Word Count: (around) 9,833 (--Italian was edited!)
Summary: Gokudera's realized something about himself, and denial is his new best friend. And it doesn't help that Yamamoto's got a girlfriend, either...
Warnings: Language, Mad and Frothing Squirrels, Italian...
Edit: Italian was edited, thanks to Karijin Aska Shangel!!
✩✩Crits are welcomed and encouraged!✩✩Author and Translation Notes are at the bottom✩✩
Per Favore Non Dimenticarmi
It wasn't as if it was a conscious thought. He'd just heard the song and liked it. It wasn't as if he'd seriously be playing it on the piano; it was just to make sure he didn't lose his touch.
At least that was his defense against himself when familiar deep amber eyes flashed across his mind's eye, accompanied by coal-black hair, and tanned skin. Something in his chest gave a particular 'thump' and he shook his head. No, he told himself. That's NOT it…!
He looked back to his radio, surrounded by ramen cups, and San Pellegrino bottles. The music coming from the small speakers was rhythmic, and enchanting (if he dared to use that word). He pressed STOP, and rewound a few bars back (he would NEVER admit to having recorded the song—that was a sappy thing to do) so he could listen to the music again: It was just in this phrase that the harmony was hard to catch. The rest was simple.
Before long he caught himself humming along and muttering, "Kimi ga iru koto ga touzen de…." He, of course, knew that this was absolutely unacceptable. He would stick to just humming the song for now.
School proved to be difficult: His teachers didn't bother calling on him. (Which was good; and probably because his nose was buried in a book. Granted it wasn't his math book but rather a few sheets of printer paper stuffed in a loose-leaf notebook that said nose was buried in, transcribing more chords and slurs and staccatos.) However, his proximity to a certain someone was too close for comfort at the moment (he was determined to ignore any kind of excitement his brain might be trying to convince him of feeling). He felt those eyes land on him, accompanied between classes with comments such as, 'Haha, so even Gokudera needs to take notes, now,' and responses such as, 'Shut up, Baseball Nut, I'm transcribing music from memory.'
The transition from memory-to-paper continued into lunch. He'd have to go find some new paper soon—if he erased any more his paper would become illegible, let alone useful. Lunch began normally: Sitting in their normal spots, doing what they normally did. Gokudera thought he might have heard Yamamoto ask something like, "What's transcribing?" to the Tenth. He didn't answer because the Tenth obviously could since he was smart in all things Yamamoto didn't know—which was most things. Stupid Baseball Nut.
In the back of his mind, he thought he heard giggling, but it was probably just a few girls thinking they could hang out on the roof. If they annoyed the Tenth, however….
There were four girls and one of them was standing in front of Yamamoto holding something out at him, and saying something very rushed. Gokudera supposed she was a cute girl; the pink in her cheeks matched the color of the letter Yamamoto was grabbing.
A pink letter…. Gokudera stopped his eyes from widening (they narrowed instead) and watched as Yamamoto read the short letter and stand, smiling.
He wasn't sure what it was but as he watched as Yamamoto's mouth move up and down, still smiling and the expression on the girl's face light up a thousand times brighter. Something, however, grew a little dimmer for Gokudera. He had a feeling he might know what it is, but he'd rather not focus on something so entirely depressing at the moment.
And so, he returned to copying the music onto the paper. The staff lines he drew and the stems of notes were shaky—he'd have to re-copy it later.
The next day found Gokudera still copying the music. He was almost finished and he was almost 95 sure the transliterated music was at least 80 correct; perhaps he'd find the music room later and hear how it sounded. He had several new sheets—most of which had already scoffed with stubborn graphite, ripped with tears and scarred with thinned, rubbed sections.
He hadn't noticed when lunch came around until he heard chairs scraping against the floors. He mechanically picked his things up to throw in his bag and joined the Tenth, waiting for the Baseball Idiot to come out of whatever daydream he was having. He was NOT explaining ANYTHING about their Trigonometry review—unless it was for the Tenth.
Following behind the Tenth and Yamamoto, his eyes stared at the back of The Idiot's head. They were nearly to the roof when he suddenly said, "Aren't you going to go sit with your girlfriend?"
It surprised him how easily it came out. None of his trademark attitude or disdain trickled in—just a flat sentence. Yamamoto paused for a moment, the Tenth stopping with him.
"Haha. I didn't even think about that. Do you guys think I should?" he asked. Gokudera wanted to kick himself—not that he wanted Yamamoto to stay. It was for the Tenth. The Tenth! For the Tenth…!
"She'd probably like that," said the Tenth. "I mean, she went through so much to come see you at lunch, yesterday."
Yeah; like what? Gokudera asked himself. Writing a love letter is haaarrrd work…. Stupid girl. Probably can't think too hard if she's got a crush on the Baseball Freak.
He stopped all line of thought right there.
"Haha, all right." Yamamoto turned and stepped down a bit past Gokudera. "I'll see you guys back in class!"
Gokudera and the Tenth watched him hurry down the stairs and out of sight. The Tenth was grinning happily.
"I'm really happy for Yamamoto. Aren't you, Gokudera-Kun?"
"Huh? Me? Well…." His thoughts were jumbled: He knew what he wanted to say, but he would never
say that, especially to the Tenth. He shouldn't be bothered with these things. But for his feelings on the matter…. "I guess so," he conceded. "It means he won't be such a bother and…." A smile lit up on his face. "We can focus on the Vongola!"
He supposed part of it was true—he was always ready to talk Vongola, but it didn't seem the same without Yamamoto there.
Oh well. He and the Tenth continued to the roof, ate lunch, and when the Tenth asked for help while reviewing his math notes he gladly did so. Any time not spent helping the Tenth was spent continuing to transcribe the music.
Later that week Gokudera finished copying the music and making any corrections he felt necessary before finding a piano to test it out on. He took an ink-well pen to darken the notes and ties, embellish the clefs (because it was just something to do) and emphasize the pedals; the main reason had been so he could read over the gray smudges over the worn paper and eraser-marks but…may as well do it all….
Class ended the same as any other. "Bye, guys, see you later—!" "I've got a good feeling about practice today…!" and more recently (and perhaps a little infuriatingly), "I wonder if Michiko-Chan will be there, haha!"
So Yamamoto left, hurrying a little faster than usual to practice. Obsessed moron…. Gokudera felt a grin beginning to form on his lips; he quickly suppressed it in favor of a scowl.
"Idiot doesn't even bother to properly say farewell to the Tenth…" he muttered.
"Gokudera-Kun, are you doing anything today?"
Before settling on the Tenth, all Gokudera saw was his hair as he spun around to face the Tenth, smiles and all.
"I was going to try and find the music room."
The Tenth made an 'O' with his mouth, then grinning said, "For that song you were working on?"
"Yes!" Gokudera nodded. It was only then he realized just how foolish and feminine it sounded: 'Oh, yes, I'm going to go play this pretty piece of music because it won't leave my head and makes me think about him.'
Far too feminine for his comfort….
"Okay. Well, when you're done will you stop by my house? There's an English question I'm not quite getting…."
Gokudera nodded enthusiastically. "Of course, Tenth! I'll be over as soon as I'm done! It won't take long!"
After parting with the Tenth and after he made sure no one was on the third floor, he began his search. It didn't take too long to find a piano—a fact that displeased him greatly—and he made sure to lock the door behind him.
No one needed to hear what he was about to play.
The piano was nothing fancy. Just a school's piano—it was rough and worn with age and use, and the once-white keys were yellowed and chipped in several places. He approached the piano with caution as if it held his own dynamite stock and gently placed the music sheets on the front of the piano. He pulled the bench out, sat, and stared at the keys for a moment before sighing. As soon as that first chord sounded it would all be over; there was no turning back. He'd have to admit everything to himself. His heart gave a particular throb and his fingers caressed the keys, pushing them down to do their thing.
…But he was pretty sure that that was not the right chord….
He could wait to admitting his downfall to himself later after he invested more time into righting out the damn song!
As it turned out, less than 80 of the music was correct—several of the chords he'd written were minor (fucking half steps…) and the keys had been wrong. Oh well—it was easily fixable.
But he'd needed to invest in staff paper and three more packs of cigarettes before he even dreamed of stepping into the music store.
Nearing the end of the second week, Gokudera was nearly positive he'd finished correcting the music. Eight revisions and suddenly 17,500 Yen poorer (there were more than just 3 packs of cigarettes and several packs of staff paper…), Gokudera made his now-routine route to the music room. He knew this would be the day that it would flow, and match the song he'd heard what seemed like so long ago on the radio.
The piano greeted him in the same manner it always had; unmoving and silent—promising something Gokudera couldn't quite make out. On his part he eyed the piano a little more than warily, hoping that promise wasn't something dark, or foreboding.
Routine went normally: Sitting down at the piano, looking at the keys and staring at the notes he'd written, hoping they were the correct ones as he ran through several scales and exercises—just making sure he knew what he was doing. A moment later, he took a few deep breaths, and began playing something that FINALLY resembled the music that played in his head. His fingers did their acrobatics over the keyboard and a sense of accomplishment and pride swelled within him. His grin went unnoticed to himself and he didn't realize he was humming along, singing the lyrics in his head. His eyes eventually closed when he played through the chorus and for those 3 minutes and 20 seconds had forgotten how much he didn't like playing the piano, or getting a feeling of such contentment from playing said piano.
Upon the deaths of the last notes Gokudera groaned, resting his elbows on the piano keys with force and withdrawing horrific sounds. He glared now at the paper in front of him.
"Dammit!" he cursed. He gripped his hair, finally relaxing just a little bit.
He was always there. He was always smiling. He was always forgiving him or was always nice to him or always helping him in some way. It was infuriating and yet so wonderful at the same time.
Gokudera groaned, once more staring placidly at the music. He read the title, scoffing. Doushite Kimi wo Suki ni Natte Shimattandarou? Che. How typical. Once more, the eyes that had been haunting him flashing before him, followed by full images of the boy. Dammiiiiiit, he thought. I can't escape it. Fuck it, Yamamoto! I can't decide if it's just actual hate, now…!
He paused a moment and sighed. It wasn't hate. It wasn't hate at all. Jealousy and anger were long past.
Toleration was past. Contentment was present; maybe a little bit of jealousy? He'd been jealous before of Yamamoto—if there was any jealousy now it was of 'Michiko-Chan'. Yamamoto was just involved in it. Yamamoto was involved with her. Well, he hoped he enjoyed 'The Game'! With Michiko-Chan. (Not that he'd voluntarily go to a baseball game, but that was beside the point.) He stood, closing the cover for the keys, and packing his things away before Hibari decided to bite him to death, or whatever it was he did.
He had to get to the Tenth's for a study session and make sure the Tenth knew the difference between convex lenses and concave lenses. Maybe he could give an example with his glasses.
He turned the light out to the room, and with a last glance at the piano a word started to bug him, unrelenting in trying to come to full consciousness. He tried to fight it down, but he eventually conceded to himself, admitting that Yamamoto was driving him crazy and that maybe what he felt for the moron was softer than what he showed. That what he felt was more than just camaraderie or friendship and that what he yearned for from the Rain Guardian was more than just a smile and laughter.
But that was a secret to only him and the piano.
Three days later found Gokudera, Yamamoto, and the Tenth sitting around the table his room (the Tenth's, of course) talking, eating popsicles, and forgetting the test they were supposed to be studying for. Well, two of them at least—Gokudera had begun (the day before) translating the song into Italian. (He'd been listening to the Japanese lyrics over... and over... and over... and over again. For several parts he had to brave the internet for the lyrics just to make sure what he was hearing was correct.)
He heard the Tenth and Yamamoto talking but as he was trying his best to ignore Yamamoto (it would be better for both of them, really) they sounded more like mumbles in the background.
He was about a fifth of the way through plus one phrase of translation when Yamamoto said, "I don't really get it."
Gokudera cursed himself for listening in at that moment, but continued on translating. Yamamoto's next question didn't go unheard, either.
"You already speak Japanese, so why are you translating the song into Italian?"
Gokudera looked up, his glasses almost halfway down the bridge of his nose.
"It's just a song," said Yamamoto.
Gokudera straightened up, fixed his glasses and with his eyes closed and that usual look of disdain asked in return, "You already play baseball, so why do you also play volleyball?"
"Mm? But—ah, Gokudera...! That's a sport, not a song... Why are you translating it?"
A scoff sounded from Gokudera, and he resumed the translating. "Nothing you need to worry about—shut up and keep studying!"
That was that, and Gokudera continued with the next phrase.
If one looked at Gokudera's house, they'd see a mess. Yet, if they looked at Gokudera's mind and how it worked, 'organized' would be on everyone's list of things Gokudera's mind was.
So, if one were to evaluate his actions over the span of x-amount of days, they'd be almost shocked to find how... 'out of tune' he was. It was harder and harder to be around Yamamoto lately; be it his own fear of making it look as if he felt something for the baseball nut, or maybe that Yamamoto was catching on and avoiding him so that it wouldn't look as if Gokudera felt something for him. It wasn't a stab in the gut for any clichéd reason—that would be foolish—but the fact that Yamamoto was usually around him: Next to him, in front of and behind him... hell, even hanging off of him. It was slightly insulting, he supposed.
So, there were moments that Gokudera would (understandably, of course) get upset and maybe accidentally set off an explosion or two, or just punched him to release some steam. Any marks left upon Yamamoto's body were NOT his fault, and besides; Yamamoto wasn't exactly fighting back.
Regardless... No matter how upset he may still have become, nothing about his revelation had changed, and he still went each day to the piano after class. He'd sit there, perfect any mistakes in playing, and make sure that he could fix the Italian to match the rhythms of the Japanese counterpart. By now the translation was nearly complete; it was just making sure it fit with the music.
It was during a session similar in routine that he'd been interrupted. He was nearly finished running through a different piece on the piano for warm-up (slower, and it had more minor keys) when a creak of the door stopped him and he froze for a moment before his hands automatically began playing The Song. He knew who was standing there—there was no need to turn. He cursed his hands—why did they automatically start playing the song...? Yet another plan of his had been foiled by Yamamoto when the fool laughed. Gokudera turned sharply to gaze at Yamamoto with narrowed eyes.
"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."
Gokudera's stare was the same as it had been before any of this confusing and emotional bullshit had begun, and Yamamoto just grinned, laughing to himself. Of course he would. Gokudera had obviously been a fool to think Yamamoto knew what was going on. He rolled his eyes, turning back to the piano with a, "Forget I said anything."
His fingers automatically found the opening notes on the keyboard to The Song, and he started from the beginning as Yamamoto joined him soon after with a folding chair. Gokudera almost grinned but held it back. He made sure Yamamoto could see the way his fingers maneuvered their way up and down.
Yamamoto wasn't saying anything; he just sat there, looking around (from what Gokudera could tell), and his eyes said that he was thinking of that Michiko-Chan. His mind had only semi-registered that he was only a few measures from finishing the song, but...
He slammed the key-cover shut with a snap, and stared at Yamamoto. "Did you have a reason, or did you just come here to annoy me?" He was hoping for the former, but the latter seemed more positive than negative.
Yamamoto was quiet for a moment, but said, "You've been acting depressed lately, and Tsuna's starting to get worried."
"Che, as if," he commented rudely. "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 began picking up his things as Yamamoto shrugged minutely.
"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 anything your own."
"Just shut up, you have no idea what you're talking about. Friends..."
Trying to ignore any kind of Shoulder Devil vs. Shoulder Angel commentary in his head, Gokudera stalked out of the room leaving Yamamoto at the piano.
The cigarette in Gokudera's mouth gave a particular wince when he heard Yamamoto's shout of, "Oi, Gokudera!" He groaned a little bit, and looked up to the sky. Now was not a great time. He'd avoided the Tenth's house (never to offend the Tenth!) just so he could walk to school alone that morning to clear his head and think straight—especially after helping the idiot plan his own date with Michiko-Chan. The ashes of the cigarette fell when an arm draped 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 little guy anyway, I thought you should come."
Gokudera furrowed his eyebrows, asking, "Why would I want to tag along on your date?"
"Haha, it's not a date, it's a bunch of friends hanging out. And singing karaoke."
His eyebrows relaxed, instead lifting just slightly in question. "And what makes you think I want to sing?"
Yamamoto was unrelenting. "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. Come on, it'll be fun."
Fun? Gokudera thought. Fun? Try, 'miserable'. "Shut up, Idiot." He shrugged Yamamoto's arm off, walking ahead a few steps. "I was practicing converting songs into piano arrangements." Lie. "And even if I did want to sing karaoke—" Unlikely. "I wouldn't tag along with you and your girlfriend." Definitely not.
Gokudera stalked off. He didn't want to just be his friend, but what was he going to do? How weird it would be for them to both be boys and to be together like Yamamoto and Michiko-Chan—granted he didn't think anything between them (he and Yamamoto) would be quite so... pink sounding and full of hearts... He mentally shivered at the thought. That and he hadn't allowed himself to think about anything beyond 'friendship'. It was bad enough he knew that he wanted that.
He entered the school gate and saw Michiko-Chan standing there with a friend. She looked up at him, grinning.
"Hi, Gokudera-San...!" she called, waving her hand high. Gokudera quirked an eyebrow. He didn't stop walking, and gave a small grunt in return before throwing his cigarette butt to the ground before Hibari's Prefect Senses started tingling. "Wait, Gokudera-San—! Gokudera-San...!"
Pretending he didn't hear her, he kept going. His plan for today was to finish the last few translations and phrasing them. He didn't need to be worrying about Michiko-Chan and The Idiot right now. He entered the school, ready to find the Tenth and ignore lessons again.
Gokudera seriously had no idea what he was doing. He was in Yamamoto's room, buried in clothes. He was only just through a third of the pile of the idiot's clothing, cursing him and all these clothes. Shouldn't it be the other way around? Sure, Gokudera had clothes, but he didn't have this many, and he was the Italian one...! Well, he supposed that might be part of the reason Yamamoto had him come over and help dress him up for his date.
"Hey, Gokudera, teach me something in Italian."
...That might also be why.
"Are you—?" He sighed. "Nevermind, I know you're an idiot." Gokudera shook his head, and shook one of Yamamoto many shirts. Looking it over, he said, "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?" He held the shirt up to Yamamoto, hoping that Yamamoto wouldn't respond with something about 'girls like it'.
"Girls like that, don't they?"
Oh, right on the money. Gokudera mentally face palmed as Yamamoto turned to the mirror, checking out his shirt. Gokudera peeked at him. The blue shirt wasn't bad, he supposed, but it could be a lot better. Compared to the rest of the Japanese Male Fashion Sense Yamamoto looked normal.
"They think European languages sound romantic, right? Haha, you still have a fan club, you know."
Gokudera almost snorted. "Vaffanculo."
Yamamoto grinned in the mirror. "Haha, be serious. I know what that word means, and it's not something I would say to a girl." He laughed some more, and Gokudera was caught looking at him. It didn't register, really, and he found that he didn't mind. "Teach me something good. 'You're beautiful,' or, 'Your eyes are like stars'... Something like that."
Gokudera sighed, breaking eye contact and saying, "Ti penso sempre... Mi piaci sempre di più—mi sto innamorando di te." A moment later he added on, "Non dimenticarmi." It came out a little sad, which wasn't his intention, but it wasn't like Yamamoto would pick up on it.
"Haha, that sounds great, too, but I don't think I can remember all of that!" Yamamoto looked at him once more, and said, "Just tell me the first part again."
"Ti penso sempre."
"Chi... penso senpure"
Gokudera suppressed a grin. "No, no—ti. Not 'chi'."
"Eh?! Now it's 'shi'?!"
"No—! It's 'si', and 'si' is 'yes'."
"Oh! Okay! So, 'Ti penso senpure'!"
Gokudera shook his head, hoping his hair hid his face. "Sem. Pre."
"Mm. Not 'nn'."
"Ti penso sempre."
At hearing the language come from Yamamoto, Gokudera felt his face start to warm up a bit, but he ignored it, forcing it down. "Close enough," he said. He made sure he sounded impatient. He stood, hoping that his face wasn't red or pink or anything like that, and fixed Yamamoto's shirt before handing him his coat and pushing him out before he (Gokudera) said or did something stupid. Yamamoto grabbed the doorjamb, looking at Gokudera.
"Wait, hold on, tell me what it means, first."
Gokudera shook his head, letting his hair fall in his face. "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?"
Gokudera scoffed. "Just be mysterious. Girls love that crap."
"Haha, okay. Whatever you say." They continued to the main entrance of Takezushi, where Yamamoto would be departing from. "Since you know all this stuff, you should get a girlfriend of your own. It'll make you happier."
Gokudera rolled his eyes, thinking, I don't want a girlfriend... He pushed Yamamoto out 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."
Yamamoto grinned back. "Thanks for doing this, Gokudera. You know you're my best friend, right?"
"Whatever, just go."
Yamamoto waved, and left. Nothing else passed through Gokudera's mind as he grabbed a piece of sushi from the counter, and continued back to Yamamoto's room to do as he said. Back in the room, door shut and staring at the clothes, he asked himself aloud, "E' questa la tua risposta...?"
Pushing it from his mind, Gokudera walked to the clothes to organize them. There wasn't much else in his life that was organized anymore; he may as well help Yamamoto out.
The following week was rather miserable for Gokudera.
More often than not, he found his mind preoccupied, and not with school as it should be. (Well, that, and Vongola and of course serving the Tenth in any way he needed serving.) Instead, he found it full of overly familiar tunes and a mesh of Italian and Japanese lyrics and Namimori's Star Baseball Player.
'Best friend'...? He caught himself wondering one day after school. He was going to the Tenth's house to wait for Yamamoto to get there after practice, which was when Reborn-San would be taking them somewhere to train. That's almost worse than if he was a girl and said, 'Oh, sorry, but you're like my brother...!' He scoffed. Che. 'Best friend'... He is not my best friend.
He finished tying his sneakers, throwing his bag over his shoulder. No piano today. Oh well: It just meant he'd have to work harder later when he did go to practice. There were several phrases his hands kept tripping on as he tried to make it a little more advanced to match the more inter-woven rhythms and cadence of the actual song. Gokudera attempted to throw any more thoughts of The Song out of his head, especially when Yamamoto joined them. Gokudera glared in his direction. He was saying goodbye to Michiko-Chan and before he could turn, Gokudera caught Michiko's eye. Her smile faltered for a moment as they stared; her eyes were wide whereas his were narrowed. "Tch."
Gokudera turned abruptly and walked around the corner and down the hall; the most he heard of Yamamoto's and the Tenth's conversation was that after practice he had a date with Michiko-Chan. Stupid idiot. Wasn't the Tenth more important? What about Vongola? The entire Family? He was going to just throw all that away for some girl? He shook his head, not really sure where his legs had taken him. Only when he looked up did he discover where he was. It was a three-way hall hub, and coming from his right was Yamamoto—smiles and grins and all. Gokudera's stare settled, his anger rising.
When Yamamoto turned and began walking down the hallway in front of Gokudera, the latter growled and stomped forward in anger. He reached forward to grab Yamamoto's arm and shove him against the wall. Yamamoto's eyes were wide in surprise and before Gokudera allowed him to say anything, Gokudera began yelling at him.
"Do you still think this is a game, Baseball Freak? You think you can just pick and choose when you're going to participate?" Gokudera gripped the front of Yamamoto's shirt, pushing his fists against his chest. "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." Gokudera couldn't feel his hands much anymore, and they were a brilliant white. His voice calmed down some in volume, but by no means did his tone change. "They will kill you and your little girlfriend, steal your ring and then rub it in the Tenth's face. How do you think Tsuna'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."
They stayed like that for another few moments, until Gokudera relinquished his grip and turned around to walk back to where the Tenth was probably waiting for him.
"Go on and have fun with your game, and your girlfriend. Your identical, stupid, and brainless smiles make you perfect for each other."
Gokudera jumped slightly. He was supposed to be walking to the Tenth's house to discuss the lectures they'd been subjected to that day.
"Gokudera-Kun, are you okay?"
The Tenth's question didn't go unheard, but Gokudera wasn't sure how to respond. He should trust the Tenth with his problems, but that would be bothering him. The Tenth didn't want to hear such petty problems, or be traumatized with the fact that his Right Hand Man might have more-than-just-friendly-feelings for a certain Rain Guardian of Vongola. Or... well... how confused he was about what was going on within him, and how he'd treated Yamamoto the other day and it... He sighed. He was miserable.
But the Tenth needn't know! Gokudera put on a wide smile. "Of course I'm fine, Tenth! I was just thinking! Sorry for worrying you...!"
The Tenth didn't look 100 convinced (barely 58), but he nodded in affirmation, and continued his previous conversation with Sasagawa.
Both of the Sasagawas were supposed to join them, but Turf-Top mentioned something about needing to scout out first years and the like, so it was just Kyouko with them. Miura hadn't been invited to their little study session, but with his luck, she'd already be there waiting for them.
And as if on cue just five minutes later she burst out of the Sawada household, arms thrown open wide.
The Tenth's eyes widened as he was attacked, and pushed down to the street below him. Gokudera rushed forward, trying to pry the stupid girl off of his boss. He succeeded only after three attempts and distracting her with enough insults to make her forget her original goal.
So now he and Sasagawa sat waiting for the Tenth and Miura to return with drinks (Gokudera had offered to spare him the trouble, but then Miura intervened and... yeah...) Sasagawa sat opposite of Gokudera, glancing between him and the notes she took that day whereas Gokudera twirled his pen between his fingers and stared blindly at his papers.
"Gokudera-Kun... are you okay?"
Upon hearing his name, the addressee looked up and found her staring rather... pathetically at him, actually; it was slightly disconcerting...
"I'm fine," he said.
Another few seconds passed and Sasagawa sighed. "It... doesn't seem like you're okay. If you'd like to talk about it you can talk to me," she said slowly. "But I'll understand if you don't!"
"What?" He had to show a certain amount of respect for Sasagawa; she was the Tenth's crush, after all. Plus, she wasn't stupid. Like Miura. He sighed. "It's nothing. Really."
She looked a little lost, almost, but determined. "You look a little distracted, and we were worried since it's not often that you show anything so... melancholy."
"Geh...!" Since when were people so perceptive to him? And Sasagawa, of all people?! Something about that just seemed wrong.
"I mean—!" Sasagawa continued. "Everyone's been worried about you, lately. Tsuna-Kun, and Yamamoto-Kun... Have you spoken to them about anything?"
His gaze narrowed slightly at his paper. The pen in his hand twirled faster. "The Tenth doesn't need to worry about me! And as for Yamamoto he can go worry about his girlfriend and baseball." He focused back on his paper and twirling his pen.
Sasagawa made a sound that sounded almost like a squeak, but settled back and nodded. "It... seems like Yamamo—"
"And you don't need to worry, either," he interrupted. "It's something I'll get over on my own."
"Gokudera-Kun...! It's obviously not something that'll be over quickly...!"
"Are you a counselor, now?"
Perhaps it was a sharp remark, but he blamed that on his personality. Sasagawa would know that, right? She looked a little putout, but it didn't seem to deter her. "Well, no, and I know we're not close friends or anything, but you can still talk to me if you'd like." She was quiet for a moment; Gokudera didn't say anything, and she continued. "It... it seems like it has to do with Yamamoto-Kun."
Gokudera froze for a split second and hoped that Sasagawa hadn't noticed, but he was sure she had: She was a female, after all.
"Michiko-Chan's a really nice girl."
Not what he wanted to hear.
"And really smart, too...! I'm happy for Yamamoto-Kun, even if it means he has to miss out on sumo practice with you and Tsuna-Kun."
She... still thinks it's sumo...! "Yeah, well, he's missing out on extremely important training!" he snapped. "There's no excuse, even if he was dating some princess from some faraway land...! He needs to be here with m—us!"
Gokudera gulped, looking much more intently at his paper. His pen was gripped firmly in his hand, and she had to have gotten it. Had to have!
Yet, again, if she did pick up on it she didn't speak on it. She just grinned a little bit and nodded as the Tenth and Miura came back with drinks, Lambo and I-Pin running around them. (They'd grown too big by now to run between their legs.)
Regularity resumed—apart from the whole 'Yamamoto's Not Here', of course—and his and Sasagawa's conversation wasn't brought up again.
"You should be able to keep each flame lit as you cycle through. Five minutes. Keep each flame alive, cycling through, for five minutes."
Gokudera stared at the trees around him, running Reborn-San's words through his head over and over again.
"Cycle them through... Keep them alive... Five minutes..." he muttered to himself. He stared at each of this rings, then back at the trees. He wondered how Reborn-San expected him to do this; the other day he'd been instructed to cycle through them once every 5 seconds for 3 minutes. Now he was supposed to cycle through so quickly that no flame should die out. For five minutes.
Nice. Real nice.
At the end of an hour, Gokudera was close. He was exhausted and spent, but there was no killing his determination. This was for the Tenth, and for the good of Vongola. He could do it. He could do it, he could do it, he could do it! He was so close...! He started focusing so much on getting them to just cycle, his concentration on the growth of the flame fell. The purple color of the Cloud Flame died. The cycling stopped, and he stared at his hand, breathing a little heavily. Fucking cloud attribute. 'Isolation'. That should be perfect for me right now.
"That was amazing!"
Gokudera's eyes widened and he stumbled forward a bit after being slapped in the back. He caught himself before falling completely, and caught sight of Yamamoto next to him. He was soaking wet (but he was an idiot so Gokudera didn't worry much about the 'how'), and his smile was wide—probably at seeing the Right Hand Man's greatness, of course.
Several other things passed through Gokudera's mind, and he couldn't decide what to say. Did he welcome him back as if nothing had happened? That was surely how Yamamoto planned on going about it. Did he ignore him, as Yamamoto should know Gokudera would most likely do? Nor was he sure how to feel upon seeing him all of a sudden after determinedly ignoring his existence (which was a very hard thing to do when infatuated with the person whose existence you're trying to determinedly ignore).
So, in the end, Gokudera settled with remaining quiet, and glared super-hard at Yamamoto.
"What, I'm being serious! I wish I could do that."
The grin Yamamoto wore began to fall into something resembling a frown and a pout. "You can't still be mad about me missing training the other day."
What an idiot... Can't believe Reborn-San let him stay. He turned. He needed to focus on getting these rings lit up before Reborn-San came and saw him slacking off.
"Are you really so stupid you don't even realize when someone is ignoring you?"
A spin, shove, and flash of red later, Yamamoto stood several paces back. His smile was gone, and he was just staring at Gokudera. It made Gokudera uncomfortable, but...
"I told you before," he continued. "You can't only be in this sometimes. Either commit yourself or give up your ring."
It wasn't often Yamamoto got mad; it was a little scary when he did. When his gaze sharpened, Gokudera wasn't sure what to say to stop Yamamoto's next words.
"You're the one that doesn't learn anything," Yamamoto said. "At least you had an excuse when we fought Gamma, but what are the extenuating circumstances this time?"
Gokudera almost stopped listening—who knew Yamamoto knew such big words? Then again—Yamamoto was smart. He just didn't apply himself as he should.
"Do you think 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."
Gokudera grit his teeth, forcing out, "Like you know anything about it."
Yet, Yamamoto continued as if he hadn't said anything. "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 gotten you? You're not making any friends or connections that can benefit Tsuna later on. The only thing you're doing to 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?"
But how does that...? "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?"
You have no idea what it's like—if you just knew! Gokudera bared his teeth in anger, reaching for a stick of dynamite. He could show him what it was like, but that would earn him a lifetime of humiliation. Even more inner turmoil, if nothing else. He snapped around away from Yamamoto once more, scoffing out, "Just fuck off and go do your own damn training."
The crunch of twigs was loud in Gokudera's ears, along with his angry pulse.
Idiot! He knows nothing! Nothing! Nothing nothing God damn fucking NOTHING!
Similar mantras ran through his head as he stared at his rings, trying to get them to cycle again. The only ones lighting up were storm and cloud.
It's, 'The cats have eaten everyday this week.' Moron.
Despite Gokudera's best attempts at ignoring one Yamamoto Takeshi, it wasn't. Working. True, he didn't outwardly show how affected he was, but nothing Yamamoto said or did went unnoticed by Gokudera. School was reminiscent of Hell (not that he'd physically been there himself, but Mukurou's illusions were pretty scary); their proximity was too close for Gokudera's liking, and after class that day he went back to the music room to practice the Why whatever whatever song.
It wasn't pleasant. He stared at the keys in anger. It wasn't his fault he wasn't playing well. Someone had obviously messed with the chords and hammers in the piano's body. Yes. Definitely.
The next day things had gotten worse.
Yamamoto announced that Michiko-Chan had broken up with him. Of course, Gokudera didn't say or do anything (he was still determinedly ignoring his existence, after all) pertaining to the information. In fact, he tried to forget it altogether. It had nothing to do with him, and he didn't need to get involved. The Tenth didn't say much, other than, "Oh, I'm sorry, Yamamoto...!" He felt Yamamoto's stare hit him, but Gokudera wasn't going to give in.
Again, Gokudera went to the music room after classes were over (after saying farewell to the Tenth, of course). He ran through several scales, played a few small pieces, and then looked at the music he placed in front of him.
The translation into Italian was complete, as well as the process of making it fit in time. The composition was complete; each note, tie, slur, key change... any crescendo, or accent... Any D.C.s... It was all there. Waiting to be played.
Gokudera made it through a quarter of the music before his pinky failed to reach the F# key.
"Dammit!" he yelled. Again, his elbows landed hard on the keys, his head in his hands. His hair was gripped between his fingers and he glared at the keys beneath him. He stood up quickly, shoving the music into his bag in a crumpled heap. Gokudera slammed the cover down with a (rather loud), "Fuck this!" and headed straight for his house, not bothering to go see how the Tenth was doing on his history.
The next day, Wednesday, was rather similar to the preceding day, but instead of storming out in a rage, he played the measure sixteen times until he hit the right key. Once he was sure he wouldn't miss the note again he went back to the beginning, playing from there. Unknown to his own conscious, he began humming along with the music. Eventually a grin began to grow across his face (the first one in a while) and he didn't get so angry if Yamamoto popped up in his head. In all truth, he did feel bad that Michiko-Chan had broken up with him. But Gokudera was stubborn and still mad at him nonetheless.
Thursday followed the same routine, but halfway through the music he was interrupted. By quite possibly the last person he thought he'd be interrupted by.
"So—this is the song Takeshi-Kun was talking about. (I mean, I kind of already knew which song, but... you get what I mean.)"
Gokudera looked back to the room's door, and found Michiko-Chan beginning to walk forward. Gokudera's heart beat faster than he could remember it ever beating and he was stiff as stone—unable to turn around and ignore her.
"Will you play it again? It's a really pretty song! And to hear it on the piano's really nice, too." Michiko-Chan grinned. It was very similar to Yamamoto's and Gokudera just continued staring for a moment before starting the music once more. Michiko-Chan took the seat Yamamoto had sat in, watching with the same happy enthusiasm Yamamoto did when Gokudera played the (admittedly easier) version of Why whatever whatever. (He'd kill himself later for sticking with that name, rather than the (admittedly harder) name.)
The notes once more filled the room, and Michiko-Chan started talking as the music kept playing.
"I'm not really a musically-inclined person, but I think you're putting just the right amount of sorrow into it," she said. "For as upbeat as the music itself is, the song is still really sad. I think you're conveying it really well."
Gokudera took in the comment, unsure of whether or not to take it as a compliment or otherwise.
"It's... hmm." She paused for a moment, giggling. "Sorry, I just really like it."
I... didn't say anything... Gokudera thought. He continued playing, however.
"Takeshi-Kun mentioned something about you playing the song a while ago. He was really worried about you."
Great. She came to preach about what an asshole Yamamoto must have been to make her break up with him—that, or what an asshole he, Gokudera, was to make her break up with him. It was coming; he could feel it. ...How did she find him, anyway?
She turned in her chair to face the opposite way, glancing up at the ceiling with a thoughtful expression on her face, eyes wide and wondering.
"I told him it was probably something he did." She sighed. "But he's a guy." She grinned, kicking her legs out like she was on a swing, or something. "I broke it off with him so you guys could mend your relationship."
Gokudera nearly skipped a beat in the music.
"But you know him, he said it was nothing; that everything was okay and we didn't need to break up. I wanted to give him his way, but no matter how good that made me feel, I knew it'd just hurt him more in the long run."
Michiko-Chan began sounding a little sad. "I really like him, but I like him happy. He's always kind, laughing, and smiling—"
Letting things anger him when it's almost too late.
"He acts clueless sometimes, and he might be clueless about some things, but he's pretty smart."
He should show that side of himself more often.
"But he's also a good friend. He's always ready to listen."
There were a few moments of silence from her in which only the piano was heard. She had a small grin on her face, listening to the music, and Gokudera found the company wasn't bad. It was pretty similar to Yamamoto's presence.
"Hey, Gokudera-San... You wrote this piano part, right? It must have taken a while. The song's pretty full of tongue-twisters, so the melody can get a little confusing."
Oh, it only took me about a month... he thought sarcastically.
"You know what's happening in the song, right? Takeshi-Kun said it was hard to follow because they sung the melody so fast."
Gokudera fought back a grin. "The title makes it pretty obvious," he said. His voice was low and gravely, portraying nothing soft. But Michiko-Chan didn't seem to notice.
"Haha, I guess it does." She was silent once more, just listening to the music.
Gokudera looked blindly between the music and the keyboard, sighing inwardly.
"He's really worried about you, Gokudera-San."
"I know. You said that."
"Yamamoto's an idiot." With that, Gokudera let the last note of the song die. "You probably saved yourself a lot of brain cells."
Michiko-Chan laughed. "I don't think so. I do think that I saved us both a lot of drama in the future though. I mean..."
She paused, as if debating whether to say the next part or not. Gokudera grabbed the music and (carefully, this time) placed it in a folder to put in his bag. "For you to have done this much for this one song... And the timing of it is too great to really be a coincidence, right?"
The timing is coincidental, but okay.
"I think it's obvious what it is that's bothering you."
"Heh. And what is it you think that's bothering me?" He turned to her. He was itching for a cigarette but... Hibari would probably be up on the floor soon.
She locked his gaze and said, "I'm not going to say it. You'll deny it, even though I'm pretty sure I'm right."
Gokudera could respect that, he discovered, shutting the cover of the keys. "Okay, fine," he said. "But then you don't have a right to say much else."
"Maybe. But... I said that Takeshi-Kun was clueless about some things. I think something like this... I think he would definitely let it fly over his head like some foul ball, or something."
Even the baseball references...!
"You can't let him remain clueless. It's not fair to either of you."
Gokudera stood up and finished cleaning up. He slung his bag over his shoulder and though he didn't feel much contempt at all towards the girl, he couldn't help but get a little upset.
"I'm not going to tell him anything. He's dense. If he can't realize something that's his own fault."
Despair crossed Michiko-Chan's face and she jumped up. "But that's not fair! To him or you! You know him better thananyone—!"
"Life's not fair. You wasted your time with him if you broke up for that reason. Especially if he said he didn't want to in the first place."
With that, Gokudera left, trying his damnedest to forget anything that had just transpired in the music room.
Sleep was hard to come by for Gokudera that night—he didn't think he got much more than maybe an hour of rest. Actually, sanity was a bit hard to come by as well after he'd stepped out of the music room, leaving Michiko-Chan alone and probably a little more than hurt. Her words haunted him and gave him no more than half a minute of rest at a time. That half a minute didn't come often, either. The words were driving him crazy. She was right, but so was he—what was he supposed to do? Kill his pride? He didn't think so. There was no way in Hell...
So, when he saw Yamamoto the next day he immediately avoided his eyes, and pretended to have not seen him at all. He wanted nothing to do with Yamamoto, and was better off without him.
Unfortunately, Yamamoto-less moments were just as hard to come by anymore. Lunch was difficult to get through. He remained silent, trying so hard to drown out Yamamoto's voice when he was talking, but then the song began playing in any language he knew any words to, and then Michiko-Chan's words took over that. There was no escape—especially when he began remembering bits of conversation between himself and Sasagawa.
After school, Gokudera didn't bother even thinking about going to the music room. He had a strong feeling he knew someone might be there skipping her softball practice. Plus, the Tenth mentioned something about reviewing their English homework so he was obligated to go and help his boss.
But, of course, Yamamoto joined them not too long afterward.
In a further attempt to drown out Yamamoto's annoying baseball voice (he had to come up with something...), Gokudera had taken to talking over him. He'd ask the Tenth if there was something he didn't understand, or if there was anything he could get the Tenth, like a drink, or snack. Yamamoto didn't seem pleased with these outcomes, but Gokudera wasn't paying attention to him, so he didn't care. He also drowned out the little Shoulder Angel telling him he did care.
So he most definitely and determinedly did not care.
There was no sleep that night, either. Not even the hour he might have gotten the previous night. He felt like he was on the brink of madness. Virtually no sleep for the last two days, and voices, and songs, and emotions running rampant within him. It was unpleasant and he wanted it to stop now. He didn't ask to harbor feelings for baseball nuts—they were shoved upon him like some mad and frothing squirrel. (Which was a scary thought but to his sleep-depraved mind it fit rather well.)
So he continued to ignore Yamamoto, and with his irritability up by 134, no one was very happy. The Tenth tried his best to help ease the tension—Gokudera appreciated the effort, but it was nothing he needed to get involved in. If he met someone's eyes in the hallway, all he did was glare—even at Sasagawa and Kurokawa, and people he didn't even know. He even passed by Michiko-Chan, but she glared back just as hard if not harder.
Lunch on the roof began with Reborn-San dragging the Tenth away from the roof for 'Private Training'. Gokudera nearly mourned the loss more than he usually did. Surely Reborn-San didn't expect him to eat lunch alone with Yamamoto? Unless it was a test, checking his ability to ignore annoying presences? He could do that. He could prove that. They moved to their respective 'seats' and sat there, pulling out their lunches in silence and trying to see who could make the least amount of noise.
It was hard for Gokudera to tell how much noise he was or wasn't making. The voices grew louder, and his blood was pumping louder than he could remember—Yamamoto couldn't hear it? Oh well, he was an unobservant idiot with sod-for-brains, anyway. As he chewed his lunch, Gokudera could feel his eyes
start to shut, and his mind begin to shut down—he was so tired. He didn't know how much more he could take. But—! He had to look alive! He was NOT going to lose to the baseball idiot.
"This has gone on long enough, Gokudera. Just tell me what your problem is."
That jolted him awake—to his feet, even. Gokudera glared down at Yamamoto (it was an automatic reaction—he swore), soon to Yamamoto, once he had risen to his feet as well. Gokudera couldn't take it much longer, but he had to stay mad. He had to. His pride was at stake and he would not lose it...
As he had the other day with a wall, Gokudera shoved Yamamoto against a fence, his shirt in his grasp. Glare intensified, and almost barking like a dog yelled, "You wanna know what my problem is, baseball idiot? You. You are my fucking problem. You always tag along with 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!" Gokudera wasn't sure when he lost track of his argument, or when he'd snapped, but Yamamoto's eyes had widened slightly as if he'd gone crazy and lifted a hand to his face.
Gokudera hadn't felt anything like tears fall down his face; only when Yamamoto's hand made contact with his cheek did he feel anything. The air in Gokudera's lungs left in a rush, leaving his heart to give a particularly odd thump. Though he felt the fatigue rush through his body he tightened his grip with a soft, "You fucking idiot." He yanked Yamamoto down, kissing him. Forget the air leaving his body, and the tempo his heart was beating. Their lips parted just enough for, "You stupid..." before he kissed him again. Instead of his own hair twisted between his fingers in frustration it was Yamamoto's in what felt like fear, excitement, and anxiety in one—Yamamoto was not getting away. Just small snippets of familiar phrases, such as, "Amo—", "—Mi sto—", "—Innamorando—", and "Non dimenticarmi" were whispered on their lips.
Now Gokudera could feel as more tears spilled from his tired eyes, and Yamamoto wiped them away still with a slightly surprised grin, and an unsure one at that. Gokudera stared at him worriedly until Yamamoto kissed him back softly, and Gokudera, feeling absolutely wiped out, rested his head on Yamamoto's chest. The voices in his head stopped, and that blasted song had finally stopped playing in the background.
Gokudera was about ready to call it a night.
A little stunned (and almost deliriously happy—it was Gokudera, how could he possibly have even dreamt something like this would happen?), Yamamoto rubbed Gokudera's back and rested his cheek on his silver hair. It felt like the closing credits to some epic romance... All up until Gokudera went limp in his arms. Nearly falling to the ground with the sudden dead weight, Yamamoto panicked.
"Gokudera? Are you all right?"
Of course, his only answer was a snore. Heart still racing, but relieved, Yamamoto sank down onto the roof, so he wouldn't drop his friend (Gokudera would kill him if he even thought of calling him his boyfriend). He laughed softly (affectionately) and smoothed the hair out of Gokudera's fa—
"Eh?! What happened?! You didn't hurt him, did you, Yamamoto?" Tsuna yelled, running back across the roof with Reborn (smirking) on his shoulder. Yamamoto watched as what little color Tsuna had left in his face drained once he was close enough to realize a few things about the situation. "Wait! No. No, no no no no...! You and Gokudera-Kun...! But—! No."
Reborn perfunctorily kicked him in the head. "The boss shouldn't be so ignorant of his subordinates that these things shock him."
And Yamamoto just laughed.
Congratulations for reading through all of that! You get a cookie!
San Pellegrino: A bottled Italian Mineral Water. You can sometimes find them at gas stations, or convenience stores. They're not bad, but require a certain taste. It's kind of (but not really? o0) an inside joke between myself and a friend based off a doujin where Gokudera goes crazy about San Pellegrinos...
Doushite Kimi wo Suki ni Natte Shimattandarou?: The name of the song. (See A/N below)
Kimi ga iru koto ga touzen de...: A lyric from the song this fic (and its counterpart) is based off of. It means, 'It was so natural for you to be with me.'
Edited by Karijin Aska Shangel
Vaffanculo: (Doesn't everyone in the Reborn! fandom know this one by now?) Rather, erm, rude, and basically means, 'fuck you up the ass'.
Ti penso sempre: 'I think of you always'
Mi piaci sempre di più: 'I like you more and more'
Mi sto innamorando di te: 'I am falling in love with you'
Non dimenticarmi: 'Don't forget me'
E' questa la tua risposta...?: 'Is that your answer?'
(Mi sto) Innamorando: '(I'm falling) in love'
And I think that's it for the 'Guess What Gokudera's Saying' game... .
Based on the song by THSK, どうして君を好きになってしまったんだろう？, (Why Did I Have to Fall in Love with You?). It's basically an 'AIM Fic', written through AIM between myself and Tk Tony. She wrote the Yamamoto PoV, and mine, here, is the Gokudera PoV! I hope you enjoyed it a lot—it was really fun to write! ALSO: the Omake at the end was written by Tony.
The fic was originally posted on my LJ fiction journal, as the corresponding, Gokudera's Got Problems was originally posted on the LJ YamaGoku Community.
Reviews and Comments are always appreciated!