Moment #1: Hope

"Why is the future me…in a coffin?"

Hayato Gokudera sat there staring at the face of the Tsunayoshi Sawada from ten years ago. A tiny pained smile forced on his lips and his eyebrows knitted together in worry. It nearly broke his heart to see Tsuna look at him with that expression. Just as it did break his heart to look at the unmoving face of his boss a mere two days ago.

Gokudera sat there, emotions coursing through him in that fraction of a second. Why was the future of the Vongola in a coffin? That was a very good question and it was one he wasn't sure he knew the answer to.

The obvious reply would be 'because you were assassinated while I stood there and watched and you died in my arms before I could even say 'I'm sorry' but somehow you still managed to tell me 'It's all right' before you drew in your final breath.' Still, that seemed like a poor reply to the 14 year old child sitting in front of him.

He could also say 'because the bastards of the Millefiore family shot you and no one had a chance to do anything, lease of all me even though I have had every kind of training possible to prevent the situation I was forced to witness.'

Or even something like, 'you were killed but even though I couldn't do anything you have no idea how many million times I have relived that moment in my mind hoping that somehow, someway I could have traded my life for yours.'

Gokudera opened and closed his mouth but none of his explanations seemed like it would work. There was no possible way to put into words all the pain, regret, anger and countless other nameless emotions that went with the explanation of why the fourteen year old Sawada Tsunayoshi found himself in a coffin ten years in the future. So instead he sat there and gaped at Tsuna for once at a complete loss of words. He had no idea how answer the question when he was pretty sure he was still in some sort of denial.

He clenched his fists and looked at the ground letting his bangs cover his face as he felt hot tears sting the corners of his eyes. There was no way he would let the 10th see him in such a conflicted state, past or present. Half a second later he looked up and caught Tsuna's gaze with his own pain filled one, still desperately trying to find the words he needed to properly explain the situation.

He saw Tsuna lean forward in his effort to nudge Gokudera on. Gokudera narrowed his eyes and continued to tighten his fists as he looked into the large, ridiculously naïve and possibly, somehow hopeful eyes of Tsuna. Even though the 10th was faced with almost undeniable proof that his 10 year older self was dead, somehow, against all odds he hoped that maybe, maybe, his reality wasn't quite what it seemed. It was that ludicrous hope that had put Tsuna into the hands of the Millefiore in the first place. The hope that perhaps they weren't as ruthless as they seemed and really did want to have peace talks. The hope that everything would turn out fine and that no one had to resort to violence to end the conflict. The 10th undying hope…no trust that everything in the world was fine and that there wasn't anyone out to get him and that everything, no matter what, would somehow turn out fine.

Gokudera's clenched fists began to shake as he looked at his young boss, alive, and breathing and still full of that almost moronic hope that had taken his life from him. Yet somehow, Gokudera knew that despite the fact that he hated the fact that Tsuna was more then willing to hope and trust anyone and anything it was a trait that he would never wish Tsuna to loose. Because if he lost his ability to hope against overwhelming odds then that meant that Tsuna was no longer the Tsuna that he had vowed to follow until his dying day. When Tsuna no longer had that shine of hope in his eyes that would mean that Gokudera had failed as miserably at his job as if he let someone come into Tsuna's office and shoot him without any resistance.

Gokudera realized that only a second or two had passed since Tsuna asked him that horrible question and he was still unsure of his answer but for the 10th's sake he was going to try his hardest to give him a satisfactory answer. He swallowed to moisten his suddenly dry throat and opened his mouth, realizing that his tongue felt as heavy as lead. "That is…" he started quietly, "because…"

Before he could get any further he found himself in a spiraling tunnel, headed to the past. He gazed at the swirling colors around him and sighed. Maybe his younger self would do a better job at protecting Tsuna then he had. He could only hope.

Okay, here's the first part of a 3 part introspective on Gokudera, featuring him and his thought process during 3 very emotionally charged moments of the future arc. Good lord I love these moments, I cannot tell you how many times I've watched and rewatched just these two episodes for these three moments that last like...maybe 10 seconds all together. Anyways, I'm going to publish all three of these chapters at once, so enjoy. I want them separate but they should all be read together.