©dwindling flame

HEY BABY, I'M BAAACK.

Yeahhh, I know it's been like… almost 2 years since I've done anything… but I swear I wanted to. D:

I was just… all lazy and stuff… And of course finishing high school and starting college was a bit hectic… Can you believe it? I was a junior when I wrote Puberty's Chokehold and here I am, a freshmen in college coming to you with another one. UNFORTUNATELY, this one isn't just smut like the last. ): It's a story with a plot that… probably won't be very romantic. D;

Just like the last, this is another role play from gaia that just started a few days ago and is already so amazing that I must make a fanfic out of it. It will be edited to be story friendly, but just in case you notice different writing styles, I am Tsuna, and my Enma/co-writer is I D e r a K i t. She is love. Since we go pretty fast, I'd say weekly updates might be in order. Of course, if the role play should lag a little, updates will be a little slow. And bear with us; while we have a general idea of the plot; a lot of this is made up with each post.

Spoilers ahead if you aren't up to date with the manga!

Since the manga isn't this far, we've decided the fate of all the fights, and we also changed the outcome of the fight with Ryohei and Koyo. We made it so that Ryohei won. And… we're bullshitting/making up Enma's abilities… and Tsuna's new ones; since we have no idea what they are. XD

I hope you don't mind long chapters... :3

And as of right now, there aren't any pairings. There will be implied Tsuna x Enma (friendship for now) but the plot isn't very romance friendly. However, just be warned, that should romance ever appear, be prepared for 2700.

Constructive criticism will help us improve.

Disclaimer: I reserve no right to KHR. Wish I did, though… ):


- Forfeit the Game -


They would never know what it was like.

Watching his final guardian be taken down by the Vendice in chains into the abyss of darkness that none of them could identify made his stomach tie up into knots and his throat be swollen with grief to the point where air scarcely could pass so that he could continue the shallow breaths. They all went down assuring that he was the boss to follow. He was the one that was right and they would follow him to the end, they did follow him to the end. And though his fight to take down the Vongola for the sake of their revenge was his top priority, his heart was screaming each time he watched them fall.

That wasn't supposed to happen.

The Vongola were the ones that were supposed to be suffering now, and falling so that their numbers diminished.

Their boss was the one that was supposed to go through this agony.

That Sawada Tsunayoshi was the monster here! He was the leader of this murderous, hateful family!

How could things keep going this way?

The boy had grown up without his parents. They had been taken away so soon, but only after he knew of the pain that his family, the Shimon family, had endured all these years and continued to. They were a small family. They never hurt anyone. They had gotten their start with the Vongola! But they had been abandoned. They had been betrayed! They had been cast aside! That was why they suffered today. That was why he had to watch as his family was slaughtered before his eyes.

That was why, and how, he found his irreplaceable guardians who had experienced the same pain that he fought with every day.

They had that bond that they shared undeniably. It was that pain and loss that was their fire and determination. They were inseparable and they fought for each other no matter the cost. It had always been that way. And though Enma knew he was the same, and that he would do all he ever could for his friends, his guardians, his family, and was ready to do those "anythings" at any moment, he had never thought it through enough to really realize that, of course, they were all on the same page. He had never thought it through to think that he might have to watch this very situation one day and see them hurt or see them be taken away.

The sight of their blood spilling, no matter if it was a drop, or more, it was just far too much.

Even so, he could not tell them to stop. He would not. This was what they had fought for and prepared for all these years. He would get them back. They would reach their goal. The Vongola would pay, and Tsuna would be the one to pay the price most of all. He was the one who disillusioned so many into following him. He was the one who was leading the actions of this new generation of Vongola, and he would be responsible. That was why they had needed to stop the ceremony. He would ruin the Vongola. He would crush them. Shimon would be the name to remember once more. It was why he had to become stronger. It was why he was always fighting. Pain was the obstacle he had to always overcome again and again to attain that sought after strength.

Was that what this moment would accomplish for him too?

. . . It had to.

Though it seemed like an eternity, at most it was only several moments before the boy shut the pain out of his eyes, only to replace it with determination and anger before he was gone from the sight of the tenth generation Vongola. That was enough for today. Even now he knew that he had to be careful. He had to do this just right. He needed time to collect himself and ready himself.

Besides, tomorrow… Tomorrow he would reach his peak of strength with the rings. Tomorrow would be when it all came together. He would be damned if he let his impatience for revenge get the best of him after all they had worked for. There was no way that he would let the Vongola find him before he wanted them to, either. This would be his moment of truth. This would be the moment he would turn it all around. His family's sacrifices would not be made in vain. Neither of his families would. He would make it all right, no matter the cost. He was ready to give up his own life for that. He had always been prepared for that.

He was sure that they had never known, but he'd always been watching from the fight with that Ryohei against Aoba. He hadn't understood how that boy had overcome his own comrade. It was like he'd had a stronger driving force. But… that was just impossible. Their fight was pure. Their fight was just! They were making what was wrong, right again! But… the idea that the driving force had been stronger, somehow, had echoed in every fight after.

Even for that Lambo brat!

How could a child be so affected by a corrupt boss? How could he possibly be fooled into believing that such a man could build such a strong family? What lies could they have fed him? But then he had such a devoted right hand man as well. He was so vicious to defend his boss, like he was some hero. Even for someone who didn't seem to care at all about that family had come to defend him. A young girl who seemed to not fit within the team at all fought on that side! A girl who should have been dead! Oh, of course they knew. Their information was much more vast than the Vongola would have believed.

They were not fools.

And then... Then there was that..! He just still did not understand how that baseball boy rose to fight… healed only to come back to fight for that side again! He had gotten hurt, nearly killed because of those people. So how could he not see? Why would he fight? That group was so disillusioned, just like the rest! Like the Vongola was some saving grace! Like they were different and they weren't murderers.

But they just didn't know better.

They hadn't watched their families and friends be killed. They hadn't seen what he had. They hadn't felt what he had. And those weren't things that could just be understood with a caring heart or some kind of sympathetic imagination. No. You only understood if you had endured that pain. Only when you fought to stay alive, no matter how much of a nightmare each moment seemed to be. It hurt. It always hurt and it never got easier… but it would. He knew that his soul would be at ease, and so would every other of those he had lost, that they had lost, when those responsible suffered as well. It was why he couldn't and wouldn't rest.

As he came to rest in his chosen place within the forest, he looked out over the nearby cliff. This island... This island would be where it was all finally solved. His family had finally come so far. They had made it to the point they had dreamed of. It wasn't perfect. They all weren't together… but he would finish it for all of them. He would get them back. He would make it up to them too. He was fighting for those of the past and the present.

Sighing, the young red haired boy closed his eyes and leaned back against the tree behind him. Looking down to the ring on his hand, he could feel the strength and hope of his family within it. He felt their strength. Enma hadn't lost hope. Though his heart ached, and though he still felt the guilt of not being able to protect them all better, he would fix it. He would make it up to them. "We're almost there." He murmured as he closed his eyes, taking in a deep breath. He wasn't wrong. He had given them a chance, and Tsuna hadn't cared. He had ignored it. He was fake. He had gotten that message loud and clear! No matter what he said or acted like, he was only out for himself. He just made those happy who would work in his favor. He wasn't who he made himself out to be. He wasn't the sweet innocent kid who really cared. He had almost believed it. Almost.

"I won't lose."

And when morning came, his strength would finally match his drive and he would have his turn to fight. He would finally reach his goal. No…

Their goal.


Tsuna shouldn't have changed his mind. If there was one thing he should have learned from the beginning, it would be that he should never agree to anything that would involve his family and friends… And yet again; that's what he did.

Looking down to his feet, the chocolate eyed boy wrapped his arms around his knees, giving a blank stare. This always happened to him… From the day Reborn got into his life until now; he had always said "No" but was forced to do things that he never wanted to. He was forced to "find guardians". He was forced to "train to become the tenth boss of the Vongola". He was forced to defeat Mukuro, Xanxus, and Byakuran. Never had he really been given a choice to do as he pleased… And every time he was forced to do something, everyone he loved, along with himself, was put in danger.

He couldn't count the amount of times someone in his newly formed family has been worked to a near death state. He never understood why, after nearly murdering a group of teens, who he had never spoken to before Reborn came in his life, would still stick by him. Friends don't cause friends to risk their life in a war they shouldn't be a part of. Why would they willingly endanger themselves for him? He wasn't that important. He wasn't that special… He didn't even want this. It was almost as if they wanted this more than him. There were so many questions that were going through his mind but there was only one that bothered him most of all…

Why?

Why is it that when he finally had the choice to escape from this life, to escape from the danger, he chose to jump right back into it? Becoming the tenth boss wasn't mandatory. Reborn wasn't holding a gun to his head or kicking him face first into danger. The Ninth wasn't holding him against a wall, with a knife at his neck. The Ninth's guardians weren't holding his family hostage, saying that they'd murder them if he didn't comply with their wishes. No… For once, he was given the choice. The choice to run or the choice to step up into a world that he didn't want to be a part of.

At first, he had followed his heart. He ran. He wasn't going to be the Tenth. He wasn't ready. He wasn't capable. But no… Just because someone was hurt over the ceremony; he decides to go through with it. Why? Wouldn't a cancelled ceremony have made the enemies leave? Wouldn't him not being boss cause all the hits on his head to go away? He would have no long have been associated with the Mafia… right?

So why did he change his mind?

Tsuna grinded his teeth together, closing his eyes, as if it would make all of his problems go away. He wanted revenge when he had learned that Yamamoto was attacked by someone because of him. He should have learned that revenge in the mafia world never ends well. Not only did he almost get Ryohei murdered (he was hanging on by a thread after his fight), but everyone else who fought for him had survived, even if it was a close call.

He thinks that Lambo was the one who faired the best out of all of them. He didn't even know how Yamamoto managed to defeat Kaoru… He wouldn't be surprised if Yamamoto was going to be crippled all of his life. He could only be grateful that they all survived and that the final battle was now on his shoulders, but this could have all been avoided if he never accepted the proposal to be boss. The ceremony would have been cancelled… and Shimon wouldn't have been able to get Sin.

The thought of the red head caused Tsuna to open his eyes. 'Enma…'

Reaching down to the necklace around his neck, he pulled out the two rings around it. Placing Nuts between his fingers, he stared at the shiny, lion shaped metal. It reminded him of how much Enma loved Nuts… He never would have imagined that the boy, who was just as hopeless as he was, would have been able to do this to him. He thought he had found someone in the mafia world who could relate with him…

Now they were enemies… And he only fueled Enma's anger an pain. All of Enma's guardians were gone; once again destroyed by the Vongola… He could only say that he knew that this wasn't betrayal… This was to protect his own family. Shimon betrayed them by befriending them and then trying to kill them. Since when did two wrongs make it right? Why couldn't they just… get along…?

Now he had the toughest battle ahead… Defeat Enma and exile him once again, or lose and have Enma live alone, or be attacked by his own guardians… Tsuna knew that they'd avenge him… It was just in their blood… but it wasn't fair. Enma didn't deserve to be alone anymore…

Sighing, Tsuna placed the rings back in his shirt, looking towards the rest of his family. Everyone else was awake, just as nervous as he was (minus Lambo, of course).

Gokudera was sitting there, ignoring the blissfully snoring Lambo who was sprawled across the bomber's lap. Yamamoto was against a tree, his eyes drooping out of fatigue. Near him was Ryohei, who was slowly pacing in circles, refusing to sit and let his weakened muscles relax. He figured that if he worked them for a bit, they'd heal faster… Tsuna sighed; only Ryohei. Hibari was nowhere to be found, as usual. Chrome was with them, hugging her staff in an attempt to sleep. Of course, he couldn't tell whether Reborn was asleep or not. His eyes were wide open, but that didn't mean anything.

Shaking his head, Tsuna stood up, ignoring the eyes that followed him. Walking through the trees, Tsuna made his way over to a cliff that stood above that random city he had seen earlier after their fight with Shitt-P. Looking at the demolished buildings, Tsuna sat, letting the wind blow through his hair.

Tomorrow was the big day.

Tomorrow was when he'd have to face reality. He's had to send Enma to his "grave". He couldn't let his family down… He just… had to finish this. He had to get the last piece of the puzzle between Vongola and the Shimon. He wanted to know why; why did Enma trick him? Weren't they happy? Weren't they friends? Enma said he felt like they were close; and Tsuna could tell that it was genuine. What could have caused him to snap? There had to be more to it than the past happenings between the Primo and Cozart. What could he have done wrong…? After their talk that night, it was almost as if they had created a new level of friendship…

This change was just too sudden for Tsuna to fathom.

Sighing, Tsuna laid back on the ground, letting his arms fall to the side as he stared up at the moon above. 'Enma…What were you thinking…?' he thought, trying to disregard the burning sensation in his nose. What was he doing? How was he doing…? Was he looking at this moon too? Was he nervous? Was he confident that he would win? Tsuna's vision blurred as the burning in his nose intensified. Biting his lip, Tsuna forced his eyes shut, feeling the cool tears slid down the side of his face, rolling down into his ears, making him shiver slightly.

Taking in a deep breath, Tsuna willed the rest of his frustrations back inside of him. There was no need to break down now. He needed all of that pain; that anger. He needed it to fuel his battle. He needed it, coupled with the love of his friends, to protect him and bring him to victory.

Bringing one arm up, Tsuna wiped away the straw tears, sniffling, before taking another deep breath. Placing his arm on his stomach, he continued to stare at the moon. It wasn't long before his head fell to the right, staring in the direction of his next battle.

He knew where Enma was. He knew that, just a few miles in that direction, he would have to face off against a young boy who too, shouldn't have been forced to deal with such things…

Sighing helplessly, Tsuna shut his eyes trying not to dwell anymore on it. He had to rest… he had to be fit for the next day…

Trying to clear his mind, Tsuna let the darkness of his eyelids and the gentle sounds of the night lull him into a restful state. Completely lost in his world, Tsuna disregarded the colors that began to explode behind his eyelids and the tingling in his body. Slowly but surely, his breath started to deepen to a steady pace. It was almost as if his mind had detached from his body. He felt so warm, so light… so worry free. Embracing the moment, Tsuna slowly fell into a deep sleep, feeling slight warmth coming from the rings around his neck.

Tonight would probably be his last night to sleep so soundly…


TBC


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