All characters © Amano Akira
Summary: Now a senior at Namimori High, Tsuna's teachers are reluctant to let him graduate with the grades he has; Hibari Kyouya of all people steps in to save the day.
Author's Note: I couldn't resist the little pun at the beginning.
"The Namimori Board of Education normally doesn't let students with a GPA lower than 2.7 graduate."
Sawada Tsunayoshi gave his school's adviser a miserable look, clenching his hands in his lap. Most seniors would be enjoying their lunch period around this time, but for an unfortunate No Good Tsuna it was an hour stuck in the dean's office trying to see through the grim smog of his future. The mustiness of it was stifling.
"Frankly, I'm astonished that you even made it this far into the semester, Tsunayoshi-kun. Looking at your records, I see you haven't even sent in one application to any of our local colleges. In fact, you haven't applied anywhere yet. Do you have anything to say for yourself?"
There was really nothing he could say. He couldn't exactly tell his teachers that, concomitant with his eighteenth birthday, mafia families around Italy had suddenly upped their assassination attempts on him in order to prevent the Vongola from coming to power. In the past three months, he'd been almost poisoned, shot, stabbed, paralyzed, and smothered with a piano (don't ask). Tsuna didn't think his teachers would appreciate him telling them that the Italian mafia was out for his blood and that academic grades were hardly a priority when some hitman was holding a gun to your friends' temples.
In addition, the Vongola in Japan were all preparing for a trip out to Naples for the Vongola Legality Ceremony (the official indoctrination; not that silly joke of an Inheritance Ceremony his freshman year), and the process of ordering seven custom-tailored Zanieri tuxedos, flight tickets, and reservations in the Vongola Headquarters was made even more troublesome due to the fact that the Varia kept trying to send them fake Italian passports and deliberately mess up their reservations.
So more than anything, Tsuna wanted to scream to this adviser, sitting behind his desk with his scholarly parted hair and upturned lips and garishly out-of-style vest, that he had more important things to worry about. In all honesty, how could he be concerned about school at a time like this?
But then again, if he couldn't graduate, he'd have to spend another year in Namimori and wouldn't be able to make the trip to Italy anyway. Reborn, not to mention a dozen other people he could name would thoroughly kick his ass if that happened. Tsuna ran a hand through his hair, making it stick up in even more comical spikes. Gone were the days where Reborn would step in to save the day or some other mafia-related loophole would slickly get him out of trouble. He was on his own here.
It was not like the teacher actually cared, anyway; Tsuna had seen the look before. It was usually the mild, hopeless concern for his failing grades, his lack of participation, his late assignments. He had to admit his title of No Good Tsuna came in handy a few times when mafia imbroglios had gotten hairy, since the teachers who knew of his school status assumed that Tsuna's bruises and absences were the work of bullies. They were both right and wrong.
Then there were a select few, the more perspicacious of the teachers, who had suspected something more since it was not just Tsuna who had an attendance record of extended absences and injuries. They had sent Tsuna in for counseling, which proved to be more amusing than it was helpful. One child psychologist had diagnosed him with sociopathy while another had declared a clear-cut case of domestic abuse trauma. Tsuna had almost laughed. He hadn't told them that he had killed before, that he knew how to use Italian firearms, that he had a pet lion, and that he could fly.
In the course of his middle and high school years, Tsuna had made three guidance counselors quit their jobs.
He was the only student in Namimori's history to fail his remedial courses twice in a row without being left back (though this latter point was partially due to his teachers taking pity on him/the irresistible charm of Sawada Nana). He may not have been an intellectual whiz or a genius with numbers, but Tsuna was not a stupid boy. If he wanted to, he could have made the honor roll. Nowhere near Gokudera's league (the guy had been home-tutored, for goodness sake), granted, but he could have achieved a healthy set of grades. Instead, he had simply put school at the bottom of his priority list, since his life had been more than educational after joining the mafia.
"I've been a little occupied, sensei," Tsuna finally answered, thinking about how that really was the honest truth. It just wasn't the whole truth.
The adviser frowned. "Unless it's a domestic emergency, I don't see what could hold precedent over preparing for college," he replied disdainfully, then gave Tsuna a more penetrating look. "You're not having family issues, are you, Tsunayoshi-kun?"
More than you can ever imagine, Tsuna thought, but before he could piece together the parts of what would have been a very lame response, there was a knock on the office door.
"Come in," the adviser called, and visibly straightened in his chair when Hibari Kyouya walked into the office.
"Is there a problem, Kyouya-san?"
Tsuna almost felt disgusted at the way his adviser addressed Hibari with respectable honorifics. It was amazing how much power the Disciplinary Committee held over the school—and Namimori wasn't even much of an ill-behaved establishment. Hibari was allowed to issue detention and dismissal slips, have access to students' online grades, and even attend BOE meetings. The degree to which you supported the Committee determined your place in the school's social network. It was as if the students of Namimori High had their own little caste system. With a mild bitterness Tsuna doubted he would ever be called "Tsuna-san" any time soon by his teachers.
Hibari's gaze fell slowly to Tsuna, who looked pale and taut, then to the adviser, who was twirling his pen frustratedly. "I could ask you the same thing," he replied. "I heard that Sawada Tsunayoshi had been called into the dean's office. Has he done something I should know about?"
It was the most Tsuna had heard Hibari say in one sitting for months. The academic adviser shook is head, replying, "Tsunayoshi-kun does not have the adequate grades to graduate. He claims that he's been 'occupied.' " You'd almost expect the index and middle fingers to wiggle in a quotation gesture with the way he said it.
Hibari regarded Tsuna with hard gray eyes, and Tsuna met them with pleading brown ones. Hibari's gaze was coolly abstruse, and Tsuna couldn't tell if he was angry, disgusted, or just didn't care. The seconds seemed to be hours apart as a thick quiet befell the office room. Tsuna had never felt more awkward in his life. Wait, no, that was a lie. But it was still a moment that gave him the insurmountable urge to fidget.
"Naturally. Sawada Tsunayoshi is having difficulties with his family," Hibari answered after what seemed like hours of silence. The adviser's eyebrows jumped up to meet his hairline.
Tsuna looked equally surprised.
"If you want more information you'd have to get in touch with Sawada's immediate family, or the school nurse—"
—Shamal? Tsuna thought dimly. Why is Hibari-san covering for me?
"...but it is a private matter. Allow Sawada Tsunayoshi to submit to you a final paper, and he will be permitted to graduate."
The adviser frowned, deciding not to ask how Hibari knew confidential information about the students' personal lives. He decided he didn't want to know. "Normally, we make exceptions only for students of outstanding value or students who actually put in the effort," he protested, devoid of any former tact.
It's okay, No Good Tsuna doesn't care anyway. He's a failure. Tsuna felt his vision blur with shame.
"And you think Sawada Tsunayoshi is neither?"
Tsuna started in his seat. Now that was unexpected. Either he had heard incorrectly, or that had been the closest thing to a compliment Hibari Kyouya had given him in over four years. "H-Hibari-san..."
"The paperwork will not be a problem," Hibari told the adviser, not looking at Tsuna, "And as you know, I have certain...individuals who will foresee Sawada's graduation and diploma."
The adviser slumped in his chair, knowing well that he certainly wasn't the first teacher to have suffered a defeat by Hibari Kyouya. "Very well," he sighed. "We will discuss this later. You are dismissed, Tsunayoshi-kun, until further notice." Tsuna all but bolted for the door.
Outside the academic office, Tsuna mustered up his remaining gumption to call, "Wait, Hibari-san!"
Hibari, who was a few yards down the corridor, paused. His jacket billowed around his thin shoulders like a vampire's mantle. "I'll bite you to death for shouting in the hallways. What is it, Sawada Tsunayoshi?"
"I—I just wanted to say thank you," Tsuna panted as he caught up, out of breath. "Why did you do it, Hibari-san?" He didn't expect Hibari to give him a direct answer, but was surprised (pleasantly or unpleasantly Tsuna does not know to this day).
"Sawada Tsunayoshi," Hibari began in that flat drone of his, addressing him by his full name, like always, "I don't like being indebted to anyone. Now my debt is repaid."
Tsuna blinked. "Huh?"
"You have saved Namimori more times than I can count," Hibari replied. "One shouldn't be fettered by something that one's worked so hard to protect."
"Oh..." Tsuna didn't quite know how to respond. He wasn't sure if this was an actual display of gratitude from Hibari, or...
"Besides, I'd like it if Namimori could be rid of one more loser once and for all."
"Hee!" Or not.