Hibari's lips curled into a feral grin as he approached Tsuna like a lion about to pounce on its quivering prey. He held up his tonfa threateningly as he looked down at Tsuna who had been thrown on the ground from the force of their collision. "So… what punishment will be suitable for a herbivore such as you?"
Tsuna smiled weakly, nervously trying to scoot away from the prefect. "A-Ah, Hibari-san – sorry! I didn't see you and I was in a hurry so – "
"Or perhaps a bribe would be sufficient?" said Hibari as if Tsuna had not spoken. His maniacal grin grew impossibly wider as he spied the delicate silver paper bag Tsuna still had clenched in his hand like it was a lifeline. "I do not usually condone such despicable behaviour but for you, I shall make an exception… Sawada Tsunayoshi."
"B-But Hibari-san! You can't just – !" Tsuna protested weakly as Hibari stooped down and made for the bag.
"Kufufufu… It seems as if the little Vongola does not wish for you to take that, little skylark. Did you know, it's bad manners to take other people's things without permission?"
"M-M-Mu-Mukuro! W-What are you doing here?" Tsuna spluttered, surprised as the illusionist seemed to appear out of nowhere behind Hibari. The prefect scowled and turned around to face Mukuro, clearly displeased. "Rokudo Mukuro. I do not remember allowing you to enter Namimorichuu territory. Only students and teachers may step beyond that gate and all others require special permission. You are an intruder here." Hibari raised his tonfa. "I also will not tolerate any harassing of Namimori students." He dropped into a fighting stance "For breaking school rules, prepare to be bitten to death." He charged.
Mukuro let out a derisive snort as he prepared his trident. "Silly little skylark. An event organised by the esteemed Vongola Famiglia supercedes any mere school rule." Metal rang against metal as the tonfa met the trident in a mighty clash of wills. The sound resonated throughout the deserted school grounds – everyone had either left for class or was too scared to remain outside while their disciplinary head was in such a bad mood. "And I am not harassing any students. I only came here to take Tsunayoshi-kun's chocolate and I'm taking it whether anybody likes it or not."
Tsuna gaped at his Mist Guardian who continued to grapple with his Cloud Guardian. 'B-But Mukuro… you just said it was bad manners to take other people's things without their permission, didn't you?!' But all the same, he felt that he should at least make an attempt at stopping their fight.
"H-Hibari-san, Mukuro, pl-please stop fighting… "
"Be careful, little skylark. This is my cute Chrome's body after all. I would be really upset if anything… untoward happened to it." Mukuro teased darkly when a swipe from a tonfa left a graze on the illusionist's cheekbone. Hibari growled threateningly in response. "Then hurry up and fight me in your real body, then maybe you might get me to take you seriously."
Mukuro's eyebrow twitched involuntarily. "Kufufu… The little skylark seems pretty lively today. Shall we cut to the chase, then?" a thick mist began to manifest, starting from their feet and curling upward to obscure the fighters from view. Panicking now, not wanting to get caught in another of Mukuro's illusions, Tsuna stumbled to his feet and reached forward. "ST-"
"JUUDAIMEEEEE!" Gokudera's voice could be heard yelling his nickname for Tsuna just as a streak of red-hot flames accompanied with bright sparks, thick, streams of smoke and a high pitched fizzing sound flashed past the school gates and ploughed right into Mukuro and Hibari. The momentum enabled it to carry them both with it as it continued bolting forward and in seconds, blasted into the front of the main school building with a thunderous boom and a fantastic explosion which sent debris and bits of brick flying everywhere. Belatedly, Tsuna realised with horror that it was the rocket that Gokudera and Yamamoto had been riding on earlier. The fact that four of his Guardians had been involved in an explosion as big as that one and there had yet to be any signs of life from the resulting cloud of dust was a bad sign.
"Gokudera-kun!" Tsuna yelled frantically as he tripped over his feet in his haste to get to them and see if they were okay. "Hibari-san! Mukuro!" he called desperately as he reached the crash site, eyes darting everywhere in search of something – anything. "Yamamoto!"
"H-Hey, Tsu- ugh, Tsuna…"
"Yamamoto?!" Tsuna cried out as he followed the voice behind a particularly gigantic slab of concrete to find his Rain Guardian sitting on the ground and clutching his left arm where blood flowed from between his fingers, clothes covered with dust and shrapnel and skin littered with angry, bleeding red scratches.
"Oh no, Yamamoto! Are you all right? Yamamoto!" Tsuna queried worriedly as he dropped heavily onto his knees next to the taller boy. His brown eyes were wide with worry as Yamamoto grinned back at him weakly. "I-It's fine Tsuna, I'll… I'll be all right."
But already, Yamamoto's eyes were beginning to close and his voice was weakening. His body's muscles were giving way as the baseball player slumped further down onto the dust-covered ground. His breaths were coming ragged and shallow. Tsuna's eyes widened further in fear. He grabbed Yamamoto's free hand and squeezed it with all his might, as if doing so would wake him up.
"No! Yamamoto, don't die! Don't die! Just hang on, I'll go get someone-"
"No… no need… "
"What are you talking about, Yamamoto?! I need to go find someone to help you-"
"Just stay with me please, Tsuna?"
"… A-all right." Tsuna gave in reluctantly. "But please promise me you won't die, Yamamoto…"
The dark-haired boy cracked an eye open to look at Tsuna and his lips twitched into a semblance of a smile. "Thanks, Tsuna."
There were a few moments of silence before Yamamoto suddenly rasped, "Tsuna, I haven't got much time… before I go, I want to tell you something…"
Alarm shot through Tsuna as he registered the words and he sat bolt upright and resumed wringing the other boy's hand. "No! Yamamoto! You promised-"
"Please, just… just listen to me… Okay, Tsuna?"
As always, Tsuna never could say no. He nodded and clenched his free hand into a fist to stop it from shaking so much.
"Tsuna…I want you to know…"
Tsuna had never listened so hard in his entire life. He leaned forward, intent on catching the words Yamamoto deemed so important that he had to say them before he died. He was not about to let the last words of his Rain Guardian to go to waste.
"I want you to know… that…"
So focused was he on listening to Yamamoto's speech, that what happened next took him by such surprise he let loose a girlish scream. Yamamoto's eyes snapped open, full of mirth and the hand Tsuna had been crushing the life out of twisted and took hold of Tsuna's elbow. With a clever twist and a turning motion, Tsuna found himself flung onto his back with Yamamoto on top of him, very much alive and his familiar laughing smile on his face at full power.
"… that I'll be taking your chocolates, Tsuna." He finished cheerily.
"Y-Y-Y-Y-Yamamoto?!" Tsuna stuttered incredulously. "B-b-but y-you-!"
"Haha! Not bad, huh? Maybe I should consider a career in acting – or I would if I didn't already have baseball!" exclaimed the taller boy exuberantly. Continuing to smile obliviously, he pinned Tsuna's arms down to prevent any struggling as he reached to pry the gleaming silver paper bag from Tsuna's hands. "I'll be taking this then~!"
Before Tsuna could even react, a shock of silver hair burst forth from the pile of rubble with a deep-throated, Spartan-like yell. The motion rather reminded him of the Disney movie Mulan when the surviving Huns had exploded out from the snow after being buried by an avalanche as if it was nothing. Gokudera spun around wildly, brandishing several sticks of already lit and hissing dynamite in both his hands.
"Yakyuu Baka! How dare you deceive Juudaime in such a disgraceful manner! As his right-hand man, I will ensure that any disrespect towards Juudaime is rectified!"
Ignoring Tsuna's gasps of horror at the live dynamites, Yamamoto laughed. "That's pretty cool, Gokudera! But watch out, those thing s are dangerous! They might explode."
Gokudera's face turned redder in rage – if that was even possible. Tsuna thought he could almost see steam hissing out from both ears of his Storm Guardian. "Y-You! You know damn well I can kick your ass with these!"
"Maa maa, Gokudera! Let's not be so- "
"Just shut up and get ready, Yakyuu Baka!" Gokudera yelled, pulling back his dynamite loaded hand in preparation to throw.
The trio looked upward at the sound of the new voice to see Sasagawa Ryohei leaning out of the window sill of the top floor. "GOKUDERA! WHAT YOU DID TO THE SCHOOL BUILDING WAS EXTREME!"
The Storm Guardian growled, glaring up at his fellow Guardian. "OI! DON'T GO BLAMING ME STRAIGHT AWAY, TURF-HEAD!" he shouted back with equal volume but more hostility. Ryohei didn't seem to have taken the hint.
"HIBARI-SAN IS NOT GOING TO BE HAPPY ABOUT THAT TO THE EXTREME!" Ryohei hollered to his friends down below. A note of panic made itself known in Tsuna's mind; Hibari and Mukuro had yet to resurface since the blast.
"Hibari-san! Mukuro!" he resumed his desperate calling as he left Yamamoto (who was really okay) and hastily approached the pile of rubble. They were in there somewhere and he had to get them out! Unfortunately, he had forgotten about something very important…
"You can't do this alone, Juudaime! I will help you!"
Tsuna looked up with a weak smile to thank Gokudera but the words he had intended to say changed halfway and turned into a Tsuna-scream. "GOKUDERA-KUN! THE BOMBS!"
"Huh?" Gokudera said cluelessly as he looked to his hands. Still very much full of dynamite. And only a centimetre of rapidly burning wicks left to a great explosion.
"GAH! DAMN DAMN DAMN!" Gokudera cursed, as he panicked and uselessly juggled the dynamite sticks in his hands as he fumbled. Tsuna was in point blank range, frozen to the spot and too horrified to move. Yamamoto was too far away to be of any help. The wicks were burning out fast – too fast.
And Ryohei still wasn't successfully taking any hints.
"MISSING PEOPLE, YOU SAY?! I, SASAGAWA RYOHEI, PRESIDENT OF THE BOXING CLUB, WILL AID YOU IN YOUR SEARCH TO THE EXTREME!" and with that declaration, Sasagawa Ryohei heroically leapt out of the window on the top floor of a school building with only a pile of hard concrete slabs to cushion his fall at the bottom.
Tsuna could only watch in horror as his Sun Guardian was quickly falling to his apparent doom and the dynamites were millimetres away from taking out everyone in the vicinity. Dropping everything, Tsuna fell down on his haunches and covered his head with his arms – at this point, all he could do was hope for the best, he thought. The dynamites' wicks burned out just as Ryohei's body made contact with the first concrete slab.
The explosion was deafeningly epic, blasting apart the pile of rubble into even smaller chunks and shrapnel and further widening the hole on the wall – almost destroying one entire side of the main building. Several bodies were thrown back from the force of the blast and slammed into the ground metres away from where they had been. All was silent for a while as the smoke steadily cleared to reveal the rather extensive damage done to the school grounds. It seemed as if no one had survived the explosion.
But then again, it always was wrong to get one's hopes up.
"THAT FIRECRACKER WAS EXTREME!" Ryohei broke the dead silence with his bellows – even though there really was no more need to shout since he was now at ground level along with everyone else; if they had survived. Despite falling several dozens of feet from the air and landing almost directly on top of the blast site, the boy only seemed to have suffered minimal scratches and bruises from the accident. And he still looked game for another round.
Gokudera staggered as he dragged himself up from a grassy area of the grounds, clinging onto a tree bark for support. "No… Juudaime! Ugh… where is…"
"Tsuna!" Yamamoto called as he struggled to get up. "Tsuna!"
Tsuna was still in the same position on the ground, arms over his head and eyes squeezed shut. He had heard the blast and had felt the wind of debris flying past and ruffling his spiky hair but for some reason, he had felt no pain nor had he been thrown back like the others. Instead, he felt something warm but firm encircling him, protecting him. Whatever it was gripped him tighter, like a lover's long-awaited embrace. Tsuna, sensing that danger had already passed, allowed his curiosity to win over and cracked open one eye.
The only thing he could see at first was an army camouflage pattern a mere inch away from his face. Tsuna stared at it dazedly for a while until he realised it was moving – steadily rising and falling rhythmically, just like breathing- wait a minute.
Fully opening his eyes, Tsuna slowly allowed his gaze to travel upward from Mukuro's chest, to his pale neck to his attractively angular face with mismatched eyes and pineapple-styled navy blue hair.
"Oya, Tsunayoshi-kun." smiled the illusionist. "Getting very comfortable here, aren't you?"
Blushing furiously, Tsuna just realised exactly how close their bodies were – even closer than when Yamamoto had trapped him against the ground earlier. Mukuro was hunched protectively over his smaller body, arms encircling him and clutching his trident behind Tsuna's back. With Tsuna looking upwards, their faces were so close they could feel each other's breaths fanning over their skin. Trying to ward off his blush and look for a distraction – seeing as he wouldn't be able to escape his Mist Guardian's hold any time soon – he saw a giant slab of rock that seemed to have erupted out of the ground crack right in half and crumble to the ground, charred black with soot and gun powder. Tsuna stared at its remains. "Mukuro-"
"I summoned an illusion to protect us from the blast." Mukuro explained in a slightly more serious tone this time. "Are you hurt anywhere, Tsunayoshi-kun?"
"N-no, I don't think so…" replied Tsuna, moving all his limbs experimentally. Thanks to the illusion-rock shield, both him and Mukuro seemed to have escaped unscathed.
"That's good. Well then," Tsuna felt Mukuro hug him even closer, making their position even more intimate and Tsuna's blush to flare even redder. "won't you repay me for saving your life, Tsunayoshi-kun?"
Tsuna squirmed in his grip embarrassedly, turning his face to the side in an attempt to hide his face's resemblance to a ripe tomato. "T-Thank you, Mukuro. B-but can we discuss this l-later? We're in public here!"
Mukuro smirked, licking his lips like a cat that was about to enjoy its meal. "Oh? I hardly find that a problem."
"But I do."
Hibari limped towards the pair, appearing a little worse for wear but not in terrible condition. His right leg was bleeding and leaving drops of red as he limped and blood oozed out of a shallow cut on his cheek. The rest of his skin was littered with scratches and forming bruises and his shirt was slightly torn. But the still very menacing look in his eyes and the iron-grip on the pair of tonfa gave Tsuna a sense of relief. "Hibari-san, you're all right!"
The prefect scoffed. "Of course I'm all right. Who do you think you're talking to?" He then directed his gaze at the Mist Guardian, who still had yet to let go of Tsuna, glaring at him ferociously. "Gokudera will pay in blood for the damage to the school but first," he raised his tonfa in challenge. "I will not tolerate the sexual harassment of any student in this school. Prepare to be bitten to death."
Mukuro smiled at the skylark but something snapped in his eyes. "Kufufu… Quite the pest aren't you, Hibari Kyouya?" He finally released his hold on the Vongola boss, lightly pushing him on the small of his back to the safety of the trees. Keeping his eyes focused on the prefect, Mukuro slowly raised to his feet with his trident at the ready. "Very well then. If you wish, we shall continue."
Without a word or warning, Hibair leapt forward and their fight resumed once more.
Tsuna watched from behind the tree fretfully. His two strongest Guardians were fighting one another. His other Guardians were on the other side of the fight where it would be difficult to reach them without getting clocked on the head with a metal tonfa or trapped in a pillar of illusory fire so it seemed as of he had no choice but to stay where he was for the time being. Looking down at his hands, he realised that he had the presence of mind to pick up the silver bag of chocolates but his school bag was somewhere lost in the fray. He groaned.
'Great. This is just great. This wouldn't be happening if it wasn't for this chocolate.' Tsuna disregarded the fact that his Guardians were already able to cook up just as much trouble on perfectly normal days anyway. 'This is all Reborn' fault. Stupid Reborn. Stupid traditional Vongola events that involve killing you if you do anything wrong. Stupid, stupid, stupid!' Tsuna hit his head repeatedly against the trunk of the tree as his frustration grew.
'I swear, if one more thing goes wrong – just ONE more thing – '
"VOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOIIIIIIIIII IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII! We're already here, you ass-wipes! What the f&%k is going on here?!"
Tsuna let loose an uncharacteristic snarl and punched the poor, innocent tree.
That. Was. IT.
From the branch of a tree, a miniature human figure with a fedora hat watched the proceedings from the shadows. Reborn's mouth curled upwards at the corners in a smirk.
'Hmph. Only a true Vongola Boss can command such love and loyalty from his Famiglia. Well done, Tsuna. But don't let your guard down, things are about to get interesting.'
A/N: Increased rating to T to accommodate Gokudera's potty mouth. xD
All right, I know I updated my profile this morning and said I'd post this up later in the day but it ended a little later than O thought it would be. Erm, It's still twenty five minutes to midnight so it's still technically within the limits! Hm, I wonder if I can get that Ninja Storm one-shot up as well...
Boy, am I glad I went through the proofreading process - so many stupid spelling errors and missing words - even forgetting to write Reborn's part at the end! Urgh... This is what writing late at night does to me.
Are you guys all right with this chapter? To me it feels like a really big leap from the previous one and feels a but jarring to the pace. Is it too fast? Too slow? Stop thinking dirty thoughts, I wasn't talking about it in that context. ;D
A few things I like about this chapter; the part when Mukuro says he doesn't find a problem about PDA with Tsuna in public and Hibari says 'But I do.' I belatedly realised that it somewhat resembled a scene during a traditional Western wedding ceremony and the pastor says, "If anyone has any objections, speak now or forever hold your peace." Do they really do that in real life? It's kinda interesting. What if someone actually objects?
Oh, and Tsuna's monologue, 'I swear, if one more thing goes wrong – just ONE more thing – ' was actually one of my more recent Facebook status updates. I basically spent my entire month of holidays being sick. First, I had to go for an operation to remove a lump in my underarm. Then I caught a cold (which I suspect was from being left in the operating theatre for too long) which was followed by a sore throat then a runny nose and finally a cough, which is still persisting. A few days ago, the gum of my erupting wisdom tooth was infected and really swollen and I had to see the dentist. This was what I posted on my wall after getting back from the dentist. xD
On a final note, I always have trouble on the terms of address different characters use for one another. I know a few, like Gokudera's 'Juudaime', Reborn's 'Dame-Tsuna' and Byakuran's 'Tsunayoshi-kun' but when it comes to most other characters, I just take a guess. If you realised that there were inconsistencies in what various characters called Tsuna by, I apologise and this is the reason why. Help, please?
Boy, my ANs are long. You guys don't mind me being my narcissistic self, do you?