Disclaimer: I own nothing from Katekyo Hitman Reborn.
Summary: Sawada Tsunayoshi is ordinary. Average. Not at all special in any way. So while having ties to the mafia comes as a surprise to Tsuna, the fact that his younger, more talented, more popular twin brother is chosen as the next Vongola boss doesn't. Not everyone agrees though. After all, what is a world without a proper sky?
Chapter 1 – Opposite Twins
Stepping off the plane in the Namimori airport, Reborn ignored the curious stares he received and headed for the address Iemitsu had given him. He had already read the file on Sawada 'Hiko' Takehiko that the Nono had given him – Reborn was fairly certain Iemitsu had had a hand in that too; half the information did nothing but sing praises for the kid – but he believed in gathering intel for himself.
It didn't take long for Reborn to reach the Sawada household, pausing a few times along the way to take note of different places he could later store his extra weapons in. It wouldn't do to be unprepared.
He specifically timed his arrival so that he would be able to observe a full day in Takehiko's life and the sun wasn't very high in the sky by the time he settled on a tree branch outside the house, waiting for his soon-to-be student to come out.
However, it wasn't Takehiko who appeared first. It took Reborn a moment but the slightly longer hair and smaller figure told him that this was the older twin. Not to mention the hunched shoulders and ducked head all but screamed the boy's lack of self-confidence.
The Nono had also given Reborn a file on Sawada 'Tsuna' Tsunayoshi – much thinner and more a summary than actual information – but he would have to keep an eye on the brother all the same. Tsunayoshi was supposed to have bad marks in his studies and was absolutely abysmal at sports, with no charisma and no friends; not at all like his twin, and the Vongola couldn't afford anyone dragging their boss down.
Reborn watched as the boy opened the gate and grabbed the empty trashcans on the curb, dragging them back inside. Just before the gate swung shut behind him though, the boy raised a hand to rub at the back of his neck and dark brown eyes turned in Reborn's direction.
Reborn didn't start but he did raise an eyebrow as the boy scanned his surroundings, gaze sweeping twice over the spot where Reborn was hidden. Interesting. Well, it was only to be expected. Both boys had Vongola Primo's blood running through them. If the weaker twin's intuition was at this level, Reborn was curious about how much stronger his future student would be.
The boy finally turned away, locking the gate again before disappearing back inside the house. It was another half hour before the door opened again and Reborn finally stirred as a boy with short, gravity-defying hair and a confident air to his demeanour strode out, bag over one shoulder and munching on a piece of toast. His brother stumbled out after him, waving at someone – most likely their mother - out of sight before closing the door behind them.
They were close enough for Reborn to pick up their conversation and he frowned when Takehiko rounded on his twin the moment they stepped out onto the sidewalk.
"Try not to be an embarrassment today, Dame-Tsuna," Hiko sneered, scorn painting his features as Tsuna shrank into himself. "I know that's rather impossible for you but at least don't let me hear all about how big an idiot you are this time. And remember not to enter the school with me."
And without another word, the boy turned on his heel and walked away. The remaining twin didn't say a word, only waiting for a few minutes before continuing on his way, bag clutched tightly in his hands.
Up in the tree, Reborn frowned. Hiko's attitude was something he was going to have to fix, but more importantly, the younger twin hadn't looked in Reborn's direction at all. Neither boy was trained to be discreet so if his future student had noticed him, surely he would've at least glanced in his direction.
With a small sigh, Reborn jumped down from the tree and headed to the school as well. Maybe Hiko's interactions with other people would be different.
There it was again; that tingling feeling that made his hair rise. Tsuna twitched a little in his seat but refrained from looking around. He would only get yelled at by the teacher again.
As if reading his mind, Sato-sensei snapped out, "Sawada! Solve the question on the board!"
Tsuna frantically scanned the question as he approached the front. He had studied, going over the material half a dozen times only last night and he faintly recalled needing tangent to find the length but which numbers were he supposed to divide again?
"Don't know again, Sawada?" The teacher released a long-suffering sigh as the rest of the class snickered and Tsuna felt his face redden.
"I suppose it would be too much to ask for you to give me a verbal answer?" Aida-sensei continued dryly as she directed him back to his seat.
Tsuna quickly slipped back into his chair, hunching over his textbook. It wasn't that he couldn't speak, but most of the time, he hadn't really found a need to talk and most people didn't want to hear anything he had to say anyway. Hiko certainly couldn't be bothered to listen to a single word and he had eventually stopped talking altogether, only speaking out loud when his mother wanted him to.
With a tired sigh, he meticulously copied down the question on the board and tried to solve it himself. He had to refer back to the textbook several times and it took him five minutes to get it right but at least his final answer matched the one the teacher put up.
By the time lunch rolled around, Tsuna had struggled through another four questions out of the twelve the teacher had put up and gladly welcomed the break. Grabbing his bento, he slipped away before any bullies could catch him, hastily escaping to the empty rooftop he always ate his lunch at.
It wasn't long before he felt another prickle at the back of his neck as if someone was watching him and he quickly looked around again, worried that his tormentors had found him. But no one appeared and the feeling soon went away and didn't come back, so Tsuna settled down to enjoy his lunch, idling away another hour as he listened to the wind whistling around him and the distant voices of his schoolmates down below.
He had no idea how much his life would change on that fateful day.
Reborn didn't like his observations.
He had spent the entire day keeping an eye on both his future student and the brother, alternating between their two classes, yet so far, only the older twin had reacted to Reborn's pointed stares. Just in case the boy had somehow taught himself not to respond outright, he had even tried pouring on the killer intent. That had gotten a reaction, resulting in the kid shifting uneasily in his seat, so Reborn was assured that there was no subtlety involved. This wasn't a particularly reassuring thing but Reborn simply made a mental note to work on that aspect with Hiko. It was what he was here for after all.
The rest of the intel in the file had been relatively correct; Hiko was popular, surrounded by his classmates during break and drawing people in left and right with his natural charisma. He certainly had potential to become a good boss. The boy's grades were not as high as Reborn wanted them to be but at least they weren't as bad as Tsuna's, and his superior athletic skills more than made up for them. Hiko was quite good at baseball, soccer, and even basketball. There was no doubt that the kid excelled in sports.
But Reborn also noticed Hiko's irritating habit of boasting. The boy wasn't at all modest, basking in the praise and flaunting his talents every chance he had. It got to be so annoying that Reborn had switched targets for the rest of the lunch period, making his way to the other twin's chosen lunch spot. Tsuna may have been weak and timid, but at the very least, he was also quiet.
Perhaps too quiet. Reborn hadn't seen the kid speak at all. Admittedly, Tsuna really didn't seem to have any friends to talk to, but as far as Reborn had seen, he hadn't said a word to the teachers either.
He noticed the boy shifting nervously when his gaze remained on him so Reborn turned and studied the goings-on of the general student population instead. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed the boy relaxing again. So it was only pointed attention that caught the older twin's notice. Reborn temporarily considered testing him with a spike of killer intent as well but decided that that probably wouldn't go over well if he was already reacting to mere looks. Besides, the boy wasn't the one he was here to teach; he should concentrate on Sawada Takehiko instead. The younger twin may have potential but Reborn still had quite a bit of work ahead to shape the boy into an acceptable boss.
"What's this baby doing in our house?" Hiko demanded as soon as he caught sight of Reborn.
Reborn only stared back, enjoying the confusion he was already stirring up. His gaze slid past his appointed student and met Tsuna's eyes. There was a small crease at the boy's brow and he rubbed his neck like he had multiple times that day. Reborn was reluctantly – but only slightly – Impressed; on some level, to some degree, the kid recognized him.
"Hey, I asked a question!" Hiko said brusquely, glancing back at his brother. "Why do you always have to be so stupid that you can't even answer with a simple yes or no?"
Tsuna ducked his head and shrugged helplessly, which only served to make Hiko scoff.
"You're so Dame," He muttered in disgust, turning back as their mother entered the room. "Kaa-san, what's this baby doing here?"
Sawada Nana tilted her head and smiled kindly down at Reborn. "Oh, are you lost?"
Reborn studied the woman; even judging by her current demeanour, he supposed Iemitsu's rants on his wife did have some truth to them.
"I'm Reborn," He introduced. "The home tutor."
There was a beat of surprised silence and then Hiko burst out laughing. "Oh that's great! Did you hear that, Dame-Tsuna? He's a baby home tutor! He's perfect for someone as pathetic as you!"
Reborn was by no means soft-hearted and he hadn't survived this long in the mafia world without patience but the arrogant brat was getting on even his last nerve, and the fact that Tsuna was flushing with embarrassment and making no attempt to defend himself wasn't doing his tolerance any favours.
But he hid all that away and blinked up at Hiko instead, letting a glint of intimidation enter his eyes. "If he's Tsuna, then that must mean you're Sawada Takehiko."
Hiko immediately drew himself up. "That's right. Heh, even babies know who I am, huh? Well that's only to be expected."
"Then you'll be the one I'll be tutoring," Reborn announced, smirking when the smile slid off his student's face.
"What?" Hiko exclaimed, eyes narrowing with the beginnings of anger. "I don't need a tutor! The only stupid one around here is Dame-Tsuna. You should be tutoring him!"
The boy's hand shot out and grabbed a startled Tsuna by the arm, roughly jerking him forward. "See? He even looks useless; he'll need all the help he can-"
Reborn had honestly heard enough of the brat's drivel, and without further ado, he bypassed Tsuna and landed a none-too-gentle kick against Hiko's head. The kid yelped with pain and toppled backwards, passing out as he thumped to the ground.
Reborn tilted his fedora down to hide a grimace. He had barely used any of his strength; the boy was obviously weaker than he had first thought.
"Oh dear!" Nana spoke up, and Reborn turned in time to see the concern surfacing on the woman's face. "Hiko-kun must be tired today," She glanced at Reborn before smiling warmly at him. "If you'll be teaching him, I can make up the spare bedroom for you."
Reborn marveled at the woman's ability to take things in stride but declined out loud. "That's alright; I can sleep in Hiko's room. As his tutor, I must be with him day and night. Where is his bedroom?"
"Up the stairs; second room on the right," Nana replied promptly before turning to Tsuna. "Tsu-kun, do you mind helping your brother upstairs?"
Oddly enough, Tsuna hadn't moved at all. Reborn had half-expected the boy to run after his display but instead, the kid was staring warily at him, hands wringing nervously even as he nodded an affirmative for his mother.
"Good, I'll get started on dinner then," Nana said cheerfully and bustled away again.
Slowly, scooting carefully around Reborn, Tsuna bent to pick up his younger brother, staggering under the taller boy's weight.
As Reborn silently followed the two up the stairs, he frowned at a sudden realization. For all that Tsuna was wary of him and looked like he wanted to be anywhere but in Reborn's vicinity, there was no fear, not even after the kick that knocked out Hiko.
Well, he smirked, that would soon change.
Judging by what Hiko had said, Tsuna could talk but, for whatever reason, didn't. However, while Tsuna wouldn't be particularly involved with Vongola, Reborn felt it would be seen as a weakness if the boss' own brother was too scared to talk. He would have to remedy that as well and there was no time like the present.
So, letting Leon change into a gun, Reborn cocked it and pointed it at the suddenly startled-looking boy in front of him. "Talk," He ordered.
Brown eyes flared with alarm and the kid shrank away from him, fear seeping into his eyes at last.
But still, Reborn noted with some annoyance, the boy neither spoke nor released his death grip on his brother. He mentally scoffed. What exactly did Tsuna expect his twin to do when the brat was out cold?
"You can talk, can't you?" Reborn challenged, pulling back the safety on his gun. "I don't care what you say; talk."
Not a word escaped the boy's mouth but he was now scrambling backwards and dragging his twin with him. It took Reborn a split second to realize that Tsuna wasn't waiting for Hiko to protect him; in his own way, the older twin was trying to protect the younger.
"Stop," Reborn said, inwardly irritated. For some reason, a spark of unease prodded the back of his mind. The information he was gathering was beginning to form a picture that he had no desire to comprehend.
In front of him, Tsuna froze but his eyes remained glued on the Leon-gun and his entire body was tensed and prepared to flee. Though apparently not without Hiko.
Reborn mentally sighed. Maybe the boy could talk but had some kind of defect that kept him quiet most of the time. He would pursue this inquiry another day.
"Nevermind," He said out loud, gaze shifting to the younger twin when Hiko finally stirred, groaning in pain. "Stay quiet then."
"You!" Hiko yelled as soon as he woke up, still clutching his head. "Who do you think you are? You can't just kick me for no reason!"
Reborn shot him a flat look. "I'm Reborn, your new home tutor. I'm also the world's greatest hitman. I'm here to train you to become a mafia boss."
The stunned silence that followed gave Reborn the opportunity to observe both twins' reactions. While Hiko's expression quickly became one of disbelief, Tsuna's remained wary, even more than before, and his eyes hadn't once wavered from the gun still held in Reborn's hand.
"Mafia boss?" Hiko repeated derisively. "Are you crazy, kid? Even if you were qualified to teach, why would I want to become a mafia boss?"
Reborn smirked up at the boy. "You don't have a choice. You've been chosen as the Vongola Family's next boss. I'm here to make sure you live up to that name."
Hiko just snorted before jabbing an elbow into Tsuna's side. The older twin instantly cringed, flinching away from his brother. "Dame-Tsuna, get the kid out of here. I don't want to deal with him anymore."
Tsuna didn't move from his spot, only glancing briefly at Hiko before returning his gaze to the Leon-gun.
His meaning was clear but Hiko only scoffed. "You're such a coward, Dame-Tsuna. That thing's only a toy; look." And he reached out to snatch Reborn's gun.
Reborn would've fired a warning shot for that idiotic move if Tsuna hadn't snagged his brother's sleeve, clinging on as his eyes widened fearfully.
Reborn decided to fire anyway and the crack of the bullet sent both brothers shrinking backwards.
"The hell?" Hiko yelped, ducking behind Tsuna and using his brother as a shield. "That thing's real?"
"Of course it's real," Reborn answered, noting the way Tsuna now seemed glued to the floor, making no attempt to stop hiding his twin. "You are both descended from the first boss of the Vongola Family but the Ninth has picked Sawada Takehiko as his successor. That means you, brat."
"Don't call me a brat!" Hiko snapped, peering out around Tsuna. "And I won't have some crazy baby teaching me. Even if I did agree to become a mafia boss, I deserve the best."
Reborn was hard-pressed not to twitch at the sheer arrogance of that statement but pointed his gun at his student instead. The brat cowered behind his brother again but Reborn knew he could still get him if he wanted to.
"I am the best," He said calmly. "And I already told you: you don't have a choice."
He glanced over at the silent thirteen-year-old and jerked his head at the door. "You, leave. I already have some things to start teaching your brother."
Tsuna flinched and he looked like he sorely wanted to flee from the room but he remained in place, if only because Hiko was still clutching onto the back of his shirt.
Reborn's eyes narrowed slightly and he changed targets, levelling his gun on the older twin instead.
"That's right," Hiko piped up. "You can shoot Dame-Tsuna instead. No one would miss him if he died."
Reborn's hand tightened unnoticeably around his gun and his features remained blank, unlike Tsuna's, whose eyes dimmed even further. But the older twin was none of his concern, though he would be sure to beat some respect into his student.
"I might if he doesn't get out," His voice remained neutral as he watched Tsuna flinch again. But still, still the boy didn't move. Either he was secretly very brave or not-so-secretly very stupid.
Or, Reborn's eyes drifted back to the younger twin, he was ridiculously protective of the tactless brat hiding behind him.
It was probably the latter, and if Reborn wanted the boy to leave, simply threatening him wasn't going to work.
"I'm his tutor now," He said bluntly. "Hurting the brat without cause isn't what I'm here for."
That was as close to a reassurance as Reborn was willing to give but judging by the minute relaxation of the kid's shoulders, it seemed to be enough.
Slowly, cautiously, Tsuna rose to his feet, not seeming to hear any of the complaints and whiny commands coming from Hiko. Still without a single sound, he made his way to the door and let himself out.
His eyes never once wavered from Reborn until the door closed behind him.
"What a coward!" Hiko burst out, bringing Reborn's attention firmly back on him.
Reborn smirked, not bothering to hide the evil gleam in his eyes. Time to knock some sense into his student.
Tsuna couldn't help staring the next morning when his brother came tearing down the stairs in nothing but his boxers, running through the kitchen like the devil himself was after him. Then again, after the bangs and crashes and yelps he had heard yesterday, that might very well be true.
"Tsu-kun, are the eggs finished?"
Tsuna turned back to the stove, flipping the eggs on to four plates. They had an extra mouth to feed now. He nodded at his mother as he dumped the pan into the sink before moving over to set the table.
By the time everyone was seated, Hiko was wearing his school uniform and Reborn was sitting calmly beside him, looking far too innocent for anyone's good.
"Hey, Dame-Tsuna," Hiko glared as Tsuna glanced nervously at his brother. "I saw you staring this morning. If word of it leaks out around school, I won't forgive you. Understand?"
Tsuna nodded hastily and dropped his gaze back onto his plate. The last time Hiko hadn't forgiven him – for spilling water on his shirt – his brother had sent a few of his bigger friends after him. Tsuna already had his own share of bullies to deal with; he didn't need his brother sending more.
"And don't fail another test," Hiko continued with a sneer. "It's embarrassing."
"Hiko-kun," Nana cut in gently. "I'm sure Tsu-kun studied hard."
As per usual, Tsuna didn't say anything even as Hiko snorted. "C'mon, Kaa-san. Even you have to admit Dame-Tsuna's pretty stupid."
His cheeks burned and he felt his heart tighten painfully when their mother failed to reply. He should be used to it by now; their mum usually took Hiko's side. After all, Hiko was a better son, smarter and not a disappointment like Tsuna.
"Well, I'm off," Hiko announced, grabbing an apple on his way to the door. Without waiting for a response, he had left the house, leaving the remaining three people staring after him.
Tsuna glanced at the clock, noting that he would have to run again now that Hiko had decided not to help with the clean-up.
"You don't have to, Tsu-kun," His mother smiled down at him and he didn't really understand the edge of sadness in her expression but it fuelled his desire to help her.
With a shake of his head, Tsuna started gathering up the plates and carrying them over to the sink. He kept a wary eye on Reborn and only reached for the hitman's plate after he had made it clear he was finished. Still, Tsuna found the unwavering stare he received in return uncomfortable. If the baby was here to train Hiko, why hadn't he left with his brother yet?
Reborn ignored the anxious glances Tsuna sent him every few steps as he walked beside the boy. After yesterday evening, during which Reborn could swear that the brat had done everything humanly possible to aggravate him, he had had enough of Hiko for the moment. He hated the spineless nature of the brat's brother but the silence gave him time to plan the next test he had for his student.
For now though, Reborn could get back to the voiceless boy currently trying to stay as far away from him as possible.
"Why won't you talk?" Reborn enquired, pinning the kid with a sharp look. "As the future boss' brother, being too afraid to speak will make the Family look weak. Coupled with your bad grades and poor athletic scores, you'll drag your brother down even further."
The brunet flinched at Reborn's frank words and kept his eyes glued on the ground.
So trying to insult the boy wouldn't work; not very surprising, all things considered. From what Reborn had seen, only Hiko seemed proud enough to get offended, and at the tiniest things too. That, or Tsuna had such pathetic self-esteem that he believed every word coming out of Reborn's mouth. Probably a little of both.
"Get better," He ordered out loud, voice brooking no arguments. "The Vongola can't be seen as weak. You're useless to the Family if you can't even hold your own."
With that said, Reborn leapt onto a nearby wall and out of sight. He didn't really know why he had decided to try goading the boy. Perhaps it was simple curiosity; Tsuna was so weak-willed compared to his brother but Reborn had also caught a flash of something else in him yesterday when he had refused to leave Hiko's bedroom until Reborn had, somewhat, given the boy his word that he wouldn't hurt his younger twin unnecessarily.
But his main focus was still the brat. Reborn had heard of his infatuation with the school idol, Sasagawa Kyoko, and the rivalry he had with the kendo captain over her. It would be interesting to see what Hiko would do to defend the girl.
It had been three days since Reborn had arrived and Tsuna had caught glimpses of his brother running through the school in his boxers. This sight had gotten around, and though Tsuna had had nothing to do with it, he still found himself cornered after school and roughed up and bruised by the time the bullies got bored.
Most of the people who picked on him liked to make it a game; who could make Tsuna cry out first, which was another reason he never made a sound anymore. It was meaningless and stupid in the end – he still got hurt – but it was still his own way of defying his tormentors, his own way of standing up to them, and Tsuna wouldn't give that up.
What occupied his thoughts these days were mostly Reborn's words. The demon-in-disguise had made it clear that Tsuna was dragging Hiko down and that was the last thing he wanted. He knew his brother disliked him and treated him badly but that was partly Tsuna's fault for being such a burden. Still, Hiko was his younger brother and he didn't want to let him down, but how could he get better? None of the kids in his class wanted anything to do with him and the teachers had pretty much given him up for a hopeless case.
He supposed he could ask Kurokawa Hana, who was one of the smartest kids in his grade, but she often hung out with Sasagawa Kyoko and Tsuna just knew his brother would get mad at him if he saw him anywhere near the girl. Hiko had a crush on the redhead and had already proclaimed her as his a few months back. Tsuna had frowned at the declaration, the wrongness that came with it sending an uncomfortable chill down his spine, but he had kept silent. It wasn't any of his business and as far as he had seen, Kyoko had managed to dodge out of most of his brother's attempts and Hana had fended off the rest.
Until two days ago. From what he had heard, his brother had challenged Mochida in a fight and had won. He had even caught sight of Reborn shooting Hiko with a bullet – something about Dying Wills and regrets – that made a flame grow on his forehead and most of his clothes disappear. While it did seem to make Hiko stronger, Tsuna was rather glad Reborn was mostly focused on his twin and not him. Hiko defeating Mochida had only served to make his brother stronger, but if Tsuna had done anything of the sort, he would probably be even more alienated than he already was.
A sudden bang made Tsuna jerk and almost topple out of his seat. Twisting around, he shrank back into his desk as he found Hiko's tutor standing in his doorway, gun tilting up his fedora and a dissatisfied look on his face.
"Still nothing, huh?" The baby muttered, eyeing Tsuna in a way that made him want to run. Without any explanation, Reborn fired off three more bullets in his general direction for no apparent reason at all before leaving again, and Tsuna slumped in a mix of relief and dread.
Reborn had taken to trying to surprise a sound out of him lately. Unfortunately for the hitman, Tsuna was used to bullies surprising him, jumping out from alleyways or around corners on his way home all towards their little game. On the other hand, Reborn didn't seem like the type to quit until he had succeeded and he wasn't looking forward to the baby hitman's future attempts.
Even so, Tsuna considered Reborn to be another bully, albeit a very over-the-top gun-wielding demonic one, but a bully nonetheless, and Tsuna had spent most of his life staying silent as other people tried to force even a single word from him. None had ever succeeded. Heck, half the school probably thought he was mute.
But that was just fine. After all, he had no reason to talk when no one wanted to listen.