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Fake Bullets, Real Guns, Fake Flames, Real Burns

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Back before survival games came into their own, there was a legend.

A group of men, sadistic, monstrous, and all round evil, had dominated the arena of survival games, and then disappeared off the face of the earth.

They called themselves Varia, and even the likes of Hoshishiro could not stand against them.


“Varia?” Hotaru Tachibana asked Masamune. “Who were they?”

Masamune rubbed at his eyes. “They were way before my time,” he admitted. “But they were said to be the absolute best.”

“Tachibana is sure we could beat them,” Hotaru said confidently, and Yukimura snorted in derision. “We can't even beat Hoshishiro, and Hoshishiro can't beat Varia. See the pecking order?”


Hotaru considered this as she walked to school, when a boy flew into her.

“Hie! I-I'm so sorry,” he stuttered, bowing to her.

“No, Tachibana is sorry,” Hotaru bowed back, equally flustered. “Tachibana was not watching where she was going...”

“No, it's because I'm clumsy,” the brown-haired boy babbled.

“Tenth!” A silver-haired boy came running up, and damn if Tachibana's instinct for justice didn't kick in. “Is this woman bothering you?” He glared openly at her, moving so his body was between the boy's and Tachibana's.

“No, Gokudera-kun, calm down,” the boy - tenth??? - flapped his hand at 'Gokudera'. “Sorry,” he said, bowing again.

Tachibana didn't know that this meeting would change her life as the other two walked away, and that was when she noticed the baby.