This was inspired by a beautiful pic I saw on the lj community for KHR.

I've been toying with 5927 for quite a while, but the one fic I have is half-written and I'm kinda stuck on it.

So when I saw that pic and inspiration kicked me hard in the , I wrote this.

The style is different from what I usually do, to be honest. I don't know if it's good. Was training.

Also, Tsuna is a pain to write. For me at least.

Anyway this is dedicated to the artist, to No who wasn't there but is always my personal fic muse, and Lily who reread it and kept me motivated.

Warnings: blood and nasty metaphors

Disclaimer: I don't own KHR.


Band-aid

Tsuna grimly checks he has his band-aid and medical supplies in his bag before heading out.

He always carries them with him, now. Even without the little dangers of everyday life, there was no knowing when they might get attacked.

Mostly he carried them around because for all he should be getting used to it now, he's come to notice that he can stand the sight of blood less and less. It's like an overdose, feeling sicker and sicker with every drop that falls from his friends, from his friend's chest, or back, or face -gods, the face.

Because he's not hiding the truth from himself; there's one more than others who always seems to need those bandages and never has them, one who bleeds more than the others put together, who lets his life drain away with every fight, every challenge, even everyday life -at this point he sees fingers paper-cut in a rush to help him with homework, knuckles slightly mashed from hitting a wall too hard, red-stained white roses, and the lead in his guts gets a bit heavier, more tangible. There are things he never wanted to see, and the fact that he's their cause makes him sick.

He remembers the night of that sickening, cruel fight, recalls helping with the bandages and seeing the cuts -not cuts, really, gashes, centimetres deep for some and their insides coated with leftover soot and gunpowder- and flinching at the very pain of his throat constricting; blood is one thing, but those wounds go deeper, show flesh that should be kept safe under that burn-calloused skin, the edges strained open as their owned refuses to sit still until Tsuna has to rely on anger and order him to.

He was mostly shocked at the time, slightly disgusted by this mess he wasn't yet used to seeing -how he wishes now that it had stayed the same- but now he's seen it happen more than once, and each time seems worse than the one before, the risks higher, the wounds deeper and at whenever he thinks back to it now all he can feel is that he's absolutely-

Terrorised.

It's been a constant nagging at the back of his mind ever since Reborn literally plane-crashed into his life and drew him into this whole mafia mess: this is no joke, blood will be spent and lives lost, whether he wants it or not, something will have to break eventually despite his constant efforts to keep the peace and win every fight with no casualties. One of his friends might get hurt. Mostly he trusts them, because he knows they have lives of their own, goals of their own, and know he wouldn't forgive himself if something happened to them, but Hayato...

Gokudera-kun still plays with his life as he would with an old weapon: keeping it for the advantage it offers but ready to throw it away without hesitation should the need come -because there are better ones after that, and the fact that his right-hand man thinks that way makes his guts twist in a mixture of repulsion and despair- using it to the core. And Tsuna is scared, because while he can trust his other friends and allies to come home safe as long as they can help it, he has no thread tying Gokudera-kun to him, dragging him back like it does the others, no assurance that he'll be safe apart from that promise made months ago that he'd see his own life more.

And one thing he's kept from the dreamy boy he was is his imagination, all too sharp and realistic in its fantasies, and how he wishes it had gone with the parts of his innocence he had had to leave behind, because all too often he can picture -is forced to picture- Gokudera-kun, flesh split and blood flowing, still smiling -because he knows he would be, either softly at him or bitterly at the rest of the world, out of spite- and pale clinging to his last opportunity to say goodbye, but not even clinging to life beyond that, and the fear-

The fear is ever-present, in his mind and in his body, and the idea of losing him is a physical pain, gripping his lungs and nerves and intestines and twisting, as merciless as his right-hand man is towards himself. He can't accept it, won't accept it, and keeps clinging, trying to heal, trying to show him his worth, trying to give him a goal, anything to keep the other near him and breathing -each breath is a victory, and at the same time a grim countdown.

He wants to cling tighter, gather his courage and just hold the other, keep him close. Kiss the wounds closed, hug the internal scarring away, caress the insecurities into dust.

But he has his own insecurities, and the fact that he may be Gokudera-kun's saving grace brings him panic rather than fulfilment, because he cannot believe or understand this worship, this adoration. He wants to love and hug and kiss, but he knows -dreadful intuition- that he would always, always be accepted, and it is wrong, because he wants Gokudera-kun to accept him -no, to want him- for his own sake, and not out of admiration or devotion, or because it's such an honour. He wants him to light up in love and happiness, but he's sacred that he'll be loved out of duty and gratefulness, and even if his heart tells him it's ridiculous -because deep down he still believes in love, and there's that tiny bit of hope in him that sees something inside Gokudera-kun's eyes and smile that shouldn't be there if he was just devoted- his mind is still that of Dame-Tsuna, fearful and shy and convinced of his own lameness and utter bad luck.

So he wraps bandages around those cuts, to hide them from view and pretend they don't exist, will not exist again, presses skin and flesh together in a mad hope to mend his friend's heart along with his body, and wonders how long he will hold until he breaks and takes, in a desperate attempt to salvage.

It will make him feel guilty for the rest of his life, but the pain of living without knowing the truth is a mere candle compared to the blazing hell that would be living on with an open wound of his own, red and black and bare, torn off where someone so precious used to be.


Thanks for reading and please feed the writer.