AN: Sorry if the others didn't appear as much as everyone had been expecting… I'd also like to say thank you to all my readers who endured my mistakes during this story. With that said, here is the happily ever after ending.
Because the rain played like a frenzied staccato piece.
The music was growing, faster in a crescendo, in a forte. To be strong, to be deep, to be forte—
There were words to that song, words meant to be sung in tandem with the piano notes but…Gokudera has never said them and most likely never will. Instead, he blew ghosts of these words into the air to compensate. The smoke trailed in the space before him.
A letter to someone who would never receive it …
Why did you save me?
Why did you even bother if you were just going to throw me away? What does that make me, someone you had to save and then carelessly throw out? What does that make me, so worthless…? Saving me that moment, that one fraction of a second when you decided to fly, just for me, you think I would throw away something like that? Do you really think me so callous that I could walk away from you, from that moment?
I'm not so tough that I could stand up and walk and forget all of this, no, I can't…Even someone as worthless as me, someone as childish as me, would understand, would realize…that you, you'd destroyed your world for me … You saved me at the price of your solitude, your life…I don't think I could let you go…you have to take that responsibility, you have to—
Do you understand that it was a debt of life for a life?
But now…I guess…I have become useless.
He thought for a bit that maybe it was too melodramatic, even for opera. But who cared now?
Gokudera leaned his back to the central chimney of the house and sucked on a cigarette.
He sat among the smaller chimneys, half hidden in their shadows on the roof. Night was coming and more clouds were rolling in. The smoke from that white stick floated in front of him, careless and lifeless. He blew a smoke-ring and watched it crumple in the air.
He felt…well…like smoking again. He felt like he could smoke on that roof, second after hour after month…and maybe even after years.
Maybe it all began, once upon a time…
Ivory hewn pieces rose and fell and struck taut wires stretched inside. It did so, like dominoes, one falling after the other. Notes filled the air, bleeding into each other. It built a small world around the figure on the piano, made of sound and shadow. Silence was an enemy, a reminder of absence.
His mother has died. And he played throughout that night, maybe to fill up something in the house.
They called it the muteness of death.
He shook his head.
The piano kept playing, sotto voce now—so subtly and softly.
There were other stories, other memories that flashed in his mind, other once upon a time's…Frames flickered in his mind's eye, flashes of past stories and unfinished scenes.
"Talk of possible kidnap, you know?"
"It is our part of our Code, brat. Xanxus-sama will honor it, if nothing else…What does he get out of it? No other gang getting their hands on a cultural icon. We're already at the top of the food chain. We don't need any one else trying to take it. All you have to do—"
"A-are you okay?"
But he could never find the endings, could never find the answers. He thought it a bit unfair. He was the youngest, wasn't he? Albeit a bastard child, he still retained the youngest title. He laughed at himself, then. He choked a bit, on smoke and tears and hysteria. Where was the logic and reason in those statements? Hadn't he realized it before already? The world didn't need dreamers and stories.
It rained, legato notes blending into one song.
Another story unrolled itself in his mind, frame after frame—
He sat still beside the faintly breathing Tsuna on the hospital bed. He has resolved himself. Because of the danger he, himself, presents to Tsuna—because of the injury—and because it was clear that after that kidnapping attempt by the Milliefiore was brought on because of his weakness…he has strengthened his will. He will leave Tsuna.
Not even that damn Code…
He was ready, to let go. He hoped, distantly that Tsuna would not be sad. It was…a good ending. And it would be by his choice and Tsuna would no longer have to fight him.
These words are to tell the death of Gokudera who died on this day of --- and on this month --- of the year ---.
Gokudera puffed the last breath out of the cigarette and pushed it into the spotted tiles. He sat up, straighter with the rain drumming down around him, a world of silence and darkness. The notes no longer played in his mind.
He was a good man, loyal and devoted. Even when he ran off to join the Vongola, he was still very much my brother. He was a tactical genius, at chess and at those little puzzles…when he could stop screaming at me to stop cheating. And even when he hated my cooking—he still ate them.
There was an efficient way to do this. He was four floors up, on the roof. On the ground, it was rock solid gray tiles. It would be easy. Very easy.
Today, Tsunayoshi was almost taken away from us. Those bastards Millefiore will pay. Gokudera managed to rescue him again in time, but in the process ripped out Tsuna's left wing. I think that…he tried his best, my brother. But…it was hard on him, to see what he'd done to Tsuna to ensure his safety. Even now, as we speak—blood loss and shock, the doctor said.
Gokudera could feel his heartbeat slowing, a beat stretching per second, then per minute, until Gokudera could no longer hear any in his chest. It felt empty…mute. The world stopped and died for Gokudera in that rain. He hugged his knees one last time.
Today, my brother died out of love.
He stood up, on the edge of that roof. And prepared to—
A black umbrella covered him, stopping the rain for a while. Tsuna watched him, holding the handle of the umbrella. He looked every bit tragic, one stump, one bruised wing and more hospital clothes yet again. Gokudera wanted to scream and yell and hug him and reproach him for escaping, but he was…he had nothing to say anymore.
Tsuna said, "In a lot of ways, we think alike. Rooftop, scene of death."
Gokudera jerked towards him, as if to convulsively clutch him away from gravity. But Tsuna stayed out of reach, just a bit and Gokudera stopped reaching. He wasn't measuring or counting, but eight centimeters might have been a bit cruel of Tsuna.
"It's Tsuna. It's not hard, you know. It's just two syllables."
The seconds ticked by them as Gokudera tried to tell Tsuna of his decision. He opened his mouth and then swallowed several nervous gulps. He must leave Tsuna. Instead, he said, "I still like them, your…wings." Because white wasn't just death and insanity, white was also snow and weddings and naivety and daisies. And Gokudera loved that color, even if Tsuna looked wan in them.
The brunette laughed, startled.
The seconds ticked by them again, the world passing them by.
And out of that da niente—out of nothing—came that single adagio beat of out of his chest. Like magic.
And today, my brother learned to love and live for it.
And Tsuna reached out, bypassed those eight formidable centimeters, and interlaced his fingers with Gokudera's. Gokudera couldn't help but choke in nervousness. He mouthed the words into Gokudera's wet shirt, "Silly…did you think I…would give up too?" There was that ring on his finger, willing.
And that would be all that they would ever need in this life and after, happily ever after.
There were other stories to this one too. Another started as such as:
"Orchestrating kidnappings, now Reborn?" Dr. Shamal had no compunction with blackmail and gossip-digging. He'd already been forced to treat Tsuna and the other one…He looked over at the curtained hospital bed, where the 'kidnapper' was. He'd taken some damage, but he'd be okay come morning. Some people were honestly like dogs.
Reborn smirked at him, from behind a newspaper. He said, just to bait the good doctor, "There were real Millefiore ready to kidnap him…but I can't very well have a prospective famiglia member in potential danger, now can I?"
He nodded and then gestured at the pawn Reborn had used. "What about him?"
"Him? Oh, don't worry about Hibari. He'll keep his mouth shut since he owed me a favor from that day of the explosion on the fifth floor. That guy…hates being in debt."
There were more, of course. Of Tsuna's initiation and of Xanxus betrayal and of the reason Tsuna's wings and how Gokudera finally stopped smoking and many more stories…But for now, it was a happy ever after, as much as they could in times like these. And they did wear white at the church, both Tsuna and Gokudera, smiling like young lovers.