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01 September 2008 @ 06:35 pm
This icon is entirely too happy for the following fic  
Finally, the minibang is finished! /o/
And kiku did some amazing and adorable artwork for it ♥♥ which you can see here, but which I have also put a link to in the relevant line in the story ♥♥

Title: The Ringing Never Stops
Author: Chira
Rating: PG-13 (for like two swear words; I don't think I've ever written anything this long this tame before /o/;;)
Pairing: Very light Tsuna/Gokudera
Prompt: Sounds Like No Other
Summary: Dynamite drives more than just enemies away.


There are multiple reasons why Gokudera likes using dynamite. Firstly, it's a good, effective mid-range weapon. It's powerful; it can go as far as he can throw it, or in the case of the rocket bombs, as far as the extra powder he packs them with can take them. Secondly, it just looks damn cool. No one wants to mess with a kid holding lit sticks of dynamite unless they're particularly insane. Sadly, most of the enemies of the Vongola fit into the category of certifiably insane. He likes his dynamite; it gave him a good nickname - Smoking Bomb had a nice ring to it, and fit well with the bad boy image the cigarette lent him. It's a trick that Shamal taught him, something he's learned good lessons from. He can relate to it- dangerous-looking exterior, but fairly harmless until set off. A short fuse, an explosive temper, impatience; sometimes it's hard to determine just where his body stops and the dynamite begins when he's fighting.

But those are all the reasons that people know. It's easy to tell that he likes his explosives, likes his image, likes the power it gives him. The final reason is one that automatically comes to mind when thinking about dynamite, but no one ever considers a reason for wanting to use it.

Dynamite is loud.

Boom, boom. One, two, counting the seconds between blasts, calculating how long it took for the charge to be set off. Gokudera grins, rises to his feet, and looks around, ears ringing with that lovely sound. The ringing doesn't fade for a long time, just the way he likes it.

Tsuna once asked him why he never wore earplugs while working so close with his bombs. Why he didn't protect his hearing like he should. He hadn't had an answer then, not one the Tenth would've accepted as the truth, anyways. So instead, he grinned, shrugged, then asked if the Tenth had finished his math homework yet, getting the never-failing stammer and flail before the younger boy fled upstairs to attempt it.

The question hadn’t been asked again, and he’s glad. He still doesn't think he has an answer. Not one he could admit to. So he lets it go; he lets the explosions happen feet away from his ear, lets himself feel like his eardrums are going to blow out at any moment. It's all part of the risk. It’s all part of the fun.

~~~~

"Tenth, get to safety! I'll cover you from this side!"

"I've got you covered from this side, Tsuna!"

The attacks had come from all sides, testing both Gokudera and Yamamoto's limits as they fended off the foreign attacks. None of them had ever seen anything like this, as their enemies used boxes and rings to release flame energy. The trio had been caught in the open, unaware that this attack had been in the works for months, unaware of the forming threat in Italy. Yamamoto dripped sweat and had trouble keeping Shigure Kintoki in katana form, while Gokudera was rapidly running out of ammunition. Tsuna seemed the only one really able to combat the flames coming at them, but using the X-Gloves for such an extended period of time and the Zero-Point Breakthrough so often to shield his guardians had quickly drained him.

They all need out, and fast.

"Gokudera, how many bombs do you have left? Enough for one final barrage?"

A pause to catch lost breath. "Yeah, and maybe a little more, depending."

"Good. Throw it right as I hit zero-point." No questions, as there is no room for 'ifs' or 'maybes'. A miss is unacceptable in this situation.

The flames flicker, and Gokudera starts clicking his tongue, keeping time, counting. Out of the corner of his eye, he can see Yamamoto trying his best to fend off the flames and in front of him, the Tenth, absolutely vulnerable as he hits Zero-Point.

One. Two. Boom. The ice muffles the sound slightly as the dynamite explodes on the other side just in time, giving them a precious extra second to duck in the combined smoke screen and ice shards and get to safety.

The entrance to the Namimori Underground Shopping Arcade is nearby, and they duck down it, taking refuge in a stairwell halfway between floors and pant, catching breath, shoulders heaving.

Gokudera coughs violently, lungs burning, and Yamamoto starts to laugh, desperate relief evident in the sound.

“Maybe this’ll convince you to kick that smoking habit. See, you obviously can’t run when your lungs are all messed up like that!” But even Yamamoto’s chest is heaving as he struggles to catch his breath. Gokudera shoots him a glare, and is about to retort when he catches sight of the Vongola Don.

Tsuna is crouched in a corner, shuddering, head cradled in mitten-covered hands. Except one of the mittens is off, and the bare hand is bright red. A raw red.

As Yamamoto sees what has startled Gokudera so, they both jolt forward, reaching to take Tsuna’s hand to examine it, back off for fear of causing Tsuna pain, then reach for it again at the wrist. As they hold the hand out, Tsuna tries to wrench it back, stammering out an “it’s fine, really. I-it’s not as bad as it looks, I promise. I’m fi……..”, falling into a sharp hiss as Gokudera breathes over the burn.

The burn caused by the dynamite exploding a smidge too early. His count had been off, and it had cost the Tenth.

Gokudera drops his hands, leaving Yamamoto to examine Tsuna’s wrist. Hands clenching into tight fists, rings and nails digging into his palm, he barely hears Yamamoto suggest that they get Tsuna to a bathroom to try and soothe the skin with water and make a wet poultice. That burn should be his. He should be the one to have to bear the scar.

The burn actually does look worse than it is, but that doesn’t decrease Gokudera’s guilt by anything, as it is still his fault, is still a hindrance to the Tenth that he caused, and is still a serious injury.

Reborn’s assessment when they get back is “No fighting for at least two weeks. What were you thinking, fighting recklessly like that at an enemy we know nothing about, Dame Tsuna?”

Gokudera holes up in his room, compiling his dynamite, determined to find some way to fight these boxes, these flames, these new enemies. Anything to make sure this doesn’t happen again, as next time it might not be so light as a burn.

His hands skitter across the sticks laid out on his bed, and they start to fall into a subconscious pattern, one he hasn’t followed in years.

He was close to finishing the song as a knock interrupts, jolting him out of the past. The sticks of dynamite knock against one another, rolling off of his bed, bouncing on the floor, so he has to yell to be heard. “Door’s open; just come in.”

The creak of the door is agonizingly slow as Tsuna inches in, still as hesitant as he had been in middle school. “I just wanted to make sure you were okay. I mean, after today and all. None of us knew what to expect, it was just so sudden and…anyways, it wasn’t your—“

The sound of a fist slamming against the wall interrupts Tsuna’s ramblings, and Gokudera whirls around, eyes flaming. “Of course it was my fault, Tenth! If I’d counted right, if I could’ve been more help earlier on, if I’d only done what I was supposed to do and protect you, this wouldn’t have happened! It is my fault, and nothing you say can make that burn disappear.”

Tsuna sighs, the sound covering his wince as he places his hands on Gokudera’s shoulders. “But Gokudera, it was an ambush. We weren’t supposed to be prepared; we were supposed to die. And looking at how we came out of it, a burn is a small price to pay for everyone being alive and together. I mean to keep my Family from harm, and I’ll take as many burns as necessary to keep us all alive.”

The silence is deafening, even more so than a triple bomb going off ten feet away. Gokudera’s hands clench at his sides. Over the years, he’s opened up more to Tsuna. Only to Tsuna, and not completely— he can’t give away that much of himself, can’t let himself be hurt that way. “I’m supposed to be your right-hand man. I’m supposed to be your guardian. I’m supposed to...fuck!”

The hand meant to slam into the wall again is instead caught by a smaller one. “You can’t do everything, Gokudera. You forget, I am Vongola the Tenth.” Tsuna’s voice is quiet as he speaks, slowly, letting his words hang in the silence. “What kind of Boss would I be if I couldn’t protect my Family or take care of myself?

“Let it go, Gokudera. I’m not made of glass. My hand will heal, and so will any other wounds from these battles.” Tsuna smiles up at him, both hands cradling Gokudera’s larger one.

“I just—I feel like I should be doing something, but I can’t think what.”

Another grin. Looking down, Gokudera thinks that the passing years haven’t done anything to decrease the difference in their heights, and sometimes feels that he could just pick the Tenth up with no more problem than he could Lambo or I-Pin. “But you can do something; I can’t train until this burn heals, but Shamal suggested exercising it to help build it back up.”

Gokudera blinks, not completely understanding. “You mean, like squeezing those squishy stress balls?”

“I was thinking...more like playing an instrument.”

“...”

“Gokudera, could you teach me how to play the piano? At least, while we have time.” Tsuna’s voice is almost a whisper. He has to know what he’s asking of Gokudera, how much he’s asking of him.

He still hasn’t let go of Gokudera’s hand.

~~

Gokudera is quiet for the next couple of days, but less intense. Tsuna doesn’t bring up his request, and no one mentions the bandage engulfing the Vongola Don’s hand.

No one wants to know where the old piano came from, especially by the way Reborn grins as he looks at it. They don’t question why it’s there, don’t want to know who’s lying in some gutter so that it could be there. They just let it be.

Lambo of course starts banging on it at once; even at ten years old, he still knows nothing of the word “subtlety”. Gokudera doesn’t say a word, but soon, Lambo stops banging randomly, and starts playing Chopsticks and Heart and Soul. Sometimes, even Happy Birthday can be heard. Yamamoto just grins.

After two days of having the piano take up residency in the side room across from the kitchen, Tsuna can’t sleep. It’s been five days since the attack, and there is still no information on their new enemies and the new weapons they carry. Tsuna sits in the base kitchen, turning a cup of tea around in his hands as he hears notes being picked out on the piano. They’re slow, painfully so, and deliberate. It’s not a melody he recognizes as anything in particular, but he can’t exactly claim to have a fantastic knowledge of classical music.

It’s a G minor arpeggio. The G minor 7th scale. An augmented C major chord. Nothing in particular, but days attached to each. Days he’d buried under explosions and coughs.

He starts with the small stuff; learning the names of the notes and the keys, learning what each pattern is called. Those aren’t painful. He moves from the major scales to the minor ones, breaching later territory, unearthing more and more conversations, more laughter, more goodbyes.

The scales and arpeggios are done, and the natural progression is to move to his pieces. He’d never understood the saying “it’s just like riding a bike – you never forget”, but he could now understand where it was coming from as his fingers trail over the keys. Once light and called “the best hands to play the piano”, now longer and weighed down with rings of all sorts, they pick out a soft melody.

Even Tsuna, standing at the door, with his limited knowledge, recognizes the song. It’s the beginning to Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, though slower and softer than Tsuna’s ever heard it, the notes barely sounding as Gokudera’s fingers trace the keys rather than press down on them. He considers both leaving and entering the room, but decides instead to stay where he is, leaning against the doorframe. The melody has always seemed haunting to Tsuna, but especially so in the middle of the night. Especially played like this. He shivers a little, rubbing his hands over his arms to settle the goosebumps that had raised.

Gokudera finishes the movement, fingers now more sure and pressing. Now he is in truly dangerous territory, as his hands settle into position for Rachmaninoff (Op 3. No. 2). He is surprised at how much easier it is to play now that his hands are larger, now that they span an octave and a half, now that they have been through innumerable battles.

Tsuna is not particularly surprised at the songs Gokudera is playing, although he doesn’t recognize this one. However, the piece still has a haunting melody; the anguish of the pianist is obvious with every chord progression. He watches as Gokudera’s body presses in with the notes and almost folds into itself before tensing at the climax of the piece. The older man’s shoulders curl inward again as the piece finishes, and Tsuna, who has never been one for wild flights of imagination, can see a child shaking their mother, trying to wake one who will not, cannot wake up. The desperation is clear and acquired. He cannot imagine a young Gokudera playing this way, and wonders what it would have sounded like, played by one innocent to their world.

The Rachmaninoff finishes, and Gokudera sits, still for a moment, letting his emotions settle. It’s something he hasn’t felt for years, usually so controlled about his past and about letting it out. Feeling oddly at peace, his hands settle into an easier piece, and starts the slow base line for Satie’s Gymnopedie. The strange chords bring a slight smile to his face, as he remembers the trouble he had learning the piece.

~~

“No, it’s just a little different, here, look at the sheet music. It’s an F natural rather than an F sharp.”

“That just doesn’t sound right! It doesn’t go with what came before at all! Ohh, this piece is so confusing!”

The piano teacher laughs, a soft sound that Gokudera wishes were written down in sheet music so that he could play it on his own when he was lonely. “You can’t always trust your ears; they can lead you wrong. The sheet music will always lead you right, as it holds the composer’s intents, and if the note is an F natural rather than an F sharp like you think it should be, then there must be a reason. Don’t judge a piece until you finish it and hear how everything fits together. It can surprise you at how well something that sounds discordant at first brings the entire piece together.”

Gokudera sits and stares, a little stunned. Nonetheless, he places his hands on the keys and plays the chord progression again, this time ignoring his instincts and allowing the notes to ring out as written, a wide grin breaking out as he continues, realizing that the chord resolves easily in a grand manner.

~~

Tsuna listens to that same chord progression, only hearing how the notes flow into one another while Gokudera hears only memories.

The piece ends, wholly unresolved, and Gokudera sits, hands still pressing down on that final minor chord, the echo of its major cousin from before.

Hands suddenly slam down on the keys, starting Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody much harder than he should, filling the room to the brim with sound and startling Tsuna out of the lull Gymnopedie had created. With a lurch, he springs away from the doorframe and slips on the floor, trying not to cry out as various body parts slam into the floor.

There’s a discordant note that truly doesn’t belong as Gokudera’s hands slip at the sudden noise, his head twisting to the side to stare at the intruder. Tsuna sits up and gives a small, sheepish laugh. “Uhh, it sounds really good?”

Gokudera just gives him a look, and Tsuna suspects that it is only because he is the Tenth that he hasn’t found himself full of dynamite right about now. Realization sets in and Gokudera all but topples off of the piano bench in an attempt to help the fallen Tenth.

“You’re okay, right Tenth? Oh fuck, I didn’t wake you up or anything, did I? I didn’t mean to play that loud…if anyone asks, it was a recording. U-uh, yeah, a recording.”

Tsuna folds his legs underneath him and sits back on them and laughs, a deep, rich sound that fills the room in much the same way the Liszt did and surprises Gokudera, as it is a very different laugh- a truer one- than the sheepish laugh from before. It’s nice, and he thinks that he would like to have it written down into sheet music; a thought which strikes him as being strange, as he has a vague recollection of having had that thought before, but can’t quite grasp the memory. He blinks to clear his mind and stands up, extending a hand to his friend, pulling Tsuna up. The silence is awkward as they stand there, looking at anything, anywhere but each other’s face, until finally Tsuna breaks the silence.

“That song you were playing- the middle one- it was really pretty. I don’t really know much about classical music, but it sounded…different. What was it?”

Gokudera still won’t look up from the floor; instead putting his hand behind his head to ruffle the spikes. “One of the first pieces I learned – Erik Satie’s Gymnopedie.”

“It was simple, but pretty. …Do…do you think I could learn to play it?”

“...”

“I’d like to learn to play it. I don’t want to force you to do anything, but especially if this new threat doesn’t end soon, a distraction back to something normal would be nice. Think about it? Please?”

Tsuna stands up from the ground and extends a hand to Gokudera. “We should both get to bed – it’s late. Plus, reading sheet music by moonlight can’t be good for the eyes.”

A wry smile, and Gokudera’s hand is in Tsuna’s.

~~

The next day, Tsuna finds a thin, yellow book on his seat at breakfast. It reads, Satie, Three Gymnopedies”. He looks up for Gokudera, but instead sees Reborn, who just tips his hat and grins. Tsuna laughs a little, then slides into his seat as Lambo rushes into the room, Gokudera running after him, yelling as usual.

“Stupid cow, come back here! Aargh, you think you would’ve stopped this by now!”

“Only when it’s important, stuuuupid!”

“And just what’s so important about stealing my toothbrush!? Ugh, fine, if you want it that damn badly, just keep the stupid thing. It’s too early for this,” Gokudera moans as he collapses into a chair across from Tsuna, while Lambo grabs a piece of fruit from the bowl on the table and runs out of the room again, laughing.

When he lifts his head to see what the breakfast options are, Gokudera catches sight of the yellow sheet music. He looks away quickly, and just says, “this afternoon, in the side room. I’ll teach you.”

Tsuna’s smile is soft but wide, his only answer a nod.

Gokudera grabs an apple from the center bowl, tosses it up in the air a few times, then walks out, muttering about needing to train.

The courtyard is small and hardly ideal for practicing with a mid-range weapon, but as he doesn’t want anyone asking him questions, least of all the baseball idiot or the lawn-head, both of whom are guaranteed to start prying the moment they see him in the training room, this is his only option.

Explosion after explosion is set off in the yard, the stone walls amplifying the echo, causing the ringing to be stronger than ever. The ringing replaces the soft notes of the piano, echoing in the moonlight. The ringing in his ears drives out the lingering melody, leaving only a high-pitched whine, and then silence. The memories are driven back, just the way he likes it.

His clothes, freshly washed, soak up the smell of the dynamite, and he breathes it in, breathes it in like he would one of his cigarettes. In some ways, this is better – there’s a stronger, deeper smell, just as addictive. He sighs, takes a final deep breath, and then heads inside, today’s supply of bombs used up. He feels exhilarated, as only training can make him feel.

Sense of pride high and the ringing still in his ears, he heads to the side room. He knows he will be early – maybe early enough to take a smoke before the Tenth arrives. He briefly wonders what would happen if he didn’t show up at all, but then shakes his head; he’d rather die than break a promise to the Tenth. Gokudera is surprised to find Tsuna already in the room, sitting at the piano, hands absently trailing over the keys, nonsensically pressing them.

“You’re early,” Gokudera blurts out, wishing he’d had something a bit more…well, eloquent to say.

“Reborn’s been suspiciously lenient with training recently. He says it’s only until my hand heals up properly, but I think he’s planning something big.” Tsuna shudders, “If it’s something that he needs a week to put together, I really don’t want to know what it is. But either way, I’ve got a ridiculous amount of free time, so here I am.” Suddenly more anxious, Tsuna’s voice quiets. “I hope you don’t mind.”

Gokudera shakes his head emphatically. “No! Not at all! I mean, I ran out of bombs, so I would’ve been here anyways, so we can start now if you feel like it. I guess.”

Tsuna smiles. “No time like the present, right?” He slides over on the bench to make room for Gokudera and looks up at his Storm Guardian.

Gokudera flops down on the bench, foot automatically reaching for the pedal before he remembers that he’s only teaching the basics. He wishes old habits would die more easily. They make memories harder to forget.

~~

“ungh. Uuuungh. Oh, it’s no use, I can’t reach it!” Gokudera stops trying to reach the pedal with his too-short legs and just lets them dangle off the piano bench. She laughs then, the piano teacher, and ruffles his hair gently.

“Just give it time. You’ll be able to soon. “

“But it sounds so much better when you play it with the pedal! I want my piano to be as pretty as yours someday.”

She smiles softly. “You know, it doesn’t really matter what you’re playing, as long as you love what you’re doing. If you feel for the piece, the audience will hear that, pedal or no, perfect or not.

“So just play. Play something for me.”

He starts with the exercise she’d taught him last week- a jumping chromatic scale, but his left hand starts off with a lower third harmony, and the exercise evolves into his fingers dancing across the keys, following a pattern that he lays out in his mind. Finally, he reaches a roadblock and stops. He blinks, stares at the keys, and grins widely, fingers tracing the final chord.

“See what happens when you follow your inner rhythm? Now, this time, do your warm-ups properly.”

~~

They sit side-by-side on the piano bench, uncomfortable and unsure. But Gokudera places his hands on the keys in the beginner’s starting position.

“…well, I can teach you how to play that one piece, or I can teach you from the bottom up. It’s up to you, Tenth.”

“Let’s start from the very basics. If Reborn went to all this trouble to get a piano in the first place, it would be a shame if I could only play one piece, right?”

“Right. So this key is called Middle C, ‘cause it’s pretty much in the middle, I guess. Anyways, on the music, this guy right here is Middle C.” He points to a note on the page. Then, from there, you go up or down, just like the alphabet. C, D, E, F, G, A, B, then back to C. And that just repeats over and over.”

Tsuna stares at the seeming mess of black and white spread in front of him. “Haaa, this seems really complicated now that I’m looking at it. Is it really as hard as it looks?”

“Well…” Gokudera leans in to peer at the sheet music, “I guess it would be, especially to someone who doesn’t have the basics down. D’you want to start with something easier and work your way up to this?”

There’s a pause as Tsuna thinks. “I’ll still learn to play this, right?”

Gokudera nods, already leaning over to look through the other sheet music piled by the side of the piano.

Tsuna frowns slightly, but it goes unseen. “Do you promise that even when my hand gets better, you’ll teach me to play this song?”

“I give you my word, Tenth. No matter what, I’ll teach you to play this song perfectly. Now, how about this? It’s got the notes labeled and everything.” Gokuera shudders at how much Reborn must have had this planned out from the start.

“Damn, that baby’s creepy sometimes,” he mutters.

Tsuna turns from the book to look at Gokudera. “What?”

“N-nothing, Tenth! Now, see, this is Middle C here on the page. Now put your thumb on the key, and just lay the rest of your fingers out naturally. Yeah, just like that.”

~~

The echoing of the piano down the halls as Lambo tries to teach I-Pin how to play Chopsticks is interrupted by the alarm system, announcing that intruders were approaching. Everyone scrambles into position, grabbing weapons, shoving papers into drawers, and rushing outside to get into the open, rather than be trapped.

Tsuna is the last one out into the courtyard, having made sure the girls had gotten to safety. The guardians stand in a ring, backs to the center, facing another ring, this one of black uniformed enemies, floating in the air above them. No one had anticipated an aerial attack.

The circle tightens as Tsuna joins the others; the dying will flame flaring into life on his forehead as it did on the rings of the guardians. One of their enemies brings out a box, and as they watch, rams it against his hand, releasing a long staff. Similar movements produce a variety of weapons encircling the Vongola.

It is Lambo who throws the first hit, impatient as always. Striking out with lightning, he causes his target to falter in the air before receiving a faceful of red-tinted fire in return. The battle becomes a blur as the black-clothed attackers fire colorful bursts of flame at the Vongola, who do all they can to deflect the attacks and return the favor. Flashes of metal, ice, and leather mix with explosions and flame

Finally, they are each able to pull a target down from the air, giving the other intruders good cause to leave. The attackers were low rank- even unfamiliar with the uniform or whatever family they might be from, their skill and numbers made that obvious, along with the willingness to leave comrades behind. It meant they were easily replaceable, which no one liked the thought of. A family that large meant trouble.

Ryohei shouts cries of victory as they drag the captives into the base for questioning. Gokudera looks over the wall of the courtyard in the direction the other attacks had left in. The wall is easy to look over now, with the crumbling hole where his dynamite had marked it. It isn’t until Yamamoto yells at him, asking him to come inside so they can reset the barrier that he realizes that he’d stopped completely, staring at the destruction of the courtyard.

He turns and walks towards the door.

“Haha, you’d think you’d gone deaf, with how many times I had to call your name before you answered!” Shigure Kintoki slung behind his head, Yamamoto presented the perfect picture of an easy-going nature that Gokudera would never admit he was jealous of.

It wasn’t until he was inside that he realizes that he hadn’t just been lost in thought. He could see lips moving, could see the other person responding, but only catch snippets of words. He told himself that they were just too far away, that he was still recovering from that lovely ringing after fighting with dynamite. That was really the only explanation; the courtyard had been small, and the sound hadn’t been able to move very far before rebounding back and barraging his ears.

He’d be fine by tomorrow.

~~

They meet in the piano room. Gokudera is the first to arrive, having arrived almost an hour before the scheduled time, all spent sitting, staring at the keys. Sometimes his fingers traced over them, but mostly he stared.

Tsuna walks into the room to find Gokudera pressing down on the highest A, over and over again. The high-pitched sound doesn’t linger for very long before fading into silence, but Gokudera hits it much sooner before it fades. The younger man walks up behind him and places his hand on the pianist’s, stopping the movement.

“Isn’t it boring to play the same key, over and over again?”

He watches Gokudera’s eyes come into focus as he realizes who had spoken as well as just who has his hand on top of his own. Gokudera jumps slightly and tries to yank his hand away. Instead, the hand slips down, banging onto a combination of keys, causing Tsuna to wince at the high-pitched discordance.

Gokudera only yanks his hand back and moves over on the bench to make room for Tsuna, taking out the book of sheet music, setting up in silence. Tsuna sits down next to him, splaying his fingers out along the keys, picking out the notes he remembers.

Time passes silently, with Tsuna leaning in to read the letters written on the sheet music, then finding its black or white representative, repeating the short pattern over and over until the song is recognizable. As Tsuna becomes more confident with it, Gokudera plays a simple accompaniment, filling in the gaps between notes, weaving it into Tsuna’s part. When he stops, Tsuna stops as well, the song now sounding empty with just the plain melody.

“I think you should move onto the next song now.”

Tsuna smiles broadly and leans forward to turn the page. He sits back and looks down to the side, away from Gokudera.

“I’m glad you agreed to teach me piano. I-I know you don’t have the best memories attached to it, so it…it means a lot to me that you’re here now, next to me on the bench.” Tsuna’s voice is small as he shifts his body so that he is turned toward his friend, still looking down, one hand resting on the keys absently.

“I’ve always wanted to hear you play piano, so I’m sorta glad this all happened.” Tsuna jerks his hand off the keys and waves his hands wildly, and for the first time, Gokudera turns and looks the Vongola Don in the eye. Tsuna turns red as his eyes start darting around the room, pulse racing.

“No, no, well, I guess what I’m saying is thank you. I know this can’t have been easy, and it’s a lot of time, so thank you.”

Gokudera laughs and grins down at his boss. “Anytime, Tenth! It’s not that much time at all, and you’re picking this up really quickly, so it’s not hard at all!”

The piano bench rocks a bit as Tsuna turns quickly back to face the piano. It was hard enough to say the first time; he’s not sure he can say it all again, so just blinks and leans in to peer at the notes for the next song.

~~

It doesn’t rain on the day of the funeral; the sun beats down on everyone’s suited backs, the humidity and heat driving their spirits even further into the ground. The last few months have not been good to the Vongola, and no one knows what to do next anymore. They take each day battle by battle with dwindling numbers, driven into a corner, hiding underground.

They gather in the small room in the base to where the piano has been moved. It hasn’t been touched since the last time Tsuna and Gokudera had been in the room. Books of sheet music are scattered across the sleek black top of the upright, with the last piece Tsuna had played on top, not even a corner buried under anything else.

Gokudera picks up the thin yellow book and sits on the bench heavily, hands moving shakily into position. He stares at the music in front of him for a long while, unblinking as the black and white merge together in his swimming vision. In frustration, he knocks the book off the ledge it rests on, sending it skittering across the floor. No one moves to pick it up.

His hands settle into position; he doesn’t need the sheet music for this song—as if it hadn’t already been burned into his memory, there’s no way he could forget it now. He takes a deep breath, letting his shoulders drop before pressing the first note in the softest pianissimo he can muster up, hands continuing on their journey over the four octaves the song covers. It may not be raining outside, but the song picks up the melancholy mood the rain would have brought and echoes it throughout the room. There is not a sound in the room; only the piano can be heard as Gokudera moves from the second to the third and final Gymnopedie. The final chord echoes in the small room, despite the amount of people, and Gokudera does not move, hands remaining pressed down on the final combination of keys.

He has what he wanted; he can no longer hear the notes played on the piano. But somehow, the memories and pain he’d thought would vanish haven’t disappeared with the sound.
 
 
Current Music: 鳥の歌ーI've (Kanon AIR piano arrangements
 
 
 
ケイトリン: Shishio+Yoshimori // we triedkeitorin on September 4th, 2008 01:16 am (UTC)
Ouch, seriously. But that was freaking amazing! You did an excellent job.
demoerin: just a TEEEEEENAGE DIRTBAGGGGdemoerin on September 8th, 2008 08:38 am (UTC)
Lambo of course starts banging on it at once; even at ten years old, he still knows nothing of the word “subtlety”. Gokudera doesn’t say a word, but soon, Lambo stops banging randomly, and starts playing Chopsticks and Heart and Soul. Sometimes, even Happy Birthday can be heard. Yamamoto just grins.
Aaaww. Gokudera's learned patience! \o/

The premise of this is interesting; I'd never have thought of Gokudera using dynamite because of the noise. I love how you wrote the fic - everything's put with a subtle touch. It would be easy to make a fic like this drown in wangst, but everything feels like ... 'just the way it is'. And that's far more affecting than anything else. Oh, the end. Whyyyyyyy.