Summary: In a world where magic doesn't exist, a normal Harry Potter goes to Namimori in able to escape from his relatives. But then he meets the crazy baby Reborn and Sawada Tsunayoshi…
Disclaimer: This is not meant to be an amazing piece of work, but simply out there for those who are looking for a short reprieve from their KHR/HP addiction. You've been warned.
Act III. Varia
His 'home-tutor' came to him the next day.
Harry opened the door to a stocky blond man of about forty years of age, who had to be wearing the most ridiculous clothing and had the most idiotic grin on his face. Atop his head was a yellow miner's cap, and hoisted over his shoulder was one of the longest rock hammers Harry had ever seen.
He looked familiar for some reason, although Harry couldn't place where he'd seen the face before.
"Reborn sent you?" The dark haired boy asked instead.
The goofy grin dropped from the man's face, and Harry could have sworn that the man's eyes grew to an impossible size as he somehow radiated disappointment. "Boy, Reborn was right about you. Sharp as the tip of my chisel. I wanted to surprise you, too!"
Harry blushed. It wasn't so much that he had guessed that the man was related to the mafia as much as Harry's mind just running on overdrive.
Now that it was confirmed that this was indeed the teacher that Reborn had told him to expect, Harry could see the distinct way that the man held himself which might have differentiated him from most others. There was a tilt of his head and a tension around the shoulders suggested that the man was ready for anything, and despite the easy grin on his face, there was a look in his eyes that told Harry that the man could take Harry down much faster than Harry could take him.
But that hadn't been what had made Harry greet him with the confidence that he did.
Ever since Reborn had crashed his home and dropped off the ring which would guarantee the end to Harry's time of peace, the green eyed boy could not stop thinking about what he had been told. He'd even gone to sleep mulling over the hitman's words.
The whole morning, Harry had basically been waiting for either Reborn or one of his cohorts to return, and sure enough, just as the sun was nearing its peak, he'd heard the knock at his door.
"It's a rundown park," Harry replied with a shake of his head, "if you didn't already know that I lived here, there's no reason for you to go around knocking on the doors of different abandoned rides, is there?"
The man let out a laugh at Harry's words, "Ah, so it's the logic that got me. Hmm, maybe I should work on that. Iemitsu, by the way."
"Like the Shogun?" Harry asked in confusion. He hadn't really meant to ask it, but the question was out of his mouth before he could stop it. It was just so weird.
Iemitsu brightened immediately, "Yes! Wow, not many people know the origin of my namesake. I like you already, new pupil."
"That's, um, good?" Harry said hesitantly, not quite sure how to respond.
"It is good isn't it?" Iemitsu beamed.
Harry couldn't help but smile wryly. He would never understand what it was with the mafia and being so terrible at blending in. He thought of mentioning it, but somehow he got the distinct impression that any suggestion he made would be unlikely to help.
"Do you want to come in?" he asked instead, moving out of the doorway to allow the man easier access. He wasn't terribly worried about the man's eccentricities. It seemed that everyone even remotely connected to the mafia had something peculiar about them.
The man in the yellow helmet smiled, but didn't make the motion to enter, "Actually, I was thinking of having our lessons outside for a while, if you don't mind?"
"Oh," Harry blinked, because he hadn't known that they were starting lessons immediately. But now that he thought about it, it made sense. After all, Reborn had hired this man to raise Harry's skill level to the Varia's in less than ten days, so they didn't really have any time to waste, did they? "Oh yes, of course."
Blushing, Harry stepped out of the little house he had made for himself, closing the door behind him. It had been his automatic reaction to invite the man in and perhaps share some tea, as was wont of the impeccable manners Aunt Petunia had drilled into him for entertaining whatever guests Uncle Vernon might bring home on any given day. Japan was in some ways more observant of politeness than even bourgeois England, so it had literally never crossed Harry's mind not to invite the man in.
Iemitsu led the way to who knows where, but he walked at a languid pace that was easy to keep up with and kept a steady stream of babble that was easy to connect with.
"Hey I just realized, it's a school day isn't it?" Iemitsu asked, a thoughtful expression on his face.
"I called in sick today," Harry hastily replied. He couldn't help but wince a little at the thought of all the work that he was going to miss, "Actually I've already informed the school that I won't be attending for the next ten days. Even if you didn't arrive, I'd planned to do some training myself."
"Is that alright? You're a scholarship student after all."
Harry sighed, shrugging helplessly, "It can't be helped. The Varia… they're not just normal opponents, are they? I'm not sure how much I can do in ten days, but to protect Tsuna, I need to at least attempt to give it my all."
Was it Harry's imagination, or did the man look a little sad?
"You have good resolve," the man finally said, his voice, for the first time, completely serious. Harry did a double take, because he hadn't expected it. "Tsu-chan is really lucky to have you. For what it's worth, I apologize for dragging you into this."
Harry laughed uncertainly, attempting to shake the uncomfortable feeling that had settled upon them, "It's alright really. I mean, what kind of scholarship student would I be if I couldn't catch up on only ten days of work? And I haven't called in any sick days for my workplace in over a year."
"You still shouldn't—" Iemitsu cut himself off, running a hand through his hair. He glanced back, shooting Harry a frustrated look, "Honestly I didn't expect the Varia to move so quickly. I'd thought we had years."
"Not to question your judgement," Harry said cautiously, although inwardly he was doing just that, "but why haven't the people in Italy come here to help Tsuna out? He is the heir isn't he? I mean, in the end we're just middle schoolers, and surely there's more qualified people to protect Tsuna from the Varia?"
"It's Vongola politics," Iemitsu said with a shake of his head, looking unbelievably tired in that moment. And then he brightened, as if he'd never shown that weary side at all, "But maa, maa, what am I doing being so gloomy? You'll do great Harry-kun."
Harry wasn't so sure, but he recognized a diversion tactic when he saw one, and he wasn't so cruel as to force the topic.
"So um, are you a mid range fighter like me?" Harry asked, although he was pretty sure he already knew the answer to the question. After all, why else would Reborn send him?
To Harry's surprise, Iemitsu shook his head, "Actually, I'm a close range combatant."
Harry blinked, "Then…"
Iemitsu smiled wryly, looking as if he'd guessed the source of Harry's confusion. "I won't be teaching you how to fight. You already know the essential techniques for your weapon, and the rest is up to you to figure out. No, I'm here to teach you things that can be applied to any type of combat—the basics if you will."
Harry thought back to his fight with the silver haired man in the market center. How he'd been surpassed in just about everything. A wry smile tugged at the edge of his lips. Yes, he did need to work on some basics.
"Which ones though?" He asked, because he knew that there wasn't enough time to cover all of them.
"Your speed." Iemitsu paused. "It's already one of the highest of Tsuna's guardians, but you'll need to be higher still if you want to be the lightning guardian."
"'As quick as lightning, strike through the lies and deceit and get to the truth, to take out the enemy before they even become a threat' was it?" Harry mused.
Iemitsu beamed, "Wow! You know it already? Traditionally the Lightning Guardian is supposed to be strong and sturdy, 'the lightning rod which takes the damage of the family', but it doesn't suit your fighting style and there's no point in forcing something on you that you aren't. It'll just slow you down."
"So, ten days to work on my speed," Harry said, taking a breath.
"Well actually…" Iemitsu trailed off, looking away, "Working on your speed will be a side thing."
For a reason that Harry was sure he'd dread, Iemitsu looked almost guilty, "There is one member of the Varia, Levi, who utilizes electricity in his battles. It's usually enough to put out an elephant, and while your speed at that time will probably be enough to avoid the shock, I can guarantee you that not all of Tsuna's guardians will. If you want to protect them, you'll have to learn to… redirect lightning."
There was a heartbeat of silence.
"Redirect…lightning?" Harry repeated weakly. One in five people died immediately from being struck by lightning, and seventy percent suffered severe enough injuries that they could never recover. It was a force of nature. It was ludicrous to think that he could manipulate it.
Iemitsu's lips were a thin line stretched all too tightly across his face, "I normally wouldn't suggest this at all unless you had the Bovina Family's Electro Curio, but something happened to you which made this proposal possible." The man paused, brown eyes as hard as chiselled coal. "You were able to jumpstart the unlocking of your dying will flames due to Mukuro's possession, and that opens up an amazing spectrum of possibilities."
It was the Dying Will Flames again.
"Alright," the dark haired boy said after taking a breath, "I'm open to possibilities. How would—Reborn didn't explain what exactly the Dying Will Flames were, but you're saying that they could—"
…do the magical, impossible things. Like create pillars of flame from nothing, and manipulate the very forces of nature.
He'd seen it all, and yet sometimes he still had a hard time believing.
"It's not magic," Iemitsu said gently, "but it is the source of all lifeforms, yes. Let's see, how should I explain this…? Dying Will Flames can be described as a high density form of energy that's refined from one's own life force. Now every living thing has life energy you see, and life energy is one of the most powerful forces in nature. That's why with the Dying Will Flame, you can achieve feats that normally wouldn't seem possible—because you have a source of strength available to you that ordinary people would never encounter."
Harry kneaded his temple, trying to understand.
"Perhaps a little show and tell would be better?" Iemitsu asked, his eyes glinting. Without waiting for Harry's answer, he produced a thin stick about the length of two rulers.
"That's a, electric shock baton," Harry stuttered. He couldn't even begin to comprehend where Iemitsu had been hiding that.
"Yep," Iemitsu said, the word passing his lips with a faint 'pop'. He grinned, and suddenly stopped mid-step, tossing the object to Harry.
The dark haired boy caught it automatically, although he was unsure of what the man wanted him to do with it.
"Now," Iemitsu said, plopping down on the grass, "turn that thing on and hit me."
"Just do it. Trust me you can't hurt me even if you wanted to. You can tell, right?"
Harry squeezed his eyes shut. Yes he could tell. The dark haired boy took a deep breath and steeled himself, green eyes snapping open. He pushed away his apprehension and turned on the device. Deadly sparks played across the tip of the baton.
"Ready?" Harry asked, and at Iemitsu's nod, Harry slammed the baton down on the yellow capped man.
Iemitsu caught the baton with one hand, fingers closing in around the tip. The other hand he had against the grass, fingers splayed out as his palm kissed the floor. Although Harry was half expecting it, he still couldn't help but be shocked (no pun intended) that Iemitsu was… well, wasn't shocked.
Despite the fact that the man was holding the baton exactly where most of the electricity was concentrated, and thus should have put him out if not burned his hand, Iemitsu sat like he was only here to enjoy meditating under the sky. The electricity wasn't affecting him at all, and instead the area around his other hand was starting to fry.
The grass curled in on itself around Iemitsu writhed with the ferocity of the electricity which he redirected. The scent of burnt leaves filled the air as the blackened area beneath Iemitsu's outspread palm began spreading in an ever increasing circle.
"And how about that?" Iemitsu asked with a faint smile on his face, tugging the electric shock baton from Harry's numb fingers.
"Alright," Harry said after taking a breath, his limbs feeling shaky from what he had just witnessed. On the whole of it, it wasn't the craziest thing he'd seen, but it wasn't every day that you discovered that everything you learned from science class was wrong. A human body made up of eighty percent water should not have been able to pass on electricity without feeling any effects, and yet Iemitsu had done just that. "Okay. But uh, why did the area around your hand burn up? This close to the ground, electricity should be able to pass through without disturbing anything around it."
"Well ideally someone with lightning attribute flames would be able to pass it completely into the ground, but lightning's not my specialty."
"Specialty?" Harry questioned, also seating himself on the grass when it became apparent that Iemitsu had no intention of getting up.
"Yes well, there isn't only one type of Flame. Yours for example, are lightning based, which is one of the reasons that we chose you as the lightning guardian. Mukuro's, which create illusions, are mist based. There are seven different attributes: Sky, Storm, Rain, Sun, Lightning, Mist, and Cloud. Each Flame's attribute has its own special characteristic. Sky is the unifying force and has the greatest propulsion power, and also has the basic characteristics of other types of flames. I have that one, which is why I can manipulate electricity, but not as well as someone with Lightning Flames. Storm decays and breaks things apart, Rain robs the target of strength and capacity of movement. Sun Flames are actually a support type and increase the power of others as well as heal, and Cloud has the greatest propagation. Of course, individuals who have mastered their given Flame attribute can then create special techniques, but other than Xanxus, the members of the Varia are not that far, so you do not have to worry about that."
In the world of the crazy mafia that had just been opened to him, that explanation made sense.
"Okay," Harry said wearily, "alright, I think I get that. How do they all translate into the real world though? People with lightning flames can redirect electricity, right? But how does somebody um, 'decay and break things apart'?"
Iemitsu actually flushed slightly, "Well actually, the final point of people with lightning flames isn't to redirect electrify—it's to make their own. I can't say much about the abilities of the current Guardians of the Vongola, but I can tell you that the Lightning Guardian of the Ninth can produce electricity that is at least ten times the potency of actual lightning."
Harry sucked in a startled breath. He waited for Iemitsu to say that it was a joke, but it was obvious that it wasn't coming. Letting out a small, disbelieving laugh, Harry covered his face, "You guys are crazy."
"Maybe slightly," Iemitsu said in an amused tone of voice. "But you won't get to that level for quite a while. Controlling the Dying Will Flames is something that takes years to master, and igniting your own, even more so. Tsuna has had six months to get to the point where he is now, and you'll have to get to that within ten days. In some ways you'll have the hardest task of all the guardians, but against an opponent like Levi, there's no better insurance than getting this down."
Harry took a breath. He'd nearly forgotten the reason he was here in the first place. He clenched his fists, determined. Even if this all seemed impossible, he'd do it. Otherwise he'd be a liability again like the last time a member of the Varia came. "So how are we going to train these lightning flames?"
"Well…" Iemitsu looked slightly guilty as he brought out another item he'd been hiding in his pocket.
It was a cattle prod.
The next few days passed in a blur of training.
It was only on the fifth day that Harry got any break at all, and that was during the night time when Iemitsu had said that he had sometime else that he needed to take care of.
Harry took the time to make some tea; a pleasure he'd had to forgo in the wake of the tiring training and the bone deep aches that never seemed to go away resulting from it. True to his word, Iemitsu had worked him to the bone, and Harry was often too tired when he came home to enjoy the small pleasures.
For the past five days he'd been working with Iemitsu to increase how much electricity he could redirect. They'd moved from cattle prods to stun guns to something just a bit more.
The shocks themselves were terrible enough. Iemitsu worked at a fast pace and didn't allow Harry much breathing space before demanding that he try an exercise again. But, Harry noted dryly, at least he now knew how to push his body through the motions even if he couldn't feel his legs anymore.
As if wanting to break him from his depressing thoughts, the kettle chose that moment to give a keening wail, signalling that the water was done being boiled. Little cotton balls of steam puffing out of the nuzzle like a baseball machine. Despite himself, Harry couldn't help but smile as he reached over to turn the machine off.
Iemtisu had done some more explaining about what exactly Dying Will Flames were whenever Harry hit a mental block. He'd learned over the past few days that the 'inner flame' powered corporeal flames which could then appear in the physical world, which Iemitsu did another impressive demonstration of.
The more mastery one had over their inner flames, which was called the Dying Will, the more mastery one could exert over their physical flames. The strength of the flames depended on one's resolve, but that too could be trained through meditation.
Meditation wasn't fun. Although Iemitsu pushed Harry to the limit, he was very careful not to go over the limit. Apparently Harry's body could only handle so many shocks, so Harry was set to mediate during the down times.
Sitting around and calming his mind when he knew that the silver haired man and the others were coming in a few days felt like wasting time though. He had skipped school for the past five days for this reason. Meditating during his lessons just didn't feel enough.
Thankfully Iemitsu had noticed his restlessness, and had set Harry on some other types of training too. It was mostly agility training, which had given Harry more bruises than he wished to admit, but at least it felt like he was doing something.
It was tiresome, painful work, but it was worth it.
He allowed his hand to glide over the plug from the kettle to the outlet, narrowing his eyes slightly as he concentrated on the flames within him. The outlet sparked, and a moment later it had moved, travelling from its place within the wires to Harry's hand.
Harry smiled as the static-like light danced across his fingertips, jumping from one digit to the other like a playful kitten. While he couldn't do much with electricity yet, it was still a vast improvement over the course of five days, considering he hadn't even known that such a thing was possible previously.
It was just then that the phone rang.
The flicker of blue flames died off.
He fumbled for a bit in his pockets, and finally he produced his cell and flipped it open. Holding it up to his ear, Harry cocked his head, "Hello?"
"Harry-kun," Reborn's unreadable tenor intoned from the other end, "Varia has discovered that the rings are fakes and they are likely in Japan right now. They're probably after you right now."
"Well isn't that news for sore ears?" Harry mumbled, his tea forgotten as he changed direction towards the living room. "Weren't we supposed to have ten days?"
"It appears that we may have miscalculated a bit. Tsuna and the others are coming to you now, but be on the lookout for anyone suspicious."
It was just then that a jarring sensation flooded through the room.
Narrowing his eyes, Harry moved across his living room and slipped out into the night. Three figures immediately greeted his sight. They weren't exactly easy to notice, but it didn't appear as if they were trying to hide themselves either.
"Thanks for the heads up," Harry said, and flipped closed his phone.
It looked like it was time to put Iemitsu's lessons up to the test.
"This is 04," one of the figures was whispering into the collar of his coat, as if he were part of some bad spy movie. "Target has just arrived."
Without another word, the man leaped down from his perch, landing with a flutter of his trench coat about eight feet in front of the darker haired boy. A moment later, the two other figures that Harry had spotted joined him.
"You're not here to say hi, I suppose?" Harry asked, smiling tightly.
The men didn't answer. Without warning they lunged, flying towards him from three points.
Harry readied his chain, and engaged.
It didn't, surprisingly, take all that much effort to take the men down. Even when a fourth member joined them, the group was still easy to handle and Harry had them all lying around him defeated within minutes.
Harry furrowed his eyebrows at the fallen, groaning figures, "You're not the Varia."
They'd had nowhere near the speed or skill of Squalo, and while they were better than the average people Harry had fought, he was also fairly confident that he could have taken them even without the training Reborn insisted on.
His thoughts were interrupted before he could get any further however.
Harry turned at the all too familiar voice, and a moment later Sawada Tsunayoshi arrived on the scene, panting heavily as he skidded to a stop as soon as he was within Harry's sight. Reborn had arrived in a line parallel to Tsuna, stopping on one of the fence posts of Kokuyo.
Tsuna's eyes widened as he took in the four figures that lay at Harry's feet, just a hint of awe entering his voice, "Potter-san… you took care of all of them already?"
Reborn hopped off the post, bonking his student on the head in the process, "Of course Dame-Tsuna. He's not like you."
Harry frowned. He knew he shouldn't but into Reborn's and Tsuna's relationship, but he didn't like Tsuna being put down like that. He opened his mouth to say something, but he was interrupted again.
"Vongola Familiga's Guardian of the Sun and Colonnelo's best disciple, Sasagawa Ryohei, is here!"
"Tch, I came here looking for a chance to test my new skills. Did you have to take all of them down Potter?"
"Maa, maa, the important thing is that Potter-san is safe, isn't it?"
Tsuna immediately brightened, "Nii-san! Gokudera-kun! Yamamoto-san! You're all here!"
"Tenth!" Gokudera greeted with a beam, before turning to the figures lying at Harry's feet with a thoughtful look on his face, "You know, not to bash your skills or anything Potter, but I thought that the Varia would be harder to fight than this."
Reborn was already shaking his head, "Those are just the underlings of the Varia. The really scary ones are…" the arcobaleno suddenly paused mid-sentence, looking up, "He's coming."
They all followed Reborn's gaze, just in time to see one of the Varia land on one of the rooftops that his partners had previously occupied. He had clothing like the shadows, and eight swords strapped to his back. Long black hair was gelled up in spikes, and coupled with the narrow eyes and lip piercing, he might have passed for a child trying to pretend to be Yakuza if not for the dangerous aura that surrounded him.
As it was, the feeling that came from him was a distinctly ominous one.
This was one of the true members of the Varia.
The dark haired man looked down at his fallen subordinates, but all that showed on his face was detachment. And then he met Harry's gaze, "Hm, looks like you have some skill."
Harry smiled thinly, "To be complimented by you… somehow it doesn't feel that good."
The man's eyes narrowed, and one of his hands reached back to rest on the hilt of his sword.
"H—hey!" Tsuna cried, "Can't we just talk this out?"
"My business is the one who wields the Ring of Thunder, the kid with glasses. If you interrupt, I'll eliminate you all!"
Before Levi could make good on his threat however, five heavy presences filled the air and not able to help himself, Harry shivered. The spiky haired man paused, just as five others jumped onto his platform, revealing themselves.
One of them, Harry noted, was the silver haired man from before. He found his eyes narrowing in spite of himself.
"Hold it Levi," one of the others, a man with what appeared to be a Mohawk, said with a sarcastic little smile, "you shouldn't hunt them on your own…"
What followed could only be called an argument over desert. Harry gritted his teeth as the silver haired man also laid his claim on Yamamoto and then proceeded to argue with the man whom Harry could only assume to be Levi over who would kill who first. It was as if they did not believe that Tsuna's group could be a threat at all.
In a way Harry supposed it was a blessing, since if they were underestimated they were that much more likely to win, but he had pride too. Even if they might not be able to win, they still should not be talked about like that.
He opened his mouth to angrily cut in, and that was when the sensation hit him.
The amount of killer intent was incredible.
Harry tensed, and that was when a sixth person joined the five on the rooftop. It was not as if the others did not have presence, but this one had seemed to have an aura that dwarfed everyone's around him and was impossible to ignore.
"There he is," Reborn murmured, some foreign emotion hidden beneath those glittering black eyes, "I never thought that day where I would see him again would come… Xanxus."
And then, quite suddenly, the killer intent increased tenfold.
Tsuna gave a cry and fell to the floor. Gokudera and Yamamoto seemed frozen. Harry turned to Reborn with wide eyes, silently demanding the acrobaleno to tell him what was going on.
The scarred man raised an arm, his hand in a claw-like formation. His eyes were dark and glittering with something bestial. "Sawada Tsunayoshi..."
Even the other members of the Varia seemed alarmed.
"No way Boss, you're suddenly using that…!"
"Are you planning to kill us too?!"
"This is bad," Reborn said with a hint of urgency in his voice, and it was that which alerted Harry. Reborn, as far as Harry could tell, had never sounded worried before. "Run."
But Xanxus's promise never came through. The attack was released; Harry felt that, but someone stopped it before it reached them. Something came flying from the woods and landed directly in front of the scarred man, sticking up from the ground as if it were some kind of barrier preventing them from moving further. It was a pickaxe.
Harry's eyes widened. No way.
"We're, saved?" Tsuna panted, looking as if he didn't dare to believe it.
"Hold it Xanxus," an all too familiar voice called out, "that's enough! From here on, I'll take charge of things."
They all turned as one to face the newcomer, and Harry had to hold back a laugh as he saw the shape of his mentor standing languidly against the moonlight looking for all the world as if he'd just come out for a midnight stroll. Iemitsu was grinning from ear to ear.
Harry wanted to grin too, until that is, Tsuna spoke.
"D…DAD?" Tsuna yelped, looking beyond shocked.
There was a heartbeat of silence.
Dread, that was what he felt.
Gokudera exclaimed his surprise that the man was Tsuna's dad, but Harry found that he wasn't shocked, not really.
Iemitsu and the Varia had began speaking now, but Harry wasn't paying attention. He was too busy trying to reconcile the fact that his mentor for the past five days had been that same absentee father of Tsuna.
He couldn't believe it. Except that he could.
It didn't stop the horrible churning feeling in his gut however.
Tsuna's father was a terrible man who had abandoned him and left his child helpless. Tsuna's father was a man who nonchalantly strolled back into town after three years away and expected everything to be the same. Iemitsu was the kind and encouraging mentor who made sure to explain every concept if Harry was confused. Iemitsu was someone who cared about Tsuna and his guardians.
He thought maybe he'd known it all along, but just hadn't wanted to acknowledge it. After all, Iemitsu hadn't really been trying to hide the fact that he was Tsuna's father. But he hadn't brought it up either.
There were a lot of hints; the familiar face, the fond way he referred to Tsuna, and even their freaking names!
He just hadn't wanted to think that another one of his teachers was a complete douchbag.
Harry shook his head, and decided that he needed to focus his attention on what was happening. He could think about the implications of Iemitsu's identity later.
As Iemitsu and the Varia hashed out guidelines pertaining to the Vongola, Reborn took it upon himself to inform them all of the purposes of the rings. Two girls who Harry completely failed to sense showed up, and somehow or another, a battle for each ring was decided upon.
"Did that… just happen?" Tsuna asked dazedly as soon as the Varia had left, who didn't seem to feel the need to stay now that they knew the time and place to rightfully take the rings. "Are we really going to…?"
Yamamoto, who had been looking after the silver haired man more seriously than Harry had ever seen him, blinked as if a spell had just been broken. Shaking his head, he turned and flashed a beaming smile at the worried brunette, "Don't worry Tsuna, we won't let you down!"
"Yeah! We'll win for sure! EXTREMELY!" Pumping his fists in the air, Sasagawa dashed out of Kokuyo, although where he was going Harry had no idea.
"Ahh—ahh, that's not what I—" Tsuna protested, only to be interrupted by Gokudera.
"Don't worry Tenth! We'll take care of it!" The ever faithful right hand man said as he steered a dazed Tsuna towards his house, "We'll win all the battles before your turn and you won't even have to worry about fighting that Xanxus character, although of course you'd win if you did. You can have a nice long rest and not worry about this or…"
Gokudera's voice grew fainter and fainter as he and Tsuna moved. With an apologetic look at Harry, Yamamoto chased after them.
"One to seven days to prepare," Harry muttered and glanced at Reborn, who hadn't left yet with Tsuna for some reason or another. "I suppose I'm supposed to think 'that's lucky', right?"
Reborn, who was still standing on one of the fence posts of Kokuyo to make him appear at eye level with everyone else, simply cocked a brow, "You don't think we're ready?"
Harry's lips twisted, and he looked away. It was not that he did not want to believe, but the fact of the matter was that they were only kids. That wasn't to say that he believed that they should just lay there and take it, but he was realistic, too. "We're up against professional assassins. Even if we've improved a lot, can we really defeat a group like the Varia?"
Reborn however, only shook his head, "You underestimate yourself. Think back to your fight with Xanxus's Rain Guardian. Don't you think you could defeat him now?"
Harry hummed as he closed his eyes, picturing that laughing man with the silver hair. His speed. His movements.
"From what he's revealed, maybe," Harry finally murmured, "but their real ability is beyond even that, isn't it?"
Reborn let out a sigh, "If only Tsuna had your instinct. He wouldn't need hyper-intuition. Don't worry Harry-san, you stand a fair chance. Especially you."
Harry ran a hand through his hair, his lips compressing into a thin line. He didn't like where any of this going, and he had to admit that his stomach was getting butterflies from even thinking about this. But still, he had a responsibility now. "On Fuuta's list… am I still Number Two?"
"You are, so if it's not you who'll seize victory, who will?"
"I was afraid you were going to say that," Harry sighed. He didn't want to be the one that everyone would depend on. While a part of him couldn't help but be flattered by the fact that he was needed, there was a larger part born from years of living with the Dursleys that couldn't shake the feeling that he was going to fail. "I don't suppose that Hibari could be the leading champion?"
"Ah," Reborn's voice was even, with not the slightest hint of surprise present, "so you know about that too?"
Harry only gave Reborn a dry look, "You want to win the fight with Varia too, and as much as I disagree with his methods, I do admit that Hibari is an amazing combatant. I didn't think you'd overlook it."
"That's true, but as you've already guessed, he isn't leader material."
"Neither am I."
Reborn didn't reply for a long moment, which surprised Harry. Usually the baby had a retort before he even finished his sentence. Instead, the baby just took a long, hard look at Harry, almost as if he were searching the green eyed boy's soul.
Harry shifted, uncomfortable with the sudden scrutiny.
"You'd be surprised," Reborn said, and with that cryptic comment, he hopped off the fencing post and disappeared into the night.
The next day came too early. Iemitsu never showed up for training. Instead he'd left a message for Harry that he was needed in Italy and he was sorry but he wouldn't be able to make it for the next few days. Harry greeted that note with some sense of relief.
He still didn't know what to do about the revelation that Iemitsu was Tsuna's dad, and quite frankly he wasn't sure if he had time for a confrontation.
Harry practiced by himself. Thankfully he'd gotten most of the theory down, so it was solely up to himself to master the rest. He doubted he could do it by the time that his battle was called up, but he had to try.
Soon day turned into night, and Harry seriously debated going to the first ring battle or staying home to perfect his skills some more. In the end he decided that he should support everyone.
He arrived at the meeting place just before Tsuna. He greeted everyone, but he could see that nobody's heart was really in it. They were all worried about the first match.
Finally the Cervello arrived, and with them the Varia. The first battle was unveiled to be the clash of the Sun Guardians, and without hesitation, Sasagawa stepped up to the plate.
It was a brutal battle. While Sasagawa was not one of Harry's regular friends, he did know that the boxing champion had always been kind to him and always encouraging. It was all Harry could do not to step in as his classmate was beaten again and again, and not by fair tactics either.
And then Colonnelo showed up, and Sasagawa's sister too, and somehow Tsuna's Sun Guardian managed to pull a victory.
Lussuria was taken out not by the honourable boxing captain, but by his own team.
"'Erasing the weak.' One of the reasons Varia is the strongest team of all," Reborn explained to the shocked bystanders, "Lussuria was scared of that; that was why he was so anxious to continue."
Harry's lips pressed into a thin line at those words. He knew there was a reason he didn't like the Varia.
Cervello announced the closing of the battle and what the next one would be. Harry could barely feel surprise that it was his. After all, he'd been preparing for it. And then Sasagawa's sister arrived on scene and complicated matters immensely. They all tried to assure her that it wasn't as it seemed, and in the end, she appeared placated.
Tsuna received the completed Sun Ring, and the final task done, they all decided to head on home. Sasagawa took his sister and her friend with him, and Harry might have been surprised at the speed at which Yamamoto and Gokudera left if it weren't for the fact that he knew they'd be training as soon as they hit their rooms. It left Tsuna and Harry, who'd be walking the same stretch for a while before they split up.
"Shall we go then?" Harry smiled, trying to make the atmosphere light even when he was feeling anything but.
Tsuna nodded and they began walking back to their respective houses, but it was obvious that something was on the lighter haired boy's mind.
"The battle between the lightning guardians is tomorrow," Tsuna finally said, his voice quiet. If Harry hadn't been listening for it, he might have missed it entirely.
"It's just… after seeing Nii-san's battle, aren't you worried?"
Harry sighed. It wasn't as if he hadn't thought about it. During the whole match, it was hard to get it off his mind.
The initial setup of the stage, the difference in ability… to be honest as much as he hated the Varia taking out their own teammate, some part of him felt relieved that this group apparently decided that someone was hopeless after a single mistake. With Sasagawa injured as he was, Lussuria probably could have won in the end if his team did not interfere.
"Worried or not, I can't let Sasagawa-san down and not win, can I?"
Tsuna was quiet for a long, worrying moment.
When he finally spoke again, his voice was soft, "Potter-san, I didn't get to tell you this yesterday but… you don't have to do this you know?"
Harry blinked, nearly stopping as he glanced at Tsuna.
"It's just," the younger boy continued, poking his fingers together, "you're—you're—"
"I'm…?" Harry prompted, confused.
"You're normal!" Tsuna finally blurted. He bit his lip and looked away, running a hand through his hair in agitation, "Potter-san, you're not like the others, I know it! Even Yamamoto is… I love them, but they're not… so you shouldn't have to do this."
"He has a scar on his forehead that looks like a lightning bolt," Reborn commented blithely, appearing out of nowhere and landing on Tsuna's head, "he is most suited to be your lightning guardian."
Reborn shrugged, and hopped off Tsuna's head to walk alongside them.
Harry didn't know whether to be offended or amused, but one look at Tsuna's worried face and the decision was made for him.
"I'm far from normal Tsuna-kun," Harry said instead, his voice gentle as he tried to reassure the younger boy. He thought back to those dark days at the Dursleys, the things he had done to survive at Stonewall, Mukuro… no, he couldn't be called normal. He never had been; no matter how much he had wished for it. "Besides, what kind of friend would I be if I left you to take care of this on your own?"
"I just," Tsuna sighed, "Nii-san shouldn't have been involved in this in the first place. How hurt he was today… how can I stand it if all my friends become like that because of me? You guys have to fight incredibly scary people because of me, and I don't want that. So Potter-san, please reconsider this."
"You've been trying to convince the others to back out too, haven't you?" Harry asked in realization. He was touched that Tsuna was considering them like that, but then, it wasn't something so unexpected from the brown haired boy. He smiled, "Saying something like that… I think I could probably fight with no inhibitions."
Tsuna groaned and buried his face in his hands, "That's the exact opposite of what I want to happen!"
Harry laughed. He supposed that he could see the source of Tsuna's frustration, but Tsuna needed to realize that they had their reasons too.
"Look Tsuna, we're your friends. How can we leave you to deal with this by yourself?" He said, cocking his head, "Honestly, you deserve this battle less than the rest of us, but you're sticking through with it, aren't you? So don't think of it as that we're trying to protect you… really it's more like we're just all fighting through this together."
Tsuna looked at him, wide-eyed, and then his expression softened, "Potter-san, how do you always know just the right thing to say?"
"Not sure," Harry joked, "I'm just fumbling through it all, and I guess something has to hit bullseye, right?"
Tsuna shook his head. "That's not it. You're…" He straightened suddenly, a determined glint in his eyes. The person he was looking at however, wasn't Harry. "Reborn! Let's get that Dying Will thing down!"
The was just the faintest trace of a smile across the arcobaleno's lips, "Finally, Dame-Tsuna."
They eventually did split up, with Tsuna heading back to his house and Harry back to Kokuyo. The next day Harry did no training, and instead worked to catch up on his schoolwork. Despite what he had told Iemitsu, he had managed to fall behind.
It wasn't that he was not nervous about the battle that would take place later that day. In fact it was just the opposite. He didn't dare to train because he didn't want to strain himself, and he wanted to be well rested for the fight.
Finally night fell and with it came the rain. It wasn't until Harry was halfway to Nammimori where the battle would be taking place that he had the thought that the date might have been chosen on purpose to coincide with the weather.
He greeted the others at the base of Nammimori, only to be led to the rooftops by the Cervello and have the battlefield explained. Like he had suspected, it wasn't just a normal arena.
The representative for the Varia was already waiting.
"Come on Sawada!" Sasagawa exclaimed excitedly, grabbing Tsuna by the arm, "We're gonna do the usual again!"
"Ehh…? The usual…?!"
Before Harry knew what was happening, he was being dragged into a group huddle much like the one they'd done for Sasagawa before his fight.
"OOOOHHHH! HARRY FIGHT!"
Harry laughed as he straightened, wondering if the rain could hide the blush that had crawled up his neck. He'd never done something like that before, and he had to admit that it made him feel… safe and included?
"You'd better not mess this up Potter."
"Potter-san good luck!"
"Go for it Potter! Bring us an EXTREME victory yeah!"
"Potter-san," Tsuna started in a worried tone just before they all vacated the rooftops. He opened his mouth, closed it, and then sighed. Something of a smile made its way across his face, and Harry knew then without a doubt that Tsuna had changed what he was about to say, "If anyone can win, it's you, so I…I'll depend on you."
With a final nod, Tsuna ran back into the building, as if he were afraid of what he had just said. But the words had been sincere.
Harry was touched beyond measure.
"Are you guys done being girls?" Leviathan sneered.
Harry smiled grimly, his right settling on the chain wrapped around his waist as he shifted his attention back to his opponent, "Not really, but it's hard to have a nice talk with someone like you around."
One lip was still curled upwards in disgust, "Do you really think you can defeat me?"
"There's only one way to find out now, isn't there?"
"Then now, the battle for the thunder ring, Harry vs Leviathan… you may begin now!"
Harry wasted no time. What was it that Iemitsu said? He had to strike first.
Leviathan was a member of the Varia, an elite assassination force. Harry held no hopes that the man would have any obvious openings that Harry could wait to observe and then exploit. He would create his own openings.
Harry dashed forward, whipping out his chain with a heavy force. The sky lighted up overhead, and a moment later lightning raced down one of the poles and lit up the wires. Harry didn't bother to stop moving. Instead he leapt up into the air, spinning high as the ground discharged and avoiding the shock entirely.
Leviathan met him halfway across the stage. The man raised one of his rapiers in a blocking position as Harry brought his chain downwards, metal meeting metal in a resounding 'clang. Leviathan followed up by slashing his sword to the right, redirecting Harry's chain and making it harder for him to regain command of it.
But Harry was far from an amateur in using his weapon. He flicked his wrist, using the momentum Leviathan had already set to whip the end of the chain back to Harry, and catching that end with his other hand. He landed just in time for Leviathan to come at him with his rapier, obviously intending to use Harry's momentary lack of balance to take advantage. Harry quickly raised his chain, stretching it taunt to block the blow.
Taking advantage, Harry twisted his wrist the tip of the sword, capturing Leviathan's weapon with his own. The man wasted no time in striking out with his feet, but Harry was prepared for that too.
Using the rapier he had just captured as his grounding point, the boy with green eyes pushed off the ground to avoid the strike. Under the weight of one fourteen year old boy, Leviathan couldn't hold onto his weapon any longer. The sword jerked from Leviathan's grip just as Harry flipped over the man. The weapon went skidding across the floor.
Leviathan snarled and twisted to face Harry to deal him a blow that would pay him back for disarming one of the Varia, but the skies lit up again and a pillar of lightning flooded one of the electric circlets, forcing the two apart lest they take a misstep in their fighting and be destroyed by the natural forces surrounding them.
They both landed a few feet from where they had engaged. The area now was rippling with electricity, making it impossible for them to break the barrier and connect again for the precious few seconds.
"First strike goes to me," Harry said, a mocking smile playing across his lips, still bouncing on the balls of his feet. While he didn't exactly like disrespecting others so blatantly, because overconfidence usually resulted in loss, he did have to admit it did something fierce for making his opponents furious. And aggravated people made mistakes.
Sure enough, Leviathan let out a low growl, the noise rumbling deep in the back of his throat.
The lightning died down and Leviathan struck. Harry made to scatter another one of Leviathan's rapiers, but it didn't work out quite like last time.
Leviathan caught Harry's wrist.
Harry's eyes widened.
"That trick won't work twice," the man growled, and slammed Harry's body down onto the pavement.
Harry let out a groan, but he didn't have any time to do anything else as the sky flashed once again. Eyes widening, Harry quickly rolled out of the way of the wires he had landed on, just barely avoiding being fried by the amplified lightning.
When he was able to get to his feet again, he could see that Leviathan was already a small distance away, no doubt having vacated the danger zone as soon as he saw the sky change color.
Leviathan gave a spiteful smile when he saw that Harry had stood again, "First blood goes to me."
Harry blinked, a little confused, and it was then that he caught his reflection on one of the pillars. A hand rose to his face, surprised. His hand brushed the side of his cheek, and when it came away, there was blood on his fingertips. He must have cut himself on the wires while rolling away.
Harry narrowed his eyes, and they engaged again.
They broke apart as the wires on the floor flared again with amplified lightning, each skidding off to an empty patch of safe ground.
Harry looked up to the sky with slight frustration. It was the third time that lightning had broken up their battle before it could really turn into anything, and now he was wondering if it really was a good thing. With Leviathan's body structure, it wouldn't be a stretch to say that he probably had more stamina, and if this fight came down to which side fumbled first, Harry wasn't sure if he could win.
It seemed that Leviathan came to the same conclusion.
"This battle is taking too long," the dark haired man said, narrowing his eyes, "it's time to end this."
"I couldn't agree more," Harry said tightly, shifting his chain to get a better grip.
Leviathan gave a nasty smile… and then sheathed his weapon.
Harry's eyes barely had time to widen before the seven rapiers collected on the man's back flew out from their sheaths, the fabric which Harry had assumed to be protective covering spreading out like wings and carrying the swords to the sky.
It didn't take even a second for Harry to be surrounded by the umbrella-like contraptions.
Harry's head snapped up to try and make sense of Leviathan's actions, and when he saw what the miniature machines were, he couldn't help but suck in a startled breath, "Conductors…!"
Leviathan gave a nasty grin, "That's right. And unlike this lovely floor that the Cervello have prepared for us, there's no way to avoid my weapon."
Harry gritted his teeth. If there was no way to avoid the attack, then the only thing to do was to take out Leviathan before his weapon could fully charge. He dashed towards the man, chain held tightly in his grip in preparation to take the man down.
The satellite dishes sparked, and discharged.
Harry hadn't made it three steps.
A scream ripped from his throat as the lightning struck him. He couldn't continue, he couldn't. Pain poured through him, as if some dam had been released and everything that could hurt was now hurting. Liquid fire filled his veins—no, doing more than that—it felt as if it were ploughing through his veins, not caring for the destruction it left in its wake.
He thought he'd heard a worried 'Harry-san!' but his mind was conjuring up too many different sounds and images for him to be sure.
And then, as quickly as it had come, the agonizing fire left him, but it had already done its part.
He fell to his knees, gasping, a hand clutched over his chest. His heart was thudding so hard he dazedly wondered how it hadn't broken out of his rib cage. His body was shaking, and he could not stop it.
He felt as if acid had just burned through his veins, destroying every bit of him possible and rendering him lame. He let out a shaky breath and tried to get up, knowing that this wasn't the place to be immobilized by pain, but found that his limbs wouldn't obey him.
He couldn't move.
"Oh?" Leviathan smirked, his voice cruel and casual, "You're still alive? Guess I didn't put enough juice into that one. I'll remedy it now."
Harry's eyes widened.
The umbrellas puffed out again, static dancing around the metal holdings as they charged for another attack, but this time, Harry knew what was coming.
He gritted his teeth, willing his lame body to move move move. He'd been blindsided by the attack, but Leviathan had just given him the answer. It'd all come to nothing though if he couldn't move.
Somehow, through his sheer determination alone, he managed to make his body twitch. Although his legs were still shaking from the effort and his head felt woozy, Harry somehow managed to stand again, facing Leviathan equally.
Leviathan had just stated his surprise at Harry being alive, which meant that the umbrella trick was a finishing move. There could only be one reason that Harry was still alive. It was a small, far off chance, because Harry had never trained for something as big as this, but it was a chance nonetheless.
It was now or never.
Harry lashed out, letting loose his chain just as the umbrellas discharged. Leviathan, who'd obviously not been expecting Harry to do anything, was a split second too late to avoid the chain that had descended upon him.
The chain wrapped around Leviathan's upper arm just as the lightning struck him.
Harry gasped as the currents rushed through him, and little spots of white appeared behind his eyes, threatening to pull him into the realm of oblivion to which he could never wake from again. But he held on, reaching for the place deep inside him just as Iemitsu had taught him to.
It was Leviathan's time to scream as Harry successfully redirected the lightning using his dying will. The pound of static force rippled down Harry's chain, ploughing head on into the Varia's guardian's body.
The lightning left as quickly as it came, and not a moment too soon, as Harry released the last remnants of his control with a pant. His arms shaking, the chain dropped from Harry's grip, falling to the floor with a loud clang. Staggering, Harry stumbled to the side a few steps, stopping directly beneath one of the lightning rods and leaning upon it for support.
It was a pretty stupid move actually, because if natural lightning were to take to the skies again, he now had a high chance of being shocked. But he couldn't help it. He felt like he couldn't stand without help, and being up against one lightning rod was better than lying in the center, where all the lightning would be concentrated if the skies split open again.
As he'd thought, redirecting something this big was still too much for him. He felt completely unbalanced, and it was taking all his willpower to keep down the dinner that was threatening to heave up from his stomach. But he had done it nonetheless.
A thin smile made its way across his face as he rested his head against the pole, looking towards Varia's lightning guardian. The cruel faced man was completely still, a look of shock on his face as he stood with his arms outstretched, Harry's chain still hanging from his arm.
Struck by his own finishing move, the man couldn't budge his body even the slightest bit. This wasn't a trick. Harry could taste it.
His smile turned into a look of horror as Leviathan toppled backwards, and over the rooftops.
A second later Leviathan's voice rose over the sound of the storm, assuring Harry that he hadn't died, yet.
"Help!" The man cried, his voice crazed with fear. He was hanging on the edge of the roof, but with the slick surface and the reason attack he'd just taken, Harry could tell that it was just barely.
With the height of the building, there was no way that the man could survive if he fell.
Harry's body twanged and twitched, and his mind felt overtired from using the flames in such a way. He hurt everywhere, and there was nothing more that he wanted to do except to sleep and forget this whole day.
But he couldn't, could he?
He briefly closed his eyes, steeling himself, and began to shakily walk to where Leviathan was holding on.
He stopped at the edge of the roof and kneeled, holding out an arm to the older man.
"Take my hand," he called over the raging storm.
Leviathan didn't need to be told twice. The man grasped onto Harry's arm like it was his lifeline, and Harry had to wince a little at the painful grip. Gritting his teeth, Harry strained his body backwards, and it was with gasp that he finally pulled Leviathan back onto the roof.
The two of them just sat there for a moment, breathing heavily, with the pitter patter of the rain to accompany them.
"You shouldn't have helped me," Leviathan said when his breathing was finally under control. He had his head down, the gel having long since been washed from his hair and hiding his face from view.
"A—an—anyone w—would ha—have," Harry managed to get out, his teeth chattering. Now that all the adrenaline was dying down, he realized how cold it was, and it certainly didn't help that he felt as if he were about to keel over from taking Leviathan's lightning. Twice.
"No I mean it." He looked up, and there was something of a deranged grin on his face, "But I'm glad that you did."
Leviathan turned over his hand, revealing one of the conductor rapiers that had fallen with him. Harry's eyes widened, but he didn't nearly have enough time to react as Leviathan surged forward, spearing the weapon into Harry's stomach.
Harry's back arched as he cried out in shock and pain. He toppled over sideways, hitting the floor with a loud 'thud' and sending up a spray of water with the fall.
"Y—you—" Harry gasped weakly, staring at the man in disbelief. Leviathan swam in and out of his vision, interspersed by black dots and blurry colors.
There was an unholy glee in Leviathan's eyes, "You really shouldn't have saved me, fool. Now I'm going to make you regret ever turning my own weapon against me."
And then his world blinked out.
A/n: Nrrghh… keeping up this updating once every six months thing is hard. But for your continued support, here is your Varia Part 2. I'm so mad at Reborn! manga right now for getting good again with the revelations of Bermuda, and then completely destroying the plotline. I guess the author wanted to end it but seriously…