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Sass and Win

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Every once in a while a man has to evaluate his life choices and ask himself the profound philosophical question:
 

“What the fuck are you doing?”
 

It happens with more frequency than for most with me. It has something to do with the whole poor impulse control and inclinations toward violent confrontations. I spend most Wednesday’s and Friday’s picking fights with Hibari and had on more than one occasion taken a pitch to the head from Takeshi just to see if I could.
 

The point is I end up asking myself “what the fuck are you doing?” a lot and honestly considering the current trends in my life I don’t foresee this changing anytime soon.
 

What I’m doing right now though, I have achieved a whole new level of crazy.
 

And for some context: I am currently clinging to the outside of Namimori Middle School. Stuck somewhere between the third and fourth floor.
 

 

It is pouring rain.

 

 
I have a fever of 103.

 

 
Am I an idiot?

 

 
Yes.

 

 
Am I questioning my life choices right now?

 

 
Most definitely yes.
 


Does any of this matter right now?

 

 
No, no it does not. Because somewhere, approximately three and a half feet above where I have wedged myself between a pipe and a windowpane Takeshi is teetering on the edge of the abyss monologue about how he has nothing left to live for since he keeps screwing up with baseball and doesn’t have any real friends.

 
Of all the fucking days to wake up late it had to be today, didn't it? It was my own damn fault. I had overexerted myself last night running around in the rain after spending hours running around on a Reborn mission. 

 

Of course, I had gotten myself sick. 

 

And Mom is the kind and loving soul had called the school to let them know that I wouldn't be coming in today. And she had let me sleep in and made sure that Tsuna and Gokudera didn't wake me up. 

 

And on any other day, it would have been appreciated. But on this day I remembered exactly how it was that Yamamoto Takeshi was recruited into the Famiglia of Vongola Decimo. 

 

 

He was going to try to kill himself. 

 

Through the haze of illness and darkness, this information is blasted into my conscious mind startling me into awareness. 

 

In terms of rude awakenings, today had taken the cake. 

 

I had woken up so fast that I had fallen off the couch in a tangle of blankets. When I had tried to get up my head had spun so violently that I almost passed out again. 

 

Mom had left a bottle of cold medicine on the coffee table for me and I had eyed the small plastic measuring cup for a moment before forgoing it and downing half of the bottle. 

 

I had all but thrown myself out of the house into the ongoing rainstorm in a pair of pyjama pants and an inside out t-shirt. 

 

And I ran. I ran faster than I had ever run before. 

 

It was going to happen today. Don't ask how I knew it but I knew it. I felt it in my gut. And maybe it as all scripted and preordained or whatever. But I didn't trust that. I could not leave Takeshi’s life up to what was written in a comic book in another universe. 

 

I made it to the school in record time only to have all my fears confirmed when I had to look up through the wind and rain to see a familiar silhouette standing on the ledge of the roof. 

 

At that moment I was completely paralyzed. That was Takeshi up there and one missed step was all it would take for him to come plummeting down to his untimely demise. 

 

The smart thing to do would have been to go inside the school and run up the stairs. But I was terrified that if I lost sight of him he would be gone. 

 

So I did things the dumb way. 

 

I would have done anything to have had Reborn or someone with more adequate life skills with me at that moment. Chances are if I had they would have been able to talk me out of my chosen course of action. There was no way that scaling a building in a rainstorm was the best course of action in this situation. 

 

Though knowing Reborn he might have suggested the same thing. I think our tiny tutor also has some impulse control problems. 

 

The haze of cold medication and the fever had helped plot out my ascent. Under normal circumstances, I would have looked at the exterior piping and thought ‘bad idea’, however, high Inari looked at the exterior piping and thought ‘yeah, I can probably do that.’

 

Clearly, intelligence is one of my core character traits. 

 

Which led me here. 

 

Hanging off the side of a building. Listening to my friend tell, what sounds like, a crowd of our classmates about how he feels isolated and listening to them say superfluous shallow bullshit about how he should be happy that he's good looking and popular. 

 

I really hope that Tsuna is up there. Because this needs to end immediately. 

 

Listening to this is heartbreaking and infuriating at the same time. 

 

Depression is a fucking monster. I get it, it takes all the joy out of the world and it makes everything seem pointless and hopeless.
 

 

But that bit about not having any real friends.
 

 

I take umbrage with that last bullet point about not having any real friends. Because I am here literally scaling a five-story building for you in the pouring rain ASSHOLE!! I mean I know I dropped the ball a little bit since Reborn turned up but I had still been there. If things were getting this bad he could have talked to me about it.

 

 

Right?

 

 
I barely manage to stop myself from screaming that at him. I’m pretty sure that if I did right now he would fall off the roof from the shock of having moron clinging to the outside of a school building screaming at him about poor life choices.
 

If that isn’t an oxymoron I don’t quite know what would qualify.

 

I make a mental note to scream at him later. 

 

 

And hug him. 

 

 

And punch him in the stupid face. 

 

 

And cry. 

 

 

And then hug him more.

 

I'm having a lot of conflicting feelings right now and I'm not exactly great with the whole ‘emotions’ thing on a good day. It probably has something to do with all the cold medicine that I downed on my way here. 

 

“No matter what I do lately I just seem to fail. You know how it is right Tsuna? Everyone is always calling you a failure. It's an awful feeling right? It would be better to just die.”

 

A mixture of relief and terror makes my heart stutter. Tsuna is there. Thank fucking god Tsuna is there. He should be able to talk some sense into Takeshi right?

 

 

Right?

 

The plot says yes. But my understanding of reality says -I have no fucking clue man. 

 

And also ‘don't rope my brother into your depressing melodrama Takeshi!’ He was only just now starting to get over that bullshit. 

 

“Are you stupid or something?” Tsuna asks. 

 

And I freeze and stare up at the roof with wide eyes. A hush has fallen over the observing audience. 

 

“What?” Takeshi asks quietly. 

 

“I asked if your stupid.” Tsuna says. 

 

I can hear the mixture of annoyance and anxiety in his voice. 

 

“What the hell are you talking about not having anyone or anything going for you? Do you not see the literal crowd of people here? They’re all terrified for you! They all care about you! And what about your dad?! What about Inari!?” 

 

His voice gets louder and louder the longer that he goes on. I don't think I have ever heard Tsuna so impassioned about something before. 

 

“You don't think they would miss you? You don't think this won't break their hearts?! Because I can tell you right now that if you think Inari will be able to brush this off like it meant nothing, you have another thing coming!”

 

“And so what if the ‘baseball god’ or whatever isn't talking to you anymore. Maybe that just means its time to try something else! We’re thirteen, you have time to find your life's calling. And knowing you Yamamoto-kun it's going to be something awesome.”

 

“But it wont be anything if you give up now. All you will be is a smear on the ground who gave up. And your better then that!”

 

Holy shit Tsuna. 

 

The rain is finally starting to stop and as I stare up at Takeshi’s silhouette I can see the blue sky peeking through. As if it was called forth by the power of my brothers conviction. 

 

“You’re a really cool guy Yamamoto-kun.” Tsuna says softly. “And I always wanted to be your friend too.”

 

“…Tsuna-”

 

What a beautiful touching moment. It's a shame it had to be interrupted by gravity. 

 

I watch as Takeshi makes an abortive motion toward where I assume Tsuna is standing. And then I watch him slip, stutter and fall. The world doesn't descend into dramatic slow motion. 

 

 

Takeshi falls. 

 

 

People scream. 

 

And acting on pure reflex and instinct I reach out and latch on to his wrist as he falls by. 

 

My arm feels like it was almost torn out of its socket. 

 

 

Fun fact: catching someone falling at terminal velocity is painful, because physics is a thing that exists. 

 

 

I am hanging on to the window ledge for dear life. I might have screamed (I definitely screamed). Once I'm certain that I'm not going to loose my grip and send us both plummeting down to our untimely demise I look down to make sure that Takeshi is okay. 

 

He is STARING at me. 

 

The look he's giving me clearly echoes my earlier thoughts of “what the fuck are you doing.”

 

“Inari?” He speaks with quiet disbelief. 

 

“ Yup.”

 

“What are you doing here.” There is a very noticeable brittle edge of hysteria in his voice. 

 

“Oh you know just hanging out.”

 

He laughs. The hysteria wining over all further questions. 

 

“YAMAMOTO-KUN!” Tsuna screams appearing from over the ledge. 

 

“Hey bro-bro.” I answer because Takeshi is busy with his stress laughter. 

 

“INARI!?”

 

Tsuna just about launches himself over the side wrapping his hands tightly around my wrist. 

 

His eyes are orange. 

 

There had been not gunshot. Not burst of flame. No declaration of dying will. 

 

It was just Tsuna all on his own. His eyes clear, and bright, and orange with the power of the sky flames harnessed under his own power. 

 

“Don't worry I've got you. I'm not going to let you fall.”

 

My bro is so fucking cool sometimes. 

 

Of course by the laws of dramatic irony it was at this moment that the strength in my fingers gives out and Tsuna is left supporting the full weight of two teenaged boys with his scrawny little arms. 

 

I'm pretty sure all three of us would have gone plummeting to our collective dooms if it wasn't for Gokudera. 

 

Together he and Tsuna manage to pull us back up over the ledge. At the end we are all spawned out on the roof gasping and exhausted. I look over at Takeshi who laying next to me with his arm pressed over his eyes. 

 

I vaguely realize that he is crying. 

 

I don't have enough energy to get myself up again. The adrenaline rush that was powering me through this insanity has worn off and I can't actually feel any of my extremities anymore. I summon the energy to roll over so I'm sort of on top of him. 

 

This is literally as close to a hug that I am capable of right now. 

 

“I love you man.” I mumble into his shirt. “Please don't go splat on me.”

 

Somewhere in the background Hana has started marshalling the onlooking audience down the stairs. Kyoko’s voice cuts in sweetly whenever someone tries to argue with Hana. 

 

“Sorry.”

 

I want to say something. 

 

But I am literally unable to remain conscious any longer.

 



 

 

One of the fun things about real life is that shit has consequence. Case and point you do something crazy like scale a building in a rainstorm with a fever you will absolutely land yourself in the hospital. 

 

Namimori general isn’t so bad as far as hospitals go. The staff is decent and the rooms are clean and spacious. They had also been chill enough to let me and Takeshi share a room. 

 

But Reborn impersonating world renowned pediatrician might have had something to do with it. Either way I’m grateful. I don't think I would have been able to rest otherwise. 

 

Takeshi had to go in for a psychological evaluation. I think Reborn must have understood my concerned mumbles because he insisted that he attend. After all child psychology was the great Rebo-sensei’s specialty. 

 

It probably wasn't necessary but I'm glad that he did it. I wouldn't want him to get a weird diagnosis or something because he didn't have someone there to explain shit to him properly. 

 

Mom and Yamamoto-san ran in at about the same time. And we're now talking to our nurse to get all the details about what happened, or at least as many details that she was able to give. I trust that Reborn and Tsuna will fill them in more later. 

 

 

And speaking of my brother…

 

 

“What were you thinking!?” He demands. 

 

He and Gokudera have set up camp on the empty bed by the window. It's been awhile since ‘big brother’ Tsuna has come out to play, I'm glad to see that he's still got some bite to him. 

 

“I had to be able to catch Takeshi.”

 

“Yeah, And that's great and all but you were home sick. How the heck did you even know what was happening?”

 

Both he and Gokudera are staring at me expectantly. 

 

“I premonitionded it.” I slur. 

 

The antibiotic IV that they have me hooked up to right now is seriously impairing my speaking abilities. Not that they were super before, but I'm pretty sure I didn't sound like drunk. 

 

“You ‘premonitioned’ it.” He sounds so very unimpressed with me. 

 

“I don't know man. I was sleeping and then it was like BAM and someone was screaming in my brain ‘You have to get to Takeshi right fucking now’ and so I did and there he was all up there and shit. So I did the thing and I'm not sorry for that because I caught him.”

 

I am rambling like a nutcase. 

 

Tsuna buries his face in his hands and groans loudly.

 

“How did you even get up there!?”

 

“I climbed.”

 

“Wha- Bu- HOW!?”

 

Poor bro-bro is really having a hard time with this. 

 

“I did it with my fucking dying will dude.” I tell him. 

 

And then I pass out.

 



 

 

I'm brought back into the world of the living when a weight dips the mattress next to me. I have to fight the exhaustion and the general feeling of blah to crack an eye open. Takeshi has a pretty distinctive profile even in the near darkness that we’re sitting in. 

 

“Hey.” I croak. 

 

My throat is killing me. That teaches me to go running around in the rain without a coat on. 

 

“Hey.”

 

The actual enormity of everything that went down is finally starting to catch up to me now that all the panic and insanity has worn off. I stare up at him giving my eyes a chance to adjust, and I think. 

 

I had literally scaled a four story building. I had pulled myself up forty vertical feet in a rainstorm. 

 

Takeshi had almost thrown himself off the roof of that very same building. 

 

This was all a lot heavier than I had anticipated. 

 

This is the moment where I should say something meaningful and profound.  Something to affirm our bond of friendship. Or just something to make him feel better. 

 

But I'm me. So instead I say:

 

“So what's the verdict? You crazy?”

 

He lets out a harsh snort of laughter. But it's not entirely cheerless; so that's something.

 

“Oh, completely.”

 

I can just barely make out his expression. He's smiling, a classic Takeshi smile, though with a touch more exhaustion than usual. 

 

“Shit man, that sucks.” I grin at him. “What are you gonna do.” 

 

He laughs, for real this time.

 

“I don't know, but apparently I'm in good company.”

 

“No kidding?”

 

“Yup.” He chirps. “See this guy I know had the crazy idea to climb the school building with his bare hands.”

 

“Shit, that is crazy.”

 

Takeshi hums in agreement. 

 

“Yeah, but he did it for his friend.”

 

My arms feel like the have been filled with led, but somehow I muster up the strength to reach out and give his arm a light squeeze. 

 

“You would’a done the same for me man.” 

 

He gives me a ‘look.’

 

“I would have stood at the bottom and waited to catch you.” He says dryly. 

 

“Aw dude, you wanna play catcher for me?” I say, imbuing my, very wrecked, voice with a comedic level of flirtation. Because I have just about had it with the seriousness. 

 

“I always thought you preferred to pitch.”

 

I waggle my eyebrows at him in a flirtatious way. It's always fun because Takeshi understands innuendo about as well as Tsuna understands physics. He takes everything literally and it gives me a decent chuckle. 

 

Instead I find myself half pinned to the bed and Takeshi’s face wayyyy to close to my face. The high pitch sound that comes out of me is worthy of Tsuna. 

 

“For you, I would play any position.” He says in a low and ridiculously seductive tone. 

 

I immediately retaliate against this grave offence by aggressively jamming my fingers into his armpits. He launches himself away from me laughing. 

 

How dare he develop an understanding of pun based innuendo. My world has been thrown off its axis. 

 

I shall never forgive this…

 

 

Okay, I'm over it. 

 

 

“Fuck you man, don't pull that shit will me I invented that shit.” The words I speak are in jest. 

 

The pillow I chuck at his head most defiantly is not. 

 

Of course he snatches out of mid air and neatly throws it on to his own bed. Leaving me sad and pillowless. 

 

Curses, I didn't think this plan through. 

 

I would go and reclaim it but the IV line is still jammed into my forearm and that would lead only to more pain. For me at least. 

 

“Jerk.” I huff. 

 

And he just keeps laughing. 

 

I briefly consider going back to sleep, but no, I'm up now. Might as well make the best of this. 

 

“Seriously dude, are you okay?” I ask. 

 

He sits on the edge of his bed and stares at me quietly for a moment. 

 

“Better than I was…”

 

He looks away toward the dull light in the hall, and we both wait in silence as a nurse walks by our room. 

 

“I made dad cry.” He admits. 

 

“Yeah…”

 

There was no way that I could have ignored Yamamoto -san sobbing in the hallway. Lucky mom was there and she is awesome at comforting people. 

 

She had actually been pretty amused at my antics. Apparently, the old man had once done something similar back when they were dating. This does not make me feel any better about it. It actually makes me feel worse for having something in common with that asshole. 

 

It had made mom smile though so I'll let it slide. 

 

For now. 

 

“I didn’t -” 

 

He doesn't finish the thought. I don't think he knows how to. 

 

“Tsuna is actually really cool isn't he.” He says instead. 

 

“He really, really is.” 

 

And one day even he would believe it. 

 

“That funny little doctor guy recommended that the best medicine for me would be to spend more time hanging out with Tsuna.” 

 

Takeshi is beaming. 

 

“So I hope you don't mind if I tag along with you guys from now on.”

 

That sounds exactly like Reborn. 

 

Though I can't help but wonder if there are actual medical benefits that come from hanging out with a Sky Flame? And if so can we find a way to bottle it and sell it. 

 

 

A happy orange fire. Yours today for three easy payments of $9.99. 

 

 

“S’cool dude. Just prepare yourself for some high-octane shenanigans.”

 

I see a flash of teeth in the dark. 

 

“Looking forward to it.”

 



 

 

Takeshi was released into his fathers loving care after a 24 hour observation period. There was an awkward moment when Yamamoto-san came to pick him up and randomly grabbed me in the tightest hug. 

 

I stared wide eyed over his shoulder at Takeshi who gave me an equally wide eyed expression. He was still a little bit weepy which was even more awkward. 

 

Not knowing what else to do I gave him a couple solid pats on the back. 

 

Pat. Pat. 

 

Takeshi promised to come visit me tomorrow. 

 

And then I was alone in a big quiet hospital room. 

 

To be fair I didn't really have much of an opportunity to be lonely. I've spent most of my time here passed the fuck out. Because guess who the smart guy who gave himself god damn pneumonia is?

 

That's right, me. 

 

But the doc said I should be well enough to go home in a couple days so I guess that I'm just going to enjoy having this mini vacation from school. 

 

I'm sure Mrs. Nakamura will be so sad when she sees I'm not there to contradict her with smartass comments. Or to correct her English pronunciation. Which I'm sure is something that all English teachers love. 

 

And speaking of school…

 

“We brought you homework.”

 

Tsuna looks about as happy about this as I feel. Actually I think that we have the same expression on our faces. Because that is a huge stack of homework. 

 

What the hell? What did I miss!?

 

And then Reborn struts in win is tiny three piece suit and a paper cup of coffee. He’s looking debonair as usual and kicks Tsuna in his calf sending him stumbling forward with a yelp.  I reflexively lunge forward in bed and barley manage to catch the spill of books and notebooks and pens. 

 

“ Ciaossu Inari.” He greets.

 

“S’up.” I reply.

 

“Owww.” Groans Tsuna. 

 

It's hard to read Reborn's expression. The eyes in particular are difficult, mostly because they look like giant black buttons. Adorable, but utterly mysterious. 

 

But that being said; I am pretty sure he just rolled them at both of us. 

 

“Alright boys, no more slacking it's time for study.”

 

He leaps up onto my bed and lands without spilling a drop of the coffee. And you better believe that I am eyeing that coffee. 

 

“Aw, you guys brought the tutoring session to me? I'm touched.”

 

I actually really am. Tsuna is the one with the criminal destiny, not me. So Reborn doesn't really need to put the extra effort into me. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. 

 

I make a grab for the coffee. 

 

Reborn, of course, expertly dodges. 

 

“Don't think you can play hooky just because your in the hospital brat. I have a reputation to uphold after all. If you fall behind it reflects badly on me.”

 

Tsuna dumps the rest of the pile of textbooks on the nifty little rolling table the hospital had provided. It actually sags a little bit under the weight. 

 

“Holy crap, did you carry that all the way from school?” I ask as he flops across the bed in an exhausted heap. 

 

“We’re working on Dame-Tsuna’s stamina.” Reborn replies as he makes himself comfortable. 

 

I poke Tsuna and he hardly flinches.

 

“How’s it coming?”

 

“Slowly.”

 

Leon transforms into a paper fan which our all mighty overlord expertly wields to smack Tsuna back into the land of the living. 

 

One day in the far and distant future I need to remember to have a talk with Reborn about violence not always being the answer.

 

“You okay.” I ask Tsuna. 

 

“My arms feel like noodles. I think my arms are just permanently noodles now.”

 

I give his hair a playful ruffle. 

 

“That's what you get for always skipping gym class.”

 

“Not all of us are crazy stamina freaks like you are.” He tells me with a flat look. 

 

I choose to ignore the very pointed reference to my most recent adventure and instead fish out my math text book from the pile. As long as Reborn is here I might as well take advantage of his mathematical know how. Geometry has really been kicking my ass lately. 

 

Tsuna manages to pull himself up to a sitting position and half heatedly pulls out his own text book with a heavy sigh. 

 

“Anything interesting happen while I've been away? Has Hibari succeeded from the rest of the school to create his own totalitarian dictatorship? Is Mrs. Nakamura pining for me in my absence? Have you finally professed your undying love to Kyoko?”

 

Tsuna flushes so hard as that last one that I briefly worry that he's going to make himself pass out. 

 

“None of those things happened!”

 

“Boring.”

 

We settle in and let Reborn take the reins of the tutoring session. He's actually a really good teacher, just as long as you ignore the threats of violence and sadistic punishment games. Tsuna had actually managed to vet a solid C on the last math test we had. Which may not seem like much, but for him it is a monumental achievement. 

 

And the lions share of the credit goes to Reborn. Who has suffered through weeks of his student whining and complaining before Tsuna had finally given in and decided to put in some actual effort. 

 

“Soooooo, hows Takeshi?” I ask. 

 

Attempting to be nonchalant this and failing miserably.

 

“He said I’m a ‘cool guy’ and he' been eating lunch with Hayato and me since he came back.”

 

The disbelief in his voice is palpable.

 

“Me, Yamamoto-kun said ‘I’ was cool.”

 

Oh, Tsuna, bro. 

 

And also… “Hayato?”

 

I ask quirking an eyebrow at him.

 

He blushes bright red just like I knew he would. It’s just too easy to embarrass him.

 

“I- its Gokudera-kun’s first name,” he says, deliberately not making eye contact. “I made him call me Tsuna so it only seemed fair to return the favor.”

 

Tsuna trails off uncomfortably still staring at the wall.

 

I am so proud. Tsuna is upgrading his social links all on his own.

 

“Tsuna~”

 

His head snaps back towards me and he glares. He knows me much too well to miss the teasing tone in my voice.

 

“No, you’re going to make this weird. Please don’t make this weird. It doesn’t need to be weird.”

 

“Weird? Me? Would I do that?”

 

I totally would.

 

“You would, you absolutely would. You always do. Please, please don’t.”

 

I laugh.

 

“Yeah, yeah I get it. No bugging you about your budding bromances.”

 

Tsuna whines and buries his face in the math textbook.

 

“You shouldn’t be embarrassed about developing strong relationships Dame-Tsuna,”  Reborn says jumping into the conversation.

 

“Gokudera and Yamamoto are good additions to your Famiglia.”

 

The mention of the mafia thing makes Tsuna snap up from the textbook and glare daggers at our diminutive tutor.

 

“Please don’t drag Yamamoto-kun into the mafia thing.”

 

Reborn predictably ignores his complaint and starts back in on the geometry lesson. Tsuna keeps glaring for a while longer before giving in and starting in on the mountain of homework before us. We go on for another forty-five minutes or so before Tsuna starts getting distracted and jittery. Reborn sends him out to get us all snacks.

 

“And coffee!” I yell after him.

 

And immediately resolve into a coughing fit, because yelling with a chest cold is dumb.

 

“He better get me that coffee.”

 

Reborn sits himself primly atop the tower of textbooks and stares at me. Petting Leon like he’s a supervillain in a campy spy movie.

 

I actually don’t know what the heck Leon is. I mean, Reborn calls him a chameleon, and okay he sort of looks like a chameleon. But he is also a harbinger of chaos, a shape-shifting weapon of mass destruction (and if I remember correctly a mini-magical-item-dispenser).

 

I’m not exactly up on my cryptozoology in this universe, however, even if I was I don’t think there is an entry in the mystical bestiary for ‘lizard that turns into a gun.’

 

Reborn notices my intense examination of his animal companion and wordlessly reaches out the hand with Leon resting on it toward me. I reach out my own creating a little bridge for him to cross over to me.

 

Oh my god. He has sticky little toes!

 

Leon’s tongue shoots out and sticks onto my face. I don’t even care. He is adorable.

 

“I keep meaning to ask you what he is.”

 

I gently run a finger down the chameleon’s back in a petting motion. I think he likes it? It’s hard to tell with reptiles.

 

“He’s a chameleon of course.”

 

I level Reborn with the flattest and unimpressed expression that I can muster with a lizard tongue sticking to my face.

 

“Chameleons don’t turn into guns.”

 

“This one does.” He says with a secretive smirk.

 

Jerk, Reborn knows very well by now that I can’t leave a mystery alone.

 

However, any attempt to stare him into submission is proving to be futile. I try anyway, but he just crosses his arms and stares back with his unnerving black eyes.

 

Curses.

 

“Can I get a hint?” I ask.

 

Conceding to his superior stare down skills.

 

He reaches out a tiny little hand again and Leon scurries back over and takes his rightful place atop the fedora.

 

“I’ll make you a deal Ragazzo,” he says after a beat of silence.  “You tell me about this ‘premonition of yours, and I will give you a ‘hint’.”

 

Premonition?

 

“What premonition?”

 

Did I have a premonition? I don’t remember having a premonition.

 

“Dame-Tsuna said that’s how you knew Yamamoto was planning on jumping that day. He said you ‘premonitioned’ it.”

 

 

Ah, I did say that, didn’t I.

 

Well now, this presents me with an interesting conundrum. What happened technically wasn’t a premonition. It had been my brain unlocking a plot point that had been locked up until that point. It was information from another world, another life brute-forcing itself into my brain, thankfully in time to save my friend.

 

Which does fit some definition of precognition, I guess. If you turn it upside-down and look at it from a certain angle at least.

 

But Reborn is fishing for specific information here. I’m just not sure what. He is doing his best to be all nonchalant but there is an intensity to his gaze that makes me nervous.

 

“What about it?” I ask not confirming or denying anything.

 

He’s too difficult to read and I don’t fancy accidentally stepping on a landmine.

 

I swear one day I am going to be a master of reading Reborn’s micro-expressions and he will never be able to get away with withholding any important or interesting things from me. It’s going to be a personal mission of mine. Just give me like ten or fifteen years.

 

Reborn hums in consideration.

 

“You asked before why it was that Tsunayoshi was chosen to inherit the Vongola.”

 

Holy crap, full name usage. This must be even more serious than I thought.

 

“Yeah?”

 

“It is in part because he is the firstborn child of Sawada Iemitsu and thus the next blood-related heir to Vongola. But more importantly, it is because he checked off certain ‘ability’ requirements needed by the head of the Vongola Familiga.

 

Sky Flames. He has to mean the Sky Flames.

 

“You mean the fire stuff?” I ask, being deliberately reductive.

 

Silence.

 

Dead silence.

 

“… This would have been so much easier had you been a gullible dunce like your brother.”

 

“Oi! Rude!”

 

“Yes. Brat. The ‘fire stuff’ as you so eloquently put it.” Reborn continues completely ignoring my objection to him calling Tsuna an idiot. “Now tell me how often do you have these ‘premonitions.’”

 

Precognition is a Sky Flame thing, isn’t it?

 

I should have come up with a better lie while I was all hopped up on cold medication and antibiotics. One that would have preferably put me under less scrutiny.

 

But there is also a chance that I can use this as a loophole of sorts. I mean, yeah it’s complete bullshit and I do not, in actuality, have access to Sky Flames (or flames of any kind) but it’s not completely unreasonable that I could have inherited something from Vongola, right? I would be a convenient workaround for me knowing things I shouldn’t.

 

Well, in the absence of better superpowers at the moment…

 

“What do you count as premonitions?”

 

“Kid.” He growls obviously thinking that I’m still stalling.

 

“Hey, I am legitimately asking here. Do you mean full-on technicolor the hills are alive the sound of music, sirens blaring in my ears or like deja-vu or general bad feelings.”

 

“All. Of. It.”

 

“Oh….Often then?”

 

I then get the absolute pleasure of watching the worlds greatest hitman smack himself in the face. Reborn has achieved peak levels of exasperation. It is somewhat gratifying to know he can get just as frustrated as the rest of us.

 

He probably just has a higher tolerance considering the whole cursed to live a purgatorial existence in a comically tiny form.

 

He starts muttering to himself in angry Italian. I can’t understand what he’s saying but I do catch the word ‘idiot’ used liberally throughout the entire rant.

 

“You okay?”

 

Reborn glares at me from beneath the brim of his fedora. After a beat, it softens and he pinches the bridge of his nose. The moment of rage has passed apparently.

 

“Fine. I am going to have to have words with that idiot Iemitsu in the very near future about the importance of not withholding pertinent information from me.”

 

I can’t help but make a face. That is the second time in this conversation that the old man’s name has been mentioned and it’s starting to make my skin crawl. What does he have to do with anything anyway? It’s not like he’s ever here.

 

It’s not like he knows a thing about me or Tsuna.

 

“Dude, why would you ask that looser anything about us? He hasn’t been home in like eight years. I’m pretty sure that Tsuna legitimately thinks he’s dead.”

 

Reborn just stares at me. I think he has just about had it with this conversation now. If it wasn’t so disturbing to have the soulless black eyes continuing to bore into my soul it would almost be funny.

 

“For what it’s worth I don’t think this is anything to worry about,” I say in a vain attempt to console him. “I mean, I can’t do any of the crazy orange fire stuff that Tsuna can so I don’t think that anyone can worry about me trying to step on his toes and trying to usurp his claim to the mafia throne.”

 

“Any attempt at that would require you to kill him.”

 

 

My heart fucking stops.

 

 

“Excuse me?”

 

“Tsunayoshi is the heir designated by Vongola Nono. It has been wrote with his will. Any attempt to usurp him would require his death.”

 

“Never.”

 

I say it with all the conviction I have in me.

 

“I would rather die first.”

 

Never in a fucking million years. I will never hurt my brother.

 

Reborn turns to face the window. The rain has started to pour again. In the distance, I can hear a clap of thunder roll through the sky.

 

“It’s a shame that not all brothers share your sense of loyalty,” he says.

 

I get the feeling then that the conversation is over. And just in time too. Tsuna comes back in the room with a bag full of snacks and a tray of coffees from that artisanal shop down in the cafeteria.

 

“You're my hero, I love you,” I tell him as I take a sip of the lovely, lovely laté.

 

He smiles back at me and pops open the lid on the box of donuts that he got for us.

 

I can’t imagine a world where I would turn on my brother for power or glory or whatever else that Vongola may try to tempt its heirs with. Tsuna is my brother, my best friend. Tsuna is…

 

Well, he’s my Sky too, isn’t he?