EDIT; This story is currently being re-written to a far higher standard as I am unhappy with the quality of it originally.
Tsunayoshi Sawada was barely nineteen years old when he had come to work at the Varia House for Orphans; an orphanage where strays with problems were sent once everyone else decided they didn't want to deal with their troubles any longer. Some of the children had simple behavioural issues that were easily managed, yet previous 'carers' hadn't wanted to deal with, while others had mental illnesses or childhood trauma that truly debilitated them and made things extremely difficult for both the sufferer and their legal guardians.
Even so, the brunet couldn't say he didn't enjoy working there, even if he were sometimes uncomfortable with the situations he was put in.
Lambo Bovino was the newest addition, a five-year-old boy who had an overactive imagination and too much energy for his small body to handle. His messy black hair was untamed, tangled and sticking out all over the place, and it didn't help with the fact that Lambo had a habit of putting things into his hair – especially lollipops and other sweets.
Tsuna wasn't too sure why Lambo was an orphan; only that he had been transferred here because his energy reserves were too much to handle back at the previous orphanage. While it was true the boy often tired him out, Tsuna enjoyed the entertainment the little cow baby brought to his life and couldn't understand how someone could give up on such a young child – no, scratch that; how any of the kids here had been given up on, because they sure weren't easy to handle at times, but every one of them was deserving of love and care.
"Loser Tsuna, Loser Tsuna!" Aforementioned child was now running through the house, and his mischievous nature was clear as day. Tsuna frowned as he chased after Lambo in an attempt to retrieve the hairbrush the kid had stolen from him; he should have known the younger was up to something when Lambo hadn't protested against having his hair brushed. "Catch me if you can, Loser Tsuna!"
"Oi, Lambo!" The young man stumbled as he ran through the hall after the younger. He knew that the boy was only playing, but he still hoped Lambo would relent in his game; he needed to get back to the dining room and make sure everyone was okay since he had been the one left in charge of the orphans for the morning, and it was around this time where fights usually broke out amongst the kids. "Lambo, wait up!"
Tsuna didn't get very far through the upstairs corridor before a door off to the side opened and a large hand reached out and grabbed him by the cuff of his jacket's collar. He was pulled to a rough standstill as an intimidating aura filled the room, and he looked up with wide eyes; he was almost certain he was about to be killed by the owner of the orphanage, a man named Xanxus who liked alcohol a little too much and often had violent fits of rage at his staff members.
Despite his aggressive nature, Xanxus was usually good with the orphans, tolerant of them to varying degrees. He generally made it a point to stay in his office and let his subordinates deal with the children; he liked to avoid getting angry with the youngest ones as much as possible, finding adults much more enjoyable in conflicting with.
Sawada gulped as the hand on his jacket finally let go. He was almost too afraid to speak; while he usually got along with his co-workers, Xanxus was someone who always made him nervous. He didn't like to fight with the battle-scarred man, but sometimes it was unavoidable; Xanxus always became irate over the littlest things.
"Get in here," Xanxus' gruff voice growled as he opened the door wider so that he could introduce the smaller male to his darkened office. "We have a new kid."
Tsuna blinked before he nodded in understanding. He entered the office quickly; he knew better than to anger Xanxus of all people. When the door was closed behind him, he looked around at his surroundings and found what appeared to be a small child sitting by the desk with their back to the older males. He couldn't be entirely sure of the other's gender as all he could see was dirty teal locks, but he felt confident in his assumption of the child being male; he could feel it. The brunet smiled aas he approached the child, wondering what this one's story was; he could only hope it wasn't as bad as some of the other kids they had taken on board over the years.
The brunet knelt beside the desk and put on his most welcoming expression as he got a good look at the other's face; it was a little boy, and his emerald orbs looked lifeless. There was no emotion on the younger's face, and it was then Tsuna realised that they had, once again, taken in another damaged child. "Hello. What's your name?"
The boy didn't answer, but he locked gaze with Tsuna's eyes. He profiled the male in front of him, taking in everything about the brunet he could see so that he could form his own judgement on the other. So far, he wasn't sure what to make of the brunet, but he didn't trust that smile; he didn't trust anyone.
Xanxus stepped behind Tsuna and answered for the boy. "His name is Fran. He's quiet most of the time. Just a youngling; he's almost ten."
The boy – Fran – still did not speak. His eyes lingered on Tsuna as if he were wary of the other's intentions. He didn't recoil when the brunet reached out and placed a hand on his shoulder despite the fact he didn't care much for physical contact; he simply continued to stare.
"Everyone else is having breakfast," the brown-haired male explained. Fran wasn't sure of his name, and it only made him more reserved; how did the others expect him to listen to them when he didn't even know their names? "Would you like to join them?"
Fran didn't feel hungry. In fact, he didn't feel anything. For as long as he could remember, he had always felt numb, void of any emotion and uncaring of the world around him. "…"
Tsuna couldn't help but smile sadly, knowing that this child would be one of the more difficult ones to care for; he had been around such damaged kids for so long, he knew a broken soul when he saw one. He spoke in a gentle tone. "Come on; let's go meet the others."
Fran stood up when Tsuna pulled him to his feet. He followed the brunet through the halls, but he was always careful to keep distance between them; he didn't want to be around anyone and only wanted to be left alone.
The building he was in seemed small, and a little run-down. Some of the walls were missing plaster and a few of the floorboards were broken. Not much light shone through the windows as they were mostly caked in grime, and one of them was even broken and another had cardboard over it. The dust was almost suffocating for him, but even so, it still wasn't the dirtiest house he had been in; he had come out of something unbelievably filthy and this was a spotless home compared to that.
At the end of the corridor, Fran was led downstairs and next directed into a larger room that he knew to be a dining room; there was a dining table pushed into the middle of the room, with a food preparation area barely bigger than a walk-in closet off to the side. The boy could see several other people situated around the rectangular table, and they all looked much older than him. He inwardly sighed; the older someone was, the more they didn't like him, he had learnt.
Tsuna's hands remained on the boy's shoulders as he guided the younger over to the table. He seated their newest charge next to a grey-haired teenager, hoping the boy would get along with everyone; it would be a shame to have another antisocial child on their hands – there was enough of that here as it was already.
"Everyone, this is Fran. He's new, so make him feel welcome."
Fran glanced down at his lap. He felt uncomfortable with the silence that had filled the room since being introduced, and the several sets of eyes that were on him and picking him apart and silently judging him weren't helping. It wasn't until they had stared for what felt like an eternity did the penetrating stares finally wander elsewhere and allow Fran to relax the slightest bit; he didn't like attention on him at all, and having so many people stare at him like that agitated him.
The teal-haired orphan looked up when the sounds of spoons scraping against bowels finally sounded again. He noticed only four other people around him; the grey-haired male he had been placed beside, and two older-looking children with blue hair that spiked towards the back. There was a girl and a boy in that duo, and Tsuna sat next to them, crunching away at his cereal as he kept an observant eye on the others.
"Has anyone seen Bel today?" Tsuna smiled when the attention was fixed onto him next; he didn't like it when everyone was being so quiet because he knew it meant the kids were having problems again.
"He is in the shower. I passed him on my way downstairs." The blue haired male was soft spoken, even more so than usual. Tsuna knew that he was very troubled this morning.
"Are you feeling okay, Mukuro?" Tsuna wanted to help if he could; he hated knowing that the kids were upset.
"Oh, I am okay, Tsunayoshi. I am just thinking."
Tsuna was never one to prey into other peoples' business, so he instead said, "Well, I'm glad we aren't going to have to try and find Bel today; I don't think I'm really in the mood for it."
The blue-haired male hummed in response. He twirled his spoon around for a few seconds before he went back to eating. He knew what Tsuna was saying; whenever their usual runaway went missing, it was always a challenge to find him again because the orphan in question didn't want to be found, and he tended to always get what he wanted.
Fran, who had been listening silently to the conversation, sighed. He shoved his bowl away from him as he couldn't seem to find his appetite – but that wasn't unusual; eating always had been a difficult task for him. He sat where he was and listened to the others talk quietly amongst themselves, but he never joined in; he didn't want to talk to anyone of them,a and all he wanted was to be able to find somewhere he could be by himself.
Fran knew that he wasn't going to like it here – not one bit.