Pfff. My procrastination is legendary. Took so long for this chapter. =u=;;;
A big heart to my reviewers!
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Hurray, I've reached 200 reviews with this. ;u; This story is more popular than what I thought it would be. I thank you all for the support! I shall never abandon this story! (=u=)/ (Even if I do procrastinate a lot... OTL)
Congraz for those who guessed correctly who it was at the end of the last chapter. Aha, I guess it was a bit too obvious. XD
To Estelle: Lol, next time make sure you have an account so I can answer all your questions. ^3^ I think a lot of people were asking the same question. No, it's not because the bullying that Reborn killed Mochida. You see, before Reborn met with Tsuna, he only knew about his student from what he saw on his report. Thus, he planned something to 'initiate' Tsuna, like he did in Canon: with a fight against Mochida where Tsuna would win after being shot with the DW bullet. However, after seeing Tsuna in person and judging him, he decided what he has planned initially wasn't suited for Tsuna. Especially after Tsuna said he has no will to live. Reborn deemed Tsuna physically strong, but with a weak willpower. Thus, he thought that Mochida might be a lot of other psychological disturbance and such to Tsuna. So more than physical, Reborn is trying to eradicate anything that /might/ be dangerous to Tsuna's metal state (cough). Well, that's what Reborn must be thinking. Not to mention Reborn is being overprotective, a bit too much... Added with personal pride, in which Reborn wouldn't admit he was wrong by eliminating the evidence of his mistake. Or maybe it wasn't his de... Hmm, I said too much...
And about why 'transferring' hasn't been found... It's Reborn. It's Vongola. It's mafia. As if police can do anything against them.
Ok, anyway. Here we go with the chapter. Have fun reading!
Warning: OOCness, Dark and psycho!Tsuna and co, angst and more angst, blood (possible gore later on), swearing (A LOT IN THIS CHAPTER), etc. Different timeline, non-canon stuff, plot twists.
Disclaimer: Thank you, Amano-sensei, for creating such wonderful characters for us. Especially Tsuna. TYL Tsuna. (O/,/O)
Recap: Tsuna challenged Gokudera on Reborn's request. In the middle of their battle, Hibari appeared and fought Gokudera. Just as Hibari was dealing the finishing blow to Gokudera, Tsuna intervened. Taking interest in Tsuna, he followed the latter into the Namimori forest. Meanwhile, Reborn gets a visitor.
Chapter 7. Of truths and loyalties
In which he remembered
For Gokudera Hayato, Japan was the land of beautiful cherry blossoms his mother had once told him about. It really was a beautiful place, much different from the Italian streets he had gotten used to. He could almost feel as if there was a part of him longing for this place; like this would soon be a place he would cherish for the rest of his life.
But Japan was also a mission, bestowed by the Ninth boss of the most powerful Famiglia in the world, Vongola Nono.
The Ninth was a gentle old man. He didn't fit at all in the image most would have of a Mafia boss. At their first and only meeting, the ninth had looked in his eyes and smiled. It wasn't a smile like the other bosses that he saw; this one was kind, was calm, and held no malice behind it. "It's my pleasure to accept you in the Vongola Famiglia," Vongola Nono had greeted. The extended hand surprised him, but he shook it, maybe more for appearance's sake than for respect.
"However considering your background, you cannot automatically join the Famiglia. So I believe it's best for you to take a mission first, before we accept you fully in the Vongola."
The mission was to test his loyalties and skills, he knew that much. Admittedly, he was eager to prove himself so he could join the ranks of the most powerful Famiglia, but he also wanted to experience the family he would now be working for. To see if the Vongola was the same as the rest of them.
So he accepted.
Vongola Nono smiled understandingly at him. The Ninth's eyes―Gokudera could almost believe they were reading his soul.
But it was impossible; no one would ever understand him. None of them did.
In which he hesitated
He was struck dumbfounded at his mission.
Sure, Vongola Nono was a nice man, even Gokudera might respect someone like that; and yet, he couldn't help but to think the old Ninth had gone senile.
Who would give the Smokin' Bomb, the dangerous lone wolf that no mafia family dared to accept, the job to guard Vongola the Tenth, the sole heir of the biggest Famiglia?
It was either insanity, or an ultimate test of loyalty.
Vongola tenth was disappointing. That was the conclusion he came onto after he spent a few days as the Tenth's bodyguard.
The Vongola Tenth was a wimp. Stupid, coward, weak, useless.
Unable to survive in the Mafia world.
Too pure, too innocent; unlike the rest of the mafia, unlike Gokudera. That brat didn't deserve to guide the mafia, not when he couldn't understand their pain, their sins, their deeds.
...That brat would get corrupted; that innocence would go down the drain...
But he was the Vongola heir.
Because of his bloodline?
It wasn't fair! It wasn't fair! That a useless person becomes accepted because his blood; that he, Hayato Gokudera who was much more capable was refused because of his 'filthy blood'! Just because he was the 'bastard half breed!
And that wimp will one day become like all the other bosses before him! That useless brat will learn to abuse his power. That brat will be corrupted by the mafia. He will tell lies. He will betray. He will... He will...
In which he questioned
Defeat wasn't something Gokudera acknowledged. He wouldn't admit it, even at the cost of his life.
But that tonfa; he felt it when it was about to hit him. He knew the aim was perfect, that if the hit landed he would either die or stay a vegetable for all his life.
Somehow, somewhere inside, he could hear a sad song luring him to death... It sounded like the song his mother always played...
That brat pushed him away.
He did it, even when Hayato Gokudera tried to kill the wimp. That brat could have left his enemy die. As much as Gokudera hated to admit it, the demon prefect would have either killed him or maim him for life.
But the wimp helped him.
For a single instant, he thought he saw his own reflection in those big caramel orbs; like a mirror reflecting his soul. But that illusion was quickly erased in a golden flash, before the brunet turned away.
He needs to know why.
Why, why,why would a wimp like that, someone unrelated to the mafia, someone who was his enemy do that?
He needs... to know...
if Sawada Tsunayoshi was truly different from the rest.
Gokudera Hayato stood up and chased after the fading shadow of Sawada Tsunayoshi, the tenth leader of the Vongola Famiglia.
Near Namimori school ground, Reborn's location.
"I've been looking for you," the voice whispered in his ears.
Reborn didn't bother to check to know who exactly it was. The long flowing pink hair, the tender tone in that voice, the arms that held him, but most importantly, that perfume can't be forgotten.
"Ciaossu," the hitman greeted. "You came here earlier than planned, Bianchi."
The pink haired woman, known as Bianchi, chuckled. "I couldn't stand being away from you, Reborn." She threw a look at the screen where it showed the video of a certain silver haired Italian―her brother. "And of course, I can't leave Hayato alone in this country, knowing he's here. The poor child, he's so confused."
Reborn had a mocking smirk, without his eyes leaving the screen. "Confused is quite a word for it," he said.
The cameras were long out of range since his student entered the Namimori forest. It was a good move (too good to be coincidental and unplanned). However, he could get from only a global position and audio effects. The red dot on the screen beeped and flashed on a map of Namimori and showed Tsuna moving inside the forest. His earpiece rang with ruffling noises and branches snapping, with occasional yelp from Dame-Tsuna. Which means that he wasn't caught yet. Good, his stamina is good enough to outrun the school prefect. Not to mention the speed in which he was moving was faster than he was supposed to. Reborn regretted not being able to watch, and mentally noted that he should add cameras inside the Namimori forest, because it is just too good of a hiding place for enemies to ignore.
Bianchi, on the other hand, had her eyes kept on her brother Hayato, evaluating her sibling's growth after all those years. Her face betrayed no extra emotion or thoughts.
After a few minutes, she sighed.
"My poor Reborn, you don't belong here. To be stuck in a place like this is against your nature. You belong on the battlefield, with me... The Vongola heir is such a handful."
"Tsuna is my charge," Reborn answered calmly, long used to the demeanor. "No matter how troublesome it might be. And it is also against my nature to not finish a mission."
"You said the same thing when you were training the Bucking Horse. You have a too soft spot for your students. It took so long the first time, and now would be the same. How I wish we could go back to the old times... But alas, you'll be bound to this place, unless the heir dies."
"You will be a traitor to the Vongola if you kill the heir. Death is the only thing that awaits traitors."
The Italian woman laughed, "Oh, my love. You know me too well. But I wouldn't mind doing that for you! As long as my Reborn is free, it will be enough for me." She cuddled the infant in her chest, with all love and kisses.
On screen, Hayato running towered the forest. The pink haired woman smiled mysteriously, "Well, I don't actually need to intervene; Hayato will do it for me. My love, you know it, don't you? There is a reason why he is a notorious lone wolf in the mafia. From my knowledge, Hayato's reputation had never failed. This time wouldn't be different."
Meanwhile, inside the Namimori Forest.
The Namimori forest was on the edge of the town, a giant patch of land full of untamed trees and wild animals. Rare were those who ever wander in: people usually stayed on the outskirts of the forest. It wasn't one of those forests a normal person just walk in, because the deeper you go, the branches and the fallen trees made it harder to walk. The visibility isn't good either; the forest was dense and blocked away most of the sunlight. There were probably wild animals too that might attack visitors. Not to mention any normal people would inevitably get lost inside, and risk being attack, dehydrated, or starved to death. It was a mysterious place that most preferred to stay out, the perfect place to hide things that shouldn't be known.
It was exactly there that Tsuna led Hibari.
The brunet jumped, skipped, dodged and slapped away the branches that were in his way. Hibari did the same, sometime jumping on trees to advance faster.
If one where to think logically, Hibari should have long caught Tsuna, however the prefect remained behind, the distance between themDenver shrinking nor growing.
When Tsuna deemed they were far enough inside the forest, he suddenly stopped. It was one of the spaces near the lake, where the trees are less dense, where there was dried mud and wild grass growing instead.
Jumping off tree branches, Hibari landed in front of him.
The brunet turned his back to run the opposite way. However, Hibari gave him no time to escape. In a swift movement that even Gokudera couldn't have seen, the prefect brought down his tonfa right on Tsuna's shoulder.
Right on the tracker a certain tutor had put on his student.
The instant the electronic device dropped on the ground, Tsuna swifly stepped on it to be sure it was out of work. He turned. His facial expression was a 180 degree turn from the one he had worn a second ago: it was serious, confident, it was that of a carnivore.
Tsuna gave a Hibari curt nod of thanks, smiling. The prefect didn't reply; and glared, pissed for having to run across the whole town and for having to leave that bomb delinquent in his Nami-Middle.
"Finally. I have waited long enough for you to stop that herbivorous act, Sawada Tsunayoshi." The prefect brought up his twin tonfas, ready to strike.
Understanding Hibari's unsaid challenge, Tsuna answered firmly, "No, it's not the time for a fight. I'm here for business."
Weighting the pros and cons of not fighting, and knowing well that Sawada wouldn't have led him to a secluded place for other reason than business, Hibari decided to lower his weapons. For now.
"Speak now, my patience is running low."
Tsuna chuckled. "Sorry about that, Hibari-san. I had to bring you here. It would be hard to evade my tutor otherwise. Though this is a one time trick, next time this place wouldn't be safe anymore."
The younger boy paced around. He closed his eyes and brought hands at his temple and rubbed them to ease the potential headache. "You know... about the cameras and the microphones he implanted in the school, am I right?"
Hibari's eyes narrowed. "What do you ?"
"I thought so."
That Sawada Tsunayoshi... Is involved. The cameras Kusakabe had found were a sign of intruders —and rather skilled ones if they managed to infiltrate inside the school on his watch. Not to mention the culprit intruded his territory since two weeks ago, and the disciplinary committee has yet to catch him or her.
"You're right," Tsuna answered, very well aware of the prefect is suspicious of. "They are the doing of my tutor. He's watching me to the point where he's implying Nami middle in his affairs. I'm sure he's done more than that, but I can't keep up with all his movements."
"Hn. You are proclaiming that a simple home tutor is capable enough to accomplish that."
The future mafia boss nodded slowly. "That would have to be the case, if he is a simple tutor." His hands clenched into a fist. "However, he's not. In fact, my dear tutor would be worthy enough as a carnivore for you."
The word carnivore was appealing. But as much as the presence he felt these past weeks was strong, Hibari was highly skeptical. Even the whole wide world, the number of people he would ever call a carnivore will always be countable with one hand.
Tsuna shook his head and smiled. "I'm not lying. Would the world's best hitman suit your tastes?"
No, it wasn't because he didn't believe the intruder had the strength. "You are hiding something, Sawada Tsunayoshi," the carnivore warned. The question was why Sawada Tsunayoshi attracted someone like that. Hitman don't become home tutors, unless there was a special motive behind it.
Bringing up a hand to scratch his chin, the smaller Japanese boy pondered for a moment, pacing around a nearby tree. When he looked at Hibari again, he worded his answer slowly and carefully, "He asking me to be the next leader of an organized crime organization. Apparently, my ancestor was their first boss and I'm a direct descendant, making me a legitimate heir. My tutor was send by their current boss to 'teach' me." The brunet paused, looking at Hibari's reaction. "...And you can say... I agreed."
The second after, Hibari had Tsuna pinned against a large tree truck. The latter didn't appeared surprised, nor did he move at all. A tonfa under Tsuna's chin, the head prefect said in an icy voice, "Criminals syndicates aren't allowed in Namimori. A Namimori student joining is even less acceptable. You should know. Yet you decided to crowd around guilty herbivores, when you well what the consequence of opposing the peace is."
"You're right," Tsuna answered flatly, his voice low and emotionless. "But it is what I decided. It must be done. They offered me power; I'm not naive enough to let go of such a chance."
More pressure on Tsuna's neck. "Disgusting. You have no shame, no pride. I've only tolerated your actions because they're assisting the Disciplinary Committee. If your affairs become a thread, I will not hesitate to bite you to death."
The smaller boy laughed like it was the funniest thing ever, his voice distorted by the pressure applied to his neck. "Really Hibari-san! You're speaking as if you won't bite me to death regardless!"
Hibari glared at the crazy joyful face Tsuna was wearing as the brunet kept laughing like a maniacal child despite that he should be on the urge to choke.
There was only one flash of orange before Hibari was pushed back along with tonfa. He was roughly slammed into the tree behind. However, it wasn't enough to make Hibari fall, only slightly lose balance for a 100th of a second. The prefect could have immediately conter-attacked. But something catches his attention. Hibari's pupils dilated slightly, showing one of his rare moments of shock, before they went to a crazy fascination and excitement.
Sawada Tsunayoshi, the one he had long been watching, this person that couldn't be defined as neither herbivore, carnivore nor omnivore...
He took a step closer, captivated, excited, lured...
That power that fascinated Hibari so much, that he wanted to know, wanted to own, wanted to fight above all! That blazing, golden, immortal flames that danced upon Sawada Tsunayoshi's forehead. Those calm, cold, yet sweet and burning eyes that watched the world with a disinterested superiority! Those eyes that he will crush,
A golden fire...
Tsuna nodded, knowing exactly what Hibari was thinking.
This fire, to Tsuna was the ultimate power he needed to achieve his goal. Because of its existence, he will have access to the Vongola Famiglia's throne. It was probably the gift his dear Onii-chan gave him accomplish his duty...
With a calm, smooth voice, the little brunet whispered to Hibari, "I believe the correct name for this power would be..." His dear tutor Reborn's words and their meeting flashed in his head. Sawada Tsunayoshi's smile twisted.
"Dying Will Flames."
Somewhere else inside the Namimori forest, Gokudera Hayato was following the tracts that Tsuna and Hibari left behind.
The part Italian had tried following that 'bite-you-to-death' bastard and Tsunayoshi Sawada across town. Key word being he tried. Little by little, the distance between him and the two people he was chasing grew, until he lost them in the crowds. Luckily, the people on the street seemed to always make way for Hibari, which made the prefect easy to spot.
When the teen mafioso had finally arrived at the borders of the Namimori forest, the other two had long disappeared behind the sea of trees. Gokudera had erased the thought that he might get lost in the unfamiliar forest, instead he had stepped in without hesitation.
Despite knowing the basic survival tricks like picking up people's tracks, something he learned when he was a stray on the Italian streets, it will take some time for him to find them both. He let out a string of Italian curses. He could only hope the two didn't go too far.
Statics was the only thing that could be heard in the Leon-earphones. Even the red dot on the screen disappeared.
'So Hibari knew about the tracker. They both knew.'
The talents in Namimori are really exceptional.
Leon, knowing his master didn't need to watch anymore (there was nothing to hear or watch with a destroyed tracker), transformed back to his chameleon form. The cute creatures climbed back on his usual resting spot on Reborn's fedora, and got himself comfortable. Reborn caressed his partner as thanks for the good job.
To give Dame-Tsuna credit, he let the thing go. It meant their little hide and seek game would last longer. He turned to Bianchi.
"I am very we'll aware of your brother's reputation," Reborn confirmed to his lover. "It's the very reason I don't like him."
Bianchi looked apologetic. "His reputation in the underworld, both as the illegitimate son of my father Don Giovanni, as well as for his temper and skills that earned him the nickname of Smoking Bomb," the woman commented. "My poor brother had a rough time since he left the family on a whim."
"It's his own fault. Even as the illegitimate child, his position as the heir of the Giovanni family should have been enough for some families to welcome him with open arms. And you know how your brother reacted to that."
"No, it's our fault he turned out like that. We hid too much from him, and now he became rebellious."
"It's not a reason to baby him. His choice remains his, and so are the consequences. If it wasn't for the Ninth's request and for being your brother, I would have terminated him on sight."
Inside Namimori Forest
If Tsuna was "Dame-Tsuna", he would have cried and peed in his pants at the intense bloodlust Hibari was emitting. But he didn't. Because Dame-Tsuna was a cover. A cover.
The Tsuna standing in front of Hibari had golden eyes, not caramel brown. He had different aura than that of the normal wimpy Tsuna. He had an golden orange flame on his head.
"It's been some time since I used the power of this fire."
One of the reasons Hibari controlled his desire to fight Sawada Tsunayoshi was because whenever they actually confronted, it would inevitably end in a fight. No matter how far their "agreement" went, there was no way they trusted each other. And because of their distrust, their 'casualconversation would escalade in a fight. But Hibari would welcome a fight with open arm. Especially when Sawada Tsunayoshi would use his power.
A slight dose of golden flames surrounded Tsuna's limbs. Using the power of the Dying Will Flames as a booster, the brunet sprinted to Hibari. With one tonfa the prefect blocked the blow aimed for his neck, with the other, he dealt a blow at Tsuna's ribs. Tsuna didn't let Hibari have his chance. He stepped back, then gave an upper kick aimed at Hibari's chin. The latter dodged with ease. Tsuna immediately hammered his leg down, aiming at his head, but fronted at the last moment with a punch that landed. The punch made take Hibari step back.
Hibari was excited! It has been so long he had fought Sawada Tsunayoshi! And even longer since he wanted to finally face those flames! So he attacked, attacked, attacked, attacked!
It was exciting, wonderful, powerful!
He was lured by that power. He wanted to destroy it.
How beautiful it would look when he would have that power crushed.
Tsuna and Hibari exchanged numerous blows, not one giving in to the other.
Tsuna's laughed at Hibari's 'enthusiasm'.
"Now, tell me, Hibari-san," the younger boy taunted. "You ask me for my pride? Ha ha ha! You're right! Maybe I have none. What's the use for it?" He kept laughing for a long time all the while blocking Hibari's blows and striking back. When his laughed finally died down, "... I do have pride. I simply define it in a different way than you do. And I'm ready to sacrifice everything I have to accomplish it. Namimori included."
Sawada's words was annoying, it was pissing Hibari off. Not only was he not concentrating on the fight, but he was also mocking him AND not really using those golden flames of his. However, Hibari knew the boy was speaking the truth. He still don't like it.
"You're trespassing your lines." Hibari's own pride growled, feeling annoyed that another being wthrowing as it pleased in his territory.
Yes! He will crush the one who insulted Namimori! He will defeat him. He, the carnivore will stand above the corpse of the others.
He hit a switch on his tonfas. Spikes emerged.
"Ooooh! You're getting serious!"
Hibari launched forward once again.
The right tonfa passed right beside Tsuna's face, cutting a few strands of hair. The second, the left, was impossible to dodge as it followed closely. Tsuna gave a swift and powerful upper kick directly on Hibari's left hand. It was so powerful that it made Hibari lose his grip, sending his tonfas flying in the air.
As the tonfa spun in mid-air, both opponents evaluated their situation. Both knew it was a good chance for Tsuna to hit when Hibari would be distracted by his missing tonfa. With a hammer kick, Tsuna brought his feet down to Hibari's shoulder. The raven haired youth didn't let his opponent have the upper hand: he blocked the leg with his remaining tonfa, and pushed Tsuna back. It was just enough time for Hibari to jump up and catch the other tonfa before the brunet kicked his ribs.
The prefect grunted, spun his tonfa once again in a rain of attacks. His opponent did the same, countering and attacking too.
Tsuna grabbed both of Hibari's tonfas. The latter could feel his tonfas heat up, and he instinctively knew that if he didn't let them go, he would suffer severe burns in his hands.
Hibari kneeled Tsuna right in his stomach, making the brunet lose his grip on his weapons. Tsuna felt behind, but flipped in mid-air. He landed perfectly a few meters away, but didn't move to attack the prefect more than that. Slowly, smirking in victory, he stood up.
With annoyed eyes, the Namimori prefect looked at his tonfas. The heat was slowly fading, but finger prints have already melted the surface of the tonfas and the sticks were bent. He probably can't retract the spikes anymore either. He would have to get new ones. The Sawada bastard wasn't getting serious.
"Are you ready to talk now?"
Hibari stayed silent, still looking at his tonfas. So Sawada Tsunayoshi wanted to postpone the fight. It was no fun if his opponent didn't fight him seriously. And unusable tonfas are useless. "I'll bite you to death for this," the demon prefect promised.
The future mafia boss looked at his opponent with bored, glowing orange eyes. "Shut up, it's getting old. Namimori doesn't matter to me like how it matters to you. I don't have a duty to it like how you do. We've only reached an agreement in between both of us. I know that you're perfectly aware of it. What matters now is mutual profit. And for me, mine will naturally come before yours. So stop using lame excuses just for your own bloodlust's pleasure. And from my knowledge, I haven't breached our agreement, so it's an invalid excuse."
The boy wasn't so bad. It was true that he did use it as an excuse. But Namimori was his territory and his words were law, thus Sawada's words has no ground to stand one. "Oh? You've been negating your duty for the past weeks. Because of that, herbivores were running around more than necessary."
Sawada Tsunayoshi was supposed to take care some of the troublemakers in town, including some of the not-so-bright side of Namimori. And yet, he didn't. It's been a few weeks. It seems that the dark side of the town haven't realized yet that they weren't being judged, but Hibari did.
"I have my hands full at the moment, that's what I've been trying to tell you."
But Hibari saw it as an excuse.
Sawada Tsunayoshi sighed deeply, passing a hand in his fluffy hair. "No it isn't, it's the truth. I don't think we have much time before Reborn finds us or something. I'm not going against Namimori or your reign. But I can convince you that Reborn and his troop is. That guy named Gokudera Hayato, that one with the bombs, is the proof that he already started calling people to Namimori."
"That kendo herbivore Mochida," Hibari pointed out.
"Yeah, I know, you're right, I don't think he transferred. It wasn't really his fault. The guy didn't do much; he was just more arrogant than normal people. I only gave him a warning. Unfortunately, my dear tutor decided Mochida was removable."
"I don't want more incidents like that to happen. It doesn't do any good for neither of us. So, please, Hibari-san." Tsuna will plead if he needed to, if it helped Hibari agree with him.
Hibari was aware of Tsunayoshi's intentions, but judged it benefited both of them. Their contract was mutual benefit in the first place, after all.
"...Fine. This fight is postponed. I will tolerate your behavior. Instead, your tutor will fight me as well. I'll judge if he's really the carnivore you say he is."
Tsuna grinned widely. "Deal. Add other potential good opponents too. If Vongola is really the top exiting criminal organization, then the news of me being chosen as the heir is bound to leak sooner or later. When that happens, the members of the underground will show up in our town, allies and enemies alike. Well, you'll know when. The local Yakuza will know if Italian mafia steps on their turf. The informants of the Disciplinary Commitee that you have sent inside different Yakuza families will tell you when that comes."
"Hn. You will still judge the guilty herbivores."
"...I will try. I will be taking care of the ones nearest to me, so leave me Reborn and company. But I can't promise anything for the rest. That will be like giving me death warrant. I'm going against Reborn, and he's already figured out something, but I can't let him learn more ab..."
Tsuna suddenly stopped. He noticed a new presence that was listening to their conversation. The brunet wondered how much the newcomer had heard; he was too occupied in explaining things that he didn't notice earlier. Hibari don't pay attention to other things when engrossed with his prey (or more like, doesn't care). That, and the newcomer was skilled enough to hide his presence.
Inside his head, the mafia boss in training wondered why he was always interrupted, but figured it was normal since Reborn came to tutor him. Hibari also noticed Tsunayoshi's behavior, and couldn't decide either to be annoyed at the interruption or amused at the pout the little brunet was wearing.
Tsuna rolled his eyes.
Upon that, thee demon prefect settled for a slight smirk that Tsuna deemed as a mocking smirk. Either way, their conversation was mostly over. "Don't break our deal, Sawada Tsunayoshi. Use that power of yours."
With that, Hibari jumped on a tree branch and disappeared into the dense trees.
Tsuna sighed. Hibari was still Hibari, untameable and aloof. The best he qualify it was complicity and a contract for both of their interests.
Turning around, he looked at a certain silveret, who was standing there with an unreadable expression on his face.
"Gokudera Hayato," Tsuna acknowledged with a small nod.
How to deal with him? His head was starting to hurt for having such a complicated life. 'Hibari-san probably wants me to take care of him first to prove I can deal with these Mafioso's... Really, it's tiresome. Gokudera; I thought I would be able to confuse him enough so he stays engrossed in his own personal mind... Looks like I've underestimated him; he's willing to trail me for answers and had to butt in my personal affairs. Just like Yamamoto, he might be a threat to me. I don't know how much he has heard, but the smallest thing that he reports to Reborn...'
Tsuna thought he saw wrong, but he could almost see invisible tears of anger, of despair, of... falling off Gokudera's eyes. But there was no actual tears. Gokudera seemed... disappointed. Those emerald orbs that screamed "why did you betray me" confused Tsuna. Why would he disappointed?
Evade the current subject. Test the waters first, and not be hasty in his decision, like he had been since Reborn came. "Are you here to protect me, as my bodyguard? Thank you, you're doing a pretty good job," Tsuna said, with the sarcasm barely detectable with his monotone voice.
Still, knowing the bomber's temper, he would have jumped over and cursed Tsuna with all hate and disgust he could put together. But the uncharacteristically quiet "...Why?..." that came out both alerted Tsuna.
"Why what?" 'How much did you hear?'
"...Why... did you lie..." Gokudera muttered, almost inaudible. But Tsuna heard clearly. He was pretty surprised and amused by the weird question.
Liar. Liar?He wanted to laugh. Of all things the guy had to say, that was all? He looked around, as if Gokudera was talking to someone else. "Me?" he pointed at himself, playing innocent. "What are you talking about, Gokudera-san?"
Gokudera finally looked into his eyes... Like Tsuna expected, there was anger, but… What was this? Sadness and… Betrayal? Those eyes… 'Like a mirror,'a small voice inside of him whispered, but Tsuna didn't pay any attention to it.
"YOU LIAR!" Gokudera shouted. In seconds, the bombs were out, lit and ready to be thrown.
Tsuna was glad that they were near the lake, as the trees were less dense, thus less likely to be burned by explosions.
"Liar?" Tsuna repeated monotonously, after dodging and defusing all the explosives. "Tell me what I did to make me a liar."
Gokudera narrowed his eyes, seemly confused for a while, trying to word out his own answer. He clinched his hand, unknowingly crushed the dynamites he was holding. Noticing it, he cursed, and threw the crushed dynamites away.
"You... You pretend to be weak, innocent and unaware of the world, but you're just a liar with pretty words! A fucking liar! If you become the tenth, then you will end up just like them!"
"I'm not like them! DON'T COMPARE ME TO THEM! I WILL NEVER BE LIKE THEM! YOU THINK YOU KNOW EVERYTHING BUT YOU'RE JUST DELUSIONAL!"
Gokudera sneered. "Delusional my ass! I won't be fooled! You're just like them! LIKE ALL THE OTHER MOTHER FUCKERS THAT ARE PART OF THE MAFIA! ALL THOSE LIARS WHO PROCLAIM THEMSELVES RIGHT AND JUST! BUT INSTEAD COURRUPTED LIKE MY FATHER, REBORN, AND THAT VONGOLA NINTH WHO THINKS HE KNOWS EVERYTHING!"
"YOU'RE CALLING ME A LIAR? LIKE THEM?"
"HA! Did I hit sore spot?"
"Sore spot, sore spot?" Tsuna asked, insulted by the accusation. "Who are you kidding, YOU ARE A LIAR YOURSELF!"
"SHUT UP! WHAT DO YOU KNOW! WHAT WOULD A LIAR LIKE YOURSELF KNOW!"
The next wave of bombs rained down on Tsuna. Tsuna growled, and put them all off before they could explode. Deciding the place wasn't the best to fight, Tsuna slowly led Gokudera away, getting closer to the lake. Unluckily, the other seems to think that Tsuna was escaping, thus chased after Tsuna with more explosives in hand.
As Tsuna ran, he caught a pair of bombs, aiming them at trees. The bombs caught fire, exploding instantly at tree contact. Under the explosions, the trees fell and blocked Gokudera's path. He looked back at Gokudera, who was annoyed but didn't stop chasing him.
"You will be like them!" Gokudera shouted. "Like all those who called themselves my "boss"! They all promised me! Every fucking one of them! Those bastards said they cared! They said I was a good subordinate! They said they needed me."
Gokudera stepped back, before leaping over the flaming fallen tree.
"Well you know what? They fed me bullshits and in the end, they betrayed me. I wasn't needed. They tried to kill me, to get rid of me. They couldn't take my reputation. I was just a tool, a trash! They couldn't see me! They were liars!"
"SO EVERY ONE OF THOSE MOTHER FUCKING BASTARDS DIED! I KILLED THEM ALL!"
"Smokin' Bomb. That name, he got it for not only his skill, his temper, but also because he was a real ticking bomb. He betrayed all the families he joined. He murdered each and every one of those he called 'boss'."
Without batting an eye, Reborn asked. "So you're letting your brother take the blame."
Bianchi laughed. "Well, I do love my brother dearly. But I love you more, my dearest Reborn. But I am still curious why my brother wasn't caught yet, being a traitor and all."
"The Ninth struck a deal with the Vindice. The agreement was to let Gokudera free under the condition he becomes one of Tsuna's men."
"Aren't you worried that he might kill that pupil of yours?"
"It doesn't mean I agree but I trust the Ninth's decision. Tsuna will be able to handle it."
"You might try to defuse them all, but SEE IF YOU CAN TAKE THIS?" The number of dynamites on his hand seemed to magically double. "DOUBLE BOMBS"
Bombs bombarded him. With that he didn't think Gokudera could still have a trick up his sleeve. Difficult to defuse but… it won't defeat him yet. With a slight boost of flame, he increased his speed to defuse the dynamites.
"I find it ironic that you are called a lone wolf. For all those idiotic things you said, you are lying to yourself. If you want freedom so much, if you don't like be bossed around, then why do you try so damn hard to find a boss? To find someone to lead you? Why do you find the need to evaluate them? People like you always complain that you can't decide your life. And yet, you search for a boss that will decide yours. It's pathetic."
"S-Shut up! What do you think you know? How much do you know about me? Don't just assume! Triple bomb!" The number of dynamites tripled to an insane amount.
'Oh… Shit,' Tsuna thought. That trick will be dangerous. If Gokudera decided to throw them, even the brunet wouldn't be able to defuse it all in time. With quick steps, he suddenly closed in on Gokudera. Tsuna grabbed both of Gokudera's wrists, stopping the other from throwing. Gokudera was surprised by the firm grip the smaller boy had. He trashed, but couldn't get free.
There was a cold laugh. "I do know enough. Tell me, Gokudera Hayato, why do you accuse me of lying when you also lie? Isn't everyone a liar?"
The bomber had a slight pose in his movements.
"Did... They ever lie to you? The person you held dear." Tsuna forced the other to look in his eyes. "TELL ME GOKUDERA HAYATO, DID THEY ALSO LIE?"
"I–... They–" No, Gokudera knew. He was lying to himself too. He long knew that it wasn't always other's problems. What he wanted, was a normal life inside the mafia. But the mafia wasn't that way. The mafia killed, the mafia stole, the mafia... Lied.
Looking at the future mafia boss in the eyes, those brown eyes that dared him to lie, he couldn't say anything.
Liars... They were. Every one of them was. His father lied. His step mother lied. His sister lied.
It was foolish, it was selfish.
Even his real mother... That beautiful woman, with long silver hair that visited him every year.
"Nice to meet you, miss Lavina!"
"Nice to meet you too..."
The smile that she brought with him and shared with him…
"Hayato, would you like me to teach you piano?"
"Miss! Miss! How did you meet father? How did you know father? What's your relationship with father?"
Painful smile... "I am your father's... friend."
A liar. Even she told him lies.
Hayato dropped on his knees... His grip loosened; the multitude dynamites he held dropped on the ground. What was he thinking? Deep down, he knew; maybe he had always known. That he too, was escaping the truth. He long acknowledged the fact that even if he was half blood, only Mafioso from his father's side, he was already tainted by their lies, theirs sins. He thought he hated the mafia too, those who betray, those who murder, those who lie. And in the process of not wanting to be like them, he got entangled in their webs. And it was also one of the reasons he couldn't stand someone like Sawada Tsunayoshi, so pure, so unworthy to bear their sins because the latter would never understand. He liked the Decimo even less, because seeing him getting tainted too was too much.
But… He… didn't care anymore.
Tsuna's eyes widened. That idiot was suicidal!
With that insane amount of dynamite, there was no safe place to dodge. Tsuna immediately let go of Gokudera's wrists. The only way he could get away relatively unharmed would be to use Gokudera as a shield. Thus he grabbed the Italian and dragged him closer.
He pulled them both back, trying to get as far as they could and…
… Plunged into the lake, dragging Gokudera along with him into the safety of the underwater.
Flames engulfed the vegetation near the lake.
A minute later, as the explosion died off, two people resurfaced above water. Each taking a deal breath, Tsuna dragged hiscompanion onshore. Once Tsuna succeeded, they sat on the ground, panting for air.
There was a heavy silence where the two looked at the surroundings, at the damage they had done.
Their surroundings were all burnt, with flames still eating the grass and the branches on the trees. The trees that were the closest to the center of the explosionoh ad fallen, and crushes plants here and there. Luckily, the fire was only some small flames, not enough the spread in a forest fire, and the humid atmosphere around the lake and the fact that it just rained the day before kept the fire at bay.
One wet bomber bit his lips. He looked at his savior, that liar who, despite the lies, really saved him. What can he say to his savior? What words can justify himself? What-
"Shush..." Tsuna hushed.
Gokudera didn't need to say anything.
"But more than anything, I trust Tsuna," Reborn declared toward the pink haired woman named Bianchi.
"He has more potential hidden in him that you can see. Even if he doesn't have a dying will for me to work on, he has what it take to tame the lone wolf."
Bianchi's look went blank.
"What makes you think that way?"
"Simple." Reborn stood up, with Leon resting comfortably on his shoulder, jumped down a three story window, and walked away.
Bianchi gazed at where her lover had disappeared to, with love and something mysterious in her eyes. "Simple, you say?"
Perhaps it was jealousy?
"Simple. He is my student."
Namimori Forest, some time later.
After quite a while, it was Gokudera who broke the silence.
"Sawada Tsunayoshi-sama..." Gokudera said finally, in a polite tone that Tsuna wouldn't have thought would ever come out from the delinquent's mouth.
Tsuna had reverted back to the soft spoken persona, different from the calm but serious tone one he had when he felt with Reborn or Hibari or anyone else. It's as more likethe Dame-Tsuna act, only calmer and less panicky.
Sofly, he answered, "It's okay, you don't have to say anything."
"NO!― I'm sorry, I mean... I'm sorry. I'M SORRY! You're really fit to be the tenth! I don't even deserve to call you by your full name! Jyuudaime! I deserve punishment for this! To put Jyuudaime in danger because of my selfishness!"
"Ha... Ahahaha!" Tsuna suddenly laughed.
"Ah, haha... Sorry. So all that fuzz about wanting to kill me was just to see if I was worthy? You're doing a fine job as a bodyguard," he teased.
Sadly, the bomb delinquent didn't take it that way. "I- I- IMSOSORRY!" Gokudera suddenly bowed, banging his head hard on the ground. Bowing once, bowing twice, thrice…
"HIIIIIIE! It's okay! Gokudera-san!" 'I swear this guy is bi-polar!'
"I was mistaken! You're the one fit to be the boss! If Jyuudaime don't mind, I will be following down to the other side of the Earth! Jyuudaime is more than worthy!"
"I… Jyudaime is right. I didn't really have ambitions to become the tenth. Not that I could anyway, since Vongola only accept those who has their bloodline. It's just hard to see someone who is the same age as me becoming a boss. But you're more than I expected. You're different! You can see me! You… understand me. More than words, I have seen you actually do something to save my life, unlike those who called themselves my boss. They are all talk."
"…Are you really-"
Tsuna looked at Gokudera and nodded hesitantly, mentally planning what he would do to the bomber. '…It's a difficult choice to decide to put follow a liar. Are you really following me?'
Tsuna nodded. "Will you trust me?" He smiled.
Tsuna told Gokudera to leave first, saying he still wanted to do something in the forest. After snatching the promise that Jyuudaime would join him later, Gokudera left first.
"Trust?" a voice asked him, after Gokudera left. "Empty words coming from someone like you, Sawada Tsunayoshi."
Tsuna stopped in his tracks, but didn't bother to look back. "...I didn't know you cared, Hibari-san."
"I hate liars. I only came back to get my tonfas."
Tsuna laughed at Hibari's excuse. "Then I must be an exception, ne?"
Tsuna didn't wait for an answer to walk away, disappearing into the trees.
"Hn." No, he didn't care. He simply just couldn't trust the bipolar, lying accomplice named Sawada Tsunayoshi.
"Jyuudaime! Are you hurt? Are you okay?" Gokudera said as Tsuna joined him, looking all around with possible injuries his Tenth might have gotten when he went out of Gokudera's sight.
"It's fine, Gokudera-san..."
"Aha! Of course! Jyuudaime is the best after all! Jyuudaime is invincible!"
The walk was an awkward silence. Gokudera walked in front, because he wanted 'to clear a safe path for Jyuudaime!' It took much longer to get out then how they get in, taking many detours because Gokudera obviously wasn't familiar with the place. Tsuna thought it was ridiculous since he knew the forest better than Gokudera, but decided to not say anything in front of the bomber's enthusiasm. Still, Gokudera had a terrific mind, Tsuna noticed, to be able to orientate himself more or less, when normal people would get lost.
As they reached the edge of Namimori forest, soon leaving its safety to go back to a world where Reborn is watching, Tsuna called out.
"Erm... Gokudera-san..." He had to make sure of something.
"Yes, Jyuudaime?" Gokudera answered, without looking back.
"…Are you... on Reborn's side?"
"... Everyone older than me is my enemy." Gokudera answered carefully.
"Ah... So it means that you're siding with him―"
"Reborn-san is older than he looks." Gokudera turned and smiled brightly at his new boss.
Tsuna laughed slightly. He won.
"Can... Can I call you Gokudera-kun?" the small Japanese boy asked in a timid voice.
Gokudera suddenly spluttered, face going pink. "Wh… I su- I mean, YES! I-"
Tsuna extended the hand of friendship, and Tsuna offered his best smile. "Well, I... M-more than being your Jyuudaime, I wish we can be friends."
If only the smile wasn't crazed.
(Omake actually happen in the storyline, unless stated otherwise. C:)
Omake 1: Food chain
This happened quite a while ago before Reborn came.
"Ne, Hibari. I was just thinking..." Tsuna said while they were on the school's rooftop.
"There's something wrong with the names you call me," Tsuna said very very seriously (coughwithapoutcough). "I mean, you're calling me herbivore, then carnivore, then herbivore, then carnivore. I still don't understand what I eat has anything to do with me at all. (And I eat both meat and vegetables. Beside, I'd be called a vegetarian and not a herbivore even if I don't eat meat.)"
"Hn. You get preyed by other herbivores in your normal personality, thus you're an herbivore. A carnivore when you show your true self," Hibari answered, as if it was the most obvious thing on the world.
"That's the problem!"
Hibari's eyes twitched slightly in annoyance at the suddenly high pitched voice.
"Ok, I get it that you call people herbivores because they're weaker and all. But if herbivores prey on herbivores, then they'd become carnivores because they'd prey on other animals! Or cannibals, for the matter. So your logic is flawed."
Tsuna continued his rant, ignoring Hibari that was suspiciously not replying with a growl or a 'Hn'. "Herbivores only eat plants. And im also a carnivore. Thus, if I get preyed on by people you call 'herbivore'..."
Tsuna looked at the far away sky, lost in his thoughts(?).
"Then you should call me plant. A carnivore plant."
There was a door slam, and Tsuna found himself alone on the rooftop.
Since that day, Hibari only ever called 'Sawada Tsunayoshi'. ('herbivore' when keeping with Tsuna's dame facade)
Either he decided that Tsuna was beyond the levels of the animal food chain or simply didn't want to say "I'll bite you to death, carnivorous plant" remains unknown, even to today.
Omake 2: It's not who you think
(*This does not happen in storyline.)
"I've been looking for you," the voice whispered in Reborn's ears.
"I'VE MIIISSSEEEED YOU REEEEBOOOOOORN!"
"Get off, Iemitsu."
"Buuut Reboooorn! This isn't the way you should treat an old friend!"
Leon turned into a gun.
"Get. Off. Now."
After that day, Tsuna would never get the chance to have a younger sibling.
Anyway, that's the end of the 'mini-arc', which introduced Yamamoto, Gokudera and Hibari~ (and Bianchi, on the side).
Once again, I need you guy's opinion on who should come next! Not the guardians though, because some of the side characters also needs to appear. So Kyoko, Haru, Ipin, Fuuta, or even Giannini, Shouichi... Anyone you can think of that's part of canon (manga and anime)
Hope you enjoyed this mini arc. And sorry for the late chapters. And if the last part seems rushed, I'm sorry. I wanted to finish this before I left for vacation. I'll come back and edit this later.
And for everyone. I'm sure you guys knows about the recent purge of ffn of M rated fics and the group called Critics United, who have been reporting fanfics they didn't like for the smallest of reasons. I mean seriously, threatening to delete a story because of adding A/N after chapters and answering reviews in chapters is just stupid. That doesn't count as an interacting story as all, just review replies)
Personally, I have nowhere to go if my fics are deleted. I don't like Live Journal and knows even less of other sites. So if my fics gets deleted, I don't think I'll keep writing anymore, and I'll just go back drawing art instead. Those who did the last Black Out, thank you all (and no, it wasn't organised by me). And this time again, just passing the message, Akahama Nera is organizing another Black Out day.
Quoted: "We could post a story, or a chapter of a letter rejecting the deletions. Also, we can send mails altogether to the admins, so they would take us seriously and listen to us. Another thing is another Black Out day...but different.
JULY 4TH (GMT)
No posting. No reviewing. No reading. No anything.
Nothing but one story or chapter pertaining to this issue."
So that's it. Hope you guys join in on Black Out day (too bad I will be on vacation then) and help out. Also, leave a review to this story to encourage this lazy author. (TuT)
Doesn't that new review box looks cool? 8D