This is the last chapter. I want to thank everyone that has been reading my story, especially those that stuck with it from the beginning. I plan to write some one-shots to tie up loose ends, and I'm seriously contemplating to do a sequel. Once again, thank you so much.
There comes a time in everyone's life, where we reminisce about the past. The choices that were made, the things left unsaid. A good piece of advice is that you shouldn't let the past define you, to learn from those past mistakes and face the future head on. Be proud of the fact that you are just a little bit stronger, a little bit wiser.
Let bygones be bygones.
It sounded so easy, and yet, Sawada Tsunako couldn't do it.
In her defense, it is very difficult to forget and stop agonizing about the past, when your present is much of the same.
She was weak, she was not smart, she was an embarrassment. Cry baby Tsuna, no good Tsuna, Stupid Tsuna, useless Tsuna. That had been her whole school life.
No one wanted to be friends with a dumb, cry baby that was abandoned by her own father.
She kept telling herself that it was ok. That she was better alone, that she didn't need terrible people in her life. She kept to herself, thinking that as long as she didn't bother anyone and stayed out of the way that they will leave her alone.
But they didn't.
People she never even talked to before would go out of their way to find her and make her life miserable. Still, she kept quiet about it and endure it. She didn't want to cause her mother more grief.
Little by little, the anger she didn't let show, the bad thoughts she tried to keep away, the despair and hopelessness she tried to ignore turned into a gangrene of the soul. Slowly corrupting her.
What she didn't know, and had just found out, was that the proverbial gangrene had been very real. All these years, her precious Vongola blood had been slowly killing her.
She had resigned herself to a life or mediocrity, and had been ready to give up school altogether despite her mother's wishes; but then, she met Hana and Kyoko.
For the first time she had friends, friends that actually cared for her. They called her by name, they listened to her stories, and shared their own. They wanted to spend time with her! It had all seem like a dream. She truly didn't need anything else.
But she got it. She got more than she ever cared for or thought she deserved.
It had all started when a sadistic baby in a suit had shown up uninvited to her home and proclaimed himself to be her tutor.
After that, a neurotic dynamite carrying pretty boy just exploded into her life and caused her even more drama. There was also the very nice, and very, very handsome baseball player with a heart of gold.
Sure, there was some nonsense about the mafia and special powers. But Tsunako didn't care about that, and up to a certain point she actually believed it would just go away. It was so ludicrous, laughable!
She should be happy right? She should be grateful that her life had taken a turn for the better.
The thing is, Tsunako thought miserably as she lay in bed next to her sleeping mother; her life would always be shitty. She lay there in silence, remembering as many of the worst moments of her childhood. She had never understood why she failed so bad at life. She couldn't keep up in school, she never developed properly, she needed special attention.
Things could have been different.
Tsunako stared at the ceiling, strange shapes swirled around in the darkness. She couldn't sleep, she was too angry and restless.
After two long insufferable months, she was finally out of the hospital, she should be happy. She should be back in Namimori, having fun with her friends. But no, it didn't take long for life to go sideways on her again.
She knew something was wrong with everyone. Especially when instead of going straight to Namimori, she was told that they would be staying in a small apartment in Tokyo while her house was going through some renovations. Apparently Lambo, reaaally loved living with them, and her mother was inexplicably attached to the cow child. She thought that it was a good idea to do some expansions, and since the Vongola was paying for it, renovate the kitchen and add another room and bathroom.
Since it was the beginning of December and school will be closing for winter break soon, they were not in a big hurry. It will be like a vacation her mother said. Tsunako thought that her mother was going a little overboard, their home was in no way small. Her suspicions grew.
They had given her two days, two full days of peace of mind before her life was once again turned sideways.
The truth will set you free. Someone had said that, Tsunako was sure someone important had, it was those type of phrases that somehow everyone knows about. And she actually believed that. She always thought that being truthful and honest were signs of good character in a person. But at this particular moment, as she played everything that had been said this morning, as her body silently boiled with unbridle rage, and unwanted tears of anger stained her face, the only thing going through her mind was:
Fuck the truth! Fuck everything and everyone. Screw the Vongola, her father, that fucking mass murdering Xanxus guy and the ninth boss. They were all to blame! Because of their actions, their selfishness, their sins; Tsunako had suffered, and will continue to suffer until she dies or the Vongola disappears from the face of the planet.
Her father, her shameless piece of shit father explained in great detail the sealing that had been done on her as a child, and why it had been necessary to ensure a peaceful future for the Vongola. How it had been the cause of all her problems, and that it had almost killed her. She could have been normal; she could have had a normal life!
But wait! There was more.
The reason he never came to visit was because her parents have technically been separated since she was six years old, because her father had cheated on her mother. Her mother didn't divorce him for two reasons. He begged her not to, showing true remorse and what not. But, most importantly, because she didn't want her daughter to suffer financial hardships.
All these years, her mother had pretended that things were ok because she wanted to protect her daughter. She wanted to keep giving her daughter the best care and attention since she had so many special needs.
Tsunako got out of the bed as silently as possible not to wake her mother up, it had been a tiring day for her also. She went to the bathroom to clean her face and blow her nose. Her reflection in the mirror caught her attention, and she stare gloomily at it. She still looked sickly from being stuck in the hospital. How was she supposed to make a good first impression tomorrow, when she looked like a zombie.
She had a younger brother.
She had a freaking younger brother. Who she was going to meet tomorrow whether she wanted or not, since he was going to spend some time in Namimori with them.
But that wasn't all.
There was also some people that may be plotting to kill her, and something about setting the mass murderer free. Some people apparently believed that the best chance at rebuilding the Vongola stock with good healthy genes, was for her to marry said mass murderer… Of course, it was just an idea of many right now. They really wanted to ensure the glorious future of the family.
Her whole life was a freaking lie, her father was a piece of shit, she was being forced to become the next boss of the Vongola family, and they were already looking for a husband.
The truth did not set her free. All it did was shackle her deeper into the abyss.
Bianchi sat outside the room where Tsuna and her mother were sleeping. Nana had asked her to stay outside, even though both Bianchi and Reborn had protested. Earlier today, Tsunako had unsurprisingly lost her mind, and without any warning, she attacked her father in her rage. Normally, it wouldn't have been an issue. The girl was tiny and was still very weak since she had barely started her training.
But after her last transformation, Reborn was concerned for her mental state and how it would influence her next time she lost her temper and went into dying will mode. As always, he was right.
She had transformed without the aid of the bullet. But it wasn't because of determination, it was out of pure rage. Tsunako had survived something that had killed hundreds before her, nobody could tell how that could affect her from now on. They were threading unknown and dangerous waters, and Shamal had warned them to be very vigilant of any side effects.
They had been shocked, and in that small moment of confusion the girl lunged at her father in all her fiery fury. It was a good thing they had stock up on fire extinguishers and special clothes. Other than Iemitsu, the chair he had been sitting and the carpet underneath him, nothing else caught on fire. It was good to know that even in anger, Tsunako managed to keep her destructive powers focused on her target.
Nana had almost passed out from the shock of seeing her daughter instantaneously combust. Motherly responsibility kept her going, and after Iemitsu knocked his daughter out, he was still much stronger than her; she covered her with a blanket and took her to lay down.
Bianchi stretched out in the small couch she was laying as she kept watch and started to play another round of solitaire in her phone when the door opened and Tsunako came out. She plopped down next to her without saying anything.
Bianchi and Tsunako had formed a friendship while she had been stuck in the hospital. Being the only woman in the bodyguards group, she was the one that took over when Nana needed a break.
Despite not having the best of first impressions, and influenced by Gokudera's skewed opinions of his older half-sister; Tsunako had come to really like the older woman. She was so liberating and different than any other person she had ever met before. She was confident, sexy, honest and fearless. During her stay at the hospital, Bianchi would tell her all kinds of stories. Even ones that she was probably too young to know. She even told her the secret about her relationship with Reborn, something she had to swear not to tell anyone else. She felt safe with her, and she also felt comfortable sharing things with her.
"Can't sleep?" Bianchi asked without taking her eyes of the screen.
"I'm hungry. Where is everyone else?"
"Reborn is sleeping in the living room with Gokudera. There is leftover curry we can heat up." Neither of them stood up.
"Bianchi, have you met him?" Tsunako asked quietly.
"I haven't, but Basil has spent a lot of time with him. Reborn and your mother met him a couple of times." She didn't say anything else, letting the younger girl take her time.
"W-what did they say?"
Bianchi put the phone down and scooted over to let the girl sit in the cramped couch.
"Well, consensus is that he is a pitiful boy."
"Since he inherited his mother's powers, he has been treated like a precious commodity in the mafia world. He lives like a prince, but he is never allowed to leave his home. He has no real friends, only people that serve him and keep him cage to make even more money. He may have dodge the bullet with the Vongola, but that just means that he is shackled to another family.
"That really sucks… I guess" They had explained to her earlier, that her brother was some kind of psychic that could see things that nobody else could.
"Also, unlike you, he never got to spend time with his mother since she died when he wasn't even a year old. And before this craziness happened, only your father and the ninth boss knew who the father was. I'm pretty sure the reason your mother decided to have him stay at your house is because she feels sorry for him. The boy is technically an orphan, since Iemitsu has never even acknowledged that they are related in order to protect him."
"How generous of him" Tsunako said mockingly. It will be impossible for her to give her father any type of credit from now on.
"Iemitsu really screwed up" Bianchi said with no real emotion.
"I guess; our fathers are pathetic men that can't keep it in their pants."
Despite herself, the younger girl chuckled. Bianchi and Gokudera didn't had the best relationship with their cheating father either.
"Everything is so complicated. So surreal. I keep telling myself that I should be nice, that I can't hate him, I mean; none of this is his fault, but I… I don't know how I should act either. What am I supposed to do?"
Bianchi looked thoughtful for a moment.
"You know; when Gokudera first came to our home, I was told that this was my new baby brother and that I had to take care of him. I was still a child, but I did know how children were borne; so I asked my mother how I could have a baby brother if she hadn't been pregnant."
Tsunako's eyes widened, talk about brutal.
"She just started crying, and I thought to myself that I was a bad child for making my mother cry. After that day, she locked herself in her room for weeks. To make matters worse, my father thought it will be best if he were to stay somewhere else to give my mother some time. I had even more questions. Why won't she hold my brother? Why is my father gone? Why is my mommy not coming out? Why do the maids ignore my brother, why won't anyone say anything to me?"
"What did you do?"
"I asked the wet nurse that was taking care of him. I wanted to know why was it that she was the one taking care of my brother and not my mom. Why nobody came in to see him except for me. She took pity on a confused child and told me everything. She was very kind about it, and very patient with me."
Tsunako lay her head against the older girl, and Bianchi started to caressed her hair.
"After she told me everything, she said to me: Please milady, don't hate him, he is just a babe that has done nothing wrong."
Tsunako felt her chest tightening, tears were once again falling down her cheeks. Bianchi put her arms around her.
"You are a good girl Tsuna. I know that you are angry right now, and you have every right to be. And I know that things are just going to get worse in the future, but you have your mother, you have your friends and you have us. If you have questions, if you can't understand something, if you are stuck and feel hopeless, you can always talk to us. Don't ever feel like you are alone. Ever"
By now, the girl was sobbing loudly. Bianchi just held onto her until eventually she felt sleep.
Behind the door, Nana cried with her daughter.
In the stairs, hidden from view, Reborn breathed a sigh of relief.
The first thought Tsuna had when she saw Fuuta for the first time was: He looks nothing like dad. The second was: He looks like a lost puppy. It definitely made things easier for her; only a monster would hate a child as cute and delicate as this one.
His voice was soft, and his Japanese was perfect. He was definitely shy, but in Tsunako's opinion there was a sparkle in his eyes whenever he looked at her that made her a little nervous.
Her father did most of the talking. He explained how Fuuta was not safe in his current home, and that he had seen in a vision that he would be safer in Namimori for the time being. He never referred to him as his son. It wasn't even brought up. It was hard to get into the mindset that she was meeting her brother for the first time, when no one had even acknowledged it aloud. At this point he was just another freeloader who would live in her house.
Her mother was acting like a gracious host and cooked a meal for everybody. It was a very strange dining experience. Lambo was all over Fuuta, Bianchi was wearing her ridiculous googles and was fussing over an extremely jumpy Gokudera. Her father and Reborn were talking about the logistics of getting everyone to Namimori safely, and her mother was trying to keep her busy by asking her all kinds of questions.
Tsunako decided that she couldn't let this continue.
"Fuuta" She said out loud, grabbing the attention of everyone at the table. The younger boy just stared, waiting for her to continue.
"Why do you want to stay with us?"
Bianchi stood up, grabbed Lambo by his hair and walked out. Reborn jumped on top of Gokudera's head like an overgrown cat and they also left. This was a private moment.
"Uhm. I had a vision." The boy said in his low voice.
"What kind of vision exactly."
The boy looked extremely nervous. It looked like he was about to say something, but instead he looked down.
"Listen, I'm not trying to be mean I just want to understand what the hell is going on. The circumstances we are meeting under are less than perfect, but you are supposed to be my brother, and for some reason we haven't even acknowledged that yet."
"Tsunako" her father started, "We didn't want to push you too hard"
"Oh wow dad. Ain't that just awfully nice of you." Tsunako turned to look at her father, sarcasm dripping like honey and outright hostility in her eyes. Nana never imagined that her daughter could be capable of such behavior.
"Tsu-chan, you shouldn't talk like that"
"It's ok Nana." Iemitsu told his wife "Tsuna, I told you yesterday that it was a secret that Fuuta was my child, and until a few years back, I had no idea that he even knew about it. This is hard on everyone, especially since both of you are so important in the mafia world, and because at the moment both of you are in danger."
"You still haven't even told me who are we in danger from?"
"That is something that we are still trying to figure out. Certain individuals within the Vongola had made some dubious decisions, but without concrete proof there is nothing we can do about it. I have my best people investigating this. To make matters worse, there is another outside force that is targeting Fuuta and we haven't had any luck finding out who they are."
"So, we are safer to protect together then?"
"As of right now yes, you are. You two will have some of the strongest people protecting you. Reborn, Bianchi and Shamal are feared in the underground world. I even asked Dino Cavallone to start his training of Hibari Kyoya while also keeping an eye out for you two with his people."
Tsunako had heard about Dino, but hadn't met him yet.
"I'm doing everything I can to keep you both safe."
A silence settled in the room. It was Fuuta who broke it.
"I-I did have a vision… I would like to tell you; if you don't mind."
"Go ahead dear, tell Tsu-chan what you told me."
Fuuta took a deep breath.
"As you have been told, I'm able to see visions, things that would happen in the future, and even things about people in the present. If I have a picture of a person, my visions are more clear too. The problem is, that I don't know when those visions will happen. So, I write them down, in my special book."
"Lately, I've been having a vision where someone is chasing me, and I run and run away, but they always find me. The problem is that I can't never see the face of this person, just hear their laugh. But, last week, something amazing happened! As I was running away, I saw a light in the distance, and when I got close I realized that it was a bright flame, and in the flame, there was a smiling girl who was holding her hand towards me. That flame was warm and kind, and it keep the bad people away. That girl was you"
Tsunako was a little astonished at the boy's tale. But she had to ask.
"How did you know it was me?"
Fuuta blushed a little. "I-I have a picture of you. The Vongola people gave me a picture when it became obvious you were the only successor left. You know, in case I had a vision about you."
"They really are not taking any chances." Tsunako said while looking at her dad. "They even have a psychic spying on me."
"It is customary." Her dad said simply.
"Can you see now Tsu-chan." Nana said kindly, "Right now, Fuuta needs you the most."
How could she ever fight against that logic?
Later that night, she took the time to go over her messages. She had a lot of them. They were mostly from the girls, asking if she knew when she'll be back. But a few of them, were from Hibari. He also wanted to know why was she not at her house already. She told them all that they were waiting for her house to be ready, but that it should be only a couple of days more. Then she told only the girls about Fuuta.
The girls reacted just like she expected them too, completely shocked, and wanting to know everything. She promised to tell them the whole story once she was back, since she was still taking it all in. Hibari was another matter altogether. She had been purposely ignoring his messages, and making excuses that she had been really busy.
Surprisingly, despite that terrible letter, he had been more level headed in their chats. She still could not believe that they were communicating, and truthfully, she was terrified at the prospect to see him in person.
Their chats had started out simple enough, but eventually his questions became more personal, more demanding. Finally, he asked her about her feelings towards him; he wanted to know if she still liked him, but he made no mention as to what he felt towards her. She really didn't know how to answer him. Their last encounter was still very fresh in her mind, and she couldn't forget Reborn's assessment:
'He is a simple-minded fool, who has had everything served on a platter his whole life. Someone needs to teach him a lesson in humility. You don't know him at all, what you like is an illusion, you would never understand, or like the real person.'
It had made her think seriously about her feelings. Could it be true that all this time she had been infatuated with an idea. The strong, handsome, and aloof anime stereotype. Was it him she liked, or did she want to be like him? He had everything she lacked, strength, attitude, fearlessness, intelligence and looks. He was respected, she was treated like shit.
She knew that she will eventually have to confront him, and give him an answer. But right now, she had more important things to worry about. Her future looked grim, she had a brother to take care of, and her life was in danger.
All in all, a very ordinary day for a mafia boss.