The Lost Girl and Her Letter

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It's May 3rd, but the birthday girl has gone missing.


"Sh-She's not here?" Kyoko asks, stunned.

She is currently standing in front of Midori High, asking around where her best friend is. Behind her is the ever faithful Tsuna, his right hand man, Hayato, and his swordsman, Takeshi. They're in their Namimori High uniforms. Their navy color is a huge contrast to all the creme colored blazer jackets that are walking out of school.

That, and the that fact that there are boys.

Despite the occasional glance, giggle, and sultry looks, this does nothing to deter the boys from looking at one of Haru's friends. Her name is Rika and she's a tall girl with short, dark hair and was blessed with a set of fiery red eyes. Rika gives Kyoko an apologetic look. "Yeah, sorry about that." Kyoko sighs in defeat before looking back at Rika.

"Haru hasn't gotten back to any of my calls of text messages. If you see her, can you tell her to come to Tsuna-kun's house for me?" She asks with a hopeful look. The tall girl in question begins to look uncomfortable.

"I don't think... I'll be seeing her at all today." Her eyes are filled with conflict as she does her best to ignore the looks from the boys. More specifically, a set of hard turned forest green eyes. The moment Hayato's gaze locked on her, she's been feeling extremely uncomfortable. It was like he was watching her every move, her every reaction. Can he tell I'm lying? She thinks with uncertainty.

Kyoko pouts. "Then... Do you have any idea where she is today? It's her birthday and I wanted to surprise her this year." Her bright orbs suck Rika and suddenly, the Midori High School student loses some of her resolve about Haru's whereabouts.

"I can't tell you where Haru is because I don't know where she goes on her birthday." She admits and fixes her bag over her shoulder. "I will tell you this though, you're definitely not going to find her. She disappears every year, Sakura-chan and I have never found her yet." At this, Kyoko frowns. "I don't want to say anything I shouldn't, but I think it's best if you don't try to find her. She hates her birthday." With this new information, the Namimori High beauty deflates.

"I-I see. Thanks Rika-chan." Kyoko bows before turning to Tsuna. "Let's go." She whispers in a determined voice. Tsuna looks at her curiously.

"What are you going to do now?" He sees the beauty before him purse her lips.

"I'm going to find Haru of course." She answers as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. The girl places a fist in her hand and looks straight at Tsuna, determined. The brunet swears that he falls just a little bit more in love with her. "No one should be by themselves on their own birthday. Especially not her, let's check her place out." Kyoko looks to Hayato. "Can you see if she'll answer your calls?" She asks.

Hayato shakes his head. "Sorry, she doesn't answer mine either." He replies before throwing his backpack over his shoulder. "Anyways, I'm out." He doesn't miss the offended look Kyoko shoots at him, nor the surprise on Tsuna's face. Hayato rolls his pretty green eyes. "Look, if that woman doesn't want to be found, then we're not going to find her. She really sets her minds on the things she does. I'm not going to waste my time looking for someone who doesn't want to be found."

Kyoko tries to protest. "But she's your girlfriend!" She shares a long look with the storm guardian for the Vongola family. His eyes narrow.

"I know." With that said, he leaves the group and Midori's school grounds. The Italian teen can almost see Kyoko stomp her foot and pout her cheeks and cross her arms over her chest before glaring spitefully at him. A little smirk shows on his lips before disappearing around the corner and out of everyone's view.

"I can't believe Haru would date someone like him!" She snaps angrily. Tsuna does his best to calm her down, but to avail. "I mean, Gokudera is so rude to her and it's like he doesn't even care." Huffing, she stomps away from the other two boys.

"Kyoko-chan! W-Wait up!" The young leader follows after her. The tall raven haired boy shakes his head and looks in the direction his best friend left in. While he agrees with what Kyoko has said, he also knows that Hayato knows Haru in a way no one else does. Friends and family all included.

I hope he finds her. With that thought in mind, he sets off after the other two and tries to help Tsuna calm Kyoko down.

Meanwhile, Hayato is walking at a leisure pace throughout Namimori. He passes by the local park, the local library, the elementary, the bridge, the cemetery, the hospital, the shrine, every where he can think of. It takes him nearly three hours of walking before he finally comes to the train station of their little town. This is the last place. He tells himself before entering.

It's a little crowded, many people walking to and from. Busy bodies are what they are, but not among them is the one person he is looking for. I really wish she would answer her phone today. Thinks the storm guardian as he continues to wander. The young man ignores the inquisitive and wary stares he receives from a large sum of people. They're the least of his concern right now. Think what they want about my style. He tells himself as he reaches the waiting room.

He walks down the path, doing his best to not bump into anyone. It's when he reaches the end of the waiting room, the silver haired teen sighs. Not here either? A little deflated, Hayato turns back just in case he missed her. It is a large place to wander about after all. Gathering his school bag, he walks. Moving his head left and right slowly, verdant eyes scan quickly. "Where are you woman?" He says to himself.

Out of no where, he nearly trips before catching himself. Whoa! That was close. Getting irritated, Hayato scowls. He's about to look up when in his line of view is a familiar set of green All-Star shoes. Tucked inside are familiar white and green striped socks that lead to a thin, tanned leg. From that leg is a dark brown pleated skirt, a white shirt tucked inside and under a cream colored blazer with a familiar crest of Midori High. Hayato's eyes trail all the way up until he see's Haru who looks blankly at him. She is sitting on a bench in all her glory. Her black hair is cut into a bob, swept to the right and held by a cute storm clip that he bought her several months ago—because he's a bit cheesy like that. Her gray eyes, which are usually lively, are now empty and look a bit forlorn.

"It's great to see you." She says casually, almost as if she doesn't mean it. Hayato rolls his eyes before going to sit down next to her. He is so close, their shoulders touch. Their arms graze each other and the pinky of their fingers almost curl together. It's quiet between the two, almost eerily so. Hayato doesn't say anything yet, waiting for Haru to speak first. He has known her long enough that when she wants to talk about something bothering her, she'll start to babble first.

So he waits.

And waits.

And waits.

And waits a little longer.

The Vongola's right hand man is insanely patient with Haru as he keeps mum. Nearly an hour passes with no word and no glance from her. Something must really be eating her up. He wonders what it could be. Surely it's something about her birthday though. Hayato leans his head back so it rests on the wall. When he moves to tap his foot, he's surprised to find them both asleep. Deciding against it, he waits some more. Hayato doesn't mind. But what can it be? Why doesn't she like it? In the past—when he really thinks about it—Haru has never hung out with them during her birthday. If memory served him correct, she would always text Kyoko that she was busy. But not this year. He adds, thoughtful.

His girlfriend is like a puzzle. Though friendly, it takes some time and paying attention to her to see through her many words and actions. She is a woman of habit and anything unlike her means something is wrong. When they first began dating, Hayato was surprised to find that Haru was a much more complicated and secretive person than he thought. So when Haru had decided this year not text Kyoko that she was busy means something to her, he knows it. Hayato will never know though if she doesn't say anything.

"It was funny watching you walk around the station by the way." Begins Haru, thankfully. A sigh that Hayato doesn't realize he was holding is exhaled as he turns and stares at Haru's side profile. Her school bag is in her lap and she's holding it closely to her chest, rather tightly.

She's nervous. He notes with slight surprise.

"When I saw you here, I wasn't too shocked. I guess you walked around town for a bit, neh? It took you a while to find me." Haru begins to ramble and Hayato faintly smiles at her. He just has to wait for her to finish now. "To be honest, I'm a bit disappointed that it took you so long. Or that you even decided to look for me at all." She gasps then. "Ah, not that I'm not happy you did. I'd probably be more disappointed and angry at you if you never considered looking for me at all."

Hayato twitches at that, a little hurt that she would even think such a thing. Kyoko's words come to mind and he visibly shudders. Haru continues on. "Seeing you wander around for a while was kind of sad too. Especially when you thought you saw me. I liked watching you except for when people looked at you strange. It makes me angry when people judge you based off the way you look. Sure, you're rude, a Mr. Know It All, obnoxious, unfriendly... But you're nice enough."

Hayato rolls his eyes. Haru smiles then and her hold on her school bag loosens just a bit. "If you're wondering why I didn't text or call back, my phone is turned off. I don't know why I didn't turn it back on. I guess I didn't want to talk to anyone today. Oh," Haru giggles as if realizing something, "I also skipped school today. I don't know why I even bothered changing into my uniform. I did plan on going to school today though, I really did. But when I started walking, the next thing I knew, I was here. My feet led me here and I've been here all day." She groans. "You won't believe how many people asked me if I was lost. I mean, hellllooooo. Look at my uniform, I live here. Elite all girls school, the only one in town."

Hayato closes his eyes and chuckles at Haru's irritation. When they open back up, he finds her gray orbs gazing at him. Her lips are turned upward but it's not really a smile on her face. "It's my birthday today." She whispers.

It's his queue to go. "I hear you don't like your birthday." Haru blinks several times. She looks so surprised that he almost laughs at her. Instead, he chooses to run a hand through her hair. "Want to tell me why?" He asks her softly and leans his head closer to her.

"Wait." The raven haired girl pulls away and frowns. "How did you know?" She is flabbergasted.

"Well, considering that you turned your phone off, walked around, ignored us, didn't go to school, that kind of sounds like someone having a miserable day. Like they don't like today, won't you agree?" Haru doesn't answer and instead narrows her eyes. She hums in a way that tells him she knows he's not telling the truth. Another sigh escapes his lips. "Fine, one of your friend's from school. The tall one."

"Rika!" Haru moans and shakes her head. "I should have known." She mumbles under her breath before shooting him a little glare. "You know, it would be great if you could call my friends from school by their names. Not the tall one, the glasses one, the manly one. They have names you know." Hayato just shrugs before continuing to run his fingers through her short hair. He does this until he feels his girlfriend relax. With that same hand, he wraps his arm around her shoulders and brings her close. Their knees touch. Like second nature, Haru brings her legs over Hayato's lap, careful with her skirt so it doesn't flash her panties. The guardian uses his free hand to caress Haru's legs. They don't pay any mind to the people who give them second looks.

"Do you want to tell me why you don't like your birthday?" Questions the younger of the two. Though he watches Haru's face, he can see the slight movement of her hands and they clutch her school bag tighter once more.

"No." Answers Haru with blunt honesty.

"Why not?" He whispers. Haru grows quiet now as he waits for her answer. The young man knows that when it comes to Haru, there's only two ways she will tell you if something is wrong with her. Her usual way is saying it to your face, no matter to who or what it is. The second way is just waiting for her to tell you. It means that she can't quite come to terms with what is going on or that she is trying to put her feelings into words.

It only takes Haru several seconds before she sucks in a deep breath. "Because I hate myself?" It's more of a question.

She's pushing herself to answer. This makes the Italian descendant frown and he quickly kisses her cheek to ease her up some more. He wants Haru calm when answering him. An anxious Miura is a messy Miura. The elite high school student sighs in bliss once his lips leave her skin. "Now, tell me." He holds his girlfriend tenderly, trying to coax an answer out of her. "Someone who has an appreciation day once a month doesn't sound like someone who hates themselves."

Haru visibly winces at that. "Yeah, I guess." She concedes and places her head in the crook of the right hand man's neck. Her light breathing tickles his skin and he chuckles. The low rumbling from his throat makes Haru giggle and she wraps her arms around his waist in thanks. The hand that was caressing her legs goes to touch her bag and he pulls at it a bit.

"What's in here?"

"School stuff." Haru says in a strange key. Her voice rises a bit and Hayato knows right away that his answer is probably in her school bag.

"What else is in there?" He speaks gently into her ear. Haru shudders in his arms. "Is there a reason why you won't tell me?" She says nothing and Hayato grins to himself. "Is the reason why you don't like your birthday inside your school bag?" Though persistent, his voice is ever so tender. He is the definition of a calm before the storm. Haru's arms tighten around him and he feels something wet fall onto his skin. This makes him suddenly alert. "Haru?" He moves his head so he can look at the older girl.

Up close, he can see the blush staining her cheeks. Her eyes are red and tears swell in her eyes. They look glassy and vulnerable. Hayato has never seen Haru look so self-tormented before. All of her feelings can be read in the few tears that fall down her face. She looks to be in pain, to be in the midst of sorrow and his heart aches for her. He feels guilty. "Did I push you too much?" He's worried now because Haru doesn't cry easily. "I'm sorry. Want me to take you home?" Having Haru cry is not something he wants and all he wants to do now is make it better. "I'll tell everyone that you're not feeling well."

"Don't want." She sucks in a breath, trying to calm down. If possible, his heart aches a little more. If Haru looks sad, then her voice is even sadder. The petite Japanese student dabs at her eyes. "I feel like if I don't tell you now, I don't think I'll ever have the confidence to face it again." She explains hurriedly and in strain. Quickly, Haru digs into her bag and brings out an old envelope. She presents it to her boyfriend and the moment he touches it, she retracts her hand so fast, it was if she was burned by the thin sheet.

He looks at the envelope. It is well taken care of but there is a scent of old paper books coming from it. It's crumpled in some places, but the creases look new. Must be from her bag. He inspects the envelope. In dark, blue ink is Haru's name. The penmanship is feminine, giving him the idea that a woman wrote it. The hand that he has around her goes to Haru's small shoulder and he presses gently against it. "What is this?" He asks out loud.

Haru fidgets. Her hands are now in her lap and she fiddles her fingers together. "It's a letter." She answers slowly, almost hesitant. From her tone, Hayato determines that she's frightened of what's inside.

But why? He doesn't want to press her so he says nothing. Haru seems to get the idea that he won't be saying anything any time soon so she sucks in a deep breath. Tears swell in her gray orbs. She's unaware that she bites on her lower lip. It's a habit Hayato knows she does when she's uncomfortable.

"Umm..." She tries to start. Her voice shakes, something he's never heard from her before. Haru gives a soundly gulps. "I-It's from my mom... Right before I was born. You see, she died giving birth to me." Her confession sends a shock wave down his spine. Somehow, he can see the bigger picture now. More than willing, he waits for Haru to continue.

She struggles in doing so. Her eyes move from side to side and she's shaking. There's a burden on her shoulders that is nearly tangible with the way her body sags. "I... To say I hate my birthday is a bit of a stretch but it's a painful reminder to me that I took someone special away from papa." Her gaze turns downcast and Hayato sighs deeply at her words. "Before you say anything about it not being my fault, don't. Papa tells me that every year, especially on my birthday. So even though... Even if I tell myself this, I think how?"

Haru's breathing starts to become uneven. All Hayato can do is hold her tenderly and stay with her. "Every year on my birthday, papa always does his best to make it special." She begins to explain. "I didn't realize it until I got older, but sometimes I think he tries extra hard to make up for me not having a mom. I appreciate it but when... When he thinks I'm not looking, I can see his sad gaze. In the middle of the night, sometimes I'll see sneak downstairs to the living room to see papa looking at a picture of mom. Sometimes he just looks at it. Sometimes he'll cry.

"I know I shouldn't blame myself. Papa tells me not to but I can't see how he can love someone who is the reason his wife is gone now." Each word grows more and more frustrated and solemn at the same time. Hayato brings his lips to the top of Haru's head and kisses her hair. "Out of all the days of the year, he only ever seems truly happy on my birthday. Why? What about the rest of the days? He's just so sad." She then points to the envelope in his hands. "This is a letter that mom told papa to give me the day I turned 18."

Haru is looking up now, her sleeves pressed against her flushed cheeks. Tears are falling down her face once more as she gives the letter a wary gaze. To Hayato, it hurts his chest seeing the petite young woman cry. "I heard she was in pain before having me." Haru sniffs and wipes away another tear. "That she really suffered a lot during her last few days. All because of the difficulty I was giving her. It's why she wrote this letter."

The Italian teenager stays quiet for a few moments, taking in all of Haru's words. The envelope that is in his hands is unopened. "You don't want to know what she says?" He questions softly. Haru shakes her head.

"What if it's a letter saying that she hates me?" Her voice sounds so broken as she asks this. Verdant orbs soften at Haru's shaking figure. "I... I've always dreamed of the day that I would open her letter to me and now..." She sobs, trembling under his touch. "Now I can't. I don't... What if she was angry at me? Or sad with me? What if she regrets having me? As the one who gave her such difficulty, what right do I even have?" Haru looks down at her lap, her hands clenched tightly together. "I'm too scared." These words are mumbled so quietly that Hayato almost misses them.

They're the words that let him really know what is in her heart.

So he brings a hand under Haru's chin and forces him to look at her. He smiles and brings the letter into view. "You have every right, Haru." He tells her, firmly but affectionately. "Because you're born from her, because this letter has your name on it. Because she thought of you before you even came into the world. Even if she was angry, or sad, or hurt, you have every right to know how she feels and," he places the letter into Haru's tearful grasps, "she has every right to let you know how she feels." Haru sucks in a sharp breath at the proclamation.

Hayato takes one of her hands into his own. His thumbs traces over the back of her palm in little, comforting circles. "It's okay to be scared too. No one is asking you to be strong." Leaning close to her ear, he whispers. "Sono qui per te." As he pulls away, a warm heat is felt on his cheeks at his very own words. Sniffling, his girlfriend rubs at her eyes and blinks before holding the envelope close to her heart.

"What was that you just said?" Haru wants to know. The storm guardian coughs.

"I'll tell you if you read the letter." He bargains with her. A reluctant wet laugh escapes Haru's lips. She rubs her tears away, leaving her face with a rough look. It takes the birthday girl a moment or two before she sucks in a deep breath. Doing this several more times, Haru slaps her cheeks once she is finished. Hayato sees that she wears a look of determination, even with a hint of fear in them. He grins at Haru, a certain pride and joy swelling up in his heart for her. That's my girl. He thinks with a chuckle.

Haru takes the envelope and slowly opens it up. A look of surprise can be read on her face. There is several sheets of paper tucked away inside. "I didn't think there would be so many pages..." He hears her say. At this time, he intertwines their fingers together. She squeezes their hold in thanks. A couple of minutes tick by as the raven haired girl sits there. Her gaze turns to Hayato. "Do you want to read with me?"

At the innocent request, Hayato chuckles and brings his lips to the knuckles of Haru's hand. "Sure. Do you want me to read out loud?" He jokes. Haru sticks her tongue out before sighing in relief. Shaking her head in reply, Haru opens the letter. Hayato feels her nerves pulsing through their fingers. In an attempt to comfort her, he places their joined hands near his heart. Haru shoots him a tiny smile before they go back to the letter.

It reads;

My Dear Little Spring,

Happy 18th birthday!

If you're reading this, that must mean I didn't make it. That's okay though. It means that I did the one thing I was supposed to do. That was to make sure that you did. Right now, mama is so hurt. I've always had a weak body so I knew this might have happened. But this physical pain... It's not the one I'm talking about. What I mean is that I'm so hurt that I didn't get a chance to hold you. That I didn't get a chance to tuck you in at night, a chance to kiss you in the morning, a chance to advise you on your first date, your first boyfriend, your first period, your first time. I'm hurt that I missed your first birthday, your second birthday, your third, and all the rest. I'm hurt that I won't see you on your wedding day, on your first day of school, I'll miss your first steps. All the joys of being a mother, I won't see it all.

It hurts mama, it does.

...but if it means that you'll survive this, then I can take it. I'll miss everything if it means you'll make it.

You see, I love you.

My little Spring.

Sometimes I worry about you and how you'll feel once you're old enough to understand the reason behind my passing. I'm scared that you'll blame yourself. I hope it didn't bring you too much trouble growing up. You should know though that throughout this entire time you and I shared, not once have I ever blamed you. I blame myself for being born this way. It's not your fault Haru, it never was. Mama is just a weak person.

Is it mean of me that I want you to live? Despite this pathetic me, am I cruel to leave you here in the world? Will you be alright without a mother's love? I think this because I also didn't have a mother growing up. It was hard. I don't want you to have the same thoughts as I did. ...maybe that's why I wanted to write this letter? To you who is now 18 years old. Oh, you must be a beautiful young lady now. I can just see you. Hair and eyes like mine, a personality and intelligence just like your father.

I miss you so much and you're not even here yet. My dear little Spring, I love you. I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you. I just want to hold you in my arms forever. Haru...

What can I say? Besides that I love you and that I'm sorry? What mother advise can I give you now that you're a full grown adult? What do I say to a you who is going to become someone great? That I have no doubt is already someone great? I had so many things in my head while writing this letter to you, it all just seems to fly out the window now. All I know is this.

I love you, Haru. I'll never be able to say it enough times.

Please... As you get older, grow some more, experience the world, please know that you were always thought of. I'm always thinking of you wherever I go, in whatever I do. Know that even in death, I'll be thinking of you. I can't tell you the joy that you have brought to me these past nine months. It hasn't been easy on my body, but it has made my heart full of warmth, happiness, and a greater love I can't even begin to explain. You're so lovely to me, Haru.

Every morning I wake up, I think of you. I think of you when I go to bed. When I'm tired, you're always there picking me back up. When I fight with your father, you're always there to remind me why I love him. When I'm sad, you remind me that there is nothing to be sad. You're here, in my belly, waiting to come out. When I'm lonely, you're always keeping me company. I talk to you a lot. I sing to you a lot. I am always patting my tummy in hopes you'll kick again. Really, I don't think there will be anyone else who will love you as much as I do. ...but I have a little wish?

When you're out there in the world, remember me in this letter a little bit.

Please?

As a selfish wish...

For someone who has waited patiently 18 years to hear my voice... Remember me just a little bit. I can't be that mama I want to be for you, so this is the best I can do. Happy birthday my little Spring. For the rest of your life, live happily and in peace. Find a love so great and don't let go. Continue to be kind to others, even when they hate you. Don't let them step over you though! There will always be someone who will try to bring you down. If you ever think there is a time where there is something you can't do or achieve, think of this.

The doctors say you and I both won't make it.

They don't know you.

They don't know me.

But I know us. I know you'll make it. You're very strong. I know this because I have carried you for nine months. You're a very energetic little girl. Don't cause papa too much trouble, okay? I'm going to miss him too, that silly man. Ah, I think this is it. I can feel you kicking. Good-bye my little Haru. Be careful out there, okay? Do your best! I'm cheering for you. Oh goodness, I'm worried again. Geez, I'm also a kind of lame mama, neh?

Love you. Love you, I love you. I love you, I love you, I love you.

I love you my dear little Spring.

Your mama who cannot wait to meet you,

Miura Haruna

Haru folds the letter neatly and sighs. Her eyes meet with Hayato's and she's crying again. Except, this is a look of someone who is content, at peace, maybe even a little bit overwhelmed. There's a last page after the letter that is completely filled with the writings I love you over and over again, filling the paper with love and affection. Hayato wipes Haru's cheeks with his free hand and smiles at her. She returns it, a little sloppily. "Look at this page." She shows the last one with the repetitive writing. "She loves me." Haru can't help but laugh a little at that.

"Yeah, she loves you a lot, huh?" He assures her. A bashful look crosses over Haru's face as she neatly folds the pages and places them back in the envelope. Bringing her sleeve, she covers her face and murmurs under her breath.

"I almost can't believe I was so nervous." He hears her confess. There's a childish like joy hinted in her tone that makes him chuckle. "Oh gosh." She gasps. Un-doing their hand holding, Haru fans her cheeks. She tries to rid herself of a blush. "It's almost too good to be true." Haru pouts in good nature. "She thought of me so much... I... I can't..." Unable to find the right words to explain how she feels, Hayato takes his time to hold her. He brings her closer to his lap, almost sitting on him. The birthday girl cries, but it's a happy kind now. "Hahi, Gokudera-kuuuun~!"

Suddenly, Haru throws her arms around the younger teen's shoulders and hides her face in the crook of his neck. "Ah, Haru?" He snaps, a bit embarrassed by her show of affection. Haru thinks nothing of it and holds him tighter. Again, he can feel the warm and wet sensation of tears dripping out of her eyes. Relenting, he just hugs the woman back as tightly as possible. Together, they rock in each other's hold. Haru holds onto him for several minutes, her body warm and soft. In their embrace, Hayato takes in as much of Haru and her feelings as possible.

All of her now distant worries, her joy, happiness, peace, relief, he hugs her tighter and accepts it all. There's a little giggle at that and she pulls away. When Hayato looks down at his girlfriend, he smiles at her glowing face. "Feel better about today?" He asks her and cups her cheek. He's rewarded with a bright smile and a nod of her head.

Haru hums in agreement and leans in to peck him lightly on the lips. When she is done, she laughs at the brightness of his cheeks. It's easy to tell when the storm guardian is embarrassed because of his pale skin. "Thank you Gokudera-kun, for helping me through this." Haru begins to place the letter back into her school bag.

"I didn't really do anything." He adds while scratching the back of his head.

"That's not true." She disagrees while taking her legs off of his lap. When she's done righting herself, Haru intertwines their fingers together once more. "If you didn't come find me and had given me the courage to read mama's letter, I would never have done it on my own." Hayato feels his heart pound at the confession as she says this so casually. "Gokudera-kun, it's thanks to you that I can finally, finally celebrate my birthday without restraint. It's thanks to you that I can hear my mama's voice." The tender smile she shows him makes Hayato's entire body feel lax and hot at the same time. "Thank you and..." Bringing his hand to her, she kisses the inside of his wrist.

I love you.

The words aren't said but Hayato knows Haru well enough to understand the meaning behind her action. The inside of his head goes blank before groaning to himself. His free hand rubs his temple in a vain attempt to stay cool. Damn it... He tells himself at a loss of what to do. That really took my by surprise. Sighing, he nods his head and sits up. He pulls Haru along with him and they begin to exit the train station. They fall into a comfortable silence, careful not too bump into too many people.

Once the young couple reach outside, they are greeted by the darkening sky. It's a hash of orange, pink, and purple, mixing with violet and dark blue. Under neath is the twinkling of city lights. The Italian young man puffs out his breath "It's late already." He comments out loud and peeks at Haru. She stands next to him, straight and confident. She's back to herself already, good. He thinks for a quick moment and brings out his cell phone. He soon begins to call someone. Haru gives him a curious look.

"What are you doing?" She tip toes, trying to see the caller ID. "Who are you calling?"

"It's still your birthday." He informs the petite elite student and brings her close so he can wrap an arm around her. "There is someone who I am pretty sure still wants to celebrate it with you too." She tilts her head in a questioning manner, asking with her eyes it could be. Hayato's phone doesn't ring for long and he begins to chat away. "Hey, I found her. ... Namimori Station. Yeah, uh huh. ... What the hell do you mean by that?!" Haru sighs as his temper flares for a moment.

"Gokudera-kuuun." She whines softly and brings out her lower lip. That's all it takes for him to calm down just a bit.

"Yeah, I told you she was here." He scoffs. "Uh huh. ... Well do you want to celebrate her birthday or not? ... Yeah, we can go there now. I'll take her. ... I think we're past the 'surprise' part of this." Hayato shakes his head several times before hanging up. The girl in question rocks on her feet as she stares at Hayato. He looks at her with a blank look. "That's the irritating one." Is all he says.

Haru rolls her eyes but smiles. She playfully pinches his side, causing the boy to yelp. "Kyoko isn't at all irritating." She defends her friend from Hayato's remark. "She's an amazing person." Hayato begs to differ but doesn't say anything about those two being cut from the same mold. Instead, he nods his head in false agreement and the two begin to walk towards Tsuna's house.

During their time together, Hayato takes secret pleasure in the joy Haru walks with. When she talks, she now talks about nothing except her mother. Someone who she now, he notes, calls mama. It's cute and admirable how with just a letter, she is able to spring back towards her normal self. "—nd then I felt all warm and happy. I know she's smiling down at me and one day for sure, when we meet in heaven, I'll definitely hug her and tell her all about my time here spent with you!" Hayato, in all honesty, only catches the last parts of her rambling and stops walking. He looks at Haru with a blank gaze before the tip of his ears turn pink.

She notices this and giggles. "Hahi? Gokudera-kun is acting shy now?" Haru leans into his hold and wraps an arm around his waist. "Mmm..." She hums serenely. The younger teen can't help but look away and blush profusely at her affections. In their own little bubble, they finally make it to Tsuna's and are surprised to find Kyoko and Hana waiting outside of the house. "Eh? Kyoko? Hana-chan?" Haru pulls away from the protective arm around her, much to the owner of said arm's dissatisfaction, and walks up to them. "What are you two doing?"

Her voice causes Kyoko to jump, as if startled, before turning around. Kyoko's warm eyes widen before they turn glassy with tears. "H-Haarrrruuuu!" She cries and runs to her friend. She nearly tackles Haru to the ground and sobs into her chest. "I wanted to see you aaaaaallll daaaayyy! No one should be alone on their birthday! Gosh, I looked everywhere for you!" Hayato snorts at that. "I heard you don't like your birthday but I wanted to tell you that every year and from now on, I'm so thankful that you're born! That you're the sweetest person I know and that I love and appreciate you so much!" The strawberry blonde girl hugs Haru tightly by her waist. Softly, she whispers in Haru's ear a quiet and sincere 'happy birthday.' Hana walks up from behind and laughs at the two girls.

"Kyoko-chan wanted to be the first one to greet you when you got here." She explains. "When that idiot," Hayato snarls at that nickname she gave him, "called and said he found you, Kyoko-chan put on all the decorations again and made another cake." Haru's heart swells at that thought of Kyoko putting in so much effort for such a day.

"Ohhh! Kyoko~!" Haru squeezes her dear friend back. "You're so darn cute! Thank you so much and I'm so sorry!" The two are now wrapped in each other's arms, giggling and whispering to each other. Hayato sighs and rubs a tired hand through his silver strands.

This again. He wants to bang his head against something to rid himself of the image before him. Hana snickers at his despair, knowing full well that once Haru and Kyoko get like this, there's not much anyone can do about it. "Can we just go inside and eat cake or something?" He whines, trying to break them up. Kyoko shoots him a dark look, one which he returns, before she begrudgingly agrees with him.

"Fine." She answers and lets go of Haru. She and Hana run inside Tsuna's house, the birthday girl following shortly after them until she comes to a halt. Hayato is right behind her and is curious as to why she stopped moving.

"What's wrong?" He asks her.

"It's nothing but..." She reaches her hand out to him. "Let's go together?" Haru asks with a smile. Hayato feels his heart bubble at her innocent enough request. Smiling a bit, he stretches his hand out to hold her palm in his.

"Only for today." He tells her. "Because it's your birthday."


(A/N: I know I should be updating my other stories, but I've had this on file for a year now and decided to post it. Smh, lol. Hope you guys enjoyed it!)