AN: Revised 11/18/12 minor revisions.

Part 1 Chapter 2

To Live

Tsuna looked at the message on his phone for the seventh time during that day, not knowing what to reply. Should he start amiably with "of course nii-sama", or should he just say "okay"...? That was entirely too short. He pursed his lips in thought.

Two months ago, he would have wished for his brother to just leave him alone, but now, he didn't know if he could let go of Giotto. The very thought made him stagger. He nibbled on his lip. Tsuna felt that his nii-sama's feelings were genuine even if it was constricting.

He felt like a fish out of water struggling to breathe.

It was so natural to fall back to the old times and love his nii-sama but there were moments –sad little moments that Tsuna refused to acknowledge– when he was away from his brother's eyes that hate and indignation would start to fester and he would do spiteful childish things like ignoring or avoiding Giotto entirely.

It was cowardly and he didn't want to lose his nii-sama but Tsuna didn't think he could bring himself to actually actively seek him out. He knew he was already too much of a bother.

It was unfair for Giotto to send him a message like that, knowing that Tsuna didn't really know where they stood or where Tsuna himself would like to stand.

He hated how much Giotto controlled his life. It sometimes scared him how his entire world seemed to revolve around his older brother now. He began typing his message again...

I will|

He erased it.


He pursed his lip and wondered why he had to worry because of such a small thing.

I will nii-sama. Take care. I love you.|

The send button was peering back at him. Tsuna stared at the message and flushed red. It's not as if he wouldn't call.

And love? Who was he joking? 'Love… what is love anyway? Do I love nii-sama? I told him I love him… but do I really love him? Is… loving someone the same with not being able to bear the thought of that person leaving? I…'

Tsuna's chest constricted and for few a seconds, he thought he was going to have another attack. Tsuna opened the contacts menu and stared at his second contact and the call option.

For awhile his heartbeat was unbelievably loud. Then, later on, while staring at the screen, his phone's screensaver popped up, a gothic clock showing the time, 1:45 pm… somewhat.

This was very frustrating. In the end, he put his phone back in his bag.

If anything else, Giotto's wording was a command.

Giotto's commands were always absolute. He'd really have to call his nii-sama if something happened.

Perhaps he was over-thinking things. He sighed and took a sip from his drink. He walked towards the table and put it down then went back to lean on the wall, then stared at the clouds.

It was cold. Winter was fast approaching. They were lucky the sun was out and it was happily accompanied by the swirly pink clouds. The thought brought to mind an enigmatic guy whom he once met on the same rooftop. 'Kyoya Hibari', Tsunayoshi mused. Kyoya Hibari was like those clouds, fleeting and impossibly hard to catch. It was always drifting and it changed moods often.

'Rooftops are off-limits to herbivores. Kyoya is so funny.'

Kyoya called him herbivore, and he corrected him several times saying he was a human being and that he also ate meat. Hibari snorted at this but did not stop calling him herbivore. Kyoya was stubborn. Tsuna didn't have the strength to correct him.

The disciplinarian often came to the rooftop to sleep, and when Tsuna was at school, since it was the only place where bullies wouldn't reach him, he pleaded Kyoya to let him stay there too. Kyoya surprised him by agreeing as long as Tsuna did not disturb him.

That was how he usually spent his free time at school then, in a corner of the rooftop, sleeping… the face of his brother popped out and he was tempted to call Giotto. He wanted to sleep too. At least if he was sleeping, his only enemy was the nightmares.

Tsuna sighed again. He tried to… really bad, but every thing went back to the message. He needed to distract himself.

Shoichi looked up from his meal and looked at the troubled looking boy. "Tsuna, is everything alright?"

The wind blew sedately and was pleasant even if it was a bit cold. Tsuna shivered though, not at the cold but at the memory. "Yes, Irie-senpai."

Shoichi knew prodding won't help and settled back to eating. Tsuna would have to talk eventually, or he'd crack under pressure. After testing the texture of tamagoyaki with his chopsticks, he placed it in his mouth and almost melted. He then stared at Byakuran who Bluebell was feeding... marshmallows. That can't be healthy. Bluebell was a stranger to Tsuna and Shoichi. Byakuran mentioned her once or twice in passing, something about picking up strays.

Tsuna made bentos for everyone and it he set it upon the table on the far side of the wall. Normally, they'd have a large mat placed on the floor but the rooftop was quite windy at times, and the table would do. He wasn't picky.

Tsuna cleared his head and slapped both his hands on his cheeks. 'Focus!'

Right now Byakuran was sitting on the railing. Just a push and he'll fall. Tsuna was fairly tempted to push Byakuran… fifteen floors were a long way to survive.

Shoichi was eating his bento on the floor, preferring the safety it provided him and his food. It was after all prepared by him. Tsuna knew Shoichi loved his dishes.

Then, there was a blue haired girl who Byakuran aptly named as "Bluebell". Tsuna didn't know if it was her real name but she and Byakuran seemed pretty close. Bluebell liked his bento as well and was eating half of the portion reserved for Byakuran. He wondered if he should bring four bentos instead of three the next time they meet.

Tsuna tilted his head in thought. Byakuran told him he found Bluebell in a similar manner he found Tsu-kun. So, he was Bluebell's savior?

Byakuran didn't really seem like the rescuing type. He was impossibly mercurial, had a sick humor, and a sadist. Tsuna can swear to God or any deity that Byakuran had little to no inclination for heroism in his veins.

He wasn't evil though or Tsuna hoped he wasn't. It was all subjective, his teacher said.

…but if it suited his whimsical ways, then he wouldn't put it past Byakuran to do some saving.

He wondered what would have happened if Giotto didn't come. The authorities caught on that he was living alone and records confirmed that there was no longer an "Ieyatsu Sawada" living in the area. Then, he was taken away by the authorities who thought they knew better. Tsuna's mood turned darker.

Byakuran grinned and stepped down from the railing. Tsuna took a step back.

"It's funny how things work out don't you think, Tsu-kun?"


"Who would have thought he'd actually come back."

"…" Tsuna cringed. Did Byakuran just read his mind? More importantly, Tsuna thought, they've had the same discussion before. Giotto was not a safe topic to discuss. He'd like to bury the issue and ignore it for the rest of his life which wasn't very long.

"How are you and Giotto?"

Tsuna snapped and visibly glared. Byakuran answered with a smile that didn't quite reach his eyes.

Irie Shoichi looked at both of them warily. It was lunch break, and it was one of the few times they could be together with Tsuna. The argument should stop.

They agreed to meet at the rooftop where there would be no prying eyes. Well, if there were, they were swiftly disposed of. Byakuran valued privacy even if he didn't care for the privacy of others.

"Come on now, Tsu-kun. You promised you'll share. I want to know." Byakuran coaxed Tsuna but Tsuna was giving him the flat rejection.

"I know you saved me. I am in your debt but that doesn't give you the right to pry into my business, Byakuran." Tsuna glared and moved away but found himself slammed against the wall. He winced and slapped Byakuran's hand.


"You forget who I am, Tsu-kun. It is exactly because I saved you that I want to know. I want to know what Giotto," Byakuran spat out the name, "did to make you so weak… and useless… against him."

Byakuran's eyes narrowed and Tsunayoshi instinctively raised his hands to protect himself from a blow that he thought would come. Byakuran just took the smaller boy's wrists and held them above Tsuna's head with one hand so he could stop getting away. He used a number of ways to restrain his Tsu-kun but lately this one was the most effective. He wondered why.

"I don't like hurting you Tsu-kun. I just want to know. Don't you find it odd, hm? Your brother only came back when I was this," Byakuran squeezed a marshmallow and popped it in his mouth and smiled at the blue haired girl who held the marshmallow pack for him, "close to having you. We could have been together now, you and I. I'm sure I'll do a better job of taking care of you."

Tsuna looked elsewhere.

"What kind of parent leaves a sick child for a honeymoon? And what kind of brother is he for forgetting you? Why weren't you provided anything when they died and your brother," another vicious bite on the marshmallow, "everything he needed? Perhaps it was all a setup? Did Iemitsu even bother to make sure you were safe? Did Nana? Perhaps they were leaving you for good. It certainly seems that way… and then it would have left Giotto with everything truly. He wouldn't need to worry about a sickly brother. He'd be the sole inheritor. Oh right, he is!" Byakuran loosened his hold but Tsuna just stared at him with wide horrified eyes.

"Hm. I've had my men investigate it Tsu-kun and they came up with a blank. Your brother is dangerous, is what I seem to think. They want to keep everyone out of the loop, including you. I don't think this is all a coincidence Tsu-kun, I'm not convinced. Then there's the fact that Giotto won't tell you a thing, not about himself, not about his friends, not about his time in Italy, or your father… or anything."

Byakuran leaned closer and whispered something that made Tsuna still. "What if your beloved brother is lying? He knows something we don't know, and I'd really like to find out. I know in the end, he'll leave you. Wouldn't you want to know why? What do you think Tsu-na-yo-shi-kun?"

Byakuran gave him a meaningful look and moved away, releasing Tsuna's wrists. Tsuna immediately held his hands to his chest while Byakuran laughed quietly to himself and watched a look of denial, doubt and confusion settle on Tsuna's face. Byakuran smiled maliciously, before continuing, "Hmmn, but tell me, what did he do to get you on his side? You were so lost and needy back then. I really wish I was more persuasive. I miss having you at my place."

At this, Tsuna closed off, and stared at the ground wishing for it to swallow him up. "We've had this argument before, Byakuran. I am not… it didn't work out... Nii-sama is taking care of me. That's all you need to know." Tsuna tried to say it with much conviction but Byakuran's words were echoing in his ears.

"Byakuran, don't you think this is enough? Tsuna can't deal with–"

Byakuran crinkled his pack of marshmallows, threw it at a convenient trash bin which was… over the fence, and gesticulated to Bluebell for another marshmallow pack from his bag. Byakuran then turned to Shoichi and continued talking as if he didn't just interrupt his friend from saying something, "Sho-chan, it doesn't matter if he can't deal with this."


"You gave him to me."

"I-I didn't." Shoichi sputtered.

A part of Shoichi agreed though. If it wasn't for him, Byakuran's interest wouldn't be piqued and they wouldn't be here now. The younger kid was just a tad too innocent for the games Byakuran wanted to play but that was just him being paranoid. Byakuran's mind was always a mystery to Shoichi and if it would help preserve his sanity not to know then he'd rather be oblivious to it.

When Shoichi mentioned Tsuna to Byakuran, his friend's interest seemed piqued and demanded to see Tsuna. When they met, Shoichi swore Byakuran recognized Tsuna.

Bluebell smirked at him, and Shoichi tightened his hold on the bentos.

Tsunayoshi sighed, and hugged himself looking too small and alone.

"It's all coincidence. Nii-sama didn't mean to leave me alone."

"Nii-sama nii-sama nii-sama. Tsu-kun! How long has it been? Only three months? And now you call him nii-sama?"

"I always called him nii-sama!"

"Hmn. They say liars go to hell."

Tsuna bit his lip and grabbed the annoying marshmallow pack and put several marshmallows inside his mouth. Byakuran swiftly stole his pack which earned him another scowl. Tsuna tried to take it back and it ended with Byakuran straddling Tsuna, triumphantly holding his marshmallows to his chest. He swiftly handed it to Bluebell for safekeeping.

A sharp knock halted the impending argument. The door opened and in came Spanner who looked at the four briefly, and scratched his head, "Am I interrupting something? And you should all know it's not nice to bully the poor kid."

Shoichi looked at Spanner in growing wonder, as if he suddenly grew wings.

"Hm hm?" Byakuran smiled, and offered his marshmallows to Tsuna who shot him a withering glare. He still had marshmallows in his mouth for pity's sake. Tsuna gestured for Byakuran to get off him and Byakuran shook his head. Tsuna was so frustrated that he tried to pry Byakuran off but Byakuran just wouldn't budge. Tsuna continued chewing and then finally managed to speak.

"…get off me."

"Not until Tsunayoshi eats a marshmallow for me."

Byakuran took a marshmallow –the peace offering– and offered it to Tsuna who reluctantly opened his mouth. Byakuran leaned closer, and watched Tsuna avidly as if he was a very interesting specimen. After chewing the said ball of sugar fluff, Tsuna tried to push Byakuran off. Indigo eyes flashed with amusement before turning to worry.

'Time to appease Tsu-kun' He stood up and pulled the unresisting boy into a hug. Tsuna was struggling furiously away, but relaxed when he heard what Byakuran had to say.

"If it's that painful for you to talk about, I will stop pestering you about it, but I wish one day, you'll tell me. Tsu-kun, I won't bother you and Giotto alright? I just don't think I'll be able to forgive him if he leaves you again…"

"He won't..." Tsunayoshi mumbled.

Byakuran pretended not to hear but smirked to himself.

Spanner pushed away the energetic white-haired sixteen year-old in favor of rescuing the kid. Byakuran spun around in circles and with a side-thought, grabbed the silent blue haired girl and danced to waltz that only he could hear. Now that Byakuran was preoccupied, Spanner handed Tsuna something, "Tsuna, I have your medicine."

Tsunayoshi deflated and it's as if all tension finally left the boy's body as he gratefully accepted the parcel. In it were little capsules that came from the more obscure connections that Byakuran had. The medicine gave him a level head, calmed him down and reduced the symptoms of fatigue. Originally it was a drug of sorts, but it was effective for people like him if one ignored the side-effects.

"Thank you."

"You're welcome."

"And… if you're interested, I got your mom's necklace back. I'll bring it tomorrow, alright? Don't worry. I'm sure your mom understands."

Tsuna smiled. Sometimes Spanner thought that it was unfair that the child could be so charming and not know it.

On second thought, it would be scary if he did. The disarming smile would have everyone eating at the palm of his hand.

Tsuna took one pill out and kept it. He put the rest in his bag.

"That's really kind of you Spanner-san."

Spanner watched with pity as Tsunayoshi double checked to make sure that the bag wasn't bulging – that it wasn't obvious he was hiding anything. Poor kid, really. He then thought back to how he met Tsuna and frowned. Tsuna tilted his head and wondered why he was suddenly frowning. "Spanner-san?" Unable to resist, Spanner put his hand on Tsuna's hair and pet it.


He wasn't possessive like Byakuran, or a worrywart like Shoichi, but he had his own way of taking care of Tsuna.

They were all tied together by a special bond and Tsuna was a part of it. He looked at Shoichi, Byakuran and Bluebell, and took Tsuna's Bag. "You don't have to!" "I insist," and in that bored tone of his said that, "If you don't want to be late for class Tsuna, we should leave. Come."

Byakuran's eyes narrowed but Spanner ignored it.

"Take care Tsu-kun. We'll see you tomorrow!"

It was a chilly May morning when the shop's bell rang for another customer. It was a small child who seemed lost and was too pale to appear healthy.

"What can we do for you?" Shoichi asked but the kid ignored him. Perhaps the kid didn't hear him. He settled for neither as he watched the silent kid approach.

He had a large backpack and Shoichi being the mother hen started asking the child if he was lost, and if he had anyone that they could contact like his parents? When Shoichi mentioned the word parents, the boy suddenly closed off with a haunted look on his face. When the child looked up, it made Shoichi so guilty that he wanted to hug the child. As if sensing his intentions, Tsuna recoiled and his eyes were wide and alert, acting like a threatened animal.

'So an orphan?'

They decided to temporarily closethe shop. They took Tsuna to the back room and gave him something to drink. That was after Shoichi convinced the kid he wasn't going to hurt him.

Shoici set a cup of hot chocolate before Tsuna and Spanner provided the cookies and a muffin on the side. The three sat together, enjoying the silence.

Tsuna didn't know why they were kind to him but let them do as they pleased. He really didn't know how to interact with people and it was the first time he ever visited a pawnshop appliance store.

He had to. The fridge ran out of food and he ran out of savings to eat out. Then there were the hospital bills. Then, he had to lie to old people to avoid the orphanage.

The hot chocolate brought some color to the boy's pale cheeks and Shoichi wanted to pry more, but Spanner was shooting him looks telling him to drop it or he might scare off the child.

They were sitting on a pillow cushion beneath a kotatsu. The tatami spread out before their feet.

It was weird to use a kotatsu during spring, Tsuna thought.

Perhaps they never bothered to remove it. The imagined dirt made Tsuna's face twist in disgust. The room was air-conditioned like the rest of the store so… perhaps it didn't really matter if the kotatsu was out of season. It made the place feel homey.

After a long silence, the boy began, "…I-I heard that pawnshops… trade you money for things… you don't need." Tsuna said quietly. The two nodded at this. "Ah, so you weren't lost then." Spanner said, and leaned on one hand.

Tsunayoshi pretended not to hear what the tall guy said and took out his backpack and from inside, he took out five pieces of jewelry, and a laptop.


"My parents died… I need to sell stuff… for…" His expression closed off again, "ojii-san, how… how much will I get from this?"

"It's onii-san for you, not ojii."

Shoichi was dying of curiosity now. Normally they wouldn't trust a child with that amount of money. It could be stolen. This was bad. Spanner however, didn't really care. He took a look at the laptop, opened it and inspected it.

After a little while, he gave an ok. "Around 40,000 yen for the laptop. This is still in good condition but it's not a new model… a good one. Hmn. So we're cutting down the price by a fourth of the original, is that alright with you?"

Tsuna nodded. He shuffled on his seat and then pointed at the jewelry.

"Ano… your name?"

"Tsunayoshi Sawada."

"So… Tsunayoshi-kun, would it be alright if you come back tomorrow? We're going to close the shop early since I just got a message that the owner won't come today. I don't know how to check if these are genuine, but we'll give you the money for the laptop if you let us accompany you home."

Tsunayoshi suddenly became guarded and stood up.

"Maa maa, we mean well Tsunayoshi-kun, we just want to know you'll get home safe, so please… just once? We'll take whatever route you like so you'll feel safe…? It's just… you're so small." Shoichi implored and gestured for Tsuna to sit down.

"I'm twelve. I can take care of myself." Tsunayoshi pouted.

"You're not lying? You look like an eight year-old." Spanner mumbled, and took out a stash of large spiral lollipops and offered it to Tsuna who looked at it warily. He watched Spanner open the transparent plastic wrapping and start licking the pink lollipop, and Tsuna's hand inched for the treat and opened it as well. Sweets…! He was not supposed to eat one but the lollipop seemed tasty. After taking a lick, his features lit up, and Shoichi smiled.

"I made this myself. There are other flavors. Want some more, kid?"

Tsuna could hear a voice reminding him 'don't take candies from strangers Tsu-kun,' but something told him that Spanner and Shoichi were people he could trust.

Tsuna nodded eagerly. "They taste nice. Ojii-san."

"Heh. You act like one too, kid. And stop calling me Ojii-san."

And that was the start of their strange friendship.

Spanner pondered on the attraction he felt for the kid. It was purely platonic, he was sure of that. He took out his phone and started texting a message.

Once he saw to it that Tsuna entered his classroom safely, he hit send.

He received an annoying reply.

It wouldn't be so tragic. You just can't save him if I can't.

He had the sudden urge to shove his phone inside that marshmallow loving monster's mouth and make him choke on it.

Tsunayoshi went through the motions of school life and was still unused to people giving him a wide berth. Classmates all around him treated him like he was made of glass. It didn't take a genius to know that something was wrong with him if he admitted to the hospital all the time. Lately, it really bothered him that there was an unspoken rule not to touch him but that didn't stop people before.

…even the bullies were gone. 'Not that I want them back.'

Tsuna frowned at the memory. It was the same day that his brother came home wearing a bloodied shirt then the bullies suddenly stopped coming after him the day after. Giotto waved it off as something insignificant when he asked but Tsuna knew how to put two and two together.

Takeshi and Gokudera were arguing beside him. Those two never really got along. That's okay but Takeshi and Gokudera didn't let anyone talk to him. They were under orders to keep him safe and that included unnecessary interaction with potentially hostile people, Gokudera's words.

Tsuna slumped on his seat. Well, he seemed safe enough but it was becoming lonely. Takeshi talked to him occasionally and he liked Takeshi really, but Gokudera seemed to detest him and only talked to him when he needed to which was never.

When he was about to leave the room, Shoichi handed him the bento packs and passed a message that he shouldn't let himself be bothered by what Byakuran said.

After the claustrophobic elevator ride, he was leaving the campus. He waved at Gokudera's cousin, G, who was waiting for him beyond the gate. He had enough of this treatment really but he couldn't argue with Giotto. If it made Giotto happy, it made Tsuna happy. Things were simpler that way. He stepped in G's car with Gokudera and readied himself for the long and silent trip home.

Upon reaching the complex, G and Gokudera ushered him to another elevator. Soon, they were on the topmost floor and he was back in that large space that he was supposed to call home. The luxurious penthouse was artfully designed with glass walls, furniture that would make the rest of his classmates green with envy, and boasted 24/7 service from the staff.

If anything, it was an elaborate cage.

Once, he tried to take the key card from G but obviously, G was more powerful and subdued him before he could leave. Shaking his head for the depressing thoughts, he did as instructed. G and Gokudera expected his bag and belongings of any sharp objects or anything that they might find incriminating that they could report to Giotto. Then, G told him to take a quick shower which he did without complaint.

It always unnerved him how he knew they were just outside of the bathroom hearing every single thing, always alert, knowing that if he screamed, they would open the door and make sure he was alright.

Then, Gokudera the pajamas to him, different from the ones last week.

Tsuna glanced at Gokudera who refused to look at him while he stood there changing. He felt indignant. It was not his intention to be a bother, but what could he do? This was a punishment, Giotto said.

"I don't trust you, not anymore."

Whenever he thought of those words, it made Tsuna compliant with whatever his nii-sama told him to do.

When Tsuna finally changed into his fluffy white pajamas, both men left him and locked the door. It was the only door that led outside. Not able to resist the temptation, Tsuna tried to twist the knob but as always, it wouldn't budge.

Then, the child eyed the cameras scattered around the room with distaste.

The first time he was left in the penthouse, he ended up crying while he waited for Giotto to come back. Isolation, he always knew what it felt, but to be visibly isolated with no one to talk to was even worse. He hated it.

Tsuna flopped on the large couch and opened the 72-inch TV but after going through the channels he knew he wasn't interested in, he turned it off and shuffled back into his room.

The curtains were wide open, the sun inviting in its warmth and Tsuna soon found himself on Giotto's favorite spot. He then curled on the floor, staring at the people below. They were minute specks of insignificant existences when he compared them to how the big the universe was. He was one of those minute insignificant beings, he supposed… but at least he knew he was different.

He remembered this room. The first time Giotto brought him here, the first thing he tried to do was throw a chair at the window to see if it would break. He wanted to see if Giotto would be able to catch him if he jumped down. Apparently, the glass windows were designed to keep him in as well.

Tsuna stared right back at the orange horizon and eventually grew bored. He ambled towards the kitchen and checked the time. After a few moments, Tsuna prepared a glass of water. He reached inside his mouth, seemingly, trying to remove something stuck on his teeth.

Tsuna had his back on the cameras and burned the small plastic container when he opened the stove and started cooking dinner. The small plastic melted, and if it caused a weird spark, the cameras won't see it since he was blocking its view. He would just wipe it off and dispose it later. The pill was soon in his mouth and the quick gulps of water ensured it went in and kept him sated.

Making dinner for two people was easy enough. Nana taught him how to cook. It was one of the few things he wasn't so clumsy with.

When the first wave of haze reached him, Tsuna doubled over, but after a while, everything seemed all so clear again. He couldn't put a finger on it but there was something different though… he didn't know if he took one before taking the last one… but maybe he did. He couldn't be sure.

He stared at the food and frowned. He wondered when Giotto would come back. Tsuna tried to calm himself. He had to feel detached at the thought of being abandoned.

Byakuran thought it would happen and Byakuran was seldom wrong.

He calmed himself, inhaling and exhaling. He didn't want to work himself up and get admitted to the hospital again… so soon. He slapped both hands on his cheeks and tried to stop a very depressing thought.

The doctors diagnosed that on top of his condition, he had abandonment issues which was true, and set him off to see someone "who will help you get better, Sawada-kun." It didn't help. Tsunayoshi argued with Giotto that anti-depressants made him more depressed. What he wanted was... he didn't know, but he knew he didn't want Giotto to leave him.

He wouldn't allow Giotto to… it would make him lonely. It would hurt more than being locked up in the penthouse with no one to talk to.

Tsuna rushed back to the room, opened the door, got on the bed and searched his bag for his phone, and called Giotto. Was it really too late? Tsuna thought it was… Giotto can't help him… but he wished he could.

One, two, three rings… then he picked up.

"Tsuna? Tsuna… are you there?"

Tsuna smiled when he heard Giotto's voice.

"Tsuna. Answer me."

He hung up. It didn't make sense to hang-up but he only wanted to hear Giotto's voice and having done that, there was no point in talking. It also didn't make sense to call Giotto again when he just did.


He stared at his phone for a long while and sighed.

'I'm going insane.'

He left the phone in his bag and tried to look for something else to do. Was his nii-sama hiding anything else from him? The thought made his chest constrict. Byakuran's words were still in his mind, and if Giotto was lying, even if Giotto was just omitting things, then Tsuna would hate him more.

Hate was such a strong word. Tsuna sniffled and took a pillow that smelled like his nii-sama. After awhile he could breathe a little easier. Then he sneezed, and found something on the pillow, short striped white orange hair. It could only mean Nuts.

Come to think of it, he didn't see his cat when he entered. The fat orange fur ball was probably frolicking around the flat, chasing anything that seemed to move or making a mess of the upholstery.

"Nuts?" Tsuna called out.

Tsuna rolled on the bed put a hand on his mouth and stared at his bag. It was vibrating.

Instead of fear, Tsuna felt impossibly elated, and started laughing uncontrollably.

This was nice. Tsuna had his hand outstretched while he listened to the phone's ringing - until they turned muted, and he felt as if he was underwater.

For awhile, he felt as if all his problems were gone and he could just laugh and roll on his bed excitedly. Then he remembered he was looking for his cat.

Tsuna entered another fit at the thought of forgetting something he was just thinking about awhile ago. Then he shakily stood up, resolve renewed. He fell several times.

He finally reached the edge of the bed, sliding upside down and toyed with the shackles he found on the bottom. Giotto still didn't remove them.

Tsuna smiled and toyed with them for a while. The shackles were firmly locked in place and no amount of pulling could break the chains.

"Ah." The sun was suddenly too bright. He pressed his face on the comforter and took a minute or so to relax. He opened his eyes and groaned at the onslaught of color. The sharpening of every minute detail made him dizzy but when he adjusted, it made everything new and thrilling. It made him really happy. He liked being happy.

"Khh… khahahaahaha. Nuts? Where Are~ you?" Tsuna sighed exaggeratedly and tried to get upright. He crawled towards the door and stood up to open it.

It was in that stumbling fumbling cursing manner that he looked for his errant pet cat, stumbling murmuring expletives when he did so. All pretense of trying to behave were forgotten when his mind was fully overtaken by the pill.

Tsuna was ecstatic when finally found his pet. "Nuts!"

He approached and Nuts just said "Mao" in reply. So cute! He really loved his cat. Giotto bought it for him the second he insinuated he wanted a pet cat.

Tsuna got bored watching Nuts eat and play with his food. Byakuran told him to practice. Practice…

Nuts was just sitting there, unaware of his master's thoughts. It would be too easy to catch it…

…and break its neck.