Chapter 3

Gokudera's apartment was quite different from Tsuna's house. It was neat and tidy, clearly well-cared for and cleaned regularly. Even Gokudera's section for creating and caring for his explosives was well-organized, and the carpeted floors were free of debris. Gokudera's bed was made, and a second guest bed could be pulled out from his couch. Bookshelves filled with books lined the walls, all of which looked rather advanced for a middle-school student. The kitchen was clean as well, although it looked as if food was rarely made there. As Tsuna stood there, gazing at the apartment, there came a knocking at the door. Gokudera opened it, finding Yamamoto standing there with his normal grin on his face.

"Hey, Gokudera!" Yamamoto said cheerfully.

"What do you want, baseball idiot?" Gokudera said in reply.

"I was looking for Tsuna." Yamamoto explained. "I wanted to make sure she had found somewhere to stay. Reborn told me I'd find her here when I passed him on the street a minute ago."

"Reborn?" Tsuna said, walking over to the door. "What else did he say?"

"He said he had convinced your mother that you two would be away for the week." Yamamoto said. "He also said something about getting changed, and that he'd be back to meet you later tonight."

"Great... Another stupid costume, I bet." Tsuna said. "Alright, thanks Yamamoto."

"No problem!" Yamamoto said, smiling broadly. "Anyway, why don't you two come down to my place for dinner? Sushi's on the housetonightfor you two!"

"I think I'll pass." Gokudera muttered. "Jyuudaime, you go get some food. I'll wait here."

"Are you sure, Gokudera-kun?" Tsuna asked, surprised that Gokudera wanted to stay away from her.

"I have some... things to take care of. I'll be here when you're done." Gokudera said, eager to take the opportunity to dispose of Reborn's "gift" and search for any others he might have left.

"Alright, see you later, Gokudera-kun." Tsuna said, walking out the door with Yamamoto. As soon as the door was closed, Gokudera sighed in relief. He then grabbed a trash bag and threw the pack of condoms and the note from Reborn into it, and began to scour his room for anything Reborn had placed in it.

Yamamoto and Tsuna were enjoying the sushi that Yamamoto's father had prepared. Tsuna enjoyed the sushi, finally able to eat it without interruptions or others stealing it from him. It was a peaceful meal, as Yamamoto's father had gone out to get more fish, leaving Yamamoto with what was left in case he needed to make more.

"I must say, Tsuna, you look much better this way." Yamamoto said, laughing. Tsuna blushed deeply, thanking him. Yamamoto blushed slightly as well, rubbing the back of his head nervously.

"Really, Dame-Tsuna, you shouldn't get romantically involved with your friends." said a man who had entered without either of them noticing. The faces of both Yamamoto and Tsuna turned bright red, embarrassed by the man's statement.

"Wh-who are you?" Tsuna stammered, confused as to how the man knew who they were. She thought he looked vaguely familiar, but didn't know why. He wore a black fedora with a yellow stripe running around it, just above the brim. The fedora was pulled down to cover his eyes, but Tsuna could see, just barely, that his eyes were black. The man was dressed as if he had just gotten out of a business meeting, wearing a black suit and tie with a yellow polo shirt underneath it.

"Really, you're more of an idiot than I thought." the man chuckled. "You don't even recognize your tutor?"

"R-Reborn?" Tsuna said, surprised to see him in his adult form.

"Of course, Dame-Tsuna." Reborn said. "Now come on, it's getting late. You have to get up early tomorrow for studying." Reborn proceeded to escort Tsuna out of the restaurant. Tsuna thanked Yamamoto for the dinner, expressing how much she had liked it as she walked out the door. Yamamoto blushed slightly, laughing as he always did.

"So, Dame-Tsuna, how have you enjoyed being a woman so far?" Reborn asked as they walked down the street. Night had fallen suddenly while Tsuna had been eating, and now it was almost too dark to see.

"It's so... odd." Tsuna said, sighing. "I mean, nothing's really different, but I swear that everyone seems to be treating me much nicer than normal." Reborn smirked slightly, but said nothing.

As they continued walking, Tsuna suddenly found herself alone in an alley, obviously having made a wrong turn somewhere and was now separated from Reborn. A group of six or seven men began to approach Tsuna, some carrying knives or bats.

"Heh, look what we've got here." One of the thugs said. "It ain't safe at night for ladies like you, y'know." The thugs approached Tsuna, chuckling evilly, when suddenly, one of them fell to the ground, unconscious.

"Leave her alone." Said the man who had knocked out the thug. "Or I'll have to bite you all to death."

"H-Hibari?" Tsuna said, surprised to find him coming to her rescue. Hibari's reply was merely a glare that said "I'll deal with you later", before he charged at the remaining thugs. It was not at all a fair fight; Hibari struck down each of the thugs with ease. He then approached Tsuna, holding out his hand to help her up off of the ground.

"Th-thank you, Hiba-"

"Save it." Hibari said, cutting Tsuna off. "I did what needed to be done." Without another word, Hibari walked off, leaving Tsuna alone and slightly confused.

"Like a lone, drifting cloud, protecting his family from a distance." Reborn said, watching from his perch on the fire escape outside Gokudera's window.