A few months have gone by since that weird dream that Tsuna experienced. After he woke up later in that morning, he found that there was no evidence of the being. So being the logical 10-year-old that he was, he could only conclude that it was a nightmare. He must have gotten it because of his best friend's departure. The thought of it made him frown over the pile of homework that he went through.
Yes, he, Sawada Tsunayoshi, was doing his homework.
He studied hard since that unfortunate day. Day in and day out. Sometimes in between breaks he'd grab a book from a class and try to study. If… no… when Shizuko would return, he wanted to surprise her. Many times, she complained that he didn't take his studies as serious as he should. Once she discovered it was due to lack of help. Since then, she took it upon herself to teach him the best she could. After all, how could he understand the material if nobody bothered to explain it to him? He was one of those students that needed time to understand the material with a bit more explanation.
In a way, this was one of the only things that connected the two together.
Tsuna wanted to keep up with her in conversations. He wanted to have another thing in common with her. He didn't want to embarrass her any further for being friends with the Dame-Tsuna. He wanted to prove to her that she never wasted time being his friend. There were so many reasons, but none of which he voiced when asked.
With all that studying, slowly, but surly, his grades started to rise. Nobody knew how to react. At first, they didn't. His grades rose from around 20% to 30%. When he saw the slight improvement, it energized the 10-year-old to try harder. That was the first month. The second month it rose to average of 40%. That number started to weird people out. His teachers always gave him odd looks, almost like they saw him in a new light. It was nice, Tsuna decided, but he was still not satisfied with it. Now, his average grades were between 50-60%. At this point, none of his peers knew how to act around him. He was supposed to be Dame-Tsuna, the one that failed at practically everything. If he could finally pass with an okay grade, then what were they supposed to call him? How were they supposed to act around him?
All of this flew over Tsuna's head, from lack of care. His teachers stopped ignoring him. They instead explained a bit more of the material when they saw he wasn't a lost cause. The explanations weren't as good as Shizuko's, but he wouldn't dare say it to his teachers faces. He didn't need to get on their bad side. Another nice thing was that his usual bullies backed off. The shock has yet to leave their systems. If he was a cocky person, he'd walk around with a smug look, but didn't.
He didn't need the extra trouble.
At least his mother and their neighbours backed off as well. His mom, bless her heart, almost broke down in tears when he came home with his first 50% mark. That evening she made his favourite food for dinner as part of the celebration. Praises flew at him nonstop throughout the cooking and dinner periods. She even put the test up on the fridge, with a beaming, proud smile that he never saw before.
This only motivated Tsuna even more than ever. If he couldn't do well on sports, then the least he could improve his life with his grades. Still… it'd be nice to get rid of the clumsiness. There was no way that it was natural how many times he tripped over midair. So, if I can get better grades by working hard…. Can I do the same with my balance? He wondered. But how am I supposed to do it? I don't know anything about sports.
The more he thought about it, the more it sounded impossible.
In the end, Tsuna gave up on his homework for the time being and headed to bed. They weren't due for another few days anyways, and he couldn't concentrate on them. He hoped tomorrow he'd get a better idea of what to do.
The whole day was uneventful. Classes were the same as always, as well as his classmates and teachers' actions. Overall, it was boring. Last class of the day was gym and he was stuck cleaning up alone, again. Of course, his classmates would do that behind their gym teacher's back. After all, he was the reason they lost. Yeah right, like that was true. Tsuna only stood in the corner, out of everyone's way, and it was his fault that they lost.
Why did he bother?
The brown headed child sighed as he sweeps the floor of the imaginary filth. Not a moment later, his brown eyes landed on one of the balance beams. The wooden plank sat almost up against the wall. There was a bit more than an arm's length between it and the wall. So that nobody could use the said wall for steadiness. Tsuna stopped his sweeping and stared at it. Could it be…? Was it possible…? It must be. I mean, it's in the title. He concluded with a healthy amount of uneasiness. He looked back at the broom in his hands, as if it became an interesting specimen. His body twitched, before he looked back up at it.
"It… it wouldn't hurt to try… I guess."
He mumbled as he placed the broom up against the wall. The feet dragged his body along, but not too fast. In a way, it was almost like he approached a sleeping dragon or something. It didn't take him too long to reach it.
Tsuna looked at it with critical brown eyes, unsure if the idea was good all the sudden. Unknown to him, as he was too focused on the beam, a pair of eyes watched him with interest. The child with the plank took a deep breath and placed one foot on it. With the leftover courage, he placed the other foot right after. His arms stretched to his sides, in hopes that it'd help him keep the balance. What didn't help much that his bottom body shook violently. It almost made the child shriek and jump off, but he couldn't.
I need to do this. Let me try. Tsuna told his body and mind, in hopes that they'd let him. They didn't object, so he took that as a 'go ahead'. Now, if only he could put the other foot at the front. Slow as possible, the back foot lifted to move forward. It was slow process, but when it touched the wooden plank and he didn't fall, he breathed in relief. His head started to pound, hard. He winced and grabbed it, eyes clenched close from the pain. Not once had he noticed that he misplaced the next footing and was about to fall.
"Sawada, watch out!"
A voice shouted and a pair of footsteps sprinted to him. The headache only grew worse. It felt like his ice powers gathered around a spot on his forehead. They circled around the spot and squeezed it. It, in return, fought the powers off and expended. Not only did he have the mother of all headaches. He now had the next level of brain freeze. Not a good combination, especially with how strong they were. The world around him went unnoticed.
A pair of arms circled around him, and everything went black.
"Not… ready… not… enough…"
A young female voice spoke throughout the darkness.
Tsuna called out, unafraid, much to his surprise. Instead, he felt relaxed and sad when he heard that voice.
"Give it… time…"
Another familiar voice spoke, a male one this time. It seemed like it wasn't directed to him, which only got confirmed a second later.
"… no time…! Pitch… need… protect… get rid… seal…"
Tsuna noted how it started to sound like a line on the telephone started to break with static between the words. What was going on?
"I… protect him… no worry… push… deadline…"
"Leave… to me…"
"Time… big brother… miss you… back… not ready…"
It felt like a small figure wrapped their arms around his stomach and gave him a tight hug. Not a moment later, the ghost-like figure pushed him towards the light.
"S…da… Sa…da… Sawada, wake up!"
Tsuna opened his eyes slowly and groaned at the pain the lights gave his eyes. To his surprise, a shadow blocked the light, which lessened the pain. He almost sighed in relief. Now he could focus on opening his eyes all the way. When he did, the brown headed boy looked up in surprise at the figure beside him.
"Y… Ya-Yamamoto-san!" He cried out in surprise. What was Yamamoto Takeshi, the rising baseball star in the school's team, doing sitting beside him? Not only that, but why did he look concerned? It looked so foreigner on him, with the smile gone and worrisome shadowed his brown eyes. Tsuna looked around them, taking note that they were still at the gym. "W-What happened?"
The other boy sighed in relief. He gave a weak chuckle.
"You fainted and was about to fall and hit your head, but I caught you in time. How are you feeling?"
The new awakened child grabbed the side of his head and rubbed it in confusion. What was that dream? No… was it even a dream? He wondered with a hint of fear. The last thing he wanted was another episode with that shadow thing. When he realized that he has yet to answer the question, Tsuna looked down embarrassed. A blush brushed against his cheeks.
"Y-Yes, I-I'm fine."
Yamamoto didn't believe him. It was written on his face. Yet, it was only for a second before it got replaced by the usual smile. The other boy took note how strained it looked. Even though it was identical to, what was known as, the 'Yamamoto-smile'. Was it… was it fake?
"Come on, the gym is clean. I'll walk you home."
"E-Ehhhhhhhh?!" Tsuna squeaked from the revelation as he got up. A bit unstable on his feet, but it wasn't unusual. "You don't have to!"
The black headed boy simply laughed it off. He grabbed one of the other boy's hands and dragged him towards the gym's double doors.
"Of course, I'll go. I can't have you walk around alone with a chance of fainting again."
Tsuna looked onwards in startle as he heard a strained tone in his voice. What… what did that mean? Did he scare and worried Yamamoto? Unsure of what to say or think, the young boy didn't say anything. In return, his companion also didn't respond. The silence between them was… comforting. Odd, but comforting and almost natural. Yet, he could tell that something was still off. Was it the odd expressions that the other kept on making? Those questions, and more, plagued his mind. Time became fluid and events became a blur. It was as they were in front of his house that everything clicked into place. But he didn't say anything. Tsuna only grinned knowingly.
"I'll get going now. Be careful Sawada, okay?"
Yamamoto sent him a cheerful smile. One that now Tsuna knew wasn't real. The brown headed boy shook his head.
"How about you come in? You can stay for dinner."
Brown pair of eyes blinked in surprise at the invitation. The outer persona broke, letting through the shock and awkwardness. Yamamoto shuffled in his spot, unsure of what to say. His eyes looked away with nervousness. He had been asked in the past by his 'friends' to come over, but he always said no. Why would he go over to someone's house that was only his friend because he was popular? But… but Tsuna wasn't like that, right? If he was, he'd have tried to be his friend like everyone else. Have seen him only as the upcoming star baseball player. Not him, the real Yamamoto. One that loves baseball, but also is a bit depressed. Depressed as realization of the nature of his friendships hovered over him. And he was barely 10 years old, at that.
"I-I don't want to intrude-"
Yamamoto spoke with a quiet voice. A hand grabbed his, which startled him. Tsuna smiled down at him from the extra two steps. With a little tug, he brought him closer.
"Mama always likes to make food for people. You won't intrude."
That smile… it wasn't like the ones he saw in the mirror. The ones that he saw the others give him. It was bright and full of warmth. Warmth that didn't quite match the hand, which was almost ice cold. But… it somehow made him relax. Blinking slowly, the black headed boy studied the odd emotions. Along with those, he felt happy and even hopeful. This didn't feel fake. This felt like nothing compared to other friendships or what he shared with his peers. It was as if he came back home. Once more, he blinked. Soon, a smile, a true one, graced his lips. With a nod and happy noise to make known of his agreement, the two boys walked inside.
Neither knew that they began to connect in more ways than a basic friendship. One that would last for a long, long, time.
I have this great idea for us to do. How about we write each other letters? So that we won't forget one another? I'll start first! :D
How are you? How is America? What is it like? I hope everything is alright.
Things were boring since you left. Nothing much is going on. Everything is mostly the same. There are a few things that are different, but you're not going to find out until you come back. :) It's a surprise! And I also had this really, really, weird dream. There was this creepy guy that came out of nowhere. He kept calling me Jack and talking about some sort of Guardians. Weird, right?
Also, I made a new friend. You are never going to believe who it is.
Something happened, he helped me and walked me home. I then invited him over for dinner. Mama was so happy and excited. She made a feast! And for once it's not because of that weirdo coming home. But I didn't expect to become his friend! Not that I'm complaining. He's nice and doesn't really care what the others say about me. It's nice, to have someone else like me. But I don't know if I want him to know about the ice and snow. I'll keep it a secret for now.
I hope this letter reaches you after you get to America. Mama said that it will take awhile, since America is realllllllly far away. But all I care about is for it to get to you.
Hope to hear from you soon!