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!