Characters: Gokudera, Haru, (Uri?), with some unrequited TsuHaru, and GokuHaru, if you squint.
Rating: Teen
Summary: "I just thought that if I was important enough, he'd tell me that himself." HARU. GOKUDERA. Moments before war, everyone's friendly. Except Gokudera.
Spoilers: directly before the Milliefore base invasion; Time Travel arc
A/N: First published KHR fic! At least it's not as weird as YamaHaruSqualo, right? (Fear it, Shini, it's still coming!) I figured these two deserved at least a moment of truce and peace, so why not give it to them? Except Gokudera refuses to do romance, or even be nice until the end. So if you want to blame anyone, blame the smoking bastard. (Un-betaed.)


Things We Said Before The Fire


In just a few hours, they're going to invade the Milliefore base.

This thought has many of the Guardians, and even Tsuna, unable to sleep. It's only logical; they might not make it. Some of them might get seriously injured, some might even die. For the first time since they've known each other, an acute awareness has settled over each and every member of Tsuna's strange family. This is no longer a game.

In the secret compound, each person is getting ready. Preparing himself for the task ahead, trying to keep cool, trying to train a bit, or simply trying to live what might be the last day. It's ironic, Gokudera thinks as he moves through the hallways of the compound, it's ironic how scared everyone is, finally. So maybe all it took was a weird trip to a sombre future to realize it's not a game anymore. Even that idiot Yamamoto's conscious of it now. Took a while, he thinks, and almost gets too lost in his thoughts to notice Uri slipping through his legs and heading towards the kitchen.

"Che, of all the weapons, I get the fluffball," he mutters to himself, rubbing the back of his neck before he takes off after the feline.

When he slips into the kitchen, though, he's surprised to find that it's not empty at all. Whereas he finds it hard to keep calm around the girl inside there, Uri seems more than happy to let her do all the petting she wants.

"Why the hell are you still up, woman?" he snaps, his voice low in case anyone in the compound really is sleeping. He doubts that—or maybe Kyoko, who knows. Nice girl, Kyoko. Cute and soft, just what his boss needs. Unlike this phenomena here...

"Hahi! Well-- I could ask you the same!" she rushes to say, her fingers stopping short of Uri's ears. The feline meows at the negligence, and she returns to rubbing that spot behind the pet's ears.

Gokudera wants to point out that that's his weapon she's cuddling there, that it's dangerous and vicious and all things manly, but then Uri starts to purr, and his glare is directed at his creation. Traitor, he wants to mutter. "Can't sleep," he finally answers, shrugging and leaning into the doorway with nonchalance. His eyes stop only briefly over her hands again, and he wonders if she realises she's feeling up his weapons. Would she do that with Yamamoto's bokken? That thought makes him curse his own brain for overanalyzing things, and he pushes himself from the doorway and heads towards the table.

"Stop that," he snaps before she can reply—she'll probably tell him she can't sleep either, or something—and takes Uri off her lap. Cat's getting more lucky than anyone here, he thinks, and realises that she'd probably rub Tsuna's ears too, if he'd ask. Sometimes, the crazy lady has some fierce determination. Hopeless, but fierce. It doesn't strike him at all how alike they are.

"But he likes it," Haru protests, pouting as she looks at Uri. "He's nervous, poor little cute guy..."

"Well so what? Don't coddle him. He's a weapon, not your pet," he shoots back.

This makes Haru's eyes harden again, and if she were a cat, Gokudera's sure the hairs on her back would be standing up. And she'd be hissing. "Just because you're a thug doesn't mean everyone else has to adjust!" she accuses, pointing a finger at him. "And Uri-chan's not a weapon! No weapon looks that cute." The convinced smile on her face only makes him groan, because, damn, she's right. He has a cute weapon. That's pathetic. The Milliefore'll probably just laugh themselves to death at his expense.

"Shut up, stupid woman," he mutters-snaps again, and leaves Uri on the ground before he ends up scratched all over. Of course the traitor climbs right up on Miura's lap. It's probably warmer there, than on the ground.

"I was making some food," Haru suddenly says, looking over her shoulder at the stove; it's then that Gokudera realizes that shit, she is cooking something. And odd enough, it smells better than what his sister cooks, so thank God Miura's not taking the apprenticeship too seriously. (There is one second in which he imagines her as a hitwoman, using poinsonous food to do people in, but he discards it quickly. She's not in their group, and probably won't ever get too involved with it. Even though meeting her future version proves that she'll still hang around with them, it doesn't mean she's going to drop the idiot attitude any time soon. Haru's stupidity is like Gokudera's cigarettes. They go together, hand in hand.)

"Dinner was hours ago," he says, "And everyone's asleep."

"I know," she answers, and props her chin on one hand. "I just thought...for the trip, maybe. People get hungry during missions, right? And if there's no food when you camp out, what are you going to do? I couldn't let Tsuna-san starve could I?"

Her dedication to Tsuna's admirable. If Gokudera were in charge of picking a right woman for Tsuna, it'd be someone with Haru's loyalty—because only someone who'd give Tsuna her everything, just like he himself does, would be worthy—and Kyoko's personality—because quite frankly, Miura's too fucking annoying sometimes. And naïve, like no-one else he's known—except that's a lie; there are many people in their group who're more naïve than Haru—which is why he takes it as his own personal duty to snap her out of that state. "Dumbass," he drawls, his eyes hard as he gets ready to deliver the blow. "What the hell are you saying? Camp out? Shit, we ain't going for a picnic, you know? It's war, moron. W-A-R, get that into your tiny brain. We won't have time to stop and take snacks, unless you want us to die. 's that what you want? This ain't a game, woman. Fuck. Realize that already."

Honestly, they're all like babies. To these idiots, who were not born into the mafia, it's impossible to understand that what they're doing is dealing a real, bloody battle out there. There is no second chance, there is no 'I give', there is no safety word. There is no game. Sometimes, only sometimes, Gokudera has the impression that he's the only one aware of this. And sometimes, he wishes that at least Miura, who boasts about being Tsuna's future wife, would understand it too.

He realises he's screwed it when her shoulders start to shake, her head low and all petting on Uri stopped. "Fuck—don't cr--" he starts to say, but then she lifts her head quickly.

There are no tears in her eyes. They're red, yes, as if she's cried before, but her expression is the same as that crazy one she had that one day on that one bridge. "I know that" she almost shouts. "Haru knows that, you ill-mannered idiot! But I just—I wanted to be useful. I want-- I just--" she pauses here, sighs, and lowers her gaze. "I thought that maybe...if I were important enough to him, he'd tell me himself. That this isn't a game. I would understand it...I just...I wanted to hear it from him." She looks up again and glares. "Not you."

He's taken aback by this outburst of hers, and almost snorts. Well shit, Miura does have a brain after all. With a mathematical genius as hers, it's impossible that she'd end up stupid. He sees it with clarity now, what she's been doing all this time. Playing along. Playing the part of the silly girl in distress, just to calm Tsuna down. She knew, as well as Gokudera knew, that Tsuna didn't want his friends to be involved with the mafia craziness. And she'd never let it show, but now Gokudera sees it. She's known it for a long time; that they're mafia, that they fight, that it's more than just a game, or play-pretend. And yet she's been the perfect actress. He wants to ask her how long has she known it for, but refrains. She wouldn't tell him, anyway. There's a bit of amazement in his voice as he remarks, "You really do love him, huh?"

"Yeah," she answers, no doubt in her voice. No hesitation. Just that utter loyalty. Gokudera can relate to it.

And because he can, he feels almost a temporary kinship with the girl, and decides to be her executioner, because it's always better when you hear this from a friend. Are they friends now? (Maybe. Maybe.) "You know that the Tenth likes--"

"I know," she cuts in, her tone silent, hushed. Then looks at him again, and smiles. "It's my fight. I don't care. I'm not going to give up ever."

He can't help but smile back. Okay, so...maybe a girl with Miura's loyalty, and her personality as well. That'd be good for Tsuna. A wife who'd get him, his job. Someone he wouldn't have to hide who he is from. A small, longing part of Gokudera wonders if he'll be lucky to ever find someone like her. Even if she doesn't succeed—and she probably won't, considering how Tsuna looks at Kyoko all the time—Gokudera decides that he'll support her. Loyal dogs stick together. "You are important to him. And you're useful," he says after a pause. "But don't pack snacks for us. You'll only make him feel guilty if he can't take them with him."

"Yeah," she says, letting out a long sigh. There's a comfortable silence, the first ever they've shared, interrupted only by Uri's purrs and sighs. Suddenly she sits up straight, as if she's forgotten something. "Hahii—does Gokudera-san want some food, though?" she asks.

He looks at her, and fights a smile again—he's getting soft, too soft; first the cute weapon, now this whole...thing—and answers: "What did you make?"

"Pasta."

"My favourite," he drawls. It's not, but it gets her to stand up and serve him a plate anyway. He guesses Miura can't take a joke. He'll teach her how to do that, he decides. After the fight. After they win. With an appetite he never figured he'd be having only a few hours before the battle, he digs into the food she serves him. Better than Bianchi's. "Don't start poisoning food, okay?" he tells her, mid-chew. Would be a shame if all he'd ever be served at Tsuna's future family dinners were foods his sister invented.

Haru laughs softly, and shakes her head as if promising she won't. He's content with that. After another pause, she softly speaks: "You'll take care of Tsuna-san out there, right?"

"With my life," he answers, honest, brutally so. He would do that. Unsurprisingly, he knows she'd do that too.

"But take care of yourself, too," she adds, and resumes petting Uri.

He looks at her, as if he's seeing her for the first time. Are they friends now? Maybe. Will they be after the fight? Probably. He still stands by what he's decided. "Yeah, I will," he answers.

She'll make a damn good mafioso's wife one day.