Disclaimer: I own nothing, nor do I receive profit for this work.
This is being re-vamped to help bring back my inspiration, pun intended.
Chapter 1: Welcome to Namimori
I sighed as I finally finished unpacking the last of the storage boxes labelled "Tsuna's Room". Mama and I had arrived at Namimori in the early morning and it was already getting close to dusk. It had been a productive but mentally tiring day. All the boxes belonging to the kitchen and our bedrooms were unpacked, and the furniture had been arranged in the living room. The only boxes left were miscellaneous odds and ends or belonged to the bathroom. Mama would probably take care of that, she enjoyed decorating.
Moving was such a hassle, but being a vampire makes it hard to settle down in one place for too long, so it couldn't be helped. We were getting pretty efficient at it too, it used to take us a lot longer to get everything in order. I collapsed all the empty boxes and carried them in a pile down the stairs. We always stored the boxes after a move. It was handy to have them around and ready for the next time. The boxes were not heavy by any means, but they were awkward to carry down the narrow stairway. I blame them for my lack of balance.
"Heeiii!" I screeched as I tumbled down the steps, boxes flying in every direction as I hit the ground. I moaned in pain and frustration at the bottom. Mama poked her head around the corner and sighed.
"Honestly Tsu-chan, you need to be more careful." She said with fond exasperation. It was unusual, to put things lightly, for a vampire to be as clumsy as I was. Even so for a half-blood like me. I'm just lucky like that, I guess.
"I'm okay!" I said as I peeled myself off the floor and started picking up the boxes. I may not be very graceful, but I still had the pain tolerance and the constitution of a vampire. It would take more than that to keep me down.
"Gather up the rest of the boxes please Tsu-chan. There is a storage closet in the laundry room, just lean them up against the back wall. It should be wide enough." Said Mama. "I'm heading out to the store for a couple things, and if you have all the boxes put away, I just might have some chocolate cake with me when I get back. Who knows?" she said with a smile. I perked up instantly.
"Yes, mama!" I exclaimed happily and began the task of collapsing and collecting boxes from around the house. Mama laughed as she left, locking the door behind her. Honestly, I was so glad she was buying chocolate cake. It had been a while since either of us fed so she must have been feeling the thirst too, but chocolate should tide us over for now.
Being a half-blood, I didn't need to feed nearly as often as my mom, but the cravings were still a part of my life. There was something about chocolate, and sugar to a lesser degree, that provided similar nutrients to blood that took the edge off the thirst. I still need to eat human food too, since I'm half human. Mama doesn't need to, but she will eat it for appearances sake, especially if it is spicy.
Ah~ all this thinking about food was really making me hungry. I hurried to finish my task. I hadn't really thought about it before, but this house was rather large for just two people. I wondered why mama chose it.
It was a short while later that mama returned, and I could smell the cake she brought with her.
"I'm home!" she called.
"Welcome back!" I greeted her. "How was your walk?" I asked her. She brought the cake to the table while I grabbed a couple plates.
"I was very nice! I met someone while I was walking. He stopped me on the street to welcome me to Namimori. Small towns are amazing, everyone really does know everyone here!" Said Nana. I paused and looked at her with a questioning expression while serving us each a slice of cake.
"Eh? He stopped you on the street?" I asked and passed Mama her slice. I sat down and greedily ate my first bite of cake. The relief from the dull burning in my throat was almost instant. Thank you to whoever is responsible for the creation of chocolate.
"Mhm. He said he could spot a new face in Namimori from a mile away. He runs a sushi bar not far from here. We should go try it out some time. He also mentioned that he has a son the same age as you in Namimori Middle." She said happily. "Wouldn't that be nice to make a friend before school even started?" she asked. I nodded my head and averted my gaze.
To be honest, having a friend would be nice, but we have moved around so often my whole life that I never really learned how to make friends. Talking to other people my age was hard. When I was younger I had trouble making friends because I would ask if I could bite my playmates, but that is neither here nor there. At least I asked.
"I was thinking of going for a walk around town tomorrow anyways, maybe I'll stop by and introduce myself." I said. Mama smiled at me around the fork in her mouth.
"That is a good plan. I might have a few errands for you to run as well." Mama said. We continued to chat about trivial things as we enjoyed our cake. It was a good day and a good start to our lives in Namimori. If only the rest of our days could be this peaceful.
When morning came, I was feeling conflicted about visiting the sushi joint. I liked the idea of meeting someone new in this town before school started, but anxiety curled around my heart when I thought about walking up to the building. I knew I was being silly, but sometimes I couldn't help it.
"Tsu-chan! Are you dressed yet?" Mama called from downstairs.
"Hai, Mama! I'll be right down!" I called and started actually getting dressed. Right, she had to leave for work soon, I better see her off for her first day.
"Do hurry, Tsu-chan! There is someone here to see you!" she called up, her voice sounding incredibly chipper.
"Eh?" I said to myself. There was no way it could be the kid she was talking about last night, right? Then again, who else could it be? We hadn't met anyone else around here yet.
I got up from my bed and grabbed T-shirt from my closet and pulled it on as I descended down the stairs. Rushing at a downwards angle while distracted has never been my strong suit, and as I reached the bottom step, I missed it entirely. I tumbled violently forward into the entryway. I tried to regain my balance but I failed. The young man standing in our doorway looked mildly shocked while Mama just looked exasperated. This was a near daily occurrence, you would think she would stop reacting at all by now.
"Honestly, Tsu-chan." She sighed. I picked myself up and rubbed the back of my head sheepishly.
"A-ah. Sorry about that." I mumbled. The boy in the doorway laughed cheerfully in response.
"Haha! You're really energetic in the morning, huh?" he said with a smile. "I'm Yamamoto, Takeshi. Dad said you had just moved into town and sent me over with some food, and to see if you need any help! He also said we would be going to school together Hikawa-san!" he explained. As he spoke, I couldn't help but inspect him, it was a vampire's instinct to dissect new people.
He was tall and slim, but not lanky. The muscles in his exposed arms and legs showed that he lived an active lifestyle, but he wasn't bulky either. Fast. His face was angular, and his smile was guarded. It didn't reach his eyes. Disingenuous. His eyes were brown, and rather expressive, but sharp. Observant. His scent was light and pleasant. It was like dew on grass in the morning, but it held a bitter spice below the surface. Unhappy. Yet, there was nothing to signal ill intent. Not a threat. Since he was here with food and trying to be friendly, despite his possible depression, he was probably a kind person.
"Ara? How sweet! Here, I'll take that and put it in the fridge. Thank your dad for me will you?" she said to Yamamoto-san, who assured her she would. Her voice snapped me out of my thoughts. It had only taken a second to notice and process these details. A defense mechanism, mama calls it, to determine friend from foe and prey from predator.
"U-uhm, it's nice to meet you. I'm Hikawa, Tsunayoshi." I said as Mama walked away. I was feeling awkward already. Partly because I had just picked this nice guy apart, and he had no idea, and partly because I didn't know what to say in this situation.
"Ah! Do you mind if I call you Tsuna-san then?" he said throwing a hand behind his head. This guy… was so laid back.
"Eh? Uh, yes, I mean no! I don't mind." I finished lamely. Yamamoto chuckled.
"Great!" he chirped. Mama walked back into the entryway, purse in hand.
"Alright Tsu-chan, I have to go now. I left a list on the fridge and money on the counter, please head down to the store today, okay?" she said as she slipped on her shoes.
"Of course, is there anything else?" I asked. She ruffled my hair and kissed the top of my head.
"No, that's everything. Go out, have fun!" she said, she turned to Yamamoto, "It was nice to meet you, Yamamoto-san. Thank you for brining the food over." She said.
"It was no trouble at all! Dad was happy to make it. Ah, if you're heading to the store Tsuna-san I can show you the way." Yamamoto offered. Mama's smile broadened.
"That sounds like a wonderful idea! Make sure to lock up when you leave!" said Mama. She moved towards the door and Yamamoto stepped into the house out of her way.
"Hai! Have a good day, Mama." I said, and she left with one last smile. Yamamoto-san was still smiling, waiting for me to say something.
"Thanks for offering, but are you sure you want to?" I asked. Yamamoto-san waved me off.
"It's fine! I don't have anything better to do right now, and Namimori is bigger than it looks. You might get lost if you don't know your way around." He said. I nodded my head.
"Okay, thank you. I'll just go grab the list, and then we can leave." I said to him.
"Sure thing! I'll just wait here!" he said. This guy was so friendly! It was kind of reassuring though; I think I could get along with a guy like him. I walked into the kitchen and grabbed the list off the counter and pocketed the money. This was actually kind of a long list. Oh well. I grabbed my keys and walked back to the entrance and slipped my shoes on. "I'm good to go." I said and offered him a small smile.
"Haha! Okay! There's a few stores that are not too far from here. What do you need to buy?" he asked as we walked outside. I locked the door behind us and pulled out the list.
"Cleaning supplies mostly, a few groceries. Oh! And chocolate!" I said happily as I spied my favorite word at the bottom of the list. Yamamoto laughed again and started walking down the street. I quickly followed after him.
"Buying treats on the first day huh? Your mom seems really nice!" enthused Yamamoto-san.
"Yeah, mama is the best." I confirmed.
"You two seem really close." He said kindly. I blinked up at him and smiled.
"Do we? I'm glad. It's always just been mama and I. It's pretty rare that we don't get along." I said. Yamamoto's eyebrows raised slightly; it might have been one of the first times I had seen him without a smile today.
"Always? What about your father?" he asked, and then trailed off as though he regretted asking.
"A-ah. I'm not sure." I said honestly, the anxiety creeping back into my chest. I wasn't sure if I was comfortable talking about this with him, but I didn't want to be rude either. Would he be upset if I didn't answer?
"Oh. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have asked such an insensitive question." He said, his face looking uncomfortable and voice laced with regret. It wasn't really a look that suited him, and made Tsuna want to comfort him.
"No! No. I'ts fine! It's just not something mama likes to talk about. I think he is, well, you know, but I've never pushed her to answer. It doesn't matter anyways, mama has always been enough for me." I said. Yamamoto nodded his head and looked contemplative. The bitter spice in his scent was growing stronger as we walked in silence. I wonder if maybe his own mother was out of the picture, but I decided not to ask.
"S-so, have you always lived in Namimori?" I asked, trying to change the topic. Yamamoto lifted his head, perhaps a little startled by the question. He must have been really lost in thought.
"You bet!" he said with another sunny, but noticeably more forced smile. A-ah… that wasn't really a good sign. I must have really upset him by talking about my mom so highly, and then talking about my dad, especially if his mom wasn't around. I was hoping our first meeting would go a little better than this. I was really bad at making friends.
"Oh. That's great. U-uhm… what's it like? Living here, I mean." I asked. I wanted to slap my forehead; it was obviously what I meant. I didn't need to explain it.
"Haha! You're an adorable kind of guy, you know that Tsuna-san?" Yamamoto said with a laugh.
"Hiiieee!?" I croaked. Adorable!? This guy was straight up blunt! He laughed again at my expense as I blushed in embarrassment. How was I supposed to take that? What was I supposed to say to that?
"Hmm, let's see. Living here is nice, I suppose! The baseball team is really good! We have decent equipment, and I pretty much practice all the time! Coach says we are a shoo-in for finals this year, so I have to work extra hard!" he said, very enthused. The bitter spice had nearly cleared away, replaced with something sweeter – tangy like an orange but still mild. Ah, his scent was very appealing like this. I could feel my throat beginning to dry up, perhaps I'd buy the chocolate first.
"What about you, Tsuna-san?" he asked. I blinked up at him.
"E-eh? Pardon?" I asked.
"Do you play any sports?" he repeated.
"O-oh! N-no. I'm, uh, rather clumsy, actually. Haha." I said, my laugh without humor, "Also, we move around a lot for Mama's work, so I've never been able to join any clubs." I said.
"Ah, that's too bad! I'm sure there's a sport out there for you, you just gotta figure out what it is! What do you do for fun then?" he asked.
"U-uhm, well I like video games I suppose, but I really enjoy making new scents." I said. Yamamoto gave me a confused look.
"Scents?" he asked. I nodded my head.
"I like finding things that smell nice and mixing them together to make new scents, I, uh, I want to learn how to make perfume one day. Right now, I usually make candles or soaps and bath salts for my mom." I quickly explained.
"Oh, I see now! That's really cool!" he said with a laugh. It was? "Well, there is an arcade in town, I haven't gone in a while! We should go some time!" he said.
"Really? I mean, yeah! That sounds fun." I said with a wide smile. I was extremely happy that Yamamoto still wanted to hang out with me. I had been worried he wouldn't want to a little earlier.
"Sparkles?" muttered Yamamoto.
"E-eh?" I said, confused. He shook his head with an odd look on his face.
"Ah, nothing, nothing! Just the light. Anyways, the store is just a couple doors up!" he said happily. And so it was. The door slid open automatically as we walked up to it. It was a rather large for a convenience store. It had basic groceries, home supplies, and even small bread and vegetable sections.
"Wow, neat." I said to myself as I looked around. Not bad for a small town.
"You should be able to find most things here, it's a really popular store for errands like this. I go here for sports drinks and snacks all the time, or when my dad asks me to pick something up." He said.
"I can see why. Ah, there it is." I said as I spied the shelves holding an assortment of chocolate. Ahh, so many choices, but only so much money. What should I choose?
"Haha! You really like chocolate huh? It's a wonder that you're so small!" Chuckled Yamamoto. I flushed a little in embarrassment.
"A-ah, it runs in the family." I said.
"Your mom likes it too?" he asked. I nodded.
"Mhm! Probably more than I do." I said. Yamamoto looked impressed.
"Well, if you aren't allergic to hazelnut you should try this one!" he said and handed me a bar. It looked delicious.
"Sure! I will. Would you like one too?" I asked with a smile.
"No thanks, I don't have much of a sweet tooth. When I do, I go for that bar though." He said, gesturing to the hazelnut bar. I grabbed a dark chocolate bar off the shelf for mama and pulled out the list. "Okay, if you're sure. Hmm, I should probably grab as basket." I said. Yamamoto lifted his arm.
"I actually already grabbed one!" he said with a smile.
"Eh!? Thank you!" I said. I hadn't even noticed! He smiled and nodded his head towards the basket. "O-oh, I can carry it, Yamamoto-san." I said. He waved his hand.
"No need. I've got it!" he said. I thanked him again and put the bars in the basket. "What's next on the list?" he asked.
"Uhm… garbage bags." I said.
"Oh! Those are down this aisle!" he said. Shopping with Yamamoto-san turned out to be a lot fun, and aside from nocking a couple bottles of fabric spray off the shelf I didn't have any clumsy moments. That might have been because he grabbed all the things on the high shelves after that.
I paid for our purchases and walked out of the shop. It took five bags to pack all of the things I bought, so I was really grateful when Yamamoto offered to help me carry them home.
"Ah, this isn't too far out of your way is it?" I asked. He shook his head.
"Not at all! Pops and I live above the restaurant which isn't very far from your house!" he said.
"Eh? That's pretty neat! Do you work there too?" I asked.
"I help out there sometimes, but not as an official employee. It's more for allowance money really." He said. I thought it was sweet to help out his dad like that, but I didn't say it. It did confirm that his mother was out of the picture, for whatever reason, and made me kind of sad for him.
"That's really cool." I said and offered him a kind smile. He didn't say anything, but his scent prickled with something sweet, so I knew he appreciated the compliment.
The rest of the walk home was filled with idle chatter and lots of laughs. I was really glad I had met Yamamoto today, he turned out to be a really cool guy. The only problem would be the amount of chocolate I would be eating until I got used to his scent. Then again, when was copious amounts of chocolate ever a problem?