AN: Just a reminder: it's still in Gokudera's point of view. So naturally, there are dirty words little children shouldn't use. Okay? Okay. Uhm, this chapter may seem triggering for some. (It's been a long time!) So do feel free to skip over the skwemish parts.


BESTIALIZED

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

The next morning, they hadn't bothered setting up alarms, and they settled with just waiting for the moment when Tsuna emerged out of his room. They went to eat breakfast in the great hall. They sat on the floor this time, not bothering to deal with chairs. They were slightly tired, but after a good night's rest, Gokudera believed they were ready to go.

They had the leftovers of the fanciful egg filled croissants that were glazed in some sweet sauce. It was filling enough, keeping them satisfied until they decided they were ready to eat out in the city.

October fifteenth. Two in the afternoon. All was well.

They shuffled slowly out of the ballroom awkwardly reaching the garage. Yamamoto asked their chauffeur a week back to take them to Venice after Tsuna's birthday. It was tall broad man, with wide shoulders and meaty hands. It took no idiot to understand that he wasn't only their chauffeur but their extra pair of hands against any unwanted company, should they need him.

They scrambled in the backseat, Tsuna in the middle as usual. Though Tsuna was laughing quietly, speaking to them with wide polite eyes, there was still a certain chill about the way they interacted. Though he and Yamamoto haven't yet spoken about this, he was sure the taller teenager was just as worried as him. They danced around subjects as if they were walking over tightropes, though they weren't sure why.

It was like that door shutting in their faces last night meant something else entirely. Gokudera shook that thought off violently with a shudder, and decided to avoid thinking about it. He instead stared out the window as they passed the tall wrought intricate iron. It was just woods at first, coupled by cobble at the sides until eventually some buildings came to view and they hit the highway.

It had been a long time since they were out of the manor, and the change in terrain was comforting. He turned to look at Tsuna, commenting on the new construction of the green bridge over to the left, he noticed something very strange.

There were bumps on Tsuna's thighs.

He wasn't quite sure what this meant, and this new discovery alarmed him. What was that? Perhaps there were things in his pockets, Gokudera's mind reasoned with him, and he struggled to accept the suggestion his conscience fed him. Another idea hit him, something dark and morbid, forbidden even, but he didn't want to think of that, refused to believe that. Tsuna wouldn't do that. The insinuation was ridiculous. His mind didn't even want to put a name to it.

He sat back, trying to relax himself. His eyes flickered over a mop of russet hair and saw that Yamamoto was struggling to do the same.

The car was uncomfortably cold.

They arrived at Santa Lucia in record time and he forced himself not to show his immense relief at being freed from the oppressive air the vehicle held.

The chauffeur had to drop them off a few blocks down only because the narrow streets made it impossible for further vehicle transport. It was uncomfortably crowded around this time of day, and many locals and tourists alike pushed for places to go and people to see. The Italian chatter was loud, much more prominent in the mass white linoleum square and the sun bright in their eyes. The reflective surface of the water made the light bounce off cheerily onto the stone pillars and tan shingles of the station square.

It didn't match with the icy atmosphere that lingered, and it frustrated him to not understand the catalyst of the strain could be. Perhaps it was his imagination, because Yamamoto and Tsuna were laughing about the badly broken Japanese on the brochure they had in their hands.

"Let's go to Bologna," Gokudera blurted suddenly.

He was unsure why he was so keen to get away, but a nausea was threatening to climb up his stomach, brought on by the anxiety. It was enough reason for him.

The two looked at him, blinking. "Sure, why not?" Yamamoto said with a pleased shrug, "I mean, it's only an hour ride to and from by train, right? We can kill some time over there, plus I heard they have excellent bistecca over there."

He tried not to notice how it was only Yamamoto that replied.

"I'm gonna go look at that shop over there," Tsuna said to the two of them, causing them to jump. He pointed to a souvenir shop that hand-carved wooden sculptures, ranging from animals to flowers. Missionaries, most likely. "I always send something every month to my mom."

They nodded understandingly in unison. It was good that Tsuna thought of his mother even though they hadn't had much interaction. Yamamoto and he knew how little the mother and child spoke to each other since the young boss left.

It was decided. Gokudera went to pay for their tickets, exchanging curt words with the receptionist who was eying him a little more than he felt comfortable with. But regardless, he asked questions as detachedly as he could. The vast majority of trains from St. Lucia to St. Mestre were regional or fast regional trains. They didn't take any reservations, all they had to do was show up, buy the ticket and validate them in the yellow box on the wall.

Yamamoto was at his side, watching the conversation with interest. Ever since they arrived, the taller of the three had been going out of his way to speak Italian at every chance he got. He was a fast learner, so he already knew the basics by the first three months in Italy.

When they gathered up enough brochures of their trip, given by the overly helpful receptionist, they turned heel and stalked into the souvenir shop. They wandered the shelves for a minute or two, looking past the wooden chisels, hoping to see the flash of a blue jacket and khaki pants. They passed the same aisles about twice before they met up again at the front entrance. Yamamoto looked bewildered, brow furrowing deeper as they gave the store a good once over.

When they didn't find Tsuna immediately, they began panicking.

By the second time Gokudera asked Yamamoto if he's seen Tenth, and the taller likewise said he didn't, they sprinted out of the shop.

Naturally, they split up, hoping to cover more ground and see the familiar mess of brown hair over the sea of tourists and locals alike. The taller of them went to the left, Gokudera roving through the right with a discomforted expression.

Something wasn't right, Gokudera's mind screamed at him, I told you something wasn't right! The smoke-haired teen shoved his way through the crowd as the feeling spread through his body. He willed the mass of bodies to part for him, just once, please just once. Something wasn't right, something was going to happen and he just knew it.

He stopped to catch his breath, and looked around him with wide, wide eyes. There was a child squalling behind him, and he ignored it, trying to find his boss, dear fucking God, where was he? He gripped the tickets in his hands tighter before sticking them in his pockets. It wouldn't do to lose them.

What if Tsuna was just wandering around? Don't be hasty, calm the fuck down, a more rational part of his mind whispered. But it wouldn't kill him to be cautious, the other part of his mind that was still worried, argued.

His gaze fell to the floor as the child finally lowered its volume to a whimper and Gokudera found himself staring at the yellow strip before him. It was an implied barrier between passengers and the narrow strip of platform before the dropoff to the tracks. It was a line that was probably supposed to keep people from being pushed off the platform. He gaze followed over the line, until he stopped at a single figure at the very end of the station.

His throat caught.

Tenth?

The announcer's voice, the female receptionist he had been speaking to, warned them that this train was not stopping and would only be passing through, so passengers were advised not to approach the line. The cracking of the intercom that signaled the end of her announcement sounded like a gunshot in his ears.

Then a dark thought crossed over him. Something he had been avoiding of thinking about for a year, perhaps more, whenever he noticed the glazed blank stare Tenth made whenever he thought he was alone. And suddenly it all came flooding to him. The yellow line, the people crowding in close. Tsuna, standing all by his lonesome at the end of that yellow strip.

People jumped in front of trains all the time.

As if reading his thoughts, the faint sound of the metal behemoth coming up the tunnel reached his ears.

Fucking hell.

The child started crying again as the rumble of approaching steel rose in volume. He didn't see the train yet, but he could feel the vibrations. Then he saw it. A flutter of leg movement, a step, then another step, and finally:

On October fifteenth, three in the afternoon, Tsuna fell onto the rail tracks.

Everyone stared in shock for a moment but then the bout of surprise was shoved away very abruptly by something more raw and terrifying. Everyone began screaming.

His body bolted forward before his brain even told it to. "Tenth, no! NO!" Gokudera screamed, his own voice so loud it vibrated his bones, shaking him harder than the approaching train. People finally made way for Gokudera, when they realized someone was trying to help the young boy who fell on the tracks. "Oh god, please, NO!"

He begged, begged silently and desperately that someone, anyone would grab him. For he was dizzily unsure he would make it in speed against the approaching machine. The world stood still, staring in a morbidly frozen fashion as a young boy, freshly sixteen, was going to be murdered by a train.

All eyes were on Tsuna, and yet only two people moved.

It all happened very fast.

The train was coming in at least seventy to eighty miles per hour, finally its lights blinding as it turned the corner and came into view. Gokudera was still at the end of the station screaming as he stumbled forward, trying desperately hard to go to him, though he knew he wouldn't make it.

When the train zipped past Gokudera, he shouted out a horrified cry at the side of the steel encased body.

Tsuna stood up fast, shakily, facing the incoming metal death.

But Yamamoto was faster.

He didn't breathe even when he saw a familiar tan skinned arm reach over the edge and pull Tsuna by the shirt up the side of the dropoff. It was a very low drop, and it was just pure luck that his legs and arms were long and strong enough to haul the boy the two feet back. The two tumbled backwards on their sides in a painful landing. There was a scramble of legs, entangling with one another as Yamamoto pushed the two of them away from that dreadful yellow strip with desperate urgency.

He nearly almost fell on his face with relief, suddenly weak with delirious alleviation. But the rush of adrenaline was still there, so Gokudera sprinted the rest of the way, falling to his knees next to Yamamoto and Tsuna.

"Yamamoto, oh god, Tenth, oh Tenth," Gokudera was babbling incoherently, nonsensically breaking sentences with unfinished questions in words, "Is he okay, oh god, what happened, why didn't we," Why didn't we realize? The questioned was finished silently with a horrifying curdle in his throat, a heavy weight he couldn't swallow around.

He leaned all the way over to stare into the closed lids. Only now did he truly acknowledge the dark bruises under Tsuna's eyes, the weary half-shut delicate skin slitted enough to see the red speckles underneath. Had he always been this way? "Please, oh god, Tenth!"

The train passed them.

Tsuna was safe. But everyone was still screaming, clamoring with a hazy panic.

But then he got a good look at the limp body on Yamamoto's lap. Blood. There was so much blood. It was seeping out of the bumps on Tsuna thighs and running down from Tsuna's nose in a sluggish currents. Had he been injured? But how? Gokudera was sure he hadn't been hit, that was obvious, and yet he was bleeding so badly.

He was unconscious too, that only made the scene more grotesque than anything else.

He wanted to see the traumatized eyes, the scared glassy stare because at least it would tell him that the other was truly alive.

Tsuna's khaki pants were steadily staining a dark brown, his shirt taking a pinkish tinge. It was spreading quick. Yamamoto was trying to clamp his hands over the flow on his legs, though he wasn't sure why it was even bleeding out like that. Gokudera didn't have the slightest clue either. The closest witnesses around them were not approaching, and for that he was grateful, but they were shouting, screaming, and it all made him very dizzy.

"—dera, Gokudera!"

The boy addressed flinched, looking at Yamamoto. He was yelling at him, why was he yelling at him?

"Call Reborn, get the driver over here now!"

God, he's never seen Yamamoto look so scared, yet so furious.

But the other was in control. He looked more collected than Gokudera felt. Trying to take the firmness of Yamamoto's order to heart, he reached in his pocket, pulling out a cellphone. He stared at Yamamoto's fiercely determined expression as he clutched Tsuna close to his chest, and he dimly wished he could do the same. So Gokudera put a hand on Tsuna's hand as he worked. It was warm and alive, but it felt cold with cooling sweat, which only made the situation in his eyes worse. If he had the nerve to feel pessimistic, he'd say that the hand was cold because the smaller teen had died.

He messed up dialing three or four times but then it occurred to him he already had the number saved in his address book. By the time he got Reborn on the line, he was dry sobbing. Maybe he was long before, but he hadn't noticed until he heard Reborn's tiny alarmed voice on the other line, his own filled with tears and sorrow.

He realized then and there, hand clutching the cold smaller ones in his, that he had been right.

Last night, Tsuna closed more than a door on them. He shut them out completely. And decided to leave them altogether.

Bianchi was the one that found them, hunched over Tsuna's prone, unresponsive body. She kept a level head as she spoke with the authorities. She said that Tsuna was a sickly boy, he had problems with high blood pressure since he was a child, and she compensated with more than a few bills, almost three wads of it. Just to keep them quiet. It was a lie, but it was enough to distract the station police and drag the bleeding boy out. The car was parked on the curve, and he knew it must have been a lot of work to drive it through the people-filled streets.

They loaded Tsuna in the backseat, where Gokudera put his head on his lap and Yamamoto sat on the floor, still trying to squeeze the blood flow into a stop. His gasps sounded loud in the somberly silent car. The smoke-haired teen's body wracked with convulsive weeping. And even though he forced them through a quiet filter as best as he could, it was plain obvious to everyone that he was struggling not to scream. Reborn was in the front seat with Bianchi, and occasionally they flashed glances at Tsuna, who still remained unconscious throughout the entire ride home.

No one spoke, no one willing to speak about it, not in front of Tsuna as if he was, was dead.

It was their greatest fear relived once more. This happened once, ten years into the future, where they were under presumptions of what if Tsuna died on a constant daily basis. They thought about it, and the idea of Tsuna leaving to go to his death had scared them more than anything.

But this, this was different.

Quite frankly, they witnessed it. They weren't given a vague explanation of what could haves and what ifs, they actually saw Tsuna walk off that platform onto the tracks, and that shook their world.

There were no words exchanged until they reached the infirmary on the first floor.

Gokudera knew this room was a necessity. But he hadn't thought, not even dreamed, they would use it for this.

Yamamoto and Gokudera stood side by side as Ryohei lifted Tsuna on the bed. The older teen, a man now, was holding back a sickened expression. Not because of what he had figured out, no he would never judge Tsuna for that alone, but by the amount of blood flowing from Tsuna onto him was more than a little distressing. The same fear, colored a dark drying red, was stained on Yamamoto's own hands and clothes.

"Let me," Bianchi said after a pause and Ryohei moved out of the way, shrinking back a good distance.

She approached Tsuna, scissors in hand. "We need to find out what's causing that bleeding." Though Gokudera needed to know just as badly as anyone else, he was still afraid to see it for himself. He visibly shrunk when he heard the first snip of scissors. His sister was slowly making her way up the hem of the pants to the thigh closet to her. She kept working however, even when the problem showed itself, and her back didn't tense in the slightest on what she discovered. The pants were peeled away, like a second skin.

They waited with bated breath until she stepped back, eyes lowered.

Gokudera's knees shook and quite promptly, he sunk, but Yamamoto kept a hand at his shoulder to keep him up. The sobs began to surface anew, this time he didn't hold anything back. It was hard to breathe through the panic, the sudden clog in his nose, and the water in his eyes, but he managed.

If the outside was really bad, the inside was worst. It was devastating. Bianchi had cut through more than just pants, but soiled bandaging gauze too. The welts, oh god, there was so many. The skin almost looked dotted red scales because of the jagged crescents. They littered not only the front of the thigh, but also the sides. Tsuna had been very meticulous with space, leaving no room open.

There were small droplets of red here and there, timidly showing themselves through the slenderest of crooked slits. They deceivingly looked like plastic play beads if they hadn't known any better. The worst of the welts had completely opened, big hateful gaps peeking out in the sterile room. They were the weals that mirrored the dark stains on Tsuna's destroyed pants and they were still sluggishly leaking a carmine color, staining the bed spread fast.

Gokudera would bet that it was a mirror image on the other clothed leg too.

"How long?" Ryohei was surprisingly quiet, his voice a numb marvel.

But no one answered, because they didn't know.

"There are light patches here..." Bianchi said softly, her fingers not quite touching the spots.

Reborn took a seat next to Tsuna's leg, his feet dangling off the side of the bed. The infant's expression was carefully blank. "Stitches. Old, healed stitches." Stitches. That meant long ago, Tsuna had tried to fix it himself. The baby turned to look at them, as if they knew the answer, "Who stitched Tsuna?"

Again, no one answered, because they didn't know.

They suddenly didn't know a lot about Tsuna. They've known him for years, and suddenly, they didn't know who this stranger lying there with Tsuna's face was.

The occupants in the room watched with grim expressions as Bianchi worked to clean up. There was dried crackles of blood on Tsuna's own face, from a nosebleed, which was strange in itself. Yamamoto supplied quietly that he was sure Tsuna's face hadn't made contact with anything with force. The roseate-haired woman did the best she could on cleaning the welts but she wasn't quite sure if her disinfectant made it on time. Only a professional could see that but she wasn't even close to qualified.

No one offered to phone a doctor. They were clueless, and to put it frankly, they were like sheep without their shepherd. But that didn't mean that they wanted this information to get out of this room. They would only endanger Tsuna's life if they involved more people into the situation. Mafia bosses under critical states were kept secret in a select amount of people. If anyone wanted to assassinate Tsuna, now was the perfect chance. They needed confidentiality.

Reborn showed no emotions, absolutely none. His mouth was in a thin straight line, eyes unreadable as he sat on the metal headboard over Tsuna's head. Gokudera wasn't entirely sure if the baby was angry, or if he was worried, or if he was sad. But it didn't make sense when the baby walked out of the room, and Bianchi followed, worriedly at his tail. He supposed that the infant was simply intolerant of the situation. Though he didn't know if that intolerance was directed to himself or at Tsuna.

Ryohei, though with good intentions, couldn't stand staying in there for another moment. Sitting with them to stare at Tsuna's legs. It came as no surprise that he too left shortly after.

It was only the sounds of Gokudera, hunched over, wracking with quiet wails that was left. Yamamoto was deathly quiet as he put an arm around his best friend, his eyes not leaving Tsuna.

He was at loss of what to say to Gokudera.

He was just as devastated.

It'll be okay? Tsuna will be fine?

Somehow, it didn't sound right. Tsuna wasn't fine, he wasn't sure if he'd ever be. And if their best friend kept this secret from them, he wasn't sure if it would be okay either. It would just be a lie if he uttered reassurances. Every consolation he came up with mentally sounded so wrong, so horribly inappropriate.

But if he didn't say anything, he thought he would break just as well. He had to be strong, because Tsuna and Gokudera were in no shape to be so. He forced himself to say the first thing on his mind.

"I thought he wasn't going to do it at first." He said finally, softly. "But then I saw the look in his eye. I knew that look. Because I had almost made the same decision." The both of them took a moment to remember a naive Yamamoto, young and still in middle school. He had been trying to jump from the roof because his wrist had broken. He thought if he couldn't play baseball, then there was no point in living. How silly he had been.

"But Tsuna saved me that one time. So I thought...I thought that maybe I could do the same..." He trailed off.

There was a weighty silence, heavy with despair, it choked them both. He needed to resume or else the quiet would simply kill him. "He looked at me when I grabbed him," Yamamoto continued, swallowing thickly. Gokudera looked up from his hands to stare with red rimmed eyes at the teen next to him. "He looked at me, Gokudera, as if he hated me. He stared at me as if I had killed him on the spot, when I was just trying to save him."

That had been before the bleeding started, before Tsuna blacked out, it was a flash of sorrel-colored bitterness in the milliseconds in between.

The whole time riding home, he had been wondering if he imagined it.

But speaking about it only made it more real, and no, it hadn't been his imagination.

Suddenly, it felt like they lost a friend, though he was lying right in front of them, sleeping.

On October the sixteenth, he was walking by the Ninth's room when he heard everything by accident.

The room would become Tsuna's office, when he was ready to level up from the smallest one originally issued to him. But, given the circumstances, and Reborn's impossible expectations, it wouldn't be for a long run. If you were to ask him, he was sure Tenth was more than prepared to start the Inheritance. But after what just happened at Santa Lucia, he honestly wasn't as sure.

Gokudera had been on his way downstairs to grab some breakfast for both him and Yamamoto. They spent the night staring at Tsuna, and it made them exhausted.

"I don't think he's ready." Reborn said, bluntly. "Especially after a stunt like that, he is far from ready."

He stilled at the doorway, and sending him at loss of what to do. Should he continue by, and pretend he hadn't heard a thing? But, then again, this was concerning his boss, so perhaps for the duty as a right hand man, it would be wise to listen in. This was probably important. And, of course, his duty outweighed any discomfort he may or may not have for eavesdropping.

So, settling with his decision, apprehensively, he slowly walked backwards and planted his body to the wall next to the door, readying to duck into the next room, if need be.

The Ninth continued, sounding terribly tired, "Then what did you bring him here for?" He asked. It was more than likely Reborn had informed him of Tsuna's condition. And he winced, wondering what the older Vongola successor thought of his precious little heir now. He only prayed that he at least, still loved him, regardless.

Reborn didn't answer for a moment. "I didn't want Hibari near him."

Gokudera froze. What?

Luckily, the Timoteo sounded just as bewildered as he felt, traces of exhaustion gone and all that was left was shock. "The Cloud Guardian? What do you mean?"

A wild-card frown, from the tone of the baby's voice, "Just as it sounds." Reborn fingered a chess piece, the black king, holding it up to eye level and squinting at its slated marble. An expensive heirloom set, he was sure. "The Vongola Cloud Guardian as he never stood alongside the Famiglia, and never got along with anyone, that he loved being alone."

"And your point is?" The Ninth questioned doggedly.

"He must remain alone." The baby tipped the black queen over.

What? His mind was trying to turn the idea in his head, trying to prove its worth.

"I, I don't understand." Timoteo said at last.

"When a Cloud Guardian becomes attached," The beady eyes turned to measure the older man's expression, "which isn't often, believe me, they become absolutely useless to their family. They lose resolve, their attention becomes diverted, even more so. They are intense creatures that hold onto a single resolve. It becomes so extreme to the point where they don't listen to the family anymore, but to their significant one."

"Isn't that a good thing?" The Ninth protested, in Hibari's defense. "Isn't it good to have a Cloud Guardian that's willing to go that far for you?"

Gokudera fully agreed. So his suspicions had been right. Though he didn't know why or how, Hibari and Tsuna had become close. Closer than Reborn actually liked.

But why? He knew the guy was an asshole even at the best of times, but he didn't deserve to be alienated for all that he was worth. As much as he disliked the aloof bastard, he wouldn't wish ill-intent on him if he so wished to joined them here. The least he would do would be grumbling openly on daily basis if it came down to that.

If you were to ask Gokudera, Tenth was everyone's. Not just a single person's. He wouldn't so selfishly hog his friend or covet him in a possessive level. Once, he had thought like that, but he's grown to realize that it was impossible to cage someone as kind and open as Tsuna. It was as useless as trying to own the sky, because that was one thing that belonged to everyone in this world.

It was strange Reborn thought like this. Because somewhere deep down inside, Gokudera knew the baby actually favored Hibari a lot. Which meant that there had to be a reason why he forcibly separated Tsuna from Hibari.

Reborn shook his head. "Can you say the same for yours? Visconti? To be the aloof, drifting Clouds that protect the Family from an independent standpoint, and whom nothing can ever bind. Even he understands that?"

There was a strained silence here. The kind which fell in icy stillness, piling like pure white snow. Gokudera knew that the baby had hit something particularity delicate.

Timoteo's returning quip was dry, "If you had a moment to sit down and think about what you just said, perhaps you'd realize that not all Cloud Guardians are the same." Shocked, he felt his ash-green eyes grow wide in their sockets. He'd never heard the Ninth speak in such a withering way. The older man stood up, dusting himself off.

The teenager edged away from the door slowly to hear the last of the argument before he got up and continued down to the breakfast hall. "Sometimes, cold calculations don't work for certain situations, Reborn."

Gokudera made quick on getting away, taking no hesitance as he fumbled down the stairs, swaying slightly.

Reborn wanted to bring Tsuna here early, but only until now he realized that there had been a reason for it. The baby had fully intended to separate the two, to make sure Hibari knew his place. Gokudera was sure the same rules applied to him, and it scared him that Reborn would actually try to rip him away from Tenth if he so stepped out of line. Though he's not sure what line Hibari had crossed that was so bad that 5947.144 miles between the two was absolutely necessary.

But Tsuna had willingly went along to Italy, without much of a fight. He had known the young boss had done it very grudgingly, but what if that had been an act too? What if he was actually hurting inside? What if...

He didn't want to leave at all?

He walked numbly forward for a moment before an idea hit him.

A single, stupid idea.

But it was an idea, and it sounded like a good one, so he went with it. Turning heel, Gokudera sprinted to Tsuna's study. It was empty, thank god it was empty. He was about to do something very stupid and he wasn't sure if everyone would approve of it. Hell, if Reborn didn't approve of it, no one approved it.

He threw himself behind Tsuna's desk and sat on the floor. He could have taken a seat in the chair, but Gokudera really wasn't thinking straight. He took the antique phone, bringing it next to him by a jerk of the cord, and dug for the leather bound phone book from the cabinet behind him. He brought his knees to his chest as he sifted through the pages with tired eyes.

He only knew one person who had a clue. He dialed Dino's number, the one he gave to Tsuna in case of emergencies.

He waited out the first rings, deflating after the fifth, but by the sixth, Dino picks up. "Hello?" The returning voice sounded very testy, obviously not liking the disruption Gokudera brought. He was more than likely getting over a hangover. He saw the Buckling Horse have more than a few drinks last night.

"Chiavarone, what is Hibari's number?"

There was a long-suffering sigh from the other line, "Why?" it was bit out. His reason was probably not good enough.

"I need it. Please." He begged.

There was a pause. His plea was enough to alarm the other. Dino gave the digits without any hesitation.

Muttering a thanks, Gokudera urgently pushed a fist on the receiver's crook and began dialing the number he had already memorized. The next few rings were agonizing, because he honestly wasn't sure if the asshole would actually pick up.

But then, the line picked up. Then a dead-panned, "Hibari Kyoya."

At first, he was speechless. There were so many things he actually wanted to say, but he choked. The bastard actually picked up. But that uninterested voice shook something inside him, and quite childishly, he became angry. Though, really, Hibari wasn't to blame for any of this. Blood rushed to his head anyway. From what he's heard, the stupid fucker was chasing after Box Weapons and making toys out of the damn things.

And what fired this anger was the fact that he was so oblivious to anything that was happening over here. His sanity was being stripped apart like a fruit peel while this damn fool was prancing around the world untethered to the responsibilities Gokudera has willfully shouldered.

Did he even have a clue that Tsuna was sixteen now?

And, most naturally, nothing held him back as he began to let crude words flow out freely, "Hibari, you mother fucker, where the fucking hell are you, goddamn ass-wiping asshole running around, playing adventure while we're—,"

"Gokudera Hayato," Hibari voice cut in, icily. "If you are calling to insult me, I suggest you hang up now."

The threat was clear in the air, but fuck that.

What the hell was he doing? He wasn't doing this because he wanted to give a little jab at the Cloud Guardian, he was doing it for Tsuna. And he was Tsuna's only hope now. He was the only one who knew something. He knew that Hibari had to do with what happened a year ago, and it was the only lead he had. Even if it was against Reborn's wishes, everyone knew only one person could help them now.

Gokudera breathed in slowly, "Yeah, you're right. Sorry."

Only surprised silence met him. Served the bastard right, he thought with vicious satisfaction. Bet he didn't see that coming. He shook the annoying thought away. He was so vengeful sometimes, okay all the time. It was a bad habit of his, one even he knew he had to fix.

"I'm sorry. I, I called to talk to you." He swallowed, and his voice sounded like it was cracking. "Hibari," he breathed in, then out calmly. "Hibari, god, Hibari, we need your help." Well, only he knew about this, but he wasn't going to tell the other that anytime soon.

In the wake of his pleading, tears began leaking out of his eyes. Maybe it was out of sorrow, maybe it was shame. But it didn't matter, his pride didn't matter now, all that mattered was Tsuna and that was all the reason he needed.

Gokudera rubbed his sleeve against his eyes, pulling the phone away for a moment and then brought it back. "Tenth tried to kill himself yesterday."

It sounded so wrong, saying it so openly like that. Even though he was alone, even though he knew what the situation for what it really was, it still made him feel horrible inside. Suicide. Tsuna tried to commit suicide. Tsuna was suicidal. It sounded more real as he repeated it to himself silently. And the more real it sounded, the more palpable it felt.

Tsuna was suicidal.

Tsuna was cutting himself.

It was blank definitions, like black text on white paper, but it was there and it was quite inescapable.

At first, he thought the other hung up on him until, "I'm on my way."

He fought a tired smile, but relieved all the same, "Wait, do you even know where we are?"

"Yes."

The phone was cut off.

And Gokudera felt, well, hope.

Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life

"How to Save a Life" by The Fray


AN: Okay.

I'm wondering how I did. I felt like I didn't put enough on the train scene. It felt awkward as I wrote it out, but I'm hoping it made enough sense as you read on. How did I do? For those of you who don't know, Yamamoto had actually tried to kill himself in canon. It was only in the manga however, they really wouldn't put that in the anime. So I found it appropriate how he was the one to save Tsuna this time around. I don't mean for Reborn to be an antagonist, I didn't even want to portray him as a character you should hate. He just doesn't know anything. But I'm sure he has an idea now and may be more lenient to Hibari and Tsuna in the future.

Thank you sweet-and-simple for your awesome socks beta-ing! Ah, but I sort of rewrote/added some new things here. The version of this chapter is not the one you beta'd up to date recently. ;-; Next chapter, we're finally going back into Tsuna's perspective. Which means more about his final decision at the train station and more about Piet Botticelli. Does that name sound familiar to you? I'll give you a hint: go back to chapter six.