KHR 5986 & ALL ~ Ranking Day
"Oh Ranking Planet, I receive you 5 out of 5…"
"Haha, here come Fuuta's rankings again!"
"Out of the things that would cause Gokudera-nii trouble for finding a girlfriend, the Top 3 is: 3) His tsundere personality, 2) His lack of motivation, 3) His complex on Tsuna-nii."
"… I'M GONNA TO KILL THIS BRAT!"
"Don't try to stop me, 10th, I'll…!"
"Tako Head, don't vent on kids!"
"Hum, is something wrong, Haru-chan?"
"Ahiii, strange-desu... Not even a tiny raining cloud…"
"Ah, because Fuuta-kun said before that his rankings are only wrong when there is rain. Last time, he found Haru's Top 3 Charming Points just perfect! Impressive-desu! So this time, I don't understand why it's wrong, buuh… After all, liking Tsuna-san is the only thing making Gokudera-san a good guy, right?"
"… k-kof… W-WHAT ARE YOU SAYING, STUPID WOMAN?!"
"Ano, Gokudera-kun, breathe in, breathe in… Your face is really red, you know…"
"I CAN'T BE DAMN RED, P-please take a better look, 10th!"
"No, well, hum, you really are…"
KHR 5986 & 27 & R ~ Rainy Day
"Ahiii, Gokudera-san? Are you on your way to Tsuna-san's house too?"
"…?" Gokudera turns around to meet Haru under her pink umbrella.
Today had already been such a tiresome day... having to stay later at school for some damn counselling and missing going home with the 10th… the heavy and cold April's rain waiting for him outside just the day he had had his umbrella borrowed by third years who haven't last long when Hibari 'bit them to death' for troubling the school order, breaking the umbrella along the way… and now of all times, he had to run into the loudest headaches-creator of his acquaintances…
TILT. But the loud fight already expected is unexpectedly replaced by her hand holding out her umbrella above their both heads, pouting with a frown.
"If you get sick from walking under the rain with only your schoolbag to protect you, Tsuna-san will get contaminated, you know! Careless-desu…"
ZAAA. The remark comes and pierces Gokudera's pride and loyalty for Tsuna from side to side.
This woman is really annoying in the end… and what does she think she's doing, holding out her umbrella like that while keeping her distance, letting her back getting hit by the rain… damn annoying…
"Got it, tsk… Hand it over, Stupid Woman!"
Haru's hand suddenly closes on emptiness as the umbrella handle is stolen away from her. Her attempts to get it back from Gokudera are fruitless as she realises he's quite taller than her and is already holding it way higher than she could.
When thinking about it, guys are the most logical holder for an umbrella, aren't they… so it's only normal for them to hold it for the girl and walk beside her, isn't it… it's just because they're taller, isn't it... but when Gokudera-san looks so tired and quiet, somehow, standing beside him feels more unsettling than usual… Tsuna-san's house is not too far away, hopefully…
AN HOUR LATER
"No but I can't get you two at all!"
"Why did you run across the road without looking? It was dangerous!"
"You're all drenched too, now! Raah, no but really!"
Gokudera and Haru lower their eyes pitifully, quite ashamed to have had Tsuna see them being drenched by a wave splashing from under a truck when they had run to cross the road outside the pedestrian crossing to meet with him who had appeared on their way to his house.
"Ah, I forgot another towel for your hair, Gokudera-kun. Wait a minute…"
BAM. The door closes after Tsuna, a heavy silence falling as Gokudera and Haru pat their drenched trousers and skirt with the towels spiritlessly.
"After all your big words about not contaminating the 10th, don't you dare catch a cold before me, Stupid Woman…!"
DOKI. Haru freezes while looking with widening eyes at the one rubbing her head with the last towel to help her dry her hair, her cheeks feeling hotter than usual.
How weird to hear Gokudera-san rant at her with a quiet tone… does he really feel so tired, today… or maybe he just feels dejected like her… having Tsuna-san so disappointed in them… or maybe it's only the spleen of April's rainy season soothing everything… Ahiii… still, how weird… why is he even helping her when she doesn't need someone to care for her… so softly too… weird… so weird, but…
"… th… thank-you-desu…"
BAM. The door opening again on Tsuna makes them both snap, and Gokudera hides precipitately the towel behind his back while turning to face Tsuna with a troubled forced laugh, not even knowing himself why he feels trapped, all of a sudden.
"Hum, is something wrong…?"
"Let them be, Tsuna. There's nothing much we can do for two idiots, heehee…"
"Reborn… can you stop popping out when I don't expect you…? And this frog costume… don't tell me you're trying to predict the weather again…?!"
KHR 2795 & 5986 ~ Tailing Issues
"Lower! Squat lower, Stupid Woman!"
"Ahiii, but we're going to lose sight of Tsuna-san! They're entering! Pinch-desu!"
"Damn it, as expected the 10th… he's cautious and with the instinct of a professional…"
MEANWHILE AT SOME DISTANCE
"Huh, Tsuna-kun, did you catch a cold?"
"Ah, n-no way, don't worry, Kyoko-chan! I'm perfectly healthy, look look! Just some kind of bad feeling but it's not going to stop us from having fun, right, hahaha!"
"Hum, if you're not feeling well, maybe we should postpone the amusement park…?"
"Of course not! Let's go, let's go, I already have the tickets too!"
"If you say so, Tsuna-kun…"
BACK BEHIND THE CORNER OF A BUILDING OPPOSITE FROM THE AMUSEMENT PARK ENTRANCE
"Ahiii… what can we do, what can we do… Off-limits-desu…"
"Move on, Stupid Woman! Don't off-limits me, damn! As if I would let the 10th without protection!"
And Gokudera drags Haru after him towards the entrance gates, ninja-ing whenever possible behind the pole of a street lamp or behind the tall plushie mascot welcoming the visitors until reaching the counter.
"Two tickets, same as the couple before." He says with a low threatening voice to the hostess behind the glass.
"Ahiii! Gokudera-san, don't say couple! Don't say it! Forbidden-desu!"
"Shut up and stop hitting me, Stupid Woman! Right now, the 10th is in a pinch with only me to ensure his protection, damn it! I don't have time for your useless broken heart!"
"Don't say broken, aho!"
"Raah, fine, fine! Just keep quiet!"
Gokudera then pulls Haru pass the entrance barriers before making her run after him in search of Tsuna and Kyoko, not even minding the hostess staring at them suspiciously before comforting herself that it must be a new trend for young couples to dress up in matching black-glasses-black-cap-binoculars-around-the-neck outfits for a date.
Because a dangerous date it appears to be, indeed...
Everything began when Haru spotted Tsuna leaving his home very cheerfully on this Sunday morning. When he had avoided her saying that he had plans, apologizing that she couldn't tag along, she followed him discreetly down Namimori's streets, until reaching the Sasagawa House. There, she had learnt in dread that Tsuna and Kyoko had planned to go to the amusement park, only the two of them. She had thus kidnapped Gokudera – who was passing nearby – before he could call Tsuna over and gained an ally when informing him of the situation, thus leading this joint filature plan.
"Huf huf… Haru can't see them…"
"Damn it, where did the 10th go?! His instincts are too good for his own good and he probably broke free from us without knowing we're doing it to protect him! Stand up, Stupid Woman! We need to find him before anything bad happens!"
"Ahiii, bad…? Bad?! No no no, Haru doesn't want anything bad to happen!"
And they resume their run, with Haru's mind filled with dreadful 'bad' romantic situations involving Tsuna-san but not with her, Gokudera's mind being filled with 'bad' situations as well, but involving the 10th being cornered by enemy families without support from his Right Hand Man.
The search takes almost an hour before they spot Tsuna and Kyoko again, and they both jump behind another of the park mascots to avoid detection.
"Do you want a picture?" The hostess asks them with a business-like smile at seeing them stick to the mascot so passionately. Haru has to hide Gokudera's rant behind her hands to avoid causing a ruckus that would make Tsuna notice them, and she hands her phone to the hostess for a memory picture.
CLIC. Gokudera's tsundere picture later, they are back on track after Tsuna and Kyoko.
Attraction after attraction, Gokudera's vigilance doesn't relax, but the same can't be said for Haru's stubbornness. When lunch arrives and Tsuna and Kyoko both sit down to enjoy a bento at a wooden table, leaving a well-deserved break to their pursuers, Haru has turned silent and spiritless.
"Here, Stupid Woman."
TILT. Haru mechanically accepts the cup of bubble milk tea. A gulp of sweet and cold beverage later, she raises her eyes towards the one who has squat next to her behind the bushes.
Thinking about it, he even paid for her ticket too…
"Tsk, don't mention it. Without you I wouldn't have been able to tail the 10th to protect him from the shadows. You're actually pretty useful sometimes, so don't get all depressed for nothing."
TILT. Haru can't help but pout with a blush, quite touched by the attempt to cheer her up.
"… you know, Gokudera-san, you're also a nice guy sometimes…"
SHRRR. Gokudera chokes on his straw, causing his drink to overflow in bubbles from the cup.
"… wh-what are you talking about, S-stupid woman?!"
"Haru forgot she's able to stay next to Tsuna-san because Gokudera-san is here too… You know, when we are alone, Tsuna-san always looks troubled and calls Reborn-chan or the kids to play with us… so it's never like he is with Kyoko-chan… frustrating-desu… In the end, when Haru thinks about it, we only have fun when the three of us are together so Haru realizes Gokudera-san is really important."
SHIN. Gokudera has definitely frozen with a lost expression, his straw all nervously chewed up between his lips. Long minutes pass in complete silence, one of them minding the previous declaration too much and the other not enough.
So this Stupid Woman actually realizes how important I am as the 10th Right hand… I feel a little… touched I guess… but she didn't have to put it that way, so embarrassing…
Haru needs to make things easier for Tsuna-san… Having Gokudera-san around is noisy but after all he's not a bad guy, so Haru should try harder to get along with the friend of her future husband! Fight-for-love-desu!
TILT. But they suddenly realise their targets left while they were lost in their thoughts.
"Aah! Tsuna-san left!"
"Damn it, 10th, you're too good for your own men!"
And the chase resumes.
"Gokudera-san, left, left-desu!"
"Gaah, don't pull me, Stupid Woman!"
"Back to wall and keep quiet, they turned around!"
"Aouch, don't hit me when I'm helping you out!"
"Ahiii, Gokudera-san, the shuttle is leaving!"
"Jump on, Stupid Woman, I'll catch you!"
After an exhausting afternoon of hide-and-seek filature, Gokudera and Haru collapse on a bench while panting heavily.
"Huf… huf… Lost-desu…"
"10th… as your Right Hand Man, I'm impressed by your skills…"
"Ahiii… no time to be impressed! It's parade time soon!"
"They will be lost in the crowd for a big close romantic moment! Unfair-desu!"
TILT. The mention of crowd has make Gokudera snap out of his exhaustion and he grabs Haru's hand to drag her after him again, running towards the parade plaza at full speed.
"Tsk, nothing more dangerous than a crowd… What if something happens to the 10th…?!"
"Ahiii, nothing more private than a crowd… What if something happens between Tsuna-san and Kyoko-chan…?!"
About five minutes later, they are swallowed themselves by the crowd.
About fifteen minutes later, they have managed to get back together and exit the crowd to climb until the roof of a nearby minaret-tower.
"Ah, Haru found Tsuna-san! Down here! Next to the rainbow cat mascot!"
"Damn it, 10th, at the heart of the crowd! No escape road… what if someone pulls a knife or gun, tsk…"
"Aah, Gokudera-san, look!"
But Gokudera has already seen and has jumped on the window sill before grabbing onto the garland to slide down until the ground in less than a second.
"Ahiii?! But it's at least 3-storey high! Buuh, Haru can't do it, Gokudera-san no baka!"
And she dashes towards the stairs to run after him, catching up as he tries to sneak into the denser and denser crowd, in vain.
"Let me through, damn it! The 10th is in danger!"
"Gokudera-san, that way!"
GRAB. And Gokudera is pulled by his hand after Haru who manages to make them slip past the human wall of spectators.
"Don't let go of Haru's hand!"
Gokudera tightens his grip and dives after her in the flow of people massing themselves on the parade sides. A pull, a grab, a push, a hold, and they progress little by little towards Tsuna and Haru position.
"Damn it, hang on, Stupid Woman! And you guys hands off and let her pass or I bomb you!"
"Huf huf, thank-you-desu…"
"Hold on me tight!"
"Damn it, 10th, stay safe until I reach you!"
And Gokudera pushes shoulder by shoulder to make his way in the crowd, one arm holding Haru tight onto him while sending obstacles flying from the other.
"Left, left! Tsuna-san is following the weird mascot on the left! Ahiii!"
BAM. And just as the rainbow-coloured cat mascot is pulling something out of the pocket of his costume after having guided Tsuna and Kyoko out of the crowd, two silhouettes jump on him to knock him to the ground.
"G-Gokudera-kun?! Haru?! What are you doing here?!"
TILT. Gokudera and Haru suddenly realise their disguise are off and they've been recognized.
TILT. Gokudera and Haru then notice that what the mascot was pulling out of his pocket is actually a band-aid for Kyoko's foot which is a little scratched.
We screwed up…! Tsuna-san/the 10th is going to look down on me!
"H-Hohoho! T-Tsuna-san, Kyoko-chan, what are you doing here? Haru is so surprised to find you!"
"1-10th, what a surprise, hahaha!"
"… don't tell me…"
"A coincidence, a coincidence of course! But to meet the 10th here even on my day off, I am a very lucky subordinate, h-hahaha!"
"Haru-chan, you came with Gokudera-kun?"
"Ah, y-yes-desu! H-here look, we even took picture with the mascot a while before!"
"See, 10th? We really just wanted to take a picture with this weird cat, hahaha!"
"… hum, oh, it's really you on the picture! Wait, so you really came here on a date with Haru, Gokudera-kun?"
SNAP. Gokudera's expression freezes in a mixture of guilt, deep shame, exasperation and embarrassment. His lips take a very wavy pout shape as he averts his eyes to stutter: "Y-yeah…"
"Eh, so it's like that? You should have told me earlier, Gokudera-kun!"
"… ugh, 10th, don't be so eager to believe in me… I'm so unworthy of your trust, sob sob…"
"Hm what are you muttering, Gokudera-kun…?"
"So Haru-chan, if you also came, does it mean Oniichan gave you two tickets as well? I'm so glad! He was worried he won't have enough of them…"
"Ah true! We're supposed to meet with Oniisan after the parade since his baitou will be finished then. He said he wanted to introduce us so that we can candidate here next time we need a part-time job. Let's go, Gokudera-kun!"
SHUN. But their souls are already detached from their bodies as Gokudera and Haru are dragged after Tsuna and Kyoko to go and meet Ryohei to thank him for the free tickets of a dangerous date that wasn't at all one, in the end…
KHR 5986 & 27 ~ Smoking-Bomb Smell Issues
"Ahiii?! Haru doesn't want to hear such a stupid thing from an aho ruining his health with cigarette! Get away from Tsuna-san or you'll turn him into a passive smoker too! Pollution-desu! Poison-desu!"
"Stop getting on my nerves, Stupid Woman! And don't joke around trying to make the 10th believe your damn stupid arguments! These cigarettes are not for smoking but for being anytime ready to protect the 10th in case of attack! Don't put me in the same basket as these brainless brats who ruin their lungs just to show their family they're at the rebellious age!"
"… I would say you're also the rebel type, Gokudera-kun, but... anyway…"
"Hum, did you say anything, 10th?"
"Ah… no, well… Yes, wait! What do you mean 'not for smoking'? So you're not actually smoking these cigarettes… you just keep them in your mouth like a lighter?"
"You're perfectly right, 10th! This life is yours! I'll put a point of honour to keep it as long as possible to have the privilege of serving as your Right Hand Man all along, shishi…!"
"… how did the conversation turn like that again…"
"Ahiii? So you just keep these cigarettes in your mouth without smoking them? Strange-desu... why Gokudera-san...? Ah! Haru knows! You're just a show-off, in the end! But you're a big aho if you think girls will fall for this kind of image trick! Cigarettes for bad boys are outdated now! Unfashionable-desu! The trend now is for guys who are healthy-desu…!"
"What?! As if I would care for something so damn ridiculous! Don't mess with me, Stupid Woman! Girls can prefer even shrimps for all I care!"
"Buuh, but you should care! It's obvious-desu. No girl would ever want to come close to a guy smelling cigarette."
"Tsk, whatever… As long as they're not bothering the 10th, why should I care?!"
"Ano… Gokudera-kun… can you stop yelling in the street…? Also, Haru, I've been wondering, but how come you're fine around Gokudera-kun when you're a girl too? Shouldn't you dislike cigarette smell too?"
"Hahaha! True! 10th, you're a genius as usual! So, Stupid Woman, what's the idea? You're being noisy and everything, but you still pesters us all the time even when I smell cigarette!"
"Ah, hum, it's just that… Haru is…"
"Feeling dumb, now? Your big argument is nothing big after all, so just get lost!"
"Ahiii! So mean! Stop pushing Haru! I'm free to be where I want!"
"Oh? Still talking big? What if I stand close like that, don't you hate the smell? Don't you want to run off? Be my guest and leave us alone, Stupid Woman!"
"Buuh! Haru will not leave! This kind of little smell is nothing!"
"Ooh, how about then?"
"Still nothing, buuh!"
"Ah, hum… Gokudera-kun… Haru… Actually, if you don't mind, I'll be leaving you, hum… All the passer-by at looking at us strangely and… well, you know… I also think I'm in the way… so…"
Gokudera and Haru blink a couple times of surprise before turning towards Tsuna, then spotting the passer-by having stopped to look at them, a group of old grannies even blushing a little saying how-cute-youngsters-are-even-if-they-sure-are-bold-nowadays-to-be-kissing-in-public-in-broad-daylight.
TILT. Gokudera and Haru both bring back their eyes on the other, suddenly realizing they are barely two centimetres apart from the other, Haru having even climbed on her toes to bring her face at his level and stare down stubbornly at him while coming closer and closer to the cigarette – meaning his mouth… meaning his lips…
An angel passes… a couple angels pass… a convoy of angels pass…
SNAP. Gokudera and Haru pull from the other in snapped unison, their faces scarlet, before averting their eyes and running away at full speed after Tsuna to explain him it's a misunderstanding.
KHR 5986 ~ Secret Issues
PLOP. Some dark-red drops smashes soundlessly on the grey dirty ground of a perpendicular narrow alley where the light from the open street of Namimori Shopping District barely reaches.
"Huf huf…" Gokudera pants heavily while resting his back on the wall of shady bricks.
He shoots a tired glance on the right, and the sight of Tsuna, his mother and the kids finishing their shopping happily and safely in the main street of the commercial district makes him smile and forget the pain of his bleeding shoulder.
"… go...od… huf huf… Nobody targets the 10th and walks out safe, damn it…!" He mutters while letting his knees finally surrender under his weight, sliding back to the wall to recover.
He gazes at the blurry narrow sky beyond his reach, not even sparing a glance for the smoking-charcoal bodies of the yakuza now beat down at his feet.
TILT. But a presence he hasn't felt approaching makes him snap with widening eyes, giving him cold sweats of apprehension.
"… d...amn… you… why…?!"
"… H-Haru saw everything…"
Everything, from back then at the shopping district when Gokudera-san said to Tsuna-san that he would 'go ahead' but that his grin had turned dark serious when disappearing at the first street corner to run into a narrow alley.
Everything, from when Gokudera-san had intercepted a group of yakuza hired by another Italian famiglia to take down the Vongola 10th under pretence of an ordinary street-fight.
Everything, including fighting all alone against six to prevent them from leaving the alley and reach Tsuna-san.
"… d-don't you dare start crying, Stupid Woman! Just what is your problem?!"
BAM. Haru's arms fall on Gokudera and he freezes of utter disbelief.
"… o-oy… w-what are you trying to pull…?"
"… f-frustrating… So frustrating-desu! Haru was here but couldn't do anything…!"
"Aah?! Don't mess with me! It's not like I expected anyone to help or even know about it. Protecting the 10th no matter what is MY mission as his Right Hand and…!"
GRIP. Haru's hug tightens and tightens at each word, making Gokudera fall gradually silent and leaving him at a complete loss.
Long minutes of silence pass, until ultimately:
"Aouch ouch ouch! D-Don't touch there!"
"Ahiii! Stop clenching your fingers on the wound and let Haru see, Aho!"
"I don't need your help, Stupid Woman!"
"Ooh really? Then how are you planning on protecting Tsuna-san when you can't even stand anymore?! Selfish, stubborn, reckless-desu!"
"Guh! Don't bring up the 10th name as if he would agree with you!"
"Ahiii? So maybe you want Haru to go and ask Tsuna-san about that…? Let's see what he would say!"
And Haru stands with a fiery pout to turn heels.
TILT. Gokudera snaps and holds out his hand, pulling back on her wrist to stop her from leaving him behind to go and report to Tsuna.
BAM. Haru loudly lands heels over head at the pull-back, scowling angrily at the one trapping her under his free arm and not planning to let go. It can't get more obvious that Gokudera knows Tsuna would worry yet doesn't allow it. When she finally stops struggling and turns her head to try and stare at him in her back, his expression is hidden under the shadow of his hair.
"… that was low, Stupid Woman…" Gokudera's murmur agitates a couple hair strands of Haru's ponytail.
Aggravating-desu… his blood is still staining his sweater like that and yet this Aho doesn't let anyone care… What if Haru had not found him, would he have gone home all hurt like that… Protecting Tsuna-san shouldn't mean hurting all alone in the shadows like that… Why should he be the only one hurt when he's not the only one wanting to help Tsuna-san… Frustrating… So-frustrating-desu…
"… Don't bother the 10th for something so cheap, you get it…?" Gokudera's murmur keeps on.
SNAP. Haru's thoughts have frozen. Once the shock passed, she swallows back everything she knows she has to hold back and takes a deep breath, trying to look normal when she lifts Gokudera's arm from around her to be able to turn to him.
"Haru agrees to keep it secret." She answers while staring calmly yet stubbornly at him.
Gokudera's eyes leave the shadow of his hair to gaze at her, bewildered.
"Haru will keep Gokudera-san's mission secret… as long as you'll come to Haru to get your wounds treated after!"
TILT. Gokudera's eyes widen as he stares deep in her serious chestnut eyes.
What is this Stupid Woman saying… Why would he have to agree to that… No, way before that, why does it feel not abnormal to hear her say that… Why has it almost made his heart remember how to beat to hear her say that… She has nothing to force him to agree… He never agrees for no reason, never mind threats… He shouldn't be agreeing… Why is he letting her hands pull the collar of his sweater to take care of his wound if he's not agreeing… Damn, he can't really be agreeing with her, can he…?
KHR 27 & 59 & 86 & 80 & R ~ Arcade Day
"Tsuna-san/10th! Look this up: let's go together!"
Tsuna heaves a deep sigh while gazing at the two people having rung at his door so early on this Sunday morning, synchronically pinning under his nose the same flyer they probably both received in their mailbox this morning while lecturing one another to stop 'copying them' and to stop 'bothering Tsuna-san/the 10th'.
"This new arcade centre… I already went yesterday with Lambo and I-pin…" He finally says when managing to read the details on the flyer.
CRASH. The synchronized crumbling expressions of Gokudera and Haru make Tsuna suddenly feel guilty, and after a couple minutes of hesitation, he finally gives up and asks them to wait for him a minute before going together.
Ugh, here goes away my only peaceful day of the week… I thought Lambo and I-pin were enough too... Ah, but I couldn't let them look like that, I guess…
All traces of disappointment and dejection have indeed disappeared from Gokudera and Haru's faces and they look all cheerful and enthusiastic, even starting to bet on their results at the arcade, the first prize apparently being for the loser to leave and let the winner enjoy the rest of the afternoon with Tsuna-san/the 10th.
Oy oy… How did it turn like that again…?! … why nobody ever gives me a break, sob sob!
"Yo, Tsuna! So you guys also came, haha."
"Yamamoto, my saviour…!" "Hum…?"
Yamomoto peeks behind Tsuna and starts laughing that it doesn't look that bad for him to have Gokudera having fun with girls from times to others.
… girls… in plural…?
A glance behind is enough to remind Tsuna that – except for his usual bickering partner a.k.a Haru – Gokudera is as popular with girls at school as outside, despite yelling at them to stay away from him as they're bothering him when racing – not that the argument seems to have any impact on the girls fangirling over his coolness when sitting on a motorbike racing machine beating top scores one after another.
"10th! How about a race?"
"… I'll pass…"
"Then, Tsuna, do you want to play batting?"
A quick glance for the other group of fangirls assembled around the batting cage and already fretting of anticipation makes Tsuna sweatdrops.
"… not sure having Yamamoto around is helping, in the end…"
"Tsuna-san, this game, this game! Come and do it with Haru!"
"… wait, isn't that a compatibility machine…?!"
A depressed and worried stare for the pink machine with heart-patterns makes Tsuna run away towards the closest machine on the way instead, ending up being beat down at Street Fighters by Haru's character.
"… I'm really doomed… why can't anyone choose something friendly and quiet…?"
A cheerful truce is thus reached when a battle of air hockey is proposed by Tsuna and immediately accepted, but only until teams are selected at random by the game table, allocating Gokudera and Haru together, meaning against the 10th/Tsuna-san.
"Ano… both of you… can't we just enjoy the game all together, maybe…?"
After three defeats faster-than-light against Yamamoto who didn't even have to play full strength as the opposing team sabotaged itself, Gokudera and Haru's pride have reached so low that they start defying him at every passing machine.
"Hahaha, why not, why not! Let's go, Tsuna."
"… why me too…?!"
"10th, I'll definitely make you honour!"
"Tsuna-san, please watch Haru!"
Thinking about it in a more positive light, seeing these two acting together only when wanting to take down a common opponent is a very entertaining and relaxing show, for a change…
"Tsuna, you should have them both team up for the next Family battles, heehee…"
"Guh, Reborn?! Stop popping out of nowhere, really… And what kind of costume is that… a jukebox…?!"
Teaming them up, hum…
TILT. BADABAM. BOOM. A miss, a fall, a lost dynamite later, and the owner of the arcade is kicking them out of his place for them never to step a foot inside ever again.
Never, definitely NEVER…!
KHR 5986 ~ Colour Issues
GRAB. Gokudera has no time to react that two hands seize his face to bring it lower.
"W-what's the big idea, Stupid Woman?!"
Silence only answers him as Haru stares deep into his eyes with a pouting expression of stubborn seriousness. Having his usual bickering partner stare so seriously and silently at him takes Gokudera aback… quite aback, but not enough to make him forget that:
"… you're TOO CLOSE!" He scowls when slipping away from her hands with a shrug, trying not to shoot a glance back at the one making him feel seriously puzzled as he walks out.
But once outside, it happens again, and this time with enough bystanders to make him feel really embarrassed to be stared in the eyes so closely and so seriously again. He can't even help his cheeks feeling hotter than usual as he pushes Haru away again, more and more aggravated by her sudden mania.
After three more attempts of the style, though, his heart has gotten used to startle like crazy at suddenly having two big chestnut eyes staring into his, and he doesn't push Haru away anymore, trying to 'patiently' wait for whatever her twisted-and-stupid follow-up could be. The sun is setting already, and he'd rather wrap it in a day than having her strange attitude keep on.
His face relaxes into his usual frown as he stares back at her with an interrogative air – the type that would make anyone sensible scram but not someone like Haru who is regularly facing worse when arguing with him. After long minutes of mutual staring, Haru's eyes finally widen and sparkle of happy realisation.
"Ahiii! I knew it!"
"… knew what…?"
"Gokudera-san's eyes… they're a mix of Laurel-Green and Emerald. It all depends on the sun. Luminous-desu!"
TILT. Gokudera's eyes widen as he freezes slightly, unable to process anymore.
This Stupid Woman… acted all weird just because she wanted… to measure up… the level of green of his eyes… Is she messing with him again… And what does she mean by 'she knew' it… she can't be seriously thinking about his eyes to kill time… thinking about… his… him…?!
BADABAM. BAM. "A-Ahiii…? What happened to Gokudera-san…? Where is he going…? He just bumped in the door too… Strange-desu…!"
KHR 27 & 5986 ~ Reputation Issues
"Hey, look, this article here! They say Italian guys are in the Top3 for Romantic&Hot Boyfriends all around the world!"
"Awww, true! Amazing! We are so lucky to have the dream guy just under our nose!"
"Hihihi, can't disagree! Handsome, smart AND Italian! No wonder he can be picky…"
"To think he rejected every girl for Valentine's Day, his standards must be really high, for sure!"
"A guy like him can have all the girls he wants after all, sigh…"
"… even probably already had…"
"Aah, Gokudera-sama, won't you leave us a chance, sob…?"
MEANWHILE, IN THE COURTYARD
"A-chaaaa!" "Gokudera-kun, did you catch a cold?"
"10th, your concern touches me but my health is a robust as a rock, shishi! It must be some thug I beat up the other day cursing my name behind my back, tsk…"
"… scary…" "Hahaha, I'd say it must be your fanclub again, Gokudera. The kouhai in Baseball Club told me they multiplied recently, right?"
"… that's scary too…"
The Vongola's intuition is prove right again as things start to get out of hands along the week, Gokudera's reputation as a 'Dream Guy' gradually turning into him being a 'Full-Fledged Casanova' with enough 'rumoured' masculine assets to make girls faint and enough 'rumoured' feminine conquests to make guys jealous. In short, the dreadful result of people with too much free time gossiping.
DING DONG. "Gokudera Hayato-kun, please report to the Staff Room."
Despite being the smartest of the school – meaning almost untouchable – there are still things teachers can't easily ignore, and being rumoured having plenty 'improper relationships between boys and girls despite being only a middle school student' is part of them.
Thus why Gokudera's face is beat-red with shame and anger when he slams the door of the Staff Room after an hour of lecturing.
"Ah, finally. Let's go back home, Gokudera-kun…!"
"10th, you waited for me…? I am so touched…! How lucky a subordinate to have such a Boss!"
"Ah, well, no, you know, it's normal between FRIENDS…"
After the abnormal atmosphere at school – not that Gokudera ever cared, but at such level, it would get on anyone's nerves – walking back home with the 10th is the best remedy Gokudera could dream of, and his mood lifts up instantly.
"Aah, 10th! I don't have any omiyage for your mother!"
"Well, isn't it fine even without…"
"No way, I can't intrude at the 10th's home without bringing something! Let me go to buy something!"
"Ah, wait, Gokudera-kun, behin…"
"Watch where you're going, you jerk!"
"Aah, t-this guy, isn't he…"
"N-no way, so that's him…? He sure is handsome but…"
"Ahiii, Tsuna-san? Lucky-desu! Haru is just out of school and planning to visit y…!"
But as soon as Haru spots Gokudera, she freezes. A short glance for the group of girls on the left wearing the same uniform as her and she definitely looks ill-at-ease.
STEP. Her next steps go directly on the right, then forward, then on the left, bypassing Gokudera with a security distance of about three steps until safely reaching Tsuna.
"Oy, you ignored me just now, you Stupid Woman?!"
Silence only answers Gokudera, pissing him off to no end and making him vent on the other girls still gossiping behind his back until they leave with frightened airs.
AS SOON AS ALONE
"You know, Tsuna-san… Friendship is important, but you shouldn't hang out with people like that. Haru will support you, so break up from him!"
"Aah?! What the heck are you saying, Stupid Woman?!"
"Haru really trusts Tsuna-san, so Haru knows you would never behave the same way as him! But many people don't know Tsuna-san well, so Haru is afraid they will group you together if you don't keep your distance. Warning-desu!"
"Oy, Stupid Woman… Is that all you wanted to spam the 10th's ears with…?! Don't give me that crap and get out of here if you're not happy with us!"
"Buuh, Haru is talking to Tsuna-san! You Aho don't realize you're causing trouble to Tsuna-san's reputation!"
TILT. Gokudera's rant stops abruptly and even his cigarette almost falls his lips as he processed the words Haru just spoke.
Causing trouble to the 10th…
"Ahiii…?" Before Haru knows it, she's being dragged away at full speed, only seeing Tsuna's silhouette getting smaller and smaller in the street.
BAM. She is forced sit on a bench of the park, and a pair of serious green eyes stares down at her with a hint of exasperated despair.
"… what can I do to stop this fake bad reputation dragging the 10th honour in the mud?"
"What you said just now! If it's damn true, then I need to call it off before it tarnishes the 10th and the Family's honour! These annoying girls talking bad about the 10th are from your school, right? So you tell me exactly what is being said and how I should counter it!"
Haru's expression turns a little cold at hearing her school being mentioned, but she shrugs the impression off to answer Gokudera with as much bluntness as usual.
"… you mean these bad rumours are not true?"
"Of course not, cut the crap! I didn't care much at first, but if it's going to bother the 10th then I'll set things right!"
"… beautiful-lie-desu…! Haru already knows you don't treat girls well, so…"
"Wh…?! Y… ev… you…?!"
TILT. Gokudera's unexpected expression shakes Haru to the heart. What kind of face is that, coming from a guy rumoured to be a handsome Italian delinquent stringing up woman after woman… Why would he feel – can it be called pained? – to be told by her that he doesn't treat girls well…
Long seconds of silence pass as Gokudera doesn't let Haru out of his field of vision, as if watching out for a change of heart. But as nothing comes, he swallows back in and twitches with exasperation, the frown on his forehead betraying his contained anger despite his heavy sigh.
"Fine…! Listen up closely, Stupid Woman, 'cause I'll only say it once. I never touched a woman and ditched her afterwards, and for whatever I care, the idea never ever crossed my mind either! Considering national or even international average, I even probably care less about women than any average idiot our age. So I couldn't care less about keeping records about how many women I flirted with, especially when aforementioned records would be empty to start with. Is it clear enough?"
"Sensei, a question!"
"Yes? … Agh, w-wait, what the… don't mess with me! I didn't explain you for the sake of you making fun of me, damn it!"
Haru can only giggle at having trapped Gokudera into his regular tutor role-play. It's the same Gokudera-san as usual… The same who pulls out his glasses and speaks with absolute rectitude of the physics theory behind swimming and behind his bad reputation alike… The same Gokudera she knows…
"Tsk, just forget it, Stupid Woman! If you're not going to help, then I'll just have to distance myself from the 10th for 60days. Rumours only live up that long, anyway…"
"Haru will help!"
"Haru said I'll help! Gokudera-san was honest enough to tell Haru the truth about him so Haru will help, of course. Rewards-desu."
"… what the heck is a reward?!"
"Haru will just have to tell at school how Gokudera-san is a scary violent cursing chain-smoking delinquent without any sex appeal that never touched a girl in his life."
TILT. Gokudera's expression tenses at the summary given in such an objective normal tone by Haru, something tightening uneasily in his chest.
"… y… yeah…"
"Ah, don't worry, Haru won't tell the rest, of course!"
"… the… rest…?"
TILT. Somehow, something inside him is telling Gokudera that he doesn't feel like hearing another round of Haru's straight-forward analysis of his personality and attitude.
"Obvious-desu! Haru can't tell Gokudera-san is also a very loyal smart hard-working guy with a good heart deep inside, or the rumours will never stop. You know, girls are easily swayed, so you shouldn't think you can escape them. If we only look at Gokudera-san's good points, you're kind of a teenage girl's dream guy, after all, hihihi…"
DOKI. As expected, Gokudera's isn't bearing very well with the second round of Haru's piece of mind. Damn it, why does it feel so hot and uneasy suddenly…
KHR 27 & 5986 & 77 ~ Alcoholised Day
"… 10th… are you sure you're alright…?"
"H-hic! Wha-sh-are you tal-kin' about, G-Gokud-era-kun, shihihi?"
"Buuh, Haru feels hot… Too hot-desu…!"
Gokudera sweatdrops uneasily while grabbing the box of chocolate that Tsuna's mother has brought them along the tea and cookies. Among the list of ingredients written in Swiss-German, 'alcohol' appears on bold for the ganache filling.
"… These damn shop-keepers… how dare they trap the 10th's mother with a sales offer… making such dangerous things enter the 10th's house… damn them…!"
"Shihihi, Gokudera-kun looks all friendly and sparkly and pink suddenly, all weird!"
"Ahiii! There are two Tsuna-san! Caught them! Paradise-desu!"
"… oy, how come you're drunk with only chocolates, Stupid Woman! And stop clinging to the 10th like that!"
But Haru – beat red drunk - just pokes her tongue at him while still hugging-strangling Tsuna in a koala-cluch, making Gokudera feel really aggravated.
"I said enough, Stupid Woman!" Gokudera snaps while trying to separate the both of them, but even brute strength is not helping and he would have had higher chance to separate a cube into two other cubes.
"Don't tell me that's the legendary phenomenon of Drunkard's Strength…?! Damn it, messing up with me… just wait, Stupid Woman!"
And Gokudera slips his hands, arms, and finally himself between the koala and his tree – namely Haru and the dazing-off Tsuna.
"Ahiii… too hot, desu… Haru wants to remove her vest…"
BAM. The sudden release of Haru's legs breaks the balance of strengths and Gokudera brutally falls on the floor with Tsuna.
BADABAM. Their forehead bump, definitely knocking Tsuna out, and their teeth bump loudly against one another as well, even cutting Gokudera's lower lip a bit and making veins of fury snap on his temple as he wipes the blood away with his thumb.
"Damn it! This stupid woman, how dare she makes the 10th endure this?! She's dead meat!"
"Ahiii?! No way! G-Gokudera-san, how dare you steal Tsuna-san's first kiss in front of Haru?! Dishonest-desu!"
"Aaaaaahh?! What the…?!"
"Shut your trap, Stupid Woman! And stop saying weird things just because some chocolates blurred your eyes! What the heck are you calling kiss?!"
"… and Haru had planned to have her first kiss with Tsuna-san, sob sob…"
"Oy, are you even listening, Stupid Woman?!"
"Buuh, no way, Haru will not give up! If stolen-desu, then Haru will take it back!"
DOKI. But Gokudera has no time to vent anymore. His angry words are suddenly swallowed by the one who has grabbed his shirt collar to pull him to her.
Gokudera freezes of shock at feeling the salty taste of his own blood being brought back to his mouth by Haru's lips as she pulls herself on him with such strength that he doesn't even know how to breathe anymore.
Long seconds of incredulity pass, Gokudera gazing in shock with wide-open eyes at the one not letting go of him.
What is this stupid woman thinking… Why doesn't she mind his bleeding lip… Why has she even closed her eyes without fearing a counter…
"Ahiii…! Recovery complete-desu, hic!" Haru grins while catching up her breath enthusiastically when she finally breaks apart from Gokudera.
SHOCK. Gokudera is still absent-mindedly gazing-without-really-seeing-properly at the girl who has thoroughfully and forcefully kissed him.
A drop of disbelieving sweat is still lingering on his temple at wondering if all girls are so mindlessly aggressive when drunk, never minding the large happy grin. His cheeks become hotter and hotter as he gradually comes back to his senses and his mind is intellectualising what has just happened, his eyes widening more and more in realization while looking at her smile… her lips…
"… h-hic… but Haru… is too hot… tired-desu…"
BAM. Without leaving time to Gokudera to pull himself together, Haru collapses sound-asleep on him.
AN HOUR LATER
"Tsu-kun, will Gokudera-kun and Haru-chan stay for dinner…? Oya… why are these two sleeping? And where is Gokudera-kun…?"
The draught of wind coming from the still-open window half-answers Tsuna's mother. She sighs with a preoccupied air while shooting a glance at Tsuna sleeping soundly on his bed under a blanket carefully wrapped around him, and Haru sleeping quietly on the coffee table, a black vest on her shoulders.
"I wonder what happened… Also, I hope Gokudera-kun won't catch a cold after having left his jacket here… This boy is the type to end up in trouble by placing others before himself, sigh…"
KHR 278659 ~ Lip-Gloss Issues
NAMIMORI, ONE AFTERNOON
"Tsuna-san, you need to watch Haru more!"
Haru's words still echoe in Tsuna's ears as he walks back home. Now that he's left alone with his thoughts, Tsuna can only agree Haru wasn't wrong.
Yeah, well, it's only natural to want your loved one to notice even small things about you, right…? Like how I was touched when Kyoko-chan noticed I grew taller… It's the same for Haru, then... so... I suppose… it means… Haru… really likes me… hum…
Having to put words on what he had always tried to forget makes Tsuna's mood sink even deeper.
How could a guy not used to get noticed by girls know how to show them he notices things about them... Is he really lacking even basic gentlemanners...
No, wait, maybe it's not that bad… Maybe she's just insisting because it should really be obvious, this lip-gloss, and it's just that I'm really blind for girly things... If it's something big, then even my nakamas would feel ignored if I don't notice, right… Yeah, it must be that…! It must be! … or not…? I can't help but think it's really something tiny that nobody would notice… at least guys won't notice make-up, right…? Ah, but I noticed one time on Kyoko-chan even if I didn't say it… hum… Something big or something small, which one?! Raah, such a headache! Ah, wait! If I ask Gokudera-kun or Yamamoto, for sure they can tell m…
"Speaking of the devil… Gokudera-kun, good timing! I need your help!"
Tsuna startles at the explosion of happiness palpable in the air around Gokudera at the request.
"You can always count on me, 10th! Who are we taking on?"
"We're taking on NO ONE! Please put this dangerous stuff back in your pockets!"
"Oh, sure sure! Then how can I help, 10th? Is it with studying?"
"It's not, sigh… You can put back your glasses too… The truth is that, well, I wasn't able to see Haru's lip-gloss until she insisted she's wearing some, so…"
"No problem, 10th! I'll book you an appointment with an ophthalmologist for within the week! We can't neglect our Boss' health, of course!"
"… ophthalmo… hum, ano, Gokudera-kun, so you also think my eyesight is bad…? I can see the rest properly, though…"
"Really…? But you said you can't see this Stupid Woman's lip-gloss although it's shiny and even a little red. She's been wearing it since always too, this strawberry gloss… Tsk, girls and their waste of money…"
"I… I see… since forever… and even Gokudera-kun noticed it… the strawberry lip-gloss… eh…? Wait, Gokudera-kun, you even know it's a strawberry one…? Am I really that blind?!"
"Aah, o-of course not, 10th! Your eyesight is perfectly alright, please do not worry over this stupid detail! I just happened to notice because it tasted just like any other strawberry-flavoured thing, so…"
SHIN. Gokudera has also frozen silent in the middle of the street mid-way his explanation, his index still up in a chemistry-related teaching pose, his eyes disappearing behind the shade of his glasses as he realizes what he has just said aloud.
"…" Tsuna gaps as his eyes widen and widen of complete disbelief.
FFN request from
KHR 5986 & 27 ~ Kotatsu Day
SAWADA'S HOUSE, ONE AFTERNOON
"Ah, Gokudera-kun, good timing! Shhh!"
Gokudera blinks as Tsuna brings his index to his lips to tell him to keep quiet while pointing at the one who has fallen asleep by his side on the kotatsu (Jap. low coffee table covered by a heating blanket).
"Haru just fell asleep when studying. I need to go and pick up Mom who left shopping with the kids so that she can call her family to tell them. Please take my place for a sec'."
Too happy to have a request from the 10th, Gokudera bows loyally with all assurance of him being up to the mission assigned, and only realises the trap he has agreed to place himself in when being sat under the kotatsu next to a sound-asleep Haru with the duty of 'watching over her for a while'.
The door has closed after Tsuna stretching his legs after having stayed so long immobile, and Gokudera now has plenty leisure time to get used to the sensation himself as minutes succeed to minutes in silence, barely troubled by Haru's quiet breathing.
Damn… Why is this stupid woman all quiet… damn scary... No, well, all humans are usually quiet when sleeping, so the opposite should be scarier… but still, tsk, why does it feel so weird to see her sleeping… Thinking about it, do all girls look that damn peaceful when sleeping… This stupid woman is even smiling a bit, just like a happy-go-lucky idiot without any worry… Tsk, and to think she's always frowning at me even though she can have this kind of expression too… so annoying…
Gokudera averts his eyes with an aggravated scowl, looking for something else to look at to pass time.
After five minutes reviewing the integrity of Tsuna's room furniture - mentally taking note of each little thing part of his admired boss' life - he can't help but bring his eyes back on the only disturbance in the scenery, meaning the silhouette sleeping by his side under the kotatsu.
Still the same aggravating sleeping smile resting on the open notebook...
Humph, not that he cares much, but what kind of homework are they giving in this stupid elite school she's part of… Must be something hard for that Stupid Woman to fall asleep on it although she's not that bad at academics…
Gokudera bends over Haru's shoulders to have a look at the topic on the notebook stuck under her arm where her sleeping head is resting.
Chemistry…? Not bad at all, Stupid Woman, your molecular structure is right for now…
TILT. Gokudera frowns as some unexpected sensation slips amidst his thoughts.
Vanilla… Vanillin aroma more exactly… why would the smell be present although it's only a textbook with the formula written on it… no way a formula would...
Gokudera bends closer, only to find himself trapped more and more into the sweet smell, bringing the disturbing conclusion that the fragrance is definitely not a placebo effect from having read chemistry.
TILT. Gokudera freezes with an uneasy blush at suddenly realising the source of the fragrance.
… shampoo… shampoo fragrance… hers…
SNAP. Gokudera pushes away abruptly while looking away, scarlet troubled despite himself.
Long minutes pass in silence as he tries not to mind the sweet smell that his brain has unfortunately already noticed and acknowledged. The more he tells himself not to think about it, the more difficult it becomes to wilfully forget about it, until he finally snaps and turns face to Haru again, as if determined to face to enemy he's been running away from.
But what can be done against a sleeper not knowing she's disturbing her neighbour by smelling too good…
Gokudera's expression collapses of exasperation and frustration.
Damn… what is he thinking, really… so annoying… why did this stupid woman have to fall asleep in the first place… does she takes the 10th place for a ryokan (traditional Japanese bed&breakfast hostel) on top of a library… coming to study here when she can't even hold straight and messing with them… Tsk, she even collapsed with the pen still in her hand, how idiotic…
GRAB. But Gokudera doesn't manage to dislodge the mechanical pencil from Haru's fingers.
Is that the legendary phenomenon of sleeper's strength…?! No, wait, now is not the time to be impressed…
"… messing up with me, tsk!"
About three minutes later, the pen has finally left Haru's hand and been replaced by Gokudera's fingers. Another minute of fight later, even Gokudera's thumb is secured inside her clutch. After two additional minutes of struggling, Gokudera can only witness helplessly as his entire hand is being hold firm.
"… don't mess with me, damn it!" He scowls with beat-red cheeks, seriously aggravated and already pulling out dynamite to make the obstacle surrender, before remembering he can't mess up the 10th's room for that kind of motive.
TAP TAP TAP. The sound of steps walking up the stairs leading to Tsuna's room makes Gokudera skip a breath, and he swears inwardly as the door of the room opens wide.
"1-10th…! W-welcome back!"
"Hum, is something wrong?"
"Of course not!"
Gokudera's smile doesn't look as forced at it was intended, being sincerely happy to see the 10th again, although he would have preferred for him to arrive after he would have solved the sleeping-idiot's hand matter. Now, this damn warm sensation of Haru's hand combined to the kotatsu effect where he has dragged their hands in concealment is making him feel uneasily hot, too hot, damn this kotatsu for being so effective in keeping people hot…
"Really? Anyway, Mom left a message at Haru's place so they should call us back when they get it."
"Let's play something when waiting for them. Any game you prefer, Gokudera-kun?"
TILT. Gokudera freezes with a shared expression, his eyebrows twitching nervously.
Playing… requires… TWO hands… Damn, how is he supposed to refuse the 10th just because… because…
The warmth in his hand gradually interrupts his thoughts and his words. He swallows back uneasily.
"1-10th, how about homework? Let me help with your homework! Not that you would need any help but, you know, damn it, I mean, just in case, I might be useful…"
"Hum? Ah true, I forgot! I have to redo the test questions entirely because I scored lower than 60, sigh, what a hassle… Thanks for helping, Gokudera-kun!"
"Always my honour to be of help, 10th!"
Damn… Why does it feel that his relief is not only caused by being able to support his boss… Studying only requires one hand, after all, so… Not that he care about his other hand, after all… No, really, it's only to avoid having to shake awake the one the 10th has asked him to watch over, really…
A hair-tie and his pair of glasses later, he's fully focused on explaining the rationale behind the meeting time of two trains launched at different speeds, losing Tsuna half-way his explanation.
"Hum, Gokudera-kun… Don't you have a simpler way to explain that… I mean, something I could get…?"
TILT. Gokudera's focus is stolen away from his wandering thoughts and he tries not to wonder anymore if the kotatsu temperature plus his own body temperature is not too hot for the one whose hand has ended up with his under the heating blanket.
Another explanation later and Tsuna is back to his mathematic question, his eyebrows furrowed in a very focused expression but the sweatdrop on his temple betraying his insecurity in actually managing to answer the problem despite the tutoring.
Gokudera's expression is equally insecure, his fingers brushing the skin of the hand of the one still sleeping on his left, but not daring and turn his head away from his top-priority interlocutor sitting on his right and scribbling mathematic formulas on his notebook.
Damn it… why… why does he need to re-read and re-read the question again every time the 10th asks his advice on this same math question… why does it feel like he's not focusing at all… or rather, why does it feel like he's minding something meaningless too much… it's only her stubborn annoying hand grabbing onto his in her sleep, damn it… no reason to make a fuss about it and feel hot because of the warmth in his hand when it's only the kotatsu ability to make people warm… no reason to remember she's sleeping quietly just behind his back, or even to notice the murmur of her breathing when it shouldn't be much audible… no reason to remember she smells the vanilla of her shampoo when it shouldn't be much aromatic from that distance… damn damn DAMN… what the heck is wrong with him…
"Gokudera-san, are you alright?" Tsuna's question popping out amidst his troubled thoughts awakes Gokudera and he mumbles some thanks for his concern while averting his eyes.
Damn it… why all of that for some annoying tiny hand…
But the studying session keeps on without any resolution for this disturbing element, until Tsuna's mother knocks at the door to tell them there is a phone call for Haru.
Gokudera watches apprehensively as Haru is called awake by Nana and Tsuna, and the soft awakening impulse between his fingers makes him release what he had held unconsciously to. He watches with irritation as she brings her hand to her eyes to rub them and yawn faintly, before snapping awake and apologizing to Tsuna for the trouble and running away after Nana to answer the phone with another round of apologies. Gokudera is still watching at the empty door as his fingers twitch at the lack of pressure around them, missing something they had somehow gotten used to.
Damn it… always so annoying, really…
FFN request from
Arabella A. Hilst
KHR 27 & 5986 & R ~ Diet Issues
"You do not want another cookie, Haru…?"
"Ah, hum, no thank you, Tsuna-san…"
"Although you eat so many of them usually, is something wrong?"
"Tsk, leave this stupid woman alone, 10th… What difference does it makes if she can't appreciate your kindness!"
"Of course it makes a difference, aho! One more cookies means not respecting Haru's diet!"
"Haru… don't tell me you're concerned about your weight again…?"
"Ahiii, Tsuna-san… You see, Haru gained two more pounds these past weeks, and…"
"Don't complain about two more pounds when you haven't even finished growing, Stupid Woman. Did you miss the lecture about human body growth or are you just plainly stupid? It's normal for teenagers to gain weight and stature."
"Buuuh, don't mix up growing up and gaining weight, aho! And Haru is not talking to you, she's talking with Tsuna-san! Tsuna-san is a nice guy and cares for the body shape of Haru, gentleman-desu!"
"… ano… ever since when did I say that…"
"Don't involve the 10th in your crazy complex, Stupid Woman! And first of all, all humans in general gain a pound or two along the day without necessarily meaning it's fat!"
"Haru knows it's fat! I measured myself and found I gained 1.5cm of circumference!"
"Girls and their stupid habits of measuring themselves! Don't bother the 10th for something so useless!"
"Ahiii! You don't understand the seriousness of gaining 1.5cm!"
"As if I would! How about trying to gain more brain instead, Stupid Woman!"
"It's not the brain, aho! Haru gained fat on the B measurements!"
DOKI. "… B… ?!"
"B for Bust, 10th. Women are annoying enough to invent their own codes for futile things, tsk… Ah, 10th, are you alright, you look quite red…"
"Yare yare, you're such a child, Tsuna."
"Reborn-san…?! From where…?"
"Stop ignoring Haru when I speak about an important problem!"
"Tsk! Just how is that a problem, Stupid Woman?! Don't fuss over gaining 1.5cm of bust when it's usually the opposite concern! Aren't girls generally happy to have bigger breasts?"
"Guys like bigger breasts too, right? So it should become easier for you to appeal to a guy despite your awful personality if you have body shapes for you, isn't that logical? Here, look, if you keep at this rate, you'll probably reach the size fitting the hand and it seems to be the favourite size for guys, probability-wise."
"W-what are you talking about, Aho, Hentai, buuh!"
"I mean, well, of course you can't measure up with your tiny girly hands but here, see?"
"Ouch, don't hit me, Stupid Woman! What's your problem, seriously?! I was just trying to…"
"… Gokudera. In the Mafia, we treasure women, so you shouldn't touch a girl's breast even if it's to demonstrate probabilities."
KHR 5986 & 27 & R & B ~ Feverish Day
~BLACK DOTS TURNING INTO A FAMILIAR CEILING~
"Ahiii! Gokudera-san, you're awake? Please tell Haru you're awake!"
Gokudera blinks a couple times. His eyelids feel heavy like lead, and his tongue feels all sticky and uncomfortable, and most of all, hot, so hot…
"Ah, wait! Don't try and move. You have a fever. Resting-time-desu…"
A fever… what is this stupid woman saying… and even before that, what is she doing h…
TILT. Gokudera's eyes snap awake as he shoots glances left and right.
These hanging metallic spotlights on the ceiling with dark powder stains from his dynamite training… These shelves filled with "The Wonders and Mysteries of the World" magazines neatly sorted by chronological order in-between stocks of dynamite… These grey bed sheets with a skull-pattern lining… it's definitely his apartment! So why is this stupid woman sitting there on the only chair available… why are her vest and umbrella and shopping bag resting on his study desk on the left as if she had been there for a while… Wait a sec'... She said 'fever'…?!
BAM. At trying to get a hold onto the bed table to stand, Gokudera makes a pile of medicine packs and ice-bags collapse and fall on the ground.
"Aaaah! What are you doing, Aho?! Haru took so much trouble to prepare all of that! And go back to bed or Tsuna-san will worry!"
TILT. More than her hands on his shoulders, the mention of Tsuna's name makes Gokudera react and he raises his wavering feverish eyes towards Haru.
"… the 10th…?"
"Aye-desu! Tsuna-san asked Haru to take good care of you until they come back because he said Bianchi-san can't stay too close of you."
"… guh, Aneki… no way…!"
"Uuuuhhh! Gokudera-san, lie down, lie down, your face is all blue-desu! Here, water, water!"
Once Gokudera back under the sheets and his Bianchi-anticipating nauseas calmed down, he shoots a suspicious glance at Haru.
"So why are you here, anyway, Stupid Woman…"
SNAP. "Haru is not here for an ungrateful aho like you! Haru is here because Tsuna-san and Reborn-chan asked Haru a favour! They were worried you never came to school and asked Bianchi-san for your address. Haru just met them on the way after school, and came with them to…"
"The 10th… came…?!"
"Of-course-desu! They helped to buy everything for you but then Reborn-chan discussed something with Tsuna-san and they left with Bianchi-san to let Haru take care of you."
"… this twisted Aneki agreed to leave?! Are you messing with me?!"
"Haru is not lying! Tsuna-san asked Haru to go and tell Bianchi-san I will help and that she could leave, and Bianchi-san even said she would support Haru because she understands the feeling!"
TILT. Gokudera's thoughts suddenly connect and he throws his face the other way with a huge ashamed headaches turning into an angry blush.
This stupid woman! How could she say something like that to Aneki?! Don't tell me Reborn-san messed around with this damn love-blinded sister of mine again to force her to leave believing she was leaving me with my girlfriend?! Damn it!
A couple minutes of cooling down later, Gokudera brings his head back in normal position, quite unhappy with the situation.
Summing up, I got sick, dozed off and missed school without even noticing, tsk… I should be by the 10th side ready to protect him instead of lying here! I am so unworthy to be his Right Hand! I caused him and Reborn-san trouble too… Damn it, even making the 10th come here… so lame!
BAM. The bed table is swayed again as Gokudera's hand falls clumsily on it for support.
"Ahiii, Gokudera-san, w-what are you doing?! Reckless-desu!"
"S-shut up, Stupid Woman…"
BADABAM. Haru rushes back just in time to have Gokudera collapse on her like a dead-weight after having tried forcibly to stand up.
"Aho-desu! Baka-desu! Gokudera-san no baka!"
"… s… shut… up…"
"Buuh! Haru is mad!"
After long minutes fighting against gravity – this physics concept she majors in reminding her that it takes consequent strength to move a heavy mass from above you – Haru manages to struggle enough under Gokudera to slip out and stand up.
She stares at Gokudera still lying and panting on the floor with a mixture of exasperation and concern, feeling his burning skin under her hands when she kneels by his side.
"You even made your fever worse! Annoying-desu! Haru won't let you mess up Tsuna-san's trust in Haru! Haru said she will take care of you, and she will take care of you! Fight-desu!"
Numerous pull-and-grab later, she manages to secure Gokudera on her back, piggy-back style, and drags the both of them towards the bed at the motivated speed of a tortoise under its heavy shell.
"Ahiii! Heavy-desu! Gokudera-san, you need a diet! Why so heavy…?!"
"… sh… ut… up…"
"Buuh, you'll have the right to talk when you'll get better, baka! Don't waste Haru's efforts when I promised Tsuna-san!"
BAM. Unable to take it anymore, Haru collapses head first on the bed, before trying to roll on the side and discharge her 'load' on the narrow bed.
Gokudera's arms leave her shoulders and she kneels on the bed to try and haul him up properly for his legs to get on the bed and his head to reach the pillow.
"Ahiii! Why so heavy…?! Baka, baka, bakaaaaa!"
Countless minutes of hard efforts later, Haru is panting heavily while finally pulling the bed sheets over Gokudera again, and she collapses on her knees on the ground to recover.
"Huf huf… So tiring…" She sighs while untying her messed-up hair to tie it properly again on the side before going for the shopping bag and its content.
From under the blurry veil of fever, Gokudera can't help gazing on the side at the one preparing another bag of ice and a glass of warm water to go with the medicine pills.
Why is this stupid woman trying so hard… It's not like the 10th will bother to know if she cooked congee properly when having nothing else than instant one and a kettle for hot water… It's not like he will be grateful to her or anything if she picks up his clothes and put them for laundry in the basket while preparing something clean for him to change from his sweaty outfit… It's not like he ever wished to see her making herself at home in his own room and care for him as if it was the normal thing…!
The aggravating thoughts make Gokudera's headaches worse and the fever even more painful, and he thus doesn't insult Haru when she holds the flu-medicine and glass of water to him.
"Mom always said it's easier to swallow when it's warm, so no-complaining-desu!"
TILT. Gokudera's annoying thoughts come to an unexpected end at the comment, and he can't help feeling suddenly blue.
Of course this stupid woman would do stupid things when she grew up in this stupid parent-children environment… It's not like he can relate with his own family being so messed up… Somehow, would it feel similar to this to have your mom taking care of you when you're sick… His only memories are the one of a long-haired silhouette sitting at a piano…
"Ahiii…?" Haru startles at seeing Gokudera hold out his hand to her like a zombie in a daze, and she comes closer to check if he is saying anything.
The next thing she feels is her hair brushing the skin of her neck and falling down on her shoulders as the hair-tie joins Gokudera's fingers on the bed sheets.
Why are his tired green-eyes so serious suddenly… he doesn't really look sad but still it hurts inside to see him look like that… not saying anything… just gazing… gazing with his shining green-eyes trembling feverishly and not letting go of her hair-tie… why isn't he letting go of it no matter how she tries to pull it out… his fingers feel so hot and sweaty with fever too… too hot… and why are his fingers squeezing not only the hair-tie but only her own fingers trying to get it back…
DOKI. Haru feels her cheeks burn at the contact and she walks away while abandoning her hair-tie.
After long seconds lost in thoughts while gazing absent-mindedly at the shopping bag, she tries and focus on getting the instant congee ready as it is already dinner time, but only manages to spill half of it out of the cup when looking more often at the patient in his bed than at the mixture. When she finally manages to finish stirring it into a decent white-looking thing, she turns to bring it to the bed, only to find that Gokudera has fallen deeply asleep, the medicine having quickly made effect.
"Ahiii…" Haru's expression crumbles a little, half dejected and half relieved, and she cautiously places the bowl of congee with its spoon on the bed table, before coming to sit quietly by the bedside.
His eyes are closed, but the eyelids are trembling imperceptibly, just like his green eyes were trembling before when he was gazing at her… His breathing sounds quiet but his forehead still feels very hot, probably as much as his hands from before… His heartbeat sounds a little erratic too, maybe… Haru is not sure when trying to compare with hers: is it a little faster for boys, usually… or is it that her heartbeat is not at the normal pace either… maybe she's becoming sick too… she feels hot too…
ABOUT TWO HOURS LATER
"Why aren't we going in, Bianchi…? We came all the way too!"
"No way. Love is a very important time for girls! I won't let you interfere."
"You're too loud, Tsuna." BAM.
"Ugh, what was that for, Reborn?! I'm just worried for Gokudera-kun and Haru!"
"If Bianchi said it's alright, then no need to bother." "Reborn, my love! I knew you would understand!"
"So that's it: let's just go home, Tsuna. Mama will be happy we're not home late."
"Wait, you mean to let Haru stay over the entire night?! We were supposed to relay her!"
BAM. "I said you're too loud, Tsuna. Haru is already asleep anyway, so let's just come early tomorrow."
"Ugh! W-wait, what do you mean already…?"
Inside Gokudera's room, Haru is indeed sleeping soundly on the edge of the bed - having collapsed after having sat for too long on the chair without anything to do - sleep-talking various things such as 'Tsuna-san being proud of her and giving her a reward hug' or 'Gokudera-san being an aho, so worrisome, why so worrisome, ahiii'.
FFN request from
KHR 95278659 ~ White Day
NAMIMORI, SHOPPING DISTRICT
"Y-you mean I should be giving back something…?!"
"What are you talking about, Gokudera-kun? Well, it's true you're popular so it would be trouble to give something back for all the chocolates you received but you should at least buy something to Bianchi-san and Kyoko-chan and Haru, I think…"
"I-if the 10th thinks so… Guuh, even Aneki…?!"
Gokudera's face turns blueish-white with anticipating nauseas as he heads inside the shop after Tsuna, whom he has accompanied for his White Day shopping.
Damn… On top of escaping death on a close-call, they even have to thank them for having tried to poison them with chocolate a month ago… Yeah, maybe it wasn't the girls' fault as the pot of chocolate fondue was alright… Just there was this damn habits of Bianchi to have and cook something lethal to go with it…
"What are you planning to buy them, 10th…?"
"Actually, I'm not too sure, hum… I mean, it's my first time… receiving chocolates and, well, you know… No, Gokudera-kun probably doesn't know, because you're the popular type, after all, sigh… In any case, I want to buy the girls something nice, but…"
"Ah, 10th, anything you'd buy is already a great honour! Of course these girls will like it!"
"Hum, that's not the issue, Gokudera-kun… I mean, I want something they'll like. You know, I also want to… I mean… Kyoko-chan also, I mean was also part of… for the chocolates… so…"
At seeing his boss so sincerely involved, the loyalty gene in Gokudera's blood switches on, and he pulls out his glasses before running to the shelf of teenage-girls magazines to start researching the topic.
About ten minutes later, he has memorized the Top10 of White Day gifts preferred by the female population according to various interviews, and makes his report to the 10th with minute details.
About thirty minutes later, they enter a pinky-frilly shop voted #1 by three magazines as the best spot to buy aforementioned gifts in Namimori's neighbourhood.
About fifty minutes later, the shop attendant sees them to the door with a happy business smile, thanking them for their purchases and encouraging them to come again with their future girlfriends – making Tsuna blush while fantasizing about his gift being well received by Kyoko-chan.
"Mission complete, 10th!"
"Thank you, Gokudera-kun… I would never have done it without you, phew…"
"A-Always my honour, 10th! It's my pride to be of service, shishi!"
"It's great you helped me pick. Shopping for a gift is so hard! I can't get how girls manage to go shopping all the time."
"A damn waste of money if you ask me, tsk…"
"Gokudera-kun, you're really the type to rant but still be ready to spend a lot for others, right…? You also spent a long time choosing, well, except for Bianchi-san but… I can't blame you, I guess…"
"Humph… If the 10th is putting his honour on the line to get back at this chocolate debt, as your Right Hand Man, I can't be petty about it, damn…"
"… we're not talking about a duel, you know…"
A COUPLE DAYS LATER
"Ahiii…?! What do you mean this one was from Gokudera-san…?"
"Tsuna-kun's gifts were the brown and gold wrapping, so I think this hair accessory you are wearing now is from Gokudera-kun."
"Impossible-desu! Kyoko-chan, are you sure? This aho of Gokudera-san has no reason to buy Haru a present… Weird-desu! Uso-desu!"
"Hum, Haru-chan, you think so? But Gokudera-kun has also given me a thank you gift. It was a pencil-case in a red wrapping."
"H-Haru just found this gift in her pocket after leaving Tsuna-san's house… Even if it was a red wrapping, Haru thought it was Tsuna-san's gift! Ahiii, but wait… Tsuna-san had already given Haru his gift… It was an amazing sewing kit, wonderful-desu, it made Haru so happy too, and… and… but, ahiii… yes, the sewing kit was in a brown wrapping… brown-desu…"
"See…? I think this hair accessory is really from Gokudera-kun, so you should thank him properly, because it looks more expensive than usual. And he must have thought a lot about it when buying it because it suits you perfectly, hihi…"
"Hum…? Haru-chan, are you alright…? Your face is quite red…"
KHR 5986 ~ Special Issues
"Got that right, you shitheads! Yeah, that girl is special and second only to my damn sister, so burn her face in your damn minds and never mess with her again or I'll bomb you charcoal-black until there's nothing left from you to incinerate anymore. Any damn messed-up punk that dares and touch her will have to answer to me, so get the word around if you don't want your annoying crappy street-gang to get annihilated. Do. Not. Mess. With. The. Vongola. Family. Members!"
Another round of dynamite to support his words later, and Gokudera is left with only emptiness in front of him, the group of delinquents having scrammed for their lives.
"Oy, Stupid Woman, are you al… Gyaaah…?! W-What do you think you're doing?!"
Haru has back-hugged Gokudera with such strength that he can't even catch a glimpse of her face buried in his shoulders. The pulse he can feel under his fingers when seizing her wrist closed around his chest is startling him a little, racing way too fast.
"O-Oy! Don't mess up with me! How can you just… Damn it, it wasn't THAT scary, get a hold of yourself!"
"… f… five minutes…"
"… just let Haru… five minutes…"
Gokudera heaves a deep sigh while looking away, mentally cursing about how a member of the Vongola Family could be weak enough to get so scared after a simple threat from local thugs. A little something tingles in his chest at thinking he'll always feel proud to be a Guardian so that he can protect his Family members, including his #1 annoying aneki and #2 annoying stupid woman.
Behind him, Haru is similarly breathing in but to try and make her heartbeat calm down and her cheeks cool down, still crimson after having heard a guy roar to the world that she was 'special'. A little something tingles in her chest at thinking there is nothing to be proud about feeling troubled by someone other than Tsuna-san.
Far away from them, a group of thug is catching back their breathe while inventorying their scratches and burns. A big something is ringing in their chest called preservation instinct, and reminding them to forget their pride for a while and never get close from this dangerous pair again. Never again…
KHR 5986 & 27 & KIDS ~ Calcium Issues
"Ahiii?" Haru startles when a brick of strawberry milk is pinned to her face by a hand wearing spiky leather bracelets.
First confused, she still starts drinking while shooting interrogative glances to the one walking by her side on their way to Tsuna's home. Gokudera starts to find it troubling to be stared so insistently and looks away with a grumble.
"I read recently that lack of calcium makes women irritating, so here, my treat, Stupid Woman."
SHRRR. Haru almost chokes on her straw, her cheeks puffing into an outraged pout.
The next thing Gokudera is aware of is the strawberry-flavoured-straw being forced between his lips by Haru's vengeful fingers while she presses on the brick to feed him the beverage forcefully.
After several minutes of spiteful fight, they both end up covered with milk and passer-by avoid them as they keep shouting the regular lot of insults to each other's face.
"You started this, Stupid Woman! Now, how can I visit the 10th like that, damn it…!"
"You messed up with Haru first! If you had just drunk the milk properly, then it would have stayed clean-desu!"
"Don't push the damn responsibility on me when you're the one refusing to back-off when losing a fight, Stupid Woman!"
"Ahiii?! You aho are not to talk! Hypocrite-desu!"
"Don't call hypocrite someone who just treated you for a drink, ungrateful Stupid Woman!"
"Don't say 'treat' as if you tried to be nice to Haru!"
"Don't mess with me when I was trying my best to improve your damn temper, you noisy Stupid Woman!"
"Ahiii! You said it now, you despicable manipulating big liar! Haru hates you!"
"Fine with me, tsk! Who would want a Stupid Woman like you to like me, anyway?!"
"Ahiii…! Haru is leaving! Sayonara-desu!"
A minute later, Gokudera is left alone in the street with only the lingering smell of strawberry milk.
He twitches of annoyance while leaving as well to get changed, before heading to Tsuna's place once again, wondering how to get rid of the smell seeming to stick with him and definitely not matching his regular black-and-silver-skull wardrobe.
But the irritating strawberry smell finds its way back to him when he steps into Tsuna's room an hour later, only to find the Stupid Woman lacking calcium sitting at the coffee table with the 10th and happily enjoying a cream cake.
Damn, what 'sayonara', my butt... So irritating!
BAM. Before Tsuna even has time to greet him, his hands have fallen on Haru to drag her outside on a surprised 'Ahiii', the cake plate and fork still in her hands as he pins her back to the wall to corner her and scowl at her.
"I thought you said you were leaving… Already a change of heart, Stupid Woman?!"
POOF. The soft sweet texture of the whipped cream silences Gokudera as a large piece of cake is pushed on his greeted teeth.
"Aye, calcium-desu…" Haru states matter-of-factly, her stern annoyed chestnut eyes pinned deep into his aggravated green ones.
What is this Stupid Woman saying… pushing her luck and turning his own calcium argument against him… always such a damn busy-body… always on his way… always so exasperating…
Always so irritating...!
POOF. The piece of cake flies back to Haru's lips as Gokudera pushes it away with his, not giving a damn about the closeness brought by his counter.
"… don't mess with me when you need it more than me, Stupid Woman."
Haru freezes, before turning red with anger and starting another food battle. The ending gong only chimes when Tsuna finally comes and check on them, freezing sharp on his feet at the show, quite unable to get how they both ended up fighting in the corridor like two brats covered with whipped cream and cake crumbs.
"Ah, Tsuna-san/10th! It's just that… you know, this Stupid Woman/Aho is…"
But Tsuna's dejected expression as he face-palms and ignores them to call for his mother cuts them in their justification. The bitter taste of shame spreads between their lips as they stand up with a guilty sulk. They can handle bickering, fighting, insults, etc. but seeing Tsuna disappointed in them is a hard blow.
A trip to the bathroom and a change of clothes later, Tsuna believes it safer to go out – to avoid dirtying another corridor with creamy cake – and the three of them accompanied by the kids end up in Namimori shopping district.
The atmosphere is definitely not merry as they walk in silence among the shops, but Lambo and I-Pin are noisy enough for ten so it keeps Tsuna busy enough.
"Lambo-san wants a lollipop! Tsuna, Tsuna, get me one!"
"Buuh! I'm not sharing with you, hahaha!"
"Alright, alright, I'll buy you both something. Mom gave me some allowance too."
"Yeepee, lollipop, lollipop!"
"Tsuna-nii, can I also get something from this shop?"
"Hum, sure Fuuta, what do you need? Not too expensive, okay…?"
"Well, Tsuna-nii is ranked first for his inability to refuse anything, so…" "Ugh, come on…"
Unconsciously, both Gokudera and Haru fall behind of the others, dragging their feet with uneasiness.
"Oya oya, cutie girl, pretty boy, do you want to try our new product?"
"Ah hum, Haru can't eat too much ice-cream so…"
"… don't like sweet things…"
"Ara, but it's frozen yogurt, cuties. Light and healthy, and you choose your own toppings. Very good for all."
"Three cups, please."
TILT. TILT. Gokudera and Haru have no time to tell Tsuna they don't need anything that he has already paid for the treat and is holding the cups to each of them.
10th/Tsuna-san… he's treating us just like he treats the brats/Lambo-kun, I-Pin-chan and Fuuta-kun… just like kids…
Despite the grateful thank-you, their mood sink uneasily as they gaze at their pots of frozen yogurt sprinkled with skull-shaped liquorice candies for one and strawberry-marshamallows for the other.
Yogurt… calcium… a lot of calcium…
A brief glance stolen from the other, and they dig into the ice-cream with forsaking expressions. It's true they've been very irritated at each other lately… for no reason… since they're not kids, there must be a logical reason… yes, actually they might need this calcium…
KHR 2795 & 5986 & ALL ~ Reunion Day
NAMIMORI, PEDESTRIAN CROSSING
But the truth is: I didn't have to worry about that… Just by seeing them… Just by seeing their smiling faces… Our hearts just swelled… with the joy of being able to see them all again…!
At this moment, they were all consumed by their feelings and only needed the green pedestrian light to switch on to allow them to pour their feelings out.
"Tsuna-kun! Big Brother!"
"10th, all of you!"
Everyone had expected their run to stop once they would have reached each other, but in this blessed time of reunion, after so much pressure and so much fear, so many fights and wavering hopes, one can't be blamed for pushing the skin-ship beyond the usual status-quo.
"Uwaah Kyoko! Where were you?! I'm so glad to see you to the extreme!"
"Sob, Oniichan, Tsuna-san… Okaeri…!"
D-d-dawww, Kyoko-chan's shoulder is just pressed on mine! Uuh! It was worth going through Hell at Melone Base just for that, sob sob…
"Fuuta! Lambo-san was awesome, you know!"
"Lambo! Say team, team!"
"Lambo, I-pin! Welcome back!"
"Hahaha, don't make such a scary face, Gokudera!"
"Ahiii… Gokudera-san, Yamamoto-san, welcome-back-desu!"
"Haha, thanks a bunch, Haru!"
Ahiii… Why are… Gokudera-san's arms… here…?
Wait… Why are these… damn… chestnut eyes of hers… so close…?
Why had Yamamoto's carefree attitude pulled them into the arms of one another… and more important: why did they mind so much…
KHR 278659 ~ A-Hug-A-Day
"Haru, are you alright…?"
Haru's expression is impossible to decipher under the shadow of her hair, and Tsuna clears his throat with a troubled sweat-drop, quite ill-at-ease by the lack of reaction after his speech.
He looks around them for a couple minutes to try and find something else to focus on, but the cups of tea are already full, the snacks are already out, and there is only the conversation to finish taking care of, now that he has had the brilliant idea of starting it.
"Ah, hum, Haru... I didn't want to lecture you, you know, it's just… Well, Gokudera-kun is a friend, so I don't want you to think bad of him. After all these fights about him calling you 'stupid woman' and everything, I wanted, you know, to explain you properly… Are you still mad? Hum, but I explained already, right…? I think it's, well, I won't say it's normal, but now that I told you about his family a bit, with all the things about his mother and Bianchi-san, I think you get better why he's not used to take good care of girls, right…? So please don't be too angry at him, okay…?"
But Haru is still making no answer, her hands not moving around her cup of tea as if deep in thoughts.
Something seems in pause inside her, shared between the shock of realisation and what it means starting that moment. Knowing means changing, but what for, exactly...
Tsuna doesn't really know what to do anymore, until the door of his room opening wide startles him.
"Aah, G-Gokudera-kun?! I-I didn't know you were c-coming?!"
"Shishi, I just arrived after giving my regards and omiyage to your mother, 10th!"
"Just… just now? phew, so you didn't hear… Ah hum, but no, it's no good, I should be more honest and… Hum, Haru…?"
But Tsuna doesn't have time to ask Haru why she stood up so impulsively. The next impulse just knocks his question into a shocked gapping face, along the wind getting knocked out of Gokudera.
BADAVLAM. Gokudera lands loudly on the carpet at the glomp, and his first reaction is to bring his elbows together to lean on them and face the one on him with an angry scowl.
"WHAT'S THE BIG IDEA, STUPID WOMAN?!"
He brings his hand up to grab her shoulder and try to shake her off but her arms are strongly locked in his back and don't nudge the slightest.
Why for damn Hell's sake is this Stupid Woman squeezing him out of the blue…?!
Haru doesn't lift her head to face him and instead hugs tighter with a stubborn pout.
"A hug a day… A hug a day to stay healthy…"
"… wh… the…?!"
"Grandma always said a hug a day keeps the heart healthy so everyone should have one. Family-desu!"
Completely at a lost, Gokudera shoots a glance at Tsuna who is scratching his cheeks with a puzzled smile and sweat-drop.
"Ah hum, well, you know, Gokudera-kun, I told Haru about, you know, the family story and all…"
Family… More than just the Vongola Famiglia, the 10th actually told to others he is like family…
Gokudera lowers his eyes on the one still hugging him stubbornly.
A hug for the family…
He doesn't have a damn idea about why this Stupid Woman is involving her grandmother's advice in how to care for the members of their famiglia, but if the 10th approves…
After all, this weird and warm sensation of having someone holding onto you without wanting to kill, hit or poison you is not so bad… This feeling of having someone trusting you enough to come so close to you defencelessly, not fearing to get kicked or bombed, is not so bad either…
A hug a day for a healthy family…
Yeah, maybe it's not so bad to let this Stupid Woman's arms squeeze him once in a while…
KHR 5986 & L ~ Handcuffs Day
SAWADA'S HOUSE, ONE AFTERNOON
"Hahaha! Lambo's win! Ahodera loser, buuh!"
"DAMN IT! GET BACK HERE, STUPID COW!"
"L-Lambo-kun, come back, PLEASE COME BACK!"
But Lambo has already disappeared by jumping out of the window, letting behind him two silhouettes collapsed on the floor of Tsuna's room – Tsuna himself being on an 'errand' after I-pin literally exploded for having seen Hibari passing down the street, her shyness activating the countdown.
"G-get of me, Stupid Woman!"
"Ahiii, my line, Aho! Stop pushing Haru!"
"You're the one on me, damn it!"
"D-don't grab Haru here!"
"Don't hit me! I'm trying to fix that mess, damn!"
By 'that mess', Gokudera is referring to how they have both ended up on the floor handcuffed, tied up by ropes and within multiple nets together, all thanks to Lambo's unexpected resources – the ones he's pulling out from his hair every time he can't 'hold in' his frustration anymore, and that include net-guns and bolas-throwing-guns which are probably the basic armament to capture cows on the run in the Bovino Famiglia, but not exactly what you're supposed to throw at your nakamas.
"Ahiii, Gokudera-san, what are you doing?! This kind of knots needs to be untied by pushing both ends inside here!"
"Just take care of it instead of ordering me around, Stupid Woman!"
"Haru can't move her left hand yet, buuh!"
"Tsk! Then, here…? Can you move now?"
"C-can you move your arm around Haru's shoulders here to release this loop?"
"I can't see where, damn!"
"Here, in front of Haru! Not-difficult-desu!"
"Don't not-difficult me when I can't see, Stupid Woman!"
"Then just trust Haru, you Aho! Move here and it will release the second rope!"
"Damn, forget it! Just do whatever you want, but stop rolling on my arm!"
"Haru is trying to undo this knot! No-choice-desu! Gokudera-san is just not flexible enough, buuh!"
"Don't make it my fault of all things! And to start with, how come you can twist your body like that, are you a damn snake or something?!"
"Ahiii?! Don't call Haru a snake, you Aho! Haru is part of her school gymnastics club, that's all!"
"Tsk, whatever… Ah wait, stop right there or this other knot will tighten!"
"Here, don't move! Let me handle it! Ah, I need you to raise your leg more…"
"Perfect, just hold on! Now that I look at it, we can take care of this mess around your feet too. Bring them closer, tsk…"
"Don't difficult-desu me and help on, Stupid Woman! I don't want to stay like that!"
"Haru doesn't want to stay stuck to you either, Aho! If Tsuna-san comes in, he will misunderstand!"
"What the…?! Don't bring on the 10th's name now! I'm busy!"
"Haru is just saying, so hurry-up-desu! During that time, Haru will take care of the net tangled in your hair."
"D-don't you dare touch my hair, S-Stupid Woman…!"
"What did you say…? Haru can't hear any more from the back, so speak louder."
"…'d rather die…"
"Raah, forget it and just focus on pulling that off us, damn…"
After fifteen minutes of hard work, they finally roll on their backs on the floor, panting heavily while glancing at the ceiling, the pile of dismantled nets and bolas (throwing weapon made of weights on the ends of interconnected cords, designed to capture animals by entangling their legs) now abandoned on the floor.
Only one thing is left for them to solve: the pair of steel handcuffs still linking Gokudera's right hand to Haru's left one.
"The key… Damn it/Ahiii, Stupid Cow/Lambo-kun, give us the key!"
A stumble and they're back on their feet, running to the house entrance to put back their shoes and chase after the kid in cow disguise that has since long disappeared in Namimori streets.
After a couple crossings searching left and right, they spot a familiar silhouette.
"Ahiii, the pervert school doctor!"
"Shamal, oy! Have you seen the Stupid Cow pass by?"
"Hum, Hayato? Ooh, what can I see: so you finally learnt how to have fun with girls… As your tutor, I'm proud of you!"
"What are you…? Wait, you mean… D-D-DON'T MESS WITH ME!"
Haru has no time to ask Gokudera – behind whom she had instinctively hidden at seeing Shamal – if he's really that pervert-doctor's pupil and what Shamal meant by giving them such a look after having seen the handcuffs that Gokudera is dragging her away at full speed, his cheeks beat-red.
An hour later, they've finally found their culprit and are running down the streets chasing after him, Lambo finding it the most amusing tag game he's done in a while.
"Buh BUUH! Catch me if you can, Ahodera!"
"WAIT, STUPID COW!"
"Lambo-kun, please! The key-desu!"
BAM. The recoil of having passed on different sides of a street pole sends them abruptly to the ground while Lambo runs away.
"Kof kof, damn!"
"Ahiii, it hurts…"
"Why did you pass on the left, Stupid Woman?!"
"Gokudera-san is the one who passed on the right instead of following Haru! Careless-desu!"
"Just follow me, for Hell's sake! We lost him because of your damn mistake!"
"Don't blame it all on Haru, Aho!"
Indeed, being handcuffed to someone for a race means having to pace your rhythm with the other. The long hours of chase gradually teach it to Gokudera and Haru, for the best and the worst.
For the best because Gokudera would never have realised Haru was actually quite athletic comparing to most girls their age, and could follow after him at almost the same pace despite her legs being shorter than his. For the worst because he wouldn't expect her to take so many impulsive decisions such as stopping abruptly mid-way to drag him behind a corner to spy on Lambo and jump on him out of nowhere.
For the best because Haru would have never realised Gokudera was actually quite thoughtful comparing to most punks these days, and could care about her pace and even help her out on her feet when needed. For the worst because she wouldn't expect him to pull such violent stunts such as sliding on the ground to sweep Lambo amidst his run, something you shouldn't be doing to children.
Countless trips and chokes and pulls on the handcuffs later, countless insults thrown at each other later, countless misses by a close call, and they both collapse on the grass by the river banks, panting heavily and covered with dust and bruises.
"Damn… I just can't anymore…! Let's give up and break these damn things, Stupid Woman…"
"No-way-desu! Haru doesn't want to keep handcuff as a bracelet, annoying-desu! Not-fashionable-desu!"
TILT. Gokudera pauses on the metal handcuff around his wrist. Despite his natural Mafia-born dislike for any sign of police authority, he can't help but start thinking that they look a little cool, and would even look cooler if customized with skull emboss. His green eyes sparkle gradually of interest.
"Ahiii… even Gokudera-san is lost now… What is Haru going to do…?! How can we catch Lambo-kun… Ahiii, impossible to go back home like that… We can't go back! And what will Tsuna-san say…?!"
TILT. The mention of Tsuna's name pulls Gokudera out of his fashion fantasies, but not for long as he soon drowns into dramatizing fantasies this time.
What if the 10th misunderstands the handcuffs and says he's disappointed in him… What if Shamal slips some nasty stupid remark and the 10th believes he's having dubious taste on top of having fun with girls behind his back… Damn, what if the 10th misunderstands and says that he's not worthy of being his right hand man anymore because of that…
"… 10th believe in me, it's all a misunderstanding… it's all that Stupid Cow's fault…"
"Ahiii?! What are you muttering to yourself?! Of course it's a misunderstanding! Buuh, Haru doesn't want Tsuna-san to believe that I prefer spending time stuck to another guy… Unfaithful-desu…"
TILT. The comment only aggravates Gokudera further as it reminds him that the girl handcuffed to him is indeed officially in love with his boss – although the 10th has never really settled the matter – meaning someone from his Family.
Damn, as Reborn-san is always saying, we mafia should take good care of our women, right…
Gokudera's eyes stray away towards Haru's wrist, and it makes him swallow uneasily to see it all red and bruised from the different hits and pulls it has taken during the chase.
Tsk, if he catches this Stupid Cow, he will make him remember how his idiocy is causing trouble to the ones they should be protecting as Guardians, instead of hurting them…
"Haru is not too sure, but these obasans (Jap. grannies) seem to be talking about us, mysterious-desu…"
TILT. Gokudera freezes with a scarlet blush of shame at hearing the gossiping old ladies passing above them on the path following the river banks.
Are they serious… saying with such a straight face to each other how 'back then' they were keeping such 'distractions' inside the house and not out wide in the open… What kind of country did the Vongola Primo moved in for even elders here to have the same kind of references as Shamal…?!
"Let's go, Stupid Woman…"
Haru feels her feet follow after her hand being dragged away, but this time not through the hurtful contact of metal sizzling her wrist. Her large chestnut eyes can only widen of surprise at seeing her hand disappear along the one which has grabbed her inside the large pocket of a dark-red hoodie.
TILT. The uneasy sensation stops as abruptly as it started when Gokudera's fingers let go of hers once the gossip-magnet handcuffs hidden out from sight inside the pocket. Their skin is still brushing against each other in the narrow space, but the warmth of the previous hold disappears gradually, along Haru's stupefied silence.
"A-Ahiii…?! B-but it's… we… we can't run like this…!"
"Not like running around did us any good, tsk…!"
"We need to find a way to get this Stupid Cow… Any idea, Stupid Woman?"
"Ahiii, y-you're asking Haru…?"
"That's… Tsk, it's just… A-aren't you the one always baby-sitting these brats? You should know how to handle them, right?"
Haru pauses for long seconds, deep in thoughts, trying to review Lambo's priorities and how to make him do or not do things.
"Of-course-desu!" She finally exclaims with an enlightened expression.
"Hum, what is it, Stup… Gyaaah?!" Gokudera has no time to ask more detail that he's dragged at full speed by the hand inside his pocket pulling on his hoodie and thus pulling him along.
"Snacks-desu! We can trap Lambo-kun with snacks!"
"Snacks…? You mean using sweets or a lollipop…? This Stupid Cow is a damn hopeless idiot, but I can't believe him stupid enough to fall for that."
"Ahiii, let's just try! Haru is sure it will work!"
"Suit yourself… I'm just too annoyed to mind anym… Guh, the baseball-nut!"
BAM. Haru is pulled backwards in reaction of having Gokudera stop abruptly in their tracks, just at the entrance of the convenience store they have arrived to in order to buy the baiting-snacks, and she lands heavily against him.
"Ooh, Gokudera, Haru! Buying some drinks?"
"Not everybody are sport freaks coming to buy isotonic drinks after training, tsk…!"
"Ah, hum, Yamamoto-san, have you seen La… A-Ahiii?!"
A rough pull on her hand – the one inside the pocket – stops Haru in the middle of her sentence, and a glance for Gokudera is enough to make her understand the silent threat 'tell this damn baseball-nut about our issue and I bomb you' as clearly as if it had been written silver on green in his exasperated eyes.
"A-Ahiii… G-Gokudera-san and Haru are just… just…"
"It's none of your business, Baseball-Nut!"
"Hum? Hahaha, no need to make a scary face, come on. Ah, I know, do you want to go and hang out with Tsuna together? I'm on my way to his place."
SNAP. A vein explodes on Gokudera's temple as he can't hold back the frustration entirely at the idea of having the one he dislikes sticking around the 10th without him being able to tag along.
"Just get lost and leave us alone, damn!"
"Hum…? How weird, I thought you would…"
TILT. After having reviewed Gokudera's pissed expression and Haru's troubled one looking away impatiently, Yamamoto's eyes finally fall on the hoodie pocket towards which two arms are leading, and the little pieces of the puzzle connect in his mind in Yamamoto's mode.
"Ah, I see I see! Hahaha, sure, I'll get going, then. Take good care! Haru, if this guy is not nice enough to you, you can always come to tell Tsuna or me, hahaha…"
And the automatic door of the convenience store closes after Yamamoto and his parting remark.
A long minute of silence after, Gokudera and Haru finally defreeze when the shop attendant comes to ask them if they need anything, and they vent their frustration on the snack shelf, putting together each coin wandering in their pockets to buy as many sweets as they can, without forgetting a big swirl lollipop.
"Hand me the stick, Stupid Woman."
"Here. Ah, Gokudera-san, use a better knot to make sure that when we pull it, it'll make the basket close. More-effective-desu."
Their teamwork easily compensates for their being unable to use a hand each, and the trap is soon set in the park where Lambo has declared his home to be – the home being the round playground toy house with slide installed near the sandbox.
"Lambo-kun always comes here for a nap when Tsuna-san's mother goes shopping for dinner. Habits-desu."
"Don't know if I should be bothered of your plan working or failing… That Stupid Cow is still supposed to be a Guardian, damn. If he falls for that kind of trick, we'll have to worry, tsk…"
"Ahiii, here he comes!"
A sweet wrapped in electric-green paper found on the ground later, Lambo follows happily the trail of sweets, jumping and dancing at his luck like a happy-go-lucky fool at each new sweet leading him step by step towards the toy house.
BAM. When the basket under which the final swirl lollipop is set closes on him, concluding the victory of Haru's trap over Lambo's common sense, Gokudera can only face-palm wearily.
"He REALLY is that stupid, damn…"
"Ahiii, Gokudera-san! Now is not the time for that! Let's catch Lambo-kun and get the key. Now-desu!"
Haru pulls their hands out of the pocket to run more easily, and her quick-wittedness saves them the doom of seeing Lambo escape them once again.
POF. Lambo's feet have emerged from under the basket, and he starts running around and bumping into anything his way with panicking ranting squeals.
"Buuh, too dark! Lambo-san can't see!"
"Damn this Stupid Cow! Don't tell me his hair protected him from the basket trap!"
"Ahiii! Left, left, he's climbing the toy house!"
Gokudera grabs Haru's wrist to throw her upwards towards the toy house ladder while he jumps up just after her, closing in around Lambo in his blind-basket state.
"Ahiii, Lambo-kun, wait! Don't! The slide is…!"
BADABAM. A pile of three silhouettes lands loudly in the sand after a chaotic slide down.
"Kof kof… Th-thank you, Gokudera-san…"
"… don't… mention it… and just get this damn key, tsk…"
"Gotta… hold… it… in… Uwaaah! Aah? Lollipop!"
A passing-by granny starts giggling out loud that youngsters these days sure know how to have fun with their younger siblings, and Gokudera can only sigh heavily while waiting for the one on top of him to secure Lambo – licking the lollipop and not really minding the chasing game anymore – and rummage his hair in search of the solution to their problem.
The sun is already setting and tinting everything with gold and crimson. Everything sounds deadened for Gokudera who gazes at the orange skies with a mixture of forsaking and tiredness, not even minding anymore the weight on top of him, the numb sensation in his legs still half on the slide exit, or even the warm feeling of her wrist under his fingers.
Damn… Today has been such a headache…
"Found-it-desu!" Haru's happy exclamation pulls Gokudera out of his thoughts and he leans on his elbow to stand sit and come closer.
TILT. A pair of green eyes and a pair of chestnut ones widen of disbelief in unison when Haru's fingers bring the key to the handcuffs.
The links are… broken… already?!
SNAP. A synch glance back at the top of the playground slide and they are gapping of realisation at seeing a shiny broken link still hanging at the bisection of the decorative antenna.
It broke when they fall down the slide to catch Lambo…
It broke when they were holding onto another…
It broke when they weren't focusing on breaking apart anymore…
Gokudera's fingers leave Haru's wrist as if in slow motion, betraying his disbelief at not needing to be connected anymore, almost as if fearing some other link to still prevent his hand from leaving hers.
"… just take these damn things off already…"
Haru's eyes widen at seeing Gokudera hold out his hand to her, presenting his wrist and the keyhole of the handcuff to her.
Yes, she should be taking these off, shouldn't she…
A minute later, both parts of the opened handcuffs have left their wrists and they have stood up to leave the park unhurriedly. Exhaustion from the chase strikes back when on their way back to Tsuna's house, Lambo being the only noisy one.
Once at Sawada's House, they can't help but react by automatism, making all polite smiles and polite answers to assure the 10th/Tsuna-san that nothing went wrong and they just 'enjoyed' a game with Lambo the entire afternoon.
When separating to go back home, their smiles are still the tired and automatic type, just like how their feet carries them automatically until their place, automatically making them climb up the stairs step by step until they collapse each of them on their bed, exhausted and somehow melancholic.
GLING. The cold shine of steel doesn't help them settle their feelings as each of them gaze at the broken handcuff they kept in their pocket without realising.
Why did they keep them… Why are they keeping them even now… Why aren't they throwing away that thing that made them live a Hellish afternoon… Just why…?
FFN request from
KHR 5986 ~ Crowd Issues
"… how has it come to that…?! Damn it, how for Hell's sake has it come to have this weak yet warm sensation nestling into the palm of his hand…?!
Gokudera clenches his teeth while scanning their surroundings uneasily. By 'their' it refers to how he and the one following close behind him have ended up separated from the rest of the group in the chaos of the crowded Matsuri Summer Festival.
Damn! I lost the 10th already! No way I'd lose the last person I'm in charge of! How can I call myself a Vongola Guardian again if I can't even protect the ones around me, tsk…!
Gokudera's grip tightens around the fingers he has trapped in his hand to avoid their owner being swallowed by the crowd and disappearing far from him.
He'll definitely reunite safe and sound with the 10th! He's putting his honour on the line for it!
"Hum? What is it, Stupid Woman?"
"C-can you let go of Haru…? Embarrassing-desu…"
TILT. Gokudera's green eyes meet with insistent chestnut eyes shining uneasily above some pouting cheeks, and suddenly the warm sensation from before – that he had occulted for other priorities – finds its way back to his face at full speed.
Why is this stupid woman blushing… no wait, before that: why does he feel hotter than usual himself… True, now that he thinks about it, this warm pressure in his hand is unsettling, or maybe it's… the crowd, most probably, yeah it's that damn crowd fault again… And why would he let go of his way to win over the crowd that already swallowed the 10th just because this stupid woman finds it embarrassing…
"It can't be helped so just shut up and follow closely, Stupid Woman. It's no big deal so don't make a fuss, tsk…"
"A-Ahiii…?! What do you mean, Aho?! Don't hold Haru's hand as if it was normal!"
TILT. Gokudera's expression freezes, some very unexpected thoughts dashing through his mind.
"Haru is not a child anymore! No need to hold hands just because there are so many people! Embarrassing-desu!"
SNAP. All previous troubling thoughts stop abruptly, leaving Gokudera with a deep blush of angry shame at hearing the real motive behind her embarrassment.
Why in Hell did his mind wander into expecting something else…?! This Stupid Woman is just messing with him, as usual…!
"I said it's no big deal!"
"It is NOT!"
"You're more a brat to complain about it!"
"Ahiii?! What?! How dare you, you aho childish brat!"
About five minutes later, the crowd is diligently letting them pass, too afraid by the sparks fusing between them as they cross the Festival while holding hands with determination, shouting at each other very mature comments such as 'if you let go first, you're the brat'.
KHR 27 & R & 5986 & ALL ~ Bus-Ride Day
BAM. Some merciless kick from Reborn awakes Tsuna painfully.
"Aouch, Reborn! What was that for?!"
"We've reached Namimori terminus. As the Boss, it's your duty to wake up everyone before the bus company inspector kicks us out."
A glance to his surroundings is enough for Tsuna to realise that he's not the only one who has fallen asleep during the trip back from the beach: everyone is snoring more or less quietly on the other seats at the back of the bus.
The rest of the passengers has already left before the bus reached the terminus bus park, and only the old driver is left, having started a nap on his sit at the front while waiting for his last passengers to wake up and take their leave.
Tsuna scratches his cheeks, a little troubled and thankful at the same time.
"Now is tutoring time. As the Boss, what order do you think would be the most efficient to wake them up?"
"Eeeh?! What kind of weird tutoring is that, out of the blue?! And give me a break with the Boss thing…!"
BAM. "Just get going already, Baka-Pupil!"
Tsuna's first thought is to wonder if Kyoko is fine, and he walks to the seat she shares with her brother, before stopping with a hopeless moeing expression.
Dawww… She's just too cute… How could I wake her up…? No good, no good! I definitely won't spoil Kyoko's cute sleeping face…! But then Oniisan is…
TILT. Tsuna's hand instinctively suspends before reaching Ryohei. Reborn smirks with satisfaction under the border of his hat.
"Heehee, well done. The intuition of the Vongola is definitely flowing in you."
"Leaving the loudest for the last is definitely the most logical choice. But you deserve a scolding for having passed on Kyoko although she would have been the best help for waking the others. Forgetting to gain allies in your task just because of some personal feelings, tsk. You still have a lot to learn."
"… can't you give me a break…? I'm just waking up my friends, you know…"
BAM. "Just stop taking everything so lightly, Baka-Tsuna. The bonds of a family are born from situations like this."
"Uuh, alright, alright! Then, next ones are…"
TILT. But Tsuna stops with an eerie feeling in front of the next double seats.
After having complained, ranted, complotted so much to try and get the seat next to him, he would have never expected these two to sit side by side.
No actually, considering how the only other free sit is next to Yamamoto, it makes sense Gokudera wouldn't pick this one even if he had to stay standing the entire trip… and wasn't there a granny next to Yamamoto until a couple stops ago… so then it would make sense for Haru to give up her sit for the elderly and settle for her last option… but still…
"What is it, Tsuna? Giving up on the test already?"
"Well, it's just…"
It's just that it feels at the same time like the weirdest and the most normal thing he's seen in a while: his Vongola hyper-intuition is screaming it.
Tsuna pauses for a long minute while considering his options.
If he doesn't wake them up, he's sure Gokudera will spoil his ears with restless apologies of shame for the trouble caused… and Haru with blushing apologies for the misunderstanding… Not that he cares much about excessive loyalty or imaginary unfaithfulness, but he would rather avoid an umpteenth apology session from these two on these topics that he now knows by heart. It's just too embarrassing and he doesn't know how to reciprocate…
But then if he wakes them up now, he'll waste the only opportunity of seeing these two actually getting along, or at least looking like it, a rare and valuable sight making him feel relieved for some reason…
Raah, life is made of very difficult choices…
"If you're concerned of retaliation, you should prepare a back-up, Tsuna."
CLICK. And Reborn presses the camera shutter of Tsuna's phone with a smug smile.
"Or sometimes we call it blackmail too, heehee…" The little hitman grins while showing the picture to Tsuna.
On the phone screen, mirroring the pose they still have in reality, Gokudera and Haru are sleeping one onto another's shoulder, so intimately and peacefully that one would not imagine them being a bickering duet with a Tsuna-complex, but rather think them a couple… and a close one too…
Blackmailing resource for sure… Ah crap, he just started thinking like mafia!
KHR 5986 ~ Sleep-Talking Issues
VONGOLA BASE, ONE NIGHT BEFORE THE RAID ON MELONE BASE
"Tsk… a cup of coffee and I'd go rest, I guess… Everyone else is already in bed, damn it…" Gokudera mumbles to himself while passing the door of the kitchen after another session of self-training not going the way he'd like.
TILT. But someone else is actually still there.
"Zzz…" Only a quiet breathing answers Gokudera's call, and he walks a little closer to look at what has kept her awake until so late at night.
A sewing kit is still out on the table, the various needles and coloured threads scattered around her sleeping silhouette. She must have fallen asleep when fixing the different outfits piled up on her left.
Now that Gokudera thinks about it, they sure had some rough training these past weeks, and it's not like their bodies were the only ones to suffer. Tsuna's jeans knee, Yamamoto's kendogi sleeve, Lambo's cow-patterned outfit… they are all scratched and torn here and there, and it's thanks to the girls' support that they can still wear them again afterwards.
TILT. When pushing away from her the potentially-dangerous needles, Gokudera notices a familiar purple fabric as well.
His polo… so that Stupid Woman was taking care of it for him when she fell asleep…
Somehow, seeing her sleeping head resting on his clothes makes Gokudera scowl a little, shared between tingling feelings, touched and troubled.
If it was for him, she didn't have to push herself so hard that she would collapse on the table, damn it… Staying up so late for something so small, tsk…
His fingers mechanically finish sorting out the mess of the sewing kit and he closes the vanity pouch neatly before starting to collect the different pieces of clothing to pile them up on the side. But when pulling on the purple polo on which Haru has fallen asleep, a sleepy mumble suspends his hand.
"A… hi… D…o… your… best… ev...eryon…e…"
Gokudera's frown deepens between his eyebrows and he clenches his teeth, once again moved and aggravated at the same time.
"… how about caring for yourself a bit… Stupid Woman…" His rant against the one who can't even manage to reach her bed before collapsing disappears into a murmur as he looks away with a troubled expression, not really knowing what to do anymore.
A couple blinks of fatigue, several aggravated frowns and tsks, and a few hesitating steps back and forth, and he finally gives up and goes back to her.
Bending his knees to come at her level, he slides an arm under her legs and the other behind her back to lift her from her sit, before leaving the kitchen as quietly as he can, a bump of his elbow switching the light off after them.
Damn… The base is really quiet, and for once this Stupid Woman is really quiet as well… It feels so damn weird…
Gokudera's green eyes gaze absent-mindedly at the one he is carrying.
Has he really increased his stamina with the recent training or has she always been so feathery… so light and frail-looking… damn, to think such a tiny girl can have such a loud mouth and argue so stubbornly with him when she's awake… how come she can be so damn cute when sleeping…
TILT. Gokudera's steps stop abruptly in the corridor, shocked by his own train of thoughts.
C-cute… did he just think the word 'cute'… did he seriously damn think she was 'cute'…
His cheeks flush despite himself and his hands tremble around their passenger.
Damn… Why did he just think that… why did he just realise he thought that… his body is reacting like it shouldn't, now… minding the contact with her skin too much… minding the sound of her breathing too much…
Gokudera hurries towards her room with anxious cold sweats running down his spin.
Damn… Why isn't there anybody else around… Why is it so dark and dim and quiet… Why is it almost looking like a bubble of darkness for the two of them only… so aggravating…
The door of Haru's room slides open and Gokudera doesn't even bother to switch on the lights, dashing towards her bed to finally get relieved of his passenger.
TILT. But something is not allowing him to leave after that.
She… crap, she got my tee-shirt… just why did she damn grab onto my tee-shirt…
A couple seconds of battling against Haru's asleep yet strong fingers are enough to make him forget the idea of pulling the fabric out of them.
Gokudera throws his vest to the ground before pulling on his tee-shirt to also get released from it, preferring to abandon it behind rather than staying any longer in this cocoon of darkness trapping him by her side when his senses are all messed up by fatigue and some other disturbing thoughts.
His silver hair ruffles against the blue fabric as his tee-shirt passes above his head. Bust just as he bends over to pull his arms out of the sleeves as well, another hindrance is making him skip a breathe.
Why did she… grab onto… his arm… while clinging to the tee-shirt… For damn Hell's sake, give him a break…
"… l-let me just go, Stupid Woman…" Gokudera-san mutters between clenched teeth, his cheeks beat-red and his mind starting to give up on any quiet resolution.
But as if in answer to his declaration, Haru's grip around his arm tightens and she pulls it to her while trembling, just like a child would hug a pillow when having a nightmare, forcing him to kneel and finally fall sit clumsily on the edge of the bed to reach her level.
"… hi… d-don't… don't go!"
DOKI. Gokudera's heart skips a couple beats.
"… don't go, sob! Tsu…na-san… Goku…dera-san… don't go, sob sob… don't… get hurt… anymore… sob…"
Gokudera's chest tightens painfully like if he'd been struck by lightning and he clenches his teeth, his entire body starting to tremble of frustration.
She… knows they get hurt for each slash on their clothes she's mending… she knows… that they will get hurt perhaps more and more, and yet… and yet she smiles like that every morning, every lunch, every dinner… smiles to them like if they were on a mere little camping trip…
GRAB. Gokudera's resolve also bursts into lightning as his second arm closes around Haru, pulling the blanket on her as he bends over to lie down on the side next to her, not planning on letting go until the little caterpillar in his arms won't stop trembling in her sleep.
Damned be this heavy darkness atmosphere making him feel weak to her sobbing… Damned be this hot and itchy sensation at holding her onto his topless chest… Damned be whatever brought them to this era and made her feel so anxious for them…
"… just stop crying, Stupid Woman… because we'll definitely protect you…"
KHR 5986 & 27 ~ Believers Day
"Ahiii! G-Gokudera-san, huf huf… Haru… can't… anymore… huf huf…"
"Don't you dare give up, Stupid Woman!"
Gokudera pulls on Haru's hand which he has been holding all along to make her run at full speed after him amidst a maze of back-alleys.
BOOM. The explosion disperses the men chasing after them armed with things that Haru would rather not see close to her.
"That's why I told you to stay away from me, Stupid Woman!"
"But Haru just wanted to ask if you were also on your way to Tsuna-san's home!"
"Can't you tell these guys are not the damn type I would chat friendlily with?! Take the hint, you stupid!"
"Haru is not stupid! It's your hints that are too complicated!"
Gokudera clenches his teeth while shooting glances at the ones he's unable to distance even after so much running.
Why, for Hell's sake, did this stupid woman have to wave at him while he was in the middle of being picked for a fight by hired yakuza… Is she really so senseless and unaware of danger or just plainly stupid… And when she saw there was trouble ahead, why didn't she run away as he told her, instead of throwing a garbage bin metal lid to these punks… Did she seriously expect him to need her help or something… how stupid…
BOOOOOOM. The draught of the explosion sends Haru flying forward a little, and Gokudera is obliged to pull on her hand in a swift U-turn to receive her safely in his arms, his feet skidding on the ground to deaden the landing.
A second later they are back to running at full speed, jumping over garbage littered here and there in these deserted back-alleys behind Namimori's shopping district.
"Tsk…! Learn how to deal with explosions!"
"Ahiii?! What are you talking about, Aho?! Unfair-desu! Don't expect Haru to know how to deal with this kind of dangerous things!"
"If you knew it was dangerous, why the heck did you stay?!"
"Haru will never run and leave you behind!"
TILT. Gokudera averts his eyes with an abashed expression, tightening his grip around the hand of the one he'll definitely not leave behind either, even if it means facing them all on his own.
"Ahiii, Gokudera-san…! Dead-end-desu…!"
Gokudera pulls Haru behind him while turning to face their pursuers, his hands already pulling dynamite out while mentally calculating his chances of success.
They're definitely too many for him to handle… Tsk, as expected of pros to be armed with this kind of things nowadays… How is he supposed to hold them back without any of these damn things reaching her…
"Shut up and let me handle that, Stupid Woman…"
"Gokudera-san! Haru thinks we can climb over this fence."
"Don't kid yourself, it's four metres high and there's no climbing grips on plain steel like that, tsk."
"If Haru helps you jump, I'm sure Gokudera-san can do it! Believe-desu!"
TILT. Gokudera can't help shooting a flabbergasted glance at the one behind him who sounds everything except desperate.
Now that he thinks about, isn't this stupid woman almost as smart as him in general… If she calculates they can climb up through three steps… considering their respective athletic abilities…
Gokudera's lips stretch is a faint smug smile of surrender.
"You'd better be right, Stupid Woman… I can't buy us a damn second try."
"… fine! DOUBLE BOMB + SMOKE SCREEN!"
BOOOOM. BOOM BOOM BOOM. The multiple explosions at close range send both Gokudera and Haru flying backwards, his back hitting violently the steel fence as he holds onto Haru to make her avoid the biggest of the shock.
"Kof kof… Get them!"
But Haru has already settled back to the fence, her knees bent and her fingers interlaced to form a stirrup with her both hands. Gokudera has already taken a run-up to dash towards her, placing his foot in the stirrup for her to give him a jumping leg-up.
GATCH. Gokudera's hand reaches the top of the fence and grabs onto it to pull himself up, sending his legs on the other side to use as counterweight as he bends over the fence to extend his other hand towards the one still down.
But Haru's first jump is not high enough and she misses Gokudera's hand by almost twenty centimetres, giving him the most aggravating bitter feeling he's felt since a long time.
"Don't mess with me, Stupid Woman! Catch it!"
"Haru is… trying…"
Behind her, the men are finally walking across the smoke screen, quite pissed at the turn of events.
"Stop trying and just do it, damn it!"
BAM. Another trial and miss makes Haru land loudly on her bottom, and cold sweats run down her spin as she sees the yakuza reaching for her.
"DAMN IT, STUPID WOMAN, LOOK AT ME!" Gokudera's loud roar makes Haru turn back to look at him with surprise. His green eyes look both burning and cold, dead-serious.
"Jump with everything you have and believe in me!"
Haru breathes in and bends her knees, preparing to push as high as the absence of run-up allows her, despite knowing that not preparing her landing might mean falling back right in her assailants' hands.
Gokudera clenches his hand on the edge of the fence, getting ready to dive even lower despite knowing that counter-action will pull him backwards just after to compensate the impulse.
Chestnut eyes lock into green ones as they both strive towards the other, adrenaline pushing them farther.
GRAB. Gokudera's hand closes on Haru's wrist as her fingers clench on his, and he sends his legs flying backwards while pulling with all his strength, completely abandoning the support of the fence edge to free his other hand and reach for Haru.
The two of them fall backwards towards the other side of the alley, Gokudera tightening his hold in mid-air in apprehension for the shock, but what is a little fall when adrenaline is flushing in one's body.
BAM. The landing on the cold alley ground brings them back to their senses, as they start panting heavily, still too tensed to let go of what they have clenched their hands around – namely the uniform jumper of the other.
They managed it… She managed to push him up… He managed to pull her out…
HRRR. The noise of theirs pursuers trying to tear the fence apart but not managing to scratch it also comforts them and helps them to calm down gradually.
"Th… thank you… Haru/Gokudera-san…" Their mumbling whispered in synch loses itself in the one of the other, as they close their eyes to focus on catching back their breath, before blinking awake again and standing up to leave towards their initial destination.
A WHILE LATER
"Good afternoon, 10th/Tsuna-san!"
"Geeh? Gokudera-san, Haru, what are you doing here?"
"Well, I was in the area and…"
"Haru wanted to come and see Tsuna-san!"
"Hey, don't copy me, you Stupid Woman!"
"Buuh, then you can just leave, you baka!"
"Ah, hum… let's just have tea all together, alright…? So please just quiet down a little, you two…"
"… sigh… so, anything new for you two…?"
"Nothing worth your interest, 10th!"
"Nuuh… Haru is always bored without Tsuna-san!"
KHR 5986 & TYL!L & 27 & KIDS ~ Future Issues
"Gyahahaha! Lambo-san is the King!"
"Lambo, no fair!"
"I-pin can just stay below the throne and obey, gyahahaha!"
"No way, vendetta! Taaa!"
"Uwaah, you can't attack the King, you can't! Lambo-san is the King!"
Haru can only smiles caringly as I-pin playful flying kicks make Lambo run left and right on her lap – the aforementioned throne – to avoid them.
"Uwaaah, I-pin, unfair! I said I'm the King!"
"Gyaaah, why vendetta, Lambo-san wants to remain the King! Guuuh, just you wait, I'm going to defeat the rebel against the King!"
BLAM BLAM BLAM. Grenades fly out of Lambo's hair, until I-pin kicks them back in, making Lambo implodes into a fizzy afro charcoal.
"Gotta… hold… it… in… UWAAAH!" A purple metallic shape is pulled out of Lambo's hair.
POOF. "A… hiii…?!" A cloud of smoke later, and Haru is blinking of disbelief, suddenly face to face with the grown-up version of Lambo on her lap.
"Yare yare… The young me seems to have called me at some unsuitable time… And what may I do for you, lovely Signorina?"
"Ahiii?! G-get away from Haru!"
BADABAM. Haru's attempt to push away from her the unknown guy way too close to her ends up with their loud falling on the ground.
"O-ouch ouch ouch… Painful-desu…"
"Ugh… your balance could be improved, Signorina mia…"
"A… hi…ii… T-t-too-close-desu!"
BAM. The door opens wide on Tsuna and Gokudera, alerted by the noise.
They can't help freezing on the spot at the entrance of Tsuna's room, too much shocked by the show.
TYL! Lambo freshly out of the Ten-Years-Bazooka is not a novelty by now, but to have him show up topless with his pants not even buttoned yet is another matter, especially when he has pushed his babysitter to the ground in a very provocative position.
"A-Adult Lambo?! Wh… Haru…?! Wh-what are you…"
BAM. Tsuna doesn't have time to finish his question that a left hook has landed straight in TYL!Lambo's face, propelling him to the opposite wall, far from his victim.
"You're dying now, Stupid Cow!" Gokudera roars, his fists balled up and clenched until they turn white, and his green eyes sending more lightning and shivers than the Thunder Guardian is used to face.
"Th… that's a misunderstanding, Gokudera-chi…!"
"Misunderstanding, my ass!"
"Upon the honour of the Bovino Family, I ask you to believe me, Vongola Storm Guardian! I-it's true I am fond of cute signorinas, b-b-but I would never dare and touch the lady of another Guardian! … y-yare yabbe (crap)… I wasn't supposed to say that…"
TILT. Gokudera, Haru and Tsuna all freeze with widening eyes, some little arrows connecting one by one in their mind as they analyse TYL!Lambo's sentence again: 'TYL Guardian Lambo' then 'Another Guardian TYL' then 'Lady of this other Guardian TYL'.
"E-EEEEEEEEHHH?!" The three of them snap in synch, two of them blushing furiously.
But when Gokudera jumps on TYL!Lambo to order him to explain himself, another POOF transforms the Thunder Guardian back in his younger version.
"Uwaaah, Ahodera scary!"
"G-Gokudera-kun, you shouldn't take it out on Lambo, and…"
"C-calm down, Gokudera-kun… I mean, hum, let's see, hum… Ah! You know, we don't know yet who Adult Lambo was talking about, so…"
TILT. Gokudera pauses with very disconcerting thoughts rushing through his mind.
What does the 10th mean, not for sure… This Stupid Cow said it! In the future he… the Stupid Woman will be his… Ah, no, wait… The 10th is right: this Stupid Cow only said Guardian… so it can be that… that another Guardian… damn… why did he immediately think about himself… and more importantly, why are his fists itching like that right now, itching to punch not only this Stupid Cow but also that Baseball Nut, Turf Head and even THAT Hibari as well… Damn it, why…
KHR 5986 & 77 ~ Rush-Hour Issues
"Arara… I am really sorry to have and ask you when you're coming all the way to enjoy the tea, but Tsu-kun said it's really too heavy to bring back on his own, and I can't leave the children alone…"
"Of course, of course! Let me be of service and go and help the 10th. My honour, Ma'am!"
"Haru will do her best! I will bring back Tsuna-san and the important parcel for sure. Please leave it to Haru!"
"Awww, the both of you are so sweet! Then here: this map will show you how to reach the parcel office. The closest station is…"
About ten minutes later, the enthusiasm of Gokudera and Haru at being able to lend a hand to the 10th/Tsuna-san withers at reaching the train station and realizing it is now rush hour.
"So that's the legendary Japanese rush-hour…?!"