Disclaimer: Katekyo Hitman Reborn! is not mine.
Warning: Recurring use of "stupid woman".
Gokudera Hayato was a faithful guardian of the Vongola 10th. He also liked to consider himself as Sawada Tsunayoshi's best friend who was willing to follow the 10th to the ends of the earth and sacrifice everything for his well-being and happiness. His persistence in being the 10th's right-hand man provided him the leeway to be with Tsuna in his ups and downs and witness every imperative moment in the Vongola heir's life.
And it had been such a privilege to see Tsuna overflowing with happiness when Sasagawa Kyoko appeared on his doorstep one afternoon, asking him if he wanted to eat cake with her in the newly-opened cake shop downtown.
"Would you like to join us, Gokudera-kun?"
Gokudera immediately noticed Tsuna's downcast expression. "Sorry, but I have something to do this afternoon," he said without missing a beat.
Gokudera puffed out his chest a bit, feeling proud of what he had done for the 10th.
Kyoko's eyebrows furrowed, "Oh, that's too bad. I invited Haru-chan to come, too."
Tsuna's smile turned upside down.
Gokudera panicked, his momentary self-fulfilment in contributing to Tsuna's 'dream come true' gone in a flash.
"That stupid woman?!" he hissed under his breath, apparently pissed that his revered 10th was going to have to endure such a nuisance in his supposedly blissful date with Sasagawa Kyoko. "Ah! I suddenly remembered I already finished what I was supposed to do. I can come!"
"Juudaime, don't worry," he whispered to Tsuna who was snapped from his trance and turned to gaze at him curiously. "Have fun with your woman, and leave the rest to me."
Right after the three left for the cake shop, Gokudera had been occupied with thoughts of how to keep the stupid woman from ruining Tsuna's perfect day. He had options of tying and locking her up, bombing her, or plainly telling her off. But Gokudera realized that even if Tsuna had no special feelings for the stupid woman, the 10th wouldn't be pleased if his friend got hurt in any way; so he instantly dismissed his previous plans and was back to square one.
It was only when they passed by the pet shop when a scheme was formulated. Gokudera managed to distract Kyoko with the puppies displayed in the glass window – he gave Tsuna a thumbs-up when Kyoko insisted on getting a puppy and told Gokudera to tell Haru they were going to be late. He gladly took the opportunity to delay the couple's arrival and 'deal' with that day's pest.
What Gokudera thought was a simple plan of keeping the stupid woman from the 10th and Sasagawa Kyoko turned out to be a monstrous turn of events. Initially, he perceived that he wouldn't break a sweat in his mission; after all, if he had managed to survive life-and-death situations, then spending an afternoon with a crazy, annoying, stupid woman would be no big deal.
However, his instincts had failed him for the first time.
Located right in between the chocolate confectionary and the sports shop was the most colourful boutique Gokudera had ever seen. Throughout the transit, he had been brooding about getting stuck with the stupid woman and all the while repeating 'for Juudaime' like a mantra that he failed to notice where they were heading. The reason why his initial resolve had flickered into oblivion was because of the stupid woman's unexpected response when he callously stated that Tsuna and Kyoko cannot come that afternoon.
He was taken aback when she pumped her fist in the air and gushed, "Hahi! So this is Kyoko-san's plan of letting me prepare and getting the perfect present. I should not waste this opportunity! When all of this is done, Tsuna-san would have the privilege to spend his day with his future wife," She immediately switched into daydream mode, with her hands clasped together and her eyes faraway.
That moment, Gokudera instantly concluded that the girl had lost her mind.
"Come on, Gokudera-san! Help Haru choose costumes for the celebration!"
And before the silver-haired boy could react, Haru grabbed his hand and began pulling him towards the dreadful-looking store. He was too preoccupied gaping at the rows and rows of unbelievable costumes and the weirdness of it all that Haru was given the liberty to pull him even further into the heart of the shop.
"Let go of me, you crazy woman!" he cried after he came to his senses, pulling his hand from Haru's tight grip. "What the fuck did you bring me here for?!"
Haru's eyes narrowed, "Hahi! You don't have to pull that tone and cuss me!" she retorted, her eyes blazing with anger. "And Haru is not crazy, Gokudera-san. Haru doesn't even know why you would label her as such!"
"That's because you're stupid," Gokudera snapped. "You've obviously gone mad for wanting to shop in here. Normal people wear normal clothes and don't pretend to be objects that aren't even supposed to move!"
Haru gasped, apparently affronted at the boy's lack of sensitivity towards her veneration over costumes, "You are a heartless bastard, Gokudera-san! Haru hates you from the bottom of her heart!"
"The feeling's mutual," Gokudera replied.
Haru stood rigid in her spot for a few moments before she took a deep breath. "Haru would have to endure all of this for Tsuna-san who deserves a wonderful party since he is kind, gracious, and loving unlike some people," she emphasized the last two words before heading towards a rack of peculiar-looking costumes.
Leaning against the wall, Gokudera ignored Haru and became preoccupied with thoughts regarding the 10th and his woman. He hoped that Tsuna was having the time of his life. After all, Gokudera had gone to the extremes and associated himself with the crazy, annoying, stupid woman for an entire afternoon.
Gokudera frowned when a familiar voice resounded in the silence. He looked up, only to be met by the stupid woman's firm gaze. He noticed the lump of cloth in her hands.
"What the hell is that?"
Haru's lips twitched, "Your costume."
Gokudera pushed himself off the wall and glared at the stupid woman, who wavered from her stand as the evident difference in height hit her like a big boulder of realization. He smirked and took advantage, looming over the suddenly frantic-looking Haru. "And what made you think I'll wear that?"
He was taken aback when she grinned, "Hahi! Why it's for Tsuna-san's party of course!"
Gokudera looked lost. "What party?" he asked, his voice suddenly small.
"It's his birthday today!" Haru exclaimed, her previous anger replaced with bubbling excitement. "And you call yourself Tsuna-san's right-hand man!"
Gokudera's mouth hung open. "It's—It's Juudaime's birthday today?!"
Gokudera did not care whether he was seen walking right beside a girl in a ridiculous Sailor Moon outfit. Or that he was dragged around by said girl who was constantly raving about the perfect present to give to Tsuna. He wordlessly tailed the stupid woman in her shopping spree, ignoring the stares they were receiving from passers-by for his mind was devoid of any thoughts except for utter disgust for himself.
What kind of right-hand man am I?
"Hmm… do you think Haru should ask Tsuna-san what he wants for his birthday?" Haru looked over her shoulder, regarding the all the while silent Gokudera.
The boy shrugged, apparently still swimming in guilt.
Haru stopped in her tracks, surprising Gokudera when he almost crashed onto her.
"What's your problem, stupid woman?" he growled, but his voice lacked the usual fervour.
"Hahi! There's no point brooding in such a happy day! The day's not yet over, Gokudera-san! If you like, Haru can help you look for a birthday present, too," Haru said cheerfully, patting Gokudera's slumped shoulders.
Gokudera scoffed, "Tsk. As if I'd ever need help from someone like you."
Haru chose to ignore the boy's statement and instead, reached for his hand and pulled him along with her as she began to run towards one of the shops in the street. "Come on, Gokudera-san! Tsuna-san wouldn't want you to sulk during his birthday, would he?" And then she tilted her head to smile brightly at him.
It took him quite a while to figure out that the stupid woman wasn't so bad after all.
Gokudera caught a glimpse of a familiar couple when he sat on a bench right outside the shop the stupid woman was currently in.
His face considerably brightened when he realized it was Tsuna and Sasagawa Kyoko walking side by side while eating ice cream. He also noticed the small cage in the 10th's hand and immediately concluded that the diversion in the pet shop worked. He was about to shout and wave at the two when the couple burst into laughter. Then it dawned on Gokudera how much his friend was enjoying himself and eventually decided that he didn't want to interrupt his fun.
It was Tsuna's birthday after all, and he deserved to be happy.
Although his search for a present ended up a failure, Gokudera was satisfied at the favour he had done for the 10th.
Gokudera jumped in his seat, turning to the person who disrupted him from his musings, "What the hell did you that for?!"
Haru burst into laughter upon seeing his wide eyes and staggered expression, "Did I scare you?" she asked in the middle of her fit.
"Like that would ever happen," Gokudera snapped and was on his feet an instant later. "Come on, let's go," Just as he began to walk away, he noticed that the stupid woman had not moved from her spot. Her face blank all of a sudden. "Oi, what's up?"
Haru was snapped from her momentary stupor, "O-Oh! Haru thought she just saw Tsuna-san and Kyoko-chan pass by," Gokudera stiffened. "But Haru thinks she was just seeing things, so there's nothing to worry about!"
Gokudera's lips thinned, "I wasn't worried, stupid woman. And yeah… you must have been imagining things," he said before turning around and walking away. "If we're done shopping, I'll go now."
Gokudera looked over his shoulder, "What?" he gritted his teeth.
Haru almost crashed into him as she approached, and it was only then he became aware of the stupid woman's eye-catching countenance. She was wearing the blue and white costume of Sailor Moon, her skirt was so short that if she bent forward, her underwear would have been completely flashed to a passer-by unlucky enough to see such a hideous sight. There was nothing different about her hair, save for the necklace dangling on her head, the plastic crystal shimmering brilliantly that it was possible to blind someone with it.
He had to say, she looked pretty ridiculous in that outfit.
"Don't you want to see what Haru got as a birthday present for Tsuna-san?" she asked excitedly, unaware of Gokudera's lingering gaze on her legs.
"Come on, Haru will show you!"
For the third time that afternoon, even before he could shout his protest, Gokudera found himself being dragged towards God knows where.
"Oi, what the hell do you think you're doing?"
All four heads snapped towards Gokudera's direction, their previously taunting grins turned into deep, ugly scowls. Haru gazed at Gokudera's menacing stance, relieved. For a moment, she caught his eyes and the sharpness of his gaze told her that he wasn't so delighted in finding her surrounded by tall, burly boys after leaving for five minutes to purchase some cake.
"Making friends with this cute, little lady," said one of them cheekily, winking at Haru who quickly paled and avoided eye contact. He turned to Gokudera not long after and sized him up shamelessly, "Are you a delinquent? If you are, then I'm afraid we have to protect the cutie from you. After all," he grinned. "We found her first."
Gokudera frowned, "I hate to burst your bubble, but that's my girlfriend you're hitting on."
Haru turned crimson at Gokudera's declaration, but she knew better than to contradict.
"Your girlfriend?" asked another. "But you must know, this doesn't change things at all... surely, you would have predicted what would happen when such a cutie is left sulking by herself..."
Gokudera's eyes flickered towards Haru who suddenly turned away from his gaze.
"We just thought we could cheer her up," said the third with a grin. "And finders keepers, delinquent-san."
Gokudera had reached the peak of his patience, "Why you..." he growled and grabbed his dynamites.
"G-Gokudera-san!" Haru squeaked, perturbed with the appearance of the Storm Guardian's weapons.
"Oh?" Gokudera raised an eyebrow, his hand already twitching towards the direction of the unwelcomed company. "If you don't leave at the count of five, I'm going to shove these in your mouths and let you explode."
The three boys looked apprehensive all of a sudden.
The pests were gone the moment Gokudera began his counting, even bumping several people in their haste. The silver-haired boy watched their retreating forms, satisfied, before taking a seat across the still quiet Haru and placing the tray of food he was carrying on the table.
There was an awkward silence while Gokudera poked his cake languidly, his mind apparently drifting elsewhere as if nothing odd had transpired just minutes before. The silence ensued until,
"Haru is thankful, Gokudera-san," Haru was fidgeting in place, her face still a vibrant red.
Gokudera scoffed, still playing with his food, "I leave you to buy cake, only to find you in trouble five minutes after." He looked up from his plate and stared at Haru with a hint of annoyance. "Stupid woman."
Haru's abashed expression immediately turned angry, "Haru's not stupid!"
Gokudera sneered, "Oh yeah? Well, if you weren't stupid enough to wear that costume, you wouldn't have attracted unwanted attention, idiot!"
"Hahi! Stop calling Haru stupid because she's not!" Haru cried before indulging in her chocolate cake in an attempt to calm herself.
Another silence followed. From his peripheral vision, Gokudera watched Haru stuff her mouth with spoonfuls of cake. The forcefulness of her gesture was an adequate sign of her annoyance. He sighed as the silence dragged on, until eventually the stupid woman finished her slice of cake and began downing her orange juice in one gulp.
"Geez, you eat like a pig," Gokudera spoke up.
Haru looked at him warily, not expecting Gokudera to be the one to break the silence. "Haru doesn't see the point of such unnecessary comments," she said dryly.
Gokudera shrugged, "Yeah, well. What were you going to show me anyway?"
At this, Haru's lacklustre expressions turned excited. "Haru finally got the perfect present for Tsuna-san, and she was just wondering what Gokudera-san would think of it! After all, you are very close with him."
Gokudera swelled with pride at the last bit, "So what is it?"
Haru opened one of the paper bags and grabbed one of the purchases inside.
Gokudera blanched as Haru held out several Sailor Moon-printed boxers.
"Don't you think it's cute?" she gushed happily. "Wearing this, Tsuna-san would always think of Haru now, ne?"
The boy could only gape, disturbed with the thought of his respected Juudaime to be wearing such embarrassing undergarments. And it was in that brief silence when Gokudera saw two familiar figures walking down the boardwalk, headed right towards the cake shop they were in. He noticed that the couple was seemingly more comfortable with each other -- their holding hands accounted for this.
Tha 10th was glowing.
Gokudera panicked, "Hahaha! Yeah, I think Juudaime will like them a lot!"
Haru visibly brightened, still oblivious to the sight behind her, "Hahi! You really think so? Haru can't wait to give these to Tsuna-san!" she exclaimed excitedly, her smile as bright as the morning sun.
From the corner of his eye, he could see Tsuna and Kyoko fast-approaching. Gokudera had to look away from Haru as if the brightness of her smile burned his eyes. Stupid woman.
"Do you think Tsuna's home? Maybe she can give it to him now—"
"Wait, Haru!" Gokudera grabbed Haru's arm and forced her to sit down when she stood up.
"Is there something wrong, Gokudera-san?" Haru asked worriedly. She noticed him look at something over her shoulder before he quickly averted his gaze towards his uneaten cake on the table. Curious, she looked over her shoulder.
Sawada Tsunayoshi was in bliss with Sasagawa Kyoko that moment, their bodies snugly pressed together and their faces unseen.
It didn't take a genius to realize what was happening.
A moment later, the two separated for air. Tsuna entered the cake shop with Kyoko in tow.
Haru sat frozen in place.
Gokudera glanced at the silent girl across him, wondering what in the world was going to happen now. Was she going to go after Tsuna? As the 10th's right-hand man, he would not hesitate to stop her. But as he gazed at Haru's dejected expression, Gokudera didn't think he could do anything to aggravate her disappointment even more.
"Maybe Haru can give her present later, ne?" Haru suddenly looked up, a smile on her face.
Gokudera was at a loss for words.
"T-Tsuna-san looks so happy with Kyoko-san... Haru wouldn't want to interfere now, would she? It's Tsuna-san's birthday, and she doesn't want to do anything that might ruin it. Haru won't cry because she is happy for Tsuna-san and Kyoko-san..." Haru blabbered incessantly as if assuring herself, struggling to keep the smile on her face and prevent herself from crying.
Gokudera's expression softened at Haru's distress. "You continue to like Juudaime even if you know he like someone else." It wasn't a question.
Haru stifled her sobs, still managing to smile at Gokudera. "Haru doesn't see anything wrong with that."
Gokudera held Haru's gaze for the longest time before looking away and muttering, "Stupid woman."
He fixed his eyes on his shoes, giving Haru the privacy to express her sadness. It wasn't long before he heard her sobs and sniffs, her breathing becoming more ragged as the moment passed by. When her hushed crying subsided, Gokudera dared to look up and glance at the girl.
When Haru realized him looking at her, she immediately plastered on a smile.
"Here you can have my cake," Gokudera mumbled, pushing his plate towards Haru.
"Thank you, Gokudera-san," Haru managed to smile at Gokudera again before ravaging the cake to ease her depression. "Mmm, it tastes so good!" she cried softly, putting on another smile.
As Gokudera watched Haru consume his uneaten cake, the boy came to the conclusion that anyone falling for a stupid woman like Miura Haru would be labelled as stupid as well.
But after everything that happened that day, Gokudera Hayato decided he didn't mind being labelled as such at all.
A/N: My first KHR fic! Hopefully, it turned out alright. I'm not that confident with my characterization but I've got my fingers crossed that you guys found it bearable. We need more Gokudera/Haru love, yeah! They're just so cute together (squeals). Anyhow, comments/ suggestions/ constructive criticisms are welcomed! (;))