A small girl of less than 3 years of age stood in front of a completely unassuming door on a small shopping district. The child, with fluffy brown hair and eyes the color of a setting sunset would have held more the attention of passersby had she looked lost instead of confident. Not that a toddler could look confident but if the little one wasn't in distress and seemed to know the place then surely her parents weren't far.
People could encase themselves in their own assumptions and accept them as the only truth.
Still, she waited. And continued to wait for more than thirty minutes, barely shifting her weigh from one leg to another.
Finally when the mark was nearing fifty-six the door opened. The girl exhaled in relief because she had begun to attract the stares of concerned people who had begun to hover nearby. It made her smile a little, in a small way people showed concern if you paid attention. And if you let yourself open up some of them would offer a helping hand, a few honest words of advice and then leave your life for good.
Looking up, orange eyes traveled up the insanely tall figure of a man wearing a traditionally modest but of top quality yukata, with odd white hair, hard to place mixed features and big shiny glasses.
The cold gaze was more unsettling than she thought it would be though. And even after all these years seeing completely black eyes was always freaky, it reminded her of a narcotic addict with fully dilated pupils.
"Well?" demanded the man in a deep but smooth voice.
"Good morning, sir. If I may, could I speak to you in private?" asked the girl with a nod and a smile.
Manners were everything when you wanted to speak business.
The man seemed to glare despite not having furrowed his brow or frowned at all. But she felt grateful when he stepped back inside and let her in. Walking to the back was a room with a couple chairs and a small table. He sat down and didn't bother to indicate she should sit or offered tea. Which she was fine with, even if she wasn't showing it she was nervous.
"What do you want." Spoke the man without inflection, making it hard to determine if he was even surprised or uninterested.
"I want to confirm something first, to know I'm speaking to the right person if I can though. Are you Kawahira-san?"
There was a pause in which she wavered whether to sit on the tall chair or not. It was rather tall. When a shadow obscured her view suddenly. The white haired man was menacingly standing over the girl's tiny form.
"Who are you?" there was a big threat layered in his tone of voice. But the girl only looked on serenely.
"I am not sure how or why, but it seems I retained the memories of my past life." She said without preamble, orange eyes flashing with resolve and certainty. "In this new life I am named Sawada Tsunae. And before this life, I had read a story with a setting identical to this world."
They stood in silence. The self-proclaimed reincarnated soul and the ancient man of an extinct race. The old mind behind young eyes revealing everything in that outrageous statement.
Perhaps he could detect lies just like the toddler seemed to be able to do now because he calmly walked to a stove near and began to prepare tea.
Tsunae smiled and proceeded to attempt to climb the freakishly big chair.
It was quite hard, with limbs too weak and small. Having used up most of her energy to get to this place undetected. The toddler was heaving and sweating and was utterly surprised when she was gently picked up by big elegant hands under her armpits to sit her on the chair.
She smiled brightly at the now frowning man.
He had already placed the tea on the table and sat opposite her. He crossed a leg over the other and laced his fingers, staring with more interest than he had shown so far.
"… and this story. What does it involve for my name to be in it?"
Tsunae took her time reaching cautiously for the cup, more because of the temperature making contact with her very delicate tongue than fear of being poisoned.
"It was a very cheesy story of a young teenager who discovers he was the heir to a mafia family and was sent a tutor to train him as the next generation's boss." She paused to gauge his reaction. "To be the Tenth Boss of the Vongola."
If he was surprised he didn't show it. She took a sip of her tea and was amazed by how rich it was in flavor. Black tea wasn't her favorite but it was so delicious the girl took another gulp.
"Yeah, the story was cheesy because everything was narrated through the rose-tinted glasses of the protagonist, I imagine it was a lot darker in reality but because of censure during publishing it wasn't shown."
Nonchalantly saying so she continued. Her tone wasn't that affected but she was furrowing her brows at the liquid now.
"The name of the protagonist was one Sawada Tsunayoshi."
"And that is you brother or yourself?" Kawahira asked.
The toddler smiled bitterly. Especially because she knew her expression must remind the man of the Arcobaleno.
"I replaced Tsunayoshi and was born female, despite that I am my own person and refuse to follow the 'plot' laid out for me."
Tsunae looked into the eyes of the ancient.
"I have information I am sure will solve a lot of problems, even if many events have yet to have come to pass… one of those is a better solution regarding the Arcobaleno System."
Kawahira tensed and Tsunae wondered if he was going to kill her. Information that sensitive likely triggered an instant defensive reaction.
"… I am not sure it would be a good idea to let you go with that much information. If you know about me and what I am capable of then what are you so desperate to avoid to throw caution to the wind?"
What makes you so certain I won't kill you after you tell me everything you know? What fate awaiting for you is worse than death? She heard him say.
Tsunae hummed calmly.
"Simply put I don't want to be enslaved in everything but name and the idea of having to go through someone else's plans for my entire second life is beyond horrid. Besides that, I can't in good conscience not offer help when this world is dying. I am not selfless, but a system that requires constant sacrifices as fuel is very unstable and bound to fail sometime down the line… I know it is only natural to eliminate such a breach on the security of this world. That is why I came here this early, just in case I falter later."
I don't want to get too attached.
"You mentioned enslavement. What do you mean by that?" he asked, seemingly calmed down himself. Maybe. At least he took his own cup for a sip.
"In a few years Sawada Iemitsu will come back to this town with Timoteo di Vongola, maybe when I am six give or take; Vongola will come to assess Iemitsu's child for their flame potential. In the story, Tsunayoshi activated them unconsciously and Iemitsu begged Timoteo to seal his son's flames."
Kawahira paused and arched an incredulous eyebrow.
"Oh? That is rather bold."
Tsunae wasn't sure what he was referring to, the mafia boss overstepping his own laws, the act of sealing the potential of a child or that she mentioned this danger in her future so obviously in an attempt to get help.
She downed the rest of her cup and set it down. Nodding at him.
"Tsunayoshi's flames being sealed meant he failed at everything and with his Intuition not as suppressed but his mind addled he became a paranoid mess of a whinny teenager." She paused, the next part was only speculation but she decided to share it anyway. "And for some reason the whole town rejected him on principle, even his own mother."
Here Tsunae frowned, the Nana that birthed her was strange. A child would have found her touch and smiles loving but this one girl had experienced the true warmth of a loving if overbearing family before. Sawada Nana was a distant mother who only did the bare minimum to keep her child healthy, entertained and spoken to.
A scoff roused her from her thoughts. Kawahira stood to refill their cups.
"Of course that would happen, Sky attraction doesn't desist even with a seal. But without Harmony it becomes a target for animosity." He sat down again and looked with his dark eyes into the distance. "A Sky without Harmony is as good as a disabled person."
Tsunae flinched. When the silence stretched too long she took the cup again, this time to clear her suddenly dry throat.
"Yes, and years later that child had zero self-esteem. In an internal conflict, Vongola lost all its heirs. That meant the forgotten sealed kid was sought after to succeed the family."
"A rather convenient thing that the last heir happened to lack influences, direction, knowledge, self-esteem or ambition." Commented the white haired man. "Why did you say it was a cheesy story? That sounds more like a criminal drama."
Tsunae's lips twitched. He wasn't wrong, it sounded an awful lot like the beginning of a tragic tale.
"It was narrated through Tsunayoshi's point of view, he had a rather Cinderella feel to him; he didn't expect anything from life and his ego was already run to the ground before it fully formed, he dreamed of big adventures, making friends and becoming an admired hero…" she didn't need to continue, Kawahira's slight grimace was enough to tell her what he thought about that.
Why bother telling what the obvious pointed at? A manipulative expert on all things mafia walks into the picture and voila, you have a perfect heir complete with strings attached for puppeteering fingers. Ideals were so easily reached if you didn't care for the method.
Sawada Tsunayoshi had sworn up and down he wouldn't become a mafia boss and yet his ten years older self never changed careers through the series. And he never made much effort to deny it in actions. Not when the acceptance of everyone around his new heroic life revolved around superpowers and saving the day.
Reborn was a cunning hitman without a shred of mercy when it came to manipulating wide-eyed children.
"Back to the topic, what do you know about the Arcobaleno System?" Tsunae was jolted out of her too deep thoughts, and smiled in relief.
Even if he didn't help her and killed her she was thankful, the woman in a child's body was tired of acting as a baby and this was the first real honest conversation she had had since her death and rebirth. Squaring her shoulders and relaxing she sipped her tea.
Calm settled in Tsunae's soul. She would keep her freedom or die, simple as that.