Warnings: Cursing, hints of sex, but very implicit.
Summary: I'm going to keep my promise, Yamamoto's letter says, Are you still waiting?
Not anymore, Gokudera writes back, but that doesn't mean that things have changed
A/N: This is set about two years after canon, and disregards the current arc.
A Lifetime in Waiting
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
When you're sixteen and confused and fully consumed with thoughts about protecting your famiglia, you just don't - can't - think about love.
For you, confessions, rejections, letters – they don't matter. After all, you're fucking sixteen, and you're not a kid anymore, and it's high time you face the world and make shit happen. (And so you ignore these feelings, because they're strange and painful, and mostly because you just don't give a fuck.)
Yamamoto isn't smart enough to know these things, and there are times when you just want to grab him by the collar and scream facts into his face (“We're in the fucking mafia, you idiot!”). You want to hurry things along more, especially after Nono died, and the family properties end up in chaos, and you don't even stop to wonder why things are going too fast.
Then the day comes when Yamamoto tells you that he knows how things are going, and he knows what he's supposed to do, so he (sixteen, too, and young and impulsive, with milk still on his lips) makes the right decision and says that he can go.
But, you try to argue, you can't.
And then he looks at you – the kind of sympathetic face you hate – and he smiles and tells you that it's okay and that he's not a kid anymore and that he needs to face the world.
You choke a bit, hearing your words come out of his mouth, and eventually, you say yes.
Tsuna cries in the airport, and he apologizes over and over.
“It's okay, Tsuna,” Yamamoto says, and it seems like he's directing it to Gokudera, as well. “This is my job, isn't it?
Gokudera's mind is in a confused whirl. This shouldn't be happening, he should be the one out there, and why did Yamamoto say yes?
“You wanted to stay, didn't you?” Yamamoto asks him, putting a hand on his shoulder. Gokudera doesn't find the strength to shrug him off. “So stay here with Tsuna and build the family up again.” He starts talking about things Gokudera never thought he knew, like how he's going to reclaim the property as soon as possible, and how he plans to study law while he's there, and how he'll make sure that things will work out. When he finishes, he smiles, he takes his bag, and he starts to walk off.
Gokudera runs after him, and a confession clumsily escapes from his mouth.
“So you better come back, you idiot,” he finishes, breathing deeply. He punches Yamamoto on the shoulder. “You better come back.”
Yamamoto smiles and says, “I will, Gokudera. Trust me.”
When you're twenty-four, 'trust' starts to sound like a funny word.
It has been almost a decade now, and somehow, you got through university and through building up the base with Tsuna. You feel accomplished, but at the same time, part of you yearns for something more. Something more than the yearly reports that come each year, telling you the same thing: that Yamamoto Takeshi is all right, among other things. And how, every five years, it asks for an extension – the uprisings in the area are making things more complicated.
But you have no choice.
You sign these papers (they aren't even by Yamamoto, because Yamamoto is undercover and you can't even feel him there---) and send them over to Morocco, wondering what 'all right' means.
The process is long, and painful.
Then on the year you turn twenty-four, there are two reports, and the second one says, Yamamoto Takeshi changes locations. He moves in to his spouse's town, and has taken hold of a small bungalow overlooking the mines. They are all right.
You don't say anything – instead, you just sign it and you send it back, along with your blessing.
“It's alright, Tenth.”
“But--- Yamamoto--- he's missing, isn't he?”
Gokudera sighs. Yamamoto's stay in the next town only lasted for two years. After that, their contact sent in a report saying that he was in hiding. Apparently, one of them set him up for killing a land owner.
“He can handle himself. He knows what he needs to do. He has his family to protect doesn't he?”
Tsuna – still young, and kind, and perpetually worried – looks up at Gokudera. “Are you sure?”
“Un. We should hold a party. It's his daughter's first birthday tomorrow, right?” Gokudera holds out a handkerchief for his boss, and helps him stand up. “Believe me, Tenth.”
Tsuna pushes back the handkerchief and wipes his face on his sleeves. He smiles, and Gokudera knows that Tsuna is trying his best. He tries to smile back and insists on the handkerchief. “You're going to ruin your suit.”
“I think you need that more than I do, Gokudera-kun.”
When you're thirty, you stop waiting, because you've got more important things to do and to think about. You're not young anymore. Time is moving faster.
(But also because you're tired.)
You sit on your desk and go through paperwork. Reborn was talking about a coup d'état in one of their families in the Middle East who opposes the Vongola Tenth's legal methods, and as consigliere, he had advised Tsuna to lift up their other activities, and to focus on salvaging whatever they had to avoid damages. It is a busy year.
Reports from Yamamoto's side come sparingly now, and you are surprised to find one among the paperwork you need to do. The last time you heard from them was two years ago, right after the report saying that Yamamoto's group succeeded in regaining more than 50% of the territory. This one says that as of the moment, the Vongola has taken over 70%. As always, you just sign it and you send it back with a comment at the bottom telling them to hurry it up, along with an attachment of updates regarding the Vongola.
Then something falls out.
It is a Post-It, and it has your name on top. The message is (to your surprise), in G-Code.
I'm going to keep my promise, it says, Are you still waiting?
Not anymore, you write back hurriedly, almost as if you are afraid of being caught, but that doesn't mean that things have changed. You ram the reply in the envelope, seal it, and stick it in the middle of the pile.
Now, you run your hands through your hair (You cut it shorter now, because it's easier to manage that way.) and you sigh as you reply, before standing up, and calling it a day.
That was the last time they heard from him, until.
When you're forty, he comes back.
He greets you with I'm home, ahahaha, as if nothing happened. Nothing much has changed, except that his voice is deeper than how you remember it, and he is taller. All of a sudden, you're sixteen again, and all you can think about is love and the strange, painful feeling in your chest.
And you realize that there is no time.
The moment after he talks, you pull him towards you and you kiss him. He tastes like sunshine and curry and mints and you don't stop, despite knowing how absolutely wrong this is, because after all those years, you just can't convince yourself that this isn't right.
It is a quiet homecoming – a small party for the Guardians, and a welcoming for Yamamoto's new family. (But then you all find out that they are dead, and for a while, there is a pregnant silence until Yamamoto says, Thank you, and things somehow go back to normal.) You join the festivities, and things don't seem like they've changed. At one point, you somehow end up calling him baseball idiot’, which makes him laugh.
Then the night comes, and the mood turns serious.
He talks about the uprisings, and how, in all that, his family was taken away. Killed, to scare him from regaining the last bits of land for the Vongola. Tsuna apologizes, but Yamamoto shakes his head and says that they were ready for it. He then goes into business, and he puts out a blueprint of the town.
Tsuna cuts him off.
"Don't you think you should rest?” he asks. He turns to Gokudera, who is startled. “Gokudera-kun, can you please take Yamamoto to his room?”
Yamamoto nods, and looks at Gokudera, before putting back the blue print.
As they walk through the corridor, he hands something over. It is a piece of paper.
Gokudera stops, and scowls, “I don't want to see it,” he mutters, pushing the little Post-It back, and it makes Yamamoto laugh.
“I had to go back, no matter what happened.”
That night, Gokudera doesn't sleep in his bedroom.
When you're fifty, you look back.
You sit on your office desk, as you wait for the Inheritance Ceremony to start, and as you do, you hold on to a little Post-It. You are startled, when your door opens and Yamamoto comes in, dressed to the nines, with a smile on his face.
He tells you that Tsuna is ready, and that you should be, too, but he stops when he sees the note.
Grinning at you, he walks closer, until he is by your side. He recites your message from memory.
You scowl and blush, after hearing your words said back at you. You bury the note in your pocket, and you stand up, take him by the arm and tell him let's go.