Chapter 5: Mafia 101
On top of the morning mountain, there was silence. No voices, no chirping, no sound at all was made as an elderly woman read the contents of her letter. The blue flicker of a candle illuminated her choppy white hair, which hung down uncombed, and her two piercing tiger-like eyes. The latter were as sharp as ever too. Together, those greenish-yellow orbs scanned the pale pages, creased in silence...
Which became broken when the thing violently was chucked at the nearest garbage can.
"The hospital. A fucking hospital she lands into!" spat the woman.
Pulling a cigarette out, she lit it over the candle while still hissing under her breath. The first smoke drowned her lungs, and her smirk softened a bit as she relaxed. Damn what the doctors said, she figured. Nothing curbed stress like the smooth taste of tobacco.
"And with a prefect of all things involved," she continued grouchily. "My daughter should be rolling in her grave about now."
The woman stared at the morning skyline above, puffing quietly between her lips. The grey smoke mixed into the color scheme, forming a hazy purple cloud above her head. Casually, she watched as it snaked around a sakura tree outside the window. It hadn't bloomed yet, she noticed. Not since Tamaki had left during the storm.
Seemed like forever since then.
With a thoughtful puff, Sensei perched the cigarette between her fingers. Then, she shoved her palm under her face and exhaled a cloud of smoke.
"That idiot still doesn't understand a thing," she sighed. "Does she?"
Tama had no idea what was going on.
Ok. Maybe that wasn't entirely her fault. Some of the blame could lie with the painkillers. Getting jacked on morphine while acting as a pincushion for IVs could distort memory, right? Plus, hospitals tended to have that effect on people anyway. Especially when you feel like you got nailed by a concrete truck.
But seriously 'though. What on this earth could explain any of this?
Now by "this," she wasn't talking about landing in the hospital. God knows she did enough stupid things to warrent a trip eventually. No, that wasn't the problem at all. By "this," she meant... for Pete's sake, where should she even start? The part where Hibari Kyoya beat her to a pulp thanks to a half foot bird? The part where she got saved by scrawny Sawada Tsunayoshi? Or maybe when said savior managed to fend off Hibari using a PAIR OF FREAKING OVEN MITTENS?
The issue was enough to make her want to go on a monster rampage. Go figure.
I should have never left that mountain, she grimly decided. With an heavy sigh, Tama made a mental note to interrogate Tsuna next time. He had a lot of explaining to do, and she had plently of time to listen in this sterile, plastic bastard child of a room she was in. A small grimance was made at the shiny paint and thick blinds on the walls. The only non-white thing here was her hair and a can of soda by the table, and it was seriously messing up her head. She hated hospitals. She really did.
"Hopefully, I won't be here for long," she grumbled, trying to make the best out of it. She glanced down at her wrist, which was a bit nicked, but all together ok. A nurse had told her that the injuries weren't too bad. Most were superficial, cuts or bruises, and the only major worry was her shoulder. It would be in a cast but heal soon, luckily for her.
'Though, luck didn't really comfort her when she considered the worst of it all. The fact that she lost, that is.
At the thought, Tama's scowl deepened, as though a bad aftertaste lingered in her mouth. Probably defeat, she supposed. It wasn't something she could swallow down easy. It tasted too bitter, too unfamiliar to her. Her shoulder itched at the same time, as though to emphasize her annoyance.
Trying to shake it off, Tama reached for the soda, figuring it'd calm her down somewhat. Caffiene does wonders after all, she thought wryly. The cap clicked open under her fingernail, the sound echoing in a comforting way. The liquid sploshed down and satisfied her. With a small "ahh," she relished the cool feeling of the can on her palm.
"Ah, good morning, Senorita."
Then, Tama nearly choked as a thick, heavily accented voice interuppted the moment. Her drink fumbled on her fingertips, almost ready to tip over. Meanwhile, a smooth, strong hand held it up, its owner speaking once again.
"Careful now. Don't want that spilling."
Tama glared up at the man, who leaned over her bed with witty, dark eyes. In his hand was a clipboard; on his being was a white lab coat. Both stated his profession, as well as a name tag whose handwriting was too messy for her to read. His brown hair and weary face did a lot of the charm for him too, seeming to speak volumes of wisdom and good looks.
Though, that charm kinda died when he spoke again.
"Geez. Clumsy as ever, aren't you?" he sighed in disappointment. "And your boob size hasn't changed one bit either, Tama-chan. Same old brat."
Tama narrowed her eyes while her mind registered his annoying attitude. It seemed familar, along with that annoying suffix. Intently, she backtracked to what seemed like the stone age of memories for an answer. Then, it hit her. A picture of them arguing at the temple's threshold a year ago came to mind first before putting out a name.
As in, Sensei's old buddy from Italy who liked to harass the town girls and when he came to visit Shamal.
Suddenly, a creepy shudder iced Tama's back. She slowly slid down into the sheets, further and further until only her eyes were left to glare at the abomination and his shitty smile.
Out of all the mother... Why is HE here? she mentally grumbled. Now that she remembered, Shamal was that friend of Sensei's who came up every once in a blue moon, the really shady one who carried around little medical tablets. Not much was known about him, but the little knowledge she did have was enough for her to NOT want him around.
You see, even if he was a family friend, Tama never got along with the foriegn doctor. Shamal was sleezy, perverted, and came off as a "know it all" right off the bat. Oh sure, around women he tried to act cool, but under that surface was a nagging, lecturing hypocrite that pissed her off to no end. The only time he ever complimented her was on her legs, and that sentence was ended with: "Give it a few years and I might pay you a visit, Senorita."
Her response? She puked into the nearest toilet.
Thus: the snarkiest feud of the century was born. If it wasn't for Sensei always telling them to shut up, Tama was pretty sure they'd keep insultingly banter for hours on end.
Huh... Speaking of which...The young girl blinked, a thought occuring to her.
"Hey... Wait a sec. What are you doing here?" she demanded, getting suspicious. "Sensei lives two towns over. You should know that unless you failed geography back in grade school."
Shamal raised an eyebrow, looking faintly amused. "I find that highly ironic considering this is coming from a person who can't find her way out of a pickle jar. Also, I'm not lost; I just transfered here. Italy was getting a bit dull, and I wanted someplace different. A change in locations if you will. "
She snorted with a fold of her arms. "Change in locations" her ass. No one transferred all the way from Italy to Japan just to see bonsai trees. He probably got in trouble again for sexual harassment. The guy had a nasty habit of flirting too much, something she found out when they had to take a trip to the town at the bottom of the mountain. Gotta love perverts, she mused, reminscing when the local barmaid smashed him into a dumpster.
"Bet you got kicked out of the last hospital," Tama jeered.
A bored, almost annoyed look was flashed at her before he switched his attention back to the clipboard. Pages flipped over his fingertips, one by one as he muttered something about "troublesome, stupid kids". Finally, he offered her a purple letter, its elegant calligraphy standing out.
"Here," he said, tossing it to her lap. "It was just a coincidence, but a friend of yours got word I was stationed here. However, that's all the favors I'm doing for you. I'm not your attending doctor, and there's other, much prettier patients who would enjoy my company more."
Yeah, if they were drunk, were her thoughts at that. With all the childishness in the world, Tama stuck her tongue out as he turned to walk away.
"Besides," he continued, either not noticing the gesture or ignoring it. "I believe you have a visitor. Entertain him."
With flair, Shamal jerked the sliding door open. Much to Tama's surprise, someone actually stumbled out. She cringed as he hit the floor while the Italian doctor took his leave. He stepped caulously over the body, waving with an informal "bye" as he made his way out.
"How considerate," she sarcastically called.
Shaking her head, Tama turned back to the boy, who was identified (quite bewilderedly) as Tsuna. Her eyebrows nearly flew off her face.
He looked nothing like before. Weak and scrawny looking, the poor kid didn't look like he could even stand a chance in a fight, much less against Hibari. In fact, awkwardly enough, her savior now was chanting a bunch of "ows" under his breath. She scunched her eyebrows quizically at the display, remembering how badass he HAD looked a few days ago.
This was the guy who saved her ass from Hibari? Somebody pinch her; she must be dreaming.
"Tsuna?" she tried.
The boy stirred before his eyes turned wide at her. She was intently staring at him, partially in disbelief and the other in curiosity. The kid looked like he was gonna break in half like a stick. She wanted to ask him so much, but seeing him get trampled on wasn't exactly a great conversation opener. Both blinked, like deer who suddenly got blindsided by flashing lights, really unsure of what to say.
An awkward silence filled the air for several minutes. Tsuna eventually ventured first, his words a bit hesitant.
"Um... hi," he meekly greeted, sounding kinda lame.
Tama raised an ironic eyebrow.
In the sactuary of his reception room, a lone Hibari Kyoya sat surrounded by a small mountain of paperwork. All were awaiting to be reviewed, signed off on, and organized, the fruits of the committee from the past month or so. However, surprisingly, it was the last thing on his mind at the moment. Instead, the prefect just flickered his eyes and frowned back to the matter at hand.
He couldn't stop thinking how easy it was to get, yet how useless it was at the same time. The information was just two, three at best, thin pages at most and didn't contain much but the bare minerals of his adversary. Grades... Medical... Everything but what he wanted. It seemed so inadequete, so belittled, of a girl who was able to pull a stunt of choking him with his own coat.
The memory of it made him narrow his eyes. That bold herbviore, Hibari couldn't help but smirk. He had underestimated her, no two ways about it, but she had done the same for him. A fatal mistake on her part. The satisfaction he got from putting her in her place felt so wonderful afterwards.
Yet, oddly enough, his victory wasn't the end of the annoyance (or was it interest?) that plagued him. There was something that still bothered him about her. He wondered what it was... that fighting style perhaps. Now that she showed her fangs, he noticed it was very unique, a mixed martial arts with a strong base in judo. Perfect for someone as physically weak as her. Of course, she was still far out of his league, but with a little work that girl could easily become very fierce.
The question was however: where did she learn that from?
Hibari snapped his eyes shut and growled. This was going to irritate him; he could feel it. Wondering why he even was investigating this in the first place, he made a low hissing sound. The last thing he should be concerned about was some pipsqueak freshman. Not with the recent disturbances about.
Little punks, he sneered. Over the past month, according to the graph Kuksabe presented, there had been an increase in fights concerning Janen Jr. High*, a bordering school next to Namimori. If they kept to their little territory, he wouldn't have minded them so much, but Namimori students somehow always got involved. That was unforgivable. Plus, he had a nagging feeling someone was making a power struggle behind the scenes.
And Hibari Kyoya didn't tolerate disorder. Not in HIS town.
Narrowing his eyes, the chairman calmed himself with images of bloody murder. Then, after refocusing his anger, he attended back to Subaru's file, analyzing its contents bit by bit.
Name: Tamaki Subaru. Grade level: freshman. Previous elementary school: Chikara* Academy. According to the transcripts, there wasn't much too remarkable about her. Grades were average. Physical examination also average. A few disciplinary reprimands here or there. As for family...
"Both parents: deceased," he read aloud, the diologue escaping into reality. "And current guardian... Yoshiba Hinata."
His fingers meticulously curled over the edge of the paper as he read further. There weren't any mentions further about Subaru after that. No phone number, address, or even hobbies were listed. The only thing left was about Yoshiba, who worked at Chikara as the principal. It wasn't too far away either, just a town away from Janen where coincidentally he was traveling to for an inspection.
Well, now. Maybe I should pay a visit, he mused. And kill two birds with one stone.
Clutching the file in hand, Hibari gazed at the color photo. His teeth soon peeled back in a vampiric smirk at the thought of what was to come. Fine. This girl and those herbiviores wanted to play with him? By all means. It was the thrill of the hunt that made it all the more enjoyable. His nails circled the file, methodically and calculating.
"Tamaki Subaru, huh?" the prefect murmured in bloodlust. "Hn... Show me your secrets."
Tama-chan was a complete mystery to Tsuna.
He couldn't understand why; people usually were easy enough for him to read. At first, he thought that it was because she was merely in shock from the fight with Hibari. Reborn had urged him to show up and clarify things (the logic being that mafia bosses should take care of civilians); so he had come, hoping to smooth things over. Not to reveal TOO much of course. Exposing the truth about his "family" would only make her think he was nuts, after after all.
However, as he tried to give some decent explanation (desperately scooting around the word MAFIA) for what she had witnessed, all he could see on her face was a blank, unreadable expression. Which worried him a little.
It could be worse, he tried reassuring himself. At least she's not angry. As unlikely as it was, he hoped she bought the story. To be blunt, the fictional creation was almost as hard to believe as the truth itself though.
"So, let me get this straight," Tama-chan started, her eyebrows beginning to scrunch again. "You're in a GANG?"
Tsuna visibly cringed. "Um... sort of," laughed the boy nervously. He didn't really like labeling his friends as a bunch of rowdy yankis,* but at any rate, it was easier than saying they were in the Italian mob. Plus, he had a feeling she could relate better to that word anyway.
"And you all got enlisted for some crazy training by your uncle, who's a professional wrestler? Which led to a street fight with the yakuza after you guys accidently trashed their place?" she continued incredulously.
This is getting more and more ridiculous, he thought sheepishly. And the Ring Battles were hardly a "street fight."
Somehow, after asking where they got their fighting skills from, she got the idea that they were involved in Japan's underground. It sounded pretty bad, but still not as bad as explaining that 'No, it was actually Reborn, that baby you saw at our house, who trained us' and that 'No, the Varia are actually a badass hitman squad, we didn't actually trash their place, and we're lucky to have the skin on our backs right now.'
He just went with it as best he could. "Kinda."
"And those gloves of yours? The flame? Gokudera's dynamite?" she challenged further.
Quickly, he thought of something on the spot. "Well, that's just Gokudera-kun's hobby. As for the gloves... they're guantlets that my 'uncle' put halographic effects on; the flames are just for show. He likes tinkering with stuff." Like guns and people's lives, he mentally added with a grimance. Gokudera's pyromaniac tendencies probably were believeable, but the gauntlets were tricky.
He tried to look convincing.
However, that blank look just stayed there, like a plaster mask. "And what makes you think I'd believe a crazy story like that?" she finished.
Crap. She got him there. Tsuna became tongue-tied, making a strangling sound in the back of his throat. "Um... Why?" He bit his tongue. "...Uh... 'Cause-"
"If a weakling like No Good Tsuna can beat up Hibari with oven mittens and a flame burning on his head, then anything is possible?" offered a chilidish voice.
Tsuna nearly had a heart attack. The teen jumped as his tutor materialized out of no where, perched on the bed sipping a cup of espresso. He wondered how long the hitman had been there for.
From the yelp Tama-chan gave, apparently she didn't notice him either. "Holy cow! Where'd he come from?"
Tsuna really wished he knew the answer to THAT one. Maybe hell. With a glare, he rebuked the toddler before him and sat normally again. "Reborn!" he frowned. "Don't scare us like that! And what's with that logic anyways?"
The baby simply grinned, unconcerned at all as usual before gazing back to Tama-chan. "Well, what do you think? Do you think it makes sense?" he asked, looking for her opinion.
The girl tilted her head as though thinking intently. The idea seemed to appeal to her, Tsuna noted with surprise. The realization was reflected in her eyes, clear as a shiny glass ball under a light. "Ah... you're right," she nodded surely. "Kinda does."
What the hell. He didn't know whether to feel insulted or relieved. At a loss for words, Tsuna just sulked and threw a nasty look at Reborn. Stupid baby, always making him look so uncool.
"Don't give me that look. You should be grateful that I salvaged your botched acting," his tutor smirked in a low whisper. He raised his espresso, as if in congratulations. "Although, you know she'll find out eventually anyway, right?"
Tsuna pursed his lips tightly, muttering a sullen "I know" under his breath. He wasn't looking forward to it either. Something told him she was gonna raise hell about it. At least toning down the story helped, thought the boy wistfully. I hope...
Venturing a peek, he tilted his head to watch Tama-chan. To his relief, she seemed pretty satisfied with the answers. The girl was leaning back comfortably into the bed, not a single conflict showing on her face, and that blank mask turned to one of contented thoughtfullness. Thank God, he silently prayed.
"By the way," she mentioned casually. "I got one more question. Can your uncle teach me how to fight?"
The serenity got shot to hell instantly. Tsuna nearly choked, thrown off guard completely by the question. For a minute, the boy was hoping that he had heard incorrectly, but unfortunately, from the intense stare she was giving, that didn't seem to be the case. Reborn noticeably looked more interested, and a faint grin stretched across his face.
Oh no. No no no no... the boy cringed. He opened his mouth to protest, but at excatly that moment, his tutor cut him off with "We'd be happy to!"
Tama-chan's lit up like it was Christmas, a stark contrast to the pale white Tsuna's had turned. With urgency, he whipped his head and, in a low whisper, hissed "What are you doing?"
Reborn simply shrugged, but a scheming gleam had appeared in his eyes. It never meant anything good either, promising something evil or sadistic to come in the future. "It's not a bad thing for someone to owe you," he softly smirked. "Maybe we can even recruit her."
"But Tama-chan's not even IN the mafia. Don't drag her down into this crazy world of yours!"
"That's what you think, Stupid Tsuna," he answered cryptically. "But apparently, I haven't taught you enough to notice it yet."
"Notice what?" the boy demanded in frenzied frustration. All he saw was a big complicated mess that was bound to get really bad really quick. Reborn needed to learn how to keep his ideas to himself! "Please, for once, can't you just-"
"Holy shitaki mushrooms!"
Their heated whispering suddenly dropped as the wierd exclamation echoed from the bed. Reminded of his visit, Tsuna quickly glanced up, only to see that Tama-chan was holding her head with her left hand. The other one gripped a purple envelope, whose letter he assumed was the one balanced on her lap. Her face was wide with a stunned expression, a mirrored one of probably his own only two seconds ago.
"What's wrong?" Tsuna asked curiously. "Is everything ok?"
For a moment, his friend simply stayed silent. Stunned, she let the letter slip out of her hands and onto the sheets. Tsuna could faintly make out the words cousin... how are you?... motorcycle... visit... from the parchment. Finally, the girl opened her lips, eyes still as wide as flying saucers but practically bursting with a cheerful light.
"Hahaha! That crazy idiot! I don't believe this!" she laughed loudly, a grin appearing instantly.
Fondly, Tama-chan folded the letter and hugged it close to her chest. Then, the girl turned and flashed a wild, crazily happy look he had never seen before on her face. It was like a beaming sun, so fierce yet so excited at the same time.
"Yo, Tsuna!" grinned the orange-haired girl. "You wanna meet my best friend?"
Chapter 5 End!
yanki= Juvenile delinquent
Welcome back all! Let me just start by saying THANK YOU to all of you who have kept supporting this while I was away. While I was slaving away with college application stuff, I noticed lots of people kept favoriting or alerting this story. It's made me imensely happy. ^^
Oh, and happy thank you's to the reviwers too:
Lunatic Sheep [Oh, and don't worry, your English is fine :)]
Finally, a dear BIG thank you to my beta-reader kimkakashi and my friends B and Will. Without them, my inspiration would still be dry. ^^'
I hope to have another chapter up soon, but no promises! Until then, let me know what you guys think. I kinda rushed this, cause I have a feeling school's gonna rain hell on me soon. Criticisms welcome; flames not so much.
Until next time!