Summary: "Why can't the people in your universe stay dead?" Death asked. (Or the story of how Tsuna is a frequent visitor to Death's office.)
"Back again Tsunayoshi?"
Tsuna let out a nervous laugh. While he was here often and never for long, he had never quite gotten over the fact that this was Death and the Afterlife. After all those movies and comics, he was exposed to as a child, an office with a stern looking woman as Death was not what he had in mind about the afterlife.
"That's simply because you haven't been processed and left my office like a normal and proper soul should," Death said dryly.
Hiiiieee. Death was also much, much, much scarier than Reborn.
"I better be," Death grumbled.
Tsuna let out another nervous laugh. "Reborn shot me with a Dying Will Bullet again."
Death pinched the bridge of her nose. "Of course, he did. If your tutor wasn't such an efficient killer, I would have brought him up on necromancy charges years ago," she said, irritated. She stamped a bright red REJECTED on Tsuna's file. "Please stop coming back here until you're actually ready to die Tsunayoshi."
Tsuna whimpered. "I'm trying. It's not like I can stop Reborn."
Tsunayoshi flinched. "I'm so sorry," he apologized. He honestly didn't mean to end up here all the time. But Dying Will Bullets and Reborn!
"That's no excuse," Death said. "You're causing excess paperwork!" Then like a light bulb turning on, a smile spread across her face.
Tsuna felt a jolt of fear strike him, turning him ridged. He recognized that smile. It was the same smile that Reborn got before an extremely painful training session. Mentally he wailed, already foreseeing suffering in his future.
"Actually, if you're going to be coming back all the time, we should put it to good use," Death said with a strange gleam in her red eyes. "Free help with paperwork."
"P-paperwork?" Tsuna said.
Death laid her hands on Tsuna's shoulders. "Yes paperwork. Consider it good practice for your future career."
Death's stare was downright frigid.
Staring back at her, Mukuro's mismatched eyes glimmered with amusement. "So?" he said, smug.
Death fought the twitch as she glanced down at the file that appeared on her desk when Mukuro walked in. There, stamped in bright red across the file were the words, "Approved for Immediate Return".
"It isn't good to skip your Afterlife," Death said dryly. It was there for a reason, even if most souls never figured it out. "It isn't good to skip it six times. And one day, whatever you did to convince Life to return you back immediately, is going to run out. He's a flighty bastard."
"Have it your way," Death said.
Mukuro vanished in a flash of light.
"What can you tell me about Mukuro?"
Tsuna wavered, realizing who he had just demanded information from. He gulped, but held his ground. This was important!
"We're fighting Mukuro right now. He's attacking my friends and kidnapped Fuuta," Tsuna explained. "And - Are you alright?!"
He was cut off when Death buried her face in her hands and groaned. "Of course, it was Mukuro," she hissed. She pierced Tsuna with a sharp look. "I'm well aware you're not the type to kill, so do me a favor and kick his ass at least. Rokudo Mukuro is a troublesome soul that I've been trying to move to the Afterlife over six times, but Life is a bastard with no sense of balance and order and keeps messing with my system!"
Tsuna blinked. "Does… does that mean you'll help?"
"Sit down," Death snapped. She waved her hand and a thick file with Mukuro's name popped onto her desk. "I'm going to tell you everything about Mukuro."
"Welcome back Tsunayoshi."
"Hi," Tsuna said weakly. He flinched at Death's unimpressed stare. "If it helps," he hesitantly offered, "I'm learning a technique that doesn't rely on Dying Will Bullets?"
"Hyper Dying Will Mode," Death said. "It's about time your tutor started teaching you that." Her red eyes narrowed. "However, that doesn't mean you're getting out of paperwork." She deposited a large pile into Tsuna's hands.
Tsuna whimpered. He was right. Paperwork was an evil, evil, evil thing.
"VOIIIIII SEND ME BACK!"
Death felt her headache grow. Why did she always get the troublesome cases? Oh, right. She was the boss. "Superbi Squalo, Age 22. Varia's Second in Command. Cause of Death: Eaten by a Shark," Death read off her file.
"I can't be fucking dead," Squalo snapped at her. "Send me back."
"I realize you're having a hard time coping with this," Death said in a dry tone. "But you must-"
Squalo vanished in a flash of light.
Death twitched. He didn't. He wouldn't have. "KAIA GET THAT BASTARD LIFE ON THE PHONE."
Tsuna stared at Death.
Death stared back at him. "I thought…" she said, through grit teeth, "that you were learning Hyper Dying Will Mode?"
"Sometimes… I can't activate it fast enough?" Tsuna weakly offered. "And… Leon made Reborn this new type of Dying Will Bullet that let me activate Hyper Dying Will Mode when I can't do it instinctively or don't have the pills handy? And… well..."
"It's still a bullet," Death finished, hissing.
"I'll work on filing paperwork?" Tsuna volunteered. Paperwork was an evil thing that Tsuna never wanted to see again, but an angry Death was much, much, much scarier.
"Go," Death said. "That room better be empty by the time we have to send you back!"
Tsuna opened the room filled with paperwork and tried not to whimper.
"Here you go."
Tsuna blinked as Kaia handed him a badge. "What's this for?" he asked warily.
He had met Kaia a few times. It was hard not to. She was, after all, Death's Head Reaper. On the surface, Kaia was largely unimpressed, stern and serious looking, but Tsuna knew. She had a wicked sense of humor and far too cheerful for her job. There was a glint of amusement in her hazel eyes and Tsuna knew she was laughing at him.
"You're here so often and do so much work, it seemed only proper to actually give you a job. Boss wrote up the paperwork and I processed it this morning. Congratulations Tsunayoshi. You're now a Living Reaper," Kaia said, the corners of her lips twitching upward.
"But- but," Tsuna stammered. "I'm still alive? Technically!"
"We know. Hence the Living part," Kaia said, unable to stop her smile from breaking out. "We'll move you to full time Reaper when you actually do die."
Tsuna looked at her in horror. "I'm going to be a Reaper for all eternity?!" He blanched at the very idea of doing paperwork for an entire eternity.
"Oh no. The contract is up for renegotiation after 1000 years," Kaia said. "But if Boss likes having you around, don't expect to leave."
Tsuna just grew paler. "She likes having me around, doesn't she?"
Kaia laughed. "You're efficient with paperwork. You're not even here all the time and yet this the smoothest our operation has run in centuries. Don't try to mess up either. You've already set the bar. Boss is going to hold you to those expectations now."
Tsuna whimpered. Bad enough to have Reborn and his sadistic tutoring methods trying to train him as a mafia boss, now he had Death for a boss in an Afterlife he shouldn't even be here for yet!
"Hieeee I don't want to be a Reaper!"
"I didn't do anything this time!" Tsuna protested. He had been good. There were no bullets. No Reborn. Tsuna hadn't done anything to get himself nearly killed!
And yet somehow, he found himself in the familiar white office.
"Oh, don't worry," Kaia said cheerfully. "I pulled you here."
"You can do that?!" Tsuna asked, flailing his arms.
"You can do it by yourself," Kaia said. "Perks of being a Reaper. I figured it would be best to teach you that and how to use your death scythe."
"I have a scythe?!"
"How else are you supposed to reap souls?"
"Giotto," Death greeted. She placed her elbows on her desk, folding her hands in front of her face. "Why are you here?" she asked irritated.
Giotto licked his lips, a slight betrayal of nervousness that he was currently feeling. "I wanted to renegotiate the terms of leaving the Vongola Sky Ring."
Death scowled. Her red eyes narrowed. "You are allowed to leave the Vongola Sky Ring for whatever predetermined trials set by the Ring. Are you telling me you wish for even more freedom?"
Giotto gave a terse nod.
"And why should I allow that? You are dead. You should be moving onto your afterlife, yet you made sure your soul was anchored in Life's Domain. You're an opened file, causing more paperwork," Death said.
"My… newest successor," Giotto said hesitantly. "I… he needs more help." He could still hear Tsunayoshi's words ringing in his ears. So many successors and all of them had chosen to inherit Vongola's Sins… except for Tsunayoshi. He felt a surge of renewed confidence. "He wants to wash away Vongola's Sins. I want to help him see that goal to the end."
Death merely hummed. "And I should care why?"
"Please," Giotto said.
"Is your faith in your successor so little low that you think you need to personally stay involved? The dead stay dead for a reason." Death asked.
"No!" Giotto protested, horrified. That was not his intention at all.
"Hmm," Death said. Her eyes flickered towards her door. "Welcome back Tsunayoshi."
Giotto startled, turning around to see his descendant entering the room. Why was Tsunayoshi here? Horror gripped his heart. Did Tsunayoshi die? Giotto had just left the Trial!
"Primo!" Tsuna said, equally surprised. "Why are you here?"
"Hibari was the cause this time, I see," Death said. "Suffocation, really Tsunayoshi? You're lucky Giotto triggered the Trial, otherwise you really would have died from that."
"Ahahaha," Tsuna laughed nervously, looking away.
Death summoned another seat. "Sit down Tsunayoshi. Giotto here was just renegotiating the terms of his involve in the living world."
"Don't agree to be her Reaper," Tsuna blurted out.
"Shutting up now."
"Byakuran," Tsuna said.
"Say no more," Death said. She summoned an entire file cabinet. "Get comfortable. He's an annoyance."
Tsunayoshi stumbled in the office, upset.
"Tsunayoshi-" Death started.
"You sent Skull to me?!" Tsuna shrieked.
Death stared at him. "Yes."
"Why?!" Tsuna asked, tears beginning to fall.
"Because you're the closest Living Reaper," Death said.
Tsuna choked on his words. Tears began to leak out of the corner of the eyes, upset beyond words.
"You do not have do it," Death said kindly. "It is ultimately your choice."
She never forced any jobs on her Reapers. Even the ones that her Reapers refused to do, Death took up herself. But Skull's case was different and there were limitations to what she could do in Life's Domain.
"I won't. I can't," Tsuna said.
Death saw purple eyes, dead and lifeless. The silent plea. She closed her eyes. "That is your choice," she said.
By the time Tsuna returned again, it was with a heavy expression.
"Daemon," Death said.
"You know?" Tsuna asked.
Another open file, another cause of paperwork. Unlike Giotto, Daemon had circumstanced the rules that bound him the Mist Ring.
"Sit," Death said kindly, gesturing to the seat. "I can tell you what happened."
She didn't mention that it would be faster if Tsuna would use his death scythe. Unlike the others, Daemon was a ghost, dead and gone, simply trapped in Life's Domain. It would have gone much faster but…
Well either Tsunayoshi would figure it out or he wouldn't.
Tsuna grit his teeth, wracking his brain. The fight against Bermuda was so hard. Harder than anything he had done so far. Even his fight against Byakuran and Daemon didn't compare. The shortwarp was so fast, he could barely keep up.
Hyper Intuition rang, warning him of Bermuda's shortwarp.
He flung around to block, only for a large scythe to take the hit for him.
"What?!" came the cries from everyone. "Who is that?"
Tsuna turned around. "Boss!" he said, the word slipping out.
Death stared at him, clearly unimpressed. "Tsunayoshi."
"Boss?" Reborn said.
"Wait a minute she looks familiar," Squalo said.
"Interesting," Mukuro said. "I didn't know they knew each other."
"Her," Skull whispered.
"I haven't done anything!" Tsunayoshi protested, arms flailing. "I swear! And if this is about the paperwork that's building up, I promise I'll stop by after this."
"Wait! You don't have a watch! You cannot enter the battle," Wonomichi said.
"Nonsense," Death said. "I am here as an extension of Tsunayoshi's power. No different than the weapons he can summon with his Flames."
"You can do that?" Tsuna asked. "Wait, no. Kaia mentioned that. Direct manifestation due to my death scythe."
"Doesn't matter!" Bermuda shouted, reappearing behind her.
His fist hit nothing. Instead, the butt of her scythe punched his stomach, sending him skidding across the battlefield.
"I don't have time to play with you children," Death said. She faced Wonomichi. "Call him."
"C-call who?" Wonomichi said, nervously.
"Kawahira, Checkerface, the Man in the Iron Hat, whatever he is calling himself these days," Death said.
"Kawahira?" Tsunayoshi asked. "He's the one who helped us in the future."
"I can't do that!" Wonomichi said.
"It is fine," Checkerface said, stepping into view. "May I ask who you are?"
"I am Death," she answered.
"Such an ominous name for a pretty lady," Checkerface said.
"Ominous," Death said dryly. "It is a name, the concept by which those of you alive have chosen for me. But I don't expect someone as young as you to understand that."
Checkerface frowned. "I am older than everyone here."
"And I have existed since the beginning of time," Death said. "You're playing a dangerous game, boy. I saw the rise of your people and its fall. I escorted your parents to the Afterlife, watched the fall out you had with Sepira, listen to her beg for death. You've no idea what you've done to yourself."
She headed over to Yuni and extended her hand. "Your pacifier, please."
Yuni hesitated for a second before handing it over. Death threw it up into the air, swinging her scythe. The orange pacifier shattered, falling to the ground to pieces.
Cracks could be heard through the area. Each Arcobaleno looked down to see their pacifiers cracked as well, crumbling.
"What have you done!" Checkerface shouted. "The Trinisette is needed to ensure all life continues on Earth!"
Death scoffed. "Memento Mori," she said. "Remember that you have to die. Everything must come to an end and that system should have died with your people. Open files, everywhere."
She bopped Tsuna on the head. "Process the paperwork as soon as possible, Tsunayoshi, if you want the current Arcobaleno to continue on with their lives as normal as possible and without the same side effects as the Vindice."
"Got it!" Tsuna said. "I'll go do it now?"
"I'll do it first thing tomorrow after I see all my friends and family to the hospital?" Tsuna tentatively corrected.
"Better," Death said.
"They'll be okay?" Tsuna asked.
"Seeing as none of your friends can actually stay dead when I want them to, yes they will be fine," Death said. Her scythe vanished. "Try and keep them out of trouble."
She turned in the direction of Skull and bowed slightly. "My apologies, 'Ηροδοτος."
Skull grimace and bowed his head. "It's fine," he said.
Throwing one last look at Tsuna, Death said, "I will see you tomorrow, Tsunayoshi."
She faded from view.
Tsuna flopped, finally done processing all the paperwork that had built up while he had been dealing with the Arcobaleno Battles.
"Thank you," Tsuna said, looking up. She didn't have to do this, ensure that there would be no backlash in breaking the curse or even offer a viable solution to the Arcobaleno Curse.
Everyone back home had plenty of questions. Especially Reborn whom Tsuna had never exactly… told him what happened every time Reborn shot him with a Dying Will Bullet. How exactly do you explain that death and the afterlife were personified into a woman and office?
Death looked at him, impassive as always. "You're welcome." She gave a glance over the paperwork and stamped her approval on it.
"Just one thing," Death said. "Make sure you keep your friends away from Life, especially your Mists."
Tsuna flinched. He looked down at his paperwork, morosely shuffling them.
"It is your decision," Death said.
"So now what?" Tsuna asked, desperate to change the subject.
"What do you mean? You carry on with your life," Death said. "Keep on top of your paperwork and I have no complaints."
Tsuna fell silent at that. It was true. It was no different than all his other fights. He just had to pick himself up and keep walking right?
Huh. He supposed he could do that.
"Thank you," he repeated.
"You're welcome, Tsunayoshi."
Death and Kaia is from my original story, Graveyard Shift.
Graveyard Shift has a kickstarter for volume 2! Please visit here (remove the #) for more information kickstarter#.#com#/#projects/1170238334/graveyard-shift-volume-2
Edit: Since people have been asking. See Ἡρόδοτος (Brave Little Soldier) and Lonely Warrior fics for more about Skull's situation.
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