Summary: Once upon a time there was a mechanic called Spanner. One day he bumps into (kind of literally) a boy called Tsuna. What starts out as a simple thing quickly turns complex when they find neither of them is what they first appear to be. AU fic. Pairings: 4827

Chapter One

"Really, Spanner, I don't have anything new for you," Irie Shoichi said irritably as he typed.

The red head huddled in his messy cubicle, barely finding enough space amid the empty chip bags and soda cans for his computer and a few pictures of his family. Spanner leaned against the cubicle wall, occasionally moving out of the way as other newspaper employees rushed by.

The lollipop in his mouth clicked against his teeth as Spanner shifted slightly, his eyes intent on the side of Shoichi's face. Shoichi refused to give into the pressure, resolutely continuing his typing without looking away. He had a deadline to meet on this article and creepy blondes weren't going to deter him.

"No one but research companies have the parts you're looking for. Even with my contacts, I couldn't get you half the stuff on that list without being a millionare."

Spanner frowned.

"So, no one replied to the ad?" he asked, a note of desperation creeping into his voice.

"Of course not," Irie scoffed. "There isn't anyone who would fund some small town mechanic for the amount you're asking." Spanner sighed and Shoichi glanced over at him, a few lines of concern appearing on his brow. Giving a sigh himself, he swung his chair around to face Spanner completely.

"Look," he said gently. "Maybe this is a good thing. With the money you get working and some spare time, you could find other interests instead of playing around with that 'Mosca.'" Spanner looked away, a discontent look crossing his face. Shoichi leaned forward, concern and annoyance blending in his voice.

"This isn't healthy, Spanner!" he said, pushing his glasses back up the bridge of his nose. "You spend all day and night cooped up in that shop of yours, tinkering away. If you didn't need to get food once in awhile, you would probably never leave."

"You're the best engineer I know, even out of the ones I went to college with. But the reason they can get grants and do research is because they have the degrees! Since you refuse to go back to school, the only thing left is for you to do is just get on with your life. Find new hobbies, meet new people, do something that doesn't have to do with robots or mechanics!"

"Boring," Spanner interrupted softly, the lollipop clicking against his teeth once again. Irie looked up sharply at Spanner at the comment, frustration taking over.

"Fine," he snapped, turning back to his computer. "But don't expect me to help you on this wild goose chase any longer. You'll have to come to terms with reality sooner or later."

Spanner pushed away from the wall, not saying anything, and entered the flow of traffic towards the elevators. Shoichi surreptitiously watched the lanky figure leave.

"My stomach hurts," he said grimly, rubbing the offending part and turning to rifle through his desk for medicine.

--

Spanner leaned against his car and sulked. The lollipop in his mouth was starting to taste acridly sweet and he almost felt like spitting it out. Even the admiring looks of passers-by, directed at the recently restored second generation Firebird Spanner leaned against, couldn't cheer him up.

He'd found the car about two or three months ago, in such horrible conditions that he'd almost passed it without a thought. But under that rust and dirt, he could see the emblem of a phoenix on the hood, considerably appropriate for the muscle car. And when he looked under the hood, the engine was in better shape then he thought. This was a car that had once been the dream of every man, young and old. It was a car with unlimited potential, though it was a bit out of its element these days. Spanner sensed a kindred spirit. Something told him this car was going to take him places. A lucky charm, if he believed in that sort of thing.

"Not too lucky today…" he mused at it, biting through the last thin layer of candy in his mouth. He kept the stick in his mouth a bit longer, using it as a sort of toothpick, and then spat it out.

Peeling out of the parking garage made him feel a bit better, especially because of the glazed looks that followed the Firebird out. The steering wheel was comfortable in his hands and the engine purred. Now he was feeling much better.

So what if some of Shoichi's advice had hit a bit too close to home? The bit about being too stubborn to finish up his college degree…Well, the college had been stubborn in their own right. Apparently, missing classes for five weeks straight and then acing the final was suspicious behavior to them. But the classes had been so pointless, and he would much rather have been building toaster-television hybrids. And to accuse him of cheating; actually, kicking him out of school was going too far. It also hadn't helped that some of the professors involved in the expulsion process had been shown-up the few times Spanner decided to go to class.

As if that wasn't "reality" enough, Spanner had quickly realized that prospects for a college drop out, even one with his skills, were very limited. Shoichi, a long time family friend, had actually had to step in and arrange the job he had working in a car repair shop. It didn't give him the right to lecture though. Well, at least Spanner didn't think that was how it worked.

Shoichi just didn't understand how close Spanner was. The Mosca was an idea he'd been toying with for some time now, and only this year had things finally started coming together. Even the idea of such a high-performance, high-intelligence and adaptable robot sent chills of excitement down Spanner's spine. Uses of the Mosca would be practically limitless, once it was perfected.

As of now, the prototype was functional, but about a tenth of the size Spanner wanted, coming up to around his knee. Building it on a smaller scale had saved money, and Spanner had still been able to hash out some design ideas and capabilities. It could shoot its hands as small rockets and had a tracking system that rivaled those of NASA. Flight was an option, though Spanner was having some trouble making it work with the parts available to him.

If he just had the funding, the resources he could make something great, something everyone would recognize. A king.

"There isn't anyone who would fund some small town mechanic…" The words echoed in his head and he clenched his jaw. Feeling the need to have something in his mouth, he took a hand off the steering wheel to search under his seat for some candy. He felt the edge of a wrapper, but it was a just out of reach. If he could just…

He checked his mirrors and realized he was close to home, an apartment on top of the car repair shop, near the outskirts of the city. There were no other cars on the road, and he would only need a second. Keeping his left hand on the steering wheel, he bent down so that he could reach farther under the seat and was able to grab the lollipop. A small smile on his face, he straightened back up.

The boy on a bicycle in front of him looked up in shock at the approaching car.

"Shit!" Spanner yelled, and swerved. The car jolted and spun, tires screeching on pavement. There was a sickening crunch and Spanner's head slammed against the steering wheel. The world went black.