Tsunayoshi "Shirou" Sawada was a somewhat normal, if quiet kid. He had a mother who was generally an air head and didn't really notice things, a father who was never around, and an adopted father who died shortly before his thirteenth birthday. He had lost all his memories before the age of eight, and was only now edging to something close to normal.
When he was younger, there had been a major bullying problem, but that was mostly dealt with after his birth father finally tracked him down in Fuyuki.
He still preferred to be called Shirou, because from what he could tell, Tsunayoshi was a bit of a wimp who let the bullies walk all over him and didn't really do well in school.
Whereas 'Shirou' had quickly acquired the title as the School's "fake janitor" and had even befriended the strongest delinquent in his age group completely by accident.
Kyouya Hibari was rather scary to most, but for some reason he had a soft spot for Tsuna because he was helpful without being a 'herbivore' about it.
He suspected it had something to do with him ignoring Hibari's open threat to "bite him to death" when he went into the room to start repairing the air conditioning system while the other boy was taking a nap, and not even bothering to flinch when Hibari snuck up behind him with his tompa already drawn.
Tsuna had stared Hibari down in the eye, not even fazed by the open threat of violence (because honestly, Fuji-nee when she was openly hungry was far more terrifying) and had left the room without giving ground to the older boy once he was finished.
Ever since Kyouya had upgraded Tsuna's status around him from "herbivore" to "carnivore".
At the very least there was a modicum of respect from Hibari whenever he spoke to Tsuna.
That wasn't the only change in Tsuna since the fire, and his subsequent return to Namimori.
Ever since he came back to this town, there was a pervading sense of warmth in his body, like a low burning fire that had been kindled and remained burning. He had thought it was the training Kiritsugu had given him shortly before his death in magecraft, but now he wasn't so sure.
For one thing, his nose had started to pick up weird smells around certain people.
Hibari, for instance, had the weird scent of the wilds about him that clung with a pervading scent of wet. Almost like a mist, or possibly what the clouds themselves might smell like. Considering fog was really just clouds on ground level, he was mostly basing his assumption on that.
Fuji-nee, when she was really worked up and had her favorite sword out, smelled of ozone and fur.
Among other odd figures with the weird smell around them was a baseball nut by the name of Takeshi. He had the scent of freshly fallen rain and forged steel. Or the boxing kid with the younger sister in his class named Ryohei, who smelled of sun warmed leather and had a general warmth about him.
Sometimes, after practicing his limited magecraft he would catch the scent of fire and steel around him. He believed that to be what his own scent was.
Tsuna finished making his own bento for the day and headed to school.
His mother, Nana, had been pleasantly surprised with his sudden proficiency in cooking and household chores.
To be fair, it was either he learned how to cook or he had to explain to the fire department back in Fuyuki that Kiritsugu had burned down the kitchen, again. And the less said about the conflagrations Taiga produced when he tried to teach her how to cook, the better.
He still had no idea how the hell Fuji-nee managed to end up as the "faculty adviser" to the archery club and the disciplinary committee.
Maybe it had something to do with her weird attitude towards Kyouya-san and the weird respect he had about her. At least it made his group of thugs look legitimately like a club on paper, even if Taiga was the only teacher who didn't shit her pants around Kyouya when he was in a bad mood.
Or it could be that the first time he tried to disobey Taiga, she beat the crap out of him with her Tora Shinai and made him clean the club room he claimed as his own.
Kyouya hated the fact she kicked his ass. Tsuna suspected the only reason he agreed to even remotely listen to her orders was because he wanted to fight her again.
Come to think of it, Kyouya was the only other person in Namimori besides Taiga who called him Shirou. Possibly because he heard Taiga call him by his adopted name when whining for food because she spent her check and her grandfather cut her off again. The woman was a black hole when it came to food, and she couldn't cook at all to save her life.
Hence why Tsuna had an iron hold over her. She needed him to provide food, and she was positively addicted to his cooking. So was Kyouya, when he asked (read: demanded) Tsuna share some of his lunch.
So now he had two people who demanded food on a near daily basis. At least Kyouya wasn't nearly so whiny about it.
"Good morning everyone~!" said Fuji-nee, ignoring the bento on her desk. Since she was their homeroom teacher, no one really commented on the fact Tsuna left food on her desk, since she took it badly if someone tried to steal it.
You could still hear the screams of the poor sod who tried to keep the box from her the one time she forgot to take it with her.
Tsuna would have felt sorry for that teacher, but he was an ass and he had it coming.
Today was perfectly ordinary...until suddenly it wasn't. Tsuna was aware his grades weren't the best. He was firmly in the upper middle of the class without crossing the line to the top ten. Only an idiot would skip out on homework if Fuji-nee was one of your teachers. She would have beaten him black and blue if he didn't at least try on his tests. And Kyouya would help, with great enthusiasm purely because it she asked him to and because he found Tsuna a worthy opponent.
So when his 'mother' found the flier in the mail and cheerfully informed him of the home tutor, Tsuna had the distinct feeling that his peaceful days were about to come to a crashing end.
There was no way in hell this Reborn was a real baby. Not when he felt very much like Kiritsugu did the one time he told his father about being bullied and the man had brought him along so he could point the boys out.
Kiritsugu was damn scary when he wanted to be, and he taught him how to project a similar aura to get idiots like those kids to back the hell off.
Tsuna really missed him, even if he was weird and couldn't cook worth a damn. He might have taken long trips to Germany for reasons he never fully understood, but Kiritsugu had been more of a father to him than his biological one Iemitsu.
As he was shot in the head with the Deathperation bullet, he felt the regret inside him swell up and force him to act.
Reborn couldn't help but stare when instead of doing something like confessing his love for a girl he barely knew, the first thing Tsuna did was head straight to the back of the house and repair a scooter in record time before cooking a massive meal and setting the table before he passed out.
This kid was really weird.
Needless to say the first thing out of Reborn's mouth when Tsuna came to was...
"Who does the scooter belong to?"
"Fuji-nee. I swear she does weird tricks on this thing so she can find new ways to mooch off my cooking. If her grandfather didn't pay me good money to keep this and the others in working condition I would make her take it to a repair shop," said Tsuna, rubbing his head.
"...Your greatest regret was not fixing her bike and not making dinner?" asked Reborn incredulous.
"No, my greatest regret if I was going to die today would be not avoiding Fuji-nee's whining because I didn't feed her for the day," deadpanned Tsuna.
"SHIROU! I'm hungry! ...Why are you in your underwear?" asked Fujimura Taiga.
"Blame him, and your food is on the table."
"Is there a particular reason why you two know each other?" asked Reborn. Because if that wasn't the Granddaughter of the Fujimura Group, he'd eat his hat. Why, if Iemitsu was so dead set about keeping his son away from the underworld, was the Granddaughter and heir to a relatively well respected yakuza family in the house and mooching off Tsuna's cooking?
Fujimura Taiga finally took notice of Reborn, and after several seconds she seemed to come to a conclusion.
"Are you one of Kiri-kun's associates?"
"Who?" asked Reborn baffled.
"She's talking about my dad, Kiritsugu," explained Tsuna.
"I thought your father's name was Iemitsu Sawada?"
Fuji-nee made a face.
"Don't talk about that loser. Kiritsugu might have been weird and a bit scary at times, but at least he didn't make up ridiculous bullshit excuses about why he was never around. That Iemitsu guy is a total tool and quite frankly I'm glad Shirou had the sense to stay at my place whenever he's in town. He's is a terrible influence."
Reborn hid his face as he asked his next question, inwardly planning to tell Nono Iemitsu wasn't doing his damn job.
"Are you by any chance talking about Kiritsugu Emiya, the notorious assassin?"
Reborn had a lot of respect for Emiya, even if he was a Magus. The man was a fellow assassin, but his habit of going into unwinnable conflicts and joining the losing side had always been a bit weird.
The two had never crossed paths during an assignment, but Reborn knew of his reputation and had the feeling they could have gotten along.
"That's my dad. You know him?" asked Tsuna, with some vestiges of hope. Very few people were willing to talk about the man or what he did.
"I knew of him. So he's the man you consider your father."
"He saved me from the fire and raised me until he died shortly before I turned thirteen. Then some weirdo named Iemitsu showed up a month after the funeral claiming to be my father, and Fuji-nee forced him to have a DNA test done before I was relocated to Namimori with the one they said was my mother. Shortly after Fuji-nee convinced her grandfather to let her move here so she can focus on her teaching career. Apparently there were a few...unusual...channels she had to go through before she was even allowed an apartment."
"Why go through all that trouble to move to Namimori instead of staying in Fuyuki?" asked Reborn.
"Like I'd leave Shirou to suffer through a family who barely knows him, much less a place that allowed him to get kidnapped because his birth father couldn't do his damn job!" said Taiga, offended.
"She came here to mooch off me. She's like my big sister," corrected Tsuna without hesitation.
So not only was the information very out of date and downright wrong, but the kid didn't even see Iemitsu as his father and barely considered Nana his mother. He only lived in the house as a courtesy, apparently.
Reborn was going to strangle Iemitsu for not doing his job and giving him bad information like this.
"So what do I call you?" asked Reborn, because this girl kept calling him Shirou when his file said his name was Tsuna.
"You can call me whichever, but I really prefer being Shirou Emiya over Tsunayoshi Sawada."
"Very well then, Shirou. Your grandfather sent me to train you into becoming the next head of the Vongola family since you're the last legitimate heir left to inherit," said Reborn. He could sense that he had gained immediate respect from both of them, especially Taiga.
He would have to observe Shirou for a bit before he decided on the best course of action in training him. At least he wasn't a total wimp like the file claimed.
Though the first thing he did once Shirou was asleep and Taiga had gone was to call Nono, switching to Italian just in case. He had no idea what languages Shirou knew.
"I've arrived, and I think you need to have someone inspect CEDEF for incompetence. The information I got was...inaccurate...to say the least. No, I don't think Iemitsu has any idea who his son is and to be honest I have doubts he even bothered to do his job after he finally located his missing son."
Reborn wasn't very impressed with Nono's attempts to forgive a few minor errors on Iemitsu's part, so he decided to cut to the chase.
"You're gravely mistaken. Tsuna doesn't consider Iemitsu his father and only lives in the house as a courtesy. There wasn't anything in the file about the granddaughter of a yakuza group visiting frequently enough to the house to be called big sister or the fact that he openly considers the Magus Killer himself to be his father. Everything in the file I was given is outdated or completely wrong, and if they can't be bothered to keep tabs on Iemitsu's own son, then something is up with their intelligence gathering," said Reborn crossly.
Dead silence. Finally Nono agreed to look into it, since that was a big red flag. Iemitsu ran CEDEF, and if they couldn't keep an accurate file on one boy then who knew what else they had gotten wrong? Considering the Vongola regularly used the information CEDEF provided on missions, having inaccurate data could get their men killed or start a war.
If this didn't light a fire under Nono's ass to take notice of Iemitsu's incompetence, nothing would. In the meantime Reborn had his work cut out for him to gather accurate information on his newest student.
He did not like being mislead or lied to on an assignment. Besides, he was curious as to what Kiritsugu Emiya could have possibly taught his adopted son.
Four days later...
Reborn had to admit, Shirou was not going to be the chore he had feared he would have to deal with when he was initially given the file.
Tsunayoshi before he had been kidnapped and then lost in the Fuyuki Fire was a skittish boy with lackluster grades, clumsy nature and was a known target for bullies. His prospects as a decent mafia boss were very slim, and it was only because he had the Vongola bloodline in him that gave Reborn any hope he could be great one day.
Shirou, on the other hand, was amicable and friendly, but not to the point he was walked on. He was considered the 'fake janitor' of the school, but no one was stupid enough to try and abuse that fact because of his Cloud Guardian and the fact he was so close to the English teacher. He had some skill as a third-rate Magus (because Reborn had seen them often enough to recognize the signs of magecraft training, even if Shirou's ability to it was piss-poor at best), was an excellent chef (likely out of necessity) and was an active member of the archery club. His ability to hit any target without fail made the hitman in Reborn very eager to see what the kid could do with a gun or even a sniper rifle. He didn't even need to see the target...he just aimed, and let the arrow fly.
He had the feeling Colonello would love to teach this kid.
Now he just had to figure out how the heck he was supposed to train him without using too many of the Dying Will Bullets. Because if the first use was any indication, he was going to either be very vexed or confused by Shirou's "Dying Regrets".
Shirou wasn't really paying attention when Fuji-nee introduced the new transfer. At least until his nose started acting up and he started sneezing like crazy.
Why did this kid reek of gunpowder, cigarettes, explosives, lingering poison and the smell of a thunderstorm?!
He managed to get his sneezing fit under control by the time the second class began, but he found out the hard way why this Gokudera Hayato smelled like trouble.
A bomber, really?
"So just to be clear I have to prove myself as the tenth Heir for him to take me seriously or he'll become the next 'heir'?" asked Shirou, giving Reborn a Look.
"That's right," said Reborn smiling.
Shirou looked Gokudera dead in the eye before saying in a flat voice "I call bullshit."
The teen fell flat on his face.
"I don't know how things work in the mafia very well, but I do know that when it comes to the eligibility of 'heirs', they usually look for bloodlines first. And if you really were a candidate for the heir of the family, then wouldn't they have skipped over the 'civilian' candidate and gone straight for someone already involved enough that they could get actual explosives without having to deal with the cops?" deadpanned Shirou flatly. He then looked at Reborn with an unimpressed expression. "So either this is some sort of weird test designed to prove something, or there's something else going on."
Reborn smirked under the brim of his hat.
Gokudera looked baffled that this kid had figured it out so fast.
"I'll admit I didn't expect you be that quick on the uptake, Shirou," said Reborn. You could hear how impressed he was that he had figured it out so quick with such limited information.
"I might do the repair work on the bikes for old man Fujimura, but I'm not a total idiot," said Shirou only a little offended.
Reborn had the feeling that it partially common sense and a good dose of the Vongola Hyper Intuition at work.
Shirou then looked at Gokudera again.
"If you even think of blowing up the school yard with your explosives, I will drag you before Fuji-nee and Kyouya and throw your ass for them to express their annoyance with you before making you clean up the mess," said Shirou bluntly, with an odd smile on his face.
Something inside Gokudera curled up in terror. He had the worst feeling that crossing "Shirou" (wasn't his name Tsuna though?) was a very bad idea.
"Well done Shirou-kun. You've established your dominance over him, he's now officially your bitch," said Reborn cheerfully.
The terrifying aura dropped and Shirou blinked.
Reborn was openly snickering as his confusion mounted while Gokudera professed his undying loyalty to Shirou and wanting to be his right hand man.
The boy's confusion was absolutely hilarious, especially as he realized with dawning horror there was no actual way to convince Gokudera to drop the idea. He inwardly cackled with unholy glee as he watched the whole thing happen.