“Spy on our son for us,” said Isaku Hibari; his Chinese wife giggling as she clung to his arm.
Enma was unmoved; only blinking twice casually. Requests of this caliber are no surprise when you work for the elites. The head alpha of The Hibari House was no way as powerful as The Head of Vongola House or other Houses, but he had quite the influence in East Asia and thus was no less cunning.
“I thought I am interviewed for a job under your son and not for you,” Enma stated flatly.
“Which is true, but you have yet to swear your loyalty to him; so you can act as a double agent or some sort,” something about the Japanese Head Alpha was unnerving. For such a serious request, the man and his wife were smiling like it was a joke. “Kyoya, as the rumor says, is highly intelligent. We have a feeling that he’s planning to rebel against us; his dear parents,” the man added.
Enma glanced at the framed picture of said son on top of the head alpha’s bulky desk. The teen was only 17, two years younger than Enma, and closing in to his coming of age. The whole world knew of this. The boy had been making news with his achievements especially ever since the head alpha of Vongola, Giotto, took him in as his protege.
“He hasn’t been coming home even though it's school holiday and he's not even picking up our calls. I am worried he starts forgetting about us, his parents, or worse, preparing a master plan to overthrow our rule in this family,” Hui Yin Hibari chimed with mock worry on her beautiful face. She was born to another strong household in China; and made herself an even bigger fortune by marrying the head alpha of another strong family. “He even built this new club, organization, foundation or whatever, without informing us and has been recruiting more members nowadays. We sent him to the head alpha of Vongola so that he would recruit Kyoya to his upper ranks, not for our son to build his own little clique of goons to overthrow his parents,” Hui Yin continued with a smile that didn’t match her words, “We are just checking whether The Vongola is giving our son ideas that we wont agree with”.
“The last time he was here, he left in anger too,” her husband added.
“Oh true!” She had the gal to look surprised, “What were we even talk about for him to react so strongly dear?”
“You were the one doing more talking to him than I did, dear”.
“Oh yes! I think he was talking about courtship,” the wife said.
“No, dear. I think you were the one talking about courtship”.
The wife chuckled so suddenly that even Enma flinched. “Yes! Yes! I did. I was only pulling his leg a little and he was so offended. Our son is very high strung, I was only insinuating to introduce him to some omegas on his coming of age celebration and he was angered”.
“I don’t think suggesting to invite 100 young omegas to the occasion could be considered as a light joke, my love”.
The woman chuckled again. Enma shifted in discomfort.
The two were half fooling around, but Enma felt they would one day come up in his radar again to collect their favor. “What can I gain from this? You know both your son and Vongola will kill me if they ever found out I’m spying on them”.
“You’re given a dishonorable discharge from military school,” the head alpha disrupted. Enma's eyes widened slightly. “What you did was admirable. Calling out the superiors who killed your friends for their own selfish reasons. Your dismissal is honestly the best thing you can get out of this scenario; but I have connections in the military,” the man's smirk was sinister, “Very influential connections”.
Enma was silent.
“I can clear your name and have those low-lives banished”.
An agreement was reached.
When Enma faced the future heir of the Hibari household, he thought the younger teen looked exactly like his pictures in magazines. Something about the elites were very different; in the way they speak, they walk, they carry their selves. And in the case of Hibari Kyoya, in the way he sighed in disappointment as he sat on a very regal chair. The teen massaged his temple and muttered, “Tetsuya, I told you I don’t need a detective”.
Enma blinked. Detective?
“Oh well, Hibari-san,” Kusakabe Tetsuya started with his casual title for his alpha. He was a beta and had introduced himself as Hibari Kyoya’s personal assistant, hence the familiarity between the two. Honestly Enma couldn’t understand why a 17 year old would need a personal assistant; but being a regular citizen, what does he know about the life of an alpha heir? “I was merely thinking of a way that would help with – “
“Tetsuya,” Hibari’s voice was calm, yet icy. It was a tone that was trained to sound intimidating – or maybe he was born with such authority, Enma had no idea. What he knew was that the teen looked way beyond his years just then. “I. Don’t. Need. A detective”.
Enma was in the middle of turning his head toward Kusakabe. He swore he was told he was recruited to be a member of The Foundation; not to be a detective. He saw Kusakabe in the middle of opening his mouth as if to explain his cause; but in came a man in his mid-twenties . If it wasn’t for his black attire; the color itself is a symbol for Vongolan’s elites; and his shoulder-length red hair, Reno may not believe he was seeing the man himself. A lot of people have red hair, but if you were in Palazzo Bianco, the infamous quarters of The House of Vongola, the only red haired man would be G – The Primo’s right hand man and the Storm Guardian.
The alpha slipped inside unannounced from the sleek double doors and without any warning, he blurted, “We’re departing in two hours to go after Reborn”.
Hibari stood from his seat with such alert, “Alright, I’ll be ready in –“
“You’re not going,” was G’s next statement; short and final, “Primo’s order”.
Hibari paused and Enma witnessed the two glaring at each other. “G, I am telling you –“
“No. I am telling you,” G cut him short with a harsh tone, “The Primo is telling you”.
Hibari Kyoya had a rather stoic visage most of the time, yet right then looked pissed. “Then I will speak to Giotto,” he hissed.
“Be a sensible guy for a sec,” G’s tone calmed. It was still reprimanding, but there was something warm in his tone, “Look, I dont know what is between you two; but you need to stop testing him. Primo is not in his best moods nowadays and It is for you to understand that and respect his feelings”.
“I will not when he doesn’t respect mine,” Hibari responded; still very much headstrong about this.
“You know what, Kyoya, this is not the time. There’s something much more urgent,” G sighed, “Pay us a favor will you? Stay here and watch the palazzo. We’ll never know if Reborn will visit,” the man glimpsed at Kusakabe and Reno. He looked like he was holding back from saying more. “Anyhow, I shall prepare for my leave,” he turned around for the door.
Hibari didn’t seem to give up. He tailed after the man outside, “Wait, G – fuck”.
And they were both out of the room. Enma stole a peek at Kusakabe, who spent no time before following his boss. So Enma went after him.
The four of them crossed the hall way; both the guardian and The Primo’s protégé were ahead, arguing. Enma was far too busy paying attention to the expensive paintings decorating the walls and the thick curtains that had to be more expensive than his own set of clothing. It wasn’t until they were close enough to the arguing pair that he could hear their banter.
“He’s the one with the problem. He is lashing out for no reason!”
“Kyoya, look, he has all the reasons to”.
“You know I can help. I want to help”.
“Not now, Kyoya,” G sighed heavily for the tenth time that day. He put one hand in his suit’s pocket and took Hibari’s hand. “Here,” he put the object he took from his pocket into the inside of Hibari’s palm.
Hibari opened his palm in curiosity, “A key?”
“To Tsunayoshi’s room. You’d like that, don’t you?”
Hibari was silenced for a moment, but he quickly got to himself and lurched at the storm guardian. His hand grabbed at the storm guardian. Enma blanched at the sight. No one touches the guardians that way and gets away with it.
“You’re just looking for a way to get me to stay!!” Hibari exclaimed, evidence of anger crystal clear.
“It’s a good opportunity, maybe you can get to know him better,” G was casual despite the show of disrespect, “And maybe you can look for signs of Reborn’s whereabouts there”.
“Liar! You guys already found out where that man is”.
“Well, he’s Reborn. He’ll find a way to get out of our clutch. Better look for any pointers while we can,” G smirked down at the teen.
Hibari didn’t seem happy. He hissed under clenched teeth, “I am not allowed anywhere near his room”.
G easily pulled Hibari’s grasp on his collar and he then pat said collar from invisible dust. “Now you do. You have a guardian’s word”.
Hibari looked down at the inside of his palm whereas G looked around before he said, “So, I shall take my leave”. The man walked ahead. Hibari spent longer to study the key before he called the man and chased after him. Enma was about to follow when Kusakabe held him back and shook his head.
“Lets return to Hibari-san’s study,” the guy said.
It was hard to believe at first, but the only son of the Hibari household actually had his own study in Palazzo Bianco and that said something about his status inside The House of Vongola. In fact, inside the study was a framed picture of Hibari and The Primo himself; the prior in his Guilleford Academy uniform and the latter in his full formal getup, his honorary medals and emblems clasped securely on his sash.
That picture was hung between two heavy shelves of books, right next to another picture of the Hibari heir alongside his other elite peers in his academy, wearing suits as though they were adults. It painted a relationship that validated what the media had said. Hibari Kyoya was close with The Primo and he was highly regarded among European Alpha Houses. People even wondered if he was the next Vongolan Primo. While that was impossible, people still liked to talk; some of them even believed the Hibari heir and The Primo were in a romantic relationship.
“You may sit here, Enma,” Kusakabe offered the seats facing the huge window, right next to the antique cabinet holding bottles of wines. Enma took a sit and Kusakabe opened the cabinet and prepared them a drink. He offered one glass for Enma, to which Enma thanked him. The young man, maybe as old as Enma, then sat across from Enma. “I apologize, Mr. Cozart. I though we will need you for a while but it seems like the problem has been solved. I will send you back in the afternoon”.
Enma straightened up in alert. “I thought you need me to be a permanent member of The Foundation”.
“Oh, no. No, that’s not it. I apologize if I gave off that impression. It was more of a short contract,” Kusakabe slackened his tie and unbuttoned the two first buttons of his dress shirt. The guy was being casual to get Enma to relax. And maybe as an apology. “Drink,” the man urged with a tilt of his own glass toward Enma. Enma finished his own wine. It was nice. Thus the luxury of a young Alpha heir – the excuse to drink wine as part of tradition.
“Was it a detective work?” Enma couldn’t help but ask.
Kusakabe didn’t respond, instead offering the antique bottle of wine to Enma, “More?”
Enma understood the cue to not speak anymore about the work. “Sure,” he extended his glass to be filled with more wine.
As he finished his second glass, Enma thought of The Hibari alpha pair’s offer and how his dismissal could not earn him their favor. He had to look for a way to stay so he could appease the Hibari head. He needed to stay by the Hibari heir.
They conversed on everything about nothing for about an hour with the company of Hibari’s wine collection. Kusakabe smartly avoided mentioning the real nature of Enma's initial work. Around the end of that one hour mark, Enma caught a line of black cars coming to the grand entrance of the palazzo. He couldn’t see clearly from the window’s view, but it seemed like a group of people were also coming out of the building. A person was walking ahead of everyone in the direction if the now idling cars. He had red hair.
That was G.
He opened the black car right in the middle and waited as though it was opened for someone. It was then the sight of those people became clearer as they approached closer to the car.
They formed a line, half of them wore black, signifying their position in Vongola. The one at the front had wild golden hair and wore a cape.
It was The Primo – the youngest Head Alpha in history, now 27 years old. Behind him was a line of his guardians in exception of G who had walked ahead. From their heads, Enma could guess which one was which. The ones slightly behind the Primo, on his left and right, were Asari and Knuckle. Alaude and Spade was behind them. Lampo was strangely straying slightly behind with a number of maids and other officials from the palazzo.
Once the Primo had settled inside the car, G followed him and closed the door. Afterwards said car and the three cars in front of it departed first. The next two guardians went inside the next car and departed; mirrored by the last two guardians as they shortly departed too as Lampo and the rest waved at their departure.
So The Lightning Guardian will be the one in charge for a while , Enma thought. Before he could put more thought into this, unfortunately, Kusakabe cut that train of thoughts as if reading where Enma's mind was going, “Would you like to have some snacks, Mr. Cozart? I could get the maids to prepare some”.
“Ah, sure,” Enma responded for the mere sake of responding. It seemed they didn’t want Enma to know much about the internal workings of the House.
Kusakabe hadnt even left his couch to go to the nearest maid when Hibari made his entrance. His pace was brisk; face clearly showing his displeasure. “That fucking herbivore –“.
“Hibari-san, you werent in the lobby?” Kusakabe enquired. The Alpha glared at him as he sat behind his desk, right in front of the framed picture of him and The Primo.
“I don’t want to see that man and his smug face out,” Hibari grumbled. Kusakabe, Enma noted, was desperate to please the alpha.
“How about some wine and snacks, Hibari-san?” Offered Kusakabe. No response was given, so Kusakabe pressed on, “How about going to Sawada-san’s room?”
“Tetsuya,” Hibari warned as if the suggestion itself was offensive.
“The Storm Guardian is right, maybe you can help with tracking Reborn or maybe… get to know something about Sawada-san”.
“Shut it, Tetsuya”.
Enma saw it; his chance. He needed to assure the alpha that he could stay and be useful. Enma needed that favor from The Hibari’s Head Alpha to get revenge.
“I can help,” he stood from his seat. The two other occupants of the room turned to him. “You’re tracking a man right? The man the Guardians are after? What is his name, Reborn?” He started, “You were hiring me as a detective. I can do it”.
Kusakabe shook his head, “It’s no longer needed. The Guardians have it all under control”.
“But they gave you the key to investigate for clues on this Reborn person right? Surely if a Guardian asked you to do that, it was because this wouldn’t be an easy job even for them,” Enma defended.
“Which is a good point. It is not an easy job,” Kusakabe fully turned to face Enma, “When I was looking to hire a detective, I didn’t expect that man is our culprit. Now I don’t think you are up for the job because that man is as slippery as a snake”. Enma gulped at the description. “His name is Reborn, and he’s the strongest hitman in The Arcobaleno”.
The Arcobaleno. Of course. No wonder even The Storm Guardian looked wary when mentioning him. The Arcobaleno is a group of betas whose talents exceeded even alphas. They were said to be coming from different line of professions, each excelling in their own areas. They were known among House officials and The Governments. They offered services for the elites on numerous missions. Their line of work was nowhere innocent nor was it public; yet they were the best help anyone could get on anything. Only the elites could afford their talent.
The sound of that was intimidatig, but Enma wouldn’t give up his work. “Which is even more of a reason for me to help. The Arcobaleno is not an easy target. Any kind of investigation would be necessary,” when the two didn’t seem impressed, Enma added, “I know Lal Mirch”.
Hibari Kyoya lifted his gaze, “How do you know that name?”
“I used to work with the military. She assists us a lot”.
“You must’ve been in CEDEF then,” Hibari’s gaze sharpened when Enma nodded. Afterwards he addressed his assistant, “You hired a CEDEF member”.
“N-no, not really Hibari-san. Mr. Cozart, to my knowledge, is no longer a member to CEDEF and I thought the skills he got from CEDEF could be useful,” Kusakabe answered.
“And why are you no longer a part of CEDEF?” Hibari questioned.
“I… decided to leave for personal reasons,” Enma answered. Kusakabe gave him a look and it was then Enma realized; he knew Enma had lied.
“Young Master,” Enma started with the proper title for a young alpha heir, “I will prove to be a good asset for you! I’ll use whatever I have learned from CEDEF to help you!”
Kusakabe shifted but then said in support, “Taking him to Sawada-san’s room might be useful. I mean, surely The Storm Guardian gave you the key for you to make use of it”. Something in the way Kusakabe phrased it made Enma think this was not only about tracking an Arcobaleno – in fact this was nothing about whatever investigation they were talking about.
Hibari Kyoya gazed at his right hand man, then at Enma. “Call me Hibari. You don’t work under me. You work alongside me now,” Hibari told Enma, “So lets go, Mr. Detective”.
“I am sure The Primo has informed you are not allowed in this wing at the moment, Young Sir?” The Head Butler spoke once they caught sight of them in in the foyer of The Primo’s Private quarters.
Enma tried to busy himself with gaping at the gigantic chandelier on the ceiling. Something was going on in Vongola for The Primo to make such a prohibition toward his so called protégé. Hibari justified his presence using the key G gave him; stating it as prove of a Guardian’s approval.
The butler eyed the key, “This is indeed The Storm Guardian’s key”. Enma was curious of the key. He thought it would be used to get into the primo’s private wing, where he stayed with half of his guardians (the rest, along with Hibari, stayed at the opposite wing); but surprisingly Hibari hadnt used the key.
“Then I shall allow you. Let me take you there, Young Sir,” The Butler offered.
“No need, Maximilian, I know the way,” Hibari took the key from the butler and went to the grand staircase. Enma was half ogling the neoclassical architecture as they climbed it and took the staircase to the right. Once they left the stairs, they crossed a short hallway to reach a small turn leading to a double door. They stopped in front of it. Hibari seemed to hesitate.
“Allow me, Hibari-san,” Kusakabe took the key from the young alpha then put the key inside the lock, turning it with a soft click.
Enma didn’t know what to expect once the door opened. The first thing he noticed was this warm powdery smell that was so sweet to be an alpha’s scent. Enma faltered in his steps. Betas don’t smell this strongly either.
Both Hibari had stepped inside carefully; as though they knew they were invading. Hibari, especially, was turning his head at every detail. The room was big with an odd shape; it was almost round yet had some corners. The whole space was a mixture of classical and modern architecture; with a huge bed and its thick layered linens, artistic chandelier, and a number of seats decorating the room. A white fireplace was located opposite to the bed with a number of chairs situated around it. The huge screen TV was on the wall behind the fireplace.
Enma stood right in front of the fireplace to observe the framed pictures arranged on top of the fireplace before the TV. They contained all sorts of pictures, but all of them had one particular boy on it.
He was young, maybe in his mid teens, but not as old as Hibari. He had a very distinctive unruly chocolate mane with a matching round brown eyes. He had seen that face somewhere, but Enma couldn’t put a name on it. In one picture, the boy was smiling next to two other teenagers. From the uniform it seemed like the boy attended an elite school, but nowhere as elite as The Guilleford Academy that Hibari attended. In other pictures, the teen was doing many activities, such as gardening, playing volleyball with his schoolmates, posing near a famous landscape; but one other picture took Enma’s attention.
The teen stood behind a cake. The guardians made a wall behind him as they too smiled at the camera. The occasion seemed to be a private one as everyone was wearing casual clothes. Then Enma’s eyes landed on the face right next to the teen and it was right at that moment he connect the dots together.
The Primo , Enma leaned closer and pointed at the Primo’s face in the picture, then dragged his finger to the teen’s face, they look… alike. A lot .
He had a weird conclusion in mind. The impact of this discovery was big enough that he flinched and took his finger off of the picture in an instant, almost making another frame fell to the floor. Thankfully Enma caught the picture before it hit the carpeted surface. It was a picture of the same teen wearing a black fedora, with a tall man in a black suit standing in the background seeming oblivious to the picture being taken.
“Will you try sitting on this bed, Hibari-san?” Enma heard Kusakabe asking Hibari next to the king sized bed. Hibari grunted defensively, “No”.
Kusakabe chuckled, “I bet Sawada-san cuddles these pillows a lot”.
“Quit it, Tetsuya”.
Enma noted the name. Sawada-san , they said. Enma had never heard of such a person from The House of Vongola, but for sure he could now place a face to that name. It had to be the boy in the pictures.
Hibari then proceeded to look around whereas Kusakabe went to Enma. “Ah, these frames. Nowadays we don’t really print pictures anymore, I wonder who got these frames for Sawada-san”.
Their heads snapped to the direction of the entrance. The Head Butler stood there with a watchful gaze. Obviously the man was suspicious of them. “I just realized; because The Primo and his Guardians have departed for their mission to catch Reborn, there should be no merit in invading Sir Tsunayoshi’s room. Especially by entrusting that task to someone who had just been banned by Primo to enter this wing”.
Hibari was surprisingly calm for someone who was being accused for something. “That is because Reborn is not the person to play with. G believes I could do some investigation to support their search for Reborn. I even got myself,” Hibari casually gestured toward Enma, “A detective”.
Enma awkwardly nodded his head, “Enma Cozart”.
“He used to work for CEDEF,” Hibari added.
“Really?” The Butler fixed the position of his glasses before walking closer to Enma. “Then tell me now, Mr. Cozart, the Guardians have investigated this room thoroughly and they deemed it necessary for the room to be locked, so what can you add to this investigation of Young Master Tsunayoshi’s whereabouts?”
I thought this is to search for Reborn’s whereabouts, Enma thought while he casted a glance to Kusakabe, no one has briefed me on this. Everyone in the room stared at his helpless form with expectations. “Um, we can always start with the person’s personal belongings to understand their line of thoughts and course of actions,” Enma suggested.
“The Young Sir went on his own accord so most of his very personal belongings were taken with him; mobile phone, wallet, some clothes,” the butler pitched in.
Enma turned accusingly at the boy’s picture, you ran away? “Then we can track him through his phone’s activity”.
“The last ping was caught by the tower closest to the clinic he was scheduled for that day. The clinic’s camera has caught him leaving the main building. No other feed was caught from him afterwards, as expected of Reborn. The man must’ve guide him through it thoroughly beforehand,” the elderly butler added, "No activity was detected from all of his bank accounts either before he went missing. I suppose Reborn is taking care for all of his needs”.
Enma blinked and turned to the same photo again. You ran away to an Arcobaleno? “How about cameras? He seems to be fond of them,” Enma proposed. There was a number of action cameras displayed in the cupboard near the entryway to the room and next to the bed, by the long line of windows, was a long white cabinet that also functioned as a work desk where a number of camera equipment was let astray. From that point, if you look to your right there was a bay window reading nook with an empty tripod facing it.
“He is. He carries them everywhere. Most of the cameras here contains no pictures however, and the main camera he uses is not here. We assume he took it with him”.
Enma smiled. The teen must've had stored his dta somewhere else. “How about a computer?”
“The Young Sir has them, a macbook pro if I’m not mistaken, but I believe he took it with him too,” the butler provided.
“We can still find something,” Enma countered, “From the microphone latched to his tripod and the smaller one we can see on the desk; I assume he uses his camera for video capturing”.
The butler was taken aback, “Yes, he does. He loves recording himself reading a book out loud or talking about various matters”.
Enma’s smile grew, “Then he had to have an external storage; a hard drive. A macbook could only store so much in comparison to a proper desktop. Most content creators have extra storage,” but then realization hit Enma, “Or maybe he also take it with him”. Which would be the case if the boy planned to leave the place permanently.
Enma was disappointed he failed to find something extremely new; but the butler was mildly impressed. “Perhaps, there’s a point to that assumption. We would never know what we could find unless we search The Young Sir’s room. Then we could see whether your thesis could be proven”.
Enma sensed that both Kusakabe and Hibari didn’t expect The Butler would allow them to search the room. The last Enma saw them, the young Alpha and his assistant were checking this person's – Sawada Tsunayoshi, Enma figured his name was – desk. Meanwhile Enma visited the boy’s walk in closet, right next to the reading nook area.
The warm powdery smell was the strongest there. No wonder, it was the haven of so many of the boy’s clothes. On the right was a low white dresser and a huge ceiling length mirror was perched on the wall behind it. The first thing Enma singled out on said dresser was a box filled with pills, perfume-like bottled liquid, and lotion.
They were scent blockers.
Enma blanched. Of course, he should have known from the smell alone. Sawada Tsunayoshi was an omega. Better yet, an omega male!! The rarest of the rare, even rarer than female alpha. Enma wasn’t even sure this nation had a single registered omegan male – well, except for this one, of course. What was he doing there in the private wing of the Primo? Omegan servants had long been banned from Vongolan’s quarters so Enma avoided making the conclusion. Then again, didn’t he look like a particular alpha?
Enma swallowed. Are they related?
However, for someone related to the Vongolan Head, wasn’t the boy’s wardrobe lacking of any black attire? Enma turned around and double checked. Yes, there was no black piece of clothing around and the boy didn’t have many formal suits too. Therefore, he didn’t attend many formal gatherings.
What does this mean? Enma wondered as he walked around the closet; his thoughts was disrupted only when Hibari Kyoya appeared at the door leading to the closet.
“Find anything?” The alpha asked.
“No. Nothing yet, Mr. Hibari".
Enma had seen Hibari Kyoya attending numerous functions with The Primo in black despite not being related to the latter. Yet why was this omega nonexistant to the public’s eyes.
Enma continued to observe the whole closet. Sawada Tsunayoshi was clearly well sheltered. His clothes mostly consisted of pastel colored semi formal pieces. He had racks of sweaters and short sleeved shirts plus knee length pairs of bottoms. However, one rack carried three hanged adult sized dress shirt of different styles that didn’t fit the rest of the closet. Enma approached it curiously.
It was when he touched one of the dress shirt did he noticed the mixed smell between Sawada’s own and this mild clean scent. Being a beta himself, Enma knew this smell too well.
A beta’s scent.
Enma figured this might be Omega scenting. Omegans birth rate is low in developed nations, but even here the habits of them sneaking their loved ones objects to scent them was a known legend. It was often romanticized in flicks and Alphas often made locker room jokes of exchanging shirts with an omega for scenting.
Enma wondered which beta was close enough to an omega of this high standing.
Right below the hanged dress shirts, a small orange blanket was folded neatly. Enma bent down to it out of curiosity only to be attacked by a strong waft of charcoal-like scent.
An alpha scent.
“Giotto has scented Tsunayoshi then,” Hibari had been standing next to Enma all along. He turned to Enma. “I never knew that,” the alpha continued blankly.
Enma inhaled deeply. The blanket was The Primo’s then.
“Which was to be expected,” The young alpha kept on, seemingly without direction. “I mean, of course naturally that would occur”.
“Did you scent… him?” Enma didn’t know why he asked that.
Hibari’s head snapped at him so fast but his facial expression said nothing. “No,” Hibari said finally after seconds of tense silence, “Of course I did not. I didn’t know him. We never even talked that much”.
There was something in Hibari’s words that Enma couldn’t place, especially in the way the younger teen instantly focused on something else right after.
The Hibari heir touched the three dress shirt above it. “Reborn already has three shirts here. No wonder, really. The two of them have been very close,” He mused, oblivious to Enma’s conflicted gape at the dress shirts. Enma hadnt known those were an Arcobaleno’s!!
“Anyway, this closet is really… elegant, which is fitting,” Hibari pondered further as he walked away, hand touching some clothes on his way. Enma went the other way and opened a cupboard. He saw a small box covered in soft orange leather packaging.
Enma’s brows rose.
“I’ve found it. I’ve found the hard drive”.
They found them selves around the fireplace. Hibari sat next to Enma on the sofa and the Alpha had his own laptop on his lap as he tried to open the files in the hard drive. Kusakabe stood behind the young alpha while Maximilian, the butler, stood behind Enma.
“The Guardians never mentioned the hard drive before. I wonder if this new discovery might be key to our search for Reborn and The Young Sir. Informing the Primo regarding this matter should be done as soon as possible,” The Butler rambled with a fist in front of his mouth.
Meanwhile Enma watched Hibari opening the hard drive using his laptop to no avail. “I cant open it,” he stated, “I tried cracking the password, but its highly protected. Some high skilled coding was put on this drive”.
Enma studied the screen on Hibari’s high end laptop. “… Hibari-san, let me try”.
He took out his own device from inside his postman bag; a mini computer he had built himself. He plugged the hard drive to its usb port and cracked the first wall of protection. “Done,” Enma announced. Everyone hummed in awe at his skills. Years in CEDEF taught him a lot.
“That is brilliant -,” The Butler commented, stopping when the young Alpha in the room raised his hand.
“Maximilian, is it safe to say we have passed your enquiry regarding our motives?” The Alpha started, “If so, we have some serious investigating to do here and I think you have regarded us accountable enough to do our work independently – out of your watch”.
The butler was clearly taken aback. Hibari continued, “And besides, don’t you have another matter to attend to? Such as informing everyone of our finding?”
The Butler studied the young alpha for a moment before he bowed in respect. “I understand. I shall take my leave then, Young Master Hibari. The maids will be available to attend to your needs in this wing,” he then left the room.
Once the door was closed, The Hibari heir put his laptop on the coffee table, exhaled, and threw himself to the back of his seat, “Glad he’s finally gone. It'll take him a while to get in touch with Giotto and his crew. They'll cut contacts to avoid getting traced by Reborn," He crossed one leg over the other, “So what do we have?” He addressed Enma.
Enma observed the alpha and considered his purpose. Now that the butler was gone, somehow Enma felt very inappropriate. Here was an omega he knew nothing about and he had roamed around his quarters and his closet; touching his belongings and looking into it with an alpha who had admitted to never talked to the omega. Wherever it was, acting too cordial with an omega you’ve yet be acquainted with could be seen as rude toward the omega, especially without the watch of their carer, usually an older alpha or beta – on special cases, an older omega.
Enma stepped into this room in hope of getting closer to the young alpha for his own benefit, not to be in the discovery of a young omegan boy and his complicated background. In fact, Enma wasn’t even sure if Sawada Tsunayoshi was really his name.
“So?” Hibari repeated. Enma gulped. Whatever, it wasn’t his business to care for this omega.
“All the folders are protected with complex coding too, except for one,” Enma started.
“Wait a minute, let us connect the device to the screen. Genevieve,” Hibari called to the room. A woman’s voice answered; an AI.
“Yes, Young Master Hibari”.
“Connect the new device to the smart screen,” Hibari ordered.
“Connecting,” the AI responded. The flat screen on top of the fireplace was lit. “Awaiting for permission from new device,” The AI said. Enma sighed. He honestly didn’t want his device to be connected to The Vongolan’s central networks. Eventually he enabled his laptop to connect to the smart screen and, in turn, to the Vongola private network.
Hibari seemed pleased for the cooperation. The large screen showed what was on Enma’s. Enma opened the folder labeled as 01. There were a lot of files inside, each labeled with a long mixture of letters and numbers and it was unreadable by the device. “All of these files can’t be read, I think we need to decode it”. Hibari hummed. Enma added, “I can decode all of them but it’ll take some time”.
Hibari simply nodded in appreciation. “The next folder is the same,” Enma stated, “But the last folder contained 3GPP files”.
Hibari perked up only slightly, “Oh, a video”.
“Yes,” Enma confirmed and opened the folder. When no one said anything, Enma turned to the Hibari heir and saw him looking back expectantly. “Oh, do you want to open it?” Enma dumbly asked. Hibari’s face contorted while Kusakabe leaned forward, “Yes, of course”.
“O-oh,” Enma hurriedly tapped on the screen to open the file. His finger faltered before it made contact with the device; he wasn’t sure if it was wise to open something that was private to the omega and he didn’t even know him.
The video player opened and it showed the first frame of the video as it loaded the file. It was of a barely decorated room with only a bed on the screen. The bed itself had a messy sheet and one thin pillow. The video might be very grainy and of poor quality, but Enma could note how badly done the room’s wallpaper was.
Then appeared the omegan boy’s head from the right corner of the screen. He looked pleased; a grin formed on his heart shaped face before he fully stood facing them. Enma felt awfully awkward for seeing this person behaving as if they could see them; practically invading his privacy.
“Hello!” The audio was poor, but the teen, who seemed younger in the video, was barely speaking with a clear voice. It was like he was lowering his voice to not bother others; or maybe he was too shy. He waved at them and it was then the collar of the overly large shirt fell off one shoulder. He causally pulled it back like he was used to it and waved again.
“Where was this?” Hibari muttered to his assistant.
“I think it’s the orphanage”.
“Yeah, I think so too. How old do you this he was?”
“Maybe 11? 12?”
“Hnn,” The heir nodded, eyes not leaving the screen as he now propped his face with three fingers from his left hand. Enma wondered if he should open the next file. Atleast until Kusakabe prompted him to do so.
The next video was obviously taken right after the first video finished because Sawada was wearing the same clothes and standing in the same position. This time he looked more ready though. “Hello, my name is Sawada Tsunayoshi,” he paused like he didn’t know what to say next. His shoulders hunched a little before he continued, “You can call me Tsunayoshi or Tsuna... or Tsu. That is okay too,” another pause, “Um, I am twelve – I shouldn’t have said that um,” he inhaled, “I am twelve years old. My birthday is on the fourteenth of October,” He looked down to remember his next line, “I just bought uhh... this phone and uh... I,” he paused again and this time looking like he regretted that uh’s, “I gathered the money from selling bracelets that I made myself such as this,” he showed the colorful hand bands on his arms, “Yeah. I made them myself and... I like making videos. I want to make videos using this phone because... uh,’" he was then silent for a long time as if he was out of words, “Yeah. That’s all for today. Bye!”
The experience was surreal for Enma. He was even more mortified when the young alpha said, “Open the next file. Open all of them as a playlist”.
Enma glimpsed at the picture of the teen on top of the fireplace. I’m sorry, he thought dragging his fingers on all of the files and put them together in a list. All of them were 3GPP files and there were tens of them though most of them barely reached 5 minutes. The next seven to eight videos were of him trying different takes on the same message; at different times of the day and using different settings. Obviously, the boy, then only a child, was looking for the perfect takes with the least errors.
In his final take he managed to explain how he wanted to make videos using his phone because he wasn’t very good with writing and he wanted a friend. At the end of those, Enma sent weird looks at the other two in the room. He wondered what’s the importance in all of this.
The next videos were on autoplay. In some of them, he was showing the camera how to make his so-called bracelet and he turned the camera around to get different angles on the bracelet despite it being shot under poor lighting. In the next series of videos he recorded himself while trying different types of food; mostly regular foods that didn’t even seem that appetizing; and giving unnecessary reviews on these foods afterwards. He even reviewed a serving of bread and jam. He narrated himself in these videos, however awkwardly, and you could see the daily activities of the orphanage throughout these videos. Sometimes Enma caught sights of other children loitering around in the background.
Both Hibari and Kusakabe were watching rather seriously. They made comments in between videos; about how long his hair had been compared to how they were now, how, despite the condition of his clothes, Sawada still managed to look good (which Hibari stated casually), and other statements that were innocent but unnecessary. It was weird how Kusakabe would encourage these thoughts; and more often than not he would mention them playfully.
In Enma’s case, he thought the video was painful to watch. The teen did look younger; but he was strangely way thinner compared to himself in the framed pictures. Enma was sure it was the harsh reality of having to live in a rundown orphanage with many other kids. Moreover, the videos were boring. Nothing crucial was happening, obviously it was taken way before the present time, and it was so awkward in a way that made it difficult to see.
It wasn’t until the forty-something video that something actually happened. The video was taken in what seemed to be a toilet stall. Sawada was in his oversized and overwashed pajamas; sitting on the toilet and hugging his knees as his face wrinkled and drops of tears dampen his cheeks. His whole face was red; it was obvious he had been crying for a while.
He didn’t say anything. He only cried. From the silence, you could tell he locked himself there while no one was around.
“T-they say...,” a choke; and another series of sobs came out, “T-they say I look s-stupid,” he stated in between sobs. It took another half a minute before he managed to gather himself. “They f-f-ound my videos o-on the library’s computer and they l-laughed at it. T-they called me stupid. I k-know they think that of me; they don’t really like me. B-because I’m an omegan boy,” this time his face contorted further. His sobs started anew. The confession in front of the camera definitely pained him the most. “B-b-but I cant change who I am! I tried to be liked – but I CANT!”
“They made fun of my dreams to be a news anchor. They say I cant even read... because I’m an omega male,” he hiccuped; eyes clenched shut as he tried to wiped his tears with the large sleeve that threatened to break down into threads. “I was laughed at when I read out loud and I did my best t-to laugh back. Because I always laugh – I never get angry. B-but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt!” His whole body quaked, “I couldn’t go far without reading or doing math. I cant even write. They say my writing is like a toddler’s, which I guess is true. But is it w-wrong for me to want to be so-something more t-than just an o-omega?”
The next seconds was filled with the child wiping his face with his shirt. Enma just noticed the pointer on the media player was moving slowly because the video was twenty minutes long. Nearing the end of the video, Sawada turned to his phone with a very red face and swollen eyes. However, he also looked very determined.
“You’ll see. One day, I’ll be the most famous omegan male ever. I’ll have my own tv show and I’ll change the world. I’ll see to that,” He huffed, rather childishly, but Enma couldn’t help but cheer him on. “I’ll be someone great and they will all see that”.
The video then skipped to a whole new different scene in which Enma realized they had moved on to the next video. Because the videos in this folder was not coded, Enma could see the date it was taken was a month after the previous one was. He also discovered that his eyes was somewhat dry from the lack of blinking when he saw that previous scene. He turned to his companions in the room.
Hibari’s back was straight and his jaw was slack. Kusakabe, who stood idly behind the man, carried a somber expression; his eyes were glossy. The current state the video was taken in, in which Sawada was cheerfully narrating after himself brushing his hair, was left unnoticed because they were still processing the previous scene.
They all jumped to see the person by the door. A maid bowed to them, “It is dinner time. Young Master Hibari and Mr Kusakabe are called to join The Lightning Guardian for dinner in The Red Dining Hall. Mr. Cozart, you can join the dinner in The Hall of Cygnet in the south wing”.
The maid excused herself once Hibari thanked her. They didn’t realize they had been there for an hour already. The rich lighting of the room made them oblivious to how dark the sky had gone outside. The young alpha stood from his seat. “We’ll continue after dinner in my study”. He took the hard drive with him.
The Hall of Cygnet was an intimate dining room for young recruits in Vongola. Enma conversed with some of them; young and bright youth they were. He was picked up by Kusakabe in the middle of a chat with a young recruit under The Rain Guardian. Enma excused himself.
A number of maids passed them by in the hallways and they all bid their greetings to Kusakabe. Once there were less people, Kusakabe dragged Enma outside; to the side terrace. No one was there except for the two of them.
Kusakabe was sporting a serious face. He stopped near the railing, and turned around to face Enma.
The massive Japanese immigration to Neo Italy – thanks to Vongola’s strong history with the Asian nation – birthed a plethora of subcultures in this nation. Bowing – the one typical of a Japanese – was not done by everybody who lived in Neo Italy; but the concept was no stranger even to those who had no Japanese blood in them. Thus, Enma, who was in no way Japanese, became flustered when Kusakabe started bowing to him. He understood the meaning; but he wasnt used to it being done before him.
“I deeply apologize, Mr. Cozart. I understand you are a highly intelligent man and there’s no way you don’t question what just happened in Sawada’s room today,” he stood to his full height, “It is part of mistake to not have you briefed about everything”.
“Okay, okay. Just don’t bow, I accept your apology,” Enma hurried.
“Thank you, Mr. Cozart. I am very grateful for your kindness. In this opportunity I would like to explain to you about what is going on. However, allow me to confirm,” he paused, “Have Alpha Hibari and his wife come to you asking to spy on Hibari-san?”
Enma flinched, but nodded. “I see,” the assistant murmured, “Mr. Cozart, you are free to inform the Head Alpha about Hibari-san. However, I beg of you not to inform them of everything else besides that; especially not of anything related to the things I will tell you after this”.
“Is this related to Sawada Tsunayoshi?” Enma had his arms crossed. Kusakabe nodded. “Okay, “ Enma sighed, “I apologize for having an ulterior motive too. I was only pushing for the investigation to the room for an excuse to find information on Hibari for his parents”.
“I know,” was Kusakabe’s short response.
“Anyway, who is this Sawada Tsunayoshi? How is he in the same wing as the Primo yet I’ve never heard about him?” Enma started. The wariness that had been contained inside him spilled out of his being.
“Okay, I will explain everything to you,” Kusakabe started with a deep inhale, “He is The Primo’s step brother”.
“What!?” he shouldn’t be surprised, but hearing it himself was still surreal.
“Yes. He is the previous Primo’s son, with a mistress,” Kusakabe stopped, “How that came to was not my place to tell, but long story short Sawada-san hasn’t been here for long. He has only been found two years ago. Before that, as you’ve seen, he lived in an orphanage without any knowledge of his origin”.
Enma held his heads using his two hands. This was so much to take in. He couldn’t believe he was hearing this in Palazzo Bianco. No one outside of this place knew of this. No one. “And, he’s running away right now? Is that it? Is that really why I’m here?”
Kusakabe looked away, “At first, I was looking for a private eye to help Hibari-san investigate. However, after a short period of time, it was pretty obvious where Sawada-san ran off to. Everyone knows from the start, but I kept looking for someone who could play detective. Someone who is not a detective, but is convincing enough to perform as one,” the man looked guilty, “The tension had been very high in the Palazzo two weeks ago when we realized Sawada-san didnt return from the clinic. Hibari-san was very stressed out and he kept on having fights with The Primo”.
“I only wanted Hibari-san to focus his frustrations onto something else so the tension in this palace could be reduced. And I am still using you for that purpose at this point,” Kusakabe added. Enma closed his eyes. He knew it.
It was obvious the investigation was useless when the culprit was already in the middle of being chased, by The Primo himself and the Guardians, mind you; and Enma’s skills was not on par to match up to theirs or even an Arcobaleno. Furthermore, Enma didn’t think watching silly videos made by a younger Sawada could be of any help.
“And is the young alpha really fooled by this?” Enma queried.
Kusakabe looked away, “Not really. He’s intelligent; of course he knows. But I guess he also wants to do this,” noticing what he said, he quickly added, “Before this there was a commotion that might have inspired Sawada-san to run away. Hibari-san was involved in that commotion so he feels guilty”.
Enma squinted. He was sure that was not what the right hand man was about to say. Kusakabe continued again when Enma looked even more suspicious. “No one knows exactly what they were arguing about; except for the four people involved – and maybe G, because The Primo tells G everything, I’m sure. It took place in the library between Sawada-san, Hibari-san, The Primo, and Reborn”.
Enma nodded. So this was where the Arcobaleno came to play into this. Though his involvements with the omega was a mystery, at least now Enma could hear them being mentioned in the same sentence.
“The fight was so bad that The Primo kicked Reborn out of Palazzo Bianco, Hibari-san was banned from ever visiting The Primo’s private wing, and Sawada-san… well, Sawada-san ended up with a bruise… in the face”.
Enma blinked. “Wait – what? You mean, as in hit in the face?” Kusakabe nodded. Enma gasped, “How? Who?”
“We don’t know”.
Enma frowned, “Did Hibari – “
“I – we don’t know, Mr. Cozart. I would like to think Hibari-san doesn’t have it in him to lay a hand on an omega,” yet the way he spoke was of doubt. The possibility was pretty high.
“It could be Reborn. He’s a hitman,” Enma offered, but Kusakabe shook his head.
“A feared assassin Reborn is to Vongola; but a bad person he is not to Sawada-san. Sawada-san, to him, is like a… a son, maybe. You know how omegas are very peculiar on their carer? I think he had marked Reborn as one,” Kusakabe explained, “Which is no wonder he chased after Reborn in retaliation after the fight”.
There was too much to process at once. “You're implying... Sawada ran away to Reborn after this fight happened? How are you sure?” Enma questioned.
“He left only four days after the fight. And considering the fact that he brought his personal belongings along with some clothes in his duffel bag; it was obvious it was planned. Plus it was executed neatly, to the point that we couldn’t trace Sawada-san after he left his clinic appointment that day. Such escape could only be done by the master of escape himself; Reborn”.
Yet it had taken the Primo and his guardians two weeks to even tail the man; and a mere omegan boy could track him faster? “Is that even possible? Is he safe?” Enma pressed on.
“I’ve never spoken to Reborn; but I’ve seen him. Lets just say, he’ll let himself known to you when he wants to. We believe he guided Tsunayoshi to his hiding place after he was kicked out,” Kusakabe tilted his head, “As for safe, if I’m to be honest, I think there’s no safer place for Sawada-san than to be with Reborn”.
“By that you’re saying there’s no urgency to investigate after his disappearance after all, Kusakabe,” Enma drawled.
Kusakabe bowed again, though this time it was momentarily. “Yes. And that is why I am apologizing to you. But I would like for you to continue with this… charade,” He said, “I’ve seen how Hibari-san’s mood improved in just one day and I would like for that to continue, at least until The Primo is back with his entourage. I’m offering you an agreement, Mr. Cozart. I would like for you to stay and engage Hibari-san in this investigation; and in return you can stay to gather as much information as you can for The Head Alpha of The House of Hibari”.
The man extended his hand to Enma. Enma was careful; but he had a set goal.
He took the hand in his own, “Deal”.
“You’re late,” Hibari Kyoya opened the door to the study before they knocked. The teen was wearing something different that evening. He had a light sweater on and a pair of khaki pants; a matching pair of loafers too. Around his left wrist was a silver Rolex that was surely more expensive than any valuables Enma had ever owned.
He led them further into the study; passing the pool table; into the area with thick leather couches facing the large screen between the heavy bookshelves. Light snacks were arranged on tiered tray on the coffee table, alongside bottles of light wine that was customary to be served to young Alpha of Houses.
“Take a seat gentlemen,” Hibari went ahead and threw himself on the chaise lounge. Both Kusakabe and Enma sat on the sofa.
“Where were we?” Kusakabe took a green grape out of the fruit bowl.
“I’ve started ahead of you. He’s doing more tutorial videos with multiple angles,” Hibari then ordered Genevieve to continue the video. The TV screen showed Tsunayoshi sitting with his hands folded on a desk.
“Today I will show you how to make bracelets,” The boy ‘s finger went to the screen and then the scene jumped to a different angle. Tsunayoshi was behind the camera, and the screen was now showing different beads and other tools needed to make bracelets. He proceeded to explain each of them. Next the scene jumped to a different angle again and this time Sawada was much more thoughtful regarding the placement of his camera.
“Someone figured out the pause button,” Kusakabe joked. Enma snorted. That was funny. The corners of Hibari’s lips perked too.
The next videos witnessed Sawada growing less nervous in front of camera. He could now use different angles, speak more without pausing, and he even took his phone outside to shoot the view. There were also moments where he would say something and decided he sounded stupid, in which he would repeat what he had said with a more enthusiastic tone.
After a while, Enma admitted this boy had grown on him. It was cringey at first, but now a lot of Sawada’s actions became funny.
On the other hand, Sawada had his teary moments. They found even more footage of him crying in an enclosed space. He would cry about his lack of friends and how the rest of the orphans made fun of his phone. While it was sad, Sawada would always return to his two feet in the same video he cried on; swearing himself to success. Whenever Enma saw that, he felt inspired by the boy’s attempt to cheer himself up.
However, it still broke Enma’s heart to see the boy’s worry stricken face at the camera on one particular footage. The camera was strangely extra blurry this time and Sawada kept on wiping on the lens as if trying to fix it. “Why is it this blurry?” The boy’s panic was tangible in his voice. The audio sounded worse this tine around.
“What happened?” Hibari voiced.
“I think something might’ve happened to the phone and broke the camera? It seems like a cheap phone; may not have the best endurance,” Kusakabe suggested.
“Oh no,” Sawada sounded so sad, yet no tears came out of his eyes – yet. The last of that video was of the boy gazing heart broken at his phone; like he was about to lose a friend.
The next video was dated four months ahead of that one. This time the video quality was somewhat better. Sawada stood in the middle of the frame, in the reenactment of his second video ever. He was grinning. “It works!” He exclaimed giddily, “The video is better too! Wow”.
He then moved closer to the camera until you could count the amount the curl on the collar of his faded graphic t-shirt. “Hello! I’m Sawada Tsunayoshi and I just got a new phone!” He waved, “As you know, my old one fell from the third floor when I was in the middle of cleaning. I was very sad when it happened, but I managed to gather enough money to buy a new one! It’s a good phone too, I mean it doesn’t have 3G, but its better than my previous one because it has a front camera. And I got free earphones!!” The boy looked very excited, “I never had one of these. It only comes in black though – that is silly! They should’ve had blue at least!”
He showed the box and earphones. The mobile phone was of a no-name brand. Moreover, it was also outdated for its time. However, Sawada was happy and that made Enma smile too. If only he knew that time that Vongola owned the most share in the biggest mobile device in the world and he should've had some rights to it.
“I will keep this box with me forever!” The teen hugged the box, “Oh, by the way! I had been saving money from selling bracelets and helping out in the kitchen. But on my thirteenth birthday, surprise, surprise, The Headmistress gave me extra pocket money! She said she recognized my hard work and how I’ve been helpful. I was like, is this for real?? She was like, yes, its real. She then accompanied me to buy this phone and I was like, I cant believe this. I thought it’ll be a loooooong time before I could buy another phone!”
He was able to ramble now. Enma remembered just hours ago in real time he was stumbling upon his words.
“Make sure you find the headmistress and get her a gift for her next birthday”.
Enma smiled at the exchange. Most of them had gone quiet. In the next clip, Sawada was reading a pocket sized book out loud. From the cover you would guess it was a book made for very young children.
“Li – Li… Little? Litter? Hmm… no, its little. Little ma.. mi-miss – mouse? Miss? Miss. Little Miss… is this sunshine? Yeah, I think this is Little Miss Sunshine. That sounds correct”.
Enma cringed at the boy’s attempt. The video lasted longer than most. Sawada didn’t succeed in finishing the book as it had exhausted his whole attention. The next videos followed the same trend, though on a different book. He sped up his reading in some of them, though in return he misread a lot of words.
“Omegas were found to perform poorly in academics; and this was found to be more prevalent in male omegas. Most countries with a lot of omegas don’t put them in schools because of that. They put omegas in educational centers for practical skills instead,” Hibari mused unannounced, “One fifth of a developing nation’s population usually consists of omegas”.
“We cant say for sure it correlates, Hibari-san,” Kusakabe responded.
“True, but people like to think so to the extent that omegas are labeled as a defect in nature. Omegas were found to perform the least in all areas of development in comparison to the other genders. This makes me wonder,” Hibari stated, “If life is really fair. If it is possible that some people were made unfortunate”.
They were silenced by that words. Hibari added as an aftertjought, "They also call male omegas disabled".
Hibari's words were cruel, yet Enma sensed he didnt say it to mock. In fact, he sounded like he loathed these facts.
The next video saw Sawada taking a stroll with the rest of the orphanage kids. They had ice cream, which was The Headmistress’ treat for all of them, and they watched a game of baseball. Sawada magically pulled a kid away from a spot before a stray ball struck the exact area where the kid had stood. No one commented on it; but they should be thankful to Sawada at least.
In the next scene Sawada was sitting on the floor. He was holding a book titled The Ugly Duckling. Somehow, his nose was red and his eyes were glossy. “I don’t know why I’m so stupid even though I don’t want to be,” he was not sobbing, but Enma reckoned that he was crying silently. A small tear dropped from his eye, “I’ve studied hard. Even late at night. So why am I still so stupid?”
“I’ve been wanting to read this book again. One of the caretakers had read it to us when I was very young. I really liked it back then. Now I’ve forgotten the ending and I would like to know,” a tear fell down and a sniff was heard, “But why cant I read it? I thought it’ll be easier after I practiced”.
Another tear dropped and this time Sawada frowned. “I'm only wondering if The Ugly Duckling have friends in the end”. He sniffed again before wiping his face with the sleeve of his thin jacket. After that, he returned to the book pages.
“You know what? I can make up the story through the drawings here. Like at this point we know The Duckling was in the farmer’s house and the children seemed mean to him. He was bullied so he left the house in a hurry,” Sawada then flipped the page, “And so the ugly duckling looked around for someone who would care for him and be his friend. He looked on the streets for someone to pick him up, but no one even saw him because they were very ignorant”.
“So he found a flock of swans on a lake. Gathering the courage to impress, he approached them and they were greatly impressed by him. One of the swans welcomed him, ‘Hello little duckling. We are so impressed by you. As a gift, I will cast a spell on you that will bestow you a great beauty’. The next thing the duckling knew, when he looked down on the water, he had transformed into a swan!! Afterwards, they swam together across the lake and the ugly duckling was ugly no more. He had found a place to call home. And they all live happily ever after. The End,” Sawada frowned, “I don’t think that is the real story but I’m happy enough with that. I wonder why beautiful rich people are nice. Last week, there was this rich couple visiting us; they were very nice. And all of those rich celebrities on TV; they are also nice. I wonder if they’re rich because they’re nice”.
“The kids here arent nice and we are all very unfortunate,” He said, “So I say, if I hold back from getting angry and act nice, I will maybe live a better life. Its like impressing potential parents with your good behavior so they would adopt you and you’ll be an orphan no more”.
The video went on to show Sawada doing other dull tedious activities as they all let his words sink in. No one said much this time. Not until one particular video where Tsunayoshi was holding his phone above him as he lay In bed.
“I found someone so cool and interesting on TV yesterday. He’s like so smart and talented,” Sawada was excited and impressed, “I was like, ‘Wow'. All the kids were being like, ‘Its nothing extraordinary’. But this guy is only 15! 15! And he already accomplished so much! He is mentored by Vongola Primo! What other 15 year old could achieve that?” Sawada squealed, “Anyhow, I’m going to the library. I want to see if I can find the same interview on youtube”.
Enma’s eyebrows met. A person who was mentored by The Primo at 15. He maneuvered around the seat to see the guy. Hibari was up from the chaise lounge; body leaning slightly forward as his eyes was glued to the screen; unblinking.
The next scene was a shot of an excerpt of The Ellen Degeneres Show on Youtube. Budget phones don’t usually take good shots of computer screen so it was a very bad shot. However, you could guess from the silhouette of the person being interviewed that it was indeed Hibari Kyoya. Next to him was no other than The Primo himself.
The scene jumped to Sawada’s grinning face. “I think Kyoya is an awesome guy. He’s only fifteen, and he’s an environmental activist. He had been invited by the UN to give a speech. And he is the protégé of The Primo. He is an excellent violinist. He also goes to this school – like prestigious school for the rich or something, Prime had went there too – but I forgot the name of the school. He was just so great; when you hear him speaks, he sounds like an adult! Kyoya knows a lot of stuff; even Ellen was like so impressed,” Sawada gushed about the guy, whom, unknowingly to the boy on the screen, was listening. Part of Enma felt embarrassed for the boy. “You know what else was impressive? The interview on Ellen was done on his birthday and The Primo gave him a car!! Like, a sport car! Turns out The Primo – the man himself! – had taught Kyoya how to drive. They’re like... years apart yet they are so close; like brothers,” The boy blinked dreamily, “I would like someone like that, like a brother, you know? But here I am. I’ve never even received a single gift before. The Headmistress gives us money for our birthdays, but everyone gets that. It isnt even a present; like wrapped or anything”.
Enma frowned at the clash of realities. He stole a glance at the Hibari heir. He was watching the screen with great attention; his eyes slightly wider than normal.
“I would like to see more of Kyoya’s videos. Its so inspirational,” The teen grinned again. He was sitting in his orphanage library it seemed, in front of the computer.
“He speaks so highly of you, Hibari-san,” Kusakabe teased.
“He never spoke to me,” Hibari blurted.
“You never spoke to him either,” Kusakabe added, “He used your first name here too”.
“How does he always address me in front of me again?” Hibari turned to his assistant before they both muttered at the same time, “ Hibari -san” .
On the next clip, Sawada was informing the camera that he’s going to use the library’s printer to print some articles on Hibari. “I think I would stick them on the walls right here,” he put his palm on the wall on the side of his bed, “And I will print out some ecofriendly – is that what they’re called? – to do list because Kyoya is an environmental activist. I’ve been taught how to use the printers so now I can print as much as I want as long as I can buy the papers myself!”
The boy was in high spirit. His camera captured the printer in the middle of printing. The printer itself was very old fashioned. The papers jammed a number of times. However, Sawada was smiling when he received his printed articles though the colors came out wrong (Hibari’s black hair became dark purple). “And I use used papers, as you can see, they have another article in the back – so that’s recycling!”
The teen continued to his room and took a shot of how the wall next to his bed looked like after he added the posters. “Okay here is an article of Kyoya,” the teen was holding the camera in one hand and pointing at the wall using the other, “I can't read it but its from wikipedia so its good enough. And next to it is a picture of Kyoya giving a speech. There’s a couple of words here,” He pointed at the printed headings that said “Hibari Kyoya: The Next Generation’s Leader”.
“I know this is his name, Hibari Kyoya,” Sawada tapped on the two words with his finger, “But the next one. The… Next? The Next! The next G.. Ja… Hmmm, Garage? No, that cant be. Garbage?” he seemed to think about it before moving on to the next word, “This one has an L. Garbage… Collector? He’s environmentally friendly and collector has L in it I think”.
Kusakabe spurted in laughter while Hibari face palmed. The next scene was taken in the same setting. “Okay, I have checked in Google translate. You can type a word in and have the site pronounce it for you. So these words turn out to be The Next Generation’s Leader. Yeah,” he looked at the poster again and smiled, “The Next Generation’s Leader. That sounds nice. It's fitting for someone like him. The Next Generation’s Leader”.
He skipped the next paper that contained lists of what to do for green living. “The Headmistress said I’m allowed to put anything on the wall as long as I promise to clean after it if I ever moved to a different room. So that’s an okay!” He showed a thumb up.
In the next scenes Sawada spent more time talking to the camera about his daily activities. Of course, the sight of him crying was a recurring trend. One time it was because his friends made fun of his idolization of Hibari, another was for nothing – but simply because he was lonely. It's worth noting that in his videos he never had any company except for occasional people passing by to have a short exchange with him.
He’s lonely; that was evident. Once he even called his phone as his friend. For someone so young living among a lot of other kids; he sure was alienated.
It was probably his omegan status. He whined a lot about being made fun of by the other kids; especially on his reading abilities. His idolization of Hibari added to that somehow as everyone compared his background to that of someone like Hibari.
Children could be so cruel sometimes, Enma thought.
The room had gone silent yet they had become even more immersed in the enigma that is Sawada Tsunayoshi. His life was mundane; in some parts it was so terribly awkward and redundant; but there was an innocent charm to it that made you stay tuned.
The next video was of Sawada in his bed under dim lighting. “I’m not supposed to say this on camera but,” his round eyes sparkled with mirth, “There was this man,” He smiled, “He’s someone everyone knows; but I’m not supposed to say this!”
He then lifted himself to lay on his stomach instead. “I just talked to Alaude from Vongola,” he whispered before giggling, “Like, I don’t even know why. But he said he’s here to see me and we... we chatted about a lot of stuff. Even about Kyoya! Oh man, he knows Kyoya, very well. And...,” he looked very excited, “everyone, The Headmistress, the rest of the caretakers, were told not to tell this to anyone. It’s not like I have any friend to share with”. The teen put his hand on his mouth, “He didn’t say but this makes me wonder... am I getting adopted?”
Sawada made another food review on his next two videos before they saw him on his bed again; with a large pajama pants that didn’t match the shirt. He was holding a wrapped box with a bow. “This is from Alaude,” he announced to the camera; eyes wide as if he wasn’t sure how to express his happiness. “It’s an early birthday present he said, because I’ll be thirteen soon. So this is my first present ever; I should keep the wrapping paper and the bow – I really like it. I wonder how they make this”.
The next minute was spent to open the box, which he did very carefully.
Once he’s able to put one hand inside, he pulled the item out; only to open his mouth wide when he was finally able to see what it was.
It was the box for the latest MacBook pro.
“Oh my God,” he whispered, “Is this – oh my God. I’ve seen this on TVs”. He pulled it out and landed it on his lap. His two hands were now on his cheeks as if in disbelief. “The Headmistress has told me not to make a ruckus so I have to stay silent. B-b-but,” you could see his cheeks had reddened. Tears were threatening to fall; “I d-don’t know what to do. I-I... this is the first time I’ve ever felt so... so happy”.
He took out the MacBook out of its box and gazed at it for a long time before he hugged it. “I will treasure this. I’ll make sure to say a lot of thank you’s to Alaude when I see him again. He said he’ll be here tomorrow to see me. That has a really nice ring to it,” he hugged the macbook tighter, “I’ll get him to teach me how to use this. I’m so happy today”.
The next video was taken in the dark. Sawada was, again, in bed. “It’s been awhile since I last made a video,” he muttered lowly, “The last few days; there’s just a lot going on. We celebrated my birthday in The Headmistress office; just me, the headmistress and the caretakers and Alaude. There was a cake too; a big one,” A smile made its way to his heart shaped face, “I’m just so happy these days. I’ve never been so grateful. I’m grateful for myself; I’m grateful for the headmistress and the rest of the staff; the orphanage; I’m grateful for Alaude”. He then inhaled deeply, “They told me I have a living family member, and guess what; they live in the Palazzo Bianco”.
The chocolate haired teen then chuckled, “I’ll show everything once I leave this place. I’ve packed some of my stuff and Alaude helped to arrange everything. I’ll be ready to leave soon”.
He pointed his camera to himself from above as he lay down on his back, “I just... can't wait to see what tomorrow will bring”.
Next, the screen went blank. They didn’t do anything at first, but then Hibari closed the media player and opened the window from Sawada’s hard drive. “Is that it?” Hibari murmured, more to himself than anyone else. He scrolled to the bottom of the window and found that, indeed, the video they just watched was the last in the list.
“Yeah, that is it,” Enma responded.
The TV showed Hibari checking the other folder only to find a long list of unreadable files. “You said you can decode these?” He clarified to Enma.
“Yes, though it’ll take some time”.
“Will we be able to see some of them tomorrow?”
“If it’s only a few of them, probably,” Enma sensed the neediness in the younger man’s voice. He wanted to continue on seeing the content of Sawada’s personal files. Enma couldn’t help but feel he was feeding an alpha’s controlling tendencies.
“Do I have time tomorrow, Tetsuya?”
“In the evening, Hibari-san".
“Hn,” The young alpha hummed and turned to Enma, “Then I’ll see you here tomorrow after dinner. You’re dismissed for tonight. Tetsuya will take you to your assigned room”.
“Yes, Mr. Hibari. Thank you”.
The young alpha handed the hard drive to Enma; yet he didn’t leave his seat. Enma and Kusakabe were about to step outside when Enma heard the sound of playback coming from behind him where Hibari sat in front of the huge screen.
“I found someone so cool and interesting on TV yesterday. He’s like so smart and talented ...”
Enma didn’t turn around but his mind couldn’t stop reeling. The hard drive was currently in his hands; so how did Hibari do playback on the video? Unless, of course -
He copied them to his laptop.
The double doors closed behind them. Enma couldn’t stop himself from addressing the matter at hands. “Kusakabe -”
“Mr. Cozart,” Kusakabe cut him short. The taller man smiled thinly, “Let’s leave it at that tonight. Hibari-san is busy,” he paused, “ investigating” .
Enma swore he stayed still for longer than necessary. In the end he decided it was none of his business. “Yes, Kusakabe. Please show me the way”.
So what do you think of the story? Tsuna lived a harsh life huh? You will see his growth in the next chapter.
I wonder if anyone can guess why Hibari cares so much lol.
The terms Alpha Houses, Alpha Household, Main Houses, major Houses, Main Family, Major Family, Family or House/Houses refer to the same thing in this work. They all refer to a family of alphas with political influence over the nation. Imagine them like a family of royalty instead.
And the country where this is taking place is fictional. Its called Neo Italy where Italy is greatly influenced by Japan. So there are many people with Japanese background there. However, this does not mean they and the non-Japanese share the same value and culture; that's why some of the characters address each other with Japanese honorary titles (san, sama, dono) and those who dont have Japanese background dont use such titles.
Vongola’s Main Library was huge and it was open for the public as long as it was with special permit. Mostly it was used by Vongolan’s officials though; as proven by the sights of them strolling about that morning when Enma arrived there.
It only took a golden sakura shaped brooch for the librarian to consider Enma eligible to go inside Vongola’s family library – the inner section of the library that was private and contained important books reserved for the main family members of Vongola. The brooch itself was a symbol of status among the palazzo guests. There were numerous brooches and this one gave you the privilege of most services in the palazzo.
The head librarian eyed the brooch. “Your name, Sir?”
“Cozart. Enma Cozart”.
“Okay. Emma will show you the way,” The head librarian tilted her body toward a younger staff next to her. Emma bowed only slightly before she walked ahead, “Please follow me, Mr. Cozart”.
They walked past a number of tall bookshelves and a room filled with long desks before they stopped at an arched ornate door. The woman unlocked the door using a thin golden key then led Enma inside.
“Come on in, Mr. Cozart,” she murmured. The whole room was more intimate than the main library common area. It had a huge fireplace, and by it was a thick desk. Facing the fireplace and the desk was a huge lush carpet and a number of couches. Ahead of that was two rooms filled with bookshelves, each partitioned with wide arches.
“Do you need my assistance in finding a book, Mr. Cozart?” Asked the librarian.
“No, thank you”.
Emma then excused herself out of the room and in return leaving Enma on his own accord. Enma preferred it this way.
It was Hibari’s suggestion to get Enma to visit the Vongola family archives; he even let it slip that The Primo hid two bottles of scotch inside the bottom right drawer on his desk. All Enma asked was a private room where he could do his work comfortably – even Hibari’s study should have been okay. Yet, Enma didn’t mind the change of scenery.
He chose a seat facing the fireplace and took a cushioned lap desk. He pulled out his hybrid computer, which he would always refuse to call laptop, and Sawada’s hard drive; then he started working.
By sight alone Enma knew these files in the second folder used multilayered coding. He had to check numerous methods before he could see which one proves to be effective. This would take a long time before he could see any results at all.
One hour had gone by when the door opened again, this time revealing a man – in black suit. Enma perked his head toward the door.
“Oh,” the man with the green hair said after he noticed Enma, “There’s someone here”.
He’s the Lightning Guardian, Enma noted in alert, and he’s drunk .
“Hello, Sir,” was Enma’s awkward greeting.
“Do you mind if I join you?” the man asked sounding very casual for someone who was currently in charge of the palazzo.
“Um, sure, Alpha Bovino”
“Call me Lampo,” he said as he went to desk and threw himself to its leather swivel chair. He lifted his two legs to the top of the desk as he leaned way back to the chair and crossed his legs.
“So, who are you again?” The guardian asked conversationally. Enma stopped his work to look up from his laptop. He wasn’t sure if its okay for him to engage. He felt like he had intruded the young guardian – this was after all Vongola’s private archive room.
“Cozart, Sir. Enma Cozart”.
“Ohhh, you’re that detective Kyoya hired, arent you?” When Enma looked at him, the guardian already had a bottle of scotch in his hands. “Giotto always saves the good stuff for himself – would you like a drink, Mr. Detective?”
The line of leadership The Vongola had right now was not the most conventional. They were the youngest leaders of an alpha house in centuries; so they tend to take different approach to things. Yes, they were very progressive, and their achievements were worth the admirations they received from the public; still, they were quite the eccentric flock for leaders. “Um, n-no. Thank you, Sir”.
The man took a couple of chugs straight from the mouth of the bottle. He then slammed the bottle to the desk, “Those damned lot. They always leave me out of the fun. Leaving me here to take care of all the works,” the man grunted. Enma awkwardly averted his gaze from the man to his own work. He didn’t think its wise to join in a conversation to bash The Primo and his Guardians even when it involves another guardian.
“I mean if it was Kyoya who was kidnapped - though I doubted that anyone would want to mess with that kid - but if it was Kyoya, well, I don’t think any of them would want to chase after the kid to pick him up,” The Lightning Guardian drawled, “But now it’s Tsunayoshi . Of course everyone would want to go, because he’s Tsuna, he’s an omega. As if an omega doesn’t have a mind of their own. The kid wants a breather; they should let him be! Don’t you agree, Mr. Detective?”
Now this got Enma’s attention a bit; but he didn’t respond.
“If the kid wants a short vacation from the palazzo, then let him. He’s a kid, they rebel a bit. And Giotto was like, Oh no. Tsu’s an omega and he doesn’t know what he’s thinking. And Reborn’s an Arcobaleno and he has a dangerous job. What if Tsuna got in the middle of danger. We should pick him yada yada yada. He acts as if he had never rebelled before,” he took another sip from the scotch bottle, “Giotto was pretty bad when he was younger. He had a sex party with twenty omegas on a private island, with gambling and stuff, along with other alpha heirs and Politician’s kids. And you know who was with him? Reborn”.
Enma blinked. Should he be listening to this?
“And now he wants to act like he and Reborn are sworn enemy? Saying words like Reborn had betrayed him and such just because. Hell, they both have done worst. Back then they both would sleep with each other’s lovers just so they could dump them together. And the illegal business, God, don’t make me start,” Lampo groaned, “All that to spite the previous Primo”.
“The Primo didn’t have a good relationship with the late Primo?” Enma found himself asking. He quickly covered his mouth afterwards. The question was way too forward. It was not his place to know all of these.
Lampo smiled lazily at the response, “You would have never guessed huh? Even a detective can be fooled. Vongola Is very particular when it comes to protecting the family’s public image. Look at Tsunayoshi; no one has figured!” The man shrugged, “The late Primo cheated on his wife with Giotto’s babysitter”. At Enma’s shocked expression, the man added, “Her name’s Sawada Nana”.
After a slight pause the man continued again, “Yup. It’s Tsu’s mother. And she’s an omega. Why do you think omega servants were suddenly banned in The Palazzo years ago? It was around the time their affair was discovered,” The guardian faced the ceiling solemnly, “It ruined Giotto’s home life, that’s for sure. I knew him since he was in high school and sometimes, I wonder if he acted that way because he wanted his Father to care”. The man took another sip, “That, or he simply wanted to despise omegas. Do you know that Giotto used to treat omegas poorly? He dated a lot of them and would dump them in the cruelest ways possible”.
Enma shifted in discomfort. The story made him feel so awkward knowing who The Primo’s brother is. “He matured right after the late Primo and Giotto’s mother died from the car accident. He rose to power around that time – only 22 years old. He’s not ready, none of us were. Although, I do think it’s a call for Giotto to sober up and finally be a proper adult. After five years in leadership, I would say this whole journey was not bad. Giotto is well loved by the public and he’s responsible. I mean, he’s Giotto. He’s a born leader. And Reborn should take the credit for honing that potential in him,” The Guardian’s words were slurred, “You know how Major Houses would look for mentors for their young alpha, right, Mr. Detective? Giotto’s was Reborn; and it was unconventional back then to get a beta to mentor an alpha heir. But Reborn proved himself in many ways. He might have encouraged Giotto’s past rebelliousness toward his parents, but Reborn could also control that rage. He brought both the best and the worst in Giotto; if I have to say”.
“So really, this whole drama between Giotto and Reborn is ridiculous,” now the Guardian hiccuped, “And I don’t think Reborn treated Tsuna the same was he treated Giotto in the past. No one would dare introduce Tsunayoshi to all the weird shenanigans Giotto and Reborn were up to back in the days”.
A tense silence ensued, though the tension was one-sided in Enma’s case. The redhaired young man braced himself. He was going to ask something very inappropriate.
“I’m sure The Primo was weirded out once he found out he had a brother,” he started. He was inclined to think so after the Lightning Guardian mentioned how poorly The Primo treated omegas.
The Guardian took a couple other swallow of the scotch before he turned to Enma, “Yep. I mean, have you seen Tsunayoshi? He looks exactly like her,” he paused, “You know? Sawada Nana. Not that I know how she looked. Giotto was the one who told me. She, unfortunately - or fortunately for Giotto at least, has passed away”. Lampo finally let go of the bottle; letting the object land with a soft thunk to the desk, “Not saying Giotto was an absolute prick. By the time Tsuna arrived here, Giotto had grown. He had taken the initiative to be Kyoya’s mentor and everyone agrees he does a great job at that. It wasn't that he despised tsuna. It's just that… Tsunayoshi’s presence brought a lot of bad memories into Giotto’s life. It was complicated”.
Enma was reminded of Sawada’s excitement of finally finding a living family member. At the discovery that his arrival might not be as welcomed as he expected, Enma cringed.
“S’not the kid’s fault either – but I couldn’t blame Giotto for acting that way. It was awkward. Alaude said its important to take Tsuna in to avoid any treason or conflicts in the future. Giotto doesn’t need Tsunayoshi at that moment; he had Kyoya and he’s very close to the kid. Giotto and Kyoya were like… how Giotto and Reborn were, but way less destructive. And Kyoya’s an alpha – an overachieving alpha; so Giotto relate easily to that. Tsunayoshi…, well….,” another hiccup, “There’s really no place for him”.
Enma had a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach. “And it was even more awkward when Reborn got invited here so Giotto could introduce him to Kyoya. As you know alpha heirs could take in multiple mentors. I remember Reborn had just successfully transformed this lousy alpha heir from Cavallone and Giotto wanted Kyoya to get mentored by him really bad,” Lampo paused as though remembering that day, “Reborn opted for Tsunayoshi instead”.
The Guardian then spurted in laughter, “I mean, it’s fitting for that man. He’s a bit eccentric – that Reborn. But Tsunayoshi? He’s an omega. We were looking for a tutor or maybe a mentor for him – the boy couldn’t even read that well – but not someone of Reborn’s caliber, you know? But Reborn was adamant; Giotto couldn’t change his mind. It was crazy and funny at the same time”.
“To be honest, I’m happy for Tsuna,” Lampo smirked, “Everyone acts like it was a horrible thing though – a great mentor, wasted , on an omega”.
“It’s not a waste,” Enma found himself grumbling.
“I agree,” Lampo replied with a tilt of his scotch bottle, “But, you know, I think they were expecting Tsuna’s presence to be almost non-existent in the palazzo yet the kid kept on further and further proving himself to be… I don’t know, present? Something? An annoyance maybe? To Giotto? I wouldn’t be surprised if Kyoya was a bit jealous of Giotto’s new younger brother”.
Enma’s brows flew, “He is?”
The Guardian shrugged, “Dunno. He’s Kyoya. His expression barely changes. But he really wanted to get mentored by Reborn and he was greatly disappointed when Reborn refused to mentor him. He even hit Tsuna in the face”.
This time Enma frowned, “Are you saying you know for sure Mr. Hibari hit Sawada?”
“Not really. Giotto is all tight-lipped about the incident if we are talking about the same event,” The alpha from The Bovino House glanced sideways, “But why else would Giotto ban Kyoya from his wing? Giotto also apologized non-stop at Tsunayoshi – probably in Kyoya’s place”.
“But I thought Reborn was also told to leave the palazzo,” Enma added to prove that there’s more than one person who got punished in this situation.
“To make peace to both Kyoya and Tsu, I suppose. Its better not to have Reborn mentor any of them rather than get them fight over him, right?” The guardian paused, “I’m not sure if you know this much, but Kyoya was the one who called both Giotto and Reborn to the library to talk that day”.
“No, another library nearer to Giotto’s office. That one is closer to a study. So they met there, and an argument could be heard taking place not long after. Tsunayoshi entered the room after that”.
Enma’s brows met. So Tsunayoshi shouldn’t have been there in the first place.
“I believe, Kyoya was making a proposal to get Reborn to mentor him by confronting the hitman himself,” was the guardian’s last word before the door was opened to reveal two people dressed in suit.
“Guardian Lampo! There you are!” The two men entered the room with the deepest scowl on their faces, “We’ve been looking for you”.
“Oh, naw. You’ve caught me,” The Guardian landed the almost empty bottle to the desk and rose both of his hands in a surrendering pose. The two staff didn’t seem pleased.
“And drunk too! You still have your duties, Guardian Lampo!”
“Oh well,” The Guardian tried to stand, to no avail. He obviously needed some assistance to leave the room. His two pursuers continuously ranted as they departed with him. Enma was left alone in the end; blinking stupidly at all the information dump The Guardian had given him.
Enma didn’t hear from Hibari at all for most of the day. He saw the young alpha crossing the courtyard alongside a number of people who seemed to hold some importance to the palazzo. Yet it wasn’t until after dinner did Hibari hear from the Alpha heir.
He was summoned into the Hibari heir private study by a maid. Once he arrived, no one was in the room except for two maids who were in the middle of pouring tea and setting the coffee table with light snacks. “Young Master Hibari will be here soon,” the maids informed him before they left the vicinity. Thus Enma was left on his own accord for a while as he nibbled on some biscuits and fiddle with his portable computer.
Both Hibari and Kusakabe entered the room half an hour later. They were conversing as they came through the door, something about the guests they’ve met before and how troublesome it was negotiating with them. “You have a mock debate with Mr. De La Stella for the debate team meet-up tomorrow. Have you prepared your materials, Hibari-san?” Kusakabe reminded dutifully.
Hibari just plopped himself into a seat next to where Enma sat and rolled his white button up’s sleeves. He sighed and buried his face to his hand, “I just remembered the meeting. That’s tomorrow, right?”
“I take it you haven’t prepared for your debate against Mr. De la Stella tomorrow?” Kusakabe confirmed. The man himself had yet to sit.
“I can make time tonight. Have you made reservations at the Lazzerini Gazebo?”
“Everything has been reserved, Hibari-san and the team has been reminded of tomorrow’s meeting. They have all confirmed their attendance, Mr. De La Stella and Mr. Byakuran have”.
They had a couple more exchanges until Hibari sighed and directed a hand toward Enma, “Yes. Mr detective, we shall start”.
After being referred to with that title numerous times that day, Enma felt like correcting everyone and say, “I am not a detective, actually”. All he did was investigate his friend’s murder (and got fired because of that). Yet, after wasting some time to think of a way to deliver this correction, he lost the will. So he pursed his lips and said, “Okay. I have a number of decoded files here”.
“That’s a lot,” Hibari approved, “You did all of this in one day?”
“Yes,” Enma couldn't help but feel proud, “I haven't finished the rest. The coding is pretty complex for all of them”.
“Still, that is impressive,” Kusakabe added. Enma was silenced for a second.
“Thank you,” the red head finally said albeit awkwardly. He had never been complimented. “The first few videos are of Tsuna showing his room - “
“What did you say?” Kusakabe turned to him. His face was genuinely confused, maybe a bit surprised. Enma was stunned himself.
“I meant Sawada. Sawada was showing his room in it,” he didn't know why he slipped into saying Sawada’s first name - an omega of the Vongola House. “Yes, so there may not be anything… of much interest there”.
“No, no, that’s okay. We want to see everything,” Hibari murmured, eyes dead set on the large screen. Enma hesitated - for the life of him, he couldn’t figure out the eagerness behind the young Hibari’s calm facade. Enma swallowed and turned to the screen. The start button was under the will of his finger. Yet he felt guilty.
The video started with a very clear camera this time. The focus and the lighting were way better than the previous video. It showed the design of the orphanage wallpaper to such detail that you could point out every flaw and tear. Just a second later, a pair of brown orbs stared back. They were so round, as if the owner was in awe.
And he was.
“Woooah,” Sawada gushed, “This is like… those youtube videos. The picture is so clear!”
The video stopped at that unfortunately. The next video was still taken from a better camera. Sawada was holding the camera in one hand while erratically gushing over his new room. it was more vacant then when Enma last visited it. The last time he was there, the room had more cluttered objects. In the video, it lacked personal touches. You knew then, this was the first time Sawada arrived in his room. “Oh my Gosh, it has a fireplace. My room has a fireplace,” and once in the bathroom, he said, “Cool toilet, it has buttons! Oh my Gosh, there’s a bathtub. I’ve never had a bathtub”.
“This is activated by touch, so the sensor is over here”.
“Oh. My. Gosh. By touch???”
The face of The Storm Guardian’s was then put under the camera’s line of vision. he was bending next to the huge bathtub; giving the camera a deadpan and mirroring the expressions of the butler standing behind him.
“Are you recording this?”
“You’re not allowed to post this online”.
“No, I don't know how to post this online”.
The Storm Guardian watched the boy behind the camera as though he found it hard to believe that there’s kid in this day and age who doesn't know how to. “And the Orphanage’s internet was so slow so I couldn't do much with it”.
The Storm Guardian smiled thinly, but he only said, “Our internet here is a million times better, but you’re still not allowed to share anything to the public”.
The omega showed other furniture his bedroom had with such exhilaration. The last clip of that day seemed to be the one where he stood in front one of the large floor to ceiling mirrors in his walk in closet. He was holding an iPhone yet wearing the same over-sized old shirt he brought from the orphanage.
The next clip was of Sawada lying on his stomach. The camera didn't take in much of the room because of the angle, but from the lush comforter and the ornate ceiling, you’d note that he was already spending the night in Palazzo Bianco.
His round eyes seemed even bigger as he eyed something behind the camera. “I’m still amazed by this night light,” he muttered. His eyes then went to the camera, “Oh my Gosh, this place has huge flat screen TV’s that can speak and a looooot of fireplaces. The orphanage only has one. One fireplace. And do you know they have many butlers? This wing where I am staying is where the Primo is staying and the butler’s name is Maximillian. He’s a butler and his name is fancier than mine,” Sawada was speaking a mile a minute. His hands were moving around and his round eyes were even wilder. “There was a welcome dinner, but a small one. Nothing big, G said. If that was nothing big, I couldn't imagine what a big dinner in this place would look like”.
“Anyway, there was The Storm Guardian, The Cloud Guardian and The Rain Guardian there. We were chatting a lot; like friends! I never had this kind of dinner, I said. They told me there will be more like this in the future,” the omega smiled hopefully before he leaned closer to the camera as if telling a secret, “And you know what? They told me Primo is on a trip but he’s been informed of my arrival. I know, right - the Primo, being informed of my arrival like its so important. Who am I right?,” a pause, “Oh, and they all told me I can call them by their name. And umm, I have a Japanese background so I’m not used to it so I asked them whether I can call them like G-san or Alaude-san. They said it was okay, for Asari-san, it was a given I should call him, y’know, Asari-san. He has Japanese blood in him, just like me! Hehe”.
He then proceeded to tell how the Guardians gave him his iPhone. It had a Vongola symbol on the back and some custom made features. He also explained how to use those features in such details that Enma was sure the Guardians had taught him earlier. However, mostly Sawada kept on rambling and chuckled on some parts; about how weird looking but brilliant tasting the dessert was, how fast and efficient the maids were, how he saw the guardians use the napkins.. It was a messy chit-chat, but he was happy - ecstatic even.
Until he made another pause. The smile on his lips was thin; his eyes went sideways as if he was holding a huge secret. “This is a secret between us. They told me,” Sawada smiled, to the camera this time, “The Primo is my brother”.
He rolled around then, making the camera disoriented again for a second before his face returned to the screen, “Could you believe it?? The Primo! He’s my brother! We’re related - I was like so surprised. We shared the same father,” he had one hand in front of his mouth, “Oh my God, I have a family. And they are in the Vongola Household - Oh my Gosh. I am now in the Vongola Household”.
He continued on gushing about his own surprise regarding the whole issue. He seemed blind-sighted on the fact that the previous Primo had an affair with his mom; thus destroying the previous Primo’s family life and in return destroying Giotto’s. Sawada Tsunayoshi was young and oblivious; it was blatantly clear to Enma.
The next clip was of Sawada in various scenarios where he found something interesting in Palazzo Bianco and he would be all over it. Once he even ran up to the butler just to see how calm the man would turn to sim and say with the same calm tone, “Yes, Young Sir?”. In another scene, he was trying to show off how the huge flat screen would turn up by just calling the AI in control of the electronics in the Palazzo. “Genevieve!” The omega called.
“Yes, Tsu?” the woman’s voice answered, and just like that the young omega’s face lit up in amusement. The butler standing behind him didn't feel the same though.
“Young Sir, I believe that it is unbefitting for the artificial intelligence to address you in such fashion,” the butler could be heard saying.
The omega didn't fully face the man as he was eyeing the man through the iPhone front camera, “Why not?”
“Because you are a member of The Vongola Household and you shall be addressed as such”.
“But a robot calling me Tsu is cool~~”
In most moments though, he would be recording out of excitement of finding something new and someone, mostly the Guardians or the butler, would either softly reprimand him or confusingly question the kid’s hobby.
What conflicted Enma the most, however, was when Tsuna was trying on clothes that The Storm Guardian had brought for him to pick. It’s not like the omega was changing in front of the camera; it was just that the idea of having an omega parading in different clothes in front of strangers he barely talked to did not sit well with Enma.
He was about to suggest skipping the video, but once he saw the young Hibari heir, he noted how the young man had his back straightened and he was eyeing the screen rather keenly.
“I think this top would match the khaki pants better,” Sawada commented on the attire he was trying on. Enma felt himself looking to the floor. Let’s just face it; Sawada Tsunayoshi, believe it or not, was attractive. Most people in Vongola are; but his is in his omegan features.
It wasn't like Enma didn't notice it. It was pretty clear in even his earlier videos. However, Sawada had grown and in a matter of days after his move to Palazzo Bianco, he had changed out of his over-sized clothes, he had his hair trimmed, and his cheeks started filling in as he started eating better. Not only that, the camera he was using was also better thus taking in his appearances even better.
Hibari, however, was taking all the details in a stride. And so was Kusakabe. They were both unhinged, and even adding comments here and there regarding Sawada. “He knows how to dress up,” was Hibari’s sudden comment.
“He does,” Kusakabe agreed absently.
“He’s also very fond of hats”.
Hibari didn't respond instantly like there was something implied in Kusakabe’s seemingly innocent question. “I suppose that is a given, seeing the circumstances,” Hibari finally replied.
Enma actually checked on the two just to see if he can figure out what they were talking about. Yet they were both watching the screen observantly and Enma thought he was just imagining it.
The next video had the camera standing on eye level to Sawada. The kid might have gotten himself a tripod. It saw Sawada sitting cross-legged in his reading nook. It was night time, it seemed, because he was wearing his night attire. Though he had started wearing better clothes in the day, he had a tendency of wearing something like what he usually wore in the orphanage though with better quality clothes. The young teen didnt seem particularly excited that night. He seemed somber.
“So, I met The Primo earlier today,” Sawada started, “Yeah. Umm, he… really does look as cool as on television. He’s handsome and he’s very kind. He asked how I was doing in the Palazzo. It was a small meeting. There were me, G-san, Asari-san, Alaude-san and umm him”. He paused. Enma knew the boy was conjuring the meeting from earlier that night in his mind. “He doesn't like being called Nii-san, he’s not very good with Japanese words he said. But its okay to call him Giotto-san, he said, because everyone in the family calls him Giotto except for some who couldn't change their old habit”.
"Umm, we then talked about decorum. So umm decorum is…, it’s like rules? So basically in The palazzo, there’s a briefing every morning. That’s like a short meeting to tell you what to do and what not to do that day - I know, the Palazzo is so cool right? And I have briefings too. Everyday, actually, with G-san. Usually its about where we’ll go or what we’ll do that day. But today the briefing was a bit more thorough. or so G-san said. Giotto-san was there so he could also decide on my decorum and the such ''.
Sawada gave a very weird smile. He looked almost disappointed. “So, the world… doesn't know that the previous Primo had me. They don't even know… mom and Primo were a couple. So of course, to the world, I don't exist and…,” He was moving his hand around as he explained, “That means I have to keep it that way. like, the world will be very, like VERY surprised if they knew I exist and that’ll be trouble for everyone. Including myself. So yeah, the briefing for today is about that like…, um, I’m allowed to have dinners with Giotto-san and the Guardians and close family members like the Secondo to Nono, but I’m not allowed to be out when guests are in The Palazzo. Like, there are places I’m allowed to go at certain times, there are some I’m not allowed to. So, yeah,” Sawada smiled thinly, “But of course I get it. This is Vongola, you know? They’re powerful so they’ve got enemies too. It’s important to do… stuff for the family and this is just my duty. So I totally understand it”.
Enma felt something sink to his stomach. This was an omega who was an orphan. He was just given the hope of having a family for the first time and this was what he was told to do?
Enma wasn't given much time to mull on this for Sawada was half hyperventilating in the next video.The boy was again in his reading nook, dressed casually, but nicely, in a pair of knee length shorts and a light sweater. What was more important, however, was his expression. His mouth was wide open, his two hands were holding the side of his face as though in disbelief. He worded it for everyone right after.
“You wouldnt believe it,” He started almost in a whisper, “I. Just. Saw. Kyoya”.
He looked away as if discerning his own statement. “I just saw Kyoya,” he repeated still looking like he couldn't believe himself, “He was on the same table as me and… Oh my Gosh, Giotto-san asked me to introduce myself and I looked like an idiot. I couldn't even form a sentence right”. He looked horrified, “We were sitting a distance away; he sat closer to Giotto-san, of course, and I was a bit away because of the decorum but I could see him so clearly!! He could see me from where he’s sitting too. And I looked like an idiot, he must’ve thought so. I was soooo stupidd!”
The boy folded his legs and pulled his knees to his chest as he sat on top of the couch. “He was talking and smiling. He actually looked so nice when he smiled. And he talked a lot . I’ve never seen him talk that much on TV. And he laughed, with Giotto-san, not like Knuckle-san’s HAHAHA but more like Heh, you know? And and he was talking about his school. It turns out that Giotto-san was on a trip to pick up Kyoya from this prestigious boarding school. And Kyoya shared how like… like the school has many cool rooms and traditions and Giotto-san happened to be in a lot of them because he was one of their most notable alumni. Yeah, alumni, G-san explained to me about that word. New word - yay,” he chuckled out of his own embarrassment, “Giotto-san laughed a lot too. Actually everyone laughed, but I didn’t get what they were talking about. They were talking about umm politics? And yeah, Kyoya can talk about politics. You know what, G-san was talking about putting me into a school. I’ve never been to a school before. I wonder if after going I would be able to talk about those things like them”.
It was obvious Sawada was referring to Hibari, Giotto and the Guardians. “I would really love to maybe talk about the environment with Kyoya. Maybe. Once I got everything figured out, I think,” he gave a little smile as if it was a promise. Something about it was so innocent. And Enma felt guilty for bringing such innocence in front of the alpha.
Said alpha, Enma noticed from the corner of his vision, had sat up straight on his seat the moment his name was mentioned by Sawada. He was taking in every word like it was his right to do so - despite it not being directed for him but it was supposed to be safe in Sawada’s own privacy.
Kusakabe didn’t help to improve the situation with his comment; “Wow. Who knew the two of you could’ve started a conversation about the environment. That could be your first real exchange with him, Hibari-san”.
Kusakabe was laughing, but Hibari looked a bit peeved.
The next videos were recorded on separate dates and they were each set apart a couple of days. Most of the videos were shorter than Sawada’s normal videos and he didn’t talk as much. When Enma voiced this, Kusakabe explained, “If I’m not mistaken Sawada was rather busy around this time. He was scheduled for many lessons, am I right, Hibari-san?”
Hibari gave an almost unrecognizable nod. “G took it to himself to teach him math”.
“Yes, and he also had etiquette lessons, longer briefings of decorum, family history study, and some preparations before going to school,” Kusakabe finalized.
True enough, some of the videos showed how Sawada was caught recording in the middle of his lessons, such as when the butler found where the camera was hidden while teaching Sawada how to eat a banana using a fork and a knife. One of the videos shown was of a shot of Hibari, The Primo and The Cloud Guardian strolling across the courtyard. Hibari was walking between the two of them; dress shirt rolled to the elbow as his hands moved around animatedly in what seemed to be a rather novel monologue as the two adults next to him paid attention. The sight was a bit uncharacteristic for the teen aged alpha; but it also exposed the level of proximity between the Guardians and the young Hibari heir.
But Sawada then could be heard whispering something behind the camera as the trio left the frame, “They’re so cool”.
The next video was dated at December the 26th and it was different. It was actually edited with Christmas themed songs and transitions. The opening credit stated “CHRISTMAS EVE” before a transition entered the frame and brought the viewers to a different scene. The song’s volume lowered in an obvious attempt of sound transition and came Alaude’s voice explaining to Sawada how he had his own bank accounts and he could make any purchases he likes. The scene itself showed Sawada ordering for gifts with the help of the Cloud Guardian. The video was then separated by a simple jumpcut before it showed a sped up video of himself wrapping the gifts, it sometimes jumped to a clip where he and the maids decorated the whole wing in some sort of a montage.
“Oh, he’s learning,” Kusakabe commented.
“The music is probably copyright,” Hibari noted.
Not that Sawada was going to post it anywhere.
The video suddenly jump-cut to a scene where three people were sitting next to a large white and golden Christmas Tree in the frame of the camera. The transition from the music to the sound of people laughing was awkward and a bit painful, but Enma beared with it. “So this is Vongola Settimo, Ottavo, and Nono,” Sawada’s hand reached out from behind the camera as he pointed to each person, “Fabio-jisan, Daniella-baasan, and Nonno!”
“Hii!” Greeted the woman who was the Ottavo. The two men waved.
“So what are you doing here?” asked Sawada in what seemed to be a conversation they’ve practiced.
“We’re here for the Vongola Banquet Party!!” The Ottavo answered enthusiastically before posing with a wink.
“Ooh, that’s interesting. What kind of party is it?” Sawada asked again from behind the camera.
“It’s a party celebrated by The Vongola House every Christmas Eve where we invite our employees and their families alongside some important guests. And this year, we also invite 50 orphans to our party!” explained the woman cheerily.
“The theme this year is circus,” The younger of the two men, which were the Settimo, winked, “And there will be a lot of women”.
“Fabio!! Oh, forgive him. He’s a bit crude,” The woman rolled her eyes.
The old man, who was referred to as Nono (ninth) and Nonno (Grandfather) laughed. “Daniella, every man was young once,” Nonno said.
“Yes, Nonno, but Fabio’s old!”
The clip then switched to another montage of food, clips of The Vongola’s Top 10 and Sawada himself chatting in the living room, and sometimes the sight of the maids waving to the camera. It then switched to a clip of Sawada sitting on the floor with boxes, gift wrappers and bows. The music muted and the video saw Sawada spreading his arms in his merry Christmas.
“Hello! So, everyone is already at the party. So now I can wrap the gifts. I’ve watched tutorials on how to do it and stuff. And I have bows!! Kyoko-san and Haru-san are going to help me; say hello to the camera!” Sawada exclaimed. Two young women in their maid uniforms shifted closer to Sawada and waved to the camera. “I have presents for everyone! Some of them I ordered online myself - now I know how to do that alone. And some of them I made bracelets. Umm I even made one for Kyoya but umm… I dont know how to give it to him”.
“Oh, Tsu-chan, you should just hand it to him. He’ll appreciate it!” Said one of the maids teasingly. Sawada flushed; “No!”
Enma’s brows met. The huge Grandfather clock behind Sawada showed that it was 8 pm already and Sawada had yet changed to the proper dress-code for a Christmas Party though he had stated everyone had departed to. It was then he realized Sawada didn't go to the party.
But both Kusakabe and Hibari didn't seem to pay much attention to that detail. Instead, they discussed something else; “Did he give you that bracelet, Hibari-san?”
Hibari was frowning, “No. I’ve never got any bracelets”.
“So he made one for you and you didn't get it?”
Enma decided he should interfere, “Wait a minute; he’s not going to the party?”
“No,” he heard Hibari replied, “There were many guests”.
“But it’s his first Christmas with his family,” Enma rebutted. Hibari sent him a look; but returned to his previous pose watching the TV screen.
“That’s the decorum”.
Not only that, the video from Christmas morning even showed Sawada opening presents with the maids without his family members. It was revealed that the rest of the family was having a Grand Breakfast with some high profile guests. In fact, Hibari and his family were also there joining the breakfast. Sawada had breakfast with the maids in the Primo’s wing instead.
Of course, Sawada was happy with the gifts he received from the Guardians, some family members, and even from his brother; but Enma just felt it was strange that the boy didn't spend Christmas with his family members when they were practically in the same building.
It was further proven on the new years, where Sawada spent his night with the maids and the butler yet again while The Primo and his Guardians spent it in one of the Palazzo’s gardens to celebrate with some veterans and important officials. Sawada recorded the fireworks from the tower in the Primo’s wing.
The video stopped right there, signaling that it was the last of the batch for that night.
“It’s kaa-san’s death anniversary yesterday,” The boy mumbled mournfully in his usual spot in his reading nook. This time he had his blanket and some pillows. Enma was watching through the screen of his device and it broke his heart.
“I’m used to it but I can't go to her grave. Not allowed to go out because there are guests. So I tried to make a small memorial for her here,” his face grew even sadder, “And I made Giotto-san mad”. Tears fell just then without any warning. “I disappointed him”.
He shifted like he was hugging himself even tighter under that blanket. He was looking down; which was mirrored by the corners of his lips. “I went out of the wing to give him a memorial bracelet. Two of his guests almost saw me. Giotto-san was very angry with me. I stayed up all night to wait for him to return so that I could apologize, but G-san told me Giotto-san is already on his flight. So he’s out there thinking I am such a lousy brother,” this time his face scrunched up and his whole figure shook as he sobbed. Fat tears dropped from the tip of his chin.
“I want to apologize but I’m not allowed to call when Giotto-san’s on his important trip. I wanted to ask the Guardians but they all told me to forget about it,” the tears kept on falling, “I-I know everyone is busy and I keep on getting on everyone’s way. I just.. I don't know, I just feel so… so lonely”.
Enma stopped the video player and massaged the bridge of his nose. After watching Sawada since his move to the Vongola Household, he realized the boy had been so alienated from the main family Yes, they talked to him, provided for him, and they took him in; but they didn't involve him in the family affair.
On the other hand, Omegas need that connection; especially physically, with family and loved ones. It was one of their infamous traits to stick close to the person they feel most secure with. In most cases, these people are family members; in some other cases, these people are chosen by the omega. And thus they were sometimes referred to as ‘Marked’ by the omega.
Thus far it was obvious Sawada had no one he considered to be like this. It seemed like his instincts told him to look for one; hence why he seek out for The Primo when he needed a company the most.
It was painful to watch the omega struggled alone, but at the same time, the more Enma observed him, the more he couldn't let him go. So he returned to the screen of his laptop and checked another video.
Sawada was standing in his walk-in closet while pointing his iPhone to the mirror. “Hello!” He greeted, “Today is a new day. I was sad yesterday, but I decided I will be better. Everyone is very busy, so I should make sure not to bother anyone and work hard myself. So lets do that today!”
It was a cheerful message; but Enma knew it was the boy’s attempt to cheer himself up.
In the next clips, Sawada was doing his normal videos; food video, talking to the maids, trying the new cameras he got from Christmas, making bracelets. The video then cut to where Sawada was again seated on his reading nook. His eyes, that were already so round, grew even larger and he was so pale. He looked horrified more than anything. He had his two palms holding his cheeks as his eyes stared ahead blankly as though he had lost his soul to the abyss.
“Giotto-san has returned from his long trip and he brought someone with him to the Palazzo,” Sawada muttered lowly, his expression not changing, “Asari-san entered my room to tell me to get ready for a grand breakfast and he was giving me this lengthy briefing, lengthier than usual. He told me to get ready, dress nice but not too flashy, and to not say anything unless asked by someone I know and dont look, Just… dont look”.
“I was ready faster than expected so I went down on my own to the living room and… and I saw th-this man,” Sawada shivered and squeaked an awkward Hiiiee then continued, “A s-slender and tall man, in full black attire. O-only the Vongola’s main family members can wear black and t-this man while wearing it,-he looks like the G-Grim Reaper. A-and… he saw me!!!! Hiiieeee!”
Sawada hugged himself, his face scrunched to an indescribable form. The child was terrified for his dear life. “I ran away as fast as I could and hid in my room until Knuckle-san picked me up to go to the dining hall. A-and, HE WAS THERE!!! Hiee, he was there sitting across from Kyoya and talking with Giotto-san! T-they were talking about Kyoya’s school, I think. A-and w-w-when I sat down, h-he saw me!!! S-so I looked down but he was asking who I am. I-I-I should be silent because Asari-san told me to, b-but I dont know why I ANSWERED HIM”.
“I don't know what I was thinking but everyone on the table looked like I was about to die. G-san was glaring and Alaude-san - Alaude-san is never mad or anything - but he looked so surprised at my answer. And then he asked questions again, and I answered again!!! WHY DID I ANSWER AGAIN??? Even Kyoya was looking at me all weird. Giotto-san quickly got in the rescue and he pulled this man’s away from me. He started the breakfast so everyone could start eating. I couldn't swallow a single bite for the whole breakfast because t-that man - HE WAS STARING AT ME. I-I tried n-not looking back like Asari-san said, b-but I did and and and,” he paused, dramatically, “He looked like the God of Death”.
“T-then-Then Giotto-san was talking about getting t-this guest to mentor Kyoya. And and and, he p-pointed at me a-and he said he said he said,” at this point Sawada was stuttering so bad Enma was afraid his mouth would start to foam. But then Sawada’s face turned blank, “I want to mentor him”.
An ugly shriek of horror came out of the back of Sawada’s throat. “HE’S GOING TO KILL ME. I KNOW HE’S GOING TO KILL ME!” he then lowered his voice, “The Guardians protested but seeing how they couldn't even see this man in the eye, I know they would lose. I think they’re still at it now -”
Then there were some knocking on what seemed like Sawada’s bedroom door. Sawada jumped in surprise and craned his neck in the general direction of the source of the noise. “Tsu!! Why do you lock the door? Open it!” Said someone. Sawada, instead, shrieked yet again.
“I-I AM IN HIDING!” he defended while hugging all the pillows on the seat.
The video jumped to another scene that was taken days after. The camera was facing down Sawada’s walk-in-closet mirror. He was staring back looking like he had seen a ghost. “I-I’m going to die today,” he said.
“No you’re not,” someone else said. the camera turned around to reveal Alaude standing not far beside him in the closet, “No one is going to die. I can assure you”.
“B-b-but you never know. H-he looks like he can kill!” Sawada insisted while Alaude was turning around to look for something in the closet. The man turned around to face him and there was small smile in his face. You could see it in his face that he thought of Sawada as a mere child with such statements.
“He can. Everyone knows that”.
“But he wont. Not while he’s mentoring you. Give it a couple of days - he’s eccentric, but then he’ll get bored and he’ll leave you. I promise,” Alaude said as he found a pair of shoes and put it in front of Sawada. In the next scene Sawada was on his way out of his room with Alaude.
“Where’s my knife?” The boy asked. Alaude turned around to face him again and said, “What?”
“My knife. You cant leave me without a weapon to fend for myself, Alaude-san!”
Alaude rose an eyebrow, “You think a knife can stop him?”
The camera was facing the floor this time as Sawada seemed to forgot to turn the recording off. “Are you going to record your meeting with him?” was Alaude’s question.
“Well, that one might really get you killed”.
The screen then froze to the sight of Sawada’s shoes. Enma swallowed as he thought of the last couple of clips. A person coming to the house, feared by many, was offered to mentor Hibari, then mentored Sawada. Wasn't that…
His phone rang right at that second. Kusakabe’s name greeted him from the screen.
“Hello?” Enma answered.
“Mr. Cozart, sorry for bothering you. Have you decoded some of the videos?” Kusakabe did not beat around the bush. From the sound of it, it seemed like the man still had something to do. After all, he and Hibari had left the Palazzo for Hibari’s dinner party with his debate club. It was a rather prestigious meeting for a school club - prestigious enough that they took their meetings in a luxury hotel for 3 days and two nights. Kusakabe informed Enma that the club was known to be the gathering place for future elites. Many respected alumni of the club were known names today. Therefore, the club had an insurmountable donation.
“Brilliant. Hibari-san is wondering if you can send them to him today? He would like to see it tonight”.
Enma checked his watch. “I can do that now - actually, let me run a check on the videos first to see whether they can run smoothly or not”.
“That sounds great. You can inform us right after you’ve looked after all of them”.
“Actually, Kusakabe, before you finish the call, may I ask you something?”
Enma gazed at the video running on his laptop. The volume had been lowered to near silence; but Enma could understand the words the boy in the screen was saying. It seemed like he was having another meltdown about his scary new mentor.
“In the video, they were talking about this man The Primo invited to mentor Mr. Hibari at first,” Enma started, “Is that… Reborn?”
Enma should have expected it; he had already known; but that answer still surprised him however little.
“All the guardians seem wary of him,” Enma said.
“Ah. That’s nothing new. Isn't that the effect any Arcobaleno would have on you?” Was Kusakabe’s response. Enma honestly didn't know. He was a mere beta with no special background. yes, he had worked with CEDEf, who worked pretty closely with an Arcobaleno named Lal - but even then Enma had never communicated with her directly. It was said that only the elites get to work with The Arcobaleno. and you don't pick them for the job; they choose you instead.
“What kind of things are his specialties?” Enma couldn't help but ask.
“Many things,” Kusakabe started, “Vongola usually hires him for a hit. He’s a hitman, you can say. But he can do more than that. I heard he’s a master of disguise”.
“A hitman - like… an assassin?”
“Yes - I know, its hard to believe that kind of a person mentored an omega, right? They tried to convince Reborn not to mentor Sawada-san for about a week until they decided to just let Reborn be until he got bored. Two years later, he still wasn't bored”.
“What made him choose Sawada?” Enma asked again, leaving the over your Alpha behind.
“No one knows. The answer could be as simple as he’s Reborn. He’s a bit eccentric like that,” Kusakabe answered rather dismissively. It might be because he had questioned it a lot himself and at this point, he had given up wondering.
“And what kind of things did they do together?” Enma enquired again.
“Reborn and Sawada-san?” Kusakabe paused in thought before he settled with an answer, “I don't know. They would be gone for hours before they returned. Hibari-san told me even Giotto has no idea but no one would dare meddle with Reborn and his business. So no one asked either. Though Giotto has been open about the stuff Reborn taught him in the past, it wasn’t child play. Reborn’s other protege, Dino from Cavallone, became Hibari-san’s mentor for a while and his experience was almost the same, though with less drama”.
Kusakabe then added, “Though seeing the two of them, it’s hard to believe Reborn put Sawada-san through the same treatments”.
Their phone call ended without further discussion as the brown haired boy on the screen kept ranting about how scary his session with his mentor was. “And and and, he slammed the table when I misread the word collector until the tea cup fell to the floor and broke. And and that one time, w-when I just arrived, he was cleaning his gun - like he planned to use it very soon - maybe on my head - HIEEE!”
Now really, Enma felt bad for the boy; but he admitted there was something comical to this. He couldn't help but chuckle and Sawada’s misery. So far, the boy wasn't hurt in any way by the so-called mentor. Reborn honestly didn't have to lift a finger; Sawada was already so terrified by every single thing he did.
Anyway, Enma was really only watching this to see what Sawada would do with the Arcobaleno who could put The Primo and his Guardians to silence in the rare case where a beta was feared by alphas. However, so far, Sawada only shared that Reborn asked him to read a book out loud over a serving of tea and snacks.
Enma didn't want to believe an Arcobaleno who was also a hitman was hired by Vongola only to mentor someone how to read.
“Come on, why don't you bring your camera to your lessons like usual?” Enma mumbled to his monitor. It's nothing new for Sawada to record his previous lessons in secret (and got busted in the end by the butler). Enma really wanted to see how this particular Arcobaleno looked like. So Enma fast forwarded some videos. Unfortunately for him, until the last video in his latest batch, it was all of Sawada whining about his reading sessions with his mentor.
Enma gave up at the last video. He was ready to exit the clip when he noticed that Sawada acted differently. This time, he wasn't moaning about his demise. Instead, he was very silent - but it wasn't because he was about to cry like usual. Sawada looked like he was in awe.
“I had another reading session today,” Sawada said. He took his time before he continued his speech. “And, you know, he taught me things about umm… like tracing letters and stuff. Today, I was simply asked to read a page of a book. And umm he said nothing”. Sawada paused again, “Once I finished, I looked over to him because strangely he didn't say anything. And you know what he told me? I made no mistakes”.
Sawada put both of his hands to his own mouth like he couldn't believe what he heard from his own mouth. “Could you believe it? Me. Not making any mistakes in reading. That was the first time I did that. All I did was trace the letters and try to spell out each syllable - I corrected some when it didn't make any sense as a word. And I made it. I can read. I can finally read”.
“He actually spoke to me too. Like, talk, like a normal human being. He said I can call him Reborn,” Sawada looked unsure, like he was still a bit afraid of the man, “And then he asked me about what i know about The Arcobaleno - you know, what his uh.., group is called. So I told him what I heard from G-san; stuff like how The Arcobalenos are made out of Betas and they’re very great and all that. Then he said, “You wanna know a secret?” So I leaned closer because he did too”. This time Sawada leaned closer to the camera as though someone will find out what he’s saying if he didnt. “He said, there’s an omega in the Arcobaleno; and she’s the boss”.
Enma his own eyes widening in surprise. His back straightened in reflex and - as if making sure - he turned left and right to see whether someone else could hear this. The Vongola family library was thankfully, as usual, deserted.
“Its hard to believe - like, an omega? The boss of these betas who’re like feared by alphas?? Like, do you know how everyone acts around Reborn? G-san was like, ‘Be careful of him!! He’s dangerous!’ and such. That was like.. thats was so awesome,” it was new that Sawada would smile when he looked back at the day he first saw Reborn and everyone warned him of the Arcobaleno. There was adoration and awe in his dreamy expression. “This is the first time I heard of an omega who could be that cool. I don't know, this just… this just gave me a lot of hope”.
Enma realized then how monumental this moment was for Sawada. There was a glimmer in the omega’s eyes. It reminded Enma when the boy saw Hibari on TV for the first time and he would talk about him non-stop.
“Reborn asked what I would do after our lesson and I told him I would read more now that I know the tricks. In fact, I think I should do more readings in camera again! Yay!! Today, we will start with…,” the omega pulled a book from under the camera’s view, “The Ugly Duckling!! Yes!! I feel very confident I can figure out the whole story now! You know what, I should read this in camera and I’ll show Reborn the video on our next lesson! I cant wait!”
Enma’s lips perked to a small smile. This child; just days ago he was wailing about how he didn't want to go to his next meeting with his mentor. Now, he was all smiles and giddy about it as he opened the book.
Enma took a deep breath and propped his head on his fist. Then, Sawada read.
Enma was summoned to Hibari’s private office the moment the latter returned to the Palazzo. When the red haired young man entered the room, the alpha was already sitting on one of the lush couches. On the coffee table was a number of boxes - probably something he brought from his trip.
“Hello,” Hibari greeted with his usual flat tone, “Make yourself comfortable”. Enma did. He wasnt that rude to sit right next to the Alpha. He saw the alpha checking the contents of the boxes. They were shoe boxes. “Anything new?” The Alpha addressed Enma again despite not facing Enma fully. He was far too busy checking the particular pair of shoes in his hands.
“O-oh, uh, nothing peculiar so far. Sawada-san mostly recorded himself reading and talking about school in the latest videos. And he finally uses cameras instead of his iPhone,” Enma explained. In the last two days, Hibari was so distracted by his agenda in his debate club meeting so Enma didnt send any video of the latest batch he decoded.
“I see,” was Hibari’s only comment. The seventeen year old was twirling a shoe in his hand, he turned it around carefully as if checking every corner for any flaw. “Anyhow, what do you think, Mr. Cozart?” Hibari showed the shoes to him. Enma froze for a second.
“Um, it looks nice, but… dont you think the size is too small for you, Mr. Hibari?” And Enma secretly thought the color was too flashy for Hibari. He struck Enma as someone who would wear muted colors.
“It’s not for me. It’s for Sawada once he comes back. He could appreciate a welcome home gift. I thought clothes would be too forward for an omega, so I settled with shoes,” Hibari explained. Enma was half gaping at this point.
“Yes. He plays volleyball”.
“Oh,” Enma swallowed, “It’s umm nice. I think he’ll like it”.
“Really? I was thinking the color was too bright even for him,” The young Hibari mused before he put down the shoes and took another pair.
“Mr. Hibari,” Enma started suddenly. He didn't even know why he felt like talking more, “Sawada… surely cries a lot for someone who had just been adopted into a family”. Enma watched for his tone to sound not too accusing. It didn't seem to get the effect that he wanted on Hibari though because the guy didn't falter from checking the shoes. The guy took another pair from a new box instead.
Kusakabe entered the room just then and joined them on the couches. “He should’ve known Giotto is a busy man. It’s useless to expect much from that guy,” Hibari stated coolly, “Sawada understands this well”.
It didn't need much explaining from Enma for Hibari to make that conclusion; meaning that this didn't occur only once or twice.
“What are you talking about?” Kusakabe chimed in but mostly addressed Enma.
“... Sawada cried”.
“Oh,” Kusakabe nodded in understanding. It seemed like he also knew the situation.
“He was planning a surprise for The Primo’s birthday”. Enma just saw the video last night actually. Sawada was crying in his room because he had been waiting for his brother’s return from a trip all night. He had planned a surprise for Giotto in the Primo’s wing for it was the Primo’s birthday. It turned out that The Primo was given a surprise party in another wing.
“Oh, he did? I never knew,” Kusakabe commented, “yeah, he wasn't there when we celebrated The Primo’s birthday but I didn't hear anything about him throwing the Primo another surprise. He never said anything”.
“Well, it’s not like Giotto meant anything bad. Giotto wouldn't know nor understand if he didn't say anything. If he had known, of course he would do something to not make him cry,” Hibari grunted as he put the shoes in its box and dragged another box closer to him. Enma huffed in disappointment. “Besides, Giotto is a busy man. Sometimes he forgets stuff so you need to be very clear to him when you want something. Otherwise, he won't have the time with you,” Hibari continued.
Yet he seemed like he always had the time for you , Enma bit back his own words. It was true though. He had seen it through Sawada’s videos. In every ten videos, there would always be a short video of Hibari taken from far away by Sawada. In most of them the young alpha was with The primo or his Guardians. Hibari had even been seen wearing black, a signature color of Vongola’s family members and their guardians, right next to The Primo. Enma wasn't even sure whether Sawada had worn any blacks since he got into the Palazzo.
“Hibari-san,” Kusakabe called thus disrupting Enma’s line of thought. The tone in the beta’s words contained a warning that even Enma was a bit alarmed. Hibari finally stopped looking at the shoes and faced his beta. “Don't you remember what they say in Omega Study? An omega needs a lot of physical connection with their marked ones for they are very in tune with their senses. For Sawada-san, being deprived of that physical contact with The Primo must had been very frustrating because at that time The Primo was the closest candidate to mark. So don't you get it, Hibari-san? This was very difficult for Sawada-san”.
Hibari then nodded like he just got it. “I see. They did say that. That makes sense,” the Hibari heir muttered. Enma paid more attention to Kusakabe’s word choice. The use of at that time and the past tense told Enma that things had changed.
“Hibari-san has just started taking an Omega Study Class,” Kusakabe explained to Enma.
“Hmm, what for? I thought The Hibari Household hasn't had an omega for three generations”. Enma had done his research before he applied for what he thought was a vacancy for The Foundation. Alpha Houses all over the world consisted of mostly alphas and, rarely, betas. After all, Alpha Houses were built on the foundation that they were a family of strong alpha genetics; thus they created potential leaders for the rest of the world. In the past, they would sometimes produce an omega or two in every generation; but as time goes, omegas were getting rarer and rarer not only in Alpha Households, but also in developed countries altogether.
This was partly caused by today’s culture, where people don't date or pair up in accordance with their gender. The traditional pair of an Alpha and an Omega was seen as a gimmick. This was probably one of the reasons why omegas became so rare among the elites as they don't pair up with omegas anymore and omegas with a good background became harder to find.
This created some problems in developed nations and especially the Alpha Households as alphas had the lowest fertility rate among the genders. Among alphas, only the female alpha can carry a child and this can only be done when the female alpha is paired with either a beta or an omega. Even with an alpha-beta pair, a successful reproduction was pretty rare. Male alpha with female betas had a slightly better success in procreating; and slightly below that number was pairing a male beta with an alpha of any primary gender. Of course, betas had more success when paired with fellow betas or even omegas.
To solve this, some Alpha Household came up with the solution of an engineered child. Basically, they used science and technology to conjure a child using the genes of two alphas. Hibari Kyoya was a known product of such technology as his parents were both Alphas. However, this technology was considered new and the impact of such technology was still debated until today. In fact, the process could endanger the baby carrier’s life.
“Yes, The Hibari hasn't had an omega in three generations already; but that can change anytime soon; who knows? Besides, most Alpha Houses in Asia believe that having an omega is a sign of good fortune for years to come,'' Kusakabe responded.
Enma didnt know why but something gnawed at his feelings. It was just that something told him there was more to this than what it seemed. If only he could figure out what it was.
They spent the next couple of hours watching Sawada’s videos. Some of them, Enma had watched in the privacy of his own room. The last video he had seen was the video where Sawada cried. No one made a comment on that one.
The next video was of Sawada in a uniform. It seemed like it was his school uniform. “It looks nice,” Sawada said as he turned around to check himself. He was in his walk-in closet and the camera was settled in a way that could capture his whole height. “Oh, I dont know. Everything could go wrong today; I’ve never been to school,” the boy moaned in worry. It was typically Sawada, actually.
That was until they heard a second voice from behind the camera.
“The worst thing you could do is lose your pants in school”.
“Wait,” Enma jumped in his seat, “Who - who was that?”
The person didn't show himself but the voice was unlike any other Enma had heard in the Palazzo.
“That’s Reborn,” Hibari said. Enma swallowed loudly. Sawada actually invited an Arcobaleno into his room - no, into his closet.
“Is he letting Sawada record him? That’s new,” Kusakabe stated, “The Arcobalenos don't like being photographed or have their faces in front of a camera”.
“No, I think he’s not showing himself,” Hibari added.
As Hibari said, the hitman did not walk into the view of the camera. “Imagine that. What's worse that could happen?” The same voice said. Sawada was staring at someone behind the camera now and a smile so genuine grew on his heart-shaped face.
Enma noted then how much this boy had grown. He believed it was only days ago he saw this boy looking so lanky and awkward in front of the camera. This time, Enma would even describe the boy as beautiful.
Omega and their puberty. It had to be that.
“Stop it, Reborn. If you talk too much it could really happen,” the omega retorted, though good-naturedly. The man behind the camera could be heard snorting.
“Its not that bad now that you’ve imagined it, is it?” The voice sounded closer and a silhouette could be seen towering over Sawada slightly but no real figure shown itself, “As I said, remember your origins. Always. You are born to inspire”.
Sawada was looking slightly upward. There was a spark in his brown eyes. It told everyone watching this video how much this boy adored the person he was talking to. Just like that, Sawada nodded to the man he called a mentor. There was such trust and confidence in that nod.
The next video was almost a month after. Sawada was in his reading nook. The improvements in the lighting was very clear in this video as it was far better than Sawada’s previous videos in the same spot. The omega had bought some lighting equipment so of course he better put some use into them.
“Hello!! It’s been awhile since I last made this kind of video. With school and all, I had no time to sit down and talk, basically. But today I do! So I want to talk about the latest happenings. Lets talk about school first! Wow, school - it was such a different place,” the boy chuckled. Enma unconsciously smiled along with him. Sawada somehow had become such an interesting character. In this video he beamed with such light and it was not because of the lighting. He was also more coherent this time. Enma remembered when the boy struggled to introduce himself in front of the camera.
“School is interesting. It's fun, but I hate homeworks,” the boy laughed again, “But there’s just a lot to do at school. So, in my school, most students are betas. There are also omegas, four of them; including me. It’s not a school for alphas so there’s no alphas at all, but its a good school so most of the students come from a House or a branch of a House. So yeah”.
“At first I thought the students would bully me like they did back in the orphanage, but they didnt. Actually, if I have to be blunt, they didnt even talk to me,” Sawada shrugged, “I was told its because the school has a very strict set of rules against bullying omegas so people are rather scared. On one hand, its good that the omegas arent bullied, but I also think that not talking to the omega students are also bad, you know? There’s a word for it… umm… alienate. The synonym is… uh… iso...late?” His expressions and his story were engaging; and even the question at the end was put in a way that made you sit still and listen; “Yes. So isolating the students because of their genders is also bad because it is also a form of discrimination. I talked about this with Reborn yesterday and we actually agreed that…”
“Sawada-san sure changes a lot after going to school,” Kusakabe commented. Enma nodded. Hibari was strangely silent.
“So Gokudera-kun and Yamamoto-kun are both actually cousins, or far cousins, of G-san and Asari-san. They also plan to be an intern in the Palazzo soon. So they’re like the goons G-san hired to watch over me at first,” a chuckle, “They were both students in my class and the only ones who know I’m from Vongola. The rest of the school thinks I’m from some Asian Household’s branch family.. I dont think Gokudera-kun likes me at first. But a thing and two happened and, I guess he’s okay with me now. Actually, I think we’re like friends”. Sawada smiled hopefully, “As for the omega students, they’re all from other countries and they’re all girls. It’s funny, we’re all omegas but they found it interesting that I’m a boy; because it’s rare, you know? Anyhow, I’ve only ever met two of the omegas in my school; the first one is I-Pin from China and the other one is Bluebell from UK. The other one is from India, but I forgot her name. We’re all in different classes”.
“This is actually the first time I met another omega my age. It’s really nice because we understand each others’ struggles. They’re all from well-respected families, so they told me they were mentored since young. They’ve also been to school since the beginning so they know how to deal with difficult tasks and the challenges of going to school,” Sawada took a deep breath, “They helped me a lot but it was still very difficult in the beginning. For example, once I was called to the front of the class to solve a problem on the board. The problem is, I couldn't trace the letters well because it was on the board and I was a bit nervous. So I made a fool of myself to the whole class. Everyone laughed. It was pretty embarrassing,” Sawada grimaced, “It was probably the closest thing I’ve had to bullying at school, but I know they didn't mean it. So I tried again in class, I tried ignoring the laughter. And I did it! I could answer the problem, though I struggled a bit in the beginning”.
“The teacher was understanding and he praised me for being patient in front of the class. I was really happy I did it. Reborn was right, once you’ve imagined the worst, it wasn't actually that bad,” Sawada concluded, “But that man; he came to school the next day. Turned out he has connections there. And the next week, I was given a different treatment. Like, for some subjects, I was given a special private session with a teacher. My exams and homeworks are also different from the rest of the students - not like the main topic is changed, but more like the questions and the format are changed slightly so it was easier to be understood”.
“At first I thought it would further isolate me, but it's actually very helpful. The rest of the omega students ask the school for the same studying methods so I guess they’ll be joining me next week”. He then proceeded to share how he’s going to give bracelets to the new friends he made at school.
The next video was of Hibari. It was obvious the video was taken from very far away because the video was unstable. Hibari was seen crossing the courtyard with a couple of men his own age. They all wore the same uniform - The Guilleford Academy uniform.
The camera spun around to find one of the maids - Haru, if Enma wasn't mistaken - with her hands on her hips behind the omega. “Are you recording the Palazzo’s surroundings again?”
“Um no…, I was just checking the zoom function of my camera!” Sawada poorly defended.
“You didn't just record someone without permission again, did you??”
The clip stopped there before it cut to Sawada in his reading nook. He looked like he was in deep thought if not a little worried. “Its Hibari’s birthday soon. It’s his sixteenth. The Palazzo is going to throw a huge party with his school friends and all because Hibari’s home is so far away. The Palazzo is also closer to his school so it was decided that Hibari's family is going to visit the palazzo for the birthday instead,” Sawada pursed his lips, “I don't know what to give him. I wonder what he’ll get from his friends. Last year Giotto-san gave him a car. He’ll also get lots of other presents from people,” the omega frowned, “Or maybe I shouldnt prepare a gift after all? I wouldnt be invited to the party anyway”.
Sawada brought his camera to school in the next videos. Enma finally saw Gokudera; who had his head bent to his book as he sat opposite to Sawada on the latter's desk. When the silver haired teen looked up, his eyes widened at the camera. “T-t-tenth, w-what are you doing??”
“It’s my camera. You know I like making videos, Gokudera-kun”.
“Y-yeah, but why are you recording me?”
“Huh? To make memories, of course!”
“M-m-memories?? Of me??? I-I dont deserve that, Tenth!!”
“Why is he calling Sawada Tenth?” Enma blurted, “Is Sawada the official Decimo in Vongola?”
There were ten positions in Vongola called the Top 10. Each person in the Top ten was given titles in accordance with their ranks. The head of the family would always be given the title Primo. The next numbers shall take over just in case The Primo can not lead the family. In a way, the numbers represent the line of inheritance; but it also signifies the capacity of your influence over the family. For example, the title Secondo means that Secondo had more responsibilities over the family, but they also had more votes to change the course of the family’s regulations.
So far, no one in the Top Ten had been an omega.
“He’s not. The tenth position has been empty for a while,” Hibari answered, “The previous one turned out to have no Vongola blood in his veins”.
“Sawada has,” Enma countered.
“He does, but he’s an omega. He doesnt have the flame”.
The Vongola Flame; one of the signatures of a true Vongola Alpha This was probably what set them apart from other Alpha Household across the nation. Each of them was powerful not only in influence; but also strength.
Yamamoto was far calmer. The moment he found out the camera was on him he simply threw a peace sign and a grin. The rest of the class looked on with interest, but they made no further move to interact. Enma supposed that was what Sawada meant by isolation.
The rest of the videos were of Sawada reading and talking to his two schoolmates. One video had him in his reading nook with a small present, “I didn't give the present to Kyoya. Its not like I’m brave enough to go to him and give the present while he’s with his friends,” Sawada didn't seem very confident, “I heard he got a new car again. But it wasn't from Giotto. I heard on the dining table that Giotto gave him an antique weapon from his possession. That’s like so cool, right? They were like… real brothers,” Sawada looked down on his present, “All I got for him is a bracelet I made myself. Now that I think about it, I’m kind of glad I didn't hand this gift to him”.
The young omega flushed and put the present down on the seat right next to him, “I spent a lot of time making it but it's nothing cool like cars or anything. It would be embarrassing to give it to Kyoya after he got all of those gifts. Hey, I think it's good I didn't give that Christmas present too”.
“Did I receive any bracelet from my birthday?” Hibari asked suddenly. He was looking at Kusakabe in warning, “I didn't throw anything away, right?”
“No, Hibari-san. Nothing was thrown and I am sure there were no accessories and the sort”.
“Tetsuya,” Hibari shifted. His form showed that he discovered something, “Don't you think that the bracelets are him marking everyone around him?”
Kusakabe did not answer directly, “...Maybe -”
“He gives them to his friends and he planned to give one to Giotto right? He eventually gave them to Giotto. I saw the bracelets - it was gold”.
“Mr. Hibari, are you implying that Sawada was trying to mark you?” Enma asked instead.
Hibari stared at Enma for a moment before he fixed his sitting position, “Omegas love giving gifts to the people around them as a sigh of possession. They like it when the people around them wear something that carries their scent”.
“That’s not what...marking usually entails,” Enma felt somewhat guilty for interrupting Hibari’s line of thought. However, it was true that marking was more complex than giving gifts. When you’re marked by an omega, it would be very obvious to you. They’ll stick close to you to scent you, and then there’s the infamous clothes exchanges.
“Ah, Mr. Cozart is right. The gifts are not marking but omegas usually gift the people around them with trinkets just so that they have a bit of the omega’s scent. Sometimes they’ll look after you too. It's more like a friendly gesture from an omega, I would say. So it's not marking, but it's nice to know that Sawada was considerate enough to think of giving a gift for you”.
Enma couldn't place a finger on it, but if he dared say; Hibari looked somewhat disappointed.
Sawada, who was still on the screen talking about Hibari’s birthday, was now about to finish his ramble, “It's a bit sad that I wasn't invited to the party but well, it's not like Hibari knows I exist. Umm, it's a bit lonely… now that everyone’s there and talking about the party; but, Reborn told me not to cry anymore for little things. Besides, I have Reborn, Gokudera-kun, and Yamamoto-kun. And the maids are nice; Maximillian’s a bit scary, but he’s kind when he feels like it”.
Sawada’s own fourteenth birthday was celebrated with a humble dinner inside The Primo’s wing. The guests consisted of some of Vongola's Top 10, The Guardians, and the maids. It was a simple occasion, but very intimate. Sawada recorded the cakes, the foods, the present piles, and the conversations he had with his family members.
Giotto was there too, and so far Enma had never heard the man talking to the camera. He was always crowded by his own Guardians. His interactions with Sawada was mostly heard from Sawada’s own account; in most of them he was scolding Sawada.
The same evening, Sawada also made a short monologue on his birthday. Overall he was very happy with the celebration despite how small it was. It was his first birthday party with a family or even with such a big tiered cake. “I thought Kyoya would be there - but who am I kidding? Of course he wouldn't be there,” Sawada flushed to the camera.
“He would if he was invited,” was Kusakabe’s comment before the player moved to the next video.
Sawada was in his reading nook again. This time, he was grinning ear to ear. “Guess what! I’m joining the volleyball club!!!” He announced, “All the omegas in my school have been talking about how good the sport is and how omegas can also join the club. At first I was in doubt because, I’m an omega and all, but, y’know, Reborn has always told me to try first. So I did,” he paused dramatically, “And I played so well!! Even against betas! Like, I think it’s because of all of those trainings Reborn is giving me -”
“Training?” Kusakabe pondered, “Like… physical training?” Enma questioned the same thing. So far in his videos, Saada didn't mention anything about physical training with Reborn.
“Yes,” Hibari didn't sound surprised.
“You knew, Hibari-san?” Kusakabe asked.
“I do. I have for a while”.
“Does The Primo know about this?”
“I dont think so”.
“Its like what Reborn has said, yes, Omegas don't have a lot of muscles, but we can make it up with our other attributes. In volleyball, I’m not the strongest spiker, but I make that up with my agility because I’m lighter than everyone else in the team,” Sawada lifted a fist, “So yes, omegas can also do it!! Yeah!”
The three of them watched on as Sawada brought his camera to volleyball practice. This time, he was not alone. Everyone treated him like he was part of them; which he was. In other videos, he would show the camera how he served and passed the volleyball. His play was not world class or even exceptional; but he enjoyed it and that was what mattered. He hadn't been crying about being lonely anymore for the last twenty something videos.
“The volleyball captain is actually an intern here too. He’s receiving training from Knuckle-san. Sasagawa-Senpai really is that great. He’s very accepting of the fact that I’m an omega, but I remember at first he was like, ‘Let me ask the people from the Palazzo first’, when I first applied for the club. So he’s among the very few people who knows I’m from Vongola,” Sawada rambled as he pointed the camera to himself. He was wearing light clothes and holding a volleyball. From the looks of it, he wanted to have another service practice outside.
From how the sun hit his face, Enma guessed he had reached an open clearing. Probably he was in one of The palazzo’s gardens. The boy had just arrived when a voice from quite a distance called out to him, “Hello Sweetie!! What’s your name??”
There’s a millisecond where Sawada looked panicked and whirled at the same time; but the next second was spent running to the nearest tree. In the next frame, Sawada sat with his back to the tree. He was hiding from the sight of his observer. The camera was on his lap and it had the perfect view of the boy’s fearful expression. This was maybe one of those rare times someone caught Sawada out in the open.
Sawada was strangely silent as the conversations behind him took place. It seemed like this person, a young man from the sounds of it; was located slightly above where Sawada was. “Hey, dont hide! D’aaw, I didnt mean to surprise you!” Said the same person.
“What the hell man, who’re you talking to?” Someone else said from the same direction. It was followed by some questions of the same nature. There were more than two of them; maybe five.
“There’s someone down there. I was calling him and he ran to hide,” said the first person.
“There, can you see him there? Behind that tree!”
“Ooh, I see a hat!”
Sawada was wearing short brimmed sun hat. After hearing that, he held the brim tightly as if to protect his face from being seen. “Hey!! Hello there!!” The people behind him called, but they made no effort to approach him.
“He’s shy,” One of them said.
“Trust you to call someone and make them so afraid of you!”
“Hey, I was just asking him for his name, okay? He’s small and cute, so I was curious. I thought at first he looked like an omega”.
“Yeah right,” most of them seemed to wave it off. After all, people outside of the Palazzo believed that there was no omega in the Palazzo’s ground.
“Hey, believe me. He has this cute brown hair and small frame. Pretty face!” the voice were getting farther.
“Whats this ruckus all about?” A new voice asked; and it was not a voice that was foreign to anyone in the room. It was Hibari’s.
From where the sound came from, you could conclude that he was together with the group of guys. “Yo, Hibari, do you know any cute guy in the building? Brown hair? Small?” Asked the first guy.
Hibari ended up growling instead, “Stop messing around and just go inside”.
Once it was clear that the group of men had cleared from the area, Sawada made an evident sigh. That was until his eyes seemed to catch on something. Someone was coming his way. “Oh no,” The boy whimpered, “It’s G-san”.
The video paused over there. Enma was surprised to find that Kusakabe was the one who stopped it with a movement of his hand (The TV had movements sensor). “So is that why your friends keep on asking about a cute guy?” Kusakabe faced his Alpha. The Hibari didnt turn to meet his Gaze. The Alpha huffed in annoyance.
“They’re your friends?” Enma wondered.
“Schoolmates. They were there on a visit. It wasnt really Sawada’s fault. He usually uses that spot to practice and it was a place he’s allowed to go to most of the time. I just happened to be there that day and my schoolmates were visiting. The maids brought them to me without giving me a head up first”.
“ Just happened,” Kusakabe repeated. His tone was playful; Enma felt like he was missing something. All Hibari did was send his assistant a glare and a warning of, “Tetsuya”.
After that, a soft knock was heard from the door to Hibari’s office. Kusakabe volunteered to open the door before their group of three was joined by two maids and two young betas. The latter was a familiar face. They were Gokudera and Yamamoto; Sawada’s two friends and guards in his school.
“Hibari-dono!” Gokudera bowed. In the videos he had always been the overly courtly kind - to the extent of being borderline embarrassing. Yamamoto was next to him; and he merely gave the young Alpha a short nod. Hibari was not an alpha head yet.
“Young Master, I apologize for disrupting your investigation with Mr. Cozart but these two young men are Young master Sawada’s classmates and they are pressing to see you,” explained the maid when the Hibari heir went to them.
“Hibari-dono! We heard you are running an investigation on Tenth’s disappearance!” The silver haired beta exclaimed. The desperation was thick in his words.
Hibari was taken aback by the forwardness. However, he answered with a short, “I am”.
“H-Hibari-dono! You need to figure this out fast otherwise Tenth will be in grave danger!” The silver haired teen leaned closer.
“Danger?” Hibari pointed sharply.
“Yes! Before he went missing, Tenth came to me looking like he was going to war. He gave this to me with the order of keeping it until Reborn comes,” Gokudera handed a white envelope to Hibari, “But reborn never comes and I’m getting more and more worried everyday. So I come to you. Please, Hibari-dono, please! We have to find him fast!”
Hibari opened the envelope and took a card from inside of it. Enma stood closer to the alpha so that he could see the content of the card. It only contained four numbers; 1827; and that was all. “Do you know what this is for?” Hibari asked the beta.
Gokudera flinched, then looked down. “N-no, Hibari-dono. Tenth didnt say anything else”.
Hibari sighed. Enma sensed the young man was disappointed. The alpha returned the card into the envelope then handed it back to Gokudera. “Whatever it was, Sawada can inform Reborn himself because apparently he ran away to Reborn”.
“What?” Gokudera didnt seem like he believed in it, “Tenth ran to Reborn?”
The two betas were put to silence at first; but the other beta stepped forward and faced Hibari head on. “Hibari-dono, I apologize, but we are very confident Sawada did not go to Reborn-san!”
“He did. We have done our research and all evidence pointed to that conclusion. The Primo and his Guardians are on his way to pick him up from Reborn as we’re talking,” Hibari cleared, “Besides, if you are coming here to say he’s not with Reborn, then what prove do you have to say that?”
“I -,” Yamamoto’s voice faltered, “I… I have nothing - But, his behaviors and words leading to his disappearance just didnt add up with him going to see Reborn himself. I dont know why, but I just feel like he’s taking it to himself to do something dangerous alone!”
Hibari was massaging the bridge of his nose. He was not happy with this sudden turn of events. An agent, who was like a clerk in The Palazzo but they work under direct supervision of the Guardians, entered the room uninvited then. The man was obviously in a dire need to speak to Hibari that he forgot common courtesy to knock before entering.
Enma made room when the man went to Hibari’s side and whispered something to the young alpha. Hibari’s face changed from mild exhaustion to alert. “What?” The Hibari heir muttered before the agent continued saying something to his ear. “Where?” Hibari muttered again. No one could hear the answer, but Hibari quickly said, “How about Lampo?”
The agent gave Hibari his answer then excused himself to leave. He left the door slightly opened, and it was then they noted how some agents were running in the hallway to the same direction the previous agent departed to. “Tetsuya, get my tonfas ready,” Hibari ordered calmly, “We’re leaving for a moment. The rest of you, stay here. It’s too dangerous outside right now”.
“B-but, Hibari-dono!” Gokudera called, but the alpha and his assistant had left the room and closed the door behind them. The maid that took Gokudera and Yamamoto then excused herself with the message of, “I’m a maid, and us maids of The palazzo are trained in moments of emergency,” Whatever that meant.
The two teenage betas were discussing amongst themselves. Enma coughed to steal their attention.
“So,” Enma started once those two stopped speaking, “What makes you guys come here with the confidence that Sawada is not with Reborn currently?”
The two teenagers looked at each other before they both faced Enma. “Because he wouldnt ask us to deliver a message to Reborn when he can tell the man himself. Furthermore, if he was meeting reborn, He wouldnt look that way,” Gokudera stated, “Like… like he was about to die or something”.
“Why not? Reborn is an Arcobaleno. He’s a dangerous guy,” Enma shrugged.
“No! Not to tenth he wasnt!” Gokudera defended. The younger beta’s confidence surprised Enma a little; but he supposed the teen wouldnt act that way unless he strongly believed what he said.
“Okay then, how about you show me what you’ve got there?” Enma pointed at the envelope Hibari had returned. The two now looked wary.
“Wait a minute. How about you? Who are you? What are your motives?” Yamamoto asked.
“Oh? You dont know? I’m the person they hire to investigate. My name’s Enma Cozart - I’m the detective, you can say”.
Their eyebrows skyrocketed at the mention of ‘detective’. “We had no idea, Mr. Cozart. I apologize for our behavior. Please, if you would, find out where Sawada-kun is,” Yamamoto bent his body forward while extending the envelope to Enma. Enma took it and opened the envelope again. He checked the cxard inside it with great scrutiny. It was really just a card with four digits on it; nothing else.
“Any idea what the number is for?” Enma enquired. The two teen shook his head.
“We’ve discussed about it before and couldnt figure it out,” Gokudera said. Enma tilted his head at the card. Four digits; it could be anything. It could be a year; or a date, or maybe a password.
Enma turned to his laptop and pondered. There was one place that required a password to answer; not that Enma couldnt crack it; but it’ll take some time. “Let me try something,” Enma said while walking to his laptop. He opened his explorer and opened Sawada’s harddisk. The third folder - the one he had yet to touch - contained the most sophisticated codes among the three folders. It could be easily accessed if Enma could enter the password, but there were eight box for the password; and not four.
“Lets try anyway,” Enma murmured. He typed in the four digits in the password boxes and clicked enter.
To his surprise, the folder unlocked itself. Enma gaped.
Those eight boxes in the password was a trick! It didnt need to be all filled in.
Gokudera gasped loudly, “Is that what the numbers are for?? Mr. Cozart, can we find tenth with this???”
Enma honestly had no idea - but if so far these kids words had proven to be something true, then the rest of what they were saying might be also true. That would mean that Sawada might be in danger and not with his beloved mentor. Therefore they didnt have much time to waste. Sawada could be needing their help now.
Enma settled with “I dont know” as his answer to Gokudera’s answer. He absently clicked on a video file at the top of the list. He wondered what exactly was hidden with such great measure in this folder and Sawada wanted to show it to a particular Arcobaleno. The video player opened to reveal a scene that none of them expected.
“Holyshit!” Gokudera cursed, “HOLYSHIT”.
Meanwhile, Hibari Kyoya and his assistant were running across the large hallway. On their left and right were the remains of a huge fight that left many agents fallen on the floor; either unconscious or losing their stamina. Yet this young alpha was unfazed. He headed for the source of this problem; only slightly ahead of him.
It didnt take too long until he reached one of the main dining rooms. More and more agents were crowding the place as they got closer to the grand entrance. Hibari pushed them all aside until he reached where The Lightning Guardian was standing. The man stood by the door frame with one hand holding the door open. “Lampo,” Hibari called.
“Ah, Kyoya. You’re late to the party,” the Guardian complained light heartedly, “Our main performer right here had just finished his main show of the day”.
Hibari stopped next to Lampo to see what was inside. The whole dining room was an absolute mess. The long dining table was even broken into two.
“Or maybe, he’s about to throw us another good one,” kusakabe warned from behind Hibari. true enough, the smoke from the fallen debris had started to clear. They could now see the tall slender form behind it. he was dressed in black like it was a funeral.
“Here he comes,” Lampo muttered.
Hibari tightened his grip on his tonfa. His teeth clenched, “Come at us, Reborn”.
I'm so sleepy but I prioritize this work first! I apologize if there are still some errors - I'm not very aware with this degree of sleepiness. I hope you like this chapter though. DO you think it answers anything? Please comment below what you think!!
Oh, the next chapter should be where Tsuna returns. I think I told you already this is a three chapter fic, but seeing the circumstances, we might ended up with four chapters instead. The next one should be the conclusion of Tsuna's disappearance. Whether or not we have a fourth chapter depends on whetgher I think the fluff and the scenes for the main pairing deserves its own chapter.
Chapter 3: Chapter 3
1. This story does not reflect the true nature of real life dyslexia. Parts of it was taken from dyslexia that we all know; but mostly the dyslexia I describe in this story is fictional.\
2. Long chapters ahead and poor editing
It started with an extra blurry clip of Sawada’s fingers as he was showing how to make a simple knot using the strings he usually gets to make bracelet. Then somehow, in the middle of his frustration, the rope was burnt to crisp. Sawada was flailing said rope in surprise. Yet, despite the erratic movements and the poor quality of the video; it was crystal clear for Enma and the two other bystanders; a spark of fire came out of Sawada’s fingers.
“Holyshit!” Gokudera exclaimed, “HOLYSHIT!”
The three of them stood inside Hibari’s private office still; though this time they were watching a series of videos in the third and last folder inside of Sawada’s hard drive. The next clip showed Sawada carefully recording himself with his right hand on fire. When the fire spread to his whole arm then to his shoulder; the boy flailed his right arm in panic until the camera was thrown somewhere far away.
Enma reckoned that these videos were taken from Sawada’s time in the orphanage; probably with his first phone. The next video was slightly clearer, which helped Enma to conclude that the scene from before might be the event where Sawada dropped his phone from the third floor. It was starting then Sawada used a new phone that was still poor in quality, but was somewhat better than the first one.
The next videos saw Sawada trying to conjure some flame yet failed. The boy complained about it; “See? Whenever I want to have it, it wont come. When I don’t need it , the fire will come and gets me it trouble. WHY??”
“Oh My God. Tenth really is The Tenth! Did you see that, Yamamoto?? Tenth is really really the Tenth. They have to include him in the Top 10! It’s his right! He has the flame – hey, did you see that??” Gokudera was both excited and in awe. Yamamoto, whom he had been shaking for a while, had his eyes to the screen, lower jaw slacked. “Do people know this?? Like, do they know Tenth deserves a proper title??” Gokudera continued.
Another video showed Sawada sitting in the his reading nook in the palazzo. This time the video had a high quality. It was obviously taken from the time when Sawada was already in the palazzo. He was in the middle of reading, when suddenly he sneezed and a ball of fire was spouted out. Sawada looked taken a back for a second, before he erratically tried to fan it out. “Oh no!” He exclaimed for the fire failed to go out, “I’m in huge trouble! Go awayyyy!”
The fire died like it listened to Sawada’s orders. “Oh,” the omega stated, “It listened”.
The next few videos were various excerpts of previous videos that Sawada seemed to have cut. Enma assumed they were taken in between the time period of the previous folders; from his time in the orphanage to the time he spent of the palazzo. They were all scenes of Sawada having an “accident” or two with fire. The omega might have been trying to hide the fact that he had such powers; because otherwise he wouldn't cut it out and put it in a specific folder with extra protections.
“Has he been hiding this?” Enma whispered; more to himself than the other two betas in the room. From Gokudera’s enthusiasm to Yamamoto’s shocked expression; Enma would say they had been in the dark from the start.
One of the videos was taken from afar and it followed Maximillian walking across the gardens. Sawada was giggling from behind the camera. “Something is going to fall on him,” the omegan boy said. Something did fell, but it failed to hit Maximillian on the head. It was a branch from the trees around the garden; and it fell right in front of the butler. The butler looked halted in surprise. Sawada exploded in a series of chuckles in the confinement of his wing. “Whoops, almost,” the boy said before the video jumped to the next one.
“What was that?” Enma pondered.
“THE INTUITION! Must be The Vongola intuition!” Gokudera exclaimed with a fist in the air; “I know! G said The Primo did that a lot when they were in school - guessing when someone would have something bad happening on them and the such! Oh man, I wish the tenth would do that with me!” The teen plopped down onto one of the sofas. Enma sent the younger beta a look. He seemed to be taking this in with a breeze.
Then Enma remembered that one occasion where Sawada pulled a kid from his orphanage away from a thrown ball before the ball was even hit. In fact, probably there were more incidents that showed Sawada’s unnatural ability to foresee something in the near future.
The next videos were of the same nature; most of them were short and consisted of Sawada accidentally causing something to be caught on fire. One particular video showed Sawada meditating. He sat cross-legged and had his eyes shut; a small ball of fire floated in front of him. From his appearance, Enma would say this was when Sawada was already enrolled to a school.
He did this in the next couple of videos; in some of them he was not meditating, but was trying to conjure fire. He succeeded, though mostly the fire was very small.
He didn’t say much in this series of videos; that was until one video saw the boy sitting in his reading nook like he normally would whenever he planned to speak. “Hello, my name is Sawada Tsunayoshi, I am 14,” he started. His mannerism was way more collected and confident in comparison to his first ever video where he also made an introduction of himself. “If you are watching this video, then you already know that I am an omega. I have been recording videos of my life since a couple of years back - I’ve never publicized it, for me it was just a way to use my energy for something creative. I have spent more than half of my life in an orphanage where people looked down on my secondary gender. These videos was a way for me to distract myself from that and stay positive”.
“However, by the time I was 13, I discovered that I have a living family member. That person is The Primo of Vongola; and he’s my half-brother. Ever since that revelation, I was adopted by The Vongola and I have been living in secret under The Palazzo Bianco’s roof for about a year now. Here’s my proof”.
He extended his two arms forward and spread his fingers. Just like that, a small ball of fire spawned between his two palms. It flickered weakly, before it disappeared to thin air.
“Umm, yeah, I’m still working on that. I grew up thinking I shouldnt use it because it freaks people out, but… I am in good hands and we’re working on it. But yeah, after my move into The Palazzo, I’ve discovered many things about myself with all the resources Vongola has given me. Starting from today, I will my discoveries and my journey as I learn and grow as a person; as an omega. The goal is, through these videos, I would like to document my progress as I… umm,” he paused in thought, probably to think of a word, “Over… over come,” it was obvious the word was still a bit new to him. He had been doing so well so far that Enma almost forgot this was the boy who had never gone to school. “Overcome the limitations people put on omegas. I want it that one day these videos could educate people, and especially omegas like me, that omegas can do it! We are not useless nor dumb. We can actually learn and educate ourselves; we’re not the lesser gender as people make us to be”.
Sawada inhaled and his two palms met in front of him as he collected himself. “And all of this wouldn't ever be possible without the help of my family, The Vongola, and my friends. They have all been very supportive and helpful from the start. But mostly, I would like to dedicate this moment to my mentor, who had always trusted me and patient toward me. He’s the person who changed my perspective about my own gender and gave me a vision. He helped me through so many troubles and he showed me the way to solve them. He actually,” Sawada took a deep breath again. It was then Enma reckoned the boy didn’t want to cry in the middle of his speech, “He actually taught me how to read, which I had thought to be impossible to do. More than everything, he taught me to believe in myself; that I’m not stupid”.
Enma stole a glance at the two teenaged beta. They were both being uncharacteristically silent.
“Together, I and my mentor studied the researches a lot of scientist and experts around the world have written regarding omegas lack of ability to read properly. It is actually a condition they named Dyslexia and it is found in all omegas listed in these researches. Dyslexia is a learning disorder that involves difficulty reading due to problems identifying speech sounds and learning how they relate to letters and words. This is because the part of the brain that process language is developed differently in omegas. Hence, omegas learn and understand language differently than the other genders”.
“These phenomenon is quite known among the intellectual community - like, you know, smart people. But even among them, the number of those who are interested in studying omegas is so small. And those who are, are usually stationed in places with more omega population such as Africa. In the end, we don’t have many people who understand the learning challenges of omegas. The schools - uhmm, the education system has also failed many omegas because they don’t know how to educate them better. To them, these omegas are simply… stupid”.
“But that is 100% not true. A lot of educators and experts who work with omegas in places like Africa have developed a teaching method for omegas focusing more on accommodating their dyslexia. The results show that the omegas that participated in a class with this teaching method performed academically as well as other genders on the same lesson. This shows us that it isn't that omegas are bad at studying; its just that the current teaching method we have here in Neo Italy doesn't fit an omega’s needs. It failed to educate them at all”.
From the way Sawada explained, one would notice his passion for the topic. It was not rehearsed; most of his words seemed to be burned into his head. He had studied and discussed this topic at a length.
“Being an omega, this discovery has led me to believe that there is hope for us. We need to be recognized for what we truly are, not these… umm…., stereotypes… Yes, stereotypes that people made up! This is why, I am recording these videos in case some documentations on omega studies are needed in the future. I don’t know when these videos will be of use; but… there might be a day when it is. I hope, from my videos, people can see how an omega strive and learn; and be better. Maybe these videos can inspire many other omegas out there”.
The video ended on a confident note.
In the next clip, Sawada was holding the camera very close to himself until all you could see was his face. “So… I’m going to record Reborn - not his face, but only his voice. It’ll be too… dangerous to try that now, but umm,” he paused like he was having a second thought, “Yeah! I figured I need to show you how Reborn, my mentor, gets me to how I am now. Umm…, it’ll be challenging but…. I figured it’ll be important someday. So yeah, I’m just going to put my camera in my pocket”. The screen then turned to a very dark gray as the camera was slipped into Sawada’s front pocket. You could still heard the omega’s footsteps while he walked somewhere. A soft knock was then heard before the door creaked open.
“Hello!” Sawada sounded happy at first; but then turned to panic, “W-w-what are you doing? No - wait!!”Someone pulled the camera from the safety of Sawada’s pocket. The last scene they saw was of Sawada’s face as he stared in horror at his camera. The way he craned his head up told Enma whoever caught Sawada red-handed had to be very tall.
“I didn’t know Sawada-kun was this reckless,” Yamamoto mumbled. Enma turned to him, but the boy was facing the TV.
“Trying to catch Reborn off guard is like… getting yourself caught off guard. It’s an irony,”Gokudera agreed despite having been adoring the ground Sawada walked on just before.
Sawada was seen sitting on the couch in his room in the next scene. The scene was taken from an awkward angle on the fireplace. The omega was reading a book out loud from among the lush cushion; facing an array of sweet treats displayed on tiered trays. He stopped mid reading and frowned at the book. “Umm… l-luu… luck, um,” he put a finger on the page and traced slowly, “Umm…. lu…. cid? Lucid?”
“What do you do if you’re unsure?”A voice, low and masculine, noted. Sawada looked ahead; slightly off to the side of the camera.
“Look up the word on the dictionary; and not use Genevieve,” Sawada answered like it had been rehearsed. The omega took a small electronic dictionary on his coffee table. Meanwhile, a black clad figure loomed over the camera. You couldn’t see his face for he was too close to the camera for you to see his whole posture but Enma swore he had heard that voice somewhere.
“Very good,” the man praised. A gloved hand reached out to the camera, then the screen went blank.
The same person talked to Sawada from behind the camera before the omega’s first day at school. That had to be him.
Enma was mulling this as the video moved on to Sawada explaining reading tips for omegas. He remembered how scared Sawada was of Reborn in past videos; yet here he was with the man in his room. Heck, he even took the man into his closet once. On the other hand, no one else in the Palazzo mirrored Sawada’s lax attitude around the man.
“... four, after you’re comfortable with reading; you can move on to writing. You can do both writing by hands or typing. Each of them teach you different things; like, hand writing could also get you to trace - but I prefer typing because I can focus on the spellings more. And my school use soft copies more, so typing documents is a really important skill for me,” Sawada explained, “And technology is a true blessing. Like, with the app I have now,” the screen switched to a shared screen of Sawada’s iPad, “You can check whether you spelled words correctly. For example, over here, if it’s wrong, they would tell you you mistyped it. My suggestion is to not see the suggested words - here I have disabled the suggestions so I can correct the words myself. They can also pronounce the word for you. You’ll learn more this way”.
“Start with writing something simple first. If paragraphs are intimidating for you, you can start with making calligraphy. I started writing with that first,” the screen switched to Sawada in his reading nook again, this time holding a drawing book, “Like, here, you can see my several attempts at calligraphy. I started with writing names,” he showed the camera the content of his drawing book. In it was a range of different names in various designs. Both Yamamoto and Gokudera leaned forward to check if their names were there (Gokudera cheered once he found his in katakana; and Yamamoto laughed on his). The last page had messy lines and dots though; the only letters there said Rokudo and Dokuro, also in katakana (Yamamoto commented Sawada could speak Japanese, but had just learned how to write them so he made many mistakes).
“And then, after I became comfortable with sentences I started writing a short story on my iPad or Macbook. My first short writing was a short story; and you could get the app to read it for you to check if it sounds good. I still like to hear it before bed because… yeah, I’m very proud that I can write that. But nowadays I prefer writing a short report on my surroundings or my thoughts. And then I would bring them to my mentor for us to review it together”.
Sawada looked sheepish, “You know, I kind of dreamed to be a journalist or a reporter and…. I was a bit childish but I’ve always wanted to be a… umm, an activist. After a while I realized it was a bit stupid. But then, my mentor told me it can be possible,” he smiled, “He said I would make a good journalist who advocates omegan rights. And… yeah, it sounds good. I think I want to be that”.
Enma kept a small smile. “It does fit you,” he found himself muttering. The red haired man quickly covered his mouth. He didn’t know where the comment came from.
Sawada then went on to the next tip where he suggested to learn other writing systems (“Reborn gets me to learn other languages to mix things up; I’m learning the Japanese writing system, sign language, and even Morse code!”). In the next clip, the boy showed the camera how to meditate.
“If anyone watching this wants to know how an omega can learn how to control their chi, like their inner energy and stuff, then I will show you. You might be another… omega from Vongola like me or… from other Houses maybe; or maybe you just want to know more about omegas. Okay, now, most people would assume omegas cant inherit flames or other sorts of inherited energy, but they can. In fact, since I was born, my flame has always been a bit… potent and hard to control. My mentor told me… umm, he also mentored Giotto, my brother; he told me that mine is much more intense, but they’re harder to control. That’s why I tried not to use it in the past,” the omega started, “My mentor also said there is a lot of researches in the underground community surrounding omegas and their abilities to wield energy; but these opinions are not popular among our society probably because… well, we don’t see powerful omegas wielding energies like this walking around don’t we? Even my doctor from the clinic doesn't believe in this. I’m a male omega, I’m obliged by law to get myself medically checked every two weeks; yet the law doesn't even recognize my potential!”
The boy proceeded to explained the ideal place to do it and the right sitting posture to start. “My tip is to not hurry the process and be frustrated. The point of meditation is to be at peace so you can see yourself better and find your flame. If you’re an omega and its your first time, it is possible to not find your flame especially if you were never acquainted with your flame before!” Sawada explained. He was then in another open space in his room, on the floor. He was already in his sitting position and was explaining his first experience with meditation. “You can get a feel of your inner flame by imagining a ball of flame while reaching out and thinking you’re holding that ball of flame. You will be able to feel some sort of a ball and that’s your flame!”
The boy reached out and acted like he was holding an invisible ball. In no time at all, a small flame appeared between his hands;“For most alphas in Vongola, this is something they can do without meditation. You may think I can summon this ball of fire easily, but it took me a while to get here. And especially now,” the ball of fire disappeared. In exchange, another ball of fire appeared in Sawada’s temple, “I can summon this,” the omega pointed at the flame on his forehead. One would notice that his eyes had turned deep golden, “I have to meditate twice a day to reach this state, once in the morning, then when I’m training with my mentor, and sometimes before bed. This state is a deeper state than summoning the flame on my palm and its the goal of meditation. Most Vongolans use this state when they’re summoning their flame. You need to be focused when you’re in this state. Now, the flame in this state does not produce smoke nor burn you. Its a different kind of fire than the one you use to cook, for instance. If you’re an omega, you might experience accidents like me where your flame burn you a lot at first - but meditation can help you avoid that”.
Sawada then started meditating in his currents state with the ball of flame flickering on his temple. The boy had his eyes closed and stayed still in his posture while the speed of the video was doubled by Sawada himself through editing.
Kusakabe entered the room just then without knocking nor excusing himself. Enma turned toward him just in time to see the assistant about to say something; but the young man stopped once he caught what was on the screen.
“What the - I - is that… Sawada-san?”a weak finger was lifted toward the screen, “T-that is the flame”.
Enma threw a look toward the screen before returning to Kusakabe, “You mean you had no idea?”
Kusakabe’s jaw was slack. The man blinked a couple of times before answering; “I’ve only ever seen it on The Primo”. He was about to say something else, but was disrupted when Gokudera was heard making some noise; “Woah, woah, woah… Dude, woah! That’s insane!”
The video had slowed down to normal speed and it showed both of Sawada’s hands engulfed by flame. The flame then trailed to Sawada’s arms and shoulders until it met on his neck. It didn’t stop there either. The flame engulfed his whole head except for his face.
A caption appeared on the bottom of the screen. “As you have noticed, at the moment I am in a very deep state of concentration. I am now one with my flame; but I haven't noticed it welcomed me this way yet”. The caption was then replaced with, “This was only the second time this had happened and I was clueless why it acted that way. The flame was not violent; but I was not informed it wasn’t. As you can see, I will soon realized this and became panicked”.
True enough, once Sawada came to; his orbs widened ever so slightly once he noticed what was going on.“Now, you can see that the flame felt denied by my reaction and it started getting warmer and warmer. It was trying to engulf my whole body”.
It did. The flame now tried to go further down to Sawada’s torso. “In this situation, I tried to get a deep breath and return to my focused state. I went back to meditating and calmed my flame. I reached out to it; then imagining I was putting out a campfire not because I was scared; but because it was time for bed,” the caption read.
The flame danced ferociously at first, but then it deflated until it seeped into Sawada’s skin; leaving a small trace of smoke on top of the brunet’s head. The boy opened his eyes again. He took an exaggerated deep breath before undoing his posture. His eyes were wide and he was in a state of disbelief.
“As of this point, I was in a state of shock, lol. I was scared shitless. I could smell a bit of smoke and there was a bit of warmth tingling on my skin. It was crazy, but actually it was harmless. I was just surprised lol,” the caption said. The Sawada on the screen scrambled to the camera and turned it off; but the caption stayed on the screen, “If you experienced the same thing, please stay calm and recognize the flame is just too excited, but is trying to be friendly. Don’t panic like me. I reported it to my mentor right after and I was educated on the matter instantly”.
“You sure you had no idea?” Enma asked again. Kusakabe shook his head wildly, “N-no!”
Then possibly, no one truly knew; besides Reborn and Sawada.
“Does Reborn keep this from The Primo?” Kusakabe mentioned while they were watching Sawada doing tricks with his flame on the screen. Enma shrugged. Why no one said anything about it was a mystery.
In the next one, Sawada was in a gym Enma had never seen in his previous videos. He was wearing a sparring glove and light clothes. “Hello!” he greeted the camera, then frowned, “Reborn, hold the camera lower will you?”
There was a mocking sigh, but the camera was lowered. Enma couldn’t believe it; it was the mentor.
“So, hi! Today I will show you how I train!” Sawada was cheerful and happy; but pouted right after, “Reborn!! Don’t laugh! Usually, I trained with Reborn - but because he’s so afraid of the camera, I will train with Sasagawa-senpai”. Sawada turned to the side and the camera followed where an older teen with short spiky hair was standing. He had a band aid on his nose. Sasagawa; his name, most likely; bowed to the camera respectfully. He was a true Japanese.
“Ah!! Sasagawa-Senpai!” Gokudera exclaimed.
The clip finished there. The next one showed Sawada practicing with Sasagawa; the latter was wearing target pads on his hands as he helped Sawada train some punches and kicks. Sasagawa could be heard giving pep talks pretty loudly and excitedly as Sawada trained. What was interesting about this was; both Sawada and Sasagawa had flames.
“OH MY GOD!”Gokudera was absolutely enjoying the show, “HOLYSHIT. THEY WERE - FUCK - THEY WERE IN ON IT ALL THIS TIME! SASAGAWA-SENPAI, COULD YOU BELIEVE IT?”
Meanwhile Kusakabe was muttering to himself on how he didn’t expect Sasagawa to be there. “Reborn was training Sawada-san to use his flame and use it on Sasagawa - Oh my goodness…. Oh my,” the assistant muttered absently; “Oh my, Primo wouldnt like this. Oh my. How did they hide this?”
On some scenes you would see Sawada training various fighting skills with Sasagawa; but then you’d see him lightly punching Reborn, who was behind the camera. “C’mon old man; fight me!”Sawada teased. There was a snort from behind the camera before, Sawada was single-handedly locked; literally; because Reborn had his other hand still holding the camera.
“You’re a thousand year too early to challenge me, brat,” the older voice said while Sawada whined in regret. The gesture was obviously playful; and a tad bit affectionate. However, the captured expression of Sasagawa as he witnessed them showed that the silent observer was surprised by this display of affection between the two.
Sawada’s training sessions were displayed in most of the next videos. He would sometimes talk about other omegan topics that he had learned from his study sessions with Reborn; such as proving a myth wrong using a research paper he had found, talking about heat and puberty, talking about traditions related on omegas in other cultures. He sometimes brought up things he had learned from his visit to the doctor; which apparently is one of the very few doctors with a background on omegan health.
In one particular video, you could only see a slight silhouette of Sawada under a very dark lighting. He was looking behind the camera like someone was there.
“Make a wish,” said the throaty voice. It was then Enma realized it was, again, Reborn.
“Shouldnt we light the candle first?”Sawada sounded like he was whining; which he had been doing more often in front of his mentor.
“You can light it yourself,” was the short answer. There was a short pause, before a small fire was formed on top of a candle. The candle was stuck to a small cake.
It was Sawada’s birthday; and Reborn was giving him a midnight surprise.
The omega was smiling despite looking sleepy. He was still wearing his night shirt. From the looks of it, they were both seated in the seating area in front of the fireplace. “I wish for the people I love to always be with me,” Sawada said.
“That’s not a wish”.
Sawada frowned, “Why?”
“because they already are,” was the answer. There was something deeper in that sentence; something strong and intimate in their bond.
“Then, I wish I don’t cry every time,”there was no protest from Reborn, but Sawada seemed to catch on to something because he gazed questioningly at his mentor behind the camera; “What?”
A long finger went under Sawada’s chin to lift the boy’s head up. “Crying can be a sign of strength, Tsunayoshi”.
“But you’re always mad whenever I cry!”
“Tell me then, when was I not mad whenever you cried?”
Sawada’s brows met; but he kept his gaze trained on Reborn, “When I missed mom”.
“...When I missed you”.
“See? It’s not about the tears, Tsunayoshi. It’s about why it appears in the first place”.
“Then why were you mad whenever I cried because Giotto-san??
The older man’s hand now fixed the messy curl of Sawada’s mane; “Because the man does not deserve it”.
Sawada was silenced.
The older man’s finger moved to it’s previous place under Sawada’s chin. “An omega’s tears are powerful; but use a weapon too much; then it’ll lose it’s charm. One day you would bear it proudly; and everyone will adore you. But you should be patient. Use it wisely and know the right place”.
The boy looked down in thought, then returned to his mentor; “How about you? Are you the right place?”
You could hear the satisfaction in Reborn’s next words;“Always”.
A smile grew on the heart shaped face before he half whispered, “I wish I don’t cry on stupid things again”.
“Rephrase it,” Reborn stated. Sawada paused.
“I will not cry on stupid things again,”the omega bent slightly to blow the candle until no more light was left. In the darkness; you could hear the omega addressing his mentor again before the video ended, “Reborn, can you please stay here to talk?”
Sawada focused on his writings more in the next clips. Determinedly he told the camera that his writing and reporting skills might save omegas one day. On one of his videos, Sawada talked excitedly about a speech composing task from his writing class. “I do so poorly in all my writing class; but I like writing class the best! I’m so obsessed,”Sawada started while he composed. There was a clip of him performing the speech in his class too.
“I recorded this!” Gokudera told them the moment they heard the silver haired teen scolding Yamamoto rudely from being in the way of the camera view; “Yo, duck down Baseball Freak!”
Sawada’s speech was pretty good. He was talking about dyslexia in omegas; and it was obvious that everyone in the class was paying good attention on his performance. “That was actually brilliant, Sawada-kun! How did you do your research?” Asked the teacher.
“I’ve been passionate about the topic for a while,”The teen admitted humbly; a couple of students even threw him questions that he could answer in a breeze while Gokudera could be heard singing praises to the omega left and right.
“Sawada-kun got the highest score in class,”Yamamoto told them, “We never knew; but he’s a good speaker”. How could he not be? He had been talking in front of an invisible audience for years.
But it wasn’t until the next couple of videos that Enma felt his blood run cold. Sawada was sitting in his reading nook. The mood of the video was somber. It reminded Enma of the videos where he’s going to…
“I cried today,” Sawada gave a weak mumble, “To Reborn. He wasn’t mad”.
Sawada lifted his feet off of the ground and hugged his legs. He then sank his head into his folded arms. “Reborn invited someone to our training session. And… and I was to fight them without flames. I was ready for a real spar,” Sawada said as he poked his head out of his arms, “But the fight turned badly. It was a complete defeat. It was embarrassing”.
Then the omega continued, “It was with Kyoya”.
Enma’s brows rose. He turned to Kusakabe; and the other guy mirrored his expression.
“It hurt too; he threw me to the ground. Kyoya is not the type to hold back and he has always wanted to be Reborn’s disciple. He might have been a better student. It was a fair fight,” Sawada frowned, “I know that, but why do I feel like crying? Reborn even apologized”.
Sawada sank his head to his arms again, “I think Reborn knows me too well”.
“You said Hibari wouldnt hit an omega,”Enma brought up. Kusakabe looked alarmed in an instant.
“This is a spar. Even Sawada said it; it was a fair fight”.
“Is it? Sawada is an omega,”Enma eyed the assistant. He could see it; Kusakabe was in doubt too.
“You’re right; but Kyoya-san is a competitive person at heart. If he uses his full strength; it would be because Kyoya-san respects his opponent,” Kusakabe defended, “I am sure he wouldn't lay a hand on Sawada-san if it wasn’t a spar in a safe setting, Mr. Cozart”.
“Are you absolutely sure?”Enma pushed. He didn’t know why he felt like blaming the alpha and his assistant. He would’ve pressed further if not for the knocking on the door.
Kusakabe was subjected to Enma’s accusing glare for some time; until he finally called to the person on the door. “Yes?”
A servant went inside the room and bowed. “Mr. Kusakabe, Mr. Cozart; you are summoned to the Primo’s office”.
Kusakabe paled; but eyed Enma carefully. At the same time, Enma noticed that the other two younger betas in the room were tense; probably from the exchange he and Kusakabe just had.
“Alright. You can return to your post,” Kusakabe said.
They both left Hibari’s private office to the two high school students and walked side by side to their destination. It was a silent walk.
Was it Enma or Kusakabe really was fidgeting before he entered the double door leading to the Primo’s office? The man had fixed his dress shirt a couple of times already; and he still did it before taking a step forward. It was a tic; not one with a purpose.
In fact, almost everyone they saw on their way there looked nervous.
The office was not a strange sight to the world. Some of it’s photograph was well-loved by the public. However; seeing it yourself beats any pictures you would’ve seem of the place.
It had tall paneled walls with ornate half wallpapers. The gigantic chandelier made the lighting rich; yet it was no competition to the natural light coming from the huge windows on one side of the wall; right next to where the couches were arranged around a round shaped coffee table. There was a chess table on one end of the seating area; with two antique chairs facing each other by it. Another well known furniture was that huge golden framed globe that was as tall as the sofa. It was a historical piece of furniture - all the Primo’s had had a picture of them standing next to it.
The desk itself was located across the room; behind that arch; inside a half-round room with tall windows. The lone thick wood of a desk was lonely now that it’s original dweller was off to seek his brother; yet the seating area was in no way vacant.
Lampo; the current acting head of the Palazzo and of Neo Italy for the moment; was seated in one seat. His legs were spread carelessly to the floor as he slumped on the regal chair. His collar was unbuttoned. While Lampo was definitely the rebel among the Guardians; he had never seemed so unraveled. The way he rubbed his face was quite telling too.
Then there was Hibari Kyoya; the boy wonder. He wasn’t seated; he was standing. Something about him told Enma he was on a fight or flight mode; maybe it was the frown - though doesn't he always frown? Then Enma realized the teen’s outer sweater was off; leaving him in his plain white button up shirt with the sleeves rolled unevenly.
Something was not right here. The coffee table was a bit messy; with half empty cups of coffee and weapons cluttered on it. Hibari’s own infamous tonfas were there; and to Enma’s limited knowledge, the teen didn’t separate from them often.
“Tetsuya!”Hibari grunted though he didn’t move much from where he was standing,“What took you so long?”
“I - I’m sorry, Kyoya-san; but the thing is Sawada-san…,” The assistant stopped then approached his alpha. They then proceeded to speak with lowered voices. Enma decided to join the conversation too; though he was not afraid to voice it out loud.
“Mr. Hibari, it turns out Gokudera and Yamamoto’s claim may contain some truth in them. That numbers? They were passwords and I managed to open the last folder in the external drive using it,”Enma explained without waiting to be excused. Hibari turned to him with such incredulity.
“What the hell are you -” the alpha started; but Enma didn’t stop. He couldn’t - not when he’s about to say something so important.
“Sawada and that mentor of his have been keeping something a secret from all of you! They have been doing something behind your back!”Enma exclaimed; just as Hibari reached out to his collar and hissed to Enma’s face.
“Shut. The. Fuck. Up,” the young alpha threatened then gave the detective a push. Enma was in a state of disbelief for having been treated in such a harsh manner. He turned to Kusakabe in confusion in hope that the other beta could give him some answers on why his alpha could act so irrationally; but the beta was staring ahead; right behind Enma. The other alpha; The Lightning Guardian; was also looking at that direction with wide eyes. Thus, Enma turned around.
He didn’t know how he didn’t reckon there was another person in the room before; especially not when this person stood to such a height and was clad in the blackest of the black. A steel pair of eyes gazed down on Enma under the shade of the fedora that was perched on his head. “So we’ve been keeping secrets,”The man said; voice oh so familiar, “What gives you the right to snoop around, I wonder”.
It was him.
His presence was almost non-existent just before that Enma failed to notice him; yet now that he laid his eyes on Reborn; he admitted the man was intimidating despite having been a beta. This was a man trained in the art of hiding. He would show himself to you once he wanted to; and you wouldnt not notice. That was indeed the most infamous words about The Arcobaleno.
“So tell me Mr. Detective - what have you discovered from your,” a look at Hibari from the hitman, “Investigation?”
It was mentioned full with hidden meanings. Enma swallowed. “We, umm,” he had never felt so speechless before. He eyed Hibari; but the teenaged alpha was so frozen still in fear of Reborn. “W-we found Sawada’s external drive, S-sir, and decided it would be a good start to investigate it first. We were hoping we could find where he is from that piece of evidence, Sir”.
“But thats bullshit isnt it?”The hitman responded almost immediately with a meaningful smirk to their way. His pose was relax; with his hands inside the pockets of his pants as he bent slightly to them; but something told Enma this man was far from calm.
He was furious.
“No one in this building believes Tsunayoshi is not with me from the start. That shitty excuse of a Vongolan leader and his goons are already off to fetch Tsunayoshi who, allegedly, was with myself,” Reborn turned around playfully and walked to the huge windows, “So what reasons do you have to investigate on Tsunayoshi’s whereabouts, hmm?”No one answered him; except for Lampo who was busy muttering, “Oh shit!” over and over again.
“Brilliant answer, Mr. Guardian; wordy as usual,”Reborn waved a hand on the general direction of the guardian as he leaned to the window sill. There was a glass with a clear liquid there; alcohol, Enma noted. The man had been perching there all along before Enma noticed him.
“So, anyone care to explain?” Reborn mocked with his arms opened; one hand was holding the glass. “You, Mr. Detective. You try. You look slightly more intelligent than these lot”.
“U-um,” Enma was taken aback from being addressed; but quickly got to his feet, “We were, umm, we were investigating in hope of being able to support The Primo and his entourage on where to find you”.
The hitman was drinking from his glass. Once he put his glass down, he said, “Aah, that’s interesting. But you know, Mr. Detective; these idiots around you; they should have known better that if I’ve wanted Tsunayoshi all for myself, they wouldn't be able to do anything. They wouldn't have known where to start looking”.
“Apparently you know Tsunayoshi more than I do now. He’s never told me about any external drive. What did you find inside?” Reborn asked; his tone mocking but cold. Enma shifted in discomfort.
“The files are… the files are all protected with complex coding”.
“Hmm…., I’ve taught him well,” Reborn smirked.
So you have, Enma thought, “Inside the drive; there were videos”.
“Oh? What kind?”
“Uh…,” Enma glanced at Hibari. He looked as nervous. “Personal. Personal videos. Like um his daily log; I-it’s nothing weird or anything like that; it’s more like… Sawada talking about h-his life”.
“Hmmm I see. Personal… ,” Reborn hummed, “Something private perhaps?”The hitman threw the last statement at the young alpha of The Hibari Household. His tone was accusing. In response, Hibari kept his eyes to his feet as though ashamed of his own action. “I wonder what Tsunayoshi will think of you once he found out you’ve seen into something so personal,” Reborn stated.
You could hear The Lightning Guardian moaning an “Oh my God” behind the hands that covered his mouth as though doing that would get Hibari and his lackeys to stop spilling anymore crime they had done toward the Arcobaleno’s protege. Enma hoped he could stop speaking; yet he couldn’t. Reborn just got him spilling.
What Enma didn’t expect was for Hibari to bow at the Arcobaleno beta, “I apologize”.
Enma’s mouth was half opened. He had never witnessed an alpha bowing to a beta.
“I beg for your forgiveness,” Hibari repeated earnestly; face not even lifted from it’s attention to the floor. Reborn didn’t seem fazed by it. His head tilted at the sight; a cocky smirk adorned his face.
“So, Mr. Detective; you said something about Yamamoto and Gokudera, didn’t you?”Reborn mentioned instead. Enma was surprised he was again addressed though there was an alpha who was bowing in the room.
“U-umm, yes, Sir. T-they informed us there was a message from Sawada… for you actually. It was a series of numbers. I’ve figured it was a password for the last folder in his drive and we’ve opened a number of video files there,” Enma explained, “Though, I don’t think the folder contains his current whereabouts nor information you havent known about Sawada -”
“What information?” Reborn disrupted; his voice as cold as steel.
“Uh…,” Enma glanced at everyone in the room. He wasn’t sure if it was right to say it in front of them now; especially knowing that some of them may not know this fact about Sawada, “A recorded evidence that Sawada can wield the flame?”
Hibari lifted his head at last; though his torso was still slightly bent forward. His face was the complete picture of surprised; “What?” Hibari half whispered. Enma was right then; Hibari had no idea Sawada could wield the flame. The young man had been invited to spar with the omega but Sawada was not allowed to use his flame then.
“What?? What did you say!?”Lampo could be heard exclaiming.
“Sawada has always been able to wield the flame but he gained better control of it under his mentor’s guidance,” Enma explained with his eyes trained at Reborn; not that Reborn’s facial expression reflected anything about what he felt.
“Tsu does?? What the hell, Reborn! You kept this away from us this whole time?? Do you know what this means??” Lampo rose from his seat, “How dare you kept Tsunayoshi from his right??”
“I did not hold him back. All I did was respect his decisions,” Reborn flatly replied, “Morons like you would not understand such gestures”.
“What the fuck does that even mean?” Lampo was obviously flustered; but Reborn brushed him off with a wave of his hand.
“So there’s a message for me; have you seen it?” Reborn questioned Enma again.
“Um… I don’t think there’s anything new for you there, S-sir. B-but…. actually, I havent f-finished watching everything inside that folder; so there might be something. Or maybe I missed something only you would notice, Sir”.
Reborn was now approaching Enma. “Tell me the password”.
“It’s….,” Enma tried to remember, “1827”.
Reborn did not say a word for a moment. The next thing you knew, he exploded with such a loud laughter. None of them moved in the presence of this man’s antics. It was so unnatural that they were at a loss on how to act.
“Hilarious,” Reborn was still chuckling to something non-existent, “So tell me, where is Tsunayoshi’s drive. I believe it was meant to be for me”.
“U-um…, in Mr. Hibari’s private office, S-sir,” Enma answered timidly; he didn’t know if that was a good answer. Reborn spared the alpha a glimpse.
“I’m not surprised. That’s very fitting of The Hibari heir,” Reborn scoffed, “The only thing that saves you from further berating today is that password. You’re lucky Tsunayoshi has a good sense of humor”.
The man in black then left the room. Silence lingered among the three that were left. “Damn it, Kyoya - why would you do that!? You know how Reborn is toward Tsunayoshi!” Lampo was first to open his mouth. His attitude was now way more serious than the last time Enma had seen him. “Shit, and then there’s the problem of contacting Giotto. None of my people could reach Giotto and the rest. Tsu could be in danger now”.
That was their main concern as of this point in time. Now that it had been confirmed that even Reborn had no idea where the omega was; he could be anywhere; and they didn’t know where that was. Lampo threw himself to the seat once before tapping madly on his phone. As for Hibari, he had been frowning for a moment now; but then he quickly excused himself out of the room; “I’m going with Reborn,” he announced.
Kusakabe was glancing between his alpha, who had just left, and the other alpha, who was in charge of the Palazzo. The Lightning Guardian sighed, “Kusakabe, go get your alpha and stop him from doing anything stupid around Reborn. Please remind him our current priority is in finding Tsunayoshi”. The man then stood up from hsi seat again, “Meanwhile, I’ll contact Giotto and everyone else and raise the emergency status”.
They caught the sight of Hibari immediately after they were on the line of sight of the door. The young alpha was leaving the room, it seemed; and he looked worked up.
“Kyoya-san!” Kusakabe stopped the man, “Where are you going? Where’s Reborn-san?”
“He’s going to Sawada’s room. I’m coming with him,” Hibari was about to walk away but was stopped by his assistant with a grab on his arm.
“Kyoya-san; the emergency status has been raised. Isn't it better for you to help The Lightning Guardian finding Sawada?”
“I am trying to find him! That’s why I’m following Reborn!”The alpha hissed.
Enma didn’t know what had gotten into him; but he found himself losing his patience too. So he blurted out; “Mr. Hibari, don’t you think it’s not the time for you to prove yourself to Reborn?”
The alpha stopped and turned to his hired detective, “Excuse me?”
“Sawada is missing; we should focus on finding him - not trying to get Reborn’s attention,” Enma stated. Hibari sharpened his gaze on him.
“Who the fuck are you to tell me that? You think I don’t want to find him?” Hibari raised his voice.
“He has the mentor you’ve always wanted to have,” Enma didn’t know where he got the boldness to go against Hibari this way.
Hibari stepped forward until their nose was only inches apart. “Don’t you DARE assume what I feel for Sawada. You’re a mere bystander to this whole spectacle”.
“Did you hit Sawada?” Enma asked. Hibari was visibly taken aback by the question.
“I would never hurt him. EVER,” Hibari growled.
“You did though. He cried,” Enma stated, “Reborn knows”.
Hibari was actually silenced. His slanted eyes widened ever so slightly; his whole expression slacked though just a tad bit. “It was a spar. Sawada knows that; he said himself it was a fair fight,” Kusakabe added while checking on his alpha in worry.
“How about in the library, then? Days before Sawada left; was that a fair fight too?” Enma pressed on. Hibari was stepping back. “Mr. Cozart, I warn you!” Kusakabe put a hand forward to hold Enma back.
Hibari was taking a couple of deep breaths. Without a word, he turned around and walked away. “Kyoya-san!” Kusakabe called.
“I’m going to see Reborn,” Hibari stated while keeping his pace. He disappeared behind a turn to the stairs.
“Mr. Cozart; I don’t know what got you to think that way - but bear in mind, Kyoya-san has never despised Sawada-san,” Kusakabe explained.
“I don’t know; its just that his effort to impress Reborn with the bowing and the constant shadowing is a bit misplaced. This is not the time to apologize to Reborn; we need to find Sawada,”Enma was unapologetic.
“I understand; and you’re kind of right. But if you think Kyoya-san does all that because he still cares about the mentor thing, you are greatly mistaken,” Kusakabe added. The man sighed and put his hands on his hips, “You see, Mr. Cozart; Reborn-san is Sawada-san’s marked”.
Enma didn’t quite get it.
“If Kyoya-san fails to get his approval; everything will be over, you know?” Kusakabe continued like it explained everything. Enma frowned. Did he miss something?
“Anyway, I need to go and get Kyoya-san, before he provokes Reborn-san further,” Kusakabe excused himself. Enma was then left on his own accord. He peeked inside the slightly opened door leading to Hibari’s office. He saw three figures standing in the middle of the room; staring back at him.
“You guys,” Enma opened the door further. Yamamoto and Gokudera were still there. They both looked wary. The other person was a teen who was not that much older. His short spiky hair was very familiar.
“Ah, I’m Sasagawa Ryohei,” the teen bowed in respect. Of course; he was the teen in the video.
“Sasagawa-senpai, this is the detective we told you about,” Yamamoto added, which made Sasagawa bow again.
“Of course, Mr. Cozart, thank you for your effort on finding Sawada-kun!” The teen said again; this time with a deeper bow.
“N-no; I didn’t really find anything!”Enma shook his head, “Anyway, what just happened? Why do you guys look so nervous?”
“Well, there were you arguing with Hibari-dono,” Gokudera said, which made Enma felt guilty; “But before that, Reborn was here”.
“Yeah, I was surprised too. He just came in and asked for the drive,”Sasagawa said, “Then left with it”.
“I was so surprised I failed to tell him of Tenth’s message. Oh shit, I should’ve told him sooner,” Gokudera pulled his hair in frustration.
“It’s okay, Gokudera. I’ve told him of the message,” Enma informed, “So you can relax for now. You’ve done your job”.
“Really?? Thank goodness! Thank you, Mr. Cozart. I’ve rarely seen Reborn so I was so speechless when he was here,” Gokudera cheered up.
“Anyhow, why are you here?” Enma addressed Sasagawa. Enma was still curious of the other teen’s presence.
“Oh, these two called me here. They said they want to ask some stuff,” Sasagawa looked unsure.
“Yeah, we thought Sasagawa-senpai knows something,” Yamamoto said.
“Okay, do you?”
“... Uh… not really? All I did was help Sawada-kun with his practices with Reborn sometimes. It wasn’t even that often”.
“You and Reborn were the only ones who knew about the flame,” Enma clarified.
“Y-yeah, but I think Sawada-kun’s doctor knows too. He should have seen the signs,” Sasagawa answered truthfully.
“We thought we could help,” Gokudera mumbled, “But now that Reborn is here, I’m sure he’ll know what to do. He’ll find Tenth in no time!”
Lets just hope so, Enma thought.
“Mr. Cozart, I’m sorry, but I heard your argument with Hibari-dono just then,” Yamamoto mentioned suddenly. Enma flushed.
“Oh, yeah. I apologize for that. We were a bit stressed out. It was stupid of me,” Enma admitted. He should apologize to the alpha too.
“Umm, yeah about that; while you were gone with Kusakabe-san, we were still watching the videos, right? Urm…, we were really surprised too; but I think we know what incident you were talking about,” Yamamoto added. Enma, tilted his head.
“I didn’t expect it either because Tenth told me it was an accident from volleyball practice,” Gokudera said.
“No volleyball practice could result in a swollen face like that; that is unless you hit a pole or fall on your face or something,” Sasagawa; who was also the volleyball team captain, stated, “Everyone in the palazzo knows Sawada-kun was hit, but I didn’t expect that was what happened”.
Sasagawa was an intern in the palazzo; so he would know what incident Enma was hinting at the Hibari heir just before. They were talking about the incident that was said to happen in the library.
“What do you mean you didn’t expect that was what happened?” Enma inquired.
“Oh, in the video we watched; Sawada talked about what happened in the library,” Yamamoto looked uncomfortable, “He said he was hit in the face by The Primo”.
“I don’t know what they were fighting; but Giotto-san was very angry at someone - or something; I don’t know. T-then Reborn must’ve said something,” The swollen face that had now turned purple was wet with tears, “Because I saw Giotto-san coming toward Reborn with his fist. And I - I d-don’t know what I was thinking but I j-just ran to Reborn b-because… Reborn and Giotto-san are like b-best friends too and-and I… I don’t want them to fight,” Another series of tears fell down, “Giotto-san is strong so it really hurts that I just burst to tears. Kyoya must’ve thought I was stupid”.
The blanket that covered him from head to toe except for his face made the bruise even more so obvious on the left side of his face. The omega was sitting in his reading nook; with all the curtains down until the room became dimmer. “It was my own decision to be in Giotto-san’s way; so I should stop crying. But I c-cant”.
Enma had seen enough. He was lucky to have copied the content of Sawada’s external drive to his own device; if not, he wouldnt be able to see the full extent of Sawada’s stored experiences. It was the last video in that folder; days before Sawada left the building and never returned. So in the next few days, he must have still be bearing that bruise from his Vongolan brother; and knowing that said brother planned to punch the hitman; he must have not held back.
This still failed to answer the mystery of Sawada’s whereabouts; unless Reborn was the only one who could read into the videos, of course. There was another folder in that folder that was locked though. Enma couldn’t opened it even with the password Sawada had passed to Gokudera and Yamamoto.
“We’ve tried everything and it wouldnt unlock,” Gokudera explained, “Maybe Reborn would know how to unlock it?”
Enma had no idea; but he was curious enough to try and talk to the hitman.
“I’m sorry, you are not allowed to go upstairs, Sir,” Kyoko, the maid who appeared a lot in Sawada’s videos, told Enma once Enma arrived in The Primo’s wing.
“Mr. Reborn is still upstairs and he has ordered for everyone not to enter,”Haru, the other maid, said. They were both posted near the stairs as if guarding the place. As for the butler, he had been summoned by The Lightning Guardian because of the emergency alert.
“You must be Kyoko and Haru,” he said. The two nodded politely. “How about Mr. Hibari?”
“He was here with Mr. Kusakabe; but Mr. Reborn told him to leave,”Haru turned to her company with a worried look. They must’ve witnessed an ugly exchange.
“I see. I shall wait for him here then,” Enma decided and strolled to the living area. The ladies were whispering among themselves.
“Excuse me, arent you the detective Mr. Hibari employed?” Kyoko approached.
“Me? You can say that,” Enma was unsure what his actual role was. After all, he did no actual detective work according to Reborn.
“Oh, well; we were wondering if Tsuna-chan is home now that Mr. Reborn is here,” the brown haired maid said. “Yeah, they say Tsu-chan has been with Reborn, desu,”this time it was the dark haired maid.
Enma frowned, “I’m sorry ladies; but he was never with Reborn in the first place. As of now, The Lightning Guardian is alerting The Primo to change the target of the search”.
The two women paled and started talking among themselves again. “See, Kyoko-chan, I told you he wasn’t with Mr. Reborn, desu!”
“I was just hoping that he was. Imagine what would happen to him out there? He rarely goes out alone!”
“Yes, but he was getting along with his brother so I don’t think he would run away from home to Mr. Reborn just like that. Surely, his brother would worry”.
“The Primo has promised he would allow Mr. Reborn to return too. It was obvious Tsuna-chan wouldnt do something so stupid knowing the promise has been made”.
The two’s conversation was loud enough to pique on Enma. “I’m sorry, I couldn’t help but listen in,” Enma disrupted, “You said, you knew he wasn’t with his mentor?”
“O-oh, well, umm,”the maid named Kyoko collected herself, “The thing is, Tsuna-chan and his brother have been getting along so well in the days leading up to his departure. So we figured… umm,” she turned to her colleague.
Haru huffed and crossed her arms like she had seen this coming, “Tsu-chan wouldnt leave for Reborn because his brother has promised him Mr. Reborn will be allowed back soon. Tsuna is not so impatient that he would leave just to see Mr. Reborn after being told such promise!”
“Yes, people also liked to think that Tsu left to despise The Primo or maybe because he chooses his mentor over his brother,” Kyoko muttered, “But we’ve worked in this wing for a while and, days before Tsuna-chan left, he was all over his brother, right, Haru-chan?”
“Right! The Primo stayed in this wing all the time to look after him and they even spent the night in Tsu-chan’s room! And didn’t Tsu-chan mark Primo? I think I saw a lot of bracelets on Primo’s wrists,” Haru added.
“Wait, you’re saying they’ve always been so close?” In the video, Sawada normally spoke about his brother when the latter scolded him.
“Not really. Especially in the last couple of months, Primo lashed out easily on Tsu,” Kyoko voiced apologetically.
“But that’s true, Haru-chan. For reasons that wouldn’t normally bother him too! Like, usually Primo would be angry if Tsuna-chan made the effort to visit his office - but around that time, he would be furious if Tsuna-chan failed to even make an appearance - like that one time Tsu-chan missed dinner”.
“Oh, not even that. That one time Tsu-chan was late for lunch - Tsu doesnt even eat lunch with Primo all the time!” Haru had both arms opened to emphasize her point, “And there was an incident when Tsu-chan didn’t welcome him home after his travel, right?”
“Yes. Primo was so angry,” Kyoko continued, “which was weird because he normally wouldn't realize where Tsuna-chan was whenever he returned from a trip. He would just return to his work”.
“Where was Sawada then if he missed all of these?” Enma inquired.
“With, Mr. Reborn, of course. They’re always together,”Haru answered like it was obvious. Enma thought about it for a moment.
“Could The Primo, maybe… be jealous of Sawada and Reborn?”
“We think so too,” Haru responded.
“Like… he was close with Reborn but Reborn chose to be with his brother instead of Hibari, Primo’s protege,” Enma added.
“Oh, no, no. We don’t think its like that,” Kyoko said this time, “In fact, we think that maybe…,” she gazed awkwardly to her friend. Kyoko took over again.
“Maybe The Primo wants Tsuna-chan to be around more often?” The black haired maid looked unsure of her own guess too, “Because he started asking if Tsu-chan’s was already in bed whenever he returned from his office; then sometimes he would check up on Tsu-chan’s room to see if he’s there. He asked Tsu-chan to go on a trip with him too, didn’t he?”
“Yes, to Japan,” Kyoko confirmed, “But Tsuna-chan rejected it”.
Enma’s brows met, “Why?”
“He had a plan with his mentor, unfortunately”.
Enma was brought deeper into his thought. One side of the puzzle was complete suddenly; one explaining the complicated relationship between Sawada and The Primo of Vongola. “Then what do you think happened that day when The primo hit Sawada in the face?”
Kyoko gasped, “What?”
“W-w-what?? You’re saying, P-primo was the one who h-hit Tsuna-chan?” Haru mirrored her friend. So they were oblivious to it too.
“By accident, of course; but do you know what exactly happened?”
The two ladies faced each other and muttered to themselves yet again. “That made sense, Kyoko-chan. Didn’t the Primo keep saying ‘sorry’?”
Kyoko was nodding slowly. She seemed unsettled by this new piece of information. “We… We saw Tsuna-chan running to his room with a very ugly bruise. He was crying too; that poor boy. He locked himself there and we tried, didn’t we? We tried to coax him out or let us in to check on his injury. Primo arrived not long after,” the woman’s face grew more worried, “And he asked us to stay downstairs unless he made a call for us. We could hear him coaxing Tsuna-chan to down here. I think Tsu-chan let him in by dusk, right, Haru-chan?”
Haru nodded. Kyoko continued, “Right, then The Primo came down to ask me to bring an ice pack, some towels and medicine, and dinner. I think Primo stayed there until the next day”.
“Tsu-chan skipped school and they both had breakfast in Tsuna-chan’s room”.
“How did they act the morning after?” Enma asked.
“Oh, they looked fine!” Haru answered confidently, “Of course the bruise on Tsu’s cheek was getting worse; but they were interacting normally. That morning we both saw Primo putting an ice pack to his brother’s face when we served breakfast”.
“Right! And Primo skipped work to take Tsuna-chan to Vendicare too!” Kyoko added.
“The clinic Tsuna-chan frequents,” Haru explained, “They spent the whole day together. I’ve never seen those two this close to each other. We assumed Tsuna-chan marked Primo; right, Kyoko-chan?”
“It sure does seem so,” Kyoko affirmed.
“So… what do you believe is happening with Sawada now?” Enma questioned. The two hesitated to answer at first, so Enma added, “If he didn’t leave to despise his brother, then do you two think he might be…, you know, taken… by someone?”
“Umm no, maybe not,” Haru started; her eyes roamed around the room as she gathered her words, “We think…, he didn’t plan to leave because his brother, but that doesnt mean he didn’t leave on his own”.
“You think he left on his own accord?”
“Yes,” Haru turned to Kyoko, “That morning, he was acting a bit… different, didn’t he?”
Kyoko nodded, “I thought at first it was because his first day to school after he got that bruise. He checked inside his bag a lot, his shoes”.
“He asked if we had his boxed lunch prepared twice,” Haru added.
“Yes, and he asked for two lunch boxes”.
“Didnt he bring more stuff than usual too?”
The two girls mentioned all the weird things they had noticed one by one until they arrived at the last time they saw Sawada. “Remember what he said to us?” Haru asked her friend.
“He said, ‘I’ll be back’. That, right?”Kyoko replied; “Later that day after he failed to return home, I kept going back to that moment, wondering, could it be, you know?”
“You mean…., You think that was his goodbye?” Enma looked between the two.
“The look on his face said it all,” Haru looked concerned, “Like he knew he wasn’t going to return for a while”.
“But he said he’ll be back, so I was thinking that maybe he did plan to leave, but he was going to return soon,” Kyoko added, “Like a rebellious phase; maybe he’s hanging out with friends or something”.
“Oh come on, Kyoko-chan. Our Tsu-chan doesn't have friends like that. And where would he go? He doesn't know any places!:
“Haru-chan, you know I don’t like it when my mind goes to that direction”.
In the end Enma received a lot of resources to mull about. They had a couple more exchanges until Enma realized Reborn wouldn't be coming down soon. So he settled on one of the couches in the living room and waited.
Someone was calling him; but Enma couldn’t seem to answer.
Enma tried; but this person was so far away.
Enma opened his eyes. Kyoko, the maid, was standing in front of where he was slouching in the living room. He fell asleep, apparently. “Y-yes?” He responded, half embarrassed.
“Um, I’m sorry for waking you, Sir, but Mr. Reborn has just left”.
“What?” This time Enma jumped from the couch and looked towards the exit, “He has left? Where did he go?”
“Umm…,” The maid looked unsure, “He said he’s going to pick up Tsuna-chan”.
“How - where’s Mr. Hibari and Kusakabe? Were they informed??”
“I-I don’t know , Sir. Should I go and check?” The maid was pretty flustered too. They were both clueless on what Reborn meant by ‘Picking up’ Sawada. Haru, the other maid, approached them and stopped right next to her friend. They were both waiting for Enma’s instruction.
“Yes, we should inform them Reborn is on the move - just in case they have no idea,” Enma stated; and just like that, the two ladies scurried to contact Hibari and maybe the current Alpha of the Palazzo. Enma stared at the stairs.
“Miss Kyoko, Miss Haru; I think I’m going upstairs. Inform me once you hear from any of them,” Enma announced and left for the second floor.
Sawada’s room reminded Enma of those displays in furniture shop; or of a still photograph. It looked nice; but it was absent of live. Enma had only been into this room once yet even he noted something was amiss in this room.
Every corner was familiar to Enma though. He had seen most of them in Sawada’s videos. Even now, Enma could see Sawada sitting there; talking animatedly; to a lone camera. The thought made Enma feel lonely too.
The red haired man walked to the reading nook. He didn’t realize it when he first visited this part of the room; but Sawada had a professional lighting set arranged facing the nook. Enma plopped down to the spot where Sawada usually recorded himself sitting. What was never seen behind the camera was the bookshelf that adorned the wall ahead. Those had to be some of the books Sawada had read in his videos.
“Mr. Cozart!” Haru appeared by the door then with two hands on her Vongola mobile phone; “Alpha Lampo said he and the rest will look for Reborn and question him further”. She looked around the nook; “Umm do you maybe need anything, Mr. Cozart?”
Enma felt like eversince he talked to the maids; those two became much more responsive to his needs. It might be because they finally recognize him as an ally to find their beloved Tsuna-chan.
“I’m looking for,” wait, what was Enma looking for again? “I’m looking for whatever Reborn was looking”.
The maid hummed then turned around to observe the vicinity. “Hmmmmm, everything looks untouched. Oh! Although maybe that yellow book is a bit out of place!” She pointed at the bookshelf across from the seat Enma was at.
“Yes. Tsuna-chan is a bit obsessed with words and spellings, you see. So the books might seem messy because they’re not arranged by size nor colors; but Tsu-chan insists it should be organized by letters. And that,” she pointed at the book again, “That book has no letters; that should be put in the lowest row; where all the notebooks are”. She took the book and put it on its right place. “There! Umm, for the rest of the room…, lets see,” she strolled away to check the whole room. Meanwhile, Enma had his eyes fixed on the book she just moved. He took it and checked what was inside.
No wonder it looked familiar. It was the drawing book Sawada had used to practice his calligraphy. There were a lot of new designs inside after what he had shown in his video. Some of them were elegant; some were unfinished. On the last couple of pages, Sawada wrote more notes instead of calligraphy. These were much more messy. You could see him trying to write everyone’s name in alphabets and then in katakana; even for those whose name were Italian and not Japanese.
Whoever lives in Neo-Italy may not be a stranger to the Japanese language. The country was tightly connected to the latter nation; and thus the language was taught in most schools. Enma could read both hiragana and katakana; maybe a bit of kanji himself. However, in Sawada’s book, the only person blessed with the kanji letters was only Hibari’s full name. He had probably memorized it well.
What stole Enma’s attention, though, was the numbers put under the names. For example, under the name ‘Tsuna’, Sawada put the numbers 2 and 7; and under the Goku in Gokudera, he put 5 and 9.
Enma hummed as he tried to figure it out. But wait a minute, could it be a reference to Japanese letters? Go is the number 5 in Japanese; and Ku can sometimes be used instead of Kyuu for 9. Then how about 27 for Tsuna. Enma understood Na for Nana (7); but was tsu number 2.
Oh wait; Enma chuckled. Of course; didnt the Japanese pronounce the English word for number 2, ‘Tsu’?
That was clever, Enma thought. So then what was 1827 in the password? Enma put a finger to trace all the names in the book. He stopped on the one listed as 18. It shouldnt have surprised him. Although, now that he thought about it, no wonder Reborn found it funny. Didn’t he say the password saved Hibari?
“Oh, wait a minute,”Enma mumbled. He could try to hack into the protection over Sawada’s last folder, though that would take a lot of time. And if Reborn really did visit the room to see this drawing book, the password could be a combination of these numbers. What was the number for Reborn? Sawada strangely didn’t put a number below the katakana for Reborn. He only put the letter R.
Enma took his device and opened the copied version of Sawada’s files. He put in R27 in the password window. “Damn, it’s denied,”Enma grunted. He put in other combinations; 27R, G27, 27G, 8056, 802756; he even put the combination of all shorthands for the Guardians and it was still rejected. Did he miss something?
Enma flipped the last page and saw a huge mess of lines and dots. Sawada did mention he practiced Morse code with Reborn, maybe this was from that. Then Enma read the first code in the top left corner of the page. It was labeled with day and date.
It read SOS.
Enma had been in CEDEF for a while; there’s no way he could misread a morse code. That one really read SOS. Maybe Reborn wanted to teach Sawada how to survive. This code is very much ingrained in the minds of most soldiers and fighters.
He saw the series of codes below it, which was labeled with a different day and date, and it read. WHAT = EXPERIMENT. TORTURE.
That one gave Enma goosebumps. Whatever practice Reborn gave Sawada, he really didn’t hold back in the horror factor.
But then below it, the code read; WHERE = VENDICARE. BASEMENT. And it was then Enma remembered it was the name of the clinic Tsuna visited for his routine checkup. The next one said; NAME = ROKUDO. DOKURO.
Sawada might’ve made a mistake in the names and fixed it later. He had dyslexia after all.
The next ones was listed under a different date again. This time, it said:
R U OK = SOS. MNY OMEGA HURT. FAST. HURT. DEAD.
Enma decided he should stop. This didn’t seem like practice anymore. If it was, then Reborn was pretty crazy. He was, they say; but didn’t he treat Sawada differently?
The formatting of the morse code looked like an interview. The one before the equal sign was the question; and the one after it was the answer. Enma didn’t know what to assume from these notes; but he had an awful feeling about it.
He stared at the name ROKUDO and DOKURO long and hard. Sawada wrote the katakana above the morse code. He had shown this in his video before but Enma wasn’t paying attention to the video. What would ROKUDO and DOKURO be in numbers then? Roku can be 6; but then again in Sawada’s numbering system, he would take the first syllable only; so maybe Rokudo would be 69. Then what about Doku? Maybe Do9?
Enma’s fingers roamed on his device. He wondered if D9 would work.
It didn’t. Obviously.
If he assumed that Rokudo is a misspelling in Sawada’s end, he could focus on Dokuro. What if Do became do in doremi; then it can be 1 or 8; or maybe C. He failed everything. Then Enma tried taking Rokudo as a legit code and use 69 followed by the aforementioned codes. All turned out incorrect.
He was planning to give it up once he tried this one last resort. Because Dokuro sounded like it was Rokudo but backwards in Katakana; then maybe he could type in 6996.
He didn’t expect it to successfully open the folder.
“What the…,” Enma whispered as the five video files stared back at him.
“What are you doing!??”
Enma looked up to find Hibari glaring back at him. “What are you doing in his room??”
Enma couldn’t find his words; he was too speechless after breaking the code. “Didn’t you listen to what Reborn said?? Do. Not. Trespass. On him. FURTHER”.
“B-but, Young Master Hibari, Mr. Cozart I-is solving the -,” Haru could be heard trying to defend him.
“There is no more solving. Everything has been a fraud,” Hibari hissed at the woman.
They all stayed still and watched Enma. The red haired man smiled.
“This time, we might solve something”.
“Okay so today I visited the clinic. I had a nice chat with the doctor,”Sawada started in the first video, “As usual, you know. I want to keep this under the record just in case something comes up; but I saw this girl…,” Sawada paused and tilted his head. His nose scrunched in thought as he looked far ahead, thinking. “And I’ve seen her a couple of times before. We never talked or anything; but when the doctor left to get something, we were left alone in the room. She never said a word and she always looks like… uh, she’s got a lot in her mind. She was blinking her eyes a lot”.
“Then I thought…, those blinkings…, they look like the morse code for the SOS”.
Sawada chuckled awkwardly, “I know, I could be wrong. Reborn said so. He said I wasn’t even well-trained in the morse code; and using the morse code through eye blinks is difficult. And he said, even if she is using the morse code, you wouldnt know if she’s being truthful or maybe she saw it somewhere and copied it”.The boy then ended the video with further explanation why he thought he should record this.
Enma gazed at the back of Hibari’s head. Before, he had always been earnest when watching Sawada through the screen. This time he was keeping his head slightly down. Reborn’s words must have gotten to him.
“He’s talking about Vendicare, right?”Kusakabe was first to comment after the first video.
“Yes,” Enma was confident it was the one he wrote in his drawing book.
They then moved on to the next video in the last folder. You could hear both Haru and Kyoko whispering to each other in the back of the couch as they stood and watched the same TV screen. The screen on top of the fireplace in Sawada’s room flickered before it showed Sawada in the same reading nook Enma was in before.
“IT IS MORSE CODE! The girl speaks in morse code! I caught her again today and got her attention to me. I blinked ‘Hello’ to her and she said ‘Hi’!!”Sawada was much more excited this time, “She then blinked SOS again; and I only said OK back because I don’t know Morse that well. And I think I was being too obvious because the doctor asked me if she was bothering me and scoured her out of the room. I should be more tacit next time”.
It skipped right on to the next video. Sawada looked nervous yet determined this time. “Okay, so, I am keeping this recorded because I believe something is happening in Vendicare. As of now, I have no prove; but I’m looking for information. People will not believe in me because I have nothing but my interaction with this girl. I cant even record it because all electronic devices cant enter the facility. They’re keeping journalists or other parties away from taking pictures and exposing the identities of their omegas clients,” Sawada took a deep breath, “And I also havent told my mentor. I want to make sure I’ve got all the information I needed before I can told everyone that this is true. So a girl has been sending the SOS code to me through eye blinks in the clinic. She’s not out often, so in most visits, I don’t see her. But I always have my book with me just in case I can communicate with her using the morse code”.
“Today, I met her. And I have some questions ready in my book. I have to act like I was busy drawing so that no one would think we’re interacting. And I wrote every response she gave to me after I ask her my questions,” Sawada opened his drawing book, “Okay, so first I ask her what. She gave me some codes. Later on I found out she said experiment and torture,” he paused, “Then I asked where. She said it’s in the basement of Vendicare”.
“What’s weird is, when I asked her name, she said Rokudo at first, then said Dokuro. I don’t fit that means there are two people and one of them is her name. Or maybe I miss-wrote the name. But,” Sawada frowned, “When I asked for her name from the nurse, they all said her name is Nagi”.
“And this is why I’m not sure if I should tell Reborn. I don’t know if it was all in her head or if it was true. Like, the staff told me they don’t even have a basement. The nurses said she has… umm…, PTSD if I’m not mistaken and everyone avoids ever talking to her. So this might be nothing at all”.
The teen frowned, “But then why is my ears ringing everytime she’s around? It’s like… I want to believe in her”.
“Oh,” Enma blurted. Kusakabe looked nervous too.
“Kyoya-san; Giotto often says that, right?” Kusakabe said. Hibari was silent. Kusakabe added, “Every time something bad is going to happen; Giotto-san always says that”.
That might be his intuition.
The next video was shorter. However, Sawada looked more alert. “I saw Nagi-san last week. She was blinking the SOS multiple times. So earlier today, I brought my drawing book again just in case I can communicate with her. And… umm, she looked afraid. She was blinking so fast I might missed some words. But I think this is all she was saying, on repeat,” Sawada then showed the inside of his book; right on the part where the last morse code was.
The fourth video was taken only days before his departure. You could even see the bruise on the left side of his face. The video moved a lot this time, meaning that Sawada held it in his hands. He was in his closet this time. “So I need to say this right away,” Sawada whispered, “I was in the clinic today with Giotto-san and I heard a voice talking to me. He said he is Rokudo and he’s telling me things. I told Giotto-san about this, but he said it was the drugs they gave me for my pain”.
Sawada rubbed his face tiredly, “I don’t know. Am I going crazy? My ears are ringing so bad - and I don’t think it’s the bruise”.
“Oh my God, Tsu,”one of the maids were crying somehow. Enma didn’t realize it, but he was gripping the skin of the couch so tightly.
Sawada was wearing his school uniform in the last video. He even had his bags lying next to him. “Hello. Reborn, if you’re seeing this, then I might be… away,” The teen started awkwardly, “I don’t know what I’m doing but, I think, something might happen soon. Today actually”.
“Oh, that’s him that morning. Thats the bag he took with him. Oh, Tsu!” One of the maids sobbed.
“Umm, so… I visited the clinics the last couple of days because of the… you know,” the teen referred to his face. His face looked significantly better than the one he sported in the video where he cried about it. “And um, the first day I got there to get the bruise healed; I heard voices. Giotto-san said it might be the drugs in my system; but once I left the clinic, the voice was… gone, yknow? This voice named himself Rokudo, and that name means something. It was the name from the girl, y’know; her,” Sawada paused, “He said things like… people are dying in the basements and Nagi is… Nagi is dying he said. Then I s-saw things too. I don’t know how; but I saw it in my eyes; like… people were… tortured somewhere. I saw Nagi lying on the floor”.
“I thought it was the hallucination too; but the next day, the same voice spoke to me when I got to the clinic. And he was sayings stuff like how the clinic wanted to get me or something,” Sawada looked down. Fear was visible in his posture, “I didn’t believe it at first, but… my ears rang so bad. It’s still ringing slightly now. And then the doctor was talking about weird stuff”.
“He said I should take some extra clothes with me tomorrow because we’re going to do extra tests for some reason. Like, the way he said it was… eerie. It’s so weird. He was so interested about the conflict between you and Giotto-san too. I really regretted that Giotto-san told them about it yesterday. It should be private!”Sawada frowned, “But the weirdest thing was… they said the tests will be done in the basement”.
A pause, “Even though back then, when Nagi blinked about the basement and I asked; they told me they had no basements”.
“I think… maybe, if Rokudo was true, they might try to do something to me,” Sawada inhaled, “I hope its not true; but if it is; I may not return, for a while. The thing is, Rokudo told me they want me for a different purpose. Like… he kept saying they’re going to keep me for a week then return me. He said I would be treated differently than the other omegas. I don’t know what he meant by that”.
“But if it was true; I think… maybe I can risk it. Because if Rokudo was true…, then maybe there really was omegas being tortured in the basement. And we need to get proves of that”.
“I d-don’t know how it’ll go. Reborn…,”the teen stared at the camera like he was talking directly to them, “If I knew how to contact you now, I would probably ask you to go with me. Giotto-san has work to do; and these ‘voices’ I heard during my visits may not be a good reason for me to drag him to the clinic. Giotto-san said he’s going to allow you back to the palazzo. Just in case I havent returned after a week; would you mind…, picking me up, maybe? I hope I’ll back sooner than that”.
“But… something told me… they’re all in danger. This might be the only way for me to expose it all, if I can. Then again, this could all be wrong. Besides, if I didn’t return, Giotto-san would check the clinic first, right?”He gave the camera a thin smile, “When it comes down to it, just please don’t tell me I’m being stupid”.
When the video ended; no one said anything because everyone was already on their feet. Hibari was making calls to inform everyone of this latest findings; Kusakabe ordered the maids to inform parts of the Palazzo. Talks of doing a rescue mission was taking place as this happened. Enma was then walking to Hibari’s office; where he watched cars after cars being sent out of the Palazzo as men and women in suits walked pass him in a hurry. Lampo had long left the vicinity; he was first to set out to pick the omegan member of the family.
In no time at all, the sky turned darker. Somehow all the ruckus turned to silence and Enma was left to observe the almost empty corridors outside of Hibari’s office alone. He heard people talking of how The Primo had arrived at the scene; and how some resistance was present.
Enma understood he was a mere observer to Vongola’s daily antics. The fact that he could even be involved this little was already impressive. Hence, he wasn’t surprised he was left behind.
Enma turned around to find Sasagawa. “Mr. Cozart, what are you doing here?”
“Why aren’t you at the rescue?” Sasagawa continued with a questioning scowl. Enma didn’t know what to answer. “Do you want to come with me instead? The medic interns are leaving in ten minutes”.
“Are you sure that's okay?”
“Of course! Arent you the man who solved it all?”
Enma cringed. Well, Reborn was there first, probably. He didn’t make an attempt to tell anyone in the palazzo; so Enma was curious what he planned to do by going there all on his own.
They made small talks as they walked into the front yard (“Wheres Yamamoto and Gokudera?”; “They were sent home after the emergency status was raised”). They then got into an emergency unit that was parked in the front lobby’s pick up point. A number of people in the same uniform as Sasagawa was already inside the armored truck. “Yo, Sasagawa, what took you so long?” One of them said.
“I was taking care of a couple of things. By the way, this is Mr. Cozart; he’s the detective Young Master Hibari hired,” Sasagawa introduced as he sat on one of the car seat. Enma nodded a hello.
All of them were of Sasagawa’s age. They introduced themselves one by one; none of the names were stuck with Enma after even a minute. If they were ever impressed by Enma; it only lasted a minute before they all busied themselves with making theories regarding the latest updates while the driver warned everyone to buck up and the car started moving.
“Yo, I heard The Primo is on the front line,” said one intern.
“So it’s true; this is family related. Primo wouldnt be there otherwise”.
“People have been mentioning the Tenth”.
“Vongola doesn't have a Tenth though”.
“Man, for real, that senior that worked under The Rain Guardian? He said Number Ten is in capture”.
In the midst of this conversation; Enma and Sasagawa shared a look. They both realized how little most people knew about Sawada. He may not have the Decimo title yet; but he deserves it. Whoever used that title in this rescue mission, though, sure had a lot to explain to the public.
“Look! That’s CEDEF’s helicopter!”An intern pointed to the window of the car. All heads turned to get a better look.
“Woah, it truly is! Man, imagine all the people we’ll see today!”
It wasn’t even the first helicopter that crossed the sky on their way there; each of them seem to carry different symbols. The further they went; the more vacant the roads were. Some cars could be seen being told to make a U turn by men in Vongola uniforms. The car Sasagawa and Enma were in, of course, was allowed to pass through.
A number of men were keeping guard by the gate leading to the rescue scene. Their driver rolled down the window. “Which unit are you assigned to?” Asked the guard.
“Medics. They’re interns,” explained the driver who, from the way he ordered around the interns on the way, seemed to be their seniors.
“You can take the turn to the right and go to the black tent. You’ll get further instructions once you’re there!”
Their car hovered slowly into the large yard of the clinic. For a clinic, the place was pretty big. The clinic was part of a bigger institute; thus the complex was divided into different units for both facilities. The green yard was filled with people in uniforms and armored trucks. Some tents were already built; with rows of people gathered around it.
From behind the car window, Enma caught the sight of people dressed in white coats being led out of the main building. They had their hands up in the air as four Vongola men with weapons instructed them to evacuate to an area where another group of people in white was being checked. A stage was set close to the gate; where all the journalists and reporters were. You’d catch the sight of G’s magenta hair there easily. It seemed he was in the middle of briefing some of the staff before giving a hearing to the press.
They were approaching an area with a number of tent. The biggest one had the medics idling around. “How many people require the attention of the medics?”Enma blurted.
“You havent heard? There’s about a hundred omegas found in the basement,” was Sasagawa’s reply. Enma felt his heart sank. There’s a particular omega they all wanted to be safe; and he’s among them.
Once the car stopped, everyone jumped down and went to their post. Enma lingered behind because he had no specific destination. “You can go to the communication center. It’s near the Primo’s medics team, Mr. Cozart,” Sasagawa said before he went ahead. He pointed at a black tent that was smaller; a helicopter was parked not far behind it. There was a huge Vongola symbol on the tent and a team of health professionals stood at the front.
Enma strolled to the tent and found another tent next to it. Everyone there wore radio device and there was a number of equipment arranged to the walls of the tent along with a number of screen that showed the surroundings of the vicinity live. Five crews sat in front of those equipment; giving orders and instruction. At the center of the crew was Lampo.
Enma was taking a seat on one of the folded chairs that was in the tent when he heard Lampo saying to his headset, “Everyone hold back your guns; the guardians are making their way out”. The rest of the operators followed his example and informed the rest of the units. From one of the TV screens in the tent, Enma watched the guardians coming out of a smaller building - not the main one that was in plain sight -in a small group. The cloud guardian came out first to make sure everything is clear on the way; then followed by both the mist guardian then the rain guardian; before The Primo appeared closely behind with a lump of blanket in his hold.
Enma stood up from his seat to see them better; Everyone else copied him; they all craned his necks higher to see. A number of soldiers came to the Primo’s sides and walked around him to make a wall; but Enma noted the brown hair that poked out of the blanket.
“Number Ten is here, everyone be on your posts,” Enma heard Lampo saying to his microphone. Enma saw the Primo’s medic team entering the tent readily. Alaude had actually passed by and entered the tent first before the rest of the Guardians. Enma saw Lampo standing up and watched the Primo. He gave the Primo a thumb up as if asking the situation. The Primo responded with a quick nod behind the walls of people that protected him and the person in his hold. You could see Lampo’s shoulders going lax in relief. Everything went great. Their Sawada Tsunayoshi had been saved.
The Primo disappeared behind his medics tent. Meanwhile the wall of soldiers dispersed. “Tenth is in our hold. The evacuating team is coming out of the basement, everyone hold back,” was the next instructions being thrown from Lampo to the communicator. You’d see more people coming out of the same building. This time; it was the soldiers taking out people dressed in white coats again; though they were put in handcuffs in the spot before being taken somewhere else in a car. Some of them were evacuated to the evacuation zone where they would probably be checked and questioned later on.
Hibari Kyoya came out from that building alongside a blond man dressed in camouflage. He had his tonfas out and his attire messy. Before Enma could get to him, Kusakabe called Enma first.
“Mr. Cozart! Who brought you here?”The assistant appeared out of thin air; his outerwear was unbuttoned.
“I came here with Sasagawa”.
“Oh, good. We got here as soon as the instructions were given to,” Kusakabe explained, not that Enma could blame him. There were more urgent things to do now that they discovered this. “How is Sawada?” The assistant eyed the medics tent behind Enma.
“He’s inside, I think,”honestly, Enma didn’t know if Sawada was okay. The tent had been silent for a while now.
As though answering their questions; both Alaude and Daemon Spade walked out of the tent. Asari and The Primo did too not a minute later. The four of them walked straight into the building again; with only Asari staying behind to talk to Lampo.
A long line of omegas was evacuated from the building to the medics tent. “Medics!! You’re required to get inside the basement in 10!!” Lampo was waving his hands and screaming despite knowing everyone should be able to hear him even when he whispered to the communicator. It was probably the rush and the sense of urgency that pushed him. Some of the medics team; including Sasagawa; scurried to get their equipment ready. Moments later they all ran inside the building to get the omegas that couldn’t leave on their own two feet.
“Some of them had been down there for years,” Kusakabe said as he too stared at the omegas that were being treated in the medics tent. Some of them were being taken to nearby hospitals in cars and helicopters after they were checked.
Hibari Kyoya was walking to their way once he noticed his assistant next to Enma. He was already opening his mouth as though trying to say something when The Rain Guardian, who stood next to Lampo, beat him to it.
Hibari stopped in his track. He was more surprised than anything, “Hn?”
“Could you maybe watch over Tsu for a moment? He’s got nurses around him, but maybe he would appreciate a familiar face,” the Rain Guardian looked like he was about to say something else, but was distracted by Lampo. Soon the two Guardians returned to their business; and Hibari was left there looking like the instruction shocked him to the core.
“W-what -,” the Hibari heir muttered. He was obviously unsure; of what, Enma didn’t know. However, he got to his feet with no effort. “Let’s go Tetsuya,” the teen ordered without even stopping in his track. Kusakabe followed, but not before saying, “Shall we, Mr. Cozart?”
Oh, I can go? Was Enma’s silent response. Yet, he shadowed the two well into the tent.
Inside the tent was unexpectedly nice; for an emergency tent that is. It had air conditioning, and the sick bed was pretty advanced. Two nurses was attending to the bed; but they left their posts once they saw them. “Oh, good! Sawada-san might appreciate someone he knows!”one of the nurses said, “Look, Sawada-san, Hibari dono is here to visit you!”
There it was, the teen Enma had been watching through the screen. He was suitting on the bed cocooned under a thick layer of blankets.The only thing visible of him was his face and the hand that was connected to the IV.
His eyes are as round as they were in camera, was the first thing that crossed Enma’s mind. It was maybe because it was that round; or maybe because he was visibly thinner than the last time Enma saw him on the TV screen hence making his eyes look bigger.
It was surreal to see him in the flesh this way after seeing his life unraveled through videos. He felt like a dear friend - a kid brother - that never was. The words that felt like it was about to burst out of Enma’s mouth the moment he saw the omega was swallowed back down. They might know Sawada Tsunayoshi; but Sawada Tsunayoshi had never seen them on the other side of the screen.
“What happened to him?” Enma whispered to Kusakabe. Kusakabe didn’t answer instantly, but then said, “They kept Sawada-san sedated while keeping his flame active. And just now, he exploded in ice - he froze a huge part of the basement and sent himself to hypothermia”.
“Ice?”Enma blinked at the beta then at the omega. The latter did look a bit blue in the face; especially his lips were turning a bit purple. “Oh my God,” Enma muttered under his breath.
Meanwhile, Hibari Kyoya was standing in the center of the tent with the most awkward posture as he considered stepping ahead or staying where he was. He decided to do the prior; but not before clearing his throat and taking a deep inhale as if bracing himself. Once closer to Sawada’s bed, he said a gruff, “Hello,’ that sounded insensitive considering the situation. Sawada’s mere response was to mumble something incoherent; knowing the boy’s nature, he might try his best to say a hello back; though the way he looked away signaled his discomfort.
The two of them were never that close.
“I can see you’re doing fine,” Hibari continued and rigidly took a seat. Enma and Kusakabe shadowed him. The poor omega was looking down to his own lap and he was biting his bottom lip. Oh, the three of them knew this face so well. It was the face the omega had whenever he was about to cry. He was doing well to hold it back. He had, after all, promised his mentor to not cry when its not the right time and place.
“Umm,” Hibari started again. Enma felt like telling the alpha to back down because could he not see Sawada was already so uncomfortable as he was? Then here the young Hibari heir was; staring at the omega. You could see Hibari clenching and unclenching his fist on top of the bed like he wanted to do something so bad. He made a move to get his hand closer to Sawada’s; but pulled back on the last second. Then he said, “You can cry if you want”.
“Oh, Kyoya-san,” Enma heard Kusakabe muttered his disappointment under his breath.
In return, Sawada pulled the hand that was close to Hibari away and looked even further to the left to avoid Hibari’s gaze. Recognizing the negative reaction, Hibari hurriedly added, “D-do you want me to get Reborn? We can get Reborn here for you”.
Like magic, Reborn did enter the room. His steps brisk; but it was almost silent. He made no other attempt to recognize their presence as he made a beeline to his protege; even when Hibari left the seat and mumbled, “Reborn! Good, we’ve been -”
Just like that, Reborn took the seat from Hibari and pulled the omega to a hug. The last coherent word everyone heard heard from Sawada was a muffled, “Reborn!”before he let himself be embraced by the older beta. Enma couldn’t help but be touched by the sight of Sawada’s thin arms pulling desperately at the hitman’s back; his fingers painfully clawed into the black fabric of Reborn’s suit. It was a deafening silence at first; Reborn moved only to take Sawada’s head closer to his chest.
Then you heard the sobs. Sawada had let out gut wrenching cry.
“Ssssh, it’s okay. Let it all out,” Reborn comforted. He was rubbing the omega’s back up and down, “You’re here. It’s okay”.
They had never seen anything like it. To see Sawada cry like that for real in front of them was so new; but what was more interesting was the fact that he had chosen the embrace of the most feared man in Vongola out of all place to do so. It was such a view that they all froze to watch.
In the middle of all of this, Hibari stayed where he was. He was unmoved.
“Kyoya-san,” Kusakabe tried pulling Hibari away from the scene; but the alpha pushed pushed back. Enma had never seen the young alpha so out of his element.
All the while, Sawada and Reborn had converted to whispering to each other. Sawada pulled away slightly from the older man, only so he could lean his head to Reborn’s other shoulder as he told his mentor something. His cheeks were a bit redder from crying; but for a while there, he looked comfortable. How a hitman of Reborn’s caliber could sit down and have this omega act this way around him was a huge mystery.
The Primo entered the tent not long after; only muttering, “He’s awake?” before he too ran to his brother. Sawada let himself be hugged by The Primo; only this time, Primo was the only one crying.
So yeah, this story will be extended to a fourth chapter! Yayy!
Well, I previously planned to add one more part to this chapter where you'll be seeing things from Reborn's perspective 6 months after Tsuna was found. But I've written so much for this chapter that I thought, "Okay, let's just stop right here".
In the next one; you'll get some explanation on what was up with Hibari. It'll focus more on 1827. Tell me what you think is going on in his head, will you?
Oh, and I apologize for the sudden rush of climax and anticlimax in this story. It's just that, I never meant for the story to focus on the disappearance; it was more about the unraveling of Tsuna's relationships. So the saving part is a bit rushed and not as elaborated. If there's any problem you've felt while writing, please tell me! I'm always happy to learn and be better!
Meanwhile, I hope this story entertains you in the midst of this pandemic. I'm actually happy to stay at home and work from my computer - that's the attitude of a true introvert! I hope all you are safe and healthy!
1. Multiple POV with very vague transition from one pov to another
2. Poor editing
“So you got The Hibari Alpha pair paying you a huge sum of money,” said the man with the face of Alaude, The Cloud Guardian. But he wasn’t the Cloud Guardian; no. He was someone much more sinister. Because Alaude was as intimidating, but he was far too stoic to made such a dismissive wave. This man in front of Enma was the master of disguise himself.
It was Reborn.
“Well, they like to have first-hand accounts on umm,” the red-haired detective wasn’t sure if mentioning the omega’s name in front of Reborn would be a good thing, “on the omega in The Vongola House”.
An elegant brow was raised. Clad in the perfect impersonation in the broad day light; right in the face of interested fellow attendants of this posh restaurant down town; Reborn mockingly took a drag from an e-cigar – a habit the Cloud Guardian was known for. He grimaced, but shrugged, “The Hibari Alpha pair is known for their nosiness. You’re lucky they’re willing to pay their share in the agreement. They’re cunning snakes,” Reborn added, “Couldn’t blame them being interested in the brat. The boy has always been able to turn heads, if only he was allowed out more often”.
Enma agreed in silence.
The young omega had been in the headlines ever since his existence was announced to the public. As of that moment, the whole Europe adopted him as their new Royal icon. They would pay him a high amount for an exclusive interview; something the Vongola House had yet to respond to. His first appearance in the now-6-month-old-and-running trial against Vendicare went viral on Youtube and was aired numerous times on television. The red sweater he wore in court rose to popularity in no time. You wouldn’t be able to go out without seeing any youth wearing red sweaters nowadays – even though its summer.
The Vongola was working hard to keep him away from the public eye. In fact, he was absent three months into the trial despite being its key witness. Enma heard from Reborn the boy was taken to a vacation by his brother in order to give him some space to heal from the trauma. Neo-Italy’s curiosity failed to diminish after his absence though. Because, after his return, reporters shadowed his every move. Pictures of him alongside his brother walking whatever street in Italy could be found easily.
Kusakabe had finalized their contract as soon as Sawada was found. Thus, Enma had long left the palazzo with hefty rewards both from The Hibari heir and The Hibari Pair. At first, he thought he wasn’t going to be involved further into the case – he was, after all, nothing but a miniscule part of the whole picture. However, Vongola decided to put him in a team comprised of a number of people who would present their accounts regarding Sawada’s hard drive -which had become an important piece of evidence.
Both the Storm Guardian and the Lightning Guardian were in the team too; though they work mostly in communicating with the attorneys and all the legal works. Enma and Reborn were put together to study and present the drive’s content.
To this day, Enma was still in a state of disbelief on how he could work alongside an Arcobaleno. After that day in The Primo’s Office; he thought he wouldn’t be able to see eye-to-eye with the hitman anymore. On the contrary, Reborn proved to be a great guy to work with once you got to know him. He liked to push the buttons of The Guardians; that’s true; but he was straightforward and open with Enma – a feat Enma wouldn’t understand until today.
He was also very covert. The day they were supposed to present in court; the man showed up as a professor named Reboyama; claiming to be an expert in the field of digital data. Enma found out that the man almost always presented himself using different aliases and identities outside of The Palazzo. It was normal for him; despite it being a closed court day.
Vongola pushed for the court to keep their omega’s privacy as much as possible; hence sometimes the court was asked to close their doors to journalists alike. Professor “Reboyama’s” words were mostly the ones Vongola decided could be put in public about the drive’s content – all was carefully put to not put too much information about the boy’s life. In fact, they were briefed repeatedly what information could not be let out to the public; such as Sawada’s orphanage life, the initial relationship with his brother, the fact he was supposed to stay a secret in The Palazzo, and the fact that the videos were all put in the drive for his mentor to see.
Heck, the public didn’t even know he had a mentor.
His ancestry had also been forged. The omega was presented to the media as a son of the previous Primo with a second wife whom he married in secret.
Still, the court needed to know that information. At that point, they knew almost everything there was to know about the Omega. G told them the court was filled with the people Vongola trusted .As long as it was closed court day, they could go full force.
On another hand, Vongola’s attempt to protect their omega didn’t seem to silence the public’s curiosity. Conspiracy theorists alike started to show up online and making their own take on the situation. These theories were popular among the public as there were not much else being put out about the Omega. Their intent was innocent; but it was tiring to hear their baseless babbles.
One of these conspiracy theory enthusiasts are The Hibari Alpha pair.
Enma remembered how the Hibari Alpha Pair entertained one after another insane theory when they invited Enma for dinner (and gossip). There were also talks about world politics that was too much to be mentioned over dinner. Enma was not made for the affair between the powerful.
Having that in mind, Enma exhaled like the thought alone was enough to exhaust him. “I suppose I don’t mind as long as they keep their end of the bargain. I didn’t expect such a pair have a son as strait-laced as Hibari,” Enma stated.
Reborn grunted from behind his glass of Tom Collins. “Strait-laced,” the hitman repeated; tone bland, message clear. It was obvious the man had some issue with the young Alpha. Enma wasn’t sure what it was. Not that Enma had witnessed much of their interaction after that unfortunate day before Sawada was rescued – but every time Hibari’s name was mentioned, Reborn would give an eye roll or a snort. It’s not hatred; but somehow the hitman was especially critical when it comes to the Hibari heir.
“He does his part of the work. He isn’t bad, you know, for an alpha heir of his age,” Enma weakly defended his own opinion of the guy. Hibari might have his own immaturity; but he was only 17, almost 18. You couldn’t say most people his age achieved what he had achieved.
To this Reborn looked sideways and gave a short tilt of his glass as though saying, “To each their own”.
“B-but, its true! He proved himself in the court, I think. All his work to search, sort, and compile the papers from Vendicare is key to the trial,” Enma continued. Hibari might not show up in the proceedings much. He only showed the few times he was invited to take the stand. And once he did, his presentation on Vendicare’s experimentation reports were the highlight of the court; second only to Sawada’s and the other survivors’ accounts on the witness stand.
“Those horrendous findings, I still remember it. I still get some chills whenever I think about it,” Enma admitted. The experiments done in Vendicare’s basement was something out of a horror movie. Working for CEDEF, Enma knew there were a lot of other unethical practices out there, but he never got far enough in the organization to finally see himself what those practices were. The trial was his first to something of such nature; and it made him sick the moment Hibari described it in court.
However, some of the papers Hibari had compiled contained a lot of details that would be considered a silly plot of a story book if not for the fact that they’re pieces of evidence for a high profile case; and the one that made the least sense happened to be the one that contained Sawada’s name.
It was a report labeled as Six Paths of Reincarnation – as in the concept from Buddhism. They detailed how Vendicare planned to put a spirit who had gone through all six realms of reincarnation into a host. As Vendicare was built on the belief that omegas had stronger spiritual constitution; they would delegate an omega to be the host of this spirit – a spirit named Mukuro.
The experiment already found a host in the form of an omega girl named Nagi – and it broke Enma’s heart to know that she was the one Sawada met. Apparently, they thought they had succeeded because the host had made contact with the spirit. The report even went to claim that they have succeeded in getting the spirit and the host to share the same body. However, they later found the girl to be physically too weak that she could not perform well in their tests. How could she – when in the reports it said they planned to test her by taking her organs and see if she could survive with the help of the spirit. No human could survive that!
The next host candidate would be Sawada Tsunayoshi, whose ancestry was of a strong House of alphas. Unfortunately, they had also found out about his flame bearing abilities thanks to Sasagawa taking Sawada to the clinic after an injury from his flame practice. They had noted that Sawada Tsunayoshi was the perfect candidate as he was expected to be stronger than the previous host.
Another discovery that had been made from the documents were the fact that Vendicare hadn’t planned to kidnap Sawada that soon. On the last minute, they decided to fetch for him sooner for two reasons. First, Sawada was believed to have made contact with the spirit on his visit to the clinic. Second, there had been a conflict at Sawada’s home – making it the perfect scapegoat to kidnap the omega and point the finger at the said conflict.
They went as far as saying that they would kidnap the boy for a week before returning him to Vongola – therefore implanting the spirit inside the Vongola through Tsunayoshi so they could gain control of the Palazzo in the future.
Enma could still replay the collective gasps the court made once that particular detail was mentioned. Vendicare had done more than just experimenting on omegas – they were conspiring to commit treason.
At the end, Hibari closed his presentation by stating that the experiments were products to a group of madmen’s delusions – because spirits and reincarnation made no sense. This speech led the whole court to dismiss the main motives behind the kidnapping of Sawada Tsunayoshi. Most people then considered the Vendicare case to be scientists’ schizophrenic episode. “Those omegas were hurt for nothing!” They said – because no spirit would get inside the minds of these omegas, right?
Well, at first, Enma thought that way too, but there were too many details he couldn’t ignore.
For example, how come Sawada mentioned in the video he would be gone for only a week before he was even kidnapped? Of course, he was gone for more than a week, but the report stated that he was planned to be returned home in a week.
Enma went to Reborn to enquire about all of these. What he heard would forever disturb him.
He remembered he and Reborn were in the latter’s car on their way back from the court. Enma just asked the question on whether Reborn thought the experiment held some truth in them. Reborn kept his silence for a while before he said, “I was there when Tsunayoshi visited one of the survivors. She’s the girl he talked a lot in his videos – the one they called the first host. The funny thing was, they didn’t say a word, at all, but sometimes they chuckled together for no reason”.
“They were probably having conversations in Morse again,” Enma remembered saying. But Reborn responded with; “I would know if it was the case. Wasn’t I the one who taught Tsunayoshi Morse code through blinking?”
Enma was deep in thought for a moment before he asked, jokingly, “What? Are you saying they were speaking telepathically or something?” Enma even laughed; but Reborn didn’t.
It was then the man spilled information after information to Enma.
“The Hibari punk was told by Giotto not to say everything”.
“Vongola received reports from the hospital keeping the survivors that Nagi’s inner organs are mostly dysfunctional – they looked like it had been removed and reattached to her system inappropriately”.
“She shouldn’t have been alive at the moment – but you just seen her walking like a normal person in court, didn’t you?”
“Tsunayoshi’s accounts on what happened in the basement on his captivity all matched the accounts of the other survivors – even though he had never communicated with them and he was supposed to be heavily sedated the whole time he was there”.
“And you know how that first host suddenly wanted a new name and all, right? She is mentally disturbed and doesn’t understand herself much because of the trauma”.
“One time at dinner; Tsunayoshi just returned from his regular visit to the first host in the hospital. As he was telling everyone about his visit over dinner, he would sometimes mix up her new name, which is Chrome, with Mukuro”.
“Vongola thinks Tsunayoshi’s habit of mixing up her name is because of his dyslexia. Besides, the name Chrome, sounds like Kuromu, which could be jumbled into Mukuro; so maybe the dyslexia makes it difficult for Tsunayoshi to pronounce the name correctly”.
“But dyslexia don’t make you mispronounce names”.
Reborn told Enma many other things that could only make sense if the spirit named Mukuro truly existed. He was the one who told Sawada he was going to be taken for a week in what the Vendicare doctor told the boy was a delusion caused by his medicine. He was the one showing Sawada all of the awful abuse the facility had put on other omegas when he was sedated in the basement. He was the one keeping his first host alive and might as well sticking close to her for she was sometimes Chrome…., and sometimes Mukuro.
At this time, Reborn said Vongola had somewhat bought into the idea that their omega was contacted by this powerful spirit because the proves had been piling up on them. This was why Vongola asked the court not to ask questions regarding what Sawada remembered during his captivity; this was why Hibari blatantly told the court the report were a myriad of unreasonable rhetoric thus creating the narrative that Vendicare was a product of unstable scientists’ delusional stupor; this was why the first host, Nagi, or Chrome, was not put in the stand to tell her side of the story. Vongola wanted to keep the knowledge about the spirit to themselves for whatever reason.
Enma then asked what was the point of presenting the papers if at the end the most crucial information would be casted off as some fairytale. To that, Reborn replied, “it would add to the picture of this crazy and sadistic experimentation that resulted in nothing, which would put the perpetrators in an even poorer light”.
The other thing Hibari had explained was the reason behind the length of Sawada’s captivity which had exceeded the estimated time. After an interview with one of the perpetrators, Hibari discovered that the scientist found Sawada to be difficult to work with because the moment the boy was sedated, his flame was activated and he proved to be too dangerous to every scientist that tried to approach him. It was getting too much that they decided they should keep him sedated all the time to avoid the boy getting conscious and attack them all.
This piece of information was open to the public. Almost everyone in the rescue squad on the scene that day was informed that the sky flame was present; which was why they all waited to Primo to lead the rescue for he was the only other person with another Sky attribute on the vicinity therefore the only one capable to overpower another sky flame wielder. Only the Vongola bloodline with the Sky Flames were allowed to be in the Top Ten; and this caused everyone on the rescue squad that day addressing their main target Decimo or Tenth.
In fact, Reborn told Enma that the very day they all saved Sawada; the boy’s flame had turned to ice. He even managed to froze some important members of Vendicare and a huge part of the underground facility. The reason why there were so many people sent to the basement before the evacuation was underway was because how difficult it was to evacuate anyone with the ice. His flame was so difficult to subdue that the moment his big brother took him out in the heap of blankets; Sawada’s flame was still active and he was well on his way to a full-blown hypothermia.
Obviously, Vongola decided to keep that detail about the ice to themselves too.
Last but not least; Hibari’s research casted light on who was responsible behind the whole project. A number of important names came up – but the most prominent one had to be Estraneo. Reborn told Enma another trial was on the way – soon – against the Estraneo House. Primo, Reborn told him, wouldn’t let this go until the family goes down.
Not that Enma would be able to witness that last part. Whatever blessings he had earned to deserve this small role in this huge trial had been used – and today, he would move on to something else in life. CEDEF had contacted him and asked for his return. Not only that, he got a promotion from his prior position and the pests that murdered his friend had been dismissed from the organization. The Hibari alpha pair truly had kept their words.
Still, if there was something else Enma wanted from his part in all of this, it would be to see how he was doing – at least once more.
Enma cleared his throat and braced himself, “Anyway, how’s Sawada doing?”
Reborn sent Enma a seizing glance which made Enma wonder if his question was too transparent. Reborn was very protective of his youngest disciple after all.
“He’s fine,” Reborn uttered after only a bit of a pause.
Enma thought it was the only thing he could get from the hitman; until the man followed up with more. “He had nightmares, but he’s been getting more sleep since going to therapy. Visiting the rest of the survivors helped him heal. However, he’s a bit embarrassed by how many people are asking to do a study on his videos – they came from research institutions alike - and he asks me about these stuffs. And I said, eh, you can do whatever you like, isn’t this what you wanted?” Reborn copied himself with a lazy drawl, “Really make you question if the brat knew how much was exposed in the court when he consented for the videos to be presented. I don’t think he understands the full extent of the exposure; otherwise he would’ve killed me,” he smiled knowingly, “Figuratively”.
Enma mirrored the Arcobaleno’s smile. Reborn didn’t stop there, “But all that being said, he’s doing very well. He’s being invited to give talks in youth organizations; which he’s excited about. He’ll be doing his first speech next month, actually. As for the interviews from televisions, he isn’t really sure. Vongola wouldn’t leave him on his own on those matters. G and Knuckle are more than capable to guide him on what to say and not to say in front of the camera,” Reborn paused, “Whereas his own fame – I don’t think he understands how much his existence affects Europe politics right now. I suppose that’s better; one less problem for myself”.
“I see,” Enma sipped his glass of Old Fashioned. He heard the omega was not allowed much media consumption while the trial was still taking place. Hence, he must be clueless as to how many times his name came up in the news. “Are they going to officially make him The Tenth?” Enma did his best to voice his curiosity humbly. Reborn took his time before answering, “In 5 months; yes”.
The boy had done it. He would be the first omega to ever be promoted to the higher ranks in The Vongola House – the house that had banned hiring omegan staff in their palazzo.
Enma couldn’t explain the pride that swell in his heart for Sawada. He supposed, after all of those videos, he felt for the boy. Enma wanted him to reach his dreams; to be happy.
He supposed that was the end to what he shared with the omega of the Vongola House. The boy had been an enigma to him the very day Enma discovered he existed. Yet at the end, Enma held a significantly minor role than everyone else in this saga. And Sawada – well, Sawada had risen to a class of his own. Enma could at least say he knew the boy when the boy disappeared.
… and he still had that meeting with CEDEF representation in 2 hours.
Enma peeked at his watch and was making gestures to show he was about to leave. “Look at the time,” he signaled to Reborn. They both had arranged this lunch as a farewell before Enma leave for his new position in CEDEF today; hence it wasn’t meant to be long.
“Actually,” Reborn disrupted before Enma could even express his intent to leave, “I have someone I want you to meet”.
From the other end of the room, someone pranced their way alongside a waiter. His brown hair bobbed up and down in tune with his steps; round brown eyes roamed the whole room before it landed on them and a smile grew on his face. He increased the pace of his steps to reach them, leaving tens of people pointing and whispering to his back. And Enma – Enma couldn’t believe his eyes
“Hi!” Sawada greeted in his school-uniformed glory. He looked like how he usually was in his videos; and to see him in his classic getup this up close felt surreal. It didn’t take him a second thought to hug the man looking like the cloud guardian. Of course, he would notice his mentor in any disguise he could pull.
“Sorry I’m late!” He kissed Reborn’s left cheek, “I had to talk to the teachers before leaving the school”.
“They want to discuss the article – the one I told you about? They are going to put it on the school’s website!”
“yeah! And you know that cool kid who takes great pictures in school? He’s going to take pictures for that article – isn’t that great?”
“I’m so excited! I’m going to make some edits, I think. Maybe I can add more substance to my arguments –“
“Tsunayoshi,” Reborn effectively silenced the rambling boy, “There’s someone I’d like you to meet”.
The boy’s head slowly followed his mentor’s gaze.
His eyes met Enma’s.
Across the screen he was already attractive; but up close he was stunning. From the curl on his hair, to the rosy hue on his cheeks; he was perfect. He even smelled the way Enma imagined him to; powdery and warm. These were the effects of meeting Sawada that was never translated into his videos. It was hard to believe the same kid was geeky orphan just a couple of years ago. Puberty really did some wonders on omegas.
Once his eyes found Enma, he quickly lowered his head. With that, came a voice much more timid and polite than the bubbly one he had before, “Hello”. He reached out a hand to shake Enma’s.
Enma felt his heart making a quick skip, but he didn’t forget to rise to his feet and held the boy’s hand in his.
It was soft.
“I’m Sawada Tsunayoshi. I’m Reborn’s disciple”.
I know, “Enma Cozart”.
The boy was shaking hands with Enma, but his body bent slightly forward like they would in Japan when introducing oneself.
“He’s been working with me on the case,” Reborn added.
“O-oh!” Sawada took his hand away and bowed even lower to Enma, “Thank you very much for your hard work!”
Enma couldn’t really handle people bowing to him. “No, no. It’s okay -!” He gestured to get the boy to stop bowing.
“You should take a seat,” Reborn stated to his pupil. Sawada looked around the table as if he was lost for a moment that he forgot he hadn’t sat. “Oh, yeah!” the boy muttered as he lowered himself on a seat. Even the way he speaks, however timid, had such liveliness to them. It was so endearing. Enma wondered how Vongola could ignore this boy's presence because right now Enma found it hard to do so.
As Enma too returned to his seat, Reborn addressed the young omega again, “So Mr. Cozart right here had been involved since before the rescue. He helped pinpoint the omegas location”.
The boy’s already so round eyes grew even rounder as he nodded up and down to Reborn’s every word. Enma swore that pair of brown eyes slowly went to him and through his soul; it caught Enma off guard. “I cannot thank you enough,” The boy softly muttered.
“I…,” Enma didn’t know why he was at a loss of words, “It was nothing, Sawada-san,” he wanted to test the boy’s name using Japan’s honorifics in his tongue. “In fact it might be stranger to you to wake up one day to this many saviors. It must be a hassle to thank them one by one. But then again, you technically saved yourself”.
There was a small smile at Enma’s joke, but the omega then hurriedly turns to his mentor as if he was embarrassed of his own reaction. “Um, yeah,” the boy responded. Enma noted, Sawada might have always been this shy in exchange to his talkative self beyond the screen. In front of his camera, in the safety of his own room, he thought he was speaking alone. He never expected he would have such a huge audience in time.
Unknown to himself, a smile grew on Enma’s face.
“I can see you’re faring well,” Enma uttered.
For a short second, Sawada looked surprised to be addressed again; but he nodded a couple of time right after. “Yes,” he answered.
“Therapy is going well?”
“Yes. My therapist is very understanding and patient. I feel better nowadays”.
“I’m glad to hear that,” Enma replied. “How’s your brother?”
“Oh, he… he’s occupied, as usual. I’m sure you have caught wind that he’s busier than ever since the trial. But we’ve had a vacation to Maldives – y’know, at the beginning of the proceeding – ummmm, so he’s not as stressed”.
“You get along?”
“Um, yes. Yes, we do”.
“Is everyone nice to you in the palazzo?”
“Y-yeah! Everyone’s nice”. The younger teen caught Enma’s smile and, unconsciously, he smiled back without looking away this time. “Thank you for saving me and everyone else,” the omega continued.
Enma’s heart jumped.
“Is it time?” Reborn pointed out suddenly. Enma turned to his figure next to Sawada’s. Despite sitting, his form towered over his disciple; from the way he slightly leaned over the boy to the way he shot his gaze at Enma. Oh. Oh.
He read through Enma perfectly.
“You’re right. I almost forgot. It’s time for me to take my leave,” Enma eyed Reborn carefully. The man’s lips quirked. It made Enma felt self-aware. The red-haired young man stood up and now offered a hand to Sawada, whose expression was full curiosity.
“Pleased to finally speak to you, Sawada-san”.
“O-oh, the pleasures all mine, Cozart-san,” Sawada shook Enma’s hand while bowing only so slightly like before. Enma gave the smaller hand a soft squeeze. At the end of the day, Enma concluded, he deserved nothing but a short meeting with one Sawada Tsunayoshi.
Enma then shook Reborn’s hand. “It’s pleasure to have the experience of working with you”. Reborn, as usual, didn’t make much of it. “I had fun,” the hitman said with a smile that strangely fit the Cloud Guardian.
The red headed detective gave Sawada one last nod before he left the restaurant. Reborn watched how his ward’s head turned to follow the detective. If he could say anything about it, the omega was in wonder. The hitman would give him some time to ask him anything; but when the boy turned to Reborn all he said was, “You’ve had lunch?” Plus a judgmental look towards the empty plates on their table.
Reborn shrugged and took another sip of his drink. He knew the boy was now pouting. “Then be my company while I eat. This places’ cakes are the best – their oriental cuisines are good too. I think I’ll order their wonton soup. Call the waiter for me, Reborn”.
“Nope. You’re not eating”.
“What!” Tsunayoshi protested, “… are we going somewhere else? I’m hungry”.
“No, you’re staying,” Reborn stated coolly.
The boy whined, “That’s not fair!”
A waiter then arrived by their table to put a serving of a fusion dessert. “When did you order that?” Now Reborn was the one judging.
“By the front desk – oh this is good! You want a taste?”
“No,” Reborn half growled. Tsunayoshi shouldn’t be eating anything right now. He’s having a feast soon. In fact, they had to be waiting for him as of now.
“Really?” Tsunayoshi asked again. As if Reborn would want anything to do with a dish so colorful.
“No,” the older man grunted before he sighed in defeat, “Just finish your meal as fast as you can”.
“No problem. For real though, are we going somewhere?” Tsunayoshi spoke in between spoonfuls.
Reborn didn’t answer and just massaged the bridge of his nose. The boy ate in silent enthusiasm while his mentor observed him. It felt like it was just yesterday that Tsunayoshi faced him with trembling legs. Today, his existence was the catalyst for the push towards gender equality. Additionally, his videos challenge people's belief of what omegas can or cannot do. Just yesterday, Reborn and Giotto discussed the possibility of the videos being an important study material in fields related to gender study because it showcased an omega's development so well. Not only was he a walking example of an omega that challenges traditional roles, he also had the passion for the subject. Vongola was working hard to protect the videos and control its distribution by making it one of the house's important document. Reborn agreed with this notion, but he still found it funny how some clips of Tsunayoshi reviewing a sandwich held a high value for family of Vongola's caliber.
Tsunayoshi was currently rambling about his discussion with a scholar from the omega empowerment movement when Reborn caught the sight of the time. “Do you know where your brother is?” He questioned abruptly.
“Um, work, maybe? Haven't seen him,".
“Can you attempt to make a guess?
“Ummmmmmmmm,” Tsunayoshi licked his spoon clean, “He’s in a meeting with a foreigner, maybe? Probably in a fancy restaurant somewhere, I don’t know”.
Reborn rolled his eyes at that. That casual statement contained so much truth that it was almost scary. Then again, Tsunayoshi's intuition worked best when it wasn’t trying to.
As Reborn thought this, he caught the sight of the Hibari heir walking down the stairs leading to the VIP room upstairs. He seemed to see them and Reborn witnessed how the young alpha completely turned rigid before he stopped in his stead. He’s waiting for Reborn’s cue.
I’m dealing with idiots, Reborn told himself silently. One of them, Reborn could forgive because he’s Reborn’s idiot – and he’s now eating a dessert he probably couldn’t name. The rest, well, they were upstairs.
“Is there something going on? Are you fighting again?” The boy put his spoon down this time, “What’s with the questions?”
Reborn rolled his eyes again, “I was just checking on the idiot. And to think the moron had been acting like a jerk before this”.
“Reborn, I told you, he has apologized. And we get along now. The trip to Maldives was great and we both had fun. We have all meals together now and umm… we also have dinner dates on the weekends”.
Reborn sneered, “And your ability to forgive surprises me as always”.
Betas may not fully get alpha-omega dynamics, Reborn supposed. However, he had known a lot of alphas and omegas in his life. Reborn would say he knew their dynamic well. He had, after all, rose two alphas and was currently raising an omega.
Alphas and Omegas are actually parts of a coin. One side is passive and submissive; the other is aggressive and controlling. However, they are the same in many ways; they’re both territorial, they’re both hormonal.
Omegas are soft in their approach. When they like a person – platonically or romantically; they would act very affectionate – they’d cook for them, they’d be especially attentive to their moods, they’d slip in gifts. These would be more obvious when they reach puberty and they would be upset if they couldn’t be in close proximity from their marked ones; they’d cry, they’d get sick. They like to touch and be touched; for them it was a sign of self validation.
Alphas, on the other hand, are much more annoying. They prefer to claim those who follow them. These followers are mostly someone who is more submissive – betas, or alphas who are assigned to them. They would want to know where they are at all times and try to arrange their lives – give orders, you could say. Alphas prefer words though; they like it when someone pledge their loyalty to them. They scent mark too. Dino, Reborn’s disciple, would slap his sweaty shirt on his subordinate’s back; or he would sometimes just wipe his arms on their heads. On the extreme end, young alphas would sometime chase after those they see as a threat to their relationships.
To most, these are seen as something typical of an alpha that you wouldn’t label as a ‘territorial’ trait. These behaviors were much more tangible in younger alphas – alphas on their puberty although Alphas with secure relationships with their parents rarely show aggression to their loved ones.
Both alphas and omegas clicked easily because of how much they complete the other. Thus, appear the many omega and alpha couple tropes in the long line of literature history. They were the ideal fairy tale couple; the ultimate combination.
However, if there was a more important point Reborn needed to note after the facts above, then it was on the fact that Tsunayoshi was not a crybaby. He’s a lonely omega – and there’s a difference. Omega needs a lot of affection and touches. A young one, especially, needs a marked one nearby all the time. Otherwise, they could be easily distressed. What had happened with Tsunayoshi this whole time was not him being a needy child. He was an omega deprived of love and attention. His instinct told him to find a marked one as fast as he can, which made him seem like a desperate kid most of the time. His omega latched easily to Reborn, though; and that was when Tsunayoshi started crying less and could function independently.
And Giotto, well, despite of being such an idiot, he was not an aggressive fool. He was confused and afraid – yet the alpha inside could not deny the prospect of having a bond with an omega.
In fact, the very day Reborn laid his eyes on Tsunayoshi, he knew Giotto would see the appeal of having an omega family member. Not then, obviously. Giotto had been far too traumatized by the betrayal Tsunayoshi’s mother had done to him. She was the first omega he had ever given his trust to; and she shattered it despite not having meant to do so. But if you knew Giotto well, you’d know. He didn’t hate his omegan brother; he was afraid of the possibility of liking him.
He wouldn’t last long – that, Reborn knew very well. Giotto never had the luxury of claiming a family member. His parents had had dysfunctional relationship and it affected their relationship to their son. Afterwards, Giotto seemed to sabotage his own relationships. He was insecure and destructive as a teen. He was ruthless.
A lot of people liked to blame Reborn for the abomination that was teenaged Giotto. Yet Reborn would beg to differ. He never led Giotto to such route. Giotto led himself there. All Reborn did was follow.
Heck if it was for Reborn, the guy wouldn’t even make it to his own parents’ burial. He wouldn’t even shed a tear.
But what Giotto lack in being a proper teen he made up in leadership. He’s a moron, but he’s a good leader. He throve once he was crowned Neo Italy’s next leader. Reborn made note that the young man sobered from whatever rebellious phase he had in the past. Finally, Neo Italy got the leader they deserved and The Vongola House could finally release their bated breath because their heir had finally acted human.
Reborn also admired how Giotto took care his first disciple. What he shared with the Hibari punk was something The Primo never had before; a healthy bond. Well, not that Reborn was missing anything in that department. Now, he too had a disciple he genuinely cared about.
The only thing that made Giotto crack was the sudden presence of a brother.
It wouldn’t be a problem if Giotto had accepted Tsunayoshi’s attempt to mark him previously. The problem was, Giotto’s alpha only recognized the omega in Tsunayoshi after Tsunayoshi had moved on to form a secure bond with Reborn instead. The first marked for an Omega was usually a deep parental bond. It was something irreplaceable to an omega and it would always hold a special place for them.
Giotto took Tsunayoshi’s first mark on Reborn as a challenge to his territory.
Reborn didn’t get it either at first. Mature alphas don’t usually throw fit like they would in their puberty. Then again, Giotto never experienced a phase where he claimed his family member. It seemed to catch up to him in full force now that his claim on Tsunayoshi was threatened and Reborn was thoroughly annoyed by it.
Whatever attitude Giotto had to push his brother away was now used to drag the omega closer. If he would scold Tsunayoshi for bothering him in the past, this time he would be furious at the young teen if he missed dinner with Giotto. This created even more confusion in Tsunayoshi. Giotto’s aggression was irrationally high once his alpha sensed the omega in Tsunayoshi; meanwhile Omegas would be more responsive to affection and soft touches.
To put it shortly, Giotto’s instinct told him to lash whenever he sensed Tsunayoshi was taken away from him. And the ones who became the target of this antics were Tsunayoshi himself and Reborn.
This was the main reason he wouldn’t think twice before swinging his fist on Reborn that unfortunate day in the library.
Which was a curious case, because Reborn didn’t think Tsunayoshi understands why his brother acted that way.
“Hey,” Reborn called. The kid only made an ‘Mmm?’ sound as he cleaned his coconut shaped cup from any last trace of dessert. “Do you know why we’re in the library that day?”
Tsunayoshi didn’t give an instant answer. He merely mumbled, “I was told Hibari-san summoned you and Giotto-san”.
He had that information correct then; but was it for the right reason?
Taking the cue from Reborn’s shrug, Tsunayoshi added, “Did he ask you to mentor him?”
To this Reborn frowned. He couldn’t understand why everyone still believed the punk wanted Reborn to mentor him. The Hibari heir had stopped mentioning that to Reborn two months into Reborn mentoring Tsunayoshi. Now, don’t be mistaken, the punk still went to Reborn even after the fact; but it wasn’t for the reason Tsunayoshi just mentioned.
“You think Giotto would punch me for that punk?”
Tsunayoshi pursed his lips in thought, “Maybe? Hibari-san is like his brother”.
He’d be stupider than I thought then, Reborn thought in regards to the Vongola head. Sometimes Tsunayoshi forgot that not all mentor shared such dedication to their protégé as Reborn would him. Heck, the hitman wouldn’t burden himself with saving Giotto’s nor Dino’s ass if they ever got kidnapped.
“Are you going to mentor him?” Tsunayoshi asked. He looked lonely somehow. Reborn exhaled in sheer disbelief.
“No,” the hitman didn’t feel like entertaining Tsunayoshi misconception on the issue. Hence, he gave a short answer. “I’ve had enough on my plate, so to speak. You see, Tsunayoshi, he didn’t call us on that eventful day for that purpose”.
He hadn’t managed to get Tsunayoshi’s full attention, it seemed. The boy was still busy playing with his spoon.
“What if I told you Hibari Kyoya was asking for your hand?”
Tsunayoshi froze. He stared at Reborn; unblinking; as he strengthened the grip, he has on the spoon he was playing with. “Huh?”
“He’s been very straightforward to me and your brother about his intent to marry you”.
Reborn had never seen the boy’s eyes grew so wide. His mouth was opened, if only just a tiny bit. Three seconds in and he put his spoon down. It had to be shocking for Tsunayoshi that the guy had been paying attention on him as well.
“What is this? If this is a joke, you should tell me right now, Reborn,” the brunet muttered. Reborn watched him shifting in his seat as though preparing for the news; but it never came. All the older did was held his gaze.
“No, it wasn’t,” the man said. Hibari Kyoya summoned them to the library to convince Giotto to allow him to court his younger brother. He took Reborn with him just to persuade him further because Reborn had informed the young Alpha that he would let Tsunayoshi to decide for himself. What the younger alpha didn’t foresee was for Giotto to take their presence to be a challenge on his claim on his younger brother.
Which was why he tried to punch Reborn in the first place.
Well, maybe Reborn did provoke him a little. It’s just that, the idiot was too full of himself to think he had the right to assume how Tsunayoshi would think. It was that; or maybe Giotto was very offended by the fact that the Hibari heir asked Reborn’s permission first to court Tsunayoshi before he asked Giotto. Then again, couldn’t he see? It was obvious to everyone but Giotto that Reborn was Tsunayoshi’s first marked. Of course, it only made sense for the Hibari heir to consult Reborn first.
“What? You’re nervous? No need to worry. Your brother and I have agreed that marriage plans are too early on this stage. What do you think about courting first, hmm?”
“C-c-courting???” Tsunayoshi choked on his own spit, “O-oh my God. Oh my God. B-but I’m not g-good with courting and stuff. I’ve never done it”.
Of course. That’s the point. The Hibari punk and his parents would not stay silent if Tsunayoshi ever had any experience with courting. The Hibari alpha pair hadn’t been silent of their son’s chance with Tsunayoshi now that more and more courting proposals to the omega were sent to Giotto’s office. They were insistent that their son should be given the chance with Tsunayoshi first because he had been asking for his hands before the omega’s existence had been exposed to the public.
“You can always say no,” Reborn rebutted. His ward tensed. “You cant, can you?” Reborn smirked. Reborn knew his disciple well. He had always known where Tsunayoshi’s heart was.
“They’re waiting for you upstairs right now,” Reborn stated, “He brings his parents”.
“P-parents?? B-but I –“
“Love,” Reborn mouthed the name he only used for Tsunayoshi in the privacy of their studies, “This meeting doesn’t have to be about courtship or marriage. They only want to get to know you; and you can get to know them in return”.
Tsunayoshi visibly looked tense. He must be feeling so confused. The omega didn’t realize, but far behind him, Hibari Kyoya was sending worried glances their way from his post by the stairs. The young alpha had been fixing his collar every once in a while. “Actually, he’s right there behind you. Waiting. You can either turn around and follow him upstairs; or you can leave this place with me,” Reborn mentioned.
“What should I do, Reborn? I don’t even know why he chose me as a potential p-partner,” Tsunayoshi half whispered, then added, “What should I say? What do you say?”.
Reborn believed there was no need for Tsunayoshi to be this nervous. If there was a reason to be so, then it should be on the young alpha doing the proposing. The hitman shrugged carelessly, “He’s not a bad guy. Pretty capable”. A talented punk, he was. But a loving and caring partner he had yet to prove. If the punk wanted Reborn to give him more props in front of Tsunayoshi, then he should have done more. His poor attempts to talk to Tsunayoshi at lunch by asking the younger boy to pass the salt was already so pitiful to Reborn’s eyes (Especially the way he stuttered whenever G reminded him the salt was right in front of him). Whoever ends with Tsunayoshi should be proud of the fact.
The omega whined at Reborn’s comment. Calling Hibari Kyoya not bad would be an absolute understatement for the teen. But truly, if Tsunayoshi thought he could do a better job describing the punk, he shouldn’t have asked. “I mean, what am I supposed to do?? Aren’t you supposed to guide me?” The omega asked again. Reborn was the one doing making a voice of complaint now.
“Seriously?” An eyeroll here by the man posing as The Cloud Guardian, “The answer is in your heart. Listen to it, and follow what it says”.
Reborn landed a comforting hand on his ward’s clenched fist. Omegas are very responsive to touches. Just like that, Tsunayoshi looked him in the eye. He’s listening.
“Tsunayoshi, no one on this Earth deserves to tell you who you should or should not be with,” Reborn started, “Always think for yourself. You decide and I will follow”.
He hesitated before saying, “Okay,” to Reborn.
They both stared at each other until Reborn discovered something. “You’ve made your decision”.
“Yes,” Tsunayoshi replied. “You said, he wasn’t bad, right?”
Reborn smiled knowingly. He had known Tsunayoshi’s answer even before having this conversation with him.
“You said – you said upstairs they just want us t-to get to know e-each other, right?
“He’s willing to wait for you until you’re ready. As for now, his parents merely want to get to know you. You can all just have a talk,” Reborn finally finished his drink. The Hibari heir was not dumb enough to think Reborn would allow him to get Tsunayoshi that easily. He was willing to delay his request to officially claim Tsunayoshi, but he made sure to make his moves known before Tsunayoshi’s first heat. Omegan males’ puberty arrive late, usually. He was targeting that first heat – before Giotto ever thought of pairing Tsunayoshi with someone else. Heck he once enquired Reborn if Reborn would partner up with Tsunayoshi for the latter’s heat. The thought itself disgusted Reborn. Tsunayoshi is pretty; but Reborn would never consider him a potential mate. The boy’s presence in Reborn’s life had, after all, transcend that.
“If you’re having second thoughts, we can both ditch them and go somewhere else,” Reborn offered when Tsunayoshi looked to be deep I thought. The omega shook his head. “Alright. When you’re ready, you can rise and go to your new guy. Turn around and don’t look back. He’s waiting”.
“You’re not coming?”
Reborn gave the other a secretive smirk, “To talk about you and that punk’s future children? No, thank you. Your brother and his right-hand man are already there, so you’re fine”. In fact, let this be his last lesson for Tsunayoshi’s idiot older brother.
A lesson to genuinely care for someone.
Tsunayoshi stood from his seat and gave Reborn one last look. “Are you sure its fine for me to go there? I don’t know whether I’ll make a fool of myself – I’m a bit weird like that and they’d probably think I’m stupid,” In the end, Tsunayoshi would always doubt himself. He wasn’t born famous or loved and he never paid close attention to the mirror to notice how attractive he was to the eye.
The fool is not you, Reborn felt like commenting while he directed his gaze to the young Hibari from the other end of the room. The teen had eyed their table from time to time. From the looks of it, his own nerves were escalating – probably from the thought that the omega might be saying no.
“I’ve told you; be proud, Tsunayoshi”.
Tsunayoshi looked like he was about to say something but swallowed his words. He gave Reborn a nod instead, before he turned around a went to Hibari’s way. The punk had the audacity to look surprised; Reborn swore the guy actually squared his shoulders before Tsunayoshi reached him. And Tsunayoshi, being the young impressionable child he was, might have been charmed by such a sad gesture.
They had a small exchange before they climbed the stairs. Hibari sent Reborn a questioning look when he heard Tsunayoshi spoke. He was probably confused why Reborn didn’t tag along. The alpha then made a hand movement like he was about to offer Tsunayoshi a hand so they could walk together; but Tsunayoshi, out of obliviousness, had walked ahead without noticing the gesture.
Reborn chuckled. Good. The Hibari heir better man up to prove himself.
Meanwhile, Reborn could move to another bar while people still believe he’s The Cloud Guardian. He waved a hand to a waiter and told them he’s the Hibari Alpha Pair’s guest. The restaurant was owned by The Hibari House, so everything should be on the house. However, Reborn had a change of mind. “I’m sorry, could you put everything under The Primo’s tab instead? Thank you”.
G kept his mouth shut when Tsunayoshi and Kyoya entered. The latter then hurriedly pulled the seat for Tsunayoshi; which the omega thanked him for; before taking the empty seat next to it. Giotto watched with a rather unreadable expression; but G couldn’t resist the temptation of rubbing his face as though doing so could reduce the tension he was feeling.
Their boy Kyoya was acting civil to someone. That was something.
On the other hand, today also showed Kyoya and Tsunayoshi sitting side for the first time in this round shaped table reserved for 7; and it didn’t sit well with G.
He was surprised when Giotto told him Kyoya proposed to claim Tsunayoshi as a mate. There was a luxurious courting gift offered too. What unsettled him was the fact that Kyoya rarely shown any interest on the omega.
Well, actually, G had caught him saying something rude about Tsunayoshi once. They were having a short meeting in one of the lounges in The palazzo when they saw Tsunayoshi in the courtyard. The young alpha actually said, “Wow,” when Tsunayoshi passed by. G was sure he was commenting at Tsunayoshi’s exposed legs (he wore very revealing shorts whenever he practiced volleyball).
G gave him a real mouthful afterwards for behaving in such fashion, yet he thought that would be the last time Hibari ever saw Tsunayoshi that way.
Apparently, he was wrong.
Not that he would be saying, ‘Wow’ anytime soon because right now Kyoya was far too busy being high strung whereas a huge-eyed Tsunayoshi was occupied with his parents’ questions. Giotto turned his head to G and whispered behind his gloved hand, “What the fuck, Reborn isn’t here”.
G believed they had a lot more to think about than Reborn’s absence.
“Maybe he’s busy”.
“With what!? He told me he was free for the day”.
G took a deep breath. There it was. Reborn was testing Giotto, that was for sure. “Tsu, where’s your mentor. I thought he was going to be here with us,” he voiced out and tilted his head to the empty seat between Giotto and the omega.
“Oh, he said he wanted to go somewhere else – a bar maybe”.
Yeah, he’s testing Giotto.
You could hear the Primo grumbling in the background about how irresponsible his previous mentor was for leaving his current disciple alone. However, the main show of the table was on the Hibari pair who were practically seizing up their omega. “My, my, my, this is the first time I’ve seen a male omega in a while. They really are small framed,” Hibari Hui Yin, the House matriarch, commented. She was almost leering at the omega.
“He’s exactly like the Primo, but smaller,” Hibari Isaku added to his wife’s words, “And better”.
Giotto was used with the Hibari pair’s antics, but Tsunayoshi was very new to it. The boy didn’t seem like he expected to be addressed the moment he entered the room. He was far too used to being ignored.
“Oh, he’s adorable. Kaa-san absolutely approves, Kyoya,” Hibari Hui Yin cooed; making Tsunayoshi to further bowing his head in embarrassment and Kyoya to frown.
“Kaa-san,” the only son of The Hibari House warned in Japanese. The woman giggled. The pitch of her voice was uncomfortably high that it felt like it was scratching the walls of G’s ears.
“You must be Tsunayoshi-kun. Kyoya has told us about you a lot though we’re surprised he only said anything a week ago,” The Head of The Hibari Household then gestured to himself, “I am Hibari Isaku. And this is my wife – and mother of Kyoya, Hui Yin”.
The pair made quite the picture as they smiled to Tsunayoshi’s way from the other end of the round table. Hibari Isaku had Japanese features and a slim frame – but don’t be fooled into thinking he’s weak, because he was a skilled swordsman. Hibari Hui Yin was a female version of Kyoya, though her expression was more animated than her son’s. Hibari isaku was wearing a silk blouse with swallow birds pattern and Hibari Hui Yin wore her signature red Chinese dress. They were both here to make an impression – this meeting was not casual as promised.
“I’ve heard about the two of you. You’re known as the Hibari House’ Alpha Pair,” Tsunayoshi mumbled; and as if he was having a second thought about not saying much else, he added, “I’m Sawada Tsunayoshi. I’ll be in your care”.
“We’ve heard about you too,” The Hibari patriarch said – smile mysterious. The man called a waiter then and ordered him to prepare refreshments. Not long after, two waiters entered their private room and put a delicate white bowl to each G, Giotto and Tsuna. One waiter then poured an almost clear pink liquid into each bowls. The bowl content wafted a warm and sweet smell with only a bit of a tang at the end. G then caught sight of something floating in his bowl.
“Are those flower petals?” G murmured.
“Yes. A very good eye, Mr. Guardian. That flower is native to my land in Japan. We have many names for it, kendifura – short for candy flower – or amaihana – sweet flower. The flower even looks like candy, hence the name. This drink was derived from its fermentation and – ah, I’m sure young Tsunayoshi-kun here would be interested to hear this,” Hibari Isaku addressed the teen for the numerous time that day. G knew it, this pair was trying to appeal to the omega. “If young Alphas are known to be served wine, this drink is a traditional drink we serve to omegan family members or guests. As you all know, Omegas are seen as a symbol to prosperity and fortune in Asia; and that is also true in my House. Growing up, I’ve seen my family serving this drink to the omegas that have set foot in our house; my late aunt being the last omega to ever drink it. We’re not as fortunate to have another omega after her. That is why, I, as the head of the family, is very proud to present this to a guest so important such as Tsunayoshi-kun”.
“I swear, if they ever brought up the topic of marriage to Tsuna, I will pull out my gun,” Giotto grunted lowly to G. G grimaced. They had promised this meeting would be casual because Tsunayoshi had yet to be informed of the full extent of Kyoya’s proposals. Therefore, it was a spoken agreement that no mentions of claiming, marriage, or even engagement should be made on this table. Giotto had allowed discussions on casual courting be made if deemed proper; but then again he would be watching the whole process like a hawk.
Meanwhile, Hibari Isaku was explaining the process of making the drink to Tsunayoshi, from cultivating the flower to storing it. The omega looked immersed; but the young Alpha beside him was far more immersed with the prior’s facial movements like they were a TV show. Kyoya had a fist under his cheek as he tilted his head slightly to watch Tsunayoshi.
“Ahem!” Giotto coughed deliberately to startle the Hibari heir. The latter sent Giotto a dirty look before he huffed and looked away.
“You should drink it while its warm,” the Hibari Alpha said. The three guests lifted their bowls at the same time, but two instantly landed back on the table.
“W-what -,” G’s mouth was wide open in disbelief, “That was awful”. The liquid had just touched the tip of G’s tongue and he could not bear it. It was extremely bitter.
“What was that,” Giotto grunted to the other Head Alpha. Hibari isaku and his wife were known to be a mischievous; but Giotto hadnt foreseen this one.
“I forgot to mention the drink is foul when consumed by Alphas and Betas,” the Head Alpha jolly explained, causing Giotto to protest. “Haha, calm down, Primo. I hate it as much as you do, but I still have to drink them every week for its health benefits. Besides, you can’t waste such an expensive drink,” the man defended without any trace of guilt, hence suggesting the Primo and his assistant to finish the drink despite its horrid taste.
Tsunayoshi, however, was still finishing his bowl. G was amazed how the boy could finish them in one go. When the boy put his bowl down, it was with a satisfying exhale. He licked his lips before smacking them a couple of times.
“That was very tasty,” Tsunayoshi mumbled shyly. He didn’t expect for it to taste that way. G and Giotto was thoroughly lost as to how such a revolting substance could taste anything but bad to anyone.
“Isnt it?” The Hibari Head’s smile grew wickedly as more waiters arrived to serve them small-sized appetizers in elegant arrangements. “Bringing it over here to Europe was quite a hassle. Not only are the people here not accustomed to preparing it, but the climate is also not ideal to prolong its lifespan. Afterall, once served, the flower has a very short shelf life. You are so very lucky to be able to have it outside of Japan, Tsunayoshi-kun”.
Tsunayoshi was still staring at his empty bowl like he was expecting for it to refill itself, “I see”.
“Of course, you can have them anytime you decide to visit The Hibari Household. As we have our own farm and brewery, we can always serve them for you. You can even consume the petals directly from the plant. Which is a good point, I am curious, have you ever visited Japan, Tsunayoshi-kun?”
“U-um, no Sir. I haven’t”.
“Arent you Japanese? I heard you can speak Japanese fluently”.
“That’s a pity, Tsunayoshi-kun. You are welcome to visit Japan anytime you like and visit us in case you need someone familiar to show you around. The Hibari House will be honored to serve you. I will personally take you myself to our farms and you can have all kinds of food made from the flower or eat the petals as is.”
“That sounds nice,” Tsunayoshi voice his soft response. Cue the victorious grin from the Hibari patriarch, and G could hear Giotto muttering, “For goodness sake,” under his breath. The man had a hand in his pockets and one leg over another as he exaggerated an eye roll at the exchanges in front of him.
“The Primo can take Tsuna to Japan anytime he wants it,” G defended while trying to sound as casual as he can. If they thought ensnaring Tsunayoshi into accepting their invitations would be that easy, they were wrong.
“He wouldn’t have the time”.
G glared at the source of said argument. It was that traitorous Kyoya! How dare he had an opinion in this conversation! This was not his war! “Who taught him to speak that way?” The Primo whispered to G accusingly. G turned his glare to the Neo Italian leader. “It’s you. That’s why I told you not to let Kyoya get his way all the time”.
The male Head Alpha of the Hibari House then offered Tsunayoshi another serving of the concoction, that Tsunayoshi refused at first, but with some encouragement from said Alpha (“Most omegas we served couldn’t resist only one bowl, hence we always prepare for as many as they like”) he finally conceded.
It was amazing to see him downing it the whole bowl again without hesitation that even Kyoya somehow gathered the bravery to comment, “I’ve never seen anyone finishing kendifura that fast before”.
Tsunayoshi only looked at the other teen and said a soft, “Oh,” before they both flushed and looked away.
G swore he heard Giotto snort for the hundredth time that day at the sight.
A couple of waiters arrived in their room carrying a trolley with a huge bowl. The bowl was then situated in the middle of their table.
“Ah, gentlemen, this is our infamous family recipe, The Royal Golden Soup. It has been handed down from generation to generation,” Hibari Hui Yin proudly introduced, not that G and The Primo were strangers to it, “Today we deem it fitting to have a kaiseki ryori to entertain our honorable guests. As some of you might have experienced, it is common to have individual portions served to you in kaiseki, but for this particular day I chose this dish for the hashi arai and I prefer it to be served in a peculiar manner. Its best to have this soup alone without any other meal and to share it with people; but later we will serve to you the rest of our main course in our traditional serving manner of kaiseki”.
G rubbed his palm in excitement. They had been served the same dish every time they visited Kyoya’s home in Japan and he would say the soup was exquisite. G personally always looked forward to have the soup whenever he came by The Hibari Household.
As dictated by decorum, for a shared meal serving like this, the alpha of the highest status should be served the meal first. Tsunayoshi took the cue to take the lid off of the bowl so he could serve it to The Primo, who happened to be of the higher status and was his alpha. He then proceeded to offer serving G a bowl too, which was probably because G was second closest to him in terms or relationship; otherwise he would have served Reborn.
Surprisingly, Tsunayoshi extended the offer to the Hibari pair. “Would you like a bowl, Alpha Hibari?” The boy questioned, which impressed both Hibari Alphas to no end. Hibari Hui Yin got hers too.
“My, my. What good manners,” she praised, which made Tsunayoshi slightly red in the face. The boy was about to get himself a bowl before he realized one last person in the table who hadn’t had his serving. Probably it was out of politeness, or maybe Tsunayoshi felt bad for not offering the last alpha a bowl when he had offered the rest; so the omega said, “Would you like a bowl, Hibari-san?”
Something completely unpredictable happened then. See, Kyoya was mostly calm and cool. But right then, he spun his head so fast toward Tsunayoshi and his cheeks developed a deep amber hue which reached his ears. He froze in what was a bewildered stare at Tsunayoshi for a full three seconds before he looked to his lap and choked a low, “yes… please”.
For the life of him, G had never seen Kyoya acted that way.
Then again, for someone who had been confident about the whole courting thing in front of Giotto just days ago, Kyoya sure was acting awkward today. His sitting posture was stiff, he barely said a word, and he had been fixing his attire all day long. If G was allowed to have a say in this case, he’d say the Hibari heir was shy – in front of Tsunayoshi.
Once Tsuna handed him the bowl, Hibari tersely said, “Thank you,” without looking at the omega. His face had returned to its default coolness.
“How do you like it?” Hibari Hui Yin inquired after Tsuna took a spoonful.
The boy nodded, “It’s good”.
“It’s my son’s favorite”.
For having his favorite food served in front of him, Kyoya strangely didn’t seem interested one bit in it. Instead, he was playing with it using his spoon while having his eyes roam around the table as he listened to the conversation attentively. Mostly it consisted of The Hibari’s sharing stories about their home in Japan. They, too, occasionally asked Tsunayoshi about his current activities with the obligatory compliment on the side (“Oh, how brilliant!”; “How inspiring, Tsunayoshi-kun, you’re one of the kind”; “You mean you did that? Wow, that’s amazing”) until they arrived at a point where the conversation went to a more serious note.
Around the time, the full main course had been served to them. Most of them were typical of a kaiseki; colorful and each menu was of a small-sized portion that was arranged beautifully. Everyone started eating once Giotto took his first bite of the yakimono. They didn’t see it when the Hibari matriarch asked, “So what do you think about my son, Tsunayoshi-kun?”
This was the question that would either make it or break it for what would be their relationship. Everyone feigned interest on their meal; but obviously paying more attention to what Tsunayoshi response would be. The brown-haired boy was thinking about his answers.
“Umm, he’s a very talented young man,” the boy’s voice grew smaller and smaller until it became somewhat of a squeak at the end of his sentence.
“He is, isn’t he?” The woman gestured for Tsunayoshi to continue. The omega looked like he was at a loss of words.
He jumped in enthusiasm not a second later though, “Oh! And he’s very good with the tonfa and martial arts. His fighting stance is amazing, I think”.
G frowned before popping a slice of grilled beef into his mouth. “You’ve seen him fight before?” Almost everyone here knew Kyoya’s abilities in martial arts; all of them had watched over his practice on it over the course of years. He was aggressive and relentless in his attacks. Even the guardians had difficulties in containing him on their spars sometimes. But Tsunayoshi shouldn’t have known this; its not like Hibari went everywhere to fight people below his caliber.
“Yeah, we sparred,” was what Tsunayoshi said next. This time, G had to put down his chopsticks. Giotto copied him and they both stared down the youngest Alpha. Kyoya had already paled. It seemed he noticed the errors in his action.
“You sparred,” Giotto repeated.
“Yes. He was good at what he did,” Tsunayoshi replied. He was eyeing everyone one by one as though recognizing how grim the atmosphere suddenly was. It was very like Tsunayoshi to try to salvage the situation, “and that throw of his is especially precise. I received it and I think everything went black for a couple of seconds. It hurt for like three days”.
Probably Tsunayoshi thought he needed to explain Kyoya’s strength. But they all knew that. It was the last detail Tsunayoshi had to spare them. Instead, it put the Alpha on a very poor light. Kyoya noticed this; for he went wide-eyed at Giotto as if trying to explain himself – because he knew, behind Giotto’s collected façade, he was furious. There was going to be a very long talk reserved for Kyoya after this. Giotto probably wouldn’t mind showing him his own throws.
“And – and, Reborn was impressed too, and, y’know, he’s hard to impress so that was pretty amazing,” Tsunayoshi added again. He still didn’t understand what was the focus of their concern.
“Were you okay?” G inquired. Anyone who had fought with Hibari Kyoya normally would have more than just a simple injury.
“I had some bruises for about a week or so. I was like totally defeated, absolutely,” Tsunayoshi was nodding enthusiastically in hope of getting the everyone less tense. He failed.
G had to say though, that description was light in comparison to everyone who had faced the Hibari heir in a fighting ring. He was, after all, ruthless. But still, to fight an omega when you’re an alpha was unforgivable to G’s eyes.
“An omega’s backbone is their weak point. Their structure is vulnerable compares to the other gender’s, especially on the back of the neck,” The Hibari Alpha was smiling but there was something in his calm posture that screamed judgement. In fact, he was leering at his son and Kyoya didn’t seem like he was brave enough to return his gaze. “To throw an omega to the floor, especially on their back, could lead to a life-threatening injury”.
Kyoya’s head was bowed, though G noted that he caught his horrified expression from the side. “For that very reason, I as his Alpha would like to apologize to Tsunayoshi-kun,” The Head alpha turned to the omega and whatever evil streak he had in him when he addressed his son diminished. He sounded softer when he spoke to the omega, “I genuinely hope you were okay after his misconduct”.
Tsunayoshi seemed to catch on then that this was about him. “Oh, o-of course! Like, it hurt but it was a fair fight. Reborn suggested it and I agreed to it. As I said, it was a spar and I understand that”.
“I wasn’t thinking clearly back then. It was stupid of me,” Kyoya blurted with an urgent tone. Then he turned his head to the side to see the omega, “Were you hurt anywhere?”
“Yeah, but it wasn’t – it wasn’t serious or anything. I was sore all over for days and there were bruises, but after a week I was mostly fine. Reborn made double check on my injuries every day. He said I was fine,” Tsunayoshi looked down to his lap. He looked embarrassed.
“Good. I… I apologize for… slamming you that way – It was, I was being stupid and… and selfish,” Kyoya was now looking down too.
Tsunayoshi mumbled, “It wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t like Giotto-san’s - umm,” the omega’s voice faltered then when his eyes met Giotto. Because this time, Giotto was the one growing pale in the face.
G knew what incident Tsunayoshi was trying to refer by mentioning his brother. He was probably the only person Giotto trusted with the full story of what went on behind the closed doors of the library that unfortunate day. The HIbari pair didn’t seem to know though; and it was better that it stayed that way.
“Oh Tsu,” Giotto started pitifully.
“It was not that bad was what I wanted to say. I was fine and all,” Tsunayoshi finished quickly like he was afraid it was going to make the situation worse. He sent a careful gaze at the Hibari Pair – whether it was to assure them there was nothing deeper to the conversation or to see if the Alpha Pair was curious, G didn’t know. What he did know, The Alpha Pair did share some whispers. They were intrigued, but they knew not to touch on the issue for now.
“Is there anything that you would consider problematic or unsavory on my son Tsunayoshi-kun?” this time it was the patriarch who asked. The man was leaning slightly forward with his hands joined in front of him on the table like it was business.
Tsunayoshi’s chopsticks were left idling midair as this question was voice. It stayed that way as he answered, “Of course not!”
“Then is there anything from him that you fancy?”
“U-umm,” the red hue on Tsunayoshi’s cheeks returned, “W-well, I think everyone in the country could say he’s intelligent. He, umm, he has the looks too”.
G hummed loudly. It was obvious that none of Tsunayoshi’s description of Kyoya spoke of familiarity. “Surely, Tsunayoshi-kun, you understand what our intentions are with you, correct? Your mentor must have explained it to you”,
Tsunayoshi looked a bit more nervous, “Umm, Reborn said you want me and your son to be in a, umm, courting relationship”.
The Hibari patriarch gave a wide grin, “I assure you that intention does not come from me, Tsunayoshi-kun. My son came up with it on his own. Do you understand why that is?”
Tsunayoshi was glancing at all of them one by one, only pausing slightly longer at his brother, who had stopped eating to listen to the omega. “I think it’s because… probably because I came from a good background. Umm, Vongola is powerful and of a very high status. I think he considers it suitable”.
The Alpha patriarch laughed this time. His wife followed. “That was hilarious! Oh, dear, not once that it downs on you that a lot of people would love to court you for your looks?” The Hibari Alpha said in the midst of his own laughter.
Tsunayoshi’s face went red again as he sputtered, “T-they say I look like Giotto-san,” His voice depleted in volume whereas the male head of the Hibari House exploded in another series of laughter. You could see Kyoya’s grunting in embarrassment of his father’s action next to Tsunayoshi and Hui Yin was definitely enjoying this.
“Like his brother!” Hibari Isaku hollered, “Dear, if I was 20 years younger, I wouldn’t go for your brother. I would, however, go for you”.
“Otou-san!” This time Kyoya’s tone was harsher, which sent his father to another giggling fit. Giotto too was sending glares.
“I would appreciate it if you don’t make any move towards Tsunayoshi,” Giotto warned.
Hui Yin, who had been chuckling herself, waved a hand at the Primo. “Come on, Primo! You need to tell us how you raised such a humble child. I mean, look like his brother, he said!” The woman giggled, “No one would dare ask for his hands if he looked or acted like The Primo, would it?”
Oh man, G watched their omega’s face, oh no.
“Right. Just a week ago all the alpha heads were talking about how unmoved you are by their requests to meet up with Tsunayoshi-kun. I heard some of them promised you a land for dear Tsunayoshi’s hand. Of course, I am forever grateful that my Kyoya had the chance to know Tsunayoshi-kun first hand, but the competition is tough,” The Hibari patriarch chimed in.
“Alpha Hibari,” G called to the man’s attention and shook his head to signal the man to stop.
“Whats wrong?” The Alpha asked.
“Our Tsu,” G shook his head again as discreet as he could. The Hibari house alpha’s brows skyrocketed.
“Oh! You mean he didn’t know about the proposals?”
G cringed inwardly. The man must have been doing this in purpose.
Giotto was smiling thinly while he rubbed the bridge of his nose. “We want to-,” he found the omega’s gaze on him, “Please understand, I deem it important for Tsuna to recover properly without having to be concerned about courting and marriage”.
“It’s fine, Tsu. You don’t need to think much about it,” G assured the boy, who had been watching the exchange with huge round eyes. The boy must be taken aback by this discovery. Omegas are often married off early. While Giotto had informed his guardians he didn’t want to enforce that on his brother; he did mention that people would still think otherwise. Which was why, the guardians are working hard to protect their omega from these persistent alphas. “We’ve got it under control,” G added.
“They do,” unprompted, Hibari Isaku agreed, “Which is good because that means my Kyoya should have more chance with dear Tsunayoshi-kun, correct?” The man was grinning, “You said so yourself, Tsunayoshi-kun, that my son is a fine young lad. Apparently, he considers you to be more than just a proper partner. He said you’re very dedicated to your passion, enthusiastic, kind, strong, and adorable too”.
Tsunayoshi looked like he had no idea how to respond but to play with his chopsticks. G was about to be on his rescue, but of course Hibari Isaku would not let this chance go to waste.
“I am sure Vongola has their own plans for you. By logic, you and my Kyoya would make the perfect couple. He’s an alpha of a prestigious house and he’s been acquainted with your brother. You are the most desired omega from the most respected house in Europe. However, all that wouldn’t matter if you don’t return my son’s feelings,” the man folded his hands on the table, yet his figure leaned forward, “We all can use politics to set this arrangement in stone. But I wouldn’t be so mean to someone as sweet as yourself. So, this is your chance, Tsunayoshi-kun; how do you feel about my son? If you don’t fancy him back, I would see to it myself that he would never bother you ever again. If you don’t tell me now, I will make sure that you and my son will be betrothed”.
“Excuse you!” G protested.
“As everyone knows my son is the best candidate there is,” Hibari Isaku continued like he was never interrupted, “So, tell me now. Do you like my Kyoya?”
That was cheating. Everyone in the room knew how Tsunayoshi felt about Kyoya. It was obvious if you’ve watched his videos.
Giotto stood up abruptly just then. “I need to speak with my brother,” He walked to said brother, “privately”.
He offered a hand to Tsunayoshi to help him get to his feet. The boy did so after he sent a questioning look to the Hibari Alpha pair. “Let’s go, G,” Giotto ordered before he left the room with Tsunayoshi in toe. G closely followed.
They arrived in another room in the VIP wing. Giotto had settled on a chair while Tsunayoshi stood facing him. G entered the room after checking the vicinity. He then closed the door. “They shouldn’t be able to hear us,” G announced.
“Fricking, Isaku! He’s always been good with words,” Giotto grumbled tiredly, “He’s playing us, I swear”.
“Do you think they’re planning this? Preparing that drink for Tsu, too,” G pointed out.
“I don’t know. Plan or no plan, that’s just how The Hibari’s are,” Giotto said.
Tsunayoshi was busy watching his own shoes. Giotto sighed and took the boy’s hands in his. “Look, Tsu. Before you answer them, just, let me tell you this,” Giotto tried his best to be on eye level with his younger brother, “Don’t be fooled by Kyoya! You might think he’s cool and all that - but he’s a creep! He once told his friends you’re his boyfriend”.
G groaned in embarrassment. It was true that Kyoya had made such a claim. It was from Daemon’s intel work that they found out Kyoya’s high school friends has caught the sight of Tsunayoshi and the Hibari heir claimed that it was his lover.
“He even took pictures of you! He still has them in his phone!” Giotto added with a sense of urgency, “See? He’s not that cool guy the media makes him out to be. To take your pictures without your consent is very disrespectful, don’t you agree? So don’t be fooled into courting him, Tsu, he’s a cre -”
“T-theres nothing wrong about taking pictures of the person you like!!” Tsunayoshi, surprisingly, fought back, “There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s only natural!!”
Giotto blinked a couple of times after his brother’s outburst; only sending a panicked look at G once as though asking, “What did I do wrong?”
“When you like someone, its fine to want a memento of them!” Tsunayoshi’s face turned red as he defended Kyoya’s actions. He even stomped his feet.
“I-I, of course! Of course, Tsu. Whatever you say, just calm down, please,” Giotto tried his best to calm the omega down. He forgot; Tsunayoshi also had a thing with keeping videos of people.
This plan seemed to backfire.
“There’s nothing wrong with it!!”
“Of course, Tsu. Of course”.
“It’s not like people would use it for something creepy!”
“T-thats debatable, but yes, I would agree with you in this case”.
They ended up returning to the previous room with Giotto looking like he didn’t want to be there and Tsunayoshi slightly upset. This could end badly for them. If Tsunayoshi was too emotional, he could be played by Hibari Isaku so easily.
Reborn had said to trust Tsunayoshi’s judgement more. This was why they allowed Tsunayoshi to answer for himself. Still, he’s a child who wasn’t trained in the art of negotiation and politics. Hibari Isaku, on the other hand, was a man notorious for his manipulative tactics.
“I’m blaming Reborn for all of this,” Giotto growled under his breath as they plopped down to their seat in the room with the Hibari’s. Hibari Isaku looked ready to grill their youngest until he agrees to date his son.
However, they forgot Tsunayoshi was mentored by the best of the best.
“I think your son is okay. I don’t mind going to lunch dates and stuff with him,” was Tsunayoshi calm answer.
Hibari Isaku visibly looked surprised by the younger’s collected attitude.
“As for courting, I’m still thinking about it. I mean,” he sent an accusing look at the younger Hibari next to him, “we’ve never really talked”.
G and Giotto exchanged looks.
Tsunayoshi didn’t need them to guide him after all.
The parking lot of the restaurant was full of men dressed in suit. G was among them, standing next to Giotto to discuss their next agenda of the day while three guards created a wall around them. He was showing The Primo an email when he saw the figure of Kyoya coming to their direction. The kid was slightly skipping their way. G didn’t have a good feeling about this. Hibari Kyoya never skips.
“Hey, can I take Tsuna home in my ride?” was Kyoya’s question to Giotto once he was facing the latter.
Giotto didn’t make an instant response. He only turned his head away from G’s pad and gave the Hibari heir a frown. “He’s Sawada-san to you,” Giotto stated.
Kyoya gave The Primo an eye roll, “Yeah, so can I give him a ride?” He didn’t seem to care what Giotto was going to say.
G was sure Giotto was planning to give Kyoya a mouthful, so G cut the man before he started. “Fine, you can take him”.
Giotto sent G a murderous glare. G’s lips formed a thin line as though saying, “I can handle this”. “As long as Tsuna agrees. Just remember to get him home directly, no detours or funny business,” G reminded.
Kyoya already had the key spun on one finger. “Cool,” the punk said cockily before leaving without any other word.
Giotto snorted as he snuck both hands in his trousers’ pocket and leaned to their black limousine alongside G. “I need a smoke,” Giotto mumbled. G readily give the man his. It was then that G’s mobile phone buzzed. It was Asari. G picked it up, “Yo”.
“How was it?” Asari spent no time asking the question. Behind his sunglasses, G eyes Kyoya approaching their youngest. The latter was speaking to The Hibari Alpha pair. From the way he was bowing to them, you’d knew the omega was showing his gratefulness to the two heads of The Hibari house.
“Kyoya’s talking to our boy,” G reported absently in the middle of his observation. He could see the punk taking the omega’s attention. From his form, to the way he twisted his keys around; you knew the punk was acting cool. And Tsunayoshi bought it. The kid was half gaping at Kyoya the whole time Kyoya talked to him.
“Finally manning up, huh?” Asari joked. The moment it was out that Kyoya was enamored with Tsunayoshi; the guardians made it their mission to jab at the Hibari heir. The guardians had been joking about Kyoya’s pursuit for Tsunayoshi’s attention and his failure to do so. The only out who had been out of the fun was Tsunayoshi – who was far too busy doing his own thing the whole time.
“Oh, Tsu’s coming to us,” G told Asari, while Giotto said, “Give him your best horror story about Kyoya, G”.
Because of that, G was already laughing the moment Tsunayoshi was with them. “So, Hibari-san offered to give me a ride,” the omega told them. Asari was still on the line so he should be able to hear that clearly.
“He planned that. He sent the car for a wash,” Asari informed. And if you knew Kyoya, you knew he didn’t offer free rides. The last time G asked for a lift, the kid kept on complaining how G’s shoes dirtied his car’s carpet.
“Kyoya’s a bad driver,” Giotto started badmouthing Kyoya first. The omega pouted at that.
G decided not to entertain Giotto’s pettiness, and instead asked Tsunayoshi, “Do you want to go with him?”
Tsunayoshi turned around to see the car. G had to give it to Kyoya for taking his most prized car to impress Tsunayoshi. It was a two seated custom-made Ferrari. “It looks cool but I’ve never been in that kind of car,” Tsunayoshi looked nervous. He shouldn’t be. He should know he could get any car he wanted.
Then again, Tsunayoshi had never seem to know how to act like a proud Vongolan. Whatever attire he wears or wherever he sits; the kid could never shed the humble skin of that humble orphan they had picked up a couple of years ago. Even when the attention was casted upon him, the kid would probably still think he was invisible to the crowd.
Which was probably why the omega was now checking at the bottom of his shoes. “My shoes are kind of dirty,” he frowned, “Hibari-san wouldn’t like me getting into his car”.
Tsunayoshi still had no idea said shoes was a present from said punk who was offering him the ride. However dirty Tsunayoshi got his car in that shoes, Kyoya would probably like it.
“Meh, its fine. Wreak havoc in his car for us. If he ends up hating you, you can always blame us,” G blurted. He then decided he needed to be more considerate of Tsunayoshi’s low self-esteem. “It’s fine. He wouldn’t mind you going. He invited you himself, right?”
“Right,” the bow shyly mumbled. It didn’t take long for Tsunayoshi to excuse himself and went to Kyoya.
“Wow, so this is it? Our boy is with Kyoya, now?” Asari questioned from the line.
“Only because we owe him for that Vendicare report,” Giotto grunted. It was right after Kyoya had proved himself useful to the investigation and took the responsibility to present that to the court was Giotto more lenient on the kid’s intent on his brother.
“Right,” G chuckled as he watched Kyoya showing Tsunayoshi how the car’s beetle wing doors work. G didn’t forget to signal with his two fingers that he’s watching them when Kyoya’s eyes caught him. “Right, its only because of the report”.
“Is the seatbelt fastened?”
“Let me see”.
Really, Kyoya didn’t need to inconvenience himself by checking Tsuna’s seatbelt himself. He’s so close too; Tsuna could practically smell his cologne. He smelled so nice. Wait, what if Tsuna smelled bad?
“There,” Kyoya said and gave the seatbelt around Tsuna a nice pat. Even after he returned to his seat, Tsuna was still tense from the close proximity. Alone with Kyoya, Tsuna would most likely make a fool out of himself. Ugh, and he had to take his silly looking backpack too. If only he knew he was going to have lunch with Kyoya’s parents, he would probably use another backpack.
His phone buzzed. That had to be Reborn. Tsuna better respond now; but then Kyoya would have a glimpse of Tsuna’s ridiculous phone case too! Oh no! What to do!?
“Do you need to see that?” Kyoya asked from the driver’s seat.
“O-oh! I-it’s okay. It’s gotta be Reborn’s texts anyway,” Tsuna explained while hugging his backpack closer to himself to cover his embarrassment.
The phone buzzed again. This time, Kyoya sent Tsunayoshi’s backpack a look, “Don’t you need to respond to that? He would appreciate it if you respond now”.
“O-okay,” Tsuna answered in defeat. He opened his backpack and took the bright orange cased iPhone. The case had an elephant shaped head; complete with the trunk made out of rubber. He didn’t know why he chose that particular case this very day.
He tried to make sure he hid the phone in his backpack still as he typed in his reply for Reborn. Kyoya had started the engine of his car. The cars in front of them has started to leave the vicinity of the parking lot too.
“So what did he say?”
“Hmm?” Tsuna turned to Kyoya. Kyoya was looking at the road; but Tsuna was sure he was asking about Reborn. “Oh, he was asking about the lunch”.
Kyoya was silent as he turned the car to leave the parking lot. However, Tsuna felt like he was still listening to him. “And I told him it was nice,” Tsuna added.
Kyoya said nothing; but by the way his shoulders moved, Tsuna reckoned he was now less tense.
The car had made it to the road and it followed Giotto-san’s entourage. Kyoya’s parents must be in one of these limousines. Their car stopped in the middle of a short jam. It was then Kyoya turned his head to Tsuna and out of the blue said, “That’s cute”.
“What?” Tsuna realized he had somehow pulled out his phone from his bag. A deep flush spread on his cheeks. He wanted to explain himself, but Kyoya’s attention was back to the road. He was turning the wheel. “Hibari-san, we’re leaving the entourage”.
In fact, their car took a turn to a more deserted road next to the jam. Kyoya said nothing. That was, until the car announced an oncoming call through the speaker. “We see that. Where are you going?” G said on the loudspeaker without a single greeting.
“We’re just taking a detour”.
“Giotto said no funny business”.
“There’s not. I’m just taking him for a ride”.
“Right. We want Tsu back before dinner. No pitstops,” G warned. Tsuna heard Kyoya cursing under his breath. “Are you listening?” G pushed again.
“Yes. Fine. Whatever,” was Kyoya’s response as he kept his attention forward.
“Good. Tsu, you’re okay?”
Tsuna didn’t expect to be addressed in the conversation. “I’m good”.
“Cool. If you need anything, you can contact us, okay?”
Kyoya grunted, “He’s fine”.
“Okay then. I’m going to hang up. Remember we’re watching”.
The line went dead then. It left them in an awkward silence where Tsuna spent his time watching the side of Kyoya’s profile. He didn’t know what the other teen was planning; but he looked like he had a plan.
“They’re a bit lame, don’t you agree?” The dark haired teen said to Tsuna. Tsuna found it to be amazing that Kyoya could speak cheekily to the guardians without any consequences. Just then he was being slightly rude to G, but now he was speaking so nicely to Tsuna.
“Um, I suppose. I think they’re just worried,” Tsuna responded shyly. He wasn’t really used to speaking to this guy.
“There’s a breathtaking sight in this area. Would you like to see?” Kyoya asked instead.
Was it Tsuna, or did Kyoya seem much more relaxed and confident while he was on the steering wheel? “Sure,” Tsuna answered despite not knowing what’s coming.
Kyoya took him on a ride around a sleepy farm village. He was speeding all the way, which made Tsuna slightly tense. However, the smile on Kyoya’s face told Tsuna that he was having fun. And it was fun, kind of; the kind of fun Tsuna was not accustomed to. Such a car somehow felt stable despite the high velocity.
Tsuna still felt nervous though, because the way the buildings passed by was unusual. At one point the car actually took a very sharp turn and the whole car screeched. Tsuna squeaked so hard until the car made an abrupt stop. He realized then that Kyoya was laughing.
“Whats wrong? Were you surprised?” He asked Tsuna. Tsuna wished the ground could swallow him whole.
“T-that was… scary,” Tsuna admitted. This was so embarrassing. Kyoya chuckled again.
“It’s fine; that’s called drifting. I’m very good at it so you don’t need to worry,” he reached out to Tsuna’s right arm, that had been hugging his backpack in panic, and softly pulled it so it could rest on Tsuna’s side, “And the car can handle it. You can trust me, can’t you?”
Tsuna was holding his breath the whole time Kyoya’s fingers caressed the inside of his arm. The fingers reached the inside of Tsuna’s palm as they directed the hand to land on the seat right next to Tsuna’s leg. It stopped there; and gave a little tickle; before Kyoya’s hand left Tsuna’s for good.
Somehow, they were staring at each other. Tsuna knew he should pull his gaze away because at this point his blush was out there unarmored. Yet, he couldn’t. Something about Kyoya’s gaze was so magnetic. And Tsuna realized then; the teen was smirking at him before he started the car once again.
Maybe it was Kyoya’s thing to speed up and drift a lot. It was exciting; but also nerve wrecking. Tsuna swore Kyoya’s smile grew every time Tsuna squealed out of horror. He must have done that on purpose.
At first Tsuna thought Kyoya could be joking when he said he’s going to show Tsuna something nice. Maybe by that he meant the drifting. But then he surprised Tsuna by saying, “We’re almost there”.
Kyoya slowed down by a clearing with a huge field of flowers. The sky looked much vaster in this setting. Tsuna loved it.
“Here it is. Not many people know this place,” Kyoya introduced.
“You like it?”
When Tsuna turned to see Kyoya; Kyoya was already looking at him.
It was already dark when the car entered the palazzo’s gate. Kyoya parked it not far from the main building, in which a number of guards were standing. “I had fun,” Tsuna told Kyoya.
“I’m glad,” the darkhaired teen said. Tsuna remembered that the seat belt could unclasp itself; but somehow Kyoya unclasped his and then went to Tsuna’s. “Let me help you”.
Tsuna tensed once again. The other teen was so close; too close; and Tsuna was afraid every breath he takes could expose his secret crush to this teen. He was taking a while to unlock the seat belt too.
Tsuna tried his best to keep his eyes on Kyoya’s hands. They kept on poking Tsuna’s fingers. The idea of touching hands made Tsuna squirm, so he looked somewhere else. It was then he realized that their noses were only inches apart.
Their eyes met.
“I…,” Tsuna started. He didn’t know where he was going with this one. “I tought it would be hard; but being alone with you... turns out to be nice".
Kyoya wasn’t saying anything; which might be better because Tsuna wouldn’t be able to listen when he’s focusing so much on the other’s steely expression. Tsuna thought Kyoya did not feel the same, until he was leaning closer.
Then there was a knock on the roof of the car.
They both looked up.
Alaude was there. He wasn’t amused.
“Open the door,” The cloud guardian mouthed. Tsuna heard Kyoya cursing before he opened the door. Alaude's arm shot forward to grab onto Tsuna's upper arm. “You, out. Your brother’s waiting for you,” the man’s tone was sharp; so Tsuna hurriedly get to his feet and exited the car. G was waiting not far behind. He was sighing; heavily.
“Where have you been? I’ve been calling you and it wouldn't reach!” Tsuna could hear the upcoming scolding in G’s voice. Tsuna tried to explain that he turned off his reception because he didnt want Kyoya to catch the sight of his silly casing again, but G no longer seemed to care. He led Tsuna ahead, to the main entrance where a line of guards dispersed to give them a way. Tsuna decided he needed to at least thank Kyoya and said good night.
He turned his head around. From behind G’s back, he could see Kyoya being scolded by Alaude. “Goodnight!” Tsuna hoped Kyoya could hear that as G dragged him further and further away. The older teen looked far too busy arguing against Alaude, but when his eyes caught Tsuna’s; his face softened to a smile. The young Hibari wave, only to have his hand slapped by a very salty Cloud Guardian - which successfully wiped any trace of happiness from Kyoya's face.
"Awwe," Tsuna whined. G groaned, "Let's go Tsu".
We can maybe put one more chapter in the end lol. I kept on saying that; lets hope I can put this fic to finish.
Anyhow, after all of this is there still something that you found to be unanswered? I will try my best to explain it better later. I have to be honest this story has been sitting in my head for a while so I just want to let it out. hence why some parts arent as developed. Any inputs; whether harsh or nice; I'll accept. So tell me what you think guys! Thank you for reading!