A/N: The cover art for this story is from part of Il. mio. nome. e. Chrome. Dokuro's wonderful fanart. The link for the full version can be found in Chapter 29. Enjoy the fic.
Chapter 1: The Twins
As he spied on his future student and the boy's brother, Reborn could see why the ninth had chosen the younger of the two twins. Sawada Tamaki had a charisma and strength that his older brother lacked. Reborn gave out a small snort at the thought of having to come and train such a hopeless case. Tsuna was failing at all subjects, while Tamaki kept his grades passable. And Tamaki could excuse his grades with his excellent soccer skills. The older twin, however, didn't have any athletic skill whatsoever and couldn't even jump more than the third level of the vaulting horse. Tamaki was always surrounded by friends, a true sky attracting all. Everyone called the other twin Dame-Tsuna and would have nothing to do with the weak brunette. Sure, if Reborn had had to, he probably could have whipped the hopeless Tsuna into shape, but thankfully his job dealt with training the twin that actually had potential. Although, Reborn corrected in his mind, the older twin might have some potential. After all, they both carried the blood of Vongola Primo. Not that it mattered either way. Reborn had his orders, and he would stick to them regardless.
"Eh? What's a baby doing in our house?" asked Tamaki.
"Maybe he's lost," suggested Tsuna.
"You would definitely know what that looks like, wouldn't you, Dame-Tsuna?"
Tamaki laughed at his own joke while Tsuna gave his younger twin a weak smile. Nana stepped forward and smiled at Reborn.
"Where's your mother, little boy?" she asked sweetly. Anyone who had ever visited Iemitsu's home understood that his rants about his wife were far from exaggerated. She was one of the sweetest people alive. And since he knew she meant nothing but sweet concern with the question, Reborn didn't take offence.
"I'm Reborn, the home tutor."
"The home tutor!" Tamaki said about to burst out laughing. "Wow, Dame-Tsuna, this tutor is perfect for you!"
"I-I d-don't think i-it's right to laugh at him, Tamaki-san," said Tsuna as his brother laughed loudly. The smaller brunette (how could they be identical twins if he appeared so much smaller?) flicked worried eyes to Reborn. Either years of being bullied had enhanced the weakling's instincts for danger or the pathetic brunette was worried about Reborn's feelings. Probably the latter, in which case, he shouldn't have bothered. Reborn took care of any insults against him personally.
"So you're Sawada Tamaki then?" said Reborn, his eyes twinkling dangerously.
"Hai, hai. But the one you should be focusing on is Dame-Tsuna, he is the one that needs all the help he could get, even from a baby!"
Using a hundredth of his strength, Reborn kicked the laughing brat in the gut. The offensive laughter stopped immediately, and his student fainted from the pain. The brat wasn't as strong as Reborn had originally thought.
"Where's his room?" asked Reborn, directing the question at Nana.
"Um, up the stairs. The first door on the left," she answered, little effected by the fact a baby had knocked out her youngest son. Actually, Reborn could almost see relief and approval in her eyes, but the emotions flickered through her eyes too quickly. "Tsu-kun, help Reborn carry Tamaki upstairs."
"O-okay," said Tsuna, or rather squeaked. His wide, fearful eyes were glued on Reborn. He cautiously picked up his twin with much struggle and dragged the unconscious brat up the stairs. Somehow, the weakling got his twin all the way up the stairs and into the brat's room despite tripping four times on the stairs. The weakling was completely winded. However, he had yet to take his eyes off Reborn.
"D-do you need s-something else, R-Reborn-san?"
"No," he said. The weakling puzzled him. The brunette sat there shaking next to his unconscious brother. The weakling's brown eyes radiated fear, but he still hadn't left the room. Wait. He was not seated next to his brother, but rather the slightest bit in front of him. So the weakling had remained in the room as a buffer for his brother from Reborn. Interesting. For now Reborn would let the weakling stay. Both of them should know of their heritage anyway.
"U-ugh, what'd I get hit by?" murmured Tamaki, slowly rising to consciousness. His half-lidded eyes landed on Reborn. The hitman vaguely realized that Tamaki's brown eyes were less clear than the weakling's. Grunting, the brat stood up and took a swing at Reborn.
"I won't forgive you just because you're a baby!" yelled the brat.
"No, wait!" cried the weakling, but too late. Reborn had already grabbed the brat by the necktie and pounded the brat into the ground twice for emphasis.
"I have no openings. My true line of work is assassination," said Reborn. "My real job is to train you to be a mafia boss. But it'll be hard with such a spoiled brat."
"Eh? Mafia boss!" screeched the weakling.
"Who's the spoiled brat, baby?" demanded Tamaki in a groan of pain. "And why are you listening to that toddler, Dame-Tuna? He was obviously dropped on his head too many times."
Reborn took out one of his guns and hit Tamaki on the head with it.
"Would you like me to hit you again many times?" asked Reborn sweetly.
"Ugh! Get the psycho baby out of my room, Dame-Tsuna!"
"B-but h-he's got a g-gun!"
"It's obviously fake. Get him out, Dame-Tsuna, or do you want me to tell Kensuke about where you hide out for lunch?"
"This is not a fake," said Reborn, cutting the squabbling short. He aimed his gun at Tamaki's head. "Would you like me to shoot you to prove it?"
"Too many people would miss me if I was gone," said Tamaki confidently. The brat had hurried to hide behind his brother. "You can shoot Dame-Tsuna though. No one would miss him but Okaa-san, and I would be enough to comfort her. She only needs me after all."
The weakling said nothing to this comment, though Reborn had a good view of the shadowed expression that came over the older twin's face.
"Hm, maybe later," he said, placing the stock back against his shoulder. "I was assigned by the Vongola 9th to come to Japan and train Tamaki to be a mafia boss. The 9th boss is getting old and planning to pass on the boss status to the 10th generation."
"I-isn't t-there someone else, someone i-in the m-mafia m-more q-qualified t-to be b-boss?" asked the weakling. The shaking had subsided to fidgeting, and he made no move to stop shielding his twin.
"Stop playing along with him!" yelled the brat.
"Yes, but the most qualified, Enrico, was shot in a feud," answered Reborn pulling out a picture of the man's execution. Best to start desensitizing them now. "The young number 2 was drowned." The second picture made the weakling's face turn from pale to green. Tamaki didn't even flinch. "The favorite child, Fredrico, was reduced to bone."
"Stop showing them!" yelled the weakling, completely turned away from the pictures.
"You're such a wimp, Dame-Tsuna," said the brat. "So what, now I'm supposed to be the only valid heir left? Nice try, kid, but I don't have any connections to the mafia."
Reborn smirked. He brought out the Vongola family tree. "The Vongola's 1st boss retired to Japan. You're his great great great grandkids, and so in the Vongola bloodline and legitimate boss candidates."
"That's pretty elaborate for a toddler," said the brat, squinting at the paper in interest but not coming the least bit closer. "But I still don't believe you. If you were telling the truth, then both me and Dame-Tsuna would be boss candidates. And really, Dame-Tsuna couldn't be the heir to anything like that. He's too much of a wimp."
"And you're too much of a spoiled brat," said Reborn, fighting the urge to hit the brat again. He shouldn't damage his student too much, or else there wouldn't be anything left to train.
"What'd you say!" growled Tamaki, almost taking a step toward Reborn. He thought better of it though.
"R-Reborn-san, T-Tamaki-san is r-right. I-I can't b-be a mafia boss."
"And you won't be," said Reborn, making the meaning very clear. No student would ever die on his watch, and Tsuna had not been chosen. "I'm here to train the spoiled brat, not you."
"I already told you, toddler," said Tamaki, his teeth grit in anger. "I am not a spoiled brat, and I don't want to be called that by a baby!"
"W-will y-you hurt Tamaki-san, Reborn-san?" asked the weakling, and Reborn realized that the fidgety brunette had yet to move his gaze away from the infant.
"No more than necessary," said Reborn truthfully. He somehow doubted the brunette would believe a lie.
"A-alright," the weakling said as he stood.
"Hey! Where do you think you're going?" demanded Tamaki. "Come back here!"
"I-I t-think Reborn-san w-wants t-to t-talk to you a-alone, Tamaki-san," said the weakling. He threw a small shy smile and a quiet comment over his shoulder as he exited the room. "You'll be fine, Tamaki-san."
Reborn nearly blinked in surprise. An utter calmness seemed to fill the room before the older twin disappeared down the hall, leaving the younger one calling out and commanding him to return. Letting the moment slide, Reborn turned his full attention on his student. Time to teach the brat some respect.
"Oh, Tsu-kun, did Tamaki wake up from his sudden nap?" asked Nana.
"N-nap? U-um, y-yes?" said Tsuna weakly. Only his mother would think that a baby knocking out his twin was really his twin taking a "sudden nap." Tsuna tried to return the smile she gave him as she returned to her cooking, but his heart wasn't in it. Really, being overlooked to be a mafia boss shouldn't bother him. Tsuna didn't want to be involved in the mafia anyway, but...but…Tsuna sighed.
"Tsu-kun, come here. I need some help from my very best helper," said Nana. Tsuna's smile became truer as he went over to help his mother.
Any jealousy Tsuna might have had quickly died the first time his twin ran out in nothing but a pair of boxers. Tsuna tried extra hard to not make any allusion to the display, but Tamaki still took offense and as usual sent Mochida-sempai to teach Tsuna a lesson in humility and remembering one's place. As always, the whole school seemed to forgive Tamaki his social trespass but mocked Tsuna endlessly when he was found hung from the school roof fence wearing only his boxers. And also as always, Tsuna merely shrugged off their taunts and headed for home early. Or at least he tried.
"Where are you going, young man?"
"R-Reborn-san," said Tsuna startled. The infant hitman or tutor or whatever he was had appeared suddenly from nowhere in an old man costume. "W-what're y-you d-doing here?"
"Observing my student," said Reborn. Black eyes raked over Tsuna's form. "Where are you going?"
"Home," said Tsuna, trying to move around the strange toddler.
"The school day isn't over yet. Good boys and girls should stay in school."
"S-shouldn't y-you be in s-school then?"
"I'm a mafia hitman. I don't need to go to school."
Not knowing how to answer such a claim (especially when part of him knew it was true) Tsuna said nothing and tried again to move around the toddler. Reborn hadn't moved but Tsuna couldn't seem to pass him.
"A mafia boss cannot be held down by a useless family member," said Reborn. He pointed a gun at Tsuna's head. Having seen the effects of the bullets in the barrel, Tsuna wisely stood still. If Reborn shot, the best case scenario involved Tsuna dying. "Go back to school or I'll shoot you."
"D-don't s-shoot, p-please, R-Reborn-san," said Tsuna frantically, "b-but I-I can't g-go b-back t-to school. A-and i-it w-wouldn't matter if I d-did anyway."
"Huh?" Tsuna was surprised by the question. No one had ever asked him why before. They had just told him to march back to the school and put effort into actually learning something. "U-um, I-I…I-I d-don't u-understand a-anything."
"Then find a tutor then," said Reborn flatly. "You'll never understand anything if you don't try with your Dying Will."
The last two words froze Tsuna in his place. He had overheard the whole explanation for the bullets that had been shot at his brother. He understood the threat imbedded in those words. There were things that were just not a good idea to do twice in a day, and being clothed only in your underwear was one of them.
"HIEEEE! I'll d-do it R-Reborn! Just don't shoot!" yelled Tsuna, half-running, half-stumbling away from the demonic tutor. He was very glad that the toddler was not his tutor.
Fidgeting, Tsuna stared at the board, hoping against hope that the figures scribbled on it would finally make sense so he wouldn't have to do as Reborn asked (read ordered). Nope. They still made no more sense than squiggles. With a sigh, he got up and started towards the only person who he thought might (and that was big MIGHT) tutor him.
"What're you doing here?"
"U-um—I w-was—I-I n-need—"
"Spit it out, Sawada. I have better things to do."
"Please tutor me!" he said in a huge rush. The girl stared at him.
"You want me to tutor you?"
"P-please, K-Kurokawa-san. I-I might d-die otherwise."
"Die? Don't exaggerate," said Kurokawa, "And why should I use my precious free time to tutor you?"
"H-huh? W-well…I-I'll p-pay you?"
"Hm, fine. It's not like I have anything better to do since your brother's made a move on my best friend. The jerk won't let Kyoko out his sight lately."
"Why are you apologizing? It's not your fault. Sit down. Best to get this over with now. The tutoring sessions will be for an hour after school, and you have to do whatever homework I assign, not the teachers. That Nezo doesn't even know what he's doing half the time anyway. Get out a notebook and let's see exactly how bad off you are."
Tsuna obeyed, sitting in the desk next to hers and pulling out a notebook. Hopefully, this would keep Reborn off his back for now. The brunette was convinced that these lessons wouldn't make a difference. Not that anyone had ever tried to help him before.
As the brat finally collapsed in his bad and fell asleep, Reborn popped his bubble and opened his eyes. The brat had gotten on the hitman's last nerve today. He had refused to defend his girlfriend from the kendo captain's advances, using the excuse that the captain was only entertaining himself. At first glance, one would think the captain and the spoiled brat were friends, but Reborn knew that the brat feared the captain and catered to the older boy with no resistance. Reborn had been forced to use the Dying Will bullet without being certain of the result. The brat had overpowered the captain, but not because he regretted letting the older boy touch the Sasagawa girl, but because he regretted letting the other boy boss him around. Reborn did not like cowards, and he liked proud, hypocritical cowards less. God was punishing Reborn for all his wrongdoings by giving him this student. No matter, Reborn would whip the coward right out of the brat. But first, the hitman was going to entertain himself.
Reborn hopped off from his hammock and headed for the room next door. Fortunately for his student, Reborn knew his limits. If the infant hitman entertained himself with this student, his student would cease breathing forever. The temptation would be too strong. Instead, Reborn would make do with his student's brother. At the moment, the pathetic brunette was the less annoying of the two.
As he opened the door, Reborn was surprised to find the light still on. The brat had gone to bed at an ungodly time due to taking advantage of his new position over the kendo captain and partying wherever he could on the captain's dime. Yes, Reborn thought his hands holding one of his many firearms, the brat would need harsher training. One does not motivate subordinates on fear alone. Back to the boy in front of him. Reborn smirked as he noted that the weakling had fallen asleep on his desk, papers strewn in every direction. With a "gentle" kick, the boy woke up.
"Tamaki, no monsters live in the bed tonight. I have to finish this or Kurokawa Reborn will eat me," he mumbled half-awake from where he now lay strewn on the bed. Keeping the surname in mind, Reborn swung his gun in the brunette's general direction. The brown eyes blinked as they looked down the barrel before recognition filled them. The weakling immediately scrambled backwards, falling off the bed and bumping his head in the process. "HIIE! W-what're y-you d-doing h-here, Reborn?"
"I could ask you the same question."
"How! It's my room!" the weakling yelled in a confused panic. Reborn made a show of ignoring him in lieu of glancing over papers. The work was barely upper elementary level, but if Reborn had had to guess, the work was just over the weakling's current level. Apparently, the weakling had a fairly good eye, at least when it came to picking tutors. This one seemed to have experience or good common sense.
"I see you found a tutor," said Reborn. "I am glad that you will not burden the famiglia."
"H-huh? F-famiglia? D-doesn't that m-mean mafia?" asked Tsuna. "I-I thought I w-wasn't going to h-have a-anything t-to do with the mafia."
"You will not be the boss," Reborn explained, "but as the boss's brother you will always be part of the famiglia by extension."
"B-but I-I d-don't want to be p-part of the m-mafia."
"You don't have a choice," said Reborn. Leon crawled onto his hand and shifted into a gun. "Now get back to studying. You got answers 1, 3, 7-12, 16, 19, 21-26, 32, 34-37, 41, 45, 48-52, and 56 wrong. Fix them."
"E-eh! B-but h-how can you t-tell s-so fast?"
"Because I'm the mafia's number one hitman."
The weakling flinched, obviously believing Reborn and hurrying to fix the questions. Reborn smirked. He would definitely go out of his way to check up on this one.
"You definitely did better than I thought," said Hana, looking over the answers. "You only got 7 wrong."
"R-Really?" asked Sawada, clear surprise on his face. The boy had absolutely no belief in himself. Unfortunately, if she was going to tutor him, she would have to work on that. "I-I g-guess I-I should thank R-Reborn t-then…"
"Reborn? Who's he?" asked Hana, bringing out the new sheets of questions. They were a little harder, and she would have to go over them with him before he left, but they should be doable.
"Tutor? If your brother already has a tutor, why can't this Reborn tutor both of you?"
"U-um…H-he's a s-special tutor that's o-only here for T-Tamaki-san."
"Really," she said, sounding as uninterested as possible. So that brat was spoiled at home as much as he was at school. "Either way, don't go getting ahead of yourself, those problems were three levels below ours. Here's the new sheets for math, history, Japanese, and science. English is a subject that we'll take all our time to tackle tomorrow, so you need to return these sheets to me the day after tomorrow. Got that, Sawada?"
"H-hai," he said stiffly as he took the papers. He looked at them in dread, obviously realizing that there were twice as many as before.
"Before we go into those, we need to see exactly where you went wrong with these."
"O-okay," said Sawada, leaning over to look over the questions with her. As they went over the questions, Hana considered the boy that she had had thought was just a monkey like the rest of the boys in their class. Now she was starting to realize that the boy wasn't as much of a loser as she had thought. That stupid brother of his along with their classmates and even the teachers had pushed the boy down and tried to convince him that he should quit and stop trying to be anything but "no good," but he wasn't as hopeless or weak or stupid as they liked to assume he was. Here she was giving him the slightest chance to prove her wrong, and he sat next to her fixing his frightened and slightly overwhelmed eyes on the sheet of questions. His attention had not wavered from her explanation, not once. So even if he was too quick to shy away from her demands to think through the answer, she kept on him watching and waiting with more and more certainty for the moment that the facts would click and he would see the way to solve the problem. This new "job" was going to be more interesting than she had thought.