Author's note: Update, update like crazy! I hope everyone enjoys this and please don't kill me if you feel like your heart is dying. Haha! And before I forget, to my readers:

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Holding onto My Heart

Chapter 6

I'm going to smile like nothing's wrong, talk like everything's perfect, act like it's just a dream, and pretend that he's not hurting me.


Tsunayoshi's PoV

I was up early again that day. I couldn't sleep because the words Chrome and Dino-san said to me still haunted my mind.

You have us…

A lot of people want to protect you…

But I'm not strong enough to protect those people. And I'm not worthy enough to be protected by those people…

"And yet you have to be protected by those people." A voice suddenly made me freeze and turn abruptly. My eyes widened when I saw Reborn leaning against the doorway. Oh right, he was here.

"R-Reborn…" I exhaled as I placed a hand on my chest. "Don't scare me like that."

Reborn shook his head frowning at me. "You make it sound as if I'm a ghost or a monster that lurks on the early hours of the morning. Let me remind you that I'm not the one wandering the corridors at late hours."

I flushed darkly as I crossed my arms. "Sorry for being a monster then." Reborn sighed but then he straightened up and walked towards me.

"Here." He said as he handed me some files. I raised an eyebrow as I accepted the folders and opened them.

"These are?" I asked and Reborn huffed.

"Candidates for your guardians." I froze at what he said and my eyes stared blankly at the first page. Reborn noticed my reaction but he plowed on mercilessly. "You're making the right decision Dame-Tsuna. Don't act so surprised that I've already collected data for your candidate guardians."

"I…" My mouth felt dry as I closed the files. "I didn't ask you to do this."

"You're welcome." Reborn stated in contrast to what I said. I bit my lip.

"I haven't decided-"

"Well, I'm deciding for you." Reborn said in a forceful tone that made me freeze. His eyes were hard like a rock and he stared at me with a disapproving face I had only seen once. "You're clumsy and stupid and you think you can handle every problem on your own! You're overbearing and selfish and you don't think your actions through! Dame-Tsuna, what will it take for you to see that keeping only one guardian to protect you, the future of the Vongola, will lead to your demise! What will make you open your eyes?"

I bit my lip in frustration as I looked at Reborn's angry obsidian eyes. "Nothing. My eyes are already open."

"Then what are you hesitating for?"

"I'm not hesitating." I said and I saw Reborn give me a look that said he didn't believe me even one bit. "I-I'm just thinking things thoroughly." I stated and for the gist of it, I added, "For a change…"

Reborn sighed but then smirked despite himself. "Very well. Tomorrow a worthy candidate from the Bovino Family is coming. Be sure to entertain him. I expect he'd be an integral part of the family. But don't tell him I said that. I don't want his head to get big."

The number one hitman turned his back on me and I watched him leave. I turned to look at the brightening sky and inside I felt my heart become heavier.

Once again, I was going to drag someone into the dark abyss I had been born into.

I hugged the folder to my chest as I started walking to my room to read the files over.


I yawned as I walked out of my study while holding a cup of coffee. It was seven in the morning and our classes begun at seven thirty. Knowing that Yamamoto was going to sleep in, I decided to make a courtesy visit to his room.

Knock! Knock!

"Yamamoto?" I called before I opened the door to his room with one hand. The familiar image of Yamamoto sprawled messily on top of his queen-sized bed met my sight and unable to help it, a fond smile lit up my features.

I placed my cup on his nightstand before I sat on the edge of his bed to wake him up. "Yamamoto, wake up or we're going to be late." I pushed him gently but he continued to snore softly. I sighed in exasperation. "Oi Yamamo-! Oof!"

Strong arms suddenly pulled me down onto the bed with surprising force. I didn't see it coming so I just fell below Yamamoto with a surprised yelp. I heard the older one groan slightly as he squeezed me onto the bed.

"Y-Yamamoto!" I gasped out as I tried to struggle. I also tried flailing but Yamamoto was really strong. After several seconds I just gave up getting out of his arms alive.

Really, such bad luck. I stated as I looked up at Yamamoto's sleeping face. A sad smile made its way to my face as I reached up a hand to place it against his face. The rain guardian leaned against the touch.

"Yamamoto…" I said as I placed both hands on the sides of his face. I could feel his warm breath fanning my bangs. I felt my heart beat faster and I felt the emotions I kept locked up overflow as my heart constricted in pain. "You know I- I've always…" I closed my eyes as I felt my eyes burn.

I-I've a-always-

"Gokudera…" My eyes snapped open when I heard this name slip through my sleeping guardian's lips. My eyes widened and unwillingly tears formed at the corner of my eyes.

-l-loved y-you…

Oh, Yamamoto…

"Hayato…" A tear ran down my cheek as I closed my eyes and hiccupped at the name that came out of his lips. I felt like my heart was being broken into little pieces and as though, breaking my heart wasn't enough, it also felt like it was being crushed into dust.

I bit my lip, refusing to let a cry come out as I buried my face into Yamamoto's chest. I wanted to hurt him so much. To punch him and let him feel a tiny bit of my pain.

All I wanted was for him to take away the pain and loneliness I felt ever since I was a child. But what right did I have to get that wish? What right did I have to hurt him when all I've ever caused him ever since we were kids was pain, confusion, and fear?

What right did I have to love someone like him and hoped to be loved back?

Silence.

I don't know how long I stayed that way. How long did I cling to Yamamoto as though we were children again? I don't know why I didn't let go, despite all the pain I felt… And I don't understand why I still keep loving him even though he would be clearly happier loving someone else…

Because really, a person can love for only so long right?

"T-Tsuna…?" A croaked voice ushered me back to my surroundings. It seemed like I fell asleep beside Yamamoto while crying.

Another pathetic display for a boss.

I hid my face from the other as I felt Yamamoto finally move away. I tried not to flinch as the warmth of his body was replaced by the cold.

"Tsuna, how long have you been there?" I heard him yawn as he stretched his arms. He watched as I sat up, my bangs covering my eyes. Realizing that I was too silent, he added in worry, "I'm sorry, are you still mad about yesterday?"

I flinched at what he said. Oh right, yesterday. The day he made me go alone to the Cielo Family meeting. The day he chose Gokudera…

…over me.

I clenched my fists and I smiled at him brightly. "W-What? No! Of course I'm not mad at you! I just came here to wake you up that's all! But you suddenly pulled on me and I fell asleep because I couldn't mo-! Oof!"

My eyes widened once more when strong arms suddenly enveloped me into a hug. Yamamoto was hugging me, and he wasn't sleeping!

But…

…why?

"Tsuna… Tsuna what's wrong?" He whispered to me and I felt myself shake. "You look like you're about to cry! Did something happen?"

I trembled delicately in Yamamoto's arms and on my side, my fists clenched.

Why?

Why?

Why is it that the moment that I decided to let you go…

…you pull me back in?

Tears ran down my cheeks as my face scrunched up in pain. Forcefully, I wiped them away before I pushed Yamamoto back with a strained smile.

"A-Ahaha, what are y-you talking about Yamamoto?" I hid my eyes behind my bangs. I hastily stood up to leave. "A-Anyway, you should hurry and get changed. W-We're already late for school."

"Wait Tsuna -!"

BAM! I closed the door with as much force as I could before running away as fast as I could.

I couldn't take seeing Yamamoto's worried eyes and gentle smiles…

…while knowing fully well, that he didn't belong to me.


At school…

"Okay I want everyone to find a partner for this assignment." I automatically looked up at the words the teacher uttered.

Find a what?

Of course, the moment those words were uttered, everyone immediately turned to their seatmate or else stood up to go ask the most popular person in class.

I got a few requests myself.

"S-Sawada-san, y-you know I-I'm really good with this subject, so… d-do you want to be partners?"

While others were just plain blackmail…

"Hey Sawada, I'll let you play with my new psp, it has all the-!"

"Uwaa! No fair! Look Sawada-kun! If you become my partner I'll buy you all the snacks you can eat-!"

"Hey get away! I have a better proposition for you-!"

But I wasn't really paying any attention to these people. I had no interest in the objects or grades they had to offer. There was actually just one person I had been partnered throughout the beginning of the year before Gokudera transferred.

"Ahaha, maa, maa… stop pushing!" Yamamoto stated with a smile as girls crowded around him as usual. Not faraway, Gokudera was also being mobbed by girls and some guys who thought the delinquent was cool.

"G-Get away from me annoying women! I have to go and partner up with jyuudaime! I said l-let go!" Gokudera shouted. My eyes turned back to Yamamoto who was giving the bomber a sideway glance.

Of course.

But then to my surprise, Yamamoto turned to look at me. I saw his amber eyes widen as though just remembering I was there too. My chest constricted in pain. A smile formed on those lips as Yamamoto opened his mouth to call out to me. "Hey Tsuna do you-?"

I looked away before he could finish his sentence and I didn't have to look up to know that he was stunned at my breaking of our eye contact. I stood up from my seat and pushed passed the people who groaned in disappointment at my refusal.

I could hear Gokudera calling to me. "Jyuudaime! Jyuudaime! Over here jyuudaime! I want to be your-! Oi! I said let go of me stupid women!"

I ignored the bomber's calls and I walked passed Yamamoto's seat. I felt him reach out to grab me by the shoulders but I dodged it as I walked towards another desk which was being mobbed by guys.

"Excuse me…" I stated to the person sitting on the desk. She was one of the popular girls in school. She was known for her kindness and cuteness. Her eyes and hair-color were both orange making her stand out.

Orange eyes blinked at me in astonishment and I smiled at the girl as the guys backed up in curiosity.

Now, what was the name of this girl again?

"Oi Sawada, what do you want with Sasagawa-chan?" One boy grumbled and mentally I thanked him.

"Nothing that important." I said nonchalantly and I looked back at the girl called 'Sasagawa-chan'. "I just wanted to ask Sasagawa-chan if she wanted to be my partner."

The whole room went into silent mode.

"EH?"

The girl before me blinked at what I had suddenly asked. I saw her eyes looked at me in curiosity and suspicion but I had this vague sense from my intuition that she won't refuse me thanks to that curiosity. She gave me a smile that rivaled my own. "I would be glad to Sawada-san."

More silence.

"NO!" The boys screamed in disappointment and I just continued to smile at Sasagawa. In the corner of my eyes I saw Gokudera knocked out due to shock while Yamamoto had his lips pressed in a firm line.

I knew he was suspecting me for avoiding him.

Gomen Yamamoto. I thought as everyone retreated back to sit down with their partners. I pulled a seat next to Kyoko and in the back of my mind I was mentally aware that Yamamoto had in one way or the other, convinced Gokudera to be partnered up with him.

My eyes grew sad as I watched Gokudera grumbling in complaint before sitting down next to my rain guardian.

What was I doing now?

Even I don't know the answer to that. Maybe I've finally started to get the gist that avoiding Yamamoto was for the best, or else maybe I'm avoiding him out of guilt or something…

Or maybe I was just tired of feeling so much pain when I'm beside him, that I wanted to push away the hurt that I feel for the moment so that I could think clearly…

Or maybe, I just didn't want him to choose between me and Gokudera, and watch him choose the wrong path (me) again…

Maybe, just maybe… I wanted him to be happy…

"Sawada-kun what do you think?" A voice suddenly called me out of my trance and I looked up startled.

"U-Uhm w-what? I'm sorry. I wasn't paying attention." I laughed and the girl Sasagawa just gave me a kind smile.

"The teacher told us to pick a sport to do an essay on. I was thinking of doing boxing since my brother is the captain of the boxing club and it would be easier to get information." She stated and I blinked.

"You have a brother here Sasagawa-chan?" I asked and she nodded.

"Yes, Sasagawa Ryohei is his name. Oh speaking of which, Sawada-kun, please call me 'Kyoko-chan' instead of Sasagawa-chan… I don't want you to get confused when we interview my brother." She stated and I nodded.

"Ah that's right. If you don't mind then." I stated politely.

"I don't mind as long as in return I get to call you 'Tsuna-kun'." Kyoko-chan said sweetly. I blinked.

"T-Tsuna-kun?"

"Yes. I hear Yamamoto-kun call you Tsuna all the time! A nickname from 'Tsunayoshi' right?" And the moment she said 'Yamamoto-kun' my heart doubled in speed.

Yamamoto…

"O-Oh yeah… It's a habit he developed when we were kids. He thought my name was a mouthful so he shortened it to 'Tsuna' instead." I smiled forcefully. I saw Kyoko-chan blink in astonishment.

"Ano… Sawa-no I mean, Tsuna-kun, are you alright?" She asked me and my eyes crinkled in curiosity.

Why does everyone seem to ask me that a lot?

"Yes, I'm fine." I said in astonishment. "Why do you ask?"

Kyoko shook her head. "I-It's nothing… I-It's just, why do you look so sad when you're smiling Tsuna-kun?"

I blinked and deciding to play a fool I said, "Ah really? Do I really look that sad?"

Kyoko-chan nodded and I laughed in apology.

"A-Ah, I'm sorry. It must be because of my stomachache."

"Eh?" It looks like she bought that story. "You have a stomachache? Have you gone to the clinic yet?"

"N-No, but I already took my medicine… so I'll be fine." I assured her.

"Oh, if you say so then…" She stated as she took out her notebook and began to write stuff regarding our essay. I nodded along as she spoke of when we will meet for the assignment, although I really wasn't paying attention to what she said afterwards.

I was too busy looking over at Yamamoto who seemed to be having the time of his life with Gokudera.

Little did I notice the worried glance my new partner sent me.


The ride home was as awkward as it has ever been with Yamamoto and I on the back seat of the car. Even the driver had sensed the tension the moment we had entered and he had lowered the music from the radio, thus letting the tension build up between me and my rain guardian.

I was looking out of the window, an earphone inserted in my left ear so as to avoid conversation. But I should've known better.

Yamamoto wouldn't let a single device get in the way of our talking.

"Tsuna." His tone was soft and yet despite the loud baring music on my earphone, I still heard him.

I chose to ignore him though, for my own convenience.

"Tsuna." He said again and I pursed my lips as I stared out of the black tinted windows of the car in concentration.

Suddenly I felt some shifting inside the car and before I knew it, my rain guardian was already sitting beside me, pulling off my earphones.

"Hey, what do you-!" But then I was stopped by a hand on my mouth. My eyes widened when I saw serious amber eyes staring back at me. I looked away at the intensity of his gaze.

"Tsuna, please look at me." And when I didn't comply, I felt him sigh in exasperation. "I don't know what happened Tsuna. You seemed fine last night but this morning… I know you're avoiding me, so you don't have to pretend otherwise."

I didn't say anything as he continued.

"Tsuna if this is about yesterday… if it's because I didn't accompany you to the Cielo Family meeting, well then… I'm sorry." Yamamoto stated and I felt my heart skip a beat. "You know as well as I do why I had to stay behind, if the two of us had gone, Gokudera would've-"

"Stop it, Yamamoto." My bangs were shadowing my eyes and I felt Yamamoto look at me in surprise as he removed his hand from my mouth. "I know the reason why you stayed behind and I don't dislike you for it."

Silence.

Yamamoto sighed in relief. "Tsuna, thank you. I'm really-"

"But you know Yamamoto, the Cielo family was…" I began but Yamamoto interrupted me.

"But I knew you could handle them Tsuna! You're strong! The Cielo family is just-"

"It wasn't the Cielo Family that met me at that restaurant, Yamamoto." I said and I felt my guardian freeze.

"What?"

What am I saying?

"Byakuran Gesso took over the Cielo weeks ago, and he assumed the position as Cielo head." I said and my eyes were half-lidded and tired as I recalled what happened. "The one who invited me to that meeting was Byakuran."

Why am I doing this?

"B-Byakuran…" Yamamoto's face was pale and I felt a sick sense of satisfaction at seeing that expression. "T-Tsuna, y-you…"

"He said he was interested with the impression I left on him last time." And I knew Yamamoto knew what I meant by last time.

Why am I hurting Yamamoto with these words?

"B-But y-you're fine right? N-Nothing happened right?" I could hear the fear and worry in his tone and for a moment I felt disgusted with myself.

Do I want him to regret not coming with me, that much?

"I'm fine. Reborn sent Mukuro, Chrome, and Dino-san to be my bodyguards so I'm fine." I stated with a small smile and Yamamoto froze at that.

I'm such a horrible person.

"T-Tsuna… I…" Yamamoto began but then he was interrupted when the door to the car opened.

"Decimo-sama, we're home." The driver said as he bowed. I nodded my head in appreciation as I gently removed myself from Yamamoto's grasp.

"Thank you. Good work for today." I said as I stepped out of the car and hurried towards the open doors of the mansion leaving Yamamoto staring after me with a regretful face.

I'm sorry Yamamoto.

It seems like all I can really do is cause you more pain and worry.

This is why I've decided to pull away from you.

This is why I've decided to get other guardians.

I don't want you to carry the burden of protecting me anymore.

And also, I don't want to hurt anymore…

Having you by my side was selfish. I realize that now.

That's why, for both our sakes, I'll be the first to pull away.

Please don't call out to me, don't make me look back.

Don't take my hand anymore and don't remind me of the reason why letting you go is so painful…

Because if you do, I'll just come running back to you…

And we can't have that now, can we?

"TSUNA!"

I closed my eyes as I stopped and looked back unwillingly. Yamamoto had run after me, and for the life of me, I couldn't find it in myself to run away. He stopped in front of me and took my hands, his warm amber eyes full of regret.

"Tsuna, I'm so sorry. I swear I'll do a better job of protecting you next time." He said in a rush of words and despite my hesitation, I felt a rush of warmth in my heart. "Can you please forgive me?"

Will you give him another chance?

My hands clenched and I bit my lip in frustration. My hands he was holding were shaking.

No, I have to let go…

But…

I held Yamamoto's hands and smiled as I felt my heart tremble at the decision I took. "Yes, I forgive you." And Yamamoto smiled back.

Oh, why do I like hurting myself so much?