EDIT: I have no idea why some of the spaces were missing when it looked fine on my word doc!
"S-Sorry I'm late! I was talking to Rebornand I forgot the time..." Tsuna said apologetically with a low bow.
He actually held a conversation with Reborn? How surprising. Fon wondered. "It's fine, shall we start then?"
To Tsuna, Fon's training was just as difficult as Reborn, requiring full concentration and focus. Of course, Collonello's training was tough too, but it was more of endurance and stamina with some long-range weapon training. A sheen of perspiration glistened on Tsuna face which was promptly wiped away with the sleeve of his shirt. It hadn't even been an hour yetbut Tsuna was already at his limit. Gritting his teeth, Tsuna stood his ground and continued the practice.
"You've done astonishingly well, Tsuna." Fon commented when he sensed the child's frustration. The martial artist wasn't merely saying that to make Tsuna feel better; he genuinely felt that Tsuna was improving by leaps and bounds and Fon was very much surprised. Looks like he has a knack for hand-to-hand combat...
"You've only just started training, so it is through no fault of yours that your skills are below average. Now get back on your feet, we'll practice one last time."
A few more days had passed and Reborn finally decided to break the news of his findings to Luce. Knocking on her office door, he entered when he heard a soft 'Come in!' from the occupant.
"Hey Luce," Reborn greeted as he sat down on the leather armchair in front of her desk.
Luce smiled and paused in her paper work. "Is something the matter? It's rare for you to ever come on your own accord."
"... I may have found out some things about Tsuna..."
Luce gasped with widened eyes as she looked over Reborn's shoulder to see if the door was closed. "Go on."
"Tsuna was... An experiment before he was found wandering the streets by us." Luce inhaled sharply but signalled for the hitman to continue. "There's a high chance that Tsuna was a test subject with the Estraneo. Think about it, Tsuna told me he was wandering the streets for a little more than a week, and before that, the Estraneo base was destroyed. That's too much of a coincidence."
"The Estraneo..." Luce muttered. "That famiglia is known to use children in their experiments... Oh Tsuna... They're completely destroyed right?"
"Their only base of operation has been wiped out so it's safe to say that majority of them are dead. However, we don't know if the surviving members will form the Estraneo again."
A small sigh escaped the Sky Arcobableno's lips. How could someone like Tsuna have such a horrible background and still smile like that?... "Let's just continue to observe for the time being. Report back if you have any updates, okay Reborn?"
Tipping the edge of his fedora, Reborn gave a smirk and left.
Night fell and just as Luce was headed to her office to finish up some paperwork, she heard muffled voices further ahead.
"You've improved, good job."
What was that? That sounded a lot like Verde and Tsuna... Luce thought as she rounded a corner. "Verde?..." Isn't that his lab they're leaving from?! Tsuna! "What was Tsuna doing in your lab?!" she demanded.
The mentioned people froze at the voice. Verde sighed, knowing that he was busted. Tsuna on the other hand, trembled slightly. He had never heard Luce raise her voice before and seeing a rare expression of confusion and anger on her face scared him.
"There had better be a good explanation for this!" If I find out you were experimenting on Tsuna...
"Of course," Verde answered, maintaining his composure. "I was just running some tests-"
"Don't scold Verde! I-It's not his fault!" Tsuna intervened. Before he could even continue, Verde pushed Tsuna back.
"Let the adults handle this." He told Tsuna before turning back to Luce. "Nothing invasive was done; it was just some tests to gauge him."
Pinching the bridge of her nose, Luce, exhaled sharply. "Explain this to the rest of Arcobaleno; be in the conference room in five minutes. Tsuna, go to your room."
"O-Okay..." Tsuna whimpered dejectedly as he left.
The atmosphere in the room was heavyand the Arcobaleno knew there was trouble from the urgency of their leader's request. Luce's lips were set in a tight line, her arms folded as she sat at the head of the table.
As Viper entered the room, she saw the scientist staring at her. Verde shook his head slightly before turning to face the front, and at once, Viper knew what this meeting was about. How did she find out?!
"I'm sorry for disturbing all of you but there is a pressing matter which I wish to discuss with everyone." Luce announced, sending a glare to Verde. "It seems like Verde has been conducting some secret research on Tsuna. Care to share?"
Knowing that there was no point hiding anymore, Verde sighed in defeat. "I've been monitoring Tsuna for the past two weeks..."
This statement earned several surprised stares from around the table. "And how long more were you going to hide it from us if Luce hadn't found out?" Fon voiced out.
"... I was going to announce it once I had sufficient information to prove my theory." Verde said, annoyed at the interruption. "As I was saying, after monitoring Tsuna, I found out about his flames. Sky flames, to be precise. The first known activation that my sensors detected was when Viper disappeared. Most likely he subconsciously went into this 'Hyper Dying Will mode' which was triggered by his vision and the urge to protect. The second known activation was during the picnic attack. He sensed that Viper was about to be attackedand he immediately went into this... HDW mode."
"Does that mean Viper is in this too?!" Luce exclaimed, her glare suddenly directed at the illusionist.
Viper gulped and pulled down her hood further. "... Yes."
The Sky Arcobaleno calmed herself like she usually did, taking in a deep breath and exhaling slowly. Verde and Viper mean no harm, Luce thought to herself. They would have explained themselves eventually. There is no need to get so upset despite the fact that they had kept something so important to themselves right? Right. Keep calm... Keep calm and don't wreck the room... "And I suppose his visions are attributed to his Sky flames? How is your progress going?"
"That seems to be so. Till now, we've managed to get Tsuna to invoke his HDW mode quite a few times but until his stamina and endurance improves, he won't be able to stay in that mode for long. When in HDW mode, his strength and speed increases, as well as his focus. That's all I have for now though. To be able to invoke his flames at such a young age is a miracle in itself, other than us of course."
"Do you think the Estraneo took him because of his Sky flames?" Reborn questioned, arms folded as he leaned back in his seat.
"Ehhh kora! You mean that Estraneo famiglia that was conducting child experiments but was destroyed a few weeks ago?!" Collonello exclaimed. He was the one that went to investigate the matterbut he found nothing out of the ordinary other than severely charred bodies and wrecked equipment. It was supposedly a case of machinery malfunctionbut it looked more like a raging fire went on. Hold on a minute... "Do you remember when I said in the report that it seemed like a huge fire had caused the damage? Do you think it was Tsuna's flames which caused it?"
"The fire would be too big for Tsuna to make." Verde immediately answered.
"But he was an experiment right? Maybe something had gone wrong to trigger a powerful blast!"
"But even so, Tsuna's flame capacity would not be sufficient to even power such a blast!"
"Maybe the scientists there gave him a temporary boost or something!"
"It is still highly unlikely that-"
"Alright boys, enough with the bickering!" Luce interrupted with a small smile. She could never stay angry at them for long. "Verde, please tell us your future findings instead of keeping it from us!" Or else...
The scientist nodded with a sulk, glad that the meeting was soon over without much fuss.
"We should all get some rest, guessing isn't going to get us anywhere. Good night everyone!" Luce chirped as she waved everyone off while sending a dark look to Verde to make sure he got the unspoken threat. I wouldn't want any unfortunate things to happen to your lab...
Just as everyone was leaving for their respective rooms, Fon caught up with Viper. "Am I really that untrustworthy that you would not even tell me this?"
"W-What no… I mean, you would have told Luce, wouldn't you?"
"I wouldn't, if you told me not to." Fon replied.
Viper felt her face heat up and quickly turned around. "Whatever, go to sleep." She said before disappearing off.
Tsuna pressed his face into the pillow, letting out a groan. Is Verde going to be okay?... Luce-nee looked really angry... Burying deeper into the comforts of the pillow, he fell into a deep slumber where memories of his past flooded in.
Tsuna was strapped onto a cold metal table, the lights glaring down from above. Men in lab coats stained with blood hovered around him, some carrying syringes.
"This is the third dose with an increase of 250mg. Will his body be able to take it?" Said one of them.
"We won't know till we try. If we succeed, we can harness the flame and turn him into a weapon. We managed to ignite it for a while, maybe it'll work this time."
"But we hardly ever get Sky flame wielders! Shouldn't we preserve him?"
"We don't have a choice!" He snapped, startling the already frightened child on the table. "Proceed with the administration of XB-72!"
No... No! No no no no! Enough! The child screamed inwardly. Tsuna struggled against his bindings as the syringe filled with a clear liquid neared his arm. Just as the needle was about to pierce his skin, Tsuna gave a final scream before he felt a warm sensation enveloping him and his vision clouding with tinges of bright orange.
The next few moments were a blurbut he could make out the scene playing out before him. Tsuna felt himself moving at an abnormal speedand all around him was so much blood. Did I… Cause this?... Not long after, he came back to his senses and realised he wasn't in the laboratory anymore.
Instead, he feltmud under him, squelching as he got up. Are they okay?... Tsuna thought as his friends' faces flashed in his mind. Panic welled up inside him at the thought of his friends' safety but when he turned to face the building which had held him and many others prisoner for so long, Tsuna felt his throat constrict at the sight before him. A ferocious fire engulfed the buildingand there was no way of getting in or out. Please be safe… Please…
Catching his breath, he knew he had to get out and leave the area. After all, that was what the voice told him to do. With half-lidded eyes, Tsuna managed to trudge into a nearby town before collapsing in an alley.
Tsuna's eyes snapped openand he sat up immediately, burying his face into his hands. He knew it was his fault somehow. Hoping that they survived seemed like mere wishful thinking and… Wouldn't that make him a murderer? All those thoughts were giving the child a headacheand just as he let out a groan, Tsuna heard someone enter his room.
"L-Luce-nee?..." Tsuna called out tentatively, not knowing if she was going to reprimand him for last night. The Arcobaleno flashed a smile and sat at the edge of the bed, knowing how wary Tsuna must be feeling.
"Tsuna…" she started. "I just wanted to apologise for raising my voice at you. It wasn't your fault, okay? I was just a little upset when Verde hid the fact that he was running tests on you…"
Tsuna nodded and shuffled closer to Luce, allowing her to run her fingers through his soft brown hair. The gesture comforted him greatly, especially after the nightmare he had just woken up from.
"This might be a horrible request but… Please tell us more about yourself…"
The child stiffened in his place. No… No way…I don't want to remember…
"We want to help you! But we need to know what happened… You... You were from the Estraneo as an… experiment subject. Do you remember anything before that?..." It hurt Luce just as much it hurt Tsuna to remember but for the sake of finding answers, there was no other way.
A small whine escaped the boy's lips, eyes shut tightly. "M-Mama… Pa… Pa…" he said in a hushed tone. "Why did they have to die like that?... What did they do wrong?..." So much blood… Mama… Papa…
Luce cradled Tsuna in her arms, hands gently patting his back. Oh Tsuna…
A/N: WOW I'M SO SORRY GUYS. I know I was supposed to update like, at least a week ago but ahhhh, too many things to get done like drawing, RP-ing, planning... etc excuses etc... And I have yet to finish the rewrite of LM... *cries*
Anyway, I'll do my best to get the next chapter out! (And finish up a Xfem!27 fic if you guys want?) Thank you for the continuous support! Ahem, reviews make me happy.