Thank you for all the wonderful reviews on the previous chapter. You have my gratitude for your time and input. I'm sorry if I somehow gave you the impression that I was not going to continue this story. Here's for those who waited. Be careful with the chapter as it is a bit confusing.
Note: Standard disclaimer applies. Please refrain from reading this fan fiction if you dislike wordy stories :)
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"You haven't been sending in your reports, Hibari-san," said a voice from the other end of the line. "Gokudera-kun has been calling you all kinds of wacky names he could think of. It's sort of hurting my ears, if you must know. At least tell us what you've been up to for the past few weeks. I swear Gokudera-kun was just about getting ready to label you as KIA on your profile record in our database."
Hibari drummed his fingers on the table before closing his eyes, suppressing the sigh that was asking to be let free. "I'm not obligated to tell you everything about the Foundation and its business. Everybody knows that."
"But you have an obligation to report your findings. Well, unless there has been no progress made…"
He raised an eyebrow, amused. "Are you suggesting that I'm not being meticulous enough in doing my work, Sawada Tsunayoshi?"
A chuckle was heard over the phone, causing Hibari to bite his lips, trying hard not to smile into the receiver. It has been a while since he last talked to Tsuna. He was starting to miss him terribly. Although nothing had changed between them since Tsuna's last confession over a year ago, he still cherished all of their encounters; all of their conversations.
"Of course not. Why would I suggest something so bizarre?"
Hibari merely snorted softly as an answer. "Because you always do."
He could almost imagine the smaller man scrunching his nose at his phone
"You know me so well, Hibari-san. I'm amazed."
Because I love you.
Hibari bit his lips to keep from falling victim to the infamous Freudian Slip, gripping the phone in his palm tighter but not strong enough to break it.
"I know everything, Sawada Tsunayoshi. There's nothing I don't know."
On the other side of the world, Tsuna's eyes softened as he cradled his phone longingly. They both knew there was a brief moment of hesitation before Hibari said the words, and the brief moment could mean anything at all.
"Of course," he whispered. "Of course you do." And you know how much I love you.
Hibari did not know why he kept denying them both their feelings, so he could not possibly know everything. He kept denying and denying and denying his own feelings, putting up an impenetrable wall of thorns to keep out the love willingly given to him, hiding under the pretence of indifference and apathy.
Their painfully delicate true feelings, kept in the darkest basement of crying, bleeding heart of his.
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ONE MILLION SANDCASTLES
for Hibari Kyouya & Sawada Tsunayoshi
Hibari woke up with a start, eyes staring at the ceiling with eyes so wide that the muscles around them throbbed with the sudden feeling of being stretched unexpectedly from their relaxed state. He spent the first few moments of his wake staring at nothing at all in the darkness of his room, trying to make sense of the prickling sense of dull pain in his heart, evening out his ragged breathing.
He certainly knew the person he saw in his dream. The person may look a bit older and calmer, but he was definitely Sawada Tsunayoshi, cloaked in a grandiose black mantel that looked as if it was shining under the bright sun blinding Hibari's eyes in his dream. The man's lips moved to form words, but no sound reached his ears.
He shouted. He shouted for Tsuna to speak to him louder, but he could still hear nothing until the very end when he was jolted back from the confusing dreamscape back into the world of living. He should not be so affected by a dream where he met an older Tsuna, but he was greatly troubled nonetheless.
The dull pain in his heart persisted.
"Why am I feeling so out of place just because of the herbivore?"
Groaning with frustration, he soaked himself under the shower for a good hour to calm down. His heartbeat returned to normal, but the memories of his dream continued haunting him. He didn't even notice the water had turned cold when he stepped out of the shower, drying himself with a large towel and donning his usual pair of clothes cleaned and ironed by the girls one day prior. He would later head up to the school where his blond tutor would probably be waiting for him to continue their training.
He hated it.
He hated how everybody else suddenly seemed stronger and wiser than they were before he was sucked into this unsightly future. He hated not knowing many things about this place, so familiar yet so strange to even look at. His hands itched to smash everything into little pieces just so he could play jigsaw with them and put them back in their right order. Hibari wanted nothing else than to just abandon this future that he was seeing. He did not live in this future, so it was not his. He would make his own, and it would definitely different.
He walked aimlessly down through the dimly lit corridors of the hideout, not caring where he was going. It was almost as if his feet had a mind of his own. Ten minutes later found him taking the elevator and going down to a floor he had never been too. The floor had corridors different from the ones on the upper floors. It was as if the door opened to a long hallway of a ridiculously large mansion. Oak doors leading to unknown rooms lined the corridor in fixed intervals, making the place looked almost like living quarters or just hotel room doors of some kind.
Hibari tried opening the first door on his right and found it locked. He tried the door on the opposite side just to find it locked too. At the end of the hallway, there was a door bigger than all of the other doors, sporting one of the most magnificent woodcarving that he had ever seen in his life. As expected, the door would not budge. Locked. Glaring at it with annoyance apparent in his eyes, he turned on his heels to return to the first floor that would lead him out of the hideout.
His finger froze midair from pushing the button to call the elevator back down. He turned his head to the direction of the gigantic door and stared at it for a full minute. Surely it was just a figment of his imagination, wasn't it? Why would he be hearing Tsuna's voice in this place?
Hibari-san. You could have knocked first before entering, you know. It's proper etiquette.
He closed his eyes and focused back at the elevator, one hand caressing his temple where something akin to headache was steadily growing. He was even hearing the herbivore speaking in full sentences. Something must be extremely wrong with his head.
Thank you for the report, Hibari-san. Would you -
The elevator door slid close with a soft thump and brought him back up to the upper floors. The reverberating voice of Sawada Tsunayoshi stopped resounding in his head.
"Just give it up. You won't change anything."
"Not until I snuff you out of his mind."
Eye twitching, Hibari evaded a rather strong lash of Dino's whip and jumped backwards, staring at the man like he was a ghost. He was hearing things again. It really wasn't his day. He kept hearing random conversations in his head. This time he even heard his own voice. Was he really so tired that he was having delusions?
Eyes blazing in anger and irritation, he charged forward.
"You could get killed in this era if you're this weak, Kyouya."
"I'll kill you and free Tsuna one day, Kyouya."
For a split second, his vision of Dino overlapped with another vision where the man looked a few years younger and not as tall. The overlapping vision was gone in a blink. Hibari bit his lips and charged harder, aiming to hurt the man with stronger force. He really, really hated this future.
"Start learning to control your powers already or I'll really kill you!"
"But you wouldn't because it would upset him if I die, would you?"
The remark came to his lips before Hibari could stop himself. He was not even aware of what he just said, so he was slightly confused to see a flash of what he recognised as bewilderment in Dino's eyes.
It was Dino's turn to halt in his movement. He jumped backwards to create a fair distance from Hibari and stared at the younger boy with eyes wide.
Dino shook his head. "How did you know…about Tsuna?"
"I didn't say anything about him."
"You just did."
Silence stretched through the atmosphere between them. Romario and Kusakabe looked on from the sidelines, feeling uneasy with the sudden thickness of malice, hatred and a sprinkle of confusion in the air.
"Why else would you say it would upset him if I kill you?"
Hibari opened his mouth to retort but found no words he could use against the man. Dino was right. What did he say? What was he saying Why did he say what he said? The worst of it all was that he wasn't even aware of his own speech.
He narrowed his eyes to slits, staring pass the man standing before him.
"Why would he be upset if I die?"
And what is this ache in my heart?
He didn't have time to dodge the sudden sharp lash of Dino's whips against his stomach, sending him flying and hitting his back against the railings. He coughed out a small bit of blood and looked up, gathering his strength to counterattack. The dangerous glint in Dino's eyes, however, froze him to his spot. The eyes did not belong to the person he knew in his era. The eyes burning its gaze on him was worthy of a bloodless assassin who would not hesitate to kill anyone in his way.
"Boss," Romario called out to Dino, soothing the strong killing intent coating Dino's aura with utmost care. "It's time to observe Sawada-san's training."
No, it wasn't time yet, but it was best to keep Dino away from Hibari at least for a while. If this situation were to continue, it was not impossible for the tenth Cavallone to send the tenth Vongola Nuvola to his death ten years too early.
Dino clenched his teeth and put his whip away, running his fingers through his hair messily. Sending one last glare at his disciple, he left with Romario, leaving Kusakabe to gulp and try to construct his words properly as to not aggravate the young Cloud Guardian any more than he already was.
"Kyou-san… Maybe you should head back to the hideout and rest."
He damn well should. Nothing was making sense anymore.
"Hey, Kusakabe Tetsuya."
"What happened to this world?"
Hibari knew Sawada Tsunayoshi was not just another boy. It was not even appropriate to call him 'herbivore' like he would refer to everyone else. Just like Reborn, Tsuna was special. He had strength that Hibari's mind could not fathom. He was kind, expressive and he wore his heart on his sleeves. Hibari didn't know why he noticed all of the small, trivial little facts about Tsuna, but he at least knew he didn't dislike the younger boy.
No, he didn't dislike him at all.
Here in the middle of the forest, Hibari stared at the empty coffin alone on its own, its lid half open and its inside lined with white lilies that never seemed to wither. If he was brought to the future earlier than everyone else, would he see a person lying inside this small home of the dead, eyes closed and detached from everything around him? Would he see an older Tsuna lying inside?
He dropped to his knees and pushed the lid off of its place, running his hand softly along the smooth texture of its cushioned interior. He picked up a few strands of brown hair. The hair was longer than the young Tsuna's, so it could only belong to the boy's older self.
The dead older self who was gunned down by the Millefiore, or at least that was what Kusakabe told him. In his hand were lifeless strands of hair which used to belong to an equally lifeless man.
"You won't come back to life even if it's all over."
Hibari slammed one fist onto the ground in frustration. There were voices in his head. It was telling him a story that he didn't understand. Nothing was clear and nothing felt real.
Only this dull ache clawing at his heart felt real.
He pounded the ground below him with his fist a few more times until he heard a rustle of dry leaves coming from the direction of the hideout.
And then there was a swishing sound of long cloak piercing the silence.
- To Be Continued -
Don't misunderstand me, please. I love Dino (even more so if he's paired with Squalo)~
Sorry for the long wait and thank you for reading. I have a lot of doujinshi to finish and artworks to do for my next convention (and so little time left, sobs).
As usual, all kinds of inputs are loved and cherished