Disclaimer: I own nothing from Katekyo Hitman Reborn.

-Not part of 'The Rightful Sky'. Just a separate oneshot I came up with.

Chapter Summary: Reborn was the one who was transported to the future first. What took place between the time he arrived and Tsuna's jump later on? Prequel/Sequel to 'Aftermath of a Death' and 'Revival of a Death'. Can read as standalone. AU, oneshot.

Remnants of a Death

Reborn was far too experienced in his line of work to panic over the fact that he couldn't move when that damn cow's bazooka flew towards him but he did get a very strong sense of wrongness when the pink smoke cleared and he found himself surrounded by several familiar but shocked faces.

The cow was always whipping the bazooka out; time travel really shouldn't faze anyone in the Vongola at this point.

"R- Reborn?"

Reborn tilted his fedora up as he surveyed an older-looking Bianchi. Judging by the smashed coffee mug at her feet, she had dropped it when he had appeared into the room.

"Ciaossu, Bianchi," He greeted, and then raised a mental eyebrow when Bianchi pressed a hand to her mouth and backed up a step before rounding on Giannini sitting at the table, also frozen in disbelief.

"What is this?" She demanded harshly, making the engineer jump. "This is a sick joke even for your experiments, Giannini!"

Giannini leapt up, waving his arms frantically. "This is not my doing, Bianchi-san! I have no hand in this at all! I would never do something like this!"

"Wait!" Fuuta cut in, looking slightly bewildered but still having the presence of mind to place a calming hand on Bianchi's arm. "The smoke from before looked like it came from Lambo's Ten-Year Bazooka. Maybe that's-"

"That's impossible!" Reborn said nothing as Bianchi looked at him again, wary and oddly hopeful at the same time. "His body's not here!"

A tense silence descended on the room and Reborn stilled at this information. He was... dead ten years in the future?

Fuuta clearing his throat drew Reborn's attention from pursuing that thought.

"That could've gone better," The boy – man now – smiled sheepishly down at him. "Were you transported here with the Ten-Year Bazooka, Reborn-san?"

Reborn briefly scanned the room again before nodding, leaping up onto the table so he wouldn't have to keep looking up.

"My future self was not here though, I take it?" He questioned calmly, though it was more a demand for answers than anything else.

And that was how he found out about the fate of the Arcobaleno and the anti Tri-ni-set radiation and the Millefiore Family.

"And what is Dame-Tsuna doing?" Reborn enquired after Bianchi had finally dropped her guarded expression and they had all mulled over the reason as to why Reborn was still here long after the slotted five minutes had passed. "This looks like a safe house. Has he gone into hiding elsewhere?"

Reborn inwardly frowned, dread pooling in his gut when no one seemed to be able to look him in the eye. As much as his idiot student liked to renounce the Decimo title three times a day and wailed day in and day out that he didn't want to become a mafia boss, Reborn knew Tsuna would eventually become a great boss. And if an annihilation order of all Vongola members had been sent out by the Millefiore boss, Byakuran, then any Vongola Mafioso with half a brain would get Tsuna to safety as soon as possible.

In the end, it was Fuuta who revealed the truth, his voice pained as if each word was being forcefully dragged from him.

"The Millefiore sent Tsuna-nii an invitation for a meeting between our Family and theirs," Fuuta explained, leaning back wearily in his chair. "I- I guess they couldn't come to an agreement or maybe Byakuran wasn't planning to come to any sort of truce at all..."

He trailed off and Reborn's jaw tightened as the unspoken truth roared in his mind.

"I heard that a sniper got him," Fuuta finished quietly in the damning silence, staring down at his tightly-clasped hands. "A single shot to the chest. He bled out before any help could get there."

Across from Reborn, Giannini burst into noisy tears, and beside him, Bianchi looked away, mouth a thin slash on her face. Fuuta himself sniffed and cleared his throat again but none of them spoke.

Emotions that Reborn, as a hitman, couldn't afford and had efficiently controlled and suppressed a long time ago welled up inside him now, rolling in a stormy turmoil as he kept his face perfectly blank.

Yes, Tsuna drove him crazy half the time, and yes, the brat could be a wimp on the best of days, but somewhere along the way, his student had grown on him. After Tsuna had defeated Mukuro, Reborn had been proud. The teen's resolve to protect his friends had shone so brightly that day. And after Tsuna had defeated Xanxus, Reborn had felt the first stirrings of respect. He had caught a glimpse of the man his student would one day become and the resolve that had blazed in Tsuna's eyes that night far outstripped what he had seen in Kokuyo only a handful of months earlier.

So Tsuna's death was not what Reborn had expected ten years down the road and at the hands of some upstart Family no less. He, Reborn, should have taught him better. A meeting with a known enemy was dangerous at best.

"Where were his Guardians?" Reborn demanded. "Surely Ryohei's Sun flames could have saved him."

Fuuta's features crumpled in misery and Giannini was busy mopping up his tears so it was Bianchi who answered, sounding resigned as she did so.

"Perhaps Tsunayoshi's Hyper Intuition picked up something or maybe it was just coincidence," Bianchi's smile was humourless. "But he sent all his Guardians out on missions around that time. My brother to Russia, Yamamoto Takeshi to China, Hibari Kyouya here to Japan, and, of course, Sasagawa Ryohei and his Sun flames to America. We haven't heard from Chrome-chan or Rokudo Mukuro for a while now and Lambo doesn't usually go on security detail."

Reborn remained quiet as Bianchi finished and he spent a long moment cursing his idiot student in his mind. He didn't believe in coincidence; Dame-Tsuna must have known or at least guessed that he wouldn't be coming back from the meeting and had sent all his Guardians away for some reason.

"And me?" Reborn asked flatly. "Was I already dead?"

A subtle flinch wracked Bianchi's body but she answered nonetheless. "No. But the radiation had made all of the Arcobaleno fairly sick. You were no exception. Tsunayoshi had long since ordered you to stay inside the Vongola mansion when you weren't out on missions."

"And guarding Tsuna was not part of my mission?" Reborn asked, sharper than he had intended. It wasn't right when the student died before the teacher. Even worse, it was his student.

"You didn't know, Reborn," Bianchi said softly. "None of us did, not until we got a phone call from Tsunayoshi's driver. He saw Byakuran and his men leave and got worried when Tsunayoshi didn't come out as well. He went in and..."

She shrugged helplessly and Reborn had to shove down the urge to shoot something. The sick feeling curling around his heart worsened as Bianchi's words sank in. So not only had Tsuna died, but his stupid, idiot student had died alone.

"Dame-Tsuna only brought his driver with him?" Reborn ran through all the members of the Vongola Family in his mind. "What about the Varia?"

"One of our headquarters in America fell under attack a few weeks before the meeting," Bianchi explained. "So the Varia was also sent there as a safety measure, long before the Guardians left."

So Tsuna had covered every base, ensuring that no one would be on the scene to save him.

Why though? It was foolish to go at all, much less alone. Even if Tsuna had been worried that his Family would be caught in a crossfire, his student should've been used to the danger by then. He should have accepted his Guardians' roles in his life.

"Where is his grave?" The question fell from his lips before he could stop it but he didn't try to take it back.

"He isn't buried," Bianchi revealed. "His coffin is in the Namimori forest though."

"You cannot go outside, Reborn-san!" Giannini finally spoke up, still drying his eyes as Reborn glanced at him. "The radiation will affect you as soon as you step outside. In fact, I should get started on making a suit for you. Even in here, you are not completely safe from the effects."

That being said, the engineer headed for the door, already mumbling under his breath about the necessary materials and calculations.

"Well, since it doesn't seem like you'll be going back anytime soon," Bianchi rose to her feet with a slightly strained but genuine smile. "Why don't we get you settled in? There are certainly enough rooms here."

Reborn nodded and settled in Bianchi's arms as he usually did in the past. Fuuta got up as well, keeping pace with them as they made their way down one of the hallways.

"Reborn-san," Fuuta spoke up abruptly as if remembering something. "You can't visit Tsuna-nii right now but Hibari-san dropped off a box of his belongings a few weeks ago after the Vongola mansion was destroyed. None of us have touched it but if you want, you could take a look. I don't think Tsuna-nii would mind."

Reborn glanced sidelong at Fuuta, a blend of the boy he knew and an older, wearier version of him staring back patiently. He said nothing in return but accepted the offer with a nod. He had no idea why Tsuna would walk to his death like he had and his belongings probably wouldn't give Reborn much insight but it was better than nothing.

Fifteen minutes later, Reborn was staring impassively at the open box in front of him. There were a few sets of clothes at the bottom – from the looks of it, at least his student's fashion sense had improved drastically to fit a mafia boss – but it was the trinkets piled above them that piqued Reborn's interest. It looked like Hibari had simply emptied Tsunayoshi's desk and thrown everything in without a second glance. He wondered why Hibari of all people had been chosen to gather his student's belongings and who had managed to convince the Cloud Guardian to do so.

There were some pens and a blank notepad but it was the thick orange photo album beside them that he picked up first.

The album was worn as if Tsuna had looked through it many times. The pictures ranged from a few baby photos to Tsuna as a teenager and then as an adult, but, unsurprisingly, the majority of the pictures were of his friends and family.

The first few pages were of Mamma and Iemitsu holding a toddler that could only be Tsuna. Reborn had already made copies of these back in his own time, having prepared them for blackmail material. There were a few more with a much older Tsuna standing between his parents and holding a diploma.

A handful of pages later, Reborn recognized Dino in several, arm thrown around an older Tsuna. He smirked at the one that had Dino holding Tsuna in a chokehold. The younger of the two looked faintly amused and seemed to be trying to hide it behind an exasperated scowl as he fought to free himself.

Then there were the ones of Tsuna's Guardians, dozens upon dozens of pictures all depicting them at school or eating or goofing around or even at work. Gokudera shouting as Yamamoto laughed, Ryohei being extreme as Hibari ignored him, Chrome smiling shyly with Kyoko and Haru on either side of her, even Mukuro leering down at a flustered-looking Tsuna. Reborn snorted when he came to a picture of the cow. Lambo had a faint blush on his face but the teen didn't seem to be making any attempt to shake off I-Pin who was holding his hand. There was an amusement park in the background. What exactly was Dame-Tsuna doing stalking the two on their, no doubt, first date?

There were several of Kyoko and Haru alone, and a few with the girl Reborn had seen spending time with Kyoko, Kurokawa Hana. He raised an eyebrow at a clear picture of Ryohei in a suit and Hana in a wedding dress, both beaming happily at the camera. Boorish, zealous Ryohei, married. Now there was something Reborn wanted to see.

There was another of Gokudera with an arm draped around Haru and Reborn was hard-pressed not to chuckle. Well, he couldn't say he hadn't seen it coming.

His eyes widened at the smatter of pictures following that. Tsuna smiling tenderly down at a blushing Kyoko, both wearing civilian clothes and standing in what looked like a park. Another of both of them posing for the camera, dressed more formally with Kyoko on Tsuna's arm. Yet another of the two dancing and several more just laughing or talking, and one last photo of the two standing on a balcony and staring up at the night sky, Kyoko's head resting contentedly on Tsuna's shoulder. Gokudera and Ryohei must have done a lot of sneaking around to snap some of these.

Reborn had to smile. So his awkward student had succeeded after all.

Reborn flipped another page and his gaze lingered on his own face staring back at him. The first was of him perched arrogantly on Tsuna's head, and his mouth twitched at the annoyed look his student was wearing. There was another of him and Tsuna fighting over breakfast (Reborn was winning even in the frozen frame, no surprise there), and another of Reborn firing at Tsuna, and another of Tsuna furiously doing paperwork as Reborn aimed a gun at his head, and yet another of the two of them on a porch, him sitting on the railing while Tsuna leaned against it as they watched the sunset. There was even one of him without his fedora, Tsuna having somehow swiped it off and had quickly taken a picture of the two of them, capturing the rare surprise painting Reborn's face and a triumphant cheeky smile on Tsuna's. Reborn had probably made the brunet pay for that one.

There were a hell of a lot of pictures of the two of them, but then again, it had been ten years.

There were others that contained the Arcobaleno, even Verde and Mammon, though neither looked particularly happy being there.

Reborn's eyes softened at the sight of two pictures near the end of the section. The first was of what looked like a fifteen-year-old Tsuna, looking mildly panicked, as a five-year-old Yuni clung to him, smiling brightly. The second had perhaps an eighteen-year-old Tsuna holding an eight-year-old Yuni's hand as the two enjoyed their ice-creams.

Even Reborn had to be impressed when he found the Varia scattered across the next five pages. Most of them had the assassination squad fighting and trying to kill each other but an occasional photo depicted Tsuna with a calm Xanxus whose glare looked more long-suffering and filled with obligated disgruntlement than authentic anger, and another with a slightly wary Tsuna surrounded by a sword-waving Squalo, a madly grinning Belphegor, a frowning Levi, a moody Mammon, and a cheerful Lussuria.

It seemed Tsuna's charisma knew no bounds.

The final two pictures was of the entire upper echelon of the Vongola and those connected in one way or another. The Tenth Generation Vongola Guardians (the first with Chrome, the second with Mukuro), the Varia, CEDEF, Colonello, Lal Mirch, Fon, I-Pin, Fuuta, Bianchi, Shamal, Lancia, the Kokuyo group, Dino and Romario, Kusakabe, Kyoko, Haru, Hana, and a few others Reborn wasn't familiar with.

And in the center was his student, standing with the rest of them, surrounded by Family, with Reborn settled on his shoulder. Strangely, Tsuna wasn't quite looking at the camera in either picture. Instead, his head was tilted a little to the side and he was watching his Family instead, smiling brightly even as the photographer snapped the photo.

Feeling something almost like bereavement, Reborn closed the album and laid it aside, contemplating it for a moment longer before turning back to the box. His eyes narrowed on a small box in one corner and he reached for it next, already knowing what was inside.

"Oh Tsuna," Reborn sighed as he frowned at the beautiful engagement ring sitting in its case, lonely and forgotten now that the proposal would never be spoken. Carefully, he snapped the box shut and placed it with the album. Stupid, idiot student.

There were a few more odds and ends – sticky-notes, a letter opener, a stapler, a folder containing some mundane paperwork – but it was the last item that caught Reborn's eye.

Somewhat dog-eared like the album, the black journal seemed to have been used quite thoroughly. As Reborn flipped through it, some of the words, a mix of his student's current chicken scratch and an adult's elegant handwriting, jumped out at him.

Jan 3rd – Gesso Family causing minor trouble. No one thinks it is anything to worry about. Intuition says they're all wrong. Hope they aren't.

Jan 25th – Yuni acting oddly. I'm worried.

Feb 16th – Yuni still acting strange. Family trouble? Perhaps it would have been better to involve our Families in our friendship but Aria-san was very insistent about keeping our Families apart before she died.

Reborn lingered on that note. He felt a pang of sorrow for his old friend's daughter but he wasn't surprised. But why would Aria want something like that?

Mar 2nd – Reborn didn't look well today. Hope it isn't anything serious.

Reborn frowned at that entry. So March was when the sickness had kicked in.

Mar 15th – Alliance between Gesso and Giglio Nero formed today. Millefiore Family is created. Want to speak to Yuni. Something is wrong.

Mar 20th – Can't get in touch with Yuni. Reborn is in a bad mood, either from his sickness or Yuni's lack of response or both. Worried about him. Worried about Yuni. Worried about everything.

Reborn scoffed. Just like Dame-Tsuna to take on so many problems at one time.

Apr 12thXanxus contacted me. Ranted about giving Varia too many boring missions and has refused some given to Mammon, who is sick as well. Must be bad if Xanxus is worried.

Apr 17thKnow something is happening to Arcobaleno. Reborn and Mammon are getting worse. Colonello and Fon came home coughing. Even Lal Mirch is having headaches, no matter how much she insists it's nothing. Must find Skull and Verde.

Reborn's frown deepened. Bianchi, Fuuta, and Giannini had told him Lal was still alive but that her condition was worsening.

May 25th – Been busy. Millefiore launched its first attack on one of our smaller bases in Japan. Objective, unknown. Kyouya is furious, enough said.

Jun 1st – Caught Reborn coughing up blood! Won't tell me what's wrong. Locked himself in his room.

Reborn twitched. Did Tsuna have to put it like that? It made him sound like a child throwing a temper tantrum when he knew he was only trying to get his student to concentrate on the more important threat.

Jun 20th – Busted down Reborn's door. Had a shouting match. Only reason I won was because he didn't have the energy to continue. Finally explained about the radiation and Tri-ni-set policy, then insisted I mind my own business. As if. Stupid bastard.

Oh that was it. Reborn was going to put Dame-Tsuna through hell when he got back to the past. It was obvious his student didn't have time to juggle both the Millefiore and the radiation poisoning at the same time.

Jun 30th – Found Skull. Taken him in after he collapsed. Under Shamal's care. Giannini finally came up with something that might help. Have also grounded Colonello and Fon for the time being. Xanxus has banned Mammon from fieldwork. Something about deadweight. Reborn won't listen to me.

Reborn sighed at the last statement. He had a feeling it was also his own emotions coming into play by this point. Being a hitman was all he knew. For a sickness to bring him down would make him all the more furious.

Jul 13th – Not a good day. Haven't had many good days recently. Another attack from Millefiore, this time on Varia base here in Italy. Xanxus ripped through their ranks himself. Never thought I would ever think this but thank goodness he did. This cannot continue. Millefiore – Byakuran – needs to be taken down.

Aug 10th – Takeshi's father died today. He cried. I did too.

Reborn bowed his head. He had met Yamamoto's father. Tsuyoshi was a good man and a good father.

Sep 5th – Skull died. Apparently, Arcobaleno disappear completely when they pass. Reborn destroyed three training rooms before collapsing. I am... scared.

Reborn closed his eyes, the heaviness in his chest growing.

Sep 14th – Another attack. Had to fight today. Reborn no longer arguing about staying in the mansion. Mammon and Verde have been moved to the Vongola mansion.

His jaw tightened. That bad already?

Sep 25th – Mammon died. Xanxus destroyed the east wing of the mansion. Bel won't leave the hospital wing even though it's empty.

Oct 13th – Reborn's birthday:) Threw a party. Reborn pretended to feel better and tried not to cough too much. I gave him a green mug. It says 'Spartan Tutor' on it. That made him smile but laughing hurts him too much. Gave him his real present when he couldn't stay awake any longer. Verde says my Sky flames can help. Seems to ease the pain and slow the radiation. Only side-effect is some exhaustion on my part but definitely worth it. Reborn will kick my ass if he finds out so I can't tell him!

"Dame-Tsuna," Reborn growled, and cursed Verde in his head.

Oct 14th – My birthday... Remaining Arcobaleno felt better and a small party was thrown but no one really felt like celebrating. I don't mind. I don't feel like celebrating, but my friends seem to feel better if I keep smiling.

Reborn smiled faintly. That was true. Tsuna could always be counted on to cheer people up.

Oct 31st – Skirmishes continue. Byakuran has shown his interest in the Vongola rings.

Nov 2nd - Have been considering the consequences of the Vongola rings' power.

Nov 18th – Have decided. Vongola rings will be destroyed.

Reborn frowned. It would certainly keep Byakuran's hands off them but to get rid of them entirely was leaving Vongola even more vulnerable.

Dec 24th – Fon died, though I hope my flames made his passing painless. I-Pin won't stop crying. Worst Christmas ever.

Reborn's grip on the journal tightened, another flash of sorrow running through him.

Dec 31st/Jan 1st – New Year's Resolution = Protect my Family. Keep them all safe.

Reborn had to smile. It was just like his student.

Feb 21st – Verde died. Research unfinished.

Reborn had never liked the scientist and he felt no definite sadness at the man's death but it didn't make him happy either.

Mar 6th – Millefiore getting worse. Thinking of a plan.

That sounded unusually foreboding.

Apr 13th – Colonello died. Lal tried to attack Shamal and then refused to leave Colonello's bed for the next twenty-four hours.

Reborn had to force himself not to react. Lal had always been in denial, right up until the blond idiot's death.

May 5th – Have come up with a plan. Will need some help. Kyouya?

Reborn frowned. Did Hibari know something?

Sep 17th – Plan set in motion. Won't say here, just in case.

Reborn huffed a breath in irritation. Just his luck. Well, he supposed he would've kicked Tsuna if he really had written it down in his journal.

Oct 12th – Have bought Kyoko's engagement ring! Don't know when I'll propose...

Reborn's gaze flickered over to the ring box before continuing.

Nov 24th – Everything almost in place. Recieved invitation to meet from Millefiore today. Have decided to send Varia to America.

Nov 27th – Sent Chrome and Mukuro out on mission. Hope they will be okay.

Nov 30th – Hayato worried. Says I am wearing myself into the ground. I tell him to go worry about Reborn who looks much worse than I do.

Dec 6th – Have accepted Byakuran's invitation. I do not believe it will go over well with everyone if I told them. Thank god Reborn is too sick to notice anything.

Reborn narrowed his eyes dangerously. Dame-Tsuna; how dare he? What did that stupid boss think his Family was there for?

Dec 10th – Have sent Guardians out of country. Hayato to Russia. Takeshi to China. Ryohei to America. Kyouya to Japan. Lambo will stay at home. Hayato's 'boss sense' set off alarm bells, I believe. Argued all the way to the airport.

Reborn scoffed. If Gokudera hadn't put his foot down and weaseled it out of Dame-Tsuna, then the bomber needed more training.

Dec 12th – Will meet with Byakuran in five days. This Christmas might give last year's a run for its money.

Reborn snorted. Understatement of the century.

Dec 13th – Sent dad to Japan to spend Christmas with mum. She'll need him.

No. That was the understatement of the century.

Dec 14th – Took Lambo, I-Pin, and Fuuta out today. Treated them to hot chocolate in that café they love so much.

Dec 15th – Met up with Kyoko. Took her to dinner and then to the park we had our first date at. It was snowing and the silence was sort of muffled but comforting. I wanted to propose to her. The ring was in my pocket. But that would be selfish. Perhaps if I make it out of all this alive...

Kyoko might have sensed something though. She was happy but she held my hand more than usual. Even so, the evening was nice if a bit cold. Her cheeks were red by the time I walked her home but she was so beautiful. I love her so much.

Perhaps if I make it out of all this alive...

Reborn actually had close his eyes and draw in a deep breath before releasing it slowly. He eyed the slightly wrinkled spots on that particular page and knew them to be tears. Stupid, idiot student. What did he keep telling Tsuna about regrets?

Dec 16th – I find myself standing outside Reborn's bedroom door. Pathetic really. I keep him out of my latest and most dangerous plan and now, the night before I will most likely walk to my death, and I want to tell him everything. I wish he would tell me that I am being an idiot. That this way is not the only option. I wish he wasn't sick and I wish I had my tutor back, not the shell of one drifting through the mansion like a ghost, waiting to die. I wish I could help him, do more than just ease the pain of the radiation poisoning, and I wish, just for a moment, just right now, I wish that I am still thirteen and Reborn could still solve all my problems if I really needed him to.

But if wishes were horses, then beggars would ride.

I am Vongola Decimo now and I must stand on my own two feet. I am the one who must lead, not follow. Come tomorrow, I must be ready. I will be ready.

And so my curtain will close to ring in the next act. And the one who will lead it shall take up my mantle; do what I had not the strength to do, and finally end what has long since needed to end.

Reborn slowly lowered the journal, gaze still glued to the last entry. What did that mean? His student had obviously expected to die in the meeting yet he had still gone. And his death would bring about... what? The Vongola was falling apart without him. So what did Tsuna mean?

Something in the back of the journal slipped out and Reborn picked it up. It was a single piece of paper, folded and unfolded and refolded again but his name at the top of what was most likely a letter caught his attention.

Dear Reborn,

I'm actually not really sure why I'm still writing these. This is the twenty-first letter I've written to you that will probably meet its end in a trashcan like all the others and will certainly not reach you, but talking to you has always made me feel better so, even though you'll never read this, I'll still continue writing them.

Where to start this time? Well, my life's a mess, the Vongola Family's slowly being decimated, the Arcobaleno have all but died out, and it honestly looks like the apocalypse is coming. If you were actually listening to me, this is usually the part where you kick me and tell me to stop complaining, but this is rather therapeutic so I'll ask you to be patient with me.

When I first became Vongola Decimo, there were still times, occasionally, when I resented you for dragging me into this mess. If you had never shown up that day all those years ago, I would never have become a mafia boss. But then again, if you had never shown up, I would not be so lucky as to have my family and friends all around me, so in the end, I suppose I can only say thank-you.

But this latest mess with the Millefiore has backed me into a corner and I don't know what to do. I don't even know if my plan will work, but it is my last option, my only option. If I have to die, I won't regret it because it is for my Family. The only regrets I do have are the grieving Family I will leave behind and my inability to break the Arcobaleno curse for you and the others. For that, I am truly sorry.

Reborn paused to scowl, tilting his fedora down. Stupid Tsuna. The Arcobaleno curse was not his problem. He had no reason to apologize. He snorted at the next line.

I know, I know, you'd tell me the curse isn't my problem, but the thing is, it is. You're important to me, as are the other Arcobaleno, and for me to ignore it would be like ignoring you. You have never let me ignore you before, even when I wanted to.

...To be honest, I don't really know where I'm going with this. Each letter I write to you is just a babbling mass of complaints you'll never get to see but it still makes me feel better.

This will be the last letter I'll ever write though and it'll probably go in the garbage tomorrow before I leave for the meeting. I know you'll be angry with me if and when I do not come back so I suppose the one good thing about all this will be that I won't be on the receiving end of your gun once I die.

I know the radiation has almost completely beaten you and I hope the last of the flames that I put in your pacifier will make your passing painless. A cheap way to repay everything you have done for me but it is the best I can do.

I hope, after everything – all the training, all the struggles, all the fights – you are still proud of what I have become. I still remember the day the Nono passed the Famiglia over to me; after the coronation ceremony, you were the last to come talk to me. You took off your fedora and looked me in the eye and said 'I am proud of you'. Those five words have often lent strength to my actions over the years, and particularly so in the last two. I have always looked to you for advice and to this day, I don't think you have ever realized the extent of my relief and happiness when you agreed to formally join my Family and stay by my side.

I don't know if I could ever actually tell you all this so I suppose it is for the best that you won't ever know. Even so, at least I am brave enough to admit to myself how important you have become in my life, as my teacher, my advisor, my friend, and sometimes, even a second father (though don't tell dad that or he'll throw a fit and cry).

I'll end it here before I start writing complete sap that will embarrass even me. Though neither you nor my Guardians will be there with me tomorrow, I will hold all of you in my heart and die knowing it is for a better future.

Vongola Decimo

Sawada Tsunayoshi

Reborn remained motionless for a long time after, rereading the letter a few more times and burning the words into his mind. When he finally lowered the parchment, he leaned back and stared sightlessly ahead instead.

"Stupid, idiot student," He said, his voice startlingly loud in the silence of the room. "If you've got something to say, say it with your dying will. You think I won't put your younger self through hellish training after this?"

He felt he probably sounded more than a little insane talking to no one but if there was any justice in the world, his words would reach future Dame-Tsuna.

The intercom in the room suddenly buzzed and Giannini's voice echoed through it. "Reborn-san, your suit is ready. Also, we have picked up a disturbance in the Namimori forest, quite close to Jyuudaime's coffin. We have contacted Lal Mirch and she is heading there now but it is quite possible that whatever phenomenon brought you here has brought the past Jyuudaime here as well!"

The first piece in an ever-growing puzzle clicked into place as Reborn rose to his feet, mind racing. He glanced back at the letter, scanning it once more before he folded it and, instead of slipping it back into the journal, tucked it away in a hidden pocket of his coat. The letter was his anyway.

He packed everything away again and sealed up the box. It only took him a moment to decide to hide it. He would warn the other three not to say anything to Tsuna and anyone else who came to the future. They didn't need the distraction, especially Tsuna.

"Whatever it is you've planned," Reborn murmured, heading for the door. "I know it will work. You are my student after all."

As Reborn watched Tsuna rush up to the fake replica of himself sitting on the chair, still panic-prone and awkward and a bit useless, but kind-hearted and stubborn and willing to protect his friends when it came down to it, he made a promise to himself.

No matter what happened, Reborn would protect his stupid, idiot student. He would watch him grow up and live in a world that wouldn't end in an early death for the future boss. And maybe one day, he would be able to hear Tsuna say the words he couldn't in this time.

And then he leapt down, aiming a kick at Tsuna's head. His student still needed loads of training if he couldn't tell a fake from the genuine.

Pointless, a little fluffy, a little angsty, and just for fun. Hope you enjoyed!