Disclaimer: I do now own Katekyo Hitman Reborn! or any of its characters. Le sigh. 5986 man.
Summary: "I didn't know you played." He tells her. Haru smiles bitterly at him. "There's a lot you don't know about me."
(A/N: I listened to The Last Butterfly while writing this. Maybe you can listen as you read too? It goes well, maybe.)
He hears her one day after school is out.
Spending too much time on the roof made Hayato fall asleep. Before he knew it, he dozed off only to wake up with the sun beginning to set behind the clouds. Getting up, he stretches and lazily makes his way down the stairs and through the halls. He's careful not to be seen by anyone from the student body or girl's just finishing from their after school clubs. Skipping class has become a bad habit of his, but no one ever says anything about it to his face. Not the teachers, not the principal, not his peers, not his friends, not even Tsuna.
Who is still in the music room after school. He passes by to hear a beautiful rendition of The Last Butterfly. True to its popularity, it's sad. But in Haru's notes, he can hear a hopefulness in it. Almost a rebellious streak to fight off the sadness of an inevitable fate. He pauses at the door ajar, leaning against the wall and peers at Haru. She is dressed in uniform, her navy skirt, white collared shirt, and red ribbon still neat and pressed looking. Her black hair has been let down, the bottom curling around her petite shoulders.
Haru stands straight, feet apart and her arms poised, hands and nails pressed tightly to create music. Hayato notes that Haru's eyes are closed and that she has a concentrated look on her face. Her brows furrow, as if struggling with what she's feeling while she plays.
And how she plays. Hayato has never heard anything so...
"It's unlike you." He walks into the room and winces the moment Haru stops playing. She turns to him quickly, startled almost. And that's when he see's it. That clean, shiny trail down her cheeks. The sunlight from the window hits her face perfectly before wrapping the older girl in a warm light. He feels his heart thump at the sight of Haru. Because even though she's crying, she looks strong. Unbreakable. Not fragile.
She is undeniably beautiful.
"What are you doing here, Gokudera-san?" Haru sniffles, wiping at her eye with her hand which holds her bow. Hayato takes a few steps closer, passing the large and empty room just to be a couple of feet away from her. Dropping his bag to floor carefully, the young boy turns his hands into his pockets. Haru's gray eyes steel themselves, knowing that he's seen her in a moment of weakness.
Something she doesn't want.
"I was just going home." He answers Haru's question with a flat tone, unable to look away. He motions towards the violin in her hands. "I didn't know you played." He tells her.
Haru smiles bitterly at him. "There's a lot you don't know about me."
Soon, the two stand there. Staring, interpreting each other's looks and trying to make out what the other is thinking. For a moment, Hayato can see pain flicker in Haru's eyes and he wonders if something happened to her today. She's always a bubble of energy, no matter what. If he were to be honest, she was quite the annoying one. She's someone who wasn't supposed to fit into his life, but did.
Hayato finds Haru the only one who is actually strong enough to face him head on, without shying from the truth or beating around the bush. The only woman in his life who will call him out of any and all of his misgivings and unfairness. Recently, during their first school year together, he also finds that Haru is also the first to rush to his defense. So while he finds her mostly annoying, he is just...
A little grateful for her existence.
Which is why it bothers him to see her so sad, angry, frustrated, and unsure at the same time. He looks at the piano behind her and feels fingers twitch. "It's clear to me," Hayato walks closer to Haru and she takes a step back, "that you need a partner for this song." Surprise is evident on Haru's face as she watches her kind-of-friend go around her and sits at the piano. He stretches his fingers before looking at her. "Well?" He says in a bit of a mocking tone. "Aren't you going to play? Violin does come first."
Hayato see's Haru fight off a smile as she scoffs at him with fake scorn. "I didn't know you could play." She tells him, already getting into position to play. Hayato hopes that Haru doesn't see him also try to fight off his grin.
"There's a lot you don't know about me." He repeats her own words. He see's her pause and she looks at him. The tears look like they're about to come back but before they can, Haru begins.
She starts off, hopefully bitter and sad. Hayato closes his eyes, trying to feel as much of her before playing. Haru's playing is melancholy, maybe even a little forlorn. But still, resilient and strong willed. It makes his heart feel unsettled because Haru is not usually like this. 'What happened to you?' He wonders before his fingers brush against the black and white keys. Hayato joins her in a duet, carefully helping her along. Playing along with her, he listens closely.
To know one's heart is to listen to their music.
And Hayato can hear her crying. Can see her, his notes touching her is almost enough that he can nearly feel her. In his mind, Haru is in a grassy plain, desolate and dismayed. Shadow has cast itself over her before breaking out into light. And she see's it, the light. From the sun that shines above her with its warmth. And when she see's it, he can feel her strengthen with it. And it's better.
Because this will be the last time she cries for a boy.
Hayato stops playing because he knows now. Why Haru is playing the way she is. She was...
Green eyes look up quickly to see Haru finish their song without him. The girl does so peacefully, her eyes closed still. Sniffling again, Haru's arms come down slowly and hang at her side. Her breathing is heavy, like she had ran a mile. Her body trembles, as if on the last of her energy. Biting her lower lip, Haru opens her eyes slowly to meet Hayato's gaze and she smiles. The fading sun from the window leaves its print on Haru's entire being. Sad, desolate, strong, and beautiful.
"Why did you play this piece?" The words fly out before he can stop them. Haru laughs, no joy evident in it. Shaking her head, she carelessly shrugs her shoulders and lets a tear fall.
"I'd rather you have asked why I was crying instead."
Long after that.
Leaving the school, Hayato takes Haru on a long walk. He thinks she needs it after today. Even going as far as to offer to carry her school bag. She accepts and soon, they wander. They travel aimlessly around their little town before reaching the bridge they first met at. The sun is in its last stages of setting, blue and black slowly taking over the skies and chasing away the pink, orange, and purple. Hayato and Haru stand close together. They're not touching, but it's also the closest to each other they have ever been. Just a breath away.
In silence, Hayato glances down at Haru. She looks, eyes set on the fading sun. Her facial features a little tense, Hayato brings a finger and pokes at her cheek. He can see her rolling her eyes before even doing it and he's glad to see once she does. "Really, what was that for?" She sounds annoyed but there is no real anger there. Hayato can tell because arguing is all they do. He knows Haru in every single way when it comes to her anger.
Heartbreak is one he needs to learn.
"You'll get ugly if your eyebrows stay like that." She swats at his arm.
"How dare you!" She berates him for a good minute. Once Haru is done, she laughs. "That felt... Normal."
Hayato chuckles. "Good. Now, can you tell me why you played that?" He see's that she's about to clam up. "Haru." He whispers, sternly. Bringing a hand to her cheek, he makes it so she can't look away from him. Hayato's steady, unmoving, relentless eyes suck her in. They bring a strange peace to her heart and soon, she sighs.
"It was... A good-bye to my first love. And... A new beginning to me." She leans into his touch a little, releasing a shaky breath. "The Last Butterfly, I wanted to interpret it the way I felt about him. About Tsuna and my love for him." Hayato suddenly realizes that where they're standing, though it's the first place they met each other, it's also the first place she met Tsuna.
He lets go of her cheek.
"I don't know." Says Haru. "I was just... Sad and lonely but it was also freeing." She says this with so much honesty, her eyes water again. She wipes them away. "It's my last time loving him. I don't regret it. Loving him has taught me so many things about myself." Hayato feels himself smile faintly at that. There's that strength he saw in her today.
That he's always seen in her.
"So for it to be the last time to love him," she shrugs and grins, "it just seemed fitting. I can't really put it into words. So I put it into music. You understand, don't you? You felt it?" He can hear her nerves as she asks this. Licking his lips, Hayato nods his head. He wants to tease her, but he finds that he can't right now. Haru lets out another shaky breath before daring to lean into his chest. Hayato drops their school bags and gently wraps his arms around her shoulders.
He holds her tenderly. Not too tight but not too loose. He holds her close like a friend, he hopes.
"This is the last time I'm doing this for you." He says into her hair. Haru's laugh is muffled thanks to his chest but he can feel her relief in it.
"Thanks, Gokudera-san." Leaning away just a bit, Haru tilts her head. "You never told me that you played piano by the way. Why?" He says nothing at that and Haru comes to a realization quickly. Someone who is well trained in music, someone who plays so well, they don't just stop because they want to. They stop because something happened. "Tell me if you want to, okay? Or... Play the piano in the music room. If I pass by, I can join you then?"
"Whatever you say." Hayato pats her on the head once. Haru laughs at that and it's like bells. His heart thumps again, strangely in his chest. With the sun now gone, night has joined them on this moment. And Hayato feels unsettled. Like there's something he has to do for her, just before the day is completely over.
"It's time to go, shall we?" Before the young girl can pick up her bag, Hayato swoops in for a light kiss. She freezes in his hold, stunned. Before Haru can even get a feel of his lips, he let's go and blinks. Hayato can feel the hot flame of a blush over his face and is thankful for the darkness around them. Haru just looks at her companion, as if he's grown another head.
Slowly, she brings a hand to her lips. "Th-That was my first kiss." She speaks slowly, carefully, and warily.
"Wow, mine too." That's all Hayato can say before finally letting Haru go. He rubs a hand over his head, feeling suddenly tired and overwhelmed with emotions. Groaning, he crouches to the floor. "I'm... Sorry." He whispers, completely embarrassed by his actions. "I don't know why I did it. I just felt like it." Those words do him no justice. 'I'm a pervert. A freak. A walking shame.' Murmuring to himself, he doesn't see Haru get eye level with him. Only until he feels her pull his hair back with her hand, he's greeted with a giggling sight of her.
Her face shines, looking at him with a certain thing he's never seen on her before. His eyes narrow as he tries to drown out the painfully loud thudding of his heart. "Why are you laughing? Nothing about that was funny."
Haru decides to humor him. "You're right." Giggling, she stands them up and pats his shoulders as if dusting away any dirt particles. "Gokudera-san. Shall we play again sometime? I can also play the flute." She admits. Hayato raises a brow.
"I didn't know you could play." He tells her.
Haru smiles at him with fondness. "There's a lot you don't know about me."
And it's true.
There's a lot of things he doesn't know about Haru. He doesn't know why she is still laughing at him, why she is looking at him the way she is, why she is suddenly giddier than usual. He doesn't know the sparkle that is in her eye, the coyness of her smile as if she realizes something he hasn't, the pink on her cheeks... Hayato doesn't know any of it.
There's only one thing that the boy does know.
And that is he would love to find out.
(A/N: This is pretty... Beautiful? Lol. I'm a little proud of it. One o'clock in the morning inspiration.)