By the time Tsuna and Mukuro walked back into the café to re-join Gokudera and Yamamoto, the two couldn't help but notice Fran and Bel weren't with them.
Yamamoto was the one to question this. "Where are Bel and Fran?"
"Bel saw his 'best friend'…" Mukuro was sure to make quotation marks with his fingers as he rolled his heterochromatic eyes, "…and wandered off. Fran followed."
"That freak has friends?" Gokudera questioned sourly – it was no secret the silver-haired teenager didn't like Bel.
"His name is Mammon," Mukuro said, sitting down beside Yamamoto. "He came over from Italy with the rest of them from what I understand."
"Hey, I almost forgot," Gokudera started, not meaning to change the topic, "but I have to get some more food for Uri. Does anyone want to come for a walk?"
Yamamoto was the first to volunteer, a hopeful glint in his eyes; he wasn't too sure if the older teenager wanted him to go or not, but he could only offer and see what happens, right?
To the younger's surprise, Gokudera smiled before nodding, those usually-angry green eyes soft. "Why not? Are you coming, Tenth?"
Tsuna shook his head, not wanting to get in the way of his friends' budding friendship. "I'm gonna hang around with Mukuro for a while. I'll see you guys later."
Yamamoto was cheerful as he got to his feet, moving to the smaller teenager's side. He wrapped his arm around Gokudera's shoulders as he always did with Tsuna, happier than he had been in a while – he finally got to spend some time with Gokudera willingly.
"Yo, Gokudera," Yamamoto started, an overly happy tone in his voice, "afterwards, can I come over and meet your cat?"
The silver-haired teenager was uncomfortable about bringing someone other than Tsuna home, not used to such a thing – he really didn't know what to do or how to act.
"…I…" Gokudera frowned as he tried to explain, "…I have never really had people over before…"
"That's okay." Yamamoto smiled. "Anything else you want to do while we're in town? I was thinking we could go play a bit of baseball – would you mind if I taught you how to play?"
The truth was that Gokudera was far from a sporty type of person, but with the happy look on Yamamoto's face, he couldn't help but nod. "Sure… But I want to stop at home first so I can feed Uri."
Yamamoto was cheerful as he nodded – he was smart enough to recognise that this was the older male's way of inviting him over. "No problem, Gokudera."
There was a comfortable silence between them as they walked together, neither of them needing constant chatter.
The only thing that was ruining the moment was that unshakable feeling of being watched.
Neither teenager mentioned the feeling, both believing it to be nothing of importance – it had been happening for weeks now and nothing had come of it; it was surely nothing.
Gokudera's hair looks so soft… Yamamoto smiled dreamily as he fought the urge to reach out and touch the silver strands, not wanting to make his friend uncomfortable – if they could only remain as such, he was happy. I wonder if he'll ever let me touch it – I know touching makes him nervous.
Yamamoto had been so lost in his thoughts he almost walked into Gokudera when the smaller male stopped outside of the pet shop. He chuckled sheepishly as he scratched the back of his head, apologising with a laugh.
Idiot… Gokudera couldn't help but smile at the thought, shrugging Yamamoto's stuff up off – there was really no point in holding a grudge for a mistake anyone could make.
The dark-haired teenager smiled as he looked at the animals around him, wondering if the soothing aura they gave was the reason why his friend would rather pay more money on cat food here than somewhere else.
This is really quite nice… Yamamoto smiled to himself as he relaxed, having never thought he'd be standing here in peaceful bliss with his crush. I hope we can do this more often.
Gokudera was quiet as he gathered the necessities, paying for them with money Yamamoto wasn't sure how he got – the older teenager didn't have a job, or even a family to supply him with money apart from his sister.
Once again, the peaceful feeling washed over them as they walked back to Gokudera's apartment, no words needed to enjoy the other's company.
He's actually tolerable now that I've given him the chance… Gokudera could almost kick himself for not having done this sooner – he was enjoying the younger's presence almost as much as Tsuna's. I wonder… if it would really be so bad in having a relationship with him… Would he stand for a trial date? Or would he take it all too seriously?
But what if we did become boyfriends…? What happens next…? I've never dated anyone before, and I don't know what to do… What if I mess up…? It's frightening to think that after letting someone through my walls, I could lose them because of how socially awkward I am…
If I take the chance and blow it, what happens? Would everything be for nought? …But this is Yamamoto! …I… I honestly… feel as if… no matter what I screw up… He'll understand…
Glancing up at the boy walking beside him, Gokudera felt his insides warm in a shy manner as he watched Yamamoto hum happily, looking at a butterfly that had landed on his outstretched finger.
Yamamoto honestly… is far too gentle to hurt a fly… Gokudera felt a tad more confident at the realisation, knowing that if he were to practise his social skills with anyone, Yamamoto was the best – the dark-haired male took everything in stride and rarely became upset with anyone.
Trusting his gut feeling that was screaming let Yamamoto in, Gokudera swallowed thickly as he realised that was exactly what he was trying to do – and though it didn't come as naturally as it did with Tsuna, whatever he was doing was working.
Is it… that I really do return his feelings…? If it is… it actually feels pretty good.
Just like with Tsuna, Uri wasn't a violent beast towards Yamamoto like he was with his owner. Yamamoto laughed at the disappointment on his friend's face, stroking the purring cat in his lap happily.
Gokudera had finally relaxed, deciding they could hang out a bit at his apartment before they went to the baseball nets, trying to get the hang of having a friend over – his friendship and undying loyalty to Tsuna came so naturally, it actually came as a shock to him to realise he didn't know what to do with anyone else.
The silver-haired teenager was sprawled out on the couch, watching intently a documentary on the TV about Nessie, while Yamamoto sat on the floor next to him, playing with the cat.
It wasn't until Yamamoto stood up to grab a drink, and at the same time Gokudera leant down to pick up Uri, did they realise how close their faces had unintentionally become. Yamamoto could feel his crush's hot breath on his lips and, if he leant forward just the slightest, he could close the gap between their lips.
Gokudera was shocked by the unexpected proximity, but part of him wanted to press their lips together and find out what it was like to kiss someone – the other, more sane part of him was almost too afraid, scared that he would ruin whatever it was between him and Yamamoto.
The younger boy, as if sensing his friend's anxiousness, was the one to initiate things.
Leaning forward so that he could ghost his lips over smaller ones, Yamamoto had never felt so good in his life – and when Gokudera pressed back against him, he felt as if sparks were flying. Everything was so… so… perfect.
Yamamoto reached up to grip at the blue jacket his crush wore, pulling the older teenager off the couch and into his lap. They sat on the floor, Gokudera in Yamamoto's lap with the younger's arm wrapped around him, just pressing their lips together with the inexperience that came with sharing first kisses.
Gokudera opened his mouth, willing to let Yamamoto invade his wet cavern but, just before the dark-haired boy could do so, the ringing of Gokudera's phone broke them apart.
Muttering a soft 'Sorry…' to Yamamoto, the usually-angry teenager answered the call that he could see was from Tsuna.
"What's up?" Gokudera asked casually, expecting the brunet to be asking where they were so they could meet up – but when loud sobs and shouting in the background could be heard, he started to panic. "T-tenth?!"
"G-gokudera-kun…" Tsuna continued to sob over the line, a soft whimper escaping his lips at a particularly loud bang that even Yamamoto could hear. "G-gokudera-kun, I-I… It's…"
"Where are you?" Gokudera stood up, ready to find his best friend and protect him with his life if need be.
"…B-bel's house…" Tsuna whispered, almost as if he were hiding from someone. "There's… There's blood everywhere…"
It was then everything made sense to Gokudera; the constant feeling of being watched, why Bel and his family had moved from overseas, why said boy was a nutcase – and the feelings of being watched had started the day he had met Bel.
Right now, Gokudera had to be the best friend that he could be and protect his beloved Tenth.
"C'mon!" Gokudera was already halfway to the front door as he shouted back for Yamamoto to follow him. "Something's wrong!"
This explains everything… Yamamoto, like his friend, had quickly summed it all together and, with all the strength he could muster, he would do whatever it took to protect his friends.