The Bureau of Unexpected Tales
Here it is; as promised: a sequel to Welcome to the Grimm Office! If you haven't read the first story, I guess some parts might be a little confusing, since I like to use references and there's one particular character who's got a little surprise in store~ :D But, the story's going to be much longer this time, with a lot of new characters.
So; I guess I'll be derp and dedicate this first chapter to all of the readers who stuck with me during the Grimm Office series~ I love you guys :'3
To all the new readers, I hope you'll like this story! I promise to work hard, though my updates might start becoming irregular due to amount of work I'm getting from school D; Please don't mind! :')
Song of the day: Free (Twin Atlantic)
Disclaimer: I do not own Katekyo Hitman Reborn. Any similarities in events or characters living or dead are entirely coincidental.
The beginning is the most important part of work (Plato)
The forests were dense in this part of the landscape; the trees tall and old, their trunks thick and their barks prickled. The undergrowth was mostly shrubbery and tall grass. The hills sloped downwards before raising again, their peaks rounded and gradual. However, everything was covered under a thick layer of snow and frost. The frozen, ice cold winter of Russia in mid-December was an unyielding giant whose large hands blanketed over every last acre of woodland it could reach. The story of the Winter Giant, of course, was obviously a lie. There were no giants in Russia.
The Frost Boggarts occupied the woodlands and brought about winter. Whose smart idea was it to tell fibs about giants in the area anyway? Giants liked warmer weather and would definitely prefer the Caribbean over Russian.
Somewhere deep in the thicket of trees in the forest, there lay a set of railroad tracks. These tracks were old and rather worn because there was hardly any maintenance ever done on them. It was located too far in the forest for the workers to want to make any regular visits for check-ups. The rusted steel tracks were covered in a slight layer of snow as the flakes continued to fall from the light grey sky in the mid-morning. It was, for the most part, a pleasant day. The area was quiet and tranquil. Not even the winter birds were chirping, and the dwarves that liked to march across the fields before noon were absent once again because of the thick layer of snow that probably buried their doors shut.
Of course, not all silences were meant to last.
There was a low rumble, and the tracks suddenly began to shake. The metal trembled in its frame hammered deep into the ground. The wooden boards along the bottom creaked and groaned from the strain. The rumbling grew louder, louder, louder, and suddenly, a bright flash of light burst from between the gaps of the trees and a giant, jet black train came chugging along the tracks. The plow in the front shoved the delicate layer of snow away harshly; smoke billowing out into the naked branches of the trees. It was an old train, a passenger one, a replica of a steam engine, but it ran on fuel. It snaked along the tracks weaving in and out of the trees in the forest, the complicated turns and twists making the machine squeal and screech. The sound tore through the silent forest like a foghorn, nearly announcing their presence to whatever was out amongst the shadows cast by the trees.
And there were something in the trees, alright.
Inside the train, it was comfortably furnished, but dark, a bit gloomy, and gave off the feeling of and old era that had been left behind in the inner parts of the passenger cars. There were compartments, which were small and cramped, but nicely decorated, even if the style was a bit out of date. Most of the sections in the train were deserted given the isolated route, but one of the compartments near the very back was currently occupied by two sleeping men.
Sitting in the corner, leaning against the window was a tall, handsome man in his mid-twenties with spikey black hair quashed under a dark fedora with a simple yellow band. His face was pointed and smooth with just the slightest of furrows in his eyebrows and a small frown on his face. Curled up right next to him was a brunette of around nineteen or twenty, snuggled up against the dark-haired man's chest, their breathing patterns evenly matched. The brunette had a set of astonishingly fluffy brown hair that stuck up in every direction possible and a rounder, more childish face with a bit of drool coming out of his mouth. Both men were dressed warmly; the elder in a black, double-breasted coat and long boots while the teen was wearing a dark red parka, mittens and a knitted scarf. Their baggage was simple: two bags thrown over the luggage rack overtop. One was labeled Reborn and the other Tsunayoshi.
The train rumbled on its way, giving off the occasional creak or wobble, but all of a sudden, there was a violent lurch that made the wheels scream against the tracks and some of the luggage fall off the racks. There was a loud shout, but then everything was steady once more. The two men slept on, apparently unaffected by the sudden events.
Unknown to either of them, several uninvited passengers had boarded the train.
Five shadowy, smoky figures were pulling themselves in from the shattered window of the passenger car located at the front of the train. They were over six feet tall, dressed in black rags that seemed to scatter away into ash and reform again over their skeletal bodies. Crimson eyes gleamed from under the hoods, sharp fangs protruded from lipless mouths, and where one of their boney hands should be, there was a large, curled hook. The demons slowly glided over the fallen luggage of the passengers in the compartment, sliding the door open with a wave of their hands before turning and sniffing the air. One of the demons hissed, and suddenly, all five of them were rushing down the narrow aisle, fighting to get to the end of the train to their target.
Behind them, on the floor of the compartment, a man, woman, and child lay unmoving, blood slowly seeping from thick gashes all over their bodies.
The demons crashed their way through the doors of nearly eight sections of the trains, startling passengers and causing bags to fall off racks and onto the floor. Any unfortunate person who happened to be passing through the hallway at the time met the same fate as the family in the compartment. The demons were clearly not going to let anything stand in their way. Their movements were oddly rushed. It was almost as though they had a deadline to find their goal.
The first demon suddenly halted, and the others froze in their tracks as well. Slowly turning its head, the first monster turned his glowing red eyes onto the doorway just an arm's reach away from the mob. Extending its scabby hand, the demon pushed the door open silently and swooped in, its raspy breath barely coming up in smoke in the cold weather.
Sleeping in the seats were Reborn and Tsuna, still snoring away without a care in the world.
The five demons swiftly crowded themselves into the compartment, radiating bloodthirstiness, their hooks raised eagerly. The first one to find the two stepped forward, its eyes locked onto the sleeping brunette. Tsuna's chest rose and fell steadily, and he snuggled a little closer to Reborn, nose wrinkling a little before he went limp again, mouth slightly agape. The monster moved closer, its hook inches away from the brunette's throat. A quick, sudden death was necessary here; the demon knew it could not afford to let the teen wake. In one swift movement, it drew back, the sharp point gleaming, and in a flash, the hook came down upon the unguarded neck of a sleeping teen.
Something moved, and there was a loud clang of metal on metal as a hand suddenly shot out, fingers closing tightly around the base of the hook, its point just inches away from the smooth skin. The demon jerked, shocked, but the fingers tightened with inhuman strength, trapping the monster where it was. Holding the hook in its deathgrip was a pair of industrial gloves, the fingers plated with silver metal and a black mesh covering the hand. The wrist was protected by a guard made of the same metal, in which was carved a series of intricate designs. The brunette's eyes slowly opened, and the demon flinched when it saw the burning orange irises. The deadly orbs turned themselves onto the monster, and for a moment, nobody moved. Then, Tsuna leapt up, planting his feet upon the seats so that he towered over the demon, never letting go of the hook. His other hand came up, palms flat open and fingers splayed, giving the demon an excellent reason to scream before Tsuna snapped its head clean off the slouching shoulders.
The demon collapsed into a pile of ashes that blew away through its fellows and into the hall. The remaining four immediately stiffened, in shock at what they had seen. Tsuna exhaled slowly, golden orbs scanning each of his enemies.
"What," he said with eerie calmness, "are you all doing?"
Momentarily stunned, the monsters stared at the remains of their ally and then at the teen standing on the seat. They had not expected to be bested; nobody in these forests had managed to kill one of their own for nearly five centuries. It both frightened and enraged them. Lunging all together, the four demons went for Tsuna, their hooks raised, but the brunette was faster. His hands shot up and grabbed the underside of the luggage rack and Tsuna hoisted himself up, kicking one of the demons in the face as it neared. The monster howled, flinging itself back as its fangs were knocked out, starting to crumble into ash as well. The brunette swung out and jumped over the demon he'd kicked. He landed in the midst of the three demons and went for the one in the middle at once. The hook was ripped off the stump of the arm, two punches were delivered to the bony chest, and with an expert twist, Tsuna snapped the monster's neck in one move, and it slumped, dissolving into powder, just like the other two fiends. The remaining two shuddered and went for the brunette, but before their hooks and hands could reach—
Tsuna turned to see the demons fall, jerking into themselves as a cloud of dusty ash filled the compartment. Coughing a little, the brunette waved his hand in front of his face and said softly, "Sorry, did I wake you?"
"Damn right you did," a low voice growled from the seat, and Reborn emerged, his gun in his hand and an irritated look on his face. "I've been asleep for less than an hour for the first time in two days and I still manage to get kicked awake."
Tsuna clicked his tongue sheepishly. "Sorry," he apologized again, but looked up in surprise when Reborn suddenly closed in on him, one hand reaching up to hold onto the luggage rack as he casually leaned down and kissed Tsuna on the lips, sweeping his tongue over the teen's smoothly before drawing back, yawning.
"I'm not mad at you, idiot. One of these trash stepped on my foot; that's why I woke up. Not that you were really having trouble with them anyway."
Tsuna shrugged, flexing his fingers. "They're not that strong. My experience in demon hunting extends beyond their level of fighting skills."
Reborn opened his mouth to answer, but suddenly, below them, there came a high-pitched, wailing cry as one of the demons opened its fanged mouth wide, screaming something into the air. However, it was cut short abruptly when Reborn shot it through the head, but the damage was done. An unnatural chill settled in the compartment, but it had nothing to do with the cold weather. It was a foreboding feeling that sunk deep into the two hunter's guts. Reborn's eyes narrowed as he glanced through the window. Somewhere, in the distance, he could spot a black speck stirring. It couldn't be a cloud; it was moving too fast against the wind.
"What just happened?" Tsuna asked sharply, looking out the window too. Reborn pulled him back and grabbed his shoulder bag before tossing Tsuna's rucksack to him.
"It called for backup. We have to get off the train."
Tsuna blinked, then nodded, sliding his arms securely into the straps before following Reborn out of the compartment, their footsteps scattering the ashes of their foes as they went.
All over the train, the few passengers on were in a panic, screaming at the sight of the bodies lying in the hall, brutally slashed apart by the demon's hooks. The two demon hunters plowed relentlessly through, pushing past people and stepping over the corpses. Tsuna passed one of the compartments near the front, and his stomach turned over at the sight of the family of three dead on the floor and the shattered window that allowed a frozen draft the seep into the train.
"Tsuna!" Reborn called, and the brunette focused his attention back onto his boyfriend. The dark-haired man was working at the lock for the door leading into the front of the train, probably trying to pick it open without destroying the whole door. Tsuna hurried over, but at that moment, there was a violent explosion from far away that rocked the whole train, and screams came from everywhere as the fright settled in the passengers.
Reborn groaned. "Today is not my day," he snarled irritably, abandoning the picks. Tsuna patted the dark-haired man soothingly on the arm.
"I'll get this one," the brunette said lightly before winding his arm back and slamming his fist into the door. The force of the impact sent the piece of metal screeching back, popping clean off its hinges. Ice cold wind swept over both of them and snow whipped their faces mercilessly. The junction between the front of the train and the compartments were joined by a thick set of iron bars, which swayed with the force of another explosion. Reborn held the sides of the ruined doorframe, peering out into the forest.
"We're going to jump!" he called over the wind.
"Jump?" Tsuna shouted back, alarmed.
"Unless you can think of a better idea, that's our only choice!" Reborn snapped. Up ahead, he could see an empty clearing. It would be a terrible idea to enter open space; it was practically an invitation for an ambush. Leaping amongst the trees would be near suicide, but it was their best bet.
"Reborn!" Tsuna yelped as another explosion, much closer this time, sounded from the middle compartments. The hunter cursed loudly, making up his mind in a split second.
"Keep your head tucked in and your mouth closed!" he instructed the brunette firmly, and without waiting for the teen's answer, grabbed Tsuna's arm and hauled him out of the train. Tsuna reflexively shouted in surprise, which pretty much rendered Reborn's advice of keeping his mouth shut useless. But, that was kind of his fault, since the elder was the one who shoved Tsuna out. Glancing back, the hunter could see the black mass coming ever closer. Taking a breath, Reborn threw himself out as well.
The impact upon the snowy ground was bone-jarring, and it knocked the wind out of the hunter for a few moments as stars filled his vision. Reborn rolled and rolled until he managed to stick his leg out before he smashed into a tree. His ankle screamed in protest, but apart from a dislocated shoulder and probably a fractured finger, there was not lasting damage. Reborn staggered to his feet, running to where he'd pushed Tsuna off. The train whizzed past him; and he saw that the last few compartments were horribly damaged. At one point, he could see the fleeting image of blood splattered against the window before the train vanished beyond the trees, leaving them stranded in the dense forest.
"This is why I hate public transportation," Reborn growled under his breath, reaching out to pop his right shoulder back into place before limping through the snow, looking for his boyfriend.
Tsuna was crouched on all fours and trying to get up when Reborn found him, blood all over the place. It blended in with the teen's parka, but stained the snow with crimson puddles. "What happened?" Reborn asked quickly, grabbing the teen's arm. Tsuna shook him off, looking up with his orange eyes, and Reborn could see blood all over the brunette's chin. Guessing what had happened, the dark-haired man used his own sleeve to wipe the red off the best he could before saying in a surprisingly gentle manner, "Open your mouth, Tsuna."
Reluctantly, the teen complied, and more blood spilled out. Reborn took a quick peek in and his suspicions were confirmed; Tsuna had accidentally bitten his tongue. The muscle wasn't severed, but it was split badly enough to need stitches. Unfortunately, that would have to wait. It wouldn't be long before the demons realized that their targets were no longer on the train, and finding them in the forest would not be a good thing.
"Hang on for a minute, Tsuna, and I promise I'll fix that for you once we get out of here," Reborn said, and the teen winced, but nodded, weakly spitting the blood out before closing his mouth. Reborn grabbed his arm and the two stumbled to their feet, legs buried knee-deep in the snow as the vanished into the forest.
It was probably a stupid idea to run into the trees seeing as the possibility of getting lost was more than highly probable, but Reborn was never completely unprepared. Their new mission called for more drastic measures and for the hunters to step up their game, and losing their way was not on Reborn's agenda. Since public transportation was hated right now, they had to move onto the next method of travel. Specifically, through portals.
Portals were strange things. There were tons of them lying everywhere, almost invisible to those who don't know how to look for them, yet they weren't the amazing, gets-you-everywhere openings people often read about in myths or stories. Crossing between time and space was a tricky thing, and covering too much distance at once could result in very nasty endings. Portals were more like shortcuts, but if one could find a series of portals to pass through gradually, the distance between them and their destination would be drastically shortened. It was an accumulating sort of thing.
Right now, Reborn and Tsuna really needed a portal.
The brunette was spilling a lot of blood all over the place, and their tracks were leaving trails behind them. Even through supernatural beings could not travel through the portals, it was still wise to erase any evidence that could indicate where one was headed to.
Reborn's instinct was on overdrive as he tried to seek out a portal through his senses, but to his surprise, Tsuna pulled on his arm, pulling him in one direction. Bemused, Reborn followed, and the two of them slipped, stumbled, and plowed through the snow and thickets of buried undergrowth until they reached what they were looking for several minutes later.
The portal was a circle no bigger than a car's wheel; it was white in colour and hazy around the edges. It glowed a little, pulsing slightly, and it swirled slowly, like a grandmother stirring a bowl of thick porridge. However, beyond its lazy appearance, an infinite amount of energy seemed to crackle around this mysterious method of travel.
"Good job, kid," Reborn huffed, grasping Tsuna's hand, deciding that the teen's inner demon probably heightened his senses. "Come on."
Extending his other hand, Reborn's fingertips passed through the haze of white, and there was a cackling noise, like static electricity. Tugging Tsuna forward, Reborn pushed the rest of his arm in, and the portal suddenly expanded before swallowing the two men, leading them to their next location. Then, it shrunk back into the size of a wheel, innocently sparkling and swirling.
For Reborn and Tsuna, they found themselves blinking white sparks out of their eyes and staring at the entrance of a remote Russian village. The people there moved quietly in and about their activities, dressed much more warmly then they did and seemed to hardly notice the sudden appearance of two new visitors. Reborn scanned the area and casually rested one hand against the knife hidden against his back, under his coat, and nudged Tsuna. The brunette looked up in confusion, but a moment later, he understood his boyfriend's silent message and closed his eyes. The gloves around Reborn's cold hands suddenly grew softer and softer until the elder was holding a hand wearing mittens and staring into warm, chocolate brown eyes.
"Alright, let's go," he said quietly, pulling Tsuna forward. The two entered the village quietly, moving about with the people going about their daily business in town. Shops were open along the streets, some of them selling animal hides attained from trapping in the woods, others with piles of firewood and others had a roaring fire going. People flocked close to those, warming their hands up before carrying on. As he walked past a woman peering into a basket by one of the street vendors, Reborn casually pulled a hankerchief out of her bag and passed it to Tsuna, who gratefully took the cloth and wiped his mouth and chin clear of blood.
There was a tall wooden lodge with a magnificent sloping roof at the end of the street they were on. It was about three stories high, had many windows overlooking the village and forest surrounding them. A large, handsomely carved sign over the double doors read: гостиница.
Tsuna looked confused, but Reborn pulled the brunette towards the building, apparently understanding what the sign said with a small smile of reassurance on his face. The inside of the Inn was dimly lit, but there was a roaring fire in the hearth, many soft rugs placed around the room, and a warm, smoky haze hanging over the air. The foyer was wide and spacious, and it looked up to the other three floors, each guarded by carved railings and banisters. A light-haired woman was standing behind the desk, going through some papers. She looked up when Reborn and Tsuna entered, a smile on her face. The real challenge presented itself to the two, however, when she obviously began speaking in Russian.
Tsuna didn't understand a word and even if he did, talking was not at the top of his priority list. Reborn, fortunately, knew enough languages to barely scrape by. After several broken sentences of requesting a room for one night, paying, and being given their key, the two hunters found themselves up on the second floor in a comfortably sized bedroom. There was a balcony that showed off the view of the forest surround them, long curtains, a twin bed covered with a thick blanket, a small sofa and a bathroom tucked away in the back. Exhausted, Reborn dropped his bags off and stripped off his coat, wincing at the pain in his finger. Tsuna had sat himself down on the bed, looking sick as he peeled off his rucksack and coat. The dark-haired man immediately moved into the bathroom with his bag, emptying all the medical supplies in it on the counter. He grabbed a towel and ran it under hot water before handing it to Tsuna. Gratefully, the teen accepted, and Reborn went back to grab the things he needed.
A moment later, the two men were sitting on the bed. A jar of numbing salve was open on the sheets, there were bloodstained towels everywhere, and Tsuna was sitting with his mouth wide open, split tongue sticking out as Reborn carefully ran the needle through the muscle, sewing it back together. It was quiet, mainly because Tsuna couldn't talk and Reborn didn't like talking when concentrating, but the atmosphere had grown comfortable without the demons invading. Of course, the two hunters would probably sleep with one eye open each tonight, but for now, it was a time to relax.
"There," Reborn muttered, cutting the thread and tossing the needle into the trash bin. "Keep your tongue out."
Tsuna complied, watching as Reborn picked up a small plastic bag and pulled out a sliver leaf. Deftly crushing it between slim fingers, he placed the mushed up sprig onto the cut on Tsuna's tongue. The brunette made a face; it was awfully bitter. Reborn actually chuckled, standing up to wash his hands. "Don't make that face at me, Tsuna, spit it out now and check your tongue."
Carefully, the teen turned his head and spat out the remains of the leaf before walking into the bathroom and joining the dark-haired man in front of the mirror. To Tsuna's astonishment, the cut was almost completely healed in the mere couple of seconds. There was only a small indent on the pink muscle that indicated there had ever been an injury there.
"Whaa…?" Tsuna said, unable to form coherent words because of the effects of the numbing salve.
"It's a magical property of that leaf," Reborn said simply, hand on the teen's chin as the turned Tsuna's face to him. He picked up the pair of scissors, disinfected with the bottle of vodka placed in the corner of the room as a complimentary accessory, and carefully cut the treads loose. "It can heal relatively minor injuries in a short amount of time, like cuts or bruises."
"Ahhhn…" Tsuna replied, feeling stupid. Reborn smirked, leaning down to press a kiss to the tip of the newly healed tongue, which make the brunette blush and smack his boyfriend in the chest.
"What kind of thanks was that?" Reborn complained, crossing his arms, but Tsuna only grinned at him, reaching out to pry the knotted limbs apart so that he could snuggle in against the taller man, his gravity-defying brown hair ticking Reborn's nose. Rolling his eyes affectionately, the hunter leaned down whispered, "Wrap your legs around me, idiot," to the teen before lifting Tsuna and carrying the younger out of the bathroom and back to the bed. He lowered Tsuna onto the sheets and flicked the brunette's forehead. Tsuna pouted and burrowed himself into the blanket, watching the other expectantly. Reborn signed and pulled his tie loosed before kicking off his shoes and climbing into the bed as well.
"Happy now?" Reborn asked, and Tsuna only grinned, rolling over so he could kiss Reborn on the cheek. The hunter huffed and said lightly, "I told you to keep your mouth closed."
A punch to his gut made the dark-haired man double over a little. Tsuna glowered at him, stuttering out, "You puthed me ofth!"
Reborn smirked before opening his arms, which Tsuna gladly rolling into. Warmth enveloped the brunette before Reborn muttered quietly into his hair, "I know, stupid. Sorry, okay?"
Tsuna snickered quietly, and Reborn grumbled without any conviction in his anger and moved his hand over to turn the lamp on their nightstand off. The only amount of light left came from the gap between the heavy curtains and the gap between the bathroom door, but Reborn was too lazy to go and shut off the light in there now. Not when he had an armful of Tsuna to hold. It was well into the evening now, and neither of them had eaten dinner, but at the moment, the urgency of sleep and the rare moment of peace was too good to pass up.
Reborn tightened his hold around the brunette, and Tsuna couldn't hold back a sleepy smile. It was moments like these that were worth fighting for.
Minutes later, they were asleep once more.
I'm terribly sorry if I get anything wrong…
I had a really stupid moment where I thought Berlin was the capital of Russia. A really, really, really stupid moment :') I blame the sudden change in weather for my awkwardness. I never mentioned in the story, but Reborn and Tsuna were supposedly traveling towards Moscow. So yeah…hee hee.
But; here's Chapter One! For those who haven't read Welcome to the Grimm Office, Reborn and Tsuna are headed to China at the moment in relation to a letter sent to Reborn from a childhood friend, Fon. Do you guys like it? :'D I've been working on the plot for some time, and I really hope this story will be just as good.
Thank you for reading! I promise that Chapter Two will come up soon.