Disclaimer: I do not own Katekyoushi Hitman Reborn! Amano Akira owns it.
A/N: An introspective look at the other side of events (in the past) of the TenYearsLater Arc disregarding Irie Shoichi's machine. No spoilers if you've watched/read up to the part where TYL Yamamoto disappears. Other than that, please enjoy! :)
Chapter 1. Roof
Five minutes had long since passed. I-Pin was sure of that. She had been fighting alongside Lambo against those hideous Black spell brothers—the pink-haired one and the bulky blonde-haired one—when Lambo suddenly disappeared in a small explosion. She followed immediately after, enveloped in a large pink cloud hurtling her backwards in time. When I-Pin looked around however, there wasn't hide or hair of Lambo, nor any sign that his younger counterpart had misused the Ten Years Bazooka. And yet here, I-Pin sat alone in the street of the Namimori neighborhood in this current predicament.
The sun was low and would touch the horizon at any moment, which only confirmed I-Pin's suspicions that much more than five minutes had elapsed. When she arrived, the sun peaked just above the roofs of the houses. This wasn't good, she thought, not good at all. But Bazooka or no Bazooka, she needed to find some form of shelter before darkness settled in.
I-Pin stood up and stretched, brushing some dust from herself. She gazed around at the familiar streets and meandered about, reminded of the time before the Negative Trinisette Rays and before the familia's move to the underground Vongola base. There were no Black Spell or White Spell organizations, the Millefiore family didn't exist, and the only thing her Family had to worry about on a day-to-day basis was how to prevent the young Sawada-san from running late to school and in turn getting beaten up by Disciplinarian Officer Hibari Kyouya. I-Pin flushed at the thought of the boy. But, all in all, life was so much easier back when I-Pin was only five.
She smiled sadly at the nostalgia.
Without knowing, she had wandered directly to the front of a certain house, with the nameplate in the front reading, Sawada. With a glimmer of hope, I-Pin wondered if Maman could take her in, just until she figured out how to return to the past before her own younger self could get hurt in that tumultuous world. But the little light of hope was smothered when she realized that all the lights in the windows were put out in Sawada-san's house. No doubt Sawada Iemitsu and Sawada Nana were on a well-earned vacation after discovering that practically everyone disappeared. They probably thought that Reborn took them on a trip to Italy or something, I-Pin smiled grimly.
She thought for a brief moment that perhaps she could spend the night at Kokuyo middle school, where Chrome-san and the others resided. On second thought, Namimori middle was just so much more comfortable. With the sun to her back, she walked in the direction of the school, indisputably the largest building in the district. The glass windows glittered in the late afternoon sunlight.
At the front of the school, cherry trees that had once been blooming with pinkish white blossoms in beginning of the school year had now grown dark green leaves, and plump red cherries littered the ground. To the right, a lone fire escape hung, leading all the way to the rooftop. Five-year-old I-Pin had once used it almost daily, climbing up to the second floor and causing mêlée in young Sawada-san's classroom. She would tear after the idiot Lambo and uncollected homework would fly everywhere, desks upturning, while Sawada-san looked on in exasperation. Now, I-Pin grasped the metal rungs and hoisted herself up, ascending to the roof.
With a light tap of her shoes, I-Pin alighted on the roof, the sound echoing across the vast and silent expanse. It was a warm afternoon. The cicadas trilled tirelessly and their drone dulled her senses for one moment. That one moment, she emptied all her worries and didn't give a care in the world as she stared out over the town.
"Access to the Namimori school building is strictly forbidden. I will bite you to death."
I-Pin turned around. That catchphrase that only one person used. Her heart caught in her throat in surprise and a whole other world of emotion at the sight of him, Hibari Kyouya. Without the coat draping his shoulders and his armband gone, he looked to an outsider like any other third year in school. If he was not so infamous and if it was not summer vacation, that is.
In hindsight, Hibari had never confronted five-year-old I-Pin, no matter the damage. She sighed in relief, which was only marred by a twinge of disappointment. He didn't recognize her. I-Pin turned her back to him, repressing an unknown flood of emotions that were invading her mind.
Hibari hummed in an irritated manner at this, slid out his tonfa, and advanced towards the girl. A girl was not going to mock Hibari Kyouya. When he struck, I-Pin hopped back just in time. Nearly thirteen years of training with her shishou was not going to go to waste.
"And you?" She inquired politely, "You said yourself no one is permitted on the grounds." Left. Right. Duck. She dodged expertly; her twin braids fluttered at every movement she made.
Hibari smirked. "I'm the school's head prefect. I can do anything I want." This girl was obviously new to town. Her Chinese clothes even showed so. But she was not new to combat. She made no moves to attack, he noticed, only moving to avoid the strikes he sent with his tonfa. It was like an intricate dance as the two whirled across the roof with surprising speed.
I-Pin just smiled pleasantly, which was an unusual reaction considering Hibari's calm glare had just turned murderous. He had her cornered at the fence bordering all the sides of the roof.
Hibari swung from the left and I-Pin quickly flung out her hand to stop it, the metal digging into her palm. She was about to exhale in relief when his other tonfa slammed into her shoulder with painful force. She fell hard against the concrete with the wind knocked out of her and cold steel pressing slightly to her neck.
"What is your purpose here?" Hibari's words came out almost as a feral snarl.
I-Pin shrugged. "The view from this building is nice," she managed to gasp out before regaining her breath. Hibari stared at her pensively for a moment. Then, his thoughts were interrupted by a flutter of tiny wings.
"Hibari! Hibari!" trilled a tiny yellow ball of feathers. Said boy looked up with a tiny gleam in his eye that I-Pin didn't recognize—something akin to affection. He released I-Pin and walked over to the edge of the roof, whereupon the bird nestled into his hair.
I-Pin watched with interest as the little bird began to sing. Not many birds sang, and even fewer can with perfect pitch and enunciation. Then again, only one could have been taught Namimori Middle's anthem. She got to her feet and slowly approached the boy.
"Hibari-san then?" She sat down beside him. "Like the bird, skylark. It's a nice name."
Hibari's eyes slid over to look at I-Pin quizzically. She wasn't joking. They only met not five minutes ago, fought, and Hibari still had yet to figure out if this girl beside him was an herbivore or not. She was pleasant and not suffocating, unlike the girls at Namimori Middle. She was really pretty too, with a petite figure and large eyes that revealed many many emotions all at once. Hibari never really noticed features in people; he only assessed their abilities as a fighter. Looking at her now was so new to him, and yet somewhere in the dark crevices of his mind she struck him as pretty. The girls in Nami-chuu always donned layers of make-up and jewelry, which Hibari would order for to be taken off during spot-check days. That was how she was different. This girl wore none of those; her prettiness was an open kind.
The song ended and Hibari's bird fluttered to the ground between them. Cocking his head to the side at the new arrival, he hopped curiously closer.
"Hello," greeted I-Pin warmly. "Can I call you Hibird?" Hibird twittered happily at the name, his wings flapping excitedly. I-Pin beamed, until she realized her mistake. "Oh, the name sounded a lot like Hibari... I thought it was cute..." She added very hastily, turning to Hibari. "Does he go by another name?" She asked it knowing the answer, but all the same as reassurance. It wouldn't do to have Hibari suspect anything about this particular 'stranger'.
"No, his name's Hibird."
I-Pin let out a breath she hadn't known she'd been holding. Reaching out a slender finger, she stroked Hibird, who chirruped in delight. "Hi Hibird, I'm I-Pin."
Hibird learned the name instantly. "I-Pin! I-Pin!" he chorused and flew to her shoulder.
"Hibird likes you," commented Hibari, watching curiously. I-Pin just nodded as Hibird broke into song again.
The sun was only a golden sliver now, tinting the sky in red, pink, and purple hues. I-Pin cast a furtive glance at Hibari, whose face was illuminated and every contour sharper in the light. I-Pin glowed bright red herself and hugged her knees tight to her chest. It was a good thing her master had resealed the Pinzu Time Bomb. As the last of the sun set behind the hills past Namimori, the evening settled in. The muggy Japan air stayed, but the impending darkness made it feel relatively cooler. I-Pin closed her eyes and was vaguely aware of the boy beside her yawning. Then Hibird nipped her finger affectionately.
"Mm, thanks Hibird," she muttered drowsily, "You saved my life. If not for you..." her mouth opened in a wide yawn, "...I might have been bitten to death."
Thanks so much for getting this far! I'm coming out with more chapters, so until next time!
On a note of randomness,
If by now you don't know what Hibari 雲雀 means, feel free to smack yourself :)
Please share with me your thoughts so far on this story! Yoroshiku onegaishimasu. I'm in your care :D