Edit on February 5, 2012: I've re-edited this, so characters weren't so painfully OOC. I orginally wrote this when I was fourteen and now hopefully at age eighteen I've improved enough to make this soundless. I hope you like this remastered version!
This is an AU setting where mafia involvement is nonexistent here. There are no spoilers for canon events either.
If a bird fell in love with a fish, where would they live?
Who keeps his fins and who loses his wings?
Tsuna laughed as he was bounced on I-pin's knee. Nana, Iemitsu, Fuuta, Reborn and Lambo were gathered around the campfire, chatting idly amongst themselves. Tsuna had recently turned five, quite an accomplishment for the little toddler. To celebrate his birthday, the six went camping out in the woods. Earlier that afternoon they swam in the river, enjoying the outdoors.
The toddler of course could not swim very well and wisely, Nana had packed his inner tube. Iemitsu had floated along with him the entire time, making sure that little Tsuna was not grabbed by the swift currents of the river.
I-Pin was clad in a modest one-piece swimsuit, applying bug repellant and fifteen year old Lambo lazily was resting on a rock. Reborn took this peaceful opportunity to feed his pet, Leon. Nana herself had preferred to stay dry and sat under the trees' shade settled with a novel.
Fuuta had just shown him how to scissor-kick but Tsuna had refused to take off his inner tube, but it was effective nonetheless.
"Mom! Dad!" Iemitsu was drying off, and now sat down next to Nana. They looked at Tsuna as he squealed, "Look what Fuuta-nii taught me!" Still clutching his inner tube, Tsuna furiously kicked at the water, slowly propelling him towards the shore. When he reached there, his little chest heaved up and down out of the exhaustion. Nana laughed and threw his favorite characterized towel around his small body, kissing him on the forehead.
"Good job, Tsu-kun!" She congratulated.
"Wouldn't expect less!" Iemitsu said likewise grinning down at tiny Tsuna. The toddler was ecstatic of their acknowledgement and allowed his father to carry him towards the campfire. Nana took a moment in observing this before calling to I-Pin and Fuuta, "Hurry and dry up, kids!" She took a glance at the battery-powered boiler, "The food will be ready in a moment!"
The couldn't really be considered 'kids', really since Fuuta was already seventeen and in high school and I-Pin and the others were fourteen getting ready to be freshmen.
They didn't mind the collective comment however and I-Pin and Fuuta quickly followed Tsuna's lead and dried off. They ate dinner in a comfortable lapse, commenting and complimenting the food as they chewed.
After they were done they all watched in anticipation as Tsuna opened his birthday presents. Lambo had given him a new sippy cup, and he was grateful since he lost his last one.
Nana gave him what he did not get last Christmas, a red battle zoid toy. The others gave him complimenting gifts that matched with Nana's. Reborn pensively gave him a college-level textbook, saying he will need it later, the older boy always did like planning ahead. But what Tsuna really liked most was I-Pin's gift. Even ten years later, Tsuna would never ever forget what she gave him on that day.
I-Pin had told him a story.
Tsuna stretched high up in the air, getting the kinks out of his neck until he heard a satisfying crack. He had stayed up all night studying for the exams tomorrow. It was nearly only an hour before he had to leave for school. Even Tsuna had known more than anyone that he would probably fail. So this time Tsuna studied his hardest, even going far as study a month early.
He worked so hard that during the whole four weeks his desk had become his new makeshift bed. He wanted to prove himself. He didn't want to leave Namimori without a bang. It was his high school entrance exams today. And in about two week summer vacation will come. And Tsuna will finally become a high schooler.
Tsuna sighed and gingerly stood up, aware of his sore bottom. Tiredly, and rubbing his eyes exhaustedly, he walked to the bathroom to take one quick shower before trudging downstairs for breakfast.
As he passed, he looked forlornly at Fuuta's and Reborn's old bedroom. Fuuta-nii had already moved out a long, long time ago. Fuuta was currently in the middle of graduating his master's degree and was planning on teaching high school in Kyoto. Tsuna had certainly been heartbroken when he left, because even for Fuuta's twenty seventh birthday, he could find the time to see him.
He was too far behind his studies to even consider visiting him. He only was able to send a present through the mail.
Reborn was the same age as I-pin. Although, unlike the rest of them, Reborn was a natural-born genius. Reborn hadn't contacted him lately but the last Tsuna heard from him was that he was in Italy on business. Tsuna was a bit happy when Reborn left. The constant bullying always got to him, even though lately Tsuna would do anything to have Reborn tease him again.
I-Pin and Lambo was taking up classes here in Namimori University, or Nami U. Soon, they will have to leave the Sawada's residence too. And leave Tsuna all alone.
At the thought of this, his throat began to clog up. Tsuna swallowed it down and pushed the thought away viciously. As he turned off the shower, he quickly composed himself and dried off his body with a towel. He brushed his teeth and headed downstairs.
Lambo was already at the table, swirling a cup of milk in his hands idly. I-Pin was cooking breakfast for them, busily shuffling around the kitchen. Tsuna forced a smile, more pessimistic thoughts sprung to his head, soon, this everyday scene would be gone.
"Good morning you two." Tsuna realized his mistake a bit too late, his voice sounded a bit too heavy with emotion. He quickly covered it up with a smile and a well-placed tired sigh, "I have my exams today."
"Good morning." Lambo greeted back, eying Tsuna. He obviously noticed his little slip-up.
"Good morning, Tsuna!" I-pin said cheerfully, placing eggs from the frying pan in front of him, "I know you'll do fine. By now, you probably know the textbook by heart!"
Tsuna took I-Pin's cheerfulness as an advantage. If he played along maybe Lambo would get off his back. Tsuna grinned and scratched his cheek, "Yeah, I'm actually pretty sure I do. I really want to get into Namimori High.
I-pin hummed thoughtfully, "Already...we've gotten old." She joked good-heartedly, grinning at Lambo to share her mirth.
"That's right…" Lambo said seriously, putting his cup down, "When you become a high schooler…We're going to be graduates now…We'll have to move out." A somber expression was firmly on Lambo's handsome face, however and her smile melted away like chocolate in the sun.
Silently, she turned around to busy herself at the sink. Lambo closed his one opened eye with a thoughtful expression, tapping the edge of his cup with a rhythmic finger. Tsuna's fork scraped noisily across his plate.
Tsuna felt like screaming in frustration. He wanted to jump up into I-pin's arms, beg them not to go, not to leave him all alone…Tsuna shoved the remnants of his breakfastn down his throat before he began to say something regretfully sappy. He was careful to avert his face so that Lambo and I-Pin so they could not see his clearly upset expression.
He quickly stood up, swallowing his juice and said sharply after taking a glance at the clock, "I'm going now." Tsuna realized how very curt this situation was and then added softly, "Wish me luck."
Lambo smiled lazily at Tsuna's back and grunted softly in encouragement. I-Pin nodded, turning cheerful again, although Tsuna's back was to her she smiled, "Good luck."
Tsuna didn't answer back, he didn't trust his voice at that moment. Tsuna slung his bag over his shoulder, he dared not turn around. They would see his face.
Tsuna quickly wiped away stray tears as he heard Gokudera's voice behind him. Hastily but discreetly, he focused and tried breathing normally as Gokudera caught up to him. He skidded to a stop in front of him, halting Tsuna's advancing steps. "Tenth! Good morning!" Gokudera exclaimed very loudly bowing low before Tsuna.
"Good morning, Gokudera-kun." Tsuna coughed to clear his voice, it sounded raspy.
At the cough and rough gravel in his voice, Gokudera's head jerked up from his low bow, eyes concerned, "Tenth! Are you sick?"
Tsuna did not answer, just shaking his head in disagreement. He smiled instead and gestured Gokudera to walk with him. Gokudera's expression scrunched up in worry but followed him loyally. Soon after that Yamamoto had joined in on walking with them. This morning he was chatting idly about the baseball practices he had later on that afternoon.
Tsuna was trying to listen, he really was. He was deliberately trying to steer away from his thoughts about I-pin's and Lambo's leaving plans.
He let out a shaky sigh as the school gates came into view. He could already see Hibari-san standing there, glaring viciously towards their direction. Or more correctly, at Gokudera. It was a pretty known fact that Gokudera seemed to be the only person who openly complained about Hibari. Almost no one dared oppose Hibari.
Most found Gokudera either very brave or very stupid. Hibari was dangerous, that Tsuna could most definitely could tell. The chairman of the Disciplinary Committee was ruthless. He loved his school dearly. He would do anything to protect it. Hibari's age was completely unknown, it was rumored that he had threatened the dean of the school so he could remain a third-year in Namimori forever. He was a permanent third year.
He entertained the idea that Tsuna was jealous that at least one of them could remain the same.
Tsuna heard Yamamoto say good morning to Hibari. Tsuna ducked his head, eyebrows furrowing. He didn't want to meet Hibari's eyes today. Tsuna felt like they would only bring more pain than he was already experiencing.
Hearing his name, Tsuna could not resist looking at Hibari in the eyes. Strange. There was a flicker behind the taller teen's eyes. As if he registered something. Tsuna asked meekly, "Yes, Hibari-san?"
"Go to the reception room before class starts." Hibari glared at Gokudera warningly, "And do not keep me waiting."
With that, Hibari made a beeline towards his lair. Students broke up their groups or crowds as he passed, going eerily silent. Hibari was still in hearing range as Gokudera exclaimed very loudly, "That bastard! Don't worry Tenth, I'll go with you."
Hibari stopped walking. Everyone turned to look at Gokudera with frightened, yet appalled looks. Slowly, Hibari turned around, his murderous glare directed at Gokudera. "Alone, Sawada Tsunayoshi. Alone."
Hibari turned his heel abruptly, making students jump in surprise. Gokudera growled and was about to get into Hibari's face when Tsuna's hand gripped his arm. Gokudera looked questioningly at Tsuna, "It's okay, Gokudera-kun. I'm sure if it's Hibari-san it has to be important. Don't worry about me and go to class, ok?"
Yamamoto grinned with a nod, "Alright, we'll see you in class then." The taller of them waved goodbye and left before them. He greeted everyone with a smile as he passed. How he wished his life was as carefree as Yamamoto's, it would just be so easy if all he had to worry about was baseball.
Gokudera's face expression fell but clapped a hand over Tsuna's shoulder. "Alright Tenth, but if you don't come back by second period, I'll kill that bastard, alright?"
Chuckling nervously at the threat, Tsuna smiled, "I'll see you later then, Gokudera-kun."
Gokudera nodded, bowed lowly, and ran after Yamamoto yelling about idiots who couldn't be patient.
Sighing exasperatedly, Tsuna secured his bag tightly under his arm and trudged off towards the reception room.
Tsuna knocked weakly twice and literally jumped in the air as he heard a low voice say, 'enter.' Feeling like he was the protagonist in a horror movie, Tsuna slowly opened the sliding door and took two hesitant steps inside. Hibari was at his desk, writing busily. Without look up, he pointed at the sofa and said curtly, "Sit."
Tsuna nervously sat down, the silence becoming increasingly awkward. Abruptly, Hibari stopped writing. He clicked his pen put it down abruptly. He steeled his eyes on Tsuna's trembling figure, "Lie down."
Tsuna stared at Hibari, unsure if he had just misunderstood something. Did he just tell him to lie down?
Hibari grunted in annoyance when the herbivore just stared in disbelief, "Do I need to repeat myself?" Hibari snapped impatiently, "Lie down, herbivore."
Tsuna, confused as hell, lied down on the couch meekly. His body felt smaller than ever when horizontal. Ridiculous as it sounds, he felt exposed. He looked at anything other than Hibari when he heard footsteps coming in his direction.
"Close your eyes."
Tsuna, once again, just stared dumbly at Hibari's placid expression. But then immediately complied when he saw irritation flash over Hibari's face. Tsuna felt a hand grip his shoulder tightly to hold him down. Then the most strangest thing happened. What Tsuna was actually expecting was a kiss, since the mood had been especially implying that. But he would rather die than voice it.
Some wet and warm flopped over his closed eyes. Tsuna jerked up in surprise but the hand on his shoulder had kept him firmly down, as if the older of the two had probably known that he would have reacted so. Hibari huffed quietly, "I am going to make my patrols. Stay here until I come back. Keep still."
Tsuna dared not move until Hibari left the room. He waited until Hibari's foot steps disappeared from his hearing range. Tsuna grabbed the thing over his eyes and sat up quickly. He stared at the thing in his hands. It was a face washcloth. It was wet but wrung properly enough to not drip. The cloth was warm.
He jumped off the sofa and looked in the mirror on the wall. His eyes were a bit puffy, but not noticeable to say that he cried at all. It could have been lack of sleep if anyone was concerned.
He touched his reflection. He concluded that Hibari was more observant of things than he gave credit for. He had noticed something that Gokudera's hawk-like eyes had not seen. And that was something all by itself. Tsuna walked silently back to the couch and laid back down. He put the warm washcloth over his eyes again. And before he knew it, he fell asleep.
Everyone shushed in anticipation as I-pin coughed to clear her throat. The campfire flickered ominously, giving overall effect to the atmosphere. Tsuna was in the young girl's lap and stared up at his adopted-sister with big, wide eyes. It was I-pin's turn to give her present to Tsuna, and it was natural for her to tell a story as a gift. She came from China at a young age, her experiences in traveling was vaster than Tsuna could ever hope to dream. And everytime I-pin came back home she always had a story for Tsuna.
This particular story she had saved for a special occasion, like today.
She coughed again and smiled at Tsuna, "Happy birthday Tsuna. I'm going to tell you a story for my present."
Lambo snorted quietly, "I still think my sippy cup is better." Tsuna laughed at Lambo's quick quip and the storyteller likewise glared at the young man.
Clearing her throat again, she turned to Tsuna smiling, "Once upon a time, there was a bird. This bird was the ruler of the skies. Majestic, intelligent, but very prideful. One day the bird was flying over the mountains, searching."
"What was he searching for, I-pin?" Fuuta asked, curious. He pulled his legs up, knees curling to his chest.
"He was looking for his soul mate." I-pin said, "Lately, the bird began to question himself. And though as a creature of powerful influence, it was natural that he got whatever he wanted. And he always got what he wanted."
"Was he a bully?" Tsuna said softly.
"In a way, yes. Yes he was. But lately the bird wanted more. He had seen love for the first time. He watched from afar as another bird proclaimed his love to his soul mate. The majestic king bird had heard of love. Love, as he was told, was a great power. With love the king bird knew that he would be whole. So he tried searching for one. He checked every nest, every tree, everywhere. But no hen would catch his eye."
"He must have been frustrated." Reborn added in, a thoughtful look on his face.
"Yes," I-Pin agreed, "He was."
He jerked awake when something shrill and particucarily grating on his ears rang. Tsuna slowly sat up, blindly blinking, unable to understand what he had been doing and where he was. He gaped owlishly when he realized that he was still in the reception room and had fallen asleep. How embarrassing.
Tsuna whirled around so fast his shoulder ached from the sudden whiplash. Hibari was at his desk, pen stilled, as he watched Tsuna with an alerted gaze. Hibari's chin was on his hand, his gakuran hanging on a coat racket behind him.
His face heated as he slowly peeled himself off the couch and stood up. Unsure of what to say. "How did—"
"It's obvious. A blind herbivore could've seen it."
"Gokudera-kun and Yamamoto—"
"Did not notice? They are perhaps more dim than I thought."
He was at least in his right mind not to look indignant at this jab at his friends. Tsuna smiled instead, somewhat amused by the whole one-sided interrogation that they just shared was Hibari's way of showing concern. Tsuna gave a nervously hitched laugh, backing away. "I should go to class now though. Lunch is about to end."
Hibari just nodded mechanically, face emotionless, picked up his pen, and resumed writing. Tsuna slowly made his way to the door, just before he stepped out he turned towards Hibari, "Hibari-san?"
Hibari looked up, his pen paused.
"Thank you." Tsuna said, hopefully loud enough for the other to hear and shut the door closed. He sprinted down the hallway, finding himself so embarassed that he couldn't even stay and find out Hibari's reaction.
Tsuna swayed on his feet as he walked out of class. He had just taken his exam. His mind almost blanked out in the middle of it. But if it hadn't been for remembering about all his blood, sweat, and tears he shed in a duration of a short month into this exam, he may have failed.
Gokudera was chatting non-stop about the test, asking what study methods the Tenth used, how well the Tenth thought he did on the test, how the Tenth was doing lately.
He found himself unable to answer Gokudera's lightspeed questions at the moment. He felt both exhausted and relieved. The pain was over! He was so sure that he passed that test with flying colors! No more studying until that ungodly hour of three am! Tsuna nearly collapsed as he walked with relief. He was going to high school. He was just so excited to see his new school his a new life. And for the first time in a few months, he felt as if everything was going to go great.
Tsuna felt like skipping as he walked out into the courtyard. Other students looked as happy as him, girls were hugging eachother and laughing in small groups and others complained on the severity of the time duration of the test.
Not only did he felt that he passed his test, Hibari had been particularly kind to him, it seemed to be a good day so far.
Tsuna leaned against the front entrance, waiting for Gokudera. If he remembered correctly, Yamamoto had baseball practice today.
His blood pumping stuttered as Kyoko made her way around the crowd of students to reach him, "Tsuna-kun! I was wondering! Actually I have this favor to ask of you!"
Tsuna blinked cutely, "What is it, Kyoko-chan?"
"Actually," Kyoko leaned in to whisper in his ear, "I need help picking out my brother's birthday present…"
Tsuna's eyes shimmered happily, "Really? When is it?" It has been certainly a long time since he heard from Ryohei. He graduated last year and Tsuna heard that he was trying to make another extreme boxing club in his new high school. Speaking to Kyoko had it's quirks, Tsuna had a lot of chances to see Ryohei.
Kyoko laughed, embarrassed with her next admission, "Actually his birthday is in August, but it's really hard to get him a present since he says he likes anything I would give him." She tilted her head prettily at him, "That's why I'm asking you, I'd really like your opinion!"
Tsuna smiled widely. Could this day get any better? He nodded fervently, "Okay, I'll be glad to help. Maybe I'll get something for him too while we are at it."
Kyoko was shifting from feet to feet, spurred by Tsuna's own excitement on the idea, "Let's exchange numbers!"
Tsuna's face felt hot and he fumbled in his pocket for his cellphone. Kyoko whipped her own out too. She smiled, "Thanks Tsuna-kun! I wanted to ask for you number earlier but I never got the chance!"
"It's no problem at all, I would've did it earlier too." The two laughed lightly. Kyoko really was a nice person to hang out with. She really made Tsuna's day the best yet.
Their moment was broken when a cold voice drifted over to them. "Cell phones are not allowed in school grounds."
Tsuna's back shivered violently. He knew that voice very well, and it didn't sound very pleased. He turned to look at Hibari, whose arms were crossed over his chest. His gakuran was hanging over his shoulders. "Sorry," Tsuna said, tucking his away quickly before the older teen could think of taking it, "It won't happen again!"
Hibari ignored the apology and turned to look at Kyoko, "Sasagawa Kyoko. I'll be confiscating your phone."
Almost slightly indignant, Tsuna jumped at the chance to defend her, "What, but Hibari-san, she didn't—"
"I didn't give you permission to speak, herbivore." Hibari snapped at Tsuna, glaring icily through his hair. Though he was scared of being bitten to death he couldn't just watch him take Kyoko's phone. It wasn't right for him to take hers and not his.
"I can just take the detention, it's fine, please."
Hibari narrowed his eyes for a moment. After a supressing silence, the prefect shook his head in decline and left with a parting, "Don't do it again." His gakuran whipped behind him as he turned heel, already seeking more students to terrorize.
They waited with dead air until Hibari was well out of hearing range. Both stiffly walked together until they reached the gates.
"I'm sorry," Kyoko apologized immediately, "I should've thought to ask outside of campus."
Tsuna shook his head profusely, not wanting the girl to feel guilty about this strange attention Hibari gave them, "No, it's not your fault, Kyoko-chan!" He insisted with a kind tilt of his lips, "Anyways," He tactfully diverted the subject as to not have her dwell on by-gones, "Where can we meet up?"
His diversion worked wonderfully and Kyoko smiled, "We can go later tomorrow, we have the day off. How about Hokusai Street? We'll meet up in front of that small café that's right next to the shoe equipment. There is bound to be something there, plus they have a lot of great deals!"
Tsuna nodded agreeably, "What time?"
Kyoko paused, hand over chin, "How about at two? I think we need all the time we can get, considering that this is a present for my brother."
Tsuna smiled widely, "Ok! See you tomorrow then!"
"Kyoko!" Ryohei called over to them. They both turned to watch the shock of white hair approaching them. Ryohei was unsurprisingly in his new uniform. Even though Ryohei had graduated, his school ends just a few minutes before theirs did, it gave him enough time to walk back here. Therefore Ryohei still felt obligated to escort Kyoko. "Let's go home! I'm extremely ready!" He blinked when he noticed Tsuna standing next to his sister, "Hey there, Sawada!" The grin reappeared, "You'll being going to my school, right? There is always a spot for the boxing club when you get in!"
"Hello, Ryohei. I'll think about it." Tsuna greeted back, politely brushing off the comment about boxing club. Once was enough to convince him it wasn't for him, thanks. He grinned amiably, "How have you been doing lately?"
"Just a few exams here and there," Ryohei said, brushing that off likewise, "Are you up for jogging tomorrow? I'll pick you up!"
Tsuna smiled apologetically. He shared a sideways mirthful look with Kyoko. "No thanks, I have something to do tomorrow." Their shared secretive smile grew in width as Ryohei greeted Hibari...He did a double take real fast in surprise, what?
Tsuna spun around, he didn't notice Hibari was right behind them. Had he always been standing there? Tsuna greeted with a politely placed wave at their newest arrival but the other only just stared back.
"Want to walk home with us, Sawada?" Ryohei offered excitedly. He became momentarily distracted by this request, turning back to the siblings. Kyoko smiled at Tsuna, eyes attentively expectant.
He knew that Gokudera would not mind if he left him, especially if the other knew Kyoko was involved. And had it been another day, he would have accepted without hesitation. But by a sudden whim, he decided to remain here. "I'll pass," Tsuna declined, "I'm waiting for Gokudera-kun."
Ryohei's grin didn't falter, but he did look mildly disappointed. "Some other time, then! Bye Sawada!" Ryohei walked on ahead, waving as he waited for Kyoko to fall into step with him.
The girl leaned in to whisper in Tsuna's ear, "See you tomorrow, Tsuna-kun!" She bowed politely to Hibari and then left, jogging lightly after her brother. Hibari watched the exchange in silence.
"So did the bird ever find his true love, I-pin-nee?"
"I was getting to that," She answered Tsuna, "Anyway, one day as the great bird circled around the lands, he felt thirsty so he landed at a small pond to drink. The bird was close to giving up. He searched for the longest time and he was beginning to think, 'what if there is no one for me? Am I destined to be alone forever?' The bird, completely heartbroken, stared forlornly at his reflection on the surface of the pond's fresh water.
But then, the water rippled, waking him from his stupor. It was then, on that day, at that moment, the proud bird fell in love."
Tsuna squabbled excitedly, "Was it a pretty girl-bird?"
I-pin couldn't help but laugh at the toddler's eagerness, "No Tsuna. It wasn't a bird." Tsuna tilted his head on one side questioningly, at the strangeness of her answer. "The bird had fallen in love with a fish."
Now he certainly didn't have a doctorate in ornithology but he knew to understand that wasn't possible. Iemitsu frowned skeptically, and scratched at his scruffed chin, "But that can't be…a bird and…a fish?"
"Yes," I-pin said sadly, "Total opposites, those two. The fish had also fallen in love with the bird at first sight. They were truly meant for each other. The moment their eyes met the whole world seemed clearer to them. And so the two talked by the shore, learning about each other, slowly falling deeper and deeper in love."
"That's a nice story." Tsuna said, nodding.
But she was not done. With a sad shake of her head, I-Pin smoother out a stray hair on Tsuna's face, "Not yet, it's not over yet."
Reborn frowned, and ever insightful, he commented with a knowing sigh, "I think I see where this is going."
Tsuna spent the entire morning going through his closet. In a few minutes he was going to meet up with Kyoko to shop for Ryohei's early birthday present. Since it was June, the hot weather so finally seeping in, and everyone was desperate to wear as little clothes as possible without getting arrested. Tsuna decided to go with shorts and a shirt. He stuffed his wallet in his pocket and ran downstairs, not wanting to be late.
Tsuna said goodbye to his parents, I-pin, and Lambo. The eldest boy in the kitchen grinned at him, looking him head to toe, "A date, Tsuna?" Before he could say other wise, the other interrupted him,"Don't deny it—I saw you, throwing clothes around your room like a girl since nine in the morning."
I-pin smacked Lambo behind the head with a rolled up newspaper, it resounded through the room with a sharp thwap. "Quiet, Lambo! Don't embarass him!" She glanced at Tsuna's face and her frown intensified, "Now look was you did! Tsuna's red again!"
He was? He rubbed at his cheeks to rid it. Stuttering excuses to his family, Tsuna excused himself and staggered out the front face felt hotter than the cement outside.
This was strange. Tsuna looked at his watch again. It was already an hour after, but Kyoko had still not shown up nor gave a reason for her tardiness. He sat under the café outdoor shade, licking his ice-cream. He didn't want to eat before Kyoko showed up but he felt a bit hungry. Tsuna paused in mid-lick when a particularly pessimistic thought crossed him, making his stomach sink.
What if Kyoko had played a joke on him and stood him up? Tsuna shook his head furiously to rid the thoughts, because he knew the girl would never do that. Tsuna knew Kyoko. There was probably a good explanation for her absence.
Again, he checked his watch, forced a sigh, and pulled out his cell phone. Quickly he dialed Kyoko's number. (Embarrassingly, he had memorize it by heart after studying it for an hour) After a few rings, Tsuna heard her voice on the other line, "Hello?"
"Kyoko-chan?" Tsuna asked, bewildered, "I—"
"Tsuna-kun?" She sounded surprised to hear him, her voice was concerned as she added, "What's wrong? Are you feeling better?"
"Huh?" Tsuna said, confused. "Where are you?"
"Me?" Kyoko repeated, sounding equally confused, "I'm at the department store looking for clothes. Do you think my brother would wear a hat?"
"But—?" He didn't know what to say. Did she really stand up him like he thought she did? Tsuna's eyebrows knit together. "Why—"
"Hibari-kun called me this morning; he said you weren't feeling up to going. He said something about a cold." At the lack of his response, she added most anxiously, "How are you feeling?"
Tsuna rocked back, thoughts skidding to an abrupt halt. "Hibari-san?"
"Yes, he called and said you caught a cold yesterday." She quieted for a moment, and then added hesitantly, "He said you weren't interested in coming anymore, anyway."
Completely at lost for words, Tsuna tried to make sense of what he had just been told. He shook his head and tried to compose himself and smooth the surprise out of his tone. "Of course I still wanted to come, Kyoko-chan." Tsuna rushed, "It's just my cold that kept me back. I'm sorry I couldn't come." He added most sincerely, "Good luck finding something for Ryohei."
Kyoko sounded relieved at being told this, like a huge weight had been lifted off her. "Thanks, Tsuna-kun! Can I bring you anything for your cold when I'm done?"
"Um, no." He said almost immediately. It would be worse if she found out he wasn't actually sick. "I'm fine. You have fun."
"Ok! I hope you can go to school tomorrow, Tsuna-kun."
"I'm pretty sure I will. Bye."
When Tsuna hung up, he felt empty. A strange emptiness filled him. Hibari just canceled an appointment with his friend, for no reason whatsoever. Should he see Hibari and confront him about this? What would Hibari say? Would he deny it? Nevermind that, why did he do it in the first place? That was awfully out of character for Hibari to go out of his way to call up Kyoko...
What if Hibari wanted to spite him? But Tsuna did not understand, it was only yesterday that Hibari was so kind to him...He stood up and threw his melted ice-cream in the trashcan. He no longer had an appetite.
When school arrived, Tsuna planned on stomping up to Hibari and demand why he did what he did. But the moment Tsuna had caught a flash of his prefect gakuran he immediately rethought his decision.
Tsuna made the cowardly lion look like the terminator.
When he saw Hibari striding in a beeline towards him, Tsuna turned his heel and ran the opposite direction. Gokudera had praised him on this. Saying 'that was wonderful dash, Tenth! So graceful! Not even that bastard could catch you!'
But Gokudera being Gokudera did not see the obvious. Tsuna did not run from Hibari to make fun of him, he simply ran out of pure fear. Everyone soon found out Tsuna's brave act and the news spread like wildfire. Dame-Tsuna, running from the most scariest man on the planet. And was not caught.
It wasn't long until Hibari caught him anyways though, it was inevitable. Tsuna was sitting in class, listening to the teacher's boring lecture go on and on until the classroom door slided open with a resounding wham! and Hibari, without so much of a word, walked over to a horrified Tsuna and dragged him out of the classroom.
Their teacher of course, did not punish Hibari for this, only screaming at Gokudera to sit down when he was about to throw himself out of the classroom to follow them.
Hibari was not gentle with him today as he was two days ago. Hibari's hand was locked in a python death grip on Tsuna's elbow as Tsuna stumbled along to keep up with him. When they arrived at the reception room, Hibari pointed to the couch with an unreadable expression, "Sit."
A sense of déjà vu hit him as complied to the order. He wondered what Hibari was planning on doing with him.
Hibari sat behind his desk, legs crossed, hands folded over his lap and spoke loud enough for Tsuna to hear, "I want tea, herbivore."
Tsuna stared dumbly at Hibari, but nodded. Slowly, like as if any fast movements would provoke Hibari, he made his way to the coffee maker and began to brew some. The office was filled with the bubbling of the coffee maker but the silent treatment was so painfully awkward.
Hibari had not picked up his pen and started writing. This time, he was watching Tsuna's every move. Then, Tsuna did the most stupidest thing only dame-Tsuna would do. As he walked with the tea on a tray, he tripped. Tsuna watched with silent horror as the hot, black spray spilled over Hibari's hair, dripping down onto his white school collared-shirt. There was a long, twelve second lap of silence.
"I'll bite you to death." Hibari whispered darkly, voice pushing every ounce of truth behind his threat.
However, in the end, Hibari did not bite Tsuna to death.
He couldn't, in fact. Instead of jumping from his seat and screaming profanities like a normal human would do, Hibari only grimaced in silent pain.
Tsuna felt shame spring in his chest, and somewhat envious yet admired the prefect's capacity to pain. He ran towards the sink and, much to his relief, the old washcloth that he had used two days ago was dry. He quickly doused the thing in cold water and hurried back to Hibari, turning the swivel chair towards him, he quickly dabbed at Hibari's hair, then, he opened Hibari's shirt, seeing that Hibari was in no condition to even move.
He moved the wet cloth over Hibari's red, irritated, black-stained chest. Then lastly at Hibari's face, he gently dabbed at Hibari's eyes. Hibari had very long eyelashes.
Tsuna realized that he was staring at Hibari longer than necessary, his washcloth had stilled over Hibari's cheek. Hibari opened his eyes slowly to look at Tsuna to find out why he stopped. Tsuna's breathing stilled. Hibari looked like he wasn't breathing either. Tsuna was the first to snap out of it. He reddened profusely and stuttered lightspeed apologies at a still, unresponsive, Hibari.
"Hey Kyoya I just got—what!" A clatter of a back meeting the door hard.
Hibari's and Tsuna's heads whipped to look to the entrance of the reception room, there Dino sat, staring wide-eyed at Tsuna and Hibari. He had been so shocked that he literally was knocked off his feet. "Wow, whoa." Dino shook his head once in disbelief on what he was seeing, and then looked at Hibari and Tsuna again, "Whoa."
"Dino?" Tsuna stuttered, confused by Dino's reaction. Tsuna jumped a mile high as Dino started hollering.
"Kyoya! What the hell—"
As if defending himself, he was caught off guard and didn't a moment to hide the blatant displeasure in his voice, "The herbivore was cleaning me off." Hibari spat back, clearly annoyed, he definitely didn't want Dino to start spouting nonsense. The naked eye couldn't see it, but Hibari's skin color had actually gone up a tone in his embarrassment. Tsuna stared at the argument in shock. Hibari-san was yelling. Or hissing rather loudly. He never heard Hibari raise his voice like that.
"You expect me to believe that?" Dino jabbed, "Sex fiend!"
He didn't know what to make of this sudden accusation other than the fact he now understood his older-brother figure now had a death wish. "D-Dino—" Tsuna stuttered, he stubbornly kept his eyes on the new arrival. He was too scared to look at Hibari's reaction at the moment.
"What?" Dino holler at Tsuna. Tsuna flinched and recoiled slightly. Dino realized his mistake and cleared his throat, "What is it, Tsuna?"
"I was helping Hibari-san…I, I spilled coffee all over him."
There was a strained silence and Dino blinked, his mouth opening into a simple, "Oh."
"Oh." Hibari said, mimicking Dino, if not more vehemently. His expression contorted dangerously, turning sadistic as milliseconds past, "I'm going to bite you to death."
Tsuna was not strong enough to hold back Hibari as he jumped over his desk, his shirtless chest still littered with red patches. And he swooped down onto a screaming Dino, readying to shove his tonfas down his throat.
"So that's how it went!" Dino said, grinning. Dino looked fine but sported a new wound at his face. If Romario hadn't walked in on the last second, Dino would've been a goner. Sure he had a bruise from Hibari here and there but otherwise, a bone broken free day was a good day. He stirred a cup of coffee as he sat across from Hibari and Tsuna on the sofas. Tsuna smiled and nodded.
"Yes, Dino. Then that's when you came in!"
Dino grinned at Hibari and commented cheekily, "You couldn't avoid a cup of coffee? Your getting rusty, Kyouya."
Tsuna fretted that there would be another fight but Hibari only snorted and silently sipped his drink. Tsuna had completely felt miserable and to make it up, he had govem milk for Hibari instead. Tsuna's smile fell completely though. The mention of his really bad mistake made Tsuna feel horrible. Seeing the youngest of the three's expression fall, he added hastily, "But man Tsuna, you sure can make one mean cup of coffee!"
He regretted his choice of words almost instantly, that'll help. But in reality it did. Tsuna smiled widely, "Thank you. I used to make coffee for daddy."
Hibari quirked and eyebrow at this. Dino stopped drinking in mid-sip. Frowning he put the cup back down on its coaster, "You still call Iemitsu 'daddy,' Tsuna?"
Oh god he didn't just say that, did he? Embarrassed at his slip up, he ducked his head, "Dad doesn't like it when I call him anything else."
Dino couldn't help but pet Tsuna's head, with a laugh, "Don't worry about it Tsuna, I think it's fine. I don't think anyone else your age can pull it off."
Tsuna's eyebrows furrowed in confusion. He didn't understand Dino sometimes. He was just odd like that. But it was still a compliment. Tsuna smiled brightly in return, if not a bit hesitant.
Hibari finished up his cup of milk and nudged Tsuna lightly, motioning to the cup. Understanding, Tsuna took the cup and got up to pour in more milk. Dino stared at Hibari. Did he just see correctly? Did Hibari touch another person without ill-intentions? It was mind-boggling. But Dino just watched from afar as Tsuna shuffled busily about the mini-kitchen. Heh.
Cheekily, Dino commented in a whisper at Hibari, "He got you too, didn't he?"
Hibari quirked an eyebrow, eyes condescending. A storm of question bubbled behind the prefect eyes but they were interrupted.
Smiling, Tsuna returned to Hibari, a filled cup of his refilled drink at hand, holding it out to him.
Hibari did not take the cup however. And then, suddenly comprehension hit. Tsuna seemed to realize this and stopped smiling immediately. Tsuna recoiled in surprise as Hibari abruptly stood. Hibari shot Tsuna his most antagonistic glare and said, "Get out."
"Hibari-san?" Tsuna asked with wide eyes, already stepping away.
"I said get out, herbivore." Hibari snarled, then looked at Dino, "You too. You make me sick."
"What the?" Dino likewise questioned, "Kyouya what—"
Tsuna stared, but wasn't really seeing anything. What was going on? One second Hibari had been particularily amiable and then the next minute he's suddenly so angry with him.
Tsuna realized too late he had taken too long to respond. He jumped as Hibari yanked the cup out of his hands and slammed it on the table. The prefect grabbed the back of Tsuna's cuff and the front of Dino's collar and dragged them towards the entrance, throwing them out into the hallway. Tsuna yelped as he landed on his back and Dino yelled in surprise and slammed against the wall.
Hibari had used more strength on throwing Dino than he did on Tsuna, that was obvious however. Hibari shot them both dark stares before shutting the door sharply in their faces.
Tsuna felt strangely numb as Dino jumped to his feet and banged on the reception door, yelling insults at Hibari and demanding he apologized to Tsuna. They both knew it was a loss cause but Dino was just that kind of person, he always wanted a reason for everything. Tsuna's voice sounded hallow, "Dino, it's okay."
Immediately, Dino turned around, trying to stare reason into Tsuna. "But Kyouya—he just—we didn't do anything wrong!"
"Its alright. I'm sure that he's just in a bad mood right now." He couldn't help but felt like he sounded more like he was trying to convince himself than Dino that.
Dino frowned, with one last kick to the reception room's door he helped Tsuna off the floor and they parted ways, Dino had to get back to Romario and Tsuna walked off to class, feeling horrible and confused.
"Unfortunately for the bird, as he was flying home realized the big problem. When the fish and the bird kissed goodbye, promising that the bird would come back to see her again later on tomorrow, he realized who he had fallen in love with. A fish. A lowly fish. So, the majestic bird had immediately tried to push the fish away, out of his thoughts, out of his head. He tried his hardest not to think about his soulmate. He did not come the next day and the poor fish swam near the shore all day, waiting for the bird's return."
Tsuna gasped, his hands clapping over his mouth, "That's so mean!"
I-pin patted his head, "The bird's world was strangely colder than it was before he had met the fish. His world was now dull, it was like she was a shooting star, rocketing across his sky, making things brighter. And as the star passed and faded away, suddenly his world felt colder, darker than ever. Unable to take the pain, the bird returned to the fish, clearly upset by his actions. He confronted her about their bodies. One was a fish. One was a bird. How could they be together? It would never work out."
"B-But…" Tsuna stuttered, his doe eyes scrunched up, trying to think of way for them to be with each other. I-pin patted his head again and continued.
The next day, Hibari had full-blown avoided him. It was so obvious that even Tsuna caught on.
When Tsuna had walked to the front gates, Hibari didn't give him so much of a glance. It was as if he saw through Tsuna, as if he wasn't there. In the hallways as Tsuna went to the bathroom, Hibari had been walking in his direction.
Just as he was about to say greet him, Hibari gave him a long, hard, unreadable stare, whirled around abruptly and walked in the opposite direction of Tsuna.
When Tsuna turned his head even just a little, Hibari's head—like a magnet of the same force—would turn away in the other direction. Tsuna was hurt. But at the same time he felt like he deserved it. Just as he was getting along fine with Hibari he just had to go be dame-Tsuna for five damn seconds and ruin everything. Tsuna was dying with worry.
Soon after a week and a half past with Hibari avoiding him everyday like the plague, Tsuna eventually became irritated more than hurt. Why was it his fault? He shouldn't be worried! Hibari was the one that owed him an apology! Tsuna, after recalling the scene over and over again, didn't understand what he did wrong! He couldn't believe how nice he was!
Hibari was the one that canceled that meeting with Kyoko-chan! Hibari was the one that threw him out! Sure, Tsuna did trouble him with the coffee incident, but could that small little accident ruin what little relationship they established just like that? Ridiculous! He wondered if Hibari really was mental!
Tsuna walked home alone, Gokudera was picked up early by Bianchi during lunch and Yamamoto was out eating with his fellow baseball players. In his anger he did not realized where he was walking. He stopped walking and looked around. He never had been in this part of town before. Did he really just wander here?
Tsuna jumped at his name and slowly looked behind him. Hibari was, ridiculously, so far behind him. What now? A ten feet radius restriction order? Tsuna couldn't resisit shooting an unfriendly look at Hibari, unable to take it being polite any longer.
"Oh now what?" Despite himself, his tone was lightly peppered bitterly, "You're talking to me again?"
Hibari hesitated, but spoke clearly and loud enough for Tsuna to hear from the ridiculous gap between them, "Yes."
Tsuna eye twitched in annoyance but whirled around so he completely faced Hibari, "So what? What do you want to talk about?"
Hibari surprised Tsuna by bowing his head, "I want to apologize for my actions. For cancelling the appointment you were to go to with Sasagawa Kyoko without your consent. I also apologize for throwing you and that herbivore out of the reception room. That was very inconsiderate of me to do." There was a pause. And then Hibari added, a bit dumbly, "Please forgive me."
"Hibari-san..." He didn't know where to start. "Were you following me this entire time?"
Hibari did not miss a beat, keeping his face down, "Yes."
Tsuna sighed. While Tsuna here was ranting inwardly about his anger for Hibari walking aimlessly, Hibari himself was just right behind him the whole time, trying to get his attention. It must've taken a lot of courage for Hibari to finally call out his name. As much as he would not have liked to admit it, that was kinda of...endearing.
Tsuna couldn't help but smile as he walked the distance between him and Hibari. He kneeled on his haunches in front of him. Hibari stubbornly kept his bow low, face down, not noticing Tsuna come close. Tsuna tilted his head and took a close look at Hibari's expression. Hibari had his eyes slammed shut, as if he was waiting for an inevitable rejection, his mouth stretched in an incoming grimace. Tsuna smiled, he guessed that Hibari valued whatever-this-relationship-is he had with Tsuna more than he let on.
Tsuna laughed quietly, startling Hibari on looking up.
Then Tsuna said with a smile, "I forgive you."
After that Tsuna and Hibari became quiet friendly with one antoher. Or, at least, as friendly Hibari could get.
Tsuna made constant visits to the reception room everyday, eager to grow the bond between him and Hibari. Hibari often dragged Tsuna out in the middle of class to the reception room while they lounged around the sofas, talking and drinking the drinks Tsuna made.
Gokudera had certainly thrown a fit after the fifth consecutive time in two days Tsuna had said he was going to visit Hibari, again.
Especially when he found out that Hibari wasn't forcing his beloved Tenth but the Tenth actually went on his own accord. Yamamoto didn't mind, saying he was happy for Tsuna for making a good friend. He pretty much gave his blessing in marriage for all he cared, Yamamoto added, most embarrassingly to Tsuna.
After school, he often went to the reception room and studied there, Hibari occasionally helping with faux-irritation.
On Sundays Hibari started coming to Tsuna's house, actually meeting Tsuna's mom and the rest of the family. I-pin had stared at Hibari thinking that he was someone else, she had showed them a picture of Fon, I-pin's master in martial arts that looked like Hibari so much it was scary. Tsuna remembered meeting him a long time ago when he was little but now that you mentioned it…he did look like Hibari. Tsuna felt stupid for not noticing sooner.
Lambo frowned at Hibari on first sight. Obviously his adopted older brother did not like him. Nana had greeted Hibari amiably enough, almost pushing it when she had him stay for dinner, though he accepted it politely. Iemitsu immediately asked Hibari if he could start calling him 'Kyou-kun' Strangely enough, Hibari said yes. Tsuna wondered if Hibari said yes to please Tsuna. That was very sweet of him, thought Tsuna smiling as Iemitsu went into a full-blown conversation about Tsuna's childhood.
Iemitsu plopped Hibari in a chair in the living room and immediately, rapid-fired hundreds of hundreds of hundreds of baby photos he had taken of Tsuna. Tsuna was embarrassed by his father's rants about how cute, adorable, and just plain moe Tsuna was when he was little. One picture Hibari actually smiled at was the one little Tsuna was crying his little heart out in the grocery store, Nana comforting him and behind them was a giant pile of cereal boxes that had tipped over and made a mess of the aisle.
Then Iemitsu pulled out the big guns. This very particular picture Tsuna had burned every last one of them when he got older. Iemitsu took this one out of his wallet and shoved it into Hibari's hands. Hibari softly laughed. Laughed.
Tsuna shrieked, scrabbling for the photo, "Dad, no!"
The picture was little Tsuna again, five years old, wearing a white sun hat with a yellow ribbon matching a yellow sun dress his father gave him on his 5th birthday, 10 years ago when they went camping. Behind them was the river they swam in. Tsuna was smiling, his doe-like eyes peeking curiously from under the large sun hat. He wore tiny brown penny loafers. If Hibari hadn't known the truth about this photo he would have plainly said that this was a girl in the photo.
Tsuna had violently wrenched the picture from Hibari's hands and as Tsuna was busy furiously ripped it to shreds, "Don't worry, I have extras." Iemitsu whispered gleefully as he slipped a copy in Hibari's waiting hands.
Tsuna sighed happily as he sunk into the comfortable sofas he was so familiar with now. Hibari was sipping his orange juice quietly and Hibird was eating sunflower seeds on the table between them. The windows of the reception room was open, letting the cool, summer breeze sweep around them. Both were dressed out of uniform, the air was stifling and it was nearly impossible to try to wear their slacks. At least it was a day out of school.
"Hibari-san," Tsuna said, toying with his hands.
"Hm?" Hibari grunted softly in reply, eyes closed in rare peace, enjoying the company he had.
"I'm going to graduate soon." Tsuna whispered softly. It was true, he realized, that it was only a week before then.
Hibari's eyes snapped open in realization. He had forgotten about that. Or he hadn't, but he was only putting off the thought each time it was brought up.
With an unreadable expression, Hibari looked Tsuna in the eyes. A mutual understanding seemed to pass through them. They would be separated soon. Tsuna, off to live the dream of that is high school and Hibari here to stay in Namimori as the disciplinary committee chairman forever. Tsuna was the one to break the eye contact first, his face bowed, staring at the room around him forlornly.
Hibird fluttered it's wings and landed on Tsuna's open hands on his lap. Hibird chirped, "Sad! Sad!"
Tsuna blinked, he pointed to himself, "Me?"
"Herbivore! Herbivore!" Hibird chirped.
Tsuna laughed quietly and ruffled Hibird's feathers with threading fingers, "No, Hibird, my name is Tsuna."
"Tsuna sad! Tsuna sad!" At this new correction, Tsuna face scrunched into something pained.
Hibari watched the exchange in silence. He didn't want Tsunayoshi to go. He wanted him to stay…to stay here with him and Hibird for forever, like they were doing now. Hibari was jolted out of his thoughts when he heard small sniffling emitting from Tsuna's shaking figure.
"I…I…" Tsuna sniffed sadly, wiping the tears away with his wrists, "I want to be...with you and Hibird..." Tsuna trailed off, his sniffling increasing. His head was bowed down, Hibari couldn't see the expression on Tsuna face. Hibird stared, up at Tsuna with unreadable, beady black eyes. Hibird didn't seem to mind the tears that trailed off Tsuna's face landed on him.
Hibari didn't know what to do. What was he suppose to do? Should he comfort Tsuna? Hibari couldn't, he felt rooted to his spot on the sofa. Hibird began singing the Namimori anthem to cheer Tsuna up, making Tsuna cry even harder. The hiccups began to pick up in speed.
In the end, Hibari did not comfort Tsuna. He sat there, staring at nothing until Tsuna's soft crying died down. When Tsuna stopped sniffling Hibari spoke up, "I want to be with you too." Tsuna peered up at Hibari. Hibari actually smiled faintly, "I'll do something about it."
Tsuna's hope rose, his head swimming with an unknown emotion. Hibari...wanted to be with him too? He was ecstatic to hear this, that he would do something about their predicament. Did Hibari-san plan to leave Namimori to follow him? Tsuna smiled widely, eyes still watery, Hibari-san…will you graduate with us?
"And so it begged the question, how would they be together?" I-pin said cryptically.
"It's impossible," Reborn said blankly, face neutral, "They would both die if they even tried."
Fuuta smiled at Reborn's bluntness with slight exasperation, "Reborn...that's a little..." Fuuta trailed off, when he saw Tsuna's wide-eyed expression at Reborn's comment. Usually, whatever the teen had to say, it was usually right, much to his despair. He usually never had a need to doubt his words before.
"But! That can't be! This story has to have a good ending!" Tsuna wailed.
She tried hushing Tsuna gently as she stared frustratedly at Reborn. "For the last time, Reborn, let me finish!" I-pin snapped irritably, "Anyway as I was saying, Tsuna, the bird tried constantly to stay at his true love's side. He visited her everyday. They always talked at the shore. The other neighboring animals shook their head in shame and in pity—their relationship would never work out. No matter how much they wanted it to be. Every night, the fish and the bird would look up at the sky for shooting stars, wishing that somehow, someday, they could be together forever."
They stilled when they heard sounds of someone sniffing congestion coming from an unexpected direction. Reborn frowned at Lambo, "Lambo…are you crying?"
The said teen sniffed and hid his eyes, "...No!" Lambo denied a bit too late, then added sharply "What are you talking about, Reborn?"
"Lambo." I-pin called frowning; she covered Tsuna's eyes, "You're going to make Tsuna cry again." Usually when he cried, the toddler also followed suit. It was like a chain reaction. If Lambo cried, then Tsuna, unable to understand what was wrong, would cry too.
Lambo wiped his tears and coughed, and waved a hand dismissively, "...Okay, I'm ready, just continue."
I-Pin rolled her eyes.
She continued, "winter was coming. And it wasn't long until the two had to be separated. The bird had to go to the South, where the cold did not touch them. The fish planned to sleep during the winter. Their time was limited. Everyone knew that a lot of fish died in the winter. The bird's soulmate was especially weak compared to the others of their kind. The majestic bird knew he could not protect the fish. He dared not move the delicate thing to a different pond also. The nearest lake was miles and miles away. They would not make it in time because the fish could not breathe in air."
"Tsuna," I-pin called, making Tsuna's attention avert to her, "If a bird and a fish fell in love, where would they live? Who keeps his fins and who loses his wings?"
Tsuna's eyes lowered to the floor, his lower lip trembled, "But I don't want any of them to lose something."
She smiled and held onto Tsuna's shoulders, looking at him in the eyes. "Tsuna, that is what love is. Sacrifice."
Tsuna happily tapped his pencil against the desk. Tomorrow would be the real last day of school. And Hibari-san was coming with them! Tsuna jittered in his seat excitedly. Him and Hibari would spend high school together, study together, maybe walk to and back from school together.
Along with Gokudera and Yamamoto of course, they would all become the best of friends! Maybe Tsuna could finally have a girlfriend in high school! He paused at that thought. Strange. That thought didn't make him as happy as he thought it would.
"Excuse me, is Sawada Tsunayoshi here?" A female staff said, poking her head in the classroom.
Tsuna jumped in surprise, awakening from his stupor, and raised his hand, "That would be me, ma'am."
"Please, come with me, there is something we need to discuss." He noticed something unusual with this woman. She shifted her eyes fearfully, looking behind her and side to side in repeating patterns. There was something strange in her voice as well. Her voice was shaky.
A murmur broke through the room, what it Hibari this time? But usually Hibari picked him up in person.
Tsuna wasn't sure he liked the tone that woman just used. It sounded like something bad has happened. Did someone from Tsuna's family got into an accident? Scared of this thought, Tsuna rocketed from his seat and followed after the woman. Gokudera and Yamamoto looked at each other worriedly when the murmur turned into clear whispered speculations.
Tsuna followed the shaken up woman to the teacher's office. There was no one in here, all the teachers were busy teaching at this time. The woman pulled up a chair for Tsuna to sit in and she shakily sat in hers. The teacher pulled out a folder from a drawer and set it between them. The woman gave him a sympathetic look, "Tsunayoshi-kun, how well do you think you did on your final exam?"
What? What did this have to do with anything? So it wasn't about his family? Tsuna shook his head to shake off the unease, "Which one, sensei?"
"The entrance exam for Namimori High."
Tsuna furrowed his eyebrows, "I passed, I'm sure."
The woman gave a confused look and then worriedly she fiddled with the hem of her business skirt, she sincerely said, "Tsunayoshi-kun, I'm sorry to inform you that you failed that test."
Tsuna stared, first unable to take it in. What? How could that be? He studied for that test. He studied for a month early! "I, what?"
The teacher nodded, and fearfully, she pulled out a paper from the folder and handed it to Tsuna over the table. Tsuna took it in his hands. The woman gave him a sympathetic look, "Tsunayoshi-kun that is a letter from Namimori high."
Tsuna skimmed through it, eyes widening in disbelief as he got the gist of what it was for, "T, They're holding me back a year?" No, he refused to believe this. It had to be some sort of mistake.
The teacher hesitated but nodded.
Tsuna stood up from and seat, his chair skittering behind him, "Make up!" He quibbled desperately, suggesting, "Make up tests. Can I take them?"
The teacher shook her head, worrying her bottom lip with her top rowed teeth, "The makeup tests have already passed, Tsunayoshi-kun..."
"Please!" Tsuna said desperately, his breathing rising in erratic cadences, "I studied for that test, I swear! I knew every question! I couldn't have possibly failed!"
The teacher stood up and put a sympathizing hand over Tsuna's shoulder, "I'm sorry, Tsunayoshi-kun. I want to help, I really do. But it's not in my power to do so."
He didn't reply. Couldn't. He could only stand there and stare at the table top.
The teacher gave his shoulder one firm squeeze before releasing her hand and walked out of the door, feeling horrible.
Tsuna crumpled to the floor, knees hitting the ground, hands gripping the desk in a vice hold. Gokudera, Yamamoto, even Hibari! They were going to high school without him! They were going to leave him too! I-pin and Lambo were going away also! Why? Why was the world so cruel? He wrenched the paper in his hands. Why was he so stupid?
He didn't return to class, most understandably. Why should he bother?
Tsuna walked like a zombie through the hallways. He felt like one too. He Instead decided to go to the reception room instead. He didn't want his classmates, especially Gokudera or Yamamoto, to see him like this.
He was ashamed of his failure. He actually wished that Hibari wasn't in the reception room either. He just wanted to be alone, really. Another sob ripped up his throat at the mention of Hibari's name. He was looking so forward with going with him to high school.
He felt so empty. All that hard work he went through. All the hard work he had spent building up their relationship...Hibari was going to hate him again and eventually ignore him, because it was Tsuna's influence he would leave Namimori Middle. He would give him no acknowledgement and it was still his fault again. Like that cup of coffee, Tsuna had screwed up his chance once again.
He opened the reception room with a limp hand and recoiled by what he saw inside. It was worse than just having Hibari alone, there were others crowding inside.
Dino was there, sitting on the desk, Romario next to him. Kusakabe was helping himself to a cup of newly brewed coffee. And there was Hibari on the couch. They all looked up when Tsuna arrived. Dino stopped in mid-greeting when he took one better look at Tsuna. Kusakabe asked with wide eyes, "Sawada...is something wrong?"
Tsuna opened his mouth to reply but instead a soft hiccup came out. He regretted it simultaneously, wanting to retract his mistake. Dino was instantly aware of the situation. He pretty much jumped over the sofa (which Hibari was sitting on) and held Tsuna's shoulder tightly as he leaned over to stare into his averted eyes. Tsuna could not hold back the constant hiccuping that he felt coming on now. Being in the presence of other people while crying only made Tsuna cry harder.
Tsuna tried pushing Dino away, trying to say he was alright but it was a loss cause. Tsuna was simply too weak and too emotionally unstable to speak. Tsuna peeked one watery look at Hibari, who was staring at him with a unreadable expression, and his knees buckled. The thought of Hibari going to high school without him instantly crossed his mind again. Dino caught him by the arms and steered him towards the sofa. Tsuna sat down and cupped his hands around his face, trying to hide his face.
He could hear Dino asking what was wrong but he only shook his head, more tears springing to the surface. Tsuna tried to collect his breathing and tried telling them though, "I, I failed the..." He couldn't finish it, because saying it only felt too final.
When Tsuna stopped quivering, everyone was quiet. Hibari felt frustrated. He couldn't help the herbivore. Again.
Dino, being the affectionate older brother held a comforting arm Tsuna around the shoulders the entire time. Kusakabe offered him a drink.
And Hibari—he didn't do anything. Frustration coming back tenfold, Hibari nearly crushed the cup in his hand. Well...if Hibari changed the subject maybe it would help. He knew at least that much that it does miracles in tough situations in comforting someone.
Dino started slowly, "Tsuna, what happened?"
Tsuna shook his head, voice rasp, he muttered, "Sorry, I...I don't want to talk about it."
There was a short interval of strained quiet. Hibari wanted to test out this theory, "Well," Hibari said, startling everyone in the room, "We'll be together next year."
Tsuna's head whipped up to look at Hibari with disbelief, "W-What? But, I'm not..." But that made no sense, seeing as Hibari was going to graduate, he was going to...stay here. That was virtually impossible. They were going to be separated whether they wished for it or not.
"You're being retained. I'll still be in Namimori." The prefect answered.
It was like two and two came together. Tsuna stared at Hibari with an inscrutable expression. Because, it, it just couldn't be. What crossed through Tsuna's mind just now could not be the truth. "What?"
Slowly as if mentally incapacitated, Tsuna leaned up and whispered, "You...Hibari-san...you retained me?"
Hibari nodded again, "Yes. I had a word with the principal. He said it was acceptable."
The youngest of the group backed away, shaking his head disbelievingly. His eyes were wide, but in that shocked gaze, there was something he didn't use often bubbling beneath the surface.
Hibari's expression was frozen, staring at Tsuna's contorted face. Tsuna hovered where he stood, shaking. He heaved, trying to breathe properly, furiously eyeing Hibari. "You retained me!" He was so rendered speechless, he couldn't even come up with a proper ending to his accusation. "Hibari-san—you!" Tsuna was rendered speechless.
New tears from a different reason leaked. Betrayal flew off him in waves.
Hibari, somewhere on his body, undoubtedly had his tonfas with him. But he made no move to take them out, even at Tsuna's hostility. Slowly, blinked once to keep eye contact at Tsuna, face still evident with shock. Tsuna shouted at him, "How could you? How could you do this? I,I—"
Hibari spoke quietly, "You said…that you wanted to be together."
"I thought you were going to graduate Namimori with me! I thought that! I never even dreamed that you would this!" Tsuna shook his head quickly, eyes looking at anything but the prefect. "So your pride holds more water than your friend's dreams?"
He was speechless, but still, he had enough sense to look indignant at this accusation, "It's not like that, Tsunayoshi."
"Then what is it?" Tsuna's tone was frighteningly calm, but it still held enough antagonism to hurt, "Tell me, why did you do it?"
In complete loss, he had no time in the spur of the moment to hide the actual sugar-coated truth of his words. So Hibari answered truthfully, his voice sounded frank, "I wanted to stay at Namimori. With you."
"Because it was convenient." Tsuna finished for him, his tone placid but his words biting. "Is that what you're trying to say?" To his utmost turmoil, it was right on the mark, he couldn't deny it. When Hibari didn't reply, Tsuna said firmly, "You can't have both, Hibari-san."
Hibari was rendered into silence as Tsuna turned his heel and walked out of the reception room. Dino and Romario gave him an unreadable look before running after Tsuna. Kusakabe, wanting to give Hibari some space, excused himself and went out to patrol; leaving Hibari alone. More alone then he ever felt before.
He wasn't able to hold back his pained expression at the train station. Today I-pin and Lambo were leaving off on a train to Sendai. It was a six hour long train ride but well worth it and would greatly benefit the two of them.
He felt like he couldn't breathe as I-pin and Lambo ate as their last meal together with him. His appetite had narrowed to a pinprick.
I-pin wanted to voice her concern over Hibari's absence lately, and they were more than a little upset the prefect hadn't at least seen them off. The older teen came almost everyday then suddenly he was just…gone.
Lambo began to have his suspicions that the two of them were having a fight but didn't want to push it on such a delicate day. His parents could not make it. Nana was sick in bed and their father had just left a week before in some business in New York. Tsuna would have to go home alone today.
For some reason, as strange as it sounds, Tsuna secretly liked it. He didn't want anyone to see him in his current state.
His thoughts trailed back to Hibari. He wondered how Hibari felt when he ran out of the reception room like that. Tsuna knew it was too good to be true. Hibari's pride for Namimori obviously outbalanced the importance of Tsuna's and his relationship. More tears sprung to his eyes and he wiped them away with the hem of his shirt.
Who was he kidding? Here Tsuna was, actually thinking that he could change Hibari Kyouya, change his priorities. He wished there had been someone to tell him how stupid he was and that he should just quit before he got hurt. At least, that way he wouldn't feel what he was feeling now.
His train of thought was broken as he felt himself being led to a bench. He sat quietly with the college graduates.
They already bought their tickets and their train was scheduled to arrive in about twenty minutes. I-pin sat next to Tsuna, her own tears brimming. Lambo's face was puckered up, looking like he didn't want to cry. It was their last twenty minutes together until for a long time. He squeezed his hands over his knees when he began to feel the urge to beg Lambo and I-pin to stay. But he knew better. If Tsuna told them to stay, they would stay.
Tsuna was nearly in hysteric silence when the train came from around the corner, the volume increasing as proximity grew. It halted to a stop in front of them.
They turned towards each other and exchanged hugs speaking goodbyes over the sounds.
There was a ten second interval of the final alarm, signaling the train doors were going to close soon.
I-pin reluctantly let go of Tsuna and helped Lambo gather their bags. They ran inside the train, just as the automatic doors closed behind them. Tsuna stared through the glass at them. As the train began to move, Tsuna walked beside it, eyes never leaving the two. When the train began to pick up speed, Tsuna ran faster, breathing raggedly beside it.
But then, as if in great realization, the Chinese girl sprinted to the window and pulled it open. "Tsuna!" She shouted loudly to him. Lambo exclaimed in surprise, eyes wide at her.
"Lambo! I-Pin!" Was Tsuna's only reply, trying his hardest to keep up with the train.
Then I-pin screamed her next words loudly, earning very incredulous stares from the other passengers, "If a fish and a bird fell in love, where would they live! Who keeps his fins and who loses his wings?"
In his confusion, Tsuna yelped as he tripped, his body hitting the tiles hard. And from the floor he watched as the train disappeared into the dark tunnel, taking I-pin and Lambo with it.
Instead of using the cab money given to him to call a taxi to get home, Tsuna decided to walk.
He wasn't sure how the driver would take it if Tsuna started to openly sob in the backseat.
He wanted to walk home and think about what I-pin's last words to him. He remembered, all those years ago, on his fifth birthday I-pin had told him a story. Sure it was hard to remember the details but he couldn't seem to remember the name of the story. Did I-pin even once mention the title to him? He remembered it was a Chinese tale but...
It was a long walk back home. It would take about an hour in the car from the station, but walking...
His thoughts ran in an erratic dance during his time alone, attacking him with the things he didn't dare think about until then.
Tsuna didn't want summer to come. After all, when summer was over he would be back in Namimori...Sure, he would be with Hibari but it was hopeless. Tsuna had been looking so forward in going to high school but instead he was just going to be held back a year.
Tsuna chuckled humorlessly, he wondered how Hibari convinced the principal to retain a student like him. It was probably effortless. A student like Tsuna, who failed every single test but that high school entrance exam.
It could have been only too easy for Hibari. He couldn't help but think about how selfish it was. He wanted to stay in Namimori and keep Tsuna. He had thought that he had changed Hibari. That Hibari would just let go of his school pride and come with him to finally graduate. All Tsuna wanted is what was best for Hibari. To let go of that unhealthy obsession and just get on with his life. And Tsuna was willing to be with him every step of the way.
Tsuna felt something trickle behind his eyes as he walked dejectedly down his neighborhood street. It was now near sunset and Tsuna wanted to lock himself up in his room and never come out. Never to face the harsh reality.
He found himself smiling sadly. Hibari's school pride and Tsuna's high school chances. The bird's wings and the fish's fins.
Then he stopped in his tracks. What?
I-pin's words all those years ago surged through his head:
"Tsuna, as ironic as it sounds, that is what love is. Sacrifice."
Tsuna's eyes widened with realization. Sacrifice. To be together, someone had to sacrifice something. Because that is what love is. Sacrifice. He thanked his lucky stars for the epiphany I-pin had belatedly given him ten years later. Turning his heel, Tsuna sprinted towards Namimori.
"What happened next, I-pin?"
"That's up to you, Tsuna." I-pin said cryptically, "Eventually the story will end depending on your decision one day."
There was a lapse of quietness that enveloped over everyone. They thought deeply about the plot, how would it work out? How could they stay together? Iemitsu looked deep into thought and Nana giggled as Tsuna had trouble eating his corn on a cob, his delicate small teeth could not clamp onto it.
"Well, that was lame." Lambo deadpanned, breaking the somber atmostphere.
I-pin smacked him on the head sharply, "Please! Mine will do him good for the future, unlike you, mister sippy cup."
Lambo frowned, "At least I got him something he likes. I mean your guys presents sucked bad." Lambo said, looking at Reborn and I-pin accusingly.
"I don't think my present was bad. I think he'll find it quite useful. But I have to agree with Lambo on this," Reborn said, "What good will your story do?"
The pale-skinned girl huffed, "Didn't you just hear what I just said? One day he will remember this story and think about it in the future!"
"I-pin." Lambo rolled his eyes at the clearly annoyed girl beside to him, "Tsuna's only five years old. I doubt he'll even remember this night."
Fuuta spoke up quietly, and everyone turned to look at him. "I don't think so. I think Tsuna will definitely think back on this."
"What makes you think that?" Iemitsu asked.
Fuuta shook his head, "I don't know why…but I just do. Kids are more observant than you think, Lambo." Tsuna watched this witful exchanged with his older adopted siblingswith wide, doe-like eyes which drinking from his new sippy cup.
It was dark by now but Tsuna jumped over the closed gates of Namimori. He opened an always-unlocked window and hopped inside. The school was a bit creepy and Tsuna normally would've been scared if he wasn't so determined. It was maddening, his running was making the only sound, as if he was all alone in the world. He skidded to a stop in front of the reception room and threw the door open, "Hibari-san!"
Hibari was not there.
With a frustrated cry, Tsuna began running around the school, opening every classroom door he passed, looking for any sign of the prefect.
Eventually he did grew exhausted, and Tsuna stopped, panting hard. His breaths rushed in and out as he decided that Hibari wasn't here, for he knew that the prefect would have came running at the first sign of his disturbance of the school. Tsuna ran out of Namimori Middle to go look for his apartment.
He ran up to the public telephone booth and threw it open. Surely, they would have Hibari's address. He quickly paid the public phone and sputtered Hibari's last name to the operator.
He waited for some agonizing moments until the girl gave him the address. Tsuna didn't write it down, willing to drill the information inside his head. He thanked the girl, hung up the phone, and ran towards Hibari's condominium.
The doorbell rang shrilly in a way that grated one's ears.
Nana sneezed, she wiped her nose with a tissue, carefully wrapping herself in her sweater. She was still in her nightgown, but she hoped that their visitor would understand that she was sick. She stumbled downstairs in a daze, fumbling with the doorknob clumsily for a moment.
The doorbell kept ringing in consecutive times, the arrival obviously desperate for her attention.
Nana shakily opened the door, her eyes widening with a soft cough. It was Hibari, his hand held up, mid-knock.
"Sawada Nana," Hibari said, noticing that she was sick upon sight, "Is Tsunayoshi here?"
Nana furrowed her eyebrows, she looked at the clock. She hadn't seen her son all day. The young mother gasped gasped: it was nearly midnight! Where was Tsuna? She looked at Hibari, as if thinking he had the answer only to realize what he asked. "Tsuna hasn't come home yet." She began worriedly, her voice congested and nose clogged, "He was supposed to see I-pin and Lambo off to Sendai but…He should've been home hours ago."
Hibari suddenly felt tired, running a hand over his face as he squeezed his eyes shut. "Kyoya?" Nana asked worriedly, "What's wrong?"
"Tsunayoshi didn't come home..." Hibari mused exasperatedly, "Where is he?"
"Kyoya, where is Tsu-kun?" Nana asked, sickness forgotten. When he didn't answer at first, she called again, "Kyoya!"
"I just wanted to have a word with him, I do not know his whereabouts." He admittedly said after a moment.
Wordlessly, the young mother pulled Hibari in. He stepped in, but made no move to make himself comfortable, standing stiffly at the entrance as he observed Nana. Shuffling over rather resolutely, frail as her condition was to the phone. Nana's worry was shooting through the roof as she dialed Dino's number, after a few rings Dino answered, "Mrs. Sawada?"
"D-Dino!" Nana sputtered into the receiver, "Please help! Tsuna is missing! He hasn't come home! It's midnight and, and he was suppose to come home at four this afternoon!"
"What?" Dino's reply was one of shock, but then seemed to momentarily compose himself as he shot into his next question, "What happened?"
Nana bit her lip, glancing at Hibari's hardened features, "I, I'm not sure. He was suppose to come home after he saw I-pin and Lambo off on a train."
"Don't worry Mrs. Sawada, I'm going to send my men to look for him." Dino reassured sharply. Then adding a bit more gently, "Please just rest. We'll find him. Don't worry. I'll check the train station to see if he's still there. I'm going to call Yamamoto and Gokudera to look for him too."
Nana nodded, pressing the phone into her cheek in a tighter grip, "Please, be careful, then."
Dino hung up. Nana had forgotten Hibari was right in front of her. Shaken with worry, Nana asked softly with fretting eyes, "Kyoya, will wait you stay here and wait for Tsuna?"
Hibari shook his head, "I'm going to look for him too," Hibari said sharply, then adding more firmly, "I'll find him."
Nana nodded and watched as Hibari sprinted out of the Sawada residence.
"Hibari-san! Hibari-san!" Tsuna cried, banging on Hibari's front door condo. He slightly did worry if the neighbors came out or called the police for his disturbance, but his need to find the older teen somewhat overpowered that insignificant anxiety. Tsuna rang the doorbell six more times before his knees gave out finally; he slid against the door, using it as a support tiredly.
What if Hibari really was in there? What if he was ignoring him? It was his fault, again. Hibari must be angry, or decidedly upset with him. It had been his mistake not to realize that Hibari had only wanted to stay with Tsuna, it wasn't made with foul intentions. Perhaps in another life, he would have done the same.
Tsuna shakily got up, wiping his sweat dejectedly with his sleeve, and began walking slowly to the elevator. He pressed the floor button and the elevator closed, and descended. Maybe Hibari was in a different place.
As Tsuna's elevator reached the bottom floor, Hibari reached his condo's floor by the stairs. He panted lightly and strode over to his door. Most frustratedly, he saw no sign of Tsuna. With a strained exhale, Hibari ran down the stairs again. Really? That was a stupid place to look. Why would Tsuna look for him? He was incredibly angry at him.
At the first floor, he ran out of the condo complex and headed towards the tallest building in Namimori, which was decidedly, the hospital. Hibari did always sleep on roofs a lot. If Tsuna reached the highest building maybe he could see where Hibari was.
Gokudera went completely ballistic. Dino had quickly explained to him and ordered him to find Tsuna and call him when he did. Gokudera didn't even reply, he shut his cellphone closed and ran out to find Yamamoto.
The baseball idiot would help, even if he was incredibly annoying. Without so much of a greeting to Yamamoto's father he ran upstairs and saw Yamamoto, sleeping. He kicked at him, yelling profanities. Yamamoto groggily woke up but picked up the words, 'Tsuna' and 'missing' and 'kidnapped' and flew into action.
He circled his room once, putting on his clothes and running out the door, Gokudera at his heels.
The two sprinted down the streets, looking for any signs of Tsuna. They first started at the park near the elementary school near the Sawada residence. He wasn't there. Then they checked Hokusai street, thinking that Tsuna maybe out for a late night walk or jog.
Hibari already checked Namimori Middle. Tsuna had been there, and the evidenced laid out when he saw the classroom doors that he had closed were now open. He could imagine...Tsuna running through the hallways opening every single door.
Obviously, he had come here on purpose, and most likely it was Hibari he was searching for. Why was Tsuna looking for him? Was it even him he was looking for? Hibari thought humorlessly and ran out of Namimori, only to bump into Gokudera and Yamamoto. They were going to check Namimori too.
"Hibari?" Yamamoto said in surprise, as Hibari walked out of the gates with a irritated expression.
"Tsunayoshi is not here," He said to the two teens, who stared dumbfoundedly at his presence. "I've already checked."
Yamamoto was the quickest to react and break out of the stupor, "Thanks," The tallest of the three said gratefully with a nod, "We already checked the park and Hokusai street. We're going to head downtown to see if he went there. What about you?"
"I'm going to check up." Hibari said, point upwards.
There was a bout of quietness as they registered the other's words.
"Do you think this is a game?" Gokudera snarled incredulously.
"Gokudera, Hibari knows what he's doing." Yamamoto said, putting a hand on Gokudera's shoulder before turning back to thank Hibari. Only to see that he had already left.
It had taken awhile to reach the roof. He had earned curious looks from the late-night workers as he passed but none of them moved to stop him. He threw open the roof door and sighed shakily into the cool breeze. He was most disappointed by the fact no one was up here except for him.
He checked each and every building he could see. He checked every corner of the roof. Tsuna knew it was probably pretty late and it was stupid to think that Hibari was even on the roof at this time of night. But Hibari wasn't at school. He wasn't sitting on any roof, and he wasn't even at home.
Tsuna stared at the night sky. He felt tired. And there, Tsuna closed his eyes, giving in to the exhaustion on that roof on that warm summer night.
Hibari found him like that, just lying there. Hibari had thought of going to the highest building too and searching from there but...there he was. Just lying there, sleeping. That damn herbivore. Hibari sighed irritably and took off his warm white jacket, without waking Tsuna, he slipped it on him. He then carried Tsuna over to the corner of the roof where the wind didn't blow and let Tsuna use him as a pillow. Then, Hibari dozed off, like Tsuna.
However the next morning Hibari was the one to wake up first. The morning light from the sun felt good to the skin. It warmed them up.
He stared at Tsuna, wondering if he was still mad at him. Would the first thing words the other spoke would be as biting and bitter as the ones in the reception office?
His hands were icy from being out for so long. He shoved them in his pockets and startled, he realized there was something in his pocket. He pulled it out, unable to hold back the somewhat amused expression that surfaced. It was the picture of the herbivore as a five year old in that dress, a copy given to him from Iemitsu unbeknownst to Tsuna.
Tsuna took that moment to wake up.
He found himself with his head on someone's shoulder, be he found that somewhat irrevelant to the fact he was waking up to the sight of that same picture.
Without thinking, he reached out to snatch it, and hopefully, dispose of the embarrassing thing. Hibari successfully held it away so Tsuna could not reach for it, and found themselves at a stalemate. Eventually their struggle managed to get Tsuna on top of Hibari's lap, then his torso, and inevitably laying on top of the older teen. When Tsuna did realize who he was trying to take the photo from, he squawked, shot up to his feet.
"Where did you get that picture?" He questioned vehemently, staring at the item in question with undisguised abhorrence.
"Your father gave it to me."
"I thought I ripped it!"
"Your father made copies."
"I'm going to kill him!"
"Your father won't like that." Was the deadpanned retort.
Tsuna stomped towards the door, completely determined to carry out this threat, and glared more at the picture than he registered Hibari, "Are you coming?"
Hibari only shook his head in amusement and easily caught up from behind him, only at a slower and calmer pace. As Tsuna's hand clamped around the doorknob, he froze—and his situation was beginning to sink in. At Tsuna's abrupt pause, Hibari frowned, "What's wrong now?"
"H, Hibari-san?" Tsuna said disbelievingly, spinning around to stare at the teen behind him.
"What?" He replied irrtably, narrowing his eyes.
"Hibari-san! It's you!" Tsuna shouted, pupils widening.
Hibari rolled his eyes. But his own eyes widened just as much only in surprise as Tsuna came closer and stared worriedly up at him. "I'm sorry!" He blabbered, "I'm really sorry, I, don't be mad at me, I still want to be with you, and I understand that you went through hard lengths to make that happen. I'm sorry I couldn't understand your intentions—I—"
"Herbivore." A cutting voice interrupted with dark impatience. He stopped almost immediately, staring attentively. The prefect sighed, "I forgive you. But I apologize for retaining you. That was inexcusable. I went to Namimori High yesterday and demanded that they accepted you, and..." Then Hibari mumbled something else, trailing off inaudibly.
Tsuna's eyebrows furrowed, leaning closer to hear the quiet words, "Hibari-san, I couldn't catch that."
Embarrassed and agitated to be repeating his words, Hibari muttered quick, "...I'm graduating this year also."
There was a long lapse of silence before Tsuna's arms flew around his neck. Hibari jumped in the embrace, startled by sudden contact. He was staring at his feet, not wanting to look at Tsuna expression, or rather, not wanting the other to see his.
They would graduate together.
Tsuna couldn't stop smiling. Hibari kept his lips firmly straight but still pulled off that happy indifference he was decidedly talented at.
He turned the doorknob, exchanging some words with the other about their entrance exams. All the color paled from his face, when he realized something was very wrong. Tsuna jiggled the doorknob again. Oh no. Where they locked in? Tsuna tried jiggling the doorknob over and over again. Perhaps they should wait for help to come? But when did anyone ever go to the roof so early in the morning?
Hibari sighed irritably when he realized the problem himself.
Tsuna spun around, "Hibari-san." He began with a nervous swallow, "The door is locked."
Hibari smacked his forehead with his palm and tried opening it. The doorknob didn't budge. With a straight face he turned towards Tsuna, "Climb on my back."
"...What?" He asked after registering the words, stunned by the idea of it.
"Climb on my back."
"Climb on my back." Was repeated again.
"Oh alright." Tsuna snapped, but his expression softened greatly when he added, "I'm not going anywhere."
Hibari's lips resembled something that looked like a smile, catching the hidden meaning behind the other's words. Tsuna climbed on Hibari's back as he lowered to the floor to make it easier for the shorter boy. After settling, Tsuna nervously commented on this bizarre situation, "Hibari-san I don't understand how this is going to help us."
"Just wait. You'll see."
Tsuna frowned, "Hibari-san what are you planning—" Tsuna noticed Hibari move close to the edge. "Hibari-san. Please tell me you are not going to do what I think you're going to do. Hibari-san, wait, wait no!" Hibari jumped off the roof.
Jumped off the roof.
Tsuna screamed so loud that the older thought he was going to be deaf. As they flew past two stories, Tsuna's hold on Hibari's neck was enough to choke a normal person. But Hibari was not normal. If he really was choking, Hibari did not show any signs of it.
Skillfully, Hibari took out his tonfas and pressed a hidden button. A long chain with a large hook shot out of the end of the tonfas and latched onto the roof and they descended, this time with more grace since the tonfas spat out more chain, never ending. It was like a magic hat. Hibari could probably fit anything in there.
Tsuna did however, stop screaming when they reached to floor. Indifferently, but happily exhilarated, Hibari pried the death-grip arm hold that Tsuna had around Hibari and put the shaky, shell-shocked Tsuna to sit on top of a convenient dumpster while the prefect retracted his chain-hook.
Least to say, Tsuna was not pleased with Hibari after that.
It never occurred to Hibari to call Dino after he found him. Gokudera, Yamamoto, everyone was up all night while Hibari and Tsuna were dozing off on the roof.
Nana had crushed both of them to her chest, crying about Tsuna and thanking Hibari with a bunch of kisses. Hibari got a call from Iemitsu who was still at New York and the man gave him a long speech about his thanks and gave his blessing on taking care of Tsuna. Hibari raised his eyebrow at this. It sounded as if he was giving his son to him in marriage.
Gokudera, fell into hysterical happiness when he saw Tsuna again the next day.
He ran up to him, and swore that he would throw himself off a cliff because he failed his duty as his right-hand man. Yamamoto then pointed out that Gokudera could not continue his right-hand man duties if he did. Gokudera immediately changed his punishment to cutting off one of his fingers. Tsuna had nearly fainted and reassured Gokudera that he was not harmed and that Hibari had not done anything to hurt him (-physically, anyways).
Lambo and I-pin called the next day, hearing about his disappearance from their worry-wart father. Lambo had talked and talked on and on about how he should've had someone with him when they left Tsuna all alone. I-pin couldn't stop crying in between conversations, saying how much she missed Tsuna to teeny bits and she asked if her advice worked, "So?" I-pin gushed exuberantly after composing herself, "How did the story end?"
Tsuna peeked over his shoulder to look at Hibari who was engaged in deep conversation with Iemitsu on his own phone. Tsuna smiled widely and said, "They became fishbirds."
"Hibari-san?" Tsuna called from over the black leather couch. He was staring out the floor to ceiling windows of Hibari's condominium.
It was already November now. Hibari of course, had graduated with Tsuna. Namimori Middle's teachers were crying of pure joy. It was the talk for weeks. The legendary Disciplinary Committee chairman—graduating! But much to the misfortune of Namimori High, when Hibari graduated into high school he had brought the Disciplinary Committee with him. So, ironically, Hibari was still the Disciplinary Committee chairman.
Their first semester exams were coming up and Hibari used this opportunity to study.
"Hm?" Was the hummed reply, as Hibari rolled his ankles.
"Remember that day when you told me you were graduating Namimori Middle and you and me jumped off the roof?" Sure, Tsuna had been livid about that incident, but time slowly ebbed away the bitterness. Now, they both thought about it was a good memory that lead to the happy present of today.
"What about it?"
"I was thinking...couldn't you have just used your tonfas to break down the door?"
There was a pause of contemplation. Then another minute of silence that was comprehension.
"This topic is over, Tsunayoshi."
AN: I had originally wrote this when I was fourteen, I came back four years later to rewrite it such as: getting rid of the caps lock sentences, annoying out of character behavior/actions, got rid of a ton of useless dialogue and added more detailed monologue. I hope this is better now.
The story I-pin told was modified by me by a whole lot. It is a Chinese folktale/saying. I read this in a book of sayings then I was like, "Oh god! This so matches Hibari and Tsuna!" And so, it inspired this story. There are many plots out there regarding this legend, but I never liked the endings. The fish and bird falling in love usually ended very badly, like one of them dying. I really, really don't like that. So I had to change it a bit to fit my story.
Does anyone like the idea of an older ADOPTED brothers and sisters of Reborn, I-pin, Fuuta, and Lambo? I really liked that idea!
I made this to celebrate my newcoming in 1827, and the Reborn fandom—which I just started recently in the beginning of the summer in 2009. Happy reading and writing, everyone!