My first KHR fanfic. I apologize if some characters seem OOC. Clearly, I haven't planned this very well, but I'll do my best with it.
But please, take your time and enjoy, "Love Tokens".
Disclaimer: I do not own Katekyoushi Hitman Reborn. It belongs to the almighty Amano Akira-sama.
"It wasn't a choice to begin with.
So pay no heed,
To the girl shrouding in the corner,
Crying tears of gold." -C.M. Lennii
Luck was never with Tsuna. That wasn't a statement - it was a fact.
She sat down quietly in the shade under the shelters and hugged her knees to her chest while she watched the other idiots splash each other with cold water in absolute boredom. The sun was out and on the other side of the pool by the fence, she could see the PE instructor flexing his tanned muscles and showing off to those 'cooler' girls in their bikinis and short- and by that she meant 'butt length'- skirts.
The proper way to wear their skirt was by having them down to their knees, like how she wore them. Those girls surely didn't care about the fact that they showed more of their undergarments than the clothes worn over.
Tsuna stared enviously at their legs. The girls were tall, and had tanned and long legs, while she was pale, and rather short for a 16 year old girl. She'd tried visiting the beach a few times as a kid and just sat under the sun for the whole afternoon, and yet she still stayed whiter than the sand by the time she came home.
If a stranger saw her walking down the streets, she would've been mistaken for a little middle schooler, if it wasn't for her chest. And her chest was something she wasn't so proud of. Being 2 years away from adulthood, she was rather disturbed to find that out of her classmates and peers, she was the only one with such mature developments in the chest area, with the ugly bulge sticking out when she first wore her school shirt at home.
She hadn't noticed this change until the start of high school, unfortunately.
And to avoid unwanted attention from pervs, she was forced to wear a loose and baggy jumper all year round to make them seem smaller- with no exception to the extreme weather. She wished she never had to grow such disturbing things. And for the umpteenth time, she wished she was born a boy. A strong, healthy boy who could do so many badass things.
And there were the boys, running around, chasing each other. There were a few other students being silly as well, throwing others into the pool like sacks of potatoes.
On second thought, it was better being an innocent little useless girl.
Some boys screamed hysterically as their comrades threw them into the water. She could sympathise with those victims, as she, wouldn't have liked the sensation of water rushing up her nose and the chlorine stinging her eyes, making her sputter and choke; not to mention sap all her energy away.
Must've been some kind of new allergy.
Besides, the water was only going to make her fluffy hair even harder to comb, and she didn't want to have to chop it off again when she had finally let it grow out down to her back. The top still stayed short and fluffy though, no matter how much she tried to make it grow.
Despite the encouraging speeches the whole year had gotten from the teachers the day before, she couldn't be bothered to change out of her school uniform, and into her swimmers.
Very few students decided not to join in the fun, and the majority of them were either nerds or hydrophobic. And they, were at least in their swim suits, chatting away with their own friends about other guys and gossiping behind their enemy's backs. Good for them, she thought. The last thing she wanted to do was to hear a nasty rumour and then be suspected of starting it when it got around.
It was going to be their problem, not hers.
That is why she never enjoyed 'Pool Day' at school.
The whole freshman year was allowed in the pool for the morning as a treat, for achieving high results in the test that was set right after summer break. It was forecasted to be a blisteringly hot day today, reaching 38 Degrees Celsius (1).
It felt like she was living in a furnace.
She squinted at the glare reflected off the water's surface. She should be allowed to go back into the classroom, if she asked. It was a cool and peaceful place where she could enjoy her solitude.
Since the start of high school, she had been alone because her friends had been sent to other schools by their parents. Unlike them, she was admitted to Namimori High because that was literally the only school she could go to within walking distance.
Oh, the tears she had shed upon the separation. It was sad, yes.
The brunette got up, patted her skirt of dust and headed for the instructor when the girls finally left him alone. The sudden sunshine heated her jumper even more and she wanted to stick her legs into the cool water, but as a precaution, she decided not to.
Especially with so many wild and dangerous people around her.
She made her way across the length of the pool in her bare feet, and was busy concentrating on notstepping into the warm and slimy puddles. There was a lot of noise coming from behind her.
When she turned around, a group of half naked homo sapiens bustled against her, shoving and pushing, until she fell into the water. She bit hard onto her lip. If she had left them open, she would've screamed. She felt the cool water slap against her skin and the chlorine smelling liquid rush up her nose, as tears welled up in her eyes.
She couldn't swim either.
Such bad luck...
"Oi, did you hear something?" asked the captain of the baseball team, a tall and athletic boy with a healthy looking tan.
"Of course we heard something, Yamamoto!" laughed one of his mates. They teamed up and grabbed their captain by the arms and tossed him. There was a loud explosion of water.
After a few seconds, he emerged to the surface laughing, "Hey, I said no cheating!"
"We weren't cheating! Your guard was down!"
Yamamoto grinned widely and flicked his wrists, splashing his friends with water. He stopped when he saw someone floating in front of him.
"Oi, you'll be dragged into the fight if you don't move out of the way," He called out. The body didn't move. A rush of panic surged through him as he made his way towards it. "Oi!"
"W-What's wrong, Yamamoto?"
"She's not moving!" he yelled back, grabbing the attention of his friends. "I think she fell!"
His friends grabbed by her arms and hurried her to the surface.
"But why would she still be in her school uniform?" a guy asked his friend.
"Like hell I'd know!"
"Put her down! I'll call for sensei!"
They placed her down on the concrete, and formed a crowd around her. They murmured to each other in panicky voices, with absolutely no clue what they should do.
Well, they were idiots after all.
When he ran back with the PE instructor, the crowd had expanded, with nearly the whole freshman body shoving around to catch a glimpse of just who was moronic enough to have drowned today.
"Out of the way!" The bulky instructor boomed, and automatically, a passage was cleared, with students jumping back into the pool and looking on through people's legs. The instructor pushed his palms down in the middle of her chest with his almighty strength, causing Tsuna to cough out the swallowed water, and she continued to cough violently. The PE instructor quickly turned her to the side with a heroic grin.
The crowd had gotten silent by the time she stopped coughing.
"A-Are you… alright?" asked a boy.
His girlfriend stood behind him, and she had the same worried look on her face. Why was it impossible for them to mind their own business?
"Geez, how could she be alright?" said another guy, but it was obvious that he was relieved that she hadn't drowned. What, so he didn't have to attend her funeral? "Right, captain?"
"Maa maa, it was still a close call." He bent down to help her up. Tsuna looked up through stinging and watery eyes. Through her hair, she could see a group of girls behind him glowering down at her which made her feel uncomfortable.
The Yamamoto guy must've been rather popular and according to their so called 'girl law', no one was allowed to mess with him unless they were equal.
It was best not to get in their way.
Ignoring the hand that was stretched out for her, she sat up by herself and waited for the stinging to go away. She opened her eyes again, glaring, silencing her audience.
"I..." She said, before she lowered her voice. "… Friggin' hate you guys."
She stood up and excused herself from the pool and stormed off to the change rooms. She could hear a few murmurs behind her saying, "How rude..." and "What's her problem?" and the sort, but a deed's been done, and there was nothing she could do about it.
Besides, it was their fault to begin with.
When she felt that she was alone in the change rooms, she banged her head against the wall which formed a small dent.
The rest of her day went as expected.
In the corridors and in class, people avoided her, trying to make as little eye contact for fear of being looked at with those hateful eyes. Well, she wasn't in the mood to talk to anyone anyway.
Some teachers had asked her to remove her jumper, and let it dry itself in the sun, but she refused politely, saying that it was alright. Her shirt was still skin-tight because of the water and it was most likely transparent. and she could not risk embarrassing herself again with her flashiness.
She didn't want to draw too much attention to herself anyways.
In maths, she tried to sit as close to the window as she could by edging her seat to the side and was caught in the process by a strict teacher.
"What on earth are you doing, Sawada?" he said, in his monotone. "Have you not bothered the class enough today?"
She racked her brain for something to say. "I-I'm growing more brain cells so that I can solve this problem, sir."
"Then I suppose you can come to the front and answer the question on the board." He threw a chalk at her table and it bounced right off her book and onto the floor.
Feeling annoyed, she bent down and picked it up before she made her way to the front, only to trip over someone's leg and make a scene out of herself. When she turned around to the owner of the leg, a girl named M.M stuck out her tongue.
"Loser." She whispered, before she smiled mischievously and raised her hand.
"Yes, M.M?" The teacher asked, in his same bored voice."What's the problem now?"
"Nothing, sir." She said. "It's just that I wanted to report to you that Tsunayoshi-san over here has just tripped over her own legs, so she might take a while to get to the board. That is all!"
"That had nothing to do with maths, and no one asked you to report what she did. Sawada, can you get to the board without making such a fuss? The whole world won't wait for you, you know." He said in a louder voice.
And as usual, there were people couldn't resist making fun of her. Heaving a sigh, she got up and stomped on M.M's foot when the teacher wasn't looking. "Yes, sir."
She smirked. Seeing M.M's scrunched up face as she grabbed her foot was a victory for her. She heard M.M cuss under her breath (something very unladylike) and her smirk grew even wider.
Tsuna was glad when the bell rang for home time. She packed up, rushed out of the classroom and down the halls to the shoe cabinets, where she changed her shoes quickly and ran out the front doors, faster than anyone.
This became a habit ever since she returned from summer break.
She had gotten herself a part-time job in the small bakery downtown in the Namimori shopping district and despite only having been there for 2 weeks, it already made her feel at home and welcome. Unlike here at school, where she hardly knew anyone.
The shop was now currently run by the young manager and his best friend, along with two of her own friends - the main reason why she looked forward to her job. The three friends were walking down the streets one day, when they saw a cute looking bakery with a cheery faced customers leaving the doors. They then entered the shop and asked the red-haired man behind the counter if there were any places available for part-timers.
When he looked at them with a 'What on earth?' look, she wondered if he was going to reject them flat out. Then the blonde-haired manager appeared from the other room with a tray of pastries to put up for sale.
He caught a sight of the three of them and asked what he could do for them, and the red-head had explained the situation in a low and rather annoyed tone, to her surprise.
What was even more surprising was that the blonde haired manager had agreed immediately, saying something like, "...Being shorthanded…" and "…Needing more helpers…" while the red-head just stared after him in disbelief, yelling at him for being so careless.
And that was how the three of them got the jobs.
As days passed, the red-head, whose name was G, finally softened up around the girls to the point where he could show them how to bake a shortcake without having to raise his voice over things like broken plates and having to bandage bloody fingers. He used to be so hostile that it was impossible to stay on the same page without being scooted away to do other tasks.
And when the blonde, whose name was Giotto, was in the shop, he let the girls take the unsold pastries home for free.
When she arrived at the café, she poked her head in through the open door and saw G serving a customer with his back to her.
"Good afternoon, G-san!"
She jumped and turned around with a scowl on his face, but when he saw who it was, he smiled warmly. "Oh, hey Tsuna, you're early today."
He walked over to the counter to serve a young boy who appeared to be in his early elementary years. "Kyoko and Haru haven't come yet, just to tell you."
"Okay, that's good." She wouldn't want them to see her in this sloppy state, not that they would've minded, but still, it was a little embarrassing to go serving customers when you smelt like the pool. "Can I borrow the shower for a sec?"
G raised an eyebrow, and looked at her curiously. "Sure, but what for?"
"I uh… Want to wash off some of the chlorine."
"Yeah, it was 'Pool Day' at school today."
G left his mouth open in an 'o' shape, and looked at her again before he frowned. " You've been swimming in that?"
"...Not exactly…" she muttered darkly, "… I wouldn't call it swimming…"
"Speak louder, I can't hear you when you're standing so far away."
She sighed. Maybe it was a better idea not to tell him about her clumsiness. "It's nothing, don't worry about it."
G looked at her for a while and nodded his head slowly. He didn't ask any more questions either, and turned back to the line of eager customers.
"So where's the shower?" She asked.
"I showed you where it was on your first day here, didn't I?" He replied. He glanced over his shoulder, and his red eyes bored onto her expectantly.
She tried to remember him telling her where the bathroom was, and failed.
He sighed. "It's at the back, next to the prep room. You need to remember that next time."
"Oh, right." She rolled up her sleeves and hurried towards the shower 'at the back and next to the prep room'. How was she supposed to remember something like that? She muttered to herself under her breath, and her face smacked right into something- or in this case, someone.
Her poor nose.
"Oh, Tsunayoshi, you're here already?" said a voice from above her. Looking up through squinted eyes, she saw the blonde manager in a dress-shirt, taking off his oven mittens. She stared at his shirt. Just who in his right mind would wear something so bloody hot on a summer's day? "I'm sorry, I didn't see you. Are you alright?"
'...I didn't see you.'
To her, that was an insult.
"Yes, I'm fine, manager."
Giotto sighed. "How many times have I told you to stop calling me 'Manager'? Just call me 'Giotto' or if that sounds too foreign to you, 'Ieyasu'."
She grumbled, "Well, you can stop calling me Tsunayoshi and call me 'Tsuna'. It sounds too formal when people say it the long way."
"But isn't your name 'Tsunayoshi'?" Giotto chuckled and then ruffled her hair playfully. "I'm not 'Manager', you know?"
She flushed. "W-well I don't like it when people call me that."
"I don't either, Tsunayoshi."
There was something in this blondie that she didn't like. His calm and carefree expressions. Even when suspicious looking customers dressed in black suits came into the shop and disturbed the other customers, he never raised his voice and when the girls had broken plates and cups, only G was sane enough to scold them.
Yet her manager was always the calm one. And calm people reminded her of a certain scary person.
"Whatever you say." She ducked under the blonde's arm to get to the room behind him.
She closed the door behind her and took off her jumper instinctively.
"Eghhh… I smell like the pool." She wrinkled her nose and took off her clothes and rinsed them under the warm water, and tried to get rid of as much of the chlorine as possible with the soap. After they seemed clean enough, she placed them into the dryer and popped into the shower herself.
The warm water felt nice against her skin for a change and she scrubbed at her hair the best she could and ignored the pains she felt from accidently tugging at a sun-dried-chlorine knot. Those were tolerable at least.
When she believed she was done, she turned off the shower and blew away the steam. She reached for a towel on the towel rack and frowned when her hand came into contact with the wall. Fumbling blindly, she let her hand slide across the cool metal bar and her fingers touched the other side of the pole.
Taking a peek through the gap in the shower curtains, she looked for the towel-looking things that should have hung from those towel racks attached glumly to the wall.
After a few minutes of searching for the towels through empty cupboards, cabinets, towel-racks and cupboards again, she came to the conclusion that there weren't any in the room. Oh boy. Such bad luck she had today. She gathered as much courage as she could and popped her head out of the room and into the passageway and out of luck, or maybe bad luck, saw the blonde walk out of the prep room.
She immediately closed the door again, and hid behind it, eyes wide.
What the hell was she doing?
She gulped and stuck her head out again, making sure that only her head was visible. And this time, he was walking back to the prep room, and she had a feeling that he saw her, but had decided to ignore it.
"Manager…?" It was awkward because no one answered. Was he ignoring her on purpose? She wondered if Kyoko or Haru had come for work yet. But thinking that it could take a while before any of them went past the prep room, she decided that there was no other choice.
There was no way that she was going to wait for the water on her skin to dry, and catch a cold for some stupid reason. She opened the door, puffing out her cheeks.
"Ieyasu…?" She said quietly.
"What's wrong?" Asked a voice pleasantly. The blonde's sudden appearance made her jump, and she fought against the urge to slam the door on his face. She could see that the corner of his mouth curved up into a slight smile.
"T-there are no towels in here." She muttered, feeling the heat get to her cheeks. She shivered as a breeze blew by, and came in contact with the water droplets on her skin. She was definitely catching a cold.
"There aren't?" He creased his brows smoothly. "I'll be back in a second."
She sighed and leaned back against the door. Inwardly, she cursed G for being so careless. If there weren't any towels in there he could've told her! This wasn't funny.
Moments later, the blonde came back with a white towel. He handed it to her, and then went back into his prep room silently. She hurried to dry herself and took her clothes out of the dryer. She put them on and made sure the room was the way she found it - minus the towel now hanging on the rack.
When she left the room, she found Kyoko and Haru in the shop, serving customers happily. At least they didn't have to deal with all that stuff.
When G saw her, he greeted her again. Running up to him, she reached on her tip toes, she grabbed a hold of his cheeks and pulled on them fiercely.
"Why didn't you tell me there weren't any towels in there?" She whispered darkly.
"W-what? There weren't?"
"Yuh!" she exclaimed, "What else could have taken me so long?"
"Tch, I swear I put them in there this morning!"
She let go of his cheeks and stared out into the open. G backed away from her, and rubbed his sore cheeks protectively. If G put them into the room this morning… How come she didn't see them?
"Can you take this order to table 5, Tsuna-chan?" asked Kyoko in a sweet voice. Tsuna looked up from her daze and her eyes met with soft golden orbs. She was then handed a metal tray and an apron. Sighing, she brushed the matter off of her mind.
Nothing could make her day any worse, when she was in the company of Kyoko and Haru.
Smiling, she put on her apron, and headed off to do her duties.
(1) - I live in Australia, and we measure our temperature by degrees celcius.
Please R & R.