The day was peaceful. It was the third day of spring break, and the sky was clear. Clouds lolled across the sky, meandering in their stroll as if they had all the time in the world. There was a certain crispness in the air that was only present during early spring, and small layers of snow on the places where the cleaners had not touched. There was no wind, at least not at this altitude, and the soft glare of the sun made the place looked like a winter wonderland.
Harry closed his eyes in contentment, leaning against the metal railing of fenced off area and simply enjoying his time. It was his break after all, and though he would have to soon go back to work, he wanted-
"Yo! Potter! Help me with these boxes will you?"
Harry very nearly sighed at the yell from one of his senior co-workers. He pushed himself off the railing, and started walking in the direction of the shout. The animals hooted at him as he walked past, although if they were jeering at him or cheering him he didn't know. Some animals he was good with, some he wasn't. Aunt Marge's dog Ripper for instance, he didn't think would ever like him, but it was a Boa Constrictor which had pretty much cemented his job placement.
Harry felt a wry smile quirk across his lips. He didn't like the Dursleys, but it could be said that it was thanks to them that he got the job he had now. Stonewall High was… a school where the weak could not survive. Luckily, Harry had been able to find a person who was willing to teach him a thing or two, and his own motivation to survive made him practice every day.
It was due to his skills that the zoo had hired him even though he was so young. Well, technically, they didn't know that he was only fourteen years old, but it was obvious he wasn't eighteen, and they hadn't done too thorough of a job researching his background. It was their way of saying they needed the help.
"Potter, finally!" Abukara Hibiki said as soon as Harry made it to his side. The brown eyed man gestured to the tower of boxes that sat behind him, and seeing Harry's confused look, he quickly explained. "This is the new delivery of animal feed. Help me deliver all the boxes to their cages. I know you don't usually do these types of things, but Ihara's too busy running three stations at once and everyone else is on Spring Break."
Oh, right, spring break. Everyone had gone home to their families for the holidays, and it was only about half of the trained workers who had stayed. They all needed the money, and added to that, Harry didn't have a family.
But he didn't mind that, really he didn't. As long as the Dursleys upheld their agreement not to bother him as long as he didn't bother them, he was perfectly fine. He could even ignore the slight pang in his chest when every day passed without the Dursleys checking up on him to make sure he was at least safe.
He was not with the Dursleys anymore. He was in Japan, the birthplace of his mother, and he was getting paid three times the normal wage because he was working on a holiday. With a nod to himself, Harry pushed away his thoughts of his grudging family and got to work.
He moved the boxes, letting Abukara take the bigger ones while he himself took the smaller deliveries. Harry wasn't one of the guys who only cared about showing off; he knew his strengths, and carrying heavy objects wasn't one of them.
He was on his way back from delivering food to the raccoon's den, when he saw them.
Sawada Tsunayoshi and Sasagawa Kyoko.
Harry tensed, unconsciously coming to a halt as he observed his classmates. What where they doing here? It… made sense that they would be here, considering normal people did go to the zoo for leisure, but Harry had been hoping to separate his school life from his part time job. Sure, he often saw his classmates, but it was particularly galling to see Sawada here as if he didn't have a care in the world.
Harry didn't have any friends; his old clothes and inability to go to the arcade due to lack of money had ensured that. To be honest, Harry was secretly jealous of Sawada Tsunayoshi. Somehow, the 'No-good Tsuna' (though Harry never called him that) had gone from world class loser to most desired friend seemingly overnight. Now, Sawada couldn't be found without the 'dangerous but super handsome' (the fangirls' words, not Harry's) Gokudera Hayato and 'Mr. Nice Guy' Yamamoto Takeshi.
Unconsciously, Harry's hand drifted to his neck, where a very thin, barely visible scar rested. Was it possible for him to ever have relationships like that?
And just then, the sky exploded.
Harry's head whipped around, his ears tuned towards the direction of the sound. There! Section 23, Area 8. The lion's den! Quickly spinning on his heels, Harry raced toward the direction of the explosion, hoping beyond hope that just because there was an explosion in the direction of the lion's den didn't mean-
Harry felt his heart skip a beat. He was still far away from the lion's den, but he could already see the shining yellow coats of the proud felines in the afternoon sun. So they really had escaped, then. Not allowing himself to slow, Harry reached a hand under his overgrown sweater, fumbling for his weapon.
Just then, Sawada and Sasagawa fumbled into the scene. They ran in from seemingly nowhere, and stopped just in front of the lions. They didn't seem to notice it though, because they were laughing as they clutched their sides and chattered happily with each other. Sawada looked relieved, Sasagawa's cheeks were aglow. Harry's mind blanked; how could they not notice-
And then, the lions growled, making their presence known. The two froze, turning as one towards the three snarling lions. It was obvious they hadn't been paying attention to their surroundings. Harry let a curse leave his lips.
"Zoo district report," Ihara's voice sounded over the speakers, "Some lions have escaped due to unexpected explosions destroying the cages. The situation is very dangerous. All visitors, please proceed towards the exit for your own safety."
Harry's heart was pounding in his chest. What a way to understate the situation. But then he supposed, Ihara was only trying to keep the public from panicking. As it was, it was all he could do to keep himself from panicking. He had taken his weapon out, and he was sure he could handle the situation, but- Sawada and Sasagawa had to get out of there, so why weren't they moving?
And then, a lion leapt. Its target-
Harry's hand was moving before he was even conscious of it himself. Hours of training helped, he supposed. A long, silver chain glinted in the sunlight, flying ten meters within a second and wrapping around the lion's neck. The chain tightened, and Harry pulled. He threw all of his weight into the pull, just as his teacher had taught him.
The lion sailed sideways, just barely past Sasagawa, who was its target. Although, it seemed as if Sawada had gotten in front of Sasagawa during the lion's leap, but Harry didn't time to analyze the information. Harry wasn't strong, but his technique was good, and the lion's momentum was disturbed. The thing was, the lion seemed to realize who had disturbed his hunt for an appetizing meal.
The lion roared, and bounded towards him. Harry rocked on the balls of his feet, and readied his chain. His heart was pounding loudly in his ears. He was going to die… he was going to die… he was going to die…!
"Why aren't you guys helping him?" Harry heard Sawada scream.
"Well," It was Gokudera's voice, "He looks like he's taking care of it."
"Yeah!" Sasagawa. The senior one. "I saw him fighting that lion, and I decided it would be EXTREMELY uncool to butt in."
Harry gritted his teeth as the lion descended upon him, and let loose his chain in a complex pattern of swishes. Uncool to butt into a fight WITH A LION? Just how crazy were these people?
The lion let out another roar at the onslaught of the chain, and fell down sideways as his legs refused to support him anymore. Harry's chains had wrapped around the feline completely, rendering it unable to move. Other than the head, the animal's whole body was covered in metal, with the chains fastening the lion's feet to its body.
Harry felt his beating heart abate ever so slightly, but he could still feel the blood in his ears from the unbelievable situation he had just been in. He had been so close to death, and if it weren't for his teacher's special technique, it might have been him lying there instead of the lion. This was crazy. Even though the zoo had hired him especially for situations like this, Harry didn't think it would actually ever happen. He sat down, spent.
"Ah!" Sawada cried, racing over to him. Sawada went to his knees, his eyes shining with worry, "I'm so sorry. Are you okay?"
"Yeah, sure," Harry breathed, shaking his head. He could hardly believe what he had done. He had taken out a lion… wait, wasn't it three lions that had escaped? Eyes widening, Harry quickly looked around, wondering where the other two lions were. He found them in an instant. Both were knocked out, sprawled over the floor of where the rest of Sawada's group were. Harry's eyes widened, "Did you- the other two-?"
Yamamoto was the only one who seemed to understand what he was talking about. The baseball player walked over, smiling sheepishly, "Oh, yeah, we took out the other two. Don't worry, we didn't hurt them. Hey, you're Potter-san, right?"
Harry blinked, cocking his head. He didn't know that Yamamoto had known who he was. Unlike 'No-good' Tsuna, whom everyone knew as a loser, Harry simply didn't stand out at all. Added to that, he was Yamamoto's senior, so really the baseball player had no reason to know his name. If anyone knew who he was, it should have been…
"Oh!" Sasagawa's eyes widened, seeming to appear out of nowhere. There was a baby with a fedora on his shoulder. "EXTREME! I didn't know you had such impressive abilities Potter-san! You must… JOIN THE BOXING CLUB!"
"Yes," The baby said, surprisingly articulate and mature-sounding. He tipped down the edge of his hat, looking at Harry speculatively, "Your abilities are impressive… Potter-san."
Harry stiffened. His last teacher had shown an unusual interest in his last name as well, though Harry had only seen that in hindsight. Question was, why was a baby interested?
The baby's eyes sharpened, perhaps reading his unease, and then the baby smiled. All of the sudden, it was as if all the menace drained out of the little guy, and all that was left was adorable innocence, "Want to join the family?"
"Reborn!" Sawada yelled, looking affronted, "Stop inviting everyone I meet into the mafia!"
Harry's eyes widened. WHAT?
"Hehe, don't take them so seriously," Yamamoto laughed with wink towards Harry, "It's a game, you know? It's all in good fun. We're all 'mafia' members, and Sawada is our big boss. This baby is the world's number one hitman."
Oh. Right. A game. Of course.
"So," The baby said again, "Want to join?"
"I- I don't-"
Harry's head jerked at the shout. He shakily got to his feet, looking towards the direction of the yell. Sawada, Yamamoto, and Sasagawa all looked at each other, then also followed Harry's eyes. Only the baby had not taken his eyes off the green haired boy. Harry shivered slightly at the intensity of the stare, but quickly brushed it off- it was only a baby, right? Instead, he focused his attention on Ihara, who was running towards him.
"Potter!" Ihara yelled again, skidding to a stop directly in front of Harry and immediately bending over with his hands on his knees. He let out a few gasping breaths, before taking a look around with a shine in his eyes, "Oh! I knew you were dependable! You took care of all the lions already!"
Harry blinked, his cheeks flushing, "Um I- I didn't-"
"No need to be modest," Ihara waved Harry off, before straightening and looking at the teen seriously, "Thing is Potter, we need to fix the cages. Don't know what rowdy idiot blew them up, but we can't let the zoo continue with things like this. We need to fix things first, you see."
"O-oh," Harry stammered, "Well that's alright. Just show me how to fix things and-"
Ihara shook his head, once again cutting Harry off. "No, we already have specialists inspecting the cages. I'm just telling you… you're relieved for the day. Actually, you're relieved until further notice. We're not quite sure how long the inspections will take, and until then, the zoo is closed."
"Wh-wh-what? But- but- but-"
"Sorry Harry," Ihara said morosely, before suddenly grinning and giving a pat to Harry's shoulder, "But this isn't so bad, is it? I mean, now you can spend the rest of the holidays with your parents. I'm sure that not working for a couple of days won't make a huge dent in your university savings."
Harry closed his eyes, wanting to shout that yes it would. It would because he wasn't just saving for university, but also using the money he earned to buy his dinner every day. But- but he couldn't say that to Ihara. So, Harry opened his eyes, and nodded understandingly, "Alright. Thanks for the notice."
"Great!" Ihara handed Harry a needle, "Here's a tranquilizer for the lions. You can use it so you can get back your chain. The animal tamers will be here shortly. See you later, Potter."
With that, Ihara left, leaving Harry with three curious teens. Harry sighed, and knelt down beside the lion he had captured. He put the tranquilizer in the lion's neck, and then got to unwrapping his chain from the beast. He worked in silence for a while, until finally, one of his companions couldn't seem to take it anymore.
"You work, Potter-san?" Sawada asked, even his voice sounded wide-eyed.
You weren't supposed to have a job if you attended Namimori High. Especially if you were a scholarship student.
"Hey, let's not tell anyone, alright Tsuna?" Yamamoto said teasingly, "The money's going towards university after all."
"YEAH!" Sasagawa agreed loudly, "It'd be EXTREMELY uncool of us to tell everyone that Potter-san worked! Especially if it's for as noble of a goal as university!"
Harry sighed as he finished unwrapping the last bit of his chain. He quickly stowed it away under his shirt again, and stood to face the three. He would rather have them not have discovered his job at all, but as it was… "Thank you. Could you please also tell the rest of your crew…?"
Sawada seemed to understand what Harry wanted to ask. The brown haired boy quickly nodded, "Ye-yeah! Of course I'll ask them not to say anything. Thanks for saving me!"
Harry blushed, ducking his head in embarrassment, "Anyone would have. Besides, it looked like you didn't need me to intervene anyway."
"Haha," Sawada's laugh was almost nervous, which was a little odd, "I'm not like them. I would have certainly gotten killed by those lions."
Harry's head jerked up in surprise, and then he smiled, even if it was a small one. Sawada's friends were unique, that was for sure. Sawada himself though… now Harry felt bad for ever being jealous. If it was one person who deserved a good life, it was Sawada. "Your… friends are pretty insane, aren't they? Not a bad thing, but…"
Sawada let out another laugh, a more sincere one this time. He beamed at Harry, "I know exactly what you mean."
Yamamoto raised a brow, and elbowed the brown haired boy in the ribs, "Hey, hey, I'm not insane, am I?"
Sawada flushed, "I- uh- I mean-"
The baseball player laughed.
"So," It was the baby again. He was smiling. "Want to join our family?"
"Yeah," Yamamoto grinned, "Join the mafia, Harry-kun."
Sawada let out a loud sigh, before turning to Harry with earnest eyes, "Just ignore them. They're… well."
It turned out that the purpose of Sawada coming to the zoo (at least according to the baby) was to get an animal. Harry thought it was a ridiculous notion, and Sawada did as well, but everyone else seemed to buy it. In the end, they decided that Sawada deserved a lion, only for Harry to point out that they weren't allowed to keep any zoo animals. The baby had still been for it even after Harry's warning (and so was the crazy half-italian lady), but thankfully no one else was willing to break the law. It seemed that they somehow had forgotten about that before they decided to find Sawada an animal.
They parted ways soon after, leaving Harry to wandering aimlessly about for a couple of hours before he finally headed home. He didn't mind the free time. He actually enjoyed being outside, but he never did have much free time. Today might have been something of a blessing in disguise. Sawada's group was interesting, that was for sure.
The next day, Harry awoke to the sunlight. Blinking blearily, Harry rolled out of his bed and did his usual morning activities, before he realized that he had nothing to do. He'd already completely all of his homework last night, and he had no job today. Being poor really left him little options about boredom.
Harry bit his lip, hesitating over what to do for a moment, before finally sighing and walking towards the Sakura grounds. Since he had nothing to do, he might as well find a good Hanami site.
He wandered around for about an hour, before finally—
"Wow," Harry breathed. He had come across the perfect place; even he could imagine how beautiful this place would be once the wind started blowing.
And then, a man stepped out from behind one of the tree trunks. No, on second look, it was just a boy, and a boy that Harry recognized. Akira Mitsuya, from Harry's year. That hairstyle… Harry instantly tensed.
"This place is off-limits," the disciplinary member said, narrowing his eyes at the dark haired boy, "All the Sakura trees around here have been reserved."
So he wasn't in trouble yet, then. Harry breathed a small sigh of relief, and nodded, "Alright. Bye then."
He turned around, intending to get out of there, but then he saw—
"We're the first ones here!"
"So… lucky… now I don't have to die…"
Yamamoto, Gokudera, and Sawada were walking towards him, looking at the Sakura trees with reverence. Oh. No.
"Oh!" Sawada was the first one to notice him, his face breaking into a smile as he saw Harry, "Potter-san, you're here too."
To Sawada's side, Gokudera seemed to narrow his eyes at Harry, growling darkly. Harry smiled nervously.
"Like I told your friend," Mitsuya sneered, taking a step forward, "This place is off limits."
Yamamoto narrowed his eyes, "Hey, that's not fair. It's not like this is private property."
"I never said this was open for discussion. If you don't leave, you better watch out."
Gokudera growled, and darted forward. Before anyone could react, he had already placed a kick in into Mitsuya's gut. Mitsuya dropped to the ground like a sack of potatoes. Gokudera raised his fists threateningly, "Shut up. The Tenth can go wherever he wants."
A sound of a sigh drifted through the air. Everyone froze.
A dark haired boy stepped out from behind a Sakura tree, a wicked smirk that promised pain splattered across his face, "I was wondering who was being so noisy, so it's you guys?"
"Hibari-senpai!" Sawada screeched, jumping back in surprise, "Ah! He's a member of the disciplinary committee!"
Harry threw Sawada an odd glance. Did he not realize that the person Gokudera had attacked was also a member of the disciplinary committee? Then again, the disciplinary committee was only really relevant for Third Years, and out of all of them, Hibari was the most famous…
"I don't want to view Sakura with a crowd, so I got him to chase people off," Hibari said blandly, before turning to look down at Mitsuya, "It seems you weren't of much use. I'll take care of the rest."
"Weaklings…" Hibari smiled sinisterly, and in an instant Harry saw what he was going to do. Hibari lashed out, and Harry did too. A silver chain flew through the air, wrapping itself around Mitsuya's arm before going taunt. Hibari struck with his tonfa, but Harry was somehow quicker.
With a hard tug, Mitsuya was pulled out from Hibari's range, though the tonfa still gazed his elbow. Mitsuya landed with a cry of pain, but even he had to know it was nothing compared to the pain of what would have happened had Hibari's full blow landed.
Breathing hard, Harry tugged his chain again, unwrapping it from Mitsuya's arm. Another tug, and the chain flew back to Harry's side, like a snake which wanted its master.
Hibari's eyes narrowed, "Potter Harry, you have taken my meal."
Harry shook his head furiously, "You shouldn't hurt your own people!"
Everyone was gaping at him. Harry flushed, but didn't back down. This was exactly what he had wanted to avoid— attention, especially from the head of the disciplinary committee himself. Harry was a scholarship student, and the last thing he needed was a few wrong words to the right people. Still… Harry scowled, he wasn't afraid of Hibari and he wasn't going to stand for bullying.
"Ah!" Suddenly, the voice of a stranger cut into the midsts, before things could get out of hand. It was the voice of a man. "What a nice view! Sakura viewing is such a nice thing."
Almost as one, the crowd of teenagers changed their attention from Harry to the speaker, blinking in surprise as they saw a thirty year old man with a bottle of beer in his hand, hiccupping as he leaned against a tree trunk.
When he saw their gazes, he gave a crooked grin, "Ah, gross. It's all men."
"Doctor Shamal!" Sawada gasped out, his voice sounding particularly loud in the presence of everyone else's silence.
It figured that Sawada would know him.
Gokudera seemed to develop a twitch in his eye, "You still haven't left yet, you pervert doctor? Womanizer!"
And then, Harry remembered. He blinked, and looked at the 'Doctor Shamal' more closely. No way… it was the Head Nurse for Nammimori Middle School. Harry had never been to the nurse's office himself (he tried to avoid it as much as he could) but even he had heard about the Head Nurse's womanizing ways. How in the world did Sawada and Gokuder know him so— on second thought, with the type of things Sawada seemed to get involved in, maybe such an associate wasn't so outrageous after all.
"I got him to come."
It was then that Harry noticed the little baby (though Harry was seriously wondering if it really was a baby, and not just some super-midget) Reborn sitting on the Sakura branch right above Doctor Shamal.
Sawada's mouth fell wide open, "Even Reborn's here?"
Doctor Shamal sighed, taking another chug of his bottle, looking completely lethargic and completely ignoring the questions directed at him. "Why don't you guys invite some cute girls to come…?"
And then, what seemed to be a genuine smile spread across Hibari's face. "Hey kid, it's nice to see you again."
"We want to see the Sakura too," Reborn replied with a serene smile, "How about it Hibari? Tsuna says to compete using the spot as a prize."
"What?" Sawada yelled, "Why are you dragging me into this?"
"A game…" Hibari cocked his head, "Fine. I've been wanting to kill you guys anyway. How about you four each fight me separately? Whoever has their knee touch the ground loses."
"WHAT?" Sawada was pulling at his hair, "We're fighting?"
Harry frowned, "This is unfair. It's disadvantageous to you."
"If the baby does not fight," Hibari said in reply, "I will be at no disadvantage."
Harry's eyes narrowed. Hibari acted as if they were all beneath him— acted as if they were not worth even the slightest bit of his attention. Sawada's gang had taken down lions, and that was no joke. But Hibari… So arrogant. Just like Jack, just like Tanto, just like Dudley…
"Hey… aren't you feisty?" Doctor Shamal said with a grin, approaching the disciplinary committee member, "Do you have a sister?"
Not even giving Doctor Shamal so much as a blink, Hibari lashed out, sending the perverted doctor flying. Doctor Shamal landed with a thump, groaning loudly. Hibari looked at the man coldly, "Scram."
Harry's eye twitched. He had thought Hibari could go no lower, but he was wrong. Hibari had just attacked a member of the staff, a man dedicated to a life of healing. And, Hibari was not the least bit sorry. Just. Like. Dudley. With a hiss, Harry slid his chain through his fingers, cracking it against the floor.
Everyone turned to look at him.
"You want a match against four people?" Harry said in an oddly cold voice, "I'm afraid you'll only get this one. Sawada, I'm going."
"Um Potter-san, you don't have to…"
"No," Harry shook his head, and then gave a tight smile in Hibari's direction, "But someone needs to teach this overgrown hyena that respect can't be commanded through violence."
Hibari narrowed his eyes, "Potter Harry, you have never made any disturbances at Nammimori Middle School, so I was never inclined to kill you. But now… you will die along with these riffraff."
With that, Hibari shifted into a fighting stance, raising one tonfa to guard his chest and the other his side. Already in his fighting stance, Harry instead watched for Hibari, watching for an opening. There was none…
Sawada didn't seem so ready to give up, "Po-Potter-san…!"
"Tsuna!" Reborn's cute voice seemed oddly harsh, though Harry was just barely making it out. His attention was solely focused on Hibari. "Just watch."
Harry's mind raced. Hibari's strength and speed were immense, otherwise he wouldn't have been able to break Mitsuya's bone with one hit, or knock back a full grown adult. Added to that, his stance was one of professionals, one who had seen a lot of fighting and knew how to react to it. This match would be tough.
…but, Harry wasn't just an ordinary middle school student either. He had attended Stonewall High before coming to Japan after all— the school for delinquents. Harry shifted his stance, and then flew towards Hibari.
If there was no opening, Harry would just have to make one.
Hibari narrowed his eyes, twisting his body to avoid Harry's collision and using his right tonfa to strike down on the green eyed boy. Harry barely dodged out of the way, having to resort to a giving himself a push with his left hand in able to get himself out of there without his knee touching the ground.
Hibari followed up with another strike, but by that time Harry had already jumped out of there, his chain in a perfect position around Hibari's leg. Hibari leapt at him, and Harry pulled, intending to make the older boy trip and lose the match. Hibari was not one easily tricked though. Making a noise of discontentment, the other boy leaped, jumping out of Harry's loop just as the chain clanked together.
Harry didn't let that still him. Now that Hibari was in the air, he had his chance. Maneuvering his chain like a snake, Harry forced his chain upwards, not letting it a moment's reprieve. Hibari flipped his tonfa, sticking the chain downwards as he flipped through the air. As soon as he landed, he shot towards Harry again, murder intent in his eyes.
Harry gritted his teeth, and retracted his chain quickly. He knew he was no match for Hibari in close range, so… With one fluid motion, Harry tugged his chain upwards, towards the branch of a Sakura tree. It twisted once, twice, three times, before Harry gave it a hard yank and lifted himself into the air just as Hibari appeared in front of him again.
Using the acrobatics he had learned from his teacher, Harry flipped in the air, landed on a high branch of a Sakura tree. There, Hibari shouldn't be able to reach him—
Harry's eyes widened as a tonfa flew towards him, spinning rapidly to gain weight and speed. Quickly, Harry whipped out the other end of his chain so that he could block it, knocking it to the floor just as another tonfa struck the trunk of the tree, acting as a stepping stone for Hibari as he shot up towards Harry's branch.
For just a second, Harry could only gape at Hibari; was it possible to leap that high? But he did it, and Hibari was coming towards Harry… fast.
And then he was there.
Hibari took a swipe at Harry, forcing the green eyed boy to dodge and— his foot hit empty air. Eyes wide, Harry's weight left the tree branch, his body arching backwards as he fell head first towards the ground. Quickly, Harry extended his arms, his palms being the first to kiss the weathered ground as he bent his elbows, taking the brunt of his momentum as he had been taught. He flipped himself sideways, extending the force of his fall over a longer distance.
Harry landed in a crouch, but as soon as he landed, he felt a hostile presence above him. Harry dodged automatically, narrowly missing the hard steel of police weaponry as it smashed into the place where he had been previously. Hibari was standing over him, one tonfa in hand.
Somehow, the disciplinary committee member had gotten his weapon back.
Harry's mind raced; this wasn't good, wasn't good at all. He currently didn't have his chain with him, and Hibari was going to—
Hibari fell to his knees, staring dazedly forwards as his weapon threatened to drop from his hand.
"Po-Potter-san!" Sawada said in amazement, "Yo-you-you're amazing!"
"But I— I didn't—" Harry stuttered.
"It wasn't Potter-san," Reborn offered, climbing to his feet. He pointed towards the left, and everybody turned to see Doctor Shamal, "He did it."
Doctor Shamal groaned, seeming to rise from unconsciousness, "Hey, ow… it wouldn't do to wreck my handsome face."
"Shamal released the trident mosquito on Hibari the second he was hit," Reborn explained.
Sawada's mouth dropped open, "That drunk is that strong?"
"Sorry," Shamal said with a smile as he picked himself up from the floor and walked over to Sawada and co, "But I've faced far more life-and-death situations than you have. On a side note, the disease that he has is one where he can't stand up near Sakura. The Sakura Disorientation Syndrome."
"Hibari-san!" Sawada said worriedly as Hibari struggled to get up.
"Rules are rules," Hibari said, "Go ahead and enjoy the Sakura."
And then, he left.
"Now we can finally view the Sakura," Yamamoto smiled, then turned to Harry, "Thanks for helping, Potter-san."
"Um… it wasn't really me…"
Gokudera crossed his arms, a scowl on his face, "I could have taken that no good Hibari! The Tenth could have as well!"
Sawada laughed nervously, "Gokudera-kun…"
They turned around as one, spotting a slew of girls and young children who had been at the zoo yesterday.
Sawada smiled, "You guys…"
"Hahi?" One of the girls gasped in surprise, stalking over to Harry and peering at him with wide interested eyes. Harry shifted uncomfortably, not really sure about the invasion of personal space. Suddenly, the girl jumped back, clapping her hands together and a brilliant smile on her face, "Ah! You're the one who helped us with the lions the other day!"
"And he helped us fight off Hibari today," Yamamoto smiled.
"Really?" Sasagawa shouted, "EXTREME!"
"Oh, um…" Harry smiled weakly, "Are you all here to view the Sakura as well? I guess I'll get going then."
"Ehhhh?" The personal-bubble girl exclaimed, "What do you mean you're leaving? You helped us today, didn't you?
"Yeah, and besides, you got here first." Yamamoto said persuasively, "If anyone should go, it should be us."
"We're not leaving," grunted the long haired half-Italian lady with a glare towards Harry, "So you'd better stay."
"If you don't mind…" the younger Sasagawa smiled cutely, "Then you're welcome to stay! Right, Tsuna?"
"Ri-right Kyoko," Sawada gulped, and then turned to Harry with a genuine smile, "Please celebrate Hanami with us, Potter-san!"
And then, just like that, Harry spent his quiet, peaceful, and restful Hanami with the crazy Sawada crew. Surprisingly, he didn't have a hard time fitting in; it was almost as if he had always been there. No one tried to exclude him, or make him feel unwanted, although it was only in hindsight that he realized that. It was… unnerving.
Lambo started yelling half-way through and throwing what looked like grenades around (but that couldn't be possible, could it?) while Gokudera seemed to have a seizure. Bianchi gave them all delicious looking cakes, which in a fit completely unlike him, Sawada destroyed. Hanami with Sawada's crew as the furthest thing from quiet, peaceful, and restful that Harry had ever experienced. But… as he quickly made a small grass bracelet for Lambo because the baby had seen I-pin's and gotten jealous, Harry found that didn't mind it at all.
It was nice. Very different and— and—
"Potter-san, what's the matter?" Sawada asked worriedly as he saw Harry's downturned face. Everyone else was still acting as chaotic as ever, not noticing the two normal citizens and their quiet conversation.
"It's nothing," Harry muttered, still staring at the grass. All the girls and children had requested for a grass bracelet, and Harry had made one for everyone. He'd learnt to do it himself when he was younger, and wanted to pretend that he had a friend to share such things with. To now actually have real people whom he could do only the things that he had imagined…
"Actually," Harry said suddenly, "I don't think I'll do this again."
"E-eh?" Sawada looked taken aback.
"I don't think it's a good idea for me to meet with your group anymore," Harry clarified.
"O-oh," Sawada said, looking sad, "Okay, I understand. We're too weird, right? And you got into trouble with Hibari-senpai because of us and— I… understand."
Harry bit his lip, but didn't comment. It wasn't because of that, but like he could tell Sawada the real reason he didn't want to see any of them again. Like he could tell Sawada that he was afraid all this was nothing but a fairytale, a lie. Like Harry could tell Sawada he was afraid that if they knew his past, they'd hate him. That would lead to too many uncomfortable questions that Harry would never answer. And then… wouldn't that just make a tense atmosphere in a circle of close friends? No, Harry couldn't join Sawada's group, no matter how much he yearned for it. The normal life was never meant for him.
"Thanks for today," Harry said quietly, getting up and brushing off his pants. "It was fun. So… goodbye."
And then he left before anyone could question him.
Harry scanned the class placements, hoping that it was just some sort of error in reading –possibly because he hadn't gotten new glasses in a long time—, but sadly there was no mistaking it. With a grimace, Harry backed up from the sheet of paper which told everyone who's class they were going to be in this year, and allowed the people behind him to finally get a view.
It was karma! He knew there wouldn't have been any good outcome from fighting Hibari Kyoya for a Sakura site a few days ago, but his fight hadn't only been about the Sakura! He'd been genuinely mad that Hibari had so mistreated his subordinates. Still… did that excuse Harry's behaviour?
It really wasn't his place to dictate what was what in the disciplinary committee; for all he knew, they could have super-strict rules about the consequences of joining and if the members knew they could be mistreated yet still signed themselves up for that… did Harry have the right to interfere? But at the same time… Harry couldn't stand and do nothing as someone was getting beaten up.
Besides, it wasn't as if Harry were scared of Hibari Mr. Hot Shot, and he wanted to show that. On the other hand… Harry's situation at school was precarious at best, and he was here solely on scholarship. He was even doing an illegal job. Getting the attention of the school's most influential student might not have been a good idea.
Well, hopefully, Hibari will have forgotten about the whole thing already; it had happened a few days ago after all, and now, it was the start of a new school term.
Just as Harry finished convincing himself that his rash actions wouldn't have any long term consequences, he felt a hostile presence behind him. He had developed the instinct from Dudley; trying to avoid the Harry-hunting games. His teacher had perfected it for him.
Harry whipped around, narrowing his eyes at the three middleschoolers who looked to be around his age. He thought he knew who they were, and if he remembered correctly, they were in his class this year.
"Well, well," One of the middleschoolers said, his eyes narrowing, "If it isn't the foreigner, Potter Harry-san."
"Half the school has mixed blood," Harry said warily, not too sure what the three wanted, "Including the newest addition, Gokudera Hayato."
"My, well informed, aren't we?" The leader said with a mischievous grin, before turning to the other two with a contemplating voice, "Still, he's being a little cheeky, don't you think, boys?"
The other two nodded like cattle.
Harry tensed, ever so slightly. This seemed…
"Ah, ah," The leader wagged his finger, "No need to be so tense. We won't hurt you… as long as you're our friend. You are our friend, aren't you?"
"And what are the requirements of being your 'friend'?" Harry asked warily.
The leader beamed, "Oh, you are so smart! Yes, yes, friends do help each other out you know. I heard that you had the highest average last year, and I just don't have time to do homework, you know. It's really a shame, and the teacher just doesn't understand. But you understand, right…?"
Harry felt his body relax. Oh. Just typical bullies, then, wanting him to do homework for them. For some reason, the thought that they may be related to Sawada somehow had flashed across his mind. Weird, huh? Why would the thought of someone being related to Sawada make him all nervous? Harry smiled sweetly, "Huh, yeah, I think I do. I think the best thing is… to quit some of your other activities. Not everyone has the time management skills to do more than two things at once. It's okay, you don't need to be ashamed."
The triumphed look in the leader's eyes slowly disappeared. Once again, his eyes narrowed, "I don't think you understand."
"Oh?" Harry asked with deceptive ease, his hand shifting close to where he stored his chain. "Look, I'd love to hear you explain what you mean, but I really can't stand here for three days."
He smiled at their stunned faces, and calmly pushed past the trio, decisively making his steps towards the main school entrance.
"You!" the boy's voice was furious, but it didn't cause Harry to pause. "Misato! Kouga! Get him!"
He heard the two charging at him, and his body tensed. The familiar hiss of his chain greeted him as he took it out from underneath his school uniform, and cast it behind.
They stood no chance, really. It was almost sad.
As Harry stared down at the writhing bodies of the trio he had quickly dispatched of, he sighed. He quickly tucked his chain back underneath his clothes, its purposes done for the day. Harry wished he could have gone to a faculty member for this, but then he'd just be labelled as a rat and he'd get no peace. He knew how the system worked; the Dursleys and Stonewall had taught him that much.
Still… his hand twitched. Maybe he shouldn't have been so hard on the three. Certainly, he hated their type the most, but he wasn't exactly an advocate of bringing pain, either. But… to be honest he didn't know how to hold back. His teacher had taught him for offense after all, not defence. Still, maybe he should practice or some—
And it was then, that Harry felt a fourth, hostile presence.
Harry leapt sideways, the sudden swish of the air telling him that somebody was attacking. Impossible; did the trio have a fourth member that they kept hidden just for incidences like this? But if so… why? Harry landed a couple of paces away, looking in astonishment at the person who had surprised him.
It was Hibari, standing there with all his glory, tonfas in hand and a contemptuous look on his face.
"For causing disturbances at my school, I will bite you to death."
"But I— I didn't—"
Hibari readied his tonfa, looking ready to charge, but then—
Hibari froze. Eyes hooding, the purebred Japanese boy looked towards the source of the voice, "Baby."
Reborn was sitting on a pole, swinging his legs happily as if he hadn't just stopped the school's most terrifying occupant. He tipped down his fedora, and jumped off the pole, landing smartly between Harry and Hibari, "I'd like to speak with Harry-kun. Can you please postpone the date of your duel?"
"Tch," Hibari sheathed his tonfas, and just like that, walked away.
Reborn nodded after him, before turning to the green eyed boy with a small smile, "He shouldn't bug you anymore after this."
Harry just looked at the super-midget warily, "Why'd you help me?"
He'd been avoiding Sawada's group for the rest of the break, so the midget really had no reason to notice him.
"Because," Reborn replied, his smile growing wider, "You'll be part of the family soon, and family members help each other."
That… didn't really make sense. But then again, Harry got the feeling that Reborn wasn't talking about the same type of family Harry was thinking about. Still… "I've already told Sawada that I've decided not to—"
"I know what you told Tsuna," Reborn interrupted, his black eyes glinting, "But I don't think that's your true feelings. I suppose I won't ask you for an answer right away, but you would be a great addition."
"Uh…" What the heck? Harry opened his mouth to ask more questions, but it was then that the bell rang. He cursed; he had lost track of time because of the craziness of first the bullies, Hibari, and now Sawada's crazy gang. He was going to be late, and on the first day too! Not a good impression to make on the teacher. With a quick apology to Reborn, Harry scurried off to his classroom, not taking a single glance back.
The first day went off without a hitch. Despite the fact that Hibari was in his class, thanks to Reborn, the disciplinary committee head didn't look so much as twice Harry's way. He even figured out who the three bullies were, since they were also in his class. Kijima, Masato, and Kouga; but he didn't think they'd be bothering him again anytime soon. Soon, school was over, and Harry was headed home.
When he did get back to his place of residence, Harry quickly took out all his school work, intending to get it done so that he wouldn't be behind when his job started up again. To his surprise, he found a note in his bag that he was sure he hadn't put there. Frowning, Harry opened it.
Dear 'friend', it said, won't you reconsider our offer? If not, we could make life miserable for you. Meet us at the warehouse at ten pm. You'll regret messing with us. Guys like us can do anything.
Harry read it again, and then a third time, before he finally just leant back and stared at the note in wide eyed disbelief. Seriously? There was no confirmation on the note, but it was pretty obvious who it was from. After the beating he had given them… they still wanted more?
Of course, the time and the destination showed that it had to be a trap, but… Harry felt his eyebrow twitch. But at the same time, it was an obvious challenge. Should he just turn it down? Despite knowing that it was a trap, how good could the trap be? Harry was somewhat confident in his skills, and he was sure that whatever the trio sprung on him, he could handle it. It was actually very insulting that they thought they could take him down that way; he'd show them.
Yeah, if he didn't go meet them today, then there was no way that he'd get peace. He was sure that they'd pester him in all the little ways at school, and he really didn't need that. He wouldn't get a chance to beat them up at school, not with Hibari watching his every move, so the warehouse opportunity was perfect really. Harry would show them to fear scholarship students.
That decided, Harry got back to his homework, and didn't think about them again until it was time to leave.
He decided to get to the warehouse a half an hour earlier than was the destined time, so that the trio wouldn't have time to set up anything weird. As confident as he was of his skills, he's still like to avoid the trap situation as best he could. At nine-thirty, he arrived at the one warehouse in Namimori.
Something felt… very off. Maybe it was just the lack of light, or maybe it was just the menacing figure the warehouse made, but Harry just didn't feel… secure. He hesitated in going in. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea. Yeah, he'd just go home. Who knew what kind of weird trap those three made and—
A feminine scream cut through the night, shaking Harry's senses. Before he knew what he was doing, he was racing inside the warehouse, where he had heard the scream originate from. What he saw froze him in his tracks.
Kijima, Masato, and Kouga were at the far end of the warehouse, a helpless middleschool girl between them. She was tied to a chair, silent tears streaming down her face as she was held at knife's point. This was… too much…
Guys like us can do anything.
"Oh," Kijima smirked, his expression wicked as he drew the knife against the terrified woman's face, "A little early aren't we? I knew you would be. You are that type of browner. We've prepared a present for you, to ensure that you'd show the right amount of respect towards us."
"This— she has— how could you do something like this? Let her go!"
"Are you going to make us?" Kijima asked confidently, "How 'bout this? Bow to us three times and we'll consider it. And I don't mean a greeting bow either. I mean, get on the floor, kissing the ground type of bowing."
Harry gritted his teeth; this was… this was…
"Oh, and you'd better hurry with your decision," Kijima added almost carelessly, "Or else we might get bored waiting and decide to entertain ourselves by playing tic-tac-toe on this lady's lovely little face."
The girl started hyperventilating, staring at Harry with large, frightened eyes.
Harry felt his heart clench. He couldn't allow an innocent to get hurt in this. Eyes burning, Harry bent his waist… and let loose his chain. Kijima was too surprised to react, and Harry managed to knock the knife from his hand before he could so much as blink. And then, Harry darted forward, moving the chain like a snake, biting only his enemies. Kijima and the rest were knocked down within seconds.
It was a good thing he had decided to wrap his chain around his arms instead of his waist; just in case he needed the milliseconds of access.
"Are you alright?" Harry questioned, racing to the girl.
"Ye-yeah," The girl breathed, still staring at Harry with large black eyes, "Um… could you please untie me?"
"Sure," Harry agreed readily, and moved his hands towards her— only to freeze at her blush. Only then did he realize a lot of the knots were done up her front, which led to… very awkward places. Those utter prats. They'd probably groped her as they tied her up.
The girl seemed to deduce that something was wrong, and quickly suggested a way to rectify the situation, "Why don't you untie my hands first? So I can help you with the rest of the knots."
Harry agreed, and quickly untied her hands. Then, he started at her feet, with her doing her chest and midriff. After a while, the girl let out a sigh of frustration, "I can't do it. These knots are too tight. Could you pass me that dagger please?"
"Sure," Harry said, and reached for the dagger. Just as he was about to hand it to the girl however, he paused, "Hey, why don't I just cut all your ropes for you from the back of the chair."
The girl seemed to freeze for a minute, and then, shyly, she cast a glance at Kijima. Instantly, Harry understood. She had been threatened by a guy with a dagger after all, so of course she wouldn't want him to cut the ropes for her. Feeling stupid, Harry just silently handed the utensil to the middleschool girl.
She smiled brightly at him, and got to cutting her ropes. While she did that, Harry went to check on the three idiots, and saw that they were all unconscious. He contemplated waking them all up and giving them a severe lecture, but decided that he shouldn't do that with a girl in the room. He'd come back later after he delivered her home; at ten o'clock, just as he promised. They wouldn't be going anywhere.
Nodding to himself, Harry turned back to the girl, who had just finished cutting. When she saw him looking, she smiled, and got up… only to fall to the floor with a cry of pain.
"Eh, what's the matter?" Harry ran over to her, kneeling down beside her as she struggled to a sitting position.
She looked up at him, a grimace on her face, "I think… I've been sitting in the chair for too long. My legs are probably cramped. Can you help me up?"
"Uh… sure," Harry said with a blush as she scooted closer to him. He didn't really have time for girls, but he was a teenage boy and he wasn't immune to womanly charms.
She put a hand on his shoulder, the left one, and smiled, "You're such a nice man, I almost regret…"
Harry's eyes widened in sudden pain, and then his reflexes took over. He swiftly shoved her off, before she could do anything more, but the damage was already done. She went flying at the force that he used, hitting the floor with a horrifying thunk. But Harry hardly noticed, through the pain.
He wanted to scream, but he held that back. Just as he held back the numerous screams that built up in his throat during Dudley's 'Harry-hunts' or Stonewall's weekly fights. To scream was to show weakness. But… but Harry really didn't care about showing weakness just about now.
The dagger which had been used to threaten the girl, the dagger which she had used to cut her ropes, was now imbedded deeply within Harry's left leg, with only the hilt visible. Blood was oozing from the wound, bubbling past the blade. She had somehow even gotten through muscle. She was no innocent bystander; she had strength and she knew how to cut. She was…
Laughing, the girl stood up, not seeming fazed by Harry's push. Slowly, she stalked towards the green eyed boy, peering down at him almost pityingly, "Oh you poor boy, that hurts doesn't it? Don't worry, greater men have been fooled by me. It's my looks; absolutely Lolita isn't it? You know, I was planning on bargaining for you since you were so nice and all, but then you had to go and push me. That's not what a nice boy would do, is it? Messing with us also isn't something nice boys should do… AKIRA!"
There was the sound of thudding feet, reminding Harry's weary mind oddly of the elephants he sometimes had to take care of. He gritted his teeth; reinforcements. Forcing himself to focus though the pain, Harry took out his chain again, ready to attack if anyone came close to him. He shifted to the wall, so at least he'd have that close to him if it came down to a fight. He was breathing heavily.
In seemingly an instant, Harry was surrounded. There were about fifteen men in dark clothing, all forming a semi-circle around the green eyed boy.
"Aniki!" Kijima complained loudly as he pointed a finger towards Harry, getting to a sitting position. Harry noticed then that Kijima wasn't unconscious; probably never had been. He'd been faking, it seemed. "He's the one! He's the one who made the Night Shades look bad!"
A tall, burly man stepped forward, snarling… at Kijima? "It is your fault for losing so badly, Two-Face!"
Kijima cowered, "Ye-yes Aniki. So-so-so-sorry!"
"However," the burly man turned back to Harry, "He is still Family, and you shall pay for making the Night Shades look bad! Night Shades, make him regret ever messing with us!"
"HAH!" Everyone shouted as one, and advanced towards Harry.
The dark haired boy readied his chain, fighting off his wavering vision. The chances were stacked against him. If he hadn't been injured, he might have been able to beat them. As it was however… well, he sure as hell wasn't going down without a fight.
And then, the roof caved in.
His mouth forming an 'O' of surprise, Harry looked up, just as the rest of the Night Shades did. No, the roof had not caved in; it was just one section of the roof which broke. Or more accurately, was broken.
Scattered pieces of debris rained down from the new hole in the roof of Warehouse 88, striking the floor with resounding clacks and heaving up dust in the air. When the dust cleared, standing in front of Harry was… Sawada?
Sawada, with only his boxers on.
"REBORN!" Sawada bellowed out, actually looking quite scary in the moment. "SAVE POTTER-SAN WITH A DYING WILL!"
Kijima seemed to be the first one to find his voice. He sneered, though it came out a little weakly, "Your friend, Potter? Well no matter, he'll just get the same treatment as you."
Harry's heart skipped a beat. He turned desperate eyes on the nearly naked boy, "Sawada, please leave. You don't need to get involved."
"Oh yes he does." A new voice joined their midst, and from the rooftops another figure jumped down. It was a baby in a black suit and costly fedora; Reborn. The midget landed next to Harry, looking at the Night Shades with impassive eyes, "Oi, Tsuna, these are the ones who want to hurt Potter-san. If you defeat them, it should be fine."
Sawada raised his face to the heavens, and bellowed. And then, he jumped into the fray.
"Sawada, stop!" Harry yelled, then frantically turned to the baby beside him when he got no response, "Tell him to stop!"
Reborn just shrugged, his eyes still on the scene, "I can't. I'm not the one out there… that's Tsuna."
"Then… why is he doing this?" Harry whispered, not understanding. Tears prickled at the corner of his eyes, frustrated at his own uselessness. "I'm- I said-"
Reborn glanced at him, seeming to understand his inability to speak. The baby looked away, his voice almost reproachful, "Because… you're his Family."
Harry felt his heart skip a beat, but he didn't allow himself to get carried away with the notion. He had given up on the concept of family a long time ago. It didn't exist. Not for him, anyway. He turned his head away and gave a bitter laugh, "Don't be ridiculous. I refused him."
"Tsuna doesn't see it that way," Reborn disagreed, "Even if you hate us, that's okay. We won't abandon you."
Harry felt tears in his eyes, his voice strangely rough, "You—"
And then suddenly, Sawada was in front of him. Somehow, Sawada had already finished his fight with the Night Shades. Harry hadn't even noticed it. Belatedly, Harry realized that he must have been more out of it then he had imagined.
"Are you alright, Potter-san?" Sawada asked worriedly, bending over Harry worriedly.
Honed instinct causes Harry to react automatically. He pushed back before he registered it, though thankfully it was a weak push done with one hand. But, Sawada got the message; he backed off.
"Ah! Potter-san, I'm so sorry!" Sawada said hurriedly, bowing repeatedly and not once raising his head, "I know that you probably didn't want to be saved by someone like me and that I have no right to ask you if you're alright. You probably didn't want to be associated with us weirdos but I promise I won't tell anyone! Can you please forgive me for impeding—"
"Sto-stop," Harry choked out, putting a hand to stop Sawada's rampage.
Sawada froze, and slowly looked up, a look of utter dismay on his face, "Potter-san…"
"Why are you apologizing?" Harry muttered with a shake of his head, then stilled and looked at the younger kid seriously. "Look, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to push you, I just… anyway, I'm fine."
"Are… are you sure?" Sawada said, glancing worriedly at Harry's leg, before realizing whom he was talking to. "I mean, if Potter-san's sure then—!"
"I don't think he's sure," Reborn hummed, peering closely at Harry, "But he probably can't afford the hospital fees, right?"
Sawada's eyes widened, his head shooting up so that brown eyes met green ones, "Is that true, Potter-san?"
Harry felt his chest clench. He hadn't wanted anyone to know about his financial situation. Of course, it was pretty obvious to anyone who looked, but they'd just think his family was poor, not… not the reality of the situation. If he couldn't afford to go to the hospital however…
"If you don't want to tell me, that's fine."
Harry blinked, and blinked again. That was Sawada.
"It's fine," Sawada repeated, "But Potter-san, you really need to go to the hospital. I know someone who can talk to the head of the hospital for you. You won't have to pay."
Harry's mind blanked, "Why? Why are you willing to do this?"
Sawada blushed, "Because… because you've helped us before, right? At the zoo, with the Sakura trees. I understand if you didn't really want to do it, because we're a bunch of weirdos and—"
"I don't think you're weirdos," Harry sighed.
"I don't mind your reputations, and I don't think you guys are weirdos. You guys are fun and warm, loyal and kind. I haven't seen a better group of friends, even in England. You guys… are nothing to be ashamed of."
There was a moment's of silence. Then— "But… but if you think that, why did you want to stop seeing us, Potter-san?"
Harry hesitated, "I— I don't deserve it."
Sawada looked shocked, "What?"
"I don't deserve to have friends like yours," Harry said quietly, looking down. "I know you think of me as your senior and that's why you're respectful to me, but I'm really no good. Friends… I'm afraid I'm not good enough to keep them."
Sawada took a step back, "Potter-san, you…"
Harry ducked his head. He knew it. Now that Sawada had seen what he was really like, why would he spend any effort on Harry?
"How could you say that?"
"How could you say that you don't deserve to have friends? You're kind, smart, and tough, unlike me! Me, who's never put any effort into anything, who has all these silly regrets while dying. I'm really 'No-Good' Tsuna. If it weren't for Reborn, Gokudera, Yamamoto and everyone, I'd still be… I'd still be…! So how can you say you don't deserve friends, when even someone like me has them?"
"Ts-Tsuna…" Harry felt his throat dry, his mind blank. Just… just what was Sawada saying?
At Harry's words, Sawada seemed to calm. The brown haired boy sat down, slumping as if the energy had been drained out of him. He looked at Harry wearily, "The day you left us after Hanami, everyone wondered where you had gone. To be honest, everyone… everyone already considers you a friend, so please don't say that you're incapable of making them."
Everyone… already did?
Harry leaned back against the wall, closing his eyes. He couldn't believe it… he couldn't believe it… Did he really have it… friends? No, it was more than that, from what Reborn had told him. It was—
"So Potter-san, please don't— Potter-san? Potter-san?"
"Eeeeekkkkk! It smells! Me no like hospitals. It stinky!"
"Octopus head, give that back! Give that BACK!"
"So Kyoko, what are you doing this weekend?"
"Hey stop that you stupid cow-print, this is mine in the first place so—"
"Oh I dunno Haru, do you want to go somewhere?"
"EXTREME! Woooah, that move was absolutely Extreme!"
"Potter-san… are you sure you're alright?"
He remembered going to the infirmary and seeing parents there, gushing over the injuries that their kids had gotten. He'd been insanely jealous, then. Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon had never taken him to the hospital, and in cases where it was unavoidable, they had left as soon as it was possible to do so.
Harry felt tears in his eyes. He swallowed, several times.
Unwillingly, Harry's mind flashed back to the little boy with sad green eyes, peeking out from a secluded corner at the lovely family scene in front of him. To the cupboard, where he could hear the sounds of Christmas and Christmas games but could not see them. To the children he heard at school talking about their mummys and daddys, glowingly, and not wanting to trade them for anything in the world.
To the six year old, who had yearned love. To the eight year old, who had changed his objectives to acceptance. To the ten year old, who had realized that his family would never acknowledge him. To the thirteen year old, who had finally abandoned the idea of family.
To the fifteen year old, who had retaken it.
As he stared at them, he realized he had gotten it. Gotten his greatest desire, most fanciful dream. Gotten something the Dursleys said he would never have and Harry himself had started to believe was impossible. He looked to the bright faces of Yamamoto and Sasagawa, the sympathetic smiles of Kyoko and Haru, the childish concern of Ipin and Lambo, the caring eyes of Gokudera and Reborn, and most of all, the worried expression of Sawada Tsunayoshi. They had all come to visit him. Him.
Somehow, somehow, fate had granted him his greatest desire, and it all of the sudden didn't matter that he had no parents, that he had lived a life most would commit suicide over, or that his current living situation wasn't the greatest.
Was he alright? Slowly, Harry nodded, the tears finally falling from his eyes. For the first time in a long time, Harry was letting himself cy, but he wasn't sad. Yes, Harry was fine, no, better than fine. The best he had ever been, in fact. Because— because—
Harry Potter now had a Family.
A/n: Love? Hate? The ending was kind of meh, but I needed to end it. 'Cause this is an oneshot, and will remain so, however it might very well become a series of one-shots (with Mukuro, Voldemort, and all that fun stuff). So put it on your alerts list if you're hoping for a Kokuya Land, but don't wait around for it. It's Complete, after all. I hoped you liked it, because Katekyou Hitman Reborn fanfic is something really rare, so I wanted to write one.