One: Being okay with being okay
Summary: Tsuna never spoke a word, but that was okay. Some things don't have to be said after all. He fell in love with someone he shouldn't have, but that was okay too. Then he rescued a turtle from a car crash, found himself glowing with strange symbols all over his body, and suddenly, nothing was all that okay anymore.
If Tsuna could use one word to describe his life, it would be "okay."
(Not that he would actually speak it aloud, but that was "okay" too.)
Sometimes, it was good.
Other times, it was not too good.
(Like that time when he glanced over and saw his crush kissing someone else.)
But mostly, it was okay.
It has to be okay.
He wasn't really good at anything.
Except failing, and really, who wants to be good at that?
(If he stopped failing, maybe Kyoko-chan would finally look in his direction?)
His thoughts always seem more bold than his actions.
It's kind of sad.
Useless-Tsuna, they nicknamed him.
Tsuna agreed with them. After all, even his mother called him that.
("Don't be too dame today, okay Tsu-kun?" she started to greet him every morning.
Tsuna is not sure, but he believes that was truly when he started to believe it.)
He's never been good at anything, really. He was a clumsy, mute coward with no backbone. It probably didn't help that he had the constant face of a deer caught in the headlights whenever someone even looked in his direction. Tsuna has no friends, but he does have plenty of bullies to make up for it.
It all balanced out in the end.
Nothing was ever in his favor.
Tsuna was left behind to do the classroom chores. Again.
There is no surprise involved. He's pretty used to it. He actually thinks it's helping him get better at cleaning, the slow repetitions and movements of the cleaning equipment, but maybe that was just wishful thinking.
Hmm, wishful thinking… Tsuna is very good at that.
Today, just like almost every other day, Tsuna thinks about Kyoko-chan. He thinks about how pretty she is, or how the way she smiled made everything better. He thinks about the way how he really shouldn't think too much about her.
(Because, really, how far up is she up on the ladder and how far down is he?
It's two completely different worlds.)
From far away, Tsuna could hear the shouts and the yells of the practicing baseball team.
"Go, Yamamoto! We're counting on you!"
"Yeah, with you on our side, we can never lose!"
Sometimes, he wished could be like Takeshi Yamamoto—popular, cheerful, and an all around nice guy, but Tsuna can't really fool himself. He knows he's hopeless at stuff like that. Sports, grades, or just interacting with people in general. That's what got him the name Dame-Tsuna, after all.
Sighing, he finished cleaning the classroom and crept out, keeping an eye out for any bullies. Relief flowed through him when he saw no one, probably because everyone was either home or too busy with their clubs to bother with him.
Backpack firmly clutched in his hands, he walked out, never noticing the beady black eyes following his every move.
Target moving into position.
"Cabbages, cabbages! A whole ten percent discount today!"
"Whole store sale! Everything in store down more than five percent!"
The busy streets of Namimori rang out with shouts of sales and discounts. The people milling outside hustled and bustled to their next destination. Tsuna slips between them, earning himself a few pitied and disdainful glances.
"Isn't that Nana's son?"
"Yes, the pity the poor woman for having a son like that…"
Tsuna doesn't even wince anymore at the whispers and looks he receives. It's something that happens everyday 24-7, 365 days a year. He's learned to cope with it by shutting himself into his own world and burying all his feelings into the deepest, darkest corners of his mind.
(It probably wasn't very healthy, but a lot of things he does isn't, so what's one more?)
The light turns red, and he stops himself from stepping out of the curb just in time for a car to whiz by and beep at him for not paying attention. Eyes slightly unfocused, Tsuna taps the button on his headphones to increase the sound—only to freeze as he spies a turtle in the middle of the road and an incoming car.
Ah, he thinks, and then, for some reason or another, his legs began to move.
He doesn't see a symbol with the character for courage appear on his forehead, seemingly etched on there by flames. He doesn't see the incoming car desperately slam on the brakes to try and avoid the almost inevitable collision. He doesn't see anything but the turtle—about to be killed for being stupid, for being weak.
(Just like him.)
He stretches out his hands and snatches the turtle from the pavement, holding it close to his chest as the car lights blinded his vision.
Huh, his last thought was, surprisingly, not about Kyoko-chan, but of the turtle in his arms. I heard turtles can live a really long time. Hope this one can too.
Eyes glowing orange, a voice that hasn't been used for years resonated.
"...I will save you with my dying will."
"Tsu-kun!" Nana chirped from downstairs. "Get ready for bed."
"But Tsu-kun don't want to…"
Of course, the sulky refusals were all shooed away and pushed aside with an amused smile. A mother not having that skill is almost unheard of, after all.
After brushing his teeth very carefully, the brunet dawdled and plodded down the hallway, but eventually, he reached his room. The child climbed onto his bed and crawled under the covers, a pout marring his usual angelic face.
Nana laughed when she saw and gently nudged her son over so she could sit.
"Do you want to hear a story?"
The pout disappeared immediately, and chocolate brown eyes lit up with childish curiosity, unconsciously leaning closer to his mother.
"Is it about knights and dragons?" he questioned, peering up at her with hopeful eyes.
"Not tonight, Tsu-kun." Nana rubbed her own eyes and yawned slightly. "I'm just going to tell you a strange legend that has been passed down in our family for generations."
"Gen-generations?" Tsuna stumbled over the foreign word.
"It means it has been a long time, Tsu-kun."
"Oh, okay then." Why adults do always have to use such big words when there are so many small ones already, Tsuna will never understand.
Smiling, Nana wrapped her arms around her son and began to weave her tale.
"Long, long time ago, there was a beautiful princess but she never spoke a single word. Many believed she was mute and scorned her. 'What was the use of a princess who could not speak,' they reasoned. And so, the princess was left to a life of abandonment. Not even her own parents loved her, so they cast her out of the castle. Outside of the castle, she lived peacefully with the villagers, who accepted her even when she did not speak.
However, after years passed, the kingdom experienced the worst drought in history. The economy collapsed. The villagers couldn't grow crops to feed themselves or pay their taxes. Seeing all the suffering around her, the princess finally spoke..."
"What happened?" Tsuna inquired when his mama stared off into space. "What did the princess say?"
Tsuna didn't understand why everybody didn't like the princess because she didn't want to talk. It's her business if she wanted to talk, and nobody should control her decision to not talk.
Nana smiled, but her eyes remained far away. "Ame."
"Yes, Tsu-kun, rain."
Tsuna scrunched his eyebrows. "All this time she didn't talk but suddenly she said rain? It's not as if it's going to rain when she says so."
Nana finally looked at him then, brown eyes clashing with brown. "It did rain, Tsu-kun, but that wasn't the point."
Then what was? Tsuna didn't understand.
"You may not know this, but a Word can be very powerful. Especially when filled with such absolute resolve and emotion." Suddenly, Mama bent down so that their foreheads touched and gently stroked his hair. "Tsu-kun, I want to you promise me that you will never use your words for evil."
Evil? Why would he do that? Confused, he pouts a little but nods anyway.
"Ok, Mama. I promise."
Sometimes, there are just some promises that hurt to keep. This wasn't anything different. But that's OK too, Tsuna is more than used to pain.
AN: Some of the elements came from Alice 19th, a manga by the same mangaka of Fushigi Yuugi.
This was also inspired by exocara's writing style and her fanfiction Memento Mori and me just wanting to write Arcobaleno27.
(Because there's definitely not enough of that.)