Note(s): I'm only re-using the plot from Untitled for this fic. Please expect a lot of OCs. :)
Length: 2667 words
"Let's call it a day Polvere."
The sun has yet to set, casting a veil of orange into the almost cloudless horizon. Beads of sweat had trickled down from Dino's temples, gently tracing the outline of his cheeks then down his jaw, the spar had been – if not for the clumsy trip-ups and recurring pauses – satisfying. He started coiling the length of his leather whip in his right hand, as meticulously as he did countless times in the past. He couldn't help but sigh as the sight of his sleeves, they had been in a better shape, now scratched and torn in so many places. At least, he thought wryly, those were apparent signs that all the afternoon training sessions weren't for naught.
He absent-mindedly lifted his gaze from his whip and looked at the figure panting and sprawled on the ragged ground, probably too worn-out to pull off some premeditated grace. His student, Polvere Dosaggio. She was not, as Reborn had bluntly put, the best choice for the position of Vongola Cloud Guardian. For one, she was from a small allied family in Italy – a rising albeit a flame too easily extinguished. She too, like his mentor's own student, was timid, a person whose backbone has yet to be grounded, naïve in her own little world.
He teetered over casually and extended his arm towards her, which she had receptively taken.
"So," he allowed himself a hollow pause, "have you been getting along with Tsuna and the rest?"
Polvere glanced up to him with those rounded chestnut orbs, which did not bear any clear contrast to her stark brown hair. They were those of transparency and credulity, only normalcy for someone of the tender age of fourteen. She spoke, squeaky before she had the gall to tip her head sideways just to clear her throat. "Don Sawada had been.. quite generous."
She had, by instinct, started feeling the intricate curves on her weapon, a small blade, convenient only for short-range battles. Dino, with his expertly trained eyes, spotted his student's peculiar habit surfacing, allowing himself a chuckle, albeit a very reserved one. "And?" He was amazed at how vulnerable Polvere had allowed herself to be, despite the morbid background perpetually looming about her. He couldn't blame her though; she was but a mirror of his younger self.
Her eyes flew open; she knew that she had once again been read. She lightly bit down her lower lip, another sign of her growing anxiety, as Dino had earlier noted. "The other guardians too.. had been more than welcoming. A-although.." Her eyes swam instinctively, trails of pink had manifested themselves on her ashen cheeks. "..Gokudera is scary." The mention of the hotheaded Storm Guardian's name had made the faint pink a notable splay of red on the girl's pale cheeks.
All is well, Dino hummed to himself, quite glad that Polvere had grown accustomed to the antics of her soon-to-be family.
During her earlier days in Japan, as Dino had recalled from memory, she had for most part avoided interaction, opting to take the adjusting to the foreign environment as priority. She often took long walks, only to reappear in her apartment when it was time for her slated meals, much to her house helper's panic. But of course, she said her apologies, but aside from those, she had remained mum, giving off the pretense that she was unsociable.
She had managed to shrug off the false impression, not until she had no choice but to pull her act together as she got introduced to her new school, Namimori Middle School. It appears that Reborn had instructed her beforehand to more or less get acquainted with the members of the famiglia, only to further note that they were mere children, much like herself. She also availed herself the leisure of giving each of them their own unique nicknames which she childishly scribbled into her notebook.
To Dino, it seemed, Polvere had finally soothed her nerves, the blaring redness of her cheeks having dissipated to pink then white. She had been learning, absorbing everything that he had told her. The mafia, as it had often been instilled, was a cruel, unforgiving world where people like her current self could not dwell. A fact that she accepted, if she had chosen not to act upon. She nodded wordlessly, lips pressed to rather taut line. She dared not speak nor wince, instead directed her attention wholly to whatever her mentor was trying to impart.
Dino pocketed his hands, the coolness of the material providing just enough warmth to his chilling hands. "Shall we get going?" Polvere responded with an acute nod as she tucked the blade neatly in her cuffed sleeves.
Dino was under the impression that today's sparring session had taken an unusual length, guessing from Romario's puckered brows when he greeted them near the main temple. The sky was a visible shade of purple, splotches of blue and grey in the fray. "I'm sorry Roma, it seems the little miss over here is getting a tad better," Dino chimed as he jerkily arched his shoulders, all the while motioning towards Polvere.
Apparently, Romario didn't mind the wait; he had set up an impenetrable defense of Cavallone's men around the perimeter of the temple grounds, just in case things came to worse. Paranoia is a spiteful yet indispensable ally in the world they walked. He nodded, a brief smile passing his lips before he turned his back and started for the stairs leading down to the main road.
It had been a steep set of steps, providing more than enough warm-up for Dino and Polvere before their spar started every so often. Climbing alone had made Polvere's breathing uneven previously, while Dino for the most part, had been avoiding tripping on his own shoes. But of course, Romario, and occasionally Ivan or Bono, would be there to cushion their boss' fall, if ever he did manage to make a fool out of himself.
On the long run, the climbing and going down the steps had become a little less tedious than it was, causing occasional sweat drops but not one too many. Polvere, for one, had been carefully placing a foot before another as she descended, tucking behind her ears some hair strands that managed to glide down her face. Her breathing rhythm had barely changed, the upward and downward motion of her chest a smooth sight. As her left foot reached the landing of the stairs, her phone had started vibrating inside the chambers of her pocket.
Midori tanabiku namimori no
Dai naku shou naku nami ga ii
Namimori Middle School's Anthem had blared through the desolated area. Polvere hastily reached for the phone on her inner pockets, its trembling slightly reaching down her thigh. Most apologetically, she bowed bowed mutely at the sight of Romario's arched brows and Dino's quizzical looks. She had clumsily tried flipping open her phone after almost dropping it to the cold pavement, finally managing to flip it open after cupping it snugly between both her clammy hands.
Her eyes scanned over the the lit LCD screen of her phone, taking notice that it had been Tsuna who called. She placed the phone's receiver to her ear after having pressed the answer button. "He-hello Tsunayoushi-ku-"
Japanese honorifics and the -kuns and -chans had all been foreign to Polvere who had grown up calling her comrades' first names nonchalantly. The whole phone conversation had been awkward, with Polvere slurring at the suffix -kun when addressing her boss. She had anticipated a less than warm relationship with her him, as she had observed from her own father's strained relationships with his guardians.
After some nods and pauses, Polvere had placed her phone back in the safety of her pocket.
"Don Cavallone, it seems that Reborn had requested our company in Takesushi. It seems that there's.. a gathering going on right now."
The exchanges of puzzled looks between Polvere and Dino had lasted for a minute, if not seconds. Dino had been ineffectively trying to stifle a fit of laughter, squeaks passing through the gaps between his fingers. Giving in to his nagging curiosity, he asked, "What's with the odd ringtone, Polvere?"
Polvere's lids flew open, and just as quickly, a stream of red settled in her cheeks. "I wanted to have the school anthem memorized as soon as po-possible.." She had startled fiddling with the hem of her sleeves, mindless of the protruding piece of silver. "So I thought it would be a good idea to make it my ringtone."
"Oh?" Dino asked in a quite conspicuous tone, almost pressing.
"Well, the head prefect is quite doting," she replied almost inaudibly, voice shushed to a whisper. "And he hates it when the students show disregard for the school anthem and so he.. beats them up."
It had been easy to tell that Gokudera had been one of those students who sneered at the ludicrous lyrics of the school anthem, earning him malignant glares from the dreaded head prefect. From first hand experience, Polvere had ingrained that mere brushes with the said prefect would result in multiple injuries – ranging from unsightly bruises and bone dislocations. She would occasionally pique the attention of the prefect, a curious, if not irritated glance towards her direction.
"Uhm.. but he has never set his hands on me. It's just that," Polvere paused, wiping a streak of cold sweat from her cheek, "I can't say the same for Don Sawada and the others".
"Oh, I see," Dino sauntered casually to the car, nudging Romario along the way. He glanced back at Polvere, grinning. "Shall we go?"
Polvere smiled sheepishly and gave a compliant nod as she walked towards the two gentlemen beside the car. She glided her hand over the car door's handle smoothly, giving it a light press. The door opened soundlessly, an evident proof that the Don's possessions were all taken care of. She her head acutely, sending stands of her mane gliding over her face for the nth time today. She resigned herself to a slouch as she sank comfortably into the car's newly upholstered leather seat. She stroked her hair back and fetched some hair clips from her pockets, in an attempt to fix her unruly hair before they arrive at Takesushi.
Along the way, Dino held several hand phones one at a time, answering phone calls – both urgent and casual – creased lines surfacing above knitted brows. Dino didn't miss Polvere's sudden silence, touching the girl's soft and slightly trembling hands often as to provide some sense of company. "I'm sorry Polvere," he had said once, a slightly apologetic tone intermixed with that of coolness, "just some business partners I need to have a word with."
Of course, Polvere nodded, a silent reassurance that she knew and understood Dino's duties and responsibilities to his family, as it was her own that led her to Japan in the first place. A generous smile curled in her lips as the car gently curbed its way into the alley which housed Takesushi, a humble restaurant harboring a homely air and even warmer accommodation from comrades – allies – who had greeted them.
Polvere lurched her head out the car, hearing various sounds mingling with the car exhaust's laborious wheezing. Tsuna's panicked 'hieeeeeee's as well as Gokudera's stressed 'yakyuu-baka's had been most audible, while Yamamoto's 'maa, maa's had been a little more than a whisper. She chuckled at the sound of her family's contentment, a flitting existence which will soon be soiled as their untainted hands be burdened with the mafia's sins. She paid no heed to the thought, shrugging slightly before she peeled open the wooden sliding door.
The sight of Tsuna's fresh black eye made Polvere flinch, her instinct jabbing at her to rush to her boss' aid. "Wha-what happened to your left eye?" Before Tsuna had the chance to mouth out a response, a flash of green pulled Polvere's attention suddenly away from him.
Mechanically, Polvere swiftly pulled her blade from her sleeve and blocked her once vulnerable left side, a green mallet almost meeting with her creased white polo shirt, if it weren't for her attempt to block the unprecedented assault. She blinked her eyes rapidly, the sight of a toddler in a crisp black suit, mesmerizing and deadly. "Ciaossu~," the infant greeted her with a prideful smirk.
"Re-Reborn!" Dino tripped on his foot as he hurriedly scrambled to Polvere's side, as she was now trying to ward off the weighty mallet slowly inching towards her face. Dino watched as she, in one swift motion, swatted off the mallet and plunged downward, rolling under Reborn's feet. Just as quickly, she regained her battle stance, tightly gripping a blade at each hand, both positioned strategically, protecting her neck for one and the other her chest.
Reborn smiled, a satisfied one at that, as he held Leon with his right hand. "Congratulations," the hitman said, the smile still unrelenting. "It seems that your training is starting to bear fruit."
The unsuspecting spectators' mouths finally closed after the brief yet gripping clash between Reborn and Polvere. Tsuna, being the first one to approach the duo, received a whopping blow from Reborn, making him collapse to the floor and sending the giddy right man in a panicked frenzy. Yamamoto, who had always been calm in any other situation, voiced out, "There, there you two. The baby was just playing around," as he ineptly scratched at the bundles of hair at his nape.
Gokudera glared at this obvious idiocy while Tsuna was little more than knocked-out to even respond.
"Reborn, you didn't have to do that." Dino had gotten back on his feet with help from Romario, who had seen his boss fall hard on his back. His eyes had been on a steady squint, leaving his tilted brows the only show of distress. Dino stalked the foyer of the sushi shop, garnering a few poking glances from the young guardians of the Vongola. He waved at them casually, brushing off any sign of worry. "This happens all the time. I do trip on my feet often," he added, unabashed.
Polvera exchanged glances with her mentor, only to excuse herself to join Chrome in the lone corner of the room.
"Ah, Dino-san!" Tsuna cheekily greeted. He had just finished brushing off the dirt from the unwanted face-off with the floor, leaving his cheek obvious stripes of red from the wooden floor. He was slightly trembling, for Reborn had decided to snugly fit himself into his now bedraggled hair. "I'm sorry about what happened with Polvere-chan. I tried stopping Reborn but-," he shrieked at the sight of a green mass slowly molding itself into a gun, or worse, a mallet.
"One more word Dame-Tsuna and you'll get it," Reborn said tersely as he nonchalantly placed his index finger on the gun's trigger.
Over the thorough phone conversation earlier, Bono informed him of a rival famiglia's insurrection, an event involving blood and tears swelling and tipping over tired eyes during the whole fiasco. The casualties had been reduced to a minimum, given that the Cavallone currently held the upper-hand, if only for a limited time. The situation would only regress, making both sides lose unnecessary manpower and resources. Soon was apt time to initiate negotiations or wage a full-blown war.
Dino gulped, making beads of newly surfaced sweat travel smoothly down the length of his neck. "Reborn, could I leave Polvere in your hands for a while?"
The hit man's rounded eyes narrowed to that of a hawk's. "Urgent matters?"
"Quite." Dino sensed Tsuna's worry and anxiety as the brunette's complexion paled. Dino laughed it off and placed an affectionate hand over his little brother's shoulder. "Sorry Tsuna but my family needs me," he added, his tone and visage both melancholy. I would surely miss Mama*'s home-cooked meals, he thought dejectedly. "I will come and visit as soon as I can."
To be continued. Reviews are mostly loved.
Mama - referring to Tsuna's mom
Announcement: I'm thinking of updating weekly or depending on how many reviews I get. More reviews = more drive to actually write. So basically, the more reviews I get, the faster the updates will be.