Chapter 3: The present that rode on the hassle

I ground my teeth in frustration as I left another pseudo '27' in the midst of a chat. Ever since the last chance meet with 27, I had practically turned the whole web world upside down! And yet, I still couldn't find that damn brat!

I tousled my hair, tugging on it slightly. How come it was so hard trying to track down one brat? I ignored the blip that indicated that I had, yet another, job vying for attention. I huffed, brain whirring, as I headed for my usual site.

The shock of finding that bastard 27 on there, gave way to anger, as I ground my teeth again. "I'll give him a piece of my mind!"

-o-

It was nearing the end of the current month, when Tsuna was met with a surprise that could rival the mobile phone he had received as his latest birthday present; a laptop. Though if he were to choose between them, he'd surely fall into quite the dilemma.

How did he even chance upon the godly favoured technology known as the laptop? Ah, right, kaa-san gave it to me. Tsuna scratched his head, letting the overwhelming feeling of joy spread throughout his whole being. He was happy that his wishes, for one, went without being ignored. A smile stretched across his face, as he muttered happily. "It's not even my birthday!"

His was quite a ways off, so that pretty much summed the whole thing as a gift of goodwill. "Or something along those lines,"

Currently, his mother was out, probably shopping for their dinner. He made sure to thank her when they settled at the dining table. Right now, all he wanted to do was boot the savvy new tech and leave his permanent imprint on it. And he did just that.

An hour later, basking in the satisfaction of his customizations, he had nothing left to do. So he sat there, staring at the roaring lion that he had set as his desktop background. He frowned in thought. What else is there to do?

Absentmindedly, he reached for his school bag to rummage through its content. He might as well look through something, and use the search engine of his brand new laptop.

It wasn't until an old crumpled paper slip fell out of one of his textbooks. Pausing momentarily, Tsuna stared at the slip of paper before setting aside his textbook to investigate the slip. A single glance gave him a scrawled URL on the crumpled paper. The only problem now was, what was this URL for?

Scratching his head, Tsuna reached over to plug in the string of letters into the search bar, and pressed enter. What came up, was a bucket of ice cold water onto his mindset. The familiar site brought some unforgiving memories, making him grimace. Tousling his unruly hair, he gave a bitter mutter under his breath. "The reason why I even started English was because of this..."

Still, he couldn't help but feel a tad guilty with not keeping in touch with Tantalus-san. Glancing at the digital clock, he noted that he still had enough time until his mother was officially home from her shopping spree. He clicked around, browsing through the pages. Finding the chatroom he had last gone in was a serious pain, partially because the text size was puny on the screen, and partially because of the other groups, that seemed to reach infinity in numbers, were sandwiching one another. Nonetheless, Tsuna found the group.

Scanning the overview, he noticed that there was only a single person was in the chat. Familiar or not, this chatroom was his only connection with Tantalus-san. Clicking on it, he awaited the familiar screen pop up. It came a second later.

{Welcome to DAbeel ChATROoM}

{Please type in a username:_}

Tsuna didn't waste any time on plugging his two digit username.

{Please type in a username: 27_}

He hit enter, and waited.

!#[27 has joined the chat]#¡

[caREeNA]: well, well, well, luk hu came bak after aal dis time. |:0|

Tsuna blinked at the Japanese letters that decorated the screen. Apparently, whoever this person was, had an incredible memory of him being Japanese. He felt the bubbly feeling of happiness, smiling slightly at the terrible grammar. He stretched his fingers and began typing.

[27]: Hello, Rena-san, it has been quite a while. :)

[caREeNA]: haa~ i seriusly feel like pummilin u 4 da stoof u made me go thru, n u ave da gall of showin ur user again? |:0(

Tsuna gave a dry chuckle at the message. He couldn't blame Rena-san at all for the harsh comment.

[27]: I'm sorry, really am, but I have some loose ends to tie up with Tantalus-san. ^-^;

[caREeNA]: che, again wih da fool? i tell u sumtin n dat is 2 stay away frum im. ya ere me?

This was surprising... Tsuna scratched his head, read the message a couple of times, then worded his next statement carefully.

[27]: Rena-san... Do you, by any chance, like Tantalus-san? :|

[caREeNA]: ... so wad if i do? does dat make me a criminal? |:"0(

This time a smile broke on the brunette's features. It certainly was news, and news was what made the world so hectic at times.

[27]: Then that must mean that you have actually seen Tantalus-san in person, if not always! Am I right, Rena-san? :D

[caREeNA]: ... wad has godten u so iped up? ||:0(

[27]: Well, for one, it's a relief for me. I seriously thought you hated my guts for no reason after what had transpired in our last meet up.

[27]: Anyways! Tell me, what makes you feel that way for him, Rena-san?

[27]: Is it his personality, his looks, his way of thinking?

[caREeNA]: woah! old up! wads wih aal da qs? ur not gunna ask y im gay?!

Tsuna blinked. Rena-san was right, why was he so interested in the topic anyway? Flashes of past weeks went through his head, bringing up images that he thought he had torn to shreds and dumped them in the darkest part of his mind. He gave a shudder, goosebumps on the rise, as he responded.

[27]: I am a Jr. Middle student, and like every other Jr. Middle, I'm curious.

[caREeNA]: ... u r stoopid, ave i ever tol u dat? |:0/

[27]: Maybe, I might not remember though. ^_^;

[caREeNA]: kids, cant tell wads going on wih dem... D08((

[27]: Are you not one as well? :/

[caREeNA]: isten up! tantalus bi n me r way oldar dan u. u r in ur teenz yas? we r in our twentyz.

Who would've expected that? Tsuna scrunched up his nose. He didn't really expect their age to be so far from his own... but he didn't really ask for it, so it would be terrible to judge them all now. He scratched the top of his nose lightly in thought, before settling on a response.

[27]: Then why are you worried that I might take your place? :/

There was a pause before the other responded.

[caREeNA]: ya see wen i met tantalus he waz aal romanticlike. flirty is another way to poot et. jus remeberin et makes me sigh in happiness. ;"0)

So in much simpler terms, Rena-san likes Tantalus-san because of his flirtatious actions. Tsuna summed up the whole conversation with a thoughtful pout. Yet it didn't answer his question. What have I seriously gotten myself into? Tousling his hair, he heaved a sigh, typing up his next reply.

[27]: Then is Bi-san, along with Tantalus-san, gay? :/

[caREeNA]: i aktoolly dont no... it seams tantalus swings da ader way. as 4 bi... i ave no clue. ):0(

[27]: Interesting. :|

[caREeNA]: ... wad aboot u? u gay or sumtin? ):0(

Tsuna cocked his head at the question. That is a very interesting one to ask...

[27]: Well, I do like a girl in my class. :3 But with all this talk, I'm not so sure on my sexuality anymore. D:

[caREeNA]: tek et slow dats wad i can say 2 u. u r a keed n ave a lot of time aheed of ya. ):0)

[27]: Gee, I don't know what to say in return for your wisdom-filled words. D'8

[caREeNA]: say nutin. oderwise ill regretem. )80/

A snort bubbled out of Tsuna as he quickly covered his mouth to smother it. Rena-san really wasn't as bad as he first turned out to be, and the growing friendship between them was definitely going to head long. A beep sounded, indicating a new member was now joined to the chat.

!#[TranquilTantalus has joined the chat]#¡

[27]: Oh, hi Tantalus-san, sorry for being absent for a long time. :)

[TranquilTantalus]: You son of a bitch!

[27]: ! D'8

[TranquilTantalus]: You! You made me search the entire web for you!

[27]: ... Sorry? :'(

[TranquilTantalus]: Sorry doesn't cut it bastard! Do you know how long I spent trying to figure out where the fucking hell you were?

[27]: ...

[TranquilTantalus]: Oh, now you're staying silent!

[27]: Fuck off.

[TranquilTantalus]: Hey!

[27]: Go die, you fucking shithead.

!#[27 has left the chat]#¡

[TranquilTantalus]: Goddammit! He left again!

[caREeNA]: dats not surprizing. :0(

[TranquilTantalus]: What do you know? ):-|

[caREeNA]: 4 1 i no dat 27 is a jr. middle. a keed dat u completly blew up on. |:0/

[TranquilTantalus]: ...

[caREeNA]: refleckt on et.

!#[caREeNA has left the chat]#¡

[TranquilTantalus]: ... Goddammit it all.

!#[TranquilTantalus has left the chat]#¡

-o-

Since leaving the chat, Tsuna had been indulging himself in his English textbook, fuming while he read it in an attempt of forgetting a heartless bastard on the net.

His thoughts trailed back to the chat, but he shook his head vigorously before sticking his nose back in his textbook, growling under his breath. "Bastard doesn't know how to say things pleasantly."

The click of the door downstairs alerted him that his mother was home. Taking a deep breath to help him calm down, Tsuna got up, leaving his textbook open to his now shut down laptop, and headed downstairs. Maybe helping his mother cook dinner will help him calm down, enough for him to thank her for the early present.

He then left his room with a smile.