It was never supposed to turn out like this.
Well, perhaps that wasn't completely true. I had read enough fanfiction in my lifetime to know that these kinds of things didn't typically end in sugar and rainbows. But still…this was Katekyo Hitman Reborn. Things weren't always happy. People bled and sweat and cried and died all the time. But they always did it together, as a family. A highly dysfunctional family that was in desperate need of a psych evaluation, sure, but they worked. I'd like to think that I'd been a part of that, for however brief of a time.
So why did things end up like this?
But I'm getting a bit ahead of myself. You probably have no idea what I'm talking about. Hell, sometimes I wonder if I know, myself.
So let's rewind.
June 28, 2012.
My sixteenth birthday.
Any other teenager would have been incredibly excited. I mean, seriously. Sixteen. That usually means cars and computers and other expensive things that your parents thought you were too young to have. I guess a part of me was pretty pumped, but for the most part it just felt like a normal day. There was no sudden shift in atmosphere, no feeling of accomplishment or maturity or satisfaction. It was actually vaguely disappointing.
Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your viewpoint), everyone else in the world very strongly disagreed.
The day started out with my favorite breakfast, courtesy of my mom. While I stuffed my face full of Monkey Bread (which was pretty much just a giant doughy cinnamon roll cake made up of lots of tiny cinnamon rolls glued together with enough sugar to make anyone a diabetic) she went over our plans for the day. Since I had a history of not caring about my birthday, the list was fairly short. We would go out to our local anime store and buy a plushie or two as my present and then do some light window-shopping to see if anything else caught my eye. Later that night, my two best friends and I would go with my dad and me for fondue. It wasn't much compared to the typical giant Sweet Sixteen parties, but that was the way I liked it.
With our plan laid out and my plate spotless, my mom and I went our separate ways to get ready. She, my stepdad, and I lived in a fairly average two-story home. My two older sisters (neither of which I was particularly close to or even civil with) had moved out to go to college years ago, leaving the entire upstairs to me alone. I've always been something of a hermit, so I was content. Mom always used to tell me it was because I was afraid of people not liking me. I would try to hide away from every one so the risk was eliminated.
A very large part of me wanted to say I wasn't quite that much of a wuss, but now I kind of wonder if she wasn't on to something after all.
After taking a long and relaxing shower to prep me for shopping (even when it wasn't for her, my mom was an almost terrifyingly aggressive shopper), I took a few minutes just to stare at myself. I really wasn't anything special. Sure, I wasn't hideous, but I wasn't pretty by any stretch of imagination. My eyesight was atrocious, thus my thick glasses, and my hair was a long frizzy mess of black curls that I had to constantly keep tied back for fear of being like this girl I knew who had a legitimate afro. My face wasn't the clearest and my eyes were perpetually half closed. I tried to make myself feel better by telling people it was my mom's Korean in me, but anyone close to me knew that I was just perpetually tired and bored.
My figure wasn't anything to envy, either. I had very long legs, but my thighs were big enough to smother a baby. I wasn't fat, persay, just chubby in inconvenient places. Everything that was supposed to go to my boobs and hips always went to my thighs and it was frustrating beyond belief.
All in all, I was average at best. I was smart for my age, but I wasn't a genius like some of my classmates. I loved anime, but I didn't have the money to totally obsess over it and buy cool merchandise like my best friend did. I was tough when the situation demanded it or my friends needed me to be, but on my own I was a total doormat and a nervous wreck. Really, the only thing I had going for me was my ability to bitch at anything that moved, but that was hardly helpful when half the time I was too scared of talking to strangers to open my mouth. And when your circle of friends was as small as mine, nearly everyone was stranger.
I looked away from the mirror before I could pick my flaws apart any further and got dressed. So I was a little self-conscious, big deal. What teenage girl wasn't? Ready for the day, I turned and exited my bathroom, heading for the staircase.
Predictably, that's when everything went to hell.
My cat Tinkerbell and I had something of a love/hate relationship. I would feed her, clean her litterbox, and play with her for at least half an hour every day. In return, she frequently tried to kill me by hiding in the shadows, startling me by running straight into my path, and making me trip on things. The first time she had done it and actually injured me was right before the first day of eighth grade, just after we'd gotten her. My foot slipped on the tile and I fell back onto my wrist, spraining it. The second time was just after Christmas the next year. I tripped over her and twisted my ankle. The third time?
The third time was on June 28, 2012. It was my sixteenth birthday, and it set off a chain of events the both completely destroyed my life and gave me a new one at the same time.
Just as I was about to go down the first step on my staircase, Tinkerbell rushed out of the guest bedroom and straight into the trajectory of my foot. In an effort to avoid punting her down a staircase, I quickly withdrew and lost my balance in the process. The only thing I had time to think was 'Oh holy fucking shit' (what? I was a teenager, not a saint) before I went tumbling face first down an entire flight of stairs. Somewhere between the blinding pain of my face connecting with the steps and my legs cracking sharply against the wooden guard rail, I blacked out.
That was the last I ever saw of home.
The next thing I knew was darkness.
Well, maybe darkness wasn't the best word. It was more…red, I supposed, but almost grey. Like when you close your eyes after staring at a computer screen in a dimly lit room for too long. Whatever it was, it was warm and very squishy. There was a deep bass beat that rumbled the walls of the small space, and it was getting faster all the time. I faintly wondered if the neighbors were having another party.
I felt…calm. It was a nice feeling. I hadn't felt completely zen like this is a very long time. I was usually too busy stressing out about friends or school or my incurable case of 'should-not-have-said-that'. There was a part of me in the back of my mind that was having a full blown panic attack and screaming at me to get up and figure out what the hell was going on because whatever it was wasn't normal at all- but the warm feeling of alrightness washed over me again and the frantic thoughts slid away like water on a window. I was vaguely aware of something nudging me in the side and, somewhat irritated by its intrusion, I nudged it right back.
That's when the walls of the squishy room completely collapsed. There was no more warmth. No more soft nudging. All that was left was piercing cold and the walls were closing in tighter and tighter and oh god I was moving where was the warmth something was pulling at me and it hurt holy shit why was it so cold-
I screamed bloody murder.
After a few minutes of just solid wailing, it became apparent that I was no longer cold, nor in pain, nor wet. My cries faded away to soft sniffles and something- no, someone tightened their absolutely massive arm around my midsection. My midsection that was covered in nothing but a thin piece of cloth. My heart jumped into my throat and my eyes snapped open, fully prepared to scream rape and run as fast as I could in the opposite direction.
I don't think could've if I had tried.
Instead of the unkempt, pierced face of a thug or rapist I had been expecting, I was met with the smiling, tired face of a very pretty young woman surrounded by bright little sunspots. What threw me off was how absolutely gigantic she was- and I by gigantic I didn't mean fat. She was a literal, towering, David-and-Goliath giant. Her face was easily twice the size of my own. I whimpered and shrunk back, struggling slightly. For some reason, I just couldn't move my body as much as I wanted to. It was almost I was trying to move limbs that weren't there, but I could clearly feel the shifting of fabric over them- wait. Had I been swaddled?
The woman gasped softly and said…something. It sounded like Japanese, but I couldn't tell for sure. I wasn't exactly the poster child for bilingualism- I often had issues speaking English correctly, let alone a second language. A large meaty hand brushed against my skull (my bare skull what the hell) and my breath caught in my throat out of surprise. My eyes went so wide it almost hurt and they flicked away from the smiling woman's face to scan the room. The sunspots were fading and it became easier to make out my surroundings, white as they may be.
It looked like a hospital.
There was a sinking feeling in my gut. My overactive imagination and I had read enough shady fanfiction to have an inkling of where this was going.
A soft gurgle across from me shocked me out of my rapidly rising panic. My eyes flickered to the woman's other arm. Cradled in it was a burrito of cloth with a teary-eyed baby tucked inside.
Now, please understand. I hated kids. They were snotty and needy and clingy and never seemed to leave me alone. I had never understood why people constantly fawned over them and cooed at their chubby, slobbery cheeks.
Looking at the burrito baby sniffling across from me, however, I could admit to seeing some of the appeal. It was small and wrinkly and frankly not that attractive, but it had the widest, most adorable honey brown eyes I had seen in my life. It was surreal enough to momentarily distract me from my terror.
And then the woman started cooing again and I went right back into panic mode. I was acutely aware of just how small I was and it wasn't okay. The only normal-sized things in this room seemed to be me and the little bundle of screaming human across from me, so-
I looked back at the burrito baby.
We were the same size.
I was the same size as a baby.
…I was fucking bald.
"Sawada Tsunayoshi…Sawada Tsunami…Watashi no futago ha totemo kawaii desu!"
I may not know Japanese, but any fangirl worth her salt could've figured out that someone had just been called cute. That wasn't what scared me so bad I passed out. It was what she had said right before.
Sawada motherfu- Actually, screw that.
I didn't know that name.
Did that mean that Sawada Tsunami was…me?
That was about the time I passed out.
"Sawada Tsunayoshi...Sawada Tsunami...Watashi no futago ha totemo kawaii desu!"- "Sawada Tsunayoshi...Sawada Tsunami... My twins are so cute!
Guys, I seriously don't know Japanese. This all came from an online translator, so please correct me if its wrong o3o
(KHR belongs to Akira Amano)
(Tsunami belongs to Me)