Summary: "Voi, if it's something you and I will fight over, then it's better that I don't know. I don't want to fight you 'cause I fucking hate it when you cry!" Young!SD
AN: revamped because i started to cringe and that's a bad sign. esp. since i love this pairing so much.
Disclaimed; because I'm not awesome enough to own Katekyo Hitman Reborn.
Of Unspoken Regrets
Now that he thought back, Dino realized that he hadn't cried in years. Never cried, actually, for a long while.
However, nostalgia was a funny thing, and with his family out for the day, Dino had the whole day to think about anything and everything. The blond Italian was resting on the couch, his head propped comfortably on the armrest of the coffee-coloured furniture. With the sun from the spring afternoon setting gently in his golden locks, he sighed, content. These times wouldn't last long, however; soon, his mind would start to drift. Without realizing, it had already started.
Why? Because Superbi Squalo always entered into his head every other day, one way or another. He remembered how short that man's hair used to be, before he started growing it out into that god-awful long mane (but sometimes Dino liked to imagine running his fingers through that). He remembered how that scowl would sit pretty on the boy's face back when they both went to school together, how loud his voice would rise whenever Dino would trip over his own feet and land on his back. It was something nice to remember every now and then.
"Hey! Move your big head! I can't see the fucking board!"
"E-eh? Sorry…" Dino ducked his head, giving the boy behind him a cautious look. Everyone knew who Squalo was – ruthless, bloodthirsty, it would be a miracle if someone came to this school without a clue of who Superbi Squalo was. Dino was taller, but Squalo was scarier than any giant he had ever met. A string of swear words and ill-tempered mumbles escaped the lips of the grumpy teenager sitting behind him.
Dino had been so flustered over the shout from before that when class had ended, he carelessly rushed out of his seat – and crashed into one of his classmates.
"What the hell!"
"Ah, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I wasn't looking where I was going," Dino blurted out, removing his arms from around the person in front of him. Clumsy as he was, he had managed to stumble over another chair and collapse into the back of another teenager. Dino staggered back to meet the eyes of Superbi Squalo, who was now glaring at him with such ferocity that it made Dino tremble all the way down to his mismatched socks.
"Voi! You've got a fucking problem."
"Wah! I said I was sorry!" Dino instantaneously whirled around, only to bump into another person. Oh, this is getting ridiculous, he thought frantically to himself. This other teenager just happened to be one of the ones who would not tolerate Dino's clumsiness.
"Watch where you're going, pipsqueak!"
Dino sighed to himself and raised his hands again. "I'm really, really sorry. I—" he stopped talking when the boy raised his fist to shut him up, but before the blow could land, Dino heard a loud –
"HEY! WHAT THE FUCK IS YOUR PROBLEM?! Get the hell out! The idiot already apologized!"
Even as the boy started running the opposite way, Dino scuttled out from underneath Squalo's arm and ran from the classroom. He immediately felt awful as he stepped outside the school doors. Even though Squalo was rude about it, he had been trying to help Dino, hadn't he? Still, it would have been awkward to walk back and apologize. He'd wait for the next day.
The following morning was someone's birthday, and the boy had brought pizza to share with the class. Dino already expected Squalo to be excluded; everyone was too terrified to approach the angry male. Squalo didn't seem too disappointed. He was slouched on his chair, arms crossed over his chest. Dino eyed the other, all the while slipping out a slice of pizza from the box.
Dino nearly flinched back when Squalo opened his eyes, his icy glare unrelenting. Silver orbs stared at Dino's flushed face and travelled down to the pizza held in the blond's hand. Scowling, he growled, "What do you want."
Dino lifted the slice up to Squalo's eye level. "Pizza?"
"I can see what it is! I'm not blind!" Squalo barked, turning his head away defiantly. "I don't want it."
The blond continued to stand, holding the slice like an idiot. He didn't want to bother Squalo, but he was going to stay there until the latter accepted his feeble gesture of a thank-you. "It's gonna get cold, though…"
"VOOI, leave me alone!"
Finding this slightly amusing, Dino, though he was frightened to death, stayed where he was. He grinned feebly. "You sure, Squalo? I got it especially for you."
"HEY! Who said you could call me by my name? I'll cut your head off!" Squalo pulled back, his glare growing indifferent as he eyed Dino suspiciously. "If I take it, will you leave me the hell alone?" He didn't wait for an answer. Snatching the pizza from Dino's hands, he took an enormous bite out of it, chewing and shooting sharp, pointy daggers with his eyes at the blond in front of him. Dino smiled, relieved.
"I never got to properly thank you for yesterday. So…thank you."
"Tch," Squalo scoffed, finishing off the tiny slice. He folded his arms again, keeping his deadly glare on Dino's face. "You're pathetic. It's a wonder you're still alive, huh." After a moment of silence, Squalo grunted tetchily, "What?"
This might be a bad idea, the blond thought. Despite that, he said, "I'm Dino Cavallone."
Squalo graced him with a feral smirk. "With you being such a loser and all, I don't think I can forget that name. You know who I am already, yeah? You better not fucking forget it."
That was how they met, but Dino didn't even know how it started.
What? Oh, just the simple heart fluttering, the doodling of Squalo's name in his binder, the constant thinking of his former best friend whenever he wasn't around. Were they still best friends? Were they even best friends? He didn't know. When they were fourteen, whenever the blond was out on the field, training by himself, he would hear Squalo's loud, obnoxious voice and easily spot him out of the crowd of generic-looking students. He knew what this feeling was; he may have been clumsy and slow at times, but he wasn't stupid when it came to this.
Dino had been head over heels, sometimes literally, for Superbi Squalo.
And even when Squalo continued to persistently call him 'pathetic' and 'idiotic', he would be there to take care of Dino – in his own little way.
"Voooi! Why are you panicking? It's a fucking pop-up ad, not a virus! Stupid!"
"I-I didn't know!" Dino hurriedly clicked the red button on the top right corner and pressed the 'x'. The pop-up advertising a local strip club disappeared in a blink of an eye, and Dino bent over his seat to pick up his agenda that he had knocked over the desk while he had slipped into his frantic state. Squalo rolled his eyes, cuffing Dino on the back of the head.
"You're a dumbass." A sharkish grin tugged at the boy's lips. "I guess that's why you have me to look out for you."
Dino huffed reproachfully, his eyes determinedly plastered on the screen of his computer. He was eager not to make eye contact with his friend or else he knew a million butterflies would pour in through his mouth, to his stomach, to his heart - and that would only just be the beginning. "I'm not a dumbass, Squalo."
"Hah! I think we both know that you are!"
Dino automatically whirled around in his seat and shot Squalo his best 'I'm mad at you' face. It resulted in an eye-twitch and a feeble pout, an absolute failure. Squalo blinked at the now-flustered blond and watched as the latter shakily turned back around. He started grinning widely and he began to prod Dino on the back. "What the hell was that? Hahaha! Why did you make that face? That was so funny!"
"…I didn't make a face, Squalo."
"Yeah, you did," Squalo growled, though his face was still adorned with a highly amused smirk. "Voi, you suck with that death glare. Another thing I'm going to have to teach you before we graduate. You're not scaring anyone with that look." He let his hand fall on top of Dino's wild, golden locks as he leaned in to peer at the computer screen, causing butterflies to spring up and around the blond's stomach.
Dino gulped. This feeling? So not normal.
So that was how it started. Dino turned over onto his side and sighed, bringing his hands up to support his head. It was soon after that Squalo met Xanxus – rather, it was the first time Squalo saw him, and right at that moment, Dino wished that the event never happened. If Xanxus never came into their life, they would be living completely different lives today.
"I want to follow his rage."
Dino sent Squalo a bewildered look. His friend had this far-off, yet determined, look on his face, and Dino already had a bad feeling that Squalo was thinking of something he would definitely not approve of. He followed his friend's gaze and he was met with dark, savage, crimson eyes - fear-inducing orbs that never wavered from their fierce glare. They belonged to the handsome Adonis, who had a set jaw and a mouth which seemed to always be fixed into an irate rown. He knew who this was. Xanxus Vongola.
He hid his discomfort with a soft laugh. "When you say that, you don't actually mean you'll follow him…right?" His words started to falter when he saw the look in those silver eyes. Heart dropping, Dino stole another glimpse at the black-haired teenager and bit the corner of his bottom lip. How was it that Squalo never even met Xanxus and he wanted to follow him? The two had only met eyes and Squalo already had his mind made up.
Jealousy wasn't even a way to describe the state of Dino's heart, which had been pounding into the ribcage that held it. Liked…his wrath? His power? Dino's eyes fell down to his sneakers as the silver-haired swordsman continued to watch Xanxus with slight curiousity. Useless, clumsy, just all-round pathetic: that was what Squalo called him when they were together. Of course, some of his words may have been in a teasing, lighthearted manner, but Dino had no doubt that there was some truth embedded there as well. He knew it.
He wasn't strong enough to beat Xanxus, or even Squalo.
He just wasn't strong enough.
Desperation was a funny thing. Back then, Dino felt like Squalo was slipping out of his grasp too fast, too soon. He was starting to panic over the littlest things and he felt the time literally being squeezed out of him. He needed to tell Squalo how he felt or he would have to bear the fact he never confessed for the rest of his life, but it seemed like whenever he thought he found a perfect time, it never ended up right.
"Why do you put up with me?" Dino piped up, currently sitting across from Squalo as the two studied in the library. His legs were straddled over the backrest of the chair, and he was being careful not to tip himself over. Squalo's icy gaze moved from the textbook to his friend's face.
"Who else is going to look after your pathetic ass, huh?"
"P-pathetic…?" Dino stammered, his grip on the chair slipping. He tried thinking of a quick comeback, but his mind was in a daze.
"That's what I said. Just admit that you are, and that I'm right."
Dino allowed a small grin to pull on his lips. Same old Squalo. "Haha, Squalo, just watch; one day, I'm going to be great, and then you'll see!"
Squalo returned his attention back to the textbook in front of him, a smug smirk plastered on his face. He snorted derisively. "Yeah, right. I don't see that happening any time soon. Can you even tie your own shoelaces properly?"
"What if I save you one day?"
"HAH! As if I need saving!"
As Dino shrugged, half-agreeing with the statement, his mind started to wander. Squalo was going to be leaving soon to go with Xanxus. After that, Dino had to go his own way as well, to train as a mafia boss. He wanted Squalo to come with him, but he knew the young swordsman already had his mind set. He just wished there was a way he could change his mind.
Was it too late to confess his feelings? He opened his mouth and his voice cracked as he started, "Squalo, I—"
Dino jerked out of his seat as Squalo slammed the book shut, stretching his arms over his head. "I'm done with this shit. I've been studying this damn thing for hours." He checked the time, and his eyes widened. "Shit! I have to meet with Xanxus!"
"A-ah? Right now?" Dino stood up just as Squalo leapt from his seat, gathering his belongings and shoving them into his bag. "You're leaving?"
"What's it look like?" Squalo grabbed his pencil off the surface and popped that into his bag, a mildly panicked look on his face. "Xanxus is going to kill me! Voi, that asshole." Looking at his friend, he whacked him across the head with a smirk. "Get that look off your face. I'll be back later!" He shot his friend a quick wave before dashing towards the exit of the deserted library. Dino's arms dropped to his side in disappointment.
Great. I'll never be able to tell him now.
If there was a way Dino could travel back into the past, he would gladly do it. If he had been stronger when he was younger, he would have told Superbi Squalo, his best friend, to stay, to not go with Xanxus. It wasn't that he hated the Varia boss, but he should have known better than to go directly to the teenager when he was younger. He tried to remember why he had even bothered going.
"HAHAHA! Trash, you've got to be kidding me!"
Dino flinched violently when Xanxus slammed his hand onto the table-top, his broad shoulders shaking from laughter. Dino didn't really see what was so funny; after all, he had just asked whether or not it was possible for him to convince Squalo to change his mind. Taking note of Xanxus's mocking guffaw, he knew the other wasn't going to listen.
"Couldn't you…please…?" Dino dropped his voice to a soft plea.
Xanxus rolled his eyes, sitting up from the chair he had been so languidly reclined in. "Why the hell are you asking me, you little piece of shit? That guy was the one who came to me."
Dino frowned. "I'm asking if you can change his mind. He's loyal to you. He might…listen to you," the fourteen-year-old replied slowly. He was sounding a lot braver than he felt. He was just glad that Xanxus was sitting behind a desk and couldn't see. That was, until he decided to stand up. Dino took a hesitant step backwards just as Xanxus advanced towards him, a menacing aura collapsing the air they were breathing in. Dino almost gasped.
"You're his best friend, aren't you, trash?" Best-friend, he had said mockingly. Dino could sense it in his tone. "Why don't you change his mind?"
Just as Dino was about to respond, Xanxus smirked haughtily, a condescending glimmer in his crimson gaze. "Don't you already know? Obviously his loyalty to me goes past your friendship. He would come with me regardless of what he thinks of you."
The words impaled Dino's heart. Xanxus's triumphant smirk widened as Dino ran a panicked hand through his hair. "That's not true," Dino whispered, taking yet another step back. It felt like his heart was being mauled by a lion. A king, like Xanxus put himself as. He was no match. Xanxus didn't bother answering; he knew he had won this argument. Squalo would never do anything for him as long as Xanxus was around. Realizing the absurdity of his own actions, Dino bit down on his lip so hard he tasted blood. Staggering after stepping on his untied shoelace, the blond Italian darted out of the room before Xanxus could see the tears brimming in his eyes.
Ah, that's right. Dino let a small smile flit past his lips; he had done it for Squalo. Said swordsman hadn't been too impressed to see him at three o' clock in the morning after this ordeal had happened.
"VOOOOI! What the hell happened to you?" Dino collapsed onto Squalo, causing the silver-haired male to stagger backwards from the weight. "HEY! I'm talking to you! Answer, you idiot!"
"Mm…Nothin'…happened," Dino replied, his voice slurred."Haha – ugh. So dizzy. I feel sick."
Squalo was not impressed with the reply, nor was he happy with the smell of alcohol that reeked from the kid that was slumped against him. He tried shaking the boy off him, but it was futile. Furious, he tried dragging Dino along the ground; if the Dino he knew was already a useless klutz, a drunk one was bound to knock over something that would put the blond's life on the line. Damn it!
"What the hell were you thinking, getting drunk?" Squalo grumbled, lifting Dino off his feet and using all the strength he had to lug the boy to the living room couch. As he dropped Dino, forcing a small 'oof' from the drunken teenager, he realized something and his eyes widened impossibly more. "The hell? Why are you crying?'
Dino wiped away the free-falling tears from his cheeks, a weak grin spreading on his lips. "I dunno, haha. I just…went to Xanxus a while ago—"
Dino whimpered as soon as Squalo's fist met with the top of his head. "Ow!"
"Quit acting weird!" Squalo propped himself onto the edge of the armrest, glaring murderously at the teenager lying on his couch. "Why the hell did you go to that asshole? Are you trying to get yourself killed?"
Shrugging unenthusiastically, Dino kept his mouth shut. He knew that if he stayed silent long enough, then Squalo would end up dropping the subject after complaining about it. He could probably confess now, while he was at an all time high, but what use was that? Squalo would only think that he was spewing nonsense because he was drunk. He drew up the sober, sane part of himself and forced himself to ask, "S-Squalo, you're not…leaving anytime soon, are you?"
Unfortunately, Dino caught the second hesitance that Squalo took to answering his question. "Tch! Of course not! You can't get rid of me that easily, moron!"
Too wasted and too exhausted to press on the subject, Dino allowed himself to fall asleep.
Uncomfortable, Dino shifted onto his other side. He felt sick to his stomach now that his mind started to wander, and he wished he could tell it to stop, but once it started, it would always continue. He didn't want to remember anymore. Least of all, this one –
"What do you mean you're leaving?"
Dino had never felt so confused in his entire life. So lost, so bewildered, so uncertain of where to go. Normally he wouldn't lose his cool like this, but when his only best friend suddenly approached him to tell him that he was going to go with Xanxus, Dino's heart dropped to the pit of his stomach and he couldn't handle it anymore. His friend had whirled around on the heels of his feet with an expression Dino couldn't quite place, and before he knew it, the blond was giving chase after him. Rain was pouring heavily onto the rough, gravelly pavement, and though his clothes were now sticking uncomfortably to his skin, he couldn't let Squalo go. Not without telling him…
Oh, why did it have to rain?
Squalo glared at him through steely irises, snarling, "Exactly what I said! I'm leaving!" He waved his missing left hand; he had lost that in a battle, one that Dino had begged him not to go. Of course, Squalo being Squalo, he wanted to be the best and didn't listen. "VOOI, go back inside! You're going to catch a cold!" The male blinked at Dino, who had abruptly latched himself onto his damp shirt sleeve. "Hey! Stop clinging!"
When Dino didn't respond, Squalo immediately knew that something was wrong. Dino's grip on his shirt loosened, and a sob wracked the blond's body. It was then that the swordsman's anger started to rise. "Why the fuck are you crying? What the hell? Voi! If you have something to say to me, like a goodbye or somethin', just spit it out while I'm here! You don't need to cry!"
Dino hiccupped, straightening up as best as he could. He felt like an idiot, crying over feelings he couldn't even express. He coughed. A dry sound, despite the rain. "I … you can't leave."
Squalo rolled his eyes. "You'll live, Dino. I can't be taking care of your ass forever. You'll be the boss of Chiavorone."
"And then what? You go your way and I'll go mine? If you go with him, I'll never see you again." Dino brushed soaking wet bangs out of his face. "Besides, I never asked for this. I don't even want to be boss and you never thought I could anyway —"
"VOOI!" Squalo roared, causing Dino to jump a little. "Do you think I would've befriended you if I thought you were going to be a weakling your whole life? I would have ditched you if I didn't think you'd go anywhere! So here's an idea: why don't you start training harder so you can get stronger, and then find me so we can have a fair match!" Squalo snarled, breathing heavily as he pushed his hair out of his eyes. He added as an afterthought, "idiot," under his breath. Dino almost smiled, but there was still this burden on his chest.
"Th-thanks … for the encouragement … I think?"
"Whatever," Squalo growled, returning back to his normal self. "Now, quit crying," he demanded. But when he saw the troubled look in Dino's eyes, he snarled, exasperated, "Voooi, what else?"
"I've got something else to say." Before Squalo could complain and scream at the blond to hurry the hell up, Dino started to stutter again, the butterflies jittering wildly inside his stomach. "I don't know how you're going to take it. I don't want our last conversation to end up in a fight."
"Who says it's going to be our last conversation?" Squalo snapped. "Voi, if it's something you and I will fight over, then it's better that I don't know. I don't want to fight you 'cause I fucking hate it when you cry! I'm the only one allowed to make you cry, and even then, I hate it!" Dino blinked away his tears through his surprise, though they continued to fall. Seconds later, Squalo cleared his throat crossly, a reddish hue tinting his cheeks (or was that the light? It must be the light). "So stop crying already! You're starting to piss me off!"
Dino rubbed his eyes, refusing to look into his friend's eyes. He'd long stopped crying, but he felt empty. Really…was this goodbye? He could already imagine the scowl on Squalo's pale face, and he knew that Squalo was more than irritated now. "I've kept it a secret for a long time but … you and I … I –"
Abruptly, Squalo leaned in and shut Dino's mouth by brashly pressing his own against the blond's lips. A swoop of autumn air and the taste of his friend's mouth against his threw Dino into shock. His eyes widened in alarm, but neither of them pulled away. Finally, Squalo pushed him away, glaring at Dino as warmth seeped into his throat and into his cheeks.
"D-did you just…?"
"That's to keep you quiet, you fucking crybaby! If I see you whining again, I'll really cut off your head with my sword."
A silly grin started to spread on Dino's lips, though he was uncertain why Squalo had interrupted him in the first place.
"Vooi, I'm leaving now. Keep in touch, or … or the next time I see you, I'll kick your ass in! Then I'll kill you with my bare hands, you got that?!"
With that, Squalo scurried off into the distance, taking the tears and the rain with him. The downpour had slowed to a light drizzle.
Despite the fact that Dino never got to confess his feelings to his best friend, the kiss calmed his nerves and relieved him. Strangely, after that, Dino never cried.
They didn't keep in touch. They weren't close anymore. Squalo had gone his way, with Xanxus, and Dino had gone his way, as boss of the Chiavorone Famiglia.
Did Dino ever regret not telling Squalo what he felt about him? Every day. Would it even have made a difference if he had begged the swordsman not to go that night?
No, because Xanxus had been right.
Squalo's loyalty for him went past their friendship.
That regret would always linger in Dino's heart.
"Ah?" Something wet slid down the Italian's cheeks. As he jerked himself out of his old memories, he raised one hand to brush away whatever was falling down his face. He caught a few drops and brought them up to his eyes to see what they were. A weak smile pulled at his lips, and he chuckled to himself.
Really, nostalgia did funny things, because Dino hadn't cried for years.
AN: i'm so done. i didn't do them justice. i'll try again soon but in the meantime: sobs grossly over my otp. ;_;