All characters © Amano Akira

Tsuna goes to Hibari for some advice after the Future Arc. An experiment with In-character OOC-ness.

The Unforgotten

With a thumb and index finger, Tsuna pinched the darkened pockets of flesh beneath his eyes. The coon-rings were deepening and settling in, much to his dismay.

He looked down at his breakfast: steaming rice and a mouthwatering sandwich, made with care by his loving mother. But his stomach roiled, and he could not bring himself to eat it. Over the past week since returning to his own time he had eaten hardly a square meal. He'd slept even less.

"You're really getting too thin nowadays, Tsu-kun," his mother remarked from the kitchen. She was cooking a vegetable soup for her lunch, looking over the pot at her son worriedly. "Are they feeding you enough at school?"

Tsuna looked at the pot of vegetables, simmering contently over the stove. He saw the blue and yellow flames lick the bottom of the pot with muted crackles, flames so much like the ones he had used to...

He swallowed and replied, "Yes, mom."

The rice and sandwich were later thrown into the trash bin.


He supposed he was weak-willed, as others had told him so often. He supposed that it had been a necessary thing to ensure the weal of mankind and the equilibrium that spun this world around, but everyone else seemed to forget that less than a week ago... he had erased someone else's existence.

The burden of murder was something that no fourteen year old should ever have to bear. Tsuna thought it unjust--but since when was anything in the mafia ever? His dreams now were imbued with feelings of fear, regret, frustration. Byakuran showed up again and again, until Tsuna thought that he would never forget that smirking face, those dusty purple eyes that had leaked blood toward the the very end. It was terrifying, and Tsuna soon realized that the only way to escape was to stay awake. Reborn watched silently, either because he hoped that Tsuna would overcome this on his own or because he was waiting for his sanity to crumble before finally stepping in.

It was only when Tsuna started seeing Byakuran during the daytime that he knew something had to be done.


The school bell rang, and Tsuna phlegmatically gathered his books together. He smiled and politely refused when Gokudera and Yamamoto offered to walk home with him, informing them that he had something he needed to take care of first. They nodded and filed out with the rest of the class, a little confused but on the whole nonplussed. Tsuna sighed. Normally, he would have been staunchly averse to this option, as it was akin to suicide--almost in the literal sense. He would have rather avoided this if possible, but he couldn't keep living as he was and his lifelines were dwindling.

"Sawada Tsunayoshi." Hibari Kyouya barely looked up from his desk as Tsuna stood in the doorframe of Namimori's prefect's lounge. Thankfully it was empty except for Hibari, which saved Tsuna the trouble of getting his guardian alone.

At least he was being acknowledged. "I was hoping to talk to you, Hibari-san," Tsuna said meekly, walking in and sitting on one of the committee's sofa's. He was inwardly astounded at his own gumption, but a part of him no longer cared if Hibari decided he should eat metal.

Perhaps Hibari noted the change in Tsuna's appearance and voice as well, for he said nothing about wasting his time or hovering. His pen scribbled lazily over his paperwork, but he had not thrown Tsuna out forcibly. Yet.

Tsuna took this as an indication to get his business done. "I know you don't care for people talking around things," he began mutedly, "so I'll try to, um, be as quick as I can. I'm just not sure how to start."

Surprisingly, Hibari laid down his pen. Tsuna blanched, half-expecting the tonfa to slide out with that cool, metallic shick. But Hibari merely stared at Tsuna, his blue, snowcap eyes boring into Tsuna's brown ones. What came out of his mouth next nearly had Tsuna gaping like a beached fish. With what little restraint he had left he managed to control his expressions.

"You look terrible."

Tsuna acknowledged the comment tiredly. It was not a display of concern on Hibari's part, merely an apathetic observation that had no emotion whatsoever attached to it. For this Tsuna was grateful. "Do you know why, Hibari-san?" he asked.

It was a silly, asinine question, and Tsuna waited for any sign that Hibari wanted him out. But Hibari just picked up his pen again and resumed his writing. Of course he knew.

"Sawada Tsunayoshi," he said, still writing, "I would have done the same thing." It was not quite the answer Tsuna had been looking for, but at least Hibari was talking to him like a civilized person. They both had certainly come a long way from last year.

"Only herbivores feel regret," Hibari continued. Or not.

"Hibari-san, we're only in middle school!" Tsuna protested, his palms opening wide from their resting point on his thighs. His nerves and emotional control had reached their limit, otherwise he would have never spoken this way to his cloud guardian under normal circumstances. "What gives me the right to--to kill another person? What gives you?" He took a deep breath, calming himself.

"You always talk of biting people to death, Hibari-san, but have you ever actually done it? Do you know what it feels like?"

Hibari actually looked amused, whether at Tsuna's exhausted explosion or at the things he had said, Tsuna couldn't tell. A minute went by before Hibari answered--or rather, questioned.

"In nature, why do carnivores kill their prey, Sawada Tsunayoshi?"

Tsuna blinked, sidetracked. " eat?"

Hibari's eyes drooped in a nod. "To eat. To survive. They kill so that they won't be killed, and to maintain the balance of the food chain. Do you think they feel regret at every meal, or that they are just thankful to stay alive? It is a natural process for them."

It was the most Tsuna had ever heard Hibari say in one sitting. "He would have killed us all if I hadn't done anything, Hibari-san."

"Death is sometimes necessary." Tsuna fell silent at this. Hibari proved to be in an uncharacteristically talkative mood today, much to Tsuna's surprise. He wasn't sure whether to take this as a good thing or a bad thing.

"Have you ever thought, Sawada Tsunayoshi, that with one death, thousands of other lives can be saved?"

Tsuna's eyes widened. He had forgotten all about that, so enveloped in the horror of taking a life. Of course, with the parallel worlds restored, Yamamoto's father had never died, the negative-seven rays had never killed the Arcobaleno, and mafia families had never been wiped out in the first place. This line sounded utterly alien coming from Hibari, who Tsuna had always associated with the 'annihilation' aspect of fighting rather than the 'protecting.' At that moment, though, Tsuna thought he could understand his cloud guardian a little better.

"Like in Namimori--putting one person in their place can set an example for others so they won't do it again," he mused. At this Hibari smiled grimly. It was also a smile that told Tsuna he had nothing more to say.

I think I understand a little now why you like biology so much, Hibari-san.

Tsuna stood up and inclined his head in a bow. "Sorry for wasting your time, Hibari-san!" he said. Hibari only gave a little 'hn' in response.

Things are so much simpler. Animals stick to the rules that nature's given them. Herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores alike all work together; there is no apex predator.

"I feel a little better now," Tsuna remarked, which was true. His stomach rumbled, repining noisily for the food that it had been neglected over the past few days. He left, pleasantly surprised that Hibari, of all people, had given him useful advice. That in and of itself was something heart-lifting.

As Tsuna was walking home, he looked up at the sky. Puffy white cumulous clouds stretched along the expanse of the atmosphere, swirling with the blue of the sky. They were clear and white, Tsuna saw, and if one just looked hard enough, one could make out shapes in them.