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Memento Mori

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He was dead. Sawada Tsunayoshi, six -almost seven- years old, had died. Cause? Bullying gone wrong. As once said, children could be cruelest even without meaning to. And by pushing the already skittish and clumsy Tsuna down the stairs…

Perhaps it should be said that it wasn’t a surprise that Tsuna would land badly and end up breaking his neck. And yet, somehow, that wasn’t the end. In fact, aside from the pain, the next time Tsuna had ‘woken up’, he’d found himself in another place. A plain, white space that seemed to stretch farther than he could see.

Sawada Tsunayoshi .” A voice called out into the space, a confused and somewhat scared though curious seven year old looking about as if he could spot the source of the voice. Still, when the voice spoke again, its softness and the gentle hush of its tone calmed him down, even as it made him even more nervous, because- “ Sawada Tsunayoshi… My poor child, ” the soft, effeminate voice seemed to echo, as if several people with the same voice were speaking over and over again. “ O- Tsunayoshi, my precious sky…

“H-Hello…?” He started, somewhat nervous, despite the feeling of safety and kindness, a strange sort of serenity coming over him as he felt something warm touch him, almost like mama when she was trying to make him feel better. Feeling something relax in him even as he had to squint as something bright seemed to appear, covering his vision, until he saw what seemed to be a pale, and slender hand in his vision.

Sitting in the lap of a lady who looked even prettier than his mama, Tsuna turned wide eyes to the soft expression on the woman’s face. Mouth dropping open at how very pretty she was.

He completely forgot to ask who she was or where he was, let alone why he was there when the last thing he recalled was going to school and getting stopped by...by…

The thought went away as the lady spoke again.

Oh, my little sky ,” Eyes flickering between orange among other colors, a stark contrast to the otherwise white of the lady’s hair and pale skin. Almost colorless in the white space, Tsuna almost didn’t notice that her words and her movement didn’t quite seem to sync up, as if there were some sort of interference, even as the echo seemed to go away now that she was here. “ Do you know where you are, my little one…?

Tsuna shook his head, though somewhat off-put by the way the nice lady’s words and actions didn’t quite match up, as if watching a movie with an out of sync soundtrack. “Uhm, s-sorry… I don’t know…” he admitted, drooping despite the warmth of the embrace he was in.

A sad look appeared on the lady’s face, a ghost like flicker causing a moment of transparency that Tsuna thought he’d just imagined. “ I’m so sorry, my little sky, ” the soft, whispered words, as before, seemed to resound in his head, lips just off-sync with the wording, though it was getting a little better.

Confused, Tsuna tilted his head. “Why are you sorry, Lady…?” It wasn’t like she did anything wrong, right? Confused, and just on the edge of panic when he saw clear, crystalline drops begin to drip from the lady’s pale yet sometimes orange eyes, he unconsciously screwed up his face. “Wait, why are you crying? Did- Did Tsu-kun do something wrong? I’m sorry! Please don’t cry!” Regressing to the more childish way of referring to himself out of concern, he nearly panicked as the other shook her head, wiping away the liquid drops that reminded him of rain on a sunny day for some reason.

No, it is not your fault, my little one. I am simply...sad, ” she said at last.

“Oh...But… why are you sad, Lady? Did- Did something...happen…?” He asked, concern warring with anxiety as he began to hesitate.

The lady smiled, warm yet sad, “ Do you remember what happened, little one…?

Tsuna wasn’t sure why the other kept calling him little one or sky when she apparently knew what he name was, but he didn’t want her to cry again so he didn’t say anything about it. For some reason, when he saw her cry something in his chest squeezed. Instead, he shook his head, trying to remember though the exact memory seemed to slip out of his grasp every time he tried.

A pale, almost ghostly hand touched his cheek, making him look up again. His head had tilted downward in his thoughts. “ You died, little sky, ” the sheer grief in her voice making him tremble, especially as shock ran its course at her words.

“I-I….died…?” Eyes filling with water almost instantly, wide eyes stared into those framed by long white lashes. A not his answer to the question.

Tsuna gasped, watering eyes just barely hovering at the corners of his eyes, threatening to spill as he tried to remember. Breaths becoming short in hyperventilation.

No…

What had happened?

He-He’d just been at school. He couldn’t be...be dead? He’d… What had happened?

He’d woken up, gotten dressed and fed by mama. Mama had taken him to school, and then…

And then…?

Oh…

Tears spilled as he stilled, remembering.

That’s right. He’d been going to class when the bullies had stopped him. Had pushed him around and sneered when they’d found him near the stairs, and…

And then…-!

Shhh...Shh, my child… my little one… Do not cry, it hurts me when you cry. Please… ” Soft words slowly brought him back, the comforting whispers hushing sobs that he hadn’t even noticed breaking out, incoherent words, babbling, as he remembered . Crystal tears that weren’t his own falling, as achingly sad eyes met his own, before he allowed himself to be pulled close and buried himself into her chest, trembling.

He was dead. He was dead .

Mama...Mama was going to be so sad. What would happen if he was gone? Papa had already turned into a star, and now Mama would be alone.

Was she sad? Was she crying? Hurt?

Lips trembling as he thought of his mother, all alone now that both he and tou-san were both gone…

Hush, my child… Everything will be okay… ” The lady promised, but Tsuna just couldn’t quite believe it.

What would happen to him now? Why him? What about mama…?

It will be alright, I promise, ” words whispered into his hair, a tight yet comforting embrace that let him slowly calm.

“B-ut,” his voice cracked when he finally spoke up again. He coughed. “But… how do you know…?” He asked, even so young as he was, grief was evident, more worry for his poor mother than himself.

A smile touched the lady’s lips, lips that planted themselves on his forehead and caused him to blush at the gentle warmth in her eyes. “ Because I will make it alright, my child.

And as warm words calmed him down, eyes closed as he leaned in and enjoyed the comfort, Tsuna didn’t see as pale eyes flashed black, only seeing warm orange when he looked up again. Eyes questioning as they stared, guileless towards this kind and pretty lady, the woman smiled.

I can send you back ,” she promised, continuing before he could even respond, straightening at the words as his eyes widened. “ I could send you back...but there will be a cost, ” she said sadly, eyes filled with grief as she ‘recalled’ the ‘price’.

Or …” She continued, “ You could stay with me, ” she added gently. “ You would not have to hurt again, my precious sky… ” A clear promise in her warm, compassionate words. Waiting and accepting of whatever decision he made, as a small head tipped downwards as if to think.

“I…” Voice small, Tsuna hesitated. Did he want to go back? He’d still end up being bullied if he did, wouldn’t he…? But…

But what about his mother…?

She’d be all alone...

Decision made, he nodded to himself, unaware of auburn eyes turning orange with his conviction.

“I’ll...go back,” he decided.


 

The being of white frowned, the change in expression so quick that it seemed to be an momentary illusion as it watched the little sky that it held.

“Are you sure?” It asked, the slender, effeminate form shifting as if to look at the child clearly. And when he nodded, it sighed. “Even when you don’t know the ‘cost’ of going back?”

I’m sure ,” Orange eyed full of conviction met its own. “ If I don’t go back, ” the child sky said after a moment, pausing as he tried to explain his words properly.

If I don’t go back, Mama will be alone… ” He said at last.

Fu-~

“...” A slight smile appeared, lips curling and eyes narrowed with something warm, reflecting the orange of the little one’s will.

Even if he was but a child, this little sky…

Without knowing the cost, for the sake of someone precious to him, would risk an unknown price to return to their side.

Ah, this was why it loved them so. The exception to the rule, of these humans. Of the rare ‘pure soul’ whose will was just as pure and strong…

“I understand…” It whispered, a slender hand reaching out to run through the little one’s hair.


 

I understand ,” the lady told him, the absolutely beautiful smile on her face almost causing him to stop breathing. Only the lack of air causing him to turn red and cough bringing him back out of his daze.

I will help you go back ,” she promised, “ however… ” Suddenly becoming serious, the lady paused, seeming to hesitate. “ So that what happened does not occur again, I will give you something, ” she said after a moment, a slender hand with a single finger pointing towards him, an almost invisible wisp of something white and clear and almost like a flame flickering at its end.

Blinking in confusion, Tsuna didn’t move but to tilt his head slightly. Watching as the slender finger moved forward to touch his forehead, he gasped when something both warm yet cool spread from that single point. Almost as soon as the coolness had spread, his entire body seemed to become warm, the pale glow unnoticeable to its owner as his body seemed to flicker with transparency.

Looking at the lady, he saw her smile sadly, and spoke up. Not sure how long he’d still be there as he tried to rush his words out.

“Uhm! Thank you!” He blurted, “Thank you very much for helping me!”

To the lady who was so pretty, and so kind to him, he just barely managed to screw up the courage to speak when he finally disappeared, his last words echoing silently in the vast whiteness and leaving a single, surprised figure in its way.


 

You’re the nicest and prettiest Lady I’ve ever met! So please don’t be sad! I’ll visit some day! ” Orange eyes full of gratitude and conviction, pure and vibrant with its orange hue stared into surprised white.

I promise…! ” The words left echoing in the silence causing it to remain in place, an almost imperceptible stiffness in its figure before a smile blossomed on its effeminate ‘face’. Laughter, warm and plentiful echoing into the vastness of the space as a door… no, a large gate appeared. Its appearance fading into a uniform white, face becoming featureless as it turned away, yet somehow still conveying a warmth in its expressionless ‘face’ as it turned.

“Sawada Tsunayoshi…” The voice, once female (chosen with the intent to calm the tiny sky that had managed to find its way to It, somehow) had become completely neutral, neither male nor female, even as it paused.

“...What an interesting little one,” the being murmured. Warmth, and what almost seemed to be regret, exuding from eyes that had quickly disappeared into the uniformity of its now featureless ‘face’ clear in its tone. A hint of amusement laced into the words spoken into the emptiness.

Figure seeming to meld as it walked into the only splash of color in an otherwise white space, it left only eight, no, nine words behind, the gargantuan double-doored gate with a round-topped doorway disappearing with it as well.

I’ll look forward to your return, little sky...

Only a vast, white space remained, silent with the emptiness left in its wake.


 

The next time Tsuna woke up, it was to the sound of tearful pleading, made between sobs and the feeling of liquid dropping onto a clutched hand. The voice was...familiar, thought the groggy child, sleep grit eyes squinting past the sand as he tried to lift his hands to rub it.

He failed, arms too weak to move (not to mention that one was still caught in another’s hold), the sobs becoming quieter as that familiar voice whispered, voice soft and husky even as it quivered.

“Tsu-kun…?”

“...Ma...ma…” Wincing at his dry throat, he coughed.

“Tsu-kun….Tsu-kun…!” Voice becoming louder, Tsuna’s mother hurried to grab her son a cup of water. Pouring it from a pitcher that the nurses had thoughtfully kept filled when it became clear that Nana wouldn’t drink otherwise.

“Just wait a bit, okay, Tsu-kun? Mama… Mama will get you some water, okay?” Voice choked with tears, the joyful woman pressed the button beside the bed, even as her hands shook, carefully bringing her son the glass before realizing that she’d have to help him sit up. At a loss as she stared at the wires that surrounded her baby boy, not sure which were alright to move or not.

The nurses had always taken care of the wires and such when she’d wanted to give him a bath, so she hadn’t…

“ ‘s...okay…” Tsuna managed, breaking into another coughing fit, automatically curling. Not bothering to wait, his mother put the glass aside to help him up, before wrapping his hands around the glass.

“Don’t speak, Tsu-kun, drink some water first, okay? You’ve been...been sleeping...for a long time, so you’ll be weak. Mama’s here, though. Mama will be here to help, okay?” Hesitating to tell the young child that he had been in a coma, not sure of whether he would wake or not, she didn’t tell him. There was no need to scare him, after all.

As she spoke, a nurse hurried in, only to stop for a moment before calling another nurse to get the doctor, while she rushed in, moving to the other side of the bed to help. Giving Nana instructions as she did so.

Tsuna… Tsuna just tried his best to follow what few directions he was given, letting Nana coax him up to drink, before he got too tired and faded out again.

Still, seeing the his mother shedding joyful tears, as his blurry vision cleared only to fall asleep again, Tsuna tried to reach for her.

“Won’t...leave...Mama… Promise… Tsu won’t… won’t leave you alone…” Voice fading to a whisper that could barely be heard, all he could hear was the choked gasp. Concern for his mother rising as he tried to fight his body’s sleepiness.

He didn’t hear his mother start to cry, hands covering her mouth as her tears flowed freely.

She’d heard.

And she wasn’t sure if she deserved to have such a wonderful son. But she would definitely do her best to become a better mother in the future.

No one would hurt her Tsu-kun ever again. Eyes flashing with determination as her back straightened, taking a deep if shaky breath as she brushed her tears away.

This time… Mama will make sure to properly protect you, Tsu-kun…’

Toffee eyes flashed, a hint of something passing too quickly to be seen, if, indeed, it could be seen at all.

Mama definitely won’t let this happen ever again, my precious Tsu…

Waiting only until the doctor confirmed that he’d be fine and that he was now in a healing sleep to get his needed rest, Nana nodded, marching out of the room.

‘Mama Promises.’

She had calls to make.