Title: 6 Times the Guardians Came Back Injured
Summary: …and 1 time their boss came back critical.
Disclaimer: Katekyo Hitman Reborn! belongs to Akira Amano
Warning: OoC-ness; Spoilers for the Curse of the Rainbow Arc; Set in the canon world. This chapter is set 10 years after the Curse of the Rainbow Arc/Arcobaleno Representative Battle Arc.
ADDITIONAL WARNING: There may be medical inconsistency, such as degree of wound versus recovery time/survival rates. I've tried to do my research, but it's really hard to get a straight answer. Also bear in mind that in the KHR universe, we have Sun flames that can heal, so what is normally impossible might just be possible. Another thing: I utterly and completely fail at Geography, so please give some leeway.
Note: When family is used with a capitalized f (e.g. Family), it refers to any Mafia Family. When the normal version is used (e.g. family), it refers to the normal understanding of family. The same applies with the Flames of the Sky –e.g. Storm will refer to Storm flames, while storm will refer to the weather condition.
DEDICATION: To Tiger723, the first requestor for a Reborn chapter. I'm sorry it took so long, since it was set as the last chapter. I hope you, along with all of my beloved readers, enjoy the final chapter of 6 Times the Guardians Came Back Injured!
Beta'd by Lightning515
A/N: Because Reborn's chapter is set in a different portion of Canon!KHR, please backtrack and read the 'WARNING' section. Also, take note that Reborn's physical age is 16 in this chapter. Just for reference, Tsuna is 24 in this chapter.
One Last Time
Destroying the misfortune that attacks the Famiglia in the shadows, the hidden Sun that lights up the Sky from the darkness.
Sun Arcobaleno: Reborn
Tsuna was actually rather excited to be able to sit behind the wheel again.
It really was ironic how he was made to get his driver's license despite having either chauffeurs or his own Guardians driving him whenever he went. His driver's license ―the same one he went through a few rounds of hellish training (because Reborn said Bosses weren't allowed to fail driving tests else how would they lead their Families) to get― was practically gathering dust in each and every one of the wallets Tsuna went through! Tsuna wiggled gleefully in the driver's seat, adjusting the seat perfectly to his requirements, humming to himself in excitement.
That is, until he was unceremoniously whacked over the head by his 'Guardian' for the day.
"Reborn…!" Tsuna whined playfully.
"You're being too excited." The hitman scolded. "Start driving or we'll be late."
"Hey. I have a right to be excited." Tsuna huffed, but the brunette started driving, nevertheless.
The two were off for a leisure trip; Tsuna had made plans with his surrogate older brother for a day-of-relaxation-cum-bonding-day and Reborn was chosen to accompany the Vongola Decimo ―excellent choice, considering that Reborn was both the strongest hitman in the world and the teacher of the two brothers. Now, the original plan was for one of the Guardians (likely Yamamoto) to drive them there and return later to pick them up, but Tsuna had abused every single card he had; begging and bribing and making deals and pulling rank ―all for the sake of 'saving his poor little driving license from suffocating to death' (according to him). The Guardians were reluctant, considering how long it has been since Tsuna drove, after all, but a word from Reborn and they gave in quickly. (Tsuna could have kissed his tutor for his help, but he'd rather not get shot in return.)
And so here they are; driving their way to the Cavallone Famiglia estate on the other side of town. Fortunately, years of not driving has yet to make Tsuna rusty (though having his tutor in the passenger seat probably helped greatly); Reborn didn't need to cling on to the handles for near life, and neither was Leon turning gree ―well, greener from Tsuna's driving.
"So, how was the check-up?" Tsuna asked. "And, uhh, how old are supposed to be now?"
"Check-up went fine." Reborn replied, resting an elbow on the edge of the car window languidly. "According to Verde, sixteen."
"…That's… young." Tsuna cringed.
It has been ten years since the end of the Arcobaleno Representative Battle ―ten years since the breaking of the Arcobaleno Curse. The Arcobaleno all thought that they would have to spend decades before they finally grew back into their original bodies, but that wasn't entirely so. The Arcobaleno, cursed to be in two-year-infants' bodies, grew up 'normally' for the next eight years until they were all physically-aged ten. From there, in the next two years, they experienced random growth spurts, ranging from growing two-years-physically in one year; to even five-years-physically in one year. Verde, the residential scientist, had researched into this for the past two years, but had made neither heads nor tails of their random growth spurt. Yuni, on the other hand, hypothesized that the Tri-ni-Sette was attempting to help the Arcobaleno return to their true forms sooner and, after the three Skies of the Tri-ni-Sette had discussed it over (with Tsuna consulting both Talbot and Vongola Primo), decided that that was likely the case.
For the past two years, the Arcobaleno frequently visited Verde for check-ups (by order of the Arcobaleno Boss), both to check if the growth spurts had damaged their bodies in anyway and to make some notes on how fast they were growing. Needless to say, Verde was having a field day with all the data he was collecting, and the other Arcobaleno all wisely decided to stay away unless it was time for their check-ups.
"I can still kick your ass. Effortlessly." Reborn said conversationally.
"That's what I'm afraid of." Tsuna winced. "How old are the others, by the way? Besides Yuni, I mean."
Reborn shifted a little in his seat, almost as though he was reluctant to answer, but the hitman did eventually. "Skull-the-lackey is only thirteen, Colonello is fifteen, Lal and Fon are both eighteen and Verde is twenty. Viper's age is unknown ―probably bribed Verde into keeping his mouth shut."
Tsuna quietly drove for a while as he digested the information. Then, as expected, he broke out laughing. "So… Colonello is still younger than Lal… and… and…" Tsuna giggled furiously, "Reborn… you're… younger than Lal?!"
Reborn growled as Leon helpfully turned into his handy gun.
"Shoot the driver and we crash, Reborn~" Tsuna quipped playfully.
Leon swiftly turned into the One-Ton Mallet instead and Reborn whacked Tsuna over the head with it, smirking when Tsuna yelped in pain. The brunette pouted as he lifted one hand off the steering wheel to rub his abused head. As if in apology though, Leon turned back into its chameleon form and crept along Reborn's still-outstretched arm until it landed on Tsuna's shoulder. Purring softly, Leon stuck out his tongue and gently licked Tsuna's cheeks, making the brunette giggle at the touch. Reborn sighed exasperatedly at his partner's antics and decided to let them be ―he knew Leon had an affection for his student, after all. Settling into his seat comfortably, Reborn let his sight settle on the window as he watched the scenery pass with a keen eye.
They were only into the better part of the first half-an-hour of the journey when disaster struck.
With loud bangs, the tires burst on the left side of the car. Tsuna growled and slammed his hand on the steering wheel as the car stumbled to a stop. "Can't I go one day without anyone trying to kill me?!"
"You're Vongola Decimo, arguable the most powerful man in the Mafia; what do you think?" Reborn snapped back. Twin grunts were let out when the car was shot three more times, two of them on the hood of the car. With all his keen senses as a hitman, Reborn easily caught a glance of the bullet and obsidian eyes widened. "Those are Storm bullets! Get out!"
Tsuna's eyes were blown wide open by his tutor's words. It was only with special effects that cars exploded when being shot by bullets in movies or dramas, but with the help of a Storm bullet, which had the ability of Disintegration, the bullet could easily break down the gas tank, opening it up to external sparks ―which basically meant the car was going to blow. Tsuna quickly threw the car door open and stumbled out. Reborn, being much more nimble, had gotten out a step earlier and had rounded the car to Tsuna's side with his own gun his hand (since Leon was still sitting on Tsuna's shoulder). Tsuna's eyes narrowed when he found themselves surrounded by two dozen more assailants on the other side. He was about to slip into Hyper Dying Will mode when it hit him.
"My gloves! They're in the glove compartment!"
Reborn cursed his younger body momentarily as he actually needed to use all of his strength to hold Tsuna back. "Your gloves are flame-resistant! They'll survive the explosion!" The hitman grunted as he slammed them to the ground. "Now, stay down!"
Tsuna winced when he saw the car explode in front of his eyes. A small part of his mind registered the fact that the car was yet another damage he would need to take care of, but his Hyper Intuition kindly reminded him of all the gunshots and all the various Box Weapons around them ―it was only with Leon's Reflect Mirror mode that the two were still unscathed. With a snarl, Tsuna slipped into his Hyper Dying Will mode, his eyes burning a bright amber as he glared at the two dozen or so assailants as his eyes took in their surroundings at the same time.
The car was shot down near a cliff, the road being about two kilometers off a rusty-railing-guarded cliff. The other side of the road was lined with the thick forest since the road they were travelling on was on the outer edge of the forest. With the car currently burning to scrap, the duo was pretty much left in the middle of nowhere with a minimum of twenty-over assailants.
By then, both of them had gotten off the ground, Reborn shooting down assailants with deadly accuracy as Tsuna knocked out the others. The hitman was scowling in annoyance since his freedom to shoot was restricted with Tsuna flying all over the place. Said brunette, however, was making good use of the open air as he zipped around, dodging bullets with the help of his Hyper Intuition, and knocking the various Box Weapons out of the assailants' hands. He swiftly froze any and all of the Dying Will Flame Boots, letting their user fall to the ground in heaps. Tsuna froze in midair as his Hyper Intuition grabbed for his attention desperately. Molten amber hurriedly looked around for the source of the alarm and, finally finding it, flames flared painfully as Tsuna sped towards the grounded Reborn, just in time to block off two shots coming from the forest.
"Reborn. Snipers. Three of them." Tsuna gasped out.
The hitman turned around and faced the forest without a shred of hesitation as Tsuna spun around, pressing their backs together as he glared at the remaining assailants.
"Your hands?" Reborn asked urgently.
"It's fine." Tsuna bit out.
"Fine for how long?" Reborn growled. The hitman yielded his own gun in one hand while Leon transformed into a second gun in his free hand. Reborn took shots at the forest as Tsuna moved around behind him.
"…Seven minutes to first-degree, nine to second, and ten minutes to third-degree." Tsuna answered as he knocked out another assailant, dodging a flame attack at the last moment with a twist of his body. Natsu had long since summoned itself and was roaring at any attack coming at its master's back. "Reborn."
The raven tucked away his gun wordlessly as Leon transformed into a sniper instead. Reborn aimed at the forest without worry ―he had absolute faith in Tsuna to watch his back.
Tsuna snuck glances at the forest as he rattled out, "20.7° West, 44.5° above horizontal―" First one. "―34.8° East, 37.9° above horizontal―" Second one. "―and… 56.3° above horizontal…!"
Reborn smirked when he heard three satisfying thuds coming from the forest. "You can tell Spanner that project was a success, Tsuna." Reborn called out as Leon turned back into a gun.
"I'll make a note…" Tsuna gasped out breathlessly.
He was covered in sweat now; the pain was getting unbearable. Tsuna grunted softly to himself as he pushed himself further. He couldn't stop until they're safe and the only way that is possible was to get rid of all the assailants. He told himself that it wasn't going to be long now… only half a dozen more. Reborn's shots were starting to sound louder for some reason ―it was as though the hitman was getting desperate. That's silly, he told himself. Reborn doesn't panic. Ever. He nodded to himself. And suddenly, out of nowhere, his thoughts screeched to a stop when twin pangs of pain shot through his entire body; one from the right side of his neck, the other from the left side of his lower chest. Reborn doesn't panic… Tsuna thought. The combination of all the pain forcefully pushed him out of Hyper Dying Will mode. The wind roared about him as the scenery spun.
Reborn doesn't panic… I do.
Reborn's eyes widened impossibly when he saw his student fall from the skies… beyond the edge of the cliff.
With a snarl, he yanked out his other gun and fired mercilessly at the remaining four assailants, hitting each of them in the heart without fail with an additional bullet in their chests in his anger. Without even thinking about it, Reborn ran towards the edge of the cliff and jumped over the edge after Tsuna. Obsidian eyes narrowed as they found the falling brunette easily. Reborn grunted as he pressed an arm to his side, while other arm reached out in front of him in an attempt to gain speed. His precious fedora had flew off a few seconds ago, but he couldn't be bothered with it at the moment; he'll come to mourn for its loss later, but right now, nothing is more important than getting to his student.
Reborn narrowed his eyes against the wind slapping against his skin as he anxiously watched the distance between him and Tsuna shorten. The brunette had spread out his limbs horizontally to slow himself down somewhat and was reaching out a hand for Reborn. Chocolate brown eyes darkened and narrowed as Tsuna cursed Reborn for his stupidity, despite a small part of him being glad that his tutor had came after him without hesitation. Almost like a scene out of a movie, their hands reached out for each other. As soon as the tips of their hands touched, Reborn stretched his arm even further and grabbed Tsuna's wrist in a painfully tight grip as he yanked Tsuna toward him, wrapping his arms around the brunette protectively. Reborn quickly maneuvered him in mid-air, turning them around so that he was on the bottom as Leon crept onto Tsuna's back and turned into a parachute.
The duo did slow down, but not by much as the combined weight of a teen and a fully-grown adult was much more than what the chameleon could support. Reborn grunted as his back slammed against layers after layers of leaves and branches as they crashed through the forest below. Tsuna gritted his teeth as he wrapped an arm around Reborn's waist, outstretching his free arm below them. The brunette dare not squeeze his eyes shut despite the immerse pain that shot up his arm from the hard flames flaring from his outstretched hand. They slowed down further but the ground was still rapidly approaching. In the last few moments before they crashed, Tsuna retracted his hand and slammed it behind Reborn's head and―
Gokudera was certain that he would have put in hole in the car by the time they arrived at their destination, what with the amount of pressure he was putting on the accelerator. Emerald eyes were glancing frantically between the PDA sitting in a stand next to the steering wheel and the rapidly passing scenery beyond the windshield.
It was nearly two hours ago when their Boss headed out with Reborn. It was an hour ago when Dino called Gokudera up, inquiring about Tsuna, who had yet to arrive at the Cavallone estate. It was also an hour ago when the Guardians made countless of calls to both Tsuna and Reborn with none of their calls getting through. It was after a grueling and painfully slow thirty-seven minutes and forty-eight seconds later did Spanner finally track down the last place the flame signatures of the duo were active. It was another seven minutes and twenty-seven seconds later that four of the older Guardians ―Storm, Rain, Sun and Cloud― cramped together in the first car they could get their hands on, speeding towards the aforementioned location while the two Mist Guardians and the youngest Lightning Guardian stayed behind to guard the Vongola estate.
The car was thick with tension as the Guardians kept an eye out for anything out of the ordinary as Gokudera drove them to the location. All was quiet ―no one was talking; the radio was turned off… the car was silent if not for the soft rumble of the engines and the crackling sound of the tires travelling over the rocky roads. It was about a quarter of an hour later before Yamamoto, sitting in the front passage seat, nearly jumped upright (if not for the seatbelt holding back) and shouted, "Look over there! A car wreck!"
Gokudera slammed his feet onto the breaks harshly and the four rushed out over to the aforementioned car wreck. The car was burned to a crisp, but the car plate was still visible. The Guardians noted with a horrible feeling in their stomachs that the car plate matched the one that Tsuna had taken out hours ago. The Guardians split up wordlessly, Yamamoto going to check out the wreckage while the others investigated the… carnage around them.
"…Over half of them are dead." Gokudera murmured. "All those that are dead are killed by a single gunshot to the heart. Any additional shots are probably just extra."
"Anyone who is not shot is knocked out." Ryohei continued.
"The akanbo and Sawada Tsunayoshi." Hibari remarked.
"Definitely." Gokudera nodded to himself. "There are about, what, two dozen of them here?"
"So they were am―"
"―Guys, look!" Yamamoto interrupted, backing up from where he was examining the interior of the car. He turned around and held a familiar pair of mittens out on his hand. "This… This is definitely Tsuna's gloves…! If his gloves are in there, then―"
"―No, we've determined that all this," Gokudera gestured to the bodies littering the area, "…was the work of Jyuudaime and Reborn-san."
"That's not good." Ryohei frowned. The Guardians turned to him in confusion. "Sawada fought right? Without his gloves. That means that he was using his Dying Will flames barehanded. Depending on how long he used it, he'd be burned!"
"…I… don't think that's the real problem here." Yamamoto started slowly. As the attention was gathered on him this time, Yamamoto spoke, "If… If Tsuna's car is here, wrecked and burned to a crisp, and their ambushers are, presumably, all here," He gestured to the open area beyond the car, "…then… where areTsuna and Reborn?"
Gokudera's eyes widened. He ran back to their own car and pulled his PDA from the dashboard stand, checking the location Spanner gave them earlier. "We're at the right place. We just have to go about… 3.7 kilometers to the right. My right."
"…Gokudera." Ryohei's voice was tensed. "Are you… reading that right?"
"Yeah. Spanner gave us the coordinates and I'm reading off the PDA directly." Gokudera answered. "Why?"
"Because," Hibari was, surprisingly, the one who spoke up. "3.7 kilometers to your right would be beyond the edge of the cliff, herbivore."
Ryohei jogged over to the precariously-looking railings and glanced over the edge before jogging back, reporting, "There's more forest over the edge. That railing isn't very secure; it's pretty rusted and weak. There was a bit of a bend there, like someone used it for a support or something." He swallowed, "…You don't think… they're really down there?"
"They have to be." Gokudera said grimly. "It… wasn't just their flame signature. Jyuudaime's headphones had trackers in them, and the tracker's last signal matched where Jyuudaime's flame signature last appeared. They're… down there." The silverette glanced out over the horizon. Gokudera grimaced; if it weren't for the situation they were in, he might even be quietly admiring the view. As it is, however, they didn't have any time to waste. "Come on. Let's get down there."
"Umm… How, exactly, are we supposed to do that?" Yamamoto asked. "We don't even know if there's a road going down there."
"We're taking a short-cut." Gokudera answered. "Follow me."
Gokudera tucked the PDA into his pocket as he walked towards the edge of the cliff, slowly breaking into a run. Out of the corner of his eyes, he saw Hibari standing still as a little yellow bird flew in from a distance. A nod from the Cloud Guardian was all Gokudera needed to know that Hibari would be taking care of all the bodies on the cliff, dead and alive. He caught the sound of two more sets of footsteps running behind him. It barely took any time for the trio to reach the edge of the cliff and Gokudera threw himself over the edge without hesitation. There were two shouts of confusion before the sound of the rusty railing croaking followed. Gokudera smirked and his Buckle of the Storm glowed as he summoned three Storm Shields in bursts of bright-red Storm flames. The three Guardians landed smoothly on a shield each, and Gokudera took off.
They descended slowly.
As much as Gokudera wanted to reach the bottom of the cliff and the floor of the forest, he'd rather not risk anyone slipping off because of the speed ―he himself had quite an experience of that when he first got the Storm Shields, and it was not a fun experience. As with the car ride, the trio was silent, each quietly preparing themselves for what they would see when they reached their destination. Falling from a cliff this high was not something to joke about. Even if Tsuna's true specialty was mid-air combat ―and, therefore, flight; without his gloves, it was unlikely that they would have landed safely below.
"Gokudera, wait." Yamamoto called out. As the Storm Guardian glanced over with an irritated scowl, Yamamoto pointed out to an object he spotted in the distance. With widened emerald orbs, Gokudera steered the Storm Shield Yamamoto was on towards said object, and the Rain Guardian picked it up with shaking hands. "It's…"
"…Reborn-san's… fedora…" Gokudera felt his throat tightened. "…Hold on to that, Take― Baseball Idiot."
Yamamoto caught the slip-up but said nothing about it. Even if they were only merely forcing themselves to act normal, it was much better than them breaking down in panic. Yamamoto tightened his grip on the precious fedora, and the trio descended once more.
They slowed down even more when they reached emergent layer of the forest. Even with them gently prying the branches and leaves apart when they passed, the Guardians still got some faint cuts here and there, though those were all ignored in favored of reaching the forest ground. It was agonizingly slow how long it took for them to reach the forest floor, but when they reached, a part of them almost didn't want to be there at all.
Surrounded by all the broken branches and twigs were the two people the Guardians searched for frantically. Tsuna lay on top of Reborn, whose arms were still wrapped tightly and protectively around his student. Tsuna had an arm wrapped around Reborn's waist in return, while his left hand was resting underneath Reborn's messy black locks. Their suits were all torn in various places, cut by the forest on their way down. Neither of them was breathing very well and both of their faces frozen with pain. On Tsuna's back, Leon was asleep; the green little chameleon looking a little scratched up as well.
Ryohei, being the trained and certified medic, was the first to snap out of his shock-induced daze as he ran over to the fallen duo, clouded grey eyes taking in as much as they could. His mind snapped into action as Ryohei quickly analyzed the two's injuries. Gokudera and Yamamoto snapped out of their own daze as they ran over to Ryohei quietly, letting the Sun Guardian do his job. Ryohei barely noticed his fellow Guardians ―he was rattling off everything he could see and anything that he deduced.
"Arms. Both arms fractured, if not broken. Hand definitely broken. Both hands burned; left hand second-degree, right-hand first. Breathing steady but not even; possible cracked ribs? Bruising a definite. Possible concussion."
Ryohei turned to Gokudera suddenly, tossing the Storm Guardian a small yellow pill. Recognizing it as Sun pill, Gokudera quickly swallowed it despite being in confusion as to why he needed it. Ryohei answered that question immediately after, "They're scratched up from the fall and definitely broke some bones, though I can't tell where like this. We can't jostle them too much in case we injure them further. We need to fly them back on your Storm Shields." When Gokudera was still staring blankly at him, Ryohei growled, "MOVE IT! What are you waiting for?!"
Gokudera jerked upright as he hastily summoned over two Storm Shields out of the three present. It took some time, but they finally managed to pry off Reborn's tight grip on Tsuna and gently move the unconscious brunette onto a Storm Shield. With Reborn no longer holding on to Tsuna with an iron grip, the hitman was easily moved to a separate Storm Shield, his fedora placed on his chest while Leon rested on its brim.
When they finally got back up, the cliff was already surrounded by the Foundation, who were working on tying up the knocked-out assailants. With a word to Hibari that they were heading back first, they were off, flying as fast as possible back to the Vongola estate. With the wind howling around them, the two Guardians could barely make out what Ryohei was saying on the phone that he fished out as soon as they were high enough to get reception. Gokudera and Yamamoto shrugged; Ryohei was likely giving orders for the Sun division to prepare themselves for the two wounded on the way back. Glancing down at Tsuna and Reborn respectively, the Storm and Rain Guardian each gave a silent prayer in their mind as they raced back to the Vongola estate.
And the rest of the journey back was nothing more than a blur.
When the hitman woke up feeling rather painless, he knew they had been rescued.
Despite knowing that they were now safe, Reborn decided to keep his eyes closed for a while longer as he let his senses take in everything that they could ―just in case there is an entirely different reason why he wasn't feeling any pain after jumping off a cliff after his student in a decidedly stupid move. (Boy, was anyone ever going to let him live it down?)
One of the few things that Reborn immediately caught was the steady beeping of the heart monitor. Listening closer, he could make out the faint dripping of the IV nearby. There were a few other people in the room, but they were not crowded around him. The fact that there was another set of beeping that was out of step with his told Reborn that there was someone else staying in the room with him ―Tsuna, most likely.
Reborn could have sighed in relief at that revelation.
In any case, Tsuna was awake, if the sound of his breathing was any indication. It sounded a little shaky and Reborn nearly frowned at that. Perhaps his student's lungs were damaged from the fall? The other people were all crowding around Tsuna's bed; about four of them. One of them was talking ―Ryohei, by the sounds of it. Since none of the others were talking and Reborn caught the sounds of things shuffling about, the hitman could only assume that the others were likely medics from the Sun division ―and more importantly, Tsuna's machines were being removed. Sure enough, only one set of beeping remained; the one belonging to him. And then Reborn heard it.
"How much longer are you going to pretend that you're asleep, Reborn?"
Ah. Caught. Not bad.
Reborn gingerly cracked an eye open, and nearly choked on the air he was breathing when he tried to hum in satisfaction at the darkened room. How did he miss the fact that he was on oxygen? (Did he hurt his lungs too? He didn't know; not with all the painkillers he was likely on.) Reborn grumbled softly and blinked owlishly at the ceiling. Finally clearing the sleep from his eyes, Reborn turned to glance at his student and grimaced.
Tsuna was sitting upright in bed, with the covers pooling around his waist. Tsuna was wearing a short-sleeved version of the hospital pyjamas and Reborn could see why. Both of Tsuna's arms were wrapped up in a thick white cast while his hands were both wrapped up delicately in thick white bandages, making him look like some sort of a mummy at the moment. Reborn glanced between Tsuna and Ryohei inquisitively.
The brunette sighed and slipped a leg over the edge of the bed.
"Sawada…" Ryohei warned.
"It's fine. I'm feeling much more better already." Tsuna would have waved him off if he could. "Now, are you going to help me or let me walk on my own?"
Ryohei sighed and grumbled something about, "who's the medic here…?" as he moved over to help Tsuna off the bed. He reached out to grab the IV stand from the other side of the bed and rolled it over as Ryohei supported Tsuna over to the chair beside Reborn's bed. "I'll, uhh… Come back and check on him later. In the meantime, don't take the mask off." Ryohei said, staring firmly at Reborn.
Tsuna chuckled and nodded, jerking his head towards the door. Ryohei harshly ruffled Tsuna's gravity-defying hair before heading out. As soon as the footsteps faded, Reborn yanked the oxygen mask off his face in a rather defiant manner, earning himself a roll of the eyes from his student.
"Your arms?" Reborn asked, once he got used to breathing normal air again.
"Umm… Fractured both of my arms. The fracture in my right arm is worse, though. Ryo said I'll recover, but it'll take a long time for complete recovery; about a month for the left one and minimally two months for my right arm." Tsuna answered, shifting a little in his seat nervously. "And my hands were burned. My right hand is only suffering a first-degree burn. Left hand burned up to second-degree and, uhh… I… broke my left hand a little."
"Anything else?" Reborn questioned.
"My ribs are a little bruised; that'll take about three to four weeks to heal." Tsuna replied.
Reborn hummed as he nodded. The recovery period was certainly long, but with some TLC and physical therapy, Tsuna would make as close as a complete recovery as possible. There would be a need to retrain his arms again, but that would come at a later date. As he glanced back at Tsuna, he found the brunette staring at him with an intense gaze. With a quirk of an eyebrow, Reborn asked, "So then. I'm guessing you know about my injuries?"
"I woke up two days earlier. We've been in here for three days now." Tsuna said quietly. "You've got a mild concussion ―that's about healed now, according to Ryo. You also sprained your spine from the impact; Ryohei will be taking care of your physical therapy for that personally. And lastly, you broke one of your ribs, grazing your lung ―hence the oxygen mask. Other than those… hairline fractures on your collar bone… and that's about it."
Reborn nodded again, mentally analyzing his own damages. If his lungs were grazed, that certainly explained why he had an oxygen mask but Tsuna didn't. It also meant that he would be under observation for a tad longer ―certainly annoying, but better than the alternative. The sprained spine would be the area for most concern; thankfully, he was physically-aged sixteen, and the young body would be an advantage, compared to if he was in his true body. Reborn grimaced; he didn't know whose injures were worse ―his or Tsuna's. The hitman sighed as he turned back to Tsuna, only to find his student staring at him again, this time with a blank look in his eyes instead.
Speaking of his student, Tsuna's actions had been bugging him for a while now. The brunette was… too quiet. He'd expected his student to fret endlessly over him, but until now, he had barely said anything except to explain their damages. Reborn's eyes narrowed slightly as he called out to the brunette, "Tsuna."
Tsuna nearly jerked awake when his name was called.
Reborn's eyes didn't narrow any further. Instead, obsidian orbs softened as Reborn said quietly, "…Talk to me."
"A-About what?" Tsuna asked.
Reborn didn't answer; his eyes clearly saying, 'You know what'. Tsuna sighed and shifted again in his seat, the IV stand rattling a little by his actions. "…Tsuna." Reborn murmured.
"…I…" Tsuna's gaze fell to his lap. "…I thought you'd died."
Reborn's eyebrows lifted, but he still didn't say anything, allowing Tsuna to quietly sort out his thoughts and speak.
"W-When I woke up yesterday… I was still pumped up on painkillers and anesthetic. I was… kind of in and out of it, according to Ryo. And… somewhere along the way… I lost sight of what was real and what was a dream. I… I kept dreaming that… that you were gone." Tsuna squeezed his eyes shut as he continued, "I… I keep seeing us back at the forest… Only… Only this time… I was covered in blood. Y-Your… your blood…" He swallowed, the bile rising in his throat. "You… We didn't… I mean… You fel―"
Tsuna was abruptly cut off by a slap to his face. He cried out in pain, unable to nurse his burning cheek with his hands all wrapped up in bandages. Reborn stared at him, his hand still poised in the after-slap.
"…Awake yet?" Reborn asked.
Tsuna's eyes widened.
Reborn reached out with the same hand he slapped Tsuna with and gently grasped the brunette's right hand. Slowly, he placed the hand right over his heart. "Feel that?"
Tsuna nodded numbly.
"Heart monitor. Hear that?"
Tsuna nodded again.
"Convinced that I'm alive yet?"
Tsuna nodded once more, his eyes brimming with tears. Reborn sighed and gently pulled Tsuna into a hug. It was a little awkward, since both of Tsuna's arms were covered in casts and Reborn can't really move from the bed, given his sprained spine, but it worked nevertheless. Tsuna wailed in Reborn's arm like a child, and the hitman decided he would let the brunette be for the moment.
"Re… Reborn…?" Tsuna sniffled as he settled in his seat again. "Are you afraid of anything?"
"What kind of a question is that?" Reborn arched an eyebrow.
"A perfectly valid one." Tsuna replied cheekily.
Reborn grumbled but did not whack the brunette as Tsuna expected. "I'm afraid of something. One thing." Reborn answered. "It's not death, if you're wondering. I'm sure you know that by now."
Tsuna nodded; the events of the Arcobaleno Representative Battle still clear in his mind. "Just one thing? What's that?"
"That, is for me to know, and for you to never find out." Reborn replied.
Tsuna pouted and widened his eyes in his best puppy-dog look, but Reborn still didn't give in; only glaring at his student with a look that said, 'I-will-slap-you-again-if-you-do-not-get-that-look-off-your-face-in-the-next-five-seconds'. Tsuna wisely did so.
"Reborn?" Tsuna called again. "…Thank you for saving me."
Reborn finally pulled on his trademark smirk for the first time that day, "Since you still need me to save you, that means you need more training, right?"
"Ahh!" Tsuna's mouth fell open. "T-That's not fair! I'm injured!"
"Who says it has to be now? I have a perfect memory." Reborn retorted.
Ryohei stepped back into the same private ward an hour later to find an interesting side awaiting him.
Squeezed together on the same bed was teacher and student; Tsuna's head resting on the crook of Reborn's shoulder while the rest of his body was laying beside the hitman's. Reborn had an arm wrapped around Tsuna's body, his face buried in those fluffy brown-locks. A precious, rare and loving smile was graced Reborn's lips while Tsuna, too, was smiling that warm smile that was brighter than the Sun itself.
Ryohei smiled. Even if he was a little annoyed with Reborn for ripping off the oxygen mask anyway, this scene certainly made up for it. Deciding to let the the tutor-and-student pair be, he quietly backtracked out of the private ward, soundlessly closing the door behind him.
Back in the room, Tsuna snuggled just a tad closer to Reborn, an even brighter smile blooming on his face when he subconsciously felt the arm holding him even more tightly.
'Reborn… Despite being the shadow of the Vongola Famiglia, you were the one who brought light into my life. Without you, I wouldn't have met my friends and family. Thank you, Reborn. You're my tutor, mentor and lifelong friend. So please, don't leave me, okay? This idiot student of yours… can't bear to graduate just yet.'
A/N: Here we go! The last chapter of gyaaahhhh! *hides behind full-length shield* Eek! I'm sorry this took so long! But it was a thorough mess last week! It was Chinese New Year (Happy CNY to everyone who celebrates it, by the way. It's still within CNY, so I'm not considered late~) and Valentine's Day in the same week! And since I was preparing for the Valentine's Day fics, I couldn't work on this!
First of all, many thanks to Tiger723 for suggesting a Reborn chapter. To everyone who was looking forward to this, I hope I didn't disappoint you with Reborn's method of injury. It's not too lame, I hope. :x
Second, big credits to Lightning515 for beta-ing this chapter and suggesting that nice little fluffy scene you guys saw at the end there! I didn't really know how to end it and she suggested that Reborn and Tsuna should cuddle and snuggle together. She helped pointed out stupid mistakes of mine, so this chapter is less terrible than before. (Apparently, at one point in time, I actually typed 'estate' as 'etstate'. *facepalms*) Also, she helped me decide on Reborn's 'tagline' for the chapter. With all the previous chapters, I used the Guardians' duty, but Reborn being an Arcobaleno had no such line. So I took the Sun Guardian's one and wrote one for Reborn based on that. I think we came up with, like, five variation of that line above before we finally decided on that one...
Third! Questions! I'm sure you guys have at least one burning question right now and that is: What is Reborn's fear? Or, as the fic puts it, What is the one thing that Reborn is afraid of? Well. This is just what I thought of (just like all the other 'fears' of the Guardians). I believe that Reborn is afraid of losing Tsuna/Tsuna dying. As mentioned earlier, in the Curse of the Rainbow Arc, Reborn wasn't too concerned that that Arcobaleno would die; plus, being a hitman himself, I believe that Reborn really doesn't fear death ―at least, his own death. On the other hand, Tsuna has to be a very important person to Reborn. He brought Tsuna up, watching him grow from a clumsy, useless kid to a well-liked and respectable Boss. Sure, you could argue that this is the same with Dino, but you also have to admit that despite so, Reborn is definitely closer to Tsuna than he is to Dino. Tsuna took on everything for Reborn in the Curse of the Rainbow Arc ―I think that was the biggest proof of their relationship. I don't see it too much of a stretch that Tsuna has become that important to Reborn; important enough for Reborn to fear losing him.
Again, as with Ryohei, I couldn't really think of a fear for Reborn (I mentioned it above but didn't mention it in the fic itself), so it turned out to be more of a comfort-Tsuna kind of thing. But then again, given their relationship (Big-Brother Ryohei and Tutor-Reborn respectively), I thought that comforting Tsuna seems more appropriate. Anywho, happy ending for everyone! Except...
Well. This is it. The last and final chapter of 6 Times the Guardians Came Back Injured. This project was first published on the 22nd December, 2012, and so it has been about 2 months since that day! After 2 months, I hereby announce that this project is completed! I must admit, I really enjoyed this project a lot. Thank you wonderful peeps for following this project through to the end. Cookies for all who favorited and followed this fic. Mini-Tsuna plushies for all you wonderful reviewers out there. Thank you! *bows*
Now. One last thing.
I am shamelessly advertising here, but I have another project coming up soon. It's something like 6 Times the Guardians Came Back Injured; a series of sort-of-related-but-not-so-related-one-shots.
The title will be called, "Cambio Forma: The Origin".
Based on the first Cambio Forma (the ones we saw in the Future Arc), it's a project where the cambio forma's origins would be written about. If you'd remember, back in the Future Arc, we always had a little story that accompanied the Cambio Forma. Like, Asari giving up his flute for his swords; Knuckle giving himself three minutes to protect his Family, etc. "Cambio Forma: The Origin" will be about all those back-stories. There will be a total of 8 chapters for that one; it'll be following the order of appearance of the Cambio Forma.
Look forward to it, peeps!
Once again, thank you all for the reviews, favorites and follows! That's the end of 6 Times the Guardians Came Back Injured! Ciao Ciao~