Author's Note:

Fourth installment of Time Warp!

Contents: TYL!80TYL!59, TYL!8059, 8059


Gokudera inspects everything in my apartment. Every once in a while he stops to scoff at some decoration. I turn away because I can't bear to look at him. Three years without seeing Gokudera, being in his presence suddenly, I had almost forgotten his mannerisms and quirks. Time was slowly warping my memories.

"Basically you're stuck in the past, huh?" I glance at him but his back is turned away from me. "What am I like, in the future, that is?"

I ponder my response a while before responding, "I don't feel like it's my right to tell you."

He gives me a look of reproach, "Why not?"

"What if you alter some time line and never become like him or what if you hear about him and try to become exactly like him? Is the very definition of you lost at that point?"

He blinks and asks, "Jeez, I was just wondering."

I laugh and say, "I was just joking. I don't think it works like that, really. Time, I mean."

He makes a noise of disapproval and asks, "What are you doing back here again? Like, didn't you figure everything else? You can just go back."

"It's not that simple," I snap back at him but catch myself, "Sorry, let me explain myself. This might be a long story, do you mind?"

Gokudera shakes his head 'no' and sits himself down on my couch. He does ask, "Can I light up?"

I feel like my landlord might not appreciate it but I point at a smoke detector and ask him to disable it. He does so and sits back down on the couch, "Please," he prompts me, "Enlighten me as to why you have abducted me into your apartment. I want to hear the story."

"Tsuna is no longer the Decimo Candidate. After explaining ten years of history, the executive decision to raise Xanxus as the Decimo Candidate was made. Time travel itself is simple, really. When you are sent into the past, you exist at your current age and the time-you-were-sent-back-to age. So simply, when I arrived here I was 21 years old and I co-existed with my 11-year self."

"From this research I have done, I have had no reason to suspect that talking to myself or making myself known to my 12-year-old self would create any time paradoxes or create a butterfly effect.

"You see, I had tickets to Hokkaido that the baseball team manager had given to the younger me. I kept them in my sock drawer for safe keeping before the national championships. Since it was my past, I knew that 12-year-old me and Dad were in the back of Takesushi most nights. After making sure the younger me was prepping the shop for the next day, I used my set of keys to open our family apartment. I replaced my original tickets with another set to six hours ahead. Being counterfeited, I knew any receptionist at the travel agency would not take them. I had to wait for the day of the flight, but when it came, I realized that when my younger-self was stopped at the ticket counter, I should have arrived in Hokkaido at that point. Already my memories were different. With my experiment with the ticket to Hokkaido, I did not remember missing my reservation. In my memories, I made the flight at 7:00am and had no problems what-so-ever making it to Hokkaido and competing in the nationals for baseball.

"Younger-me still took the late plane and made it to Hokkaido. I had a ticket myself and trailed along. At the championship, I observed my younger self, I watched Coach place me in 2nd batting place and not 4th place. For clarification, 4th place is in hopes for a home run; batters #1 through #3 load the bases and #4 brings in the home run. I remember that I scored the home run, but in this timeline after the late arrival, Coach punished me by placing me in #2 batting place.

"So I concluded such: any new events that my 12-year-old self experienced, I did not remember. We could be on entirely different time lines. My world, my memories, my life is separate from your time. I have no proof or evidence whether or not my present self, the 12-years older-me, Takeshi, exists but without me or if I am the only remnants of the past, and the current timeline, Yamamoto, will replace the future while I, Takeshi, will exist in this new timeline, with Yamamoto erasing the previous future. I do not know how to test this hypothesis and I really do not think that I can with the technology or intelligence that I have.

"That's why I have this computer. It's helping me at least test out things and try and make things clearer," I point to the computer that takes up the entire dining table.

Gokudera exhales slowly and waves the smoke away from his face. "What kind of experiments are you doing now? That computer clearly has higher capabilities than any other computer I've ever seen."

"Well... like I've said. Even though this is more advanced technology, it was engineered by someone else."

"Yeah, I figured that," Gokudera cuts me off, "but like, what are you doing now? So if this Tsuna guy isn't the Decimo Candidate any longer, shouldn't it be problem solved? What role do I play? You obviously knew that I was here looking for the intended Decimo Candidate, Tsuna, but you have changed that fact. Somehow a decision was made in the Vongola that I didn't hear about. So here I am in Japan. Looking for this guy and he's not even a part of the plan, is that right?"

"Yeah, that's right."

He looks stumped until he blurts out, "Ah, fuck. I must be really hated for the Vongola to not even tell me. My own family hates me and even the Vongola hates me. So now they have you, some kind of future agent Mafioso man from the future tying loose ends by finally stopping me from this wild goose chase. I'm on a wild goose chase now basically. Is that how it is?"

I try to reason with him, "Gokudera, that's not right. Look, I don't know how you ended up here. Someone should have told you but somehow you slipped between the cracks. I mean, I should have contacted you but I wasn't sure how to go about that."

"How stupid could you be? Thanks for all of this then," he says sarcastically. "I'm not able to pay rent and I hate this place. Everyone's so polite with all their bowing and formal speech and everything else. The food's expensive and I can't get cigarettes. Thanks a lot for all of this, Yamamoto." Then he he says quietly, "Vaffanculo."

I start to get mad, "Don't you tell me to fuck off! I am doing all this shit to make sure your life isn't ended like last time!"

He's equally as mad, "Why do you even care?" And then he says, "Wait, what do you mean ended?"

Now Gokudera is struck by a certain realization: "Why didn't you tell me I'm dead in your time? Why did you keep this from me? You've known for years! All this time you've been in the past! Don't you think I should have known?"

"When was I supposed to tell you, Gokudera?" There's an edge to my voice and my heart breaks all over again.

"I don't know, maybe before I came all the way to fucking Japan?" His voice raises and his anger flashes.

"No one knew where you were at!"

"How the fuck could you keep something like that to yourself!?"

"I'm trying to save you, Gokudera!"

He screams at me: "Just how selfish are you, you bastard?!"

My heart breaks.

He yells and yells at me. I am dazed and can't think. My head buzzes with anger, frustration, contempt.

I snap out of my absent-mindedness the instant Gokudera's fist collides with my nose.

"Aw shit! Gokudera! What the fuck?!" I quickly put him in a headlock, his smaller size and my anger giving me the advantage. Blood seeps slowly from my nose and bleeds down my neck, down the front of my shirt, onto Gokudera. "You never listen, I could talk and talk and talk and talk and your anger and temper would keep you from listening. You would tell me it's not so and defy me in every single way possible." He starts to protest, "No! Listen to me. Just listen!"

I struggle to stay composed. After three years of waiting, planning, frustration, and solitude, I'm afraid I can't keep my temper in control any longer.

My voice breaks and I finally cry, "You can not tell me that I'm selfish. How dare you? You do not understand the magnitude of this situation. So what if you are dead in the future? That is not who you are! Who you are now is alive, full of promise and a long life. Gokudera, you have the chance at a successful, happy life." After three long years, I cry again. I can't stop the emotions. My face is a mess. Snot, tears, and blood covers my lips and chin and gets on Gokudera. "G-gokudera, I came back here for you. You are so smart, so intelligent. How could your life be cut short at 21 years? That's not fair to the Tenth, to you, ... or me."

He is crying too. Silent but I can feel him shake. "Why? Why, Takeshi? Why would you do that for me?"

"Gokudera, you aren't going to want to know why."

"I'm fucking listening for once, tell me!"

I sigh and give up, "I was in the most dire situation. We were all hunted down and exterminated. Not killed, exterminated. Gokudera, they hunted us down one by one, I watched my friends, co-workers, family get slaughtered. In the future, you are my family. Not just in the Vongola, it's more than just that. We worked together but it was so much more than that. We had a home together. I mean, I would have baseball or work for the Tenth. You were always away, too, but when we had time, we lived together because we loved each other."