Sawada Tsunayoshi, or Tsuna, for short, could only stare at the new piles stacked at his desk in exasperation. He had been gone for a short break. There was a new caffè that he enjoyed frequenting since its grand opening. The pastries and desserts there were fast become a guilty pleasure of his, particularly the pumpkin tiramisu. In that span of time, which really couldn't have been more than thirty minutes, he had amassed even more work than he had originally started out with.
He took a long sip from his cooling coffee before letting out a small huff. He didn't know why he bothered thinking that he had managed a free afternoon. He gave the piles another considering look. With the amount he had now, he would be lucky if he could make a sizeable dent before the dinner meeting with the Varia.
Speaking of which, Mammon owed him Varia's monthly expenses. He had forgotten to ask the last time they were together. They had gotten distracted discussing the idiocy of destructive coworkers who damaged more property than the two cared to pay for.
Setting his drink down, he pulled a file from the stack and skimmed the contents. What he gathered made him groan in annoyance. It was the third draft for the trading proposal with the Raltepol Incorporation. Hayato had already inserted a few memo notes in the document and he could see some mark ups at the margins. The fact that it was marked up meant that he actually had to go through the entirety of the damned thing. And understand it.
If he remembered correctly, the proposal needed to be presented next week. Tsunayoshi ran an aggravated hand through his hair before grabbing a pen. He was not looking forward to speaking with Hendrick. But closing this proposal would go a long way in pushing for a more international base in partners. Hayato would never let him hear the end of it if he neglected to go over everything Hendrick noted.
And considering the amount of trouble Tsunayoshi got into when he had attempted his first business merger, he really couldn't blame Hayato for wanting to make sure that that was the first and last time it ever happened. A shiver ran down the brunette's spine at the mere thought of the mishap. It was not one of his better moments.
Suffice to say, Reborn had been quite displeased with him. "I did not tutor you so that you'd fail at a simple negotiation, idiot student."
Reborn had chose to ignore his justifications and proceeded to trounce him. Hard.
His tutor had then snipped at him through every step of the clean-up. And even though it was a losing argument, Tsunayoshi would alway stand by the fact that he told them that he was going to have a mishap eventually.
Really, if one were to consider the pace that Tsunayoshi had gone to learn everything, it would have been strange if there weren't some problems along the way. He was no god. In fact, his school records still showed his abysmal grades.
He had known from the moment he inherited the title of the Vongola, that he was woefully unprepared for the monstrosity. Even with the help of the previous leader and Reborn, he had been in a constant state of drowning from the incessant demands.
Therefore, he didn't understand the level of perfection that they expected right from the get go. The variety of work was both ridiculous and demanding. Just the paperwork easily left him tied to his desk for hours on end. More often than not, he was found pulling all-nighters. The days he had reprieve from office work would instead be booked with scheduled meetings and events.
He had travelling more than he had ever cared to. Reborn had went on about it being a necessity to be physically present to keep old clients and partners happy. Tsunayoshi believed it was Reborn being a cold hearted bastard of a teacher who loved watching him suffer. For that comment, he found himself leading endless conferences or attending business expos for a good month.
This was definitely not how he envisioned his life of mediocrity to be.
How some of his classmates had dreamed of this business-like lifestyle was beyond him. It was more of a nightmare he would happily do without. Granted, they probably didn't dream of the added bonus of being part of the Mafia. Tsunayoshi paused from his reading to glance at the rings on his fingers, unable to stop the beginnings of a rueful smile. If only they knew.
The corporation aspect was just a guise. It was a delicately crafted facade that hid the more sinister side of life. By no means was the mafia a fabled fairy tale that parents told to scare children at night. It was quite real and rightfully dangerous.
Over the years of adolescence, he had paid dearly, learning just how treacherous it could be. There were many things that he had done that many would have deemed impossible and unbelievable. And as much as he hated his tutor's methods, he was thankful for Reborn. Without him, he would never have come as far along as he thought he would have alone.
Looking at the papers before him, Tsuna let out a wistful sigh. He could easily remembered when the beginnings of his family were all just students. The most worrisome things were tests and getting the next assignment done. Back then, they simply enjoyed the daily routine of going to school and hanging out, peaceful and carefree.
However as time passed, he, as well as all of his friends, became further entrenched in the mafia. It was particularly after their trek to the future that he could say that they had all really started to change. That they really began to think of the commitment. After all, they had a firsthand taste of reality and violence; the idea of dying and killing lingered closely behind them.
And while they returned home victorious every single time, it became increasingly difficult to readjust to normality; especially the girls and kids. He knew that even though they had tried very hard to hide it, the excursions left deep marks.
As they grew older, Kyoko no longer smiled as much as she used to while Haru seemed to become less talkative and more introspective. It was not noticeable to their family and friends, but he could see it when they thought no one was looking. It always made him guilty.
Initially, he had tried to talk to them about it, he really did. However, they would simply brush it off and tell him not to worry. Through the rest of the school years, the two girls were constantly together. During that time, they were joined by Chrome and Hana as well. More than once, he had seen the four go off together into a café. As they grew older they started to frequent bars, much to his disconcertion.
Lambo and I-Pin were also together a lot more, especially when Fuuta started travelling again. God, that fight when Fuuta said he wanted to study abroad had been a disaster. The two younger ones had wanted to go with the Ranking Prince but Tsunayoshi had forbade it. It took quite a long time before he could coax the two into forgiving him for that. Thankfully, Fuuta was willing to come back to Italy for the long breaks between class. It was a lot better now that Lambo and I-Pin started school as well.
His thoughts were suddenly interrupted by the sound of a flying projectile heading. It was purely out of reflex that he caught the object before it hit him in the head. It was an apple. Tsunayoshi raised his brow before turning to the culprit who stood at the doorway, Reborn.
"You know, that could have knocked me out." admonished the brunette. He placed the fruit on top of a stack of folders and stretched with a yawn, "If you knocked me out, there would be no one to finish up this work. Then where will you be?"
"You are becoming too complacent, dame-Tsuna," said Reborn with a slight smirk, coming to stop at his desk. He gave Tsunayoshi a calculated look, "Should we schedule another training session?"
Tsunayoshi shot the man a withering look, pointing his pen accusingly, "Are you still peeved that I sent Colonnello with you?"
"I'm more peeved that you are dabbling in some old family feuds," remarked Reborn, making Tsunayoshi twitch in surprise. "You're pulling into a dangerous game, Tsuna."
Internally, Tsuna wanted to curl into a ball and cry. He thought he would have been able to stall Reborn for a bit longer. But it was hard trying to hide things when he had someone who knew him so well and vise versa. The two had gone a long way together, creating a bond solely based on trust and belief in one another. Granted, the road to achieving this point was filled with plenty of explosions and more fights than Tsuna could care to count. For the sake of his sanity, he refused to think about it.
They fought for that mutual trust. And while it had its many perks, there were downsides to it. Like now, for instance. He could only stare blankly as he tried to figure out what to say. Reborn arched a brow before letting out a pointed sigh.
"Get back to work." ordered the hit-man and with a quick flick, aimed a pen at the young man who winced in pain at the impact, "The papers aren't going to finish themselves."
The hitman then took a few files from the stacks and seated himself on a sofa, browsing through the information. As if he didn't just call Tsuna out on his plans. Tsuna frowned at him before reluctantly going back to his paperwork. It was never good when Reborn did that. It meant that the man had already started looking in. And while Tsuna was sure that his plans wouldn't be found out for a good while, it still made him unhappy that he had to withhold the information. On one hand, he did want to talk with Reborn about this particular plan, on the other hand, if he did then Reborn would probably try to stage an intervention.
In the end, the two sat in a semi-comfortable silence that was broken only by the quiet shuffling of paper and the scribbling of a pen. Tsuna had made it to the last couple of sections of the proposal before the sound of a chuckle broke through his concentration.
That did not bode well.
He looked up from the papers and warily observed Reborn, who had pulled up another file to read, "The two that you sent to China are coming back this weekend."
"Already?" said Tsuna, unable to hold in the grimace, "I take it that Chrome couldn't completely pacify Kyouya."
"You, of all people, should know better than to send your skylark to China," replied Reborn as he flipped a page.
Tsuna rolled his eyes at the comment before taking a bite out of the neglected apple, "Fon was already there to smooth things out."
"He tried to go for the heads of the Triads."
Tsuna chuckled weakly, "They're family? It runs in their blood?"
"Fon took the time to call me and ask about the state of your mental well-being."
"I had no choice! You should be proud that I didn't send Mukuro instea-"
The door banged open, revealing two preteens, Lambo and I-pin. Oh dear.
"TSUNA-NII!" shouted Lambo with an ecstatic grin as he held a rather blue looking bazooka in hand, "Giannini made new modifications!"
"Lambo! They're busy right now!" cried I-Pin. She tried to grab and drag Lambo out, much to the boy's dismay. "No! I want to show this to Tsuna-nii. He never plays with us anymore."
In his fight to get out of I-Pins clutches, the boy accidentally pulled the trigger. Tsuna could only stare in alarm as the shot went straight for him. A burst of blue smoke erupted and enveloped him before spreading throughout the room, leaving the other occupants coughing.
As Reborn cleared the smog around him, he did not need the famed intuition to know that something was not right. He quickly made his way over to where Tsuna had sat, mere seconds before. There was no one to fill the seat. A sickening trickle of dread started to well up in his mind. It couldn't be to the future. He refused to believe that. The hitman cursed quietly before turning to the two kids.
"Where's the weapon?" he asked. Lambo and I-pin traded fearful looks before pointing at the altered bazooka on the ground. As Reborn tried pick it up, the item began to crumble into pieces. What in the world?
"We heard an explosion. What's going on?" demanded Gokudera from the doorway trying to clear away the smoke that still lingered in the room. Behind him was Yamamoto who looked around the room, eyes narrowing when he did not see one particular person. They had just returned from a small meeting with another family. Having heard the sound of a tell-tale bazooka, the two came to check.
"The idiot cow fired a new weapon," muttered Reborn, his facial expression frigid, "It hit Tsuna."
Gokudera frowned, "So we just wait five minutes and he'll be back right?"
"We didn't get an older Tsuna." Yamamoto replied in Reborn's stead, uncharacteristically grave, "Either something is wrong with the bazooka or…"
Lambo and I-pin traded looks of horror as they began to understand what Yamamoto implied.
Suddenly Giannini came running in looking extremely panicked and terribly out of breath, "Lambo!" He wheezed, "Where is the bazooka I gave you? That wasn't the one you were supposed to get. That one was a prototype!"
Gokudera rounded on Giannini, eye blazing with frustration, "Where does it send the person?"
"It was set for past events. Just a tinkering experiment," Giannini frowned worriedly before replying "I didn't think it would work."
Meanwhile, Tsuna was taking a rather wary look at his surroundings. He had fallen unceremoniously to the ground upon landing and garnered some suspicious looks. He gave a small smile before getting up and dusting himself. It didn't take long to realize that something was off about the place he current was in. Something was really off. Though he was sure that he was still in Italy, many of the shops looked unfamiliar and rather old. After a moment of hesitation he began walking, melding into the throng of people to observe.
The longer he walked the more he began to notice that the people around him wore a style of clothing that was similar his time yet it seemed different, more old-fashioned? Their appearance and facial expressions were also more concealed and cautious, as if expecting trouble to jump out to get them. Or maybe he was just imagining it.
Ignoring the knot of apprehension forming in at the pit of his stomach, he began looking around for information. Luck was on his side as he meandered into an empty park. On one of the benches there a discarded newspaper. After a quick check to see if anyone was claiming it, he went over and swiped it up.
He nearly dropped it.
He was not in the future.
He was in the past.
It's happening. Going to finish this. Apologies to you wonder people who put up with my delayed late ass. Thank you. I appreciate you guys to the max. (Sept2015)