Summary: Sawada Tsunayoshi was unassuming. Resourceful. Surprisingly adaptive. A little inept when it came to dealing with romantic affections or unwanted attention. And his hyper-intuition hasn't been wrong yet. Regardless, he didn't need that indication of doom to know that Reborn was the harbinger of utter chaos.
Warning: Liberties taken with the storyline, Out-of-Character Tsuna, Reborn's teaching methods, Mukuro's perverted tendencies, EXTREME-ness, swearing, violence, organised crime and Hibari. Cause his sheer presence in any fic deserves a mention.
Life isn't weird; it's the people in it.
Mikhail earned the nickname 'King of Hearts' when he impaled a man with the razor-sharp edge of a playing card. He had quick reflexes, a good eye and an even better aim. In a heartbeat, the outwardly carefree teenager could turn into a cold, detached killer, and then merrily skip away from the body.
His Aunt Elizaveta (aka 'the Black Widow') was Head of the Volkov Mafia Family situated in Russia. Well-known for a meticulous knowledge of poisons and chemicals, as well as her track record with men (all five of her previous husbands died in uncertain circumstances) over the years she had amassed fortune well over $60 million USD.
But we're not concerned with the movements of the Volkov Family, but of the detour Mikhail made to Japan.
After a guarded meeting with a personal contact gleaned the last bit of knowledge he needed, piecing different sources together to receive the bigger picture had been easy. The entire venture was a different story, but no matter, Mikhail liked a good challenge.
His reason for all the trouble? The Volkov Family had been embroiled in a quarrel with the Acerbi Family over the disappearances of people from both sides. The Volkov didn't sniff out any perpetrators among their connections; the Acerbi were unable to interrogate any useful information from their enemies. The two families were not on the best of terms, and the only vague implications were pointing to the other.
So far it had been a kind of Cold War, with the two skirting around each other suspiciously. The Acerbi Family was one of the most violent mafia families around, and were respected for their ruthlessness in dealing with enemies. The Volkov Family was infamous for gathering intelligence through a multitude of channels and the allegiances between one Volkov member to one another. It was said that traitors inside the Family were not only dealt with swiftly, but that all traces of that person were to disappear, leaving no hint of existence – the ultimate form of death.
Things would have escalated – badly – until both sides received coded emails, signed only with the name Yoshi. The attached files were a comprehensive examination of the serial killer Isaac Ogden and his campaign to turn the two Families against each other for his own unfathomable and twisted pleasures, complete with details, evidence, times, plans, you name it.
The next day marked the first alliance treaty between the two families in over fifty years. With a name and face, it was only a matter of time before the Volkov tracked down the perpetrator, and the Acerbi was only too happy to deal with the problem in their usual violent and gory fashion.
Now there was just one more loose thread to deal with. And Elizaveta was a thorough woman.
"We really need to thank this Yoshi for the assistance. If not for his involvement, we could be at war with the Acerbi." She quietly closed her laptop. The email had been simple and to the point, effectively breaking the ice between the Acerbi. She didn't trust them much, but at least she wasn't worried about a confrontation now.
"Misha," she used Mikhail's other, more innocent nickname, "be a dear and find him for us will you?"
Mikhail raised his purple-tinted sunglasses, intrigued. "Really, Aunt? I hear he is quite the elusive one, no?"
The Black Widow drained her wine glass dry. "We aren't one of the most informed Mafia families for no reason. Employ all our contacts." Her manicured hand tapped the marble table thoughtfully. "He would be a useful addition after all. I want him for our Family."
Mikhail shrugged. "Okay. If that's all, I shall talk and see what some of our connections can bring me." He replaced his sunglasses and headed for the door, pausing to grab his red and blue coat. "Do svidania.*"
Elisaveta waved languidly to her nephew. "Good hunting."
It had taken one and a half weeks for Mikhail to chance upon the defining factor that proved his theories of the Japanese link, three months for more concrete leads, and another two months to narrow his search down to a precise area.
Changing identification papers three times, appearance four times, and transport seven times, he soon found himself assimilating into Namimori as a foreign teenager on a brief, relaxing holiday.
The teen couldn't get his hands on a photograph (Yoshi was good at covering his tracks), but managed a general outline of appearance, as well as the layout of the Namimori area. At first he entertained himself with visualizing this Yoshi's character. He was rumoured to be pretty young – the informant had chuckled and told a puzzled Mikhail to expect nothing.
Maybe he was a teenager like Mikhail. Perhaps some kind of young genius hacker. That made him perfect for the Volkov! They were sure to become good friends. He grinned cheerfully. Their Head of Communications, Anya, had practically been salivating at the potential and skill of Yoshi's encrypted files. It had taken her a quarter an hour to crack, which was saying something for a young lady who could type her way into the Pentagon in a few minutes.
Mikhail hit the snag when he walked through one of Namimori's more secluded parks, where the sound of yelling children was distant and dream-like. It was then that he fully understood his informer's words when he found a lone boy sitting on the swings.
A bead of sweat trailed down his neck. Mikhail swallowed audibly. It was worse than he could ever have imagined.
The kid was wearing blue jeans and a plain black T-shirt. The soft grey jacket was one size too big, which wasn't helping at all. Brown fluffy hair beckoned to be ruffled. Big golden-brown eyes stared straight into Mikhail's teal ones with a child's ancient wisdom, coupled with unbridled curiosity and uncanny reserve.
The entire image was overwhelming.
Mikhail, who could take on KGB agents twice his age and size with a specially customized deck of playing cards, squealed. "Omigod, you're so CUTE!"
Adorable eyes widened as Sawada Tsunayoshi found himself glomped by some foreign stranger.
It was on this day that Tsuna learnt firsthand the OTHER dangers of the mafia.
It took a crowbar to prise Mikhail off of him.
The Mafia Wants You!
Target 002: When Bombs Run Wild
The Mafia Boss…
A leader who rules a criminal organisation
Able to move a number of trusted members with one hand,
Willing even to risk his life for the family,
Surrounded by the respect and admiration of all
Seen as a hero by the children of the slums…
"Oh, you can't be serious…"
"Is that right?" Reborn asked Tsuna, who was clutching a kind of Mafia for Dummies book, which he was being compelled to read, at gunpoint. Go figure.
"You're the one forcing me to read it!" he said indignantly.
Reborn, who happened to be steadily pointing a gun at his student's head this entire time, ignored the minor detail. "Read it every morning," he instructed. "You're the one who will become the Tenth Generation Boss after all."
"Haven't I been saying no!" Tsuna slumped to the floor, annoyed beyond measure. "Is that why you decided propaganda was the way to go? I never wanted to be a mafia boss!"
"Don't worry," Reborn assured him, "I'll take care of it on my own." The hitman clacked his gun in a very threatening way for a person that didn't even reach Tsuna's knees.
"I'm very, very worried," the teen sweatdropped, staring at the assortment of weaponry cluttering his bedroom floor.
Before, Tsuna's life had been normal…enough#. Now, it had just gotten worse. People (who he would track down!) wanted him to become involved with the mafia; more so than any of the previous attempts.
But he wasn't going to tell Reborn about that.
"This is all just so you can become a great Vongola family 10th Generation boss," Reborn berated his student.
Tsuna scowled faintly. "I told you, I don't want to become a mafia boss. How many times do you want me to repeat this for it to get into your thick skull?"
"This is your destiny. Never give up on life."
"I'm not giving up on life; I'm just not willing to actively pursue a life of crime!"
"Don't worry," Reborn declared, "I'll stick with you everywhere you go so you're trained well."
Tsuna developed a small tic in one eye. "That's exactly what I'm most worried about…"
Sometimes Tsuna thought he had a mild case of insomnia. Not enough to hinder his daily life, but enough that he would just heave a sigh and get some work done in bed because he knew he wouldn't manage to get any sleep. It happened sparingly, so he wrote it off to an out-of-whack body clock.
Tsuna didn't really see himself as an inventor, but you wouldn't believe how many amazingly strange things can be thought up at four in the morning. Or the sheer amount of homework that can be completed in one sleepless night.
This time, he had fallen asleep well enough, even dreaming something rather nice. He was in that ice-cream parlour on the other side of Namimori, seated in front of the biggest chocolate-vanilla sundae he had ever seen. Grasping a spoon that conveniently lay next to him, he was about to take a large scoop before Reborn popped out of the dish with ice cream adorning his fedora and a red cherry clutched in Leon's mouth, successfully scaring the metaphorical shit of him.
"Look, you've already invaded my life. Get the hell out of my dreams!"
"You should be prepared for all sorts of attacks Tsuna. Even in dreams. This is good training for you."
He stopped and mentally counted to ten. "Your presence has had such an effect on my mind that even a Dream!Reborn attempts to tutor me. I'm trying to sleep, not talk to you in what is fast becoming a nightmare. Will you at least torment me when I'm conscious?"
"Nope." Reborn suddenly smirked. "And just so you know I've laced this dessert with paralysis-inducing herbs."
Tsuna paused, spoon halfway to his mouth. He stared at the chibi-hitman, then the ice-creamy goodness, before throwing the loaded utensil at Reborn's head. "Must you ruin everything?"
"Teaching is such a thankless job."
And because dreams are the processing of random rigamole, sometimes even including forewarnings to the sleeper, Reborn morphed into Pikachu. "Shall I thundershock you for your impudence?"
"HIIIIIIIE~!" Tsuna shrieked, before falling off his bed in a tangle of sheets. Moaning, he rubbed his eyes, only to be faced with the one of the scariest waking visions known to man.
"Good morning Tsuna-Who." Reborn was clad in a typical doctor's outfit, complete with sterilized gloves and face mask, and holding what looked like–
"…Are those defibrillators?"
Reborn's face held no sign of regret or shame. "Maybe…"
Bloody Reborn and his electrocution tactics. "You're worse than House, you know that?"
"Why thank you," Reborn said as he hopped off the bed. "At least I won't have to bother waking you up now. Prepare for school. You have fifteen minutes or you die."
It was, to be honest, difficult, with Reborn cajoling and bullying his way into Tsuna's life, and Tsuna having to thwart Reborn's schemes. Already he had been forced to prevent a 'situation' with the Volleyball team, learnt to dodge the barrage of many bullets Reborn shot to "keep his skills and Tsuna's reflexes sharp", and made to cater to the hitman's 'special dietary needs'.
Tsuna hoped all of that caffeine seriously stunted Reborn's growth.
Namimori Middle School
"We have a new transfer student who was studying overseas in Italy. Gokudera Hayato."
Tsuna's danger radar, well-honed over the years, made itself known quite insistently.
Italy, Reborn's homeland, huh? Was there some kind of conspiracy going on around here? At this rate, he'd never be able to meet an Italian without thinking of ulterior motives.
"He's so friggin' HOT!"
"On top of that he's moved from another country."
"Oh. My. God. Please tell me he's single."
That's right fangirls…Drool, drool in his glory! Tsuna entertained himself inwardly. Most female classmates looked to be quite taken in by the badboy image. Even Kyoko was smiling! Then again, she might just be acting friendly to welcome the new student, because Kyoko was like that.
Gokudera Hayato had short silver hair, a lot of bling, a casual view when it came to uniforms (unbuttoned and no tie, Hibari would have a field day), and a presence that just exuded rebellion. But Tsuna never was one to accept stereotypes or outward appearances – for all he knew, Gokudera could be a gentle soul, a geek at heart, or a cynical killer.
But if one were to judge by facial expressions alone, the boy clearly wanted to destroy him. Possibly with loads of bloodshed.
Tsuna's eyes widened as he became the sole attention of the transfer student. What is it? What did I do this time? He dredged up memory records. Nope, never met the guy before, but here Gokudera was, looking like he wanted to strangle him with his bare hands.
"Gokudera-kun, your seat is over… Gokudera-kun?"
Gokudera ignored the teacher, walked right up to Tsuna and kicked his desk over fiercely. Tsuna sat unmoving in his chair, unaffected by the violent act as the table crashed to the ground. Okay, so you've made your point (jackass), but seriously, our eyes just met…
It was at times like this that Tsuna was really grateful he listened to his intuition and moved his chair backwards by a couple of inches.
After effectively escaping the wrath of the volatile boy, he was on the receiving end of a signature glare, before Gokudera tch-ed and moved to sit in his designated spot. People started talking immediately, from gangster theories to fanclub issues. Tsuna could still feel a heavy presence fixed on the back of his head.
Seems like he earned the new guy's eternal enmity purely by existing.
"Tsuna-kun, are you okay?" A considerate, concerned face peered at him worryingly.
"I'm fine, Kyoko-san."
Kyoko beamed encouragingly. "At first, I thought you knew him, but I'm sure Gokudera-kun will warm up to you sooner or later."
"Perhaps." Tsuna flinched a bit. Most likely not, if those continual death glares were any hint. Remind me why this guy isn't in juvie?
He sighed, wearily propping his head on one arm. It was going to be a long day.
The useful thing about being somewhat average was that no one bothers to pay much attention to you. Tsuna never worried too much about bullies, who scarcely remembered he existed, let alone bothered tracking him down to hassle. It was this way that he walked invisibly past a trio of ghetto seniors, pondering the appearance of the new transfer student.
Gokudera…I might have come across his file on the Vongola database…If he's really affiliated to them, then Reborn has been busy. The little hellion.
Tsuna was already out of the building by this point, before his thoughts were interrupted. "Your wussyness is an eyeful."
He turned to Gokudera, who was recklessly smoking a cigarette on school grounds. The Italian's other hand was fiddling around with a lighter, the small flame sparking erratically.
"Is wussyness even a word?" he asked.
Gokudera paused, looking bewildered, before his face resumed that perpetual frown. "Whatever." He closed the lighter with a snap, muttering, "If a pinprick like you becomes the Tenth Gen, the Vongola Family is finished."
Tsuna raised an eyebrow. "Try telling them that then."
Again, the transfer student faltered at Tsuna's remark before soldiering on. "I refuse to accept it! I'm the one who's fit to be the Tenth!"
"Dude, you're welcome to the job anytime."
Gokudera was fuming by now. "What is up with you? I've been watching you the last few days-"
(Stalking me for a few days!)
"-and it's a waste of time to further evaluate a weakling like you."
Being called a weakling? Tsuna didn't mind that. But evaluation? Like being a mafia boss was some kind of prize? Hah, it was one that Tsuna had no interest in whatsoever. "Then what are you hanging around in Japan for if I'm so hopeless?" he enquired bluntly.
"You're a nuisance." Gokudera abruptly pulled out two sticks of dynamite, "Die right here." He lit them with his cigarette and lobbed them at him while having the nerve to calmly reply "Later," like he wasn't, oh, committing murder, on school grounds no less!
From hard-earned experience, Tsuna's flight response automatically activated as he leapt back, somersaulting away from the dynamite. Before he could do anything else though, a quick whizz of something burst past him. The burning wicks were sheared off harmlessly, and then that bloody voice appeared-
Sigh. "Reborn-san, I might have known."
The baby hitman had appeared from the secret apartment in a tree of all things, gun still smoking. Took in the circumstances at a glance. "Not bad reflexes, Tsuna. And you came earlier than I expected, Gokudera Hayato."
Not for the first time, Tsuna was overcome by the uncanny urge to throttle his tutor. "So you do know each other…"
Reborn smirked, just like his dream-version. "Yeah, he's a member of the Family that I called over from Italy."
"He's in the mafia too?" Forget dying via dynamite. Paranoia would get to him first.
"It's my first time meeting him as well, though," Reborn continued as he assessed the boy in front of him.
Gokudera stared keenly at the baby hitman. "So you're the 9th's highly trusted assassin, Reborn. I've heard rumours about you. You're not kidding about me becoming a candidate as the successor if I kill Sawada, right?"
"Yeah, that's right." Reborn smiled. "Well, let's continue the killing."
It was at this less-than-thrilling comment that Tsuna couldn't help quipping, "For a tutor who wants to train me to become a mafia boss, you really seem fine with the idea of me dying on you. To run the Vongola, don't I have to be…you know, alive?"
Reborn pointed his gun. "Shut up and fight with your dying will."
And who knows what kind of weird side-effects his body could suffer because of these 'Dying Will' bullets? Tsuna started running.
"Wait." The Italian lit dynamite sticks in quick succession and threw them with sharp accuracy. Tsuna was able to dodge them easily enough – after all, it wasn't like Gokudera was the first demolitions expert to try to blow him up. Shun was testing out his exploding tags when they first met-
Reborn stood to the side, nonchalantly narrating. "It's said that Gokudera Hayato is a human explosive device that conceals dynamite all over his body. His other name is Smokin' Bomb Hayato."
"I think I realised that when he tried to kill me."
'Smokin' Bomb Hayato' was relentless in his assault, as he brought out even more of his arsenal. Reborn was right; Gokudera carried around a lot of TNT on his person. "Die."
"Aiya!" Tsuna couldn't help yelling as he cartwheeled and sprinted away like his life (truly) depended on it. This whole battle was less than ideal, and his opponent had what looked to be a truckload of explosives at his disposal, but Gokudera didn't have the advantage of fighting on home turf. Let Gokudera think he was useless. Tsuna found himself running towards what he knew was a dead-end, before stopping suddenly as he twisted around to face his chaser.
"This is it," Gokudera said grimly, as he flung a multitude of dynamite sticks. "You're trapped!" Tsuna ignored this as he turned back and continued his dash…
…right up the wall of the school building! Then he flipped over Gokudera's head and the oncoming bombs in a move reminiscent of so many martial arts movies, before nimbly landing on his feet, skidding in the dirt. Gokudera quickly scurried back to escape the detonation, but was quick to throw more explosives, which littered the floor in front of Tsuna's landing position.
Time slowed down as he stared at the smouldering wicks. It would have been so much easier if Gokudera had been conveniently knocked out like Tsuna was hoping for.
Too bad Murphy's Law was something Tsuna lived by.
Now, if there's one thing to point out about having Japanese girls as school friends, then it's how the majority of arcade games you play won't always be the normal sharpshooters and street fighter brawls. Let it be said that stamping out dynamite is like an EXTREME Version of DDR. Only with a chance of explosions. And death.
"What?" Gokudera's voice was muffled by his cigarettes as he watched the defusing of his weapons. He cursed. "DOUBLE BOMB!"
The dynamite sticks were in the air this time. Unthinkingly (hey, he was on an adrenaline rush!) Tsuna started defusing with his bare hands.
Note to self, get a pair of gloves, or at least hide the burns later. Mum might ask questions. He grimaced slightly as his hands smarted (he'd regret this later), but Tsuna wasn't taking going to take this whole battle as a clear cut do-or-die situation. Maybe if he could pull this fight off, some other unfortunate guy could take over for the Vongola and he would be free of Reborn's accursed teachings!^
Reborn noted distantly that Tsuna's reactions to Gokudera's attacks were a far cry from his first impression. His evasion skills were excellent, his reflexes were exceptional, and he was doing well in the face of adversity: i.e. a bomb-toting sharp-tongued Mafioso.
It was hardly expected from an inexperienced Japanese schoolboy. He was quite impressed by the tenacity of his student. Reborn hadn't even had to shoot him with the Dying Will Bullet…yet.
By this time, Gokudera was looking pretty pissed off, if the throbbing vein on his forehead was any indication. He drew out a huge amount of explosives. "TRIPLE BOMB!"
Unfortunately, he also dropped one. Distracted, his hands fumbled and the dynamite sticks fell to the floor in a chain reaction, as did all but one of the cigarettes clutched in his mouth. "Shit," Gokudera said, facing what looked to be an impending demise. "The end of me."
Tsuna acted swiftly. Without another thought he was bringing out a small sphere from his pocket and shaking it frantically.
It was something he had come up with as a child, when he had watched some of the other kids throw water balloons at one another in the summer heat. He hadn't been asked to join in, and he didn't ask to either.
Just this morning he had taken the thing from his desk drawer on a whim, and promptly forgotten about it. Only now did he remember the object's usefulness. As he twisted it open, the sphere emitted a dull blue glow, and Tsuna braced himself as a flood of water rushed out, much more than it seemed physically possible for it to contain. This doused all the sticks of dynamite littering the floor, as well as the two students themselves. Reborn had the advantage of higher ground in this situation, and had withdrawn farther away to a window ledge, while still keeping a distant eye on the both of them.
From across him, Gokudera spluttered, hands still splayed out. He was dumbfounded; it clearly showed on his face. Tsuna himself was panting slightly, hands still clutching the two (now empty) half circles. Both of them were drenched, dripping water on the floor like they had partaken in some kind of excessive waterfight.
It was at this point that Tsuna burst out laughing.
If there's one thing Gokudera knows since he first met this boy in front of him, it's that nothing has been going to plan. The brown haired figure avoids his attacks, ignores the goading aimed to rile him up, talks back and bamboozles everything, while he hasn't raised a hand in retaliation, regardless of the attempts on his life.
Gokudera was so sure for a couple of seconds that he was going to die. And then Sawada does – something - and a torrent of water extinguishes all the explosives. They are both soaked, and Gokudera knows they must look a sight. What throws him off even more is that after a short spell of silence Sawada Tsunayoshi starts to laugh.
He's taken aback and spellbound at the same time. He's been nothing but rude and insulting, he even tries to kill him, yet Sawada finds him worth saving and has the spirit to laugh about everything afterwards. The other boy's voice is so open and infectious, and they both look so ridiculous that Gokudera can't help but join in.
Their mirthful laughs are almost hysterical, giving what had taken place in the past ten minutes.
Everything had gone all wrong, and he was so set on hating the other with every fibre of his being. Gokudera's face is still wet from the earlier onslaught of water, so if tears unintentionally sprang up, they intermingled unseen. He cannot distinguish if they are of happiness, sorrow or relief anyway.
Gokudera finds himself seeing more to Sawada than he first rashly concluded.
Eventually, they both calm down. The acrid smell of smoke still lingers in the air as Gokudera looks at Tsunayoshi; unpretentious, skilful; compassionate; and cannot imagine a better successor for the Vongola.
He falls to his knees and gladly bows his head. "I was mistaken! You're the one who's fit to be the boss!"
I think all those explosions have impaired my hearing…
"Juudaime! I'll follow you! Command me to do anything!"
No, I've just gone insane.
"Having the loser serve under the winner is a family rule." Reborn explained. He had the audacity to act like the previous events of the day were to be accepted, like nothing.
"Rule?" Though it does sound like the alpha rules a mafia Family would follow…
Gokudera looked pensive. "Actually, I never had ambitions to become the 10th. It's just that when I heard that the 10th Gen is a Japanese guy the same age as me, I felt that I had to test his strength."
Gokudera's face returned to its admiring and (dare he say it) disturbingly friendly look. "But you proved me wrong! You are much more than I'd ever expected!" This was all… very out of character from what Tsuna had seen so far. "You put yourself on the line to save me, even though I was your enemy! As Gokudera Hayato, I'll place my life in your hands!"
Tsuna balked at these words. "H-hold on, you don't have to entrust your life to me! I mean, can't we just be classmates?"
Gokudera's steely gaze didn't exactly have any room for compromise. And I'm too weirded out to refuse…What kind of a situation is this?
Reborn gazed at his student. "Gokudera became your subordinate because of your strength. Good job Tsuna."
For once, Tsuna was at a loss for words.
Until his attention was drawn to another disturbance. "Oh no, these guys are cutting class." Great, the delinquent seniors.
One sneered "This requires some punishment. You're only allowed to cut starting senior year. How many front teeth do you want broken?" Maybe they were attracted by the blasts?
Beside him, Gokudera's face became shadowed. "Looks like it's time to make myself useful." A few recognizable red sticks emerged in his hands. "Leave it to me," he reassured Tsuna. "I'll totally annihilate them."
"Eh? Gokudera-san, you don't have to! Don't use dynamite!"
Tsuna had skipped class. So had that new transfer student.
Hana quietly packed away her books, eyes flickering to Tsuna's empty desk from time to time. She was smart, but this was outrageous. You didn't need to be a genius to connect the dots, and she had seen firsthand the new guy's less than impressive attitude towards her friend. At least school was over and she could investigate further.
Tsuna was a quietly capable guy, but the very idea some upstart might be making things difficult for him was enough to make Hana to inwardly seethe. She allowed the quiet fury to simmer down into cold, planned retribution, before she got ahead of herself.
Outside, Hana scanned the students congregating after the bell. It was easy enough to spot Tsuna on the outskirts of the crowd, walking towards the school gates with the silver-haired punk in tow. Her eyes narrowed. Tsuna looked a little flustered. As for the punk, he was beside her friend, but what was even stranger was that the guy was smiling. As in, no scowl or unbecoming look on his face. He was even talking animatedly. It was a complete 180 degrees change from all the death glares being sent earlier.
As the two drifted further away from the throng of people, she caught snatches of their conversation.
"Please, feel free to tell me anything!"
"Well, then you do realise that with a uniform like that, Hibari-san will kill you, right?"
"There's no need to worry on my behalf! Still, I'm touched by your concern."
Hana draped a lock of dark hair behind her ear serenely as she ambled closer to the two. "Hey, Tsuna-kun, I was looking for you."
Tsuna noticed her instantly and smiled, albeit in a strained sort of way. "What is it?"
It didn't escape her attention when the silver haired guy got all defensive at her approach.
"Well," Hana mused, "you weren't in class, so at first I speculated that you were truanting again. Later I thought something might have come up." She ignored the other boy as she focused on Tsuna. "Not to mention, the classes heard blasts earlier today. Some Disciplinary members just went to check it out, and found three seniors who apparently blew up a part of the school building. Because they're fairly battered, they've escaped punishment for now."
"Ah, is that so?" Tsuna's face held no outward signs of lying, but she was now focused on someone currently giving her the Evil Eye.
Hana was glaring back at Gokudera icily. "Don't get me started on you. I'm painfully aware of your antagonism towards Tsuna-kun." You could just hear the silent words 'you scum' in the air. Gokudera immediately went rigid, the scowl making a hasty return.
"I-it was just a misunderstanding, that's all," Tsuna said hastily, sensing incoming peril yet again.
Gokudera and Hana sent Tsuna identical 'stay out of this' looks before sizing each other up. Tsuna quailed indecisively. Who knew what would happen if he were to interfere with these two dangerous individuals?
"Gokudera Hayato, wasn't it?" Dark eyes scrutinized the transfer student.
"And who might you be?" Hands twitched, as if they were just itching to get a hold of some dynamite.
"I'm Kurokawa Hana. Tsuna-kun is a dear friend of mine."
Gokudera glowered. "Well, I am proud to proclaim myself as Juudaime's subordinate!"
Oh no he didn't.
She blinked. "Juudaime? Subordinate?"
Tsuna knew he had to intervene. Now. "Ah, Gokudera-san gave me a nickname of sorts. He's just kidding around."
"What do you want me to do, Juudaime? Should I mmph-", Tsuna swiftly covered Gokudera's mouth. Hana's form was starting to tremble, and that worried him.
Tentatively he said "Hana-san…?"
He was almost scared out of his wits as Hana let out a long and large peal of laughter. "Ha, Tsuna, you've got a follower!" The girl held her aching sides. "That is so – well, adorable!"
Tsuna stiffened. A hint of pink sprinkled over his cheeks.
(It was then that Hana's suspicions were confirmed. It was obvious this was why he was more than little embarrassed today. Never one for the limelight, having somebody who pays ardent attention and awe towards you is a new, rather unpleasant experience).
"Hana-san, it's not like that-"
"That's right!" Hands crossed over his chest, Gokudera planted himself in front of Tsuna protectively. "I'm his right-hand man!"
Tsuna's face and mind went blank. Hana let loose a few more chuckles, before smiling at Gokudera. What that smile entailed? It oozed of 'I am going to milk this situation for all it's worth'. It was on par with Reborn in terms of predicting trouble.
"Is that so?" she purred. "Then you're been appointed with the honour of looking out for your new friend."
She dragged him over to one side, whispering, "Tsuna. Here is someone who obviously worships the very ground you walk on. I'm impressed, considering he looked fit to murder you earlier, so you can tell me all about it later." She smirked. "Something tells me today's proceedings wasn't really something you wanted or planned for."
"Of course not!"
"Then there's only one thing you can do. Take advantage of it!"
"No way!" Tsuna was aghast. Though he really should have guessed; this was Hana, who for all he knew was running Namimori from the shadows.
The girl shrugged. "Well if you won't, I will!" She spun around to Gokudera. "Alright, listen closely! You must ensure Tsuna doesn't spend all of his time by himself. He sometimes eats lunch with Kyoko and I, but spends most of his time lonerated. He needs to socialise more, those people skills of his should to be utilised. Oh, and I've always thought there was something going on all these years that he doesn't tell me about…"
Good lord, Hana was taking Gokudera's proclamations seriously, and tasking him with Tsuna's wellbeing. What was wrong with the world?
Tsuna was scandalised. He was even more so when he noticed Gokudera was writing all of Hana's advice down on a small notepad.
"Gokudera-san, not you too!"
Hana's presence wasn't aiding his plight. It was encouraging it.
And he was belatedly realising that Reborn manoeuvred him into gaining a particularly zealous member for his 'Mafia Famiglia'.
Had he been an arsonist in some previous life to deserve this?
* Russian for 'goodbye' as some may guess or be aware of.
# His powers of denial were second only to his mother, who time and time again would dismiss any support pointing to a husband working for the mob.
^ If not for his circumstances, Xanxus would have sneezed.
Wow. I wasn't expecting too much, but I'm surprised my story was well-received. Thank you to all who read and reviewed!
…And I pray I haven't EPICLY FAILED the action scene. I need more practice, no?
Before each chapter I'll normally start off with something from Tsuna's childhood, the people he meets, etc. I hope it will explain in a little more depth to you all what Tsuna's been going through / doing before Reborn came to Japan. Ah, character development…
The Volkov is a (fictional, obviously) Russian Mafia Family. Tsuna, while intervening into what could have become a large Mafia war, manages to garner unwanted attention from the mob, especially the two Families who now owe him for putting a stop to it all. And considering he's eight years old at the time and doing it under an alias, he's still stuffed.
At least he's able to, and I quote this from a reviewer: 'give them those big brown eyes and they run off with their consciences stabbed to death.' An almost foolproof weapon against assassins, no?
I mentioned to some reviewers earlier that I have no plans for pairings as of yet. This is still early on, so I have no idea what's going to play out however many updates later, but nothing is resolved. I may still mention/acknowledge various pairings, but it'll mostly be humorous stuff and connotations :D