Title: In Translation
Series: Katekyou Hitman Reborn!
Word Count: 1,322
Description: Because you're the ookooblook to my neuropeptides.
Disclaimer: Reborn!©Amano Akira
Gokudera had known that he'd been spending way too much time with Yamamoto. Really, a few seconds were too long to be with the baseball idiot, and between tutoring sessions and training and the occasional movie marathon, Gokudera had been spending nearly all his free time with Yamamoto. He could feel entire sections of his brain withering away at the thought, but he couldn't deny its truth.
Still, though, he hadn't realized just how bad the problem was until he concluded Yamamoto's "bloopwhiiishpow"-laden monologue with a distracted, "The idiot just meant that the rainfall actually enhances his focus during practice rather than slowing him down."
The entire room went silent—even Reborn was staring at him!—but no one was more stunned than Gokudera, who could not believe that he'd not only managed to translate what the idiot had been saying, but that he'd actually admitted to being able to do so.
After a moment, Reborn's mildly surprised look turned thoughtful as his gaze rotated between Yamamoto and Gokudera. This was not an improvement.
"Er… How exactly did you know that, Gokudera-kun?" asked the Tenth, who, despite looking understandably confused, was being his usual awesome self.
"Yeah, dude. That was EXTREME!"
Gokudera absent-mindedly socked Ryouhei in the face before attempting to answer the Tenth's question in a way that was truthful but managed to skim over any mention of contact with Yamamoto. He'd gotten as far as, "Uh…" when he was interrupted by Yamamoto's excessively irritating laughter.
"Yeah, Gokudera," said the mirthful idiot, apparently not noticing the book that whizzed by his head. "I didn't know you could do that either. You always complain that my explanations make no sense."
"That's because they don't, moron. Who could understand something like 'gloopunck'?"
"You, apparently," said Adult Lambo disinterestedly, before disappearing into a cloud of pink smoke. In the ensuing chaos which was Five-Year-Old Lambo, the Tenth only managed to send one more questioning glance in Gokudera's direction, but it was enough.
And so Gokudera tried to figure out where he'd gone wrong. First, he poured over his schedule. Okay, true, pretty much every spare moment was spent in Yamamoto's company, but most of that time was in serviceto the Tenth, or at least related in some way to protecting the Tenth's reputation, so Gokudera didn't find his answer there. Next, he examined his social interaction patterns with Yamamoto. Nope, still the same spiteful banter it had been for the past few years. No help there…
So what was it that had changed in him? Where had this mysterious ability to understand what the hell Yamamoto was on about even come from?
Gokudera was no closer to an answer by dinnertime, but all this thinking about idiots had his vision swimming, so he decided to take a break and head down to Takezushi—to visit Yamamoto's dad and mooch a free dinner, not to see Yamamoto himself. Obviously. Hadn't he already decided not to spend any more time with Yamamoto than absolutely necessary? Well… food was necessary. Fuck off.
He ended up sitting next to Yamamoto at the bar anyway, watching some baseball game rerun. Gross. This was probably where the problem was. Still, seeing Yamamoto's face light up at the sound of the bat colliding solidly with the ball was kind of worth it. Er, insofar as studying the idiot went. To figure out what was going on. Of course.
Yamamoto turned to him, eyes glowing, and said, "That was just zroooomkph and then he bkaloomed and it was just like that time when kroontgloop!"
Gokudera blushed at Yamamoto's expression and quickly tried to cover it up with condescendence. "No way," he scoffed. "It was just a fluke. Besides, it wasn't anything like that time—the ball must have gone twice as far, then, and anyway, this one almost fouled."
Yamamoto Sr.'s head shot up in surprise, and Gokudera nearly slammed his head against the bar. Not again.
Yamamoto beamed at him and said, "Yeah, you're right," before turning back to the TV, and Gokudera realized that he might not be the only one trying to figure out this new circumstance.
It wasn't until he'd returned safely home and was curled up in bed that he realized the other problem he'd just encountered. Not only had he been able to understand Yamamoto's freakish descriptions, he'd known what baseball game Yamamoto had been referencing and what had happened in it oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck.
Something very wrong was happening, and now Gokudera was beyond determined to figure out what it was before he turned into a baseball freak, too.
The next few days were spent deep in study, broken only to tutor the Tenth for his summer school course. It was almost a week later when Gokudera burst through the door, laden down with research and so triumphant that he barely noticed the Tenth choking on his dinner—probably that stupid cow's fault.
"I have the answer!" he exclaimed. "I—HAVE—THE—ANSWER!" And time stood still as everyone waited with baited breath.
Or rather, the room stood still, not sure what was going on and too afraid to make any sudden movements.
Ryouhei recovered first. "Whoa, tone down, dude! Don't you think you're being a little extreme?" Tsuna choked again, and Yamamoto lips twisted into an odd smirk.
Gokudera, predictably, ignored him, though that was possibly because he couldn't hear the boxer above the overzealous screeching of chalk being ground to dust against the suddenly extant blackboard, which was growing incomprehensible symbols at a terrifying rate.
"And so, as you can see…which clearly leads to…the derivative of which is…and then…which forces me to conclude…"
Gokudera finally stopped his presentation, head swivelling toward the Tenth so quickly that his glasses almost flew off. "Yes, Tenth?" he asked, eagerness streaming from every pour.
"Er… What's a… UMA?"
Gokudera opened his mouth to respond, chalk at the ready for demonstrative purposes, but Yamamoto beat him to it. "'Unidentified Mysterious Animal.' Gokudera has compared my behaviour and appearance to loads of different animals and apparently has decided that I'm not a member of any known species. Though where he found 'evidence' to back up that ET comparison at the bottom is beyond me."
"Oi, asshole. I don't like your disbelieving tone!"
"Aw, don't be upset, Gokudera! Haha, you must spend a lot of time watching me to have pulled up all of this."
Gokudera flushed, ready to vehemently deny this, but their audience's interest had a different focus than the obvious truth that had been in public circulation for months.
"Er… You understood all that, Yamamoto-kun?"
Gokudera froze as the implication behind that statement sidled into his brain.
"Yareyare… It seems that I've once again traded places with my younger sel—"
"How did you know what that meant?" asked Gokudera as he slammed the second-story window shut behind the cow. "You're an idiot! You're not supposed to be able to understand!"
Yamamoto laughed, and Gokudera felt a brief thrill to hear the awkward colouring in the baseball player's tone. Serves that bastard right. He'd better be uncomfortable, after force-feeding Gokudera his stupid phonics-lingo. Sort of force-feeding, anyway. Using it in Gokudera's presence counts as force-feeding.
"I guess we've just spent that much time together, Gokudera. Pretty cool, isn't it?"
That last statement was clearly meant to rifle Gokudera back up, to send him spinning off on a soliloquy about idiots and protecting the Tenth and UMAs and how stupid baseball is, but this time Gokudera wouldn't fall for it, because Yamamoto was subtly shifting, was trying to push everyone's attention away from himself, was awkward, was uncomfortable, was blushing, and Gokudera was going to milk this situation for all it was worth.
It felt so good to have the upperhand against the baseball idiot for once.
And so Gokudera decided that maybe being so smitten that he could translate a collection of non sequitor syllables into understandable speech wasn't so bad if he got to see Yamamoto suffer through the same thing.
[A/N: Um… I was drunk? Sleep deprived? I consumed dubious-looking mushrooms? My dog ate it?
Pieces were omitted from Gokudera's passionate presentation because the narrator didn't understand what he was on about, either. Speaking of which, the narrator takes no responsibility for any errors in the phonetic spelling of Yamamoto's inspired descriptions.]