Chapter Seven "There's going to be a pile of bodies at the end of this."
"There's going to be a pile of bodies at the end of this," Tsuna said grimly, mostly coming across as glum and accepting. He was sat at the kitchen table, fumbling with his shoelaces and ignoring the fact that he was currently surrounded, a sheep in a field of wolves.
"Don't be so dark, Tsuna!" Yamamoto laughed, leaning across to help Tsuna with the laces and seemingly not realising that Tsuna was fumbling on purpose because it was a time wasting tactic that was now moot, thanks a lot Yamamoto.
"Honestly, though, can you see this reunion going well?"
"I can see my sister again!" Ryohei roared in excitement, slamming his fist on the kitchen table. Tsuna felt his heart briefly stop as the aged wood creaked…and then did nothing. Tsuna wheezed out a thankful breath.
(Replacing desks at home was easy. Replacing nearly two decades of memory was a little more difficult. If Ryohei had broken the table, Tsuna would have broken his face. No jokes.)
"It'll be fine, Tsuna. Stop your useless worrying," Reborn said blithely over the noise. Tsuna whirled on him, ready with a scathing remark that instead came out as a squeak of, "Why do you have your gun out."
Reborn slowly turned to look at him, head rotating and body staying straight. Tsuna wondered hysterically if it could reach one-hundred-and-eighty degrees like an owl. He almost wet himself with fear at the mental image that imposed on him.
"Always be prepared, Dame-Tsuna. Just because we're at a reunion, doesn't mean it'll be safe." Reborn maintained eye contact as he methodically took his gun apart on the kitchen counter and clicked it back together with frightening efficiency.
(Tsuna wasn't sure if it was supposed to be an intimidation technique or if it was just Reborn's skewed interpretation of flirting. Knowing his luck, it was probably both.)
"It won't be as bad as you're making it out to be, Tsuna," Enma added, resting a hand on the back of Tsuna's neck. The young man was obviously trying to use it as a calming tactic, but instead it ratcheted Tsuna's hysterics up about sixteen levels.
(Because –and lord almighty, don't let it happen– what if they got inappropriate in front of their ex-classmates? A small part of Tsuna withered away. He noticed that it had been happening a lot recently and wondered when the last of his sanity would be snatched away by the wind.
It was probably long gone with no return in sight anyway, but he could still hope.)
"We should hurry up, or we'll be late," Gokudera interjected, ever the appointment and time keeper. Tsuna hefted out a heavy sigh, standing up and refraining from shivering as Enma's hand ran soothingly down his spine before lifting away.
"Wait." Tsuna said as they reached the door of the house, all of them crowded behind him and his hand on the door handle. The horror in him was consuming as he turned and counted heads.
"Where on god's green earth is Kyoya?"
From beyond the door, there was a scream of terror in the not so far distance and Tsuna felt his eye twitch.
Hibari, as it turned out, had taken back Namimori like he had never left. Like a duck to water, like he had returned to a long lost lover, or, more than likely, a malevolent god returning to a province that had fallen to slovenly ways.
Tsuna nearly felt sorry for those in Hibari's path, but, at the moment, was feeling sorrier for himself since he was the one that had to corral the bull as it were. He had no red cape to wave in Hibari's face. He only had his weak, fleshy, and oh so human body.
(Though, considering his life recently, that was probably all he needed. To stand in the middle of the street and wait to be had. It was all he had not to despair.)
Going outside and shouting, "Kyoya, get back here or so help me," had done nothing and so, Tsuna had resorted to petty promises and threats.
The one (out of many) that had made Hibari return, was a vehement promise that he would choose Mukuro over Hibari the next time negotiations happened back in Italy.
Hibari had appeared out of nowhere and slammed into Tsuna like a particularly stoic freight train, knocking down not only Tsuna, but Mukuro, Gokudera and (a comically surprised) Fon, who had happened to be standing behind the brunet at the time of impact. Hibari had chosen to fall with the motion in a controlled descent, body fully pressed to Tsuna's.
("Blood," Tsuna had said despairingly, staring up at his unimpressed and angry Guardian. "You have blood on your suit. This isn't a horror movie or any sort of movie. It's a high school reunion.")
Of course, after all his threats, some nonsensical, Hibari had to prove his worth, so he stayed right beside Tsuna as they walked down the besieged road towards the school (and honestly, how did Hibari find so many people to upset his delicate sensibilities on one street in just under twenty minutes?)
Tsuna felt like he was stuck in some sort of horrible cliché as he walked down the road, surrounded by suited men and women. Of course, he questioned why the people that had never gone to his school found it in their hearts to attend, but Lal Mirch just smiled at him in a way she thought must have been comforting and, when his brain came back online (after briefly shrieking in fear), Tsuna decided he didn't need an explanation.
(Ultimately, ignoring the biggest questions of his life led to better health and Tsuna was hoping it was a trend that would stay. Ignore the thing and maybe it would go away, the motto of his life.)
"This is exciting, don't you think?" Yamamoto asked cheerfully, swinging an arm around Tsuna's shoulders and squeezing him tight for a brief moment. "Seeing all our old friends again!"
Tsuna wondered where Yamamoto had gotten his rose tinted glasses from and debated whether he would be able to buy any for himself. How on earth his Rain Guardian always saw the best in every situation was one of the wonders of the world. And, Tsuna debated, should probably be protected.
He didn't want to be the one that made Yamamoto lose all of that cheerfulness he seemed to keep inside himself.
(He did want to be there to see what happened to the person that decided suicide by Rain Guardian was the best way to go, just to witness the spectacle it would be. If the fight with Squalo all that time ago was any indicator…
Tsuna felt both excitement and trepidation to see Yamamoto meet his potential. You know, his potential in the violence sense. And then, Tsuna had to refrain from face palming as he realised how close he was to setting Yamamoto up for a date with death. Death for the other person, at least.)
"Of course," Tsuna found himself muttering. "Old friends." Unbidden, the memories came back, of old bullies and mocking classmates. Showing fear now would be like bleeding in open water –he would be swarmed by sharks.
(He didn't know whether the sharks were the people who had once picked on him, or Reborn. Reborn definitely counted as more than one shark in the grand scheme of everything.)
But the building was in view and running now would invite a chase. Hibari looked like he was raring to go, basically chomping at the bit as he stared wide eyed and longingly at the high school building. In fact, Tsuna didn't think he had ever seen the man so enraptured before and almost (almost, because showing concern to Hibari meant getting a tonfa to the throat and Tsuna cared for his wellbeing) asked if his Cloud Guardian needed a moment to compose himself.
Then, whatever metaphorical leash he had managed to wrap around the man broke and Hibari stalked forward with all the grace of a lion ready to take down a gazelle.
(Tsuna watched with a near numbness as the people gathered by the gates and milled around as they chatted, readying themselves for the reunion. They parted like Hibari was Moses and they were the red sea.
Inside, he calculated the costs of how much it would be to repair public property. He would have stepped to the side and cried against a lamppost if Hibari's space wasn't abruptly crowded into by Gokudera.)
"Are you ready, Tenth?" Gokudera asked loudly and almost subtly knocked Yamamoto's arm from around Tsuna's shoulders.
Tsuna briefly wondered if they were really, really going to bother with posturing right at this moment, because Yamamoto only laughed, eyes glinting briefly, and then settled his arm around Tsuna's waist instead.
Almost as one, as soon as they were close enough and the cataclysm that was Hibari had passed, the group of people in front of the gates turned to face Tsuna and his motley group.
(On the inside, he shrunk back and whimpered. On the outside, he straightened his back, stepped out of the cage that was his two Guardians and walked towards the gates with a sure stride.)
Tsuna would go inside, talk briefly to classmates, thank the teachers that had slogged through his education, and then abscond as soon as it was polite to do so.
He could do this. It was simple, just like negotiating contracts, terms and conditions, alliances. Simple.
(It was the furthest thing from simple and Tsuna wondered if his life would ever be normal again.)
It was just a door. Standard for most schools, perhaps more freshly painted since he last time saw it. It was wooden with a glass pane in the centre top, faded of course, so Tsuna could see shadows drift back and forth, but couldn't actually see who was inside. It was just a door, but it felt like a death sentence waiting to happen.
"Byakuran, please stop breathing into my hair." There was a shuffle behind him, a dejected sigh, and then the warm breath that had been ruffling strands of hair into his face dissipated.
(Not only was he going to get strange looks for being who he was, he had brought strangers with him. Over a good half dozen. The only people he needed to bring with him were those that had actually gone to school with him! Though, it was his fault for not discouraging it.)
"Look," he finally said, turning to face his entourage and ignoring the looks everyone else in the corridor was giving him and his people (because they were his people at the end of it, no matter what.)
"The only people I need to come in with me are Takeshi, Hayato, and Enma. No one else. Ryohei, your classroom is-" Tsuna gave a wave down the hallway almost dismissively. "And Kyoya is already off bringing down his wrath on the heads of the heathens."
(Where did that come from?)
Even as he counted the number of people he had with him, he realised that before dismissing them he had already lost a few of them. That was enough to make his heart palpitate. He must have lost colour in his face or something because Fon was reaching forward, looking concerned.
That was, of course, the moment the door at Tsuna's back opened and the brunet was forced to stumble backwards unless he wanted to fall over and make his first impression on the people he hadn't seen in years bad.
(With his luck though, the falling commenced anyway. The speed at which Gokudera tried to get through the door was identical to Yamamoto's, and the two of them were stuck in the doorway as they reached to stop Tsuna from falling.)
But arms moved to catch him under the armpits, hands wrapped across his chest as he stumbled into someone of a masculine build and was stopped from falling over. Almost immediately, Tsuna got his feet back under him and turned abruptly to bow and say a quick, "Sorry, thank you!"
"Tsunayoshi Sawada?" the man opposite to him asked, sounding almost bewildered. Tsuna lifted his head to make eye contact with Mochida Kensuke. What the man was doing in a class lower than his, Tsuna did not know, but then he glanced past his old bully and spotted Kyoko and numbly realised why.
"Mochida…Mochida-senpai," Tsuna found himself greeting in return. "Good to see you."
(It really wasn't.)
"Tsunayoshi Sawada," Mochida repeated, gathering the attention of the others in the room. "Dame-Tsuna, that one?" He squinted his eyes, as if he couldn't relate the small boy he had bullied to the respectable young man he had just been forced to catch.
Tsuna felt himself wince. "Yeah. Yeah, it's me."
And then he braced himself for the scathing and disparaging words that were sure to rain down on him.
It didn't go as he expected it to.
("Oh no," someone whispered from the back of the room. "He's hot.")
Tsuna felt like a trapped animal, having been squashed into a chair and then abruptly surrounded by old classmates. And, despite Mochida having his own reunion to attend, the man had chosen to squeeze himself into the chair next to Tsuna instead, close enough that their knees occasionally bumped. In a loose circle, others had gathered chairs and were leaning in close to listen to Tsuna talk. At least, that was what it looked like. (They could have been sat there just to stare.)
(Tsuna felt the hair on the back of his neck prickle and wondered how Mochida wasn't feeling it. You know, considering several of his escorts had planted themselves against the far wall and were now staring, like bloodhounds committing a scent to memory.)
(He had the awful feeling this was going to end in a bloodbath.)
"So, what is it you do nowadays, Tsuna?" Mochida asked, friendly as he let his knee bump purposefully into Tsuna's. "I mean, you're dressed rather smart for a simple reunion, huh?"
(Tsuna ignored how Mochida purposefully looked him up and down and wondered if this was really his life.)
"I acquired a family business model." Tsuna plastered a smile on his face. "At the moment, I'm running the conglomerate."
"Ah, so you made your way up in the world? From such humble beginnings too. Good for you, Tsuna." Mochida slapped a hand on Tsuna's shoulder in a manner that could perhaps be considered too friendly.
(In the background, Tsuna heard something snap. He hoped it was a physical object and not somebody's tenuous hold on anger.)
Before Tsuna could reply, there was a loud shout from the doorway.
Tsuna snapped his head around. He knew Kyoko had been in the room and hadn't had a chance to greet her, so he smiled from across the room. Instead of Kyoko, he was looking at the doorway where Ryohei was stood, as if the white haired man had suddenly remembered that his sister had attended the same school as he did.
Slowly, Tsuna started to stand and that was when Ryohei all but flew across the room to scoop up his sister and spin her around, laughing uproariously and generally being loud as he exuberantly greeted his sister.
(Tsuna thought he would have to intervene. It turned out that Ryohei was just very excited to see her sister after isolation from her for only a few months.)
Of course, before he could choose to sit himself, Mochida brought it upon himself to try and coax Tsuna to sit down.
(How he thought a hand that low down on Tsuna's back could be that encouraging, Tsuna didn't know, but the cut off yelp he made was embarrassing enough that his legs folded out from underneath him and, lo and behold, he was sitting again.)
(There was another loud snap from behind him, enough for Mochida to turn his head, and someone, somewhere, yelped.)
"So, those other people dressed like you…?" Mochida asked. "I mean, Gokudera and Yamamoto, I can see how they'd be part of your group, you were close back then, but the others?"
"I work with them," Tsuna said, trying to fall into an easy conversation based around work and not focus on the fact Mochida had decided to sprawl an arm against the back of Tsuna's chair, fingertips far too close to the nape of Tsuna's neck.
(His instincts were telling him to be rid of the threat near his neck. His mind was telling him that punching someone in the face was not a polite thing to do in a regular conversation. The more vindictive part of him said to do it anyway.)
Of course, before Mochida could reply, something went wrong (as it inevitably did.)
This time, it was in the form of a scream. "What is that?!"
And Tsuna, who had seen a lot of ridiculous things in his life, was inclined to agree. What could explain the sight of a centipede, roughly the size of his worst nightmare, crawling in through the open window? It looked like it came from the Jurassic Era or belonged in a King Kong film.
As people fumbled to escape the room, screaming and shouting and tripping over one another (Mochida included, Tsuna was glad to see), it was a strange sight indeed to see Ryohei still swinging his sister around without a care in the world.
(The point at which it was too much for Tsuna was when Lal Mirch made a curious cooing noise and crossed the chaos of a room to cuddle the monstrous centipede with a gentle call of "Good boy, good boy, Zamza.")
Tsuna felt perfectly vindicated when he pressed his face into his hands and tried not to sob at the clusterfuck this had somehow turned into. Someone almost immediately dropped into the recently vacated seat by his side in order to wrap an arm around his shoulders. He wasn't sure if he should feel comforted or worse.
(When Zamza chose to scurry away from Lal Mirch and towards Tsuna, whoever held him down wouldn't let him escape from the thing currently looking like it was out to get him.
It was a testament to his life that, at the very least, giant centipedes didn't have corrosive drool considering the state of his slacks by the end of it all.
Before Zamza was put away, Tsuna noticed a curiously confident looking expression on Lal Mirch's face. It didn't feel as if it boded well for him.)
They got home in time for lunch, thankfully, where Tsuna received a text that declared, due to mass hallucination of a giant Crustaceous period insect, the first part of the reunion was hereby cancelled. The second half, where everybody would meet for dinner at a prestigious hotel downtown (a hotel Tsuna was at least ninety percent certain that someone at Vongola had helped pay for just for this occasion, for who knows what reason) was still to go ahead.
(Tsuna wasn't sure where Mochida or seven other of his classmates had gotten his phone number from, but he wasn't given the chance to reply to the multitudes of texts and missed calls before Mukuro had snatched the phone from his hand and laughed creepily as he denied every single offer that asked Tsuna to join them as 'a couple.'
Tsuna resolutely ignored the way Xanxus had leaned in close to commit every name to memory, eyes narrowing further and further with every message Mukuro deleted. After all, Tsuna wasn't going to get his phone back by the end of the day, he was sure.)
Tsuna sank at the kitchen table, smiling fondly at his mother as she puttered about and hummed, unknowing of the catastrophe her son had just gone through. For the moment, he had her all to himself.
That was, of course, the point she put a plate of sandwiches in front of him, along with a glass of water and asked, voice lowered to a conspirator's whisper, a whisper he had nightmares of, "So, how is it?"
"How's what?" he asked, full of dread, wondering if he'd be able to eat before it all went to hell.
(Of all the things he had expected, "the sex, of course!" was not a sentence he had ever wished to hear come out of his mother's mouth. She even seemed confused when he blushed, stuttered and promptly hid his face with his hands, a common deflecting technique he had adopted. If you can't see them, maybe they can't see you.)
Tsuna murmured a thanks to the chauffeur as the door to the limo that someone (Reborn, most likely, or perhaps Byakuran) had organised for Tsuna to travel in was opened, and the man on the other side helped him out onto the sidewalk.
As he stared at the doors that led to the large, prestigious looking hotel, and heard people exit the limo and adjacent cars from behind him, Tsuna said, utterly serious, "If anyone causes a scene in there, I will eviscerate them with the nearest utensil on hand."
He never got the chance to. Eviscerate someone, that was. There were separate halls for separate age groups: one previous class in this room, another class in this room etc. They were all nice and evenly set out.
Tsuna still found himself uncomfortably close to Hibari (who should have been in a different room entirely) as he poked at his appetiser, wondering how Colonello had managed to get into the room in the first place when they were required to sign in with names. (The blond was going to lose his foot if it went any further up Tsuna's leg.)
On the plus side, Kyoko was sitting next to him.
(On the negative side, she seemed to have succumbed to the same madness as the rest of them since she had first greeted him with a bright smile and cheery hello before placing her hand on his thigh, using her other to eat as she spoke to the person on her other side.)
Glumly, Tsuna attempted to drink a mouthful of the soup and decided it was too good to waste drowning himself in it.
"Oh, no. Just no. I don't dance."
After the dinner had been neatly packed away, a sign of food well done shown by the empty plates, everyone (everyone) had been gathered in the grand hall to mingle, drinking of expensive alcohol and, the worst thing of all, dancing.
Mochida smiled beseechingly at him while Tsuna snatched a flute of champagne from a passing waiter, downing the drink in one go before dropping it onto a second tray passing by.
"I can show you how to, if you like?"
"Oh, I know how to dance, Mochida-senpai. I just…I just don't dance."
"Yes, you do." a new voice interjected, and Tsuna almost threw up his dessert when Squalo appeared out of nowhere to drag him away and towards the orchestra on the other side of the room.
"Squalo, I honestly don't dance."
"Huh?" the man replied, lip curling in a sneer. Tsuna bit his lip before suddenly (and disarmingly) smiling brightly, tiling his head to the side.
"I asked if you could lean closer, to hear me that is."
Squalo's eyes lit up with something as he leaned forward. Tsuna didn't feel the slightest bit guilty as he whispered "I do not dance" into Squalo's ear and then promptly stamped on his foot before absconding as fast as he humanly could without the aid of Flames.
Denying Xanxus a dance was not the same as denying Squalo a dance, Tsuna thought hysterically as he was swung almost brutally around and then pulled back to be dipped.
(Like, seriously dipped. Like he was in a Victorian period romance novel.)
One did not deny Reborn either. No, not even Xanxus.
(Tsuna sincerely hoped they weren't required to pay for cleaning the blood out of the marble and telling everyone he encountered to 'please, avoid the punch, it's not supposed to be pink. It's blood. No, really. It's blood'.)
Mochida's persistence was almost an admirable quality. Case in point, Tsuna was currently waltzing with the slightly older man and hoping against hope that the music wouldn't slow down.
As if hearing his plight, the orchestra switched to a softer piece.
Mochida's hands dropped to his waist as the man became fully committed to slow dancing with the reluctant Decimo in his arms.
(Tsuna didn't have enough time to warn him about not doing that in full view of the many violent people in his life. It did, however, have the added bonus of keeping all of his new, unwanted, fans from leaving him alone. They still gazed longingly from a distance.
Tsuna wondered if celebrities suffered the same as he did.)
They were forced to leave when Byakuran became too drunk (it was only eight o'clock, how did he get so inebriated?) and made a scene.
Tsuna almost kissed the other boss in thanks.
(That would have been too far though, and he didn't want to invite chaos into his life any more than there already was. He was just happy to have made it through the night alive.)
Mochida: We could always meet up for coffee.
Tsuna: Why are you awake? Where did you get this number?
Mochida: There's a great place by my house that opened two years ago.
Mochida: I could pick you up from yours. Same house, right?
Tsuna: I'm serious, this is a feadsxgdhd
Mochida: Is everything okay?
Tsuna: Stop texting this number. I know where you live. If I find you contacting Tsuna again, they won't be able to find your body.
Tsuna glared at Reborn, eyes still squinted from where he was looking at the bright screen of his phone. The hitman just grunted and tossed the phone across the room, wrapping his arm back around Tsuna's waist.
"That wasn't very gentlemanly, Reborn."
"If you don't let me sleep, I will end you, Tsuna. No mercy."
"How did you get in here though? The door-"
"Is no obstacle in the face of a determined man. Go the fuck to sleep. Unless…" Tsuna felt his trepidation grow as Reborn sat up slightly, dark eyes glinting almost malevolently.
"You need tiring out?"
Tsuna was not ashamed to say he made a horrified noise, tried to get out of the bed and was promptly slammed back down onto the mattress with Reborn huffing "thought so" into his ear. It took him a few minutes, but, at the very least, he managed to get back to sleep and forget that he had even awoken in the first place.
(Looking at his phone at eight in the morning and seeing nearly a hundred missed messages was never a good indicator. Reborn seemed eager to nip that problem in the bud, however.)
Sorry the long wait (nearly a year!) but for all of you avid readers waiting for an update, here it is!
The awaited Reunion Chapter!
I hope it's up to standards and sorry again for the wait!
Thanks to Pure Red Crane for betaing this for me!