"You're an idiot," Hibari said. Dino frowned, vaguely hurt, and just barely managed to avoid a pedestrian stepping off the sidewalk.
"You shouldn't say things like that to your friends, Kyoya, it's hurtful," Dino said as the man he'd nearly hit shouted obscenities at them.
"We are not friends," Hibari said, and continued in the same emotionless tone of voice, "did you just hit that car?"
"No," Dino said guiltily, making a mental note to check his car for scrapes later.
Hibari looked at him, then shrugged and looked away. "As I said, you are an idiot."
Dino sighed, knowing that Hibari was right. "I know. I'm an idiot for still having a thing for Squalo, even though he's all wrapped up in Xanxus now. I'm an idiot for not confessing a long time ago, back when we were still friends."
"No, you're an idiot for telling me this crap when I don't care," Hibari said. "By the way, the speed limit is 30, not 50."
Dino slowed down, wondering how he'd missed that, and sighed again. "It's just, since Xanxus is such a jerk, I want him to be happy. I mean... yeah, I want him to be with me, but mostly I just want him to be with someone who'll treat him right."
"I really don't care," said Hibari.
"I know it's wrong to try and break people up, but is it wrong to try and show them there are other ways to be happy? Is it wrong to try and improve myself for him? He always gets pissed that I'm such a terrible driver, so I've been trying to get better," Dino said woefully.
"You're a lost cause, Cavallone. You just ran a red light," Hibari said.
"Again?" Dino glanced in the rearview mirror. "They shouldn't put them behind trees and stuff."
Hibari gave him that flat look again. "They don't. And why did you drag me out here? I could be napping."
"Because I want to do at least this. I've been trying to drive better without one of my men in the backseat, but it's not like I can really tell what I'm doing wrong. And you're one of the only ones who doesn't get all freaked out when they're in the car with me," Dino said. "I tried to take Tsuna along last time, but Gokudera told me if I ever tried that again he'd declare a Mafia war."
"Did you whine to Tsuna about all this, too?" Hibari asked, seeming almost interested for a moment.
Dino looked at him in surprise. "No, of course not! He's like my little brother, I'd rather be listening to his problems and helping him out."
"Lucky me," Hibari muttered.
"I mean, I told Mukuro some of it, but you know him, he just laughed," Dino said, skidding to a stop right as the light changed this time. He congratulated himself.
Hibari tensed. "You took Mukuro out with you? Like this?"
"Yeah," Dino said, "but he told me it was silly because the Varia are in more danger from their jobs than my driving. I told him it was more of a symbolic thing. He's the only other one who doesn't seem scared when I'm in the driver's seat." In fact, Mukuro had seemed to enjoy himself, and had asked Dino to invite him again another time.
He realized that Hibari had gone silent and prickly. "Come on, you don't still have a grudge against him, do you? It's been years since he beat you. Everyone knows you're the strongest Guardian now. It's healthier to let these things go, you know."
"Pull over," Hibari said.
"What? I really made you that mad? Kyoya, it's not a big deal, he's really not that bad a guy-"
Hibari rolled his eyes. "No, pull over because there's a policeman behind you."
Dino looked in the mirror again. Damn, Hibari was right.
Oh well, at least he wouldn't be getting a ticket. That was a Mafia perk, after all.
Dino managed to drop Hibari off at the Vongola base and return to the nearby Cavallone holdings where he was staying without any further incident (well, his men were close enough by then). Romario was waiting for him outside, desperately attempting to hide the worry written across his face. He relaxed infinitesimally when he saw that neither Dino nor the car were completely destroyed.
"Welcome back, boss," he said as Dino climbed out. "Glad to see you had a good time." Romario sounded slightly dubious when he said that, but Dino chose to take it in the spirit it was no doubt intended.
He smiled, feeling back on firmer ground already. "Thanks, Romario. I'll be in the office, could you have them send up some iced tea?"
"Sure," Romario said, and smiled in return.
Hibari and Squalo might both think he was an idiot, but his family loved him, and what was better than that? Besides, he was pretty good at what he did.
Dino settled into his office and started going through the memos and reports that had accumulated, the daily business of a decently powerful mafia family like the Cavallone. His mind was only half on his work, but he didn't need more, it was all routine by now.
He thought about that day, Hibari's words, the pointlessness of it all.
It wasn't like he was expecting Squalo to fall for him just because he'd gotten better at driving. It was more about himself, and being able to feel like the possibility was there, even if it really wasn't. It was a state of mind, not reality. Or something.
Maybe it was just that Squalos' words - "Oi, you can't drive for shit, you worthless excuse for a mafia boss!" - had reminded him of those long ago days in school together, when he hadn't even had the guts to tell Squalo he liked him. Dino had changed a lot since then, had become a person his family could be proud of, but what was the point of resting on those laurels? What was the definition of a man if not someone who kept working to improve themselves?
Fuck, maybe he really was just trying to impress Squalo.
Not that he was getting anywhere. Dino had started this week with high hopes, but had earned himself only a very scratched paint job, several talks with the police, and derision and laughter from Hibari and Mukuro respectively. (And a death threat from Gokudera, but Dino was almost completely sure that had been an exaggeration.)
It was the second more disheartening week of his life, the first being a very memorable week four years ago that had begun with him thinking Hibari Kyoya was kind of cute and ended with a broken jaw, two fractured ribs, and the firm decision that while Hibari might be cute, he was not 'grievous bodily harm' levels of cute.
Dino's driving was not getting better. Then again, his choices weren't the best - he couldn't ask Romario to help, as that would defeat the purpose, and the Vongolas were all insane except Tsuna, who had been forbidden from going within ten feet of Dino's car. He'd tried it alone at first, but that had ended in disaster and a ruined fruit stand, so he'd decided to get help.
Not that any of it really mattered. Some things were impossible in this world, and you just had to accept them. Gokudera easing up on the overprotectiveness, Yamamoto treating everything seriously, Hibari and Mukuro getting along - everyone accepted these things as impossible. Among them, though Dino didn't like to think about it, was getting Superbi Squalo to pry himself away from Xanxus.
Dino knew that, had known it for years. So he had to tell himself he was doing thing for another reason, or else it would just be too pathetic.
One more day, he thought. That would round out the week, and if he still wasn't improving - well, maybe it was time to find something else. Or give up.
One more day wasn't too pathetic.
The next day, he took Mukuro out with him. It wasn't like he had much of a choice, with Hibari gone to Vienna to prepare for a meeting of families. Dino would later have to attend, but despite Mukuro's position as one of Tsuna's Guardians, he was never put on security detail for these kinds of mafia events - most of the other families were (unsurprisingly) uncomfortable with giving him that kind of position.
Dino actually thought Mukuro was a pretty fun guy, now that he wasn't so entirely focused on the whole mafia-hate thing. Sure, he still insisted he loathed the mafia world, and treated them all with some contempt, but since Mukuro's contempt was delivered with a smile and a surprisingly good sense of humor, Dino didn't mind so much.
The real problem was that Mukuro seemed to enjoy Dino's driving.
"I think the speed limit is 30," Mukuro said. "You can go at least ten above it before the police start caring."
Dino checked his speedometer, which said 38, and slowed down a little.
"So, any progress on the unrequited love front?" Mukuro asked.
Dino had not actually told Mukuro the details of his feelings for Squalo. He'd just said that he wanted to get better at driving, and would Mukuro mind riding along and helping him out? Somehow, over the course of the car ride, Mukuro had managed to piece together the whole thing through a rather disturbing display of perfectly timed and carefully phrased questions, all of which had seemed entirely casual at the time. When Mukuro had laughed and told Dino not to give up on his entertainingly impossible love, Dino had suddenly realized exactly how the Vongola family had ended up with one of the best intelligence divisions in the mafia.
He'd since given up on trying to keep things like that from Mukuro, since the man's favorite hobby seemed to be making people admit uncomfortable things and then laughing about them (and occasionally retelling them at cocktail parties). Dino supposed inflicting crippling embarrassment was one way to get revenge on the mafia that wouldn't get Mukuro thrown back into prison, but he kind of wished it hadn't been practiced on him, too. At least he'd gotten Mukuro to agree not to tell anyone else.
Anyway, it was kind of nice to have someone to talk to about it. Mukuro might be more amused than sympathetic, but at least he paid attention, unlike Hibari (who had fallen asleep the first time Dino had tried to tell him).
"No," Dino said, shrugging philosophically. "I mean, the Varia just got back into town, so I haven't seen him yet. And anyway, I'm not really trying to make progress, you know?"
"Hmm. Don't give up, Cavallone, whoever will I find to entertain me then?" Mukuro said. "Why don't you go all out? I mean, you're only working on driving, think what else you could do. Court the man, bring him flowers or chocolates or something."
"I... don't think that would work on Squalo," Dino said cautiously, imagining the burst eardrums that might ensue if he were to do such a thing.
"All right, then," Mukuro said. "Get him drunk and take advantage of him."
Dino looked at Mukuro in horror. "You still hate the mafia, don't you? This is all a plot to get me killed."
Mukuro smiled. "You can't blame a guy for trying."
Dino was fairly sure he could in fact blame a guy for trying, but he was almost certain Mukuro was joking, too. "I know this isn't going to make him fall into my arms or anything. It's just... something to help me." He shrugged. "I know some things are impossible."
"Stop sign," Mukuro said, and then: "Oh, never mind, you went right past it. Anyway, I don't think you should worry about things like that. Just enjoy yourself, you never know what might happen. Sure, Squalo's kind of loud and grouchy, but maybe somewhere deep down he's fond of you, too. Maybe he will fall into your arms. People aren't always exactly the way they seem, after all."
Glancing at Mukuro, Dino saw he was smiling a little, apparently enjoying his attempt to shore up Dino's hopeless infatuation. "Well, I can live in hope, right?" He couldn't help smiling a little too. Really, what was wrong with that? It was good to love someone, even if they didn't love you back.
"Of course," Mukuro said, not batting an eye as Dino screeched to a halt at a stoplight, an inch or two away from the car in front of them. "That reminds me, you're going to Vienna soon, aren't you?" He lifted a suit jacket off his lap, he'd gotten into the car holding it - Dino recognized it as one that the Vongola used for official business, with the family's insignia embroidered into it. "Would you mind taking this to Kyoya? He forgot it in my room the other night. You know how much appearance means at those ridiculous alliance meetings. I'm sure he'll need it."
"Sure," Dino said, most of his attention occupied on navigating past a stopped car and one that was turning, trying not to hit either of them without slowing down. He managed it, but just barely, and was congratulating himself when the part of his brain that had been listening to Mukuro stuttered to a stop.
"Wait, what?" Dino said, turning to stare at Mukuro. Unfortunately, doing so meant he didn't see the police car parked on the side of the road, and instead of answering, Mukuro glanced back at the flickering lights behind them.
"I think you can outrun them," Mukuro said after a moment of calculation.
"They've got my plate number," Dino said, "I'll get into even more trouble."
"No, they don't," Mukuro said, and smiled.
After a moment's thought, Dino smiled too, and hit the gas.
Mukuro had been right, but it'd been close. Dino had also managed to scrape up the paint job on his car yet again while they were making their escape, and he returned to the Cavallone house feeling slightly defeated, but mostly confused.
The suit jacket Mukuro had left with him was undeniably Hibari's, the Cloud markings were as clear as day. And what Mukuro had said... well, it gave an entirely new dimension to Hibari's irritation at Dino taking Mukuro out for a drive.
But it was impossible. Everyone knew that Mukuro and Hibari were like oil and water. Leave them alone in a room, and five minutes later the room would be destroyed - and not in the fun way.
Then again, the last time Dino had seen them both in the same place, they hadn't fought. It had been one of Tsuna's big parties, and the place had been big enough for them to avoid each other, so Dino hadn't thought anything was out of the ordinary - but he remembered now that he'd noticed Hibari looking across the room at Mukuro more than once. He'd naturally assumed that look in Hibari's eyes was hatred, but maybe...
Dino was jolted out of his thoughts by a familiar angry yell. "HEY! You idiot, I've been waiting for almost an hour! What the hell are you doing?"
He couldn't help smiling at Squalo. "Hey, I didn't think you were gonna come see me. You just got back into town, right?"
Squalo rolled his eyes in annoyance, peering through the rolled down window of the Maserati at Dino. "You're seriously trying to learn how to drive by yourself? You're terrible at it. Your car looks like shit."
Dino laughed, feeling unaccountably happy. "But Tsuna's friends have been helping me out, I really think I'm getting better!"
"Don't ask those idiot Vongolas to help you, they couldn't find their own asses with both hands and a flashlight." Squalo pushed the door closed roughly as Dino tried to get out, barely missing his fingers. "Don't move, we're going out again. I'm going to show you how to do it right, and then you're going to buy me some fucking dinner to repay me."
Dino stared at him for a moment, then grinned. "Yeah, okay. Get in, we can go for a ride."
As Squalo got in the car, Dino glanced at the folded jacket on his back seat, and felt hope rising in his chest. Maybe... just maybe... today was a day for impossible things.