A/N: Found this in my internet attic, and was like 'Why did I never publish this? This is good!' Fic written in 2009 so spoilers only up to Varia arc.

i. innocent things which they are joined with
It's silly to you to crave physical contact and obtain it in such discreet ways when you knew he would give it to you at a word. But you're afraid of his reaction if you asked to hold his hand, or caress his cheek, lest he meet you with jest.

It's not coincidence you shift sometimes when he reads out reports until your faces are mere inches apart. You know he's aware of it too, from the blush that graces his features. Neither of you are really sure of what is being said and it seems like hours before you turn away.

You know you love it when he blushes because of you.

Neither of you say or do anything.

You sit side by side at the train station. It is hot and stuffy and filled with busy souls and even busier noses who give you two the occasional inquiring look. You scowl at them don't really remember why you have to go to Rome by train, but you do know that if Squalo does not make haste, something undesirable may happen.

You know it's no accident when his hand lingers for a tenth of a second on yours when he gives you your ticket. You scowl but your stomach jumps. It's no accident how he keeps being hustled closer to your side as you walk either.

He looks ridiculously romantic with his back to the window and evening sun shining yellow around him like a halo. You sit beside him to avoid the sight and mercilessly kick the young woman who glances at you two with raised eyebrows and an amused expression.'Voooooooiiii! Remember the code of mafioso; don't hurt women!'Fuck you, like I give a shit.')

It was getting annoying how much influence he had over you without knowing.

ii. a pleasant air but a barren soil
As you watch him fall into the water, you're not sure of what to feel. You know you're relieved, which translates to pretty damn happy, that he'll never know who you really are, so you laugh.

You're satisfied, in a bittersweet way. You won't be the one to break his heart.

iii. remote light of an invisible star
After the Sky Battle and you could walk again, you decide to see how he was doing. You went at night, when he wouldn't see you.

When you gazed at the pathetic sight that was your supposed right hand man, you wonder how he could have spoken at the Sky Battle. You rip the sheets off him and look at the bandages covering his bare chest.

Your hands linger on him. You're surprised by how soft his skin is. You brush back his fringe and wish you could crush his body against yours and tell him how much it means to you, that he's still there and by your side.

You wonder if you're delirious and only imagined bending your head to kiss him before you left.

You left the sheets on the floor.

iv. they met once more
He begs forgiveness. He looks at you with pleading grey eyes and your own ruby red turn hard and you scowl. But it's no good you know he's as good as forgiven already. You can't help but appreciate he's still here for you, still by your side.

v. strands of pearl
The first time you find his hands actually touching you is when you're cursing yourself for being a fraud. You're cursing him too for following a fake, when you found his arms around you.

He's pretty good at guessing what you need sometimes, you admit.

It's not like you feared. With bitterness in your eyes and lips, you sink your head into his shoulder, unconscious of your slight trembling. It's like he reallyunderstands like he claimed the first time, and it's nice to imagine for a few moments he really does, because if you would allow anyone to, it would be him. He pats your shoulder awkwardly but you realised a long time ago how endearing his shyness is.

vi. and i'm afraid it's you
'It's okay, it's okay,' he says.

And you pretend.

It's okay that you're not Vongola. It's okay that you're in love with him even though love is against all your basic principles. It's alright.

'I'm here.'

He will always be there for you. He will never forsake you.

'I'll always be here for you, Boss.'

You wouldn't give him a choice anyway.

And you break away.

vii. this was once a love poem
You don't give him time to feel awkward. You walk away quickly but you're aware of his gaze on your back, near pleading. And you know it really would be okay if you turned back, but you can't.

viii. the hope of love without perspective
You know you two will forget about this. Things will return to normal. You both will pretend it never happened, you especially. But you can't help hoping... for something.

ix. walking forward
Things return to their everyday routine, but you both begin taking liberties you wouldn't dream of before. On nights the two of you can't sleep and meet in the hallway, one of you will end up in the others bed. Not perhaps, in the state you would like, but you're together. You never remember what you talk about, but you can always recall waking with his arms around you though you never fall asleep in that state.

You know these moments mean everything to you.

x. journeys end where lovers meet
You two meet in the kitchen one night and you know it's not coincidence anymore; you will always seek each other out. He pours out tea for you and sits as close to you as he dares. The atmosphere is heavily hung with a silence that wasn't there before but it's nice to sit quietly for once.

He follows you your room and says goodnight before he is about to leave. His steps are slow, and then you can't stand it anymore and you grab him by the back of his shirt and drag him into the room and you have him pinned to the wall before the door can close. You kiss him roughly and he doesn't resist; you know he wants this as much as you do.

By the time you two get to your bed, most of your clothing has been torn off. His breath is hot and so is yours, and you know it will be a very good night.

When you wake up the next morning you are once again in the familiar position of entangled limbs, but it's different now because neither of you are wearing anything and you know the sheets are extremely dirty, but it doesn't matter because everything is just the way you always wanted it to be.

The way it's supposed to be.