Cross Post: Trailblazers, Bright and Bold, “Epilogue Arc” drabble (2016-01-18) [4]

original here. dated 2013-12-10

[[A/N: As previously stated in this post, this is one in a series of Trailblazers cross posts to make up for my abysmal showing for the past few days.

Trailblazers, Bright and Bold, with it’s slightly different title, is in a way the prototype for the Trailblazers I’ve been writing on this tumblr. So not everything in these cross posts would make the final cut of the hypothetical complete Trailblazers fic.

This one is set approximately five years in the future. As in, the actual future, in which everyone is now late teens/early twenties. Hence it being “Epilogue Arc” because while the manga ended with everyone still being a teenager, Trailblazers as Tetsuki’s story doesn’t end until she dies (arguably, it continues even beyond that into Externality, but that is an entirely different beast that needs slaying so…)

This particular drabble I used as a sort of launching point for my various Trailblazers drabbles on this tumblr–in particular, the entire series of The Green Knight (a TrailblazersxKingsman crossover), and these strictly Trailblazers drabbles (here and here) which I wrote during the same period of time. As a sort of, now that all of the shounen manga adventures are done, how do these young adults actually go about running the biggest mafia family in the world.]]

~

Even though predictability kills, in the case of Boss delegating certain duties and missions to his guardians, it makes things more efficient.

Hayato, right hand man that he is, almost never gets sent on anything that will last more than a week unless Tsuna himself is going as well. He oversees everyone else, the finances, the engineering departments.

Takeshi, as the not-really-a-title left hand man, similarly stays close to Tsuna as well, though he’ll occasionally be sent on month-long missions alongside some of the non-guardian Vongola members. It’s funny seeing grown men defer to a teenager–he likes to think of himself as their coach.

Kyouya-san, based in Namimori and head of his entirely autonomous Foundation, rarely takes orders from Tsuna anyway, but he sends in reports on activities and locations like clockwork. If occasionally, there is something that Tsuna needs doing where he is then so be it, it will be done efficiently and completely.

Ryohei, in contrast, is usually the muscle to Kyoko and Haru and Hana’s more diplomatic missions–usually it’s safe, but there’s always a chance that things will turn for the worse, and for all that he’s a total goofball his muscles and scars make him the most physically intimidating guardian they have.

Chrome, and by extension Mukuro, are always assigned the long-term infiltration and undercover missions and, occasionally, the more subtle assassinations; all things that require patience, attention to detail, and the ability to change appearances.

The less subtle assassinations go to the Varia whenever possible: they want them, Tsuna doesn’t want his guardians to do them, everyone’s as happy as can be expected when an enemy group becomes a subordinate one. But sometimes, that’s not an option.

Less subtle assassinations in the sense that, it’s clear it was on behalf of Vongola, not that the death is highly publicized for all the world to know. Tetsuki sneaks in close, gets near, just as quietly as the Mist guardians do, it’s the aftermath that makes things obvious.

People don’t expect a young Japanese woman to be an Italian mafia’s hitwoman: her body is short and thin, they pass off her ring and her delicate wire gauntlets as accessories, her bow as an archaic hobby, the box small and harmless like herself. Her hair isn’t even a passing thought, obviously long because of aesthetics, not because lightning flames can harden and sharpen it into a makeshift blade.

But when she’s done, and the body is discovered hours or days or, one time, even weeks after she’s already left, they’ll see the electric burns, the bruises, the puncture wounds, the cuts. That’s Vongola, they’ll know.

She gets other missions, too. Teams up with Ryohei often enough for these, or gets sent to where Kyouya-san and the Foundation are.

On the outset, they don’t seem all that different from Kyoko and Haru and Hana’s missions: negotiations with obvious muscle (or in Kyouya-san’s case, lethality) in the background. But there’s just that little bit more added tension, a lack of flexibility that marks these as distinctly meant for her and not the other girls.

Her negotiations never require the skill or intelligence their’s do for one simple fact: if the terms she’s been sent with aren’t met, she’s to kill them.

If the other families bothered to differentiate between Vongola’s Japanese girls, they’d know to give in whenever Tetsuki is sent. As it is, their inability to research properly or see past whatever sexist, racist, ageist bigotry is blinding them means they never see it coming when their refusal leads to their deaths.

Missions relegated to her are not so common, the Vongola rarely has to show it’s strength in such ways even if the Decimo is young and Japanese and new. She knows Tsuna hates giving these to her, just as she knows that if it’s not her then it would be Takeshi and she knows who Tsuna would choose between the two of them.

For all that he’s a natural born killer according to Reborn (fuck Reborn, killers are made not born and he dragged all of them into it) he’s still just a teenager. He’s killed before, yes, but that’s always been in self-defense or in defense of someone else, on the rare chances when his missions get snafued. He can’t even drink alcohol legally in his home country (she can’t either, but that’s hardly the point).

It’s strange that so much of her life is the way it is because she keeps taking the place of younger boys who shouldn’t have to go through what she is.

This makes her look like a martyr, so selfless. It’s actually quite the opposite.

She is so selfish, she’s still so scared the people she loves will leave her, by choice or by death. She doesn’t want to mourn them, she’d rather they mourned her.

She’s not broken, but she certainly isn’t whole and healthy despite the Sasagawa influence in her life. She’s a flower, twisted and vibrant and all the more poisonous from lack of proper care. If it didn’t rankle so much to talk to him, she’d know that Reborn considers her an excellent Vongola resource: an adept killer not born to it but collecting and polishing skills throughout her life.

She’d probably agree, if the thought of doing so didn’t annoy her even more.

~

[[A/N: Lalala, Tetsuki hates Reborn so much and nothing will ever change that…]]

Cross Post: Trailblazers, Bright and Bold, Ten Years Later Arc drabble (2016-01-18) [3]

original here. dated 2013-12-10

[[A/N: As previously stated in this post, this is one in a series of Trailblazers cross posts to make up for my abysmal showing for the past few days.

Trailblazers, Bright and Bold, with it’s slightly different title, is in a way the prototype for the Trailblazers I’ve been writing on this tumblr. So not everything in these cross posts would make the final cut of the hypothetical complete Trailblazers fic.

This one is set during the Ten Years Later arc. As I’ve said before in this other Trailblazers drabble from last week, I’m not sure whether or not I want the future to which they go to be one that Tetsuki was the Lightning Guardian or not. It’ll definitely affect Tetsuki’s interactions with the Foundation (specifically with Kusakabe; which, duh).

I think at the time I wrote this, I did want Tetsuki to have been Lightning Guardian (and have just recently died) but I’m still waffling on the decision for the “final cut.” Not that the decision will overly change this particular drabble–beyond a line tweak or two–but in a general sense for the TYL arc.]]

~

It’s late in the night, possibly very early morning; she hasn’t been able to tell for days now since they’ve been cooped up in the base. Not that it matters, really, only the children have kept a regular sleeping schedule. There’s too much training and planning and worrying to do.

She finds Ryohei easily enough, he hasn’t left the gym except for meals. Even then, Kyoko has to drag him out.

No one else is there, but seeing as how all of the guardians–their future selves, this is so messed up–seemingly have their own designated areas, that wasn’t unexpected. What is surprising is that he’s not doing anything but sitting against the wall, listing sideways, almost about to fall.

Or perhaps not so surprisingly. Even Ryohei needs to rest every so often.

He’s not asleep, she knows, but his eyes are closed and he’s quiet. So she doesn’t say anything, just sits down next to him, tucking herself into his side so that they can lean against each other.

Immediately she can feel the line of warmth where they connect; the base isn’t cold, but in the circumstances this is comforting and familiar. Just the two of them, Ryohei and Tetsuki, just like always.

“Hey, Tetsuki?”

“Mmhm?”

“I’m extremely tired.”

And she knows what he means. He’s not talking about being out of energy, or needing sleep. He’s tired. He wants to give up but he knows he can’t because Kyoko’s here and Tsuna’s here and all the other kids and he can’t give up because they’re still fighting and even if they give up he still has to keep fighting because that’s guardians do. That’s what older siblings do.

She knows this because she knows him and she feels the exact same way. It makes her want to cry, because if Ryohei’s tired–inexhaustible, sunny, spirited, Ryohei–then she’s left adrift.

“Hey, Ryohei?”

“Yeah?”

“I’m absolutely terrified.”

It’s true. She walked into this expecting something terrible and got so much worse. They’re at a disadvantage and she doesn’t even know what game they’re being forced to play, much less the rules. She doesn’t know if they can do this.

He doesn’t call her out on it, though, doesn’t try to convince her not to be scared. She wonders if that confession means the same to him as his did to her.

They stay silent for the longest time, the two of them simply sitting there. She closes her eyes, too, for just a moment, leans further into Ryohei and feels him do the same back.

They must have fallen asleep because she wakes up in a bed with Ryohei’s elbow digging into her kidneys and Kyoko curled around her right arm, cutting off the circulation.

There is a reason why they haven’t slept together since she and Ryohei were eight and that is because she always ends up the bruised and achey filling in a Sasagawa sandwich. It was cute and tolerable when they were little but now they, even Kyoko, have been doing some serious training and Tetsuki’s body does not appreciate this.

She’s smiling anyways.

~

[A/N: The prototype for Trailblazers had the added “Bright and Bold” subtitle because it was meant to be a fic not only about the OC Lightning Guardian, but also a rewrite for Ryohei. After Lambo–which, why would they have a five year old be a Guardian–Ryohei it seems had gotten the short end of the stick character development-wise and story wise. Literally, it makes no sense for him to become involved except that he just happened to be there and the correct Flame type. And he (and Lambo) almost always end up being comedy relief in situations which is just… 😡

(If anything, it should have been Kyoko who became the Sun Guardian–as a story device, the girl who Tsuna had a crush on/who was the purpose behind his first Dying Will bullet, who is described as having a bright and sunny personality, would be the best choice for a guardian whose flame type’s special ability is “activation.” But given shounen manga’s ridiculous misogyny, unsurprising.)]

Cross Post: Trailblazers, Bright and Bold, Varia Arc drabble (2016-01-18) [2]

original here. dated 2013-12-10

[[A/N: As previously stated in this post, this is one in a series of Trailblazers cross posts to make up for my abysmal showing for the past few days.

Trailblazers, Bright and Bold, with it’s slightly different title, is in a way the prototype for the Trailblazers I’ve been writing on this tumblr. So not everything in these cross posts would make the final cut of the hypothetical complete Trailblazers fic.

This drabble in particular is set during the Varia arc, specifically before the actual ring battles, but after Tetsuki has had some training from actual mafioso/mafiosa. Unlike the others, she did not have a specific teacher for herself and, more over, they tried to make her learn a new weapon (kusari-fundo) given that her aikido and archery aren’t exactly conducive to a one on one battle against an assassin.

Needless to say, she is rather displeased with all the mafia nonsense intruding on her life.]]

~

When she enters the Sawada household for the first time, she is not happy: not with what she sees and not with herself.

In the middle of the living room floor is Sawada Iemitsu, passed out drunk in only his boxers. Sawada Nana looks resigned, but ignores his body with a determination that would be admirable applied to anything else; the only give away is the slight wrinkle in her forehead as she smiles.

Sawada-kun, though… Tetsuki’s angry at herself, but this isn’t about her. This is about the kid who she clearly doesn’t know enough about, but will be risking her life to fight beside.

“Kaiza-senpai, w-what are you doing here?” He’s pained to see her, only because he’s starkly aware of the spectacle in his living room. The corners of his eyes are tense, for all that they’re wide with surprise. Rather than his usual twitchiness, his hands clench and unclench into fists. He’s not embarrassed, not like his mother. He’s angry.

To judge you, she doesn’t say, to figure out if you are worth my life and Ryohei’s life and Lambo’s life and your friends’ lives.

“To take you and the kids out for a little bit of fun. Ryohei extremely forgot to ask you and your friends if you wanted to join us, and he and Kyoko are still getting ready,” Or at least, that’s what Ryohei better say after he receives the text message she’ll send as soon as Sawada-kun turns his back, “Are Yamamoto-kun and Gokudera-kun free today? I know they’ve been training pretty hard, too. Where are Fuuta, I-pin, and Lambo?”

“Aah, I don’t know. I’ll call and ask them. And the kids are upstairs,” as far away from his drunken father as possible, he doesn’t need to add.

“Please excuse me, Sawada-kun,” she murmurs to him as she goes upstairs without permission. Meanwhile, she shoots off a quick text to Kyoko, because Ryohei never checks his phone and the best way to get a message to him is to send it to Kyoko.

The set up of the second floor is simple enough to guess where the kids are, but the high voices ringing out from behind one door helps.

She knocks, and the voices immediately hush, so she calls out, “Hello? It’s Tetsuki, the rest of us are going to…” have to think of something “… the park and for a fun day out,” The door opens to show three eager faces, “and I wanted to know if you’d like to join us.”

“What kind of fun day?” Lambo demands, yelling over I-pin’s quiet but cheerful greeting, while Fuuta apologizes. “Sorry, we thought you were Sawada-san… um, Iemitsu-san.”

“That’s okay, Fuuta-kun” Smart kid, “Well, I’m not sure yet, Lambo-kun, but we can all decide together at the park.”

“Shouldn’t you be training? The Ring Battles are important,” Damn Reborn. She can feel her shoulders tense from just his voice and it doesn’t go away even when she spots him in his hammock.

“Taking a break can be beneficial, we need time to rest. Otherwise we’ll be too tired when we fight for our lives,” She tries not to glare at him, because that would just be asking for trouble, but something must show on her face because he just smirks, the smug little jerk, and flips his fedora down.

“Gokudera and Yamamoto said they’ll meet us at the park in thirty minutes,” Tsuna edges his way into the room as well, Fuuta’s smile growing.

“Is everyone ready to go?” Because she’d prefer not to stay here for much longer.

~then I guess they [the sasagawas, the kids, her, yamamoto, gokudera, and tsuna, maaaaybe dino and bianchi and haru] go to the park and have a day out? go to takesushi afterwards? and before it’s time for everyone to go home, she sort of manipulates the yamamoto’s into letting the already-asleep lambo and i-pin to stay there and possibly tsuna but tsuna says that no, i should go home, my mom will be worried. then tetsuki walks him home where they talk, he says thanks and sorry she says thanks and sorry, she shares her own terrible-parent sob-story, she assures him for the first time that he’ll be great.~

~

[[A/N: As you can see from the ending, I did have a little more planned for this particular drabble in order to make it a whole scene. It’s meant to be the turning point of Tetsuki choosing to become a Guardian rather than being dragged into it by dint of being Ryohei’s best friend. Before this scene, Tetsuki is angry at Tsuna for endangering the Sasagawas (and Kusakabe) and Namimori as a whole by bringing the dangerous mafia world to them; but here she sees that he really is just another victim of the whole situation.

She still hates Reborn’s guts, though.]]

Cross Post: Trailblazers, Bright and Bold, Daily Life / Before Kokuyo Arc drabbles (2016-01-18) [1]

original here. dated 2013-12-10

[[A/N: As previously stated in this post, this is one in a series of Trailblazers cross posts to make up for my abysmal showing for the past few days.

Trailblazers, Bright and Bold, with it’s slightly different title, is sort of the prototype for the Trailblazers I’ve been writing on this tumblr. So not everything in these cross posts would make the final cut of the hypothetical complete Trailblazers fic.

Anyway, enjoy!]]

~

When she goes to the convenience store that Wednesday evening, like she does every other Wednesday evening, Kusakabe-senpai is already there waiting patiently.

It’s not like he has to wait for her to patrol, she doesn’t help much. For all that he says Wednesday nights are the Committee’s busiest except for weekends, usually these evenings are just the two of them strolling around Namimori sharing snacks.

They talk, sometimes, he makes her smile and she likes to think she does the same for him. Not that they’re dates! Of course not, they’re just friends–barely acquaintances, really.

Considering his best friend is Hibari-senpai, and she can’t imagine Hibari-senpai idly chatting as he hunts for troublesome herbivores in his territory, he probably just enjoys the change of pace. He’s just being kind, that’s all.

“Are your parents fighting again?”

He’s just letting her tag along because he think she has nowhere else to go. Or he thinks it’s better to keep a potential miscreant in his line of sight to prevent troublemaking. She’s pretty sure Ryohei’s on a list for known disturbers of the peace and her as well for being his aider and abetter.

“No… I think they’re both in Europe now, actually.”

“You think?”

“Well, I mean. I know my mother’s still in Berlin for a conference, but my father might be in either London or New York. He doesn’t like to stay in one place for too long.”

“Ah…”

She’s flushed. How embarrassing, just throwing out unnecessary information like that.

“Taiyaki?”

Those are her favorite, Kusakabe-senpai is so nice.

“Yes, please.”

The taiyaki shop along their route is supposed to close soon, but they’ve come so often that the owner tends to stay open just a little bit longer when he sees them coming by.

“Hibari-senpai knows? Oh my god, that means Kusakabe-senpai definitely knows!”

“Oi! You don’t know that!”

“Are you kidding me? Hibari-san has the social awareness of a hedgehog. No offense to hedgehogs.”

“That is extremely true!”

“How embarrassing, Kusakabe-senpai has probably just been pitying me this entire time.”

“You are overreacting to the extreme! Maybe he extremely likes you back!”

“Don’t shout it to the world, Ryohei!”

~

[[A/N: These two are separate drabbles–one of them is just ambiguous Daily Life and the other is specifically meant to be right before the Kokuyo arc. But seeing as how the second one was very short and just dialogue, and both were similar in their content I decided to cross post them together.

For some reason, as I was developing Trailblazers, I was struck with the unshakeable idea that Tetsuki would be in love with Kusakabe, and though it would be revealed to have been mutual neither of them would have ever made a move until it was too late (given Tetsuki’s penchant for dying before 25). As it is, given all the weird mafia bullshit that is happening to her, she ends up making the first move when the group comes back from the crazy TYL!arc.]]

Missed Post (2016-01-17)

Okay, given that this is the third missed post in a row, I am definitely going to do a cross post blast now.

Thankfully this is in line with my current train of thought/fandom, because they are cross posts for Trailblazers.

Most of the brainstorming/early concept writing for Trailblazers was done when I was still mainly using livejournal (back then, it even had a slightly different name–the full title was “Trailblazers, Bright and Bold”). While I wouldn’t say they’re necessary to understand the Trailblazers drabbles on here (or if they would even remain part of my Trailblazers “canon”–there are some which I would discard were I to properly write the fic) they do have a large part in the idea behind Trailblazers, Tetsuki Kaiza, and my own understanding/perspective of the Katekyo Hitman Reborn universe.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy. 😀

Trailblazers drabble (2016-01-12)

After an hour of waiting and no sign of her friends, Tetsuki leaves a note, grabs her go-bag, and uses the Ten Year Bazooka on herself.

She comes to underwater. The cold and wet is a shock to her system and she immediately gasps and regrets it. Her clothes–chosen for durability and warmth–are dragging at her limbs, and even though her bag is heavy she keeps a tight grip on it. Gravity, even limited, reasserts itself and she kicks upward–spluttering when she breaches the surface.

Coughing and blinking and shivering, she makes her way to the shore of what appears to be the river running through Namimori. She recognizes the bridge vaguely, even from this new angle. For a few moments, she stays where she is, relishing the feel of solid ground, before shakily making her way to her feet. Her friends aren’t going to find themselves.

She hopes they had a better start than she did.

Tetsuki wanders around the ghost town that Namimori has become. Wandering is the incorrect word–what she does is nowhere as nonchalant as that–she sneaks and sidles and skitters around. The streets are empty and the buildings stand like skeletons devoid of the flesh and blood of living people.

She doesn’t know what day it is, or even the specific time of day, but the sun is up–if filtered and grey through a persistent layer of clouds–and yet, nobody. If it were the middle of the night she’d understand; although even then there would usually be the occasional late-night returnees, or a few Disciplinary Committee members on patrol. There is only stillness and silence.

The chill down her spine has very little to do with the river water still dripping from her clothes and hair. It’s as if she’s all alone in the world and it’s creeping her out.

She can’t find her friends. She can’t find anyone.

Someone finds her instead.

The Sasagawa siblings, upon seeing her, jump up and pull her into a rather painful, extremely damp three-way hug. Her hair ends up caught in the zipper of Ryohei’s jacket and Kyoko accidentally bites her shoulder. So, really, not all that much different than when they were children.

Haru-chan tuts at her wet clothes, but leans in close enough for a sideways hug of her own. Lambo-chan adds moisture of his own by gripping her leg and bawling–she absently pets his hair and ignores the fact that there is probably snot mixed in with his tears. The older boys and Chrome keep their distance, but they appear to be relieved to see her: Gokudera-kun’s shoulders visibly relax, and Hibari-senpai even offers her a nod of acknowledgement.

“Something’s wrong,” she says, because that much is obvious. It’s been almost an hour since she’s used the bazooka, longer for her friends. The effects are only supposed to last five minutes, they should’ve switched back home already.

None of them respond. Verbally, at least. Ryohei’s face shutters into blankness and by his side, Kyoko twitches. The others are very careful not to move.

“Something’s wrong,” she repeats, reading the signs around her, “… with me?”

Only Tsuna meets her eyes.

~

A/N: … I’m still a little unsure on something. Like, obviously, Tetsuki is dead in TYL since it’s thereabouts of her dead before 25 years old thing… but I don’t know whether or not I want this to be a world in which she was Lightning Guardian or not.

… hm…

On the one hand, her existence would be a major wrench in Byakuran’s plans/knowledge. And Tetsuki’s all for fucking up overly entitled dudes’ plans.

But on the other hand, I kind of also like the idea that Tetsuki was the one in on TYL!Tsuna’s plans/Shouichi’s betrayal/etc (instead of Hibari) but her death meant TYL!Tsuna had to change to the backup plan (aka, Hibari).

¯_(ツ)_/¯

Trailblazers drabble (2016-01-11)

Kaiza-senpai and Yamamoto don’t get along, but not the same way Yamamoto and Gokudera don’t get along. It’s not words thrown like dynamite and smiles like a sword, it’s not arguments face to face but fighting back to back. It’s not a thin layer of teasing and irritation over a foundation of mutual understanding and trust.

For Kaiza-senpai and Yamamoto it’s a little bit jealousy and some awkwardness and a persistent, unavoidable uneasiness. They are warped reflections of each other, and frankly, they just don’t like each other.

Of course, they don’t actively dislike each other either–not like how Hibari-senpai and Mukuro go at each other like starving dogs, teeth and blood and bone-deep rage–but it’s a distinct lack of fondness. An absence of even trying to get along that makes it so strange.

And yet…

“Don’t call him that,” Kaiza-senpai says, sharp and cold–and not the shallow way Tsuna had always considered her, Kyoko-chan’s scary, austere almost sister–something pure and true and threatening. Promising.

Reborn, however, was scared of nothing and would probably call the Grim Reaper and amateur, “Oh?” he asks, eyebrow raising, as if to say what are you going to do about it.

Yamamoto is frozen, smile pulled tight over his face, unsure but patient.

“No one is a natural born killer,” she continues, unafraid, “That phrase is stupid.”

If Kaiza-senpai wasn’t fond Yamamoto, then she absolutely hated Reborn.

~

A/N: …

Trailblazers drabble (2016-01-06)

(Stolen Thunder)

The thing about the Ten Year Bazooka is that it pulls a person from a future, not the future. There are branches in the universe, and while the time space continuum is elastic, there still exist some limitations. That is why the Ten Year Bazooka has such a short usage, and why it doesn’t have a high demand.

For most members of the mafia, being switched with a decade older version of themselves wasn’t an advantage, especially if there was no timeline specific intel to be reaped. Ten years later would mean ten years passed their prime–slower reflexes and aching injuries, the casualties of age–or worse: dead.

And so the Ten Year Bazooka was a novelty, an interesting gadget at most. The kind of thing one would show off at a science convention, not use in actual combat.

Unless you are a child.

To a child, ten years is a lot. Ten years means a bigger body and greater knowledge, it means being taken seriously. As a person, as a threat. As a Guardian.

Lambo knows a lot about being dismissed. It’s been that way his entire life. Indulged but ultimately ignored by the Bovino family, barely tolerated and relegated to the side by Vongola–a child trying to play catch up with teenagers, a teenager trying to stand his ground among grown ups. Lambo’s existence has always been one of almost but not quite enough.

But at least it was never so literally.

“Tetsuki Kaiza,” Lambo murmurs to himself, five minutes after a past version of himself used the bazooka, sending a teenager to deal with consequences of his childish temper tantrum. Instead he found a girl who defended him from Reborn’s irritation, a girl with green Lightning flames sparking at her fingertips, a Vongola Guardian ring on a chain around her neck.

A girl, he finds out later, who does not exist in this world.

Or, rather, existed only for a short time.

He researches–this timeline is thankfully peaceful, and so he has the opportunity–and tracks down the girl who would have been Lightning Guardian to a cemetery outside Namimori. Japanese gravestones do not have dates on them, but they do have names: the deceased, of course, and in bright, living red, their still living family members.

It’s telling that the two names in red are above the one that brought Lambo here–parents, Fuyuko and Toichi.

The caretaker has been in charge of this cemetery for years–definitely over two decades–and has a keen memory. He’s also talkative, more so with a tidy sum of cash, and has no problem telling even a foreign teenager about the sad story of little Tetsuki Kaiza.

Little Tetsuki Kaiza who had been kidnapped after her first day of kindergarten and held hostage by the yakuza for two weeks before finally being killed. Apparently, her parents hadn’t paid the ransom.

Supposedly, they hadn’t even been in the country to receive the demands.

Fuyuko Kaiza was a professor of some sort–constantly invited overseas for lectures–while Taichi had been a popular athlete; or an actor, maybe a musician. He’d been something popular. Back then, anyway. Both of them terribly successful in their careers, until their terrifying failure as parents came to light.

Of course, they’d tried to salvage what they could. Bought a nice gravestone, made large donations towards Namimori’s police force which had undergone a shocked, upheaval of their own. Little Tetsuki Kaiza, such a sad story.

Lambo thanks the man, even though his throat is sour with a whirlwind of thoughts.

Maybe that’s why three seemingly civilian teenagers from a tiny town in Japan would become Guardian’s of the strongest mafia family in the world. An entire generation of school kids shaped into weapons. Protect yourself, because adults can fail. Become strong, so as not to become prey. Don’t end up like Tetsuki Kaiza.

“Yasuraka ni nemure,” Lambo says to the gravestone of a little girl twenty years dead, “Riposi in pace,” he says to the lost, potential Lightning Guardian.

This timeline is peaceful, true, but Lambo is mafioso born and bred–Family is important, dead or alive. He has at least two people upon whom he can enact revenge and a lead for more to follow.

Maybe his fellow Guardians will want to join him.

~

A/N: One of my ultimate truths for Tetsuki Kaiza, no matter which iteration of her I am writing, is that she never lives beyond age 25. And those are in the lives that I’m actually writing about–in such universes like KHR, where it’s canon that there are alternate timelines, various versions of Tetsuki Kaiza never live long enough to actually become Tsuna’s Lightning Guardian.

I didn’t know how to fit it in, but basically, as more teenage Lambos get summoned to the “past,” interact with Tetsuki, then get shunted back into their present with a burning need to figure out who the hell this other Lightning Guardian is, more Tetsukis’ pasts get revealed. Sometimes, she dies in something less dramatic–a car accident, maybe. Sometimes she was never even in Namimori (her parents settled down–or attempted to settle down–elsewhere and she died there). Sometimes, she lives a completely separate life from the mafia but still somehow ends up dead before age 25 (and, thus, before teenage Lambo can actually meet her).

Trailblazers drabble (2015-12-29)

Kindergarten is a menagerie: small creatures running around screaming their lungs out. From the outset, the children are adorable–chubby cheeks and tiny hands and cute little uniforms–but as a student it’s a strange and scary prison.

Before this day, Tetsuki has never seen so many people, much less been expected to interact with them. It’s frightening. She can’t help but freeze up, keeping her distance from everyone with her back to the wall. She’s not going to cry, but her hands are clutching the front of her uniform for comfort.

She hopes there won’t be any wrinkles in the cloth–Okaa-san would be so disappointed.

The day passes in a haze of befuddlement and anxiety, but it ends soon enough. Fortunately, the parents of her classmates are quick to come and pick up their children and the school steadily empties. Unfortunately, Tetsuki can’t find her house keys.

The teachers look at her in concern, even though she’s not even crying or anything, but her searching has become more and more frantic. Her keys aren’t in the pockets of her uniform or in her sedate black school bag. Did she forget them at home? Or worse–did she lose them?

“Why are you crying? Are you sad?” a voice pipes up beside her, and Tetsuki startles away. One of the loudest boys in her class has breached her personal space and she hadn’t even notice.

“I’m not sad!” she says, because she’s frustrated and confused and frightened and, “and I’m not crying!” she adds.

Except she totally is.

The teachers, with less charges to keep track of, come near, uncertain as to the situation. They see a little girl crying and a little boy beside her and they are ready to interfere with what they perceive to be a fight.

Until, in the face of Tetsuki’s obvious upset state, the boy reaches over and grabs her.

“It’s a hug!” The boy corrects, “Hugs make everything better.”

Tetsuki is uncertain, but she hugs him back. The teachers leave them to it, though they do keep an eye out.

The boy keeps his hold on her the entire time and doesn’t say anything about the damp patch of tears undoubtedly forming on his uniform.

“Ryohei!” a woman’s voice calls out, and without letting go, the boy hugging Tetsuki calls back, “Here!”

It takes both Sasagawa-san and the teachers to make the two of them let go–and Ryohei only agrees after his mother promises that Tetsuki can come home with them. It doesn’t take much convincing, once Tetsuki admits that neither of her parents are in the country this week.

And this is how Tetsuki and Ryohei become best friends for life.

~

A/N: I’m going back to my roots in honor of the end of the year 🙂

I also realized that even though I have many Tetsuki Kaiza posts, I have very few Trailblazer posts even though that’s where she’s originally from.

Externality drabble (2015-08-04) [1]

The world around them is still sharp and overexposed, red and black and white and fear, like a nerve just waiting to be stepped on.

“I want to go home!” She yells up at him, trying and failing to break out on her own.

Mukuro, the only thing not in monochrome, is a slender bruise colored tear in the scenery, “There is no going back, only forward,” he says inanely. As frustrating in her imagination as he had been in life.

“You should have just let me die!” She screams back, reduced to punching and kicking at the nonexistent buildings. They remain unaffected. “I would have rather died there than be stuck here knowing that–” she stops, breath thick and choking in her throat. She’s not going to cry about it. Certainly not in front of Mukuro, however fake he may be.

“What’s done is done,” he responds, dropping from his perch atop one of the fences to stand in front of her. “What will you do now?”

She turns away from him in a manner she would never do if it really had been Mukuro. She would never trust him with her back. The landscape is unchanged, an endless horizon of impossible things in colors of pain and anger and psychosis.

They stand in silence, a buzzing soundtrack of madness and despair scratching away.

“What happened here?” She finally asks, when straining her memory for clues yields nothing.

“The intruder called it Tsukuyomi, his eyes were like Hatake’s red one,” Mukuro answers, voice closer than she would like.

Uchiha Itachi, then. She’s in a genjutsu from the Mangekyou Sharingan. Which explains why she didn’t just break it, but doesn’t explain…

“There’s supposed to be more torturing going on than this,” she says, turning and gesturing around them.

“Are you complaining?” he mocks with a raised eyebrow.

“Don’t be an ass,” she shoots back with a glare.

“It’s your mind,” he says with a shrug, “I just happen to be in it.”

“What did you do with the intruder?” she switches topics, back to something more productive. She’s always hated talking to Mukuro.

“He was just a figment of the real one.”

“So are you.”

“Yes, but this is your domain. And I’m much stronger. I disposed of him.”

“Then why is it still like this?” She waves at their surroundings.

He shrugs.

Just great.

~

A/N: It’s my plan in Externality for Tetsuki to end up involved in the fight against Kisame and Itachi alongside the jounin-sensei (and ultimately lose to Itachi’s Tsukuyomi). This is what happens after, I suppose.

Just had to get this out of my head so I can focus on Only Fools Rush In.