Here we go, lets do this
Reading Ch.3 First Impressions
'Now exiting Shibuya Station, Now exiting Shibuya Station'
'This', thought a little red and burgundy haired kid, 'is a lot bigger than home'
"Look it's Negi-sensei!" Makie cried at the sight of her young crush
The girls aww'd at the awed look on the child teacher's face
Negi for his part shook his head in amusement and focused on his younger self. Looking back, he really has grown a lot since back then, had it really only been a few months?
Asuna was also making comparisons to the brat in the vision to the brat right next to her.
'He's lost his baby fat' she thought looking at round, puffy even, cheeks 'I didn't notice it since the change was so slow, but he's put on some muscle too'
Even 40 minutes since he landed from his flight in the mammoth city, young Negi Springfield was still in awe at the sights the big city had to hold.
Sure, the crowding and the jostling and the strange looks he'd been getting from people were a bit overwhelming, but he supposed that may have been a bit his fault. He was still very new to Japanese customs, so he may not have followed the proper protocols with him stopping in the middle of the sidewalks to snap pictures like a tourist. The large wrapped staff on the back of his pack was no doubt an inconvenience as well.
He'd made sure to stop and apologize to everyone he thought he'd bothered with a proper bow; all the books said the Japanese were a people that valued manners and respect heavily, and Nekane (or rather Onee-chan), had told him to mind his manners and be respectful of his host country's culture.
"How sweet" Haru squealed, unable to take the adorableness of a child in a suit, "he's like a total mini tourist"
"He looks so overwhelmed" Setsuna noted, it had been a while since she'd seen the child teacher act anything less than the perfect gentleman teacher, and she was savoring the raw innocence of his features.
"I can't help it" Negi defended his younger other self, "I've always lived in smaller rural areas; even the academy, though it was very large, has nothing on the skyscrapers in the Tokyo proper"
"You're being a little overly polite", Tsuna commented softly watching Negi apologize to seemingly everyone
"You're being a pushover brat", Evangeline input having no trouble openly criticizing her student, "I can see why your students run roughshod all over you"
"Don't say that McDowell, Negi-sensei's a perfect gentleman!" Ayaka defended
"A perfect gentleman wouldn't be so much of a pushover" Evangeline rebutted contemptuously
"He's a foreigner", Setsuna tried to cut in with a logical argument before the blondes of 3-A could get out of hand; Ayaka didn't know yet how dangerous Evangeline could be, something the vampiress had taken the time to remind her during tournament, "if he wasn't overly polite, most would just typecast him as being a rude foreigner."
"Haya-chan" Yamamato coughed
"Who the fuck is Haya-chan!" Gokudera roared, getting giggles all around as he displayed exactly the rude foreigner persona was just talking about
Still the city itself was an incredible sight to the small-town boy, even now during the early morning, neon lights flashed brightly, colorful and clearly visible. Dozens of advertisements shown proudly, for things Negi honestly had no real idea to their function, but certainly looked amazing with their characters and animations. Some were even accompanied with music, though barely heard from inside the fast bullet train.
An actual bullet train, wasn't that a delight in and of itself? Not even away from home for a full twenty-four hours and he honestly couldn't wait to write about all this to Nekane and Anya.
At the thought of being so far away from home and why entered his head, Negi felt a small pang of premature homesickness, but he stifled it… he wasn't the same cry baby he used to be.
"You're not a crybaby sensei!", Makie furiously defended, Negi-sensei was a man, and someone she respected largely
"That's very kind of you Makie", Negi responded sweetly, though his mind was on Anya- who no doubt inspired those thoughts in this other younger Negi in the first place. He could vaguely remember his Anya teasing him that very morning before he got on the plane about not being such a wuss.
"I don't know he's a little bit of a crybaby" Kotaro spoke up, immediately shooting down her defense, "Didn't he cry during the tournament, when-"
"Shut up doggy boy, any man would cry during a moment like that", Ayaka spat furiously, not giving him a chance to specify exactly which time he was referring to. The boy had gotten emotional several times those two days
"He also started crying when Setsuna tried to leave back in Kyoto" Evangeline spoke in complete agreement with the mutt
Setsuna flushed and shifted and the looks she received
"And he cried over that stupid rodent's bogus story about needing shelter" Asuna added, not having ever seen the boy through the same rose-tinted glasses as some of the others
"Asuna" Negi whined, "Chamo explained he needed those clothing's for his sick sister!"
The girl looked over his head briefly to meet the eyes of the other's incredulous stares, as if to say 'I rest my case'
"They were underwear Negi" she pointed out dryly, ignoring the grossed out/irritated looks of the others, "the rat's just a pervert… and you still cried."
A pat on his head made him look up to see a sympathetically smiling Tsuna
"Don't worry Negi, I'm strong, but I'm quick to cry too, it doesn't make you weak" Tsuna smiled and Negi smiled back
Those watching the scene rose a brow at the tiny bit of idolism that Negi was starting to look at the brunette with; the reception of which was mixed, but most ultimately decided to hold their tongues
Negi looked down and clenched his fist; he'd come so far, worked so hard, pushed and pushed and pushed and now he had literally gone across the world in his journey.
He was so close now, he could feel it, practically taste it in the air; this time it was going to be different, all his searching would not be in vain. It was no longer just some far off someday- NO, it was right here, right now.
'Dad, I will find you I promise' thought the young boy clenching his fist harder as his mind became flooded with old memories.
"…Oh" Makie mumbled as she and the rest of the audience slyly risked a glance at the ten-year-old on the couch
For once, the kid's face was completely devoid of it's signature smile; in fact it was completely devoid of any emotion
A dark snowy night and despair and burning homes on the horizon
A warm hand on his head and a masculine voice whispering
''I'm sorry…I have no right… be happy… Negi''
'When I finally find you, we'll be happy together dad, just wait for me'
Those who hadn't already seen his memories stared at the brief flashes of images with a sort of mounting horror, while those who had and the more experienced fighters looked on with tight grimaces
Feeling the eyes of his students and the teens from Nami Middle on him, Negi forced himself to take in a deep breath that he released with an audible sigh
"Girls, this was quite some time ago" he said turning to them with a weary smile on his face, "I've grown and made bonds with others. I know not to let such thoughts control me all the time."
"Are you sure" Makie asked sounding worried; he understood why, after all Negi went through a significant amount of effort to keep all such thoughts to himself, and indeed any personal affairs away from his students. They weren't used to seeing his blacker emotions, for very good reason.
It wasn't professional
…It wasn't safe
"I'm sure Makie" he said giving the girl an earnest smile, she deserved his genuine gratitude for all she helped him when he was trying to become Evangeline's student
"You don't have to bottle things up like that Negi-sensei" Setsuna commented, most likely empathizing from when she was the one all wrapped up in dark thoughts; sweet but truly, did they all forget that this wasn't actually him thinking these thoughts?
"Yeah, we'll help you" Konoka promised, as one of the Negima Club (name still pending), she already knew the full story, behind those brief clips
"We'll help you find your missing father Negi-sensei!" Haruna also promised, which was strange considering she hadn't been there to- oh right, Chao had posted his dirty laundry to all and sundry on the internet during his fight with Setsuna during the tournament.
…He wasn't sure how he felt about that, it was deeply personal thing he'd barely been able to share with Asuna. More for the sake of peace than anything he'd been forced to let it go when the other club girls eavesdropped on that moment, because they were people who had agreed to fight with him and watch his back, they had deserved that much of his trust.
Hundreds of random strangers at a fighting tournament however…
"Didn't I already tell you Baka-Negi not to shut us out!" that was of course Asuna, punching her way through any depression he could have the chance to feel; he appreciated it but like he said, he'd learned his lessons
If the Mafia crowd thought anything of the dark turn his thoughts had taken in the vision, then they didn't show it. Indeed, many weren't even looking at him, quietly watching his student's reactions more than his own, or just talking amongst themselves.
Tsuna-kun didn't say anything either way, but he felt the older boy shift ever so slightly in his seat so that his arm was leaning into his own, an action that was mirrored on his other side by Kotaro.
It was vague noncommittal actions like that, that made Negi wish he had more male friends. Their typical male refusal to acknowledge emotions openly, led to some rather more meaningful silent shows of support that the majority of his students hadn't quite mastered yet
"Oh Negi-sensei" a tearful Ayaka was suddenly invading his personal space, grabbing his hands in her own and (to his minor discomfort) holding them to her bosom, "Please, if you ever need anything- talk talk talk- unwavering support from my vast -talk talk talk- undying love fill you up -talk talk – let go of your worries and rest in my bountiful- talk!"
Kind of like that
"Thank you for your support girls" Negi sweated, long used to tuning out the girls long winded declarations, and trying in vain to discreetly pull himself from prying hands, "But as I said this was quite some time ago, and I've long learned that I have people I can come to for help; so thank you for the support, but please this is really unnecessary."
It took almost a full minute more of gently coaxing and appeasing his emotional class, before Chisame, Asuna, and Setsuna were able to pry the others back to their respective seats for them to continue.
Not before seemingly every last one of his students sent him at least one extremely meaningful look promising the same thing
Silently as possible Negi sunk back in his seat, pressing back when Kotaro nudged his shoulder with his own again
"Pretty amazing sight isn't it" said a voice to his right startling him out of his thoughts, "Your first time in the big city?"
At the sound of the voice Negi turned and was met by the most peculiar young man.
Clearly in his late teens and a student judging from the large backpack at his feet; a young man with the oddest gravity defying hair sat in the seat adjacent to his own with a book open in his hand. A gaudy looking chain ring on his hand, a pair of scratched headphones on his neck, and a loosely worn fancy black suit with an orange unbuttoned dress shirt, all together he created quite the union of opposites.
"Oh, it looks like your first meeting is happening" Konoka tilted her head curiously taking in the young man's appearance
"Still, that seems like quite the… coincidence" Setsuna mused, a suspicious lit to her voice
The others heard her unspoken implication, and turned to pay attention to the vision
Negi would have responded right away but he got caught on the color of the young man's eyes; a unique shade of orange that were currently burning into Negi's soul. For one weird moment he felt like the older boy had just seen what he was thinking, and Negi actually had to think to himself and wonder if he may have accidently said something out loud.
After a brief pause where Negi hadn't answered, the boy frowned slightly before asking in perfect English, "Sorry, do you not speak Japanese, I was just asking how you were enjoying the sight"
"Woah what the heck was that!?" Asuna yelped
"Hmm?" Negi asked confused, before realizing what happened, "Oh, he said 'Sorry, do you not speak-"
"Japanese, yeah I heard him" Asuna cut him off, "That's not what I meant"
"Oh, my apologies, I didn't mean to insult you. Your English really has come quite a long way Asuna!" Negi apologized, honestly proud of his student, the girl was without a doubt his worst student… but to see her make such improvement…
"What, no its not!?" Asuna shouted embarrassed
"Nonsense Asuna" Negi disagreed, not willing to let her put herself down, "Not all of those words were in proper structure-"
"I think what she means Sensei" Setsuna cut in before the misunderstanding could be allowed to grow, "Is how were we able to understand it, when none- most- of us don't speak English?"
Negi blinked and looked around seeing similar looks of bewilderment on the faces of the others, even Tsuna-kun's. To Negi, who spoke English as his native tongue and was more than fluent in Japanese, he'd simply subconsciously switched languages when the vision's 'characters' switched, not even realizing that there had been a change until Asuna pointed it out.
"Perhaps there is a translator in the vision?" Negi questioned aloud
"That doesn't make sense" Gokudera commented rapidly flipping through notes, "there's a difference between translating something from one language to another, and hearing a different language, recognizing it as different, and still understanding it instinctually. I don't understand how…"
Hmm, that was a real head scratcher
Kotaro, who himself was more or less fluent in a couple of languages and hadn't been thrown at the change of language, was the one to present the obvious solution
"Why don't we just ask?" he asked with a shrug, getting the others attention, before he turned and raised his voice to the Being in the distance, "Hey do you know why we can understand the change in speaking!?"
"Do you really think, we can just as-" he started to ask when the Being actually turned its head and answered
"I've already told you" it answered, it's echoey mental voice still sending shivers down the groups spine; though not as much after the meeting with the Vindice, "None of this is real, those are not your real bodies; not your real ears hearing real sound, your real eyes seeing a real vision. This is a mental representation that your small three-dimensional minds can comprehend. Right now, information is being transferred into your actual minds, all of this is just a representation that your conscious can understand for the sudden influx of information suddenly in your head."
"… Yeah, I didn't get any of that" Kotaro stated, unashamed of his inability to follow the Being's explanation, "I got none of this is real, so don't question the small stuff?"
"More or less" Yamamato shrugged
"No, you idiots" Gokudera grumbled, "If your going to oversimplify it, then think of it as us all being in a shared coma, and someone outside is implanting raw information into our brains like a computer. So languages don't matter, the information is still reaching us."
"Ooooh" came a chorus from the other viewers
"You're very good at explaining stuff Gokudera-kun" Negi praised, "Have you ever thought of being a teacher?"
"He is rated number one potential to be a kindergarten teacher in the Mafia" Yamamato piped up cheerfully, as he watched the bomber flush at the praise. He knew the other boy had put a lot of work into making his weird explanations easier to follow for Tsuna's sake.
"Fuck off, baseball idiot" Gokudera snapped, turning a brighter shade of red
"Ah no, my apologies "Negi rushed to reassure the kind stranger, "I was just lost in thought, and yes this is my first time here."
The stranger gave a warm smile that reminded him much of Nekane's; the kind of smile that said that she was just happy he was present and alive and that his enthusiasm was all she needed. It made Negi instantly like him, well that and the fact that he was being such a studious student during the first day of the Japanese semester.
"Then welcome, and it's my apologies, I didn't mean to assume about your heritage with the English" the young man replied, proving Negi's books correct on how polite Japanese etiquette could be.
'He's even apologizing for speaking to me in another language because he felt making an assumption about my person could be taken offensively.' Negi thought to himself with a smile before deciding to show off just a tad.
"Oh no, you were perfectly correct" smiling at the teen's raised eyebrow, "your accent is very good, American?" He asked curious.
"New York specifically" the teen said putting his book down all the way and focusing fully on Negi, "My family does business there, and you where's your accent from, Britain?"
"Wales specifically" Negi said copying the teen's way of answering, "Very close to England though, the birthplace of the tongue as it were"
"Is he showing off?" Setsuna muttered under her breath with a raised brow
"He's showing off" Asuna confirmed dryly, her own brow raised
"That's so cute, Negi-kun is showing off to his new friend" Konoka squeed, making the boy next to them very much embarrassed at their teasing refuse to look at them
"Fascinating, so whatcha doing way out here for kid?", The teen said leaning back, Negi took note of the casual slang meaning that unlike Negi he'd most likely learned his foreign language from outside a book, and taking an up and down look at his clothes, "You look like your headed to a job interview followed by a business luncheon."
Automatically Negi looked down at the green suit Nekane helped him pick out; he'd honestly forgotten he was wearing it. The suit made him look professional, Nekane had said, it was important to make a good first impression with future employers.
…That and the coolest guy Negi knew, Takamichi, also wore a suit so there were no arguments from Negi.
"I'm flattered, Negi" Takahata demurred as his fellow teachers ribbed him
The boy only sunk deeper into the couch, refusing to look at his old friend
"Ah, that's because I am" Negi answered
"Your headed to a business luncheon" the teen raised an eyebrow and Negi laughed
"No, no, I have an interview coming up." Negi explained before pausing and wondering if he should tell the older boy what kind of interview, before deciding that he was enjoying having someone to talk to and that it would be an awfully long trip to sit in silence like the plane had been, "I'm going to be an English teacher."
"Ha!" the teenager barked, "Well we should probably have you switch back to Japanese; you'll need to get used to hearing it." The young man said doing just that before putting his hand to his chin, "Or we can switch back and forth, and have us both get used to each other's languages." He finished with a questioning look to Negi to see if it was okay.
Happily, Negi nodded, pleased his explanation hadn't been doubted, he'd already had to rescue himself from airplane security, who were wary about letting someone so young go off on their own.
Besides even if both of their accents were flawless, Negi HAD only learned Japanese a mere three weeks ago, there were doubtlessly plenty of holes in his vocabulary.
"Three weeks" Tsuna exclaimed at the boy, getting a few awed looks from his own students not in the know.
Because there was genius, and then there was genius; and it was clear which half Negi belonged to
"Yep, life is really unfair" Asuna wept
'I'm going to be surrounded by genii for the rest of my life aren't I' Tsuna thought shaking his head in a bewildered but fond exasperation
"I did it one" Reborn shrugged easily, though there was an obvious smugness in his tone
Though instead of letting it go like he had with Negi, Tsuna immediately reacted
"Nobody asked you, you monster!" Tsuna snapped
"Stop stepping on regular people, you stupid genius!" Asuna backed, having had her nerves grated on by this particular baby since they arrived
"That's an oxymoron, morons" Ayaka rebutted, "and anyway you look at it, aren't you two just whining about being stupid?"
Her words had an immediate impact as Dame-Tsuna and Baka-Asuna cringed deflated, their righteous fury crushed by her harsh truths
"Morons, just morons. Stupid Dame-Tsuna can't even master a language in a few weeks" Tsuna mumbled from his depression slump, while Gokudera tried to cheer him up, unintentionally making it worse whenever he commented that 'Tenth's No-Good grades, were actually pretty cool… somehow?'
"Are you saying morons have no place in the world. Don't look down on stupid people, dammit" Asuna wept, as Negi also tried and failed to comfort her by bringing up that 'it was technically closer to three and a half weeks, and that knowing a language wasn't the same as being fluent, and he learned so much from them all…'
Yamamato just laughed, to his friend's irritation
"Yeah, I guess we're all idiots huh?"
"Shut up Baseball Idiot/Don't compare us to you, dumbasses/We don't want to hear that from you!"
Two hours later the train was pulling into Mahora city and Negi had made his first friend in the new country.
The older teenager, Negi had found, was a great conversationalist and seemed to have a little bit of experience in just about everything. Negi had badgered him about the Japanese culture and he in turn asked Negi about Wales, and the two of them compared the differences between living in small and big cities. This then turned to a conversation about the kind of people there were in the world, which all led up to the teen telling him about the long colorful list of friends he had made in his travels and the funny situations he'd gotten into with those friends.
As the train was pulling in the older teen picked up his long-forgotten book drawing Negi's attention to the fact that the title was in English, though the only words Negi could see were 'Wizard Of'.
Before Negi could make a comment the double doors of the train opened and Negi along with his new friend were unceremoniously forced out onto the sidewalk under the force of the morning rush
"Pushover" Evangeline muttered, getting some scowls and reluctantly agreeing nods
"Woah there little buddy" said Negi's taller friend as he wrapped an arm around him and lifted him, huge bag and all, out of the stampede of coffee deprived citizens.
"Ah thank you so much" Negi gushed with a proper Japanese bow, only to have a warm hand on his head stop him midway, and give his hair a friendly ruffle
"Don't worry about it Professor" said the teen using the English version of the word with a smile, Negi had a feeling it had become his new nickname, "But you're not in Kansas anymore, the people here won't hesitate to step all over you if you don't learn to stand your ground."
The older teens orange gaze bore into Negi's own as he said the words, and Negi couldn't help but feel he was trying to impart something important to him, but he was afraid it may have been lost on him.
"Hmm" Evangeline hummed allowed
"What is it Master?" Chachamaru asked in her usual monotone, having noticed her master's odd interest
"Hmm? Oh… nothing Chachamaru, at least nothing yet" the vampiress waved away, "I'm just wondering what kind of influence being around someone like him will have on the brat? Maybe he'll actually start standing up for himself"
Because she hadn't exactly been speaking quietly, the trio of the girls sitting close to them heard the little vampire's musings, and started to glance back at where their English teacher was currently with the soon to be Mafia Boss, or was it Anti-Hero?
'Negi-sensei won't change will he' Nodoka thought worriedly for her crush, as she glanced at some of the more violent characters on the Vongola side, 'it's just one new person, Negi-sensei's too good to change, right?'
'Tsuna Sawada is different from anyone Negi-sensei knows, and young boys are impressionable to their older peers' Yue thought narrowing her eyes in concentration, her own musing had taken a similar turn as her friend right next to her, 'Sawada doesn't seem like an inherently bad person, no worse than McDowell-san or Tatsumiya anyway; still, it might be good to keep an eye on how close the two interact after we leave, not everyone around Sawada is so decent…'
'(Tsu-tsuna-sempai, I don't know if I'm ready), (Don't worry little Professor, Nii-san we'll take care of you), (Tsuna-sama~), (Call me, Boss)' Haruna giggled, her hands itching for a pen and paper as ideas for her latest dark mafia themed Yaoi dojunji; her mind having naturally veered off a completely different path than that of her two friends
Negi was a little preoccupied with the feeling of someone who wasn't his big sister ruffling his head like that. It should have felt strange, especially when you considered how strict the Japanese were supposed to be about personal space, but his new friend just gave off a comforting feeling that made Negi feel warm.
Only half aware of what he was doing, Tsuna unconsciously imitated the action of his Vision Counterpart, placing his hand on Negi's head, the same way he might do to Fuuta if he passed the boy quietly reading his Rankings dead to the world
Negi himself startled, before staring up at Tsuna who was only just becoming aware of how weird his actions might have come off on a virtual stranger.
Rather than let the older teen retract his action, Negi merely sent the older boy a beaming (slightly flustered) smile, which Tsuna responded with in kind.
… Both ignored the shiver inducing 'Fufufufu's' from Haruna
"Well, this is where we part ways for now, Professor" said the teen suddenly, glancing at something over his head, "it looks like you'll have to hurry if you want to catch the tram?"
Negi blinked and turned around, sure enough there was a gaggle of young women presumably the age of the girls he would be teaching heading for a smaller looking single cart train that would no doubt take them to the Girl's campus.
"Oh, you're right, well I guess I'll see you later…" Negi paused as something very important suddenly occurred to him, "um, I'm terribly sorry, but I forgot your name."
"You didn't forget, I was just waiting for you to ask." The teen replied looking unconcerned with the fact that he had been talking for two hours with a person who was a stranger in even the most basic of ways.
"Of course, he would forget to ask the most obvious questions" Asuna sighed exasperated
"Don't blame Negi-sensei for his forgetfulness, just because he has a lot more information to sort through in his head than you do" Ayaka sniped in her teacher's defense
Asuna made a sneering face, that Ayaka returned, neither willing to get in a full-blown argument and stop the vision longer than necessary; especially over something they both knew was true about the little professor's personality.
Textbook version of an overworked absentminded genius, Negi did tend to overlook or forget what most would consider obvious things to inquire about, in an effort to not veer away from his busy schedule.
"Oh, my apologies" He said feeling terribly embarrassed, what would Nekane say about this lack of manners, actually what would she say to the fact that he had essentially been talking with strangers "my name is Negi Springfield and you are?"
The teen stared at him for just a moment before a genuine smile spread across his face, "Tsuna, Tsuna Sawada" he said grasping Negi's hand and bowing as they shook, Negi for the life of him couldn't remember if there was a significance to this specific greeting or if his new friend was trying to reach out to his more western upbringing, "It's nice to meet you Negi Springfield, I wish you the courage and resolve to complete that interview successfully."
"Dying Will?" Tsuna murmured to himself, (taking a moment to laminate on just how odd it was to have to interpret what his own words meant), then spoke again louder, "I just told him to do it with his dying will, didn't I?"
"Yep, Not-Dame-Tsuna has learned the importance of giving a task your complete effort and attention, Dame-Tsuna" Reborn nodded in confirmation
"Not-Dame-Tsuna?" Tsuna deadpanned, 'even complimenting me, he finds a way to add in my insulting nickname.'
"Thank you very much, and nice to meet you too Sawada-san" Negi replied honestly a little touched by the impromptu advice.
"Just Tsuna Professor, I'm not your student or your boss and we're friends. Now you should really hurry before they decide to give someone else the job."
"Ah yes!" Negi said turning and hurrying to the trolley before a thought once again stopped him in his tracks, "Wait how will we-"
"Sun Hill apartments on the University grounds, we'll celebrate the end of the first week of school together!" Tsuna shouted, apparently already guessing what he was going to say, "Now GO!"
With that Negi turned and took off just barely scraping into the yellow vehicle before it could take off; though honestly if Tsuna hadn't pointed it out to him in the first place he probably would have missed it anyway and would have really ended up having to run to his meeting.
Optimistic with his day beginning with such a great start he wouldn't even question how Tsuna knew where he was supposed to be going, until months later when he replayed their conversation in his head with a very different mindset indeed.
"Ominous" Yuna muttered
"Looks like that could become a very serious trust issue for them" Setsuna quietly noted as she glanced at her Konoka-ojou-sama, the girl in question's brown eyes searching for hers at the same time.
The girl had never directly confronted her on keeping her family's magic or her less than human nature a secret; correctly assuming that Setsuna would clam up in guilt and insecurity if attention was brought to the subject.
That being said, it did nothing to stop her ojou-sama from teasing her mercilessly after that point for revenge
"How do you mean?" Nagase asked, not sure what the big deal the others were making about that final line of thought
"We already knew that Decimo" Setsuna stressed the mafia title to make sure the full weight to her implication was felt, "was there to meet Negi, there's no way that was a coincidence, right?"
There was a pause as those around started to nod in affirmation
"Sooo" she continued in a leading tone of voice, but when no one jumped in she sighed and continued, "So, if he already knew who Negi-sensei was, and where he would be, and still introduced himself as a complete stranger; well, a paranoid mind, might question just how much of the interaction was genuine, and just how much was staged."
As the weight of her words fell on the group, several people started giving Tsuna heavy evaluating looks, making the boy shrink in on himself and his Guardians bristle at the implication that their boss and friend was manipulating a ten-year-old boy.
Gokudera started to move forward, but a firm hand on his shoulder from Yamamato stopped him; a firm stare was exchanged between the two which basically said.
Don't say a thing, let the Vision proof them wrong
He was starting to get real tired of the constant shade being thrown at their side of the void, dubious connections or not.
If that attitude didn't change, there was going to be a fight; once in a lifetime chance be damned, they could spend the remaining weeks messing around with constructs in the Void. They had the most pertinent information already anyway, there was magic in the world, and there was opportunity to take advantage of it without Vindice interference.
Grunting irritatedly, Gokudera sat back, arms crossed and waited
Tsuna watched the young Mage scamper off with a smile on his face, and patiently waited to see if the intelligent if still rather childish young man remembered that they had given no way to communicate with each other. When he inevitably did, Tsuna shouted the name of his new home for the year as well as insured a later time for them to meet up.
It was an easy thing to find out when the little Magister Mage in training would be arriving in Mahora and time his own arrival to match. It had been easier to spot a child in a suit with a backpack larger than himself and a very obvious Mage Staff at his side.
From there it had been Tsuna's personal mission to befriend the young Mage and secure a foothold in his life BEFORE he met the other Mage's, thus make a lasting impression on him as his first friend in a strange land so far from home.
There was some nervous shifting as Setsuna's words echoed in their minds; their validation seemed to all but be confirmed on the screen. There was some quick meeting of eyes, as a silent message was passed around to hold back flying accusations until more details came out or at least while the vision was still playing.
As underhanded as it all sounded it was not nearly as deviously planned out as it seemed, especially considering there was no end game other than gaining the friendship of a talented young man. Other than already knowing the boy's name and general description, there conversation had been genuine and unscripted with Tsuna having nothing to work with than his own first-hand impressions.
Sighs of relief, silent and audible, flowed around the room; along with a few indignant grumblings from the Vongola about trust, and vice versa about anymore conclusion jumping
The reasons he'd had to go through all of this were two-fold; one, Negi was one of the people who (good or bad) would have a major impact on the magical contingent of the world and Tsuna wanted to build a good relationship before he could be corrupted by prejudice.
"Is that true?" Asuna asked, not quite able to connect the clueless little boy she shared a room with, with the image being presented here.
"That does seem a bit much" Negi conceded, humble as ever
"He's the son of the generation's greatest hero" Takamichi input, ignoring Negi's attempt at modesty entirely "And is a child prodigy, rapidly growing into a strength that few will ever touch. Whatever he decides to do, there will be factions that will rise up to help him succeed."
'And no few that will rise to stop the heir of the Queen of Calamity' he silently added to himself, wondering for the first time just how deep into their various pasts this vision would go
"He's also my student" Evangeline arrogantly put in her own two cents, "I refuse to allow anyone trained by me, to shuffle off into mediocracy with my name attached to their deeds."
The last part came out as more of a threat than an endorsement of skill, making Negi and the members of Negima Club (name still pending) shake their heads quickly in fear.
Tsuna felt a block of ice run down his back and silently met the gazes of his Guardians who'd all gone equally stiff; no doubt they'd all felt Reborn, Lal, and Colonel's cold gazes on their backs, daring them to try and lose to the Mahora group in that same aspect.
They wouldn't, not if they valued their well beings
As it was Tsuna could say he honestly liked the little professor, he was kind of like a less whiny more stiff version of his own little brother, and it caused Tsuna's protective Manly man (Momma Bear) instincts to rear as they saw an impressionable young lad (poor broken cub) so clearly on his own in the world in need of manly guidance (nurturing and…yeah strong male influence, huh).
"Manly man?" Mukuro asked, voice dripping with condescension, at Tsuna's self-perceived traits
"I can be manly" Tsuna huffed offended, his mother told him he was growing more manly everyday!
He received several derisive snorts for his efforts, and Gokudera and Yamamato wouldn't meet his gaze
"Guys?" he asked, sure his friends would back him up
"Tsuna/Tenth" they mumbled back, their voices hedged, and Tsuna felt his heart sink
"Don't worry Sawada" Hana 'comforted', "the world needs soft Uke looking guys too"
Tsuna (MANFULLY) pouted, while Yamamato gave him a consoling pat on the back
Tsuna's all too keen eyes hadn't missed the flash of darkness that passed through his eyes as he reminisced about something that was obviously painful in his past, just as he'd seen it drowned out by the quick optimistic resolve.
'Strong willed, optimist, and just a little bit broken' Tsuna thought to himself with a chuckle 'a few years from now he'd be beating them off with a stick',
Tsuna would know.
Kotaro groaned and let out a mumble of something like 'tell me about it', making more than a few of the girls shift uncomfortable or outright blush.
Negi for his part, kept his face perfectly oblivious and optimistic, determined not to acknowledge the shift those thought-words had caused in the viewing room
At this point both Gokudera and Tsuna had already picked up on some of the… looks being shot at the child teacher and had simultaneously side eyed Gokudera's sister Bianchi, who alone looked way too comfortable with the insinuations.
Reason number two for his subterfuge was not so casually posted on the edge of the crowd with a sword on her hip, eyes quickly and efficiently scanning the station should he try and do exactly what he did and show up to the campus earlier than he said.
"Hey, it's Kuzunoha-sensei" Konoka perked up, as the irritated image of the swordswoman popped up.
"What's she doing there?" Yuna mumbled curiously, well acquainted with most of the school's teachers because of her own father's profession before turning and repeating the question to the real Kuzunoha
"She's probably there to greet Sawada when he came in" Kuzunoha answered, a touch awkward at referring to herself in third person
"Armed?" Chisame spoke skeptically, noting the sword at her side in the image, and remembering the woman's earlier antagonization towards the mafia group, not that Chisame blamed her.
"She's just being cautious!" Seruhiko immediately jumped in,
To Tsuna who had never encountered magic of any kind before, Negi was a wonderful opportunity to observe with careful focus and little threat of repercussions for a solid two hours to see if one could learn to feel a person's magic. Had it been anybody else it wouldn't have been possible, it would have required weeks of a combination of abnormal animal like instinct with highly intelligent research gathered from the observed data.
Thankfully Tsuna had been born with a certain mutation unique to his blood line called Deus Ex Machina… or as his grandfather pronounced it Hyper Intuition.
Tsuna deliberately ignored the smack to the back of his head, even as the rest of the room snorted to that more than accurate description
'It's a damn life HACKS and they know it', thinking of the one time he'd called it as such in front of his father and grandfather; both men had had a hissy fit and proceeded to spend an hour berating Tsuna about family legacies and noble traditions.
All to which Tsuna respectfully called B.S., V.H.I. was a cheat code worse than Peter Parker's Spidey sense and Kiyo Takamine's answer-talker ability combined and essentially allowed its users to excel in anything they put their mind to, at least in things like this.
A few hours observing Negi and the miniscule changes in the air around the boy compared to other people, especially around the staff, had given Tsuna a small inkling of when he was approaching something of magical capability.
The inkling would grow into something more like a magic sensor the more time he consciously spent around Magicals. As a result, Tsuna had felt it the moment they began approaching the massive invisible barrier that surrounded the school-city used to detect the entrance and exit of those with some measure of power.
There was a brief pause as the viewing room processed the information dump; each person focusing on a different portion of the information.
'So Hyper Intuition, is really just a power that collects information' Takamichi thought, as he listened to the boy's mind essentially create a magic sensor out of nothing 'Incredibly quickly at that'
'That power is still ridiculously hacked' Chisame thought disbelievingly, 'but at least its more scientific than just automatically "knowing stuff"'
'If I had a power like that…' Seruhiko thought, already incorporating such a power in various tactics
'How do we fight something like that…' Kuzunoha thought, trying to find a way to fool such a sensor
'So magic can be sensed?' Gokudera thought, not in the least bit stumbled about his boss's ability to pick it up, ' then its not just some mystery power, it can quantified, calculated, and…'
'So there's a barrier around the school' Mukuro thought, already making plans to keep an eye on the mentions of the interworking of such a system, 'Though not a physical one, not for Flames at least'
'Huh, that's pretty cool' Kotaro thought, just wanting this all to hurry up and get to the action
Tsuna with bag in hand carefully made his way around to where the woman with the sword was still posted, and even made it a point to pass directly by her.
"Pardon me" he said politely and watched as she and everyone else made room for him without thought.
Eyes widened at Tsuna's bold stunt
A little immature true, but it promised to be funny later when she realized that she had politely stepped aside for the same 'criminal scum' she was looking out for.
Reborn alone seemed brave enough to snort in the face of the shell shocked looking Kuzunoha, who stared at her other for being so blind as to miss the person she was looking for who was. Right. Freaking. THERE!
'Man, I love real life cheat codes' Tsuna thought considering his Deus Ex Machina number 2.
Dying Will Flames, or just more commonly Flames, were a power that made little logical little sense at the best of times and made studying them an exercise in futility, but they did have the benefit of making anyone without Flames incapable of making proper defenses against their rather unique power.
There was a significant shift in the room, as the Mahora group leaned forward, ready to FINALLY get a thorough explanation of the mystery fire
Created with the energy of life itself, sparked by emotion, fueled and controlled by sheer will power, and limited only by the experience and imagination of the one wielding them; Dying Will Flames did not follow the usual rules and properties of energy/matter the way magic or Ki did.
Three stages: 1rst most common stage, Internal Flames are activated, and a person loses the mental and physical limits that categorizes them as human.
Tsuna winced, the embarrassing memories of him running through town in his underwear was still painfully burned into his mind.
He found himself paying attention and nodding along to the explanation; having learned mainly from experience himself, never having gotten sat down for a proper explanation
2nd stage which is for the practiced fighters, Manifested Flames, which are as they sound- pure firepower to be used.
Tsuna nodded again; this was technically the Flame Tsuna most commonly saw; in the sense that one couldn't always tell if someone was removing their bodies limiters with 1rst stage Flames or if they were just that awesome.
Tsuna himself mostly used 2nd stage Flames, rarely finding a combat need for Harmony, and even more rarely using his Flames for anything but combat.
3rd stage which is for the elites which was more of an extension of the 2nd stage involving tapping into the mysterious power of the individual flame. Each flame had a general 'property' that as long as you had the imagination and the control to fit an idea matching that property, then it could be done.
For example, Cloud Flames had the property called Propagation; Tsuna knew masters who used cloud flames to do anything from extend and multiplying their weapons to expanding their body's muscles and increasing the number of brain cells in their head, as long as it fit the property of propagation it can be done by a skilled enough Cloud.
Yue let out an impressed 'huh'
"So how many Flames are there?" she asked
"Seven" Reborn answered easily, not seeing a need to hide the information, and knowing Tsuna wouldn't say anything without him; his mind was personally more focused on Vindicare's Black Flames
(And the twitch the Shimon brats made at his answer)
"Right" Haru piped in, lurching herself back into the conversation, now that it was on a topic she could contribute to, "Sky, Cloud, Storm, Rain, Lightning… Mist… aaaaaand… and… I'm forgetting one."
"Sun Haru", Kyoko reminded as her brother gave them an extreme fist pump
"We already went over them in the last Vision" Nodoka gently reminded them all
Tsuna who possessed Sky Flames had already reached close to his maximum potential in terms of purity and strength when he was just fourteen; he'd spent the last 4-5 years working on pure control.
"I did!" Tsuna exclaimed shocked
"You all have" Reborn answered him, but addressed the whole room, "Don't forget, the opponents you faced before have been not just adults, but the leaders in their fields. Varia, the Funeral Wreaths ( real and fake) even Mukuro's little gang is considered abnormal"
Mukuro did an amazing mix of a smirk and a scowl at Reborn's description of his "little gang"
"Though don't think that means your anywhere close to finish training" he finished smacking his student on the head, "Your all still green compared to me."
"Yeah, yeah I know" Tsuna grumbled rubbing his head, he hadn't even said anything!
Sky Flames were the element whose property was Harmony, constantly pulling other elements to them in an effort to find balance, balance being the typical translation used when speaking about harmony. Typically, this made him almost impossible to ignore when walking into a room because everyone felt the unconscious pull of his flames on their senses.
"Wait really" Tsuna blinked, him, Dame-Tsuna pulled people's attention to him?
"Why do you think you were bullied so much?" Reborn asked in an almost rhetorical way, getting the sudden razor sharped focus of everyone on the Vongola side's room,
"You were bullied" Asuna asked with no small amount of surprised incredulity. The person they'd been watching hadn't seem at all like someone, you would consider bullying.
"I'm not as…" Tsuna trailed off, unable to come up with the right adjective, 'Cool, confident, handsome, everything?'
Negi, no stranger himself to being ostracized, scanned his new friend over as if looking for signs of bullying.
"It's not so bad now" Tsuna rushed to assure, after seeing the looks the child teacher was giving him, "It really went down a while ago, I guess it just took care of itself" he said oblivious to the darkly satisfied smiles of his friends behind him
"What do my flames have to do with bullying?" Tsuna asked trying to change the subject
"Your Flames pull peoples attention to you; you're hardly the worst in your class, or even the clumsiest. But you're a Sky, which means when you walk into a room, people pay attention; it also means your flaws are that much more prevalent to people's minds. Its why as a boss you can't afford to make mistakes."
Tsuna blinked rapidly absorbing the new information
"Ten- Tsuna-sama" Gokudera asked concerned when his boss didn't respond
"Hmm, nothing Hayato, I just need to think about this" Tsuna assured, as he reflected on just how much the Mafia and Flames affected his life, even before he'd learned about either
What Tsuna was currently using was a different interpretation of Harmony, that instead of pulling others flames to him, Tsuna's flames were harmonizing to the very nature around him. To the senses of people around him, Tsuna's existence was registering as just another piece of nature to be ignored and walked around; of course anyone with a camera would pick him up and wonder how on earth they'd missed the fluffy haired suit wearing teen, but Tsuna was less on an infiltration mission and more trying to get one up on his host by giving himself a few hours to get familiar with the territory.
Tsuna made a mental note to start playing with the Aspect of his Flames more often, it seemed they had a lot more uses than just blowing up stuff…
"Don't think you can use this to try and hide from training Dame-Tsuna" Reborn informed him
"I wasn't!" Tsuna lied
"Now then" Tsuna mused out loud to himself an hour and a half later at a café after he'd already dropped off his bag at his new apartment and freshened himself up after nearly eighteen hours straight of traveling. "Let's see what we got to work with here."
He started flipping open the textbook of information his grandfather had given him to study about the magical world, their politics, histories, as well as a couple of not common known secrets.
When he'd gotten the book two weeks ago he had skimmed the first two pages before shamelessly pawning the work off on his right hand Hayato while he drilled himself on the much smaller packet of things Konoemon wanted him to know.
"Isn't that kind of lazy" Seruhiko commented skeptically
"I don't think he minds" Shizuna giggled, pointing to where said boy's eyes were huge and seemed to be vibrating with excitement
This was less cruel than it sounded when one took into account that one, his right hand was significantly more intelligent than him being a genius, and two, Hayato was known to be obsessed with anything occult or sci-fi.
Tsuna had had to bite his lip to keep from laughing when his delinquent looking hard ass Storm had had a geek out about the existence of a magical world like the closet dork he was. In the end Tsuna hadn't been able to resist squeezing his excited little Storm Guard; the presence of the maid and the weeks of whispering and blushing had been worth it.
"SHUT UP!" an embarrassed Gokudera screamed at the giggling that sprang up at the image of a fangirling older Hayato
'It's been too long, since I've seen my other half look at something with that childlike wonderment' Tsuna thought with a touch of melancholy, with the two of them buried by adult responsibilities they rarely had time to do anything just for fun anymore.
'Presents, presents are now a top priority' he'd already planned on buying something, but it wasn't till just now sitting in a coffee shop in a new city with a book of magical secrets in his lap that he fully comprehended that he was in a whole new world.
The book in his hand had been helpfully color-coded by subject with hundreds of little post-it notes with additional cross reverenced info in the margins by his overachiever other half.
'Magical texts for Hayato, particularly histories dealing with well-known conspiracies in the non-magical world' he thought lovingly gazing at the detailed notes written by an eager Hayato.
Gokudera had to bite his lip hard enough to draw blood, to keep himself from reaching through the 'screen' and squeezing the Future Tsuna-sama with joy. He settled for doing it to the younger present version and received a squeaked 'Your Welcome!'
'Exotic candies for the kids and clothes for the girls to go along with more personal gifts later' he thought turning to a page that looked like a Calvin Klein ad, with a picture of a man in glasses wearing a suit that he'd seen in Konoe's briefing packet and was apparently a big deal in the Mage World.
'Maybe tickets to some sporting event or tourney for Takeshi' thinking about the baseball player upon coming upon a page with information about an old war hero with white hair and a scar across the bridge of his nose who used to be a gladiator,
In the stands Takahata and several other teachers coughed at the sudden picture of "Jack Friggen Rakan", making a cameo
'Though knowing Takeshi he'd probably prefer to be a participant more, Kyoya too now that I think of it, hmm… will put a tack in that and see if I can find a more material gift for now'
Tiring of looking through the massive information packet he turned to a third and final folder his Advisor Reborn had set up for him in the weeks following his move.
Operation: Bedford Moon
Participant(s): Serafino Vongole (under name Tsunayoshi Sawada), Kevin Reese. Future agents will be added as needed.
Location: Mahora City, Tokyo, Japan
Mission Primary Objective: Create long term business contracts between Cosa Nostra, The Vongola Famiglia, The Vongola Alliance, Seashell Corporation, CF Oil & Mining Corporation and The Kanto Magic Association, The Kansai Magic Association and AAA. Future deals will be added as needed.
Mission Notes: I shouldn't have to tell you this, but these are BUISNESS deals Dame-Tsuna, it's your job to make these things as heavily in the Vongola's favor as possible. Don't be afraid to cut out a particular organization on the magical side if you see an opportunity to make connections, their friendlier with each other than the Famiglia of Cosa Nostra, but not every Mage Association agrees with each other-use that.
Secondary Objective: Find information on and if possible create a backdoor to Mundus Magicus
Mission Notes: Vongola information is vastly lacking on the entirety of the magical planet, it is of utmost pertinence we have information on the effect a separate planet has on the balance of the Trissinette; its power, its origins, the intent it has for Earth and its people.
Tertiary Objective: Explore information on a possibly damaged time stream
Mission Notes: Nono's Intuition is screaming that something isn't right in the Vertical Axis. Yuni has a vision of fire. Trust your intuition and be cautious my Dame student.
Persons of Interest: Konoemon Konoe, Eishun Konoe, Takamichi T. Takahata, Evangeline A.K. McDowell, Ayaka Yukihiro…
Seruhiko, sensing an opportunity to release some left-over tension between the groups, decided to speak up.
"Well at least we know his intentions are honest" Seruhiko said to disbelief of some of the girls
"He just got told to try and pit us against each other" Chisame pointed out dryly pointing at the screen, but the young teacher merely waved it away
"All business is trying to get one up on the other person" Seruhiko answered breezily ignoring Ayaka's bristling, "I mean, now we know for sure that this isn't some kind of trap or anything."
"Right, better a shady businessman that a sneaky spy" Chisame started dryly, only to blink and realize midsentence that that explanation actually made sense.
'What is my life becoming?' Chisame thought sadly, ignoring her teacher's enthusiastic 'Exactly!' and her classmates giggling
Tsuna ignored the cut throat information essentially telling him to spy on and bleed the magical world for all its worth (he may have been trying to change the blood-soaked history but as Nono had said, they weren't trying to create world peace after all, Vongola would always be sharks) and chose to focus on the tertiary mission goal.
Someone may be messing around with this world's time stream, to the point that his sadistic cold blooded chief advisor felt the need to warn him to be careful in an open expression of concern. The last time anything like that had happened…
Darkness, closed space, where was he, a coffin, why was he in a coffin
"The Tomaso Famiglia…Yamamato's dad…connected to us… dead"
Mad violet eyes, an empty smile, flames, dirt under his skin, coughing blood, sacrifice, heartbreak, Yuni
… nothing good had come from it; Tsuna was not eager to deal with another time travel experience.
Tsuna and the Tenth Generation inhaled slightly at the brief images in Future Tsuna's memories of that affair, but kept silent
The rest of the room stayed respectfully silent, just absorbing the information
Instead he leaned back and closed his eyes, stretching his awareness listening to the world around him as if his senses would pick up on the source of this mystery from inside the little coffee shop. He wasn't surprised when he could only hear busy city life and adults and children alike going on about their business.
All jokes aside V.H.I wasn't magic (ha!) and could only pick up on things that Tsuna himself had at least some vague information on. It worked like the world's most advanced computer picking up on information Tsuna's conscious mind didn't (or couldn't) perceive, and cross referencing it with previous saved data that Tsuna had encountered previously. On top of that Tsuna had to consciously recognize the sensation his V.H.I was trying to warn him about in order for him to make use of it.
For instance, Tsuna who had little familiarity with magic wouldn't recognize his V.H.I trying to tell him that an advanced teleportation and attention awareness spell had been cast; rather he would hear a vague ringing sound in his ear letting him know his V.H.I was picking up on something but not what that something was.
He had, however, had multiple experiences of having a weapon pointed at him; so when the slight clenching feeling hit his stomach a split second after he heard the ringing noise in his ear and a second after that felt a sword come up to his neck from behind, Tsuna merely picked up his cup of expresso and sipped it disinterestedly.
"Ah, is there something I can help you with Ms. Bushido?" he asked politely, apparently, he'd lost track of his Harmony Flames while he was stretching his senses and the woman sensed his unusual energy spreading across the campus.
Ah there was the trade off, couldn't be incognito while using flames to search.
"You were to report immediately to the Dean's office upon your arrival to the academy." Said the cold tone of the swordswoman Tsuna had passed nearly two hours ago, no doubt unnerved at how he slipped by her and made it so deep into the school without her awareness.
"Yes that's correct" said Tsuna as he smoothly using his cup to push away the sword at his shoulder, the woman sheathed her blade but didn't take her hands off the handle, "but I've been on trains and planes all day, I was merely taking the time to get a drink and maybe go over some notes before the big meeting."
He finally turned and met the eyes of the young woman, who was scrutinizing him in return, her eyes no doubt taking in his rather fresh appearance and probably making her own condescending assumptions about the kind of person he was.
Tsuna for his part merely smiled apologetically, it was important that he made a good impression as a courteous professional young man, not weak, but definitely not a threat-it was a familiar role.
"You can have a drink after the meeting, I'll escort you, so you don't get lost", though the way she said lost meant it clear she didn't trust him not to go wondering off.
"Kinda cold there Sensei" one of the girls commented and Setsuna opened her mouth to defend her teacher from whoever did, only for someone else to beat her to it
"Remember girls, the people we see don't have access to the same information we do, and its important to keep that in mind as we watch them make their decisions." Seruhiko defended his crush vehemently, his usual joking nature fading to the more serious tactical side his students didn't normally see, "The only thing she has to go on about Tsuna-kun, is that he's the heir to a dangerous organization she doesn't like and successor to the man who had her humiliated and burned her bosses hand."
Kuzunoha kept her face blank, but she was inwardly relived at her colleague's defense; she was unlikely to defend her own actions at all, let alone so factually
"It's important we take even their informed decisions with a grain of salt as well" Takahata tacked on, waiting till he had the teens slightly confused focus on him, "The Vision seems to switch to the points of view of various people, meaning what we see is colored by the perception of the person whose point of view we're witnessing, and all people are unreliable narrators."
"Unreliable narrators?" Yue spoke speculatively after a contemplating silence filled the room and her classmates tried to work out what their former English teacher said, "I've heard that term in Japanese class"
"It basically means, the people in the story (or in this case other world) don't have access to the same information as us the viewers, and make interpretations that can be wrong, which are then fed to us, the viewer." Takahata nodded to the girl, going into full on teacher mode, "For example the young man in the last vision who went to visit the… Vindice was it?... obviously, his perception of events would be much different than Sawada and Gokudera-kun's. Can anyone know how?"
Takahata ignored the amusement of his colleagues and grumblings of several students as his quick answer turned into a full-on lecture; though he was amused to note that even the Vongola seemed to be participating in the debate.
"He didn't realize he was being possessed" Hana answered, her tone clearly working it out as she spoke; Takahata nodded for her to continue, "He didn't know why he was acting so weirdly and talking so much, because he didn't know he was possessed. And since he didn't know, we didn't either and we just assumed that that was how he usually acted. His perception of events becomes unreliable."
"So, we need to make sure the people we're watching aren't being possessed" Misora said jokingly getting a few chuckles that we're abruptly cut off when Mukuro gave his own chilling 'Kufufufu' to let them know that, yes, they probably did need to keep that in mind.
"True, anything else" Takahata nodded impressed, that hadn't been his original point, but it was a good catch nonetheless and he made his own mental note to keep an eye out for that later
'If only they paid this much attention in class' Takahata thought wryly watching them wrack their brains to give him an answer.
Though even as he thought it, he noted some of the usual suspects had seemed to all but give up on trying to figure out the lesson, waiting for their more academic peers to reach the conclusion for them
It was Tatsumiya who eventually proposed the solution
"He didn't know the full parameters of the mission", she spoke up in her cool clinical voice, before continuing when Takahata nodded to her, "In his mind he was there for a simple meeting and that was his focus, while for Sawada-"
"Tsuna" Tsuna mumbled
"Sawada was planning a heist and was more focused on distracting the Vindice." Tatsumiya continued without breaking stride, "If the vision was shown from his point of view, we could see the exact same conversation at the exact same time, and yet get a completely different information depending on whose head we watched it from."
"Exactly", Takahata nodded, "So keep in mind that most of the people we see will not have access to the same information we do; and more importantly not all the information we do receive may be accurate because of the biases and perceptions of the person we're watching from."
Sensing the debate wrapping up, Seruhiko gave an exaggerated stretch
"Are you done?" he asked wryly, "Can we get back to watching?"
"We're done" Takahata confirmed, smiling as he watched the teens take his words to heart and stared at the vision intently, prepared to overanalyze every little thing they saw.
…At least till they got bored or saw something funny enough to distract them
'Burr is it cold in here or is that just her?' thought Tsuna sincerely hoping he wouldn't have to go through this with everyone he met for the next year or so. 'Wasn't Cosa Nostra supposed to be a secret to their side too, who did what to get her this cool on our first meeting?'
It couldn't have been him, Tsuna knew himself too well; he wasn't an intimidating individual when he wasn't actively trying to be and certainly when he was projecting not threat like how he was right now.
"Let me just clean up my area, Ms.…?" Tsuna gave a smile that said he was slightly taken off guard by her chilly attitude, though truly he wasn't.
Thankfully his documents weren't written in any known language outside of Tsuna's Inner Circle, given G-script was invented by a nerdy Hayato back in middle school, otherwise Tsuna wouldn't have studied them so brazenly in the open.
"Kuzunoha" came the one word reply as she gave a curt nod of her head of the direction she wanted Tsuna to walk in, apparently not trusting her back to him.
With that Tsuna 'stumbled' along, before catching his stride like a prideful teenager trying to make himself seem like a confident adult. The woman followed alongside and slightly behind him or was until Tsuna kept slowing down to make clear he didn't know where he was going.
"So, do you teach here Kuzunoha-san" Tsuna asked politely, because communication had to start somewhere, and it clearly wasn't going to be from her.
"Yes" she replied just as curtly as she did everything, though Tsuna noticed her picking up her pace to reach their destination sooner and avoid having to talk to him more than she needed to.
"Cool, what year?" Tsuna continued undeterred, like he didn't notice her attempts to brush him off, though to be fair Tsuna often had to pretend that he couldn't read people like an open book.
Blatantly calling her out on it would do nothing to help with the coming business, nor would it earn him any points gaining her trust. The best thing Tsuna could do was ignore it and be as mostly genuine as possible and not be put off by her attitude.
"Elementary" she answered stiffly obviously not appreciating Tsuna's efforts.
Gritting her teeth like her counterpart, Kuzunoha ignored the exclamations of "Really!" and "Those poor kids"
'Those poor kids' Tsuna thought perhaps a tad uncharitably, she may have a hidden soft side he wasn't privy to, though he doubted it was that soft. Even so it gave him an in to blabber about unhindered for the rest of the walk as well as maybe lower some of those walls she had around him.
"Oh, that's cool; I have a little brother and sister about to enter their final year of elementary"
"Oh" Kuzunoha said blandly obviously uninterested
"Yeah Lambo's like a super genius and Dad wanted him with some private tutor, but I wanted him to have some normalcy around other kids his age you know? And he didn't want to be separated from our sister, I-pin, she's a smarty pants too, but she doesn't want to be away from Mama yet; didn't stop them from skipping two grades though."
Tsuna blathered on the rest of the walk with stories of Lambo, I pin, and Fuuta until it was clear the woman had mentally moved him over into something resembling nonthreat and maybe even an idiot if a possibly strong one; essentially, he acted like his father, ugh.
Tsuna looked physically ill at his older self's… performance
"Is your dad, super friendly or something" Yuna, disturbingly close to her own father, asked curiously
"Yeah something like that" Tsuna answered a little clipped, which Enma, (who had his own grudge with Iemitsu) immediately picked up on
"Are things between you… strained" Enma asked carefully, if the Vongola Decimo didn't trust Vongola Outside Advisor…
"We… don't talk much" Tsuna tried to say diplomatically, he had no desire to air out the crappy one-sided relationship he had with Iemitsu; something he hadn't even told his Guardians, though giving some of the confused side looks he was getting from his friends, that wouldn't stay secret long.
"He works far away" Tsuna explained, 'Not to mention the asshole allowed me to think he was missing/presumed dead for years, because it 'sounded romantic''
"So, you're not close" Enma said, more than asked
Tsuna paused and thought, before giving a firm nod
'Not Close' was good, it was polite enough for pleasant conversation and covered everything from 'we don't visit often' to 'I hate his guts', without having to give detail
Enma exchanged another glance with Adel; another thing to consider for their plans, it seemed keeping Tsuna as an ally, despite his heritage was becoming a firmer and firmer alternative to trying to topple the centuries old Criminal Empire.
"So, the Dean's office is in the section with middle school girls?" Tsuna questioned deliberately being obnoxiously skeptical, even putting emphasis on how sketchy it all sounded; still very much playing the role of his father who'd mastered the harmless big muscled idiot act to a T.
"He has a granddaughter in middle school and it keeps him close to her." The swordswoman answered a tad too defensively to Tsuna's ears.
"Oh yeah, where was his office before she was in middle school"
"Perverted Dean" Haruna giggled
"I'm sure it's nothing like that" Setsuna defended her Ojou's grandfather
'Yeah, I'm kind of sure it is' their teachers thought to themselves, though they kept such thoughts about their boss silent
Before Kuzunoha could respond the higher pitched voice of a young woman interrupted them,
"Kuzunoha-sensei!" both of them looked to see a young woman with long brown hair and a cheerful smile rollerblade her way over to them.
"Yay it's me!" Konoka cheered, whipping out several cheering fans with her name and face on it out of nowhere, before forcing them on her seatmates Negi, Setsuna, and Asuna, who smilingly waved them in the air.
Tsuna felt a tiny tickle on his nose that he'd recently come to associate with someone who possessed magic after being in Negi and Kuzunoha's presence; though it felt a little sharper then when he'd met the woman beside him, as did Negi's come to think of it. Whether it was something special about young people's magic or Negi and Konoka just had more than her considering their high-quality bloodlines, he wouldn't know until he'd spent more time around Mages.
"The latter" Evangeline answered in a bored tone
"You're a mage too, Konoka?
"Not yet, but Dad and Grandpa are, so I have magic too" the ever smiling girl answered
"Hello Ms. Konoe, I'm afraid I can't stop and talk I'm working right now" she said adjusting her glasses seriously, "Besides should you not be in class right now"
'Oh, so this is the Dean's granddaughter', Tsuna thought while also taking note that his escort hadn't stiffened up at the defenseless young lady being in his presence which meant his blabbering moron act had finally gotten her to consider him a nonthreat and forget about this morning's brief subterfuge.
'Mostly' he added as he saw her hand had not left its relaxed grip on her sword.
"He's good" Takahata let out an impressed whistle, at his colleagues looks he continued, "You had a blade to his throat a few minutes ago, now your letting him near your Boss's granddaughter without much thought."
Kuzunoha blinked, but narrowed her eyes on both Tsuna's, making a promise not to let her guard down around the boy in the future.
Down below, Tsuna tried not sweat at the intense stare the teacher was drilling into his head
'What did I do!?'
"Hey, Kuzunoha-sensei, and I'm not ditching I'm working right now too" the girl answered giddily, before giving Tsuna a curious look, "Grandpa asked me if I could give a tour to one of the university student transferring in from abroad who didn't get to come to orientation"
"I see" Kuzunoha said slowly, like she wanted to say something more bitter but was being careful to hold her tongue against her boss, "Well he hasn't had the time to meet up with the Dean yet Ms. Konoe so I'm afraid your early."
Tsuna for his part was wondering what the older man was doing, sure he meant to get close to the class anyway, but unless the girl in front of him was a world class actor sent to spy and get intel on him (which Tsuna severely doubted since the old man knew enough about V.G.I, to know you can't lie to it) he didn't see what putting her so close to him was supposed to accomplish.
"Oh, I know" she said, and Tsuna was really starting to dig how cheerful she was, "I just came to introduce myself"
"And get out of class a few minutes early no doubt" Tsuna said slyly, speaking for the first time, well aware of all the tricks and ticks from Middle and High School, back when school was a sentence and not a choice.
The girl merely smiled cheekily before doing a small spin to face him fully and introduced herself, "Konoka Konoe, it's nice to meet you "
Tsuna acting more out of habit that was literally beaten into him than conscious thought, grabbed her hand and bowed giving a light kiss to her knuckles, looking up from his position without letting go of her hand, he gave an as dazzling smile as possible and returned her greeting.
"What the hell" Tsuna said with an embarrassed flush at his counterpart's actions
"Tsuna Sawada, a pleasure" seeing a chance to be let go from the scrutiny of the swordswoman, as well as give her the chance to finally escape from him, he turned to acknowledge Kuzunoha, "Will it be alright if Konoka escorts me the rest of the way, and you can get back to work Kuzunoha."
The woman stared at him with slightly wide eyes before giving him a slightly skeptical look that Tsuna honestly couldn't understand what he'd done to earn. He'd even broken his idiot character to give a young lady of high status a proper greeting instead of just waving like some foreign idiot. Though he did refer to her by first name only moments after meeting her, he was usually politer than that.
"Does he really not see the problem" Tsuna yelled at himself incredulously
"Culture shift" Reborn answered, after a moment of shifting through what he knew about his normally shy student's character and applying all the recent info received to that image, "He's been living in Italy for however many years and hasn't been in Japan for more than a few hours. He hasn't yet shifted back to the more reserved Japanese etiquette"
"Still" Tsuna shrieked blushing and ignoring the obvious giggling in the room
Kuzunoha continued to narrow her eyes at him before giving a searching look to Konoka and then seemed to measure the distance between them and the administrative building not forty feet away as if to see if he might make off with her school's princess in the time it took to walk there.
"You can take him straight there correct Ms. Konoe" the woman asked sternly, though oddly enough it seemed to be more directed at Konoka than it did Tsuna.
'Odd', Tsuna thought seeing some red fade from the girl's cheeks as she nodded embarrassedly, 'is she some kind of troublemaker, she didn't seem the sort, just a little mischievous, maybe that's it. If that's the case, it's not just me making Kuzunoha so stern… those poor elementary schoolers.'
"That or he really is just clueless" Yue deadpanned at the boy not picking up on other-Konoka's flustering from his actions not Kuzunoha's reprimand
Reborn gave a dramatic sigh, "Even with Hyper Intuiton, Dame-Tsuna will be Dame-Tsuna"
"Great" he said out loud looping an arm around the younger girl's shoulder and pulling her close to him in a very Iemitsu Sawada show of lack of personal space, "Then lead on Master Tour Giver"
To Tsuna's small surprise and enjoyment, she merely grinned up at him before taking his hand and skating forward, though there was the tiniest sheen of red on the back of her neck; apparently that getting lost along the way comment had dug closer to home than he'd thought.
A small part of him couldn't help noticing she had the aura necessary for one possessing Sun Flames, though he made sure to stomp down on his own Sky Flames natural inclination to pull her towards him, at least not until after he'd met with the Dean and gauged his temperament.
"So Tsuna-san, is this your first time in Japan, though you have a very Japanese sounding name, are your parents from here?" she asked as they pulled into the building, her skates thumping across carpet.
"I grew up in Japan, though I left and finished school in Italy."
Truth, he'd come to realize that attending school in a small town in Japan, running the Seashell Corporation, Mafia Tutoring with Reborn, physical training with the other Arcobaleno, and flying around the world to take care of various crisis was just not realistically possible. After middle school he officially attended a school for rich kids in Italy with busy lives and so made schedules that catered to their availability. He graduated a year early.
Tsuna jerked as if he had been slapped, and stared dumbstruck at his other self's accomplishment
"As expected of Tsuna-sama!"
"Extreme determination Sawada!"
Tsuna said nothing to the praise, just nodded dumbly and stared at himself, 'Was this real, what happened to him?'
"Become a Mafia Boss and find out" Reborn whispered like a devil in his ear, reading his thoughts
"Would you stop that!"
"Oh, then welcome back" she said
" Good to be back, though if you're wondering about my looks" he said vaguely gesturing to his unnatural colored eyes noticing the second look she took at his facial features, "Both of my parents are mixed, half Italian."
Also, true if vaguely misleading, even with his ancestor moving to Japan, they'd kept a strong connection to those who also had Italian blood.
Iemitsu was born from three generations of couplings of half Italians making him one by technicality, his mother however surprisingly enough just happened to have an Italian father.
Though his eyes were what made people question his nationality more than things like his skin and hair tone, which was what had most likely caught her attention; a pure Vongola trait and a result of mutations Flames sometimes had on the body.
"How cool" she said as they came upon a set of big double doors, before pouting and continuing, "All I have is pure Japanese all the way around."
Once more acting more on beaten in instinct on how to behave when around a young woman, especially a lady of some status, Tsuna broke happy idiot character and gently caressed a stray lock of hair and smiled.
"Then the Japanese have created a treasure", meaning it whole heartedly, Konoka was a beautiful girl, who'd grow to be lovely woman, especially with a smile like that.
Konoka blushed shyly before brushing away his hand with a pleased smile and Tsuna smiled back.
Both teenagers blushed furiously at the whistles and cat calls from (most) of their friends
'A woman no matter who she is, wants to be complimented Tsunayoshi, no matter what she may say otherwise or how she may react to said compliment.' His grandfather had once told him when Tsuna was still just an insecure little boy too afraid to tell the girl he liked how pretty she was to him, 'And every woman has something beautiful about them, you merely have to look for it; though having a little Intuition to help us along never hurt anyone, eh?'
'Thank you, Grandpa,' Tsuna couldn't help but think to himself, as he let his eyes flicker to Konoka, Kyoko, and even Haru. What? He was still a teenage guy after all
When the door opened to a huge office Tsuna was greeted to the sight of an elderly man with the biggest eyebrows he'd ever seen, one of which appeared to be twitching violently as it took in Tsuna and Konoka- wait, did he just hear him say gigolo genes?
'Nah, couldn't be, nervousness is getting to me' Tsuna thought, he could still be such a Dame sometimes.
"Grandpa were here" Konoka announced for them both
"So, I can see that, Tsunayoshi Sawada, so you've arrived I see" the old man said with a stroke of his beard and a calculating gleam in his eye, "early even, one wonders what you've been wandering around doing all this time."
"Merely being captivated by my new home for the year Dean" Tsuna said back in the same coy, 'aren't we just a pair of harmless ducks' tone the Dean used, while reminding him that the campus would be his to roam for the next year anyway "this truly is a beautiful school, Headmaster Konoe."
"Ho ho, I can hardly take credit for the school; it's been here since before even I was born, but I'm glad you enjoyed your first impression" the Dean chuckled still stroking his beard, though Tsuna had a feeling he was laughing more at his subtle brass than he was his age, Tsuna smile turned just a bit more genuine, "Now before we pull up your information, I have something very important to discuss with you."
The Dean sat forward with a serious look in his barely visible beneath the brows eyes, and Tsuna felt himself stand a touch straighter.
"What do you think of my granddaughter, would you be interested in marrying her, I'm sure your grandfather would approve wholeheartedly." The Dean said in full seriousness and not even a second later was wacked in the head full force with a metal mallet courtesy of his granddaughter.
"Say yes!" class 3-A reporter/gossip hound cheered
"No!" Setsuna, Gokudera, and Haru all shouted her down
"What the heck, who just asks that to a stranger!?" Chisame said, somehow stunned that an old man was acting like her classmates
"Grandpa does that" Konoka said shrugging it off with nothing more than an exasperated sigh, before tilting her head up and speaking in a curious tone, "I think he even asked Negi once"
"Did he say yes!?" Asakura asked, immediately switching tracks
"NO!" Setsuna, Asuna, Ayaka, Evangeline, and several of the girls who had crushes on the boy shouted
"Is no one concerned she smacked her Grandpa with a mallet?" Tsuna whispered to Enma, when the two shared and incredulous glance
"Oh Grandpa, you jokester" the girl said with an oblivious smile even as she beaned a man with enough strength to cave a full-grown man's skull; Tsuna had a feeling Reborn would approve, come to think of it Nono would to, the man was adamant about setting Tsuna up.
"It's quite the generous offer Dean Konoe" Tsuna replied, even if Tsuna had little interest in pursuing a romantic relationship of any kind any time soon, "but I don't think your granddaughter is quite ready to get married at this time, so we'll have to put a pin in that."
Haruna gave an impressed whistle, that was actually pretty smooth on his part
It wasn't the first time some powerful man had all but offered his daughter, granddaughter, sister, niece to him, and Tsuna had long since learned all the proper responses to turn down someone without sounding like he was the one turning them down and rather someone else was at fault for the failure of the union.
Unfortunately, Tsuna felt he may have missed the ball somewhat on that one, because The Dean's eyes had glowed with an unholy light and he caught Konoka blushing and fiddling with the mallet in her hands.
Belatedly it occurred to Tsuna given the slapstick nature of the offer, that perhaps maybe Konoemon offering his granddaughter's hand in marriage may have been more common than some power-hungry Mafioso trying to get into Vongola Decimo's favor and that his response may have created an unnecessary misunderstanding that simply saying 'NO' wouldn't have.
"A wise decision, we'll reconvene on that later", Tsuna knew the man meant it, "Konoka could you give us a few minutes alone, I have to bring up some of Sawada-kun's personal information before you begin your tour."
For a moment Tsuna saw a spark of something flash in the young lady's eyes, before it was buried in an oblivious smile.
'That one', Tsuna thought eyes trailing the girl to the door, 'is far more observant than she appears'
Almost unconsciously everyone eyed the smiling girl, the majority dismissing other-Tsuna's suspicions. Those that knew her however…
Just how much did the "oblivious" daughter of two extremely powerful magic families really see?
As the door closed a momentary stillness passed through the room as neither occupant spoke into the sudden silence.
'It's time to begin'
Closing his eyes while still facing the door and taking a deep silent breath, Tsunayoshi Sawada went to sleep and Vongola Decimo awoke dark eyes now with the tiniest glowing embers, he turned to face the Head of the Kanto Magic Association.
With other Konoka leaving the room, there was another shift in the Viewing room, as its occupant reacted to Tsuna's shift in mood- just like the meeting with the Vindice
But this time it would be from the point of view from the Decimo
"Vongola Decimo, Timoteo has spoken with me at length about you" President Konoe intoned, "He said nothing of your propensity to wander like a curious cat."
Challenge, Decimo's mind whispered, Subtle light, not angry
Takahata noted the shift between "Tsuna" and "Decimo" and exchanged glances with his fellow teachers, who also sat up; interestingly enough the Vongola kids looked unsurprised with split between personas, but sat alert nonetheless
"Cosa Nostra is a dangerous place" Decimo smiled politely, (empty, lifeless), "those who would do business with us must be more so. I'm just an overly cautious scaredy cat, Head Konoe"
"Perhaps you should find the courage to curb that behavior, young one, not all of my subordinates will be so understanding as Toko Kuzunoha" the Dean replied sternly
'Don't wander into things you have no business wandering into boy, you are a guest'
"I've always been a cautious individual Association Head, I'll try to be more respectful, but learned habits that've said my life are hard to break; I'd suggest you get used to me" Decimo pressed, unwilling to be cowed
'You invited a known prince of chaos into your home old man, what did you think would happen? Deal with the consequences cause I'm not changing'
Konoemon glared, "That's hardly a good way to start new friendships; if this is to work I really don't need to worry about you digging around into this and that."
'We have a deal, but how am I to know you won't stab me in the back boy'
"Will you have no accountability", he said harshly breaking the game of subtleties
Nose twitch, Magic is Flaring, V.H.I whispered and Decimo nearly, nearly, tensed; no squeeze to the gut, Malice faked
A nervous thrill went through the room, but past experience had finally gotten occupants to stop reaching for weapons
Decimo remained silent unrepentant
'He's testing me, testing my temperament' Vongola thought to himself, 'He says how can I trust, but he means how far can I push you, how important is this to you'
"It is not my wish to upset anyone" Decimo stated with the same calm (empty)polite voice he'd had since the conversation had turned to this, and he met Konoemon's glare with his own emotionless one, "We can try not to step on each other's toes or we can glare and hinder each other every step of the way. But I can only be what I am, and you requested for someone of what I am because I am what you need. I will not change."
At Konoemon's tense look, Decimo let out an exhausted sigh and allowed some genuine emotion, genuine sadness, genuine Tsunayoshi Sawada to enter his voice, "I'm here to save people, your people" Decimo looked up and met the old Mage's eyes, "I'm sorry if you won't be able to trust me, but know that even if you don't, I'll still help them."
A long silence once more reined the room, a very long silence, and Decimo briefly wondered if he would have to return to Vongola Nono and begin handling this project from a different angle, perhaps with a different Association.
'Kansai Association has deep issues with Kanto' he thought clinically, 'Even if the heads are related by marriage, perhaps the younger Konoe will be able to accept the cold fire of Decimo, along with the warmth of Tsuna and Serafino.'
"You'll help but you'll do it your way is that what I'm to understand your saying Decimo?" the elder man said finally breaking the silence.
Clearing in the head, Test Passed
"That's correct" Decimo smiled his pointlessly polite smile
"Well I hardly see how that counts for the avoiding stepping on each other's toes option" he said with a lift of his massive brow.
"I'm not completely selfish Head Konoe, I'm sure we'll find appropriate compromises for certain things" Decimo answered reasonably.
"And wandering around my school?" white eyebrow still raised
"To a coffee shop, because your subordinates couldn't keep a proper eye out for someone light footed?" brown eyebrow mirroring it.
Proof it and I'll stop
"Ho, ho, I guess that's that than, though I think it be best we not inform Toko of your description of her…and your planning on doing that anyway aren't you" Konoemon deadpanned
'Of course, I am, the happy idiot mask she's already attributed to me would be completely in character to do that' Decimo thought, 'And it will be so much fun getting on her nerves and trolling her Reborn Style', Tsuna Sawada added.
Decimo merely smiled
"Well then, let's get started with your project" the Dean sighed
Without the presence of a possible enemy in the room, Decimo calmly faded back into Tsuna/Serafino.
"Let's hear it" Tsuna smiled interestedly, "I know grandpa said it would take some time to get in touch with the appropriate authorities on both ends, but you had some groundwork you wanted to get started on?"
"Whoo, that was pretty tense huh" Makie sighed out a huge breath, along with her classmates
"Not as bad as the other meeting, but some strain there de gozaru" Kaede smiled lightly, at her classmates reflexively flexing their limbs as the moment passed
"Can you do that yet Tsuna?" Negi asked his new friend curiously
Tsuna opened his mouth to explain he needed pills or a Dying Will bullet to use his power, before remembering The Being, continually reminding them that none of this was really real.
If this was all in their head, then…
Burnt orange eyes gained a soft amber glow
"Yes" a soft voice swept through the room; simultaneously apathetic and confident in its own power, momentarily capturing the attention of every single resident…
But as quick as it came, it was gone, and Tsuna blinked and coughed
"I mean, yeah, sometimes" he coughed, not meeting the awed, curious gazes of the room- focusing on the Vision
Konoemon blinked briefly but continued, reaching in his desk to pull out Oh God please no, yet another folder for him to study.
"What I have in here are a basic list of goods; products of various natures the various Mage Associations are willing to begin trading as well as a list of things they know you have available that they want in return." He said sliding the folder to Tsuna who opened it and began scanning it right away.
"I believe that can mostly wait until you've had the chance to recover, settle in, and share with your people whom I'm sure have a similar list-oh you have it right here" The Dean exclaimed as Tsuna slid him a packet from his own bag.
"Do I have all your contact information for questions?" Tsuna asked not taking his eyes off the list of treasures the Magicals were willing to part with; he really needed to dive into this magical world as soon as possible so he could determine the worth of these things.
The project was a responsibility of Tsuna and his people, but it would be a herculean effort at the minimum and Hayato was already vetting people to start up an entire task force for this. Tsuna in turn would be providing vitally needed allies, numbers, information and values.
"What does it mean Tsuna and his people?" asked Konoka curiously, "Aren't they all Vongola?"
"Vongola is big" Reborn stated blandly, "There are multiple factions that run the organization. Tsuna's inner circle" here he paused to gesture around the room, "will take over the whole of the organization one day, but until then, their just one more faction- albeit an extremely important one.
"They have to proof themselves, and lobby support and general resources like everybody else" Reborn continued his explanation, making sure both his students and Mahora's would have an understanding for some of Tsuna's more roundabout actions "The Ninth put Tsuna in charge, the only people that have to answer to him, are those who've already given their loyalty; otherwise he has to go back to the Ninth and justify his actions or funds for anything he can't get on his own."
Satisfied and thoughtful the group returned to the vision
"Ah yes, it's in here" the Dean said slapping another soul crushingly large folder on top of the one he was studying, Tsuna thought the man was taking far too much enjoyment of that. "These are the papers that have everything you need to know as a student."
"…Thank you" Tsuna replied just a touch strained, opening to the page that had his classes; regardless of his mission Tsuna was still looking to increase his education (or at least that's what Reborn told him as he aimed a gun to his head) and Mahora was a damned great school that was hell of difficult to get into if you weren't rich, a genius, or magically/Ki inclined.
"English Literature" Tsuna spoke aloud, questioning the odd class in between several business and political classes
"For your part time job earning college credit" he answered, referring to the Alpha class that Tsuna's grandfather wanted him making connections to.
Mahora may be a magic academy, but on average only one in fifteen was magically aware even if not especially battle ready.
2A (soon to be 3A) was different; a part of a long-standing tradition of having one "Alpha" class for each grade that was made up of incredibly talented future leaders of the Mage world. Though 2A seemed to be made up of especially brilliant whiz kids if they had a "AAA-class fighter" as their previous homeroom teacher and Negi Springfield as their next one.
3A gave a cheer at their description of being an "alpha class"; Chisame and Evangeline's disparaging comments of "these idiots?" were drowned out
"Right, when do I start that?"
Dean Konoe reached behind his desk once again to pull out another something to read.
Tsuna felt his soul leave his body for just a moment
"As soon as the next grading period is up, and Negi's been tested. You'll transfer in as the student teacher working for college credit." The Dean answered pleasantly
"…Got it" Tsuna groaned out, before turning his eyes to the small class register in his hands.
'Funky hair' was Tsuna's first somewhat hypocritical thought, followed closely by 'cute'
"Why thank you Tsu-na-yo-shi ~ kun~" Haruna "fanned" herself at the compliment
He had a feeling if Hana was here she would have raged about female architypes, the same way she used to rage about how he and his guardians were all a collection of male architypes.
'Ultimate Uke my ass, I'm manly too damn it'
Said girl merely snorted, yeah right
He idly wondered if those with magical backgrounds had magic effect their genetics the same way those with powerful Flames or came from Flame powerful families did.
Tsuna's dark orange eyes, Xanxus' dark red, Hayato and his sister had silver and pinkish hair from his mother and their father respectively, who both came from long lines of Storm Flame Users. Bermuda's weird face and body had been born from ridiculously intense Cloud Flames he'd once had before they blackened. Finally, was Ryohei who was one of the few people in the world born with his Sun Flames permanently active; the strain on his infant body had turned his once orange brown hair pure white with shock.
"A final word if you will, Mr. Sawada"
"Tsuna" Tsuna couldn't help interrupt, "Where going to be working together for a while, the very least we can do is call each other by our first names."
"Very well, Tsunayoshi" and Tsuna manfully pouted at his full name, "I don't know too much about your ability to 'pull' people…" he trailed off meaningfully, and Tsuna nodded expecting where this was going.
"It's like a radio Konoe-san" Tsuna explained and saw the old man try to contain his interest, "I send out a signal, a signal that's me Tsunayoshi Sawada, only people who are already tuned to that signal will pick up on it and be pulled, people that have character traits matching someone named Tsunayoshi Sawada"
He was very careful to omit exactly what character traits someone who could match Tsuna Sawada would be; asking someone what core traits their Sky valued was a deeply personal thing after all.
"I see, I've never had Harmony explained to me quite that way" Konoemon said stroking his beard, "That puts part of my mind at ease."
"It's not mind control sir", Tsuna guessed what the old man had been nervous about.
"Even so, I know you were sent here to make allies-"
"It's also involuntary" Tsuna cut him off knowing again what he was thinking, "but I'll try to keep it from pulling Konoka or Negi, though I doubt I'll be able to pull in Negi"
"…right", Konoemon replied face becoming more deadpan, "Why-"
"He's a Sky sir" Tsuna cut him off once again, barely keeping the smile off his face. It was a small revenge for assigning him so much reading homework, Konoemon was now officially on 'The List'.
"Not Active, not trained, but the aura is there-I saw him sneeze off that girl's skirt in the quad" when he saw Konoe about to open his mouth and most likely how he met Negi. This skirt sneeze was true, but he'd rather avoid letting the older man realize exactly how close he gotten to his prized staff member just yet, "If it's anyone you should be worried about its him".
"Me?" Negi asked surprised, "Wait- I'm a Flame User?"
"Yes you" Asuna answered dryly, not surprised they thought the boy would be a troublemaker, "And come to think of it what's with that, I thought Flames and Magic didn't mix?"
"We haven't seen magic, so we don't know how they do or do not mix" Fon answered speaking up for the first time to the rest of the room, "But everyone has an aura for Flames, being able to use or manifest those Flames is extremely rare. Your friend likely just has the aura and properties of a Sky"
"Young mysterious newcomer, reasonably handsome, and determined" Tsuna ticked off Negi's traits, "put him around hormonal young people at an age where they're looking for adventure (oh let's say 14), people that are all fiercely independent, and at least touched by the supernatural and he'll start attracting his elements like moths to a flame."
Tsuna dictated slowly and obviously tapping the class registers in his hands as he pretended not to see Konoemon grow paler and paler.
"I wouldn't be surprised if they would be willing to walk through fire for him by the time the year's up, and hell if they're the opposite gender they may even develop an attraction to him at that hormonally unbalanced age." Tsuna continued twisting the knife, "But where would he even find a bunch of whiz kids like tha- oh"
"Whaddaya know, there's a reason for that" Asuna mumbled after a brief pause, eyeing the 'huh' faces on her classmates
"I-I think I might want to keep that bit of info, to myself."
Tsuna had a feeling the Dean meant he should keep that information from someone else specifically
"It couldn't hurt" he agreed, "Before I go I should clarify, Konoka has no idea about this whole merging of the worlds thing, right?"
Konoemon looked a little startled but before he could answer Tsuna continued on, "Oh, she doesn't know about the magical world at all does she? You want me to keep that secr-Ah, her parents do but you don't, so don't expose it but it's not a major loss if I do, right?"
"Yes, you can answer, and no I'm not reading your mind."
"Yes V.H.I. is a damned life hacks, I take it I should get to Konoka before she turns to stone out there ne?"
"Okay, I'll call you later Konoemon" as Tsuna got up to close the door he heard the old man mutter 'cheeky brat'. Ah the little vengeances, they got you through the day.
When he made it out into the hallway he smiled at the waiting princess,
"You ready to go?"
'Mercenary' Setsuna Sakurazaki thought as she slashed her bokken down with a precision born from years of dedicated training, 'Or some other form of hired killer'.
"Hey it's Se-chan!" Konoka cheered, at the sight of her friend practicing
"Yeah" Setsuna mumbled not as enthusiastic as she read the darker turns of her other's thoughts
It was the most Setsuna had been able to gleam from the small amount of information her sword trainer had been able to impart to her during their conversation three weeks ago.
Toko-sensei had shown up to their usual training session one afternoon nearly a month ago fuming; after telling Setsuna it would be in her best interest to complete her own training at a significant distance from her and proceeding to tear apart their training area, the older woman sat her down for a talk.
Their practice matches would be intensified for the foreseeable future as an important (Toko-sensei had seemed to be at odds with that particularly stressed word) individual would be attending Mahora at the start of the new semester.
"Oooh, I see where this is going" Seruhiko mock winced, as Kuzunoha didn't meet her friends' knowing gazes
This person would be involved in one of the Dean's "pet projects", as she called it. What that project was would be classified for the foreseeable future, as was information about Mahora's newest resident, but it didn't take a genius to pick up on the fact that her sensei was less than pleased.
The visitors name was Tsunayoshi Sawada, she had made sure to burn the name into her memory, and he would be arriving to the campus sometime today; a bit more wheedling into her Sensei's mood revealed that the man was apparently very dangerous and involved with some not so legal business in a foreign country.
Tsuna whined at his description even as Hibari, Mukuro, and even Lambo snorted at his description as a "dangerous individual"
Setsuna was honestly shocked that someone like The Dean would willingly allow such a person on to the campus where his granddaughter attended school and that was when Toko had dropped the bomb on her head.
Not only would he be in the vicinity of The Dean's granddaughter, her Ojou-sama that she had vowed to look after and had protected with her life every single day for over half a dozen years now, but he would be in stationed in their classroom as an instructor, literally in grabbing distance of her and all the friends she and Ojou had made over the years.
'Has the Dean lost his mind!' Setsuna thought to herself as she slashed her frustrations out on invisible opponents, which may or may not have started to resemble the elderly man, 'Had he forgotten why Konoka-Ojousama had been sent to Mahora in the first place! Did he truly expect a mere business arrangement to protect her from the greed of those who would use her for the power that slept deep inside!'
Setsuna cringed at her teacher's hearing her… less than pleasant thoughts at their boss
"Your just being protective" Konoka assured her, speaking loud enough that the whole room would take the hint to 'shut up'
Setsuna nodded, but internally prayed that her part would hurry and end; consequently, her respect for the Sawada boy having his thoughts broadcasted the most, suddenly went way up
Though she would never dare say such a thing out loud about the wise old leader, especially when a look must have made its way to her face the first time she was giving this information, because Toko had quickly reminded her that they would NOT do anything to defy or get in the way of The Dean's (and more importantly their the Magic Association Head's) plan.
Though the warning was sharp, there had been bitterness to the older women's voice that made Setsuna think she had tried to do exactly that and had been appropriately scolded for it.
Even still, Setsuna and several other magically aware students mainly from the high school and University divisions where Gandofini-sensei and Akashi-Sensei taught respectively, would be made aware of his general presence and be asked to keep an eye on him.
The only reason Setsuna as a middle schooler was being told despite her age was because of the fact that he would be interacting with her class specifically and Toko had vouched for Setsuna her on behalf.
Thus, their training schedule had been increased and Toko pushed Setsuna farther than she ever had. The rare Shinmei-Ryu style, like all fighting styles really, was not something that could essentially be quote unquote "mastered"; techniques however could be. Evidence by her finishing the Zanganken-Ni-no-Tachi (stone cutting sword, Second Strike).
As it was however, sword fighting was an art form; there was always room for improvement, and Setsuna was doing the best she could to get the maximum improvement in as minimum amount of time possible, hence her current frustration venting exercises.
"Don't start a fight Setsuna, HA!"
The dust around the teen bodyguard began to pick up with each swirl and slash of the wooden practice sword.
"He's not one of Konoka's, HA! unwanted suitors that you can, HA! scare away when you think no one's looking, HA! HA!, HA!
An actual mini wind tornado began to form around the girl as the intensity of her strikes increased.
"He's a guest and we HA! need to show him HA! The ut-HA-most HA RESPECT, HAA!"
She finished off with one final slash and a gust of wind slammed against a tree several yards away with a muted 'whoof' sound, even chipping tiny pieces of bark off the trunk.
Ku-Fei let out a whistle
"There no KI in that strike" the Chinese ken pao practitioner commented impressed at the other-younger-Setsuna's progress at the time, "You must be very angry"
"Ah, thanks Ku", Setsuna grimaced at the well-meaning compliment
"You scare off my suitors" Konoka asked curiously, making the half-blood blush
Setsuna stood alone in the clearing panting before she looked up at the position of the sun and decided that her impromptu training session was running long, stowed away the practice bokken in a nearby baseball bag. She usually carried it around school on her hip since carrying real blades around in broad daylight was too conspicuous, and it was modified to be heavier and more damaging than the average stick of wood. Though recently she had taken to carrying around her real sword, (Yuunagi), in the same baseball bat bag as well in preparation for the HONORED GUEST'S arrival.
Setsuna tossed the bag over her shoulder and began heading to her next class, Ojou had a separate Art class going on right now, that Setsuna wouldn't have to worry about her for the time be-
Right there across the quad was Konoka-Ojou, laughing and skating on her merry way. That was hardly unusual in and of itself, what was unusual was the older suit wearing teen male walking beside her with their arms looped like he was escorting her to the theatre.
'Omiai', she thought considering the immaculate suit.
Setsuna's eyes narrowed protectively at the male, but unlike Ojou's usual Omiai, she didn't appear to be trying to actively get away from him, and her smile wasn't strained, and he was significantly closer in age to her than the others.
It also wasn't a weekend and the Dean hadn't informed her that Konoka-Ojou, would be with an unknown male for this time; she hadn't even changed out of her school clothes. Heavily suspicious, Setsuna made to go 'observe' this unknown male when a voice broke her concentration.
The disguised yokai turned to the sound of her name to see Takahata-sensei, watching her from a few feet away.
"Sensei", she nodded politely keeping her eye on the progress of the young couple
"Why don't you come with me, the Dean wants to have a quick word with you." Takahata-sensei "asked" her.
Frowning she turned her head back to where her Ojou was currently making her way off into the distance with a complete stranger.
"Konoka will keep; our young guest will keep an eye out on her" Takahata spoke, his eyes flickering to the pair in the distance.
With no small amount of reluctance, she nodded and followed the teacher back to the administrative office, but not before subtly sending off a paper spirit to keep an eye on things in her absence. For some reason the word guest had sent an alarm bell in her head, and she had a feeling she wasn't going to like this meeting.
She was correct
"I'm sorry Headmaster-sama, I'm not sure I understood you" Setsuna bit out, barely able to keep her seething inside, though she had a feeling the elder man wasn't buying it.
"Ah the teenage years" Seruhiko said wistfully as Setsuna groaned loudly at her other self's behavior, "What a horrible time"
His comment got several nods from the other adults and even a few teenagers themselves
"Tch, try infancy" Lal Mirch commented unimpressed, while the Arcobaleno gave their own sympathetic grumblings
"I've asked Konoka to escort a Tsunayoshi Sawada, your future student-teacher, around the campus –city for the next few days. I intend to nurture a friendship between the two for future business purposes" The old man responded evenly watching her with a calculating look, "I had wanted you not to worry or become too suspicious of the young man suddenly hanging around my granddaughter, but it seems given your reaction to his mere name, someone's already divulged classified information to you"
At the Dean's serious tone, she reigned in her own disbelief to protect her sword trainer, "I only know of his name and a vague idea of what his profession is, Headmaster-sama. No sensitive information was passed along to me."
"Sensitive enough, apparently if you're already chomping at the bit to go hunt him down" the Dean said in a displeased tone.
"Headmaster-sama" she said trying to regain her usual cool disposition but was somewhat struggling with the thought of some dangerous individual so close to her Ojou without chaperone, or just close to her at all.
"No excuses" the Dean said with a raised hand, "I need you to be open and thoughtful Setsuna. To make decisions based on critical thought. This is more important than you realize, and a lot of good people are counting on these initial business ventures going smoothly"
The man's eyes then turned mischievous, "Who knows, maybe if we leave them alone enough they'll get up to a little 'something something' and we can get a shotgun wedding out of this; No Omiai necessary!" the acclaimed head of the Kanto Magic Association cheered.
"Oh grandpa" Konoka whined, rubbing her eyes along with Tsuna, who was so far past mortified he couldn't even whine anymore himself
Setsuna could only stare in disbelief and wonder when the world had gone mad.
"Headmaster, with all due respect I urge you to reconsider" she cried
"I shall not" came his prompt response, "I have considered this at length for many weeks now. If you cannot give him your respects, then at least use that big brain I know you have and refrain from any thoughtless actions based on pride."
The old man once more took a serious tone, "This is not a request but an order Setsuna"
Burying her outrage and hurt pride, Setsuna gave a courteous bow; loyal samurai to a respected lord not her own, and swiftly turned and made her way out the door.
She didn't slam it, but oh how she wished she could
'I will protect the Ojou' Setsuna thought furiously bounding down the hallway, 'I will not fail again because of mere orders, this I swear'
"Well she's dead" Evangeline commented as Setsuna just sighed that the nightmare was over
"That's harsh, Eva" Asuna scolded
"Don't call me that!" Evangeline snapped at the use of her precious nickname, "And no it isn't, she's gonna pick a fight with someone who's way out of her league."
"We haven't seen him fight yet" Mana commented, though she was leaning closer to McDowell's assessment, she hated assumptions- they got you dead
"No" Evangeline conceded, " but a man can be measured by the quality of his enemies, just as much as his allies. Do the Vindice or even Konoemon for that matter, strike as people that would treat someone weak as an equal, or a threat to be weary of?"
They did not, and the silence in the room said everyone in the room knew it
"Like I said, the crow's dead" Evangeline nodded at her own assessment, while Setsuna groaned
"I'm sure he won't hurt-, seriously maim-,… he won't kill you, Sakurazaki-san" Tsuna tried to reassure her, only to remind himself that he'd done all those things to Mukuro, Xanxus, and Byakuran, and kept fumbling
"That's not to reassuring Tsuna" Enma pointed out, when his answer only depressed both girl and boy further
"Is that going to be a problem" Takamichi asked as the prideful little bodyguard not quite slammed the door
"You tell me, you've been looking after them for nearly a year and a half now" his boss asked back, and Takamichi thought back to his long early morning lessons, mentally flipping through the faces to the little sword girl Eishun had discipled.
'Ku-Fei falling asleep, princess staring ahead trying to focus but clearly not understanding, Chao not even trying to pay attention because she already knew everything, -Ah yes, Sakurazaki apathetic face but focused eyes refusing to stay locked into place, shifting to the doors and exits and thrice as much at-'
"Likely" Takamichi answered honestly, pulling out a cigarette and lighting it as he spoke "but from what I've seen of the meeting he's a good kid with a good heart and so is she, enough time around each other and they'll come to see that"
The mentioned girls twitched as they realized, just how much their teacher's probably saw of them, and unanimously decided to at least look more alert in class
"Smoking already Takamichi?" the Dean rose an eyebrow to him, and Takamichi merely smiled.
"It loosens up the old hinges" he replied, making a show of stretching his joints, "Besides with Negi taking a class, it frees up time for me to do my other job, I need to be as loosened up as possible"
"That's not how it works Takamichi" Shizuna scolded smacking the man in the back of the head, which the man merely laughed off
Underneath them, Asuna twitched at the familiarity
His other job was not as rewarding as teaching young people some life skills and helping them grow as people. It was dark, mostly depressing work, which required a cold mind and a colder heart.
And like that the lighter mood drained, as it seemed to do at a moment's notice in the Viewing Room
"You say our young ambassador has a good heart?" the old dean looked at him questioningly, not disagreeing but wanting his opinion.
"As soon as you stopped challenging him he backed off." Takamichi shrugged, he'd honestly been expecting someone a little more cut throat and ruthless. "His grandfather was more intimidating"
He said it jokingly, but it was true, the old don had a laid-back attitude during most of their meeting, but there had never been a time when those amber eyes didn't look like they were in complete and utter control of everything that went on around him. The threat and the end of the meeting as well; Takamichi had been around the most powerful people both worlds had to offer since he was a boy, but that threat, something in the way the words echoed in his mind and out loud at the same time was nerve wracking.
Konoemon had said something about The Dying Will Flames being able to touch a person's very soul; Takamichi believed him.
The youth sitting here had been a similar but whole heartedly different beast all together. Not fangless, and the smile he'd had on during the beginning,
'It seemed so genuine' Takamichi thought even as he professed himself a dangerous untrustworthy thing variable that they could either take or leave, 'that's probably what made it so unnerving, even more so then a physical threat, it's not natural to be able smile like that'
Which made Takamichi wonder if there was some kind of split in the boy's mind, to switch between the two personas so seamlessly, because Takamichi was one of the best at reading people, and that young man had not been putting up an act as he rushed to greet Konoka or wailed over the huge amount of paperwork Dean Konoe had dumped on him.
This struck a little too close for Takamichi as he thought about his own youth
'He's not a child that needs your guidance Takamichi Takahata,' he scolded himself, 'you're not Gateau and he's not a young you'
"Uh, is anybody else lost?" asked, getting nods from the other kids; the less… innocent minded, where connecting the fact that Takahata was into things far more dangerous than teaching or bodyguarding. The first clue being the Dean- the Association Head- kept him close for a meeting with the Vongola Decimo
Even so he heard himself open his mouth "I'll keep an eye out for him"
"I thought you said he's a good kid" the Dean said stroking his beard
"So are the kids who shoplift in town to put food on the table" Takamichi answered back wryly, though that hadn't been in the way he meant to keep an eye on him.
"Very well, if you want the extra work" the Dean nodded approvingly, "Perhaps it will give young Sakurazaki some peace. I'm glad I can count on you on a good man like you, Takamichi."
"What do we do now Takamichi?"
"We be happy, princess, we be happy"
Takahata silently inhaled, as he and Shizuna glanced at Asuna, who otherwise didn't react to the flash of voices and memories, before trading glances
'Looks like no secrets are safe here' Takahata thought, he'd known it of course; but knowing and seeing were two different things, 'We made need to get some training in of our own, some secrets are too dangerous too have without the strength to protect it'
'A good man huh' Takamichi thought saying nothing, 'I really wish I could believe that Headmaster, but I'm just a toy soldier'
Sweet baby Jebus, this Reading is longer than the actual chapter.
50 FREAKING PAGES!
I don't want to do this anymore, but with this chapter outta the way I can go back to my other fics. I gotta promotion (sort of) at work, and my time is being eaten up, so I can only give so much to what is essentially a hobby. I won't be typing any faster, but other fics have shorter chapters so maybe you'll see more updates? No promises, I'm terrible at this.
Until next time, J. signing out