Title: Falling Up
Pairing/Characters: TYL!8059, a little bit of Tsuna
Notes: Written with the prompt 'drowning' in mind, and of course New Years! And if anyone is wondering, this is the song referenced. Hope you enjoy it, doomcake, and Happy New Year to you :3
"What is he singing? On the radio?"
It was something slow and melancholy, filled with adoration for whomever the man sang. "Baseball is for numnuts."
"Of course not, idiot."
"He's saying 'I'll miss you, if you go away', right?"
Gokudera raised an eyebrow, begrudgingly impressed with his colleague.
"My Italian's getting better then I guess," Yamamoto smiled, turning the music back down. He rolled down the passenger window, Mediterranean wind ruffling short black hair. The weather was warmer this time of year than what he was used to, thanks to the Mediterranean's foreign climate. Beautiful, really, when it wasn't raining. It was always a little strange, though, not having snow falling on New Year's Eve. He sighed fondly, childishly, thinking of hot cocoa and snowflakes. "I wish we could build snowmen."
Gokudera flicked his eyes off the winding road for just a second. "What the hell?"
"Haha, don't get me wrong; I know Tsuna and Kyoko's party is going to be great. It just doesn't feel like New Years, is all."
"Weren't you just bitching three days ago about how much snow there was in Russia," the driver grumbled. He knew where Yamamoto was coming from, though. The scene was quite different in Italy than in Japan--at least here there wasn't Christmas music blaring in every damn building though. Really, there should be a law against playing four variations of Frosty the Snowman within the same goddamned hour.
The Tenth, of course, had better taste than his homeland; the traditional Vongola New Year's celebration was one everyone looked forward to. If Gokudera kept up this speed on the deserted seaside roads, they could make it before the first guests began to arrive at the Tenth's new island mansion. The Storm Guardian smiled just a little; maybe the Tenth would ask him to play the piano again this year. "There will be other... New Yearsy things besides your dumb snowmen," Gokudera reassured the other man. "Like champagne and dancing or whatever."
"And party hats?"
"I fucking hope not," Gokudera muttered.
"Well... as long as there's champagne, haha." The Rain Guardian, satisfied with that, stared out his window at the clear blue sea. After a minute of quiet, the man suddenly said, "Hey, we should make New Years resolutions!" Gokudera could practically hear the grin in Yamamoto's voice. "You know, get rid of some bad habits."
A snort. "I don't have any bad habits." Gokudera glanced away from the road once again: "Quit staring at me in stunned silence or I'll shove dynamite in your fuckin' ears!" Howls of laughter ensued from the passenger. "I mean it, shithead!"
"Ahaha, oh wow!" Yamamoto wiped a tear from his eye. "How about you resolve to stop swearing?"
"Okay, okay... What about smoking then?"
"That's stupid," the driver grumbled.
Yamamoto frowned at that. "Why? Even Shamal says it's bad for you."
"Like I care what that quack says."
"I'm serious. I mean, I know it makes you look like a cool gangster and all--"
"Well thank you."
"--but you're messing up your lungs."
"Idiot; how else am I supposed to light my dynamite? Didn't fucking think of that, did you?"
Yamamoto scratched the scar on his chin, eyebrows knit together. "Um... Matches?"
"One of those Zippos?"
"That takes up a hand," Gokudera explained, patience wearing thin. This drive from the airport was going on way too long. Next time he'd request separate cars. "Having a cigarette in my mouth makes me twice as efficient."
"Maybe you could use grenades instead? Haha."
"That takes no skill, no class," the driver growled. "How about your resolution, huh? Maybe you could resolve to not be an annoying dumbass?"
Yamamoto chuckled. "You're changing the subject." His gaze returned out the window, silent again. (He'd been doing that more and more since Russia; it was getting weird.) Watching the blue water and stubby cliffs intensely, Yamamoto quietly said; "I'd resolve not to kill anyone."
Gokudera took his eyes off the road yet again; the other man's brown gaze, or what the driver could make out at least, was earnest and almost child-like. It made the Storm Guardian nostalgic--if only for a second--for days when baseball and mafia games were the most important things in the world. He cleared his throat. "That would be like me giving up smoking."
"Haha, I can at least try, right?" Yamamoto grinned, eyes alight once more. "Hey! Do you think Tsuna's going to kiss Kyoko at midnight?"
"Well he's sure not going to kiss Xanxus, idiot." The expensive car slowed down, an intersection and turning sedan looming in the distance. "Of course he'll kiss Kyoko; the Tenth is a gentleman, not a brute like you."
"Hm, I guess you're right."
They came to a stop, and Gokudera was about to hit the gas before that other car could get in front of him and go all slow and shit--but no, Yamamoto just had to go and say: "I'm going to kiss you at midnight."
Gokudera damn near flinched. "What the hell did you just say!?"
A smile, bright and cheery: "You heard me."
The mafioso just stared, knuckles white around the steering wheel. He heard the other sedan's engine rev--fuck, there went his chance to get in front of it--beside them as he prepared a round of Italian curses that dumbass couldn't possibly know yet. "Vaffancu--"
Yamamoto's eyes suddenly flashed, smile gone in an instant. "DRIVE!"
The Storm Guardian didn't even turn in time to see the incredible force that slammed into his door--he figured it was that turning sedan but, fuck, it felt like a tank. Glass cracked under his head, a sharp pain obliterating his side and cutting off the radio's soft music. The last thing that Gokudera was aware of before blackness engulfed his mind was the awful chalky scent of air bags inflating. That, and an incredible string of words coming from Yamamoto that put the Storm Guardian's own salty vocabulary to shame.
Time and place had become a mystery in his unconsciousness. There was a gap between airbags and Japanese curses and now. A sudden force--almost as awful as the one that had gotten him into this crap--emerged through the black. He could feel his body jostled around like someone had shoved him into a jar and given it a good shake. Another crunching sound, sudden impact. Then, what sounded like a seltzer bottle opening. Blackness.
Gokudera groaned; he'd hit his head again, though on something a bit softer than glass this time. It took him eons to open his eyes--no idea how long--to see the bloody smear. Head wounds always bled so badly. It was on the back of an unfamiliar car seat, tan leather. The Storm Guardian frowned, staring at it; from this angle, the stain looked like a butterfly ripped in half. But, if he sat up--slowly, oh so slowly--it resembled two tacos sort of. Neat.
Gokudera groaned, questioning how hard he'd actually hit his head.
Lifting a hand up to check the throbbing wound, he found that his wrists were handcuffed together. And slightly blurry. "Fuck me," the man sighed, rubbing his eyes. Sure, his vision was a little screwy, but that had definitely not been a road and trees and sky outside the window. It was water. Motherfucking water. Green eyes refused to open just yet, handcuffed hands reached out to the button under the window.
He grit his teeth, wincing as he did so--a few must be loose. The Storm Guardian's vision was fine now for the most part, which just made the water clearer and more real. For some reason, he suddenly thought of this time when he was a kid and the farms outside town had flooded. Dead pigs had been floating down the rivers for weeks afterward, practically exploding when they hit rocks or trees. Something about stomach acid and decaying flesh turning them into floating bombs.
He didn't want to be a little pig, washed up on some shore. So he shoved the thought out of his mind.
The outcome was already pretty clear to him, but Gokudera tried the door anyway. The water pressure was too great; even though the door was unlocked it was impossible to open. Fine. Whatever. The engine was pulling the car down--was this a Lexus?--slowly to the sea floor. Gokudera snorted; it was shallow by the cliffs here, maybe twelve feet to the bottom at most. He could wait for the the water seeping into the car to equalize the pressure, then swim up. If he didn't lose consciousness again, of course.
On that note, the man sighed, he should probably inspect the aching wound in his side. It was staining the back seat red. He glanced down. "Fuck. That's not good." At this rate, the water might not be flooding the car fast enough. How deliciously ironic.
Gracelessly, Gokudera popped his thumb from its socket--a handy injury he'd gotten in Dublin two years ago--slipping the left cuff off, scraping skin raw. He removed his expensive suit jacket and pressed it to his side, the wound in his head still dripping softly. There was no dynamite in his pockets anymore, he noted; maybe they figured he'd grow desperate enough to blast out the windshield. Damn thing was obviously bulletproof too. At the very least they could have left him a cigarette.
He sighed. Whoever 'they' were wasn't even worth figuring out at the moment; making a list of Vongola's enemies was like making a list of people who liked football--real football, dammit--in Italy. You could just put 'fucking everyone' at the top of the paper and call it a day.
There was a soft crunching noise as the car's nose slowly settled into wet sand. For the first time, then, Gokudera looked out the car and really saw the sea. It was, he suspected, a view of it that few men get to witness: It had a deep, pristine blue color with slats of light shining down through tiny waves. Passerby--not that any ever came around here--could probably make out the car from the road, which told Gokudera that he'd been left as a holiday present for the Vongola to find. He rolled his eyes; sleeping with the fishes was just too cliché. And a shitty way to spend New Year's Eve. Yamamoto was probably faring better, wherever he'd been taken to.
Hopefully the Rain Guardian wasn't locked in the trunk. Whoever did this was clearly into that sort of thing, too. Gokudera gave a hoarse laugh. "You in there, idiot?" No response. That would have to do.
The water--it wasn't unbearably cold, thankfully--encircled Gokudera's shins now as the trunk evened out with the hood.
He'd almost drowned once, in his father's pool at the summer house. Bianchi of all people had saved him, pulled him up from the water. It had felt like falling up through the liquid, coughing and sputtering. Bianchi had always been the stronger swimmer; too bad she wasn't here to save him now.
It didn't escape Gokudera that his mother had died in a similar fashion as this.
It was taking everything--down to the very core of his soul--to not freak out and claw at the window until his nails bled.
So Gokudera stared out at the sparkling sea--its water almost to his knees at this point--keeping his mind elsewhere.
"I'm going to kiss you at midnight."
He had let it go too far. Since Russia, since the Tenth's inauguration, since high school. Shit, back in high school, Yamamoto had talked to him and the Tenth about his dreams of baseball stardom, a pretty wife who could cook, a house full of little Yamamotos and how he knew his dad would be excited to be a grandfather.
Gokudera flinched, pressing his jacket closer to his body, blood warm on his hand.
What the fuck had happened to all that, the cute wife and un-cute babies? Sometime between learning the ways of Rain and getting that scar on his chin, Gokudera decided. Was sure of it because, really, if he admitted it to himself--and why the hell not? No one around to argue the point with him as he was alone here, dying--that was around the time he'd started to take note of brown eyes and loud laughs.
Once the Tenth had taken over, Rain and Storm were always at his side--left and right, respectively. Mist couldn't be trusted. Cloud couldn't be bothered to care. Sun couldn't sit still in important joint-famiglia meetings. Thunder was a dumb cow. So, inevitably, Storm swept through any who dared think themselves master over Vongola, Rain easily washing away whatever was left. They were a good team, Gokudera could admit that (to the Tenth) and even embrace it (secretly). He knew when Yamamoto flicked his wrist this way it would cut a finger off, and that way it could sever a head. He knew that Yamamoto recognized different explosives almost as well as the Storm Guardian by this point. They could each recognize the stare they gave one another when caked in blood and sweat.
The salt water finally lapped at the wound in Gokudera's side; the man hissed in pain, vision threatening to go foggy once more. His free hand gripped at the seat as he tried his damndest to ignore the sting and red tint the water was taking on.
At some point, things had changed. Russia had proved that. Russia had been bad. Running through snow-laden alleyways, dogs snarling, gunshots coming way too close... They'd been successful, of course, made it to the getaway car and gotten their shit out of Moscow in record time. Then there had been a long drive to a tiny hotel filled with girls looking for work and men smoking pipes; not the sort of place to inspire romance by any means. Yamamoto had taken his shower second, leaving the Storm Guardian to listen to soft thumping sounds coming through gaudy wallpaper while he cleaned his gun.
The water was past his waist now, the ache in his side turning oddly numb. Some back corner of his brain--the part that let him sail through school--was telling him that the pounds of pressure per square inch of water per foot of height was 0.43 psi per foot.
Yamamoto emerged from the bathroom in a towel, rummaging around for some clothes, still not saying anything (hadn't said anything since he'd killed that ugly guy earlier) to the other mafioso. Gokudera watched, forgetting about his clean shirt and dirty gun. It was getting past the point of worrying, just close enough to irritation. Gokudera had killed his first man when he was twelve--out of self defense, sure, but the bastard was still dead just the same. How old was the Rain Guardian? Twenty-three? Shit sucks, get over it.
Gripping the cheap blanket underneath him, Gokudera broke the silence. "That guy would have tried to murder the Tenth." Yamamoto glanced over his shoulder, face oddly blank. "You didn't do anything wrong," Gokudera found himself insisting. "So... Fucking start talking."
The water was up past his stomach. His mother used to tell him stories about mermaids before he went to bed; he'd never really believed them.
Yamamoto gave him a funny look. "About what?"
"Shit, the weather, books--not that you've read any--anything but baseball," the Storm Guardian grumbled. He felt weird suddenly, naked before brown eyes. A hitman's eyes. Didn't like how he suddenly understood how much Yamamoto understood.
"Can I talk about us?"
Gokudera frowned, feeling for all the world like Yamamoto had just broken some sort of rule to a game they'd been playing. Stiffly, he shrugged and replied: "I said anything but baseball, didn't I?"
The water trickling into the car was lulling him to sleep it seemed. He could just lean his head back and rest his eyes a bit, right?
Yamamoto abandoned his search for clothing, coming to the front of the bed before Gokudera. He had never seen those brown eyes so raw before; it was almost frightening. It was probably the same look that man had seen, right before the sword took him. A warm palm made slow contact with a pale cheek; Gokudera swallowed as he muttered, "What do you think you're doing, idiot?"
The hand stilled. "Hayato; am I allowed to sleep with you?" Yamamoto smiled then, though it looked... wrong somehow. "Just for tonight, haha." And damn that bastard if he didn't already know the answer.
There was a splash that sounded miles away, but still jolted Gokudera from his dazed thoughts. He peered out the window, searching; it didn't sound large enough to be another car. At the opposite window, there was a tapping noise. The Storm Guardian turned, startled to see Yamamoto there, shirt gone and cheeks puffed out with air. Granted, it was likely that idiot was even more surprised that Gokudera was still breathing. Yamamoto was tugging on the door unsuccessfully as the wounded man scooted over; "Idiot. Never paid attention in physics class, did you?"
Gingerly, the Storm Guardian touched his fingers to his head wound; it took a few tries and strokes to write backwards on the glass in his blood. Wait for equal pressure. Something in Yamamoto's eyes clicked, and he nodded at the messy words. The Rain Guardian pushed up from the sandy floor, probably needing fresh air in his lungs. Only then did Gokudera feel a wave of relief surge through his body, shoulders relaxing finally. He felt satisfied, somehow, that whoever had done this was probably dead on the road, cut up into pieces. After all, it wasn't midnight yet; Yamamoto could still kill, couldn't he?
The water was high now, suffocating almost, but Gokudera could stay calm for a little while longer. He could. Yamamoto would come back.
It was okay to lean his head against the window, rest his eyes for just a second. Just a...
A loud smack of ring against glass beside his ear shook the Storm Guardian from blackness. The water was to his neck now; how long had he...? Yamamoto was outside again, worry in his eyes. His shoes were gone now, Gokudera noted fuzzily, probably made it easier to swim.
It wouldn't be long now. Not long at all.
He looked at the water filling the car; it didn't seem as blue as the water outside. There were little bubbles flowing up and out the car to the surface. Gokudera was envious of them, in a way.
It wasn't all that bad. At least he hadn't choked on his vomit in his sleep.
Gokudera bloodied a finger again; there was barely enough room on the glass to write out sorry--not backwards this time--on the window. He saw the--Fear? Shock? Anger? No, it was that understanding again, that hitman's knowing--flash in Yamamoto's eyes. The Rain Guardian tugged at the door frantically, looking like he wanted to yell if only the water wouldn't get into his lungs. Just a little longer now, Gokudera thought sleepily. The water was flowing steadily over his chin and he took one last gulp of air for propriety's sake.
In the back of his mind, Gokudera hoped his mother's death hadn't been this dragged-out.
Then, blackness, and soon he was falling up.
"You're going back to Russia?"
"Yep. Shouldn't take too long. I'll be back in time, don't worry. Won't even notice I'm gone."
Sometimes Tsuna loathed his inherited intuition, almost like an unwanted gift. He wasn't a fortune-teller by any means, but it didn't take the boss a lot of effort to see the blood that would be spilled... The utter chaos that family had invited upon themselves, the fork in the Rain Guardian's road. He'd long suspected this was never a path Yamamoto wanted to take, but like it or not he was well on his way to becoming the most feared hitman of his day anyway. Tsuna saw a smiling, foreboding figure in a black suit, drenched in blood and staining the snow red. Smiling, always smiling.
Yamamoto paused at the office's doorway. "It's almost midnight. Kyoko will be waiting for you I bet, haha. And you two can't disappoint your guests. You've gotta stay and see the party out, you know."
A smile, incredibly fake. "Kiss her twice, eh? Since I won't be getting mine tonight."
There was a long stretch of silence as Tsuna leaned on the desk, regarding his Rain Guardian with a careful eye. "The Vongola Famiglia does not condone revenge-killings."
Yamamoto kept on smiling.
"So, don't get caught."
"Haha, okay. Happy New Year."