Title: Word of the Day
Characters: Yamamoto, (Tsuna)
Rating: R for a highly unpleasant situation, implied violence
Summary: This is what Yamamoto would give his last breath for.
Notes: set right after Target 293: Misunderstanding, and has references to Target 294: Decision. (These chapters titles are such understatements, it's kind of hilarious.)


Yamamoto thought something about a team he wasn't sure what. It was probably pretty important if he was thinking about it right now, with the locker room smell of sweat and old socks and copper thick in his mouth. Not important enough, though, because it trickled away into the back of his mind in the same way as the thick warmth down his sides, his arms, his legs all the way to his calves, he could feel it.

He still felt his toes, too, and they always asked about that in movies. So it could be worse, after all— That thought didn't stick either.

What he was thinking about was the really important stuff. 'Delitto', that was it, right? 'Mizuno Kaoru' was easy to remember, and it slid into his head that he wanted to get up and find that guy, and he didn't care if he grabbed the specialised bat or just had his bare hands.

Couldn't stand, though, that was important, and also the fact that he had to concentrate on writing clearly.

He stared at the careful, tiny, too-lumpy lines that made the foreign word. He'd only got one look and had to rely on sounding it out in his head, but he was pretty sure the hiragana was right. It wasn't hard to remember after all.

It was important. It would be a clue. A small one, not as important as the big 'Mizuno Kaoru' it was written beside, but every bit counted. His thoughts kept trying to slip around in a way that should worry him, but it didn't matter, when he had to think about what was important. The team (oh, that's why he'd thought about that. Gokudera would be annoyed about the baseball metaphor) - the family, that slip of paper, and the force exploding from Kaoru's hands. He would hurt them. All of the Simon was probably going to hurt the Vongola.

Yamamoto would have to keep it to himself that he'd thought of Tsuna first. That name had fallen out with all the urgency he had strength for, which was pretty unfair to Tsuna, and there were the girls to worry about. Hadn't people from Simon met both Haru and Kyoko? But if Tsuna could be boss, if Tsuna would be hurt; well, Yamamoto had to be a guardian.

It was easy to imagine - even though Tsuna was strong - he'd look so scrawny and small, and he'd crumple up, bleeding, never expecting that there could be such differences in the ways Kaoru didn't smile. And it was easy to imagine telling him, for a vivid moment, telling all of them what had happened. Everybody grinning, Ryohei giving him a solid thump on the back, Gokudera planning and calculating, Tsuna looking at him with so much bright-eyed relief that he barely listened to the explantion - but Yamamoto wasn't stupid.

This had to work. He couldn't imagine not helping Tsuna out, not when the situation was like this. This had to help, even if he could only come up with two clues. As hard as he tried to think, there was nothing more to say, and his arm was really heavy.

No way to give goodbyes or say anything at all to Dad, to think about games, friends, futures, strength, or just breathing in the air outside.

He curled his hand away from the small 'delitto', before the shaking made him smear it. That was the last important thing he had to do.