Chapter VI: A posse ad esse (Tsuna's Apartment / Namimori / Current Day)
A/N: So it's taken me a while to get back to putting out chapters and I apologize for that. I had a series of promotions at work that greatly escalated the workload and time involved in my job.
With the end of the manga there's been a huge increase in reviews and favorites on this story and its prequel which has motivated me to get my ass in gear and finish the story.
The morning of the move, both Tsuna and Reborn woke early and grumpy. Neither of them was looking forward to leaving Nana's house. Breakfast that morning was an awkward affair. Bianchi was notably absent and neither of them was willing to inquire about it, but Tsuna's mother gave them both a reassuring pat. The children were full of teary eyes and pouting lips while Nana was doing everything she could to make sure both of her grown boys were well fed before they left her care.
Tsuna was reluctant to leave the children behind, even knowing that it was the safest place for them to be. He knew his parents would take care of Futa, I-pin and Lambo with all of the love any parent could give a child. He'd become attached to them and his heart ached a little at the thought of not seeing them at breakfast every morning or at dinner every night. So Tsuna allowed himself to be swarmed by the children after breakfast, letting them hug, snuggle, tickle and flail as much as they needed to, so that they could finally let him go with promises of sleepovers for each of them in the near future.
Reborn was finding that he'd become more attached to this home than he'd ever thought he would have. It irritated him that he'd made such an emotional slip but that didn't stop him from letting Nana hug him as much as she needed to, while the last of his and Tsuna's belongings were moved. Instead he gave in, basking slightly in the warmth and affection of her love.
They walked to the Vongola office building, deciding to enjoy the fresh air and quiet for a while before facing the task of unpacking. It was quiet this early on a Sunday morning as they wandered through Namimori. Shops were just beginning to open their doors and the normal rush of students was absent. Neither felt much like talking, and focused instead on enjoying the quiet comfort of being together on such a beautiful morning.
The movers Reborn had hired were gone by the time they reached the office and made their way downstairs to the newly built apartment. Standing outside the door to his new home, Tsuna paused and realized his hands were shaking. He realized then he was scared. So much had changed and still was changing, all of it moving so fast now. This new home was a huge step forward towards a future that scared the hell out of him. A future that Tsuna had categorically denied wanting, until he'd realized what the future held for the people he loved the most.
"There's no reason to be afraid, Tsuna," Reborn told him, hopping down from his shoulder to stand next to him. "Everyone has to grow up sometime and leave the nest."
"I've never really been on my own," Tsuna replied, giving him a shaky smile. His hand was still trembling slightly as he reached out to key his security code in before opening the door, blinking as lights slowly came on in the room in front of them.
"You're not alone now," Reborn scolded him as he moved into the apartment to investigate it curiously. "And as long as I'm here you never will be. That's what it means to be Family."
Those words left Tsuna frozen for a moment on the threshold, as his mind spun with the implications. He'd been so tied up in protecting everyone for so long now that he'd almost forgotten that each and every one of them gave something to him in return. It was such a deep and complex realization that it shook him to the core, and he envied Reborn's ability to express something so overwhelming with such small and easy words. His Family was his because he gave them something they needed, and in return, they filled the empty spots inside of him that he'd allowed to hold him back for so long.
"You're right, Reborn," Tsuna said softly. He straightened up slowly, pulling himself together. The nervousness and fear slid out of him as he crossed the threshold, taking a deliberate step towards adulthood and responsibility. The approving nod and the smile on Reborn's face reassured him that as hard as this may be, it would be worth it.
Looking around, Tsuna had to admit that as much as he disliked his reasons for moving out of his parents' home, the Vongola had done an amazing job of compensating for the pain of that transition by providing an incredible apartment for him. It was small and nestled underground beneath his office, but as he looked around almost possessively, all he could do was smile. He'd left all of the details to his father, Lal and Basil, not wanting to be any sort of an additional burden on his Family by making demands. As he explored the small space, he could see how much effort and care they had put into making this a home to suit him.
It was a small apartment, limited by the size of the building itself and the need for a training room for himself and the others on the same floor. What Tsuna liked about it, however, was the thought that had gone into designing it. The colors were soothing and very different from the strong, bold colors he'd been surrounded by when he'd gone to Rome to visit the Family.
The kitchen area was tiny, something that he appreciated because he knew he lacked the skills to cook for himself and he was fairly sure Reborn would shoot him if asked to cook. It was designed for pre-made meals that could be easily reheated by microwave if needed, but still well enough equipped to allow him to try making a meal if he wanted to. Looking into the cupboards and refrigerator, he noted that both had been well-stocked and it would be a while before he had to shop for food.
"Mama made sure there'd be enough food for your bottomless stomach," Reborn told him, resuming his place on Tsuna's shoulder to look into the refrigerator cheerfully.
"I am not the one in this household who has a bottomless stomach," Tsuna grumbled at him as he closed the door. "I'm the one who never gets to eat a whole meal because his tutor can eat his weight in food and still be hungry."
"I'm a growing boy. Mama understands that," Reborn replied smugly, smirking at him under the brim of his hat. Tsuna couldn't do anything but laugh at that as he moved on to continue looking around.
The space saved in the small kitchen design had been put to good use in the living room, which had enough seating for Tsuna, his Guardians and guests. It was casual and comfortable, with an inviting kotatsu centered in the room. The teenaged boy in Tsuna also appreciated the wide-screen television and game systems along one wall. There was a small desk in the corner with a matching chair, obviously designed for school work, given that his office was just above him now. It was a silent reminder that no matter how involved he became in the mafia, he was expected to keep his studies up.
He didn't know who to thank for the bathroom, but someone had obviously taken into consideration how little private time Tsuna really had and how stressful things were right now. The tub was larger than anything he'd seen in Japan, deep enough that he could kneel in it and still be covered to the chin in hot water and long enough that he could stretch out and relax fully. It would be good for relaxing after a long day, or far more likely for soaking out the bruises from training and the fights that seemed to spring up around him so often these days. Reborn hummed approvingly and hopped down again to explore the cupboards while Tsuna moved on.
The bedroom caught him by surprise and had him laughing softly before he realized it. It was clear his Family was fully aware of his more intimate relationships if the size of the bed was anything to go by. Flopping down in the middle of it, Tsuna couldn't help a happy sigh. He hadn't really noticed, but his childhood bed was definitely not made to handle a body that took the beatings his had been taking over the past few years. As he stared at the ceiling he felt muscles relax that he hadn't even realized he had.
"I ordered this and the bathtub," Reborn said, making his way in to check on Tsuna. "Since you're too clumsy to avoid being hit, I figured we should at least make sure you can heal properly." He hopped up onto the bed to join him. "It will keep your late night whimpering to a minimum."
Tsuna grinned and rolled on his side to face him. "From what the future you said, you like my whimpering at night."
Reborn stared at Tsuna for a long moment with glazed eyes, and then Tsuna turned bright red from the neck up and hid his face in the pillow. The dark chuckle that followed made him burrow even deeper into the pillow, completely embarrassed by what he'd said. Reborn let him hide for a few minutes before patting the top of his head affectionately.
"It's years too early for you to be saying things like that, Tsuna," Reborn told him, obviously still amused. "But if it helps any, you're just as embarrassed by it in the future as you are now."
Tsuna groaned and pulled himself upright, sitting on the bed, and tried to change the subject. "Maybe we should just unpack."
"That's probably for the best," Reborn nodded in agreement, still chuckling. "All your blood is going to entirely the wrong head to continue this particular discussion."
That was the moment Tsuna knew with complete certainty that Reborn would always be a few steps ahead of him in some areas of their life together and he made the decision to accept that. Mostly because arguing against it would end in sheer humiliation and he already entertained Reborn enough on a daily basis that way.
*Title translates to "From possibility to actuality".