Because I wish there was more of this pairing…
Edit 1-17-10: Thanks to expletive deleted for catching some of my goofs and name misspellings.
Going Through the Motions by ficklepickles
"Hey brat! We're going out!" Squalo announced loudly as he burst into Tsuna's office.
Sasagawa Ryohei had been in the middle of giving his report (most of it written across an array of post-it notes), and grinned at the man. "Morning!" He greeted, just as loudly.
Squalo gave the boxer a mild look. "Lussuria was lookin' for ya." He said brusquely, then strode forward, grabbed his boss by the wrist, and bodily hauled him out.
"Thanks!" The Sun Guardian said cheerily with a wave. Carefully, he placed his stack of written post-its onto Tsuna's desk and then jogged out, eager to see what the flamboyant fighter had in store for him today.
"H-Hey!" The little brunette stuttered, failing in trying to keep up with long-legged man's pace. "Where are we going?"
"Out." Squalo answered briskly.
"Where?" The Vongola leader asked as the swordsman slammed through a set of double doors, earning curious glances from the members of the family. He offered them a weak smile and a little wave with his free hand as they passed, assuring them that he was in no trouble, despite what it looked like. His other wrist was beginning to ache as Squalo tugged it forward mercilessly, holding it in a tight grip.
"We're going to the park." He said, pulling them to a stop in front of a gleaming black motorcycle. The swordsman swung his legs over it easily. "Get on." He ordered.
"Uh, is it important? I still have a lot of work to-" Tsuna was cut off as Squalo reached out and grabbed him by the back of his shirt, hauling him onto the seat behind him.
"Put this on." The swordsman said sharply, forcing a helmet into the Decimo's hands. He slid a matching one over his own head and started the engine.
Knowing that he wouldn't be given a second warning, Tsuna jammed on the helmet. Squalo offered him three words of caution ("hold on tight") before he took off in a squeal of tires and a shriek from Tsuna.
Hours later, the Vongola Decimo returned to their base, bruised, battered, and in a suit that was on the side of worse for wear.
He had spent the day with Squalo, watching as the swordsman terrorized the children and tiny woodland creatures of the park. At one point, the silver haired man had bought him a dessert of some kind, but it had ended up an unidentifiable, mutilated glop of sweetened cream and berries by the time it reached Tsuna.
The Vongola leader had fallen off the bike exactly two times, while it had been flying down the roads at speeds Tsuna didn't really want to think about. Both times Squalo had spun the bike around in an impossible front-wheel wheelie, and had roared back to the fallen Tsuna, seizing him by the back of his jacket and stuffing him into the rear seat while yelling profanity and clamping Tsuna's hands tighter around his narrow waist.
("Fuckin' hold on tight, ya dumbshit!")
After that, they were blasting along a canal, Tsuna's arms wrapped securely around Squalo's waist. He had long ago foregone any shyness to the proximity with the Varia assassin in favor of living. A few times he had peeked out from his clenched shut eyelids, just to get a bearing on where they might be going. He regretted it every time as at one point, it looked as if the bike's wheels weren't even touching the ground as they barreled across an incline.
("Oh my god is that a cliff?!")
Then, Squalo had unceremoniously dumped Tsuna off at headquarters. Just an abrupt and jarring halt, a shove off the bike, and ominous parting words. "See ya later."
That left the young Vongola head, bewildered and shaking in the courtyard, a black helmet still on his head.
Their next encounter was of a vastly different sort.
Squalo had actually charged into Tsuna's office, his sword drawn. There had been a crash and the sound of splintering wood as the door exploded. Squalo's sword had cut Tsuna's desk in two, and the Decimo himself crouched on the ceiling, his hands encased in flame.
"Squalo?" He called out questioningly, confused. "Are we under attack?"
"Fight me ya fuckin' brat!"
Golden eyes widened as the swordsman leaned back, his sword drawn at an awkward angle. He had a moment to react before the sword's tip slashed the air, wind pressure slicing up the spot he had been standing.
Anticipating his movement, Squalo spun, swinging his sword again, releasing an array of explosives toward where the Vongola head was sure to land.
Tsuna changed direction immediately, blasting away with his strong flame. Reorienting his hands, he shot over Squalo's head to settle on the wall behind him.
"Is something wrong? We can talk about this." The Decimo tried reasonably.
"Vooooi!" Was Squalo's answer as his left hand swung around and thrust forward, his sword tip a blur.
Agilely, Tsuna dodged the deadly rain of blows, falling into a rhythm of gliding through the air.
A sudden overhead swing caught him by surprise, and Tsuna instinctively reached up with his hands. He realized his mistake in an instant as the heavy blade struck and severe vibrations shook him down to his bones.
Shit! Attacco di Squalo.
He forced more flames through his gloves, countering the numbing shock with heat. Tongues of fire licked through his clothes, but it sped up his reaction time against Squalo's shockwaves. Fingers clamped tightly around the blade, he rocketed forward, intending to twist the sword away, but Squalo wasn't at a disadvantage in the air. The swordsman spun with the sword instead.
In quick succession, Tsuna released the sword as Squalo turned, and sent several short bursts of flame towards the taller man's chest. Squalo caught them all dead on and slammed backwards into a bookshelf. Then Tsuna was on him. In an instant he had Squalo's head held in his flame covered glove.
"Squalo!" He said sharply. "What's wrong?"
The silver haired man merely grinned, a line of red blood dribbling from the corner of his mouth.
"Not bad, brat." He grunted.
"What?" Tsuna questioned, perplexed and slightly irritated. The dying will flame on his forehead simmering away in a cloud of white smoke.
Squalo disengaged himself from the bookshelf, shrugging off broken pieces of wood and dust from his clothes. Grinning wider, he leaned forward. "You're not complete shit." He said, then walked away carelessly, as if he hadn't just attempted what appeared to be an unprovoked battle in the Decimo's workplace.
Tsuna was granted a long look at the Varia member's back before the long cloak turned a corner and out of sight. The young mafia head sighed and ran a mittened hand through his hair. He was most certain that Squalo's aim was to drive him insane. While physically just bit smoked and scratched here and there, his mind was shredded with confusion and stress.
Then he blinked, staring at the destruction of his office. Bonelessly, Tsuna fell to the ground and curled up into a ball. "Reborn's gonna kill me."
After that, Tsuna was completely convinced that Squalo had been sent as a personal harbinger of doom. He was an assassin of the Varia on a mission to drive Tsuna absolutely mad before Xanxus attempted another coup d'etat -- despite the fact that the Varia were staunch supporters of Tsuna as their head and Xanxus no longer had any interest in ruling the Vongola Familgia. Apparently, the obscene amount of paperwork he had seen Tsuna having to put up with had set the idea out of his mind. Xanxus was, more or less, satisfied with running the Varia.
Tsuna's office and quarters were quite literally covered in the most random tokens of…space taker uppers. While he wasn't quite ready to call them all entirely useless pieces of crap, they certainly were objects of a most curious nature.
On his desk was a crystal vase full of stems. At one point, they may have been flowers, but at some time during delivery, the blossoms had been completely crushed or torn off. On his new desk (boy was it expensive) was a bundle of uncooked pasta tied with string. By his second antique bookcase was an aquarium inhabited by a lonely octopus. In a tray by his Inbox was an arrangement of black chocolate sweets that he was hesitant to try. He had given them a cursory sniff and had caught a strong scent of chili peppers.
There was also a massive diamond necklace hanging from his lamp. Why it was on his lamp, he wasn't sure, but he had yet to move it from where he had found it in case it served a purpose there. The ways of the Varia were quite foreign to him, moreso than he could have guessed he found as time went by.
His bedroom was also besieged with gifts (traps?).
Clothes ranging from customary summer-wear to solid black leather somethings had been laid out over his bed and stuffed hastily into his closet. Mouth drawn into a thin line, Tsuna picked up a set that had been bunched together. It was a pink, formal bridal kimono and a pair of Swedish wooden clogs. He stared at the silk Uchikake. It was hand-dyed in several shades of pink, varying from a light rose at the collar to a deep fuchsia at the edges, and hand embroidered in gold and silver thread.
Wistfully he thought it would stunning on Kyoko, but quickly shook his head away from such thoughts. She was happily married to Gamma of the Giglio Nero.
Plus, he could tell that this was tailored to his height and build.
Carefully, he replaced the expensive cloth back on its wooden hanger. He had to assume that Squalo didn't know what it was, and to be fair, Tsuna himself didn't understand half of the things the swordsman gave him.
In the lunchroom, he had been greeted with a pool of live eels. He made a mental note to buy a freshwater aquarium for them to swim around in.
When he returned from lunch, he discovered a strange letter had been inserted into his inbox. It was just a folded sheet of white paper. Written in a large messy scrawl, it read:
Don't bother running. I'm gonna get ya.
Carefully refolding the note, Tsuna tucked it into his desk without another thought. If he didn't see it, he might be able to forget that it existed. He had already forgone any assumptions of understanding. The Varia were beyond his meager powers of comprehension.
It was four in the morning. Typically, it was an hour where most people were in bed. Therefore, it was the time that he would be receiving a visitor from the Varia, whom he attended in his jammies.
"Shi shi shi. Not too princely of you." Belphegor greeted.
Blearily, Tsuna tried to rub the sleep from his eyes. "What do you want?" He asked none too politely. Recent events had worn thin his patience for manners.
"Fuu." The assassin mumbled with a slightly drawn face. "Testy." He grinned.
"Is this important?" Tsuna tried again. He didn't feel right about closing the door on the prince's face. The Decimo knew that his door would only be sliced to pieces anyways, so he leaned on it instead. Perhaps under threat of his own bodily harm, the Varia might pull back on their habitual wanton destruction of Vongola property. Then again, probably not.
He'd bill Xanxus and threaten him with paperwork. That would work better. In the morning, he'd send Ryohei to them with the memo. They were less likely to grill him alive. The boxer was unusually good friends with the Varia, most likely because of his inherent Sun attribute; healing.
Belphegor's grin widened. "Change and come with me." He said, shouldering his way past Tsuna. "Squally left some clothes for you, and he wants you to wear them."
An image of an outfit made of nothing but leather straps and silver buckles flashed uncomfortably through Tsuna's mind.
As expected, the blonde paid him little attention as he began to rummage through the Vongola Decimo's closet. He pulled drawers and rifled through the clothing, quickly, inefficiently, and would pause at the slightest article that caught his attention.
("Ooh, nice boxers. Very princely.")
After only half of his clothes had all been turned out, Belphegor located the items of interest. It was a black tanktop, and a pair of thin cotton pajama pants, one of the few normal sets included in his uncalled for wardrobe restructuring.
Tsuna almost let a sigh of relief pass through his lips. If that was all it would take to please them, then that was fine. He held out his hand for the clothing, and nearly flinched when Belphegor advanced with them instead.
"Squally was adamant about you showing up looking proper." The blonde assassin said through rows of widely grinning teeth.
"I'm sure that I can do that fine myself." Tsuna said a bit defensively, backing up.
"Shi shi shi."
Before he could question the laughter, Tsuna felt the press of invisible wires at his back and stopped. Just a millimeter more back, and his clothes would have fallen to the floor in pieces.
A vaguely disappointed look crossed Belphegor's face.
"I like these pajamas." The Decimo stated seriously, daring the prince to cut them up. After a moment, he felt the taut lines go slack and disappear. Surprised by how easy it was, Tsuna raised his brows in question.
The blonde shrugged and made a motion with his hands.
Hooks shot out from his sleeves (the latest addition to his arsenal), and snagged onto the Decimo's clothing. A twist from the wrist, and Belphegor's invisible wires pulled Tsuna's shirt up and off of him. Tsuna's hand shot out to catch the assassin's arm before he could do the same with his pants. There was just no way he could see that move ending well.
"I'll do it!" He said, slipping out of his pants before the prince could reconsider. "Happy now?" He asked a touch acerbically as he stood, freezing in his room in a pair of blue-striped boxers.
The tiara-wearing blonde merely smiled and Tsuna could have sworn that he saw a twinkle behind the bangs that hid the assassin's eyes. Instinctively, he drew back slightly. He recognized that twinkle.
"No, wait." Tsuna held up a hand in a feeble attempt to ward off the shorter boy. His other hand he crossed over himself as a pathetic shield. "I can do it. I can--!"
That night, various members of the Vongola Famiglia were awoken by a shriek and the visage of their boss streaking down the hallways in nothing but boxers while being chased by a maniacally grinning prince.
Reborn smiled to himself, feeling a sense of nostalgia. Then he prompt shot his young pupil in the back of the head with a rubber bullet. With a nod to Belphegor, he closed his door and went back to sleep.
Tsuna awoke to a throbbing headache. Gingerly he felt the back of the head and wasn't surprised when his fingers came across a large, tender lump. He winced. Damn, those rubber bullets really hurt.
Carefully he felt around his bump. It was about two inches wide. Through the haze of his pounding migraine, he vaguely made out that he was in an unfamiliar room.
He sat up and instantly regretted it as his headache intensified with the movement. A thick blanket fell from his shoulder.
"Wha…?" Pressing the heels of his hands to his temples, he tried to dull the pain and focus. Where the heck was he?
"Sit still, brat." A dreadfully familiar voice growled from nearby.
Tsuna twisted to the side to look.
Tucked in beside him, underneath that same thick blanket, lay Squalo, glaring at him.
He was in Squalo's bed. Something shriveled up and died inside of him.
"Er…g-good morning." He greeted tremulously.
"Hmph. Damn brat." Squalo sat up, a fluid motion from the waist, and ran a long fingered hand through his hair. He wore his eternal grumpy expression on his face, though this time he looked just a touch more frustrated than usual. That didn't bode well for Tsuna.
"Uh…um…I can explain!"
"Fuckin' Bel." Squalo grumbled.
The silver-haired swordsman favored Tsuna with a glower, and the little brunette shrank back.
"Sorry. I'll just be going now." Always quick to his feet, Tsuna slipped out from under the covers, but an ever faster hand caught and held him firmly.
Squalo regarded him with narrowed eyes. The Vongola Decimo felt his heart rate skyrocket. He was about to die. His death was not by an enemy's hand, but by a member of his own family. How ironic.
His life was flashing before his eyes. Oh, how very uninteresting those first few years were, but then Reborn came and royally mucked it up. So many times he had been so close to death, and for some reason, Squalo's face had become a predominant factor there. He had expected Reborn's face.
His blanched expression began to redden, and when he opened his eyes, it was to find the swordsman's face very close to his.
"Dumb shit." Squalo breathed into his face, his voice somehow softer than usual. Then he yanked Tsuna forward and pressed an unexpectedly gentle kiss on his lips.
Stunned, Tsuna didn't move.
"Oi, say something."
"Do you…like me?" Tsuna asked, almost disbelievingly.
Squalo grinned, his lips stretching widely over large white teeth. "And if I did?" He questioned with a hint of challenge in his voice.
The Vongola boss flushed deeply and he dropped his gaze. His mind fumbled for something to say. Tsuna had never really been confessed to before, and even knowing how hard it was to even try to confess (he had only once to Kyoko, and had been rejected spectacularly), could not find the words to let him down gently. Part of him feared the reaction his rejection would cause. Another part was curious as to why the Italian, who had never before showed any interest in anyone, had confessed to him now.
"I can wait." Squalo said quietly. His steel grey eyes, usually so bright with energy and confidence, flickered slightly with uncertainty.
Something sparked inside Tsuna. The intuition that was inherent within him knew that the swordsman was being sincere about his feelings. More than that, Tsuna understood that Squalo really meant it. He wasn't being half-assed about his intentions. If waiting was what it took for Tsuna to come around, then Squalo would wait.
Life with Squalo, Tsuna thought, would not be that bad. If anything, the man had been attention grabbing in all his endeavors. Even if Tsuna could not fully understand what the swordsman was thinking most of the time, Squalo apparently held the Vongola Decimo in high regard.
And laying in the arms of the taller man was actually quite comfortable. In fact, it was rather soothing.
Almost unconsciously, he snuggled closer to the lean form of the swordsman.
Squalo was warm.
"Tsunayoshi." The name fell softly from lips that were close enough to brush against his hair.
Tsuna looked up, surprised to find that he had inched toward the swordsman so that he almost had his face buried in the other man's nightshirt.
Patient grey eyes regarded him with a hint of wariness.
At that moment, Tsuna made up his mind. It wasn't yet love, but he felt something for Squalo that was close to it. The swordsman had braved through a confession for him, as well as what Tsuna now believed were efforts at courting him. The least he could do was offer him a chance.
Gulping, he scooted upward and planted a small kiss on Squalo's cheek. At the look of confusion on the swordsman's face, Tsuna realized that the man hadn't understood. Italians were more open with their affection than Japanese. So, the brunette leaned forward again, and this time, kissed Squalo square on the lips.
"Ok." He said, cheeks burning with embarrassment. Shyly, he lifted his eyes to meet the swordsman's astonished gaze.
Too quickly, gloved hands reached out and pulled Tsuna in. The Vongola's face was now buried in the crook of the taller man's neck. From there, he could smell the clean soap scent of the Varia member, as well as Squalo's shampoo. He also noted that Squalo was barely breathing.
He had been holding his breath, Tsuna realized.
Squalo swallowed. "I owe Bel." He grumbled under his breath.
Before Tsuna could ask him what he meant, the swordsman's hold on him loosened, and Squalo's head dipped down to give him a kiss on the forehead. "Thank you." He murmured, his lips brushing against Tsuna's soft skin.
In those words, Tsuna heard the unspoken for giving me a chance, and knew that he wouldn't regret it.
Squalo was going to try for him, and Tsuna would do the same.
When Tsuna awoke the next morning, he was surprised and slightly disappointed to find himself alone in the bed. Getting up, he scanned the room, secure in knowing that he was still in Squalo's room, and the previous night wasn't some strange dream.
Squalo's coat was hanging off the back of a chair. Finding it odd that the swordsman would leave it behind, Tsuna bent to pick it up and as he was smoothing it out, he noticed a small, folded sheet of white paper on the floor. It had seen better days, he noted as he picked up the crumpled form. He unfolded it curiously. Ignoring the loopy and slanted handwritten heading, he scanned the note. On it was a list written in Squalo's very emphatic hand, with everything but the last already crossed off. As he read it, he felt a sense of dread building up inside of him.
An explosion rattled the windows from the outside.
Hurriedly, Tsuna leapt to his feet, the note fluttering back to the floor forgotten. As he ran full tilt into the courtyard, he was already screaming while jamming his mittens onto his hands. "NO! NO! NO! THAT'S NOT WHAT IT MEANS!"
"VOOOIIII! I'LL TAKE YOU DOWN!!"
"Maa maa. What's gotten into you today, Squalo? Oh, hi Tsuna!"
Belphegor's and Lussuria's Surefire Certain-Kill Method of Wooing Tsuna Boss Dude
BEST FRIEND DRESS UP
BATTLE WITH RIVAL
I'm hoping the note was self-explanatory. The Best Friend Dress up part was supposed to be how the love interest gets all dolled up with their best friend, but Bel just took the job on himself. The Battle with Rival was Squalo misinterpreting it as an actual rival and not a love rival, so he's duking it out with Yamamoto. Although, depending on how you look at it, Yamamoto could be a love interest too, heh.
It's supposed to be going through the motions of a romantic comedy or something. I think I covered the basic elements. Sorry if it doesn't mesh well, I wrote it in bits and pieces.
As a sort of extra, this was how it was originally going to start, but I felt that it gave too much away too fast. So here's how it would go if it was a couple thousand words shorter.
For all of his hyper-intuition, there just some things that not even a Vongola heir could see coming.
"VOOOI! Brat, go out with me!" Squalo shouted, slamming his hands down on Tsuna's desk.
Predictably, the young man jumped, startled at the outburst. He stared at the silver haired hitman, pen poised, frozen over the paper he had been perusing, at a complete loss for words. Was this the swordsman's way of asking him out, like on a date?
"Say 'yes,'" the taller man grinned around a mouthful of shark-like teeth.
"Um…I'm flattered but-" Tsuna hesitantly began, blushing a light red.
"That ain't a 'yes.'" Squalo hissed, his voice much lower than Tsuna was used to hearing. The swordsman leaned forward, his face dangerously close to Tsuna's. At that proximity, Squalo's hair nearly framed the Vongola's face, and the Decimo could smell the clean scent of the hitman's shampoo.
Edging back ever so slightly, Tsuna forced calm down upon himself. "I appreciate the thought, Squalo, but these things take time." He said gently, but firmly. If he showed any sign of uncertainty, the Varia would trample all over him.
Something flashed in those narrow, steely eyes. It wasn't anger, and it most definitely wasn't defeat. Straightening, Squalo smirked. "I'll be back later."
With that, the swordsman was gone with a flick of silver hair out the door.
Tsuna went limp in his chair, slumping and falling face down on his desk. Thumping his head once on the hard wood, he wondered what the Varia was up to.
He found out quickly the next day.