Title: Recapturing the Future

Spoilers: Takes place in the setting from about chapter 137 in the manga.

Disclaimer: I do not own or lay any claim to the conent or characters of this series - only my imagination.

Pairing: Gokudera x Yamamoto - yaoi alert - you have been warned!

A/N: This one is MASSIVELY overdue! Sorry to all who have been waiting for this chapter, I managed to cram several life-changing events into the past year or so. Thanks to everyone who has reviewed this story so far - you've all been very kind and I hope I can make this story worth the wait :)

Yamamoto lifted the slight and pained frame of the other man, easing him over his shoulder as best he could to keep the injured hand uncrushed. Standing to his full height, he paused a moment.

"Those words... don't forget them," he whispered.

Taking the first few gentle steps towards the medical room, Yamamoto felt the faintest of slumping sensations as Gokudera's breathing became dull and heavy and his body became a dead weight. He had passed out.

Yamamoto stood alone in the dojo, the solitary embodiment of a single emotion: despair. Waves of it crashed over his head with the arms that struck forward with his sword in a practice blow. Strike after strike tolled the ache inside that could not find another way to express itself. Yamamoto was not a thinker at the best of times; his heart was written in muscle and sweat. The perspiration ran cold as his training degenerated into raw pacing, aimless and unsatisfied. His feet echoed the impending march of the unknown, that great journey with no destination to speak of, simply the desperation to ease the dull ache of the journey itself. Food had become the only thing that reminded him he was alive. It wasn't the hunger that growled, unfelt, but the tentative smiles of Tsuna, Haru, Kyoko... At those moments he could relax a little and remember that he didn't worry alone. Still, the food passed the lips of his empty smile, forced for the sake of the 'family', for the sake of himself, his composure, his heart...

It had been fifty-six hours since Yamamoto had brought Gokudera into the medical bay. The silver-haired invalid had been fighting infection, slipping in and out of consciousness when the decision had been made to sedate him. Looking down at his frail, still form, Yamamoto knew that despite the lack of movement, he was still fighting. There was just no way he'd give up, the stubborn git – tenacity seemed to be the only thing he knew how to get right. As for the baseball idiot, the only thing he'd known for the last two days had been a strange kind of emptiness. His stomach was empty but for the muscular fist that balled inside it; his head was empty but for the buzzing that looped inside it; his expression was empty but for the involuntary trail of his lips forming smiles to reassure the others, to deceive them and, hopefully, himself a little into his usual optimistic bubble. This time, however, it wasn't working on himself. There weren't enough smiles in the world to unknot the worry from his brows as he looked on in helpless wonder. What if I'd got there sooner? What could I have done to avoid this? What if I hadn't pushed him so far in the lift? What if I had been able to hold onto my feelings instead of forcing them onto him? The answer was always the same, consistent scolding: Gokudera would not be in this situation.

It was unbearable, the way Tsuna and Bianchi poured their thanks over him, certain he had saved "that petulent coward," as Bianchi put it. Their warm words rained upon him like shards of ice, cold and sharp, every syllable cutting with the guilt that froze his insides; he felt a pulse run through his body, even if he did not feel alive. At two thirty in the morning, the only sounds beside himself and Gokudera, were the fuzzing clicks of a dying light in the hallway outside and the low beepings and whirrings of medical equipment. Yamamoto's eyes searched the other man's face for some glimmer of hope, resting his gaze on the heavy eyelids, edged with a dark and silver flickering that toyed Yamamoto's heart swiftly between hope and despair and back again. The rain guardian allowed his tired yet restless eyes to slide down the curve of the nose beneath, taking in the full, sculptured outline of his lips, lightly parted and almost blushing. The blood swelled hot in Yamamoto's chest, overpowering his guilt with an overwhelming desire. Shifting to stand, his eyes never left those lips. Footing back the chair behind him, he leant over the storm guardian's bed-ridden body and curled his fingers around the edge of the covers, drawing them back to reveal the slow rising and falling of Gokudera's chest, carved from the only piece of living marble that Yamamoto had ever seen. His hands were nervous at the prospect of intruding, uninvited, and simply settled themselves in one place, the ridges beneath his fingers nestling in the shallow strait between his moderately defined pectorals. His stomach fluttering, the baseball idiot leaned yet further in, resting his eyes as his breath drew in his loved one's scent, his dreams. He brushed his lips, feverish from holding back, in a soft, almost imperceptible sweep across Gokudera's own, ripe and open. His head and heart lingered in the thick and dizzying air between them, a moment of pure, wanton gratification before lifting his head in time to the sound of an opening door. Fuuta.

"BIANCHI-NEE! REBORN! COME QUICKLY!" Fuuta's gentle voice held an edge of panic as he raised it and called out down the corridor. Turning his attention back to the medical bay, he hit an emergency button on the wall and dashed to the side of the bed, facing Yamamoto.

"What happened?" he asked with quite some concern.


Yamamoto's throat lumped-out and his head span over but nothing of any use came forward.

"He," he began, "I... I think he's fi-" his voice cut out to the sound of the door opening once more, this time swinging passionately wide to expose the form of Bianchi, face drawn with worry and hair tangled with sleep. Yamamoto quickly removed his hands from Gokudera's chest, hoping his actions would go unnoticed. They did not. The poison scorpion leapt into action, pumping the life out of her brother's chest in an unthinking panic. The young Italian's groaning and spluttering as he was forcibly brought-to were not enough to assuage Bianchi's fire of determination to save his life. She pumped yet harder, enough almost to kill him and revive him again, as he struggled against the remaining covers, all claws and teeth – a thrashing, human Uri. Fuuta managed to grapple Bianchi away long enough for her to calm down and rest her still-pumping arms; his efforts were accompanied by a rumbling growl.

"What the FUCK is going on here you BASTARDS? In case you hadn't noticed, I'm trying not to FUCKING DIE HERE!"

The rough, crescendoing tones scraped a rebounding echo, cutting a dead silence through the chaos. Bianchi slunk back into her more usual pose, eyes flitting over the scene with an apparent casuality. Yet, she missed nothing: the anger that boiled in her brother's face, the bloom on his cheeks that he couldn't quite twist into that scowl; the guilty fear etched in place of Yamamoto's usually natural and undisturbed expression; the innocent concern in Fuuta as he tried to make her brother more comfortable in the crisp silence that followed. The grouchy patient had no strength left to fight or argue so he simply grunted his displeasure and thanks when Fuuta finally stopped fussing with his pillows. It was then that Reborn glided in, dressed in his best doctor's coat, stethoscope and moustache, perched on the unwilling shoulder of a sleepy, pyjama-clad Tsuna.

"You're awake, Gokudera-kun!" beamed Tsuna, eyes half-lidded in sleep, despite his grin.

"Of course, Juudaime! I couldn't leave you without your right-hand man!" Gokudera's puppy dog expression returned.

The whole room relaxed and everyone started breathing again. Yamamoto's grip on the sheets loosened while the burning in his head increased. His skin felt alive with a buzzing, guilty energy where he had touched the sleeping storm guardian. He kept his own eyes fixed on the sheets he had practically gripped a hole into, certain that others' eyes were resting on him, reading right through him. Questions came and went – food, drink, training, sleep. Finally, doctor's orders, Gokudera's increasingly angry face and the ungodly time of night prevailed and the idea of going back to bed was generally accepted as the next move. Being furthest away, Yamamoto was the last to make his way to the door. He flicked the light switch, pausing a moment in the ill-lit doorway to draw in a deep breath of resolve to step out of the room.

"Y'know, it's funny... the things you can dream of," the tired, waspish words rasped through the air behind Yamamoto.

He span round, wide-eyed and hardly daring to breathe lest the movement of air itself piss Gokudera off even further. The door crept closed behind him.

"Nothing to say, pervert?" his words exploded, one by one, like miniature sticks of dynamite, bitterly hurled. Yamamoto swallowed, then slowly opened his mouth.

"I don't wanna hear it!" he snapped, "whether this is some big, elaborate fucking joke at my expense or you really do just swing your baseball bat that way..." his voice quietened, "nobody – nobody – touches me without permission," his eyes slid shut and he turned his face away.

"Gokudera -" quivered Yamamoto, almost silenced into shadow.

"Don't even think about lying... or explaining... or apologising. Just -" his words stopped like tearing through paper and he curled his body in self-pity and fear.

Suddenly, the silence was broken and a tall shadow was right there, in his face.

"Then, may I have permission?" came the scorching whisper, hot across his face.

No time. The face was too close. Guided by a bump of noses in the dark, the lips found their way and the invalid was swept under by the soft, gentleness of a tongue caressing over his. No, not gentleness – restraint. He could feel the passion boiling underneath, waiting for his say so. Well, it doesn't count in the dark. He shed a single tear as the warmth overwhelmed him. As the lips pulled away, Gokudera drifted asleep.

A/N: As always, reviews are gratefully received. Thanks for reading - I hope you are enjoying it so far... :)