Notes: Basically, two boys being absolute knuckleheads at each other. Again and again and again.


"I need your help," Yamamoto announced in the middle of a sparring session.

Squalo snorted, brandishing his sword in that typical violent manner of his that reminded Yamamoto of a carnivore baring its fangs. "Damn right you do. The way you're waving that toothpick around is an eyesore."

Yamamoto gave a sheepish laugh. "I was talking about dating, actually."

Squalo froze, and stared.

"I'll repay you with Dad's sushi." Yamamoto smiled broadly. "Sound good?"

"You little, useless, pathetic brat asked me to cross an entire ocean for this?"

Yamamoto shrugged. "Uh, I guess."

Squalo's left eye twitched. Yamamoto braced himself.

"Why can't you just beat the crap out of whoever is so unfortunate to be your love interest and force them to be with you like a normal person?" Squalo hollered and cut a giant hole in the wall. Clearly, he was the expert in acting like a normal person.

It was a good thing Yamamoto and his dad were chill guys. Otherwise this might have posed a problem.

"I don't think—"

"I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU THINK, MAGGOT," Squalo seethed and jumped outside through the hole. A moment later something in the backyard could be heard being smashed to pieces.

Yamamoto sighed.


"Hey."

Gokudera glanced up from washing his hands and scowled. "What do you want?"

Yamamoto rubbed the back of his neck. "Beat the crap out of you," he said. "I think."

It took Gokudera one second to get out his dynamite and bomb the school's boys' restrooms into smithereens.

That was Monday.


"Are you nervous?"

"I'm not nervous," Tsuna squeaked, all jumpy and ragged breath. Then again, he always kind of sounded like that. Especially when Reborn was around. "So about you and Gokudera. What happened between you yesterday?"

"Oh, nothing, really." Yamamoto grinned, leaning against the windowsill, and took a bite out of his lunch. "I just tried to beat him up."

Tsuna blanched, and couldn't help eying Yamamoto's sandwich in deep longing. Reborn had spent all of his lunch money on atomic demolition munitions. Apparently, it was common behavior for a mafia boss to be hoarding stuff like that.

"Why?"

"I asked Squalo for dating advice, and he told me to fight the person I like."

"You asked Squalo?" Tsuna gaped. In a way, it was almost disappointing this shocked him most.

"The more important question is: why are you talking to Tsuna about this?" Reborn chimed in, suddenly standing beside Yamamoto on the sill, clad a zebra costume. Leon sat on his shoulder and yawned. "He has about as much romantic experience as a rock. Also, he isn't acquainted with the Mafia Law for courtship."

"There are rules for this sort of thing?"

"Shut up," Reborn said and whacked his pupil over the head. "If a member of a family is interested in starting a relationship with one of his fellows, he or she is required to ask that person for permission by challenging them to a duel."

"What — you mean — SQUALO WAS SERIOUS?" Tsuna sputtered and flailed about with his arms like a chicken making the futile attempt to fly. As per usual.

"Okay," Yamamoto said with a good-natured smile. "I just have to win, right? Then he'll have to date me."

Reborn's face broke into a sinister smirk. Tsuna had A Very Bad Feeling about this.

Later that day the three of them waited for Gokudera to show up in Tsuna's bedroom. If nothing else, Gokudera was predictable.

After five minutes the door flung open.

"Hey Tenth, I hope you're well—wait what the devil is that freak doing here." At the sight of Yamamoto, his eyes flickered with murderous intent.

This, Tsuna observed, was not good. However, before he could ease the tension, Reborn already had him by the collar and dragged him to safety. Together they watched as Tsuna's room was blown to ashes. Aside from this the onslaught did not accomplish much. By the end of it, both Gokudera and Yamamoto were knocked out and had to be carried home. Naturally, this became Tsuna's task.

Reborn had never felt so good about his life as in that very moment.


On Wednesday Yamamoto made several attempts to talk to Gokudera in order to explain his behavior from the previous day, but Gokudera simply ignored him, throwing the occasional explosive in his general direction. Although this derailed just slightly from their usual daily routine, it kind of worried Yamamoto. At this rate it was going to take him decades just to get to second base.

That night after dinner he flopped down on the couch next to his father, who was watching what seemed to be an extremely old soap opera.

"Hey, um, Dad," he began, realizing the two hadn't had A Talk in quite a while now. "I have a problem. There's, well, there's this guy. At school. Who threatens to shove bombs into my pants. A lot."

"Punch him in the gut."

"I did that already, actually, and I don't really think it's gotten me anywhere. I mean, I want to date him and not to force him to spend the rest of his life in a hospital bed. Besides, he's pretty good at hitting back."

Yamamoto's father choked.

"You all right?"

"Yeah, sure, just, err — I'll be right back." He stood up, went into the kitchen and returned with a can of beer. After he had swigged down about one half of it, he had mustered up enough courage to inquire, "So, you are, uh, fond of that — person?"

Yamamoto nodded. "How do I make him like me?"

His dad stared at the TV with an odd look of defeat on his face. "Well, um. You could. That's a very, uh." He grimaced and tippled off the rest of his beer. "Present," he said finally. "Why not give him a present?"


The next day, once baseball practice was over, Yamamoto went to Namimori's biggest shopping mall and settled for an expensive silver lighter, a skull engraved in it at the front. With this in tow, he took the train to Gokudera's apartment.

"Oh, God it's you," Gokudera groaned, chewing on his cigarette in agitation. "Why can't you just leave me alone?"

"I have something for you," Yamamoto declared, undeterred, and held out the lighter.

Gokudera glared at it. "What is that?"

"A lighter," Yamamoto said.

"I can see that," Gokudera ground out between his teeth and spat out his cigarette. "Why are you giving it to me?"

Yamamoto chuckled. "It's a gift, what else would it be?"

Shoving his hands in the pockets of his torn jeans, Gokudera proceeded to examine it more closely for another few moments. "I don't want it," he barked at last.

"Why not?"

Gokudera responded by slamming the door in Yamamoto's face.


"Tsuna, I need your help. It's about Gokudera."

Tsuna's hands fidgeted around the receiver as he reflected that he was probably neither qualified nor in the least ready to deal with whatever obstacle Yamamoto was currently facing in his quest to woo Gokudera. He needed Reborn for this, but his tutor was somewhere in the woods, preparing a training course with the new nuclear ammunition, and, oh God, he was so screwed, why didn't anyone ever care when the city was about bombed down and contaminated with radioactive radiation.

"Uh, sure."

"What should I to do to make him stop hating me?"

"Honestly, Yamamoto, I don't think I'm the right person to—"

"Who else am I supposed to ask? Lambo?" It was the first time Tsuna had ever heard Yamamoto lose his cool. He found it strangely soothing, to see he could be weak, too.

He heaved a sigh. "Look, have you ever tried — I don't know — just telling him how you feel?"

Yamamoto considered this. "He'll set me on fire," he concluded.

"Do you have a better idea?"


Gokudera made a face.

"Why do you think I shut the door right in front of your nose?"

"Why do you think I bought you that lighter?"

"Why do you think I care?"

Yamamoto drew in a deep breath. "Can you please listen to me? Just for a moment? Then I'll leave."

Gokudera let out something in between a grunt and a snarl. Yamamoto decided to take that as a yes.

"I like you. I mean, really, really like you. That's why I — I was so different these past couple of days. And that's why I'm here now. I want you to go on a date with me."

Silence.

"That was why you attacked me that one time?"

"Yeah."

"And that other time?"

"Yeah."

"YOU FUCKHEAD," Gokudera exploded and charged at Yamamoto with his box weapon. "ARE YOU MENTALLY RETARDED?"

Yamamoto started his strategic retreat.


The next morning at school he found a small note in his shoe locker:

Sorry for yesterday.

But you're still stupid.

He kept on grinning for the entire week.