Disclaimer : Don't own Katekyo Hitman Reborn!
Warnings: AU (sort of) / No beta
Rating: T (for language and violence that will appear later)
A/N: Well, it will diverge from the manga (a lot)
It was half past five in the morning, a little after dawn, when a thirteen-year-old boy woke up suddenly. He sat up on his bed, letting his covers fall around his waist. He ran a tired hand through his wild spiky brown hair. His eyes fluttered a little bit, letting his tears caused by his yawns rolled on his cheeks. He wiped them away, rubbing his eyelids. His legs freed themselves from the soft covers in a quiet rustle as he slowly put down his bare feet on the smooth carpet.
"Why does it have to be so early?" He complained under his breath, stretching his limbs.
He sluggishly got up, losing briefly his balance. His left ankle gave a slight protest which caused him to bang quite painfully into his desk. He groaned but managed to stumble across his room, still in a sleepy daze and completely ignoring his slight pain on both his ankle and his side. He pushed his door open, pausing briefly. The smell of his mother's shampoo hit his nose, confirmed by the sound of running water. Since his mom was in the bathroom, he chose to carefully climb down the stairs. He did not need to trip on his own feet and dash quite harshly into a welcoming cold floor.
Sighing in relief when reaching safely the wood flooring of the hall, he entered the kitchen, determined to prepare breakfast. It was a while since he had done it and he knew his mom would be pleased to find it prepared.
"Hello. Did you have a nice sleep?" He greeted, getting tools and ingredients.
He received a concert of meow as an answer, followed by a:
"Hi cub, you're quite early today. Care to share why you suddenly decided to do that?"
Said cub turned around, aiming straight to a cushion put on a chair. His hand patted a black cat whose two tails twitched happily at the caress. It closed his wall-eyes, slightly purring.
"I just got the feeling that something or rather someone really dangerous is watching us." The brunet replied, returning to his cooking. "I also have the impression that it will bring quite an extreme change, as Sempai would say."
The room fell in a comfortable silence for minutes. The black cat kept his eyes open, looking thoughtfully at the teen in front of it. It didn't even glance at the five unusual cats prowling around, waiting for their share of food. Each one of them presented added appendices, one with horns, another with five legs instead of four, and so on. Their eyes shone with controlled hunger and impatience while staring at the human boy cooking. There was soon enough a humming approaching.
"Good morning Tsu-kun." A young-looking brunette with a small frame greeted.
Her son smiled warmly at her, answering cheerfully. She however noticed the way he favored one of his leg while setting the table. She didn't say anything and turned to the black cat.
"Good morning Kage-chan."
"Let's hope so, Nana." The feline replied with a tint of mischief.
Nana looked a little bit apprehensive, taking one of the bakeneko in her arms. It immediately purred, pleased. Her bright smile came back as she stroked the soft fur.
"Don't scare Mom, Kage-chan!"
"Stop pouting Tsuna and hurry up, I'm hungry."
Tsuna mumbled something unintelligible under his breath. Wanting to be a little bit original, he soon placed pancakes on two plates with honey for his mother and strawberries jam for him. Before sitting down, he opened the windows, letting a white crow with one leg enter. Kage-chan jumped on the table, sitting beside it. She looked oddly at it without blinking. They stared at each other for long minutes as if competing. Five bakeneko suddenly mewled at Tsuna's feet.
"Fine, fine." He sighed.
He settled comfortably on his chair, crossing his legs. The cats immediately jumped on his lap in a mess of fur and limbs, loudly purring. The crow chose to land on his hair without a sound. One of the bakeneko had stayed with Nana, completely content. She could only feed one of them while Tsuna could easily satisfy all of them without feeling his energy falling. They stayed through the breakfast basking in the humans' auras. When the brunet swallowed his last pancake, the bird crowed a surprisingly human word of thanks before leaving through the window. Some bakeneko followed his example while the others simply chose to go to the living-room to sleep on the sofa.
"You should stop bringing back strays." Kage-chan suddenly advised Tsuna, jumping on the table. "It will be awfully boring if something were to happen to you."
He chuckled lightly and gave her a reassuring smile. Nana watched her son take their empty plates to the sink, washing them.
"Tsu-kun, I received a call yesterday afternoon."
He immediately tensed. At that time, he had been at school; therefore he had not been able to hear her conversation. He forced himself to relax, handling carefully the flatware.
"Was it another job?" He asked with a false calm.
"No." She quickly assured him. "It was from Iemitsu."
That startled him. Thankfully he was done or he would have dropped whatever he was holding.
"He's still alive?" He was honestly surprised.
It had been so long that they had received news from him that Tsuna had assumed his father was dead. In fact, he was kind of hoping so. If not, if he was still alive, then he had zero excuses for abandoning his family. Realizing that he was clenching his fists, he loosened up.
"What did he say?" Tsuna carried on, unsure on how to react.
Nana herself wasn't too sure how to feel. She did resent Iemitsu for his absence and his silence but she found that she couldn't hate him for it. She inwardly sighed.
"He said that one of his friends will be coming sooner. I think that he'll be some kind of tutor." She explained.
"A tutor." He repeated blankly. "He should have stayed dead."
"Tsu-kun!" Nana exclaimed, a little bit horrified by his comment while Kage-chan was sneering.
"Mom." Tsuna interrupted without paying any mind to the black cat. "It's too dangerous."
Her face softened a little, understanding his worries. Really, her son could be a worry heart sometimes.
"Everything is going to be okay, Tsu-kun." She confidently assured him.
"We're going to have to be careful, even more than now." He protested with a vague wave of his hand. "I can't let…"
"If there is any chance that this friend can be of any help, then it's worth it." Nana quietly stated with a voice leaving no room to any argument.
Tsuna knew to recognize a lost battle when he sensed one. Especially with his mother.
"Okay." He agreed with the growing impression that he was sealing his fate. "Okay."
Kage-chan looked at him, radiating amused vibes.
"I think it's going to be fun."
Tsuna simply groaned, burying his face into his hands.
Thirty minutes later, he was fighting with his uniform tie, his fingers running up and down on the cotton. Nana chuckled upon seeing him. She walked to him, straightening his shirt and vest. She then quietly untangled the disastrous tie to form it correctly. With a fond smile, she ruffled his brown locks.
She really felt lucky to have Tsu-kun. Yes, her boy was clumsy, shy with anyone he wasn't close to. He lacked esteem and confidence. He wasn't an athlete nor an intellectual. She couldn't care less. He was warm, honest and loving. He was genuinely worried for those he cared for. He was always trying his best. He dedicated himself to protect her to the point it was worrisome.
"Tsu-kun," she called suddenly, "go sit on the sofa, will you?"
He stilled as he hesitated. Her voice had transmitted to him her worry and her desire to help. She surely had noticed his injury. With a resigned sigh, he obeyed. It was not as if he could flee or refuse her concern without hurting her. He absolutely loathed the idea of bringing pain or sadness to his mom. The two bakeneko already lying on the couch rolled a little, giving him some space. Each of them opened one of their eyes, staring at him. His hands started to pet them in an unconscious manner, creating a sudden purring.
Nana knelt in front of him, gently grabbing his ankle. He didn't react when the movement bought a slight pain, still stroking the bakeneko'sfur and lulling them to sleep. It was nothing compared to some of his previous injuries. She quietly examined it as if determining what had happened and how she could help.
"It's a sprain." She noted while calling upon her own flames.
They were different from the usual ones, harboring a comforting yellow but weakly dancing on her palm, warm and comforting, without burning. She wasn't powerful enough to heal it; however she could release some of his pain.
"Thanks Mom." Tsuna smiled. "How much time have I left before going to school?"
"About an hour or so, cub." Kage-chan replied, settling down on his legs. "Plenty of time to let you know about how I think of you picking up strays."
"Kage-chan!" He protested. "He was simply a bit hungry."
"You do remember that youkai usually attacked you because they are hungry, right?"
His lips frowned and he crossed his arms on his chest. One bakeneko gave a glare to the black nekomata, deprived of the gentle hand. Nana giggled gleefully, standing up. She felt a little bit light-headed and wisely chose to take a nap upstairs.
"I know that he wouldn't hurt me so I invited him in." Tsuna assured Kage-chan.
"By doing so, you allowed him to come whenever he wants." She reminded him sternly. "He can be nice one day, and aggressive another."
"If that ever happens –which I highly doubt- I'll deal with it." He answered with not so much confidence. "You taught me how to act according to the situations, right? It's going to be okay, I think."
She snorted. Well, sure she was a bit annoyed to meet another stray picked by her favorite human. Her gaze landed on the two bakeneko sleeping next to her. He always had this weird and dangerous habit but it was kind of amusing to see what or who he would bring next time. If she really had deemed it troublesome or boring, she would not have stayed. It was way too funny to watch this human and for an old youkai like her, she needed distraction. Boredom was her worst enemy.
"There's surely a link between that man's friend and my intuition." Tsuna suddenly mused aloud. "After all…"
"We don't believe in coincidences." Kage-chan finished in his stead, pleased to know that one again, routine would turn out interesting.
They didn't speak further, simply enjoying in the morning silence and its peacefulness. Surrounded by the purring of the cats, the boy was lulled to sleep. Kage-chan stayed on guard, deciding to watch over him. Her tails were lazily sweeping the cushion on the couch as her head rested on the brunet's lap.
He had not opened his eyes yet.
An infant dressed in a black and expensive suit was keeping watch on a house from a nearby tree. His fedora was awry settled on his spiky dark hair, revealing a weird looking green lizard. A yellow pacifier hung around his neck, clearly visible on his white shirt. He shifted suddenly, tilting up his fedora and making two curly side-burn bounce. His attention focused on a young brunet getting out on the street. The boy paused momentarily in his steps once he reached the road. His head turned toward the tree at his right, as if sensing these two dark eyes on him. He shivered and awkwardly hurried on his way, leaving behind the displeasing sensation.
The infant watched him leave without moving. He was already changing his plans upon seeing that the report he get on the brunet contained a flaw. Apparently, Sawada Tsunayoshi had awoken his Hyper Intuition. It was good news for it meant for the infant that he could focus earlier on the training. However that also meant that he had to verify each one of his information he get since one flaw could hide several others. His mood darkened, sensing that the description he had gotten was likely to be quite useless.
Sensing eyes on him, he turned his head toward the house. On the edge of the boy's window was a huge black cat staring at him. He gazed evenly at it, wondering if it belonged to the brat or his mother. Whatever. Leon, his chameleon currently dozing off on his fedora, was more than capable to protect himself. That, however, was not his main concern.
Though they were weak, the infant had clearly felt Sun flames coming from inside the house. There was only Sawada Nana and her son who lived in here. None of them were aware of the Underworld so they shouldn't have any information about Dying Will Flames, much less about their use. Several hypotheses ran through his mind. He tilted his fedora down, narrowing his eyes. He didn't like where his thoughts were going, despising surprises unless he was the one creating them. He had not yet begun his job and he could already tell that it would soon become an even more annoying bother that he had originally thought.
Tsuna released a relieve sigh once away from the scary presence. From his senses alone, he could tell that whoever it was; was powerful in his own way. The brunet was almost sure that this new soul was human. He had learned how to differentiate youkai and humans apart though he had sometimes quite the difficulty to do so, especially with the strongest ones. For them, he had to count on both his intuition and his Sight. Tsuna slowed down, lost in his thoughts. They didn't believe in coincidences. His intuition had awoken him this morning to alert him of a dangerous newcomer in town. His mom informed him that Iemitsu had hired a tutor for him, supposed to come soon. A dark and powerful aura was emitted by a stranger hidden in a tree, looking at his house. Yep. Tsuna was definitely not impatient to meet his home tutor.
"What a good scent."
The brunet suddenly froze, several alarms ringing in his head. That was usually not a good omen for him. He didn't recognize the voice, so it wasn't one of his friends' nor one of his acquaintances. It belonged to a youkai, no doubt about it; which meant that Tsuna should get away as soon as possible, like right now. The teen started to walk a little bit faster, not enough to alert the hungry ayakashi but enough to escape –hopefully. He knew that he was near his school and with the barriers that he had previously settled in case of stalking, attacking and sticking youkai that would gladly follow him in. He would be safe there, though he had to regularly change the talismans that formed the barrier. Tsuna just hoped it wasn't time yet to do it. In that case, he wasn't safe anywhere.
Something that felt like leather brushed suddenly the skin of his arm. The brunet shrieked and immediately cursed inwardly after. Way to destroy any discretion, Tsuna, well done!
"Ah, I knew that this delicious scent belonged to you, human child." That previous voice purred in satisfaction.
The teen cringed, clearly not appreciating the weird compliment. He wasn't a meal with legs! Tsuna broke into a sprint without waiting for the ayakashi to move. There was a laugh behind him as the creature chased him. His ankle chose this moment to remind itself to the brunet. He ignored it, searching into his pockets while his bag was hitting repeatedly against his thighs. Thank kami he always had some protective talismans on him. Finally managing to grab one, his infamous clumsiness decided to kick in, sending him to the floor. He let out an embarrassing squeak, twisting to face the ayakashi. Shoving the talisman in front of him, he felt it stick into something that could be a face. The youkai shrieked –and Tsuna felt relieved to know that he wasn't the only one to emit such high-pitched sound- before backing away hurriedly. The brunet took this chance to get up and ran away as fast as he could with a sprained ankle and the fear to bump into an obstacle.
He only slowed down when entering the barrier of the school, certain to be safe. He paused at the gate, recognizing a spicy scent and an ominous presence. He turned toward it, smiling brightly.
"You're lumping." A harsh voice noticed.
Hearing the disapprobation, the brunet winced. He scratched his cheek nervously, shrinking slightly.
"H-hello Kyouya-san." The teen greeted the prefect with a tentative voice.
"N-nothing." The brunet reflexively replied.
That single word carried his growing impatience and his irritation. The brunet twitched, used to being called by another nickname and understood that it was pointless trying to hide anything from his interlocutor.
"R-really, it's nothing." Tsuna insisted nonetheless. "It's the usual."
Hibari Kyouya narrowed his eyes, staring at the small animal in front of him. His uniform was dirty and scrunched –it was against Namimori Middle rules to wear untidy attire. He was clearly leaning on his left leg, relieving any burden on his right. Used to being chased by ghosts and others monsters, he was not panting as he had built his stamina and continued to do so. He didn't even look exhausted but he would be soon. For any other herbivore, Hibari would have bitten them to death. However, he refrained himself for the small animal as he was not in a correct shape to fight back –or at least, avoid.
Students were coming toward them, forced to pass by the gates to access to the building. They stared fearfully at the raven prefect, completely ignoring the brunet or shooting him disgusted looks. Hibari felt his irritation growing as his hands twitched, eager to grab the hidden tonfas.
"Infirmary, small animal." He finally ordered Tsuna while arranging his uniform. "Don't be late to class and come at lunch."
The brunet nodded without a word, his eyebrows frowning slightly.
When the nurse heard the door opening, she didn't even need to turn around to know who it was. She heaved a sigh and rumbled through her stuff.
"What is it this time?" She asked tiredly.
There was a nervous laugh.
"H-Hello, Ishika-san." Tsuna greeted her while moving to sit on one of the few chairs. "I think my right ankle is sprained."
"Did you trip again?"
Ishika turned to him, her eyes automatically scanning his petite form in search of another injury. It wouldn't be the first time he tried to hide them, leaving her to treat the major ones while ignoring the others. She knew he had quite an amazing pain tolerance for a boy of his age but it didn't mean that he could avoid treatment. Taking what she needed, she knelt in front of him, getting to work.
"You're not hiding any other injury from me, are you?" She carried on.
He simply smiled softly, as if to ease her worries. Usually, she would relax upon seeing it. She couldn't help it. There was something within Tsuna that left her warm and content, as if she had come home, sipping a mug of hot chocolate settled on her couch within a cocoon of blankets while reading a good book. Comfy. Homely. She didn't understand why the teen would bring such images and feelings but she didn't mind. It was peaceful. Honestly, she didn't understand how he could be bullied. He certainly did not deserve it. However, all of her attempts to help the boy had met a shocking resistance from both students and teachers. The administration was useless, not caring at all about the situation. It was so frustrating. All she could do was to keep her door open for him if he needed a break or a safe heaven. And he came sometimes which would lead them to discuss and chatter to the point that their relation was more a friendly one than a nurse/patient one.
Even that would be taken away from him.
"I-is something wrong Ishika-san?" Tsuna suddenly asked in the silence.
Startled, the nurse rose her head. She was always surprised by his sensitivity over people's emotions, or was it intuition? Either way, the teen always seemed to know when something was bothering her. He would ask and listen to her, offering advice when he could or simply comforting her by his presence. She stared at him, a kind smile on her lips. In these special moments, she tended to forget that Tsuna was only thirteen. Then again, he had quite his share of problems.
That was why she couldn't relax. She sighed again, sitting in front of him.
"Tsuna, I'm sorry but I've been transferred. I will leave Namimori in a few weeks."
The brunet immediately understood. That meant that the nursery would be taken over by a stranger, someone who wouldn't offer him a safe place. That also meant that one of his only friends was leaving away from him. He could feel his mood dropped drastically but managed to keep his smile on. However, Ishika was not fooled.
"Don't worry, Tsuna." She soon said while taking one of his hands to squeeze it. "Even if I'm not here, I'm still your friend so if you need anything, don't hesitate to come to me, all right?"
"Yes." He replied softly, squeezing back. "I know."
She would also make sure to persuade her replacement to keep the nursery open and safe for the brunet. She did not want him to be left alone without any hiding place from his bullies. Oh, she knew that he was friend –kind of- with the scary raven prefect of the Disciplinary Committee. However, the Skylark couldn't be here all the time to protect Tsuna. She would be more at ease if she knew that even if the teen lost one of his allies in school, he would still have a place to relax.
Glancing at the clock, she helped the brunet to stand. She cursed inwardly, knowing she couldn't do much. She couldn't lend him a crutch or else his bullies would use it to hit him.
It was so fucked up.
"Come on, go to class." She nudged him toward the door. "We can talk later, okay?"
"S-sure." He answered with a forced smile.
He then waved at her and left, letting Ishika alone in the room with her worries.
When Tuna entered his classroom, he knew that his desk wasn't there. His classmates were literally irradiating smugness and self-contentment with such mischief that the brunet could not miss it. Sighing inwardly, he returned in the corridor. It wasn't the first time it had happened. So, he had learnt how to deal with it. He went quietly into the nearest cupboard, closing the door behind him. There, he felt the presence of an old soul -a human turned yuurei- who couldn't resolve to quit the school. After all, the barriers prevented any intrusion but didn't affect those who were already there.
"H-hello Nishioka-san." Tsuna greeted the being.
"Yes, your desk and chair are here." Said Nishioka replied in a distant voice as if he was far away even if he was simply just in front of the human. "One day you will have to fight back. You have the power to do so."
"I won't." The brunet assured him while retrieving what he needed. "I won't hurt them."
"They are hurting you." The ghost argued. "By letting them doing so, they won't stop. You'll only know pain because of them."
"T-thanks for worrying about me." Tsuna replied softly with a small smile, completely avoiding the point. "Class will be starting shortly. See you later."
"Let me help you." Nishioka sighed.
The teen hesitated.
"T-that will only tire you." He protested. "You'll need to focus to grab it and…"
The glare he received successfully shut him up. They lifted both the desk and the chair, moving carefully to avoid bumping into others students. Tsuna knew that if he had the luck to touch them or even graze them, he would suffer some beatings at his next pause. Nishioka was equally aware of it and proceeded to be extra careful. He regularly played pranks on the bullies when Tsuna wasn't around but it was not enough to make them stop. The ghost didn't want to turn evil so he refrained himself from going too far such as hurting them badly or killing them. Sometimes, he wished he could do it though.
They managed to get to class before the teacher. Nishioka guided the brunet toward his place while warning the teen of anything that could hurt him or that he could bump into. Once settled, Tsuna turned toward Nishioka with a grateful smile knowing better than to speak. His desk neighbor chose this moment to blink awake and thinking that the brunet was smiling at him returned the gesture without thinking. Tsuna noticed it and greeted him nervously, knowing that he was the only one able to sense the ghost. Nishioka waved a hand before vanishing in order to appear somewhere else in the school.
"Yo Dame-Tsuna!" The raven hair boy replied cheerfully, making Tsuna flinch. "Hahahaha, class hasn't started but I feel already sleepy."
"I-is that so?" The brunet muttered, clearly uncomfortable.
Yamamoto Takeshi noticed it but brushed it off. He thought it was probably because they rarely talked to each other. In fact, he had been quite surprised upon seeing his shy classmate smile to him. Well, he didn't mind talking to him as he was quite a quiet guy who didn't bother him and didn't place his expectations on him. Yeah, the brunet simply left him alone. Tsuna scratched his cheek, unsure on what to do next. He knew that Yamamoto wasn't as cheerful as he looked. In fact, he could tell by his tone of voice that all of his joy was forced so his smiles were probably faked too. The raven teen literally irradiated frustration and loneliness despite having friends and baseball teammates. Even though the boy had just called him "Dame", Tsuna couldn't help but slightly worry. Negative emotions could lead to dangerous and regretful situations.
"S-say Ya-yamamoto-san, a-are you okay?" He asked in an unexpected moment of courage, probably born from the knowledge that his desk neighbor had never risen a hand against him.
Yamamoto blinked in surprise before narrowing his eyes for a moment.
"Of course I'm okay!" He answered with a forced smile. "Why would I not be?"
He finished his question with an easy-going laugh.
"Y-you don't s-sound like it." Tsuna replied, looking a little bit scared by his classmate's possible reaction.
Yamamoto froze. He didn't sound like it? He made sure each morning to maintain his façade in order to fool everyone, including his father who was the one knowing him best. No one should be able to pierce his defenses and certainly not Dame-Tsuna.
"I'm perfectly fine." He retorted quite harshly, making the other shrink into his seat.
The teacher came on these words, saving the brunet from formulating a reply. He couldn't hide his relief even if he was still worried. He forced himself to follow the lesson in order to get a hold on his thoughts.
As soon as the bell for lunch rang, Tsuna grabbed his stuff to shove them into his bag. He was at the door before any of his bullies could catch him. He hurried as fast as he could, ignoring his pain. It would be worse if he was caught. On his way, he met Kusakabe Tetsuya who greeted him. Noticing his lumping, he lent his shoulder without a word to guide him toward the Disciplinary Committee's room.
"T-thank you Tetsuya-san." Tsuna smiled gratefully at him.
"It's fine, Tsuna-san." The teen with a pompadour haircut replied respectfully.
He quietly opened the door, knowing that his boss appreciated peace and silence. Kyouya didn't acknowledge their presence –knowing who had come in- and focused on his last paperwork. Tsuna sat on one of the sofa, deciding to patiently wait. Tetsuya prepared tea for the brunet and the raven before excusing himself and leaving for a patrol. When Tsuna heard the pen clicking on the wood desk, he knew that his friend had finished. He grabbed his bag to take out two bento boxes, a purple and an orange one. He stood up to hand over the purple one to the prefect who accepted it with a nod, used to get lunch thanks to the brunet. They shared a moment of peace while eating.
Tsuna sipped his tea after putting away the empty bento boxes. Kyouya stood with a piece of paper in his hand that he held to the brunet. Placing his cup on the coffee table in front of him, he took it and let his hands slid on the writing, focusing on his touch sense. The raven teen observed him quietly. He was always a little bit impressed to see this small animal read documents this way. Tsuna suddenly frowned, folding the paper neatly.
"I-it's another job." He quietly stated, lifting his head to face the prefect. "It takes place in Namimori."
Kyouya's eyes narrowed slightly, watching as the brunet stood and put away the paper in his bag. They both knew that the bell would soon ring, alerting the students to attend their classes. The raven teen let the small animal go, aware that he would take care of it after school. He learned long ago that he wasn't the only one to protect Namimori -his territory, his town- even if they didn't share the same issues. Some could only be entrusted to the brunet as the prefect couldn't act upon them. Before it frustrated him to no end but now, he got used to it, morphing his previous frustration into slight irritation. As Tsuna reached the door he suddenly paused, turning to the town protector.
"A carnivore has come in Namimori." He warned his friend. "I think you will meet him soon enough without looking for him."
Kyouya merely rose an eyebrow, letting the brunet go.
As soon as the bell announcing the end of the day rang, Tsuna darted toward the door. He snatched on his way the homework sheet on the English teacher's desk. He shoved it inside his bag as he lifted it on his shoulder. In the hallway, he crashed into Tetsuya's chest who stabilized him to prevent him to meet the floor once again.
"I'll help you to get outside the school, Tsuna-san." The teen announced firmly.
The brunet didn't protest and chose to instead smile gratefully. Kusakabe Tetsuya mused once again why on earth was this kind boy bullied? He didn't look able to hurt anyone and even if that was the case, he would certainly not do it. Oh, he was aware of the rumors about him, about his nicknames such as Dame-Tsuna, Freak-Tsuna or Tsuna the Liar. Frankly, it greeted Tetsuya's nerves –which was worrisome as he was one of the few able to deal peacefully with Hibari as his vice-leader and his best friend with a great amount of patience. He also was the one to hold back the prefect when he was pissed and inching to bite everyone to death. It was not wise to get on his bad side as he could mysteriously disappear or ignore the students' pleas when Kyouya got a little bit too violent. Thinking about the bullies that definitely deserved it -but were still off the hook thanks to Tsuna-, made his hold on the brunet's waist and arm tighten. The fact that the younger teen didn't flinch only caused his face to darken more.
They walked through the crowd easily enough. Well, being escorted by a member of the Disciplinary Committee definitely helped. Thus they reached the gates without troubles, spotting Kyouya watching over the leaving students. Tetsuya suddenly caught glimpse of some bullies and decided to follow Tsuna a little longer to prevent him from being attacked on his way home. He knew that the prefect wouldn't punish him for doing it as his leader had already done so before.
The brunette, of course, knew the reasons that had pushed Tetsuya to act like this. He had sensed their presence as he was used to meet them in quite a painful way. It was almost instinctual how he was able to tell when he was near them. He was thankful for Tetsuya to offer his help, to feel this anger and to worry, but he would not let him be too close. In the end, it would be too dangerous for him –and not because of the bullies. When they reached Tsuna's street, the brunet smiled softly to his helper.
"T-thank you, Tetsuya-san."
He then quickly bowed and left without waiting for an answer, guessing that the other would simply go back to Kyouya or patrol around.
Tsuna took out his keys to unlock the front door. He locked behind him without waiting, remembering some bad incidents.
He cut himself, pausing in his movements. There was another presence in the house, a foreign one. He slowly took off his shoes and put as silently as possible his bag on the floor. He focused on the sounds, hearing the soft shuffling of the bakenekos in the living-room, surrounding the extra soul. Kage-chan was suddenly near him, a little bit in front of him. Tsuna took a deep breath, recognizing his unexpected guest.
"W-who's there?" He asked without moving, his hands twitching as he if wanted to take out his protecting talisman.
He did not, knowing that they would be useless against a human. His senses picked the sound of almost near silent footsteps approaching him, followed by five supernatural cats. His form tensed when he felt the dark presence stopped in front of him. It was impressive, suffocating to be so near as if the darkness that seemed attached to it would suddenly attack him. He unconsciously took a step back and he shrunk, wishing he could just blend within the door. Knowing that escape wasn't an option even if he couldn't help himself to place a hand on the door handle, he braced himself for whatever was going to happen.
"Ciaossu." The terrifying presence greeted in a high-pitched voice that startled the brunet in its unexpectedness. "I'm Reborn, the home tutor."
Silence fell. Usually that would be the moment his interlocutor stared in disbelief and commented on how it was impossible for a baby to teach anything. Reborn was kind of used to it –annoyed and amused at the same time when witnessing the reactions- so he was a little bit curious to observe Sawada Tsunayoshi's next move. He knew the boy was blind and kept his eyes closed. He was not to judge by appearance then. However, maybe hearing the infant's voice would trigger something. In fact, he had been a little bit surprised and a tiny bit impressed that the teen could have been able to sense his presence upon entering his house. He even knew when Reborn was in the same room as him. At least, his senses were sharper than the usual average boy.
Reborn tilted his fedora up, noticing the black cat near the brunet. So, it belonged to the brat. He reported his attention to his new student to decipher his thoughts –or at least, his emotions. The eyes were usually the most expressive way to reveal one's emotions, as they were reflecting the soul as the saying went. Of course, to correctly read someone, it was necessary to pay attention to every twitch, frown and almost every invisible movements of the body. However since the principal way to show hidden emotions and thoughts was the eyes, it was a little bit harder to read someone who kept its own closed. The infant noticed the skin paling and the twitch of one of his eyebrow. Surprised maybe?
"N-nice to m-meet you." Tsuna finally said in the tensed silence. "I'm Sawada Tsu-tsunayoshi but p-please call me Tsuna."
There was wariness and fear in his voice. Reborn noticed it straight away as well as the fact that the brunet hadn't moved nor offered his arm for a handshake. If possible, he seemed to wish to be able to disappear within the door behind him or to bolt outside far away. His form was so tensed the infant half-expected him to creak at his next move.
The black cat suddenly mewled, giving the brat a regal stare. Tsuna slightly relaxed and detached himself from the door.
"W-would you like a cup of tea?" He asked politely Reborn, deciding to have some better manners. "Or s-some coffee, p-perhaps?" He added as an afterthought.
Satisfied to be treated as the adult he was despite his appearance, Reborn smirked.
"Some coffee would be perfect."
The brunet invited him to go ahead, guessing that his new tutor had already inspected the house. He didn't need the bakeneko to tell him to know it. Kage-chan led the way confidently, sure that the tiny human wasn't able to determine what she really was. The infant took notice that the teen stayed a few feet behind him, clearly not enjoying the idea of turning his back to him. Good. He shouldn't trust strangers, especially when they broke into his house. However, judging by his steps, he was injured.
Reborn hopped on the table as he watched the brunet busying himself. Soon enough he placed a cup of dark coffee in front of the infant while sitting cross-legged in front of him. The bakeneko settled in a circle around their guest to keep an eye on him as the nekomata jumped on the brunet's lap.
"Mom s-should be c-coming soon." Tsuna quietly stated while sipping his green tea.
On cue, the door could be heard to let a peaceful and bright presence enter followed by a sweet scent.
"I'm home, Tsu-kun!" Nana called, turning to lock the door.
"Welcome home." Her son replied from the kitchen.
She noticed the absence of the bakeneko who would usually come to greet her, at least one of them. She momentarily paused, taking in the tense atmosphere as well as the uneasy silence. She hesitated an instant to call one of her shiki before she realized that the cats were probably with Tsuna, protecting him. Her grip on her handbag tightened as she went into the kitchen.
The sight that welcomed her made her eyes widen. There was an infant on the table, wearing a black suit and a dark fedora with a green lizard on top of it, quietly drinking his coffee. His eyes that seemed completely black glanced at her blankly before staring back at Tsuna.
"Mom, this is Reborn-san, my home tutor." Her son presented. "Reborn-san, this is my mother, Sawada Nana."
Said Reborn nodded at her respectfully with a tip on his hat while noticing that his student's stutter had suddenly disappeared. She automatically smiled, used to play oblivious. She put her bag on the floor, clasping her hands together with a short giggle.
"Hello Reborn-kun, it's nice to meet you." She greeted while getting behind her son without showing even once her back to the infant.
Her fingers briefly touched one of her bracelets, a simple copper one with what seemed to be writings. One of her hands grabbed a kitchen knife and she began to hum lightly as if pondering. Reborn slightly tensed, eyeing her moves.
"Since we're three now, I should start getting dinner-"
"Mom." Tsuna interrupted her softly. "I think you should sit down."
Nana paused and leaned against the counter. She still had a hold on the knife as she gazed evenly at her son and the infant, the same smile on her lips. The brunet didn't insist and chose to pull a chair beside him if she needed it. He turned then to Reborn, wiggling his nose thoughtfully. On his lap, Kage-chan rose to stare at the infant as if to assess him. The bakeneko crept closer, clearly distrusting. Deciding that being blunt would probably be the most effective way –instead of the safest but well-, Tsuna gulped down his tea.
"I'm sorry b-but I would l-like to know the r-real reason of your v-venue, Reborn-san." The teen quickly began, failing to hide his nervousness as he shuffled his hair with a slight trembling hand. "I-I mean your s-sole presence breathes in d-danger and s-something else, s-something heavier…"
He trailed off, pondering about his feelings. He couldn't pinpoint it which was kind of frustrating.
"A-anyways," he carried on, deciding to think about it later, "Would y-you please t-tell us why y-you're here?"
The infant tilted his fedora down, remembering his orders. He had planned to reveal a part of the truth to his soon-to-be student and, on Iemitsu's pleas, to leave Nana in the dark. However, if the brat had awoken his Hyper Intuition, lying bluntly would be useless. First, it would not be believed. Secondly, he would lose any way to form a trust bond with the brunet. That would be quite unfortunate as a student needed to know that he could rely on his tutor's advices to progress and grow. Still, he wondered silently if he should really talk about the Mafia to Nana. According to what he had seen, she was far from oblivious or harmless despite Iemitsu's thoughts. It was even possible that she had already crossed path with others Mafiosi…
"If i-it's something dangerous o-or worse, then I t-think my mother should know a-as she is c-concerned as well." Tsuna suddenly spoke up, bringing the infant's attention back to him.
He noticed the horrified look that crossed his face as if the teen was terrified by his own words. A resigned determination settled in his frown lips soon enough. Reborn silently mused. Was it resolve?
"Alright." He finally agreed, flicking up his fedora, a habit he had to stare straight in the eyes of his interlocutor.
Since his student kept his eyes closed all the time, it failed which irked him a bit. That was something he would have to correct along with his stutter.
"I'm a hitman sent by the Ninth Generation leader of Vongola, known as Nono, to train you to be able to take care of yourself."
He paused then to watch their reactions. Tsuna didn't even twitch, simply waiting for him to elaborate. Nana, however, had paled drastically. She sat slowly beside her son, putting the knife in front of her. Sensing her distress, the brunet shoved Kage-chan on her lap to give her some comfort.
"Why?" The teen simply asked.
"You're linked to the most important Famiglia in the Mafia so it was decided that you should be trained for your own safety."
The hitman didn't add that Nono's current son, Enrico, was hunting down every potential heir to assure his own position as the next boss. Due to the lack of evidence, the brat was still off the hook. If he managed to find the Sawadas, he would not hesitate to kill them. Thus, Nono had asked Reborn to help Tsuna to gather his own guardians and to control his Flames, but secretly and as inconspicuously as possible. Sawada Tsunayoshi was all but a trumped card for Nono and Iemitsu who were waiting for any opportunity to push away Enrico. In other words, the infant had been sent to teach the brunet how to be a mafia boss.
"The Mafia." Said teen repeated blankly. "Of all things, it had to be that." He muttered quietly without meaning to be heard.
Nana stroke the cat's fur with one hand while searching Tsuna's arm with the other. He grabbed it and squeezed lightly to comfort her with a gentle smile.
"You're not asking me how?" Reborn asked but it was more a statement.
"Iemitsu is the c-connection, isn't he?" The brunet retorted without missing a beat while nodding to himself. "I-it wasn't complicated to f-find out. H-he's never h-here and he s-sucks in building r-reasonable and believable l-lies."
"He's the leader of the CEDEF, the External Adviser of Nono." Reborn confirmed and agreed inwardly with his student's opinion. "To put it simply, it is an independent and intelligent branch. While CEDEF members are linked to Vongola, they are not under its authority."
"S-so Iemitsu belonged to the CEDEF but n-not to Vongola." The boy summarized. "It is e-either one or the o-other."
His mood darkened. He couldn't believe that this poor excuse of a father had managed to bring another mess to them. Tsuna had soon learned that Iemitsu was in some troublesome and dangerous business. That was certainly the main reason of his absence and silence. However, that didn't change the fact that he had abandoned Nana and him. Plus, they had been targeted in the past and had managed to survive only thanks to the Hibaris. Yes, Iemitsu had poorly tried to protect them but he had so remarkably failed that Tsuna didn't –couldn't- respect him, much less love him. His mother had been suffering because of him for years now. If the brunet sensed his presence, the CEDEF leader was up for a really big surprise.
Nana's call snapped him out of his thoughts. He took a deep breath in order to calm down.
"I'm okay, Mom."
He was more worried for her in fact. She had been the one to hope, to see Iemitsu as a better man, to wait patiently for him, to endure everything and anything while believing that it was okay, that she wouldn't be alone. And yet, here was a horrible and new situation, linked to him –and thanks kami he wasn't the cause of it or Tsuna didn't know what he would have done-, and it was not the man himself who came to explain things but a stranger, a dangerous hitman who had showed more interest for them than Iemitsu had ever done. The brunet couldn't imagine how she could feel. Heartbroken? Angry? Disgusted? In pain? Shocked? The sudden intake of air coming from her startled him slightly.
"Tsu-kun?" She repeated with an almost imperceptible emphasis.
He understood immediately. He turned to Reborn who had simply watched them and witnessed their total lack of surprise, silently wondering if there was more to it. The teen's attention was focused on the bakenekos however as he calmly said.
"It's okay, Reborn-san isn't an enemy."
As soon as his words escaped his mouth, the spiritual cats left the kitchen, treating the tiny human as furniture. Nana started to hum cheerfully as if a switch had been activated. Her usual bright smile came back on her lips. Knowing what she would do, Kage-chan jumped on the floor, allowing the woman to grab the knife and prepare dinner. Tsuna stayed put for a little while, listening to her. Her oblivious manners back, he guessed that she was okay for the moment, simply letting the information sinking in and sorting out her feelings later. Hearing Reborn shifting, the brunet immediately brought back his attention on him. The infant hopped down on the floor and turned toward his new student.
"You have homework, Tsuna, don't you?"
The brunet nodded and stood, taking away their dishes to bring them to the sink. He then went upstairs carefully because of his ankle, tripping on his way but managing to catch himself before harshly meeting the floor. He opened the door of his bedroom before remembering that he had left his bag in the hall. He quickly went downstairs which caused him to fall down some steps, as well as aggravating his pain. Meanwhile Reborn entered the teen's room to observe it. It was neat and clean, and also a little bit unusual. The hitman had noticed that every room in the house had, at least, one talisman stuck near a window or a door, except in the bedrooms which presented four of them in each four points of the compass. Seeing that, he had assumed that the family was quite superstitious. However, when he saw the small altar on a high shelf in the teen's room, his opinion changed. Well, it wasn't his business if his student believed in deities as long as it didn't hinder his own plans. He paused in front of it, inspecting it. In front of the small shrine there was a small mirror, on either side of which there were two small lanterns and a sprig of sakaki, while above and across the length of the shelf a straw rope with small paper pendants was stretched. The infant could see that it was taken care of with special care to keep it clean and –probably- unpolluted. For one instant, he wondered who tidied it. Was it really the boy? There were no offerings though, which wasn't surprising since it was usually offered on mornings and later used for meals. Apart from the altar, the room was exceptionally colorful, offering splatters of colors on the walls and the ceiling. There was also a simple bed, a desk with its chair, some others full shelves and a small but good hi-fi system.
Reborn picked up a random book and was surprised –if not shocked- to see that it was a foreign one, an Italian normal one. Taking a quick look around, he even found that a great part of the books were in another language –English, French, Italian and a few Chinese- among some Japanese Braille. He tipped his fedora down, letting Leon crawled on his arm. How could a blind boy read books that weren't in Braille? Was the information wrong? Was Iemitsu that wrong about his family? His mood darkened drastically as his irritation turned into annoyance, almost anger. Leon sensed his emotions and automatically transformed into a green gun, revealing his nature of shape-shifter.
Tsuna with his unfortunate timing chose that exact instant to walk in. Feeling a shift in the air, he froze instantly. His intuition was acting up, whispering quietly that something dangerous was about to happen. A sudden pain in his left cheek informed him that something small and really fast had just grazed him. Startled, he jumped away, letting his bag go. He immediately stilled, focusing on his hearing and his scent in search for any hostile presence.
"Dame-Tsuna, open your eyes."
The cold command sent fearful shivers down the brunet's spine. There was anger and suspicion in this voice. He didn't need his instincts or whatever to tell him that if he didn't obey right now, he would be in serious troubles. He slowly opened his eyes, hoping that it would be enough to ease his tutor.
Reborn silently cursed when his dark orbs met warm caramel ones. They were lively and expressive –completely different from blind ones- but the pupils were almost nonexistent. Constant orange flashes overwhelmed the original color in a proof of the Hyper Intuition acting up. Confusion and fear were written all over his face. Reborn rose his green gun to point it on the boy who didn't even blink. Tsuna simply stared nervously, silently wondering what the heck was happening. A bullet was suddenly fired with almost no sound thanks to the silencer. Still, Tsuna heard it and frowned in confusion, unable to catalog it, before another identical pain bloomed in his other cheek. He brushed his fingers against his injury and licked them. He recognized blood and made a grimace when tasting the weird taste of salt and rust.
"You really can't see, then."
Tsuna flinched away at these words, closing his eyes in reflex when he realized how close his terrifying tutor was. He didn't hear him approaching while he was focusing on his sense of taste.
"Wh-what happened?" He asked, afraid of the answer.
"I shot you." Reborn replied bluntly, letting Leon turned back into a chameleon. "For someone who can't read, you have a lot of books."
Tsuna suddenly understood. Of course the hitman would be suspicious. He didn't know anything after all. For a few seconds, the brunet wondered what he should say. He settled for the truth, or at least a part of it. After all, he wouldn't really be able to hide his unnatural sharp senses.
"I-I can read them." Tsuna assured his tutor.
With hesitant hands, he picked up slowly his bag and looked for his English worksheet. Pulling it out, he put it on the floor and smoothed it carefully. Then, he focused on his touch and began to run his fingers extremely slowly on the paper. Reborn observed him without a word. It was a simple Grammar exercise about tenses, modals and structure.
"A complex sentence is a sentence that contains an independent clause and at least one dependent clause." The teen began to recite as his fingers followed the printed words. "In the complex sentence Amy laughed when Jake fell, the clause when Jake fell is a dependent clause because it is preceded by the word when, which is a subordinating conjunction."
He paused and slightly withdrew, letting Reborn looked at the sheet. It was exactly what the brunet had said.
"I-I can read." Tsuna repeated while scratching his cheek nervously, causing some blood to drop. "If i-it's printed, I c-can read but it's easier with handwriting."
Since the ink wasn't completely absorbed by the paper, it stood out. Letters could be easily felt. However, when printed, words and paper were a little bit more homogeneous, especially with recent technology. Sometimes, he couldn't even decipher what was written. Thankfully, whenever youkai wanted to reach him, they either talked to him or wrote themselves their requests in their weird language. The infant narrowed his eyes. If it was true, then he had to admit that he was impressed. However, he was not one to be easily convinced. Since he had nothing to test him –the books couldn't be used since they belonged to the teen-, the hitman decided to satisfy his curiosity.
"I take it that it's not only your sense of touch, right?"
"T-that's right." Tsuna nodded. "I n-need to focus b-but it's the s-same for the o-others, except my Sight."
"That's how you were able to discern my presence earlier." Reborn stated thoughtfully.
"Y-yes but I a-also had a feeling." The brunet specified it. "Intuition, y-you can say."
Reborn fell silent for a bit. He knew that Hyper Intuition could warn his owner to any danger. Was there more to it? Was it able to sharpen senses? Nono also had it but he never showed superior senses, just quick reflexes born from it. Did Tsuna have a stronger Hyper Intuition or did his senses increase because of his blindness? Was it both? Well, if the teen was actually telling the truth. The hitman however doubted that his student was able to lie. He was simply too easy to read. So if it was really Hyper Intuition, how was he able to wake it? Did he encounter a life-or-death situation before? When and how? Reborn inwardly sighed and lifted his fedora up, watching the brunet working.
"You have five minutes to complete the sheet." He announced suddenly, making the other flinch. "I need to evaluate your level in all the languages you had begun to learn."
"Do it, Dame-Tsuna." Reborn ordered with a warning shot coming from one of his normal guns.
The teen screeched while ducking in reflex. He grabbed his sheet and sat on his chair hurriedly, trying to finish his homework as fast as possible.
After some shouts, shots and screeches, Reborn finally managed to determine quite a few things. First, the brunet was able to handle conversations in European languages but his Chinese was worse than horrible. Seeing this curiosity for languages, the hitman aimed to a higher level, including others languages that the brunet would have to learn to speak fluently. Secondly, his student's grades were actually slightly better than he expected. Excellent in English, his rank was average for Japanese Literature and History, and he was simply catastrophic for Math and Science. These ones would be the most difficult to teach but Reborn being Reborn, nothing was impossible. Thirdly, his body was in a better shape than expected. Because of the bullies, Tsuna was quite resistant to pain. Used to being chased, his speed and stamina were constantly increasing. However, he was far behind Reborn's criteria and the hitman would gladly change this fact. As his ankle was sprained, he would have to wait a little to really begin to train him though.
It was decided that it was a good moment for a pause when Nana called them for dinner. Reborn went downstairs first, meeting Kage-chan who entered into Tsuna's room.
"It's time?" He whispered while taking her into his arms.
"Yeah. I've warned Nana earlier." The nekomata replied, settling down comfortably. "Let's go, cub."
Tsuna silently opened his window, carefully went down, hiding a wince when his feet touched the ground, and disappeared into the streets. In the kitchen, Reborn suddenly lifted his head, startled. His student's presence had vanished. He excused himself to Nana and quickly went upstairs, missing the knowing glint in her eyes. Opening the bedroom's door, he noticed a piece of paper stuck between the glass and the ledge of the window.
I'll be right back.
Reborn tilted his fedora down and decided to let his student go for this time. It would give him time to decide how and when he would tell the brunet about the Blood of Vongola and Dying Will Flames. He joined Nana downstairs, already thinking about how he would punish his surprising student.
First chapter ! Don't hesitate to review to express likes, dislikes, questions, or to point out my mistakes =)
See you next chapter~