Characters: Gokudera, Tsuna, Yamamoto, Dr. Shamal, Hibari
Pairings: Gokudera/Yamamoto, a bit.
Warnings: Language, violence. Mildly cracktastic. Spoilers for the Rings arc.
Disclaimer: Amano owns. I only play. You do not sue.
Length: 2300 words
Summary: Gokudera tries to quit smoking.
Beta: uminohikari ♥
Note: This is technically happening post-current arc, but there are no unambiguous references to its plot because I didn't want to spoil the recipient. Title is from the eponymous REO Speedwagon album. It seemed like a good idea at the time. >.> Um, Kishi, this is probably not what you wanted but this is where it went. ._.
Concrit: Always welcome and appreciated.
"That doesn't sound good."
Gokudera suppressed his coughing and lifted his hands in a defensive gesture. "It's nothing, Tenth--" he managed to say before his lungs overruled his brain, forcing him to hack even more ferociously. Of all the times to choke on his own damn spit, his body had to pick right now: when he happened to be having dinner at the Tenth's house.
"S-Sorry," he mumbled after the fit subsided.
"Smoking is really bad for you, Gokudera-kun," the Tenth's mother said, smiling.
Gokudera opened his mouth to protest, frantically trying to think of a cooler reason to cough instead of "choking on own spit", but the Tenth nodded in agreement with his mother, and that was the end of that discussion. The Tenth had hyper-intuition, and Gokudera couldn't argue with hyper-intuition -- nobody could. He might have thought he'd choked on his own spit, but obviously he was wrong: the Tenth had said so. Or nodded so, but whatever.
"It's better to be healthy," the Tenth said.
Gokudera would be a pitiful right-hand man if he couldn't kick a mere habit to make the Tenth happy. "I will quit smoking," he said, somewhat hoarsely. "I promise, Tenth!"
Gokudera pretended not to notice Yamamoto's fucking annoying voice and continued down the street towards the garbage disposal site.
"Wait up!" Yamamoto called again, this time from much closer.
Gokudera's eye began to twitch, but he trudged onwards even as Yamamoto fell into step beside him.
"What's with all the garbage bags? Did you have a party at your place?"
"No," Gokudera snapped. "Stop asking stupid questions."
Yamamoto laughed. "You're in a mood today."
Gokudera dumped the bags with the rest of the garbage and whirled to face Yamamoto. "I can live without your running commentary, too."
Yamamoto's infuriating grin remained in place. He hoisted his infuriating backpack higher on his infuriating shoulders. "Wanna walk to school together?"
"Don't have much of a fucking choice, do I?" Gokudera growled. He turned his back on his three months' supply of cigarettes and marched towards Nami High, letting Yamamoto trail behind him.
The stick of dynamite tossed over his shoulder into the piled-up garbage was an afterthought, but a good one. The explosion's roar cut right through Gokudera's spiking temper, and he knew that only this would serve for now. Only this.
Yamamoto coughed and removed a banana peel from his shoulder. "Was that really necessary?"
Ugh. Gokudera needed a fucking cigarette again.
"Gah, it ate my coins," the Tenth complained, punching the dispense button on the drink machine with a forlorn look.
Rage filled Gokudera instantly. A stupid fucking machine was trying to thwart the Tenth. Unforgivable. Glowering, he pulled out a mini-bomb. "Allow me." He lifted the fuse to his mouth, but there was no cigarette there, of course. He'd quit. Cursing inwardly, Gokudera took out his lighter and stepped in front of the Tenth. "Please stand back."
The Tenth touched his shoulder. "Um, there's really no need, Gokudera-kun--"
I'm sorry, Tenth!
Gokudera tried to turn his head, but the enormous collar around his neck made it impossible to see anything around him. He did know he was in the school infirmary, swathed in bandages and hurting everywhere except his left pinky finger.
"Really terrible, drink machines these days," said Shamal's voice somewhere far away. Fucking Shamal. "He can just lie here until he gets better, because I don't treat boys." Who was he talking to? "You can see him, but he's out cold."
"I am not!" croaked Gokudera. As if the Vongola Storm Guardian would be unconscious because of a little explosion.
"Gokudera-kun!" The Tenth burst into the room, followed by Yamamoto. Fucking Yamamoto.
"How are you feeling?" Yamamoto asked.
"None of your fucking business," Gokudera muttered, looking up at the Tenth, who sported a bandage above his left eye. "Did you get your drink, Tenth?"
"Uh, no?" the Tenth replied with a confused look. "They all exploded..."
Damn it. Clearly, Gokudera needed to work on special mini-bombs that would allow him to blow up drink machines without damaging the contents too much.
"Don't worry," he said. "When I get out of here, I'll buy you a whole crate of juice boxes."
"It's okay," the Tenth said, wearing the sort of pained expression that Gokudera could never read correctly. "Just get better."
Shamal had let him out of the infirmary after just one day, but only because Gokudera had threatened to blow up a certain desk drawer. For someone who claimed to be good at charming women, Shamal sure kept a lot of porn close at hand. Whatever; Gokudera didn't care about Shamal and his perversions -- he just couldn't stand being locked up like some invalid. All he had were a couple of second-degree burns. More importantly, Gokudera had now gone three days without a cigarette, and he was in a constant low-key fury. Every time he remembered why he was so pissed off, he got even more pissed off -- it was disgraceful that he had been allowing a plant to control any of his brain functions.
Now he was standing outside a bookshop, studying the covers on display to give himself time to calm down a little before he went in.
"Excuse me, Gokudera-kun?" Some girl's voice. Probably one of those insufferable fools from his class.
"What the fuck do you want?" Gokudera asked without turning around.
"I-- uh. I was wondering if you had a cigarette?"
"I quit," Gokudera snapped. "Now stop bothering me, stupid woman." Without delay -- there was no way he'd calm down now -- he entered the bookshop. They had better stock something about the properties of nitro.
Later that night, Gokudera listened with half an ear to the evening news, where a frantic-faced reporter lady carried on about the mysterious explosion and still-raging fire in a downtown bookshop.
It wasn't Gokudera's fault the stupid bookshop had been completely useless. The owner was better off collecting his insurance money and moving someplace quiet. Gokudera had done him a favour, really.
He reached for his cigarettes, and his passable mood evaporated.
Worse, his fridge was completely empty; he'd even polished off the stale cup ramen that had collected dust in one of the kitchen cabinets since Gokudera first came to Japan. He had no alcohol, either, and his fake ID had been missing since the drink machine incident. Shamal had probably stolen it so he could pretend he was twenty-two.
The school roof was better than the classroom. Nobody here to piss him off.
Gokudera sat with his back to a wall and tried to appreciate the clean air he was breathing. Who cared that it smelled like rotting fish? At least there was no carbon monoxide in it. If you didn't count exhaust fumes from cars down below, that was.
Hibari was strolling in his direction, his jacket billowing in the wind. Aw, fuck.
"What the hell do you want?" Gokudera asked, scowling. "Shouldn't you be off somewhere by yourself?"
"I wish to be here by myself," Hibari replied. "So go away, or I'll bite you to death."
"Go fuck yourself," Gokudera said, reaching for dynamite. Strongest Guardian, blah blah blah. There were no box weapons here, so Hibari only had his tonfa, which made him useless at middle-range combat. Fucked if Gokudera was going to let him get close enough to do damage.
It was really too bad he always forgot how goddamned fast Hibari was, Gokudera reflected as he stared up at the ceiling of his hospital room. In addition to the burns from earlier, he now had a fractured rib, and his left eye refused to open. Which was a good thing; this way he didn't have to look at Yamamoto, who was sitting on his left and carrying on merrily about something really dumb. Gokudera certainly wasn't going to pay attention to him. He didn't know why in blue hell Yamamoto was even here.
"I think Tsuna is a little upset with you," Yamamoto said suddenly. "Why would you pick a fight with Hibari-senpai?"
"I didn't pick a fight with him. I just told him to go fuck himself," Gokudera slurred. Now the Tenth was angry with him. He was going to kill Hibari Kyōya when he could move again.
"Anyway, they're all on the way here now -- Tsuna, the kid, and Bianchi-san."
"B-Bianchi?" Gokudera spluttered. The name didn't quite inspire nausea, but it was only a matter of time at this rate.
"Yep," Yamamoto said, grinning. "The kid said she was really concerned for you."
"Listen, Yamamoto, you've got to get me out of here," Gokudera said quickly. "You know I get sick whenever I see her!"
"Oh, right, right," Yamamoto said. "But you're injured."
"So what, you dumbass? I'll be injured and sick if she shows up."
"Besides, I hate hospitals. I'll recover much better on my own."
"Did you really have to blow up your bed?" Yamamoto asked as he helped Gokudera limp away from the hospital. "It's not like Bianchi will believe you died in the explosion, you know."
With a huge effort to keep the pain in his chest under control, Gokudera grabbed Yamamoto and slammed him against the nearest wall. "That's not it, you idiot! I'm trying to quit smoking."
Gokudera tightened his grip on Yamamoto's neck. "So if I don't blow things up every once in a while, I'll explode, get it?"
Of course he wouldn't get it. He was a complete idiot. Why was Gokudera even bothering to tell him?
Something in the idiot's tone made Gokudera look at his face. A deep flush decorated it, and that made Gokudera even angrier. "Why the fuck are you blushing--" he began to splutter, but realised that his thigh had somehow ended up between Yamamoto's legs, and it had been pressing against Yamamoto in a place that'd make anyone blush. And Yamamoto's, um, place was enjoying it a little too much.
Horror-struck, Gokudera backed away from Yamamoto. "You-- GAH!" He whirled around and stumbled towards his house as fast as he could.
That freak. No wonder he was so into baseball -- he probably enjoyed the post-practice showers the most. Fucking perverted baseball idiot. Why was Gokudera even wasting time on thinking about it?
He flung eight sticks of dynamite into the air and ran behind a tree. He really didn't want to end up in the hospital again. At this rate, his own weapons would kill him faster than smoking ever could have, but that was his own damn fault. He refused to be too weak to keep his promise to the Tenth.
Hell, once yesterday, he had been so pissed off that he'd come close to speaking rudely to the Tenth. Completely fucking unacceptable. He'd read on the Internet that the first week of quitting would be the worst, but this was just ridiculous. Was he supposed to believe that he'd wake up tomorrow and no longer seethe with rage at every little thing? That was the type of New Age mind-over-matter bullshit for gays like Yamamoto.
Gokudera couldn't have a cigarette, so he'd just blow shit up until he no longer wanted one. Easy. It would also let him perfect his Rocket Bomb technique, so he would be more useful to the boss.
But his timing was off and, due to his still-ailing rib, so was his aim. Plus his mind was all messed up because of what happened with Yamamoto three days ago. How was Gokudera supposed to act around him now? Yamamoto would bring nothing but shame to the Vongola family -- as if Lussuria wasn't enough of a fucking disgrace.
Gokudera leaned against the tree trunk, panting. It was no good. He just kept tossing bombs into the air with no targets or purpose. It was like training for the Rings battle all over again.
"Boss!" Gokudera yelled, looking around wildly. "Where are you?" Had he unknowingly put the Tenth in danger?
A nearby bush rustled, and the Tenth emerged from behind it, brushing leaves from his jacket. "Yamamoto told me," he said.
Panic cut through Gokudera as he remembered the last time he'd seen Yamamoto. "Told you what?" he asked. His hands were shaking. Had Yamamoto told the Tenth a bunch of lies? Accused Gokudera of being... being...
"If it's so bad for you without smoking, then you shouldn't quit," the Tenth said. "Here. Reborn gave them to me." He stepped closer to Gokudera and held out a packet of Sax. Gokudera usually smoked MS, but he wasn't going to complain.
Wait, what am I doing? Gokudera froze in the midst of reaching for the pack. "I won't break my promise," he said. "I--"
"Oh, shut up," Reborn said, hopping out from the bushes. "You're useless to the family like this. Quit smoking on your own time."
Gokudera sagged against the tree and lit a cigarette with trembling hands. He felt light-headed, and the smoke tasted too bitter after all these days, but it felt incredible, like meeting an old friend after many years apart.
Besides, why should Gokudera give a fuck about being healthy? He'd chosen a mafioso's life, after all. After he'd left his father's mansion, he could have run away to Milan to become a shoemaker's apprentice or something. But he hadn't, and he wouldn't. His life belonged to the tenth boss of Vongola. And if the Tenth told him to smoke six packs a day, then that was what Gokudera would do.
"H-he's stopped looking especially scary," the Tenth was saying to Reborn, quietly. "Thank goodness. I'm so glad Yamamoto told us..."
...had Gokudera's heart just started beating a little bit faster at the mention of Yamamoto?
Oh, fuck, no.