Blank Round

Disclaimer: If I owned Reborn, Elena Marcotti would be canon. I seriously love this woman.
Summary: All she wanted was peace, quiet, and cupcakes. What she got was a baby mafia tutor with an assault rifle and control of a family that kept trying to kill her. Oi Vey. ..::OC family + Canon::..
Word Count: 3,184
Warnings: Bad writing, stupid protagonists, and mild abuse of a minor by a minor. Then you again, you all watch/read Reborn so you're probably extremely used to that.


EXORDIUM

ex·or·di·um (ig-zawr-dee-uhm)

noun

1. the beginning of anything.

2. the introductory part of an oration, treatise, etc.


"Mom, I'm leaving!" I called over my shoulder, trying to tug both my shoes on at once at the door. My mother, Elena Marcotti, moved her blonde curtain of hair away from her china-doll face, smiling the way she way she does when she's plotting something.

"Alright, Yuri. I've got a big surprise for you tonight, so be ready, okay? I love you!" She turned back to her baking, smiling conspiratorially. I brushed it off as another one of her moments and finished yanking on my shoe. Mom was a little crazy, but I loved her for it. Plus, she owned a bakery, which meant she was an amazing cook. That might have something to do with it.

"Okay, mom! I love you too! Bye!" I went out the door, pausing for a moment to take in the sun. I loved Yuchiyo. It was a fairly quiet town as far as Japan's standards went, and the cherry blossoms that bloomed in the spring were gorgeous. School wasn't really that bad, either. I wasn't exactly a social butterfly (I got nervous around strangers) but it wasn't as if I was a hermit or anything. Plus, I hadn't been bullied since I was like five. That was a definite perk.

I walked down the street with a bounce in my step, humming a song under my breath. The sun was shining, the sakura were blooming, the birds were chirping, and a cat was yowling. It was per-

Hang on, cat? None of our neighbors had cats…

I paused in my humming and looked around for the source of the angry caterwauling. I didn't have to look around for very long. A small brown projectile zipped around me so fast I wouldn't have noticed it if not for the feathers it was shedding. It was immediately followed by a wobbling mass of chocolate-colored fat that was moving surprisingly fast for its size. I screamed slightly as the fudgy, yowling mass crashed clumsily into my ankles and sent me tumbling into the street. I immediately scrambled up to my feet and grabbed my bag, lunging out of the road as fast as I could. I've seen movies! The cute girl jumps into the street (or in my case, falls) because of a poor little kitten and gets smashed because of it. Then she goes to the hospital and it turns out most of her organs aren't going to work anymore but some super-hot stranger comes along and saves her with pineapple magic. As fun as strange hot guys saving my life sounded, I wasn't planning on being that girl.

I turned back to what I guessed was a cat and was met with a trail of feathers and a fat brown tabby waddling after their source. Heh, that was weird. As far as I knew, I was the only person on my street that had a cat.

…Wait a second.

"CHOCOLAT!" I yelped, dumping my stuff near someone's fence and sprinting off after my mom's fat and stupid cat, Chocolat. "Get back here you retarded cat! I'm gonna be late! …Chocolat!"


Twenty minutes later, I skidded into my seat just as the school bell rang. My dark blue- almost black- bangs were sticking to my forehead from the sweat. Not only did I have to catch the freaking cat (for such a tubby little lard-bucket, he was fast) but then he threw a fit and refused to follow me back home. I had to lug him all the way back to the house where Mom laughed at me and gave him freaking catnip. If that wasn't bad enough, I made it halfway back to the school before I realized I forgot my bag at that guy's fence and had to run back and get it. This was shaping up to be a really bad day…

"You overslept again, didn't you?" A monotone voice sighed from behind me. I turned around in annoyance to meet the blank face of my cerulean-haired best friend. Ryuu Sorahada, the most robotic person I'd ever had the displeasure of meeting, was looking at me through sleepy eyes from the desk behind mine, resting his head on one hand as if he couldn't even be bothered to hold it up like a normal person.

"Nuh-uh! Chocolat got out again and started chasing birds. I had to catch him, the stupid, lazy, ungrateful little…" I trailed off with a pout, noticing Ryuu's single raised eyebrow and the look of mild disbelief (or at least I think it was. All his faces look the same…) that just screamed 'I don't believe you'.

"I don't believe you." That kinda tipped me off, too. "Sounds like another excuse you made off the top of your head because you forgot to set your alarm again." My pout deepened and I looked at him, offended.

"Oh yeah, like you're one to talk. Ryo has to literally drag you to school every morning, you lazy bum! Plus, I never 'make up excuses'." Ryo Sorahada was Ryuu's older twin brother. He was also a giant jerkface.

"Once you told me you were late to school because you got chased by a herd of wild robot buffalo." I blushed a violent red, shrinking a little in my seat. How dare he bring that up!

"I was eight."

"And now you're fourteen. What's your point?" All throughout the conversation, his face never once changed expression from that look of muted incredulity and his tone remained at a flatline. Seriously, Ryuu had the best poker face ever. It made me jealous.

Now thoroughly humiliated and annoyed, I crossed my arms over my chest and turned back around, face burning.

"Jerk."

"You know you love me." I turned my head to stick my tongue out at him just in time for the teacher to walk in and see me. He gave me a disapproving glare and I shrunk more into my seat, but he thankfully didn't say anything. As soon as sensei stopped looking at us, Ryuu nudged my desk forward with his foot. I silently began plotting my revenge. This was the kind of relationship we had- Ryuu would try and crawl under my skin to make me turn red with annoyance and I in turn would find new ways to try and crack his iron mask. Only one of us was really successful, but it was a fun way to pass the time.

Unbeknownst to me, a pair of beady rosy eyes scrutinized our every move from a tree just outside the window.


Well, school was a drag, as usual. I walked out of the large iron gates, a bounce in my step. Ryuu usually walked home with me, but today he had to wait on Ryo to get out of boxing practice.

Now that school was out of the way, I was free to go back home and bake a cake for later. Hmm…what flavor today? Lemon? Chocolate? Strawberry? Ooh, maybe a three-layer Neapolitan… Why wasn't I diabetic? Maybe I should cut back on the sugar for today. I think mom went out and bought some packs of Sp-

"Ow!"

"WAUGH!" With that flattering shriek, I lost my balance and fell back to the ground. Butt, meet concrete. Oh, you two are already good friends? Well isn't that just fantastic. I looked up warily to whatever brick wall I'd just run into, fully prepared to turn around and run like hell. Again, I've seen the movies. Cute kid who gets bullied at school despite their so-obvious-it's-painful adorableness runs into a gang of thugs? Their ass gets beat, period.

Instead of seeing a guy with an oversized hoodie, a beanie, some piercings and probably some really ugly facial hair, I got an eye full of knee-length ruby hair. Slowly following the glossy mane upwards with a feeling of dread in my stomach, I met the startled lime green eyes of one very very popular and one very very scary Kotori Koemi. The star of the volleyball and cross-country teams, Koemi was loved by all but known throughout Yuchiyo to be a bit…well, aggressive. She was no pushover, that was for sure. As of right now, she was rubbing her side in irritation and looking around for whatever just crashed into her. To put in perspective how solid she was (or maybe how twiggy I was?) she hadn't moved an inch from where I'd hit her, but here I was a foot away from where I'd started and on the ground. Way to kill a girl's confidence.

"…Was that you?" Koemi finally spotted me at her feet, looking at me incredulously. I almost choked on my tongue in my abrupt haste to give her every apology known to man plus an acceptable excuse. I paused for a moment, took a shaky breath, and nodded.

"S-sorry…!" I squeaked in a voice much weaker and higher than it was supposed to be. Koemi continued staring with one perfectly plucked eyebrow raised elegantly and oh my goodness she was so pretty my social life was ruined forever I just ran into Kotori Koemi-

"You okay down there, babyface?" My first reaction was to snarl at the nickname (my cheeks were not that chubby) before I remembered who I was talking to and immediately clammed up again. I nodded furiously and reached for my bag, looking everywhere but at the school idol and blushing harder than I had in my life. Well, maybe not my life, but definitely the last week!

Just… why was she so pretty? I was getting an inferiority complex just looking at her. Her green eyes matched her long red hair perfectly and her bangs framed her face, drawing attention to her high cheekbones and full lips. She had the best figure I'd ever seen, she was tall, and she had a tan. A tan.

Me?

I was a 5'4" little girl with a chest as flat as a twelve year old boy, skin whiter than a marshmallow, and some left over baby chub on my cheeks that refused to go away no matter how much I dieted and exercised. I had no figure so speak of and, sans my cheeks, I was twiggy. The only thing I had going for me was my eyes, which were a strange shade of pinkish-red and had almost a cat-like pupil, but Koemi's electric orbs put even those to shame. I would like to think I had nice hair, too- it was a midnight blue-black that I kept pulled into high pigtails- but hers… I would kill to get my hands on her conditioner.

It was in the middle of staring at her incredibly long and shiny hair when I became aware of hand being shoved in my face.

…Christ, even her hands were pretty. Was there no justice in this world? Feeling like I was reaching out to touch the Holy Grail or something, I took her hand and let her pull me up with what felt like minimal effort on her part.

I could feel Koemi's violently green eyes boring into my skull. I shrunk back a little and began inching backwards towards my bag.

"Hey- have we…have we met before?" Koemi asked slowly. I looked at up at her through my bangs in confusion. I was fairly certain I had never been face-to-face with Kotori Koemi- I would have remembered it.

"Uh…um, I don't-"

"Oh yeah! You're that chick from the bakery over in town, aren't you!" I froze. Kotori Koemi knew where I worked.

"I- um, well I…y-yeah, I work there sometimes." I mentally beat myself over the head. '"Yeah, I work there sometimes?" Your mother owns it, of course you "work there sometimes". Talk much, you dunderhead? '

Oblivious to what was quickly becoming my mental meltdown, Koemi grinned down at me (oh god even her teeth sparkled) and nodded affirmatively.

"Mm, I go there every week. Don't tell anyone, but I've got a bit of a soft spot for chocolate truffles. You've been my cashier a couple of times!" I felt extremely flattered that Koemi liked me enough to tell me about herself (the way my face turned into a giant tomato was testament) but I was a bit…confused. I mean, you'd think I'd remember if the most popular girl in school walked into my mom's bakery and shoved money in my face. Admittedly, there are times when I get way too into the cakes behind the glass and kind of block everything else out…Oh, that's embarrassing.

"Um, I-"

"Would you look at the time? Aw, crap. Hey, listen…?"

"Y-Yuriko. Yuriko Yaezashi."

"Yaezashi-chan. I've gotta run now or else I'm gonna be late for volleyball practice. It was nice meeting you, cutie! We should hang out sometime!" She smiled at me again (her teeth were blinding) and started to walk towards the gym, ruby ponytail swinging behind her.

"…B-bye…" I called out weakly, shocked beyond belief. "…Cutie?" I reached up to my face and absentmindedly pinched my chipmunk cheeks gently. Kotori Koemi had not only just talked to me, but wanted me to hang out with her. And she called me cute.

Cute.

Was she being nice or was it just some weird pet name?

…Was she flirting with me?

I took a few unsteady steps back, grabbed my bag, and just stood in the middle of the sidewalk, eyes never leaving the direction Koemi had disappeared in.

Holy crap.

I ran all the way back home.


As soon as I was all the way in the house, I slammed the door shut and slid to floor like a pile of human-shaped jello.

"So this is your daughter, then?" I shot back up to my feet at the unfamiliar voice. This was shaping up to be a terrible day, I decided. Apparently lamming into holier-than-thou Kotori Koemi just wasn't bad enough. I quickly patted down my hair and brushed the dust and dirt off my uniform in a sad attempt to look presentable. There really wasn't much point since the woman had already seen me make a complete and total fool out of myself, but mom was very particular about manners when it came to guests. No elbows on the table, speak only when spoken to, and never show up looking like hell warmed over. Two out of three wasn't bad, I supposed.

Slipping my shoes off quickly, I patted my hair down and stepped into the family room. I immediately turned towards the source of the very womanly voice and bowed low, the picture of poise and elegance. Well, other than the leaves in my frazzled pigtails that I could see now that they were drooping towards my face. To my left, my mother tried and failed to stifle her giggles before erupting into full blown laughter. I shot straight up and looked at her, offended. I knew I looked bad, but REALLY. She didn't have to laugh at me! I turned back to the stranger to apologize for my mother. I had just opened my mouth when something struck me as...odd. I took another look.

There on my couch, making herself look very much at home was the single weirdest person I had ever laid eyes on.

Her (...his?) dark blue hair was cut short and very, very messy. A strange reddish visor that looked like something out of a sci-fi movie covered her eyes, and she had wrapped herself in a dark and tattered cloak. A large, angry looking scar marred her left cheek and her face was set into an intense frown.

Oh yeah, and she looked about two years old.

"...Um...It's nice to...meet you?" I said uncertainly, glancing around the room for the baby's mother. Two year old's didn't have grown-up sounding voices. They spoke like they were on helium and had trouble saying their 'r's and 'l's. When I didn't find anyone, I looked to my mom for help. She was doubled over, one hand over her mouth to stifle her insane giggles and the other clutching her armchair in a deathgrip so she didn't tumble out of her chair. "Uh, mom, what-?"

Pain exploded in the side of my head and I crashed face first onto the floor, clutching it for all I was worth. Oh, holy HELL that hurt.

Through my haze of BURNING AGONY, I heard a pair of tiny shoes hit the floor next to my face. One baby-sized foot nudged my chipmunk cheek.

"Don't turn away from me!" The child barked in that adult voice, jumping on my head and standing there as if she'd conquered me. Which...she kind of had. Oh, god, was I really that pathetic?

"Y-you…! AHAHAHA! Y-Yuriko, sweetheart...meet your new t-tutor. Lal Mirch here is going to teach you how to be a certified criminal! You might be arrested and everything! Oh sweetie, you'll get your own lackeys and you'll shoot things- isn't this just so exciting?" I lifted my head up from the floor to gape at her, looking for that twinkle in her eye that told me when she was just kidding. There was no twinkle today, however- just a giant grin and crimson eyes that were actually starting to tear up from laughing so hard.

"I...W-what?"

My mother was obviously insane and the only way to escape her was through unconsciousness. I blacked out.


A/N: I'm a page-break whore, I know.

Ah, two reviews in as many days. Words cannot explain how excited I was when I opened up my inbox and saw two shining gems of awesome. And they favorited, too.

SQUEE.

Much thanks to hello-totoro-ninja and Preppy-Stealthy-Ninja. I certainly don't deserve the attention of so many ninjas, but I have it anyway. Thank you! Also, please tell me if you guys catch any mistakes in this. It's currently unbeta'd and will probably remain that way until the person I drafted is done with her road trip. Pretty please?

You may have noticed that Yuriko and her mother don't share a last name. Before any one asks, that was on purpose. No, she was not adopted. It will be explained. Eventually.

Next Chapter: Yuriko gets a head start on her illegal mafia training by breaking a few school rules, gets laughed with extreme prejudice by the resident squirrels, and has a lot of information stuffed into her tiny brain. Also, Lal is an abusive Devil-Baby-Wizard.

Review, favorite, stalk, do what you do.