Disclaimer: In no way do I own Katekyoushi Hitman Reborn! which is by Amano Akira, a genius of this generation.
A/N: By all means hate me, detest me, for all the procrastinating I have done. I fail at keeping promises to update and I kick myself quite literally for that. I had to think long and hard about this chapter and I fail all you people by making this only an interlude. However, I do have in mind my next few chapters, so please don't lose interest in this story just yet. Even if I have to take it off and finish it and repost it, I WILL finish this story by all means necessary. That is my promise. I fail, as aforementioned, to keep promises in updates, but this is not a promise of update. This is a promise of completion.
Chapter 2. Definition.
The universe is full of mysterious forces, constantly flowing and ebbing with the time. To succumb to these forces is to become an herbivore, Hibari concluded. There is a force in this world that tugs at the human instinct to group together like lost lambs, solely dependant upon each other and weak without the other. Like that Sawada Tsunayoshi and his dynamite and baseball friend. Thus, his Disciplinary Committee members are not his friends; they are his pawns and nothing else. By definition, a true carnivore stands alone and strong. Hibari has also seen other forces—emotions. They pull at the judgment of humans, leeching onto them and leaving them without conscious thoughts or actions—without reason itself. And those herbivores don't even know it. A true carnivore does not need emotions and is in complete control.
Hibari Kyouya is a true carnivore.
The clock on the wall ticked each passing second, loud against the silence of the traditional Japanese-styled bedroom. Hibari sat still on the wooden floor to one side, next to a small dresser. Across the room, I-Pin was sleeping peacefully on a futon, her steady breaths rising and falling under the folds of a light cover carefully draped over her. He glanced at her, and then looked down at his hands, holding a small red ribbon.
Honestly, he had no idea what compelled him to bring the girl back to his flat an hour ago. Perhaps it was Hibird's constant nagging the minute he made for the exit door from the rooftop, but he could always handle that well enough. When he had looked back at her, a portion of his conscience strayed far behind the rest of his judgment and refused to return. Then a sudden force was practically dragging him towards her. As a rightful carnivore, he struggled against this inexplicable force, so new and so powerful against him that, try as he might, he was fighting a losing battle. He had lost in the end. His resistance had been futile, and he hated that. He hated the way it could so easily coerce him into doing probably anything, and leave Hibari's struggles helpless against it. He hated it almost as much as he hated losing to the damned pineapple-headed illusionist.
And yet he found that he couldn't direct that anger towards the girl, whose face was relaxed and peaceful in innocent slumber. So he took it out on the frail ribbon in his hand, fisting it and wrinkling the smooth cloth.
It used to be the bow around his most recent Valentine's Day present, from about six months ago. A five-year-old little girl had given it to him wordlessly, and Hibari had accepted it in slight surprise. He vaguely remembered that she was the same girl who would enter Sawada Tsunayoshi's classroom almost daily, chasing after the other brat in cowprint that disrupted class and caused the mayhem. Oftentimes Hibari would take the time to bite the boy to death, but when he couldn't and the silver-haired dynamite boy could not catch the cow brat, the little girl would run up to Hibari, bow in apology, and chase the boy out of the window. Everytime that happened, a subsequent explosion would follow just outside of school grounds, for which Hibari would hold the godforsaken cow kid accountable the next time he entered Nami-chuu.
This year's Valentine was his first one since he became Chairman. Perhaps the girls finally discovered his slightly violent streak. Before he became the Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee, he received chocolates occasionally from girls who found his harsh coldness... intriguing. They never did know that he didn't like sugary foods. Nonetheless, he would take one bite out of courtesy, and, in return, give a small obligatory token of appreciation to the unnamed girl the following month.
The chocolate the little girl had given him was good, to his tastes. It was homemade with deliberating care, so that when Hibari bit down on it, the chocolate seemed to bite back with a pleasant bitter linger that didn't make it overwhelmingly sweet. He finished the chocolate that day.
That March, Hibari put a little bit more thought into his White Day gift for the little girl. Though he probably did not know that himself, a lesser part of his mind was drawn towards giving the girl something with another meaning altogether, straying from obligation. He decided on a silver bracelet, although she was small enough that it could fit around her neck easily. At times he would wonder what she did with it, but he convinced himself very well not to care, so seldom pondered this anymore.
The ribbon he clutched now was that last remnant of his Valentine's Day gift. He came across it by chance, after having thrown away the box that had encased the chocolate and forgetting about it altogether for a couple months. It had been hiding in one of the drawers to his dresser. Hibari wasn't sentimental, and if it wasn't for a strange force that kept him from dropping the ribbon into the trashbin, he would have thrown it out in a heartbeat. Again, that same force he resented so much. Hibari, however, refused to acknowledge this as emotion or sentiment that herbivores feel-- that would be a sign of weakness.
Hibari stood and strode across the room towards I-Pin's sleeping form. Beside the futon, he gently lifted a loose floorboard and slid the ribbon under, locking it away from sight and thought. I-Pin remained silently sleeping, a loose braid pressed to one side, tickling her cheek and twitching at the slightest breath. As he gazed at her, Hibari numbly reached out a hand, the rest of his body and mind paralysed.
I-Pin's eyes fluttered open.
His hand was inches from her braid, and the sudden movement in the stillness of the bedroom seemed to awaken Hibari's conscious thought. He hesitated before reaching her hair, and pulled back in time to hear I-Pin mutter sleepily, "...Kyouya...?"
Hibari stiffened. How did she know his given name? By chance, she had heard Hibird utter his family name, but he never introduced himself formally to her. His eyes glazed coldly as he scrutinized the girl before him.
I-Pin's eyes cleared of the thick sleep and her mind dispelled the fog that had dampened her own conscience.
"Kyou...kyou...wa...ii tenki desu ne!" she added hastily. Her heart raced and she could feel cold sweat beading along the back of her neck, not only from sleep but apprehension. He can't know who she is. It would blast the time-space continuum out of existence! She glanced tentatively at Hibari, trying very hard not to look particularly guilty.
He blinked and nodded, "Aa. It's past nine o'clock." She must have been too bleary from waking up to know what she was saying. It must have been a mispronunciation on her part. There were an infinite number of reasons why I-Pin could have happened to say his given name, but Hibari chose the most logical and obvious.
With a sigh, he said, "You should return home now. It is late." He didn't know what she was doing on the rooftop of his school, but he won't let her off as easily if she does that again.
Something he didn't recognize flickered across her eyes--a mixture of sadness, loss, and puzzlement. Hesitantly, she looked up at him with feeling slightly less profound, saying quietly, "I'm lost, Hibari-san."
That was why he couldn't recognize her. Hibari didn't know very many Chinese living in Namimori, and he controlled a vast amount of its business and civic establishments. There were only four that he knew of, as a matter of fact. One was a street vendor that wore large robes and sunglasses no matter the weather, and sold delicious pork buns. Another was an elderly couple that lived on the outskirts. At the market one Saturday in early summer he picked up a peach that the old woman happened to drop and she graciously invited him for dinner. When he left the ojii-san and obaa-san commented how "polite that young man was." The last one was the little girl with the braid that lived with Sawada.
Without a word, Hibari rose to his feet and left the room, closing the shoji screen behind him and leaving a perplexed I-Pin sitting idly on the futon. Glancing about the room, she noticed it was pleasantly furnished, though sparse, with a low wooden side table to a corner and a delicate lamp. The walls were painted tastefully of tranquil pine trees and mountain ranges. As she took this in, the shoji screen slid quietly open again and I-Pin looked up to find Hibari, who had changed into an attractive black yukata tied at the waist in a purple obi. In his arms Hibari carried a thin tray painted simply with a bird. Upon the tray a pot of tea and two cups sat and were set upon the floor. I-Pin watched silently as Hibari carefully poured the tea and handed one to her. He closed his eyes and took a sip from his own.
"You will remain here until you find your way, then," concluded Hibari. He was not going to repeat that.
I-Pin, in mid-sip, tipped the teacup too far and scalded her tongue. She bit it to not make any noise, but the tears dotting her saucer-wide eyes and her expression was evident. Reddening, she endeavored to regain her composure again, and the her way of going about that was so comical Hibari smiled inwardly.
"That's," I-Pin managed to gasp, "...a very generous offer. Hibari-san, you need not take that trouble, I can find my way on my own..."
Hibari, with his eyes still closed, set the teacup down. He would not allow any more discussion. "You sleep here. My room is across the hallway to the left, should you need anything."
If I-Pin were to wander about Namimori trying to return to her hometown, it would be trouble to the town, he justified. And he will not let anything disrupt the peace of Namimori.
Their gazes met, and I-Pin held it and muttered fervently, "Thank you, Hibari-san."
Hibari nodded in turn and allowed a small curl to touch the corner of his lips.
'You are welcome.'
"Kyou wa ii tenki desu ne." = 'What good weather today!"
'Kyou wa' sounded very similar to 'Kyouya,' so I had I-Pin substitute that in nervously. She's from the future, so of course she would know his first name, but to keep up the facade of being Chinese girl from... somewhere... far, she needed to go with that. Sigh...
Some other references include the the White Day's gift to I-Pin, which I got from White, by The Writer Triumphant, which is a very good one-shot :) and also from that I got the fact that Hibari would return obligatory tokens to the girls who gave him chocolate and that he actually received Valentine's Day gifts from other girls before he became Chairman.
I don't know if that is actually true, but it was really creative ^^
Anyways, little action in this story, but I needed it there to explain the action in further ones :P And I didn't expect it to turn out this long, but I guess it repays for the long inactivity I've been in.
Anne: I'm not sure if you are still following this story, but since you're anonymous, I didn't get a chance to thank you, so Thanks for your comment! It helped me add some explanations that I didn't think need to be explained. Thanks much for the feedback!
Well, I really hope you enjoyed this chapter... it's only an interlude. I'll go back to the real "plot," or whatever shreds of it there are, in the following chapters!
Again, I really am in your care! よろしくおねがいします！