Back with the third installment.
Contents: TYL!80TYL!59, TYL!8059, 8059
A few weeks later.
I wake up early. And decide, today is the day. I am going to intervene into Hayato Gokudera's life.
I suit up. I literally do.
I decide to wear one of my finer suits from Italy, hand-stitched and everything. I'm not usually one to wear super expensive nice clothes. After years of baseball I would habitually wear clothes thrown on the floor with grass stains over and over again. I would generally have no problem going to practice and wear the same clothes the next day. So at lease I have changed my habits since then to accommodate this suit. At first I refused the offer to have a suit made for me but the Ninth insisted that I had at least one nice outfit since I left everything in the future.
The silky material fits my body perfectly and I watch myself in the mirror as I knot my tie. I pull the knot tight and then smooth my hand over my hair nervously. I'm starting to psych myself out.
I inhale and force a smile in the mirror. Time to get going.
I lock my apartment door and stick my keys into my brief case. It's a brisk spring day. There's still a bit of winter chill in the air but not enough to call for a coat. Whistling, I walk down the stairs of my apartment and begin the day.
After walking for a bit, I arrive in the neighborhood Gokudera resides. It is Saturday and I have a pretty good idea of where to find Gokudera. He's been having trouble lately paying his rent. He's made multiple visits to the bank and rarely goes to his apartment.
I decide to stop in a cafe and wait. I order a drink and seat myself by the window. I sit here for an hour or two. I've had all the time in the world, why feel rushed now?
And then I see him across the street.
His clothes falling off of his frame because they're too big. Narrow limbs and a sharp voice, it could only be him. My heart stops and my chest hurts incisively. My whole body, my entire being, aches for him. I gather my things and exit the cafe.
I painstakingly push my sunglasses further up on my nose and then busy myself with straightening my tie. I grip my brief case tightly and feel the sweat slide between my palms and the leather handle. I clench and unclench my hand. Daring, I follow behind Gokudera slowly.
He walks into a small convenience store. I dart across the street and follow him in. Inside, he approaches the front counter. I head to the back of the store, near the refrigerated items but watch him from the convex mirror in the corner of the store. It looks like he's trying to buy cigarettes. I try to make it look like I'm browsing the dairy aisle but my attention is really on Gokudera. It looks like he's having trouble.
"You don't look like you're twenty years old..." I can hear the store keeper question Gokudera.
"Look, I forgot my I.D." He's not going to be turned down.
The store keeper sighs, "You don't look a day over 15 years old. I can't let you buy cigarettes here."
I watch Gokudera's shoulders bristle in anger but he hunches his shoulders and says quietly, "Well, you've lost my business."
The store keeper warns him, "I'm letting you go now, next time I'll call the cops."
As Gokudera slinks out of the store, I pick a box of milk and pay for it. The store keeper asks me, "Nerves of these kids, huh?"
I shrug and mindlessly agree with him but my mind is on other things.
The sun has set.
I've trailed after Gokudera all afternoon. After the convenience store, he had stopped at an ATM and after a few frustrating minutes, crumpled up a receipt and promptly dropped it on the ground. I picked it up. The balance was zero.
Still frustrated, his tirade continued for a while. He would look around every once and a while. But he would stop at each stop he would at one place or another he would try to bum cigarettes off of people or ask for money. Kind of sad, really.
And now with the sun down, it's dark out. I'm tired of this game so every once in a while I turn a corner after him or follow closer. This continues until he definitely notices me. His patterns change. He looks over his shoulder, searching for me as he strides across an empty street, into an emptier city park.
I follow a good distance behind him. But I start to lose him.
My pace faster, I try to catch up. But I lose sight of him.
"What do you want from me?" A voice hisses in the dark, "I know you're following me, you aren't discreet about it in the least." I turn, trying to listen from where Gokudera's voice is coming from.
I frown. "Is that so?"
There's silence until he answers, "Everyone was looking at you. I mean, dressed like that. You'd have to be some of idiot to not notice everyone looking at you. Especially women," ah, women, that's a topic Gokudera doesn't enjoy, "they see some tall guy in a fancy suit and they're all looking at him." It's like he's scoffing, disdain in his voice.
"Were you looking at me too?" I joke with him but he bristles with anger.
"Shut up. I could kill you. Right here, right now," now his voice comes from another place in the dark.
"No, no, no!" I throw my hands up in alarm, all jokes aside. My briefcase falls to the sidewalk, "let me explain!"
I stand in silence, every nerve in my body fires in anticipation, for an attack. I wait for him to speak again, "...Why should I let you?" Ah, there. I have him pin pointed in the dark.
"I'm not a hit man. If anything, I'm on a research mission. I've just been doing research. I've followed you because you are getting too close to me."
"Che, what makes you think you know anything about you-" I dart quickly as he wonders out loud. I move quickly. I'm behind him and I grab both his hands in one motion, pinning them behind his back. My other arm wraps around his abdomen and pulls him close, disabling movement. He struggles against me, "What the fuck?! What are you doing?! Release me now!" I only hold him closer. "I have weapons. I'm going to use them. I swear to God I am going to use them." I squeeze his wrists together forcefully, he cries out and tries to cover it up by bluffing further, "Look, you're messing with the wrong guy! If you did your research, you would know that I have powerful connections."
I hold him against me for what seems like minutes until his body goes limp; he doesn't fight. His head barely reaches my shoulders. Without thinking I find my nose buried into his hair, I mean, after three years without Gokudera I am at my wits end. "...Fuck!" his cry breaks me out of my trance, "look, I don't know what you want. Just don't touch me! Is it money you want? I don't look like it but I have money! My dad has money!" I feel the muscles of his back, tense and strained. I slowly reposition the hold, I place him into a single arm wrist lock, but wrap both hands around his skinny arm. I look like a giant compared to his petite frame.
"You have dynamite in your sleeves, you have sewn it into the seam, in your pockets, and in your shoes."
"Aw, damn! What? What do you know? What are-"
I cut him off, I apply pressure downwards on his wrists and he cries out. "If you try anything, if you ignite anything, this is not going to end well. I want you to put on a change of clothes for that reason. The spare clothes are in my briefcase."
It's silent. We stay like this for what again seems like forever. I breathe heavily, all of my emotions are at their height. I can feel Gokudera's chest pound-pound-pounding. But with a certain stillness he whispers now, "You can let go of my wrist. I'm not going to run."
I'm interested but I don't let it show, "How do I know that?"
"You have my weapons and you are clearly a better fighter. If I ran, you could easily catch me. You are an athlete or at the least athletic. And to catch me like that in the first place, I hate losing but I have played out every possible way to escape or attack and they all end in defeat." His voice is low and calculating. Knowing even that the 14 year old Gokudera is one of the greatest strategists, I let the hold of his wrists go. He rubs them together gingerly.
My release on his wrist loosens and I allow him to remove his clothes. He now stands in his underwear. "What do you want me to do now, idiot?"
"Open the briefcase," I reply wearily. I couldn't imagine what the scene had to look like. A 24-year-old man holding a 14-year-old in a captive hold forcing him to strip. That wouldn't be explainable to the police. Gokudera hesitates before opening the latches, when he works up the courage to open it, inside lays a simple shirt and loose jeans. "Put them on," I urge him. He surprises me by complying, he puts on the clothes.
I squat down to pack his clothes into my suitcase as he dresses. I snap it shut before he finishes. I stand up and apologize, "I'm sorry it's like this. I don't think you would have agreed to talk to me or say anything in any other circumstance. I'm glad that we're both able to reach an agreement though!"
He seems defeated when he says simply, "I'm just tired of running."
I'm taken back by his honesty. The 14-year-old Gokudera that I knew was never like this. I wonder if my entire technique is overkill.
He continues, "I really don't know you. I don't get what you mean when you say I'm getting too close to you. I know you picked up my bank statement. Why do you even care?" He finally turns toward me. He examines my face and looks my body up and down. "Who are you?"