Here it is finally! Things are definitely heating up and I'm getting ready to introduce more characters within the next couple of chapters. Also don't forget that I'm now just loosely following the manga plot and its all my own turn of events. Thank you for the support and patience!
The room Tsunako was being kept in was the best the hospital had to offer. It even had a flat screen tv and a nice couch that could be turned into a comfortable bed for visitors to stay the night, for which Nana Sawada was very grateful for as she had spent every night next to her unconscious daughter. A week had passed and the doctors still couldn't find the reason why her daughter wouldn't wake up.
She just lay there, breathing softly and unresponsive. Everyone that had visited the girl would comment on how she looked like a porcelain doll. The auburn hair framing her pale delicate face, her small lips that still had a light pink tint to them and how small she looked on the big hospital bed.
Reborn thought sadly that that description fit the girl perfectly. What was she but a doll? A pretty, delicate doll that was being pulled against her will by strings she couldn't cut.
But the strings had finally been pulled too hard, snapping, giving way and the doll had fallen to the ground and cracked.
Reborn blamed himself for having taken part in this horrible act. But had he known the whole story, if he hadn't been kept in the dark, this whole situation could have been avoided.
Lies. It all came down to lies and half truths. Sawada Tsunako and her mom, had been forced fed lies for a really, really long time. Even he, who had been chosen by Vongola the ninth himself to train Tsuna had been lied to. His many years of experience within the world of the mafia should have made it obvious that people with power, no matter how just and benevolent, always had something to hide? But yet, he never thought to second guess the ninth boss of the Vongola.
What was happening to Tsunako wasn't normal. There was no trauma to the head, every scan came out normal, she was a healthy girl with no physical illness that the doctors could find. Even when taking into consideration the use of the one ton mallet, her reaction was too extreme. Shamal and the other Vongola doctors knew that there had to be something they weren't being told about the girl, so Reborn and Bianchi started digging deeper into the Sawada's past.
After a really long and painful conversation with Tsunako's mom, Reborn started to put the pieces of the puzzle together. A terrible suspicion was growing within the Arcobaleno's mind.
According to Nana, this had happened before, but somehow she had forgotten about it until now.
On the day of Tsunako's fourth birthday she fell ill just like this. After getting a sudden fever, she fell unconscious for four days. When she finally woken up, according to her mom, she was not the same.
Up to that point, Tsunako had been a healthy girl and had been developing normally. But after she woke up, she had been constantly sick and couldn't even start pre-school until very late.
Nana knew that it would take her daughter time to catch up, but she never truly did. She was now slower than the other kids, not just physically but also mentally. She was also too shy and skittish and cried at the smallest provocation. It was then that the bullying started.
She was first 'crybaby Tsuna'. Nobody wanted to play with her because she would cry for the smallest reason. When she started kindergarten, she became 'no good Tsuna', because she was bad at anything they had to do.
Nana had to quit her job in order to help her daughter, as her husband was gone for weeks at at time. She spoke with the teachers, but even they were giving up on the girl. She spent every afternoon after pre-school classes helping her daughter catch up to the other kids. She was terrified that she wouldn't pass her evaluation and wouldn't be allowed to go into the normal elementary courses and would be sent to the 'Special needs children' school like her preschool teacher kept warning her.
But the mother persevered and Tsunako managed to go to regular school. Everything seemed like it was going to be ok. And then her husband came back from his travels.
It was the summer of Tsunako's first grade when Iemitsu confessed to his short infidelity two years prior and that he had found out he had a son. Reborn was truly surprised that Nana knew about her husband's infidelity; but it explained why she was not bothered by his absence. He decided to stop their talk and give the poor woman a break. Soon, she would be learning the whole truth.
The rest of the story and the final piece of the puzzle had to come from Iemitsu. Reborn needed to confront the man about the inconsistencies in the girls past.
Confronted may have been an understatement. After the man kept evading them and lying that there was nothing to discuss, the baby and the doctor ambushed the man at the hospital room, knowing that he wouldn't be able to use his dying will. It took a combination of Shamal's trident mosquitoes and Bianchi's poison to incapacitate the man.
"You are hiding something, something very important regarding Tsunako. You need to tell us the truth or we won't be able to help her."
The tall man was sitting in the couch, a bit sedated but still lucid enough to talk thanks to Bianchi's truth serum. He would not be able to lie this time.
"I did it out of love. I just wanted to keep my family together."
He truly did, but Iemitsu knew that they wouldn't understand his feelings.
"I fell in love with Nana when I was really young and married her against the wishes of the Vongola council. It cost me any chance I've ever had of becoming the tenth boss of the Vongola and I was almost exiled from the family. Many saw me as a traitor to the Vongola cause, a waste of talent, a total disappointment. But Timoteo didn't allow that to happen. He got me the job at CEDEF; not really a part of the family but still in a position of power that could help him when needed."
Reborn stared at the man from the bed Tsunako was sleeping at, while Shamal light up a cigarette and made himself comfortable by the open window. Bianchi had taken Nana back home.
"When Tsunako was born, any lingering regrets I may have had disappeared from my heart. Just holding her tiny body..."
He stopped talking, as if remembering the day.
"A loving wife and a beautiful daughter, I didn't need anything else in my life."
"Iemitsu. I need to know what happened to Tsunako on her fourth birthday."
The older man looked at the baby, there was no sympathy in those big black eyes, not that he expected any. Then, he looked at his sleeping daughter, afraid that there will be no sympathy once she woke up.
"Back then, Timoteo would visit our home sometimes, after all he is my mom's uncle and Tsunako was the closest thing he had to a granddaughter at the time. Those first three years everything was fine, Tsunako was just a normal girl, there was nothing to worry about, just a normal little girl..."
Reborn knew then what the man had done.
"Iemitsu... Did you seal her dying will?" Reborn asked, afraid that his suspicions were true.
"What was I supposed to do? They were going to take her away from us! I couldn't do that to Nana!"
"How could you?!" The baby was angry, "It's no wonder... that poor girl. I must tell the ninth boss!"
Iemitsu laughed, a loud and bitter laugh that echoed in the small room. Shamal, almost forgotten, stood up, got rid of his cigarrete and stood by the bed.
"Reborn, the only person that knows how to seal the dying will power is the current boss of the Vongola family." He said simply.
For the first time in a really long time, Reborn was truly shaken. Sealing the power of the dying will was a punishment for those who had done horrible acts against the family. It was basically a slow death sentence. The body and mind would start to deteriorate as the blood that had once given them power became a poison that festered inside them. Why did this happened? No one knew and to Reborn's knowledge it had never been done to a child that young before.
"It explains why she has had such hard time growing up and her strange reactions to the dying will bullet. We didn't find anything wrong with her because the effects of sealing the Vongola blood falls in the realm of mysticism. No conventional medical test would reveal the blood poisoning as it is more of an unexplained phenomenon."
"But why? Why would he do that? She was just a little girl... because of that Tsunako... she has suffered for so long." The baby was furious and extremely disappointed.
"It's a miracle she is still alive." Shamal said looking at the girl with a calculating look.
"Did you forget what happened around nine years ago Reborn? When that woman came to the castle with that cursed child!"
"He had to choose Reborn. He had to choose which child was more important to the family and was worth protecting. He had just lied to everyone that Xanxus was his bastard son. He was trying to keep his real origins a secret or cause major strife within the family. Why would he risk the future of the family for the half-Japanese daughter of an outcast?"
Reborn turned around and got closer to the sleeping girl. His tiny hand came to rest upon her forehead and he issued a silent apology.
"I had noticed it a month before her birthday. Not even four years old and she was already showing her powers. I was so proud of her and yet, it was nothing but a curse. I was taken away from my mother the moment my powers became apparent, I didn't want to lose her; I couldn't do that to Nana. I was going to keep it a secret."
"The day before Tsunako's fourth birthday, Vongola the ninth came to my house unexpectedly; Xanxus was with him. He had come to Japan so that old Talbot could make a weapon for the boy. He remembered that it was Tsunako's birthday and figured he could come to give her a gift and introduce me to his new son. He noticed right away. I had no real standing within the family, if the council found out about her they could legally take her away and Nana and I would never see her again. I couldn't do that to her. It was her or Xanxus. I told him to do it; it all worked out in the end."
"Work out?" Reborn was seeing red. A bitter anger welled within him, his tiny fist closed tightly.
"That decision cost the lives of hundreds of people!"
"Not my daugther's."
"Your daughter has been bullied almost her entire life because you poisoned her blood and it fucked up her growth! She is physically underdeveloped and has a mediocre IQ; The only reason she keeps passing grades is because the Vongola pays the school."
"How did you know?"
"I've been doing some digging of my own after I realized you were keeping secrets from me. Besides, did you really believe I would not notice? This blatant disrespect of my abilities. My whole job is to keep an eye on her and make sure she grows into a powerful boss for the family. I started to notice her many shortcomings. Unfortunately... I was too late and this is what happened."
"At the very least, we now have a better understanding of her condition." Shamal said, "I'll get together with the Vongola specialist, we may still be able to figure something out." He left the room, leaving the older man and the baby alone.
"I never meant to hurt my daughter." Iemitsu said with conviction.
"But you did."
The Arcobaleno had had enough. He had always respected the man but now, his many accomplishments were overshadowed by his objectionable actions regarding his wife and daughter,
"And then you ran away when you realized what you had done. You left your wife alone with a child that was too sick for her to handle. You lied to her about everything and then you cheated on her and left them to take care of your bastard son. You truly are a mafia man."
"What would you know of family Arcobaleno?!" Iemitsu spat the words out like venom.
"Even before you were given that cursed body, you were never the man to settle down. Who are you to judge me and what I have done to keep my family together?!"
"You may be right. I don't have the right to judge you, but your daughter and wife do and I plan to tell them the truth. I must go now, there is someone I must contact that may be able to help us."
The baby jumped effortlessly from the bed, but before leaving the room he turned around.
"Don't you ever lie to me again regarding Tsuna. She is my responsibility now."
He left the room, leaving the older man alone. Iemitsu sat on the couch contemplating the situation and waiting for the drugs to get out of his system. When he felt ready he stood up, walked up to his daughter and kissed her forehead tenderly.
"I'm sorry... I'm really, really sorry."
He left the room, not noticing the tears in his daughters eyes.