Hibari Kyouya was satisfied.
He had not lived a normal life, nor had he ever really stopped to consider what normal was.
It's hard to imagine that life can get weirder when the starting point was being trained by the world's greatest martial arts master, who looked for all the world like a two-year-old and just so happens to be your grandfather. But from even those startling heights of absurdity, his life just continued to get crazier.
His forty years of life had been filed with all kinds of crazy shit. He had fought everything from illusionists and dog people all the way up to giant robots and a psychotic zombie plant man. He had traveled through time, established a secret international 'Disciplinary Committee' based in his old middle school in order to fight superpowered Mafiosos, became a top contender for the title of strongest man on the plant, and smacked an alien god in the face with his tonfas, and all of that before he turned sixteen.
He was happy, to have given his life to protect that and those which belonged to him.
But as he lay on top of the severed head of the fifteen-story tall wolf-like creature that had been summoned up from the pits of Helheim, and surrounded by the untold tens of thousands of other abominations he had killed, breathing his last as the poisoned air released by their corpses spread throughout his body, Kyouya realized he had no idea what the fuck was going on, or how it had gotten to this. It had something to do with that whiny electric using Herbivore with the hammer, a flaming goat man, and the half skeleton lady, but he just hadn't been paid enough attention to what they had been saying to really have a good grasp on the situation. The only thing that he knew was that they were after one of the people he had to protect, the Little Owl, Chrome, and that it was all that bastard Mukuro's fault… somehow. At least, that's how the Bucking Horse Herbivore had explained it to him.
"Hel was after My Chrome to get to the 'Six Paths of Reincarnation', the only means in which she could fully manifest from Helheim and restart Ragnarök, which I left with Chrome when I was pulled from my body." Mukuro's voice helpfully supplied. "Don't you ever pay attention?"
Despite everything, Hibari lifted his tonfa and threw it in the direction he felt the voice was in, probably costing him a few of the precious seconds worth of energy he had left.
"Fufufufu, you hadn't changed at all, have you? So quick to violence, and you never listen to your betters." Mukuro chuckled as Hibari lay dying.
More than twenty years after they had first met, they still hated each other. In fact, Hibari would go so far as saying that the Pineapple Bastard was the only person in the world who had pushed beyond simply irritating him and reached the level of actual hatred. Even when they had to work together, they never were allowed to meet face to face. Tsuna had Chrome be the one to provide all the information Mukuro and his lot had dug up to Hibari and his Foundation. The Sky Omnivore had thought that it would help keep the peace, though it only made things worse as Hibari became fond of the Little Owl and Mukuro became possessive. They would have probably killed each other a long time ago, regardless how hard Tsuna tried to keep the peace, if Mukuro hadn't gotten his soul ripped out by demons for overusing his Demon Rings.
Hibari just glared at the sky as his vision faded. "Did not even hell want you… Pineapple?" Hibari spat.
"I might not be able to escape my demons, but they can't contain me entirely. I still have a bit of King Yama's power left in me. Enough to give you one final farewell present, since hell isn't really big enough for the both of us." Mukuro said, before continuing his laugh. "You wished to be with My Chrome? Well then, you will have to take care of her. Make sure you find her quickly; in your next life, that is."
Pain shot up Hibari's spin and into his right eye, not that the man even flinched from the pain. He wouldn't give that damn Pineapple the satisfaction of seeing him so much as twitch.
"That should be enough to stop you from forgetting anything. Now hurry along. The sooner you die, the sooner you can start again. Fufufufu…"
"Hey kiddo, welcome to our shitty world." Maito Shitsuki said as she held her newborn child to her chest with one arm while holding up a cigarette with the other. "Maybe if we are lucky your father will live long enough to get back here and see you once in your life before he kicks the bucket."
She didn't sound too hopeful. She preferred to see herself as a realist. Being born in the Nara clan does that to a person. And after all the war and death she had seen in her short sixteen years of life, she felt that it only made sense to be a pessimist about it. The reason she agreed to marry early, and got herself knocked up, was so that she could escape the pointless death that awaited her. Even if children were a pain, being a young mom was better than being a corpse somewhere.
Not that she didn't love the man. Even if he was a hopeless idiot, there was some charm in the way that Toma had chased after her tirelessly since their first day at the academy together. Ten straight years of declarations of love, and him providing a shoulder to cry on when her teammates were killed, eventually tired her out. They had a battlefield marriage and he had gotten her pregnant on foreign soil. It had managed to get Shitsuki out of the warzone for the next few years, as child rearing was considered fairly important to the village, but Toma was still out there fighting. She just hoped he would pull through.
Second Shinobi World War, that's what they were calling it. Apparently, they just ignored all the worldwide wars that happened more than forty years ago. As if everything that happened during the Warring States Era didn't count. Funny how the First and Second Shinobi World Wars took up fifteen of those forty years so far. The Second has only been going on for four years, and Shitsuki wondered if it will be over before it is this little guy's turn to be fighting. These days, eight-year-olds were commonly being sent to the lines as genin. Some were as young as six.
What was even the point of making the Leaf Village in the first place? Maybe there just wasn't a point at all.
Shitsuki laughed to herself a bit, every time she looked up at the cliff with the faces of the three Hokages carved into it. They made them so damn big. Probably wouldn't be able to fit any more than seven or eight of them, and considering how fast the village goes through them, that cliff face was going to be full before a century goes by. Did the people who first started the tradition just assume that the village wasn't going to last more than a hundred years?
"You are going to have to grow up quick, my little Kyouya. The world isn't going to wait for you."
Shitsuki smiled as her two and a half-year-old son had to stand on his seat and lean all the way across the Shougi board in order to move his Lance piece forward, promoting it so that it now threatened both her Rook and Knight pieces.
It was a good move, but it wasn't good enough. Shitsuki had grown up a Nara, and even if she was exiled from the clan for marrying someone from a weak family without the elders having any say, she hadn't lost any of her skills when it came to Shougi. She knew her little boy would try something drastic as soon as she started to box in his Dragon Horse. He placed far to high of a value on the piece and gave up far too much control over the board for it.
"You still tunnel vision too much." She said before taking her own Bishop and sweeping it to the side so that it now threatened the child's Rook, with the Rook unable to move without exposing the King piece.
Kyouya scowled but said nothing as he moved a Knight in place. He might not have been able to save his Rook, but he would at least take the Bishop. He didn't realize he was giving up even more control of the board by doing so. He was good, incredible for his age, but he had a long way to go before he could face his momma. A few moves to go before checkmate.
Little Kyouya was so intently focused on the board that he didn't even notice when the front door to their little apartment opened and his father stepped in.
Shitsuki hadn't minded when she had been forced to move from the luxurious Nara Mansion into the small apartment building. She had always found cleaning the mansion a major pain and as a young member of a branch family, they had always pushed the task of spring cleaning onto her, the lazy assholes. If given the chance, she would have laughed in their faces. She had what they had always dreamed of, a slow lifestyle with few responsibilities. Even the responsibility of raising Kyouya was a cake walk. The boy was quiet and observant, neither needing or wanting much attention. He trained whenever she did and more often than not took long naps throughout the rest of the day when she would take a few easy D ranked missions and have a bit of extra beauty sleep of her own. She would call him the perfect little angel, if he wasn't such a monster.
"Kyouya-kun!" Toma shouted as he grabbed his son in a bear hug from behind, lifting the boy up out of his seat, knocking the chair over in the process, as he raised their child up to his chin, rubbing his bristly face against Kyouya's head and messing up the boy's straight hair.
Shitsuki giggled as her son struggled in the man's grip. With the twos faces so close together, she could just see the family resemblance. Kyouya might have inherited his father's straight black hair, but almost all of his other facial features came from his mother.
Thank goodness, as much as she loved the man, she was glad that her son didn't have his bushy eyebrows.
Having had enough of the man's attack, Kyouya kicked back his heel straight into the man's gut, causing Toma to gasp as the air was knocked from his lungs. Then with a show of strength, little Kyouya pried the man's arms away, dropping to the ground where he grabbed his father's leg and lifted it up, swinging the full-grown man and tossing him across the room like a ragdoll where he slammed his head against the wall.
The first time Shitsuki had seen her son's display of strength her eyes had popped out of her head, now she didn't even react, save to giggle as her boy said, "Don' c'owd me." His scowl and childish voice were just too adorable.
Toma chuckled as he got up off the ground rubbing the back of his head from where it had collided with the wall. "You sure do like to play rough, Kyouya-kun. Well, daddy isn't going to give up easy!" The young man tried to make a lung towards is child. Not that he made it far.
"Mul'i Sha'ow Clu'ching Ju'u." With just a single hand sign, Kyouya summoned up an array of twenty cords made of pure shadows which leaped up from the ground. Toma managed to dodge two of them, but as soon as one grabbed him, it was all over. Shadows as strong as steel cables wrapped themselves around the man, anchoring him to the ground.
"Ah, come on Kyouya, that isn't far." Toma whined as he tried his best to struggle against the binding technique.
Shitsuki watched the entire display with a sad smile as she sipped her tea.
The Shadow Clutching Jutsu was an A rank jutsu. One that she herself barely had time to even start practicing before she left the Nara Clan, and had still yet to really master. But Kyouya had managed to learn it and the rest of his mother's jutsu just by observing her practice and copying her actions. Not only that, he expanded on it, producing a cluster of shadows that were as strong as steel, instead of just one. The way that Kyouya could quickly manifest multiple shadows at once spoke of an unprecedented amount of chakra, more than even the form head of the Nara Clan ever had, and the child was only two years old.
Her husband hadn't even managed to get the Academy's basic jutsu down right and considered it impressive that his son could use any jutsu at all, and chalked it up to his wife's hard work in raising him for that year he had been stuck at the front lines. He lacked the proper scope to realize just what an A rank jutsu was. Performing just one of them would drain Shitsuki of nearly all of her Chakra.
However, the boy still had one weakness. "Checkmate." Shitsuki said casually.
Kyouya blinked and turned around to check the board. His king hadn't even been threatened, and it had been his turn. How was it that he could be in… He realized his mistake too late. With his focus drawn away, his jutsu failed.
"KYOUYA-KUN!" The man shaped missile shouted as he tackled the child to the ground again, his mother giggling at his expense as he tried to force the ape of a man off of him.
"You have a lot to learn, my son." Shitsuki said, shaking her head with amusement.
Kyouya was a lot less amused.
So, this was what it was like to be an Arcobaleno.
Kyouya thought back to Fon's description of what it had been like to suddenly be turned into a baby. How his reach and strength had decreased with his loss of height and mass. How he was constantly getting tired out from the most simple of exercise. How he had needed to learn to talk all over again without having him tripping over his own tongue.
Just like the Arcobaleno, Kyouya was still a powerful individual. His connection to the Bracelet of the Clouds exceeded even that of the first-generation cloud guardian, so even now, in a new life and without the jewel on him, he could still draw on some of the power of his piece of the Tri-ni-sette. He had roughly seven hundred thousand units of the highest quality Cloud Flame at his disposal. It was enough power to create a small mountain of Rolls. Yet if he exerted his power for more than five minutes, he felt the need to take a long nap. He slept for more than sixteen hours a day just to recover from his short training sessions. He seethed with indignation every time he had to get his mother to carry him in order to preserve his megger stamina.
Then there were the difficulties he had in speaking properly. Every time he tried to say 'crowd' it came out sounding like 'cloud'. As appropriate as 'don't cloud me' might have seemed, given his element, it irked him every time he said it. He didn't even try to say his old catchphrase, 'I'll bite you to death'. He remembered how Reborn's catchphrase had changed from 'chaos' to 'ciaossu' after his transformation. He would not allow the same thing to happen to him.
Well, at least his condition wasn't going to last for thirty years like his grandfather's. It wouldn't be long before his stamina and speech improved, and he'd be back up to full strength eventually, as soon as he could find an amplifier that could withstand his flames. Surely one had to exist in this world, where the manipulation of one's Ki was commonplace. Or he assumed that it was common enough. His parents didn't seem like anything special.
He didn't hate his parents. Even if they were both Herbivores without any shame, they were at least not the type of herbivores that scrapped and cried or got in the way. His mother was almost always calm and saw the world without any sort of rosy tint obscuring her judgment. She understood her abilities and worked within them without putting herself in any unnecessary risk or causing trouble for others. Truly a herbivore, but one so aware of themselves that Kyouya felt more impressed than disgusted.
As for his father… the man was an idiot. He reminded Kyouya of that idiot boxer, Sasagawa. A man who tried to overcome his own herbivoreness through sheer force of will, training, and a complete lack of regard for reality. And while annoying as all hell, Sasagawa had been one of the closest things that Kyouya had had to a friend, outside of Roll, the Hibirds, and his second in command, Kusakabe. While the two of them fought constantly, and the Sun Guardian had refused to stop crowding him, he hadn't hated the man. Just found him to be annoying.
What was more strange was while his mother was fully aware of just how out of the ordinary Kyouya was, she didn't seem to care much at all, and his father seemed oblivious to the fact that his son was at all different from anyone else, even after being thrown by the two-year-old boy on multiple occasions.
What strange people. Like the kind who used to gather around the Sky Omnivore. Kyouya hoped that the Omnivore hadn't rubbed off on him. The last thing he wanted was to be crowded by irritating Herbivores.
Kyouya was eating a simple microwaveable meal with his family, as his mother didn't know anything about cooking, and was doing his best to ignore the fact that he was sitting in a child's booster seat, when his father had an announcement.
"Oh I just remembered! There's going to be a graduation party this weekend for Dai's son, Gai." Toma said with cheer.
"Graduation party? But Gai only entered the Academy two years ago." Shitsuki said with a disappointed sigh. Kyouya's eyebrows went up at the word 'Academy'. There was a school? He supposed that should have been obvious, but it hadn't really occurred to him before. "Why is everyone always in such a rush to leave the Academy, would staying for five years really kill him? Honestly, I would think Dai of all people would understand that you shouldn't rush these things. What is he thinking?"
"Sw…sweetie, you're supposed to be happy for Gai. After failing his first entrance exam he really knuckled down hard and managed to not only get accepted, but then graduate in just two years. He worked extremely hard to get people to recognize him." Toma said nervously. Kyouya's eye twitched when his father used the 'E' word.
"And why should he care about recognition!" Shitsuki snapped back, causing the man to flinch. "If he managed to get strong enough to graduate in just two years, then they should have just left him in for the whole five and continued to train him. You don't get stronger in the real world, you get stronger by training. I will never understand people obsessions with pushing themselves into becoming ninja earlier and earlier."
"It… would be a shame to waste all that youth…" Toma mumbled, knowing damn well he was never going to win an argument against his wife.
"Then they should stop sending their young to die before their ready. Five years is too short as it is, but two, that's just…" Shitsuki ranted, only to be interrupted by her son.
"Okaa-san." Kyouya said, getting the woman's attention. "I wanna join 'e Aca'emy."
Shitsuki sent her husband a look as if to say, 'now look what you've done', before she turned back to her baby boy with a soft expression. "Sorry Kyouya, but you are too young for starting the Academy."
"Huh? There isn't an age requirement, you just have to pass the entrance exam." Toma said in a confused manner, earning a look that could curdle milk from his wife, which caused him to pale. Kyouya just looked at his mother expectantly.
"While there isn't an age requirement, if you go to the academy, you won't be allowed to have your afternoon naps anymore. Are you willing to give up cloud watching and afternoon naps?" Shitsuki said, trying to persuade her son not to go. She was disappointed when Kyouya nodded that he would.
"There's no harm to be had in just letting him take the entrance exam, is there?" Toma asked, scratching his head in confusion.
"There is a lot of harm that can be…" Shitsuki mumbled, but then stopped and sighed. "I suppose its bound to happen sooner or later." She then smiled at Kyouya. "Alright, you can take the entrance exam, but I want you to promise me one thing. Promise me that no matter what people say, you won't graduate early, and you won't jump straight into the ANBU either. You will stay at the Academy for the full five years. Okay?"
"I 'romise." Kyouya said with a nod of his head. He didn't know what the ANBU was, but he really had no intention of graduating early.
"I will hold you to that young man." Shitsuki said. "We missed the sign update for this year though, so you are going to have to wait for the next school years. Do you understand?"
Kyouya nodded. "Ru'es abou' joining 'imes. Have 'o wai'."
He could wait a year, his teeth should have finished growing in by then and he wouldn't had difficulties speaking clearly, but soon after that it would begin. He would start to rebuild his organization. The Disciplinary Committee would rise again.