Tsuna was one when he first saw the Shrine perched at the top of the hill.
He was in his pram, being wheeled home.
So, as any baby would with something new, he reacted.
By trying to grab it, making little, sniffly noises of complaint.
Nana, hearing her child, stops, peering over.
“Ah, Tsu-kun, are you alright?” she asks, smiling as comfortingly as she can.
Tsuna points , little sniffly noises turning into baby babble.
Nana looks up, finally seeing what Tsuna's pointing at.
“Ah, the Shrine, at the top of Nanimori’s tallest hill?”
Tsuna makes an approving gurgle, though he whines when she accidentally stops him seeing it.
“Does Tsu-kun want to visit?”
Tsuna wants out of his seat.
“You do, don't you?!”
Tsuna makes a grumpy noise, wanting to go to the Shrine immediately.
He settles down as soon as the pram is moved…
... Unfortunately, he's asleep by the time they arrive, having curled up in the warm comfort the Shrine exudes…
By the age of 42 months, Tsuna had learnt that if he wanted his Mama to notice him, he had to stay loud and active or, at the very least, holding on to her …
... Which he unfortunately forgot during his first Summer Festival, surprised at the sight of pretty, orange fishes one would try and grab with paper nets.
He'd only looked away for a moment, clad in an orange and pink yukata with pine-wood geta, though he was determinedly ignoring the blisters he could feel forming on the bases his feet.
“Mama?!” he'd called, freezing in place for a moment, “Mama?!”
Tsuna had searched around, only to accidentally be hit aside and bumped into by many strangers, so much so he ended up dropped in a heap in the middle of the road…
Which led right up to the Shrine, which had been cleaned and redecorated for the Festival, though otherwise it was generally left alone to wither away, purpose forgotten from the many years of its existence.
Tsuna had found it a bit hard to get up the steps, but it wasn’t as though he’d just sat about screaming in his tiny life; no, he’d entertained himself when not needing his Mother’s aid, having already learnt that trying to hog someone’s time selfishly was bad , that self-control was key to others being happy with him.
At the top of the steps, Tsuna is surprised at how big Nanimori looks, trepidation curling in his guts, as he sits on the top step, shocked.
Tears well up, Tsuna giving a soft sniff as he tries not to cry.
His tears escape, anyway, though he manages to quietten his sobs; a lesson he’d also learnt meant a happier Mama; she cried when he did, after all, so if she didn’t know, then he should be fine…
“Oi, where’s your Mama, brat?” a voice asks, Tsuna struggles to force self-control as he turns to see, feet throbbing softly.
“Heh, of course, no one sees me in-”
“Tsu-kun’s sorry…” Tsuna says softly, the man turning, both equally shocked.
“Ts-Tsu-kun’s sorry!” Tsuna whips round again, embarrassment and despair obvious, “Just because Tsu-kun can’t find Mama…” Tsuna’s bottom lip wobbles.
The man picks him up, as tears roll down Tsuna’s face as silent, breathy sobs leave his lips.
“You lost your mother?” they ask.
“Tsu-kun doesn’t want to trouble anyone, Kitsune-san…” Tsuna says softly, upset as his distress pushes him further towards despair.
“Oi, oi! Why do you think you’re causing trouble?! If anything, you should be making as much noise as possible.”
“Tsu-kun doesn’t want to make Mama sad, though…” Tsuna whimpers, “Mama looks completely upset whenever Tsu-kun’s bad, she only sees Tsu-kun when Tsu-kun’s noisy or moving a lot…”
The kitsune sighs, as further sobs leave the small child’s body.
Tsuna peers at the fox-yokai through thick tears, as the kitsune casts a spell to appear human, so it doesn’t look as though Tsuna is floating.
“My name, chibi,” Ido frowns.
They end up walking around for a bit, Ido quiet as he sees the way Tsuna calms down in his arms, the small infant looking back at everything.
“Tsu-kun thinks Tsu-kun knows where Tsu-oji is…”
“He feels like Ido-san…” Tsuna says softly, “Takkun is my friend and Tsu-oji usually helps Tsu-kun find Mama.”
Sighing, Ido carries the infant the way he pints, though he’s highly interested when it leads them straight to a stand where a sushi-chef is performing tricks as he prepares sushi for hungry Festival-goers.
“Tsu-oji!” Tsuna calls, waving, as the man loks over, swiftly catching the knives and food that had been curving through the air.
“Tsu-kun?! Why aren’t you with your Mama?!” he asks, surprised.
“Tsunayoshi lost her in the crowd, I found him crying up by the Shrine,” Ido states, as he smells the scent of a female Kitsune, surprise and curiosity making him smile, as a small call has him turning to see a small boy, no older than the child in his arms, run up.
A halfling ? Ido thinks, surprised, before looking back at the other, No… Slightly more than that…
“Tsu-kun!” the boy says, “Mama told me that I should come here since she’s staying with Nana-oba until they find you!”
Tsuna seems to perk up at that.
Ido chuckles, as he adjusts the straw hat on his head.
“Shall I leave them with you, or do you want me to do a bit of… Magic ?” Ido smirks.
“Magic?” Tsuna asks.
Ido crouches, so only the kids can hear, though he can feel the way Tsuna’s Uncle-figure is listening in with heightened, Hafuu-hearing.
“My nose is like a fox’s, so I can smell the path your Takkun has left to find the scent of your Mamas,” Ido grins, pointy canines showing as blue eyes sparkle.
“OK!” Takeshi grins, “Takkun’s Takeshi, though!”
“Is that alright…” Ido drifts off as he stands, Takeshi grabbing his hand, as the adult raises a brow.
“Yamamoto Tsuyoshi. It’s fine, as long as you return here after,” the chef states.
Ido bows lightly, careful with the small boy fitting easily in one arm.
“Of course,” he says, as he lets his nose show him the way…
When they find the mothers, they’ve stopped for a break.
“Tsu-kun!” the darker-haired female calls, before pausing at the sight of Ido.
“Tsukihime-san,” Ido greets, smiling softly, though his smile hardens when he finally sets eyes on the woman beside her.
Her eyes are soft, physical beauty evident and well-aged, as her kimono-sleeve is held to her mouth.
Not a tear was on her cheek, only worry set within her features.
“Mama!” Tsuna waves, smile brightening.
Ido almost drops the child at the sight.
Was he given a gift by Amaterasu or what?! The boy seemed to light up as bright as the sun!
“Tsu-kun’s really happy for Ido-san to help Tsu-kun!” Tsuna beams, Ido overcoming his immediate emotions in favour of a level head.
“Of course, be more careful, OK?”
“It’s Tsu-kun’s first festival!” the now-calmed mother, Nana, smiles.
Ido tries not to let his immediate discomfort show, even if he’s moved his other arm back to Tsuna, that is.
“Really? I hope this doesn’t ruin it for you, then,” Ido says politely, as his hand brushes a foot…
..Which moves quickly, bringing Ido’s attention to the boy’s feet.
He internally growls , as he sees the geta have been obviously cheaply-made, rough sides giving away the lack of waxing and string a simple, plain orange.
“Um… Tsuyoshi-san wished for us to return to his stand, correct?” Ido says, not yet wanting to put the boy down.
“Ah! Yeah!” Takeshi nods, as Tsuna silently agrees.
They head back, as Ido watches the mother of the small boy warily.
It, of course, had only been a half hour since finding the child, yet…
…The boy seemed to call out to him, his Mother’s oblivious whacking right through mere speculation into concerning . Especially since a three-year-old seems to already know abut self-control, of all things!
“Excuse me, but, may I ask after your son’s father, Nana-san?” Ido asks politely, “Surely a small child such as Tsuna must have a strong Father, given his strong determination?”
Nana gives a lightly laugh, as Tsukihime looks at him sharply in a “ don’t you dare mention that fool !” way.
Ido replies with a calm look, a Nana speaks.
“Iemitsu-kun’s overseas! He works as a builder, so it’s just me and Tsu-kun!” Nana smiles cheerily.
She goes on to speak of how much she loves both her husband and son, though her tale is obviously speaking of a far-gone time that has Ido internally hissing .
“Well, if he is not around, Tsuna is allowed to visit me as much as he wants, I live just beside the Shrine, in the Keeper’s lodge.”
“That would be wonderful!” Nana beams, as Ido quietly moves Tsukihime’s focus to Tsuna’s feet.
“Ara?! Tsu-kun, you’re wounded?!”
“A-ah, Tsu-kun’s fine!” Tsuna quickly says, curling his feet up to try and hide the angry-coloured skin around the sides, “Plus, Ido-san’s carrying me, so Tsu-kun’s happy, ne?!”
Nana giggles, as she looks lovingly at Tsuna and Ido, as Tsukihime seems to go quiet, lips pinching at the corners as her eyes go between mother and son.
They end up getting Nana and Takeshi to help serve customers, as Tsukihime takes Ido and Tsuna back to Takesushi, the shop five roads away from the main street.
When they remove the geta, they are stained with spots of blood, as Tsukihime pulls out tweezers.
“Now, be a good boy, and let Tsu-oba remove the splinters, OK?” Tsukihime says softly, giving Tsuna a warm smile.
Tsuna’s hand remains firmly grippin Ido’s kimono as he nods, letting the other get to work, as the room is filled with silence.
“Why are you so quiet?” Tsuki asks.
Tsuna waits until the next splinter is removed.
“Tsu-kun’s strong, so Tsu-kun’s able to withstand pain, right?”
“Oh? But even Takkun lets himself cry away pain,” Tsuki frowns, as the only thing she finds normal is the way Tsuna seems to try and recoil with each splinter’s removal.
“Tsu-kun hates crying; Mama starts getting worried and upset, and Tsu-kun likes Mama’s smile the most!” Tsuna lets a grin form on his face, “Tsu-kun wants to protect Mama’s smile!”
Ido lets out a soft sigh…