So. The lovely, lovely folks at LJ's Reborn community (namely "jadeprince") decided to hold a Lyric Wheel challenge (where participants must contribute and are given random song lyrics to write a story around). My song? "Goodnight and Go" by Imogean Heap. I had a two-week deadline to write this, so I was kinda rushed, but I'm praying that doesn't reflect upon the story too much. I hope everyone enjoys!

Oh, and I do make mention of the TYL!arc, but this is set in an alternate future. :D

Seeing With Your Eyes Closed

"Listen, you say one fucking thing and I'll hurt you."

He's flat on his back in the middle of a hardwood floor, and that other person is on top of him, lips at his throat, teeth scraping along skin, none too gently, either. Though he never does anything gently…unless, of course, it's in relation to the boss. Then, he's…well, not like a lamb, exactly, but pretty damn close.

"Shove dynamite in places you won't like…"

Probably won't, though when Gokudera says it the way he just did, there's a possibility he might like it a whole lot.

"The only thing you're allowed to do" –hands on his abdomen, sliding lower, beneath the waistband of the boxers he recently washed— "is make noise."

Ah. So talking is bad but moaning is fine.

In that case—

"Oy. Jackass. Oy!"

Insistent fingers snap directly in front of his nose, so he goes a little cross-eyed when he tries to bring them into focus.

"Ahaha, sorry, Gokudera-kun. Guess I spaced out for a while, huh?"

Gokudera has this look on his face that Yamamoto is very familiar with, because it's the same look he's had leveled at him for years—the one that says, "Please go crawl off and die somewhere, for God's sake, you're such an idiot." More or less. You don't scowl like you're severely constipated when you're thinking about how great someone is, anyhow.

Someone being Yamamoto. Naturally.

"Look, you're the one who asked me to come here in the first place, so you could at least pay attention to me."

They're sitting at a small table near the front of this awesome Italian restaurant Yamamoto stumbled across a week ago, and he'd eagerly extended an invitation to Gokudera (he planned on asking the rest of the family later) to have dinner there with him, because Gokudera was from Italy and he probably knew the best dishes to choose. Sure, family business had taken Yamamoto to Italy a couple times now, but his visits were brief, and usually restricted to Vongola headquarters. Which meant no mingling. No nights on the town.

"Sorry," he says again (even though he knows Gokudera hates it when people repeat themselves), twirling some pasta around his fork. Or trying to. He hasn't mastered the art of eating with utensils yet, and spaghetti (no, no, fettuccine; Gokudera yells at him whenever he mixes the names up)always seems to give him trouble. It either slips off the fork and gets sauce everywhere or the entire plateful attempts to wrap itself around the fork when all he wants is a portion of it. Gokudera says to use a spoon to fix that, but the spoon usually creates more difficulty so Yamamoto doesn't bother.

Rolling his eyes, Gokudera reaches across the table to grab the plate. "Hopeless," he mutters, and starts to cut the fettuccine into manageable pieces, as if Yamamoto were a toddler dependent upon his parents to help him eat. "So what were you thinking about?"

Yamamoto blinks. "Hm?" Play dumb. Good strategy. Worked in the past.

A sharp look. "Yamamoto."



"What were you thinking about?" Gokudera pauses, and he's staring intently at Yamamoto—staring right through his head, it feels like. Lucky thing he can't really see that far, or Yamamoto might not leave the restaurant with all his limbs attached.



For someone who hates repeaters, Gokudera repeats himself a lot.

"Uh…life stuff," Yamamoto hedges. "You know. Boring life stuff."

Gokudera looks skeptical. His top lip is curled up at the corner—Yamamoto thinks it's hilarious when he does that, and suppresses a smile.

"If you were so damn bored, why were you practically drooling into your fettuccine?"

When Gokudera says "fettuccine," he says it the correct way, like the Italian he is (half Italian, fine, okay, but half is more than none). It sounds exotic. Sexy. Dangerous, kind of. Yamamoto's seen Godfather (I, II, and III, even though three wasn't the best); he knows how crazy these Mafioso are.

Never mind he's in the mafia himself. Thought it was a big game, originally. Still does, sometimes, looking in the mirror and seeing this person looking back, this person with a scar on his chin (they may have changed the future, but he got the scar anyway), a sword in his hand, and a super cool haircut. Who's he kidding?

"I wasn't!"

"Bored, or drooling?"

Not Gokudera. No, Gokudera fits the role better than Yamamoto. Of course, Yamamoto can tell him that 'till he's purple, and Gokudera won't believe him, because he isn't Tsuna. He's the other. The opposite. The one Gokudera hates.

Well, maybe he doesn't hate him as much anymore. Maybe they've come to an understanding. Maybe. Yamamoto understands Gokudera, at least. He pretends Gokudera understands him. Pretends…hopes. Same thing.


Gokudera works his jaw. Push him so far, he'll snipe at you, quick-like. Or completely explode. Dynamite in his blood, gotta be.

"Oh…whatever. You're fucking weird, baseball freak." And that's it. Gokudera resumes his task of simplifying Yamamoto's dinner, Yamamoto watches him, a few precariously concealed spectators watch them, and all is right with the world.

"Ouch, ouch! Your horns, Lambo!"

"My apologies, Miss Haru. I wasn't—"

"Just take them off. You don't need them—"

"Haru, please be quiet." Tsuna wonders, not for the first time, why he's allowed himself to get dragged into something else (wasn't the mafia bad enough?). The answer is in the form of a name…well, two names (Kyoko, Haru), but ignorance is bliss when you're jammed behind a bush with five full-grown adults and you're the boss of one of the most influential families in mafia history. However the hell that happened.

Reborn. Yeah.

"Those two are absolutely precious together, aren't they?" Kyoko, in a crouch, leans against a white stucco wall of the restaurant, her hands clasped. "I'm happy they're finally comfortable with each other."

Comfortable is something Tsuna is not. Lambo's other horn is digging into his kidney, so he can't even feel jittery over how cute Kyoko-chan is (she's never stopped being cute; age has only made her cuter).

That, and he isn't sure Yamamoto and Gokudera-kun actually are comfortable with each other. From what he's observed, their relationship is a perpetual competition broken up by periods of truce—what they're actually competing for differs between them.

Tsuna thinks Gokudera-kun has more to lose than Yamamoto.

"What're they doing? I can't really see." I-Pin forgot her glasses. She normally wears contacts, but her last pair ripped; she hasn't gotten new ones yet.

"Gokudera-kun's cutting up Yamamoto-kun's pasta for him," Haru says dramatically. "How romanti—augh, Lambo!"

Tsuna massages his temples. He has a headache, and they've been here ten minutes. Ten minutes of this. When he has a ton of other stuff he should be doing, like review his plans for his next trip to Italy in a few days—a solo venture, save for Lambo, who'd been summoned formally by the Bovino family to discuss his inheritance.

The news hadn't gone over well with Gokudera-kun. At all.

"You're taking that stupid cow, but you can't take me? Do you not…do you not trust me anymore? Would you rather someone else be your right-hand man, Tenth?"

Though he never intended to assume his role as the head of the Vongola, to become an undisputed leader, an authority, Tsuna did, and is. He's older now, wiser. The ancestors accepted his resolution during the fight to save a future they inhabit presently, a future that looks nothing like the one they left behind. He is Vongola.

It hurt him to see the pain apparent in Gokudera's face, but Tsuna put his foot down.

"I need you here, Gokudera. If you're the right-hand man I know you to be, you won't fight me on this. I need you here."

Gokudera immediately changed his tune after that, promised he would fulfill his duties with the utmost efficiency, but his smiles from then on were strained, his voice a little too gruff. He smoked a lot more.

He gave Yamamoto a black eye.

This is how he copes. With rejection, disappointment, frustration.

Tsuna let him have that. He trusts Gokudera…and he trusts Yamamoto.

Even though he's spying on them (against his will). Behind a bush (against his will). Because Kyoko-chan and Haru begged (he said yes).

So much for the Vongola resolve.

"Onii-chan, I don't think—"

"I'm goin' nuts, Kyoko!"

"Well, yes, but—"


Tsuna's stomach takes residence somewhere near his feet. Apparently, while he was lost in his thoughts, all hell broke loose, because Ryohei, in addition to announcing their presence to everyone within a ten-mile radius, has blown their cover—he's standing, not crouching, where he is supposed to be, in plain sight of the restaurant window.

The very same restaurant window Yamamoto and Gokudera-kun are seated beside.

Bringing Kyoko's brother was a serious lapse of judgment. A very serious lapse.

Gokudera looks positively flummoxed.

"A bush?"

They're loitering outside the restaurant, the whole gang (just like the old days, minus a few faces). Tsuna, skin flushed the color of a beet, mutters something about peer pressure and girls and loud-mouthed big brothers while Lambo whistles as if nothing happened and I-Pin digs into his side with her elbow and Haru and Kyoko make doe eyes at Yamamoto and Gokudera. Ryohei, meanwhile, is explaining why he lost his cool, as loudly as possible, to Tsuna (at Tsuna, really).

Unlike Gokudera, Yamamoto finds the entire debacle amusing. Goes to show some things don't change.

"Hahaha, you guys are nuts. Must've been a tight fit!"

"Extremely tight!" Ryohei abruptly declares. "I'm all for group bonding time, you know, but this was—"

"Did you enjoy your date?" Haru says to Yamamoto and Gokudera, effectively silencing even Ryohei.

Gokudera is the first to react.

"Date?" He says, appalled, his eyes shifting to Tsuna and back. "Date? Are you—this wasn't—we're not—"

"A date isn't a big deal," Lambo remarks flippantly, earning him another dig in the side from I-Pin.

"Shut up!" she hisses.

The damage is done, however.

"Yeah, that's right. Shut up, stupid cow. Nobody asked you for your goddamn opinion."

Gokudera clenches his fists, unclenches them, clenches them again. He's breathing hard, laboring to stay calm.

He loosens his tie.

Yamamoto knows what that means, and grips his forearm securely; he doesn't flinch beneath Gokudera's withering glare.

"We weren't on a date," he clarifies cheerfully. To Haru, he says, "Sorry to disappoint."

There. Second potential crisis of the day evaded. Yamamoto is on a roll, it seems.

Except that he isn't, as Gokudera proves when he yanks his arm free and socks Yamamoto in the face. The cheek, technically. He's fairly certain he'll have an egg there tomorrow, or this evening, perhaps.

Oh well. At least he didn't lose any teeth.


"Yamamoto! Are you okay?" Tsuna sounds both concerned and irritated simultaneously, probably because he's tired of dealing with delinquency among the family—Yamamoto doesn't blame him. Though he doesn't blame Gokudera, either.

He waves his hand. "I'm fine, I'm fine." His cheek throbs. "Gokudera, are you—"

But Gokudera's gone.

Yamamoto and Tsuna exchange a look while the others discuss what transpired in hushed voices (Ryohei talks normally). They know Gokudera the best. They know he's emotionally unstable at the moment, and they know why.

They know he needs time. To be alone. To think. To get over it.

He needs time.

Later, at home (a two-bedroom apartment he could never afford on an average salary—being in the mafia does have its perks), sprawled on the couch, an ice pack pressed to his swollen cheek, he receives a text message.

It's only one word: Sorry.

Yamamoto grins.

One word is plenty.

Tsuna departs on a Saturday morning. Gokudera sees him off, of course, and Yamamoto. The girls are there, too (and Lambo, since he's leaving as well).

As the boss of the Vongola, Tsuna has his own private plane, a concession he hadn't wanted but was forced into using anyway by Reborn and a majority of the family. Maybe they are overcautious, but they'd seen a future without Tsuna once; they didn't intend to see another.

"Tell the little guy hello for me," Yamamoto says, despite the fact that Reborn isn't so little anymore, now that the curse of the Arcobaleno is broken. It's still weird, sometimes, when Reborn comes to Japan to check up on the family (he does so every other month, Bianchi in tow—they have Colonello, after all). His adult form isn't that different from his baby form, but it's different enough to warrant a double take, and a reminder to oneself that this is the same Reborn.

He'll always be "little guy" to Yamamoto, in any case.

"I will," Tsuna promises. "How's your cheek?"

The swelling has gone down quite a bit, and it doesn't hurt nearly as much—he sports quite an impressive assortment of bruises, however.

"Hahaha, I've had worse."

Gokudera makes a strangled noise, and Yamamoto bites his lip to hold the laughter in.

"Don't get into too much trouble while I'm gone," Tsuna says, mock stern, and claps Yamamoto on the shoulder.

Yamamoto returns the gesture, leaning forward to whisper in Tsuna's ear, "I'll take care of him."

Tsuna responds with a tiny nod, barely perceptible, and then beckons to Gokudera. The two of them break from the group and walk, Tsuna talking softly, Gokudera listening raptly. He smiles a sheepish smile at one point, rubs the back of his neck. Tsuna chuckles.

The kids are grown up, Yamamoto thinks.

"Will Gokudera-kun be all right?" Kyoko asks. She and Haru flank him on either side. Lambo stands next to her.

"Yeah," Yamamoto says confidently. "Yeah, he will."

That night, Gokudera contacts Hibari. They meet on the roof of Namimori Junior High, they fight, and Gokudera loses.

Hibari steps over Gokudera's prone body, yawns, and pets Hibird, who has settled on his shoulder, with a fingertip.

"I hope you're satisfied," he says in a bored tone, ambling toward the door to the stairs. "Don't bother calling me again. I've lost the will to fight you a second time."

Gokudera doesn't plan on it.

He got what he came for.

That same night, Yamamoto shows up on Gokudera's doorstep under the pretense of a missed ride (they both know he could've gotten in touch with any of their operatives and a car would be waiting for him in minutes).

"Holy shit." Yamamoto isn't one to swear, though he indulges himself on occasion. "What did you do?"

Gokudera's still wearing his bloodied clothes. There's gauze in his left hand, a cigarette in his right, and he looks…energized, amazingly. Thoroughly beat up, but energized.

"Lost a fight."

"On purpose?"


Yamamoto quirks an eyebrow. "Feel better?"

"Yes," Gokudera says, bluntly. He takes a drag on the cigarette, and then, "Well?"

Yamamoto crosses the threshold. "I was waiting for an invitation."

It always amazes him, how neat Gokudera's house is. Not that he's a messy person. Yamamoto just figured his living space would've been cluttered. But really, the only clutter is Gokudera's collection of ashtrays—he has at least a hundred, of varying shapes and sizes, and they're placed strategically throughout the house so Gokudera never has to grope around for one.

Yamamoto walks behind Gokudera, admiring them. They pass the spacious music room, where Gokudera's grand piano is the centerpiece. Despite bad childhood experiences, Gokudera hasn't stopped playing. Sheet music covers the surface of lid, as well as the floor, by the piano bench.

He's so talented, yet he hardly gives himself any credit.

They reach the dining room. Gokudera sits down at the table, and sets his cigarette on the edge of a plain white ashtray. "I got home a few minutes ago. Didn't have a chance to change." He unrolls the gauze on the table, picks up a pair of scissors.

"Why don't you go ahead? I'll do this," Yamamoto says, motioning at the gauze. "Blood stains are impossible to wash out of furniture." Clothing's tricky, too, but he doubts Gokudera cares as much about the T-shirt and ripped jeans he's wearing.

Gokudera opens his mouth, closes it. He puts the scissors down. "Where's the catch."


"You must want something. What did you come here for?"

Yamamoto pulls out a chair across from Gokudera and sits.

"I missed my ride."

"No you didn't."

"You're right."

Gokudera rolls his eyes. "I know I'm right. What I don't know is why you're here."

"Company." Yamamoto stretches out an arm to grab the gauze and the scissors.

Gokudera watches impassively, neither aiding nor discouraging him.

"My company," he says, as if the mere idea baffles him. "You're popular. You could've gone somewhere else for company and this is where you end up."

"Strange." Gauze and scissors secured, Yamamoto drags them back to his section of table and assesses the extent of Gokudera's injuries. He has a split lip, a bloody nose, a shallow cut above his eye, and several long scratches on both arms, not to mention numerous bruises and minor scrapes. Yamamoto assumes his knees are skinned as well. "I wanted to end up here."

"I punched you in the face," Gokudera reminds him.

"But you apologized."

"I—" Gokudera shakes his head. "You don't make any sense."

Yamamoto begins to cut the gauze. "Because I accepted your apology?"

"Because you want my company."

Gokudera pushes away from the table abruptly and wanders into the kitchen. He returns with a six-pack of some German beer that Yamamoto's tried before, at a Vongola strategy meeting a few years back. Potent stuff. Tsuna, as he recalled, ordered another strategy meeting the next day, to make up for the previous day's lack of strategizing.

"There's more in the fridge," Gokudera says, and plunks the beer on the table.

It's four-thirty in the morning when Yamamoto leaves (via the car that Gokudera managed to request for him…he was so smart to have the number programmed into his cell-phone).

He's very warm, and very drunk, and very bloody.

He doesn't thinkthe blood's his—not all of it, anyway. Gokudera might've punched him again for an offense Yamamoto isn't sure of so the blood could be his, though.

Or it could be Gokudera's, mostly. Yamamoto is somewhat convinced of this, because there had been a lot of kissing and touching and it's possible Gokudera bled on him in the process.


German beer is good shit, that's something he's positive of.

My head hurts so bad, he texts Gokudera the following afternoon…well, evening.

Pussy, Gokudera writes back, an hour later.

Yamamoto starts to laugh, but stops quickly because any noise is too much noise. He throws a pillow over his head, presses it down against his eyes until he sees tiny starbursts, then throws it off.

I'm serious. I think I'm dying.

Immediately, I think you're stupid.

Yeah, stupid. Definitely stupid.

Damn stupid Germans and their damn stupid beer.

When should I miss my ride next?

The response comes nearly two hours after Yamamoto hit "send."


More kissing and touching, though, thankfully, the blood is absent. So's the German beer. They've moved on to the Italian stuff—wine. Wonderful wine. Fabulous wine. Wine is awesome.

Yamamoto feels like a mafia man when he drinks Italian wine.

And when he kisses Gokudera, because Gokudera's Italian like the wine.

"Why d'ya have to be so cute?"

Gokudera's the one who said it, not Yamamoto. Odd. That's something Yamamoto would say to Gokudera, but…but Gokudera said it.

"Why do we get along so well?"

Gokudera kisses his neck. He's straddling Yamamoto's lap, in the chair, at the dining room table.

"Why do I like you so much…"

Reality is a sobering thing, stronger than Italian wine.

Yamamoto gently removes Gokudera's hands from beneath his shirt, draws him away from his neck by the shoulders.

"You'll regret this," he says through a bone-dry throat. "You'll regret it, Gokudera. Don't…choose now. Do it when you won't regret it."

He falls asleep, in his own bed, at his own empty, lonely apartment, and dreams of the betrayed look on Gokudera's face.


They see each other at the Vongola base that mirrors the one Tsuna built in the future they saved .

Giannini has weapons that need to be reviewed. There are messages from the Varia, instructions from Tsuna, a note from Hibari (he's off on another of his research excursions).

Training. Meeting with members of alliance families. More training.

Business as usual.

By the end of the day, Gokudera has spoken a grand total of three terse sentences to Yamamoto ("Hi," "No," and "Fine").

Guess that's better than silent treatment, he thinks.

Rather than sending a text message, Yamamoto leaves Gokudera a voicemail.

"I didn't reject you, Gokudera. I'm sorry. I'm really sorry. I just…I care about you. You're the bes—you're…I respect you. I care about you, I respect you, and I want you to be happy. Goodnight. Talk to me tomorrow. Please? Goodnight."


Silent treatment.

"Gokudera. I hate this. I hate that you won't talk to me. You won't even yell at me. Is it different if you talk to me in Italian? I won't understand what you're saying, but it's something. Goodnight."


Silent treatment lifted.


Gokudera only speaks Italian.

Wednesday night.

Yamamoto pounds on Gokudera's door. He rings the doorbell. He knocks on the windows.

He goes home.

Gokudera's pacing a squat line back and forth on the welcome mat. He's bundled in a trench coat, leather gloves, and a beanie (out of place but adorable as hell). His teeth chatter.

"H-heat's d-down," he says (in Japanese) when he sees Yamamoto.

That's the thing about fall. It can be seasonably warm one day and brain-numbingly cold the next.

"Ah…So you're talking to me again?"

Gokudera nods.

"Wanna stay over?"

Gokudera nods more vigorously.

"Okay." Yamamoto grins. "You can have my bed. I'll sleep on the couch."

They both sleep in the bed, though Gokudera isn't there when Yamamoto wakes up.

"Miraculous! Your heater is fixed."

Thursday evening. Yamamoto is at Gokudera's house, examining the heater that isn't down after all.

"Shut up. It was down."

"Mm." Yamamoto holds his chin. "Probably one of those temperamental heaters. Works when it wants to, conks out when it doesn't."

The corners of Gokudera's mouth twitch. "Are you a fucking heater expert?"

"In my spare time."

The smile's almost there. Almost.


"Thank you."

There and gone.

But Yamamoto saw it.

"I wish you'd smile more." At me. Not just at Tsuna. At me.

He turns, wanders toward the music room, his favorite room because he knows what it means to Gokudera. The other man's footsteps trail behind him.

"Play for me."

Yamamoto runs his callused fingers along the keys of Gokudera's grand piano, lightly. Not a single note sounds; so much the better. Yamamoto is a swordsman, a baseball fanatic, yet the fingers that have seen so much use feel awkward here, unwieldy.

"Why should I?"

Gokudera's voice is barely a whisper, like those phantom notes Yamamoto hasn't played; it hovers near his ear. Yamamoto closes his eyes so he doesn't lose it, and steps away from the piano.

"Because." I'll hear you. The you I see with my eyes closed. "Please, Gokudera. Play for me."

The bench creaks as it's drawn out, legs chafing across the hardwood floor Yamamoto remembers from a daydream at a restaurant. When Gokudera sits, the bench creaks a little more. He puts his nimble musician's fingers on the keys, fingers that haven't forgotten what they learned years ago, at an estate in Italy.

Gokudera plays.

A room once empty of notes is full of them. They collide, swell, fall, collide again. Yamamoto doesn't recognize the composition—instinct tells him Gokudera's composing as he goes. Composing from life. From this,them.

Yamamoto's eyes are still closed. He sees himself the way Gokudera sees him, hears it. He sees the person in the mirror and then some. The person Yamamoto's always wanted to be but knows he isn't.

The person Gokudera sees every day.

Yamamoto opens his eyes.

His body moves before his mind catches up. He kneels, wraps his arms around Gokudera's waist, presses his forehead against Gokudera's back.

The music ends.

"You never hated me."

Gokudera breathes. He plays a note, another, another…

The music starts anew.

Yamamoto holds on.

They make it as far as the couch before they give up, pawing at each other's clothes, heedless of buttons or belts or zippers.

After a brief tussle (which Yamamoto isn't interested in winning), Gokudera is on top, his hands exploring Yamamoto's chest, his stomach, his thighs…everywhere but there.

Yamamoto writhes.


A hand over his mouth.

"Not a word."

Fingers stroking his cock.

"Just noise."

On his way home (Gokudera is fast asleep on the couch, where he left him), Yamamoto contemplates.

He made a lot of noise.



A blush here, a discreet glance there, minimal communication for fear of humiliating themselves.

They go their separate ways.

Friday night.

"Heater's down again."

Yamamoto raises his eyebrows. Slowly, his grin spreads across his face, like watercolor paint bleeding on a canvas. He steps aside.

"Might wanna think about getting it fixed, then. Temperamental heaters sometimes require extra love."

Gokudera stands in the doorway. A plume of smoke drifts upward from the cigarette between his lips, a cigarette he must've been puffing on for a while—there isn't much left of it.

He shoves his hands in his pockets.

"Do you want me to get it fixed?"

For a long moment, there is silence as Gokudera's loaded question hangs in the air (with the cigarette smoke). The television, switched to some random channel Yamamoto wasn't paying attention to anyway, blares in the background, but he tunes it out.

Until now, Gokudera had been in control of every development in their adult relationship—Yamamoto refused to pressure him; whatever Gokudera decided to do, he decided on his own, and Yamamoto willingly followed his lead.

But that question changes things. That question gives Yamamoto the opportunity to make a move in one direction or another.

The ball is in his court.

"No. I don't."

Yamamoto grabs Gokudera's wrist and yanks him the rest of the way inside amidst startled protestations around a worn-out cigarette (which Yamamoto takes the liberty of confiscating).

"'The hell—"

He crushes his mouth against Gokudera's, thankful that it's already open so he doesn't need to coax it there. Tastes the same as always, like Gokudera's ashtrays would if he licked them, no doubt, but it doesn't matter because he's kissing Gokudera so it makes sense he tastes this way. It makes sense Yamamoto enjoys tasting him.

"Stay the whole night," he whispers once he finds the strength to break away. "Let me wake up with you. Let me cook you breakfast. If you want to leave after that, I won't stop you."

Gokudera looks up at him contemplatively, his jaw taut and his eyes hard. Their faces and bodies are close together still, close enough for a surprise punch or kick to hurt pretty bad, should Gokudera choose to be surly and pay Yamamoto back for the kiss he stole.

Instead, Gokudera puts his hands on either side of Yamamoto's face and kisses him.

His kiss is rougher, far more possessive, an assertion of dominance that Yamamoto is happy to defer to him, because he knows how insecure Gokudera is. He knows this kiss isn't merely a kiss.

When Gokudera finally releases him, Yamamoto is dizzy. And aroused.

"Wow," he says.

Gokudera snorts. "Yeah. Wow." He plucks the remnant of his cigarette from Yamamoto's left hand (held by his index finger and his thumb), grimaces at it, and takes one last drag. "You try to cuddle me," he says, brushing past Yamamoto in pursuit of the kitchen and a plastic cup for the cigarette, "I'll kick your fucking ass. Just so we're clear on that."

In other words, "I'll stay."

Yamamoto laughs, and closes the door.

Luckily for him, there are plenty, less innocent, alternatives to cuddling.

Sunday morning. Bright, beautiful. Sunny skies.

Tsuna returns home to a happy Gokudera, a smug Yamamoto, and a lot of questions.

He doesn't have to ask them, though. He thinks he knows the answers.