. It was much more peaceful than living in the orphanage.
He didn't really understand this world. The technology was strange, almost backwards. They had stuff like showers and televisions, but phones and computers were non-existent.
And there were ninja everywhere. Even now, when he heard the word 'ninja' he immediately thought back to Reborn in one of his stupid cosplays, completely dressed in black. But here, apparently, ninja were different. From what he understood, ninja were a country's military power.
And they dressed in the most absurd outfits! He had spotted one in green spandex with orange leg-warmers and a weird hairstyle. He had immediately turned around and ran for it.
Still, he had debated with himself whether to become a shinobi or not. Years of training with Reborn had him conditioned to always be able to protect himself. Now, not having any access to his flames, he felt vulnerable.
So when he was six he visited the Hokage. He had wanted to enter the Academy, as the starting age was six, but apparently orphans could only do this with the authorisation of their guardian, which technically was the Hokage.
"You can go in now." The secretary gestured towards the door of the Hokage's office.
"Arigato." He nodded his head, stood up and knocked on the door.
He did. An aging old man in white robes sat behind a desk, smiling at him.
"How can I help you young man?"
Tsuna fidgeted nervously. The way this man studied him, his looks... he was strongly reminded of the Ninth. The man, who despite having barely meeting him as a child, he had called and considered a grandfather.
"I'd like to enter the Academy, but they told me I need to ask you for au-auto-ri-s-ation, Hokage-sama." He stumbled over the long word. Why did those teachers insist on using such big words?! How were six-year olds supposed to pronounce that!? And why did he stumble on it?! He knew how to pronounce that word, dammit!
"Ah", the man nodded in understanding. "You have your form?"
Tsuna handed him the paper he had gotten from the Academy teacher had handed him.
"Have a seat."
The Hokage scanned the paper intently with a frown while Tsuna sat down.
"You didn't write down an address."
"I don't have one." Shrugged Tsuna.
"What about the Orphanage?"
Tsuna grimaced thinking back to that place. "The matron threw me out about two years ago."
The man blinked, stunned. "Excuse me? She threw you out?"
Tsuna fidgeted in his chair. Hope, suspicion and a bit of irritation shone in the man's eyes.
"Your birthday is October 10th?"
Tsuna blinked confused. "I'm sorry? What did you call me?"
"Are you Naruto-kun?"
"I don't know anyone by that name." said Tsuna uncertain.
"Did you dye your hair? If you are who I think you are, than your natural hair colour is blond. The matron said you ran away on your birthday two years ago." The man folded his hands together and rested his chin on them. The look in his eyes almost reminded Tsuna of Reborn.
"She threw me out." He muttered stubbornly.
"Then your name is Uzumaki Naruto. I've been on the lookout for you, and clearly I'll need to have a word with both the matron and the ANBU team looking for you." He frowned at that last part.
Tsuna shrugged. "All they ever called me was Demon child. So I gave myself a name, Tsunayoshi, Tsuna for short."
"Why that name?" asked the man.
"It seemed to fit. People don't recognize me looking like this." He shrugged once more.
The man eyed him pensively. "I'll sign your form, and you can keep your name, but you have to fill in an address."
And the man gave him an apartment. It wasn't the greatest, but apparently it was his. How it came to be his the Hokage wouldn't say. He also arranged for Tsuna to get an orphan fund once a month.
"Class, this is Uzumaki Naruto." Introduced his new sensei him to his new class. Why did everyone insist on calling him by that name? Most of his paperwork used the name Tsunayoshi, but the Hokage had insisted on using his 'real' name for the Academy, so he had left his wig and make-up at home.
Whispers rose up to meet him before he could even open his mouth so all he did was sigh before he sat down in an empty seat.
The Academy turned out to be just as lonely as the rest of his life. Whatever grudge the village had against him, clearly it had spread to the children as well.
No one approached him. They left him alone, and Tsuna tried to blend in with the wallpaper. He tried to be as unnoticeable as possible, mostly to discourage bullies. It didn't work, until he one morning sat down next to Aburame Shino. Tsuna had noticed the boy was always alone, whether by choice or not wasn't clear.
The boy inclined his head as Tsuna greeted him but didn't react otherwise.
His most noticeable bullies grimaced as they saw him sitting next to the Aburame clan heir. He suspected the boy's bloodline played a part in that. Tsuna could admit it took some getting used to. Not everybody walked around with bugs crawling under their skin after all…
Still, he made it a habit to sit next to the boy. They never really talked, so he wouldn't call them friends, but Aburame seemed to at least tolerate his presence.
Iruka-sensei made an effort to treat him as just another student and Tsuna appreciated the gesture but he could see the contempt in the man's eyes.
Mizuki-sensei on the other hand never bothered to disguise the hate he felt for the blond.
After a few weeks at the Academy, it became clear that Tsuna had a much bigger problem to deal with. He had been looking forward to learning about chakra. Being able to use ninjutsu, especially a henge, had excited him.
So of course he had trouble accessing his chakra. Trouble as in he didn't seem to have any chakra…
This didn't only frustrate Tsuna to no end, it also caused him trouble in and out of school. It took a while before at least Iruka-sensei started believing he really was having trouble and wasn't just pretending. That didn't stop some of his classmates from bullying him. No one helped him, he didn't have any friends…
This was his previous life all over again.
It was in his last year at the Academy that Iruka-sensei took pity on him and helped him outside of school hours.
His sensei took him to a training ground not far from the school and gave him special exercises to help unlock his chakra.
"Everyone has chakra." Said the man. "It's impossible to live without."
Tsuna closed his eyes tightly, repressing the urge to face palm. Wouldn't it just be typical him to be that strange and not have any chakra…
"Now, we'll start with some meditation and then I'll try and feel your chakra with mine."
They both sat down in lotus position and Tsuna closed his eyes. Breathing deeply he tried to clear his mind and reach inside. He startled briefly as Iruka-sensei gently prodded him with what could only be his own chakra.
The energy felt strange, not at all like what he had been expecting. Maybe that was his problem. Somehow he had expected his chakra to feel like his flames had.
His flames had always felt warm and comfortable. Chakra didn't feel that way. It also wasn't cold or anything. It felt neutral, it was just there.
"How precious." Sneered a loud voice.
Both of them startled. It was Mizuki-sensei. The man hated him and reminded Tsuna a lot a Nezu-sensei. That man had hated him with the same passion.
"I can't believe you'd want to help that demon, Iruka." the white-haired man sneered.
"Demon, ka?" muttered Tsuna as he got up.
"Mizuki." Hissed Iruka in warning.
"Oh please," sneered the man again. "Why do you bother pretending, Iruka?"
"Shut up. It's called being professional. You are an Academy teacher, Mizuki." Hissed the brown haired chuunin.
"Geez, thanks." Muttered Tsuna bitterly. And here he had hoped Iruka had actually started to like him.
The man flinched and Mizuki laughed mockingly. "What did you expect, brat? Everyone in this village hates your guts!"
"I know." Stated Tsuna blandly.
Iruka flinched again and looked back towards Tsuna in shock.
"Ever wondered why?" sneered the white haired man.
Iruka turned back towards his colleague so fast he nearly gave himself a whiplash.
"It's forbidden to talk about that." He hissed.
"Why doesn't that surprise me..." Muttered Tsuna before he raised his voice. "So everyone knows about that except for me? Shouldn't that be the other way around?"
Both teachers looked stunned. "W-what?" asked Iruka confused.
"Well," he shrugged, "it just seemed more logical that I know a secret about myself and no one else does, instead of the other way around."
Mizuki shook his head as if to clear it. He sneered again.
"You do have a point. Shall I tell then?" he smiled evilly.
Tsuna only nodded, with a light frown. Finally... Finally he would know.
"You are the Kyuubi." The man laughed manically.
"STOP IT!" yelled Iruka.
"You killed Iruka's parents and all those other people when you attacked the village. Yondaime-sama sealed you away. But you can't fool anyone, not even looking like that. Everyone knows what you are!" yelled the white-haired teacher again.
"That is treason! Stop it!"
"You have been lied to by everyone!" Mizuki continued as if Iruka wasn't there. "Didn't you find it odd how everyone hated you?"
Tsuna gulped and wringed his hands. What did that mean? He turned away from the two chuunin. He didn't remember being a nine-tailed demon… Not like he remembered being Tsuna. But it did explain the behaviour of the people in the village.
"Iruka is the same! He really hates you!"
"Naruto!" called Iruka worried.
"Nobody will ever accept you." Said Mizuki as he surged forward.
Tsuna was thrown to the ground. Blood splotched on his face. Iruka was covering Tsuna with his body as the great Wind shuriken Mizuki had thrown was sticking out of his back. Blood dripped from the man's mouth onto Tsuna's scarred cheeks. Tears gathered in the boy's eyes.
"M-my parents... After they died, there was nobody to compliment me or acknowledge me. I was so sad… I would always act like an idiot to get people's attention." Iruka tried to explain. "Since I wasn't able to do well in things like school and get attention that way, it was better than being nothing, so I kept acting like an idiot."
Tsuna looked a bit unsure. What did this have to do with anything? It's not like he had ever acted like that…
"It was so painful." The man was crying now. "Yeah, Naruto, you must have been in a lot of pain too. I'm sorry Naruto. If I had done a better job, you wouldn't have had to feel like this."
Tsuna breathed heavily, but didn't reply. He understood his teacher a bit better now. It explained so much. Still…
Mizuki readied his second shuriken with a laugh that would classify him as a super-villain in Tsuna's previous world.
Tsuna rushed forward, breaking free from the grip Iruka had on him. Panic gripped him as Mizuki launched a windmill shuriken at them.
'Please no! I don't want to die!' Still the panic receded as determination gripped him. "I won't let you hurt Iruka-sensei!" The man might hate him, and he doubted that after his crying confession, but Tsuna had started to care for him. So he would protect him!
Flames burst free from him. He immediately recognized the feeling and gripped his chest with both his hands as he tried to keep it under control.
He really didn't fancy fighting Mizuki as a crazed lunatic in only his boxers…
"N-Naruto?" asked Iruka-sensei behind him, astonishment clear in his voice.
"What the hell!?" screamed Mizuki freaked out.
Tsuna felt himself calm down as he entered Dying Will Mode. He opened his eyes although he hadn't realised he had closed them. He was completely engulfed by his familiar orange flames. Both his teachers watched him with wide eyes.
He took a deep breath and diminished his flame output. That was better. The only flames that remained were those on his hands and on his forehead.
His flames! He got his Dying Will Flames back! He clenched his fists and surged forward, only to smash his right fist in Mizuki's face, knocking him unconscious.
"N-naruto?" asked Iruka-sensei softly. Tsuna turned around.
The man's breath hitched. "Your eyes… they're golden."
Tsuna blinked. Ha, so that had stayed the same as well. He didn't bother thinking too much about it.
"Are you all right, Iruka-sensei?"
The man nodded slightly, still stunned.
"Good." And with that the flames vanished and Tsuna fell unconscious.
What do you guys think? Should I continue? ;-) Let me know in a review!