Originally posted on LJ

Title: Gokudera's Got Problems
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: 8059 (I SWEAR, IT'S NOT A TRAP)
Word Count: 6.500
Genre: Drama
Warnings: Yama has a girlfriend.
Disclaimer: KHR's not mine.
Summary: Gokudera has a problem. Yamamoto doesn't know what it is, and while he usually just goes with the flow where Gokudera is concerned, this time, some intervention is necessary.

Gokudera's Got Problems

Usually, Gokudera treated class with a nonchalance that was almost insulting given his nearly perfect score on everything. (Almost insulting because nothing coming from Gokudera could really count as an insult. At least not seriously.) But today, Yamamoto saw him writing and erasing furiously in his much-neglected notebook. (He wasn't perfecting G-script, since he'd copied the perfected version his ten years later version used during the Millefiore incident) This was enough to earn him some good-natured ribbing between subjects ("Haha, so even Gokudera needs to take notes now.") which he by and large ignored ("Shut up, baseball idiot. I was transcribing music from memory.").

While they were eating lunch (one the roof, like during middle school because even high schoolers were afraid of dynamite) Gokudera spent half of his attention on Tsuna and half on his notebook (Yamamoto took that oppoturnity to steal the sweet bun from Gokudera's ignored lunch) where he was still scribbling. Tsuna looked more uncomfortable than usual, so Yamamoto took it upon himself to keep a conversation going.

"Hey, Tsuna, what's 'transcribing' mean anyway?"

"Uh..." Tsuna gave a few nervous glances around (by this time, Yamamoto had experienced Reborn's particular reaction "I don't know" himself, so he didn't think Tsuna's reaction was at all strange) before shrugging and looking at Gokudera for the answer.

Still nose-deep in his book, Gokudera didn't notice the two stares on him, waiting for a definition.

And just when Yamamoto thought the situation couldn't get any more awkward (for Tsuna, at least. Yamamoto was used to being ignored by Gokudera), the door to the roof opened and three cute, giggling girls (probably from class 3) pushed a forth in Yamamoto's general direction. The forth girl (she looked a little like Miyamoto-sempai from baseball. His sister?) tip-toed towards the seated boys, as if they didn't already know she was there. She stopped a meter away and stared at Tsuna and Gokudera in horror ('Oh, she's probably going to confess to me. Haha.' Yamamoto thought) when they didn't leave to give her some privacy (though, to be completely honest, Tsuna looked just as terrified).

"Um..." She shifted from foot to foot and smoothed down her skirt (or she tried to, the love letter in her hand made that kind of awkward). "Um..." she said again, but still, Tsuna and Gokudera were frozen in place. Eventually, she shuffled around until she couldn't see the other two anymore and could at least pretend that they were alone. "Um, Yamamoto-kun, I really like you and would you please go out with me?" Amazingly, she managed to say everything in the same time it took her to thrust out her love letter.

Yamamoto smiled kindly and took great care in opening and reading the love letter (he never read them if the giver wasn't watching, he wasn't really interested in a girlfriend, but he wanted to be polite.).

The letter was more of a home-made card than a letter. The outside simply said "Can we please go out? From: Michiko" and the inside was a picture of him, mid-swing in the batter's box and a pair of tickets to the regional finals match in fifteen days. Suddenly, having a girlfriend seemed to coincide quite nicely with baseball practice and mafia (games). Turning on the 100 Watt smile, Yamamoto stood up and handed her back the tickets. "Sure. Michiko-chan. But why don't you hold onto those for now?"

The next day had Gokudera still buried in his notebook (Yamamoto had looked up transcribing, it meant copying) and Yamamoto himself not paying a lick of attention to their math teacher. No, his thoughts bounced around the regional teams he'd be watching in fourteen days from just behind the home dugout. (Michiko-chan was Miyamoto-sempai's sister and after practice and the "Don't Hurt or Touch My Sister" lecture, Sempai had told him that he'd actually won the tickets in a contest and given them to his sister a week before for the express purpose of asking Yamamoto out.) During the class change, while he and the other students waited for the English teacher, he realized his notebook was full of baseball playing stick figures rather than notes and equations. 'Hopefully, Gokudera will be done copying that song of his by the end of practice today, so he can explain the math lesson.' It sounded sheepish even in Yamamoto's thoughts.

When lunch rolled around (it was the only part of the day that didn't involve baseball and still managed to capture his full attention) he walked up towards the roof with Tsuna and Gokudera. Halfway up the staircase to the third floor, Gokudera looked up from his notebook long enough to glare at Yamamoto. Yamamoto checked his "Minimum Distance To Be Remained Away From The Tenth" (20cm) and after finding that to be "up to par" (Gokudera always had to word things strangely. Why couldn't he just say he was copying that song?) he mentally prepared himself for the "Why Do You Smile So Much, Baseball Idiot?" speech that Gokudera gave every three days or so.

"Aren't you going to go sit with you girlfriend?"

Surprised hit Yamamoto in two waves. The first came from Gokudera's suggestion itself (though it might have just been a ploy to get him away from Tsuna). The second came from the fact that Gokudera asked in a complete monotone. No yelling, no inflection, just a question a finger pointed in the other direction. "Haha. I didn't even think about that. Do you guys think I should?"

"She'd probably like that. I mean, she went through so much to come see you at lunch yesterday," Tsuna said.

"Haha, all right. I'll see you guys back in class!"

With that, Yamamoto spun around and jogged back down the stairs towards their classroom and further on to Class 3. Unfortunately, Michiko-chan was eating her lunch somewhere that wasn't her classroom. He checked Class 2's room and even went up to third year's Class 2 room to see if she was eating with Miyamoto-sempai. All of the classrooms a bust, he hiked back down the stairs and out onto the grounds to find Michiko-chan and-or her friends. He was only halfway around the main building by the time the bell signaling the end of lunch sounded (of course, this was mostly due to the fact that Masahara from year one, class 2 had a mint condition, Seattle Mariners Ichirou card he was looking to trade). Then, he sprinted back up to the second floor and his own classroom, which he managed to somehow reach before the history teacher. Lunch uneaten and looking disheveled (not that his hair didn't always stick up), though satisfied at not being late, Yamamoto collapsed into his seat from which he waved at Tsuna and the still-unresponsive Gokudera.

During the rest of the two obligatory weeks Yamamoto had to date Michiko-chan leading up to The Game, Yamamoto discovered that Michiko-chan was interesting for reasons beyond having baseball tickets (which were one use only). Apparently, she went to every one of his games that she could (originally, she went to see her brother play, but that's where Yamamoto caught her attention) and the times she couldn't were because she was playing club softball outside of the Namimori public schools. She also knew a lot about sushi (apparently, Class 2 had a history project on things influence to Japanese culture and she'd picked out sushi) and found things other than gossip about their classmates to talk about (though, she did tell him all of the rumors regarding Tsuna, Gokudera, himself and any other mafia game players).

Eventually, the big day came and went and Yamamoto couldn't really find a reason to break off the relationship. They'd taken to eating lunch together every other day (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays) and eating with their friends on the others. Sometime during those two weeks, Gokudera finished copying that song and started translating it (or so Tsuna told him during a study session at his house).

"I don't really get it. You already speak Japanese, so why are you translating the song into Italian? It's just a song," Yamamoto asked on day twelve of the countdown.

"You already play baseball, so why do you also play volleyball?"

And that cryptic retort was all Yamamoto could get from Gokudera on the subject (and it didn't even make any sense. Yamamoto was talking about a song, not a sport).

As the days passed (or, since it was Yamamoto, as the practices passed) he spent more and more time with Michiko. At first, that was because she was interesting and loved baseball, but as time progressed, Yamamoto used spending time with Michiko-chan as an excuse to avoid Gokudera. Not that he wasn't used to Gokudera's seemingly random (most were "Tsuna doesn't need me as his right hand man. I'm not worthy") bouts of depression and violence, but they were getting rather old and Michiko-chan (not to mention Tsuna) got all worked up when Yamamoto showed up with singed sleeves and a black eye (he could avoid the world's fastest sword strokes, yet somehow Gokudera's fist always managed to connect).

However, today, he wasn't hiding from Gokudera; in fact, he was trying to find Gokudera. Worried about him, Tsuna had asked Yamamoto to find Gokudera and try and figure out what was wrong (Tsuna only approached Yamamoto after Reborn forbade him from "interfering"). But finding Gokudera was proving to be quite difficult. Tsuna said that Gokudera would still be on campus after baseball practice ended, but when Yamamoto went to look around the school, it was deserted. Still in his practice uniform, Yamamoto hopped up the stairs of the main building to get to his classroom. With a slight frown at the empty Class 1 room, Yamamoto went back into the second story hall and just...wandered. Namimori High School was bigger than it's younger counterpart and Yamamoto was sure he wasn't going to find Gokudera (he probably smoked a cigarette or two and then went home), so he just relaxed and strolled down the empty halls. (He was lucky Hibari was prowling the third floor at the moment.)

As he neared the music rooms, Yamamoto started humming "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" (horribly out of tune, but that wasn't the point), which always lightened his mood. However, that lightened mood plummeted once he was close enough to hear the sad strains of a piano melody coming from one of the practice rooms. He was no music man, but heart-wrenching was heart-wrenching. He opened the last door on the left and found himself directly behind Gokudera.

Gokudera must have heard him open the door because he stopped at the same moment. Yamamoto froze in place, for once without a smile or witty (lame by most people's standards) comeback to whatever accusation Gokudera was going to fling at him this time. But then... Gokudera started playing another song and Yamamoto let out his breath. This one wasn't nearly as sad. It anything, it was upbeat and... It just felt like memories. Unfortunately, the frivolous thought made Yamamoto laugh, which seemed to break the music's hold over Gokudera, who spun around on the piano bench and glared.

"What are you laughing at, baseball idiot?"

"The song is just so nice and gentle, but it's you playing it. Even you can admit that's funny." Yamamoto grinned and then chuckled at Gokudera's expression (it was a common one; he looked torn between beating Yamamoto into a bloody pulp and simply pretending he didn't exist all together).

Apparently settling on the latter, Gokudera said, "Forget I said anything," before turning back to the piano and restarting the song.

Since he was on a mission for Tsuna (haha, it was just like a part of the mafia game), Yamamoto walked farther into the room and pulled a folding chair over next to the piano so he could while trying to figure out what was wrong with Gokudera. Without actively disturbing his playing (which would ruin any chance of talking to him once he finished the song), Yamamoto sat silently and watched Gokudera's fingers dance over the piano keys. The most in-depth thoughts Yamamoto had about music were "This sounds nice" or "I don't like the way this sounds," so he was in no position to judge how good of a player Gokudera was, but the way his fingers flew over the keys was impressive and Yamamoto knew he'd never be able to do it.

Yamamoto shifted his gaze from Gokudera (who was either deeply involved in his playing or ignoring him) to the handwritten music perched on the piano. 'Oh, so this is the song Gokudera's been working on...' Content with the fact that he wasn't going to get anything out of Gokudera until he played the song to the end, Yamamoto leaned back in the metal folding chair and let his thoughts drift. 'Hmm, does Michiko-chan like music? What kind? Maybe I could get her a CD for her birthday, when is her birthday?'

He snapped out of his thoughts when Gokudera ended the song by slamming the cover down over the keys. "Did you have a reason, or did you just come here to annoy me?"

"You've been acting depressed lately and Tsuna's starting to get worried."

"Che, as if. If the Tenth was worried he'd ask me about it, not act like a pansy and have someone else do it for him." Gokudera picked his notebook up off the piano and shoved it in his bag.

"The little guy stepped in and said Tsuna should let you work it out on your own."

"And it didn't occur to you that maybe you should do the same? Did you lose what few brain cells you had left?"

"Haha, come on, what are friends for? You don't have to do everything on your own."

"Just shut up, you have no idea what you're talking about. Friends..."

Without responding (What was he supposed to say? He didn't know what Gokudera's problem was.) Yamamoto just sat and watched Gokudera pick up his bag and leave the room.

So far, Yamamoto's date had been going very well. He had picked her up ten minutes early, service had been good at the restaurant (they had sukiyaki and shabushabu) and now they were en-route to a cute, little café Haru had recommended (not that Yamamoto had thought up any of the date's other elements, but it went without saying that he had Gokudera plan everything else. Yamamoto was, after all, "unable to even dress himself properly" for a date.). The cafe sat on top of a music store and shared the elevator with a hair salon across the hallway. Yamamoto did a double take when he opened the door for Michiko-chan.

The "cafe" looked like some fairy tale park, with benches for chairs and garlands of flowers hanging all over everything. Of course, Michiko-chan squealed in delight and rushed in. Once he got over his surprise that a cafe like this actually existed, Yamamoto followed her in and walked up to the counter to pay for the drinks (fruit smoothies) and snacks (shaved ice and cream bread, whatever that was) Michiko-chan already ordered for them.

Michiko-chan literally bounced with excitement as she picked a table for them to sit at. Yamamoto laughed and smiled widely at the sight of his usually calm and laid-back girlfriend so bursting with energy.

He took the seat across form her at a heavily decorated park bench and table that looked out through the large window onto the shopping district. When Michiko-chan began gushing about how perfect the café was, Yamamoto let his thoughts wander (during the rare times Michiko-chan did get excited, she tended to repeat herself and say obvious things and Yamamoto knew from experience that she didn't really mind if he wasn't really listening). Just as the barista brought them their smoothies, the song playing in the cafe changed to a more familiar tune. Without thinking, Yamamoto smiled and said, "This is that song Gokudera was playing."

Michiko-chan paused mid-sip and tilted her ear towards the speaker in the ceiling. "Oh! I love this song! It's so sad!"

"Sad? But it sounds so nice..."

"Can't you hear the lyrics? Oh, it's so heartbreaking..." She gave a wistful sigh and took another sip of her drink.

"Haha, Gokudera wasn't singing along when I heard him play it (And Gokudera singing? Haha.) and they're singing really fast." He rubbed the back of his neck and shrugged his shoulders in a "What can you do?" gesture.

"Well," Michiko-chan sat up with perfect posture to explain, "the song is about a guy who falls in love with his best friend, only he didn't realize it until she got married to some other guy and even then he doesn't say anything because he thinks she'll be happier with her husband, never knowing how he really felt."

"That's it! Haha, I never would have figured that out."

Michiko-chan tilted her head. "Figured what out?"

"It's nothing, don't worry about it. Just something with my friends." Smiling broadly at his girlfriend, Yamamoto made a mental note to remember to tell Tsuna about this development. Gokudera was depressed because the girl he liked was dating someone else. 'Haha, I never pictured Gokudera as the type to get all mopey.' With that in mind, Yamamoto put his attention on the shaved ice and cream bread that the waitress just put on the table.

"Oi, Gokudera!" The sight of the Italian flinching just lightened Yamamoto's mood that much more (because an angry, volatile Gokudera was better than a moody, depressed Gokudera). He easily caught up with his cantankerous friend and slung an arm over his shoulders. "So, Michiko-chan and her friends invited me and my friends to karaoke and since Tsuna's busy with special training from the litte guy anyway, I thought you should come."

"Why would I want to tag along on your date?" Gokudera snapped.

"Haha, it's not a date, it's a bunch of friends hanging out. And singing karaoke."

"And what makes you think I want to sing?"

"You really like that "Why whatever, whatever" song. You spent three weeks copying it down and! You were playing it on the piano the other day in the practice room." Yamamoto smiled after he made his point. "Come on, it'll be fun."

Gokudera shrugged off Yamamoto's arm. "Shut up, idiot. I was practicing converting songs to piano arrangements. And even if I did want to sing karaoke, I wouldn't tag along with you and your girlfriend." Grumbling, Gokudera stalked off towards the school gates.

'Well, plan "Introduce Gokudera To Michiko-chan's Cute Friends And Set Them Up" failed. Haha, I guess I'll have to try a different approach with Gokudera.' Not the least bit deterred by this early failure, Yamamoto grinned and went to find Michiko-chan.

After that first failure, Yamamoto took Tsuna's advice (Tsuna was still banned from directly interfering, something about the boss needing to learn how to micromanage) and tried a more subtle route. Which brought Gokudera to his house an hour and a half before another date with Michiko. Gokudera was currently sifting through two-thirds of Yamamoto's wardrobe, which he'd thrown all over the bed as soon as he got there ("What is wrong with you? Don't you know how to use a hanger? Everything's wrinkled now. No wonder you can't find anything.). Yamamoto felt a little like a dress up doll, but he didn't mind.

"Hey, Gokudera, teach me something in Italian."

"Are you- Nevermind, I know you're an idiot. As much as I'd like to imagine you want to learn Italian to help the Tenth, I unfortunately know you better, so what is your inane reasoning behind this?" Gokudera held up another shirt to Yamamoto as if he hadn't even said anything.

"Girls like that, don't they?" He pulled on the blue striped shirt and looked at his reflection in the mirror. "They think European languages sound romantic, right? Haha, you still have a fanclub, you know."


"Haha, be serious. I know what that word means andit's not something I would say to a girl." Yamamoto laughed and looked over his shoulder at Gokudera, who was staring at him (but not in the "I'm about to blow you up, way" so Yamamoto could ignore it.). "Teach me something good. 'You're beautiful' or 'Your eyes are like stars'... Something like that."

And then Gokudera said... Something. Yamamoto didn't know what it meant, but he knew it was perfect. That was it, what's what he wanted to say.

"That's it! That's perfect, say it again. What does it mean?"

But Gokudera didn't tell him, he just kept speaking in Italian. Whatever he was saying, it had the same cadence and feeling as the first part.

"Haha, that sounds great, too, but I don't think I can remember all of that!" Yamamoto turned around to face him and grinned happily. "Just tell me the first part again."

Gokudera did. He repeated the same phrase slowly, over and over maybe twenty times until Yamamoto could say it decently (Yamamoto was sure Gokudera would never say he pronounced an Italian word perfectly). Then, Gokudera stood up, straightened the shirt over Yamamoto's shoulders, handed him his coat and started pushing him towards the door.

"Wait, hold on, tell me what it means first."

"You can look it up when you get back. Don't expect me to give you all of the answers."

"What do I tell Michiko-chan when she asks me what it means?"

"Just be mysterious, girls love that crap."

"Haha, okay. Whatever you say." Yamamoto looked over his shoulder at Gokudera when they reached the door leading out of his house. "Since you know all of this stuff, you should get a girlfriend of your own. It'll make you happier."

Gokudera just rolled his eyes at him before pushing him into the street. "Just go already. Never be late. I'm going to see if you own any other decent clothes so we don't have to go through this every time you take her out."

"Thanks for doing this, Gokudera. You know you're my best friend, right?"

"Whatever, just go."

With one last smile and a jaunty wave, Yamamoto went to go meet Michiko-chan at her house. (Even though he hadn't gotten any closer to solving Gokudera's girl problem, he felt like he'd gone a step forward; without the usual immediate two steps back.)

"Hey, Yamamoto, you're coming over later, right? Reborn has training for us."

"Sorry, Tsuna, I have baseball practice and then I have a date with Michiko-chan. Maybe next time. Tell the little guy I've been working on endurance with the flames."

"Oh, okay. Well, I'll see you tomorrow, Yamamoto."

Yamamoto was half-way to the locker rooms when Gokudera appeared out of nowhere and slammed him up against the wall.

"Do you still think this is a game, baseball freak? You think you can just pick and choose when you're going to participate? Just because we took care of that Irie brat doesn't mean that there aren't people hunting the Vongola. Those assholes, and other Families, too, are after your life and the Vongola Ring. They will hunt you down and whether or not you're prepared to defend yourself and the Tenth won't matter to them. They will kill you and your little girlfriend, steal your ring and then rub it in the Tenth's face. How do you think he's going to feel when you're the one in the coffin, huh? You were the big man with the speech about how I was the one weighing down the Tenth, well now you're the weak link."

Michiko-chan waved her hand in front of Yamamoto's face. "Takeshi-kun, is everything all right? You seem really... distracted."

"It's nothing." Yamamoto forced a smile. "I just got into a fight with a friend today."

"With Gokudera-san?"

Caught, Yamamoto laughed and nodded

"Then, I don't think you should worry about it. You told me he was acting weird because of some girl. Whatever you guys fought about, he was probably overreacting. You guys are close. Don't let it get to you." She smiled brightly (Gokudera once commented that they were perfect for each other because they had those "identical, stupid, brainless smiles.").

"I'm sure you're right. I'll talk to him about it later."

With a softer smile, Michiko-chan said, "We can push going to the movies back a few days; I need a weekend with the girls anyway."

"Yo, Tsuna!" Yamamoto called when he made it to the base of the cliff where they usually trained (Yamamoto was grateful the little guy wasn't making him scale the cliffs like Tsuna had to before the Ring Battles with the Varia).

"Yamamoto?! I thought you were busy this weekend?"

"Haha, I was, but then Michiko-chan cancelled on me to hang out with her friends," Yamamoto said (it wasn't a complete lie. Michiko-chan had been the one to cancel and she was hanging out with her friends...). He rubbed the back of neck and grinned at Tsuna. "And I couldn't fall behind you guys. I gave this up for baseball last time and that didn't turn out so well, so..." He chuckled. "So, where's the little guy?"

Tsuna's face paled. "He's up the creek with Gokudera-kun. Something about using multiple wave energies, so Reborn told me to wait here (and practice...). But he should be back any second now..."

Much to Tsuna's dismay, Reborn did appear just then (he entered with a kick to the back of Tsuna's head) and instructed them to do physical strength training exercises while sustaining and even using their flames. Yamamoto's first assignment was to run the length of the creek downstream until he reached the rocks and then back up to where Gokudera was training. While fighting his way back upstream, he realized the tranquility from his rain flames could solidify the surface of the creek enough that he could run on top of the water rather than through it (of course, this didn't always work and he ended up headfirst in the rushing water more often than not).

When jogging past where Reborn was training Tsuna, the small hitman explained, "The tranquility of the flames slows down the water enough that the surface tension is strong enough to hold you up, but the rocks and fish and other disturbances in the creek break that tranquility, which is why you keep falling in."

"Haha, I didn't really understand that, but-"

"Keep running or I'll kill you."

"Haha! Whatever you say!" And so Yamamoto kept running upstream.

He splashed through the freezing water until it flowed under a stone bridge ('Hey! I remember this from that time we got lost!'). After climbing onto the dry bridge, Yamamoto scanned the area for Gokudera. He couldn't see his silver-haired friend, but he could see a rainbow of dying will flames coming out of a circle of trees. Squishing in his wet trainers, he jogged like a moth over to the flames. Once he was close enough to actually see Gokudera, Yamamoto realized that Gokudera wasn't sustaining all of the flames at the same time, he was just shifting through each attribute so quickly that no one flame had a chance to die out before it was lit again from one of the glittering rings.

Every time Gokudera cycled back to the storm flame (the ring rested on the middle finger of his right hand, Yamamoto should know, seeing as Gokudera gestured with it quite often) the pure red dying will flames lit up the entire area. Mesmerized, Yamamoto stood there, watching (and dripping) until Gokudera broke the cycle by failing to conjure a strong enough cloud flame. That was when Yamamoto ran into the clearing and slapped him on the back. "That was amazing!"

Gokudera looked like he was about to say something, he even opened his mouth, but in the end, he just closed it and glared sharper-than-usual daggers at Yamamoto.

"What, I'm being serious! I wish I could do that." Yamamoto's grin faltered a bit when Gokudera stayed silent. "You can't still be mad about me missing training the other day."

Gokudera's only response was to turn his back on Yamamoto and to restart the cycle of flames.


"Are you really so stupid you don't even realize when someone is ignoring you?" In flash of bright red flames, Gokudera spun back around and shoved Yamamoto away. "I told you before; you can't only be in this sometimes. Either commit yourself or give up your ring."

Smile gone, Yamamoto stared for a minute before saying, "You're the one that doesn't learn anything. At least you had an excuse when we fought Gamma, but what are the extenuating circumstances this time? Do you think that you can just "pick and choose" when you're going to act like the Right Hand Man and when you're going to be so pig-headed you can't tolerate anyone that doesn't agree with you? There's more to life, there's more to the mafia than being strong -- you need balance."

"Like you know anything about it," Gokudera growled

"You like to act like you're so high above the rest of us because you already knew this life before Tsuna came along, but what has that short window of experience got you? You're not making any friends or connections that can benefit Tsuna later on. The only thing you're doing is stalking Tsuna so closely, he can't take a breath without you knowing. And I'm sorry to be the one to tell you, if you didn't already know, but Tsuna is going to have a relationship with Sasagawa-chan. What are you going to say, then?"

"That's different."

"Why, because, as the boss, Tsuna's the only one allowed to have a personal life?"

"Shut up. It's not like that."

"Then what is it like, Gokudera?"

Gokudera looked ready to yell and start throwing dynamite, so Yamamoto braced himself, but the storm never hit. Gokudera just turned around again and scoffed over his shoulder, "Just fuck off and go do your own damn training."

"Fine." Soaked and angry, Yamamoto jogged back to the creek where he lit up his own Vongola ring. Or at least tried to. A tiny blue flame flickered over the ring before dying out. Again, he focused his resolution into a flame, but only a weak spark appeared. Frustrated, he tried again, only the third time… There was nothing.

By the time Monday rolled around, Yamamoto had resolved his frustration with Gokudera and was ready to forgive him the way he always did (by acting like nothing happened and going back to normal). Unfortunately, Gokudera seemed determined to stay mad (and Yamamoto really couldn't understand that; it took so much more effort to hate someone than it did to like them). While their English teacher lecture about the past imperfect tense (he barely had a grasp of past tense), Yamamoto tried to think of a way to fix things between him and Gokudera. Because it had to happen. As it was, Tsuna was trapped in the middle of the entire thing and Yamamoto didn't want to stress his friend out anymore.

And he missed Gokudera. It seemed like their friendship had been on the rocks since he started dating Michiko-chan. The revelation took the smile off his face, until he remembered that it had started before that. Gokudera had been moody (and working on that song) when Michiko-chan confessed. Which brought him back to the song. Yamamoto no longer believed that Gokudera was having girl troubles -- he would have at least mentioned something (to Tsuna) if there was a girl he liked. And, really, Yamamoto couldn't picture some girl getting so far under Gokudera's skin that he acted moody and depressed for weeks. Actually, the only person Yamamoto knew that could bother Gokudera that much for that length of time was himself. He chuckled, remembering all of the times a simple smile sent Gokudera into a frothing rage.

"Something funny, Yamamoto-kun?"

"Um, no, sensei." Yamamoto sat up in his seat and looked at the board, but the random English words meant nothing to him.

"I didn't think so. Now translate exercise four into English."

Frantic, Yamamoto flipped through his English book until he found the exercise four the teacher was (hopefully) asking about. "The cats... ate... everyday this week?"

"Incorrect. Fujiwara-kun, why don't you try?"

Thankful that the teacher hadn't grilled him until he came up with the correct answer (which was unlikely to happen any time that day), Yamamoto slouched back in his chair and went back to his last thought. 'Oh yeah, I was thinking about how just being around used to bother Gokudera.' But that wasn't the case anymore. It hadn't been the case since that disastrous fight with Gamma that could have killed them both. 'And I know we didn't get into a fight a few weeks ago when this started, so it can't be me this time.' If it wasn't girl trouble or a fight with Yamamoto, then what was it?

During lunch with Michiko-chan (who was very sympathetic about how he was probably English), Yamamoto explained the problem with Gokudera (By this point, he was fairly sure that Reborn wouldn't let Tsuna get involved and this needed fixing.).

"If you don't think it's about a girl, then maybe the song has nothing to do with it."

"But Gokudera never plays piano (voluntarily)."

"Why not?"

Yamamoto hesitated. As much as he liked Michiko-chan, he couldn't just give her all of the details about Gokudera's family. Lukcily for him, she (using some innate sense that girls have) guessed why he wasn't saying anything.

"Okay, nevermind what the reason is, could that be the thing that's bothering him?"

'Could it?' Yamamoto thought, but he discarded the idea almost instantly. No one had brought up the topic of Gokudera's mother and Bianchi-san was out of town. "No," Yamamoto said, shaking his head, "That's not it either."

Michiko-chan let out a breath and then pouted (in such a cute way, he had to smile). "Are you sure it's not something you did?"

"I would remember if we'd fought over something."

"Just because you didn't fight doesn't mean anything. Maybe you did or said something that hurt him."

Laughing, Yamamoto said, "Gokudera doesn't care about what anyone says (Except maybe Tsuna)."

Michiko-chan just stared at him as if she were trying to get him to confess to hurting Gokudera's feelings. "That's what his problem is. It is you. You did, or said, something that really got to him and then shrugged it off with a 'He doesn't care anyway.'"

The only sensitive part of Gokudera was his stomach when his sister was around. It couldn't be something as simple as hurt feelings. That's just not how he worked. "I don't think that's it. You don't know him like I do."

He didn't like the look on Michiko-chan's face. And then she sighed and rolled her eyes (which just made it worse). "Takeshi-kun, maybe we should take a break until you figure everything out with Gokudera-san. It's obviously really bothering you, too. And I bet whatever the issue between you two is escalated once we started going out, right?"

"No! I mean, it did, but it doesn't have anything to do with you. We don't have to break up. I won't talk about it anymore."

She just sighed again and patted his head. "Takeshi-kun, I don't mind you talking about your problems, but your problems are getting bigger than just your friend being snappy. I'm sure that you forgot a lot more than that you were supposed to bring lunch for me today."

Thankfully, Tsuna didn't ask any questions about the surprise breakup. Gokudera didn't say anything (but he was still ignoring Yamamoto, even four days later). But even if they weren't talking about his breakup, the trio was still horribly awkward. Even when they gathered up in Tsuna's room to study together, things were tense. Gokudera refused to even look at Yamamoto by this point and decided he could better show how angry he was at Yamamoto by talking over Yamamoto every time he tried to speak. Tsuna, of course, tried to bridge the gap every half hour, but it was to no avail -- Gokudera was just going to be Gokudera.

The rollercoaster of hot-cold emotions that Gokudera showed before the training incident was far preferable to the stony silence and blatant disregard Yamamoto now got. 'Why is he still doing this? All he's doing is making everyone else miserable.' Yamamoto had never had so much trouble keeping his smile in place. Usually, it was easy to just smile and go along with the flow, but Gokudera's not-so-passive aggression had stopped up the flow like a dam in the river.

As if things couldn't get any worse, during Friday's lunch break they found Reborn waiting for Tsuna up on the roof (he then dragged Tsuna away for some sort of private training). Gokudera and Yamamoto stood a meter apart, not looking at each other, or saying anything for a full minutes before they both moved to sit in their usual seats (Yamamoto because he still wanted to fix things and he supposed Gokudera did because he was pretending Yamamoto didn't exist and he had no where else to go.)

After five minutes of solid silence, Yamamoto threw down his food and said, "This has gone on long enough, Gokudera. Just tell me what your problem is."

Gokudera leaped to his feet and glared down at Yamamoto. For once unwilling to let Gokudera have complete control, Yamamoto stood up and met his stare. Of course, this just enraged Gokudera more, but Yamamoto was a little passed caring at that point.

With an audible snarl, Gokudera fisted the front of Yamamoto's shirt and shoved him up against the fence that surrounded the rooftop. "You wanna know what my problem is, baseball idiot? You. You are my fucking problem. You always tag along after me and the Tenth, trying to be a part of the Famiglia, but only when it's convenient for you. You think you can throw your arm around my shoulders, smile that stupid, brainless smile, call me your God damn best friend and think that that makes everything okay!"

"You're crying." In disbelief, Yamamoto reached up (his hand wasn't shaking – it wasn't) and wiped the tears off one cheek.

Gokudera's breath hitched and then he tightened his grip on Yamamoto's shirt. "You fucking idiot." And then Gokudera jerked Yamamoto down by the shirt and kissed him. Gokudera pulled back just far enough to say, "You stupid…" And then his hot mouth was back on Yamamoto's. He even fisted a handful of Yamamoto's hair to hold him in place, not that Yamamoto wanted to get away. Certainly not when Gokudera kept kissing him and murmuring declarations of love against his lips.

Because Gokudera's real problem was that when he said "You're an idiot" he meant "I like you."