All characters © Amano Akira
Summary: Tsuna's teacher suggests he sees a guidance counselor.
Things aren't always as they seem...
The bell rang, loud and buzzing in his ears. Tsuna yawned, collected his books, and shuffled out of the room with the rest of his classmates before he was stopped by his sensei.
"Oh, Tsunayoshi-kun. May I speak with you for a moment?"
Inwardly, Tsuna groaned. When had a week gone by where he hadn't heard those words, always the same, from various professors? It was usually the mild, hopeless concern for his failing grades, his lack of participation, his late assignments. Tsuna wanted to scream to them all that he had other things, more important things to worry about. But of course, he couldn't do that.
Tsuna approached the teacher's desk, sighing. "Yes, Sensei?"
The teacher frowned. "I'm a little concerned, Tsunayoshi-kun," he began. Right, here we go, Tsuna thought miserably. It was a rigmarole he had grown to dread.
"What am I failing now, Sensei?" he asked.
"The usual," was the teacher's reply. "Algebra and English lit. You have consistent C's and B's in everything else. However, this isn't want I want to discuss with you."
"E-eh?" Well, this was new.
"No, it's not the grades I'm concerned about." The teacher frowned, scrutinizing Tsuna over his bifocals like a scientist who is observing a specimen he has seen many times but doesn't quite understand. "I'm more worried about your constant absences from school, the bruises, the casts," he continued. "Is there anything you want to tell me, Tsunayoshi-kun?"
Tsuna sighed. The day had finally come. He knew that all of this mafia insanity--or its aftermath, at least, wouldn't go unnoticed by others. It was only a matter of time before someone noticed something wrong. Not only was it his responsibility to protect others, but it was also his job to cover up the incidents. Tsuna didn't think it fair for him to deal with the repercussions alone, but then again, nothing in the mafia had ever been fair.
"No, Sensei." Tsuna shook his head a little guiltily. His teacher's frown deepened, and he opened his drawer to take out a slip of paper.
"Maybe if you won't talk to me, you'll talk to your guidance counselor," he said. "I want you to see him immediately--tomorrow, if possible. Here's an appointment slip."
Tsuna took it, knowing then that going would be a big mistake, but dimly hoping for the best.
"So, Tsunayoshi-kun." The counselor steepled his fingers behind the desk as the glow of the afternoon sun silhouetted his frame.
Tsuna blinked back innocently enough, counting the minutes until his session concluded. The counselor looked and acted as if he had watched too many psych films in his line of career. At least there was no black chair present.
"It says here that starting a few months ago your number of absences from school began to increase, and you often returned with bruises and various other injuries."
"I-I'm just a little clumsy," Tsuna replied. "Sometimes I trip and fall." He almost laughed as an image of Dino tumbling down the stairs popped into his head. Now that was a clumsy person.
The counselor leaned in. "Denial is the first stage of abuse," he said softly. He could see right through the boy; he had seen a thousand like him before. "What is your father like, Tsunayoshi-kun?"
At this a line of annoyance creased the boy's forehead. "Well he's never around, so I really couldn't tell you, kankokusha-san," he replied good-naturedly enough. So it wasn't the father, then.
"Hm, an absent father..." It couldn't be the mother; according to the numerous parent-teacher conferences with Tsunayoshi's homeroom professor, the mother was as pleasant as they come, if a bit air-headed in her mannerisms.
"Have you ever been bullied, Tsunayoshi-kun?" he asked.
Tsuna nodded. "Loads of times, up until last year. But not for a while." And it was true. After he had become part of the Vongola, kids just seemed to stop picking on him. Even Hibari's Disciplinary Committee veered clear.
The counselor wasn't worried. He would crack this boy open like a walnut. And he would get paid to do it. "I want you to be completely honest with me, Tsunayoshi-kun," he said. "Think. Is there anyone at home who may be causing you distress?"
Tsuna was, by nature, of a meek disposition. Granted, that had resulted from a low self-esteem and lack of talent as a child, but things were different now. He had friends, family, and things worth fighting for. He was not mean-spirited (anyone could account to that), but the days of letting people walk all over him were rapidly fading. His counselor wanted the truth? Then he would receive it. Tsuna was tired of all the lies anyway.
"Well," he began, "There is Reborn..."
Finally, a breakthrough. The counselor leaned in even further. "Who is Reborn?"
"My home tutor."
"I see. And what does Reborn do that causes your distress, Tsunayoshi-kun?"
Tsuna thought for a minute. "Well, he likes to punch me in the stomach, but when he's impatient he'll hit me over the head with a hammer sometimes." He deliberated some more. "Oh, and he's shot me loads of times."
"Shot you? As in paint-ball?"
"No," Tsuna shook his head and looked sheepish. "With bullets. It only hurts for a little, but I've gotten used to it."
The counselor frowned. "How old is Reborn?"
"I'm not sure, but he mentioned once that he was around for the Persian Gulf War," Tsuna answered. "That was before he joined the mafia and became my home tutor."
It was the counselor's turn to blink. He was more than a little confused, and slightly wary. There was something more than abuse going on here, he saw. Possibly teenage paranoia or mild psychosis. "And does your home tutor resemble your father in any way?" He inquired, deciding to go along with the boy.
Tsuna had some talent in reading people himself, but it would have taken an imbecile not to see that the counselor did not believe him. Tsuna noted vaguely, with disgust, that a part of him was enjoying this, this toying with the counselor. "Not at all," he said. "He's about, um, 40 centimeters tall, around 3.7 kilograms...and he has a pet chameleon."
The counselor quickly tallied those measurements in his head. "But that would make him...an infant," he concluded, staring at the boy, who nodded placidly.
"An infant who tutors you, hits you, and shoots you." the boy nodded again.
With a steadying hand the counselor rubbed his temple. No matter how much he considered himself a psychologist, he was only a middle-school guidance counselor. This was definitely more serious than he had suspected. He had misdiagnosed the boy. He opened his mouth, not sure what would come out, before--
Tsuna paled. The counselor, coughing through the smoke, noticed one of the other freshman students who had forcibly entered his office by means of... oh, no.
"G-Gokudera-kun! How did you know I was here?" Tsuna waved some smoke away from his face.
"I heard from Reborn that you had a counseling session," Gokudera replied, looking positively livid. He nodded toward the instructor. "Did that bastard give you any trouble?" Baleful celadon eyes came to rest on the guidance counselor, who had composed himself somewhat.
"Um, kankokusha-san, I can explain..."
"Excuse me," the counselor stated to Gokudera, indignant, "But you cannot simply barge into a session, and with weapons on school grounds to boot! I'll have to call the principal if you don't leave."
Gokudera's scowl deepened. The natural fear students have for teachers was something Gokudera had never possessed. Then again, he had never been to public school before this year. "Shut up. If you lay a hand on--"
"STUPID-DERA! I'm hungry and I have to pee!"
"Lambo?!" Tsuna's eyes boggled out. They just kept showing up, one after the other, no matter where he went. "Lambo, this isn't a good time--"
"But TSUNA! I have to pee!"
"Then go over there, you stupid bovine!" Gokudera snapped, and jammed his sticks of dynamite back into his waistbelt.
The counselor jumped up. "Why is there a child here--wait, what are you doing? Not over there!" he exclaimed, completely frazzled.
Lambo turned around with a bored expression and urine dripping down the pants of his cow suite. "Eh? Who's this?" he asked, looking up and scratching his head. When he removed his hand, there was a pull ring wrapped around his finger. Tsuna slapped a hand to his forehead.
"Oi, Tsuna. Hibari will kill you if that goes off in here."
"Reborn!" Tsuna looked around frantically. "I know, but I don't have my gloves with me or anything!"
Reborn smiled. "No problem." Leon curled around his pudgy finger and promptly shot out a dying will bullet, which hit Tsuna smack in the center of his forehead. Tsuna went down like a sack of bricks. The counselor's eyes bugged, his mouth pursed in a straight line. All was frozen quiet for a minute, until--
"RAAARRRRR! GET THE GRENADE OUT LIKE I WAS TO DIE!!"
"Tsunayoshi-kun. May I speak with you for a moment?"
Like déjà vu, Tsuna approached his sensei's desk. "What is it, Sensei?"
His professor frowned. "Concerning your session with the guidance counselor last week, well..." he adjusted his glasses. "It seems as if he has resigned."
Tsuna wasn't surprised in the least. Anyone would be traumatized after a meeting with his outlandish cohorts, aka the Vongola famiglia. "Really?"
"Look," his teacher sat back and lay down his grading pen, "I'm not saying that you were directly responsible for his resignation, Tsunayoshi-kun, but you were the last student he saw. He apparently filled out his forms almost immediately after your session. Did anything...happen in there?"
Tsuna looked at his teacher, smiling winsomely. "Why no, Sensei," he answered. "I just...talked with him."
And the teacher suddenly saw something in that gaze that he didn't like at all. He was well aware of his students' nickname for Tsunayoshi: No Good Tsuna. Heck, he even believed it himself and thought the boy to be a pathetic and sad excuse for a student. But now, he felt like there was something quiescent in those eyes, something that best not be awakened.
Then it was gone, and it was just Tsuna again, with an achingly bashful look. "Um, Sensei? I have to get to my next class."
"Oh--of course, Tsunayoshi-kun," the teacher answered reasonably, though he was still troubled. He decided to try again before dropping the subject. "One last time, can you think of anything that would have made your guidance counselor quit his job?" he asked.
Tsuna rose with his cumbersome textbooks in his arms, and deliberated for a moment. "Maybe he heard something he didn't like," he said. It wasn't a question. Without further discussion Tsuna rambled off to class before the school bell could declare him late.
And for the first time, the professor contemplated the fact that the scariest thing in Namimori may not be Hibari Kyouya.
Kankokusha = counselor, advisor