Chapter 13 tells of farewell and home
The entire room was dead silent, even though all of Tsuna's guardians were gathered together and forced to squeeze into Giannini's terribly small, tiny and stuffy office - with the absence of Hibari Kyoya (he rejected the offer due to his great dislike of crowds and being near stupid herbivores) and Mukuro (who was still locked up in the depths of Vindice, unfortunately).
Giannini had been performing last minute maintenance on the device for the last couple of hours, making certain that the damages caused by a certain kid by the name of Lambo, did not cause unrepairable harm to anything that would indirectly endanger the life of the Boss when the brunet was travelling past dimensions and time frames to get back into the present time.
Almost like any other day, Gokudera and Yamamoto were arguing - with the exception of Lambo dangling upside down in between the two boys, tied with a thick rope to the ceiling and his afro stuffed full with dynamites.
"There there, calm down, Gokudera. I'm sure everything would turn out perfectly all right. Surely nothing would have happened to Tsuna and he will come home safely. That's the reason why Reborn and Giannini are working so hard, am I right?"
However, the silver haired teenager was never one to believe something such as Yamamoto's gut feeling. He wanted proof, scientific proof, and would not accept anything other than that.
"Will Boss be fine? Will he come back?" Chrome muttered question after question under her breath. Normally, she wouldn't have even be around but since Reborn specially went to invite her, and Mukuro had even asked her to attend this event, Chrome finally made up her mind to participate in the activity. But since she was here and heard everything that was said, she could not help but be worried.
On the other hand, Kyoko and Haru were specially left out of this gathering (they were not invited at all and Ryohei was ordered by Reborn to not tell his sister anything) mainly because they did not even know of Tsuna's disappearance and Reborn knew that the dame-Tsuna wouldn't want to get other people mixed up in his troubles. Although he wouldn't normally pay attention to Tsuna's whims, today was an exception.
Besides, even Reborn himself couldn't be sure that nothing would occur when Tsuna came back from the past. Illness, multiple wounds, on the verge of death – no matter what it was, Reborn had no idea. He couldn't pinpoint it out and he could not afford to guess either. There was a high possibility that Tsuna might even bring some unknown creature back together.
And then, there was also that thing with Giotto, the Vongola Primo. Reborn sighed.
"Everything is set!" Giannini announced, wiping his grease from his hands onto his pants and grabbed a piece of pizza to fill up his empty tummy which had been growling non-stop for the past five hours.
As if in reply to Giannini's statement, Reborn leapt down from the table and landed perfectly on the ground, one hand on his fedora hat to prevent it from falling. Leon landed onto his palm and Reborn raised his arm up so the green chameleon could climb back up onto his hat.
"I see. Then, let's wait. There's still another hour until the promised time."
Gokudera's head snapped up at Reborn's statement and he couldn't help but ask for the reason why they still had to wait, despite knowing the reason behind it. It was the promise Reborn made to Juudaime. Needless to say, everyone knew that time was of the essence here, especially after reading the real-life accounts and biographies of the different people who travelled back in time.
No one wanted to see Tsuna injured. He was their Boss, their leader – their friend.
"If you guys are really that worried, why don't you kill time or go around gathering useful stuff that Dame-Tsuna might need when he comes home?"
Home, because this was the exact place where Tsuna really belonged to. His time, his life, his future.
But even so, Reborn had no idea what was Tsuna's definition of the place, or which was going to be his decision.
Reborn stood directly in front of the time device and stared up at the machine. He was uneasy. He was used to knowing everything and guessing everything correctly. He was even proud to mention that he could tell exactly what a person was thinking within 0.00375 seconds.
But when he last saw his student – across the portal – Reborn was unable to read Tsuna's expression. He had no idea what the brunet's final decision would be.
All he could hope for, was that it was the right one.
"Asari-san, G-san," Tsuna greeted cheerily when he proceeded down the stairs. At the corner of the lounge was a stack of boxes of varying sizes – containing all the belongings that the people who would be moving over to the new Headquarters of Vongola.
The dark haired man looked up. For the first time since Tsuna seen him since he was hit by Lambo's ten year bazooka and travelled back to the past, Asari was wearing that long hat that reminded him of the time when he and his friends first sawthe Vongola familgia First Generation Guardians' will through Yamamoto's ring.
Needless to say, processing such thoughts made Tsuna miss home a little.
He wanted to go back to the peaceful days when his friends were all together and having fun.
Eating the cake that Kyoko-chan and Haru would bring over to his apartment, chasing after a crying Lambo while insisting that the kid must calm down already, hanging out all day and chatting with Gokudera and Yamamoto, and going over to Kokuyo land to find Chrome.
Smiling at his mother when she asked him how was school, trying desperately to keep up with all the different types of spartan training that his home-tutor Reborn could think up of, evading Bianchi when she was in the mood to try out a new dish for her poison cooking, or even making sure to not be late to school to escape the Head Prefect's wrath.
He found himself missing everything so much that he could hardly bring himself to believe it.
Tsuna knew that Reborn had provided him with the chance to do so – all he needed was the resolve to step through the portal that would be opened tonight – but something seemed to be preventing him from doing so.
"What's with this huge feast? Is it someone's birthday today?" Tsuna asked as he watched Kunckle taking the plate of freshly cooked food from Asari and placing it into the only space left on the table.
"Tch, why do you have to ask so many questions all the time?" G muttered angrily under his breath. "It's just to celebrate the official forming of Vongola and the fact that we are leaving this goddamn area that we spent the past few years in."
Asari laughed, patting G on his back. "Don't mind him. He is just upset that we are leaving this place! You should have heard Giotto telling the stories of the past. G took up three jobs for four months straight just to earn enough money to buy this place. It's his treasure!"
"Not!" G roared, slapping Asari's hand away. "Don't mock me, idiot!"
Tsuna laughed and wiped at the tears forming at the corner of his eyes. This was the first time that he saw G being so flustered and everyone smiling so happily that it seemed to be from the bottom of their hearts. All these were good for a change, and would certainly have been one of the best moments since he came to this era if not for the absence of one of the most important people around.
"He went off to buy the other items needed," Asari answered simply and the brunet raised an eyebrow in curiosity. As far as he was concerned, there was hardly any other space around in the room to put food, and no one around looked like they were interested in playing around like little children.
"For your farewell party TO THE EXTREME!" Knuckle answered loudly, adding a punch to the air for effect. "I only found out this morning that you will be leaving soon! Everyone is-"
Orange blasted through the door and in its wake stood Giotto, his dying will flame burning brightly on his forehead. His eyes were cold and unfeeling, as if they were looking at everything and yet nothing at all. He wasn't holding on to anything which resembled a present – in fact, Giotto wasn't holding anything at all.
"Don't say anymore than that, Knuckle. Didn't we all agree to keep it a secret from Tsuna?"
Knuckle opened his mouth to protest when a loud sound of a chair falling to the ground made him snap his head around to glance at Tsuna.
The brunet did not know why he was tearing up or why he was feeling the ache in the depths of his chest, but it was a fact that all of those things that he was actually feeling all the hazy emotions that he was trying to evade since he met with Reborn last night. Even though theoretically speaking, it wasn't an encounter.
"T-Tsuna?" Giotto reached out a hand to the boy in order to comfort him but unlike what he expected, Tsuna flinched upon contact. Quickly, the blond retracted his hand.
"How did all of you know about that? Why did you people decide to throw this party before I even decided anything by myself? D-Do you guys want me to leave that badly? Maybe my presence is really nothing but a nuisance and you prefer it if I'm gone?" Tsuna murmured while busy wiping away his tears.
He had no idea why he was even saying such things in the first place. It was not his intention to say such hurtful things, especially when they were merely only his own assumptions. There was no need for him to be so overly dramatic because there was no way that anyone would actually be thinking this way about him.
"That's because we... I..."
Without waiting for Giotto to finish his sentence, the brunet clenched his fist tightly and lowered his gaze to the floor. He did not want to face anyone right now, because he was sure that his eyes must be full of tears now and there was no way he could possibly show such an expression to anyone.
He did not want to ruin the mood in the room. Today was supposed to be a joyous event, right?
At the same time, Tsuna knew that he could not do anything, could not tell anyone anything, because his own mind was barely made up yet. To stay here or to leave – there was no way that he could make a decision so soon.
Everything was taking place way too fast. He wanted some time alone to sort out his thoughts, but there was no time for that. Tsuna understood at least that much.
Sensing the discomfort of the two, the other people in the room quickly understood the fact that the two of them wanted some time to themselves and they cleared out of the lounge.
"I have always known that I have to leave here someday," Tsuna whispered in a low voice so no one but Giotto could hear him. "But even so, I want to stay here, even if it's only for one second longer. Is this bad?"
Wanting to go back to the peaceful days of the past yet hoping to stay by Giotto's side forever – such a thing was surely unforgivable and would never be able allowed to happen. It was probably just due to his own selfishness which caused everything to drag on for so long.
"Yes, it's bad. I overheard your conversation with that guy 'Reborn' yesterday, and after thinking about it all night, I finally came to a decision. I know that it might be selfish of me to force this decision onto you, but I sincerely don't want you to disappear no matter what. I want you to stay alive, far longer than I can, so you must go back to your own time frame."
Without Giotto by his side, nothing will ever be the same again. Tsuna knew it, from the bottom of his heart. He would definitely not be able to smile like how he previously did anymore. He would certainly be...
"Fifteen minutes left," Giotto informed him.
Tsuna clenched his fists tighter, his arms trembling slightly. He opened his mouth slightly, but no sound came out. He could not bring himself to speak.
He barely noticed it when the blond placed something into his palm. It was cold and hard – metal. He curled his fingers over the object tightly so it nestled perfectly into his hand.
"It's probably still too early, but that's my present for you. Don't look at it until you reach home."
Understanding that this might be the last time he would be able to see Giotto face to face, Tsuna moved forward and wrapped his arms tightly around Giotto. He had to give a proper farewell.
"L... I like you, Giotto. I wish that I can stay here together with you forever and ever."
But, he had to leave. It was a fact.
The time frame was rejecting him. His body was weakening. He was dying.
Most importantly, he wanted to stay alive – for Giotto, for himself, for his friends.
Giotto ran a hand through Tsuna's brown locks and pressed his cheek against the top of the brunet's head. "I know, because I feel the same way too. I love you Tsuna, so promise me that you will live happily while holding these precious memories in your heart, because that's exactly what I'm going to do."
Then, there was that sound again. As if something was being ripped apart. Five, four, three, two...
"Dame-Tsuna. It's time."
His fingers tightened around Giotto's shirt and he could feel tears forming again. He didn't want to leave yet. Why was he even here in the first place?
"Tsunayoshi, look at me."
It was a simple request. Tsuna tilted his face up to stare into the mesmerizing cerulean eyes that told of so much sadness and bitterness - that held so much emotion in them.
Noticing that he got the brunet's attention, Giotto quickly leaned in and kissed him on the lips. Pink dusted his cheeks when Tsuna felt the blond running his tongue lightly against his bottom lip, once, before pulling away.
"Until we meet again, Decimo."
Primo. Founder. Boss. Ancestor. Giotto.
Tsuna still had so much he wanted to say, so many more things that he wanted to thank him for. But the blond refused to give him the chance to do so and pushed him harshly, and the brunet found himself falling backwards – into the portal and through that warm light.
Five seconds later, Tsuna found his back connecting with the hard ground and Giotto's face disappeared from view, as if nothing ever existed before. It wasn't fair! He did indeed go back into the past and met Giotto! There had to be proof of that, or was God telling him to forget everything?
"You are finally home, Juudaime!"
"Tsuna! Are you okay?"
"Help me someone. Lemme down from here. I CAN'T TOLERATE ANYMORE!"
Gokudera and Yamamoto were by his side, as usual. Chrome was watching on silently, and Lambo was wailing like the spoilt brat he was. Hibari and Mukuro were nowhere to be seen. Giannini looked proud that the device he invented worked perfectly. And Reborn was, well, just Reborn.
"What is that in your hands, Dame-Tsuna? A gift?"
It's probably still too early, but that's my present for you. Don't look at it until you reach home.
Giotto's present to him. Evidence that he went back in time. Proof that he met Giotto before.
Tsuna loosened his grip around the silver pocket watch, taking a moment to run his fingers across the the intricate design on the cover before flipping it open.
Inside, there was a small dying will flame burning brightly, speaking of hope. Tsuna didn't know why or how, but he could tell that it belonged to Giotto. Even though it was just his gut feeling – part of his Hyper Intuition – because he could feel that it was different from his own flame.
Tsuna was about to close the pocket watch when two words on the back of the cover caught his interest. The brunet tilted the gift so he could peer at the words more closely. But when he did, Tsuna could help but feel like crying all over again.
Of everything else that the stupid blond could have wrote... Tsuna pulled the pendant around his neck out as his other hand traced the two characters stroke after stroke.
Stupid Primo. Stupid Founder. Stupid...
Author's notes: For all of you who don't know Chinese or Japanese Kanji, 永愛 means eternal love (Romaji: ei ai) Just wanted to put it there because I thought that it was sweet for Giotto to write something like that when he does not know Japanese (meaning he had to research about it all on his own ^^)
And somehow, I have the temptation to end this fanfiction here, but if anyone wants it to be a happy ending, please tell me so! For the time being, I'll leave it as 'ongoing', but if no one wants me to, I'll change it to 'complete' in a week.
Thank you for reading and please review.