All characters © Amano Akira
Summary: A curious Gokudera and Yamamoto try to use the Ten Year Bazooka on Tsuna. After some improvisation they succeed, and are blown away by what they see.
"For the record, Tenth, this was the baseball freak's idea too," Gokudera muttered, jabbing a thumb to his left.
Which was partially true. But mainly, it had been on one of Gokudera's whims that had come upon him suddenly, as they often did when he was struck by a notion. With his one-track mind, Gokudera would get carried away with something, stubborn as a carriage stuck in mud until his goal was accomplished. Yamamoto had been dragged with him through the sludge in part only because he harbored his own curiosity.
As to what the Tenth's future-form looked like, that was.
They had seen Hibari's when he was training Tsuna in the future. Gokudera's had been the first one at the scene. Yamamoto's had helped them through the woods. Ryohei's had occupied the base. Mukuro's had been there at the battle with Byakuran, and Lambo's, of course, was a quotidian occurrence. In addition they had all seen Dino, Bianchi, Fuuta, Gianini, and Irie in their adult bodies.
All that was left was Tsuna's. Upon their return to present-day Namimori, it was Gokudera who had first begun to wonder what the Tenth had looked liked in the future. Yamamoto had simply suggested picturing an older Tsuna, but that proved impossible. The guy didn't even shave yet.
Since imagining Tsuna at twenty-five was near impossible, Gokudera had moved to another option: use the Ten Year Bazooka on him when he was caught off-guard. With a smile, Yamamoto had reluctantly agreed that this was the best idea. Letting Ryohei in on their scheming was out of the question, since this was an operation of stealth and secrecy--namely, quiet.
All had gone according to plan. At first. After distracting Lambo with some takoyaki and mochi, they had plucked the Bazooka from his cowfro. Gokudera, the master strategist, firmly believed that the simplest tricks were in fact the best. When the time came he would pretend to notice something in the distance, making Tsuna turn his head, and then they would nab him.
However, it was one of Gokudera's more spectacular mistakes to bring the Ten Year Bazooka to school.
The "It's a very delicate science project" gag worked for the most part. They had only one accident throughout the course of the school day, and it was Yamamoto, surprisingly, who came up with an explanation for the startled freshman. It was also Yamamoto who discovered (at the end of the day) that the Bazooka compressed into a portable size in the first place. With a hand pressed to his temple to ward off the growing headache, Gokudera toyed with the notion that the Bovino family was not as idiotic as they seemed.
The other obstacle happened during lunch period...or rather it didn't.
"When people look guilty, it's usually because they've done something that they shouldn't have." Reborn himself hopped out of a loose tile in Namimori's wall, staring at them with black dinner-plate eyes.
"I--well, we--" Gokudera spluttered, watching as Leon crawled over Reborn's knuckle, and knew then that there was no keeping anything from the baby. So they told him, and got the first real shock of the day.
"Um, excuse me?"
Reborn shrugged. "Your curiosity won't be satiated any other way," he said. "So do it, if you feel you need to. Oh, and Tsuna's last period of the day is gym, if you want to catch him early."
Actually, Reborn thought, as he watched the two drift away bemusedly, it would be good for them to see it.
After what seemed like weeks the school day ended, and the moment of truth began. Gokudera and Yamamoto flagged Tsuna at Namimori's gates, offering to walk him home as they often did. As Yamamoto plundered on about some new baseball tactic he found he could apply to Shigure Kintoki, Gokudera drew the Ten Year Bazooka out from his backpack.
He blanched, green celadon eyes going wide. "T-Tenth! What the hell is that bastard doing here?" he stammered and pointed behind Tsuna. Tsuna swallowed and whirled around.
With a quick movement, Gokudera rammed the Bazooka over Tsuna's head before the boy even knew what was happening. A poof of smoke belched from the gun; Gokudera and Yamamoto stood back. They waited for a moment before their party was joined by another.
"What is that doing on school grounds?"
Gokudera uttered a string of maledictions inside his head so profane that even Superbi Squalo would have been at a loss for words. He knew that voice all too well. Yamamoto grinned like a loon as he often did in times of adversity and scratched the cowlick at the back of his head. "Ahahaha, hey, Hibari-san."
Hibari Kyouya ignored Yamamoto, looking at the thing in Gokudera's hand. "I asked you a question," he said lowly, though it was clear to all of them that he knew the answer. His prefect's coat billowed out in the slight breeze of the day, giving Yamamoto and Gokudera a clearer-than-desired glimpse of steel tonfa. They were going to be BTD-ed for sure.
"Well," Gokudera began, finding himself, for the second time that day, scrambling for an explanation, "Reborn said we could use the bazooka to--"
"I don't care," Hibari replied coldly. "I heard that you used it on a student today. That means I'll have to put you in your place." He slowly raised the tonfa.
The smoke had finally cleared. And Hibari stopped.
Gokudera gawked, mouth opening and closing like a beached fish. Even Yamamoto's carefree smile had left the pitcher's mound and was flying somewhere out of the ball park, temporarily lost in the atmosphere.
It wasn't the height. It wasn't the crisp, charcoal suit, the slicked-back hair, or the elongated, chiseled features. It wasn't the leanness and sinewy muscle mutedly hinted at under the suit either.
It was the eyes.
This is the Tenth? Gokudera wondered vaguely, from Venus. No wonder I followed him...
They were paler than the usual bovine mud-brown that defined the very essence of Tsuna; almost like a permanent X-Burner color, but harder, more defined. The color, however, was the least of Gokudera and Yamamoto's worries.
They were the eyes of a leader, a hitman. There was nothing left of the Tsuna that they knew now. Even Hibari's tonfa froze in mid air.
"Sawada...Tsunayoshi." For once, it sounded like a question.
Tsuna, the Vongola Decimo, smiled pleasantly. It was then that Gokudera began to see a flash--only a transient flash--of their old Tsuna.
"How nostalgic," Tsuna sighed, looking around him. "It's been a while since I've seen you all like this." He turned to Hibari.
"I think they've learned their lesson without needing to be bitten to death, don't you, Hibari-san?"
Hibari looked infuriated at being addressed so casually--as an equal, as well as looking bemused. It was quite unlike any expression Gokudera or Yamamoto had ever seen on him before.
"...Are you strong?" he asked the older Tsuna finally, raising his tonfa once more. Tsuna laughed heartily at this. It wasn't a deep chuckle but a light, agile one, like dandelion spores in the wind.
"You never change, Hibari-san," he said, recovering and wiping at the corner of his eye. "Even if you wanted to fight me now, you'd only have about--" he glanced down at the watch on his wrist. Gokudera noted with a foggy clarity that it was a Rolex. "Two minutes."
Tsuna broke off and glanced at Yamamoto and Gokudera, smiling when the latter immediately swooped into a bow. "I'd forgotten how ardent you were, Gokudera-kun," he noted. This remark, made so casually, had Gokudera wondering just how much he'd changed over the span of a decade.
"I'm not really supposed to do this--revealing anything about the future, that is," Tsuna continued, "but getting me here and now must have taken you all some effort, and I wouldn't want that to go in vain." Gokudera and Yamamoto blinked and looked eagerly at the older Tsuna. Hibari merely looked phlegmatic.
Tsuna looked thoughtful. It made his pale eyes twinkle even more than they did. "Hm, what to say? You may want to lay off the cigarettes, Gokudera-kun. They won't treat you as nicely down the road. And Hibari, for the next time you spar with Dino--" he winked--" his left ankle is a weak spot."
Despite himself, Hibari let out an amused 'hn.'
Yamamoto's eagerness had surpassed that of a hungry puppy in front of a bone. The older Tsuna paused, his expression changing as he seemed to remember something. With a more serious tone, he spoke, strange eyes on his guardian of the Rain. "Yamamoto...for my future's sake, don't ever tell Squalo about the time you saw him in Shinjuku buying--"
"W-Where am I?"
Tsuna's eyes darted over his companions, who were all staring at him with a mix of fervor and anticipation. "Um...I am back at Namimori, right?"
With a swish of black fabric Hibari breezed off, no longer interested in the pathetically gregarious Sawada Tsunayoshi of this time. Tsuna straightened out his school uniform and looked around to confirm that he was in the correct era.
"Tenth..." Gokudera was still somewhat in a daze. Seeing his future boss could do that to a person.
"Ahaha, good to see you, Tsuna!"
"Tenth," Gokudera began, snapping out of his reverie and gripping Tsuna's shoulders, "Did you see the future?"
Tsuna sighed. "No, Gokudera-kun. Apparently my future self was out to lunch when we swapped," he answered, then looked at his two companions quizzically. "Why did you use the Ten Year Bazooka on me anyway?"
"No reason," Yamamoto said sheepishly before Gokudera could fabricate a response, which was partially true. "Let's go home, Tsuna."
"O-oh, okay." Tsuna shrugged and dropped the subject.
To this day both Gokudera and Yamamoto, when alone on those cold rainy nights and are feeling somewhat contemplative, still wonder what Squalo would buy in Shinjuku. Yamamoto figures he'll find out soon enough, but he still can't help thinking about it.