Tsuna loved his dancing. He was somehow taught how to breakdance. Don't ask him how he did it but he was good at it. It was probably the only thing he was good at if he was honest. His school career was all but hopeless now.
And people started to actually come to watch him dance. It was like one of those cheesy 90s movies with the rival gangs having dance offs in the streets, trying to establish dominance. Nobody was ever going for blood but they always did their best to beat the other team. It was light hearted and fun; especially when new people came.
Tsuna had been on the receiving end of that excitement too. He had heard stories about how gangs met up constantly to duke it out with dancing. It sounded so cool! Tsuna couldn't resist his curiosity on this one and ended up sneaking out to the poorer part of Namimori, Japan.
He wasn't disappointed with what he saw either.
Everybody huddled around the flat cardboard pieces and cheered on their team. One gang was on either side and the spectators always filled up the middle to make it a circle. Music blared from a battery operated stereo and the people dancing always smiled as they started.
Tsuna felt his breath get taken away as he watched the dances for the first time. He had only ever heard about breakdancing [or b-boying] from movies like Step Up and even then it wasn't as impressive as in person.
You could tell the people were giving it their all. Sweat poured out of them as they danced and tried to beat the opposite person. Their entire body moved in sync with every other part, making it look so easy and effortless.
That single performance actually made him interested in b-boying. He found himself going more and more to the point where people knew him by name whenever he joined a group. They didn't know what he looked like since it was always dark, covering his iconic spiky hair with a beanie, and he was careful to turn away from any light. His mother would hear about him sneaking out in an instant if people realized who he looked like.
His late nights became so common that he made friends with people and they actually started to teach him how to dance.
They were nice about it, explaining it easily.
"So, b-boying is easy." One of the regulars, Kourin, started off. He had pulled Tsuna aside and sat him down. "The things you need to know are that you can never dance on just concrete. The reason there's always cardboard down is because it provides a smooth and flat surface for us to dance on. Understand?"
Tsuna nodded. "So the cardboard makes sure you don't fall over cracks and gravel?"
"Good; that's it, homeboy. We need it because of how hard it is to do moves on uneven ground. Plus, look at those sick moves. You expect me to do that on hard ass concrete where I'm gonna get gravel in my hands and hair?"
Tsuna laughed, nodding. Kourin pulled Tsuna to where there was an empty spot. "I'm gonna show you some basics. It'll be easy. Just put your best foot forward, as I like to say. Do it like this."
Kourin stepped forward, showing Tsuna what to do, and calling out encouragements as Tsuna followed his movements.
"There you go, there you go." Kourin smiled easily, his eyes bright and eager to teach. "Just like that. Loosen your shoulders, let your arms sway freely. That's it, that's it…"
Those types of lessons went like that for weeks until finally, Tsuna got the basics down. He knew them like the back of his hand and could easily do the six step. It took a lot of work though. Tsuna was disastrously clumsy.
"Aight, so you've been doing good." Kourin stated. Tsuna was just about to leave so he could make it back home before three in the morning. Kourin always liked to get the last word in. "But now we need you to practice the more complicated stuff. We need to get you good so you can compete for us. So you go to Namimori Middle School?"
Tsuna nodded warily, "Yeah."
"Good, I'll meet you when school ends at the gates. We're going practicing in my own studio this time. When's your school end?"
"Two-thirty. You don't have to pick me, Kourin. I can find your studio if you tell me-"
"Mm-mm, I know you walk home alone everyday. Don't worry, Tsuna. I have too many piercings for people to mess with me."
And that's exactly what Tsuna was afraid of. Kourin had snake bites, too many piercings in his ears, two in an eyebrow, and a septum piercing. All of those were enough for Tsuna's mom to ban him from ever seeing Kourin again. But Hibari Kyoya, having this person step foot on Namimori school grounds? Hibari wouldn't even hesitate to start trying to beat Kourin to a bloody pulp.
Tsuna was right for once too. Hibari had zeroed in on Kourin almost immediately and was marching over with cold, calculated fury on his face. Tsuna let out a small, terrified screech and started pushing Kourin through the gate hurriedly. The way Hibari was walking was enough to part the crowd but Kourin made people look over curiously, sticking around to see what happened.
"You", Hibari all but snarled. "Why are you on school grounds?"
"Hello there!" Kourin replied smoothly. "I'm just here to pick up my buddy Tsuna here after school!"
"Sawada, do you know this man?"
"Y-Yes!" Tsuna exclaimed. "He's my friend from, uh, work!"
Hibari narrowed his eyes slightly, turning his gaze sharply back to Kourin. Hibari sized him up, regarding whether or not to fight the two probably, before letting out a huff. He pointed a tonfa threateningly at the two, saying low and dangerously, "Don't let me catch you here with those things on your face again."
With that, the two were free and the crowd dispersed quickly, so as not to anger Hibari for crowding.
Tsuna almost collapsed in his relief as he watched Hibari walk off. Kourin seemed to think that was a funny interaction as he was smiling like nothing was wrong.
"He seems like a nice man!" Kourin said happily. The two were walking to the studio now and Tsuna wasn't sure he was going to be able to even remember what to do after that encounter.
"He isn't; he's terrifying!" Tsuna said nervously. "He onced beat up a kid for accidentally having his shoes untied. You don't want to mess with him."
"He ain't that scary. You should see my boss. Now that chick can kick some serious ass." As an afterthought, Kourin added in an undertone, "Don't tell her I said that. I'd be six feet under before the minute she found out."
Tsuna let out a small, nervous laugh. Hibari was terrifying. Tsuna had had a few encounters in his school life with the blood thirsty prefect. Most of the time it wasn't even in school though. Hibari obsessively patrolled the town and when Tsuna snuck out to watch all the dancing, Hibari had caught him a few times. The last time was when Tsuna really started trying to sneak around because he hated being dragged back to his front door and forced to go back into his house.
After learning how to be light on his feet for b-boying, it was easier to sneak around. Slowly but surely he was becoming more agile and harder to hear walking. Tsuna hated to admit it but it was satisfying to think that he wasn't always going to be the clumsy idiot he used to be.
Tsuna proved himself wrong immediately though as when he was starting to learn more complex moves, he constantly fell on his face. It wasn't as bad as falling on concrete but he had at least two nosebleeds and scraps all over his arms by the end of the first day.
"Man, I knew you were clumsy but not this clumsy." Kourin stated as he walked Tsuna home.
Tsuna let out a sheepish laugh. "I'm not as bad as I was when I was younger at least."
"Man, I would've hated to see you when you were younger then." Kourin slung an arm over Tsuna's shoulders, pulling him in. "You're not bad. It'll take some work before you can compete with us but we'll get you there."
"Compete?" Tsuna exclaimed worriedly. "I'm not dancing in front of everybody! I'll lose your guys' spot in the park if you put me in."
"Nah, don't worry about that. We gotta focus on gettin' you good first. Then we'll put you in the competitions."
So, instead of going to practice in the dead of night, Tsuna went to a studio every day to practice. It took so long for Tsuna to finally get it but when he got something, he was good at it.
And somehow he had unlocked some sort of fire thing. He didn't know what it was, all he knew was that it was weird. He didn't mean to produce it either. Kourin looked surprised with something underneath that Tsuna couldn't place.
He couldn't keep the flame going though as he didn't know how to control it and it burned whatever skin it touched. Tsuna had to take a couple days break from practicing with Kourin from the second degree burns he got.
When he got back, Kourin seemed to want to use the fire even more than Tsuna ever would.
"See, we can use those flames you got." Kourin explained, sitting Tsuna down. "We can get somebody to help you out with them, get you used to using them. That way you can draw more people in with your dancing. It'll be good for our crew."
Tsuna wasn't sure. "I don't know...I can't control them. What if I hurt somebody?"
"Don't worry about it. I got a guy coming to help you. Real serious dude. He saw us through the window when they started burning. Came up to me when I was walking home from the park; offered to help you."
There wasn't much room for argument it seemed. Tsuna nodded, not wanting to disagree. If he accidentally released them during class because he couldn't control them, that'd be even worse. So he guessed it was probably better to learn now than any other time.
And he trusted Kourin. Sure, he wasn't the best guy to have your back if there were police but he was half african and half Japanese. There was an unfair bias towards people with African heritage and Tsuna understood. But somehow, Kourin was trustworthy; there was never an instance where Tsuna was betrayed by Kourin, have at him for being late or being passed up for dancing. Kourin always kept his word. Tsuna may not know a lot about him, but Kourin was the first friend he had had since he was in first grade and people forgave his clumsiness. So having Kourin say not to worry put Tsuna at ease and more open to learning from this mysterious dude coming to teach him.
It took a long time for Tsuna to be able to be so precise with his flames though. He had started learning how to dance when he was 14 and by the time he was 16, he was only just using the flames in his dancing.
It was painstaking and hard but Tsuna had finally found something he was good at. He wasn't going to give it up for the world. Especially, when he finally started competing against people for Kourin's group, people actually liked and respected him. They didn't really talk to him but they didn't bully Tsuna either.
Not to mention, he was the talk of the town. The flames made people pay attention to Tsuna, curiously running up to him, asking what kind of tricks he was doing. People always thought it was some sort of paint or special effect. He always wore fingerless gloves so obviously it was to hide how the orange flames came out of his hands. But the gloves were to protect his hands against the flames. They burned bright and hot and passionately but Tsuna had no protection if he had to take his gloves off.
It wasn't worth explaining that he could produce flames either. Even if he tried, some recognized him as 'Idiot-Tsuna' from school. They scoffed and agreed amongst themselves he wasn't smart enough to build special effects into his gloves.
Eventually, more and more people started ignoring the technicalities of it and just enjoyed watching Tsuna dance. He was always smiling when he finished, shaking hands before and after each face-off, always being friendly and soft-spoken when people came over to him when he finished.
But there was a drawback. Somehow, for some ungodly reason, the mafia came knocking on Tsuna's door. Tsuna didn't understand it himself. He had done nothing to get their attention. All he was doing was dancing. And nobody was explaining it either. He knew a couple people that had family back in Italy but that was it? He wouldn't ever think that they'd sell him out.
Apparently flames were a big thing in the mafia. Tsuna had been told about them briefly and in passing but never really thought much about it. One day his curiosity got the better of him and he started going through different articles about flames and the power the mafia had if they had strong sky flame wielders. He couldn't ever imagine himself important enough to be on the mafia's radar but as he looked through the articles, he saw his name pop up numerous times.
It wasn't his actual name. Everybody in the b-boying community got a nickname if they wanted to get big. Tsuna never wanted to have a nickname but people started calling him B-Boy Sky and that's the name he saw popping up in the mafia's radar. He had no idea what the name meant. Did he turn blue when he danced? Was he suddenly really into clouds?
It blew him away. He was nothing but a failure. He never could focus in school and was never able to do well unless he actually buckled down more than once a month. What was so important about him that the mafia was looking for whoever BBoy Sky was? It obviously wasn't because he had sky flames. He had a hard time believe he had any type of important flame to begin with. Maybe they thought he was a sky flame wielder because of his nickname? That made more sense than anything he could ever come up with.
Yet, even if he asked himself that, he couldn't deny what was happening.
First, it started with letters. Tens of letters showed up addressed to Tsuna so suddenly, Nana was concerned that Tsuna had been suddenly gained popularity with the women. It was under a different name and everything so Nana was concerned her boy was leading another life. Tsuna almost cried in his laughter at that statement. No person in their right mind would ever go out with him in the first place. He was still Idiot-Tsuna to the entire population in his school.
Then somebody had been knocking at his front door, asking to speak with Tsuna. The people were always polite and charming but Tsuna felt uneasy, his gut twisting painfully as he heard his mother laugh like nothing was wrong.
Every time there was a knock at the door, Tsuna felt the same lurch of uneasiness and nausea. His mother was never concerned though and happily showed Tsuna down into the living room where people in impeccable black suits were always waiting. Some were scarred horribly, some had no scratches whatsoever. All of them were dangerous though. Tsuna wasn't sure how he knew but he could feel something in the air that provoked him to be protective, to kick and scream and snarl at the person to leave them alone.
But he didn't do that. Even when they offered money, women, drugs, anything they thought would sway him, he still politely declined.
The rejection was never enough though. People always kept coming back. They hounded Tsuna to the point there were dead animals in his house with threats pinned to them. It was unnerving and terrifying to Tsuna but he never gave in.
One thing he learned was to never give in to somebody's demands. Too many times he had trusted the person and it had blown up in his face. So he knew his limits.
Everybody was scrambling for Tsuna at this point. Somebody who could control their flames with such ease while making it look easy was somebody they wanted in their family. It was so crazy that they were even approaching Tsuna on the street.
At the point of people approaching him, he wasn't sure if he should call the police or stay silent. He suspected his mother got worried for their safety though as the next thing Tsuna knew was his father, Iemitsu, was home; drunk and happily flirting with Nana like he hadn't just disappeared out of their lives since Tsuna was eight.
His father had worked somewhere off the coast of Italy on an oil rig. Tsuna had a hard time believing the oil rig story as Iemitsu would have called more if that was the case. They had learned about what a job at an oil rig was like in class. Somebody in his class had a mom that worked on one. And the accommodations included phones to call home whenever needed. So Tsuna wasn't so sure why Iemitsu was able to act like this when he never seemed to miss them.
"Tsuna!" Iemitsu greeted jollily. Tsuna didn't know what he did in his life to deserve this but his mom was watching, waiting eagerly to respond.
"Hey, dad." Tsuna mumbled. Iemitsu beamed, picking him up in a bear hug.
Tsuna felt his entire body seize and resist against the hug. He just wanted a nap. It was close to exams and he was actually trying to pass. It was his last year, he might as well do kind of well. He really hoped Iemitsu wouldn't interfere with anything.
Of course, that never happens when Iemitsu visits and it was no different this time.
He came because of his work apparently, not because he wanted to see him. He wouldn't explain what this work was just yet though. Apparently it was important that he spend time with Tsuna before that.
"I haven't seen my boy in years!" Iemitsu exclaimed. "Am I not allowed to want to spend time with you?"
Tsuna held his tongue and gave a strained smiled. "I guess so."
Iemitsu ruffled Tsuna's hair and tramped off into the living room, swigging back some sort of alcohol. Tsuna shook his head, bolting up to his room. He expected this to be the lull where his mom let his dad get drunk and pass out on the floor while she makes something. If only.
As Tsuna walked into his room, he immediately noticed somebody sprawled out on his bed. He dropped his bag in shock and a bullet lodged itself into the door frame right beside his head. Tsuna let out a shrill shriek, bracing himself against the door.
"Don't wake me up, idiot." The person grumbled. Tsuna looked over terrified that he could die this instant. The person stood up and Tsuna realized it was a man that was a good five inches [12 cm] taller than his six feet [183 cm]. He somehow stood even more impressive in an all black suit, the only colour in his burgundy dress shirt.
Tsuna was too terrified to answer and the man made an annoyed sort of sound. He ruffled his hair before putting a fedora back on. A small lizard jumped onto his shoulder and crawled onto the brim of the hat, flicking its tongue, almost in welcome, at Tsuna.
"Chaos," the man said briskly. "Reborn"
Tsuna stared at him. He remembered that as a word from his english class that meant 'born again'. Why was this man bringing the word up now?
"God, you're even stupider than I thought." Reborn muttered in a sigh. "My name. Reborn is my name."
Recognition dawned on Tsuna's face before confusion took its place. "Why are you named Reborn? What parent-?"
"I chose it. And it's not my real name. Catch up." Reborn flicked Tsuna's nose, making him flinch violently. "Is your dad drunk yet?"
Reborn seemed to struggle to keep a straight face. The lizard licked his face and it seemed to make his stance more natural. Tsuna felt weird watching the interaction. Somebody so intimidating had suddenly melted his ice because his animal licked him.
"Is your dad too drunk to function yet?"
"N-No?" Tsuna said uncertainly.
"Whatever. Take the nap you came up here for then."
Tsuna moved towards his bed, staring in concern at Reborn. He completely ignored Tsuna though, watching as the lizard ran up and down his arm. Tsuna just shook his head, passing out face first on his bed.
He woke up to Reborn moving around his bed with a bucket full of a mysterious gelatin.
Reborn looked disappointed as he kicked the bucket into a corner, motioning for Tsuna to get up. Tsuna moved to leave his bed, his feet entangled in his sheets as he moved. He looked up and saw Reborn holding out his index finger, a signal to wait.
"Why are we wasting time in here when you're the one that wanted me to get up?" Tsuna whined.
"Because he said the minute you wake up and I don't take orders from underlings." Reborn muttered in mild annoyance. Tsuna still didn't understand.
Reborn stood stock still for another few seconds before beckoning Tsuna forward. He fell flat on his face as usual and expected to be laughed at but Reborn was already halfway down the stairs by the time Tsuna had untangled himself.
Iemitsu was lounging, tiredly looking up at the tree branches over him. He smiled happily when he saw Tsuna and Reborn come into view.
"Come to join us!" Iemitsu yelled. Tsuna flinched and looked at the surrounding fence. Most neighbours would peek over in curiosity and he really didn't want to be associated with this man.
Reborn completely ignored him and sat against the tree. He seemed to start playing with his lizard, letting it crawl onto his chest and started playing with the chameleon's legs. Tsuna was baffled at how calmly he was playing with it when there was obviously some big news.
Iemitsu didn't seem phased by the blatant rudeness of Reborn and roughly cuffed a hand onto Tsuna's shoulder. Tsuna tried not to squirm away and looked down at his feet. Reborn looked over and snorted.
"Tsuna, you've grown." Iemitsu remarked. He turned to Reborn and said, "He used to be so tiny! He was the runt of the litter, if you know what I mean. And even his body wasn't as toned-"
"Already don't care, Iemitsu." Reborn called. Iemitsu deflated and seemed to get down to business.
"Alright, well, Tsuna you must know there's a reason I'm here?"
"Oh, you didn't want to see us?" Tsuna asked. His tone was strained at best and even Reborn stopped playing to listen to the following conversation.
"W-Well, of course I wanted to but I was busy with work." Iemitsu smiled, going to wring his hands. He thought better of it and shoved them into his pockets. He had a gaudy orange jumpsuit on, like he was an inmate. Tsuna had a hard time looking at it.
"You sent a postcard when I was twelve with you and penguins. No oil driller that works in Italy would ever venture that far." Tsuna said. He did his best to not yell. He could hear his mother humming along in the kitchen and he didn't want her to hear this. "I have a hard time believing you were ever where you said you were, even when you did call."
"Tsuna, you know I was busy-"
"Whatever. Why are you here. You're obviously not here for us."
"Do you know what flames are, Tsuna?" Reborn called.
"No." Tsuna muttered. He was lying through his teeth, he knew more than the average person about flames. He just wasn't sure if he wanted them to know about how he was able to use flames.
Reborn seemed to know he was lying but didn't say anything as he beckoned Tsuna closer. He wasn't sure he wanted to get too close to Reborn, considering how dangerous he felt.
"You know how to use flames, don't you, B-Boy Sky?" Reborn muttered as Tsuna sat down. Tsuna looked over in alarm but the subject was quickly returned to what flames were as Iemitsu flopped down in front of them.
"Flames are what the mafia use as weapons. There are seven different types, with seven different colours to identify them. Red is storm flames; orange is sky flames; yellow is sun; green is lightening; blue is rain; indigo is mist; and finally, purple is cloud. Each flame has a certain character trait to go along with it. Do you know what they are?"
Tsuna blinked, still trying to remember the colours. Reborn moved on, saying, "Obviously you don't. The traits for a storm flame is disintegration. It erodes anything it touches. For sky, its harmony. It brings things together. Sun flames activate. It is used in support and medicinal uses. With me so far?"
Tsuna nodded. He had met a couple people that gave him basic outlines of what flames were. He didn't think there was so much more to them though. It was kind of interesting.
"Lightning hardens, reinforces everything. Rain relaxes things, makes them weaker, more tranquil. Mist helps makes things and clouds opponents vision to the truth. Finally, cloud flames multiply and expand, making more things appear."
Reborn fell silent, letting Tsuna absorb the information. He continued playing with his lizard, Tsuna wasn't even sure it had a name, and let Iemitsu take on the explanation. Nobody said anything and Tsuna wasn't sure what to do since he still had no idea why he was being told all of this.
"Well, Tsuna, I'm sure you know by now that you have sky flames?" Iemitsu asked.
"What?" Tsuna shrieked. "No, I don't. What could possibly make you think I do? I-I don't even know how to produce flames."
Iemitsu seemed downcast at that. He wanted to say something, Tsuna could see a comment forming, but Nana stuck her head out the door and said, "Honey, could you help me chop some vegetables? Reborn and Tsuna can keep talking!"
He shouldn't feel so satisfied to watch his dad slink away but he also needed to ask Reborn about how he knew his nickname. In school, nobody ever thought it was him that was B-Boy Sky. He had became infamous for his use of flames in his b-boying but nobody ever looked to Tsuna and he wanted to keep it that way. He felt way better staying average than in the spotlight because that's all he was good at anyways.
"I know your nickname because I have an informant watching you for Vongola." Reborn announced.
"What do you mean an informant?" Tsuna demanded. "Who is it? Only a couple people have mafia ties that go to the skate park."
"I could tell you...But I won't. Not for free anyways." Reborn looked over at Tsuna wickedly. "Show me your flames and I'll give you a hint."
"Why would I show you just for a hint?"
"Oh well, guess you don't want to know who snitched to me."
Tsuna felt his entire body groan. He had his gloves in the sweater he was wearing but he could see his dad peeking through the window suspiciously. Reborn noticed and sighed, heaving himself up. Tsuna wasn't going to follow until Reborn sent an annoyed stare down at Tsuna. He scrambled up, following as he filed back into the house.
Nana smiled over at them, letting them know dinner would be ready soon and to wash up. Reborn nodded, sending a charming smile to her that made her giggle. Tsuna felt like he was going to throw up and quickly sped up the stairs. Reborn was laughing behind him.
"Show me your flames." Reborn demanded when they were holed up inside Tsuna's room again. Tsuna made a small sound of protest that quickly turned into screaming as Reborn pointed a gun at Tsuna's head. "I'm not going to ask again; we had a deal."
Tsuna swallowed painfully, his throat closing up in fear. He had never had somebody pull a gun on him. Tsuna pulled his gloves out of his pocket. Reborn didn't move, still having the gun pointed Tsuna's forehead. It wasn't hard to summon his flames and Tsuna felt a tingling sensation spread through his arms, down his chest, and sink into his bones. It left a warm sensation as he produced dazzling orange flames, keeping them lit as he looked up at Reborn.
"Shit…" Reborn cursed. He put the gun into the holster strapped to his chest and messed with his cuff. Tsuna let the flame fizzle out and stared curiously, waiting for Reborn to explain what just happened.
Iemitsu seemed to sense the tension as well as this was the moment he chose to step into Tsuna's room. His ear splitting grin fell into a grimace as he made eye contact with Reborn. Tsuna stared in bewilderment between the two, looking back and forth for a sign to explain what was happening.
"You have sky flames, Tsuna." Reborn announced. He moved his gaze to Tsuna's, unblinking and unnerving. "That means one of two things; we either kill you so you don't become a contender for boss-"
Tsuna interrupted Reborn hurriedly, pacing around his room as he tried to make sense of this. "What! What do you mean-I can't have sky flames. A boss of what? The mafia? No, no, no you have it all wrong. I'm completely useless. I'm only good at dancing there no way I could ever-"
"Don't interrupt me." Reborn said. He glared with such intensity that Tsuna felt himself freeze on the spot in his own fear. When Tsuna had finally calmed down, Reborn continued. "Or you go under the radar with us in Vongola. Word has spread fast about you. Anybody able to control their flames as well as you have will be a powerful ally."
"What the hell is a Vongola?"
Iemitsu stepped in before Reborn could start berating Tsuna to keep up. "Vongola is the mafia family we both work for, Tsuna."
"That you work for, Iemitsu." Reborn said.
"Well, yes. I'm the leader of a branch organization of Vongola, CEDEF. It's a institution that helps balance the power between Vongola."
"Why are you telling me this?" Tsuna almost screeched. His voice had dropped considerably so even he was surprised at the sound he emitted. It wasn't enough to stop his panic though as he threaded his fingers through his hair, pushing it out of his face roughly. "I don't need to know about this. I'm not going to be a mafia boss. I'm not going to be in the mafia."
"Idiot-Tsuna, you already have connections to Vongola through Iemitsu; there's no escaping it." Reborn interjected. Tsuna bristled at his old nickname but he still wasn't deterred as he started pacing up and down the length of his room.
"I'm not joining the mafia." Tsuna reiterated. "It's not like I'm any good at anything. Dancing is all I'm good at if you think about it. The people recruiting me will back off soon enough."
Tsuna had moved to leave the room but Reborn grabbed him, holding him there, and staring him down. "There's no running from the mafia, Tsuna. They'll go after Nana to get to you. Vongola can offer protection and make sure there isn't any retaliation from other families."
Tsuna looked up in a strange mix of resentment and fear at the offer. He wrenched his arm away from Reborn; he held up his hands placatingly at Tsuna.
Tsuna hated fighting. What was he going to do for Vongola? Set off a weapon on his own side in the middle of a fight? He was only good at b-boying and even that took a while to perfect to the point where he was. He couldn't possibly be anything close to helpful.
"We'll leave you be until a year after you graduate," Reborn said with a note of finality.
And just like that, they were gone. Tsuna caught the two leaving in the middle of the night. He had been coming back from the skate park and was sneaking in through his window when he heard their soft mutters. Their voices were crisp and carried easily in the still night. It was breezy enough for the wind to carry what they said and cloudy enough that Tsuna wouldn't be seen easily.
Reborn noticed him immediately regardless. Tsuna was never good at blending into his surroundings. Reborn had this annoyingly smug smirk playing around his lips. Iemitsu was oblivious as always though. He seemed to be bemoaning his heartbreak over leaving so soon.
"You haven't visited them in nine years. What's the difference in leaving now?" Reborn said harshly.
"You don't understand! Bianchi is the only serious relationship you've had. Nana and I raised a son together!" Iemitsu was annoyingly condescending and Tsuna found himself shutting his window harder than he anticipated.
But everything mafia related was pushed to the back of his mind as he was confronted with the fact he needed to pass this year with better grades to graduate. His teachers had just been passing him along throughout the years because they didn't want to keep him back. He never had to study thanks to that and he was feeling the pressure as he tried to cram. He understood next to nothing in all of his classes though as he was always thinking about the next night and what moves he could use this time.
Some of the smarter kids took pity on him and helped him out with homework before class and gave him studying tips. And with that help he somehow got decent enough grades to graduate.
It was an odd feeling knowing that he was done with school. But it also reminded him that he'd have to explain why he wasn't going to college.
He was only reminded about anything mafia related when he spotted Reborn in the sea of heads at his graduation ceremony.
In retrospect, he was easy to find since he was sitting right next to Iemitsu; who was yelling, "That's my boy!" when Tsuna was called to receive his diploma. Nana was teary eyed next to Iemitsu, finally looking proud of Tsuna. Reborn was on the other side of Nana, filming Tsuna accepting his diploma.
Tsuna guessed it was to try and get him tripping onto the stage on tape or something. He was fine; his balance was way better than it once was.
Nana was the first to rush over to Tsuna when all the gowns had been returned to the school. She swept Tsuna up in a flurry of limbs. Iemitsu joined in, knocking the wind out of Tsuna at the force Iemitsu exerted into the hug. Reborn seemed amused watching the three, staring idly at Tsuna before turning, looking suspiciously towards the forest that lined the street.
"Oh, Tsuna, I can't believe we finally got here!" Nana exclaimed. She clapped her hands together and sighed wistfully.
Tsuna smiled nervously, rubbing his neck. "I had a lot of help," Tsuna said. "People on my class are the only reason I passed."
"My boy's all grown up." Iemitsu said tearfully. Tsuna felt a twinge of annoyance at the statement but plastered a smile on his face.
Tsuna felt his smile grow strained as he held back a yawn. He was more tired than he thought he would be. Kourin had insisted on taking Tsuna out to celebrate. Kourin was the only one that had really taken to Tsuna in their dance crew. The rest idly congratulated him, giving handshakes and awkward smiles. They never tried to get to know Tsuna like they had each other. He didn't care; people did that all the time so it's not like he wasn't used to it.
Kourin was the most excited about him graduating anyways so the other people in his dance crew weren't really on his mind. Kourin was easily a better family than his current one. Don't get him wrong, he loved his mother but she seemed distant at best a lot of the times. She couldn't handle having the reputation of having a no good son.
He was hopeful he wouldn't just be "No-Good Tsuna" soon though. He finally had time to make a name for himself in his dancing. Kourin promised to help him work on harder tricks to do after he graduated. They had been talking about it for weeks but Tsuna couldn't work on them yet. Exams and reviewing had taken up most of his free time.
Tsuna was tired from the constant studying so he had been absent from the skate park for a bit. He didn't think he could perform his best if he was overtired. He was looking forward to a nap when he got home from the ceremony now. Nana would be cooking up a storm; Iemitsu and Reborn would be talking so there was no need for him to be down there in the first place. Tsuna had a sneaking feeling Reborn would somehow find an excuse for Tsuna to stay though.
"This calls for a feast!" Nana exclaimed. She twirled around and faced the three, smiling widely. "How about I go get some groceries while you three rest?"
"What!" Iemitsu spluttered. "We couldn't possibly ask you to do all the shopping by yourself. As your husband, it is my duty to accompany you!"
Tsuna felt himself gag, hiding it in a cough. Reborn smirked down at him in amusement, unperturbed by the couple's obnoxious flirting.
"Excellent!" Nana said. She started dragging Iemitsu away but he somehow managed to say, "Reborn and Tsuna, you guys can set up!"
Tsuna looked dubiously to the retreating couple, turning his eyes back to Reborn's. If Iemitsu were to know anything, it'd be that Tsuna in a kitchen was a bad idea. He was still clumsy so he'd end up stabbing himself in the arm if he got close to the kitchen.
"You're not touching anything in that kitchen." Reborn said.
"Good plan", Tsuna said in relief.
The two fell into step easily. Reborn's height made people part easily so Tsuna just followed along behind in his wake. People marvelled at Reborn's height and looks more than they thought of Tsuna following behind and he was fine with that. Tsuna enjoyed being in the shadows in the first place. It meant people wouldn't make fun of him.
When Reborn took a look into the kitchen, he let out a derisive snort. The entire thing was spotless with all the pans set up and dishes out on the table. There was nothing for the two to do in the first place.
Tsuna almost cheered as he walked into his room and collapsed face first into his bed, suit and all.
"You're going to wrinkle that if you sleep in it." Reborn commented as he walked in. Tsuna gave a groan of indifference and didn't move. Reborn shrugged as he kicked his feet onto Tsuna's desk.
Tsuna would've fallen asleep too if Reborn hadn't kept talking. He felt his annoyance surge in his muddled state as he tried to drone Reborn out but the last sentence caught his attention.
"...I hear you had a nasty run in with a mafioso a few weeks ago."
Tsuna surged up and fell onto the floor in his haste. He had no idea how Reborn could know because only Kourin could possibly know.
"What?" Tsuna asked. "W-What are you talking about? The mafia haven't even thought of me for months."
"Oh don't lie, Tsuna. We both know you're not good at it in the first place. Should I jog your memory?" At the stubborn set of Tsuna's jaw, Reborn continued. "You were walking home from your skatepark, somebody approaches you and corners you, you try to escape by saying no the usual way, and then all of a sudden the man pulls a knife, trying to slash at you. You survive with injuries and a minor stab wound in your arm. Ring a bell?"
"Fine! Yes, that's what happened. But how did-?"
"How did I find out? Oh, I was watching the entire time. I've been here for months watching you. You're not as terrible at dancing as I thought you'd be." Tsuna sent a weak glare at Reborn. Reborn kept going. "Your dad wanted me to watch you just in case you got into too much trouble. I was told not to intervene unless it was life threatening."
"Why didn't you stop the guy from stabbing me then?"
"It wasn't life threatening. I've met the mafioso that attacked you before. Almost broke his neck after he tried to flirt with my girlfriend at the time. She beat me to it, of course. There was no way he was going to hurt you since there was some woman walking by. Kourin also heard your screaming."
"I wasn't screaming." Tsuna said. "Kourin almost got hurt too. How would you explain that?"
"Mafioso saw me when I moved and got too scared to hurt you." Reborn picked up a ball of elastics and started playing with it, completely oblivious to Tsuna's anger.
"So you've been watching me?" Tsuna demanded.
"Yes, I already said this. I was assigned to watch you over the last few months. I was the protection I mentioned so your mother doesn't get hurt. And you're fine."
This had Tsuna simmering, looking at the ground with his shoulders slumped forward. He had forgotten how vulnerable his mother was. He was still being approached by mafioso and the fact one got violent was reason enough to believe it could escalate fast. His throat closed up as he tried to think passed that.
Reborn left him alone, closing the door with a soft click. Tsuna crawled back into his bed, using this chance to fall asleep for a few hours. He couldn't even think of his mother getting hurt if he was honest. She wasn't the best but she was still loving to him.
Tsuna fell into a restless three hour nap. He tossed and turned so much he was surprised he didn't strangle himself with his own bed sheets. Reborn seemed determined to wake him up though as Tsuna was thrown into a cold shower as a wakeup call.
"Mafiosos need to be alert at all times." Reborn chided. "I could've been a contract killer sent after you."
"I'm not becoming a mafia person!" Tsuna said hysterically. Reborn didn't care enough as he threw a towel at Tsuna and said on his way out, "Dinner's ready. Be down there before I eat your food."
Reborn seemed to enjoy trampling over Tsuna's life. That was the only conclusion he could come up with as he saw Reborn in the crowd at the next skate park dance off. Tsuna was always a key player at this point so it wasn't like he could skip it.
Reborn seemed interested in following him too. Tsuna hadn't realized he was being followed until he saw Reborn behind all the spectators; then he was suddenly right next to Tsuna when he was switched off.
Nobody seemed alarmed to have him there either. Usually new people made everybody wary. Police always wanted them to shut down because of the drug deals that went on. So Tsuna expected quite a few people to be approaching Reborn but both sides treated him like an old friend.
Tsuna tried to ignore it as he had no idea what he was doing with his dancing tonight and was doing it on the spot. The only rule Tsuna had for his dancing was never use your good moves first. You wait out what the other person does and if they pull out a good move, then you also use your good moves. It was one of the things Kourin drilled into him since day one of their practices. It was something he lived by as he was good enough that he could survive with his cheap, well balanced dancing. But he was still holding out for the moment he could really shine.
His opponent seemed good but they were dancing around each other, toying with the other. Tsuna had patience and could wait out the dance. The other guy was getting antsy though and had finally busted out a special smurf walk [reversed walking where you step heel to toe instead of toe to heel.] where he used a pop inside the walk. It wasn't as good as Tsuna expected and he felt a wicked smile cross his face as it was his turn.
Tsuna kept his good moves to himself, making sure other people couldn't snipe [steal] them. His windmill was a no-hands one that most people hadn't figured out yet. He had a special pop where he used his flames as theatrics. Those were his best moves that always helped him take the other guy out. Currently, he used his special pop and followed with a tick [full body wave motion] and lock it [locking your joints as you move robotically].
He was so sure he was going to win. People had been cheering way more for him than anybody else. All those hopes were dashed when he was tackled to the ground by three people and everybody scattered.
Most times when somebody was tackled, nobody stuck their neck out since most people did or at least dealt drugs of some kind in the park. They didn't plan on getting caught if police swarmed the place. Tsuna didn't expect to be helped either as he registered the people on top of him.
But these weren't police. These people were stomping on anything they could get to on Tsuna. He rolled as best he could and somehow broke through the legs of the three attackers. He didn't get far though as he felt something scrape along the sides of his neck, arm, and leg. Tsuna stumbled, rolling to a stop against a concrete block.
He was dazed and confused, trying to drag himself up. He dimly heard something like gunshots and soft thunks of something hitting the ground. Tsuna rolled over, groaning in pain as he steadied himself against the concrete barrier. The entire park was cleared, only a few odd lumps on the ground. He couldn't make out who was who as it was so dark.
Somebody ran over to him, grabbing him by the shoulders. It was Kourin, looking frantic and beside himself in fear. It seemed he had sprinted back from the side of the park with fencing. It was where all the woods were and was the best spot to get away since there was much more cover.
"Tsuna, you alright?" Kourin asked. His voice helped Tsuna rouse more as it was something familiar.
"I-I'm fine, yeah. They might have broken a rib or-or two." Tsuna said breathlessly. It was hard for him to breathe at the moment and wasn't sure if it was because he was terrified or because he was injured.
"Come on, let's get you out of here." Kourin said. He put Tsuna's arm around his neck and helped him stand up, limping along towards the fence.
There was the cock of a gun and a barrel was pressed against Tsuna's head. His terror almost overtook him as he felt his back start to sweat. He slowly turned to who was behind him. He fully expected it to be Reborn messing with him but it wasn't anybody he had seen before.
"We've grown tired of playing nice." The person said. He was wearing a full face ski mask so there was nothing discernible about him. Tsuna tried to swallow and raised a shaky arm into the air, showing his hands. "It's time for you to join our family, Sawada. No more presents and nice words, you hear?"
Tsuna gave a dim nod. There wasn't much he could do as his stomach swam and tears pooled in his eyes. He wouldn't even get to say goodbye to his mom.
The mafioso motioned with his gun for Tsuna to separate from Kourin. Tsuna obeyed, stumbling away. He fell in a heap at the mafioso's feet and rolled over so he could still see Kourin. His eyes were wide with fear and Kourin mirrored the same terror. There was nothing they could do. And after Kourin had worked so hard to help him learn to dance.
"Get up", The mafioso said. He kicked Tsuna in the ribs, sneering as Tsuna let out a sharp screech of pain. "God, who would've known a sky user like yourself was such a wimp."
"Hey, you watch your mouth!" Kourin said angrily.
"Kourin, don't", Tsuna muttered. He managed to kneel and grabbed Kourin's wrist, shaking his head. He wasn't going to be the reason Kourin got hurt.
The mafioso seemed almost surprised that Kourin could speak Japanese and his mouth turned downward unpleasantly.
"Halfus like you shouldn't talk like that."
Kourin and Tsuna both turned angry eyes onto the mafioso. Tsuna's angrily stood up but Kourin placed a warning hand against Tsuna's back. 'Halfu' was a slur people used to describe somebody who was half Japanese and half African. It wasn't a term people used happily. Tsuna's grip tightened around Kourin's wrist, trying to ground himself and hold Kourin back. Nothing good would come from the two attacking.
There wasn't much Tsuna could do as two things seemed to happen at once.
Two gunshots had gone off. Tsuna dimly registered the second one but the first one was from the mafioso in front of them. It hit Kourin somewhere on his chest. Tsuna felt his heart drop to his feet as Kourin fell. The second shot grazed the mafioso on the thigh. He stumbled back and sprinted away. Tsuna didn't care. He turned to Reborn sprinting down the hill, vaulting over the fence easily. He waved, his arm limp with his own shock, so Reborn saw him. It was sometime later that Tsuna realized Reborn was the one to set off the second shot.
He didn't care about anything else though. He collapsed next to Koruin, gently supporting his shoulders and holding him close. Kourin was gasping, wheezing, in Tsuna's arms. Tsuna moved the jacket away from the bullet wound. He felt bile rise to the back of his throat as he looked down at Kourin.
Reborn was next to him. He was asking something and it took every ounce of effort in himself to look over and concentrate.
"Where is he hit?" Reborn had asked.
"L-Left side of his chest", Tsuna said thickly. Reborn placed a hand against Kourin briefly.
"Say goodbye." Reborn muttered to Tsuna. He swept off, most likely trying to find the other mafioso. He was long gone, having fled. Reborn heard a car speeding off and let out a low growl of frustration.
"I'll be fine, Tsuna." Kourin had said. He coughed and a small spatter of blood landed on Tsuna's neck. "Ain't nobody gonna kill me before I see you do that headspin."
Tsuna choked on a laugh. He wasn't sure if it was a sob but boiling hot tears spilled as he looked at Kourin. "P-Please, Kourin", Tsuna said, pleading. "You're my only friend."
"Don't worry about it." Kourin gave a weak smile, patting Tsuna's cheek. "You're a great kid. H-Honour to meet you. You'll be a good boss."
"I'm not going to be a boss. We're going to be the best dancing duo." Tsuna shook his head, leaning his forehead against Kourin's. "We made a promise."
"I know", Kourin muttered. His breath was coming faster and faster against Tsuna's face and he gripped Kourin's wrist; holding his hand on his face as he tried to lock in what Kourin's touch felt like.
"Meet you there, B-Boy Sky", Kourin said weakly. He gave a soft gasp and exhaled, finally looking peaceful.
Tsuna stared at Kourin with a vice grip on his wrist. Kourin was completely limp and there was no life in his eyes but he was still there. He had to be. He wouldn't leave Tsuna like this.
Reborn was standing behind him but Tsuna didn't move. He had to make sure Kourin didn't wake up alone and scared.
"Tsuna," Reborn said. "There's nothing you can do."
"N-No, of course there is. He's not dead, Reborn. How could you say something like that." Tsuna's voice broke and even he couldn't keep fooling himself. He didn't want to think about what letting go meant though.
"Tsuna," Reborn said firmly. "If he was alive, he would've bled out by now. You can smell urine; the body gets rid of any excess fluid when you die."
"Reborn, s-stop. He's not dead." His voice was weaker and flimsier as he continued to stare into Kourin's face. It became blurred as more tears rushed forward and he felt his chest compress as a sob tore out of his mouth. "He's my only friend."
Reborn sighed, closing Kourin's eyes. He gently lifted Kourin from Tsuna's grip and threw the body over his shoulder. Tsuna gave a sharp cry in outrage but Reborn grabbed Tsuna's wrist and pulled him along, ignoring whatever he was saying. They had to leave before somebody asked about the gunshots. Reborn had cleaners coming that would get rid of the blood and the remaining bodies but Tsuna couldn't be here since things got messy.
It was almost two in the morning so nobody was out. Reborn was glad because that meant he didn't have to be stealthy while carrying a body. Tsuna followed listlessly, letting himself be dragged along. He felt hollow and numb and it scared him. He had only felt this way in middle school when the bullies seemed to enjoy tormenting him much more than school.
"Do you know the family that mafioso was from?" Reborn asked. It was a weird tone he used, it surprised Tsuna. It was soft; like Reborn was trying to be caring.
"H-He was from the Butsey f-family, I think. That family has come...quite a bit."
"Do you know who the boss is?"
Tsuna shook his head.
"The guy that attacked you; the boss is his brother."
Tsuna felt a surge of panic as he looked up at Reborn. He didn't seem worried though as he stopped in front of Tsuna's house. He motioned for Tsuna to lead the way but he didn't move.
"W-Where is Kourin going to-?" Tsuna couldn't finish. His voice cracked and he swallowed the lump in his throat.
"I know how to make this look less gruesome. We aren't giving his body to his family like this."
"H-He doesn't have a family." Tsuna wiped at his eyes as he opened the gate. It's squeaking was louder than he expected and he flinched. "He was h-homeless. Parents died before he graduated. He lived underneath one of the bridges and showered in the shelter down the street so you wouldn't know."
"We aren't leaving him like this." Reborn repeated firmly. He brushed passed Tsuna and walked into the backyard. He dumped Kourin's body somewhere in the backyard before he was suddenly on the roof, motioning for Tsuna to climb up as well.
"You're taking a shower before you do anything else." Reborn said to Tsuna.
Tsuna had barely put a foot through his window before he was pulled through and pushed down the hall to the bathroom. Iemitsu was climbing up the stairs to see what was happening but Reborn shook his head. There was no need to get Tsuna aggravated on top of his desolate emotions.
It was hard for Tsuna to go through the motions of showering and putting clothes back on as he felt so stiff. He always was this stiff after dancing because using flames had a draining effect on him and on top of the physical exertion it wasn't easy to move.
Reborn was waiting in his room and immediately, when Tsuna walked in towelling his hair, Reborn shoved a mug of tea into Tsuna's hands. He wouldn't meet Tsuna's eye as he was looking at his phone, roaming through different contacts.
"Drink that then go to sleep." Reborn said. Tsuna was taken aback at the sudden attention he was getting. Usually Reborn knocked him around a little before he left with Iemitsu again. Reborn scoffed at Tsuna's abashed look and said, "Why are you so surprised? I can be nice."
Tsuna wasn't so sure if he said the word 'nice' like it was a disgusting swear word.
"Can you...Sleep with me tonight?" Tsuna asked softly.
Reborn looked up from his phone and seemed to be trying to process what Tsuna had just asked. He looked over and stared, deadpan, at Tsuna; waiting for the realization of what he just said to sink in.
Tsuna flushed scarlet, hissing, "Not like that...Nevermind!"
"I know what you mean; I'm far from an idiot." Reborn locked his phone and got up. Tsuna shuffled away nervously, assuming Reborn would kick him in the shins for asking. But he just collapsed onto the bed. "Climb in when you're done. But just this once, Tsuna. I'm not a damn doll."
"You're huge; nobody would ever buy a doll that tall." Tsuna said incredulously.
"Watch it, Dame-Tsuna."
Tsuna resisted the temptation to roll his eyes. He guessed Reborn would change his mind about letting Tsuna get so close if he got annoyed. He climbed into the bed after Reborn, hesitantly laying his head against Reborn's shoulder. He seemed nonplussed about the entire situation and fell asleep instantly, his eyes open wide.
Tsuna wasn't so lucky as he stared at the wall across from him for most of the night. The events were replaying and one thing was increasingly devouring his insides with guilt: he's the reason Kourin died.
Kourin would've never been hurt if he had just accepted the mafia request before. He had refused for almost a year, maybe longer, so he could become a better b-boyer. Kourin helped him every step of the way and Tsuna repaid him by getting him shot.
A hand wound through his hair, shocking Tsuna. Reborn hadn't moved from his spot, hadn't even given a clue to that he was awake, but he gently ran his hand through Tsuna's hair. It was the weirdest feeling Tsuna had ever experienced. But it comforted him enough to drop off.
He woke up to an empty bed and screaming floating up through his window. It was his dad, for sure. Iemitsu was never shy in expressing distaste and it seemed he was chewing somebody else out. Or... moping about something.
"He's too young!" Iemitsu was saying. "He's barely eighteen, Reborn! Don't touch my baby!"
With a shock, Tsuna realized they were talking about him. He flung himself out of his bed and pressed against the window sill, trying to hear what was being said.
"I know his age", Reborn replied evenly. "I never said I did anything. He lost his only friend, you blithering idiot. If you're even able to show some compassion. He needed help while he was down; nobody in their right mind would take advantage of that."
Tsuna saw the blond crew cut of Iemitsu and dropped down so he wouldn't be seen listening. Iemitsu was fuming, stalking into the house and saying loudly, "Nana~, sweetie let's go out on a date today!"
He stopped listening at that point and pulled clothes onto himself. He slipped down the roof, rolling softly onto the grass below so his legs wouldn't get hurt. Reborn could be seen leaning over something and Tsuna felt his entire body stiffen as he recognized Kourin's neon yellow sweater. He insisted on wearing it as he loved anything yellow. It was apparently the most expensive thing he owned and was his pride and joy.
"Hey, when I die, Tsuna's getting this sweater!" Kourin had announced jokingly one time. They were laying around, having just competed and everybody being exhausted. There were tired laughs, Tsuna being one of them. Thinking he might actually get the sweater now was excruciating.
"If you're just going to stand there, at least help me", Reborn called. Tsuna flinched, looking at the ground. He scuffed his shoes and started backing off. "Tsuna, I need somebody to hold him down. Your dad was oh-so helpful and broke an arm."
He felt a flare of anger towards his father but it soon fizzled out. He was just tired.
"Sure…" Tsuna muttered. He slunk over and held Kourin's shoulders down with shaky hands."Can I ask-?"
"What I'm doing," Reborn said, "is restoring his skin so the wound looks like scarring. He had friends in your group?"
"Y-Yeah...I don't know how to tell them that Kourin's-" Tsuna felt his throat clog but Reborn understood.
"I'll be going with you tonight. No doubt there were some people that saw the entire thing. They might try to hurt you." Reborn looked up from trying to clean the dried blood off of Kourin's chest at Tsuna, their eyes meeting. Tsuna felt uncomfortable, he hated eye contact, but Reborn looked back down soon enough. "Stand your ground and explain everything you feel needs to be said."
Tsuna spluttered out a laugh. "Me? Stand my own ground? Have you met me?"
"Yes, unfortunately." Reborn said dryly. He gave an incredulous look at Tsuna. "I am not saying empty words. If you don't believe me, I'll just have to make you."
Tsuna found that oddly comforting. He felt a smile play around the corners of his mouth as he kept holding Kourin down. It was soon evident why he needed to hold down the body as it jerked at the shock of sun flames. It convulsed at the sudden activity the sun flames conducted, the cells coming to life momentarily as they knit the skin together and left a fresh, pink scar on Kourin's chest.
Telling everybody what happened was hard. What was harder was people screaming profanity at him because he didn't do something to help. Reborn stayed a silent presence in the room, a reminder to people that if it escalated, he wouldn't tolerate it.
Soon enough, people calmed down enough for Tsuna to explain the medical side of it. Reborn had explained briefly that the bullet had broken no less than three ribs, collapsed a lung, and was too close to hitting the spinal column. What it hit instead was the Areola. Nobody knew what an Areola was and that's when Reborn took over, explaining it was the major artery connected to your heart. If that was hit, there was no saving the person from bleeding out.
Everybody grumbled themselves out. The anger was to hide how upset and saddened they were so Tsuna didn't take anything they said to heart. He would've been angry if he hadn't felt so guilty.
Their anger had him hiding and sleeping in his room instead of dancing too. He knew they didn't particularly enjoy his presence and this was just the icing on the cake. Tsuna couldn't blame them and left them to their devices. He used those nights to think about things.
The major thing he was thinking of was if he was going to join Vongola. There was an offer for him to work there and they were coming to him so he could probably strike deals. He doubted he would be capable of anything domestic though. He was terrible at cooking and sewing and he couldn't even fight. In the mafia, there wasn't much of a choice in the first place.
But there wasn't anything else for him. Dancing was the only thing he was good at in the first place. Maybe he could teach kids b-boying…
Nevertheless, when Reborn asked him what his decision was, Tsuna found himself saying, "I'm joining Vongola. I-I don't think b-boying is for me anymore."
It was a half truth. He couldn't bring himself to b-boy again as everything he had learned was from Kourin. He felt like he was betraying Kourin's honour to steal any moves he had learned from him. They were his moves alone.
"Are you sure, Tsuna?" Iemitsu had asked him. He was suddenly concerned, seeming to realize the weight of Tsuna joining his family held. "This is a life time commitment, the mafia."
"We've been asking him for months and you're suddenly now concerned about him joining?" Reborn interjected. He was reading something, it looked like a textbook, and copying things down idly.
"W-Well, I want to make sure he's prepared!"
Reborn looked over at Tsuna and asked, "You've been debating for two weeks since the funeral. There's no going back to a civilian life after the mafia. Is this everything you've come to terms with?"
Tsuna nodded, his mouth set stubbornly. "I've thought about it a lot. And this is my decision."
"Great," Reborn said unenthusiastically. "As long as you've read the terms and conditions."
Iemitsu seemed to struggle not to say anything before breaking into a wide grin. He brought Tsuna into a headlock, rubbing his knuckles against Tsuna's scalp. "Little rascal, always causing me trouble. Make sure you know self defense."
"Self-what?" Tsuna choked out.
Reborn shot a bullet, making Iemitsu drop Tsuna to jump back.
"Self-defense." He said monotonously. "Do you know it?"
"N-No, I only learned", Tsuna broke off, shooting a furtive look at Iemitsu before shrugging. "I never bothered."
Reborn closed his book with a snap and stood up, throwing back the rest of his coffee in one go. "Follow me. I'll be your tutor for the next year."
He didn't know what deity he had pissed off, but Tsuna strongly believed he was being punished for something with Reborn training him. It was brutal and gruesome training. Tt the year mark, when Reborn finally deemed Tsuna suitable to fight on his own, Tsuna almost cried tears of joy at the prospect of not having to wake up at the crack of dawn to sprint around the town three times before doing 100 squats, pushups, and situps, each, as a warmup. The thought of being able to sleep in for the first time in a year was also promising.
Reborn scoffed when Tsuna had mentioned it though. "Please, you can't get rid of me that easily. I'll be shadowing you for a few months after you join Vongola. I owe the boss a couple favours and he dealt one in to make sure you don't end up getting hurt."
Tsuna scoffed. "I won't get hurt. You once threw me off a building to see if I could actually roll out of a fall."
"You only have one chance in a fight; make it count." Reborn cuffed Tsuna across the head, making Tsuna drop down to try and dodge it. "Since you're already near the ground, 200 pushups."
Tsuna didn't see the reason he had to learn self-defense if he was honest. The job he was doing in Vongola was basically just an office job. He was to help organize missions and hits for smaller members. The boss dealt with the higher ups but this office was for the foot soldiers and up and coming assassins. It was a good spot for Tsuna as he, according to his file, was a good fighter and could join people on missions. The work kept him so busy though that he couldn't easily go on missions.
Since the office kept him so busy, it also helped him forget a lot. Throughout the first few months, when he was dealing with Kourin being gone, it had been extremely hard. He admitted, quietly to Reborn's ears only, that if he wasn't being pushed and trained so hard there wouldn't be much reason for him to stick around. He had been given a purpose with this training though and helped him keep pushing through day after day.
It had gotten hard, of course. He hadn't been sleeping well. He could be bone tired, sore and aching, but there was no possible way he could sleep for long. He was used to sleeping hours on end but now he was lucky to even get a few hours. The rest were riddled with tossing and turning and abrupt wakings. It had gotten so bad Reborn had gotten medication to help Tsuna sleep. He had been collapsing during training sessions too much for it to be healthy.
Tsuna had no idea why he should take the medication. He was fine with sleeping so little.
"Because people care about you, Tsuna." Reborn had explained flatly. It was astonishing to hear that from Reborn, of all people.
"Does that mean you care about me, Reborn?" Tsuna had asked quietly.
It was the wrong thing to ask as Reborn sent a kick flying towards Tsuna and a harsh, "120 pushups for slacking off. If you have time to ask questions, you have time to work. Get going before I square it and make you do 14,400 pushups."
The medication helped him sleep more peacefully, Tsuna found; so it wasn't all bad. Before that, he had nightmares masqueraded as memories of when Kourin died. It left a gnawing feeling of guilt deep in his gut. The feeling persisted throughout the rest of his day and it usually never helped his general mood. The busy work he was doing in the office was the only way he was able to distract himself long enough to forget about the guilt.
It always stayed there; there was no way he was ever going to escape it. But between making missions, scheduling everything so it ran smoothly, and Reborn making him train on his only two days off of the week, he didn't have much room to think about anything. He had hoped that when Reborn was on his own missions, he would have some down time. He was dead wrong as Lal Mirch, a military personnel that helped CEDEF, came and made him get up. She was just as ruthless as Reborn was and he wondered how he even managed to survive these last few months.
Somebody set a cup down forcefully next to Tsuna's head, making him jolt and collide with his desk. He had been dozing, lost in his own little world.
"Sleeping on the job is against the rules, Dame-Tsuna." Reborn said scathingly.
Like a switch had flipped, Tsuna registered how hushed the office had become. Usually there was ample chatter and laughter as they discussed certain topics. The copier would be going and there would be sounds of soft humming and keyboards clicking. But none of that was going on as everybody peaked over at Reborn and Tsuna. Reborn was hard to miss as he was quickly crawling his way through the ranks to becoming one of the best hitmen out there. Having somebody so impressive in this office was almost unheard of.
"Are you going to just stare at me?" Reborn said dryly.
"Why are you here?" Tsuna finally hissed. He didn't like people hearing about his business as last time that happened, they mocked him endlessly.
"I'll tell you if you follow me. And also drink that coffee. You look dead on your feet."
He was half right. Tsuna couldn't afford the pills that helped him sleep so he had to stretch what he had left. It meant taking some every few nights instead of every night. His bags were ever present and his hair wasn't as much of a vibrant brown.
"I have a lot of work; can't this wait?" Tsuna asked, a note of pleading in his voice.
Reborn turned and looked at the person sitting behind him. He gave a polite tilt of his fedora and said in smooth Italian, "Will you pick up the rest of Tsunayoshi's paperwork? He has more pressing matters to deal with for the next few days."
The woman tinted pink as she nodded hastily, looking down as she leaned over the dividing wall for Tsuna to hand her the files he needed taken care of.
Reborn turned back to Tsuna, a small little smirk playing around his lips. He kept it more neutral around other people though as his eyes weren't as alive. "Problem solved", he said.
Tsuna looked apprehensive but finally sighed, taking his jacket, bag, and cup of coffee as he followed Reborn.
His office was close enough to Vongola HQ that it was a short walk to it. It made it great for dropping off missions that might be too hard for beginning members. But Tsuna couldn't begin to understand why he was suddenly outside in chilly autumn weather, following Reborn towards HQ. He was seldom regarded as important enough to be requested there so he was baffled the entire way to the office. The impressive lacquered oak doors did nothing to distract Tsuna from the fact he didn't belong there.
Before Reborn opened the door, Tsuna turned to him and asked, small and terrified, "I'm being fired, aren't I?"
"You wish. You'll find out why you're here when we're in there. People can easily listen in." Reborn opened the door and ushered Tsuna inside.
Tsuna felt a little disgruntled at the fact he wasn't being told what he was doing here. He wasn't smart so he doubted he could figure it out even if he was being handed the clues on a silver platter. Reborn pointed passed Tsuna, towards a deserted desk in the middle of the room with just a singular phone in the centre. The receiver looked like it was put down but Reborn kept pushing him forward towards the seat at the desk.
He picked up the receiver and tentatively put it against his ear. There was a person's voice in the middle of speaking rapid fire Italian. Tsuna was so shocked at the speed he didn't register what language it was until the message repeated.
Reborn sat down on the couch in the room, Leon darting onto his chest so Reborn would scratch at his belly. There was a beam of light shining right where Leon had laid so he was content. Tsuna didn't understand what he was watching though, baffled that Leon could live inside Reborn's jacket like he did. He guessed Leon must have some special properties.
It was a painfully slow process for Tsuna to figure out what the person was saying. They had been going too fast and it took five tries at least for Tsuna to get the gist of it. It looped on a constant message though and it wouldn't stop playing until you hung up. The number was specialized so that once you hung up, the number was out of order. You couldn't call back and had to remember the details by writing it down or remembering it. Once your mission was complete, the number was given a new recording and the cycle would continue.
The mission was simple enough: take out an up and coming dirty family. They partook in drug, animal, and human trafficking as their main contenders of offences. Tsuna felt physically sick listening to some of the things the family had done.
Reborn waited patiently, if he was annoyed Tsuna couldn't tell, and played with Leon. When Tsuna finally lowered the receiver from his ear, Reborn sat up, cradling Leon in his arms so he didn't fall. Reborn motioned for Tsuna to keep drinking the coffee before speaking.
"Do you even understand what you're doing?" He asked.
Tsuna squashed the laugh bubbling inside his throat as he said, "Generally, no. But proceed."
"You're coming with me because I need somebody to infiltrate their ranks. I will be meeting with them, gaining their trust over the next three months but I need to know how the rest of the family works. They have regular b-boying battles where they deal drugs and I need you to participate."
Tsuna felt a strong swoop of anger, irritation, and fear as he listened. He had choked on the gulp of coffee, spluttering as he tried not to spit all over himself. He couldn't dance. There was the big reason as to why Tsuna didn't want to, it was something Kourin and him had bonded over. It was painful to ever think that he would be doing something Kourin had loved so much. But people knew him in the community. Whenever they heard of B-Boy Sky, they thought of him.
Reborn sensed the apprehension and had no remorse in his eyes as he continued talking. "This has already been decided. There's no arguing or putting up an angry front. We aren't expected to start until next week. I told them that you might need to practice so we have a training room off in a corner of this mansion for you to get used to dancing. It will help you get used to doing it again...and so you can help yourself start to move on."
Fear overtook the rest of the emotions as he set the cup down on the desk. His hands had started shaking so much he was about to slop coffee over himself. He couldn't even begin to tell Reborn how against this he was.
Reborn didn't seem interested in hearing Tsuna's protests though. He plopped Leon down onto the brim of his hat, took the phone out of Tsuna's slackened grip, and placed it down so it clicked. Tsuna must have thought Reborn was going to take him to one of the changing rooms as he planted his feet more firmly onto the rough carpet and his jaw took on a stubborn set. Reborn rolled his eyes, expecting this behaviour.
"If I could, I'd go without a partner. Your dad was the one to suggest you follow to help the intel." Reborn expected the flare of anger, watching how Tsuna's eyes seem to almost lighten. He narrowed his eyes slightly but didn't address it. "You have one week of off time for you to practice. We leave next week."
Reborn touched the brim of his hat and left. Tsuna stared at the closed door, his grip vice-like around the mug. He tried to calm down, hating how Iemitsu had such an effect on him.
Tsuna sighed. It seemed like there was nothing he could do at the moment.
Reborn was nowhere to be found when Tsuna emerged from the office. It didn't surprise Tsuna as he had a habit of doing that. He guessed he would be waiting inside Tsuna's apartment, waiting to scare him or something. He was almost hoping for it as he could probably at least get one solid punch in if Reborn tried to scare him.
Of course, Tsuna would most likely die from his injuries if he ever tried to fight Reborn but that was a risk he was willing to take. He hated that Reborn had taken over like that. Tsuna should have a choice whether he goes on this assignment or not. He guessed it had already been finalized though; meaning it was next to impossible to switch the partners.
A frustrated sigh built up inside Tsuna as he realized he'd have to start dancing at some point. The nagging weight of guilt settled on top of his chest again. It was ever present and he hated that it was starting to get worse. He had no work to distract him so he had to make his way home, figuring out what he could do to distract himself.
He supposed he could try to dance but he'd most likely give up halfway through and go to bed. It's not like he would sleep but he found that classical music was fun to listen to when your mind was drifting. The alternative was trying to rationalize the argument against why he didn't want to b-boy anymore.
A lot of people liked to argue that Kourin would have wanted Tsuna to keep dancing. He knew that it was just his own selfish reasoning that he refused to try again. He was scared he had lost his edge because Kourin was his only driving force that kept him dancing. Now that he was gone there wasn't much to keep him going.
Tsuna stepped into his apartment and smelled something cooking. He dropped his bag and hurried into the kitchen. Reborn was sitting on the counter, calmly eating something out of a bowl. He seemed smug at Tsuna's surprise.
"I cleaned your dishes since you seemed to have no idea how to do them." Reborn said. He hopped lightly to the floor and thrust the bowl to Tsuna's chest. "You need better locks on your windows."
"We're on the third floor…" Tsuna muttered. "How did you-?"
"I scaled the building. Knew you'd probably just go to bed if I wasn't here; so we're going running."
"But I'm tired, Reborn", Tsuna tried to protest. Reborn didn't seem keen on listening though as he pushed passed Tsuna, slinging a bag over his shoulder that had been propped against the inside of the door.
"You can eat when you get back. Get changed and let's go."
Tsuna swallowed his protests, putting the dish he was holding in the sink, and hurriedly changing into something loose he knew he wouldn't mind getting dirty. Reborn's training was always strenuous and left him filthy. He would be surprised if he could still wear the shirt after today.
As he thought, it was hard. Reborn seemed to have a personal vendetta against Tsuna as he worked him to the bone.
He collapsed in his bed and fell asleep immediately for once. When he woke up he wasn't sure he was happy about it though because he had had a nightmare about the night Kourin died. He awoke in cold sweats and shivering, wiping tears furiously away as he stumbled into his kitchen.
Reborn was up. He was sitting at the small table Tsuna had tucked into the corner of the kitchen and was writing something. He snapped his books shut immediately, stacking them behind his arm so Tsuna couldn't see what they were. It wasn't something he wanted focused on though as he was barely able to walk straight, let alone read.
"Nightmare", Reborn said. It wasn't really much of a question but Tsuna nodded anyways. The two had been together for over a year in the same room so Reborn knew about Tsuna's struggle with his dreams.
"Was it about when-?"
"Yes", Tsuna cut in hastily. He saw a small flare of annoyance in Reborn's eye at being interrupted but he didn't care that much at this point. He added bitterly, "It's always the same."
"Are you still taking the medication prescribed?" Reborn flicked a shred of paper at Tsuna's forehead. Tsuna gave a small sound of surprise when it hit him.
"C-Can't afford it." Tsuna said through a yawn. "I have to take less of it."
"You have workplace insurance, Tsuna. They'll give you money back for whatever you get if you're covered."
"It doesn't matter. They said I had to be working there for a while before I got that. And it's not like it made the dreams less frequent."
Reborn looked curiously at Tsuna before asking, "Do you need me to share a bed with you again?"
Tsuna shot a scathing look at Reborn over his shoulder. He bustled around, making his tea more hurriedly as he tried to ignore what Reborn had asked him. He was fine. There was no reason for Reborn to bother sharing a bed with him when he knew that it caused trouble for Reborn. Tsuna was a restless sleeper anyways. Having him flopping around in his sleep disturbed Reborn even before they shared a bed.
"It's not a problem, Tsuna." Reborn said flatly. "I'm offering."
"You said you hate people touching you when you're trying to sleep. It's not important, I'll manage somehow."
"If you wake up terrified when we're on the mission, you'll be helping nobody as you'll barely get any sleep and not be able to do your job." Reborn stated. Tsuna flinched at the harshness but didn't deny it.
"Well what can I do? They're nightmares, there's no special home remedy to cure them." Tsuna threw up his hands in frustration. "I'm fine, Reborn."
"Say that all you want, you're still shaking like a leaf trying to get a mug." Reborn swept his books off the table. Tsuna thought it was the end of the conversation but Reborn said, "I'll most likely be asleep if you want to go back to bed."
"You're not seriously going to sleep in my room?"
"I already said I would; thought I made that clear. I don't go back on my word. Unless it's for a job."
Tsuna stared at Reborn's retreating back, slack jawed. Why was he going to such lengths just for Tsuna. It's not like they were even that great of friends. He supposed Reborn was a mentor to him, of course, but he wasn't sure that really counted.
Nevertheless, Tsuna found himself creeping into the room, trying to slowly slip underneath his blanket without waking Reborn. It didn't work.
"An elephant is quieter than you." Reborn said. Tsuna flinched, freezing. "Don't get cold feet now; get in here before you let all the heat out, idiot."
"You're insulting the person that could easily kill you in your sleep." Tsuna muttered. Reborn let out a bark of laughter.
"You couldn't kill me even if you dreamt it. Don't kid yourself."
Tsuna had the urge to stick his tongue out at Reborn but resisted as he settled. He was stiff as a board beside Reborn, trying to take up as little space as possible so he wouldn't disturb him. Reborn didn't seem too keen on that as he rolled over and laid across Tsuna's chest, tucking his head underneath Tsuna's chin.
"Bonding exercise", he had called it but Tsuna was pretty sure Reborn was messing with him.
It did help him sleep easier since he had always found somebody next to him comforted him more. It's what his mother had done since he used to have terrible nightmares when he was younger. She would pull him into her lap and rock him to sleep. Right before he drifted asleep, she'd take his hand, kiss the palm, and tell him, "Hold onto the kiss for the night. It will protect you while I'm not here." The same calming effect happened with Reborn laying against him. It was weird and he was never sure if Reborn intended for it to be soothing, but it helped.
Of course, Reborn was probably just buttering him up for making him dance tomorrow.
Reborn woke Tsuna up by pushing him onto the floor. He wasn't remorseful as he stepped over Tsuna and walked towards the window.
"If you aren't ready by the time I come back I'm tripling your exercises today." He called behind him. He dropped out of the window and Tsuna rushed over to see if he was okay. He was hanging onto a tree branch, climbing his way down to the ground safely. He waved at Tsuna before walking along to the front of the apartment building and out of sight.
Tsuna was at a loss for words as he had never seen somebody just drop out of a window like that. It was honestly astounding. He was pretty sure he had at least a half hour before Reborn made it back though and took a little longer getting ready.
Of course this was Reborn and Tsuna had just finished eating when Reborn dropped into the kitchen from a duct in the ceiling. Tsuna screamed louder than he would like to admit when Reborn clattered onto the floor. He was tall enough that he could easily reach up and fix the tiles so it wasn't a problem. Tsuna's problem was that he had fallen onto the floor, completely winded from how his back had hit the floor.
"That was pathetic, Tsuna." Reborn commented as he dragged Tsuna out from underneath the table. "We have work to do, you can't wear office clothes in a training room."
"Reborn! Can't I just do research on the case. I still don't know what I'm doing", Tsuna tried to protest.
"Nope. You're not ready so we have a lot of work for you to do today. And you're rusty with your flame use, we have to get you up to scratch."
Tsuna tried protesting but Reborn picked him up in a fireman's carry and would not let him down. Tsuna expected to be thrown into a car at least but Reborn walked at least five blocks before he finally set Tsuna down. Nobody raised any eyebrows when the two passed and they scurried off when Reborn forced Tsuna in the car. Tsuna honestly thought they were used to seeing people being taken off of the street.
"Let me out." Tsuna protested as Reborn started driving.
"No", Reborn looked both ways and wouldn't meet Tsuna's eye. "Iemitsu would kill me. Or at least do his best. And I don't feel like dealing with him today. So you're following me around whether you like it or not."
Tsuna slouched in his seat, giving out a huff of indignation. He wasn't going to try and fight Reborn since it's not like he would be able to do anything. Once he made his mind up, you might as well follow along.
They didn't talk the entire drive. Reborn was never very talkative so he wasn't going to break it first; Tsuna stared stubbornly out the window, refusing to look at Reborn. He felt anger simmer underneath the surface and knew he'd snap if Reborn tried to make a snide comment. He didn't want to snap at anybody though.
"You know," Reborn said as he shut off the engine, "for somebody so against dancing, you really are eager to leave."
Tsuna turned rigid, robotically sitting back into his seat, his face flaming. He had thrown his seatbelt off in his haste to sprint into the building. He knew it looked silly but he didn't like the oppressive force Reborn seemed to ooze.
"If you don't want to walk to the building, you'll have to explain to the security guards why you are trying to steal my car." Reborn left and Tsuna tore out after him, quickly falling into step.
"Is there anything we're going to do to make sure I'm able to use flames?" Tsuna asked tentatively.
"Yes, you're going to fight me."
"What!" Tsuna exclaimed, "I'm not doing that. I'll die, Reborn."
"You won't die unless I say so."
Reborn stopped in front of their training room. He pushed the doors open and Tsuna saw a windowless, white tiled room. His footsteps echoed as he stepped in, a sense of foreboding spiking inside of him.
"Are you sure-?" Tsuna started to ask. He cut off into a sharp screech as he ducked the kick Reborn aimed towards his face. He rolled and hit the wall beside him.
"In the mafia, everybody works best in the heat of battle." Reborn explained. He caught Tsuna in the gut with a swift elbow. "You freeze up before getting used to battle. That or you die. Take your pick, Tsuna."
"Why do I have to pick!" Tsuna whined. He tripped trying to dodge around another punch and landed flat on his back. "Why can't you just teach me normally."
"Where's the fun in that?"
Tsuna screeched again as he scrambled away from Reborn. The door was closed, blending in with the rest of the wall. There was no way he could keep running forever. He was already starting to get winded.
With a heavy resigned sigh, mustering every ounce of courage he possessed. Tsuna turned, holding his hands up towards Reborn. He closed his eyes, ducking his head slightly, and yelled, "Wait; Reborn, wait a minute!"
Tsuna knew he had to beat Reborn, he had to, but there was no way he could ever summon his flames to hurt somebody. Especially Reborn, who was the closest thing to a friend Tsuna had lately.
"What is it?" Reborn asked.
Tsuna hesitated, feeling incredibly intimidated by Reborn's bored gaze. He stole himself though and said through gritted teeth, "I'll practice dancing."
Reborn, who Tsuna expected to look smug and delighted, furrowed his eyebrows, cocking his head slightly as he continued to stare at Tsuna.
"Why the sudden change of heart?"
"I-I can't fight y-people." Tsuna felt his neck grow hot but he ignored it. "I couldn't ever hurt another person. The only time I have was because it was an accident and you were always better at fighting so it's not like I ever got a shot in when we were sparring. And with flames, I could lose control and I don't ever want to do that. Knowing me, I'd most likely kill you before learning how to control anything."
Reborn still looked skeptical. "You had capable control when you were b-boying regularly. That is not an easy thing to lose after you have it down."
"How do you know?"
"I've seen somebody in your position before. They had left the mafia but were needed to complete a job. They had retained enough muscle memory to be able to control it."
Tsuna looked relieved. He knew he had good control before and if he still had it then it wouldn't be so bad.
Reborn left him in the middle of the floor, standing back so Tsuna had room. He motioned to Tsuna, saying boredly, "Whenever you're ready."
Tsuna nodded. He could do this, it's not like he hadn't danced in front of people before. And Kourin would probably want Tsuna to be dancing. It was the only thing he was actually good at so he might as well do it from time to time.
He gave a shaky step forward, putting more distance between him and Reborn. He could remember his style, he knew every move in the book. But they were all from Kourin.
All of his courage and strong will that was built up leaked out of him as he sat heavily on the ground. He wasn't strong enough to push past his other feelings apparently. Reborn was probably already working on how best to criticize him.
But nothing came as the silence stretched on. Reborn seemed content in waiting, standing near the wall silently. Tsuna felt the anxiety build up, trying to push passed it so he could just stand up. Reborn was waiting. There was no reason he couldn't do something so simple.
Reborn sat down beside Tsuna suddenly, making him jerk in surprise. Reborn didn't seem angry or upset, he just looked neutral to everything. When he turned towards Tsuna though there was something...determined in his eyes. It was one of the rare times Reborn showed anything but cynical humour in his face.
"Nobody is rushing you to start dancing, Tsuna." He said.
Tsuna wasn't sure why but that small exclamation, small amount of encouragement, was the thing that had him spilling how he felt; all the guilt, sadness, and resentment he actually felt about Kourin dying. Reborn never interrupted once either; listening silently.
When Tsuna was finally done, only then did Reborn say anything.
"You have survivors guilt." He announced.
"I don't know what that is…" Tsuna muttered.
"When you see something bad happen to a person, related or not, you get guilty that you didn't do more to help them. It happens to the best of us."
"I could've told you that." Tsuna said savagely. Instantly he regretted lashing out. "I-I'm sorry! I'm sorry, I-I just don't understand. Why Kourin? He knows how to keep a secret. He doesn't rat on people."
Reborn threaded his hands through Tsuna's hair, letting him lean against him. It was a silent moment of comfort Tsuna had never thought Reborn would ever allow. He had said numerous times he hated people touching him.
"You know, there is a reason you were picked to go on this assignment with me."
"What?" Tsuna asked. "What do you mean, Reborn?"
"I've met the mafioso before, the one from the Butsey family. His name is Michael. He was...nasty to say the least. Thought everybody darker than him were scum. Ironically, he thought I was middle-eastern and tried to treat me just as terribly. Until I left him in a coma that is; wasn't too keen on sharing the same racial jokes around me because of it."
"Where is this story going?" Tsuna looked skeptically at Reborn.
"I'm getting there," Reborn said, a bite of impatience in his voice. "Michael was a fascist, thought the KKK was a good idea. Not somebody you would want to interact with if you have a brain. He fit right into the Butsey family as they have similar ideals. None are as strong as Michael's. From the time I was forced to spend with him on a mission, I can assume he is a very sad man."
"So he just hated the colour of Kourin's skin?"
"Yes. He would've killed you for being Asian too if I hadn't shot at him."
"It was just because of his skin colour…" Tsuna muttered, tears welling up.
"On our job, we're going to get intel on the Butsety family. By the end of it I should have enough to justify taking the entire family out. But you might meet Michael on the assignment. He might try to kill you."
"...Let him try." Tsuna muttered. His voice was shaking but it got stronger as he kept talking. "I-I'm not going to die from his stupid ideas and hate." Tsuna pushed away from Reborn, a new and sturdy resolve set on his face. Reborn almost seemed impressed.
"You're practising b-boying again." It wasn't a question but Tsuna found himself nodding, his jaw set as he cracked his neck.
"If it helps you take out the rest of the family...Are they really that bad?"
Reborn nodded. "It's better to have them off the street from the things they do."
Tsuna stood up, dusting his pants off. "Alright...Let's go then. I have some practising to do."
It wasn't the easiest thing to start but once Tsuna got into the groove again, it was harder to stop. He was reminded why he worked so hard to be good and compete. B-boying was the one thing he was amazing at and was the escape from his nickname of "Dame-Tsuna". It helped him keep going.
Reborn seemed almost proud of his improvements too. By the time the week of practice was done, Tsuna had perfected moves he'd been faltering over before. Everything was more seamless and he was actually smiling again. Whenever he finally got a set of moves, he looked over eagerly at Reborn, the brightest smile on his face.
But as it grew closer to the time they had to leave for the mission, Tsuna found himself getting angrier. He couldn't handle the fact Kourin was dead while his murderer still walked around. Especially how hate filled his death was.
"Don't do anything rash when you see Michael. He'll talk to me because he thinks we're friends." Reborn was definitely bitter over the fact he had to associate with him. "I will also be ignoring you in public. There is no use for us to talk until we're in our hotel room."
"I'm not going to do anything", Tsuna said shrilly. Reborn looked at him and he felt his cheeks flare. He looked down as he fiddled with his collar. "I mean, I thought of it...But I won't!"
"If you two meet; play dumb."
"Like that's hard".
Reborn ignored Tsuna. "Start mixing your Japanese and Italian so nobody can understand it. Of course, I will so watch what you say."
Tsuna bit his tongue and nodded. He was tempted to say that he would probably go straight into Japanese. Michael knew broken Japanese from what he remembered.
The intel work was easy enough though. Once he found people who spoke Japanese, it became easier for him to branch out and make friends.
The day he arrived, he had tried his best to hide how scared he actually was but it hadn't worked as well as he'd hoped. People were suspicious of how jumpy he was and started to avoid him. Thankfully, a few people took pity on him and spread around he was actually pretty nice. The family seemed kinder than he'd heard and open on the surface but Reborn had told him to pay attention to their eyes and mouth; it's where you see the most expression in a face. A lip twitch down meant they didn't approve. Widening of the eyes meant they were shocked.
Tsuna used that information and it helped him a lot. Tsuna's job was mainly to walk around and collect the gossip and rumours floating around that would incriminate the family.
And boy, was Tsuna busy with his job.
He had to make nice with everybody, and he managed that easily. He was quickly becoming well liked with the other b-boyers in the family. He was soon invited to one of the battles they had at midnight. You had to be invited to join and you had to come alone or else raise suspicion.
"Excellent. I'll tail you and hide in the rafters." Reborn said when Tsuna had mentioned he was invited. "It's a perfect spot to find out more of the inner workings. Don't give me that look," Reborn said at Tsuna's stricken face. "They'll never know I was there. If they find out, I'll be more surprised than you."
Tsuna wasn't sure it was the best idea. "But what if you are caught? What's your cover story to having a camera and-and taking pictures with it."
"That's usually what you do with cameras, is take pictures with them." Reborn said dryly. Tsuna gave him an imploring look. "I'll be fine. I once sat inside a crawl space for three days spying in plain view and nobody saw me."
"What if they just didn't want to say anything? You're scary, Reborn."
"That's the look I usually go for. I use costumes and disguises to make sure I'm not noticed. It's worked so far. I'm also flexible so I can squeeze into tight spaces easily."
Reborn rolled his eyes, ruffling Tsuna's hair. "I'll be fine, Tsuna. I've done stealth missions before."
"Fine...But the minute somebody notices you, drop everything and leave!"
"That's even more suspicious, dumbass. When you're caught, you lie through your teeth until they let you go."
Tsuna sighed, waving absently. He was a terrible liar so he doubted he could ever do that. The best he could do is omit certain things so that nobody was getting the entire thing but he still wasn't being untruthful. It had yet to blow up in his face so he rolled with it.
That night, it was hectic trying to get in. Tsuna almost lost his head until one of the lower foot soldiers and b-boyer called him over, waving enthusiastically. The person stationed at the door scowled but let him pass; harassing the person behind him.
"T-Thank you", Tsuna said gratefully to the person that waved at him.
The person that had called him over, B-Boy Richy, was smiling in amusement. She flicked her bleached plait behind her shoulder. She loved having attention on her, saying that it was her one true calling to be famous. Tsuna never argued and laughed along.
B-Boy Richy said smugly, "Seems like you owe me one. Wanna jump in for me tonight?"
Tsuna felt his smile freeze into place in an effort to stay polite. He was trying to figure out his response when somebody ran over.
"Richy!" The man said pleadingly, "You gotta help us. Somebody won't stop gambling with us and we can't seem to win against them."
She sighed dramatically, looking at Tsuna. "We'll have to pick up later then."
"Of course, yes." Tsuna bowed, getting up, and walking off. He adjusted his beanie, a mantra of, 'Act natural; act natural; act natural" repeating inside his mind as he walked through the crowd.
Some people seemed to be drunk, laughing giddily in some corners with people. Others were completely sober and looked to be waiting for something. And then there were people just buzzed and here for the battle. Tsuna wished he could be one of these people, no care in the world. But he had to make sure he didn't do or say anything that tipped people off.
It seemed to work as people approached him constantly to talk to him. There were times he was just helping people over to a chair or a spare room to sleep off the rest of the night. The sober people were the ones that scared him the most though as they watched Tsuna through the haze of smoke and noise, seeming suspicious of his every move.
Everybody seemed to think he was going to be competing. He couldn't blame them as he took his joint guards and the fire proof gloves. Reborn had forced him and he didn't see the harm. It was good protection in case he got in a fight because his gloves were reinforced at the knuckles with plastic. He was tempted to join in too. Being in his usual outfit for b-boying brought him back.
But the atmosphere here was different as there were numerous drug deals and offers. In his old hangout, there were the same types of deals but it was never as heavy in urgency and desperation. It was just a time to hang out and playfully mess around. Tsuna didn't like the change and found himself wishing to go back to Japan.
Tsuna tried not to look up to where he knew Reborn was hiding in the ceiling. He messed with the glove's strap around his wrist as he walked around the small room. It looked like an abandoned car park. There were concrete support beams that were covered with the same graffiti that littered the walls. Tsuna had the distinct impression that it had been redone slightly as there was paneling along the tops of the roof, the only reason Reborn could stay hidden; furniture was placed hazardly around the open spaces with mounds of garbage to start fires. All the furnishes had an odd decayed sort of look about them so not very many people sat in them unless absolutely necessary, The concrete had a sort of polished look to it that brought the entire room together, making it feel like a sophisticated garbage dump. Tsuna wasn't sure what more they could do other as they had already added some rooms along the sides for meetings.
A sudden rise in noise caught his attention, everybody herding around the middle of the room. That's where everything had been cleared of clutter and furniture. Tsuna approached it warily, peering over the heads of everybody.
Two people stood in the middle, both swarmed with people talking to them. One of them was B-Boy Richy, she looked smug and probably had something dirty planned. It was one of the things Tsuna didn't like about her dancing. It was supposed to be all for fun, not to cheat your way through to get what you want. The person across from her was somebody he'd never seen before. He'd been there for almost two weeks so he didn't expect to know everybody but there was something suspicious about him. He was friendly looking, the blue eye, black hair look making people flock towards him as they wanted to be seen with him. Tsuna wasn't so fooled though because there was a sense of...Anger in his face. The lines etched into his forehead and around his mouth had a hard set to them that made Tsuna want to scutter off and hide from his prying eyes.
He looked over and met Tsuna's eyes, smiling warmly. The smile didn't reach his eyes and Tsuna felt his gut lurch in fear. This man was not somebody you wanted to mess around with. He was dangerous.
A high pitched whistle signalled everybody to quiet down, the idle chatter turning to a hushed and excited silence.
"Everybody!" Somebody announced, walking in between Richy and the other man. He smiled the same, cold smile the man had. With an enormous shock, Tsuna recognized the man as Reborn. How he managed to sneak in, Tsuna was at a loss. But he didn't look like Reborn as he had a bald cap on, a black and white striped jump-suit, and no shoes. It was bizarre and Tsuna had no idea how people were so calm about his appearance.
Reborn continued, shooting a smug look at Tsuna. "We're gathered here to have fun so as usual, no cheating. If you are caught, may God have mercy on you. Now, both of you are allowed to pick people from the audience at your own risk. The audience decides who wins each round. There are going to be three rounds. Each will get a multiple turns in each round; the rounds only turn over when there is a definite winner. You can pick somebody to sub in for you anytime during one round. Both of you understand?"
The two nodded, their faces set. Tsuna had no idea why they were so serious. What happened if you lost? Nothing, he guessed. They were just really intense about their b-boying.
Music blasted. It was in Italian so the words were lost on Tsuna. He focused on B-Boy Richy as she was first, decided from a coin toss before the battle. She seemed to be using Uprock, the form of B-Boying that was more like fighting. If any contact was made it was an automatic forfeit but it was still incredibly intense. Most people came close to hitting the other but stopped right before so they could keep going. She seemed more controlled though, calculated in everything she did that made people scream and cheer her on.
When it was the other man's turn, people seemed more subdued only because of how angry he looked as he danced. B-Boying was supposed to be fun but he seemed more focused on winning than anything else.
The first round went to B-Boy Richy. She bowed to the crowd, shooting a smug smirk to the man. Later, Tsuna found out that his name was B-Boy Ice. Tsuna joked that it must have been because he was so cold but that was the exact reason behind his name.
The second round was a blur as nobody could really focus on one. B-Boy Richy pointed to somebody in the crowd, beckoning them forward in her place. He was apparently a phenomenal dancer as he almost took the round. But he brought out his good moves too fast and B-Boy Ice was able to beat him with some of his better moves. Tsuna felt kind of bad as the fill in for Richy was supposed to win her the round.
Now it was tied and the two went at it. In the last round, the rules had been shaped that they got two turns. One where they could dance and another where they sub somebody in as a last resort effort. Tsuna had never heard of that before as most of his dance offs where clean cut and friendly. Everything was different in the mafia it seemed.
Not everything though as nobody seemed to use flames with dancing. He had chalked it up to the fact that it was their best moves but even in practices nobody used them. Within your team, you don't care about people sniping your moves. It was a non-issue as it was an unwritten rule not to go after a team mates best moves unless given permission. So Tsuna was a little glad he wasn't dancing yet.
He had thought that too soon though as Richy stopped, pointing over the heads of everybody at Tsuna. He felt everybody looking at him and his back became clammy, his breath hitched, and his stomach flipped. He never agreed to this. People always asked if it was alright to pick you. Some people pull muscles and have to pass up. But in the middle of a dance off you can't refuse. Even if it wasn't against the rules, you won't be very liked.
So, even though everything was screaming against him not to, Tsuna stepped through the crowd and up to the edge of the cardboard. He could feel everybody hold their breath as Tsuna stood in the middle. B-Boy Richy was looking smug, playing with the tail end of her braid. He was concerned she knew who he was but he didn't think about it too much. He focused on B-Boy Ice instead.
He seemed bemused to say the least. Tsuna wasn't sure what his take was on him but there was no way he was losing. B-Boy Ice wasn't as good as Tsuna but he wasn't a pushover. So he started with his simple and easy moves that everybody knew how to do. He always had his own spin to it that had people gasping, cheering him louder as he went.
Tsuna developed a wicked grin, enjoying the look of pure astonishment some people in the crowd had. Most of these people had looked down on him constantly. They thought he was too weak to be a mafia member and scoffed as he tried to become one of the Butsey family. He saw them turn to people beside them and whisper in hushed amazement. He had experienced this same moment when he first started B-Boying in Japan.
The roar of the crowd had been somewhat muted until Tsuna finally handed it over to B-Boy Ice. His moves were locked and robotic but he wasn't doing the Lock It. His applause was scattered and sounded more polite than genuine.
His furious stare became more intense as Reborn emerged, announcing Tsuna as the obvious winner of the round, taking it for B-Boy Richy and her crew.
"Way to go, Tsuna." Richy yelled, taking him into a headlock that had him gagging and screeching to be released. "See I knew you could do it! The trick to B-Boying is believing in yourself; thought you knew that!"
Tsuna laughed, gently rubbing his neck. "I guess…" He said.
"Well, anyways, I have to go. I have to report back here tomorrow and it's late enough. Maybe I'll call on you tomorrow again…" At Tsuna's almost terrified look, she gave a huge bark of laughter. "I'm kidding. But I do have to go. Seeya tomorrow, kiddo."
She ruffled Tsuna's hair as she walked off, talking into her phone in rapid Czech. Tsuna soon had people swarming over to him, asking where he learned to dance so well, how long he had been dancing, etc. It was a huge sweep of deja vu as this had happened in Japan also.
Tsuna answered the best he could, giving soft, nervous laughs when people asked who taught him. Finally, at half past three, he was able to pull away, saying he was tired. People let him go reluctantly but some were determined to walk him to his apartment.
"No, no it's fine. Really I can make it back." Tsuna assured.
People grumbled but let up. When he was halfway to where Reborn said the hotel was, he heard somebody walking beside him. He looked around and saw Reborn, nonchalantly balanced on the edge of the sidewalk.
"Why?" Tsuna questioned.
"I don't have to tell you." Reborn retorted. Tsuna shrugged. Reborn wasn't going to budge if he tried asking again.
"Did you-?" Tsuna started to ask but Reborn gave him a meaningful glare. Tsuna looked down quickly. He wasn't used to having to stay quiet until they got to their hotel room. But there was the chance somebody was tailing them. But that didn't explain something.
"I'm being seen with you out in the open for my own reasons, Tsuna." Reborn said.
"How did you know that's what I was going to ask!"
"I read minds." Reborn refused to say anything else about the matter though.
The two walked in silence. Tsuna was directed to go through the lobby and into the elevator to their room. Reborn would be scaling the building. Tsuna didn't know how Reborn knew how to and how he even managed to do that without being caught. Most people are seen climbing the side of a building but Reborn was knocking on the window, waiting for Tsuna to open it, in no time.
"How did you do that?" Tsuna exclaimed.
"A magician never reveals his secrets." Reborn said flatly. He climbed in and proceeded to close the blinds on all of the windows in the room.
"Now can we talk?" Tsuna said. Reborn nodded, motioning for Tsuna to sit on the bed.
"What did you find out from the gossip floating around?" He asked Tsuna.
"Suzy G is sleeping with five guys right now and she told Richy that one of the guys is you and that your girlfriend is going to come down here soon if it gets too far." Tsuna started. He had heard this one quite a few times as everybody had been drooling over Reborn for hours when he first walked in.
Reborn gave a derisive snort. "I guessed somebody would try to say that. Bianchi knows that if I ever do that on a job it was necessary in the first place. She does the same."
"Thats...an interesting relationship." Tsuna said in shock.
"In the mafia, who you sleep with gives you power over them."
"Well, moving on, Buster has claimed he's going to kill Michael in the next week. He told Andie, Michael's cousin, that she had better watch out for Michael if she really cared about him. She said she would help. They asked me what I thought about him and I had to say I hadn't met him yet. They said we should meet up tomorrow and introduce us." Tsuna shrugged. "I said I would think about it. Also, B-Boy Richy won tonight-"
"Thanks to you", Reborn interjected. Tsuna ignored it.
"And she said that I might sub in for her tomorrow. Do you think it's a good idea to draw attention to myself so much? Everybody seems to know me now from it."
"Try and lay lower. Start going later in the night so not as many people can recognize you. As you saw, a lot of them get drunk and/or high. It's the perfect time to get people to talk as unloyal people spill at the slightest prod."
Tsuna nodded. He dragged his hair out of his face roughly, sighing. "Did you get anything, Reborn?"
"Yes, I did. Michael remembers me and talks to me a lot. He's recovering from another gunshot still so he sticks to one corner. He's usually drinking and eating so he doesn't notice much. He does have a gripe with you though. He thinks you're the one that shot him in the leg."
"What?" Tsuna exclaimed. Reborn gave him a warning look. Tsuna made an effort to tone his voice down and said in a harsh hiss, "What do you mean he thinks I shot him? Didn't he see you vaulting the fence?"
"Nope. He's partly blind on his right side, can't see out of his peripheral. So he thought the gunshot came from you. It's perfect for us as I can still talk to him. He's the boss' brother so we have to be in his good graces."
Tsuna felt his mouth turn down fearfully. "Fine. If he tries to shoot at me, are you going to help me out?"
"That's your own fight. Unless you get hit near an artery you'll be fine."
"You're so mean, Reborn."
"That's what people seem to like about me." Reborn tossed a smirk over his shoulder at Tsuna. "Now go to bed. You have to do the same thing tomorrow so there's no use in whining any farther."
Tsuna grumbled something, prompting Reborn to throw a plastic knife at his head.
"Don't talk back to me, Tsuna." He said flatly.
Tsuna, in his effort to dodge the knife, had ended up sprawled on the floor. He stared imploringly up at Reborn before finally heaving himself back into the bed.
For almost two more weeks, the intel had been the same. Tsuna found that gossip was mostly people trying to one up the other and accidentally spreading a lie thanks to it. If Monica was sleeping with the boss, Richard was sleeping with her to see if he can get anything on the boss. If Richard was with Monica, suddenly ten other people were with Richard, trying to get the same intel he got from Monica. All of those were lies spread to stir the pot and create drama the other family members loved watching unfold. Tsuna had to admit that he was guilty of watching a fight unfold over a rumour.
Of course, it was fun until suddenly Tsuna was caught up in one.
Tsuna wasn't a stranger to having things spread about him so when he heard somebody going around, trying to drag his name through the mud, he wasn't worried. If he ignored it and denied it, it would fizzle out.
The difference was this one was about him cheating when he b-boys.
That was one of the things he refused to stay silent on. Cheating was something he would never do in b-boying. Whoever thought he had was bitter and probably lost to him.
"Ignoring it isn't an option." Reborn stated when he was told about the rumour. "But this might be somebody that just wants to see you fight. A lot of people spread things to watch the fight and see what the person is capable of."
Tsuna shrugged. It's not like he was a good fighter. He was just good at dodging punches. He refused to fight back unless necessary.
"Do you know who spread it?" Reborn asked.
"No, B-Boy Richy said that she didn't rat out her sources. She just wants to see if I can figure it out."
"Do you have an idea?"
"Well...B-Boy Ice. He seemed pretty angry I beat him. I think he's going to be dancing tonight."
"Then talk to him tonight before the competition. Might as well make amends before I wipe them out."
Tsuna gave an astonished look. "What do you mean? I thought we were still investigating?"
Reborn shook his head. He finished buttoning his shirt and pulled his tie on. "I collected everything I needed. The boss considers me an ally so he's been drinking around me and spilled quite a few secrets Vongola hadn't even been aware of."
"Classified. You'll find out when you read the file. You have to make your own report for the boss so make sure you do it well."
Tsuna gave a disgruntled sound, tracing the patterns in the wooden desk he sat at. The two were waiting for check out time since they hoped from hotel to hotel to make sure nobody found out they were staying together. It was easier for Reborn as it was under one of his aliases but Tsuna had to be careful with the staff as he never checked in. It was bad enough he and Reborn shared the bed but dodging around maid service was worse as he always slept more than Reborn.
Reborn threw his suitcase to Tsuna. "Hide those in my car before you leave. I have to go meet Antonio [the boss] for lunch. He insists I join him and his friends. He just wants to know I'm an ally at this point. Be careful who sees you."
"Yeah, sure", Tsuna said wearily. "Do you know when you'll be back? Or would you be put on a mission so soon?"
"Nah, they want me close for the time being, just in case. I'll be around later near dinner. If you end up sleeping in my car again, at least do it in the backseat. I can't have people asking who you are. They think I kidnapped you."
"You kind of did to get me to train", Tsuna muttered.
"That's not the point. We can't blow our cover now. Play nice." Reborn picked up his fedora, Leon crawling onto the brim happily, and left with a soft wave.
So that's how Tsuna found himself face to face with B-Boy Ice that night. He had nervously walked near him. He was trying to figure out the best way to phrase what he wanted to say. Of course, there was no good way to accuse somebody of spreading a rumour about you.
"Hello", Tsuna greeted in Italian. It was polite and open.
B-Boy Ice looked Tsuna up and down before giving a slow nod.
"I want to ask," Tsuna started. "Did you spread [a] rumour about me?"
The reaction was instant as Tsuna was shoved up against the wall, a knife at his throat. All the chatter died suddenly and everybody was looking at the two. Some looked way too eager to witness somebody almost murdered, Tsuna found.
"What was that?" Ice asked.
"N-No, you don't get it." Tsuna almost swore as he struggled to translate what he wanted to say.
Ice didn't seem interested in what he wanted to sat in the first place. Tsuna was thrown against a concrete pillar, his breath escaping in a huge exhale. He slid down, crumpling on the ground. He watched Ice stalk towards him, his anger flaring in his eyes.
"I don't like people accusing me," He said.
Tsuna couldn't answer. When he tried all that came out was a low keen of pain. His ribs might've been broken in a couple places. Tsuna couldn't make out what it was since all he felt was pain.
"Nothing to say?"
Tsuna managed to shake his head, keeping his eyes carefully downcast. Ice glared, not liking the no eye contact. He delivered a swift kick to Tsuna's already bruising side and Tsuna bit down on his tongue to muffle his screech of pain.
Suddenly, somebody rushed forward. He had never seen this person before but he wasn't sure. There were spots swimming across his vision as he was on the verge of passing out.
"That's enough!" They said shrilly. Tsuna blinked hard, trying to focus and see who it was. "He had just asked you a simple question. There was no need to attack him like that. The fact you're so defensive about it makes me believe you did do it!"
There was a murmur of assent at that comment and B-Boy Ice bristled. He barred his pointed teeth, ready to say something. But something seemed to come over him as he suddenly backed down. He gnashed his teeth together, turning on his heel, and stomping through the crowd. It parted like the red sea for him, giving him a clear path to the door. He didn't look back once but he could feel the hatred radiating from B-Boy Ice. If he hadn't liked Tsuna before, he definitely didn't like him now.
The crowd dispersed. A majority of people seem disappointed the show was cut short. Tsuna was just glad he wasn't going to be attacked. He knew that a lot of people were going to look down on him now though. The fact he didn't stand up for himself was proof enough that Tsuna wasn't fit to join the Butsey family.
The person that defended him rushed towards him, hurriedly pulling him up and into a spare room. She helped Tsuna collapse gracelessly onto the couch that was in there. His breath came in gasps, the entirety of his torso on fire.
"Hey, you alright?" The person asked.
Tsuna gave a feeble nod. He listed sideways, colliding face first into the cushions.
The person left, locking the door behind them. Tsuna let himself sit with his face buried into the cushions but couldn't help shooting up in surprise when he heard somebody in the room. The door hadn't been unlocked or anything.
Of course it was Reborn though. He had dropped in through the ceiling, somehow, and was fixing the tile so it looked like nobody had touched it. He all but ignored Tsuna, going straight for the desk that was covered with different files. With a shock, Tsuna realized this was probably where the meetings were held.
"What are you..?" Tsuna asked, motioning to the desk. His tongue was too heavy to say anything very clearly.
"You'll find out…" Was all Reborn said. His face was blank but he was concentrating hard.
Tsuna accepted it, falling silent as he tried to stay upright. He was kind of surprised with how much pain he was actually in when he had had worse done to him in the past.
Reborn finished whatever he was doing, rearranging the files so it looked like they hadn't been touched. He walked over to Tsuna, quickly looking over what Tsuna's injuries were.
"You bit down on your tongue pretty hard, Tsuna. You might need stitches." Reborn commented. "I can help with your ribs but your tongue is still bleeding. Sun flames would make the bleeding worse."
Tsuna nodded shakily.
"If you can figure out a way to leave, I'll meet you on the other side and help you heal. The flames would be too bright in the dark room and people would come to investigate.
Tsuna nodded again. He got to his feet unsteadily and looked around. There was a window opposite him that lead outside. It was a high wall so it might take a little bit to actually get up onto the windowsill but it was still doable.
"I have my own way out so I'll meet you out there." Reborn said. He jumped back up to where the loose tile was and disappeared, leaving Tsuna alone in the office.
Tsuna wished he was that agile as Reborn but he had lost quite a bit of his flexibility. He made do with his upper body strength though as he quickly pulled himself onto the ledge. It was easy work to open the window and wiggle out but what wasn't so easy was trying to dodge around the people staring at him from the office doorway.
He had looked back to make sure the window was closed and locked and almost screamed as he saw Antonio, Michael, and two more higher ups staring at him. Tsuna scrambled off. He heard gunshots and felt a small sting in a lot of spots along his body but he kept sprinting; through the trees and breaking out into the highway on the other side. He continued running full tilt down the side before hopping over the railing onto an empty on ramp. He sprinted across the ramp back into the woods, yanking his phone out of his pocket.
He needed a compass; he needed to know where he was. Phones were an amazing invention that would tell him but he could only use it briefly because the phone was probably being tracked. Reborn had made him switch off his tracking and it was the best idea Reborn had ever made him do.
He went onto the Maps function and quickly realized he would've gotten lost if he didn't use this. He was in the thick of a brush. But if he went south along the highway he'd be able to make it to the downtown area. There he could call Reborn from a payphone. He couldn't believe there were so many working payphones in Italy but he wept tears of joy as he started running again.
When he got to a payphone in a crowded centre, nobody paid him any mind. It was a better feeling knowing he didn't stick out so much from his height here. There were a lot more tall people than he expected too.
Reborn picked up on the first ring. "What is it?"
"I was caught leaving the office and I have no idea where to go from here." Tsuna muttered quick and low. He heard Reborn's hushed silence, giving way to angry voices in the background.
"I can't talk right now, Bianchi. I'll call you in twenty minutes on our usual line. Make sure you're safe. It's late." Reborn was talking normally, like nothing was wrong. Tsuna felt his chest flare in pain and muffled a groan.
"Alright, is there any way we could meet?" Tsuna asked.
"Not soon. I'll try to get out of here within the hour. I'll pick you up at our last date spot."
"Yes, I thought you remembered?" Reborn's voice was oddly soft. Tsuna was a little weirded out if this was how he talked to his partner. "I'll meet you there within the hour."
The line was cut. Tsuna balanced his head against the phone box before quickly putting the receiver down and leaving the booth. He was careful to not look at any cameras, his face pointed away from it at all times. Security cameras were easy to hack into and he would rather not take that chance.
As the adrenaline from his flight started to ebb away, Tsuna felt his feet drag more and more and his pain come back full tilt. He was kind of hoping it would stay off but it didn't. His breathing became more ragged as he walked on. He knew how to make it back to the hotel but he was trying not to stay there too long. The walk would take half an hour from where he was but with how he was dragging it would probably be more.
Reborn must have been called back about the fact Tsuna had booked it. The boss probably wasn't the happiest. The angry voice sounded like it was Michael though.
Thinking about Michael again left a cold and angry feeling within Tsuna. Michael was the sole reason that Tsuna's life was so bad. He was the reason Kourin was dead and he was probably responsible for a lot of the other deaths of innocent people. Just because of their skin colour.
Tsuna's blood boiled at the fact Michael was still sitting pretty, still able to dish out the unjustifiable killings. There was no way Michael was getting off for this death.
At the hotel, Tsuna waited away from the entrance. He used his phone to make it look like he was just waiting for somebody. He was but explaining that to the staff would be a little hard when he still felt blood dripping out of the corners of his mouth in a somewhat steady stream. He felt weak and light-headed and knew it was probably from bloodloss. But he forced himself to stay conscious, swaying slightly as he waited.
Reborn was there at the one hour mark. He was walking and quickly put his arm around Tsuna, making it look like the two were together. There was no doorman so when they passed, nobody recognized them. Reborn walked quickly through the streets, pulling Tsuna along effortlessly.
He was parked three blocks from the hotel and out of the view of anybody passing by. He stuffed Tsuna into the back before quickly getting behind the wheel. Tsuna was completely out of it as he finally slumped over in the back. He was only semi-conscious and probably looked extremely drunk to anybody passing by. When Reborn pulled him into a cheap motel room, nobody looked up. It was the best course of action as Tsuna was most likely a mess.
"You lost a lot of blood. Why didn't you tell me you had gunshot wounds." Reborn asked. He seemed more asking himself than anybody else.
"I do?" Tsuna asked. His head was sluggish and he felt like it was stuffed with cotton.
"Yes," Reborn hissed. "Most are scrapes, not that deep, but you have one in your arm. If it doesn't stop soon you'll bleed out. How were you even conscious as long as you were? You're going into shock already."
"Had to wait for you; act natural." Tsuna gave Reborn a thumbs up. "Nailed it."
Reborn didn't answer. He seemed to be gathering things, moving back and forth around the room quickly. Tsuna wasn't paying much attention as the entire room soon started to spin. He dimly heard Reborn talking to somebody before there was somebody moving him onto a tarp out of the bathtub. He was loopy enough to only focus on one thing and that was the fact this was how a lot of people died in horror movies.
He tried to start getting out of the bathroom but when he stood up, he crumpled immediately. Reborn caught him easily and paused talking to address Tsuna. "I'm not going to kill you, Tsuna. This is how you keep the blood to one spot so nobody is suspicious. Now I'm going to need you to trust me, Tsuna."
"That's like asking me to jump off a cliff."
"I am trying to save your life. I could easily kill you and say it was an accident."
"You don't make accidents."
"You're right nobody would believe that. Oh well, I don't need trust. Bite down on this", Reborn shoved a rolled up sock into Tsuna's mouth before laying him back down on the tarp.
He needed to perform emergency surgery. From the looks of it, there was too much clothing and dirt stuck near the bullet wound. There was too much risk for infection for them to ignore it. He wasn't a surgeon so he had Mosquito Shamal on the phone. Shamal was a skilled doctor and his mosquitos were able to give people diseases. It was his signature kill that made it harder to track back if people didn't know what to look for. He had started grumbling that he had been in the middle of a good sleep until Reborn explained the situation. Reborn had steady hands and had used surgeon tools before but this was more delicate.
"Now, when he's on the tarp, make sure you have everything near you. And wash your hands. If I see him and he gets an infection from your dirty hands, I'm giving you chlamydia." Shamal had directed. Reborn rolled his eyes but didn't say anything. He needed Shamal to make sure Tsuna didn't bleed out.
"I don't have any type of gloves to use, Shamal. And this is just to get the bullet out so it doesn't need much time."
"Are you going to cauterize the wound?"
"Have to; no time to get it to stop effectively. There's not much for stitches either. He still needs a lot of minor ones. He has grazes on his side and legs, most aren't deep but a couple need to be sewn up. His arm's broken from the bullet. He needs a splint."
Tsuna listened silently. He focused on Reborn's face as it was the closest thing to him that was familiar. The dizziness broke into nausea and he just needed to close his eyes. Rest them momentarily.
Reborn slapped Tsuna, jerking him awake. "You can't sleep yet, Tsuna. I need you awake until I know you're fine."
There was a knock at the door before it opened. Reborn didn't seem concerned when he saw who it was and started ordering them around in rapid Italian. One of them came into Tsuna's field of vision and he saw that it was B-Boy Ice. He looked less angry than earlier so that was nice to know. The second person was the one that had stood up for him.
The two of them being there might've been more confusing if Tsuna was able to focus more. He blinked rapidly to stay awake but it just made the quickly developing headache even worse.
The voice became more of a din as Tsuna focused in and out of consciousness. He was only semi-conscious through a lot of the time he spent on the tarp. The person that helped him, he later learned their name was Laura, had sat at his side with a hand on his forehead the entire time. She was administering sun flames to help him make blood faster so he didn't run out and to numb a lot of the pain.
Reborn did quick and effective work with Shamal coaching him through it. The most drastic part was taking a pair of tweezers and removing the bullet and cloth stuck in Tsuna's arm. After those were out and it was cleaned, Reborn was able to cauterize the wound which was essentially burning the entrance to a point where it doesn't bleed and closes temporarily. It scarred and wasn't the most pretty way to stop bleeding but they didn't have the time for proper medical procedures.
B-Boy Ice had been set as lookout while the other two worked on Tsuna. It took maybe half an hour before they were cleaning up the bathroom and putting Tsuna back into one of the beds the motel room had. Tsuna finally passed out and Reborn followed suit soon after he had directed the other two how to sterilize everything and make sure no trace was left.
Reborn and Tsuna were only allowed to sleep for two hours before they had to leave. Staying in one place too long was a big no no, especially when there was a man hunt out for Tsuna.
"Tsuna, we're going to have to get you up now." Reborn said. He was the only one that spoke Japanese so the other two hung back awkwardly holding suitcases.
"Tired", Tsuna muttered. He looked over blearily at Reborn.
"I know you are. But you're going to have to sleep later. I need you to work with me." Reborn's voice was hard and was able to cut through to Tsuna. He nodded slowly, offering Reborn his good arm. The other was splinted and in a makeshift sling of Tsuna's sweater arm.
Reborn pulled him to his feet and guided him out of the room. They were on the first floor so it was easy to maneuver into Reborn's car. Ice took over driving with Laura in the front giving directions. Tsuna was laid out in the back seat with his head in Reborn's lap.
"They're here?" Tsuna asked. He couldn't figure out what he wanted to say but he was trying to ask why Laura and Ice were with them.
Reborn understood. "They're Vongola agents. They were in Butsey and were the ones to iron out what the boss intended on doing first. It only became a problem when they found out what was really going on behind the scenes."
"What-What scenes?" Tsuna stared dazedly up at Reborn.
"I'll explain when you'll actually remember, Tsuna." Reborn said, cutting off the conversation. Tsuna would've been upset if he wasn't so tired.
The rest of the drive was spent with Tsuna sleeping on and off. It was a full hour before they stopped. Tsuna vaguely recognized them at headquarters before he was being pulled out of the back and onto a stretcher.
He didn't remember what happened after that. But when he woke up it was to a stark white room that smelled strongly of bleach and cotton. Reborn was on one side, presumably asleep in his chair. Iemitsu was on his other side which he wasn't so sure was the best welcome he could've gotten.
When Tsuna shifted, Reborn snapped his head up. He looked relieved for a fraction of a second before all emotion was wiped from his face and he smacked the back of Tsuna's head.
"Next time tell me you have a damn bullet wound." Reborn hissed.
Tsuna blinked before smiling sheepishly through his arm at Reborn. "Shock has quite a lot of affect on you, doesn't it?"
Reborn rolled his eyes before settling into his seat again. "I assume you want to know about what happened?"
"That, and how long I was asleep." Tsuna said.
"A couple days. They put you into a medically induced coma so you healed better. They were able to heal a majority of your broken arm but it's still tender so no heavy lifting. You have some sutures so careful in moving in general so they don't break."
"Days?" Tsuna said in astonishment. "What happened? What about Butsey? Are they still going for me? What even happened after I ran? Did I mess up the mission by being caught? I told you it was a bad idea to have me there."
"Well, Michael was the only one that shot. He's been said to be a better shot than me so he was quick to start. I was called since they knew I had ties in Vongola and wanted to make sure I could smooth over Michael hitting Iemitsu's son. Michael was adamant that you be killed though because they found out two important files to upcoming missions were missing."
"Were they the files you-?"
"I took them from the desk", Reborn said with a nod. "It was quite impressive that the plan to even get into the room worked."
"What?" Tsuna asked sharply. "What plan?"
"Laura, the one that stood between you and B-Boy Ice, and Ice himself were both Vongola agents. I already explained they were the original people on the case. But I was the only one that could get close to the higher ups. The problem was that we needed the files as evidence that they would've gone after you, a Vongola agent. So B-Boy Ice suggested that he spread a rumour about you, I would push you to confront Ice, and Laura would stand between you after you had gotten injured. The Butsey family has a soft spot for strong women and Laura was able to get the key off of one of the men so she could get into the room she dragged you in. Like I said, who you sleep with in the mafia gives you a certain power only you can hold."
"So, there is obviously a reason why you didn't tell me then?" Tsuna asked, stung.
"You're a terrible liar and would've never been believable if you didn't believe B-Boy Ice was targeting you."
Tsuna had a hard time denying that one.
"Anyways, they didn't find them on me because they were in my car parked two blocks from our old hotel. So the obvious choice was that you were the one to take the files. When you called me, they were in the middle of arguing with Michael. They didn't even notice I was on the phone until after and demand I show them the number. Lucky you thought ahead because they were appeased when I said that Bianchi was drunk and needed my help. It was also how I got away so fast. They've called me back twice a day now to make sure my deals with Vongola are going smoothly."
"And are they?" Tsuna said, stunned. He couldn't believe all of this was from his carelessness.
"The boss agrees with me." Reborn gave a grim smile. "They shot at a Vongola member so that's grounds for attack. And if they happen to be a bad family, no harm no foul. You helped us more than you could imagine."
Tsuna sat back stunned. He felt almost sick at the fact he was the reason so many people were going to die. He looked over at Reborn, stricken. "Reborn, no. I can't-the entire family? Why not just the higher ups?"
Reborn didn't say anything for a moment. Then he moved, leaned over and took out two folders. He handed them to Tsuna soundlessly, motioning for him to read them.
The first one had pictures of Namimori, his old high school, the park down the street from his house, things he remembered from the town. There was a bundle of five pages in Italian. Tsuna read it over quickly. It was detailing Namimori and all the people in it. It was a small town so it only highlighted on certain people. The mayor and small government; the family that ran TakeSushi; his mother.
Tsuna looked up at Reborn in alarm but he motioned for Tsuna to read the other one.
The second folder detailed all about Tsuna's life. It wasn't as in depth as he would've thought but somehow they had gotten a picture of him as a kid and one where he was working in the offices. It explained how he was a loose end in the Butsey family from his family ties. He needed to be cut off from the family and any other family that wanted him.
"They were going to kill you and a lot of people in Namimori in retribution for how you hurt Michael." Reborn said. "Getting the files for evidence was the last nail in their coffin. Do you really want them spared now?"
Tsuna couldn't answer. So he was the reason so many people were going to be killed. They might not have been the best but it was still a human life.
"B-Boy Ice has been feeding them false information about where you are. They don't have a clue you're in Vongola territory. We plan on luring them onto our turf before doing anything so we have the upper hand. They'll send most of their troops here where Vongola can wipe them out easily. I'll be going in to clean up the people left behind." Reborn stood up, taking the files out of Tsuna's hands. He swung a bag over his shoulder and ruffled Tsuna's hair. "Try not to think about it too much. You still have a lot left to heal. I'll see you before I go."
"Alright…" Tsuna muttered. He slumped back onto the bed, leaning into the pillows. He looked over and saw his dad had been awake the entire time. He gave a small smile to Tsuna before stretching his arms over his head.
"It's good to know you'll make a full recovery." Iemitsu said lightly. There was an edge to his voice he was trying to cover up.
Tsuna shrugged. He wound and unwound a loose string from his blanket around his finger. Iemitsu gave a sigh, also getting up to go.
"I know it seems harsh", he said, "but the Butsey family would've made your mother do...horrible things before she was finally allowed to die."
"Is that supposed to make me feel better? I'm still the sole reason that so many people are going to die." Tsuna hissed. Iemitsu seemed taken aback but recovered quickly.
"There's no use in wallowing, Tsuna. The faster you accept it, the better it'll be."
Tsuna bit back his retort. He didn't have the energy to start an arguement with his father. Iemitsu took it as Tsuna understanding what he meant though and squeezed Tsuna's ankle in what he tried to think of as comforting. Tsuna just became more angry.
He slept more than usual to try and ignore the fact the Butsey family was going to be taken out. People visited occasionally. Reborn was his most frequent visitor. He gave daily updates to what was happening and it was good Reborn was doing it because he didn't sugar coat it in the least.
"The Butsey family knows where you are now", Reborn announced in greeting on one of his daily visits.
Tsuna fumbled with the glass of water he had in his hands. Reborn caught it before it spilled and set it aside. Tsuna coughed, having choked on the gulp of water he had.
"What do you mean they know where I am?" He asked shrilly.
"I mean that I accidentally let slip that I saw you here. Michael was livid. Demanding I tell them how I knew. Said I was walking through the mansion and saw you leaving one of the guests rooms. They bought it no problem. They'll be here any day."
"They told you they'd be attacking me?"
"No, they don't trust me that much. They lied to my face and said they wouldn't attack you. They were going to meet with the Ninth before anything but I could see they were lying through their teeth."
Tsuna wasn't sure how to feel about that.
By the time the Butsey family had left, Tsuna was fully healed. He was half tempted to ask Reborn if he could help in anyway but Reborn shut those thoughts down immediately.
"You're bait, Tsuna. You can't be in the fighting in case you're captured." Reborn sent a punch towards Tsuna. "50 pushups for your stupidity. No complaining."
Tsuna gave up and let himself be lead to a room with four other people when it was finally time. He kept to himself in a corner, away from the hustle the other four were making. They sat around a table, looking through file after file, and speaking in fast Italian. Tsuna had no idea who they were or what they were doing until Iemitsu walked in and tried talking to him.
"The one in the middle, that's our boss, Tsuna." Iemitsu said cheerfully. "The other three are his storm, cloud, and lightning guardians. He asked that you be with him during the attack so you could be protected effectively if anybody makes it through to us."
Tsuna nodded listlessly. The fact he was in front of his boss was a little more than unnerving.
Iemitsu smiled, clapping Tsuna on the back before moving off to talk to the Ninth. Tsuna tried to be even more invisible than ever as he felt he was probably going to say something to make him lose his job.
When everything settled down and the group was sitting patiently in awkward and unnerving silence, only then did the Ninth look over. He smiled warmly at Tsuna, who hastily looked at the ground.
"Tsunayoshi, I heard you had quite the first mission." He said in Japanese. Tsuna jerked in surprise before nodding. It was silent for another few moments before, "What brought you to Vongola?"
Tsuna looked up quickly, trying to think on his feet. He didn't want to explain about Kourin. He didn't want to tap into that and tell a total stranger; especially since his father was still there.
"I...thought it would be a better fit for me as my mother also gets protection. Nobody else offered that." Tsuna finally said. Iemitsu looked at him sharply, surprise evident on his face.
"Other people?" Ninth asked. Tsuna nodded jerkily.
"I-I dance, breakdancing to be exact. I found out how to use flames in my dancing and it spread quickly."
There was a sharp intake of breath from everybody in the room. The Ninth seemed the most surprised as he breathed, "You're B-Boy Sky?"
Tsuna nodded again. Anxiety rose in his chest saying it and have people know. Everybody was staring at him with mingled shock and pleasant surprise. Iemitsu looked almost fiercely proud.
"I see…" The Ninth sat back, stroking his mustache in thought. "I'm glad we have somebody as skilled as you in our ranks."
Tsuna gave a soft smile before going back to looking at the floor.
The group sat in the room for what felt like hours. Tsuna was given his phone again with special software to block people without Vongola equipment from tapping in or tracking him. There wasn't much for him to do so he fell back onto one of his old pastimes and read wikipedia articles that popped up. It was the only thing he could think of doing. When he was almost obsessed with getting better grades, he would always read wikipedia articles to help him gain more knowledge. The information never stuck but it was a much more interesting thing to do than study, he found.
Finally, they were let out. The Ninth shook Tsuna's hand before being lead back to his offices. Iemitsu gave Tsuna an awkward hug before following the Ninth, leaving Tsuna on his own. He had been given a room and was trying to find his way back to it when he felt his phone vibrate. He had made sure that it didn't make a single sound in the room and felt confused as to who was even talking to him.
It was Reborn. He had no idea why he never thought of him. He had sent Tsuna a text, saying, "Meet me at the river."
There was only one river it could possibly be. The one near the edge of Vongola property. It was heavily hidden in the trees and not very many people could go there. During their week of training, the two went there for when Tsuna needed a break. Reborn said he had been here quite a few times so he could be alone himself. Whenever he was in HQ, everybody wanted to talk to him. It was like he was some sort of celebrity within the mafia.
Reborn was waiting for Tsuna on one of the banks. He motioned for Tsuna to join him and he did. The two sat in silence, watching the water flow and eb gently in the breeze. It was calming and Tsuna finally breathed a little easier.
"There is one member of the Butsey family left", Reborn said. He looked levelly with Tsuna as he continued. "It's Michael. I didn't kill him yet. He's in an interrogation room in Vongola."
"Why isn't he dead?" Tsuna said angrily.
"Because it's your call. You should be the one to decide what happens to him."
"Why? It's not like I'm that important…"
"He killed your friend. You decide what happens."
Tsuna looked troubled. He couldn't ever dream of killing somebody. He had wanted to but that was unbridled rage boiling up. To actually do it was something completely foreign.
"I'll take you to see him. You can talk to him all you want before deciding anything." Reborn said. "But first, you might want to take a nap. You look dead on your feet."
Tsuna nodded. He agreed that he probably needed sleep as he had gotten next to none the last few days. Reborn pulled Tsuna against him, leaning back against a nearby tree. He ran his hands through Tsuna's hair, lulling him to sleep.
Michael seemed less than happy to see Tsuna, to say the least.
When he walked in, he heard straining and curses thrown at his face. Michael had always been ugly in Tsuna's mind but to see his face purpling and spit flying so freely as he yelled, Tsuna felt more than anger. He felt pity.
Reborn had walked in behind Tsuna and was quick to punch Michael until he sat, wheezing and dazed in his seat. Even if he was dazed though, he still had hatred and anger burning in his eyes. Tsuna skirted the chair he was in, leaning against the wall opposite.
"So…" Michael said, in Japanese, into the deafening silence. His voice echoed and bounced off the walls. "I hear you're the one to kill me."
"I-I'm not going to kill you." Tsuna said. His voice was too frail and weak but it got stronger as he spoke. "Killing you for petty revenge… that won't solve anything. Kourin will still be dead and I'll still be without my friend."
"Oh?" Michael looked like Christmas had come early. "Kourin was his name? What a pretty name for an ugly person. I wish I could've stayed longer. Maybe then I would have been able to watch him die. Might've gotten you too. You think you're so high and mighty? Well guess what! You're not above me! I am more important than you! You're just filthy trash. And the minute I get out of these ropes I'll-"
"That's enough", Tsuna said sharply. "I don't want to hear what you'll do because you aren't going to escape. In fact, you won't ever see daylight again." Tsuna stepped closer, leaning down so he could stare into Michael's eyes. For the first time in his life, Tsuna saw actual fear in Michael's face. Soon, his tone changed.
"Please...I'll do anything. You want women? I can give you plenty? Or do you like men? We have-" At the look of disgust on Tsuna's face, he changed his bargain. "Or-Or maybe I can give you a spot in Butsey. My brother's dead, you can be boss and build from the ground up. W-Wouldn't you want that?"
The hysterical note in Michael's voice made Tsuna feel bad for even saying what he had next.
"I don't want your slaves. I don't want to even think about your family anymore. The fact you aren't even upset about your brother dying." Tsuna spit at the ground in front of Michael. "You're despicable."
The anger came back fast and quick as he headbutted Tsuna, lurching forward. He didn't get far as Reborn planted a hand on the back of his chair and wrenched it back against the wall. Michael gasped, going limp. Reborn had had enough of listening to him.
"I'm impressed, Tsuna." Reborn said. Tsuna blinked, looking up in shock. "I never thought you'd spit at somebody."
Tsuna gave a wan smile. "I-I've seen people do it before. I th-thought it'd make the threat scarier. Did it work?"
Reborn nodded, a smile playing around his mouth. "I would've never guessed you had the guts to do it."
"Neither did I…"
The two walked out a moment later, Tsuna still shaking. He had no idea how he did it but he finally said his mind to Michael. There was no way he was ever going to escape either. Reborn had promised that he wouldn't and Tsuna trusted his word.
"Hey, Reborn?" Tsuna said as they filed into Tsuna's room. "I get a bonus for getting hurt, right?"
"Yes, you have two. The Ninth thought it was only appropriate we reimburse you for emotional toll as well." Reborn explained. He sat down on the bed, watching Tsuna softly pacing around his room. "Your bonus' can be anything you want, too. Why do you ask?"
"Could I use one of them as plane tickets to Japan?"
Nana was more than happy to welcome Tsuna back. She enveloped him in a bone crushing hug. She knew Reborn from when Tsuna was being taught underneath Reborn and seemed delighted to have him back, only if momentarily.
It felt nice to finally be home. Tsuna breathed a sigh of relief, collapsing onto his bed. The familiar peppermint smell reminded him of how much he missed it. Nana insisted Tsuna go to bed to sleep off the jet-lag, deaf to Tsuna's protests. He had fallen asleep almost instantly from how relaxed he suddenly was; it probably helped that Reborn had given him a replacement to his medication. Reborn was the one to wake him up by pulling him out of the covers.
"There is a reason you came here, isn't there, Tsuna?" Reborn had asked. Tsuna stared up unimpressed at Reborn from the floor.
"Yeah, there is. It has to be near midnight though that we go." Tsuna said, disentangling himself from the covers.
"It's 11:30, Tsuna." Reborn said flatly.
"What! Why didn't you wake me earlier then?" Tsuna accused.
"You never told me to. Now let's go if we have to be there by 12."
Tsuna gave a derisive glare at Reborn before he lead the way out of the house. He took the old route out his window as he started walking. Reborn never once asked where they were going, having an idea of what Tsuna wanted to do.
So the two walked in silence. The bugs were the only sounds beside their footsteps. Occasionally they saw people walking in the opposite direction, most likely to the B-Boying spot. Tsuna looked away, crossing his arms.
They finally stopped at the entrance to the graveyard. Tsuna felt his throat close and his eyes start to burn slightly but he kept going. He walked through the gravestones until he finally stopped in front of Kourin's. He had stopped to get the wooden bucket and sponge the cemetery had at the front. His mother had often told him what to do when visiting a grave so he knew what to do when the time came.
Reborn wandered off, leaving Tsuna to clean up the stone with the water, sweep around the base, and pull out any of the weeds. He put flowers and an incense stick into the vases there. He carefully poured out water onto the grave before, finally, settling in front of the grave.
He had to wait for the incense to stop burning before he could leave so, to pass the time, he started talking to Kourin's grave.
Tsuna didn't know why he was talking to Kourin's grave stone. There wasn't even a body inside the grave. But he still started explaining everything that happened to him. How he had been trained, how he had stopped B-Boying only to start again for a mission, his job at Vongola in the offices, how crazy his life had been in general since Kourin had died.
"The guy who killed you, Kourin?" Tsuna said thickly. "I don't think he'll be doing what he did to you to anybody else. He was a bad man; nobody liked him. Not even his family. Can you believe that?" Tsuna gave a weak laugh, wiping his eyes absently. "His family was set to be wiped out and he's the last one left. It was up to me to decide if he died or not but...I didn't think you'd want me to be a killer. I have never hated somebody as much as him. But you weren't violent so why should I be? He isn't dead. I haven't seen him since I talked to him though. He's giving information on other dirty families to Vongola. So at least we have that."
He was trying not to cry, boy was he trying. But it was hard. It was the hardest thing he had done because even if nothing was there, Kourin could probably hear him.
Reborn walked over to him, kneeling next to him. They didn't say anything. Tsuna leaned against Reborn, staring unseeingly at the grave. Reborn let him, running a hand through Tsuna's hair.
And as Tsuna sat there, he knew what he needed to do. Kourin wasn't here anymore so Tsuna was going to have to live for him.
this was made for ollypuro's au in the khr art exchange. this is s o long jfc i didnt expect it to be like this. it isnt exactly in their au though because i rEAD IT WRONG but it was too late to change it :^) [im sorry]
anyways hope they like it and you guys too because i worked rlly hard on it. please leave a review on ur way out, it took me a long time to make this and i love, like all writers, getting feedback!