A/N: I made the ring up, last chapter. But the clue of who it should belong to was in the animal: a liger. Now who has a pretty liger as a box animal? (Some of you got it. XD)
Super late update! Sorry about that.
Tsuna and Byakuran were playing in the living room of Tsuna's house (by this point in time, Byakuran spent half his time in Tsuna's house and the other half they were over at his place) when unexpected knocks on the door drew their attention. Both looked toward the hallway, expecting Nana or maybe one of the Auntie Cervello's to go to the door.
"Where's Okaa-san?" Tsuna asked, turning to his friend as he put down his toy robot.
"I don't know." Byakuran muttered. Mama definitely hadn't left the house -she would have told them, plus, she wouldn't leave them unattended.
The rapping on the door repeated, almost echoing in the silence of the hallway.
First, a stuffed bunny's head popped out into the hallway, followed by a fluffy brunet's head, and then by a snowy haired one. They crept toward the door all sneaky sneaky like, and stared up at the looming wooden structure. They could see a shadow shifting through the light that filtered through the opaque glass window at the side. And jumped as the loud rapping repeated once again, Tsuna 'hiiee'd quietly into his Bunbun.
"Tsu-chan, Tsu-chan," Byakuran whispered and nudged the brunet. "We have to look through that!"
Tsuna tilted his head up and up to see the peep hole which was twice his height above them. He blinked, wondering how they would look through that when both of them were much too short. Byakuran was humming at his side, his hand rubbing his chin as he tilted his head in an imitation of an adult's thinking position -which just looked adorable on child.
Tsuna, thumped his hand into his fist as he was hit by inspiration. He tottered back into the living room, put Bunbun on the couch and took as many zabuton (square, flat pillows Japanese use as seats on tatami) as he could carry with his small form and took them back the the front door.
Byakuran instantly understood what the brunet was doing -why would he not, this was Tsu-chan after all, his best friend- and helped to stack them up. After a few more trips back to the living room, they had amassed in impressive stack, tall enough so that they could stand on it and look though the peep hole.
Now came the challenge of climbing it.
Climbing pillows was much harder than climbing trees, Tsuna thought to himself as he tried his best to clamber up the soft mass -it made him wonder if something more solid, say, a stool, might have been a better idea. Byakuran was helping to keep the stack steady as well as push him up behind him. It took a bit of time before Tsuna stood atop the mound, leaning against the door and panting from exertion.
"Tsu-chan!" Byakuran whisper-shouted from the floor. "Look through the peep hole!"
Oh yeah, that was why he was doing this in the first place. Tsuna squinted his eyes, putting one to the hole and opened one cautiously. His eyes widened.
"Tsu-chan? What's wrong?" Byakuran was considering climbing up and joining his friend to have a look too.
"There's no one there, Bya-kun!" Tsuna whispered, looking back down at his friend fearfully. "What if it was a ghost?!"
"It can't be-" Byakuran started skeptically.
"And what are you two boys up to here?" a deep voice growled from behind them menacingly.
Tsuna tuned his face up toward the voice and... "HIIIEEEEEEEEE!"
Byakuran had turned too, startled by his friend's scream, and instantly back up against the pillow mound, his eyes flashing in rare bout of fear.
Before them, inside the house!, stood a monster. It had a large mouth pulled up into a grimacing smirk, revealing intimidating fangs that didn't even seem to fit in the mouth. Demonic eyes glowered at them, its red skin darkened in anger. It looked too much like the creature from the books that ate naughty children for the two boys comfort.
It was a Namahage.
"Fufufufu..." The Namahage chuckled and Tsuna stepped back, shivering in fear. He forgot that he was standing atop a precarious pile of pillows and consequently, misstepped and yelped as he tripped and fell.
"Tsu-chan!" Byakuran yelled, ignoring the monster for now to save his friend. He was surprised as two arms caught the brunet before he reached the ground and Tsuna was hugged toward a yukata clad chest. Yukata? On closer inspection, Byakuran realised that the monster was just a person wearing a mask. His childlike mentality had completely foregone the absurd notion of real existing monsters for a moment.
The person lifted his mask, revealing a face the white haired child did not recognise. His face was slender, asian, with a head of white hair cropped above his chin that was not nearly as unruly and fluffy as Byakuran's. A pair of reflective glasses sat upon a svelte nose. The man chuckled again at Tsuna's expression, who was held in his arms with his eyes squinted shut and trembling in fear. "Tsunayoshi-kun."
The brunet slowly opened his eyes when he heard a familiar voice. His eyes widened in wonder before breaking out into a large toothy grin. "Kawahira-ojisan*!" Then he pouted as he noticed the mask the other was holding. "That was mean," he admonished. "You scared me!"
Kawahira laughed once again as he bent down to place Tsuna next to Byakuran and handed the mask to the brunet. "Then you can take can the role to scare naughty children instead," he said. "And why don't you introduce me to your friend here?"
Tsuna grumbled under his breath, he wasn't good at being scary at all, but he took hold of the mask regardless. He easily cheered up again as he took his friend's arm. "This is Bya-kun. He's my bestest best friend~!"
Byakuran smiled before he bowed. "Gesso Byakuran, pleased to meet you."
"I see..." The older male murmured as he rubbed his chin in thought. "Then you may also call me Kawahira-ojisan if you wish, Byakuran-kun."
Byakuran nodded, wondering what role this man took in Tsuna's life. He had never seen this man in the months he has known Tsuna for, and yet his friend seemed very close to the man, not even showing a hint of his usual shyness of people he didn't know well.
Tsuna was holding the large mask before his face, attempting to growl menacingly at Byakuran which, really, just looked silly on the brunet. Byakuran put his hands up, curling his fingers and growled back, making Tsuna laugh and step back in mock fear. He tripped into the pile of pillows behind him and Byakuran pounced, sitting on the brunet and tickling him mirthfully. Tsuna screamed and laughed uncontrollably, wiggling to and fro. "S-stop- Ahahaha! B-Bya-kun! I give! Ahahahaha- I give!"
Byakuran eventually let up on his torture and allowed Tsuna to sit up, now both of the boys' unruly hair was wilder than ever and their chubby cheeks were flushed in exertion. Kawahira, who had been watching in amusement couldn't hide his surprise at seeing the objects hanging around each of the boys' necks which had come out during their tussle. "Rings?"
Tsuna smiled shyly, griping the ring around his neck. "I got this from Bya-kun." Kawahiraoji-san was a friend who helped his Okaa-san when she was having a hard time. Tsuna used to play with the man quite often, Kawahira-ojisan was also the only one who let him play with fire, he wasn't allowed to tell anyone else though. The last few months though, his kind uncle barely visited, something to do with work.
"And I got mine from Tsu-chan~!" Byakuran inputted holding his own one too.
Kawahira hummed thoughtfully rubbing his chin. "Don't you two think it's a bit mixed up?" He asked as he gently reached for the rings, it was obvious they were precious to the boys, and swapped Tsuna's with Byakuran's. "I think it matches better this way."
"Eh, but I gave this to him, so it belongs to him!" Both boys said at the same time, thrusting their rings at each other. The rings clicked together, Tsuna with Byakuran's Vongola ring against Byakuran with Tsuna's Mare ring. In the hands of their true bearers, the rings reacted, and Tsuna and Byakuran only had time to look at each other in shock before a bright intense light engulfed them.
By the time the light settled, there was no sign of the two boys.
"Oh my, Kawahira-san? When did you arrive?"
The man, completely alone in the hallway and standing next to a pile of inconspicuous pillows, turned toward Nana Sawada with a genial smile. "Just a few moments ago, it's been awhile hasn't it, Sawada-san?"
Nana slipped off her gardening gloves and her wide-brimmed hat, tittering. "No need to be so formal, Kawahira-san. You were the one who taught me to protect Tsu-kun and myself, after all. Now why don't you come in and have some tea?"
"I would love for some tea," Kawahira said, nodding his head. "It just isn't the same when you have it out of the country."
"That's right, you've been overseas for quite some time, how was your job?" Nana asked, gesturing for the man to go before her.
Kawahira's glasses flashed against the light, hiding his eyes as he smiled mysteriously. "It was a success."
"That's great! Why don't you tell me more as I prepare the tea?" Nana suggested cheerfully. She tutted upon seeing the mess of pillows at the door, putting her hand on her cheek. "And I'll have to get Tsu-kun and Byrakuran-kun to clean that mess up, where did those two boys go off to now?"
"Oh yes, those two decided to go somewhere to play quietly. It seems Tsuna has gained an odd friend while I was away?"
As Nana started to explain about Byakuran, Kawahira's thoughts wondered. The two boys had gone elsewhere, but even he couldn't really predict where a ring that allowed a user to move along the time axis and one that allowed the user to travel across parallel timelines could bring those boys.
*Ojisan is uncle, not to be confused with 'ojiisan' for grandpa/grandfather