PLEASE READ EDIT: Just to clarify, this story is NOT ROMANTICALLY CENTERED. There seems to be a dispute amongst my reviewers about this, so I'm going to clarify it here. Yes, there will be straight pairing hints, and there will also be boy love pairing hints. But that's all they will be: just hints. I'm not going to toss in any kiss scenes or actual romantic scenes that stem beyond an innocent almost-date-hangout. I'm sorry if that's not what you guys want, but I'm not a romance writer: I wrote this story for the angst, tragedy, and action. Disregard any later Author's Notes about the pairings because they will ONLY be hints. If you want romance, I'm sorry, but there will be close to none in this fic. I do hope you enjoy it nonetheless.

Oh haha, oops! I ended up writing a new story, but the idea came in my head, and I just couldn't let it go. I know I'm supposed to work on my Pokemon fanfic, but I'm lacking serious inspiration for it. So I need some time on other stuff. I'm going through a huge fangasm over KHR right now, and I wanted to write…a darker story for it. There's violence, angst, depression, hurt/comfort, romance…the sorts. Just note this story will have a darker tone to it, at least at first. It's mostly a hurt and comfort story. Probably not much humor until it picks up, since most of the characters will be pretty harsh or depressed. Not Ryohei though. We all know that guy is an infinite ball of sunshine. Hah!

Name's Alexie, for those of you who don't know me. (Which I'm guessing you don't.)

As a result, OOC may occur at first, but I promise the characters will become more like themselves as I get the initial bits of the story development done.

Please read and review!

Summary: It is a miracle that Tsunayoshi Sawada is able to cope with a dysfunctional family, a lousy social life and constant bullying without giving into his suicidal depression. But when he meets a strange baby claiming to be a renowned hitman, he is offered a chance to make something of himself. This story will contain both yaoi and straight pairings.

Warnings: Minimal violence, depression

Disclaimer: KHR is too amazing to belong to me.


Chapter 1: They Called Him Dame-Tsuna


A small click snapped, and the front door of the Sawada household groaned open. A cool and stale draft rushed out the door. The young, brunette occupant of the house shuffled in, closing the door quietly behind him. He was greeted with darkness, and after fumbling for the switch, the feeble yellowing lights of the hallway flickered on.

Dull caramel eyes scanned the hallways, although the dark house was already indication that Nana Sawada was not home yet. She probably was working overtime tonight as well, as with every night of the work week. Her son was accustomed to coming home to a silent and lonely house.

Sighing, the brunet shuffled upstairs, tripping on the last step, adding another bruise to his battered body. With a wince, he pushed himself back onto his feet, stumbling to the bathroom. He clumsily flicked the lights on, greeting his reflection in the mirror.

Tsunayoshi Sawada stared back at the battered, bruised and bloodied boy in front of him. It was an image he was all too familiar with. A messy patch of brown hair framed a skinny and gaunt face. Although the brunet was just in his mid teens, he already felt like an old man, if the dark bags under his eyes were any indication. Dulled puddles of caramel were what he called eyes, which stared hollowly back at him. His lips were cracked, bleeding in some parts.

His shaking hand gingerly brushed against one of the small scrapes along his cheek, and the familiar sting of pain followed. Tsunayoshi reached for the mirror cabinet, opening it to a shelf filled with medicines and first aid tools. He reached mindlessly for the Tylenol, popping off the cap and taking one of the small pills out. He swallowed it dry, feeling the sickly bulge of his throat as the medicine went down. He moved to recap the little plastic bottle, but stopped. Staring at the pills, Tsunayoshi felt himself detach from the world momentarily. How easy it would be to just consume another, and another, and another...and end all the pain, the suffering, the sadness. He turned the bottle over, pouring a mass of Tylenol into his quivering palm. He reached for another, holding it up to his mouth, readying to pop it into his mouth. At that moment, his cellphone rang.

In his shock, he dropped all the pills, heart pounding in his chest. He blinked, retrieving a battered phone from his wrinkled pants pocket. His fumbling fingers flipped the phone open, and Tsunayoshi held it to his ear, almost as if it were a lifeline.

"Hello?"

"Tsu-kun?"

The familiar and comforting voice immediately began to soothe his nerves. "Hey Mom..."

Silence followed for a moment. Tsunayoshi knew his mother heard the fatigue, the pain, the defeat in his voice. He also knew she would not comment on it. "I'll be coming home earlier tonight. Is there something you'd like me to pick up for dinner on the way back?"

Tsunayoshi really missed his mother's cooking. He could not ask her to, as she always came home so exhausted, and cooking was just adding to her chores, much as she loved the hobby. "Anything is fine. Whatever is easier for you," he replied dully. He could almost feel his mother nod on the other end as she replied, "Okie-doke! Be back in two hours then! I love you, Tsu-kun." Her voice had softened at the end, sounding like it was accompanied by a smile. Knowing Nana, she probably was smiling, as she always found a reason to stay happy.

"Love you too, Mom," Tsunayoshi choked. "By-See you later," he amended, hanging up. He shoved the phone back into his pocket before bending down and picking up the scattered pills. He dumped them back into plastic container, sealing it off again. Reopening the cabinet, the brunet stashed the pills back into their spot, grabbing his mother's makeup bag and a box of bandaids instead. The teenager turned on the shower faucet, allowing it to run as he undressed. Once the water was warm enough, he stepped in, allowing his sore muscles and open wounds to be washed over by the steaming liquid. He hissed at the initial pain, but soon fell into the soothing feeling of the cycle of water raining upon him.

His mother had taken care of him for fourteen years, always trying her best to support the two person household. She worked two jobs, and aside from her daily phone calls, Tsunayoshi barely got to see her. He catches a glimpse of her in the morning when she dutifully wakes up her oversleeping son for school, and perhaps hear her return at late hours at night. Actually having a meal with his mother was a rare treat that happened, on average, once a week on Sunday when neither son nor mother had work or school. It was obvious how hard it was for Nana Sawada to raise her son herself; her husband was rarely around, and Tsunayoshi hated him for it. That good-for-nothing father only showed his sorry ass every few years or so, as he worked overseas for some oil company. Or so he claims. The slob barely pays for child support. He did not even call for holidays or birthdays, not even send gifts or some indication of his existence. Whenever Tsunayoshi saw his father, it was always just for a few days, and the man was almost always passed out from drinking too much sake. Once, his grandfather came along, and while the visit was very pleasant, Tsuna was suspicious as to how his father found time to go get his grandfather before coming back to Namimori. His father was an embarrassment and burden, and the brunet could not understand why his mother still bound herself to him. The teenager was ashamed to have his genetics in him; those genes were probably the reason why Tsunayoshi was a helpless failure.

Every bit of his nickname "Dame-Tsuna" made sense to him. The brunet kept a consistent average score of 10% on all of his assignments and tests, had two left feet, stuttered when he talked, had the athletic ability of a snail and the body of a thin, dying tree. There was no one he could consider a friend, or even an acquaintance really. The only person he had any association with was his mother. He was hopelessly in love with his class's idol, Kyoko Sasagawa, who had spoken to him but once when she thanked him for picking up her pencil for her. She was perhaps the only reason he had yet to drop out of school; to see that smile or hear that laugh of hers brought a little joy to his pitiful existence each day. He was withdrawn, weak, cowardly, and dull. There was nothing he could claim to fame except for the beatings he received from school bullies every day without fail. The brunet was beginning to wonder if maybe his bruises were permanent.

Pondering his pathetic self, Tsunayoshi cleansed himself, cleaning his wounds gently as he went. He turned off the water, running a towel through his impossibly messy mass of caramel locks. No matter how much he tried, his hair would alway spike up. He looked at his complexion in the mirror again.

"I can't do that to Mom...I can't be the one to destroy her smile..." Tsunayoshi murmured to himself. Committing suicide would destroy Nana Sawada, who clearly cared for her son at insane levels. He dressed his wounds, opening up the makeup bag and pulling out the concealer. He might be the only boy in school who knew how to apply makeup, and this depressed him. But it was vital. Within minutes, he had hid the major bruises on his face quite well. At least he did not have a black eye this time. That took more effort to conceal.

Satisfied, he wrapped a towel around his waist, limping to his room. He tossed on a pair of boxer shorts and a set of pajamas, collapsing onto his bed. Why bother with homework? He would not understand any of it anyways. Class time was for sleeping away the restless nights of nightmares and crying. Nothing coming out of the teacher's mouth made sense to him, and they had given up offering the brunet any kind of help.

He had not realized that he had fallen asleep until he felt a gentle hand shaking him out of a dark world of sleep.

"Tsu-kun, Tsu-kun! Wake up, I have dinner!"

Tsunayoshi opened his eyes to the bright smile that kept him chained to this world. He could not help but return one, feeble and sleepy as it was. It was the least he could do for his strong-willed mother. Sitting up, the brunet was careful not to wipe off the concealer as he rubbed his tired eyes. He stumbled to his feet, trying not to show his limp. His mother smiled again, gesturing him downstairs. Tsunayoshi was hard pressed not to trip and fall, and managed to get to the dinner table without a hitch. He sat down to Chinese take out boxes. His mother knew that he enjoyed Chinese food whenever they had a chance, and the teenager thanked her silently in his head.

Nana Sawada studied her son. The occasion "family" dinner gave her a chance to talk to her son. What could she say? How was school? Would you like to invite friends over on the weekend? How are your grades? Are those bullies still bothering you?

But she knew the answers to all them. And they never failed to yank at her heart strings a little, whether he chose to lie or not. She could see the depressed look in his eyes, the bruises under the heavy layer of concealer, the new bandages that appeared on his skin each day, and the failing test scores he always tried to hide. She even saw his phone contacts list once, and the only numbers he had listed were hers and the school nurse's. Of course she had tried to help him, but her son always brushed it off with that fake, pained smile of his, insisting he was fine and that she should worry about her own work and stress.

It really hurt her to see him like this. So she did little things here and there, like ordering his favorite food, leaving him a chocolate on the counter before going to work or taking him out to someplace fun on their rare escapades. Work got in the way of her caring for her son, but she could not give him the basic necessities of life without it. She just wished she could show her love to him more too.

"How's the food?" she chirped, deciding on a topic that she could get a response out of.

Biting into some orange chicken, Tsuna smiled, "It's good. Really good. Thanks." It would taste better if you made it, he wanted to say, but there was no way he would ever force it from his mouth. Nana beamed, seeing her son smile. Timidly, she tested the waters. "How's your wound? What happened?" she asked, pointing at the bandage on his cheek.

Tsunayoshi stopped chewing. He ran through the list of excuses he had compiled over the years. He just used tripping over a crack last time, and a nasty run in with the neighbor's vicious chihuahua(or at least he saw as vicious) the time before.

"I ran into a tree while I was walking. Wasn't looking and I guess one of the branches scraped me."

Nana nodded. She knew he was lying, but she allowed her son to slip by with the pretense. The brunet continued eating as his mother scrutinized him.

"Hey Tsuna..." she started. The teenager, looked up, surprised. His mother never used his shorter name unless she had something important to say. "Are you sure you're ok?"

Thoughts about his earlier attempt at suicide flashed through his mind. " O-of course," he stuttered. Nana frowned, and Tsuna's expression dropped as well. He wanted that smile back. "It's fine Mom. I manage, right? Please, just take care of yourself. You're always working so hard. That's all I really need. Thank you," he flashed her what he hoped was a reassuring smile.

It was not.

"If you'd like, I can call in sick for you tomorrow and you can rest for the day. Tomorrow is Saturday, so you can have that and Sunday off from school. How about it?" Nana smiled sweetly.[1] Tsuna blinked, considering it. The last time he took a day off from school because of a particularly bad "accident," the bullies had hit twice as hard the day he returned. Slowly, he shook his head, the corners of his mouth managing to tweak up just the slightest bit. "No. It's fine. I'll go to school tomorrow. We can do something on Sunday, eh?" he asked, eyes slightly hopeful.

"Of course, of course! How about a picnic? I heard the weather this weekend would be really nice. I'll cook us something to eat and we can just enjoy a nice day outside, alright?" prattled the bright mother eagerly, and her enthusiasm proved to be contagious. Tsuna cracked a true smile, nodding with energy. "That sounds…really really good. Thanks Mom. Can we really?"

"Of course!" she laughed, tenderly continuing, "Anything for my Tsu-kun," she tilted her head to the side, smiling thoughtfully at him. "Take care of yourself ok? I'm sorry…I can't be around to help you mo-"

"You're already doing more than enough," croaked the brunet, stopping his mother's guilty rambling in its tracks. "Don't worry. I'll be fine." It seemed like a mantra by now, to reassure his mother of his false happiness. Really, who did he think he was fooling? He knew his mother was not buying into his lies, yet she accepted them unconditionally. It hurt him too.

Nana pursed her lips, somehow curving the corners up into her bright smile again. Oh how Tsuna loved seeing that smile. They ate the rest of their dinner in relative silence, bits of idle chatter picking up every so often.

Helping his mother with the dishes felt good, even if Tsuna's muscles and bruises were protesting, begging his body to sleep. There really was no point, as they would hurt tenfold the next day. Deciding to rise earlier to ice down his wounds, the teenager toddled off to the bed, setting the alarm to ring early, even if it always failed in its duty to wake him up.

So it was no wonder that Tsuna rushed off to school the next day, late and in pain.

He grabbed his daily piece of chocolate from the counter, noting that it had a caramel center today, as well as a piece of toasted bread that he had slathered butter onto hurriedly. His mom left a note saying she would be working until midnight today, and left him money to pick up some dinner.

The teenager arrived late, as usual. The teachers have long since gave up on yelling at the tardy student, and ignored him as he shuffled sheepishly into the classroom each day, uniform disheveled. Tsuna ignored the judgmental, leering eyes of his classmates as he made his way over to the conspicuous seat in the middle of the room. He glanced at Kyoko in the corner of his eye, catching her smile as she listened to the teacher's instructions. A warmth rushed through him as he sat down, but in his flustered haste, he managed to spill the contents of his book bag all over the ground. The teacher did not even bother turning around, as they occurrence happened quite frequently. Face flushed red, Tsuna bent down to retrieve his items while his classmates giggled behind their hands, the ones nearby deliberately kicking his possessions further away.

Shoulders drooping, Tsuna crawled to retrieved the abused items, earning himself some trodden-on fingers. He made no sound, and quickly slipped back into his seat once he had all his things stuffed back into his bag, nursing his fingers. He slumped in his seat, zoning out of the teacher's lesson.

He felt a gentle prodding on his arm, and ignored it, brushing it off as common harassment. When it persisted, he turned around with a small sigh and came face to face with…

Kyoko.

Red blossomed across his face, thankfully covered by the concealer, and the auburn female flashed a charming smile, holding up a pen sheepishly. "This is yours right?" she whispered, trying not to disturb the lesson.

Tsuna blinked. And blinked again. Was he dreaming? Was Kyoko talking to him? Forget that, was she HELPING him?

He found his head nodding involuntarily, and he reached up to take the pen, his fingers brushing against hers momentarily. His face grew more flushed, and he was hoping the concealer managed to hide the blush that heated up his face, as it felt strong enough to burst through. "T-th-thanks…" he muttered, head looking down shyly.

Kyoko giggled, "You're welcome, Sawada-kun."

Oh my god. She said his name.

Tsuna feared he was about to pass out; he was glad he had decided to come to school today after all. He sat through the rest of the lesson in a daze, only gazing at the pen that Kyoko had graced her touch on. He was completely oblivious to the pair of dark, leering eyes just a few seats back.

Until lunch.

The school bell rang, releasing the students from their classes for a long awaited lunch. They were glad to meet with friends in other classes to mingle and chat as they eat their lunches. Tsuna did not care for lunch. He stayed in his seat, laid his head down, and tried to catch some sleep. He always woke up too late to make a lunch, and asking his mother for lunch was out of the question. He fished the caramel chocolate out of his pocket, unwrapping it forlornly. He bit into it, gazing at the gooey center as he relished the taste. His eyes matched the sweet caramel in color, but Tsuna was jealous of it, silly as it was. He felt caramel looked warm and happy; he just looked like a pathetic mess.

He had just stuffed the rest of the chocolate into his mouth when his head was jostled by someone slamming their fist into his table. He sat up immediately, nervous anticipation shooting down his spine. Bullies never bothered him at lunch. Maybe today was a bad day afterall?

"Oi. Dame-Tsuna."

Tsuna traced muscled arms up to the face of their owner. He cringed slightly as he met the dark furious eyes of Kensuke Mochida, an older boy in his class.[2] His test scores were almost as low as Tsuna's, which resulted in him repeating his classes. Despite that, being known as the captain of the Namimori Middle School's kendo club gave Mochida the respect and fear of the student body for his prowess and influence.

It was also a known fact that he had his eyes set on Kyoko Sasagawa.

"What was shit like you talking to Kyoko for?" he sneered, causing Tsuna to flinch.

"Sh-she was j-just give…helping me. M-my pen…"

"She's way out of your league. It was pathetic watching you talk to her. Like complete trash," Mochida interrupted, and Tsuna closed his mouth fearfully. The kendoka cracked his fists in an apparent show of intimidation, and smirked, "Stay away from her if you know what's good for you. Not that you'll ever stand a chance with anyone, Dame-Tsuna."

Tsuna winced several times as Mochida stabbed him with his derogatory spiel, particularly at his cursed nickname. He hated that name so much, as begrudgingly true as it was. He gave a smal, timidl nod, and satisfied, the older teen stalked away, giving high-fives to some of his friends.

Shaking, Tsuna laid his head down again, squeezing his eyes shut. Suddenly, any ecstasy he felt earlier was gone, replaced by fatigue and loneliness. No, today was definitely not a good day. He was ready for school to end, so he can attempt (and fail) to sneak past the bullies and get home unharmed. Maybe he could try a different route out of school, or maybe if he stayed around later, he could avoid them. Yeah, that sounded like a good plan.

When the school bell rang, Tsuna made his way to the bathroom, locking himself inside one of the stalls, pulling his feet up onto the toliet seat. He could not go to the library for fear of scorn, and wandering aimlessly around the halls after hours was just inviting the school's infamous prefect, Kyouya Hibari, to "bite him to death." Tsuna never did understand why the raven-haired delinquent constantly threatened his prey with that phrase. As far as he knew, Hibari never actually bit anyone, but the beating he delivered with his steel tonfas were harsh enough to hospitalize someone. In fact, people HAVE been hospitalize by said harassment.

He stared at the bathroom door, rereading the vandalism scrawled in pen across the plastic stall. Swear words were a common appearance, and some boys had taken to drawing crude pictures. How they got away with that while Hibari was around was beyond him. Then again, it never struck Tsuna for Hibari to be willing to walk into the stinky washroom. Much to Tsuna's displeasure, some of the scribbled comments were about him. Some were just typical rude comments, but some remarked on his blunders of the day.

/hahaha! Dame-Tsuna got a 2 on his Jap test! Rofl what fail/

/funniest shit. D-T tripped over a basketball today in gym/

/the time he smacked his head on the teacher's desk was funnier/

About a third of the comments were about him, and that was rather disheartening. Still, he sat there, glancing at his phone occasionally to check the time. Deciding that an hour was good enough, the brunet timidly emerged from his stall when he was sure no one else was around. He rushed to the door, opening it to get out of the school. Good, maybe the bullies were gon-

"Hey hey hey! It's Dame-Tsuna! We were wondering where you were!"

Freezing in his steps proved to be foolish as his arms were immediately grabbed, and Tsuna felt himself being hauled back into the bathroom. He gasped when he was slammed against the wall, and the face of the leader of the bullies was all he saw, a malicious grin plastered across it. "So you were hiding in the bathroom all this time? Were you crying like a little girl? Cute," he cackled, earning a frightened shake of Tsuna's head. Two beady brown eyes bore into the terrified brunet, and the bully cracked his lips into snide grin.

"You know, I'm kinda glad you were in here. There's something I've been meaning to try on you…"

A few minutes later, the bullies emerged from the bathroom, howling with laughter at their latest job. Tsuna would not come out for another half hour, shivering and crying in the corner, drenched in filthy toliet water. He vowed never to try staying after school. Ever. Again.

His concealer had come off, and after feverishly throwing water onto his head to at least feel a bit cleaner, he wiped off the makeup, staring at the ugly bruises on his face, in addition to the new black eye he was sporting. The bandage had came off, and blood was trickling from the scrape again, and old scabs had reopened. The eyes staring back at him in the mirror were hollow and lifeless, and the Tylenol pills flashed back across his mind.

"No no!" he yelled, teeth chattering. Tsuna gripped the edges of the porcelain sink tightly with his shivering hands to the point that his knuckles turned white. "M-mom…said we w-were going to have a p-picnic tomorrow. Y-yea…tomorrow will be better. I'll s-see…" Tears began to fall again, and the brunet hastily wiped them, but they kept spilling. Giving up, he just walked out of the bathroom as the mess he was. Pitiful. Pathetic. Typical Dame-Tsuna. He did not care, as no one was going to help him either way. More like they would gawk at him, or laugh. Pills again. Picnic. Pills. Picnic. The two options flashed through his mind to the point that Tsuna thought he was going insane.

With a shuffled limp, Tsuna slowly made his way home, trying to contain the hiccups. Salty tears pricked at his wounds, but the pain was insignificant to him at the moment. His lungs burned; he must have inhaled some water while he was forced into the toliet bowl. Ignoring staring passersby, he continued on his way, bitterly laughing in his head how no one seemed to want to help him. That was to be expected.

A sharp and familiar voice broke him out of his thoughts. "What's that, you brat?" He jumped, eyes widening in terror when he thought the voice was directed at him. His eyes scanned his surroundings until he saw his tormentors in a nearby alley. He was relieved to see that they had not noticed him, and was about to make a run for it when he noticed someone within their predatory circle.

A small boy, looking no older than a day past two, was peering up at the bullies with innocent-looking black eyes. For a baby, he was dressed in really strange attire; he donned a crisp black suit with an orange dress shirt and black tie. A stylish orange-rimmed fedora hat topped his head, covering everything by a few spikes of black hair and two strange curly sideburns. Hanging from his chest was clear, delicate-looking yellow pacifier, and the baby held an unusual green gun in his hand.

"You heard me. You're all in my way," the baby piped up, gazing at the gang with glinting onyx eyes, his voice unbelievably squeaky and nasally.

"Are you asking for a death wish or something, shitty baby?" the leader spat, cracking his knuckles. Tsuna watched on in mute horror and wanted to run away. Right now. If he stayed, he would be caught up in another beating. He did not know if he could handle another torturous experience today.

The baby only smiled, tipping his fedora up with his gun. "I believe that should be directed at you."

The gang's expressions were of pure anger and malice, and one of the bullies raised his foot to kick the baby. "You're asking for it, you little dick!"

/Run, run, run!/ Tsuna screamed at himself, finally willing his feet to move. But they were not running away from the group.

They were headed towards the baby and his attackers.

What in hell's name WAS he doing?

"S-stop!" Tsuna cried out, grabbing the jacket of the bully who was poised to kick. The teen stumbled back, losing his footing, and crashed into Tsuna. The brunet yelped at his agitated wounds, and staggered back. He gulped, noticing all eyes were on him.

"What the hell is this? Are you stupid or something, Dame-Tsuna?" the leader laughed, sending chills up Tsuna's back. He began to shake again, eyes only trained on the gang, not noticing the surprised look in the baby's watching eyes. "Did you not have enough fun with us already? Man, you're one messed up kid."

Tsuna took a step back, suddenly regretting his decision. "Guess we can add you into the pile. We'll kick the shit out of you, along with this cheeky brat."

At this, the brunet, flinched, but managed to stutter, "L-leave him a-alone…he…he's just a kid!" Why in the world was he defending a kid? Why would be risk…no, ENSURE another beating to save a random brat who was provoking the gang by his own will? Screw that freeble compassion of his. At the moment, Tsuna only felt terror, and nothing but. Before he knew it, he was grabbed by his lapel, and pulled into the foreboding alley. He was slammed into a wall again, and began to cough violently from the force this time.

"Dame-Tsuna, what did you think you could do? Hah, scum like you don't even understand your place! You're weak, pathetic, and the biggest loser in the whole town of Namimori. Watching you is just amusing." The gang leader raised a fist, grinning, "But I think giving you another black eye would probably be even funnier. You'll look just like a stupid panda! A weak, spineless, and pathetic herbivore."[3]

Tsuna glanced down at the kid, and the baby blinked when he saw all the emotions in the brunet's dulling caramel eyes. Pain. Resentfulness. Terror. Fatigue. Sorrow.

Relief. Relief that he had saved a kid for the time being, whether the kid deserved it not. Relief that he managed to do something right.

And the baby smiled. Maybe his search was over faster than he thought. He cocked his gun in one fluid motion, aiming up at Tsuna. The brunet's eyes widened, and betrayal flashed across through those muddled emotions. A deafening bang pierced through the air as a bullet lodged itself into Tsuna's forehead, a spray of blood splashing onto the bullie's face. He screamed, recoiling as his prey's limp body crashed into the floor. His cronies were stammering in shock, and one managed to finally form a coherent sentence. "T-the brat! Shot Dame-Tsuna! Is he-?"

The leader fell to the ground, whimpering in terror as he stared at Tsuna's lifeless body. The baby only smirked at the immobilized bullies, his only interest in the boy he had shot in front of him.

Pain. Then nothing. Nothing but darkness and sweet, numb oblivion. Tsuna felt his body disappear, only his mind remaining. This was what he had been waiting for. Death. Peaceful, painless death, to at last be free of all his problems and that horrible existence he called his life. He was happy. Happy to finally be free.

Yet…

Regret.

There was regret in his heart. Small, but it was there.

/I wish I could have gone to that picnic with Mom…she promised to cook. To finally cook…and we were supposed to have a good time. Just the two of us. I regret not having that chance to do that with her again./

It seemed to open up the floodgates. Regret after regret poured into his mind, and Tsuna became overwhelmed by just how much he would miss if he was gone.

/I regret not having a person I can call my friend./

/I regret not having spoken to Kyoko, and not having confessed to her./

/I regret that dying would cause my mother a lot of pain, and that she would be the only one who would care if I lived or not./

/I regret that I would be the one to destroy that beautiful smile on Mom's face./

/I regret that all her hard work would have gone to waste, and I would have left her alone without our useless father./

/I regret not having given my father a piece of my mind about leaving me and Mom alone all the time./

/I regret not standing up to those bullies. For myself. For others./

/I regret not being a good student in school, and being disappointing to Mom./

/I regret being me./

/I regret not being able to change things./

"But you can change things," a voice broke through his lamenting. It was the baby. "Dame-Tsuna doesn't have to be Dame-Tsuna. So fight. Fight for yourself with your Dying Will."

At those words, Tsuna's eyes snapped opened, and he gasped. A sudden heat surged through his limbs, concentrating into the bullet wound in his head. Strangely enough, the hole did not hurt, and instead, the wound closed with a flash of orange fire. The flame stayed on his head, and Tsuna found a sudden strength coursing through his body. He had never felt anything like this before! The powerful flame shot through the rest of his body, and the pressure seemed to explode from every pore of his body. Sounds of tearing clothes could be heard, but Tsuna paid no mind. The regrets ran rampant in his mind, and right now, his only concern was fixing them.

He would start with getting back at those bullies.

Said bullies had been reduced to blubbering messes, but the leader spiked up his courage to order his cronies to fight. Before they could even make a move, Tsuna was upon them, grabbing two of them and pushing them against a wall. With the tables turned, the bullies stared fearfully at the half-naked brunet before them, frozen by the piercing fire in the teen's eyes. When Tsuna spoke, it held none of the quiet, withdrawn stuttering they were accustomed to. The sound of his voice was a deafening blare, and they winced at his tirade.

"YOU WILL LEAVE THE ME AND THE KID ALONE FROM NOW ON. GOT IT?" the brunet roared. The bullies screamed, nodding vigorously. Tsuna let them go, and they ran away with their tails between their legs. The others ran for it too, terrified of the fiery-headed boy they had once marked as their prey. All that remained was the leader, who was sneering, albeit nervously. "I'm not afraid of scum like you. Once Dame-Tsuna, always Dame-Tsuna!" he laughed, but it did not sound like he was convinced of his own words. He raised a fist, throwing it recklessly at the brunet's face, but was met with one of Tsuna's small hands. Catching the punch with no effort at all, Tsuna roared, "STOP IT. YOU WILL LEAVE ME ALONE FROM NOW ON."

"Wh-what is that?" the leader growled, trying to throw another punch. Tsuna caught this punch too, face lit with passionate fury. With both fists trapped in his hands, the brunet began to squeeze. Hard. The bully cried out in alarmed pain, trying to retract his fists, but to no avail.

"PROMISE TO LEAVE ME ALONE FROM NOW ON. I WILL NOT STAND FOR ANYMORE OF YOU AND YOUR GANG!" the enraged brunet shouted again. When the leader did not answer, Tsuna continued to squeeze his hands viciously, until they were turning purple. Finally the terrified ex-predator screeched, "F-fine fine fine! I give! Let g-go! I-I'll leave y-you alone!"

Tsuna unclenched his hands, and the leader immediately ran, clutching his hands to his chest. Panting heavily, the teen's eyes began to lose its fire, returning to warm caramel. The fire dissipated into the air, leaving a flawless forehead behind. The pain returned to Tsuna's body, and he yelped, leaning into the brick wall. He finally noticed that his shirt had become torn, and his pants had somehow been ripped from his legs as well. Even his shoes had flown off, and the only thing still giving him some shred of dignity was his cartoon boxer shorts.

Flabbergasted, the brunet gasped, "W-wha just happened?"

"You just used your Dying Will, Dame-Tsuna," piped up a squeaky voice. Said teenager snapped his head down, eyes bulging at the smiling baby before him. Clutching tightly to the brick wall behind him, Tsuna held on to avoid his legs crumbling from shock. "Dy-dying wi-"

"That bullet I just shot you with unleashed your inner Dying Will. Basically, you just fought with all the strength unlocked within you to defend final regrets you may have had when you died," the baby explained, smirking.

Poor Tsuna was having major difficulties taking in the information at the time. He gestured to his clothes, unable to form coherent words.

"Side effects of unleashing your Dying Will, you can say," the baby laughed.

Tsuna's eye twitched, and he took a deep breath, trying to calm down. He could always ask for clarification later. "W-who are you?"

Suavely, the baby tilted his fedora back up with his gun, smiling. The gun glowed in technicolor, and a chameleon took its place, slithering up to the brim of the hat. A lazy smile flashed from its reptilian lips.

"My name is Reborn, and I'm a hitman from the Vongola mafia family in Italy. You can say I'm the greatest hitman in the world right now." Reborn smirked, clearly pleased by the dumbfounded expression on Tsuna's face. "And you, Dame-Tsuna, I have taken an interest to. I have a proposition for you."

Tada! So that's Chapter 1 for you. I hope it was a good read? I originally started this with the pills scene, and was not quite sure where to go from there. But as I wrote, everything just seemed to…click, you know? I was really excited by the end because everything fit together so perfectly. Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this! I'll update with Chapter 2 whenever I get ideas. Most likely, that will be when Gokudera makes his entrance. I'm still thinking about how exactly I want to craft that…hm…


I apologize if this just seems like a rewritten version of KHR. It…kinda is. LOL. But I'll try to make it interesting and different.

[1]From what I remember, some schools in Japan have 6 day weeks, so Saturday is also a school day. Their days are shorter though, I think, and classes start later in the day.

[2]Hm I know Mochida-senpai is supposed to be in a grade higher, but let's just pretend he shares homeroom with Tsuna. Haha.

[3]For panda enthusiasts who may have been offended by my statement, I want to set the record straight that I DO love pandas. But if you actually look at their temperament, they're really weak and lazy creatures. They don't do much other than eat bamboo…really. Pandas are rather pathetic. But they're endangered and adorable, so that's why we love them.

Till next time, please review, so I know if I'm doing something right, or if people are actually interested in seeing this story continue. Story alerts are another way I know people are interested! Thanks guys~!

~Alexie